Christmas Gift Ideas

If you’ve not yet drawn up your Christmas shopping list (let alone finished it and got it all wrapped, yes, we’ve all got those organised friends!) then you’ll be wondering where to start. Here are my top suggestions of where to head, in person and on those rainy days when you are sofa bound, for the very best festive shopping inspiration. Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”

Christmas Wish List

Let me show you you exactly what inspired this blog post…

emma bridgewater catalogue

shellfish platter

I came home to find the Christmas Emma Bridgewater catalogue sitting on my kitchen table, just daring me delve in and start ordering online! This stunning platter was the first thing that caught my eye, isn’t it absolutely stunning?! I’m already finding an excuse for a party and planning the oodles of seafood treats that I could fill it with. Actually, who am I kidding, that platter deserves a party all to itself. There are also rather charming lunch plates with crabs and langoustines… I could really make room for the whole Shellfish collection.

So what else am I lusting this Christmas?

I am a little late to the courgette as pasta party, but I’ve made it here none the less and now I need a spiralIzer in my life.

Why do I want such a contraption? The idea is simple – you can tuck into bowl after bowl of yummy spaghetti bolognaise (one of my favourite winter dishes) without a moment of guilt as your pasta has been swapped for freshly cooked courgette spaghetti. Plus, come January, what better way to get back in shape after all the festive feasting we will be doing! Perhaps not the most glamorous looking of gifts, but I can assure you pasta lovers like myself wouldn’t be disappointed.

Next on my list is an old classic from Le Cresuet – a good quality, heavy, cast iron casserole dish that can go straight from the hob to the oven. One of these beautiful dishes will surely last a lifetime, and it is that thought that makes the price tag bearable. The question is which colour to choose?

Gifting with booze always goes down a treat, so make way for Edinburgh Gin’s new Christmas Gin. Buy this for friends and family and you will be treated like royalty when they find out it’s made with frankincense and myrrh. I also think this Gin would be delightful if you added a splash to a pot of mulled wine, or used it to make an little hot toddy after a blustery, winters walk.

Finally, I have slowly but surely started to build, what I hope one day, will be a wonderful collection of Anta goodies. At the moment I am incredibly lucky to own an Anta cube and our kitchen cupboards were recently filled with four beautiful Anderson Anta mugs.

If you ask me, the mugs are just crying out for friends in the shape of these bowls…

Hopefully this has given you some Christmas inspiration to get started with! I’ll continue to add to the list but in the meantime, happy shopping!

City girl goes North!

The Storehouse

This post is not about somewhere new I have discovered, but it is about somewhere YOU need to go and discover. It’s about an old favourite which keeps getting better every time I visit. In fact, if you read this and go see for yourself, part of me might feel a teeny, tiny bit jealous that you are getting to take it all in for the first time…

First things first – look out the Barbour jacket, hunter wellies and any other “country accessories for a city gal” that you, like me, feel The North Of Scotland requires, and head to Inverness, the captial of the Highlands. The sausage dog unfortunately stayed put this time..

Hunters and Barbour jacket

Just a little North of Inverness, you’ll find The Storehouse of Foulis. It is a foodies dream location. The family run restaurant and farm shop sits on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, a gorgeous location all year round, with dramatic views across to the Black Isle.

The couple in charge of this operation are Quintin and Michelle Stevens, (Mr F&P’s sister and her husband) and it really is a family run business in every sense. Millie, their gorgeous working cocker spaniel can often be found moseying around whilst Michelle works in the office upstairs, and Quintin can be found at the Storehouse every day, and as a result knows all the regulars well. Their boys, 4 and 2, are also often around, adding to the friendly, relaxed family atmosphere of the place.

Storehouse sign

The restaurant at The Storehouse is open 7 days a week and offers an extensive brunch, lunch, supper and snack menu. With so many fresh, delicious plates on offer, it’s no surprise I’ve never been when the place isn’t buzzing. On Sundays there is no better place for a roast, as Quintin and his staff turn the food counter into a full blown carvery.

We arrived at The Storehouse late morning, meaning we attacked the brunch menu with gusto. I tucked into an enormous scone with blackberry and pear jam, whilst Mr F&P enjoyed muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by a sensational bacon, gruyere and rocket sandwich – a fitting breakfast feast for a man who ran up Ben Wyviss at the crack of drawn that morning.

Muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurtScone with blackberry and pear jamGiant sconeBacon, gruyere and rocket sandwhichsandwich up close

After a perfect brunch, it was time to head to through to the farm shop. Just outside the main shop, there is another little wooden hut – a second treasure trove of gifts, but we will come to that later.

Inside the farm shop, Michelle and her team have the shelves and display cabinets bursting with attractive foodie treats. Alongside a deli counter and a Black Isle Dairy ice cream counter, you will find locally sourced meats, fruit and veg, preserves, biscuits, cheeses … everything you’d hope to find in a well stocked farm shop and more. Good relationships with local suppliers mean Quintin and Michelle can ensure both the food hall and restaurant are stocked with fresh produce all year round.

Deli The StorehouseCheese counter The StorehousePreserves at The StorehouseDisplay chest at The StorehouseIce Cream at The StorehouseWide view shop The StorehouseFruit & Veg The StorehouseCrockery The Storehouse

Impressive right? Make sure you factor in ample “wandering around the shop” time in your visit, because every time you look at a display cabinet you see something else you like the look of!

Now, you’re wondering what on earth could be left to go in the gift shop outside? Let me show you…

Gift Shop outsideGift Shop The StorehouseMore gifts at The StorehouseLadies accessories The StorehouseMore scarves at The Storehouse

And look at these little guys just chilling outside!

Garden animals The Storehouse

Finally after a wandering around the shop, you can pop down to the pebble beach and take in the highland scenery. In the summer months, when the sun is shining, the seating area outside is packed and little tots with sticky ice creams cones on the beach are plentiful. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from this beautiful part of Scotland, but for me, these views never get old.

The Storehousewpid-img_20140513_200546.jpgwpid-20140510_115127.jpg

For now, it’s back to base in Edinburgh, but I am content in the knowledge it won’t be long until I’m packing up my wellies and heading North again.