Family · Just Me · Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

Christmastime in Edinburgh…

Here is the trip report from our day trip adventure to Edinburgh. We really had a great time and it definitely got us in the festive mood.

So the preparation started the night before. We finished dancing and miss K was staying over in my house. We had decided that we were going to wear matching tshirts but I had left it on the long finger (surprise surprise) so we ended up making them once we got home. I did the computer part and K did the weeding and pressing and in about an hour we had three fabulous shirts to wear, great teamwork. We did different designs but same colours so they were similar but not matchy matchy (pictures of us wearing them will be below). I wasn’t too sure what I needed to pack for a day trip so settled on an empty backpack, purse, keys, lip balm, phone charger and a hat. I was so glad I didn’t bring anything else as it was a whirlwind day and that really was all I needed. Then it was shower and bed (for a whole 4 hours before we had to be up lol)

We set off for the airport at ridiculous O’clock (4:30am) on a cold dreary Tuesday morning. Neither myself or miss K are morning people but we were excited (in so far as you can be at 4am) Mam dropped us to the airport and security took about 20 minutes. After that we changed K’s money (the exchange rate completely sucks at the moment), took a look around the shops and went on the search for orange juice (with no bits cause seriously ewwww). It is surprisingly hard to find orange juice in the airport but thanks to the eagle eyed miss K (who seen it on the counter when we walked past the bar) I was happy. img_0572

Once our gate was announced we set off and did the long walk down to the Ryanair gates. I never queue to get on a plane because seriously my seat number is assigned and it’s not like it’s going to leave without me but the gate that we were leaving from had no seating  and just a queue so we did break that rule and queue to get on. It took us about 40 minutes to get on the plane. The flight took off late but we didn’t mind because it was still ridiculous o’clock and we had plenty of time. Also feel the need to point out that travelling since my bypass is a lot less strenuous than before but the little thing that meant the most to me was on this flight I could close the belt with ease and had to for the first time in my life pull it tighter! But back to the story.

img_0578

When we landed we headed straight for the bus. This is where I made our first mistake. We knew we had to get the airlink into the city centre but when we got there the ticket office was closed and there was a sign to say if you had tickets join this queue if you didn’t please purchase them from the ticket office. We walked back towards the terminal so I could ask somebody when we spotted there was another bus stop that said it went to where we needed to go so we got on that. The bus went around every single industrial estate and every housing estate and we literally spent longer on that bus to get to the National Museum of Scotland than we did on the plane to get there from Ireland! We alter found out that you can in fact pay in cash on the Airlink bus but oh well you live and learn.

The National Museum of Scotland was absolutely fantastic. I am going to write another long post of a review but seriously if you ever get the chance to go, do it because you won’t regret it. The building itself is just beautiful and the exhibitions are fantastic. We visited on the day that Major Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake )was being launched for his mission to the ISS so there were a lot of cool things going on for that including where you could put on a space suit and be green screened into your very own rocket launch as well as an indoor pop up planetarium. There were various arts and crafts stations as well. I have to say the staff at the museum were so friendly and helpful and I would strongly recommend a visit. After that we went up to the roof and took the obligatory picture of Edinburgh Castle.

img_0661

The time we spent in the museum completely flew in and soon it was time to go and meet Elaine at the Scott monument. It was a short walk and the Christmas market was already buzzing with people. After hugs and I’m so glad you’re here exhanges we headed into the Christmas market to start being jingly little elves. The smell of all the foods in the market was mouth watering. Chocolate fountains, fresh baked cookies, Donughts, hot dogs I could keep going because it was amazing. But we decided to get ice skating out of the way first.

The prices stated that it was £12.50 per adult with concessions available. Seen as Elaine and myself are poor students and K is under 16 I was hoping we would fall under the concession umbrella. I was very pleasantly surprised when I asked for two students and one child and was told the grand total was £15! Yay poor students! Now to this ice skating thing. I SUCK at ice skating. I fall and am just generally a mess but I am proud to say this time I didn’t fall at all. I tripped on more than one occasion but I managed to stay on my feet for the whole time. K and Elaine were pros at it even racing each other in a speed lap of the rink. I generally clung to the wall for the first part but eventually I was skating along without holding on due to encouragement from K and Elaine (but I was still close enough that I could grab it if I needed to because I’m a wuss). Michael Buble was playing over the loud speakers and it was very festive altogether.

img_0752img_0672img_0670img_0671

After we were finished we decided to go look around the market. Elaine had a real fear that she might buy the first food that she seen because they all looked and smelled so good so we said we would have to look around all the stalls and then decide what we wanted. There were stalls selling everything from hand carved decorations, Christmas cookies, bow ties, fake snow, dolls, chocolates, jewellery just general market stall affair. Most of it was quite expensive which is to be expected. I didn’t get many pictures because I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere lol It was then we came across the best smelling stall that has ever existed. I am not even exaggerating when we all smelled it we knew that was where we were getting our treat from. They made fresh doughnuts and  cakes with melted nutella and powdered sugar. We all got them and it was like heaven in my mouth. Even thinking about it makes me long for another one.

img_0753

Here are the best doughnuts in the world!img_0754

After the amazing doughnuts we decided we wanted to go and try the Christmas Tree Maze. It was £3 per person and I have to say it was great fun. You were given a card and had to find 5 stations in the maze to stamp the letters, once you had them you made a Christmas word and got a prize from the elf hut. Once Elaine and K found out there was a prize they were all like “game on bitches!” and went into stealth mode. I on the other hand was too enraptured by all the twinkling lights and smell of Christmas tree to be competitive. One of the funniest things of the day was when I’d look around a corner and see them running around trying to find the letters (screw Christmas spirit I’m gonna win lol). Eventually we all got our prizes (surprise surprise) and we went to have a look on Princes Street in the shops.

img_0755

img_0705

At this stage the tiredness was setting in and K’s feet were sore from all the walking so we went to a local place called The Boozy Cow for dinner. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is worth a visit. It had great reviews and Elaine was in the mood for a burger as she is so busy with college she and I quote “doesn’t have time to cook meat”. We were seated by a really friendly waitress who explained the reason we had a roll of kitchen roll on our table is because they serve their food somewhat unconventionally and we would be needing it because it gets messy. They don’t use cutlery and serve the meals on metal trays one between two. We all ordered burgers (I ordered a gluten free one) and we shared sides of regular chips, sweet potato chips and onion rings. The drinks were served in tin can glasses too. img_0719img_0723img_0722

img_0725

The food was nice. The burgers were about a 7/10 but he sweet potato chips and onion rings were some of the best things I have ever tasted. Because I had ordered a gluten free burger we all got individual trays instead of the normal way of serving (which I was kinda bummed about. I am not allergic to gluten but I find that gluten free options when available sit better in my stomach). The burgers were huge and required a lot of maneuvering to get into our mouths. I would rate the experience overall of an 8/10 but the service from the staff was a 10/10. Altogether for the three of us it came to £38 which was reasonable.

We then went to get on the Ferris Wheel at the Christmas market. K had never been on one so it was top of her list to do while we were there. Once again we got concession tickets (students strike again!) and it cost £6 each instead of £9. We waited until last because we wanted to go up while it was dark so we could see the lights. It was really magical. The voice over told you stories about the local area and you got quite a good amount of time on it. K was happy and gave it two thumbs up.

img_0733img_0742img_0757img_0758img_0747img_0740

After that it was straight to the airport (on the right bus that only took 30 minutes!) and we flew through security. We were cutting it close with time as the ferris wheel had taken longer than expected but once we got to the airport there was literally only one person in front of us at security. There were more staff than passengers. We headed straight for our gate and were on board in no time. I fell asleep before the plane had even taken off and once we landed we dropped K home and I collapsed into bed ready to sleep for a week. It was a whirlwind day but it was so much fun. It’s definitely the start of a new tradition the #cousinsdayout maybe we’ll do London or Paris next year and invite more cousins.

Well that’s all for now.

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Family · Just Me · Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

I love cheap flights…

stevenoates2

A couple of weeks ago on one of my search skyscanner for flights and see where we can go binges I found flights to Edinburgh for €20 and you can’t say no to that really. It is flying with Ryanair but for that price I’ll take it (and hopefully won’t regret that sentence) So tomorrow myself and Miss K are off to Edinburgh on a day trip to visit Elaine.

As we’re only going for the day I’m only bringing a backpack (empty in case we shop), wallet, phone, passport and change of socks (just in case). I’m hoping to pick up a few trinkets and get a picture of somebody in a kilt just for the cliche.

I love Edinburgh and have been there a good few times. The scenery and architecture are amazing. The accents not bad either lol. Once we get there there are a few things I want to do. I want to visit the National Museum of Scotland and see a few of the exhibitions. I have seen the castle as we preformed for a month on the Edinburgh Military Tattoo one summer so I will be giving that a miss, most we will do is get a picture outside. I want to try out a hot chocolate float at Mary’s Milk Bar. I have a list of restaurants (like Oink) I want to eat at while we are there (I may even try haggis it can’t be that bad right?). I can’t wait to see the Royal Mile all lit up and visit the Christmas market. We are planning on going ice skating and just being general jingling little elves.

Just a short post today. So I’ll put a trip report up on Wednesday.

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Just Me · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Want v Need revisited…

vNvf6Cg

Christmas is a time that brings out all the wants of people rather than the needs. That’s part of the magic of Christmas, getting gifts that you want from people that love you. It is a time that people can get caught up in giving big gifts that focus on anything the recipient could ever want. So when it came to people asking what I wanted for Christmas I had a long list of things I would like: Ronda Rousey’s Book, Yankee Candle Wax Melts, Amy Poehler’s book, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 36 Piece Johanna Basford Set, new iPhone 6s, Justin Bieber tickets (don’t judge me, his new album is fantastic. I may even turn into a bieleber). The list goes on and on and on. But realistically these are not things I need. Yes they would be nice to have but honestly I can live without them.

Going back to college has left me in a position where I don’t have a lot of extra cash that I had grown accustomed to (seriously I did not factor in how much money I waste don crap). This has made me focus on where exactly my money is going and prioritise my spending. Since no spend month I have been more focused but I think January is going to be a no spend month to get me back in gear. But I digress,  so this made me think about what progress I have made on the need v want argument.

I have stopped spending money online on things I “need”. Honestly a thing that helped me with this was changing all of my passwords for online stores, because I have a terrible memory I couldn’t remember my passwords. I also implemented a wait and buy system which has completely curbed my impulse buying. This is not really where I have noticed the most difference. Since I have started focusing on what I need rather than want I am less inclined to spend money (sometimes a starbucks is a must have treat though).

For me things that fall under the need category include:

  • Food.
  • Shelter.
  • Clothing.
  • Water (drinking and hygiene)
  • Access to healthcare.

Anything else is really a want. Yes they are fantastic things that make me happy and life a little brighter but I don’t need them (I will however state here that I am going to still buy nice things as treats, just maybe not as often) As long as I have the things above I am blessed more than millions of other people. I’m thinking of using grateful as my one little word for 2016 so this is the starting point if I choose to use it.

If I was to realistically ask for what I needed right now it would be: a new screen for my iPhone (its completely smashed), socks (I’m officially at the stage where socks are a gift I would appreciate, I’m so old), A dentist appointment to have a wisdom tooth removed (why is dental so expensive) and last but not least an electric toothbrush (dentist recommended to try and keep the teeth I still have firmly implanted in my head but that’s a story for another day).

So what are your wants? how do they compare to your needs?

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.

Just Me · Uncategorized

It’s December!

tumblr_mc9renKUTF1rhucoqo1_500

So as Christmas is my favourite time of year and it is officially December I’m going to be like a happy elf for the next few weeks. Seriously if you stand still long enough I may cover you in a string of fairy lights. Last night we put up the tree in the Scout den and decorated mini Christmas trees and honestly I am considering decorating my desk in work cause I sit at the same one every night (but I feel that may be frowned up as I’m not the only one that uses it) I seriously want to cover everything in lights and snowflakes. So without further ado here is what I am looking forward to doing this Christmas season.

  • Going into town and getting a Butlers Hot Chocolate.
  • Driving around to see the lights.
  • Friends Christmas dinner on the 23rd December.
  • Watching Elf.
  • Getting Christmas cards in the actual post, like old school snail mail.
  • Playing board games with family.
  • Sleepover under the Christmas tree.
  • Christmas carol service at church.
  • Lights, lights and more lights.
  • Candy Canes.
  • Ice Skating.
  • Christmas Ham with parsley sauce.
  • Watching Charlie and the chocolate factory after dinner and falling asleep on the couch.
  • Singing Christmas carols at the Christmas Day Dinner event in the RDS.
  • The feeling when you walk through town and everything just seems more magical
  • Day trio to Edinburgh with Elaine and Katie.

69466705c8e9e5b855ab930477efce04

Well that all from the top of my head. Going to try blog a lot more I’ve been slacking. So what are your favourite things about the run up to Christmas?

bible-christmas-quotes-8euq2t8x

Until next time, let your gypsy soul wander.