From France to Scotland in 24 hours

I’ve just had one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, which was so picture-perfect that I felt it deserved it’s own post! Friday evening and I found myself on the ‘fast train’ to Glasgow, heels on and an evening of wine and good company ahead. I love love love trying new places and the idea of a little French bistro sounded like an ideal way to end a busy week. Excuse the exceptionally shoddy photos, the lighting wasn’t my pal and I didn’t really want to be that food blogger who ruins every meal by snapping everything 10 times!

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We started off sharing a little taster platter of escargots and cuisses de grenouilles – that’s snails and frogs legs to you (/anyone else who still doesn’t pretend their advanced higher French means they can speak it) I had never had them before, which is surprising since I’ve frequented Paris a fair few times! But I was convinced and I’m definitely converted. Mind you, anything saturated in lovely fresh garlic is a winner to me. The frogs legs really bloody do taste like very tender chicken, don’t be scared to try them!

Mains are photographed so badly that I actually feel guilty showing you them, but I wish I could pass you a forkful. The fish (sea bass) in that little mysterious parcel was so soft and buttery it just fell apart on your tongue. My chicken came stuffed with a beautifully salty tapenade, wrapped in crispy parma ham and accompanied simply by the best gratin dauphinois I’ve had in a long time!

The little bistro itself was so cute, simply decorated (how v French) and the service was absolutely faultless. The two waiters had just enough ‘chat’ with us to not intrude on our meal, everything was whipped away in a timely manner and our wine glasses were never empty. I love that. It was fairly quiet for a Friday night, and I’m very surprised considering how delicious everything was. Actually, I take it back, no one go. I want it to be quiet so I can go again next time I’m through and maybe take Tina for dinner!

It’s situated on Hope St, just around the corner from Blue Dog which makes for an ideal pre-dinner drink venue. Don’t judge it by the website font choices, it really is wonderful – www.lebistrobeaumartin.co.uk

We didn’t manage pudding, but meeting this handsome chap was enough of a treat to end my evening on!

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After an evening in ‘France’, it was only fitting that we got back to our roots with a day driving through the beautiful Scottish countryside, the best of Scottish music playing and the sun in our eyes. First off, a quick stop at Campsie Fells as I had never been, what a beautiful little green valley!

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Then on to the beauty of Loch Lomond, where it just so happened that there was a food and drink festival on! It was far too busy to properly nosey at the stalls but we managed to grab some incredible smoked, roasted meats. I’m 90% sure it was beef, I actually forgot to ask, but it was so good. It came drizzled in chimichurri sauce on a bed of mustard mayo. In. My. Element. I also won Mini Golf by 5 points so I was just a chuffed wee lady all round.

It ended up being a really warm and sunny day and we managed to finally find a quiet part of the loch and have a wander. I decided I had to be king of the fallen tree castle. Look at the sun on that water, oh I wish I had a boat!

That was my last free weekend for two weeks (until I’m sunning myself in Spain) because Freshers madness is upon me at work. I think I’ve gone out with a bang. You really can’t beat good food, beautiful views and excellent company.  Oh and cats, lots of lovely fluffy cats. Have some more cats….

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Big Willy Wallace Style

There’s my big daft face, starting my blog posts off as usual. I’ve been partying too much lately and that hungover face above is the reason for the next post – Kirk is getting fit! Apart from slipping off the wagon a few times with the odd takeaway, I’ve not been doing too badly at eating less, eating well and exercising. Freshers is just around the corner at work and I’m going straight to Spain after it so I need to whip my ass into shape quickly.

I love the gym and going to classes, but sometimes the best exercise is getting out in the rare sunshine with friends and exploring. McKay and I did just that and ended up doing over 11K in a few hours. We headed from mine to Toast to fill up on a big breakfast, I really should do a post on there because I’m such a regular.

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A few comedic stretches and we were off through Riverside, on to Cambuskenneth with a little pit stop at the Abbey.

The Wallace Monument was our final destination and we managed to pick the hardest way to get to the ticket office, as well as the warmest day for climbing the hill to it. It was about 19 degrees in the shade of the trees and it’s safe to say we worked hard!

During Summer, they put on a little woodland tour with some wonderful actors – we met Wallace! It’s a must if you’re a tourist and it was certainly a nice little refresher course on my local history.

Prepare yourself for quite the spinny stairs climb once you’re inside, if you get dizzy easily then it’s not for you! There are levels every few floors where you can stop and read about the incredibly rich history of the area, see Wallace’s sword and even crack out a (very poor) Y stand…

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It’s definitely worth the climb for the views from the top alone. It’s quite reasonably priced if like me you’ve managed to get yourself an NUS card and live as a perpetual student. We also made friends with two lovely American men from Virginia and I can’t lie, I might have slightly fallen in love with one of them. It clearly wasn’t meant to be as we popped into the Coo for a Sunday evening night-cap to find that they had been in (on my recommendation) only an hour before!

I was pretty shattered by the time we walked back down, back into Stirling and up the stairs to my flat, slept like a baby! It’s nice to visit local historic sites and team it up with some good exercise, what’s near you?

More info here – www.nationalwallacemonument.com Oh and if you fancy it – go on a nice day, it’s rubbish when it’s cloudy.