Friday, 29 March 2013

Our new home! by Roz

As many of you know, B and I have recently bought a new house.   It's difficult for me to share too many pictures with you at the moment as we don't get the keys until July / August time, but we are so excited about our new house that I wanted to share a sneak peek!

This is our new front door, please excuse the crude photo shop skills to remove the house number and the name of the company that currently own the property.  Bex is the photo wizard but she is currently enjoying the sights of South Korea so you are stuck with my poor skills!  The house was built in the mid 1800's and is Grade A listed and in a conservation area, so we are not even allowed to change the paint colour let alone change the type of door.

The house is currently being used as an office, so we have a lot of work ahead of us to turn it into our forever house, from installing a kitchen and bathrooms to refurbishing the windows.  Those of you who follow me on Pinterest will see that I am pinning lots of interior inspiration at the moment, if any of you know of any good blogs or websites to check out please let me know in the comments below.  We are currently really struggling with the design of our kitchen, we have decided on the layout including a nice big island unit which will be home to our induction hob, but we cannot make up our minds on the kitchen cabinets.  Is it just me or do all kitchens seem to be white these days??

What the property is not short of is original features, the picture below shows the view from the hallway up to the cupola at the top of the house.

Another feature that I just love is the beautiful, detailed cornice work that is in all of the rooms on the main three floors of the house and is in excellent condition.  Just not sure I fancy the painting job :)

The house is in the Park District of Glasgow, only a few miles from where we live at the moment.  The photo below shows an aerial view of the area, it really is a beautiful part of Glasgow and sits quite high looking down onto the city.  Kelvingrove Park is on our doorstep too, a park I know very well from Bootcamp that I used to attend with Lauren three times a week for almost a year.  I'm looking forward to having the park on my doorstep to help encourage me to run outdoors more often.  I will also be able to walk to work instead of getting the underground each day, the novelty of walking to work might wear off quickly in the typical Glasgow weather though.

I hope you all like the quick tour :)

Roz xx

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Blook Club 2

This wasn't the second Blook Club (I think it was the fifth?) but it was only the second one I've been to and I didn't even manage to finish the book this time!  Oops!  It was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I didn't want to read it too early but then I was in the middle of another book with just over a week to go and I hate starting a new book before I've finished the one I'm reading.  I managed to steam through to the end of that one (book review to follow - it was one of my choices for my bookswap person) and start the next one but had a very busy week and didn't quite manage to read quickly enough and had only got to about 76% by the time I had to leave Glasgow.

Linsey and I shared a lift through and met everyone else at Spoon, this meeting's venue.  I went in for the start to meet everyone (it was almost all different people this time so I met lots of new blook clubbers) but left before they started discussing the book so the ending wouldn't be ruined for me.  I went to a different cafe downstairs (with much better options for lunch and much friendlier service anyway) and returned when Linsey kindly texted me it was safe to return.  I was then up to 86% and had to keep reading, between the chat.  I apologise to everyone for being so anti-social!  I did manage to take a few photos of the cute cups and teapots (and cake!) though, I'm really loving my new lens...

I eventually finished the book waiting outside Ikea while Linsey was picking up some cupboard doors! I loved it despite being a little dissatisfied with the ending.  Apparently there was a mixed reaction during the discussion.  Linsey was kind enough to pass on the opinions discussed during the part of the meeting I missed once I'd finished while we drove back through to Glasgow.

I'm sad that the lovely Zoe is leaving us but very excited for her and her new job down in London and I'm sure she'll be back to keep an eye on us from time to time!  She's handed over the ropes to the fabulous Kirsty from asafemooring so we'll still be reading and blook clubbing.  I'll make sure I finish the book in plenty of time from now on!!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Home-made Bath Bomb recipe/tutorial

I made bath bombs recently to see how easy it was (and as another thing for my #heartswap parcel) as it could be a potential Olive Dragonfly Craft Club project.  I definitely think this one would be fun to do again!

I used a couple of on-line tutorials for the recipe but ended up adjusting it slightly so here's what I did...

300g Bicarbonate of soda
100g Citric acid (This can be tricky to find since it seems it can be used for making actual bombs.  Despite what google says, none of my local pharmacies had it but I eventually tracked some down in my local Halal shop for just 49p!  It's easy to find on-line if you plan ahead.)
A few drops of essential oil of your choice (I used 2 mixes of essential oil - Deep Sleep and Total Energy)
A few drops of food colouring (I used green and blue)
glitter (optional)

A large glass mixing bowl
Kitchen scales
A water spray bottle containing clean cold water
Some kind of mould (I used metal cookie cutters but I think silicone moulds would be easier to get out without damaging the bombs.)
Rubber gloves (optional but recommended!)

Mix the citric acid and bicarbonate of soda together in the mixing bowl until you have a consistent texture.  Add the glitter now if you're using it and mix well.

Add a few drops of colouring until you get your desired shade.  Mix it in quickly before it fizzes up.  I found that mixing it with the essential oil first made it easier to get an even colour.  Also, rubbing it in like making pastry breadcrumbs was the most effective way to mix it so there were no spots of colour left.  If the mixture starts to fizz, just keep mixing the oil/colour in as quickly as you can.  Do not leave it to stand or it will start to set.

The next stage also has to be done quickly to stop the mixture from fizzing up completely.  A little at a time, while constantly working the mixture, spray a the water and keep mixing until it starts to just hold together when you scrunch it in your hand.  Don't let it get it too damp.

Still working quickly, press the mixture into your moulds and compress tightly.  Leave your moulds in a dry place to set for at least 20-30 minutes.  Mine weren't hard enough after this time (they tended to expand as they set - they may have been a bit too damp) so I left them for about an hour before removing from the moulds, I didn't want them to get stuck - another reason why silicon moulds might work better.  I then left them to set overnight.

Using the size of moulds I used, I only managed to make 2 1/2 bombs out of my first mix.  Next time I plan to use a silicon ice cube tray to make lots of little ones and a silicon muffin tray to make one large one.

 I added glitter to the green mix and managed to make a few more with this batch.

I then packaged them up with some some organza left over from the wedding, some polka dot cellophane, some wedding raffia and Christmas curling ribbon...

Keep in a sealed container until ready to use.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Recipe - Carrot & Cumin Soup

This is one of my favourite ever soup recipes, I shared it in the very first swap I took part of, The Curiosity Project.  I might also send it for the upcoming Recipe Swap.  I'm pretty sure it came out of a Tesco magazine.  It's so easy and I've made it so many times I almost know it by heart but haven't made it for ages when I couldn't find the recipe last night, I checked the blog only to discover I haven't blogged this one yet!  Luckily I did eventually find the recipe so here it is (also easy for me to find should I lose it again!  I really should finish my recipe binder project I started before our wedding!)

Serves 4
80 cals, 3g fat, 0.4g sodium

10g butter or 1tbsp olive oil (I use a mix of both)
1 small onion
450g carrots, peeled & chopped
2tsp ground cumin
850ml vegetable stock
6 tbsp coconut milk (optional but so yummy!)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp coconut milk and toasted cumin seeds to garnish  (optional - I like the coconut milk but can't be bothered with the seeds!)

Heat the butter/oil in a pan and add the onions.  Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes to soften.

Add the chopped carrots and ground cumin, cook for 2 mins while stirring then add the stock.  Season and simmer for 15-20 mins until the carrots are tender.

Leave to cool slightly.  Blend with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.  Stir in the coconut milk and check the seasoning.  Heat to serve.

Garnish with the coconut milk and seeds, if using.  Serve with crusty bread.

Apologies to my long-suffering husband who was patiently waiting to be able to eat his soup while I took these photos!  (And he had to re-heat it by the time I was done.  Oops!)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Splurge Vs Save - The Comparison

The answer is B is the more expensive outfit.

I saw the Mint Velvet tunic dress first and loved the print and colour but it was a bit too much for me at £79, then I spotted the version in A which, although it looks more yellow, is exactly the same fabric in H&M for just £24.99!  It's from the plus size range and I bought an XL as it was the smallest they had (and 18 I think) but it fits really well with a waist cinching belt!

Save Total = £157

Splurge Vs Save

H M print top

River Island mid rise skinny jeans

Dune leather buckle boots

Miss Selfridge black studded belt
£14 -

Cuff - Coast (old) - £28

Splurge Total = £737

Splurge Vs Save B

Pattern dress

Sass & Bide skinny leg jeans
£165 -

Steve Madden pull on boots
£140 -

Philippe Audibert silver bracelet

Rag bone black belt
£83 -

Splurge Vs Save

So, what's your guess this week?  Do you think A or B is more expensive?  Which outfit do you prefer?  How much do you think the two outfits cost?...

All will be revealed at 1.30pm so come back then for the full breakdown!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

South Korea & Shilla Review

So I'm off on me 'olidays tomorrow!  I shall be leaving you all in the capable hands of the lovely Roz (although I have prepared another Splurge Vs Save for tomorrow!  We don't leave until late on Friday so I'll be checking in to make sure you all have a guess!  ;)  Edit: I have now prepared posts for the whole week since I was on a roll at the weekend but Roz might change things around a bit if she has time.)

We're off to Seoul for a week (I know it's a long, long way for just a week) but that's what comes from being married to a junior doctor and we are going to enjoy the travel part as well since we used all our air-miles to book business class again like for our honeymoon in 2011!  Yay, free champers in the lounge, here we come!

We will be staying in Hotel Tria in Gangnam (no, I will not be doing the dance!) as my fabulous deal hunting hubby found us a suite with 70% off which was cheaper than all the standard hotel rooms I was finding!!  I really don't know why I bother with holiday research, he always finds the best deals somehow!

The hotel looks fab and seems to be in a good location but it's always hard to know for sure until you've visited a place or know someone who has.  If you know the area at all please do leave us some tips :)

To prepare for our holiday and try to get excited about it (we've both been so busy lately we haven't even had time to think about it which is very weird for me as a planner, I'm usually packed at least a week in advance!) we went out for dinner at Glasgow's only Korean restaurant, Shilla, last weekend.

I read a few reviews before we went and was really excited to try a few things mentioned, including the Korean OB beer!  We were both also very keen to try Kimchi as we heard it comes with everything over there, they love it.

Image Source

When we first arrived we were greeted with a delicious smell, always a good start!  The sever who greeted us was friendly and also turned out to have a few tips about Korean restaurants when we were discussing the menu with him later.

Unfortunately the table we were given faced the window with the menus in it so people walking past would be staring right in at us which was a bit annoying but the worst thing was that it was freezing as it was draughty right next to the door.  It's a small restaurant and was quite busy so the only alternative we could see was the smaller table next to the bar and them men's restroom.  We decided just to stay put.  I knew once the food came I would warm up a bit so just used my scarf as a shawl in the meantime.

The next disappointment was when we tried to order, there were no OB beers which was a shame as a few reviews mentioned how nice they were, we'll just have to try them once we get there!  There was another Korean beer on offer so we each had a Hite which we both enjoyed.  Then I tried to order some sushi as a starter as although it's not Korean I just LOVE sushi and it was well priced compared to my usual Yo! Sushi favourites!  No sushi available.  We then heard another table ask for some as well, they really could just say when they bring the menu.

Anyway, from there on it was all good.  We ordered the dak go chi (chicken skewers with chilli, garlic and spring onion) and gun man do (home-made fried dumplings filled with minced pork, tofu, spring onion and rice noodle), £5 each.  For our mains we had Sizzling oh sam bulgoki (famous Korean spicy pork with squid served with rice) and ccan pung sae woo (deep fried shelled tiger king prawn with sea salt and chilli).  We chose this one as I personally hate when prawn dishes come in a sauce with shells still on (I always burn my fingers and hate getting sticky and messy when I just want to eat and can't wash my hands easily, it's not so bad at home.) but apparently shelled means shells still on, ah well, at least they were headless and my lovely hubby shelled a few for me!  :)   We also got a side order of boiled rice and Kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage - it's apparently super healthy) since we'd heard this was a popular national dish.

After ordering we were served a few pickled dishes while we waited for our food.  They were all delicious!  There was a spicy pickled radish, bean sprouts which tasted of sesame oil, potato in some kind of curry-ish sauce but a very different flavour to anything I've tried before and aubergine which was my favourite.

We soon warmed up with all the spicy food!  Our starters were also delicious, the sauce with the dumplings was soy based with chilli and some other flavour right at the start that I recognised but couldn't quite put my finger on but we loved it!  The dumplings were nice and crispy with a flavoursome filling.

The skewers were amazing!  I didn't eat the pieces of chilli but Nik said they weren't too hot.  Again the flavours were different to anything I've tried before but were a little similar to teryaki with a slightly sweet but overall savoury flavour.

The mains were served very quickly.  In fact they came to ask if they could take our starter plates away while we were still tasting the soy sauce trying to think what the flavour could be, so they could put down our next plates!

The pork was my favourite, I found the prawns a bit dry and over-cooked although the flavours in both dishes were nice.  The Kimchi was a surprise as I expected it to be hot but it was another cold pickled dish which I'm still not sure about but I think will grow on me, especially since it is served with everything in Korea!

Pork & Squid

Salt & Chilli Prawns


Mini squid
We really enjoyed our meal and now can't wait to try real Korean food!

When we left, right next door there was a sushi place, Cailin's Sushi, so we picked up some pick 'n' mix sushi for lunch the next day since I didn't get to have any in the restaurant :)  (Sadly it wasn't as exciting as I hoped as it was more like the sushi you get in supermarkets when the rice is kind of hard and dry.)

We then wandered down to The Finnieston for a cocktail before heading home.  I had a Duoro Flip which included a whole egg but I didn't let that put me off and it was a very nice dessert cocktail, made of port, cherry liqueur, egg, cream and Grenadine.  Nik had a Rob Buck Roy which is a long version of a whisky sour.

The egg going in!

We had a lovely evening!

Shilla on Urbanspoon

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