OOTD: Windswept in Tartan

Friday, 31 October 2014

It was Blair's birthday last week and I had organised a surprise day out which involved adventure golf and then a fancy dinner in South Queensferry.  We arrived about half an hour before our restaurant reservation so went for a walk around the town first.  

South Queensferry is a really pretty little village on the Forth coast and the views are AMAZING.  Standing at a prime viewing spot for the road and rail bridges I couldn't resist taking some outfit of the day photos, even though it was FREEZING and really windy.  

The dress and scarf are both from Primark - I bloody love tartan for autumn/winter, such a cosy look.  The ankle boots are from Dorothy Perkins, and the necklace is also from Primark.

I vlogged the day and it will be part of a bumper vlog that I'll be uploading in the next week, so keep an eye on my Youtube channel for that :)

Theatre Review: The Mousetrap

Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Anne Kavanagh (Mrs Boyle), Stephen Yeo (Christopher Wren) and Christopher Gilling (Major Metcalf) in The Mousetrap.  Photo by Helen Maybanks Photography.

I recently had a really enjoyable night at the theatre seeing Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap. I didn't really know anything about the story before I went, and in fact I was only aware of the name as Karl Pilkington once used it in a Rockbusters* clue (if you understand that reference then we can definitely be friends). To be honest though I think you'll enjoy it more the less you know....it is a classic whodunit after all!

I won't give away too much, since the twists and turns are what make it so intriguing, but I will say that it was a thoroughly entertaining 2 hours of theatre. The story is centered around a couple who have just opened a guest house and are welcoming their first guests - a real mix of interesting characters who all have their secrets. When news breaks of a nearby murder it's not long before everyone is under suspicion, and those secrets are revealed left right and centre in a bid to uncover the culprit. Thinking that sounds like a live action Cluedo? Well, it is!

The story had me gripped from beginning to end, mainly due to the superb acting from the whole cast. It's also genuinely funny too, with lots of laugh out loud moments, particularly from the characters Christopher Wren and Mr Paravicini. I'd definitely recommend going to see it if you can - the show is at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh until the 1st of November and then the tour continues in Carlisle, Blackpool, Dublin, Ipswich, Croydon, and Southend.

Luke Jenkins (Sargent Trotter) and Helen Clapp (Mollie Ralston) in the 60th Anniversary Tour of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.  Photo by Helen Maybanks Photography.

I received press tickets to see this show, however as always the review is my honest opinion and if I don’t like something I will tell you!

*The Rockbusters clue was “I went to see that play ‘Mousetrap’ the other night and the heating in the theatre was broken”. The answer was “Coldplay”. One of his better ones I must say….

Halloween in Edinburgh

Saturday, 18 October 2014
Edinburgh has a bit of a reputation for being a "spooky" city, what with our creepy underground vaults and endless ghost stories, so it goes without saying that it's a great place to spend Halloween.  I've had a look to see what there is to do in the city this year so check out the list below if you're up for some spooky fun!

Edinburgh Dungeons entrance

Edinburgh Dungeons - October 10th to November 2nd
An obvious place to spend Halloween would be the Edinburgh Dungeons, 'The Home of Halloween'.  Up until recently I'd never actually been before, but I was kindly invited along to experience their latest show so jumped at the chance.

I won't give too much away, as not knowing what's coming next is part of the fun, but the tour takes you through Edinburgh's gruesome history where you'll hear all about the infamous murderers Burke and Hare, stand trial for various misdemeanours, walk through a plague ridden close, and go on a boat ride to seek out cannibals (eek). There's also a ride called Drop Dead at the end which is much scarier than I was expecting it to be, but all good fun!  I definitely recommend a visit.

Ghillie Dhu Dance of the Damned - Friday 31st October
Ghille Dhu's weekly ceilidh takes a creepy turn on the 31st with the 'Dance of the Damned'.  There's a 3 course meal including themed dishes like Sweeney Todd's Special and the Ghost Busters, followed by a Halloween ceilidh with music provided by the aptly named Norman Mackay Monster Ceilidh Band.

The Spooky Castle - Saturday 25th October
Lauriston Castle is hosting a workshop promising a morning of ghoulish fun and adventure, including woodland ghostly trails and crafts.  I've written a post about Lauriston Castle before as it's pretty near where I live.  I went on a tour of the castle last year and it was really interesting hearing all the history so I'm sure it will be even more fun with a spooky twist!

Journey to the Twilight Zone - Friday 31st October
Now this sounds interesting….intriguingly described as "not a club night, or even a club at all….not a warehouse party, or a festival.  It's much much more".  The details are top secret, all you know if the date and that it's a £10 taxi journey from the city centre.  The 4,000 people lucky enough to get a ticket will "enter the Twilight Zone" and experience a night that revolutionises nightlife, entertainment and youth culture.  If I didn't already have plans I'd be all over this!

Greyfriars Cemetery

Night of Infinite Terror - Saturday 1st November
There's plenty of ghost tours to choose from in the city and they all take you to slightly different areas.  I've only been on one and it ended in Greyfriars Cemetery (and was very creepy might I add!).  If a plain old ghost tour isn't quite scary enough for you though then the Night of Infinite Terror sounds like a more hardcore experience.  You'll start off at Greyfriars for a tour of the graveyard, followed by a vigil in the Black Mausoleum (rumoured to be haunted by the infamous Mackenzie poltergeist), and then end at Mary Kings Close.

Ghost Bus Tour - all month
I've seen these buses drive around town before and always thought they look like the Knight Bus from Harry Potter.  The ghost bus tours take you on a journey around the darker side of Edinburgh, learning about witches, grave robbers, and the plague.  It basically sounds like a lazy version of a traditional (walking) ghost tour, so it definitely appeals, haha.

Scary Cinema
If you're planning a more chilled out Halloween night then there's plenty of spooky films on offer at Edinburgh's cinemas.  The Filmhouse are showing the classic Night of the Living Dead, there's an Alien and Aliens double bill at Vue, or for the ultimate pee your pants experience try The Exorcist - The Directors Cut at The Cameo.

And how will I be spending my halloween this year?  As has become tradition, I'll be at Gillian and Laura's halloween flat party drinking punch, eating homemade cakes, and then ending the night dancing to Blink182 at the Hive.  Oh, and I'll be dressed up as Mary Poppins (outfit post to come).

What about you?

P.S.  Do you like my little Halloween redesign?? :)

What I've Been Eating #5

Sunday, 12 October 2014
It's been a while since I last did a What I've Been Eating, which is mainly because I got into a bit of a rut with Slimming World so hadn't been staying on plan or taking photos of my meals.  In the last 2 weeks though I feel like I've got completely back on track and am "back in the zone" so to speak.  

One thing that really helped me get back on plan was the Slimming World magazine -  almost every meal below comes from the last issue actually.  I'd definitely recommend planning out a week of meals from the magazine if you need a good week to get you back on track.  As there's so much variety it stops you getting bored with your same old meals and means you're more likely to keep going.  

I'll be making every single one of these again!

"Pizzas" made with a turkey steak base, super easy and really tasty.  Served with roast potatoes and stir fry veg (brussel sprouts, green beans and red pepper - weird combo, I know).  Also, how amazing do the roasted baby potatoes look?? 

Green thai chicken curry with jasmine rice.  I added some light coconut milk to the pan when boiling the rice but it actually just made it really stodgy so I wouldn't recommend it!

This looks an absolute mess, but it tasted good!  It's just a baked potato with cheese and tuna, topped with plum tomatoes, passata and onion.

Steak pizzaiola - basically a fillet steak topped with chopped tomatoes. Served with my old favourite - slimming world friendly chips - and fried onion and mushrooms.

Bacon and pea risotto - this was soooo good, and really filling.  Easy peasy to make too, just chopped grilled bacon, peas, onion, and risotto rice in a pan with vegetable stock (gradually added).  Simmer for like 20 minutes then serve with some parmesan.  On the side I've got a watercress, spinach and rocket salad with a bit of balsamic glaze.

Quorn Swedish-style meatballs with passata and penne pasta (and the same salad as above).  This was my weigh-day dinner - hence the garlic bread (15.5 syns) on the side as a wee treat.  

Shepherds pie with the same side salad as above.  This was actually the second batch of cottage pie as the recipe made 2 big casserole dishes worth so I'd had this one in the freezer.  I never really cook lamb so this was something a bit different.  Again, not too difficult to make - just brown the lamb mince, add peas, sweetcorn, carrots, chopped tinned tomatoes, and some veg stock.  Add to a casserole dish with mashed potato (mixed with 2 egg yolks once cooled) and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.

P.S. Ironically as this post goes live I'll be at a blogger bake off in Glasgow.  So technically, what I've been eating is CAKE, CAKE and more CAKE.

Jim Lambie Exhibition

Friday, 10 October 2014

I really wanted to share these photos with you from an exhibition I went to recently at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.  The only problem is, I don't really have much to say about it!  I feel ridiculously uncultured when it comes to describing exhibitions or museums or plays that I've been to, other than "I really like it" or "it was cool".  B is definitely the cultured one in our relationship, he's always suggesting we go see various pop up galleries or exhibitions and it's generally for artists I've never heard of before.  This was a perfect example as I admit I'd never heard of Jim Lambie before but I absolutely LOVED the exhibition - just….look at all the colours, it was like being inside a rainbow - so cool!  So yeah, there's my review….it was COOL.  Ah who cares, just look at the pictures will you.


My Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

So the other night I decided to film a chatty Youtube video and for some reason the first thing that popped into my head was "let's share my most embarrassing moments".  Why?  Who knows.

You can watched the video below if you want to hear the full stories, but if you can't be bothered then I've summed it up underneath….

1. That time I had to spend a whole day at school with dog poo on my knee.

2. That time a bird shat in my mouth.

3. That time my trousers completely fell down on the street.

4. That time I threw up in my boyfriends dads car.

5. That time I was sick in my bed (at the age of 28).

September Highlights

Monday, 6 October 2014
I went to the launch of Made in Scotland's first pop up shop (full post here).

On the same night I also attended a launch party at the Cask & Still bar on Leith Walk.  Whisky cocktails on a school night, mmmm.

I went on a work trip to Rome to meet a client and got to stay at the beautiful Hotel De Russie.  We had some free time in the evening so got to do a bit of exploring, had dinner outside on the Piazza Navona, walked home eating gelato before finishing the evening with a cocktail on the patio back at the hotel.

B and I visited a couple of exhibitions through the month including Isa Genzken at the Botanic Gardens (full post here) and Jim Lambie at the Fruitmarket Gallery (post coming soon).

We also went to a couple of things for Edinburgh's Doors Open day including the anatomy museum where we heard a lecture on Burke and Hare's murders (in the most amazing lecture theatre I've ever been in) and saw Burke's skeleton (grim), and the Sheriff Court where we got a tour of the cells (also grim, and hopefully my one and only visit!).

I had a couple of good catch ups with friends over dinner - firstly tex-mex at Chimichangas with a group of mates the day after the referendum (most of us were knackered after getting up super early to see the results, saddos that we are), and then burgers and wine at Red Squirrel with my blogger BFF Kirsty.

On the wedding front we booked and paid the deposit on our venue (woo!) and sent out Save The Dates.  I also went to a wedding fair with my mum at the botanic gardens, followed by a lovely Sunday lunch and a walk down the beach.

This month I'm looking forward to a couple of nights out with pals old and new, another trip to Paris, and Gillian and Laura's epic annual halloween extravaganza.

OOTD: Girls Night Out

Sunday, 5 October 2014
Last night I had a smashing evening in Edinburgh with some of my favourite blogger pals.  I left plenty time to get ready (for once) so managed to take some outfit of the day photos.  I also filmed a Get Ready With Me video whilst I was doing my makeup.  I'm going to go edit that now so it should *hopefully* be up on my Youtube channel before the end of the day.  

I literally bought the dress (from New Look) that morning as I'd went for some last minute shopping to try find something to wear.  I really like it, it's quite thin so I was a bit chilly, but you could easily layer up with a cardigan.

matching TARDIS keyrings….Gillian not impressed
What is wrong with this mannequins face?!
Haggis bomb!

The girls and I went for dinner and cocktails at Amicus Apple - the food was great and the cocktails also, the only downside was the really loud annoying men at the table next to us which meant we could hardly hear each other. 

After dinner we ended up in a tiny tiny bar just off Rose St called the International Vodka and Beer Bar (catchy) after a PR on the street enticed us in with the offer of £2.50 drinks (almost unheard of in central Edinburgh on a Saturday!).  I'd recommend it for pre-going out drinks as they had a good selection (I ended up having mandarin, raspberry and blueberry vodka….not all at once) and at that price you can't complain.

Post-vodkas unfortunately Lynsey and Roisin had to head off to get the train back to Glasgow, so Kirsty, Laura, Gillian and I carried on along Rose Street to a pub called Scott's - which in stark comparison to the vodka bar, was pretty much completely empty.  We spent about an hour in here, having a few drinks and discussing everything from bras to family secrets, finishing off with a couple of "haggis bombs" (jager and Irn Bru) before heading out to a club.  

Given that none of us are big club goers these days we had been asking around all week to find out the best place to go on a Saturday night and a couple of us had been recommended Castle Clvb on Queensferry Street.  After almost weeing ourselves in the queue we were pretty excited to get inside, but it was a bit of a disappointment to be honest.  

The music was shite…..like, really shite.  There were 3 rooms - an RnB room which had ok music but was packed, a "chart" room where every decent song had a banging dance track over the top of it rendering it crap, and then a vip room (I'm pretty sure everyone in the club had a vip stamp) which played the best music but had no dance floor.  We lasted about an hr before heading home - successfully managing to resist McDonalds on the way….so proud.

I think we were all in agreement that next time we go out we should just go back to the Hive, haha.  At least we're guaranteed to hear music we'll dance to!  If you know of any other clubs in Edinburgh that play 90's and 00's rock and pop, and aren't full of teenagers then please let me know.

I had such a fun night catching up with everyone and having a good giggle.  At one point Kirsty had the rest of us crying with laughter at her Morrisey and Cher impressions (Mori-cher) - it had to be sen to be believed.  Some of us were chatting about how it's strange to think that a lot of us only really became proper friends a year ago, which is crazy.  I can't imagine my life without them now, god bless blogging for introducing me to such absolute gems.