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. 🙂

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Last day in London | Daily Goods Coffee, Tortilla, King’s Cross

I’m back in Dundee now, with all of my London vlogs complete. You can see everything I describe here in my corresponding London vlog, linked at the end of this post. 🙂

What a trip! Ivy and I were only in London for three and a half days, but it seems like much longer since we packed so much into it!

Daily Goods Coffee was our first stop that last morning in London. It’s located in Peckham, just past the Lumberjack café we visited on our second day, so we didn’t have far to walk.

In addition to coffee, Daily Goods offered toasts, sandwiches, and pastries. I scoped out their menu the previous day as I walked back to the hotel from Soho. 😉 They had several vegan-friendly items on their menu, including avocado toast. Yay! Ivy and I decided to split an order just to nibble on since we also planned to visit Persepolis one last time for a proper breakfast.

My only complaint about Daily Goods is the lighting in the rear of the café. The front half of the café was well-lit with natural light coming in from a large window, but the rear half relied on LED lights. LED lights just give off a strange vibe…the colours of our food, the walls, our skin even, looked strange. Maybe it’s just me but I feel weird sitting in LED-lit spaces. It just feels unnatural.

I popped outside to take a photo of our avocado toast because the lights were so weird. 😉

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This toast was nice as the bread was fresh and homemade. The avocado was seasoned with a few chili flakes and Maldon salt, and the toast drizzled with olive oil served with a lemon wedge on the side. I’ve never tried avocado toast with olive oil but it was delicious! The olive oil was slightly sweet and fruity, a far cry from the cheap store brand olive oil I used to use back in the day! Splitting the order was a good choice, as one slice each kept us comfortably full.

We checked out of the hotel and headed down the street to Persepolis. We were under the impression that they opened at 11:00 because that’s what their sign states, but unfortunately their kitchen opened up 30 minutes after that. We didn’t have time to wait since we needed to make our way to King’s Cross railway station so we decided to forgo breakfast and move on. I’ll just need to revisit Persepolis the next time I’m in London.

We took a bus to King’s Cross and figured we’d sort out lunch before boarding our train. Our train wouldn’t depart until 14:00, so we had just under two hours to wander around the station.

Ivy found a burrito place called Tortilla online, located just outside the station. I was craving burritos ever since I found out Chipotle exists in London, so I was very happy! Tortilla is a build-your-own burrito chain, just like Chipotle. I ordered a large burrito with rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa, and lettuce and it hit the spot. It wasn’t authentic Mexican food by any means (obviously) but it was tasty and filling. (I really miss the real Mexican food in California!)

Besides Tortilla, we found lots of other vegan options in and around the station. There were several food stalls outside the station with vegan wraps, fresh juices, and more. There’s also an M&S shop in the station, so you won’t have any trouble finding something tasty and vegan to nosh on.

Inside the station, we found coffee shops like Caffè Nero, Starbucks, and Pret, but all of them only offered paper disposable cups. I decided to indulge in a soya mocha at Giraffe Stop on the second level of the station because they offered real mugs as opposed to paper ones.

I also noticed a vegan hummus and veggie wrap in their grab-and-go case as I waited in line to order my mocha. Vegan options everywhere! And if I hadn’t downed that burrito, I would have picked up some vegan sushi from Wasabi Sushi also located on the second level of the station. Ivy and I tried their vegan sushi during our 2nd day in London. It was so good!

Luckily, our train was on-time. Four and a half hours later, we arrived in Edinburgh. Woo!

Thanks to Ivy for booking our trains and accommodation, and for being an excellent foodie tour guide. Although I’ve been to London previously, this trip was head and shoulders above the rest simply because she’s familiar with London and the vegan foodie scene. I’m glad I got to experience London one last time before I’m off to Spain! ❤

London day 3 | Tibits, Vegan Hippo, Govinda’s, Yorica, Maloko!

You can see everything I describe here in my corresponding London vlog, linked at the end of this post. 🙂

Since we were determined to try as many different vegan-friendly places as possible, we started our third day in London early. We headed to The Travel Café Southbank for coffee since it looked cute, with cacti and succulents decorating the facade. We passed it on the bus several times and were keen to check it out.

The café was indeed cute, spacious, and the barista very friendly. This was the only café we visited that offered vanilla syrup for my latte. As for the other coffee shops, they only offered lattes as they come without added flavours. I was excited to finally have a sweeter vanilla latte but honestly, the vanilla flavour didn’t come through. My latte was still delicious, albeit more robust than I’m used to! You’ll never find me complaining about coffee that’s too strong, though. It gave me an extra boost as we headed further into the city.

We planned to lunch at Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant since we passed it in Soho the other day, peeked in the window and discovered it looked similar to the Govinda’s Restaurant in Dublin. (This was one of my favourite vegan spots in Dublin. Be sure to check out the one on Abbey Street, as the other location wasn’t as good.) Ivy and her hubby Leo visited me while I stayed in Dublin, and we all were lucky enough to eat at Govinda’s twice. Ivy and I hoped this restaurant in London would be similar.

Since Govinda’s didn’t open until noon, we had a few hours to kill. We didn’t have a proper breakfast back at the hotel. We had hoped The Travel Café would offer avocado toast or something vegan, but sadly they only had a few non-vegan pastries. We started to feel a bit peckish so we walked around Soho some more and popped into Tibits, an all-vegetarian and mostly vegan restaurant, to scope it out.

Tibits is set up like a buffet and the cost of your meal depends on how much it weighs. The breakfast spread was impressive but not as complete as their lunch or dinner offerings (if I had to guess). Tibits also offer coffee, juices, and pastries including a scrumptious-looking vegan almond croissant, which I regret not trying but fortunately my croissant cravings were satisfied soon after.

It started to rain and continued spitting for most of the day. We wandered around a bit more and stumbled upon Vegan Hippo, an all-vegan café. We hadn’t planned on trying Vegan Hippo but figured why not. It was raining and we noticed vegan croissants on the counter.

Vegan Hippo was very comfortable and a perfect break from the rain. They offered moreish burgers and hotdogs in addition to coffee, tea, and other breakfast foods. I tried their black croissant, made with activated charcoal. I’ve never seen a black croissant before so I had to try it, especially after passing up that almond croissant at Tibits! It was tasty but more sweet than savoury. I don’t think any vegan croissant can top the ones at Picnic in Glasgow. 😉

After poring over their large collection of vegan cookbooks, it was finally time for lunch at Govinda’s. We thought we’d be the first people there since we arrived the second they opened, but were surprised to find a queue in place. That’s always a good sign in my book!

This Govinda’s, like the one in Dublin, was set up like a cafeteria. I ordered a veggie thali, which consisted of several vegan dishes served in wee bowls. It was basically a sampler platter, including curries, rice, a bread roll or papadum, and salad. I also opted for a samosa on the side. (I couldn’t resist!)

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The food was excellent but overall, I still prefer the Govinda’s in Dublin. The portions there were massive as they served everything on plates instead of wee bowls, so it’s a better value in the end. Also, the samosas at the Dublin Govinda’s were huge! Definitely the best samosas of my life right there! That being said, I’d recommend Govinda’s in London because nearly everything was vegan. Besides Indian-style food, they also offered veggie burgers, smoothies, and vegan cakes. Everything I tried was delicious and not too oily.

After lunch, we explored Covent Garden since it’s an indoor market. It was full of wee shops, restaurants, tourists eager to stay dry, and even a street performer or two. We didn’t spend much time here as we had dessert on our minds.

We returned to Soho to try Yorica, an all-vegan allergen-free ice cream shop. All the ice cream, froyo, and toppings are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free. So good, but not as good as Cream Crew, an all-vegan ice cream shop in Palma de Mallorca. I might be a bit biased, but hey! 😛 Yorica’s flavours reminded me of American ice cream, lots of chocolate and stodgy goodness, unlike the fresh fruity flavours of Cream Crew. Either way, I’m happy to enjoy vegan ice cream as a treat. Be sure to bring your own spoon as they only offer plastic ones. I didn’t think to bring my own but I’ll remember to keep a spoon in my bag from now on. 🙂

I was completely stuffed after indulging in scoops of mint chocolate chip and banoffee ice cream, so I decided to walk back to our hotel in Peckham. The walk took me close to two hours, but walking is my favourite way to explore a city. Not only is it good exercise, it allows me to experience the city on a different level. I notice everything as I walk the streets, as opposed to passing landmarks on a bus. It also put me at ease. It’s easy for me to be stressed without realising it, and bustling around London definitely wore me out.

I felt energised once back in Peckham, and relaxed in the hotel for a bit before Ivy and I set off to Maloko for dinner. Ivy scoped out the menu of this quaint café before and their vegan galettes caught her eye. I haven’t had a galette in years so I was stoked to try a vegan version.

I ordered the Vegan Route galette, which came stuffed with sweet potato, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, coriander, and a chickpea tahini sauce. It was absolutely delicious even though it looked more like a wrap. These galettes turned out to be thin crepes stuffed full of veg, but no complaints here! Ivy ordered the jerk tofu galette and was very pleased with the spice. The galettes were so good that we wanted a second one. We’re always hungry, I guess! 😛

Instead, Ivy suggested I try a Jamaican patty from Patty Island, just a bit further down the street. Patties, similar to empanadas, are baked pastries stuffed with meat or veggies. Traditionally, patties are filled with meat but this shop also offered vegan patties! The vegan patty was filled with jerk veggies. Delicious and a little spicy!

What a fun day!

Thanks for reading and watching! I hope my posts inspire you to eat your way through London someday.