Cat's Eyes on Glasgow: my delight at the city's iconic Hutchesons Hall turning into an A-list restaurant

This week, new A-list restaurant Hutchesons, the beauty of seaweed and back to school for The Scottish Education Awards.

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The Opening

When I first moved back to Glasgow, I lived opposite the iconic Hutchesons Hall. I'd often think, what an amazing building that is, I wish someone would do something clever with it. And now, finally, they have; this week I went along to the soft opening of new Merchant City bar and restaurant, Hutchesons.

The white, almost church-like, building has stood on Ingram Street since the 1800s. It was originally built by the Hutcheson brothers (of Hutchy school fame) as a hospital for the elderly. More recently, it was taken over by The National Trust and has been used as a range of public offerings, from a library to a bank and even office space. However, five years ago, after one of our particularly unforgiving winter storms, the hall suffered serious water damage and fell into disrepair.

So, it's taken several years, a special partnership with Glasgow restraunteur James Rusk (who also own's CEOG favourite The Butchershop) and nearly £1.3 million to turn this A-listed building into the city's newest A-list dining spot. Set over three floors, every nook and cranny has been carefully restored to create a venue that has grandeur and class but with more than a slice of modern comfort.

The menu is pretty classy too, much like The Butchershop, the focus is on quality produce with a wee bit of extravagance (think lobster, caviar and oysters). It's not just serious scran, though, the plan is to cater for all budgets…at all times of the day. The restaurant will open early doors (9am) and hopes to become a favourite for breakfast Benedicts as well as dinner dates.

The Beauty

I remember flinging seaweed at my brother up and down the West Coast when I was wee. I thought I was doing him a mischief, little did I know I was actually giving him a rustic beauty treatment! In recent years, we have learned that this funny-looking sand-creeper is actually an incredible antioxidant, good to eat and fabulous to slather yourself in.

In Scotland, we have oodles of the stuff. What's more, research has shown that seaweed from The Hebrides contains more natural antioxidants and anti-ageing properties than other kinds of seaweed! So it makes sense that a smart Scottish brand would make the most of this indigenous ingredient. Set up last year, Ishga - Gaelic for water - is made entirely from Hebridean seaweed, natural oils and spring water. It's also pure heaven.

I promised you that I wouldn't become a wedding bore after I got engaged at new year, but all I will say is that I know now why it's one of the most stressful things you can do. So, if ever there was a time when I needed a wee bit of relaxation, it was now. Intrigued by Ishga, I thought I'd check it out. So, this week I went for an Hot Stone Massage and Express Facial.

With help from the kelp, my tensions over table decorations were soothed away. Ishga-ahhhhhh! Afterwards my skin felt clearer, rejuvenated and, I would say, more toned. This lovely Scottish product is available online and in several spas - I discovered the beauty of seaweed at the Blythswood Spa.

The Awards

When I was younger, my folks said that they wanted to equip me, my brother and sister with a good education, a good set of teeth and a backpack to take us to wherever we wanted to go in life. I'm glad I have all three, but my backpack has definitely seen better days!

The reason that education was so important in my family is because almost every single one of my nearest and dearest has been involved in teaching in some way or other. Like my Granny, who was one of the first female PE teachers in Scotland, she remained 'super gran' well into her 80s!

So, for all these reasons, this week I was delighted to host The Scottish Education Awards for the second time. It's an important way to celebrate the teachers and support staff who work tirelessly to help shape Scotland's future through our young un's. Many of the finalists and winners have put decades into education, like Linda Burke from Sandaig Primary in Glasgow, who was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. I worked out that she's spent a whopping 66,690 hours (and that's without all the extra homework) teaching in her career.

Without sounding like a teachers pet (which I probably was, what a sook!) I just want to say a wee well done (and thank you) to all the finalists, winners and, of course, great teachers out there. You are all A*'s!

Wee Bird Recommends

You say potato, Wee Bird says Pommes Frites! Pommes Frites is the new chip shop on the block (Sauchiehall Street) it's like a pick and mix…but for your tatties. Choose your poke, your seasoning and your sauce, and walk away a chipper chappy! Wee Bird will see you there for your tea on Saturday night!

Education

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