Thursday, March 28, 2013

10 Things You Must Do During Your First Month In Dundee

1. Climb the law

I say climb, but realistically I mean walk. Although at times you'll be shocked that roads can be this vertical without the need for harnesses. At the top you will experience the best view in Dundee as well as realising the city is much bigger than you thought.

Dundee gets phenomenal sunsets, and that's coming from an Orcadian!

2.Visit Clarkies at an ungodly hour.

Clarks 24hour bakery is the compulsory stop on the way home after a night out and provides it's drunken clientèle with not only baked pastries but also chips with any topping you desire or if your arteries are feeling extra elastic then try their helicopter... Between 1am and 4am Clark's is also a great entertainment venue with music, comedy and the occasional fight.

Some of the Creatures in Clarks in the early hours...

3. Enjoy Sundee in Magdalen Green

Dundee doesn't often get a good reputation, people think its a pretty horrible city. However, like any city there are good parts and bad parts but Dundee is like two separate cities. The East end can be very rough, but the West end is gorgeous and Magdalen Green is the jewel in the crown. You will come home with more pictures of the Magdalen green bandstand than you will of anything else, including yourself, in Dundee. 
After the first glimpse of summer Magdalen Green becomes mobbed with pale bodies.

4. Board the Discovery

This is Dundee's main tourist attraction and is the abandoned ship from Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole, we won't say what happened next as you can find that out for yourselves when you visit. Even if you don't learn anything it's great fun to just look around the boat, just try don't get scared of Ernest Shackleton's ghost who has never left...

5. Cross the Tay Bridge 

This can be the rail bridge by train or the road bridge by car or preferably bike or foot - but beware as it is much longer than you think. The town on the other side is called Newport-On-Tay and the locals get to enjoy a wonderful view of our fine city all year round. Another option is to walk along the waterfront in Dundee which is just as enjoyable.

6. Be a Skint Student

Skint is Dundee Union's ultimate student night where every Tuesday there is £1 entry, £1 drinks but that's not the cheapest thing in there - just check out Mono's dancefloor. Saying that Skint is one of the craziest nights in Dundee but it's not suitable for the sober. If you don't like going out you can still benefit from skint by watching the dishevelled students on Wednesday lectures.

7. Empty your Wallet at G Casino

I'm not 100% sure why, but for some reason poor Dundee Students think it's a great idea to go to a casino after a night at Fat Sams or Liquid and gamble away the rest of their overdraft. Alas everyone should go once even if you only last one round of blackjack. Grosvener Casino is open 24 hours-a-day and is right next to Dundee's biggest nightclubs and since it offers food students naturally head in that direction. Although they leave with a full stomach more often than not that comes with an empty wallet.

8. Look up at Mills Observatory

Other than the Law the other big hill in Dundee is Balgay Hill which is home to Mills Observatory which has regular star gazing sessions. You don't necessarily need the observatory to see the stars though as Dundee is one of the few cities with a fairly starry night. Balgay hill is also a fantastic place for a game of 1,2,3 or manhunt but not a night time walk by yourself as it looks like a classic horror-film setting.

9. Try Baba's sauce

Sunny is a local Dundonian with a tiny indian takeaway which is not nearly a representative of the business he gets. As well as producing amazing curries, pizzas and kebabs he has created his own sauce to accompany them which follows a secret recipe which is almost impossible to even guess. He is currently trying to follow in the footsteps of Levi Roots by getting his sauce into supermarkets which shouldn't be too difficult!
Apologies for the poor photo, it was the only one I had thanks to
my flatmate tormenting me all the way in Canada.

10. Recycling Centre

Tayside recycling is a treasure trove of old furniture, books, maps and anything else you could possibly not need. However if you do need to get something for the household, this is a great cheap place to start. However if you're someone, like me, who just likes to rummage then you will easily enjoy a whole day rummaging through the warehouse.

Things I didn't have room for: The botanics, Frasers Fruit and Veg, Grouchos and the DCA)

Behind the Scenes at Toronto Zoo

The Animal Science Society organised a trip out to Toronto Zoo including a behind the scenes tour of the nutrition centre and health centre and I thought since it's vaguely related to my degree I should go. Also who doesn't love a trip to the zoo!

As we woke up an an ungodly hour, still feeling the pain from extreme lawn bowls (curling), we were piled onto a classic American school bus which was a complete novelty for me. You could tell these buses were built for children - they'd give Ryanair a run for their money with legroom, or there-lack-of.

Our first stop was the education centre deep within the depths of the zoo and home to the heath and nutrition centre. The nutrition centre  was essentially like an industrial restaurant kitchen but with the constant background stench of sheep feed and the tupperware was labelled 'lions' or 'elephants' filled with industrial amounts of vegetables. The birds were given 'fruit loop' coloured feed to satisfy their acute colour vision. The  fridges were full of chilled bamboo shoots imported for the zoo's new arrivals but there was everything from frozen mice to regular cat food. You never really think of the diet of the animals at the zoo but their diets are really specific and are thoroughly calculated by nutrition experts (mainly from Guelph!).

Sounds like a great start to the week...
After the nutrition centre we were taken around the Health centre which started off in a lab which looked not dissimilar to any human clinic, until you see the tranquiliser guns lying on the table. They actually don't need to use the tranquiliser darts all that often as they have trained a lot of the animals to respond well to tests and treatment. For example elephants will stick their ear through the bars to get a blood test and the monkeys will stick their arms through. There was a holding room for poorly animals and this included cheetahs, macaques and the very rare Vancouver Island Marmot.

After the tour we got to tour the rest of the zoo ourselves and this was the first time I had ever been to a zoo during winter, well a Canadian winter. Our first stop was the Tundra which was appropriate as it was probably the only enclosure with all of the animals out enjoying their enclosure. Beyond Africa there wasn't much too see, except the lions but even that seemed wrong watching them sleep in the snow. In Canada all packaging and instructions are shown in English and French but in the Africa zone the signs were in English and Swahillli, which made me reminiscent of Summer...

The majority of animals were in the Indo-Malay or Rainforest Pavilions to stay out of the snow. The gorillas and organutans were housed in these pavilions and it's always fascinating to watch. It's bittersweet to watch them as they seem so familiar to us and for that reason you feel they shouldn't be housed behind glass.

I ended up in the rhino house after dodging the butterfly house but there was a lack of a rhino on display but he still made sure he could be heard. It wasn't long before we were back at the entrance and that meant it was time for food and the gift shop. This was my first taste of Beaver Tails which are like flattened doughnuts smothered in some kind of sweet sauce which are wonderfully delicious and unhealthy.

It was really interesting to see the parts of the zoo you never really think about when you go visit. It was really strange to see a zoo in winter and covered in snow and how- although it should be un-logistical- it is still open like normal.

An un-identified wild animal

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where to Eat in Guelph

For Indian... Spice 11, 105 Macdonell St.

For late night drunk food... Pierres Poutine, 71 Macdonell St.

For Mexican...Salsateria, 45 Cork St.

For Breakfast/Brinner...Vienna Restaurant, 28 Macdonell St.

For Cake and Pastry... With the Grain, 294 Woolwich St.

For Pizza ... Manhattans Pizza Bistro and Restaurant, 951 Gordon Street

For Chinese... Ray's Chinese Restaurant, 35 Harvard Road

For Vegetarian/Vegan... Zen Garden OR The Cornerstone104 Surrey St or 1 Wyndham Street 

If your crave European Café culture... Red Brick Cafe OR Ox, 8 Douglas Street or 17 Quebec Street.

On Campus... The Bullring, The round building on Campus

If  your parents are paying... Babelfish Bistro, 80 Macdonell St.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10 Things You Must Do in Your First Month in Guelph

I am currently on exchange at the University of Guelph and I thought I'd compile a list for future Guelphites...

1. Go to the Ranch and ride the bronco.
-Checked shirt, cowboy boots and strong thighs optional.

2.Watch Guelph Storm play at the Sleeman Centre
Guelph's Ice Hockey team, if you can work out what their mascot "Spike" is then you're doing better than me

3. Finish a large Quebec from Pierres Poutine
The best poutine in town!

4. Order a burrito on the way home from Salsateria
If you still have late night-drunken munchies after your poutine then head here for the best burritos this side of Mexico.

5. Paint the cannon in the middle of the night
Gather a group of other students and paint UoG's famous landmark whatever you desire! 

6. Stroll the Arboretum
For a sobering walk on a nice day, there is nowhere else you should go than UoG's Arboretum.

7. Oggle at the talent at Open mic nights in Guelph 
Guelph is Canada's folk/indie capital and has a wealth of musical talent. The Bullring on campus not only has the best food but a great open mic night!

8. Rumage through history at Dis-aray Antiques
You can find anything and everything in here. Don't be surprised if you leave with arms full of things you'll never get through customs on the way home.

9. Be an early bird at the Farmers market
UoG is an agriculutral school and the people around here sure know how to grow food! So if you get fed up of No frills then head to the market on Saturday morning for cheap and tasty food!

10. Enjoy a Bobs dog in all weathers!
Making hotdogs all year round and blasting out music that takes me through years of Eurovision, Bob is a great character that essentially makes the UoG campus! (check out his story, he's pretty interesting!

(Things I couldn't fit in: Tuesday Trivia at Brass Taps, Eat your way around campus and Cheer on the gryphons)

If you have suggestions for other "must do's" then let me know below!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Posh Bacon Kilties

These are an absolute favourite and don't hang around long! Out of anything I've made I get asked for this recipe the most so enjoy!

 The quantities are just for guidance but you can be quite liberal with how much of everything you put in.
Goes without saying, CONTAINS SHELLFISH!

Prep time: At least 3.5 hours!(Don't let that put you off!)
Cook time: 20 minutes

Set oven to 200°C

~12 (Orkney!) Scallops (roes - the orange bit - kept on! Adds to the taste!)
500ml Maple Syrup
12 rashers of Streaky Bacon
Dash of soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sprinkling of brown sugar

Equipment: Baking tray, cocktail sticks, glass pyrex dish/bowl, cling film.

1. In the glass bowl mix together maple syrup, soy sauce and dijon mustard.

2. Put scallops into the mixture and cover with clingfilm. Marinade in the fridge for at least 3 hours but you'll get the best results if you leave them overnight!

3 Place bacon in strips on the baking tray and cook in the oven until opaque - just cooked, the crisping comes later.
4. and wrap around scallops - hold with cocktail stick. Cook until the scallops are opaque and the bacon is crisping up nicely. 

5. Remove the cocktail sticks and serve either straight from the oven or chilled - if you can leave them alone for that long!

The Music Beagle

As you may know, I used to have a feature I liked to call 'little gems' where I'd show-off all the little gems of music I have found that some of you may not have heard of. Well it was all good until my blog started to get shockwave overdoses and would crash due to all the youtube clips. So instead I have created a completely new blog to showcase all the great bands I can find!

It's hipster o' clock!

The Music Beagle

(See what I did there?)

Again, suggestions are always welcome via Twitter: rose_attack

Thursday, March 21, 2013

High Street Free Zone

As a European, I am used to city centres being full of old gorgeous building and so coming to Guelph was somewhat of a let down, aesthetically speaking. However as they saying goes, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

One thing I have noticed in Guelph is that there isn't the suffocating high street chains everywhere. The majority of businesses are local boutiques and independent cafés with the bigger names contained in out of town malls and industrial estates on the outskirts. It's these little businesses that make the centre of Guelph something special and somewhere to relax and often enjoy great food and music! My top list is: Red brick cafe, The Cornerstone, Ox, Ebar, Pierres Poutine, Jimmy Jazz and Other Brothers.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lush Treatments

 I am a big fan of Lush back in the UK and I was very excited to see that there was a store in Guelph so I went in and treated myself. In true Lush fashion they treated me just as well with an epic collection of free samples of their acne treatments and an appointment for some facial treatments.

The next day I was accompanied by my good Aussie friend Jesikah to go get our faces pampered. Little did we know it was also going to be feet and arms! One of us sat and got a full facial while the other sat with a foot spa. I was first to the facial and I got a wee tour around the shop as the lovely sales assistant picked out products to match my skin problems. I got pampered with Ultrabland cleanser which is also a make up remover, tea tree water tonerr, a Love Lettuce facemask  (which smelt like a salad for the face so it must be good) and topped off with some Gorgeous moisturiser. I didn't realise it at the time but with Gorgeous I'd managed to sample the most expensive thing in the shop at $85 per 45g pot as it was originally made exclusively for Princess Diana by Lush's founder. The most annoying thing was it made my acne scars almost disappear instantly...

Afterwards I got my feet seen too. Here in Canada I've been wearing boots everyday and that's had a horrendous effect on my feet, they didn't even look this rough on Kilimanjaro. The foot spa started with just a soak with a Sugar Scrub bath bomb, which was like using my Gran's electric foot spa even though it was just a big bucket with warm water. Then I got a clay foot mask put on called Volcano which deodourises as well as cleans and pampers this was topped off by a foot rub using a bright pink minty foot lotion. It's safe to say I didn't want to shower for a while, you wouldn't notice anyway as we left smelling delightful!

Thanks to Lush for giving us this awesome treatment! You'll definitely see us again soon!

Oh I forgot to mention, it was totally FREE! So what are you waiting for head down to your local lush and treat yourself!

Curling - 28/2/13

Other than ice hockey, it turns out Canadians are also pretty obsessed with curling. It's not just the older generation either, however now it was time for a group of international students ranging from Scandinavians to Australians to take on the ice, even though some might have never walked on ice before.
The Guelph Curling club looked a lot like your typical club house for say a small local golf club or lawn bowls club with brown carpets and plastic chairs at round plastic dining tables catered by a small bar and kitchen serving basic fast food. However, at one end there were 8 lanes of ice out the viewing window.

Before getting on the ice we had our shoe soles picked free of stones like a horse getting it's feet cleaned. Meanwhile the ice was being prepared which was a combination of rolling and spraying to get a slightly rutted surface rather than and ice-rink sheen. We were put into teams of seven or eight and assigned a death lane of ice. To start with we just walked about on the ice and were surprised to find that it was barely slippy at all. That was until they introduced what I like to call "the death slipper." This was, what looked like, a Teflon insole that made your left foot glide along the ice like you were Torvell and Dean, or Bambi.

The basic technique for pushing off was using starting blocks, like those used in running and then lunging forward. Pushing off with your right foot against the block and then keeping your left foot on the death slipper and knee bent. To begin with we used the broom as a balance, which was difficult to start with and after falling straight on my knee after my first shot, it was painful. After a few tries we introduced the 45kg rocks from Ailsa Craig and it was actually a lot easier than using the broom.

The sport is called curling because you have to make the rock "curl" down the lane, about 2-3 full turns. You can aim the curl left or right by turning the stone slightly anticlockwise or clockwise ,respectively, while you push off. Your 'skipper/captain' will show you where to aim your rock to get the best shot, aiming to have your rock closest to the centre circle. 

Sweeping is the other aspect of curling which is used to  make the ice frictionless to make the stone travel further. It was so much hard work as you had to run ahead of the stone and brush frantically until your arms fall off. I didn't enjoy sweeping much but couldn't get the hang of both pushing at the right strength AND direction, but the instructor said I was promising! Watch out Rhona Martin! Curling was a lot harder than it looked and it turned out to be really fun and the volunteers from the club were very helpful and I'd definitely go again!

P.S. The next day I could barely walk on my right leg, it turns out pushing 45kg without stretching has consequences!