Emerging from the Darkness

After a long time off the radar I’m really starting to miss writing/typing/engaging in social media (believe it or not).  I do really enjoy sharing the highs and lows, the hits and the misses – despite my dad thinking it’s unashamedly self indulgent.  So many things are going on for me at the moment, and this has always been a great place to check in and digest the big things.  So far since my last post I’ve become engaged, been planning the wedding, taking my yoga practice to the next step, been studying online to enhance my meditation and learn about cognitive behavioural therapy… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  So here I am… Maybe I just need a holiday!

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Free Uni for All!

This is absolutely brilliant.  Free, online university courses for all, at a time that suits you, in subjects that range from astro physics to equine nutrition, sustainability to epigenetic control of gene expression.  Many leading universities across the world have signed up to this program and have supplied their world class professors to lead these online courses.  While you don’t receive any official accreditation  there are opportunities to participate and test yourself.

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I think come January I’m going to go crazy over this!

Scrabble 100!

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SH and I have taken our renewed Scrabble love to the next level.  We have established our very own Scrabble challenge.  First to 100 wins! The loser must provide the winner with a lavish, Scrabble themed party with banners and food and merriment.  This competition could take a while (as in years), or it could all be over in a jiffy.  Watch this space!  Current rankings:

Elise: 3

SH: 1

Let the games begin!

Photo: http://www.bolsboardgames.com/2011/01/scrabble-strategy-and-tips.html

Lucia Lucia!

Last night marked beautiful Lucia celebrations around the world.  Girls decked in white dresses, candles and red ribbons.  Mulled wine, gingerbread and saffron buns.  I’ve always loved it and try to find an evening performance wherever I am (secretly I’m jealous I’m not up there singing with them anymore!).

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The Swedish bars, Sofie’s, Boda, Victoria’s, Joseph Pearce and Hemma provided Edinburgh with Lucia celebrations this year, and these cosy bars are the perfect setting.

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Thanks for the photo Hanna!

5 Things I’m Loving!

1. My Christmas Tree! – The house is looking lovely and festive, with a tree, fairylights, wreath, poinsetta and gold and silver baubles everywhere!

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2. Co-Op Mince Pies – Delish, but unfortunately too cleanly cut to pass as home baked.

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3. The Chocolate Tree, Bruntsfield.  For EVERYTHING chocolate (incidentally, I had a hot, spiced apple juice).  Perfect for Christmas presents, dessert shopping, recipe ideas and a pit stop if you’re in the area.

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4. Online Yoga Classes.  It’s too bloody cold to be traipsing about Edinburgh in leggings looking for a yoga class.  This website means I can roll out of bed straight onto my yoga mat, choose the type of class I’d like to do that day (yoga/pilates/evening etc etc) and stream it on my laptop! Bonus – it’s free.

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5. Fillet Steaks! Ordered for Xmas Day 🙂 🙂 From this amazing family butchers.

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Photos:

http://www.creative62.com/field-notes

http://foodbythornton.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/fillet-steak-on-bed-of-mushrooms-and.html

Winter Wonderland Weekend

I’ve just returned from two nights in the beautiful Dunkeld.  This place now rates very highly on my list of favourite places in the world.  Seclusion, natural beauty, abundant flora and fauna and cosy village life… if I wasn’t so dependent on City luxuries, I’d move here in a second!

Hopping off the two hour bus from Edinburgh, SH and I were greeted by this view:

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Enough snow had settled and the mist was hanging low, so the view over the River Tay, towards Dunkeld, was stunning.  Dragging our inappropriate cases and canvas soaked shoes over the bridge, we arrived at our hotel, the Atholl Arms.  I won’t write a full review of this place but will say it absolutely fit the bill.  Although the restaurant and bar were super quiet they produced first class food.  The room was warm and provided everything we needed (including a bath, my hotel room essential).  The lounge had lovely comfy sofas and warm fires for the essential Scrabble playing evenings:

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After hearty full Scottish breakfast (SH) and smoked haddock and poached egg (me) we felt ready to brave the cold and explore the area.  After a reccomendation, we headed for the Hermitage, not knowing what to expect.  And it turned out to be a real highlight of the trip.  A natural theme park of winding paths through the forest, over waterfalls and alongside the bubbling rivers.  Even more incredible in the snow!

Suitably frozen to the core, weak and weary from your adventures, there is only one thing for it.  A cosy fire lit pub for a glass of wine, a plate of hearty food, live music and another game of Scrabble.

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We certainly ate well during our trip; plenty of locally caught/smoked salmon, game plates of pigeon and venison, hearty root vegetable risottos, classic soup and sandwich combos and afternoon teas to settle that sweet tooth.

All in all, and fantastic couple of nights that flew by too quickly.  We’ll be back Dunkeld!

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It’s Time!

Edinburgh has switched on the lights so it’s official, Christmas is near! My advent calendar is at the ready and the tree is scheduled to arrive in a week (:)!).  Here’s a little mood board to reflect my excitement!

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If I didn’t run the risk of being disowned by my family, I’d be tempted to stray away from the traditional red, gold and silver colour schemes for some more colour.  purples, blues, yellows… maybe I’ll be braver next year!

Have you written your Christmas cards??  This is the first year I’ve bothered; I’m still not sure I see the point but I suppose it’s always nice to receive non bill related post!

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5 Things I’m Loving

1. Apple pie and ice cream for breakfast.  It just feels right. (Shortly to be replaced with minced pie and ice cream).

 

 

2. Reindeer Food from the British Heart Foundation.  Little packets of glitter and magic to serve up on Xmas Eve for the reindeers.  A great idea to pop in Christmas cards for any under 10’s (9’s, 8’s, 7’s??), and supporting a great charity!

 

3. Impending Xmas Celebrations.  This Thursday marks Edinburgh Light Night.  This also marks the moment when I can officially start talking about Xmas.  So close, so close!

 

4. Soup Season. I can’t get enough of soup at the moment.  Love it! Chickpea and Chorizo, tomato and lentil, french onion, broccoli and blue cheese, spicy parsnip, curried cauliflower…

 

5. Him and Her (BBC 3).  Making me feel a little bit better about eating the melted cheese off the hob…

 

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/dessertsandsweets/tp/bestglutenfreepierecipes.htm

http://giuliageranium.blogspot.co.uk/2008_12_01_archive.html

http://www.edinburghspotlight.com/2011/11/edinburghs-christmas-light-night/xmastree-11/

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2628/chorizo-and-chickpea-soup

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/nov/25/peep-show-him-and-her

 

Edinburgh Top 5 – Rainy Days

The weather has been shoddy, but Edinburgh is used to it!  Here’s what I’d do to keep myself busy…

1. Museums and Art Galleries

Free fun at Edinburgh’s AMAZING museums and galleries.  Honestly, they are among the best in the world.  You need days to explore the Scottish National Museum’s historic/geographic/scientific/technology/culture/anthropology floors and the galleries (portrait, national and modern), may just about make me feel a little bit arty.

http://www.edinburgh.org/see-do/free-attractions/museums

2. Arts and Crafts!

I’m not known for my arty crafty side but this is a great idea for rainy days.  Teapot painting in Marchmont or Edinburgh Knit Nights.  I’ve toyed with the idea of joining art classes and such but never been able to commit.  For now I’ll stick to the one off events which invariably include a piece of cake or a glass of wine!

3. Sporty fun

I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but there do exist some sporty activities that toe the line on fun.  From the old favourities, swimming, horse riding and yoga, to some I’m yet to try:

4. Find some music

Although Edinburgh is no Glasgow on the music front, there are some great little spots for a bit of live music.

Try:

Photo: http://lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/jazz-bar-quartet-jazz-bar-edinburgh.html

5. Cosy pub for a pint

Pubs were made for rainy days! Find one with an open fire and a Scrabble board, and you’re set for the day!  My favourities:

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99611356@N00/6481465415/

 

 

Buy Nothing Day

Who’s in!

This is a great idea, not only to try and actually reduce global consumption for 24 hours, but also to try and make us realise how much we consciously and subconsciously consume on any given day.  This Saturday I anticipate I would purchase:

  • Porridge with banana and muscovado
  • A bus ticket
  • The weekend newspaper
  • A chicken caesar wrap
  • An oven pizza
  • A glass of wine after work

Most of it is pretty to give up, but bus ticket, any ideas?