The Gin Thing

The Gin Thing

I’m sure you all know by now that included in the long list of things I love are running, eating, vino and gin.

For our first wedding anniversary, we were able to indulge in most!

On the day of our anniversary, we were celebrating with family, as it was also the Saturday closest to my brother in law, Andrew’s, 40th Birthday. His two eldest sons, Kieran and Aidan, were to be player escorts that day at the Partick Thistle v Motherwell game, and so we went along to see them – and to show support of course!

It was a gloriously sunny day, and we were able to sit in the sunshine, soaking up the fun and the atmosphere. When the boys came out onto the pitch, we couldn’t see Aidan, who is 4. He was escort for Scott Fox, the goalie, and Scott had scooped Aidan up and carried him onto the pitch! Too cute!

Here’s some pics, just to illustrate 😉

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After the game, the boys were able to head back to a meet and greet with the players, and one of my other nephews, Liam, was able to go with them. I think they had a ball!

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Afterwords, it was back to the Donnelly’s house for a bit of a party. As @TheWelshWookie and I were heading to Edinburgh the next day, we went to our hotel and celebrated with a bottle of fizz, overlooking George Square.

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And yes. That’s not an optical illusion. This 4 star hotel in the city centre really DID give us hugely different glass sizes to enjoy our fizz with. And @TheWookie had to open it himself 😮 . And no, we won’t be back.

Sunday arrived with heavy rain 😦 but we headed to Edinburgh, excited for our short trip. We made our way to 56 North, where my friends, Pauline and Gavin, had treated us to an afternoon tea with gin tasting 😀 Hurrah!

We were greeted with a really friendly welcome, and with the fab news that Pauline & Gavin had treated us to a bottle of fizz! Yay!

We settled down with around 20 or so others, eager to get started. This was the joyous sight in front of us….

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The two guys hosting the session took us through the first four gins which were all strikingly different. The pace was relaxed, and there was no rush at all. We had a selection of different mixers to try, and the whole session was interactive – we could ask questions, and add comments – good or bad!

We then had a short break, with afternoon tea of sandwiches and small cakes, before starting again with the final four gins. I won’t spoil it for anyone by telling you which gins we tried, what we found out about them, or which were my favourites. You can try for yourselves!

After the session, we bagged a great window table, with the sun – newly surfaced through the rain – beating in. The bar is stocked with around 300 different gins, so I chatted with the barman, telling him what I liked in a gin so that he could recommend a gin for me. I had a Daffy’s, which is a small batch gin made in Edinburgh, while @TheWelshWookie had a Hoxton grapefruit and coconut gin. Yummy! They serve their gins in gorgeous continental style goblets with ice, a suggested tonic, and a garnish designed to compliment the flavours.

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We had some lunch with our fizz- @TheWookie had a burger, I had a gorgeous chicken caesar salad with a poached egg. It was delish!

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We finished off with another gin each – @TheWookie had a Brecon Welsh gin, while I had a Rock Rose, which may well be my new favourite – it, too, is a small batch Scottish gin. We then headed to our hotel, to get ready for our evening in the city – with the ghosts!

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Three New Things

Three New Things

Actually, There’s probably been much more than three new things recently, but I thought I’d share my top three with you.

1. Running Skirts

I ordered and took delivery of two tartan running skirts recently. I’m really excited to try them out! One is white, grey and pink, the other is turquoise and pink. I really hope that they are as comfortable as they look! 😉

2. Haggis Nachos

Wow. Simply wow. While in Campbeltown on Saturday, we stopped off for lunch at . I had a portion of haggis nachos: a massive plate of nachos, smothered in peppercorn sauce, topped with rich haggis and topped off with melting, bubbling local cheese. I cannot possibly tell you how amazing these are! I’m only sorry that I was too busy enjoying them to take a photo. We’ll definitely be making these at home soon.

3. Na Seudan Ur

There’s a super talented group of local girls who have been singing and playing together for some time. They play Gaelic and Scottish traditional music, with a hint of folk and blues mixed in, and they are fantastic! I shared a clip of them playing before back in June, on my blog post about the Viking Festival.
Well, the group is called which translates as ‘The New Jewels’ and it was their CD launch that we went to on Saturday night. They are simply brilliant! So much so, that they made it onto the evening news on BBC Alba.
@TheWelshWookie and I pre-purchased CDs as part of their Kickstarter crowdfunding to enable them to publish and launch their CD, and it really is beautiful. They’re a really talented group of girls.

You should check them out: here they are on BBC Alba, they’re on at around 17:35 minutes in:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04jm5l6/an-la-29092014

Celebrating World Gin Day!

Celebrating World Gin Day!

I  mentioned yesterday that @TheWelshWookie and I had been to one of our very favourite places on Saturday: Portavadie Marina.

We were looking for any excuse, really, to take a trip on the new hybrid ferry, MV Lochinvar 😉 What better excuse than to go for lunch – and celebrate World Gin Day – at Portavadie!

The weather was absolutely beautiful: it was gloriously sunny as we strolled down to the ferry terminal. We popped into a few shops on the way, buying  bottle of white grape & elderflower presse for adding to gin later on in the evening.

The first thing we noticed about the new ferry was how quiet she was! The engine, being a hybrid, merely purred, making for such a pleasant journey. The interior lounge has much more seating than before, and there are two observation areas with seating on the upper decks. Impressive!

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We arrived at Portavadie, and walked around to the marina. We saw that construction is now under way on the leisure complex: I can’t wait until the pool and its facilities are built!

As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by Chris, who’s service is always fantastic. We took a seat on the sofas while we perused the lunch menu, and ordered a Botanist gin each. Oh, my. It’s definitely my absolute favourite gin of the moment: it’s from Islay, which is much more famous for its whisky. We had a chat with Ian, the General Manager, and it was so great to hear of the future plans for Portavadie: it’s exciting times ahead!

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When we were ready we were seated for lunch. Most of the other guests had opted to sit outside, but I much prefer to eat indoors (I’m weird, I know). I had the smoked haddock with mustard potato salad and pancetta crisp; @TheWelshWookie had Tarbert scallops with black pudding and roasted potatoes. Both were -ma-zing!

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Of course, we also had dessert. I had a white chocolate mousse with mini toffee apples and raspberry sorbet; @TheWookie had pineapple crumble with coconut ice cream. Yum.

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After taking a stroll around the marina, having a look in the shop (of course), we had another G&T before heading home on the ferry.

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We had a fabulous day, as ever!

Did you celebrate World Gin Day on Saturday? Do you prefer to eat indoors or outdoors?

Great British Menu

Great British Menu

Are any of my fellow UK-based bloggers (or BBCWorldwide watchers)  fans of the Great British Menu?

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You all know how much I love to eat. I love to watch programmes about delish food too! I watch loads: Masterchef in all its forms, Hells’ Kitchen. The Great British Bake Off, Saturday Kitchen…. I could go on and on……

Well, this week is the Scottish heat of GBM, and I’m fully supporting Jacqueline O’Donnell 🙂

I LOVE her pink apron:

source: jacquelineodonnell.co.uk
source: jacquelineodonnell.co.uk

You may remember that back in January I wrote this post about The Sisters Restaurant? I had the sea bass in a lobster cream sauce:

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It was absolutely delish!

Well, Jacqueline runs The Sisters along side her sister, Pauline. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Jacqueline, and all will be revealed tonight in some areas, and tomorrow in Scotland.

What’s your favourite foodie show?

The Delectable Delights of Downtown Madrid

The Delectable Delights of Downtown Madrid

You all know how much I LOVE my food. Well, Madrid far surpassed my foodie expectations!

They definitely have a sweet tooth; even savoury dishes are often sweet, especially sides like coleslaw.

Here are some of the highlights. I apologise now for the quality of the pics: it may or may not be related to the amount of alcohol consumed 😉

We did the RnR half on the Sunday morning. And, in keeping with previous RnRs, we refuelled at Hard Rock Cafe. We tested out a few of the cocktails, and I carb loaded on the brisket with fries. Yum!

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On Monday, we spent lots of time in various tapas bars. As I’m sure you know, if you order a drink, you’re given a lovely, tasty snack.

We tried out Alhambra, and were treated to chicken wings. We supplemented these with a meat platter, pork loin with peppers and goats cheese in a blueberry sauce. Yum!

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Stuffed to the gills, we headed onto La Torre del Oro on Plaza Mayor, where we had beetroot and onion, and a potato salad. We also had olives but by that point I could not fit in any more food! This bar is a favourite with celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, and it has been visited by President Carter and several Kennedys.

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Tuesday, I had a proper Iberican jamon pizza. Yummy!

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And on Wednesday, we were back to tapas during the day, including these dainty smoked salmon, cream cheese & dill sandwiches, and cheeses in Cafe del Oriente. Yes, as you can tell, we had some vino to go with it…..

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In the evening, we visited Botin, which is the oldest restaurant in the world. Goya, Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene and Frederick Forsyth were all frequent visitors. It was amazing: we had the suckling pig, as recommended and mentioned by Hemingway in his novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’. I then had Bartolillos de Madrid, which are little pastry parcels filled with a lovely, sweet custardy cream. Oh, my!

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Thursday saw us visit Mercado de San Miguel. It was so busy, with locals and tourists feasting on all kinds of delights.

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There was lovely seafood and savoury snacks:

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These are not cakes – they’re buffalo mozzarella:

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And, of course, sweet treats:

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For lunch, we tried another local speciality: bocadillo con calamares. Amazing!

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And, of course, we had yet more tapas….. these are little breads topped with cheese and a spicy sausage, and of course, patatas bravas:

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Here’s one of the final dishes I had on Friday: it was fried sardines with padrons de pimentos. It tasted amazing!

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We also had churros, frozen yoghurt and lots of beer and wine 😉

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If I’m not at least 15 pounds heaver, I’ll be very surprised!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Temptations on Pinterest

The Temptations on Pinterest

Oh, how I love you, Pinterest. I can easily while way hours, scrolling through workouts, fashion, motivation, home interiors and books.

But, how often do I find myself scrolling through tasty treats? All. The. Time.

Sometimes, it’s healthy stuff that I pin and save for later. I’ve tried out lots: some are more successful than others. Disasters include cinnamon quinoa breakfast bars (far too dense) and black bean brownies (dry, dry, dry).

Other times, I can’t resist the naughty stuff. And that’s where I’ve been drawn to recently.

And I’ve found a recipe that not only works, but gives me a warm, tasty, chocolate hit whenever I want it, as all of the ingredients are store cupboard staples. And it’s pretty naughty.

It’s a chocolate mug cake. Dreeeeaaamy! Have you ever tried it?

It takes about twenty seconds to throw together:

Grab a mug. Add in:

1/4 cup of plain flour

1/4 cup of sugar

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of cocoa (I use Green & Blacks)

Give the dry ingredients a quick mix together.

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Then add in:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of water

Mix it all up. If it’s a little dry, add a little more water.

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Pop it in the microwave for 1 minute, 40 seconds.

Oh, my. It comes out with just that slight gooiness that is heaven!

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Delish!

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What’s your favourite pinterest find?

Let’s Do Lunch

Let’s Do Lunch

Today, as I was having my lunch, I was thinking about how predictable this meal is for me. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t deny it 😉

I’m very fortunate, as we have a staff canteen on site. And almost every day I have soup for lunch. There’s always a choice of two home made soups available, and there’s a great range of flavours which staves off boredom.
I also find that this keeps me going until my run when I get home from work.

Despite my understanding of how counter productive it can be, I tend to eat my lunch at my desk, while working. I know, I know the benefits of taking a break, and I’m the first to tell everyone else to walk away and have a proper break, but I struggle to do it myself!

Tonight, I got in a great four mile run, in lovely weather once again! So, that’s another 6.44 kilometres, totalling 11.47k for the week so far, and 40.25 for the month.

So, how’s your lunch? What do you have? Do you take a break?

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Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last foodie post, so I thought I’d share some of my tasty treats from the last week. My excuse for eating such big portions is:

1. I LOOOVE food

2. I’m back in training, so I need fuel 😉

3. Did I say that I just loveeee food?

I’ve had some lovely, homely and filling mid week dinners, courtesy of @TheWelshWookie. There included his delish turkey chilli with brown rice:

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Malay chicken salad:

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And turkey pesto wholegrain pasta. Yes, I love turkey 😉

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On Saturday, we had soup for lunch. Usually, TheWookie would make his own soup, but we tried out Glorious fresh soup. It was good, I’d definitely recommend it:

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But we did have some home made roasted onion bread with it:

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And here’s my post-long run snack from Saturday:

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I’m hungry just posting the pics! And now I’m off to find out what’s on the menu tonight…

What’s on the menu with you tonight?

Cleanin’, Eatin’, Readin’

Cleanin’, Eatin’, Readin’

That just about sums up my Saturday!

@TheWelshWookie and I got stuck in to domestic duties this morning, with a spring clean of the living room and bathroom. I’m pleased to report that I have sparking surfaces, and TheWookie managed, at long last, to rid the carpet of the large wax stain caused by a slight candle meltdown incident a while back 😉

We were finished in time to enjoy some lunch before the beginning of the Six Nations rugby. I had some vegetable biryani: delish!

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As I’m sure you can tell by his twitter handle, @TheWelshWookie feels rather strongly about Welsh rugby 😉 So, while he was glued to the TV, I half watched, and spent the afternoon catching up on the past couple of month’s Women’s Running and Women’s Health magazines. I had already had a quick scan through these, but it’s lovely to have time to sit, mug of tea in hand, and really read them.

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I also had a slice of my grandma’s Jock’s Loaf:

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It is amazing!

There’s a couple of interesting articles in them, I thought I’d share:

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Tonight, we’re having some lovely salmon for dinner, and perhaps a glass of vino. Well, a girl’s got to fortify herself to finish the spring cleaning: tomorrow, it’s the turn of the bedrooms 😉

When was the last time you had some quiet reading time? What did you read?

Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

I’m still trying to keep on top of my eating, and yesterday I shared a pic of the sea bass I had at The Sister’s restaurant.

Here’s some more of my yummy recent treats!

Yes, I think I AM addicted to these Food Doctor pots:

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Yet more yummy salmon salad:

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A mid week, home made turkey and mushroom curry with wholegrain rice:

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A ‘good girl’ dessert:

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Here’s the fillet steak I had recently at The Grill on the Corner. We had it with a side of brussel sprouts. Yummy, yum!

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What have you been eating recently?