It could be that I’m just getting old, but these days I definitely get more excited about eating at a table than dancing on one. (Though if a weekend can incorporate both then it’s a hands down – or up, however you wanna boogie – winner.)

Like an anti-Trump ralley, the Six Nations rugby or the husky tones of Bob Marley, brunch is one of those things that just brings people together. As soon as anyone mentions the word, you just know your day’s on the incline.

So, as we slide serenely into the Easter weekend, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite little spots for this inbetween-y magical eating time. I’ve sampled many such spots around Edinburgh, but for the sake of retaining your interest and bigging up the ‘hood, here are my favourite Leith bruncheries. View Post

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Scandinavia is having a big moment. First it infiltrated our roads (the stoic Volvo), then our living rooms (two words: Poang chair). Now it’s on our televisions, in our bellies (their pastry game is just too strong damnit) and – with the rise of the somewhat middle-class trend of chasing “Hygge” – it’s even begun to inform our psyche.

Edinburgh, and Leith in particular, has become home to various Scandi bars and cafés over the past few years. So it seems only right to dedicate a blog post this Tuesday to my favourite Nordic eating and drinking spots in our almost-Nordic capital. View Post

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Ah, to be home!

Since moving to Edinburgh just over a year ago, thanks to university and work commitments (among of course irresponsible weekend boozing priorities and consequent days spent in bed), visits back to my seaside hometown of Tayport have been few and far between.

So this weekend I pootled back home in my little blue car to visit my Mum in her crumbling old house on the Tay. Although fairly miserable weather on the Saturday, the Sunday I left to head back to the capital was one of the most glorious autumnal days I have ever seen.

Relishing the prospect of a walk on the beach in the east neuk, senza the usual experience of wind/rain/mad hair/the enjoyable combination of all three, we headed to our local beach Tentsmuir.

Tentsmuir has changed a lot in the years since my childhood. There is now a controversial charge of £2 for the privilege of driving your car there, for example.

HOWEVER. (And here is the “little thing” that inspired this post and brightened most of my weekend, however sad you may think my life is, I do not take any of it back.) In the little corner of the small field of grass next to the forest, there is now a CREPE SHACK. Run by a man from Tiree and his French girlfriend, Tentsmuir’s exciting new addition attracted dog walkers, old couples, and hungry Tayportians like my mum and I to their little corner of creative genius. Complete with bunting, logs, and even an authentic wetsuit hanging on the adjacent tree (surfing on their quiet periods?), the little hut immediately filled my 25-year-old self with a 5-year-old’s sense of excitement.

Sitting in the glorious rays of autumn sunshine on little decorated, cushioned tree stumps, eating a ham, cheese and beetroot chutney crepe rolled into a cone and oozing with deliciousness, with a cup of coffee decorated in snowflakes (the miserable readers among you may find this Christmas gesture has come a pinch early but I for one embraced this bold gesture from the Crepe Shack!) I was quite honestly happy beyond words.

Thus, the true point of this silly little blog post is really that, whatever trials and tribulations you may face in your life, whatever crap happens, whoever is grinding your gears and however negative you might feel at any one point, you should know that if you take the time (approximately 20 seconds to consume said crepe personally) to appreciate the little things and let them enhance your mood, the big things you let get to you can be brought down to size, too. Amen to the crepe shack, in all its bunt-iful glory.

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Since returning from a two month adventure around South America, I have gained a new level of awareness regarding the “clean eating” trend currently sweeping the western world. This is probably because I was forced to eat, well, “dirtily” for much of my time in Brazil and Bolivia (Peru, this does not include you, you were fantastic, and I promise I will call you again sometime). Unfortunately the effects of this substandard diet did not go unnoticed; lingering spots, lethargy and a general sensation of feeling “not quite a hundred percent” were some of the physical ailments I suffered between meals of fried chicken, pastries, chips, tinned frankfurters and rather suspicious looking grey meat…

This urged me to begin a regime of healthy eating as soon as I got home, and I started trawling online blogs to find recipes for healthy smoothies and what not (yes yes health wanker, I know, go on, hit me) which was when I noticed how popular ‘#cleaneating’ really was. From Facebook to Instagram, magazine supplements to billboards, the message to “eat clean” is an almost urgent one. With numerous blogs dedicated to the cause, not to mention the vast array of disciples behind them, it seems that 2014’s new dietary trend may be here to stay.

While I openly approve of this trend, and indulge in regular Instagram hashtag trawls (#greenjuice, #healthysmoothies, #goodbyeforeverstreetcred) I have certain niggling issues with the whole shebang. Primarily, it seems that there is a worrying correlation between “eating clean” and “being thin”, two phrases which are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to much of the population, especially females. Instagram accounts too often feature a withered, bony looking claw, clutching a jar of green liquid, or stick legs sprawled out on a sun lounger with a bowl of salad balanced precariously between the thigh gap. Underneath said images sits a variety of hashtags promoting “healthy living”. In an age which already glamourises the skeleton, young people really do not need the added pressure of being told to eat in a certain way – especially not when our media culture continues to pump out the unrelenting message that we have to look a certain way, too.

Depressingly, it seems that “clean eating” is well on its way to joining the ranks of the acitivist vegans and the radical church when it comes to conversion tactics. Under the rather misguided presumption that eating healthily will change your life for the better, “cleaneating” hashtags are often found beneath photographs of lean, lithe, tanned, YOUNG bodies in order to better promote their regime. This, to me, gives the whole thing a vague air of elitism; the idea that if one creates meals from raw ingredients and religiously steams their vegetables, while documenting the whole process via social media, they are far superior to the person beside them in the supermarket, agonising over which plastic-packaged ready meal they should select for their dinner tonight (yes, the latter has been me. Yet I find this sad fact easier to accept than if I had fallen into the first category.)

However, as a young person hailing from a country famous for battered delicacies, and an unsurprising yet shocking obesity rate of 26.1%, it doesn’t take a genius to see that clean eating could have an extremely positive effect on nations like ours, whose lives in the fast lane mean being the first customers at McDonalds drive-thru. Yet equally as important is to avoid living a life overshadowed by the dos and don’ts of eating that are so readily distributed to the public – first by our government and now, apparently, by the western population. So people, don’t lose sight of the fact that as long as your diet comprises of some vaguely nutritious factors, a slice of cake won’t bloody kill you (otherwise I’d be long dead) and even if all you ate was burgers, well, it’s your life so do what you bloody well want with it. I for one shall be attempting to lead a harmonious dietary existence, where cake can be eaten peacefully with an accompanying pint of green juice and we can all just shut up about it.

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Despite the exterior facade of health I feebly attempt to maintain, everybody knows I am obsessed with cake, in all shapes and forms. I am also obsessed with retro fashion and have a certain penchant for ‘kitsch’. My sister says this means I’m just far too interested in crap, which may partially be true, but in the case of new cafe on the block Kitschnbake (you see where they’re going with this…), it most certainly isn’t.

Perched on the banks of the River Tay, sandwiched between the local pub and a block of flats, the enticing waft of baking emanating from the kitchen is enough to make your mouth water before you’ve even crossed the threshold. Inside, owner Mary-Jane has decked the place out with an eclectic mix of refurbished furniture, colourful handmade lampshades and an oak serving counter (upon admiring it, I am informed it has been sourced from eBay. My kind of lady.) Collections of vintage teapots and mismatched cups and saucers sit haphazardly in vintage cabinets adorned with fairy lights, while stacks of various flavoured jams sit tall, arranged in an old bookcase by the wall. This avant-garde café has managed to mesh modern with old school, and the result is cracking.

Officially opened in November, owner Mary-Jane is a person whose passion for Kitsch matches her flair for baking, which of course is how the very concept of Kitschnbake was born. Entirely self-taught, her obvious talent and creativity is shown through both the interior of the café and, of course, the delicious array of cakes that I can no longer pretend this review isn’t about.

From Peach Melba to Victoria Sponge, mint chocolate brownies to marshmallow cheesecake, tImagehere is a myriad of sweet treats to satisfy all intensities of sugar cravings. In other words; if you want it, Kitschnbake has well and truly got it.

As a lady with a notoriously sweet tooth, my delight at the opening of this local business is beyond words. My waistline may have something to say about it, but the ckerb gives Kitschnbake full points and bonus ones for the place’s amaze deck-out. A truly fabulous addition to Newport-on-Tay.

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