Friday, 28 March 2014

Allanwater Brewhouse, Bridge of Allan

During my brief stint back home I had the luxury of visiting my brother in his chalet in the woods at Stirling Uni campus. Sounds kind of creepy doesn't it? His friends were having a party. The evening format was the same as on my last visit: Drink & Jam. Half of the guys played guitar and there were quite a few singers in attendance so we filled out gubs with some chilli mince nachos (Chris was so glad they went down a treat) and sang our hearts out. Before the party, however, we congregated in the tiny little pub at the Allanwater Brewhouse in Bridge of Allan. It is the cutest place I've ever seen and oozes Scottish flavour. Speaking of flavour, I had a raspberry beer - it was interestingly sweet. I think the raspberry cider was probably more my style.

My pictures are absolutely terrible because it was really dark, I was using my sister's camera and I had no idea what I was doing. I have compensated for this by adding really tacky gold frames! I hope you appreciate this making them so much more interesting. Yeh?

The Brewhouse Pub

Probably googling something

The guy first up sounded like a happier Elliot Smith

Allanwater Brewhouse pub is literally no bigger than your living room.
Drinking among the beer bottles

My favourite band of the evening. The singer had the voice of a Scottish pirate and his songs had fantastic stories behind them. My personal favourite was "This song is about a lesbian I met at the train station and offended her by asking her is she wanted a Twix."

Polaroid! Iida, Chris and I.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sister QT

I took another brief jaunt to Scotland last week and took my little sister Jennifer out in Glasgow. We visited The Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was previously offices for the Herald and has been used for the past 10 years as gallery space for different art and architecture exhibitions. It has an awesome observation platform where you can experience a great view of the Glasgow rooftops. Unfortunately the Rennie Mackintosh tower (which has THE BEST view) was closed due to maintenance. DAMMIT.

The view from the observation platform in The Lighthouse
Jenny taking in the scenery
Escalator in The Lighthouse

After wondering about the quiet exhibitions for a few hours we met my friend Paul. I've known Paul for a few years. I met Paul when I worked in town as a PR (literally years ago) and he always busked around the areas I covered - come rain or shine. Jennifer's such a great guitarist these days and I wanted her to meet a real life busker so we watched and sang along in the rain. Laughing at a few dancing junkies passing by with their dugs (while shouting something incomprehensible) made me miss Glasgow in all it's freezing, showering glory.
Paul played Travis' "Why does it always rain on me" and passersby had a right giggle and chucked in some coins. We trotted along to the newly opened Hard Rock Cafe on Buchanan Street for a few drinks before home time. Jennifer had a virgin cocktail which was pretty much a slush - Not exactly appropriate for such a cold and drizzly day. 
Paul busking in Glasgow

Thursday, 20 March 2014

So, there's this guy I live with...

I moved to London with Jamie nearly a year ago. Jamie is better than me at everything I want to be good at. He's the only person I know who can tackle something completely challenging and out of his comfort zone and always comes out with something unique and amazing. I took these pictures of him the other day when we had a day off together. He's a handsome 'one of a kind' kinda guy and I'm so glad he's my roomie. (even when he's playing guitar and stopping me from concentrating on something else)

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Bloody Mary Tour (Ok, I just made that up)

This month I vowed to get my London tourist on and kind of accomplished this after going on a Bloody Mary tour with my friend Rachel. I have named this tourist trail 'The Bloody Mary' tour because we had made it all about drenching ourselves in pretty strong Bloody Marys along the way. 

The schedule begins with a few Bloody Marys on the tall statue between the Lions at Trafalgar Square then continues with a saunter down the stretch passing Downing Street to Westminster. It ends at Southbank for the final rounds of Bloody Marys after passing over the bridge. 

A week later I took my friend Nikki and her fabulous mum Michelle on a similar route (incorporating Buckingham Palace) when they came to visit. It was Nikki's first time in London EVER.

Here are some of my favourite tourist shots:

Nikki & Michelle
Nikki & I

And obviously a few things you MUST do if embark on the Bloody Mary Tour:

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT forget the Bloody Marys!
Demand some privacy while making an important call.
The Big Ben Selfie.
Take at least one decent perception trick photo.
Fail at perception trick photos. See me with the Downing Street sign in my palm? Uhmmmm? Great double chin though...
Always make at least ONE gif to keep the magic alive.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

My Week In Melbourne

When people were all "Wow, long way to go for a week", I was all "Travelling long distance, no biggie guys, it's my job!". If I only ended up with two days in Melbourne it would have been worth the travel just to see my bestie Sheree.
Now I understand what everyone was going on about. I've realised that beforehand I'd never experienced full swing jet lag like this.

16th-18th Feb

My journey to Melbourne was long but enjoyable because I'd never flown Emirates before or as a passenger on long haul for that matter. When I got into MEL (so official with my airport codes) it was glorious and I couldn't wait to get to St Kilda, where Sheree lives right on the beach. And to the beach we went.
For the first day we didn't make any plans but went out for breakfast and dinner (starting as we meant to go on). I was loving the soap-opera that was Sheree getting three people to move into her houseshare literally the day before rent was due and her other housemates were leaving (and definitely not worrying about getting someone in to take their room). We were really sad that the in-house Macaulay Culkin lookalike was moving out so made him perform poses - like the examples below - while we still had the chance.

On day two Sheree and I wrote a plan of what we were doing for the rest of my visit. We pretty much failed at most of it's outcomes. It looked like this:
This was the weather when we made our list, hence our positivity.
Wed 19th
To justify the weight we've both put on in the last year it only seemed appropriate to shift our fat butts to the night food extravaganza in the city, Queen Victoria Market. Here there were an abundance of food stalls of all different cuisines from Korean to Lebanese and we tried pretty hard to taste all the food we'd never experienced before. To compliment the food stalls there were other stalls selling happy pants to incense boxes. They even had a live african band and silent disco!

We hung about the market until it closed and we had to venture out into the pouring rain. As we were in the city, Sheree decided it would be great to go to a secret little bar she'd visited before. We took a few trams and got soaked trying to find this secret bar in streets that all looked the same. We were both wearing Havaianas. We stopped at a few places to ask for directions and finally we found Eau de Vie. It was phenomenal. 

The Bar. Eau De Vie.
Sheree ordered the Espresso Zabaione (left) because it came with flaming liquid nitrogen... but they ran out. I ordered the Scurvy Sailor (right). Mmmmmm.
I think this is what Sheree expected from her first order.
The totally charming bartender took a picture of us.
The Aviation. The cloud is made from candyfloss...
... topped with a little paper airplane.
On the way home in the taxi we were pretty half cut and decided to jump out at Fitzroy Street and went to a clubby bar called 29th apartment then onto another bar I can't remember the name of. As usual we drew as much attention to ourselves as possible swing dancing with Italian wannabe rappers after some hippy brushed his long beard on my cheek. I even left with a potential hubby (the huge friendly bouncer) and a girl's email address that I've never met - apparently she lives in London and is an absolute hoot. 

Thur 20th

In the morning we had to wait to greet some of Sheree's new housemates, mainly to get their rent, so we got up late and went for breakfast before showering and sorting ourselves. We arranged to meet a bit later with my friend Michael at St Kilda market and he brought his dog, Alfie. Alfie was the cutest dug I've ever seen, I even wanted to stroke him. Sheree was so besotted with him, he kept her occupied. The hippy market was full of hippies doing nothing but trying to breathe fire and the likes. It seems being a hippy here is tough work. In St Kilda there's a fairground called Luna Park and it looks like something out of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?". We failed at having a day out there but I got a snap of the spooky entrance. Later, we went for a drink at the other side of St Kilda before calling it a night.

Luna Park Entrance
These hippies have joined the circus!  
So proud of Alfie for being so sniffed by other dogs.

Frid 21st

During the day Sheree took me into the city again - the weather was considerably better and the place look much more appealing than on my first visit. We went for oysters and wine on Southbank after visiting the restaurant where she works there. She took me to the huge Crown casino she goes to after work. Apparently the guy who owns it is going out with Miranda Kerr these days - I'm pretty sure he's no Orlando Bloom!

Swallowing oystazzzz.
More Gamin'
That night we met Sheree's friend in the city again to go to a rooftop bar (above a place called Cookies, I believe?). It was gorgeous but a bit over-populated so after climbing like 8 flights of stairs up, we got pretty drunk and climbed back down again. We joined a table at a club nearby called Eve and they stamped our wrists with the most vile VIP stamp I've ever seen.  Sheree had a Cranberry juice, I had nothing. The place looked like a bad episode of Jersey Shore mixed with Miami drug-dealers and girls wearing trashy dresses. We left for MacDonalds. I had two. Ughhhh, we shouldn't moved from the first place. Overall, we had a good night and allowed the McDonalds (across the road) to compensate for the poor choice of second venue.

Sat 22nd

I slept alot during the day. The jetlag was killing me. The morning followed a similar pattern to those that came before: Get up. Get something to eat while Sheree wakes up. Go for breakfast. Go for a nap. Get ready for the day.
That evening we went to White Night, a huge event in the city where people flood to the streets to see a huge number of music, art and culture pop-ups. It was really busy so we ended up in a bar on the square, people watching. 
Flinders Street Station in Illumination.
 The most memorable part of the evening had to be the ride home. We had got about a mile from home in Paul's truck before he ran out of petrol. I tried to convince Sheree to walk to the petrol station while I went for a McDonalds. She was having none of it. We pushed the car to the petrol station and lucky for you guys, I obviously took a video!

Sun 23rd

After all the car pushing from the night before Sheree and I decided to take it easy and went for breakfast in the morning. Went to the beach and shared a bottle of wine. We had intended to visit The Great Ocean Road but had spent most of our money in the first two days so settled for St Kilda beach. A full-on cowboy on a horse galloped the thing onto the beach, weaving between sunbathers. I thought we were about to be trampled to death! I'm just so glad Sheree and I got to be lazy around each other like we used to do in Glasgow when we had nothing to do. It was just so refreshing being able to wind everyone else up and talk in our special voices without worrying about work or anything else. It was even better being able to do it in St Kilda.

Mon 24th

Made it to the airport. After a 14 hour flight to Dubai I spent the rest of the day hanging out at departure gates to be rejected from four flights to LHR (again with the airport codes sorry guys) because I was travelling on a standby ticket. During this 21 hour period I mostly contemplated getting a spa pedicure on arriving home. My day in Dubai was hardly cruisin' down the marina in my Lambourgini but was made considerably worse when I discovered Carluccios a whole hour before my flight - for the love of...why only now?!? 

Eventually I made it home, albeit without my check-in luggage. 
I had to wait a whole two days for that!

Shreeeeee I love you and next time I'm coming to visit for a whole month!