November Highlights

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Another round of travelling for work, this time a two city tour (well, kinda) with a day and night in Southampton (staying at the beautiful Chewton Glen) and then a day in London.  My overnight stay was one of the most relaxing yet - I'd finished my meetings by about 4ish so I has an evening in my hotel room ordering room service, lounging on my huge bed, and watching TV in the bath (!) whilst drinking a mocktail.  Bliss!

Ever since I went to a cocktail masterclass at Revolution for Laura's birthday last year I've been talking about organising something similar as a work social event.  Well it only took me 12 months but we finally got round to it and a group of us went along a few Fridays ago for a night of cocktail making.  It was so much fun we're already talking about planning the next one.  The only downside was that at some point during the class the middle diamond from my engagement ring fell out and I thought it was lost forever.  Amazingly though, one of the Revolution staff actually went and bloody found it again - so incredibly lucky!  We've since taken the ring back to the shop and got it replaced so all is well, but it was a traumatic half hour or so when I thought it was gone, as you can imagine!

Speaking of Laura's birthday, a group of us went out for tapas at Cafe Andaluz (my fave) to celebrate her 23rd the other weekend.  After stuffing ourselves with half of the menu, we headed up to the Blackbird where we spent the rest of the night drinking cocktails and having a good old giggle until kicking out time.  A really lovely night - I definitely have a lot more fun these days when it's spent in a pub rather than in a club - those days are over my friend!

Continuing with the food theme, I went to the launch of the new Tony Macaroni restaurant last Sunday with Blair and Kirsty & Adam.  I wrote a full review here, but needless to say I was about 20% heavier when I left.

The Christmas markets have opened in Edinburgh and the city centre is looking delightfully festive.  I can see the trees in Princes St Gardens all lit up from my office window, it puts me in a good mood every time I look outside.  I met up with Lianne on Friday to go to the launch of the Drambuie bar where we drank hot apple toddies whilst watching people try not to fall over on the ice rink.  I'm not really a fan of mulled wine but the hot apple toddy was so good, definitely going to go back when I'm at the market later this week.  It was so lovely to see Lianne too, we haven't seen each other in a while so it was great to have a proper catch up on all things wedding!  Her big day is next year too, so it was good to chat about flowers and photographers and dresses etc and share how our plans are going.  A catchup with Lianne never fails to make me smile - she's a wee gem!

December is going to be a pretty busy month, as always, with lots of things planned so I can see as many pals as possible before Christmas.  I also need to properly start my Christmas shopping as I'm a bit behind this year.  God I hate shopping at this time of year - I will try my best to get it all done online!  On that subject, if you've done any Christmas gift guide or wish list posts please leave me a link below - I need some inspiration!

Tony Macaroni comes to Edinburgh

Thursday, 27 November 2014
My Sunday evenings are normally spent holed up on the sofa in my cosy PJ's, watching Youtube videos on my laptop or catching up on TV shows from our Sky planner, but this week was a little bit different and I actually went OUTSIDE and interacted with other humans.  To be more specific, I went along to a press and blogger launch of the new Tony Macaroni restaurant in Edinburgh.  Free food on a  Sunday night, don't mind if I do!

I've been to Tony Macaroni once before when I was in Glasgow for my birthday last year (in fact, I wrote a review at the time), so I was pretty excited to hear they were opening up in Edinburgh.  The launch I went to was for their Queensferry Rd restaurant, but I've since found out they also have one in the Edinburgh Omni Centre (not sure how I missed that!).  Queensferry Rd is a bit of an unusual location as it's on the way out to the airport - but handily for me it's like a 5 minute drive from my flat.  It's also quite refreshing to see places open up out of the city centre.  

I went with Kirsty and our respective other halves, so it was a little double date.  This was the first time that Blair and Adam had met, and I was slightly apprehensive beforehand about whether or not they'd get on.  It sounds ridiculous, but as you're probably aware, I ADORE Kirsty so it would have been such a shame if B & A didn't hit it off.  Luckily though it all went very well and we had a really fun night together, yaaay!  More double dates soon please :)

Anyway, back to the review… as I said the restaurant is in a bit of an unusual spot - just off the main road out of the city, and next to a Tesco Express and a travel agents.  Decor wise they've gone for a very minimalist, rustic design with exposed lightbulbs, lots of wood, and an open kitchen area.  Very simple and clean, just how I like it.  

We settled down in a booth (yaasssss, I bloody love a booth) and spent about 10 minutes perusing the really long menu before deciding on what we wanted to order.  For starters, Blair and I shared Mozzarella Fritta and Polpette al Sugo (meatballs) and oh my I'm glad we decided to share - look at the size of those mozzarella sticks!!  If I'd eaten the entire portion myself I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have needed a main.  Kirsty and Adam's starters (pate and chicken wings) were also huge portions, so you definitely won't go hungry!

For my main I went for chicken topped with diced tomatoes, pine nuts and raisins, with a side of polenta chips.  This was nice but I don't think I'd have it again - I chose the topping for the chicken (Pomodoro, Pinoli e Uvetta) mainly because of the pine nuts as I absolutely love them, but I didn't really like the combination altogether (I ended up picking out the raisins, like a child).  Blair went for a Toto pizza (pepperoni, chicken & italian sausage) - I tried a small slice and it was really good, like a proper thin crust, cheesy cheesy cheesy pizza.  Think I'll go for a pizza next time, not the healthiest choice (especially for someone supposedly doing Slimming World) but worth it for a treat.

Unfortunately we were all so completely stuffed that we had no room for dessert - re-reading my last review the same thing happened, so I've still never had the chance to try one of their epic sounding sundaes.  I'm making it my mission to have one next time I go - the hot fudge sundaes sound unbelievable.

In fact, that might be sooner rather than later as as I sit here typing, Blair is speaking to one of our friends trying to arrange dinner this weekend and Tony Macaroni is top of the suggested venue lists….bring on the sundaes!!

The new Queensferry Road restaurant is open now, and as I said at the start they also have an Omni Centre restaurant in the city centre which has been open for a few months.  If you're looking for some good quality Italian food (the menu at Queensferry Rd has been created by famous Italian chef Fabio Campoli) at a good price, then I'd definitely recommend giving Tony Macaroni a go.

There's also video of the launch night on the Tony Macaroni Youtube channel if you fancy a proper look at the place - looks like we successfully managed to avoid the cameras, haha!

Christmas Party Wishlist #1

Monday, 24 November 2014
Yaaay it's my favourite type of wish list - Christmas party wear!  This time of year I spend a LOT of time browsing the web looking at party dresses and trying to find something I want to wear.  I normally have quite a firm idea in my head of what I'm looking for (this year I fancy a velvet skater dress for my work do) but I still like to look at EVERYTHING just to see what's out there.  Fantasy outfit planning is one of my favourite time wasting activities, and this year I've decided to do a series of Christmas party outfit wishlists so it kind of gives me a good excuse to spend hours looking at dresses online ;)

First up I'm focusing on George at Asda and have picked out a couple of my faves from their 2014 party range.  

Now I am firmly a dresses girl when it comes to Christmas parties, but I kind of love this!  The only trousers I own are jeggings, but putting this together has really made me want to go out and buy some statement smart trousers for work.  The pop of colour on the bottom half works so well with the sparkly accessories - ideal casual party wear, or even a Christmas day outfit.

Trousers - £12
Sandals - £20
Clutch - £10
TOTAL = £54

I wore my first ever playsuit only a couple of months ago and was surprised at how comfy and flattering it was (albeit very annoying when going to the loo!).  This black lace playsuit is really cute and would look great with some shoe boots and a sparkly jacket for the perfect Christmas party outfit.  And hey, playsuit means no worries about showing your bum whilst whirling about on the dance floor ;)

Playsuit - £16
Shoe Boots - £18
Jacket - £25
Necklace - £6
Clutch - £8
TOTAL = £73

You can't really go wrong with a black dress when it comes to party wear, and the world of accessories is your oyster as everything goes with black.  As it's Christmas, I've gone for a pair of red shoes and some fun little Christmas phd earrings, because nothing says Christmas like cheesy novelty jewellery.  All you need now is a cracker party hat and you're good to go!

Dress - £8 (bargain!)
Shoes - £12
Clutch - £8
Earrings - £3
Necklace - £12
TOTAL = £44

Which look is your favourite?  I think I have to say #1 which is surprising given my love of dresses!

This post was written in collaboration with George at Asda.

Living Room Makeover

Saturday, 22 November 2014


When we first moved into this flat, almost 3 years ago, I decided on a purple theme for our living room and kitchen area.  So we went for all purple everything: purple curtains, purple rug, purple cushions, purple candles, purple clock, purple vase.  PURPLE PURPLE PURPLE!

Now it looked lovely and everything, but 3 years of PURPLE is enough to annoy anyone (unless you're Marie from Breaking Bad) so a few weeks ago we decided it was time for a change.  I decided to go for a fairly muted colour scheme which meant that if we ever want to change it up again then it shouldn't be too difficult, so creams and bronzes were the main focus.  Also, because I love a bit of mint we added a couple of mint/duck egg blue touches too.


We got quite a few of the items pictured from a shop called The Range - so that was the lampshade, vases, candles and curtains.  Funny story about the curtains - I accidentally only bought one panel, as I didn't realise there was only one in a pack….so we had to go back the next week to buy another pack and luckily they had just one left in the shop.

The duck egg and metallic cushion covers are both from, the eiffel tower and "follow your dreams" hanging art are from Next (we had these already), the heart candle holder on the table is from Debenhams, and the floral (window ledge) and heart (doorway) fairy lights are from Primark.  

The wall sticker is from Next and I wasn't really sure how it was going to turn out as I've never used transfers like that but I think it's ace.  Apparantly it's completely removable too, but I will be interested to see how that goes when we have to move out…


Onto our feature wall - and I fully admit that I stole this idea from my pal Kirsty as every time I was round at her old flat I loved looking at all her different prints and postcards.  Most of the things on ours are gifts I've given Blair over the years - so that includes the venn diagram poster (a Christmas present from Firebox), Curb Your Enthusiasm, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones prints (all from Living in La La Land).  The mint heart is from The Range, the Drive poster was bought by Blair, and the others are cards we've received either from each other, or friends.  The L and B were made out of left over paper from the DIY map shelves project.  It's all attached to the wall using grey polkadot washi tape from Paperchase. 

We also made some changes to our bathroom but they aren't quite as exciting so I won't bother doing a full post about it.  The main thing we did was sort out storage, adding this cute chest of drawers from The Range and moving all of our toiletries from those baskets into the drawers.  I also switched up the bathmat for a grey one from Primark (and grey hand towels on the back of the door which you can't see).  The toothbrush stand and soap dispenser are both from John Rocha at Debenhams, and the birdcage and reed diffuser are Primark.  The glass tea light holder was a Christmas gift from Blair's mum.


I'm so happy with both rooms now, I think the changes have given the flat a much needed refresh.  The living room in particular seems so much bigger and brighter now - I absolutely love sitting watching TV in the evenings now with all the fairy lights and candles lit, so pretty.  The bathroom was always my most hated room in the house before as it felt so disorganised but just a simple change of adding those drawers has made me feel a lot happier with it.

By the way if you want to see a closer view of any of the changes then check out this video.

What do you think of the changes?  Have I inspired you to do your own home makeover? :)

Autumn/Winter Menu at Tempus

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ever since I attended a summer menu launch at Tempus last year it has become one of my favourite places to go for a fancy meal in Edinburgh, so I was delighted to be invited to try out their new Autumn/Winter menu last month.  

I went along with some of my best blogging chums, on a chilly October evening, for an evening of good food and a much needed catch up.  I'd had the day off work and had spent it doing lots of DIY stuff around the house (post coming soon) so a relaxing evening was definitely in order.

To start I went for wild garlic mushrooms on sourdough toast which was a really decent portion size for a starter.  I remember a similar dish from their summer menu but it was brioche rather than sourdough, and if I'm honest I think that was tastier - although the sourdough was still really nice.  

For my main I went for fish and chips - sometimes you can't beat a classic!  I'm sure I've raved about the chips at Tempus before in my last review by oh my days they are bloody amazing.  Chunky, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.  Perfection.  The fish was also super tasty with the perfect crispy batter (not too greasy) and soft, flaky fish on the inside.  Those mushy peas didn't get touched though because mushy peas are the devil.

I was in two minds about ordering dessert as I felt really full after the starter and main but I gave in as what sort of weirdo would I be if I turned down a free pud?!  I went for a trio of ice creams which sounds really boring but the favours were sooooo good - banana, mango, and a classic creamy vanilla.  YUM.

This is now the 3rd blogger event I've been to at Tempus and the food never fails to disappoint. I'm already trying to think of the next birthday/event coming up that I can use as an excuse to go back!

October Highlights

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I started off the month with a fun night out with some of my favourite girls.  I did an OOTD post with a full rundown of what happened on the night but in short we had dinner at Amicus Apple followed by drinks at a couple of bars on Rose Street and then ending the night at Castle Clvb (which was a bit of fail).

I took part in a bake-off at the Glasgow Cookery School this month which was organised by Joe Bloggers in association with Curry's and Kenwood.  I uploaded a vlog of the day to my youtube channel so check that out if you want to see lots of cake making!  

It was my final work trip to Paris of 2014 and I managed to get a catch up with my friend Michael when I was there which was really lovely.  We went for drinks on A BOAT followed by a yummy dinner near Notre Damme.  Also, highlight of the trip was getting to meet one of the adorable hotel cats - look how cuuuuuuute!!  And yes that is the most unflattering photograph of me ever.

The day I flew back from Paris was B's birthday and I had a surprise Saturday planned for us which involved adventure golf and a fancy dinner at Orocco Pier in South Queensferry (best meal of the year, by far!).

Continuing with the subject of great food, I went to Tempus with my blogger pals to try their new Autumn/Winter menu (post coming soon).  I really love Tempus, my favourite ever blogger event was their summer menu launch last year, and the food was just as good this time around too - definitely recommend giving them a visit.

And finally, the month ended the same way it did last year - in fancy dress at Gillian (and now also Laura)'s flat party.  Halloween baking galore!  I went as Wednesday Addams this time (I was originally planning on going as Mary Poppins but changed my mind purely due to the fact I didn't suit the hat, haha) so basically full on goth.  Seeing myself with black hair was so weird - I actually had properly dyed black hair for a while when I was at uni….not a good decision!  

So that was my October!  I realise we're already halfway through November so I'm a bit late, but never mind.  This month I've already had a trip down to Southampton and London, and took part in a cocktail masterclass but I've also got Laura's birthday night out to come and probably some other dinner & drinks catch ups.  Also I need to start Christmas shopping and party outfit planning - how is it only 40 days until Christmas??!!

DIY Map Shelves

Sunday, 2 November 2014

This is a super easy but really effective DIY project that can totally transform a boring old bookcase.  I got the inspiration for this from The Apprentice of all places - as they have a similar looking shelf in the living room of the contestants house.  

All you need is some glue and printed maps (I used this wrapping paper from Paperchase).  Firstly, remove all the contents from the bookcase (obviously) and remove any shelves that you can (my one has 1 fixed shelf but the rest are movable).  You can then either lie the bookcase on the floor for the glueing, or just do it standing up like I did.

Be sure to measure out the width first to see if you need to cut the sheets at all to fit.  As my paper was striped it made it really easy to cut a straight line.

When it comes to glueing on the paper I found it easier to apply the glue to the bookcase and then stick the maps on top, but if you find it better to glue the sheets first then do that.  For reference, I used an eco-friendly glue called i-Glu which I got from Paperchase but can't seem to find it online ANYWHERE. 

Once the paper is on and the glue has dried, replace the shelves and fill as you want.  


You could obviously use a different backing other than maps - the possibilities are endless really, so if there's a wallpaper or wrapping paper print you love then why not use it to decorate your old bookcase?