Holiday in Scotland: The Slow Life

24 July 2016

Holiday Scotland 2016 - Slow Life

I loved that my husband and I spent so much quality time with my boys while on holidays.

I loved that the days were so long, that our routines were so flexible, that we could just go with the flow of a slow, holiday life.

Play hangman and card games for 3 hours? Sure.

Dance around the bonfire, toasting marshmallows till 10pm at night? Why not.

Spend hours collecting 24 perfect rock pieces from a pebbled beach to make a chess set? Yes please.

I went on a long 3 hour drive, with just one kid, to explore a little town, with no goal except to come home with milk and eggs. Oh what fun adventures we had! Getting up to silly antics. Taking funny photos. Having brand new experiences. Talking and laughing like we were best friends. Then I did the same again the next day, with my other kid, and then the other.

I loved every minute I had with each boy. They are all so gloriously different!

My boys are 7, 11 and 13 now… and day by day, I can almost feel time slipping away from me, as if I’m frantically trying to catch pouring water with my cupped hands.

Most times, I’m so irritated by their noise, their 12 year old language, and their boy behaviours… but in the same breath I love them to bits and I wish that they could stay little, childlike and wildly happy.

 


 

Holiday in Scotland: Ben More

20 July 2016

In Scotland, a mountain that is more than 3000 feet high (914m) is called a Munro. There are about 282 Munros in the British Isles… and “Climbing a Munro” is kind of a big thing in Scotland.

Actually, let me clarify, Munro Climbing is a big thing in my husband’s family, so since our kids were in Scotland for the first tine, there was a strong Scottish desire to pass on the flame.

The highest and most well known Munro is Ben Nevis, which sits at 1,346m (4,414 ft).

We tackled Ben More, which is 966m (3,169 ft). And just to give you a bit of perspective, I’ve climbed Ben More twice in 2002, when my husband and I were last in Scotland together.

Off we went!

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

The weather wasn’t great at the start, it was a bit overcast, windy and it rained on us too.

At least the clouds stayed off the peak, so we had a clear view of our target.

The ground wasn’t all flat grassy slopes, as the picture suggests.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

Some parts were rocky, uneven, slippery, wet, muddy and some parts were just over grown with ferns – taller than my 7 year old!

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

There’s our target!

To tell the truth, we didn’t plan to climb to the very top. It takes about 3-4 hours to climb to the top, meaning 8-9 total hours for the kids, including rest stops.

The weather was quite unsettled on this day, so we started late in the day. Therefore in order to have a good experience, we decided to stick to a 3.5 hour climb only and a 3 hour descent.

We didn’t want to risk being stuck on the mountain with three tired kids in the cold wind and rain, and 2 hours left to walk. That would have been a bad experience for everyone!

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

We would stop every 30 minutes, have a snack and enjoy the view.

Yep, the views were spectacular! We could see our car parked by the side of the road.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

Imagine walking up some steps for 3.5 hours… then throw in lots of loose dirt, slippy rocks and ankle-twisting grass tufts.

It was challenging and so much fun.

I really enjoyed myself!!

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

Did I mention that the views were spectacular?!

As you can probably tell, I took sooooo many photos.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

My kids were champs. They all did so well.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

And this was our highest point. As we suspected the weather had turned and it became much colder and windier. Clouds were skimming the peak.

We had climbed 2/3 of Ben More. The top looked so close!

Perhaps we could have climbed for another hour to the top, but it would have added another 2 hours for the trip down.

Besides, if the top got covered in cloud, we wouldn’t be able to see anything. And depending on how thick the clouds were, there was a possibility that visibility would drop to 1 metre and someone might lose their footing and fall down a cliff?? No thanks.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

Like I said, we decided to enjoy the view and be thrilled about how far we had come.

We took lots of silly family selfies, noisy videos, and epic panorama photos.

I love this photo I took of my kids taking a nap on top of the mountain haha.

Scotland 2016 - Climb Ben More

On the way down, I spotted this perfect thistle – the national flower of Scotland.

And I took this postcard-perfect photo of the humble, prickly weed!

All up, it was a 7 hour adventure of a lifetime and an absolute highlight of our trip.

Maybe our family will come back in the not so distant future and do the whole climb to the top.


 

Holiday in Scotland 2016: Hidden Waterfalls

17 July 2016

Scotland Holiday 2016 - Hidden waterfalls

It is amazing how I can be walking along a quiet path in a Scottish forest… then suddenly I look over and there’s a BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL!

And it’s, you know, doing it’s thing, as it has been for the last hundred years or so.

There’s so much beauty everywhere.


 

What I Wore: 90s Floral Print in a Grown Up Style

15 July 2016

Floral Dress

Floral prints are definitely a new season trend.

I’ve see them popping up everywhere and while a part of me sighs at the repeat of yet another fashion trend from my youth, hey, I can’t resist a bit of floral in my wardrobe.

Yep these wild, floral prints have been around before. And particularly, this kind of floral print (with a black background) was HUGE in the 90s. I had a so many of these dresses back then! I was so grunge haha!

Anyway, my biggest challenge was to try wearing this print in a grown up style – that is – without making myself cringe because I’m dressing like a teenager.

I picked out this Black Lantern Floral Print Dress, which was provided by Shein, as a sample for me to try out.

Honestly I loved the print (it’s not overly busy), the sleeves, the v-neck (not too revealing), the nipped in waist and the flattering skirt.

BUT I had to alter it slightly, because it was way too voluminous for me in the body and I didn’t like the choker detail. Specifically, I cut off some panels of fabric from the back. if you look at the photos of the original dress, you’ll see what I mean.

Floral Dress

It has a very easy-to-wear style, it’s comfortable, it’s very flowy, flattering and feminine and best of all it was only AUS$38 (US$28). The fabric is very nice too.

Personally, I don’t think you should spend big on these floral dresses, so I recommend hitting up ASOS, Zara, Sportsgirl for your floral dress fix.

Or here are some other pretty floral dresses from Shein – I was obsessing over whether to get this floral maxi dress (AUS$26) too.

Also wearing: Over the knee boots from Betts, A.P.C. Half Moon Bag from Shopbop.

Happy shopping!


 

Holiday in Scotland 2016: Castle Hunting

14 July 2016

Scotland 2016 - Moy Castle

We explored quite a few castles and abbeys during our trip.

It was such an incredible experience to touch the moss covered rocks, to run my fingers along the edges of the stones, to feel the cold walls, to smell the musty darkness of the rooms… and imagining the kind of life people lived hundreds of years ago. My head exploded!

This is Moy Castle, built in the 15th Century, featuring 3 floors, its own well and a dungeon.

My favourite part of it was its dreamy exterior texture and colours.

Scotland2016 - Iona Abbey

This is the inside of a ruined nunnery on the Island of Iona.

The island is rather famous and sacred, because Saint Columba established a monastery there in AD563, which became central to the spread of Christianity in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom (Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland).

Scotland2016 - Croft, Malcom's Point

And this is a ruined farmer’s croft we found while one of our mountain walks.

My kids had such a hoot walking around in and around it, exclaiming how it was like a real life Minecraft house, haha!


 

It’s the little things

13 July 2016

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

I’ve always been careful with my money.

When I first started working, I used to live at home and I would save half of my fortnightly income.

My parents would often call me “a saver” and “a careful spender” when describing my relationship with money, which – at the time – I wasn’t sure if they were teasing me for being a thrifty tight-ass haha.

As the years went by, my girlfriends started their handbag collections with Pradas and LVs… yes I was quite envious – but I had other priorities, I got married at 24, bought a house, had a baby and well… things were really tight for us.

It has only been in the last couple of years that we’ve found a comfortable space; my online business is doing incredibly well, and I’ve started to spend (invest!) a bit more on little luxury items for my wardrobe.

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

I guess it also helps that there are so many designer sales on too!

Which leads me onto my latest purchase.

I recently finished a huge freelance job and rewarded myself with a special little something (with the help of a gift card too, courtesy of Shopbop).

I bought this Charlotte Olympia card holder from Shopbop during their last round of Designer Sales.

It’s just a wee little thing, but I absolutely love the delicate and feminie details on it.

It’s perfect for my smaller handbags. It’s pretty and practical.

Charlotte Olympia Card Holder

Anyway, this time Shopbop are having a 25% off all items from their Designer Boutique section – which is pretty amazing!

Just use the code “DESIGNER25″ at the checkout, until July 14, 2016, at 7p.m AEST.

For me, being that little bit older and wiser, I can appreciate my little luxuries and they are all the more special to me.

Hope you enjoy the sale! And hope you manage to find a comfortable space for yourself for little luxuries too.

Have an amazing week everyone!


 

Holiday in Scotland: Loving the Wilderness

10 July 2016

Hi everyone!!

I’m writing from Scotland. I’m sitting in a cozy lounge room, with big glass windows overlooking a grand lake and mountains :)

It’s been glorious watching the mountain landscape change hour after hour. The light and colour changes; sometimes it’s pale blue or soft pink, or deep green, or misty grey, or perculiar purple, or vibrant orange.

The sunshine changes the shadows, which changes the textures, which changes the mountain’s features. The sky, mist and clouds change, illuminating and highlighting even more of the mountain’s features… EVERYTHING makes the mountains look different each day. It’s like an infinite masterpiece from nature.

So far, our highlight has been hiking up into the Scottish Highlands. The wilderness.

Malcoms Point, Scotland

This is Malcom’s Point, on the very remote west coast of Scotland. It’s rough, wild and definitely not recommended on any tourist maps.

This particular day, we walked about 6 hours in total, hiking over a river, through the rain, mud, rocks, poo, overgrown meadows, tufty fields, past ruined farm houses and up along little goat paths.

Malcoms Point, Scotland

We followed the stream and watched it turn into a waterfall off the cliff.

That view! I could have stared at it and soaked it up all day.

Malcoms Point, Scotland

It was such an amazing day out with my family.

My boys were thrilled beyond belief! And my husband and I were thrilled to have shared it with them!

It was definitely one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had together :)


 

What I Wore: Grey Bustier

6 July 2016

Keepsake Strapless Top from Revolve

Yes I know it’s winter here in Australia! But hey, some days are warm enough for a strapless top and a light cardigan.

This gorgeous top is a Grey Tessellate Top from Revolve. It’s still on sale (XS, S, M still available), if anyone is interested?!

I bought it because I wear skinny jeans a lot and wanted a top that was a bit unstructured but still super-flattering.

I’m not going to lie, I know strapless tops suit me and look great on my body shape. It accentuates my best features! It looks young and pretty, but still elegant, effortless and a bit grown up.

It is actually a crop top, with a floppy layer, open on one side, so it flashes my tummy and waist at certain angles, but I’m ok with that.

I’m wearing the XS/6 and it fits me very well across the chest. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall down.

Grey Strapless Top by Keepsake, from Revolve

The only issue with the top… is that the chest has double layered fabric (because of the petal layer thing) and is a bit heavy, so the top hem falls forward and looks weird – I suspect it’s because I have a small bust.

So to make it sit right, I had to wear TWO strapless bras! Haha it sounds so crazy, but it wasn’t that bad. It just felt like I was wearing a bikini swimsuit underneath.

It looked perfect on me after that :)

I still felt comfortable enough to wear it and move around all day. It didn’t particularly make my boobs look bigger either, because all the floppy fabric just made my whole chest look shapeless haha. Double bras! Omg I don’t believe I’m admitting these things on the internet!

I love that I can wear this with culottes, high waisted skirt, pants, jeans and who knows, maybe denim shorts when summer comes around.

Keepsake Strapless Top from Revolve

Wearing:

Grey Tessellate Top from Revolve
White jeans, Similar
Nude Heels from ASOS
Tory Burch Handbag


 

A.P.C Half Moon Bag

4 July 2016

Last year, I had a fairly quiet birthday. This year… eeek, I was a little spoilt!

I received a couple of lovely (and adorably thoughtful) gifts from my husband, my kids, friends and my parents.

Aaaand… for myself, behold my birthday splurge!

APC Half Moon Handbag

I got myself an A.P.C Half Moon Bag courtesy of Shopbop.

I’ve actually been a fan of A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) for a long time. I love love LOVE their understated yet feminine style.

I wanted to buy one of their light sweaters a while ago and hunted around for one – which is how I came to know about their Half Moon Bags.

I absolutely adore the shape. I love that it is timeless, understated, simple and casual. It’s not overly expensive, as compared to other designer bags, and it’s a bit more unique and unusual.

I was considering to get the bag in a tan colour. But in the end, I chose the black, because I plan to use it as my everyday small bag.

APC Half Moon Handbag

Already I find it nice and sturdy. It can take a small knock and doesn’t seem to scuff up easily.

It’s just big enough for my purse, phone, keys, tissues and small cosmetics pouch.

It’s just such a lovely bag!


 

My Reading List for 2016 (so far…)

1 July 2016

Bookshelf July 2016

Hey everyone!

Just thought I’d give you all peek at my pretty bookshelf.

We actually have 12 more shelf-sections of books – full of non-fiction books, young adult novels, kid’s novels and National Geographic magazines. These shelves are definitely are not as neat and pretty as my rainbow collection.

Would you believe, we even have one shelf-section dedicated to multiple copies of Harry Potter Books – all of which I’ve never read. I slogged through 2/3 of the first book and couldn’t read any more of it. My oldest boy has read them all though.

And then we have another 3 shelf-sections of young children’s books, like The Hungry Caterpillar, Where is the Green Sheep and my children’s favourites that I can’t bear to throw out.

Anyway, it’s almost halfway through the year and I thought I’d share my “Books I’ve Read” list so far.

11 books in 6 months! This is definitely my record, since… having children 13 years ago haha.

I’ve started with the book I finished reading a few days ago… working my way backwards to the book I received for Christmas and started in January.

11. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (Omg hard to read, but sooo fricking amazing!)

10. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

8. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

7. The Martian by Andy Weir

6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

4. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami,

You can check out my whole list over at Goodreads, although you have to be logged in to see the list in chronological order, I think.

Enjoy!


 

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