Let's talk about food

I for one love food far too much to be smaller than a size 10, or weigh any less than 9 stone. I would love to be a bit slimmer and a bit more toned, but the sad reality is that going out for dinner and trying wonderful new foods (as well as gorging over old faithfuls) is pretty much my favourite thing to do. Yes, I should be able to do this and do it sensibly. But I am too lazy for hardcore exercise. Sticky toffee pudding tastes better than skinny will EVER feel. True story. For goodness sake, I have biscuits tattooed on my arm! I would be a sad excuse for a motivational speaker. I think I have a problem, if I'm being totally honest, especially when it comes to sweet things. I had been on my best behavior until 1am the other night, I was feeling a bit down (pathetic really, can't even blame it on my time of the month) and so I tucked into some Peeps that Jess sent me from america. Well, that chocolate covered squidgy bird shaped blob of marshmallow wonderfulness made me feel 500% better. Yes, you just read that, 500%! Now why would I give up on something that made me feel so happy inside? See. Madness.

Going back to my love of food, when I was invited to the Blythswood Square Hotel for an afternoon cocktail and a spot of lunch from their Market Menu, I would hardly say no! Being the numpty that I am, the online listing for the Market Menu has changed since I went. So I won't be able to provide you with the fancy names of each course. I will just be able to tell you how yummy they were. Drooling again at the thought, brb while I grab a packet of wotsits!

I have visited the Blythswood before for the Scottish Ballet Alice in Wonderland blogger event, filmed a short film in one of their luxury honeymoon suites, indulged in the thermal experience at their beautiful spa, a file and polish, a turus body wrap and scrub, and afternoon tea (all on separate occassions) I am already a big fan of the hotel and their beautiful interior, and top class service. I'd love to pretend I'm someone who frequented lovely places like this every so often, but I've just had a few strokes of good luck! When it comes to food, I have met my match with John. We enjoy a good scran together, and I have only ever tried their afternoon tea, so we were both excited to turn this day into a date and enjoy lunch together.

Priorities, aye?

We took longer choosing the cocktails than we did our actual meal! The cocktail and drinks list comes in this wonderful leather bound book. So much detail, with lots of annotations and illustrations. You'd think picking a cocktail in TGI's was bad enough. My favourite cocktail of all time is an Amaretto Sours, and although they didn't have this on the menu they were more than happy to make one up for me. And. it. was. amazing.

John opted for the Blythswood Negroni, which consisted of Gin, Carpano Antica and Campari. That's a lot of alcohol. And to be honest, it tasted like alcohol. I didn't like it (I was too obsessed over my own anyways) But John drank it slowly and seemed to really enjoy it. I think he felt like a 60's business man from Mad Men. How fantastic is the presentation though? That is a hand cut ice cube right there!

Now onto the dinner. We both got the above for starter, and I am the biggest loser for not taking a note of the names but I thought I'd be able to find them online :( It was essentially a salmon and potato croquette, with candied beetroot and a pea puree. Individually, the only thing out of this combination which would normally appeal to me would be the actual croquette. But together, it was the perfect balance of smooth, crunchy, creamy and sweet. Could have maybe done with one more croquette but that's just me being greedy.

My main course, can't go wrong with fish, potato and greens. The fish was succulent and perfectly cooked. I'd normally say at home the fish/meat would take up 80% of my plate, with greens etc being the rest but I was surprised at how satisfying equal parts fish and potato/veg were. We also had some lovely sun blushed tomato bread on the side (to which I took a sneaky dip into my gravy while no one was looking. I am a pig, I know)

Johns main, lamb medallions with greens and gravy. These were SO GOOD (for review purposes I told him I just had to have a little nibble at his...) I am not normally a fan of lamb, but it was delicious and the gravy was quite sweet, but the sweet potato mash again gave it a lovely creamy balance.

Side order of fries - standard protocol! These were hand cut 'twice fried' chips. I couldn't tell much about how/how long they'd been fried for to be honest, they just tasted like really good, old school home made chips. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

John's desert. Gingerbread icecream, panacotta and a biscotti. I'm not really a fan of either so didn't taste it but the presentation was lovely. And he ate it all so I think it went down well! John says he wasn't really a sweet tooth until he met me. But that is lies! Denial ;)

My desert (always my fave bit obvz) But I must say I was a little disappointed with my chocolate orange sponge. I expected something with a little more pazazz, along the line of John's. It was a bit too on the moist side, and not roasting hot. Don't get me wrong though, it was yummy! The cocktail, service, starter, and main were all perfect so being the sweet freak that I am I think I just built myself up too much for the grand finale. You can view the Blythswood's current market menu selection here, and to be honest, I was really digging for any sort of negatives in this meal because it was absolutely lovely. You can't go wrong with £20 for 3 courses like this, and the really refreshing point was that the portions were of a size that you could thoroughly enjoy them without feeling absolutely stuffed. Again I will reference TGI Fridays, but can you imagine eating 3 courses there? Um, no!

The setting was lovely, service was fab (as it always has been here) and I was really impressed by the fact that they make this menu up using ingredients from local Glasgow markets. Hence the name! I would be interested to see how often they change this menu however. I understand that set menu's always have a slightly limited but still fairly spread choice, but if I went back for lunch I would like to see something different again from the options we were presented with that day. According to the website though, it has changed already, so hopefully I'm right about that one and they do some sort of rotation depending on what is seasonal etc at the markets. Places like this really remind me why I love going out for meals. And also, why I love Glasgow and what it has to offer. Have you ever eaten, stayed, or been pampered at the Blythswood? And if so, what did you think?

So the story with me seems to be, eat what I want, don't exercise, but still complain that I'll always be the same weight. Our lunch at the Blythswood really proved that you don't need to eat LOTS to have a satisfied tummy. If only I had my own personal chef of michelin standards... (although John makes pretty mean scrambled eggs) I also really need to try and stick at the 30 day shred :( But my working hours can be so scattered and unsocial I either a. want to pass out by the time I get home from a 16 hour day of filming, or b. don't want to bounce around my bedroom at 1am like an elephant in a teashop, much to my flatmates delights. I feel like I won't do anything about my weight until I go over my *danger* zone. But that's such a rubbish attitude to have. I know. I'm sorry!

Where do you find your motivation from when it comes to eating and living healthy? (but still well) Share your secrets with me you wonderful creatures! While life keeps me super busy I'll keep on giving myself excuses not to get my bum into gear, but it has provided me with lots of good times, smiles and photos to share with you all soon (since I am possibly the worst blogger ever) of what I have been upto. And when I say soon, I promise!

Ayden x

Academy of Makeup

Thank you for all the kind words on the last post, especially about my wee cutie of a brother. I'm actually going over to my Dad and Julie's for dinner tonight, but I've promised myself one more cup of tea and a quick blog post before I get ready. 

My day has been a bit stoppy-starty, and if you follow me on twitter you'll maybe already know that my car got towed away to a 'safe' parking place by the police yesterday. From outside my front door! I know the police are trying to make the area as safe as possible while the football is on, but I didn't know that shifting a whole streets worth of cars (all residentially parked) was actually the norm? Genuinely thought my car had been stolen. Sorry, EVERYONE'S car had been stolen. But it was only parked a mile away. Yeah, only. Luckily I'm not heavily pregnant, or disabled, and had a boyfriend who was able to run me to get it. That was of course once they could actually tell me WHERE they had moved it to. It wasn't there when I went out at 11am, and they couldn't tell me where it was until 9.30pm. I know there are more important things going on in the world, and I should be counting my chickens that I am even able to run the costs of a car on my own in this climate. But the logistics of strathclyde police baffle me with this. An absolute waste of their time and money if you ask me, towing over 40 cars of people who will be parked there 99% of the time on match days. Is there not an easier alternative to this? RANT OVER! Sorry. 

So this morning I went on the hunt for my wee yasmin, spent the early afternoon in a&e with my injured flatmate :( who is on the mend now. And have not been able to peel myself away from the facebook page of a tattoo shop back home, who are churning out tattoos that I can only describe as immoral. Man, this is a pretty bitchy post so far eh? Haha I can't help it - it is honestly shocking! I'm not a stuck up tattoo know it all, but some things in life just want to make me die a little bit inside (my friend Emma posted the first one I saw here) I don't want to slag the shop off either, as I know that's not very nice but BY LORD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

Woop, lets get happy again my lovely readers :) I wanted to show you some pictures from the Academy Of Makeup event I went to in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago. The owner, Sara Hill, is an absolute inspiration. She's just one of these lovely, lovely ladies, who is so knowledgable and infused with passion over her craft. It is really refreshing. She reminds me a lot of my mum, as she is a very focused, experienced, fun and independant business woman. Woman who make you feel excited and creative after you have a conversation with them. So it was no surprise that when my mum started working with her and introduced us I knew we would get on.

My mum (hey Karen!) is a hairdresser, and she has been involved in teaching throughout her career and I see so many similar traits in her and in Sara. I know very little about hair and makeup (just enough to get me out of bed in the morning without looking like old greg too much) but both make me feel inspired and excited about expressing myself, and not being frightened to experiment when it comes to different looks, and most importantly imbracing your beauty and feeling comfortable in your own skin. I know that sounds so cheesy but all the tutors at the academy know their craft so well, but also know how to communicate skills and understanding across to their students (and nosy beggars like myself)

I now read their blog as much as I do any other beauty blogs, you can find it here. My mum teaches hair at the academy, and they have also just launched the academy of session styling. Martine (on the right in the first picture, thats my mammy on the left) is a freelance session hair stylist for the academy and did a really interesting demo based on some fashion week catwalk trends. I know NOTHING about fashion and/or fashion week, but along with the makeup look that Sara did on the model it was actually a really gorgeous and achievable look. Tapping into the 'effortless but sexy' vibe that we all often wake up with in the morning - slightly smudged black eyeliner and wavy bed hair. LOVE IT!

There were also some great brands on show at the event, including BM Beauty (founded by Laura McComiskie - above, and her business parter Kimberly Wyatt from the Pussycat Dolls) WOW Brown tan (made in Dublin, with gorgeous golden undertones that sit so much more naturally on our pale, British skin, as most tans are formulated for those with an olive and european base) and We Are Faux lashes (which are the most beautiful, hand sewn eyelashes I've ever seen. Actually too frightened to wear mines, they are teeny works of art!) We were absolutely spoiled with nibbles, great chat, and awesome goody bags containing an impressive haul. The Academy Of Makeup goes to show that we have a LOT of talent here in Scotland. Just because we have a smaller population than London doesn't mean that we can't be as influential with our skills on the catwalk, the screen and the stage (I say we, I mean the amazing woman I got to meet that day!) With not many blog events happening north of the border, they did a bloody good job of this and I left full of percy pigs and super inspired. I salute you! :)

Sorry I just had to add this one in for the caption possibilities! Ruth, your face in this one absolutely destroys me...

Aw hai guyz, team photo! Almost like a school picture :) I hope you all had a lovely wee time there too. Talking about school photos...

4th and 5th year at high school. Where's wally? :) Came across these in my grans the other day and have locked them away in my room. What can I say, I really wanted to be Avril Lavigne, okay? Don't judge me!

Bit of a hyperactive update, but I'm going to get ready now to drive over to my Dads and have some quality family time. Best way to clear the monday blues ♥ Here's to a happy week to the rest of you. And if you got through all my rants at the start to this then well done to you :)

Ayden x

ps. Blog sale!

All my friends are living saints

My little brother Max, tucking into some ice cream (lucky boy! his wee gums are killing him at the moment) He is an absolute sweetheart. I can't wait to be a big sister again in May :)

Haha and now my big boy, tucking into some ribs! We went for a Tony Roma's before going to see the Muppets at Xscape. The 'bone bag' freaked me out a bit but those ribs were bloody good.

Bumped into this absolute babe in the Cathouse! We were both rather merry but it was lovely to finally meet in person :) Move back to Scotland now plz so we can be buds?!

Out with my good friends Ando and Iain for Iain's birthday. Iain works in a bar in Glasgow that I'm going to be redesigning/refurbing a few bits of the interior for. First time that I've done anything like this but I'm really excited.

Same night I met Kate at the Cathouse, we were all out because one of my best gals Erin was home from down south for the weekend. I miss her dearly :( The title of this post is actually the words she got tattooed on her while she was visiting, as a wee birthday/christmas present from me. I've had a lot of good times with my friends lately, as well as a lot of busy times with work. Still trying to master the balance between the two! Now here's the latter...

Spending a lot of time at the BBC Propworks, sourcing props, drinking tea and writing lists with my designer from the Irn Bru adverts. They went really well, and will be a total hoot so be sure to look out for them on the telly over the next month or so. Looks like that dude in the picture above had been waiting there a wee bit too long. LOLZ!

Putting my painting skills to different use this time, I've been doing some scenic artwork for a company that provides antenna shrouds for buildings. These are called 'the undetectables' as they are meant to cleverly blend into the rest of the building, whilst holding the antennas inside. Above are the first set I've done for the company, and they actually got put up on a building just around the corner from my house. Could they have fooled you?

I had a fantastic time art directing the Cbbc and Cbeebies 10th birthday bash in Glasgow! It was good to catch up with my friend James, who played Raven, and also telling him that John and I were now a couple. It was a theatre job we all worked on together last year that I first met John :) and after a pretty shitty year I think James was pleased to hear how things had turned out for us. I couldn't take him seriously in his Raven costume though!

I remade the Pres desk setup for Hacker and Dodge's Q&A session up here in Scotland. They gave me the seal of approval, and posed for a picture even though they told me I'll now have fleas :( Great.

All work and play aside, I've been spending what free time I have trying to get organised, have massive clear outs and I've now got a HUGE pile of stuff for ebay and a car boot sale that really needs shifting. My mum came across all my old Motocross gear in her cupboard, and it was a real blast from the past laying out my body armour, tops, gloves etc. I'd love to get back into an extreme sport like this, but to be honest I think I was more fearless when I was 16 in compharison to what I am now. I missed getting up north this season with my snowboard, but hope to get surfing this summer and I guess I can just dream about having a dirtbike again (and all of the above will be getting used as a halloween costume!)

How do you find your balance of work, play, and hobbies? And is there a past time you used to regularly enjoy but now just don't get the chance to? I have a list as long as my arm for all the things I'd do with an extra day in the week.

Ayden x

I'm made of wax, Larry, what are you made of?

Hello! Jeez - I feel like every time I come on here I'm apologising for it being so long since the last time I updated :( I wish I could blog more often, but my little life is super busy at the moment. I am loving every minute of it though. I've got steady work coming in, good people around me, and lots of hard work to be done but lots to look forward to also.  So as long as you don't mind me popping my head in to say hello whenever I can, I hope you will all keep reading :)

Currently sitting in bed with a cuppa and some toast and nutella. Its 11pm on sunday night, and the last couple of weeks I have been working away on some scenic projects and 3 new irn bru adverts to be aired at the end of march (I think) It was brilliant fun - first proper ad work that I've done and it was very fast paced with 16 hour days and 6am starts, but I was totally buzzing throughout it! Could tell I'd reached my peak when I fell asleep after my friend Olivias 21st at her house on friday night, as everyone partied away in the living room. But I've had the weekend to recharge my batteries and I'm ready for my next job starting this week. I'm designing the CBBC 10th birthday bash celebrations at BBC pacific quay, so that will be fun. I've got a belated valentines date to enjoy with John tomorrow, lunch at the Blythswood with a movie at the GFT or Grosvenor afterwards hopefully. I've got my dress all ironed and laid out, I'm very excited, what a loosa! After sleeping off our hangovers from Olivia's birthday party, I came home last night and spent the evening and the whole of today completely gutting the house. Tidied and cleaned every room, did FOUR washings, and rearranged a lot of my bedroom with all the new bits and pieces I've bought for it over the last couple of weeks (curtains, rug, frames, fairy lights...) Not exactly a wild weekend, but it was so satisfying. Would you like to see a picture of my room in the next post maybe? I've also spent quite a bit of money on new stuff for the kitchen and bathroom. Completely drooling in Next Home, Ikea and Tesco (of all places! their home stuff is so cute) has skint me but a lot of the stuff I previously had from the flat was inherited or bought with my ex boyfriend. So it's kinda nice to start a fresh and have things that I've bought all by myself, y'know?

I have so many pictures to share as bloody usual, so I'll give the first few in this post and save the rest for the next one! Also, thanks for all your questions for my Q&A post I plan to do soon :) Feel free to leave a comment/question on it if you haven't already had a chance to. Knowing my luck it will take a couple of weeks before I get around to actually posting it! Anywayssss, here's some bits and bobs of what I've been upto:

I held afternoon tea for my ladies along with a Jemma Kidd Makeup Masterclass, which I won via Jen's blog :) THANKS JEN! We had a great time, our tutor was so nice and it was brilliant fun being able to do something like this from the comfort of your own living room (and what better excuse to get the tea and cakes out?)

My face chart - my GOODNESS I've made it look like a clown, haha but this is what it looked like on my actual face...

Our class was about perfecting a natural makeup look. It helped me to think of different ways of approaching my makeup. I tend to be a fan of the 'slap it all over and hope for the best' technique, with foundation first and eyes etc afterwards. But we actually learned to do our eyes first, followed by selective facial coverage afterwards (something that out of habit I have never, ever done before, cue fear!) And I was worried at first about how it would look and if my face would appear patchy. But it actually turned out pretty well! and mascara splodges or eyeshadow fallout were so much easier to fix, because they'd fallen onto bare face rather than a thick layer of foundation (a situation I ashamedly often find myself in)

All the ladies at the end of the class :)

Me, Dominique and Leah - What d'ya think? :) We were all really impressed with the Jemma Kidd makeup too. At first I thought the products were quite expensive but to be honest they are no more expensive than the fail safe options I always end up going for at Mac, Benefit etc. Her brushes were very easy to use, and I particularly liked the foundation and the creme blusher, normally I'd always stick to powder but it had such a soft and smooth finish, I'm definitely a fan! I think a class like this would be perfect for a hen night (with their night time look class) for example. Because we all had a giggle but genuinely feel like we learned a lot.

From makeup to other girly things... here's some new things I bought for the kitchen. From the home section at Tesco, I am in love!

New toaster and kettle, hiya! The lid fell off the top of my kettle, so I went to buy a new one and went all weak at the knees when I saw there was a toaster to match. Such a sucker. Also got new stuff for the bathroom but they are a bit boring (ha, MORE boring than the above!) so I'll leave them out for now.

My flowers from John :) They match the lillies on my side perfectly, such a beautiful colour when they were all in bloom. Dead now :( I LOVE FLOWERS. But hate that they don't last forevz.

I don't even know why I take photos of my glossybox anymore, as there are always so many floating about but I actually wanted to discuss with you all if and what boxes you subscribe to? I was ready for cancelling my glossybox this month, but I'm glad I forgot to as news of the Harrods themed box has reeled me right in again (see, I told you I was a sucker) I totally can't justify the £12.95 a month anymore when I'm not using most of the products I receive, but I just knoooow as soon as I cancel there will be a box with something amazing in it and I will have major regrets! Woe is life eh. I think I actually just like getting things in the post that's not bills or dominoes menus.

John was doing the sound at the Scottish Wedding Fayre at the SECC, and whilst being surrounded by bridezilla's and beauty counter girls he was still thinking of me and managed to snag me a really awesome goody bag, which one of the ladies passed around some of the stalls for them all to put a little something in for me. What a boy! I got a wonderful wee selection, including YSL blusher and bracelet, Philip Kingsley Hair Selection, Destination Skin facial cloth, Medik8 Cleanser and a prescription facial worth £75 at Frasers. Mega brownie points to him :)

John's sister Eilidh (HEY if you're reading this lovely!) also got me a brilliant present back from her holiday to Shetland. This recipe book does just what it says on the front - and has the cutest selection of mini nibbles. Even little ice lollies, so sweet! Think this will be perfect for the summer. Can't wait to buy deckchairs for the back garden, sitting out sunbathing with a cider, bbq and lots of little goodies like above. Thanks Eilidh ♥

I was digging through my bookshelf as I put my new book on it, and came across this Cath Kidston book my friend Dominique got me for a birthday (or maybe christmas?) a wee while ago. I've been desperate to use it but never had the time. Hoping when I'm next off I can take a wee run to Mandors and Hobbycraft to buy some supplies and get making. Really enjoyed cross stitching last year, and I'd love to make the time to do all that kind of crafty stuff again for my own personal self rather than for at work.

I guess that's all from me for now. I've added a buttons/banner page at the top which have pictures that Cameron from Cameron+Whitney made me :) So feel free to steal any of them if you fancy my wee chubby face enough. Hope you're all swell, lots of love as always....

Ayden x