Wednesday, October 26

Orchid Aberdeen Winter Menu Preview

On Thursday I was invited along to Orchid in Aberdeen. The bar is on Langstane Place, only one street across from Union Street and beside Boozy Cow, so it is right in the middle of the city. It has been on my 'to visit' list for a while now so I was pretty excited to get down and try some of their cocktails on the new menu.

Their new menu concept is very cool and it was great to listen to Nick, the manager, talk about something he is so passionate about. For their new winter menu launching in a couple of weeks they have decided to create a cocktail for six iconic locations around the city. With each drink you get a badge which you then take to the area and the city and take a selfie. Once you've tried all six cocktails, uploaded six selfies to social media you get the chance for your name to appear in the next menu. 

My favourite thing is getting people out and about to explore different areas of Aberdeen - after all there is so much to offer here.

Honey Rider - Mango infused rum, grapefruit oleo saccharum and Dr Adam Elmegirab's Orinoco Bitters
This was my favourite of the new cocktails but it is strong! It is inspire by the first ever Bond girl, Honey Rider, as in the film she comes out of the Ocean singing "Underneath the Mango Tree". I think this is such a fun idea. I just can't remember which location this cocktail represents.

Religious Robbery - Porter's Gin, a spiced pineapple syrup, coconut juice and a dash of Dr Adam Elmegirab's Teapot Bitters.
Another great cocktail puts a special Aberdeen Gin to good use. It has all the pineapple and coconut goodness of a Pina Colada but made with Gin instead. This drink is on the menu to represent to Porter's Gin lockup which is only round the corner from the bar.

Beerlini - Grapefruit cordial, salted Campari and topped with lager
Finally we tried a Beerlini - a Bellini made with beer instead of prosecco. This summery drink is inspired by days spent at the park or more specifically Duthie Park - one of my favourite places in Aberdeen.

As part of the night we got to try gin, guided through the different styles, I'm afraid to say the main thing I learned was I don't like Gin. That doesn't mean it wasn't fascinating to learn about the first gin distiller in the city for over 100 years. If you like Gin then you'll love Porter's Gin and you can support a growing local business.

Pink Orchid - Vanilla Vodka, Raspberry Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, Sugar Syrup and Egg White
The final part of the evening was a mixology class. We were expertly talked through the different levels that make up a good cocktail. I jumped at the chance to get behind the bar and make a Pink Orchid - their signature cocktail and the only one that has been on the menu since opening. I wasn't bad at cocktail making either - maybe there is a future there for me. We created our own cocktail too which was bloody delicious but it didn't win the competition.

Another very cool thing Orchid are developing are a range of bottled cocktails. Made with ingredients that don't go off you'll be able to order them via deliveroo. How cool is that?

I was so impressed with Orchid so I'll definitely be dragging my friends back to visit when the new menu launches. 

You can find Orchid on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so do give them a follow.

Thank you to Denise for sending me these photos of me to use - it was lovely meeting you! 

Monday, October 24

My week in pictures #193

(From top left) Post gym session lunch on Tuesday. A new frame for my gallery wall - it's almost finished. Cocktail's at the winter menu preview at Orchid - more on the blog this week. A mini haul from our ikea trip on Friday. Spaghetti and meatballs at Frankie and Bennys in Glasgow. We went to see Aberdeen vs Morton in the Betfred cup on Saturday.
After yoga on Monday I tried to settle down to do some work for the rest of the day. I'm finding the current lectures quite boring though and only managed to go through the one before my lecture at 4pm. Instead of doing work in the evening we sat on the sofa and started watching Luke Cage on netflix. Tuesday was pretty much the same, my morning started with a lecture, the gym then home for lunch and attempt to do more work. Again Wednesday was similar with class in the morning, I went to my first ever Zumba class then home for lunch. 

I didn't manage any work in the afternoon though because I had to go and meet Scott at morrisons. We bought things for cooking and made baked camembert and vegetable pie and eat it while watching the apprentice - it was really delicious. After my long day at uni on Thursday I rushed home to get changed because I was off to the Orchid Winter Menu Preview. It was so nice to catch up with Aberdeen bloggers I already knew and meet some more. I won't say too much now but the cocktails were great and I had the best night.

Friday was the day I was most excited for. I had to get up early to pack and get ready for the 9:07 train. From Montrose Scott and I drove to glasgow. We planned to stay at the premier inn before going to the football on Saturday. After we had checked in we went to visit Ikea which is huge. After a few happy hours browsing homeware in Ikea we decided we were way to sleepy to do anything else so we had a quick (but yummy) tea at Frankie and Bennys.

Saturday was another early start - we had a big breakfast at Harvester before getting the train to Hampden Park. It was a tense game for a while but Aberdeen managed a win so we are through to the final. When we got back home we went to the pub - didn't make it home until after midnight by which time the pizza place in town had closed...  

Sunday was the perfect lazy day, a long lie, cooked breakfast, a trip to the supermarket for food then home to watch the football. After cooking my favourite, lasagne, for tea and watching Hell's Kitchen I'm slightly ashamed to say we were both sound asleep by 9:30pm. I never like leaving Scott's even if I've spent three full days with him.

Hope everyone else had as good a weekend as I did. I've got plenty of work to get on with this weekend. Leaving stuff to the last minute as usual.

This week on G is for Gingers: A Happy Kind of Casual with Twinkle Deals

Tuesday, October 18

A Happy Kind of Casual with Twinkle Deals

Top: Twinkle Deals* | Leggings: Golddigga via SportsDirect | Boots: F&F at Tesco | Hat: Primark
Leggings used to be a staple in my wardrobe - then the pair I had got a whole in them and I didn't replace them. A few months ago I was in sports direct looking at gym clothes (because I do that now) and felt these super soft black leggings. Golddigga isn't a brand I would normally consider but they are so soft, feel really thick and were only £5 so I could hardly turn them down.

This top was the second thing to arrive in my parcel from Twinkle Deals. During the colder months 3/4 sleeve tops like this are a staple in my wardrobe. They can be worn with jeans and skirts, are thin enough to wear comfortably under jumpers. My boyfriend says I smile alot so when I saw this top it kind of reminded me of him. Who doesn't like to be happy?

Again this raglan sleeve tee is a bargain from Twinkle Deals at only £8.29 and you can't fault the quality. I dressed it up slightly with my fedora that I definitely don't get to wear enough and black high heeled boots. I was actually hope this weekend so didn't have a lot of choice with footwear but maybe a longer pair of boots would look better?

Once again, from my experience, I couldn't recommend Twinkle Deals more for quick, affordable, on trend pieces. Have you seen anything from their site you like?

Check out Twinkle Deals Halloween promotions too.

Monday, October 17

My week in pictures #192

(From top left) A missed delivery card... the bain of a bloggers life! Mum bought me new gym leggings from George at Asda. I love all the things in the Country Rose range at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Scott's homemade curry for tea on Saturday night.
Once again my week started off with Yoga at the sports center. I'm really starting to enjoy my early starts to Monday. Afterwards I spent most of the afternoon doing revision for a class test we had on Thursday. After class and the gym on Tuesday I got back to studying the remainder of the afternoon. Annoying apart from a trip to university on Wednesday all I did was study for this geology mid-term. 

Scott arrived just as I was at breaking point, I'd already made chilli so we went to the supermarket to get nachos. Really I just needed out of the flat... We then eat tea, watched Hells Kitchen USA then got an early night. 

The mid-term test went pretty well on Thursday morning and I was happy with my mark. I ran back to the flat afterwards hoping to catch the postie but I missed my Apricot clothing parcel by a whole hour... I had to get everything ready to leave the flat for the weekend though. After class I headed straight into town to meet Scott. At home mum made pizza for dinner and we chilled in front of the fire. 

Relatively free of uni work on Friday I was able to take some outfit posts for my blog and help mum with some cleaning (I swear everytime I come home for the weekend my mum treats me like I’ve not cleaned in weeks). In the afternoon I had my flu jag at the doctors which was sore but nothing too bad then mum and I practised driving for a few hours.

My first driving lesson in months was on Saturday morning. I was so so so pleased my instructor thought it went well. I was worrying I'd forgotten all the little things you need to do. In the afternoon I went to Scott's, mum and dad were off on holiday, so I planned to stay Saturday and Sunday night. The weather was awful on Saturday so we didn't leave the house really and I ended up in bed early again because I wasn't feeling great. 

On Sunday the weather was a little better so we headed to Dundee for the day. Despite looking for somethings there was nothing I fancied but Scott did pick up some things for the kitchen. At home we made pizza for tea and started watching the apprentice. We went to bed before I was properly tired because we had to get up at 5am... it sucks when your boyfriend starts work early!

If you want to see more photos from my week why not give me a follow on Instagram? I try my best to update it everyday and follow back too. 

This week on G is for Gingers: Afternoon Tea at The Carmelite Hotel Aberdeen | Mustard for Autumn with Twinkle Deals

Friday, October 14

Mustard for Autumn with Twinkle Deals

Blouse: Twinkle Deals* | Skirt: New Look | Boots: Marco Tozzi | Scarf: Primark
Every year autumn comes around and every year I want everything in my wardrobe to be burnt orange and mustard. So naturally when I spotted this blouse on Twinkle Deals website I added it straight to my basket. When it arrived I knew at once what I wanted to wear with it - this tapestry skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe now for so long. I

The cute ruffled sleeves make this blouse for me - I like my clothes to be girly and pretty. It's a shame I didn't notice that the black ribbon on the back wasn't done up properly until it was too late. I also wish it has slightly longer sleeves which would be better for the cold days we've been having recently. In an attempt to warm this outfit up I wore my huge blanket scarf because it is also lovely and autumnal. I also threw on my winter coat for a day at uni on Thursday. 

The only thing I would note about the blouse is it is quite small made. I ordered a large when really I'm a medium and it just fits. At £6.10 it is a bargain and well worth the money. 

Have you ever bought anything from Twinkle Deals before? What do you think of this blouse for Autumn?

Check out Twinkle Deals Halloween promotions too.

Tuesday, October 11

Afternoon Tea at The Carmelite Hotel Aberdeen

Back in August I bought vouchers for Afternoon Tea at The Carmelite Hotel on groupon. I wanted to do something nice for my flatmate's birthday while still being on a tight budget. Roll forward about a month and we finally found the time to visit on a rainy, autumnal Wednesday afternoon.

This is a different sort of post for me but I want to share more of my adventures in Aberdeen, local businesses and my passion for eating out. It will take a bit of practise to get right - I took all the photos on my phone because I wouldn't have been confident with my camera - but please let me know your feedback.

Included with our vouchers was a pot of tea each, a plate of tasty sandwiches, a scone each and delicious cakes too. The sandwiches were basic but tasty with an egg mayonnaise roll, tuna mayonnaise wrap and ham and pickle sandwiches. My flatmate is a fussy eater so I got most of these - not that I needed more food.

For me the highlight was the scones which were beautifully baked with thick cream and jam. Not normally a huge scone fan but these ones were just right and the perfect size too. The cakes were little but this was a relief after we'd already had plenty food. I couldn't fault any of them, the carrot cake was moist and the chocolate cake was rich and chocolaty. 

The dining room in the The Carmelite Hotel is lovely with huge windows that let in plenty of light, big comfy booths to sit in and jenga to play at every table. It is a bit of a shame it was so quiet on a weekday because I can imagine it would have a lovely atmosphere when busy. 

I've been wanting to go to The Carmelite since the Jazz festival when I saw everyone having Afternoon Tea in March. The Afternoon Tea itself was a bargain - the voucher only cost me £10 on groupon so it was more than worth it. 

Without the voucher it is still only £20 for two people making it the perfect affordable girls day out treat. They have lots of Afternoon Tea options so I'm sure I will be back!

Where should I try for Afternoon Tea in Aberdeen next? Do you enjoy this style of post?

Monday, October 10

My week in pictures #191

(From top left) This week I made a Sweet Potato Cake for a blog post - did you see it? New clothes in the post from TwinkleDeals* on Thursday. My flatmate and I finished watching the second season of Gotham this week. Started revision for a class test we have next week. The university is looking spectacular during autumn. A cheeky Papa John's to cure the hangover on Sunday. 
I got up early for yoga on Monday morning and felt good doing it but once I got back to the flat I suddenly felt really unwell again. I think I caught another cold before I fully recovered from my last one. I pretty much spent the rest of Monday on the sofa feeling sorry for myself then had a really early night. On Tuesday I felt better which was lucky because I had a 9am class. Afterwards I went to the gym, did a good workout then rushed home again because we were getting a smart meter fitted. I'm on a mission to save on our electric bill this winter so wish me luck! The rest of Tuesday was pretty chilled.

After my morning class on Wednesday I got on with making the Sweet Potato Cake for a blog post for Inntravel. I like experimenting with new recipes and it was good to try something different too. The cake was yummy and with the leaves I found to take pictures with I was really pleased at the result. Scott arrived in the evening and after he helped me fix our front door we made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and watched Hells Kitchen. It was another early night for me because I feel like I've been so exhausted recently. 

Thursday is a busy day at uni for me so I was so pleased when 4pm comes round and I can head home. I was able to publish a blog post before making dinner relaxing for the night. Friday is my day off but instead I got up early and worked all morning on revision before going to the gym in the afternoon. In the evening I helped my flatmate clear out her wardrobe and she made stir fry for tea. 

I was especially excited for Saturday because Scott and I were going to a party. I went swimming in the morning then did housework until Scott arrived. We made fajitas for tea before we headed to a pub to watch the first half of the football. We got a taxi to the party and it was SO nice to catch up with people I've not seen in ages and meet new people as well. Afterwards we went to a club which obviously meant a lot of alcohol and a very late night.

My hangover on Sunday was pretty mild but any excuse to have a lazy day! Once we finally got showered at 3pm we walked to TK Maxx and B&M for a browse so we felt like we'd been out. We ordered pizza once we got back then were early in bed by 8pm. What a rock and roll life I lead! 

This week on G is for Gingers: Sweet Potato Cake | #CaribbeanTreasure

Thursday, October 6

Sweet Potato Cake | #CaribbeanTreasure

Inntravel have just launched a new holiday to Dominica in the Caribbean and have asked lots of bloggers to get involved with their #CaribbeanTreasure campaign. I've never been to the Caribbean before but it is somewhere I'd love to visit. My Aunt and Uncle went to Saint Martin a few months ago and couldn't have raved about it more. 

This recipe was created by Chef Dean who owns the Caribbean Café in Leeds so it is definitely an authentic recipe. Plus if they do more baking like this in Dominica then you can definitely count me in.

The cake was really easy to make although I've never baked with sweet potato before. It reminds me of carrot cake and with the cinnamon and nutmeg it is the perfect bake for Autumn. Especially as we don't have the weather they do in the Caribbean.

You Will Need:

900g of Sweet Potatoes
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 cups of demerara sugar
250ml of milk
2 teaspoon of grated ginger
1/2 cup of finely chopped coconut
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of vegetable oil.

I started off by peeling and grating the sweet potatoes. This was the most time consuming part so maybe it would be easier if you had a food processor or similar. After that I dried the potato as much as I could by laying it out on a clean dish towel and pressing the water out of it. 

Put all the sweet potato in a large bowl and firstly mix through the dry ingredients - the coconut, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ginger. Then add the vegetable oil and two eggs. Initially it is quite hard to mix but it gets easier as the potatoes soften. As the mixture is already quite wet I only added about half the milk judging it by eye.

Once the mixture is well combined transfer it to a greased baking dish. I used my lasagna dish because it seemed a good size to fit all the mixture although in hindsight a bigger dish would have meant it cooked quicker.

I baked the cake in the oven for 35 minutes at 180°. As with most cakes you'll know it is ready when a knife comes out clean and it has browned on the top. 

This is a deliciously simple recipe and it is great to try things from different cultures. You can also see the recipe on Inntravels blog here.

Have you ever been to the Caribbean before? I'd love to know if you try this recipe - tweet me a picture along with the hashtag #CaribbeanTreasure 

This post was written in collaboration
 with Inntravel but love of different
 cultures and cakes are my own.

Monday, October 3

My week in pictures #190

(From top left) Homemade roast dinner on a Monday night. Afternoon tea on Tuesday at the Carmelite Hotel. Watched Bridget Jones's Diary for the first time this week. Delicious mexican lunch at uni on Thursdays. Homemade raspberry ice cream - did you see my blog post on Saturday? Movie night with Scott on Saturday - we are both just big sleepy heads though. 
It was really hard to find photos from this week that didn't involve food - oops! Monday started off well with my first Yoga class. It frustrates me how inflexible I am but it can only get better. Right? After handing in my mapping assignment we had lots to do for our old flatmate coming round for dinner. We cleaned the living room and the kitchen before I cooked a roast dinner. It was so nice to hand out, eat good food and drink plenty of wine. I went to bed late feeling quite tipsy. 

Tuesday I felt pretty awful but I struggled through my morning class and went to the gym for a fairly light workout. I then spent the rest of the day slumped on the sofa under a blanket. Luckily for me, my boyfriend came round with pizza later on because he was working late. Wednesday had an early start because I had reading to do before class. Afterwards to continue on the food theme my flatmate and I went to the Carmelite Hotel for afternoon tea. I had bought vouchers for her birthday in August and it was lovely. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping before heading home to watch a movie and have tea.

Thursday is my busy day at uni so I was in from 10am to 4pm. I have also had blogging deadlines so it felt like there wasn't enough hours in the day. I made ice cream in the evening for a blog post for Currys PC World. It turned out so yummy so you should check out Saturdays post. I was so excited for Friday because I could finally have time to catch up on everything. I organised a ton of uni work and sorted out my bedroom too. I made it to the gym too for a workout. Friday evening was pretty relaxed with cooking dinner and watching Gotham on Netflix. 

My weekend started off with me giving the flat a good deep clean. I made the kitchen spotless, hoovered the living room and washed the hall floors. When I was finished I was pretty exhausted so relaxed until Scott arrived. We went to tesco to get ingredients for enchiladas, came home to make them and then head to bed to watch James Bond. Sunday was equally chilled, we had breakfast then I wanted some boxes from B&Q. We also went to Home Bargains and TK Maxx before going on the hunt for a camembert to bake. Later we made a fish pie for dinner and watched Hells Kitchen and Modern Family. 

I had such a chilled weekend which I felt like I really needed. I've been quite stressed with everything I've had to do plus the cold I had a few weeks ago isn't going away quickly. I just want to feel 100% again! 

This week on G is for Gingers: Personalised Phone Case with GoCustomized | No-Churn Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe

Saturday, October 1

No-Churn Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe with Currys PC World

Recently Currys PC World got in touch to challenge me to make their No-Churn Ice Cream. The ingredients arrived on Tuesday and I couldn't wait to give it ago. I chose to use the raspberries and try a raspberry ripple style ice cream. 

My parents make ice cream a lot at home but they have an ice cream maker which I don't have in my student flat. The bowl also takes up a lot of room in the freezer so really you need a big chest freezer which isn't always practical. I'm also going to apologize here for the over-use of the word 'ice cream' but what can you do?

You will need:
4 free-range eggs 
100g of caster sugar
300ml double cream
a teaspoonful of vanilla extract

200g of raspberries

Firstly separate the eggs into two bowls - putting the whites in a larger bowl. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until thick and forms peaks when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the caster sugar and keep whisking until the mixture is glossy.

In the smaller bowl beat the 
egg yolks until creamy, mix in the cream and vanilla essence. Fold this mixture into the eggs whites so that they are all well combined. 

Gently spoon this mixture into a freezer container being careful not to knock the air out of it.

Once the ice cream was ready I put the raspberries in a blender with a tablespoon of cream. After they liquified I poured half over the mixture in the container. Carefully with a spatula I made ripple patterns and then did the same again with the second half of the puree. Cover with cling film before putting into the freezer. 

The mixture had to be in the freezer for at least 6 hours but I left mine overnight to make sure it was properly frozen. 

I was sceptical about this recipe - I'd never made ice cream without churning but when I went to the freezer in the morning it seemed to have worked! I scooped it into a cone and it looked like proper ice cream. Obviously I had to take photos first but afterwards I tried it and it is absolutely delicious. Not quite the same as classic ice cream but still really good for such an easy recipe. 

The only thing I would say is that the mixture seems to have split slightly in the freezer with the heavier layer (presumably the cream) has sunk to the bottom. Luckily it doesn't seem to have affected the taste but I'm not sure what the bottom layer will be like.

Will you give this recipe a try? You can find it on the Currys PC World TechTalk site. It can be made with anything you fancy - please tweet me a picture if you try it. What flavour should I try next?

This post was sponsored by Currys PC
 World but love of experimenting
 and ice cream are my own.