Friday, 24 July 2015

Start Something That Matters - Book Review

Being a bookaholic I am always on the search for new and interesting books that will help inspire me and so when I heard that the creator of TOMS one of my favourite all time organisations had written a book about starting something that matters I knew I had to read it. And boy am I glad that I did! This book has to be one of the best and most inspiring books I have ever read. Whenever anybody asks what is important to me and what I would like to do with my life I often to say I would like to make a difference even if its just to one person it would be worth it and that is why I am studying a degree in Social Work. But there is part of me that wants to try doing something a little bit different and although I have lots of idea's I often have no idea where to start. 

Enter Blake Mycoskie! This book is so fantastic for helping to inspire you to make a difference and to do something that will help others. Step by step Mycoskie goes through the stages of how he believes is the best way to start something that matters using examples from his own company TOMS and from other companies that have also tried to make a difference. If you are looking for an interesting and vibrant read full of tips and inspiration than I would really suggest you get a copy of this book. It was so amazing that I managed to read it in just two days and now have lists and lists of things I'd like to try to make a bit of a difference. 


Monday, 20 July 2015

Summer Wanderings

It seems at the moment that my favourite spaces seem to be the beautiful gardens of National Trust stately homes or in this case a privately owned Castle otherwise known as Glamis Castle. I love to wander through looking at the walled gardens full of stunning wild flowers and then stepping out of the gate into the wilderness of parkland that surrounds these stately homes. Maybe it's my subconscious telling me I should actually be a Gaelic princess living in a Scottish Castle hidden away in the highlands preferably with a library like Belle as I said in my last post.

These beautiful photo's were taken last weekend when me and my boyfriend went to a classic car show held in the grounds of Glamis Castle. My boyfriend is very into his cars especially classic ones and being a big fan of vintage I rather like them too. He has his very own classic car and so we decided to exhibit it at the show meaning we had to be there rather early. But included in the price of the ticket was access to the grounds and gardens of the castle and so we decided to have a little wander before the business of the day began.

Stepping into the gardens was like stepping into another world, the noise of cars revving and horns beeping and the bag pipes blowing slowly disappeared as we entered the woods at the side of the house. We said hello to some friendly highland coo's across the water and went to smell the flowers in the walled garden. It was a really beautiful hour spend relaxing in the sunshine and because it was so early we were the only ones there. We also managed to find a beautiful little cottage in the woods which looked like it had fallen out of a fairytale book and it took all my strength not to go and knock on the door to ask if I could move in.

It was such a beautifully serene morning and if you are ever in Angus I would really suggest you go and visit Glamis Castle as it is a truly amazing piece of architecture as well as having such lovely gardens and grounds.

Bye for now!


Friday, 17 July 2015

Book Shops Of St Andrews

"All the reading she had done gave her a view of life they had never seen" - Mathilda, Roald Dahl

I've always loved books, ever since I was little I've been an avid reader of nearly everything I could get my hands on so it's not surprising really that one of my favourite things to do is spend a lazy afternoon trawling the local book shops. If you haven't realised yet I have a bit of a love affair with St Andrews and when I am up in Scotland staying with my boyfriends family I tend to go into St Andrews as much as possible and over the last few visit I have managed to find some amazing places to shop for books so I thought I would share a few of my favourites.

Bouquiniste - This little second hand book shop is a bit hidden and I didn't find it for a while until I accidentally stumbled across it on my way down to the harbour. I love second hand books possibly even more than new books, I like the way the spines have been broken and they feel soft in your hand making them easier to read and I love being able to get amazing books for only a pound or two. This little book shop stocks everything from travel to classical fiction to theology so its a great place to go and lose yourself for a while in search of one (or six in my case) new books to add to your collection.

Barnardo's Books - Another great second hand book shop, this time all the proceeds go to charity which makes me feel a lot better about the amount of money I have spent in here already. This book shop also has a great selection of fiction, non fiction, children's books and a nice big classics section where I have picked up even more cute copies of Dickens and Austen.

British Heart Foundation - This one doesn't have a huge collection of books as it also sells a lot of other bits and bobs like a normal charity shop but their collection still covered nearly the whole back wall. I've also found some really great books in here and like with Barnardo's all the money goes to a great cause. It is also only just down the road from Barnardo's which means you can have a good old book shop crawl.

Topping and Company Books - And just a little bit further down the road from the other two you will find Topping and Company Books another fabulous addition to any book crawl. This book shop has only just recently opened but boy is it worth a trip. When I was little I always wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast (read as still want to be Belle now) and my dream was to have a library in my house just as amazing as in the film. As I first walked into Topping and Company I had a full Belle moment and decided I wanted to move in right away. Every wall and available counter space is covered in books of all different shapes and sizes, there's a fantastic mix of everything you could ever want with beautiful little ladders on wheels to help you find the books you want that are at the top of the book cases. The shop wiggles round into a cavern of little spaces full of different genres such as cooking, health, art, nature and so much more. There are also lots of super comfy squishy sofa's to sit on and have a good old look at the books you've picked up on your way round and if you sit for a while the lovely staff will offer you a cup of tea or coffee for free. I have been in a few times now and every time it is like a dream, I just love it!

I hope you enjoyed the little insight into the book shops of St Andrews. I know having these fantastic book shops just down the road every holiday will not help my book addiction but as I keep saying to my boyfriend if I want to have a library room in my future house than I need to carry on collecting books!

I hope you are all having good summers, let me know in the comments what you are reading at the moment.

Bye for now!


Friday, 10 July 2015

My First Time......

 .......picking strawberries! Yes I was a very deprived child and was never taken strawberry picking. But to be fair to my parents I was one of four and my house was always a bit crazy and to be honest there aren't many strawberry farms in Liverpool. But when my boyfriend and his family found out I'd never been strawberry picking they told I hadn't truly experienced the joys of a strawberry until I'd picked them myself. And so on a rather sunny day (not something we get a lot of in Scotland) me, my boyfriend and his sister all went to the Cairnie fruit farm to go strawberry picking.

I was relatively restrained and only ate a few strawberries whilst I was picking as it did seem a bit naughty even if everyone else was doing it. And I have to say it was really fun actually picking my own strawberries and being able to take them home to eat. It was also quite a cheap trip out as there was no entrance few you simply paid for what you picked so the three of us had an hour of entertainment for only £4.50. We also got to dip them into cream and hot chocolate sauce when we got home which was amazing. 

I'd definitely like to go again and I think it is definitely something to do when I have my own children as I imagine its almost more fun to watch a little one picking and eating than it is to do it yourself. Let me know in the comments if you've been strawberry picking this year or if you used to go when you were little.

Bye for now!


Monday, 6 July 2015

A Day At The Beach

Scotland is beautiful and I love it so much but we really don't get that many sunny days and so when we do we take full advantage of them. A few days ago was one of those days. We woke up to find the sun was shining and the temperature was above 20 degrees and so we decided to pack up and go to the beach in Kingsbarns for the day. I had never been to this beach before but my boyfriend told me it was very beautiful and also fairly quiet especially if you didn't mind walking a bit further from the car park. And boy was he right! As soon as I stepped out the car I felt like I'd arrived in the Caribbean, the sky was blue, the sand was yellow and the sea was a beautiful mismatched patchwork of turquoise and sea green.

We walked away from where everyone else was sitting along the costal path to a much more secluded area of the beach. Although I managed to get stung by nettles and cut my ankle on brambles it was so worth it, apart from the odd dog walker we had the entire beach to ourselves for the entire day. We spent the day lying around on the sand, eating doughnuts we'd picked up on the way and swimming in the freezing cold sea. It was very very cold but after a few goes of running in and out our bodies were numbed enough for us to enjoy it a little bit.

As the sea went out it began to reveal some sandbanks and in particular one very large one that was only a few minutes walk into the sea and water level wasn't above knee height so we decided to move to our own private Island. We must have looked a bit ridiculous both of us carrying our bags above our heads to the Island and then coming back for our dogs but there was no one there to see and we got to feel even more like we were having a proper adventure. We lay out our rug on the sand and sunbathed until we were so hot we went back into the freezing sea off the back of our private Island.

It was a truly idillic day and a much needed rest and recuperation for us both. We are definitely looking at going back sometime this summer when the sun comes out again. Hope you are all having lots of adventures this summer.

Bye for now!


Friday, 3 July 2015

The Three Counties Show

Since moving to Hereford I've found myself getting really into the country style of living, spending lots of time outdoors and enjoying really good home cooked food. And one of my new favourite things to do is go to farmer's markets and country shows so when I discovered the famous Three Counties Show was on one of the weekends whilst I was home I knew I had to go. We decided to make it a girly trip with me, my mum and my auntie all going for the day and we had the best time.

The Three Counties Show is basically a farming show similar to shows such as the Great Yorkshire Show or the Royal Cornish show. You can find everything there from sheep shearing shows to parachute shows to farmers markets and you can shop for anything from tractors and hot tubs to country clothing and wellies. We managed to see most of it throughout the day but we were there for about 7 hours and so by the end of it we felt we'd really given it a good go.

Some of the highlights for me were seeing the Red Devils parachuting into the show ground and watching the Quack Pack - a set of indian runner ducks being herded by a sheep dog into tunnels and into little pens. There was also a huge amount of amazing food, for lunch I had a Lebanese wrap with home made falafel and humus and we picked up loads of bits and bobs for dinner that night included some seriously scummy cake.

It was such a fun day and I can't wait to go back next year hopefully with my boyfriend as I think he'd absolutely love it. Have you been to any country shows? How have you found them? Let me know in the comments below!

Bye for now! 
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