I had a dream!!

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So the other day my husband and I had a conversation that many of you have probably had with your other half one time or another!

If we won the lottery would we move house?

We have only been in our house just over 2 years.  It’s our first home together even though we have been together for over 10 years and married for 3.  When we met I already had a house, so it didn’t seem necessary for us to move.  As time went by, we felt that it would be nice to have a house that both of us chose.

Our current house was brand new when we bought it, and we have both enjoyed making it ours.  The whole experience and cost of moving was not pleasant, 2 buyers pulling out and 2 lost dreams. My hubby has always said he will never move again!  So if you suddenly have a few million in your bank account would that change?

Initially in the conversation my hubby was talking about whether we actually needed a bigger house for just the 2 of us.  Its a lovely 4 bedroom detached house.  As he said, how many rooms can you actually use?  True! Its funny then how the conversation changes!

Well, there is only 1 more room I would like, he says!  A room to put in a home gym!  Not a bad idea.  I would go for that too!  Then I point out that I would like a bigger kitchen with an island.  I love cooking and a Nigela type walk-in larder would be great.  Oh and a utility room!  I used to have one before and really miss it.

Oh and how about a drive through front garden?  And a bigger garden?    I mean, to have a built in braai area undercover, with seating and a bar would be perfect, and we would get so much use out of it!

Ah and that walk-in wardrobe would be amazing!  As my hubby points out – more wardrobe space for both of us would be good!

Now wouldn’t it be great to have a bath as well as a walk-in shower in our own ensuite?

Suddenly, the forever house we currently live in is the ‘forever house until we win millions’!

That night I went to bed.  As usual I had to pop to the bathroom in the night.  As I sat up my phone lit up.  There flashing before me was an email from the Lottery.  The subject ‘News about your Ticket’.  Not a lucky dip but a win!  I sat there for a while wondering what to do!  Do I open it now.  I mean, if I did and I  had actually won, I would have to wake my hubby up.  That would be the end of my sleep for the night and I am soooo tired (rubbish logic now I think about it!).  I could just be a couple of pounds and then I will be disappointed.  If I left it until the morning I could prolong the dream!

I wander to the bathroom wondering what to do!  I decide I’m going to leave it!  If we have won we can read it together in the morning!

So I wake up.  Do I take the dogs out first or after?  Oh god this is killing me!  What if my life has changed overnight?  I decide to leave it a little while longer.

All around my walk I think about what I would do.  The options are endless.  Do I tell anyone except hubby?  We really need time to digest it ourselves don’t we!  When do we hand our notices in at work?  Oh wow this is just going to be so stressful!

I wander back home, make a cup of tea and grab my phone.  This is it!  In a few seconds time my life will have changed for ever!

I open up the National Lottery app on my phone.  I sign in.  My heart is beating so fast.  I go to my messages and there it is!  Congratulations.  You have won…………………………£2.70!

Ok my life hasn’t changed, but for those few hours, I had a dream.  I might never win big on the lottery, but even just having that little bit of hope boosts you.  If you don’t have something to aim for what is the point?

Its like losing weight.  You have to have a vision of what you want to look like.  An old photo or a new you.   By having that vision, it gives you something to work towards.

If you aim high you will achieve more!  Aim for the stars and you may get the moon.  Isn’t that better though than standing still and nothing changing?

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Is this current heatwave good for you?

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There are so many mixed messages out there at the moment!  We are currently experiencing one of the hottest summers I can ever remember.  With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on some days, should we be running for cover?

Dangers of the Sun

It is well documented that the sun can damage our skin.  The fairer you are, the more damage it will cause.  Continued exposure to the sun can also be the cause of skin cancer.

When I grew up in the 70’s, it was common practice to get the maximum suntan you could.  We didn’t even really know or understand about suncreams back then.  For us it was often good lashings of oil!  The quicker you could a tan the better!

It probably wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s I actually took stock and started really using suncreams regularly.

Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin.  Wrinkles and age spots appear.  Whilst we will all get these as we get older, the sun will speed up the process for us.  People exposed to the sun more, will look older than those that have taken precautions.

Did you know the sun also effects the soles of your feet?  Ladies, the one time of the year when we want to wear those beautiful sandals and you look at the heals of your feet in horror!  Its all linked! Lack of moisture equals dryer skin, equals cracked heals and feet!

The suns damage can be reversed you will be pleased to know.  Using suncreams, moisturisers, keeping hydrated (avoid alcohol) will all help.  For the feet, foot balms, oils and exfoliating will all reduce the dryness.

Keeping out of direct sunlight in the middle of the day is a sensible approach.  If you can’t, then make sure you are covered up.  Wear light layers and a hat.   Men who are getting a bit thin on top especially!

Get into the habit of applying suncream every morning when you have showered.  It will act as a moisturiser as well as protect you.

Having the right suncream for your skin is also important.  The fairer you are, the higher the factor you should go.  You can still get a tan using suncream.  What would you rather do?  Get burnt and then spend the rest of your holiday inside or covered up, or let you skin gradually tan with a good factor suncream?

Don’t compare yourself to others either!  I hear so many people saying to me ‘I wish I could get as brown as you’.  The sad thing is, they probably never will.  I am lucky, I have olive skin.  Without the sun, I will be darker naturally than some.  I can get away with a lower factor suncream as my skin doesn’t burn easily.

As you get older, your skin reacts differently to the sun, so don’t think ‘I never used cream as a child so why do I need it now?’  Understand your own skin type and look after it.  You will look much healthier for it.

Also, I know its obvious, bu don’t look directly at the sun as it will damage your eyes!  Wear sunglasses.  They not only protects your eyes, but help to reduce wrinkles!

Don’t forget your pets!

Just like us, our pets can get sunburn too.  Try and get them to lie in the shade.   Fido is a nightmare and constantly sits in the direct sunlight!  I continuously have to make him move.  It’s like children.  They don’t understand the dangers of the sun, so its up to us to help them.  Keep plenty of water around for them so they don’t dehydrate and please don’t exercise them in the heat of the day!

The good news about the sun!

Yes there is some.  It’s not all doom and gloom.  The sun is also actually good for us!

The sun is a good source of Vitamin D which promotes our well being.  When the sun hits our skin it triggers the body’s natural production of the vitamin D.  Vitamin D is vital for our overall health.  It protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps our muscles, improves brain function and bizarrely  even though it can cause skin cancer, may even protect against some cancers.

Low levels of Vitamin D can cause heart disease, prostate cancer and dementia!

So how confused are you now?

It is understandable that with both bits of advice above, it can be confusing.  Should you be out in the sun or not?

Well I think the overall answer to that question is yes!  The sun makes us all feel so much happier.  We are more likely to be more active, sociable and generally all round more jolly!

The best advise though is to take precautions.  Use suncream, wear a hat, drink plenty of water and cover up if you feel you are burning!  Where possible find some shade to cool down in!

We have a long winter ahead of us, so enjoy the few months of good weather we have ahead!

 

 

Is the current heatwave effecting your weight loss?

This is a question I asked myself.  My answer was a resounding yes!  The reasons I told myself were:-

Its too hot to exercise?

Ok this is partly true?  I have 2 dogs as you know.  I would normally walk them twice a day.  They are still getting their morning walk, but with temperatures at around 28/29 degrees when we get home at night, its not fair to take them out.

The way I look at it is, would you walk bare foot for an hour in a fur coat that time of night?  The answer is no!  Firstly, you would just die from the heat in the fur coat, and secondly, the sun has heated up the tarmac all day.  You would burn your feet if you tried to walk on it without shoes.  Dogs are the same.  Their paws would burn very quickly.   Instead we allow them to run around the garden.

As for the gym, well yes its air conditioned but they don’t seem to have it turned up enough!

Lets fire up the Braai/BBQ

In my house that means having a plate of nibbles while the fire is heating up, and a cold drink of wine for me and beer for my hubby?

Do you have salad dressings that are high in calories, garlic bread, white rolls too? Of course we do!

Why be inside when I could sit outside?

So I have a choice, the housework or sitting in the sun, in the garden with a book?  Yep, I’m going for the sun everytime!  I mean, we only have it a few months of the year don’t we!

Its such a nice day, why don’t we got to the pub on the way home for a quick one?

Isn’t it funny that as soon as the sun comes out, sitting in a beer garden suddenly seems so appealing.  And its only the one drink.  Then you come home and think you may as well sit in the garden and have another!

Lets invite friends around for a garden party?

Its such an opportunity to get your friends round for some drinks and nibbles.  We can all sit in the garden chatting.  Dipping our hands into a selection of nibbles and not really knowing what we are doing!  Then there is the alcohol!

Its so nice, I could just have an icecream to cool me down!

Well it would be rude not too wouldn’t it!

STOP!

My hubby and I have been doing all of the above to some degree lately!  We were on holiday recently in Scotland, the weather was warm but not like it is now.   We still enjoyed a couple of drinks in the evening, but managed to come back 1.5lbs lighter!

On Monday I got on the scales and am now another 5lb heavier in 2 weeks.  So what is the difference?

I really had to think about this question!  The truth is the difference was me!  Its nothing to do with the weather, it is my own attitude and motivation!

So what did I do differently?

Exercise

I wanted to make sure I did the most steps I could each day, so made sure we chose activities that meant we did a lot of walking.  If it was warm, we took the dogs on routes on grass and near water so they could cool off.

I also realised there wasn’t an excuse not to go to the gym!  Yes it was a bit warm, but I just needed to make sure I drank plenty of water.  I also didn’t push myself as hard if I was getting too hot!  It’s better to do something than nothing!

Food

I planned my food better!  I always put a packed lunch in our cool bag each day.  I planned when I was going to need bread, so that I could have my HEB of a wholemeal roll rather than a white one!

I knew each day what I was eating and when.  I always filled up on the right things so I wasn’t tempted.  If hubby wanted an icecream, I had a diet coke!

I thought about my treats.  I would save them for the evenings in case I wanted that snack. If I did, I measured it out!  I also made sure there were healthy option of treats, and not many bad ones. If I didn’t have them, I couldn’t eat them!

I put plenty of fruit in too!

Alcohol

I kept to my Slimline Wine.  Its less calories than normal wine.  I also love it, so rather than drink it quickly, I’d relax and enjoy it.  It is only 410 calories a bottle, comes in white, red, white sparkling and red sparkling.  The sparkling ones are equal to any champagne you will drink!  Its only available online at the moment, but well worth it.  Check out their website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePncnDheAGk&t=1s .

It’s also sugar and carb free and suitable for vegans! Another bonus is that due to the low sulphur, you don’t get a hangover !

If I was really thirsty I would have a sugar free soft drink first!  You will be surprised how much that makes a difference!

If we did go to the pub, what is wrong with a soft drink?  If you really want a glass of wine, order a small not a large!

Inviting friends round!

You don’t need to stop seeing your friends, just think about it!  If you don’t know what is being served, eat before you go out.  If you are already full, you are less likely to pick!

If you are doing the entertaining perfect!   Fill the table with healthy options, such a raw vegetables, homemade vegetable crisps etc.  Cherry tomatoes are good for picking at!  Look online and be creative!  Pizza made from Weight Watchers wraps are really good and if you plan it in, it could be your HEB too.

If you want garlic bread, again you can make this yourself using your HEB, Garlic Frylight and lazy garlic!

Make sure you have lots of healthy salads available, as well as salad dressings.  Balsamic, lemon and vinaigrette dressings are perfect!

Don’t forget to remove the skin from the chicken!   See how much fat is in the skin on my Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePncnDheAGk&t=1s – you will be surprised!

When it comes to the desserts, avoid high calorie ones.  Fruit salads, recipe on my website for a mousse is delicious.  Check out http://www.slimminginspirations4u.com.

Ultimately, the only thing that is impacting on your weight loss is you!  When you stop and really think about it, there are some easy things you can do to put it right.  So what are you waiting for?  I’ve now given myself a good talking to, so am hoping to get those pounds back off!

Good luck with your journey too!

Is it time to open the bubbly ?

How many of you wait for a special occasion to pop open that special bottle of bubbly ?

Champagne has always been thought of as the go to drink when you have something to celebrate! The more you spend on the bottle, the more it seems you have to celebrate !

Champagne varies hugely in cost and taste, starting at around £14 for a supermarket h,ome brand to £48 for your Bollinger!

We all know though that the price tag doesn’t always reflect the taste!

Some of us like it sweet and some like it dry! At £48 that’s a lot of money to spend on something you later realise you don’t like !

Price also means that you may hold back on celebrations. I mean what counts as a big celebration?

What if you could find a champagne that was excellent value for money and tasted amazing?   Well you can !   Ok it won’t be called champagne, but as you know the name is the region, not the quality or taste!

Slimline wine now have 2 sparkling wines,  that will give any bottle of champagne a run for its money at a fraction of the price !

All the Slimline wines are produced in Calamandrana in the Piedmont region of Italy and therefore can’t carry the Champagne name! But wants in a name ? You don’t buy a car without checking under the bonnet!

So if you are considering a celebration,  before you go running to the champagne, consider these two options:

Slimline White Sparkling

Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, this sparkling wine is equal and better than any champagne I have tasted

Pink Sparkling

If you like a sweeter taste this is your baby ! Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Barbera it’s fruitier that the white . It’s like no other pink champagne on the market !

The best bit!

Both wines are gluten free, sugar free, carb free, suitable for vegans, and due to the reduced sulphur doesn’t give you a hangover ! I can certainly vouch for that!

The whole bottle is only 410 calories so perfect if you are watching your weight!

Less than 2 weeks ago, I was one of the lucky people given the opportunity to see where and how these wines were made.  I also tasted a lot of bottles (for research purposes of course!).    Both bottles are equally as good, but for me the new white is the new Bollinger!  I am no longer going to be spending almost £50 for a celebration!  Its Slimline sparkling all the way!

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What’s more, because of the price, I don’t have to wait for a really big celebration to share it with family and friends.  In fact every weekend is now a celebration!

Both are currently on offer for £9.99 a bottle. It’s currently only available on-line but if you buy 6 bottles , use SLIM offer code and get free delivery !

Why not give yourself more reasons to celebrate! At this price you can pop that cork more often!

Summer is here, the BBQ’s will be coming out.  You will be having garden parties, birthday, weddings, christenings, or just because events.  Make sure Slimline sparkling is a feature of them.  It will make your event go off with a sparkle!

It is also very versatile for cocktails.  Visit them on Facebook to see some of the many suggestions.

You won’t be disappointed!

Check out https://www.slimlinewine.com

Slimline also do a cracking White and Red which I highly recommend.

My trip to the birthplace of Slimline Wine in Italy

We all know the expression – do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot?  Well I certainly remember where I was when I heard I was one of the lucky few invited by Slimline Wine, to see where and how their amazing wine was produced!   The date was 5 March 2018 in the Novotel Hotel in Leeds!

A few weeks before, Slimline had announced 5 lucky winners who were going to be taken on a trip of a lifetime to Italy.  I waited in anticipation as the names were called out!  I was away with work in Darlington, so was sat on my bed praying it would be me!  As the names came out one by one, Stu, Jac, Gaynor, Lisa and Sue, my heart sank.  I was pleased for the winners but disappointed for me.

I still loved the wine and believed in the company, so continued to follow and support them.

They had now started doing a cooking show live of Facebook with Chef Andy.  I loved this as it paired the wine up with some amazing meals.  I would set my alarm on my phone each week to make sure I tuned in.

I was away with work again on 5 March.  The Wi-Fi in my room was breaking up, so I was having difficulty in getting to watch that weeks cooking show properly.  Eventually I managed to watch it back on catch up.  To my complete surprise and joy, Miriam announced live that they wanted me to go too.    If I said I was excited I would be underestimating how I felt!

A group chat was set up with all the winners, and over the next few weeks we would message each other daily.  We were a group of strangers with one important thing in common.  We all loved Slimline Wine!

We were all given the option to bring along a plus 1 on the trip.  Sadly 1 of the group couldn’t make it.  Another winner, Julia, though was added to the happy band of Slimline friends.

If you want to know more about the wine, check out my previous blog ‘Slimline Wine – So what is the fuss really all about!’  (https://bit.ly/2IfbP0A)

The Trip

On Friday 15 June 2018 11 complete strangers met at Gatwick Airport along with 2 of Slimline Wines staff – Matthew Tanner and Simon Palmer.  The only thing in common was the wine.  We could absolutely hate each other or become lifelong friends!

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Matthew Tanner & Simon Palmer

One by one we arrived and introduced ourselves to each other.  Straight away there was an ease about us all.  It was like we had known each other for years!

We had time in the airport so took the opportunity of visiting the shops, before having a drink in the bar together.

We all boarded our 1 hour 45 minute flight, and travelled the 546 miles to Turin Airport.  There, we boarded a large minibus and embarked on the 1 hour 30 minute drive to our Hotel in Calamandrana – the home of Slimline Wine.

Our hotel – Le Corte was absolutely beautiful.  An old farm house, it oozed rustic charm.  As I stepped off the bus, the views took my breath away!    We walked into the courtyard to be greeted by a voice in the distance, inviting us to drop our bags off and to have a drink!  None of us needed asking twice!  The voice was from the one and only Paul Anthony Gidley.  The man on the back of the bottle!   The man who started the company and after a conversation with his partner Miriam, came up with the idea of a wine with lower calories.

Paul & Dan

We were greeted by Sam the waiter serving us a Slim Aperol Spritz.  I’d never tried this before, but I will certainly be having it again.  It’s a mix of Aperol, Slim white fizz and sparkling water.  Perfect for a hot Italian evening and so much better than Pimms.  This is the new summer drink!

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Aperol

This was our first chance to really sit down together as a group and get to know each other.  More Slim followed until it was time to check into our rooms and change ready for dinner at 8 pm.

Our room was 204, the junior suite.  It was absolutely stunning, with amazing views.


Dinner was a set menu, with of course Slimline Wine.  The restaurant had, just like the whole of the hotel, dramatic views.  We watched the sun set over the vineyards whilst sipping our Slimline Wine.  The food was really tasty and plenty of it!

The staff at the hotel were so friendly.  It was like everyone was part of the family.

It was a perfect first evening, and by the end of the night (ok early hours of the morning!), we were all truly good friends!

Day 1

Considering it was a late night, we were all up early the next morning ready to start our tour of Slimline.  Well ok, all except one of the group, who had forgotten to move her clock forward!

The first stop was the factory where the wine is made and bottled, in Calamandrana.  There we met the other important man behind Slimline Wine, Dan Cusmano.  (Photo above).  Dan gave us a tour of the factory explaining how it was made, from the moment it leaves the vines, to when it is bottled.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some videos of our tour on my Youtube channel so make sure you subscribe to it, so you don’t miss them!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOMdWgPgwbfW8MvZonlVbw

What was evident was the passion both Dan and Paul had for their product.  They had spent many months making sure they had the perfect grape, the perfect combination and conditions, to give us what we have today.

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If any of you have tried the white fizz, you may have experienced problems getting some of the corks out!  This was a great opportunity for me to ask Dan about this.  He explained that in the early days, the focus was on creating the perfect wine.  The cork wasn’t one of the main priorities.  On learning our difficulties, they realised they needed to fix this, so new corks were produced.  The new ones come out a lot easier!

The next stop was one of the vineyards.  As you walk through the straight lines of vines, you can feel the love that has gone into planting them and making sure they grow into the perfect grape.

The grapes won’t be ready for picking until September.  We were invited to go back to help with this.  I’d love to do this, however as I already have a holiday booked at this time, I sadly may have to decline this offer!

Lunch was at a beautiful family run restaurant in Loazzolo.  The views from this place were amazing, as was the food.   The lunch consisted of 5 courses!   We weren’t expecting that much initially, so filled up on the bread!  Big mistake!  It was absolutely delicious.  No Slimline wine was served, but we did get to try some other white and red wines of the region.  Equally as good however with more calories!

After 5 courses, a walk was required, so we did a visit to a lovely town called Acqui Terme.  In the square there was a fountain where natural hot spring water flowed.

It was then time to return to our hotel for quick dip in the pool before dinner!

Tonight’s dinner was being held at the home of Dan’s father Raymundo.  His villa was just above the hotel.  When I thought our views couldn’t be improved on, Raymundo’s balcony blew me away!

Raymundo personally cooked us a variety of meats and breads on his BBQ, served with fresh salads from his own garden.  It was such a lovely gesture.  We were so relaxed and had a great time.  This was all washed down with Slimline wine and some great company!

We returned to our hotel to have a nightcap or 2, of more Slimline Wine!

Day 3

Today was a going to be a little bit more relaxing!

After breakfast, we had a quick wander into the village of Calamandrana before heading off to Canelli.  Here, we went on a tour of the wine cellars of Bosco who produce Asti Spumante.  At the end of the tour, we got to try 3 of their products.  I have to say, whilst I loved the tour, the wines are not a patch on Slimlines!

We then retired to a lovely bar in the square waiting for a classical concert to start.  Sadly, by the time our transport back arrived, the concert hadn’t started!

On our return to the hotel, we headed to the pool.  Whilst the boys had a dip, the girls relaxed and enjoyed more slimline wine.  A lovely table of cheeses, hams and breads was laid on for us, with yes you guessed it, more Slimline wine.

Day 4

This should have been our last day!  Today we headed back to Turin Airport for our return flight home!

Unfortunately, due to an accident on  route, we were held up in traffic and so we missed our flight home!  Were we cross?  No!  We had had such an amazing time, we were all good friends, it was no-ones fault, so we did the only thing we could do!  We worked together to make arrangements for alternative flights home.

This ended up being another trip to an airport hotel in Milan, with a flight booked for the next day!

That evening, we enjoyed a drink in the hotel bar, before heading off to a local restaurant.  It was a lovely evening.

Day 5

We all said our goodbyes and headed home.

Thank you Slimline Wine

We had the most amazing time thanks to everyone at Slimline Wine.  We wanted for nothing during our time there.

Paul, Matthew and Simon were the perfect hosts.   Slimline Wine was as amazing as ever, and now I know what has gone into making it, I will be enjoying it even more!

If you haven’t tried it yet, please do!  Its only online at the moment, but will be coming to a Tesco store near you, very soon.

We drank a lot of the wine while we were there!   I can promise you, I never woke up with a hangover once!  The reduced sulphur is an added bonus!

Follow them on Facebook.  You never know when they will be having another competition like this one.  It really isn’t something you want to miss.

When I started drinking Slimline Wine, I never realised how it would change my life!  I can now drink wine that doesn’t give me a hangover, is less calories and has helped me make friends with a great group of people!

What is not to like!

What does the future hold?

Slimline is going to keep growing.  With smaller bottles planned already, you know there is more to come.  Seriously, this is a company to keep a watch out for!

Get clicking on their Facebook page, and be one of the first to find out their new products and deals!

Hot off the press

On Sunday 24 June they are offering our first opportunity to buy their vintage fizz for £9.99 a bottle, with free delivery on 6 bottles ! Having the pleasure of being one of the first to try this in Italy, I would highly recommend it !

Get yours while stocks last ! Much better and cheaper than any champagne you will buy !

Top tips when planning a trip to the Isle of Skye

Are you planning a trip to this beautiful island?  Well if you are, you have made an amazing choice.  I cannot recommend the Island enough!

To help you enjoy your experience even more, here are a few top tips!

What to take with you?

Food and Drink

Are you self catering?   If you are, don’t expect to get to the Island and find lots of supermarkets.  We were there for a whole week, and the only supermarket we found was a Co-op, just as you come across the bridge.  Now for a small island that doesn’t sound bad, however there are a couple of things to consider here.

Firstly, choice.  From our point of view, when we went in there, it isn’t massive, its  a reasonable size, but I couldn’t see a lot of the things we would have liked to have bought.

Second, its location.  For us, it was 90 minutes away from where we were staying!

There is the odd shop across the island but they are small.  Also, if you are like us and going for the walking, there were days when we actually didn’t pass any shops.  When we wanted some fresh bread for instance, we had to go in the opposite direction to find somewhere to buy it.

I did try to get Tesco to do a delivery as I usually do when I go away in the UK, but unfortunately, they said as it was a commercial property they couldn’t deliver there.  We did see a lot of Asda vans around the island, so you could try asking them.  I will certainly be doing that next time.

There was a bakery in the next village, Dunvegan.  It is apparently, the oldest one on the island.  Sadly when we went there, it was either closed due to a family funeral, or had closed as sold out for the day!

Thankfully, a friend had warned me about the shop situation before we went, so we did take everything we needed.  We had a good sized fridge and freezer in our cottage, so apart from fresh bread mid week, we were fine.

Please don’t be put off by this, for me it is one of the things that makes the island so relaxing and beautiful.

Midge Repellent Spray

From the end of May to September, you are going to be bitten to death by the midges.  Especially early evening.  Make sure you go prepared.  You will see the locals wearing nets over their faces if they are outdoors.  You don’t need to go that far.  Take some repellent spray with you.  I bought Jungle Formula Maximum from Amazon which worked perfectly well!  (https://amzn.to/2JMjl6R)

Guide Books

Skye has so much to see and do that you really want to make the most of your trip.  Get yourself a couple of good books.  A walking book and a guide book.  It will ensure you maximise the time you have there.

A lot of what we saw or did on the island were not signposted, so without the books, we would never had known about them.

The books we used were The Isle of Skye by Charles Tait (https://amzn.to/2JMjl6R) and Walks Isle of Skye (https://amzn.to/2JJSxkx).  Both from Amazon

Each evening we would sit down and plan the next day.  It really helped us see the beauty of the island.

Walking Shoes

That might sound really obvious but you might be surprised to know, I actually saw a man trying to walk up the Old Man of Storr in sliders (flip flops!).

I’m going to make my own confession here too!  No I didn’t wear flip flogs, but I did wear my trainers!  You may think that sounds ok, but I struggled on some of the steep paths because I didn’t have great grip in them.  I was so cross as I had proper walking shoes in my car!

If you have ever worn proper walking shoes, you will know the difference they make.  You can buy some quite cheaply these days, if you just want them for this trip. You won’t regret it.  I walked over 110,000 steps in 7 days which included driving 1770 miles!

Drive Carefully

Skye is only small and very rural.  There is a couple of double lane roads, but most will be single lane.  There are a lot of passing places, but drive carefully as there are some tight bends, which reduces viability to see what is coming in the opposite direction.  I was initially a bit nervous about this, but you soon get into it.  Everyone is so polite and there are no problems getting around. It just take a bit longer!

You will also note that the quality of the roads is really poor, with lots of pot holes, so beware!

Sheep wander freely too.  They don’t seem to mind the traffic, but they don’t seem to mind where they lay either.  This could be in the middle of the road!  They do move but just take it slowly.  When we were there, they had their lambs with them.  Even these youngsters seem to realise they need to move out of the way of cars.

Look after your dogs!

As there are a lot of sheep about, dogs can get ticks!

People can catch Lyme disease from ticks, just as dogs can. Lyme disease is serious, so if you walk your dog in areas with deer or sheep, make sure you take precautions to avoid them and you being bitten.   Make sure your dogs are treated for ticks and remove them as soon as you can.  Lola and Fido both got them.

You can buy treatment from your vets or Amazon (https://amzn.to/2MmhTGH).  It is best to apply if before you go, but even if you apply it as soon as you get home it will still help.

Bob Martin Flea & Tick Clear Fipronil Spot-on for Large Dog, 3 TubesImage result for sheep ticks in dogs

Symptoms of Lyme disease include a circular rash, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue.

Fuel

As with supermarkets, there are not many petrol stations on the island that we saw.  Again, if you are not going via any of the bigger villages, you won’t pass these.   The rule we had was to fill up as soon as we passed one, when the tank got to half full!

Petrol prices on the island are in line with the mainland, so don’t worry that the lack of them will make it expensive!

Toilets

One of the things that makes Skye so beautiful is that it is unspoilt!  This means that they have not ruined any of the main sights with toilet blocks too!  If like me, you have a weak bladder, be warned!

My advice is to make sure that if you do see a toilet you use it!  Alternatively look for great spots in the bushes!  There isn’t many opportunities, so when you see them, take them!

Enjoy Skye

Don’t be put off by anything above.  It was one of the most magical places I have ever visited.  I’m currently vlogging on YouTube my trip to try and show people, why it has to be one of the places you visit.  Check out my journey as I publish them by subscribing to my channel.  (https://bit.ly/2MnaWFe).

If you like seafood too, don’t miss the Oyster Shed!  The best seafood platter ever!  It is literally a shed, but well worth it!  Head to Talisker whiskey distillery and you will see sign posts for it!

So get onto the internet and start booking your trip to Skye!

Our Journey from Warwickshire to the Isle of Skye

It was certainly an early start for us living in the Midlands.  The alarm went off at 4 am!  Wow!  We normally get up just after 5 am.  I thought that was early, but this was something new.   As we had such an early start, we headed to bed at 8 pm!  Making myself sleep was always  going to be a struggle!  Typically, the night before was a hot and humid one! I couldn’t sleep.  In the end, I decided to go into the spare room so I could put a fan on, and not wake up hubby!  For some bizarre reason my husband doesn’t notice the temperature or if there is a thunderstorm, so sleeps through! I can’t tell you how much sleep I actually got, but I was surprised at how quickly I got up when the 4am alarm went off.  In fact my hubby,  who doesn’t do mornings, bounced out of bed too!  I think that shows how much we were both looking forward to this holiday!

We showered and took the dogs for their morning walk.  We felt that giving them a walk would help them on the long drive.  According to Google Maps it was almost an 11 hour drive without any stops, so a long time for the dogs.

We got back from walking the dogs, and I suggested to hubby that he sit in garden with dogs while I packed the car.  That way, the dogs would have a chance to go to toilet before we left, as well as keeping them quiet while I packed the car.

Now I am not saying my husband could pack the car as well as me, but its fair to say I can probably get double the amount in.  Even my hubby doesn’t know how I do it!  My kitchen is the same!

I wanted both dogs to be comfortable as it was the longest time they had been in a car.  Lola has a terrible habit of sitting with her legs over the back seat, walking all over Fido to do so!  I wasn’t sure he would put up with that for hours!  So Fido had half the boot and Lola half of the back seat.

We originally planned to leave by 5 am but it was 5.30 am by the time we hit the road.  I thought I would start the drive, but hubby, who keeps asking to drive, got into the seat.  I was actually quite happy!  I am rubbish at sleeping in the day, and today was no different, but to close your eyes and relax was nice.  Before I knew it, we were past the Lakes!

The worst bit of the journey was over before I knew it!  That was a bonus, as the best was  yet to come!  As soon as you hit the Lakes area, the scenery changes for the better. Then when you go through Glasgow,  which isn’t that exciting in itself, but from there on wow!  Its is amazing!

We left our home near Stratford Upon Avon as I said at 5.30 am.  Our first stop was 4 hours later at a service station.  At Annadale Water Motorway Service Area at Junction 16 on A74, there was a MacDonald’s, which I think was the incentive for hubby to stop.  He keeps complaining that he hasn’t had a McDonald’s for so long! Sadly it was 9.30 am so he couldn’t have a burger.  He decided a breakfast meal was ok though.  I resisted, as I had made a couple of healthy rolls last night for me!  Gotta start the holidays on the right foot!

The stop is great if you have dogs, as it has an area to walk them with a lake.  While I popped to the ladies and bought my hubby a McDonald’s breakfast (yes seriously,  I was good honest!), he took the dogs or a walk.  We decided to fill the car up at this point too!  Wow it was expensive, however we didn’t know when we would get a chance to do it after this!  We didn’t realise it but we could have waited to get into Glasgow where the fuel is so much cheaper!

Hubby was quite happy to drive, but I felt it was right to share the driving!  Big mistake!  This was the most beautiful part of the trip!  I have a GoPro, but it took hubby quite a while to see its benefits!

We then stopped off at a service station at Ballachulish.  There has a lovely visitors centre and the all important toilet.  There wasn’t anywhere for the dogs to walk, but getting them out of the car stretched their legs a little!  There was a good Co-Op if you needed it.  At this point we swapped driving. Yey!

The rest of the trip was amazing!  I finally got the chance to try my new GoPro out.  I will down load any good clips, but as this was my first time out with it, you never know!

The highlight of my trip up, was our journey up the A82 which takes you past Loch Lomand.  Oh wow, it is so beautiful.  It goes on for miles.  We then go over a gorgeous bridge in Loch Linnhe!  Can this journey get more beautiful?

As we drive, my hubby sees a statue of some solders on the A87.  He realises that he has on old picture of his mum at that spot, on a slide, from years before.   We have to stop and take a picture of him in front of it.  Wow, what a surprise to pass the same place years later! We can’t wait to tell his mum!

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Our next stop was at Eilean Donan Castle.  The sun was shining and this was truly a sight to behold.  I was so excited to come on this trip, and the closer I got to Skye, the more I loved this journey!

The dogs loved the latter part of the journey too,  as it meant a good leg stretch.  Fido took the opportunity to get his paws wet in the sea.  The Castle was stunning.  We couldn’t go in as we had the dogs, but that didn’t matter.  We could walk on beach and take pictures outside.  It was so lovely, a perfect stop gap!

The next stage was to cross the bridge to Skye.  Wow it is beautiful.  Top tip!  Don’t use your sat nav for your next petrol station, as it is no longer up to date!  The rule we used was to always fill up after you hit half a tank!  A good tip as you don’t see may places to fill up your car!

I hope our GoPro works, and we can post some videos for you.  Skye does not disappoint!  Our cottage is 1.5 hours after the bridge, but it is worth it.

We get to our cottage exactly 12 hours after we left home.  I don’t feel tired or bored.  I am excited and recharged.  Skye is everything I thought and a whole lot more!  I can’t wait to get out and explore!

We couldn’t have picked a better cottage or location.  If you want rural, this is it!  We thought we had taken the wrong turning initially when we arrived.  All we could see was a little track with 2 farm gates!  I called the caretaker and yes that was right!

The cottage is remote, quiet and with the most wonderful views over the sea!

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Keep following me to see what the week brings!