Friday, 19 August 2016

Seagulls, Sunshine and Sea Breezes: A Daytrip to Brighton

Brighton lanes

Brighton Pier

Brighton

Brighton beach

Brighton beach

Brighton Beach Walk

Brighton

Brighton

I've wanted to visit Brighton for a long time now. Who hasn't seen the picturesque seaside town featured in various blog posts and vlogs? Up until this summer's trip down south, the only place in England that I had properly visited was London, and my sister and I were both keen to see some more of the South. We had quite a few days in London, and decided to fit in a day trip to Brighton. So when the weather predictions showed sunshine and 24 degrees on Sunday, we immediately picked that as the day to head out to the seaside. 

Brighton really lives up to its name - it's bright, fun and cheerful. There are tiny lanes that twist together and create a sort of picturesque, pleasant labyrinth. Pastel flags hang criss-cross above cute little coffee shops, quirky shops and tourist traps. There's the shrieks of seagulls mixed with laughter and chatter of people, and the tunes of the odd street musician.

And then there is the pier and the beach. The pier is perhaps the most well-known spot in Brighton, and it does look spectacular when you approach it, exuding merriment and brightness. Personally though, the arcades, the rides, the noise and the colours, it was all a bit too much. 

I did enjoy the beach walk though, despite it being absolutely crowded and a little bit noisy. It was a warm and sunny day, and it seemed that everyone was out enjoying the sunshine, and so the cheerfulness was contagious. Getting to dip our feet in the water was also a highlight. This summer hasn't provided an opportunity for swimming, but that was as close to it I could get.

We spent our day wandering around, basking in the sunshine, soaking in the many impressions and enjoying the light-hearted, fun-loving atmosphere. Brighton feels like the quintessential summer town, and it's difficult to imagine it in anything other than sunshine (but hey, it's the UK after all, so there must be plenty of rainy days there, too...). 

Have you ever been to Brighton?

Love, Mimmi.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Happy Post #37

Liberty flowers

I haven't sat down to write a happy post since the end of May. How crazy is that? As mentioned, I've had a bad case of blogger's block this whole summer, but I'm finally starting to feel the inspiration seeping back, though slowly, very slowly. There is an itch in my fingers to write, and a desire to feel more connected with the blogging community again. Since these happy posts are among my favourite to write, I felt like it's high time to start writing them again. So, here are the things that have made me happy recently...

Having a fantastic holiday. I was away for ten days, first to London and then to Bath, plus with a day trip to Brighton. It was really wonderful to get away for a bit, to just have fun, explore and relax (although, I walked between 15,000 and 30,000 steps each day, so it wasn't that relaxed...). I'm planning on writing up a few blog posts from my trip over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

Meeting up with blogger friends. I met up with Cherie on my first evening in London for Japanese, and then with Katy and Jasmin the next evening for food at Wahaca and then drinks in a really cool hidden cocktail bar. Meeting bloggers in real life is so much fun, and all three of them were just as lovely in person as they are online.

Sister time. The week before I left for London, my eldest sister Elinore came over to visit. We hadn't seen each other since last April, so it was so nice to get the chance to catch up over a few days. And then of course, my other sister Matilda joined me in London, and getting to spend over a week in her company was wonderful (despite a couple of instances of sisterly bickering, as is expected). Sisters are the best, no doubt.

Cursed Child. Last Wednesday, Matilda and I saw both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the theatre. We had both avoided spoilers and hadn't read the script before, and getting to experience it all there and then was just magical. I do think that some parts of the plot are a bit questionable, but overall I absolutely love it, and it was just incredibly well done on the stage. And how charming isn't Scorpius? On top of that, we got to see Helena Bonham Carter, Bonnie Wright and Michael Gambon! Michael Gambon even walked into me on the way out... Eeek. 

Getting some sunshine. Scottish summers really aren't very sunny, or very warm, but we were lucky with the weather when we were down south, so I could enjoy some very much needed sunshine. The days we spent in Brighton and Bath were especially sunny and warm! 

Being back in Glasgow. Despite having a wonderful time away, getting back home on Sunday evening felt really good. There's no place like home, after all, and Glasgow really does feel like home nowadays. 

Downtime. July was really quite busy (as was the first week of August), what with moving, working a lot of hours, having my sister over, and then going down to London. Now that I'm back though, things have quietened down a bit, and I finally have some time to recharge my batteries in time for the new term to start next month.

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




'What I Really Learned at University' on The Salty Sea Blog.

'A Spontaneous Wild Swim' on The Peppermint Pencil.

What has made you happy recently?

Love, 
Mimmi.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Trip up to the Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

So it seems that I'm still having a mild case of bloggers' block, but I can most definitely feel the inspiration coming back. The main reason I haven't blogged is really because I've been so busy. Over the last couple of weeks I've been working almost 30 hours a week (I know it's not even full time, but...), and then I had my sister over for a week at the same time. I'm determined to not make blogging a chore though, so I'll be blogging whenever I have time and feel like it.

Today is the first day off with no plans that I've had in quite a while, and tomorrow I'm heading down to London. I've got two days to myself in London first, and I've got plans to meet a few London-based bloggers while I'm there, which I'm very much looking forward to! My sister (not the same who was visiting the other week) is joining me on Saturday morning, and then we've got over a week of fun together! We're going to the Harry Potter studio tour again on Monday, and then we're seeing The Cursed Child on Wednesday. I am SO excited! We're also planning a day trip to Brighton, and on the Friday we'll be off to Bath for a couple of nights, before I head back to Glasgow on Sunday the 7th. It'll be quite a long holiday, and I'm mildly concerned about how much I'll be spending, but I'm 100% sure it'll be worth it. I'll be sure to pop up some posts on the blog about it once I'm back!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few photos from about a month ago, when my mum and I went on a bus tour up into the Highlands. I dusted off my camera for the first time in weeks and weeks, and brought it with me on the trip. 

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Town

Highland Cows

Oban

Oban

Glen Coe

Scottish Highlands
It was my mum and I along with about ten other tourists in a little mini bus, driven by an overly Scottish tour guide. He was definitely putting it on a bit to please the tourists, and while he was reasonably funny it got a bit old after a while! All in all it was a really good tour though. We visited Inveraray (you Downton fans might be able to recognise Inveraray Castle as Duneagle Castle), Oban, Glen Coe and a few other places along the way. Everywhere was breathtakingly beautiful, and both Oban and Inveraray were lovely little towns. Although I'd prefer exploring the Highlands on my own, going on a guided bus tour is a really good idea if you can't drive, or if you want a nice overview of the Highlands without any effort.

Have you ever been on a guided bus tour of any sort?

Love, Mimmi.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Wee Catch-Up


So, it's been a while. Over a month, in fact. I'm not going to make excuses or apologise though, because sometimes blogging breaks are very much needed, and I seem to have been in dire need of one. I felt uninspired, out of touch and simply not in the mood to spend much time on social media, and I even lost touch with instagram and twitter a bit. Not as much as with blogging, but I definitely haven't felt as inspired by it, or interested in it.

I've started missing it all though. I miss being part of the wonderful blogging community. I miss reading and commenting on posts, and receiving comments back. I miss writing, I miss photographing, and I miss creating. So to ease myself back into it, I thought a catch-up sort of post would be ideal. 

June was a funny month. Parts of it were really shitty, and parts of it were absolutely wonderful. The crappy bits involved stressing about the move, stressing about some problems with my old flat that I won't go into, being sad and angry about that horrible thing called Brexit, and a general sense of unease that kept catching hold of me. 

But there were good bits too. Quite a few of them, actually.

I met up with Charlene and Nicole on the 11th for the Big Vegan Fete and for lunch at The Flying Duck, and it was really great getting to meet two of my favourite bloggers again, while also enjoying yummy vegan food and cakes. Hopefully I'll be seeing both of them again in August for Edinburgh's Vegan Festival.

My mum came to visit from the 19th to the 23rd, and it was lovely to spend some quality mother-daughter time with her. One day we went on a bus tour up in the Highlands - to Oban, Inveraray, Glen Coe and some other places. It was ridiculously beautiful, and I have some photos that I might share on the blog. The other days were simply spent wandering around Glasgow, stopping for food, coffee and beer, and enjoying each other's company.

Then came preparing for the move. We officially moved in on the 1st of July, but my flatmate Erika actually moved in late on the 29th and I moved most of my stuff on the 30th. The previous tenants had really not cleaned before they left (grrrr), so we had to spend quite a lot of time on organising, tidying up, throwing things away and cleaning, which was both time-consuming and exhausting. It's now looking really lovely though, and I'm happy to have moved. Yesterday we got the IKEA delivery we had been waiting for as well, so now I've finally got a comfy mattress (no more uncomfortable nights!) and a full-length mirror. 

June also involved spending lots of time with friends, and so has July so far. I've got a pretty fantastic friends group right now, and I'm so thankful I found these people. Last time this year I had lost a few of my friends and was feeling pretty lonely, but it is true that things always get better. Erika and I had a flat warming party this Saturday, and since most of our friends are mutual friends it was essentially a big gathering of our favourite people, which was great fun.

Other than that, I'm working quite a lot at the moment. Today is one of my two days off this week, and next week is looking much the same. On the plus side my sister is coming over next Tuesday for a while, and the week after that I'm heading down to London to see my other sister, who's coming over from Sweden!

Here's hoping the rest of July and the whole of August will be good months. 

How has your summer been so far?

Love, Mimmi.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Recently Read #8



University being over for the year means I've been able to really get back into reading, and while I maybe haven't read as much as I would've liked, I've still managed to get through a few books recently. I don't have a summer to-read list this year as I did last summer, but rather I am just reading whatever I have on my bedside table and whatever I feel like at the moment. So, let's get on with some mini reviews, shall we?

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith


Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love.

I was recommended this book by Melissa, and it proved to be a real treasure. Reading this book is like escaping into a more magical and vibrant version of our own world. It's set in 1930s England, but something about the story is quite timeless. Despite it being neither fast-paced nor action-filled, the story really grips you, and I was constantly longing to get back to reading it. The language is wonderfully poetic and vivid, the characters are very real, and following Cassandra and her family is so so enjoyable. It's a coming-of-age story of real depth, and without any of the predictability of most books in a similar genre. 
5/5

Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee


Cider with Rosie is a wonderfully vivid memoir of childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a village before electricity or cars, a timeless place on the verge of change. Growing up amongst the fields and woods and characters of the place, Laurie Lee depicts a world that is both immediate and real and belongs to a now-distant past.

Cider With Rosie has been on my to-read list for ages, and I randomly picked it up a little while ago. I don't know what I expected, but I did think I would enjoy it more than I did, seeing as it's such a celebrated classic. Laurie Lee jumps back and forth in time, dedicating each chapter to a new 'theme', like 'The Kitchen' or 'Winter and Summer.' He does write beautifully, and some scenes are really enjoyable to read, but on the whole the novel didn't quite do it for me. I had to force myself to get through it in the end. If a collection of quite nice anecdotes from the past is your thing, then this is definitely for you though.
2.5/5

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle. 

I read these books a few times when I was younger, but the last time was years and years ago. When I heard that BBC are going to make a series out of it, I felt really eager to re-read them again, so when my exams finished I started re-reading them all. Although they're all brilliant, I would say they get better and better as the story progresses, and my favourite is definitely the final one. Pullman really is incredible at telling captivating stories, and the plot has a depth that is rarely seen in young adult fantasy series. I loved following Lyra's story again, rediscovering all the details I had forgotten. And yep, the end of the series broke my heart just as much as it did back when I first read it. 
5/5

What have you been reading recently?

Love, Mimmi.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Taking Stock: May


May was a month of two halves. Or rather, one third and then two thirds. The first ten days I was still knee-deep in revision, preparing for my final and most important exam. By lunchtime on the 11th however, I was free of revision and officially on summer break! The start of May was, naturally, very different from the last bit of it, so putting together this post proved really quite tricky.

Reading: For the first ten days, lots and lots of revision notes. After that I was able to properly immerse myself in re-reading His Dark Materials. I'm halfway through The Amber Spyglass at the moment, and I had almost forgotten how much I love Lyra and Will. 

Watching: Same as April, really. I finished Vikings yesterday. Series four took me forever to get through, because it really wasn't very good, unfortunately. I've loved the new episodes of Game of Thrones though, and I also went to the cinema to see X-Men, which I really enjoyed!

Buying: A new snazzy Magimix food processor (eek). I had so much trouble with the one I got earlier in the year that I decided to return it and invest in a really high quality one. And I love it. 

Listening: To birds chirping outside when I wake up in the morning. 

Feeling: A lot of stress and anxiety during the first ten days, and then a lot of relief and happiness after that. 

Planning: What to get up to when mum visits, and then when my sis visits. Soon I'll probably start planning for London too! 

Wishing: That the nice weather will stay! 

Enjoying: Dancing. I took a break from it when revision got too much, so it's been a lot of fun to really get into it again. Plus my dancing pals are pretty great.

Eating: Everything pictured here, plus a whole lot more. 

Hoping: That I'll get good enough grades to get into third year... 

Thinking: About how much life can change over a couple of years, and how much happier I am now than I was two years ago. 

Lacking: Motivation to actually do something productive now that revision is out of the way. 

Trying: To save money. I'm really not the best at it. 

Drinking: Lots and lots of water. And a few pints of beer while at the pub.

Wanting: Clearer skin, please and thank you. 

Deciding: What modules to take next year, eek. I've basically made my mind up about my English Language modules, but still trying to figure out what to do for English Literature.

Wearing: Striped t-shirts with jeans skirts or high-waisted jeans, or workout leggings (so comfy!) when at home. And my all-black work uniform in 20 degrees and sunshine, phew. 

Needing: To figure out how to move all my stuff to the new flat in a month.

What was your May like?

Love, Mimmi

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Month of Meals #3

I've decided to rename this little series to A Month of Meals, because that's essentially what it is, as opposed to what I eat in a single day! I really can't believe this is already the third one though. I mean, where did May go? Since my exams finished on the 11th, I've been able to put a bit more time into my breakfasts and lunches, which has been really nice. As usual, this is only a small selection of all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners I've had.

Breakfast

Matcha pancakes with fruit and maple syrup / Coconut porridge with mango & banana / Overnight oats & chia pudding / Buckwheat pancakes with fruit & maple syrup.

I had to take an involuntary break from my smoothie bowls because my food processor broke at the start of the month. I have a new one now, but I was without one for most of May, and so I returned to my trusty old porridge, only making it more summery with different toppings. A favourite has been the mango, banana and coconut porridge from Nicole's blog, and I've also made a sort of cross between bircher muesli and chia pudding a few times, which is great when the weather is a bit warmer! 

Pancakes have also been a favourite, when I've wanted a change from porridge. My favourites were definitely the matcha pancakes, but I've made regular ones most of the time. They're such a nice treat when I've got a lazy morning. Apparently I've chosen to take photos on the days that I've had fresh strawberries, but I honestly I haven't had them that much!

Lunch

Rye bread with cashew cheese and carrot / Burrito with roasted broccoli & chickpeas (from Thug Kitchen) / Pasta with asparagus, broccoli and homemade pesto / Potato scones with avocado and rocket.

At the start of the month I made a batch of cashew cream cheese, which turned out really well and was a fun change from avocado as a bread topping. Burritos are a re-discovered favourite, and something I think I'll be eating a lot more of throughout the summer. It's so easy to throw together whatever vegetables you have with some spices, and then roll them up in a burrito! And of course, I will always come back to pesto pasta for a quick meal. Finally, I randomly discovered that tattie scones and avocados actually go really well together, especially drizzled with a bit of olive oil and chilli flakes. Yum.

Dinner

Quinoa, roasted sweet potato, broccoli, red peppers & asparagus, with tahini / Green lentil & spinach curry (from The New Vegan) / Stir-fry with soba noodles, mushrooms, bell peppers, kale and cashew nuts / Roasted vegetables with red pepper hummus. 

I've tried out a few new recipes this month, and the lentil and spinach curry is definitely a new favourite. I've also been loving throwing any assortment of vegetables and potatoes into the oven, and eating that with either hummus or avocado, and sometimes with quinoa or rice to bulk it up if I haven't got enough veggies. So simple, yet so delicious. Stir-fry is another favourite that I've had quite a lot throughout May, in different variations. I base it on Deliciously Ella's almond butter stir-fry, but switch it up with the vegetables and sometimes don't add in the almond butter. 

Snacks
Strawberries and blueberries were favourites this month, along with my usual fruit and nut butter snack. But don't worry, I've also had quite a bit of chocolate, and crumpets with jam every now and then. It's all about the balance, after all. 

Did you have any favourite meals that you ate a lot of throughout May?

Love, Mimmi