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May 2014

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Rarely do you dine in a restaurant and want to instantly book a table for the next day. That is what happened when I dined at the new restaurant located in the basement of Glasgow Central Station on Thursday evening.

The restaurant & bar obtains its name from its historical namesake Alston Street which was formerly the main street in Grahamston, the old village just outside of Glasgow’s boundaries which was demolished in 1879 to make way for the Caledonian Railway Central Station, now better known as Glasgow Central Station. Only two buildings from the original Grahamston village still exist in Glasgow and these are the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel and the Grant Arms pub located next to the Hielanman’s Umbrella on the Union Street side.

Walking down the rather colourful staircase, I was met with a Timorous Beasties wall mural, the open kitchen and one of the waitresses showing me to the rest of the guests. First impressions? Industrial Chic.

Alston Bar & Grill, Glasgow
© Renzo Mazzolini
Alston Bar & Beef
© Renzo Mazzolini

Meeting the rest of my dining guests, I was offered the bar’s signature gin cocktail ‘1873’ which is named after the last time anyone saw the main Alston Street running through Grahamston. The cocktail is made from Caoruun gin, blueberry jam, lemon juice and topped with some Champagne and blueberries. I’m not the greatest fan of gin, in fact if I could pick one of the worst spirits in the world, gin would be just that. However, upon taking a sip of the cocktail, I couldn’t taste any gin. Thumbs up for me.

Alston Bar & Beef
© Robin Mitchell

After chatting to the guests, it was time to do a brief gin tasting with resident “gin-noisseur” Chris. We sampled three different varieties of gin; Caorunn, Pickering’s and The Botanist. Chris talked us through the history of gin aka Mother’s Ruin along with the difference between the different types of gin on the market. Alston Bar & Beef house 55 different types of gin and 12 are Scottish. From those, they have created 10 perfect serve cocktails catered to suit everyone… even me.

I took a little sip of Caorunn and it had a pleasant after taste. It was a drier type of gin compared to the other types which sadly I did not like. I do hold my hands up and say that I don’t like gin but at least I tried and reconfirmed my hatred, except for the 1873 cocktail which was lovely and I would certainly order that again. The others around me on the other hand loved the gin, so I guess I’ll have to take their word for it.

The main attraction for me though was the food and it certainly did not disappoint. On our table was a personalised menu with my name on it along with a six course menu of various dishes we were going to sample from the main menu. Just by reading the menu, you could certainly tell a lot of thought had been put into the food but that was just the start!

Our first dish was Steak Tartare with Quails egg yolk, crouton & olive oil served with a perfect serve Gin Cocktail. The Steak Tartare was very light, fresh and perfectly seasoned. The raw quails egg yolk perfected the tartare and the added crouton gave it a wonderful crunch. A perfect introduction so far.

Alston Bar & Beef- Steak Tartare

Ham Hock Roulade, pickled beets & cauliflower puree followed shortly after. The meat was tender, full of flavour and the pickled beetroot was a welcome addition. I loved the flavour combination between the saltiness of the ham hock and the sweetness of the beetroot.

Alston Bar & Beef- Ham Hock Roulade

Next we were served a visually stunning dish of Pan Fried Scallops with pea puree, Parma ham & black pudding. This was by far one of the greatest dishes I’ve had in a long time. The plump scallops were seared perfectly and the Parma ham works impeccably well. Together with the rest of the elements, it turned the dish into mouthwatering perfection for me. This is a must order for me.

Alston Bar & Beef- Pan Fried Scallops with pea puree, Parma ham & black pudding

It was then time for our main dish; a 14oz Bone in Rib Eye Steak served with Fries, a selection of butters (Garlic and Cafe de Paris) and sauces (Peppercorn and Bearnaise). First thought? I have an entire cow infront of me. The restaurant uses a Montague oven which reaches extremely high temperatures and when cooking steaks, it allows the meat to be tender and juicy inside while being perfectly charred on the outside. The meat is from J. Gilmour & Co Ltd, an independent family run business established in 1946 specialising in the supply of high quality meats and more specifically “Tweed Valley” dry hung beef from the Scottish Borders. I asked for my steak to be cooked medium rare and it came just that. It was succulent and the marbling of the meat added to the flavour. If I had to pick one criticism, it would be that the steak had a little too much fat for me on a few of the edges, the fat was very soft though which made it easy to cut away. I’ve just not been a huge fan of fat in meat after a choking incident as a child. Due to the size of the steak and the courses already eaten, I couldn’t finish the steak but I aim to make it a mission very very soon.

Alston Bar & Beef- 14oz Bone In Rib

After a welcome comfort break, we were served dessert which was a deconstructed version of Pear Crumble. It consisted of a poached pear, with some crumb dusting along with more crumble scattered on the plate and a small jug of Creme Anglaise. The pear was poached whole and when eating with a spoon, was tender and cut away gently. This was a beautifully executed dish and left you wanting more.

Alston Bar & Beef- Pear Crumble

Lastly, we were offered a cheese platter from George Mewes along with quince, grapes & oatcakes. I sadly never tried any of this as I was so full but the rest of the guests at the table thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall, the meal was incredible. If I had to sum it up into two words, it would be Gastronomic Perfection. It was honestly one of the best meals I have ever had. I wanted to instantly book a table for the next evening but sadly already had prior arrangements. It is a stunning venue, the staff were extremely knowledgeable and friendly not to mention the incredible food by 28 year old Head Chef Nicol Robertson. His vision along with the management have turned this forgotten Central Station basement into one of Glasgow’s Top Destinations.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Alston Bar & Beef as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience on that evening. 

Alston Bar & Beef
Central Station
79 Gordon Street
Glasgow, G1 3SQ
Tel: 0141 221 7627
Web: www.alstonglasgow.co.uk

Alston Bar & Beef on Urbanspoon

GIVEAWAY

Win a fantastic sharing platter or Porterhouse steak for two at Glasgow’s newest steak and gin venue – Alston Bar & Beef.

Offering over 10 different cuts of beef on its menu, this lucky winner will win their choice of either a Porterhouse steak or the assiette of beef.

The Porterhouse comes in a range of sizes to suit every appetite and is the biggest steak on this comprehensive meat lovers menu. The 35-day dry-aged Porterhouse is a hand-picked Aberdeen Angus cross Limousin Scotch beef from accredited farms in Ayrshire, East Lothian & Aberdeenshire. It is cooked to perfection in the specialist Montague oven, ensuring all the flavours are sealed in.

The assiette of steak includes gourmet cuts of 40-day dry-aged flank, hanger and iron steaks. Weighing in at an impressive 700g, this truly is a plate for steak lovers. Each of the cuts offer a different texture and flavour, and all have been cooked to perfection.

The prize also include a bottle of wine to share.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ddPlanet Earth is a vast and varied world that contains areas from freezing cold wastelands to rainforests teeming with life, to places with almost continual rainfall to parts of the world that do not see rain for years at a time. With this variety there will always be something new to see around the globe and this is why so many people each year choose to leave their homelands to travel the world and discover the new sights, sounds and cultures that vary from continent to continent and country to country.

If you’ve made that decision to go travelling, the biggest question about your trip is where should you go? We list our favourite places to travel to here depending on what you’re favourite pastimes and interests are.

  • Top Places to Visit……If You’re an Animal Lover

Of course, where you choose to visit in the world as animal lover will of course will depend upon what kind of animals you are head over heels about, but there are numerous places around the world where you can volunteer to work and spend time with animals in their natural habitats. For those who are interested in helping primates, Sumatra is a perfect place to visit as there is ongoing work to assist the countries orang-utan population that is in serious danger of extinction due to deforestation. All volunteers are welcome for this project, while the Elephant Nature Park in North Thailand is also looking for volunteers to assist with rescued elephants and rainforest restoration.

Both of these will get you up close and personal with the animals, but if you’re a fan of smaller and furrier types of animals you could always visit the Japanese island of ÅŒkunoshima. The island is overrun with rabbits – they’re everywhere! – and with hunting and dogs forbidden the chance to surround yourself with countless bunnies could not be easier.

  • Top Places to Visit……If You’re a Gambler

Depending on where you’d like to go to spend your time playing casino games, such as poker, roulette, bingo, blackjack and countless others that allow you to turn your money into more – or lose it all trying – there are three main places you can go in the world, unless of course you like to play online. The most famous is, of course, the Las Vegas strip with its lights, bars, casinos and risqué entertainment located in the Nevada desert, If you’re traveling around Asia and you’re looking for the Vegas experience, then a trip to Macau, located near Hong Kong, would be right up your street.

For the classiest of all three major gambling hot spots around the world you’d need to arrive in Europe and help towards the Mediterranean and Monte Carlo. The Monaco tax haven is one of the most exclusive areas in Europe, if not the world, and it caters to gamblers at the other end of the scale to the Las Vegas party crowd. All are well worth a visit though. Las Vegas particularly around New Years Eve is fun

  • Top Places to Visit……If You’re a Sports Fan

Like the animal lovers, where to go in the world as a sports fan will depend entirely on what sports you are interested in. However, there are several places that cater to a large variety of events that will see you entertained no matter the sport of your choosing. Melbourne, Australia is one of these as it hosts the first Grand Slam of the tennis season at the end of January and for half of February before less than a month later showcasing the first Grand Prix of the Formula One season too. It also has the world famous Melbourne Cup horse race and the Melbourne Cricket Ground that has hosted The Ashes and Cricket World Cup matches, amongst many other games and sports.

Another excellent place to visit is Barcelona in Spain, with this city hosting a clay court tennis tournament that builds up to May’s French Open Grand Slam, the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix and it is the home of one of the most famous football teams in the world of soccer. If you’re interested in football then Rio de Janeiro in Brazil would be another place to check off your list with it hosting the World Cup this summer and then two years later, in 2016, it will be the home of the Olympic Games.

No matter the activity you wish to choose to partake in there will always be several places around the world that you can choose to stop and create some lifelong memories. As well as this our planet holds so many wonders to see and do you can continually travel for the rest of your life and experience something new and exciting each and every day. What are you waiting for?

Photo Credit: Elia Locardi

 

Growing up all over the world sure had it’s plus points. I lived in some pretty amazing countries, visited beautiful places, was introduced to different cuisines, mixed with different cultures and I got to experience a life only some could dream of, all thanks to my dad.

When I moved back to the UK for University, I felt so out of place. The UK wasn’t a place I called home and it wasn’t until years later I finally felt settled enough in the country (& city) of my birth. I’ve been back in Glasgow for 8 years now, but that doesn’t stop me from missing the places I grew up in and it got me thinking about my favourite haunts, the food I miss & of course, the friends I left behind after an email from giffgaff. The post will probably be rather long if I spoke about Singapore & Kuwait in one post so I’m going to start with the place I moved to first; Singapore. I’ll get to talking about Kuwait another day.

Growing up here was a truly wonderful experience. For the first 6 months, I couldn’t get a place in school so I spent my days learning to swim in the hotel we were staying in, eating in Chinatown with my mom and being home schooled by my mom (who was a teacher). After those 6 months were up, I went to Tanglin Junior School for just under a year. I hated that school. I was bullied daily and because I was behind in school work, I had to go into the lower Maths class. That didn’t help the bullies. I had no friends in my own year and instead played with kids in the lower years. It was pretty sad but thankfully I hired a logistics and moving company, packed my stuff, put it in storage and soon left and moved to Overseas Family School. I loved that school and was even lucky enough to go to Thailand for a week as part of a school trip! I had so many friends from various countries such as South Korea, Australia, America and Germany. It was there that my accent started changing into the International School mashup that it still is some 20 years later. Forget French or German, at school we got to learn Japanese or Mandarin. I was pretty good at Mandarin, I could pronounce the words properly and read/write at basic level. Sadly, I’ve forgotten all of it after moving to Kuwait (and then learning Arabic).

My high school was just off of Orchard Road, the infamous street full of high end designer shops, shopping malls and some of the best restaurants around. Orchard Road was the main focal point for Christmas and Chinese New Year parades. Shopping malls would compete against each other for the best design. One of my favourite malls was Takashimaya (a Japanese mall) and Centre Point. I used to raid the stationary shops for pens, notebooks and stickers for my sticker album. I used to collect stickers as a kid, I had little books full of them and used to swap with friends. As a little weekend treat, when my mom was going to the supermarket, I used to get a Happy Meal at McDonalds. The toys were so good! So much better than the UK ones. Huge Hello Kitty Plush Toys anyone?!

Elephant Singapore

Since those days eating in Chinatown, I’ve been extremely picky about Chinese food and I always feel the need to compare the quality with what I was used to. Luckily, I found Banana Leaf which serves amazing Malaysian/Chinese food with my childhood favourite Kai Lan and Hainanese Chicken Rice. However, I still miss eating at Hawker Stalls within People’s Park. It may not look the most hygienic place to eat but the food is cheap, great quality and authentic. Deep Fried King Prawns, Kai Lan in Oyster Sauce, Egg Foo Yung as well as Sweet & Sour Pork  were my favourites. If you’re ever planning to go to Singapore, this is one place you need to go to. Kopitiams (Coffee Shops) are also great to go for breakfast; Roti Prata and Milo were my favourite staples. 

Talking about Supermarkets, the food oh the food (yes, my life pretty much revolves around it!). Hello Panda, Pocky and Maggi Chilli Sauce are three things that til this day, I cannot live without. I get a regular supply from my local Chinese supermarket (Hello Mr Lim!) which is good. Addictive things. I used to walk to the little corner shop near our apartment for my daily supply for Hello Panda, or to buy some Diet Pepsi or Tiger Beer for my dad. That was my little job in the family. Of course, my trips wouldn’t take 10 minutes, 30 minutes later I’d still be chatting away with the family that owned the store brushing up on my Singlish dialect. I was pretty good for an ang mo (white person). I was also given my own Chinese name by the family, Mi Xiang (literally translated to Honey Fragrance). 

Me & Gran

Singapore is literally one of the cleanest places on Earth. There is no rubbish on the streets and if you drop litter, you are automatically fined. You can get fined for a lot of things such as not flushing the toilet (yes!), jaywalking, buying chewing gum and eating durians (awful awful stinky fruit!) in public. I loved chewing gum but because you couldn’t buy it in Singapore & it was even forbidden to chew it in public. We used to walk over the causeway bridge to Johor Bahru in Malaysia when my dad had to go there for work, so we could specifically buy chewing gum (as well as pirate DVDs) and then smuggle them back into Singapore. International chewing gum smuggler aged 8.

Of course there are also the tourist haunts, the Merlion has to be the most well known. The Merlion was been revamped so many times & when you think of Singapore, you associate this statue with the country. It’s a beautiful statue and I’ve had many a photograph taken next to it. It holds great memories for me visiting the statue with my grandparents and going on junk boat trips around the island.

Merlion Singapore

My favourite tourist attractions though would have to be Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. I have so many memories of going to those places with my parents, my grandparents, aunt and uncle. One of the shows at the bird park allows you to have a Cockatoo bird fly into your hand to grab a $2 bill and then fly back with it. Anytime I was in the crowd, I instantly jumped up to be part of the show as I loved the bird flying over to me. Having a python wrap itself around my neck at the Zoo wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be, but I doubt I’d ever do that now! The Chinese and Japanese Gardens were beautiful. Giant Pagoda’s are amongst the Northern Chinese imperial gardens with tea houses and bridges galore. The Bridge of Double Beauty connects the Chinese to the Japanese Garden and you can get lost amongst the toro lanterns, traditional houses, ponds and bonsai. It is definitely one of my happy places.

Me & Gramps

Gran in Singapore

However, the visit that stands out the most of everyone in my family was when I got my photograph taken with a family of Orangutans at the Zoo and the mother thinking I was one of her cubs (the joys of red hair as a kid!) grabbing me tight and checking my hair for head lice. I still laugh my head off thinking about that and even have photographic evidence. I could have been the female version of Mogwai from the Jungle Book!

Singapore Zoo

Karaoke is also a huge part of the Singaporean culture and I immersed myself from a very early age. Children were allowed in bars so my parents took my brother & I along when they went sometimes (our “local” was Bermuda Triangle on Duxton Road) and I’d sit there with my Diet Coke, chat with everyone and make friends. I met my friend Kittina and her (now) husband Lye when I was 10 years old and til this day we are friends some 22 years later even though she was almost 10 years older than me. I used to sing Karaoke with my dad, our song was “A Whole New World” from Aladdin then I eventually branched out and sang songs such as Zombie from The Cranberries, Again by Janet Jackson, Hero by Mariah Carey and I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston… age 11. I rocked. Well thought I did. I could hit all the high notes but I’ve lost my golden touch now!

I adored Cantopop, in particular Jackie Chung. I learnt his songs off my heart and one night, he was actually outside the pub with Miss Hong Kong filming a music video. I was so excited that I grabbed some paper, pushed my way through the crowds of Chinese teenagers and asked for his autograph. I think he was shell shocked that a little white girl knew who he was and wanted his autograph!

Living and growing up in Singapore was a truly wonderful thing, I have so many memories that I will never forget and jumbled together makes me the person I am today 🙂

What are your favourite memories growing up? Did you live in any country other than the place of your birth? Let me know!

 

Glaswegians have their own favourite parts of the city, be it the West End, South Side, City Centre, Merchant City or the East End. I’m ashamed to admit that even though I’ve lived in the city since moving back in 2006, I still have no idea where most places are. I have my “comfy” areas of Merchant City, Sauchiehall Street, Argyle St, Buchanan Street, Great Western Road and Byres Road. Other than that, I have literally no idea.

Sure, there are horror stories about certain locations thanks to TV documentaries, but Glasgow is a wonderful place. Why else would it have been named City of Culture in the 90’s, announced as the host for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and where Hollywood comes to film with A List movie stars?

To me, Glasgow is the best city in Scotland. It has the best shopping district outside of London, an amazing night life, great restaurants and as they say; the people make Glasgow. The city is brimming full of culture, havens and hidden gems which inspire us.

I’ve teamed up with American Express to help source your favourite (preferably free) hideaways throughout the city and create a digital map highlighting these for fellow Glaswegians (& tourists) to visit and give others a unique and different insight into our home town.

So this is where you come in… Where are you most inspiring hidden places in Glasgow? It can be anything such as:

  • the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by
  • a great market
  • the best place to read a book in the sun
  • the best picnic spot
  • interesting exercise routes, where do you love to run?
  • must visit music hangouts
  • the best cobbled street
  • the must go to destination to get the best views of the city
  • the best busker in town that people have to stop and listen to
  • the cobbled backstreet ideal for people watching for fashion inspiration

A few of my favourite haunts in the city are:

  1. Sitting under a tree in Glasgow Green on a sunny day with good friends & some drinks.
  2. People watching on Buchanan Street. There is a little bench near the subway station where I love sitting with a coffee and just watch the world go by.
  3. Duck Bay on the banks of Loch Lomond. Sure it’s a little outside of Glasgow but it’s where I love to go and breathe fresh air, recharging myself. It’s a great picnic spot and I love dipping my toes into the water.
  4. The buskers on Sauchiehall Street, in particular Matt Comley. I literally stop what I’m doing to listen to him.
  5. The fairy lights in Royal Exchange Square make me fall in love with Glasgow all over again. There is something about that area that is très romantic.

Why are the places you love special to you? When is the best time to go? Is it a place to go solo or with family and friends?

Once all the hidden spots have been collated by myself, I’ll be visiting them all, taking photographs. American Express will then be creating an informative and interactive digital map of Glasgow which I’ll be sharing with you all to help inspire you to rediscover Glasgow.

So get sharing…

If you didn’t know the exact location of  the Stockbridge Restaurant was located on St Stephen Street in Edinburgh, you’d more than likely walk past it and continue down the road, double back on yourself and then finally notice the fairy lights guiding you down rather steep steps to the entrance. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Ross & I were welcomed by a rather friendly maître’d who instructed us to pick whichever table we wanted. The restaurant was rather quiet at 7:30 and were able to pick a quiet table in the corner so I could watch other diners and take photographs without bothering anyone. 

When looking at the menus, we decided to go dishes from the À la carte menu instead of the set menu unlike the other diners. Trouble was, there were several things that I wanted and found it hard to finally settle of what I wanted. I’m rather indecisive when it comes to food at times.

While waiting for our starters, we were served the amusebouche of the day which was a salad of vine tomato, mozzarella, parma ham and balsamic. Small, simple and delicious. 

Amuse Bouche

To start, I ordered the Seared Scallops with cherry tomatoes, tapenade, aubergine and tomato vinaigrette. The scallops were cooked perfectly and when married with the tomatoes, tapenade and aubergines, it was a perfect introduction to the Stockbridge Restaurant. The flavour combinations were very well executed and would have gladly eaten more.

Seared Scallops with cherry tomatoes, tapenade, aubergine and tomato vinaigrette

Ross ordered the Goats cheese fondant with beetroot salsa, caramelised walnuts and toasted brioche. The goats cheese was rich and creamy, however, the plate was overloaded with beetroot salsa and distracted you from the Goats cheese which was meant to be the main attraction. The beetroot salsa was enjoyable but you just got bored with it after a few mouthfuls.

Goats cheese fondant with beetroot salsa, caramelised walnuts and toasted brioche

A short interlude, our mains had arrived. Ross had ordered the Venison loin with venison pie, braised red cabbage, parsnip puree and a port wine sauce. The Venison was cooked beautifully, it melted in your mouth and the port wine sauce ensured that each mouthful was succulent. The main star of the plate though was the Venison pie with parsnip crisps. A mini shepherd-esq pie which was rich in flavour and very very delectable.

 Venison loin with venison pie, braised red cabbage, parsnip puree and a port wine sauce

For my main, I ordered Roasted rack of Hugh Grierson organic lamb and braised flank with tapenade creamed potato, polenta, feta and vegetable terrine and rosemary sauce. Once again, the meat was cooked beautifully, however, there was just a little too much fat for my liking. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things though. The tapenade creamed potatoes were an ample amount and very tasty. I love olives so I loved the idea of incorporating it within mashed potatoes in this way. It worked very well. Sadly, that’s all that worked for me. The Polenta, Feta and Vegetable terrine was very disappointing. It just didn’t work. The flavour combinations were strange and after one bite, I pushed it aside. It’s a shame really because it looked beautiful.

Roasted rack of Hugh Grierson organic lamb and braised flank with tapenade creamed potato, polenta, feta and vegetable terrine and rosemary sauce

To cleanse our palates before dessert, we were served the most mouth-watering passion fruit sorbet which the head chef hand makes himself. Beautifully smooth, sweet and tangy, it was the best sorbet I have ever tasted. Delicious.

Passionfruit Sorbet

I read rave reviews of the Banana tart tatin which the restaurant serves along with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream so ordered that for my dessert while Ross ordered the Vanilla rice pudding with apple compote, shortbread crumble and cinnamon ice cream.

When I was served the tart tatin, I was slightly confused to find big chunks of banana vertically arranged on a small piece of pastry. Only the ends of the banana ended up properly caramelised and the rest was rather mushy. The butterscotch sauce was incredible and the vanilla ice cream was a welcome addition. Sadly, the tart tatin was a miss for me. If the bananas were sliced and arranged in the traditional way ensuring they were caramelised then the dessert would have been outstanding. It’s just a shame the size of the bananas let it down for me.

Banana tart tatin

Ross’ Vanilla rice pudding with apple compote was a high-end version of Ambrosia. Creamy and comforting. The cinnamon ice cream like the sorbet, was of very high quality and delicious. Jason should really think of selling his sorbet’s and ice creams outside of his restaurant. They were THAT good.

Vanilla rice pudding with apple compote, shortbread crumble and cinnamon ice cream.

Overall, it was a mainly positive dining experience, it’s a shame that certain elements of the dishes didn’t work for my personal tastes. The Stockbridge is a beautifully designed restaurant, the staff are friendly, attentive and welcoming, it’s no wonder that while dining, we noticed several regulars returning and chatting like old friends. I loved that the clientele ranged from pensioners to couples in their early 20’s so you never felt out of place like you do in some restaurants in the city.

Disclaimer: I was invited by The Stockbridge Restaurant as guests in return for a review. Whilst our meal was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience on that evening.

Films and music are part of how we define ourselves when we’re growing up – they provide our cultural reference points and can shape our opinions, social groups, and how we live our lives in general. What teenager doesn’t have a bedroom wall covered in posters? What guy (and girl!) in his 20s doesn’t, for that matter? Some posters become iconic, and survive countless decades as icons of arts, love, power, or revolution. You don’t have to know the first thing about Che Guevara to know who the moustachioed bloke in the cap is, and we are all so familiar with the Uncle Sam Needs You slogan that many people have forgotten that it was an effort to get people to sign up to go to war.

So there – posters are cool. Now, thanks to Instantprint, you can design and print your own movie-style poster. They are printed on A0 paper – so, proper movie poster size – on silk paper, and you’ll get your poster within two working days. Movie posters are fantastic for stag and hen dos – copy in pictures of all your friends – or you could use them to advertise a school or amateur drama production. It’s best if you submit your image in PDF or JPEG form, although it is possible to print from other file types. If you want to display your poster outdoors, then you can have it printed on PVC, so that it’s completely weatherproof. There’s even better news – prices start from just £12 per copy – not bad at all for a personalised and memorable work of art.

Do you have a child, partner or friend who is obsessed with a certain film, play or band? You could give them a poster with them cast in the title role, or fronting their favourite group. Or, if you and your friends camped for days in the snow just to get seats for your favourite film on opening night, then you could design a movie style poster to commemorate the experience.

The Instantprint site has all the advice that you need in order to design the perfect poster – for example, how to embed original fonts which aren’t already part of the Instantprint repertoire, so that your poster will look exactly as you wanted it. Remember to check all aspects of your poster thoroughly before you order, as once the poster is on the paper there is no going back. See the guide for more details.

At University, my walls were covered with Tupac and Notorious BIG posters, what were yours? If you could make your own movie poster, what kind would you have?

Image Source: IMDB

I love nothing better than ice cold fresh juice, but when you buy it in the supermarket, do you REALLY know what is in it? If you look at the ingredients on the carton, you’ll more than likely find added sugar, preservatives and quite possibly some extra additives. Not as healthy as you once thought!

Making your own juice at home is the best way for you to take control and decide for yourself what your juice intake will contain. Celebrities juice as a quick detox and others juice for dieting… me? I juice for a quick pick me up in the morning (7am start for work isn’t pretty!) or when I feel like near death after the gym (I’m unfit, very unfit) and need a juice to bring me back to life.

My favourite juice? A cocktail blend of Mango, Banana, Strawberry and Orange which was my teenage staple back in Kuwait. Sadly, in Glasgow, there are no road side cafes whipping juice up for you for less than £1. Now that I have my own juicer, it was time for me to create my own mixes. Sadly, juicing can be expensive but if you think about all the natural sugar and nutrients you get, it’s well worth the price.

Fruit

Juice

Curry’s approached me with a challenge of creating my own juice for after a gym workout. Being the unfit person that I am, I really need to start going to the gym a lot more. I’m normally worn out after 45mins of Cardio and this is when ice cold juice is a lifesaver. So after going to the gym after a long day in the office (having a 24hr gym at work is rather awesome), I went home and whipped up my current favourite juice, MOSA (I gave it that name, recipe below), to recharge myself. It’s a sweet juice but not overpowering, a few sips and you feel utterly refreshed.

Phillips Juicer

To juice, I’ve been using the Phillips HR1863/01 Juicer (provided by Curry’s). I like it a lot better than the juice attachment to my mom’s Kenwood mixer. With this juicer, you can make 2L of juice in one go, there is an extra large feeding tube so you don’t need to worry about chopping your ingredients into tiny pieces, there is a dedicated pulp container, it’s quick to dismantle and clean, and the best thing… it’s simple to operate even one handed (which came in handy when I made the little video below!)

Pulp Holder

Pulp Holder

I won’t go into detail as to why certain fruits and vegetables are good for you, I’ll let google be the one to inform you but below are a few of my favourite juice combinations:

MOSA

  • 1 mango
  • 2 oranges
  • 10 strawberries
  • 2 apples
  • 1 carrot

The Bugs Bunny

  • 4 carrots
  • 3 oranges
  • 1 inch of ginger

The Supreme

  • 1 small pineapple
  • Big handful of spinach
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1cm ginger
  • Sprinkle chia seeds at the end

Pineapple Buster

  • 8 large leaves of kale with stem
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1 apple