Monday, 25 August 2014


Well I am feeling pretty satisfied after having the most lovely weekend in Budapest with Jack. It was such a beautiful, atmospheric city that we felt so connected to. As a couples retreat for us it was perfect, we had lots of precious time together to relax and explore. Although I do definitely hope to take Nina in the future because there was so much on offer for kids to see and do, it's clear to see how safe and child friendly the majority of places are in Budapest.
Literally every street on the Pest side of the Danube is filled with stunning architecture, be it old or new. I think this is what gives Budapest such a cool and diverse appeal.

We stayed in the Zara Continental Hotel which was absolutely lovely and perfect for the relaxed weekend we had in mind. The hotel was modern without losing the old grandeur and history of it's path. It's relatively hidden along the Dohany Utca behind one of the most beautiful revolving doors I have ever seen. We put the hotels indoor and outdoor pool on the roof to good use and relished having a moment to relax above the city.
We enjoyed breakfast outside every morning on the terrace as we settled ourselves into each new day of adventures.
A short walk from our hotel was the Szimpla ruin bar which was everything we had hoped for and more. We found ourselves in a tourists haven, enjoying the quirky furniture and mish mash of eccentric furnishings here, there and everywhere. I've definitely never seen anything like it before and I was pleasantly surprised by the good wholesome atmosphere. However, a word of warning ladies - do not wear a maxi dress. I hate to think what mind trailed through over the course of that night, but I won't go into detail. Anyway, all and all a must see spot in Budapest.
My favourite meal was at the exceptional Zeller bistro. Above is a little pic of me enjoying some fine wine in one of my favourite dinner spots - ever! After seeing the Zeller Bistro as #1 on Tripadvisor I wanted to see what everyone was so excited about and I was by no means disappointed. Firstly, the staff went above and beyond to be helpful and courteous. It has such a lovely, informal and relaxed atmosphere which is exactly what Jack and I were seeking after a busy day sightseeing. The setting is
simple and homely in a snug little basement and the food was phenomenal. My main, pictured above, of roasted Hungarian lamb with smoked cheese polenta was absolutely sublime. It was filling, flavoursome and the lamb was cooked to perfection.
What struck me most about Zeller was the attention to detail, a complimentry elderflower drink on arrival and a little cupcake along with your bill (very reasonably priced, might I add!). It was a perfect evening and I would reccommend to anyone visiting Budapest.
More pics to come soon, thanks for stopping by!



Thursday, 14 August 2014

Girls Night!

Last weekend I was so fortunate to catch up with a group of my girlfriends that i've known since secondary school. We spent our night wandering around the Edinburgh festival which has such a fantastic atmosphere, especially when it's not raining...

It's such a treat to catch up with them and see how they are getting on and whats new in their lives. As i'm the only one with a child it's always so funny to see how the other half still live. All the girls are going through such exciting transitions, moving abroad, beginning new careers and generally just finding their feet. Although we only meet up every so often it never ceases to amaze me how well we get on. It's also very reassuring to know that none of us has forgotten how to have fun...


Anyway, here's to the girls & the future! Thanks for reminding me I'm still young, I can't wait to see you all soon. Wherever our friendships take us, you'll always be in my heart. I love each and every one of you for the lovely, genuine friends that you are!


Monday, 11 August 2014

Seafood Risotto

Whilst we were away I made this king prawn and crayfish tail risotto and it went down a treat! Despite losing a bowl of parmesan to the carpet and kitchen floor as the food was being served it was a hassle free dish and I guarantee instant gratification.


a generous knob of butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2/3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or use a grater for both ^^)
a handful of flat leaf parsley, save some for decoration too!
400g risotto rice
1 lemon
1.5 litres of fish stock
3tbsp brandy
250g king prawns
200g crayfish tails
salt and pepper
250ml cream
Freshly grated parmesan to serve

Don't be scared to shy away from other seafood, these were the ingredients I had in the fridge by chance but get creative and use what you have got. I also threw in a few cherry tomatoes and a tsp of chilli flakes. A little courgette wouldn't go a miss either!

Begin by melting the butter in a large pan big enough so that everything will fit in eventually. Add your onion and fry it off for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic, parsley and risotto rice.

Continuously stir your risotto whilst adding ladelful's of stock. Let the rice bubble away happily stirring all the while. Grate half the zest of your lemon and add it into the rice. When the liquid level is low in the pan add more stock and keep stirring. It is a labour of love but oh so worth it. At this point I added my handful of cherry tomatoes, brandy and king prawns because they were frozen.
Hold off a little while if they are fresh. Continue to add the fish stock and after about 20 minutes of this the rice should be softening up nicely. Add the crayfish tails (and prawns) and the juice of half the lemon. Finish off your stock if you have any left, add the cream and season well.

After another 5-10 minutes everything should be piping hot and deliciously creamy. Serve up with a sprinkling of parmesan, a little wedge of lemon and a scattering of parsley. Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine - sublime!



The Solway Coast

My wonderful gran has a caravan in Dumfries and Galloway by the Solway coast. It is in a lovely spot just a short car journey away from lovely beaches, forests and exciting places to explore. I think it's a place that is often forgotten about but it's definitely worth a visit. I've always spent a week or two away at the caravan during the summer ever since I can remember and now that I have little Nina it means we can snap up any opportunity to get down there even just for a few nights. There are so many place for kids too, the cocoa bean chocolate factory, Kirkcudbright wildlife centre and Barend riding centre being three brilliant places we visited during our last trip to the van.

GG (great gran) and Nina enjoying the Doon beach near Kirkcudbright.

Nina and I enjoying our evening walks around the campsite.
The Forest of Ae, a lovely walk along the river Ae. A popular spot for cyclists. Can't ever keep this little one out of the water for long!
Nina's first ever pony trey on the gorgeous Paddy. She was so relaxed and comfortable up there, I can say without a doubt that I was a million times more nervous than she was!
Our trip to the "choccy factory" it was a great day out and perfect when the weather was a little iffy. Nina had a great time in the workshop and we had a great time watching her sweet little face.
Snakes and snails! Nina is fearless when it comes to animals. This little snail (Snuggles) is still in our care and we are learning lots about him!
One of my favourite things about my grans caravan is all of her fabulous vintage crockery, I can't get enough! It's also great fun to cook with local produce and create simple, delicious dishes for all the family. I hope to share my seafood risotto recipe that I made at the caravan with you all soon...

Thursday, 7 August 2014


Since we've been away exploring the Isle of Islay and the Solway Coast for the past two and a half weeks my blog has been well and truly neglected. However I hope to be back on my feet soon with pics from our travel and some recipes too.
Our first week in Islay was absolutely magical, the weather was exceptionally warm (for us Scottish folk anyway!) and we spent our days exploring loch's and finding our own little beaches. We swam in the sea nearly every day and Nina was always the last to get out the water. A lot of the beaches on Islay are graced with the waves of the Atlantic ocean which made for an exciting paddle.

We had barbeques in our cottage and enjoyed the local seafood and whisky! I've never really enjoyed whisky but the Bowmore distillery opened my eyes to how sophisticated and delicious whisky can be. The distilleries are not lost on the kids either because the staff are so friendly and there were plenty of nibbles to go round. So Islay for us was a winner and I hope to go back one day. Here is a very small selection of photos taken there: