Birthday Celebrations at Stobo Castle

I had the most lovely birthday weekend ever – thank you so much to everyone for all your kind wishes!

I usually hate celebrating my birthday, I always put waaay too much pressure on my self to do something different and fun and then there’s all the stress of finding the ‘perfect’ outfit… I really hate shopping, it’s my worst nightmare!

Anyway, this year I decided to just invite the girls round for some home-made sangria and prosecco (and lots of it). I love hosting parties and decorating the house, laying out all the crisps and nibbles and decorating the drinks with fruit and fancy umbrellas. I really wish I had taken some pics of them all, they were so cute. Afterwards, we headed down to my local, Angels, for some more prosecco and gin. It was such a fun night!

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Queue the hangover from the fiery depths of satin’s lair…

I woke up on the Sunday to find out that I was being whisked off to the spa of dreams – Stobo Castle. The ultimate hangover cure!

I have been a few times before and can honestly say hands down, it’s my favourite spa that I have ever been to.

Nestled in among the scenic Scottish borders, about an hour and a half from Glasgow, city centre. The luxury spa is set in an old, rustic castle with beautiful architecture and history.

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Once checked in, we headed to the Courtyard Lounge for some much needed lunch and refreshments. We were told that the courtyard had previously been converted from stables, this explains the horse statue at the back of the room.

The courtyard itself, was such a lovely place to chill out, with so many places to sit and relax it would be easy to spend all day there reading a book, drinking coffee or if you’re waiting on a treatment… or two!

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I kept hearing lots of screams and giggles coming from the Ladies court yard toilets. Ha-ha, girls you have to check them out!

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The piazza-style bar and coffee shop hosts a wide selection of hot and cold lunch options and amazing cakes. I opted for the soup and sandwich option along with my favourite green tea – Flora Tea. I always order this, it looks so pretty but it tastes even better and it’s super healthy.

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Lily Fairy‘ – Jasmine: Calming, good for the digestive system and kidneys
Lily: Helps to ease and give restful sleep, good for the liver and eyes

Although we didn’t book in for any treatments it was really nice to wrap up in robes and relax by the pool and enjoy the use of all the facilities. It’s impossible to not feel relaxed here – with a wide range of saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzi’s, 25 metre pool and relaxation room, it’s just spa heaven.

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The relaxation room was definitely a favourite, the room is so tranquil and calming (minus the fellow snoring guests who also felt the same way).

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Our room was a ‘Standard Room’ over-looking the pool area and just across from the new cocktail lounge which offers over 30 different cocktails – Ideal!

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Side Note: If you’re a fellow gin lover, you have to try the ‘Gold Gin 999.9’ – Our waiter recommended it and it’s now my new fav. It’s mixed with juniper, tangerine, violets and a few other ingredients, it smells and tastes incredible! 

The room was really spacious, elegantly decorated with quirky Scottish touches and our bathroom was huge, with a large shower and bath along with a selection of beautiful Molton Brown products. The bed was so comfortable and everything was so clean, zero complaints! (Excuse our messy room).

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The food was also incredible – so good I forgot to get pictures ha-ha! Breakfast had a really lovely selection of hot and cold food. Really fresh pastries, meats & cheeses, overnight oats and berries, as well as an array of hot plates… and great coffee.

Lunch and dinner are both a three course menu. (Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed in the comfort of your robes and slippers whereas, dinner is slightly more formal wear).

Before lunch on Monday afternoon, we wandered down to the beautiful Japanese Water Gardens, located about a five minute walk from the castle entrance.

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Designed to promote a zen-like calm, it is absolutely stunning. With beautiful towering trees and picturesque bridges leading you to the gorgeous water fall, you’ll feel completely calm and relaxed.

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My only criticism (and it’s a small one), was how busy the hotel was – the pool and saunas were exceptionally busy making it a little less relaxing at some points.

Overall I had a fantastic stay and would absolutely recommend the hotel for anyone visiting Scotland.

Note: Not Sponsored 

 

The Liebster Award

I was nominated for this award by the beautiful, Kayleigh, if you haven’t already had a look at her blog – definitely check it out! Kayleigh is just a little ray of positive sunshine and one of the most supportive and encouraging bloggers I have ever came across. Thank you so much for nominating me.

This is the first time my blog has ever been nominated for an award and it was the best surprise EVER to receive on a Friday!

The Rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that gave you the award
  • Answer 11 Questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them that you dig them
  • Give them 11 Questions to answer

Kayleigh’s Questions

1. What’s your favourite season?

Hmm, I think it’s definitely got to be Autumn. I have always loved Fall fashion – beautiful, big winter coats and scarfs, everyone’s starting to get in the Christmas mood and everything looks so picturesque. Plus, all those horrible spiders go into hibernation.

2. Who is your favourite book character?

My favourite book character is from my favourite book, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. Laila, is the second female protagonist, I love her because throughout this book, she represents light and happiness in a truly awful world. She has a healthy skepticism toward authority and a headstrong nature that really inspired me when reading it.

3. What’s your fondest memory?

Every couple of years, me and my family go to Florida and of course, Disneyland so going there as a family will always be my fav.

4. Beach/pool holiday or sightseeing holiday?

I get asked this all the time for some reason and it breaks me every time ha-ha! I can’t choose. I love both.

5. How long have you been blogging?

I think around 2 years maybe? But I didn’t start really putting much effort into my blog until around a year ago now.

6. One thing you love most about yourself?

I would say I’m a good listener, I think it’s such an important quality to have.

7. What are you looking forward to this year?

Ah there’s so many! I’m excited to be progressing my career in marketing and learning new things. I’m excited for my sister coming home from Milan, after studying there for a few months. I’m also looking forward to holiday planning and seeing the sun, it’s been sooo long.

8. If you could be an expert on anything in the world what would it be?

Ooh the pressure to pick something cool and exciting… Hmm, maybe something like Veterinary science and then everyone would bring all their puppers to me ha-ha.

9. What’s your favourite food?

This is another question that will break me… I love all food! Buuut sushi maybe? Or Mexican… No, Tapas?

10. If you could have dinner with one person who would it be?

Robin Williams. Hands down.

11. What’s your favourite item of clothing that you own?

This is a hard one… probably any of my clothes from Zara, I never tire of them.

11 Facts about me

  • I sincerely hate talking about myself, cringing so much writing this
  • Total neat freak
  • I am the pyjama queen, as soon as I’m in the door, there on
  • I watch a Harry Potter at least once a week
  • Obsessed with candles and bubble baths
  • Yogi
  • Vegetarian
  • Total water babe – I love swimming so much
  • I used to be a swim teacher for Rebecca Adlington (sweetest person I’ve ever met)
  • A good 80% of my days are spent watching vlogs
  • I’m such a morning person

My Questions to my nominees

  1. What makes you happiest?
  2. If you could go back 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  3. Who inspires you daily?
  4. What’s your favourite joke?
  5. If gravy no longer existed, what would you have with your steak pie? Tomato sauce or Mayo?
  6. What is your favourite quote?
  7. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone?
  8. What is the nicest thing someone’s ever done for you?
  9. I woke up this morning and thought…
  10. ??? for President
  11. Something you really love about yourself is…

As always, please don’t feel like you have to take part if you don’t wish to, it’s entirely up to you!

My Nominees:

 

 

 

Women in the Gig Economy

With the New Year celebrations now over and 2018 now upon us, we are also preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the qualification of women into parliament and women over 30 getting to vote.

100 years in parliament, getting the vote and we still can’t get equal pay!

In the 21st century, you’d think this would be a thing of the past. But, with the gig economy on the rise and women working in this sector opting for stereotypical roles in the labour market, is the UK taking a step back?

According to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), there are currently 4.85 million self employed people in the U.K and just over one third of that population are women, with 1.1 million of all self-employed working in the gig economy.

The gig economy has proven attractive for many women. Working mothers in particular benefit from the flexible hours and independence that it brings. Between 2008 and 2017, the number of self-employed mothers increased by 79%.

While this way of working seems to be becoming more and more popular, it still poses many of the gendered challenges of the wider labour market. The biggest being woman opting for stereotypical roles such as administrative, domestic and care work – the same type of roles we worked circa 1920. With many arguing that WW1 ‘revolutionised’ the industrial position of women – many would agree that the war did offer women increased opportunities in the paid labour market. During this time (1914-1918) an estimated 2 million women replaced men in employment so women have shown that they are more than capable of doing the same jobs as men. So why are we still opting for the same jobs now that we were told we were ‘supposed’ to do then and being underpaid?

Gig economy is predominantly male

The RSA published a recent study on the gig economy, showing that ‘women are half as likely as men to have tried any form of gig work and that the gig economy is predominantly male. Women seem to be more likely found on asset-based platforms, trading in goods like clothing or toys but are heavily concentrated in segments such as cleaning and care working.

When asked, women were much more specific than men about the type of gig work they would do with a narrower span of consideration; the top services they would be willing to provide were administration, professional or creative in nature with personal services also high up there.

Surprise, surprise… Women earn less as Giggers

Women also do not earn much in the gig economy. Almost 75% of women earn less than the taxable threshold – with as many as 66% of female gig workers stating that they also have other forms of work. Potentially, suggesting that at present, women have a much more casual relationship with the gig economy.

In the creative industries, men command an average day rate of £319 (£15 higher than women) according to research by jobs platform YunoJuno. It found women take higher rates across strategy and client service roles, but men’s rates can be as much as £50 a day higher across other disciplines including creative, design and film.

Part of the problem is women setting their own rates dramatically lower than their male competitors. Lee Kemp, a director and owner of Vermillion Films, said two-thirds of freelancers he encountered who “drastically” under-priced themselves were women. “Immediately you think it’s because they are inexperienced or they’re not very good, but that is not always the case”.

Have we only ourselves to blame?

It’s possible that women may be under-represented because newer platforms tend to offer work that women are typically not drawn to in the wider labour market; an example would be the taxi industry, women are not very well represented in this industry so it’s not a surprise that not many work for Uber. However, given that women are more likely to be in professional, creative or administrative services in the economy as a whole, we would expect platforms aimed at freelancers or ‘crowd workers’ to be attracting more women.

 

New Years Resolutions – 2018

I’ve never really been one for new years resolutions, mainly because I never stick to them and usually by the end of January, forgot what they initially were. But I decided to try setting myself a few this year, mainly for a reference point and to challenge myself a bit.

This all sounded great in theory but when it actually came to writing a few down… I hadn’t a clue!

The obvious and slightly more unrealistic ones came to mind – eat healthier, drink more water, go to the gym, be kinder, get more sleep, be more sociable. YAWN!

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That last one… LOL
I had set myself a goal in 2017 to climb 5 hills and managed to exceed that (Ben Lomand, Ben A’an, The Whangie, Dun Na Cuaiche, The Cobbler, Beinn Dubh and Glen Douglas) so I’ve set myself the same again this year, if anyone can recommend any different ones, please let me know! I’m aiming to see a lot more of Scotland this year – Skye and Harris are top of my list so all recommendations welcome.

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A shockingly early sunrise picture – Glen Luss

I also decided that I spend waayy too much of my time on social media – being in marketing- it’s hard not to but I’ve decided to take myself off all social media for the month of January (besides this post) with the intention of cutting down there after. I’ve taken all the apps off my phone so I’m not tempted to check any notifications or have a nosey. On average, we apparently spend around 2 hours per day on social media, I definitely exceed that haha! I’m hoping to spend my now free time reading more, learning more Italian on ‘DuoLingo’ and going to the gym more. I can sense the eye rolling guys…

Last year, I attempted my first ever open water swim at the Bardowie Loch Swim Festival and came 8th which I was pretty happy with so I’m aiming to do another one this year which will hopefully force me to get back to the gym and swim training.

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I also became OBSESSED with the documentary ‘What the Health’ and have since watched sooo many TED talks on meat and vegetarianism. Don’t worry, I’m not about to give you a headache with a lecture on how bad meat is and tell you how vegan I am. I’m not a huge fan of meat anyway but definitely didn’t think I could live without it so had decided to become vegetarian Monday – Thursday and then allow myself to have meat at the weekend, initially, I couldn’t wait for Friday to come and tuck into the biggest burger I could find but after a few weeks I wasn’t really all that fussed. I had hoped by doing this I would begin to eat a lot more fruit/ veg and all that jazz but I was finding that I was reaching more for the easiest thing I could make because I couldn’t be bothered to meal prep but my goal this year is to start doing that! Watch this space… (Any tips would again be appreciated).

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Animal Friendly

So there ya have it! For someone who never does new years resolutions, I’ve set the bar pretty high!

  • Climb more hills
  • See more of Scotland
  • Cut down on social media
  • Open water swim
  • Cut down on meat/ be more healthy