Friday, 21 October 2016

Wedding Planning... The Playlist!

After a recent music themed #abzchat on twitter, I've been inspired to share some of the musical aspects of our wedding day!

A house party at ours, always ends with a sing a long of our favourite songs with our favourite people, a few guitars, some drums and occasionally even a harmonica or a tambourine! Our wedding reception was pretty much exactly the same but on a much larger scale. It started with Gordon's cousin Kenny playing our first dance, followed by dancing til my feet ached and singing til my throat hurt, and it ended with his Aunty Kathy doing a spontaneous solo of an old family classic! It was literally the best party I've ever been to.

Down the Aisle: Fleetwood Mac - Landslide

Oh what a fiasco this was! Our venue was basically just an empty shell for us to do what we wanted with. This meant there was no official system or staff to organise the music aspect. After much deliberation, Gordon went out and bought a great big speaker, and we charged one of our Best Men with the task of playing the right music at the right time. The plan just about went without a hitch...

They pressed play on the song by mistake, but quickly realised it didn't matter when the door swung open and the first bridesmaid made her way down the aisle! Talk about good timing! The same can't be said for stopping it - they hit the stop button literally the second I reached the top of the aisle, cutting off Stevie Nicks mid chorus! It really didn't matter at the end of the day and it still makes me giggle thinking about it! Landslide is and will always be my favourite Fleetwood Mac song!

Ceremony/Meal Playlist

We made use of our new speaker and had it playing music in the background while guests arrived for the ceremony and then shifted it to the yurt to play while we enjoyed our epic dinner. The playlist was made up of an eclectic mix of our favourite songs. We included most of the softer, slower music in this as we felt the chilled out vibes were more appropriate through the day. Our guests were treated to everything from The Beach Boys to the Beatles, Jet's "Move On" to Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" and a bit of Damien Rice.

First Dance: Mamas and Papas - Dream a Little Dream,
followed by Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I'm not even sure why we chose Dream a Little Dream to be honest. It's a song we both like and often sing (badly on my part!), but we just decided on it when it came on in the car one day. We'd already decided we'd like Kenny to perform our first dance song as a little personal touch and we'd heard him sing it at a gig before, and that was that. First dance sorted.

As it wasn't a particularly dance-y tune, we thought it'd be good to go into something upbeat straight away. Breakfast at Tiffany's was the obvious choice! I once dressed as Holly Golightly for a fancy dress party, and it was the theme of my hen night! It's one of the songs that always gets played at our house parties and we knew it'd fill the dancefloor pretty quickly. 

Photo by Laura.

The Band: Wonderland - 20 Favourite Songs

Our band Wonderland literally made our evening! They played a mixture of music themselves, as well as some tracks that we'd "requested" and walked us through a few classic Scottish dances. I'm useless at the Gay Gordons at the best of times - more so with my dress wrapping itself around my heels at every turn - but it's always so much fun, you get to dance and connect with strangers and everyone always ends up laughing! Of course, like every good Scottish wedding, it ended with us being lifted up on shoulders for Loch Lomond and the big Auld Lang Syne finale!

Steve had asked us to send them a list of 20 of our favourite songs and they'd download the ones they didn't know to make sure they catered for our tastes specifically! No Amarillo or Don't Stop Believing at this party, thank you. We tried to pick songs we knew our guests would love as much as us, songs that were mainly upbeat and had meaning to us. I reckon a few of our choices must of been so obscure they couldn't find them as I don't remember hearing them on the night, but they did their best and even played Dance Magic Dance from the Labyrinth! I loved it, our guests loved it and the dancefloor was rarely empty - if ever! It didn't matter if our guests knew each other or not, they were all dancing together and so many have told us since how much they enjoyed the music.

What was your first dance song?
What would you choose to walk down the aisle to?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Top 3 Pizzas in Aberdeen!

There are 2 types of people in this world - those that like pizza... and liars!

Aberdeen seems to be getting a huge pizza action right now. With the launch of two new specialised pizza joints, plus Rev's new menu additions - the Granite City has gone margharita mad! I've had a grand total of 3 pizza dates this month alone, and thought I'd share a slice of them with you!

Nick's Pizza & Wine Bar

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch party of the new pizza bar on Back Wynd earlier this month, hosted by none other than the Michelin starred chef himself. A charming and down to earth man, Nick Nairn tells it like it is! Located downstairs from the well known cook school (which we got a quick tour of - I'm dying to try a class!), Nick admitted that the use of this space as a shop just wasn't working and they needed to try something different. After a fairly successful café launch, they decided to add the pizza and wine menu - keeping the concept casual with a minimalistic Scandinavian design.

We tried four different pizzas from the short menu - all priced from £7 - and I have to say they were all pretty damn good. The garlic mushroom was my personal favourite, closely followed by the fiery nduja sausage. Local produce features heavily on the menu with the wine selection put together with a little help from Doug of WoodWinters, beer from nearby Six Degrees North and mozzarella sourced from a Scottish buffalo herd!

Nick Nairn Cook School & Café, 15 Back Wynd, Aberdeen.

Slice N Easy

My next pizza adventure took me back to the place I stayed the night after my wedding - the Bauhaus hotel! Gordon and I admired Bob Harper's rock n roll artwork over breakfast when we stayed there, but now owner James Cummings has expanded on the theme with the launch of their new pizza joint and bar!

They've captured my taste in music perfectly, with a mix of Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones and Blondie playing in the background while we tucked into pizzas named after the legends themselves! We started with a deliciously moreish focaccia, and followed with a taste of Elvis, Jagger, Hendrix and Prince. The Boss was the stand out for me - mac n cheese with crispy bacon, on a pizza! It's a total chilled out, good vibe kinda place - I suggest bringing your friends so you can try the lot.

Slice N Easy at the Bauhaus Hotel, Langstane Place, Aberdeen. 

My "Where the f**ks my pizza" face.

Brewdog Dogtap

Last but not least - the final pizza the puzzle. My husband loves a good craft beer and Brewdog is a firm favourite. With their brewery located just a short drive away from us in Ellon, we made Friday night Date night and headed out for pizza and beer! As designated driver I stuck to the fritz-limo and coffee - did I mention I like mochas now?

Another relaxed location, we made ourselves at home, took advantage of the free wifi and created our wedding "thank you" cards while we were there! The bar was busy, with the new additional seating upstairs and some tours on the go. I think they forgot about our pizzas but when they did finally arrive (an hour after ordering) I have to admit they were worth the wait! Gordon's stone baked pizza was a classic - spicy, meaty topped with nduja sausage, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella. Mine was a little more unusual with kassler pork and artichokes giving it an almost sweet flavour. Delicious!

DogTap, Balmacassie Industrial Estate, Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Where's your favourite place to grab a slice in Aberdeen or shire?
What toppings would you go for?

*I was invited to Nick's Pizza & Wine Bar and Slice n Easy in exchange for honest reviews. As always, all opinions are genuine.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Caber Coffee School

I've made no secret of my mission to support local businesses in Aberdeen lately. This Christmas I plan to buy at least one present, for each person on my list, from somewhere local. Someone else who is just as passionate about keeping our economy going, is Findlay Leask. He's written a blog post on the matter himself, and was among the first to sign up to the Buy North East campaign with his family business - Caber Coffee!

Caber Coffee is a well known name in the area. They've been supplying lots of our local cafes and restaurants with everything they need to make a great cup of joe for over 25 years. More recently, they've introduced the Caber Coffee School - the most Northerly barista training facility in the UK. Earlier this month Findlay invited me along to see what Coffee School is all about! I'm not the world's biggest coffee fan, but my sister definitely is...

Laura and I headed to Caber headquarters on Holburn Street one Monday morning, ready to be educated. Having never even tasted a latte in my life, I had no idea what to expect but was willing to give it a go and see if Findlay could convert me from green tea sipper to espresso enthusiast.

A warm and friendly welcome from Findlay made us feel right at home in the stylish, purpose built kitchen area they've created for the school. After a little chat about Aberdeen, blogging and how we can help support local - it was time to get down to business. We started by watching a short video, showing us how Caber brings their coffee to us - from farm to café! It makes sense, of course, to start the class with a taste of the product. A latte for Laura and my first ever mocha... turns out I like a good mocha! Who knew?

Next up was an espresso education! The base of all good coffees, it's important to get the espresso shot just right. A great product can be totally destroyed at that very last step. Too much water and you ruin the flavours. You can use the finest coffee beans the world has to offer, but if you can't pour it properly it'll end up tasting like dirty dishwater!

And then it was time to have a go ourselves! I learned to use a tamper, steam milk and watch out for something they call "blonding" as the liquid filled the cup. Being a coffee virgin, I was a little overwhelmed with the wealth of information Findlay had to offer. Laura, however, is something of a pro having worked in coffee shops and previously attending a coffee school further south. I think what she took from the day was more of a "fine tuning" of her already extensive knowledge! 

Latte art was our next challenge! Those pretty patterns you see in your cup are the result of swaying the jug from side to side as the milk and crema combine. Mine was a complete disaster, while Laura's was a little more artistic. Findlay's masterpiece won by a mile... not that it was a competition of course!

I really enjoyed my experience at Caber Coffee School, despite being a total novice. I have a new found appreciation for a good brew and some serious respect for those that can make it well. I've found myself ordering a mocha since, although it wasn't quite up to scratch - I have high standards now I'm a Coffee School graduate! If you're a restaurant, bar or cafe owner in Scotland, I'd highly recommend sending your staff for a visit. Don't be the weak link that ruins the coffee in the farm to café chain! All are welcome, Caber client or not. Although you'd have to be pretty obstinate not to convert to Caber after meeting Findlay and hearing him speak so passionately about his business! 

Coffee School is not just for those in the hospitality industry though - why not treat the coffee lover in your life to a Cheeky Macchiato this Christmas?

Friday, 14 October 2016

FloatFit HIIT with Sport Aberdeen

Someone recently told me that Aberdeen tends to be around 10 years behind London. That particular conversation was in relation to the food and drink industry, but I think the same can be said for many trends. Fitness for example... while London is booming with the likes of Zanna Van Dijk and Clean Eating Alice hopping from one bootcamp to another, fitness blogging is almost unheard of around here. There's not a Barry's Bootcamp, Pyscle or Barre workout in sight! One unusual workout however, has made it's way to Aberdeen faster than any other. Currently only available in a handful of cities in the UK, Float Fit is catching the attention of Aberdonians fast!

Sport Aberdeen invited me along to try a class at the Beach Leisure Centre. Our instructor Paula was welcoming and friendly, guiding us through the class like a true pro. Knocking your neighbour off with waves is encouraged! 
You can watch my GoPro footage from the evening below.

So what is Float Fit? Aqua Physical have created an exciting new HIIT workout that can be done on water with their aquabase floats! Your core is challenged the entire time as you squat, plank and burpee your way through the 30 minute workout, trying your best to keep your balance and not land in the water. I'm genuinely amazed I managed to stay dry for the whole class. I didn't find the session particularly strenuous (no DOMS the next day either!) but I did take the easier option a few times as I wasn't confident enough in my balancing skills. However, it still felt challenging, effective and most importantly fun!

A lot of people forget that when they decide to get fit. They think of exercise as something punishing and unenjoyable, but lets face it... are you ever going to stick to something you don't actually like? FloatFit HIIT is a low impact, unique way to get fit and have fun!

View Sport Aberdeen's FloatFit timetable.

*I was invited to try FloatFit by Sport Aberdeen. As always, all views are my own and 100% genuine.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...