Monthly Archives: September 2012

DETAILS… Coffee*: Tartine Bakery and Cafe/J.CREW: Tortoise-button Sweatshirt/ Current/Elliot: Boyfriend Jean/Superga: Sneakers/ Stella and Dot: Zulu Cuff/ Stella and Dot: Together Forever Necklace

* I still get nostalgic for our fun trip to San Francisco.


FIND THIS… Ben’s Aunt Mary and Uncle Colin came for a visit this past weekend. We always knew they were up for anything, but we did not realize what good sports they were until we asked them to join my friend and colleague, Toni, in a test scavenger hunt along the Royal Mile for a couple of hours right after they disembarked from the train.

Toni was responsible for organizing the team-building portion of the MBA induction week and was less than impressed with last year’s version. Her new and improved version was so much fun! We all learned a lot of interesting facts about Edinburgh and the Royal Mile. Half of the scavenger hunt was photo-based as you can see from above and the remaining portion was quiz based. We came in second. So close.

We were Mary and Colin’s guests for dinner at the fabulous French restaurant L’escargot bleu on Broughton Street. MERCI BEAUCOUP! Full of energy after our three course (each) meal, we went attempted to get a drink at Bramble. The bouncer gave us the all-clear and we headed in. Excellent as always Bramble.

It was a bit of a leisurely start on Sunday. Brunch, a l’American (Colin is baffled by the savory egg dish and the sweet blueberry coffee cake on the same plate, Mary is equally as baffled by the fact that coffee cake contains no coffee). Ben and I could not compete with the Saturday’s activities but we tried with Ben’s patented walking tour of Edinburgh. Which just gets better and more hilly!

It was back home for paper reading and make your own pizzas before we said goodnight and goodbye to our visitors. They had so much fun, I think they might even come see us again!


I chatted with my brother John today and he said my blog was getting a bit light. He even said we might be getting into a rut- oh no- worst.fear.ever.  I had better go out this instant and shave my head, get a piercing, a tattoo or hop on the train and head to Glasgow.

Actually I have been thinking about getting Ben’s initials tattooed on the back of my neck, under my hairline- a good idea?

Well say goodbye to my rut Johnners!

First up- I have registered to participate in Chest Heart Stroke Scotland’s (CHSS) Road Block Run. CHSS is where Ben works. Ben will not be running on September 23, he is going to be a course marshall and be laughing at me as I crawl, jump, slide and embarrass myself over ten kilometres. There are a variety of obstacles which I will need to conquer as I am complete the 10 km run around Arthur’s Seat.

As this is a run for charity, you can sponsor me for the cause- my goal is to raise 40 pounds. You can log onto my JustGiving page and make your contribution. CHSS and I really appreciate it.

REMEMBER…  The charity run, I did in June. 


The Riding of the Marches took place this weekend in Edinburgh (who knew), it involves horses- Ben was hesitant to stop by for a look, he has terrible horse allergies. There will be no romantic beach rides in our future.

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches is a traditional event that sees around 250 horseback riders riding from the outskirts of Edinburgh up the Royal Mile to the Mercat Cross for a blessing. Even for the non-horse lovers out there, it was interesting to witness.

More to come this week- our weekend with Mary and Colin, my travel schedule for October, a fun athletic challenge and more! Have a great Monday.


Having sworn off cocktails after my Chicagolicious-fun with Jess, I was ready to give them another go and the best place in Edinburgh for some amazingly creative cocktails, in a low-key setting, is Bramble.

You need to know it is there. There is no visible sign which indicates you have found the hip-place where they chip their own ice with ice picks. When you do find it, you would almost think you were walking into the abandoned basement of the neighbouring tailor’s. 

Ben and I met at Bramble for a date night shortly after we moved to our new place. We consider it in our neighbourhood, this time I went with a Toni, a friend and colleague.

I indulged in a ‘Celery Sour’, I would like to say you use as many calories drinking this cocktail than is actually in it (the myth of celery), but I am sceptical if there is any truth in this.


The white froth is egg whites- this was a refreshing end to a great week. If you are in Edinburgh, you should pop into Bramble- if you can find it!

In other cocktail dreams: dreaming of this bar cart for under our front windows.

Guess what movie has been recently added to Netflix U.K.- COCKTAIL


One of the things we have struggled to find are tasty replacement pastries. We used to love popping to the local boulangeries for weekend treats. Our favourite was at Trois Dauphin on rue Montroge.

We came close this recently with a trip to the Stockbridge Market. Tasty croissants aux amandes, filled with frangipan. In France they use day-old croissants filled with the almonds and then baked- a calorie bomb is there ever was one. These were lighter and probably a bit healthier, but I doubt it.

Continuing on with the French-theme, I came home recently to homemade quiche. Ben had even made the pastry. It was a classic Quiche Lorraine (recipe from our Tartine cookbook).

Other fun things that have been on the menu with some recent visitors:

- Lamb burgers with sun dried tomatoes and feta- very summery (we had three days of sunshine last week) and on homemade bread buns (by me) with James.

- Cinnamon Baked French Toast with Leanne and Robyn.

- We enjoyed these Banana Crumb Muffins with Chloe.

- Have you tried lasagne with lamb, you should try this Lamb and Feta Lasagne.

- Mini-ricotta cheese cakes with added ginger- nice!

OLYMPIC AMBIANCE II… We still have a bit of olympism (the spirit of the Olympics). Here are some additional photos from our fun day out.

OLYMPIC FUN can be found here, herehere and here.

Four more years until Rio 2016, will we be there? Probably not, but it is a great goal. Rio, let’s see what happens.


GUEST POST…  Chloe, friend and former colleague, who recently visited our fair city and us, wanted to give you the account of her weekend. Chloe is a great writer.

You might not think that one’s enduring memory of Edinburgh would be its seagulls but every morning my own wee birdie woke me at 5.30am to remind me that this part of Scotland is in fact a near kin to my part of Wales – rolling hills, an arm of water stretching out into the body of the sea accompanied by cloud dancing, scattered showers and sunbursts.

(A picture of the three of us! Note Chloe’s knock-off purple Doc Marteen’s- perfect for the rainy Edinburgh weather)

Once over the initial hurdle of getting to Geneva (no bus provided by the SNCF on the Pontcharra-Chambéry leg – a big thanks to Nadia for saving the day – M&S pressie on its way) my favourite airline whisked me off to Buffy and Ben’s lovely town house where Ben gallantly offered to drag my luggage over the cobbles in case they loosened some of my fillings.

Easy Sunday morning saw us heading off to visit the sights which seem to involve a lot of hills and cemeteries.  We overlooked the Forth of Firth and underlooked Arthur’s Seat (he got everywhere but there again the similarity to the Welsh Cader Idris is spooky).  We stopped off in the funky Canongate Kirk whose pews are painted sky blue and the carpet a fuschia pink. Maybe a bit of Royal Colour Blocking has rubbed off on this house of worship since the other royal wedding but it certainly made a change from the granite and slate versions of my religious instruction.

(Who knew that Lionel Richie owned a police box in Edinburgh, well spotted Chloe)

We wended (I think this might be a Scottish word) in an out of the Royal Mile and despite near hypoglycemia for the more senior member of the party managed to make it to Charlotte Square in time to a) feed me a cheese scone and an orange juice b) get second in the queue for the Tony Ross Book signing.  In fact I was there first but this small girl who looked like she belonged more in a Roald Dahl story in a sort of I’ve-got-tickets-to-all-the-signings-for-the-whole-week-because-my-mummy-has-organised-it sort of way managed to barge in front of me despite my (only just) mock ‘oi you I was there first cry’(which gratifyingly made her jump momentarily) and proceeded to get the delightful T.R. to sign about 790 books.  I will not stoop to being a groupie.

(Chloe charming Tony Ross)

Back to base for this amazing barbecue and salsa dish with homemade bread – it is all true about the culinary prowess of Eyre Place.  A few episodes of ‘30 Rock’ with unusually astute insight into leadership fake authenticity (more on this with Gavin E.) and off to bed.

Monday was quartier libre for me as my hosts went out to work and I treated myself to a splurge on Princes Street.  Good shopping weather with just the right amount of rain.  My mock Doc Marten’s were the ideal footwear despite many a sceptic wondering whether the fact that the soles did not bend as I walked might cause some discomfort.  Pff!    Minor huge panic in the sock section at M&S when I realised I COULD NOT FIND MY WALLET and had to go back to Waterstones (no apostrophe any more apparently) in the hope that my holiday fun was not about to end and be replaced by international calls to the Sécu, LCL, CAF and François Hollande.  Phew – there is a God and he reads books because that is exactly where I had left it.  My second fright in two days propelled me into a carpe diem sort of approach to shopping.  Hence I am now the chuffed owner of a new coat, dressing gown, boxer shorts (am I allowed to say that on this blog?), perfume and the rest.  

“Quick nip back” to base camp (which in fact involves topography not that dissimilar to the 7 hills of Rome) for a snack before heading back to the Book Fair to listen to and stare glassy eyed (concentrate, Chloë) at the gorgeous Gavin Esler discuss his new book ‘Lessons from the Top’.  His accessible, knowledgeable and humorous approach to his subject matter was delightful and I am now the proud owner of a slightly botched signing session copy of said book.  The only slight fly in the ointment was that he did mention he had quite enjoyed interviewing Angelina Jolie so I thoughtfully warned him about her kind – half woman, half plastic.  You can only give advice and hope people learn along the way. I will not stoop to being a groupie. I really won’t. Well I might if pushed.

Back to reality and a delicious risotto, salmon, goat’s cheese and beet dish for supper although I soon realised that the ch**se word is now a source of potential friction in the Gorrilla/Pawson love nest.  I can say no more but I hope I am not asked to testify in court some day.

Tuesday, sun and a following wind saw Buffy and I cycling down to Leith to catch the midday screening of BRAVE.  It was lucky we had no pressing appointments as we sat through 30 minutes of unsuitable trailers, in your face adverts with lots of noise and bright colours (call me old fashioned), a Pixar short and finally the film during which I spent the whole time waiting for Merida to give the English the thrashing of their lives (must have misunderstood the trailers).  Anyway a great film with and amazing hairdresser on the set and so glad I saw that instead of ‘Rebelle’!  

Cycled back via Mimi’s Bakehouse where sugar levels were replenished with a slice of coffee and walnut cake that could have doubled up as a door stopper.  A quick loop to visit Ben and Buffy’s old residence in Leith (next to Barclays funeral Services – no connection to the ch**se word of course), a lightening shop at Tesco then home for more deliciousness in the form of lamb lasagna (two helpings for me – doesn’t anyone eat in this household?).

And so to bed knowing that tomorrow (today) I’ll hear that bonny seagull for the last time in a wee while but taking with me such positive vibes from a kind city and its more than generous hosts that I’m set up for the rentrée (yawn) and then some.

Haste ye back Buffy and Ben 

DAY ONE… How happy does Ben look to be finished with his first day of work? Here he is out front of Usher Hall for our Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

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