Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mains of Drum

In the States, when you think of a garden center, it usually centers on the sale of plant life and outdoor accessories. Seems pretty self-explanatory. In Scotland, Garden Centers sell plants and patio furniture, but they also peddle in various home goods: from pillows to pastries; from dog food to Christmas decorations.
If you happen to be in the UK and see a sign for one of these hidden gems, pull over. They are worth the stop, and plus they all house delicious cafes where you can relax and refuel with coffee, lunch, or a sweet treat. One of our favorite Garden Centers is Mains of Drum, located 30 minutes away in Banchory, near both Crathes and Drum castle. When they approached the AWA to host a special shopping event for us ladies, I was mighty excited, especially since it (theoretically) cost zero dollars to attend and included complimentary champagne and canapés.
Mains of Drum is full of cute home décor and delicious smelling candles, but the main draw for us Americans is their American food section.
Just for us, they made sure they were fully stocked with all of the impossible to find necessities such as Rotel, Dill Pickles and Aunt Jemima Syrup. Of course, since they are imported and taxed up the wazoo, each item cost a pretty penny. However, since the holidays are coming up, I decided to splurge on a couple of items that I am feeling particularly homesick for.  

I keep a pretty healthy diet, but my weakness is surely candy. Come October, my house is usually stocked full of candy corn. When I find the Christmas color candy corn, it seriously makes my week. Guess what they don’t have in the UK? Candy Corn- Thanksgiving or Christmas colored. I’ve been missing them dearly and therefore didn’t feel a smidge of guilt on spending the equivalent of $4.60 on one measly bag.

You know what else I love? M&Ms- all shapes, sizes and colors. Combine M&Ms and candy corn, and you’ve given me another reason to slap 5 bucks on the register.
FYI...worth every penny and calorie!
My friends and I are having a White Elephant gift exchange in a few weeks, and I’ve offered to host at my house. I really wanted to make Swedish meatballs, but all of the recipes I found called for ingredients that don’t typically exist in GB (Great Britain). This recipe in particular calls for Grape Jelly and Heinz Chilli Sauce, two items that you won’t find in a Scottish grocery store. How lucky for me (and my future guests) that Mains of Drum was stocked with both items!
They will be the most expensive Swedish meatballs ever made, but I am super excited to serve them for the party.

Other items I splurged on were Chocolate Pudding and Bisquick.
I’m hoping that I can use the Bisquick to make biscuit dough for our traditional Christmas morning Monkey Bread, since biscuits do not exist in the UK, in a can or otherwise. Unless by biscuits you actually mean cookies, and then they exist in spades. 
I didn’t just buy American goodies, but I also bought some organic lip balm and 2 Christmas ornaments for some ornament exchanges I have coming up next week. Of course, I can’t show those to you now or else it would ruin the surprise.

Thanks for being patient with me guys; I’m aware that my last few postings have been pretty dull and a bit rushed. I’m just really struggling on what to write about, but I promise that next week will be jam packed with blog worthy subjects, so just hold on tight! And as always, blog topic suggestions are always appreciated.


  1. Dad and I never visited Mains of Drum. It was just completed the year we were leaving. The castle is wonderful and worth the visit if you have guests. I like the fact that you let our American friends know that a garden nursery is so so much more than a nursery as we know it. I think any topics which show the differences between your world now and our world here is worth reading and YOU tell it so well. love you much

  2. You are silly! I find every single one of your blogs interesting. And not because I'm your friend and I love you, but because you are a talented writer and I don't know one thing about life in Scotland. So these daily bits are seriously quirky and fascinating to me. XOXO

    P.S. I would pay a lot more than $5 for the happiness that my favorite treat brings me. Money well spent!