Sustainable Cossie

Fact of the week – fashion is the second largest industrial polluter…only to be beaten to the top spot by oil. AHHH that is horrible isn’t it? And it’s our greedy, materialistic mindset that has made this happen.

Last week I watched the BBC documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secret’ with my mouth wide open, totally gobsmacked as I learnt some really shocking fashion insights. I knew it was bad, I knew sustainability was a problem, but I didn’t realise the extent of it.

With SALE signs constantly slapping us in the face and fashion bloggers influencing us with fast changing wardrobes – it’s no wonder we all have a desire to buy and keep up. But I question why we forget the value of money as we buy; we buy excessively and bury any desire of quality or ethical question as we pile our arms full of cheap steals. It is really sad, but it’s not too late to make changes.

I am thinking about my gran; she is of a pre Instagram, pre online shopping, pre mass produced clothing era and continues to shop as if it were 1940 (via catalogue) – but she is probably the most sustainable fashionista I know! She has two wardrobes, one for winter and one for summer and a few in-between pieces for layering/delayering. The clothing she buys is expensive, but it is all made in the UK ethically and it lasts her for years, and years, and years. I know I can learn a thing from her.

I am starting small here – with a swimming cossie. If I am going to make a conscious decision to buy less, for more… it’s going to take me a while to save up for my next purchase. Which actually makes shopping more enjoyable, and I know I will really appreciate and care for any clothing I buy from now on.

My Miko Cossie Miko Swimsuit

Sustainable clothing is understandably more expensive than high street prices, but you know where your money is going rather than many designer brands that eat your money for a logo. As a brand Tilia Rose Swim is very affordable – this cossie is £50 and is made from recycled and sustainable materials.

Check out more from the brand https://www.tiliaroseswim.com

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Thank you for reading. If anyone knows of any great sustainable fashion brands (especially outdoorsy ones) please let me know!

Rona x

Kit Review – DRYROBE

A Dryrobe has been on my kit wish list for almost a year. I had a shot of my brothers Dryrobe on Christmas day last year and it was incredible. We had been out on the water and in the water all day and I got very very cold. This isn’t usual for me, I do get cold easily and I’m used to it. However that day I had next level chills; and the Dryrobe got me home without getting dangerously cold.

So, to my delight – a Dryrobe has been added to the kit bag just in time for winter adventures. This piece of kit is for when a towel doesn’t quite cut it anymore, you need more warmth and more protection from the elements – pre swims, post swims and for general use in cold situations.

When would I use it?

Wild swimming – for the last two weeks I’ve not needed to bother with clothes when I jump in the car or on my bike to get to the water. Dry robe before and after every swim, no shivery changing situations and straight into something that will warm me up.

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Competitions – it’s obvious now when I’m at triathlons and open water swims (usually cheering on my mum) that Dryrobe’s are becoming an essential bit of kit. There’s always a lot of standing around before and after a race, and often transport on boats with a lot of exposure to weather. Staying warm and dry in these situations is so important.

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Car park changing – I can say bon voyage to the car park struggle. Trying to get your pants on the right way round without your towel falling down – with numb hands its always a battle. Dryrobe = cosy changing palace!

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Photography – this is a bit of an alternative use, but since the weather is getting colder I’ve used my Dryrobe on a few occasions for photography. If I’m out with my tripod for long periods of time not moving I get really cold, so it has been really handy for that.

Van adventures – van dressing gown? The best thing ever. I say van and not tent because the Dryrobe takes up quite a lot of room so it’s not ideal for tent camping, but perfect to have in a van.

Boat journeys – wind chill is something I always forget to consider if we are heading somewhere on a rib/open top boat. Sticking my Dryrobe on over my wetty keeps that wind off, as well as sea spray and rain.

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Features
  • Completely waterproof and windproof
  • Super warm synthetic lambs wool lining
  • Full lengths 2 way reversible zip
  • Fleece lined pockets
  • Lightweight (1.3kg)
  • Waterproof chest pocket
  • Internal zip pocket (phone, wallet, iPod)
  • Huge A4 sized internal pocket
  • Velcro wrists
Key Benefits
  • Fits over clothing/wetsuit
  • Re-use multiple times without it feeling wet
  • Provides protection from the elements
  • The lining draws water away from my skin
  • Dries me instantly and continues to keep me warm
  • Hands kept warm in the insulated pockets
  • Stores my things safely (phone, money, camera, snacks)
  • Lightweight to carry

To sum it up, I can’t fault this product. It great, and truly a lifesaver for someone like me who gets very very cold. It’s something that will always be in the boot of my car ready to use. I also got a Dryrobe drybag with my order (bought separately) which I would recommend as the robe does take up a bit of space if it’s not in a bag.

I’ve had a lot of questions over price, this robe is £110. It is a pricey purchase and something to consider. For me, it came down to safety and how the product would perform keeping me warm and dry in challenging situations. It works – and therefore it is worth it in my opinion!

www.dryrobe.com

Thanks for reading

Keep up with adventures @ronamcmillan

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Q&A with Ethical Clothing Brand OTSO

This week I have teamed up with UK based clothing brand Otso to get to know them a little better. I had the pleasure of trying out a few pieces and also had a chat with Simon (founder) about Otso and the brands ethical qualities.

Simon also had a few questions for me – so I have included them at the bottom of the blog!IMG_02195 questions from me to Otso

So who is Otso and can I meet your team? 

Otso is our pet bear!  – No he’s not really – bears should be roaming free in the forests being all majestic, grizzly and wild. It’s this idea that drew us towards having a bear as our mascot for our nordic inspired fashion label. Hence the bears face hidden in our logo. Our team is very small at the moment – It consists of me; a graphic designer and founder of the company, and then some very nice people at Huddersfield Screen Print who hand screen each of our tees, a lady called Amanda who does our sewing and another local company who help us out with embroidery. Then there’s all of our arty friends who have pitched in since we started to help create new designs and my very awesome girlfriend who helps me keep my chin up when things don’t always go to plan.

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This is Simon – founder of Otso and graphic designer

How did you create your brand name and tag line? Otso sounds very contemporary and ‘The Spirit of the Bear’ feels old, wise and traditional – I really like it! 

It’s funny you should say that as that really sums up what we wanted to achieve with the look and feel of the label. We searched high and low for a short and rememberable name that sounded like it could fit a modern clean street wear brand but also have a rugged heritage edge to it. Otso is a Finnish word and means the ‘spirit of the bear’ in their folklore.  He’s the king of the forest – a friend, brother and forest cousin. I wanted to create a street wear label that was contemporary enough to wear out in the city but heavily influenced by the great outdoors and in keeping with all the pursuits my friends and I enjoy like mountain biking, camping and climbing.

I found Otso in a search for ethically made clothing – was this part of your initial concept or did it develop later in the design process? 

At first I just wanted to create an outlet for my personal design work that would allow me to be more creative and less governed by my corporate graphic design clients. This moved on to getting my friends to design spirit of the bear influenced tees. In the process of finding a really good quality tee to have the designs printed on I discovered some that were ‘fair wear’ ethically made.We started with the tees and gradually expanded our range with other ethically made garments as we developed our understanding of the fashion industry.  I felt using these would complete the picture of having a nature inspired brand that used garments that were also more environmentally minded.

So I know your clothing is ethically made – can you explain what this really means and why it is important?

All of our clothes are ether manufactured in association with the ‘Fair Wear” foundation or can show they have a commitment to excellent working practices for the people who manufacture them. Theses movements became much more prevalent after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in 2013 where over a thousand people were killed. It is considered the deadliest structural failure accident in modern human history.

The Fair Wear Foundation commitment makes sure among other things that the people working in the garment industry get paid properly, there’s no child labour and they get to work in a safe environment.

Since starting Otso we have also used our social media channels to raise awareness on other environmental issues and have made most of our packaging plastic free.

We feel its important to try and build a better planet for the future and not add to its destruction – it’s also important to try and get people who otherwise might not know or care about such issues to start taking note. In my experience ethically made clothing used to be aimed solely at certain, lets say hippy types but now it’s becoming much more main stream we can create garments that are more of the now without jeopardising the people and our planet along the way.

Sum up Otso in three words… 

Creative, Contemporary, Conscious  – they all begin with C for extra points!

Otso also had a few questions for me… 

I see you live in Glasgow which is a large city – how does this work with your love of nature and passion for outdoor activities?

 I do – and I love it! I grew up in rural Scotland and moved to Glasgow when I started uni at 17. I was absolutely petrified and panicked so much about being separated from the outdoor lifestyle I had at home. But Glasgow has heaps to offer for the adventurous type – lots of climbing gyms, indoor skiing, and a wake park in the city centre. But most importantly, Glasgow is in the perfect location for someone who likes both rural and city life. It takes me less than an hour to be surrounded by hills and lochs in The Trossachs, Glen Coe’s mountain range is less than two hours from me… and the list goes on. So the west coast (the best coast) and the highlands are very accessible from this fine city!
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You look to have travelled far and wide – Is there a special place you love to visit time and again, if so why?

Hopefully it’s not too dull to choose somewhere in Scotland, but my favourite place to revisit is always Tiree. It’s a small island in the Inner Hebrides known as the ‘Hawaii of the North.’ Tiree is a paradise of white sandy beaches with incredible surf – I have made some amazing memories there over the years. I’m actually heading there very early tomorrow morning!

You look really cool in our Otso wears – They’re aimed at blokes traditionally but we’re happy for anyone to wear them. Do you feel the divide between the genders is closing up these days or even really exists anymore? 

Thank you! You know, I hadn’t even considered that you were aimed at guys when I first looked at the website. I just really liked the designs. I think there is certainly still a divide in gender stereotyping – especially for children’s clothing (the pink and blue thing). But there have been some interesting movements towards closing that gap recently which I am all for. Personally I choose clothes that I want to wear, if they are aimed at blokes I am not put off buying them. The only time I do find this a problem is when brands (particularly outdoor brands) have a tendency to make female clothing in typically ‘girly’ colours – pink, purple – and I always prefer the male colour choice; for jackets and things that need to fit to be functional I can’t always get away with the male sizes. But hey – that doesn’t apply to you guys!

What does the term ethical fashion mean to you and is it something you actively seek out when making clothing choices?

Absolutely yes – as I’ve gotten older I have grown to understand the importance of buying clothes that are made ethically and in good quality. I hate waste, and when buying clothes I am careful to buy less for more in the hope that it will last me for years. I want to know products I am buying are being made in a safe working environment and employees are being paid correctly.

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Are there many ethical fashion brands that you know and like or are there still lots of room for more?

Room for more – yes! I am also really happy to see existing brands like ASOS, Levi and Zara all producing specific clothing labelled as recycled or ethically made. I can only hope more high street brands follow on. One of my favourites is Finisterre who design functional and sustainable outdoor products. I’ve also recently come across some great sustainable & ethical swimwear brands that I am itching to try – Davy Js, Salt Gypsy and Bower Swimwear.

Keep up with recent adventures @ronamcmillan

Afternoon hike – Ben A’an

A sunny morning in Glasgow – so Adele and I decide to go for a wee jolly up Ben A’an. Reasons being – I’ve never been up Ben A’an before, it is small enough to do in a short afternoon and Adele told me she’d never climbed a hill before. Say what!

I’d heard about Ben A’an through a string of people who have told me its the best wee hill in the Trossachs for a short walk with great views, and it’s not far from Glasgow.

Ben A’an has its own car park at the foot of the hill which is just off the A821, you cross the road and are immediately onto the track. The walk begins with a lovely steep incline to ease those seized hips into action, up and out into the open.

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The path is extremely well maintained – and although most surrounding trees have been felled recently (which is kinda ugly) there is a nice breeze the whole way up.

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The rest of the walk provides a fantastic view of Ben A’an’s pointed summit. A good indication of how far you have left to stumble, and gives plenty photo ops!

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Onto the rocky summit of Ben A’aan – and Adele has ticked off her first hill. Wayhay!

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Almost the full length of Loch Katrine is in view from up here with Ben Venue in the distance.

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Overall, Ben A’an – perfect for a short walk, great for beginner hill walkers, ideal for kids and a nice one to ease yourself back into hill walking if you’ve not been out in a while i.e., me!

Thanks for reading – keep up with all my adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona x

KAYAKING & WILD CAMPING IN LOCH KISHORN

It’s happened again – I’m the bearer of bad weather. I arrived in ‘sunny Kishorn’ – a small village in the Scottish Highlands where my mum moved to about two years ago. It’s an incredible place, surrounded by towering mountains, endless horizons, views of Skye – an ideal place for those who love to be outside. But whenever I visit… ‘sunny Kishorn’ loses its title. It’s the day before our trip and it’s dreich, windy and pretty miserable. However, that is a traditional Scottish summer and the addition of the wind means the subtraction of midges, so it’s not all bad.

The optimist in me predicted good weather for our kayaking camping trip, but nope. It’s still blowing a hoolie. With all of our kit stuffed into dry bags and stored inside our kayaks my mum and I headed off into the waves. We originally planned to paddle directly from Kishorn Bay to our destination (in a straight line) – makes sense on a calm day! But with the weather being borderline stormy we stuck to the coastline avoiding the worst of the swell.

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My mum, by the way, is of far higher ability than me in a kayak. She knows her stuff and has done heaps of rescue training. I am an amateur – but always enjoy going out and getting practice in. Thankfully today is not a good day for kayak rolling – so I’m off the hook!

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We had a good idea of where we could camp, but getting there was proving to be tricky. At this point I found paddling along to the beat of ‘another one bites the dust’ very motivational. However the further we got, the bigger the swell was… so instead of being numpties and having to call in the coast guard to be rescued we beached ourselves early and walked the rest of the route. Leaving the kayaks up high on a grassy bank.

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We clambered through thick bracken – getting mauled by ticks, and along the shoreline to a small bay with a stoney beach and large flat grassy area ideal for an overnighter… pretty certain this is the one we had in mind, and if not… it would do! Bonus, there were even two strong trees so I could try out the hammock.

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With views of the infamous Cuillin mountains on Skye and west facing (meaning sunsets) this beach should have been the perfect spot for a night under the stars. Except, when we got there the cloud cover was so thick I couldn’t even see the small island less than a km away, so no chance of a sunset OR stars… and the wind was chopping away at the sea so much my dream of a sea swim quickly went out the window. I also spotted enough large red jellyfish on our paddle to put me off a dip that day.

So – we set up camp, boiled up some water for cups of tea, changed into dry kit and had a wander around our highland residence of paradise. We found lots of small caves hidden among the vegetation that were piled with remains of old camping kit; sleeping bags, tanks of gas, glass bottles and clothing. Strange and creepy, and enough to stop me entering the caves for further investigation.

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So what happened for the rest of the night? Not very much – read books, scribbled in my sketchbook, heated up some soup for dinner… got cosy! I played with my camera for a while hoping that I would spot an otter on night watch… but that didn’t happen. My mum and I had a good catch up since we don’t get to see each other that often anymore, which was really nice because if we were in the house we would probably be watching a box set or something instead. I wrote some short stories in my notebook and eventually fell asleep (kind of).

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When I woke up, I was cold, damp and desperate to get home. My frustration with Scottish weather consumed me for about an hour until I got back into the kayak and started to paddle home; and it all disappeared. I felt so happy, grinning from ear to ear – I felt like I’d been on the biggest adventure with my mum.

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We didn’t wait for good weather, or let the depressing appearance of dark cloud put us off. I think every single time I go off to do something a little bit wild, there is always a moment when I think I’d rather be at home nice and warm. But these wild and crazy experiences are the best, they’re the days I never forget and I can tell everyone about that time I thought sleeping in a hammock in strong winds and torrential rain was a good idea. Well, I ALWAYS come home happy, and am very appreciative of a mug of tea and a good sleep. I think that speaks wonders.

Thanks for reading – keep up with all my recent adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona x

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Langoustines

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thanks for reading

R x 
@ronamcmillan

 

Sailing Jolanda

I AM HOME – phew. As many of you may know (due to an overkill of instagam stories) I have been away sailing in the English Channel for the last 10 days. I am suitably windswept and windburnt to call myself a yachty now… although I’m not sure that’s really a trend I want to keep up. But it was fun while it lasted all the same.

So, how did I become so lucky to hang around on a beauty of a yacht all week? Its nothing more glamourous than I tagged along with my Dad and step Mum while they were down there sailing – I guess they wanted a galley gal to come and make cups of tea, pour them gin and cook the occasional dinner. Which I’m happy with if I get to sail around the tropical coast of Cornwall for a few days.

When I first arrived the boat was tied up in Plymouth and with me came the rain, thunder, general horrible stormy weather. It’s a reoccurring theme, I’m the barer of bad weather. So it was lock down for the first few days of the trip, sorry fellow crew members. Time was well spent with lots of reading – I got through three books, yes THREE whole books. Which is more than I usually manage in a year. And lots of eating, cinema trips and wandering around chandleries for hours… and hours.

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Would recommend!

Anyway – once the weather unraveled a bit we hoisted the sails and set off along the Cornish coast. Regrettably I didn’t document the whole trip, because my phone and camera kept running out of battery – no power at sea, you see! But I got a few snaps along the way.

Our first voyage took us west from Plymouth to explore all the little bays along the coast line. Bit bobby for the first few hours, gusting winds of 35-40knots and 3-4m swell – annoyingly waves NEVER look big in a photograph and I’m made out to be a drama queen. But they were big, and it was exciting!

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The sun eventually made a debut at Cawsand which is situated on the Rame Peninsula – a very pretty higglety pigglety town on the rocks. And I got my first swim of the trip – water temp was an unbelievable 16°. I could’ve stayed in all day.

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We got a nice gentle breeze to take us down to Salcombe in South Devon where we moored up for a few days. Salcombe seemed to be a bit of a holiday hot spot for yachts, we had a different boat rafted up next to us every night – so a pretty good turn around on the neighbour front. This provided endless entertainment of rope faffing, fender fails and a few slip and slides. Much like when you’ve pitched your tent in a campsite and your evening is filled with *as silent as possible* giggles as you watch people trickle in and struggle with guy lines and wind direction.

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Salcombe was really beautiful – heaps of small sandy beaches to explore, lovely water to swim in and the main street was full of posh shops… Musto, Henri Lloyd, Joules, Crew, Jack Wills yada, yada, yada. But the further I walked, the more interesting the shops became… and I stumbled across this beautiful shed with a guy making custom surfboards. If only I had a spare £1500! Oh, and there was a gin distillery… tried and tested, thumbs up for Salcombe Gin.

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Welcome to the galley. Saturday night menu, seafood spaggy with local muscles and prawns.

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Sundays are for scrubbing… galley gal turned mast cleaner. I’ve been itching to climb the mast for a bird’s eye view of Jolanda – so I sweetly offered to clean the cross tree which was all green and sad-looking. Sparkly clean yacht, and insta Dad was on hand to take some snaps of me while I was up there swinging around like a monkey.

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Meet Insta Dad/Captain.

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Sails up for the last wind of the week heading back to Plymouth to tie up – via my favourite bay at Rame Head for a dip to wash away the smell of five days at sea.

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The Cornish coast was absolutely beautiful and provided some fantastic weather – heading home with rose checks and secretly excited to get back to a drizzly Scotland… and a bed that doesn’t sway all night.

Thanks for being the best home at sea Jolanda. Until next time.

Bon voyage

R x

Keep up with future adventures  @ronamcmillan

 

 

Glasgow Food Map (Summer eats)

Breakfast

Bramble Cafe Giffnock

I can not fault this place. Wonderful fresh food, great service and spotlessly clean. The cafe is small, so sometimes I’ve had to wait for a table… but absolutely worth it. Delicious cakes for after, and fantastic coffee.

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Brunch

Cafe Strange Brew

ALWAYS busy, but for good reason. I could shout about these pancakes all day – they’re incredible. Great food, quirky and fun atmosphere. Always buzzing with groups and families – super fresh food with an ever-changing specials board. Strange and fabulous!

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Wine bar

Vino Valentino

Why has nobody ever told me about Vino Valentino? My dad took me here for some wine tasting mid-week, and what a delight! The bar/shop is small and cosy and ran by an Italian family – who are all very knowledgable. The set up is very charming, with a large sit around wooden table that seats about 12 people – so could easily pop in for a glass alone or as a group for wine tasting and nibbles.

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Fast Food

Kimchi Cult

If you’re looking for something a little different and bursting with flavour Kimchi Cult is the one. Korean style fast food available to sit in or take away – burgers, loaded fries, rice bowls, fried chicken… all delicious and topped with Kimchi (fermented cabbage). Fast and friendly service, great for a quick meal.

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Date night

Gather by Zique

It takes a lot for me to say this, but I’ve found a new favourite. Gather by Zique is outstanding, a restaurant that combines fine dining in a relaxed environment is something that Glasgow has needed for sometime. Our service was delightful, very helpful and non-intrusive and the food was exceptionally fresh and delicious. The wine was great, the cocktails were even better and with such a lovely ambience I could begin and end a night here with no complaints. I can not wait to revisit.

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Steak night

(at home)

Is anyone else growing tired of overpriced steak in restaurants, especially when you know you can create something just as tasty (if not tastier) at home for less than half the price? Steak night is now date night at home for us… and this week we ditched the usual red wine suspect for something different. Wester Spirit Co. have just launched the first in a series of collaborative projects with ampersand01 and microbrewery DRYGATE in creating this Spiced Scotch Ale. The Ale is developed from Wester’s spiced rum (which is also fantastic, and makes a great dark and stormy) and has lovely rich flavours of ginger and vanilla.

We cook our steaks really simply on a hot griddle pan, salt, pepper, rosemary and some whole garlic cloves (2mins each side for rare) – then serve with some steamed greens.

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Dinner party (for 6)

So keen to make paella we even bought a new pan – and spent too much money on saffron, but again… worth it! Traditionally paella is made with chicken and chorizo along with all your fresh seafood – but we skipped the chicken and made up our own recipe… which is (as far as I can remember)…

  • 350g paella rice (a bit more if your feeding a hungry bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 12 raw tiger prawns/large bag (more the merrier)
  • 12-16 mussels (with or without shells)
  • 6-8 langoustines
  • 70g frozen peas
  • 1 or 2 lemons
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 150g spanish chorizo (skin removed and chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Fry onion, pepper and chorizo (6-8 mins medium heat)
  2. Add garlic, paprika, cayenne and saffron (1min)
  3. Add tomatoes, season and add 2pints boiling water and simmer uncovered for 10mins
  4. Add rice and simmer uncovered for another 15-20mins
  5. Add seafood and cook until ready (5-10 mins depending on how much is added)
  6. If the rice has become too dry and isn’t ready yet add some more water now (with some extra seasoning)
  7. Serve with lemon!

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Thanks for reading – if anyone gives my paella recipe a shot let me know how it turns out… sorry in advance if its rubbish.

Rona x

Keep up to date with recent adventures at @ronamcmillan

Trespass goes 2 TRNSMT

Finally, its festival season! And unlike pervious summers in Scotland… for as long as I can remember, festival season is shaping up to be a paradise of sun this year. So to celebrate in the best way possible, Trespass sent me along to TRNSMT fest for the day to try out some new pieces from their festival collection and gather some snaps and BTS shots of all the festival fun.

Unlike most festivals TRNSMT is a day fest with no camping – ideal for me because I live a 10 minute walk from Glasgow Green. This was the first time I’ve ever traveled light to a festival and it was actually harder than I expected – thankfully Trespass kitted me out with the essentials which I will share along with a few bum bag (since we’re at a festival) must haves.

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Sunday was a scorcher, by 3pm areas in the festival grounds were up at 30°C – I was unbelievable grateful to be wearing quick dry material which takes all moisture away from the skin so you’re not left swimming in a puddle of your own festival sweat. Sorry that’s gross – but totally resembled most people around me!

This T comes in a few different colours, and orange is actually my fav colour (thanks Trespass for being telepathic)! Nada Women’s Quick Drying T-Shirt

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Lifesaver! This hat was the second best thing I brought to the festival (the best is yet to come) – really lightweight, really cute and kept the glare off my face all day long.

Brimming Womens Straw Hat

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After two weeks in Italy my eyes have never been so exhausted from the sun, you know the burn you get when you close your eyes at night after being out all day? Well these guys definitely helped prevent that on Sunday –  and they are currently 50% off!

Halcyon DLX Sunglasses

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So here it is – the BEST thing I brought to TRNSMT (not the sunflower).

Qikpac Women’s Parkway Waterproof

And although I only had this jacket on for aprox 10 seconds to take a photo before I melted, it was the handiest thing to have with me. Everyone spent the majority of the day chilling on the grass to avoid heat exhaustion, and since I was wearing cream shorts…

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Sadly – I had to give up my gorgeous wellies for my handbag flip-flops ^^^ which I desperately wanted to keep on all day, but my feet were overheating just a bit too much.

Samira Womens Wellies

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A few more festival tips...

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Remember to eat. Even when it’s hot and appetites are low, we still need energy from proper food… or just find a doughnut as they’re harder to refuse!

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Water is your pal – nobody wants a dehydrated heat exhausted friend to look after when everyone else is having fun. But bring a water bottle and use the free refill station… because I didn’t and had to pay £3 for 500ml every time I was thirsty, AH!

Bumbag essentials

  • Hand sanitiser and tissues/wipes
  • Sun cream
  • Portable battery pack (phone charing is £8 for one hour)
  • Water bottle (free refill stations)
  • Sunnies
  • Paracetamol
  • Hair bobbles (three different girls asked me for one during the day)
  • Cash (take it out before you get into the venue – machines charge)
  • Ticket & ID

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Thanks for reading, and for anyone heading to TRNSMT round 2 this weekend or any other festivals this summer – have a fab time!

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And of course, a huge thank you to Trespass for kitting me out and sending out for a great day.

Rona x

Keep up with my lasted adventures on my instagram @ronamcmillan

 

 

Tasting Scotland – Seafood Special

What an incredible day, we are going home happy, sun-kissed and full up on seafood! We left Glasgow at 9am this morning for a one day gastro and cultural tour of the west coast, and we are blown away by everything we have experienced today. From food and scenery to drink and conversation we have thoroughly enjoyed our day with Tasting Scotland.

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Top 5 elements from my Tasting Scotland experience 

Brenda! This tour of the west coast really thrives from the master mind behind the brand. Brenda and her talented team have such incredible knowledge of food & drink heritage – specifically in Scotland but also worldwide. Throughout the day we had fantastic conversations with Brenda about food through the ages, local food history along with recipe tips and restaurant recommendations.

Chatting to industry professionals – I found this a really special element of the trip. At each location we were introduced to local people working in the smokehouses, on the production line and in the restaurants and kitchens, which gave us an extra insight into Scottish seafood.

A tailored experience – as well as the Wednesday Weekly tour (that leaves from Glasgow every Wednesday morning), Brenda and her team are experts in creating tailored tasting experiences. Weather it’s whisky, craft beer or gin, seafood or curries they can create packages perfectly suited to your personal taste. Brenda was telling us about a 3 day tour she recently set up for a client that included hand selected accommodation, luxury transport as well as lunch, dinner and activities every day. What a way to experience Scotland at its best!

Luxury products and locations – Tasting Scotland tours are SO far from naff Scottish tat and the unfortunate reputation we have for deep-fried food! Brenda focuses solely on the luxury market and premium Scottish product which is incredibly beneficial in the support of local businesses while at the same time gives her clients a taste for what Scotland really has to offer.

For locals as well as visitors – having grown up on the west coast surrounded by stunning scenery and eating local seafood I was really intrigued by this tour and whether or not it would be worthwhile for me… and truthfully it was such a great day, I wouldn’t hesitate to book again. I learnt so much from Brenda; about food, cooking, drink pairing as well as local history that I had never picked up on before. I am already sending messages to my friends and family to recommend Tasting Scotland – a 5 star experience in every way.

So where did we go?

Brunch at Luss Seafood Bar and a look around Luss SmokehouseIMG_0716IMG_3644IMG_3634IMG_3651Champagne Lunch at Loch Fyne Oyster BarIMG_0724IMG_0726IMG_0733IMG_3664IMG_3672IMG_3769Guided tour of Inverary Castle and gardensIMG_3767IMG_3692IMG_3682IMG_3679

If you are interested in a Tasting Scotland tour feel free to contact Brenda Anderson by email at brenda@tastingscotland.com or on +44(0)7974212529 – she’s super friendly!

http://www.tastingscotland.com

Thank you to Tasting Scotland for inviting us along.

Thanks for reading 

R x