Sunday Summary #131

29.6.14

131ss1
131ss2
131ss3
1.Jo Malone garden party 2.Cocktails 3.Burger 4.And dessert at The Blackbird 5.Dinner at The Filling Station 6.Saturday night's outfit

Once again, this week seems to have been entirely filled with food and drink. Oops. Eating is clearly my only hobby. On Wednesday I headed along to the Redhall Walled Garden for the opening of the new herb garden with Jo Malone. I spent rather a lot of time hovering around the afternoon tea table - it was too good not to have seconds (and thirds and fourths!). The afternoon tea was made by Three Sister Bake, and I'm now trying to dream up an excuse for a party which requires catering because I nnneeeeeddd more of those cakes. Keep your eyes peeled for a post about the garden party soon!

After the event, Laura, Jenn and I met up for a long overdue catch up at The Blackbird. As always, our evening was filled with cocktails, burgers and plenty of gossip. We finished the night off with some desserts and a big pitcher of Pimms. Yum. Then on Thursday evening I made my way to The Filling Station's newly reopened Royal Mile restaurant with some blogging chums. We enjoyed a three course meal (so much foooood) and a couple of cocktails, look out for a post on this soon too.

This weekend it was Lynsey's birthday, so on Saturday evening I headed through to Glasgow to help her celebrate. And by "help her celebrate" what I really mean is Laura and I drank far too much wine then made the last train home with less than a minute to spare because we were on a very important Burger King-related mission. Happy birthday Lynsey! As always, it was lovely to catch up with the Glasgow ladies but my poor little head is not thanking me for all that wine consumption. Is it too early to order a takeaway yet..?

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Kimono + Sheriff & Cherry Sunglasses Giveaway

28.6.14

sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 4
sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 5
sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 7
sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 2
sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 6
sheriff and cherry sunglasses outfit giveaway 1
Kimono · H&M
Top · New Look
Trousers · Primark
Necklace · Ginger Pickle
Sunglasses · Sheriff & Cherry*
Shoes · Dorothy Perkins

So, I really love kimonos. And I love bright colours and cropped trousers and bold prints, but I'm not convinced any of these things love me. I love the idea of this outfit but I can't help but feel it's a bit unflattering on me. Oh well, gotta have a break from the skater dresses once in a while right?

One thing I definitely do love about this outfit, though, is the sunglasses. Aren't they just beaut? Sunglasses Shop got in touch recently to see if I'd like to review a pair of sunglasses, and with the sun finally starting to make an appearance it seemed like perfect timing. I mentioned that I liked Wayfarer style glasses and the lovely Jess suggested I try out these Sheriff & Cherry frames. I don't think I could've picked a better pair myself, they are the perfect shape for me! I love that they're kind of a mix between Wayfarers and 50s style cat eye glasses which I've always wanted but never thought I'd be able to pull off - these just have a very subtle cat eye shape so aren't too daunting to wear. I really like the leopard print too, something a little bit different to the usual tortoiseshell patterns!

So, do you fancy winning your very own pair of Sheriff & Cherry sunglasses? Of course you do! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance. All you need to do is follow via Bloglovin, give Sunglasses Shop a wee like on Facebook, and then leave a comment telling me which pair of Sheriff & Cherry glasses you'd like to win (check out the full S&C range at Sunglasses Shop here). The giveaway will be open for 2 weeks (until midnight on Saturday 12th July) so get entering now to bag yourself some new glasses in time for your summer holidays! P.S. all three entry options are mandatory, your entry will be invalid if all three are not completed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gillian x

Mixtape: June

26.6.14


June Mixtape · via Spotify

I know I featured Lana Del Rey in last month's mixtape, but with her new album just out I couldn't help but include her on this month's one too. I loveee herrrrr. I want to beeee herrrrr. The whole album is pretty dreamy and I think Money Power Glory might be my favourite track. I'm surprised the neighbours haven't yet complained about me singing (ahem, screeching) the GLORRRRYYYYYY part to myself several times a day for the past week.

The new First Aid Kit album came out recently too, and it's well worth a listen if you like singer-songwriter/acoustic/folksy sort of music. I've also just discovered First Aid Kit have recorded a few songs on an album with Conor Oberst (of the teenage melancholy dream that is Bright Eyes) so I'm off to give that a listen as soon as I've finished writing this post - expect to see that in next month's mixtape!

The rest are either old favourite or songs I've heard on the soundtracks of films/TV shows. Those two categories seem to by my main way of choosing what music to listen to these days!

Twin Atlantic · Heart and Soul
First Aid Kit · Silver Lining
Pretenders · Brass in Pocket
Lana Del Rey · Money Power Glory
Jimi Hendrix · All Along the Watchtower
Dios (Malos) · You Got Me All Wrong
Tears For Fears · Head Over Heels
Kat Edmonson · Lucky
Garbage · It's All Over But the Crying
Adele · Someone Like You
Listen to "June" here.

What have you been listening to this month?

Gillian x

Watching Lately #10

25.6.14


It has been quite a while since my last Watching Lately post and I've watched quite a lot of stuff since then so, errrm, prepare yourself. I'll try and keep these mini-reviews as short and sweet as possible so we're not here all day!

1. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
I've been meaning to watch this for years (literally) and I'm so glad I finally got round to it. SO GOOD. Out of all the many TV shows I've marathoned, I've never devoured one so quickly and obsessively as this. Nine seasons in two and a half weeks... it's a skill. The show follows four self-involved, narcissistic, arrogant, immoral friends (and Danny DeVito) who own a run-down bar in Philadelphia. They're terrible people but you can't help but love them and their ridiculous, mundane exploits. The humour is pretty non-politically correct, but it's more than witty enough to pull it off. Hilarious. If you only watch one thing from this post, make it It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia! I love all the characters, but Charlie has to be my favourite (I just about cried laughing at this scene and then immediately made it my Tinder bio. Thanks Charlie).

2. Episodes
I love Episodes. It's easy to watch, funny and pretty different to most other TV shows around. Series 3 just finished showing on the BBC, but you can catch up with the first 2 seasons on Netflix. British couple Beverly and Sean (Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan) have a successful and much loved TV show which gets bought by a Hollywood network and they have to travel to LA to re-write the show for an American audience. Their charming programme soon gets ripped to shreds and becomes a typical high school sports comedy with Matt LeBlanc horribly mis-cast in the lead role. I love Matt LeBlanc playing himself (albeit a very fictionalised version) in this and the humour is dry and witty throughout.

3. Short Poppies
Starring Rhys Darby in most of the major roles, Short Poppies is a mockumentary series which follows journalist David Farrier on his quest to find the real, small-town heart of New Zealand. Think of it as Flight of the Conchords meets Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. This wasn't quite as funny as I had hoped it would be, but it was nicely understated with funny moments here and there, and Rhys Darby was adept at single-handedly creating a cast of bizzare but loveable weirdos. Good as something to watch in the background whilst you're eating your dinner or whatever, but not something I'd go out of my way to watch again.

4. Whatever It Takes
I was pretty confident I had watched every single late 90s/early 00s teen movie ever made, but then I stumbled across Whatever It Takes on Netflix one evening. This was a fairly generic boy-fancies-girl, girl-doesn't-fancy-boy, boy-does-everything-to-get-her, then-boy-falls-in-love-with-his-best-friend-instead kind of story. Nothing special but I love teen movies way more than I should, plus the cast was pretty great - a very young James Franco, Aaron Paul AND Colin Hanks? Hiya. Not the best film I've ever seen, but an enjoyable hour and a half nonetheless.

5. Hysteria
You wouldn't think a story about how the vibrator was invented (all in the name of medical science, of course) would make a particularly good rom-com, but I kind of loved Hysteria. A little bit period drama, a little bit romantic comedy - but not too much of either. It didn't take itself too seriously and was a pretty fun and lighthearted watch. Young doctor Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) develops a device for the treatment of "hysteria" for the well-to-do ladies of Victorian London, at the same time as falling in love with his boss's daughter. I also now fancy Hugh Dancy a lot and would, errrm, let him treat me for hysteria any day. Only with those dodgy Victorian sideburns though. Swoon.

6. The Giant Mechanical Man
Aside from being unable to get over the fact that it was DANNY CASTELLANO and PAM BEESLY in the romantic lead roles, I really loved this little film. It was one of those "offbeat indie romantic dramas" which was sweet without being sickly. The film followed Janice and Tim, two thirty-somethings having a bit of a mid-life crisis. Both are just drifting along, not really sure what they're supposed to be doing with their lives when by chance they end up working at the same place and become friends. The storyline and characters felt genuine and relatable, and the inevitable happy ending didn't feel at all forced. A lovely little film to watch, especially if you're feeling a bit lost.

Oh and before I go, a very quick mention for Orange is the New Black and Fargo. I've mentioned them both in previous posts (here and here) so I won't say too much, but I have been watching both avidly and they are brilliant!

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #130

22.6.14

130ss1
130ss2
1.Sunshine 2.New sunglasses 3.Strawberries 4.Sunday morning

Sorry to shatter any illusions you may have had that I lead an exciting life, but this week I have done literally nothing of note. Life has mostly been filled with work, trips to the Post Office to send off Ebay stuff, and a wee bit of online shopping. I bought a new duvet cover from Debenhams (Accessorize Folksy Set) which I loooooove, and I am now using brand new sheets as a good excuse to spend the whole of Sunday lounging in my bed. I also ordered a few things from Lookfantastic, including the Alpha H Liquid Gold which I have been meaning to try for years. I've only been using it for a few days, but I think I really like it!

I have been enjoying the sunny weather this week but it is, dare I say it, a little too hot for me. I know, I know, it's like 23 degrees! I am pathetic. I've always been much more of a winter person, and luckily this is about as summery as Scotland ever gets. I do love summer evenings though, when it's warm enough to sit out in a beer garden and it doesn't get dark until nearly midnight. Bliss. The other day, Sunglasses Shop sent me a lovely pair of Sheriff & Cherry* sunglasses to help me cope with the summer, and I couldn't have picked a better pair myself.

The next couple of weeks look like they're going to be a bit more exciting, with birthday parties, blogger events, and a wee trip to the Highlands with the family, but for now I think it's back to Netflix and replying to emails. Seriously, I would pay someone good money to reply to my emails for me - most boring task ever!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

New Hair: Dean Jones Hairdressing

18.6.14

dean jones hairdressing edinburgh review 1
dean jones hairdressing edinburgh review 3
dean jones hairdressing edinburgh review 5
dean jones hairdressing edinburgh review 4
dean jones hairdressing edinburgh review 2

AAAHHH all my hair is gone! I had been thinking about going for the chop for a while, so when an invite to pop along and try out Dean Jones Hairdressing appeared in my inbox I decided it must be fate and bit the bullet. I booked myself an appointment for Friday evening and, after a lot of Pinteresting and swooning over Fearne Cotton's hair, I decided that it was indeed a bob I wanted.

I headed over to the new salon on Elm Row - which is looking lovely and leafy at this time of year - and had a chat with Dean himself about what I wanted to do with my hair. After flicking through a couple of magazines and looking at a few different styles, we agreed that a long layered bob just below the collarbone would be best. I was reassured that Dean took the time to talk through what I wanted rather than just start snipping away, there's nothing worse than when a hairdresser doesn't listen to what you want and you end up hating your new style! I mentioned that I kept getting fed up of growing my fringe out, plus I wanted to be able to do more effortless bedhead/messy curls kinda styles, so Dean suggested a layered cut would work well with my hair.

As you can see, the results speak for themselves! I'm so pleased with the new cut and my hair feels much bouncier now. Before, my hair was verrrry long, straight and all one length (here's an Instagram picture for reference) which, coupled with my thick hair, made it feel very heavy and boring, and there was never any volume at the roots. Now it feels much more volumised, at the same time as being much lighter, and it looks great straightened or blow-dried (although my blow-drying skills are nowhere near as good as Dean's!). I'm yet to try curling it, but this weekend I'll do a bit of experimenting. I'm imagining that it'll look great with some salt spray and loose beachy waves.

Dean has years of experience in the industry and it really shows; not only is he great at cutting hair, but he was fantastic at talking me through what he was doing, how to deal with the style afterwards and just generally putting me at ease whilst over a year's worth of hair was chopped off. The new salon has only been open for a couple of months so everything is looking lovely and shiny and new. The salon feels really relaxed, bright and airy, like a quiet little getaway even though it's just a couple of minutes from Princes Street. The staff were all lovely and welcoming, and it was great to chat to Dean about the salon, blogging and everything inbetween whilst I was getting my hair cut.

When my hair was long, I didn't really have a particular hairdresser that I kept going back to as I only ever got my hair cut once in a (very) blue moon. But now that it's shorter, and I want to keep it that way, I'll definitely be heading back to Dean Jones Hairdressing next time I need a trim. If you're in Edinburgh and looking for a new hairdresser, I can't recommend Dean enough! You can also keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #129

15.6.14

129ss1
129ss2
129ss3
1.A very un-Gillian outfit 2.Food and cocktails at The Filling Station 3.Mango daiquiri 4.New hair! 5.G is for gin 6.Sunday reading

I was planning on getting up at a reasonable time today and being productive. The flat needs tidied, washing needs done, food shopping needs ordered, blog posts need written... but it's after 1 o'clock and I'm still lounging in my bed. Oh well. Aside from a couple of drinks last night at the pub, this weekend has been pretty quiet which has been nice. It feels like I haven't had a weekend to myself to do absolutely nothing for aaagggeeess. I'm sure I'll have to get round to doing my chores at some point today, but a couple more hours of reading my book won't hurt, right?

You might notice my hair is looking a little bit different...! I've been thinking about getting it cut shorter for ages, so when I was invited along to Dean Jones Hairdressing for a complimentary cut and blow dry, I decided to be brave and go for the chop. I'm so happy with the results, can't stop swishing around! I'll be writing up a full post on the salon and my new 'do next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Earlier in the week I headed along to the Filling Station at the Omni Centre with a few other blogging babes for a cocktail masterclass. We were greeted with some huge platters of food on arrival, and throughout the evening got to watch cocktail experts at work, make our own concoctions and, of course, drink plenty of cocktails too! Once again, there will be a full post on this coming soon. The Royal Mile branch of the Filling Station is opening up again at the end of the month after a refurbishment, so I'm looking forward to heading along then to sample more of the menu. As I'm sure you'll all know by now, cocktails and burgers are very relevant to my interests.

Speaking of cocktails and such, the lovely people at Gloworm (find out more about them in my Gloworm Drinks post) are running a little competition for World Gin Day, which was yesterday. Just upload a picture of your favourite gin on Instagram, tag it with #ginstagram and @glowormdrinks and you could win youself and 4 friends a gin masterclass at 56 North. Yay! Find out more here.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Crabtree & Evelyn: Handy Tips Handed Down

13.6.14

crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 4
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 1
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 6
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 2
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 3
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 7
crabtree and evelyn handy tips event 5

If you're anything like me, Crabtree & Evelyn is probably a name you're familiar with, but not really a brand you include as a regular part of your beauty routine. I was always under the impression that Crabtree & Evelyn were a bit mumsy and I never really thought about looking into their products in more detail. But recently I was invited along to an event at their Edinburgh Hanover Street store, and I thought it was high time I found out just what Crabtree & Evelyn had to offer. As part of the Handy Tips Handed Down campaign, we had to think up some beauty tips passed down to us by friends and family then stick them up on the tree so everyone could share their beauty secrets. Next time you're in a Crabtree & Evelyn store, add your tip to the tree and get yourself a free £5 voucher to spend. And also, the summer sale starts today so you can get up to 70% off lots of lovely products. Yay!

In addition to the more traditional products and scents, Crabtree & Evelyn have a whole range of newer and more modern lotions and potions to keep your hands nice and soft. There are hand creams, scrubs, soaps and nail care products galore, with lots of lovely fruity and botanical flavours like Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed, Citron, Honey & Coriander and Pear & Pink Magnolia. There are also more classic options like Lily of the Valley or Lavendar, and much to my surprise the Rosewater scented products ended up being my favourite ones. I usually prefer fresher, fruitier scents, but something about this rose one just really took my fancy. At the event, I tested out the Crabtree & Evelyn 3 Step System for taking care of your hands. I started off with some of the Rosewater Conditioning Hand Wash to clean my mitts, then followed it up with some Rosewater Hand Recovery Scrub to exfoliate, then finally the Rosewater Hand Therapy to moisturise. My hands felt SO soft afterwards, couldn't stop stroking them like a total creep!

Before going to the event, I had no idea Crabtree & Evelyn did nail varnish (although it definitely makes sense as they're specialists in hand and nail care!) and lip butters and tints. Oh and they also do food. FOOD! Just look how beautiful the packaging is for those biscuit tins, swoon. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of products on offer, so much more than just hand cream like I had always assumed! Saying that, the hand creams are pretty great so it's no wonder that's what Crabtree & Evelyn are famous for. I've never really thought of myself as having dry hands, but I got a Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed Hand Therapy in my goody bag and I've been using it religiously for the last couple of weeks; my hands feel so much softer now. It's the perfect little size for keeping by your bedside table or throwing in your handbag to use as and when you need it. Thumbs up!

Are you a fan of Crabtree & Evelyn? Any handy little tips to share?

Gillian x

Reading Lately #3

10.6.14



1. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
My mum has been telling me to read some Kate Atkinson books for years but I have, of course, been ignoring her. After watching (and really enjoying) the Case Histories adaptations on TV last year, I decided that she might actually be right - but rather than starting with a Jackson Brodie novel I opted for Life After Life instead. The novel begins with a baby being stillborn, cheery right? Then you turn the page and the baby is born again, but this time it lives. The story follows baby Ursula as she grows up but rather than having a normal childhood she is plagued with bouts of deja vu and hazy, unexplainable memories as, it turns out, each time she dies she is reborn again (oh yeah, she dies a lot - drowning, falling off a roof, being bombed in the Blitz and Spanish flu to name a few). Sounds a bit complicated, but it's not - think of it sort of as a cross between The Butterfly Effect and Groundhog Day, but set throughout the early 20th century and, you know, better. I liked that this was a fairly bleak novel; even when Ursula was born for the second, third, fourth time and her life took a slightly different path, none of her "lives" really had a happy ending. I started to lose interest about half way through when she suddenly became part of Hitler's inner circle (what are the CHANCES? but I suppose that's kind of the point of the novel), but luckily it soon veered back to concentrating on her personal life rather than how she could've stopped the Second World War. By the end, you're left not really knowing which was the real timeline (or, if there were any timelines at all, maybe when she was born the first time she died and that was that) which lets you make up your own mind. Overall I thought it was nicely written and I love "what if" sort of stories, would definitely recommend it.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I started reading this book with a very cynical attitude; I wasn't expecting to like it. I felt I would definitely be too old for it, especially as I was never really a big fan of the "young adult" genre, even when I was a teenager. But I wanted something quick and easy to read that I could finish in a day, and I had heard lots of people recommending Eleanor & Park, so decided to give it a go. And oh my lorrrrrd, did this win me over. Throughout the first quarter of the book I remained all frowny-grumpy-why-am-I-reading-this, but then suddenly I just got sucked in and it seemed as if the novel was describing exactly how I felt when I was fifteen. Set in 1980s Nebraska, the novel begins with Eleanor, a new kid at school, ending up sitting next to Park on the bus on her first day. They're both outcasts, in different ways, and over time they start to become friends. And then more than friends. This novel did such a good job of capturing exactly what love feels like when you're fifteen; it's all-consuming and thrilling and so unbelievably important but at the same time you kind of know it's temporary. I also loved how there was such a strong focus on music throughout the novel. Isn't it funny how the bands you like entirely define who you are when you're fifteen, but ten years later it barely matters? By the end of the book I was crying buckets, and then when I finished it I immediately dug out my journals from when I was 15/16 and wallowed in self-pity for a few hours. Brilliant.

3. The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
The Basic Eight is written in the form of a diary, telling of the events during senior year at high school which lead to the demise of narrator Flannery Culp and her group of friends, "the Basic Eight". At the beginning, it is made clear that Flan has been accused of murder as part of a satanic cult, and her diaries (which she has gone back and edited for "clarity" - hello unreliable narrator!) are her attempt to set out exactly what happened. It's all very Secret History-esque. I started reading this months and months ago but abandoned it half way through because the characters were just so unbelievably annoying (they regularly hold exclusive dinner parties, have a breakfast club at school where they listen to opera, and so on) and the story was pretty slow moving with endless accounts of how they were all trying to be the prettiest, the cleverest, the most cultured or the skinniest member of the Basic Eight. I picked this up again last week and somehow raced through the second half of the book; it was much more engaging than the first half, especially as you knew there was a murder to come, and you knew it must be coming soon. There's a big twist at the end and, although I didn't guess it beforehand (perhaps because I had been stopping and starting my reading at the beginning), the second I read it I was like "aahhhh yes, that makes total sense". Peppered with dark humour and satirical pop culture references, it's worth battling through the first part as once you become accustomed to the precocious characters and the plot starts to pick up the pace you'll really get sucked in. Whilst I wouldn't necessarily say I liked this novel, I did enjoy reading it - if that makes any sense at all.

What have you been reading lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #128

8.6.14

127ss2
127ss1
1.Raspberry daiquiri milkshake 2.Orange is the New Black marathon 3.My face, just in case you forgot what I looked like 4.My new squirrel monkey pal

It seems like half my Twitter feed has been obsessed with Orange is the New Black this weekend, and I'm no exception. I said to myself I'd watch one episode before bed last night... five episodes later and I decided it was probably a good idea to go to sleep. I'm going to spend this afternoon watching a few more episodes (errrm, probably the rest of the series) and then have a break to watch Fargo. If there was some kind of job where you could get paid to lie in bed and watch TV, I'd be a millionaire by now.

Saying that, I've decided June is going to be "reading month". I love reading books, but never seem to find time for it as I'm too busy watching Netflix instead, but this month I'm going to try and read as many books as possible. I've already got 3 under my belt, not too bad for the first week! If you've got any recommendations of good books I should read, please do let me know. I'm not a fan of chick lit or sci fi/fantasty, but otherwise I'm happy to read most things. Oh, and be my pal on Goodreads too!

This week itself was fairly uneventful (aside from a lovely catch up at the pub with my long-lost pal on Tuesday evening), but the weekend has been pretty fun. On Friday evening I headed along to the Edinburgh Zoo Nights with Lynne. I really wanted to go last year but never got round to it, so made sure I booked myself some tickets this time around. We got to have a wander round the zoo after hours whilst sipping cocktails from our zoo sippy cups (fun), listen to some live music and comedians, eat some burgers and hot dogs, and hear some talks about the animals. I did a little vlog, and will no doubt be writing up a blog post too, so keep your eyes peeled for that soon!

Then on Saturday I met up with Lauren to go and eat burgers (again). Well, I say burgers but I actually had a hot dog, but still. I took Lauren to Burger and we filled ourselves up with excellent food and milkshakes (I had a raspberry daiquiri milkshake from the specials board which was SO GOOD). After a quick wander round Boots, then walking Lauren back to her hotel, I came home and laid in bed in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon. Perf.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Recipe: Lemon & Pine Nut Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

3.6.14

degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 4
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 2
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 6
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 7
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 5
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 1
degustabox recipe asparagus and lemon pasta 3
It seems like all I ever post about these days is food (what a shame, eh?), although it has been quite a while since I last did a recipe post. The May edition of Degustabox* arrived at my doorstep last week, packed full of food and drink to try out (keep reading for a little discount code and a full list of everything in the box!). One of the items in my box was the Garofalo Elicoidali Pasta so I decided to throw together a bit of a summery recipe to make the most of this seemingly very simple cupboard staple. You might not think there's a huge variation between brands of dried pasta (I know I didn't anyway), but the Garofalo pasta seemed to be a much better quality compared to my usual supermarket ones; it had a distinct wheaty smell even just from opening the packet, and it remained nice and al dente after cooking. Thumbs up!

Ingredients (Serves 2)
150g Garofolo Elicoidali Pasta
125g asparagus tips (approx 20 trimmed spears)
1 small onion
4 garlic cloves
100g marscapone
50ml double cream
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Olive oil
Butter
Salt & pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and put on a pan of salted water to boil.
2. Trim your asparagus spears (if necessary) and lay out on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper and toss to coat well. Once the oven is hot, roast the asparagus for 8-10 minutes. Add the pasta to the boiling water, it should also take around 8-10 minutes to cook.
3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan (don't add any oil/butter) for a couple of minutes. Keep tossing them around the pan until they start to turn golden brown, being careful not to let them burn. Once toasted, remove them from the pan and set to one side.
4. Return the empty pan to the heat and add in a little bit of butter and a glug of olive oil. Turn down to a medium heat, then add in a finely diced onion and four minced garlic cloves. Fry gently until browned.
5. Add in the marscapone and double cream, and stir well until combined into the sauce.
6. Add in the zest of one lemon, then chop the lemon in half and add in half of the juice. Save the other half for later.
7. Once the sauce has been bubbling away for a couple of minutes, add in a spoonful of water from the pasta pan to thin it out a little. Depending on how thick you like your sauce, just add more water/more marscapone if it becomes too thick/too thin.
8. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the pan with the sauce. Give it a good stir and add in the other half of the lemon juice.
9. Remove the asparagus from the oven and chop the spears in half (reserving a couple for decorating purposes if you so desire). Add the asparagus and toasted pine nuts to the pasta and stir well. Season with salt and black pepper.
10. Add an extra little slice of lemon to each plate and serve.

A pretty simple recipe, but also a pretty tasty one if I do say so myself. It's nice and summery, with lots of lemon freshness and a creamy sauce which isn't too heavy. Make sure to get British asparagus as it's in season at the moment and tastes SO much better when it's fresh!

degustabox may
As for the rest of this month's Degustabox, there was plenty of other great stuff included too. I've already finished off the Hornsby's Cider, the Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Sparkling Water and the Kettle Sweet Potato Chips, and all of them come highly recommended by me. I've also had a couple of the Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Cocoa Crunch Flutes and the Raw Energy Chewing Gum; both of these surprised me as I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate or "energy drink flavour" but I quite liked both of them. I'm yet to open the Finn Crisps but these were always a staple in my mum's cupboard so I know I'll like them! I'm sure the Cirio La Classica Passata and SuperCirio Tomato Puree will both be used up soon too in various recipes, and the Dr Oetker Cake Release seems like a nifty invention to make baking a bit easier. The only thing I'm not sure if I'll use/like is the Taylor's of Harrogate Blackberry & Elderflower Tea, simply because I don't like tea or herbal tea, but I'm sure they're lovely if you're into that kinda thing. Overall, another great box from Degustabox and I would highly recommend trying it out - use the code SW7W3 to get £3 off your order, making it only £9.99 for all these goodies!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #127

1.6.14

128ss1
128ss2
128ss3
1.Degustabox delivery 2.Asparagus & new potato salad with peppered mackerel 3.Frenchie earrings from Ginger Pickle 4.Polaroid pictures with Lianne and Laura at the Crabtree & Evelyn event 5.Hornsby's Cider 6.Sunday's outfit

Happy 1st of June! Officially summer now? Well not according to today's weather; it's so warm but really cloudy and grey. I'm off into town after I finish writing this post, and no doubt the second I step out the door a huge thunderstorm will start raining down on me. JOY. I quite fancy getting some new homeware/kitchen bits and pieces - and possibly even some crafty DIY stuff - so off to House of Fraser I go. And John Lewis. And Marks and Spencer. And no doubt every other shop on Princes Street. Oops.

This has been a fairly quiet week, but it has been nice to have a little bit of time to myself to read some books, catch up on my Bloglovin feed, spring clean the flat and, erm, take quite a lot of naps. I did head out on Thursday evening, however, for a little event at Crabtree & Evelyn's Edinburgh store. We had some wee snaps taken with an instant film camera and now I really want one - as much as I love Instagram, original is always best! Will have to have a look on Ebay and get myself one in time for summer picnics and festival adventures. Keep your eyes peeled for more about the Crabtree & Evelyn event soon.

Aside from that, the only other news I have to report this week is food-related (of course). This month's Degustabox was delivered a few days ago and I've already tucked into quite a lot of the box. I think I'm going to try out something nice with the pasta for dinner this evening, and if all goes to plan there will be a recipe blog post up soon! In other food news, Laura and I headed to Burger for some, ehhh, burgers this week. Delicious as always, but the highlight for me was a rhubarb and custard ice cream shake - SO GOOD! I love rhubarb so I'll think I'll have to have a go at making my own rhubarb milkshake at home because it was just. that. good.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x