Mabel's Log » Freebie Thu, 05 Nov 2015 21:56:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Where the monkey sleeps – a serious operation Mon, 03 Oct 2011 06:00:53 +0000 Read the Rest »]]> Good greif, hasn’t the weather been just completely nuts recently? The rest of the UK is seemingly having a tropical heat wave and Glasgow is just having tropical showers. Typical. Despite this, the other day I valiantly braved the elements and ran between the raindrops in order to meet a dear friend for lunch. THAT is how much I like her. She’s been banging on about Where The Monkey Sleeps, just off Blythswood Square in Glasgow, for an absolute age so I thought it was about time I put their, seemingly succulent, sandwiches to the test myself.

In its basement location, The Monkey might be easy to walk past; the queue out the door, however, is difficult to miss.  And the slight moment of panic that wooshed over me when I first arrived (the fear that I might not be quite cool enough to buy my lunch from such a hip-hop and happening establishment) was soon overwhelmed by the inventive and extensive sandwich menu, filled with quirky names like Meat For the Beast V and The Witchfinder. Eventually, plagued by indecision (everything sounded great) I let Amy, a delightful girl who works there decide for me.

The next wee while was spent catching up with Kort enveloped on a comfy sofa in one of The Monkey’s many little nooks with walls covered with record sleeves of great bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Music is a big part of this dining experience. I have to admit, I might have preferred a little mealtime accompaniment from the aforementioned super-group, but if you’re a fan of metal this could well be your lunchtime-match-made-in-HEAVEN. That aside, my sandwich was, hands down, one of the best I’ve ever eaten and I’ve eaten a lot of sandwiches in my time. It was jam packed with fresh produce and accompanied by the cheeky bonus of a dollup of yummy mustard potato salad. Kort might be onto something here. It’s no wonder it’s queued out the door. And I guess I could get into a bit of Metallica.

Mabel’s pick: The Serious Operation. It’s a serious sandwich. Packed full with roast chicken, bacon, a free range egg, red onion, house caesar dressing, thyme, balsamic, and lemon juice. In a word – magnificent.

Kort’s pick: Dear ol’ Kort’s a creature of habit. She has the roast beef, smoked cheese, chargrilled pepers, red onion, horseradish, and mayo filled beefcake every time she goes in and it’s never let her down thus far. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

BREAKING NEWS: Where The Monkey Sleeps is now doing all the food at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s on Sauchiehall Street. Great food. Great music. Great night.

ALSO mention Mabel when you drop into the 182 West Regent Street branch for a sandwich and get a DRINK totally FREE. RESULT.

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Caurnie Soaperie – It’s a slippery existence Thu, 29 Sep 2011 07:00:15 +0000 Read the Rest »]]>

Established in 1922, and located in quirky Kirkintilloch (half an hour outside Glasgow) since 1924, Caurnie Soaperie is a truly wonderful blast from the past. Jim Little, the son of a son of a vegetable soap-maker, is as loyal to his roots as his father was, and the combined wisdom of three generations of chemists is evident in their high quality, widely acclaimed organic products and big smiles.

Passing up opportunities for global soap domination over the years, Jim has made a conscious choice, as is father did before him, to keep this beautiful business a family affair – a decision that has allowed them to protect their strong values and keep them firmly planted on the map as an ethical and characterful company. But their small size hasn’t prevented them gaining a large and loyal band of soap-loving followers, nor has it kept them from the attentions of feature writers for the most dazzling of the glossy prints – Vogue, that’s right, VOGUE, included.  The glamour.

Made from natural and organic ingredients (including home-grown herbs which are hung and dried on-site – the workshop smells UNREAL) and using the same age-old techniques, Caurnie produce a wide range of unbelievably wonderfully scented vegan soaps, shampoos, shower-gels, body butters and moisturisers.

Jim and his team know their stuff. Many a flakey friend swears by their range of products containing nettle – perfectly soothing for sensitive skin, eczema and psoriasis – and those containing callendula seemingly work wonders in the healing process. They even have a special anti-allergy soap pack containing soaps made from oats and nettle. The extra mile. I tell you.

Jims fave: lime and thyme soap: fragrant and gorgeous.

Mabel’s fave: lemongrass soap – just about fit to EAT – and the INCREDIBLE nettle moisturiser – in a tiny pot intended for the face and problematic patches of skin, you’ll literally wish you could smear the stuff all over your body.

Caurnie’s soaps can be found at farmer’s markets and country fairs all over the greater Glasgow area, or can be bought at their shop in Kirkintilloch. If you’re further afield they can be found on line at (although the Jim admits that the site doesn’t represent the full range of products), or ordered over the phone on 0141 776 1218.

Prices range according to size and product but start from just a couple of pounds for a beautiful soap. Better yet, good old Jim is giving a special offer just for YOU, so mention Mabel’s log when you make your purchase for BUY ONE GET ONE FREE on all soaps before the end of November.  WOWZA.


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Dressing up with Miss Lottie Lou Mon, 26 Sep 2011 07:00:44 +0000 http://colinwiseman:9400/?p=125 Read the Rest »]]>

Miss Lottie Lou is the mastermind behind a feast of fanciful vintage creations spilling from a tiny corner of Glasgow’s west end, and she is, without a doubt, as bright and cheery as the fabrics she re-claims. Nestled away amongst the hidden gems of De-Courcey’s arcade on Creswell Lane, she hammers away at the sewing machine day and night surrounded by piles of pretty printed cloth and 1940’s and 50’s tea dresses.

When I first met Lottie a year or so ago, I was desperately trying to find a dress to wear to my cousin’s wedding, an effortlessly chic affair on Shoreditch high-street. I knew in my minds eye exactly what I wanted, but after a couple of frantic days in town, depressingly couldn’t find anything even close. We have all been there.  I had virtually given up and merely popped into De-Courcey’s to buy a card for the soon to be newly-weds, when I stumbled across the lovely Lottie in a beautiful homegrown outfit and a punchy red lip. I felt inspired and excited about the work she was doing and was totally delighted when she made flesh exactly what I had imagined, just in the nick of time.

Since first learning the ropes at Galasheils School of Textile and Design, she has now been up and running for over a year and is doing a roaring trade. Her flexibility makes anything possible; you can forage through her abundance of fabulous reclaimed vintage fabrics or take in your own; rake through her vast and beautiful collection vintage patterns and choose something to work around, or make your own vision come to life. And for the same price as buying something off the high-street, what better way to buy a new dress than have something totally unique created by a fabulously talented and, more importantly, genuinely lovely young designer.

Prices vary according to commission and choice of fabric but Lottie, passionate that a made to measure service should be accessible to everyone, is more than happy to work to any budget, so don’t be shy, get in there whilst you can!

Visit Lottie on the Upper floor of De-Courcey’s Arcade, Cresswell Lane, Glasgow; give her a bell at 07583633444, or fire her off an email at

Miss Lottie Lou is also offering aWHOPPING 10% OFF for YOU. So pop in, mention Mabel’s log when you shop and then send us a picture of you looking fabulous in your new dress!

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Fruity Farm Frivolity at Craigie’s, Perfect Strawberry Jam and a SPECIAL OFFER for YOU Mon, 26 Sep 2011 07:00:09 +0000 http://colinwiseman:9400/?p=150 Read the Rest »]]>  

When I was younger I spent many a summer afternoon on my hands and knees picking strawberries at a nearby farm. Tragically, this farm and many others like it have closed their doors in recent years. So when I decided, in a recent bout of nostalgia, to relieve my good friend of her brood and take them fruit picking for the last day of the school holidays, I had to do a bit of hunting around before I came across Craigie’s Farm, about thirty minutes from Glasgow.

Craigie’s farm has tractor rides, live animals, nature walks, a café and shop, and of course, fruit picking. It is fun, educational and best yet counts as one of your five-a-day. What more could a mother ask for? Table-top growing, that’s what. I’d like to think I still have it in me to make it up from a kneeling position unscathed, but for those who might find it a struggle, Craigie’s cater for everyone; growing some of their strawberries on raised platforms so picking fresh fruit doesn’t have to be back breaking. Sadly we weren’t there early enough for the Breakfast Tractor Tours and so, though they grow a wide array of fruit and veg we opted (perhaps in another moment of nostalgia) to pick strawberries, which thanks to frozen plants and covered tunnels can be picked at Craigie’s six months of the year! Ideal.

After some seriously extensive picking (the kids LOVED it), we made our way to the café completely laden with strawberries for a well-earned seat. And whilst the gang entertained themselves in the play park (complete with toy tractor, eek the excitement) I sat down with the man who runs the show, John Sinclair, over a brew, to learn more about the farm.

As I suspected, Craigie’s is a wonderfully family-run affair. John’s grandfather first came to Craigie’s over two hundred years ago and the Sinclair family have been running things since. Originally a dairy farm, Craigie’s didn’t even start growing fruit until the 1980s, but since then they have expanded to add the shop (great local produce at affordable prices!), café and butchery. What more do you need?

Maybe just the perfect jam recipe. I bow to John and his family’s superior jam-making skills and generously they have bestowed upon us a fantastic recipe for strawberry jam and some top tips for making:

Any problems? You could always go along to one of the classes run by John’s wife and mother (of course!). And to find out what on earth we did with all these strawberries coming out of ears, check out Mabel’s Kitchen and Mabel’s Nursery for some more scrumptious recipe ideas!

Thanks to the lovely John, you can mention Mabel’s Log when you book for the Breakfast Farm Tours (running this October) and get a FABULOUS 15% OFF!! To find out more information about this fantastic farm visit


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