As I watched our doggo bound about on his walk this afternoon; loving life, always happy, I realised that there’s many lessons which we can learn from our four legged friends.

Here’s my top 10 list of life lessons learnt from dogs:

  1. Make time to show the ones you love that you care. It doesn’t always need to be as slobbery as a dog’s kiss though. Everyone likes to feel wanted.
  2. Try, try and try again. Determination (particularly when there’s food involved) is a key characteristic found in almost every dog. If we could muster half this determination as humans, we’d succeed far more often.
  3. The same goes for enthusiasm… tackling every task with eagerness and passion brings joy to every day.
  4. Loyalty is rewarded. Whether that’s in friendship or just points on a supermarket store card. Sticking to your commitments avoids letting people down.
  5. Explore the world. This might be the next field over, or the Australian outback. Travelling and exploring broadens your horizons.
  6. Choose your battles carefully. Confront that bigger dog/angry boss/hungry boyfriend at your peril. Sometimes it’s good to know when to leave people be.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of praise. Sometimes a quick “thank you, you’ve done a great job” can really help cheer someone up. It’s nice to be nice.
  8. Exercise regularly – healthy body, healthy mind.
  9. Play more. Humans tend to forget the power of play as they grow older. It develops creativity and innovative thoughts, so really more value should be placed on it.
  10. Also, make time to relax and nap. It’s a dog’s life after all.

#12daysofblogandbeyond #blogandbeyond #lessons #dog #dogsofinstagram #Aberdeenbloggers #UKbloggers #Scottishblogger #Scottishbloggers #blog #blogger #lifestyleblogger #Aberdeen #Scotland  #thehappynow #happy #positive

Run a mile

I go through phases when it comes to fitness and, in particular, running. Sometimes I’m super-motivated and training towards a particular race or event, other times it’s been so long since I’ve run that I’ve forgotten where I’ve left my trainers.

At one point I used to drag myself to the gym 4 times a week, hop on a treadmill and not allow myself to stop until I had run the 5,6,8 or 10kms I needed to do to keep up with my training plan. With the rigmarole of having to mentally prepare myself for the slog of each gym session, I felt like I was getting nowhere fast. I would break up my running time into 10-minute slots, hating each and every moment. The first 10 minutes were all about trying to get a steady breathing pattern going, the second 10 minutes would just be about making it through to the final 10-minute slot, where the mantra there was “nearly done, don’t stop now!”. I did improve my fitness levels, lost a bit of weight and even managed to speed up a little. But the daily dread of having to re-start my 30-minute torment was something that not even a motivational playlist could fix! Therefore, after completing a half marathon, I hung up my running shoes.

Fast forward a couple of years, after taking some time out with an injury, I have been slowly trying to get back into running. I’ve taken to the roads this time though – no more treadmills for me! I want to enjoy exercise, not fear it. I learnt to run without music, enjoying the world around me instead of pounding beats. I downloaded Strava to track my runs… though quickly deleted it, deciding it wasn’t for me – I didn’t like the competitive nature of the app. That nagging feeling of having to keep up a certain pace to avoid looking like a failure in front of your followers didn’t fit my needs. However, I can see how this works for others, particularly those in training for an event where they hope to achieve a ‘good time’. For the first time in my life I’ve been on runs with a running partner. My boyfriend and I will take the dog out and run ‘a loop’ near where we live. I enjoy the social aspect of running with a companion – I find it provides me with motivation to keep going, although sometimes I do get paranoid about being too slow for him!

This week I made a massive break-through. I enjoyed my run. I took it slowly, I didn’t worry about what time I was clocking and I just enjoyed running for the sake of running.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I have to force myself to put on my trainers and get outside (I’m very much a fair-weather runner!), and there are often weeks where I don’t run at all. But I’m working on striking that balance.

#running #runningtime #runningmotivation #exerciseroutine #outside #outdoors #exerciseforfun #balance #fitness #fitnessfun #blog #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy

Wild Camping – Take #1

“Let’s go camping!” – ok, great.

“I’ve mapped a route” – excellent, that’s super.

….“So it’s 30kms with 5 peaks on day one….” – uh-ohh.


Needless to say, I requested a route change.

So off we trotted, backpacks fully laden, into the hills and valleys of the Cairngorms National Park.

We began our route at the Spittal of Glen Muick car park, walking along the banks of Loch Muick before rising up and over into the next valley. The weather was mild and overcast, with occasional fine mists of rain – never heavy enough to require a jacket; ideal hiking weather.

Owing to the fact that we weren’t under any time pressures (and were feeling the strain of heavy backpacks) we navigated our route slowly and purposefully. Our springer spaniel led the way, bounding and lunging about the hillside with glee. Next time he’s getting a doggy-backpack to slow him down a bit too!

The scenery was eerie, with dramatic hues of greens and browns. Shadows and shades appeared furtively across the glens, with the sunshine ebbing and flowing through the clouds. This created some spectacular scenes, the like of which can only be fully appreciated in-person. Encountering the looming hills which edge the valley, feeling them tower over you and making you feel but 6 inches tall is a rare sensation for those of us more used to dwelling in towns.

We walked for the best part of the day, stopping occasionally for water-stops, or to take a few photographs. It was relaxing to escape from everyday life, knowing everything we needed was on our backs, except perhaps some additional water, which we would source from the river which we walked along. …I really did try my best to ignore the rubbing of my boots and the bruises forming on my collar bones, although sometimes even panoramic vistas and world-renowned landscapes aren’t enough to take away the pain completely!

With only a few kilometres until our anticipated camping spot, we stopped to explore some large rocky pools which had formed in the river. This provided us with an excellent excuse to remove our walking boots and socks, and embrace some fairly chilly paddling. Sitting on a rock, with feet dangling into the flowing water below, I watched one man and his dog explore the breadth of the river in more detail – jumping from one stepping stone to the next, egging each other on. It’s the simple things which bring us joy!

After some campsite-scouting we settled for a (relatively) flat area on the hillside, some 30 meters from the river, with gorgeous views of the valley below. Living in Scotland, wild camping is permitted under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The general rule is that small scale camping is allowable on open/wild land, provided that campers leave no trace. (‘Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos’ was what I was always taught!) This provides locals and tourists alike with the opportunity to connect with the landscape and embrace the idyllic peacefulness of knowing there’s no one else for miles around.

This was our tent’s first outing. It was slick to put up (and take down!), coped well in a flurry of rain showers, and was spacious enough inside for all our gear.

We’d packed a portable BBQ with burgers, spaghetti hoops, marshmallows and a few tinnies (that’s cans of beer to the non-Scots!). Quite a feast! Talking and eating, whilst trying to avoid the midges and keep the pup away from the fire at the same time meant that the evening flew by. Pity our tent pitch site turned out to not be quite as lump-free as we had hoped though!

The next day, after an early start and a double check of our site for any forgotten items, we headed back onto the trail. With a much shorter route and lighter backpacks, we found ourselves making good time back to the car. A quick stop at Ballater for late morning breakfast rolls, and then it was back to reality!

Hopefully camping take #2 will be even better, now we’ve had some practice!

#outdoors #fitness #blog #camping #wildcamping #tent #hiking #walking #hillwalking #dogwalks #BBQ #marshmallows #adventuring #Aberdeenshire #Scotland #scenery #springerspaniel #paddling #backpack