Weekend Wanders – Southern Upland Way

On Sunday just passed, Boyfriend and I headed out to walk part of the Southern Upland Way. Quite a large section of the walking trail comes through the Scottish Borders and we love to go out walking so we laced up our boots and headed out.


We parked the car in Melrose and headed off through the square and up onto the old railway line. It’s a popular path for walkers, cyclists, runners, mothers pushing buggies and I can now see why. It’s beautiful, lined with trees on both sides and most importantly, flat!


We turned onto the road beside the Borders General Hospital, a wrong turning chosen by boyfriend and headed in the wrong direction for about a mile until coming to Upper Faldonside and realising that something wasn’t quite right. But hey, isn’t that what adventuring is all about? Getting lost and discovering new places because of it?

Anyway, we turned back and headed along the right path towards Darnick and then onto Tweedbank. Had a quick stop at the railway station in Tweedbank because Boyfriend hadn’t seen in before and then headed back along towards Melrose. We were meant to be going on a nine mile walk, but the weather turned whilst we were only about a quarter of the way through the walk, so we made the smart move of turning back and going a slightly different, but equally scenic route back along part of the Southern Upland Way.


This part of the trail takes you along the river to Melrose, along a particularly beautiful stretch of the Scottish Borders countryside. You get a great view of the Tweed river and all it’s fisherman, canoeists and kayakers as they make their way down the river and over the Cauld. 


We left the trail shortly before arriving at the chain bridge, but next time (hopefully in better weather) we’re going to walk the route abit further and see more of the beauty that the trail holds…although it will be a while until I attempt the full 212 miles of the Southern Upland Way!

A Day Walking – Kelso to Roxburgh Old Circular

Boyfriend and I don’t get very many days off together, so when we do, we like to spend as much time together doing what we love. Which tends to mean that we spend the majority of our time off outside walking, biking, exploring or hiking. However, we run into problems with what to do with our time during winter, because we live in Scotland and the weather is cold and miserable and snowy. So when it gets back to nice, sunny and warm weather, we come alive again and start going outdoors to enjoy the end of our hibernation.

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So on our last day off, I forced Boyfriend to come for a nice 10km walk along to riverside at Kelso and along the old railway line to Roxburgh and back again, and of course, I had to bring my camera with me for some photos!

LambsIt’s a lovely circular walk that’s relatively flat, and takes you along the riverside, up onto the old railway line towards Roxburgh and then back along the other side of the river. It’s so serene and peaceful, you come across very few people the majority of whom are either fisherman or dog walkers.

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Honestly, the amount of beauty that surrounds you on this walk is astounding. I love being surrounded by nature, and the Scottish Borders is an incredibly beautiful place. I am blessed to live in such a lovely part of the world and it’s not something that I take for granted. But I think a lot of people do take where they live for granted more often than not, and I really think that’s a shame. Go and explore where you live, find all the beautiful spots, and explore all the wonderful nature that’s on your doorstep!

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I am so excited for getting out and exploring more now that the weather is getting nicer and sunnier! Who else is excited about summer?

 

Burghley Horse Trials

A few weeks ago, I was lucky  enough to go and see the horse trials at Burghley house when I was on holiday with my sister. It was such a great day, despite getting a little bit sunburnt! It was amazing seeing all the beautiful horses, and I was very happy at getting the opportunity to try out a new type of photography.

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When we arrived, we spent a little while watching the juniors doing their dressage and show jumping, which was impressive considering their ages. I really don’t know how on earth they can do the show jumping, but it looks blooming cool whether you can do it yourself or not.

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We watched the first lot of show jumping, before heading out for a wander around the stalls (and spent quite a bit of money in the Joules stall) and then having our little picnic lunch. We had more of a wander around the stalls before heading back for the second lot of show jumping.

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It was a brilliant day out and thankfully the sun stayed out because we were out in the open all day. We met back up with my auntie and uncle before we headed home. They enjoyed the day too. We will definitely go back another year!

 

 

Doddington Hall

 

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I recently went to the sculpture exhibit at Doddington Hall, whilst on holiday with my sister. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and all the sculptures on display were wonderful, they fitted into the background so naturally. DSC_0761.JPG

We spent hours wandering around the grounds, unfortunately the house itself was closed on the day that we went, but it didn’t really matter all that much. The sculptures are all hidden amongst the trees and throughout the gardens (and the house) so we spent ages trying to find them all. My favourite ones were the ones that looked like plants and flowers, but we all know how much I love a photo of flowers.

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We started playing a game of guess the price, which turned out to be equally as entertaining as seeing all the exhibits. The majority of the sculptures were well out of our price range, although we didn’t actually go to buy anything, we just went to appreciate all of the artwork and talent that goes into every piece.

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Being around all of the beautiful artwork and sculptures made me really inspired to take lots of photographs and to get artsy with the photography and to try out new techniques with the camera as well. Perhaps there will be lots more photo blogs in the future!

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My Pandora Bracelet

I’ve meaning to write a post explaining my Pandora bracelet for ages, but I keep forgetting and putting it off. So today, I decided to procrastinate from packing for a little while and sit down and explain my lovely Pandora bracelet and all the sentiment it holds for me.

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Boyfriend bought me the bracelet, the two star clips and the camera charm for my Christmas present back in 2013, which I fell in love with instantly. The camera charm is because I love photography, although I rarely ever use my camera anymore (I am getting better and getting back into loving my camera again!). He went for the star clips  because I love nature, and I love standing appreciating the night sky and sunsets, so the stars are perfect for me and my bracelet.

I bought myself the Eiffel Tower charm, shortly after I was given the bracelet to commemorate boyfriend and I’s first anniversary. We went on holiday to Paris, and we actually climbed the Eiffel Tower on the day of our first anniversary, so ofcourse I had to have the charm on my bracelet. It’s the only charm I’ve bought for myself, although I did buy myself a Pandora ring when we were in America on our road trip!

Boyfriend bought me the heart safety chain for our third(?) Valentine’s day, hearts obviously very fitting for the occasion and because I was so paranoid about the bracelet falling off my arm. I struggle to do the clasp up properly on my own so the safety chain gives me that little bit more security. I love the safety chain, and although I had no say in it what so ever, it’s the one I would have picked myself.

Next, Boyfriend gave me the heart charm on our third anniversary on our holiday to Crete and I love it, it’s gorgeous and it was the special edition charm where the money went to the British Heart foundation, so I was extra happy when I found that out. It’s got lots of little diamonds encrusted into the charm which makes it even more beautiful.

The last charm I received was from my besties for my 21st birthday present which is the little bike charm. I love biking as all of you who follow my fitness Friday and healthy habits blog posts will know, so the charm could not have been any more appropriate for me.

I love that all of my charm bracelet has sentiment to me, it’s only for special occasions and sentiments so I’ve not had a charm added to it in almost 2 years! I was going to buy myself a charm for graduating university, but I also have a Hot Diamonds bracelet that my auntie and uncle bought me for my 21st birthday and they got me a graduation cap charm for that, so I don’t need one on my Pandora bracelet. I absolutely love my bracelet, and I can’t wait to go on more adventures in life to expand my collection!

What is your most meaningful charm and why?

Paxton House

I’ve been feeling more inspired with my camera recently, so I thought I would head out for a walk through my local “haunt” and bring you guys too. It’s been a while since I’ve done a photography based post, but I always enjoy reading other bloggers’ photo posts, so why not? Without further ado, here is a walk around the grounds at Paxton House featuring boyfriend.

Paxton House is a Victorian Manor, that is kept in a Victorian manner and is open to the public as a museum. The grounds are free to enter and it’s a walk the boyfriend and I do at least a couple of times a week.

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There are a few biking trails so boyfriend sometimes takes his mountain bike out, I don’t have my mountain bike here so I’ve never ventured out myself. Boyfriend enjoys it though, and I love Paxton House as a running route.

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The views are stunning, you get right down to the edge of the Tweed. There are boats for hire in the summer and you can normally see canoes and kayaks in the evening heading towards the sea.

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Normally, our walks take a little while because we stop at the waters edge and admire the view for a good fifteen minutes or so. We’ve taken many, many photos of the Tweed and the little rowing boats that sit at the water’s edge.

There are so many interesting flowers and pieces of artwork hidden about the grounds, it’s perfect for nature lovers and families as you can play spot the artwork. Keen photographers are never out of inspiration between the views and the nature!

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We’ve even managed to spot the odd seal and otter lurking in the river, although between us, we’ve never managed to capture a decent photo of them either! Definitely take your biggest zoom when you go out, and hopefully you’ll get a better photo. Although boyfriend and I have been in Paxton House for two years and we’ve only spotted a seal once, so good luck to you all!

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You can continue the walk along to Chain Bridge Honey Farm, or loop back around to the entrance. Depending on the time of day and weather, we normally go towards Chain Bridge as it’s a beautiful walk along the river too.

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There is a lot on to do at Paxton House as well, this weekend there has been a music festival on and normally during the school holidays, they hold an outdoor cinema once every couple of weeks. The last film was Danny Champion of the World, but unfortunately both boyfriend and I were working so we couldn’t go! There is even an adventure playground for children (and myself and boyfriend, when there are no children because we’re still big kids at heart).

The only draw back that we’ve found about Paxton House is that it gets a little muddy near the river after it’s been raining but it’s not something we’ve ever bothered about. We plod on through no matter the footwear!

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Myself and boyfriend would highly recommend a visit if you live in the nearby area. There are a lot of dog walkers as well, so bring your furry friends for a visit too!

Loch Lomond Adventures

Boyfriend and I headed away to Loch Lomond for our fourth anniversary and for a little break from everyday life. We love being outdoors so we decided to head somewhere where we could do a lot of walking and just be in nature as much as possible, so Loch Lomond was the perfect place for a little break.

 

We used Tesco Boost to get a room at The Buchanan Arms hotel in Drymen to make the holiday a little bit cheaper and as an anniversary present to ourselves. The hotel was beautiful; the staff were friendly, the hotel was clean, the breakfast (which was included in our package) was amazing. The only thing we didn’t like was the bed itself, it was too hard but we both love super soft mattresses so it’s probably fine to everyone else! 

On the day we started the holiday, we headed up via IKEA in Edinburgh for a few bits and bobs and of course we had to stop at Frankie and Benny’s for lunch! We stopped at the Kelpies, which I had never seen before. They’re absolutely beautiful pieces of art, I was blown away by the detail put into them despite them being made from metal! We spent quite a while just staring at the two horses heads in awe of the workmanship. The park around them is amazing too, we spent some time playing in the play park because we’re both still children at heart! 

We had a little wander to Stirling Castle and headed to Tesco to stock up on packed lunches for the next couple of days before we headed to the hotel. After we checked into the hotel, we spent the evening having a few drinks in the hotel bar (which was very reasonably priced) before bed.

Our first day was spent hiking Ben Lomond, which was a hard slog to the top but the views were stunning. I love spending a day hiking, and we’ve not been for a long time so we both enjoyed ourselves. I think people forget to stop and take the time to appreciate nature, so it was great being surrounded by it and being forced to take in the views and slow down a little.

The day we climbed Ben Lomond was our fourth anniversary, so after we conquered the Munro and descended again, we headed out for a few celebratory drinks and then out for a fancy(ish) dinner at the Drymen Inn.

The food was amazing, we both left absolutely stuffed. I had feta cheese and tomato to start, chicken enchiladas as my main washed down by the strongest Piña Colada known to man and Ferrero Rocher cheesecake for pudding. Whilst boyfriend opted for the same starter and drink but had a steak as his main and had hot fudge cake as his pudding.

Boyfriend planned us a mega walk for our second and last day away which was a 16 mile section of the West Highland Way. I don’t think I’ve ever walked so far, it was so hard going but it was such a good hike! I’d love to do some more long distance walking, the whole of the West Highland Way in the future.

For our walk, we parkedat  The Drovers Inn and walked from Inverarnan to Inversnaid and then back again. It was clambering over rocks and surrounded by beautiful views, boyfriend and I were in our element. Although 16 miles is incredibly far and our feet and legs were aching by the time we got back to the Drovers Inn about 8 hours later! We had dinner at the Drovers Inn, which was brilliant and I’d highly recommend to anyone doing the West Highland Way or heading up that way! 

After we waddled back to the car and into the hotel, we had a few drinks at the bar again before collapsing into bed shattered. And just like that our little break was over! 

My Travel Bucket List

I recently saw a similar post on Pinterest and I thought it would make an excellent idea for today’s post. I absolutely love travelling, be it abroad or just exploring a new part of the United Kingdom and there are many cities and countries on my “travel bucket list”, so I thought for you guys, I would narrow it down to the five places I want to travel to on my next five holidays!

1.Rome, Italy – I have wanted to visit Rome for years, I love Roman history and I think going to Rome would be fantastic. Plus, there will be ice cream, pizza and pasta around every corner so does a destination get any better than this? 

2. New York City, New York – I’ve always fancied going to New York in winter because I think it would be beautiful in the snow. Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, The Empire State Building and all the shops….need I say more? 

3. Vietnam – For a few years now, Boyfriend and I have been talking about going travelling around Vietnam for a while to see what the country has to offer. Why? Because we have no idea what the country has to offer but I bet it’s absolutely beautiful! 

4. The Lake District, United Kingdom – if you’ve never been to the Lake District, I suggest you rectify this this year. The Lakes is one of my favourite place in the whole country, it’s insanely beautiful and there is so much to do in terms of activities that your holiday will be action packed. Boyfriend and I always use our time in the lakes to do lots of walking and biking (both road and mountain) and we normally hire kayaks for a few hours. We love our holidays to the lakes, and were planning a short break down there at some point this year! 

5. New Zealand – I really want to explore New Zealand. One of my friends stayed there for a year or so and it looked amazing. Boyfriend would happily go as its one of the best places to go mountain biking in the world so it won’t take much persuading from me! Hobbiton, lots of walking, some mountain biking, camp fires and road trips, it sounds like the perfect holiday to me! 

Where would you like to go to for your next holiday? Rome is definitely going to happen for me in 2017, the others will require a bit of saving before they can happen, but they’ll be worth the wait, I’m sure! 

A Few of My favourites

For todays’ blog post, I thought I would do something a little different and off topic compared to my normal sort of posts. Every now and again it dawns on me that although you guys read my posts all the time, you don’t actually really know very much about me. I’ve done a few “facts about me” posts before so I thought I would make up my own sort of tag if you will all about my favourites. So here you go:

  1. My favourite colour – when did favourite colours become obsolete? When I was in school, you’re favourite colour is one of the most important pieces of information you can have about your best friends. My favourite colour is teal, and has been for a very long time. My coat, my vivofit, my bedding, everything I own will be teal if I can find it in the colour.
  2. My favourite movie – I can’t pick one but I can narrow it down for you guys. I am obsessed with Marvel. I love everything Marvel, although I’ve not read as many graphic novels as I would like. Thor and Captain America are my favourites but I do have a soft spot for Iron Man as well and I loved the Avengers films too. I’d happily spend my days drooling over Wolverine as well though so I’m completely undecided about which one is my absolute favourite.
  3. My favourite book – I shouldn’t have a favourite book because all books are equally beautiful but if I’m being 110% truthful, I would have to say that The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult is my all time favourite book. It’s so beautiful and I absolutely love anything to do with World War Two. And of course, it’s written by my all time favourite author so it was always going to be a favourite.
  4. My favourite food – pizza. pasta. garlic bread. any of these bring me happiness. If there is a way to this girl’s heart, it is Pizza Express. Oh the dough balls, I’m drooling at the thought of them! Anything praline as well is always going to be a hit with me too, my wonderful boyfriend bought me THE biggest box of Dairy Box chocolates I’ve ever seen in my life for Christmas and it’s filled with pralines and truffles. My idea of heaven
  5. My favourite song – I’m going to give two answers to this one, my all time favourite song and my currently most played song on iTunes because for some reason they’re two entirely different songs. My all time favourite song is Your Song by Elton John, it’s been a favourite for years and years and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. However, for some reason my most played song on iTunes is Love is On the Radio by Tom and Carrie Fletcher. It’s such a beautiful version and it always manages to get itself stuck in my head
  6. My favourite pastime – I feel like the answer to this should be reading but it’s not. Crocheting or scrapbooking are my two answer. Although I do love reading, I find crocheting and scrapbooking so relaxing after a day at work, and there is nothing better than relaxing after a stressful day at work.
  7. My favourite animal – giraffe. They’re so beautiful and majestic, I love them. I’ve always wanted a tattoo but I’ve never known what to get but a giraffe has to be one of the best contenders. Plus, have you ever seen how giraffes fight? Go on, google it!
  8. My favourite T.V programme – is there more than one answer to this question? The Gilmore Girls! I’ve loved this programme since I first watched it back in my high school days and I still find myself quoting it on a daily basis. I’ve got them all on dvd and I must admit, I’ve watched the dvds so much that a couple of the series are in need of replacing because the skip so much!
  9. My favourite sport – until recently, the answer would have been the MotoGP, and it will always be MY sport, however since going out with boyfriend, I’ve been watching the downhill biking more and more and boy is it exciting! Marquez to win the MotoGP championship this year and I can’t decide between Sam Hill and Greg Minaar to win the downhill…I just can’t!
  10. My favourite place – Paris. San Fransisco. No, Paris. No, San Fransisco. I’ll never be able to decide. What I will say is that I would pack up and move to San Fransisco in a heart beat, and it’s something that boyfriend and I have talked about seriously a few times. I imagine it would be almost impossible to up and move to the other side of the world. I’m not saying never though, just not anytime soon!

So there you have it, a little more insight into the world of Nicole. What are your favourites? If you’d like me to do another post, leave me a favourites question and I will give it another shot!

Wedding Day Shenanigans 

Last weekend, I spent the day surrounded by friends celebrating the marriage of Matt and Becky. The ceremony was beautiful and the whole day was great, filled with laughter, dancing and drink. 

 
Becky’s dress was absolutely gorgeous! The reaction of Matt when he saw Becky walking down the aisle was lovely. The ceremony was very relaxed, with lots of songs and some bible readings. 

  

Rory was one of the Groomsmen, so I headed to lunch with all of his friends after the ceremony as he was going to the wedding dinner. We had a great laugh and amazing food, we ended up in the beer garden playing games and drinking for the majority of the afternoon! 

 
The party at night was great, Matt and Becky’s first dance was How long will I love you by Ellie Goulding. I spent the majority of the night dancing with Rory and his friends as the whole night was a ceilidh. There is nothing quite as fun as ceilidh dancing, I’ve no idea what a wedding would be without it! 

  
After Matt and Becky left, we headed out for a night of clubbing before crashing at our friend Ailsa’s house. It was such a good day and one that I won’t forget for a long time to come. Although it’s still strange to think that we are at the age where friends are starting to get engaged and married! 

Congratulations Matt and Becky!