A Glasgow institution since 1996, Mother India is the go-to destination for authentic Indian food in the city. From dishes such as Garlic Chilli Chicken to Lamb Raan, I’ve yet to find a dish that I dislike. In this post, I recreate one of my favourite dishes, Mother India’s Butter Chicken. 

With the flagship restaurant Mother India in Westminster Terrace, Monir Mohammed created a gem. With commitment to cooking quality authentic Indian food with local produce, fresh herbs and the best whole spices, it is no wonder that the restaurant became a roaring success. Now with five outlets, including takeaways and a cafe in Edinburgh, there is no slowing down for the brand. 

My parents and I have been known to drive 30 minutes to Dining In With Mother India (The Den) on Argyle Street to grab takeaway then drive all the way home. Is it worth the hour round trip? Without a doubt. Nowhere else in the area compares for me. 

On Christmas Day while we’re all gorging on our dinner with family and/or friends, what will your pets be eating this festive season? My 11-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Bobby, is spoilt beyond belief but with a liver condition from birth, we have to be careful with the foods we feed him. I’ve teamed up with More Th>n to highlight what you can and can’t feed your dog from your Christmas dinner and other dangers to watch out for around the house.

With a new festive jumper and some carrot batons to line his belly, Bobby would quite happily devour anything in sight. We joke that he’s our little kitchen hoover or our sous chef because he never leaves your side if you’re in the kitchen. From a rogue tomato falling on the ground and trying to prise it out of his mouth to his attempt to steal a whole onion. He sure is one to watch when food is around. Trouble is, while this may all seem funny, some of these foods are toxic to our furry friends and with his liver condition, these can be rather deadly. 

For Christmas, we usually spoil Bobby more than we usually do, its Christmas after all. He gets his own pet-friendly three course Christmas dinner. Want the run down?

2017 seems to have been the year that Glasgow finally started to catch up with the rest of the UK when it came to street food.

With businesses popping up all over the city like Julie’s Kitchen, Ramen Dayo!, Chompsky, Street Food Putter Club and El Perro Negro, it was time that Glasgow had a permanent street food market just like London (Hello KERB, I miss you!).Some of these pop ups have gone on to have permanent homes such as Julie’s Kopitiam in Pollokshaws Road which officially opened today. Go pay her a visit, not because she’s a friend but because her Malaysian food is exceedingly good.

In March this year, Big Feed launched as a joint venture between Street Food Putter Club, Firedog and Charlie Mills Coffee. Running bi-monthly, this was the first real street food market that Glasgow ever saw. Since launching and the initial hiccups pushed aside, it has regularly been a go-to destination for something a little different at the weekends.

2017 is the year of firsts for me.

In September, I said goodbye to the Suburban Wilderness I called home since my grandfather passed away in 2008 and started living with my boyfriend in our own apartment in the West End of Glasgow. Ross & I have also decided to cook Christmas Dinner for my parents (and dog), giving my mom a well deserved break from all the stress and panic that always seems inevitable.

Seeing the amount of stress for perfection on my moms face every year, I want to try to mitigate any arguments with Ross over who’s in charge of what, who didn’t check on the food before it burnt and who didn’t turn on the hob to boil water for the vegetables. Not that those scenarios have occurred in the past. Cough.

When Harrods sent me one of their luxury Christmas hampers as an early gift, I knew that the contents would be put to good use on the run up to Christmas and on the day itself making us the perfect hosts.

Brushing the cobwebs off my blog, today marks 2 months that I’ve been gone.

2 months. Sigh.

I never expected to vanish for this long. Sure I’ve had hiatuses before but this time it wasn’t of my choosing. My blog was hacked a few months ago without any inkling and then one day, my web host disabled it. Cue a few days of freaking out, wondering how they managed to hack it and then a few weeks of searching through hundreds of files, years worth of content for any suspicious code. 

Sponsored post in association with American Express®

I’m excited to let you all know that the glitz and glamour of the red carpet is coming to Glasgow next month.

The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is putting on a special cine-cast of the live red carpet event at the Opening Night gala in London, followed by the European premiere of Breathe. I’ve got my tickets and you could be front and centre of the action too on October 4th 2017 from the comfort of Cineworld on Renfrew Street. Evening gowns and tuxedos are completely optional, but who am I to begrudge some mid-week glamour!

Showcasing the best of British and International filmmaking, the Opening Night gala is the start of a thrilling 12 days of world cinema. Between October 4th and 15th 2017, over 240 feature films will be showcased around various locations in London produced and directed by famous names to emerging talent breaking into the film industry. With thrillers such as ‘Blade Of The Immortal’ to the thought provoking ‘The Breadwinner’, there is a range of films catering to all genres that will surely entertain all audiences.

Sometimes you don’t realize you need a break until you arrive at your destination and for me, this was St Andrews Holiday Park with ABI Holiday Homes.

The past month has been rather hectic and my life’s possessions are currently in boxes between two properties. Quite frankly, I’m just trying to ignore them in the hope they’ll magically unpack themselves. Here’s wishing.

48 hours before getting the keys to my new home, I was invited by ABI Holiday Homes to a weekend getaway in one of their static holiday homes, situated within Abbeyford Leisure’s St Andrews Holiday Park, a mere 5 minutes from the town centre.

The timing was perfect as I needed to relax before the whirlwind that was ahead of me and looking back, I wish I had been able to stay longer.

The destination

I made my first trip to St Andrews two years ago and ever since, I’ve been hooked. From the beautiful architecture which surrounds you to the East Sands Beach, this is one destination in Scotland not to be missed.

At just under two hours from Glasgow and a pit stop to Unorthodox Roasters in Kinross en-route, we arrived at St Andrews Holiday Park and checked into our home for the next 48 hours.

The ABI Connoisseur

I have a confession to make, I had one prior experience of staying in a static holiday home and if I’m truly honest, I wasn’t impressed and felt rather claustrophobic. So to say I was a tad hesitant with my stay in an ABI Connoisseur was an understatement.

Luckily for me, all hesitations were brushed aside from the moment I opened the door. This holiday home was not short of space in the slightest and I was rather impressed.

We were met with a beautifully decorated open plan living room, kitchen and dining room which was fully fitted with everything you would need throughout your stay; even down to the dish washing liquid which we forgot to bring with us.

St Andrews Holiday Park with ABI Holiday Homes- Sofa

Exploring the rest of the holiday home, we had a spacious shower room opposite a small twin bedroom which would be perfect for children but we used this as a walk in wardrobe because quite frankly, we packed too many clothes! The master bedroom was equipped with a dressing table, wardrobe and an en-suite for good measure. A great bonus if you have a family of 4-6 staying (or a bathroom hogging boyfriend!).

What I specifically liked about the holiday home we were staying in was the attention to detail, from the soft furnishing to the ample plug sockets next to the beds. Everything was of a high standard and felt like you were living in luxury, on a budget.

St Andrews Holiday Park with ABI Holiday Homes- Master Bedroom

Each holiday home within St Andrews Holiday Park has gas central heating, double glazing, a freeview TV and free WIFI throughout, which not many Holiday Parks provide. Certain holiday homes are also dog friendly which is great if you want a break away with the entire family. Another plus from me.

A slight downside for me though was that the heating was on full blast when we entered and was rather suffocating as it was a gloriously sunny day. This was rectified by turning it off and opening every available window for the remainder of the evening. Just a little pet hate of mine and no doubt will seem rather pedantic to you all.

The Seascape

However, the main focal point for me was the incredible views of the East Sands Beach from the living room of Number 12, Seascape. I literally could not get enough of the view from the rather comfy corner sofa and not one moment went by where I didn’t stop to take it in.

From watching the local fisherman trawling to families walking down to the beach with their dogs, the location of the holiday home was perfect for a wide angled view of the horizon.

The decking area was a very welcome addition and we were greeted with a little arrival gift, two miniature bottles of wine and some biscuits, perfect for devouring while the sun set over St Andrews and watching the impromptu fireworks display over the castle.

St Andrews Holiday Park with ABI Holiday Homes- Bokeh

The next morning, the decking – complete with tables and chairs was the perfect breakfast location. In the spacious and well-equipped kitchen, we cooked our supplies (purchased from Balgove Larder, a favourite farm shop of mine in the local area) and served our food with some Aeropress coffee, courtesy of my Barista boyfriend and his travelling equipment.

St Andrews Holiday Park with ABI Holiday Homes- Breakfast on Decking

This set us up for a day of exploration ahead. The Holiday Park was in the perfect location, not only to venture into St Andrews itself but also as the starting point for some East Neuk exploration. We road tripped to Anstruther, Crail and had lunch in St Monans which deserves its own blog post relatively soon.

No trip to St Andrews is without a visit to Jannettas Gelateria. With a queue bursting out the door for takeaway orders, we were lucky to get the last sit in table before they closed. Two Scoop Pistachio Sundae with Sprinkles and Hot Fudge Sauce please. Yum.

Before we knew it, it was time to depart our holiday home in the pouring rain. Somethings never change in Scotland but when your surroundings are as beautiful as St Andrews, you don’t seem to begrudge it.

I stayed in 12 Seascape as a guest of ABI Holiday Homes. To find out more about them , check out their collection of holiday homes available for sale. If you’d like to stay at St Andrews Holiday Park, rates are available from as low as £233 for up to 6 people for 3 nights.

Have you ever stayed in a Holiday Home? Do you own one? Where is your favourite location for a Holiday Home? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter at @ananyah

For most, life can be very hectic. You’re stuck in a robotic rut of waking up, going to work, coming home and then doing it all again the next day. It gets stressful, especially with everything else in between. 

Have you ever just wanted to escape?

I have and last weekend, I did just that. 

Nestled within the surroundings of Loch Ard, the MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa is set within 25 acres of landscaped gardens overlooking Ben Lomond. The hotel boasts 53 luxurious bedrooms, 2 suites, 65 self-catering lodges, two restaurants, spa, swimming pool and fitness suite. After an £3.5 million renovation investment over two years, the hotel has seen its bedrooms, cocktail bar, piano lounge and Garden Restaurant transformed. 

Yearning for some serenity, I made my way up north. 

Getting there

Making sure to pack some road trip snack essentials and a new playlist to boot, I hopped in my car and drove up north via the Erskine Bridge for around 45 minutes. In Scotland, I think we forget just how close places like Loch Ard and the MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa are from cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. No sooner are you out of the city before you are transported to the most idyllic location for a weekend getaway. Don’t drive? MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa is 14 miles away from Balloch Railway Station and you will need a taxi to take you the remainder of the way. Alternatively, you can get a bus to Aberfoyle and once again complete your journey in a taxi. 

First Impressions

As soon as my car swooped around the winding roads and I was met with Loch Ard for the first time, I was instantly blown away by how beautiful the surroundings were. I couldn’t believe it was so close to my house and I had never been in this area before. 

Entering the reception, I couldn’t help but notice a flock of ducks on the lawn outside and I was reliably informed by staff that there is also a herd of wild goats causing havoc, which I later came to see for myself. 

Now you really know you’re in the countryside! 

MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa- Bedroom Loch View

 

Ahead of the grand opening of the Tim Hortons flagship U.K. Store in Glasgow tomorrow, I went along last night to learn all things Timmys and get a sneak peek of the new store.

The home of the Double Double and Timbits, Tim Hortons is an infamous Canadian chain which first launched back in 1964, in Hamilton, Ontario by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton. Named after himself, the brand now have 4,500 stores worldwide and the Glasgow store is the first in Europe.

You’ve probably heard of Tim Hortons, been to a store on your travels or you’re Canadian and crave a slice of home. Never heard of it? You must have been living under a rock! Just call them the Canadian version of Starbucks, but better.

It’s no wonder that when it was first announced they were expanding into the UK market, massive social media hype was created within hours, showing no sign of decline. Timmys fans as far away as London and a Canadian expat who lives in the Scottish highlands announced plans to travel for their fix.

But the question on everyone’s lips since it was announced that Tim Hortons would be coming to the UK and where the first location would be was…

Why open Tim Hortons in Glasgow?

It makes a change that a big name like Tim Hortons would choose a Scottish city to announce their presence in the UK. Choosing Glasgow over the Scottish capital Edinburgh is also a win win for my hometown.

Tim Hortons Glasgow UK- Glasgow Mug

I asked the UK Marketing Manager that very question. She stated that they chose Glasgow after research showed it had a large student population and that rent was cheaper than in Central London. The Glaswegian demographic was exactly what they were looking for. Simple.

Where are they opening next?

“Rapid Expansion” has been thrown around in the press but what does that actually mean?

Well England, you will have to wait. Within the next few months, Tim Hortons are hoping to open another store around the wider Glasgow area. After seeing how they perform, they do have plans to eventually open as many as 5 stores in a year. For the mean time, Glasgow is their focus.

Opening Hours?

They officially open from 9am on Friday 2nd June. Thereafter, the Glasgow store will be open from 6am until Midnight 7 days a week. Times aren’t set in stone at the moment and are subject to change. With anything, it depends on the footfall and demand. Many stores in North America are 24hrs so you never know what the future holds.

Now onto the most important question of them all

Is it worth it?

When entering the store at the launch party, tables were adorned with the entire menu line up for our visual inspection. From the Hot Breakfast Sandwich, Grilled Paninis and Soups to their Crispy Chicken Sandwich, there is something savory for everyone. Don’t forget to choose the Combo to add Hash Browns to your breakfast order and Wedges or Kettle Chips to complete your lunch/dinner order.

Tim Hortons Glasgow UK- Soups and Chilli

Hot food is prepared fresh to order, baked and not fried thus resulting in delicious tasting food which isn’t dripping in oil. Much healthier before you move onto sugar overload and the Baked Goods.

While in store yesterday, I tried the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Potato Wedges with Garlic Dip, Medium Iced Capp. Delicious, although I did end up eyeing up the Steak & Cheese Panini. That’s next on my list. I didn’t try their coffee on the night, however, the coffee Iced Capp is a must try.

Tim Hortons Glasgow UK- Crispy Chicken Combo Meal with Iced Capp

A trip to Tim Hortons is not complete without something sweet. Ah Timbits and Donuts. I’m looking at you Birthday Cake Timbit and Apple Fritter Donut. Addictive. The problem I have with Timbits are that they are that small you can’t have just one. You need to devour at least 3. Perfect excuse to get a box of 10.

Speaking of boxes, UK prices for 10 are £2.49, 20 for £4.49 and 50 for £9.99. Quite reasonable if you ask me. My colleagues were rather ecstatic today when I wondered in with a box of 50 for everyone. After less than 10 minutes, I was left with 5 which now have my name on them. My keyboard may or may not have crumbs from the Apple Fritter Donut I am currently munching on while writing this. It’s hungry work writing about food, that’s my excuse.

 

Pay it forward

One aspect of Tim Hortons that struck a cord with me was their charity work and I hope that they will bring that philosophy with them over in the UK, whether it be supporting local charities or sponsoring a local sport team. Who know what the future will hold but one initiative they will be doing instantly is allowing you to pay it forward with your coffee. With every purchase you make, your receipt is printed with a ‘Share The Love’ section. If you pass your receipt to someone, they will receive a free medium Original Blend hot drink.

Opening Day Rewards

The very first customer to enter the store tomorrow will win a years supply of Original Blend Brewed Coffee, the first 10 will get a years supply of Timbits and the first 100 people in the queue will receive a free combo meal lunch.

Not in the top 100? You aren’t forgotten about

So will you be visiting the store over opening weekend?

Location:

Tim Hortons
Union St (Four Corners)
Glasgow G2 8BT

Opening Hours:

0600-0000 7 Days

 

The Canadian theatrical sensation, Cirque du Soleil recently came to Glasgow. After years of dying to watch them live, I finally had my chance with Cirque du Soleil Varekai at The SSE Hydro.

Never heard of Cirque du Soleil before? They are the largest theatrical producer in the world with dancers,  gymnasts, singers and actors from all over the world competing to earn that coveted spot on one of their 20 worldwide productions. The hiring process is intense, as I discovered while watching a documentary about the troupe and even after months of training, you might still be rejected. After seeing the show for myself, I can see why the auditions are rigorous. 

Cirque du Soleil Varekai- Aerial Swings

Each production has a unique story, and Varekai is based on the Greek myth of Icarus. The show reimagined the story behind Icarus after he flew close to the sun and fell from the sky. Rather than drowning, within the production, Icarus falls into the middle of a forest with exotic creatures surrounding him. 

I have to admit that at times, it was hard to follow the storyline as I was too in awe of the acrobatic performances but even if you get lost, don’t worry. The set design, music, costumes and acrobatics in front of you are a spectacle which will leaving you in utter amazement. 

Cirque du Soleil Varekai- Tenor

Cirque du Soleil Varekai- Cage Dancing

Each act in turn from the Dance Trapeze to the Aerial Straps were superb but the final act of the Russian Swings was like nothing I have ever witnessed before. My stomach was in constant knots and my mouth cranked open in amazement. It was breathtaking watching performers flip, jump and glide in the air, along with jumping onto each others shoulders and from one swing to another.

Cirque du Soleil Varekai- Russian Swings

Definitely one night I shall never forget. 

Have you ever been to a Cirque du Soleil show? If not, you need to make it your mission to watch one of their productions at least once in your life. Varekai did not disappoint, it made me yearn for more. 

Are you a blogger or digital influencer based in or around Glasgow? If you are, Mondays are about to get even better! Today marks the official start to Millennial Mondays at Blythswood Square Hotel. Glasgow’s most renowned address aims to match the youthful personality of the city by encouraging local bloggers, digital influencers and creatives to hang out in the Salon Bar.

As I work full time in the IT Industry, I mainly write all my blog posts in my living room in the evenings or at weekends. The downfall is that you can be easily distracted by life and I don’t know about you, but I find it better blogging in new surroundings, people watching and sipping coffee. That is when Millennial Mondays kicks in.

Every Monday, Blythswood Square Hotel will offer complimentary smoothies, refillable tea and coffees along with pastries within the Salon Bar between 9am-5pm. Along with free wi-fi, this is the perfect location to get your creative juices flowing. If you’re feeling hungry nearer lunch, together with brand partners, ROX you’ll also receive 20% off food in bar between Sunday-Thursday. Trust me when I say the food is worth every penny. I’ve never once had a bad meal here.

Millennial Mondays at Blythswood Square Hotel- Brunch Selection

Last week, I joined bloggers The Everyday Man and Lafotka for a special ‘Millennial Brunch’ to kick-start the new initiative. Bloggers, Digital Influencers and TV Personalities joined forces to celebrate over a rather delightful brunch. From those I spoke to, everyone is loving that Blythswood Square Hotel is at the forefront, engaging with millennials in Scotland. Not something you normally find with 5 star hotels and outside of London.

Millennial Mondays at Blythswood Square Hotel- Hotel Decor

During brunch and catching up with friends, ROX held a prize draw and miraculously, I won! I rarely win anything and I can only thank Lafotka for picking my postcard out of the bag. I’m now the owner of matching earrings and necklace. Now who says Mondays are bad?

Note: Want to be part of Millennial Mondays and spend your day within The Salon Bar? Send your request to @SkapaPR on Twitter and also tag @BlythswoodSq. Once approved, you’ll be given a special card and key ring to enable you to take advantage of Millennial Mondays offers along with being sent exclusive offers unique to millennials.

The Glasgow Brunch Diaries is a new blog series where you’ll find me sharing my favourite brunch spots in the city, perfect with friends, family or loved ones, these are my top picks in the city. As this series grows, hopefully you’ll come to love my favourite places as much as I do.

It’s almost the weekend, you can say goodbye to your alarm clock and get that much needed lie in you’ve been craving since Monday morning. Brunch (after lie ins) is the best thing about the weekend in my opinion and what better way than to spend it stuffing your face and overdosing on caffeine.

In the first of the series, I popped along for brunch at family run Eusebi Deli on the corner of Park Road and Gibson Street in the West End of Glasgow. An Italian favourite, I’ve been numerous times for late lunches or dinner, however, this was the first time I tried their brunch menu.  

Eusebi Deli is always full when I pop in. I rarely book a table and I’ve never had to wait longer than 5 minutes to get a table either which is always great. On this occasion, we sat in their basement where private functions are normally held. Quieter and open plan, I love this space more than their main dining area where you can feel rather squished 90% of the time. 

I started my Saturday morning with Cacio e pepe, Roman style soft scrambled eggs with black pepper and pecorino shavings. Served with a generous amount of toast, they were cooked just to my liking, not too soft and not overdone. The addition of pecorino helped enhance “normal” scrambled eggs into something more indulgent. Say goodbye to eggs without cheese, so creamy, so delicious! Next time, I’m going to order a side of pancetta because they’d be perfect together and why not?

Eusebi Deli- Cacio e Pepe

Ross, ever the bottomless pit, ordered two dishes. First up was porridge, topped with orange compote, fruit and pistachio crumbs. Great portion size, the toppings married well with the oatmeal. I’m not a fan of porridge (a little like wallpaper paste for me) but I’m led to believe it was good. I think I’ll just take his word for it. 

Eusebi Deli- Porridge

Next up was Sugo– eggs baked in a tomato (sugo) sauce.  The Italian version of shakshuka, a rich tomato sauce was accompanied with two eggs and basil. Unfortunately, the eggs were overcooked so no yolk dipping but the flavour and taste of the sauce more than made up for it. I couldn’t resist scooping up some of the sugo with my toast, delicious. 

Eusebi Deli- Sugo

After a few more drinks, we decided to grab some items from their deli to takeaway for lunch later in the day. As well as selling a range of sandwiches, bread and popular Italian dishes to re-heat at home, they have a great selection of cakes on offer. My favourite? Bombolone. Pistachio Bombolone. Are you even surprised at that? I like the small little ones the most. Definitely make sure you have room for one of these after brunch. Or go wild with Nutella on tap. Oh yes. Trust me.