Monday, 29 August 2016

Crolla’s Gelateria: Launch event (Aberdeen)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

When it comes to frozen desserts there's nothing more satisfying than a good old-school ice cream cone. From a young age, getting an ice cream was a treat, especially when the ice cream van actually decided to come past the house - which wasn't very often. Still to this day, I see visiting an ice cream shop as a real treat, and usually end up spending between 30-45 minutes in the place trying to decide what flavours to choose.

Over the past year Aberdeen has seen a number of ice cream parlours open their doors, offering up everything from unique flavours, to mammoth sized plates of perfectly baked cookie dough. However, there's one ice cream company that's moving into the city looking to offer something a little different to the market. In step Crolla's Gelateria.

A family-run ice cream company which boasts shops in both Glasgow and Wishaw, Crolla's has now officially opened it's doors in Aberdeen at 60 Rosemount Place. The first franchise to be situated North of the Central Belt, Crolla's is looking to make it's mark on the city, offering the people of Aberdeen its award-winning, authentic, homemade Italian gelato.
As the company has been producing ice cream for over 120 years, with the ice cream recipe being the family's best kept secret, you would expect this ice cream to be some of the best ice cream you'll ever taste - it is - and not only that, it's served up with a smile - something we Aberdonian's need to do more often.

Bagging myself an invite to the preview launch evening, I was excited to see what the Gelateria had to offer. On initial arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see outdoor seating. There's not many places in Aberdeen which offer this, so I was already expecting good things.

Welcomed with fizz and homemade nibbles, my initial thought was that the eatery was much bigger than anticipated. With a huge ice cream counter, ample space for seating, and it's own in-house ice cream making facility, Crolla's certainly means business.

With no clue on what flavour to try, David, one of the operations managers who was involved in the opening of the franchise, talked me through a number of the ice creams, guiding me and my boyfriend in finding our favourite flavours. I also got the chance to speak to the owner of the company which was pretty cool. Can you believe his favouirte flavour is still traditional vanilla? Go figure.

Throughout the evening we were also treated to a number of demonstrations with the cold stone from Peter Crolla Junior, managing director and the fifth generation of Crolla’s, who prepared some great ice cream concoctions by mixing up a number of flavours which unexpectedly went surprisingly well together.

The company creates over 80 different flavours of ice cream for their shops and corporate clientele. From traditional vanilla, to coconut (which I can say was my favourite), to Turkish delight (which was also extremely tasty and very sweetly fragrant), there's something for everyone, at this traditional yet forward thinking Gelateria.

What I really enjoyed learning about Crolla's is that the ice cream is made daily on-site by the chefs. The cold stone feature also allows customers to create their own ice cream flavour by mixing their favourite Gelato flavours together. The ice cream is placed on the cold stone, chopped up and mixed together to create a unique flavour of choosing.

The eatery also offers sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, frozen drinks, Italian coffees and a number of homemade sandwiches. You can also get your hands on some wonderful waffles and other warm desserts too. Crolla's also plans to offer a delivery service very soon, which will ensure that those who can't travel very far, can still experience a taste of Crolla's.

An experience I hope to be re-visiting again soon, Crolla's is a must try if you're an ice cream fiend like me. All I can advise is go for the three scoops, you won't regret it.*

*until the next morning. But hey, Summer is almost over which means it's almost #christmasbulking season!

   For Now...

Just Julia


Thursday, 25 August 2016

My top #Nationalburgerday Aberdeen picks

Ah National Burger Day, oh how I welcome you with open arms. Burgers, my one true kryptonite adding many the inch to my waist line since 1992. Since winning a competition at McDonald's at the young age of seven - I had to colour in a picture and bagged myself a serious My Little Pony haul, I have loved these juicy, delicious, lip-smackingly beautiful creations for as long as I can remember. 
With today marking one of the most important dates in the diary, #NationalBurgerDay, there was no chance I was missing out the opportunity to scream and shout about my favourite burger restaurants.

So, as expected, it was only right that I did a round up of my top three places to bag a burger, with another few special restaurants listed at the end too. Also, although it's top secret (sort of) you'll get a rough idea of when Five Guys is opening in Aberdeen too - I know, I can't wait either. 

So butter your buns and get your sauces at the ready, you're in for a beefy ride.

If you live in Aberdeen and haven't herd of these guys then I'm sorry, but we can't be pals. One of my favourite places to head for a burger, The Boozy Cow has brought some funk to the burger scene, opening the city of Aberdeen up to the weird and wonderful when it comes to burger toppings. From ice cream to crispy maple cured streaky bacon, you've gotta try 'em out. And with their ethos being very much focused on eating with your fingers, it's a fun, cool place to enjoy really bangin' food.

If you're feeling super peckish though, be sure to leave some space for dessert, their milkshakes are heaven!

What more does any burger restaurant need than good old Angus beef accompanied with a thirst-quenching pint of beer. With the beef dry aged on the bone for 28 days these burgers are seriously juicy. A definite must try is the Tim'rous Beastie (£11.50), with beef, haggis, mustard mayonnaise coleslaw, neep chutney, lettuce and tomato, it's right Scottish so it is. Best of all, all their burgers are 100% Angus bull!

Oh Maggie, well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking, and I need you today, oh Maggie.

One of Aberdeen's best soul food restaurants, Maggie's Grill knows how to leave guests licking their fingers on the hunt to eat every last morsel. With it's field to fork ethos and every dish made with real soul, these guys have nailed their burger offering, never mind the rest of their pretty epic menu.

With a cool 'pimp my burger' feature on the menu, it's no wonder these guys made it on my list for Aberdeen's best burgers. With hush puppies and fried pickles to accompany, you'll be rolling out the door fully satisfied.

Coming soon...Five Guys:
Coming to Aberdeen this October, I just had to include these guys in my #NationalBurgerDay post. Yes ok they're a chain, and yes ok they're slightly over priced, but my lord they taste deeelicious. 

I don't know if it's the fries which are fried in peanut oil, or if it's the two mouth-watering burger patties that make my stomach growl with content when I think about burgers, but Five Guys is a must for a quick bite to eat. A posh version of Burger King really, with an awesome soda machine which features every flavour of soda you can imagine. Raspberry Fanta you say? No problem.

Of course, this list could potentially be never ending with my track record of trying out A LOT of burgers in Aberdeen over the past few years. I've decided to pull together some of my other top picks that you're guaranteed to love just as much as I do. My must tries also include; The Adelphi Kitchen, Cue Barbecue, 99 Bar & Kitchen, Musa, Rye & Soda, The Bieldside Inn, Malmaison and The Chester. There's also a shit load of chain restaurants too, but screw 'em, go support local and try out something new.

Happy #NationalBurgerDay ya'll may the burgers be with you!

For Now...

Just Julia


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Banchory Beer Festival: Review (Aberdeen)

Yichty hoo here we go! Another month and another beer festival, oh Scotland, how I love you. After writing my top things to try out at Banchory Beer Festival, I was a determined wee soul in trying to at least tick a number of my top picks off of the list. Boy it was much more challenging than I had thought. Getting caught up in the beery atmosphere on Saturday evening, it was a case of 'let's just try everything' or as the cool kids would say, a case of YOLO, when it came to trying out different drinks. The festival was busy, real busy, not busy like Christmas sales 'I want to kill myself' busy, but a good busy. I'd never been to the summer Banchory Beer Festival, it looked awesome, the bands playing sounded pretty rad, and there was a good variety of food and drink available. Yes, I was excited, especially when the drinks tents look  like a god damn circus. Oh alcohol, come at me.

The gin game was strong at the festival, so picking my first drink was extremely difficult. Committing to a Little Bird (41.6% ABV) gin with hint o' mint lemonade, my sister opted for a Stirling Gin (43% ABV) with Summerhouse Drinks raspberry lemonade. We were pretty pleased with our first beverages of the festival, so much so that immediately after  I decided to jump on to the Stirling Gin band wagon, also joining the raspberry lemonade club too - delicious. After, I wanted to try out the new Persie zesty citrus gin (42% ABV) which I had heard so much about. Pairing it with Walter Gregor tonic, Scotland's first tonic water, I wanted to ensure that the mixer wouldn't corrupt the flavour of the gin. Extremely refreshing I rather enjoyed this tipple. A good marriage of citrus zest and crisp tonic. I also tried out the Warner Edwards Elderflower gin (40% ABV) and the Shropshire Spirits Salopian Gin (40% ABV) too. Sadly I completely forgot to try out Aberdeenshire's latest gin, Esker Gin (42% ABV), but there's always the Inverurie festival!

The rum on offer was local rum distillers, Dark Matter (40% ABV). A spiced rum with a beautiful heat on it, I rave about this rum to everyone I meet. Not only because it's the only Scottish rum to ever have been distilled, but because it boasts rad flavours which settle beautifully on the tongue. Best paired with ginger beer or Summerhouse Drinks hint o'mint lemonade, it comes very well recommended.
First stop for food was undoubtedly going to be The Bay on the Road. There was only ever one thing which would accompany my multiple rums and gins, and that was the best god damn fish and chips the North-east, and this incredible nation has ever experienced. Ordering a mini fish and chips each, with a fresh lemon wedge and a healthy dollop of The Bay's homemade tartare sauce, dinner was served. I've been pals with Calum Richardson, the owner of The Bay Fish and Chips for a number of years, so it was no surprise we caught up, gossiping about everything and anything. Btw, that fish and chips was bangin'. If you've never visited the shop in Stonehaven go right now.
I have a great relationship with my sister, she's my best friend and the one person I turn to for advice. She is my rock, and although she's my younger sibling, I literally pester her about all of my life mishaps. Poor gal didn't know what she was getting into all those years ago. Tbh she should have known when I kept stealing all of her dummies what the future would hold.

So in true sisterly fashion I tagged her along for some big drinks and some kick ass food.  Afterall she's put up with me for over twenty years so she deserves a boozy treat, and the fact she's a belter of a laugh and loves a drink, I just had to invite her.  (If you follow me on Snapchat, you would have seen how much fun we had at the festival...far too much!)

The festival was really busy, with lots of people going around sampling the different food and drink on offer.
As the sun started to set, we headed back into the tent - purely for more drinks obviously, turning to the beer and cider tent. Two Thistly Cross strawberry ciders it was. I adore this cider and have been a big fan of these guys for the past few years. The Elderflower cider is also a favourite and their freshly pressed apple juice is top notch!

Moving on to beer, I turned to the only brewery which I know that I actually enjoy their beers, Fierce Beer. Since beginning to work with these guys last month, the new micro-brewery has really impressed me with their pack-a-punch of flavour brews. I'm really not a massive fan of beer, but their craft beers are unlike any beer I've tried, and I really, really like them. The Cranachan Killer and Lemmy 'Avit were brilliant, really refreshing and great to drink whilst jiving away to Skipinnish - my favourite band of the night.

There were some great acts on throughout the festival and I'm gutted I didn't manage to see them all. Skipnnish was a highlight though, those guys sure know how to get a party started.
A little boozy and full of beery goodness, it was time for us to part ways with the Banchory Beer Festival. A great success in my eyes, we had a cracking time trying new gins and juices. Of course we couldn't leave without checking in with our favoutie Tex-Mex heroes, FreshMex. Chicken burrito in hand with homemade salsa and guacamole as well as a lashing of sour cream, lettuce and a sprinkling of cheese, we said our farewells to Banchory for the evening and disappeared into the night wondering who was going to get the first bite.
Big thanks to organisers Mungo and Guy Finlayson for inviting me along. Brilliant event, great crowd and a fab food and drink offering. Keep up the good work guys, I'll definitely be back!

   For Now...

Just Julia

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The scrub of your life: Teal Anchor (Review)

Pampering and relaxation has never been high on the priority list for me. Gone are the days I would lather my skin in my grandma’s Nivea cream, or mix every bath and shower gel she had together to create my own special beauty remedy.

I'm the one that still use makeup wipes and soap to take my makeup off. And yes, I can hear you screaming from here...

When Teal Anchor, a new Aberdeen body scrub company approached me to try out their products, I was really excited to try get myself back into a routine pampering my skin with high quality products, the way it should be treated.

Ok yes, I’ll admit it, the first few times I had set out to try the scrubs I kept forgetting to take the darn things in with me. I’m a 100mph kind of gal, and it wasn’t until I had soaked my hair, that I’d remember about the scrubs. Pre-planning the morning ahead one night, scrub in place on the shower shelf, I was ready.

With six core scents in the range, featuring mint, lavender, black pepper, grapefruit, vanilla and tea tree, I had asked for a few different samples to try out to ensure I was getting to full Teal Anchor experience.  The scrubs all smelled very strong, and it was very easy to distinguish which smell was which. The jars the scrubs were presented in were lovely, and would make the perfect jars for holding trinkets or even homemade jams/marmalades – providing you washed them out thoroughly enough. They also came with a cute wee wooden spoon. As there is coconut oil in the mixture, it has the tendency to harden. The wooden spoon allows you to mix up the scrub, ensuring you can use it time and time again.

I decided the best way to apply the scrubs would be after I’d wet my skin. Scooping out a small handful of the mint scrub I began to scrub away. The sugar and oil based scrub was very gritty initially, as you would expect, and took a wee bit to take to my skin properly. I don’t know if it was because I was a ‘scrubbing’ beginner, but a little bit did not seem to go a long way.

On the second time sampling the scrubs, I decided to wet the product a little ahead of using it for the rest of my body, again I used the mint scrub. I found it to go on much easier this time and I didn’t waste so much of the product. It was easier to apply and was overall a much more pleasant experience. I spent time really massaging the product into my skin to ensure it could benefit from the natural ingredients within the scrub.

I'm not going to lie, I made a bit of a mess in the shower with the product, but it was fun to use and was easy to wash away.

With different variations of fine or thicker sugar available on request, and the ability to customise any of the scents to different colours, the team at Teal Anchor goes the extra mile for their customers.

I found that pat drying my skin with a towel left my skin feeling smooth and allowed my skin to absorb the products moisturising elements. As the scrub is oil based, my skin was a little oily afterwards, however, it wasn't bad and I knew it would be soaked up in no time.

I was also told that I could eat the scrubs, however, I wouldn't recommend it. Organic the scrubs may be, if you're going to eat one, or at least try tasting one, steer well clear of the lavender flavour...
The scrubs feature all natural ingredients, are vegan, and are homemade. With the core ingredients featuring sugar, coconut oil, green tea, sweet almond oil, and natural colouring, these scrubs are perfect for all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, I would definitely recommend getting the fine grain sugar for your scrubs, as this is less likely to irritate your skin.

I’m still a little unsure about the whole ‘scrubbing’ etiquette thing, but overall the products seem pretty cool. The brand’s ethos is nice and the two owners, Gillian Paterson and Sarah Marwick really seem to know their shit. They even handed me an information pack, showcasing promising plans for the business. I’m excited to see how they get on and look forward to seeing new scents and new products hitting their online shops shelves.

All of the scrubs are handmade to order. They are also available in refill packs for £9, meaning you can recycle your scrub jars too. All of the refill packs also come in recyclable paper packs. It is recommended to apply the scrubs 2-3 times a week for optimum results.

Teal Anchor was established in May 2016, and is available online from

Fancy trying the scrubs out for yourself? Use my 20% discount code for your first purchase. Enter 'JUST JULIA' at the checkout.

   For Now...

Just Julia


Monday, 15 August 2016

Blogger Sleepover: SKENE HOUSE APARTMENTS (Aberdeen)

There’s nothing quite like making an entrance. And making an entrance is what I do best.

Of course in true Julia fashion, I was rushing around town running errands before heading along to my first bloggers sleepover. “It’ll only take 20 minutes”, as if. Twenty minutes later and I was more stressed than I had been before initially setting off to execute my errands. It was one of those days.

Arriving at Skene House Apartments in Rosemount, I was greeted by a grand security gate whilst gaining access to the private parking the establishment boasts. An unusual benefit for city centre apartments and hotels, we were off to a pretty good start. Well Skene House Apartments was, me, not so much.

After a quick pop-in to reception, key card in hand, I rushed to our suite. Scaling the stairs at high speed I decided to deck myself half way up, and when I say deck myself I'm talking about now rocking a bruise the size of Usain Bolt's running shoe. Owch was an understatement. As a result of the commotion I'd caused at the stairs just before our suites landing, the relief I had when our host, Sarah from Blogs, Vlogs, Etc, popped her head out of our apartment to come help me up was welcomed. Gathering up all my unnecessary shit (that does not include the cupcakes and prosecco I had in my hand) we headed to our sanctuary for the evening.

The four star suite was much larger than I had anticipated. With three spacious rooms, a large separate kitchen, two bathrooms and a lounge area big enough to seat nine people, there was plenty space for the five of us to relax and hang out. Happy days.

Late (which I never am usually to things like this), I arrived just as the Body 'N’ Sol team kicked off their beauty pampering regimes. Sarah was getting her lashes tinted, Catherine her eyebrows done, and myself, Hannah and Laura opted for some on fleek gelish nails. I went for the Hello Merlot (red), Laura the Deep Sea (blue) and Hannah the My Nightly Craving (black) colours.

Popping the prosecco, we were then treated to a mini Stella & Dot party from style consultant, Roz. Learning all about next seasons trends and getting top tips on how to style the different pieces of jewellery. I was a big fan of the back to front, wear it a gazillion ways multi-metal necklace. It was pretty bad ass and would look bangin’ styled with a backless jumpsuit or dress. Chatting away and getting lost in conversation, time ticked away and the bubbles were flowing. It was now 9.30pm and my stomach was growling. Time for food.
We opted on getting a takeaway (what girls night doesn’t involve a takeaway with shit loads of sweet treats) and turned to Deliveroo Aberdeen.  Having only used the Glasgow service before I was raving about how amazing it was. Boy was I about to eat my words. An hour and a half later, three phone calls to London and three orders later, our Deliveroo had arrived - eating your dinner at 11.15pm is not ideal. Doughnuts consumed, it was soon time to hit the hay and check out our bedrooms.
Buddying up, I shared a room with the lovely Katherine of Katherine Elizabeth Official. A new blogging pal, it was nice to get to find out more about her and hear all about her exciting holiday along the West Coast. The bed was comfy, the room was quiet, and to top things off there was a sink in my room – who would have thought a sink in your room would prove so handy. Late nigh flossing y'all.

The bathrooms in the suite was pretty lavish in comparison to the other rooms in the apartment, with Scottish Fine Soaps lotions and a huge, beautiful lighted mirror which boasted the ultimate selfie light. The shower was really good for an apartment and there was a lot of space in the bathrooms. ensuring you never felt claustrophobic which was very enjoyable.

Up and at it like the early bird catching a worm, breakfast was on all of our minds. Sadly poor Hannah from Granite CityGirl had left earlier in the morning due to work commitments, so I’d promised her I would make up for her not making breakfast. Did someone say second breakfast? We'd been gossiping all night about our days at University together and I quizzed Aberdeen's makeup guru about my skin care regime. Lots learned.

Getting prim and proper for breakfast we made our way over to the central building where breakfast is always served. It was busy, but not overwhelmingly busy. There were various different types of groups including, families, couples, friends and singles.

Breakfast consisted of a continental offering with the option of a few hot dishes at an extra charge.  I love how the Scandinavians and the Europeans do breakfast so the continental selection was perfect for me featuring numerours mixed meats and cheeses,  accompanied with different flavours of breads and croissants. Breakfast was to quickly become the breakfast of champions when Laura of The Floral Elephant presented us all with a mountain of pain au chocolat. UGH, HEAVEN.
Eyes bigger than our stomachs we all managed to hoover up one of Cupcakes by Jo’s delicious cupcakes which she had kindly gifted us for our sleepover. If you haven’t tried these cupcakes then get after it.  Hands down Jo makes some of the best cupcakes in Scotland. Treat those deprived tastebuds god dammit!
Overall my stay at Skene House Apartments on Rosemount was extremely pleasant and I had the best time catching up with my blogger pals. The staff were all very lovely and helpful, and the room was clean, tidy and spacious, perfect for a girls weekend away. As an added extra, our host, Sarah, had went the extra mile and presented us with these cute photo frames with out blog names in them, super cute!
A huge, massive, ginormous thank you to the beautiful Sarah who did a smashing job at organising the event and inviting me along. I will definitely be recommending the apartments for a twist on a girls night out in Aberdeen, and look forward to hopefully visiting the other two locations across Aberdeen. Big shout out to all the girls at the event, I had an awesome time with you guys and can't wait to do it all over again - but this time, let's order from somewhere else! And heck, you can't argue with that view either, another reason Skene House Apartments Rosemount is a must stay.

    For Now…

Just Julia
© Just Julia

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