Sunday, 31 July 2016

A blossoming delivery: Blossoming Gifts (review)

With the weather in Scotland being rather disappointing regarding the season other countries across the world would declare as 'summer', a bright, vibrant gift in the shape of a beautiful bunch of flowers can never go a miss.

Blossoming Gifts, a new online florist which delivers bouquets seven days a week across the UK, contacted me a few weeks ago to test out their service, and of course, there was no chance I could refuse gorgeous, fresh flowers. Looking outside at the monsoon that had hit Aberdeen, I was excited about receiving a little splash of summer the following week. As informed, my bouquet arrived first thing on Wednesday and boy was I in for a treat.

On arrival, the box was in great condition. Although I had been a little skeptical as to how well the flowers would travel, I was glad to see how well the box had travelled and was excited to get stuck into my flowers. Opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find my bouquet of flowers completely intact, snuggly positioned in the box, ensuring the flowers heads were protected. The bouquet was attached to the box, which resulted in me needing to cut the bouquet lose, something I hadn't initially realised.

The flowers smelled gorgeous, and the stems were wrapped in a cloth soaked in water which was still damp when the box arrived. It also meant for the first time, I wasn't absolutely soaked when I tried to get them out the box. This was a huge bonus for me.

I would definitely highly recommend this service especially for sending your best friends flowers to their desks at birthdays, or to send your granny a stunning wee pick-me-up. The flowers look and smell very fresh and are in great condition. I've had my flowers for five days now and they still look very healthy. My lilies have now opened up and I've been caring to the flowers stems to prolong their freshness. All of the flowers are still looking great. My mum is very much enjoying them too as she loves lilies.

I will definitely be using this service again as it was really easy to navigate around the website, the  high quality flowers arrived promptly and intact, and over the past few days, have been blossoming beautifully. It seems the flowers are also great value for money too, and there's a huge range to choose from so there's definitely something for everyone.

The company has kindly given me a 33% off discount for all you fabulous people to indulge in too. The discount code is: BGIFTS33

I also plan on running a competition with these guys in the next few weeks so keep your eyes pealed!

You can check out my beautiful Blossoming Gifts photo diary below. featuring the Cheerful Lily and Rose bouquet. I had originally asked for the Rainbow Roses, however they were out with my allocated budget - you can't blame a girl for trying though because they are gorgeous! However, I adore the beautiful roses and lilies, the perfect bouquet to bring a little summer feeling into the house.

The company also offers a unique range of other personalised gifts which you can purchase alongside your flowers too. Happy flower arranging guys!

   For Now...

Just Julia

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Wine and cheese tasting: No.10 foodies club (Aberdeen)

In good wine and cheese tasting fashion, looking down at my glass of Passopisciaro with Bonnet goats cheese on a homemade olive and rocksalt bloomer, my senses we all over the place. An explosion of flavour, my tastebuds were put to the test, pushing through notes and tones of unique, unexpected tastes, trying to figure out what flavours the wines, cheeses and breads all boasted.

Why certain foods are best paired together has always intrigued me. Understanding why these certain wines were paired with these specific magnificent cheeses was extremely interesting, and thanks to wine sommelier, Gordon Davidson, we were guided through a rollercoaster or flavours, learning how and why these pairings were so well suited.

My first wine and cheese tasting experience, I wasn't sure what to expect, especially when I don't like red wine. No.10 Bar and Restaurant went up and beyond regarding finding the right cheeses and breads to accompany the wines, and due to their outstanding attention to detail, kept guests on their toes, pushing our senses to the next level.

With five wines, cheeses and breads to indulge in, and experienced, knowledgeable staff guiding us through the flavours, we were in great hands.

Connage dairy crowdie with spelt and fig crispbread accompanied by an extremely light, almost transparent Riseling Lonely Vinyard, Eden Valley Australia, 2015

Bonnet goats cheese with olive and rocksalt bloomer accompanied with Passopisciaro, Tenuta Di Passopisciaro, Sicly, Italy, 2011.  Out of the two red wines we were served, this one was my preferred choice. 

Lock Arthur farmhouse cheddar with five seed loaf accompanied by Crozes Hermitage a  Vielles Vignes, Tardieu - Laurent, Northern Rhone, France, 2013.

Clava brie with classic french flute accompanied by The Gathering a light, refreshing Sauvignon/Semillon, The Lane, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 2012. The No.10 chefs also made a stunning homemade truffle honey to drizzle across the brie and french flute. This was one of my favourite pairings of the evening.

Last but not least was a Lanark blue cheese with spelt and honey bread accompanied by Sticky Mickey, a stunningly sweet Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Michiel Eradus, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2014. The best dessert wine I've ever tasted. Sweet and smooth, it was the definite stand out wine for me.

A big thanks to No.10 Bar and Restaurant for inviting me along, and a huge thanks to wine sommelier Gordon Davidson of Corney and Barrow Wines, as well as I. J. Mellis for the delicious cheese and The Bread Maker for the beautiful range of homemade breads we were served.

If you're interested in joining the No.10 Foodies Club and want to be the first to know about the restaurants upcoming foodie events and news then you can sign up to the club by emailing . Until the next foodies club, have a good one folks!

  For Now...

Just Julia

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Wagamama Union Square (Aberdeen): Review

With the sad news that Wagamama in the Academy Centre in Aberdeen was closing down, I had the ultimate fear that Wagamama would be no more in Aberdeen. A popular joint, I was relieved to hear that the HQ of Wagamama Aberdeen located in Union Square, Aberdeen's largest shopping and leisure centre, was stating open. Phew and phew.

A few weeks ago the general manager, Stu, connected with me on Twitter  after he'd seen online that I was a fan of the restaurant. Generously, he invited me along to try out the fast-paced Japanese cuisine Wagamama specialises in. Not one to usually visit chain restaurants (I'm all about eating local and indulging in artisan restaurants offering), Wagamama is probably one of the only chain restaurants I would actively seek out. It's freshly made dishes hitting the table as soon as they are ready, you're guaranteed to receive hot, tasty food fresh off the stove.

Of course, there was no chance I was going to pass up this offer without inviting one of my favourite Aberdeen bloggers along for the experience. Queue the entrance of the fabulous Sarah from Blogs, Vlogs, Etc. Now good friends, I'd met Sarah at my first ever Aberdeen bloggers meet up - otherwise known as #abzmeet - and decided this would be a great opportunity for us to catch up. And yes, in true Julia fashion, the boys got dragged along too.

Arriving at the restaurant, drinks were on our minds. The fresh juices at Wagamama's are really refreshing and always seem like the healthier option in my mind - whether they are or aren't is another question. A fruit juice featuring apple, orange and passionfruit and a tropical juice with mango, apple and orange were Sarah and I's drinks of choice, smooth and fresh, these lasted us the whole meal which I was rather surprised at.
For starters we shared ebi katsu, crispy fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs, served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce, garnished with lime, and the chicken steamed gyoza - five steamed chicken dumplings served grilled with a dipping sauce. Both dishes boasted plenty on the plates to share and were a nice, light, dish to begin.

A chicken katsu curry regular, I felt obliged that I needed to try something different. Pushing myself outside my comfort zone, I decided it was time for a change, enter chicken raisukaree. A mild coconut and citrus curry with chicken, mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions, served with white rice topped with a sprinkle of mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, coriander and fresh lime. My boyfriend decided on the chilli sirloin steak ramen - spicy chicken noodle soup, red onion, spring onions, beansprouts, chillies, coriander and fresh lime, topped with tender strips of sirloin steak. Both dishes were very tasty, although I'm not a massive fan of the ramen dishes purely on the basis that I'm a rice over curry and a sauce over soup kind of gal. The chicken was succulent and juicy, and the curry sauce had a light kick to it. The freshly squeezed lime juice was perfect to calm the heat of the chillies and left a refreshing taste in my mouth.

Sarah opted for the chicken ramen, noodles in a chicken soup topped with grilled chicken breast and seasonal greens, garnished with memma and spring onions. Her boyfriend chose my ultimate weakness, the chicken katzu curry - major food envy.

One to usually push my stomach to its limits, with dessert menus in hand, we had made the subconscious decision that dessert was happening. Score.
I've had the coconut reika from Wagamama's before so wanted to try something different. Toying with myself, chocolate or coconut, I turned to our waitress for advice, Chocolate it was. Chocolate fudge cake served with dark chocolate wasabi sauce and a vanilla pod ice cream to be precise. This dish I really, really enjoyed. My favourite part of it was in fact the sickly sweet icing it was encased with. Of course I didn't manage to finish it, but what I can tell you is that all of the icing was devoured in seconds. The banana lover he is, my boyfriend opted for the banana katzu. Banana deep fried in panko breadcrumbs with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream on the side, this dish got a definite thumbs up from him.

Sarah and her boyfriend decided on the passionfruit cheesecake and the mix it up mochi ice cream. A combination of coconut, raspberry and toasted sesame mochi ice cream, the little balls of ice cream were wrapped in a layer of sticky rice, came accompanied with a house sauce. Both enjoyed their dishes, however I think the texture of the mochi ice cream took Sarah by surprise!
A busy restaurant, Wagamama Aberdeen is already very popular. I know so many people who have visited the restaurant over the past few years and have always enjoyed the food and drinks. What I never hear of is people trying out different dishes, so people of Aberdeen, I dare you to go visit the restaurant soon and try out different dishes. I did, and I loved every single one of them. Let your tastebuds relish in the different tastes of Japanese cuisine and get yourself to Wagamama to try something different now - be adventurous.

   For Now...

Just Julia

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Shilling Brewing Co (Glasgow): Review

Glasgow is a city known for its passion, and rich history of brewing. It's a city which is innovative, forward-thinking and collaborative when it comes to its food and drink industry, and possesses a huge range of foodie establishments which offer up unique, artisan dishes.

Recently I discovered a new found love for craft beer, not my usual preferred tipple of choice, my tastebuds seem to be playing tricks on me, allowing me to indulge in some exciting new flavours. Maybe getting older isn't so bad after all...

With a passion for pizza and my tastebuds looking for their next foodie fix, it wasn't long until I'd sold in the idea to my boyfriend. After all Shilling Brewing Co is the new place-to-be on the Glasgow brewing front, and he does love pizza and beer - it was an easy sell really.
Previously an old bank, the eatery, which is located on 92 West George Street boasts its own in-house brewery, and is the first brewpub to don the city of Glasgow. It's also home to a coupla oven which all of the homemade pizzas are cooked in.

The beer of choice was the unicorn IPA. Named after Scotland's national animal, the IPA is unique in flavour and can be ordered in a pint, 2/3 pint or 1/3 of a pint. Perfect measures if you'd like to try out a few of their other beers too. In all honesty, I'm obsessed with unicorns, so it was always and only ever going to be the unicorn IPA, a good choice and very refreshing, the perfect pairing with a pizza.
As well as its brews, the brewery specialises in pizza and pizza alone, so if you don't like eating pizza then best stick to the beers. Actually, even if you don't like pizza, I urge you to give these bad boys a go. Legit, one of the best pizza's I've eaten in Glasgow, so much so, I'd say it's a close call between these pizza's and Paseano's pizza's for the top spot. 

I love a traditional pizza, the more toppings the better in my eyes, and if it comes lathered in BBQ sauce, then we're on to a winner. However, when you see a pizza on the menu which boasts haggis, red onion, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and chilli and Irn Bru jam (£9), you've got to try it out! The pizza was light, and left me full, not the heavy full feeling you sometimes get eating doughy foods, but the satisfied full, leaving a real positive taste in my mouth. The haggis and chilli and Irn Bru jam was phenomenal. Haggis in itself is fantastic, but that chilli and Irn Bru jam was bloody awesome, and I'd order it again, and again, and again. Haggis ft chilli and Irn Bru jam, I love you.
My boyfriend decided to keep it tradizionale (that's traditional in Italian) and ordered a pepperoni pizza featuring jalapeƱos, mozzarella, red chilli, tomato sauce and red peppers (£10). You can also build your own pizza, and add four different toppings for just £11, bargin. Armed with our own personal pizza cutters, we delved into the gourmet thin-crust pizza, fresh out of the coupla oven, putting those hunger pangs to bay. Better still, all of the pizza's are made using dough risen with brewers' yeast.
Mid pizza meltdown, I sneaked off to discover the rest of the brewery. I'd heard how impressive this place was, and that the tasting rooms and toilets were in what used to be the old bank safes. Did I believe anyone? No. Do I now believe them? Absolutely. It's definitely worth while going for a wonder round this place, you just never know what you might find...
Back to dinner, another great element to this feast was the crust dippers. Gone are the days you have to leave those poor, soulless crusts, hello the era of foodie heaven where crust dippers are a thing. Hello Shilling BBQ and aioli sauces, god damn they were good.

The most fantabulous part about my experience at Shilling Brewing Co (minus the food) was the fact I was seated right in front of a kick ass unicorn. Yeah I just made up a word, but they have a unicorn on the wall - AMAZING.
As a whole, the new brewpub is shit hot. The interiors are, as the kids now say "sick", and the pizza and beers are cracking. A great wee place to stop in for a pizza and beers with your pals, or a fab place for a casual date with your other half. Heck I'd even go as far as saying to take your parents and grandparents along, this place has something for everyone and really caters to all ages.

I will definitely be returning armed with a crowd of my friends to try out another pizza, and together we will sit staring longingly at that unicorn, dreaming of the day we can finally own if.

So if you like great pizza and you love good craft beer, be sure to pay the brewpub a visit, you won't regret it.
For Now...

Just Julia

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