Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

A few years ago, Emily had a slight obsession with the Loch Ness Monster, so when we were deciding what we wanted to do this summer, Inverness and Loch Ness seemed like an obvious choice. Of course, the weather was very Scottish, so I didn’t get to take many photos, but we endured the rain to have some adventures nonetheless. 

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

Geoff got to tick an item off his bucket list by seeing a wild dolphin. He booked us a a dolphin-watching cruise with Dolphin Spirit. We spotted the same dolphin twice, and it was super cool. The guide on the boat was also fun and informative. We also spotted some seals, otters, and sea birds. Apart from being soaking wet, it was a great experience.

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

We also did a combo coach and boat tour with Jacobite Tours. We hopped on a bus to Loch Ness, boarded a boat to cruise the Loch, and got dropped off to explore Urquhart Castle. On the way back, we got to stop off at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition to learn more about Nessie, and of course, a chance to shop for souvenirs. 

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

In addition to all this organised fun, we explored the local museum and enjoyed a beautiful river walk.

Explore: Inverness & Loch Ness

Inverness was a beautiful town and a great base from which to explore some beautiful and historic bits of Scotland. We didn’t make it out to Culloden this time, but I’m sure we’ll get another chance. I’d definitely recommend a visit. Just don’t expect a wealth of sunshine.

Awesome in April

Awesome in April

Awesome in April

I think I’ve finally recovered from accompanying 11 young people on an overnight camping expedition that included an 8 mile hike each way. Don’t worry, I had four other amazing adults with me to keep me sane. But add in snow and the world’s most uncomfortable hiking boots, and hopefully you can see why I was a bit traumatized. At least I didn’t bring home any ticks this time.

This month we ventured out to see the Falkirk Wheel, tried a few new restaurants, including Smoak, which was pretty spectacular, and ate more bundt cake than is appropriate for a normal human.

Speaking of bundt cake, can I get a piece of this chocolate peanut butter bundt cake, please? 

Let’s follow it up with with these raspberry lemon meringue tartlets in the hope that spring will bloom forth in all it’s sunshiney glory.

And we can have one more dessert because this one is low fat. Dish me up some secretly healthier chocolate mousse

Buttery Nipple Milkshake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Your favorite recipes this month were Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Buttery Nipple Millkshakes. I think we might be in a party mood.

May is upon us, complete with two long weekends. I plan to relax to the best of my ability and smile whenever possible. Love it, kids. Every minute.

Explore: Edinburgh

Explore: Edinburgh

Explore: Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a dream for wanderers. We recently took a quick day trip to explore the city for the first time, and I already can’t wait to go back. The old town is full of narrow crooked lanes with unique little shops and quirky architecture tucked away everywhere. You just stumble upon history everywhere you look. And above it all Edinburgh Castle is always looming.

Explore: Edinburgh

But you know I was really there to explore the city that helped to make my favorite story come to life and walk the streets that Jo walked and feel the energy she might have felt as Harry and Hermione and all the Weasleys, so many of my imaginary friends, were coming to life in her mind. 

Explore: Edinburgh

Obviously, we had to stop off at The Elephant House, one of the cafes that Jo frequently visited to avoid paying for heating in her Edinburgh flat while she struggled as a single mom. I don’t usually go all gooey over celebrities, but you guys, it’s Jo Rowling. You’ll have to forgive me. Besides, the hot chocolate was great.

Explore: Edinburgh

See that! That’s magic being born. Just shut up.

Explore: Edinburgh

Just around the corner from the Elephant House is Grey Friar’s Kirkyard. It’s creepy and beautiful. Of course, I had to find the grave of Tom Riddle, but really, if you’re one of those weirdos who likes wandering around in old graveyards, this one is definitely worth checking out. I think there are actual famous people buried there, but all I really cared about was Voldemort.

Explore: Edinburgh

Not far from here is Grassmarket and Victoria Street. I absolutely loved wandering past the colorful shops on the curving narrow road that some say was the inspiration for Diagon Alley. There was a vintage tweed shop that had me wanting exactly everything in the window, but the joke shop definitely put a huge smile on my face.

Explore: Edinburgh

You know I was happy when we found ourselves in an open market selling fresh produce, handcrafted jewelry, fresh bread, and gorgeous macarons. 

Explore: Edinburgh

I love that Edinburgh embraces it’s reputation as a magical city. They could have created tourist traps, but instead, this city seems to just hint at magic if you’re looking in the right places. I can’t wait to return and experience so much more of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Spring Dreaming | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spring Dreaming

Spring Dreaming | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s March, and I’m ready to deep dive into Spring. I’ve had enough of boots and scarves and sweaters. I’m ready for sunshine and grass and flowers. Here’s just a few things I’m dreaming about this Spring.

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

I just bought a waffle iron, so I’m thinking this Spring I’m going to have to waffle everything. This yeasted waffle recipe is up first, but I also want to try Hash Brown Waffles, Cornbread Waffles, and Brownie Waffles, just to start off with.

gallery-of-modern-art

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We still have plenty of things to explore right here in Glasgow. I still haven’t actually made it inside the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, and I think this Spring will be the perfect time for it. There are also plenty of opportunities for al fresco dining in the area if it stops raining. Sunshine, people. We need sunshine. What a lovely Saturday afternoon this could be. 

Castle

This country is littered with castles, and it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve been to one. I’m greedy for castles, you guys. I don’t even have a particular castle in mind, but there’s surely on close by. I want to pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and be surrounded by a bit of history and magic. 

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Similarly, I’ve heard there are some pretty outstanding hikes nearby. I don’t know, but I think they call them hill walks around here. No matter what they’re called, I think it will be a huge difference from the jungles and volcanoes we used to hike back in Hawaii. I’m hoping to spot some local wildlife, eat lots of nuts and chocolate, and get all renewed by nature and junk.

loch-lomond

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Everyone keeps telling me I need to take a trip out to Loch Lomond. I hear it’s easily accessible from Glasgow, so we could easily make a day trip of it. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be extra stingy for a while and save up to stay for the weekend. It looks like there’s a lot to explore.

I’m ready for some Spring renewal. Let’s have all the adventures. What are you dreaming of this Spring?

Exploring: World of Wings

Exploring: World of Wings

Exploring: World of Wings

For Christmas this year, I opted for an untraditional gift for my husband. Instead of a tie or a watch or some other ultimately useless thing, I gifted him a Bird of Prey experience at World of Wings in Cumbernauld, Scotland.

Exploring: World of Wings

I married a man who happens to love animals more than people. I’m quite convinced he’d happily trade me in for a dog if he could figure out how to get the dog to make dinner. This gift was better than any single thing I could have bought him for a store. He was gloriously happy.

Exploring: World of Wings

I found a deal on Groupon to make his experience more affordable. They seem to run offers on a fairly regular basis in the winter months. I’m betting that if you want to go in the summer, you’ll have to pay full price.

Exploring: World of Wings

I was able to pay regular admission for myself and visit their entire collection of birds. I also got to take photos while Geoff got to handle some of the beautiful birds they care for. 

Exploring: World of Wings

If you want to do one of these hands-on experiences, you’ll need to book ahead, but if you just want to see the birds and watch a flying demonstration, you can stop by any time during their opening hours.

Exploring: World of Wings

It snowed the weekend we went, so the 15 minute walk from the train station was a bit more unpleasant than it might otherwise have been. If you have the ability to drive there, I’d recommend it, but it is reachable by public transport.

Exploring: World of Wings

We also grabbed a quick breakfast between the handling and the flying demonstration, and the food was better than I expected.

Exploring: World of Wings

If you’re an animal lover in the Glasgow area, I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for a deal at World of Wings. It was a lovely, if very cold, day well-spent.

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