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Friday, 26 August 2016

Books That Leave You Thinking

Books have always been my 'thing'. I can't remember when I learnt to read but I know that since then I've always had a book on the go. I try not to be a 'book snob' and will try something from every genre at least once. Sometimes if I'm feeling down or busy or stressed then I want nothing more than to get absorbed into a cheesy, young adult romance novel. But I also truely believe that the best books are the ones that leave you thinking. The ones that you close and can't stop thinking about. The books that make you question why things are the way they are and what you can do to change that. It's the books that really stay with me that effect me the most and remind me why I'm such a fanatic reader, why I crave the few minutes every day where I can get sucked into a different world. If you're looking for a book that's going to change the way you see the world then these five books are my recommendations. 

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger - I've read this book so many times and it impresses me every single time. One of my favourite things about this book is that my opinion of the central character, Holden, changes so much depending on the mood I'm in when I'm reading it. There have been times where I've loved him and times where I've hated him. The book is about a young adult who drops out of private school to face his problems. Sometimes I empathise with him and sometimes I find him really frustrating. But he has such a unique narrative style that I find I subconsciously copy his 'voice' for a few days after reading it. You phoney.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Mimi's Bakehouse, Edinburgh

With three locations and an online store Mimi's Bakehouse is taking Edinburgh by storm. They've been on my radar for a while and I had been intending on trying out their afternoon tea but I ended up making a spontaneous trip there with Charlotte, Lis and my flatmate, Rebecca, when Lis and Charlotte were in town for the cat cafe. We got the bus down to Leith where the original bakehouse is. It was late afternoon on a Saturday and we did have to queue for a table but the queue moved quickly. Seeing how busy it was was a fairly good indication of what was yet to come and we got to have a peek at their cute decorations before sitting down. 

 Mimi's has a really cute, quirky decor sense. With lots of bunting, artwork and decorations. They also have a selection of things for sale in case you want to take anything home with you. It was really busy but there were quite a few groups in for afternoon tea and after they had left the bake house really quietened down. But if you don't want to stop in they do take aways as well. 


Saturday, 20 August 2016

See With Iolla

It's been four years since I started wearing glasses and since then I've become very firm in what I like in a pair of specs. When you wear glasses, all day every day, they almost become like a little part of you so I think it's really important to get a pair that you love. I was invited along to the Iolla showroom in Glasgow to see what they have to offer in terms of glasses. The shop is on Argyle Street in Finnieston. Being in the West End of Glasgow you'd expect it to be quite hip and you wouldn't be wrong!

When we arrived at the store I was really impressed with the decor of the shop. It was really modern with exposed brick etc but still kept lots of little Scottish touches as well. The word 'Iolla' means sight in the Scottish Gaelic language so I guess that's only fitting. The staff as well were really helpful, explaining how their pricing system etc worked and leaving us to try on some glasses for ourselves although they were also happy to help with recommendations. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

10 Cheap Things To Do In Edinburgh

After growing up 20 miles from Edinburgh and having lived in the city for the past few years, I consider myself to be a local. I feel more at home on Edinburgh's cobbled streets than I do on the suburban pavements on my home town. Every August Edinburgh fills itself with guests for the Fringe Festival and it's amazing to see so many different people come together. But Edinburgh attracts tourists all year round and for good reasons: the city has such a rich and exciting history but most attractions in Edinburgh are actually free or very cheap. So after your travel costs a visit to Edinburgh isn't likely to break the bank.

I'm sure that I can convince you that there's so much to do and eat in Edinburgh and that it doesn't have to cost the world. In fact, most of Edinburgh's museum's are free so even if the weather is a bit miserable you can still keep occupied! But what about accommodation? During the Fringe it can be hard to find hotels/hostels with space - and the ones that do will be charging a fortune. Why not try out Homestay? This website allows you to book a room with an Edinburgh local. So you really get to experience what life in the city is like. And as I'll mention - Edinburgh's bus system is really cheap so you could also save money by staying a little further out as it would only cost you £3.20 to get in and out of the city. I've always found that locals are the best people to ask for recommendations about their city - especially for food - so who else better to stay with.

Here are my recommendations, as an Edinburgh local, on 10 cheap things to do in Edinburgh:

1. Climb up Calton Hill for an iconic view of the city.
Cost: FREE.
People will argue whether Calton Hill or Athur's Seat has the best view of Edinburgh. I'm including both in this post but Calton Hill is my personal favourite. Why? You still feel like you're in the city and you can pick out loads of landmarks. Last summer my friends and I climbed up and had a little cider at the top of the hill as the sun set. It was honestly one of my favourite days and it just made me feel so lucky to be watching the sunset over a beautiful city with amazing friends. The climb is really easily and probably takes about 15 minutes as it's only a little hill. Definitely the one to go for if you have less time in Edinburgh as Arthur's Seat is quite a time commitment.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Isle of Arran 2016

Earlier in the year I visited the Isle of Arran with my family. If you've read my posts about our visit last year then you'll know that it's a special spot for my family. We go there as often as we can and my grandad's ashes are scattered there. Unfortunately for our trip this year the weather wasn't as great so it wasn't as action packed as the 2015 trip. But that doesn't mean that we still didn't have a great time. We went around Easter time so it was nice to be able to get away from the stress of uni and exams for a bit. Obviously I've been meaning to schedule this post for a while I just got distracted by going to Canada...


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Holiday Must Haves

So.... guess who booked another holiday? I know what you're thinking. Yes I have been to Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and the US in the space of the last year. But I'm travelling whilst I'm young ok?! My friend and I will be visiting Denmark and Sweden in September. In a bit of a whirlwind trip we'll be visiting Copenhagen and Malmo in the space of three days. So if anyone has any recommendations on things to do in either city then that would be greatly appreciated! I love packing so I'm glad that I'm going away again so I can think about what to take with me. With each trip I go on I get better and better at packing more efficiently so I'm determined to make this my lightest bag yet. Of course my smaller camera will help with that. But it's gotten me thinking about what I consider to be essential when I'm travelling. If you've seen my post on travelling light then you'll know I only travel with hand luggage for short breaks so it's important to only take what you need. Here are my holiday must haves!

Google Maps download - Ok so I didn't know this until I was in New York but you can download areas on Google Maps and then use the GPS location to see where you are on your map without using internet. This is actually a life saver. My extra tip is to 'save' the locations you want to go to  and this shows a little star over the area on the map. The stars will still appear without internet meaning you can see all the locations. I used this almost like a to do list when I was in New York and removed the stars after I had visited. That meant it was really easy to see what I still wanted to see and where I was in relation to them all. Actual life saver!
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