Sunday, 21 May 2017


Day Trip with Suzie | Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, Suzie came down from Glasgow and we went on a little road trip down to New Abbey, Mabie Farm Park and then down to the Colvend Coast.  I had to split the day into two blog posts as there were quite a few photos and I couldn't whittle them down.

The day started fairly early as I met Suzie in Dumfries.  It was the first proper day out my new wee car had had since I picked it up, so I was excited about having an excuse to drive it.  We decided to head to Mabie Farm Park, as we both needed a fun day out and we both love animals.  On the way we passed through a little village called New Abbey.  The road through the village is very twisty!  We had already planned that we were going to stop off at a Abbey Cottage Tea Room which is situated right next to Sweetheart Abbey.

One of the big bends in the road through New Abbey, with Abbey Cottage Tea Room on the right.
I had never visited Abbey Cottage Tea Rooms before, but I'm glad I did.  There is a lovely gift shop at the front selling all kinds of local products.  Through the back, and with views of Sweetheart Abbey the tearoom wasn't very busy - it wasn't really a tourist time - there were only three other tables occupied, so we got a nice table near to the window.  The menu was a lot larger than I expected, and I had trouble choosing what I was going to have.  I really fancied ice-cream, so decided to just have a cheese and onion toastie, and it was yum!  The ice cream I had afterwards was Cream O'Galloway (local) honeycomb and there was just a perfect amount.  Suzie had a ham and cheese toastie followed by a scone and jam, and she assured me they were both delicious too.  I definitely need to go back, as I have my eye on a veggie haggis and cheese panini.

Delicious honeycomb Cream O'Galloway ice cream.
There is a very handy car park right behind Abbey Cottage Tea Room, and right next to Sweetheart Abbey.  I had my camera in the car, so I couldn't pass up taking a few photos of the Abbey as it is really quite stunning.  Sweetheart Abbey was founded by Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway.  She is buried there, along with the heart of her husband Lord John Balliol, which was embalmed and placed in an ivory casket after he died and she carried it around with her wherever she went until her death.

Sweetheart Abbey

Part two features photographs of Mabie Farm Park and the Colvend Coast.
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Saturday, 13 May 2017

FFM - Fantasy Football Magazine

Source: Fantasy Football Magazine
I have just purchased a season subscription for this new Fantasy Football Magazine! When I finally accepted Jamie's invitation to join the Fantasy Football world - it only took a few years - I didn't think that I would get so into it, but I have enjoyed it so much. Not gonna lie, it's been challenging and stressful at times, but there have been some high points - such as being on top of the mini league for a number of weeks mid season, and the fact that it looks like I could actually finish above Jamie! Hopefully this magazine will help me not to make as many silly mistakes or rash transfers next season, and aid my learning so that I can build on my 'not bad even if I do say so myself' rookie season!

The first issue which was released online was fab, so I can't wait for the physical magazines to arrive at my door each month next season!  If you want to take a look at Issue One, it's here for your viewing pleasure.  As you will see, it is jam packed with interviews, tips, statistics, analysis and overall useful information.
If you do end up deciding to contribute towards this new magazine, or purchase a subscription, please use the link above, as there is a competition going to see who can get the most referrals!
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Sunday, 7 May 2017


Down by the Loch.

On my way home from work the other day, I stopped at a couple of laybys to take some pictures.  There was no one else about (apart from a car - but I could see no people!), and it was really quiet apart from some birds and sheep/lambs!

This first lay by is just off the road, right next to the loch, and surrounded by trees, so I found it a little eerie being there by myself, especially with the birds making noises.  I'm such a wuss, but I get creeped out easily when surrounded by trees. 

A little bit further down the road from the first layby was the second.  This one is right next to the road and a bit further from the water.  I spent longer here!  It is a shame that there is a car parked down by the water (laziness by a fisherman - or woman!! - I'm presuming!).  As you can see, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful late afternoon/early evening.

In between taking the picture above and the picture below about 20 red kites suddenly and quite silently appeared from the trees to the left of the picture, which is very close to the first lay by I stopped in.  I'm quite glad I wasn't still there as that would have been even more eerie!  These birds have wingspans of 2 metres, so aren't small!  The kites didn't stay for long and were soon circling over the trees on the far side of the loch and then disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

The photo below looks like it could be a timelapse of a kite circling, but it's just seven kites in one picture.  Six of the kites are obvious, but can you spot the seventh?

I could have stayed and enjoyed the sun and the view for a long time - it was really peaceful and quiet, and a great way to unwind after work.
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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Crafty Creations: Button Pictures

I thought I would share some of the button pictures I have done over the last year and a half.  I've included simple descriptions of how each picture is composed.

Black Cat:  Canvas Background

Anchor: Card Background on Printed Paper

Pink Rabbit: Card Background on Printed Paper

Blue Rabbit:  Card Background on Tartan Paper

Sheep: Card background on card

Black Stag: Painted background on card
Ballerina: Canvas board background (second button picture I did, as a Birthday present for my mum).

Fox: Card background on Card

Squirrel: Card background on patterned paper
Belted Galloway: Card background

Black Stag: Painted background on canvas board

Hedgehog: Card background on patterned paper

If you fancy making your own button art, you could start with a small canvas.
Print out an outline of whatever you want your shape to be, cut it out and draw round it faintly in pencil.
You could fill in the outline with paint if you are doing all one colour of buttons (making sure you don't splash) or you could just go ahead and start sticking the buttons on.

Which is your favourite?  If you have any questions feel free to ask!

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Get Crafty: Cuddly Bunny & Bea-hoot-iful Owl

Recently, when my mum was doing a fabric order, I was inspired to also make a fabric order (it was rather difficult as there were soooo many fabrics to choose from!!) and after browsing the patterns I chose a couple of those too.  The first one I chose was this pattern pack containing an owl, deer, rabbit, raccoon and fox.

The first thing I made was this cute bunny (below), but I was so eager to make it, I didn't take any photos!  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and considering it is the first proper thing I have sewn in a long long time, it's really not bad.  Practice makes perfect, and there are things that I learned from this make, that I was able to improve on when making the owl.

When I moved onto the owl, I made sure to take a few progress photos.

First off, here is the pattern all cut out - it's basically baking parchment πŸ˜‚!

After cutting out the pattern, and choosing which material I was going to use, I pinned the pattern on.

As you may see, I had to create an extra wing piece as I needed to cut out 4 pieces (the material was doubled) and it meant I could do all the pinning and cutting at the same time.  For the eyes and beak I used some sticky backed fabric.

Once I had cut out the pieces, I then again got too keen with the sewing and forgot to take any photos until I had finished!!  Next time, I'll make sure to take photos at each and every step!

Here is the finished owl.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

How Now, Beltie Cow?

I just had to stop and take pictures of these Beltie Cows when I saw them at the side of the road. Aren't they gorgeous? I believe in America they are affectionately known as Oreo Cows!
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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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Valentine's Nails

I saw these emoji nail water decals on ebay and just had to get them! 😘  Today is the perfect day to show them.  I had originally done all my nails with the decals, but some of the colour came off and they looked ugly, so I just kept the one that went on nicely!  I was so happy though today as the sun was shining, and for the first time in a long time I actually got some daylight pictures of my nails!

Loreal colour riche 'Shocking Pink' (3 coats) matched the little hearts well and is a gorgeous pink!  The little white studs helped tie in my other nails with the decaled one.

Winnie the Pooh was quite taken with my nails!  This Pooh was a Valentine's gift from J from a few years back πŸ’–πŸ»  His face actually cracks me up in these pictures as it really does look like he is overjoyed with my nails πŸ˜‚πŸ˜….

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Thursday, 9 February 2017


Volunteering - London 2012 Olympics

*Originally posted 20.05.2013.  Edited 09.02.2017*  I was lucky enough to be picked to be a volunteer at the Olympics in 2012.  The London 2012 volunteers were called Games Makers.  The process started way back in 2010, however, my involvement started a little later than that.  I originally applied for a paid role, but in hindsight I am so glad I didn't get the job!  240,000 people applied to be Games Makers with only around 70,000 being chosen.  When I received a call inviting me to be a Games Maker I was over the moon to have been picked.

Even thought the Games were awarded to London, the football events were held in Glasgow, Newcastle, Coventry, Manchester and Cardiff as well as in London.  The role I was offered was Athlete Services Assistant, to be based at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.  And for it to be looking after teams of footballers, being a football fan myself, the role couldn't have been better!  I couldn't have asked for a better location either, as I was living a mere 5 minute walk away from the hotel!  The role and my experience as a whole was far better than I had expected.  

There were a few training days which took place at Hampden Park, and at the Hilton and Marriott hotels in Glasgow.  I also had to go and collect my uniform and accreditation.  These were great as we got to meet fellow volunteers, as well as the people who were going to be in charge of us.  There wasn't too much to learn as such, just the way it was all going to work.  The most important thing for me was gaining familiarisation of the Marriott hotel, and getting to know the people I was going to be working with a bit better.  I was super pleased that everyone I came across was so friendly.

with Clare & Preeti at Hampden Park for training.
I had to carry this huge box of clothing all the way from Hampden Park, on the train, and back to my flat!  It was about half the size of me, and as you can see from the box - it was raining!  Luckily I found someone else on the train with a box, and we bonded haha, the lovely lady I met on the train was called Izzy and she is one of the loveliest ladies around who does an awful lot of volunteering!
With every new outfit comes a photoshoot, right?  I didn't have any need to wear the cap as I was indoors all the time!
I didn't know exactly what I was going to be doing until my first shift, so it was a little nerve-wracking on my way to the hotel on the first day.  I loved the uniform we had though, and felt really proud to be wearing it and it was really comfortable!  It didn't take very long for me to walk to the hotel, and once I got there it had changed considerably since the familiarisation day - security had been stepped up big time; there were armed police on the doors, and me and my bag had to go through a scanner!

On my first few days there were no teams in, so it was good to be able to settle in to the role and get everything ready.  We had meeting/dining rooms to set up, as well as setting up the relaxation room - which was where our table was based!

Testing out the facilities before the teams arrived.
Based at the Marriott were Spain, Honduras, Morocco and Japan men's football teams.  Luckily I was on shift when each of the teams arrived.  They all arrived at different times, and there was a definite buzz around when we were expecting a team in!  One of the memorable arrivals was Honduras, as they were pretty late arriving, so that day was a long old shift - around 13 hours by the time we left, however, it did not feel like that.  The other memorable arrival was Spain.  Not long after they arrived, I had the task of showing the whole team up to where they needed to get their photographs for their accreditations.  I had to take them up in the lift, and even though it was only a couple of floors, they managed to fit in a whole song and were obviously pretty buzzing as they were jumping up and down and everything.  What a jolly bunch!

One of the main things that we had to do was be on hand to answer any questions or deal with any problems which arose. Over the course of my stint in the hotel, I had to deal with a few issues but it was mostly plain sailing.  We had to make sure everyone had the correct schedules and knew when they were going to training and matches, and one of the random tasks we had to do was order pizza for the whole of the Spanish team!  They even gave us a couple of pizzas which was really nice of them!  We also had to make sure the relaxation room was kept neat and tidy at all times.

Being stationed in the relaxation room - which was on route to all the meeting rooms and the entrance/exit - was a fantastic place to be.  In the relaxation room there was a tv, wii, pool table and table tennis tables as well as sofas to relax on.  The football teams were made up of up and coming stars as well as some who were already established.  It was really nice to observe the players from different teams mingling and unwinding.  We did actually get invited to play wii and table tennis a few times too!  Not many people can say that they have been beaten at Mario Kart by Real Madrid player Isco!  One of the days I also had an interesting conversation with 'Frank' who is a French member of the Olympic Committee - he was in promoting the Athlete's Commission.  As well as our Athlete Services team, some of the transport team were based with us - the ones who coordinated the travel between the Hotel and venues, and each of the countries had a Team Liaison Games Maker who were with the teams 24/7, so we got to meet other Games Makers too - along with everyone who was working at the Hilton looking after the women's football teams.

Mario Kart with Zouhair Feddal and Driss Fettouhi of the Moroccan team.
One thing that was really surreal was seeing the players leave on coaches, watching them play on TV, and then welcoming them back to the hotel afterwards!  And it is still quite weird now, when watching a football match on TV and seeing them.  It was a really nice place to spend 12 days, the Olympic buzz was phenomenal.

There were a few more highlights during my time as a Games Maker, one of these was when Cesar Azpilicueta came for a chat with me and Annie, who was the Team Liaison for Japan, introducing himself, asking our names and wanting to practice his English.  He was lovely, and every time he saw me he shouted 'Emma!' which was quite funny.  He ended up signing for Chelsea not long after the Olympics!  One of the other super lovely guys that I came across was Juan Mata, who had to borrow a charger from one of our team.  Actually, most of the people I came across were SO nice.

Don't really like this photo of me, but the lovely Cesar Azpilicueta!  This was actually one of my days off haha.

Another picture of me that I don't really like, but with the super sweet Juan Mata.
Another memorable thing was having to bring in my own wii remotes, as the hotel didn't have enough for the games, and as I lived five minutes away it was no bother me going to get mine!  Not many people can say they had Olympians using their wii remotes haha!

Zou Feddal of Morocco
and Zou Feddals autograph, on my arm.. he was obsessed with signing things!

It was very sad when the teams started leaving, but they were all in high spirits and excited about moving to their next destination.  On my last proper full day, Anthony (Team Liaison for Spain) took me to say goodbye to some of the team explaining to them in Spanish that it was my last day, and at the table were Juan Mata, Cesar Azpilicueta, Diego Marino and Adrian Lopez.  Each of them got up and gave me a hug and said thank you, which was really sweet of them!  I did end up going in for a couple of hours the next day to help dismantle everything, and the training staff from Spain were still around packing up their coach to leave.  They were just as fun as the rest of the team and wanted us to have a go with the training equipment... haha, so it ended up with me standing on a half ball thing having a ball thrown at me... goalkeeper in the making.

Weirdly, my last day coincided with the actual opening ceremony (there were so many football matches that a few needed to be played before the opening day!), so it was very weird sitting watching that on the TV thinking that that was me finished!  Must admit it was a very emotional ceremony and I did quite possibly have a little cry during it!

I just have so many memories flying round my head every time I think about it all!  I just can't find the words to describe them, they are moments that you just have to have been there to appreciate.  Luckily, I'm still in touch with a few of the people I worked closely with, and from time to time we reminisce about our memories.

with Stuart, my line manager

with Ben & Elizabeth - we were the 'dream team' and every day working with these two was so much fun!

Some of the team from the Marriott.  There were some offices upstairs also.

the Dream Team!

Preeti, myself and Liz at the welcome home parade for the Scottish athletes.
Volunteering at the London 2012 Olympic Games (albeit in Scotland) was a truly unforgettable experience - and has lead on to more fantastic volunteering roles - and I am really grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of something so amazing.

Javi Martinez

Ahh love this photo!  Lovely bunch including current Premier League players, on the right of me, from right to left - Ander Herrera, Juan Mata (both Manchester United) & Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Love this pic too! Inigo, Tello & Montoya. 

Another really lovely guy, Maynor Figueroa.

My other half was a little jealous that I got to meet this guy - David De Gea, Manchester United goalkeeper.

Arnold Peralta - he actually signed for Rangers for a bit, and I kept in touch with him via twitter and had another photo with him when Rangers played Queen of the South.  Tragially, Arnold was killed in Honduras in 2015, which is so sad.

What a fantastic souvenir to have!  Signed by some of the Spain squad: CΓ©sar Azpilicueta, Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez, Alberto Botia,Juan Mata, David De Gea, Martin Montoya & Rodrigo Moreno.
I hope you enjoyed this post!  I certainly enjoyed re-reading and editing it, and even nearly five years on it just feels like yesterday! (Edited Feb '17)
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