2017 Great British Bake Off Drinking Game

Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Two years ago I wrote my original GBBO drinking game. But as I made it for the 2015 series, it's kind of outdated. I've been using the university's VPN to watch the new Channel 4 Great British Bake Off and honestly - I'm loving it. I was worried about the takeover but it's still the same show we all know and love. But it was time for a new 2017 drinking game with some updates rules! Whether it's an alcoholic beverage or just a cup of tea - sit back, relax, and watch out for these:


6 Weird Things About Life in the USA

Sunday, 24 September 2017
It's now been three months since I packed up my bags and moved to the USA. It's been a fun, crazy, sad, busy, lonely and educational experience. I didn't expect to feel too much of a culture shock but some things have really surprised me so far. I mean... Americans don't know what a fortnight is.... But overall, I've been surprised by my lack of homesickness and how well I've handled everything. Apart from getting sick (that makes me cry for my mummy like a little kid). But I wanted to write a post listing some of the weird things I've encountered since moving here. And I'll hopefully write an update post about my life here if you guys would like that! 

Americans Love Scots

Americans just about lose their shit when you tell them you're from Scotland. They want to hear all about it. My accent back home is nothing special. Here it's an open invitation for strangers to ask me where I'm from. 

Fixed Shower Heads

Oh, my god, these are the worst. You know those fixed showerheads that you find in cheap European hostels/hotels? Those are the norm in the US. Even in people's houses. I just really miss being able to take a really nice shower and being able to adjust the height and angle of the showerhead. It's the little things! 

Grocery Stores

When I lived in Edinburgh I'd do my weekly food shops in small, city supermarkets. Humble Tesco metro, the Nicholson St. Lidl etc. However, in the US supermarkets are huuuuge and the selection is so much wider. I've been here almost 3 months and I still struggle with food shopping. It's really overwhelming and there's so much I struggle to find what I'm looking for. Plus it's generally a bit more expensive than in the UK. But I have learned this: almost anything you want, you can find it in a can. 


I didn't quite realise how eco-friendly the UK is in comparison until I moved here. I've gotten used to avoiding plastic bags in the UK but here they are still free and when you go for your 'groceries' they use an awful lot of them. The cashiers will normally pack your bags for you and unless you step in and say otherwise, they'll sometimes only pack three or four items per bag. And don't even get me started on recycling! The house I live in? No recycling bin! Can you imagine not having any recycling at home in the UK. I feel so guilty about it! 

Fast Food Is So Cheap

Now this one is not a complaint! Fast food and generally - food that's not good for you is so much cheaper than in the UK. Say hello to $1 slices of pizza and amazing taco trucks. Even chains like McDonald's are much cheaper. You can get a 20 chicken nugget meal (yes a 20 nugget meal) for $8. It's not uncommon for people to eat out much more often and tbh when fast food is so cheap and groceries so expensive - it's not hard to see why. 

Drivers Are Kinda Crazy

Now I don't have a drivers license. But holy shit American drivers are not as careful as Brits. To be fair though, this could be a Connecticut thing. I've had Uber drivers tell me they'd rather drive in New York City than Connecticut. People swerve lanes, drive fast and it's scarily common to see people using their phones when driving. And forget yielding to pedestrians - you're on your own.

Love it or hate it, I'm so glad to have this opportunity.

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Crowne Plaza Downtown Dallas Hotel Review

Wednesday, 13 September 2017
I've just gotten back from the most amazing trip to Texas. I booked the trip about two months ago and have been looking forward to it for weeks. My friend Sarah was doing some work this summer in California and we were looking for somewhere that we could meet up that would be kinda equidistant between the East and West Coasts. Luckily, our friend Jessica just moved back to Dallas after finishing her degree so we thought it would be a great place to go. I wanted to review our hotel, the Crowne Plaza's Downtown Dallas Hotel, as we thought it was great. We found the hotel on booking.com which is my favourite way to find great hotels to stay in. 

The hotel was super easy to get to from Dallas Forth Worth airport, we hopped on the orange train for about 40 minutes and got off at a stop that was a two-minute walk from the hotel. And the ticket only cost $2.50. Definitely, the easiest airport-hotel journey I've ever taken on public transport. The location proved to be fantastic and we were never more than a 20-minute walk from the attractions we wanted to see and restaurants we wanted to eat at. After an easy check-in we headed up to the elevator to check out our room. The room had two double beds which were fantastic as I've been sleeping in a single since moving to the US so I fully appreciated the opportunity to lounge around. 

Tips for Flying Alone from an Anxious Traveller

Sunday, 10 September 2017
If there’s one thing that I seem to have done a lot of over the last few months, it’s solo flying. My first introduction to solo flying was when I went on my big North America trip last year. I flew from Edinburgh to Dublin, Dublin to Toronto, Toronto to Boston, NYC to Manchester and finally Manchester to Edinburgh all by myself in the space of two weeks. Then when it came around to obtaining my US visa I had to make a solo trip to the US consulate in Belfast. When I went to Riga with Becky we flew in from different airports so again was myself for my flight. So I'm pretty aquainted with being alone in an airport and I've realised a few things that really help me.

Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.
One of my biggest worries is missing a flight so I always make sure I have plenty of time to get to an airport. When using public transport I always make sure that I could get the next bus/train if I miss the one I’m intending to catch. I’d rather be early where possible. Most airports recommend arriving 2 hours before your scheduled department time but it doesn’t hurt to arrive earlier at large airports with lots of international flights (JFK I’m looking at you).


Brunch at Greens Eggs Cafe, Philadelphia

Wednesday, 6 September 2017
There have been a tonne of brunch reviews on my blog recently - sorry not sorry. When I was visiting Philadelphia recently the Green Eggs Cafe was recommended to Lila and me by her brother, a real Philadelphia foodie. There are 3 locations but we went to the most central: 212 S 13th Street. We visited around 2 pm on a Sunday morning after visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary. We waited around 15 minutes for a table but there was seating whilst we waited and it gave us the chance to ogle everyone else's food to help us make up our minds. The menu is huge and has so many amazing options.

It took me a while to decide on what I wanted as I was really strung up between ordering salted caramel banana stuffed French toast and cookie dough stuffed French toast. First world problems! In the end, I went for the salted caramel and banana which was amazing. The french toast is made with challah bread, a traditional sweet Jewish bread, which is probably the best bread for it. The three huge slices were layered with creme brulee batter, bananas and salted caramel. The portion sizes at Green Eggs Cafe were huge so unfortunately, I had to take some home. That meant I got to eat this for breakfast the next two days. 

August Reading Wrap Up

Sunday, 3 September 2017
August was a weird month for me. After reading a tonne of books in July, I thought I'd read a lot in August too. But August turned out to be a really busy month for me with trips to both Boston and Philadelphia. Whilst I had free time on the train, I didn't actually read which is usually how I get a lot of my reading done. I hadn't read a single book up until the last week of the month where I did all of my reading. So it may look like I read a lot this month but it was all in the last week of the month. Hopefully, September will be good. My trip to Texas will provide me with 8 hours of flight time plus travel to airports so I wouldn't be surprised if that helps me get a book or two out of the way.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
This is a fiction novel about a young couple from the Middle East who become refugees after their home city is torn apart by war. This is a story about a couple but it isn't really a love story. In this book, portals appear over the world which allows en masse immigration. It discusses attitudes towards refugees and speculates what would happen if there were no barriers to stopping people fleeing war torn and poor areas. The writing was rich, deep and exquisite. It was thought provoking and brutal and I haven't really stopped thinking about it. 5/5 stars, you need to read this book.