0.7 The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Can we hardly believe that it's March on Tuesday? Where is the year going already?

This week, I got ill again. No idea how but it's knocked me for six and I even went home early from work one day which is so unlike me! Luckily I got better pretty quick for some corporate hospitality ;) Last year, me and the boy won first prize in a raffle which was corporate hospitality at Aberdeen Football Club for 4 people. We decided to invite the lovely couple who had arranged the charity ceilidh as a thank you for giving us the opportunity to go.

We arrived at the stadium at around 12.30pm and was quickly shown to our table amongst other corporate big guns. We had an amazing three course meal - 4 hour braised beef! *drool* with drinks included. After the meal, we went out to watch the match (my first ever Aberdeen football match despite living here all my life!) and at half time we were treated to a famous Pittodrie Pie. No idea what is in them, but they were delicious! The teams drew at full time and afterwards we went back to the dining room and had some more drinks. We ended up in the city for more drinks afterwards and we managed to get home at a respectable 10pm. The service from the staff was brilliant at the stadium and my glass was never empty. Would love to be treated like VIP's again!

Today, I have been enjoying a chilled Sunday and went for a nice 5k run with my chum. What beautiful weather there was today, I didn't want the sun to stop shining!

February has been a crazy month! Looking forward to a relaxed weekend next week with only necessary movements to be made.

I hope you have been enjoying your weekend and your week! Tell me if you did anything interesting/exiting :)



A Foodie Eats: Byron Burger

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Everyone loves a good burger don't they? When a new burger place opened up in Aberdeen, I was all over it! I've only ever heard of Bryon Burger from those big Landan bloggers and I was waiting with bated breath for it to open.

Me, the boy and some of our friends decided to give it a go one Sunday afternoon to celebrate the last incy bit of my birthday weekend.

The menu is very diverse and I had trouble deciding what to have but I opted for the veggie burger...just so I could have a side of macaroni cheese.

The server was very sympathetic towards our hungover state after having a bit too much prosecco the night before and recommended a milkshake. The boy ordered a vanilla milkshake with added malt and it was deliciously thick and creamy. I believe they are made with 4 scoops of ice cream!!! It tasted like the middle of a malteaser and was amazingly moreish. I probably wouldn't order a whole one to myself as they came in a large - what can be described as a cannister - glass but I would be more than happy to share one.

The food came promptly despite the restaurant being very busy for a late Sunday afternoon. The macaroni cheese was the winner of the day. The cheese sauce was sizzling hot was perfectly seasoned. The bun was very fluffy and the veggie burger itself was very tasty. Can't go wrong with sweet potato fries either! The boy said his burger was the best burger he has ever tasted and I barely saw it touch his plate before he devoured it. All the beef burgers are cooked medium as standard but they can be cooked well done if requested. The boy particularly liked them cooked medium.

The burgers themselves are reasonably priced and the chips etc. have to be ordered separately. I think next time I will try a beef burger to see how they compare. Overall, big thumbs up Bryon! I'll be back!



0.6 The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 21 February 2016

What. A. Week. I've had the cold, eaten out more times than I can imagine and celebrated my 26th birthday all in one week.

On my actual birthday, I went to work - days off on your birthday are not fun unless someone else if off too! Then Mama Orchid came round and made the tastiest feast ever. Never been so full in my life! I have never been so spoilt and everyone has been so generous :) The boy had told me he booked a table at a restaurant for dinner on Saturday night and when I turned up; all my favourite people from my old work and new workplace was there to surprise me!!! I've never been so shocked before and I loved catching up with everyone. My boy did good organising it all :)

It's coming up to the last 2 weeks of my printmaking course and I've got some good prints in the works despite none of them being the final one I want to submit for the art exhibit!

I'm looking forward to a more chilled week this week with no major plans. What have you all been up to this week?



30 before 30 Challenge

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

*deep breath* I will be 26 on 18th February. I will be closer to 30 than 20. I will be considered in my 'late twenties'. I will have to tick the 26-30 box on those forms. Nope. Not freaking out. At all.

At the tail end of 2015, I was having coffee with one of my closest friend and we talked about me doing a '30 before 30 challenge'. A personal list of things I want to achieve before I turn the ripe old age of 30. I can look back on my twenties and say 'wow, wasn't that fun?' Then look over to my thirties and say 'I'm ready for you!'

I will be documenting my progress here on the blog so why not click on the follow button over there so you don't miss out?

30 before 30

1.Complete a food challenge
2. Run a marathon
3. Start a business - whether it be a small stall at a market or something online.
4. Write a short novel
5. Go backpacking/hiking
6. Watch 10 classic movies I haven't seen before
 - An Affair to Remember
 - Donnie Darko
 - Casablanca
 - The Wickerman
 - Scarface
 - Trainspotting
 - It's a Wonderful Life
 - Flashdance
 - Mary Poppins
 - Bambi
7. Wear a bikini
8. Finish a TEFL course
9. Visit Kakslauttanen in Finland and stay in an igloo and see the Northern Lights
10. Climb Bennachie read about it here
11. Work on my photography
12. See a koala bear  read about it here
13. Go to a ski resort
14. Make a croqumbouche
15. Be in an art exhibit  read about it here
16. See a Wonder of the World
17. Do glass blowing
18. Go camping
19. Do archery
20. Organise a charity event
21. Teach something meaningful to someone
22. Volunteer
23. Skydive
24. Be the healthiest I have ever been
25. Say yes to 30 things I would usually say no to
26. Go fishing
27. Eat at a five star/michelin star restaurant
28. Go to a German Christmas Market
29. Keep a year long inspiration jar
30. Run 5K every day for a month

The challenge starts now. Will you come along for the ride?



Recipe // Coffee and Walnut Cake

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

I've finally got a kitchen in my flat that I am happy with after cooking in an old school 80's style kitchen for the past 6 months. Of course, I had to go and bake a cake to mark the celebration. You can adapt this recipe to gluten free which is what I did with this cake (one of my work colleagues can't have gluten and I always feel bad when people bring in cake that she can't eat!)

300g butter
300 golden caster sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee
200g chopped walnuts
300g self raising flour (or gluten free flour if using)
3 eggs

For the icing:-
200g butter
300-400g icing sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Mix the instant coffee with one tbsp of boiling water. Put to one side to cool
3. Cream the butter and sugar together into light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing throughly after each addition
5. Mix in the flour, coffee and chopped walnut until well incorporated
6. Divide between three sandwich tins
7. Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and springs back when you press it
8. Leave to cool in the tins for around 5-10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
9. To make the icing, cream the butter until it is soft - I would recommend you leave it out at room temperature to make this easier
10. Add the icing sugar and coffee and mix together until you get a smooth butter icing
11. Once the cakes are cool, spread the butter icing onto one cake and layer one on top and repeat
12. Finish the cake with some more walnuts, I chopped some up and put in the middle of the cake but I also put some walnut halves around the edges
13. Serve and enjoy!

You can reduce the amount of mixture for the cake to make only two layers. I would say to around 200g for the butter, sugar and flour but the three layers look amazing! This cake will keep for around 3 days in an air tight container and as always, don't store in the fridge!

Let me know if you go and make this cake!



0.5 The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Hello my cherubs! How are we all on this sunny/cold/snowy Valentines Day? Me and the boy have had a wonderful breakfast, I have cleaned the flat and left the boy watching Fast and Furious 7. We'll be cooking dinner together later on this evening. What are you guys doing for Valentines Day?

Well, I have been struck down with some sort of illness this week. First it was a touch of flu at the beginning of the week and now it has developed into something a bit more sinister. So, apologies for not getting more posts up this week but I've been going to bed super early and sleeping right through the night. I have managed to avoid whatever illnesses have passed through my office but not this one. Save me!

On Saturday however, I braved the cold and had a Winter BBQ at my friend's parent's cottage for her birthday. By golly it was FREZZING but I lasted the whole day before having to retire back home. So strange having a BBQ in February but it kinda worked! I sat by the fire most of the night trying to keep my feet warm. Oh, and here is your first glimpse of the boy. Isn't he so handsome?



A Foodie Eats: Cafe Andaluz Aberdeen

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Where can you go for delicious tapas cooked fresh and delivered hot to your table within 10 minutes of ordering? Cafe Andaluz. That's where.

Located in the heart of Aberdeen, they also have restaurants in both Edinburgh and Glasgow (which I have also been to previous to this visit), the restaurant is bustling and beautifully decorated with a warm atmosphere. The menu is vast and I had trouble deciding what to have. It's split up between vegetarian, seafood and meat dishes as well as side orders etc.

I went for a visit with Mama Orchid for a pre-theatre meal. I had booked the table about 2 months in advance as I had heard it gets booked up pretty quickly.

We ordered five tapas which from past experience would be ample for us. We decided on calamari, battered chicken with honey and wholegrain mustard seed, aubergine with cous cous, tomatoes and cheese, croquettas and paella.

The food came really quickly but it was still amazingly fresh and hot. Bonus points already for being at a 'Vanessa temperature'. The winning dish of the night was the aubergine. It was deliciously flavoured and of course the melted cheese on top was divine. The calamari however was still delicious but lacked flavour. The squid was beautifully cooked and not rubbery at all and although there was fresh rock salt scattered over the top; it lacked a certain something that would have made this dish taste amazing.

I was pretty full on the five tapas that we shared costing around £5 per tapas - obviously this price will vary depending on what you order. Me and the boy were given a food voucher for this restaurant so I will certainly be back another time to sample more of its delights.



04. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Hello, hello again! Haven't I been on a blogging roll this week? I'm trying not to anger my blogging flow, I want this to carry on! Another Sunday Journal for you this week for you to feast your eyes on :)

On Friday night, I hosted my first ever quiz night for my work colleagues. It was so much fun. Although I wasn't drinking, my work colleagues were still in good humour and seemed to enjoy my eccentric take on a quiz night.

I've been busy with my printmaking project for uni and this week I had suffered an injury involving a lino cutting tool and my finger. The worst thing about cutting at home is that my flat isn't warm enough to get a smooth cut hence the jagged cutting and the unintentional cutting of fingers. Still on my test print. Pretty sure it's like three weeks until I have to submit something. Ai.

I went to see Hairspray in the theatre last night and it was so good! I bought the tickets as a birthday present for Mama Orchid last month so we had a girly night out. I do love a wardrobe malfunction during a show and the cast and audience were in hysterics when Claire Sweeney's outfit burst open!

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content. I am very content right now. Coffee and walnut cake is cooling in the kitchen waiting to be iced and I'm spending a chilled out Sunday with my boy.

How are you spending your Sunday?



Les Mills Fitness Classes - Body Pump

Saturday, 6 February 2016

January is a time when the gyms are cashing in from people who want to work off their indulgences over the festive period. I've been going to Les Mills classes at my local gym for just over a year now and I feel like now is a good enough a time as any to review some of the classes if you want to dip your toe in the group exercise world.

I'm starting off with my favourite class. Body Pump. Lifting weights has come with the stigma that you will just become muscley and look a bit like the hulk. Wrong. Body Pump is a full body workout that tones, increases your core strength and adds in a little bit of cardio in there too. The idea of lighter weights and high repetitions means you build athletic muscle. Think about getting rid of those pesky bingo wings! The classes can be either 45 or 60 minutes long. The 45 minute class just omits the bicep and tricep exercises but everything else remains the same.

I would recommend you speak to the instructor when you first start to get an idea of the kind of weights you should be starting off with and they can give you some direction. You will need: a barbell with a variety of weights (as you will be adding and taking off weights throughout the different exercises), a mat and an exercise step. Your gym will be able to supply this to you in the exercise room. For your first class, I would start at the front of the class. It's a scary thought being in the eye gaze of the instructor but this will allow you to see the instructor and their form/timing. This will help you through the class and make sure you are doing the moves correctly. Listen to the instructor and watch them. It bothers me so much when people just go and do their own thing thinking that what they're doing is correct. It can be dangerous to yourself and others around you and you could seriously hurt yourself. Serious bit over.

Brace yourself. You will be squatting, lunging, dead lifting, bicep curling and chest pressing your way through 60 minutes of a total body workout. The class is motivating and exhilarating. Once you finish one class, you'll be raring to go to your next. Les Mills launch new 'releases' every 3 months so exercises are never repetitive. If you have a cool instructor then you'll find they'll mix it up a lot with other releases too. I aim to do a Body Pump class 3 times a week which some weeks isn't always possible (hey, we bloggers have other things to do too!).

What is your favourite Les Mills/exercise class?



A Foodie Eats: The Dunavon - Bryson's Restaurant

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

When a leaflet came through my door with the new launch of their gastro pub for The Dunavon in Aberdeen, Dyce, I was salivating over the vast selection and variety of the dishes. Me, the boy and one of our good friends decided to pay this place a visit. The restaurant is called Bryson's Restaurant but I believe the entire place is actually called Dunavon. It's not clear which name they actually go by...

We went on a Saturday night and I was sure to book a table. My first impressions making the booking over the phone wasn't great, the man on the phone sighed his way through the booking making me feel like I was an inconvenience to them. I decided to shrug it off and look forward to what would be a delicious meal. The table was booked for 7pm but we had arrived slightly early at 6.45pm but we were seated promptly.

The atmosphere was buzzing with many diners in good spirits. The interior looked really nice and cosy, certainly a place that I would go on a first date. We sat there for about 15 minutes without menus or an offer of a drink whereby the boy had to get up and approach someone at the bar for a menu. The server was apologetic and took our drinks order thereafter. We did notice there was only 3 or 4 servers that night for the whole restaurant and perhaps understaffed.

Then we were in for another wait to order food. Not a good sign again but by looking at the food passing by our table, it looked like we were in for a treat. When we finally ordered and had some good chats, our meal came and it looked delicious!

I ordered the Black Mac n Cheese and sweet potato fries. The mac and cheese had black pudding scattered over the top with bits of bacon mixed in with the pasta and bound together with creamy cheese sauce. It was divine! The boy ordered the steak mince burger which looked really good but he commented on the fact his fries didn't look up to scratch.

When our plates were cleared, we decided to skip on pudding at the risk of waiting longer but when we asked for the bill, it never came. We then paid at the bar to save the server another task.

Overall, the meal was fantastic and at a 'Vanessa temperature' which equates to being very hot! But the service let the whole thing down and in total we were there for an hour and 45 minutes and we only had one course and one round of soft drinks. We would go again but perhaps once the crowd has died down after the launch of their new gastro pub and perhaps on a weekday but I'm so sorry Bryson's....you won't be seeing us again any time soon :(