glasgow

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! ❤

Vegans and their propensity for mock meats.

I am absolutely spoiled when it comes to my vegan friend situation here in Scotland. I befriended plenty of vegans while living in Glasgow. Now that I live in the smaller city of Dundee, I am pleasantly surprised to find the vegan community is thriving here as well!

Yesterday my boyfriend and I had the pleasure of attending an all-vegan BBQ. We walked the leisurely hour to our friends’ flat with a brief diversion to Asda to pick up some fruit.

My boyfriend has been eating only fruits and veggies for about a year and a half now. This isn’t my first stint of high carb low fat, as I ate similarly for about a year back when I was living in California, but my diet was never this clean. Rice, bread, and pasta were still staples of my diet back then. Since we met (almost 2 months ago), I’ve been gradually reverting back to the high carb low fat lifestyle. And after I moved to Dundee to live with him about a month ago, my diet has been very clean: only fruits during the day and steamed veggies and potatoes in the evening.

At the BBQ, we were the only vegans not partaking in the grilled sausages, burgers, and kebabs. We snacked on grapes and berries instead. One of the friendly vegans there commented that our way of eating seemed too restrictive. I explained that isn’t the case at all, since I’m not restricting myself from eating those things, I simply choose to eat other foods, like fruits and veggies. Those are the foods I crave, and honestly, cooked processed foods just don’t taste as good as grapes.

One of the attendees casually mentioned he wasn’t vegan. He happily enjoyed all the vegan food albeit with a few ‘that looks like cardboard’ jokes tossed around, but brought up an interesting point. Our friends were deliberating over who’d be the lucky one to score the kebab with the most mock chicken bits. This new vegan-adjacent friend pointed out that ironically vegans seem to be after the fake meat bits, not the veggies. Later he asked why vegans are interested in eating mock meats since vegans don’t want to eat meat in the first place.

I’ve often wondered the same. Why are vegans interested in eating mock meats at all, especially those that resemble their meaty counterparts? I’m referring to mock meats that look eerily similar to the real thing: vegan bacon strips with white marbling reminiscent of pork fat, vegan shrimp or prawns, vegan poached eggs with runny yolks….

I suppose some vegans genuinely enjoy the taste of meat and animal products, so these vegan substitutes offer a way out. One can still enjoy that familiar meaty experience without harming any animals. While ethical, these substitutes aren’t necessarily more healthy. (Personally, the thought of eating something that looks so much like the real thing makes my stomach turn. I don’t want to be reminded of meat, cheese, eggs, or seafood.)

But I don’t view all mock meats the same. For one, foods can be shaped into patties without the intention of trying to replicate meat patties. Falafel and other foods have been shaped into patties for ages.

I can see how some mock meats could be useful if they offer new vegans some solace as they adjust to veganism. Vegans are typically faced with the uncomfortable situations of being the only vegan at a bbq, the only person not marvelling at the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, or the only person at work who avoids sampling the free cake that miraculously appears in the break room. Being able to enjoy a vegan burger, Tofurky roast, or vegan cake (if you’re lucky!) while surrounded by non-vegans not only puts you at ease, but it normalises veganism and shows them how easy the vegan lifestyle can be.

I don’t eat any mock meats now as I only eat fruits and veggies. How do you feel about them?