Saturday, 30 September 2017

Travel review: Edinburgh

One of my favourite things about being a lifestyle blogger is the versatility we get in our posts. I've never really talked about travelling or reviewing new places on the blog before, so it's great that I can dip my toes in as and when it's appropriate. Let's be honest what better way to kick off this type of post than with one of a beautiful city such as Edinburgh?

I recently spent a weekend in the historic Scottish city with two close friends. It's only the second time I've been but the first was only a few hours. While I did enjoy that visit, it wasn't until the recent one that I really got the feel of the city.

The city is a contrast of old beautiful brick architecture with more modern pieces. The first day there was spent exploring around the Royal Mile, the castle and the main shops on Princes Street. The area is steeped with history and quirky, old buildings that make for very pleasant walking. As well as this you can see plenty of tourist aimed shops and attractions.

We only had two nights in Edinburgh, but both were spent sampling the nightlife. Not necessarily the cheapest night out, we experienced a good mix of bats, clubs and pubs. My favourite has to be a Wetherspoons I went to. Yep, a Wetherspoons! 

It's called The Caley Picture House and is in fact an old picture house turned pub. The decor was amazing with lots of nods to the original use of the building.

Finally, the last thing I'd recommend to anyone visiting the city would be try walking Arthur's Seat. It a large hill pretty much in the middle of the city. Part of the dormant volcano system that makes up the surrounding area, the views are spectacular. You can even see well out to sea and the nearish tor of Berwick.

If you do decide to go up Arthur's Seat, then be more prepared than me who did it in a skirt and boots(nope not walking ones..) and ended up with very sore blistered feet. Manageable but would be a lot nicer in anything slightly more appropriate! 

Edinburgh is a city that really caught me, to the point that I'm already scouting Air BnB for some good deals...

Have you ever been to Edinburgh?

Abi x

Monday, 25 September 2017

Playing the dating game

A little while back I wrote about a big life change, the end of a  long term relationship. One of nearly 5 years in fact. It seems a lot longer than 6 months since that happened. A period of 6 months can change a person a lot. This past half year has seen many changes within my life:

  • I ran not one, but two races.
  • changed team in work
  • grew closer to my friends and family.
  • failing my driving test and prepping for the second attempt
  • moved out of my parents(AGAIN)
  • went abroad for the first time since I was 16
  • booked my own solo trip abroad
  • Dyed my hair red, twice
  • new piercing

Quite a few things crop up without too much thought. It feels like I've spent the last half year getting to know myself and explore my own wants and desires. There's one big change that I've talked about briefly here, and that's getting back to dating again.
Truthfully I hadn't ever been dating before. The relationships I've had in the past have all developed from previous friendships. So to say it was new water, was well, the only way to phrase it. 

I've tried out three different apps now, to varying degrees of success. It helps I've found, to have an idea what it is you want from dating apps before you start swiping. Believe or not there are people on there who are only looking to meet new people, and of course there is the other end of the spectrum(yep people only after one thing!). Theres everything and anything in between.

So the apps I've tried out each have different selling points. I want to talk about the pros and cons of each. All the apps have a free version and a paid upgrades version. I've tested out he free option on all of them(cheapskate or what?). 
The first, is an app called: HER. It's a dating app for lesbians and bisexuals. It's a LGBT QIAAP friendly app.
  • There's a wide mix of open minded people
  • Has multiple options for what you're looking for
  • Can search far and wide for like minded people
  • In app social feed
  • Notifications for if people liked you
  • Can upload lots of pics to your profile
  • No age range. Comes under the upgraded paid app
  • People don't seem to chat. I don't quite get this one but the silence rates where much higher on here than I'd expected.
  • Can be harder to arrange meet ups. Between the silence and the large search radius, it can be hard to find someone willing to meet in person
  • No option for a bio on profile
Overall give this app a 6/10.

Next up is one called Bumble. The premise is simple, the girl needs to chat first, and within 24 hours or you'll unmatch. The other person has 24 hours respond in return, or again it'll be lost. If you both do then the match stays open. 

  • Extra prompt for initiating contact with the 24 hour deadline
  • People seem more inclined to chat. Yep actually had some decent conversations through this one.
  • Cute little honey logo, yep I got caught in by the design...
  • No backlog of potential matches, if you don't chat then it's bye bye!
  • I'll be honest this is definitely geared up for Herero couples. Although I had the option set for "likes men and women" only a tiny percentage where women. I'm pretty sure I never chatted to any gals on this app at all.
  • Surprisingly I found the time limit off putting rather than pushing me to initiate conversation. I definitely prefer the other person initiating.  
Bumble was probably my leafs favourite of the apps, only gets better a 5/10 for me.

The final app has to be Tinder of course. It's the one that I've probably used this most and probably has the bigger recognition in the dating app scene. 

  • App is easy to use
  • Able to put a "bio" so not just swiping based on looks.
  • Big user base, plenty of potential people to swipe
  • Allows option of liking bob "men and women" and actually had some women come up on screen albeit still a poor ratio of profiles to the men.
  • Option for group dating, can be both funny and reassuring having your mates in the chat.
  • No 
  • The app had a tendency to not tell me I had messages... yep sorry people, not just being a dick over here...
  • Sometimes people skip the hello all together and just go straight to propositioning you. Fair enough if you're only there for some casual fun, but a greeting or two goes a long way.
  • You can "superlike" people. It's meant to be a pro for the app but honestly the only time I use this feature was when I accidentally pressed it...
I've probably had the best run with Tinder. Found some genuinely nice people and even succeeded in arranging a few meet ups. 
Scores a 8/10, could be that little bit better.

Have you used any of these apps or are thinking of trying then? Let me know your thoughts!

Abi x

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Spotlight: Stories for Homes

Today's post is talking not just about a book but one for a good cause. Yep making books even better!
The ebook in question is called Stories for Homes and is an anthology due out on the 28th September 2017.

Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.

55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues.  Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.

Praise for the Book

Emma Darwin, author of The Mathematics of Love, commented on the quality of writing in the anthology as: “A cornucopia of witty, tragic, elegant, raw, heart-warming and terrifying stories that take the idea of Home, play with it as only truly talented writers can, and all to help those who have no home at all."

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: “Stories give our imaginations a home. It's good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too...” reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it.

Sally Swingewood, who also edited the collections, commented: “The Stories for Homes collections would not be possible without the generosity of a huge number of volunteers. By working together we have produced a book which will not only delight but also help address one of the biggest humanitarian crises facing modern society. In a world where migration, identity and belonging are in the news daily we have a duty to help everyone have a home in which they feel safe and settled. Stories for Homes is one way we can be part of the solution”

Volume 1 and information including the names of all the contributors for Volume 2 can be found