Monday, 19 June 2017

I'M KIND OF OVER GETTING TOLD TO THROW MY HANDS UP IN THE AIR



Lately I've been feeling old. I don't know why. Despite the protestations that I'm being paranoid and the fact that every second bottle of wine I buy requires identification, I'm starting to experience those worried pangs that come with ageing like never before. The crows feet that pals pretend are not obvious are starting to bug me. I'm suddenly spending an extra tenner on eye cream and pricing up botox. I found my very first grey hair only a few weeks ago and if it hadn't been for the fact I had already ingested 3 beers at the time, I may have started sobbing right there on the spot. Only recently I banned the T word (toy boy) from all conversations with a guy I was seeing who only happened to be a couple of years younger than me. I never used to be that uptight.

But I'm not 24 anymore. The girl who balked at the prospect of spending an entire fiver on a bottle of wine will now happily throw £22.50 at one if I know it's a good bottle of Rioja. I get just as excited at the prospect of a leg of lamb and the Sunday broadsheets now as I used to at the prospect of spending the entirety of Gods day sitting in the pub. I no longer skip meals because I'm on benders but rather because if I'm going to insist on pulling guys younger than me then I need to stay in shape. My body has changed. My tummy will never be as tight and after a year of breastfeeding my boobs will never look the same again. But I'm much happier with the child bearing knocked about a bit body I am stuck with now than I ever was with my 19 year old 24 inch waist and lithe thighs anyway. So with age must come some clarity. And that can't be all bad. Can it?

 Getting older certainly has it's plus points. I may moan incessantly about never getting a weekend off, but I secretly enjoy the fact that my ex's job as a head chef means I stay in most Friday & Saturday evenings because I have Ava. When you have a kid you no longer have to worry about boyfriends sending you drunk texts at 4am or turning up at your door past midnight steaming. Wild holidays abroad that are actually just benders become a thing of the past and these days my jaunts overseas revolve around discovering new restaurants, paddling in the sea and sitting on balcony's drinking wine until 2am. 

Previous romantic ideas of movie like love stories or that love conquers all are gone. The notion that romantic love is all you need is an untruth. You need family. Children. The people who will still be there when the romantic love goes away. And I would now put my desires for a bigger family, a better career or a semi-detached house over idealistic pre-conceived notions of romance any day of the week. Not because I'm cold, hostile or money driven, but because a string of failed relationships have taught me the hard way. 

I'm a completely different girl to the one I was 10 years ago. With different priorities, a different perspective, different fears and different responsibilities. Hangovers now make me feel lonely. Come downs give me the fear. My Facebook is no longer covered in photos of me in body con dresses and I would rather spend my Friday nights eating Haribo and watching Boss Baby than downing shots and Uber'ing my way across the city centre.

My priorities when it comes to relationships have done a dramatic u turn also. I used to enjoy the start, revel in the tingly apprehension of the unknown. Spend hours second guessing his intentions, read his horoscope before mine and anxiously worry whether I was leaving it long enough before replying to his texts. Now I long to skip that part and just get straight to the good bit. I would rather have the cuddles on the sofa, the going to bed early together on a weeknight and the familiarity that allows you to walk around the bedroom in front of him naked than the nervous tension of the beginning anyway.

The truth is that you could give me all the money there was in the world. You could give me an invite to some posh event for every night of the week or a queue of hot looking bachelors at my door - but without being able to tuck Ava into her bed on a Saturday night at the scandalously late time of 10pm (because we know how to do a weekend) - it would all mean nothing to me anyway.

So maybe this getting older lark isn't actually that bad. 

And if the past ten years have taught me anything, it's this;

Life doesn't get any easier.

You just get better at it.

Monday, 5 June 2017

L A T E L Y

  • Delicious Scotch Egg starter recently at Church on the Hill that was basically served with ketchup but they are forgiven because my god did it work.
  • Still a complete coffee fiend. With Gordon Street Glasgow Roast being my new favourite caffeine of choice.
  • Lazy Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons and eating pancakes in my bed. Which always ends with Nutella on the sheets and a very grumpy mama...
  • Since we discovered how easy it was to make our own Yorkshire Puddings recently we've never looked back. Sorry Aunty Bessie but this relationship is over.


  • Some seriously tasty mussels at Ingliston Country Club on a Friday night after a long week of work.
  • Discovering tasty new craft beers might be my new favourite thing. And this Eden Mill 19th Brew has definitely become a favourite.
  • Sunday papers, slabs of roast beef, homemade Yorkies (natch) and a big glass of Shiraz. Doing Sunday right.
  • A post oven pic of Jamie Oliver's Sweet Cherry Tomato & Sausage Bake. A recipe I had been dying to try for ages and recommend you do too.


  • The best part of being a nine to fiver? That Friday feeling. Especially when it is complimented by a bottle of Freixenet ICE and an endless supply of Friday night snacks.
  • Sweater weather might be a while off yet, but I am all kinds of in love with this new M&S jumper that makes me all American and track team and sorority.
  • New sunnies. I love aviators because they make me feel like a dude but hate that you can't sit them on the top of your head without them turning your hair into a tangled birds nest. You feel me girls?
  • A delicious cider and pork dish that went down rather well on a cosy Saturday night spent chomping on pre-dinner crisps and watching movies. 


  • Adventures at Glen Creran. This little bridge looked like something straight out of one of Ava's fairy tales books and even the harshest cynic would struggle not to try and spot some fairies while crossing it. I believe.
  • Dumplings at Mamafubu, the Merchant City's new sister restaurant to old favourite Dumpling Monkey. It was pretty tasty, but still not a patch on my old favourite haunt DM.
  • Enjoying a post-dinner nip of whisky in front of an open fire in my new preppy sweater. Total bliss.
  • Can't stop cooking ramen. This is literally my go to dish when I don't know what to make for dinner. The more chilli the better.


  • A soggy visit to Craigmillar Castle after visiting some friends through in Edinburgh. I swear that kid is gonna divorce me if I drag her to one more castle.
  • Lazy, leisurely veggie lunch enjoyed recently at The 78 in the sun. 
  • Indian inspired brekkie from Crossing the Rubicon. This was IMMENSE and I cannot wait to go back and try the Naan Pizza or the Besan Toast!
  • Doing a bit of experimenting with my weekly Friday night G&T. I served this one with fresh strawberries and lots of cracked black pepper and it was the best decision I made that week.


  • Some seriously amazing lamb served at The Bridge of Cally Hotel near Blairgowrie. There was enough meat on this plate to feed three men and I finished every last bite. Proud.
  • Discovering Ossian's Cave at The Hermitage walk near Dunkeld. 
  • Doing some beach wandering at Lunderston Bay recently after blowing away our hangovers with a walk to see Cloch Lighthouse in Inverclyde.
  • Recent Sunday roast cooked for pals. I am never happier than when I am surrounded by friends & food.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

CALL ME ANYTIME THAT YOU SEE THE LIGHTNING


Ava left me recently to spend two weeks at Disney World Florida with her Dad. The kind of trip of a lifetime that I would never begrudge her. But a long time for me to be without my girl. Having only in the past year or so become fully accustomed to being without her Sunday to Wednesday, ten days was the longest we had previously ever been apart. I wasn't looking forward to it if I'm honest. 

It started exactly as I predicted. The first few days were like any other without her and I got on with life as per usual. I planned lots of things to fill my time including catching up with friends, a couple of dates and some beauty appointments. The plan was to make myself so busy that I wouldn't have time to properly miss her. The two weeks flew by in a blurry of meals out, work, a night or two away and I even managed to squeeze in a massage. But I missed her. I missed the morning cuddles as she cheekily slid into bed next to me at 7am, I missed having someone to help me in the kitchen during our weekly roast and I'm not gonna lie, I missed having someone to refill my crisp bowl when I was taking a bubble bath. It was bloody difficult. 

Over the past three years I have conditioned myself to the weekly absence of Ava. I have taught my heart and manipulated my mind to understand that this is how it is and that I may as well take advantage of it. So much so that (don't judge me for saying it) I actually enjoy having my own space and tend to make full and utter use of my freedom. Three nights off a week as a single mother isn't bad going and allows me a personal life that not all single parents are lucky to have. Don't get me wrong, I would gladly give it all up in a heartbeat if I had to. But I don't and you gotta make hay while the sun shines. And by that I mean drink after work beers in a beer garden while the sun shines while most other single mothers are cooking the fish fingers.

But two weeks is a lot. And I struggled a lot. Which was probably exacerbated by how much closer the two of us have become over the past 12 months. Two girls with very similar personalities don't always see eye to eye and during the toddler years I often felt we massively misunderstood each other and her dedicated and enduring love and affiliation towards her father often left me feeling insecure. This seems to have changed over the past year and the the bond between us continues to grow closer by the day. I'm not quite sure of the reasons why. I hope it's age. I hope we are just slowly learning and understanding more about each other. I pray it's that we are discovering we have more and more in common. I secretly suspect it's because I was in a very dark place last year and she saw that. But I hope not and would rather not dwell on those things.

While she was gone I did try and focus on the positives. On all the things that I could do with more ease and less argument. Like take a bottle of wine into the bath with me and not come out for three whole hours. Or get my nails done without it costing me an extra fiver for a junior file and polish. I didn't have to bake Shopkins cookies for two full weeks straight and I was able to watch a film at the cinema that wasn't a PG. I managed a weekend night away without having to organise childcare and I was able to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon in the west end enjoying a leisurely lunch in the sun with only my book for company. Not that I don't adore our once a week 'Mummy's tired so let's go the pub for dinner' ritual. But it was nice not to have to explain the difference between vegetarianism and Christianity over dinner for the millionth time on a frazzled Friday night. Hell I was even able to lift money and put on a load of washing and press all the buttons by myself. If that's not living then I don't know what is.

What else did I get up to? I was able to go to yoga or for a run whenever I pleased, I managed to throw away the 15 months of 'art' that I had been trying to smuggle out with the bin men for six weeks (don't call me callous I keep the good stuff) and I was able to sleep. Those long lies were immeasurable and probably my favourite part of her entire absence.

But I missed her. She called me every few days. She missed me too and brought me back some excellent presents. And now she's home and all's well that ends well. I watched the recent documentary on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, I've been listening to the news unfold on recent events in Manchester with horror. I, along with the rest of the nation, am currently hugging my loved ones that little bit tighter. Even now as I sit writing I'm watching her snuggled up on the sofa out of the corner of my eye. Tiny hands gripped around the iPad that was originally meant to be mine, giggling out loud at the latest Cookie Swirl video, chomping her way through a bag Quavers, completely oblivious to the fact that her mother is staring at her like a complete loon & nervously catastrophising on what she would ever do if she lost her.

A fellow mother recently commented to me that these years are precious, special and not to be taken for granted, but that 'the bit where they can drink wine with you is pretty fun too'. And I got that. I understand it and look forward to it lots. 

Ava called me lots when she was in Florida. 

I hope she calls me lots when she is 21 too.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

L O V E S


  1. Gousto Food Boxes. I was sent one of these food boxes to try and I was pretty impressed. It's easy to order and came in pretty handy when I was quarantined in my flat recently with a bad virus and unable to go out. I went online, chose 2 different recipes and a couple of days later a box appeared at my door with every ingredient and step by step instructions on how to cook them. The Hoisin Meatballs with Sesame Rice was pretty delicious but my favourite by far was the above  Pork Bibimbap. I will most definitely be ordering again!
  2. Blairgowrie. I took off on a little road trip with my pal Flic recently and it was so much fun. We explored The Hermitage, ate some pretty delicious food at our hotel The Bridge of Cally, drank some wine (natch) and still managed to be asleep before midnight because we are getting old and of that fact I couldn't be happier.
  3. The Big Move. We've been in our new home for about 3 weeks now and we are loving our new digs. Progress is slow but steady but apart from the new blinds which are being fitted next week and some new dining chairs I have my eye on, the sitting room is all but done. Which means onto the next room and the massive mural that Ava has planned for her bedroom wall. Wish me luck with that.
  4. My girl gang. Speaking of the move, I have been a bit over-whelmed with the love we've received recently from all of our friends. The amazing offers of help with the move, the beautiful housewarming presents and the fact our little flat has been like Piccadilly Circus with all our lovely friends just coming and going. This is not a look how popular we are post. It's a we are feeling very grateful right now post.
  5. Brannigans Crisps. Oh sweet lord can someone please take these away from me because I basically cannot stop eating them. The roast beef and mustard are my ultimate favourite with the gammon & pickle coming in at a close second. Addicted.
  6. The Italian Kitchen.  This Merchant City restaurant has recently had a bit of a revamp and I was lucky enough to go along and try the new menu recently. It did not disappoint. I may even share a couple of yummy food photos with you soon on the blog so stay tuned!
  7. My New Hood. I am majorly in love with our new living area and have delighted in spending my Sundays exploring it properly. Some of the delights include Linn Park, The Derby Cafe, nearby Clarkston, The Old Snuff Mill Bridge and new locals The White Elephant & The Smiddy. It's a proper little community with some beautiful scenery given you are right in the heart of Glasgow and we have already spent a few post school Friday afternoons scootering around the park or grabbing a beer/ice-cream. 
  8. Cooking. I often go through spells in the kitchen but right now I am cooking my little heart out and if you've been following me on Instagram you've probably noticed it for yourself. The new kitchen is a good bit smaller than my old one which I'm not going to lie is driving me quietly insane but it feels great to be working my way through the massive pile of recipes I seem to have collated over the past couple of months. 
  9. The Rest & Be Thankful. I always seem to miss this road because my regular Scottish road trips usually take me along the A82 or A85 but a couple of weeks ago I took a Saturday out to explore the Rest & Be Thankful for a change with a trip up to Lochgoilhead. The views on this road are pretty stunning and I'm thinking another drive along the A83 may be imminent!
  10. Big Feed. This twice a month Glasgow food festival is fast becoming a regular haunt and I am delighting in working my way through all the amazing street vendors. The fact they got a last minute drinks license to allow them to set up a beer garden in the car park on one of the sunniest weekends of the year recently has only solidified these guys as my favourite food fest of all time. Can't wait till the next one.


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

SHE SAID WHERE YOU WANNA GO, HOW MUCH YOU WANNA RISK?


I'd be lying if I said that I'd had much interest in men, relationships or dating in the 14 months that I have been single. Brief dalliances at best and of those there were only 3. But there's one thing every single one has said to me shortly before we mutually agreed to cut our losses and leave it right there and recently I've not been able to get it out of my head.

"I hope you eventually find this perfect man you are looking for".

Every single time it was loaded. The insinuation obvious. The passive aggressive under meaning delivered with intent. That he doesn't exist. And that I am wasting my time looking. This is coupled with the fact my friends regularly discuss my ridiculous fussiness and my impossible quest for perfection right in front of me and as if I'm not there. Or the fact that my dating life has become a bit of a recurring joke in my office. "You'd dump someone for wearing the wrong coloured shoes" or "you're gonna end up alone if you don't put yourself out there" being a couple of examples of the types of (meant with good intent) comments that have been thrown my way over the past few weeks.

The fact I seem to do this seems a bit crazy when you consider there are things I still want in my future that require semen, a steady relationship and the propensity to compromise in the way that you do to allow a relationship to work. If I want these things so badly then why am I not chomping at the bit to settle down? Why am I not settling for the first bloke I fancy and emailing him a copy of my 5 year plan post second date? My constant joke that I'm not getting any younger is starting to wear a little thin. The laughter and twinkle in my eye when I say it, I fear is starting to fade. What's stopping me from just going for it? 

I genuinely have no idea. I don't even actively or consciously know I'm doing it myself until I find myself  rhyming off 16 different reasons I came up with last night on why that first date will most definitely not be getting a second. I have ghosted more blokes I have started speaking to online than I have drank glasses of Sauvignon. And I have drank a lot of Sauvignon. It's actually harder to get me on a date with someone I like than it is to not. And it's only the really persistent ones who ever manage it. Only for me to write them off the following day because their prospects weren't good enough, they didn't hold the door open for me as we left the restaurant or they wore the wrong coloured shoes...

And so I keep doing it. I keep finding reasons to write blokes off, to stop answering their texts and to choose a home delivered Wagamama and my next box set over a night on the town with someone who could quite possibly end up being the perfect man. 

However everyone keeps telling me that the perfect man doesn't exist.

So in the meantime I think I'm going to stop beating myself up. Stop worrying that I am single handedly boycotting my own attempts at a future happiness and just take each day as it comes. Try not to over-think it. Focus less on what I think I 'should' be doing at this stage of my life. Don't rush into anything unless I'm absolutely sure. Enjoy the boxsets and the home delivered noodles.  Enjoy going gaga over other people's babies instead of irrationally worrying about my own biological clock.

Hang about my ivory tower just a tiny bit longer.

My apologies for the leave of absence. An issue with wifi, a nasty virus and a house move saw me completely out of the blogging game for a good few weeks. And I felt the need to return with only a typical Dawn style deep & meaningful as opposed to some empty soulless blog post about all the vacuous things I've been up to or all the food I have been eating. Truthfully I could have written anything, it just feels good to be blogging again. X


Thursday, 6 April 2017

WEDNESDAY WHISKY WITH THE McMILLAN


What do you get if you combine fine dining at respected southside steak restaurant The McMillan with one of the best single malt scotch whisky distillers in the world? 

One seriously excellent Wednesday is what.


As I discovered after attending The McMillan's recent 4 course whisky tasting evening in partnership with Macallan Whisky. The set up was simple. 4 courses of amazing food paired with 4 of Macallan's finest single malts. Each dram was chosen perfectly to compliment every course. All I had to do was turn up. And when my date for the night (the lovely Michelle), agreed to be photographer for the evening, well you didn't have to ask me twice.



We were greeted with a whisky cocktail and a smile from our host for the evening who had joined us from Macallan to talk us through the whisky. We were seated in the private dining room, the party was small (around 8 people I think) and the atmosphere relaxed. It was the perfect set-up. And I couldn't wait to get started.

The food was delicious. A small salad of home cured salmon paired with some pickled veg and herby croutons was the ideal thing to start us off and for such a simple dish, it worked fantastically. And just so you know from now on I will only be enjoying my smoked salmon with pickled vegetables.

We moved onto a haggis, neeps and tatties dish that was produced to resemble a classic Scotch egg. A brilliant idea (I love me a Scottish theme), but while aesthetically it was pleasing there was something missing from the actual dish itself. Possibly a little seasoning, perhaps a touch more sauce. However it was far from bad and still tasty enough that I gobbled the whole damn lot. 


Then there was the steak. One very, very nice bit of steak. Cooked medium rare it was served alongside a delicious little ox cheek bon bon that I could have happily eaten a hundred of and a deep and delicious red wine jus. The knife slid perfectly through the steak, the potato fondant was cooked (and seasoned) to perfection and all in all this was a bloody nice dish.

But these guys don't get steak wrong now. Do they?



I would be lying if I said I loved the deconstructed Cranachan cheesecake. But that's simply because I didn't taste it. Still being 'aff the dairy' I chose to give it a miss but I can confirm by the faces of my fellow diners that it was pretty sensational. So well done again.

Now let's talk about the whisky. I love whisky. I started developing a bit of a taste for it around the time I started developing a bit of a taste for the great Scottish outdoors and I consider myself to be on a bit of a whisky journey right now. I love a warming but burning nip when I'm halfway up a hill on a blustery day and I adore a soft single malt sipped after dinner next to an open fire when I go away up north. But I had never managed more than a nip or two at a time. So this was going to be interesting.


Our host talked us through all of the whisky on the night, periodically breaking up the education with a quick quiz question or a funny whisky anecdote. It was a genuinely fun night and really well done. From the Macallan Gold, the Macallan Amber, the 12 Year Old Fine Oak & the 12 Year Old Sherry Cask I was able to discover that I prefer a light to medium finish with definite hints of fruit. Not only that, but I'm a sherry cask girl every day of the week.

These are all good bits of information people.

And banked.


We finished off a lovely evening with a small bottle of The Macallan Gold to take home alongside some chocolate made by the acclaimed Iain Burnett: The Highland Chocolatier and produced to match it's taste with the whisky perfectly. 

The happiness continued when we were politely asked on the way out of the door what kind of tasting night we would like to see next. Would it be wine? Gin? Perhaps more whisky? This is an exciting question. Because it means they are planning more. And I will most definitely be attending. As I urge you to do also.

If you fancy going to one of The McMillans tasting evenings then keep an eye on their Facebook page which they always keep updated with their events.


I was invited as a guest of The McMillan. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. One more shout out to Ananyah and her photo taking skillz. Thanks to her I was left with both hands free in which to sup my whisky. That's a pal right there.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

L O V E S


  1. The Gin Festival. Someone heard a sneaky rumour that I liked gin and so I got an invite to the Glasgow Gin Festival held at The Briggait recently. I dragged my sister along to keep me company. And I say dragged in the loosest sense of the word. Let me tell you that wherever you are in the UK, look these guys up and 'drag' yourself to the next one. We were greeted with a very cool looking Gin Balloon (ours to keep) along with a guide to all the gins (there were a lot of gins) and the most perfect sized little carry bag for carrying all your gin paraphernalia. Let's talk about how utterly FUN this event was. The gins are split into 4 bars, each with a massive selection of your favourite tipple, their appropriate garnishes and all served with your favourite kind of Fevertree Tonic. A very successful gin drinking day was had by all and I was able to find a couple of new favourites including the Isle of Harris & Gin Mare. I was also able to confirm my previously very strong opinions that Tanqueray & Bombay Sapphire are bleurgh and only for people who pretend to like gin. In all seriousness though, this is a mega brilliant event for anyone who enjoys a gin beverage and I massively encourage you to get yourself along to one. You can find a list of all their upcoming events right here. 
  2. The M8. The long drive from Edinburgh to Glasgow isn't exactly one of my favourites. However a couple of weeks ago Ava and I strayed east side to stay with some friends and the journey home was actually pretty fun. That may have had something to do with us speeding along the motorway both getting stuck into a KFC boneless banquet and singing along to Swifty at the top of our lungs. But whatever makes us happy.
  3. Five Year Old Cuteness. I am not a dance mum. I will never be a dance mum. I cannot even watch those shows about dance mums without grimacing. But after three years, I'm slowly coming round to the idea that Ava is well & truly into this dance lark and her annual dance show last Sunday was all kinds of cute. Even if I did release a lot of stress and a lot of sweat belting between my seat in the auditorium and the changings rooms for every costume change.
  4. This Amazing Italian Sausage Recipe.  I rarely make the same thing twice in one week. And three times in two is unheard of. But that's exactly what I did with this amazing BBC recipe. Make it. You won't regret it. Also this was my first foray into Italian sausages. Why did nobody tell me?
  5. Getting organised. So Ava heads off to Disney World tomorrow and I won't see her for over two weeks. While I am absolutely gutted about this fact I am also majorly excited to start properly packing for our house move. And when I say packing what I actually mean is gutting her bedroom and getting rid of the all the broken toys and random crap she nevers lets me throw out. I can't wait to sort out the Shopkins, get rid of the felt tips that don't work and sift through all the clothes that don't fit anymore. She'll kill me when she gets back but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
  6. The McMillan. I already know that the food here is bloody awesome because I've eaten in it enough times but their recent 4 Course Whisky Tasting Night surpassed all my expectations. I don't want to say too much because there is a full blog post coming soon but let me just say this: Gin - you've got competition.
  7. Rustico Glasgow. And speaking of amazing places in Glasgow you have to try because I said so and I don't know much but I know my food - if you are a cake kinda gal (or guy) then I massively recommend taking the (slightly out the way but worth it) trip to Rustico in Mount Vernon to try one of their amazing cakes or freak shakes. Thank me later.
  8. This mascara. Now I'm not normally one to mention make-up on this blog, because why spend money on make-up when you can spend it on food? But this mascara is bloody amazing and so deserves some kind of mention. Not only does it give you the lashes of Jessica Rabbit but it lasts FOREVER. Go see what I mean.
  9. All The Good Telly. I can't even apologise. I don't even care. I just bloody love good telly. I use having a kid as an excuse but truthfully I reckon even without her I would sack a night on the tiles for a good period drama and a slab of Green & Blacks any day of the week. Right now I am majorly into Game of Thrones (it took a while but I got there) and new Line of Duty. Which continues to be as brilliant as the very first series. HOW?
  10. Big Feed Glasgow. I went on a full stomach, with a chicken to roast that evening and the car. Big mistake. I will be back at the next one with a train ticket in my pocket and an empty belly and I will be indulging in all that amazing food and beer. Just see if I don't.