Thursday, August 31

A Fourth Little Lifestyle Update

As I've just finished one of the most difficult things I'm possibly ever going to do I thought it would be a good time for another little update. If you've read any of my recent posts you'll know I just spent seven weeks mapping in the very north west of Scotland for my dissertation.

It is a solo project so even though I was staying with my friends I went out everyday into the field by myself and it was hard! The first week felt a bit like being pushed off a cliff - if you didn't learn how to fly (and quickly) you were going to fall. Eventually I did get into my stride, the landscape was beautiful and I had fun a lot of the time.

That didn't mean there wasn't bad days of course - when the torrential rain was bouncing off my mapboard onto my face and I sat on a rock crying, the day I spent all afternoon wandering round a field not really knowing what I was looking for or the Tuesday morning I fell and cut my hand open. These were all low points that stick in my mind but I'm sure time will make me forget. 

Overall I learnt more about Geology than I ever could have in the classroom but more than that I learnt many valuable life lessons. I worked totally independently, kept myself motivated and doing worthwhile tasks everyday without any help or guidance. Developing problem solving skills that will be useful whatever my future involves.

In a couple of weeks I'm going to hand in the fieldwork part of my dissertation, start fourth year at university and begin working on the written part of my dissertation. After alot of hard work this academic year hopefully I'll be graduating in June year... after that who knows but for now I want to enjoy my final year in Education. I know it is going to be a big one!

Tuesday, August 29

A Postcard from Durness

If this is your first visit to my blog then you should know I recently spent seven weeks in Durness doing my geological mapping project. I'm going going to go into that now but check out 'A Day in the Life of a Field Geologistif you are interested. 

Obviously I took alot of photos over the weeks I was there and actually even the ones I choose don't sum up now amazing it is. Balnakeil Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. 

All these photos were taken in my mapping area around Durness, Balnakeil and Faraid Head. Hopefully it inspires you to see more of Scotland's more remote places.

Photos from my previously geology fieldtrips:

Sunday, August 27

My week in pictures #234

(From top left) Cows sleeping on the beach. We got to visit smoo cave on Tuesday. Rainy day bath - perfect to keep away the chill. The last lunch on my favourite beach on Friday. Happy to be back in the pub with my boyfriend after seven weeks. Little keepsakes and gifts for my parents from the Balnakeil Craft Village.
Woohoo!!! I'm finished my mapping project!!! The last week was a push but early on Friday afternoon I finished off by taking a photo on top of a huge rock and it was such a relief. 

Apart from that I don't have much to report - we took the day off on Wednesday because it was pouring with rain and it gave us the opportunity to catch up on work. 

On Friday my friends mum came up so we got a take away from a local restaurant. We were up early on Saturday morning, I was so excited to go home I had butterflies. The journey passed surprisingly quickly and before I knew it I was back in my boyfriends arms. It's been along seven weeks without him.

Instead of staying in we decided to go to the pub to celebrate being back which then resulted in bed at 9:30pm. Sunday has been a lazy day - I got back home in the afternoon and have just been catching up with my mum and dad. 

It is so good to be home for a couple of days!

This week on G is for Gingers: A Day in the Life of a Field Geologist | Outfits That Make You Feel More Confident

Friday, August 25

Outfits That Make You Feel More Confident

I think about clothes and fashion alot... maybe more than other people and certainly more than most of my friends. I don't think it is just because I'm a blogger - I've just always loved clothes and dressing up. I also get my share of compliments partly because what I wear stands out (particularly when I wear dresses but that is a topic for another day). It's always lovely to hear but that isn't really why I wear nice clothes.

I remember hearing recently something said by a fellow blogger, maybe it was Olivia from What Olivia Did..., about being confident in what you wear. I can come across as quite an 'out there' dresser to some of my IRL friends. I like bright colours and prints, I like to wear dresses rather than jeans and hoodies and it is always the statement pieces that catch my eye when shopping.

I think it is for this reason that I come across as a more confident dresser than a lot of other people but I really don't think I am. A lot of people talk about black is a fail safe outfit choice but I feel like a fraud - nothing makes you feel less confident than an outfit you don't feel like is you.

Search ResultsWhat Olivia Did...

Search ResultsWhat Olivia Did...

Through four years of sharing my outfits online I feel like my sense of personal style has developed and I know better than ever what is 'me'. I've tried to match the style of the people around me and felt so out of place because it is so far from who I want to be. 

Saying all this it has definitely got better as I've got older - it is easier to be who you want to be and not care. I'm an over dresser because everytime I leave the house I want to wear something nice. Something that I loved enough to spend money on so why shouldn't I wear my nice clothes everyday?

Shirt: Asos | Shorts: Asos | Sandals: New Look

Basically what I'm trying to say is I don't want to blend in - I want to wear what I want even if that means standing out because that is when I feel my most confident. 

This outfit is maybe not the most outrageous thing I've bought but it does stand out. These photos were taken along time ago and waiting for the right words to go beside them.

Wednesday, August 23

A Day in the Life of a Field Geologist

Incase you've missed my 'Week in Pictures' posts I'm currently away for seven weeks in the very north west of Scotland working on my mapping project. It consists of 35 days of solo fieldwork for my dissertation and is a huge overall part of my geology degree. 

I've made it to the seventh week (!?) without totally losing my mind so I thought I would share a little 'day in the life' style post. No one will quite understand how physically and mentally demanding it has been so I'm glad I have four other people to live with who know exactly what it is like.

So my day starts at 8am with a filling breakfast and a cup of tea while I fill out my field safety log (this details where I will be and when I'll be back) then it is time to shower, get dressed and make my lunch.

My bag mostly stays packed minus the few thing I have to take out at night to work on. I take everything I need for geological mapping (maps, notebooks, compass etc) as well as warm things like my fleece, jacket, hat, gloves and buff. I take these out everyday regardless of the forecast because you never really know.

My outfit has been relatively the same for the past seven weeks, I have a few pairs of walking trousers/leggings, t-shirts and fleeces. My much loved (and used) Berghaus walking boots will have to be retired after this trip which makes me really sad. The rest of my kit was bought mostly from Sports Direct and Mountain Warehouse.

At the start of every day I walk to the area I'll be working in and find a comfy rock to start my notebook for that day with a little safety briefing and my aims. 

The iPad mini I bought in May has been worth it's weight in gold for mapping. It means I can take unlimited notes out into the field with me to help when I get confused (which happens a lot). 

Lunch is usually a roll (with either cheese, egg mayo or tuna) but today I have left over jambalaya. I also bring lots of snacks because it is important to keep my every levels up and it helps motivate me. 

Oh no it has started to rain... this happens a lot in Scotland and in my mapping there is no where to take shelter so I just have to suck it up and keep working as best I can.

Normally I head back about around 4/4:30pm but I start to flag about 3pm (having long since done my 10,000 steps for the day). I take this time to add as much detail to my notebook as possible and enjoy the view over Balnakeil Bay. 

This is the point I normally put on a podcast because I start to get very lonely. I'm addicted to 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' and also enjoy 'The High Low'.

In the evening it is time to finish off our notebooks for the day, writing an end of day summary and ink in the work we've done on our maps. This is the part of the day I most struggle with, especially at the start, because I'm so tired and hungry. Another cup of tea is always necessary...

This first part of my dissertation gets handed in near the start of September which is coming scarily fast... and if one more member of my family says 'enjoy your holiday' I'll scream!

If you want to see more photos from my beautiful mapping area give me a follow on Instagram. I've been posting almost everyday since I got here.

Sunday, August 20

My week in pictures #233

(From top left) Bernie looking handsome on our day off on Tuesday. The beach in the sunshine. Macaroni for lunch from our local restaurant. The phone case and battery pack arrived for my new phone so it doesn't randomly die. The cows were back on the beach on Thursday. Sunday mapping views over Loch Borralie.
Hmmm what to say about week six apart from we are almost finished! Only one more week to go then it is home time. That is about the only thing that has kept me going this week.

We did something fun on our day off on Tuesday, we went somewhere very picturesque and took some photos then went out for lunch. A much needed break after weeks of nothing but work. 

However, mid-week we had a bit of a falling out which left the house a bit divided and everyone feeling really down. I'd love to say it is resolved how but I think we all need a bit of space away from here.

As for my mapping project, I feel like it is going well and I'm going to get everything done before it is time to go home. I've sent plenty of emails to my advisor though pleading for help... oops!

Feels weird to have gone out mapping on a Sunday but it means we will be able to take the rainiest day off next week so it will be worth it. I'm ready for bed already and it is only 8pm.

Go and give me a follow on Instagram because I've been sharing lots of photos of the beautiful area I'm working in over there.

This week on G is for Gingers: Butternut Squash Muffins

Friday, August 18

Butternut Squash Muffins

I can't say this is the batch of baking I'm most proud of however they tasted damn good so I thought I would share the recipe anyway. It has been adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe because I am a big fan of his. You'll need a food processor for this recipe but I feel like a smoothie maker or similar will have the same effect.

For 12 muffins (I made 6) you will need:

400g of butternut squash
350g of light brown sugar
4 eggs
300g of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground cinemon
175ml extra virgin olive oil

With the skin still on (it really didn't make a difference) add the chopped butternut squash into the food processor until it is finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Don't over process - once it is all mixed that will be enough. 

Fill the paper cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180° for 2o minutes. You'll know they are finished when a knife comes out of the center clean. 

For the frosting you will need:

zest of one lemon
140ml of sour cream
2 heaped teaspoons of icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

All you have to combine the ingredients in a bowl - the consistency is more like a drizzle (which is the reason these photos aren't very pretty) but they still tasted good.

There is something about baking with vegetables I really enjoy. I think it is the 'fruity' taste that it gives the sponge I like. The last thing I made with vegetables in them was these Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies but I loved them too.

Check out my last baking recipe - Spelt and Sunflower Dog Biscuits.

Sunday, August 13

My week in pictures #233

(From top left) This week I watched 'The Life Aquatic' for the first time and loved it. I fell on the rocks on Tuesday... more details below. My boyfriend came to my recuse with an old iPhone so I am no longer phoneless. I do not like mapping in the rain... I was soaked! The sun finally came out again on Saturday. Probably really late to the party but I've been binge listening to my 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' and finally it laugh out loud funny.
Week five of my mappy project was definitely the most difficult so far. Everyone is getting more and more tired meaning things in the house are a little tense. Especially when you can't go out anywhere or see other people.

To help kick off my rubbish week I was mapping a particularly slippy part of the coast on Tuesday morning. I was being very careful but still managed to slip on a wave cut platform, cutting my hand and really hurting my wrist. As I was totally on my own I had no choice but to sit on the rocks until I got over feeling sick then drag myself the mile or so back to Durness. 

After I got patched up I spent the rest of the day lying on the beach feeling sorry for myself. Wednesday was improved by my new phone arriving for me - the battery is a bit dodgy but it has a great camera so it will do for now.

I've made up so many days so far that I was able to take both Wednesday and Sunday off... which both ended up being pajama days to make up for having to keep working. Apart from this I've got nothing interesting to update you all on.

Final push for the last thirteen days and I'll be home!

Going to be starting university in September? Check out:  Whats in my University Bag & University Kitchenware Haul

Monday, August 7

My week in pictures #232

(From top left) Naps on the way home in the car with Bernie. Finally another sunny day mapping. I finally got round to watching the last season of Grimm... and cried! Fish and chips on a Saturday night was perfect.
This week I managed another six days of mapping only taking Sunday 'off' but there was still plenty of work to do. It was a mixed bag with the start of the week being really wet (and tears as I sat in torrential rain) to the end of the week when it ended up being quite nice. After a bit of retracing my steps I got a ton of work done.

Halfway through Wednesday I finally reached the halfway point of my 35 day mapping project - I couldn't be more relieved to be finally on the home straight.

Thursday saw the sad end of my much loved Moto G - the touch screen has been slowly going for a few weeks but it finally gave up for good. Meaning this post was difficult to put together and I'm going to have to retrace my steps to retake the photos I've referred to in my notebook. 

If you saw last weeks 'Week in Pictures' post you'll have seen the plea to my mum about a care package... well that hasn't turned up yet and to be honest I don't think she is taking it seriously. It is now four weeks since I've been in civilisation! 

This week on G is for Gingers: Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10

Friday, August 4

Book Review | Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 

"This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse.

Except things don't go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake – either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer..."

When my flatmate bought this book the blurb caught my attention straight away. I was looking for an easy read after my exams so bought it for my kindle for only £1.99 and I wasn’t disappointed.

The story kept me turning the 'pages' and I finished it in just over a week because I wanted to know what happens. I can’t say too much about the plot that isn’t on the back of the book for fear of giving away the story.

I do get slightly annoyed when books take a while to get to the ‘main part’, which has been described already. The body was thrown overboard around quarter of the way through so I was waiting for it to happen. I understand some background has to be set but still for me this could have happened a little quicker. I also found it difficult to empathise with Lo at the beginning because I felt the way she treated her boyfriend was quite cruel and honestly I don’t like that trait in anyone. However, I did feel that change when you start wanting the other people on the ship to believe Lo then start doubting every other passenger.

Before buying the book I read some of the amazon reviews, which almost put me off. Apart from some people thinking the main character was unlikeable they also said ‘the end was predictable’ which I couldn’t disagree with more. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen and the twist near the end caught me by surprize.

Saying this was the best crime/thriller I’ve ever read wouldn’t be true but I did really enjoy it. Maybe the plot is a little far fetched but they so often are and this story has something different. If you’re looking for a good, easy page turner I’d recommend The Woman in Cabin 10.

Read my last book review: Sandra Ireland's Beneath the Skin

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