London Coffee Festival

Hi all,

A big hello from a very sunny Glasgow! Hope you are well and had a wonderful weekend!

As promised, today is my recap of the London Coffee Festival last weekend – oh how I wish I could do it all over again!

London Coffee Festival – April 5th

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David and I headed down to London last weekend to attend the London Coffee Festival – held in The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

Both of us love our coffee and are growing to understand the flavours behind it a bit more. Coffee is like wine, different regions, different beans, different notes and flavours. We wanted and desired to know more! So the festival seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so!

We had tickets for the brunch slot (10am -1pm) and after a short, but pleasant in the sunshine, queue outside, we had our tickets stamped and were ready to go. A goodie bag was given on arrival and it was truly breathtaking when we walked inside the building. The smell of freshly brewed coffee spread throughout the space, the room was buzzing with smiles and chatter. We both knew we were in heaven!

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In order to make my recap easier, I have decided to break the fest down in to 3 areas – the coffee, the food and ‘other’. As you can imagine, there was so much to see and see it all we did, but I will focus on my favourites!

Coffee

So much coffee, so little time! As much as I wanted to try a coffee from every stand there, I just couldn’t! But I sampled quite a lot!

My favourite drink of the event

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Favourite sampler has to be from New Row Coffee – I had an almond milk latte with fresh almond milk – oh my goodness it was perfection! And where can you find freshly made almond milk!?

Right here – http://newrowcoffee.co.uk/

My favourite Coffee of the event

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Out of all the coffees we tried, our favourite was the blend from Urban Roast – lightly floral yet smooth and a lasting richness, it was the perfect all rounder coffee. So naturally we bought a bag to take home and will definitely be checking out their website for more!

http://www.urbanroastcoffee.co.uk/news.html

My favourite ‘new’ Coffee

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Hands down, Goodbeans Cold Brew. So many of the blogs I follow have raved about Cold Brew coffee but I had yet to find it in the UK – and so Goodbeans comes into our lives!

A new social enterprise, they are just getting on to their feet right now but definitely deserve our support and custom! I can’t wait until we can purchase online, I will be their first customer!

http://randrenterpriseblog.wordpress.com/

My favourite ‘Well Known’ Coffee

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Oh Starbucks I love you. When I need a very good coffee, you are there and never disappoint. And you know what else I love, you never act like the ‘big corporate chain’ instead blending in with everyone else at the festival, big or small, embracing what we are all there to talk and smile about – good coffee.

Oh and best tip that I picked up from one of the producers – when making a mojito, also make an espresso. Take a sip of the espresso, swirl it around your mouth, swallow and then drink a sip of your mojito – a taste sensation! Neigh, explosion!

Food

There were quite a few food and snack stands at the festival. There was even a pop up street food area that was fun to walk around! (Good smells!!). From chocolate to cakes, biscuits to ice cream, all were there to show their fantastic pairing with coffee. Again here are some of my favourites.

Lindt Chocolate

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I really didn’t like chocolate until a few months ago, honestly! I think with adopting a paleo lifestyle my taste buds totally changed and from eating real food I found flavour! Now I just love rich dark chocolate. This Lindt stand was heaven. Mostly sampling dark chocolate, you could pick from their entire range. I can’t remember how many types I tried! We also chatted to one of the Lindt Chefs who gave me some great tips on using chocolate in our chilli (which David and I love to do) and also pairing their chilli chocolate with a rich full bodied red wine – can’t wait to try it out!

Yes we did purchase a couple of bars – dark chocolate with chilli, dark chocolate and blueberry and my favourite dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt…amazing!

http://www.lindt.co.uk/swf/eng/home/

Nakd Bars

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I have been a fan of nakd bars for quite a few years now – I often recommend them when I blog posts about snacking. Minimal, clean ingredients and a great snack bar for when on the move or just with a coffee! Even though I have tried the whole range, it didn’t stop me sampling one or two (or more) of my favourites!

http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/nakd-fruit-and-nut-bars/

Green and Blacks Chocolate

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Another favourite chocolate producer! They didn’t have that many dark chocolate options but it was great to sample a few new ones and chat to the staff at the stand about the product. I was surprised but my favourite of theirs was actually the dark chocolate with lemon oil – and I dont really like lemon! Would always recommend the Maya Gold and Ginger though!

http://www.greenandblacks.co.uk/our-range/bars.aspx?c1=1559&c2=1559

Other…

There were so many other factors to the festival – a great art exhibition that centred around coffee…

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Various DJ’s playing some killer tunes throughout the fest…

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We also enjoyed music from a live salsa band – couldn’t help but dance!

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There were also some other drink producers there that we loved.

ColdPress Juices

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A great British company focusing on great tasting juices and smoothies from fab ingredients, with no cooking. Therefore retaining all their nutrients.

http://www.cold-press.co.uk/

Cawston Press

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Cawston are a company that David and I already love – we swear by a glass of their beet juice before we head off to CrossFit. So it was lovely to see them, chat with them and see what new products they are revealing. I am so happy to have found their new product – a fizzy cloudy apple juice with no sugar! Just apple juice and sparkling water! Once I can find them in the shops I know it will be a summer favourite!

http://www.cawstonpress.com/

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And that’s all folks! I hope you like my recap of the festival, showing you some of my highlights! I included the websites in case you wanted to find out more.

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The best highlight of the day though was simply talking – talking to all the friendly faces there that were happy to be celebrating this one very traditional drink that we all love – COFFEE!

Oh and we will be back – hurry up 2015!

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Thinking Out Loud!

Hi all,

Hope you are well this fine Thursday!

Today I am linking up for the third and final time this week (loving link up week!). This is the first time I have linked up with Amanda over @runningwithspoons, but I love her blog and the concept of

‘Thinking out loud’ – a time where we can just relax and write what comes naturally in our minds at the time. No structure, just flow!

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Let’s see what randomness comes to mind…!

1. First of all, this is difficult! I am very much a structure and plan person, I even said to David last night I was worried I hadn’t planned out this post yet or thought of anything – as he correctly pointed out, that’s the idea! Is it a good thing to have all of our posts planned and prepped or sometimes are the ones that are more ‘go with the flow’ better? I think it’s a mix of both, or depends on what type of blogger you are. For example, if you blog about food, you want to make sure you always have a camera handy! Or if you blog about movies you want to know that the latest film is actually showing before you tell everyone you are going to see it! As long as we put heart into our posts and enjoy what we are doing then I think all is well, no matter what your style!

(Gosh that’s a bit of a ‘thinker’, maybe something a bit more light for my next one)

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2. Starbucks. I sit in here, write and without realising it, observe. Does everyone have the same drink all the time? What does our drink choice say about us? Me, I always have a tall Americano, black. A ‘tall’ size because I don’t want too much caffeine, an Americano because I love dark, strong, intense coffee and black because milk would take the taste away! It always surprises me when the temperatures are in the minus outside and people get freezing cold iced drinks, maybe they don’t feel the chill as much as I do. But when you come in from the cold, there is nothing better than a piping hot cup of coffee. Summer time you ask? The same, but iced!

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3. Before this, I went to the post office to send my cousin Charlies 7th birthday pressie (awww!) and my Mum’s birthday card. Check out the amazing stamp I got given – Paddington Bear! So cute I wanted to keep it – but I know my Mum will appreciate the cuteness! Also for the first time ever, the bear pops out from within the boundaries of the stamp! Times really are a’ changin’!

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4. Progress = toughness. I love my progress at CrossFit. I love getting stronger, my ability improving in so many things and feeling like a ‘beast’ every time I complete a WOD. The other side however (I refuse to call it a ‘downside’ because it’s anything but) is that the ‘toughness’ increases dramatically. You are always improving, lifting heavier, going faster- it will ALWAYS be a tough challenge, a never ending one between you and yourself. That, in itself, is what makes CrossFit pretty darn awesome.

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5. Speaking of awesome – I am super excited about the Super Bowl this Sunday. Even if we do have to stay up really late (it begins at 11.30pm) and we don’t get to see any of the commercials. The football is fab (well hopefully it will be a good game or a unique ‘snowbowl’), we have good friends coming over to watch it with us and just simply the fact that this one game, in this one particular sport, can unite so many people, families and friends from all over the world.  Also it will just bring it home that we get to see an NFL game next year, one of the London games! And not just any game with any team, we get to see our team play – the Atlanta Falcons! Woop Woop!

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6. The snow. Can’t believe what I am seeing and reading about snow in the states, especially in the deep south, what is going on in the world!? It’s really odd here in Scotland, there hasn’t really been any snow, except on the mountains, and that’s very strange. We normally have had a good few storms by now, had some lying snow for a few weeks etc. Everyone is just waiting for it! I think the waiting is worse than it actually being here – when is it going to spring upon us? Then again, we have had snow in May before…

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7. And for this week, I am going to end on number 7, because it is my favourite number. Don’t know why, always has been and I guess always will be! Lucky 7!

(Yes ending on something quite random…!)

See you tomorrow for some CrossFit recap action! Thanks Amanda, really enjoyed this! 🙂

Birthday Eats and Treats!

Hi all,

Hope you are well and your week is off to a swing.

I thought I would do a wee post today in honour of my fantastic husband and the fact that he celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday! (Picture of the birthday boy in his birthday hat!).

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As it was a week day and I knew he had to go to work, I thought I would make his day extra special with some of his favourite eats and treats! It was a tough choice for him to make and I know a lot of deliberation went into his choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner – you do, after all, only get your birthday once a year but he finally came to a decision on how his day would flow!

We began the day with Crossfit and I know David and I both enjoyed the energising morning workout! Once we came home David got ready for work while I prepped his breakfast. He decided on homemade granola with Greek yoghurt on top.

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In the granola were oats, cinnamon, dates, coconut, almonds and hazelnuts – mixed together with maple syrup. You cook it in the microwave until you hear the oats starting to sizzle, checking on it every 30 seconds or so. Then you spread it out on a board to cool down and harden. Tah da! Instant granola! It was gobbled up and very much enjoyed, I managed to sneak a couple of bits along the way, yummy!

For lunch it had to be something involving avocado, one of David’s favourite ingredients. He decided on a chicken and avocado salad which was choc to the brim full of delights – chicken, avocado, spinach, carrot, tomatoes, cucumber, mushroom, olives and a sprinkle of goats’ cheese. The picture below is of my version of the lunch as I forgot to take a picture before David left. It was similar to his though but I made my avocado into guacamole and didn’t have goats cheese or mushroom. We met up at our local Starbucks during his lunch hour so he could chow down on the tasties while enjoying a birthday beverage – his choice being a seasonal orange mocha (no whip). He really enjoyed that too; think he may be tempted by a few more of them before the season ends!

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When David came home from work it was time for cards and presents! I was so excited, I love giving presents and seeing people’s faces when they open them.

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While opening the presents we split a Thistly Cross Cider – this one had been matured in whisky casks and was divine. Think it might be my favourite one of them all! (Do you like the bottle opener David and I picked up while we were in Oman? Tacky but we love it!).

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Included in the mix of presents were a few foodie ones including some almond stuffed olives, 70% dark chocolate, Armagnac soaked prunes and kirsch soaked cherries (I knew I had to get the fruit when I saw them, uber yum!). We of course, had to sample them…!

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Then for dinner came a new recipe for us – paleo pumpkin pancakes!  With a ground almond base, these pancakes were just perfect and so full of flavour – pumpkin spice and cinnamon. I could of ate them as they were! Instead I topped one with a little almond butter and the others with maple syrup – David did the same. I think we both flew to pancake heaven! Won’t be long before we have those again! It was also fun spending time making them in the kitchen together and no flour equals very little mess – hooray!

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We sat down with dinner and the last episode of Downton Abbey that we had recorded the night before. Both of us can’t wait for the Christmas Special, so much going on!

And there we have it, the special birthday boy’s day of tasty eats and treats! Love you David! xxx

My Favourite Eats This Weekend!

Hi all,

Hope you are well and had a wonderful weekend. Why those two little days of the week go so much faster than the rest I have no idea!

I thought I would do a post on my favourite eats from over the weekend. Good food and good company = an excellent weekend of fun!

Saturday Breakfast – Banana Oats with some chopped dates at the side and a Peppermint Tea.

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A nice ripe banana mixed in to some cooked oats. Yum! (Sorry for the bad picture :-S) I like my dates at the side rather than mixed in, who knows why, one of my little quirks! All washed down with a reviving and piping hot peppermint tea, perfect. (I would have loved a massive cup of coffee but I knew I would be having coffee later on in the day and I don’t like to caffeine overload!).

Saturday Lunch – Moroccan Spiced Mussels with a side salad.

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David and I met up with our friends Ally and Lynsey for lunch on Saturday and it was such a wonderful time – great to catch up with them. We went for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants in Glasgow, The Mussel Inn. I went for a ½ kilo of steamed mussels, infused with chillies, garlic, coriander, cumin and ginger. Delicious!

We also went for a coffee afterwards at a local coffee shop. It was pouring with rain outside and really cold so a big Americano coffee was in order!

Can’t wait to see our friends again soon!

Saturday Dinner – Turkey Curry with Cauliflower Rice

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For dinner David and I were trying a new recipe from the last issue of the UK’s Women’s Health Magazine. It intrigued us as the sauce was a mix of spices, fresh coriander and blueberries, all blitzed together with greek yoghurt. I don’t think I have ever seen blueberries in an Indian sauce before but it sounded good so we gave it a go. We served it with cauliflower rice and peas (I just love cauliflower rice! And the peas were such a fab addition!). Overall the curry was ok. The blueberries made it very sweet so I think I would add a bit less of them next time and maybe some more spices. I wanted more heat! I did love the fact that we cooked the turkey pieces ‘in the sauce’ from raw, which meant the meat poached in the sauce. That was tasty and kept it moist.

Pumpkin Seeds – PEPITA’S! 

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As per usual, David and I did our Saturday cook up while also making dinner – preparing and cooking soup, sweet potato coins, 2 baked squashes and chicken pieces. We also tried something new with our seeds from our carved pumpkin. We let the seeds dry over the week then roasted them with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of Hebridean sea salt, the salt we had picked up from the Good Food Show a few weeks back. Oh boy were they good! We are rationing them right now, we just want to eat them all! And don’t even get me started on how much of a nutritional powerhouse they are!

Sunday

Sunday started with our usual breakfast of a small oats, banana scramble, nut butter and coffee. I must admit I forgot to take a photo as I was so hungry! But I posted it last week and it looked exactly the same – see here for a photo!

Sunday Lunch – Carrot and Coriander Soup with Chicken

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After our walk around the local park we came home to a nice hot bowl of the soup we had made the night before. It was so good! And the addition of some chicken and spinach just finished it off nicely!

Sunday Afternoon – Starbucks

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David and I headed to Starbucks in the afternoon to have some chill out time together. We bought the Sunday Newspapers and settled in some comfy seats with a hot coffee. Not just any coffee though – the red cups are back! That means gingerbread syrup! I order an Americano with a shot of syrup in a cup at the side – that way I can add what I want (I find they add way too much if they put it straight in!).  I tend to only add half of what they give me and this means I can get the wonderful gingerbread taste without buzzing on sugar for hours afterwards! A real treat that I will enjoy over the festive period – just the smell the gingerbread syrup makes me feel all Christmassy!

We had our coffee with a side of pepita’s and some dried fruit (plums for me!).

Sunday Dinner – Persimmon

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My dinner on Sunday consisted of some gluten free toast with nut butter and honey but the shining star that accompanied it was a huge persimmon that I had picked up from our local organic greengrocer earlier on in the day. This fruit is amazing! Flavours of vanilla just ooze through the fruit and as I mentioned before, I can’t believe I only discovered them this year. Just take off the leaves on top, slice and they are ready to rock. They are in season right now, go on try one, you will not be disappointed I promise you!

Top Ten Favourites of the Moment

Hi all,

Well on Monday I brought you my favourite podcasts. Yesterday I brought you one of my favourite recipes, so today I thought I would continue this unintentional theme of favourites and list some of my favourite things at the moment! Those little or big things that currently make you happy/smile or you are just happy to have around. I have seen some other bloggers do this and thought it sounded like fun!

So here is my ‘Top Ten Favourites of the Moment’

1)      Glasgow in the autumn

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–          I have to begin with this one as it really is the most incredible sight and is making me smile so much at the moment. The leaves are changing, the colours are beautiful and this combined with the crisp clear days we are having makes for the most beautiful walks. This is a picture that David and I took when we went for a walk last Sunday. I just had to stop in my tracks and go ‘wow’, it was just so pretty and I feel so blessed to live in this stunning city. I look forward to many more autumnal walks and how it will change again as we head on into winter.

2)      Butternut Squash

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–          I am loving all things squash and pumpkin at the moment, as you know from my previous posts! But I have been tucking into butternut squashes the most and they are just delicious! They are the most popular squash here in the UK, most supermarkets stock them and even though I have managed to get my hands on other squashes, the butternut really is coming out as my favourite (with the harlequin a close second!). Not only are they very tasty, they are just the perfect sustaining food – keeping me going whether I have half a squash for lunch or dinner – and you can have them with so many different things and pair them with so many versatile ingredients. I just roast them, keep them in the fridge and pair with whatever I fancy!  Succulent, cheap, sustaining and versatile – hello Mr Perfect- Food!

3)      Jesus Christ Superstar – Musical

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–          My Mum was visiting us last week and we all went to see Jesus Christ Superstar the musical at the newly opened Hydro arena here in Glasgow. Undertaking a major arena tour, the cast included former Spice Girl Melanie C and comedian Tim Minchin –both were outstanding. I really do think this is one of, if not, the best Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Afterwards all three of us just kept on going ‘wow!’. The music stays with you for days and I remember listening to the soundtrack a lot when I was growing up, so pretty much know all the words! My Mum bought David and I the soundtrack CD when we were there as a souvenir and I know it is going to be sticking around on my iPod playlist for weeks to come!

4)      Hollister Jacket

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–          I have found my winter jacket! Yay! Normally it takes me ages to find a winter jacket or coat, everything is usually too big or, I’m too tall and things like the sleeves are too short etc. But this year I found one that fits like a glove, is perfect, cosy and exactly what I was looking for. So I snapped it up! I have worn it a couple of times already when it has been really chilly outside and it’s just wonderful at keeping my core nice and warm – and I really do feel the cold. It really does pay to start shopping early for bits like this.

5)      British Apples

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–          Oh boy I can’t get enough of them! And when I find a new variety I get so excited! I love the fact that we have the most amazing seasonal apples and they just taste so different to the ones that we get shipped in from abroad (understandably so!). So far the British apples I have had are Discovery, Cox, Early Winsor and Worcester and I am on the hunt for more! Each are so different to one and other but all so good – if I had to pick a favourite though I think I would go with Early Winsor, such a sweet crunch!

6)      Friday Night Lights

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–          David and I love American Football (go Atlanta Falcons!) but it really is difficult being a fan over here in the UK. David follows the games on a Sunday night and we both do our Pigskin Pick’em’s – doing ok so far in our wee group! So anything football related we just love and try and get our hands on. I stumbled across Friday Night Lights last year and bought David the first series on DVD, we loved it instantly! Now we have been able to watch the rest of the programme by renting it from Love Film. We are well into the second series and it looks like it will be just as good as the first – clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

7)      My new boots!

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–           My other winter purchase that I am just so excited about! When my Mum was down visiting we just had to go shopping (of course!), and the one thing on my list was a pair of brown winter boots. Now, never before has this happened to me, and I doubt it will ever happen again, but I walked into the first shop we went to and found the perfect pair, exactly what I was looking for! When does this ever happen!? Was so pleased, perfect to dress up or dress down, cosy and waterproof with a really good grip on the sole (needed for Scotland and the snow and ice!). In fact I am wearing them now and admiring their prettiness! Also I must mention how fab my Mum is as she bought them for me – my Dad had told her to get me something special while she was down visiting – I just have the most loving parents. Another big THANK YOU!

8)      Salted Caramel Coffee

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–          One of my favourite things to do is have a good search around the store TK Maxx (I think it is called TJ Maxx in the states, wonder why the change of name?). Anyway, always some fab bargains to be had, I especially love going around their home department and finding some amazing, unique pieces. Last week however, I found this coffee that had been shipped in from the states and grabbed it with both hands, we don’t get this kind of thing in the UK! Oh boy is it amazing. And I looked into the company who produced it and they are just fab – Paramount Coffee, based in Michigan – who keep to a strict ethos of good coffee, Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, UTZ certified (sustainable farming) and are employee owned, previously a family run business. And they certainly deliver the goods! The coffee was delicious, it smelt so good I wanted to eat the grains (don’t worry, I restrained!). It really is a wee gem of a find and am going to be on the lookout every time I am in TK Maxx to try and find more. If you are in the states though, try and find a stockist, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

9)      Danny Elfman

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–          Last night David and I went to see a concert, again at the new Hydro arena – Danny Elfman’s Music  from the films of Tim Burton. Wow! The orchestra was the BBC Concert Orchestra and they were just note perfect – the music combined with clips from the films on a big screen along with drawings and sketches Tim Burton had done for the films. Beetlejuice, Batman and Batman Returns and Alice in Wonderland were some of my favourite pieces they played, so haunting! However, the most amazing score of the night has to go to The Nightmare Before Christmas – one of my favourite films of all time with one of the best movie scores. Hearing the orchestra play the music was outstanding in itself, but my heart literally skipped a beat when Danny Elfman himself came out to sing 5 of Jack Skeletons songs! DANNY ELFMAN!! I was star struck, he is one of the greatest movie composers of all time and there he is in front of me dancing around the stage putting on the most incredible performance. The encore, Danny and the orchestra doing ‘The Oogie Boogie man’ from the movie – I will never forget it. And of course, they all gained the most well deserved standing ovation.

10)   My local Starbucks

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(Isn’t the architecture in Glasgow beautiful!)

–          Last but certainly by no means least, I have to mention my local Starbucks which is currently my favourite place to take my laptop, order a tasty coffee and write. I sit in a fantastic comfy armchair, sipping and typing away, watching people come and go – I do love to people watch. The reason I pick here is simple – good coffee, great service and a fantastic atmosphere. The staff are wonderful – I don’t know if it is worrying that they know me now!- and we chat away, making you feel so welcome. They really make it feel like my local coffee shop where I am always welcome and they are pleased to see me. That is definitely a rarity. And as a newbie to the city it is always nice to have somewhere to go where you feel welcome – thanks Starbucks!

Real Food Snacks!

Hi all,

I enjoyed some new foods over the weekend, mostly some new snack foods that we had picked up on a travels a few weeks ago. So I thought I would share them with you all.

When it got to mid afternoon on Saturday, David and I really needed some sustenance and a wee break from all the cooking. When we were down in Brighton, we spotted a small American food candy store and decided to pop in. They had lots of crazy candies but what caught our eye was the selection of artisan sodas that the store had. We had never seen so many types of unique sodas before; even just checking out some of the fab art work on the labels was fun! However one soda jumped out, a Pumpkin Pie soda from a company called Maine Root – an organic artisan soda company with real natural unprocessed ingredients. We love pumpkin, love real foods = sold! Oh boy was it tasty. We split the bottle, I probably couldn’t of drunk more than half anyway as it was quite sweet and I’m not used to drinking soda anymore but I definitely enjoyed the flavour. If only we could get more! I went on their website and they do so many different kinds including a root beer and ginger beer. I know the British market isn’t quite there yet with the taste of pumpkin, especially pumpkin spice, but I would love to see some of the others around. David even tweeted Whole Foods asking them to stock it! Well if any store was going to…

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To go along with this, we decided to try out a recipe that we had been meaning to try for quite a while – banana soft serve! I say a recipe, but I don’t even think you could call it that, more just directions!

–          Take one frozen banana and blitz it with a small amount of almond milk. And that’s it! If you want some chunks of banana, don’t blitz for too long – I liked coming across the odd chunk or two! Serve in a nice bowl and tuck it – oh my goodness is it amazing, tasty and a completely guilt free frozen treat. I know adults and kids alike will love this! You can also mix it up a bit, add a tbsp of nut butter or, if you like it, some cocoa nibs. I think David and I are going to try it next with some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices, along with the banana. Hmmm, got me daydreaming about it already!

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On Sunday, David and I did our usual Sunday afternoon ritual of going to Starbucks for a nice coffee, while David caught up with blog reading and I did some writing. We decided to take some more of the snacks with us that we had picked up on our travels.

David raved about the 100% raw brownie he tried. Ingredients – 36% raw chocolate, 28% walnuts, 22% medjool dates, 14% cashews.

I wasn’t so keen but then again, I don’t like chocolate so that’s not surprising! I can however, appreciate the amazing, nutritional powerhouse that this bar is and David, who is a keen dark raw chocolate lover, highly rated it.

Made by 100 percent natural foods and based in Brighton, they have an amazing product, hopefully they will expand and we may see their product in Scotland. Until then I was hoping we might pay their website a visit however it doesn’t appear to be up and running yet. Hopefully soon.

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I took along a snack that I too had picked up from the organic supermarket in Brighton – pear crisps made by Perry Court Farm – a local English producer who specialises in making healthy snacks from the fruit on their farm.  I have had apple, beet and carrot crisps before but never pear, so they jumped out for me to try. When looking at fruit/ veggie crisps I always look for a naturally dried product, so many on the market have been fried in oil, making them just as unhealthy as normal potato crisps, so watch out and always read the label! I am pleased to say that Perry Court Farm air dry their fruit, locking in all the natural sweetness and this certainly came through when trying the crisps. They didn’t have the crunch I was expecting, but they were lovely, sweet and you could tell the fruit was of high quality. I also think that because they didn’t have ‘the crunch’ you ate them more slowly, savouring the flavour, always good! Will definitely have to keep an eye out for them and the other varieties available, sweet apple crisps and tangy apple crisps, quite impressed!

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Fun, Fantastic Weekend

Hi all,

Happy Monday! And the week begins again…!

So I thought today I would give you a recap of my weekend of fun, mostly in pictures as I know they are fab to set the scene!

Saturday began as all Saturdays do in the Fotheringham household, with a good bowl o’ porridge (oats), the newspaper (from the day before but never mind!) and cartoons! I went for old faithful, plain oats with a dollop of local strawberry jam in the middle as a treat and David went for his favourite, pecan nuts and maple syrup. Both of us enjoying our choice and I partnered mine with a cup of peppermint tea, a great start to the day!

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We were both really looking forward to some visitors who were coming to see us for the day – David’s mum Carmel and his sister Clare. It had been a wee while since we had caught up with them both and they hadn’t been to see us since we have moved to Glasgow, so we really wanted them to come up so we could show them some of the sights! I say some, there are too many to see in one day!

They arrived mid morning and came straight to the apartment for a much needed coffee after the train journey up from England. After a quick tour of the apartment and a coffee pit stop, we headed out into town for lunch, destination – The Mussel Inn.

I’m sure some of you will have seen the picture of my lunch that I posted yesterday but for those who didn’t, please see below. I love posting this picture again, even just to emphasise how tasty and delicious it was. I love it so much when restaurants take local, seasonal ingredients and don’t mess around with them, keeping the food simple and letting the produce shine through. And that’s exactly what they did here – cooked in their natural juices, with some chillies, garlic and spices and served with a plain side salad, I couldn’t have asked for a better prepared meal. The staff and service were also excellent and really made the meal perfect. They were knowledgeable on the produce, friendly and attentive. Everyone loved and raved about their meal and David and I can’t wait to go back!

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From there we headed to Blythswood Square – one of David and I’s favourite places in Glasgow. Please see my anniversary blog post here for more information. And so we spent the rest of the afternoon here, with a lovely cocktail and just catching up and reminiscing about stories past, as you always do with family. It really was lovely.

David with his mum and sister

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My cocktail – The Duchess (yes I had this one before but it is my favourite!)

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David and I

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Clare and I in one of the alcoves at the entrance to the hotel

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We then took them both to the station to catch the train home. A wonderful time had by all with an emphasis that we must do it again soon!

On our way home we picked up some bits and bobs for dinner – tonight’s menu – stir fry veg, sautéed with chillies and garlic and then we added fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Served with individual lettuce cups and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. A fab Thai inspired dish with a real hot and sour flavour. Be making that again soon!

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Sunday was another great day which began the way we like it – with a killer home work out!

Inspired by the work out posted by Heather, guest poster over @fruitandfitness (normally run by the fab Nicole), just with a few alterations. And yes, it included burpees – I am determined to keep doing them until I love them (practice makes perfect!) and yes, I still hate them with a passion!

(Oh David and I use the sweeties as counters to keep track of how many rounds we have done, well we weren’t eating them so they might as well come in handy for something!).

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We then had my favourite breakfast of the week – banana scramble! David has his with peanut butter and mine is the one with the almond butter and the slightly more caramalised eggs (I like to crispen up and brown those banana-ry bits!).  David has his with a side of oats and I have a small bowl of cereal (again not happy with this part so it doesn’t get the satisfaction of a picture!).

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After our delicious and much needed breakfast, we headed out to a farmers and artisan craft market that was happening locally at a Charles Rennie Macintosh designed gallery – House for an Art Lover. We had never been there before and it was stunning! Can’t wait to go back to actually do a tour around the house and extensive gardens which are full of the most amazing sculptures.

The market was small but good – we picked up some locally made blackberry, apple and gin jam along with a cute chilli plant that we can grow on our windowsill. We love chillies so fingers crossed we can keep it alive!

The market

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Me outside House for an Art Lover – holding our new chilli plant!

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The walled garden

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The afternoon was spent chilled out with a nice coffee in Starbucks, I wrote while David phoned his Grandma for a chat. We get to visit her next week and I am so looking forward to it – she is a fantastic person who I could listen to for hours!

Dinner consisted of a quick, easy make, Sunday favourite – a fruit plate, making the most of the last of the summer fruit and 2 slices of Genius Gluten Free bread, one with PB on it, the other local heather honey. Yum! (Yes and as you can see from my toast, I like things crispy (or burnt as David says…!)).

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All tied up and enjoyed with a couple of episodes of Revenge before bed. This series is so good!

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It’s Monday again! My weekend of fun!

Hi all!

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a good weekend!?

Apart from being sore all over my chest and shoulders from Crossfit this week, David and I had a weekend of fun and smiles.

We started our Saturday with our usual bowl of oats for breakfast or porridge as we call it in Scotland. We have become quite inventive with our oats, or David has anyway, I tend to come up with the ideas but then choose old faithful combos like plain oats and strawberry jam, yum! But on Saturday I went for plain oats with coconut milk over the top, and boy was I not disappointed! Talk about uber yum! David went for oats topped with organic grade A dark maple syrup and chopped pecans. Also very tasty!

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Anyway, enough about our oats and on to our day! We took the train over to Edinburgh to meet some friends of ours who we have recently reconnected with. I went to university with Lynsey and we were roommates for 2 years. Then, as is sadly sometimes the case, we lost touch. Now we have reconnected again and I could not be happier! David and I met with Lynsey and her partner Ally who we were meeting for the first time. They really are a perfect couple! And we all have so much in common and are such similar people, so it was a joy to spend the day with them. We met for lunch at the 4th Floor Brassiere at Harvey Nichols, a very fancy store in Edinburgh. David and I both had a red mullet dish, with chargrilled courgettes, tomatoes, olives, red peppers and basil oil. It looked so good and tasted so delicious that we forgot to take a picture! Ahh! Forgive me, I am still getting used to the blogger trait of photographing everything!

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After lunch we headed for a wonder around the Edinburgh Old Town. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is currently on at the moment and the whole town is buzzing with performers, comedians, musicians, dancers etc all with shows to go and see, but doing a bit of street performing during the day to try and drum up some interest for their shows. So much fun to walk around and see what everyone is offering. We didn’t have time to see any shows but saw some amazing little snap shots!

It was great fun to soak up some culture and buzz in Edinburgh for the day. It’s crazy, it’s manic, it’s loud but that’s why we love it! And to spend it all with good friends, that made it complete!

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On Sunday David and I began our day with a workout, combining a little of what we did last week with some practice Crossfit moves – especially squats, feel the burn!

Then, after breakfast and cartoons, we headed to pick up our new car! What do you think? I love it! We needed to think of a name… its red, it’s fierce, so we went for… RED ROSS! Anyone who is a friends fan will know which episode that was from!

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After that we came home, had some lunch and headed to Starbucks so I could catch up on some blogging and we could both get a caffeine fix!

What did you get up to this weekend?

What is your favourite way to have oats?