Photos from places // Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had a four days in a row off work coming up, so because this is likely the only holiday I’ll get this summer, I decided to book myself a wee trip to Northern Ireland. One, because it’s very close to Scotland and the flights were relatively cheap given I booked about three weeks beforehand; and two, I’d never been to Northern Ireland before, and after exploring Spain for 9 months I realised how little I’d seen of my own country and its UK neighbours.

So, flights and hostel booked, I set off for a few days exploring a new part of the world, and one of those days featured a coach trip up the Antrim coast to see the Giant’s Causeway. I took far too many pictures there, so I thought I’d post some of the best ones as a little teaser for the travel diaries which are coming up soon.

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Things to do // Tennent’s Brewery tour, Glasgow

One thing I quite like to do occasionally is be a tourist in my own city. And so a few weeks back, when Mum was back at home with her injured leg (sorry pal), Dad and I thought it might be fun to get our weekly dose of Vitamin T one Tuesday and go on a tour of the Tennent’s Brewery out the East End of Glasgow.

The Wellpark Brewery is the biggest brewery in Scotland (the site is over 18 acres!) and produces 5 million cans a week. The current brewery was founded in 1740 by Hugh Tennent and Robert Tennent, and was taken over by a different Hugh Tennent in 1884; and it was in 1884 that the first Tennent’s Lager was produced. And according to their information leaflet, it’s the city of Glasgow’s longest on-going commercial operation, which is pretty impressive!

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Blue Sky Tag

A few weeks back, Rosie from La Grenouille Anglaise nominated me for the Blue Sky Tag, which is a great way to find out a few things about bloggers that you might not necessarily get to know. Thank you so much for the nomination – I really appreciate it!! Rosie blogs about hiking, baking (I think she has as big a sweet tooth as I do!), travel, and life in and around Lyon in France.

So let’s get on with the tag…

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog
  • Answer their questions
  • Tag 11 other bloggers (or as few/ many as you fancy)
  • Write 11 questions for them
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them

Questions:

  1. If you could travel through time, which year (past or future) would you travel to and why?

I’d travel to 2217 just to see how much we’ve changed the planet over the course of 200 years. Are we all cyborgs by this point? Is Earth basically a wasteland with very little life left? Have all humans been wiped out by a virus?

Alternatively, I would loooooooooooove to travel back in time to Ancient Egypt. It’s been a source of fascination for me since we did a project on it back in primary school – I remember making a pendant with my name written in hieroglyphics,  and I’m pretty sure there’s still a cat mummy piggy bank made from a Pringles tube lying around the attic back home at my parents’ house.

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A productive day back home // Life update

I had another few days off work last week, so I decided to head back home to my parents’ house for a bit to see them and my sister. I was back down for Monday and Tuesday, and my sister and I made the most of the lovely weather on the second day to get some jobs done around the house and generally be productive, so I thought I’d write a little post about that.

First job of the day: re-paint the garden bench and washing poles. Now, and this may have been a mistake on Mum’s part, because my sister and I were doing the painting, that meant we got to choose the colour….so sorry Mum, but cornflower blue just wasn’t to be. We ended up choosing a more turquoise blue instead. After going down town to buy the paint, I was in charge of sanding down the bench, and then we painted half each. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get all the coats finished because it started raining. But you can see from the photos that it looks quite different.

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Photos from places // Killin, Scotland

I had a few days off work at the beginning of the week which just so happened to coincide with a family member’s birthday. So, naturally, I took the opportunity to travel up to visit them and spend a few days with family I haven’t seen since I was back in Scotland for Christmas. It was so lovely to see them all again – and clearly miracles do happen, because it was 25 degrees and sunny!! Anyone who’s ever been to Scotland will know how rare days like that are in these parts.

I recently got a new phone because the contract on my old one expired when I was out in Spain and I thought I’d take advantage of my day and a half away to test out its camera, so here are a few of the photos I took during my stay.

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If you look carefully, you can almost see the sun in this one…
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Falls of Dochart

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ABCs of Travel Tag

Bolaoyebade at travelnoire recently nominated me for the ABCs of Travel Tag, so I’d like to give her a massive thank you for giving me the opportunity to think back on some of the amazing trips I’ve been on over the years. I haven’t been following her blog for very long, but every post I’ve read I’ve really enjoyed!

So without further ado, let’s get on with the tag…

Age you went on your first international trip

Although my family and I are Scottish, I wasn’t actually born in Scotland – I was born in Hong Kong when my parents were living and working there….so I guess you could say birth?! I think (Mum, please correct me if I’m wrong on this) I went on my first international trip back to the UK to see family when I was 6 weeks old.

Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where

I didn’t actually start drinking alcohol until my year abroad in Spain that I’m just back from, so I’m gonna have to say Cruzcampo.

Cuisine (favourite)

As a Brit, I think I’m contractually obliged to say that I love a good roast dinner.

Destinations – favourite, least favourite, and why

My favourite destination has to be Costa Rica. I went for a month between my fifth and final year of secondary school with four other pupils and it was amazing!! We spent a week on a turtle preservation sanctuary helping build accommodation and research the baby turtles, another week living with indigenous people in the mountains improving sanitation in a local school, and another week trekking through the rainforest, with some days off in between to relax. It was honestly an incredible experience that I would love to repeat (especially now I can actually speak Spanish).

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Chocolate and Pecan Brownies

Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m not much of a baker. I love to cook, but baking has always been a little too precise for my haphazard ways in the kitchen (just ask my sister who has to order me about whenever we bake together). But a friend of mine introduced me to this brownie recipe when we were in Spain and we made these tasty brownies quite a lot together without any major disasters. So now I’m home, I wanted to try them out for myself to see how it went. I’m super proud of myself because this is the first time I’ve ever successfully baked anything alone!

The recipe I used made 9 big brownies and was adapted from here, but I altered it a little by leaving out the bananas. Following the recipe below, the brownies contain dairy and gluten and aren’t vegan friendly, but in Spain we always made them with chickpea flour (gluten-free) and they tasted just as good!

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Places to eat // Tantrum Doughnuts, Glasgow

In the Yorkhill neighbourhood of Glasgow’s West End, there’s a doughnut shop I’d been wanting to go to ever since it opened less than two years ago. I didn’t get a chance to go before going on my year abroad, but now I’m back it was top of my list of places to try, so my friend B and I took the opportunity to combine a long-due catch up with our mutual love of all things sweet and visit Tantrum Doughnuts earlier this week. You’ll find Tantrum Doughnuts on Old Dumbarton Road, very close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; it’s just a little bit along the road from the Finnieston area of the West End and is very easily accessible by public transport and on foot from the city centre.

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Markets and Mosaics // A day trip to Santiponce

For my last Saturday in Alcalá (side note: how did that happen?!?), my friend and I decided to take a day trip to Santiponce to visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city Italica. Now, neither of us had heard a thing about Italica prior to coming here, so don’t be surprised if you also have no clue what I’m talking about. In fact, the only reason I knew about Italica was because one of my schools had gone on a couple of trips there.

As we’re both fans of an early start, we got the bus from Alcalá into Sevilla at 8:10 in the morning and made our way from San Bernardo up into the centre of town. Last Friday (as in the week before the trip to Italica) we’d tried to go and visit the Basilica de Macarena but failed quite spectacularly by timing our visit to coincide pretty much perfectly with both evening Masses (oops), so we decided to two birds one stone it and visit the Basilica in the morning before going to catch the bus to Italica on the Saturday. The church was quite special inside, so if you find yourself with some time to kill in that part of the city I’d recommend a visit…but maybe not during Mass. After having visited the church we made our way to Plaza de Armas via Feria market where we picked up some supplies for a picnic lunch.

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