Manicures, afternoon teas before lunchtime, pottery painting and forest scrambling.

This Tuesday myself and my very good friend had a day off, together, at the same time. This never happens. Due to different circumstances, I’ve been staying out in the middle of nowhere in her cottage on and off quite a bit recently, where I get to do ninja training, watch badgers and pine martens at night time and fall asleep right next to the wood burning stove. It’s such a lovely spot.
So we woke up bright and early to drive to Fort Augustus for a ‘pampering session’. Those who know me know I have never partaken in any of this nonsense before- however for my birthday I got given a gift voucher and thought now would be the time to use it. We went to the Lovat Hotel, where the wonderful Amanda looked after us. I decided to go for a gel manicure in a colour which had a name which I thought was deep and meaningful, but they are basically purple. This helps my nails grow underneath and is supposed to last for two weeks, a good idea for someone who nervously chews their nails! I am very pleased with the final result and would definitely recommend this. More importantly, I found the whole session so relaxing and it really helped me clear my mind! 
Then we ventured to the wonderful Glenmoriston Arms Hotel, who have started doing afternoon teas. We showed up at eleven, obviously demanding cake and dairy so Ailsa presented us with a beautiful plate of goodies. Everything was handmade and delicious, and although my lactose intolerance crippled me later it was totally worth it. 

 

Wonderful victoria sponge, tablet, scones, macaroons, millionaires shortbread, and shortbread biscuits!

After this, I was dropped off in Drumnadrochit to walk the steep hill up towards Abbi’s Crafty Ceramic Studio. Last week I was supposed to do a little bit of pottery painting but unfortunately didn’t get the chance, and I was looking forward to it quite a bit actually (although nervous as painting and creativity really isn’t my thing). However Abbi made me feel more than comfortable, and I chose a small vase and we sat and chatted and painted. I had no plan or idea as to what I was painting, and actually for me that wasn’t as important as the therapeutic process of painting itself, which I did not expect. My vase ended up being a night sky, with trees and a moon and a stone circle and it should be ready for collection in a few weeks. This is something I’m going to make a regular part of my weeks as it was so beneficial to my cloudy mind. I already have my next idea in mind, something to do with the purples and greens of the Northern Lights.

 

My vase- it will look much darker after it has been fired.

After all of this I was suggested that the path is very stunning to walk back down into Drumnadrochit, rather than the road. However I took a wrong turn and ended up in thick forest down a forestry track and had to pretty much crawl my way out of the trees. But I was so relaxed that I actually quite enjoyed getting twigs in my hair and mud on my jeans…. And I also found some very beautiful spots. Also, none of my nails chipped so complete bonus!

  

This day was a great start for this week. Tomorrow we have our Annual Engagement visit at work where I am involved in two discussion and observation sessions, followed by a 3 hour rowing session with some students. I’m going to need my bed by the end of the day. But to keep me going, one of my closest friends is coming over on Saturday so hopefully we will have a chance to catch up, talk about all things archaeology and drink tea before they shoot off down the country again! 

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