Day 27 Plotting and Challenge ❤❤❤

Up with the very sleepy lark this morning, places to go and people to see. I did treat myself to breakfast at my favourite coffee shop, Gordon Street Coffee. Their Glasgow Roast is just the fuel to get you going. I love sitting in here, especially this morning as the coffee bean roaster was on.


Job done in the City Centre then in for my next coffee at Western Health and Racquets Club’s Members Bar. 


With all this caffeine time to channel into a workout and boy did I push myself. 

Check the Day 27 post on my Facebook page

Facebook
Tomorrow, more coffee powered activity and if nothing gets in the way, a workout with GymGuyMark

G

Greece is the word: Xanthi!


Xanthi, a city in North East Greece!

When you first arrive it looks like any other city, outskirts full of out of town shopping and suburbs, but it holds a secret and you need to head into the centre to find it.

Now let’s not kid on, Xanthi is like many other Greek Towns and cities, it is suffering, closed businesses and shops are everywhere but it is still a bustling city full of people trying to make a living and coping with what the world is currently throwing at them. Our hotel had seen better days but the rooms were clean, the showers hot and the breakfast not too bad. 

We arrived on the evening of Greek Holy Thursday after a long, hot drive through some stunning scenery. We headed into the city centre to explore a bit and found it to be full of the small shops we have come to expect in Greece, and yes, the smell of food was everywhere. 


Now Xanthi has a surprise for visitors, all of a sudden you leave the modern city and you are in the Old Town, perched on the hill with the most amazing cobbled streets, full of buildings and sights that are a photographers dream. Yes, it is rundown in parts but it is full of character with many cafes and restaurants to eat and drink in. From the modern to the old school, it has it all.




The food is superb, my tip is to look where the families or older people are eating! Try the more modern places but if you want the really good “home cooking” experiences try the the traditional taverns first.

Now for you shoppers out there Xanthi has a wide range of foodie shops, from the most amazing variety of freshly roasted nut stores to stores that ground their own fresh coffee. “Delight” and sweetie shops with an unbelievable choice, forget your Fry’s you know what Delight, these treats knock it out of the water. And again there are the bakeries and pie shops, a stunning patisserie with a queue that was out the door, to fruit and veg places that would make your eyes water with choice! Again like every other city there are the stray dogs and the beggars but just be sensible and don’t do anything stupid and you will be fine.

Let’s roll forward to the next day, Good Friday in the Greek Orthodox calendar, we woke to the sound of the “sad” bells, this was something I had heard about but never experienced and it was genuinely moving. Wherever you went in the city you could hear them, tolling out the sound of Good Friday. Inside the stunning churches were all very still and quiet. Stunningly decorated plinths holding the precious books and words the Greeks showed great respect to.

 I want to fast forward a bit though because after a day of wandering around the old town again, later at night I had the joy of taking part in the Good Friday procession and I urge you, whether you believe or not, if you are ever in Greece at this time, go watch!

We arrived at the Church just before the procession started, the inside was packed with people and the smell of candles and incense was breathtaking. The sung service was very moving and towards the end men were chosen to carry the flower decorated plinth through a packed Church out into the tiny narrow streets. I was lucky in that I had a Greek friend to explain it all  to me, the plinth was going to be carried down the hill to the main town square. The mournful music of the brass band and the procession of priests and people really did make it feel like a funeral but what I did not expect was the sight before us when we reached the Square,


At least 12 other plinths all beautifully decorated, each with people and clergy walking behind it. But as we stood and watched them gathering, the crowd parted to let the army through, along with dignitaries and other people holding some kind of public office. The ornate crosses and garments worn by the clergy stood out in the dark rainy night and even the drizzly rain did not curb the atmosphere that had built up. Now whether you believe or not, you could not fail to be in awe of this amazing sight. I am only sorry that my camera decided to pack up so the photos do not do it justice.


After the ceremony was over the crowds all wound their back home. We stopped to get pies and coffee, this religious stuff is thirsty work you know. The next day we stocked up on foodie presents to take home but the one thing I will take away from Xanthi is the surprise that it brought. A city in the middle of nowhere that proved to be an experience. All too often we visit places and never explore deeper into the real towns. We were lucky, our Greek friend knew the town but it is easy to wander off the beaten tourist track people and spend your Euros in places and with people who work hard to survive life, 

Xanthi has a surprise in the old town, go spend the day there and enjoy the experience!

G x

All photos are mine, please do not use without my permission

Singularly Awesome

So today is the day when timelines are full of chocolates, red roses and fluffy pictures, well for some!!!! Mine is full of ads for dating agencies, speed dating evenings and advice on being single on Valentines Day. 

   

There are people who will cry to the bottom of a box of tissues and whinge about being single till that last square of a family size bar of Cadburys has departed. They will avoid the world because they hate being S I N G L E on Valentine’s Day! Don’t deny it you know who you are!!!! Our inner Bridget Jones is channelled and we write screeds and screeds in our diary ending the day by signing up to the “mature” dating site because actually the silver fox in the photo really could just be waiting to meet me!!!!!!!

  

Nope! All wrong guys! By all means have a whinge and a poor me moment but then, warning cheesy line approaching, remember that L O V E is all around! Family, friends, chocolate, gin, boxed set binges all love you and think you are awesome.

Swear word approaching !

So I say …   

You are awesome, amazing and fabulous! You struggle everyday to cope with life, balance the books and try to leave the house and not scare anyone! That deserves a spoil me day, so make it today.   

Me? I am spending the day celebrating the fact that I am part of an amazing family and I have a life full of people who love and support me. From the guys who supply my caffeine hit every morning at Gordon Street Coffee, the amazing bunch I work with at 29studios, my cinema buddy for life, good friends I enjoy a glass of bubbly with as well as those who drown me in gin, those who have travelled with me in good and bad times and even the Gym Guy who puts me through torture in the gym!!!!! You are my Valentines cards every day, what more do I need???? 

That is unless this guy rocks up on his bike, then you are all dumped!!!! 

 
Gx

Passion for the Good or Bad !

Unknown

Ooooh what a subject for a Sunday morning!

Passion can be defined as a “very strong feeling about a person or thing” or “an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something.” Everything from chocolate, football, politics to saving the world has stirred passionate feelings and arguments in pubs or in families, so it can be a destructive emotion as well as a positive one. Passion is such and individual thing! We can all feel passionately about our country but the degree will vary from person to person as will the extent we take it to.

So what drives our passions in life?

Are we born with it?

Is our passion driven by the genuine need to do good, or is there a hidden agenda? Is passion driven by greed or selfishness, the want to be seen to do good but at the same time benefit? I guess it is the old contradiction of can we actually do a selfless act with no benefit to ourselves.

A friend of mine, lets call him Joe, has a total passion for his car. It is his life and he bores everyone senseless with his chat about the restoration, the endless descriptions of the various repairs and his search for the authentic gear stick. Bless him, he has even dragged me round endless car stores researching the perfect red paint! Friends often complained that he needed to “get out more” but the fact of the matter was that apart from his job, Joe had nothing else in his life. He had had the seemingly perfect marriage, house and family combo, but his wife had an affair and when they divorced her very clever lawyer literally left Joe with his car and his clothes. Having lost his real family, he adopted his car and shifted his passion to care for it. In his own words “at least I know when it is about to screw me over”!

Then there are those who turn their passions into a career. Just look at the number of entrepreneurs who start businesses from a good idea, from something they developed for their own use and end up selling the widget thingy for millions of pounds. Or perhaps their passion to change a small thing in their life develops into a big thing that employs, changes and develops others. As my boss at 29studios often says …

12006281_977795405604162_455348609066717042_n

Then, my friends, there is the mix of passion and belief! A sometimes volatile cocktail that can improve the world or make it a scary place to live in. I am lucky enough to know, and be inspired by, friends who take their belief and use it for the good. Stepping out from the crowd to stand up for what they believe in and never waver no matter how often they are criticised! The people who genuinely do use their position in the community to promote everything from ethical stances to “independence”.

So what, apart from family, friends, gin, coffee and Bradley Cooper/George Clooney what are my passions in life?

Well that is actually a very easy question to answer, my passion is life! Having hit a few bumps in the road I am now passionate about living my life to the full, doing what I want to do and scaring myself stupid by stepping out of my comfort zone. Rediscovering that at 52 I was not doing what I wanted to do changed my thinking and helped me make that decision to find new passions in life to drive myself forward.

Passion is about not standing still, in my opinion it is finding that one thing that fires you up and fills your soul. Once you discover it, the important thing is to not let it totally consume you, after all variety is the spice of life they say or is the thought of a variety of passions too much for a Sunday morning!!!!!

Go on find the spice!

G

How to cope with a big night out when you are over 50!!!!

So for some evil reason fate decides it is time to pour with rain and instead of the fit, healthy walk home, you need to jump on a bus. Fate, my friends, is an evil cow! She sits up there in her ivory fate tower and thinks that she has given out far too many lottery winners so it is time to have some fun with G. On this occasion sitting on the bus was someone I had not seen in years, we exchanged those awkward is it/isn’t looks and then after the traditional obligatory OMG it is you phrases, I sat beside her for a chat. We did the whole so nice to see you, what are you doing now thing and, as I got up to get off the bus, I did the one thing that you feel compelled to do but should not, I gave her my mobile number and heard myself saying.lets meet for a drink sometime. Now as we all know there are some people from our past we love to see, but there are one or ten we would quite happily never see again. This was one of those times and the thing was we both knew it! So I felt I was quite safe with the giving out the phone number thing until the following Tuesday when I heard THE voicemail.

A big night out was being arranged!!!!!!

It was at this point that I discovered googling what is the fastest way to emigrate when your phone is running out battery is not a good idea, so unless I wanted to go into debt for the rest of my life on plane tickets, a big night out in Glasgow was the only answer. And before you say why did I not just say no or make an excuse, the voicemail reminded me that it was me who said lets go for a drink.Turns out my suggestion had been passed on to two or three others from my past, all of whom were desperate to meet up again and quote *shivers* “it will be just like the old days”. To cut a very long story short, we did go out, about ten of us, plus husbands and partners, except me  as I did not read the email properly. I quickly realised it was a couples thing when I walked into the bar and saw one of the girls with her husband and a spare guy. Unfortunately I had put my bag with my flats into the cloakroom and there was no way I could run in these heels. The big night out had begun …

coral

In a case like this, when you are over 50 and single, you have two options! There is fake heart attack but you are wearing your new white shirt and don’t want to get it too dirty or there is the fake breathless run up to the people you are meeting with the I am so sorry guys I think I have left my hair straighteners/iron/shower on excuse. However when you realise that the Spare has obviously not been filled in either on the “you will be so perfect for each other” plan,you knock it on the head straight away by going to the Bar with said Spare and both slugging back a Martini. You agree that we will just humour them and totter back to the table trying not to spill or drop the tray of drinks as the Martini has gone straight to your head!

martini

Ok, I will admit that the night was great fun in the end. I think we all realised that this was it and there was a reason we had not kept in touch. But for one night only we hit some of the best bars in Glasgow,  Alston Bar and Beef  The Anchor Line The Finneston and one other place that I cannot remember, ate some fabulous food and drunk lots of gin and bubbles!

prosecco

So, my friends, how do you cope with a Big Night Out when you are over 50? Here come my top tips and they are all coming from the voice of experience who is nursing a hangover and a few bruises

  • Before you go out, leave clear path to loo and bed. Pour pint of water and leave beside bed. Put taxi fare in your make up bag, if you leave it in your purse it will be used as a one for the ditch drink!!!!
  • Always take flat shoes, the heels look great but …. oooooohhhh sore feet
  • Don’t agree to go out with couples you have not seen for a while. They will bring someone “you are perfect for” as a “nice surprise”
  • Never agree to see “Mr Perfect for” again just to keep your friends quiet.
  • Make sure you have a good unbreakable code word for the “I need to escape situations” and ensure the friends you arrange it with will, realising you are not in any danger, use it and not send back a text with roflmao
  • Trying to do a Taylor Swift impression in the Ladies loo does not work if you are mixing her up with Brittney Spears.
  • Dabbing your face with tissues in the loo to mop up that power surge? Check mirror before leaving!
  • Wear good underwear, unless you are a very fit lady, as things jiggle more at our age when you are trying to do your best Beyonce
  • When sitting on a bar stool, trying to be elegant, never lean back. Phones have cameras!!!!!!
  • Never drink coloured drinks when you are wearing white or cream. You will at some point do the snort laugh and it will dribble
  • Just because you are lubricated by gin does not mean you can kick your height. Retrieving your shoe from someone else’s table is embarrassing
  • Do not make eye contact with drunk teenager in the taxi queue. He will mistake you for his Mum and you will end up buying him chips.
  • Do not drunk FaceTime your friends when you are in the taxi going home! You look like serial killer!
  • Rehydrating? A pint of water will wake you up 40 mins later, make sure you have a clear a path to the loo, ensure heels and bag straps are all safely tucked away, leave lid of loo up!
  • The morning after the night before, do not try to rock the hungover look a la Kate Moss without a full jar of Clarins Beauty Flash, a huge pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap. You will scare babies!
  • Finally, the telephone number on your arm is nearly always the guys whose wife doesn’t understand him and is very rarely the Clooney lookalike
  • Oh and one more thing, don’t do the “that is it I am getting into shape thing to cope with these big nights out”. You end up arranging to start going back to the gym with GymGuyMark

hungover-ss

PS Everyone I went out with are well aware that I have written this

The Right Blend of Coffee Therapy

There are several things that I cannot do without in my life. Gin of course, oh and other things like family and friends, money, good health and all that stuff. But there is one thing that no matter how much I try, I cannot give up. Coffee, full-blown caff to the max coffee! It helps me be a decent human being in the morning and along with various miracle creams stops me scaring people on the bus. So when the coffee place that regularly rescues you of a morning with their healing blend of beans, ask you along to a tasting evening, you do not say no.

Gordon Street Coffee is a “small batch coffee producer” that roasts its own coffee on site. I fell in love with their Glasgow Roast blend a long time ago so to get the chance to go along, get behind the counter and see how my latte was made was just a wee bit exciting. We were a small group which was really nice because you got the chance to chat and get to know people. And when you are welcomed n the door with an Espresso Martini, you know the night is going to go well.

espresso martini

We started off learning how everything from a latte to an Americano is made. From how much foam there should on a cappuccino to the art of making a heart in the foam and of course tasting. The guys were super patient and answered all the questions we asked. I think I maybe a frustrated “barista” at heart!

guys

Totally spoiled with some yummy goodies to eat as well as fabulous coffee!

rolls

cake

Then upstairs to watch this bad boy in action and learn all about the fine art of roasting and blending.

beans 2

After a lesson in slurping and single blends with Christopher it was almost time to go.

It was a really good way to spend an evening and if you get the chance go along to one of their Wednesday night info sessions. But for me the most important part was that I got to chat to the people I see almost every day. Up till tonight most of them had been that nice girl or guy who makes my latte but having had the chance to chat to them and get to know more about who they are and what they do, was really nice.

For many of us the dash into the coffee shop in the morning is a necessity, we need that caffeine hit and that wee bit of banter and in a sense I guess it is almost a form of therapy. We know that when we take that first sip it will make us feel more human, kick-start the whole body into life and possibly prevent us from walloping someone with our handbag because they looked at us the wrong way.

But you know what for me, having somewhere like Gordon Street is even better now because I know that the people behind the counter are darn nice and that my coffee is made by experts! I hate to say but for me their skinny Glasgow Roast latte is my the new Irn Bru!

Thanks guys, see you tomorrow!

glass

Gx

PS I was not paid or bribed in anyway to write this! !!!!! Honest guv

The Wobbly Table : Coffee

I am one of those bloggers who finds it impossible to write without a mug of coffee. I always use the same mug, switch on the filter machine to let the coffee brew while I start on my first draft.  By the time that magic sound of bubbling and spluttering finishes, I have usually finished the draft but funnily enough the other night when I was writing my Wobbly Table blog, something went wrong. I could hear the water filtering through the coffee grounds but there was no final splutter. The one thing every coffee addict dreads, my trusty filter machine was not working anymore and I had a bit of a dilemma. To try to fix the machine I was going to have to switch it off which meant that my freshly brewed pot of goodness would go cold.  But being a sort of sensible girl, the first thing I did was hit save on my Blog and then turned off the coffee machine. I took all the filters out, cleaned and washed everything then filled it back up with just water and switched it on with bated breath.

no coffee

While I stood there watching the water drip through, I kept thinking again about the wobbly table and that this was yet another thing that I relied on being there that was possibly no longer working. The next few minutes were agony, every little drop of water that went through was painful, the thought that the next morning I would not be woken by the burbling of freshly brewed filled me with dread. It got me thinking again about the things I take for granted and rely on to work, especially in the mornings. My two alarm clocks, the coffee machine, my iron and my hairdryer are all part of my routine. Take one thing away and the  morning goes to pot and my day starts off badly.

It’s like the train that gets cancelled or the bus that is ten minutes late, you never get that time back and end up behind in your normal days work or being late for dinner!  We rely on so many things working every day that when they don’t chaos can reign. How often have you looked at your laptop when it announces NO INTERNET CONNECTION and thought that is it, my life is over? Well as I sat there watching tiny drip after tiny drip of water splash into the coffee jug, I was filled with a sense of dread and fear. Would the world be ready for a caffeine-less me in the morning? Would I last till I made it into the City Centre to get my fix? So many thoughts going through my head and all over a stupid filter machine. I distracted myself by finishing off my Blog. Just as I hit send, there was an almighty eruption behind me. I looked round and there was a strong steady flow of water going into the coffee jug. All that worry, all that imagined stress over nothing. Everything was in working order again and unlike my wee table, my trusty filter coffee machine was in fine working order.

I guess it is back to that thought of how am I going to cope without …..? When something we rely on being there suddenly stops working we can instantly over react, behave like a nutter and say things we don’t mean when “no one understands”. Life , we imagine, will never be the same again. Most of the time our over reaction takes minutes but sometimes that over reaction is just us being human, allowing our fears to show and our tears to flow over a real concern of missing something that has always worked. We should practice some self compassion and stop beating ourselves up because, yes it might just be a mug of coffee but, it is an essential part of life.

heart coffee

Like the Wobbly Table, I would miss my mug of filter if the machine stopped working but I guess in time I would go out and buy another one. Why then will I not go out and buy another table?

Another question to be answered …

G

Bridget Gym’s Diary Wednesday 4th June 2014 Day 10

Day 10

Ok Wednesday went like this …

Raw-Almonds

  • Awake: 5.30 am to one of those nothing is going right mornings. Iron blew, button came off trousers and I ran out of coffee.
  • Breakfast: 8 am Usual Total 0% yoghurt with honey and blueberries, latte from Gordon St Coffee much required
  • Snack : 10 am Carrots,almonds
  • Lunch:  1.30pm Tuna salad ( Tuna, tomatoes, black olives, chopped walnuts, grated carrot and lettuce)
  • Snack : Earl Grey tea and a few more almonds
  • Evening: 8.30pm Chicken breast, broccoli, red onion and couscous ( needed the carb boost)
  • Today’s highs:  Managed to eat carbs in a good way, not stress related
  • Today’s lows : Not looking forward to tomorrow, funeral that maybe difficult to handle. Trying to focus on other things

11july15_tasting-notes_book

Tip of the day : Again this may sound a wee bit sad to some but I have been writing down when I get a craving for carbs or sweeties, it is really starting to help me identify my danger spots and plan to have something else ready to snack on.

Tomorrow is going to be a big test for me, I have a few difficult emotional situations to handle and to cope with them minus chocolate, chips or major carb overload is going to be tough

Here goes!

Bridget Gym’s Diary Saturday 31rst May 2014 Day 6

Day 6

IMG01882-20140531-1153

  • Awake: 6am, I know! Forgot to shut the curtains
  • Exercise: Quick walk down Hyndland Road, Byres Road then back up Great Western Road to blow away the cobwebs. Off shopping to Country Baskets with wee sis for bits and pieces for other wee sis’s birthday
  • Breakfast: Well more of a brunch, Granola, Fruit Compote and Natural Yoghurt at AvenueG on Great Western Road, a real treat.
  • Snack : Almonds, black  coffee
  • Lunch: About 2pm, peanut butter on brown toast
  • Exercise : Major self-inflicted cardio session at Western Health and Racquets Club gym. Really pushed myself, till the legs hurt, Sat down in the changing room afterwards and really struggled to get back up, nearly fell asleep

IMG01886-20140531-1653

  • Snack: after gym latte and a bit of chat with the ladies in The Kitchen Window
  • Evening:  Grilled Salmon, spinach and a tsp of toasted hazelnuts. Light balsamic dressing
  • Today’s highs:  Had a complete BINGO/LIGHTBULB  moment, another Blog to come on that
  • Today’s lows : Overheard someone talking about me, felt like a bullied kid for a second then thought, f**k em! If that is all you have to talk about then what a sad life you have. Still had a wee emotional moment though, thank God for sunglasses.

Tip of the day : This is one majorly sad tip but wee ”tupperware” boxes and small freezer bags are a great help when you are planning your meals and snacks. Invest in good boxes with good seals on them

Tried coconut water again today, still not 100% sure if I like it yet, might need a bit more convincing

IMG01890-20140531-1905

Bridget Gym’s Diary Friday 30th May 2014 Day 5

Day 5

IMG01876-20140530-0707 (2)

  • Awake: 5.30 am wide awake and full of energy. That is a complete lie, I did the ten minutes more routine. Feeling slightly rough after the gin last night (note to self : out of practice) and concerned that my Irn Bru bacon roll hangover cure is banned at the moment
  • Exercise: Walk to Byres Road, carried huge bottle of water, got on bus … woos
  • Breakfast: Skinny latte, natural yoghurt and blueberries from Gordon Street Coffee mixed some muesli into the yoghurt, Yummy. Still missing my Bru
  • Snack : Second large skinny latte
  • Lunch: Roast Chicken, black olives, mixed leaves, baby tomatoes, cucumber and a light balsamic dressing
  • Snack: Mixed nuts
  • Exercise : ran for bus, shattered
  • Evening:  Broccoli soup with garnish of finely chopped toasted almonds, toast, brown bread with butter, yes I did say butter, lots of  water
  • Today’s highs:  Managed to cope without Irn Bru, but this is also a worry!!!!!
  • Today’s lows : Tired today, so much going on that trying not to eat chips and stuff my face with carbs is now a struggle. Had a sad piece of news tonight and was tempted to hit the pile of toast but managed to somehow avoid it.

Tip of the day : Make out a shopping list and only buy what is on your meal plan! If it isn’t in the cupboard or fridge you might not be tempted at 3am in the morning when you are wide awake and feeling low.

Today turned out to be a tough day, no Irn Bru, no huge bacon roll with tattie scone. Did I miss it? Of course I did but it is also part of the pan, to develop the strength to say No to the comfort foods. Well, for now anyway ….