Posted by: Vicky | January 14, 2014

New Years resolutions

I didn’t make any resolutions this New Years, other than to never eat another deep fried mars bar, but as that was only an hour or two after I’d eaten my first ever deep fried mars bar, I’m not going to count it.

I’ve decided to make more of an effort to lose weight again this year, so I guess that’s a resolution. It helps that I somehow weigh less after Christmas and New Year than I did at the beginning of December. Woot! :)

My second slightly belated resolution (but it’s only mid-January, so it’s not really late) is to start saving money. I’m rubbish at it, I usually save a bit, then splash out on something. But now I’ve got a budget and a plan! This is the year I learn to save!

I’ve realised that I need a way to distract myself from random shopping. I seem have a bit of an addiction going there… So, my solution is: blog!

Every time I’m tempted to buy something I don’t need, especially online, I’m going to blog! It may or may not be about the item I’m resisting buying, or about anything really. So, there may be a large number of rubbish blog posts heading this way. Or I may just stay true to form and forget to blog for another eight months…

I hate this post, it’s rubbish, but I’m going to post it as it is just to get myself started again…

Just to end on something fun, here’s a picture of me on New Year’s Day, looking extremely happy (*sarcasm*) to be standing in the freezing Firth of Forth (that may be the other way around, I’m always getting it wrong) at the Loony Dook :)

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Posted by: Vicky | May 23, 2013

Baking bad

You know when you start baking a lemon cake and realise part way through that you’ve forgotten a pretty central ingredient, the lemon? That’s what I did tonight.

So I rushed out to get a lemon, all the while trying to work out how I’d turn a lemon semolina cake into a chocolate semolina cake if the Co-op round the corner didn’t sell lemons.

Luckily, my cousin wanted me to get some garlic, too. Because I gave up on finding any lemons and would have left the fresh produce section in defeat if I hadn’t remembered the garlic. And as I was scanning for garlic, something yellow caught my eye…

Yes, I was having a bit of a scatterbrained evening!

Back at home I quickly squeezed the lemon and grated its zest into the cake mixture. It’s a simple recipe, so I was shoving the cake in the oven with a relieved sigh in no time.

Except, turning round, it seemed as if there was a huge arrow pointing at the red juicer (dun-dun-DUN…)

I admit, I swore. Luckily the family was all in the other room ;)

After all that faff, I’d managed to forget to actually PUT THE LEMON IN THE CAKE!!! FFS, Vicky!!!

So now I have a cake that tastes faintly (very faintly) lemony, but mostly just eggy.

Well done, genius!

[Update]

I’ve just tried a piece and it’s DELICIOUS! :-D

Here, have a picture of it:

lemon blueberry cake

Posted by: Vicky | March 25, 2013

I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on…

I should be packing as I'm off to Istanbul on Thursday and have managed to completely overbook the rest of the time between now and then. But right now, I'm trying to calm down after a spectacular bout of self sabotage.

I've just spent 30 minutes frantically searching my bedroom for the £85 worth of Turkish Lira I bought from my cousin a few weeks ago (she visited Istanbul in February).

I vaguely remember thinking 'probably not a good place to keep it for 2 weeks. Ah well, I'm sure it'll be fine.' But I hadn't the foggiest why I thought it was a bad idea. I looked everywhere that could be considered a halfway sensible place to store travel money, and plenty of spots that would have been quite mad.

I finally gave up and slumped on the floor, trying to console myself that it would be worse if I'd lost my passport. Next thing I knew, one of the envelopes on the floor caught my eye. It said 'RELAX… We'll buy back travel money you don't spend commission-free.'

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!!! WHO DOES THAT?!!! THE FLOOR IS NOT WHERE YOU STORE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS OR MONEY!!!

I, moron.

 

Posted by: Vicky | January 27, 2013

Ghost tour camera fail

When you go on a tour in a beautiful city like Edinburgh, it’s a good idea to bring your camera along. Common sense, no? Well I lack that.

I really enjoyed the tour. I’ve now been up Calton Hill in the daytime and at night. I’d say in the dark, except it really wasn’t dark. (Wow, autocorrect just replaced farj with dark. Unusual autocorrect win.) The city lights were reflecting off the clouds and lit the whole thing up almost as bright as a very dark day. Maybe one with a solar eclipse? Never mind.

It wasn’t bright enough for my phone’s camera though, that’s certain. I took three pictures where you can almost make out what they’re of. If you squint. And turn the light off. And I tell you what you’re looking at…

This was a spectacular view from most of the way up Calton Hill. I think the blue smear that is the topmost non black in the centre of the image is Edinburg Castle. That’s the best I can do.

 

At the bottom of Calton Hill we visited the Old Calton Burial Ground. There were a few warnings about any people jumping out at us wearing strange masks were just regular weirdos and nothing to do with the tour company. Apparently some people like to spend their evenings that way (we were lucky enough not to have anyone do that to us). The freakiest warning, in my opinion, was the warning that if we heard moans and groans, it was less likely to be a ghost than a couple of lovers getting their freak on. According to the tour guide, in Scotland graveyards are the second most popular venue for public hanky panky. Of course there was no way I was letting this pass. I like my facts. I couldn’t not ask. The most popular choice are public toilets. *EWWW* I was not alone in feeling that if it were an either-or, do-or-die choice, I’d go for the graveyard. Hands down! ;)

The next picture probably turned out as well as it would have on a proper camera. It’s the back of a tombstone in the Old Calton Burial Ground. Apparently the guy who’s buried there was a very proud man. So one of the explanations for why his soul might have left such a mark on the back of the tombstone was that he was unhappy with the less than adequate tombstone his admirers had made for him when he’d left insufficient funds to have one at all.

 

Spooky ;)

Finally, I really wanted to take a picture of the Political Martyr’s Monument. These men were deported to Australia for campaigning for more people to be allowed to vote. Of course the picture taking was not as successful as I’d hoped.

 

If you look very carefully, you can see the outline of an obelisk. It’s leaning to the left cause I couldn’t see it at all on the screen when I took the picture. I tried about five times, but it was always leaning to one side or the other. Ah well.

I didn’t realise until I went on Wikipedia, but of course I’d seen the monument earlier in the day. And even taken a picture of it :)

 

Afterwards I met up with a few of the people going on the Up Helly Aa trip with me. They seem like nice people and I feel a lot more comfortable about the whole thing already :)

Now I’m just terrified I’m going to oversleep and miss the coach. That would be awful!!!

Posted by: Vicky | January 26, 2013

Confused tourist in Edinburgh

Wow, Edinburgh is soooooo beautiful! Of course, I’ve been really lucky with the weather! Look at what I woke up to this morning:

 

Forgive my poor photography skills, it’s been ages since I’ve really used my camera. But you can see the spectacular blue sky! :)

As I was getting my camera out to take that picture of the castle in the stunning weather, this little fellow came along. He seemed to be convinced that I was about to feed him. I was convinced my camera was going to be so slow that he’d have gone by the time the picture actually too, but no. He just came closer and closer, till I got a tiny bit worried he was going to try to make me feed him ;) There’s no zoom on this picture, I could have reached out and touched him! (Huh, it now occurs to me that he might have been a girl squirrel. Never mind.)

 

Next I tried to climb the 287 steps of the Scott Monument.

 

Due partly to that fact that I’m currently so large that I would only just have fit up the next level of steps on my own, even without trying to pass people going the other way, and partly to my abject fear of heights that had me frozen in fear on the first level, I didn’t make it to the top.

I’ve still got a certificate saying I climbed the 287 steps, they hand that out as you go in. I think they should have a pile of them at the top! You should only get one, if you’ve actually done it! I haven’t filled in my name, but then again, I wouldn’t have kept ithe certificate even if I had made it to the top… ;)

The first platform is just above the arches, where the monument narrows to the central tower. I can tell you, it seems a lot higher when you’re up there! I’m blaming the bad photographs on the fact that I was too terrified to go near the edge and so didn’t really get the angle I wanted ;)

 

After a delicious (as far as I could tell, anyway, the evil cold is still wreaking havoc on my taste buds) lunch of haggis panini, I wandered up and down the Royal Mile for a bit.

 

I haven’t made it to the bottom of the royal mile yet. My plan is to visit Holyrood Palace when I get back from the Shetlands next weekend. I’m considering buying one of these Royal Edinburgh Tickets. I’ve done the sightseeing bus thing in Dublin and enjoyed it in spite of myself. And I’d like to visit the castle and Holyrood Palace, so it seems like quite a good deal :)

I loved the view coming back to Waverly Station. Love this bridge!

 

I want to live here! Such a beautiful city! I don’t suppose anyone would like to offer me a job here? ;)

Now I’m off for dinner, followed by a ghost tour and then meeting some of my trip mates for some pre-tour drinks. Because a hangover will improve the coach journey… :)

—–

PS: Of course I got lost again, I’ve obviously left what sense of direction I usually/sometimes have at home. I couldn’t find the cafe I was looking for at the lovely @Blonde_M‘s recommendation. Will try again next week ;)

Posted by: Vicky | January 25, 2013

Burns Night

I've been struggling with my ipad which seems to be just eating blog posts left right and centre. So this is the third attempt of the day. If it gets swallowed too, I'm giving up!

[Edit: I complained on twitter about blogsy supposedly eating the first post, and got a reply from the blogsy account suggesting I check the local drafts list. Lo and behold, there it is! So now there are two posts today. Ah well…]

I liked the first post, it was all angsty about how I'm a shy, socially awkward odd person, who's off on a trip with complete strangers. Plus I'm constantly travel sick, and I'm driving to the Shetlands on a coach, and an overnight ferry. I've got STACKS of travel sickness pills :)

The second was a description of my Burns Night. Basically, it was lovely and I had a bunch of traditional Scottish food: cock-a-leekie soup; haggis, tatties and neeps; and cranachan for desert.

We were surprised when the main course seemed to be a steaming hot cheesecake:

That's actually a layer of haggis on the bottom, a layer of potatoes (tatties) and a layer of swede (or that's what I was told neeps are. Apparently, swede is called neeps, short for turnips, here in Scotland).

Sadly, due to my killer cold that hit just in time for my holiday, I could hardly taste anything :( That included the four different whiskies I was trying to compare. All I can tell you is that the second one was so strong, I could almost smell it ;)

I wasn't the only one who couldn't taste any whisky in the Cranachan. But then, I think the four whiskies I did have were plenty :)

 

Overall a good evening :)

 

Posted by: Vicky | January 25, 2013

I’m scared but I’m doing it anyway!

Well, I've made it to Edinburgh, which is a good start. Took me a while to find the hotel (even though the front door is visible from where I got off the bus at Waverly station!!!) because for some reason I set off in completely the wrong direction. Idiot! Managed to walk down a nice steep hill before I realised I was going in the wrong direction. I'm looking on the bright side, and logging the slog back up the hill dragging a 20kg suitcase as my exercise for the day. Did I mention it was snowing?

 

I'm having a bit of a lie down to recover ;) Of course now I'm beginning to worry. I knew this trip was going to push me out of my comfort zone, but it's easy to say 'Oh, it'll be fine' when it's months and months away (I booked this trip last February!) and you're 300 miles away. Now that I'm here, it's a lot scarier.

 

I'm shy, socially awkward, bad at meeting new people, and I get extremely travel sick. Tonight, I'm starting with a Burns Night celebration where I've just randomly booked a ticket for a 3 course meal with entertainment and whisky tasting. Oh, crap! There will be strangers galore! Unless it's a complete flop and I'm the only person to have booked a ticket, in which case it will be just as awkward in a whole different way!

 

On Sunday morning I'm joining a group of complete strangers for a 5 day coach trip (I get sick in the car when other people drive. I always get sick on the bus!) to the Shetlands. The leg from Aberdeen to the Shetlands is an overnight ferry trip. Vomit. My boss almost cried with laughter for half an hour when he heard that. Not encouraging!

 

I've been buying every packet of travel sickness pills I could find. I think I might have overdone it a bit. But better safe than sorry, right? I'm not going to take them all, just to reassure you. It's only that I worry too much, and for some reason having four packets of travel sickness pills for a five day trip (plus the flights either end) makes me feel a lot better about the horrific sounding ferry journey. It doesn't have to make sense. It just has to work for me…

 

Right, time to get ready for Burns Night. I can't believe I'm not chickening out. And when I've just come down with this killer cold, too. A loud shouty part of my mind thinks the cold is the perfect excuse to just have a quiet night in with my kindle, instead of making myself socialise with strangers. And it's snowing and everything.

 

But the following argument wins: When am I EVER going to be in Scotland for Burns night, ever again? Probably never, that's when. So, of course I have to go!

 

Wish me luck!

Posted by: Vicky | January 24, 2013

Priorities

I’m flying to Edinburgh in less than 48 hours to go on my first (EPIC) solo holiday, the Haggis Adventures Up Helly Aa Viking Fire Festival trip. So far my preparations have consisted of buying a bunch of thermals (it’s going to be SO COLD), stacks of anti-travel-sickness pills (if I survive the ferry ride without vomiting, I’ll count it as a win), and a fake beard.

Bearded VickyIt’ll be fine, I’m sure ;)

PS: any formatting oddness is due to the fact that this is MY FIRST EVER POST FROM AN IPAD!!! My ipad, to be precise, the one I got myself as an early Christmas pressie, planning to use it to blog my super fantastic holiday, and then never actually tried to blog from…

Posted by: Vicky | October 26, 2012

My personal hell

A.k.a. Restringing my guitar

Yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet and completely restring my guitar. I’ve neglected it horribly, and when I restarted my guitar lessons (after a 5 year break) last Monday, my teacher agreed that the poor thing needed new strings.

I checked online and was informed that taking it to a shop to have an expert restring it for me would be the ultimate in shameful behaviour. So I dutifully ordered a set of strings and a string winder and cutter. Apparently, it’s a lot easier with the winder. Honestly? I can’t imagine how anyone can restring a guitar without a winder, it’s almost impossible even with the stupid thing!!!

The aim of this post is to remind myself, if and when restringing guitars becomes an issue again, to just swallow the humble pie and get (and if necessary, pay) someone else to do it!

This is what my twitter feed looked like during the incident:

The guitar is now restrung. Kind of. Not sure what my teacher will say. And I’m desperately trying to forget about the mould I think was growing in the back of the guitar *shudder*

Posted by: Vicky | August 30, 2012

So tired

I’ve been struggling to get to sleep recently. The last two nights were particularly bad, with me not getting to sleep before 4am. And while I used to be able to bounce through the day on not a lot of sleep, that was years ago. So today was difficult to say the least.

But I eventually found two things to cheer me up:

First, one of my favourite songs came on while I was listening to my ipod. It made me wonder whether the band, Culcha Candela, had a more recent album out yet. I googled it, and they do. Yays! After listening to the samples, I ordered the CD. Can’t wait till it arrives!

This isn’t my favourite song from the album, but it’s the one that speaks to me right now. It’s saying “Ich mache blau” which basically means I’m taking a sickie and skiving off work. Yup, I totally want to be the person in this song!

And then this appeared on twitter:

I’ll admit that, much as I hate the thought, it’s probably photoshopped. But I love it anyway. I’m still chuckling at it hours later :D

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