• Germany

    What to do in Wurzburg on a Cruise

    While many cruise ship tourists who visit my city go on a guided tour, a few intrepid adventurers decide to go it alone. For these folk, I’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Wurzburg on a cruise. This post aims to give you a walking tour that you can do in a day easily, taking in the main tourist attractions, while giving you some insider tips of what to see in Wurzburg. You probably won’t have time to visit all the attractions on this list, so choose the ones that you want to see and wander past the others. Cruise Ports in Wurzburg Let’s set…

  • Tour Scotland in Two Weeks

    Tour Scotland in Two Weeks

    My German friends, family and colleagues often get in touch when they are planning a trip to Scotland. “Where should I go?”, they ask. And since I’ve answered this question many times before, I thought it would be good to write down my ultimate Tour Scotland in Two Weeks Itinerary. There’s no way you can see in Scotland in two weeks, so pick what most interests you from the links I provide. I’m tailoring this to the places and activities that I think will most appeal to my overseas readers and that you’ll not find in every tourist guide. This is based on personal experience and so totally subjective! I’ll…

  • Expat

    10 Tips on How to Love Expat Life

    When I was 19 years old, I left my homeland to live in a foreign country. For a year, I said, to work as an au-pair. Then I met my husband… on my very first day in Germany, but that’s a whole other story! 25 years later, I’m now back in the place where my adventure began, in a small town in Bavaria. In the intervening years, we’ve moved home 8 times, with four international moves and we’ve gathered a whole lot of experience. Here are my top tips on how to love expat life.

  • Expat

    What You Need to Know Before Moving Overseas

    ‘Steve and Mary from Nuneaton are following their dream, of buying and renovating a period property in rural France. The cottage we are showing them needs a bit of work, but we think that with a bit of updating, it could be stunning. Neither of them speak the language, but they came to this area on holiday last year, and fell in love with the natural beauty and the carefree lifestyle. Mary is an artist, and Steve is a graphic designer, and both hope to set up thriving home businesses in France.’ I quite like watching property shows, particularly A Place in the Sun, but usually spend the episode shouting, ‘NO! Don’t do it!’ at…

  • Germany

    The Bombing of Würzburg

    In my life I have lived in many cities and villages, but the cities I consider “home” are the twin towns of Dundee and Würzburg. I was born and brought up in Dundee, and have recently returned to bring up my children here. I moved to Würzburg in Germany when I was 19 years old, to work as an au-pair for a year. On the day of my arrival, I met the man who I would later marry, but that is a story for another day. Today, I am thinking of the upcoming 70th anniversary of an event that almost destroyed the city, but instead led to its re-birth. While the…

  • kids at wedding

    Kids at a Wedding – 5 Tips to Keep Them Happy (and Quiet!)

        Whether you are a guest, or the host, having kids at a wedding can be stressful. Finding the balance between keeping the kids happy, and turning the wedding into a Kinderfest can be tricky. We’ve all been to weddings where the tender vows of the bride and groom haven’t been heard by the guests because of a bawling baby! And I am guessing a few of you have attended a wedding with young children, chasing after them all day, having no fun, no wine and a pretty miserable time. Here are my top tips on keeping everyone happy.    1. Hire an Entertainer / Set up a Creche    …

  • Expat

    The Ultimate Expat Family To-Do List

    Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful times of life. Moving overseas is even more stressful. Moving overseas with a family … let’s just say there will be tears, recriminations, doubts, regrets and the mother of all to-do lists. With the experience I’ve gained over the years, I’ve put together the ultimate expat family to-do list.

  • Feminism

    Dress Rules for Women over 40

    Another summer, another list of rules for women on what they should and shouldn’t wear. From the ‘how to get a bikini body’ articles (top tip – buy a bikini, put it on your body, done!) to this incredibly stupid list of rules for women over 40 years. Here are my dress rules for women over 40. 1. Problem Zones I try to hide my problem zones. This is generally done by throwing a dish towel over the un-washed dinner dishes or shoving the ironing basket into a cupboard when visitors are due. If you have bits of your body that you don’t particularly like (and let’s be honest, most…

  • inspring women

    Inspiring Women – Dum Spiro Spero

    “While I breathe, I hope” This morning Rebecca from Artemis Mindset asked a question on her Facebook Group. Which women inspire you? Inspirational … it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to women. To inspire someone is to ‘ exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on‘ them.  Millie Slavidou breaks down the word inspire: in = Latin prefix meaning ‘in’. spire = from Latin spirare meaning ‘breathe’. And suggests that we ‘think of it as a breathing in of ideas, or atmosphere, a filling with the air of imagination’. This was a hard list to write because I was conscious of the women who would not be…

  • Politics

    Brexit… What’s Next?

    Fans of the TV series West Wing will recognise the catchphrase of President Jed Bartlet. ‘What’s next?’, he’d exclaim as he solved one tricky political conundrum and moved on. Sadly, real life politicians don’t have the option of wrapping everything up nice and tidily before the end credits roll. Real life is messy, and by God it doesn’t get any messier than the clusterfuck Brexit.

  • Parenting

    Letting Go

    You roll your eyes and I bite my tongue. It’s normal, I tell myself. She’s a teenager. She needs to detach. Still, it hurts my heart. ‘You may give them your love but not your thoughts’ I was the centre of your world. Your rock. Your oracle. You looked to me for answers. And now your gaze has turned outward.

  • Parenting

    The Problem with “As a Mother…”

    When a sentence begins with ‘As a mother…’, it’s generally a bad sign. This rarely heralds an insightful observation, as Andrea Leadsom demonstrated. The discussion will continue around the political wrangling, but I wanted to pause for a moment and consider the idea that motherhood grants a woman anything other than the ability to cook meals one-handed while holding a wailing baby. As a Mother… I’ve changed. It would be impossible not to. The focus of my life has shifted, and the opinions and feelings of others need to be taken into consideration. I’m sure this is true for most parents, not just mothers. As a mother, I became aware…

  • Parenting

    Things Mums of Boys Will Know

    I was disappointed with Netmums’ article on ‘Things Mums of Boys Will Know‘. As a mother of a boy and a girls, I know that most of these are silly, and a couple are just plain ridiculous.

  • Life

    New Years Resolutions and Regrets

    Do you make New Years Resolutions? This year, I’m taking a leaf out of the book of Rebecca from Artemis Mindset Coaching, and not bothering. Or rather, I’m making changes but not thinking of them as NY Resolutions. [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But… I don’t really believe in New Year Resolutions. We can do better than that. We can do better than signing up to a gym and going three times. We can do better than going 3 days cigarette free then just having the one. And we can do so much better than randomly deciding that January the 1st is going to be the start of a…

  • Review

    Reach Your Destination with a Mindset Coach

    Rebecca is a Mindset Coach at Artemis Mindset Coaching. You might wonder what on earth that is, and who would see a mindset coach (and what exactly a mindset coach does differently to other coaches). I admit, when I first heard of it, I thought it sounded a bit woo (and I’m totally not woo!). She’s also a friend, so when she asked if I’d agree to be coached by her, as part of her training and certification, I agreed. Not only out of friendship, but also because I was inquisitive. What is this coaching thing, and what would I get out of it?

  • kids scared of fireworks

    Kids are Scared of Fireworks? Prepare for Bonfire Night

    For many, Bonfire night is eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. Some younger or more noise sensitive children find it overwhelming, loud and downright scary. In the run up to the 5th November, start to prepare your child for the big bangs and whistles.     Talk about Noise – and Make some Noise     Talk about animals that are loud, and those which are quiet. Play at being quiet as a mouse, and loud as a DINOSAUR. Get your child to ROAAAAAAAAAAR like a lion, and roar back. Let the child bang on some pots with a wooden spoon, and band the pot lids together. Think about getting the…

  • Scotland

    Secrets of Scotland – Mhorfest

    This weekend, we travelled up to the Highlands of Scotland to Mhor Hotel, and their annual MhorFest. We’d intended arriving in time for the Raft Race on Saturday morning, but underestimated the travelling time on the wee roads, and missed it. All was not lost, as the festival was just getting underway. With free entry for kids under 14 years, it was clear that this was going to be a popular event with families, and already there were a fair number of people milling about.

  • Review

    Review of Ziggys Restaurant in St Andrews

    It was my first visit to Ziggys Restaurant in St Andrews, and I was intrigued to see it described as a family owned ‘themed restaurant’, decorated with rock and roll memorabilia. I was guessing it would be a bit like Hard Rock Cafe, but more personal and individual. If possible, I try to support local businesses, rather than national (or international!) chain restaurants.

  • Parenting

    5 Signs of Low Self Esteem in a Child … and What You Can Do About It

    A guest post by Coach Rebecca Pintre, from Artemis Mindset Coaching, on recognising the signs of low self esteem in a child, and what parents can do about it.  Self-esteem is the sense of worth a person has about themselves, the value they put on themselves. It is important to have a good balance of self-esteem and a positive yet realistic sense of self-worth. As a coach, low self-esteem is one of the issues I come across frequently. As a mother of two young girls I know that fostering good self-esteem in my daughters is one of my key tasks.

  • Parenting

    Dear 13 Year Old Me…

    It is my daughter’s 13th birthday today. At last, she is a TEENAGER! She’s promised that she won’t suddenly turn into a stroppy, hormonal monster. Check back in a year to see whether she’s been able to keep that vow! I was thinking back to my teenage years, and what I would tell myself, if I could go back in time and give myself some advice.

  • Parenting

    How to Make a First Period Kit

    No, don’t worry. I’m not going to advise you to throw a First Period Party for your daughter. I can only imagine the sheer horror that my daughter would greet this suggestion. It is probably up there with ‘Mum-dancing with my guidance teacher at the school disco in an effort to get all the kids to dance’ on the 1 – 100 scale of embarrassment. Talking to kids about sex is an important part of parenting, and a part of this is talking to girls about getting their first period. One of the best ways to help your daughter prepare, is to make a First Period Kit.

  • Review

    Review – Five Wounds by Katharine Edgar

    My Goodreads Review of Five Wounds, by Katharine Edgar Five Wounds by Katharine Edgar My rating: 4 of 5 stars A gripping tale, that kept me awake into the wee hours, as I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it.

  • Social Media

    This Little Piggy Was Caught in a Twitter Storm

    This article deals with processes in feminism, but the point made about social media is true for all online discussions. When our online world is nothing but an ‘echo chamber’, we miss the dissenting voices, the ones that change our minds, or strengthen our resolve.

  • eSafety

    “My Mum Reads My Texts”… Checking Kids Phones and eSafety

    “My Mum reads my texts”, is the digital age version of “My mum reads my diary”. Did you write a diary when you were younger? If you did, you may remember the fear of your parents reading it, finding out all those private thoughts, spying on you. Then the similarity between the diary and the smartphone ends, because a diary is kept private, while social media and text updates are shared with others. Many parents worry about their children, and their use of social media and smartphones. Are they being bullied – or are they bullying others? Are they sharing information that they shouldn’t? Who are they talking to online,…

  • writing

    12 Awesome Women Explorers

    It is done! Months of research, and hours of agonising which of the many wonderful women to include – today 12 Awesome Women Explorers was published. Initially only on Kindle, but soon to be available in print, and on iBooks. One of the challenges of writing this book, was finding women who were explorers in a positive sense. Not rich, entitled white women who ‘explored’ countries where people had been living quite happily for many years, but those who actually brought a deeper understanding between peoples, or who made exciting scientific discoveries.

  • Elie harbour and sands, Scotland

    Secrets of Scotland – The Kingdom of Fife

    It’s been a while since I wrote a Secrets of Scotland, so I thought I’d catch you all up on some of the glorious areas of the country I am lucky enough to call home. The suggestions on this blog are many, and you won’t be able to do them all in a day, so pick the ones you like best, and don’t forget to let me know the ones I missed! A lot of tourists land in Edinburgh and drive straight past Fife to head for the Highlands. Or if they visit the area, they drive to St Andrews, and then onwards. When we pick visitors up from the…

  • Talking to Kids About Sex

    Talking to The Kids About Sex – Without Euphemisms or Embarrassment

    According to Planned Parenthood, teens who had good, honest conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use condoms or other contraceptives when they do have sex. So how do we go about talking to the kids about sex and puberty, so that they are informed of the changes ahead, know how they can protect themselves, and how to react to the pressures from others? Without euphemisms or embarrassment.

  • eSafety,  Social Media

    NSPCC Be Share Aware Campaign

    I was pleased to read that the NSPCC were launching a new campaign to better inform parents of the dangers of Social Media, but was slightly disappointed with the results. The videos ‘I Can See Your Willy’, and ‘Lucy and the Boy’ have been shown on TV spots, and are being shared around the internet, but I have several issues with them.