Category: Lifestyle

My New Year’s Resolutions 2018

Some of us love them, some of us hate them. It’s New Year’s resolutions! Personally I see a new year as a fresh, clean slate. A chance to start things over, try new things and set new goals. I love to create a list of resolutions at the start of every new year, but admittedly, a few weeks down the line they either get forgotten about or life simply gets in the way, they don’t get attention and I am left feeling unaccomplished. That’s probably part of the reason why people don’t like them, because of the sense of  disappointment when they aren’t fulfilled. This year, I decided to start my resolutions on the second week in January because let’s face it, the first week is finishing off leftovers from the festive period, being hungover, trying to get into a routine and wearing something with a waistband – and feeling it a little tighter than you remember – for the first time in a fortnight.

I’ve also decided to make my resolutions this year a little easier to accomplish, and instead of setting a huge goal (for example ‘get toned and get my ideal body like the ones I see on Instagram (even though I’m not the same height or shape as them)’, I would make it ‘start lifting weights again’. Real goals, that you can achieve. I have a mixture of small ones, and bigger ones, but I think over 2018 they will be easy to accomplish, because this year they are a little more realistic and less vague.

Get to know your Grandparents

Let’s face it, grandparents are amazing. There’s nothing quite like going to your grans for a wee blether, a cuppa and a good old scran! Grandparents make everything better, and if you’re lucky enough still to have even one of yours, please get to know them. And I mean really know them.

5 alternative places around Glasgow to get your Christmas gifts

If you’re anything like me, you will love shopping for others at Christmas. And yes, it’s that time of year again (I know, it’s came around so fast)! If you follow my vlog on Youtube or any of my social media channels you’ll know how much I love shopping locally so I’ve taken a trip round the outskirts of Glasgow in the last few weeks to find little independent shops to buy Christmas gifts for friends and family, and I thought I would share 5 of my favourites with you.

Gingerbread Dreams, Duntocher

It’s so worth the trip out of the city to visit this snug little shop hidden in the heart of Duntocher. Despite the being there for almost 15 years, last week I visited the special little shop for the first time. As soon as I opened the door, the friendly heat warmed my cheeks and the scent of freshly baked cookies combined with cinnamon filled my nose. It’s a tiny village shop but it is filled to the brim with scented candles, bath bombs and unique presents for your loved ones (or yourself!) in the form of wooden hanging signs, frames and cards. It is family owned, and you automatically feel like part of it when you step through the door. There is something for everyone in that little spot on Dumbarton Rd, known as an “American Country Shop”, and you will not be disappointed. My personal favourites were the wooden signs – particularly the Christmas and the Harry Potter ones – and the ready made ‘Christmas Kisses’ and ‘Secret Santa’ gift packages! Check them out here.

Gemini Cards & Gifts, Kirkintilloch

A treasure trove full of wonderful things, Gemini has been on the corner of Kirkintilloch Main Street for over ten years. It is filled with beautiful and unique gifts, from unusual wedding presents to handcrafted cards, there is something for every occasion that is different and can’t be found on the high street. Unusual gifts like prosecco-pong for your Secret Santa and little beanie hats with torches inside the eyes of the owls for kids stockings can all be found here. Something I just loved were the Still Game mugs designed by Edd Travers, with caricatures of every character on them! They are so unique and funny and a great gift for any Still Game fan – and let’s be honest, who isn’t one?! A favourite for locals, Gemini Cards & Gifts should be on your go-to list for unusual presents, too. For Christmas, the scented candles are a must have, my favourites are Pink Gin and Gin & Tonic, they fill my home with such a gorgeous sweet smell! If you’re from further out, it’s just a trip along the M80, or if you’re lucky enough to take the back country roads it’s a beautiful drive to the shop where every corner is filled with something special.

Jennifer Hercus Glass Art, Cumbernauld

For something completely different, why not get a painting of your pet, family members, favourite film character or even yourself on a set of wine glasses, (or any glass you choose!)? Jennifer is based in Cumbernauld and works from home in her own little studio. She is an exceptionally good artist as you can see from these pictures and her attention to detail is so particular that your pictures and photographs come to life in a unique way that I have never seen before. It’s not just Christmas these glasses are perfect for (although Santa on a pint glass does tickle my fancy), but why not for your bridesmaids, your best friends birthday or your Valentine? As soon as I came across Jennifer and her unique and wonderful talent, I knew I had to order some wine glasses from her! The time and dedication put into every order can be seen in the glimmer of a dogs eye or the sparkle in a brides veil. A truly personal gift and bound to put the smile on someone you love’s face for any occasion, have a look on her Facebook Page to see what you would like.


Lake&Loch, Glasgow

Another Jennifer – this time originally from Canada – has created her own business in the form of Lake&Loch. What I love about Lake&Loch is that they pride themselves in being local, and there is nothing more local than their ‘Ma Bit’ beanies! Now, if you’re from Glasgow, you’ll know all about your ‘bit’ – the area you live, it’s where your ice cream van comes round, where your pals live, where you play… it’s your bit! Lake&Loch have some fab handmade beanies with local areas from round Glasgow and the West on them, such as ‘East End’, ‘Hillhead’ and ‘Govanhill’. I just think they are so unique and ever since first seeing them I thought they would make fantastic and unusual presents! Lake&Loch say they are “ardent supporters of  where we live… we love to support our local – from pubs, to shops, to yes, even football”. As well as the loud and proud Ma Bit beanies inspired by bobble hats worn as kids, Lake&Loch sell blankets, mugs, beautifully scented candles and one of my favourite items ever, these crazy Buckfast cosy gloves (see below)! Find them on Facebook and Twitter @LAKEANDLOCH or visit


Cherished Box Frames & Personalised Gifts, Shettleston

These ladies can make you bespoke box frames for any occasion, combining the perfect recipe of glitter, fancy fonts and motifs. Whether it’s your favourite quote, a box with LED lights to make sure Santa stops at your house or a frame to let your mum know you love her, they can make them all. Based in Shettleston, they will turn your creations into reality. I think one of my favourite ideas is the box frame with a slot at the top for money so you can see your savings building up! With their unique style and attention to detail, the frames are stunning and add personality (and most importantly glitter) to any home or business. Made with love and with each customer in mind, the box frames make a great gift for birthdays, Christenings, weddings or any special occasion. They recently completed a frame for the salon I go to for my nails, tanning and make up, Desiree’s and it was so beeautiful, the ladies really loved it! You can see their frames and gifts on their page here.


Have a look and see for yourself, we have some amazing local shops and businesses!

Amber Zoe x


Fab-yule-us Christmas jumpers for 2017

It’s my favourite time of  the year, and one thing I adore about the festive season is wearing my Christmas jumper… or all 23 of them. You read that right, it’s not a typo. Don’t slag me. I cleared out my wardrobe last night and found 23 of the festive knits, sparkling, flashing and bobbling in all their glory. From reindeer, Christmas puddings, tongue-in-cheek sayings to the big man Santa himself, I have them all. Although I have quite the impressive collection – if I do say so myself – some of them are years old as it’s become my ‘thing’ to collect Crimbo jumpers. I have therefore decided to have a look online and in stores and find you some of my favourite Christmas jumpers this year to give you some inspiration! Here are my top 10, unfortunately I only own 4 of them… for now *wink*…

15 ‘Ginspiring’ Gifts for Christmas

Have a gin lover in your life? Well, for a start, if you don’t… hello! Here I am. I will happily take one of these gifts underneath my tree or in my stocking. It’s time to really think about your Christmas shopping and I have a lot of gin lovers to buy for this year. As I’ve been looking I thought ‘why not help others and point them in the right direction of where the most fabulous gin gifts of 2017 are?’ So here are a few of my favourite gin inspired (or ginspired!) gifts to get that special juniper-berry loving friend at Christmastime.

Stocking Fillers/Secret Santa

Okay, lets start with the little things. Whether it’s little extras to complete a stocking or the office secret Santa, if they love gin, they will adore these.

5 Things to Quit and How to do it

So I saw this posted by Little Penny Thoughts on Facebook, and it just was what I needed to see. It’s addressing 5 main problems that a lot of us in today’s society face, and simply telling us to stop. It’s easier said than done, to stop something that has become habitual, but the first step is acceptance and willingness to change, or at least try to.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy girl and I have a lot of good in my life; an amazing family, a great boyfriend and a wonderful job. I have money, food on the table, nice clothes and a healthy social life. I am grateful for everything that comes my way and try not to take anything for granted; I always have a ‘life’s too short’ attitude. That doesn’t mean that the problems faced in society today don’t affect me though, I just try not to let it show.

Breaking this down in to the five steps stated in this picture, I’m going to tell you how they affect me, and why it’s a problem that a lot of us have to deal with.

1. STOP trying to please everyone

It’s just not going to happen. You can read my blog post from earlier this year, Not everyone loves Nutella (and it’s okay). where I talk about this. As much as I would love for everyone to like me, be happy with my decisions and be friends, it’s unfortunately not the way of the world. It’s something that affects me because I’m not going to lie, I take it pretty bad when I learn that someone doesn’t like me or has said something about me, or if I’ve done something to upset or not please someone. But if we learn to let this go and embrace being the best version of ourselves that we can be, being kind and understanding, then we can live happy knowing that we are doing something right. And if someone isn’t pleased, that’s their own problem. Being kind is a big part of this – because how can people say bad things about you if all you are is kind? Something that might help is Jamie Thurston’s Kindness: the little thing that matters most. Inside he explains how much of a big difference a small act of kindness can make, and it’s full of inspirational quotes.

2. STOP fearing change

Change of the season, change in a job, a relationship, a situation at home, who knows? The reality is that change happens and it should be embraced. I fear change a lot and as much as I believe it to be healthy, it does scare me. I don’t like the thought of ‘perfect’ relationships changing, I can’t stand to think of losing people I love and I fear that unpleasant change may come my way sometimes but what I’m learning is that change is just part of life and it can be accepted. Part of this has been through the Heath brothers book Switch: How to change things when change is hard. In the book they argue that we have to understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour. There are stories of amazing real-life turnarounds – whether it’s secrets of successful marriage counselling or the pile of gloves that transformed one company’s finances. It’s worth a read if you struggle with change.

3. STOP living in the past

This is a huge problem for a lot of us. Whether it’s something you have done, something someone else has done, a mistake that has been made, something that could have changed a situation, it doesn’t matter. We all have our own troubles and being alone with your own throughts really can be scary when they keep transporting you back to the past. I do this and it actually hurts my head sometimes. It ruins the current moment and it’s merely through the power of your own thinking. The reality of this is the past is in the past, and that’s where it belongs. What’s done is done, mistakes have been made, opportunities have been lost and it’s the acceptance of not re-living something that you arent’t happy with and moving on and forgetting is what’s hardest. A great tool I have used to help me with this before is Eckhart Tolle’s bestseller The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, a book in which he explains by living in the past actually affects how you live your days right now, because the past actually doesn’t exist; nor does the future. You are here, alive, aware, and the only moment that is ever truly present and real is right now. I’m going to read this again, or at least part of it. Because it made total sense to me. Read it!

All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

4. STOP putting yourself down

Okay this is a tricky one. It can be hard to stop criticising in our growing social media world of Instagram, Snapchat filters and superior make up skills! Admittedly of course I sit and browse for hours thinking ‘why can’t I have her legs? I want to be that tall. Why isn’t my stomach that flat? I want to live that lifestyle! I would give anything for her lashes. That hair is amazing! WHY DON’T I LOOK LIKE THAT?’ With those negative thoughts, more negative thoughts are manifested until you are looking at yourself in a completely different light. I know this all to well because it happens to me all the time. Once you’ve defined your idea of perfection, that’s it. Nothing you are will ever be enough. You don’t like your body, your face, your hair, your teeth. You’re not earning as much as people seem to be on Instagram and so you are a failure, you’re car isn’t as flashy, and you don’t have a job that they have. It’s a horrible feeling that grips you from the inside out. A small niggle that starts in your head can spiral out of control. A book that I have read twice in the past and that has helped is The Secret  by Rhonda Byrne. In her series of books she explains how you really can change your life for the better, and helps you with the steps to take to change it.

“All stress begins with a negative thought. One thought that went unchecked, and then more thoughts came and more, until stress manifested. The effect is stress, but the cause was negative thinking, and it all began with one little negative thought. No matter what you might have manifested, you can change it ….with one small positive thought and then another”
Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

5. STOP overthinking

This is the hardest one for me. Every small thought, the simplest thing just keeps growing and growing in my head until it’s fit to burst and I have a headache because of overthinking. The link in the modern day between stress and overthinking is scary and it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse. I overthink everything. If it’s something at work, over playing scenarios, what I could have done differently, what someone else could have done, I’ll think it through and over-analyse and think some more. I overthink things before they happen and become anxious, even simple things like getting a train; what time to get there, what platfrom, where to sit – what if I don’t get a seat? Where will I go when I get off the train? I overthink scenarios so much it can make me not appreciate the present moment and either be stuck in the past punishing myself for something I or someone else did ‘wrong’, or be stuck in the future worrying if I will be somewhere on time, do things right, etc. Sound hectic? It is. But I know so many of you feel it too. Overthinking is a huge cause of stress in our society and Fitness magazine have a great article about it you can click on here. It combines lots of tips to stop overthinking and stressing. This article has really helped break things down for me, as has meditation. By using the Calm app and book I am getting back into meditating  which I have fallen away from in the past year and I also enjoy using guided meditations on Youtube to try and reach goals and improve my lifestyle. While I understand that meditation cannot solve something in your head completely and for some people it doesn’t help at all, for me it really works wonders and helps me focus on the present moment, breathe and learn to let go of feelings of negativity or anxiety. Go on, try it. You can get the calm app by clicking here. I’ve seen overthinking labelled as ‘paralysis by analysis’ and that’s exactly what it is; try letting your thoughts go and bring positivity back into your mind.

We should all work together one little step at a time to help to try and tackle these problems that the modern day brings.

Keep Smiling!

Amber Zoe x

Amber’s Diary: breakfast shows, bile lollies (!) and being on TV

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these entries and that’s because I was in Thailand for the whole month of June with intermittent wifi, expensive data but having the absolute time of my life. You can read about my time with Camp Thailand here.

So the week I got back included getting over jet lag (nightmare – waking up at 3am awake and buzzing for the day… sleeping early, not feeling hungry…), unpacking my suitcase and bag and visiting friends, family and my boyfriend all of whom I hadn’t seen for the month.

That means that this week was my first ‘normal’ week back – although I say that, and of course, with me being me – it’s not been normal at all!!

Camp Thailand

When I graduated from university last year, I wanted to travel, learn about a different culture, have fun and make a difference at the same time. The problem I faced was that I was in a brilliant job that I loved and didn’t want to have to leave and I had nobody to go with. This is when I found Camp Thailand and realised that it was the perfect combination of everything I wanted to do.

Camp Thailand is a 3 week programme (with an additional week island hopping if you wish) that provides the opportunity to teach English to children in schools and at summer camps, look after formerly mistreated elephants and have the time of your life embracing Thai culture, activities and night life.

Should you do it? YES. Don’t hesitate, jump in. Here is a little taster of why you should…

Amber’s Diary: Captain America, Cars & Kids parties!

Let’s face it, my life is never ‘normal’ – in the best way possible! It’s been a completely hectic few weeks, hence why this is a late fortnights-worth of diaries crammed into one! I’ve chosen a few of the highlights of the past 2 weeks to share with you, which includes getting stuck in at my new weekend job hosting kids parties, finally getting my new car and walking round Glasgow dressed in a (very tight) Captain America costume….

The Big Bad Wolf

Can you imagine you have a huge, angry wolf that follows you around day and night? It never leaves you to sleep well, eat normally or socialise. When you try to act the way you used to with friends and family it makes you tired – a tiredness so severe that it is hard for you to even get up out of your bed in the morning. Can you imagine this wolf hurts your muscles and your joints not once or twice, but throughout the day and night? What about when it’s hungry? It feeds on you. The wolf slowly but surely damages major organs including your kidneys and skin, and it loves the heart, lungs and the brain. Because of this, the wolf causes headaches that are so painful that you cannot see. When you go to work, it is there. When you drive, it is there. In your room, it is there. When you sleep, it lies there.

The Big Bad Wolf is always there. And it is called Lupus.