I haven’t been in London in the summer months for a while, and I always forget how strange a sensation it is to feel TOO WARM in the UK. Since these words are barely uttered up in our somewhat bipolar Scottish environs, it is strange to travel only five hours south and hear yourself uttering the phrase several times a day… because it really is FAR. TOO. WARM. Such heat is welcomed when fortunate enough to sport a bikini and lounge by the poolside, but to have to, like, do stuff and walk places and all that it really is a big exhausting sweat bath.

Once you have come to terms with the unavoidable consequences of London heat – potential passing out on the tube, dehydration, flat and/or frizzy hair, mugginess, spots and worst of all the dreaded SULA (that is, ‘sweaty upper lip alert’, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term), it is actually rather nice. For example, I know that if I tried to attend a festival in Scotland in July, it might be alright during the day but after that cut off point of 6pm when the cardigans come out, you know you won’t last long.

But once the sunshine surrenders itself and gives way to the balmy, comfortably warm evening, there is nothing like a London summer. Especially when you are at Lovebox festival with all the people lovebox2you love the most, when being dropped from your sister’s shoulders (thanks again, Holly) and running around covered in hotdog condiments (again, thank you Holly) trying to find your lost friend Giulia ‘by the flags…next to the funfair…by the tobacco tent’, does not hinder your experience in the slightest.

London, you are big and dirty and TOO WARM sometimes but after weekends like these, I would just like to say thank you for the way you make me appreciate life and friends and festivals in the sun. One day I shall live among you mad city dwellers but until then, hasta luego big city, I love you long time.

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Despite the past few days for once actually resembling summer, last night the weather’s winning streak faltered, and the heavens opened just in time for the first barbecue of the season. This is not the first time such a thing has happened and I remain fairly positive that it won’t be the last either.

When I was travelling, people’s initial response after hearing that we were from Scotland went largely along the lines of (in this general order) whisky, kilts, independence, the weather (‘iss wet, no?’). In warmer climates like South America’s, the idea that it should rain during the summer was appalling, perhaps even abhorrent. Indeed, we met many Australians, New Zealanders and even Europeans who struggled to comprehend our sheer survival in such sogginess and cold. Hearing that we had “sometimes a couple of weeks of sunshine in the summer” was often met with silent, sad nods and lowered eyes, or muttered words of commiseration (“that sucks mate”, “maybe it’ll be three weeks this year” and so on.)

And of course when the weather is beautiful, and umbrellas are left behind next to the wellington boots, redundant cardigans left hanging on the peg over the raincoats; when people immerse themselves in the sheer novelty of buying an ice cream to eat in the park, and the shops dust off those pre-seasonal orders of buckets and spades for the few days that they will attract business, we momentarily forget the tempestuous weather of the previous week, back in the days of layers and closed toe shoes.

But it is only ever momentary, and we Scots are all too aware of the fleetingness of summer. While this attracts sympathy from foreigners, whose own summers generally prerequisite “long” and “hot”, it is the transience of the British summer which makes us appreciate those sunny days all the more. In any other country, should the rain clouds loom, the barbecue is called off. Here, we huddle under marquees in rain jackets, eating our strawberries from soggy paper bowls, cowering from the elements and having an absolute ball. It is always in summer time that people are at their best, and although the sun may not always be in our skies, we will have it forever in our disposition.

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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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I always try to retain as much as interest as possible in local happenings around my area (the hub of excitement that is North-east Fife) and I’d like to kick start this blog by posting a little piece about my friend Dot Sim, who also just happens to be a fantastic jeweller whose pieces have accessorised many an outfit of mine. View Post

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