Saturday, 18 November 2017

FOLLOW YOU, (UN)FOLLOW ME . . .

Before I go on, a wee disclaimer: I am going to be using the words "follow", "unfollow" and various other versions of these a lot in this post. Sorry about that, but now that's out of the way, we can proceed with the actual post.



My love for Instagram knows no limits.

Of all the social media sites, I reckon it's probably my favourite. I love having a nosy at people's photos, a wee insight into their lives. (I also love Instagram stories, but I've already discussed those so if you want to know more, please feel free to click through to this post.)

A couple of things do annoy me about it though. It's probably not Instagram's fault though, it's more of a "it's not you, Instagram, it's me" situation. Or maybe a "it's not you or me, it's actually other people." A very specific type of people.

Those people who want you to follow them sooooo much that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get your attention.

What they don't want to do in return though? Follow you back. Or at least not after they've managed to get their attention and you've followed them. Then they lose interest and, oh look, your follower account is suddenly down by one and you don't know why.

Well, now you know.

I've tried to ignore this for a while. The same way I ignore the randoms who like my latest post, and then post a comment completely unrelated to the picture about three hours later.

Or the commenters who tell me I would be perfect as their brand ambassador . . . just like the other 50,000 people they've already told.

Or the accounts that follow you, then unfollow you only to follow you again three weeks down the line. Usually I've not noticed the unfollow in the first place until I see the notification that they're following me again. I can only assume they've unfollowed me because I didn't reciprocate but then they've forgotten and have tried again.

I'm not going to deny I want to build my followers on Instagram, but I would prefer they were people who were genuinely interested in me, my travels, my clothes or my food (the main things I post on there). I get really quite annoyed by people who think they can just follow you to get you to follow them back, before hitting that unfollow button.

I recently downloaded an app to my phone that allows me to see my Instagram unfollowers and while in some ways it's a slippery slope downhill to lose your mind and think everyone hates you, in other ways it's pretty fascinating. My "recent unfollower" list is largely people who must have been following me for about five minutes because I don't even remember seeing them on my follower list in the first place. But then there's the odd one where I've followed them back because they look interesting, only to discover they've then unfollowed me. I don't want to be childish about it, but I have to admit I will often just hit the unfollow button when I see this. It's like a giant "fuck you" to them because they thought they fooled me but I bested them but it's a hollow victory cos they have like 500,000 followers and won't even noticed my absence.

Sadder are those where you followed each other and engaged and liked each others posts and you're not sure why they've decided to unfollow you. Funnily enough though, these tend to pop up rarely on the list! Which is definitely a good thing.

Anyway, I feel like I've lost the point of what I'm trying to say here but . . . here it is.

Follow me if you think I'm interesting and you actually want to look at my pictures. I have nice pictures, if you like Scotland and food and mirror selfies of 38 year old blonde women. (That last one is maybe a bit niche?)

Don't follow me purely for a follow back.

A lot of people I follow don't follow me back and I don't expect them to. I also don't unfollow them purely because they haven't.

Perhaps I should make this my new Instagram bio?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: PHOTOGENIC LOCHS!!!

I really love Scotland. Which is handy given that I live there. ;-)

And one of my very favourite things about it is the multitude of lochs. There are tens of thousands of them in Scotland too, so there are always new ones to discover. And some of them are so damn photogenic they are just asking to be "Instagrammed"(is that a verb? If not, then it should be!).

So here's a wee run-down of some of my favourite lochs to photograph . . .



Loch Long
Loch Lomond (well, we all knew that would be on my list since it's my favourite!)


Loch Katrine


Loch Shiel
Loch Tulla


Loch Earn (the Mirror Man may not be there anymore, but it is still a lovely loch!)


Loch Cluanie


Loch Rannoch


Loch Tay


Loch Leven (Kinlochleven)

Do you have a favourite loch?

Monday, 6 November 2017

P'S GUIDE TO FINDING CHEAP HOLIDAYS . . .

There’s one thing people say to me a lot . . . and it’s not “Oh look, Paula’s drunk again” (at least, not to my face anyway).
 

It’s actually “you’re always on holiday”.

Now, although that’s technically not true, and I do resent people saying it, I do go on holiday quite a lot. I’ve been on three sunshine holidays this year as well as numerous trips around Scotland . . . and most of it I’ve managed to do relatively cheaply. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to impart some of my wisdom.

Okay, some of it is common sense or pretty obvious . . . but hopefully it’ll still come in handy!



  • First off, for UK holidays, booking.com is my friend. If I fancy a wee night away, I usually just plug in my dates, choose a part of Scotland and then hit search. There’s often decent deals that pop up on nice hotels, and if all else fails I just order them low to high and go through them until I find somewhere I like the look of.

  • Voucher deals are also a good way of finding a nice hotel deal, sometimes you can even get dinner included for a great price. Things to watch out for? You’re often going to have to pay a supplement for weekends, which can instantly add additional money on to your “great deal”. And make sure you have a couple of days of leeway in case the hotel can’t accommodate you on the day you want. I find 5pm.co.uk and itison are best for these sort of deals so I check them often. 

  • Also with a wee UK deal, you’re going to have to remember to factor in petrol costs. I always forget about that.. Or train/bus costs. Unless you want to walk there of course – feel free to do so if you want, not my bag though as you probably know!
  • Looking for a sunny holiday? I have three companies I turn to – Jet2, Thomson (or TUI as it’s now called) and Thomas Cook. I prefer a package holiday, I can't be dealing with booking the different bits and pieces independently. (If that's what you were looking for, sorry! I can't help you, I'm afraid.)


  • When I’m looking for a holiday, I try to take time off where I can afford to be a bit more flexible. So if I’m wanting a week long holiday I will take a week and a half off work, or if I want a ten day holiday I’ll take two weeks off. (I can always cancel part of the time off I’ve requested later once I actually have the holiday booked. More often than not, I don’t though.) This means I can look at different dates and have a bigger selection of destinations to choose from.


  • I try not to go for school holidays since the price does shoot up. Obviously if you’re a teacher, have kids of school age or work in a school in some other capacity this tip will not help you, and for that I apologise. (I really am sorry. Overpriced school holidays are the worst and travel companies are mean.)


  • If possible, I’ll search the dates I’m looking for, from my local airport (Glasgow) with no destination and see what options I have once I order the holidays from low to high. I’ll also try other airports, usually just Edinburgh, to see if there are any better deals. I tend not to look further afield as then I have to factor in the additional cost of travel to another airport.  This gives me a good idea of what destinations are available and the range of price.  


  • Jet2 are my favourite. They have a wide range of deals, destinations and I feel like their holidays are a bit more flexible in terms of duration. For example, me and the fella went to Lanzarote with them earlier this year for 11 nights for just over 400 pounds each. A ridiculously random amount of time (amazing though!), but we got a really good deal on it. And you get a ridiculously high luggage allowance. My only bugbear with them is that you can’t leave the destination field blank so you have to go through and do an individual search on all the destinations you fancy. This is immensely annoying - get it sorted, Jet2!!!


  • If you opt for a Thomas Cook holiday, bear in mind that the deal might not be as good as it initially looks. I think they sometimes use different companies, like Easyjet or Flexible Trips, so you might find that the brilliant deal isn’t including putting luggage in the hold, or a transfer. You might not necessarily need these, granted . . . but I do.
  • I'm not a massive fan of the all-inclusive deal but give it a chance - you may pay more upfront but you'll be saving yourself money once you get there.
  • On that note too, if you are going self-catering, try and make sure you get somewhere with kitchen facilities. It's good to have a fridge, for a start (that bottle of cava won't keep itself cool, y'know!) and it means you can at least pretend you might be eating in and saving money sometimes. I've stayed in a couple of places with no kitchen facilities and its a bit frustrating. (I one also stayed somewhere that did have kitchen facilities but no cups in any form and the first night I had to drink my wine out of a small pot . . .but that's another story.)
  • Be sure to clear your cookies often if you're doing frequent searches for holidays. I don't really how much of an impact this has, but I've definitely had times when I've been looking at a certain holiday twice in one day and the price has shot up . . . when I have cleared my cookies and searched again it's went back to the original price so there definitely seems to be some truth in the whole theory.
Hopefully some of these little tips might help you - as I said, a lot of it is common sense and isn't really a massive secret. I would say this though - it's rare a cheap holiday bargain will just fall in your lap and I do spend a lot of time looking for holidays online. That being said, very occasionally, you could have been looking for ages for a good holiday bargain and one day a great deal will just pop up during your search.
Like magic.
And when that happens, it's the best.

Monday, 30 October 2017

P'S 2017 READING CHALLENGE . . . PART 5!

So we're on to part 5 of my reading challenge . . . and this may be a bit of a spoiler alert but I'm fairly sure I'm going to not only make it to 40 books but surpass it. I've just totted up the books I read while in Ibiza and I'm now at 39!!! To be fair, once again my reading has slowed right down since then, but I'm fairly confident now I will beat 40.



Anyhoo, we need to rewind a bit for now and here are books 21 - 25 from this year's reading challenge!


Hot Mess - Lucy Vine

This book was a bit of an anti-romantic comedy; it was definitely more about the comedy and less about the romance, but I loved it. Ellie is our heroine here and she is having no luck finding a man . . . in fact nothing in her life is going smoothly. But hey, wouldn't that make for a boring read?! Great wee read, I breezed through it in less than two days. 9/10


Big Sexy Love - Kirsty Greenwood

Kirsty Greenwood has never disappointed me when it comes to reading (and also being a totally genuine and funny human) and this book was no exception. Olive is a girl who is very much stuck in her comfort zone . . . but is thrust completely out of it, and into New York city on her lonesome, thanks to the love she has for her best friend.  Cue many hilarious mishaps, a dash of romance, and the absolutely loveliness that is true friendship . . . a must read. Someone gave her an absolutely horrendous review of it on amazon recently . . . I genuinely think they must have been reading the wrong book because I would give it more than five stars if I could. One of my favourite books of 2017! 10/10


Unrequited Alice - Sarah Louise Smith

Unrequited love is tough. It's especially tough when the love of your life is about to marry your best friend, as Alice is finding out. But on the hen weekend in Canada, she meets Toby . . . who has pretty much exactly the same problem as she does. But can they help each other or will they just hinder the other? I enjoyed finding out. 7/10


Stuck With You - Carla Burgess

I actually mistakenly thought that this entire book was going to feature the two main characters stuck in a lift together. I was wrong. The lift encounter, where Elena meets the guy she had a massive crush on in high school, was over very quickly and was probably the most dramatic bit of the book. That being said, it was a low key but entertaining romance . . . I just kept expecting a twist or two and there really wasn't one. Still an enjoyable read! 6/10


Fitness Junkie - Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

I enjoy reading about diet and fitness - especially while eating junk food - so I knew this book would be right up my alley from the minute I spotted it online. It's the story of Janey, who is forced to try and drop some pounds when her best friend and business partner gives her an ultimatum . . . essentially he's a bit of a turd who tells her she's too fat to work with him in their wedding dress company. Anyway, she then tries out loads of different classes and techniques, and discovers the dark side of the dieting industry. This was a clever, entertaining novel, full of interesting characters, and I finished it not knowing whether I felt motivated to work out, or a bit disillusioned by the whole industry.  Oh . . . and where can I find a "bruffin"??? It's a brioche/muffin hybrid and I've no idea if it's real but I really hope it is... 8/10


So there we have it for another challenge post! And I still have material for nearly another three at the moment. I'll try not to leave too much of a break between these posts this time . . . I said try though. ;-)

What have you been reading recently?

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

FOUR YEARS . . .

I've always thought it would be sort of cool to have psychic ability. Predicting the lotto numbers would be great for a start - but it would also be great to know the good things that might happen to you in the future. I know it would take the fun out of life a wee bit (and you wouldn't really want to know the bad things, unless you could somehow prevent them) but think how funny it would be if you could freak other people out using it?

For example . . . a little over 12 years ago, I walked into a job interview for a contact centre. One of the questions I was asked was to describe some sort of attraction or place, what was there, how to get there - basically it was a way for you to show how clearly you could explain something. I chose to speak about Blackpool since it was a place I'd been a lot when I was a kid and, to be frank, I was at a bit of a loss.

I'm aware that the first paragraph and second seem completely unrelated. (I'm getting to my point, I promise.)

But . . . what if I did possess psychic ability and could see my future clearly???

Perhaps I would have blurted out, in that interview, to the smiley dude interviewing me "one day we will be in Blackpool together."

I probably would have been as surprised as he would to be honest.

And I would probably have looked like a certified loony and definitely wouldn't have got that job.

But . . . just over eight years later, four years ago today, we both found ourselves on a night out together. Where we ended up kissing, chatting for hours, then continuing the conversation via text message all of the following week. Within a matter of weeks we were officially a couple. And it was never something I questioned, something I overthought like I always would in previous relationships. Because it just . . . made sense.

Four years on, we've shared Christmases, New Years, birthdays, holidays, waaaayyy more dinners out than my weight can cope with and many nights in on the sofa just chilling . . . and several trips to Blackpool!



I love . .
  • that we freak ourselves out so often by going to say exactly the same thing at the same time
  • that he is as much of a "Friends" addict as I am
  • that he gets on so well with my friends and family
  • that he makes me laugh so much
  • and that he calms me down when I'm feeling a bit "squiggly".

Can't believe it's been four years already - time really does go fast when you're having fun though, it may be a cliché, but it's definitely true.

Happy four years!!!

DISCLAIMER: I can only apologise whole-heartedly to anyone reading this for the level of cheese in this post but . . . we both love cheese so shhhhh! ;-)

Monday, 16 October 2017

WHAT I'M LOVING RIGHT NOW . . .

Oh, another big blog break from me. Since I posted last I turned 38 (eek!) and I've been abroad . . . again! Hopefully this will mark my return to my more regular blogging once again. We'll see.

Anyway, let's get back to it with a post about things I'm loving at the moment.


IBIZA


I'm just back from a wonderful birthday week in Ibiza and I had such a good time. The weather was amazing for early October, we never had any issues getting a sun lounger at our beachside apartments, and had tons of wonderful food (although we did manage to accidentally run  up a 120 euro bill on the night we had a steak dinner... that was a bit out of our budget and did involve us having to root through our pockets for any change we had as we hadn't quite expected it to be so expensive - at one point I thought we were going to have to wash dishes to pay for it!). And the sunsets . . . oh my goodness, I vaguely remembered them being good from my holiday there five years ago but they were absolutely stunning! San Antonio, like Kavos, isn't just for the clubbers, I promise you! The one downside? I was eaten alive by mosquitos as per. Next time I go abroad I will be taking every mosquito precaution I can!


THIS TOP



I got this top from asos last week for a night out and I absolutely adore it. As you might know about me, I'm not really a jeans sort of person, but I bought a pair just so I could also buy this top. It's such a lovely colour and style and quite floaty so it covered up my lumps and bumps. Love it. (Jeggings are also from asos and the blazer is from Boohoo, just in case you're interested...You're soo welcome.)


THESE SHOES


My sister bought me these Nine West shoes a few years ago for my birthday and they are oh so pretty. There was unfortunately a catch - she could only get me them in a size three and I'm a four. Luckily, I'm not quite like the ugly sisters in Cinderella trying to squish my feet into them but they are pretty snug. I may have had to remove them a couple of times on my night out but I still enjoyed having beautiful shoes on.


ARTA PETAL DROP

So if you go to Arta in Glasgow on a Saturday night, at 11pm a monk/grim reaper type person (the jury is out on what it actually is) appears, bangs a gong and then petals start falling down around you. I'm honestly not making this up. It is soooo cool. Honestly, you need to go and see it . . . mainly so you know I've not had some sort of hallucination!


BELATED BIRTHDAY PRESENTS . . . AND CHEESE-RELATED CARDS


One advantage to being away for your birthday is sometimes there are gifts waiting for you when you get back. I got back to work to find some lovely gifts from my teammates - a Benefit gift set, a bottle of cava, a voucher deal for pancakes (yum!) and a fabulously cheesy card. Definitely good to get a wee gift on your first day back in the office.


PLAYING POOL


I'm a bit obsessed with American pool at the moment - I've actually been to the local pool hall twice in less than a week! I like to think I'm pretty good at it, although the thing I'm absolutely best at is accidentally potting the white. Unfortunately the fella is much much better than me and so my wins are few and far between. I probably need to find someone I can beat easier to be my pool partner . . .


ALL OF THE FOOD!!!



I've had some utterly delicious food recently. Halloumi kebab from Babs, a fabulous meaty meal at the Boozy Cow in Aberdeen, haggis bon bons and black pudding pakora at The Big Feed, and breaded camembert at Bell and Felix to name but a few. I do love eating out . . . my belly and usually empty purse will testify to that! Also looking forward to a lovely meal at The Sisters Jordanhill in a few days time - both Sisters restaurants are definitely worth a visit if you're in the Glasgow area.

What have you been loving lately??? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

DOWNSIDES TO SUNNY HOLIDAYS . . .

One thing you probably know about me is that I love a sunshine holiday. So much so that I am less than 2 weeks away from my third one this year.
 
One other thing you may know about me, however, is how much I enjoy a good rant.

 
  
So, as much as I love a week away in the sun, leaving all my troubles behind, getting to relax and chill out by the pool while reading shedloads of books… there are also some downsides. At the risk of sounding a tad overdramatic, its time to look at the darker side of a sunny holiday abroad!!!
  
 
Holiday transfers
 
So picture the scene: you’ve made it to your destination, you’re (I’m projecting here, obviously!) relieved to have survived the flight, and your luggage has finally appeared off the carousel, so you no longer need to worry that you’re going to be sunbathing by the pool in the underwear you’re wearing all week because your bikinis were in your case… time to relax, right? Well, nope. Because it’s time for the holiday transfer bus . . . if it’s actually there waiting for you, that is! And if it is waiting for you, you will probably have to spend your first hour in paradise inside a coach, waiting for it to leave the airport. Only to discover that you have actually got another hour and a half to spend actually travelling down to your destination, and approximately twenty other stops before you get there. Once you get there, you can breathe a sigh of relief, it’s over, you’ve made it. Just the journey from hell back to the airport at the end of the holiday to look forward to… And, no, you can’t get a taxi because you already paid a fortune for the bloody holiday and the transfer bus was included!
  
 
Bugs
 
I’ve been through this with you guys before, so I won’t elaborate too much on this. Mosquitos absolutely love me and consider me the tastiest of treats . . . I’m pretty sure I am the goddess of the mosquito world. They haven’t told me this but given how much they enjoy feasting on my blood, I am fairly convinced this must be true. They always manage to catch me in the five seconds before I’ve armed myself with repellent, or find the one unsprayed chink in my armour. And they always turn into horrific scabs. I’m still recovering from my Kavos wounds 3 weeks later, ffs! And don’t even get me started on the wasps . . . they seem on a mission to ruin my life at certain times of year, whether it’s hovering over me evilly while I’m trying to relax, or dive-bombing into my pina colada.
  
 
Music wars
 
I enjoy lying around the pool accompanied by a bit of music from the pool bar, I’d rather do that than listen to my own music when I’m on holiday. However, I hate it when a random sunbather thinks it’s okay to play their own music loudly so I’m forced to listen to that instead of whatever other music is going on. Heard of headphones, mate, yeah? Use them, you’re not the fecking pool DJ! Even worse is when others then decide to compete with the original troublemaker and you are hearing three or four different pieces of music at the same time. It drives me mad.
  
 
Constant reapplication of suncream
 
It’s a necessary evil I know – but I’m sooo lazy and I struggle to maintain my beauty routine when I’m at home . . . reapplying suncream several times a day stresses me out. Especially when it won’t rub in quickly, or goes gloopy, or adds to my sweat and forms a paste.  It actually puts me off getting in the pool because I know that I’m going to have to reapply it once I’m dry. And of course I’m having to reapply the mozzy repellent too because of the whole Goddess of Mosquitos thing so you can guarantee I’m not enjoying myself at this point . . .
 
 
Loungers
 
Is it actually possible to get on or off a sunlounger gracefully?  I seem to be missing that particular knack. And they’re largely incredibly uncomfortable . . . if you can even get one in the first place, that is, since those early morning towel baggers are usually rife.
  
 
Restaurant PR folk
 
It really would be nice to be able to walk down the street of a resort at any time of day, even when you’re not in the market for food at the moment, and not have several thousand eager folk try to happily strong-arm you into their restaurant. Especially if you’ve been there the previous night and want to try something different. It can come in handy sometimes, if you genuinely can’t make up your mind what you want to eat and where you want to go . . . but it’s mainly just very annoying. (and yes, I know people are just trying to make a living, but I’m always entitled to a moan. And just entitled, period…)
  
 
Unfamiliar pointy furniture
 
I always end up going home from holiday with bruises. If the loungers don’t get me, the apartment furniture finishes me off. It always seems to have random sharp edges that I end up walking into since I’m not used to it. Especially after I’ve had me a couple of vinos, or are trying to stumble short-sightedly to the loo sans contact lenses in the middle of the night. Maybe I should just start wearing protective clothing . . 
 
 
And so ends my rant. But . . .What about you guys? Any downsides you have to sunny holidays?

Monday, 4 September 2017

KAVOS: ONLY FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD?!?

One of my favourite places in the world is the Greek island of Corfu. I love Corfu so completely that I even raved about it last summer on this very blog.  I absolutely adore the place and myself and the fella have made the trip out there every year since our first sunshine holiday together in 2014. We'd earmarked a week at the end of August for another holiday with the aim of going to Corfu and were delighted, when we finally had the opportunity to book last month, to see that there were tons of bargain holidays for the island . . . but the cheapest by far were those in the party resort of Kavos.


Kavos was never going to be my first choice, let's be honest. I've had the dubious pleasure of watching a couple of episodes of "What Happens in Kavos" after all and cringed most of the way through it. I've never been a "party hard" sort of girl, even when I was young enough to go on an 18-30 holiday (for the record, in case you aren't aware, the age brackets for an 18-30 holiday are actually 17-35 . . . and I don't even meet those requirements anymore!). And, at the age of 37 and 3/4, I'm more of a have-a-couple-of-drinks-by-the-pool-go-out-for-dinner-then-fall-asleep-during-a-bottle-of-wine-in-the-apartment-later sort of girl. 

But then there was also the fact that, although the holidays to Corfu were relatively cheap, the ones to Kavos were by far the cheapest.  And I'm also one of those people who thinks it's really up to you how good your holiday is. Yes, you can have bad customer service or things can go wrong that you weren't anticipating, but largely it is what you make it . . . and sometimes when I see people moaning in bad reviews on Trip Advisor about their holidays I'm a bit unsympathetic because of this.

Anyway, we decided to go for Kavos. And I only had like five weeks to think about the decision but I did worry. And I jokingly would say to the fella "no matter what, I'll have to write a post about whether or not Kavos is just for the younger crowd" . . .

Personally, I'm happy to say it is not.

Yes, the apartments we chose to stay at were predominantly full of people in their late teens and twenties, yes. But it didn't bother us. And we were not the oldest by any means either. Which was very nice. But here are some of the advantages of not being in the younger crowd and going to Kavos . . .

1) Yes the hotel was cheap. But, in addition, we weren't spending massive amounts of money on foam parties or club nights. I took 300 euros with me, ate out every night, had breakfast/lunch in the hotel 3 times, had plenty of cocktails, wine and Mythos and came home with 30 euros. (I read a blog post somewhere prior to going that said if you were going for a "mad with it" time you'd need 750 euros for a week. Thank goodness I wasn't in that market!)

2) The reps didn't bother us. We had booked a "Scene" holiday through Thomson and I had checked to make sure there wasn't an upper age limit with this a la the aforementioned 18-30 holidays (which are Thomas Cook). There wasn't. But the reps did take one look at us and, although they were perfectly pleasant, they didn't do a hard sale on us. If we'd been younger, we'd have had to dodge the sales pitch and that's why sometimes being "old" pays off.

3) We didn't go out to the pool at ten am to discover most of the loungers were full. That's probably because our younger apartment dwellers were not sloping back in until five am in the morning and most of them didn't actually think to put their towels out before they went to sleep. We nearly always got a decently placed lounger, which would not have happened had the clientele been largely older than us. Trust me - I know!

4) We mostly got peace at the pool for a good hour or two before most of the residents woke up. It was amazing. Usually things didn't start to completely come to life until after 11am; by 2pm it would usually be quite noisy but as we tend to like to start and finish sunbathing earlyish it worked out great for us.

5) We got so many good deals on the food in Kavos. I guess because of the fact people probably drink and party more than they eat, the local tavernas were wanting to fill tables. We didn't actually know this until we were in most of the time, and were amazed to be leaving after two courses each, a litre carafe of wine and free garlic bread and dessert with a bill of just over 30 euros. Quality food as well.  It was incredible. In particular, check out Terry's, Pavlos and Aristos - I'd highly recommend all three of these amazing tavernas; fabulous service and we got delicious food for ridiculously low prices!

6) We luckily didn't get a lot of noise disturbance. We weren't right in the centre of the resort - we stayed in the Kavos Plaza (very nice apartments with a lovely bar and pool area) which was just at the edge of the resort. Kavos isn't a massive place, so everything was still in walking distance and the best of the tavernas were really close by. Some of the other apartments available were smack-bang in the middle of the resort so bear this in mind if you are looking to book. We weren't really bothered by much in the way of noise at all during the night, but it might be different if you are closer to the main action.  

7) The beaches were lovely. In our welcome meeting, the male rep had claimed the main beach wasn't that great but we thought it was really nice. There's also Arkoudilas beach, which is about a 45 minute walk and is gorgeous . . . however, we were plagued with wasps after walking all that way in ridiculous heat so I'd probably only recommend that if you aren't there in wasp season.

All in all, I 100 per cent feel you can totally come and not party in Kavos. I still don't think it would ever be my first choice, granted . .  but if you are looking for a week holiday for less than 300 pounds and you want a greek island experience without spending too much money while you are there . . . it's amazing! No matter what age you are.

Have you been?

Saturday, 2 September 2017

MY HOLIDAY STYLE . . .

I'm just back from Kavos! I know... what was I thinking? I'm 37 years old! Don't worry, I have a post on whether Kavos is good for a slightly older crowd coming up very soon which will answer this. I also have a couple more holiday inspired posts which will be appearing on the blog over the next week or so and an update on my reading challenge so stay tuned please! 😉


Today, however, I'm going to talk about holiday fashion... specifically MY holiday fashion. Yes, I know I'm not a fashion blogger by any means but I do absolutely love clothes and spend an inordinate amount of time looking through fashion websites online to find bargains in my particular style. For holidays this tends to be shorter dresses, shift dresses, Bardot and/or off-the-shoulder dresses . . . I like to search specifically for these sort of items when I pop online, then sort them by price (from low to high, obviously - I wonder how many people actually choose the option "price high to low"? I've only ever done it by accident) and search only for items in my size if possible to avoid disappointment.

And then I spend an absolute shitload of money. Because, well, my name is Paula and I'm a shopaholic . . . and a dressaholic.

Anyway, here is a selection of my outfits from my most recent holiday. I've included links to any I actually have links for since I did get compliments on a few of them when I posted them on instagram over the week. You are welcome.


This Boohoo bardot dress was picked up on sale from asos - link here
This Only dress, also from asos but not in the sale, is a bit longer than my usual style but I felt like the length, combined with the Bardot neckline and animal print would be perfect for my holiday. The dress can be found here.


This Boohoo off-the-shoulder gingham number was probably the dress I was looking forward to wearing the most. It is sooo cute and best of all? It was a mere six pounds in the boohoo sale. AND . . . it's still available. What are you waiting for? It can be found right here.

Another asos find, I couldn't resist the pattern and style of this QED London dress. Link here.
 
I go to Ibiza in less than a month's time (don't hate me) and I'm sure all four of these dresses will be making a reappearance when I'm there also . . . but I also can't guarantee I won't end up spending even more money on new outfits for that holiday too. We'll see . . .like I said, I have a problem!

Do you like these dresses? When you're off on holiday are you a need-a-whole-new-wardrobe type of person too, or do you always just return to old favourites? I'd love to know.






Friday, 18 August 2017

LET'S TALK ABOUT TAE BO!

Some people never forget their first love.

Mine was probably Tae Bo.





I read about it back when I was in my early twenties and trying to lose weight - someone from "Melrose Place" was being interviewed about their fitness regime and talking about how they did Tae Bo classes. I had no idea who the actress was (I only ever saw the first series of the show and she definitely wasn't on that particular series) but she had a good body and I was utterly intrigued by the idea of a workout consisting of punches and kicks. It sounded like the kind of workout that even unfit little old me could get on board with.

I did my research and I eventually bought a VHS (I know - how old am I!!!) of a Tae Bo workout - it was the only one I could find at the time in my local Woolies and it cost me something ridiculous like sixteen pounds, but I was so excited. It was just a basic workout but I was ridiculously excited about it and loved it. Combined with my calorie counting, I lost loads of weight and really toned up.

Over the years since, I've forgotten about Tae Bo, then remembered about it and fallen in love with it all over again. Well, as much as *I* can fall in love with exercise - let's just say I like it more than any other workout. Why do I think it's so good?

1) Time goes much quicker doing Tae Bo than any other workout. Possibly because you're concentrating on trying to get a move or a combo right and it means that you don't notice the time as much.

2) It's really high energy but you don't necessarily need to jump around a lot. I hate jumping around too much as my ankles and legs get sore easily. Also, I live in a third floor flat and I don't want my downstairs neighbours to think there's a baby elephant living upstairs doing aerobics.

3)You're working your core so much without even really realising it. Jabbing across the body works your waist and there's loads of sneaky other moves that are pretty much standing-up crunches but combined with other moves so you don't notice as much.

4)There is little more therapeutic after a shit day than punching and kicking the air while imagining someone who has really really fucked you off that day. Trust me. It's truly magical.

And then there's one final amazing thing - I don't really like working out in the morning, I'm usually too tired and I don't always have time to wash my hair after a workout in the morning. However, I've found a number of short eight minute workouts online which means I can painfully quickly wriggle in and out of my straitjacket sports bra, do a decent quick workout without too much bouncing around, and then jump quickly in the shower without having to wash my hair . . . because I've felt like I've worked hard, but it's over fast and while I'm sweaty, I haven't reached the sweaty hair stage.  For me, this is just a little bonus workout, I still try and get something else done later, but it makes me feel good to have gotten a little additional workout prior to work because it does make you feel a bit more alert and ready for anything.

These workouts are on youtube and are completely free . . . and, as I said, they're over with in less than ten minutes!

This one is probably my favourite



I don't like this one quite as much but it's good for a wee change



And this one calls itself an eight minute workout but it also has quite a long warm-up with stretches at the start and a short cool down, so while the main workout is eight minutes, it works out as more a 15 minute workout in total. It's a bit more involved than the previous two, with a bit more lower body workout thrown in, so it's definitely worth a shot if you have a wee bit more time to spare.



If you've never entered the world of Tae Bo before, I would definitely recommend it. There are absolutely LOADS of workouts available free on youtube  apart from the ones I've embedded in this post, so it's definitely worth a look on there - there are also plenty of DVDs available of the workouts on amazon - have a look here - and some of them are pretty cheap so if you try the youtube workouts and like it you can build up a little collection of DVDs if you're so inclined.

Just watch out for that Billy Blanks, if he tells you "one more set" he's usually lying and you'll still be doing that "one more set" four sets later. Be warned! ;-) BUT it's old school, it's fun, it's therapeutic and it works you out - what more can you ask for? I'd definitely recommend it!

Have you ever tried Tae Bo?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

P'S 2017 READING CHALLENGE . . . PART 4!

It's been a wee while since I posted about my reading challenge . . . this isn't because I haven't been reading by any means! Well it is a little bit but I still have a backlog of books I've read and haven't yet posted up here, so that's no excuse. I guess it's just that I'm a bit lazy! Reading a book is far more easy than writing about the book when it comes down to it. (Probably another reason why I couldn't be a book blogger!) But anyway, let's get down to it, with the next five books I've read so far this year!



Single for the Summer - Mandy Baggot

Now, I actually read this back when I was in Lanzarote in May; however, because I had got a free copy of it through Netgalley, it wasn't actually officially published yet at that point so I didn't really feel I could post about it. It is now out though, so yay!!! What immediately struck me about this book was that it was set in the village of Kalami, which was the first place I ever stayed when I went to Corfu for the first time in 2014. I absolutely loved it there and, although I'm sure some of the places were fictional, there were enough real life places thrown in to really take me back three years and yearn to go back. (This year I'm going to Kavos, which begins with the same letter, but really isn't quite the same.) This story features Tess as our heroine - to say she is a commitment-phobe is probably a pretty big understatement - who goes on holiday with her heartbroken best friend to Corfu, pledging to the friend that she will not get into a relationship this time. And she fully intends to stick to her pact, even when the gorgeous Andras asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend to get his mum off his back. But there's often a fine line between reality and fiction . . . I loved this book, it was funny and sweet and romantic . . . and it was interesting to find out exactly what had happened to Tess to make her the way she was. Warning: whether you have been to Kalami or not, this book will make you itch to go there asap! 8/10

Seven Steps to Happiness - Stella Newman

Lenny is a bit of a free spirit, with a career which keeps her away from home a lot, and a boyfriend-who-isn't-really-a-boyfriend, while Juliet is happily married with a great career and a pretty-much-grown-up daughter. Neither of them are entirely happy with their lives though, especially when Juliet discovers that her perfect marriage has more cracks in it than she ever could have realised . . . so when Lenny is given the chance to try an app that promotes happiness, she decides both she and Juliet could use this! This book was a bit slow to get going but once I was into it I found myself very invested in the characters and hoping they would find their happiness. Oh, and it will really make you want to eat a cheese toastie, so this is my second book in this post with a warning! 7/10


Love From Paris - Alexandra Potter

I have loved Alexandra Potter's novels since her debut "What's New, Pussycat?" many moons ago. "Love From Paris" was no exception to this. Now, technically, this book is the second in "The Love Detective" series but you don't actually need to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one . . . to be honest, I feel like I read the first one so long ago that I could barely remember the plot, except what was mentioned in this book with regards to Ruby's (our protagonist!) past. This was an enjoyable, intriguing story, where Ruby decides to visit her friend Harriet in Paris after feeling let down by her long-distance boyfriend Jack. Once there, she finds a mysterious bunch of letters hidden in an apartment and an attractive lawyer who seems to be interested in her. Will she get to the bottom of the letter mystery . . . and which guy is she meant to be with? In amongst all this you have the beautiful backdrop of gorgeous Paris, which is just the icing on the cake. Definitely a good wee read, a gentle, funny page-turner with a lovely additional plot set in the past. 8/10


Him Downstairs - Sherill Turner

I'd never heard of this book prior to ordering it, but I was browsing through amazon on my Kindle and was intrigued by the premise, so decided to go for it! It's always hard to cope with a break-up . . . but what if your ex lives in the flat directly underneath you? That's the case for Lucy, who had formed an amazing relationship with Tom . . . until the strain of his recent separation from his wife and two kids takes its toll and he breaks up with her. Absolutely gutted, Lucy tries her best to move on but she can't help but run into him all the bloody time given his proximity! This was a funny but very honest look at trying to get over a break-up and the hope you often hold, as the one who has been broken up with, that you'll maybe get back together someday. I definitely couldn't stop reading! 7/10

The Law of Attraction - Roxie Cooper

I feel like I had been waiting for this book to be released for so long! I had been following Roxie on twitter for YEARS, before I even knew she had a book deal, so when I found out she DID have a book deal, I was so excited to read it. Of course, I was worried that I had hyped the book up too much in my head, but I was delighted to discover it was brilliant! It takes you into the world of Chambers and barristers, where platinum blonde Amanda, who didn't grow up in a privileged background by any means, has just been accepted for a pupillage for a year, against all odds. The aforementioned odds are stacked against her even more when she discovers she's competing in an internship against horrible Martin from her previous course - and he has somehow managed to twist the entire chambers around his little finger, while Amanda struggles to be taken seriously by the men, and is bitched about by the women. However, Amanda didn't get where she was without a struggle, and she's not going to give her dream up without a fight. But will a secret from her past send her dreams crashing to the ground? This is an excellent book, I devoured it in less than a day - it was so interesting seeing what goes behind closed doors in chambers, the dialogue was great, Cooper has created a great heroine in Amanda and the slimy antagonist Marty was brilliantly captured too . . . and of course there was a nice little romantic storyline too just to add to everything else that was going on. I loved this book and can't speak more highly of it! 10/10


So a wee update to the challenge so far . . . at the moment I'm standing at 24 books (which means just one more book and a part 5 post will be in the offing) and according to Goodreads this means I'm "On track". As usual, since I got back my holiday I have definitely dialled down on my reading which means I'm thinking "Oh holy shite, I only have four and a half months to read SIXTEEN BOOKS!!! . . . however, I have TWO abroad holidays coming up in the next two months so that means I should be able to make up for lost time. Fingers crossed anyway!!!

What have YOU been reading recently?

Monday, 14 August 2017

P'S TOP PICKS: SWIMWEAR-TO-LIE-FOR!

Now, as you may have noticed a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was going on holiday soon. Well, as of last week, I now have two holidays to look forward to in the next two months - so it's Kavos in less than two weeks time and then, just a month later, I'm off to Ibiza.

So I've now started looking into swimwear and whether I can actually afford to buy any new pieces. Given that I've went a bit over-the-top in asos and boohoo already on dresses etc this might be a struggle. I don't actually know if I can buy anything else (unless I want to just exist on water when I'm on aforementioned holidays) but a girl can dream, right???

So here is some fabulous swimwear I have found which is just perfect to lie around the pool in! (Well, once I manage to lose several spare tyres, that is!)



Clockwise from top left: Asos Riviera Floral Print Frill Bikini / Boohoo Petite Heather Tropical Flower Lace-Up Bikini / Missguided Red Printed Low Side Swimsuit / River Island Scuba Scallop Swimsuit



Clockwise from top left: New Look Print Tropical Mesh Panel Swimsuit / Asos Sunshine Floral Print Bandeau Tie Swimsuit / Pimkie Floral Ditsy Print Swimsuit / Madrid Kaleidoscope Triangle Bikini

I don't know if it's just me, but I do see a lot of swimwear out there that looks nice but which looks completely impractical in terms of tanning. For example, I don't really want a bikini with random cut-outs, or extra straps, or a cold shoulder - the tan lines are just going to be ridiculous! So I have tried to choose relatively practical styles, while still looking good . . . personally, I think I've did a pretty good job!

What do you think?

Friday, 11 August 2017

SLEEPING BEAUTY? PERHAPS NOT . . .

So the other week when we were on the way into the office, oh-so-happily as per usual (yes, that was sarcasm), there was a segment of the radio show we were listening to where they were inviting listeners  to share stories about when they fell asleep at a party. Or something like that. I have to admit I was only half listening as I was too busy opening my wunderlist app to make a note in my blog post ideas list. ;-)

I'd love to say I don't have my own story but I do. I have a couple of them.

I've mentioned before that I have lots of trouble sleeping . . . except when I've had a good few drinks in me. Once that happens I can conk out like a light. Anywhere.

I've fallen asleep at a gig. And, more recently, on my team's Christmas night out, while just sitting at the table.

But the one that took the cake was the time I fell asleep at my friend's house on New Year's Eve a good few years ago. I was in a wee bit of an emotional black hole that night and let's just say I'd drank rather a lot to forget . . . as well as the fact it was new year's eve obviously which almost necessitates a lot of drinkies! So after the pre-night out drinks, the night out drinks and the post-night out drinks, I was rather drunken. And I fell asleep on my friend's couch. I must have woken up later and moved as I woke up in a bed, but I was most definitely asleep on the couch prior to that.

Because I found these pictures on Facebook the next day . . .


Yep, my friends had decided to have a wee bit of fun at my expense while I snoozed.

 

The bit that seemed to tickle people's funnybone the most was the bottle of Cif.

Annoyingly, I did not get to keep the alcohol.

So Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have lovely plans for tonight, drunken or otherwise, and I'd love you to share any drunken falling-asleep stories you have in the comments if you're so inclined!

Monday, 31 July 2017

P'S TOP PICKS: FABULOUS SUNGLASSES!

I haven't bought a new pair of sunglasses in a good few years now . . . and as my current pair are covered in scratches and I'm off on another holiday in less than a month, I am definitely on the lookout for some new ones. I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some of my faves here. You are welcome. ;-)


So, first up, I absolutely love these Monsoon numbers from Boots (I couldn't find them on Monsoon's website). I love both the shape and the colour . . . I definitely could be tempted by these ones! (I just need to wait until I have a spare thirty quid to buy them!)


Those, at the moment, are probably my top contender, but there's other options out there. Like this pair from asos which I think are mega cool. Just me?


I do love me a bargain and, at a mere four pounds, these Boohoo sunglasses are most definitely that... they're also pretty damn chic too.


Also loving these cateye sunnies from Accessorize . . . I do love a good cateye shape. <3 p="">

And, last but not least, I love the pattern on these Top Shop shades too... and the shape too, obviously!


What do you think? Do any of these sunnies float YOUR boat? What is your own favourite pair of sunglasses? I'd love to hear more from you guys so feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

ON COMPLAINING . . .

I'm not a big complainer.

Well, that's technically not true. I moan about things all the time, like when it takes me ages to get served at a bar (I really do think most bars should at the very least consider the idea of implementing a queuing system), or when someone stops right in front of me abruptly in the street without any warning whatsoever, or when companies send you unsolicited snail mail with "recycle" messages on it (stop sending it and solve the paper waste problem, eh???)  or the weather because Scotland. But in terms of actually writing a complaints letter or email, I don't really tend to do this. I think about doing it a lot, but I don't actually get around to it.












My boyfriend's mum loves a complaint letter. She's great at them. She'll send them away but she'll keep copies of them so we can read them. She actually writes "copy" on those ones, which I think is amazing. She wrote a great one the time we got stuck in a taxi in Newcastle for about an hour and a half during the Great North Run a few years ago, and the time the boyfriend got a parking ticket for parking too long in the same car park, when he'd actually been there two separate times that day and parked in completely different bits of the car park. I need to get some of her inspiration as there's been a few things I wanted to complain about over the past few years. I haven't actually got the motivation to do it yet, but I will . . . one day. In the meantime, I thought I'd list them here. Maybe that will remind me to actually do it at some point . . .

At some point I need to complain to a well-known clothing website . . .

If I am searching through sale items and I've specifically filtered it to choose my size only, I've done this so I don't get the inevitable disappointment of seeing something I like, clicking on it and then discovering it's only available in a size 4. So I get rather upset when I filter it by size, see something I like, click on it with much excitement and then discover that it's sold out and, slightly annoyingly, has a sad face emoticon next to it. Why isn't the system intuitive enough to know not to list that item? I refuse to believe that someone has literally just virtually stole the last one from under my nose. Because it tends to happen several times in quick succession. And it's very disappointing. :-(

At some point I need to complain about car parking . . .

Outside the boyfriend's house there's space for four cars to park (and it's not a tight squeeze) but there aren't actual physical "spaces" mapped out with paint, if you know what I mean? So if the neighbours beat us back when we're staying at his, they tend to park like douchebags, managing to park in such a way that only two cars can possibly get parked. I am constantly saying I'm going to contact his council about it and ask them if they can paint lines in for spaces but I have been saying this for about two years now. I think this one might actually get written at some point though - in the last couple of weeks I've even gotten as far as taking pictures of the various different parking scenarios that go on as examples, so I'm getting there. Give me another two year and this particular complaint letter might actually get sent after all!

At some point I need to complain about rail tickets . . .

My local station is an interchange station, as well as also having a subway. When you walk inside, there is a manned window for subway tickets and a machine for subway tickets. For the railway, there is one manned window for tickets and no machine. (I should add there are two windows for both subway and railway tickets but I have not once witnessed more than one window open for each.) This means there is always a queue for railway tickets and usually no alternative. You very occasionally get a couple of staff with handheld machines issuing tickets but this has been pretty rare. So we've ended up missing numerous trains because of having to queue behind someone who has decided today is the day they're going to buy their round the world train ticket that they don't actually need for three months. And if you're going into the city centre you can't really jump on the train and hope for the best because if the ticket seller on the train doesn't get to you during the five minute journey, you have to queue at your destination anyway because there's a ticket barrier there and you have no ticket to get through it. Frustrating as anything!!! Now, apparently they are finally installing a rail ticket machine so I might not need to complain about this after all  . . . but we've been waiting a loooonnnngggg time for this machine to materialise.

At some point I'll need to complain to a travel company . . .

I go on a lot of holidays. (Don't hate me. I'm skint because of it.) And it never fails to amaze me that with a certain company, when you arrive at your destination, go through the stress of baggage reclaim and go outside to get your bus . . . you discover the bus is not there. In fact, the reps standing around seem surprised to see you, even though five planes belonging to the company were all expected to land at that point. I do feel like I spend a lot of time waiting around for the resort transfer bus to appear at the airport, when all you want to do is get to your destination so the holiday can really begin. The occasion I wanted to complain about most though was the time we were told specifically to get on one bus, after waiting around for ages, then someone got on the bus and shouted a bunch of us off like we were naughty children who had just decided randomly to jump on the wrong bus. Sooooo not cool.  I guess that happened like two years ago now so it's probably a moot point to try and complain about that specific incident. I really really was determined to do so at the time though!

So the moral of the story here, I guess, is that if I want to complain about something, I really should do it at the point when my initial issue arises, rather than waiting around for years and stewing over it. And, in the time it took me to type up this post, I could probably have typed up at least one of the above complaint letters. Oh well . . .


Have you ever complained to a company about something? Or wanted to and not got around to it?