Sunday, 5 July 2015

Perks of Being a Morning Person

I've never liked to sleep in late. Even when I was a teenager, I was never one to stay up late at night and sleep until the afternoon. My body seems to naturally shut down when night falls, and wake me up when morning comes. That said, I've never had the habit of waking up as early as five am, but I've found that around seven is generally the perfect time for me. At times, being a morning person can be a bit annoying. Numerous times at sleep overs at friends' houses, I've woken up hours before them, only to have to patiently wait for them to wake up, not daring to leave the room. Ninety-nine percent of the time, however, I love being a morning person. 

Here is why....

Breakfast, also known as the best meal of the day. Honestly, a lot of the time I go to bed thinking of how nice it'll be when I wake up again and can have breakfast. I love putting time and effort into my breakfasts. My go-to one is porridge (even in the Summer!), preferably topped with almond butter and fruit or berries. Once in a while I like going for something extra with a smoothie bowl or scones or crumpets. And of course, a big cup of tea is essential.

Mornings are always so peaceful. They're quiet, calm and perfect for gathering your thoughts, without any noise to disturb you. Waking up in symphony with the world is really quite something.

This also means that mornings are the best time for walks. There's nothing quite like going out for a wander when there's barely anyone around and letting your brain wake up whilst drawing big breaths of crisp, fresh air and listening to the birds chirping. 

Waking up early means there is no rush while getting ready for work or school. I hate stressing, so having plenty of time to get ready and enjoy my morning is crucial if I want to have a good day. 

When you wake up with the sun, your days will be longer, and you'll have more time on your hands. True, if you wake up later and go to bed later, you'll still be awake for the same amount of hours, but I personally find it so much easier to be productive when it's light outside. (I know there are night owls out there who disagree with me, though.)

Finally, there are apparently a lot of benefits to being a morning person in terms of health and well-being. Morning people are happier and healthier and generally do better in their studies and work. As Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Score.

Are you an early bird, or a night owl? What do you love about mornings, or alternatively, about nights?

Love, Mimmi.

P.S. I changed my blog design yesterday. What do you think? Personally, I'm really rather chuffed.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Last week, my housemate asked me if I wanted to come with her and some of her colleagues on a road trip up to Dunnottar Castle and to Aberdeen. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to see more of Scotland, and on Saturday we were off. I had heard of Dunnottar Castle before and was very excited to see it, and it ended being up all I had hoped for and more. The castle, or rather the ruin, is perched right at the edge of a cliff overlooking the North Sea. What is left of the castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. Dunnottar was an important place in the 18th century Jacobite rebellion and moreover, it was here that the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from the English army when they invaded Scotland in the 17th century. A place brimming with history, in other words!

Luckily enough, Saturday turned out to be a lovely day as we were blessed with sunshine for most of the time. Perfect conditions for strolling around a ruined castle! Not only was the castle itself amazing, the landscape around it was strikingly beautiful. Just look at those cliffs! Naturally, I couldn't help taking about a hundred of photos, so the next part of the road trip will have to get its own post, as I don't want to break your computers....

Do you like visiting old castles and ruins?

Love, Mimmi.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Happy Post #22

The photo above was taken last Sunday, when my sister and I went on an adventure in the countryside outside of Glasgow. Our goal was a horse dressage competition (my sister is a horse lover), but on our adventures we also got a good dose of countryside, which was very much needed. Other than that, life lately has mostly consisted of the work, eat, sleep routine during the weeks. Yesterday, however, I went to Dunnottar Castle and Aberdeen with the girl who rents the other room in the house I'm staying in and some of her colleagues, which ended up being a very long but very lovely day. You can expect a post (or two) about that very soon! Anyhow, on to what has been making me happy lately...

The fact that I've been lucky enough to end up with very kind people around me. Renting a room someplace new and starting a new job are both daunting things, but my colleagues and the couple that I'm renting a room from are all incredibly nice and welcoming, which has made it much easier.

Nakd bars. I bought a few packs of them a couple of weeks ago when they were on offer (I think they still are, though!), and they've been such lifesavers during my workdays. They're perfect for getting through that afternoon slump, plus they're just so tasty. 

Cup after cup of tea. Everyone at work seems to be in the habit of drinking lots of tea and coffee everyday, which is fantastic as it allows me to have countless cups of tea a day without feeling guilty. I just love tea.

Strawberries. Isn't it wonderful when they're finally in season? I basically never buy them during the rest of the year as I don't think it's worth paying a tiny fortune for a small pack of strawberries that won't even taste good. But now, when they're guaranteed to be (more or less) sweet and juicy, and aren't as expensive, I've been treating myself to them once in a while. It might not be summer in terms of the weather, but strawberries are still a must.

Seeing more of the countryside. Both last weekend, when my sister and I went on an adventure outside of Glasgow, and yesterday when I went up to Dunnottar, I got to spend some precious time in the countryside, which was pretty great. Especially now in the summer (well....), I think it's so nice to get out and about.

Finally, here are five blog posts that I've enjoyed recently:

'Starting Anew' on Tori's Tales. 

'Expense vs Investment' on Britton Loves.

'The Sunset' on Bluebell Bumpkin.

'Taking Note of Wonder' on Beside the Danube.

I must admit I had a hard time coming up with happy things for this post... not that I've been unhappy, but I guess life is just a tiny bit slow at the moment. How about you? What has made you happy recently? I'd love to hear.

Love, Mimmi.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dinner at Zizzi's Princes Square

Tortelloni at Zizzi's Princes Square

Rustica Primavera Pizza at Zizzi's Princes Square

Chocolate praline & sea salt torte at Zizzi's Princes Square
Zizzi's Princes Square
At the beginning of May, to commemorate the end of first year, my friend Alice and I did what we do best - treat ourselves to delicious food. (I find it a little bit funny that this post ended up right after my last one...) I've blogged about Zizzi's before, but that was the one in the West End. This time, we went to one of the Zizzi restaurants in the centre of Glasgow, namely the one in the Princes Square shopping centre. The restaurant is located on the top floor, overlooking the airy, beautiful shopping centre. And the food - oh, the food. I opted for a tortelloni with ricotta, asparagus, lemon and lots of parmesan, which I'm pretty sure was a seasonal special. Alice had the pizza that I had last time - 'Rustica Primavera' - a wonderful but incredibly large creation with goat's cheese, artichoke, olives, pepper, pesto and rocket salad. I had a fair amount of it too, given that my portion was significantly smaller, and I must say it was better than the tortelloni. To finish off, we both had a lovely chocolate, praline and sea salt torte. The waitress who served us was seemingly amazed at our ability to finish food, commenting on it every chance she got. Other than that, the service was great, the atmosphere was lovely, the food was delicious and the company was fabulous. Typing this post makes me so hungry for some lovely Italian food...

Have you ever been to Zizzi's?

Love, Mimmi.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Way I Eat

I struggle putting a definition on my "diet" (which is also a term that I don't really like, given its negative connotations). Technically, I suppose I'm a pescetarian, but that doesn't entirely describe my eating habits. When I cook for myself, I eat mainly vegan meals. When I eat with others, especially if I eat outside, I tend to include dairy products much more regularly. And once in a while, I'll have a bit of fish or seafood, but over the last year I've had it probably less than ten times.

The urge to write this post sprung from several conversations with friends and family on the subject of veganism and vegetarianism and my own frequent reflections. I was also no doubt inspired by Stephanie's post a few weeks ago, which made me think on the subject even more. With all the food trends that have appeared recently, I feel like this is a really relevant and interesting subject (but perhaps that's just me!). Here are my thoughts, and my personal approach.

I chose to become a vegetarian about a year and a half ago. I already ate a lot of vegetarian meals, so it wasn't a big change to me. My main reasons were animal welfare and the environmen. Basically, knowing the way that animals are treated in the meat industry makes me sick, and so did the fact that the meat industry has a massive impact on the environment. Now, this post isn't about moralising and making people go vegetarian; I'm simply explaining my reasons. Simply lowering your meat consumption and switching to organic meat makes a big difference (and I applaud everyone who makes that change!) but for me personally it felt right to just quit completely. I simply couldn't see a good reason for eating meat. I was worried I would miss it, but so far I never have. I decided to keep on eating fish and seafood partly so that I could ease myself into it, partly for reasons of practicality. Most places have veggie options, but having one other option does make it easier to eat out, if for example I don't fancy the only veggie option. Also, I like giving people the option of making fish when going over to someone for dinner.

I relied a lot on cheese, egg and dairy for the first months, but when I moved to Scotland and started buying groceries myself and cooking only for myself, I gradually ate less and less of those things. I was undoubtedly inspired by trends, mainly on the internet, and wanted to try eating more vegan. I've always loved vegetables and they've always been an important part of a meal to me, but more and more, they've become the central part of my meals, which I love. My reasons for cutting down on dairy were many. For one, I wanted to restrict my dairy consumption to organic products, which weren't always the easiest to come by and were often much more expensive. Secondly, I realised that I'd rather spend money on fruit, vegetables, nuts and other goodies, than on dairy. Thirdly, I simply love vegetables, nuts, beans and all things central to a plant-based diet - it's as simple as that. I knew that cutting down on dairy would be good for my health, and found that I felt better when I ate a more colourful, plant-based diet. I really do feel more energised when I eat better, and once you see the difference that good food makes, the appeal of it just grows. And honestly, to me the flavours are often so much better than a lot of more conventional types of meals.

That said, I have a very soft spot for cakes and all things rich in carbs, and I wouldn't be able to cut out cakes, pastries, chocolate, pasta and pizza completely. I want to be able to treat myself to a bakery visit once in a while, or a delicious pasta dish in a restaurant, or a slice of cake when invited to someone's house, or some milk chocolate on a weekend night. I do find that eating a lot of dairy, sugar and white carbs makes me feel bloated, does weird things to my blood sugar levels and upsets my skin, but on the other hand it sometimes does good things for my psyche. I know there's danger in living by rules that are too strict, at least for me personally, and I don't want food to become something associated with guilt and anxiety.

I do find it inspiring when people go full-out vegan or only eat raw food, but I think for most people it's difficult to make those drastic changes, as it is for me. In the end, I believe doing what feels best for you is the most important thing, rather than worrying about whether you can define yourself as a vegan or a vegetarian, or something else. Personally, I'm technically not a vegan, not even 100% a vegetarian, but I prefer to eat a mostly plant-based, often vegan diet, while sometimes making exceptions. It works for me.

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism, veganism, and your own food habits? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Love, Mimmi.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

A Day on Djurgården, Stockholm


Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Laburnum in Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Lilacs in Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rosendals Trädgård, Rosendal Garden

Rhododendron on Djurgården



The 6th of June is Sweden's National Day, and although it's not a very big deal in Sweden, we ended up doing something a little bit special. My grandparents, my mum and I went to Stockholm for the day, where we also met up with my aunts. I was delighted to get a chance to go to Stockholm during my time at home, as it's one of my favourite cities. I wasn't able to go when I was home over Christmas, so I hadn't been since August!

The weather wasn't fantastic, but we ignored that and headed to Djurgården (literally "The Animal Estate") which is an island in the middle of Stockholm. It's home to several museums and galleries, old buildings, as well as the amusement park Gröna Lund ("Green Grove"), and also quite a lot of green areas; forests and meadows. After hopping off the ferry which takes you from the centre to the island, we walked around it until we reached Rosendal Garden, with its palace, gardens and café. Sadly, we didn't get the chance to see all the beautiful roses that are in bloom later in the summer, but there were plenty of other flowers and plants to look at. The Rosendal Garden doesn't only sell plants, but also has an adorable little bakery/shop and a lovely café, using products from their gardens, where we had a delicious lunch. I had rye bread with goat cheese and caramelised onion. In the afternoon the weather got a wee bit better, as we strolled around the other half of the island and reached Östermalm (the Eastern bit of central Stockholm). To finish off our day, we sat down for a while at one of the floating bars for a glass of wine.

Writing this post really makes me feel nostalgic about my country's capital city. For me, visiting Stockholm is always special, even though I've been there countless of times. It's especially lovely in the summer because of all the water, and I'm happy I got a small dose of summer in Stockholm, even if the weather wasn't perfect.

What is your relationship with the capital city of where you live?

Love, Mimmi.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Happy Post #21

And I'm back in Scotland! The iPhone snaps above are from my two (and a half) weeks in Sweden, which went by insanely fast. It was difficult to say goodbye - to be honest, it always is. No matter how much I like living in Scotland, leaving friends and family and your home country behind is never easy. It did make it a bit easier, however, that dad came with me when I flew back on Wednesday and stayed until yesterday evening. We had a great time and were even treated to sunsine and 20 degrees the first days! Yesterday, after saying goodbye to dad, I took my suitcases and headed off to Stirling. Moving someplace new, even if it's just for the summer and even though Glasgow is only 40 minutes away, is scary, but thankfully the people I'm renting a room from seem lovely. Tomorrow is my first day of my internship. I'm a bundle of anxiety, but hopefully everything will go okay!

Anyway, enough rambling, here are the things that have made me happy recently:

Having had a couple of great weeks at home. I managed to do quite a lot - I went to Scania (that's the most Southern part of Sweden) for a couple of days to visit a friend, I went to Stockholm with the family, and I visited another friend in a nearby town. I also had plenty of time to relax and recharge my batteries. 

True friends. As mentioned, I made sure to visit a couple of friends at home, which was absolutely lovely. They're both wonderfully supportive and amazing people whom I'm glad to have in my life. I don't have a huge circle of acquaintances, and I've never felt the need for it, but I'm happy I do have a few people I can trust. With one of them I started talking about when we first became friends, reminiscing about the old times, and it really made me thankful that we happened to get to know each other.

My dad coming to Glasgow with me for a couple of days. Not only was it great to have some help when cleaning out my student room (haha), but it was also really lovely to get to spend some quality time with him and with my sister, and to introduce Glasgow to him.

Tiny Rewards. My favourite band of all time (well, at least one of my favourite bands), Admiral Fallow, recently released their third album, and it's all I've been listening to recently. I think I prefer their two first albums, but this one is brilliant as well. Their lyrics are always poetic yet relatable, their music simple yet unbelievably original and beautiful.

Seeing my very first blog post for Time Out Glasgow up on the web (here). I'm really happy to get the chance to blog for them, since it's both a fun and valuable experience.

Almond butter. I went a month without it and honestly, I know this might sound ridiculous but I missed it so much. Now it's back in my life and everything is right again. I'm currently munching on toast with almond butter and strawberries - yum.

Finally, here are a few blog posts I've enjoyed reading recently:

'You Are Not a Number' on Robowecop.

'London Afternoon Tea Bus Tour' on Little Miss Katy.

'Summer Moonlight' on The Peppermint Pencil.

'My London Summer Bucket List' on Jasmin Charlotte.

Tell me, what has made you happy recently?

Love, Mimmi.