Diva Forever by Nadia Lazizi

I am beside myself with excitement. You see I’ve been immortalised on canvas. Darlings I’ll be more unbearable than ever.

It’s all down to the Super Fine Artist Miss Nadia Lazizi.
And facebook.


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Nadia Lazizi

Last year while looking for my old friend Nadia Lazazi on facebook, I found Nadia Lazizi. Easy mistake to make you might say. And it’s a mistake I’m so glad I did make. You see Miss Lazizi is an artist and cutting a long story short, she has painted me.

In March I cycled to Nadia’s studio in Bathgate in stormy conditions and Nadia took the photographs from which she did the painting. She took a wide range of shots from head and shoulder to full length and I’ve no idea which she has painted. All were Nadia’s trademark woman-and-silk.

You’ve seen her plastered. Now see her painted
is the sort of comment I’ve had from friends.  Rather funny I think you’ll agree. I have such amusing friends. Thank you Mr McWilliam for that one. [Read: he’s been crossed off the Christmas card list.]

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This is one of the photographs which Nadia took to do the painting

I’ve been snapped up already
It was inevitable I suppose. One of my paintings has sold even before the exhibition has started as a result of pre-show gallery emails. What can I say? Popular you see!

I invite you to join us for the Private View of Linger by Nadia Lazizi
I will of course, be going Wild West side for the private view. A Diva worth her champagne would not pass up such an opportunity to pose and preen in front of her paintings of herself. My dears it’s almost too much!

The exhibition is aptly named as I think you’ll want to.

Friday 9 November
5-8pm
Art Exposure Gallery
19 Parnie Street
Glasgow
G1 5RJ

Linger Longer with Nadia Lazizi
Visit Nadia Lazizi’s website

Post a note in the comments below if you’re coming to the Private View

A sweet week – it started with cheesecake and got better

After a gloriously sunny weekend climbing Ben Nevis and Buachaille Etive Mor, I spent Monday moving as little as possible. Even walking on the flat hurt. And walking upstairs was agony!

By Tuesday, with legs fully functional again, I ventured out for lunch with my favourite pilot. We ate Alfresco at Indigo Yard, basking in the sunshine. Honestly, I’m so getting used to this sunshine Summer! So much to love about Indigo, I’m especially keen on the outdoor area. I really shouldn’t tell you this as too many people know about it as it is. For West Enders is the perfect place to soak up the sun.

And is if that wasn’t temptation enough, Indigo has great offers on for both lunch (2 mains for £10) and dinner (2 courses for £10). My go-to dinner choices are duck pancakes with hoisin sauce followed by king prawn nicoise. A delicious bargain. Anyway, back to our lunch, I have photographed the delicious key lime cheesecake. Divine!

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On Tuesday evening I went to see Niki King. She was incredible! Niki is a sparkling ball of energy with a rich and powerful voice that moves you. I was most impressed by the way in which she set Queen’s Hall alight and got the audience on their feet dancing. No mean feat! And her band was electric. So much energy. The drummer caught my eye in particular, so much talent, enthusiasm and energy he was almost floating above the stage. If you want a piece of Niki. And you do, even if you don’t know it yet, she and her band The Elements are playing in Aberdeen on 13 August and her new CD It’s all good is out now. Find out more on Niki King’s website.

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For more pictures check out Niki’s website

On Thursday I was at a Sunday Brunch Club event at SKYbar at the Point Hotel. What a great night! Over 50 us of went along and enjoyed a fun evening. The venue which opens to the public on the last Thursday of each month has amazing views (see below). It also has an ace team. Jason’s Singapore slings were super and I’m looking forward to working my way through the rest of the cocktail list when we go back on 25 August details here.

There’s a lovely outdoor patio area where we can soak up the sun, if it makes in appearance next time! SKYbar also has a barbecue with several delicious choices so if you come straight from work you won’t starve.

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On Saturday I went for a bike ride in the sunshine in Fife. It was an eventful day. A lovely ride in spite of the various er… adventures en route. I have to say Fife was beautiful but too hilly and I’m still traumatised by the appearance of Christmas trees in July!

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Christmas comes early in Fife

You can read more about that eventful bike ride here

READ MORE DIVA’S DIARIES POSTS 

Has Christmas come early near you? Can anyone top July for seeing a tree up?

An eventful bike ride in Fife

I love cycling. But since doing the Etape Caledonia in May I’ve only managed two 50+ mile rides and I’ve barely been out on my bike at all. I need to get back in the saddle in a serious way with the Pedal for Scotland 100miler coming up on the 11 September! So with another gorgeous day in prospect Bill, Malcolm, Raymond and I set out to do a 50mile loop of Fife along the Kingdom Cycle Route.

We caught the train out to North Queensferry just after 11am and the plan was to take the Kingdom Route out past Dunfermline, through Blairadam Forest, up past Kinross and Loch Leven, past the Lomond Hills and then along the A912 for a stop at The Pillars of Hercules (a gorgeous cafe and shop and small farm) before getting back onto the Kingdom Route and coastal path back to North Queensferry.

Well that was the plan!

In my defence, the Kingdom Route was not very well signposted. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Within the first hour we realised we were ‘off piste’. With the assistance of the map we managed to get back onto the route. Eventually.

So things weren’t off to a flying start. Then Malcolm got a puncture. Not a simple puncture though. Luckily there was a bike shop half a mile away (dontcha just love that iphone maps magic!).  it was on Malcolm Street which seemed fitting.

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Malcolm posing with the street named after him

It turned out Malcolm needed a new tyre, such was the damage.

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Malcolm looking distinctly unimpressed with proceedings

Some while later we got back on the road. I have to tell you Fife is hilly. Very hilly. We managed to keep ourselves mainly on the right route, though we did have to turn around a few times. We spent almost as much time perusing the map as we did on our bikes! Fife Council your Kingdom Route signposting is lacking!

At 3pm we arrived at Kinross and decided that lunch was in order. A lucky break saw us directed to The Boathouse Bistro overlooking Loch Leven. It was fantastic, and just what we needed.

P1060228The guys chillaxing on the decking at The Boathouse Bistro

We sat basking in the sunshine, enjoying the view and tucked into huge portions of great food. Lunch always tastes good after a long cycle!

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Bill’s monster sized fish and chips

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My antipasti

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Lovely view

There are no pictures of the cakes and scones we ordered but rest assured they were ordered and enjoyed.

Christmas comes early in Fife. The Boathouse already has a Christmas tree up! To remind people to book their Christmas events.
Boathouse you were doing so well. But a Christmas tree in July?! Too much.

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With all the delays we hadn’t made as much progress as anticipated so we decided to return via a shorter route of around 24miles. I won’t bore you with the many twists and turns in navigation! We aimed for Cowdenbeath and ended up in Auchtertool.

We eventually arrived in Aberdour at 7.10pm and found the next train wasn’t until 7.50pm. Being keen, or mad we decided to cycle on to Inverkeithing and ended up catching the same train by the skin of our teeth.

It was a lovely day out. And I managed to make my dinner date with Mr Mac just an hour-and-a-half later than planned!

Verdict: some way to go in building up my fitness for the Pedal for Scotland Sportive!

Diva’s week of deliciousness and peaks – Part II

Last week was a delicious cocktail of cake, Martin Wishart, prosecco, beautiful peaks and lots of glorious sunshine. It was so big I decided to spread it over several posts. You can read Part I here. It’s all about the cake!

So on to Part II in which I meet Martin Wishart and climb Ben Nevis and Buachaille Etive Mor.

On Wednesday 25 of us went on a Sunday Brunch Club dinner at the new Martin Wishart brasserie, The Honours. You must go. We went for the Prix Fixe menu which was a real treat and amazing value at just £19.50 for 3 courses. Steve and his team looked after us brilliantly.

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The highlight for me was the bavette of beef and of course meeting Martin. Both very tasty.
You can read the full post over on the Sunday Brunch Club blog here

Last weekend was an absolute corker. It was our Sunday Brunch Club weekend staying in Bridge of Orchy to climb Ben Nevis and Buachaille Etive Mor.

They are such iconic walks and we were incredibly lucky to have two days of glorious sunshine for our trip.

Here I am at the top of Ben Nevis.

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Gorgeous views as we begin our descent of Ben Nevis

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Buachaille Etive Mor – steeper than it looks!

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Here we are at the summit of Buachaille Etive More but it was the descent that was the tricky bit!

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You can see more pictures on the SBC blog or on the SBC facebook page.

It was a great weekend. Now looking forward the next SBC weekend in Speyside in September.

Share the love. Leave me a comment. Go on, you know you want to!

Diva’s week of deliciousness and peaks – Part I

Last week was the type of week I love – a delicious cocktail of cake, Martin Wishart, prosecco, beautiful peaks and lots of glorious sunshine. The kind of week when you really believe that the words Scottish and Summer were meant to be together and are not some kind of cruel joke.

So first up, a taste of sweet, sweet heaven at the Clandestine Cake Club set up by the very wonderful Lynn Hill. The Clandestine Cake Club meets in homes across the country for people who love cake. This particular Edinburgh event was organised by Edinburgh Cake Queen Alison who LOVES cake. Alison has a facebook and twitter account for fellow devotees. She has also written the definitive Edinburgh Cake Trail. I have to warn you though that following either account could have you drooling into your keyboard at 11am on a Monday morning.

The Clandestine Cake Club is responsible for my recent foray into baking. I now adore it. Delia and I have become very close. Following a very shaky start I whipped up some lovely wee numbers…

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Yes that’s two Victoria sponges, no mirrors were involved in the making of this photo. Well, why bake one when you can bake two.

And another Delia cake – the uber creamy passionfruit cake, with a filling of mascarpone cheese, fromage frais and passionfruit. Mmmmmm

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Therefore I was somewhat dismayed when I fluffed it. The Vic sponge I presented a Clandestine Cake did not look like the ones above. I was so agitated by this that it seems I don’t have a picture of it on its own! Here are just some of the cakes. Mine is second right next to the chocolate cake.

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There were so many highlights that I don’t have space for them all. My faves (and even I couldn’t taste all of the cakes!) were Lea’s fantabulous cake top (the white one), Lisa’s carrot cake the size of a pillow which was iced with the words C’mon Girls Dive In! As though we needed any encouragement.

And the rainbow cake made by Aoife – 7 layers! Legend. Aoife also runs My Home Supper Club where we had the most amazing tower of profiteroles. You too could enjoy dinner with Aoife, there are a few places left for her August events. Get in quick!

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The altar of cake. Worship daily at Fredericks Cafe. Clandestine Cake Club’s Edinburgh venue and a lovely wee cafe on Frederick Street.

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Cake Queen Alison set a new record for Clandestine Cake Club. 12 slices at one event. Now that is commitment! If you want to reacquaint yourself with your baking genius or unleash the cake fiend within you, keep your eye on the Clandestine Cake Club and for Edinburghers, Edinburgh Cake Ladies.

Part II involving Martin Wishart, prosecco, beautiful peaks and lots of glorious sunshine will be posted very soon. Watch this space.

CLANDESTINE CAKE CLUB
Clandestine Cake Club website
Clandestine Cake Club on facebook
Clandestine Cake on twitter

EDINBURGH CAKE
Edinburgh Cake Ladies on facebook
Edinburgh Cake on twitter

FREDERICKS COFFEE HOUSE
Fredericks Coffee House on facebook
Fredericks Coffee House on twitter

MY HOME SUPPER CLUB
My Home Supper Club blog
My Home Supper Club on facebook
http://twitter.com/myhomesupper

The Diva lives on!

Yes she’s been away. Or rather she hasn’t been writing. And now she’s writing about herself in the third person. Well she is a diva!

I can hardly cover in one post all that has happened since my last post on er [mumbles] 26 April. I’ll do that over the next few weeks as there have been many wonderful things

I’ve been to two secret supper club – Kitchen Porters and My Home Supper Club
Cycled around Arran and eaten Arran cheese
Attended Clandestine Cake meetings and eaten lots of cake
Completed the Etape Caledonia without even a hint of sweeper van!
Lunched and dined at The Spice Pavilion, Iris, Hamiltons, The Living Room, Edinburgh Larder, Le Marche Francais, The Pillars of Hercules, Mark Greenaway, La Garrigue, Indigo Yard and others
Spent all afternoon in a vodka bar on the Isle of Bute
Danced to Europop in Spain
Seen Ben Jovi at Murrayfield
Climbed Ben Lawers and Ben Ghlass
Rocked to the Lift Shaft Incident at Whistlebinkies
Drunk bubbly at Ladies Day at Musselburgh
Cycled from Edinburgh to St Andrews. And back
Cryed at Stuart & Vivienne’s most magnificent wedding
Paintballed (yes it does hurt!) and driven in a tank
Drunk lots of Pommery at the launch of the Signet Library’s new popup champagne bar
Been to barbecues
Visited my wonderful sister in London
Tried on armwarmers
Eaten curry goat and spit roast deer on the Isle of Cara while dressed as a pirate

But more on all that later. For now I’ll stick to last week:

Lovely lunch at La Garrigue with Ann. A super menu of three courses for less than £20, I had squid to start, rabbit salad for main and cheesecake to finish. Excellent. And to whet your tastebuds…

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The highlight of last week was our Sunday Brunch Club dinner at My Home Supper Club. One of the wonderful new supper clubs in people’s homes. We enjoyed a delicious evening a la Francais. I am still salivating, indeed dreaming about, the croqenbouche. The mountain of profiteroles in all their creamy, chocolately glory. Mmmmm….

Read more about this on the SBC blog here
To book your date with My Home Supper Club check their events page Don’t wait too long though, these dinners sellout quickly.

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The croqenbouche and I, it was love at first sight

On Sunday I was out with the Sunday Brunch Club again to visit Jupiter Artland. The contemporary sculpture garden in the grounds of Bonnington House, just 30 minutes drive west of Edinburgh. It was a wonderful afternoon.

Read more about this on the SBC blog here.
It’s well worth a visit.

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The 20 metre high Love Bomb Sculpture at Jupiter Artland

Some things to try:
La Garrigue
14 Eyre Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5EP
0131 558 1608
La Garrigue on twitter

My Home Supper Club
A Secret Edinburgh location
My Home Supper Club on facebook and twitter

Jupiter Artland
Bonnington House, Kirknewton, City of Edinburgh EH27 8BB
01506 889900
Jupiter Artland on facebook and twitter

More soon dear readers. I’ve missed you.

Diva in the Saddle – The Need for Speed

I’m training for the Etape Caledonia on Sunday 15 May. It’s an 81 mile timed road race mainly involving lots of men who like this…

Ingliston circuit road race

The picture is from Edinburgh Road Club the super-fast roadies we see out and about on our travels. Membership of said club is for me but an aspiration. Now I’m not saying there are no women in the Road Club – it does have a women’s race team – but road racing is a predominantly male affair. For example last year over 3,000 people did the Etape but only around 400 women. C’mon girls!

Note if you will the contrasts between me and the fast guys – the heavy bike, the rack and bag, the kit and fleece and let’s not discuss the rider… 

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Nonetheless, I’ve signed up for the Etape and training is going well. I know the distance is no problem since last year I did the Pedal for Scotland Sportive 100 mile bike ride last September. When I arrived for the Scotland Sportive admist a sea of men in lycra marshalls checked with raised eyebrows that I was really intending to do the Sportive and not the 52 mile option. I was I confirmed. And I did!

It was a glorious day for the event and such an incredible sense of achievement afterwards. It took me 8hours 40mins on my trusty old hybrid (pictured above). You can see pictures on facebook here.

The Need for Speed
The issue for the Etape will be finishing the hilly course quickly enough! You see the roads are closed for the Etape and then reopened, at which time competitors who fail to meet the minimum speed requirement are de-bibbed! My aim is to avoid this indignity!

This requires an average speed of 13mph over 81miles. And have I mentioned the course is hilly?

All that is a precursor to this posting about wonderful weekends training rides with biking friends and my Etape buddy Jack. Here are some pictures from our beautiful trip to North Berwick a few weekends ago. There aren’t many en route as I was cycling hard and managed to average 13mph on the way out to North Berwick via the mainly flat A198 coastal route (approx 26miles). So I’ll need to do better than this before next month.

A glorious day in North Berwick.

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We went for lunch al fresco at lovely bistro 12 Quality Street.

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We couldn’t resist when we saw fresh lobster being delivered and shared one between us. Divine!

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We took a longer and hillier route back to Edinburgh via Haddington, Gifford and lots of other places. We stopped in Gifford to buy more water and sat on a lovely bench in front of the church.

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And here are the bikes. Jack’s built for speed.

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Mine built for comfort!

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But the good news is Jack is lending me one of his road bikes for the Etape (he has 3!). Thanks so much Jack! I’ve trained on it a few times and love the way it really flies it but it will take a bit of time to get used to the riding position and gear change on the crossbar. I’m not even attempting the toe clips again…

And yes, a shiny new bike designed for speed is on my shopping list. It takes time to find the right bike.

UPDATE: We’re raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and now have an online fundraising page. Please donate if you can http://www.justgiving.com/stephandjackdotheetape/

Send me positive thoughts on 15 May for the Etape.
I will need them!