Getting rid of a cold and sore throat super-quick!


This is my tried and tested remedy for getting rid of colds and sore throats. Try it and let me know how you get on. It totally works.

Smash (as in take) two paracetamol every four hours.

Gargle with warm salt water every hour in the evening and as you need it through the day.

Drink two to three hot toddies before bed (don’t hold back on the whisky). This will make sure you get a good night’s sleep (the time when your body magically repairs itself most).

Wear a tee shirt to bed so you sweat. But leave the window open a little so you get fresh air.

Add hot water bottle into the mix if you have one.

Take Tyrozets throat anaesthetic lozengers to save embarassing coughing fits (especially in confined spaces like on the tube). 

Cough and spit when necessary. Lovely I know. But better to get it out.

And if none of this works, go out and get blind drunk. It will take your mind off it, get the serotonin pumping and the alcohol will kill it (not scientifically proven). Mind over mucus.

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In short
A beautiful city with a castle smack bang in the middle of it. Great place to visit or live, loads of great bars, restaurants and things to see.

edinburgh castle

Things to do
Visit the castle, have a picnic in Princes St Gardens, go to Camera Obscura, visit the Shore in Leith for a pint, walk along the Royal Mile and down the Grassmarket, go to Harvey Nichs for a cocktail, visit the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, do a ghost tour.

Thistle Street is my favourite street in Edinburgh for bars and restaurants. Try Cafe Marlayne (French), Iris (British fusion), Dusit (Thai), Fisher’s (seafood), Bon Vivant (fusions on classics using the likes of black pudding and chorizo). Others not on Thistle street are Blue Bear Cafe in Canonmills for brunch, Amore Dogs on Hanover Street for Italian or La Favorita for great pizza (they even have gluten free). Zen kitchen on Dundas Street for the best asian fusion noodles/ rices I’ve ever had (takeaway only – try the Nasi Goreng). Olive Branch on Broughton Street for a nice lunch, Kings Wark in Leith for posh pub grub or Cambridge Bar or Holyrood 9A for a great burger.

Bon Vivant on Thistle Street is my favourite (order a sweet cherry rum Manhattan). 99 Hanover Street for party drinks or Villager if you are in the Old Town. Bramble on Queen St for some cocktails. King’s Wark in Leith for a proper local. The Street at the top of Broughton Street for gay drinks and GHQ for clubbing (gay club but mixed crowd and best night in Edinburgh). Liquid Rooms also good for a gig or indie club night.

Malmaison on the Shore, The Glasshouse, Hotel Du Vin, Rick’s, The George, The Caledonian, The Scotsman. That’s probably really unhelpful as I bet all of these are expensive.

Livability (4 out of 5)
4 out of 5. Easy city to live in. Lots to do and you can get a black cab anywhere in about 15 minutes. Tends to be dry and sunny (for Scotland anyway).

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In short
Awesome place, over 300 days of sunshine a year and it just gets better and better as you get to know it more. And when the pilot says “we are now on our approach to LAX” you will nearly jizz your pants with excitement. You really need a car to get around, but you can taxi if you plan well or stay with a mate with a car.

skatepark LA

Things to do
Make sure you play beach volleyball (you will feel like you are in Top Gun), watch some chumps workout at Venice beach and hang out at the skatepark. Walk along Abbot Kinney near Venice Beach for nice shops, bars, restaurants. Go to Santa Monica beach to mess around on the pull up bars, hoops and ropes and play on the pier.  Go to Malibu to Paradise Cove to sit on double beds on the beach with a cocktail. See a Lakers game. Walk up Runyon Canyon to the Hollywood sign. Walk along Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars (for all of about 20 mins – it’s total tacky touristville).  Visit the museum of modern art (MoMA). Shoot some fuck off guns at LA Gun Club and pretty much shit your pants. Visit the observatory. See a chat show being filmed (it’s easy to get tickets – we did The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and saw Charlie Sheen – we didn’t get in the day we got tickets for because we turned up quite late, but it worked out better cos then we got to pick the show we got guaranteed tickets for). Do some shopping on Rodeo Drive or N. Robertson Boulevard. If you have time visit the winelands (we stayed in Solvang about 2hrs out of LA), do an overnight in Palm Springs (it’s desert weather and there are some great pool parties – try Ace hotel or The Saguaro) and have a few hours at Joshua tree (for some pretty impressive giant rocks and walks – 45 mins from Palm Springs).

STK in West Hollywood (amazing steak and even better truffle and parmesan chips), Mess Hall (great all day food) in Los Feliz (my favourite area to hang out). Little Dom’s in Los Feliz is also meant to be great but we got bored waiting for a table when we went for a hangover lunch. Gjelina on Abbot Kinney Blvd for some amazing food wine and atmosphere. 
PF Changs in West Hollywood (it’s a chain, but does awesome Chinese). In n Out Burger (branches everywhere for great burger and chips that’s better than McD’s). Go to a diner, eat like a pig and play your own personal jukebox (we went to Mel’s Diner on Highland Avenue, ate til we felt sick and then realised the food was over-rated). The Ivy in West Hollywood is also meant to be good.

The Standard’s rooftop bar for a swanky night.  Harvard and Stone for some live music, dancers, industrial poles and a real American feel – my favourite place we went to (a lot of fun most nights of the week). Chateau Marmont or Soho House (if you can get in to them) for some celeb spotting. Bar Marmont is shit, wouldn’t bother. Bungalow in Santa Monica is another place to be seen but it’s ruined a little by the fact there is about two toilets for the whole club. Shutters at Santa Monica to sit on the balcony with a gin and take in the view. Franklin and Co for a bit of a speakeasy and chatty bar staff (we went for two drinks and ended up hammered and staying all night because the measures were so big). Go to West Hollywood for some gay pubs and clubs (expect to see near naked men on podiums, lose the people you are with and nearly miss a flight to San Fran the next day).

A random night out if you go to the winelands is Maverick’s Saloon Bar in Santa Ynez – we went after my mates wedding and made friends with cowboys (by this I mean stole their hats), learnt to line dance (by this I mean tried to line dance to Rihanna) and discovered there are gay rednecks (by this I mean I got a winch).

Use Airbnb to get a nice place. Otherwise we just stayed in chains we could get good last minute rates for, Holiday Inn etc. All have free wifi and better rooms than a budget hotel in the UK. The W Hotel in LA if you can afford it.

Livability (4 out of 5)
Hot without the humidity and cool enough to wear your leather jacket at night. More soul, more culture and just more going on than Australia.

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Gluten Dodgers now has it’s own site

If you want to do some gluten dodging, I’ve decided to do a whole site on it now, check it out at

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If you’ve ever thought you might be having a reaction to gluten you might want to read this…


Interesting article suggesting there are many different forms of gluten allergy and it might be the source of those niggles that lots of people get – bloating, spaced out feeling, lethargic, stomach cramps etc. Worth a read if you’ve ever thought you might be getting a reaction to eating (e.g. after lots of bread)/ drinking it (e.g. after lots of beer)… 

And if you decide you want to take the challenge, I’ll be posting my favourite new gluten friendly brunch place tomorrow.

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Busaba Eathai: gluten free thai in London

Busaba is a great place for Thai in London, consistently good, quite a few of them and some decent gluten free options.

In their words “we do have a few dishes that are wheat and gluten free, however we  do always suggest that before ordering to double check with your waiter on particular dishes.”

The Wheat and Gluten Free dishes are:

Som tam salad
Som Yam salad
Chok Chai Chicken

Soup Noodle:
Tom Kha Chicken
Tom yam Talay

Wok noodles:
Pad Thai
Sen chan pad Thai

Stir fry
Pad ped chicken
Pad prik beef
Chilli prawn
Coconut prawn

Char Grilled Chicken

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Make me fat: gluten free pizza finally hits the high street

Finally the high street companies have sorted themselves and brought out gluten free pizza. Pizza Hut has launched and is available for sit-in or collection (very few of their stores are doing it as delivery). Prezzo has also launched a gluten free base across all of it’s classic range and Domino’s are due to bring out a base for their takeaway service in November (cannot bloody wait – Domino’s is surely the ultimate hangover cure).


I couldn’t resist and am currently chomping on the last slice of my gluten free margarita from Pizza Hut (worryingly across the road from the office). First bite and you can tell the base is a bit firmer than usual, slightly different texture from normal pizza, but not dry, falling apart or accompanied by a distinctive taste (one of which is usually the case). This professionally made pizza (by that I meant he bloke on £6ph in the kitchen, but using those ingredients that somehow taste better) is pretty bloody good and available in all their stores giving another drama-free option when out with mates. Thank you Pizza Hut.

Reviews of Prezzo and Domino’s (when it launches) to follow. Let the fat bastard days begin.

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In short
Great place for a more interesting winter sun experience, but you will probably get a monkey on your head or a snake round your neck.

Loads of local places, but all very similar and many pretty bad in my opinion. Credit for most of the places we visited goes to Mr Ed Brooke and most of them were in Gueliz, the new town (which according to him is where the locals eat).

Rôtisserie de la Paix, which we loved:
68 rue de Yougoslavie, Guéliz, Marrakech (tel/fax: 00 212 24 43 31 18).
Open daily noon-3pm, 8pm-11pm. About 320 dirham (£20) for two, without wine.

Grand Cafe de la Poste – our favourite for lunch outside:
Blv. El Mansour Eddhabit et Av. Imam Malik,Guéliz, Tel: 024 43 30 38‎

Bo & Zin – Ed described this as “the place for a groovy dinner, think a Hollywood producer’s pad from the 70’s – more beautiful people” – and it was the best night out we had. Started off with a posh dinner including Caviar (pretty reasonably priced too) and turned into dancing on the dinner tables and the bar, followed by a courtesy ride home from the club in one of their cars.

Bo Zin or a bit of clubbing at Le Comptoir, which was decent. Nikki Beach or Pacha are the other options supposedly.

Go to the Souks, lots of fun (for a while). Plenty of spices that you don’t need, leather bags that you want but smell disgusting and men trying to put snakes and monkeys on you so they can get money off you. Not good with a hangover, but you have to experience it. Other than that hang out on the roof of your Riad and enjoy the sun and some peppermint tea, hang out in the more refined Guilez and make some time for a trip to the mountains.

We stayed in a lovely Riad courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith, great place with lovely staff and lazy boys on the roof perfect for breakfast, hangover recoveries, afternoon naps or general chilling. Oh and when you get lost and kids try to charge you money to show you how to get back to your Riad you can either refuse so as not to be ripped off or give in as we did to save yourself a lot of hassle. Taxis are cheap too (we got one 1.5hrs to the mountains for a very reasonable price, got them around town all the time and got one to the airport too).

Livability (2 out of 5)
Not a chance for me. I wouldn’t mind a secluded pad for some winter sun, but not a place I’d choose to live.

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Take train. Have a drink. Eat soup.

Not blogged for ages. And not sure it’s been missed. But hey ho, I’ve had a little flurry of work go out recently so thought I’d fulfil my narcissitic side and showcase some of my last Leith projects.

First up, reminding people how much better it can be to travel by train. No queues, no traffic and you can have a wee drink if you like (not that we we’re encouraging that).

Next up and continuing the drinking theme, we clock-watch our way to the bar.

And finally, a nice pitch win on Baxters soups. But you’ll need to wait a couple of months to see the tasty telly we’ve developed for that.

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In short
Worthy of its hype, there is something special about Paris, especially if you are there in a couple. And as you would expect, the food is great too.

Explore the backstreets for great little restaurants, but also try ‘le relais de l’entrecote’. You can’t book if I remember rightly and if our experience was anything to go by, expect to be greeted by stern looking older women dressed in traditional french maid style outfits and ushered to your seats at tables joined together so you end up sitting next to people you don’t know – don’t be put off by this though, it all adds to the charm. You get asked if you would like red or white wine and how you would like your steak done and 5 minutes later it will be silver served to you along with fries and their special sauce. It all tastes great and the best bit is that they come back and offer you more until you’ve had enough. Great experience and really reasonably priced.

We spent most of the time eating out late so didn’t really discover any exciting bars. One for me to update after my next visit.

The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are worth a look, but just strolling around the backstreets exploring and stopping off at little cafes is as enjoyable as anything else. There’s a nice view from the Big Wheel on the Champs Elysees too.

Mama Shelter is a great place to stay, a boutique hotel designed by Phillipe Starck. Expect an iMac in your room and scary monkey mask lights by your bedside. It’s a bit out of town, but is an easy Metro ride, is near some cool bars and the graveyard where Jim Morrison is buried. The hotel’s own bar and restaurant also have a great vibe and good food/drinks. It’s awards include Best Business Hotel, Best Design Hotel and one of the Top 100 Hotels in Europe with prices pretty resonable from about 149 EUR.

Livability (out of 5)
4. Great ambience, great places to eat and loads of backstreets to explore.

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