Thursday, 24 July 2014

#169. Leather leather and polka dots

Feels like ages since I have done an outfit post, so here you go. This is the outfit I wore to explore Biggar a few weeks ago (you can read about our trip here) and features my favourite shop - Dahlia! I really do love Dahlia and have quite a few of their products now and was lucky enough to get this cute pinafore for my birthday. Thanks Mama and Papa Whitelaw!

The pinafore is leather look and is lovely and soft with great scalloped edges and skirt. Lengthwise it comes to just above my knee so looks great with bare legs in the summer or tights. I have never owned a pinafore before - my mum always hated them so I never had one at school - but I love it, and doesn't remind me of school at all. It is high necked, which looks cute with a shirt collar and Hannah Zakari fish necklace poking over the top and works well with lots of different tops worn underneath, so is very flexible and a great base to build an outfit around.

As we were out and about, I kept the rest of the outfit quite casual with my spotty blue and white blouse from Matalan, cream converse and denim jacket. It had been so wet the day before that I wasn't prepared for the sun but thankfully had my sunglasses in my bag on the offchance the sun might decide to make an appearance. I got these sunglasses free at The List start of festival party last year with an Aperol Spritz. I have never met anyone yet who likes that drink, it really does remind me of cough syrup and I would rather just have the prosecco without the Aperol, but they do give away nice sunglasses!

I am a big fan of this Matalan blouse and bought it at the same time as my new favouite scuba trousers (Read about them here). The polka dots are large, making quite a simple styled blouse a lot more interesting and I like the shade of blue used, it's quite a right colour. The only downside of the blouse is that it is made of a funny synthetic material that isn't overly comfy on the skin and makes me hot very quickly. Other than that, I do love it. 

My Converse are my favourite pair of shoes - stylish and so comfy. I bought them in america last year and have never had them off my feet, they are my fourth pair, all hightops but I would love to buy a white pair of low tops soon for summer. They are just so practical for everyday wear and go with everything. 

My denim jacket is one I have had for ages, but I tend to bury it in my wardrobe, forget about it and then rediscover it every couple of weeks - I need to leave it out as it is such a great casual jacket to have and is perfect for the Scottish summers when the weather can change at the drop of a hat!

Just a nice simple casual outfit for exploring. Do you like my outfit? Do you like pinafores or do they remind you of school?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

#168. Review - Chop Chop, nom nom

Robin and I love trying different types of food. It's always great to try something new and my Mum and Dad were amazing when I was growing up, they always encouraged me to try something and if I didn't like it, well then I didn't have to have it again - easy! This means that I am quite adventurous when it comes to trying new things particularly on a buffet style menu. Obviously there are things that I'm not a fan of as much as the next person but I will always try something at least once and some things like salad, I have been forcing myself to like.

Robin is a big big fan of Chinese food and to be honest, it's not something that I have very often so we were very excited to be invited down to Chop Chop in Leith the other week to try some of their specialties. Chop Chop is a Northern Chinese business here in Edinburgh. The Leith restaurant is down on the Shore, alongside other bars and restaurants in an area that is cobbled, with old tram tracks and a little fountain. There is a sister restaurant just at Haymarket and some of you might have heard of Chop Chop already from Gordon Ramsay's The F Word. 

Robin and I had been to Chop Chop before, but not for over a year or so. We usually go with the Unlimited Banquet when out with friends which is great value for money and means you can try all of Chop Chop's favourite and specialty dishes and have more of those you like best, as dishes keep getting brought out until you say you are full. 

This time however, we decided to try some dishes off the main menu and have a couple of sides too so that we could share and try some new things.

As you would expect, the menu is quite extensive with lots of different meat and vegetable options and a large choice of dumpling flavours and fillings. Chop Chop are famous for their dumplings so we know we couldn't go without trying some. The menu was split into two for boiled and fried dumplings with a mixture of pork, beef and prawn, so we decided to try one of each and went with the beef and chili fried and pork and coriander boiled.

We had also chosen two vegetable sides each and two mains and sat and waited for our food to arrive - eyeing up everyone else's food as it went by. As all the food is prepared fresh, the food comes out when it's ready, so first up we had the boiled dumplings and the green beans.

The fried dumplings are larger than the boiled, but both types were soft and tasty, with just the right amount of filling. The beef and chili dumplings were slightly spicy as you would expect, with just the right level of kick. One of the waiting staff showed us how to mix a dipping sauce for the dumplings at the table, with garlic, chili oil, soy sauce and vinegar and this just made the whole taste pop. It was nice to be able to mix your own sauce and change the levels of each ingredient to your own personal taste.

The green beans were lightly fried so were still slightly crunchy and were mixed with garlic, ginger and chillis, which provided a nice kick to the dish. These were a favourite of both Robin and I's and we would happily eat a bit bowl of them on their own. Quite hard to pick up with chopsticks though!

Our mains arrived shortly after. We had decided to go for the crispy northern beef, which has tender beef strips battered and fried in a mixture of soy, vinegar and sugar dressing. The beef lived up to its name and were lovely and crispy in a sweet and sour type sauce with spring onions. Just delicious. Robin's main took a bit longer to arrive but was worth the wait - a stir fried spicy beef with chili which was so tender, it really did melt in your mouth and such a great rich taste. I have never had stir fried beef that was that succulent before, as it usually loses that so both of us were very impressed. The beef was also quite spicy so really did pack a punch, but worked well with the crunchy beans. Our final vegetable side dish was aubergine with garlic and spring onion, which again was delicious, very soft and tasty. 

The thing we found about all these dishes was they were quite simple, but they were so delicious, so it shows you don't need a lot of ingredients to make something tasty tasty.

If you haven't been to Chop Chop before, I would urge you to go. It is really simple delicious chinese food, with a great blend of flavours and choice of dishes. Their famous Unlimited Banquet is a really good way to try a few of their speciality dishes quite cheaply and works well with a group of friends. Whats more, if you go more than once, Chop Chop have a membership scheme that gives you vouchers to spend on important dates like your birthday and 10% off the rest of the time and it's free to join. Brilliant!

**Disclaimer - I was invited to Chop Chop as a guest in return for a review. Whilst our meal were complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and the post above reflects my true and honest opinion of my experiences of our visit.