Angus Alchemy Distillery

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Angus Alchemy opened their distillery doors earlier this year, and I was delighted to be invited* along to see what they had to offer. They promise a unique visitor experience and they didn’t disappoint! We had a fantastic afternoon learning about gin and moonshine distilling.

Just a short drive from Dundee along the A92, you’ll spot the mossy green Angus Alchemy building from the road with their copper emblem emblazoned on the side. If you’re visiting in a larger group they’ll be happy to arrange transport so you can all enjoy a tipple. We stepped through the bothy-style doors, flanked by giant barrels to a warm welcome and drinks waiting for us.

The attention to detail of the space is incredible, everything is so well thought out and creates a really immersive environment. The interior aesthetic is inspired by the concept of a moonshine village, with pallet-clad walls and corrugated tin roofs, I just love how much of the materials were upcycled to build it. Even the toilets are on brand, with copper pipes and barrel sink stands. The giant tool ‘door handles’ were sourced from nearby Steptoe’s Yard - everything has a story!

We also had a nosey in the bar which was full of interesting spirits - they offer whiskies from each Scottish region, available as a bespoke tasting package. Back in the main area, you’ll find quirky seating (bar stool with bike pedals, anyone?) and a selection of merchandise available to purchase along with their drinks.

As we enjoyed our first drinks, we were told about the stills and the process of making moonshine and gin. At the moment none of the moonshine is vegan as it contains honey from their own bees (they make two varieties - Clootie and Cranachan). We had a look at the jars of ingredients and were excited to hear that you can book an Alchemy Academy session to make your own using the mini stills. It would be ideal for those looking to do something totally different for a stag or hen do!

If you’re feeling peckish you can order a flight of pies, and the good news is there is a vegan option. Made locally by the award-wining Wee Cook Kitchen, the cauliflower bhuna curry pies are delicious. Next up, I had an Angus Alchemy Prickly gin and tonic - complete with zingy raspberry dusted rim - yum! I also tried an Angels Dare Cheeky Wee Kiss premixed gin cocktail (infused with rhubarb, ginger, strawberry & the gentle embrace of cranberry juice). It was so lovely and refreshing; you could really taste the fruit.

Angus Alchemy runs on a purpose-built bio boiler that uses fully sustainable, local wood chips. Sustainability is important to them and you can see that they’re passionate about supporting local suppliers; from the berries in their moonshine to the snacks on offer. We heard a lot about exciting future plans, including the Distillery Digs which will also be heated from the bio boiler.

We had such a fun afternoon at Angus Alchemy and can’t wait to visit again soon. Check out their website for details on tastings - samplings start at £20pp and are available Thursday-Mondays from 11am. If you’re looking for a personalised distillery experience, you won’t want to miss this place.

You can find Angus Alchemy at Woodhill by, Carnoustie DD7 7SD

*Angus Alchemy gifted us this experience, all opinions are my own.










5 Indie Finds to Visit in Stirling

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Earlier this month we had a weekend stay in Stirling - though it’s only an hour away from Dundee it isn’t somewhere we’d spent much time so it felt like a proper wee break. If you’re fancying a day trip, check out 5 of our finds below.


1. Nooch Bar & Kitchen just opened in December and is the only fully vegan eatery in Stirling. It has such a lovely atmosphere, with the cosiest interior on the snowy night we visited for dinner and a pub quiz. The food was fantastic - fine dining at affordable prices. We’d recommend the sea crackers and ‘crab’ dip and the nooch mac x cauliflower cheese.

44 Upper Craigs, Stirling / https://www.noochbk.co.uk/


2. We stayed at Fletcher’s Hotel which we found via an Itison offer. It’s often tricky to find a hotel which caters for vegans, especially if you’re buying a voucher, but Fletcher’s were so accommodating. We had dinner included one evening where there is a separate vegan menu with classics like burger and pizzas. The crispy cauliflower wings were a fab sharing starter, and we enjoyed a vegan sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The vegetarian cooked breakfast can be made vegan and they offered us a jug of oat milk for making tea in our room.


78 Upper Craigs, Stirling / https://fletchersstirling.co.uk/


3. At first there didn’t seem to be much in the way of indie shops but then we found Made in Stirling which is a huge treasure trove of local makers. It feels like a department store craft market hybrid and you could spend hours in there shopping for beautiful things. You can also check out their online shop and make sure you keep an eye out for exhibitions if you’re planning a visit.

44 King Street, Stirling / https://madeinstirlingstore.com/


4. Vera Artisan Bakery & Kitchen offers some vegan options if you’re looking for a light lunch or coffee and cake. There are handy labels in the cake counter with allergens clearly market and vegan items ticked so it’s easy to see which treats you can eat.

51 King Street, Stirling / https://veraartisanbakery.co.uk/


5. We had the tastiest lunch at HBW Coffee. With an almost fully vegan menu, there’s so much to choose from. We had pancakes with maple bacon and scrambled tofu, and chocolate babka French toast with biscoff pudding, cream and berries - delicious! I was also delighted to have my first white hot chocolate in the almost 7 years I’ve been vegan.

54/56 Barnton St, Stirling / https://www.hbwcoffee.co.uk/

I’d love to hear if you check any of these businesses out on your next Stirling trip. If you have any other recommendations let me know!





The Yard Market

Sunday 12 March 2023

The Yard is a monthly market based in Dundee and Perth featuring indie makers, creatives and food trucks. We’ve been going to the Dundee one regularly since it began, but this time I grabbed my camera before we headed there for some shopping and lunch.

You’ll usually find the Yard Market at 71 Brewing on the first weekend of the month (which is where it was on our recent visit), but for the next three months, they’ll temporarily be popping up at The Steeple due to renovations. They post the list of stallholders before the market on their socials, though it’s not always clear who is there each day - it might be best to double-check with the individual maker if you’re going to see them specifically.

Entry is £2 (you can pay by card which is always handy), kids go free, and the market is dog friendly; we took Daisy the chihuahua along with us this time.

The market is split into two areas; outside you’ll find the guest food trucks and 71 Brewing bar along with a large covered seating area. It always has a fun atmosphere and is a great place for a bite to eat. You head up the steps to get inside to the main market area; there’s also more seating in here.

On this particular Sunday, there were quite a lot less stallholders than there had been on the Saturday, though that’s not to say there weren’t lots of fab things to see and buy. I always love having a rummage at the big Alexander’s Vintage pop-up as you come inside, but I wasn’t meant to be shopping for myself - our mission was Mother’s Day gifts and something for my sister’s birthday.

There were lovely soaps from Eco Partisans (I picked up a conditioner bar), lots of unique jewellery (pictured here is The Fox By The Shore), knitwear, artworks (you’ll spot Pamela Scott Printmaker's stall in one of the pics above too), candles, crystals, stained glass and more.

I must give a special mention to The Dough Cartel which is a vegan bakery based in Glasgow. We originally planned to come to this market just to buy their delicious bakes. Our favourite is the custard slice or the Voo-Z-Kha cake which is just pure chocolatey creamy goodness - can’t wait to try the stuffed cookies next time!

Shopping done, we headed outside for lunch. I’d already checked beforehand that the food trucks here would have vegan options, they usually do but since they change it’s always handy to know what will be on offer. This time it was The Fat Flamingo where we ordered some loaded vegan nachos and tacos (sweet potato and bean chilli loaded with peach and chipotle salsa, jalapeƱos and vegan cheese). These were very tasty and surprisingly more wholefoodsy than I expected - lots of veggies but so nice and warming.

David was delighted to see that The Wee Churros Corner was here - and even better - they had added to their vegan toppings! We had a couple of oat lattes and then shared a portion of churros topped with hot Biscoff sauce, crushed Oreos and vegan whipped cream.

The next market is at The Steeple on 1st April. Also look out for The Barket in Perth which is an adorable doggy market with all things pup related.
https://www.theyardevents.co.uk/
@theyarddundee
Location: (usually) 71 Brewing, 36-40 Bellfield St, Dundee DD1 5HZ
(temporarily) The Steeple, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DG


Vandal & Co.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Vandal & Co. had been on my list to visit for ages, and I finally made it along for a Fun A Day team get-together. It’s tucked away on Exchange Street and looks deceptively tiny from the front but in actual fact, the space just keeps going. Styled with neon pops and fun artwork, it’s a very cool space for dinner and drinks.

We were given the brunch and the main menu which had so many vegan options that we were spoilt for choice. After some deliberation, we worked out we would share a starter and dessert - it was quite an early lunch so although we were keen to try lots it just wasn’t practical appetite-wise. The menu is clearly labelled when it comes to ordering vegan, just make sure you ask for it to be made vegan if it has an asterisk.

The cocktails sounded amazing but didn’t fit in with our plans that day, instead, I enjoyed a nicely refreshing house strawberry soda which was like summer in a glass. Our shared broo-shett-a arrived (cute name), it was a simple but classic wee bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, onion, and basil on ciabatta. The topping was an absolute mountain on that toast!

We had ordered the katsu curry with tofu, ramen also with tofu, and a fear & loathing burger which is made up of a plant-based pattie, vegan cheese, and grimreaper mayo served with skin on frites. The waiter also told us that the Wife Guy burger could be made vegan which is good to know. As the mains arrived we saw that the portions looked generous. I was defeated by the katsu curry in the end, mainly as there was a lot of rice. The tofu was deliciously crispy and it had a lovely rich sauce with a fair bit of heat (for me anyway). I did try a couple of chips which were very tasty too. Everyone really enjoyed their food and agreed that there were other dishes they’d like to come back and try next time.

Although we were all very full we couldn’t resist ordering the churros waffles we’d spotted on the menu earlier. This wonderful stack was served with chocolate sauce and ice cream. I love to see an unusual vegan dessert and this one did not disappoint.

Vandal & Co have a range of daily deals which is such a great idea. These include Monday “bite/bowl/tail” (which is £20 for any bite, bowl and cocktail) and Tax Free Thursday with 20% off. Vandal & Co. is launching a restaurant in Perth soon too, you can follow their new Instagram here.

I’ll definitely be returning soon as I’d love to have a wee cocktail and am quite keen to try the Own My Planet plate - spicy tofu, bang bang cauliflower, chickpea fritters, and katsu frites - sounds so good! If you’ve been to Vandal & Co. let me know your favourite dishes for next time!

You can find Vandal & Co. at 22-26 Exchange Street, Dundee, DD1 3DL

https://vandalandco.com/
@vandalco_dundee

Enamel Bowl Workshop / Dundee Community Craft CIC

Wednesday 1 March 2023

My birthday was coming up and I’d been looking for something fun to do on a weekday. When Steph of Natla jewellery and Dundee Community Craft CIC reached out to see if I’d like to come and visit her studio, I asked if I could do a workshop which worked out perfectly as a birthday activity. I invited Lyndsey (of Lyndsey Currie Textiles) along and we had such a lovely afternoon.

Natla Jewellery Studio was founded by Stephanie Graham after she graduated from DJCAD. The profits from the sale of Steph’s jewellery are reinvested into her sister community interest company Dundee Community Craft. “Stemming from lived experiences of trauma, healing and recovery, Dundee Community Craft allows the opportunity to share how craft and design can be experienced as methods of healing and self-care.” Steph told us a lot about the workshops she runs through Dundee Community Craft and her exciting plans for the future to further their reach. It’s a wonderful initiative and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

On the day of the bowl making workshop, we were met outside and taken up to the studio - I’ve been in Wasps quite a few times but have zero sense of direction so have to say I was glad of this. We stepped into the studio which was a welcoming room filled with cosy fairy lights and the scent of incense. It’s such a light and bright space with big windows, and Steph has done such a fab job styling with vintage furniture and artworks which add heart to the interior.

Steph told us about her first experience of enamelling a bowl; how mindful and relaxing it was and how she wanted to spread this joy. She explained what we’d be doing and then we got to pick from two sizes of copper bowls - I picked the smaller of the two and Lyndsey went for the larger size.

First off, we had to sand the inside a little to make the surface more adhesive. We then began painting the first layer of white liquid enamel which was a very pleasing technique of brushing and twirling and pouring and repeating. Once it was fully coated the bowls were dried and then fired in the kiln. After cooling a little, we washed the bowls and repeated.

The white started to develop a fun texture which looked like ripples in the sea - though this made painting colour designs on a little trickier. I decided to just go for organic drips and splatters so I wouldn’t worry about trying to control the design. You could also let the colours dry and scrape some back which was a nice technique. Lyndsey went for a more considered approach and managed to paint a bold teal streak with geometric-inspired details - this definitely seemed more challenging but turned out great!

Once we were sure we were finished, the bowls were fired in the kiln again. It was time to add powdered enamel to the outside to stop it from tarnishing. After a final time in the kiln, our bowls looked like little Christmas puddings when upside down! We filed the edge to reveal a shiny border of copper and the bowls were complete.

It was a really gratifying process and such a chilled-out way to spend an afternoon. I love that we got some wee branded boxes to take our bowls home in too as it made them feel like more of a precious object to treasure.

If you’d like to book a workshop you can contact Steph direct, sessions are usually on Sundays from 12-2pm and cost £85 per person. You can also buy her beautiful jewellery online here.
Find out more at https://natlajewellerystudio.wordpress.com/
@natlajewellerystudio
@dundeecommunitycraft