On Saturday 21st March 2020 at 5pm I closed the doors of the shop not knowing when one of my lovely customers would walk through it again.  I had planned to reduce the days I was working but on Monday morning after not sleeping the past 3 nights, Alex & I had a chat at 6am & we decided to close the shop.  The First Minister took that decision out all of our hands the next day & closed all non essential shops in Scotland and (politics aside) I was grateful for that.

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The sky that morning walking the dogs

We are lockdown for a minimum of 3 weeks – here, my little space of the internet, I’m going to document my day (s).  Its going to be a mixture of life just now, outfit posts, how Im keeping my business afloat and how I pass the day.

Tuesday 24th March 2020

I was in the shop for 7.30am armed with boxes and suitcases, packing up what I could to do some style photo’s and videos at home.  I packed all my cleaning products and toilet rolls, when this becomes history in years to come, my vision of a history teacher explaining to the wee kiddies of the 2020 pandemic and having to explain the loo roll panic buy makes me cringe.  Is this what we’ve become??!

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packing what I can, hoping to keep the business going from home.

Alex phoned to say he was being sent home from the site, relief to have him home safe and also a bit of panic, we’re both self employed and like the rest of the nation have bills to pay.  The government is going to help with grants etc so money-wise we just need to sit tight and this time will pass.  Right now all everyone cares about is the health of friends, neighbours and our loved ones.

I locked up the shop and quietly told it we will come back better than ever and I believe as a nation we will.   Im a positive person and grateful for a lot but the gratitude I have for people on the front line, the key workers putting themselves at risk everyday.  We will never be able to thank these people enough.  Yes its there job, “they chose that career” {that comment stuck in my throat last week!} but I don’t ever imagine they signed up for this & they must be terrified dealing with a deadly virus every day.

I nipped next door to the bakers for rolls and cakes to take to mums farm, they woke to the surprise of spring lambs so the scramble was on for them to arrange pens, bottles for feeding, bedding etc.  In amongst that, the company my step dad was contracted to was closing due to the government announcement was phoning to ask all plant and tools to be removed off site whilst he was delivering lambs.  It was all systems go !!

 

I eventually got home, unpacked the car,  took the dogs round the field,  Alex came around an hour later.

That was it, we’re officially in lockdown.

Take care, stay indoors.

Chat soon.

Marlene x

 

 

 

Hi Everyone, hope your week is off to a good start and you’ve stayed safe during storm Ciara.  With Valentines Day this week, I thought I would share some idea’s for your loved one.  Falling on a Friday I’ve include some weekend plans. Some prefer to go on a date rather than a flowers and chocolates so I’ve mixed it up a bit.

Romantic Dinner with overnight stay

Our favourite place to go just now is the Oak Tree in Balmaha.  I wrote a post about it last week here. I love the drive out to Balmaha and its location right on Loch Lomond.  The food is fantastic, it’s pub food with a bit extra, they don’t take bookings but the wait isn’t usually that long. Request a seat next to the fire if you can.  We always do. You can include an overnight stay in the Inn or in one the the beautiful cottages.  Rates start at £110. A romantic stroll a long the bonny banks before dinner, definite browny points!

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The Blair Tavern our local favourite, famous for it’s delicious steaks, cosy romantic setting with a country feel.  The food here is locally sourced. Choose from the light-bite menu or go the full hog, the sticky toffee pudding is something else…..

 

Coffee and a good walk

Put your phones away, grab the dogs (if you have them) this a great option to get outdoors and have a good catch up.  I think you talk a lot more when your out walking & the fresh air makes always feel good. Theres so much to see on our doorstep, Ayrshire is a great place to live and we have some great walks.  I love a wonder round Culzean Castle or Dundonald Castle stopping in at GRO on the way home for a coffee and usually one of their fabulous cakes.  Lochwinnoch has some great walks, short walk pathways or you can be away for the day.  Grab a coffee and a cake at the Wee Coffee Caravan or enjoy a meal at the Loch House on your way home.

Beige Forest Fashion Photo Collage

Cinema Date and Dinner

I’m a bit late to the party here but a customer in the shop was telling me about the 4DX viewings, I’d never heard of it. If you haven’t either it enhances the special effects, you feel the wind, water, smells and your seat moves!! This is available in Cineworld in Glasgow.  I think this would be good for a first date to break the ice.  Closer to home is Oscars, a cosy cinema with the restaurant in the same location.  They serve good food and great cocktails.

Gifts

I thought I would include a few gift idea’s, usually we make a point of spending the weekend together but seeing as Im getting ditched for the fishing, Alex take your pick of the ladies gift ideas!!

For Him

 

See you Thursday

Marlene x

17 years since our first date………. I believe in celebrating the small stuff and any excuse to be taken out for dinner!!

We’re incredibly lucky to live where we do, just over an hours drive and wer’e on the shores of Loch Lomond.  It was a rare day without the dogs, Alex took them a good walk in the morning so they were quiet happy snoozing the rest of the afternoon until we were home and it was their dinner time.

Being dog free we headed for Loch Lomond Shores for a browse in Jenners, its a while since I’ve been there. A browse it was for me anyway, I’m trying not to buy just for the sake of it.  I did see a fabulous faux furleopard print full length coat, I daren’t try it on because I new what would happen.  It was the dream but I have one, although its not faux fur also my mum bought me an Alice Temperley leopard print coat for my birthday in August when we were in London in January.  Ages away I know but it was a steal and I will have a new coat for Autumn this year.

Alex did treat me to 4 new mugs for the house, stags in the highlands, they are beautiful.  I find stags majestic, the house is becoming a bit of a shrine to them.  I need to stop buying anything with a stag on it!!  Alex got a few jumpers in the sale too.  By this time we were hungry so back to the car and we drove round the other side of the loch to Balmaha.

Now this wee place is something else, a tiny village  sitting at the bottom of the Conic Hill with a few cottages, B & B’s and the Oak Tree Inn & The Village Shop next to St Mocha’s coffee shop and ice cream parlour but there’s something about it. It’s a place I would love a wee holiday cottage.

The Oak Tree Inn sits just off the lochside, built with slate from the local quarry, modern and stylish but sits perfectly within the village.

At Christmas they wrap the building and the big oak tree in a big red bow, a huge Christmas tree stands proud at the front door and the garlands round the entrance were beautiful.  Theses photos were from our New Year’s Day walk.

You can choose to eat in the conservatory or the fire side bar, we opted for the bar with roaring fire, there was a wait but only about 10 minutes and Ken our waiter got us a great seat near the fire. It’s fascinating room with plenty to see, old grandfather clocks, tools and swords from years back hanging on the walls along with stuffed animals.

The menu always has plenty to choose from. We both choose creamy garlic mushroom on ciabatta bread to start, it was delicious the sauce was perfection.  My plate was empty before Alex!!  For our mains we both choose Creamy Chicken and Leek Pie, potatoes and veg.  The veg was a mixture of cabbage and big chunks of turnip, it was Burns weekend along with carrots and broccoli and pea’s.  Again absolutely delicious.  By this time I was stuffed and left some potatoes, by what I mean stuffed, I needed to leave room for pudding!.  A scrumptious trio of cheseecakes, banoffee, chocolate and raspberry with 2 scoops of ice-cream coffee and raspberry.  It hit the spot!  Alex had sticky toffee pudding.

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Not the best photo 🙂 but I thought Id show you what I was wearing  Coat – Old Boohoo, Faux fur Scarf –Joules  Boots – Dubarry Bag was my Christmas present from Alex. I love it Strathberry

Time to head home driving back through the picturesque villages of Balmaha and Drymen, dreaming of owning a wee place around here, totally stuffed, the button undone on my jeans because I though I was going to burst but it was worth it!! It was home, make up off ,skin care done, pyjamas on ready for Call The Midwife.  A great Sunday.

Chat soon

Marlene

 

Hi hope your well.  Thursday again and I’m back with a fashion post this week Im chatting about the chunky platform trainer.  Praise the lord, shoes that are not only stylish, comfortable but make your legs look longer.

The Chunky trainer, is going nowhere.  Hanging around for another season.  After the Balenciaga launch last year the trend filtered onto the high street towards the end of last season. I wasn’t to keen on them but I had pre-ordered them for the boutique. Slowly they began to grow on me.  I did treat myself to this pair, now in the half price sale.

Another design arrived this week and came straight home with me too, how can you resist leopard print & glitter !!

IMG-4120 Different ways to style them.  The gorgeous Emma Hill styling them up with a midi skirt and chunky jumper.  Also with jeans and a trench coat – more on them later, trench or macs are going to huge this Spring Summer, watch them filter into your favourite  stores soon.

 

Dressing down trousers and a blazer or sports luxe!

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Are you a fan of the chunky trainer? Let me know in the comments below.

Chat soon

Marlene x

Hi hope you’ve had a great weekend.  We’re nearly at the end of January and I’ve saw a few bloggers share their dream year post.  Its a post I like to read so I thought I would share mine.  You write your goals for the year and come December you look back and see what you achieved.  I love goals, Im a planner.  I love a checklist.  I write a list of what Ive to do every single day.  It keeps me productive & stops me forgetting things. So lets get started, grab a cuppa, this could be a long one.

Career

Last year I was lucky enough to get a business coach.  It was the best thing I ever did, Kirsty is a wonderful person and has taught me so much. It isn’t all about spreadsheets and number crunching, its all about getting on in life, making life easier and how to enjoy your business.  What we did was plan, I learnt how to plan, (this is my list making started) how to make achievable goals and complete them.  I now have  a 1, 3 and 5 year plan for myself and one for the business.  Im not sharing them all just now but here are some of the changes I will be making this year.

My business really means the world to me.  I love my boutique and I feel I have found my feet.  Its now time to grow.  I have some new brands due arrive for Spring 2020 and I know your going to love them.  I try to always find something a wee bit different and I love when customers comment on that. I want to do a small refurb too.  Nothing major but I a few tweks here and there.

This blog, Im getting right into the swing of this, I love to read and write, it was my favourite subject at school.   My plans are to write a lot more fashion and skincare posts.  I have the posts just no photographs so my aim is to meet with my photographer at least once a month to get some good content as well as the photographs I take myself.

Youtube – I have watched youtube for over 4 years now and this year I will have my own channel.  Im learning to edit and then it will be full steam ahead with fashion hauls, vlogs and I hope to share some boutique life on there too.

 

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My first photoshoot with Francesca, we just clicked!

 

Home Life

Spending more time with loved ones –  Making sure a Sunday is mine, whither its going somewhere with Alex & the dogs or spending time at home with a blanket and a good book.  Visiting my grandpa, I’m making sure Sunday is not spent doing house chores, food shop or work.  Small changes at night during the week will give me a Sunday free. I said this last year but I mean it.  1 day switching off a week is a must.

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My grandpa has vascular dementia and we weren’t sure if he would be at home with us this Christmas & he was & we had a great day.

Health / Wellbeing

Look after myself Be the best version of me, this year Im going for it. Im 43 this year and Im going to look after myself.  As well as loosing the Xmas pounds and getting a bit fitter,  Im trying to sort out my hormones.  I know my age has a lot to do with it but the moods and cramps are unbearable sometimes so Im trying a few different vitamins to see if they can help.  I will do a separate blog post on this later on.

Pilates and walking; my favourite exercises. I don’t have the time for a class at the moment so home DVDs it will have to be.  Im not walking much just now with the dark nights but Ive been craving to get outside on a crisp day and get a right good walk.  Its great for the mindset and I always feel amazing and totally refreshed after a good walk so Im looking forward to that.

Travel 

I wasn’t going to feature this as we don’t go abroad anymore but we do a fair bit of exploring Scotland, its really beautiful so I will be sharing where we go.  We won’t leave the dogs, Alex isn’t to keen on flying and I have terrible earache when landing that it’s put us off.  I wont fly to London for buying trips anymore because of it and I really enjoy the train journey now. I was lucky enough when I was younger to have relatives in Africa and America so I’ve seen a good part of the world as well as the Caribbean and we’ve done the usual European holiday spots. So I’ve seen enough. Last year Alex converted his new van to a camper, Ive only stayed in it twice.  We done the NC500 on our 10th wedding anniversary and I done an over night in Glencoe.  Over the past 10 years we’ve toured around Scotland, it really is a beautiful part of the country,  we usually rent cottages or log cabins (my fav!) but this year we’re planning on going to the outer hebrides so Im really looking forward to that.

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Dress Down Day !!!

A few places I would like to visit this year –

  1. Outer Hebrides (Harris and Lewis)
  2. Arran
  3. NC500 again
  4. The Kelpies
  5. Inveraray Castle
  6. Wallace Monument (its been years since Ive been)
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Back to my favourite place in the world – Foyers 
  9. Culzean Castle – we walk the dogs in the grounds all the time but never been in inside.
  10. Explore more of the Cairngorms

I really wish you all the best for the coming year, a new decade bring the opportunity for a fresh start.  Time to start smashing our way through those goals.  I’m excited to share this journey with you.

Life is for living.

Chat soon

Marlene x