The one where I see baby penguins…

It’s been a crazy month. And I haven’t been able to talk about it much. If you know me and have been around my blogs and social media a while, you’ll know already that I’m an over-sharer. So many nights in the last week I’ve gone on my laptop wanting to write and I’ve had to just shut it again. I’ve also had a lot of friends checking in with me and it’s been difficult to reply as so much at the moment is up in the air. And then my heart has been hurt with some upsetting news from South Africa followed by the horrific news from Manchester (home to several friends, and it turned out my friend’s daughter & grandaughter were at the Ariana Grande concert – they are thankfully fine and physically unharmed. But many were not so lucky. Several Scottish girls who travelled down to the concert are still missing). So instead of talking about all that is going on in my brain right now, I’m going to share about new baby penguins.

On Saturday, I finished work earlier than usual. It was a miserable day, with bucketing rain but I wanted to stop by Edinburgh Zoo before I went home, camera in tow. Because BABY PENGUINS people…BABY PENGUINS. Yes, this happens every year. And no, it doesn’t get old.IMG_2249

I mentioned on my last blog that for the first time in many years, a baby Rockhopper penguin has been born at the zoo. Another regular visitor hiding from the rain gazing at the gentoo nests pointed me in the direction of the Rockhopper nests. The nest is located in a bit where you can’t get very close to it – there’s a garden area on the other side of the fence of their enclosure. It’s maybe a good thing though for the little chick to get some peace and quiet. With some difficulty and the help of my long lens, I did manage to get this pic…


I really hope this little one survives and thrives. I love the rockhoppers, and they are always the ones that come right up to the fence and pose for my phone and say hi! Case in point: Exhibit A below…


Quite a few of the penguins are looking a little scruffy and uncomfortable at the moment because they are moulting. Usually the King Penguins are all very tall and sleek, and felt very sorry for this poor dude. It’s really strange to see a King Penguin looking so cuddly, fluffy and rotund!


I hope the photos make you smile, and please know that if you are reading from Cottonlands or been affected by what happened last night in Manchester…I am thinking of you.

Much love,

BK x

The one where I visited some fairy woods…

So, it’s safe to say I’m pretty wiped out. Last week I struggled through with sore throat so I figured it was another cold  coming on care of the children of Edinburgh, but on Sunday I woke up with no voice. New self-diagnosis: laryngitis!

Suffice to say, it’s hard to do my work without a voice, so I’ve been resting it as much as possible today before I have to do some youth work stuff tonight. In an attempt to stay awake I thought I’d blog to share some photos from last weekend…


For the first time in a long time, I rode in Davina. She is still green rather than blue but I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have to pray for her engine to start. Sadly though it was a grey drizzly morning at the beach…so no beam work. Luckily though, members of the church had this very luxurious RV with a canopy for everyone to shelter under. I say everyone, most of the kids wanted to climb all over Davina and run around in the rain.


While people ate bacon rolls (I keep kosher) I sat in a camping chair snapping pics at strange angles in between having conversations. But this lad may have been my favourite subject to photograph. Even my friend who is an actual professional photographer saw pics and said “That is the most photogenic dog!”. He also woofs along when people sing Happy Birthday.


While we were there we looked up to see a group who were galloping across the beach on horseback. I’ve only ever seen one or two horse riders at a time, and it was really cool to watch. Especially with the backdrop of Bass Rock in the background. I felt so sorry for the horse that kept lagging behind. I can empathise.

And after going back to my friends’ home to warm up and collect their lovely beagle, we ventured back outdoors to a wood where fairies live…

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I’ve also heard that some baby penguins have been born including a baby rockhopper (the Northern Rockhopper penguins are my faves…they always come to say hello through the fence, and they look like punks so what’s not to love?). It’s the first time in 8 years a baby Rockhopper has been born. Usually it’s only gentoos that hatch eggs. A visit to the zoo is on my to-do list. 🙂


The one where I’m headed to the beach…

Hi folks,

It’s been a busy week, with no sign of things slowing down. But I DO have a Sunday off, and it happens to coincide with a certain growing kahuna’s birthday. I rarely get to go to a church these days so taking the chance to check out my friends’ church plant down the coast. I may see if I can still balance on the car park log fence thing.


I have been testing out some make up – it’s been going much better than I thought. Still on a search for a few things, but will update you when I get the chance. I also need to try out Lindsay’s flaxseed gel (thanks for posting that recipe video for it in the comments Lindsay!!)

I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be able to post some good news too. I got asked by someone today “What has been your proudest achievement this past year?” I had to be honest and say it’s been simply surviving it. I’ve been desperate for change for a long, long time. It hasn’t come. At least not yet.

Anyway, it’s past my bedtime and I need to get to sleep so I can get up early and locate breakfast before work since I just discovered my raspberries have gone mouldy already. Booo.

Much love, BK x

The one where I stop to capture the flowers…

I got bored while heating up soup in my Mum’s kitchen and decided to grab my camera and take pictures of some flowers I spotted in her back garden. One of our neighbours is a keen gardener, and she also kindly allowed me to go into her front garden to snap some pics of her plants and flowers too. I have no idea what these flowers are, I just like their colourfulness. I also like the ones that have little antennae on the inside. The biggest challenge was focusing on close up to the flower without creating a shadow in the picture and capturing it during the split second before the next gust of breeze blew the flower out of shot.

Anyway, hope the colours brighten up your day…. 🙂

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The one where I’m a proud sister…


People ask me all the time ‘Why brunettekoala?’ Well the picture above semi-explains that. Long ago, when I was 21, my hair was dyed brunette and my 14 year old sister was a very tall long limbed teen. She started handing me up her clothes from around the age of 13. We called her the Giraffe. Our little brother was the mischief maker, and we called him Monkey. They decided that as I was small, and liked to sleep (they were kids who liked to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning while I was a teen who felt that getting out of bed before 9 on a Saturday for no reason was all kinds of wrong). I also was the hugger of the three of us. So they decided I would be koala. They even programmed the housephone so that if I called from my flat in Aberdeen or my mobile it came up as ‘Koala’.

Today, that cute (but slightly stinky) almost 11 year old is the same age as I am in that picture. My little brother stole my heart just as our sister did. I was 11 years old when he was born, and there are many pictures of me holding him as a baby. He was a terrible sleeper and often I would be the one to get him out of his cot in the mornings. I would feed him his breakfast – turning spoons of disgusting baby food into planes, trains and race cars. I took him for walks through the woods at the back of our house and he would only sleep if I did the woods first and then back around the neighbourhood – he would not sleep if I did neighbourhood before the woods. He became obsessed with trucks when he was a toddler – we had to wait every Monday for the bin lorry to come so he could watch it reverse in front of our house before we could go anywhere. He learned about the christening of Eddie Stobart lorries, and soon had everyone keeping an eye out for their names so we could cross them off his checklist. He was a bigger chatterbox than my sister and I (which my friends didn’t believe until one time they spent a car journey with him…and left the car shellshocked). He went to A&E so many times that the nurses there knew him by name. Why believe us when we tell you the toaster is hot, when you can stick your hand in it and turn it on to find out?

Monkey, you taught me how to rock a baby to sleep. You made me learn how to build toy garages because well…Dad tried, and he superglued himself to it. And then fix toy cars. And trucks. Often early on Sunday mornings. I know all the characters in the Teletubbies and their favourite things because of you. You taught me how to turn a buggy into a racing car, complete with race car noises which made you giggle and laugh when we went out and about. You were my buddy for watching Top Gear with. I still remember you calling me in Aberdeen upset when Richard Hammond got injured in the jet car crash. You and our sister encouraged my love of Winnie the Pooh, and I still remember how the two of you were so miffed with our parents when they refused to let you club together to get me a giant  stuffed Pooh Bear from the Disney store for my 16th birthday. You always gave me a hug when I asked for one. Even if you grumbled and sighed. And when I returned to Aberdeen for my final year of university, you put all your Winnie the Pooh toys in my bed with mine ‘so they wouldn’t get lonely’. And then you called me up to tell me that they missed me even if you didn’t so I needed to come home to visit. When kids teased you, you still remained kind. When you didn’t understand why people didn’t see the world wasn’t as black and white as you saw it, you still stood up for what you believed was right. You were afraid sometimes, but you still tried. And you always had a reason for everything. Why are you crying about being at nursery? Because someone needed to hold your Mum’s shopping list at Tesco. Why aren’t you going to sleep? Because Mum & Dad aren’t home yet, and you needed to know they got home safely. Why are you calling your 21 year old sister at 5.30 p.m.? Because she’s usually home for tea, and you better check up to make sure she’s ok. And then tell her off for not calling.

Of my four siblings, I’ve seen you go through the most challenges. I’m insanely proud of you Monkey. And I’m glad I get to be your big (even if I’m the shortest) sister.

Happy birthday xx


The one where I don’t look like I’m 7…

So I’ve now lived on the earth longer than Jesus did. The night before my birthday my friends invited me round for tea, and they surprised me with a yummy dairy free chocolate cake that had been beautifully decorated by their eldest daughter. They brought it through with 7 candles in it, and their 5 year old son asked me “Laurie, are you really only 7? Because you look like a grown up“.


If only he had seen me the next day. I was made to dress up like a medieval princess. I was annoyed at the boys had to be knights, girls had be princesses. So they gave me and Miss S swords too. We are more Merida than Aurora. And it did lead to this photo being taken of me, which according to Holly (and I quote directly from Vicky’s facebook page here) “is the most Laurie picture ever!!!!”


Hoodie, dressed up as a Princess and taking photos of things. Oh, and wearing a Newt Scamander scarf. OK. Holly and Vicky have a point. Kudos Vicky! If you are wondering where my sword is, my Mum had borrowed it so she could have a fight with Sir Kahuna the Knight.

Oh, and how did I celebrate? Well, after munching on cake the night before, my Mum and I travelled to Alnwick to meet up  with my lovely friends Vicky and her two kids (Miss S and Mini K). We wandered around Alnwick Castle, where we learned to fly broomsticks (because it’s where Harry Potter learned to fly)

IMG_1902 And we ended the day in a bookshop I’ve wanted to visit for a long, long time. Barter Books is a large secondhand bookshop inside what used to be Alnwick train station. Weirdly I stumbled across a copy of the book I’m named after. I’ve never, ever seen a copy of Laura’s Summer Ballet anywhere but my Nana’s bookshelf (ok, on my bookshelf but it’s the same copy!) so my Mum and I were shocked to find it there.


I mean, I really hope there’s a room in heaven like this. Actually, there’s a room in Alnwick Castle that is floor to ceiling bookshelves (not too dissimilar to the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast). It had a foozball table, open fire, a supply of gin and these incredible looking furry beanbag chairs. It really is the dream…

For sure my birthday this year was a vast improvement on the previous two which were pretty miserable birthdays. I do not feel any more grown up but am very much appreciative of every friend and family member who made me feel like my presence here on earth is something to be celebrated. Good to know nobody wishes I’d just die already!

The one where a brother visits…

mark and me zoo

So clearly, a big massive blogging fail this week! APOLOGIES! But I have some good excuses and one is pictured here. That is the rare sighting of a sibling people. A sibling in the same place as I am. I came home from work on Sunday evening to find out that Brother 2 was coming down. Yes, I already had a huge list of things planned for my two days off this week (like choosing and purchasing new glasses, getting organised for International Women’s Day, writing blog posts etc) but suffice to say that when I returned home from a meeting and Monday’s errands to find my brother on the sofa the rest of my to-do list got benched.

Especially when Brother 2 asked if we could go to the Zoo today. People…you know I love the Zoo. You know I love opportunities to keep learning how to use the fancy camera. How could I say no? And I’m so glad we went, because for the first time in YEARS I managed to get some photos of the otters. Genuinely, I got so excited my Mum gave me the eyeroll. She doesn’t understand the frustration of the otters hiding from your every visit for years on end.

So here we are, it’s 10 p.m. the night before I start my work week (and tomorrow is also International Women’s Day) and I’ve still to put together my inspiring woman story to share, I’ve not blogged at The Girlguiding Life or done a quote of the week, I’ve not purchased any glasses and I’ve not looked at stuff for Surf Camp.

I do however have some aching legs and a memory card full of photos to upload and edit.

I also can’t wait to share what the meeting was about. I’ve been in talks for months with a friend of a friend who I connected with through twitter (yay for Twitter!) and the time has come to put an idea I’ve held onto for years and actually attempt to make it a reality. I’m nervous, because the fear of failure is strong – too often it paralyses me into inaction. If you are in East Central Scotland, I really, really hope you’re going to like what it is and get behind it to share it with your pals.

 I feel like I’m missing so many friends this week, so please leave a comment and tell me how your week has been. Is there anything I can pop into my jar of gratitude, or be praying for? Let me know, I love hearing from you Koala Tree followers. 🙂

The one where I leave you with a sunset…


It’s been quite the week. A lot of stuff has been happening, but I am so thankful for two days off in a row this week so that I’ve begun (but not completed) a ton of stuff that has been on my to-do list. Like seeing my lovely friend Kathy and her awesome sons – we had a lovely afternoon making the biggest road we could, fighting fires caused by a dragon and watching Paw Patrol while eating hot cross buns. Oh, and discussing our friend Emily’s book launch which happens next week at Waterstone’s West End store. I’ll be stuck at work, but if you can you should go! I’ve been to Emily’s book launches before, and they are so good I vowed never to attempt to get any picturebook ideas I’ve tried to write published because I never thought about the book launch part. Seriously…Emily’s are awesome.

A lot of friends are going through crummy things at the moment and that is really hard to watch. I *may* have had a temper tantrum to God about it on Sunday night.

I’m sad that a laptop failure kept me indoors today because for first time ages there was sunshine and I really wanted to go to the Zoo or just go somewhere outside with my camera. I did however, make pancakes, track down some Girlguiding receipts, upload a ton of photos of Guiding stuff from the last couple of weeks and I’m going to see Hidden Figures tomorrow. And I’ve ordered my Our Shared Shelf book for April since the last few I’ve not been able to get copies of as they’ve been out of stock everywhere.

Let’s not go into what I didn’t manage to accomplish. 🙂

Anyway, I leave you with a Leith sunset and perhaps I’ll find a quote of the week before the week is over too.



The one where I chose Hamilton over food…


Hi folks,

You may have noticed that my posts have been scheduled for the last two weeks. I forget sometimes that I’ve written and scheduled them until I get little notifications popping up on my phone telling that my post has gone live from WordPress! After the Dental Drama, I’ve been working every day – I had one day off (but had the dentist and then Senior Section) and now my day off this weekend I have to go in to work for some hours too. I’m grateful to have a job and be getting work…and just as well because um…I managed to book tickets for Hamilton. And so did my friend, so now we’re going twice. The tickets were also more than I had budgeted for, and I’ll confess that I’ve not been eating properly this week as a result because I have no pennies left in my bank account until I get paid on Monday morning. January is a looonnng month and we got paid 9 days early in December so it’s basically 6 weeks between pay checks. I was so proud of myself for putting money for my bus pass, bills, mortgage etc. aside so I wouldn’t spend it before January came. All budgeting went out the window on Monday 16th January. So I have been living on a diet of Christmas chocolate, crackers, freezer food and other random junk food in my cupboard. Don’t worry, I’ve already got my grocery delivery booked for Monday (knowing they don’t take the money out of your account until that morning…phew!!) and there’ll be eggs, bread, vegetables and I’ll be able to pay the dentist too.

Vloguary continues on Instagram and I continue to curse every lovely day I’m stuck indoors when I want to be outside with my camera. I also have a long list of films I really want to see (why is the cinema so expensive?!) including La La Land, Lion and Hidden Figures. 

Anyway, I’m still in my work uniform (Friday nights are late finishes) and I’ve got so many things to try and fit in tomorrow.

So long for now (and apologies that I’ve not yet done a quote of the week. In addition to working lots, I’ve also been watching my friends battle through a massive debate on women’s healthcare on my facebook page, and I’ve been kept awake most nights deeply concerned by the daily Hitler-esque decisions being made by the new American government. It’s like he read the autobiographies of Mussolini and Hitler and went “hey! there’s a great idea!”).


Love wins, right?

BK x