Being Tourists in Glasgow

Monday, 21 July 2014
These days I find myself through in Glasgow quite a lot, but it's mainly for blogging events or to meet friends for drinks, so the other weekend Blair and I decided to stay for a few nights and be tourists.  We stayed at the Citizen M hotel where we spent his birthday a few years ago.  This is one of my favourite hotels in the city, it's just so cool!  I'm not going to say much about the hotel itself as I wrote a full review post about it last time, but I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for somewhere to stay in Glasgow.

IMG_7510
IMG_0833

We travelled through early on Friday afternoon and after checking into the hotel we went for a wander round the shops (couldn't resist the pull of the big Primark).  We'd originally planned on going to a museum but we would have only had an hr to look around before it closed so decided to just have a fairly chilled day on the Friday, leaving the proper touristy stuff to Saturday & Sunday.  After shopping we went to Meat Bar for dinner, I loved the decor here - it felt a bit like being in a ranch in the wild west ha!  B went for a burger and I had a pulled pork sandwich - it was nice but I've had better (the chips on the other hand were great).  We went back to the hotel for some drinks at the hotel bar before watching The Raid in  our huuuuuge bed (free movie database, woo!).

The next morning we had a bit of a lie in (because, hey we're on holiday) before getting the bus along to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.  There's loads to see here as it's such a huge, stunning  building - and like all Glasgow museums it's free to enter.  One half of the building is the museum with sections on natural history (animals!), Scottish history, armoury, Egypt, and other world cultures.  Halfway through we had a quick tea and cake stop in the cafe to refuel before tackling the art gallery side of the building, this is where I snapped that photo of the hanging faces piece, pretty cool eh?  

IMG_7516
IMG_7528
IMG_7535

Once we were done with Kelvingrove we went for lunch at La Vita Spuntini, an Italian tapas place on Byres Road.  They have a cheap lunch deal where you get 3 tapas for £6.99 so we shared mini pizza, pasta, meatballs, roast potatoes, arancini,  and chicken wings - it was alright, nothing amazing but pretty decent for £6.99 (and the staff were all really chatty and friendly).

By this point Glasgow weather started to get the better of us so we decided to spend the afternoon on a bus tour rather than wandering around in the rain.  If you've read some of my other travel blog posts you'll probably know that we're quite fond of a bus tour when we go on holiday, haha - I just think it's a really good was of getting a quick overview of the whole city and you can then always go back to the bits that you want to see more of.  

Saturday night we went for dinner at Bread Meats Bread, another place I'd been looking forward to as I'd heard lots of good things about it.  I went for the smoked beef brisket and sweet potato fries and it was maaaasssive, but so good.  With full bellies we turned down the desserts menu and instead went back to the hotel to get some drinks from the bar and take them up to the room so we could watch the world cup final in bed (yaaay Germany).  

The next morning we got up pretty early to pack up and check out, leaving our cases at the hotel so we could see a bit more of Glasgow before getting the train home.  Firstly we got a bus out to the Riverside Transport Museum which a couple of people had recommended.  This is a really fun museum with lots to look at like a life sized street, subway, trains, buses etc - also you can get on a tall ship outside which was pretty cool (turns out you can actually get married on the tall ship!).  Once we'd had our fill of transport we got the bus back into town and went for brunch at Cup Tea Lounge which is in a really lovely old building just off Buchanan St.  I went for pancakes and bacon which was nice but it could have really done with some syrup or something as it was a bit dry.  

IMG_0801
IMG_0805
IMG_0809
IMG_0816

After brunch we picked up our cases and got the train back to Edinburgh, stopping off at my parents house to pick up our car (as my dad had been giving it an MOT) and have a few drinks in the garden in the sunshine.  It was a really nice little weekend, and it was good to be able to see the other side of Glasgow that isn't just bars, restaurants and gig venues!  If you're subscribed to my Youtube channel you've probably already seen that I vlogged the whole trip, but I've also linked it below if you fancy seeing our weekend in action :)




What I've Been Eating #4

Saturday, 19 July 2014
Mmmm time for another food post! If you follow my Slimming World Instagram account then you've probably seen all of these meals before as I try to post a photo of my dinner every day, although I have been slacking a bit recently (tut tut).  I'm still pretty much sticking to my staple of meat, potatoes and veg, but I have managed to keep quite a lot of variety within that so it's not felt too samey.  If you're following the Slimming World plan (or just trying to eat fairly healthily) then hopefully this gives you some meal ideas to try.


This is a good example of a meal that I've adapted slightly to fit with the Slimming World plan.  Fajitas is one of Blair and I's favourites but wraps are pretty syn-full so while I made B a regular fajita dinner I omitted the wraps from mine and served the chicken and peppers on a bed of salad leaves instead. Served with half a pouch of Uncle Bens mexican rice (1.5 syns), a dollop of salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese (which was my healthy extra A for the day).



Pre-made burgers and sausages are generally a no-no on Slimming World, but I've recently discovered a company called Joe's Sausages who sell really low fat sausages & burgers online.  You have to make a minimum order of 8 packs, so I did a bit meat shop (hehe) and got a bunch of different sausage and burger combinations delivered, all for the total cost of around £30.  As far as I'm aware all of the foods are syn free, although don't quote me on that.  In this example above I'm having a pork & apple burger on a wholemeal bun with a bit of low fat cheese (my healthy extra's A & B for the day), served with chips and stir fried baby corn and mushrooms.  The burgers were ace, really moist and tasty - you totally couldn't tell that they were low fat.  



This was the meal I made for Kirsty and I when I had her over the other week.  It's a recipe called Diet Coke Chicken, which sounds disgusting but it actually tastes really good!  You basically just cook chicken, onions and peppers with a can of diet coke and passata, and the end result tastes a bit like a sweet barbecue sauce.  Yum yum!  I served this with roasted herby new potatoes, and roasted asparagus.


I took this cajun chicken recipe from the Slimming World magazine - it's a super easy one and tastes bloody great.  Just take a couple of chicken thighs and drumsticks, spray with one cal cooking spray and sprinkle over cajun seasoning, stick in the oven for about 45 minutes and it's done.  I served with corn on the cob (also sprinkled with the cajun seasoning) and potato wedges (again, just sprayed with one-cal cooking spray and baked).  The meal has a bit of a summer BBQ feel to it, and in fact you could cook the chicken and corn on the cob on the BBQ if you wanted.


Yep you can still eat a cooked breakfast on Slimming World, thank god, haha!  I used a couple of syns on the potato scones and the tomato ketchup, but the bacon (fat trimmed), scrambled eggs, mushrooms, and toast (1 slice wholemeal as my healthy extra B for the day) was all freeeee.  The best way to start a weekend.


Another great weekend staple is the Sunday roast (I actually cooked this on a Tuesday, but don't tell anyone), and again you can still eat this sort of thing on Slimming World.  I realise this whole post sounds a bit like an ad for Slimming World but it's just because it's pretty much always on my mind now when I'm making meals so I can't help it, haha.  I cooked the chicken breast in a roasting tin, sprayed on both sides with one cal cooking spray and seasoned with salt, pepper and dried herbs.  I used some syns on the mini yorkshire puds (2.5 syns each) and gravy, but the roast potatoes were just made with the one-cal cooking spray so were totally free.


In one of my other "What I've Been Eating" posts I talked about the KFC "fakeaway" recipe where chicken is dipped in egg and then in smash granules to make a kind of low fat batter, and this is a slight variation on this as I've added lemon juice to the egg to make lemon chicken.  Served with a baked potato (finished off in the oven so it's all soft in the inside), some grated cheese (my healthy extra A for the day) and asparagus and thin stemmed broccoli.



Lastly, I wanted to show you how I've been trying to incorporate fruit into my diet recently.  I'm not really a fruit fan - I love fruit flavoured things, but there's something about the fleshy texture of fresh fruit that I really don't like.  I know it's good for me though so I've been trying to force myself to like it recently and have found that adding fruit to other things makes it a bit easier.  Here's some examples of how I've done that - the top one is apple added to a toffee mullerlight yoghurt, and a little squeeze of honey, this was my breakfast the other day when I had a day off.  The final photo is mixed seedless grapes with a few sprays of light UHT cream and a teaspoon of Choc Shot (1 syn).  I can't say I loved either of these, but it wasn't unpleasant, which is a start!

Do let me know in the comments if you've got any other tips for trying to make yourself like fruit….I'm determined to start enjoying it!

Beauty Throwback Thursday: Body Shop Strawberry Giveaway

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Something a wee bit different for you today, it's a beauty themed throwback Thursday!  Like most teens in the late 90's I was OBSESSED with The Body Shop.  It was my brand of choice when it came to any sort of bath or body product, and I'd love nothing more than wandering around the store breathing in that sweet sweet smell.  My absolute favourite scent from there was the Strawberry range, I'm sure I even used the body spray as a perfume - so good! 

I was recently sent some items from The Body Shop for review and the minute I opened the package I was overwhelmed with the scent of my youth.  Don't you just love when a scent can transport you to a time in your past?  Speaking on which, I'm not even 100% sure that this was from The Body Shop, but when I was younger I had a tropical scented body spray that I used allll the time and whenever I caught a whiff of it somewhere in the years following I'd immediately feel like I was back in the 90's.  Man I wish I could find that again, it was amazing.

Anyway, I digress.  As I said, I was recently sent a couple of items from The Body Shop, most of them from my favourite Strawberry range.  The Strawberry Body Butter, enriched with fair-trade shea butter has a delicious strawberry cream scent that sticks around on your skin for hours.  As it's a body butter it doesn't quite pass my "does it sink in quickly" test but I use this more as body treat rather than an every day moisturiser so I don't really care that it needs an hour or two to properly sink in.  It leaves my skin feeling super moisturised even my annoying dry patches.




I was also sent a Strawberry Gift Set which contained a travel sized shower gel (which I'm definitely taking with me on my upcoming weekend in Glasgow), a heart shaped soap, and 2 mini shower puffs (again, ideal for travelling).  I'm tempted to take the soap to work with me so I can have strawberry scented hands every time I go to the bathroom, haha!

If you're a fan of The Body Shop Strawberry range too then you're in luck as I've been given some extra goodies to give away.  All you need to do is follow me on Bloglovin (using Rafflecopter below) and you could win a Strawberry Body Butter and Gift Set of your own.  Good luck!