Scotland

My last week in Dundee

The last few weeks in Dundee flew by! I feel like I’ve been socialising non-stop for the past two weeks, no complaints but I’m not used to my schedule being so packed.

Nearly three weeks ago, I travelled to London with my friend Ivy of Year of Vegan Eats. We departed from Edinburgh and returned there after our foodie holiday in London. This granted me the opportunity for quick catch-ups with several friends in Edinburgh since that was the last time I’d be there for at least two years. I also had the chance to spend one more day in Glasgow and I couldn’t pass it up for the same reason. Kuba and I aren’t planning on returning to Scotland for quite some time as we have a full year of travelling through Europe ahead of us, and following that we plan to acquire and convert a van into a suitable living space for the next stage of our never-ending honeymoon. 😉

Kuba’s last day at work was last Friday. He’s finally free to start another career after working as a motorcycle mechanic for 10 years. He’s looking forward to focusing exclusively on his photography and videography now that he won’t be working a 9-5 job. This was a long time coming, as he knew years ago he’d ultimately quit this career for a new direction, taking a risk and opting for a more challenging path instead of a secure and comfortable one.

new tattoos!

With ample free time to socialise and clear out our flat, we also decided to get tattooed in Dundee before we start travelling through Europe. We’ve talked about getting tattoos to mark the start of this journey previously, so we figured why not get them done just before we move.

We were tattooed by Jay at Sanctuary Tattoo in Dundee thanks to a recommendation by our friend Rebecca. Rebecca has a beautifully coloured forearm piece (inspired by her own drawings) completed by Jay. Both Kuba and I were impressed by the vibrancy and clarity of Rebecca’s forearm, so we booked an appointment with Jay a few days in advance. We haven’t been tattooed in years so we both were eager to add a new piece to our collection.

My tattoo, designed by Rebecca, commemorates my time spent in Scotland. Kuba’s signifies the start of this new and exciting stage in his life. Thanks to Rebecca for helping us sort it!

one last day out with Ivy & Leo

The next day, our friends Ivy and Leo came through from Edinburgh to spend the day with us. This would be the last time we’d see them until September, as they’ve already booked flights to come visit us in Zagreb, Croatia! Naturally, we grabbed lunch at The Flame Tree Cafe.

Since this would be my last time eating there, I ordered my favourite sandwich, the vegan haggis toastie with sweet onion chutney and melty vegan cheese, with a side of pea and mint soup. The pea and mint soup is one of my favourite soups thanks to them. I decided to be extra fancy that day and order my toastie on a rainbow bagel. It was the right choice! A toasted bagel sando dunked into pea and mint soup is my idea of heaven. 🙂

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We actually had the vegan haggis three different ways: Kuba opted for it in a wrap, Leo ordered the toastie as it comes, and I savoured every single bite of my rainbow bagel toastie. Ivy noshed on a falafel sandwich instead. The falafel at The Flame Tree Cafe also happens to be one of my favourites. Maybe I just like everything there… 😉

After lunch, we relaxed in the City Square, soaked up all the sunshine, sampled some lattes at The Tartan Coffee House, and ended the night with dinner at Rama Thai.

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I’ve walked past Rama Thai before but never considered eating there as I wasn’t certain of their vegan options. We decided to try it thanks to several of our friends and their recommendations. I’m glad we did because the food was delicious!

I ordered their Som Tum salad as green papaya salad is one of my favourites from our trip to Thailand. On their menu, Som Tum wasn’t described as papaya salad because their version lacked the unripe green papaya. This is no surprise to me as green papaya is difficult to come by in Dundee. Instead, they replaced the papaya with shredded turnip. I tried it for dinner with a side of sticky rice as that was my go-to meal while Kuba and I visited Chiang Mai. My salad was absolutely delicious and very spicy. Yum!

Part of me is sad that I didn’t try Rama Thai sooner, but it’s probably for the best considering the prices were significantly higher than the prices we paid in Thailand. At any rate, I’m happy that I had a taste of authentic Thai food before we head off to Spain, and that I got to share the experience with Ivy and Leo. If you have a craving for Thai food, don’t hesitate to try Rama Thai. 🙂

decluttering, donations, & packing

Thursday was our last day in our flat so we were busy packing, organising our belongings, and completing any last minute errands. We’re only taking three bags full of our belongings and a guitar with us to Spain, so we donated a few bags of kitchen supplies to a charity shop and donated extra clothing, bedding, and towels thanks to Recycle Scotland’s website.

We didn’t have much furniture to begin with but still ended up donating our washing machine, desk, chair, hi-fi table, steamer, and vacuum to the British Heart Foundation. The BHF offers free pick-up of donations. You simply need to arrange a pick-up time online or over the phone. We initially tried to donate these items to the Tayside Reuse Centre as they also offer free pick-up, but we didn’t give them enough notice. Make sure you let these charities know a few weeks in advance if you have furniture you’d like to donate.

I’m glad that we managed to re-home most of the stuff we didn’t need. Thanks to our friends for taking little things off our hands! I hope you find your new stuff useful and that it serves you well. 🙂

And if you’re curious about what we packed for our move to Spain, check out our packing videos. This is everything we own and everything we’ll take with us for the next year.  Thanks for watching!

a homemade dinner thanks to Rebecca

For our last night in Dundee, our friend Rebecca graciously offered to cook us dinner. I think it’s safe to say she’s the best cook I know. 😉 She made us oil-free falafels served with a fresh salad, smoky sun-dried tomato cashew sauce, and seedy tortillas. For dessert, she whipped up some mango coconut yoghurt nice cream topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries. Dinner was excellent, as I knew it would be! We appreciated it so much because she took the time to make us a dinner that was oil-free and not too fatty. She catered to our eating habits, and that means a lot to us!

I was sad to end that night in Dundee because I’ve considered Scotland my home since I first moved to Glasgow a year and a half ago. I’ve made so many genuine friends there, met my now-husband, and started a new life. I don’t know what the next year will bring but I know it will be awesome! Let’s do this! ❤

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I wrote this post while we were on the plane from London to Málaga. We’re now in our flat in Torremolinos after walking along the beach. 🙂

One last trip to Glasgow

I travelled to Glasgow last week so I could catch up with a few friends. I can’t believe I only have a few days left here in Scotland! Kuba and I will be on our way to Torremolinos, Spain this Friday afternoon. 🙂

Glasgow was my first home after leaving the States in December 2015. I moved to Glasgow without ever visiting the city before, only because my now-friend Katie graciously let me rent out a room in her flat. Katie and I only had correspondence online, but everything worked out better than I could have predicted. I feel like I lucked out with my living situation because I feel like we had perfect flatmate chemistry if that makes sense!

I planned to meet up with Katie for lunch since I’d only be in Glasgow this one last time. I’m so lucky that I had the chance to connect with her. I doubt I would have had such a good time in Glasgow if my living situation were different. She has the sweetest, most well-behaved dog named Smash (the one that I recently dog-sat here in Dundee) and I enjoyed every second of my time at her flat in the West End. I lived with her and a second flatmate, Cat, for four months before I moved to Dundee. I was sad to move away from Glasgow but I had met Kuba a few weeks before. I just had to move in with him ASAP. 😉

I felt right at home in Glasgow and made friends easily. The vegan community in Glasgow and Edinburgh is vast, so finding vegans to hang out with wasn’t difficult for me. Also, connecting with Scottish vegans on Instagram before I moved across the pond made my transition to living in Scotland easy.

Besides lunch plans with Katie, I also hoped to catch up with my friends Debs and Sandra. 🙂

Debs is a fellow vegan entrepreneur of Wee Peeps whom I followed on Instagram before I arrived in Glasgow. We’ve met up a few times and I always have a good time with her. She’s creative, always positive about the future, and loves to travel. I had to meet up with her one last time before I leave Scotland!

She met me at the train station that morning, and our first stop was Picnic for a mocha and cappuccino. Picnic is an all-vegan cafe and my favourite cafe in Glasgow. Their croissants are to die for and their coffee drinks are perfect! They have several non-dairy milks to choose from. I chose a coconut milk mocha and skipped my usual croissant as Debs and I had a picnic in the park planned for later.

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It was unusually sunny in Glasgow that day. We took advantage of it by walking along the river, eventually finding our way to Glasgow’s West End.

We popped into Tesco for some grapes and scoped out Roots and Fruits. I couldn’t resist trying their vegan sausage rolls, so I ordered one to go and Debs ordered a wee box of beet salad. They had other vegan salads and goodies on their menu, as well as a shop full of vegan snacks, fresh bread, and whole foods. (The shop itself isn’t fully vegan, but vegans still have plenty to choose from!)

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Our picnic in Kelvingrove Park was excellent! The grapes were delicious, of course, and the beet salad was fresh and a good value considering the price, which was just over the price of my sausage roll. The sausage roll was tasty but not as good as my friend Rebecca’s homemade vegan sausage rolls. Her home-cooking has ruined me, I think. 😉

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Thanks to Debs for meeting up and soaking up those rays with me! We both got a bit tan after our walk along the river. 🙂

After our picnic, I wandered back to the city centre. I’ve never seen George Square so busy! Everyone was enjoying the sunshine that day. It felt like proper summer!

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I relaxed in the grass at George Square for a bit and then headed over to Mono to meet up with Katie and her dogs Smash and Murdo. Katie just adopted Murdo the day prior, so he was full of beans!

Mono, another standout all-vegan restaurant in Glasgow, happens to be dog-friendly so we decided to grab lunch there while sitting outside. I’ve always loved the food at Mono so I’m happy I got to eat there one last time.

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I ordered the tofu bahn mi and Katie ordered the seitan burger. Delicious! I could have eaten two of them but saved myself for dessert. Katie ordered us the last strawberry danishes to go. 🙂

We took the dogs for a walk around Glasgow Green, sat in the shade and enjoyed our danishes. Unfortunately for Katie, Murdo snatched her danish away, and swallowed it whole in one bite!

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I think Smash will need to get used to Murdo’s energy. As Katie put it, she likes his joie de vivre. 😉 Thanks to Katie for meeting up and for the delicious danish! ❤

After lunch, I met up with my friend Sandra for a coffee at the second Roots and Fruits location and a walk back into the city centre. Sandra and I first met in person after I returned from Thailand. She visited me in Dundee and I was always happy to meet up with her when I travelled to Glasgow. She’s friendly, easy to talk to, and always positive. Good vibes all around! 🙂 Chatting with her is so natural, that time always flies! Luckily she happened to notice the time as we sipped our coffees and shared some halva. We were a bit distracted, I guess!

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Thanks to Sandra for my coffee and for my wedding gift: an avocado and Nakd bars! Vegans sure know how to give gifts! 😉

I wish I had more time to spend with my friends in Glasgow but I’m glad I had one last opportunity to meet up with them. Hopefully, our paths will cross again. If not in Scotland, abroad! ❤

A wee trip to London

Hey! Today I’m finally in London after a long overnight train ride from Edinburgh. I’m visiting London this week with my friend Ivy. We’ll be here until Thursday afternoon. I’m filming every day here, so check my YouTube channel for daily London travel vlogs. 🙂

Yesterday, I arrived in Edinburgh in the early afternoon and met up with my friends Vanesa and Jen. Since my train to London wasn’t until 23:30ish, I had plenty of time to catch up with friends one last time.

Brew Lab is typically my cafe of choice when I’m visiting Edinburgh but for some reason, I wanted to try something different. Instead, Vanesa and I headed to Filament for the very first time. We tried their oat milk lattes and were pleasantly surprised to find other vegan treats, smoothies, and juices in the cafe. I’d like to say I’ll be back but I doubt that will happen since I’m moving to Spain so soon!

I’m only in Edinburgh once more, the day Ivy and I return to Scotland after our London trip. I already have plans to meet up with two more friends and I doubt coffee will be on our agenda since we arrive in Edinburgh late in the afternoon. Still, I’m glad I got to try a new cafe with Vanesa. We even had a wee picnic in Princes Street Gardens following the cafe since it was so bright and sunny.

Later I met up with my friend Jen for dinner (which ended up being more coffee) in Forest Cafe. Forest Cafe is a volunteer-run vegetarian cafe and art space. It’s a new favourite of mine since it’s volunteer-based, mostly vegan (apart from optional cheese on a few dishes), and they minimise food waste. At any time, you can take a loaf of bread or two from their “free bread” bins, no questions asked. 🙂

The problem with moving around frequently is that you inevitably have to leave your friends behind. (Unless we all move around together, but that’s never possible.) This isn’t enough for me to stop travelling. Instead, I focus on making lasting friendships while I can, taking care to keep in touch even when I’m out of the country. I’m grateful to have friends who take the time to meet up with me. We’ll just need to meet up again (abroad, or once I’m back in Scotland) in the near future! 🙂

At the end of the night, I met up with Ivy at Waverley as our train to London was set to depart around 2321. Her husband Leo was there to send us off since he wouldn’t be joining us on this London adventure. We boarded the train no problem, but it was delayed by about an hour. The seats were comfortable and much more spacious than airplane seating. Even so, I only managed to sleep 1-2 hours.

We arrived in London around seven hours later. Our first destination was Kin Cafe. After a sleep-deprived night on a train, we were ready for real food! Kin Cafe is special to me because this was the first cafe I visited when I moved to the UK in Dec. 2015. I spent my very first morning in London in this cafe, sipping on a coffee, brunching on avocado toast, soaking it all in. I was finally in the UK after completely downsizing my life to fit into one bag and planning this move for over a year. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in London, enjoying this cafe like a local.

The following day, I caught a train to Glasgow because my plan was to live in Scotland for a few months. I decided to live in Glasgow for four months before moving to Dundee (because I met Kuba!). I’m so glad I ended up in Scotland! 🙂

This morning I had the same avocado toast for breakfast, except I didn’t remember it being such a large portion. I swear, it was twice the size! Not that I’m complaining… 😉

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We spent the rest of the day wandering around Soho, popping into a few shops and cafes just to scope them out for later. It’s so nice being in London with Ivy since she’s quite familiar with the vegan foodie scene here. She also knows her way around the city.

Now we are back in our hotel room after a late lunch at Persepolis vegetarian restaurant, which happens to be right down the street from our hotel. Lucky us! We plan to visit Persepolis at least one more time before we return to Scotland, so I’ll need to fill you in another day. 😉

Yesterday and today were very busy for me but fun at the same time. It really seems like one long day; a day filled with coffee, chats, sunshine, and friends! I am looking forward to a full night’s sleep tonight. I need to be well-rested for more foodie adventures tomorrow! 🙂

Check out my day in Edinburgh and our first full day in London here:

 

Vegan BBQ and new friends in the sun

So I still haven’t gotten the hang of this daily blogging thing, but I’m trying! 😉 I feel that time is passing by quickly as we inch closer to our moving date. Now we only have three weeks left! I never seem busy during the week yet my days are filled with plenty of dedicated computer time as I have photos and videos to edit, and now blog posts to write.

Fortunately, this past week I spent some time away from the computer. It was just too sunny to stay inside! We are lucky to have a few sunny days here now that it’s nearly mid-May.

Taking advantage of this nice weather, our friend Karis hosted an all-vegan BBQ this past weekend to celebrate her 25th birthday. It was a potluck-style BBQ, so everyone brought a dish to share.

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I made a creamy pesto sauce, stirred it into some quinoa, and topped it with tomatoes and fresh basil. It was tasty but not the prettiest dish!

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Karis decorated this cute fruit platter to congratulate us on our wedding. Isn’t it cute?

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Almost everyone at the BBQ was vegan so we had quite a crowd going and plenty of food! Any dish can be veganised, even meat-heavy BBQ ones. Vegan versions of hotdogs and burgers are readily available even at big-box grocery stores like Tesco and Asda, and homemade salads and cakes can easily be made vegan just by substituting (or omitting) a few ingredients. And if you don’t know where to begin, asking Google for simple vegan recipes never fails.

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I’m grateful to know so many vegans online but being able to meet up with vegans in person is extra nice, especially at a vegan BBQ or potluck! Not only do you get to catch up with friends, but you end up with a large variety of vegan food to try for a fraction of the price of eating out. Plus, where can you find an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet? 😛 People tend to bring homemade or semi-homemade dishes to share and since everyone tends to cook their favourite recipes, you always end up with several delicious dishes to try. Yum!

I’m glad we had the chance to meet up with some friends (some of which we haven’t seen in ages) as well as make new ones, all while having lunch in the sun! Thanks to Karis and her partner Jared for hosting the BBQ. I look forward to seeing them again this weekend at my friend Rebecca’s house-warming party! 🙂

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I also had the pleasure of chatting to new vegan pal Jo for the first time that day, even though I’d seen her previously at other vegan events in Dundee. I had a feeling we’d have something in common since she was drinking out of a reusable stainless steel water bottle and she had a cool recycled backpack! 😉 Also, her homemade fruit tart was tasty. (I regret that I didn’t manage a photo of it, but it was so good that Kuba had a few slices!)

It was refreshing to meet someone with similar interests when it comes to diet and environmental concerns so we arranged to meet up a few days later. We went to The Flame Tree Cafe for green smoothies and tossed my frisbee afterwards. Green smoothies, frisbee, and sunshine. What a perfect day!

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Thanks to Jo for this photo and thank you for reading! 🙂

Vegan minimalist hygiene

Hey! I’ve previously written about my favourite vegan minimalist hygiene products but since that was almost six months ago, I figured it was time for an update!

In today’s video, I share all of my favourite skincare and hygiene products. All of these products are vegan, natural, and biodegradable.

I’ve started using a different shampoo because the Lush shampoo bar made my flaky scalp worse over time. I’m hoping this SLS-free Jason shampoo will offer me some relief. In addition to changing up my shampoo, I also started taking a daily zinc supplement. I have a feeling the zinc supplement will remedy my flaky scalp because it’s worked in the past, but only time will tell. We’ll see how my scalp feels after a month or so!

Here are some of the products I use:

I hope you find these suggestions useful. If you have any other products to recommend, please let me know! 🙂 Thanks for watching!

We tied the knot! So happy!

I’ve been busy the past few days! I’m officially a Mrs. now! 🙂

As of May 2nd, Kuba and I are officially husband and wife. 🙂 We had a simple minimalist ceremony here in Dundee, Scotland. Our friends Ivy and Leo were there to witness it and support us. They also helped us photograph and film our big day. Thanks to them for everything!

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We’ve planned to get married for a while now but kept this on the down-low because we wanted it to be a surprise. We also didn’t want it to turn into a big to-do because we didn’t want anything to detract from our original intent behind getting married. In the simplest terms, we married each other because we’re in love and we are committed to being together forever. We’ve known this pretty much from the start of our relationship. 🙂

We didn’t want a large ceremony or many people involved. We didn’t want to wear anything “fancy” since we don’t have clothes like that. We also didn’t see the point in purchasing new clothes just to wear them once. Minimalist problems! 😉 We figured a casual ceremony fits our personalities anyway.

As my dear friend Ivy pointed out after watching my wedding vlog, our day was filled with laughter. There was absolutely no stress involved. It was truly the best day and a blissful start to this new chapter of our relationship!

After the wedding, we headed to The Flame Tree Cafe for lunch. What better way to celebrate! I actually planned the wedding for 11:00 so we could get lunch after. 😉

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Even though the nature of our relationship won’t change because of this official status, we’re still very happy about it!

Thank you to everyone who’s since congratulated us on social media. It means a lot that you care! And even if I don’t know you in person, I still feel connected and wanted to share our day with you. I feel like the only way to increase happiness in the world is to share it. We are fortunate that we have so much to share! 🙂

 

One month left in Scotland!

Just the other day I realised two years have passed since I purchased my one-way ticket to the UK. I happen to know this because I posted on Facebook the second I purchased my flight. Besides those inane status updates from my past that I’d like to forget, Facebook’s “On This Day” feature is pretty cool!

Two years ago, I had to share that moment with my friends and family because I couldn’t contain my excitement. Having the flight confirmation in my inbox meant I would follow through with my plan to leave the States, move overseas and start a new life. It wouldn’t happen right away, of course, as I still needed to wait seven whole months before my departure.

I think I’ve written about this previously, but my decision to move to the UK (and ultimately Scotland) was fairly random. I knew I needed to move in December so I regularly searched for one-way flights from Portland, OR (my last stop in the States after I left my last “home” in California) to every major airport in Europe. I was completely flexible about where I’d move to first.

One night, as I was comparing flights, it looked like my cheapest option would be a one-way flight to Berlin. I had never been to Germany apart from layovers in airports but I started mentally preparing myself to spend winter there. I decided to wait a bit before purchasing the ticket, just to think about it. I can’t remember if I waited a day or two or three, but the next time I checked flights, it turned out flights to London had dropped in price. Since a flight to London was now cheaper than the flight to Berlin, I decided to purchase my ticket right then and there.

In the two years since then, my life has changed several times over for the better. I’ve spent nearly a year in Scotland, six months travelling through Europe alone, and even made it over to Thailand with my boyfriend. No doubt meeting him was the best perk of moving to Scotland when I did. 🙂

And now we are getting ready to leave Scotland in a month’s time. When planning for the future, I always hope my life would turn out a certain way but I couldn’t have predicted this would be my life. I’m proud of myself for creating this and I can’t wait to start the next chapter with Kuba! Only one more month to go! 🙂