Christmas Q&A

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Merry Christmas Eve ya filthy animal! [And if you didn't get that reference you've obviously not been watching enough television in the last two weeks].

I saw this question and answer session on Ella Masters blog [one of my favourites - worth a visit for the pictures alone] and thought it was a lovely idea and a great way to ease myself into posting more in the next few months! Feel free to copy + paste + play along on your blog or in the comments.

001. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone although it's not strictly a Christmas movie, I usually watch it around Christmas and grew up wanting to find a Weasley jumper under the tree ever year (and still do). Also, does a Christmasesque Youtube video count? This one makes me cackle.

002. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Traditionally it has always been Christmas morning for us. I did know a lovely family whose children weren't allowed to open their presents until the evening on Christmas day, which when I was little I remember thinking was the worst. They probably have amazing self control now.

003. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I feel enormously lucky to be able to say that there have been way too many to pick a favourite.

004. Favourite festive food?
PIB [pigs in blankets], followed closely in second by cranberry sauce smoothered on everything.
Nb. Crispy roast potatoes eaten with a dollop of English mustard and a layer of cranberry sauce may sound like pregnant lady food but is actually PERFECTION.

005. Favourite Christmas Gift?
My birthday and Christmas are only eight days apart, so I receive all my presents for the year in a two week period and feel very spoiled.

I've been given some really thoughtful, lovely things over the years but my Larson and Jennings watch and burgundy chelsea boots from Office particularly spring to mind. The former because I wear it every day and I swear it has improved my time keeping tenfold! The latter because I fell in love with them and searched every store in London for them last November with no joy; only for a pair to be under the tree for me on Christmas morning! The surprise was almost as good as the shoes and I was touched that my family had been paying so much attention.

006. Favourite Christmas Scents?
Christmas Trees and Christmas Dinner.

007. Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Every year I buy a new 'special' bauble for the tree, I think this is quite a common tradition (mainly for children, oops) and picked it up from a friend's family about five years ago.

My boyfriend's family go for a Christmas day picnic in the countryside or at the beach if it's not snowing, which I think is a lovely tradition.

008. As a kid what was the one (crazily, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received? 
I'm horrified that I immediately had an answer to this question - talk about lingering resentment!
I desperately wanted a Barbie Dreamhouse with a working elevator but even aged six I remember being awed at how expensive it was. I entirely agree now with the decision not to get this as I already had a Barbie house, admittedly far less grand than the Dreamhouse,  but also because I would never have agreed to do anything else ever again. In an alternative universe I might still be out there, unwashed and entirely desocialised, still playing with that working elevator.
In other news, after a quick search I've found that this is still available to buy! The dream lives on, friends.

009. What is your favourite thing about christmas?
Carols. Christmas Trees. Roast Potatoes. Advent Calenders. Shop Windows. Boardgames. Sofa days. Movies. Christmas specials. Blankets. Vicar of Dibley repeats. Fairy lights. Friends. Family. Everything.
 
Merry Christmas,
Gail x

Dublin

Friday, 14 November 2014









Earlier this month I took advantage of living just a hop, skip and a cheap plane ride away from the rest of Europe and headed to Dublin with friends for the weekend. We had just enough time for a tipple in the sky (I love how naughty that sounds, tipple is the best word) before landing, that's how near Dublin is.

Since this was a flying visit we stuck to doing a selection of things we'd been recommended by kind souls and Trip Advisor: A night out in Whelan's; eating boxties* at Gallagher's Boxty House; and (of course) the Guinness storehouse. At home I try to steer clear of tourists attractions, as you tend to do in your home town, and even when I'm away I love discovering hidden gems. But it was surprisingly fun playing the typical tourist in Dublin, and everything we did I would recommend in turn.

When we weren't playing the tourist we pottered around the city and along the Liffey, which is when I took most of the photos above of this beautiful city.



*(Almost) everything you need to know about boxties :
  • A boxty is an Irish potato dish - traditionally boiled, baked or pancaked.
  • It is not to be confused with the tattie scone, which is a Scottish delicacy and an entirely different thing (ok, not that different).
  • The boxty I had at Gallagher's was a like a large potato crepe. I had mine with a moreish blue cheese sauce, oh my!
  •  If you want to make your own a recipe can be found HERE on the wonderfully titled The Daily Spud.

Latitude

Friday, 25 July 2014







This time last week we were on the way to Latitude festival in picturesque Suffolk. Sigh.

The photos aren't the best but the weekend was excellent! I've fallen out of love with live music of late; day-to-day I work in an obscure corner of the music industry so it's an occupational hazard, I guess. That being said, the chance to see some of my favourite bands (and comedians!) all in the romantic, fairylight lit forest-dreamland that Latitude is famous for being, well, it was too good to miss. My personal highlights include First Aid Kit, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club and Valerie June, none of whom I'd seen live before. That being said, I had the most insane fun bopping about in our matching wellies at Jonny Woo's alt/drag show homage to Lou Reed's 'Transformer' (pun fully acknowledged) album.

The festival feeling has carried on way into this week and I've been incessantly listening to the playlist below. I feel like I've got my musical mojo back. Thank you, Latitude.

(Mostly) Latitude Playlist

Valerie June: Wanna Be On Your Mind
Bombay Bicycle Club: Luna
Clean Bandit: Rather Be
First Aid Kit: Shattered + Hollow
Honeyblood: Super Rat



Let's Go To: Glasgow

Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Glasgow is one of my favourite cities. Oh, I do love it so! It has a reputation for being less-than-bonny but to me it's like an old friend; unpretentious, always up for a good time, warm...in personality if not temperature! 

Of course it helps that I know it quite well, having lots of friends and family handily stationed there. As a wee lassie the days leading up to a trip to Scotland was as exciting and excruciatingly long as the build-up to Christmas. Even now, if it's been too many months since my last visit north I get pangs of longing to be there. 

So considering how much I love the place, it might be a little surprising that when I went to Glasgow a fortnight ago for a flying visit, I had decided beforehand that I was absolutely not going to post about it.


Now, I promise it wasn't because I wanted to leave you out of the fun. I was visiting for an occasion where there was going to be, and was, lots of champagne. My co-ordination is questionable even when i'm sober so I chose to leave my camera at home. But it turns out i'm a little forgetful too because when we arrived in the motherland I realized that my camera was still in my bag. I could have sworn I had emptied it. Tote bags are so full of mystery.

Of course I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of the lovely hotel we were staying at to share with you!


You really can't get more centrally placed than the Grasshopper Hotel but even if you've been to Glasgow before you probably won't recognize where the hotel is located from this angle: 


Guessed where it is yet? Beneath those glass rooftops are the comings and goings of Glasgow Central Station. Yeah, we were surprised too!


Because Grasshoppers is situated six floors up, above offices, you could easily walk past and never know the Grasshoppers was there - we wouldn't have if it hadn't been for old faithful Trip Adviser. It pays to do your research because this hotel is a gem.


I could have happily camped out in my room for the whole the visit, although that would have been, y'know, anti-social. Egyptian cotton sheets, stylish furnishings, high ceilings and lots of light, in my room at least. Along with Sky TV, smarties and cupcakes are provided but if you want something more substantial you can head to their kitchen for a hearty three course meal. I didn't get to try the dinner myself but according to my own dear mother who stayed an extra evening (jealous), it was delicious. The breakfast was a similarly tasty affair.

Now that you've figured out where you're going to stay, here's some things you should do while you're in Glasgow:

  • Mackintosh House. You've probably heard of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His distinctive designs are quintessentially Glaswegian and he left a legacy of beautiful buildings across the city, one of which is Mackintosh House. Now part of the Hunterian Art gallery, it houses one of the most extensive collection of Mackintosh work to be found anywhere in the world
  • Burger Meats Bun. I've haven't been here yet but Vanisha vouches for this place (remember her from this post?). She knows from excellent burgers, and if you get a text from her with a lot of exclamation marks saying Burger Meats Bun serves one of the absolute best she's ever had anywhere, well that's more than good enough for me.
  • The Westend. The Westend is the 'posh' part of Glasgow and my favourite area to amble around. I highly recommend visiting the vintage shops, having lunch at the Hillhead Book Club and getting comfy on the sofas at the Grovesnor cinema. If the weather is good I love having a meander around the beautiful houses and regal crescents. They're mainly uphill so once you've done you should probably stop at one of the many cafes for cake because you need to re-energize, right?
  • Kelvingrove Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous art gallery. If you're into architecture or, like me, just like looking at pretty things, then you'll want to go just to see this grand building. 
  • The Willow Tea Rooms. Mackintosh again but this time with food. I suggest hot footing it over to Willow Tea Rooms after a look around the above. Based in two convenient locations in the center of town and both designed by Mackintosh himself,  many the original features of these picture pretty tea rooms remain intact. Even more importantly they serve the best damn coronation chicken to be found anywhere in the UK. But remember to book!  
  • Midnight walk to the Necropolis. Another recommendation from a friend, Thanks Blake! She suggests taking a 2am walk to this ghostly vantage point by St. Mungo's museum to see breathtaking views of the city by night ...although err, maybe go in a group.

Of course, with the Commonwealth Games and Radio One's big weekend being held in Glasgow this summer you might already be busy in the city, you lucky things. As I said my visit was only a flying one and because of the champagne the photos are mainly write-off but here's what I wore:


My favourite Vivienne Westwood Anglomania dress from a few seasons ago and my new love-of-my-life Zara coat in cornflower blue (get it here). Paired with black heels from Whistles and gold bangles. Only the best for Glasgow, of course.
Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf


Where: Grasshoppers Hotel 87 Union Street, Glasgow G1 3TA
Why you shouldn't say: The rooms got very warm at night, although fans were provided. Some reviews on Trip Adviser mentioned a high level of noise although I didn't experience this during my stay. There is a lack of wardrobe space if you are staying for a prolonged period of time. 
Why you should: Can't commend the service highly enough. Lots of lovely personal touches, very welcoming staff and the breakfast is fantastic. Would definitely stay here again.
http://www.grasshoppersglasgow.com/
Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf

Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf
*this is a completely independent review. Our stay was paid for from our own pockets and all opinions are my own. C/O items or sponsored posts will always be made clear.