The excitement of this week has been being present at the launch of a new campaign to promote Stirling, the place where I'm really proud to live and work.
Located right slap bang in the middle of Scotland, Stirling is Scotland's newest city. We gained city status as a gift from the Queen just after the millennium.
Many of the reasons we were made a city are encapsulated in the latest promotion campaign.
As well as being Scotland's newest city, Stirling is also its ancient capital and is bursting with history. We have a beautiful castle to rival Edinburgh; there's the Wallace monument commemorating one of our national heros (and off which I've abseiled!!); and there's the site of the Battle of Bannockburn - which we Scots won (for a change)!!! Few cities can rival Stirling's dramatic and bloody past or can claim as significant a contribution to Scotland's history.
And if you've got little people to think about there's tons more to do than just castles and battle sites. It's not far from Stirling to Blairdrummond, Scotland's Safari Park. In the city itself there's a fun visit to the Old Town Jail to be had, lots of fantastic play parks to experience and if all else fails, how about a trip on the bus.
Stirling's location is amazing - so easy to get to and then to use as a stepping stone for some of Scotland's most beautiful places. Apparently almost 60% of Scotland's population are within an hour's drive of Stirling and it's certainly dead easy to get here by train as well. In fact, it's even relatively easy to get here from either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airports - I should know I have to pick my husband up from one or other of them on a regular basis and I certainly wouldn't be doing that if it was a hassle!!
As well as being a gateway to Scotland's beautiful Highlands and right next door to Loch Lomond, Scotland's first National Park, Stirling is a wonderful place in its own right. The castle sits dramatically against the historic old town and looking down on the newer Stirling. From all parts of the city you can't help see the stunning landscape it stands in - mountains, rocky crags, the winding River Forth and rolling open fields. For me that's one of the things makes Stirling an amazing place to live.
Oh, that and the shopping of course!!! The shops in Stirling are great - everything from the High Street staples to big box retail parks to small independent gems. And if that's not quite enough, you're only a short train ride away from the mecca of shopping in Glasgow! What more could a girl want.
Stirling is really buzzing at the moment - lots going on and lots being developed, new housing, offices, transport links, even a new multiscreen cinema is being built on the banks of the River Forth. It's no wonder that businesses are starting to relocate to Stirling and have their Headquarters here. We even had local boy and entrepreneur, Nick Nairn launching the new Stirling, the Brand at the Castle on Tuesday evening and singing our praises!
As I said, I'm proud to live and work in Stirling. And now you can see why!