Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Very Exciting Wednesday

Instead of heading to my history and theatre lectures on Wednesday, I headed to London. Out of everywhere I've been in the world, London remains my favourite place but this trip wasn't just a little holiday...


A while back, I applied for a BBC insight event which would allow the successful applicants a chance to take a look inside the BBC and pick the brains of some industry professionals. Anything you apply for within the media industry, be it jobs, work experience or skills days, tends to be very competitive so I was over the moon when I was picked for this, especially because it was with The BBC!

Given I have mandatory tutorials on a Thursday, I thought the logistics of this trip might have been a bit difficult but I managed to sort it so that I could fly down early Wednesday morning and get the train back up that same night. 


I'm not much of a morning person, but when my alarm went off at 5.15am on Wednesday I positively sprang out of bed. This trip was going to be my first proper adventure; I had arranged it all by myself and I was so excited!

My dad dropped me off at the airport where I successfully navigated security and found the right plane. I love flying but I was a tiny bit apprehensive about negotiating the airports by myself luckily though, everything went to plan.

                 


The flight was just over an hour but the real adventure started when I got off the plane as I had never been to Stansted airport before. I had to get the train to central London and from there make my way to The Broadcasting House which is the main BBC building. 


The insight event was an afternoon thing but I decided to book onto a building tour like the one I went on in Glasgow as I had enjoyed it so much. The tour was amazing and so different from the Pacific Quay one, but that's for a whole other blog post!

After the tour I had an hour before the insight event so I headed to Oxford Street for a look at the shops and the Christmas lights. I'd heard a lot about the decorations in London, especially the ones at Selfridges and I was not disappointed, they were incredible! Seen as it was still light, I didn't get to see the lights in all their glory. However, me and a friend are being treated to a trip to London for her 18th just a few days before Christmas so I'm very excited to see them all then!

This is only one section of Selfridges' decorations!
The actual event was fab and we all found ourselves hanging back way after it was supposed to finish to hear more exciting stories and helpful advice.

I didn't have very long between the end of the event and my train home but I spent the time I did have wandering around some of my favourite sights and taking in London's brilliant atmosphere.




The day was long and tiring but so much fun and so rewarding all the same! I was sad to leave the excitement and Christmas buzz of London but I was also very thankful for a chance to sit down on the train home with a brownie hot chocolate (hats off to Costa for this one!) 



It was 12.30 before I finally made it home and my parents were all too happy to tell me how surprised they were that everything had worked out - rude! 

I love days like these, when you're on the go none stop and fall into bed feeling like you've really made the most of the day - something I was aiming to do more often this November!

Do you have an adventure to share?

Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

Lots of Love,

Heather x











Friday, 28 November 2014

My Favourite Programmes

I really love watching TV. Settling down in front of the TV with a mug of hot chocolate is one of my favourite ways to relax and is probably something I do a bit too often! 

I've been thinking about adding a little Sunday feature to my blog where I post some television highlights from the week as I know I would really enjoy doing this. In lieu of this potential addition, I thought I'd share some of my favourite programmes with you!

This list took me an awfully long time to cut down as there were A LOT of candidates but the final five are as follows:

                   

1. The One Show

For those of you who don't know, The One Show is a British magazine style programme which incorporates a unique mix of factual, serious and entertaining content. The One Show is on every weekday evening at 7pm and there is a different guest each episode. I love how easy The One Show is to watch while still being informative and interesting. It's especially good if, like me, you like keeping up with current affairs.

                

4. Dance Moms

At the complete other end of the television spectrum from The One Show is Dance Moms which takes fourth place. Dance Moms is my absolute guilty pleasure, I really shouldn't enjoy catty moms fighting with their daughters' dance teacher and sneaking around, stabbing each other in the back, but I really do! If you've never seen it, you probably won't believe me when I say that episodes are genuinely gripping but, how can you not want to see which child makes it to the top of Abby Lee's competition pyramid?!?


3. Friends

Now who doesn't love Friends? It is always on and the half hour episodes make for very convenient revision breaks! I'm pretty sure I've seen each of the 236 episodes about 12 times but they're so light and entertaining that I'm happy to watch them all over again!

                 

2. Coronation Street

I feel like a bit of an old lady awarding Coronation Street second place but I love it. It is a Brittish soap which follows the lives' of residents of Coronation Street - seemingly a very exciting place to live! I've watched this with the rest of my family for as long as I can remember, like Friends, it is quite a comforting programmes as you get pretty familiar with the characters. However, unlike Friends, Coronation Street is still running (and has been for over 54 years!!) so each episode is new and exciting.


1. The Great British Bake Off

Who'd of thought that a baking competition could be so good? Everyone I know loves The Bake Off. It is quintessentially British and it's not uncommon for me and my friends to arrange evenings specifically to watch the episodes. Britain gets pretty invested in it's bakers!!

Do you have favourite TV programmes? Do you have any opinions on my favourites?

Lots of Love,

Heather x


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Day at the Spa

As exciting and amazing as Christmas is, life tends to get a bit hectic around this time of year so it's nice to find time to relax. This weekend, myself and my mum were treated to a fabulous spa day package at McDonald Houston House Spa in Livingston. 
With my first set of university exams looming, an opportunity to spend the day lounging around the pool and being pampered was just what I needed.

               

 Upon arrival, we were presented with fluffy robes and towels and our plan for the day. We were given coffees in the homely dining area and then were shown around the spa before being left to our own devices!

Our first treatments were at 11am so we spent half an hour by the pool before heading up to the Relaxation Room.


I think the Relaxation Room was my favourite room in the spa. This was a candle lit room with a handful of loungers and a selection of magazines where you could wait before your treatment. Each lounger had a cushion and blanket for optimum comfort which was very nice indeed. There was a water feature in the corner and relaxing music which took inspiration from 'sounds of nature' including cow's moos - I kid you not! 


The treatment rooms were very beautiful, I cannot even begin to describe how comfortable those beds and fluffy duvets were! Our first treatments were massages which were so relaxing that I nearly fell asleep! Afterward, we headed back to the Relaxation Room to chill for a bit before our 12pm lunch.
The carrot cake was my favourite part!
Lunch was a 'Healthy Lunch Box' which we both agreed was delicious. I opted for grilled chicken with lime couscous and carrot cake and my mum went for salmon and eton mess. Each box also contained veggie sticks, a garlic creme dip and a selection of fresh fruit. 

Eating lunch in our robes just added to the experience - I really wish robes were a generally acceptable clothing choice as spending the day in a robe was fab!

Following lunch, we headed back out to the pool to read our books and relax before our facials - I may or may not have nodded off for half an hour!

Both me and my mum thought the facials were amazing and couldn't believe how fresh and glowy our skin looked after. I have a terrible skincare routine but having it all done properly for me has motivated me to put in a bit more effort, we'll see how long that lasts...
The facials definitely have a lasting effect as even now, three days later, my skin feels much softer and looks much better than usual. The facials included a deep cleansing balm, exfoliation, a mask, toner and an arm massage! Who knew how much tension I had in my arms?!

Feeling super relaxed, we spent a bit longer in the Relaxation Room then headed down to the pool. The pool area had huge glass windows that looked out onto the rolling countryside which just added to the overall experience.This time we actually braved the water (despite having already been there for about five hours) and made full use of the steam rooms and sauna.

The staff were all incredibly nice and did everything possible to ensure our day was as relaxing as possible. 

The day was amazing but went far too fast so I guess we'll just have to go back and try some of the other treatments on offer!

Have you ever been to a spa?

Lots of Love,

Heather x













Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Best Burritos

Hidden at the end of potentially the cutest side street in Glasgow - Ashton Lane - is Tomboy, a quirky Mexican restaurant which is home to the best burritos I have ever eaten (and I've eaten a lot of burritos.)

                  

                                  

Not only is the food delicious but Tomboy is unique and full of character. I mean where else do you place your orders at a till housed in a truck?!


I have done nothing but rave about this little restaurant ever since I first discovered it. I have been dying for a chance to go back so last week, I decided to introduce one of my best friends, Freya, to the wonder that is Tomboy. Freya is one of the most lovely, supportive and positive people I know so an evening out with her is always fab and I'm happy to report that she liked the burritos as much as I did.

When you arrive at Tomboy, instead of waiters taking your order, you get to fill out a little form so your dish is exactly how you like it.  I think this is such a nice touch and definitely adds to the whole experience.
 With the burritos - my personal preference - you can choose from BBQ beef, chilli chicken, chilli beef or vegetable chilli and then add your choice of lettuce, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. The guacamole is especially tasty :)


My favourite combination is vegetable chilli with lettuce, rice, beans, guacamole and mild salsa...so good! 

 The burritos are delivered all wrapped up to keep the goodness in. However, unwrapping them and eating them tends to get a bit messy...

mmmmmmmm

The burritos are stuffed full making them a complete meal in their selves. The vegetable chilli and salsa are very saucy which is great for me and the guacamole is so creamy and delicious. You get the impression that the chefs take their burritos very seriously!

If you're one for spice, there is also a hot sauce challenge, the sauce is apparently so hot, you're required to sign a waiver before you try it! Another Tomboy quirk.

Freya didn't fancy appearing on the blog so here's me with my burrito instead!
I think the restaurant is supposed to have a bit of a scrap yard theme going on which is really cool. Gratified, corrugated iron is used on the back wall while old hose pipes and metal railings form the backs of the benches (don't worry, this is much comfier than it sounds!)




The staff are lovely, the place is cosy and the prices are pretty reasonable making Tomboy the perfect mid-week pick me up! 
If Mexican food is your thing, I would ten out of ten recommend!

Do you have a favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love,

Heather x





Friday, 21 November 2014

A Walk at Vane Farm

 My family and I have always loved going for walks at Vane Farm RSPB nature reserve in Kinross. The reserve is situated on the banks of Loch Leven which makes it a very picturesque spot come clouds or blue sky (today saw a mix of both!)


The loch and surrounding hills make for lovely afternoon walks and the reserve is set up with hides and viewing spots to give you a chance to watch the wildlife. I genuinely really enjoy bird watching (geek alert!) as you never know what is going to turn up and I think there's something really relaxing about the whole affair - trying to capture birds on camera on the other hand, is not relaxing in the slightest.
The viewpoints are so cute and creative (and much easier to photograph than the actual wildlife!)
A little Great Tit
A Robin even made an appearance - it really is nearly Christmas now!
A Great Tit and a Goldfinch - yes I do know the names of the birds, I did warn you!

A Heron chilling




I love the way the clouds reflected in the water

Spending so much time in the city and on trains for university makes me appreciate getting out in the fresh air for a walk so much more than I used to. I love the feeling of the icy air at the back of your throat and the way your cheeks flush when you get into the warm cafe after a proper route march.

A relaxing weekend is just what I need before the stress of exams really kicks in and this was the perfect way to start it off!

What are your weekend plans? 

Have a fab time however you spend it!

Lots of love,

Heather x

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mockingjay at Midnight


Ever since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire finished on such a dramatic cliffhanger, Mockingjay Part 1 has been a highly anticipated film. 
Having read the book - multiple times - I knew exactly what came after the cliffhanger however, this did nothing to suppress my excitement for the release of the third installment in the franchise.

Even more exciting than just the release was the fact that me and my friends would be attending the midnight showing!


Armed with a blanket and a big bag of popcorn, we set off around 11.30pm for Cineworld in Falkirk. Upon arrival, we were very happy to see that Starbuck's was still open and filled up on coffee to ensure there was no nodding off - though, this being a Hunger Games premiere, the chances of falling asleep were slim!

Everyone in the foyer was just as excited as the three of us which made for a great atmosphere. 


I took a fair few pictures however I was obviously a bit too tired as these three are the only vaguely usable ones!
I'm not going to lie, I was pretty sceptical when I heard the final book was going to be split into two films. As amazing as the  book is - the second time around, the first time, the ending left me a bit too numb to fully appreciate it - it starts off pretty slow, so I was a bit worried about the first installment being boring. I can assure you right now, this film was anything  but boring.

The film sees Katniss Everdeen progress to figurehead of the rebellion while President Snow tries to quell the unrest in the most inhumane ways possible. In terms of story line, not a lot happens however the clever use of camera angles and lighting makes everything seem so intense and exciting. I was honestly on the edge of my seat throughout and despite the film finishing at about 2.45am, I was left feeling wide awake!

For me, as an 18 year old girl, there was a distinct lack of Peeta Mellark - though Sam Claflin as Finnick did compensate a little! However, the scenes that did involve Peeta were almost too painful to watch due to the fantastic performance by Josh Hutcherson and Suzanne Collins's ruthless story line! 

This film is definitely very different to the previous two, there is no longer the glitz and glamour of The Capitol, this film is about war and rebellion and is very, very good!

Mockingjay: Part 1 was such a brilliant adaptation, I cannot recommend it enough and could definitely rant about it for a lot longer. It had me laughing (thank you Haymitch!), on the brink of tears and on the edge of my seat and as the credits began to role, the whole audience felt the need to sit in silence for a moment to process just what had happened. All I can say is roll on part 2!

Are you off to see Mockingjay this weekend? Or have you already seen it? What did you think?

Lots of Love,

Heather x



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

White Chocolate and Raspberry Parfait

For me, raspberries and white chocolate are the Jay-Z and Beyonce of the food world, an absolutely top combination. 
When I came across a recipe for this white chocolate and raspberry parfait I was dying for an occasion to try it out and this weekend presented just that. My mum and dad were hosting a dinner party and I was on pudding duty!

The recipe is super simple and the end result is deliciously creamy yet still fruity enough to stop it being heavy or sickly. However, it does require four hours in the freezer so involves some forward planning!

Raspberries are such a photogenic fruit!

Ingredients:

300g (10oz) raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g (3.5oz) white chocolate broken into pieces (I used Milkybar)
250ml (8fl oz) fresh custard
125ml (4fl oz) whipping cream

1. Lightly grease a small loaf tin and line with a double layer of clingfilm, leaving enough to cover the parfait overhanging the edges


mmm sugary raspberries
2. Put 200g (7oz) of the raspberries to a bowl and sprinkle over the icing sugar, carefully fold in to coat   

3. Put the chocolate into a small bowl (leaving a couple of pieces spare to grate on top) and melt over a pan of hot water. Stir in the custard then leave to cool

Good for the tastebuds, probably not for the heart!
4. Whip the cream in a seperate bowl and then fold in to cool chocolate custard mix


5. Spoon half the mixture into the lined tin and then cover with the sugary raspberries. 

                                 

6. Pour the rest of the chocolate mix over the raspberries. Smooth flat and cover with overhanging clingfilm. Freeze for around four hours until hardened with a little give (like ice cream as opposed to a rock!)

 Taaadahhh! Unfortunately my worktops are not very photo friendly
7. Decorate with raspberries and chocolate

My parfait went down an absolute treat with everyone giving it glowing reviews. Nevertheless, I did manage to salvage a slice for myself - of course I had to check it was okay! It was a sure hit and will be something I'll be whipping up again in the future.

What do you think? Fancy a slice of parfait?

Lots of Love,

Heather x