Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cupcake Day for Alzheimer's Society | 16th June 2016

Alzheimer's Society
Do you love baking cupcakes? Or maybe your baking skills are non-existent and you prefer to buy shop bought cupcakes and pass them off as your own. Whichever category you fall under then why not help out an excellent cause at the same time by hosting a Cupcake Day on Thursday 16th June to help raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. Woman and Home are supporting the Cupcake Day, so get together with your work colleagues, friends and family along with some cupcakes and raise funds to help defeat dementia.

Dementia is a horrible disease and if you have ever seen one of your family members suffer from it it's really heartbreaking. My Granda suffered from it, at first it was little things like asking a question that he had asked just a few minutes earlier but then it progressed to waking up from a nap a few weeks after my Gran had died and asking me where she was. He couldn't remember that she was no longer with us. I couldn't bear to tell him that his wife of over 60 years had passed away just a few weeks earlier so I went through to the kitchen to tell my Mum and Auntie that he was asking for my Gran, my Auntie then had to tell him again that my Gran had died. Hearing him get upset again over my Gran's death was heartbreaking and even now over 16 years later, I am writing this post in tears remembering how it was hearing him cry again. No one should ever have to go through not being able to remember their partner has passed away and have to be told over and over again what has happened to them. Six months before my Granda died he went into a ward in the hospital as he had fallen at home, I made the difficult decision not to see him in there as I didn't want my last memories of him not knowing who I was.

850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia and it is now the biggest killer of women and the third biggest killer of men. By raising money for the Alzheimer's Society we can help pay for research into this disease or even for a dementia sufferer to attend a Dementia Cafe for a couple of months where they can be with people who understand what they are going through as well as share some of their stories.

If you would like to get involved in Cupcake Day then send off for your free cupcake kit, the kit contains some delicious cupcake recipe cards, cupcake picks, posters, a guide to help you plan your event and ideas on how to raise money, a collection box as well as a few other bits and pieces.  You can order your free cupcake kit from their website here or if you are unable to host on Cupcake Day you can also donate money on there too.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Aberdeen | Adelphi Kitchen Review

Adelphi Kitchen Menu

When the invite appeared in my mailbox to try out the new menu at Adelphi Kitchen, I immediately replied that I would love to go as it is a place that has always been on my "must try" list but just hadn't got round to doing.  The Adelphi Kitchen is a small cosy restaurant hidden away just off of Union Street on Adelphi Lane. It is known mostly for its meat and seafood but they also have a few vegetarian options on their menu too.

We were greeted by Chris Tonner who owns the restaurant and his lovely staff who made sure we all had a drink on arrival, I had the non alcoholic Summer punch which was a lovely berry mocktail and there was an alcoholic version for those that wanted a drop of the hard stuff.  Chris gave us the background on how Adelphi Kitchen came about after deciding to refurbish and rebrand the restaurant from La Stella, its previous incarnation.

We were going to be sampling the new Spring menu, I didn't however realise we were going to be sampling all of it so I'm glad that I had been saving myself all morning for the tasting session ahead of us. We shared the starters between 2 or 3 of us, otherwise I think we would have exploded from eating too much food.  There will be lots of photos of the food we tried in this post to make you drool and if there is anything there that takes your fancy and you are local, Deliveroo might be able to deliver it to your doorstep.

When the mussels came out in their pots my heart did sink a little as I don't like them, I have found them rubbery and also gritty in the past so it's always something I have avoided while eating out.  These mussels were a nod back to the days when La Stella was open and was one of their popular dishes, they were cooked in a creamy garlic sauce with smoked bacon and cider.  I was here to try out their menu though so I tried one, then another, and another until I had tried quite a few of the mussels.  They tasted good.  So good that now I actually do like mussels. Who knew?!

Next out was Beef Rib, a mac n cheese dish with slow cooked beef rib and crispy shallots. As I said earlier I was so excited that I got an invite that I forgot to tell them that I have a love-hate relationship with gluten. I love foods that contain it but gluten hates me, so I did what every person that's body freaks out when they eat gluten do, yes I did not eat any ate it! It was sooo good and totally worth the bloating and tiny tummy ache that I got with it. It gets 5 stars from me!

Adelphi Kitchen

This was then followed by the sugar cured and smoked beef which although looked like a piece of raw meat, tasted lovely and the Peterhead crab.  I first tried crab at 7 years old on holiday in the Norfolk Broads, I didn't like it.  I tried it again last year from Sainsbury's thinking that maybe my now adult tastebuds might like it, nope they didn't.  So I wasn't expecting to like this dish but I did and it is one that I would definitely go for again.  So now I like mussels and crab, what is this trickery they perform in their kitchen?!

Adelphi Kitchen
Adelphi Kitchen

Their lamb starter came next with a broth to pour over it, I don't like lamb and even though Murray the chef has worked his magic with getting me to like mussels and crab, I still don't like lamb as I find it quite a strong bitter meat.  It was really tender and the veg was cooked to perfection so you would probably enjoy this dish if you loved lamb.  The salt cod was nice too, and came along with some tomato orzo on the side.  The scallop special was also one of my favourites, it came with a black pudding Bon Bon and cauliflower purée. Yum!

Adelphi Kitchen
Adelphi Kitchen
Adelphi Kitchen's Starters

Even though we consumed all of the above it was now time for the mains; the fish dishes were a North Sea Halibut cooked with a Tikka coating (this seemed to go down quite well with most of us there) with langoustine tempura and a Crispy Sea Bass dish that I found too fishy for my tastebuds.  The meat dishes were Charcoal Cooked Rib Eye and the Salt and Pepper Beef Short Rib which was so tender that it just fell off the bone.  These were served with the most amazing chips I have ever tasted, they were huuuuge and were light and fluffy on the inside while still being crispy on the outside. It isn't even 1030am yet and I am now craving those chips!

Adelphi Kitchen's Mains
Adelphi Kitchen's Mains

For the vegetarians amongst you, there are delicious foods available for you too with; Mac n Cheese, Mushroom Hash and Cheese and Mustard Puff Pastry Roll.  Read Sarah's review on the vegetarian dishes she tried.

Adelphi Kitchen's Vegetarian Meals

Even though we had just eaten our body weight in food, it was time for the desserts, there were 3 sweet dishes for us to try; Popcorn Pannecotta, Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Mousse Cake which were all really nice but if you had eaten heavy meat dishes then you would be better going for the Pannecotta or Lemon Meringue as they were nice and light rather than the Chocolate Cake as this dessert may be too rich after such a big meal.

Adelphi Kitchen's Desserts

The Adelphi Kitchen has a warm, cosy atmosphere with the most lovely staff (and amazing chefs) and I will most definitely be back again for the Peterhead Crab starter and the Salt & Pepper Short Rib. Yum!  You can check out their delicious menu here.

I'd also like to thank Chris and his staff for inviting, looking after and feeding us, you guys done an amazing job and it's well noted how passionate you all are about what you do.

Disclaimer:  I was invited to try the new spring menu, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.  

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Aberdeen | Giraffe Restaurant Review

Giraffe Restaurant Aberdeen

Last week I was invited to try out Giraffe's new Spring menu along with around 15 of the #abzmeet bloggers, having never been there before I was quite excited to see what they had on offer. Giraffe is situated on the upper level of Union Square and has a variety of foods from all around the world so there will be something for everyone's tastebuds there.

Giraffe Restaurant Review

The Spring menu comes with the option of either a starter and main course or if you have a sweet tooth, a main and dessert along with a cocktail for only £15.  There is certainly plenty of choices on the menu but unless you already had a look on their website before going there or asked a member of the waiting staff then you wouldn't know what each dish contained as it doesn't give a description of what it is.

Giraffe Restaurant Review

I ordered a Strawberry Smash mocktail since I was driving, as well as the Prawn Saganaki for my starter and the Slow Cooked Jerk Ribs for my main.  The cocktail tasted really nice and refreshing, it was in a glass full of crushed ice and garnished with a sprig of mint; the prawn Saganaki starter came with a decent sized portion of king prawns that were cooked in a tomato, garlic, chilli and white wine sauce and a crumbled feta topping, it was served with some toasted wedges of bread.  It had enough chilli in it to give it a kick without burning your mouth and tasted really good.  

Giraffe Restaurant Aberdeen

The main course of slow cooked jerk ribs was delicious; the meat was very tender, again there was enough of a spice kick and came with my favourite side dish - sweet potato fries and some mango salsa too.  I was too full for dessert but the Churros seemed to be quite a popular option and looked really good, as did Anastasia's White Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cheesecake.

Giraffe Aberdeen
Giraffe Spring Menu
Giraffe Spring Menu

The atmosphere and food at Giraffe is really good, however we did have to wait over 30 minutes until we got our drinks and even longer before we got our food but they did appear to be quite short staffed that evening.  For £15, getting a 2 course meal with a cocktail is extremely good value and the portions were decent sized too so it's a restaurant well worth going to whether for lunch while out shopping or in the evening before going to the cinema.  

Disclaimer: We were invited by Giraffe to try out their new Spring menu but all opinions are 100% my own.

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Healthy Breakfast Ideas | Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet Potato Hash

Since I've been trying to eat a lot healthier I have been trying to find some delicious breakfasts rather than eat boring (but nice) things such as gluten free toast, cereals, boiled eggs, etc.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as well as providing us with our energy needs for the day ahead, it also gives us a lot of important nutrients as breakfast foods can contain sources of calcium, iron and B vitamins.  Eating breakfast has long term health benefits too, it can help  reduce your waistline  (are you listening, body?) as you are less likely to eat high fat and sugary snacks later in the morning and reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease too.

As I work shifts some mornings I do have time to cook things since I'm not having to rush around and can eat at a more leisurely pace, other mornings I am frantically running around trying to make breakfast, get ready and look out something for dinner that night.  I have got a few breakfast recipes to share with you over the next few weeks so I will start with the one I had this morning - Sweet Potato Hash.  It's vegan on its own but you could add fried mushrooms or chickpeas with it for some protein or if you want to make it a carnivore's breakfast you could add in some chopped chorizo or bacon bits.  I had mine with two poached eggs and 'twas very good!

Makes enough for 2 people

What you need:

1 large sweet potato
1 red onion
1 courgette
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1 tsp chopped chilli (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chopped fresh herbs
Oil for frying (I used coconut oil)
4 Organic/Free Range eggs

How to make:

After washing and peeling your sweet potato, shred it using a julienne peeler taking care not to also shred your fingers at the same time as it really hurts. Trust me on this one.  Repeat with the courgette although you don't need to peel this first.
Place in a large bowl and add your minced garlic, slice your red onions thinly and chuck them in too.
Season with salt and pepper and if you want a bit of a kick to your breakfast add some chilli, otherwise leave it out.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Add the oil to your frying pan and set it to a medium heat, once it's hot enough chuck in your ingredients and fry for a couple of minutes.  Add the fresh herbs or you could use some dried herbs instead then cover with a lid for a further 10 mins or until nice and soft, stirring every so often as it can stick to the bottom of the pan.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

While your potato hash is simmering, boil a kettle and then pour the boiling water into a pan.  If you have those poached egg pods then lightly grease them before adding your cracked egg into it, if not then crack your eggs into the water. Cover the pan with a lid and heat up the water until it starts to boil again, once the water has started to roll turn off the heat and allow the eggs to gently cook until they turn white.
Once everything is ready arrange on a plate, add a bit more pepper and some more fresh herbs. Eat and enjoy!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

What healthy breakfasts do you eat?  Let me know if you give this recipe a try!

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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Your 5 Event | Union Square Aberdeen

Your 5 Fashion
Image from Union Square

Union Square invited me to their Your 5 event that they were hosting last weekend where you could have a free 10 minute consultation with either a fashion stylist or a make up artist to shake up your look in 5 simple steps without having to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes or a beauty counter's worth of make up.  I decided that I would go for the fashion consultation as I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I very rarely wear as I seem to stick to the old faithfuls; jeans, top, biker jacket, boots and a scarf, time and time again.

When I arrived at the desk my details (name, address, date of birth, email address, etc) were registered on a Your 5 app and I met with the fashion stylist Jo, a lovely lady who seemed really passionate about all things fashion.  The concept was that the 5 key style trends; cropped trousers, shirt, a silk, short jacket and sneakers would see you through the whole season as you could wear each item mixed in with your current wardrobe for a different look by either dressing them up or down depending on the occasion.

There were 5 rails of clothes all from Union Square (not all shops participated, looking at you Next, Zara and Marks & Spencer) and they were displayed in each category.  First up was cropped trousers, in various styles such as culottes (just, no!), ankle grazers and in patterned or plain designs.  There was a really nice stone coloured pair from Dorothy Perkins that I liked so Jo photographed it using the app which would then be emailed to me after my consultation so I could see the 5 items that we picked.

Jo showed me items from the other 4 key trends and took pics of those that I liked, at no point during the consultation did I feel that she was trying to make a sale which was good as I hate being pressured by a pushy sales person.  Once the consultation was over I received an email with the 5 items that I liked with their prices and which store they could be found in.

Your 5 Fashion

I loved the Rose Gold sneakers from Dune but I also really liked the floral bomber jacket from New Look so after debating with myself on what I should buy I settled on the bomber jacket from New Look and I also bought a light pink pair of trainers, making up for the Rose Gold pretties that I never bought.  All of the items that were displayed in the event had "Your 5" tickets on the clothes rail in the store they were from, this made it really easy to find what you had picked.

New Look Pink Trainers
New Look Floral Bomber Jacket

If you feel that your wardrobe (or make up bag) is in need of an overhaul then this event is definitely worth going to, you may even have some of these items hidden away at the back of your closet and with a couple of key pieces you have a few outfits for different occasions without spending a fortune. If your wardrobe could do with a bit of organising check out my post here

Disclaimer - I received a voucher to purchase something that was on my "Your 5" picks but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Bon Accord Summer Style 2016 Blogger Event

Accessorize Tropical Juice Carton Bag

Last Wednesday I was invited along with my fellow Aberdeen bloggers to the Bon Accord Centre's Summer Style event where they were showcasing the fashion and beauty must haves for this summer.
Various stores and brands were there including; New Look, Accessorize, Ness, Wallis, Warehouse,  Benefit, Liz Earle, Estée Lauder and Coach amongst many more giving us a preview of what was going to be "hot" for Summer 2016.

For me it was all about the bags and I loved the Tropical Juice Carton one above from Accessorize, isn't it cute? They also had a lovely floral embroidered and beaded clutch, as well as a floral satchel both pictured below.

Bon Accord Summer Style 2016
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016

New Look were displaying their fashion trends along with this season's must buy - cute bomber jackets, as well as shoes, sunglasses and slip dresses.

Bon Accord
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016
Bon Accord Summer Style

Ness had some of their clothing range there as well as a selection of their bags and purses. There was a gorgeous top there but again I was distracted by their bags.  I love their brightly coloured tweeds and my favourite is their Gardens Classic which comes in different styles from their huge travel bags to their purses. I deleted my photos thinking I had already uploaded them. I hadn't :(! Never mind you can see what it looks like at the bottom of the blog post ;)

Warehouse opened their store for us to have a browse around, there were lots of lovely things and I was quite taken with this silk floral and bird print top.

Bon Accord Summer Style
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016

Beauty next and Christian Dior were showing us their ranges this Summer and I thought that their Colour and Dots manicure kit was a fab idea as you paint your nails with the colour and then you make polka dots with the contrasting colour (I loved the blue and white one).  Benefit are doing a promotion this month where if you get your eyebrows waxed they will donate the full price (£12.50) to charities that empower women and girls so get yourself down there as you will be helping a good cause as well as having gorgeous eyebrows.  I've never tried Liz Earle products before but I have heard only good things about them, I will definitely be giving them a try as they are made using natural products but are also cruelty free.  

Bon Accord Summer Style 2016
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016
Bon Accord Summer Style 2016

Yo Sushi were there to provide sustenance for us and having never tried any of their food before I was quite impressed with their rice bowls, it tasted so good! 

John Lewis put on a small fashion show for us where Jigsaw and Whistles clothes were worn and accessorised with Dune shoes and Coach bags.  There was a gorgeous Coach bag there with a floral pattern but at £250 I couldn't justify spending that much on a bag even if it was really, really pretty.

As I said earlier it was all about the bags for me and I went back a few days later and bought myself a Ness bag, I was torn between the juice carton one from Accessorize and the Ebony Classic but felt I would use the Ness one more so that won it for me.  

Ness Gardens Classic Bag

What's your weakness? Is it bags, shoes, nail varnish, let me know as I'm sure I am not the only one that has a handbag addictions?

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