White Girls Can’t Jump

22 Apr
'Spread your wings like an eagle and fly like a brick'

‘Spread your wings like an eagle and fly like a brick’

Despite a small fear of heights, I’ve always had an incline to do a bungee jump and a skydive and always just thought I would get round to doing them in Australia. But then a few months ago I thought ‘why wait until Australia?’ and went about finding where I could bungee jump in Scotland.

I came across Highland Fling (what a brilliant name for a bungee jump company!) based in Killiecrankie, just 3 miles from Pitlochry, and they boast at 132 ft, the only bridge bungee jump in Scotland. Preferring the idea of jumping over water, rather than concrete, this was the one for me.

Team Bungee

Team Bungee

Along side the jump, myself and two friends, Allana and Valerie, decided to raise some money for a local charity close to us all – Ayrshire Cancer Support. Our initial target was £500, but thanks to some very generous donations from our friends and family, we smashed that target and raised over £2,500! Wow.

So on the first Saturday in April, we went up to the bridge over the River Garry in Killiecrankie and jumped off it! Despite being nervous before hand, when I got up to the platform suspended underneath the bridge and saw all the jumpers getting harnessed in, and all the safety routines and checks carried out by the 5 guys, all my fears went away and I was ready to enjoy it. So on the final words of my guide, ‘spread your wings like an eagle and fly like a brick’, I jumped!

I Once Ran Away With the Gypsies

3 Apr

I’ve been slacking on the ol’ blog posts the past few months, so I’m trying to catch up… watch out for posts on Belfast, Berlin, hats, bungee jumping and Ibiza, but for now here’s a bit on Dublin!

Molly Malone stands with her cart at the end of Grafton Street

Molly Malone stands with her cart at the end of Grafton Street

I’ve been to Dublin several times over the years, the first time when I was 17 and my first of many seasons working at Loudoun Castle Theme Park. Back then , the Cadonas – a well-known ‘travelling’ family in Scotland (also known as gypsies) – owned the theme park, and at the end of every season, they packed up the rides and took them to Dublin, Limerick and Cork, then on to Dubai for the Winter. Being short on willing travellers that year, they asked me to go to Dublin with them. My parents weren’t too happy about it… and that’s how I once ran away with the gypsies.

Two weeks in a luxury trailer in Clondalkin – one of the roughest parts of Dublin, working 4 hours a night in a burger van for 400 euro a week, 17-year-old, impressionable me thought I had it made! It was an experience and a half, but apart from a couple of shopping trips to Grafton Street and a handful of drunken nights in the infamous Red Cow on the M50, I didn’t get to see much of Ireland’s fair city.

A busker plays his tin flute on Dame Street

A busker plays his tin flute on Dame Street

Then, when I started Uni at Dundee the year after I made a load of Irish mates and have since spent many a memorable weekend in Ireland – Belfast, Derry, Ballymena, Donegal, Meath, Dublin, Newry, Coleraine – to name a few. But again, never to see much of what Dublin has to offer – aside the pubs that is.

So when I planned my mini Irish adventure over the Christmas holidays there (Dublin – Belfast – Donegal) I made sure I had some time to finally be a tourist in one of my favourite cities.

I had already arranged to meet up with and stay with Uni friends, but I had half a day to myself to do as I please. I set off from my hotel in Temple bar early doors, and walked along Dame Street to Trinity College, not having a lot of time, I resisted the urge to go in and see the book of Kells. Instead I stopped to greet Molly Malone at the bottom of Grafton Street before having breakfast at a nearby pub. After that, I walked along to Merrion Square where a memorial to Oscar Wilde can be found perched on a rock with a drink in hand in the corner of the park. It’s a nice quiet spot to sit and read some of his many famous quotes, my favourite being – “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”.

Oscar Wilde hanging out in Merrion Square

Oscar Wilde hanging out in Merrion Square

I then walked down to St Stephen’s Green, along to St Patrick’s Cathedral, onto the famous Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and St Audden’s Gate. Crossing the River Liffey, I walked along it and up by the fruit market to the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square – a memorial to “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. Finally I walked down O’Connell Street, by the Spire (completely missed the Post Office – doh!) and back to Temple Bar to meet my friend Sarah and get on the rip.

Outside the iconic gates of the Guinness Storehouse

Outside the iconic gates of the Guinness Storehouse

By 6pm, a few too many baby Guinness and some new friends made later, I had to get myself over to my other friend, Lynsey’s place down at the docklands, to head out with her and her friends for her birthday – the rest of the night can only be described as a blur. But as the saying goes, when in Rome…

The next day I was as rough as a dog and on the bus to Belfast – but that’s for another time.

A view across the River Liffey

A view across the River Liffey

The famous Temple Bar

The famous Temple Bar

Surprise Wedding Video!

27 Mar

One of my bestest and life-long friends, Allana (now Mrs Broon) got married at the weekend and I wanted to do something special, memorable and a little bit different for her big day!

Myself and the other three girls in the video, Claire, Louise and Vicky, have all been friends with Allana since we were at Darvel Nursery – almost 25 years! We had to wait on Claire coming back from Oz before we could film it and Vicky has a bun in the oven… but nonetheless we did it.

It was unveiled for the first time during the wedding speeches… and it’s a belter even if I do say so myself!

‘Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same’

26 Mar

“Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same” – this is will be my mantra going forward as I start the Cambridge diet today.

It’s going to be hard – complete meal replacement in the form of milkshakes, soups and porridge for the foreseeable future – but I’m ready!

It’s took me a while to get to this point. I know losing weight isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a case of eat less/ exercise more, but I’ve been kidding myself on for too long now and I like to think I’ve got more will power than I actually do! I’m generally a healthy and active person and I’m educated on the foods I SHOULD be eating (easier said than done) but my attempts to lose weight and get fitter over the past five years haven’t  got the desired results, so it’s time to get a helping hand. Plus my friend from Uni has been doing it for 6/7 months now, lost over 5 stone  and has completely transformed her life and how she views food – she’s my inspiration!

Here’s a photo of me at my friend’s wedding last weekend – I’m big one in the orange dress. It’s by far not the worst photo of me, but come on it’s my blog, my rules! Tee hee!

My friend's wedding

My friend’s wedding

I’ll post more photos and continue to track my progress – watch this space to see how I get on!

So this is it – my own transformation starts today – wish me luck!

I heard it through the Grape Vine…

8 Feb

A few weeks ago when I was on Mashable (one of the few websites I visit everyday) I noticed several articles about Vine. Not liking to miss a trick, I was straight on it and downloaded the app (just now it’s only available in iPhone app format).

In short,  Vine is a six-second video app. It’s only a few weeks old and owned by Twitter. The idea is to create short and simple clips to share with other Vine users as well as your friends on Facebook and Twitter etc.

Here’s what the app looks like on your iPhone:

Manchester City FC's Vine

Manchester City FC’s Vine

There’s not much else to it really. It’s fun to experiment with and see how others are getting creative with it. And it’s fascinating to see how quickly it’s catching on – when I downloaded it last week only 3 of  the 2,000 odd people I follow on Twitter had it. This week that number’s rocketed to over a 100!

Here’s one of the first clips I made:  How to draw Elvis

No More Blood To Give.

17 Jan

I went down to my local town hall last night to give blood and was told that because I’ve had cancer, I’ll never be able to donate blood again. This makes me very sad. So much so that I cried in front of the nurse – what a numpty!

On a serious note though, I really am gutted. The nurse said it’s because they don’t yet know how cancer spreads through the body (which is probably why I can’t have a massage for the next 5 years either), so until further research is done on this I can’t donate any more blood.

I have tried to donate blood regularly since I was eligible to do so when I turned 18, and knowing that it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be able to donate again (or get a free Tuc biscuit) is just shit.

Tuc biscuits were my favourite post blood donation snack

Tuc biscuits were my favourite post blood donation snack

Having got the all clear 4 months ago, I was indescribably relieved and ecstatic. So to find that there are still going to be limitations and implications on what I can do due to the fact that I had cancer in the past is hard to accept but something that I’m going to have to learn to deal with in the coming months and years. Just another wee hurdle to jump over.

I’ll just need to ramp up my 10k runs to marathons (choke) and raise more sponsor money instead of giving blood…

If anyone wants to find out more information on giving blood visit the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service website. The fact that only 5% of the Scottish population give blood, you really are  making a HUGE difference to someone’s life.

Glasgow’s 1st Christmas Parade

24 Nov

A friendly elf

Now I don’t know what I was expecting when I first heard Glasgow was going to have it’s very own Christmas parade this year, with my only prior knowledge of Christmas parades being the iconic Macy’s parade in New York (depicted in movies such as Miracle on 34th Street) I imagined floats, gigantic balloons and marching bands!

Boy was I disappointed.

On Sunday, having persuaded my friend to go and watch it with me, we were patiently waiting among the crowds  for the ‘spectacle’ to start. Waiting in the drizzly rain from 1.30pm, the parade was late in starting. I got bored and left the crowds on Buchanan street and when I returned half an hour later, expecting to see the parade in full swing, it was nowhere to be seen!

Luckily I caught the tail end of it as it headed out from Royal Exchange Square back on to Buchanan Street.

To be fair to Hamley’s (the famous toy store that organised the parade), from the 100 or so participants who took part,  the costumes were brilliant – big, bright and elaborate, they were lively and they interacted with the spectators. But I can’t help thinking that they can do better.

I’m expecting bigger things in 2013!

Christmas tree angels

Larger than life

Hamley’s bear

The Santa Express

Stormtroopers do Christmas

Hamley’s, Glasgow