Aberdeen ⇒ Inverness.

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After a rather stressful morning of crossing town THREE times to get all the documents in order to pick up our rental car, we were on the road around noon to start our drive up towards Inverness.

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We stopped along the A96 in Keith to visit the Strathisla distillery. Now I am not overly intrigued of such places, but J had made a good choice (if it were up to him we'd have stopped at just about every distillery we crossed... which were PLENTY!) with Strathisla, as it is the oldest distillery still operating in Scotland and thus lacks that almost industrial feel you get from more modern complexes.

The tour was about £7.50pp and lasted for an hour, including a little whisky tasting at the end (or you can purchase a driver's set if you are behind the wheel.)

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Once in the highland capital, we literally made it around the city center before the rain started pissing down. This brought us into conversation with an elderly local who tagged along on a little pub crawl. First stop was the Castle Tavern, then on to the Market Bar (regarded as a bit of a hidden gem of the city - a teeny tiny pub in all wooden decor) and finally to Hootananny in time for a live session of traditional Scottish music.  

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When we rolled out of town the following day, the sun stood bright in the sky yet the chilly August air was indicating autumn's return. We drove along Loch Ness, onto Eilean Donan Castle and finally to Isle of Skye where we'd spend the next couple of days -- but that will be a post for another time.

Celebrating bidsummer, vegan lemon curd & floral crowns.

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Happy Midsummer - and here is a cavalcade of photos! Since my 23rd birthday took place on the 23rd, and the following day coincided with the Swedish Midsummer, I took the liberty of creating my very own holiday - namely BIDSUMMER (birthday midsummer, get it?) yesterday.

The weather was gloomy here in Scotland so I turned the living room into a floral haven and set the table with veganized versions of dishes with typical midsummery flavours, such as elderflower, strawberries, dill and new potatoes.

As our main we had Vegoteket's dill- and lemon marinated tofu and parsley cream along with Annie/Vegokäk's French new potato salad with asparagus. As for dessert, I made a cake with aqua faba meringue, vegan lemon curd, coconut cream and strawberries marinated in mint, olive oil and lemon. It was D-I-V-I-N-E! To wash it all down the mandatory nubbe of some leftover rum and licorice (Tyrkisk peber!) and elderflower cordial mixed with prosecco.

A weekend with Mum & Dad_Pt 1: Stonehaven and 3 course meals.

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Last weekend these two travelled across the North Sea to spend the weekend with me. Mamma and pappa!!! On the Saturday we took the bus out to Stonehaven.

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On the Saturday we took the bus out to Stonehaven...

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... which is an adorable little fishing town about half an hour away from Aberdeen. This particular Saturday there was a carnival held at the city square.

It was of course far too crowded for us northern Swedes so we took the path down to the harbour.

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We proceeded up a hill...

... and reached the path to wander out towards Dunnottar Castle.

... and reached the path to wander out towards Dunnottar Castle.

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Passing by coconut-smelling flowers...

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... and grass-munching beauties.

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By the time we actually reached the castle, we did not really feel like paying the entrance fee to enter (me and Julien already went a few months ago and both felt like the surroundings were the better part of the experience). So instead we ate our packed lunch and watched the castle and its tourits from a distance.

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Afterwards we decided to be adenturous and climb down the steep hills to that gate through the cliff as you can see on the right. 

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Yes, this one!!

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I took this and showed my mother saying "you can go back to Sweden and claim we took a quick visit to Austria".. I mean, how Sound of Music does this not look??

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  Then it was definitely time for a strong cuppa coffee, so back to Stonehaven we went.

Back in Granite City, I cooked up a 3 course-meal including the sweet potato and black bean burgers with the infamous mango + ginger salsa. Holy yum!

The following day we walked around Aberdeen and I got a sunburn on my nose, but that will be a post for another day.

David Welch Winter Gardens.

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The other week on my day off, the sun was shining (which is a rare occurrence here in Scotland) so I decided to carpe the diem and go out for a walk along river Dee.

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With a coffee in one hand (obviously), camera in the other - I finally ended up in Duthie Park.

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My aim was to explore the David Welch Winter Gardens that are located within the park - and to my great delight I discovered there was not even an entry fee to be paid at the door!!
(I was thinking one would have to pay a pound or so, and thus darned myself for having not brought my Student ID, but that was clearly not needed = pleasant surprise!)

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Now there are way more than funny looking cactuses (what is the plural of cactus?! #helpaforeignerout)in there, but for whatever reason the photos from my DSLR seems to have vanished into thin air, so what is left is a bunch of iphone-photos. Amongst them these little creatures -- turtles!!! Which I by the way do hope don't get hit in the head when those coins are being thrown down there...

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 ... It must be a rather Scottish things, these Winter Gardens? I am fairly sure I have seen both Glasgow and Edinburgh having one too... It is a really cool concept though! 4/5 toasters for the Winter Gardens!

STONEHAVEN.

At present I should be in the air on my way to the motherland, but meanwhile – let’s have a look at the rest of mine and Julien’s day trip out to Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle. 

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So we waved the castle goodbye and continued to walk along the cliffs. It was far fewer tourists to bump into. 

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Along narrow pathways…

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“Make a panorama!”, Julien urged. Voila, here’s your panorama.

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I don’t think we walked much more than half an hour before Stonehaven appeared behind a creek. So pretty! 

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Hey ho, down to the fishing boats we go. 

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It turned out to be a real cute little town. It reminds me a little of Aberdeen’s own Footdee, with all the peculiarities going on – like this Homer Simpson head watching over the washing machine?!

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Whenever boats are involved I am like *mental note: bring dad here if he comes to visit!!* 

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I had literally just learnt one can adjust the brightness on the iphone camera (late to the game much??) so I was really enjoying playing around with it.

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I would have loved to explore some more of Stonehaven, but the combination of myself + low blood sugar and boyfriend that had been at work since 4am, we were a little grumpy and decided to look for the next bus back. But c’est la vie – luckily it is only a short bus ride away! 

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Waiting for the bus, we had coffee and then bought some special price sandwiches to eat at the bus stop.

All in all, it was a great day out - we returned back home with rosy cheeks and fatigue from all the fresh air. I wish I could just wander about exploring places and natures all day, every day! (But with plenty of snacks of course) x

 

CASTLE RUINS/DUNNOTTAR.

Although we have been meaning to, we haven't seen too much of Scotland outside of Aberdeen since we arrived here in September. But along came yesterday, and by some miracle, I had finished my essay before 9am (!!!) and the sun was blessing Aberdeen with its presence. As soon as Julien stepped through the door, I declared "we are going to for an adventure!".

Because if there is one thing I have learnt living in Scotland, you never know just how long the nice weather is going to last. When the sun shines - you act QUICKLY!!

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After a quick shower and brekkie, we headed off to catch the bus out to Stonehaven from Union Street. Thanks to a very informative post by Sydney, I already knew the drill. Kind of.

I spotted a group of American tourists at the very front of the double-decker (yes, that kind of seating definitely gives you off) and decided if we only followed them we would end up at the right place.

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Which was lucky, had it not been for them we would probably have missed the stop and ended up all the way in Dundee. The bus stopped seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The southern Frenchie was not too pleased with the winds that seemed to come in from the North Pole.

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And there it was - Dunnottar Castle! I kept imagining what it must have been like to live in such a place... Wow! I brought my film camera along so brace yourselves for the bombarding of photos- in a few weeks you will be sick and tired of seeing this castle!The entry fee to visit the castle is £6/person, which we both agreed was an interesting visit but perhaps a little too pricy. As expected, we preferred the parts of watching the scenery from a distance + our walk along the cliffs to little fisher town Stonehaven.

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I kept imagining what it must have been like to live in such a place... Wow! I brought my film camera along so brace yourselves for the bombarding of photos- in a few weeks you will be sick and tired of seeing this castle!The entry fee to visit the castle is £6/person, which we both agreed was an interesting visit but perhaps a little too pricy. As expected, we preferred the parts of watching the scenery from a distance + our walk along the cliffs to little fisher town Stonehaven.

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The entry fee to visit the castle is £6/person, which we both agreed was an interesting visit but perhaps a little too pricy. As expected, we preferred the parts of watching the scenery from a distance + our walk along the cliffs to little fisher town Stonehaven.

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But really, that could just be me and entry fees in general - be it to a club or a museum, I kind of feel pressured to enjoy places of which I have paid to enter. Do you know what I mean?

To prevent this post from being all too long, Stonehaven will get a post on its own. If this was a radio channel I would say - stay tuned! x

How I (literally) spent my afternoon.

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My Wallet and I tend to disagree on some subjects. Such as, what a decent student budget is… Sometimes pounds seem a bit like monopoly money to me. As the numbers of the prices in themselves are bound to be lower than that of the Swedish Krona, the bargain-detector in my brain is on a constant “ping! ping! ping!”. One would think I should have learnt after all these years in the UK…

Ah well, sometimes ignorance is bliss. Let me show you what I got with my monopoly notes:

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It was actually time to top up on this heavenly-smelling Lush conditioner and as I have not bought a proper face wash since my last one finished around Christmas, I figured it was time to invest in something.

It came down to Herbalism and I am so excited to try it out this evening!

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I LOVE charity shops in the UK – especially when they contain Murakami books! This is the 3rd and final part of 1Q84, that I read last year. It was merely 50 pence. Even I can agree with the bargain-detector on that price!

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I will be honest, I have no intention to read this copy Star Wars - I simply bought it for the beautiful cover. Look!! And "with 16 pages of fabulous colour"! Bargain-detector much?? Haha. I will probably just end up giving it to Julien for his birthday.

There we have it, how I spent my afternoon in a double sense.

The past days in pictures.

After a few days in moving-chaos we are finally (somewhat) settled into our new place. Gosh, I feel exhausted all the way into my soul. Our 3rd residency in about 9 months.

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When cleaning the flat the other morning, the sky put on a show. 

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This is my current routine on an afternoon off: jasmine tea and corn cakes; one with hummus and one with pb + banana coins. 

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Yesterday we went with our new landlord/housemate to Costco. Both me and Julien were pretty much agreed that we will come along and have a look, but we are not buying anything. Well, when you stumble upon a kilo of chia seeds for £4.69, I would say it is perfectly sane not to stand by your word.

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And since today is Valentine's and one is meant to spend time with loved ones - I walked through the snowfalls to buy myself a plunger so that me and Coffee could be together on this special day <3.

Bye bye Hutcheon Street!

Tomorrow we are moving. Not very far, just a mere 10 minute walk from our current place. (But I am fairly sure those 10 minutes will feel a lot longer carrying all our stuff over there back and forth. Thank goodness we have not got any furniture!!)

I figured this would be a good time for a little Hutcheon Street Memorial Post, you know – eating half a pack of tofu line (because I am sure not one to leave a pack of ice cream behind!!) and walk down memory lane in a vast mixture of iphone + DSLR shots. So here goes, this is where we have lived for the past few, and first, months in Granite city. 

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You enter the building from the back, which is sometimes a little confusing. (Like on our day of arrival when we went to knock on number 34 and said “hey! it is us, here to move in!” As it turns out, we were at the wrong 34 and was met by a very skeptical man that directed us AROUND the building. To a completely different one. Oops.)

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One must climb up four sets of stairs, past posters of Van Gogh works and a set of skis, and there we have it.

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Stepping through the front door, you enter straight into the living room. This photo is me attempting panorama, hence the wobbly blurry weirdness.

90% of the time the right corner of the sofa contains a certain French guy. Myself I will sit curled up on the corner. The window sill has gotten rings of the tea mugs I always store on it.

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f you step to the right from the front door, you will find our (former) bedroom. (More on those books are in this post ←)

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The artwork hanging on the wall previously hung in the staircase but I found it so beautiful (much more than that massive IKEA print. But please let me keep my Swedish citizenship!) that I stole it to hang it in the bedroom instead.

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Most of these photos are from last term. Obviously from a day that I had bothered to clean, because on a normal day it is never this tidy on my bedside table. (Or anywhere else for that matter.)

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Opposite of the bedroom is the bathroom. It is a bit of a shabby chic-nightmare. In purple. (Like a sign that says "Relax" on top of the toilet...? Nah. Plus a semi-sexist door sign...) So let us instead admire this photo of my hair before I let Julien cut it <//3

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… And of course my fabulous little helpers! Charles and Lady Di!

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Another wobbly panorama, as we enter the kitchen! The place where I spend most my time. The lighting is often very bad, but luckily it has a massive window sill.

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There is no decent desk in this flat, so this is where I spread out all my uni stuff like there was no tomorrow. These photos again show the 10 seconds before it is back to its normal hot mess-state that we both have a tendency to create… Even though J insists it is my fault alone.

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That was all of the little Hutcheon Street reminisce.

And thus a new chapter begins! 

A Friday in January.

This term I have been fortunate enough to have both Wednesdays AND Fridays off from uni – hurray! Perfect for running errands and just catch up on LIFE a little. Here is what I have been up to today:

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I had a fairly productive morning. I finalized my Erasmus application, did some uni-work and cleaned the whole flat. Outside was alternating between heavy showers and sunshine.

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I bought this desk-planner a few months ago from my favourite shop Paperchase. Since then I have slowly neglected my diary. It reminds me of something my mother used to have at work back in the 90’s. I adore it. Possibly because I am a manic list-writer. This Organised Chaos of uppercase, lowercase, Swedish, English and course codes represents the past week.
 

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After lunch, I went to the Arts & Crafts shop, which is really rather dangerous for my wallet. Above is the stuff I have bought this month alone, in Sweden and over here – any guesses what it is for?

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Julien is always nagging on me to make smoothies, whereby I go “make it yourself”. Today was the day he finally did. It was meant to be under my supervision, but then the weirdo started adding lemon and cayenne pepper. I was like “hey we’re not making a salad here!!!”.

I named the poisonously green creation “banana guac” because yes it had a very Mexican feel.  (As a side, I had a wee bag of crisps to compensate the healthiness.)

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When we moved in here, there was a box in the bedroom with a slow cooker inside and a note saying “feel free to use me”. At this instance, I am having my first go. I am not really sure what the hell I am doing, but at least I should not be able to burn anything so… that is something. Greetings, The Girl Who Both Burns and Under-cooks The Same Pancake.

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Oh and today is also the #1 birthday of this sleeping beauty aka my niece! I cannot believe it has already been a year!