Seafood at home

Sorry I’m going to begin with a rant… and get onto recipes in a sec

Nothing pains me more than going to a restaurant IN SCOTLAND that is serving seafood from overseas. We all know Europe to be a haven for seafood excellence, but what about us? Scotland has 16,500km (including the islands) of coast line, which is pretty outstanding for such a small country – teaming with marine life. It’s hard to believe that Scotland is often overlooked as a ‘foodie’ location. I’ve traveled a lot in the last 5 years and while on the topic of food I’ve been asked so many times if deep-fried mars bars and chippies are the local cuisine. WHAT! NO! Scotland has such a rich culture around food with seafood right at the top. It doesn’t get much better than whats being caught right on our doorstep – because no matter where you are in Scotland – you’re never too far from the sea.

I think on the whole, most fish and shellfish eaters in Scotland consume fish in their diet at least once a week. And there’s a reason local fishmongers are still alive and thriving – the quality and range of seafood available is fantastic. Maybe less so in cities where supermarkets supply such a big range – but if possible, supporting local businesses is something we can all agree is good.

So – a seafood feast at home? Not a problem (if you’ve got a pot big enough for langoustines). Seafood dinners like this are a big treat in our family, because shellfish can be a bit pricey – but by ‘compromising’ with a few veggie meals throughout the week (not really a compromise), it can become a more regular treat.

First up – ‘The Palate Cleanser’

Beetroot and goats cheese salad
  • 4 cooked beetroot
  • 100g goats cheese
  • A bag or 2 of greens and leafs
  • Oil & balsamic vinegar
  • Chuck in a few walnuts as well if you like them!

Toss together – easy peasy.

IMG_4136

Smoked Mackerel Pate
  • 400g smoked mackerel
  • 200g cream cheese (ish – taste as you go)
  • 70g butter (ish)
  • lemon juice
  • pepper

Whiz together in a blender – tasting as you go.

IMG_4137

Smoked trout and smoked salmon

Needs no fuss – not even a plate! I got this delivered from Murray Smoked Products – and its some of the best smoked fish I’ve ever tasted! Online they have a variety of different types – honey and pepper, Cajun spiced, long sliced, dill coated – i’ve tried many of them and they are all fantastic.

IMG_4142IMG_4145

Scallops with bacon & black pudding
  • Scallops (2 or 3 per person)
  • One large onion
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • 1 bacon rasher cooked
  • 1/2 sliced of black pud cooked

Soften onion and garlic in oil – fry scallops for 1min on each side – sprinkle with chives and serve with bacon or black pud – or both!

IMG_4143IMG_4151IMG_4158

Langoustines

Bring a large pod of salted water to the boil – and cook the langoustines for 3-4 minutes (careful not to overcook).

IMG_4154IMG_4161

CRAB!

Okay we cheated – we bought this pre cooked crab from the fishmonger… because cooking crab in your house is SO stinky. I’d probably only ever do it if I knew I could cook it outside.

IMG_4146

Yorkshire Puddings?

Not so Scottish – but Yorkshires taste amazing with mackerel pate. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

  • 140g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • sunflower oil

Drizzle oil into tin and put into oven to heat (230c) – beat eggs into flour and slowly add milk to make the batter – pour into heated tin and cook for 20 mins (until golden). Do this just before your about to eat so you can have them hot with the pate.

IMG_4148IMG_4159

We also had a loaf of homemade bread (made in a bread machine) and a last-minute pea puree made by blending garden peas with some lemon juice.

What a feast – and not ridiculously expensive. For the seafood alone we spent £23 – so adding the extras our whole meal cost less than £30.

IMG_4166

Thanks for reading

R x 
@ronamcmillan

 

Two Bare Feet Review – 12ft SUP

*please note this is not a sponsored post – we bought this larger board for bigger and better adventures

Two Bare Feet Sport Air 12'0 x 6" Inflatable SUP

It’s been almost a year since I first got my SUP board from Two Bare Feet, which is a smaller 10ft board. It is perfect for me, and I still use it weekly for solo paddling. I’ve tried a few times to attach various dry bags to the board with adventure kit inside – with the aim to paddle to an island and set up camp… however this board isn’t really designed for super stability. It is perfectly stable for my weight, however anything added (or anyone heavier than me) does struggle with the wobble! SO, this spurred the idea of another board.

We’ve had the 12ft sport air for just over a week and it has been INCREDIBLE – what a difference. It was advertised as being designed to meet the demands of today’s SUP explorer – with maximum volume, stability and speed ‘making long distance a breeze’. It does all of that and more…

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

The good things
  • Super stability – so much so you can easily carry two people. This board has a flatter and wider deck than my 10ft board – making it much easier to balance.
  • Speed – for some reason I thought this board (because it’s HUGE) would be slower than my smaller SUP, but it feels more streamlined and cuts through waves with its pointer bow.
  • Improved carry handle – these boards aren’t heavy to carry anyway, but sometimes a little tricky and awkward due to the size especially when the wind is blowing… so the extra comfortable handle does make a difference. This board also came with a attachable shoulder strap which I imagine will be really useful if we need to carry the board for any distance.
  • New and improved pump – big thumbs up for the high pressure dual action pump. Having a gauged pump is a must – without it I don’t think I’d ever know when the board was pumped up enough. The dual action also makes deflating much faster – and the board can be packed away much tighter.
  • Appearance – I am loving the design of the 12ft sports. They come in three different colour options, and they’re all pretty cool – but we went for the navy, teal and orange. I also really like the choice of text used on the board… TBF have really upped their design game!
  • Size matters – how this is possible I do not know, but the 12ft board packs down into the same size dry bag as my 10ft board… a bit heavier to carry, but still easy enough to put on your back.
  • Extras – with this board you get a repair kit, paddle, dry bag, pump, centre fin and a shoulder strap. This is a basic starter pack, but you can also upgrade to deluxe/ultimate packs that offer added extras.
The bad things

So far, I genuinely have no complaints or improvements to suggest towards this board. It is quick to pump up, efficient in the water and easy to pack down. The board does exactly what we wanted it to. I guess the only thing I would say is it is big, duh! But if you’re buying for a child/lightweight person, a 12ft board wouldn’t be necessary – I’d defiantly recommend a 10ft board – I still love my smaller SUP.

A few days onboard ‘Jolanda’ in Plymouth – paddling English ChannelIMG_2563IMG_1436We also went for a bit of a fancy paddle this time – TBF brought out a new range of carbon pro paddles with this lovely wood effect. It is super lightweight and feels a lot stronger than my original paddle. Processed with VSCO with c8 presetIMG_1426Angus and Callum free diving for scallops – Sound of Mull IMG_2752IMG_2730IMG_1503IMG_1509IMG_1500IMG_2716Day trip with Emily and Callum – paddling on Loch LubnaigIMG_2545IMG_9285IMG_0188Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

 

Thanks for reading – if you have any questions about SUP boards please don’t hesitate to drop me and email or send me a message on Instagram @ronamcmillan

R x

The Skin Diary – Zaynah SkinPRO

 

I found gold!

Don’t you love finding somewhere really great to treat yourself from time to time. I have been up north for a week, climbing hills, camping, jumping in the sea… and my face is a MESS.  You’d think all that fresh air and lack of make up would do my skin good, but it always becomes really dry from the salt and oily around my hair-line from wearing wooly hats. Delightful! So, back to the city – and in urgent need of some skin TLC I booked a Head2Toe facial with Zaynah Skin Pro. I’d seen a video of her facials using hot towels, and it looked unbelievably relaxing – so I thought I would give it a go and document the process.

What was different about Zaynah's treatment?
  • Zaynah was trained in a specialist skin clinic while living in Canada – it was reassuring to know how much of an expert she was and her passion about facial and skin care was really refreshing.
  • I received a full skin analysis – Zaynah took her time to map out my skin, she obviously asked me what my concerns were – and I told her, but I don’t really know what I’m talking about. She fully cleansed my face, then scanned my skin in detail and explained her own concerns as she went along. This was actually really informative, I learnt a lot about my own skin!
  • Zaynah used methods I’d never come across before – for example instead of using disposable sponges to cleanse my face she uses hot towels, which were as I expected SO RELAXING!
  • Totally customised to my skin, Zaynah was extremely specific when it came to product use on my skin – she even went as far as mixing two products together to ensure the ingredients were perfectly targeting my problem areas.
  • Massage too! Every single facial I’ve ever had, means being left for 20 mins at a time while the facial masque does its work… Zaynah gave me muscle melting massage from head to toe both times she applied a masque during my facial. If I’m paying for a facial that lasts 1 hour 15mins, it’s really nice to receive treatment for that whole time!

IMG_1091

As always, I was asking a million questions during my facial – I needed to get the insider scoop for my skin diary! Here’s what I found out…

How often do you REALLY need a facial?

So I’ve heard through the grape-vine that if your going to get facial treatments, you should be getting them once a month… for 3/4 months. I took this question to Zaynah, and she explained that, yes – if you want true results from a facial it is best to book three or four at a time, with about 3/4 weeks between each one. There are two reasons for this, the first is it takes time for the skin to get used to the chemicals used in peels… so if you book three sessions, your therapists can begin with something gentle and work your skin towards the use of stronger chemicals that will give you incredible results. The second reason is that it takes 3/4 weeks for the skin cells to move through a full life cycle of cell growth to make their way from the dermis to the surface – it is important to let your skin do its thang in-between facials!

Zaynah's tips on how to get the most from your facial
  • Avoid applying make up for the rest of the day – all your pores are open and clean, so applying make up will probably clog them and lead to breakouts.
  • Avoid steam, sauna and gym – exposing freshly treated skin skin to excessive heat in a shower/sauna or working up a sweat can cause irritation, redness and breakouts (good excuse to chill with a green tea for the rest of the day)!
  • Avoid over cleansing and exfoliation – your skin is delicate after a facial, the use of harsh creams, toners and soaps could cause irritation. Leave the skin be for as long as possible to prolong the facial benefits.
Why is she trying to sell me products?

Haha, this always gets me. You’ve just had a really relaxing time getting pampered, and once it’s over you get bombarded with a sales pitch. THANKFULLY, Zaynah didn’t do this to me. I was actually the one asking about all the products being used throughout the treatment, and I got really informative answers back. At the end of the treatment I asked for some recommendations as well as ways to keep my skin glowing without having to buy lots of product, and Zaynah was really happy to advise me. So what I learnt was, good therapists aren’t trying to sell you products; they’re trying to help you get the skin you want! Try before you buy? Asking for some product samples before you spend all your ££ is a great way to test out a product before making the splash! 

How's my skin looking now?

This is my skin today (one day after treatment) and it feels incredibly smooth. It is hydrated and it has a lovely healthy glow. I am not wearing any skin makeup in this picture, so – no concealer or foundation and my skin looks really natural, plump and fresh!

SJQU6584

Zaynah is based in a Salon on Kilmarnock Rd called Beauty in the Basement, I could not recommend her more. I’ve already booked in for another two facial treatments to keep my skin glowing for summer!

The products used on my skin for this facial were Dermalogica –

IMG_1092

Any skin questions, send me a message on Instagram or drop me an email!

Thanks for reading

R x 
@ronamcmillan

 

 

 

Dear sports marketing, please ditch the f**king models

The women who become role models to us, and the women who SHOULD become role models to us are two very different people. Most of the time we don’t even notice – but how does this fair up for generations to come… the kids who are going to be thrown into the whirlwind of social media slapping them in the face with airbrushed images of celebrity models, photographed in clothing & equipment that should be promoting strong, healthy athletic women.  How come it’s a sexualised Roxy ad that sells me a bikini, or Kendall Jenner wearing Adidas that makes me buy new trainers? We talk about it all the time, using REAL women, doing REAL sports is good – it gets millions of views, it gets us inspired and excited – it wins awards. So WHY are we not seeing female athletes in advertising campaigns? Were they all too busy being awesome that day? Hmm.

What makes a good campaign great is the ability to tap into the minds of the viewer, something that makes me think – I am that girl, I could be that girl, I want to be that girl. I will stop being negative nancy for a second, because good advertising does exist. Ever heard of “This Girl Can”?

‘Are you up for breaking a sweat? Lottery-funded This Girl Can is designed to inspire you to sweat like a pig – and feel like a fox while you’re doing it.’

Not hot enough for sponsorship - Silvana Lima

S*** hot on a surf board, but not pretty enough for sponsorship? Are you kidding me? Silvana Lima is one of the best professional surfers in Brazil and she is being denied sponsorship for the way she looks.

“I’m not a babe. I’m a surfer, a professional one.”

And that, is what SHOULD inspire us. But athletes depend on sponsorship to an extent, it’s marketing, a pay cheque, a team and an opportunity to inspire worldwide. It’s seriously screwed that it’s only the ‘pretty’ girls that get this chance.

Silvana-Lima

Silvana Lima – WSL

Women to follow

The Kardashians and the Hadid sisters are long gone from my instagram feed – for a short while I got sucked into their parallel universe of ‘perfection’ – I kept up with Bella and Gigi for fashion and style inspo, and lets face it – the Kardashians can be entertaining. But why do these girls become the face of brands promoting sports that they have probably never done before. It kind of shakes me up the wrong way – so here are some girls with real talent, doing great things, living interesting lifestyles. Hopefully one day these women will be the ones we see all the time, on social media, in interviews, wearing our favourite brands and being themselves.

Tyler Wright

d3706b44cd8883f6ffc6d30cb88d70cdmaxresdefault

Tyler Wright is the reigning two-time World Champion, she’s talent and strength. She’s intelligent and knows exactly who she is and what she’s doing.

“I’m comfortable, very confident, and it reflects in a powerful manner. Just the way I hold myself in certain situations – it comes from knowing myself, and that’s what’s reflected. It translates into a confident, powerful, strong style of surfing.”

Her journey from day one is pretty impressive. The Wright family is also a team of people who I really admire. Check it out…

Kimi Werner

kimi-werner-gear-patrol-cinema-lead-full1704079512

“Never take more than you need”

Kimi featured in Fishpeople, a film about people’s lives transformed by the sea. This is where I first came across her, and I was immediately hooked. Excuse the pun. She won the US National Spearfishing Championship, she was the best! But this sport was not in keeping with her beliefs; she left it behind to concentrate on sustainable hunting and marine conservation. Spending incredible amounts of time underwater on one breath, Kimi’s skills as a free diver and spearfisher is further proof that humans are completely capable of living in a way that is unharmful to our ecosystem.

Angie Payne

b72fd01f-110f-434c-9211-09d5f736dc7e

Climber, photographer, explorer. I was introduced to Angie Payne in the film ‘Poumaka.’ She was climbing one of the world’s gnarliest towers: a 1,500-foot volcanic spire called Poumaka alongside Mike Libecki (who is one of my favourite people in the whole entire world). Angie seeks adventure, she’s out there doing amazing things and not really shouting about it. She talks about her expeditions truthfully, it’s not all sunsets and summits – and we really get to see the blood, sweat, anger and tears that push her boundaries each and every time she climbs.

 

Thanks for reading

R x

Bothy Culture

First Bothy adventure of the year - UAGS

Unless approached by sea, Uags Bothy is at the end of an extremely boggy scramble from Toscaig (south of Applecross). We (Callum, Ewan and I) did plan to paddle there in sea kayaks – launching from my mums front garden in Kishorn and exploring the coast line until we reached Uags. Typically the weather came in, and the wind would’ve made it impossible for my wee arms to manage the 10 mile paddle – Ewan and Callum would’ve been fine, but they kindly joined me for the walk instead!

GKLM9088IMG_4639

We left Kishorn in Ewan’s new van, excitedly arriving at Toscaig at 4pm – we expected to be over the hill and at the bothy for sunset.. which we almost made; if only the path didn’t keep disappearing from under our feet!

IMG_4642IMG_3966

Arriving at Uags, we saw the very last of the sun dip behind the Cuillin mountains on Skye – which the bothy looks straight out to. January adventure meant darkness at 5pm, so we set up camp inside the Bothy and began prepping dinner – steak, rocket, peppers, broccoli, camembert cheese? Possibly THE poshest bothy dinner ever, but so delicious! The rest of the evening was spent huddled round the small fireplace, listening to the flames crackle, we chatted and told stories – and once the Jura was finished we hunkered down for sleep.

IMG_4645IMG_4646IMG_4647IMG_4648

I can’t say it was the best sleep I’ve ever had; Callum convinced me the Bothy was ghost infested and the creaking of the building warming up with our presence totally spooked me… I think i’ll sleep in a tent next time! In the morning Ewan went beach scavenging for fire wood (to restock what we had used the night before) as Callum and I swept, and tidied up the inside of the Bothy.

IMG_4649IMG_4643

We walked back to Toscaig – following the correct path this time, and headed home for a bowl of mums soup! Great adventure with the best people!

IMG_4651

Bothy Etiquette
  • Leave the Bothy in as good (if not better) condition as you found it
  • Take ALL rubbish home
  • Don’t leave food – this encourage mice and other hungry rodents
  • Double check all the windows and doors are closed tight before leaving
  • Bring some extras to leave behind – maybe a lighter, some candles, fire lighters etc
  • Collect fire wood for the next visitor – and stack indoors to allow it to dry – but don’t cut live wood!
  • Respect and welcome other people visiting the Bothy at the same time as you!
Kit List
  • Roll mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torch
  • Candles + matches/lighter
  • Firewood + firelighters
  • Pan + spork + sharp knife
  • Bin bag
  • Hip flak/whole bottle
  • FOOD + water
  • Waterproofs + boots + socks (with spares) + LOTS more warm stuff
  • MAP!

IMG_4640

Thanks for reading!

R x

Green Gallery

I found the most amazing independent art gallery – away from the city and FILLED with incredible contemporary paintings…

IMG_0208

Not your average gallery entrance – SO SO BEAUTIFUL!

I follow a lot of artists on Instagram (especially Scottish ones) and I kept seeing information about this small gallery popping up. I’ve mentioned before how much of a picky pain I am when it comes to art – undoubtably overly critical! I hang my head in shame. But online, GreenGallery had a few artists I really like listed in their current show ‘Rooms.’ Admittedly, the majority of work on show wasn’t my cup of tea, but I was really keen to see the pieces I knew I would like. I learnt as well that the Gallery reworked the space for this show to include textiles, sculptures, furniture and lighting to create an interior compliment to the artwork – which I am SO into. I LOVE interiors, but I am completely untalented when it comes to styling my own space – everything ends up white and looking a little like a white cube featuring all my own artwork – cringe!

img_0213.pngIMG_0218

So, for interior inspo and even functional art (ceramics that you can drink tea out of) this place is an ideal day out. The gallery is in Buchlyvie – about 40 mins from Glasgow, but also have a gallery in Dollar.

IMG_0211

Functional and beautiful – love love love these ceramics

And for anyone interested in a visit, this weekend would be a good one. GreenGallery celebrates their 25th anniversary this Sunday (25th March) – owner & art consultant Becky invites everyone to join the celebrations at the Buchlyvie Gallery. View art, maybe even buy art, and leave with a goodie bag… who doesn’t love a goodie bag!

Painting picks - my favourites from 'Rooms'

IMG_1505

Jackie Gardiner 

Winter Solstice 

11.5 x 15.5 in

IMG_1069

Jane Blair 

Sound of Sleat

39 x 29 in

2-gannets-600x600

Andrew Squire

2 Gannets

11.5 x 11.5 in

colonsay-chough-600x611

Andrew Squire

Colony Chough

11.5 x 11.5 in

Into-the-Pleasure-Gardens-100x100cm-600x605

Alison McWhirter 

Into the Pleasure Gardens 

39.5 x 39.5 in

Nyhaven-71-60cmx80cm-600x450

Alison McWhirter 

Nyhaven

24 x 31.5 in
IMG_0215

I have my eye on these gorgeous handmade rings by Hannah Grace Ryan

IMG_0214

Nothing says extra like gold antlers and a mosaic deer head – Bambi works by Poppy Cyster

IMG_0216

Much needed hanging tips from the master art consultant Becky –

IMG_0219

With art comes fashion – I have been itching to get my hands on a VVA design for months. I think finding these beauties at Green Gallery was a sign…

For more info on Green Gallery check out their website for more art, events, shows and news! greengallery.com

Thanks for reading! 

R x 

@ronamcmillan

5 stars for The Fairmont

Admittedly I do not play golf, but I do absolutely love St Andrews. My gran lives in the centre of St Andrews and for the last few years I have become fairly familiar with the area through friends at University there, and weekend trips to eat scones and gossip with my fabulous Gran! The town has such beautiful architecture and history, the cobbled streets, old harbour walls and castle attract a huge amount of tourists in the summer, so I actually prefer to visit during the winter months when all is a little quieter. In January I can get Jannettas ice cream without a 20 minute queue, and a walk on the beautiful sands without many people around. So to beat those infamous January blues I booked a chilled weekend in St Andrews at The Fairmont Hotel – which is located in all its glory at the top of the hill just 10 minutes from the town centre. I say in all its glory, as this 5* establishment is HUGE, 520 acres to be exact and it is absolutely beautiful.

IMG_3643IMG_3644

Once checked in, we were treated to a champagne afternoon tea, courtesy of The Fairmont. Inspired by ‘The Savoy’ in London, The Fairmont’s Savoy afternoon tea was something truly special; traditional, elegant and tasty! The menu offers 28 different types of tea to accompany the three courses of finger sandwiches, seasonal cakes and impressive bakes. Although I’d say read the menu twice before ordering, because I totally overindulged on the first course… not realising there was another two to follow. But our waiter kindly boxed up everything we couldn’t finish!

IMG_3567IMG_3569

The hotel itself was such a lovely place to chill out, with so many places to sit and relax it would be easy to spend all day there reading a book, drinking coffee or even a few cocktails… which we also sampled! The staff are all incredibly attentive, we were actually really impressed with the service.

IMG_3649

I totally forgot to take a snap of our room, which was a Deluxe Sea View Room. But it was really spacious, elegantly decorated with quirky Scottish touches! Our bathroom was huge, with a large walk in shower and a luxurious bath!

IMG_3648

IMG_3651

…and this was the sunrise I woke up to!

IMG_3646

The Fairmont Spa was defiantly one of the best hotel spa’s I’ve ever been to; even although we didn’t book in for any treatments it was really nice to wrap up in robes and relax by the pool for an hour in the evening. The hotel is super family friendly (which is great) but did mean that there was a lot of kids around in the evenings playing in the pool – so that’s something to consider if you wanted a child free zone!

IMG_3564_Facetune_07-01-2018-16-00-13

After breakfast on Sunday morning we wandered round the golf courses (of which there are two) – and had coffees in the clubhouse, which has stunning panoramic views over the courses and St Andrews Bay!

Overall, our stay was fantastic. A beautiful location for a romantic and chilled night away. A walk round St Andrews is always so lovely as well, with plenty of options for good food and drinks!

R x