Bowery Mural

Instagram #WWIM12 - Edinburgh Zoo and National Museum of Scotland

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Last weekend I headed off to Edinburgh, on the 8am train, to my second Instameet. WWIM12! First up was a visit to an empty National Museum of Scotland. The main atrium is vast and an amazing space with some great features and exhibits dotted around. I'd been here only once before, on a busy Sunday afternoon with two tired nephews in tow, so it was great to be here when we had an 'empty'. Yes, that's right, they very kindly opened up the space half an hour early for us Instagrammers. An 'EmptyNMS'.

Everyone quickly set about the task of wandering around this vast 'birdcage' like building and snapping away. At about 10.15am we were taken up to a circular meeting room with great view of the bustling streets below and where breakfast was laid on. Then, the final treat was higher, up on the roof terrace where the public aren't really allowed to go. And the best part... The views of course.

Huge thanks to National Museum of Scotland team for their generosity and hospitality and @Snapmike for organising that part of the day.

Next, a few of us hopped in a taxi and made the short journey over to Edinburgh Zoo for part two of this WWIM12. It was #WWIM12EdinburghZoo. Now, I haven't been to the zoo or any kind of animal park since I was about 6. Many, many years ago. Oof, I'm getting old! The only thing I can remember from that visit was a picture of me and my sister standing next to a rock with a giant bear behind us. We had no clue he was there!

Anyway, we arrived just after 11am and got our tickets and name badges, but the surprise part was a ticket to see the Panda's at 2pm. Wow, very generous.

I headed on up the hill to the chimpanzee area where a feed was about to begin. A few people had gotten to the balcony before us so we had to wait at the fence but still managed to see the chimps grabbing away at their food. They had a huge wooden and rope built structure that looked like such great fun. A little while later we swapped over with the balcony group and got a closer view of the animals. I never took my Fuji camera with me as I wanted to shoot on my iPhone for my Instagram feed. In hindsight I should've just slung it over my shoulder as the zoom of the iPhone is not great for shots of animals who are quite far away. Still, good to see them in real life though. There's one there in that picture above, a female, who's been there for 50 years we were told.

After the chimpanzees, I decided to wander on my own. I slowly made my way up the hill to an area called Dinosaurs Return. Giant animatronic dinosaurs were dotted around, with sound effects and one was even spitting water! A few kids had fun standing under it. Another kid was screaming when his mum tried to get a picture of him at the mouth of the T-Rex. Hehe.

After a quick stop for lunch at a BBQ stall it was time to head over to the see the Panda's. The female wasn't around and the male was just sort of laying there in a hammock with his back to the window. The keeper told us he ate 45kg of six different kinds of bamboo per day. Greedy thing!

Shortly after that was the penguin parade. A strange affair. Everyone was asked to stay on the grass behind a yellow line and a little group of penguins walked around, closely guarded by the keepers. The penguins were smaller than I had imagined. Only about knee high, and the black part wasn't as black as I'd thought.

The Scottish weather was unusually warm and made for a great day out. Most of us headed back to the lecture theatre in the chimpanzee area to charge up phones and take some final shots. After that was a quick drink stop then I headed for the train.

Huge thanks to Edinburgh Zoo for their hospitality, and to the Instagram Edinburgh folks for organising it all. Really appreciate it. It was lovely meeting new faces too. I'm always a bit awkward at these events. So if I met you (or not!) and I was a bit quiet, I do like you and know that I'm much more talkative once I get to know you. *smiley face*

You can see some great photos by heading over to Instagram and typing in #WWIM12Edinburgh #emptyNMS #WWIM12EdinburghZoo I highly recommend you have a look!


Paris Photo Diary

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Quicker than you could say Tour De France, my short weekend jaunt to Paris was over in a flash. Luckily I took lots of pictures to remind me (and you) of the lovely time I had. Settle in...

My first view of the famous Louvre Pyramid - wonderful

Angelina Paris
Colourful displays at Angelina
Paris Architecture
Paris Architecture - always look up!
Pompidou Centre, Paris
I really liked this building - Centre Pompidou

Padlocks pont des arts Paris
Padlocks of love

Louvre pyramid, Paris
Louvre Pyramid

The street I stayed on - pretty quiet

Le Labo Perfumerie - Santal 33 is my scent!
Inside Le Labo

Avenue Montaigne

I dare not go in!

The purpose of my trip - Le Tour De France, final day - more on that soon!

Team Sky train

So I hope you liked this post. My trip was short but I packed loads in, the main purpose being the final day of the Tour De France, a dream of mine for quite a few years now. Ticked that one off my list now too :)
More on that here on the blog soon. And perhaps a little video blog too - Yes, a Vlog!

Angela x

Two days in Paris

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Paris. The city of Love, they say. So what does a single girl on a solocation do on a 2 day trip to Paris?

Now, I love sport. And now I love to travel too (although still not that well travelled yet). What's that got to do with Paris? I hear you say. I did hear it. Honest. Well, let me tell you...

I love most sports, with a keen eye on cycling, and ever since ITV started televising every, single, day of the Tour De France a hundred years ago, I've always said I'd like to see the final stage live on Champs Élysées. This year it is finally going to happen. A free flight and a lovely little hotel booking near the Louvre means that on that final day I will be standing there on a sunny (please weather gods!) street in Paris watching the sport I've come to love in the city of love. #Dreamy

But what else can I squeeze into a few short 48 hours? Let me know. Where should I eat? Must-see attractions - without many queues? Little cafes? Favourite views? Cake shops? Bridges to wander over? Galleries to marvel at? Hidden gems?

Let me know in the comments below, dear internet.

Angela x

Bargain Blues

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Yes, Yes, I haven't blogged for aaaaages. But as we all know life can catch up with us and it gets real busy and you haven't really got time for the Internet malarkey. All I seem to have been focusing on recently is work and the gym. And there are a few exciting things happening relating to both of those things  but lets just say I've learnt a few good lessons from the past few months too, chiefly that people can be fickle and can drop you like a hot potato as soon as something (one) new comes along. But like I say, lesson learnt.

I've been loving my gym routine lately, especially the PT sessions with Sarah at The Peak. She gives me a different and very tough session each time I see her. The last one with a 1000m row finisher. Ouch, but 4m33s beat my last attempt so that was fantastic!

With the gym in mind it was with great delight that I managed to find a bargain pair of Nike Free trainers at the local Nike Outlet. And because I can buy kids sizes, these really were a bargain. I know they're supposed to be for running but I like them for my training. I love the dark electric blue colour contrasting with the bright pink and since I've been (strangely) buying lots of blue gym gear then these will co-ordinate nicely. Because we all know you gotta have matching gym gear, right?! (You don't really, in fact there's nothing I like more than clashing colours).

Anyhow, I browsed the shop for ages and put back the pair of Nike Legend capri pants i had in my grasp. I just don't need another pair at the moment and at £45 they still weren't enough of a bargain. But ladies, I've tried a few pairs of the Nike training trousers and the Legend ones are a great fit and the material is quite thick so hugs you in all the right places. Having put those trousers back I did pick up another Dri-Fit top and you can't grumble at £14. Luckily it's almost a direct match for the trainers so I will be all matchy matchy, haha.

I tell you what I need ideas about though... Sports bras. I've got a few of the Nike ones in my collection but being small chested I don't really need anything with all sorts of support but I do need something to combat the 'see-through' nature of a wet sports top - if you know what I mean! I hadn't noticed it until I was in a body pump class with a light t-shirt on and there it was... so embarrassing! So I suppose what i need is something with support but also something that has enough padding to hide your assets. Thoughts?

#BBGQA week 1

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Since starting the BBG guide for real this week i've spent a few more hours on Instagram looking over all of the hashtags that the BBG girls use and one jumped out at me #BBGQA (I think this was started by @Corporate_Sneakers ).  Each week you answer a set of questions most people post their thoughts on Instagram but i thought i'd record them here too. It'll be a progress check too.

Here goes, week 1 #BBGQA

1. One thing that surprised me about myself this week was how determined and single minded i was that I was finally going to start this guide that's been hiding out as a pdf in the iBooks app on  my phone. Last summer was when I purchased the guide and it's taken me until now to become comfortable enough to take over a little space in the gym and do my own workout. It feels great to have started.

2. The #1 thing that made me happy this week was that I managed to complete 1 1/2 rounds of each 7 minute circuit on each of the 3 days. Also, the cheeky wink I got from a lovely guy in the gym after having completed Week 1 Full Body workout. That did make me smile ;)

3. Something that didn't go as planned this week was the food. The eating. The Sweeties. I will conquer this sugar craving addiction! ARGH.

4. My toughest hurdle this week was trying to fit the BBG guide into my 'normal' gym routine and trying not to jump ahead and do the workouts on consecutive days. I am not doing the BBG guide alone. I am working it into my current long-standing gym routine because as I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn't seeing the results I wanted and so decided to finally start the BBG guide to give me that extra little reward for all of my hard work.I have finally figured out that i am going to substitute some classes for the guide.

5. What I want to remember this week was the feeling I had after each workout. The feeling of accomplishment and the realisation that I can do it, and i most certainly will.



Sunday, 22 March 2015

WWIM11_Edinburgh, Instagram, Instameet, WWIM11, Edinburgh

I finally did it. I finally got a place and attended a WorldWide Instameet. This was number 11 and I attended the one that took place in Edinburgh on Saturday evening, organised by @IgersEdinburgh. It was held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One and was a lovely setting for it. Two things I Love; Instagram and modern art, in one evening - I was always going to want to be in on that action. Even better was the fact that the Roy Lichtenstein work has just opened at the gallery plus a great deal more. I'm a huge fan of all that pop art stuff and even have a print of one hanging on my wall.

WWIM11_Edinburgh, Edinburgh, WWIM11, Instagram

Anyway, I arrived in the golden hour to the gallery and there were a few people milling around outside whilst a group took some pictures on the grassy sculpture. It's always a bit awkward when you are rocking up to these events and you don't know anyone there. Luckily there were a few people in the same position as well as some folks who obviously knew each other.


Then there's the meet up etiquette. When I've been to 'tweet-ups' in the past there have been name badges with your Twitter handle on it. There were no name badges here. I was thinking "shall I just say Angela or will I give my Instagram name?"... I soon discovered Angela would do fine.

close up of a Lichtenstein

After the opening group shop was taken we made our way inside the museum and the door was closed. We had an EMPTY! The first of it's kind in Scotland so it felt like a real privilege. After an intro by the museum staff and a few pointers from the organisers we were allowed to go on our way to explore and snap this wonderful building.

I love this picture but WHO is this? anyone? @IgersEdinburgh 

There were a few hashtags we were asked to use on our pictures and it didn't take me long to find a few great shots #emptyscotmodern #emptyscotmodern_corner #emptyscotmodern_reflection. I also brought along my Fuji as I wanted to get some better quality shots of the artwork. PS all photos in this post were taken with my iPhone6. I'll do another post with the Fuji pictures.

WWIM11_Edinburgh, Lichtenstein, Emptyscotmodern,

At around 7.50pm the bell was rung and that was the end of the '#empty'. What a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Everyone headed outside into the chilly spring air and there were more group shots with faces lit by phone light. Most people then headed off to have food and drinks and I headed home.

I was sad the shop wasn't open

If you'd like to see more pictures I took on the night head over to my Instagram @Ange77H :)

Huge thanks to @IgersEdinburgh Steve (@Wilde_Oates) and Jemma (@Jemmacraig) for organising and to @natgalleriessco for allowing us the privilege to explore an empty Modern One.

Angela x

Fitness Update

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Hello! Yes, I'm still here. I've had an extended blogging break and i've no excuse other than i've been really busy with life. Well, mostly work and being at the gym, and then you're tired when you come home and the last thing you want to do after you've showered and fed yourself is fire up the laptop. So there it is...

Anyway, since I've been spending most of my non-work time at the gym, I thought I'd do a fitness update post about what I've been up to.

After Christmas I made a conscious decision that I was going to mix up my training a bit. Rewind. When I say training, I just mean my fitness classes and gym sessions because I'm not actually in training for anything as such. So yeah, i wanted to mix up my training routine because I felt I'd been stuck at a plateau for a few months and wasn't seeing any changes in my body that I want. I want to be stronger, a little bit leaner and fitter - although I am pretty fit. Losing weight is not my goal since I haven't actually lost or put on any weight for about 6 months. Apart from 2 weeks ago when i lost 2 lbs, but that aside I'm the same weight as I was 6 months ago.

My routine went a little something like this:
Monday - Circuits
Tuesday - Shockfit circuit (weights, body weight exercises)
Wednesday - morning Metafit - HIIT; then gym session
Thursday - insanity OR Metafit - HIIT
Friday - Spin class
Saturday - insanity - HIIT
Sunday - spin (every other Sunday)

But then i started to get bored. After I got my MyZone belt and was getting readings after each class, I realised that my Monday night circuits weren't giving the results I thought they were. I wanted more. My Tuesday shockfit class is all about strength with a little bit of cardio. It's mostly body weight and heavy weight lifting techniques and again my calories burned reading wasn't that high. Now it could be said that I may not be working hard enough but trust me, I am. Wednesday morning class gets the blood pumping then we do a little session in the gym afterwards. Thursday again, high intensity. Friday is my favourite spin class. I've been doing Friday night spin for about 3 years now and boy has it been getting tougher recently. Saturday was a half hour insanity class which is great and Sunday is spin. And so all of that wasn't producing the results I was after.

Then I mixed it up a little. And now my routine looked a little like this:
Monday - Circuits, then Spin
Tuesday - Shockfit
Wednesday - morning Metafit, then gym session; evening Spin
Thursday - Metafit, then Body Pump
Friday - Spin
Saturday - Metafit
Sunday - Spin (every other Sunday).

I've been doing that for about 6 weeks now and my legs are really starting to show good definition. My upper arms have great shape as well as my upper back and my abs are coming along nicely too. My butt is still a bit wobbly and bigger than I'd like but slowly does it. I can see change and that's a good thing. There was nearly a set back though when I accidentally dropped a 20kg weight plate on my foot the other night at Shockfit. Right on my left metatarsal. Luckily there's no break but it is quite bruised now. Wowsers.

I love a nice bright trainer and tight - Nike Free trainers, Nike Legend capri tight

To shake things up a little bit more I've booked a session with a personal trainer at the gym to see where i can improve and get tips and tomorrow I'm going to start the Kayla Itsines BBG workout guide. I'm committing to those 12 weeks because i believe it will add to my routine or I can substitute a class for the BBG workout in the gym. I'm inspired by all those women who post amazing transformations on Instagram. So much so this morning I posted the picture at the top of this post on Instagram and immediately got great support from a good few people. Hopefully that community will push me through.

Aside from all of the fitness stuff above, I've been really trying to watch my eating. Eating healthier than i have done in years but not denying myself a pancake or a burger if i want it. Everything in moderation. Need to up my protein though, that's a fact.

My real struggle comes with sweeties. Chocolate. I have about 1 can of Coke a week, but still drink little Irn Bru bottles. Only 1 a day mind - I know, I shouldn't. Maybe I'm hoping that if I write it down here it'll kick me into really trying to give. Really making that final effort to cut out the sugary stuff.

We can only hope. I'll update in a few weeks when I'm further into my new routine but feel free to leave any tips, comments below.

Angela x