A new nation is born?

Culture

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So today is a wee bit important…Scotland is voting for independence!

We have no business meddling in Scotland’s political business and this is not a politically charged blog (we’ll leave that to middle class dinner parties with jars of olives) but we thought we would list some of our favourite things about Scotland, especially seeing as Peony was there just last week.

MAGIC

Edinburgh is magical, and a Harry Potter fan’s dream; not only did Ms Rowling write the HP chronicles while in Edinburgh, but you can also find street names (Potterrow) and gravestones (Tom Riddle!) which help to bring the books alive a little more. Also, Edinburgh Castle sits atop a cliff (formed by a volcano many moons ago) and, well, we’ve all seen Hogwarts haven’t we?

Not interested in Harry Potter? Gothic architecture, ancient underground vaults and ghostly graveyard tours will definitely give you goosebumps!

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WORDS

Scotland was the home of so many famous writers that Edinburgh and Glasgow offer Literary Tours. You can roam in the footsteps of the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson (Jekyll and Hyde), Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) and many more.

The spoken word is also a wonder in Scotland! There are so many quirky and interesting ways of delivering even the most mundane of sentences and, paired with a ‘wee’ Scottish accent, it all sounds ‘pure, dead brilliant’. ‘A dinna ken’ how anyone could resist it!

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DEEP FRIED MARS BARS AND OTHER TASTY TREATS

These Mars Bar thingies deserve a category all of their own and they are definitely a part of the Scottish cuisine that everyone should try. Yes, yes, it’s unhealthy… but nobody’s suggesting you have to eat one every day! Traditionally found in any local Chip shop, these go great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

On a side note, if you order Fish and Chips in Scotland, you will almost definitely be asked ‘Salt n Sauce’? This usually means a mixture of vinegar and brown sauce (another Scottish tradition) and often it is a question of either or, even though they use the word ‘and’. Apparently it also has rather rude connotations but we will leave that up to the imagination.

As for the other sweet and cakey options in Scotland? Go to Mimi’s Bakehouse and try any one of their weird and wonderful creations.

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Here are some recommended things to do in Bonnie Scotland!

Harry Potter Tour: http://pottertrail.com/

Literary tours: http://www.edinburghliterarypubtour.co.uk/scottish-literary-tours

Ghost Tours: http://www.auldreekietours.com/

Edinburgh Dungeons: http://www.thedungeons.com/edinburgh/en/

Boat Tour: http://www.forthtours.com/

Mimi’s Bakehouse: http://mimisbakehouse.com/

And finally…

Here is a pic of some snoozing Scottish seals! xxx

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S & P x

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Hello Book Club, August: Review

Culture

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Our first book club was a success!

We gave The Miniaturist 3 out of 5; here are some of the comments our members made:

“A slow-burning book, ambitious in its themes; unsure if it reached its potential but intriguing and thought-provoking”

“Lots of shocks and twists and turns that give an intimate insight into the personal and public lives of 17th Century ‘Amsterdammers'”

“The first third was very slow. The book then got interesting, but all the plot lines weren’t tied up very well”

“To me, the beginning was the most intriguing part because it had potential for a more personal adventure. However, the events that transpired were simply interesting and true to the time; not shocking enough”

“Contrived in parts, I felt the author could have developed the characters so much more. However, upon reflection at tonight’s Book Club, the description of the women in the book as ‘caged birds’ has given the book a little more depth for me”

“Slow beginning but worth continuing to the conclusion”

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

“Difficult to get into at first, but incredibly fast paced at the end! A lot of elements I didn’t see coming, such as Otto and Marin’s baby, and even the miniaturist being female, which kept it intriguing until the end. Easy read, even if slightly disjointed in parts.”

#TBT (Throwback to Thailand)

Culture

We’re reminiscing about holidays again at Hello Thursday Club HQ (one of our favorite past times as you will come to learn).

Here are a few cheesy holiday snaps from Thailand 2009. The soundtrack was La Roux, the food of choice was Falafels from Khao San Road, Bangkok, and the catchphrase was ‘Same Same!’

We rode elephants, floated on bamboo boats and watched a Ping Pong show – we’ll let you guess which of these was possibly one of the most traumatic experiences of our lives.

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S & P

“Happiness is the Truth!”

Life

As we’ve recently ‘got our happy back’, here are five things we have found that, in our opinion are essential in the pursuit of happiness.

5. Happiness doesn’t just happen

Happiness is some thing you make, a positive outlook is needed. For example If you turn up to New York City looking for homeless people, rubbish and pollution, then you will find it. However, if you go with an open mind you will see it for its true magnificence; a melting pot, a movie set, an adventure.

4. Money can’t buy happiness

In the past, when we have been feeling low, we have often felt the sudden urge to ‘splash the cash’ (that we don’t even have) in the whimsical (and wasteful) world of online shopping. We have come to realize that this quick fix is no longer necessary when you start filling your life with things of real value – like finding a new hobby you love or making steps towards a career that excites you. Of course we still dabble in a little ‘responsible’ shopping….. 🙂

3. You don’t have to be happy all of the time

There are times when you will need to let it all out, dwell on your disappointments, suffer your sorrows; how can you truly feel your highs with out experiencing the lows?

2. Give a little, live a lot

It’s widely believed that helping others releases super duper endorphins that makes your happiness last longer. We’ve been volunteering on and off for the last couple of years and can definitely say it gives you the ‘feel good factor’.

1. Make the most of the little things

They count. A lot. Taking our dogs for a walk, a cup of tea in bed on a Saturday morning, eggs on toast, reaching the last stamp on our loyalty cards…… On anything (coffee, M&S greeting cards, hair salon)!

Don’t worry, be happy.

S & P

Life Overhaul!

Life

We are digging deep this week and thought we would give you a little insight into our lives. We have both undergone life overhauls recently, so here goes…..

So, here I am 27, and undergoing a massive life overhaul. Leaving my job of 8 years to follow my dream of becoming a photographer! Starting September I will be going to college to study art & design. I couldn’t be more excited to start this new journey and unleash my creative side after so many years of the unknown. Life really is what you make it and it’s never too late to make a change. Here are some of my favourite photos I have taken….

Sweet Pea x

Follow me on EyeEm – @katiedorothy

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If I’m honest with myself I realised I needed a life overhaul many years ago, but it has taken a good amount of heartache, stress and soul-searching to reach where I am now. Has it been worth it? Totally!

To cut a long story short, life has dealt me a few setbacks over the years, but I now realise they are what has shaped me to become the person I am now. I have lived from paycheck to paycheck with £30 to last me a month, and I have worked my way up to a respectable high-paying management job…BOTH scenarios(perhaps surprisingly) brought me happiness AND sadness. The worst thing they brought me? Emptiness.

I am a born teacher with a passion for languages and my family have probably known this since I was about 5 years old. I loved keeping notebooks with new foreign words I had learned and some of my favourite hobbies as a child were spelling tests and playing teachers! So…I had my life overhaul a few months ago. I am now partway through my teaching. qualification and happily devoting my life to 30 foreign students whom I teach English to at Coventry University. I can honestly say this job ticks all my boxes – fun, fulfilling and challenging 🙂 I quit my secure, responsible , well-paid management job for the weird, wonderful and wholly irregular world of teaching. Everyday I feel like I am surrounded by possibility and wonder. What does the future hold? I don’t know!
No regrets though.
Peony x

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Ooh La La Roux!

Culture

It’s a hot, hot, hot summer’s night here at HelloThursdayClub HQ and we are melting like ice pops!

Sweet Pea and Peony were not made to endure this weather while working 9 til 5 in a concrete…’copse’! (Well, we couldn’t exactly call our town a jungle – the tallest thing here is a church steeple!)

So this got us thinking we would much rather be causing trouble in Paradise. In case you haven’t got it, this is a reference to La Roux’s much-awaited new album ‘Trouble in Paradise’!!!!!!

Peony’s been listening to it non-stop on her journey through the sunny countryside to work and Sweet Pea doesn’t go to the gym without it; we LOVE it! But that’s not the only reason for our good mood on this sweltering Thursday night in July… we have made early birthday plans to go and see them at Birmingham’s HMV Institute on 8th November!

Get your tickets before they sell out!

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Sweet Pea & Peony x