One Love – One World

After the recent events that have taken place in Manchester and London I have had an ongoing feeling of sadness and confusion. From someone who often lives with their heads in the clouds, I am really struggling with the evilness in this world and I am sure I am not the only one!

After balling my eyes out at the Ariana Grande One Love concert for Manchester, I found myself giving a pep talk to my reflection in the bathroom mirror at 3am this morning (damn a dodgy Chinese) – I will not get lost in the oblivion of terror hashtags or endless scrolling on news apps. Although, I will also not put my head in the sand and pretend the world is fine. It is far from it.

To everyone who has been affected by the last couple of months I want to give you a big hug and never let go. You have been in my thoughts more often than not and I know nothing I can say can make a different to the state of the world right now, but I think we could all try to lift each others spirits.

Smile more, laugh more, hug more, celebrate more, communicate more and just LOVE more.

Do not let ANYONE stop you from living YOUR life… and certainly don’t live it in fear (which is easier said than done) but remember LOVE WINS.

Clair
Keep smiling!

 

 

Gin in Edinburgh

As the sun had (it is now gone) made an appearance over Scotland, what better way to make the most of it than in a beer garden?

Russell came and met me after work and we headed to fill our stomach at the new Miller and Carter on Frederick St (opposite my work – lucky me) Anyway, I am not really meant to eat red meat… but I did and enjoyed every bite. Totally worth the stomach pains. After a meal fit for a king – side of macaroni is a must – and a glass or two of prosecco (free if you sign up to their website!) We headed along to the West End.

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By sheer chance we came across a gin bar, Gin71. Located on the edge of Charlotte Square we popped in and asked if we could sit outside in the shade… as we are both ginger skinned. It seemed like we were the first customers but the place sure filled up fast. This bar was a fab find!

My first cocktail was an award winning ‘ Irn Bro’ it faintly tasted like Irn Bru and was really strong. It was certainly too strong for me to order again so I settled for a Rhubarb Collins – 10/10 for me. Russell kept it manly with pints of Pravha.

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Our table was also supplied with popcorn (oh oh, another food on my DON’T EAT list) and water. The staff were very attentive. I did notice the couple next to us drinking gin cocktails out of a china teapot so I will be getting that next time, even if I have to drink it all myself.

We headed home after that as Russ was working Saturday at 6am. I however, was heading back into Edinburgh with my step dad for a Harry Potter tour.

The tour was so magical we couldn’t even find it so went to Camera Obscura instead… then a few pubs down the Royal Mile where my drink of choice was Rhubarb and Ginger Edinburgh Gin with Lemonade – very refreshing!

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The rain was starting to spit so decided to call it a day and head for the train home. Which we happened to miss by a few minutes. This meant we could go for one last drink. Max picked the Balmoral which is very fancy smancy. At £13.50 a cocktail I was sure it would be good, and it was great! I settled for a vanilla infused vodka one and Max had a berry mojito. I would say these were the best of the weekend!

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What is your favourite cocktail?

 

 

I like rugby but I love toasties!

I am only going for toasties, copious amounts of Crabbie’s ginger beer and Finn Russell – Is what I told ‘my’ Russell before heading to watch the Scotland V Italy game. It was my birthday, so I felt I was entitled to be the drunken bum out of the two of us and binge on lactose. However, we both ended up equally as drunk after the game, in our jammies, eating Bugles and listening to Motown on YouTube, once we arrived home. What a classy life we lead.

On our way to Murrayfield the atmosphere was buzzing. Bagpipers lined the streets and everyone was in good spirits as it was the last day of the Six Nations. We had to make a stop at a bathroom and tile showroom for me to use the toilet. Don’t worry, I used an actual toilet and not a display one! They served drinks too so it would of been rude not to stay for one… which possibly turned into two.

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It was an early kick off so we rushed to take our seats and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers puffed out a few songs before the players took to the pitch. We were sat in row 3 which was unprotected from the rain and wind. It was cold. Typical Scotland.

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I was the runner for alcohol and toasties to let Russ enjoy the game. I was up and down to the toilet anyway so made sense to return with a beer or two. TOP TIP – Ladies, if the queues are too long (which they usually are) run to the Portaloos. They are quiet during the game and much, much, much cleaner than Murrayfield’s actual toilets!

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I can’t remember the ins and outs of this game – as lets be honest – I was too busy gazing at Finn Russell and stuffing my face but we won and that is the main thing. We celebrated by splitting a ham and cheese toastie (£6 for one!!!!) and headed to the pub where I could drink a classier choice of vodka cranberry and work out if I could afford to pay for my trip to Blackpool after splurging on 3 toasties.

My highlight (apart from toasties – gosh I have typed that word a lot today) was meeting 3 Italians who were had pizza boxes on their head. We couldn’t really communicate but I managed a photo and a cheers to us for winning!

 

Sygn Cocktail Class

Sygn Bar and Kitchen, nestled on the corner of Charlotte Lane is my new favourite place to eat (chicken and chorizo pizza is out of this world) and drink. So, when I seen that they were advertising a FREE vodka cocktail class last Friday, I had to sign up!

Luckily for me there was space for myself and plus one to attend. Hope, loves vodka too so we were the perfect pair to go along and try some newly created cocktails.

On arrival the table was filled with shot glasses (oh no) and bottles of Zubrowka, you know the vodka with the stem of grass in it. The vodka was poured into the glasses and passed around us, keen, vodka lovers. We were told not to shot this but to sip slowly and guess what flavours were in it. Hope said coconut and was correct! To my surprise, the vodka never burnt my throat like other vodkas have in the past so I was sure I could easily (how wrong I was) sip away on another shot without wanting to gag. Shots and me don’t mix too well. img_8309

After a short discussion about Zubrowka, an apple flavoured cocktail was passed around. For this being a free event I was not expecting the full size cocktail I was handed. It had a resemblance to Appletizer but an adult version, served with a slice of apple – 8/10 for me!

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Then another shot…Gag. Moving on…

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Another cocktail arrived to the table that I wasn’t too keen on. I think possibly the egg whites put me off but it was free, so I drank it anyway. I would rate this a 5.5/10

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No more shots thankfully, but platters of food were placed in front of us. If you haven’t ate at Sygn before, I suggest you book a table now. We were treated so mac and cheese bites, chicken wings, chicken goujons, mozzarella sticks and haggis balls. I was able to find space to work my way through the supply of nibbles even if I already had dinner prior to this event.

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Next to arrive was the best cocktail of the night. A fruity vodka cocktail, served over ice with a raspberry. This one went down no problem – 9/10 and I hope to see it on Sygn’s cocktail menu soon!

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After the cocktails, we stayed for another few drinks and got chatting to girls who were at our table. We agreed it was an excellent, free activity for a Friday night (or any night for that matter). Thanks Sygn, I will be back for pizza and a few of the cocktails pictured above.

*** Good news for all you Disaronno fans – a free cocktail night is taking place this Friday. Email events@sygn.co.uk for tickets! ***

The Pitt Market on Pitt Street

As I have no exciting plans for my day till later and Russell is working an extra shift, I thought I’d fire out another post while lazing in front of the tv. (I’ve already finished Gilmore Girls!!)

A few Saturdays ago I ventured down to Leith to attend the weekly Pitt Market. Where you can try a range of street food from different food trucks and sample a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. All while listening to live music and huddled around open pit fires. I had stalked the market for a long time on Instagram so I was very glad when I had a free weekend to finally attend. Check them out here – the photos will definitely make you want to brave the cold and head down!

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On arrival I was greeted with a friendly welcome from a human and a dog – yes dogs are allowed, another reason to go. I paid £1 to get in and I could stay as long as I wanted to ( I managed a few hours, until I lost all feeling in my toes!)  I had researched before hand so I knew what trucks were attending. Thankfully the week I was able to go Rost were there. I have sampled their wonderfully, cheesey macaroni ‘baws’ before so was hyped to be able to have them again. They are worth the risk of clogged arteries – believe me!

However my first stop was with Chick + Pea for some falafel served on a good few dollops of humus. This was my first time trying humus and I have been eating it ever since. I was classing this as a starter but the portion size was very generous and certainly could of been a main.

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I now needed a refreshment to go with the falafel so wandered over to a makeshift cocktail bar. The bar man was very informative about spirits – but you know me, I drink anything really. I ordered ‘Bizon Cooler’ which was on the specials board. It contained vodka, peach, passion fruit and apple. It did it’s magic in warming me up a little bit.

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Also, another thing with being cold is it makes me need to pee instantly. I was pleasantly surprised with the loos though. Not something I thought I would ever say about an outside event. Let me reassure you, that the toilets at the Pitts where a lot cleaner than your average Portaloo. A nice touch of art work hanging on the wall too!

Next, was time for a main course and where else to head than Rost. I never ordered macaroni ‘baws’ though. I went for the steak and chips after smelling it cooking on the bbq. It was £7 for a paper container stacked with chips and a good helping of perfectly cooked steak. It also came with a generous blob of garlic mayo (something I shouldn’t eat but enjoyed far too much) and a pile of healthy greens which I slyly hid in my napkin. That meal was worth every penny. I would certainly consider hiring them if I ever need catering. Obviously while eating steak another drink was needed. I settled on a pint, but it was a tough call between a cold beer or a glass of rose.

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I was starting to feel a little bit full at this point and beer makes me bloated so I had to pick my next meal very carefully. Do I go for a hot dog the size of my forearm or go for a pudding?

Pudding won.

Parked near the entrance was a crème brûlée truck. It was a must. They had 4 options on offer: salted caramel brownie, cookie smores, hazelnut and white choc or original. This was the toughest decision of the day so far. Very kindly, I was able to mix to flavours to create a salted caramel, cookie smore crème brûlée. The more sugar the better!

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I ate my brûlée by an open pit fire but by this point I was starting to get very cold so sadly had to call it a day! It was now dark by this point and the market was twinkling away with lots of fairy lights and there was a relaxed atmosphere which definitely made it hard to leave (next time I was be wearing more layers)

Next year I will be back… More than once!

 

 

Thanks for the tab Foundry 39!

I am one of those annoying friends you have on Facebook that shares any competition going. New carpets, free hair cut, win a glamping holiday etc. I enter them ALL!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I won a bar tab at the newly opened Foundry 39 at the West End in Edinburgh. Situated right beside Indigo Yard and Pizza Express – Ideal. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a Crohn’s flare. Boo! However the lovely staff at The List, who were running the comp were kind enough to move it to a date when I was feeling better. Yay, thank you!

I had £25 to enjoy on their food and as many cocktails I could squeeze in. However, if you know Russell and I we love a drink, so food was out the window and on came the pints and very quirky cocktails. (we ate at Sygn Bar before hand which was really, really good!)

On arrival, we were quickly shown to our table, nestled in a corner with the best view of the pizza oven, which looked amazing (you can get a Nutella pizza – I was sold) We could also see a clear view of the band who were setting up, tweaking away at their instruments. The lovely Julia introduced herself and brought us our first round of drinks. A pint for Russell (shock) and I got a purple rain cocktail which had a strong fragrance of lavender. It kind of reminded me of my gran. It was drinkable enough once my tongue got over the initial soapy taste. The cocktail was served in a bronzed cup, which I did contemplate stealing – if it wasn’t for the fact it was filled with crushed ice I probably would of. Shh.

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I loved the atmosphere of the place. It was filled with a mix of people out enjoying their Friday night. Be it a quick drink after work, a wee date night, or a catch up over some delicious looking food. The burgers are presented wrapped in paper like fast food but much better quality with crispy fries. Ah, making me hungry at the thought as I have just had my mums slimming world lasagne for tea…

My next choice of cocktail was a gin based one. Forgive me that I can’t remember the name – I did take a photo though. It had a pretty flower floating in it. Very fancy. Russell was still on the pints.

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The price of the cocktails range from £7.50-£9 which I would say is fairy reasonable as they certainly don’t skimp on the alcohol content.  Heavily advertised is their Bloody Mary breakfasts. So, I will need to make the effort to book a table for brunch. Any excuse to drink and eat breakfast food.

At around 7:30pm the live band started singing a range of songs. Stevie Wonder was on the set list – good choice! They were worth the wait and made us stay for another drink. Also good music in the toilets – can sing along while you pee, happy days. As you know by now, I love a clean toilet and these were. I loved the bronzed features and posh hand soap!

My last cocktail was a Bellini, which turned out to be my favourite of the night. Russell went all out with a double vodka – living it up in the West End.

So thanks again to The List for the tab. We fair enjoyed ourselves and will definitely be back to Foundry 39 for some brunch soon.

If any other bar/pub/restaurant serves alcohol – Myself and Russell would happily sample your drinks! Haha!

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Date night(mare)

As I was watching Planet Earth and scrolling through Facebook, I came across this article. While I was reading, I found to be nodding in agreement more than I would of liked to. The article was about having fun while battling with a chronic illness. In my experience, when people see me out and about they often question if I am really sick and they will openly tell me –  “You don’t look sick!” or “If you are ill, you really shouldn’t be doing that!” Well people, I am sick. It took a long time and a few cameras in uncomfortable places to diagnose me. My insides don’t look too pretty! And no, I probably shouldn’t be doing what ever I’m about to but I will of saved my spoons, avoided certain foods and taken my meds to enjoy the moment – which will still be sore. Sigh.

Anyway, enough of the rant… This post while hopefully give you an insight into me venturing out the house for a night. Enjoy!

Last night, the lovely Russell offered to treat me to dinner before heading to a 30th party in Edinburgh. I love eating out (after finding a suitable restaurant – details to follow) and I love a wee dance every now and again so this was a Saturday I was not wasting stuck at home, in my jammies, watching series 7 of Gilmore Girls.

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From about Wednesday, I have been on Google trying to find a place to eat. Things I needed to consider was if it was close to the party venue as walking takes it out me, if they had a wide range of choices even though I am boring and never stray away from anything with more than 3 main ingredients (chicken, cheese, tomato base – Pizza!) and hello anxiety my old friend, how busy the place would be. As I hate making final decisions, Russell had the task of picking from a list of menus I had scrutinised over. Amarone, Bella Italia or throwing a curve ball, El Cartel. (Menu reading is a favourite hobby of mine. I can recite the local Chinese menu of by heart and I am not even ashamed!)

Amarone was the winner.

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So, at around 6pm we jumped on a train to Edinburgh and walked over Princes Street to Amarone. It wasn’t too busy and with a few vodka and cranberries before hand and Russell by my side I was reasonably calm – Unlike my previous meltdown at the Park Bistro a few weeks before. Cringe!

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As I said in a previous post I was going to try and be adventurous so this meant no pizza for me. I was faced either with chicken in a basil sauce with mushrooms and pancetta or spaghetti and meatballs. Chicken won. The waitress did  bring over an accidental pizza before hand – it was like she could sense my fear of what was to come! However, I’m glad I got the chicken as it was a solid 8/10 dish unlike Russell’s carbonara  which was a bit lukewarm and tasteless. Being my dinner date though, means he always gets a meal and a half.

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Now, with always sticking to the same restaurants you know things, like where the toilets are. As I had never been to Amarone before, I underestimated the trek it would be to use the loo. As I went through one door, down a set of never ending spiral stairs, along a corridor and through another two doors, I arrived at the ladies. I was at the point of doing the jiggly dance and thinking Russell better still love me if we get asked to leave because I have no bladder control and wee’d on the floor! Luckily, a cubicle was available and I darted in with my tights nearly already at my ankles. I have no shame! Disaster of wet knickers and getting renamed Miss Pee Pants was just avoided. Phew. Our night could continue along to the Voodoo Rooms.

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As we had just ate, this is usually when my stomach decides to make whale noises while it’s doing it’s magic digesting. As before, I am not embarrassed by this. Before I would constantly apologise at every grumble it made, now I laugh. So I was walking into a room with my whale sounding, bloated stomach.. Great first impressions!

Russell got us both a drink and I started to relax, while eyeing up the buffet food. I love a party, and I love it even more when there is a buffet. There was pizza and chicken satays so I was rather pleased for all of 5 minutes before sitting down when the pain in my side returned which was not a welcomed addition to the party atmosphere. I am a crier, I cry easily so it took all my might to hold back the tears and snot. The pain has been measured the same pain as labour so I am pretty much having labour pains.. every… friggin… day! I held it together, thanks to Russell. I owe him big time. The pain eased, probably thanks to the few vodkas I had and I was able to carry my night on to the best nightclub in Scotland, Code (joking!)

Today, I was very tired and Russell was slightly fragile so it was the perfect excuse to lie on the couch, eat beige food (I am sure I keep Birdseye in business) and start on the Christmas movies.

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I have posted pictures on Facebook which looks like I am having the time of my life. When actually I am dealing with labour pains (ha!) I would say about 60% of my night I was sore. However, I don’t want to be defined by Crohn’s so when I can, I will still continue to live my life the best way I can.

PS. Everyone who has Crohn’s suffers differently. I am fine to drink alcohol in moderation. Salad on the other hand is a no no!

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