Aberdeen Restaurant Week is back! [Ad]

Yes folks, once again it’s the time of year that every self-proclaimed foodie has been waiting for – Aberdeen Restaurant week is back, and it begins next week!

This means two things…

1. That I’m back as an ARW ambassador bringing you all of the latest recommendations and info that you need to eat your way through the week in the most efficient and indulgent way possible.

2. My so-called ‘health kick’ is about to go out the window so fast that my postie had better be on the look out for my will power as it soars past his head first thing on Monday morning. Diet starts March…?!

What’s it all about?

Just in case you’ve been hibernating for the last couple of years (and I wouldn’t blame you in this bloody weather), here’s a quick overview of what it’s all about.

Biannually, Aberdeen Inspired unite the food loving locals of Aberdeen by bringing us a week long celebration of dining out at a plethora of our finest indigenous establishments. During the 5th instalment of this wonderful belly-busting week, you can expect to see some familiar offers, two lunch courses for £10 or three dinner courses for £20 at no less than FORTY-SIX of our finest venues – wow!

The aim is to support local businesses by giving the people of Aberdeen a chance to try some truly outstanding menus at an even more incredible price. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of frequenting the same old reliable places time and time again, so what better an opportunity to discover a new favourite than during ARW.

What’s on offer?

As well as the return of the awesome £10 and £20 menus, several venues are once again offering Tasting menus and afternoon teas. As always you can check out the full line-up and find out who’s offering what by heading to www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com to find out.

As if all of these amazing offers weren’t enough to have us full to the gunnels already, Aberdeen Inspired are mixing it up this year with a few new tricks up their sleeves…

What’s new?

Adding an interactive and fun element to the lineup, you can now sign up for cookery classes at selected venues, such as whipping up an Italian storm at PASTA, located within Aberdeen market, or mastering the art of curry making at Namaste Dehli. How exciting!

The one that has really got people talking this time around is the newly introduced FOOD TOURS.

Partnering with Grampian Escapes and Tours, ARW is bringing you a unique street food experience where you”ll take a two hour tour around the gastronomic world, sampling delicious dishes from four separate eateries along the way.

We were lucky enough to be treated to a first glimpse of the food tour, so here’s how it looks!

Starting at The Pigs wings for some deli delights, you’ll venture on to The Latin Way for some tasty tacos, followed by a warming caribbean curry at Tango Turtle, all wrapped up by some incredible ice cream at Mackie’s 19.2. How’s that for a great night out?!

The great thing about these tours is that you’ll be led by a lovely tour guide who’ll take you on a historical trip through Aberdeen’s most noted food facts, whilst introducing you to the faces behind the businesses so that you can hear the inspiration for all that they do straight from the horses mouth.

Tickets for these excursions are already selling fast, so be sure to snap yours up HERE before it’s too late!

This really is shaping up to be the best Restaurant week yet and and I can’t wait to spend the week sharing my experiences and top tips with you all week long. Keep up with me on Instagram for all of the drool-worthy food pics you can handle, along with my top recommendations for the hottest spots to dine out.

As always there are a host of other wonderful bloggers covering the event which you can check out here, so give everyone a follow to keep up with their foodie journeys too.

I’ll be officially reviewing Siberia Bar and Hotel this time around, so tune back in soon to see get the full scoop.

*Spoiler alert…it was fabulous!

Until next time (when I’ll probably be about a stone heavier..),

B x

[This blog post is in paid partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, but as always all views are honest and my own.]

IN REVIEW – NEW MENU AT THE BOBBIN [gifted]

Scream pubs, as they were formerly known, have always had a special place in my heart, spawning from my days working in one while I was at uni in Leicester. Reminiscing about those good old days always conjures memories of the age old classic, the beer and a burger deal; or ‘pound a pint’ nights where you would down questionable pitchers of warm Fosters on a Wednesday night with your flatmates for a laugh, and turn up at uni the next day feeling rough as hell on a weekly basis.

It’s safe to say that when it came to food, these student bars that we all knew and loved were best known for good honest, cheap and cheerful pub grub at best, but it seems that these days things have evolved a bit, especially at The Bobbin in Aberdeen.

Exterior of The Bobbin, a student pub in Aberdeen

The Bobbin, now housed under the Stonegate Pub Company, is definitely the pub of choice for Aberdeen uni goers, but that isn’t to say that the clientele isn’t varied there, I mean yes there’s the obvious student presence made identifiable by various society logos emblazoned on to the back of hoodies wherever you look, but you’ll also find a mix of locals and visitors alike frequenting just as often.

Usually sister venue The Triple Kirks is our pub of choice when we’re in the mood for some no-frills pub grub, purely down to the convenience of the location, but when I was asked to pop along and check out the new menu at The Bobbin, predictably I jumped at the chance to make the trip to King Street and relive some of my (long gone) uni days and try some tasty food at the same time.

The Menu…

Predicting the usual line up, burgers, fish and chips etc, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the menu really has had quite the revamp. Of course you’ll still find those fab meal and a drink offers that keep the students coming back time and time again, but it really felt like the offerings were somewhat more grown up now. Dare I even say, more sophisticated..?!

Something that I’ve noticed pre-menu change was that they were really upping their game when it comes to vegan and veggie options, so I was over the moon to see that the new menu hadn’t broken the trend and that the offering was more extensive than ever, winner!

Starters/Sharers…

If it’s a choice between starters and deserts, I’m going starter every time, guaranteed, I’m a savoury gal at heart. The only issue can be choosing just one sometimes, so I’m a huge fan of sharers that allow me to get my greedy mitts on the most types of food possible. The Bobbin’s menu now offers a selection of ‘bites’ – small plates ideal for sharing, and at 3 for £9 (or 5 for £14) it would have been rude not to have given a few of these a whirl.

An even bigger plus point is that four out of the eight options available are vegan/veggie, which made for a tough choice given that we’re used to settling for the one lonely meat-free dish in on the vast majority of menus!

Here’s what we went for…

New menu item at the Bobbin Aberdeen, cod goujons with mayo.
Cod goujons with mayo.

Veggie nuggets with sweet chilli sauce, pomagranate, sesame seeds and spring onions. Well I could have eaten just about a hundred of these guys. These crispy little bread-crumbed nuggets, Quorn-like in texture, were an absolute treat. The sweetness of the pomegranate paired with the spiciness of the sauce gave this plate a real kick, and the dish felt light and fresh thanks to the bed of salad. This was a winning plate for sure!

Can we also take a moment to appreciate the presentation of not only this, but all of the plates that were set in front of us? We almost forgot that we were at The Bobbin and not somewhere much more high-end for a moment there!

Jackfruit hash brown bars with Violife cheese and spring onion. Because who doesn’t love hash browns, right? Especially when smothered in vegan favourite of the moment, bbq jackfruit. In my experience, jackfruit can be very easy to get wrong, and I’ve had a several versions in the past that were nothing short of bland and tasteless, However The Bobbin came through yet again with a delicious punchy sauce that offset the hash browns and tangy vegan cheese perfectly. Another winning plate!

Cod goujons with mayo. As much as we eat vegan/veggie about 95% of the time, we stretch to fish on the odd occasion, and on this particular occasion, these cod goujons were calling out to us. Wrapped in crisp, tasty batter, these chunky cod goujons were yet another success, especially with the chilled mayo for dipping. The only thing that would have really topped it off would have been a wedge of lemon to squeeze all over, but I’m really picking at faults here.

It’s safe to say that the starters went down a storm, having left not a single scrap behind, and our expectations for the mains were now suitably raised.

The Mains…

With mains such as the double beef pitstop pie, plant based tikka masala, budha bowls and even and entire mac and cheese section, the menu offers flavours from around the world, but it was the old american classics that drew us in this time, the carb craving was real and had to be satisfied.

Here’s what we had…

Louisiana Chick’n burger with a burger cheese slice, and a side of onion rings. (VG). This sizeable burger was Grant’s choice, but obviously I had to have a taste for the sake of the review… served with fries, this vegan ‘chicken’ burger coated in southern fried spices was tasty, juicy and satisfying, as were the generous portion of crunchy onion rings on the side. Grant went with the ‘Keep it simple’ option – iceberg lettuce, chopped onion and gherkin and vegan mayo, but you can also choose the ‘Smoky soya sloppy joe’ topping – with red pepper and sesame houmous, spinach and cheese, sounds delish!

Moving Mountains hotdog loaded with mac & cheese and angry fries (V/VG). Oh boy…was I beginning to think that my eyes had been bigger than my belly when ordering this gargantuan beast of a hotdog? Absolutely. Was I going to eat every last bite of it anyway because it was just that bloody good?

You know it. Served in a beetroot bun, smothered in creamy mac and cheese and topped with ketchup, mustard and crispy onions, this was quite possibly the best and most authentic tasting meat-free hotdog I’ve had. If there’s one thing I miss since going veggie, it’s a good old fashioned hotdog, but this one ticked every box and could quite easily have been the real thing. Man was I happy! Opting for angry fries (topped with stilton and Franks RedHot sauce, thus making my meal non-vegan) this was a seriously tasty plate of food, and satisfied my junk food craving perfectly.

You meat eaters will be happy to know that a regular pork version is also available, everyone’s a winner!

The Desserts…

Feeling pretty defeated by the large amount of food we had just consumed, but not quite ready to give up altogether, we settled for sharing a dessert, purely for the purposes of research you understand…

Cookie sandwich (V). As much as I wanted to give the mouthwatering vegan option a go – a chocolate salted caramel torte (insert heart eyes emoji here!), I had cookies on the brain so the cookie sandwich won the race. Stuffed between two chocolate chip cookies were layers of peanut butter and Nutella, all drizzled with sweet caramel sauce, it looked a dream. Unfortunately here came my only criticism of the whole meal so far. I’d hazard a guess that this dessert comes pre-assembled and frozen, as I couldn’t physically get my fork to break through the cookie to take a bite, whoops!

Once given time to thaw a little, the combination was sweet and delicious, but I had imagined a warm soft cookie allowing the fillings to melt and ooze out, but guess what, I ate the lot anyway so I really can’t complain too much.

New menu item at the Bobbin Aberdeen, Cookie sandwich with icecream, nutella and caramel sauce.
Cookie Sandwich with peanut butter, nutella & caramel sauce.

All in all this had been a fantastic meal that came so close to being without fault, but one that surpassed my expectations by a mile, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be returning to the Bobbin sooner than is probably reasonable, even if only for that incredible hotdog…

Huge thanks to The Bobbin for having us along to try out the new menu. This meal was gifted but all views are 100% honest and my own.

Until next time,

B x

YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY OUTFIT MADE EASY – WITH MUST HAVE DRESSES

When it comes to Christmas, there are a few things that can raise the stress levels a little; trailing the crammed shops to find the perfect gifts, the epic task of erecting and decorating the tree just so, and one that I personally find has me pulling my hair out each year – finding the perfect dress for your Christmas night out.

With fast fashion and internet shopping at an all time high, it’s no wonder we see more and more of our local shops and boutiques closing every day, and it’s even less surprising when you show up to the party and three other people have on the same sparkly number that you bagged online for £20 and felt super smug about it. Awkward.

We hear the phrase fast fashion being thrown about more and more these days, but what exactly does that mean? Generally we’re talking about poorly constructed runway knock offs that warrant one or two wears before being stashed in the back of the wardrobe, never to be seen again until the next charity shop clear out.

‘What’s wrong with that you might ask? These garments are cheap? Right?’ They keep you up to date with the latest trends and it’s no big deal when you decide you don’t like them anymore because you only paid £20 for that balloon sleeved sweater, right?’ Then it’s off to the charity shop you go!

It really couldn’t be more wrong. Now I’m not saying that the British highstreet doesn’t have a wonderful and well earned place in today’s fashion market, Topshop, Zara, H&M and beyond all provide incredible gateways for young designers and form the building blocks in their journey towards a more couture based career path, and lord knows even I call upon Primark in times of need, but when did that clothes that for a moment we loved SO much, become so… disposable? 

Why is it that In a world that’s evolving to be more environmentally conscious every day; carrying our hydro flasks to avoid plastic waste, refusing to leave the house without a canvas shopping bag stashed in the bottom of our handbags, that we find it completely acceptable to treat time consumingly stitched, beautiful pieces of clothing as single use items?

If you ask me, we need to start treating our clothes with a little more respect. Hands up if you have a dress hiding in the back of your wardrobe that you’ve worn once to some glam event then never worn again? I know I’ve got a few of those! Well you’re not alone.

Let me give you a few facts…

  • 80 billion pieces of new clothing are consumed each year. How many of those do you think are worn only a handful of times? Global clothing production has doubled over the last 15 years, with garments being worn much less and being discarded much faster. 
  • There are over 40 million garment workers in the world, and the sad reality is that many of them to not share the rights or protections that people in the West do, meaning that they are often not only grossly underpaid, but subjected to poor working conditions. When we buy from stores that mass produce these cheap tems, we are affecting individual people, 85% of whom are women, usually trying to support their families.
  • Clothing made from polyester can take over 200 years to break down, so when we throw last seasons out of trend items away, they don’t just disappear. 
  • And then there’s the environmental factors. The fashion industry’s consumption of resources – like water and oil – is expected to double by 2030. The carbon emissions produced by textile factories are phenomenally high. Pretty scary, right?

So what do we mean when we talk about sustainable fashion? It’s about more than just using recycled materials, or picking up something from your local charity shop now and then. It’s about social change, and adjusting our attitudes when it comes to how we shop. It’s about fighting for workers rights to ensure that they are treated and paid fairly, and it’s about reducing the impact on the planet as much as possible when producing clothing.

There are so many ways that you can shop sustainably these days too, and it doesn’t mean making massive changes, you can start small – like having a quick Google for sustainable fashion brands. You can find local clothes swaps happening in your area where you can swap your unwanted items for someone else’s unloved treasure. We can shop on ebay and Depop where you can find some absolute gems in mint condition, and instead of spending hundreds of pounds on that stunning evening dress that you’re going to wear once then bury in the clothing graveyard.  You can HIRE an amazing dress from somewhere like Must Have Dresses, and dazzle in a gorgeous new outfit, every time you have to glam up, for a fraction of the price. 

Must Have Dresses are a dress hire company who have been flourishing online for some time, and have now opened a premises at 131 Rosemount place. Owner Vish and her team at this fabulous store can take all of the stress out of finding that perfect glitzy outfit without spending a fortune, and more importantly without the waste when that new dress inevitably finds its place at the back of the wardrobe immediately after its debut. 

Must Have Dresses also stock gorgeous jewellery by Varna Breeze

You can visit the store, either by dropping by or by making an appointment, and the lovely ladies at the store will act as a personal shopper, helping you try on and find the perfect showstopper to make sure you are the belle of the ball – and the best bit is, all you need to do is drop it off after the event and they’ll even dry clean it for you too – result! 

Must Have dresses stock unique and independent companies and designers such as Forever Unique, Amanda Wakely, Nadine Merabi and To The Nines, who created the absolute knockout of a dress that I’m pictured wearing below. Literally the fanciest thing I’ve ever worn and I felt like a bloody princess (apart the manky hair and peely wally face…you can’t have it all, right?!).

With a stunning selection of handpicked dresses, there’s something for absolutely any occasion, from floor length sequins for rubbing shoulders with the beau monde at an awards do, to simple and chic two-pieces to attend an elegant wedding. I really can’t think of a single reason not to visit them this festive season.

Check them out at www.musthavedresses.com or on Instagram here.

Until next time,

B x

THE WANDERING BARTENDER – COCKTAIL CLASSES THAT COME TO YOU [AD-GUEST]

When I think of cocktails, there are very few negatives that spring to mind – but if I really rack my brain I could come up with just one…that I don’t have my own personal bartender to serve them to me in the comfort of my own home. Well thanks to The Wandering Bartender, you can make that dream a reality.

The brainchild of Mark Herbert and partner, the Wandering Bartender is the most fantastic enterprise offering cocktail making masterclasses that come to you. Hen parties? They’ve got you covered! Team building events? Always better with gin, right?! Whether it’s a birthday, engagement, or just a Friday night in with the girls, TWB will bring you all the fun of a night on the tiles at any venue of your choosing, and you’ll even get a bit of education thrown in there for good measure 😉

When myself and the rest of the blogging gang were invited along to try out a masterclass for ourselves, the answer was a very definite yes. When we were invited along to try out a cocktail masterclass at a castle no less… the answer was a resounding ‘HELL YES!’. The Barn at Barra was to be the setting for the day, so having a reason to dress up a bit swish as we made this stunning wedding venue and it’s scenic surroundings our home for the afternoon, added to the excitement even more.

The event was shaping up to be a pretty epic collaboration, with sponsors such as Hotel Chocolat donating delicious sweet liqueurs, Aelder Elixer providing their rosehip rum liqueur & elderberry elixir, Lind and Lime for their lime infused gin, The Bitter Truth who produce a delicious golden falernum, Snawstorm for their unique Scottish Vodka, and Walter Gregor’s on craft tonic water.


After a warm welcome, a cold crisp gin and a little catch up time, it was time to get down to business. On the menu for the day were a 1930’s Cosmopolitan, a Chester Jester, a Bramble and a Disaronno sours (an absolute fave of mine!). During the super fun and interactive class, Mark took to the bar, sharing his expert knowledge with the group, and testing our own knowledge along the way. With over ten years experience and having worked in cocktail bars all over the world, it’s safe to say that this guy really knows his stuff!

Learning the origins of the cocktails and ingredients along the way, we began to feel like cocktail connoisseurs ourselves, but we were all dying to get down to the most fun part of the day, getting hands on and having a go at making them ourselves. Mark gave us some pretty impressive and skilled demos, and it wasn’t long before the search for volunteers to give it a bash ourselves was on. Can you take a guess at who was first in line, hand waving in the air ‘pick me!’ style..?!

A couple of gins in and full of all of the confidence of 1988 Tom Cruise, I dragged the BF up with me to get my shake on, and it was so much fun! We rustled up a couple of mean Cosmo’s with a gin twist, and the best part was we got to enjoy our own creations afterwards too, delish.

Everyone in the group got a chance to take to the bar whisk up their own tasty beverages under Mark’s expert advise and guidance, with top points going to anyone that managed not to spill and make a mess. After mixing up a storm, it was time for a break to enjoy our creations.

Just when we thought that this afternoon couldn’t be going any better, the gentle reminder that food was also on the agenda set our stomachs rumbling, and probably not a moment to soon with the drinks going down a little too well…

Now the expectation was for a few bar snacks, maybe an olive or two, but what we were met with was the most astonishing smorgasbord of divine looking deli food I had ever laid eyes on!

Food provided by @byplatter

I mean seriously, have you ever seen such a stunning display of delicious delicacies?! It was almost too beautiful to eat…ALMOST.

Byplatter who provided this phenomenal spread are the most incredible catering company who provide sumptuous grazing tables tailored to you, comprised of seasonal and locally sourced produce. Platters include artisan cheeses, chutneys, charcuterie, breads, deli foods, sweet treats, you name it, and you absolutely must give them a try the next time you’re hosting an event that required relaxed dining, because now that Byplatter have landed, pitiful buffets full of soggy sandwiches can be a thing of the past.

What an unbelievable combination of artfully prepared cocktails and fantastic food, all in the most stunning location imaginable. I’ve definitely had worse afternoons…

Huge thanks to The Wandering Bartender for having us along for an unforgettable afternoon. If you would like to book your very own cocktail masterclass with TWB (which I highly recommend you do!) you can do so by getting in touch via Instagram HERE or facebook HERE.

Until next time,

B x

Aberdeen Art Gallery – the grand reopening. [GUEST]

One of my favourite past times has always been to while away a rainy afternoon wandering round the art gallery, pretending to be a bit cultured and taking in all that it had to offer, especially when a new exhibition was in town. I was a little gutted when it was announced that the gallery was set to close for a three year long massive refurbishment in 2015, and even more gutted when due to several hiccups along the way, it ended up taking until November 2019 to actually open again!

However there was no disputing that a revamp was much needed, and it was exciting to see the progression every time you passed it by, speculating as to how big the changes really would be. With the addition of an entire floor having been built upwards, expectations were pretty high!

I was kindly invited along to a preview evening last Monday ahead of the grand opening on Saturday, and it’s safe to say that my expectations had not only been surprised, but well and truly smashed to pieces as I walked through the doors for the first time in over four years.

The vast spaciousness of the ground floor hits you immediately as you enter; where you once had the gift shop on the left and the cafe on the right, you now have a stunning open plan space housing both the shop and a cafe space, but on opposite sides, with a gorgeous and well considered open plan.

The next thing that you can’t help but notice is the incredible amount of light that pours from the sky light above the newly created top floor. Gone are the days of the art gallery being a dark dingy place that you got dragged to on school trips with a sketch book and some crayons, this is now a venue that is an absolute joy to spend time in. Oh and here’s a fun fact, it’s not actually a sky light at all, it’s formed from LED lighting which mimics natural light and can be changed with the seasons, so there will never be a dull day inside the gallery again, how cool is that?!

There is an open, easy flow from one space to the next, as you pass through the memorial hall in to the next gallery – of which there are now 19 as opposed to the former 11, wow!

With a stunning mix of artwork both old and new, a breath of fresh air has truly been injected in to this Aberdonian institution, giving us absolutely no reason to moan about there being nothing to see or do in our wee grey city, because if you look close enough, it’s actually bursting with colour.

From world renowned works by Monet and Degas in painting and sculpture providing us with classical arts, to brand new photography by the likes of Martin Parr giving us a giggle by passing comment on everyday Scottish culture, there really something for everyone.

There are even fabulous new interactive parts of the gallery to keep the little ones entertained, plus a selection of sketch stations giving them a chance to create mini masterpieces of their own.

The grand re-opening on Saturday the 2nd November saw thousands of inquisitive Aberdonians descend upon the gallery to see what the £35 million project had delivered, and the response has been phenomenal, with one particular talking point being the new roof terrace which provides stunning views of the city centre.

I don’t think that I’m alone in having eyed up this stunning new space as a potential wedding venue… (IF MY OTHER HALF IS READING THIS, TAKE THAT AS A MASSIVE HINT!).

After a wonderful private tour, our evening at the Art Gallery preview was rounded up with some drinks and nibbles (which were all absolutely delish!) at the ground floor cafe, so be sure to stop off there for a bite to eat when you visit.

You can find all of the information you need on the gallery by visiting their website HERE.

Have you managed to go take a peek at our new and improved Art Gallery yet? I’d love to know what you thought so leave a comment!

Until next time,

B x