Friday 28 August 2015

Aberdeen Bloggers meet up | Day at the Duthie Park

As some of you might know recently I attended my first ever official 'bloggers meet up' in Aberdeen with the #Abzmeet gang at the Duthie Park for coffee, cake and a good old natter. The day was organised by Karen of Tiny Bird Heart and I have to say despite my nerves on the walk over I had a brilliant time, it was lovely getting to know the ladies who were able to make it along being, Anastasia of Natbee's Fashion, Amey of Teacups and Buttondrops, Sam of Hello From Rose Bud Annie, Amy of Beadbash and Sarah of Sarah Rooftops and of course the cake helped a lot too! Just for those of you 'not from 'round ere' the Duthie Park has a cafe, play park (as the name may suggest) the Winter Gardens with all sorts of plants, including spike the talking cactus and a mechanical frog (which freaks me the frick out!) it's a really lovely place to go for a day out with the family to chill out in the sunshine or just have a walk around.

The day we went there was an event on for the Friends of Duthie Park with bouncy castles, local Aberdeen charities, games and old favourites such as hook a duck, Northsound Radio station were there providing much entertainment for the day and some rather fetching vehicles from the Alford transport museum which we rather took a shine to as you'll see. Instead of nattering on at you about the happenings of the meet up (which I have pretty much already done) I'm just going to show you a little photo diary of what we did and where we went (minus cake, because like a 'bad blogger' I ate my cake almost immediately but you can take my word for it that it was beautiful!)

There were a tonne of other pictures, but unless you want to be here all day checking out close ups of ever more flowers I think we ought to call it a day. It was so lovely to meet the Abzmeet gang, everyone is so unique and has such a brilliant take on blogging and I really do encourage you to go and check them out for yourselves! But alas until next time remember to leave your comments below, maybe you're a fellow 'Deen blogger and fancy coming along next time, be sure to check out the Abzmeet Facebook page, #Abzmeet on Twitter or if you'd just like to keep up with my shenanigans be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, promise I'll picture my cakes next time!


Wednesday 26 August 2015

Girls Night | Coast to Coast VIP Evening

Where to begin, oh my goodness where to begin? As many of you know I was recently  invited to come along to Aberdeen's Union Square to a VIP evening to celebrate the launch of their brand new American style restaurant Coast 2 Coast. As you guys will have seen from my Aberdeen Events post, the evening basically promised plenty of fine dining, entertainment and booze (by god was there booze) and trust me when I say they did not disappoint.

For the launch night I was given a plus one, which was great as I didn't want to be wining and dining billy no mates, so I brought along my friend Jodie for a good old catch up and you know I just wanted to treat one of my friends! We arrived on time for our reservation at 8pm and were offered a glass of prosecco or orange juice as we were shown to our table which was a lovely secluded spot where we could have a good natter and a catch up at the front end of the restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is very swish and stylish with vinyl blacks and reds and had everything from big family booths, to long party tables to smaller more intimate areas for dining as a twosome. We were truly given the all American dining experience, from the level of service to the quality of the food and everything was more than impressive to say the least.

Once we were seated and all settled in we were introduced to our waiter for the evening who wasted no time in bringing over our cocktails, a strawberry cheesecake daiquiri and a raspberry mojito - both of which were to die for (not that I had both of course... ahem) After our drinks and a lovely chat we were brought over a platter (yes a platter) full of starters, which had everything ranging from salted breaded pretzels, chicken wings, ribs, prawns and calamari - portions large enough to feed four, but despite our lacking in numbers we powered on through! Everything was lush, though I would say if you were a vegetarian you may struggle a little bit but I'm sure there were vegetarian alternatives available but for us it was a veritable meat fest mmmmm!

Brining with him ever more drinks in the form of white wine, our waiter explained we were allowed to have anything we liked from the menu for our mains, so I opted for a Cajun Chicken Melt Wrap with sweet potato fries and my friend had a lovely pasta dish, whose ingredients escape me. The wrap was amazing and complimented by the sweet potato fries was just heaven on a plate for me, they weren't scared with the portion sizes and I seriously feared for my dessert and worried I  just wouldn't be able to handle the final course! Fear not though we pushed on through and I enjoyed a gorge vanilla cheesecake with honeycomb pieces and a caramel drizzle (drool)

We spent a good 20 minutes or so chatting before saying our goodbyes to Coast to Coast and promised we would be back soon, everything from the decor, to the staff and of course most importantly the food was brilliant down to a T and after judging the prices on the menu for a bit I decided yes it would be well worth the cost.

Do you have a Coast to Coast in your town, if so I'd love to hear about your experiences, or perhaps you're a fellow Aberdonian and you're off to try the all American treat, be sure to leave your comments about the restaurant and your overall thoughts below, come share them with me on Twitter, or if you'd like to see more culinary delights and carry ons be sure to follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm going costal!

H.Elizabeth x

Saturday 8 August 2015

Granite City Girl Under the Tuscan Sun

Yes you guessed it, we're blasting off again (today we're throwing in some Pokemon references because the internet simply does not have enough geekery) this time we're off to bathe under the Tuscan sun to celebrate a milestone birthday for my father in law and my husbands uncle, so really all of these trips and holidays are justified right?  Although I'm not making any promises to stop jetting off on little adventures every now and then, even if they are only to Dundee.

I shall return with stories and pictures a plenty I'm sure in the next few weeks, though I'm not going to make any promises as to when that might be, so as annoying and vague as this is going to sound, 'I'll see you when I see you!'

Until next time folks, I'll try and bring home the sun!

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 7 August 2015

Our Paris Adventures | Bateaux Parisiens Dinner Cruise

Today ladies and gents (upon my return) I would like to share a little snapshot of our recent (and first ever) trip to Paris for our honeymoon in May as this is something I would like to rave about due to our inexplicably positive and amazing experience with this company and the fabulous value for money we received during our journey and that is with Bateaux Parisiens river cruises.

Back when we were booking our trip to Paris I distinctly remember being incredibly indecisive when it came to activities for the week ahead, but having said that I knew exactly what I didn't want. I didn't want a guided tour exploring the histories of the city (sorry sometimes I am an uncultured sod) as I felt that would waste a great deal of our already short time in the city, I didn't want to have to keep up with a group of snap happy tourists and I definitely didn't want to have mandatory viewings, I was in Paris to relax and enjoy time with my new (ish) husband none of which involved my fellow tourist, so when I came across glowing reviews for a dinner cruise company named Bateaux Parisiens I was instantly sold.

The cruise promised viewing of almost all of the main attractions of Paris (including the Eiffel Tower - where the boat departs - Notre Dame and the Love Lock Bridge) complete with a 3 course French dining experience (including wine) as well as professional photography on board during your trip. There are a number of different times and options for your cruise, for example a lunch cruise, which is shorter and slightly less expensive, a late evening cruise (which is more expensive) but we decided as we were doing this as our last hoorah in Paris we would go for the 6pm dinner cruise which lasted approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. The entire experience only cost us 164E which also guaranteed a window table, needless to say I had anticipated this to be one of the highlights of our trip and we were not disappointed.

Upon boarding we were given our menu and shown to our lovely window table (which was utterly beamed by sunlight but who are we to complain!?) kitted out with an ice bucket, wine and champagne and a cute little faux candle then we were introduced to our waiter for the duration of our trip who took our entire order so all we had to do was relax, enjoy the views and each others company as we sailed serenely along the Seine. The menu had a choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts, none of which served as a disappointment, everything was cooked to perfection, after all miss this is France and the dinner here is never second best (wee Disney reference for you fans out there) but don't worry I shan't bore you with all of our dishes and the intricacies of French cruise cuisine all I will say is it was the finest meal we had away.

Another on board service that I very much appreciated was their on board Bateaux photographer who took 5 - 10 pictures of you and your party to develop them at the end and give you the opportunity to buy them, now which other tour operator offers this type of service? We ended up coming away with a couple of pictures which serve to us as a perfect reminder of our time in Paris as well as the amazing views we experienced with the cruise and I can't wait to give them the frame they deserve (the folder they're in at the moment is the folder they need right now but not the one they deserve - scathy Batman reference)

When we do eventually visit Paris again I consider this to be a must on our list, for me it's the best way to see the best of Paris and by far the most romantic (although that may have been the vino talking!) so I do hope if you're going along to Paris for the week or maybe even just the weekend you'll consider Bateaux Parisiens, of course if you want to ask me any questions you might have about the cruise I'm always free on Twitter or if you'd like to see more upcoming Parisian adventures we had you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'll be dreaming of Paris.


Wednesday 5 August 2015

Hayfever Heroism with Kleenex | PR done right

Today I just wanted to share a little bit of summer awesome and a little bit of a win, which if you've been following me on Twitter recently you'll know I desperately needed, and though many of you will think this post is a little sad or sponsored (I can assure you it is not) really I just want you to think of this little bit of kindness in the wider context of the world wide web and applaud this specific company for listening to their Target market in a way companies just don't seem to anymore!

From the title you'll have guessed that said company in question are Kleenex and their #HayfeverHeroism campaign they have been branching across social media platforms with, specifically Twitter and targeting (obviously) hayfever sufferers, which if you read my recent post / rant here you'll know I am, with the view to provide the nation with a Hayfever summer survival kit, which after incessant whining, moaning and general complaints about my current state I was lucky enough to receive.

Incase you missed it my tweet went a little something like this and was in no way shape or form directed at Kleenex looking for free tissues if anything this was just a general musing and a 'why god why!' observation of my life, '@GCityGirl: Sick, sick, sick today hayever 1  Hannah 0 #hayfeverproblems #sickday' to which Kleenex responded, they would like to help and send me one of their sensitive care packs designed specifically with hayfever sufferers in mind. After a couple of emails I sent the company my home address and honestly and much to my own shame forgot all about it until of course the blessed day my nose was saved, hallelujah!

The pack itself has a cute little certificate that comes alongside your care pack, a large multipack of handy travel tissues and of course a coffee table box for when I'm hold up in my house hiding from pollinated air! And really instead of doing a review of the tissues and pack - which in all honesty would bore you to tears, I really just wanted to share this campaign with you all and how amazing a thing I think it is for a company in this day and age just to do something for their consumers for the sake of being nice (and of course getting brand recognition such as this) but really how often can you really say you get something for nothing and in such a lovely way? I thought the certificate was a particularly nice touch as the handwritten tweet goes to show it isn't just boxed and sent out to your address with no personal recognition.

And so to end today's post I really just want to say a big thank you and well done to Kleenex for bringing this campaign to tweeters and social media platforms across the UK and for of course keeping in mind we seasonal sufferers who really do go through a helluva lot of tissues in the summer (preach!) I'd love to hear if you have had any experience with companies like this and what your favourite social media campaign by a large corporation has been because I'll bet we're all hard pressed to think of anything this similar! Be sure to leave your comments below, come share your experiences with me on Twitter or of course if you'd like to continue to see me share the love come follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, blowing with sensitive care!

H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 2 August 2015

Granite City Wedding | What one year of marriage has taught me

Life, as you all know, is full of lessons. From seemingly teeny tiny things like learning how to wake up with your alarm for once (this one, many of us are still mastering) to much larger lessons like how to cope with the loss of a loved one (another sadly none of us will ever fully master) but today as my husband and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary I'd like to share with you a few little life lessons that our first year of marriage has taught me personally and hopefully uncover some of the myths that often surround life after 'I do'

Marriage changes the way other people see you, particularly if you're a woman
The inane pressure you have to settle down and make babies becomes far more apparent once that ring slides on your finger and it really shouldn't. People start cooing and awing any time they see you in any proximity of a small child or worse still a baby and cult like chants of 'you're next' become the norm, questions of when rather than if or do you want to dominate conversations, but marriage, as I'm sure the educated of you are aware doesn't equate to babies all of the time, and it's funny because my husband hasn't been subjected to such questions, quizzical looks and general torture to my knowledge.

The terms 'husband and 'wife' will never not make me squeak just a little
Not in the negative ugh I hate being someones wife or I hate having a husband, but in that it never sounds normal. Being introduced as 'my wife' or introducing my signo as 'my husband' sounds bizarre but in a very sweet, uncomfortable, odd way right? A little bit like I imagine Edward Scissorhands feels in his day to day life!

Marriage can mean anything you want it to mean, it is what you make it
Tradition dictates that marriage means a woman being under a mans thumb, the man being the sole provider and the wife acting as homemaker and quite often when people hear I am married this still conjures up images of a bored, sexless housewife, but I've got news for all you nay sayers, marriage can be anything you make it. Much as we have seen in celebrity news from Will and Jada Pinkett Smith it can be one thing for you and a something completely different to your neighbour. For us marriage means a partnership to share in lifes ups and downs and someone to have all of the experiences life can offer us together.

So guys I hope you have enjoyed this off beat anniversary post and I'd love to hear from all of you single or married how you feel about married life? Are you someone who doesn't believe in the 'institution' of marriage, I'd love to hear your thoughts, or like me are you someone who has faced bias and misconceptions about your own marriage it'd be interesting to hear your experiences. Be sure to leave your thoughts, comments and experiences below, come share your feelings with me on Twitter, or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can follow them on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, remember kids marriage is what you make it.

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