My 2013...Year In Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it)!

As it's coming to the end of 2013 (can you believe it?!) I thought I'd have a look back at how my year has gone.

January

This was the start of several months of pretty hard graft as I neared my finals and the end of my degree. However, there was still some time for some nights out...



Where I of course drank cocktails, not tea,...


...and in Scotland, January is a month to celebrate our national bard Robert Burns with Burns suppers and celidhs, this one held by my department at university.





February

The studying continues, and someone in our study rooms was obviously feeling much the same as me.



It snowed in Edinburgh (rarer than you might think).


 I finally visited The Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh, which has these comfy seats:


And there was a rare chance for all eleven of my group of friends from home to get together for a catch-up at Ketchup.


March

Studying began to escalate! But on one night in particular we were all able to relax as it was time for the annual Chemistry Ball...

Photo by the wonderful Freelance Photographic

Photo by the wonderful Freelance Photographic



 Finally I had my last lecture! For which our lecturer very kindly brought some drinks to celebrate afterwards!


April & May

I am not exaggerating when I say these months were a blur of revision-filled days and exams.

But I did manage to take some decent time off to win a charity pub quiz (where I displayed my rather unattractive competitive side)...

...and have a catch-up with a best friend in a cute basement bar.


The end of May brought with it the end of exams, and I celebrated with a Day Trip to St Andrews and bubbles with Mum.


June

This was the start of a pretty awesome summer for me. I got to go on holiday with my family: a cruise round the Black Sea and a short stay in Turkey...


And this was the night I found out my degree results as we sailed out of Istanbul - I was quite a happy bunny.



Cocktails, sun and Game of Thrones - what more could a girl want?


Back in Scotland, I went to see the wonderful Robbie Williams and Olly Murs in concert.


And there was just the small matter of graduating!


July

I visited a friend in Manchester:


Took a trip to London, on one of the hottest weekends of the year, to see Derren Brown and visit Hogwarts:




August

I started this blog!




And travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia where I had an amazing time. If you want to read more about that, check out these posts: 123456.

September

And so the job-hunt began, which took me to London a few more times for interviews, where I decided that St Pancras International is my favourite train station.


And there were some catch-ups with friends from home.




October

I turned 23 (what?!).


And at the end of the month/beginning of November, took a trip to Belfast.


November

Took advantage of the nice Autumn weather and went for many a walk.


And went to a pretty great fireworks display.



December

Christmas time! I love this time of year and will be sad when it's over!



It's been rather a mixed year, with the majority of it being stressful either because of uni or job-hunting, and while my summer was amazing writing this has actually made me appreciate that I've still had a lot of good times the rest of the year. I'm particularly appreciative of my family, who have been so supportive and understanding when I have had one of several emotional moments - and of course, for being happy to have me back in the family home temporarily.

Hopefully, in 2014 I will secure a job that I am happy with and start the next chapter in my life...with lots of little adventures along the way!

Wishing you all the very best for the coming year! 

What were your highlights of 2013? Do you have any hopes for 2014?

Edinburgh's Christmas

Now I may be biased, having lived there for five years until this June, but I would say Edinburgh is one of the best places to visit at Christmastime.

The Christmas market pops up beside the National Galleries and alongside Princes Street Gardens, with a view to the Christmas tree that has appeared on the Mound under the shadow of the Castle. If you head there well wrapped up and with an empty stomach, you're bound to have a good time!

This year it's a little different, but with the exception of the skating rink having downsized and moved locations, I'd say it's an improvement! There's now lots more bars with a bit of seating area which was sorely lacking in previous years, and the festivities have now expanded to include a market at St Andrews Square.


I'll be hard pressed to beat the fun times I've had in Edinburgh at Christmas with my uni friends, but having been away from my second home for a shocking six months, Mum and I thought now would be a good time to make a little trip through.

Unfortunately, I seemed to have caught a little bug and found the over-heated shops, however nicely they were decorated, unbearable to spend much time in and ended up actually being sick after dinner which scuppered my plans of sampling one too many cocktails!

But during the day I did manage to have a good wander around the re-vamped Christmas markets which definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.

After arriving about midday, we dropped our stuff at the hotel then headed to Eteaket, a lovely little cafe just off George Street which specialises in tea. I don't actually drink tea, but I love Eteaket anyway - they have a great selection of savoury food as well as cakes, it's decorated really nicely and you can even get a glass of fizz, what more can you ask for?






My little bug came on about this time, which prevented me from sampling the many delicacies available. Pretty disappointing to say the least because let's be honest, the best thing about Christmas markets is the food and drink!

However, from past experience I can highly recommend the currywurst and also the crepes - if you have a sweet tooth like me go for nutella and marshmallows...and prepare to get messy!

Had I not been poorly, I definitely would have tried the 'Pimm's Hot Toffee Apple' as an alternative to mulled wine, which apparently consisted of Pimm's Elderflower and Blackberry, apple juice, lemon juice and maple syrup. If anyone has tried this please let me know what you thought of it!



 I was pleased to see the wheel now has enclosed compartments, rather than just metal bars keeping you in!

St Andrews Square
 We also took the opportunity to have a look inside The Dome, which is pretty famous in Edinburgh for having lovely decorations outside, but up until now I had not been inside. It certainly did not disappoint!





After a little rest we headed out for dinner with family, which was delicious although slightly spoiled by my subsequent illness, but I am sure this was not due to the food!

Not quite the break I expected, but nonetheless a pleasure to see Edinburgh in all its Christmas glory.

Where is your favourite place at Christmastime?

It's Christmas! (Tag)

I have really been getting into the Christmas spirit this week - the tree is up, most of my presents are bought and I've even started to wrap some of them!

So I thought it would be fun to answer a few Christmassy tag questions, and saw these on Jennie's blog.


What is your favourite Christmas film?

Love Actually, no question about it. I know a lot of people would say one from their childhood, and of course there are lots that I like, but Love Actually just gives me the warm and fuzzies no matter how many times I watch it which is usually at least twice each Christmas time. 

What is your favourite Christmas colour?

Red and gold I'd say. Classic but oh so festive.

Do you open your gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning! I don't understand this business of opening them the night before, it seems a more American thing to me but correct me if I'm wrong. I love the excitement of getting up in the morning knowing you've got your presents to open and, more excitingly in a lot of cases, presents to give!

What is your favourite winter fragrance?

I tend to wear the same fragrances all year round, as I much prefer sweeter scents to the heavier musty scents often associated with winter. At the moment I am mainly wearing Taylor Swift's Enchanted Wonderstruck perfume, which is actually quite a good wintery perfume as it more a warm sweet scent with quite strong vanilla notes. I love it!

What is your favourite Christmas scent?

This is something I hadn't given much thought to before, but I suppose it would be the traditional spice smell (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg) which tend to be added to everything at this time of year. It just smells like Christmas! 

What is your favourite festive drink?

I'm not really one for hot drinks, so the Starbucks specials etc. tend to pass me by, but I do make an exception for mulled wine (and cider, which I tried last year).

Candy canes or gingerbread men?

Not actually a massive fan of either of these to be honest! Cute as decorations though. Give me a chocolate yule log anyday!

What is your favourite Christmas song?


This song just brings me back to being a little girl running around the Christmas tree getting so excited! Just a lovely cheery song :)

Have you ever made a snowman?

Yes! I live in Scotland and I've seen a fair few White Christmasses.


(Little me on the right!)

What is the most important thing to you about Christmas?

The chance to spend lots of time with family and friends, and remember what's important! And, um, the food.

I TAG YOU! 

Looking forward to hearing about how you celebrate Christmas.