30. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 28 August 2016

There's me. Looking at those salted chocolate brownies the way all salted caramel brownies should be looked at. Love. This recipe is Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup. She's one of my favourite Youtubers and bloggers and she has such a loveable personality.

I've been on call again this week (why does my shift always come round so quickly!) so I've been chained to the on call phone. It's come along quite aptly as I've been on antibiotics this week for a chest infection and my running has had to take a back step until I recover. All is well though, I have finished the course of antibiotics and well on the way to feeling almost 100%.

My friend is leaving to live and work in good ol' England next week so we had a surprise leaving party for her with an 'I'm a Celebrity...' theme. The venue was decorated with jungle themed wall decorations and I made worm mud pie cakes for the occasion. The party was brilliantly organised with party games and the surprise went swimmingly. I'm going to miss her but England is only a stones throw away and nothing a train or plane journey can't fix.

My 100 mile challenge is coming to an end next week and with only 8 miles still to run, I'm feeling confident that I'll smash the target. I will of course do a separate post on this with my thoughts on the whole challenge.

I've got a trip next weekend to Edinburgh which I am really excited about. I accidentally booked a hotel that we ended up having to pay entirely for when I thought we had to pay when we got to the hotel. Nevertheless, we're planning an exciting weekend exploring one of my favourite cities.

That's all for this week folks, next week we'll be in the month of September! Sobeirng thought.

Catch up with this week's posts

#30before30 - Camping
Recipe // Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Recipe // Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Friday, 26 August 2016

I love a good baking challenge and I've been enjoying experimenting with gluten free recipes. Cakes that taste exactly the same as regular wheat based cakes but can be enjoyed by the masses? Yes please! Here is my recipe for gluten free peanut butter cupcakes. As always, please be careful when baking for people with food intolerances and read the labels carefully. Anything that has traces of gluten (although doesn't contain it) can still affect the belly.

Makes 12 cakes

200g butter
200g golden caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g gluten free flour (substitute for self raising flour if needed)
3 tbsp semi skimmed milk
2 generous tbsp smooth peanut butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
3. Mix in the vanilla extract and the 2 eggs.
4. Sieve in the flour in three batches and alternate with the milk mixing well in between
5. Once all mixed together add in the peanut butter and mix well.
6. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before decorating/icing.

The decoration is completely up to yourself. I made a simple vanilla buttercream and decorated it with peanut butter M&M's that my friend gifted to me. These will keep in an air tight container for three days - if they will even last that long!

Let me know if you make these and how they turned out!



#30before30 - Camping

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A little short but sweet video of another #30before30 challenge completed. Me and the boy pitched up our tent in Kintore, Aberdeenshire and enjoyed a bit of the country side. It was the most uncomfortable fun I have ever had but I will vow to bring a better tent and pillows next time.



29. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I'm not sure if it's because I work in freight forwarding but is't this year going past so quickly? This month has just flown past and September is already looming!

This week I've had a baking win and whipped up a batch of peanut butter cupcakes. Gluten free of course, they were well received by my work colleagues and I'm hoping to keep going with my gluten free experiments. I'll be posting the recipe on the blog soon.

I made running gains this week too with a 12k run under my belt. It was the toughest run I have ever done physically and mentally but once I broke past the mental wall, I was just focused on reaching the end and having a whippy ice cream! The beach promenade is the perfect setting and flat too to help you reach those PB's!

I had an emergency visit to emergency care in the early hours of Sunday morning. I've been feeling ill for the past month of so and this week has been particularly worse. My family and friends put it down to my increased running excursions but I ended up seeing out of hours emergency care after being found writhing in pain on my bathroom floor with abdominal pain. I'm home and resting up now but it was a scare to the boy who found me in that state. Taking it easy today, no running and no stress.

I hope you're having a lovely Sunday wherever you are :)

Catch up with my recent posts:

100 mile challenge update
Foodie Eats: Giraffe
Last week's Sunday Journal



The 100 Mile Challenge: Mid-way Update

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Remember back at the beginning of the month, I embarked on a 100 mile running challenge? You can read about it here if you haven't yet caught up.

A week into the challenge me and the boy were struggling. We both work full time and we live in Scotland - which basically equates to rain. A lot of rain. All the time. I'm not a big fan of running on treadmills but I found myself having to do a few treadmill runs in order to make up the mileage.

After a chat with my cousin who is a seasoned runner; he thought we were both a bit insane and that he wouldn't even attempt it. Alarm bells started ringing in the boy's head and after a weekend of two 10k's...our bodies were certainly broken. A long story short, we have now decided to team up and run 50 miles each in order to meet our target. I wasn't too keen on doing it as a team at the beginning but now I can see that it's neigh on impossible for us to complete this without breaking ourselves mentally and physically.

We both feel a lot better now that we don't have the daunting target to meet. I've been enjoying my runs a lot more and I'm feeling stronger already. I hope one day when things at work has settled down and we have more sunshine to enjoy, we will be able to complete the full 100 miles which is something I really want to one day achieve.

Here we are at the halfway point and I'm not doing too bad in reaching my weekly targets. Another update and conclusion at the end of the month!



Foodie Eats: Giraffe

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The offerings in Union Square in Aberdeen are plentiful and you're never short of places to eat. With the cinema ideally placed amongst all these eateries, it's easy to grab a quick bite before catching a movie. 

Me, the boy and our friends frequent at the cinema very often with our Cineworld cards and after a lengthy conversation about where we were to dine; we settled on Giraffe. It was a bonus seeing a 25% off promotion with our cinema ticket.

The menu was diverse and I had trouble choosing what to have. I settled on the salt and pepper squid to start and the BBQ chicken quesadillas. 

The boy had the Tuscan Lamb Meatballs to start and they were very succulent and flavoursome. I had such food envy but managed to pinch a few bites of it before he mopped up the rest of it pretty quickly. My salt and pepper squid was delicious although slightly oily as it had built up at the bottom of the bowl it was still well received.

I had a bad experience with a quesadilla in the past so I was a bit nervous to see how this one would fare. I wasn't disappointed. The filling was very tasty and it had the perfect balance of cheese and black beans inside. The portion was very generous but I still managed to wolf the whole thing down along with a side of sweet potato fries. The rest of my party very much enjoyed their meal as all the plates were cleared of any trace of food.

The service was good and wasn't at all outstanding. Our drinks took a long time to arrive once ordered and our sweet potato fries were forgotten about until we had to flag down a waitress but the general experience was pleasant. We would certainly dine here again as there was plenty of things on the menu that I would like to try.

Giraffe, we shall meet again soon



28. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Another blissful busy week ending with a relaxing Sunday :) This week has again, been all about the running. I will be posting a mid-way update of my 100 mile challenge with a bit of a surprising twist.

My old uni friend came up to Aberdeen from Fife and we spent the day catching up on the last 8 months of our lives. It's been such a relaxing weekend with lots of tea and chats to be had.

I've been enjoying being a bit more healthy this week by cutting out snacks and junk food - but of course everything in moderation! I feel so much better and I've been managing my food shopping and saving money by not doing mid-week shops.

Me and Mama Orchid finally booked our flights to Hong Kong this week! We had been toying with the idea of going for a few weeks now and my mum finally bit the bullet and did it after letting go of her work worries. We leave in November and I'm so excited to be reunited with my Grandparents and visit family. Oh and the food. The delicious food! I'm thinking about filming the trip but needing a more reliable camera to do so. Any one have any camera recommendations for filming that come at a reasonable price tag?

There's so much cool content on the blog lately. I hope you've been catching up with them!



The Active Me

Saturday, 13 August 2016

First off, isn't Aberdeen Beach beautiful? I love the beach for its variety for different activities to do. Whether it be for a swim or ice skate in the leisure centre, tasty brunch with friends at the amazing Sand Dollar Cafe or for a nice run along the promenade.

I didn't used to have an active lifestyle. I used to go home after work and just slob out in the front of the tv and eat whatever I wanted. I had always been a bit chubby growing up and it wasn't until university where I found myself having to lose some of the weight due to health concerns. I joined the gym at university and after catching the running bug, I enjoyed the way I felt after a hard workout and seeing my gains (or weight loss in this case)

Ever since moving out into my own flat, I have been more aware of what I am eating and living so close to my work place means I have more time to run or to hit the gym in the morning or evening. Although my diet has slipped - cooking for only one person is really difficult! I've been making more of an effort to make healthy choices and not buying junk food and meal planning. Everything in moderation remember! Exercise and food included.

Having people around me who enjoy being active whether it be running, going for a walk or climbing hills has really helped me maintain my active lifestyle. There's nothing I love better than to go for a long run through the park racking up the mileage and feeling myself getting stronger.

I'm looking forward to the next stage in my healthy/fitness journey. I want to continue with my running and continue to better myself and improve my fitness levels. Whether I decide to take up yoga again, weight training or just a little mix of everything. I want to try it all!



Sleeping under the Stars: A Trespass Sleeping Bag Review

Thursday, 11 August 2016

I'm 26 and I have never been on a proper camping trip. I bought the boy a tent for our anniversary and what better way to spend a July weekend than camping under the stars. We researched some camping sites nearby and settled for Hillhead Caravan Park in Kintore, Aberdeenshire. For only £15, we got a pitch to pop our tent up on and a secured park area with toilet/shower facilities - easing myself in to the nature adventure slowly!

Setting our tent up was easy but we didn't realise the tent was only one layer and therefore didn't have an outer layer to keep the rain/water out. More on that later.

I was so excited to use the Trespass Catnap Sleeping Bag* as it was a double sleeping bag! I've never come across one like this before and it looked a lot more comfortable than a single sleeping bag. I had read a camping hack online about zipping two sleeping bags together to make a double one but doesn't that just sound like more effort than it's worth? I had done a trial run of this before setting out on our adventure and found it was really easy to take out and roll back up despite the size.

It fitted perfectly in our two man tent and had zips down both sides so there was no fights over who had the side to stick our leg out of if it got too warm.

The area is very peaceful and we weren't bothered too much by other campers and found them very friendly. We didn't invest in a camping stove this time to make our own food so we packed a flask of tea and a small picnic to keep up going through the night.

It was nice going back to basics, no technology and no social media. Me and the boy talked a lot about life and laughed so much I was worried the other campers would be annoyed by my booming laugh!

Once it was time for lights out, we climbed inside the sleeping bag and it was so soft and feels very duvet like. It was spacious and there was plenty of room for the both us us to sleep comfortably. As it rained heavily on the night and overnight the wind was blowing; the raindrops managed to make its way inside. We huddled under the covers and was kept very dry. The tent was clearly not tested with the Scottish weather in mind and we weren't too impressed with it and vowed to purchase a better quality one for the next adventure. The winner of the trip was definitely the sleeping bag. It kept us both dry and warm and very cosy.

The next morning we were eager to get out of our wet tent and some warm food in our belly so we packed up our tent and headed back into the city. I was so sad to pack away all of our things but I'm sure we'll be camping again very very soon and this bag will be another star player in the adventure.



27. The Sunday Journal

Sunday, 7 August 2016

What an incredibly busy week it's been. The blog has been feeling neglected lately and I need to put some more love into it.

August kick started the 100 mile running challenge, I knew it was going to be tough before I started and it's really started to take its toll on my body already. I'm going to be doing an update post soon on this so I don't want to go into too much detail but my body is broken after only 12 miles. Really looking forward to my rest day tomorrow.

Along with a lot of running this week, we climbed Scolty Hill in Banchory, Aberdeenshire today. Last time I did it, I really struggled but it seems all this exercising might be doing me some good and I made it up there with no hassle at all. This girl certainly can.

Saturday was a great day for a BBQ and it was amazing to get my whole family together. We celebrated recent and upcoming birthdays and my cousin's engagement! I love spending time with my cousins now that we're all a bit more grown up and independent.

Here's to another week of running and hopefully more blogging!