Monday, 25 November 2013

The Christmas Tag!

I saw this Christmas tag on A Yellow Brick Blog and just couldn't resist. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, I love everything about the festivities! The parties, the lights, the music, the food, the cosy nights in watching xmas films...



1. What is your favourite Christmas song?
The Pogue's Fairytale of New York! "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot..." It's a bit depressing really but I love the way everyone gets excited and joins in, particularly on that line ;)


2. Which is your favourite festive drink?
Bailey's! I actually love Baileys but for some reason only take it out at this time of year. Gordon and I have a tradition of opening 1 small present on Christmas eve with a glass of Baileys and ice in hand.




3. Do you have a favourite Christmas film?

Eh where do I start?! Elf (Buddy the elf, what's your favourite colour?), Jack Frost, Love Actually, Home Alone 1-3 (Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!), The Santa Clause, Bad Santa (Thurman Merman?!), Fred Claus... ok, I'll stop...

4. What is at the top of your Christmas wish-list this year?
I don't know to be honest. The only thing I've asked for is spending money for NY and a winter candle from The White Company. In an ideal world I'd have these beautiful Mulberry Dorset boots, but I'd settle for a Topshop jumpsuit, Boohoo tartan skirt or some new reading material.




5. What is your favourite festive makeup or nail art look?
My make-up never really changes (#sorrynotsorry) but I love glittery nails for Christmas! These red rockstar nails are ideal.


6. What is your favourite outfit at Christmas time? (LBD? Christmas jumper? PJ's?)
Anything cosy with fur, feathers and/or sequins! I'm also a massive believer in tights at this time of year; coloured ones, patterened ones, Primark's super cosy fleece lined ones... The tartan Jonathan Aston pair I wore on Christmas day a couple of years ago are a definite favourite!




7. Would you rather play out in the snow or enjoy it from inside with the fire and a cuppa?
Harley loves playing in snow! I'd say a little play in the snow with the pups, followed by heating up in cosy PJs and fluffy slippers.



8. Wrapping presents - love or loathe?
Love, love, love! Usually with festive tunes on in the background. Although I do have to apologise to everybody for my terrible wrapping skills.



9. What is your favourite Christmassy food?
Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the whole year! But if I had to pick certain parts it has to be cranberry jelly and roast tatties! Party in my mouth!




10. What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
It's far too hard to pick! I'm going to be cheesy and say spending time with all my friends and family enjoying the festive cheer :)

I'm tagging everybody to join in - leave a link to your post in the comment section if you do!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Birthday at the Brasserie

After Kate and Karen's recommendations on twitter, I decided to go ahead and book Gordon's birthday dinner at the Malmaison's Brasserie. Anyone who knows him (or follows this blog) will know that Gordon's a lover of steaks and burgers and, according to the girls, Malmaison does both pretty well! We went back to our room after a few cocktails in the bar to get changed and ready for our meal. I decided on this Primark dress with simple black heels and an ancient Warehouse necklace that's worked it's way back into my staple jewellery collection.

primark dress
Primark colour block dress // Carvela heels // Warehouse necklace

The restaurant has a mix of modern industrial vibes and old school decor, with various animal portraits and antlers mounted above the fireplace, while the Scottish theme continues throughout. It's kind of posh but relaxed at the same time. We were seated in a cosy little curved booth with perfect people watching potential.


We kicked off with the starters; creamed brie with red wine poached pear and salted, candied pecans for me... Gordon thought I'd ordered some sort of raw fish for a minute! It was the perfect mixture of sweet and savoury, and light enough to leave plenty room for the next round.


Gordon chose the Mal chicken lollipops. The way the menu describes them is slightly confusing and made it sound like a large sharing platter or something, but it made much more sense when they arrived! Five different flavoured pieces of chicken served with sweet chilli and aioli dipping sauces. I'd definitely go for this next time! We washed them down with wine and champagne cocktails. Well you can't have a birthday without a few bubbles, can you?

malmaison aberdeen 11

The star of the show for me was the chicken tikka. Described on the menu as "chicken tikka, masala sauce, pilaf rice, chutney, raita & griddled Indian bread", I'd expected it to arrive like a typical curry with pieces of chicken covered in sauce. It arrived with a tiny pan of the masala sauce with a chicken tikka skewer and was even better than I'd imagined. The sauce could of done with a bit more spice but the chicken was gorgeous, with a hint of coriander and cooked to perfection! I didn't eat too much of the rice as I didn't want to fill up on it but dipped the naan bread in the sweet mango chutney to finish it off. I can almost taste it now.... oh wait, that's the tikka my sister just cooked in the microwave! ;)


As predicted, Gordon went for steak. There's a few options on the Josper Grill menu but they also had some different cuts on the specials menu that evening. He ended up with a huge, marbled sirloin steak with a side of fries and onion rings. The steaks are served with a salad and sauce but you have to order your sides separately so, not realizing how big the portions would be, he definitely over ordered. I had to force myself to help him out with the crispy fries! It's a hard life...


I had arranged a little surprise when the restaurant called to confirm our booking, and spent the entire evening panicking that Gordon would decide he was too full for dessert! Not once did he leave the table, so I didn't even get the chance to check that they had remembered to do it! Luckily for me sticky toffee pudding was on the menu and Gordon can never resist a good sticky toffee.


And they remembered! Much to Gordon's surprise, the pudding arrived on a Happy Birthday slate platter! Simple, but effective. He was chuffed but embarrassed in equal measures haha. I had chosen a creme brulee which was delicious but no match for the white chocolate and passionfruit version at Tom's.


After wolfing down our birthday puddings we relaxed in the Brasserie for a while and then made our way into town for a wee cocktail crawl. We visited some of our favourite bars in the city for a few drinks before retiring to our comfy king size in the junior suite.

A cosmopolitan at The Tippling House...


A long island iced tea in Ninety-Nine...


And a Pornstar martini at Dusk. Hopefully I'll get a chance to spend more time sampling their cocktail menu soon! 


Happy birthday Gordon!

Have you ever eaten at a Malmaison restaurant? You can book online here if you fancy. I'll definitely be back soon - it was a total treat for the taste buds and I'd 100% recommend them to celebrate any special occasion!

Christy xx

Monday, 18 November 2013

Malmaison

This weekend my other half turned the grand old age of 29 (only one more year til the big one!) and we celebrated with a night at Aberdeen's Malmaison hotel. We booked the hotel and breakfast via Late Rooms and upgraded to a junior suite when we checked in on Friday afternoon. The hotel is gorgeous from the inside out. There is a Scottish theme running throughout the building's chic and stylish interior, highlighted with the use of various tartan accessories.


Our suite was reasonably sized - nothing over the top - and came equipped with a king size bed, a small sofa and coffee table at the foot, a stand alone bath, desk, TV and mini bar. The bathroom was well stocked with the usual soaps, shampoo and body wash to use in the massive shower. 


Our first port of call was of course the Malbar. Open to residents 24/7 the bar is yet another beautifully designed part of the hotel. You can lounge here with a coffee through the day, get a dram in the cosy whiskey snug or, like us, relax and people watch take in your stunning surroundings with a cocktail from the Malchemy menu before dinner.


Or if you're feeling flush you can always treat yourself to some bubbles...


We had a fantastic dinner in the Malmaison's brasserie but I have a separate post on that lined up. There were far too many photos for one! Our breakfast was a welcome sight the morning after! The last thing my hangover needed was a fry up so I kept it simple with toast and tasty pastries from the continental selection. Gordon on the other hand, dove straight in for the Big Mal Breakfast to soak up all that vodka from the night before. Judging by the speed he wolfed it down, I'd say it hit the spot.


If I could, I'd  of stayed at the Malmaison forever but we begrudgingly checked out and returned to the real, far less sleek world. I can't recommend this hotel enough. All aspects of our stay were spot on and the staff were warm, inviting and always helpful. It is a bit pricey but is worth it for the comfortable and elegantly patriotic escape.

You'll find Aberdeen's Malmaison on Queen's Road or check their website for other locations. I fancy giving the spa a try next!
Have you ever been to a Malmaison hotel?

Christy xx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Amicus Apple

A few weeks ago my sister invited me along to a Nina Nesbitt gig in Aberdeen. As it was my day off we decided we'd grab something to eat in town before heading to the The Lemon Tree. Laura is vegetarian so after a quick google of various menus we settled for Amicus Apple as they had the most and more unique options for her. It's somewhere I've been meaning to try for a while and I was not disappointed. 


We were greeted into the stylish bar and seated in a booth near the entrance. It has kind of an upmarket student vibe; I loved the comfy cushions and the light installment above us. There was a mixture of families out for a bite to eat, suited and booted office folk out for post-work drinks and dolled up students having a few pre-nightclub cocktails. 


As always, I started with the cocktail list. Amicus Apple offers a large choice of unusual drinks (PBJ cocktails, anyone?) but the "Pink Angel" was my drink du jour. It's basically a cosmopolitan with a raspberry and elderflower twist. Like drinking juice! 

Now onto food...


We skipped starters to save room for pudding after Laura mentioned that there was a peanut butter option on the dessert menu! For main, she chose the Open Beetroot and Pear Lasagne. It looked absolutely amazing with the mix of colours and pretty floral presentation. I didn't have a taste but I have it on good authority that it was yummy! Even if it did take us a while to figure out that the cold pasta was actually cheese... or "Parmesan ribbons" according to the menu. The portion size didn't look like much but then pasta is always surprisingly filling.


My main was the Jerk Chicken Burger which was served with a sweet, peppery relish and fries. I swapped the skinny fries for sweet potato ones and was glad I did. They were crispy and delicious! The chicken burger itself was a huge BBQ-y piece of chicken served in a yummy brioche bun with lettuce and tomato. I'd definitely have this again!


Obviously for dessert I had the White Chocolate Cheesecake with Peanut Butter Crust and Jam Coulis. A-ma-zing! It was a huge portion that I really wanted to finish but couldn't after eating my burger and fries. It was really sweet and had some sugary, tablet pieces through it as well so it started to get a bit sickly after a while, but I would recommend it to anybody with a real sweet tooth. Again it was presented beautifully and the flower was a nice touch. Laura went for the Warm Salted Caramel Brownie with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. It was another large portion of caramel chocolate goodness! Not quite as sweet as my cheesecake so probably a safer option, especially at the end of a large meal!


Amicus Apple was the perfect place for our casual pre-gig dinner and I'd recommend lining your stomach here before a night out. You can find them on Langstane Place in Aberdeen or in Edinburgh at 17 Frederick Street, with a slightly different menu and a view of the castle!

Have you ever tried Amicus Apple?

Christy xx

Sunday, 10 November 2013

What's in my gym bag?

The past couple of months have been a disaster as far as my fitness and diet is concerned. I've completely fallen off the bandwagon, got pretty lazy and skipped the gym, and even hit an all time low when I ate.... a microwave meal! Dun dun dun! It's not the end of the world though. My body fat % has crept up to 24% but I know exactly how to get back down and there's no time like the present. I have a week off work with no real plans so I intend to hit the gym hard and eat 100% clean (apart from Gordon's birthday dinner!) and try my best to keep it up once I'm back at work.

I've re-organised my gym bag in preparation for the week so I thought I'd share some of my essentials with you...


1. The bag - this Nike baby from Sports Direct has lasted a few years now. It's pretty big so I can fit in my lunch as well as my gym gear when I have to take it to work!

2. Trainers - my trusty old Nikes. The 1st pair I bought when I started going to circuit classes 3-4 years ago. I have to admit they're getting a bit scabby and I do have a newer pair of pink Nikes but I still love these. Take note of the colour scheme...

3. Swimming costume - I got this one from Bravissimo as I was total paranoid about escaping boobage so need the extra support!


4. Swimming goggles - complete with teeth marks from a teething Harley! I can't open my eyes underwater and refuse to be one of those head bobbing swimmers, so these are a necessity. My swimming is better and faster underwater anyway. These ones are a Speedo pair from Sports Direct. I usually aim to swim half a mile in less than 30 minutes after the gym. Or a whole mile in less than an hour if it isn't post workout!


5. Music - No gym sesh is complete without music! You can find my top gym tunes here. I absolutely hate forgetting my iPod so I tend to keep it in my gym bag with this arm band. None of my gym clothes have pockets so this is the only way. I've just bought this Lorna Jane one to fit my new iPhone in! 

6. Training plans - I kept my "homework" and plans from my personal trainer in a folder in my gym bag. I don't always follow them completely, in fact I rarely use them now, but they're handy when you get to the gym feeling uninspired and need a kick up the bum. 
*Note for any grammar police: "Dailly" is not a spelling mistake!


7. Gloves - Yep I'm a total girl and wear gloves for weight training! The skin on my hands goes all hard and sore if I don't. These ones are from Avon.


8. Handwraps - For all the boxing I do. Okay, I haven't been to my boxing class for months but these are a massive help when I do! They protect your hands and actually make boxing gloves feel comfier. I got mine from my class trainer but you can buy them online.

9. Polar FT4 - Last but not least, my heart rate monitor! I feel naked exercising without it. It can even be worn underwater so I use it all the time to keep track of my heart rate while I work out and calculate how many calories I've burned. This is a pretty basic version but it's all I need... Yeah, yeah, let's not pretend I didn't pick it for the colour. Pretty much all my gym gear is black and pink, god knows why but I can't help it. The cheapest place I've found to buy Polar watches is Amazon.

Obviously there is more that I use regularly - water bottle, yoga mat, kettlebells, towels, sports bra (always!) - but these are just some of the things that live in my bag. What do you keep in yours?

Would anyone be interested in seeing what I wear to the gym at some point?

Christy x

Friday, 8 November 2013

CUP

This Sunday I jumped on the bus to Aberdeen for some Christmas shopping retail therapy. I was quite controlled and only bought myself a jumper and ear muffs (for New York!) but did manage to pick up a few things for Gordon's birthday next week. It was a pretty miserable day so after an unsuccessful Primark trip and a mooch round the Candybelle Christmas Cracker and International markets, I was ready to take shelter and headed to Cup for lunch.


I've tried to visit Cup a few times before but it's always heaving! As it was a little bit later in the afternoon I had no problems getting a seat this time. One of my favourite things about loner shopping trips is the loner lunch. Some people hate eating out alone but I love hiding away in a corner in a big comfy chair with a good cup of tea and Instagram for company.


The decor in Cup is quite... cute. They advertise themselves as "purveyors of tea" and this is shown in the mismatched teacup prints and quotes that cover the walls. The pastel blue world map was one of my favourite parts, followed by the Alice in Wonderland theme that you'll find on your way down the rabbit hole to the bathroom.


I went for a brie and cranberry panini, with jasmine green tea. My sandwich arrived at my table along with a tiny taster cup of carrot and coriander soup, tortilla chips and goats cheese side salad. I'd expected the panini to be spread with a layer of cranberry jelly but it was actually real cranberries with melted brie oozing out the sides. So good!


The little girls at the table next to me were enjoying a "Chocolate Afternoon Tea" and making me very jealous! Eventually the temptation got too much and I couldn't resist the macaroons displayed by the till. I treated myself to a mini salted caramel one which only cost £1. Mmm...


If you fancy a good cup of tea, a light lunch or an afternoon tea with the girls then I can't recommend Cup enough! You can find them on Little Belmont Street in Aberdeen :)


Christy x
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