Balloch,Bridesmaids and Brunch.

This weekend my pal Hannah very kindly came up to visit me. She actually only came up to visit in April so I was pleasantly surprised that she was making the journey up again so soon and, I’m not going to lie, I was mega excited to see her come Saturday morning!

Hannah had never been to Loch Lomond before so, as the weather was thankfully dry, I decided to take her up to Balloch on the train and show her Lomond Shores and the beautiful country park. We went for lunch at the Kilted Skirtie at Lomond Shores (I had a rather nice Haggis burger) and then had a wee ice cream from Thorntons – the Honeycomb Caramel Cup is to die for – before heading off on a walk around the village.

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The Loch

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Me and Hannah

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Balloch Pier

For a change, instead of going out for a meal and cocktails or whatever, we decided to stay in on Saturday night and buy some nibbles and just have a really chilled girly film night. I’m glad we did because I had an absolutely lovely evening. It was so nice to just be able to chill with someone and chat about silly things and it was just like when we used to live together at uni. Evenings like that are definitely the thing I miss the most about living with the girls. We also watched Bridesmaids which is one of my favourite films ever and always has me in stitches – if you haven’t seen it yet you really must!

On Sunday morning I decided to take Hannah up to the West End for breakfast. I’d heard really good things about a wee cafe on Dumbarton Road called Tribeca so I thought it was finally time to try it – it was definitely worth the risk. I opted for French Toast with maple syrup and melted butter which was just delicious. The portions were huge as well so, although it’s a little pricey, it was more than worth it. Hannah had a pancake stack with nutella and chopped banana that also just looked brilliant. Safe to say, I’ll definitely try and head down there again soon!

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Breakfast of Kings

To walk off all that food, we headed to Kelvingrove Museum for a wee wander around the exhibitions. I’ve been to Kelvingrove before but I still enjoyed myself and there’s no denying that the building itself is pretty impressive. However, it was soon time to head back into the city centre and get Hannah safely onto her train. As always, I was very sad to say goodbye and wanted more than anything to just hop on that train with her. However, I’m actually in a really good mood at the moment – work’s going well and I’ve had some good day trips with the guys to Xcape and hydrotherapy – plus I’ve just booked tickets to Lancaster ready to celebrate Becky’s graduation. Absolutely buzzing for a BIG night out with the girls, it has been far too long!

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A spontaneous trip in the sun…

Yesterday the sun finally decided to put its hat on and come out to play so, I thought where better to spend a nice sunny afternoon that down at beautiful Loch Lomond. The whole trip was really quite spontaneous. Originally, I’d planned to have a wander round Glasgow, grab some lunch and then spend my afternoon in the cinema. However, as the weather has been pretty awful this past week, I found myself with a sudden urge to get outside and go somewhere a bit different. Literally I walked past Queen Street station and the next thing I knew I’d brought tickets to Balloch – very uncharacteristic!

It was a great decision in the end. My first port of call was Lomond Shores, which is a small retail gateway to the loch. Although I had a wee browse round the shops (my favourite being the department store Jenners, mainly for it’s fantastic food hall!), I was really there for the fantastic view.  Honestly, it was just beautiful.

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Loch Lomond

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Shopping Area

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Balloch Pier

After stopping to admire the view and enjoy the sun on my back (I’d even whipped out my denim jacket it was that warm!) I then toddled off towards Balloch Castle and the country park. The walk up to the castle itself is lovely, as you go past the river and then through a nice wooded area before making the wee climb up to the castle. Unfortunately the castle is not open to the public and while it’s only a tiny wee thing in comparison to other castles, it looked pretty special in the sunshine. The castle itself is also a rather good vantage point for the loch – as you may be able to tell I was getting pretty snap happy by this point in the afternoon!

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Boats on the river

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Into the woods

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The Castle

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Lovely view 🙂 

Unfortunately, it’s apparently meant to rain most of next week so I’m really chuffed I made the decision to make the journey while the weather was good. After the success of this adventure, I’m definitely hoping to make some more spontaneous trips in the near future – who knows where I’ll end up next!

The Lighthouse.

I had the day off on Easter Sunday so, instead of spending all day scoffing my face with chocolate, I thought I’d head on out to The Lighthouse. For those of you that aren’t aware, The Lighthouse is part of The Mackingtosh trail and is Scotland’s national centre for Architecture and Design. The building itself has six different levels and numerous different galleries and exhibitions, including The Mackingtosh Centre (which focuses on the work of Charles Rennie Mackingtosh) and Foundation Glasgow, which is the story of the city from prehistoric times until the present day.

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Entrance to The Lighthouse

 

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One of Glasgow’s most famous exports

Although I enjoyed all the exhibitions (a lot more than I thought I would actually), my favourite part was the viewing platform at the top of The Mackingtosh Tower. Once you climb up the 135 stairs, you’re rewarded with an excellent vantage point of the whole city centre and beyond. Luckily for me, it was clear and dry which made a nice change!

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Spiral Staircase 

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View from the top

Overall, I’d recommend The Lighthouse to anyone looking for a cheap day out in the city (entry is free, although there is a £5 admission charge for Foundation) and an attraction that’s just a little bit different to all the other museums and galleries in Glasgow, due to the heavy focus on Architecture.

 Although I was at work most of the long weekend, my Easter was rounded off nicely with a wee run out to Luss, in Loch Lomond, as part of daycare with work. We had a decent spring day for once, with actual sunshine and everything, so it was good to take the ladies I support somewhere a bit different and we all enjoyed a lovely lunch overlooking the Loch. Work itself is going really well and I’m still massively enjoying my placement which is good.  Unfortunately though, even after seven months of full-time work, my poor body is still not used to all these early mornings!

Family Night, Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond!

As some of you may know, this weekend my parents came up to visit me in sunny Scotland! I was literally so excited to see them after all this time that Friday evening just could not come round quick enough. Friday night was also family night at work, which is basically when all our service users and the staff invite their families to the house so everyone can have a Christmas get-together complete with lots of food and alcohol. It was so good to have my parents up here so they could finally see where I was living and working and meet everyone and just get to know a bit more about life in Glasgow. The event was also a really good opportunity for me to meet the families of our service users and the staff which was interesting! All in all I had a great evening catching up with the ‘rents and with all the guys at work 🙂

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Me, Mum & Brian at Family Night

The next day, after a lot deliberating, we decided to head up to Stirling and visit Stirling Castle. None of us had ever been before and, as it was one of the attractions I wanted to see while in Scotland, it actual made perfect sense for us to visit this weekend (especially as my stepdad had the car to drive us!) The castle itself was massive and it took us all afternoon to look round properly as there was so much interesting stuff to see. All three of us had a brilliant time and, even though it was little misty and overcast, the views from the Castle were pretty spectacular. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the actual city itself but its definitely been added onto my list of places to visit!

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Stirling Castle

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Big Kid!

That evening we headed into Glasgow city centre for dinner and, as Glasgow is the so-called Curry Capital of Britain, we ended up at an Indian on Sauchiehall Street. I haven’t been out for Indian in ages so it made a nice change from all the Haggis and Pasta I normally live on! It was also nice to be treated to a meal out and not have to worry about the cost of anything, so thank you Mum & Brian (they’re avid readers of the blog so I’m sure they’ll see this!)

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My beautiful Mother 🙂

I couldn’t let my mum visit Scotland for the first time without seeing the beautiful Loch Lomond so this morning we headed to the village of Luss which is just lovely. Although I’ve been there before, it was good to finally be able to show my parents one of my favourite places and we were really lucky with the weather as well which was a bonus! For lunch we headed to the Duck Bay Restaurant which overlooks the Loch and was highly recommended to me by several people at work. I opted for a beef burger with chips, coleslaw and Diane sauce – it was such a large portion that even I couldn’t finish it. The food was great though as was the setting (and the company I suppose!) and it was the perfect way to round off the weekend.

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Loch Lomond

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Duck Bay

Overall, I’ve had an absolutely fantastic weekend and I was really gutted that they had to leave so soon. Even though I’m used to being apart from them, for once it was really difficult to say goodbye and I’m not ashamed to say that I actually burst into tears, which was as much a shock for them as it was for me. I think maybe it was because I realised that this year I won’t be spending Christmas at home and it’ll be at least February probably before I can go back to Nottingham and visit. However, I’m so glad they managed to find the time to come up and its nice knowing that they’ve come up here and have seen how well I’m getting on and how much I’m enjoying myself. Fingers crossed they’ll hopefully make it up again at some point in the not too distant future!

A trip to Loch Lomand

Yesterday I decided to go on my first proper adventure outside of Glasgow and headed to Luss, a picturesque village in Loch Lomand. I set off on the train to Balloch which only took about forty minutes (and was an absolute bargain at £3.50 for a return!) From there I met Rosie and she gave me a quick tour of the town, which is on the very edge of Loch Lomand, before catching a bus to Luss.

Luss is tiny and, admittedly, there isn’t actually a lot there but it is simple lovely. The main street has lots of gorgeous cottages and this leads down to the Loch which is just beautiful.

The Loch

We also got to experience part of a traditional Scottish wedding at the village church which was a great experience. There were lots of men in kilts (be still my beating heart!) and a traditional bagpiper at the church entrance and even the vicar got involved and wore some red tartan trousers! That would DEFINITELY never happen in England!

Bagpipes! 

Of course, no afternoon out is complete without some tea and cake. We found a really cute cafe just off the main street which was very traditionally Scottish – the waiters wore kilts (accessorized with converse trainers no less!) and they even had tartan crockery which I now want for the flat!

Scottish blend tea and a cheeky slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake

We then walked off the cake and managed to climb quite a large hill that gave use great views of the Loch – unfortunately we got a little diverted from our planned route so in essence were a little lost but we made it back safely eventually!

All in all I had a great little trip 🙂 Today was also pretty decent as I spent most of it shopping for either food or clothes. There was a vintage clothing fair on at Glasgow SU and I managed to pick up three beautiful shirts for £20 so I was pretty chuffed. One of them was a dark green Barbour checked shirt which is just so baggy and comfy. The other two were cute little floral numbers that will look pretty cool with my new grey skinny jeans. I might even wear one next week for my little trip to Edinburgh!

This week looks like it might be quite good – work shifts seem pretty decent (I don’t start until 3pm tomorrow) and I’m at work with Eujin for three out of five shifts so that should be nice 🙂 Don’t have a lot planned socially until Saturday but,if the last few days are anything to go by, who knows what I’ll end up doing over the next few days!

 

Blazing a one woman tourist trail

In a bid to keep myself occupied I decided to compile a list of all the tourist attractions etc. I want to see and experience while I’m up in Scotland. Although I know money will be really very tight, I think it’s absolute waste to be not only in a city, but in a country such as Scotland and not try to see all the amazing things on my (metaphorical) doorstep. I thought I’d share part of this list on my blog, where I will undoubtedly see it most days, as a useful way of reminding myself to not just spend all my time off shopping or relaxing but to go out there, embrace a bit of culture and do a little bit of travelling around.

 

N.B. Just to clarify, none of these images are mine and were all found either on Wikipedia or through google images.

 

1. The Willow Tearooms

Number one on my list, mainly because I love tea and cake. However, designed by  the famous Glaswegian artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904, it is a great example of his renowned work.

2. Glasgow School of Art

Again, another famous example of Mackintosh’s work. May also meet some beautiful, artistic types on my travels (a girl can dream anyway!)

3. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

The most popular free attraction in Glasgow, need I say anything more!

4. The Barras

Located in the East end, this is basically a giant flea market – perfect for a bargain hunter such as myself!

5. Gig at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut

Not only does this place have a truly excellent name, it has a reputation for being one of the best live music venues in the country – plus I haven’t been to a gig in far too long!

6. Loch Lomand

Beautiful scenery and apparently it only takes about 35 minutes from Glasgow.

7. Loch Ness

The legendary Loch Ness – massively hoping I get a glimpse of the infamous monster!

8. Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Absolutely praying I have the night off work and find time to get over to Edinburgh and celebrate a traditional Scottish Hogmanay on NYE. Possibly one of my favourite cities in the world so I’m particularly excited about the prospect of this one!

9. Traditional Burns Supper

While I’ve celebrated Burns Night before, it’s always just been a simple affair in my local Wetherspoons pub. Hoping this time I can go all out to a traditional event, complete with the addressing of the Haggis.

10. John O’Groats

This is the big one, the most Northerly end of the longest distance between two points on the British Mainland. It is so far up, it would still take me at least 8 hours via train from Glasgow. However, as this is the nearest I’ll probably ever be, I may as well give it a go!

There are many many more places I plan on visiting but I thought I’d just share a tiny bit of the list for now!  Any further suggestions of places to see and be seen would be much appreciated – particularly anywhere a bit quirky and off the traditional tourist trail. Thanks 🙂

Days until the big move:16