Long weekend in Dublin | Travel

At the end of Febuary this year, Scott and I decided to take a long-weekend trip away to Dublin. We'd been talking about it for a while, then just decided to book and go. We have friends in Dublin, so we wanted to go and see them, but it was Scott's first time to Ireland so we wanted to do some sight-seeing too.

Flight and Hotel

We flew with Ryanair. It was my first time using them, and I'd heard a lot of negative stories about the company, so I was a little apprehensive, but everything went perfectly smoothly and the staff were all lovely, so I can't really complain. The only problem we had was with the flight times. Scott had to be back early enough on the Monday that he could get back up north for work the next day, but the cheapest flights were first thing in the morning (waaay to early for us) or last thing at night (meaning he wouldn't be able to get a train back home until the next day). So we ended up having to pay an extra £80 per person to get an afternoon flight. It's not the end of the world, but it's something to bear in mind if you have time restrictions.

We stayed at The Gibson, an amazing four star hotel in the north east of the city. We managed to get a great price, and were not expecting the level of quality we received, it was fantastic. The decor of the hotel is very modern and minimalist, and the room was stylish, functional, and really comfortable. There was a rain shower, in a lovely, spacious bathroom, lights under the bed, and full access to the gym and spa. The first night, we ate at the hotel restaurant and it was delicious, specializing in Asian cuisine. It was a quick and easy tram ride into the city center, and the first top off the bus from the airport, so the location couldn't have been better for us. I'd highly recommend it. (We booked the flight and hotel as a package through Expedia.)

Temple Bar
Now, I don't drink, so the whole pub culture of Dublin didn't really appeal to me, but we still wanted to go and hang out at the Temple Bar region, to see what all the fuss is about (plus, it gave Scott and his friend an excuse to drink Guinness). It was actually a really cool place, lots of interesting shops, cafes and bars, as well as awesome graffiti, which I love. It was busy though. Every street was heaving with people, and one of the nights was a big football match (which we went to watch in a cute folksy pub) so there were lots of drunk football fans roaming around. It's pretty touristy, but it's still worth checking out if you're looking for somewhere to eat or drink, because there's plenty of places to choose from.

Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo
I love animals, but I'm not a huge zoo person, it makes me sad to see animals in cages, but we were spending the day with our friend and his girlfriend (who is under 18) so we needed somewhere fun we could all go for the afternoon. We walked there, through the huge, beautiful, Pheonix Park. The zoo itself was fine, pretty much like any other zoo. It was nice to look at all the cute animals, but I just wanted to set them free. Oh well, like I said, I'm not a zoo person. But I guess it'd be a good place to bring kids.  

Tour of the Guinness factory

Again, I'm not a drinker, but Scott loved Guinness, and we'd heard that the factory was really cool so we decided to spend the Sunday there. It totally lived up to the hype! The tour is so interesting and interactive, even someone with no interest in alcohol, like myself, can have a good time. The displays are so beautiful and detailed, and there a huge waterfall you can stand under (image below), as well as a tasting deck right at the top of the building that gives a panoramic view of the city (image at the top of the page.) The place was really busy, but we were able to make our way through at our own pace and we really enjoyed ourselves (despite the terrified look on Scott's face.)

If I were to go back, I'd probably like to go to some other historic places, rather than the zoo, but it was still a good time. I'd definitely stay at The Gibson again, it was incredible. If you have any more questions, leave a comment.

Have an awesome day.
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#whomademyclothes | Fashion Revolution Day

24th of April marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013. 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured while working in a factory making clothing for western high-street retailers. It caused a huge outcry at the time, to examine the consequences of fast fashion, but three years on, lots of brands still use 'sweat shops' to manufacture clothes, and people are still working inhumane hours in unsafe conditions.

So, the 18th-24th of April is set aside as 'Fashion Revolution Week', with fashionrevolution.org spearheading a campaign to make consumers more conscious about fashion retail manufacturing, and asking to hold companies accountable for the welfare of their employees with the hashtag #whomademyclothes.

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[Image source: http://fashionrevolution.org/]

The movement is trying to make people think about where there clothes come from, and who might be suffering to make them. I think that it's important that we put pressure on high-street and mainstream brands to improve their manufacturing so that people can be comfortable, safe, and earn a fair wage. 

Now, instead of dwelling on the heartbreaking Rana Plaza incident, and the ongoing injustice, I thought that the best way to contribute and help make a change would be highlight some of the independent, fair trade and sweatshop-free brands I like, to give people an idea about what kind of alternatives are out there.

Fenrweh UK - "CLACH" Hand Knit Unisex Merino/Alpaca Hat


Navy Organic Cotton Tencel Top

Striped Ponte Mini Skirt

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Ethletic Fair Trainer White Cap Hi Cut Classic Just White | Just White

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There are also great UK sites that carry local and independant brands such as Godiva Boutique (Edinburgh), The Little Deer, and LaLaLand.

If you want to get involved, you can share a photo of your clothing label with the #whomademyclothes hashtag, or check out fashionrevolution.org for more information.
Have an awesome day.
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New Year's Rockclimbing Adventure


I've done rockclimbing once or twice in the past and I loved it, but there was never anywhere near by that I was able to go to for practice. I always thought it was an ideal activity for me, because I'm not much of a runner, I can't lift weights, and I've fallen off a bike more times than I can count, but I'm not scared of heights, and I've got gangly long limbs. So, when I was home visiting my parents for Christmas, I was so excited to find out that Spireroxx had opened up not too far from where we live. 

Literally the next day after I arrived home, I dragged both my parents with me to try out the wall. My dad loves stuff like that, he's really into cycling and camping and all that. My mum is scared of heights, has vertigo, bad balance, and gets dizzy, so she was a little more difficult to convince (I have vertigo too, but I get dizzy just lying down, I'm fine when I'm climbing).

 
The place was great, we got a lovely instructor called Ben who took us around the walls, from easiest to hardest, giving us little tips, and letting us climb away to our heart's content. There's even a wee cafe in the back that we could sit and have a cuppa when we were finished (and trust me, we needed it, it's a lot more knackering than it looks.)

The first time we went, I managed to climb to the top of a few routes, but there were a couple of the harder ones that beat me. So I went back in the new year with my dad and Scott, to see if we'd get on any better.


We pushed ourselves even harder the second time, and both me and my dad managed to conquer the routes that we'd been beaten by the last time. I was so proud of myself, even if I did leave with a few bruises on my knees and blisters on my hands. 

It's a great work out, that doesn't really feel like a work out. Don't get me wrong, your arms, hands, shoulders and legs are on fire, but the adrenaline keeps you going, and when you're done, you're left just wanting to do it all again. 

Highly reccommend trying rock climbing, even just one, and especially reccommend Spireroxx if you're in the north of Scotland/Moray and you like to climb. They're so friendly, helpful, and it's just a great facility with a great atmosphere (they even played ACDC for my mum to pump her up.)

What's something new you've tried and loved this new year?

Hope you all have an amazing week.

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Black Friday and Indy Shopping

#godivaedinburgh

The entire concept of Black Friday might be controversial to a lot of us, especially in the UK, as many argue that it is just another step in the Americanization of our country. We've all seen the footage of people being shoved and trampled in order for someone to get a telly at 70% off, which in and of itself is despicable and inhuman, but that's not even what I want to talk about..

As you'll know if you've been with my blog for any length of time, I like to support and promote sustainable shopping, which means buying from brands and companies who are independent, or ethically conscious.

It's really not that hard, much easier than you'd think actually, and there's still plenty of options. What's even better, you know you're getting something that has been made with love.

Laura Sherriffs, owner of the independent Scottish brand, Fernweh, posted something to her company Instagram today that I found very interesting (and true).

"While these huge retailers can afford to drop prices by 50% and STILL make huge profits - its says a lot of how much those items cost to produce and how little those who actually make the items get paid, someone always loses out on Black Friday and its not the huge retailers."

It's something that people don't often think about, and that's where our goods come from, who makes them, and how much do they get paid. Obviously big companies and retailers who can afford to slash prices must be adding a huge markup to the value of the goods in the first place. 


"It also makes it so difficult for very small businesses around the world, who can't afford to drop prices so much and still pay the bills but feel compelled to in order to compete against the High Street. Small independent businesses have higher costs, handmade goods are costly and time consuming to create and are of a much higher quality, yet they are expected to drop to the same level as the mass produced high street."

#godivaedinburgh

That's the complaint I hear most often from people when I talk about shopping ethically - the price. And yes, independent and sustainable brands do tend to come with a bigger price tag that not everyone can afford. I appreciate that. I get it. I know what it's like to be skint. But for those who can afford it, I honestly think it's their duty to. 

There's people buying several big appliances like TVs and game consoles during the Black Friday or Boxing Day sales just so they can sell them on, and that's appalling in my eyes. Leave them for the people who can't afford them at full price and for whom the sales are a godsend in order to be able to get presents for their family at Christmas.

"I think Black Friday offers consumers a chance to look at their shopping choices, to choose well and buy less. Black Friday feeds the over consumption, throwaway nature of the fast fashion industry, which is unsustainable in all aspects."


I know myself that if I looked at all the money I've spent on frivolous purchases over the years, on stuff that's ended up in the bin, I know I could have saved up and bought something that actually lasts. 

I'm not saying not to pick up the bargains while they're there, if there's something you need, or you want to get presents at a cheaper price. But unnecessary spending isn't good for anyone. So I implore everyone (myself included) to think twice about where you spend your money this holiday season. 

That doesn't mean everyone has to only shop independently, but making the change as often as you can really does make a difference. Every pound you spend is a vote towards the kind of world you want to be living in. Help us all by choosing to live sustainable as much as possible.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
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