Royal Botanic Gardens

Monday, 29 September 2014
A few weekends ago Blair and I went to see an exhibition at Inverleith House which is located in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens.  It was an exhibition by German artist Isa Genzken who is known for her contemporary sculptures and installations.  

The pieces were really cool, very different to anything I've ever seen before.  I didn't take any photos inside as I wasn't sure it was allowed, but she uses a lot of different materials in her work like clothing, mirrors, plastic, toys, photographs, paint etc.  One piece that stuck out for me was a perspex tower on top of which balanced some plastic chairs and Donald Duck toys - sounds mental but it was pretty cool.

Once we were done with the exhibition we decided to walk around the botanic gardens for a bit before heading home, as neither of us had been since we were young.  These are the photos that I snapped as we mooched around.

IMG_1052
IMG_1053
IMG_1056
IMG_1058
IMG_1059
IMG_1060
IMG_1062

Funnily enough I ended up back at the Botanics just a week or two later as my mum and I went along for their wedding fayre.  I've already booked my venue so we were just there to meet the local suppliers, which was pretty successful as I met a cake lady who I really liked.  I'll probably do another post soon to update you on wedding plans, although I'm still undecided on how much I want to share on here, so please bear with me!

Chocolate Cashew Bites

Saturday, 27 September 2014
Homemade chocolate cashew bites - slimming world friendly baking

I haven't written a baking post in absolutely ages - mainly due to the fact that I'm doing Slimming World so I've been avoiding cakes where I can.  I got an invite the other day though for a Blogger Bake Off that's happening next month and since then I've been dying to get my bake on.

Also, recently I saw someone on Instagram talk about making their Syns go further by melting a Freddo and mixing with cereal (used as your Healthy Extra B).  I thought this looked like a brilliant idea so decided to tweak it slightly to incorporate Cashew Butter in an attempt to make some sort of "healthy" version of Reeses Pieces (my weakness!).  

Now obviously I can't claim these taste anything like peanut butter cups (for a start I've used cashew butter), but I found them really tasty and at just 2.5 syns per portion (94 calories) you can't really complain!  

I also attempted to make a cool Instagram video of the recipe which definitely looked much better in my head than it turned out (it wasn't squint for starters) but you get the gist….

Ingredients
35g bran flakes / sultana bran (or any other cereal - must be classed as a Healthy Extra B choice though if you're doing Slimming World)
1 Cadbury's Little Bar (or a Freddo)
1 tbsp Cashew Butter

Method
1. Finely crush the bran flakes
2. Stir in the cashew butter 
3. Divide the mixture between 4 paper cases
4. Melt the chocolate bar
5. Put a dollop of chocolate on each nest 
6. Place in the fridge for at least an hour 


Made From Scotland Pop Up Shop

Tuesday, 16 September 2014
026
027
021
020
028
017
022
025

It feels quite apt that in a week that Scotland has a referendum to decide whether or not to become an independent country, I'm writing a post about a shop that solely sells Scottish products (FREEDOOOOOM!!).  A local shop for local people and all that.

Jokes aside, Made From Scotland is a delightful little website that sells great products from local Scottish designers, from fashion and accessories to homeware and food & drink.  Up until now they have only traded online, however rather excitingly they are currently taking up residence on Rose Street in Edinburgh in a pop up shop that's open until October.

A few weeks ago myself and a couple of other bloggers went along to their press launch to take a look around the shop before it opened.  I fell in love with soooo many things - one of the main ones being the range of Gillian Kyle bibs with tunnocks tea cakes, haggis, and Scottish Pride bread on them.  I hope someone I know has a baby soon so I have a legitimate excuse for buying them!  

I also love all the items that feature sketches of Edinburgh like these prints from A Pair of Blue Eyes, and this mug from Pink Pig (which I actually already own).  They both capture the beauty and quirkyness of Edinburgh perfectly.

Another fave were the cards and prints from The Grey Earl featuring the cutey young batman and robin and various Scottish sayings like "taps aff" and "yaldae".  Awwww.

If you're shopping in town over the next few weeks I've definitely recommend popping in for a look, especially if you're on the look out for gift ideas as you're bound to find something unique - and it supports local designers which is a feelgood bonus.

The Made From Scotland Pop Up Shop can be found at 115-117 Rose Street, Edinburgh - open 10.30am - 6pm (5pm on Sundays).


August Highlights

Saturday, 13 September 2014
As you may have been able to tell, August was a pretty busy month for me so I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging as it was getting to the point where the idea of sitting down to write a post seemed like a chore.  I don't ever want to reach the stage where I'm forcing myself to keep the blog updated as it's supposed to be a fun hobby, so I think the break was good for me.

Anyway, I'm feeling much more inspired now and have got more time to sit and write - so heres a summary of what I've been up to in the last month.

IMG_7762
IMG_0998

August started with a trip up North with my mum, dad and sister for my cousin's 40th birthday in Aberdeen.  We went out for afternoon tea at a hotel in town followed by drinks and then karaoke.  It was a good laugh and really nice to see that side of my family, some of whom I haven't seen in a couple of years.

IMG_7844
IMG_7798

It was the Edinburgh Festival so I went out a LOT to various comedy and theatre shows as well as meeting up with different groups of friends for drinks and dinner.  A pretty expensive month!  I wrote a full post about my Fringe experience this year which you can read here if you're interested.

IMG_7806

Also festival related, I went to the foodies festival for the first time after winning tickets through Laura's blog competition.  It was a beautifully sunny day too so it was a fun afternoon walking around in the sun tasting food and drinking pink lemonade and mojitos, yum yum.

IMG_7739

August was also the month that I FINALLY moved into a new office at work - I feel like we've been planning it for about a year (oh yeah, we have!).  My view is pretty sweet as we're located just opposite Edinburgh Castle on Princes Street, and even though we've only actually moved a couple of streets along from where we used to be it feels like a completely different world.

I love coming into work in the morning now walking along Princes St and seeing the castle, it sets me in a really good mood.  Oh and not to mention the fact that the shops are like right there for a spot of lunchtime/after work browsing (not sure if that's a good or bad thing though).

IMG_7823
IMG_7839

I went to my first blogger event in a while at Godiva in Edinburgh, a really cute boutique shop selling clothes and accessories from local Scottish designers.  Unfortunately I couldn't stay long as Gillian and I were heading off to see a Breaking Bad themed show at the festival (YEAH BITCH) but we did manage to get a good look around the shop whilst sipping on Pimms and eating brownies from Lovecrumbs.  I also got to take a slice of salted caramel cake home which I then ate for "dinner" at about 9pm.  Ace.

IMG_7862

One of my definite highlights was getting to see the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who at the Filmhouse, 2 days before it aired on the BBC.  Kirsty and I are unashamed Who geeks so needless to say we were incredibly excited to watch Malcolm Tucker's debut on the big screen surrounded by fellow Whovians, ahhh amazing. 

IMG_7906

I've not seen as much of my lovely blogger pals as I'd have liked recently so it was nice to catch up with Laura and Iona at the end of the month for Iona's birthday.  We went out for dinner in Stirling which meant Laura and I got to engage in one of our favourite activities…..drinking cocktails in a can on the train, woooo.  More meet ups in September please folks!

Oh yeah, and as you can see in the photo above - my hair is a bit different! I got it cut earlier that day and also had a caramel toner put on it so it looks a lot darker (it's faded a lot since this photo was taken).  I was also dressed in an outfit completely out of my comfort zone in a playsuit and a floral crown (I kinda loved it though).  What I didn't anticipate was how awkward a playsuit is when going to the toilet.  Jesus Christ it's like a 5 minute job to get in and out of it.  

IMG_7931

And finally, the month ended pretty spectacularly with a party in that new office I mentioned for the end of festival fireworks.  We had an amazing view for the show whilst also being in the comfort of a warm office with a glass of prosecco and a handful of popcorn.  Just a shame it was a Sunday night…..there were a few sore heads in the office Monday morning that's for sure.