Saturday, 24 April 2010

alternative to wallpaper

I have already posted about wall stickers or decals - here are some more that I like from Supernice.

This one would be good for a utility or laundry room...

This one I like for the diving theme...maybe for a bathroom or a store room for our dive kit...

And this one is a design I think would look good in a lounge area...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

dressing for work

I have a hard time figuring out what you should wear to work. I work for a charity - so it isn't suited and booted all the time. But I am a manager and often doing events - so I want to look smart and professional. Being female I am really conscious of appropriate work wear that isn't a boxy suit but also isn't so girly that people make judgements [not that they should cause that would be sexist but the world ain't perfect yet]. Also - I can look young for my age. I am 31 but frequently get asked for id when buying that cheeky bottle of red from M&S on the way home from work on a Friday night and also get charged a half on the bus on occasion. This boosts the ego no end but isn't great when you are trying to convince the government to do what you think they should be doing.

I also commute and work on the west coast - so weather and being comfortable are also issues. And, finally, I want to wear clothes that I like and feel like 'me'!

I don't work in academia but I really like a site called academic chic as it tackles a lot of the same problems I find myself faced with.Its an american site but the tips translate even if the shops aren't over here ye - although with Cos and J Crew opening branches over here soon it should become less of a problem. They also blog on commuter tips and other fashion challenges women in the workplace have. Being young women working in the traditionally male and stuffy environment of the university or college campus must be something of a challenge and a lot of what they blog about resonates with my own concerns.

A New Home...sometime in 2011!

We have been looking for a new house to move to and last week took a big decision - to go for an off-plan church conversion in Bridge of Allan by Crammond Select Homes. So the next few weeks will be a flurry of legal papers, getting the flat on the market and keeping our fingers crossed that it will all work out. Buying off plan is worrying - because you can't see what you will get - and exctiting because we get to have a big input into the layout and interior decoration of the property. For us, the excitment makes the worry worth it - it may be strange, but the chance to map out exactly where you want your power sockets to be is to my mind a wee slice of heaven. All of this means the move date is likely to be between Christmas and March 2011 - so lots of time to search out that perfect tile or paint colour...

However, this - coupled with the lack of a decent oven in our current rented place - means my updates are likely to focus more on home stuff rather than food in the next wee while. But you can bet that the design of the kitchen will feature heavily and that post-move there will be plenty of culinary experiments on the go.

Monday, 12 April 2010


On Saturday night we went through to Linlithgow to have dinner with Michelle and Robin. They had told us about a restaurant called Champanys - a chop and ale house out near their house. They told us about the amazing burgers and steaks and we were only too happy to test their recommendation.

There is a restaurant which we hear is excellent but was a bit pricey for a Saturday night meal that wasn't for a special occasion - so we went to the chop and ale house.

It doesn't take reservations so we got there early to get a table. The place was very busy and Michelle and Robin said that they had never seen it quiet - it is always busy and has people waiting for tables. We had a half hour wait - just enough time for a quick G&T and some chat - and then got a table.

Robin and Michelle advised skipping the starters and saving room for pudding - and they were right. The main meals were very generous and the puddings were excellent - we would not have wanted to have missed out on them. Robin, Andy and I had burgers - mine with cheese and the boys had the mexican. Michelle had the scampi - my second option - and she let me have a taste. The scampi was excellent and I would give it a go next time - because there will definitely be a next time!! The burgers were thick and juicy and the meat amazing. The side salad was actually worth eating and the coleslaw was good - I prefer coleslaw to having sauces and this one wasn't too creamy and had enough bite from the cabbage for it to stand up against the doorstop of a burger.

The puddings were also good - it is not often you get a restaurant that is excellent at both main and pudding courses. Andy had the cheesecake and it was bliss - it tasted like no cheesecake I have had before - it was very light and yet didn't stray into mousse-y territory. It avoided being claggy and the texture was smooth and silky. I had the profiteroles which were also very good - light pastry and sligtly bitter chocolate to cut through the cream. But I think next time I would go for the cheesecake.

The service was also top notch. It was very busy but the staff were all polite, the courses were served in good time and the staff had time to make a comment or quip while serving. A bit of banter is always a good thing.

The bill was good too - around £30 a head - which for the standard of food and service was a good deal. We also took a peak around the wine shop next door and spotted a few bottles that looked pretty tasty. Champanys is definitely on the list for a repeat visit.