Viva Glasvegas!

On Friday night, me and the rest of the team at work got all dolled up and headed to Alea Casino for Mark’s leaving do. I’d never set foot in a casino before (shocking I know!) so I was really looking forward to hitting the tables and trying my luck. As it turned out, I wisely ended up choosing to spend my money on alcohol instead of gambling but I still had a cracking night!

We started the night with a gorgeous three-course meal in the restaurant – I had deep fried Haggis Bon Bons in a whisky sauce to start, followed by pork loin and then probably one of the best Sticky Toffee Puddings I’ve ever tasted in my life. The food was absolutely delicious and was really good value at only £20 a head. Apparently the restaurant does a really good lunch menu as well so Ill definitely make a point of going back again one day.

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Haggis Bon Bons

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After dinner, we all headed into the bar and continued the evening with lots of drinking and gambling. I had a great night catching-up with everyone outside of work and by the end of the night,  the four of us who’d stayed to the end were all up dancing the night away. Somehow we managed to stay in the casino until 4am so it was a pretty late one – I was not feeling so fresh the next morning as you can imagine!

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Me, Paola and Claire

At the moment, I’m really enjoying life up in Glasgow. It suddenly feels like everything has clicked and I’m feeling positive about the next few months again which is good 🙂 Worrying to think that though tomorrow marks the start of my final five months – this year really is flying by at the moment.

The Barras.

Yesterday morning I decided to brave the gale-force winds and venture over to the east end of Glasgow so I could finally have my first experience of The Barras. For those of you that don’t know, The Barras is a famous fleas market that basically sells bric-a-brac, antiques and a selection of dodgy designer knock-offs. However, it’s also meant to be a real experience for the atmosphere and all the Glasgae ‘patter’ (or banter) that you encounter.

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Barrowlands

I had high hopes for The Barras when I arrived but, unfortunately, I found the whole experience a little disappointing. The market itself was quite sparse and it had very little of the vibrant atmosphere I’d been expecting. Also, most of the stuff was just not appealing to me and my tastes so I was unable to find a hidden gem amongst the rubbish. Admittedly, I did choose to go on a day that was freezing and extremely windy and it was relatively early when I arrived so I understand people may not have been out in their droves. Thus, I would be more than willing to go again, maybe on a Saturday afternoon when the weather is that bit nicer and warmer. It wasn’t entirely a wasted trip though as I can now say I’ve ventured to the East of the city (and survived!)

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

Last Saturday I decided it was finally time to tick off one of the attractions on my list and visit Kelvingrove Museum. It’s a building I’ve walked many times before and also wanted to visit but had never quite got round to doing so. I was first struck by just how big the building actually is and how much there is to see. The museum is divided into two sections – life and expression. Broadly speaking, expression is the art gallery element and life is the museum element. Throughout the whole building  there are actually 8,000 different objects in 22 themed galleries – unsurprisingly it took me several hours to see everything and even then, I probably missed a few things out!

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Outside

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Inside

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Sir Roger The Asian Elephant

As well as the collections themselves, there is also a cafe and shop on the lower ground floor. As I stupidly visited during lunchtime I decided to pop into the cafe for some substance to help me round the next floor of exhibitions. I opted for a Lanarkshire Blue Cheese and Broccoli Tart, served on a bed of salad with the house vinaigrette. It was beautiful and, at £4.45, was actually quite reasonably priced (always a good sign!)

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Food!

All in all, I’d really recommend Kelvingrove for a good day out. There is so much to see and do there and a real mix of collections spanning all different periods, as well as an extensive artistic collection. Plus, I hasten to add, all this is free so really you can’t go wrong either way!

St. Patrick’s Day.

Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day so to celebrate, me and Bronagh (along with Dom and Paola) decided to head to an Irish Pub in town and celebrate in traditional style – aka with lots and lot of Guinness! We headed to Waxy O’Connor’s, which is a great pub right in the centre of town. The bar itself is absolutely huge – there are three different floors, numerous bars and far too many different flights of stairs to try and navigate. In all honesty, I was getting slightly lost before I’d even finished my first drink so by the end of the night I had no clue where I was heading!

Me and Bronagh started proceedings just after 12pm and I’m pretty pleased to say we managed to last almost a whole 12 hours! As you can imagine, the next day was not very pretty at all. Note to self: do not mix Guinness with Jagerbombs, it is fowl and it will get you drunk very quickly! However, I did have an absolutely cracking day/evening. There was live music, good conversation and then, later on, there was DJ to see you through the evening so then there was lots of crazy dancing – including a few slightly embarrassing attempts at an Irish Jig! Somehow, we also managed to gain a lot of rather cool Paddy’s Day merchandise including a Waxy O’Connor’s Rugby Shirt, a Guinness Hat and a wee green St. Patrick’s Day Rosette.

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Rockin’ the Guinness Hat

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Getting into the spirit of things…

It’s been far too long since I’ve had a proper good old session in the pub and I actually really did enjoy myself. It was also a great opportunity to get to know everyone that bit more, as everyone is much more chatty once they’ve had a pint or two (or four!) Fingers crossed we’ll all be able to go out again soon, although I think I’ll definitely be giving the Guinness a miss this time.

The Halfway Point.

Tomorrow marks the sixth month anniversary of me moving to Glasgow. Honestly, I really cannot believe that I am now over half-way through my placement – I’ll actually be leaving at the end of August, instead of mid-September as originally planned, as my postgraduate course starts on Monday 9th September (less than six months now!) This means I have five and a half months left here, which is actually quite a scary thought.

The past month has been very up and down. The highs have been just fantastic – I have a great weekend in Lancaster catching up with old friends and then an even better week in Nottingham with all my nearest and dearest. Equally though, I admit I’ve spent the majority of the last  month feeling quite lonely in a way and wishing that I could just be in London already. I’ve struggled a lot since Eujin and Rosie left and I think recently it’s finally dawned me just h0w far away all of my close friends live and how much I need at least some of them to be that bit nearer.

However, going home was actually a really positive step for me. Admittedly, there was a big part of me was simply dreading getting back on that train and I was really quite upset for a wee while. Once I got back to Glasgow though and saw everyone at work and such forth, it wasn’t long before I started to feel a lot better. Having a change in scenery was just what I needed and I’ve come back feeling refreshed and determined to make the most of my remaining time in Glasgow. I know I say this every month but here is so much I need to see in both the city and the country as a whole and I finally feel like now is the time to make good on that promise and finally do it.

I’ve decided to start small and work on seeing some of Glasgow’s most famous attractions initially before I go travelling off throughout bonny Scotland. I have a 3 day weekend so my plan is to finally head to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is apparently Glasgow’s most popular free attraction and then maybe spent some time in the West End window-shopping and eating cake (perfect Saturday!). Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day and the plan is to spend all day in Waxy O’Connor’s, an Irish pub in the city centre. There’s going to be live music and DJs and plenty of alcohol so I think it should be a pretty good day! In between nursing my hangover on Monday, I’ll also be volunteering at the Red Cross shop on Byres Road again. I’ve done about four proper shifts so far which I’ve enjoyed a lot, plus I get 20% staff discount and first pick on all new donations. I managed to get an Urban Outfitters cardigan which should have cost about £40 for only £3.60 when I was on shift yesterday – absolute bargain!

Looking further ahead I have no real plans beyond this weekend, except for my friend Hannah hopefully coming to visit in mid-April. I haven’t seen her since before Christmas so I’m already extremely excited to see her again and show her all that Glasgae has to offer. However I’m sure that between now and then a lot will probably happen, as it always does with me!

Mother’s Day.

To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, I surprised my mum with lunch at a really nice Chinese Restaurant. Because of being away at university (amongst various other things) this was the first time in probably about four years since I last spend any proper quality time with my mum on Mothering Sunday. In general, we do struggle to make time for one another properly so it made a nice change for just the two of us to spend some time together before I headed back to Scotland.

I took my mum to Mr. Man’s, a local restaurant next to Wollaton Park in Nottingham. Neither of us had visited the restaurant before, so it was a bit of a gamble, although it was highly recommended to me by several of my friends. Luckily, the food lived up to it’s reputation. It was buffet so there were plenty of different dishes on offer, including some rather unusual combinations that I personally had never tried before – the mussels in black bean sauce were particularly delicious! The restaurant itself also has a really nice atmosphere and is rather beautifully decorated in the traditional Chinese style.

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Inside

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Outside

My mum was really taken aback with the surprise and seemed to enjoy herself (and the food!) a lot which was great. We had a lovely lunch and it was a very fitting way to end what had been a fantastic trip back home. It was also good to be able to treat her as, let’s face it, she definitely deserves it 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day Mum, you’re the best!

Clumber Park.

Me and Nicole decided to treat ourselves massively today, by booking ourselves in for a relaxing Spa package at the nearby (ish!) Clumber Park Hotel & Spa. We got a really good deal actually – the day itself only cost £69 per person and included a 55 minute full body massage, full use of spa and gym facilities, £15 voucher for food and use of towels, robes and slippers. Bargain!

The spa itself is quite small and, as such, has less facilities than other bigger spas in the local area.  However, the facilities it does have are great. We started the morning by testing out the Jacuzzi (very good!) before moving onto the steam room, which was infused with some lovely aromatherapy oils and then heading into the sauna. Before we knew it, it was time for our treatments. The massage itself was absolutely fantastic – the therapist used lots of gorgeous smelling Elemis Oils and I felt so relaxed afterwards it was untrue. Following the massage, we were then taken to this cute relaxation den to just chill out briefly before lunch – heavenly!

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Pool Area

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Relaxation Den

For lunch, we shared a Seafood Grazing Board full of lovely breads, crayfish tails, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, hummus and other treats. It was so tasty and filled us up nicely after a hard morning of pampering! After lunch, we decided to brave the cold weather and dash outside to the hot tub which was probably the best idea we’d had all day. The tub itself is small so it’s pretty cosy but you get a great view of all the trees and stuff and, surprisingly, being outside in a bikini did make me feel almost as if I was on holiday.

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Lunch

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View from the tub

We spent most of the afternoon relaxing by the pool, reading magazines and just generally having a good-old chit-chat before we treated ourselves to a cheeky cream tea. It’s been ages since I’ve had a cream tea (well far too long anyway!) so it made for a delicious and much-needed sugar fix to help combat my 3 o’clock slump.

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We just had time to do one more round of the facilities before we headed back home, tired but very relaxed and refreshed. I had an excellent day and it made a really nice change to do something a bit different that I wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to do, especially when in Glasgow. It was also a nice way to round off what has been an excellent week and help me prepare for what I’m sure will be another great weekend at home 🙂

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