Top Ten Favourite Places in Glasgow

After giving a shout out to my favourite places in Belfast, it seemed only fair that my second home, Glasgow, got the same treatment. So, without further ado, here are my top ten places in Glasgow to eat, drink and be merry:


  1. The Hidden Lane Tea Room

Just in case I haven’t made it clear enough in previous posts, I love tea – and afternoon tea from gorgeous vintage crockery, in an adorably quaint shop tucked in the corner of The Hidden Lane is my idea of the best afternoon ever. As the name suggests, this fabulous little tea room is all too easy to miss if you don’t know where to look – but now you do!


The Hidden Lane Tea Room, The Hidden Lane (Argyle Court) 1103 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8ND.


  1. Cup/Gin 71

Classy tea room by day, fabulous gin bar by night – whoever thought of this, I’m still jealous it wasn’t my idea. I love that at night the appeal of the tea room is maintained, yet given a cheeky twist, by serving gin cocktails in teapots. Both the gin and tea menus are impressively varied, and the food is great! Plus, the little West End Cup café is perfect for brunch/lunch and a good long life chat.

Breakfast, brunch and lunch at Cup Tea Room, 311 Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8UQ.


Cup Tea Lounge/Gin 71, 71 Renfield Street, Glasgow, G2 1LP.


  1. Mother India’s Cafe

I love tapas style food, having little tastes of a few dishes rather than just one, and, if you take friends who like to share, it’s a really sociable way of dining. Mother India’s so-popular-you-have-to-queue-down-the-street Café, little sister to their main restaurants, does Indian cuisine tapas-style exceptionally well. With tapas, I know some people fear that they will go hungry, but I can assure you this will not be a problem. Their tapas sizes are generous, and the service is so quick, if you want to add to your order midway through the meal, they whip up extra dishes in minutes. The dishes are inexpensive, and the atmosphere cosy and informal, making this the perfect spot for a casual dinner.

Mother India’s Café, 1355 Argyll Street, Glasgow, G3 8AD.


  1. Ox and Finch

This is another restaurant that lends itself to sharing, but is that little bit classier. With the menu divided into snacks, ‘raw, cured and cold’, seafood, vegetables, meat and (of course) dessert. You can pick one of each and go for a decadent, European banquet, but if you’re not feeling quite that ambitious, I would recommend choosing a few dishes to share (4-6 between two people). The menu is interesting and varied, and the dishes really fresh and tasty, complemented by the light, airy interior of the restaurant. It strikes a balance between rustic, wholesome eating, and fine dining, which makes for a really lovely, leisurely lunch.

Ox and Finch, 920 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7TF.


  1. Brel

Moules Frites. That is all.

Actually, it’s not. Brel has a fabulous selection of homely, satisfying, bistro-style dishes, from Mac ‘n’ Cheese to burgers to seafood linguine, but the main reason Brel is on my Glasgow top ten is the mussels. If you like seafood, you gotta get them. To. Die. For.

Brel, Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SJ.


  1. Juice Garden

When you have something of a weakness for brunching, the issue that cake is kind of bad for you becomes a problem. Juice Garden delivers guilt free brunch, lunch and juice that actually tastes really good. (Even if it’s not quite as good as cake…)

Juice Garden, 223 Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8UD and 23 Renfield Street, Glasgow, G2 5AH.


  1. West End Wandering

This one might seem like a bit of a cheat, since I have also included specific places within the West End, but let me explain – one of the things I love about Glasgow’s West End is that you can wander around, see some really lovely sights, and, of course, get your people watching fix. So, what I mean by this one is the outdoors of the West End, including Kelvingrove Park and the Botanic Gardens, as well as many other picturesque spots where you can wander, and contemplate life and people.

Sunshine and rainbows in the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, G12 OUE.


When it SNOWED in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, G12 8NR.

  1. The Gallery of Modern Art

This is my top choice of Glasgow’s many museums and art galleries mainly due to a personal preference for contemporary art. The gallery hosts a wide range of exhibitions, often thought provoking and challenging, and the building, as well as having an impressive exterior, is open, airy and minimalist, allowing each exhibition to be displayed sensitively, to its full impact.

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square, G1 3AH. Image from


  1. Citizens Theatre

After seventy years, having gained international respect and admiration, with many notable actors gracing its boards, including Sean Bean, Piers Brosnan, and the late Alan Rickman, the Citizens Theatre shows no signs of getting too big for its boots, and remains Glasgow’s people’s theatre. Over the years, it has built a strong reputation for presenting both contemporary re-workings of classic plays and new Scottish drama, and it retains a personal, hands-on approach, with backstage workshop facilities, allowing for in-house creation of costumes and sets. The Citizens also stays true to its name by keeping ticket prices relatively low, to avoid alienating those of us without a lot of cash to spare, as well as including Sign Language interpreted, captioned and audio-described performances in their programmes. The Citizens can be relied on to put on good, honest theatre, without the pomp and circumstance that, for me, sometimes takes away from performances in bigger, grander venues, and, in this stripped back setting, the drama does not disappoint.


Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS.


  1. Òran Mór

Last but not least, the Òran Mór is, in my (not particularly cool) opinion, one of Glasgow’s coolest venues. It attracts a really wide range of people, managing to accommodate both casual diners and drinkers, and people dolled up for the night, meaning it makes for great people watching, and a relaxed, yet stylish atmosphere. The bar staff are really friendly, and happy to recommend a drink from their impressive selection – at Òran Mór, your whisky tastes will be understood and satisfied, even if you’re not sure you are a whisky type! Plus, the venue plays host to regular ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ events, meaning you can get lunchtime theatre, and a hearty pub lunch complete with pint, for £10-15 – a bargain, and another excellent concept I wish I had come up with.

Òran Mór, 731 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8QX. Image from




On People Watch nominated for The Liebster Award!

I am really excited to have been nominated for The Liebster Award, because it is a lovely way of showing support for other bloggers, specifically small bloggers! It’s all too easy to get disheartened as a small blogger compared to those with terrifyingly massive followings, so I think it’s important for us little bloggers to look out for each other!



The rules of The Liebster Award are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions they have asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 1000 followers (and let them know they have been nominated through social media.)
  • Think of 11 questions to ask them.

Thank you so much to Shona for the nomination, I do really appreciate it (and am not just saying that because them’s the rules!) Here are my answers to your questions!

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

People! When I first started blogging, my inspiration came from my love of people watching, and creating imaginary back-stories for people, but as the blog has evolved, it has expanded to include my thoughts on people and human interaction more generally, as well as people watching in the sense of reviewing theatre, cinema, and any other artsy things that take my fancy!

2. If you could create your own blogger event what brands would you want to be there?

Inspirational writers and authors, (my top author pick would be Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) for writing motivation and to spark interesting conversations, and local food & drinks traders, to fuel blogger bonding, and support small businesses. It would be the ultimate book-nerd-meets-foodie event, with an inspiring and relaxed atmosphere.

3. What do you use to take your photos?

My iPhone, and I usually edit using Afterlight – maybe one day I’ll invest in a fancy camera, but at the moment the budget wont stretch that far!

4. If you aren’t full time: would you ever become a full time blogger? If you are: do you enjoy it?

As much as I love writing my blog, for me it’s a hobby, so I’m not looking to become full time – I’d love to write full time, but not solely for one blog.

5. How do you get the motivation to blog?

For me, the obvious motivation to blog is that I love writing, and my blog is a space where I can write about things that interest me (and hopefully you, dear reader!) However, my motivation tends to ebb when I’m short of ideas, so I always keep a notebook with me to jot down ideas that come to me at random times. This means that I always have a list of things I want to write about at hand, which usually helps to avoid the dreaded writer’s block, and keeps me motivated.

6. What’s your go to snack?

If I’m feeling healthy, pineapple and cereal bars, if not, to the biscuit tin I go…

7. Are you more a savoury or sweet person?

Definitely sweet!

8. Where is one place in the world you’ve always wanted to travel to?

Canada – I have a few friends who have been relatively recently, who have made me very jealous with their photos and stories, so it’s next on my (very long!) list of places to go!

9. What one song sums up your 2015?

‘Shut up and dance with me’, by Walk the Moon

This song sums up my attitude to life – don’t talk, just dance.

10. How do people react when you tell them you blog? Friends, family and strangers.

In general, friends and strangers tend to be interested or even impressed, but my family don’t really get it!

11. Where do you hope to be at the end of 2016?

I’m not sure I want to try and predict the end of 2016, as I have a feeling it’s going to be a crazy year, with lots of new possibilities, but my main priority will be completing my degree, and finding, if not my dream job, at least a stepping stone in the right direction, that allows me to work with words!


Now for my nominations – as us little bloggers don’t tend to have a follower count on our websites, I have based the ‘under-1000 followers’ rule on Twitter following. Here are 11 fabulous little blogs you should definitely check out:




And here are my questions for you! I’m looking forward to reading your answers!

  1. What or who inspires you?
  2. If you could be an animal what would you choose?
  3. Introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between?
  4. Tea or coffee?
  5. Favourite place you have visited and why?
  6. Favourite fictional character and why?
  7. Last book you read? Rating out of 10?
  8. What are you most afraid of?
  9. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  10. When you meet someone new, what is the first thing you notice?
  11. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?


Top Ten Favourite Places in Belfast

This list is made up of hangouts in Belfast that I always come back to, from cafés to bars, to my personal favourites of the city’s tourist attractions, so that if you’re visiting, you can tell people you did cultural things … Continue reading

There’s no place like home – but what happens when you have more than one?

What exactly does ‘home’ mean? Where you were born? Where you grew up? Where you live now? Whether for university, work, or because you have loved ones living in different places, many of us have more than one base, and, for me, having two home cities means that home is much more about people than places. On the one hand, I could say that Belfast is my home – this is where I grew up, where my family live, and where myself and my best friends from school, who have all dispersed to different places, gather and catch up whenever we can. However, on the other hand, I no longer live in Belfast, and have firmly established a new base in Glasgow, with a whole new set of wonderful friends, some of whom I now consider family. As previously mentioned in my ‘Reflections on 2015’, my list of reasons to love Glasgow and never leave is growing, so it’s starting to feel more and more like home. Having my two bases relatively close together means I travel between the two fairly regularly, and I have found that there are both perks and downsides to having multiple bases. I suspect a few of these might be familiar to those of you with more than one place to call home!



Image from Pinterest


You’re always missing someone.

Having two homes means I have two sets of favourite people, who I often wish were all in the same place at the same time. While this can be tough, it also means that I make the most of the time I get to catch up with friends and family when we are in the same place, and I do really appreciate the people who matter most to me.


You understand the difference between a ‘typical’ person of a place, and stereotyping.

Stereotypes tend to arise from observations and exaggerations of people who don’t know a place well, and thus are inaccurate (and often derogatory), but having lived in more than one place, I have noticed that people who live in close proximity tend to share similar mannerisms, turns of phrase and style choices. This obviously doesn’t mean that all the people from a particular place are the same, it just means that people are part of what characterises a place. Just one example of this is in expressions unique to places. Both Glasgwegians, and ‘Belfastians’, as my siblings and I like to refer to ourselves, have some brilliant sayings. People outside Northern Ireland are unlikely to know what a ‘melter’ is, but it’s just too good not to use, even if it’s met with blank faces. Equally, the first time I heard the Glaswegian expression ‘face like a melted wellie’ I gleefully stored it up until the next possible opportunity to casually slip it into conversation. (Read excitedly used it inappropriately).


You know which of your homes is the superior for your favourite activities.

For me, Glasgow wins on clubs, but is missing Belfast’s late-night coffee shops. Brunches and bars are a close call between the two – I can recommend excellent choices for cocktails or pancakes in both cities. (Oops it seems my favourite activities revolve around food and drink…) I shall be following this up with guides to some of my favourite haunts in both cities very soon!


Sinnamon, in Belfast, is one of my favourite places for late night coffee and life chats…



… but Glasgow’s Gin 71 has a pretty fabulous menu. And cocktails in teapots.  


It always takes a few days to adjust when you move from one place to another.

After a few weeks with my very loud, crazy and lovable family, my flat seems strangely quiet, and I don’t think I will ever be able to break the habit of cooking enough food for a small army, no matter how long I live on my own. But on the plus side, there’s always enough to feed visitors!


You are likely to have a serious case of wanderlust.

Living between two places means you can’t help but notice similarities and differences between them, and personally, drawing comparisons between the different places that I have lived in and visited only makes me want to discover, explore and compare more adventures, places and people. If anyone needs me I’ll be at the airport…


A Year in Ginger

Yesterday I realised that it has been a year since I gave in to my hair’s slightly ginger tendencies, and went from blonde to full-blown red head. Over the year, the colour has ranged from bright cherry, to strawberry blonde, and has currently settled at a suitably Christmassy auburn. And after my year of giving up the platinum, would I say blondes have more fun? Absolutely not.


On a practical note, being blonde required much more upkeep, and regular salon visits, which gets expensive. My various shades of red have been maintained by a fabulous friend and her skills in kitchen hairdressing, and my hair is the healthiest and shiniest it has been since pre-bleaching, which said fabulous friend likes to remind me is NEVER ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN.


Image from Pinterest

What does my hair have to do with people watching, you ask? Well, more interesting than my newly discovered appreciation of having shiny hair is other people’s reactions to red hair. They have been mixed. One brother says he “preferred it blonde”, the other, in a manner appropriate to the school playground, says “ha, you’re ginger”, while my mum loved it so much she decided to join me and become a redhead. Long-time friends found the change a bit of a shock, in a “why would you want to be ginger?” sense, but the general consensus among my trusted advisers has been to keep it red. Strangers tend to assume red hair is natural, maintaining the playground attitude of disbelief that anyone would choose to be ginger. On the one hand, this creates a camaraderie among redheads, and a compliment, or even uncertainty as to whether my colour is natural from a fellow redhead has left me more than a little smug.


On a less positive note, however, something I noticed almost immediately was that as a redhead, I get catcalled much less in the street than I did as a blonde. Unless I have aged so dramatically in a year that I am no longer of interest to builders, “lads” in cars etc., I think we can safely assume this is down to hair colour. The attitude of some men that it is acceptable to wolf-whistle at passing females seems to apply more to blondes than to other hair colours. This suggests that blonde stereotypes are very much alive and well, and, somewhat disturbingly, the belief that blondes have more fun comes from an idea that they are more desirable to men. Before dying my hair red, truthfully I had never really thought about stereotypes associated with hair colour, but in switching from “Dumb Blonde” to “Soulless Ginger” (or “Carrot Heid” in Scotland) I have noticed a real difference. While I am not suggesting that this is by any stretch of the imagination the biggest issue of stereotyping in our society, it touches on a wider issue that, for whatever reason, people tend to categorise according to appearance, and to associate certain character and personality traits with aspects of appearance, whether based on fundamentals like race and gender, or something as trivial as hair colour. With red hair or blonde, or indeed with dark or light skin, as male or female, I am no more or less intelligent, promiscuous, or anything else people might associate with hair colour, or any other aspect of appearance.

Types of Christmas Shoppers

Ah Christmas. Hoping for snow, alternating between sparkly party outfits and all of the cosy layers, catching up with family and friends, eating and drinking too much because Christmas calories don’t count, and of course, shopping. There are many different approaches to the art of Christmas shopping – most of us have probably tried a few of these, and at this time of year, shoppers make for great people watching. Here are five of my favourites that I have encountered this year – drop me a comment with any others!


  1. That one smug person we all know who is super organised, has all their gifts planned and bought in plenty of time, and because of their top organisational skills, doesn’t go over budget. You would hate them, but they always get you a really good present, so you can’t.
  2. The person who tries really hard to start early, but is easily distracted and ends up buying themselves a motivational present or two (or three…) before they manage to think seriously about their gift list. Upon reflection, gifts bought for self are often divided between like-minded friends and family.
  3. The coffee-breaker. They hate shopping, and can only cope with trawling through those pesky shops for 1-2 hours at a time before they need a break. Coffee (or mulled wine), and possibly a festive-themed cake is required to rejuvenate them, and allow them time to brace themselves to deal with the next few people on their list.
  4. The online shopper. He or she has an introvert’s aversion to crowds of people, and will have a pretty good idea of the latest possible order dates in time for Christmas. Depending on organisation levels, the online shopper may have a tendency to go over budget on express delivery, because it is totally worth the extra pennies to avoid people at all costs.
  5. The person who does it all in one day. There are two types of people who tend to take this approach. The first is the person who is very busy, and so allocates a specific date in their diary to Christmas shopping, and just makes it happen. The second is last minute Annie. ’Tis the night before Christmas, and for whatever reason, Annie has failed epically in all her grand plans to actually start Christmas shopping. With a list and a mapped out route of shops, this approach can be very efficient, but without, it may result in running around like a headless chicken and fighting other shoppers for the last copy of the only video game you are certain your cousin doesn’t have.


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Thoughts at the airport

Being what you might call an unfortunate combination of a “nervous flyer” (read “terrified and panicky”), and fairly frequent traveller, I have developed a number of coping mechanisms to get me through the stressful experience of airports and planes. One … Continue reading

The ‘Glorious’ Twelfth of July in Belfast

For the first time in a long number of years, I found myself in Belfast, where I grew up, on the 12th of July. As I know many people from Belfast do, I have avoided the city around the 12th … Continue reading

Oxford Part 2: The Queen’s English, café people watching, and moving to Paris

Working in the Dictionaries department at OUP has allowed me to release my inner language geek, and this, as well as wandering around Oxford, has made me think about how interesting accents are. Living in Glasgow, I have become used … Continue reading

Oxford: solo exploring, personal pep talks, and finding myself a prime target for people watching

Unlike my past two summers, during which I went gallivanting around Europe, (and blogged about some of my adventures: Part 1, 2, and 3) living out my not so secret dream of being a travelling hippie, this summer, I am somewhat reluctantly thinking about what … Continue reading