Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Making Cocktails with Revolution

Revolution is bar chain that graces every great UK city. With an extensive cocktail menu, 30 flavours of vodka and a well-priced food menu: there's something for everyone. I'm very familiar with the Edinburgh branch as they sponsor the Chemistry Society so I've spent many a boozy night there with friends. However, I was recently invited along to a blogger's cocktail class at their Glasgow branch. I've looked at their cocktail masterclasses before as a potential birthday idea and I've seen a few people go to them for hen parties. 

When we arrived we were greeted with a bubblegum daiquiri - a fun blue cocktail topped with flying saucer sweeties. This cocktail is really sweet and made with their bubblegum vodka. If you've ever been to Revs before you'll know that they have lots of flavoured vodkas that are made in Manchester. We were introduced to our barman for the night, Jim, and started learning about the history of Revolution and all about the cocktails. 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Meltmongers, Edinburgh

I've always been a big fan of the humble toastie. But when a grilled cheese sandwich store opened up in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh, I have to admit that I didn't quite see the appeal. Toasties are something I've always made for myself at home so I didn't quite get the appeal of going out for one. 

Well, ladies and gentleman, this blog post is about how I was WRONG. 

One very (rainy) day my friends and I decided to go to Meltmongers for lunch after our lab. After walking there (quite a distance from the science campus I'll have you know), we were so happy to escape into somewhere dry! I ordered a cheese and bacon toastie and some fries. The toastie was absolutely delicious! Unfortunately, I found the bacon to be a bit too fatty for my liking so I'd probably order a plain cheese one if I were to go again. So rich!


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

I'm Moving To The US!

There's a US visa in my passport and a one-way flight to JFK with my name on it. Tomorrow I'll be leaving Scotland to move to the US for 12 months. I've mentioned it before but I thought I'd write a proper blog post about it. I'm moving to undertake an industrial placement as part of my degree so I'll have a full-time job for the next year. I'll be living in the New England area of the US, on the east coast, and will hopefully get to do a lot of travelling whilst I'm there.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Topolabamba, Edinburgh

I am always on the hunt for two things. 
1. New places to go for food in Edinburgh. 
2. Fish tacos. 
So when I was searching for somewhere to have lunch with my friend Kathryn, Topolabamba ticked all the boxes. Situated on Lothian Road, it brings fun, tapas/street-style Mexican food along with more substantial dishes and fresh margaritas. We visited at lunch time and discovered that they have an express lunch menu of three options from a selection for £9.95. That's a great bargain so we decided to order from that. 

The lunchtime deal included fish tacos so I had to order them! They did come with a three chilli warning and I'm glad these did as they were spicy. The tacos were fresh and delicious but the chilli in the coleslaw made them very fiery. In the end, I had to scrap the coleslaw off as I couldn't handle the heat. I still really enjoyed them, however! The fish was lovely and fresh, with really crispy batter. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Exploring Riga

Considering I'd already booked Berlin and Rome, it was a bit cheeky for me to be looking at more holidays. But seeing as I'm moving to the US for a year, I wanted to make the most of my time in Europe (whilst I still have EU citizenship and easy border crossing!). So when Becky and I started talking about maybe doing a trip together, I just couldn't help but book another holiday. We settled on Riga as we both wanted to go to a new country and it was easy for us both to get to. I went to Latvia with low expectations but it ended up being one of the best trips I'd ever been on...

We arrived too early to check into our hotel so we left our bags and headed out in search of lunch. We'd already spied a cafe on Instagram that served delicious looking pancakes so our minds were pretty made up. Street Fries Kitchen was a good choice! I ordered American pancakes with syrup, bananas and fruit whilst Becky opted for a chocolate and banana pancake. Our meals were both delicious and set us up for a day of exploring. And at only €5.50 each, we considered it to be a bargain!


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral Hotel

As a good few of my friends are graduating this year, we wanted to celebrate the end of their time at university in style. Plans were made to have afternoon tea at The Balmoral Hotel, one of Edinburgh's most prestigious hotels. Afternoon tea is taken seriously here, it's five courses long, and is a real treat. We were a group of 9 in total, some who had had afternoon tea here before and some novices like myself.

The first option is to pick from the extensive selection of teas and coffees - but don't worry, they're unlimited so you can try as many as you'd like. I started off with the Royal Scottish Balmoral Blend - a blend of Assam and Ceylon teas. Essentially a classic breakfast tea to start me off and then swapped to white peach with flowers after scones for a lighter, fruitier option.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rome Travel Diary

Due to industrial placements and study abroad, my group of friends is getting flung around the globe next year, from Connecticut to Taiwan. We wanted to have one last hurrah which was when we started to plan a holiday. We settled on Rome as it would have the perfect combo of sunshine, sights to see and of course - Italian food! And what a fantastic trip it was, a few days after I returned from Berlin we went off to the Italian capital for 3 nights.

After we arrived at the apartment we were renting we decided to just walk around the city. We popped by the Trevi Fountain for a look and I have never seen a tourist attraction so busy, it was absolutely crazy. I didn't even get to throw coins into it as it was so crowded I couldn't actually get to the front! We also popped by the Colosseum for a look around the outside before we visited in the morning. After a quick pizza dinner, it was an early night seeing as we had to get up at 4 am for our flight and were all pretty tired!


Sunday, 4 June 2017

April & May Reading Wrap Up

As I was very busy with exams towards the end of April I decided to lump my April and May reading wrap-ups together. So I apologise if you missed last month's post but hey - extra long one today! Now that my exams are over I've had much more time for reading which feels like a real treat. I've also been trying to finish all my unread books before I head to the US so I'm racing against the clock. I read a good few books over the past two months, some of which I really enjoyed! 

Spectacles by Sue Perkins
I love Sue Perkins so I was really excited to read her autobiography. And it didn't disappoint! It was funny, personal and a great read. What I liked the most about this was that Sue didn't take a chronological approach per se, but instead selected topics to write about. There were a few bits that didn't pique my interest so this made it a bit easier to skim over them. There's also a pretty big part on GBBO so you get to find out some fun behind the scenes secret. I loved this book but I wish I'd gotten the audiobook as Sue narrates it herself! 5/5 stars.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Berlin Travel Diary

The day after I finished up my exams, I packed my suitcase and got on a plane to Berlin. In advance of my upcoming US move, I wanted to make the most of my short summer holiday and see as much of Europe as I possibly could before moving. I travelled with my best friend from high school, Sarah, and we stayed in the gorgeous Charlottenburg area of Berlin. Sarah and I took German class together in high school, so it seemed quite fitting that we travel to Germany for the first time together with each other. 


Sunday, 28 May 2017

So CoCo, Inverness

When visiting Inverness there was one place I knew I had to visit. After recommendations from both Lucy and Anastasia, I had my heart set on So Coco, a chocolate based cafe. We actually went for breakfast. Churros for breakfast? We were on holiday! 

We arrived about 10 am after having a short walk through the city centre and it was very quiet. After bagging a window seat we sat down to peruse their menu. We opted to go for the churros for two platter which comes with 6 churros and two dipping pots. We selected white chocolate and milk chocolate. The two pots were more than enough and the chocolate was so rich and creamy. The churros were excellent but missing the cinnamon which I thought was a bit unusual. I ended up completely covered in chocolate and icing sugar - can't take me anywhere! 


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

York in a Day

I'm getting a bit nostalgic about leaving the UK and have been trying to make the most of my time left here. That means I've got a few places I still want to see. York has always really stuck out to me for being a really old and historic city, one that I definitely wanted to explore. It's only 2.5 hours from Edinburgh by train so when I saw some cheap tickets going I decided to book myself a spontaneous day trip! A day was long enough to walk around the city and see the sites but a little longer would be needed if you want to see museums etc. I loved that York was so accessible for a day trip but at the same time somewhere you could definitely spend more time too. 

My train arrived in York around 12 o'clock after a slight delay due to an accident. I'd had lunch on the train so when I met my friend Emma we headed straight into the city to have a good old look around. Emma is from a village really close by so she was an excellent tour guide to have! York is such a small city so it was a really nice one to just walk around. Can easily see everything on foot without having to walk more than maybe 15 minutes. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Books To Give You Wanderlust

One of the things that I love about reading is that it can transport you anywhere: to a different city, a different country, even a different galaxy. But sometimes that doesn't quite seem enough. Sometimes after reading a book I feel overpowered with feelings of wanderlust. Sometimes it's not enough to simply read about it: I'm inspired to travel there myself. Here are some books on my shelves that have filled me with wanderlust.

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a bit of a weird one to include but stay with me here. This book follows two children during WW2 - one in France and one in Germany. The French girl is blind but has been built a model of Paris by her guardian. The way that things are described in this book is so rich and deep as they are using descriptions rather than sight. Even though this book is set in wartime I found myself daydreaming of long walks through Parisian streets and idyllic French life. 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cross Highlands Road Trip

On my recent trip to Inverness and Skye, we saw some amazing scenery. Outside of the cities, there is so much to see just driving around. The roads are a bit twisty but that means that you really get to go along with the landscape. We literally went from heavy snow to blazing sunshine in the space of a weekend. I don't think I've heard of anything so Scottish! 

We stopped to take these snowy photos when driving to Inverness. The snow got really heavy not long after this but was so beautiful. We didn't have to go anywhere special to get a view like this either, this was literally at the side of the main road between Edinburgh and Inverness. We had pulled into a little lay-by so we could stretch our legs after we had been in the car for so long. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Breakfast at The Huxley, Edinburgh

I am a woman on a mission. Despite having lived in Edinburgh for almost three years, I've tried very few spots for breakfast/brunch. And I want to change that! So an invitation to try out the breakfast menu at The Huxley was the perfect thing to find in my inbox. Located right at the West end of Princes Street, The Huxley is in a fantastic central location in Edinburgh. With modern, cool decor and a great atmosphere it makes a great spot for a meal. You may remember my previous review of dinner at The Huxley. I enjoyed my dinner there so much that I had real high hopes for the breakfast menu. Lucy and I headed down on a sunny Friday morning for a catch up over breakfast (or brunch, whatever you want to call it). 

Normally if I'm having brunch I'll get some fresh orange juice or a cup of tea. But Lucy and I were drawn to the fresh smoothies. Lucy chose a raspberry based smoothie and my smoothie of choice contained carrot and pineapple. They were absolutely delicious. Very refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to the brunch. You couldn't tell the smoothie had carrot in it, great way to sneak in some veggies. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Isle of Skye Travel Diary

I've always wanted to visit the Isle of Skye so in a spontaneous decision we decide to book one night there for our weekend road trip. We booked this air bnb which was actually beautiful but in the south of the island. We opted to drive rather than get the ferry but if you do take the ferry this is a perfect location! We arrived on the island about 2 and drove straight to the fairy pools, stopping to take photos on the way of course.

To get to the fairy pools you park up and walk from there. It's a very short walk and only takes about 20 minutes but involves a lot of hills and stepping stones so maybe not the best if you aren't too steady on your feet. The photos I've taken don't really do them justice but they are so beautiful. The pools consist of a series of waterfalls and pools of the bluest water. It's supposed to be good luck to swim in the pools but considering it was so cold we gave it a miss. We did watch one brave man take the plunge however!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Switching to Mac: 2 Years On

When I first changed from PC to Mac I wrote this post about switching to Mac. I didn't expect it to be popular but it's slowly grown into one of my most popular posts and I get a lot of questions asking about how I've gotten on. I decided to write this follow-up post for that reason! Long story short: I love my MacBook. I don't care if this is the 'dark side'. I love it and I'm not going back. Despite being almost two years old the laptop still runs like brand new. I can see myself having it for a good few years yet. Yes, the transition is a bit odd - it's the little differences that really through off - but in the end, it's worth it. This is how I made the transition as smooth as possible!

Google Is Your Friend
When I first got a Mac I was very confused. Everything seemed so different and I just kept thinking - what have I done?! However, I swiftly realised that there was an answer to every question I had and all I had to do was Google it. Seriously, not matter how stupid and small the question may seem - someone else has already asked it and the answer is out there waiting for you. 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

How To Get Rid of an Instagram Shadowban

The Instagram community appears to be in a total frenzy at the moment, with bot outings and shadowbans galore. I've never used a bot before but unfortunately, I was shadowbanned a few weeks ago. Thankfully I managed to overcome it and I'm back on track. Instagram shadowbans are really designed to catch out spam accounts but unfortunately, real people get caught up in them too. I've been reading up on them so I'm sharing all the information I've learnt and hopefully letting you know how you can solve the problem if you've been affected yourself. 

So what is an Instagram Shadowban?

This is the name given to Instagram blocking your post(s) from appearings on hashtags or locations. It makes it really hard to have your photos found by new people. Essentially, if you're attempting to grow your following then it is a real life nightmare.

Why do they occur?

There also doesn't seem to be a set of rules that will get you shadowbanned but here are some things that people believe have gotten them banned:
  • Repetitively using the same hashtags.
  • Repetitively using too many hashtags.
  • Putting hashtags in the comments, not the caption.
  • Using some sort of automated bot to like photos/follow accounts.
  • Bulk replying to comments.
  • Using Instagram pods.
  • Liking or engaging with 'dodgy content' like porn etc.
Personally, I think my ban occurred because of using the same hashtags. But generally, anything that could be considered as 'spammy' behaviour is looked upon disfavourably by Instagram 

How to find out if you've been shadowbanned:

The best way to find out if you've been shadowbanned is to ask an account that doesn't follow you to check if your photos are appearing in the hashtags. If not, then you've probably been shadowbanned. It'll be easy enough to find someone to do this on a blogger's FB group or by asking on Twitter.

Also normally if your photo is appearing on hashtags then your photos will be liked by people who don't follow you. If the only people liking your photos are your followers then this can also really easily hint at a shadowban.

There have been various websites going around that can apparently check for you but I'm not sure how accurate they really are. 


Sunday, 30 April 2017

5 Types of Travelling I Want To Try

With exam stress looming, my mind can't help but wander to what I'd rather be doing instead - travelling. I've got two trips booked after my exams - Rome and Berlin and I cannot wait to get away. That'll bring my total up to 12 countries. Not bad for a 20 year old on a budget right? Most of my trips are very similar: short European city breaks with friends. Which I totally enjoy. However, as I travel more, the more adventurous I start to feel and the more ambitious I get. There's so many different ways that you can travel and so many I'd like to try for myself. 

Organised Tours
When I finish my placement year next June I have 30 days to stay in the US before my visa effectively kicks me out. I've been thinking about what I want to do with those 30 days and an organised tour seems like my best bet. It takes the stress away from planning the trip and it also allows me to see a lot of different states in a short amount of time. I'll be working on the east coast so a tour of the west coast would allow me to see more of a different part of the country. 


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Heads and Tales, Edinburgh

One of my favourite things about Edinburgh is that there is no shortage of cosy, intimate bars. Huddled away on Rutland Place is Heads and Tales, an underground gin bar with an amazing cocktail menu. Charlotte was invited along and I came as her plus one. We hadn't seen each other in over 6 months so we were well in need of a catch-up. The low lighting, lit fire and comfy chairs made this bar the perfect place to chat away whilst trying out some fantastic drinks.  

Heads and Tales offer a GIY cocktail - gin it yourself cocktail.

Step 1: Pick a glass.
Step 2: Pick a gin.
Step 3: Pick a flavour.

I chose a rocks glass, Hayman Old Tom gin and cardamom flavouring. I wanted something unusual! It was a great choice as it worked so well. Charlotte opted for an orange blossom cocktail and really enjoyed hers too.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Inverness Travel Diary

Third year has been a very stressful time for me and as I kept finding myself saying down the phone to my mum 'I just want a break from uni for a while'. And so an impromptu weekend away occurred. We drove from Edinburgh to Inverness on the Friday afternoon. A 3-hour drive that ended up closer to 5 due to roadworks. When we arrived it was raining heavily so we checked into our hotel and headed straight back out for dinner. Starving! After doing a quick google I found a highly rated Italian restaurant called Little Italy and we decided to go there.  The food was beautiful and the restaurant was really cosy. After that, we went back to the hotel and essentially crashed as we were so tired. 


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Caffeine & Cake

I was originally going to title this post: Coffee & Cake. But seeing as I don't actually like coffee, I felt it would be a tad unjust as I don't actually know if any of these places sell good coffee. But what I've gathered here are bakeries, coffee shops etc that are the perfect places to go if you're looking for somewhere for a 'coffee and a catch up' with a friend.

August 21

I first discovered this place as it's located between Edinburgh's central campus and the science campus (AKA my second home). A little bit off the beaten track but worth the visit. I stopped in one day on my way home with a friend and we had some tea and a little tart each. My choice was banoffee and my friend went for the classic strawberry. They were so beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. Because it's not in the centre of town it's pretty quiet so would be an ideal spot if you're looking to get some work done.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

5 Cities I'd Love To Visit

I love city breaks. I've never really been one for a pool holiday, I have a short attention span, and it wasn't until I started university that I started travelling for myself. On a city break, I can always find something to catch my eye. I've been really privileged in how much travelling I've been able to do over the last few years. But I've still got my eye on a few cities when that I'd love to explore. After getting my scratch-off map for Christmas, I'm obsessed with travelling to as many countries as possible. I have trips planned to Berlin and Rome for the end of may. After that, I've ticked off most of Western Europe. My travel plans now are set on exploring Eastern Europe and different continents with these beautiful cities. 


I don't normally associate European city breaks with sunshine but Dubrovnik allows you to take in the best of both worlds. Plus EasyJet have recently opened up a new route flying from Edinburgh so I can't really say no. After seeing Charlotte talking about her day trip there on her recent visit to Croatia I'm really keen to go and see the city for myself. It looks very historic and so, so beautiful. Another great thing about Dubrovnik is that you can go on day trips to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Perfect opportunity to tick off a few countries in the one trip. 

Photo credit: Colours and Carousels


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Cocktails

I've never really been a big drinker but I do enjoy the odd gossip over a cocktail or two with friends. Luckily for me, Edinburgh has an amazing selection of bars that offer amazing an unique cocktail menus. Ranging from bargain drinks to more high class treats there's something for every taste and every budget. I've summed up a few of my favourite cocktail bars here but there are so many more. What I love about Edinburgh is that new places are constantly opening so there's always somewhere fresh and exciting to visit. 

Panda & Sons
Panda & Sons is one of Edinburgh's worst kept secrets. On arrival at the location, this bar looks like a barber shop. Upon entering and passing through a bookshelf doorway, you'll find yourself in an underground bar. The atmosphere here is a bit higher class and the place is just indescribably cool. The cocktails are a little bit on the pricier side but they're worth it for the unique ingredients and the atmosphere. I'd recommend the Robinson Crusoe. Somewhere you just have to see for yourself.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Books Set in Scotland

When I think about the sort of books that I want to read more of it makes me realise that I'd actually like to read more fiction novels set in my home country: Scotland. I've read and loved a lot of books set here but I'd like to read a wider variety of Scottish literature. When I collate all the books that I've read that are set in Scotland there's a running theme: murder/mystery. Not entirely sure what it says about us (I'm fairly sure the murder rate is pretty low) but I do love a good murder mystery novel.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
This classic heroin tale is back in the spotlight after the release of the second film. I'm a fan of Irvine Welsh's work. If you're not familiar with the Scottish accent then you may struggle with this book as it's written phonetically. I even have to read it aloud to myself at points and this is how people speak where I'm from! That being said this book is packed with action and is really hard hitting. I'd really recommend it as a great intro to Scottish literature. 


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Dessert

There's something so great about treating yourself to something sweet. Luckily, Edinburgh has a great selection of places to head to if it's time for dessert and you're craving something sweet. From ice cream to crepes, from smoothies to waffles. There's something for everyone.

Photo Credit: Elevator Musik
Mary's Milk Bar
Mary's is famous amongst Edinburgh residents and for good reason. This little gelato shop has some of the most inventive and exciting flavours that I've ever seen. Hot cross bun, baked fig and black sesame as some of the amazing flavours that are on offer. The flavours constantly change so a trip to Mary's is always unique. Located in the Grassmarket you can grab a cone and enjoy the view of Edinburgh Castle. If you don't fancy an ice cream cone you could sample their handmade chocolate or even indulge in the ultimate treat: a hot chocolate ice cream float. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

March Reading Wrap Up

March was an odd reading month for me. I didn't read at all for the first two weeks of the month. Then I totally devoured a book on holiday and totally got back into the swing of things. I ended up in a bit of a rut where I was reading lots of books at once but have managed to finish a few and will get around to finishing the rest of them in April. 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
This poetry book is very popular at the moment. It's easy to understand why as the writing is so rich and emotive. This was the first poetry book I've read in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only downside is that because there's very little on each page making it such a quick read. It only took me half an hour to read cover to cover which seemed so fast. It is a bit of an investment for the time it actually takes to read. However, I picked this up using Waterstones points so wasn't actually any money out of my pocket. 5/5 stars. 


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Burgers

Burgers are the new trendy food. So for my next Edinburgh Edit I'm discussing my favourite burger joints in the city. New ones are springing up left right and centre but these are a few of my tried and tested favourites. What I really look for in a good burger place is a) variety b) flavour and c) value for money. It's quite common for restaurants to disappear in Edinburgh almost as soon as they've opened but all of these places have been going for at least two years which is a real sign of success here.

Bread Meats Bread
I literally never stop banging on about this place but I've been a few times and I think it gets better each time. I mean, where else in the city can you get a burger that's served inside a donut? Bread Meats Bread serves up a really inventive burger menu and even have a good few veggie options too. Their side dishes are also delicious (maple syrup sweet potato fries HELLO) and an actual Canadian has told me that their poutine is the real deal. 


Sunday, 26 March 2017

My Favourite 'Self-Help' Books

A few months ago if you had asked me if I was a fan of self-help books then I would have run screaming for the hills. But I've read a few of them over the last few weeks. Maybe it's because I'm feeling a bit down or maybe it's because I've just picked the good ones. But regardless, I've been really enjoying reading them. When it comes to self-help books what I'm looking for is really a little motivational kick up the ass and I really feel like these books have given me that. I'm trying to be less of a 'book snob' and enjoying reading out of my regular genre which has led to me finding these great books.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight - This book caught my eye so quickly. Outside of my blog I'm pretty foul-mouthed (and not ashamed to say so) and I was drawn to this book because it seemed a bit more light hearted and fun than others. It really helped put a lot of things into perspective. I've been focusing really hard on doing less at the moment because I think that over the last few months I've tried to do way too much and just totally burnt myself out. This book helped me to think of possible commitments in a more detached way and how to prioritise things for myself. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of her second book. 


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Problem With Scientists On TV

This blog post was inspired by a drunken conversation that I had with Beth in the basement of a Sports bar at midnight on a Friday night. But bare with me because I've got a pretty good point here...

We were talking about nerdy TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and the way that they portray the characters. Whilst I enjoy the show, I think there are a lot of problems with the way that they portray scientists and especially the female characters. There are a few shows that do this poorly but I'm going to focus on The Big Bang Theory in this post as it's the most popular.

When you think of a scientist, characters like Sheldon Cooper often come to mind. Which doesn't really help our image. When people think of scientists they also think of people who are socially awkward, arrogant and unfashionable. Which simply isn't true or fair.

Let's look at the female characters in the show. Amy, Bernadette, and Leslie are all quite frankly pretty weird. Likeable characters in their own right but not without odd and often unrealistic quirks. When compared to Penny, they nowhere near as 'desirable'. A show like The Big Bang Theory has such a wide audience and they really could be doing a little more to help portray the idea that all types of women can be scientists. So much work is being done to get young women interested in STEM subjects but a show like this stamps in a silent but strong message.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Brunch, Edinburgh

I'm always keen to meet new blogging friends so when Lucy from Fed in Ed asked if I'd like to go and review a brunch with her I jumped at the chance. We went to Brunch on George IV Bridge for a bite to eat and the chance to talk about Edinburgh, uni and of course, food blogging. 

We visited at 10am on a Friday morning. It wasn't too busy when we arrived so we were able to grab a window seat (the blogger's dream) but it was quite busy when we left so an early morning meeting was ideal! We sat down to peruse the menu and my eyes were instantly drawn to the pancakes... what can I say? I have quite the sweet tooth. Whilst Lucy opted to go for eggs benedict. We both decided to have some orange juice with our brunch which was served in adorable little mason jars with handles. 


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Scottish Identity and #indyref2

I remained silent on my political opinions around the time of the first Scottish independence referendum. September 2014 was a really big month for me, it included moving out for the first time, finding my own feet and starting university. It wasn't a time for blogging and quite frankly I was a little scared of opening the can of worms and blogging about politics. It seems that it's almost impossible to do so without attracting some form of anonymous trolling. 

But the thing is... I regret my vote against Scottish Independence. 


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Element Edinburgh

Tucked off on Rose St is a lovely and cosy bar called Element. With tartan interiors, cosy lighting and a Scottish menu it's quite the place to escape from the bustling shopping streets for a bite to eat and a drink. I was invited to come and try their spring menu so I went along with my friend Sarah on Wednesday night to try it out. We absolutely loved the decor which we admired whilst we siped on 'Fairytale of New York' cocktails and talked about our plans for the next year. The menu has some lovely choices but we knew almost straight away what we wanted.

To start with I opted for the tempura king prawns with Thai mayo. And can I start off by saying that I was totally blown away by the huge portion size? The tempura batter was light and crisp - just as it should be. The prawns were so tasty and the Thai mayo was a delicious, slightly spicy, accompaniment. It was a lovely start and definitely something I'd reorder if I were to visit again.

Sarah's choice was the golden beetroot and goat's cheese mousse which comes served with savoury granola and pickled walnuts. This was such a beautiful dish. Not only was it really thought out in its presentation but there were so many different flavours and textures that worked together so well.


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

5 Bad Ass Female Comedians on Netlfix

Today is International Women's Day - one of the best days of the year. This year I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite female stand-up comedians. Comedy is something that is really heavily dominated by men. When I first started watching comedians on Netflix (there are so many it's great) I was blown away with the selection but a little disappointed in the lack of women. Over the last few months they've added lots of female comedians and a lot of them are great.

So to celebrate International Women's Day I'm sharing with you some of my favourite female stand-up comedians that you can watch on Netflix. I think it's really important to be watching them and rating them highly because it says to Netflix 'Hi we want more of this please!'.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong's Baby Cobra set on Netflix was the first female lead comedy I watched on Netflix and I still think she's the funniest. I honestly watched this about three times on repeat because I just loved it so much. She has a very adult sense of humour and isn't afraid to make some pretty outrageous jokes which I love. 


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Blogging, Friends & Food

Last week I had one of the busiest days in a long time: full of food, blogging friends and good laughs. Annoyingly I didn't have my camera to hand that day so today's post is a mixture of photos taken using my phone and other people's cameras (I'm like a magpie). I'm going to do a quick run through of all the places that I visited and what I got up to at each place. It was a really busy time but it reminded me of what I love about blogging and how grateful I am for the opportunities it's brought into my life. 

Steak On Stones

I got to meet the lovely Sarah recently as she came to visit Edinburgh for a few days. We met at Steak on Stones for dinner one night. It's one of my favourite restaurants and was just as amazing the second time around. On a Tuesday night, they have a steak & shake offer. Steak, a side, a sauce and a milkshake for £17.50. We really enjoyed our food and the evening passed so quickly as we were just chatting away. We then made our way home and I had to get to sleep as the next day was my super busy day. The restaurant has a really expensive and classy feel to it and it's such a lovely place to go for a little treat. 


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February Reading Wrap Up

Despite being the shortest month of the year, I managed to get a good amount of reading into February. I really find that reading before bed is the best way for me to unwind and relax before sleeping so I've been trying really hard to keep it up. I've read some really good books this month which are mostly unintentionally centred around mental health. So this has been an extremely eye-opening month for me! I started a few books this month that I didn't finish so my goals for March are to finish these and carry on with the books from my most recent book haul.

Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon - After reading, and loving, The Wrong Knickers I was very excited to read Bryony Gordon's second novel. With a slightly darker perspective, this is a book about the author's lifelong battle with mental illness. Despite that, it's actually a pretty funny book and is eye opening without being too heavy. There were a few issues that I had with The Wrong Knickers but this book really puts them into perspective. I'd recommend this book to anyone suffering from poor mental health or anyone who wants to know more about what it's like to suffer (ie everyone). I gave this one 5/5 stars.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Things I Do To De-Stress

- Prioritise my to do list.
- Drink a lot of tea.
- Or alternatively hot chocolate. My favourite is currently a chocolate orange hot chocolate made with almond milk and topped with marshmallows for that extra bit of self-indulgence. 
- Take a walk by myself.
- Phone my grandmother. 
- Clean/tidy my surroundings.
- Listen to some fun, upbeat music. Dance around the room.
- Do the fastest 3 things on my to-do list because this makes me feel motivated.
- Go for a shower and change my bed sheets so I feel fresh and ready to face whatever bothers me.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Light a candle.
- Turn off my phone.
- Swim.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What Does It Mean To Be A Unique Blogger?

When I started my blog, 5 years ago, the blogging community was growing. And it still is. But now it's much, much bigger. Trying to get your own blog noticed can feel like being stuck in the middle of a massive crowd. And I guess the only way to stand out is to be original, to not be like the others. But can a blog really be 100% original?


Sunday, 19 February 2017

My Favourite Instagram Accounts

Instagram. Love it or hate it, it's almost an essential part of blogging these days. As fun as it is, it can be too easy to get swept up in all the number counting and stat obsessing that comes alongside trying to grow and brand another social media channel. I'm trying to take it back to the basics with my Instagram account again and make it more fun and reflective of my day to day life. I'm not a fan of pristine all white feeds and even if they're popular, they just aren't me. What I like are feeds that are unique, full of colour and let a personality shine through. I thought I'd write this post so that I could share some of my favourite Instagrammers in the hope that you find a new favourite and to remind myself what it is that I love about the accounts that I follow (someone remind me to have a clear out).

Shawna is an Edinburgh based Instagrammer and posts beautiful photographs of the city. It's nice to see something that's familiar pop up on my feed every now and again! I know that I'll really appreciate her photographs when I move to America in June as it will be a little reminder of home.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Treat Yo Self Book Haul

After Christmas and my birthday, I had a few vouchers burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to make a pretty big book haul to fill up my to-be-read pile and get myself excited to read lots of new books. These are a mixture of some books I've wanted to read for a while and some ones that I saw and bought on impulse. And of course being a #superfamousbookbloggers (that hashtag will catch on) I have to blog about it. I'll be reviewing these over the next few months in my monthly reading wrap-ups so consider this to be a sneak peak.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax - This book has been floating around the blogosphere and I was really interested as I certainly am very frazzled at the moment. It talks about how stress is a human invention and gives some tips on how to get rid of it. At the moment, I'll take what I can get. I also recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Giving a Fuck so I guess you could say I'm on a self-help book streak.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Recipe: Roasted Veggie Couscous

Starting university with minimal cooking skills was a pretty daunting reality. A few years on, I consider myself to a be a pretty decent cook. However, I won't turn down the opportunity to learn some new skills. Recently the Co-op has joined up the guys from the YouTube channel Sorted Food to create the Now Cook It website. Which teaches basic cooking techniques and also provides a wide selection of recipes to put them to the test.

I cracked out the roasted vegetable couscous that was absolutely delicious. The recipe serves two as a meal but we shared it as a side as part of a larger meal. I was cooking for my family who generally like to scoff at my cooking ability but everyone was really impressed with how it turned out and my gran even took the leftovers home with her for lunch the next day. This dish struck me as being particularly student-y as it's meat free (cheap) and also works really well cold so would make for a great packed lunch. The Co-op also offer a student discount if you have an NUS card so take advantage of it! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Living More Ethically

Almost 4 years ago I vowed on this blog to go cruelty-free. I wanted to stop using beauty products that are tested on animals. I'm not saying that I don't slip up upon occasion but I feel like I have succeeded with this goal. But that was years ago and I feel I've gotten a bit complacent about the choices that I make. Can I really consider myself to be cruelty-free if I buy jeans for exactly that are made through sweatshops? Or am I really helping the world if I throw away rubbish that could be recycled? I've set myself some resolutions of things that I'd like to do to live more ethically. These aren't new years resolutions. These are rest of life resolutions. And generally, talking about it publically on the internet holds me accountable to it. So tell me off if you need to!

Look into whether the tea that I am drinking is Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Over the last year, I've really gotten into drinking tea (it would appear I am now finally living up to the British stereotype. Which poses a new question of ethics for me, where is my tea coming from. So I'm aiming to only try and buy tea that's Fairtrade or rainforest alliance certified as these are tags that I can trust. This means the tea that I buy for my home but also asking serving staff in cafes if it isn't stated on the menu. 

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