Lunch at Leftfield

To say I enjoy food is something of an understatement. I live for food. I’m always trawling recipe books and websites. Most of my favourite TV shows and YouTube channels focus on some aspect of food or cooking. I’d almost be inclined to call myself a foodie.

To say I enjoy seafood is even more of an understatement.

Coming from a fishing town on the west coast, it’s practically illegal to not enjoy seafood. It’s a staple. The produce is incredibly fresh and always great quality. Oban has as many chippies as it does supermarkets and there are only 8,500 locals to feed year-round.

When I first started going off meat, my parents made me a deal. I could only stop eating meat if I stopped being so picky with my vegetables (although I still hate broccoli and cauliflower) and kept eating fish. It was a little arduous at first, but with a great cook like my Mum, and the produce as great as it is, I was soon converted back to my pescatarian ways.

I’ve been a pescatarian for years now, and adore playing around with recipes, substituting meat for fish and shellfish, to see what sort of textures and flavour  combinations work.

So, yeah, seafood is pretty darn high on my Food Loves list. And good seafood is my fave way to celebrate.

On Sunday, my family and I went to Leftfield for lunch to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

leftfield edinburgh bruntsfield

It’s a lovely restaurant in Bruntsfield. Bright and open with large windows, it has a real Scandi feel to it. The decor is inviting and the music was a golden selection that included Nina Simone and he Isley Brothers. Basically, I loved it.

Their Sunday lunch menu is really lovely. It’s small, but there really is something for everyone and the flavours are adventurous. Dad and I both opted for starters – he had the chicken pate and I opted for the vegetable pakoras which was light, warmly spiced and completely scrummy.

Their specialty, though, is a seafood platter (although it needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance) which Mum and Dad ordered unbeknownst to Zoe and I at the time.

Now, being an Oban girl, I’ve been spoiled most of my life with great seafood and often lament to Mum and Dad about how it’s just not the same in the city. Leftfield, however, knocked it out the park.

leftfield seafood platter

Every element was prepared differently, and it’s clear chef X knows what he’s doing. Barbequeued crevettes, scallops with curried aubergine, tempura oysters, clams with a delightfully fresh salsa, and that’s just for starters. Mammoth langoustines, melt-in-the-mouth fried squid and half lobsters with claws to boot were waiting to be demolished.

The marie rose dipping sauce was a wonderful accompaniment for the langoustines and the salsa gave the barbequeued prawns a real tang. The lobster claws were my favourite though – scoffed down with gorgeously golden chips and a fresh, herby salad.

I can’t get over how delicious everything was. And how brilliant the service was, too. At £25 a head, this incredibly nostalgic taste of my no-longer-home was an absolute bargain.

We all joked that it was such a shame the next family birthday wasn’t until mine in November, but I’m sure we’ll find an excuse to return for the seafood platter – every day’s worthy of a celebration, right?

There’s No Place Like Home

Today I say goodbye to the place I have called home for nearly 14 years.

In 2003 we moved into this house. Among other things, it has seen me through primary school, high school, university, losing our wonderful Chocolate Labrador; Fudge, and entering the big ole world of work.

Moving took a lot of adjusting. For one thing, I’d only ever been on a school bus once or twice, now I’d be taking one every day of primary school. Boys were another adjustment. I’d been to an all-girls school in Glasgow – I was not prepared to deal with boys and their teasing or hair pulling or smell. Some things you just never fully adapt to.

As I grew older, I remember being so ready to leave the tiny town and explore pastures new. But the night before I left for uni I was in floods of tears; the move was incredibly daunting. 150 miles away from my family, no friends going with me. I was comforted with Mamma Mia and popcorn, and the promise of being brought back home once my stuff was moved into halls. After flitting my gear from Oban to Edinburgh the following day, my parents snuck out without saying goodbye to make sure I didn’t jump in the car with them. Soon after, they were the ones asking me when I’d next be home, while I was busy galavanting and studying (yes, really, I did study…sometimes).

Maya Angelou said something that fits my relationship with this house, and Oban, perfectly:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

I’ve grown up here; played dress up, forged friendships, learned scripts, practiced dances, sprained ankles falling down rabbit holes (not some of my finest moments) and mended broken hearts.

The sea views and home comforts have seen me through many tear fests and giggle fits, sleepovers and all nighters.

From wearing bridesmaids dresses and parading up and down the stairs to hiding in the Tiggy-Winkle cupboard (aptly named after the Beatrix Potter paper that adorned the walls) playing Sardines; I have so many wonderful memories.

I’m still too scared to walk up the stairs to bed in the dark and I will always find that attic creepy as hell. Too many badly lit corners and sloping ceilings and cobwebs. Perfect hiding place for monsters and baddies from storybooks. I have done my best to avoid spending time at there at all costs. Not today, Satan, not today.

Every time my chimney threw down stones in stormy weather I’d get the fright of my life, even when I remembered beforehand that it was bound to happen.

The wee nook in my bedroom window with my beanbag saw many books devoured.

The cupboard by the fireplace hoarded treasures and keepsakes of milestones gone by; from my signed leavers Park Primary polo shirt to painted pottery to photographs of musicals I’ve been in.

I mended my broken heart from within that bedroom. My pillow soaked up so many tears and it was cocooned in that duvet that I wrote my frustrations and hurt and anguish away. I overcame loneliness and hurt and loss of important friendships in that room. Those four walls were the safest of havens in some of my darkest moments.

Now empty, the den holds some wonderful memories too. Phone calls with Cal, Grease singalongs and painting the walls with colours that definitely didn’t match the curtains or carpets.

The front door handle that always came flying out if you didn’t turn it the right way provided lots of entertainment. I always laughed watching others do it and seeing their faces contort in horror, thinking they’d broken our door and locked us in. I still did it myself, even this morning as I was filling up the car.

I’ll especially miss the kitchen. That hob though. And that oven produced some of my finest baking over the years. The corner by the cook book and CD player was a particular favourite of mine. I would thumb through one of the many Jamie Olivers or occasionally Nigella’s latest book, belting out Nina Simone or Harry Connick Jr. Latterly Adele and Elbow made the playlist too.

Takeaways and late nights singing and making memories in the conservatory. Camping in the garden that one time. Naming the back road Sweetie Lane because it came out at the Old Fashioned Sweet shop – I was definitely one of their best (by which I mean most frequent) customers. Managing to sleep 9 people in the house at once.

This house has been the common ground for so many memories, so much happiness and personal peace.

I am truly sad to be closing this front door for the final time.

However, I’m also incredibly excited to not have to travel for 5 hours for snuggles with my dog. I’ll just have to walk down the hill and she’ll be there for walks and naps. (Having my parents closer will be great too, obvs.)

My mum’s family are still in Oban. I will always have ties to this wonderful town. The family I’ve made here, too, from Spotlight and school and other places are just as much a reason to return.

I can’t let go of the sea. I’m a west coaster at heart. I will forever yearn to be by it, be seduced by the serenity of it and miss it massively when I’m away.

It won’t be long before I’m back visiting, but this new chapter is itching to be lived out and I’m ready to see what the future holds for the King family in Edinburgh. New city, new adventure.

Can you believe the three of them copied me, upped sticks and moved to my city? I am a trendsetter, evidently.

No matter where I am in the world, part of me will forever be tied to this little coastal town and I will continue to miss it terribly when I’m not here – pesky seagulls and all.

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave,

and grow old waiting to get back to.

– John Ed Pearce

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7 Reasons Why You Should Give Me a Job – Number 4 is Amazing!

It can be difficult to get people’s attention. There is so much noise out there, making being heard or seen a challenge if you’re lacking a megaphone and platform boots.

My time at The Leith Agency is coming to an end and I am ready for my next big adventure. I have been contacting other agencies, hoping to chat with digital strategists and social media execs and planners and copywriters to gain a better understanding of how different agencies — and indeed, different people — approach advertising and marketing in innovative, loud, noticeable ways.

The problem was that I wasn’t being noticed myself. Countless emails and requests and LinkedIn stalking sessions later, I was scunnered. It was time for a new, bolder approach.

The following is a modified version of the very real clickbait efforts I sent out to people and agencies I wanted to get to learn from and get to know better. What better way to convince them that I’m a fun, motivated, interesting person they’d like to have a chat with than to capture them with intrigue and the human inability to ignore the big neon sign (or in this case clickbaity title)?

Amy King. Linguistics graduate, Digital intern, lover of pretty stationery. She’s ready for her next adventure in the working world of social media management and digital strategy. Want to know why not employing her would be a HUGE mistake? Read on to find out…

1. I’m a millennial (setting aside the controversy of the term for now). I’ve downloaded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, BuzzFeed, Pinterest, Tumblr, Giphy, LinkedIn, WeHeartIt, YouTube and Reddit. Not to mention supporting apps like Boomerang, VSCO, Layout… I use Hootsuite for my personal accounts as well as clients’ social media profiles. I’m committed to the cause.


2. I’m the keenest of keen beans when it comes to learning. I often find myself on a QI binge. Fun fact: Not every language can deal with metaphors. One of these is Navajo. The Navajo word for The Elephant’s Feet (mountain pillars on Navajo land) translates into English as “two rocks standing vertically parallel in a reciprocal relationship to each other”.  This makes me a pretty great pub quiz teammate. Or researcher. Whichever you think is more important.


3. My Linguistics degree set me up for big research projects, quantitative data analysis and understanding communication. Advertising is all about understanding communication. We’re a good fit, really.


4. I prefer a GIF to an emoji. Emojis have their place, but GIFs really tell a story. Some people have Snapchat streaks, my boyfriend and I have baby animal GIF-offs. You tell me which is better.


5. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter insights— I’ve dealt with them all. Community management and content marketing make up the bulk of my working week, but other projects I’ve completed include researching internal social media engagement strategies, writing Best Practice guides for social media platforms, learning about the psychology of clickbait and keeping up to date with the latest technologies and advancements in the digital sphere. #Trendy


6. My life revolves around lists: To Do lists, shopping lists, Do Not Forget These Important Things lists, ‘please talk to me about your industry’ lists – the list goes on. They help my productivity, are cathartic to write and work through and are a productive form of procrastination. What’s not to like?


7. My Digital Strategist internship with The Leith Agency was originally 10 weeks. When my contract ends in February, I will have been with Leith for 41 weeks (that’s just over 10 months). I must be doing something right, right?


So, there you have it: 7 reasons why you should want me on your team (albeit not an exhaustive list, but I have to keep some things up my sleeve for the interview!)

Amazingly, this method has proved successful. People tend to notice a headline screaming at them in their inbox when the rest rarely make use of an exclamation mark, never mind block capitals.

It’s funny how keen people are to share their pearls of wisdom with you, yet how difficult it can be to get their attention. Advertising, especially, requires a certain outside-the-box approach to show you’re suited to the industry (not to mention a wee showcasing of my copywriting abilities — added bonus).

Clickbait (aka ‘fake news’ aka ‘alternative facts’) often comes under fire for misadvertising the contents of an article — a prime example being this less than gracious article Piers Morgan published after being stood up by Ewan McGregor (I’m staying away from the politics this time).

However, I’d like to think this article stands up somewhat for the little guy in this particular scenario. Sometimes a catchy title for an article or an introductory email, despite its same-old-clickbait appearance, really is as great as it seems.

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