Since it’s the beginning of a new year, and hopefully a big year for me personally, I thought I’d share my plans and goals for 2019 with you and let you in on what adventures I have been dreaming about and can finally begin to put into action.
Tiny living has always been my dream. Since I was in my twenties it was always the goal that I’d be tiny living by the time I was 40 and that time is now only a couple of years away. Taylor is now 16, nearly finished her Highers and is in the process of deciding what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Luckily she likes (and is really talented in) art and photography so when she comes with me it'll only help her build her portfolio. I'll admit though that tiny living is not Taylor's idea of her dream life. She loves to travel as much as I do but this is her dream....
She is pretty excited to come with me for a while at least.
I’ve been looking at lots of options. I’ve visited wigwams, shepherd huts, considered fancy sheds and even an octagonal wooden hut and while these are a brilliant options for me in a few years down the line when I get bored doing what I’m doing, they aren’t right for me now because I want to travel.
So what have I decided on?
For an island so small there is a surprising amount of things to do in Arran. When I say small, I mean small compared to the mainland, it’s a lot bigger than many of its neighbouring islands but still has the relaxed and slow paced vibe going on that I love. With a population of only 5000 it’s a close knit community, locals are friendly and no one is in a hurry - ever. Every time I think of Arran it puts a smile on my face.
The Isle of Arran is my favourite island so far. It feels less remote than islands further up north although it isn’t any busier. I’m guessing it feels like that because of the Highland boundary line which passes through its centre. The south of the island is green and plush with forest and flowers and cute little settlements whereas the north is very much like the Highlands of Scotland, dramatic, wild and breathtakingly beautiful.
I’ve rounded up a list of things to do in Arran, from mountains and castles to forests and beaches. I encourage you though to use it as a rough guide and instead land on the island, take a deep breath and feel the stress melt away as you reset your body clock to “island time”. Go without a firm plan and see where the road takes you....
The town of Falkirk isn't often the first place that springs to mind when visitors are planning their itinerary. This is changing though thanks to the popularity of Andy Scott's stunning Kelpies. There is so much more things to do in Falkirk though so I want to shine the spotlight on them and show you that Falkirk and the surrounding towns and villages are definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
Of course it makes it a whole lot easier that it's so easy to travel to. Situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow it's easily reached from both cities.
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Things to do in Falkirk
Mysterious places fascinate me. Places that aren’t well known and are off the beaten track. If they happen to be linked with ancient customs, fairies, Celtic rituals or anything along those lines then even better. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tourist attraction too but I like nothing better than grabbing the dog and taking off on the hunt to find a hidden gem. Dunino Den, in the East Neuk of Fife, is exactly that. It ticks all the boxes. Stunning location, fascinating things to see which can’t always be explained, hidden, not well known and surrounded by rumours of druids and fairies.
Glasgow is an arty city. There is a buzz of creative energy that flows through the streets. Whereas you can feel the history oozeing from the ancient bricks and cobbled lanes of Edinburgh’s Old Town, in Glasgow it's all about the creativity. The Glasgow Mural Trail is a brilliant example of the innovative and hip vibe of the city. Cleverly located around the city centre these stunning colourful Glasgow Murals help fill up empty and dull spaces, show off the talent of local artists and help to tell the tale of Glasgow. It’s pretty easy to see the murals for yourself, most are located within walking distance of Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow Central Train Station and Queen Street Train Station. I’ve found an easier way though, a lazy option. I hop on the City Sightseeing Bus.
Leaving from George Square every 15 minutes the open top bus winds its way around the city, with stops at all of the main attractions like Glasgow Cathedral, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum and Merchant City. I always grab a seat on the top deck so I can take photos without a window reflection and I always stick in the earphones (even though I could probably tell you every story, I’ve heard it so much) and listen to the mesmerising tones of Scottish historian Neil Oliver. I quite enjoy being a tourist for a while and the stops are so handy, especially, in this case, if you want to see some Glasgow graffiti. The fact you can hop off wherever you like and get back on once you're done having a nosy around is perfect.
Updated September 2018
The past few years have seen the city of Dundee on Scotland's east coast have a bit of a renaissance, so much so that's it has recently been named one of the top 5 hottest cities in the world! The city has a real buzz at the moment and with the massive redesign of the waterfront and the completion of the long awaited V+A Museum this city is thriving, exciting and inspiring. There is so much things to do in Dundee with kids, especially as it's a city known for it's talented video game creators and comic book designers, which lead to Dundee being named as a UNESCO City of Design.
1. Dundee Science Centre
Where else could you shoot out a nose like a bogey, move a ping pong ball with your mind or turn yourself into a gorilla? This place is packed with experiments you can try out in a fun exciting way so the kids are still learning but they don’t quite realise it. We learned about morse code, the solar system, dinosaurs, played games with robots, sat on a hover craft and tried out some optical illusions.
Children 0-3 Free
Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB
2. Camperdown Wildlife Park
This park in Dundee has been around for as long as I can remember and I have fond memories of playing here as a child so I was excitied to be returning with mine. Lemurs, bears, otters and meerkats are amongst the animals here and there is also wolves, tortoises, peacocks, goats and a whole load more. You could easily stay here for the full day if you explore the park just outside. A slow paced, spread out kind of place you can stop for picnic, or just sit for a bit and not feel rushed or hurried.
Childen 0-3 Free
Camperdown Country Park, Coupar Angus Road, Dundee, DD2 4TF
If you are staying in a Disney Hotel you get to add on a Disneyland Paris meal plan meaning you can pay for your meals as a package before you go saving you money and helping you to budget. You might get offered it free with your package, these are offered at certain times of the year so it depends on when you book. If not you can add it on to when you book 0or before you leave by giving them a call. There are major pros to having a meal plan, the restaurants can be expensive, especially the table service restaurants. The meal plan vouchers give you three courses and a drink for each meal (lunch/dinner) so if you choose to use your voucher at a more expensive restaurant you really can save a fortune. Of course you also won't need to take much money daily to the parks either as you'll only really need to buy water and souvenirs.
I love the village of Culross. Outlander was filmed there but even if it wasn't I’d still be raving about it. Situated on the coast of the Firth of Forth in Fife it’s a village that whips you back to the 17th century like a time machine. It’s cobbled lanes, colourful rustic houses and mustard yellow palace could easily be mistaken for set on a movie. The houses are painted in an array of pastel yellows, pinks, oranges and blues and many have quirky details such as timber frames, wooden staircases and brightly coloured flower boxes. The cobbled lanes lead up from the hub of the village, winding up hill to gems such as the Market Cross and the Abbey. Like Falkland it’s easy to see why the location scouts for Outlander picked this location. The National Trust for Scotland has painstakingly restored the village to how it looked in the 17th and 18th century and the results are outstanding and of course this means the team didn’t have to change much at all.
Are you planning a trip and don’t know where to start? This Guide to Disneyland Paris will make planning a holiday to this magical place a whole lot easier. This article will help you book your Disneyland Paris tickets, choose your fast passes for the rides, find accommodation and choose where to eat. There are so many fantastic options for every stage of your holiday and planning your trip in advance will ensure your little ones have a truly magical time.
In this article you will find
Disneyland Paris turned 25 last year and it’s a park that has had its fair share of ups and downs since it opened it’s doors in 1992. Originally known as “Eurodisney” the park struggled financially due to recession and lower than expected visitor numbers. After a name change and the introduction of new rides however it’s now become the number one tourist attraction in Paris, above the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre! It’s a popular, thriving and utterly magical park.
The park is cleverly located 20 miles east of Paris in the village of Marne-la-Vallée. Clever because it’s within 4 hours driving time for 68 million people and within 2 hours flying time for a further 300 million people. It’s easy to reach for most people, brilliantly fun to research and wonderful and memorable when you finally get there.
Disneyland Paris consist of two parks, the main park known as Parc Disneyland and a second park, Walt Disney Studios. There are seven on-site hotels, Disney Village filled with shops and restaurants and several off-site partner hotels.
A luxury wooden wigwam, tucked away unseen along a winding farm track lined with daffodils and spring blooms, on a pretty woodland estate in the heart of Fife. Sounds pretty heavenly doesn’t it? When I was invited along to try out the new wigwams on Montrave Estate I jumped at the chance. Having stayed in a few of these wigwams in other areas of Scotland I knew it would be a fab two days. Glamping in Fife is exactly the kind of wee break that I love.