What’s been happening recently … July

Time for another brief post containing shots of what’s been happening in life recently. Here the entry for July of what’s been happening recently:



A rainy Brownie afternoon

I thought it would be nice to include a little post about one of mine and Fraser’s recent rainy day activities. It was Edinburgh in July, so naturally the chance of rain was pretty high (no higher though than at any other time of year in Edinburgh). So here are a few shots of our afternoon with the browie maker.


We’ve had this brownie maker for a little while now and have been eager to try it out. After settling into the new flat, having visitors, going on holiday, we finally had a free afternoon to try it out.

Here the measuring of the ingredients started, Fraser is always very good about being exact about these kinds of things.


Then it was my turn, to mix everything together.


Then, gloriously melting chocolate. (Resist the urge to sneak some of it away to eat right now, it is for the BROWNIES!)


Then some more mixing. I felt that the mixture looked a little bit like tar, and I hoped it would taste better.


Then we scooped the mixture into the brownie maker and waited about 5 minutes for each batch.


I decided to watch the rain out of the window while we waited.

The first batch

Soon enough it was done, the first batch. The brownies looked delicious so we immediately filled up the brownie maker again, and then again, yes, and then again.


And there you have it, a large plate of brownies,


one rainy afternoon,

and two hungry cooks.


I can assure you these brownies were a great success and disappeared too quickly, they even received the stamp of approval from our friend Katy. We can’t wait for an excuse to bring out the brownie maker again.


A little trip to Dumfries

Towards the end of July, Fraser and I spent three lovely days in Dumfries with his parents. It’s always nice going to see each other’s parents, a few days to relax and experience some home comforts is often just what we need. So we decided to take a little trip to Fraser’s home in Thornhill.

On the first day we were very lucky with the weather as it had been raining for most of that week but it was sunny when we arrived. So we wandered round the garden, had a lovely meal and then engaged in the ever popular Pixar film evening.

But of course not before unwrapping holiday presents, Fraser was especially happy with his and he even agreed to display it on camera in all its glory. Yes, a Where’s Wally t-shirt. He found Wally pretty quickly but that has not diminished any enjoyment of the t-shirt.

The next morning began with some of that lovely home cooking I talked about, with freshly made pancakes and bacon. DEEElicious.


As the weather had taken a turn for the worse over night we felt an indoor activity would be best. So we decided to visit a nearby castle and take a tour around it.

This is the drive up to Drumlanrig Castle, it looked very impressive.

We learnt a lot about the castle’s history, previous owners, its artwork, and, thanks to one of the younger tour member’s question about ghosts, a little bit about its haunted wonders.


After the tour we walked around the grounds outside for a bit and Fraser regaled us with tales about how he and his friends used to roll down the hills really fast when they were teenagers. I grew up in the city, but it sounds like fun.


The next day there was just enough time to try on some excellent sunglasses Fraser found for me:

and for me to make him try them on too:

Then after a cholocate muffin and some orange juice in the now once again sunny garden, we had to head off back to Edinburgh.

It’s amazing how refreshing it can feel to get away for a few days and be pampered by parents. Thank you to the Shearers for a lovely few days, we hope to do it again sometime soon.

They say it’s your birthday, nananananananaNA, (Or, Nanananana NANAaaa BIRTHDAY)

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to my birthday. Not because I thought it wouldn’t be memorable, or I wouldn’t have fun. It’s the age. I just don’t feel 24. But 24 I am. And on the 21st of July I celebrated my birthday.


I can always rely on Fraser to make sure I have a good time and am expressly forbidden from complaining about being another year older. I know he made a real effort to ensure that I had a special day, and I am very grateful for that. And you know what? Depite myself, I actually really enjoyed it.



The morning started with opening cards and presents. Thanks to everyone for the cards and birthday well wishes. And to Fraser for my very amazing presents. I loved them all! That’s the part of birthdays that always has that same special feeling, when you see little parcels wrapped up you get just as excited as you did as a child.

Then one of the lovely surprises of the day. Fraser banished me from the kitchen for about half an hour and surprised me with my all time favourite soup, he knows that is the best kind of lunch for me. A great surprise as I had no idea what I would be getting and it made me very happy.

We then went for a little birthday wander and ended up at the Grassmarket at the Jazz and Blues festival.


That was a nice surprise. We had a look around the shops, the stalls and listened to some music. It was sunny and warm, my first birthday in Edinburgh where it hasn’t rained.


And THEN, it was time for what is fast becoming a little birthday tradition. Bibi’s Bakery. Seriously the best cupcakes you have ever tasted, no word of a lie. Princes Street was very busy but we pushed through the crowds to get to these jewels.


And then, as it was so busy, we took them home to devour them. Let me just take a moment to remember how delicious they were.


I chose a Smarties one and a chocolate-orange one.


Fraser chose a cookies and cream one and a banoffee pie one.


Then we got ready to go out. We went for dinner at my favourite restaurant and finished the evening off by watching The Dark Knight Rises (which we both greatly enjoyed, very good of the studio to time the release for my birthday.)


So all in all here’s the story, I can’t promise that next year I won’t get that nervous feeling as I inch closer to my birthday, thinking that in my head I am still 21 or something. But as the years go by it also gets easier to remember just how much fun I had last year on my birthday and that the year that followed was filled with so many more great memories. And you know, it’s worth remembering that no matter what there will always be cupcakes.

Special thank you to this guy

for making this girl

a very happy birthday girl!

Devon, with the best family in the world!

So, I have the best family in the world. I know it may seem like the sort of thing that is tough to prove definitively, but I just know that I do. And last month I was lucky enough to spend a week in Devon with my whole extended family. It was a wonderful and memorable week and a great way to celebrate my mum’s 60th birthday.

In total there were twelve of us, and we shared one big house together for the week. Devon is a beautiful place and there was plenty for us to do there. We weren’t always so lucky with the weather but we never let that stop us from having fun.

Most days we went in search of beautiful clifftop walks. It was so lovely to be wandering along chatting to each other, laughing, whilst being surrounded by such incredible scenery.



I really enjoy every minute I spend with my family. They are amazing people and we always have stuff to talk about.

Me and my lovely Laurence

They are even kind enough to let me sometimes pretend that I am actually not the smallest member of the family, that in fact, I tower above my cousins (thank you Laurence and Ester).

It was also particularly nice that my whole family finally got to meet Fraser who also enjoyed our week in Devon and getting to know these people who mean so much to me.


My favourite day was probably the day we visited this lovely beach. It was warm and sunny and the perfect way to relax for the afternoon.


My British family members (and my always-up-for-an-adventure brother) being somewhat hardened to the cold, even made the bizarre decision to go for a swim in the sea. I think I speak for them when I say, thank Christ for wet suits!



Trips like this one always make me wish I could see my family more. They are the most important people in the world to me. I feel like I could talk to them about anything and for days. And somehow with all our individual wacky personalities, we never run out of ways to have fun together.


I can honestly say that I cannot wait to do this all over again. Hopefully in the future I will be seeing a lot more of all of them, the greatest family in the world.