Wednesday, 26 October 2016

It's Officially Winter

The transition between summer and autumn, for me at least, happened overnight. It started with what to wear that morning, then my decision to turn the heating on after having it off for months, the Christmas items I noticed in the shop while buying my dinner, even the meal I decided to make that night had something different about it. Walking home from work in the dark for the first time, stepping over the golden leaves that had fallen from the trees, it dawned on me that winter was more than on it's way. Until that moment, I had gone without realising that summer was completely over, and probably had been for a while. 


I absolutely LOVE winter- any excuse for a new jacket, and I basically change everything about my lifestyle between summer and winter. As I am sure most of you do too. So here is just a few things that I do to get me through the cold weather and add to my love of winter:



The clothes.
I completely forget about my summer wardrobe- my winter woolies come out at the first sign of even the slightest temperature drop. The jumpers, coats, boots, scarves, cozy pyjamas, thick socks and layers on layers of Autumnal colours become a permanent fixture for the winter months. Even my makeup style changes as I start using darker and bolder colours. Having shopped for summery dresses over the past couple of months, I now find myself looking at the jackets and coats, fighting my way through the invasion of sparkly dresses, to find the cosiest clothes I can get my hands on. My outfit choices start to prioritise warmth over fashion and my dressing gown/blankets come out of their summer hibernation. I should probably mention that Zoe is not one for compromising fashion for warmth, hence the loafers, which she will probably wear even if it snows.




The food.
Overnight, I went from eating salads and antipasti to cooking all the hearty and wholesome food that I could think of. All the Winter warmer meals you can imagine started to appear on my plate; casseroles, stews, curries, wintery soup, lasagne, thai chicken broth and this delicious chicken, chorizo and veggie pie which Zoe and I made:




The atmosphere.
Even though its still October, there are signs of Christmas and winter everywhere you look. The dark mornings and early sunsets, the frost on the windows when you wake up, being able to see your breath in the air. Since early September there has even been little hints of Christmas appearing in the shops, selling advent calendars long before anything halloween-y appeared! Everything from the early night skies, to the cinnamon scented candles makes me so excited about this time of the year.



The cozy nights.
Harry Potter movies start to be shown constantly on the TV, not that they need to be... I mean, who doesn't have the entire DVD boxset anyway?! I get the sudden urge to have a night in, watching movies all cozy on the sofa, even more so when this years dose of the cold hits me. I go through ridiculous numbers of candles, drink about 10 times more hot chocolate than I probably should and watch far too many movies. It's all a part of this wintery feeling that I can't get enough of. 


T x
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

I am a Brunch Addict


I am a brunch addict. Whether it's sampling the many brunch spots Edinburgh has to offer or cooking up a storm at home, my brunch game is on. This is a fairly new obsession that has become a bit of a Sunday ritual. I feel like there is no better way to start a productive day and catch up with friends. I can recommend some gorgeous places in Edinburgh to eat breakfast and brunch such as Montpellier's in Bruntsfield, a beautiful and stylish cafe with a huge menu with every brunch option you could ever want. The Pantry in Stockbridge or Leo and Ted in Bruntsfield are the absoloute best for some eggs and coffee. For something a bit healthier check out Hula Juice Bar at the Grassmarket or the amazing Grams at Haymarket. 


Now, nearer the end of the month when I need to cut back a bit, eating out all the time and brunching  tragically the first thing to go. So, to satisfy my brunch cravings I like to invite some friends round and show off my cooking skills with a homemade but simple brunch. My favourite offering of the moment is American Pancakes with Strawberries and a drizzle of honey. 



INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4-6
225 Grams of plain flour
300 ml of milk
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoon of caster sugar

  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • Butter for frying
  • Squeezy honey
  • Strawberries

  • METHOD

  • As fas as method goes, I just throw all of the ingredients into my NutriBullet blast it until smooth. Then heat my frying pan to a medium heat, add a little butter and pour the batter in, it will look fairly thick but that is the way they should look to begin with.  Flip & repeat, then serve up with a drizzle of honey and some fruit.

You can add whichever fruit you want to this recipe or serve with eggs, bacon and syrup like a traditional American breakfast. Another amazing pancake combination is nutella and banana which is great if you are looking to treat yourself. You still have your instagram-able brunch whilst saving rather than spending. 
L x
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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

My New Favourite Band Wagon Cleanser - Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel


Cleansing is arguably the only skincare step that you absolutely have to take. You can bypass toning, exfoliating and even god forbid moisturising, but you absolutely must clean your face. I wonder if this is the reason I am and continue to be completely enamoured by cleanser and have to keep buying new varieties to try each month.

The latest to my collection is the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel which I picked up on an especially hasty and expensive Cult Beauty order. Now I must take a second to place the blame on this purchase with Anna The Anna Edit and Lily Lily Pebbles who's opinions I value greatly through years of reading and watching their reviews and hauls and agreeing whole heartedly with every statement they make. I haven't tried anything from Oskia as of yet but I must say I have heard glowing reviews all round.

So I am the kind of person that typically will only go in for a single cleanse day to day. I would only double cleanse if I was wearing an excessive amount of make-up or on a Sunday when I am doing an intense skin care routine. So my first point about this product is that it isn't the best for removing heavy eye make-up, you will need to go in with a specific eye make-up remover with this product if you did happen to be wearing a lot. Personally during the week I will mostly have on mascara and maybe a little bit of shadow or a slick of liner so to be honest this cleanser does the job pretty well. It wouldn't be my weekend cleanser as I know it wouldn't stand a chance against my smoky eye.


Another point I want to cover is how gorgeous my skin felt after applying the cleanser. The scent of the gel like consistency was gorgeous and when I removed the product my skin felt silky smooth as if it had been smoothed out a little. When I did a little more digging into the ingredients list I learned there are pumpkin enzymes in which provide a light exfoliant which is such a great addition to the cleanser. There are also mountains of Vitamin C, E and B2 which will help to protect and promote firmness in the skin. 

I definitely would use this cleanser as a morning offering or on a day where you are wearing a lighter amount of make-up. It has been promoted straight to the front of my bathroom cabinet as one of my favourite new products. Thankyou Anna and Lily for another fantastic recommendation!

L x
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Where to Eat: Tuk Tuk Tiffin Menu Review



This week we were lucky enough to be invited to try Tuk Tuk's new tiffin menu. The indian street food restaurant is somewhere I've been desperate to visit for the past few years I've lived in Edinburgh so it was a total dream to be invited along. The restaurant itself is totally original and nothing  like anything else in Edinburgh- it's quirky, authentic and the kind of place you could take anyone from your nan or a first date. Because there was about eight of us they were very accommodating and set us at a big table all together in a sort of picnic long table style which was ideal for us all to interact and share food.

The menu we were trying was their new 'Tiffin' menu which lets you chose a dish from each section of the menu which gave us a selection of four dishes. The whole idea behind the menu is sharing food and we were very tactical in our choosing to make sure we got as much as possible to try and swap about. Each dish arrives stacked in silver dishes which makes it even more exciting when you're opening them all up individually. I went for the minced meat samosa's, butter chicken, spinach, and pilau rice and I can 10/10 say that it was the best curry I've ever had. From the sweetness of the butter chicken to the perfectly cooked pilau it was just delicious. (Not to mention I was on a total hang so it could've gone one of two ways and it went the good way. Thankfully.) We all had a bit of each others and I can also say quite confidently the peshwari naan was also amazing- so so so tasty and soft. The only little issue was the lack of choice for our resident veggie Nicole. She could only really chose sides or dahl so I think she snuck a cheeky taste of my butter chicken sauce but that's something I'd hope they change. Although once we asked about the problem our waiter was keen to make sure Nicole was happy so their customer service is super.

There's also a photobooth which is free to use so we obviously abused that to the point we took a minimum of about 14 pictures. Was totally fun though. If you've never been to Tuk Tuk please please go- the food is delicious, it's such a social place and they're fab with big groups so remember that Christmas is coming and all those rubbish Christmas dinners can be saved here.

Z x

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Saturday, 8 October 2016

E M I L I E I See You in the Darkness EP & Gig Review



Okay so something exceptionally cool happened the other weekend. I got to see my amazing friend headline a gig to promote her brand new EP 'I See You in the Darkness' (which FYI is available on Spotify, iTunes & Tidal). It was such an amazing and electric atmosphere the minute my friends and I got into The Mash House in Edinburgh's city centre where the gig was held. The space is really eclectic with lots of cool, vintage lamps hanging from the roof and it seemed the perfect place for a gig. Emily's sound is a mix of crystal clear vocals and intoxicating melodies that you have running through your head for days after. 

I initially heard Eyes For You which is EMILIE's debut single and was enchanted with the cool mix of soft electro beats and the beautiful breathy vocals. It's the kind of song you feel like you heard on Radio 1 just last week and as much as you can compare her sound to London Grammar or Churches it still has this refreshing and unique vibe to it. 

As soon as the EP was released on Spotify I had it on repeat, each of the songs share the delicate and powerful vocals and although the EP has an electro vibe it almost has an acoustic story telling factor that really takes you in as you listen. At the Mash House the vocals were especially stunning and matched the ethereal sound on the EP perfectly. Blood Type was my favourite of the live performances and ended up being played repeatedly on the journey home, it has a hauntingly beautiful sound and perfectly showcases EMILIE's songwriting and creative talents. 

I also have to credit the stunning cover of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game which was a complete highlight for me as it is one of my favourite songs. 
L x
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Thursday, 6 October 2016

56 North our Go To Location for Drinks & Cocktails in Edinburgh


Between the four of us, we have been to 56 North a very large handful of times. It is for this reason that I have decided to talk about what a wonderful place it is. For those of you who don't know, 56 North is Gin heaven. Their gin menu is literally like a Bible and it's one of my favourite books. They source their gin from all over Scotland, and its such a treat to have so much variety knowing thats it's local (although if you are as indecisive as myself then it can be a bit of a nightmare). Not to mention, they also have plenty of delicious cocktails for non-gin lovers... if they even exist.



Other than the amazing array of gin/cocktails, the food at 56 North is also wonderful. Throughout my many times there I have tried the burgers the steak the Hendricks sorbet with smoked salmon (absolute must try) and pretty much all of the sides including my faves; asparagus spheres with parmesan, whole roasted avocado and sweet potato fries. Everything I have had so far has been amazing. During my most recent visit I  decided to try the 'Mezze Board' which included Mediterranean veg, olives, smoked paprika chicken breast, the roasted avocado, soft goats cheese, a yoghurt/coriander dip and some ciabatta bread. Due to my indecisiveness, this was the perfect choice for me and every element of the dish was so tasty. I will definitely be having that again.


Even better, the 'Secret Gin Garden' which I was lucky enough to have time to visit during the festival as it is closed for the rest of the year, was such a nice place to relax and enjoy a gin for that one day it was sunny in August. It is the perfect location to get away from the craziness of the festival but just a quick walk away from it all. They also serve brunch from 11-2pm everyday which sadly I have not yet had the chance to try but I will definitely keep in mind for future brunch dates.



Some advice for anyone who is looking to visit, don't be intimidated by the 9541487 gin's on offer, the staff are so helpful and knowledgeable they won't let you go wrong. And if you really want to learn more then you can book yourself a Gin Masterclass! 

T. x
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