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Review: Disney on Ice Frozen

We had the good fortune to be invited to Disney on Ice for Aberdeen, where it’s running until the 11th December, so if you want to see it, you better get your skates on..  See what I did there…..

As luck wouldn’t have it, we ended up being late for the pre-show, after I scratched my car.  Well, I wouldn’t call it a scratch, as I pulled off a side skirt on a friends fence and scratched two side panels.  I also ended up doing my back in, by pulling the fence away to stop more damage while I reversed, but at least it wasn’t until the next day when I really felt the burn.

After a horrendously long drive time wise, we ended up in rush hour traffic and missed the meet and greet we’d been invited to, which couldn’t be helped, but I did manage to snaffle the Princesses on the way from the meet and greet room, so bagged a picture for one of the boys to show their nephews.

I’m ashamed to say that it’s my first ever Disney on Ice show.  It’s one of those things I kept meaning to get to, but somehow never did.  I won’t make that mistake again.  I’m going to be finding every excuse under the sun to take my nephews with me next time it comes around.

The skating was amazing, and the intricacy of the steps phenomenal.  Despite having a car and friends fence to fix, I’m glad we made it in time.  At one point, I worried we wouldn’t get there at all.

The favourite part, by the reaction of most of the kids, seemed to be when the Trolls came out.  I have no idea why ghoulies and ghosties and all things trollish please children of most ages, but they do.

It’s the full story, live on ice.  And it’s not just for the girls.

There were groups of adults, plenty teens, and a fair few boys sitting around where we were.  Not to mention the two Aberdeen footballers beside us, who middler kept checking up on.  I’ve no idea who they were, but the kids did.

Disney says:

Whisk your family away to the wintry world of Arendelle as the entire heart-warming take of Academy Awared-winning Frozen skates into town!  Featuring never-before-seen characters, sensational skating and inspirational songs like “Let It GO”, treat your family to a dazzling celebration of love and friendship they’ll never forget!

The show is running in Aberdeen until the 11th December, 2016, and then onto the Sheffield Arena from the 14-18th December, and The O2 in London from the 21st to the 30th December.

We’re advised to arrive early to learn the snowman dance.

For more information and tickets, visit

On the way out, I heard someone say that it was “stunning.”  She was right.  It really is.

Disclaimer:  Thanks to Disney on Ice for our complimentary show tickets.  All opinions are my own.


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Personal Trainer or Not?

This is quite a personal post.  It’s pretty long, but I think it’s necessary to show how I’ve felt about exercise and my health.  It’s also as a very big thank you to people who have given me some very special time, and have recently been helping me enormously.

Ok, on with it.  None of us are getting any younger, well maybe Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham are, but I’m traditionally ageing forwards, bulldozing my way towards retirement at a frightening speed.  I’m pretty proud of what my body can do these days though.  And that’s a decade and a half after entering menopause.  Yes, I did have the luck to enter mine early, in my thirties, so my worst days flew away with the cuckoo long ago.  It does mean that I’m more at risk of osteoporosis than everyone who hits hot flushes in their late forties or early fifties, so I’ve been desperate to begin taking care of my joints and bones.


With my weight loss, I’m feeling better than I have for at least two decades, with the odd blip of two of a runny nose and sore throat, when those pesky kids of mine take home precious germs from school, just desperate to share them around.

So, the short story is, I can run….  Very slowly, as I keep telling everyone, but that’s so I don’t have to get embarrassed when a ten-year old whizzes past me in public, or I huff and puff my way up a new hill.

Back to what I’d planned talking about.  It’s a simple question isn’t it?  Whether to consult a personal trainer or not!  Or maybe it isn’t.  What do we even mean by a personal trainer anyway?  Shouldn’t it be someone who knows more than how to train us, or someone who knows about how fitness affects overall health?

Honestly though, it’s a potential mind blower…with all the terms and confusion.

I can imagine about a quarter of you who are reading, silently thinking, ‘no brainer,’ yet the other three-quarters might either be sniggering their socks off, or wondering what else the money could be spent on.


All of the above, are actually valid reasons, as is the concern of hitting a gym full of late teens and twenty year olds, either pumped up or perfectly body beautiful.  In reality, few, if any, care about us oldies with wobbly bits, but how we feel, does often stop us from doing things that are good for us.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when I was young, I longed for skinny legs and the smallest clothes I could fit.  I’m eons more sensible now, having realised that being strong is infinitely more attractive to anyone with a bit of sense.  And that’s not on the outside, but on the inside, where it counts. Think about it. What we look like on the outside, isn’t going to help us age gracefully or healthily, if we’re thin but unfit, or overweight and wanting to do something about it, but can’t get up the courage to take the next step, or perhaps don’t know where to start.

That was me.  After I was asked to run the Race for Life, I just kept going, not having a clue what I was doing really, but just putting one foot in front of the other, and building it up slowly.  It was the right way to do it, and I’d read and read about strength training, but just hadn’t figured out how to go about it.  I knew I had a skinny fat type belly, and I knew I wanted to do something about it, but somehow, I still felt embarrassed.  I thought about using the gym, but thought I’d look like a numpty newbie.  Even worse…was that my husband bought himself a home gym in January, but has never used it, so I wanted to, but never felt I was doing anything constructive.

For a while now, one of my secret wishes, was to add strength training as my middle body is weak, and not in good condition.  I look fine, but I haven’t felt fine about it.

I’ve often wondered how to measure body fat percentage over the last year, but a body fat caliper seems to be very far out, as most of the fat I’m left with, is stored in one area.  It could throw those results off.

I had the opportunity to have an InBody test done at Temple Medical, by the lovely Jo, one of their doctors, and the reading pretty much confirmed what I thought.  The test, which measures our body composition, is fairly comprehensive and does far more than simply measure body fat.  I know my body water, protein, mineral and fat mass levels….  It’s an enlightening and very quick test to have done.  It’s also an eye opener.  Lots of people are telling me that I’m soon going to be too thin, yet the InBody test tells me I still have a lot of work to do.

Most of my fat is centered around my abdomen, and it’s not a great thing to have, considering my weight is inside the normal range, but I am only a smidgen under the line for dangerous visceral fat.  Yes, I have UK size 7-8 feet at just over 5 foot 4, so I’m never going to have a skeleton that lets me on the lower side of the weight scale without looking emaciated, and my InBody score came out at 72, which I am assured is fairly good.  Yet it’s not ideal either, considering that my body fat percentage came out at over 30%. That’s despite all the running and weight loss.  In other words, it was staring me front and centre, in black and white, that I’ve done nowhere near enough to be fully healthy.  I’ve had blinkers over my eyes..and stuffed cotton wool in my ears.  I knew this stuff, but whey hey, pretend it doesn’t exist, and I could fool myself that I was more healthy than I was.

Put that BFP into perspective.  In some places, they class people with over 30 BFP as obese!!  Compare that with the fact I take a UK size 8 jean in Next these days.  Usually 8-10 in most other places.

With a few tips from Jo about food, and advising me to eat at the level of 1300-1400 calories a day, with around 130g protein in 24 hours, and how to get that in, I set off to make a few changes, knowing I could ask her for more advice.  I don’t need to diet as such, as that would be daft, but what I do need, is to replace some of that BFP with lean muscle instead.  Yep, I’m back to strength training, aka weights, and lifting…

It’s laughable – lifting weights at my age, isn’t it?

Or is it?

Who doesn’t want to be strong?  I’m sure I do.  When I get to sixty, or seventy, if I make that, or even beyond, I still want to be able to climb stairs, go for walks, maybe even still run, chase around any potential grandchildren, and enjoy life to my potential max.  I’m never going to be ready for my pipe and slippers when I retire.  I’ll be blogging till I’m ninety….

Moving on, and back to the issue of personal trainers.  They’re scary…  Usually perfectly fit and able twenty somethings, who’ve never fought with life, weight, stress, or kids running around their ankles. That’s what I thought.  There are lots of gyms in Aberdeen, yet I wanted to talk to someone who’s had a bit of life struggle.  Someone who would understand that having a dodgy thyroid makes losing weight tricky, someone who had perhaps lost weight themselves in the past, and someone closer to my age. Regular personal trainers don’t seem to have that experience, even if they do have nutritional qualifications.  I can imagine they exist, but I hadn’t found them.

My one and only experience to date, a few years ago, was a very young lad, telling me to go longer and faster on an elliptical, which I hated, then onto a treadmill, where my legs wobbled like jelly and my heart felt like it would burst by the end.  I never went back.


I found what I was looking for when I didn’t expect it at all, and it’s changed my life in a single session.

Tracy is the Health and Fitness Consultant at Temple Medical, and she was my next stop.

I have to admit to being a little anxious when I first met Jo and Tracy.  This isn’t even what I initially went there to review.  I was asked to review treatments, which I naively thought were all based around the face.  On my blog, they’d spotted my weight loss and let me come to talk about the service as part of their aesthetics treatments and weight loss management.  I’ll talk about it in another post, as I’ve begun the body contouring phase of their Alevere Weight Reduction Therapy programme, although I don’t need the weight loss segment.

As an overview, I took advantage of the session with Tracy, secretly hoping she’d be able to help me decide what to do with my pathetically weak belly.

Have a giggle at the wee time-lapse below.

[fbvideo link=”” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”1″]

I felt fine with Tracy.  She’s around my age, has life experience, and knows about the difficulty of being fit, and struggling to find the nerve to do something about it.  In short, it seems I have lazy glutes.  Those backside muscles that seem to have withered away on me.  Honestly, there’s nothing back there these days.  I’ve got strength in my thighs and calves from running, but my mid section, glutes, and almost everywhere else, is pathetically weak.


By the time I left that one hour session, I could have kissed her.  Really.  The introduction to exercise is tailored at our ability to cope, and can be built up slowly.  I don’t think I stopped talking all the way through, asking questions over and over..

In the studio, she introduced me to kettlebells, basic stretch exercises, and has given me a great idea for using the redundant weights machine in my house, by adding an extension to the front instead of needing a cross hook.

I’ve had a mat for years, that I’ve finally unrolled for my home gym (in the pic).  I’ve bought a couple of kettlebells from Amazon and I’m all the bash. I’ve no intention of joining a gym, but I would if I had to. I just can’t get to one often enough to justify the expense, and I like the idea of being able to go to my gym any time I want to.  Whatever we can stick to is what we should do, if we can.

I believe Temple Medical has classes and Tracy has invited me along to see one, so I’ll try to stop my joints popping before I mosey on along.

I’m back to see Jo in a month or so, to see how I’m getting on for a follow on InBody scan, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I manage to make a little progress. Kettlebells and protein, here I come.

Temple Medical are introducing a new product, which includes everything I experienced, which runs initially until Christmas.

New Temple Body Health Assessment in Aberdeen

  • InBody Scan, ie Body Composition Scan and Results.  Find out your percentage body fat, protein, minerals, body water and more.
  • 30 minute session with Jo, Medical Doctor, to discuss InBody results.
  • 30 minute session with Tracy, Health and Fitness Consultant.

You get all of this for £99, initially until Xmas.  Call: 01224 869997 for current offers.

I’d often wondered how to get a full body scan done, and thought it would cost hundreds and hundreds to have it done.  I had no idea how simply and quickly it could be done and analysed.

Find Temple Medical at:

Temple Medical Ltd
6 West Craibstone Street
AB11 6DL

Thanks to Temple Medical for my consultation and treatments.  All opinions are my own, based on my experience.  Other treatments available include light therapy, wrinkle relaxing treatments, skin rejuvenation, blemish removal, body contouring, ipl laser hair removal, and many more non surgical cosmetic procedures. 

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Race For Life 2016 and Me

In my eyes, the goal  of Race for Life, is to bring women together and raise sponsorship online.  I don’t have a big circle of real life friends, but you know what, every little thing I can do to help, is a step closer to someone in the future being cancer free.  I don’t have anyone to run/walk with, and I can’t persuade anyone in real life to come with me yet.  Doing anything in public still fills me with a sense of dread, yet, I’ve agreed to run our local 10k, with the kind support of CRUK.

Ladies, if I can do it alone, so can you.  What do we have to lose?  There’s an option for a 5k if you think 10k is too far, and personally, I will be likely to walk as much of the 10K as I run, possibly more, but it’s a little over 6 miles, and I know I can walk that.  5k is only just a little over 3 miles, and with a little walking training from now till then, almost all of us could do it. It really is time to ‘lace up our trainers.’  It’s handy that my trainers have some pink in them….  I suspect I’ll have new ones by then.

Run Trainers

Yes, I can run around 8k, slowly, on a treadmill, at a push, with no wind or hills – but outside, I’m lucky if I can manage half a mile without thinking I’m going to keel over.

I’m Diabetic, I have Fibromyalgia, Costocondritis, feet trouble, and often suffer with back pain too.  Any sort of exercise is a huge challenge for me, but sitting on my backside doing nothing, isn’t an option if I’m to be healthy into my fifties, sixties and more.

For my local event 10k, the questions I wanted answered are given here.  You can find out what your own venue will have by checking the event pages.

Aberdeen 10k Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Refreshments
  • Parking available
  • Suitable for dogs
  • Suitable for pushchairs
  • This event is suitable for wheelchair users with assistance

The Course

The Aberdeen route will take you along the beautiful Beach Esplanade, taking in the amazing view of Aberdeen beach. The double lapped course is completely flat and the terrain consists of tarred roadways, with the exception of the finish straight which is a grassed area.

Meeting Point

The meeting point is within the main grass area of the event site next to Linx Ice arena. Please arrive one hour before the start time of your race.

The Training

Yes, I’m going to have to do some training, most outside.  I can walk the distance easily, but running as much as I can will be difficult, especially if I have a Fibro or Costo flare up on the day.  I’ve accepted that if it does happen, I’ll be walking it all, as no matter how much I want to run on those days, actually getting two feet off the ground makes an attack last for longer than it needs to.  Just the walk on a day like that, is a huge accomplishment.

I’ve downloaded the Race for Life App, and also the 10KIQPLAN.  There’s around 9 weeks to get moving.

Race for Life have a training plan on their website, for beginners and for intermediate runners.  I’m going to try a bit of both, to help me run outside a little.

What to Wear

I have a pink t-shirt that will do the job wonderfully, but I’ve bought the official race for life cap, as I don’t want to risk getting sun on my face.  I burn too easily to take that chance.  I also splashed out on the lightweight rain jacket, and the little wrist wallet for money and my car key.   Apart from that, I’ll have on my trainers and a pair of running trousers.  I don’t do skin tight leggings.   Maybe one day, but not yet.


I’ll be blogging my training, so if you think you’re alone in trying to do this, you can keep me company.

Other Ways to Help

If you can’t walk or run, or you’re a male, there are other ways to help, offline and online, including a Bakesale, Volunteering, Quiz Nights, or even getting your kids and their schools involved.  You don’t have to run on the day to raise money for a good cause.  Personally, I’ll open a Just Giving account and hope I can raise something to help out.  I might not raise a lot, but if I don’t try, it’ll never happen.

Find out More

With Cancer Research UK, and Tesco as their partner, a huge following, that includes thousands of women and young children has been successful across the UK.

They say:

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of women-only events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

This years campaign has kicked off in earnest, with around 300 events, up and down our little land.

Did you know, that every couple of minutes, someone, somewhere in the UK, is diagnosed with cancer.  I don’t think there can be many of us who have not been touched by cancer at some point in our lives.  Personally, my mother is a breast cancer survivor, and my mother in law fought a brave battle with cancer before she died.  My own experience has been limited to rogue cervical cells which were treated when I as in my twenties.  I am ever thankful of the research done in the past, to allow me to stop those developing into potential cancer cells.

Race for Life events raise money to find new says to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.   There is no Government funding, so it’s all down to us, the people who live with cancer and it’s affects on families.

The success of race for life seems to be stemmed from largely being women, who can walk, jog, run, or amble around the courses, all with the single goal of finishing the distance, and bringing some much needed support for research.  If you want to find out more about how the money is used, check it out here.

Events that might be close enough for you to attend, include.

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Win £50 To Spend in Jamie Oliver’s Italian in Aberdeen & Up To 3 Kids Eat Free #aberdeen Closes 31st March 2015

Who doesn’t like the idea of a fabulously free meal.  Up for offer today, I have a £50 meal to give away for one lucky prize winner to spend in the Aberdeen Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant.  The giveaway ends on the 31st of March 2015, at midnight.

Jamie Oliver 4

The voucher can be spent on anything on the menu, and would likely cover a 3 course meal for two adults.  Up to 3 Kids will get their meals for free with the prize. (approximately £6 each.)

The giveaway is to celebrate the Aberdeen Restaurant, Jamie’s Italian.  I haven’t had the pleasure of eating there yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to it at one point.  There are also restaurants in London, Glasgow, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, St Albans, and more.

Our Local Jamie’s

Jamie‘s Italian Aberdeen is one of the newer enterprises.  The Italian Restaurants are a partnership between Jamie Oliver and his Italian mentor, chef Gennaro Contaldo.

The first restaurant opened in Oxford in May 2008, and has grown to many new ventures.  The Jamie’s Italian menu is based on dishes that people would eat in Italy, carefully made, but without much fuss.

Pasta is made on site each day and the children’s menu is perfect for families.  Our local in Aberdeen is currently the most Northerly restaurant and sits on the first and second floors of the old Esselmont & Macintosh Department Store on Union Street.  I have many memories of Esslemont and Macintosh, and was sad to see it go, but I’m sure Jamie’s Italian fills the space well.

Booths are spacious and there are large open windows, so it’s perfect to relax.  There is also a chance to host parties and celebrations on the upper floor, for up to 130 people.

The Giveaway

Entry is by Rafflecopter only.  Complete the steps to be in with a chance to eat at a Jamie’s Italian Restaurant.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Giveaway Rules

 – Open to UK Mainland Entrants only.

– 1 Winner will win one meal to the value of £50, with up to 3 children eating free in Jamie’s Aberdeen Italian Restaurant

– The prize will be booked in the UK, through contact with the Scottish Mum Blog and Jamie’s Italian.

– The Scottish Mum Blog is not responsible for your prize and cannot be held liable in any way for non delivery or non receipt at your end.

– Winners will be notified within 2 days of giveaway end. If the winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be drawn.

– The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter random generator.

– Scottish Mum Blog and Jamie’s Italian reserve the right to amend, add or withdraw this giveaway at any time.

– Each entry method entitles you to one entry into the draw.

– Closes 31st March 2015 at midnight.



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A Visit to Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen #BetterPlaces #BritMums

Where do you go when you want a bit of peace and quiet, or simply somewhere calming to help ease the stresses in your life?

Hazlehead Park 2

For me, one of my favourite places is a park that lies not far from us.  Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen, is a nice calming place for me.  I started to go there when my puppy arrived fourteen years ago, and until she died, it stayed one of her favourite places to go.  We’d just have to turn the car into the road leading to the park, and she’d start yelping with excitement.

Granted, it’s not showing its glory on the winter drab day we’ve just had, but imagine this when it’s in full bloom over spring to autumn and you can imagine why I enjoy going there.

Hazlehead Park 3

The park is over 180 hectares in total, and includes a couple of golf courses and a pitch and putt on top of the other things you’d normally find in a City park.  It has a lot of trees, so is great for hide and seek with small children, also letting them see lots of wildlife with the flowers and bushes.

Every year, Hazlehead Park also hosts the Aberdeen Highland Games in June, with the traditional Scottish events such as caber tossing, highland dancing, hammer throwing, piping and tug of war.  There are often upwards of 10-15 thousand visitors that day, so leave the car and take the bus if you’re going.

In the park, there’s also the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden.  Dedicated to the 167 men who lost their lives in the North Sea on the 6th January 1988, as well as to those who lost their lives trying to help the men in trouble.

Hazlehead Park 9

I don’t let my children forget either.  We do visit on occasion, to remind ourselves how men and women put their lives in danger every day, just to give us a better life.  In summer, this garden is beautiful, fully blooming with rich colours.

Hazlehead Park 15

I see this garden as a place to relax and unwind.  In the summer months, I’ve been known to sit there with a flask of coffee and a good book, just to blow the cobwebs out of my hair.  Dotted around the garden are some memorial benches that are perfect for enjoying the garden, and doing nothing more than enjoying the odd nice day that comes our way.

Hazlehead Park

I do go with my kids too, as there’s plenty for them to do at Hazlehead Park.  A nice big maze keeps them busy for at least half an hour a time, while I usually sit outside with my trusty kindle, listening to them shouting for each other as they get lost inside.

Hazlehead Park 12

Sadly, the visit today meant we were too late to visit pets corner, so we went for a late lunch in the cafe instead.

Hazlehead Park 11

Hazlehead Park 14

There’s plenty for kids to do, as there are several open spaces and two huge fields down the back for football or rough ball games.  As well as that, there are climbing frames, swings and even a couple of little diggers that keep middler amused for around an hour.

I think almost everyone that lives in Aberdeen has visited.  There are usually activities and gatherings over the nicer months, and in the afternoons, finding a spot on a sunny day can be challenging, so I have tended to go when I dropped the kids off at school, before the crowds of new mums and toddlers arrive for the day.  There are often dog walkers and joggers out at that time, doing the same thing as I do.

If you’re in Aberdeen on a nice day, make sure you visit.

Hazlehead Park 4

This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Headache Relief Find Your Better Place campaign with BritMums. Syndol Headache Relief is now formulated for headaches. Visit for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.

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Giveaway: Fresh Food Guru Christmas Dinner Pack Worth £85 – Closes 15th Dec 2014

A quality butcher experience can look expensive at first glance, but if you plan your ratios of meat to other ingredients, careful meal planning and a little thought can have us all producing great quality meals from great tasting ingredients – yet still coming within budget.

I’ve been using products from the Fresh Food Guru since their first days online, when they were known as Andrew Gordon Butchery.  I love the service, and having meat delivered to my door.  The new online branding, has a fresh and modern appeal that lovers of good food will appreciate.

I’m really pleased to offer this giveaway from my favourite butcher, for readers on the UK Mainland.

One of you is going to sit down, with your family, to a fabulous White Christmas Dinner Pack from the Fresh Food Guru.  The full pack is worth £85, but is available online at a discount rate of £76.00.


The pack will feed up to 6-8 adults and consists of:

  •  2-3kg Boneless Turkey Breast Roast
  • 12 Generous Pigs in Blankets
  • 450g Oatmeal Stuffing
  • 450g Traditional Pork Sausage Stuffing
  • 450g Traditional Beef Sausage Stuffing
  • 15 Pork Chipolatas
  • 2 Packs Streaky Bacon

A little more information on the giveaway dinner pack:

Boneless Turkey Breast Roasts are all pure white turkey breast meat.

The Traditional Oatmeal Stuffing is made with 50% less salt.

The Pigs In Blankets are made by hand and come wrapped in dry cured Scottish Streaky Bacon.  It’s perfect for crisping while your turkey is roasting.

The Lean Pork Sausage Meat comes from a decades old trusted recipe, using the finest pork rump, shoulder and leg cuts.

Pork Chipolatas are hand-made on the premises, and made from lean and meaty pork.

Fresh Food Guru Black Friday Online Sale

15% off all online orders this Friday, 28th November, so if you fancy something tasty, give them a try.

Simply enter this code into the shopping basket.   The code cannot be used in conjunction with any other online discount code.

  • Thanks2014

Enter The Giveaway

Subscribing to the Fresh Food Guru newsletter is mandatory for this giveaway, however if you already subscribe, then please sign in or use the same e-mail address to enter this giveaway, so that we can match you up if you win.

Closes 15th Dec 2014 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Rules – Open to UK Mainland Entrants only.

– 1 Winner will win one White Christmas Dinner Pack from the Fresh Food Guru.

– The prize will be sent to you from, and posted from within the UK.

– The Scottish Mum Blog is not responsible for your prize and cannot be held liable in any way for non delivery or non receipt at your end.

– Winners will be notified within 2 days of giveaway end. If the winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be drawn.

– The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter random generator. – Scottish Mum Blog or Fresh Food Guru reserves the right to amend, add or withdraw this giveaway at any time.

– Each entry method entitles you to one entry into the draw.  Daily retweets count if you re-enter the widget and put the tweet url in.

– Closes 15th December at midnight.

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Simpson’s Restaurant Review – A Meal for Two

I had a lovely invite from Simpson’s Hotel and Restaurant in Queens Road, Aberdeen.  The request was to review a three course meal for two at an evening sitting.  It’s been a long time since the man and I have been out together, so we decided to accept and happily trotted down to the hotel last week for our meal.

The restaurant is big and airy, and boasts an impressive entrance hall from above, with a decorative set of stairs to walk down to the dining area.

There is a side entrance that would suit anyone who needs wheelchair access. The side entrance is also pleasantly done, and not simply an after thought to meet legislation.

We were sat up at the back in a quiet corner, and I have to hold my hand up to burning the menu.  It was a very large single sheet menu and I laid it down on the table while I got my phone out of my bag.

Mr Scottish smelled the burning first, and whipped the menu up off the tealight before it went on fire.  I didn’t trust myself after that and I put the candle on a table beside us.

Bread and drinks were quickly offered, but we declined the bottle of white and settled on some soft drinks and a couple of pints for Mr Scottish during the evening.

Staff were very attentive and we were looked after for most of the night by the Restaurant Manager on duty, Elliot Virdee.

We were there to try the à la carte menu and we were spoiled for choice.  I’m not a heavy shellfish fan, so I chose the soup of the day which was Asparagus and Chestnut.  I am a bit of a soup fanatic as I make many varieties, so the combination was intriguing and surprisingly creamy.

There were exotics like Tempura Salt and Pepper Squid, Marinated Orkney Salmon, Shellfish Cocktail and Lobster.   Mr Scottish opted for the 4 Creel caught Langoustines, Grilled with Garlic & Lime Butter, but it was a hard decision to make between that and the Lobster.  He has decided he is going back, just to try it.

Meals are made to order, and the wait is gratefully received to let each course go down.

I almost played it safe to order the Classic Chicken Caesar Salad which sounded lovely, with Bacon, Anchovies and Quails Eggs, although I would have omitted the Anchovies.

The Caesar Salad is one of the dishes that can be ordered as both a main dish or a starter, so on a future visit, I’d be tempted to try it.

I decided to be a little more adventurous and order the Roast Corn Fed Chicken, with Pancetta, Cranberries, Fondant Potato, Sprout Leaves and Roasting Juice.  I was thoroughly pleased with my choice as it was delicious.  I hadn’t counted on the sweet taste of the Cranberries complementing the Chicken so well.

Mr Scottish had the 400g Aberdeen Angus T-Bone Steak which is served with Watercress, Shallot Onion Rings and Matchstick Fries.   He chose the Wild Mushroom sauce to go with his steak but he could have also picked from Peppercorn or Béarnaise.

After our main courses, we were both quite full.    Some fries and green salad made up the whole meal.

Contrary to our previous à la carte experiences, the portion sizes were very good.

Historically, I have always related à la carte to mean tiny portions for a fortune, but that is certainly not what Simpson’s hotel provides.  The portion sizes were just right and we had to debate whether we were going to manage a Dessert at all.

Elliot arrived with the Dessert menu just as Mr Scottish mentioned that he fancied something caramelised.  The first Dessert on the menu was Caramelised Lemontart with Blackberries, Caramelised Pumpkin Seeds and Blackberry Sorbet, so that’s what he had.

I tried a piece of the Lemontart and can’t help wishing I’d ordered that for myself.

I’d spotted the Hot Chocolate Fondant with Chocolate Sauce and Sour Cherry Ice Cream.

The menu said it takes 20 minutes to prepare, so I had to try it for the factor of simply being unusual.   It was lovely and the Sour Cherry Ice Cream was gorgeous.

I couldn’t finish it as it was a bit too much chocolate for me with the fondant and the sauce, but the ice cream was quickly eaten.

We had a lovely evening.  The staff were attentive and pleasant, without being obtrusive.

Most of the evening clientele when we were in was situated around hotel occupants, and I would imagine mostly oil industry related people.

I can’t help thinking Aberdeen and our diverse population is missing a trick here.

Midweek couples would do well to have a meal in nice surroundings, be treated well AND have fabulous food at the same time as being able to park easily in a good area of town.

I found prices on the menu very reasonable for the surroundings, service and quality.

For a starter, my gorgeous soup was £5, while Mr Scottish had the Langoustines at £12.

For main meals, options start at £12 with good priced salads and vegetarian choices, with the most expensive at £42 for an Aberdeen Angus Rib on the Bone to share.

Within 10 minutes of being home, Mr Scottish was on the phone to a friend to say his meal was “outstanding” and that he’d be back.  That’s a result for my usually very fussy Mr.

Thank you Simpsons for the lovely meal.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

If you want to treat that someone special in your life, try out Simpson’s for yourself and make a reservation Online, by Telephone, (0)1224 327777, or Email:


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School Lunches – “Healthy” versus “Unhealthy”

With grinning faces, the kids love it if there’s pizza, or burgers and chips on the school menu.  Granted, the days of lumpy custard have hopefully spent their last ever days gracing the plates of our growing future generation, but for my kids, stodge is what they want from a school dinner in Aberdeen City.

Making faces that would sour milk, they turn their noses up at school dinner fish, as I’m told it tends to be grey with “bits” on it.   Similarly the soft veg and tasteless fruit seem to be pretty low on the agenda of my hungry horaces at feeding time.

Portion sizes are teensy, and on the one day I was able to join the lunch time rabble, I was shocked how little kids were eating of their meals once they tasted them, and made faces at each other.

I really don’t see the point of meeting Governmental Nutritional Guidelines, or claiming to serve a balanced meal if the food looks and tastes like shoe leather.  And what about the 11 year olds getting the same portion sizes as the 4 year olds?  How is that going to keep them alert during afternoon classes, bellies not full enough from their £2 meal?

So, given the “reasonably low” standard of food on offer in many lunch canteens, why oh why do the schools insist on telling kids they shouldn’t be taking cans of fizzy pop, or sweeties in their lunch boxes?

I’m told by the kids that the staff take cans of pop away from children who have taken them to school.  If it happens, it’s thieving of the lowest proportions from kids, and seems to set double standards that rankle.  All it creates is the sweetie mob and the non sweetie mob hierarchy as lots of parents put sweets in lunch boxes, even when they’re asked not to.

The short story is, that as a health promoting school, we’re not supposed to give them any sweeties to school, but the tables are turned when they sanction teachers using sweets to bribe the kids into better behaviour.

Little children’s brains try to absorb the contents of the healthy living world and come home full of facts and figures on how bad some foods are, yet when the same kids go to secondary schools, (or academy, or whatever else schools at 12 + are) they are suddenly faced with canteen style food of epic fast food proportions, and expecting around £5 a day to gorge themselves on whichever food tasty of the day catches their eye.

I’ve been “reliably” informed by an excitedly animated face, that the food in secondary is as good as Pizza Hut, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“That’s good for me mum,” came the  high pitched happy chappie who starts there next Tuesday.   “I need to put on a few pounds,” says the skinny football mad lad.

A response of “Ye’ll get a packed and like it, with a school lunch on special occasions,”  leads to folded arms and a pout worthy of One Direction.

So, after all of this, I have yet to see what the point was of making such a fuss of “healthy” versus “unhealthy” food at primary, if at secondary, they can choose to just get stuffed full of junk and want £5 a day for lunch.  Ok, so senior school moves to a cafeteria style service with healthy choices,  but with many kids, the only choice they will make is the junk, as they often have to eat the healthy stuff at home.

Aside from the fact I am not spending £15 a DAY on kids lunches when they reach secondary, am I the only one who thinks it’s a ridiculous double standard?

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Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Best of British Show in aid of The ARCHIE Foundation – 25th May 2012

I’m happy to host this guest post from the fashion management students at my old Uni, The Robert Gordon University, who are raising money for The ARCHIE Foundation for children.


Since it began in 2008 the annual charity fashion show at Robert Gordon University has raised tens of thousands of pounds for deserving charity foundations.

Now into its fifth year third-year fashion management students are hoping they can raise more money than ever before.

On the night of May 25th the Aberdeen Business School will be transformed on to accommodate 400 guests for what is hoped to be a marvelous and memorable evening of fashion, shopping and entertainment, with The ARCHIE Foundation being the sole beneficiary of the show.

This year’s show takes on the theme ‘Best of British’; rather fitting in the year of 2012 which sees both the Royal Jubilee and the London Olympic Games and plenty of patriotic celebrations along with them!

Catwalk themes including the British seaside, countryside, music, sport, people, designers, royals and the traditional tea party will showcase the very best of British style, and what’s more guests will be invited to enjoy a whole host of other entertainment on the night too.

Alongside the fashion catwalk there will be some fantastic on-stage performances and the opportunity to indulge in some of Britain’s finest foods and not to mention lashings of cocktails too!

Guests will have the chance to browse and buy within a unique shopping area dedicated to hosting a variety of local retailers; from fine wine to fashion there is something for everyone.  To add to the mix there will be a both a silent auction and a prize raffle on the night too.

With everything from cocktail mixology sessions to designer handbags, restaurant vouchers to fitness memberships, there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs and plenty of chances to win. With all proceeds going to The ARCHIE Foundation the students are determined to raise enough money to make a considerable contribution to the charity and its work.

As the official charity of the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Wards in Inverness and Elgin and Community based Child Health throughout Grampian, Highland, Orkney and Shetland, the ARCHIE Foundation is dedicated to making a difference to the lives of sick children through providing state of the art medical equipment, specialist staff, funding into research and of course lots of toys too!

The ARCHIE Foundation is so incredibly deserving of financial donations.  Its work really is invaluable to sick children and their families.

With the aim of surpassing last year’s total of £11,000 the third-year Fashion Management students have been up to all sorts in order to raise money in the lead up to the show. We’ve had our measuring scales and mixers out to host bake sales on campus, and we’ve put our creativity to the test too with kids’ crafts and face painting at the Bon Accord.

We’ll be proving our knowledge with a special Best Of British pub quiz, be doing supermarket bag packing and we’ve been out and about in the pubs and bars of Aberdeen promoting the show and collecting donations too all whilst planning what is sure to be the biggest night in Aberdeen’s fashion calendar.

The Best of British Fashion Show will be held on May 25th 2012 in Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, and Garthdee Road, Aberdeen.

Tickets for the show are priced at £15 each, or for VIP ticket priced at £25 guests will receive special goody bag, front row seats and access to the exclusive VIP room, and are available by contacting:

We announce all of our exciting news and fundraising updates on Facebook and Twitter too:



We also have a Just Giving page where online donations to The ARCHIE Foundation can be made:

Donate to The ARCHIE Foundation

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Coco Mango Chicken Recipe


For my lovely meal, six of us ate from the recipe, and I have three strapping lads to feed, as well as a man who likes a good bit of animal protein.


  • 800 – 900g chicken breast / fillet.
  • 6 heaped tablespoons mango chutney (I buy Premium Mango Chutney in huge jars from Costco).
  • Rapeseed oil.
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed or chopped, or a teaspoon of garlic from a jar.
  • 1/2 tin of coconut milk (mix well in the tin before adding).
  • Salad, vegetables and fruit to serve.
  • Pitta bread or wraps.


  1. Cut chicken into pieces.
  2. Shallow fry the chicken in the minimum of rapeseed oil.  Use a large frying pan, wok, or even a thick bottomed saucepan on low – medium heat.  Turn the chicken often to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the 6 tablespoons of mango chutney and the garlic.
  4. Stir often to make sure the chicken and mango chutney don’t burn.  Turn down the heat, and let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes.
  5. Mix in the coconut milk a little bit at a time on a low heat at the end or it will separate.

To serve, simply warm pitta bread or wraps, choose vegetables, salad or fruit, and serve in large dishes for sharing.

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Local Florists with Interflora

This is a Featured Post

This year has been a fabulous year with Interflora for the Scottish Mum Blog.

For Mothers Day, Interflora sent me a gorgeous bunch of flowers to review and gave me one to give away.   They were absolutely beautiful, and I can’t resist showing you the picture again.

There were many smiles in this house (mostly from me), and the vase has been very useful for the bunches of flowers that came after.   I had got out of the habit of having flowers in my home, and Interflora kick started a regular buying habit.   There is just something so welcoming in any house that has a flower in it.

My husbands’ grandmother used to say “a house without a flower or a plant is no home at all.”   Perhaps there is wisdom in that phrase as the smell and sight of a lovely bunch of flowers or a well cared for plant makes many of us feel better.

Interflora also sent a fabulous bunch of flowers to  my mother who really deserved the treat.  She absolutely adored the roses which gave her some much-needed colour and scent to make her little flat seem a more welcoming place to be.

I was pleasantly surprised to find there are 6 Interflora  florists in Aberdeen and that they are easily contactable by telephone.   It was easy to pick from the local florists in my area, and with next day delivery there really is something for everyone.

I know that most of my readers are not just in Aberdeen, so I thought it would be interesting to look at some other cities in Scotland. When someone searches for florists in Glasgow or florists in Edinburgh, they have to enter in the first part of their postcode, and then they can choose from the list of florists close to where they want the flowers to be delivered.

I really like that option, as it means that we don’t have to only order online, and we can call a local shop directly to see what they have available if we need a quick delivery (for when we have forgotten a birthday).

I picked the closest florist to  me, which is the Four Seasons at Rosemount and visited the website.   We all have different ideas of what is safe and what is not, and for me, it was nice to see the Interflora branding on there.   A branding that I recognise does make me feel more comfortable.  I like to know that I am dealing with a reputable supplier, which makes me feel safer when I am handing over my payment details for online or telephone sales.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to go and look at the Interflora Christmas flowers as I would love to get a nice bunch from the man in my life to decorate the Christmas table.   I think I have narrowed my favourites down to these two.

Warm Wishes Festive Christmas Basket

(I may leave some pictures lying around, or simply send my husband the link these flowers by mistake.)

Christmas Perfect Gift

What do you think?  Which one do you think would look fabulous on my Christmas dinner table this year?