“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

July 15, 2019

Day Two: Trip from England, through Wales, to Ireland

I was exhausted from the endless driving. I thought to myself - I will just have a wee rest while we don't have to keep moving in the ferry. And I slept for an hour ;) 

We woke up in the beautiful airbnb and were provided with a hearty breakfast while patting the host's cats and dogs. Unfortunately, we ended up staying longer than planned, and discovered when we started driving that we had a 6 minute buffer for our 5 hour drive down to the ferry docks in Pembroke, Wales before the ferry would close the gates for checking in - Whoops!!

Driving into Wales
We discovered that in Wales they take good care of Ross'! 
We got to the dock 15 minutes from departure!! This is us heading onto the boat
Our lovely boat
Us on board
When we got on board we were very tired, not to mention hungry, because we hadn't had time to stop for many breaks for food (other than tea, ice creams and toilet breaks). So we went straight to the restaurant and ate a hearty roast. After that we went to sleep for a bit.

Driving out of the boat in Rosslare, Ireland

When we got out in Rosslare in Ireland we needed to drive to near Cloyne in County Cork, which was a 2 hour drive. The first thing we noticed was the stalls on new potatoes and strawberries beside the roads - the land of the potato famine. 

The beautiful Irish countryside!!
We got to our airbnb, and after having a lovely tea and chat with our host, we slept like a log. The plan for tomorrow is to go to Danielle's house for a kitchen tea at 9am and then rehearsal at the church. 

Till next time,

Laura xx

Start of the holiday

The past two months have been a whirlwind of honeymoon, moving house, starting a full-time job, all while trying to finish the thank you cards for the wedding!! And just to let you know, it is almost three months since my wedding and finishing my uni degree, so let's just say I am suffering side effects of overworking myself and needing extra sleep. How have I survived you ask? Well, I really don't know. God has given me the strength to just keep moving forward!

To give you some background, I have started working for the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity as a Bucket Trail Assistant (which means I assist with fulfilling their bucket list - jokes). My job role includes talking to visitors about the first national art trail of the Scottish cartoon character Oor Wullie. I will then encourage visitors to buy merchandise from our shop in St. Andrews Square. 
My new house is a lovely cottage in the mining village of Cockenzie. And we are just getting all the rooms sorted, and have been finding more storage furniture to be able to organise everything. 

So, needless to say, I was very much looking forward to a holiday (a paid holiday!!). The plan was to go to Ireland to my friend's (Danielle's) wedding on the 12th July, in which I was so honoured to be a bridesmaid. I was going to be graduating on Tuesday the 9th, and realised that we would have to leave from Scotland that night to drive down to England to an airbnb, to be able to make it to Pembroke in Wales the next day, to make it to Cork, Ireland via a ferry with our car in time for a kitchen tea and rehearsal the day before the wedding (on the Friday). 

So let the holiday begin!! 

Tuesday came, and we began packing and dressing for my graduation (my parents, Graeme and I). Oh, and I should mention my parents came over from Finland for my graduation and to stay for a few weeks for my mum to volunteer at my work!! I was so happy :D

Usher Hall in Edinburgh, where my graduation ceremony was held
This was in the top level, where my parents and Graeme were sitting
This is possibly an illegal photo - as it was taken during the ceremony of Iulia when my hands were getting tired of clapping ;) 
I finally met with Iulia's family!
So happy with my best friend :) 
The four musketeers - Graeme, Iulia, her sister Lexi and me at the swan pond at QMU
After this we had to quickly go back home, shower and pack, get into the car and drive to Caton, Lancaster for our airbnb. Not before getting a fish supper for a quick dinner ;)

Late night driving
Finally getting to our airbnb!!
I was so excited to have started my holiday!! The plan for tomorrow is to start driving down to the ferry docks in Wales (5 hours) and then from the dock in Ireland to our accommodation (2 hours), so 7 hours driving in total!! 

Till next time,

Laura xx

April 10, 2019

My hen do

It is finally here!! I cannot believe it!! I had planned for this moment at Christmas time, before which I had gone to a wedding with Graeme where a friend had told me she did glass painting. And ... two months later we were going to do just that!

Getting my supply of chocolate for the trip the day before - which I actually forgot to bring on the day!! :o I know!! Everyone was super disappointed.

The plan was to all meet in Glasgow, and by all I mean me (the bride) and my five bridesmaids (Danielle, Pamela, Iulia, Morven and Steph). We would spend the morning looking for bridesmaids dresses, then have an afternoon tea at a cafe I had been to with my parents, and then go to glass painting. 

The morning of the Saturday (the day of the hen do) Iulia and I had planned to get a train from Musselburgh to Edinburgh,  giving us 10 minutes to get to our second train to Glasgow. Because it was quite early for us to be waking up on a Saturday, we packed our breakfast for eating on the train the night before. 

So, the morning of the hen do I woke up, did some stretching to preparing my body for all the walking of that day, packed and met Iulia as we walked to the train station. We then realised we had to run to get the train!! 

After finally making the train, we unfortunately then had to then get a train ticket in Edinburgh for the trip before we could leave the platform, when we had only 5 minutes till our next train left. Ahh!!

So, for those that live in hereabouts you will understand what I mean, for those who don't let me give some background information: The train from Musselburgh to Edinburgh is 7 minutes, in Musselburgh there is an automated machine to buy a train ticket but is usually with such a line that you can't get your tickets, and sometimes in Edinburgh there is a barrier of people who don't let you leave the track until you have shown your train ticket - and there are usually a whole lot of people who haven't got a ticket and have to then line up to get a ticket. 

So, anyways we pushed (I did ask politely) in so we could get our tickets more quickly, ran to where Pamela and Steph were waiting for us for the next train to Glasgow, and then quickly got on the train with 1 minute left!! After which we collapsed onto the chairs with hugs and laughter :)

Oh, and I learnt a new Spanish word on the train - cosita. It means 'little thing'. I learnt it when ee were looking out the window and Iulia pointed out to us some rabbits in a field - where Pamela proceeded to exclaimed: "cosita!".

After no time at all (seemed like it) we arrived in Glasgow. 

Our first pictures in Glasgow!! You can see here that Iulia was the navigator ;)

Danielle was coming later, and so we took this when we met up with her!
So let the adventures begin!! Our second stop was a wedding shop that sold bridesmaids dresses. My criteria for the bridesmaids dresses was that they were all in a colour range of purples, pinks and blues, and that they were all long dresses.

Our first wedding shop - Wed2Be
It was quite successful, because 3 out of 5 of my bridesmaids found a dress that they will probably buy :) It was such a lovely time for bonding, while seeing each other wearing dresses that really matched them and their personalities.

We were then very hungry. I had booked us a table at the Willow Tea Rooms, where I had had tea with my parents when I first came to the UK in 2014. I was so excited :D Look at us, we are all soo adorable, even while our tummies were rumbling waiting for our food ;)

Us all at the Willow Tea Rooms waiting for your lovely food!!
After eating we needed to get a train to Paisley, where I had organised for us to all do glass painting. So, after we had all paid, which took a while because there were so many us ;) , we headed to the train station to take the train. Luckily, we didn't have to run this time!

Us all on the train.
We then arrived in Paisley and had a 20 minute walk to the church building where we doing the glass painting. So we designated Iulia to be our guide to the church, and while we took a few diversions along the way because we all were all great leaders and wanting to contribute to the directions, we eventually made it to the church 10 minutes later than expected :D

Our first task was to paint on a tea light from an outline - allowing us to start somewhat easy ;)
Pamela daintily painting her tea light - because she is a very proper lady ;)
Steph painting a butterfly on her tea light - because she chose something unconsciously to paint that represents her own beauty. 
Painting a butterfly on my tea light - just because it is pretty ;)
Danielle painting a sunflower - because she brings heaps of joy wherever she goes :D
Pamela painting a dragonfly - because she is full of fire like a dragon and loves giving new things a go flying from one thing to the next. 
Morven painting a rose - because she is a lovely and unique rose.
All of us busy painting our candle holders - deep in conversation. 
My final tea light 
Steph's final tea light
Danielle's final tea light
Pamela's final tea light
Morven's final tea light
Iulia wanted to design her own tea light without a template to copy, and so here she is drawing her outlines - which were very thorough and beautifully detailed.
Iulia starting her masterpiece.
After we had finished painting the tea light we could then choose to free-hand paint either a wineglass, vase or a tumbler. 

Danielle and Pamela chose to paint a wine glass. 
Iulia continuing with her masterpiece!! Because her tea light was super detailed, she didn't have time to paint anything else. But what an amazing job she did :D 
Steph decided to paint a vase with love hearts on it. 
This is my vase that I painted. Morven decided to paint a wine glass. 
The table laden with all out lovely glass painting works!!
Here is both my glass paintings - my tea light and vase. 
We then realised that we had to rush to get back to Glasgow, and so we had to drop everything (not literally dropping the glass) and run (this time quite literally) to the train station in Paisley... Not before taking a quick selfie with the lovely Jacqueline. 

Us all ready to leave taking a selfie with Jacqueline from Jac By Design
On the way to the train station
WE MADE IT TO THE TRAIN!!!!!! You can't see it here, but I was sweating and very hot in this picture. The other girls look like they just came off a run-way :o 
We got the train to Glasgow Central, where Morven needed to get her train to Dumfries. We said goodbye to her, and headed to Glasgow Queen Street to get our train to Edinburgh. Not before picking up some dinner though ;) 

My amazing pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and beef.
Danielle, Iulia and Steph with their meals.
Pamela and I taking up a four-seater eating our meals ;) 
One thing I really need to mention about the train journey to Edinburgh is a simple statement told by Danielle that got us (Iulia and I) debating. To this day I still don't completely understand what Danielle was trying to say ;)

So, along the way to Edinburgh she made a point that my Lindt Salted Caramel chocolate tasted like what tea smelt like. It seems like a simple statement, but when I asked whether I understood her correctly, she told me that I hadn't. And so we proceeded for half the journey trying to understand what we were all trying to say, until Pamela, who had been trying to not engage in our debate for an unknown reason ;) , spoke up and said exactly what Danielle was trying saying. But still I didn't understand it. 

So then we dropped the conversation :D 

After laughing some more about how funny our debate was, and me still trying to work it all out, we arrived in Edinburgh, hugged, and then parted our ways.

And that was my amazingly fun, and full-of-laughter hen do!!

Till next time,

Laura xx