Three Things Thursday


I thought it would be good to join in with Salma on Three Things Thursday again this week! So here are three things that I have been thinking about this week. You can join in with Three Things Thursday too, find out more on Salma’s blog The Write Balance.

1. Spring Cleaning. On last week’s Three Things Thursday, I blogged about how I love the changing seasons and how beautiful spring is. With that in mind I was in full spring clean mode at the Cottage in the Shire this weekend. The front door, back door and windows are now sparkling clean and really lifted the front of the house. However, spring also brought some little horrors into our house – ants! Nightmare! So I also spent a lot of time trying to find where they were coming from and trying to discourage them from the house. This meant I didn’t get to do another batch of healthy baking but the house is sparkling and ant free for now…  Continue reading

The Date Jar

Make your own date jar with Notes From The Shire

I mentioned a while back that my husband and I have a date jar that we use to help us pick what we want to do for date night, we also usual it to squirrel away spare change so that we always have cash for a good date! When we got married we decided it would still be really important to keep “dating” (each other obviously!) so that we made time for each other and kept trying new things together and so the date jar was born. I must say at this point that I didn’t even make the jar, I had mentioned the idea to one of my bridesmaids and she made it for me as a gift for my hen/bachelorette do, so it is extra special.

A couple of weekends ago the date jar threw out rock climbing so off we went to our local centre together but I thought I would share a few more ideas from it in case you are inspired to make your own. I have split this post in two as it was getting a bit wordy! So this is part one, I will add a link for part two at a later date. Continue reading

Three Things Thursday

I’m joining in with Salma from the Write Balance with Three Things Thursday this week and sharing three things I have been doing/thinking about this week.

1. Spring is in the air.

I love when the seasons change. I wouldn’t say that I had a favourite season, I love aspects of all of them, but I do love when the days lengthen and the smell of spring is in the air. I also really enjoy seeing the spring flowers coming up. When I lived in Edinburgh for years I looked forward to seeing the cherry blossom appear on the avenues and the crocuses appear on the Meadows walks, gorgeous. These days, arriving home and seeing our crocuses blossoming in the pots by our front door really makes me smile.  Lovely.

Spring collage with writing

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My top places to travel!

Top places to travel #travel #bucketlist

I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling in my late teens and twenties, I’d always been lucky in terms of family holidays too, we explored a lot of Europe and parts of the States and Canada too but from 18 I did a lot of travelling with friends in my gap year and university holidays. On my gap year I traveled around Australia and New Zealand with two of my best friends (who were two of my bridesmaids) and during summer breaks from uni I: inter-railed around Eastern Europe, went back to NZ, traveled around the Middle East (fascinating), explored Cuba (amazing) and later, between jobs, with my other best friend (and third bridesmaid!) traveled around South East Asia. So really I have ticked a lot off my “to travel list”! However there remains a lot to do and see in our amazing world.

I have been quite strategic with my travels, I picked places that were possible to travel on a shoe-string, leaving the more expensive places on my wish list until I had more money/an established career. I also left places that wouldn’t require the same time commitment to later years because jetting off for a month plus is obviously not going to cut it with most employers!

So here are my top places to travel, these pretty much remain in flux and also don’t necessarily tally with my husband’s top choices and as he hasn’t been as lucky with his travel experiences it will be fair for his to take precedent!   Continue reading

Healthy Snacks

Healthy baking pintested by Notes From The Shire I mentioned in my post, weekend in the Shire that I had tried out some recipes for healthy snacks that I had found on Pinterest. The results were…mixed but I thought I would share them with you here! The recipes were also from the States so I have translated the measures in case you wish to give them a go yourself.  I will link to the original recipes too or you can find them on my “Healthy Food to Make” Pinterest board. As you may know if you have read my ultimate bikini body by 30 post, I am on a bit of a fitness kick up and have, therefore, been scouring Pinterest for recipe ideas for that moment in every day where you really want something sweet, comforting and yummy but at the same time don’t want to load up on sugar or carbs.  Last weekend I tried Coconut Pecan Bars by Momma Young at Home and these have been fab, they are also Paleo friendly if you follow the Paleo diet. I love coconut anyway, which helps, but you also get a lovely hit of banana coming through them and they have the right amount of gooeyness so that they feel like a treat. There’s no added sugar either so a pretty virtuous snack! The recipe with UK measure conversions is below (follow link above for original):  Continue reading

Weekend in the Shire (Part 2 DIY DAY)

If Saturday was date day then Sunday was DIY day. One of the very first things we had to do in our cottage was replace our boiler. We moved in 30 days before our wedding and 3 days before the wedding our boiler was condemned, as in don’t even think about turning it on you’re lucky it’s not blown up condemned. Ah. Not so convenient. So the day before the wedding (with my stress level already at DefCon 2) we had to meet Scottish Gas at the house and then agree to spend a LOT of money replacing our boiler and getting the installation organised whilst we were away on honeymoon – if any of you have planned a wedding then you know that doing this the day before is not ideal and if any of you are as Type A as me then you’ll know that I was not keen on this kind of work taking place whilst I wasn’t there!

However the whole point of this story was that when the boiler was replaced it was also re-sited which left us with a boiler shaped, very unattractive, patch on our wall, given that we live in a tiny cottage with limited space we thought we would take this opportunity to put a matching cupboard in this space. We thought (wrongly it turned out) that the cupboard was from IKEA so off we went to Glasgow and braved the hell that can be IKEA on a weekend. Luckily, the store was not too busy and we managed to get (almost) everything we went for: frames for my stairs photo project, candles, bags for logs, basket for kindling but… no cupboard, turns out it was from B&Q – which we picked up from our local store on the way home. Along with all the bits and pieces that we picked up we made a list of all the things we need to/want to do to the cottage and which I will share with you as it progresses and here is the list:   Continue reading

Weekend in the Shire (Part 1) The couple that sweats together, stays together

Unorthodox date outfit, climbing date.

It was a busy weekend at our cottage in the Shire. On Friday we celebrated our six-month-a-versary! 6 months has absolutely flown in and we are really enjoying being newly-weds and getting our home together sorted out. We had a cosy evening at home, in front of the fire with a bottle of fizz(y apple juice – even anniversaries don’t break the alcohol free health kick). We also had a visitor for the weekend, my dog Gus – probably the only Jack Russell in the world with a weekend home! He lives with my parents (and his brother Archie) all week and visits us at weekends.  Continue reading

Ultimate Bikini Body before 30!

Bikini body poster

Thirty is looming large for me next year (May 2016) and it just seems like a “big one”. I don’t know why that number is such a big deal but it’s probably because you’re supposed to be really grown up by 30 and career and family start taking up more of your “me” time. Therefore like many people I have a list of things that I want to accomplish before 30 and the one I am telling you about today is my fitness challenge to myself – my ultimate bikini body.  Continue reading

Being the Hostess with the Mostess – 10 tips for hosting without going insane

Hostess with the mostess - ten tips for hosting without going insane -


I love being the hostess, when Monica from Friends worked for 24 hours to get everyone to hang out in her apartment I totally got that! However feeling the love for your guests who are arriving imminently and working full time don’t necessarily go hand in hand so here is my guide to hosting a get-together without turning into a ball of stress, shouting at your spouse, burning the food and creating an atmosphere that will make your guests want to run for the hills.

1.Timing is everything

If you have invited people to come around on a weekend for brunch then you may just need to forgo your weekend sleep in! Work out a plan of what you want to achieve for your guests and then work out your timing. If I have guests coming around on a weekend for 11am, the latest I want to start prepping is 0930. I also prioritise the things I want to do so that if I don’t get the last two things on my list done then I’m not upset, which leads me to….  Continue reading