Monday, 30 April 2012

I don't like Mondays...


This photo made my heart sing. Seen in sequence, this little guy just seems to be having the best time. But right now, early on a Monday? I don't half share the feeling of just wanting to stick my head back where I can't hear the call of another working week.

Love B x

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lengthy Birthday Celebrations

Before I start prattling on, it is ridiculously important that I point out the other birthday girl. My lovely Mum. I love that our birthdays are close enough to celebrate together.

I've been waiting to share snippets of my birthday with you until all the festivities were over. I sometimes alwys joke about a 'birthday week' but I really was lucky enough to celebrate over 3 nights with family, friends and a special someone. Talk about being spoilt!!!
My family came up for the day and night so, having treated myself to a massage and a facial in the morning, we kicked off the birthday celebrations with cupcakes and a pot of tea. Fast forward some lovely, thoughtful presents, a glass of wine, and a bottle of fizz later with my cousin and the boy, we were off to start our evening at the Canny Man. I've mentioned this place before, we popped in for a drink on my cousin's birthday, and we were keen to show my boyfriend and my dad it. Filled to the rafters with all manner of paraphernalia (skis as coat hooks, old wine orders, grandfather clocks...) and just oozing charm and quirkiness, the evening was off to a flying start. We ate at a restaurant called Angels with Bagpipes on the mile. I have to be honest, I've been before and loved the food. This time however, though the scallop starter was delicious, the rabbit main course was rather lack lustre. Regardless, it was a great evening. We rounded it off watching Sandy play on the Mile. He had to work so couldn't make dinner but I was so glad he was part of the night. Nothing like being serenaded in a busy pub by your gorgeous, talented boyfriend!!!

{the rest of family Stamp}

The next night was another dinner, just the two of us. We started with cocktails at a little bar called Dragonfly. Another quirky Edinburgh establishment, it's probably one of the nicest in that area of town. We moved quickly on to an understated little place on the Canongate - Wedgewood - and had the most delicious meal. Want to see?

'deciding time' of champagne and amuse bouche whilst you make up your mind. I wish I'd taken a photo - ours were salmon, dill and potato, a beetroot velutte {how do you spell that?!} with truffle oil and something with pulled pork.

Pigeon, haggis neeps and tatties and a lobster thermidor creme brûlée to start...

Followed by crusted mutton with goats cheese dauphinoise potatoes and nettle sauce or wild Scottish deer and venison haggis...

Wrapped up by an incredible cheese board. I am a cheese fiend (to the despair of my waist line) so I loved reading the accompanying explanation of the different cheeses, their origins, textures and flavours.

Nom Nom Nom. I felt a bit of a plum taking sneaky photos on my iPhone but I had to share! It was all delicious and so understated too. None of the pretentiousness that you might expect with food of that standard. I practically had to be rolled home {though I'm sure the bottle of red we split didn't help with that!}
Finally celebrations with friends. Always joyous, there was plenty of food and drink and good company. All the main ingredients for a good night!
The night started off so civilised: Chocolate cake, party hats and moustache straws galore...

And it ended? With me perhaps having a little too much fun..

Yes. That is me hoisting my friend on my shoulders. And that is also me wearing a stranger's scooby doo costume. Oh yes, that's me too diving infront of other people's photos like a complete attention floozy. That's what birthdays are for, right?
What a wonderful, wonderful birthday. I feel like such a lucky girl to have such wonderful nearest and dearest. Without being too schmaltzy, it was the perfect way to turn 24. I can not wait to see what this year has in store!

And on that note. No more birthday chat because I fear, I rapidly became a Birthday bore.

Love B x

Friday, 27 April 2012

Le moustache...

These provided plenty of entertainment when we had friends round the other weekend.

They were incredibly easy to make - I used these templates from here to sketch moustaches on the back of some cheap black card and then used my first moustaches as my template for the rest. Once you've cut them out, all you need is a hole punch that is the same size as your straws. Slide a straw through each moustache and you're ready to go! Want to see the results? They're particularly fetching...

Love B x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Just a thought..

I had the best time belatedly celebrating with some of my favourite people last night. I am incredibly lucky to have such thoughtful, lovely friends. We drank more than we ought to, ate cheese and chocolate fondues and laughed a ridiculous amount. It was, in short, berluddy brilliant. These people are such a varied mix but they all know me so well and are all such brilliant company. Their generousity stunned me last night - they brought unexpected, thoughtful gifts that were so perfectly me. I feel thoroughly spoilt this birthday. I really have been.

I'm not going to be all sentimental but they really are wonderful. Having people like them - aswell as Sandy and my family - around me, really makes incredibly happy and, to repeat myself, a very lucky individual.

{Emma Bridgewater cake tin filled with lovely crafty and baking goodies, anthropologie initial mugs, Sophie Dahl's cookbook, a beautiful key bottle opener and a lovely cake stand}

{the remains of an incredibly delicious chocolate baked for me by Sandy. Cake means a lot to me so this is kind of a big deal}

{and his sweet generosity didn't stop with a's purdy}

{it's a freaking laminator! And it's miiiiiiiine. I am going to have SO much fun with this. When I say my friends know me so well, I wasn't kidding}

{beautiful top from my sister. SO perfectly me}

{pretty dress from ma and pa}

{incredible chiffon snake print trousers from my Aunty. These are stunning}

{b-e-a-utiful suede jacket from mum and dad}

Lucky. Lucky. Lucky.

Love B x

DIY: Bunting

You know when you had a rather lengthy to do list? Filled with important things like actually food shopping so you and your boyfriend don't starve? Or writing lesson plans so you're actually prepared for going back to work next week? Or even, hanging up the washing that has been staring at you from the machine since last night this morning...

Well the other afternoon it rained. So I sacked all of that off and nipped very rapidly to the fabric store three doors up {it must be fate}. I picked out two of their looovely and clashing in a coordinating kind of way fabrics and hurried back to put on a pot of tea, elaine paige's musical show from Sunday {it's a guilty pleasure}, hauled out my sewing kit and set about making bunting. And now I'm blogging about it. Productive? Always. Just perhaps not in the best kind of ways!

Anyway, I googled "bunting tutorial' and loosely followed one of the 9 million tutorials the search revealed. And I mean loosely: details like the fact that my template was cut out of an old christmas card, so that kind of dictated the size of my triangles, or that I don't own a rotary cutter {never heard of one. Now I want one} meant a relatively easy project was made a bit more fiddly and innaccurate by my incredible cutting skills.

The project itself is easy but requires patience. I cut 12 triangles from each piece of material and pinned them back to back. I then used a zig zag stitch setting on my machine to sew them together. I debated turning them inside out so you wouldn't see any seams but I rather liked the sweet effect of the visible stitching. I left the top of the triangle unsewn as this would be covered by the tape at the top.

 In the end, I decided to stitch each flag to alternate sides of the tape as it wasn't wide enough to fold in half. This meant one pattern - the flowers - always had a nice neat stretch of tape at the top. To rectify the less awesome looking side with the polka dots {which had no tape} I finally busted open the tub-o-buttons {thank you wasted hour in Hobbycraft} and picked out a load of buttons of similar colours. I picked purple and white as I thought they went quite well with the colours of the bunting.

Fast forward an episode of grey's anatomy {I am an addict even though it leaves me an emotional wreck} and I have something that looks a little like this...

I'm justifying it's existence by saying that it was mainly for yesterday evening's festivities but who am I kidding. It may well have just found its permanent home in the hallway. Which I need to show you pictures of. It used to be TURQUOISE and now look at how beautiful and serene it is. More on that. Promise.

Love B

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Two posts today!! Just had to share and say that I finally bought the Anthropologie earrings I've been lusting after for ages. Anthropologie sent me a 15% off voucher for my birthday, valid any time this month, and I decided that if you're still thinking about something months after you see it, it's probably wise to buy them. If they're still in stock...

Lucky for me they were and I am so pleased with them. The stone in the middle is a lovely smokey grey but they still catch the light and sparkle beautifully.

Happy Birthday to meeee from meeee {anyone else do that?! Self buy presents?!}

Love B x

A recipe

Right now, I'm going to be brutually honest. I'm carrying about 10lbs more than I care to. The same 10lbs that my weight goes up and down by. And it's annoying me. I don't feel as confident in my clothes {or out of them for that matter} as I should. With that in mind, I'm going to crack on with embracing eating more healthily and exercising regularly. Both of these things I tend to do for a period of time and then it ebbs away again. I'd like to introduce it into our lives on a more stable, regular basis. I'm a big fan of new starts - whether it is the beginning of the week, a new year, a new academic year - and so turning 24 seems to be a good place to start. To kick start that, I made this for dinner on Monday. Meals in this house need to cater for me and my boyfriend - aka they need some kind of carb or meat or ideally both. I've taken to plating up smaller portions on smaller plates for me, and holding back a bit on the carbs {though a carb free diet, for me, is literally that - a 'diet' for a very short space of time when a kick up the bum is needed. Like before a holiday!}.

Anyway, this take on tandoori chicken is delicious and really low fat. You could leave out some of the elements - like the mango chutney - but you need to have a little fun sometimes.

I mixed tandoori spice with quark {a fat free soft cheese that you can get in the supermarket} and added chopped chicken breast with any fat removed. I mixed it all together and left it to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours. After that, wipe off most of the excess marinade and stick them under the grill on a medium heat. I turned my grill tray round a couple of times, and the flipped the chicken to make sure nothing burned in the 20 or so minutes they were in there. I served with some healthy choice naans that I bought and whacked in the oven, a bit of a mango chutney, some iceberg lettuce and a mint yoghurt sauce that I made by mixing shop bought mint sauce with low fat or fat free natural yoghurt.

Super easy and super delicious. I promise.

Love B x

Monday, 16 April 2012

The iPhone

Despite my prior lengthy protestations {"I can't work it, why are there no buttons, how do you type quickly"} and my reluctance to give up on my beloved blackberry, I finally gave in and got an iphone earlier this year. Dear reader, when I fell, I fell hard. I blame it initially on instagram and it's ability to make even tea and toast look dreamy. Then it was draw something and it's addictive challenges. Then on my birthday, it was facetime-ing my family in another city. Plus, and I'm going to put it out there and be honest, they're just so attractive.

Superficial? Yes. True? Also yes.

I currently have a sweet little Cath Kidston case on mine with  dainty little bird though fear that I'm wandering into crazy bird lady territory with one too many bird adorned pieces has me keeping my ear to the ground for any worthy alternatives.  Reading through a blog this morning {I wish I could remember which one!!} sent me clicking through to a link where, low and behold, there are more beautiful iphone covers than my little head can take.  Now to remain strong until my current case falls apart {or more realistically, until pay day} - thank gawd I don't live in the US!!

These are just a few of my favourites, but there are about another 9 million beautiful options so this really is just skimming below the surface...

I'll not spend an hour showing you my other favourites but definitely have a gander over to Society6 and check them out. B-E-A-utiful!

Love B x

Lavender Cake

Aren't my Mum and Sister talented? They made this gorgeous cake over the weekend for my sister's boyfriend's Mum's 50th Birthday. It's a lavender cake, a flavour she'd mentioned loving when we made cupcakes for a village fair last year.  Not to be put off by the lack of lavender in bloom, my creative Mum and sister used lavender sugar and then lavender grass on the top. It gave it the perfect finishing touch considering she's a gardener. Considering the cupcakes for my Birthday came from the same mix, I can guarantee it tasted delicious too.

Love B x

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Well, yesterday I turned 24. Wowsers. 23 was a big year. It brought so many exciting, and challenging experiences to my life. I'm even more excited to see what 24 brings to the table, both personally and professionally. There were cupcakes, precious time spent with my family, kind and thoughtful {and beautiful} gifts from those people that know me better than I know myself, and live music from the boy who sadly couldn't join us for dinner. There was plenty of food and drink and laughter. Celebrations continue today with a dinner pour deux and hopefully something pink and fizzy to drink. I only wish I had a working camera to capture it all.

I'll post more next week - right now I'm enjoying spending time with those that I love.

Love B x

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hello again...

Wow. Things have been quiet here for a while, eh? It's amazing how time slips away - first it was work pressure, then we went away for awhile. Now I'm back and faced with some troublesome technology {a broken iphone and a laptop that doesn't want to stay awake without a cable to the mains!}. None the less, there's a lot going on in my head that I can't wait to get down "on paper".

We've just returned from an incredible week skiing with some of our closest friends. After my very humble beginnings in Glenshee, I'm pleased to say we had the most incredible time! I'll do a post on that later in the week, rather than cramming it into a quicker post now. It is safe to say that good wine, good company and "good" skiing made for a fantastic week that flew by. It was so much fun to spend time with those friends - many of whom I see far less than I would like thanks to jobs and geography.

Now though, after a week of hitting it hard, we're back and using Easter Monday to recover. Part of this was certainly about filling my body with vegetables: a week of carbs and I'm craving vitamins. This delicious soup seemed like a great, easy option. It's quick and easy to make, low in fat and delicious. It definitely ticked all the boxes for today and I made enough to provide easy, healthy lunch options for the rest of the week. I'm trying to go a bit easy on the stodge for the rest of the week {having eaten my body weight in breads and pastries} so this was perfect!

As always the recipe is a bit rough and ready. I used 6 largeish tomatoes, 3 red peppers and a couple of teaspoons of lazy garlic. Chop it all roughly and whack it in a roasting dish along with a healthy dose of salt and pepper and a guzzle of olive oil. Be sure to give it a good shake before you pop it in the oven. You could use low fat spray if you wanted to lower the fat content even more.

I like to whack mine on a low temperature - gas mark 3 or 4 - for a couple of hours, shaking it when I remember. You could cook them higher for a shorter period of time, it just depends how busy you are! Be sure to keep an eye on it though. I personally like the sweetness and stickiness that comes with the vegetables when you cook them gently for a long time. Nom nom nom! They should come out looking a little like this {ignore the rubbishy iphone pictures from the boy's phone - I want Instagram back!}...

Delicious. Mine were a bit too toasted in parts but that's ok! I whacked everything in my blender along with a chicken stock cube {only because there's no veggies and that's what we had to hand!}, a dash of smoked paprika and a bit of sweetener to distract from any acrid taste from any overly toasted tomatoes {homemade cooking at it's best...ahem...}

I poured a good half pint to a pint of boiling water into the roasting tin. This will pick up any of the flavours that are still hanging around on the pan - the sweet stickiness from the tomatoes and any oil for example - before sticking that in the blender too. Whizz on high until it's the consistency you like - add more water to make it thinner. I personally prefer it a bit thicker, though still smooth. Served with a dollop of creme fraiche and some toast and you have a delicious, healthy and simple lunch. I only needed to pick up the vegetables too, everything else was in the cupboard making it a super cheap way to make lunch for the week. 

Does anyone have any soup recipes they'd like to share?! I'd really love to hear more...

Cross your fingers my laptop doesn't give up the ghost and I'll be back tomorrow with more posts.

Love B x

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