Thursday, March 30

Alternative March Favourites

It has been along time since I last wrote a favourites post but this month I was feeling inspired. March has always been one of my favourite months for two reasons. Firstly it is my birthday (something I still get ridiculously excited for) and secondly it normally marks the start of spring and the lighter evenings. So without any further ado here are the things I've loved this month.

Wet Brush | Detangle Professional
I've never invested in a hairbrush before but for along time now I've noticed that my current Primark one was probably doing my hair more harm than good. After a bit of research online and recommendations from the lovely people on twitter I bought a 'Wet Brush Pro'. I loved it from the first use. Brushing my hair is pain free and so much easier after I have a shower - I honestly didn't think a brush could make that much difference.

Now my hair is no longer tearring when I brush it I think it is starting to look healthier too but only time will tell. I love want a small Wet Brush for my handbag and they do the cutest printed ones too. I could have a whole collection!
Nick Nairn Cook School | 3-Hour Individual Beef Wellington, Chocolate Hazelnut Delice Class
I spoke about this in a 'Week in Pictures' post but near the start of the month Scott and I went to Nick Nairn's Cook School in Aberdeen thanks to a Christmas present. I was a little nervous before going because I am a pretty shy person but the class didn't involve talking to strangers and we had a great time. 

The chef talked us through making the Chocolate Hazelnut Delice, although I'm a reasonable baker he still gave us some really useful tips. Next he talked us through making the complete beef wellington dish before we got to give it ago ourselves. 

It was alot of fun cooking in the 'professional' kitchen they have while drinking a large glass of wine. Scott and I have wanted to make beef wellington before but with the ingredients being so expensive we didn't feel confident enough but now we definitely do.  We all sat down together to tuck into our amazing food with another class of wine. We left feeling stuffed and having had the best afternoon possible. Now we have the recipe pack we can make it again. Honestly the best present we could have been given.
A Birthday Weekend in Pitlochry
This was the topic of last weeks blog post so if you missed it you should go and catch up. I love my birthday more than anything and this year Scott decided to treat me to a weekend away. We got to relax, spend time outdoors, eat good food and just be alone together. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

The first of spring on the 20th of March has really been the icing on the top of this month. It is no longer getting dark early and I don't have to leave the flat with my coat tightly around me anymore. Don't get me wrong - Aberdeen isn't warm yet but we've been to the beach, spring flowers are blooming and I've enjoyed going to the park to take photos.

The beach was full of people at the weekend and students lying on the grass on campus makes a huge difference. You can just tell everyone is so much more cheerful. I'm definitely ready to go home for the easter break and spend even more time outside.

Sunday, March 26

My week in pictures #215

(From top left) A Birthday dinner with my flatmate Eilidh and friends at Boozy Cow in Aberdeen. The dress I bought on ebay finally arrived this week. My first experience of Thaikhun on Thursday at a Birthday dinner with my parents. Pretty earrings were a gift from my mum in Oliver Bonas. The bathroom floor and bath panel was replaced in our flat this week. A walk on the beach in the sunshine this Sunday.
As expected my birthday week has been a busy one! Infact I can hardly believe our weekend in Pitlochry was only a week ago. This week began with the journey back to Aberdeen via Scott's house. I was pretty tired when I got back but got dressed up for a birthday meal at Boozy Cow with my friends. I've never been before but the food was delicious and my cocktail was even better. 

My actual birthday was on Tuesday and I had the whole day to myself. My parents couldn't make it up and I didn't have uni so I decided to spend the day baking a birthday cake. It didn't go quite to plan by I was pleased with the final result. In the afternoon I walked into town to do some shopping and meet Scott. We decided we didn't fancy a meal out so ordered pizza then watched Lucky Man in bed.

Wednesday was spent stressfully finishing an assessment and looking forward to Thursday when I was meeting my parents. It was the most lovely day and I was able to put on some spring clothes. Mum and I went shopping and I got a few new things before we met Dad for dinner at Thaikhun. I've never been before but it was delicious and something different. 

Friday was a chilled day and involved my first gym session in over a week. Later on that afternoon I stayed in for the joiner replacing our bathroom floor and just generally had a chilled night because I didn't have anywhere else to be. My weekend started early because the joiner was back to finish this job and I had to go to the pool to have a shower. 

Once the joiner was finished Scott arrived and we wanted to get out in the sunshine. We walked to town and had a browse round the shops before walking back. After all that we decided we fancied a KFC for tea. We eat that in front of the TV and got giggly on too much sugar. 

This morning was lazy, I'm blaming the clocks going forward, but I made a healthy breakfast before we made it outside. The sun was shining again so it was the perfect day for a walk along the beach. We've been in our jammies ever since we got back. We've planned salmon wellington for dinner so we are about to start making that. 

Follow me on Instagram for my more photos from my Birthday week - @ginger_claire

This week on G is for Gingers: A Birthday Weekend in Pitlochry

Friday, March 24

A Birthday Weekend in Pitlochry

You might have seen on my Instagram stories over the weekend that my boyfriend took me to Pitlochry as a Birthday surprize. We drove their Saturday morning and stayed two nights before getting back on Monday afternoon.

It was an idyllic break and just what the two of us needed - especially Scott who works so hard. Today I thought I would share some of my pictures with you and give you some recommendations if you fancy a weekend in the Scottish Highlands.

Staying: Craigmhor Lodge & Courtyard

This lodge is one of the nicest places I've every stayed - we were in the Deluxe Room outwith the main house. We had our own balcony, a huge freestanding bath, a small dining area and big king size bed. It was beautifully decorated, welcoming and always cosy. I honestly couldn't fault it - they did win National Winner Guest House of the Year in the Scottish Hotel Awards in 2014 after all.

One of the main reasons for this must have been their breakfasts which are included in the price of your say. Now I don't have a lot of experience with hotel breakfasts because we normally opt not to have them so this was a real treat. A selection of cooked breakfasts every morning as well as cereal, yoghurt and fruit to choose from. On the Sunday I had pancakes and bacon (the photo didn't save) and on the Monday it was smoked haddock. Scott had something different every morning too and it looked equally delicious. 

Doing: Pitlochry Dam Walk

Once we checked in on the Saturday afternoon we took a walk down Pitlochry high street and down by the river to the dam and famous fish ladder. As it was later on it was perfectly peaceful and I got to take some photos of the stunning scenery. 

Eating: The Plaice To Be

After what wasn't a very active day Scott and I decided we didn't fancy getting dressed up to go out to eat plus we had to walk past the chippy on our way home. So we took the lazy option and while I queued for our fish suppers (including a white pudding and black pudding to share) Scott went to the coop and bought a couple of bottles of cider. 

It was really tasty and the fish was delicious. Plus the table in our room made us feel more civilised. Just what we needed to relax even if it was a bit cheeky.

Doing: Ben Vrakie

Scott picked out this walk before we arrived so on Sunday we put on our walking boots and headed up the path to Ben Vrakie. The first section of the walk was alright but at 841m high at the summit it became quite a steep climb. So steep in fact I couldn't believe the bath went straight up the side of the mountain we were standing under. 

After puffing out way to the top it was well worth the effort because the views were amazing. It would have been great to stay longer but the wind was really strong and the temperatures were freezing. We got our photos and headed back towards the car. Overall the walk took us three and a half hours - I tried to track it on my fitbit but I don't think the GPS was very good.

Eating: Victoria's Restaurant

Finally as one last birthday treat on Sunday night Scott had booked Victoria's for dinner after some research. The restaurant was lovely all light up by candles when we arrived. For a starter we shared the battered prawns which were lovely, light and crispy. I had steak pie for main which is the perfect Sunday dinner food while Scott has the Salmon. 

After half a bottle of wine and all the food I barely had room for dessert but it was my birthday so I did my best. The chocolate brownie was rich and delicious. The perfect last evening to a lovely weekend. I'd go away all the time if I could.

Scott does lovely things for me all the time but I'm honestly so thankful for the best birthday present I could have asked for. I'll be back in the Scottish Highlands in just two weeks!

Tuesday, March 21

My week in pictures #214

(From top left) Sedimentary logging has got me feeling sleepy. The view from the dam at Pitlochry. Chippy tea in our room on Saturday night. We made it to the top of Ben Vrackie (but only just). Don't think my fitbit got the distance quite right but it was a good effort for a Sunday morning. Steak Pie is the perfect Sunday/Birthday meal.  
How did last week begin? I honestly can't remember but it was so busy. In the week leading up to my birthday I had an assignment to finish which took up a lot of my time. Plus the normal classes and gym session (I skipped one because I needed more time in my week). 

Scott picked me up from uni on Wednesday and as it was still early we walked along to TK Maxx before making a Mexican chicken dish for dinner. We chose out fail-safe favourite taggart to watch before we fell asleep. 

On Thursday I decided to spend the whole day at uni, not wasting time going to the gym or back to the flat for lunch, to get my assignment finished. It was productive so I was able to head back about 4pm without feeling guilty. Shoutout to my flatmate Eilidh for passing her tutor visit on Thursday too - I couldn't be happier for her. 

Friday was BUSY and it barely stopped! After an early start I submitted my assignment around 12pm and dashed home for lunch. I walked in the train to get my eyebrows done but it was the ladies lunch break and I didn't have to wait before dashing back to uni. I was in class from 3-6pm then rushed home to pack and head to Wagamamas for tea with my flatmate and her boyfriend. After a drink in the pub I caught the train to my boyfriends so when I got in after 10pm I was pretty shattered.

It was all worth it though because Scott was taking me away for the weekend. It was the most perfect weekend too. We had the most relaxed time, having a chippy tea, doing some hillwalking and having a nice birthday meal. I have loads of photos so I plan to keep the details for another blog post later in the week. 

This post is actually so late that it is my 22nd Birthday today. I'm a bit of a Birthday Princess and it is my favourite day of the year and although everything hasn't gone to plan I'm looking forward to celebrating it. 

Want to see more of my celebrations? Give me a follow on Instagram.

This week on G is for Gingers: Birthday Wish ListBeautiful Simply Be Lingerie Review

Thursday, March 16

Beautiful Simply Be Lingerie Review

Pretty Secrets 2 Pack Ella Full Cup Teal/Pink Bras*
I love pretty lingerie but it is still so easy to let your underwear drawer deteriorate. I was delighted when Simply Be got in touch because I already knew they specialise in 'plus size' fashion so I was hoping they would have pretty styles. I would never think of myself as plus size but I find it stupidly difficult to find pretty styled in DD+. Simply Be has lots of choice in pretty lingerie, so I wasn't wrong either!

After alot of deliberation I went for this Pretty Secrets 2 Pack* for a few different reason. At only £30 (so £15 each) they seemed really good value and you get more for your money. I thought the full cups would be the most flattering and comfortable style. A few years ago I bought my first non-padded bra and it was an epiphany! I don't know why I shied away from them before but I find them so much more comfortable. 

When I opened the packaging I knew instantly I'd made the right choice. The bright colour are so pretty and the lace, particularly up the straps, is so elegant. They fit perfectly too with the cup sitting just right without being baggy, the back is fitted without being too tight and the straps are easy to adjust as tight or loose as you like. 

Both these beautiful Simply Be bras have been worn and through the wash already to wear again. I only wish they still had the matching bottoms. I feel like I'm raving about them a little bit but I know when I need some more lingerie I'll definitely be considering Simply Be again. 

A slightly different post from me today but I hope you enjoyed it all the same. If my brothers friends are reading this go away and don't bother sending this post in any group messages!

See my last Simple Be review here - Getting Back into Swimming.

Tuesday, March 14

G is for Gingers | Birthday Wish List

1. Office Hyacinth Mary Jane Heels | 2. Rose Bee Large Across Body Bag | 3. Scotland Rugby Shirt | 4. Cactus Vase | 5. Modern Renaissance Palette | 6. Elsie The Giraffe

Next Tuesday is my 22nd birthday and trust me when I say no one is more excited than me. I don't really expect any presents, especially as my boyfriend is taking me away for the weekend, but I thought it would be fun to make a wish list anyway. It will be good for inspiration for birthday money too.

Ever since I had to sell my other glitter heeled shoes I've been on the lookout for another pair. These ones from Office are simple and elegant. The pale colour means they will match a lot in my wardrobe.  

Every season I see something on Accessorizes social media I lust over and this year it is this bee print bag. It was popular when I shared it on twitter too.

I've a big fan of Scottish Rugby and my wardrobe is definitely
lacking one of their shirts. They are pretty expensive but I would keep wearing mine (hopefully to games too) until it had holes in it.

I've seen various cacti vases like this around recently. This one is from Not on the High Street and it would add to my collection perfectly.

I'm not really an expensive make up fan but this pallet has some gorgeous colours and I've seen great reviews. I'm sure if I stopped around I could find a similar one on the highstreet at a more affordable price. 

Finally this giraffe is a little bit of fun from lush. I love giraffes, bubble baths and lush so I think this one would be great for me. 

I don't think I'm too difficult to buy for but if you ask me what I want I'll always say 'I don't know'. Now I'm away to look at dresses for my various birthday meals... I really like to stretch it out!

Since seeing these purple Moshulu boots in St. Andrews I've been thinking alot about them - only I forgot to add them to this wish list.

Monday, March 13

My week in pictures #213

(From top left) I finally bought a good hairbrush to start taking care of my hair. The botanic gardens were beautiful in the sunshine this week. Exciting news for my birthday weekend from Scott. I made banana muffins to make use of bananas that were black. On Saturday we went to Nick Nairn's Cook School and made Beef Wellington. I reached my most steps ever on Saturday night thanks to a long walk to Tesco.
I traveled back to Aberdeen on Monday in plenty time for my 11am class only to find out that my friends and I were the only ones there... oops! It was set to be a busy week because one of our assignments was due on Tuesday and another the following week. All this stress wasn't made any better by feeling like I was being shut out by my friends and being put under unnecessary pressure by them. Cue rants to my flatmate, tearful phone calls with my mum and panicked emails to my lecturers. 

Suddenly on Wednesday all this disappeared though and because the sun was shining I was in a much better mood by the time I met Scott to do some shopping. We made risotto for tea then pigged out on banoffee pie in bed while watching Taggart. 

Thursday was a busy day at uni so I got home much later than normal but again it was still gloriously light outside so I couldn't complain. On Friday after class I went into town to do some shopping. I hadn't been for a browse in ages and fancied treating myself for a stressful week. Typically because I was willing to spend money I didn't see anything I liked - real first world problems right there.

Finally the Saturday, the day I'd been excited about all week, arrived! After an early start to fit in my morning swim Scott and I headed into town to Nick Nairn's Cook School. We got to attend a 3 hour class to make Beef Wellington as a Christmas Present from Scott's parents. The class was GREAT, we learnt loads and now would be confident enough to try it at home. The two large glasses of red wine also helped alot. I thought about doing a blog post but didn't want to ruin the class for myself by taking pictures throughout.

Our plan was to watch the rugby afterwards in the pub but it was going so badly for Scotland we only saw part of the first half. We were so full up and didn't fancy drinking anymore we walked back to the flat. After an hour or so lying down we decided we wanted to go out again, with limited options because we'd been drinking we walked to the big tesco extra and back on a Saturday night...

Sunday was chilled with sausages for breakfast, clothes washing then showers so we were ready to head out. We visited Dobbies to look at the cacti and eat delicious tiffin in car before getting all the ingredients for burgers which we made that night. With a BBQ marinade, plenty cheese, salad, onion rings and bacon they were delicious!

At the same time I was watching my shoes come to an end on ebay and spending the money just as quickly by bidding on a dress for next weekend. My boyfriend is taking me on a surprize birthday weekend to Perthshire... I cannot wait!!!

Have a look at my Instagram for lots more photos of my week and the coming week too. 

This week on G is for Gingers: Getting Back into Swimming

Wednesday, March 8

Getting Back into Swimming

Beach to Beach Classic Swimsuit*
When I first found out I was moving to Aberdeen I got excited about living without walking distance to a swimming pool. I could go whenever I wanted and keep up my fitness. I didn't anticipate my irrational fear of the pool to get in the way - despite being a better than average swimmer I'm scared of the big, deep tank of water with a moveable bottom. Don't ask me to explain why!

In September (at the start of the academic year) I signed up for a gym membership at Aberdeen Sports Village and knew I had to push myself to get over my fear. Which I did through sheer willpower alone.

At the moment I aim to go every Saturday I'm in Aberdeen and if that isn't an option I try to find time elsewhere in the week. Swimming is probably the only exercise I enjoy doing and I find nothing more relaxing than getting my 20/30 lengths done. I would go more if it wasn't so time consuming and tricky to fit in before university.

If you read my active wear wishlist you'll know I was in the market for a new swimming costume. There is where Simply Be came to the rescue with their great range of Swimming costumes. I had a browse through their selection of one piece costume and choose this Beach to Beach Classic Swimsuit. 

I liked the black for it's simplicity but the neckline sets it apart from other 'practical' costumes and I love the open back. It fits really well too, tight but not in a way that show off the wobbly bits (more told them in). I got a size 12 which is my normal dress size if you were wondering. It has 'medium control' and features fixed foam cups which aren't an essential for me but give a more flattering shape. 

The only downside to this costume is the fastening on the back has to be done up while you're already in it making it a little tricky. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it but I had a panic in the showers last week thinking I was stuck and going to have to ask a stranger to help! 

I'm going to aim keep taking this costume to the pool every week until the end of term. It is also going to be great for splashing in the pool with my cousins on our family holiday in Aviemore.  

If you are looking for a new swimming costume or bikini I'd definitely see what Simply Be have to offer. I'm really happy with my choice. 

Monday, March 6

My week in pictures #212

(From top left) I got a personal best in my running on Tuesday which really made me feel like I've improved. Homemade dahl curry from my new Jamie's 15 Minute Meals book. Pancakes with nutella on Tuesday- of course! I finished Remembrance this week - the first adult book in the mediator series. There have been some beautiful spring like days this week. A package arrived from SimplyBe ready for a review on the blog next week.
It feels like every week at the moment starts with the journey back to Aberdeen. I've barely spent a weekend here in ages. My week was shaping up to be pretty busy too with more than one assessment I'm working on for early march. I also managed to find time to go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday as normal.

On Monday night a joiner came to look at replacing our bath panel and it looks like we will be getting a new bathroom floor which is exciting. Obviously on Tuesday I made pancakes after dinner and covered them in nutella. Next time I better half the batter mix though - oops!

I didn't have any plans for Wednesday morning so I was able to spend the morning catching up on housework before doing uni work in the afternoon. It was so nice when Scott finished work that we went for a walk to TK Maxx before coming home to order pizza for tea.

Thursday was uneventful but with uni, the gym and coursework the day passed so quickly. We chilled in the evening and watched House of Cards on Netflix which is our new series. Friday is a long day, made longer by me going swimming before class, but by the time 6pm came round Scott was outside waiting to take me back to his. We ordered a takeaway and I was falling asleep before 10pm. 

The weekend was so chilled and perfect. We got up on Saturday morning to the pouring rain, went to Scotts parents and Tesco. As there was little else to do in the awful weather we went to the pub to catch up with Scott's folks (again) and meet their friends little puppy. Later that night when we got home drunk (after doing sport!?) we had nibbles and watched the boxing on the TV. 

Sunday was chilled and because the day was so nice we walked to Tesco to get the ingredients needed to make dinner. Aberdeen were playing in a cup game so Scott watched that in the afternoon while I tried to do some uni work. Once we made haggis language for tea we started the new series of Lucky Man before heading to bed because Monday is always an early start.

This week my new swimming costume arrived from Simply Be this week for review. I love it but I'm stuck for ideas for photos so any inspiration in the comments would be most welcome.

This week on G is for Gingers: Learning to Style a Leather Jacket | 5 Simple Student Meal Ideas #4

Thursday, March 2

5 Simple Student Meal Ideas #4

I've not written on of these posts since I was in first year! I slowly gather pictures but the truth is I cook the same things a lot of the time during the week. My boyfriend is always round too and in the past three years I've noticed a big different in our cooking habits. We do a lot more from complete scratch now and have a big collection of herbs and spices. Without any further ado here are 5 more simple student meal ideas.

I love the Jamie Oliver website 'The Best Vegan Burger' caught my eye as something tasty and easy. The ingredients were cheap and even though I don't have a food processor I was able to whip them up in a smoothie marker. I discovered, along with sweet potato fries, the photo above is way too much food for one person... but it's healthy right? 

This super simple tuna pasta recipe always reminds me of my mum because it was a favourite of ours when I was a kid. All I do is fry an onion, season it with salt, pepper and some chilli powder then add a tin of tuna and a tin of tomato and let it simmer for 10 minutes while I cook the pasta.

Again inspired by my mum these sweet potato and salmon fish cakes are from a more recent visit home. All I did was cook and mash two sweet potatoes, add salt, pepper and cumin along with some cheap salmon. I then coated them with breadcrumbs and shallow fried them in a pan.

I've found Tesco's 'Food Loves Stories' campaign really inspiring and decided to give the Jambalaya a go first. It was super easy for a weeknight and halving the recipe meant I had enough left over for lunch later in the week. The only change I made was using chorizo instead of sausages because thats what I prefere. 

This Salmon Wellington was the first Buzzfeed tasty recipe I ever made and I've done it again a few times since. I like salmon and I love pastry so these is indeed tasty and really easy too. Thanks to the spinach I like to pretend this recipe is healthy but it probably isn't... 

If you would like to see me do more of these posts let me know in the comments and I'll keep collecting photos. In the meantime why not check out: