Friday, 27 February 2015

French Toast

This is the second day in a row I've had French toast. I saw this healthy recipe on the Fit Girl Code website - it literally takes 5 minutes to prepare and tastes a treat. I topped it with almond butter and honey, plus some strawberries today. I haven't had French toast in years. When we were young my Mum would make piles of the stuff and I'd cover it in Heinz tomato ketchup! It's strange having it with fruit now. Proper comfort food that's still healthy-ish though, just what I needed!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

5 Things Helping Me Survive The Plague

I never get ill. I can't even remember the last time I was sick! I've been dying for nearly a week now. It's slow and painful. My throat hurts, I can't breathe, I've lost my voice and (worst of all) I have no energy. No energy = no training. I'm going mad!! There's a few things getting me through the week though...

Prison Break. (Hello Lincoln Burrows...) I was getting a bit fed up of season 3 but we're onto season 4 now and I'm addicted again! If you liked Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy, you'll probably enjoy Prison Break. Go find it on Netflix. What should I watch when it's done?!

Chocolate Snack a Jacks with almond butter. My appetite hasn't been affected! I'm trying to eat plenty protein, fruit & veg and less carbs than usual but I'm obsessed with these... Hopefully I'll manage to maintain muscle & not gain too much fat while I'm out of action!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. It's not going well. I'm bored, frustrated and still hungry! As always. Gordon keeps buying me these to cheer me up. It's a nice thought but it's not helping the body fat situation.

Green tea with Manuka honey. It helps soothe my throat, for a while anyway. I'm doing my best to avoid lemsips or cough syrups...yuck!

My weekend off. Roll on Saturday!! Hoping for a miraculous recovery so I can enjoy my dinner at The Courtyard in Aberdeen. A recovery by Friday would be even better - I don't want to miss a PT sesh! If not it'll be another weekend in bed feeling sorry for myself. 

Help me.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Lunch at Chop Chop, Edinburgh

My Mum & Dad are obsessed with Chop Chop. They go every time they're in Edinburgh & my Dad even joined their membership rewards scheme. Which is handy as he had a £25 voucher going spare! We decided to use it for lunch while we were in the capital. Chop Chop operates a traditional Chinese dining style - dishes are typically shared and served when ready, in no particular order. We were taught how to make our own dipping sauce for the dumplings and treated to a huge bowl of prawn crackers too. They've been awarded 3 AA rosettes, voted best Chinese restaurant in Scotland and even featured on Gordon Ramsay's F-word.

Chicken chow mian.

Chicken with peanuts. I think it'd be better with a spicier sauce - I still enjoyed the dish but wouldn't order it again.

Vegetable spring rolls. Can't go wrong!

Fried rice.

Pork and chive guo tie (dumplings).

Chicken dumplings.

Dessert was my favourite dish - peanut dumplings! Fried dumplings with a peanut butter, raisin, sugar and sesame seed filling, served warm and dusted with icing sugar.

We weren't wow-ed by the food at Chop Chop but we weren't disappointed either. I think we just had extra high expectations because of my parents love for the place. With our voucher and an extra 10% off, thanks to my Dad's membership, our lunch came to a grand total of £10!

You can find Chop Chop at 248 Morrison Street, Edinburgh. It's within walking distance from the city centre and there's a brand new gin bar (The Jolly Botanist) right next door - I think we'll be heading there next time!

Can't take him anywhere.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

If you're ever looking for somewhere to take the kids in Edinburgh, Camera Obscura is the place. I took my big kid there the other week and had loads of fun. We got lost in a maze of mirrors...

The next one's freaky. You just walk across a little bridge but the lights spinning around it make you feel like it's moving. The guy in front of me was stumbling from side to side and holding onto the barriers. I didn't like it!

"From inside this mysterious Victorian rooftop chamber, you see live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table through a giant periscope. Pick people up on your hands, squash them to a pulp and even make the traffic climb over paper bridges."

Optical illusions, holograms and other fun attractions are spread across 6 floors, finishing off with the Camera Obscura show at the top of the tower and a panoramic view of the city from the rooftop terrace.

As if he's not tall enough as it is.

That's better.

And this is why we'll never have children...

It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings!

Ever seen the alien in American Dad?

This one's my favourite...

Such a good looking couple.

The building is at the top of the Royal Mile so you can pretty much see the whole of Edinburgh from the terrace. We spotted the castle, Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill.

Camera Obscura is open year round and prices start from £9.95 - £13.95, but under 5's go free!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Dinner at Tigerlily, Edinburgh

I've been wanting to visit Tigerlily for aaages. I booked the restaurant before we'd even booked a hotel for our trip. The Tigerlily hotel is a well known cocktail haunt but I didn't expect it to be so nightcluby when we got there. I'd say it's a place for fashionable, young people but there were older diners there too. Our table was right through the back of the restaurant so it was slightly quieter and we were able to have some sort of conversation over our dinner. 24 going on 60, I know.

The cocktail list is huge. It took about 3 visits from the waitress before I eventually decided what I wanted to drink! I ended up with a Sicilian Sidecar - a classic side car with a blood orange twist. Gordon made his way through the craft beer menu.

Our starters were good! Game terrine for Gordon and Scotch scallop for me. I didn't realise the scallops would come in the form of a scotch egg (how slow am I?!) but it's genius - scallops, black pudding, breadcrumbs and a wasabi and lobster mayo...amazing. Almost as amazing as my main course! Gordon had a fillet steak that he wasn't overly impressed with...

I had the venison. Holy crap. The best thing I've eaten, ever! And I like to eat. The venison fillet is cooked in puff pastry with spinach, red onion, mushrooms, cranberry and pine nuts. The meat literally melted in my mouth. It's served very rare which put me off slightly when it arrived but once I'd tasted it... Oh my God. You have to try it yourself. Don't be put off by the portion size either - it's more filling than it looks!

That's a mushroom, not a slug!

We attempted pudding which, to be honest, was our only real disappointment. Neither of us was too impressed with the chocolate fondant or the mascarpone cheesecake - funny texture, not much flavour. Should of had the fondue!

We wrapped up our dinner with more cocktails. The raspberry mule - which is served in Ketel One kettle! At first we'd felt rushed through the meal, as if they needed our table by a certain time, but the service slowed down by the end. Our waitress was really friendly and helpful with suggestions. She actually forgot about our drinks order but knocked the £15 cocktail off the bill to make up for it, so I'll forgive her! It was worth the wait.

Find Tigerlily at 125 George Street, Edinburgh - 0131 225 5005.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Aquaspinning with #SHHealthyHabits

SimplyHealth are on a mission to get the nation active and well with their #SHHealthyHabits campaign. They've been running fitness and juicing events across the country with Joe Blogs and this weekend they hosted an Aquaspin class at Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool. Yes... spinning... under water! Sounds intriguing eh? I went along to see what all the fuss was about. 

There's a few things we needed to clear up first though...

Number 1, what to wear? A swimming costume is all you need and sexy pool shoes are provided. I opted to wear a pair of shorts and a vest too... mainly because I was worried about chaffing or wardrobe malfunctions! Turns out you can't even see anyone under the water anyway so who cares?

Number 2, how the hell do you get the bikes in the water? The floor of the pool actually rises, the bikes are wheeled in and set up for each individual person and then the floor is lowered back down and the pool fills up again so you can swim out to your bike. Impressive eh?

Number 3, will it hurt? I'd had PT the day before and boxing in the morning so my body (especially my glutes!) was in agony already. I was worried how uncomfortable sitting on a bike for 45 minutes with DOMS was going to be but it wasn't actually that bad! You kind of float above the seat and have to force yourself to sit on it properly. It's easier on the joints as the water takes away some of the impact and I didn't feel my usual back pain either!

I've never been spinning before so I had no idea what it was going to be like. You can set your own bike to easy, medium or hard so the class it suitable for any fitness level. I picked medium as I was a spinning newbie but probably could of got away with hard. We cycled slow, fast, sitting, standing... all to some epic 80's and 90's tunes! The interval training was one of the hardest parts but my favourite. My thighs were burning! I expected the jelly legs but I didn't expect to get an arm workout too. We used the resistance of the water to work our bis and tri's! It might of looked like just a bit of splashing about but tricep extensions against the pressure of water is actually pretty hard. Splashing your instructor and classmates is fun though! There's also some ab exercises where you have to lean back so your body's floating in the water, with your hands on the seat and feet still on the pedals. It's called the recumbent position and makes your core work harder to support your body. It's a bit awkward to start with but you get used to it. Our instructor was really fun and enthusiastic which made it a lot easier to enjoy the class too!

I loved it! It was a tough but fun full body workout that burns up to 800 calories per class! The spinning felt really hard at the time but I was chuffed when I woke up pain free the next day. Apparently this is due to the water keeping your body temperature lower so you produce less lactic acid. If you fancy trying Aquaspin at the Commonwealth pool you can view the class timetable here.

What weird, hybrid fitness classes should I try next?!

Monday, 9 February 2015

JustGiving: Scottish Association for Mental Health

"In Scotland 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem and each day 2 people die by suicide. We work to combat stigma and campaign for better mental health. Help us take positive steps towards a mentally healthy Scotland."

I'm raising money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Chances are somebody you know has suffered from mental health problems at some point in their life - depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders to name just a few. I've signed up for a few races again this year... Aberdeen's Colour Me Rad 5k on 6th June, The Cetco Ythan Challenge on 14th June and The Banchory Beast Race on 26th September. If I'm going to put myself through hell for "fun" then somebody might as well benefit from it! My sister Laura has also signed up for the Colour Me Rad run and she'll be swimming a mile in Loch Lomond this August as part of The Great Scottish Swim! Brave woman - I hope they hand out medals! We'll be cold, wet and ridiculously muddy but it'll all  be worth it if the money raised can make a difference to somebody's wellbeing.

I won't be pestering anyone for money but I will be sharing my JustGiving link across my social media channels. (There's also a wee button added to the sidebar over there --->) That way you can donate if you'd like but there's no pressure! Anything you can afford to donate is going towards a good cause, and would be much appreciated. Every little helps!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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