This Little Big Life: What Last Weekend Looked Like

Last weekend, I tried to capture the feel of those two lazy, hazy days of family time. Not pictured are Steve sleeping off a hangover or me going to a talk at the university but otherwise I'm pleased with how it came out.

Saturday looked like this...

This Little Big Life: Reading Miffy
This Little Big Life Photo Project: Matilda on Stepladder
This Little Big Life Photo Project: Animal Mobile
This Little Big Life Photo Project: Green Soup
This Little Big Life Photo Project: Blowing Dandelions
This Little Big Life Photo Project: Reading with Uncle Martin

Sunday looked like this...

This Little Big Life: Toddler Hands
This Little Big Life: Rainy Window
This Little Big Life: Toddler on Table
This Little Big Life: Daisies
This Little Big Life: Matilda in Hat

Louise from Squished Blueberries and I have been talking about creating some sort of weekend photo/video project - a linky or a hashtag or something similar. Would anybody be interested in taking part?

A Vegetarian in a Seafood Restaurant: Adelphi Kitchen Review

Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen Review

As a vegetarian (of twenty-five years now!), I tend to assume that there's no point in me going to "meat and seafood" restaurants. Yes, they'll have a veggie option, but it's generally either salad or chips.

I had always assumed that the Adelphi Kitchen was one of those off-limits places, but my invite to a recent bloggers' tasting event promised that they would cater for everyone.

And spoiler alert: they did.

Adelphi Kitchen: Aberdeen Bloggers Meet Up
Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: Heather in a Bottle Decor

Located down the Adelphi, the restaurant is only a couple of years old, but already one of Aberdeen's best loved offerings. It's easy to see why with a stylish look (most of the decor is made from old scaffolding planks), fresh produce and a menu which Head Chef, Murray, strives to keep one step ahead of trends.

Also: there are cocktails.

On arrival, we were all given a raspberry and elderflower fizz (or non-alcoholic alternative) which, at the risk of befuddling you with all my fancy foodie terminology, tasted like fizzy raspberry jelly. To be clear: I mean that as a very good thing.

Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: Fruity Cocktail

While the carnivores tucked into their seafood, we vegetarians (Karen, Laura and me) were given macaroni as starters.

Now, I know a lot of vegetarians complain about macaroni being a staple restaurant option but I have never had an issue with that. I would live on macaroni if my doctor didn't so strongly object. But I have often told Steve off for messing with my macaroni: it should be squidgy, cheesy and not have any flipping lumps of vegetables stirred into it, thankyouverymuch.

The Adelphi Kitchen macaroni does have flipping lumps of shallots plonked on top of it but somehow I didn't mind (and, believe me: I would tell you if I did!). It was also nicely mustardy. It passed... mustard? I'd order it again.

Adelphi Kitchen: Vegetarian Main, Macaroni
Adelphi Kitchen: Aberdeen Bloggers Meet Up

Between courses, we were given the chance to peek around the kitchen. Apparently it's a very light, airy kitchen, compared to most restaurant kitchens; certainly, the chefs were grinning away as we snapped their pictures.

Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: Chefs

We also checked out the toilets which were nice enough that we all went back in with our cameras. Yeah, bloggers, eh? Here I am with Mairi, who I hadn't met before but really enjoyed chatting to:

Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: Even the Toilets are Awesome

As a main, we veggies were given cheese and mustard puff pastry rolls served with three different takes on cauliflower plus broccoli, sweet potato and wild garlic flowers on top. One take on cauliflower is too much for me but the rest was lovely - and who knew wild garlic flowers were edible?!

Adelphi Kitchen: Vegetarian Main, Pastry

Finally, we had samples of all three desserts: popcorn pannacotta (the only option which isn't veggie-friendly); lemon meringue pie; and chocolate mousse cake. A big thumbs up all round.

We also had the house cocktail: bourbon, apple, ginger and lime. It was amazing.

Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: Dessert Samples
Adelphi Kitchen Aberdeen: House Cocktail

So: the Adelphi Kitchen? Great food, stunning cocktails, a laidback, stylish feel and enough veggie options that you need never feel guilty about inviting non-carnivores along.

Our meals were provided by The Adelphi Kitchen in exchange for honest reviews; all opinions are my own.

Extra: Ordinary Moments

Matilda, perched on table

We had gorgeous, glorious weather from Monday to Thursday this week. Matilda and I spent a lot of time outdoors swinging on swings, sliding on slides, waving bubble wands around (and breaking them), trying to steal other children's buggies (just one of us - I'm quite happy with our cheap-o three-wheeler), hurling ourselves head first out of the baby swings, getting smacked in the face by a football... yeah... there's been the odd heart-stopping moment. Luckily, Matilda seems oblivious to pain and indignity and has saved her crying fits for more traumatic things (like not being allowed to eat crayons).

We also met our neighbours' new puppy, a tiny, silky, bouncy little black creature who I think is a mix of spaniel and labrador. She and Matilda were completely smitten with each other (although Matilda, somewhat ironically, wasn't keen on being slobbered on and the puppy wasn't keen on the football Matilda kept waving around). I think they'll grow up to be great pals.

Come Friday, the weather turned wild, Matilda was adamant that she wanted to stay at home and watch telly, and I was quite happy to oblige. Two different neighbours dropped by with homegrown rhubarb for us (suggestions of recipes welcomed).

Steve and I are feeling full of gardening motivation at the moment - we've flicked through our Gardening Through the Year book and everything; I even deadheaded some daffodils. It's a shame it's a blowing a gale this weekend as we might otherwise have made a bit of an effort. Instead, we've been eating pizza, watching Eurovision (at least, that's the plan - I wrote this on Saturday afternoon so assuming the satellite dish doesn't get blown off the chimney or anything...) and failing to assemble our new kitchen storage for the eighth week running.

What have you been up to?

What I've Been Reading Recently

What I've Been Reading Recently

The Lubetkin Legacy by Marina Lewycka*
Berthold is a middle aged, largely unsuccessful actor who lives with his mother in her brutalist era council flat; when she dies, he ropes a strange woman into posing as her so he doesn't lose the tenancy. Next door lives Violet, a young Kenyan woman at the start of a global wealth management career - but already her ethics are getting in the way. It took a little while for me to get into this as a lot of it is written in Berthold's voice and he's a bit of an icky character - arrogant, clueless and kind of a lech - but don't let that put you off; it's both madcap and a fierce attack on the current UK government and it made me want to fight.

We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler*
Andi Zeisler, founder and creative director of Bitch magazine, writes here about the commercialisation of feminism - from the adverts which tell women they won't be free or feisty unless they buy a specific product to the upsurge in celebrity feminism which, she argues, detracts attention from ongoing gender inequality. The topic was hugely appealing to me (feminism! marketing! celebrities! whoo!) and Zeisler's writing is very engaging but, ultimately, she was describing a vicious circle: celebrities steal the limelight away from gender inequality; lots of people are oblivious to gender inequality unless celebrities tell them about it. I came away thinking, "Yeah... but... what do you suggest instead?" The book is also heavily geared to an American audience so a lot of the pop culture and political references were over my head. A very interesting read but not one which inspired me to action.

Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern*
Ellison, a widowed artist from a wealthy family, refuses to believe that somebody wants her dead despite several incompetent attempts on her life. Her snooty mother thinks it must be Ellison's own fault; her sister is too engrossed in a mid-life crisis to care; and now her eccentric aunt has turned up, too... I haven't read many mystery/thrillers so my frame of reference here is the telly, but this has all the high maintenance country club characters and ludicrously overblown reactions of Columbo; it's an easy read but it did keep me guessing for quite a while (and then kept me reading to see if I was right). This is actually the third in a series of books about Ellison but I hadn't read the previous books and didn't find it a problem - in fact, I'm quite keen to get my hands on copies of them now.

*Provided by publisher or agent for review

Family Friendly Dining (and a Blogger Meet!)

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Colouring

Last Sunday was not the most promising day. Matilda was cutting molars. Naps had been a weepy, urgent, 12-noon-on-the-dot-or-utter-disaster mess since her MMR a week earlier. Nobody had slept well the night before. It was one of those days when we didn't really want to leave the house and we definitely didn't want to go anywhere public.

However, we had been invited to have lunch at Giraffe in Union Square and we do like tasty food so we pulled on our coats, shoes and brave faces and made the trek into town.

And we were very glad we did.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Giraffes

Steve and I have been fans of Giraffe since it first opened in Aberdeen. It's tradition that, whenever we cat-sit for friends in the city centre, we pour out the cat biscuits, dole out some attention and then pop past Giraffe for brunch.

Now that Matilda's here, we have a new tradition: family lunches at Giraffe after meeting my mum at the railway station.

So we were more than happy to give the new spring/summer menu a go.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Balloon

It turned out we needn't have worried about Matilda's potentially cranky tiredness; she was given a balloon on arrival at the restaurant and was soon waving it around so wildly that I couldn't get a single in focus photo!

She also had crayons and colouring in to keep her entertained (although Steve and I might have hogged those a bit...).

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Olives

Meanwhile, Steve and I were given bowls of olives and edamame to keep us going while we chose what to order. I did my annual olive reappraisal, established that they're still an abomination and slid that bowl across to Steve; we did share the edamame, though.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Toddler Milk
Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Appetiser

Because we weren't sure how long Matilda was going to cope for, we got all of the appetisers and mains at once. In fact, we were given the option to have Matilda's meal brought out a little ahead of the rest, because little kids are not widely known for their patience.

Steve's appetiser was prawn saganaki (pictured above) which is king prawns cooked in garlic, chilli, wine and tomato sauce with feta and toasted Turkish bread. Mine was a garlic flatbread roughly the size of our living room.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Goan Curry

My main was vegetarian goan curry (oof! hot!) (pictured above), while Steve had slow-cooked jerk ribs (below). We both really enjoyed everything we ate - it was all full of flavour and we couldn't fault either the cooking or presentation.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Ribs
Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Breaded Fish Fingers

Matilda, meanwhile, had breaded fish fingers with baked beans and chips. She would happily have eaten anything on the kids' menu but we went for the option with the least potential for mess!

While we raced to eat our meals as fast as we could in case she realised it was past 12 noon and she still wasn't asleep, she cheerfully grazed her plate for an hour and a half.

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Decor
Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Happy
Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Distracted Toddler

It turned out that our potentially disastrous Sunday was a huge success.

Matilda was so happy waving her balloon around, shovelling beans into her mouth and staring at other babies (there were a lot of other babies; we saw a lot of Matilda's back as she craned to see them all) that she completely forgot she was tired and unhappy about her teeth.

By the end of the meal, there was only one more thing she needed to know: when can I come back again?

Sarah Rooftops - Giraffe Aberdeen Review: Toddler


In my case, the answer to that question was "Wednesday" when I had a great time at an Aberdeen bloggers' meet along with: Amey; Anastasia; Denise; Emma; Eni; Hannah; Jo; Karen; Katherine; Laura; Laura; Lauren; Mairi; and Sarah.

I had a berry bellini, vegetarian bowl for the soul and churros - and they were all great!

Giraffe Review: Berry bellini
Giraffe Review: Veggie bowl for the soul
Giraffe Review: Churros

*Our meals were provided by Giraffe in return for a review; all opinions are our own.

Home Life Project

Home Life Project: Breakfast

Yesterday, I gave Clare's Home Life Project a go for the first time (I've been meaning to join in since the start of the year).

The idea is to spend either Saturday or Sunday taking candid pictures of your family's routine - no posed photos!

I loved having a reason to carry my camera around with me and to snap some little details I otherwise might not have noticed. I think I got a bit too carried away with detail shots, though - next time, there will be more faces and it will be more obvious what we're actually doing (mostly: watching TV).

It was actually quite a busy Sunday for us including shopping, lunch out (more on that later in the week) and a big toddle around the neighbourhood. None of that felt like "home" life, though; these photos are just what we did in the flat.

Home Life Project: Toddler Foot
Home Life Project: Bathtime
Home Life Project: Holding Hands
Home Life Project: Curls
Home Life Project: Sheep Trike
Home Life Project: Dinner
Home Life Project: Climbing

Extra: Ordinary Moments

Matilda on a roundabout

This week, Matilda has had a blurt of new words. Please, again, book, boot, bath, peekaboo (for which I blame/thank the Twirlywoos) and there you are (used both when giving and receiving) have all appeared.

But, most importantly, she's learned "yes" and "no" and she knows how to use them.

She can tell us whether or not she would like to go to the park. She can tell us whether or not she wants to go home (without standing pointedly next to her buggy, brandishing her jacket). She tells us that yes, she had fun, yes, she would like a fresh nappy, no, she does not want her face washed (*sigh*).

It takes a lot of the guesswork out of parenting (Why is she pointing at the fridge?) and, I would think, a lot of the frustration out of being parented (Just give me a Babybel already!).

But it's not all that simple.

She's sleepy but she doesn't want a nap. She's hungry but she doesn't want food.

In those respects, she's just like her mother but she doesn't know it yet.

I'm tired and I've had enough of looking at a screen but I don't want to switch off, get up from the sofa and go to bed. Somebody needs to gently remove this Chromebook and lead me through to the bathroom to brush my teeth (but, sadly, Steve's gone to the cinema).