5 tasty treats you absolutely should eat in Paris


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Croissants in Paris

I realise the title of this post makes it sound like I may be up for heckling people in the street who happen to be eating a baguette or a croissant. “Hey! You over there! You should be eating that in Paris! How very dare you!?”

While that would be fun, that is not my intention. Rather I’d like to recommend to you five wonderful culinary moments you simply must experience during any visit to the stunning French capital.

I gingerly made the step from my twenties to my thirties last summer and I knew there was only one city that could make me feel like this decade was going to be my classy, sophisticated and oh-so cultured decade.  Only Paris would do.

The city was everything I’d dreamed it would be. Crammed with beautiful, elegant buildings, endless people watching opportunities and buzzing with an unmistakable joie de vivre. But the thing that truly bowled me over, was the delicious food that I indulged in for every meal of the day.

Now I know Paris is considered to be a top foodie destination, I haven’t been living under a rock cake. But what really struck me was that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your tastebuds their holiday of a lifetime.

Here are five of the best things that passed my lips during my birthday week in Paris…bon appetite!

Macaroons from Ladurée under the Eiffel Tower

I trotted into this plush little cafe en route to the icon of all Paris icons, the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t serendipitous, I’d done my research – Laudree is famed for producing some of the very best macarons in the French capital.

I felt my breath quicken as I took in the array of their pretty pastel coloured delicacies. And while the interior was almost intimidatingly bijou, the staff were warm, attentive and happy to help me select my flavours. I got a little carried away and immediately chose rose, coffee, salted caramel and chocolate flavoured macaroons. Then I remembered, it’s only nice to let my boyfriend pick some too, and he went for raspberry, peach, strawberry and vanilla.

Sitting on the long stretch of grass in the shade of the epic Eiffel Tower nibbling these little beauties is one of my best memories of Paris.

macarons from Laudree

From Laudree on Rue Bonaparte to the Eiffel Tower, it’s a 40 minute walk, but you can take in the charming streets and burn off those calories before a macaron even touches your lips, so why not.

Boeuf Bourginon in Montmartre

Few things could be more French than a steaming bowl of Boeuf Bourginon. Our apartment was on the border between the rough and ready Pigalle area (think Moulin Rouge and a sex museum…) and the quaint, pretty Montmartre – the setting of the film Amelie.

Sacre Coeur in Montmartre

Sacre Coeur in Montmartre

On our first evening we wandered the busy streets of Montmartre in search of some dinner. The majestic Sacre Cour crowns the hill, but the surrounding streets are like a Parisienne Disney Land, jam-packed with tourists and tacky souvenir shops. Instead I’d recommend that you head a little downhill, to the quieter streets, where restaurants are better quality and locals meet for late night chats over a glass of wine.

We were tired and hungry, so alas I did not note down the name of the restaurant, but Boeuf Bourginon is a classic dish and the key component here is the setting – Montmartre is quite magical.

Opera cake from Dalloyau

I first tried Opera Cake in an Edinburgh cafe and bakery called Falko in Bruntsfield. Upon finishing, I calmly placed my fork back down on the plate and proclaimed the Opera cake to be the best cake I had ever eaten. And the trip to Paris offered the perfect opportunity to trace this little slice of heaven back to its roots.

Cyriaque Gavillon of Dalloyau patisserie is credited with creating the Opera cake in 1955. Its layers of almond sponge soaked in coffee, chocolate and ganache tick all my boxes, and the slice I ordered on my birthday was everything I dreamed it would be.

Dalloyau patisserieopera cake

What could have been a better birthday cake?

Strawberry champagne cocktail while people watching

If there’s one activity I’d recommend in Paris – it’s people watching. Parisians were fascinating to me, with their effortless style, endless midday glasses of wine and nonstop smoking that somehow did not ravage their complexions.

Hop off the metro at Cite and you’ll emerge in a lovely market that sells all kinds of wonderful lanterns that you simply cannot buy because it will destroy your luggage allowance. Then head toward the Palais de Justice and on the corner you’ll find a busy restaurant called Les Deux Palais. It isn’t cheap but it’s a great place to rest your weary legs and watch the world go by.

paris lanterns

My boyfriend enjoyed their beef carpaccio, while I opted for a light salad. The strawberry champagne cocktail from the specials board, however, was the real star of the show.

strawberry cocktail

Ice cream beside Notre Dame

And finally…a proper little hidden gem. Just five minutes from the aforementioned Palais de Justice, on the corner of Boulevard du Palais and Quai du Marche Neuf, you’ll find an unassuming ice cream shop window attached to brasserie Le Soleil D’or. Buy ice cream from here – it’s insanely good. I had strawberry and my boyfriend had caramel, and it was such a meltingly hot July day we had to scoff them down before they turned to liquid. But, oh my, so good.

It was incredibly hard to narrow the list down to five things, but if you try any of these I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve been to Paris, I’d love to hear what tasty treats you’d recommend? After all, something tells me it won’t be long until I return…






A photography course in Edinburgh: the joy and terror of stepping out of your comfort zone


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There are many adages that encourage us to break free from our habitual behaviour and seek out new experiences that really challenge us – feel the fear and do it anyway, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and so on.

I learnt the importance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone (kicking and screaming, if need be) from a young age. I was recovering from ME and had to reintegrate myself back into society, and not just any society…teenage society, urgh. There were a lot of scary moments – my first day back at school after a year and half long absence was a particularly daunting one. But I learnt a crucial life lesson in that period – the value of making myself scared.

Since then I’ve made scaring myself an essential part of my life. Doing things that make you feel uncomfortable draw on the resources deep inside you. You discover that you have the confidence, resilience and capability to handle anything. In other words, stepping outside your comfort zone helps you grow.

Different things scare different people.  A good test is if you feel like every cell in your body is telling you to turn and run in the opposite direction, you’re there. I’ve learnt to recognise when I’m outside my comfort zone because I get shaky hands…sometimes even shaky knees (this happened a lot when I did spoken word performances, sharing your writing with an audience is rather nerve-racking).

So if you’re feeling incredibly uncomfortable, like you might do a wee cry and goddamit just want to go home…welcome to the no-man’s land outside your comfort zone! It isn’t easy, but it’s the best place in the world to learn.

I want to share with you my most recent excursion from my comfort zone. I was extremely lucky to be able to attend an intensive five-day photography skills course at Stills gallery in Edinburgh, tutored by some very patient and very talented photographers. I love taking pictures and was so excited to learn more about photography, but I was totally unprepared for what a learning curve it would be – learning about ISO, shutter speed, aperture and everything else involved in taking a semi decent photograph.

Then came the bit that really scared me. Going up to complete strangers and asking to take their picture. It wasn’t the talking to strangers that bothered me, I’m quite comfortable talking to people I don’t know. It was the machine in my hands that I didn’t know how to use properly, and the pressure that I was heaping upon myself to take a not just good, but great photo. As well as trying not to come across as some pervy weirdo to the person whose picture I was taking.

I wandered the streets of Edinburgh, aware of the deadline set for the environmental portrait brief (a picture of someone in their usual environment, most commonly at work), looking at the unfamiliar faces and wondering who would be kind to me yet also an interesting subject for the picture. One thing I know, is the longer you leave something the worse it gets. Like damp. Or athletes foot.

My fear was rising to an alarming level, so after a few minutes surreptitiously lurking in the shadows of a skateboarding shop, I marched myself to the front desk and did my best impression of someone who wasn’t-nervous-at-all-and-was-actually-totally-down-with-the-kids-yo. And it worked. I got a photo, it wasn’t perfect, the focus was all wrong, but I had approached a stranger and taken their photo.

skateboarding shop edinburgh

Nothing is ever as scary as the first time you do it. It’s the fear of the unknown that keeps us under our safety blankets, but once you’ve experienced something new you get to know what you’re working with.

After that I began to have more confidence with the camera. Leaving your comfort zone is the best way to give your confidence a boost. As the course drew to a close, I was exhausted but felt a true sense of achievement. Here are some snaps from the latter end of the week, you can probably tell how much more at ease I felt by then…

cockburn street shop Edinburgh

sex shop on cockburn street edinburgh

old town Edinburgh

old town close Edinburgh

Cockburn Street and the narrow closes of Edinburgh’s Old Town are such brilliant places to take pictures!

Feeling inspired? Here are some things you could try to go outside your comfort zone;

  • Solo travel
  • Improvised comedy
  • Running a 5k
  • Treetop adventure course

I’ve tried all of these and must say the one I would never do again is the treetop adventure course. I hated every minute of it – and got told off for swearing so loudly and frequently – but I’m so proud of myself for giving it a go, at least now I know it’s not for me!

I’d love to hear what you’ve done, or plan to do, outside your comfort zone, so please do share in the comments below…


30 notes to my 20 year old self


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On the cusp of my fourth decade, I’m feeling strangely Zen about my age having a 3 instead of a 2 in front of it. Which is odd because I’ve kind of always worried about growing up. I remember when my Mum told me I needed a training bra. The horror. Back then I thought I could cheat the system, just like Peter Pan had.

On my twenty-third birthday I thought I was old as hell. Past it. And I realise now that it wasn’t so much the fear of my own mortality, but rather the fear that the fun was about to stop. Being a grown up. Barf.

The thing is though, now 30 doesn’t seem so bad because, actually, the fun never has to stop. Well, unless you have kids, but hey that’s a different blog post! Thirties can be every bit as wonderful as twenties without any of the insecurity, self loathing or bad decision making. Hopefully.

I spent far too much of my twenties giving a shit about stuff, and not enough time giving a shit about the stuff I should be giving a shit about. What a load of shit.

And so in celebration of the remaining grains of sand slipping from my precious egg timer named ‘Twenties’, here are a couple of things I know now, I really wish I’d known then.

1.) Exfoliate regularly.

2.) Accept your body for the shape it is. The gym and starvation won’t stop you having curves. And why would you want to.

3.) Be strong for other people, but most importantly be strong for yourself.

4.) Aloe vera. Take it daily and everything will be better.

5.) Don’t eat too much sugar, it’s the cause of your acne and tiredness, plus it’s highly addictive and also bad for your teeth.

6.) Use an emollient cream, it’s the purest moisturiser you can get and won’t irritate your skin.

7.) Stop wasting your Saturday/Sunday morning with a hangover.

8.) Take milk thistle for a hangover.

9.) Don’t waste your time with friends who never bother to get in touch.

10.) Make time for real friends.

11.) Real friends love you even at your worst.

12.) Demand respect. You teach people how to treat you.

13.) Just because one person says your writing is crap and another person says your writing is brilliant, doesn’t mean the person who said it’s crap is the one you should listen to.

14.) You are not disgusting. In fact, sometimes you look quite pretty.

15.) Take risks. But don’t jeopardise your safety.

16.) It’s ok to make mistakes.

shoes and one sock

an example of a mistake

17.) Enjoy the quiet times.

18.) Be thankful for the good times.

19.) Remember the bad times will pass.

20.) Do things that scare you. Improv, solo travel, spoken word – try them, you’ll like them I promise.

a lady bike

hello, beautiful lady bike

21.) Buy a lady bike. Happiness guaranteed, every day.

22.) Not all men are users.

23.) Wait for someone who really floats your boat, don’t settle. (clue: he exists!)

24.) Read the small print. Particularly with credit cards.

25.) Some people are stupid.

26.) Your personality is the most important element in how attractive you appear.

27.) Dye your hair whatever colour you fancy. But always have a get out plan, and a good conditioning hair mask.

28.) To your parents you’ll always be their little girl, so go easy on them.

29.) Take Halloween seriously. Veeery seriously.

halloween vampire


Halloween ghost




30.) Only give a shit about the things that you should actually be giving a shit about. Like feminism.

Now someone pass me the botox and a big piece of cake…

Reaching the finish line


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Color me Rad finish line

When I turned 25 I started to reevaluate things. Suddenly 30 didn’t seem all that far away.
And so I did what any sensible person would do, and drew up a bucket list. My bucket list wasn’t huge – I’d rather not swim with dolphins thank you very much, god knows where they might stick their beaks, and I can’t bungee jump or skydive or anything else pant-shittingly terrifying due to the small hole in my retina that would become a very big hole if gravity were allowed to have its wicked way (it’s true). But there were a couple of things I wanted to get under my belt…

One of which, was to run a race. I dreamed of sprinting across the finish line as the crowds cheered, sweating in a way that gave me a kinda sexy glow and experiencing an extreme sense of elation. All of this, turns out, was completely unrealistic. Except the elation. That happened a wee bit.
Running a race meant more to me than losing a few pounds or being able to brag to less athletically inclined pals/family/strangers/stray dogs about the achievement. It meant I had kicked the butt of an illness that had changed the course of my life forever, disrupted my family’s life and stolen my teens.
And so the call came, “let’s do a 5k!” chimed my lovely but much fitter than me bunch of pals. It was on.
What’s the most tired you’ve ever been? Could you lift your arm? Could you speak? Also your head hurts so much sometimes you pass out, your hands and feet are like blocks of ice and your limbs ache constantly. For five years. And nobody knows why. That’s M.E..
I don’t want sympathy. I just want the world to know that it’s is real and people are suffering and the last thing they need is for you to tell them they’re probably faking it for attention/have school phobia/should try doing more exercise.

Learning to run isn’t easy. At first I began to wonder if I truly did have two lungs as I had always been led to believe. Gasping, panting, sweating and wobbling in my running tights ain’t pretty. Times got tough, until I listened to a podcast from one of my faves, Trish Blackwell. “It’s going to hurt,” she said, “expect pain.” She runs marathons and stuff.
I expected it. Bring it, I said in my own head (mostly). I ran in the rain and felt like Action Woman. I ran in the blazing sunshine and felt like I was going to Pass Out. I ran right up until the big day, and then I ran some more.

Hi, I'm Action Woman

Hi, I’m Action Woman

If you aren’t familiar with the Color Me Rad concept let me explain – you run 5k while simultaneously being pelted with multicoloured powder. The atmosphere on the day was electric, everyone was itching to get running. Before I got to the track I’d felt nervous, but soon excited anticipation took over.
I ran most of the circuit with my pals, each of us taking turns to be the encouraging one. About 4k in I slowed down to a walk, it was baking hot – the blazing sun made me feel like I was cooking alive. With the finish line in sight I picked up my pace again. Just as I was approaching the last bend, and an assault of yellow powder – during which I thought I might be able to slow down a little – I heard a familiar voice shout my name. My dad grinned and waved at me from the crowd, then pointed his camera at my sweaty, slick with hair-masque (to protect my fake blonde locks) head. I had no idea my parents were going to be there.
I had no choice, this wasn’t about me anymore. This was about my parents, about people who have M.E. today and the people who had sponsored my run. It was also about the teenage me. Which I guess is technically me, but whatevs. It was symbolic.
With everything I had left I sprinted to the finish line. My sportiest pals who were waiting at the finish line cheered me as I crossed, and the sky exploded with pink and blue and yellow as everyone threw their bags of powder into the air. Best. Feeling. Ever.

color me rad powder
Sure, it’s only 5k, but I’d done something I never would have thought possible. That’s a nice little tick for the bucket list.
And the other two things? Get published and go to Paris. One tick, one tick about to happen just before the big three-oh….

Better get started on that new bucket list.

(photos thanks to the lovely Ash!)

The eternally rad Ash (on my back)

The eternally rad Ash (on my back)

Fiction: Derelict


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Occasionally I find that I completely forget about a story I’ve written, until someone else mentions it. That’s what happened with this particular piece of fiction – it’s something I wrote for a horror stories under 100 words competition I entered.

If you like your horror short and stabby, pick up the ebook by Popcorn Horror, where you can read the other story I submitted.


“Leave her.”

I’ll never leave her.

I wrap myself tightly around her frail body.

He places various implements across the bedside table, one after another.

She shakes and judders violently.

“Leave her.”

Never. I barely recognise my voice.

I hold on tight, clinging to her pale forearms. I can’t let go.

He murmurs low inaudible words. But I won’t let go.

My claws scrape her arms, legs and cheeks. Drawing thick red lines of viscous blood.

He thrusts the crucifix in my face and I collide with the ceiling.

Then falling, falling.

Alone again in the black abyss. All alone.

A spring feast at Summerhall


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_DSC4439On the 1st of May, spring came to Edinburgh. But not in the way you might expect. Picture a blustery, damp evening in the capital, with just one haven of floral loveliness glowing through the gloom, where the aroma of freshly baked dough filled the air and girls danced with garlands in their hair.

Summerhall’s Dissection Room was the venue for Edinburgh-based events company the Fireside Collective’s latest foodie creation – the Spring Blossom Party. Stepping into the spacious venue I felt the stresses of my day slip away and my senses piqued by gorgeous spring flowers that adorned every wall, neuk and cranny.

The contrast between the stark, clinical backdrop of the old vet school coupled with the colourful, lavish floral displays – designed by the expert hands of Pyrus – felt pretty special. The juxtaposition tricked the mind, and I felt almost transported into an otherwordly plane.

As with any well thought out foodie event, the magic lay in the detail. We were greeted by elderflower and champagne cocktails, the perfect spring sparkler, and encouraged to make our own flower garlands to wear. The long dining tables were promisingly dressed for a hearty feast, draped with cherry blossom and other such foliage.

Fireside Collective at Summerhall

the party kicks off at Summerhall

Spring had truly sprung, and along with it came a veritable feast of earthly goodies. The communal element to the feast meant everyone got talking, and the atmosphere felt almost celebratory. We sat down to shots of tangy gazpacho and refreshing mint and pea soup, which added colour to the table and a hint at the tasty delights to come.

salmon rillettes starter at Fireside Feast

eyeing up the salmon rillettes

What followed was a trio of salmon rillettes with a caper and gherkin dressing, served with homemade oatcakes that was simply delicious. The main event came in the form of pizza breads and spring inspired salads, expertly prepared by Sarah-Jane Cooking who specialises in using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Particular highlights included the chorizo, blue cheese and walnut pizza bread and the uber refreshing cucumber, coriander and lime salad, which felt like I was literally tasting spring.

The finale came in the form of a cake platter – well hello there, heaven. For a moment I had to remind myself I was in public and the cake board was for sharing, but everything just look so bloomin’ scrumptious. I settled for a slice of the rose petal sponge cake and white chocolate & chilli pie (well it was a feast, after all…) and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

cakes by Sarah-Jane Cooking at Fireside Collective party

hello, cake

The feast itself was followed by further revelry and Motown-fuelled dancing, probably well into the wee small hours. But, with it being a school night, I skulked off into the night with a smile on my face and a belly full of spring.


The Spring Blossom Party was merely the start of a series of Fireside Feasts run by the collective, with the next shindig planned in collaboration with cakey extraordinaires LoveCrumbs. Quite frankly, I’m already salivating.

Wandering in the West


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Fionnphort on Mull

Fionnphort on Mull

“Is that the boat for Staffa?” I screamed at the shaggy haired man who trundled towards me up the stone jetty at Fionnphort.

“Yes, it is.” He answered. I watched with dismay as the tiny passenger boat turned around and started to pootle away from us.

“Come back…” I felt as useless as Rose in Titanic.

“OI, MATE, COME BACK.” The shaggy haired chap clearly had more powerful lungs than I. The little boat turned around and came back for me and my boyfriend who’d made into the jetty after a necessary trip to the loo. Thank you, shaggy haired man.

Later that day, standing on the top of Staffa with my favourite bit of man stuff and the salty sea air whipping at my back, I was really glad the boat had turned around. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

The approach was a delicious appetiser of choppy waves, seal spotting and tales from the sea courtesy of our friendly boat master. The clouds that had dulled the mainland were left far behind and perfectly blue skies stretched ahead of us to Staffa.



Named by the Vikings, Staffa means stave or pillar island. The basalt rock of the island stood uniform like the keys of a piano reaching from the furious navy sea, the tiny boat cave in its side like a deep dark belly button leading into the mysterious darkness of the past.

on Staffa

on Staffa

Once the boat had dropped us off we explored the island on foot. My favourite part was edging into Fingal’s Cave, where the turquoise sea lashed the rocks and flecks of foam danced through the air in the ancient cathedral-like hollow.

Fingal's Cave on Staffa

Fingal’s Cave on Staffa

The rest of the West

Scotland’s west coast really is quite special. It’s the first place I’d take visitors to show them the ‘real’ Scotland – rugged, wild and at times jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Loch Lomond from Sallochy Campsite

Loch Lomond from Sallochy Campsite

Our little adventure kicked off on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, with a night at Sallochy campsite. Stunning as the location was, I merely confirmed to myself that I am simply not made for the outdoors – particularly, not camping (unless there’s plenty of beer involved). Still, there was something quite special about enjoying a warm cup of coffee on the pebbled beach…after surviving a night of camping. Coffee had never tasted so good.

Coffee on the banks of Loch Lomond

Coffee on the banks of Loch Lomond

The next day we ventured further west, to our cosy little guesthouse in Inveraray. Brambles is my absolute favourite, and we were lucky enough to be in the room that had a brand new roll top bath AND monsoon shower. Needless to say I was very clean by the time we left for dinner two hours later.

outside Loch Fyne Oyster Bar

outside Loch Fyne Oyster Bar

It’s been on my bucket list to try the seafood platter at Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and, oh my, it was all I could have wished for and more! Scallops, mussels, oysters, cockles, crab…basically the finest fruits of the sea Loch Fyne had to offer. The waiting staff were so lovely and we were pleased to find some locally brewed Fyne Ales on the drinks menu too – the perfect match for seafood.

Loch Fyne Oyster Bar seafood platter

Loch Fyne Oyster Bar seafood platter

The following day we took a speedy trip to Mull for our Staffa boat trip. Mull was far more enchanting than I’d remembered (I’d visited for work before, and I was quite ill at the time so probably didn’t fully appreciate the place). I love the relaxed pace of life on the island, cars saunter along the singletrack roads at 20mph and sheep lazily graze by the roadside.

Isle of Mull

Isle of Mull

At this point we’d made the ferry from Oban by a hair’s breadth, and, of course, barely made the Staffa boat on time. So we were feeling rather lucky. Perhaps a little too lucky. In our unbridled glee, I forgot to get my sensible head on to check the ferry timetable. So we got stuck on Mull.



My sorrow at missing a second precious night at Brambles was soon washed away by the colourful harbour and cosy pubs of Tobermory. Cue an evening spent drinking more wonderful Fyne Ales by a roaring log fire and playing cards with some of the locals. Perhaps we were quite lucky after all…

Log fire in the pub at Tobermory

Log fire in the pub at Tobermory

Fiction: Face in a Jar


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A little fiction inspired by the weird and wonderful exhibits of Edinburgh’s Surgeon’s Hall Museum

Amongst the many strange items in my Auntie Meg’s house, by far the strangest was a face in a jar. In her younger years, my aunt had taken her manic grin and unsettling squint across the globe to collect trinkets; scorpions set in glass poised to sting, black shrunken heads that dangled on string, grimacing puppets with ghoulish wide grins from places like Sri Lanka and Nepal. Upon her return she crammed the objects into the shelves of her tiny home, and over the years they had grown as old and as forgotten as Auntie Meg herself. As a child I believed that if you stayed inside the house for too long you might one day find yourself sitting on one of those creaking shelves, or tucked away in a dark bedroom corner gathering dust, find that you too had become one of the trinkets.

The face sat on the mantelpiece suspended in a jar of yellowed water, quite still and appeared to be asleep. One day when she left the room I found myself creeping closer to get a better look. There was a small sticker on the side with 1917 written on it and I remembered she told me it was a solider who had died in the First World War. Pale and red haired like me, his eyelashes looked so very delicate, preserved and softened by time, pressed against the wrinkled skin under his eyes. Those were the lines of a man who cried, there was no doubt those eyes had known tears. I wondered if they had known love too. Perhaps that was why he cried. His cheeks were bristled with stubble that had stopped growing almost a century ago. Twisted nostrils, skewed and black from the bullet hole that killed him through the left side of his nose, thick old fashioned sutures pointlessly held the wound closed. Shutting my eyes, I inhaled; the smells of burning, gun powder, dusty roads, hot dinners, hot sweats, bodies, then in the end the smell of fear. When I looked again two brown eyes, black as the barrel of a gun, stared back at me and I jumped before I realised it was only my own reflection in the glass.

Still he slept, another century of dreams from his jar to come. Curious I reached for it, tentatively feeling the smooth glass against my fingertips, knowing I shouldn’t but I wanted a closer look. I wanted to know all of this man, to see what happened where his forehead stopped, where his skull should have been.

Lifting him toward me I could feel the slip before it happened. The jar out of my hands smashed across the hard wooden floor. The silence that followed seemed to stretch for ninety four long years. Liquid and shards and a lump of soggy flaccid flesh lay sadly at my feet face down, the gristle behind the face now on show. Auntie Meg appeared in the doorway, she looked down and sighed.

“That was your great-grandfather.”





7 reasons I’d totally bum Bruges


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1. It’s full of amazing beer. Belgium is known for its trappist beers, which are made by monks and taste like a little sip of heaven. In Bruges you’ll find the Halve Maan Brewery, finely crafting local tipples Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik – the tripel is a potent treat.

Straffe Hendrik tripelHalve Maan Brewery

2. It’s full of people who love amazing beer. The best kind of people.

bruges bar

3. It’s full of people who love drinking amazing beer in amazing pubs. Must see pubs are the lovely and old Staminee De Garre (try the house brew, mysteriously served with cheese…), the incredibly friendly ‘t Brugs Beertje, Bruges’ oldest drinking den Herberg Vlissinghe, the cavernous and candlelit Poatersgat, and the smoochy, romantic Cafe Rose Red.

4. It has canals. You can take boats on the canals and the tour guide will speak any language you fancy.

5. People live in houses like this.

house bruges

Bruges house

6. They take chocolate and waffles extremely seriously. As do I.

belgian waffles

7. They are also very keen on chips.

A flash fiction horror story


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First draft of a little horror flash fiction snippet…it’s been a long time since I’ve written any fiction and I’ve only recently merged my writing blog with this here food blog. 


The ink black waters of the loch lashed violently at its bank on that bleak October night. The sharp air stung with cold and the teeth of freezing children chattered in their mothers’ arms. Yet not one fire was lit in the village that night, not one candle burned. No one wanted him to come thundering at their door. The village stood in a dark, sombre silence, as if it might almost disappear completely.

They’d snatched the young boy, on the orders of the wicked one. A bastard, an orphan, a lost soul, they were all the same; the children no one would miss. They’d have befriended him and made him feel safe, laughed and joked all the way there. Until they reached the cottage, where they’d turn on him like a pack of rabid dogs. Who knew what terrible things had happened to that boy, you’d try to stop your mind from thinking about it too hard, but the things you heard whispered on the wind in the village were impossible to forget.

I’d imagine the boy screaming, begging for mercy, until I’d pull my youngest close and pray for God to forgive all our damned souls. They would have offered him a chance, a glimmer of hope, by opening the door and exposing the blackness of night. He’d stand there blinking, naked and bleeding, disbelieving that they might actually let him live. They’d give him a head start. Off he’d run like a wild thing, running through the dark as the silent hills of the valley watched. The wicked one would never be far behind.

He liked the chase almost as much as he liked the kill. And the village held its collective breath, waiting for the distant cries to crack the silence. When they came we covered our wee ones’ ears.

When the stillness returned, we crawled into our icy beds, assuring ourselves that for another evening the wicked one was satisfied. That the unspeakable evil that lurked in the cottage was satiated. And, for now, our own were safe.