Wednesday 30 March 2016

Foodie Feasts with Union Square | Bloggers Safari Supper

I live for these sort of events. Well at least it seems like it recently, between feasting at Cue a few weeks ago to sampling the new culinary delights of Yo! Sushi and to last week where I joined my fellow Aberdeen bloggers for a Safari Supper at Aberdeen's Union Square, and yes, it's just as fun as it sounds!

Cocktails at Las Iguanas
Naturally the first stop on our safari was going to be Las Iguanas. Last year I fell in love with the Las Iguanas menu, particularly their cocktails so I was super excited to be visiting again. Unfortunately and as is a tradition with me I chose a bum cocktail.... opting for a Vanilla and Ginger Mojito sounded like a safe choice right? Nah, mine tasted more like a cough mixture and to say it made me a bit boozy would be an understatement. It's quite a feat to accidentally choose a rubbish cocktail really it can be considered pure talent considering Las Iguanas literally have dozens to choose from, next time I'll be opting for something less leafy green and more rainbow!

Starters at Yo! Sushi
Swiftly moving (stumbling) on from our pre dinner cocktails we visited Yo! Sushi. Now as you guys will know if you've been a regular reader, I actually sampled the new Yo! Sushi menu a couple of weeks ago, which you can read a little more about here. But today I threw caution to the wind and thought what the hell, lets try something different, so I got a Katsu.... which I devoured and accidentally filled myself up with.

Burgers and shakes at Byron Burger
Having never been to Byron but having heard a lot about it on the blogosphere lately I was quite excited to give them a go. Particularly since the Byron in question throws all kind of shade at their next door neighbour 'Handmade Burger' by pitching themselves as serving 'proper burgers' with a big fat sign oooh gurl!!! Here I think I was the only one who didn't opt for a shake, but I was also the only one who stuffed myself silly on starters tut tut, but they looked divine. Instead I had my trusty old diet coke and a cheese burger with my favourite Monterey Jack cheese and some sweet potato fries. To say they blew Handmade Burger out of the water simply wouldn't do them justice.

Dessert at Carluccios
Suffice to say by the time dessert rolled around I was just that, literally rolling around. Carluccios have secured their rep for THE place to visit in Union Square when dessert comes a callin' from fondants and cheesecakes to meringues the size of your face! But guys I couldn't, I just couldn't so unfortunately I copped out with a couple of sorbet scoops, mandarin and lemon. Lemon, now I LOVE lemon, but this lemon was not for the faint of heart or weak of tongue because it nearly blew my face off. But on the bright side made for a totally refreshing dessert.

My one regret? Not being able to eat more because of that darn katsu! Why this isn't the done way for dinner I'll never know! Next time I'm out for supper I'm definitely going safari. Big thanks to Bradley for organising such a fabby foodie event and of course all of my fellow Aberdeen bloggers who made the evening an absolute delight.

Have you ever safari'd your supper? Let me know what your ideal pit stops are along the way in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or if you'd just like to see me stuff my face a bit more (always guys always!) be sure to keep up with my posts on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm well and truly safari'd!

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 25 March 2016

Blogging | Starting your own blog

Sounds pretty basic right? Don't you just start writing and press post? Well yes and no,  you'd be surprised how many non starter blogs I have had throughout my life, simply because I was so overwhelmed with the amount of work it can actually take just to get started. From the earlier days of piczo to various wordpress and blogger platforms I've seen 'em all! I have tampered with writing a film review blog, dabbled in beauty tutorials and even tried my hand at keeping a virtual diary, but somehow it's only Granite City Girl that has stuck. So from my wealth of failures, experiences and general blogging knowlege, here are my top tips, pointers and unsolicited advice for starting your own blog and more importantly, keeping it going!

Take your time and work from the ground up
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you're starting out is rushing into blogging, particularly when you are bursting with bright new ideas, you could be in danger of just emptying your head all at once on to a web page and suddenly you're left feeling a bit depleted. In fact you'll see when I first started Granite City Girl this happened around the second month of posting and it's just a big ole mess! Take an afternoon, make yourself a cup of tea and write down your first few blog post ideas in a notebook, decide on your own schedule (you can read more about post scheduling here) and build from there. 

Find a user friendly platform you are comfortable with 
Usually you'll find yourself falling into one of two blogging platforms, Wordpress or Blogger (the latter is what I use) Sometimes writing can be the easy part, especially if you're not quite so tech savvy and coding gives you the willies! Don't give yourself another barrier, keep it simple and find what works best for you and build from the ground up, and please, please, don't throw money at your blog right away, research, read and educate yourself.

Speak to your fellow bloggers
This is something I wish I had known and had the gumption to do when I first started out. As much as it may sometimes feel like it, blogging isn't one big race or competition and your fellow bloggers are your greatest allies and more importantly teachers when it comes to starting your own blog. It might be a friend, family member or even a co worker who runs their own blog, pick their brains, ask them their big dos and don'ts, hell ask how they got invited to that amazing event and what their writing process is (isn't that such a pretentious phrase?) They do say you never stop learning and don't be a fool by thinking blogging is any different.

This all feels like advice I wish I had had before starting my own blog so I do hope this helps someone out there at least. Are you thinking of starting your own blog, or maybe you're a seasoned blogger with even more tips to share for the newbies out there, either way be sure to leave all of your thoughts, comments, experiences and tricks below! Otherwise you can catch up with me and my latest posts and musings on Twitter or Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, 


Wednesday 23 March 2016

Cake with a cause | Afternoon tea with RGU & Drugs Action

Usually you don't see me do a 'follow' up post of sorts when it comes to an Aberdeen event. In fact you're more likely to see me Tweeting, gramming or Facebooking during an event, but this one in particular deserves a very special mention.

As you know from my previous post me and my blogging gal pal Anastasia from Natbees attended a cake off and afternoon tea, hosted by the events management students of RGU in aid of local charity Drugs Action. Not only were we thoroughly entertained by the cake off competition and of course fed to the point of exhaustion (really guys when I got home, I napped!) we were treated to a sensory experience, laughed out loud at more than one cheeser of a joke from our host, enjoyed a fun game of bingo and took part in a raffle that had a tonne of fantastic prizes!

This event itself raised over £1,500 for Drugs Action, and rightfully so, the event went seamlessly an everyone in attendance, including us, had a fantastic afternoon! All I can really say is that as we discovered the event was part of the RGU students event management course brief, we sincerely hope these students are given an A++ for their attention to detail and seamless running of a fantastic Aberdeen event!

Until next time folks, having my cake and eating it too!

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 18 March 2016

#ThisIsTokyo | Yo! Sushi Menu Preview

Most bloggers won't admit this, but I always feel a little squee of joy whenever I'm invited along to something like this, particularly when there is food involved. In fact most bloggers tend to grace these sort of events with a seemingly cool air about them and an I could take it or leave it attitude, but not me. Nope I'm there, bright and early, an eager beaver keen to try something new, and I tried something very new when I graced Yo! Sushi in the Bon Accord to preview their new, revamped menu.

Maybe it's just me but I always love to hear the concept behind a brand, new idea or in this case a menu. We were told that Yo! Sushi are planning to get right back to their roots, offering traditional Japanese street food at an affordable price but with their focus steered more towards Tokyo, but don't worry basics, they'll still have your beloved katsu!

Their new menu reads like a magazine. No really their new menu is literally a magazine, full of articles on Japanese culture, with of course their focus pulled towards current trends in Tokyo. In there you'll not only find a wide range of new dishes and old favourites, but articles on fashion, technology and all things Tokyo, which is fab if your date or friend is boring you  a wee bit! As you'd expect the seemingly tiny dishes soon arrived conveyor style and we were ready to dig in.

Now guys, I have a little confession to make. I don't like sushi. Something about eating a fish raw doesn't sit too well with me, in fact it reminds me a little bit of Gollum when you see him plucking fish and just gobbling them down, a bit boke inducing! But soldiering on I tried a piece of sushi with my fave fish, tuna... nadda, it was not for me. My sushi loving compadre for the evening however wolfed hers down, so if you are a sushi lover, shockingly you're in the right place!

I gave it a good go, I must say, I tried a couple of salmon and tuna sushi dishes from their new menu, but I eventually gave up and opted for something a little more my speed, a good old katsu, but not just any old katsu, Yo! Sushi's new and improved, tuna katsu. Divine, what can I say I'm a bit of a basic! Now if you were coming here to find out about dishes of the squid or octopus variety you're in the wrong place, as you may have gathered, I was adventurous, but not THAT adventurous, but I can bend your ear about the most delicious, light and fluffy cheesecake I have ever tasted in my entire life!

Overall I was chuffed to bits with losing my Yo! Sushi virginity, and I'll definitely be visiting a bit more in the future especially if it means sampling even more of their #ThisisTokyo menu, and of course I'll have to keep tabs on those magazine articles!

Apologies on this post being a day or so late guys, I have been a very, very busy bee at home, at work and in my spare time something else has taken over my life it feels, don't worry it's nothing serious and all will be revealed in good time my pretty! As per you can keep up with my latests, the latest in Aberdeen and my general musings over on Twitter, or of course keep up to date with the latest Granite City Girl posts on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, konichiwa and good day!

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Cake with a Cause | Easter Cake Off with RGU & Drugs Action

Eat cake for a good cause? I'm there with bells on and my fork at the ready, and that's just what the Aberdeen public have in store at the Easter Cake Off in association with RGU and local charity Drugs Action on the 19th of March at The Park Cafe, Hazlehead!

Not only are we going to be able to have our cake and eat it too, but those with a bit of Berry skills in their baking will get a chance to show off their talents all in the name of charity! There will be a bake off style cake competition with the 'show stopper cake' winning the grand prize! But if you're like me and you're more boozy in the kitchen than berry, don't worry there's something for you too. Whether you're looking to entertain the kids for the weekend with an Easter Egg Hunt, looking to relax with your gal pal as I will be doing with a top notch afternoon tea, or even if you're just looking for a day out then why not come along?

If you do fancy yourself as a bit of a Mary Berry or heck let's not be sexist, a Paul Hollywood, then get in touch to enter your cake in the comp by emailing, or you know get in touch with me and I'd be more than happy to judge your cake bake skills! Hurry up and book your tickets here though, they're selling like hot cakes (sorry guys I had to!)

Of course I'd love to see you along there, drop on by if you have the chance and come say hi to me and my very own gal pal, Anastasia of Natbees, we'll be the ladies of leisure with our tea and cream cakes!

Until next time folks, scone anyone?


Saturday 5 March 2016

Aberdeen Art | Jason McGroarty, Project Totem & Cat Couture!

Another dawn, another day, and another exciting Aberdeen event I just had to share particularly for lovers of my cat cafe review (in addition to art, photography and darn good wine parties), I give you....Project Totem & Cat Couture by Jason McGroarty. Really though have you ever heard of anything so purrfect and feline fierce in your entire life than an art exhibit called 'Cat Couture'

This coming Monday (7th of March) head on over to Aberdeen's own art house Musa at 6pm for a wine reception and meet and greet with an artist like no other. Mixing his own creative talent and flare for visuals with humour and brooding emotion (and you know cats and animals) this is a unique and extraordinary exhibition you're not going to want to miss. Project Totem and Cat Couture have brought McGroarty notoriety and international exposure, having showcased his works in the likes of New York and London and Jason has most recently been selected for the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House.

Hopefully you'll be able to at least pop in for a glass of wine and a gander this Monday at Musa, but if not you're still in luck as Jason has kindly offered a discount to anyone who would like to purchase one of his unique prints from his Etsy shop. Just head on over to his page and use the discount code: BLOG15 for 15% off your purchase.

Oh and just a quick FYI to all you cat lovers out there, there is a Harry Potter cat print.... do with this what you will...

Until next time folks, I'm feline fierce.

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 4 March 2016

Do you even lift? | Things to expect as a newbie weight lifter

How to

Who would have thought that weight lifting could come with such drama? I mean come on really it's just like lifting and putting down, reset and repeat right? Wrong! Ever since I ventured into THAT part of the gym many dare not go I have noticed a number of things that happen when you start lifting weights, from unfortunate gym misogyny which you can read in a bit more detail about here, to the dramas you actually take home with you. So if you are considering venturing as I have maybe take note of some of the following things you'll be sure to notice.

1. Drying your hair becomes the struggle of all struggles. Whether you have long hair, short hair, thick or thin you'll struggle to keep your arms up long enough to become bone dry, in fact any holding your arms above your head becomes a daily struggle. Want to put that tin of soup in the top shelf of the cupboard? Nope! Want to reach for the stars and your dreams. NO!

2. Flexing your new, albeit teeny tiny muscles becomes your new obsession. You're sitting at your desk, flex. In for a coffee, flex. Everyday you'll see how much more you can flex and hey you'll still be working a muscle of some description.

3. You develop all new and anger inducing pet peeves. Think the most annoying thing about the gym are machine hogs? Oh honey it's about to get so much worse. I give you the weight hoarders, the hiders and my personal favourite the dumbbell ditchers who don't seem to know how a weight rack works!

4. Sweat isn't just a disgusting bodily function any more. Instead think of it as a glistening medal of your achievements from that hard hour of weights! 

5. ALL OF THE PROTEIN. Got to repair those growing muscles yall, where before you thought protein bars smelled and tasted like hamster food you'll suck it up and it's all for the gains. (Trek bars are my best friends just FYI!)

Well guys as I'm sure you can tell this post contained a few satirical undertones, but not about the hamster food, that shizz is real! But I hope you have found it entertaining, informative or maybe even true to your own experiences. If you're a newbie weight lifter a bit like me I'd love to hear what you have found to be true? Have you struggled to reach and stretch to your tall cupboards after a workout? Maybe getting dressed is your real struggle, whatever you have found be sure to leave your experiences in the comments below, come have a laugh and a natter about them on Twitter with me or if you'd just like to keep check of my expanding muscles and major gains (ha!) be sure to keep track of Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, girl do you even lift?

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Flamingo Candles | Black Raspberry and Vanilla

What can I say? Really the only irritating phrase that comes to mind would be, 'the boy did good' and already I can hear toes curling, hair standing on end as the phrase equivalent to nails on a chalkboard has finally been professed on Granite City Girl for the first time ever! No but in all honesty for Christmas, which now feels like many many moons ago, I challenged my husband with gifting me a Flamingo candle with little to no guidance of which scent would please my nasal cavities and therefore the power to make or break Christmas 2015 rest in his hands. And all that's really left to say is the perhaps more appropriate, 'the man did well, very well indeed,'

As you can undoubtedly tell from the title of this post I was gifted the Black Raspberry and Vanilla flamingo candle which like all Flamingo candles before comes in a simple glass jar with a beautiful metallic pink Flamingo design on the front as the name suggests! The candles itself smells quite like a sweet fruit cocktail without entering into the sickly territory, with strong notes of raspberries, strawberries as well as the vanilla (as you may have guessed!) but is also said to have sandal, jasmine and musk. What I love about these candles in particular is that their scents are quite unique, I mean where else can you buy this scent plus a parma violets and strawberries and champagne? They're designed simply but look so beautiful in any room and not to mention they leave your room smelling divine for hours and you don't even have to burn them that long!

Unfortunately I haven't yet lit my wick of this particular Flamingo candle as I am still working on my ever fresh Mojito one which I picked up from Joy in Glasgow all the way back in October (yes guys that is how long they can last!) but as you can undoubtedly tell I am doing my best to work through it just so I can welcome what can only be described as the sweet scent of summer into my home! 

Have you been lucky enough to have picked up or better yet be gifted a Flamingo candle? If so what are your favourite scents, I have a bucket list just for Flamingo candles I tell you! Be sure to leave your favourite smelly Flamingos in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or if you just fancy keeping up with Granite City Girl you can of course do that on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, 'the man did very well indeed,'

H.Elizabeth x
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