Tuesday, 24 February 2015

ON MY FIRST PROPER "FAST DAY" . . .

Yum....
Healthy. Sigh...

I love food in most forms. I'll be honest though - I probably spend longer thinking about eating the Pollo della Rotunda from La Rotunda (look at it, though!!!)  than I do about eating healthy protein, veg and fruit... I tend to eat the healthy stuff so I can enjoy my treats with a bit less guilt.

So I decided to give the 5:2 Diet a go.

For those not in the know and/or have been hiding under a rock unexposed to any diet chat for a loooong time, this is the diet where you spend two days a week limiting yourself to 500 calories but can (within reason) eat whatever the feck you want the other five days. Well, that's the general gist of it anyway!

This sounded ideal to me. If also a little terrifying. I am RUBBISH at sticking to diets longterm as I spend too much time thinking about all the foods I can't or shouldn't have. The beauty of the 5:2 diet is that if you are craving something that might be considered bad for you, all you need to do is tell yourself you can have it tomorrow when you're not on a "fast day".

The downside, for me so far, are the fast days.

And I've only actually done one of these so far.

I started yesterday. I was very enthusiastic beforehand, as I am with all diets. I planned my calorie intake down to the last detail, keeping it simple and making sure I would be avoiding the Kitchen of Temptation (trademark pending) as much as possible by buying an M&S healthy ready meal worth 301 calories. The remaining calories would be spent on Weetabix, almond milk and a low calorie pot of jelly, as well as numerous fruit teas and diet soft drink.

I woke up yesterday morning raring to go. I jumped out of bed (or got out very slowly after hitting snooze five million times, as is my usual routine) and started getting ready for work. Within ten minutes I felt hungry, which is not usually the case until later on in the morning. Typical. I think my brain was playing mind games with me, knowing I wasn't planning on eating very much.

The hungry feeling, however, passed and I lasted until half ten before giving in and having my Weetabix. I had hoped to get out for a walk at lunchtime in order to distract myself for the lack of lunch. However, the weather let me down. So I was limited to sitting in the boyfriend's car looking forlornly at pictures of food on Instagram while he ate a sandwich. :-(

Two litres of water and a diet Irn Bru got me through most of the day as well as a busy working day, but I was relieved to get home. I was trying to put off eating my M&S curry as long as possible, but then my boyfriend started reading an article online about the best places to eat in Glasgow and the pictures looked so delicious that I started trying to eat his iPad so I realised I could wait no longer to eat.

I put it on a small plate, ate slowly, tried not to be distracted by social media or tv, all that jazz... it still felt like the meal was over too quickly and I was still hungry. And I went to put on the washing machine and even the Daz tablets smelled delicious and potentially edible.... I wondered if I could really manage this. Luckily my stomach apparently was taking a while to catch up with my brain so after a bit of willpower,  my hunger abated and I managed to delay eating my jelly for several hours. There was one point, after dinner, though, where I realised it wasn't even seven pm yet and wondered aloud how I would make it until bedtime at this rate!

I whiled away the rest of the evening reading recipes online for inspiration for something I could eat today. (It might have been torture for some but for me it actually helped!) I also managed to make up some cacao overnight oats for today's breakfast without putting my face in the tub... although it was tempting.

I went to bed actually feeling not hungry at all in the end, and remembering that today I could eat whatever I wanted. Which I did.

And the next fast day is Thursday, and I fully intend to continue.

Whether I lose weight or not on this particular diet is another story... but at the moment this seems like a good way to have my cake and eat it too.

Just not on a fast day obviously . . .

Anyone else tried the 5:2 Diet or intermittent fasting?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: GLENFINNAN VIADUCT . . .


On our trip to Fort William last weekend, the boyfriend suggested visiting the site of the Glenfinnan Viaduct. I'm a sucker for some pretty scenery plus I remembered it appearing in the Harry Potter films, so I was more than happy to go along.

It's in the Lochaber area of the Highlands, and I really liked it there. Although the boyfriend seemed to be intent of running away from me. Case in point: the photo below.


 
It turned out he was just trying to get a better view of the viaduct, but it hurt at the time...






 
Lovely area... I would definitely recommend a visit if you're in the area!
 
For more information, go here. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

"CHARLOTTE? WHO THE **** IS CHARLOTTE???"

So, as you may remember, during my Thursday post about Valentine's DIY gifts, I remembered I hadn't yet ordered the boyfriend a card and hopped onto a card website immediately to remedy this. I went, as is my usual way, for a funny personalised card.

It was a funny one, which looked like the text screen of an iPhone.  The "text message" on the front of the card said: "I want to be the reason you look at your phone and smile. Then walk into a pole." It made me laugh. I knew it would make him laugh too. You could customise the little box at the top of the phone so I thought I was being really clever changing it to "Stephen's sheeplePhone" rather than his iPhone. (I'm anti-apple and like to wind him up with the "sheeple" thing.) I placed the order to his house knowing we would be there on Valentine's day. Although I worried I'd left it a little late, I hoped it would turn up on Saturday morning. I did however warn him I'd only just ordered it and it might not come on time.

So on Saturday morning, we woke up and the boyfriend announced he could see the postman outside. When we heard the telltale rattle of the letterbox, I squealed with hope that it had actually turned up. Sure enough, he went to check and the distinctive envelope was there. So he opened it. And laughed.

And that was when I noticed my error.

Due to my panic-ordering (and probably due to the fact I don't have an iPhone) I wasn't paying my full attention when sorting out the finer details of the card, and I therefore hadn't realised that there was a personalised box at the BOTTOM of the card too . . .

Case in point below.

 
I should have changed the default name at the bottom to my own. And I hadn't noticed. So Charlotte, whoever the fuck she is, had messaged my boyfriend instead.
 
I was not happy. Luckily the boyfriend found the funny side of it.
 
Good thing I'd managed to get all the names right inside the card! ;-)
 
But given that this is the second time I've been involved in a personalised card debacle, I should probably give up trying to send them . . .
 
Anyone else ever had a Valentine's card (or any other card for that matter) disaster? Please feel free to share in the comment section and make a girl feel a bit less silly!


Monday, 16 February 2015

FORGET CRYING OVER SPILT MILK . . . TRY CRYING OVER A BROKEN WINE GLASS INSTEAD!

If you're crying by 8.15am on a Monday morning it's not a good sign.

That was me today.

First of all, I slept badly.  I woke at four unable to fall back asleep, tossing and turning.  I only started to feel sleepy about ten minutes before I needed to get up. Although isn't that always the way?!? Sod's law and all that. I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, and probably about twenty times more tired than I had in the middle of the night.

I started getting ready for work, noticing as I went to put my eye make-up on that my left eye looked a wee bit bloodshot. Within the next five minutes it became all swollen, to the point where I felt like there was something in my eye... but it WAS my swollen eye that was making it feel like there was something in my eye. If that makes sense. It wouldn't stop watering and I couldn't really put make-up on it and I was resembling Cyclops a wee bit so then I had to frantically try to style my (unwashed) hair so it covered the swollen eye.

Next there was the Dress Incident. I put on one of my favourite dresses, which zips up the back and then has a tie on either side which you tie up around the back. I asked the boyfriend to zip me in. Then I couldn't find one of the ties. It had completely vanished. What the actual fuck. I had to take the dress off to work out what had happened. The tie had been there all along, but I don't know where! The boyfriend was equally mystified.

Anyway, for a Monday morning I'd already been through quite enough. Luckily the swollen eye was already starting to improve so, although I was still tired, I had two almost identical eyes again and my dress had made a miracle recovery so it was all going to be a good day . . .

Until I turned around and my coat swung out behind me . . . AND KNOCKED MY MOST FAVOURITE WINE GLASS OFF THE COFFEE TABLE! (Why oh why did I leave it there last night???}

And that was the final straw. The waterworks started flowing.

IT'S NOT EVEN MY TIME OF THE MONTH. I ACTUALLY WAS GENUINELY CRYING OVER THE LOSS OF MY WINE GLASS.


BUT LOOK HOW AWESOME IT IS! WAS, RATHER. :-(

The only advantage to such a shit start of the day? It was all uphill from thereonin...

RIP Paula's wine glass. I'll miss you. xxx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: STEALL FALLS . . .

Time for another instalment of "Scotland the Beautiful" . . . and this time we are in Glen Nevis for a visit to the Steall Falls!
 

Last year after our overnight stay in Ardtorna, we ended up in Glen Nevis on the search for Steall Falls, which is the second highest waterfall in Scotland. Sadly it was a bit late for us to start a proper search for it, but we fell in love with the glen itself and vowed to go back and find the falls very soon.


It took us nearly a year but this weekend we finally managed it!

I have to admit, seeing this sign before embarking on our walk did somewhat freak me out.

It is probably a good idea to have a warning though:unfortunately there have been a number of deaths at the site. Although, for a worrier like me, it was probably not a necessary caution, and immediately made me rethink any desire to actually visit the falls. But we persevered!


So off we wandered, into a beautiful tree-filled gorge with a rocky path. Very rocky at times. Scarily so for me, as there was a big drop on one side and I am not great with heights. There were a couple of points where you have to basically clamber over a mini waterfall with a sheer drop to your right, and this was not something I was enjoying at all!



Luckily the worst part of the walk was the first 20 minutes or so and then the path levelled off into another glen and I could stop panicking about falling over the edge to my death!  And the views were beautiful!

 
 
 

 
When we finally reached them, the falls were beautiful and I was glad I hadn't turned back (although I was still dreading the walk back!)


 
There was a wire bridge you could use to cross the water and get closer to the falls themselves. The boyfriend dealt with this admirably. I, however, apparently have too short arms for it. I managed to clamber up and then realised there was no way I'd be able to reach both wires to hold on while navigating over the sole wire for your feet. No chance of that. So I just stood on it and posed instead, like one does!

 



 
 
Despite my fears, we also managed to make it back to the car in one piece - it was mostly easier getting back down than it was getting back up. I just wish I'd put my polar hrm on before the walk because I'm fairly sure I burned about a million calories on the walk - a good wee workout for a Saturday afternoon!

 If you are in the Fort William area and fancy a walk I would definitely recommend this one as it's worth it for the end view. However bear in mind you should be wearing decent footwear (for the record, UGGs probably aren't the best of choices - I speak from experience!) and if you are not good with heights you might struggle at some points.

More information about the area can be found here.

Friday, 13 February 2015

ON WHY I WON'T BE WATCHING "50 SHADES OF GREY" . . .

I won't be watching the "50 Shades of Grey" movie.

I don't judge you if you do, by the way. Each to their own and all that. I love chick-flicks after all. Everyone has their vices. And I know a lot of people read the books.  Including a lot of my friends. And my sister. And my brother-in-law.

And many of my colleagues. As I remember from the day I had to stand there while an older colleague told me all about it, in full hearing of many people passing by. Who would have heard her saying things like "S&m" to me in conversation. In an office environment. And this was me, who had just told her quite definitively I had not read and had no desire to read the books. What would the conversation have sounded like if I'd actually read them too and enjoyed it?

And since when did these books make it acceptable to HAVE discussions like this in the office, LOUDLY, incidentally?

Anyway, "50 Shades" doesn't appeal to me. At all.

I've never read the books and have no intention of doing so either. I don't care that they're apparently very badly written. I've probably read books which were far less technically perfect and enjoyed them. I wouldn't even read the books to justify hating them - I read far less than I used to as it is and wouldn't waste my time reading books I know I would hate.  Yes, I am judging a book by its cover... and storyline... and hype... and finding it wanting. The books just literally (no pun intended) have no appeal to me. Likewise the rest of the franchise.

I don't really enjoy going to the cinema either. Paying a small fortune have some complete strangers sit too close while breathing their nacho fumes on me doesn't appeal. Paying a small fortune to watch such material as "50 Shades of Grey" with strangers sounds BEYOND uncomfortable!

I know it's actually meant to be fairly tame, especially compared to the books. But I think it would be a bit like when you're innocently watching tv with your parents as a child and a sex scene comes on . . . except far far worse. I don't think I'm a prude by any means, but I definitely would struggle to watch it even if I WAS intrigued enough to pay for it in the cinema! And there would be definite uneasy laughter and I'd probably be forced to watch it from behind my hands a lot which only really happened once before and that was when I watched the worst film I've ever seen: "Eight Legged Freaks". (Awful film. Probably worse than "50 Shades of Grey" has the potential to be.) I probably wouldn't be as scared as I was during that film but the horror would still be there. Based on what I've witnessed of the trailer, I am fairly sure of that.

So yeah... I'll give it a miss. But I'm oddly fascinated to know what people think about it who DO watch it.  So I'll still be looking, voyeur style, at reviews (particularly the snarky ones, to be honest) and wanting people to tell me what they thought of it. And if it's actually anywhere near to porn.

And if you want to know what happens, but can't actually be arsed going to see it, then try out this post which I read earlier today which pretty much sums it up I reckon.

Are you a fan of the books or not? Will you be going to see the film? I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Thursday, 12 February 2015

DIY VALENTINES IDEAS . . .

As you may know about me, I've always had a bit of a hatred of Valentines day and that's not really changed that much since I stopped being single. However, I do like any excuse to eat chocolate and drink wine, so I find V-day can be a very good excuse for that!

I also have found I like to flex my (somewhat limited) creative skills a bit and things like Valentines and anniversaries come in very handy here. Because they HAVE to like it if you've made it, don't they? Or at least PRETEND to like it...

So last year, if you remember, I made the boyfriend a mix-tape cd for Valentines day. It went over well. I was inspired after browsing through Valentines gift ideas on gift websites, seeing a seller who would make the mix-tape for you and realising I could try and do it myself. Very very easy - just buy a cd, find a way to download your songs onto the cd, and pick your songs.

featuring En Vogue, Limp Bizkit, Bon Jovi... and the Postman Pat theme song among others...

I went for what would seem like the casual listener to be a rather random selection, but they were all songs which either meant something to us, or tied into a memory. Probably not particularly romantic - "The Postman Pat" theme song and "My Lovely Horse" from Father Ted featured on this one - but trust me, it all tied in to our memories as a couple (such as the boyfriend telling me on our first date about how him and his friend broke a bed by jumping on it singing "Postman Pat" when they saw one outside the window on holiday!). But anyway, you can choose whatever works for you! I definitely recommend this as a gift idea. I also enjoyed doing the "artwork"! ;-)

Another cute little gift idea, which I used for our one year anniversary, is a "Things I Love About You" book. I did 52 things for the 52 weeks we'd been together (blurgh, I know!). It was really easy to make, just involving a pack of playing cards, some binder rings, and some other arts and crafts materials.  I loved making this.


And while you're at it, here's an even simpler idea... make them a gift voucher for a massage. Given by you of course! (Unless you're as bad at massage as Monica from "Friends" obviously.)

(Speaking of "Friends", you could always make a sock bunny. If your other half is a "Friends" fan, I suppose it would go over well. I did consider it myself...)

Other little DIY ideas I've spotted online which I think would make great gifts?

I happened across these little cards on Lauren Conrad's website the other day, and they are adorable! Cute and punny... an ideal combination. Plus if you have no time to make anything more elaborate - or buy a card (which reminds me, I haven't yet. Oops. *logs onto moonpig.com immediately*)

I also love this idea of 12 Pre-planned date ideas, one for each month. Easy to do, and doesn't involve THAT much artistic skills, if you feel you might be lacking these. You just need some inspiration on what the dates should be. (Handy hint though: voucher websites like wowcher and itison would probably help provide some great ideas!) One of the reasons I also love this idea is because it 1) gets you out and about as a couple and 2) you get to enjoy the fruits of your hard work too! Selfish perhaps, but who isn't a little bit selfish?!? ;-)

This also really tickled me - a popcorn date package This idea has to be one of the cutest gifts ever. And check out how pretty the package is. Love it.

Or how about an exploding love box? (This sounds dirty but it actually isn't. Although maybe that's just my dirty mind...) This sort of doubles as a card and a gift in one! I love this idea, although fear my artistic skills might let me down if I attempted it.

If you are looking to try out some sort of DIY project for your love, then hopefully these will help you out with some ideas - I also recommend Pinterest for helping you get some inspiration. That's where I find most of mine!

And, if you are thinking "well, why wait until NOW to put this post up, V-day is only 2 days away, I can't make something in THAT time" - well just remember that any day can be Valentines day and maybe your other half would appreciate a lovely surprise like one of the above suggestions on ANY day of the year. In fact . . . won't it be even more of a surprise then? ;-)

If you were going to make a Valentine's day gift, what would you make?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

P'S TOP PICKS: FAVOURITE HOTELS IN THE UK...

I tend to love staying anywhere that isn't my own flat. It's generally warmer and tidier and has a better view if I stay in a hotel or guest house. So I do like going away on wee overnight jaunts and have spent a fair amount of nights staying in hotels! I thought it was time to share with you some of my favourites!

I would like to point out in advance that of the six I mention, only one is not in Scotland. I'd also like to add that  I've stayed in my fair share of Travelodges etc and I have loved most of them (apart from the one we stayed in near South Shields when my boyfriend was doing the Great North Run and we couldn't even get decent tv reception!)  - however, I wanted to try and highlight a couple of places that were maybe a bit more personal or with character. I have included an Ibis Styles because I was just there and loved it, but the rest you may not have heard of.

Ardtorna (Near Oban)

I visited this B&B near Oban last March and reviewed it here, so I'll not rave on about it again. As I say in my review, it ain't cheap (sadly I've never been able to afford to go back), but if you have a bit of money burning a hole unexpectedly in your pocket, I'd definitely recommend it! And you MUST help yourself to the whisky and whisky liqueur they supply in the corridor outside the rooms, and make sure you make it down for breakfast as there is an amazing breakfast menu (you order the night before) and I cannot recommend the bacon, poached egg and halloumi option more highly!


The Inn on Loch Lomond (Inverbeg)


In the bar . . .


The room . . .
Very nice little hotel in Inverbeg, on the edge of Loch Lomond. We had a lovely view of the loch and mountains, a spacious room and wonderful service. There wasn't a lot to do in the vicinity but we spent a lovely afternoon sitting down by the loch with a flask of hot ginger wine (we came prepared! followed by a drink at the cosy bar and a delicious dinner in the restaurant later on. (We both went for the haggis, neeps and tatties starter and fish & chips main and neither of us regretted it.) A lovely wee place to stay and I'd definitely go back.


Ibis Styles (Edinburgh)

View from the room . . .
 
Quirky cupboard . . .
This was my present for my boyfriend's birthday which we had an overnight stay in just last night. Our room was compact but used the space well and was beautifully decorated. Unbelievably comfy bed, quirky, very central (was only a five minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley), friendly staff and what looked like a lovely menu. I'd made plans to eat elsewhere but I think I would have been perfectly happy eating in the hotel. We missed out on breakfast as the bed was just too comfy but I'm sure it would have been delicious. You also get to check in from midday AND checkout at midday so you can definitely get a bit more bang for your buck in terms of enjoying the hotel room!


Sandaig Guest House
This was a little impulse overnight stay last May after my boyfriend had came to pick me up from a hen weekend in Edinburgh. After going for lunch in the Shore area he suggested we stay somewhere nearby, so we found this guest house on booking.com. It was unexpectedly lovely. We were greeted by our friendly host and headed up to our comfortable room which was very homely and warm... and we had a little alcoholic treat waiting for us when we got there (we think it might have been brandy but whatever it was I really enjoyed it)! Because we'd been out for lunch we actually just got some sandwiches from Tesco and wine and had a little picnic in the room so I'm not sure if our experience would have been different if we'd been planning to go somewhere for a wild night out, but it suited our purposes brilliantly. Even more amazingly, the following day when we wernt down for breakfast there was a menu to choose breakfast from as well as the continental option... AND you could have two courses. I opted for a cheese omelette which was delicious while the boyfriend opted for the full Scottish breakfast - we decided one course was enough, but it was nice to have the option!

North Ocean Hotel (Blackpool)
Me on the terrace... sadly the weather let us down and we couldn't sit out on it and enjoy a drink. :-(
Massive toad in the hole!
This is the only hotel I'm reviewing outside of Scotland, and it's where we stayed when we went down to Blackpool for the weekend last summer. I absolutely loved this hotel, and judging by the reviews on Trip Advisor I'm not the only one. It was small, friendly and although we were too late to bag a seaview room, we did get a lovely spacious room for just over 100 pounds for a Friday and Saturday night. They also had a good deal on where you could get a bottle of wine and two courses on their menu for a very reasonable price... and I ended up attempting to eat what could possibly have been the biggest (and most delicious) toad in the hole I've ever seen (although I can't see it on the menu now, sadly)! The breakfast was also awesome - we only made it down the first day (we seem to make a habit of that!) but it was served with a smile and brilliant attentive service.


The Bank (Anstruther)

Full Scottish . . .
We've been here twice now, last January for a night and again this January for a weekend. It's in Anstruther on the east coast of Scotland, and it's lovely.  There's only a handful (or two) of rooms and it has a nice little view down to the water. The rooms are lovely (we got the same one both times we stayed but I'm going to assume the others were just as nice). Dinner, if you choose to eat there (there is a pub/restaurant attached although they have separate doors) is delicious. I ended up eating three courses, and the main I went for (warm peppered mackerel and potato salad) was awesome. I had decided to go for something relatively healthy and was still thoroughly satiated. Breakfast is early (it only goes up to ten) and we didn't make it (I know, shocker, right???) on our first stay but made a point of making sure we went this time around. Standard continental fodder as well as a little menu to choose from in terms of hot food, including the full Scottish, pancakes, eggs, porridge... the full Scottish including haggis and black pudding (of course!) and I had the veggie breakfast the following day which had vegetarian sausage and a tatty scone. Great warm friendly service. I just want to keep going back!

Have you been to any of these hotels or have any you want to recommend to me? Please let me know if you do visit any of these places after reading my post - I'd love to know what you thought!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

ON WHY I THINK I MIGHT BE A "GROWN-UP" NOW . . .

I think it's taken me until my mid-thirties to realise I am finally a grown-up. Or at least slightly more grown up than I was.

And it all started yesterday when I found myself telling someone that my favourite two shops were Holland & Barrett . . . and Lakeland. Followed by me spending a happy half hour trying to buy a group housewarming gift for one of my colleagues in the latter store. Oooh-ing and ah-ing over all the muffin trays and fancy schmancy gadgets there were on offer. And vowing to come back to buy myself the stuffed burger press because apparently I must have it in my life and sooooonnnn!!!

(I suppose it all actually started going downhill when I bought a julienne peeler in there last year. But I needed that in my life too. How else was I going to make courgetti???)

I found myself wondering what had happened to the girl who could spend that amount of time trying on clothes in Miss Selfridge (always a thoroughly depressing - but necessary - experience). Or hours on asos. I spent an hour on asos last night, still buoyed up on Lakeland joie de vivre (£10.99 at the counter, y'know!), and then closed the site down without buying the stuff in my basket because I wasn't sure where I would wear it!!!

What has happened to me? When did I become practical? When did I start worrying about wasting money on clothes when I think it's okay to spend ten pounds on a device that solely makes and stuffs home-made burgers??? How often do I even make burgers?

But, you see, now I cook too. I have no idea when that happened either. One day a couple of years ago, I couldn't cook and making spaghetti Bolognese using a jar of Dolmio was an achievement (I mean, I cut up onions and mushrooms and added them to the sauce, so to me that was cooking) - now I cook nearly from scratch nearly every night. In fact, I found myself saying to the boyfriend last week "we're no longer wasting money on processed ready meals, if we want to eat crap and I can't be bothered cooking, we'll just get a takeaway from now on." I won't lie, it felt like I was outside my body watching myself talking and thinking to myself "who is that eejit?" Yet I still kinda stand by what the eejit said.

Instead of asking my brother for four bottles of wine for Christmas, as is my usual request, I asked for a slow cooker.

Oh, and I don't necessarily buy the cheapest wine in the shop now - I go by the type of wine. I used to drink any old white or rose shite as long as it was in the less than a fiver section. Now I'll pay more if it's only the chardonnay which is less than five quid a pop. And I'll look to see what % of alcohol is in it.  And I'll say things like "Oh, I'll have the 11.5% instead of the 12.5% tonight, it is a school night after all." Not because I'm more sensible, but because I still want the wine buzz without the dull headache the following day when I need to concentrate on a computer monitor for seven hours in office lighting. Wait . . . maybe that is more sensible!

But if this is what being a grown-up is like . . . I think I've made my peace with that. There's a lot of crap that comes with being a grown-up, like paying bills and watching yourself and everyone age around you, and your metabolism slowing down, and just daily shite that you never expected back in the day when you wished you could be older and make your own decisions . . . so I guess if I now get excited about a stuffed burger press, make my own food from scratch and drink good wine . . . well there's far worse ways I could have changed!

Plus . . . I still talk to my hedgehog doorstops like they are human, and also I got really drunk at a gig and inexplicably fell asleep on the floor outside my bedroom door last Friday night, so there's definitely still a lot of the non-grown-up me still in there. She's just hiding behind a julienne peeler and a slow cooker now . . . ;-)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: WHITELEE WIND FARM!


It might just be a unique quirk of mine, but I love wind farms. I know some people consider them eyesores but I genuinely think they are strangely beautiful. The Whitelee wind farm up near Eaglesham and East Kilbride is no exception, and is my very favourite!

We've visited a couple of times, and the weather has been different each time, from unseasonably sunny during the Easter weekend last year, to snowy and cold yesterday... the one weather feature that is always, inevitably, present during our visits has been the wind!

It looks amazing in the snow - I'm glad we popped up there!







 
BUT, it also looks lovely without snow! I love it.



For more information on Whitelee you can visit their website here.

Do you like wind farms or think they're an eyesore?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

REVIEW: VELVET ELVIS!

Mmmm.... burgers!!!

I've lived in Partick for a year and a half now and for some unknown reason I have never visited Velvet Elvis before... despite the fact that it is quite literally just around the corner from me. When there was a discussion about it in work last week and how good it was, I realised I needed to remedy my ignorance double quick. So when the boyfriend suggested going there for his birthday dinner the other night, it seemed like a sign!

A bar/cafĂ© on Dumbarton Road between Crow Road and the Thornwood roundabout, Velvet Elvis is handy for those in the west end of town (especially me!) and most my colleagues located in the west end had already given it a go more than once. Now I can see why!

The service was fast and friendly, prices were reasonable and, to be honest, the most taxing part of the night was trying to decide what to have off the varied menu! And, let's face it, struggling to choose what to eat BECAUSE YOU WANT IT ALL isn't really a hardship!

Mackerel pate with oatcakes

To start, I went for the mackerel pate, which was delicious and was already sort of allocated to the scrumptious oatcakes - which is definitely a good thing. Usually with pate I grossly underestimate how much pate to allocate to each oatcake or piece of bread and end up either with a big blob of pate with nothing left to spread it on, or vice versa.


Goats cheese and roast capsicum spring rolls
 
The boyfriend opted for the goats cheese and roasted capsicum spring rolls (I believe capsicum is just a fancy name for a pepper) - I had a sneaky wee taste and it was definitely the best spring roll I've ever sampled. (Though this could be due to the fact that I am a massive fan of goats cheese and fried food). The boyfriend loved this dish, the combination of flavours, and how "fresh" it all tasted (He likes the word "fresh" to describe food.)

And then onto the main course . . . although there were many options to choose from such as venison, macaroni cheese or fish and chips, so many people had raved about the burgers that we felt OBLIGATED to go for those. The half pound Scottish beef burger it was then, with cheese added to mine, while the boyfriend had cheese, chorizo AND jalapenos. They turned up with coleslaw on the side and gorgeous handcut chips. And they definitely lived up to the hype. I am not generally very good at finishing everything on my plate, my eyes are definitely (metaphorically) bigger than my belly, but I did a pretty good job of finishing nearly the whole thing, despite eating the full (sizeable) starter. This burger was absolutely fantastic. Seriously . . . just thinking about it is making me want to drool.




There were several dessert options on offer but the starters and mains had stuffed us completely so we decided to give dessert a miss, finished off the bottle of refreshing sauvignon blanc we were sharing (without feeling at all hurried) and headed off into the cold for a couple more drinks elsewhere.


LOOK AT THOSE CHIPS!!!

We spent most of today raving about the place to our respective colleagues (those who hadn't already had the pleasure of visiting Velvet Elvis already, obviously) and I've already looked at the menu to decide what I want on my next visit.  I haven't managed to decide yet though.

I guess there will have to be a lot of visits there in my future in that case . . . ;-)