Food Review & Competition Announcement: Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

When my friends message me to see if I want to go for food, the usual suspects pop up such as Nando’s, Italian restaurant, French cafe, or one of the billion burger joints in any city centre. Often we leave it until we go out and wander around the city, occasionally wandering into pubs along the way where someone will suggest “why don’t we get food here?”. This will often be followed by sighs and tuts before one optimistic fellow pops up and says “hey guys, we’re all hungry, how bad can the food be?! And look our table is right next to the bar!”. This will often be said 20 minutes before seeing a burrito that has clearly been chucked in the microwave for 3 minutes and looks and tastes like dog food in a wrap – I’m looking at you Wetherspoons!

Reputation is everything and “pub grub” is probably the lowest of the low in terms of food reputation so I was sceptical when I got invited to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. They let me take over their Instagram story for the day and if you have me on Instagram, then you guys know how much I do enjoy a boomerang, so I agreed to come along.

As I entered the building, it had that usual, traditional,  pub vibe about it and then I was greeted by a lovely member of staff. We were then lead upstairs into this beautiful dining room filled with traditional Scottish decor without being dreary or dated. We got seated right next to the window and I am such a nosey person, if I can sit at a window whether it’s on a plane or a restaurant, I will sit there so I can just look out it and take in the scenery and people watch. If you don’t sit, look at people and try and guess what their life is like then you’re a liar… Or maybe It’s just me. The best thing about the view was that it faced down onto the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, such a beautiful city with so many beautiful people.

We sat down, got introduced to our hostess who was such a delight and absolutely lovely who got us a bottle of water while we ran our peepers over the drink and food menus. I went on to select Nicholson Nachos as a starter and a chicken, chorizo & cider pie for my main. Yes, you heard that right. Chicken, chorizo and cider all in 1 pie! That is my 3 favourite things in a pie or my 4 favourite things on a plate if you include the pie – I was excited!

However, before I got to the main, I had to tackle the starter and I wanted something light and not too heavy if I was going to tackle the pie so I went for Nicholson’s Nachos. Whenever I eat out I often find nachos are more miss than hit, sometimes the chips are soggy, salsa is often flavourless but you eat them anyway, ’cause, well they’re nachos. However, seeing this elegant little bowl of goodness filled me with so much hope. The chips were drizzled in a cheese sauce with perfectly placed guacamole, salsa and sour cream topped with jalapenos. The flavours blended well with nothing overpowering the others and even the cheese sauce had a certain tangy buzz to it and the colours were just beautiful.

Although, the nachos were amazing, the portion size was a fair size. The nachos we got was shared between 3 people and it lined us up nicely. This is not a starter for 1 person but if you have a group, I highly recommend you go for this starter. The only way this could be improved is if they grated a little cheese on top instead of just a cheese sauce. But saying that,  although this may get an extra mark for taste it may have lost several for presentation. However, this video sums up my reaction to the nachos…

Next up was the main course, the moment we all had waited for – The chicken, chorizo and cider pie. Ugh, yes! And it was every bit as good as it sounds. The pie was accompanied by a beautiful mound of mashed potato, carrots and kale at the side of it along with a nice boat of gravy. Just look at that presentation…

You finished staring lovingly at the picture yet? It truly is the Mona Lisa of pies, it took me a good 5 minutes of picture-taking and genuine admiring along with another 5 minutes of being scared to even touch it because I didn’t want to ruin its appearance. When the time came to it, I cut firmly into this beautiful well-crusted pie and out oozed this brown/orange sauce. I got emotional. The chicken was cut to perfection, every time you ate and tasted a bit of chorizo it was a beautiful surprise each time. It’s like when you reach in a bag of Haribo and put whatever sweet in your mouth without looking and it turns out to be a cola bottle, a beautiful, beautiful surprise. I often find alcohol and food don’t mix, in my opinion, red wine doesn’t belong on duck, the same way beer batter should not cover sausages. But the cider gave the sauce inside the pie that tangy taste that makes your taste buds tingle. I could talk about the pie all day but I should discuss its plate companions – the mash was soft and fluffy, the carrots were cut to the perfect size, the gravy was well-seasoned and was made perfectly, not runny or too thick and the kale was, well, it was kale… Not much I can say apart from it was green and wasn’t soggy, I had soggy kale once and it was not pleasant. The portion was huge, I recommend if you have this then only have 2 courses – I would recommend a main and a dessert but If you go here, I recommend this “perfect pie”.

After conquering the “perfect pie” I was on the fence about getting a dessert, as much as I enjoyed the food, my stomach couldn’t handle anymore but fast-forward 15 minutes and the hostess was dropping off some dessert menus on our table. The 2 people I were with, were dropping out, they couldn’t handle it but your boy soldiered on and ordered a dessert – a chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream.  You know that way where you think you physically can’t eat anymore but somehow you see something just incredibly tasty and somehow you find a tiny gap in your belly? Well, that’s what happened here, look at this beauty!

The portion was considerably smaller, the fudge was warm and even more fudgier than expected. I watched the ice cream melt over the brownie and I had to at least have a couple of bites just to write this review,  I mean it would be rude not to… The brownie just melted in my mouth and even though I was full from nachos and the pie, I could have easily eaten another brownie! The portion size was perfect for a dessert and the flavours of the brownie and the chocolate sauce just came together perfectly.

After that, I spoke to the staff and thanked them for being such great hosts and generally just for looking after me and my team so well and also complimented them for the food. I then finished up and left a parting video on their Instagram, saying thanks to the staff for looking after me and also to everyone who was engaging with me on their Instagram story over on (@nicholsonspubs). If you tuned in then you know, that I announced a competition would be happening, well I can announce that is true and the winner shall receive a £50 gift voucher for Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. You too can have the chance to have the same experience that I had at this lovely venue. Go on my Facebook (PookiepopBlog) on Monday, 1st May 2017 at 6 pm for all the information to find out how to win!

 

Enter the competition and you too could be as happy as me!

 

Conclusion

A great venue, that mixes traditional and modern that is based in the heart of Edinburgh overlooking the famous Royal Mile, with a charming decor along with great customer service. The food was incredible and the pie that I had is a pie that will live in the memory for a long time and the fudge brownie was just the perfect end to my day at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. All the food on the menu is very affordable in terms of the quality and has changed my opinion firmly on “pub grub”. In conclusion, if you’re in Edinburgh and looking for a quality bite to eat but in a relaxed atmosphere then I highly recommend checking out this place.

You can find out more information about the venue by clicking here.

 

VENUE – 8/10

CUSTOMER SERVICE – 10/10

STARTER – 7/10

MAIN – 10/10

DESSERT – 9.5/10

VALUE FOR PRICE – 9

OVERALL – 8.9/10

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

E Awards 2017

As most of you know, I disappeared in November to work on my event with a beautiful bunch of people from Edinburgh Napier University, that event was the Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt and you can read more about it here.

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It was a cool event to put on but I never thought anything more of it until our group received an email from our lecturer in January. Obviously, when a lecturer from your previous semester emails you, you’re naturally going to panic and assume you’ve failed – or maybe that’s just me and my crippling self-doubt. The email from our lecturer told us that she loved our event and had put us forward for the Student Event/Festival Excellence award at the Excellence in Events “E” Awards 2017.

That was in January and there are literally hundreds of student event groups in Scotland so again, we never thought much of it, until 3 weeks ago…

We received an email from our lecturer telling us we had been nominated for our event, it was nice to be nominated for an award and know your work is being appreciated. Also, I hadn’t been nominated for an award in a good few years since I knocked the music career on the head. It meant a lot for me personally, as someone who sees their career in PR and studying it. To even be nominated for something that reflects your future career, it does make you feel good knowing you’re on the right track in life.

We even found out that 2 of our competition were also from Edinburgh, including one from our very own Napier, which was quite nice knowing I made the right choice to come to this university/city. It goes to show, how important it is to choose the right university and city that will be best for your own career, rather than the most accessible. I can’t help but wonder that if I stayed in Glasgow, would this still have happened? I doubt it…

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The big day arrived and of course, anyone who has lived in Britain knows how bad the traffic is between 4pm-7pm. Now, imagine being on a motorway between the 2 biggest cities in Scotland – I lowkey think we would have been quicker walking. We arrived fashionably late and found our seats, just in time for the winner for our category to be announced…

WE LOST.

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. There were free glasses of wine being passed about, so, every cloud and all that, eh?

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We did our obligatory post-event mingling session, a few pats on the back from individuals, shaken a few hands, congratulated winners and drank a lot of some wine. Considering we hadn’t eaten all day, we treated ourselves to a Nando’s for getting at least nominated – Everyone eats when they’re sad, don’t judge us!

We left soon after and it gave me time to think on the journey back to Edinburgh. I have more belief in my ability and although we never won, we did not bad, in my opinion. That is all the inspiration I need to push on and go and do even better next time. It’s amazing how such a little thing, such as confidence can make a huge difference to your own perception of things. It doesn’t need to be an award nomination, even just a nod or even a simple “well done” can make all the difference. Just a simple acknowledgement that you’re on the right track, it can put you in a good place mentally. If you’re reading this, and you know a colleague, classmate or just anyone in general who is doing good, tell them, let them know that they are. It could make the world of difference to them.

Before I go, I just want to say congratulations to the Robert Gordon University students for their Aberdeen Student Festival and also a huge mention to my partners in crime, Jeanie, Misbah and Rachael who were great to work with. Here’s to next year!

 

Jay Carrington

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My Online Hiatus Is Over (Part 1)

Well… I should start this by saying HAPPY OLD YEAR and MERRY BELATED CHRISTMAS.We are officially into the second month of 2017 and I am yet to post, in fact, I haven’t posted in 4 months… FOUR MONTHS! My activity on social media has nose-dived more spectacularly than Arsenal’s title challenge this season

… There’s always next season, eh lads? Lads?!

I have been offline for a few months, rarely popping online to be nosey and occasionally Retweet stuff I was either obligated to or generally anti-Trump/pro-equality – both are pretty much the same thing. Although I have been keeping a low profile online, I have been busy with my personal life. As any student knows or even if you have friends who have students, December is deadline month and November is the month you spend being stressed about December, hence why I was inactive online over those 2 months… but still remained active in real life.

November

On the 12th November, I was honoured to be asked to attend the Rainbow Valley Charity Ball at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow. You can read more about them here at their website and what the charity are doing and the story about why they are doing it. Working with Angela MacVicar and Lindsay MacCallum on a campaign in 2016 was definitely one of my highlights and all for an amazing cause.

I attended the ball with my best friend of many years, Clare Armstrong (she wanted a mention). Due to me moving away from Glasgow, her studying and working a lot, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would have liked. Since I was going to be back home in Glasgow the event, it felt fitting that I kill 2 birds with one stone (I have just realised that is an incredibly grim analogy.) I felt this was the perfect chance to have a catch-up like old times so we got dolled up and headed to the ball.

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Halfway through the night, the alcohol – and the central heating – kicked in so of course, the jacket had to come off for a pose

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While all this was going on, the full night was incredible and full of fun and entertainment coming from cheerleading group, The Scottish Rockettes, Govan School Pipes and Drums and also real-life Sherlock Holmes (without all the murder and detective-y stuff), Colin Cloud.collage

The night was a hugely enjoyable and was also a huge success with a lot of money being raised for a great cause – tickets are already on sale for the 2017 ball, to purchase tickets click here.

The Rainbow Valley Charity Ball was my last public event I attended as a guest, however for one of my university modules I had to host an event with some people I had never met before. We bandied together and created a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt in the city of Harry Potter, Edinburgh. The event was called  Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt.

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The event was a huge success with the event selling out and gaining quite a large waiting list. For my first proper event, this was definitely a great start and I have just found out that the event is being put forward for an award so, we’re definitely excited. Considering the amount of work and stress that went into this, we could not have been more pleased with the outcome – and nor could the winning group, The Blast Ended Skrewts who won a £50 bar tab and a cup for their achievements.

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The event was incredible to put together and was made even better working with my group who were just the coolest guys to work especially on such an event. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I was so glad I managed to do this especially with so many notorious Harry Potter landmarks around this beautiful city.

We had to get a post-event picture so our faces are something of that of relief, exhaustion and 10 weeks of stress coming to and end. Don’t be fooled by the picture, we were incredibly happy!

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me, Jeanie, Rachael and Misbah (MJR Events)

 

November, was a funny ol’ month, but I was looking forward to December so I could go back home and see my friends and put all my studying and stress behind me…

 

Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

 

 

My Night at the Chinese State Circus

As a young adult, the circus hasn’t really appealed to me since the age of 5. My faintest memories of the circus often involve big clowns on small bikes and even a clown riding an elephant. To a child, bright lights, and funny noises was entertaining but now as an adult, it is concerning especially due from an animal cruelty perspective so I was obviously a little bit apprehensive when I received an invite to attend the Chinese State Circus in Edinburgh.

However, with me being assured there were no animals involved with the circus, I decided to attend my first ever circus show in about 18 years  filled with a sense of intrigue, curiosity and excitement.

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As soon as I got out the car my excitement continued to grow, friends, families, lovers, old, young, so many different groups of people of all different backgrounds were arriving and clearly excited for the show which seemingly rubbed off on me. I mean I’ve been in a lot of tents but never a tent this colourful or this size!

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When I got inside the tent, I realised I was super early and there was a pop-up bar hosted by local gin brand (Minus) -33 dishing out the drinks. I mean, I’m a good guy, I do like to promote my local brands so it would be rude not to have a G&T with Elderflower… or 5!

I received a goodie bag with a Chinese State Circus book inside, a bag of popcorn and my pass for the evening. Since I hadn’t eaten all day, my hunger got the better of me and the popcorn was finished before anyone could take a picture. However, now with a belly full of popcorn, I managed to relax and read my new book…

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and make some new friends…

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After partaking in some pre-show shenanigans, I went off to take my seat still unsure about what to expect – but the G&T’s definitely loosened me up! But it wasn’t long before I was captivated by what was going on in front of my eyes.

There was a girl juggling parasols using her feet, a team of people juggling hats and doing tricks all in perfect synchronicity, Shaolin Warriors that terrify and entertain in equal measure, men somersaulting through small hoops at a ridiculous height and so much more.

By this point, I was hooked but sadly an interval was called so I made the most of my break and treated myself to some traditional circus food – Candy floss! I even topped up my glass of G&T whilst mingling with the other guests. Everyone I spoke to was on the same wavelength as me – unsure to begin with but completely sold on the show and the performance.

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It wasn’t long until I was being ushered back to my seat and prepare myself for Part 2 of the show. The show got even better in the second half where a female team was foot juggling with drums and a Bicycle act that featured a lot of girls and a lot of bikes that completely blew me away, the way they interchanged bikes and positions and on such a  small stage, performed with so much elegance. Truly amazing!

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Then came the headline act, at this part I started to wonder  “how else could this get better?” I mean what more could they physically do? The final act went above and beyond. Two people in a big, rotating, metal cylinder would entertain me enough. However, when they started to climb on to the outside, start skipping and doing flips it very nearly gave me a panic attack, It was definitely one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed!IMG_0597.JPG

WHAT A NIGHT! A circus, something I had viewed negatively for many a year has given me an incredible night and has truly changed my perception on circuses. The circus is currently still performing dates around the UK, with tickets still available here. I fully recommend that you at least try and get along to a show and you will definitely not be disappointed. In case my words aren’t enough, check out the trailer for the Dynasty Tour yourself.

After a wonderful night, I want to thank Phil MacHugh at Skapa PR for the invite and for being a great host and also my friend & Foe-tographer Sophie Grosvenor for the pictures – where you can catch some of her other pictures here.

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Jay Carrington

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September: The Month Of Independence & Homesickness

One full month has passed since I broke out on my own to become the ultimate student and by that, I don’t mean getting my head down and studying all the time. The ultimate student is your stereotypical student, the sort of guy who can go for a night out with £5 in his bank account and come back with £10, a pint glass and a traffic cone.

The first 2 weeks of living by myself in Scotland’s beautiful capital were amazing, I met so many new faces,  went on a pub crawl, started my course, went flat shopping AND HAD THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE! – I am falling even more in love with this beautiful city.

Even though I am such a mummy’s boy, my mum did literally everything for me besides washing me it seems. At home, I paid no rent, I always had food on a plate for me – and in large quantities as well, dishes cleaned themselves and so forth. However, there is nothing quite like having your own freedom. If you want to go a run at 2am on a Sunday morning, you don’t need to explain to your mum that she doesn’t need to worry. If you want a friend to come over for a couple of drinks and raid the cupboards, you don’t need to worry about your mum coming over in her dressing gown and having your mates giving you a nudge and a wink.

When did I become an adult, doing adulty things?!

3 weeks in and this holiday-feeling was still going strong… That was until I received negative feedback from my lecturer about a group activity and it felt like a massive kick in the stones. Usually, I can shake off things like that and learn from it. However, I got back to my flat and the realisation that I’m living here, in a different city, by myself, for the next year. Sob.

Homesickness is such a sucky feeling and unexpected. One minute you can be on a massive high and the next you can feel super lonely and isolated. I’ve met some lovely people here but it’s not the same as being with people you’ve spent years bonding with.

To anyone who is in a similar position, all I can recommend is not necessarily calling your family – that made me want to see my mum more, but speak to your new friends around you, especially if you live in Student Accommodation because they too are experiencing the same things and emotions as you. My homesickness only lasted a night and I felt so much better after a good night’s sleep and some junk food.

So if you experience homesickness do these 3 things:

1) Talk to people nearby – in your class, flat, block, work (people who are in the same situation or recently were)

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2) Food – put down that salad, throw away that bottle of water. Go and get yourself a great meal. Curries, pizzas and burgers are generally a good shout washed down with a fatty milkshake.

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3) Sleep – a 1-hour nap is not going to cut it, this time, you need at least a solid 5 hours under your belt. For me personally, I always feel so much better after a great sleep.

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*If you have followed the steps correctly then eating a lot of food (2) will make you really sleepy anyway (3) which means when you wake up, you can reheat your food and eat some more (2) *

Moving swiftly on, for one of my university modules I need to put on an event. For my event, I shall be putting on a Harry Potter scavenger hunt in the city of Harry Potter, Edinburgh in the middle of November (TBA). So if you like the idea of walking around a beautiful city, being a Harry Potter nerd for a few hours and also drinking then stay tuned on my social media as the event will be fully announced in the next week or so.

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Jay Carrington

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

My Summer Story

Well… I’m back!!!

I have noticed a few of you on social media have been aware of my absence on here over the past few months and it was, well needed. Studying and blogging is all fine and dandy until assessments are required to be handed in and grades are needed to be met. To cut a long story short, I took a break to focus on my studies as I needed a B to go to university – Your boy got an A!

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Also, for one of my units we had to work in groups to create a PR & Advertising campaign for a charity called Rainbow Valley and well, this happened…

 

Our college project has now snowballed into so much more than we ever thought and we are currently in the process of working with the Rainbow Valley and Wire Media to take our campaign idea and turn them into a reality which our group is excited about.

Winning this meant that I got an internship at McFrank PR Agency which was without a doubt one of the most incredible and educational few weeks of my life. Seeing campaigns come to fruition, being involved with projects in the morning and seeing it in the newspapers that same evening was magical. It has only further confirmed that this is exactly the path that I want to go down for my career.

In April, I got invited by Renfrewshire Council to attend the Paisley Food Festival and you don’t need to ask me twice whether I want to attend a food festival. I swear I went home that night easily 2 stone heavier than I left the house that morning! A day where, the legendary chef, Nick Nairn cooks you beef stew and you’re sipping a rum & coke on beach chairs while listening to live music, is definitely a good day!

In June, my best friend Ryan Lawrie taken part in a competition to be Vodafone’s Summer Breaker with Capital FM and he won! His prize was performing at Capital’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 and I honestly couldn’t have been prouder. So obviously I had to go and show my support and I travelled down with his girlfriend…

and his girlfriend’s mum…

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and we all conducted ourselves in a mature and professional manner…

but we’re super proud of him and his performance and now they’re both doing XFactor, while I eat 15p Asda-priced noodles – who’s the real winner here, eh?

Since then, I have spent some much-needed downtime with my nearest and dearest. My mum has been sorting herself out, seeing the physio, lost nearly 3 stone in a few months and she is looking so much more like her old self. The confidence is back, her pain is getting treated, exercising more and the weight is falling off her! As her baby boy, I could not be more proud of her.

As for my brother, Adam. He only decided to pack in his job and use his journalistic nous to write a novel. Write a novel in Scotland? No chance. Write a novel in the UK? Nah mate. Write a novel in Holland? Hmm yeah sure. How would a regular person travel from Glasgow to Holland? Fly? Train? Boat? Nah, not my brother. He cycled! 2 weeks on his bike, pitching a tent and camping out at each location. But hey, he survived the journey only to get glandular fever in his second week.

I have packed up my life into a couple of suitcases and started preparing for life at university. Who knew moving out for the first time would be so stressful?! So check back in a bit and I shall leave a survival guide for moving out. It might be a few weeks or if I don’t post it then clearly my findings are incorrect and I haven’t survived. In that case, DO THE OPPOSITE!!!

Anyway, for now, I have left Glasgow behind to make a new life for myself in Edinburgh as a student/blogger/party animal/Pokemon master. It’s the first ever time I’m living away from home without any supervision and I don’t know who should be more worried, me, my mum or everyone I’m living with.

Oh well, here’s to this new chapter of my life and I could not be more excited to see what life has in store for me.

It feels good to be back!

Special Mention: Jen McEwan – I worked so closely with this girl over the past year and a bit and it has been an absolute pleasure. Together we got an A for our HND and we also won our Advertising & PR campaign for Rainbow Valley together. Her animation and graphic designs are incredible and were probably the reason we did so well. Her Harvey Milk animation also won 2 awards at the Equality & Diversity Awards in Glasgow in May.

 

Jay Carrington

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