Just Frances

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    Talisker 10: A random memory - Apr 24th, 2014
    I bought a bottle of Talisker 10 today, and it reminded me of the last bottle I bought exactly one year ago. It was a happy memory marking a not-happy event, and I found myself laughing about it when I remembered today, so I’ll share the story. (Are you excited?!) [more...]

    Escaping the comfort zone - Apr 23rd, 2014
    Life begins where your comfort zone ends. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Success, happiness, excitement, love … it’s all found outside of our comfort zone. [more...]

    An unexpectedly sweet day - Apr 17th, 2014
    For the last few weeks, I have been struggling to overcome my desire to eat loads of candy and sweets as part of my Lenten sacrifice. If you’re a regular Just Frances reader—or if you know me at all—you will know that giving up sweeties is a fairly major undertaking. [more...]

    Dating data - Apr 14th, 2014
    As part of my decision to be a bit more proactive about my return to the dating world, I’ve enlisted the help of a couple of friends who’ve assisted with (gulp!) online dating profiles as well as a few “old fashioned” introductions. [more...]

    Hungry girl - Apr 4th, 2014
    I am almost finished with my Lenten sacrifice (only 15 days to go!) and I’m starting to feel hungry. Really, really hungry. But I don’t know if it’s a real, physical hunger or a psychological response to my self-denial. Either way, I’m hungry and I don’t like feeling hungry! [more...]

    Appreciating St Giles’ - Mar 29th, 2014
    It’s been more than 12 years since I first stepped through the doors of St Giles’ Cathedral along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and I’ve probably been through the doors a dozen times since then. Admittedly, not much has changed since that first visit other than me. [more...]

    Your challenge: Build up, don’t knock down! - Mar 27th, 2014
    I woke up this morning and checked my Facebook feed whilst waiting for my snooze-cycle to end. Only what I read angered me so much that I couldn’t stay still for the full 10-minute “bonus rest” and I found myself getting up and pounding out a quick-and-angry reply to the poster. But the anger and rage remained as I went to the kitchen to make my coffee. So today, you get to read a rant. (Yay!!) [more...]

    But for freedom - Mar 23rd, 2014
    I had a wonderful day in Arbroath yesterday, and though I’m very tired after a long weekend of fun with friends, I thought I’d best share a quick post (and some photos) now before I completely forget! [more...]

    First kiss fears - Mar 18th, 2014
    It’s been nearly five years since I last kissed my husband goodnight. It’s been that long since I’ve fallen asleep in his arms; since I’ve felt completely safe and completely loved. And I miss those things so very much. [more...]

    A childish day at the museum - Mar 17th, 2014
    One of my favourite things in the world is acting silly and childish, so when a friend from Stirling invited me to join her and her children for a day out in Edinburgh, I couldn’t resist! After all, I know that I get to act silly and childish when I’m with my little friends! [more...]

    Castles in the glen - Mar 15th, 2014
    I’ve had yet another lovely day wandering around the Roslin area near my home, and am feeling energised with the switch from rainy winter weather to the crisp subtlety of spring. [more...]

    The dangers of counting calories - Mar 14th, 2014
    I am not fat, nor am I at risk of becoming fat—unless I drastically change my eating and exercise routines. At the same time, I am not (too) thin. But I can see how counting calories could make me too thin—or at least too obsessed about my calorie intake. [more...]

    No [fake] vitamins allowed - Mar 12th, 2014
    My parents were really mean when I was growing up. They were so mean that they denied my sisters and me access to essential vitamins and minerals. (OK, that might be a bit of a stretch. But as a child, I felt it was true.) [more...]

    Wet toes - Mar 11th, 2014
    I’ve never been a swimmer, but I’ve always loved the water. I tend to dip my toes in slowly to check the temperature then inch-by-inch I will wade further into the lake. I don’t jump in; I never dive in. No, that’s just not my style. (Partly because I don’t know how to swim; mostly because I am afraid.) [more...]

    A new PB! - Mar 9th, 2014
    Wow, oh wow! I just don’t know what to say other than that. Just ... Wow!! (Don’t worry; I’ll manage to find more words, too.) [more...]

    Ready to run - Mar 7th, 2014
    I’m heading to Inverness later today for a fun and exciting weekend of running. And for as much as I’ve been dreading it, I’m kind of starting to look forward to it now. (I’m sure I will regret it all come Monday though.) [more...]

    40 days for my soul - Mar 4th, 2014
    Tomorrow is the first day of the Lent and I am once again finding my soul humbled at the grace of God and my Lord Saviour, Jesus Christ. [more...]

    It’s a wrap! - Mar 3rd, 2014
    Last month I set myself a simple goal of doing some shopping at a charity shop or two. And I failed miserably. In fact, it was such a failure that I didn’t even manage to walk through the door of a shop, let alone spend money there. [more...]

    Swords and smiles - Mar 2nd, 2014
    I’m back from a wonderful weekend in Wakefield (and Leeds) and despite feeling a bit knackered from a long train journey, my soul is feeling a bit rejuvenated. (It generally does after spending time with my family!) [more...]

    I’m ready, but I don’t know how - Feb 27th, 2014
    I decided quite some time ago that I was ready to date again, though I admit to not actually doing anything about it. It’s not because I secretly don’t really want to date though. It’s because I don’t know how to date. [more...]

    Dreaming dilemma - Feb 24th, 2014
    The alarm clock is set for 7 o’clock, but something has woken me at 6—stirring me from a pleasant dream that I want to continue. And that’s where my dreaming dilemma begins. [more...]

    Keep living until you feel alive again - Feb 23rd, 2014
    “You will feel better than this. Maybe not yet. But you will. You just keep living, until you’re alive again." I heard this quote the other day and it struck a chord with me. The words were spoken on an episode of Call the Midwife by one of the nuns who was offering comfort to a young woman who had just lost her boyfriend and was going away to grieve. [more...]

    Oh my, tamale pie - Feb 22nd, 2014
    One of the (many) amazingly delicious meals I enjoyed growing up was tamale pie. It was a basic, no fuss, no frills meal, but it included olives and cheese so it was well-loved. [more...]

    Hello, 40! - Feb 21st, 2014
    I was born 40 years ago today. It was a Thursday and I like to think that it was a day of great celebration! I wrote yesterday about saying goodbye to my 30s, so today is just a quick post to say hello to my 40s. [more...]

    So long, 30s! - Feb 20th, 2014
    Today is my last day of my 30s, so it seems appropriate to reflect on the decade in preparation for the start of my 40s. [more...]

    Finding money - Feb 18th, 2014
    A year ago, I was excitedly talking about applying for PhDs and how I wondered how I would ever afford to actually study if I was accepted somewhere. My first offer wasn’t a funded position so I knew in my heart that it would never happen. But the next two offers included studentship, making my PhD dreams more realistic, indeed! [more...]

    Craigmillar castle; finally - Feb 16th, 2014
    It’s been more than 12 years since I first arrived in Edinburgh, and I’ve only now taken the time to visit the city’s second castle. I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long to see it, but I am pleased that the day’s weather was so enjoyable. [more...]

    Aprons, fabric, and love - Feb 15th, 2014
    I started off Valentine’s Day yesterday by opening up a lovely box that was filled to the brim with love. It wasn’t a box of chocolate from a romantic interest; it wasn’t even from a romantic interest at all. (There isn’t one yet. But who knows what tomorrow will bring!) In fact, it wasn’t even a Valentine’s gift. Still, I could feel the love flowing out of the box before I even opened it! [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    Picking beer - Feb 14th, 2014
    When I learned that Stewart Brewing was having a special beer tasting night, I knew it was a great excuse to make my way to the brewery. And that’s exactly what I did last night. (Despite suffering from a cold. That’s how dedicated I am to good beer!) [more...]

    Twelve years ago - Feb 6th, 2014
    Twelve years ago today, my friend bailed out on a day trip to St Andrews. With nothing better to do, I decided to walk up to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile instead to buy some souvenirs for my nieces and nephews back home in America. [more...]

    De-can’t-ing - Feb 5th, 2014
    I can’t. You can’t. We can’t. But why can’t I, you, we? Maybe it’s not because of the impossible, but rather because there’s so much power in the word “can’t”. And that’s why I’m working to de-can’t my life. [more...]

    A year of halfs - Feb 4th, 2014
    This is a hard post for me to share because once I say it I have to follow through with it. But here goes: I am not going to run any full marathons in 2014. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on improving my speed for shorter races—all with a goal of a sub-2:00:00 half marathon. [more...]

    Glencorse Reservoir: A quick walk - Feb 2nd, 2014
    The weather wasn’t as wet and rainy and snowy as predicted, so I took advantage of the relatively blue skies and took a wee walk along the Glencorse Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. [more...]

    Monkey-ing around - Feb 2nd, 2014
    Sock monkeys, sock monkeys, and more sock monkeys! When I made my first sock monkey last year, I didn’t really envision myself making another. But last summer I broke out the needle and thread when I was sick and created a second monkey. Then a couple of weeks ago, I found myself creating a third. [more...]

    Prioritising me - Jan 31st, 2014
    When I wake up tomorrow it will be February; the shortest month in the calendar year and my birthday month. Yes, by the end of the month I will finally be a 40-year-old woman. I’m not freaked out about that (yet!) because age is only a number, but I do admit that my birthdays have been (in general) times of personal reflection in recent years. Only this year, the reflection has begun a bit early. [more...]

    Sew what? - Jan 25th, 2014
    After several weeks of mulling the idea of purchasing a sewing machine—but hesitating because my meagre budget wouldn’t allow for anything decent—I lucked out and sourced a used Toyota 8002 through FreeCycle. [more...]

    On the other hand - Jan 21st, 2014
    I was half-way over the Atlantic when I moved my wedding rings from my left hand to my right; I had made the decision several weeks earlier that on my return to Scotland I would make the transfer—though that didn’t make it any easier. [more...]

    Counting every penny - Jan 18th, 2014
    It’s time to start counting pennies again. Only this time, every little penny will count so much more than they have for the past decade. [more...]

    Ten ways to win my heart - Jan 17th, 2014
    If you asked me what my perfect man looks like, I couldn’t describe him. I imagine he’d be taller than me and I’d like to think that he’d look capable of killing a bear for me, but when I think of some of the men I’ve found myself attracted to over the years, those things have (at times) been very far from accurate. [more...]

    Stretching budgets by un-stretching skirts - Jan 14th, 2014
    About two years ago, I bought a lovely skirt for about £5 at a charity shop. It was ever-so-slightly too large, but it was pretty and I was certain that it would be OK. Sadly, after a few wears and washes, the elasticised waistband lost its remaining stretch and the skirt became un-wearable. [more...]

    Thirty nine before 40 - Jan 13th, 2014
    My 30s are nearly over. Yes, in just 39 days my age will tick over from 39 to 40. I’m not stressed or upset about that because I don’t believe that age represents oldness, but I admit that I have spent a bit of time reflecting on the ups-and-downs of the last decade. [more...]

    Fashion confessional - Jan 10th, 2014
    For most of my life, I’ve felt as if I’ve lived on the wrong side of fashionable. And, I’m sure, most of the people I know would agree with that statement. It started when I was in elementary school when I wore mostly hand-me-down clothes and never had the cool accessories that my friends had. [more...]

    Why should I settle? - Jan 9th, 2014
    It’s been more than four years since my husband died and I’ve yet to enter into a new relationship. I’ve now had four first dates (the fourth not as bad as the first three, but he wasn’t a keeper) but I’ve not found someone to have a second date with. [more...]

    Two halfs, to start - Jan 5th, 2014
    I set myself a challenge in 2012 and 2013 to run a race each month, but failed to achieve success because of illness, race cancellations, and life’s chaos. When it came time to think about my 2014 running goals, I realised that I would be unlikely to succeed in a race-a-month challenge for a variety of reasons, but I knew I needed to set a goal of some type. [more...]

    Inspiration from writers - Jan 4th, 2014
    Tucked away in a wee close off of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of my favourite museums in the city. It’s the Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s Close and despite the fact that it’s small and the exhibits don’t change, I find it to be a place of inspiration each time I go. [more...]

    The way of the monks - Jan 2nd, 2014
    Another day, another ramble through the local environs. This time it was a 6k walk along the Monks’ Walk in the Pentland Hills near where I’m living on the outskirts of Edinburgh. [more...]

    Walking in the New Year - Jan 1st, 2014
    Ah, a new year has begun. It’s such a wonderful feeling—especially when you’re boring like I am and don’t imbibe in booze the night before. (I like to start the New Year sans hangover!) [more...]

    A new me for a new year - Jan 1st, 2014
    It’s a new year, so it’s time for a new me. OK, not a new me, but hopefully an improved me. Yes, it’s time to take charge of my life and fix a few things. [more...]

    2013: A year in (distorted) review - Dec 31st, 2013
    As 2013 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year’s ups and downs. I’ve been thinking about the good points and the bad points and all of the points in between and I’ve been trying to think of how to recap the year. [more...]

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