Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Swatch Watches & Byron Burgers at Union Square

Last week I met up with some blogger pals at Union Square*. Our first stop was Swatch - the Swiss watch company on the ground floor. Now is probably a good time to confess - I don't own a watch (yet)! The staff at Swatch were great. They were full of knowledge and passion for the brand and talked us through the different styles and functions available. I had no idea how many different ranges they offer - there is literally a watch for everyone at Swatch. Did you know they even sell jewellery? 

So many colours, shapes and sizes, all good quality, Swiss made and with an affordable price tag! How cool is the Chinese New Year special edition? The kids range is super cute too! I fell in love with the rose gold coloured time pieces the minute I set foot in the store and the guys helped me pick out the Pink Glistar beauty. I can't wait to wear it!

When we'd finished drooling over pretty watches, we headed upstairs to eat. London burger chain Byron has literally just opened it's doors in Union Square and everyone seems to be buzzing about it - the queue was out the door when we arrived! 

Between the four of us we devoured a glorious plate of cheesy nachos smothered in jalapenos, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. And then the main event, the burgers! Byron's ethos is simple - to do proper hamburgers and to do them well. Mission accomplished. You can choose from a plain and simple burger, add cheese, bacon, or chilli! There's plenty options on the menu including a chicken burger, bean patty or even a quinoa salad. Byron recommend you enjoy their burgers cooked medium but the more sensitive stomachs among us can request them well done! The meat has a proper chargrilled, BBQ-y flavour to it and you can watch the chefs rustle up your dinner in the open kitchen. My monterey jack cheese burger and sweet potato fries were a treat! I can't recommend the blue cheese dip enough. The staff insisted that we tried the oreo milkshake (you definitely should!) and we even managed to squeeze in dessert. I opted for a banana mess and Chantel enjoyed the chocolate brownie, but I was mostly eyeballing Brad and Anastasia's caramel and honeycomb sundaes! I practically rolled onto the bus home with a full and happy belly.

Some of my friends have been checking out the burger offerings this week and singing their praises too! If you're shopping the sales at Union Square remember and schedule in a pit stop at Byron!

*I was invited to visit Swatch & Byron Hamburgers by Union Square. As always, all thoughts are my own and 100% genuine.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas 2015: Good food, good people, good times

Merry Christmas!! Better late than never. I had the quickest weekend of my life - I'm back to work already! - but it was a weekend that my M&S napkins summed up perfectly - Good food, good people, good times. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

On Christmas eve we went to a carol service in Ellon and then headed to Brewdog for some beer and board games. Christmas day was spent at my parents house opening presents - I must of been really good this year, Santa spoiled me with new trainers, a Babyliss pro curler and Breakfast at Tiffany's tickets! We ate all of the (mostly vegan) food, drank all of the prosseco, watched Home Alone 2 and played with my nephew. He's at a perfect age for Christmas now, it definitely puts the magic back into it. It's crazy seeing how much he has grown since this time last year! 

Boxing Day was our first festive gathering in our new home! We invited our families for lunch and served up a buffet of M&S party food, miniature versions of my Five AM steak pies, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes. The home bakes went down well too - I'd made Canadian roll, truffles, jelly squares and a vegan salted caramel slice from The UnCook Book. I love how everyone comes together around food and the house was filled with (most of!) my favourite people having a good time. Or at least I hope they were! We spent the day playing Buckaroo, jenga and connect 4 with our niece and introducing her to the greatest film of all time. Labyrinth, obviously. Cards Against Humanity came out to play when our friends joined us later on! ;)

How has your festive period been? I hope Santa was good to you, let me know what he brought!?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Lunch at Foodstory, Aberdeen

Foodstory Cafe on Aberdeen's Thistle Street is my go to for a healthy lunch in the city. I loved the cute little cafe but it was always so cramped and you were lucky to get a free table at lunch time. This year they bought the place next door, knocked through and created a larger, more open, relaxed dining space with plenty comfy seats and their signature upcycled shabby-chic style. Back in October I finally got the chance to visit when we met family for a bite to eat...

Healthy, organic and locally sourced foods are still a priority and we enjoyed an array of soups, salads and an epic looking vegetarian curry between us. I love that they cater for so many different dietary requirements too - I can meet up with all my dairy-free, gluten-free vegetarian/vegan family! There's plenty gluten free home bakes and even a vegan chocolate cake! I couldn't resist the white chocolate peanut millionaire myself.

The cafe is now open in the evenings from Tuesday - Saturday. They're also hosting their first ever pop up dinner - The Gathering Table - this Sunday which sounds amazing! 

Head to 15 Thistle Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1XY.

Monday, 14 December 2015

4 Ways To Find Your Christmas Spirit

The tree is up, presents are wrapped and I've watched 5 festive movies already... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Williamson-Bridge household! Thanks to Buddy the Elf, we all know the best way to spread Christmas cheer, but here's just a few of the things that have been getting us in the festive spirit lately...

Next metallic baubles.

1. Put up the tree and decorate!
Every year we put on Home Alone, haul out the decorations and fall out over the lights. It's tradition and I love it! I wanted a bigger tree for our new house this year but compromised on new baubles instead. We went for a metallic set from Next to match our living room decor. I picked up the mini copper tree ornaments from Card Factory of all places for £1.50 each! We also helped decorate Mum's massive tree with red and gold ribbon, beads and baubles :)

2. Visit a Christmas market.
Aberdeen has it's first ever Christmas Village this year! There's a traditonal German market, ice skating rink, beer/entertainment tent and fun fair... it  may be small but it's better than nothing! I visited twice in one weekend but still haven't had a shot on the ice rink!

Primark dress (old), Next necklace.
 Next dress, New Look shoes.

3. Enjoy the parties...
Nothing feels more festive than getting dressed up, devouring a three course meal and drinking cocktails with your work/diving/gym mates! The diving club organised a meal at the Cornkist in Ellon - the portions were huge and everything was delicious. Salted caramel and chocolate creme brulee... Enough said! Works do was another night of good food, lots of dancing and far too many drinks. Just the Dailly Fitness night out to go, roll on Friday! 

Mugs from Home Bargains.

4. Have a cosy night in.
Switch on the fairy lights, pick a film and make a cup of tea. Or hot chocolate. Or Bailey's... or Bailey's hot chocolate! Whats your favourite Christmas movie?

Lunch at The Boozy Cow, Edinburgh

Disco Bru and Boozy Back Cow.

Chicken chipotle burger, maple bacon cheese burger, cheese skinnies and wagon wheel onion rings.

Bacon Maple Old Fashioned, and a Pink Angel.

The Boozy Cow - 17 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EY.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday at Protein Card

On Tuesday I received my first ever Muscle Food order. I know people have been singing their praises for a long time but I just never thought I'd actually save any money ordering my meat online instead of from the butcher/supermarket! I changed my mind when Protein Card sent me an e-mail with an exclusive discount code - 43 pieces of meat for £19. NINETEEN POUNDS. Signing up for a Protein Card will get you exclusive discounts from lots of big name fitness brands including Muscle food, MyProtein, Grenade, Quest, USN and Muscle Moose to name just a few! This Black Friday they're offering a half price deal on their Pro membership with a free bundle of goodies worth £130!

"BLACK MAGIC: The disappearing deal: For the FIRST TIME EVER, Protein Card is offering it’s pro membership for £15. Thats 50% OFF. Unlock a world of EXCLUSIVE discounts, only available to you. We have exclusivity contracts with the biggest brands in the business, meaning you can only get these deals from us. We price match everyone in the industry, so YOU WON’T GET THESE DEALS ANY CHEAPER, anywhere else. To get this click the link in the bio at @proteincard"

Monday, 23 November 2015

6 Christmas Gift Ideas for your Fitness Friends

It's that time of year again, when we have to start racking our brains for gift ideas for our loved ones. I like seeing someone's face when they open a gift they absolutely LOVE. Sometimes it's hard to know what to get people though... what if they already have it? What if it doesn't fit? Will they actually use it? I'm going to solve all your problems and help you find the perfect present for the fitness freak in your life, with 6 ideas that any gym goer or health enthusiast would love to find wrapped under the tree...

1. Tickets to the SFN Expo 2016! Scotland's biggest weekend of fitness and nutrition at the SECC in Glasgow - they host everything from the UKBFF Scottish Grand Prix, to Crossfit games, to nutritional seminars and protein baking workshops! The easiest, hassle free present you could buy. You'll even get 10% discount with my code "SFNAM25" as well as limited early bird prices, FREE delivery with a fancy "Golden Ticket" envelope, guaranteed to arrive before Christmas! Visit www.sfnexpo.co.uk/tickets

2. Clothes. You can't go wrong with anything from Nike - personally I'm hoping Santa will bring me their giraffe print leggings!

3. MyProtein goodies - they do my all time favourite natural chocolate flavour Impact Whey Protein and I don't know about you but I'd be chuffed to unwrap a box of their protein cookies!

4. Healthy cookbooks. It seems like everyone and their Nan is bringing out a cookbook packed with healthy recipes lately. My go to book is still Hemsley + Hemsley's "The Art of Eating Well" but I quite fancy Jamie Oliver and Gizzi Erskine's latest ones. I've heard good things about the Protein Pow book too. 
(No idea why Fearne Cotton and Joe Wicks are waiting til after Christmas to release theirs but you could always pre-order them for someone!)

5. Fitness trackers... There's so many to choose from it can be confusing. If they're a runner try a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch. Polar heart rate monitors are ideal for a HIIT fan - I used mine every day til it died, sob! A Jawbone or Fit Bit is a good idea for general day to day tracking as you can wear them all day, connect them to your phone and even track your sleep!

6. Entry to a race. I was shocked when I first found out that people actually PAY for the privilege torture of running a marathon. If they're dying to run a particular race next year; a 5k colour run? Triathlon? Tough Mudder? Help them out & sign them up! 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Brewdog Five AM Steak Pie

I love sitting around a table, tucking into a big hearty dinner with the family. This weekend just past was Gordon's birthday and he had made a special request for my steak pie for Sunday dinner. It was just the two of us but I went a bit OTT and made enough to feed the 5000! The recipe is actually my Dad's but I adapted it a bit and used Gordon's favourite craft beer brand, Brewdog. Making the pie is actually really simple and hassle free but it looks impressive and is full of flavour, thanks to the Five AM Red Ale.

You'll need...

500g lean stewing steak
2 bottles Brewdog Five AM Red Ale (or any other ale of your choice!)
3 medium carrots
1 large onion
200g button mushrooms
1 beef stock cube
1 pack Jus Roll puff pastry

You can serve it with any veg and sides you like, but I rustled up a feast of brussels sprouts, crispy roast potatoes cooked in traditional goose fat, good old Paxo sage and onion stuffing and some redcurrant jelly. If you're feeling fancy you could make your own but I'm a big fat cheat.

Season and brown your meat in the pot first and then chuck in the onions, mushrooms and carrots (all chopped), pour the beer over the lot and stir in the stock cube. Turn the heat down low, put the lid on the pan and go find something else to do for the next few hours. (I prepped my veggies and rustled up a sticky toffee pudding from The Art of Eating Well!) Slow cooking the filling means that your veg will soak up all the flavours from the beer and your meat will literally fall apart.

It should only take a couple of hours but leave it as long as you possibly can. Mine was on for roughly 4 hours, before I took the lid off and allowed it to reduce to a thicker gravy. About 30 minutes before your sides are ready, you can assemble the pie. Let the pastry sit for 5-10mins so it comes up to room temperature. You could always make your own pastry but I'm trying to keep this as quick and easy as possible! Pour the filling into a deep oven proof dish. Roll out the pastry sheet, cut it down to size and pop it on top of your dish. We like a soggy bottom in our house (sorry Mary Berry) so I laid the pastry straight on top of the filling. Gordon got all artistic for me and carved the Brewdog logo out of the leftover pastry - pretty impressive don't ya think?

Pop the pie in the oven for around 20 minutes, until the pastry starts to turn golden brown. Remove it from the oven and dish everything up...

Enjoy! :)
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