Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Hyndland Fox (Glasgow): Review

Nestled away in the heart of Hyndland in Glasgow's West End, lies a restaurant so witty and smart, so cute and crafty that even those who are in a hurry, would pop in to see what all the fuss is about.

A known haven for foodies, The Hyndland Fox, situated at 43 Clarence Drive, has a reputation for being one of the best places to grab breakfast or brunch in Glasgow. Not one to usually meander the streets looking for somewhere to eat breakfast, I stumbed upon The Hyndland Fox a few months ago and literally can't seem to stay away from the place.

My relationship with The Hyndland Fox has been a curiously fun wee thing, I first stepped foot in The Fox when I came to Glasgow for a job interview. Looking for somewhere which served up a hearty breakfast, it seemed to be the place to be. Fast forward a few lunchtime pit stops, and a number of light in-between flat viewing small dishes, it wasn't surprising I soon enough began to get to know a few members of staff. I love getting to meet new people and trying out new places, and when you find a place which serves up food as good as The Fox does, who can blame me for taking all of my friends there for brunch every time they come to visit. Only a ten minute walk away from my flat you can imagine how much of a struggle it's been to stay away.

Arriving for dinner one Sunday evening, I took residence in the kings seat (so I've decided to call it) watching the restaurant fill with people who were all coming to indulge in the delicious dishes.
With The Hyndland Fox recenly updating their food and drink menu's, the eatery has a number of Scottish dishes on the menu, something I was very happy to see. To start the meal off with a bang, I decided to order the mussles of the day (£6.25) which was to be served with two slices of warm sourdough bread. Not a massive fan of mussles, I was really eager to see how I would get on tackling this dish. I love seafood, however, there's something about mussles I have never seemed to enjoy . It wasn't until I lifted the cloche that the smell of the garlic hit the back of my nose, I knew we were on to a winner. The mussles were cooked beautifully, and drowned in a mariner sauce which was perfect for dipping my bread into. I love garlic so the fact it was infused in it was divine. The garnish on top was questioned, but I still managed to manoeuvre around it to get to the goods. Without a doubt this dish could easily be a lighter main meal option as there were so many mussels which was great! I would absolutely, definitely, 100% order these again.
My guest for the evening opted for the Harissa chicken skewers (£5.95), a dish which had also been teasing me as a starter. Chicken and chorizo with a zingy minted yoghurt dipping sauce on the side, the dish was full of different flavours and very light for a starter which suited perfectly. Both dishes were devoured very quickly, and I even managed to get a wee taster of the skewers in exchange for a slice of bread and some mussels. And who said chivalry was dead!?
Powering on to the main event, unexpectedly, I decided on trying out something I wouldn't usually order at a restaurant, shepherd's pie. Alas, his was not any old shepherd's pie, this was a duck and sherry shepherd's pie (£12.95). With confit duck and puy lentils cooked and topped with a crispy layer of mash potato with a hearty serving of kale on the side which was topped with smoked bacon pieces, there were a lot of flavours to consider when sampling his dish. The duck and lentil jus which had formed within the pie was heavenly. The duck itself was cooked just right, and the mashed potato top was lovely and crispy, exactly how I like it. Usually a fish and chips kind of lass, I surprised myself when I ordered this dish. Needless to say I did order a side of fries, although I must confess it was purely only for research purposes, although I did eat quite a few, and when I say quite a few I really mean almost all of them.
Whilst staying in Glasgow I've noticed a recent new trend of cooking in truffle oil fore-fronting the foodie scene. Intrigued by how good they sounded, it was only right to order a side portion of the truffle and rosemary chips (£2.95)just  to see what all the fuss was about obviously. By god if there is one thing you must do in this life, it's to try out truffle chips - there are no words.
Expectedly, my guest decided on a rare steak, very typical of him. A lover of steak I was interested to see how well The Fox would pull this one off. I'm very picky when it comes to steak, and so is my other half (for those of you sitting in anticipation, the mystery guest is my boyfriend). I'm not a fan of rare steaks, I usually order mine medium-rare, and as much as he had ordered it rare, I believe this steak was more medium than rare. Nevertheless, it tasted ruddy good and was accompanied by a very interesting, and usually paired sauce, chimichurri. This chimichuri was a little on the warm side for me, but a lover of all things spicy and accustomed to a good hot sauce, he had no issues with the spicier version. The 8oz Ayrshire 21 day dry aged ribeye steak (£19.95) was served with chimichurri, slow roast tomato, flat cup mushrooms and chunky chips. Hats off to the chef as it was affa fine.
I'm not going to lie, dessert was a serious struggle. Not only did I have very limited space left, if any, for a pudding, but there was also so many darn things I wanted to sample on the dessert menu. With a lot of toing nd frowing, one salted caramel and hazelnut chocolate tart (£5.45) with tablet ice cream, and one fresh Scottish wild berry eton mess (£5.45) were ordered. Not only did the tart itself melt in my mouth almost putting me into a chocolate coma, but the tablet ice cream ft tablet pieces throughout it almost sent me over the edge. The eton mess also tasted delicious, as messy as it looked,  but that's the point of an eton mess, right?

After what seemed like the best Sunday dinner I'd had in months was finally polished off, and a final cup of coffee ordered it was time to sit back, relax and take in the energetic, yet calm atmosphere The Fox beholds.

The perfect getaway for a morning catch up coffee with friends, a romantic meal with your loved one, Sunday brunch with the extended family or even an after work tipple, The Hyndland Fox has something for everyone on it's menu's.
Without a doubt I would return  to The Fox in a heartbeat, not just because of the vast food and drinks menu the eatery boasts, but because of the friendly, homely atmosphere it possesses too. Come to think of it, my friends are coming to visit soon so it looks like brunch at The Fox will be on the cards much sooner than I thought.

So catch The Fox if you can, because one you visit, you'll be dying yo return...

  For Now...

Just Julia

*I was invited along to the restaurant to review my experience. I was gifted this meal, however the review is a true and honest reflection of my experience.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

HJC Styling: Exclusive pre-launch interview

With the hottest new personal styling agent, Hayley Jane Charles, looking to take Aberdeen by storm this month launching her business, HJC Styling, I managed to catch up with her for five minutes to chat all things HJC Styling and to find out what's hot in fashion this summer...

You've been styling some of Aberdeen's hottest fashion shoots and shows for years, why did you decide to start your own company now?
When working as a personal stylist I became increasingly frustrated that I was limited to styling using a small handful of brands. As we all know, stores sizes and styles vary, and I felt at times that I wasn’t giving some clients the best choices for them.
With no limits we can help develop your new fashion styles using any stores from high street retailers, to bespoke online boutiques!

What is it that inspires you?

Strong, beautiful and incredible women! Through styling I have met some amazing ladies who have been through everything from chronic illness, to family breakdowns. Using my services I help give them a confidence boost and a new look. I have found their enthusiasm and determination truly infectious, this definitely has to be the best part of my job! 
What's so different about HJC Styling?HJC Styling is taking styling to the masses. Styling used to be for celebrities, or women who could afford to pay for this advice, however, it shouldn’t be! Some people get in a rut or are scared by fashion, its our job to encourage ladies and men to enjoy fashion and have fun with it, alongside helping them to discover styles and looks that will suit their shape and personality. 

What services will you 
be providing to clients?
We have a variety of services for all different requirements. If you are looking for a quick fix our online styling service is great; all you have to do is fill out a small client information form and we will get back to you with a small video, document, and online examples of items that suits your figure and personality - fashion is literally at the push of a button.

Got a special event coming up? Our shop and style is perfect! Go shopping with one of our 
stylists; we will go the extra mile pulling pieces for the outfit, accessories and even shape wear underneath to ensure our clients get the best styling experience possible. We will even stop for a coffee and lunch to refuel, encouraging you all the way.

If you're not looking to spend money but are stuck in a fashion rut maybe the wardrobe revival service is for you. This is when one of our stylists will come to your home and help you go through your wardrobe. It’s great to have another opinion on what suits and fits you best. We will also help highlight some staples you are maybe missing and develop new outfits you hadn't even thought of.

What are your price points for consultation and projects?
Our prices start from as little as £25 and go up to £170 for group styling parties. We charge for the experience, not for the hours involved, meaning our clients won’t be confined by time - great when looking for that perfect outfit! We also do corporate events, however prices are based on individual needs.
We've all got that one person we look up to for fashion inspiration, who is your style icon?
I'm a huge fan of Victoria Beckhams style and her designs. Her style is so sleek and tailored, yet she manages to look effortless and understated at the same time. 

If a celebrity could define your style, who would it be and why?

can't pin point one - it's too difficult to say. On Monday I might be feeling a bit rock chick and take some inspiration from Taylor Momsen, and later on in the week I might look for some feminine inspiration from Millie Mackintosh. I love playing with styles but wouldn’t say I have a particular one.

What's your favourite season for new trends?

Summer has to be my favourite. I love the beginning of the season as you get so many unique and funky festival styles hitting the high street. Later on in the season this turns into a more bohemian 'grown up look', which I love styling, mixing patterns and textures.

Who would your dream client be and why?
After her appearance at Cannes this year I have developed a huge girl crush on Blake Lively! Her style is incredible and she knows what colours and shapes suit her. would also love to style Suzy Menkes (international Vogue editor). Considering her access to fashion Suzy always stays safe with regards to clothing choices, and in my opinion doesn’t embrace her feminine shape. I would love to help her in exchange for some behind the scenes fashion gossip too!

What's the most important thing about finding the right clothing/accessories?
I think many people over complicate things, especially when trying to bring an outfit together. Look at the colour palette of the item; you can either clash or compliment, it’s as easy as that!

When working with ladies I always find that they want to initially hide their shape, which makes me so incredibly sad! I promise you if you know the tricks and embrace what you have, not only will you feel more confident you will also look it.
Hayley's top five summer styling tips:
  1. Play with prints
    Summer is always the time of year that fashion brands start to introduce all kinds of prints, they are great fun and really add some colour to your wardrobe.
  2. Accessories are a must
    Add an on trend item to any outfit. This year there are a lot of Aztec influences and I particularly love the pom pom sandals and embellished bags we are seeing everywhere! (Check out Zara for my favourites)
  3. Layer it up
    Layer bangles and necklaces to really make a statement. There are also many gorgeous cover-ups on the high street ranging from kimonos to waterfall cardigans, so don’t be afraid to layer up outfits with these either.
  4. Buy a light jacket
    Purchasing a key summer jacket is essential for those sudden summer showers. This year it’s all about the bomber and you can pick up light silk ones, or even some beautifully embroidered options from the high street. Personally however, I am a huge fan of the classic trench so I'd be picking up a light waterfall trench for a more tailored and sophisticated option.
  5. Have fun! 
    Summer is a great time to try new looks as there is simply so much on offer. Why not pick up something you would normally shy away from and see how you get on! You don’t have anything to loose.
What do the Autumn/Winter trends hold for us? What are your predictions?
This year we will see some of the old faithful’s which we see every year, like the heavier checked and borqued materials. We will also see some new faces - The 80's are back in a big way so be prepared for ruffles, padding, velvet and unusual silhouettes. To compliment this we will also see some gorgeous bright colour palettes ranging from purples to reds. 

One of the other trends which I’m pretty excited about it the futuristic space age trend. This will see lots of metallic, black and embellished products, as well as some stunning jewellery. If you are looking for some inspiration check out the recent Cannes ensembles as some celebs rocked this trend including Zayn Malik, who even sported some silver arm armour!

HJC styling launches on 30th June at an exclusive launch party invite only event in Malmaison in Aberdeen. If you would like the chance to win an online styling session head to the HJC Styling
Facebook page - the winner will be announced at the event and notified by Hayley herself.

For Now...

Just Julia


Tuesday, 14 June 2016


One of the most prestigious of tipples - that is Champagne of course - has been a drink individuals across the globe have adored for centuries. Accustomed (I wish) to indulging in a glass of champagne from time to time (translate to- when I get gifted a divine bottle on a special occasion), the taste of champagne always transports me to some warm Mediterranean vineyard, nestled in the beautiful countryside of Southern France.

Last weekend, leading champagne extraordinaire's, Moët & Chandon, organised a nationwide party to celebrate its first ever champagne spray moment which took place on 11th June 1967, putting on its biggest event to date, the very first Moët Party Day.

Inited along to the party, and not wanting to miss out, I was intrigued to find out about the company's recently launched Ice Impérical champagne. The latest addition to the Moët & Chandon family, the Ice Impérial is the first and only champagne to be created to be enjoyed over ice. This new, smooth and deliciously fruity champagne is like no other, and when I say nothing compares to it, I truly mean nothing compares.
Heading to  The Lane on Ashton Lane, boyfriend in tow, the sweet sounds of a euphoric saxophone slowly teased us to where the white-themed street party was.

And with a clink of our perfectly branded glasses, #moetpartyday had commenced.
The set up of the Moët Ice Party was incredible, with crisp white, Balearic-inspired seating and tables outside, comfy high quality bean bags to perch our bottoms on, bespoke branding materials and two Emperor King penguins strategically placed for some serious selfie fun. Not to mention the fun selfie props they had on all of the tables and the huge Dive Into the Now Moët Ice photo board they had for guests to almost literally, jump into the moment.

On the tables containers filled with mint sprigs and perfectly sliced cucumber were there us to use, garnishing our champagne, creating a whole new mix of flavours to tantilise our tastebuds, keeping our palate guessing as to what would flavours would come next. To be able to drink a glass of champagne so easily, with a sweet, yet still slightly crisp twist to it was delightfully pleasant. Never before have I drank champagne over ice, and never again will a glass of champagne go down so smoothly. The Ice Impérial had won the royal champagne seal of approval from me.
With Moët in my hand and food on my mind, I began to realise that I'd need to slow things down a little and get some grub in my tum if I was to last all day and make it to the evening event. This meant one thing, a hearty, yet light lunch was needed to ensure we were going to make it out later, putting those hunger pangs to bed.

I opted for a smoked chicken, tallegio and rocket sandwich accompanied with truffle fries, and my other half decided on the club sandwich with cajun fries. Both great choices and both demolished within the hour.
#moetmonent's took place throughout the day, gifting the public with complimentary drinks - not a bad set up for those lucky sods passing by I must say. Both events were open to the public, with many individuals passing through Ashton Lane popping in for a glass or two.
As day turned to night we left the stunning lane, spruced ourselves up ready to check out the Moët Imperial Party, and headed to our next destination. Entering the enchanted Corinthian Club, one of, if not the most beautiful and elegant establishements I've ever stepped foot in, we were lead to the VIP section and welcomed with a chilled glass of Imperial Moët. The older, and wiser sister of the Ice Impérial champagne we had tried earlier, the traditional Imperial Moët was much more crisp and bubbly than the champagne we had been drinking throughout the day. This champagne seemed much more elegant, and very well suited to the character of the Corinthian too.

With stunning golden glasses (which I was dying to take home may I add), we sipped champagne all evening as David Barbarossa played a mixture of up beat music, catering to all ages. I loved the prestigiousness of this brand, and the organisation of a successful nationwide event is extremely applaudable. The Corinthian was by far the best venue for the evening event and really added to the glamorous up-market feel the event boasted in the most relaxed environment.
Again, like at the quirky Ashton Lane, food was also provided and by god, those canapés were out of this world. With the likes of tempura prawns with a hot sweet chilli sauce, salmon and cream cheese hors d'oeuvres and haggis bon bon's with whisky sauce available, all were consumed and all tasted exceptionally good.

Sadly I wasn't quick enough to get pictures of the food, although with it being THAT delicious, it didn't surprise me that people were immediately returning for seconds and thirds. The prawns and the haggis bon bon's were a definite highlight for me - if you ever go to The Corinthian, try them.

More #moetmoments took place within The Corinthian, with girls showing off the champagne and handing out complimentary bottles to the public to enjoy, encouraging everyone to get involved in the celebrations. Everyone was in high spirits and loved both events.
With Moët on our minds, in our hands, and even circulating within our bloodstreams, we decided to call it a night and head home. A huge success in my eyes, Moët had captured the hearts of the nation once again. With a bottle of Moët champagne opened every second around the globe, it's no wonder that the champagne power house is one of the world's favourites.

A huge thank you to Mary McGowan from The Vine PR Company for having us, we had a delightful time and I hope to work alongside her and her fantastic team again in the near future. Also, big up to The Moët & Chandon team for putting on a cracking nationwide event. A great event by everyone involved.
  For Now...

Just Julia
© Just Julia

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