Life Update.

House

The quagmire has gone!!! Hurrah!!!!!!! I’m delighted that the driveway, which started in Oct 2016, is finally complete….a whole 18 months after it started. That was a total nightmare, and I’m so happy that it’s over. It’s lovely to now just arrive home, not having to wade through the mud to get to the front door, and then being able to relax knowing that most of the big jobs are now complete.

Oh, and I’ve started a hashtag on Instagram for my interiors posts, #glasgowmummyhome.

Relationships / Socialising

In my last update, I talked about giving up on dating… however I did have two dates in March which I agreed I would go on and then re-assess. It just turns out that the second of these dates was excellent, and I’m still dating said gentleman. We’re now on like date number 8 or 9 maybe… I’m starting to lose count.

 

The kids & I had an excellent Easter break… with a trip to Edinburgh, and a day exploring Glasgow. We also revisited Paesano pizza on Great Western Road for dinner… it was awesome! I went to Babs for kebabs with my friend Peter who was in the city for a business trip as well, and this month I’ve managed to tick off three restaurants from my list of places I’d like to eat out… Hutchesons (date night for steak & cocktails), Babs and Spanish Butcher (with work).

I also had a solo trip to Aberdeen, which was lovely to spend some more time with my baby niece, and we also visited my gran in her new home (she’s moved into a care home of sorts, still living independently but with communal social areas)… my gran was 95 this week!!!

Exercise

I haven’t been keeping up with my boxing class, and I’m annoyed at myself for letting it slip. I have however joined Slimming World; the time of my group is the same time as my boxing… so for now I’m going to SW and then I’ll think about re-joining the boxing once I have my eating habits under control. I have completed Week 1, with a successful loss of 4lbs. So far, so good. I’ve really been enjoying the food… and I’m eating a hell of a lot more than I would normally. I’m finding that the key is to be prepared… so I’ve been batch cooking meals for my freezer, making my breakfast in advance (overnight oats, consisting of 40g oats healthy option B, fat free yoghurt and fruit salad), and ensuring I have lots of ‘free’ food snacks to hand (crudités, fresh fruit, pickled onions). I even ate out this week, at Spanish Butcher with work colleagues… I had the steak but swapped the fries for salad.

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Travel

I said this would be the year that I would explore the world… and I’m fortunate enough to have 4 holidays booked. Two of these are in Scotland, to new areas I’m yet to visit, one in Europe with family and one far flung on my own (Vietnam & Bali baby… can’t wait!).

 

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Afternoon Tea Party

One of my 18 for 2018 list was to host a party… which we love to do, and I’m sure this won’t be the only party at our house this year! (Next will be a grand unveiling party for the new driveway… RIP quagmire!… and another item from my list complete!!)

The other weekend I had arranged for a few local Insta mums to come over to the house for an afternoon tea party, and we were delighted to be joined by Alice from Wish Upon A Star Entertainment. How brilliant does Alice look might I add!! —->

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The kids & I spent the week ahead prepping for the big day… we bought some pretty little rabbit plates and napkins from the supermarket, and we baked a variety of cakes including Three Sisters Bake Lime & Courgette cake, a tasty banana and chocolate chip loaf and some vanilla cupcakes. Littlest even mopped all the floors!

 

On the day itself, I snuck our guest into the house whilst the kids were busy and then low and behold, all of a sudden we had Alice in Wonderland in our kitchen! Straightaway Alice was in character, chatting to the little ones and keeping them occupied. Alice showed us her magic colouring book… and even I can’t figure out how the magic trick worked!! It was absolutely brilliant! Kids were in awe!

We of course had to then take lots of photos, and then some more photos!, before Alice then departed through the looking glass in our bathroom!!

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Alice was a fantastic addition to the party, and really made our afternoon tea feel ever so special.

We received a complimentary visit from Alice in Wonderland. Opinions as always are honest and our own.

Glasgow’s Miles Better

After a day exploring Edinburgh, it was only fair that we took some time to get to know Glasgow a bit better too!

Glasgow Subway have launched their Child All Day subway ticket in time for the Easter holidays, so we were able to get about the city with ease… we started our day at Shields Road for the park & ride (which was nearly scuppered due to a fire and the carpark was closed, but it did open after 5 minutes of us arriving) and our first stop was Cessnock for the Glasgow Science Centre. We had about a 10 minute walk from the subway station around Festival Park to get to the science centre, and thankfully it was dry (not so lucky for the return trip!).

We grabbed a quick snack and coffee in the foyer before making our way to the Science Mall (I had to ditch my coffee as I didn’t realise there was no food or drink permitted at the exhibits… kids were allowed to keep their water bottles) and we made it in time for the Live Show… The Pure Random Science Show. This was brilliant, and certainly captured the attention of my son. Cee was an excellent presenter, and there were lots of special effects… fire, loud bangs etc! We all jumped out of our seats for The Last One (which was a massive explosion of liquid nitrogen and dry ice… sending little snowballs flying!). We met Roz and her two little ones by chance, and my daughter was delighted with this as she got to look after Roz’s little girl for a short while.

As we were walking through the mall after the show my son linked arms with me and said ‘isn’t science great’… and of course I agreed.

We then had a browse around the other levels of the centre. There is so much to see and do… another museum that you could easily spend most of a day at. We played a few of the computer-based games (my son & his tech obsession continues!), tried our hand at the timed running, the littlest spent ages playing with the giant pin point impression and we compared smokers lungs vs healthy lungs.

It was then all to quickly time to make our way back to Cessnock subway station. We were being treated to lunch at The Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan Street.

My mum loved Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and we have a few of his prints in the house, so I managed to give the kids some background info on the architect/artist/designer as we made our way to the tea rooms.

The kids ordered afternoon tea… sandwiches, scone and a treat (empire biscuit for my daughter, caramel shortcake for my son) whilst I had the lentil soup, chicken liver pate and an Earl Grey tea. The food was hearty, and I really enjoyed it. I also managed to snaffle some of the scone from the kids for afters! The kids gave their food a thumbs up (I have had nicer afternoon teas, where there is a selection of mini cakes rather than the guest having to choose just one, but the kids were oblivious to this… the cake stand made it a winner for them!). Service was perhaps a little slow, but they were very busy given it was the bank holiday weekend. The kids menu had some activities for little ones to keep them occupied as we waited for our food to arrive, and this included writing their names in the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as a word search and a quiz.

As we sat in the window seat, we were able to watch all the shoppers on Buchanan Street. We were also right opposite Lush, so of course after we had finished up we headed over to pick a bath bomb each.

The original plan was to then head to the West End, but the kids were getting tired (as was I tbh) and so we made our way home… to have an early bath before dinner!

Over dinner we discussed Edinburgh vs Glasgow, and which of the trips did we prefer… we regularly chat about our ‘highs and lows’ of the day/week etc. The consensus from the kids was that Edinburgh was better… mainly due to the fact that we had to walk less, and that they loved Wahaca. Although there were highs for Glasgow… less time on the (subway) train, and that we have friends here (like Roz) that we could bump into. In both cities we had to queue (Camera Obscura & Glasgow Science Centre), which was seen as a negative and I think the walk in the rain, tired & hungry, from the science centre back to Cessnock underground was just too much for my daughter!!

Personally, I love Glasgow. There’s so much to see and do here.

If you too want to explore Glasgow, then do check out the Glasgow Subway website for ideas of places to visit this Easter, and you can also find other recommendations at Glasgow’s Leading Attractions and Glasgow Best Restaurants.

We received complimentary Subway tickets, entry to the Science Centre and lunch at the Willow Tea Rooms for the purpose of this review. Opinions as always are honest, and are our own.

Exploring the Capital

This Easter bank holiday weekend I had the children, and rather than escape Scotland to sunnier climates (it’s actually snowing as I type this!), we decided to have a staycation instead. As soon as the schools were out, we grabbed our backpacks and made our way to the train station to head East to the Capital city, Edinburgh. There is an offer with Scotrail at the moment where kids go free, and you can take up to two children for free with an adult ticket. Result!

We were staying at the luxurious Princes Street Suites for the night, which is in an ideal location for exploring the city. The serviced apartment that we stayed in was huge… the kids (& I to be fair!) were so excited when we opened the door to reveal the massive hallway and we promptly ran around all the rooms deciding which bed we’d sleep in for the night. My son claimed the twin room, which had an en-suite shower-room, whilst the littlest and I scored double beds in the other rooms. In addition to the three bedrooms, there was a large open plan living & dining area, with a galley kitchen. It was a pity we were there for just the one night, as I could have happily stayed longer! Anyway, after a quick look round, we dumped our bags and headed straight back out for dinner.

Dawn had recommended we try Wahaca, and we were not disappointed. For a start it was literally a 5 minute walk from our apartment, and the food was awesome. I had steak tacos, smoked salmon tostadas and chicken quesadillas. washed down with a mojito. The kids menu was also great… Mexican food rather than chicken nuggets and chips. My son actually ordered from the adult menu (which he seems to be doing more often now!) and had chorizo quesadillas, and my daughter had the chicken tacos. What really made it special though was the service. The staff were excellent with the kids, and both of them took a shine to our server Joe. They had drawn him some pictures as we waited for our food, and he then hung them on the wall near the kitchen. They were delighted with themselves and were enjoying the attention! We also were given complimentary churros which sealed the deal… ‘best restaurant ever’ according to my son.

On the way back to our digs, we popped into a newsagent to get some supplies… cereal & milk for the morning, and some nibbles for later that evening. Check out was at 11am, so this meant that we could have a lazy-ish morning and not be rushing to get out to a cafe for breakfast. After a restful night’s sleep and a light breakfast, we dropped our bags at reception and walked to the National Museum of Scotland. This was our second visit to the museum, and we discovered so much more this time! It would be very easy to spend most of a day in here. We also had lunch at the cafe on the balcony, which was lovely.

Unfortunately the weather in Edinburgh wasn’t so lovely, and it was very cold & wet. Rather than explore the Royal Mile, we decided to return to Camera Obscura (previous post on our last visit to Edinburgh is here) where we could explore the 5 levels of illusions in the warmth. There was a bit of a queue, but it didn’t take long to get to the front. My son loved this venue the first time we visited, and of course was keen to go back again. I was happy to oblige, as it brings back lots of happy childhood memories. Again, the staff at Camera Obscura were excellent… and kept the kids amused with juggling and tasked them with things to draw as we waited to get into the camera room itself.

By this point we were all getting a bit tired, and hungry… it was nearly time to make our way back to the suites to grab our bags and get the train home. I had originally planned to be home for dinner, but we ended up having pizza in Edinburgh. The kids of course wanted to go back to Wahaca!!

We received a complimentary nights stay in the Princes Street Suites. All opinions are honest, and are our own.

The Songs That Made Me

When I had asked for podcast recommendations, a few of you had suggested Desert Island Discs. I’ve since listed to a few of the episodes, and I have been really enjoying it. It got me thinking though as to what my tracks would be. I have a playlist in Spotify called ‘Memories’ and every so often I stick it on and listen to the songs that remind me of my childhood, and my mum. I invariably end up in tears, but good tears.

 

Stars, Simply Red

My mum was a huge Simply Red fan, and there are so many tracks that I love that take me right back to my childhood.

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Sarah, Thin Lizzy

Another track that reminds me of my mum… she was in a shop (think it was HMV), heard this track being played and subsequently bought the album because there was a song with my name in it!

Labyrinth soundtrack, David Bowie

When I lived in the Middle East, aged 9 years, we didn’t have many movies with us and the TV was terrible. Ali & I watched Labyrinth over, and over… and over again! (As an aside, we also watched the full Child’s Play series whilst we were this age… definitely not age appropriate… Chucky was terrifying!!)

A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum

In school for standard grade music, we had to chose a track to recreate and compose all the different parts for the band/orchestra. I had heard A Whiter Shade of Pale on a car advert at the time, and decided that this would be my song. I still have the cassette somewhere of my composition… must try and get it onto my computer.

Watermark, Enya

This was played at my mum’s funeral, and I can’t listen to it now without crying. Kenny G was also played, and was another favourite of my mum.

What Would You Do, City High

Following my stint in America working at a summer camp, I did stay in touch with a few of the girls. We had a fantastic weekend of partying and shopping in Belfast, and this was the track of that weekend!

Waves, Mr Probz

We listened to this song over and over on our Log Pod trip a few years back. Brings back good memories of fun times! You can watch the vlog here on YouTube!

 

Peanut Butter Jelly, Galantis

This is a track that the littlest and I love… we dance around the living room with it on full blast.

Rock the Night, Europe

My son’s favourite band is Europe, and I bought him tickets to go see them play at the Hydro for his Christmas last year. He seems to really enjoy 80s rock!

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When I Grow Up

I had a variety of different jobs as I made my way through school and university… weekly newspaper delivery, Sales Assistant, Waitress & Chambermaid, Lifeguard. They’ve all contributed to the person that I am today…

My first job was delivering the weekly free newspaper; my mum, sister & I all used to go out to post it through the houses. Great team work! I did try to do a morning paper round, and lasted all of a day…

I then worked in the childrenswear department of bhs in Aberdeen. Christmas was my favourite time of year working in retail, and I loved filling all the shelves with the festive stock and planning which of the gifts that I would buy with my staff discount. The storeroom at bhs though was rather creepy… after watching the Blair Witch Project, I struggled to go in alone as it was so dark and the pull cord lights for each of the aisles didn’t last for very long. I’m a total scaredy cat!

I’m also pretty clumsy, so the waitressing definitely wasn’t for me… I do recall spilling a glass of orange juice over one of our regulars – oops! I worked at a small family run hotel, and in the mornings I helped in the kitchen to cook the breakfasts and then served them in the dining room. Once the guests had departed, it was then my job to clear up the kitchen before heading up to the bedrooms to turn them over. I was an expert at envelope corners!

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Aberdeen, the city where I grew up

I spent a summer working in America at a kids activity camp. It was the most brilliant experience, and I loved it! It was my first time going abroad on my own… so it was a big deal! I didn’t get off to the best start as my bag got lost, and it was returned a week after my arrival… it meant that I did get to go shopping though! I was teaching ‘high ropes’ which was basically the climbing wall and the zip line… I believe I was assigned this role because I had my Duke of Edinburgh awards. Not sure that gave me the experience or know how for the high ropes though. I was pretty terrible at it tbh. After camp a few of us went travelling up & down the East Coast. Another fantastic experience that I am so grateful of. I am still friends with a couple of the girls that I met during this trip.

Last, but not least, I did a stint as a lifeguard. Ali & I had gone through the lifeguard training, and were certified before we then applied for the job. I still remember the job interview, with a panel of three interviewers which was daunting for a teenager, but thinking despite my nerves that I should try to at least portray confidence. It worked, and I was offered the job. This saw me through most of university, with me leaving the job when I was in fourth year to allow me to focus on the last stretch of my studying.

Glasgow Date Night Ideas

I’ve now been on quite a few dates in Glasgow over the past couple of years (some more successful than others!), so I thought I might write about some of the places I’ve been and some suggestions for you all, whether you’re online dating or got some kid-free time and you’re going on a date with your other half… these would even be applicable for a ‘mate date’. I’ve also got some suggestions included that were shared with my via Instagram stories – thanks all.

Daytime date suggestions:

  • Big Feed
  • Tour of Tennent’s Brewery
  • Brunch at Cafe Strange Brew or Pot Luck (amazing pancakes!)
  • Hill walking with a picnic (& a glass of fizz maybe!?), as suggested by @hayleigh_meg on Instagram
  • GOMA
  • The Lighthouse museum
  • Planetarium Lates at the Glasgow Science Centre, as suggested by @rozzystar on Instagram

Evening date suggestions:

  • The Stand, comedy club
  • Alston bar for a G&T
  • Glass of fizz at Champagne Central… I have known to meet my potential suitors under the clock at Central Station!
  • Pub quiz night at The Bungo (just don’t call your team name First Daters like we did, as you will draw lots of attention yourself!!)
  • Dinner & cocktails at The Black Dove (also option for bottomless brunch at Black Dove, and they did a few cinema nights last year which were good fun)
  • Game of pool, as suggested by @pollypoptart on Instagram

 

Let me know what other suggestions you have for things to do in Glasgow that would be appropriate for #datenight.