The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Another month draws to an end and that means that it's time for another Sassy Books post. Sassy Books is a book club that I run with Charlotte from Colours and Carousels. You can read my very first post about the book club here. Basically, we invite our readers/other bloggers to read a book with us every month. And then on the last Tuesday of every month we share our thoughts on that book by either blogging about the book or tweeting about it using the hashtag #sassybooks. We would love it if as many people as possible could join in! Our book for March was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: a non fiction guide to organisation. We thought this would be a good book to boost some spring cleaning and maybe even develop some good habits along the way. 


Recipe: Banana Fritters

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Now if I love one thing in life, it's dessert. And Chinese food. So it really shouldn't come as a surprise that I really love banana fritters but had never tried making them myself until recently. Normally when I think of banana fritters I think of bananas battered and fried until I came across a recipe for fried bananas (I think it was probably on Buzzfeed but I've not been able to track it down again) which got me into looking around the internet for recipes. I then found a few that involved mashing the bananas up and mixing them into the batter, almost like a banana pancake but minus the eggs and milk. This definitely seemed a lot less intimidating than shallow frying something so I decided to give it a go. I've made these a few times now and have tweaked the recipe to get it just the way I like them. They take about 10 minutes from start to finish and are really tasty. Plus a good way to get rid of any sad looking bananas that are sitting around in the fruit bowl.


Edinburgh Dungeons - Deadly Diseases

Thursday, 24 March 2016
Confession time: I am a wimp. A big ol' wimpy wimp. So despite having grown up right by Edinburgh and having liven in the city centre for the best part of the last two years, I have never ventured down to check out one of the city's most popular tourist attractions: the Edinburgh Dungeons. Last Thursday night they hosted a press night to celebrate the release of their new show, Deadly Diseases, which helps highlight some of Edinburgh's more gruesome history. I attended the event with a few other bloggers and was a little unsure of what to expect but ended up having an awesome night. 


2nd Year Flat - Room Tour

Monday, 21 March 2016
Rooms tours are some  of my favourite blog posts to read, I've done a few before both at home and my room in halls. But as I'm in second year now, I privately rent. It's pretty popular in a lot of other university cities to have a student house for your last few years of uni but in Edinburgh that's pretty much unheard of. There aren't really houses in the main part of Edinburgh and even then, they're mostly ridiculously expensive. I've had this flat since July but only properly moved in during fresher's week. The building is quite modern so unlike a lot of Edinburgh buildings it has lower ceilings which is great as it means it is much easier to heat. And the room is much bigger than my room in halls which is definitely a bonus. However, next year I'll be moving into a different flat. There are a few things about this flat that annoy me(mainly kitchen space) and I've found the letting agency to be really unhelpful. So I am actually really looking forward to moving out of this flat. I don't know what is is but I've just never felt as settled here as I did in halls. Maybe that's something to do with my flat being my first real place that was 'mine'. 

One of my favourite things about living in this flat is having a double bed. Whilst I really enjoyed getting the 'halls experience' there's just something so great about being able to starfish out in the middle of the bed. I also bought a memory foam mattress topper so it is so, so comfy. My aztec bedsheets are from good old Primark and are reversible which is always a plus! 


Tapas for One

Friday, 18 March 2016

Hello everyone. I was recently challenged by Alpha Rooms to cook up a Spanish storm in the kitchen. Alpha Rooms are an online travel agents that allows you to book hotels, flights etc.  They also have a great travel blog that contains lots of information about different destinations. Using this selection of Spanish recipes I got to work on designing myself a tapas meal but for one. I do love to cook but honestly I very rarely cook for others as it can make me feel very nervous. I have travelled to Spain a lot  when I was younger but I was such a picky eater that I never really tried very much Spanish food. It's only now that I'm older that I appreciate different cuisines a lot more. When I was in Amsterdam I tried a few things that I wouldn't normally go for but was pleasantly surprised by. Lets face it, the locals know it well. And on my trip to North America I plan on eating lots of great, local food as well! I've been to a few nice tapas restaurants in the UK and my favourite dish is definitely patatas bravas. Cubes of roasted potato with a spicy tomato  sauce. I also really love chorizo dishes in tapas restaurants so I thought I would combine the two by adding fried chorizo to the tomato sauce. It was really tasty and I would definitely make it again. 


Brunch at Southpour

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Last weekend I was invited to Southpour, along with my fellow Edinburgh bloggers, for a bloggers brunch on the day before they opened. Southpour is a new bar/restaurant on the corner of Newington Road and East Preston Street. This area holds a special area in my heart as it's where I first moved to when I came to Edinburgh. I was actually the first to arrive and when I walked in, despite it being empty, the place already had such a cool atmosphere. The decor is a mix of lots of different materials, colours and patterns and I loved how well everything worked together. I've gone to blogger events in restaurants before but never have I seen so many people taking so many photos of the decor. It must have looked pretty funny to everyone walking past!

A few of the brunch dishes were brought out and we all helped ourselves to a little bit of everything. The dishes are all very varied and the presentation was really lovely. What I tried was absolutely delicious and I was particularly impressed with their venison bridies. I've never actually tried venison before and I didn't really expect to like it but I loved it! I only really nibbled on everything else but everything was really tasty. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try some of the french toast but it looked amazing and I would definitely go back just to try that! They also had a bloody mary bar set up but to be honest I'm not a big fan so I went for an orange juice instead. The main food menu also sounds really nice and as they have 50% off the food bill for their first two weeks of business I'll definitely be swinging by to check it out! 

Thank you so much to the lovely team at Southpour for a great afternoon! 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Lush Spa Edinburgh: Tales of Bath

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Hello everyone. Recently I was invited down to the Lush Spa on Princes Street in Edinburgh for an exclusive event launching their Tales of Bath spa treatment. The Edinburgh Lush Spa has been open for a few years now and whilst it is tempting I've never gotten round to actually having a treatment there. So I was really looking forward to seeing the spa and learning some more about the new treatment. Tales of Bath was inspired by folklore surrounding the city's ancient baths. 

When we arrived at the store some nibbles had been laid out(always a plus) for us to snack on as we had a look around the store. I haven't properly had a nosy around Lush in a long time and there are actually a ton of new products out that I hadn't realised had been released. I'm definitely going back for a wee shop. We were then taken down for a tour of the spa itself. It's amazing how much it transports you. Hidden under the busy shopping street is the most relaxing spa decorated like an English country kitchen. They have really relaxing background music playing, you could literally be anywhere in the world and not know it. We all sat down with a cup of tea and were told the story and inspiration for the treatment. Then walked through the treatment rooms to see how it works. Tales of Bath starts with a seated body massage whilst listening to a really lovely poem written and performed by a 17 year old boy(on CD not in person, obviously). Then you are left to bathe in private. There's a special bath bomb designed for this which adds something special. The treatment is finished off with a full body, side lying massage. It looked so soothing!

Afterwards we were all given a hand and arm massage using the Therapy massage bar which is used in the treatment. This felt absolutely amazing and definitely helped me feel even more relaxed. We were all given one of the massage bars and a Yoga bath bomb in a little goodie bag so I'm looking forward to using it on myself at home. I was really impressed by the spa and how knowledgable the staff were about everything. I'm definitely going to go back and try out a full treatment for myself!

Thank you so much to the staff at Lush for a fantastic evening!

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Big North American Adventure

Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Hello everyone. If you follow me on Instagram(please do!) then you'll know that I've booked a pretty exciting trip for this summer. I've never left Europe before but on the 16th of May I'll be getting on a plane in Edinburgh by myself and travelling to Canada. I'm flying from Edinburgh to Dublin and then from Dublin to Toronto. My first transatlantic flight will be with Aer Lingus(who provided me with the photo below). I've heard pretty good things about their service and I'm weirdly looking forward to the roughly seven hour flight! I'll be staying with family in and around Toronto. My main plans are to see the major tourist attractions, spend time with family and travel down the see Niagara Falls. I'll be there for 8 days and leaving on the 24th after celebrating Victoria Day(a Canadian holiday). 


Where To Eat: Amsterdam

Thursday, 3 March 2016
One of my favourite things about going to a new city is getting to try out all the new restaurants or cuisines. Because we were staying in a hostel we ate out for lunch and dinner every day. So I've got quite a few places to talk about. I don't really like writing restaurant reviews of restaurants abroad as generally they aren't helpful to the majority of my readers. But I thought it would be fun to write mini reviews of all the places we ate as a sort of 'where to eat guide' for Amsterdam. I read a lot of posts like this before we went away and found them really handy for planning the trip. I am an omnivore but the friend I was with was vegan so if you are a vegan and wondering where to eat in Amsterdam then know that there are vegan options at all of these places apart from crepes and waffles!

Hoi Tin, Zeedijk 122-124
Amsterdam has it's own 'China Town' region that contains an absolute tonne of Chinese restaurants but also quite a few from other asian cuisines. This is the restaurant that we ate at on the first night after reading some pretty glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. We shared some veggie spring rolls to start which came with a lovely dipping sauce. For mains I had fried rice with chicken and prawns and Morag had a stewed bean curd and vegetable dish. The food was very nice but we weren't totally blown away by it. It was very reasonably priced however!