Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Ten Thursdays - Motivation

This weeks top ten is something that I lack on a regular occasion - motivation! I regularly have days where I'd quite like to stay under the duvet with my beloved and leave the world outside to carry on without us, but as a grown up I'm not really meant to do that so have to find the motivation to do things.

1. My beloved - no surprise that Ken is the number one thing that motivates me to do anything. He is my reason for being and he encourages me with all my slightly crazy schemes.

2. Music - sometimes the best thing to do when feeling unmotivated is to put on some loud music and sing at the top of your voice. One of my favourites to do this to is a song that came out in 1992 - What's Up, 4 Non Blondes.

3. Treat yourself - being motivated in life isn't all about making plans and sticking to them with no wriggle room. Make sure you treat yourself occasionally in order to keep doing what you want to do. The treat could be getting your nails done, or going for coffee and cake with a good friend.

4. My Soulmate - (okay, I may be cheating slightly but he definitely deserves more than one mention). Exercise is one of my least favourite things to do and also difficult for various reasons, but Ken encourages and supports me and we often include an exploratory walk in our adventures which helps keep me moving.

5. A Motivational Speech - not from someone else, but from yourself. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a good, rousing self talk to get ourselves moving. Maybe not quite as stirring as this one from Independance Day, but whatever works for you.

6. The sun - I know it's a bit of a cliche, but when the sun is shining it makes everything a bit brighter and improves my motivation greatly. For those that think the sun doesn't shine very much in the Scottish Highlands, you're very much mistaken as the sun shines plenty, it just doesn't have much heat behind it.

7. Equality - I don't think that this needs an explanation, but equality is something I believe in and that keeps me motivated to sign petitions, write to politicians, and stand up for this fundamental right of human beings.

8. Animals - they motivate me to be a better human being. How anyone can cause harm to an animal is beyond me and I would love it if the laws on animal cruelty were a lot harsher.

9. Love - I think that the desire to be loved and to give love motivate the majority of us at some point in our lives. I'm very lucky to have a wonderful love in my life (you knew it would get soppy at some point so you can stop rolling your eyes now) that makes everyday special and often motivates me to ask myself how I got so lucky.

10. Ken - enough said but he is my constant motivation everyday of my life.

That's it, my list of ten things that can motivate me when I really need it. Before you go why don't you pop over to Tamara's blog, Confessions of a part-time working mom and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with - click HERE to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do whatever you need to do to stay motivated this week.

Pamela & Ken

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Old books, Cake, and animal selfies

Today started out quite mundane in that I had an appointment at the hairdressers - it's a wonder I don't come out with a very strange haircut as I always fall asleep when I'm getting my hair cut and blow dryed. Hayley. my hairdresser, has to wake me up regularly so that she can make sure that everything is even. It must be something about this salon as it's never happened to me before.

After the haircut it was off to Nourish, the vegetarian cafe for coffee and cake - well, it would have been rude not to have some. I love how they use mismatched retro crockery.

We then went to Leakey's secondhand bookshop to explore. Leakey's is in an old Gaelic Church and has over 100,000 books, so the temptation is just to stay there all day. It's like something out of a bygone era and even has an open fire in the middle of the building - slightly strange thing to have in a place that is full of ready kindling.

I love how there are books stacked everywhere - I'd love to have a library like this in my home. Walls of books and piles of books for all the ones that I'm waiting to read. Of course there would be cats in amongst all the books (yes, I know I'm very close to being a crazy cat lady).

Look what I found in one of the alcoves - some fellow Australians a little way from home.

I love when you open an old book and find an inscription written from the giver to the receiver. This one was in a copy of Little Men by Louisa May Alcott - I hope Betty loved this book as much as I did when I read it as a young girl.

Upstairs I found these bound copies of the magazine Punch - most of which were published in the late 1800's. Punch was a satirical and humorous magazine published in Britain from 1841 until 2002.

There are literally books and documents everywhere you look..

Upstairs there are also a few chairs and couches dotted throughout the stacks so that you can sit and read for a while. You can see the beautiful church window in the background.

A couple more inscriptions that I liked - the first on in this book that is over a 110 years old.

Obviously very creative people as I love how they've made their initials look so pretty, and it makes me wonder what their life was like in 1906, and who they were.

The next inscription was in this book of poetry about children, so I wonder if Margaret was still a young child, or maybe she was pregnent with her first child and her mother decided to give her this book in honour of that occasion.

Here's a few more shots showing you around the building - did I mention that it's the largest secondhand bookshop in Scotland.

Gorgeous man lurking amongst the books.

This is looking into part of the building where they keep books that are yet to go out for sale - I'd love to be let loose in there for a few days.

In the time that we had I didn't find any cat books that I don't already have (remember, crazy cat lady in training) but Ken found this book and of course I had to get it. It's all about the carvings on medieval churches that have a sexual meaning or implication - very interesting. It will go well with another book we already had, called landscapes of desire.

So that was our time spent in Leakey's - I would definitely recommend you visit if you're ever in the area, even if you're not a bibliophile, as it's a fascinating building.

To finish of I thought I'd share with you mine and Ken's attempts at selfies with the brats - Bramble Jelly looks happier than Cookie Cat to be in a photograph.

That's it for today, until next time, be good, stay safe, and spend time with a favourite book that you've maybe not looked at for a while.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: I had to share this next photo, it's one of Ken's attempts at a selfie and I think it's adorable (I know, I may be a little biased).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Top Ten Thursdays - Valentines Day

This weeks top ten is all about Valentines Day - that day of the year that you either love, hate, or think is ridiculous. I've done one previous post about Valentines Day, in 2014 which I've included the history of the day - click HERE to visit.

I remember that feeling when I was young and single and wishing that someone would send me a valentines card - the only ones I got were from girlfriends (see how I'm going for the heartstrings before we even get started).

My top ten is a mixture of good and bad things about this romantic day.

1. I really hate the pressure that the media puts on people - if you believed the ads then valentines always goes perfectly and men give women hundreds of red roses, champagne, perfect chocolates, and jewellery.

This is the first valentines flowers that Ken ever gave me - no roses and yet to me they were the most beautiful flowers ever.

2. I love that my beloved, despite me always telling him not to spend money on me, buys me a bunch of gorgeous flowers - usually with gerberas which I had in my wedding bouquet. This is my lovely bouquet from this valentines day.

3. I really don't like how lots of restaurants, especially in London, put their prices up on valentines day and therefore make it even harder for the normal person not to stress about money when all they should be thinking about is love.

4. I love how some years we totally don't get our act together and often end up eating at home as most restaurants are booked up for ages. This year my beloved was particularly organised and booked us a table at the Bandstand and we had a scrummy meal of monkfish followed by wonderful sticky toffee pudding.

5. I hate how valentine's things arrive in the shops within days of Christmas being over - that's way too early. As it gets closer to valentines day I actually do like the way that the shops decorate for valentine's day, especially the little local shops.

6. I love the chance to get my beloved a really special card to celebrate our love (we do buy each other cards throughout the year for no particular reason, but I like making this day special). I also love how my beloved often writes extra little bits in the cards - he really is my funny valentine.

My card to Ken
Ken's card to me

7. I really don't like how some people use buying flowers on valentine's day as an excuse not to buy flowers for their partner at any other time in the year. Though we were quite amused when we called into the supermarket at 10pm on valentine's day and there were frantic looking men buying the remaining flowers and chocolates - Ken thought some of them may have been sent out to get something before they were allowed back into a shared bedroom.

8. I love that my beloved always gets me something special (special doesn't mean expensive) and this year he gave me a lovely purple enameled heart shaped trinket box - I love it and it is sitting on my bedside table with semiprecious stones in it.

9. I love that I get to spend everyday of the year with the man who is my forever valentine (come on, surely you knew that I'd get soppier as the post went on).

10. I love the concept of valentine's day - celebrating love and making sure that the most important person in the world to you really understands that. (Brace yourself, extra soppy statement coming up) that person to me is my Kenneth, my beloved, and my best friend.

So there you have it, my top ten for valentine's day. Before you go, why don't you pop over to Tamara's blog, Confessions of a part-time working mom, to see what my fellow bloggers have come up = click HERE to visit. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope you have a great day.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final photo is my sad photo of the day - two lovely soft toys that had been left on the shelf at the end of valentines day, with no home to go to. I was very tempted and did pick up the white dog and give him a very big hug (just for a moment, you'd forgotten how strange I am, hadn't you).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

From Sunny Nairn to Snowy Braemar

Today we didn't have a plan on where we were going but as usual it ended up being a really wonderful magical mystery tour which included sexy stripy socks (in case you're wondering, mine are the pink ones).

We started with a walk along Nairn beach as it was such a lovely, sunny morning - below zero in temperature, but still gorgeous. Bramble had great fun saying hello to lots of people and other dogs. There was also a big gang of geese floating around on the water, having a nice chat and putting the world to rights.

It was such a lovely day that the Fisher Wife even looked like she was smiling - she has a weathered but beautiful face.

One of the phrases I often say to other people is that they should be kind to themselves - well this day was about being kind to ourselves, firstly by spending the day together, and secondly by having a breakfast of coffee and French toast at the Sundancer Cafe

(As a total aside, I've just realised that I'm very old - we're watching the Baftas and for the third time I've just said, "that woman's missing half her dress")

Anyway, back to our day of fun. We decided that we wanted to find some snow, so headed for the Cairngorms where there was plenty of the white stuff. This is the view as we headed for one of the ski resorts.

We arrived at Lecht 2090 and there were plenty of people indulging in various snow sports. It's called Lecht 2090 because it's 2090 feet (645m) above sea level.

We went into the cafe for a warm drink and to look out at the people enjoying the snow.

This is the window in the toilet looking out at one of the carparks - apparently it was the same in the men's toilet which makes you wonder how many men actually use the urinals and give a show to anyone looking in (my reserved husband used a cubicle).

All the different lanes were for different ways of getting down the hill, from skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and of course the beginners slope which was so cute to watch. There were children that looked to be as young as four skiing down a little hill.

Ken took Bramble Jelly for a walk and of course she tried to eat lots of the snow. There were quite a few dogs around the slopes, some even trying to get onto sleds with their owners/slaves.

We haven't tried a family selfie for a while and I think this attempt has come out okay. Bramble looks like she'd rather be anywhere but there, so we'll have to help her practice her selfie face.

This high up it almost feels like you're on top of the world, with the tops of mountains lurking in the clouds all around us. Lots and lots of snow across the land.

Our next stop was Braemar, which is not far from Balmoral Castle and is famous for the Braemar Gathering (highlands games) which swells the population by over 15,000 in September each year.

We discovered these funky knitted creatures in the doorway of one of the cafes and later found out that they are the work of the Deeside Knitwits who do knitted installations around the town to raise money for local charities. During their craft week last year they had various sea creatures all over the town, but especially on the bridge.

Loved this sign on one of the walls.

This was my placemat at the cafe we had an early dinner at - lots of traditional Scottish words.

Another knitwit creation - the cafe had lots of knitted creatures adorning it as well.

Funny sign in the butchers window.

Some more snow shots taken on our way home - we did get more snow and there were a couple of 'moments' when the road was a little dodgy, but with my beloved at the wheel we made it home in one piece.

 When we got home we turned the heating on, put our warm slippers on, Ken lit some candles, and sat down to relax. The end of a fabulous day of being kind to ourselves and enjoying the wonder of being married to our best friend.

That's it for today, until next time, be good, stay safe, and take time this week to appreciate all the good and wonderful things you have in your life.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final shot is of Cookie Cat and Bramble Jelly on each of our knees and actually tolerating being this close to each other without any shenanigans going on.