The emergence of the "food box"

Lately, it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with deliveries of food boxes right on their doorstep, and quite understandably so. The recipes that companies such as Gousto and Hello Fresh provide are beneficial to the lifestyles of a lot of people. What I love about it the most if the complete lack of food waste in our household. I used to stress out about everything I had to throw out, simply because there are so many perishable products that are not correctly sized for two people. For example, the recipe I used yesterday contained cumin. Tesco's own brand can give you 43 grams of cumin for £0.85. Sounds like a great deal! Unless, like my recipe, you only need 1 gram. Then you're stuck with 42 grams of cumin clogging up your cupboard until you move house, when eventually you realise that no one needs that much cumin. You can't even give it away, because you've already opened it. The cumin I used from Hello Fresh yesterday, came in a neat little 1 gram box, so when I had finished cooking, I had nothing left to hoard in my cupboard. It was a good feeling. Some might argue that getting 1 gram of cumin isn't overly good value for money but is it really good value for money to pay a fraction more, get 43 grams, use 1 gram, and then store the other 42 grams until the next world war?

    

The second point has nothing to do with large amounts of cumin being annoying but something even more important and all encompassing, namely the environment. Throwing food out because it comes in the wrong size is not just bad for my housewife complex but also for our planet. In the UK, according to Love Food Hate Waste, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food every year. This has serious negative implications for climate, water, land and biodiversity. Just a quick example is the fact that the food that we produce but do not eat swallows up the amount of water, which annually flows through the Volga, the longest river in Europe. Additionally, our food waste is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere every year (United Nations Environment Programme). This may not be the case for every household but for us, having correct portion sizes helps us to reduce this waste.



Thirdly, it helps us to have a diverse diet. Since we started getting food delivered, we quickly realised that we have been kidding ourselves. We were eating healthily before but we were not eating enough different foods. Our menu used to be steak and salad, chicken and salad, seafood and salad. And if we were extra hungry, I'd throw in some pasta. Why? Because a packet of salad and the meat we bought at the supermarket was enough to make us full. Why should have buy eight additional ingredients, most of which we would have to throw out because they come in sizes that could feed a small country's army? It just didn't make any sense, so we stuck to the two or three ingredients we fancied the most. Yesterday, I made soup that had 12 ingredients, and all the ingredients got delivered in the correct size. I ended up with approximately 1 litre of soup. If I had bought the same ingredients purely from Tesco's own brand, the most budget friendly option, I would have ended up with 3.7 kilos of food before adding the water. That means the end result would have been almost 6 litres of soup, enough for 26 portions, most of which would probably have ended up becoming wasted food.



Finally, personal economy is an obvious factor when talking about food shopping. The Hello Fresh meal box with three meals for two people costs £39, and that's not super cheap, I have to admit. For us though, it makes sense for a couple of reasons; I am, admittedly, a terrible supermarket shopper, and I spend money on things I don't really need whenever I go shopping. We once bought a weed torch in Lidl for £15, which turned out to have the same effect on garden weeds as an average sized lighter. Sounded like a bargain at the time, though... We also think it's worth investing in a healthy diet, and getting the correct portion sizes delivered almost obliterates our food waste. Further, to add some statistical relevance, the amount of food waste we have in the UK costs the average household £470 pounds every year, or the equivalent of £60 every month. That means that, if food boxes erases our food waste, 12 of them have paid for themselves every year.

Reading reviews of food box companies, most complaints seem to be regarding deliveries. I am surprised that no one mentions the packaging involved in keeping the products fresh, as there is a substantial amount of it but I guess no more than what you get when you go to the supermarket. Additionally, most of the packaging is paper and cardboard waste, which poses less of a threat to wildlife and farm animals, doesn't cause the same litter as plastic and is biodegradable, rather than photodegradable. So I guess I will let them off with that... For now!

Halloween - party planning by numbers

Everyone loves a good party but what I love even more is the party planning that happens before the party. The decorations, the cooking, the small details that everyone appreciates before the obligatory punch hits them a bit too hard. It's all totally worth the hassle! Our wedding taught me one important thing about party planning; as long as there is enough food and drink, everyone will be ok. Apart from that, knock yourself out! I am lucky enough to have a husband who is born on Halloween, so I always have an excuse to have a fancy dress party on that occasion. I love everything about Halloween - the unlimited costumes, the candy, the cocktails. But also the fact that it's a great night for kids. We had several little ghosts and witches visiting us and they were all really cute and well behaved!



I take the food and drinks part seriously, and especially the food. This coming from someone who can become the epitome of hangry. There is nothing worse than being at a party and being starving, because you do not know when you will be fed next. Cookies, savoury snacks, cupcakes, pizza, candy. Whatever. Just do it!



Another strict requirement at our parties; everyone has to make an effort. Here, we have Gomez Addams, Wolverine (yes, those are real knives), a prisoner, Princess Fiona, Maverick, Muhammad Ali and a ghost. We have a very diverse group of friends!



Stay in character. I was Morticia Addams but was told by my husband that "my cheeks are too cheerful". So just stay in character. Also, pulling off a tall, dark haired, pale, mysterious woman when you are a petite, blonde, cheruby, cheerful girl is really hard. FYI. Try it and weep!

                     

Case in point. There was only so long I could stop smiling and looking chubby cheeked for. My husband, however, had the actual advantage of looking a little bit like Gomez Addams. I.e. slim, dark haired and the kind of pale only Scottish people can be without being dead. He definitely won the Addams family look-a-like competition in this household!

             

Finally, we had our very own cereal killer... I am still finding proof all around the house!

Final tip? Have fun. Your guests have arrived, they are all dressed up and they want to spend time with you. If there are any mishaps, you can always dig out your hoover and mop the next day!













A goal without a plan is just a wish

Tuesday's precious morning hours was spent doing something I intended to do yesterday, which was making this week's workout plan. That, and drinking a frankly unhealthy amount of cafe au lait. Making plans is the neurotic's sure-fire way of getting the most out of the week. For me, the best thing to do is get a little exercise in the morning, before I'm awake enough to remember that there is actually other things I should be doing instead of watching Gossip Girl on the treadmill. Yesterday, I got my Monday plan out of the way after dinner but it's never quite the same feeling of superiority when it's not done first thing in the morning!

  

Before lacing up the Nikes, I also updated my Spotify workout playlist. I always check what my teenage sisters and brothers are listening to, because they are clearly much cooler than me, and somehow know which tracks are going to be smash hits before the radio stations I listen to have a clue. Some of the songs that get to join me in the home gym (read: garage with treadmill and weight bench...) today are

Maroon 5 - Feelings
WSTRN - In2
Diplo - Be Right There
The Weeknd - The Hills

Olly Murs - Kiss me    







Wedding Throwback - Getting Ready

There is nothing quite like the morning before your wedding; you're wearing the most amazing piece of clothing you will ever wear, all your friends and family are waiting eagerly to watch you walk down the aisle, and for the first time since you were a toddler, you're not sure if you can remember quite how to pronounce the word "yes" properly. I was very lucky that I had foru amazing bridesmaids - two sisters and two friends - to help me get ready and provide moral support. From the moment we woke up, we were curling, lacing, plucking and painting while also giving our wedding playlist a final sound check. The getting ready part was a fairly home cooked affair. I curled my own hair and did my own makeup, my youngest sister put my hair up for me and my oldest sister dressed me. Apparently that's what you get for choosing to celebrate the biggest day of your life in a miniscule Norwegian suburb, where everyone takes Saturdays and Sundays off - wedding or no wedding!

  

Our photographer arrived as we were getting ready, and for once in my life I was actually ready first. I put it down to wedding nerves! We were incredibly lucky with the weather. While Norway had suffered from the cold all summer, we had 21 degrees and sunshine. The nicer weather wasn't strictly necessary but it certainly made everything much easier. At 11am, we started photographing the bridesmaids and myself outside, and one of my favourite photos from that morning is the one below, where we all have our backs turned to the camera.

 

I loved all the little touches that people had thought of ahead of our wedding. The rings were carried by my youngest brother in the jewellery box I got for my chirstening, my sister in law gave me a lucky six pence and I was lucky enough to be wearing the garter that my mother in law used at her wedding. All the details made our day even more special, and made for some lovely photographs.

   

Ahead of our wedding, I had some amazing help from both our families as well as our friends. My friend Andrea, who really talented at painting and drawing created our monogram and our menus, and made garlands for our candy bar. Everyone helped us set the table, and my mother in law, her best friend and my grandfather built a bar. No lack of initiative there, in other words.

   

Our wedding favours were a bit of a tribute to the Scottish/Norwegian wedding too. The Norwegians got thistle cocktail sticks with Norwegian flag ribbons on them, and the Scotsmen got viking helmet cocktail sticks with tartan ribbons on them.    

 

Ahead of the wedding, there wasn't a single family member who hadn't cooked, carried, dressed, built, invented, bought or blown something up, and that was the greatest wedding present we could have ever recieved.









Bonfire Night

Going to Ross Priory for Bonfire Night has become something of a tradition for us, and this year was no exception. The building itself is an early 19th century gothic structure on the shores of Loch Lomond, which used to belong to the Buchanan family but was acquired by Strathclyde University in 1971.

    

The menu is slightly 80's but it just adds to the charm of the place. Most of us chose the braised beef with mashed potatoes but since I was super hungry, I fell for the fajitas, which turned out to be excellent. Afterwards, there was high tea but most of us couldn't face any more food so the cakes were largely untouched! At 8pm, people from the village started arriving just in time for the bonfire being lit and the fireworks display.

                         

The atmosphere at Ross Priory is something else - the house is so secluded, and yet within such a short distance of both Stirling and Glasgow. The house is lit up beautifully, and the rooms have been recently refurbished to restore the interior to its former glory. The house also functions as a guest house, wedding venue and conference centre, and it also sports a games room and a 9 hole gold course. Talk about multitasking!

         

This was the first year in which Ross Priory has its own professional fireworks display. In previous years, the display has been founded on viewers brining their own fireworks, and I have to say that the professional fireworks were a great improvement, and it also enhanced the safety of the fireworks. Two years ago, the fireworks were cancelled due to poor weather conditions when we went there but this year, we knew that they would go ahead. The number of visitors to the fireworks display increased dramatically because of this, so it really was a win win situation.



A Walker's Guide To Amsterdam

All my city breaks have one thing in common; kilometer upon kilometer has been spent pounding the pavements in heels and ballet flats. The most important thing for me on holiday is to spend time doing what I love, especially if it's something I'm unable to spend a lot of time on in my everyday life. Walking is, sadly, included in this. Well, that isn't strictly true. I walk to the train station, from the train station, to work and home from work. On the weekends, I have been known to scour the Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow high streets, and my husband and I often go walking in hills and forests during the weekend. But these are all different types of walking to what I do when I'm alone in a big city in which I have never been before. Having the time to take in the new-ness of the smells, the views, the fashion and last but not least, the people, is something I treasure above all else when travelling. 

During my three days in Amsterdam, I walked everywhere. I found a lot of great places, and I got lost. And that was ok - I had all the time in the world. 

      

On my second day, I wandered the "9 Streets", and almost got lost in Laura Dols - a vintage boutique where the sequins were seriously on point. The only issue with walking in Amsterdam? It's not built in squares but circles, so following a street does not necessarily mean that you will end up in the direction in which you are walking. I am talking from personal expereience, so just trust me on this one! I was following Prinsengracht, thinking it would take me in a straight line out of the city centre, which turned out to be an incredibly unsuccessful plan...


I had heard that there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people, and after my trip there I can easily believe that. How people can choose cycling as a mode of transportation in Amsterdam, though, I simply cannot fathom. There were an incredible amount of people in a very small place, and all the while trams, cars, pedestrians and cyclists were darting around like kamakaze fighters. Before I went to Amsterdam, I toyed with the idea of renting a bicycle to get around. Once I got there, I quickly realised that this would have been an utter suicide mission.

            

We did all the essential tourist things - canal boat cruises, museums, shopping and restaurants. I really wanted to visit the Anne Frank museum but when I found out that the queues were 4 hours long, I postponed it until the next time I visit. 








The ultimate screwdriver challenge

In the past few months, we have moved house. And now, every time someone mentions real estate, I tell them that I'm never moving again, something I'm deadly serious about! While I love our new home, I now believe those who say that moving is the third most stressful thing to do, after bereavement and divorce. It has, however, taught the both of us many useful life skills. My better half is now pretty handy with a drill, while I've learned not to whine even when my favourite jeans get paint all over them... Furthermore, we learned that one coat of paint is not enough to cover hideous wallpaper. Neither is three. Five might just do it, though.



For a couple of months, there was paint, floor boards and furniture everywhere, and life consisted of 16 hour shifts of trying to make sense of flatpacks. Now that life has resumed some sense of calm, though, decorating bit is the most fun I've ever had - I move things around like it's going out of fashion, just to see where it would look best. Never mind that it only stays tidy for about 24 hours!



All the space we never had before is also great. Our office is such a quiet and peaceful space that, although writing all my essays for university is still pretty boring, I'm almost considering becoming a freelance writer just to spend time there. Very Carrie Bradshaw, only as far away from NYC as you could possibly get!











The moving club

Moving into a new house is probably one of the most stressful things I have ever done in my life. Ever. We started off with 16 boxes, and though that would be enough to fit all our earthly belongings in (apart from furniture, obviously). When we had used them up, we got another 12. And then another 6. And then we had to start using black bags, backpacks, suitcases and everything else storage-related we could possibly find. After this process, my mentality is suffering as I'm coming to the realization that I might actually be a hoarder. A clean and tidy hoarder but nonetheless! And now I'm secretly thinking of becoming a Buddhist and throwing out everything. Apart from my clothes, shoes and accessories. And books. Which is pretty much what took up all the space in all 34 boxes anyway... Oh well. 
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In between moving, however, we have managed to do some pretty relaxing things. Like walking up a really high mountain, Ben Chonzie, and stress-baking cupcakes for the bake sale at Alan's work. I am, however, looking forward to being done with moving so much that when we're safe and sound in our new house, I'm never, under any circumstances, moving again. Unless I become rich enough to buy a castle and pay someone to do absolutely everything for me...

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Roadtrip to Manchester and Brighton

A couple of weeks ago, we decided we would travel down to Manchester and then Brighton for a long weekend. Since neither of us had been to that many places in England apart from London we wanted to travel by car so we could stop whenever we wanted. In advance, we had booked a hotel in Manchester called the Palace, which was truly lovely, with a long historic presence in Manchester City Centre. 


                                         Ready to Roadtrip!

We drove down from Stirling in approximately 4 hours - I love that you can go to so many cities in Britain without having to spend too long in a car. Very different from Norway, where fjords and mountains and a general lack of people prevent that haha! When we got to Manchester, we spent the day wandering around the city. One of the most memorable places we visited was an old department store called Affleck's. It had so many old and strange vintage shops in it and although none of it was really to our taste, we did emerge with lots of vintage American candy...

                            One of the shops in Affleck's 

After our little shopping trip, we had dinner in our hotel as we were absolutely starving. The hotel restaurant, tempus, is part of a chain and the food was nothing special but the surroundings was well worth it as the room itself and the decor was beautiful. 


             Tempus bar and restaurant at the Palace in Manchester

After dinner, we had booked a table at a "secret" speakeasy bar called The Fitzgerald, courtesy of my obsession with all things Great Gatsby. The bar was amazingly cool, with very authentic furniture and a great (albeit not cheap!) cocktail list. We went for the strangest cocktail we could find, called "Airmail". Turns out, our cocktails got served out of an old fashioned suitcase with dry ice coming out of it. After that, we didn't even really care how it tasted as the experience had been so different. 

 

 
                        The 'Airmail' cocktail at The Fitzgerald 

The next morning, we drove on to Brighton, where we visited the Brighton Pier and stayed with some friends. I had never been to Brighton before, and was very impressed both with the pier (I love all things fun fair themed...) and with the Royal Pavillion. It looks so out of place but I totally want it as my house!


                                         The Royal Pavillion


                                    Alan and I on the Brighton Pier

We drove home in one day, and I have to say that it's probably something we will avoid in the future. An 8 hour drive on mostly motorways was a bit boring, and Alan had very sore legs the next day! On the way up to Scotland, the only stop we had was at the Bicester Village Designer Outlet. Every girl's dream and every man's nightmare haha...


Neverland and the Edinburgh Fringe

Today has been such a lazy Sunday after an even busier week! I had Thursday afternoon and Friday off so I rushed home, had the best spinach and haddock salad before rushing off to Glasgow, where I met up with my friend Lieke and my boyfriend. The weather was amazing so we sat outside at One Up with a drink for an hour before Alan left us to have some much needed girl time. We wandered to Pesto, which is an Italian tapas restaurant. It is, hands down, one of my favourite places ever! We spent three hours there, we had so much catching up to do and the tapas was so, so yummy. Afterwards, we went to Lieke's place, got ready and ended up going out dancing till 3am - hello sore knees and feet, I'm getting too old for this!

On Friday, we had brunch in a new Mexican tapas place in Glasgow, where we also entered a competition for an all-inclusive holiday to Mexico - here's hoping! When I got home, Alan and I were both pretty tired so we had a TV free night with tapas (I'm totally obsessing over tapas at the moment, who doesn't love having a little bit of everything?) and a monopoly version called Falkirkopoly, which we found in Alan's parents' summer house the other week. I swear no one has played it since the 1970s haha - even the box is really sun bleached! 

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Our dinner consisted of peppered salmon, asparagus, lots of salad, mozzarella and sun roasted tomatoes, steak, chorizo fried in red wine (it was to die for) and calamari. It was such a cosy night! I also had a surprise for Alan, he had mentioned that he wanted a new jacket from UNIQLO for his birthday but his birthday isn't until October so I had bought it online last week and gave it to him on Friday - the best thing about having a full time job is definitely treating the people you love. 

Last night we spontaneously decided to go to Edinburgh as I've never been to the Fringe before. We got the train from Stirling to Edinburgh and Edinburgh was SO busy! We really wanted to see a show called The Voyage of the Narwhal by The Awkward Silence, which was on at Just The Tonic at the Caves. The venue was very strange, and literally was like being inside an old Edinburgh cave/building, and the show was very different yet funny. Before we went to the show we had tickets to though, we had some time to kill so we went to a show called Generic Comedy at Capital Cowgate. I'm not normally this critical but it was extremely terrible. The female comedian talked about losing weight, having three cats and how disgusting men are, and the male comedian insulted one man in the audience so much that he left. All very unnecessary so we were a bit relieved to be leaving haha! After The Voyage of The Narwhal, we ended up going to a burlesque show in an old church - those ladies were seriously talented! After three shows, we were starving and really wanted to find somewhere to eat but it was like 11pm, so nowhere decent was open... It's the Fringe, and everywhere is buzzing - if I owned a restaurant, I would keep it open 24/7! 


Tonight, we're going to the cinema to see the sequence to The Inbetweeners. I loved the first Inbetweeners film so my expectations are high!














Summer Summary

This summer has been crazy busy, so basically the blog got put on hold. When I signed in today, I couldn't believe my last blog post was in March - it feels like yesterday! Since then, we spent the 17th May weekend, Norway's national day, in Oslo with friends. We went to Radio 1s Big Weekend in Glasgow where we saw Calvin Harris, Katie Perry, the 1975, Bastille, Sam Smith, Lily Allen, Coldplay and Rita Ora, to mention a few. We spent 10 days in a villa in Alicante. My family came over to visit from Norway for my birthday weekend. And we've actually had brilliant weather, which is not a given, seeing as we live in Scotland. 

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                                              Chilling in the sun at the BBC at the Quay live studios


Glasgow has hosted the Commonwealth Games this summer, so yesterday we went to see the men's hockey finals in the morning, sampled some excellent street food and did some shopping during the day and went to the closing ceremony at Hampden Park in the evening. Kylie Minogue played, which was such a great experience as I've always been a huge fan, and the atmosphere was great - well done Glasgow!




 

Fresh fish Monday

We had dinner guests last night so tuna steaks in chilli and pesto and some plain salmon was on the menu. You can't really beat fresh fish! It's so important to us to keep Mondays healthy - it kinda sets the tone for the rest of the week.

When I got home after handing in my essay yesterday, these lovely flowers and note was waiting for me - totally melted my heart!

Today is super exciting for me - it's the first day in a new job now that I've finished university. I think it's going to be okay but it's always a bit nerve wrecking!

The best things in life are for free

And finding caves and giant tree stubs on a sunny spring day with my favourite person is invaluable

The Darn Road and the Dunblane Cathedral

Out walk today was from Bridge of Allan to Dunblane which, including a little coffee break, took us around 2,5 hours.

As the picture says, the Darn Road could have been one of the inspirations for parts of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' as he resided in the area for a while.

We had 9C and sunshine so it was a perfect spring walk with lots of horses and spring flowers surrounding the path.

We also ha a look inside Dunblane Cathedral - it was quite something! The stained glass window and some of the graves which dated back to the 13the century were particularly impressive.

I'm finalising an essay which is due tomorrow while Alan is out golfing in the beautiful March sunset. Life can be so unfair!

The Birds and the Bees

Dinner last night's dinner was a Marie Rose prawn cocktail for my starter and Coq au Vin as a main course. It was lovely but way too much - none of the lovely mash even got touched!

Right now, we have four friends over including four Germans. So James, who is a butcher, has brought kilos upon kilos of haggis, square sausages and black pudding for brunch while Alan is making poached eggs an beans.

After all this food, I think a long walk is necessary this afternoon before going to the Westerton Arms for a pub quiz (one Norwegian, a Canadian, three Germans and a handful of Scots - should be strange and fun in equal measures!)

See you later, England

I'm getting pretty close to the Scottish border at the minute, and I'm super excited to get home, put on my new & Other Stories outfit from London and go out for dinner with my boyfriend.

My train journey has involved reading vogue once more, a cup of coffee which was basically water and checking out some new tunes on my iPad. I think my new favour it is Arabella by Arctic Monkeys and Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood. My playlist was called 'Winter 2014' (my mood is heavily dependent on seasons) but as I was looking out the window, I realised that it's not really winter any more! So my newfound favourite songs got a new playlist called Vårrengjøring (spring cleaning in Norwegian).

Tonight, we're going to a restaurant called The Birds And The Bees in Causewayhead. Out friend Anne's mum, who we stayed with when we were in Germany in February, is visiting Scotland so we're having a meal with them.

Some of the views on the journey from London to Stirling have been spectacular. It doesn't look sunny in the picture below but it's been such gorgeous, sun filled spring weather today, which has really cheered me up!

It's so sad but being around other people's parents/siblings makes me super upset - I'm just so keen on my family to visit Scotland because there are so many beautiful things I want to show them!

Going home

Yesterday was the most stressful and amazing day ever. My friend from back home and I had such a great time. Over a sharing platter of bread and olives, we caught up on the past 4 years - now that's a lot of talking!

My train leaves London at 1130 so all that's left for me to do is have breakfast and make my way to the station. I'm really looking forward to getting home but I'm going to miss London terribly, not least because of the weather!

This was my lunch at Bella Italia yesterday. Healthy pizza? Yes please!

Oxford Circus

After a lovely noodle dish at Wagamama last night, I had a long sleep in preparation for today.

By 10am this morning I was suited and booted, and on my way to Oxford Street for some retail therapy and lunch. After a frustrating few hours in pretty much every shop in London (& Other Stories being my newly discovered favourite - so much Scandinavian chicness), I'm currently sitting in Bella Italia awaiting lunch and reading Vogue. In a suit. Did I mention I feel strangely grown up and posh?

Last night's Wagamama feast

Hello London

One delayed train journey, a whole packet of Snack A Jacks and a 1,5 hour walk from King's Cross to where I'm staying and I can finally say I'm in London, safe and sound!

London is warm compared to Scotland today, although it is pretty windy. Hey, at least it's not raining! On my walk from the station, I was in awe of the architecture as usual. The mix between old and new is so strange and amazing, and I'm obsessed with literature about Tudor England so I recognize a lot of places from books about the 15th century - how weird is that?

I also discovered a Topshop and a Hotel Chocolat on my walk. I resisted Topshop but Hotel Chocolat actually had a sale on so I popped in to buy something for my hosts and a little present for Alan, who is sadly working back at home in Scotland this weekend. I ended up with Caramel Cheesecake, Salted Soft Caramels, Chambord Royale and Raspberry Zinger Egglets. It's going to take some serious self restraint not to put all of these in my mouth before I get back to Scotland!

I guess I'm going to the museum

My London trip this weekend is mainly business themed but I'm a bit crazy for London, so when I was booking my tickets I decided to stay for two nights instead of one, just to be in London a little bit longer. And then, a few days later, I had this sudden realization that I'm very broke. No one should be allowed to be broke in London. Seriously, there should be a special fund for that kinda thing. What do you mean no cocktails in Soho or shopping trips to Oxford Street? 


Panicked a bit when I was making a packed lunch this morning...

So once I was on the train this morning I got googling. "Free things to do in London". The first page I got to suggested art galleries, museums and parks. We have them in Scotland, and they're mostly pretty boring, unless there's sunny weather and ice cream involved, which I'm guessing there won't be. The second page suggested going to Trafalgar Square. But I've been there before and it's not as if they have free WiFi or complimentary food there. It also suggested going to markets. As if that's going to make me less sad that my bank card may as well be cut into tiny little strips of sadness. 

                

I did realize that I haven't been to the British Museum though, so I decided that will be worth a visit. And apart from that, I guess window shopping on the menu. Oh, and the Diet Coke and Snack A Jacks I packed for lunch. Because nutrition is so important when you've got a big day coming up...

 

The River House

So I'm about two hours away from boarding the train to London and I'm getting super stressed because I've left the packing a liiiittle bit late... Last night, we had dinner with Alan's parents at The River House in Stirling. I had the best dinner ever - scallops, chorizo, bacon and asparagus. That's like all my favourite foods in one meal! Also, the restaurant itself is just by the water and looks like something out of an American movie.

I wore this polka dot top that I haven't worn in ages because, well, it's been winter. But last night was relatively warm so, although it was super windy, I went for a crop top, spring trench coat and strappy heels. Let's just say my opaque tights and huge missoni scarf were the only things that saved me!

I'm so ready for my second cup of coffee right now. I guess that detox didn't go so well... Then I'll get out of my pyjamas and pretend I'm a cool adult who's going for a job interview in London!

Alan at The River House last night - steak sandwich out of the way and awaiting a rather sweet sticky toffee pudding.

The Diesel t-shirt dress

This Diesel t-shirt dress is my new BFF for days when I want to wear a dress but not feel dressed up. Because of this ever lasting) cold I have, I simply couldn't face anything tight fitting so this dress is coming to work with me today. I did put a belt on it though, or else it just looks like I stole my dad's (okay, my dad doesn't wear t-shirts with purple flowers on but I was refering to size - y'all get my drift) t-shirt. Which has been known to happen when I'm on holiday at home but not in public haha. 















Girls' Nights Out - What they are and what they are not

About every fortnight, my blood starts tickling for a girls' night out. It's been that way ever since going to clubs was an option. A man has never experienced a girls' night out for obvious reasons. He may have witnessed one in a club but that's not enough to decode the oposite gender's behaviour. So here's a little guide to what goes on when your girlfriend is like: 'Are you sure you don't want a night out with the boys this Friday?' (Correct answer? Yes. Yes, you do.)



1. We talk about you
But not in a bad way. And only very rarely and in extreme cases do we disclose intimate details. We still don't want you to know what we talk about though because it's like a secret, and sometimes embarassing, language. Like, we were talking about pizza and now I'm describing how my wedding dress is going to look. In detail. And who my bridesmaids would be. See? I told you you didn't want to know.

2. We talk about people we used to know
This includes wild guesses about what their lives are like as we speak, and sometimes dementia-fuelled details about what they used to be like back in primary school/high school/first year. 

3. We bring out the dancemoves that are reserved only for people who know us very well
Our girlfriends have already known us for long enough to know that we're completely nuts. So if, after three jaegerbombs, we decide that 'dropping it like it's hot' is a good dance move, they don't judge. Because they're currently doing the same thing. Now, if you cut the same shapes when your boyfriend is there, that hypothetical wedding dress from number 1 will slowly (or very quickly, depending on how quickly you 'drop it') disappear into the ether.



4. We compliment each other
We know each others' insecurities and spend the night healing each others bruised egos. We may sound like we're lashing out those false compliments like we're the cast of 'Mean Girls' but what guys don't get is that this is my best friend and her boobs are awesome. Because guys don't have boobs. And quite often, they're also lacking in the bruised ego department.

5. We don't go out to meet guys 
Making an effort to meet guys on a girls' night out is one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make. It's like inviting the CEO of a multinational, evil oil company to a Green Peace party. 

6. We dress up for a ridiculously long time
Because men don't go "that is a fantastic nail polish" and mean it. When we're getting ready, it's mostly so we can raid each others makeup bags, and give and recieve even more compliments for things we own and how we look. We all know that after we get to the club, the perfect hair and makeup disappears very quickly. Like, by the time we've bought a drink and placed ourselves firmly on the dancefloor, that eyeshadow will be in our hair. Or one of our friends' hair. 



7. Sometimes, we never make it out
I have several friends who are incureable chatterboxes and it suits me perfectly because, frankly and with a lot of self insight, I just can't shut up. This means that sometimes, getting ready, consuming a bottle of wine each, eating food lathered in cheese and discussing everyone we know, can turn a girls' night out into a girls' night in. And in the end, it doesn't matter if we end up on the sofa with even more wine instead of dancing because despite all the effort we've just put into our looks, that was only for ourselves and our girlfriends anyway.

8. A final tip
If you're a man and you spot a group of 2-20 females in a club by themselves, you're probably thinking: 'Score!' Wrong. None of us put on 5 inch heels and some very intricate false lashes for you because you don't appreciate the complicated state of affairs that is getting ready for a girls' night out anyway. So please refrain from trying to lick our faces. (Yes, this actually happened to one of my friends. Disgusting at the time but it's a good story.)

Pink blossoms

Last night, I finally succumbed to the cold I've been fighting for the past few days so after a hot tub to get warm and two twister ice lollies to get cold again, my day ended at 22:40 and I pretty much passed out for 12 hours. This doesn't suit me at all, I'm just going to have to get over it! Tonight, I'm going to be packing for London. I'm super excited for my interview and really looking forward to seeing an old friend that I haven't seen in a very long time. It also suits me perfectly that I'm getting the train because it means I can just zone out and get some work done for 5 hours straight both on the way down and on the way back up. 




On the bright side, it's finally looking like spring in Scotland! Even though it's still pretty cold, it's totally worth being outside just to see the sun for a little while. One of my favourite things in spring is to see pink blossoms on trees - they're like the ultimate sign of spring/summer, and they make for great pictures. These photos are taken on the outskirts of Stirling city centre yesterday afternoon. Don't get me wrong - I still had to war a scarf and gloves but at least the winter coat could be left at home!



 

Home office

I'm going to London for a job interview on Thursday and I'm so excited but I also have a million things to do before then and it means I have two essays to hand in on Wednesday so I've set up a lol' home office far away from the distractions of Sky TV and all my magazines. From today until Wednesday afternoon, the only authorised breaks will be to get more coffee!

I'm travelling to London by train during the day on Thursday, my interview is on Friday and then on Friday night I'm meeting a friend who moved to London years ago so that should be really nice. I'm back in Scotland on Saturday, and hopefully there will be a reason to celebrate!

My breakfast this morning was more like a snack but when I'm this stressed, everything is acceptable. We're definitely going to the gym tonight, I need to get some energy out after a full day behind the desk.

Sunday leftovers

We had a lovely walk in 12 degrees and a cappuccino with a friend at Stirling university today.

When we got home, we had a meal made from all the left over vegetables in our fridge before the new week starts. I baked smoked salmon, broccoli, leeks and green peppers in the oven with a bit of chilli, salt, pepper and sweet chilli sauce. I then sprinkled mature cheddar over it, and it was the perfect Sunday meal. So simple, and it meant we had no food waste this week which is really important to us.

I cooked so Alan appealed to my Scandinavian soul by lighting candles ( all Scandinavians are crazy for candles, especially if they're from ikea). He also decanted a red wine 'to let it breathe' cause he learned that it makes a big difference at a wine tasting last week. The gesture and how fancy it looked was worth it but it still just tasted like red wine haha!

Benefits

After making some pretty unhealthy pancakes for breakfast (hey, it's only Sunday once a week!) we're considering a woodland walk in a village called Bridge of Allan, although we both have the cold so we may end up having a onesie day. Metaphorically, of course, seeing as I don't have a onesie haha.

We were going to the pub last night but ended up at a party in South Queensferry, which is about 50 minutes away from where we live - so random!

There were a couple of little dogs at the house where the party was, and I'm rather scared of small dogs but I held it together haha.

The host of the party works in retail so she gave us all free Benefit makeup. I got a lipgloss, a brow shaping kit and a face powder. I've been looking for a good brow kit for ages but it's tough to find a suitable colour when you're very fair so I hope this one is the right match!

Food from all over the world

The food at the world buffet was actually pretty good. They had Chinese, Indian, Japanese, American - everything!

This evening we're going to a pub called 'The Crooked Arm'. The pub has an old school vibe and a karaoke machine. After a few drinks, we always end up playing Spice Girls songs, 'The Thong Song' and generally just very unclassy songs... We were still full from lunch so I just had a little snack before heading out. Crispbread, cheddar, smoked salmon and pepper. If it wasn't for cheese, I'd look like Victoria Beckham - I LOVE any type of cheese haha.

Falling back on the safe, black pieces of clothes in my closet. This Gina Tricot shirt and Topshop skirt has been worn to tatters for a while now.

Every day should be Saturday

Last night was pretty quiet but I did get Alan to watch 'The Devil Wears Prada' so surely I get lots and lots of girl points!

This wasn't last night's dinner as I was too busy hoovering my plate to take a picture but Wednesday's. We had a (male) friend over so I thought I'd better make some man food and this is a healthy take on a burger. All I did was mix pepper, salt and two eggs (to make the mince stick together) into lean beer mince before frying the burgers in a frying pan.

I then cooked tomato risotto (from ALDI - I know I should cook my own risotto but this one is already super delicious).

Instead of a burger bun, I made a bed of salad, put the burger on top of it, added the risotto to the plate and sprinkled chopped red pepper over all of it. Simples!

I got coffee in bed this morning so there was no reason not to get up after that haha. I'm still in my pyjamas though but we're meeting people for lunch in two hours so I should probably prioritise getting dressed! We're eating at a World Buffet in Glasgow (not our choice but it should be interesting!) and neither of us have been there before so that will be a new experience.

Let's all pretend it's warm

Some pictures from Stirling and Glasgow yesterday. It was very sunny yet not very warm so I'm hoping that will change very soon!

Les mer i arkivet » November 2015 » Desember 2014 » Oktober 2014
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