16 Nov 2017

Planes, Trains and Automobiles with TransPennine Express

Transpennine Express Glasgow to Manchester On Board Entertainment | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Transpennine Express Glasgow to Manchester On Board Entertainment | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Transpennine Express Glasgow to Manchester On Board Entertainment | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Having grown up just outside of Manchester, with family still living there, the journey there from Glasgow is a pretty regular occurrence for me. It’s one of my favourite cities, and with my best friend moving down there for her masters I can see myself travelling down even more over the coming months. When travelling back down Mancunian way, there are plenty of transport options with planes, trains and automobiles heading south every day. In the past, I’ve travelled by car, train and even made the five-hour coach journey down on occasion, so I’d say I’m well versed in the route. That’s why, when TransPennine Express wanted me to take part in a fun experiment to compare the travel experience of driving, flying and taking the train between Glasgow and Manchester, I jumped right on board.

As a bit of an anxious traveller, no matter how comfortable I am with the journey, I was excited to see just how stressful I found each mode of transportation. For the sake of science, I was hooked up to a heart-rate and stress level monitor for each journey, to properly measure exactly how I felt throughout the experience.

The Drive

I set off towards Manchester in the car, leaving Glasgow not long after 8am. The journey was relatively straightforward to start with, as by some miracle there was very little traffic for the majority of the trip. Driving to Manchester takes the best part of three hours and once you’re on the motorway that’s you sorted for the bulk of the trip. Like most motorway driving, the three-hour journey can be a little monotonous, but with a quick pit-stop to stretch my legs at a service station to break it up it wasn’t too bad. As I got closer to Manchester, however, that’s when things started to change. Traffic started to build up on the motorway for the last 45 minutes or so of the journey, and the addition of some very heavy rain made for some pretty tense moments. Road closures in the city centre meant diversions aplenty, and as someone who doesn’t really like driving in big cities, this was seriously stressful. I was relieved, to say the least, when I managed to navigate the city centre roads and eventually find myself a spot to park my car!

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14 Nov 2017

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to This Christmas

Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Christmas 2017 Harrods Hampers | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Halloween is over, and Bonfire Night is out of the way, so it's time to get Christmas on the road. Yup, this year I'm being one of "those people" who jump on the Christmas bandwagon nice and early. You see, the thing is, this year is my first Christmas where I'm not working in retail - and that is a big deal for me. Christmas is completely different when you spend every waking hour trapped in a building full of blinding fluorescent bulbs with the same six Christmas covers on repeat, prepping for the Boxing Day sales and giving up the precious time spent with family over the festive season to deal with people who just have to exchange their unwanted gifts first thing on the 26th. This year, Christmas is feeling a lot less stressful, and I'm pretty damn excited about it.

And who wouldn't feel festive, when greeted with this stunning Food Halls Collection Hamper from Harrods? I find that at Christmas I tend to be in quite a generous mood - both with presents and with treats for myself - so I love to indulge in something a little bit more luxurious. The Food Halls Collection Hamper is just one of the many Luxury Christmas Hampers on offer at Harrods this year and is packed full of delicious treats from their iconic food hall. With a selection of delectable biscuits, both savoury and sweet, alongside luxurious preserves and that all important wine - this is the perfect hamper for a festive night in with your nearest and dearest. The parmesan and poppyseed biscuits are just beautiful when paired with the ale and apple chutney! And they aren't too shabby when paired with a good cheese (or three) either. This hamper would be the perfect gift for someone who's a bit of a foodie, and if anyone fancies treating me to The Christmas Carol hamper I would be your best friend forever.

I'm ready and raring to get festive, with a good few weeks ahead to fill with fun Christmas activities. My diary isn't actually all that full yet, but I'm sure that will change, as I have a lot I'd like to tick off of my festive to-do list! My first semester of college finishes up at the end of November, too, and despite having classes in December I'm feeling a lot more relaxed about coursework at the moment - which makes for an all-around happier me! So, in the spirit of Christmas, here are five of the things I'm most looking forward to this festive season...

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9 Nov 2017

Brunch at Gleneagles Hotel

Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Gleneagles Hotel Birnam Brasserie Brunch Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Do you ever have one of those pinch-me moments, when you're standing in front of something and you just can't believe that you're actually there? That pretty much sums up how I felt as I wandered up the drive of the Gleneagles Hotel towards the towering building. It didn't help that I had just painstakingly parked my car in possibly the fanciest car park I've ever been in - with the most Range Rovers I've ever seen in my life - and that just in front of me there was a couple donning fancy hats exiting their chauffeur driven vehicle to bagpipes. Yeah. It was a pretty surreal moment.

Gleneagles is situated in Auchterarder, a small Perthshire town that's about an hour's drive from Edinburgh and just short of an hour from Glasgow. The sprawling five-star hotel is the height of luxury, which is apparent from the moment you step through the door. Home to no less than three championship golf courses, a spa deemed worthy of multiple awards and the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars, Gleneagles can talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to high-end travel. It's a seriously stunning place, with jaw-dropping views of the Perthshire countryside, and I can only dream of staying in one of their 232 luxury rooms.

If you follow any Scottish bloggers on Instagram, like I do, you've probably noticed one of the newer additions to Gleneagles' dining repertoire - The Birnam Brasserie - and perhaps more noticeably, their brunch. Last Sunday, Lis and I took the beautiful journey up the A9 to pay The Birnam Brasserie a visit and see what all of the fuss surrounding this brunch was about. Upon first entering the Brasserie, I was instantly struck by the Parisian decor, with beautiful tiled floors and an abundance of greenery. The main room is dominated by the central island, where the main buffet and bar is situated, and the seating sprawls out from here. My favourite part was undoubtedly the dessert room, but we'll get into that later...

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7 Nov 2017

Rediscovering My Confidence

Rediscovering confidence after a set back | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

It's been a tough year. You're probably sick of hearing that, but it has. I am so ready for 2017 to be over and, as much as I don't want to wish my life away, I'm kind of counting down the days till January 1st. To be fair, the last couple of months have been considerably better than the first eight or so, and hopefully, the tail end of 2017 will be a fair bit kinder to me. I started out this year on a high, thinking it was going to be my year, but instead, I was met with countless challenges that made it seem like the world was insistent on throwing a spanner in the works. Health issues, giving up on one-sided friendships, long-distance relationships, a car accident and losing my childhood pet have all had a slightly detrimental impact on my self-confidence, but after overcoming a quarter-life crisis I can feel that doubt slowly trickling away, only to be replaced with that unfamiliar sensation of actually believing in myself. Self-doubt is one of my biggest strengths, ironically, and I'm regularly told that I don't give myself enough credit. No matter how many times I hear this, I still struggle to believe it, but that's changing...

How? Well, I've started cutting myself some slack for a change. I know that I haven't achieved anywhere near as much as I wanted to this year, but that's okay. Things don't always go to plan - I get that now. I've learned that I need to be kinder to myself and allow myself time to recuperate and recharge. I have a bit of a bad habit of piling way too much on my plate at once and realising this has been an absolute gamechanger for me. I'm no longer juggling 101 projects at once, instead, I'm being more realistic about my capabilities and appreciating the need for downtime. 

I've also taken a really big step, that I haven't talked about all that much on here yet. A couple of months ago I launched my freelance business, Content by Charlotte, which has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Going freelance was something I never thought I'd be capable of, but here we are. I absolutely love it, and it's been a huge confidence boost! I'm still learning every day, but I am so proud of what I've achieved so far. Putting my skills into practice for new clients has been so much fun, and I really really really really love it. 

I'm in a very fortunate position right now where I can really spend my time focusing on the things I love. As a result, I've given up on YouTube for the time being, as it had turned into a drain on my energy that I just wasn't enjoying anymore. Now that I no longer work weekends, I have a bit more time free to spend on the things that make me happy, and even though I definitely work harder now than I did before, I get to spend my working hours doing things that leave me feeling fulfilled. 

And on my really down days, I simply take a look back at how far I've come, despite all the challenges life has thrown in my way this year. It was actually my counsellor who encouraged me to do this, and it was one of the most valuable things I learned from CBT. Even with everything that's happened so far in 2017, I've come out at the other end stronger than ever before. I smashed my first year at college, with great results, I've launched my own business and my little blog has been on the go for over seven years. I paid off my credit card (woohoo!) and I've become more comfortable with who I am as a person, too. I need to appreciate my own strengths more, and if I'm being honest, I'm really proud of myself for making it through this year.


How do you tackle self-doubt?


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