When We’re Not At Work…

Last day at HZ


It’s my last day as a HZ shoppe girl. It’s been a lot of fun working here, not only because I was surrounded by amazing creative design but I was lucky enough to see how happy these designs make our lovely customers and visitors. The ladies of HZ Rachael and Aimee are also inspiring creative folk who were a joy to work with and get to know.

I’m getting all misty eyed and thinking back on my sweet and short time at HZ HQ, so here are a couple of fond memories.

  • The first time someone asked me if I was Hannah Zakari. Little did I know how often this question is asked but it’s always fun to explain the meaning behind the name to newbies.
  • Seeing Rachael prepare literally any order, the woman is one expert tissue paper technician.
  • The excitement when new pins arrived ensured Aimee and I would ¬†justify to ourselves that we actually NEED more pins.
  • That one time a Irish man in London called HZ HQ to ask that instead of using our lovely touches if I could wrap his order ‘terribly, so my Girlfriend won’t know its from you guys’. It felt so wrong but sweet!
  • Sunny the dog, the friendliest pooch in Edinburgh who visits us with his mama every so often.
  • Meeting Naoshi and taking part in her workshop, so relaxing! Taking her to some dodgy comedy show during the Fringe.

I’ve been in Edinburgh for over 7 years so it feels scary to leave the city, it’s my adult home. Wish me luck and if you ever see a job opening at HZ go for it! It’s been my favourite retail job ever and I think a big part of that has to do with how lovely our customers are, you guys are the best!




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Abandoned Village at Portavadie


I mentioned Portavadie in a previous blog about a wonderful day we had driving around the West Coast of Scotland. Portavadie itself was a small, uneventful place but we were lucky to spot a cordoned off abandoned plot and decided to explore further…

We weren’t quite sure what the place we found was, it felt maybe like an old holiday resort or serviced apartments and that’s more or less what it was. Some googling threw up a few pages about Polphail and I discovered that it was built to house construction workers who were due to start working on an oil platform at a local construction yard. However the plans for the yard fell through and so no one ever moved into Polphail. Here’s what it looks like now:

Portavadie Graffiti

Graffiti close up

Portavadie Graffiti

Portavadie Graffiti

Polphail is now in a pretty bad state and completely uninhabitable (although I was sure I heard footsteps upstairs but that might just have been my imagination playing tricks on me!). It’s amazing how far they went before abandoning this place – there were mirrors on the wall, carpets down and a few industrial sized washing machines and kitchen units around the place. The carpets are sprouting plants and covered in grass and moss now, and it was weird to see mirrors are hanging whilst the windows have all been smashed. When I walked past the first mirror I did a tiny freak out at my unexpected reflection!

A distant selfie

It seemed like there had previously been a lot more graffiti but a lot of the render is crumbling off the buildings so it’s slowly disappearing. I was also a little scared to venture too far, it was hard to tell how safe the place is and I was feeling a little spooked!

Portavadie Graffiti

Portavadie Graffiti

Portavadie Graffiti

I really likes the above images, the character seemed to fit in with the surroundings. These washing machines were pretty cool too:

Washing Machine Graffiti

At one point we spotted a deer jumping around the trees, it didn’t see us so was just going about it’s own business (of being cute) and we watched it for a while and took in the view.

Views from abandoned village Polphail

Beautiful views

The incongruousness of just happening upon a place like this about a mile outside a shiny new marina was pretty cool and it’s definitely given me a taste for searching out more abandoned places. I’ve heard of a few of them around Scotland so hopefully it won’t be too long before we do this again.

Hope you enjoyed this!

Rachael x

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What I did at the weekend (18/04/15)


Sometimes you have a weekend that you just want to share, and last weekend was one of them!

I’d been looking forward to staying at Ewich House bed and breakfast since I discovered they have 3 alpacas (you know how much I love alpacas, right?) and it didn’t disappoint at all. It was such a beautiful setting in the hills at Crianlarich in the Scottish Highlands and they have lots of animals and wildlife if you like that sort of thing (which I do!).

Alpacas at Ewich

In addition to the alpacas, they also have 3 miniature Shetland ponies (miniature ponies!), some chickens, rabbits and Scottie dogs, and we saw a woodpecker and wildcats in the gardens!

From Ewich House we embarked on an epic drive that took us to nearby Inverarie, down the west side of Loch Fyne and then on to the fishing village of Tarbert.

Tarbert Harbour

After a wander around Tarbert we took the ferry over to Portavadie. Portavadie itself doesn’t have much (a marina and some posh new flats) but on our way out we spotted something interesting and decided to explore. What we found was an abandoned housing estate (we thought) in a state of ruin – this place was eerie! I’m going to blog I blogged about this place separately since I took too many pictures of the beautiful views and graffiti …

The hand was one of my favourite bits of graffiti

From Portavadie we embarked on another long drive towards our home for the weekend which took us up the east side of Loch Fyne and across to Loch Lomond via the Rest and Be Thankful – I’m not sure that driving up to it we really needed the rest, but the view is pretty spectacular, especially on a day like this!

View from the Rest And Be Thankful

Then back to Cairnlarich via The Drovers Inn to fill our bellies and take in some taxidermy.

So, this was a looong drive! About 6 hours in total (including some wandering), but utterly beautiful. It was one of those days when you really appreciate the place where you live, we’re so lucky in Scotland to have all these wonderful things.

Love, Rachael x

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