Flowers in my garden

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Seeing as my battery life is now of about 45 minutes, this post must be a record for me!

On a different note, I have taken advantage of the heat wave Mother Nature has so graciously bestowed upon us after endless weeks of cold and rain and then some cold wind and some more rain to take some photos around my garden. Now, the said horrendously indecisive weather has given me a cold and a cough which will not go away regardless of my efforts in taking that disgusting menthol syrup which I can only imagine feels like swallowing disinfectant. So being outside is a real treat on this occasion..’yey’! I do however love macro photography and also love flowers (such a girly girl) so I though it only appropriate to share these on my blog.

Hope you’re all having a good day out in the sun! Enjoy while it lasts (evil voice)….

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The overdue ski trip post

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So here is the long overdue post on my trip to Les Trois Valees in France. By long overdue  I mean 3 months late but alas, it’s here nonetheless. The way there was painful; no matter how much I love the Eurostar, my god was it painful having to sit down for about 8 hours. We ended up in the luggage bit in between two carriages reading the french Cosmo and L’officielle till 2 in the morning. Anyways, let’s turn a blind eye to that and focus on the really important things.

The skiing was amazing. The slopes were the best I’ve been on so far and there was so much snow I literally couldn’t get enough of it (although I was starting to fantasize about the comfort of the couch after 5 hours of intensive sporty activities). We had to carry a map with us because we really were spoilt for choice as far as ski lifts are concerned. The whole point of this region of the Alps is that you can easily get to other ski resorts nearby, of which I particularly liked Val Thorens because the slopes were super wide and smooth – there’s nothing more dreaded than bumps.

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This last photo is particularly special because it was taken during our spur-of-the-moment desire to go off-piste…not the greatest of ideas. Although fun at first, we ended up a bit stuck and needing to slide down a hill-type-thing which took us about half an hour, jokes included. But hey, we get extra points for trying no?

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This is an aerial view of our little town, Meribel. The layout is pretty simple. On the far left we have the ski lift and our hotel, in the center there is a roundabout with bus-stops going to Meribel center and on the left we have the all-important boulagerie which sold amazing sweets and fresh croissants and bread (I gained a lot of weight if that wasn’t explicit enough) and the local Spar which we visited every day to their delight I suppose. This photo was taken on our last day when we felt a bit too unmotivated ( trying to avoid the word lazy here ) to go skiing so we went for a hike up a path. It was very pretty but we did get bored quite quickly, but did a nice photo sesh while there.

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Lastly, since we spent New Years eve there it was only to be expected that we would want to experience a typical French celebration. So we took the bus before midnight ( a very scary thing to do because we had no idea where we’d end up ) and went to Meribel center to the outdoor party organised there. The music – dubstep. The drinks – some dodgy red liquid in a sprite bottle. The company – some French guy who kept photo-bombing us and a group of Australian tipsy guys. Good times, good times…

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Scottish Borders Top 10

As promised, here are the most beautiful places I have visited in the Scottish Borders all squeezed and compressed into a top 10. For those who know me -or not, that’s cool too- I am very indecisive so please appreciate the effort and stress that has gone into this selection.

First off, the breathtaking glacial valley of Tweedsmuir which I think translates into the valley of the river Tweed – geography and linguistics for you. It was added on the itinerary by chance as we needed the quickest way home and our GPS, whom I shall call by his name (Marcel) from now on, saw a narrow road that slithered solitarely through a mass of uncharted land and chose that one. Lesson number one: a vast green area on the GPS display signals either a natural park or a mountain. We had the second option. Nevertheless, it was a stroke of luck since the place was so beautiful and the weather just right for some great photography.

Silver then goes to Edinburgh, a city which left me very impressed and wanting to see more of it – and in better weather. Excuse the somewhat posh label I’m going to make but it’s such a bourgeois city that I felt like I was in France or Belgium. To be fair, Scotland does have a very tight friendship with France and they have taken some cultural influences but I was certainly not expecting such a vibrant and rich city. The Royal Mile pretty much sums up the entire center and while I loved the views from the palace, the Royal Jewels exhibition was, although informative, a tad bit kitsch… you’ll see the photos of the sculptures coming out of the walls, don’t worry. One big regret: I wish we had time to visit the gallery! Next time 🙂

Culross is the next place on my list, which is so different from my top two. This is probably one of the most picturesque villages in the world, if not then just in Great Britain. Peaceful little place next to the bay with coquettish little cottages with flowered English gardens and Provencal windows. What more could you want?

Floors Castle, next to Kelso, was another place that I really liked. The castle is quite flamboyant in architecture compared to the more austere Scottish traditional buildings so it was quite impressive as it sits on top of a small hill overlooking the valley. We suspect we have even met the 10th Duke of Roxburghe just casually walking his dog on the estate. Casually being the key word here.

Loch Chon and Loch Katrina – 2 pretty lakes quite close to the famous Loch Lomond. What was so spectacular about these was the amazing landscape and what looked like very very expensive houses lined up on its shores, making it seem like the Scottish version of the Italian riviera and the exclusive areas of Lake Como and Garda.

Although not a touristic destination per se, I absolutely loved the house that we rented, it was absolutely perfect and what I have in mind when I think of Scotland. Acres upon acres of fields (therefore amazing views), an amazing garden and my favorite – one of those little sofa tings on the windowsill…I honestly can’t wait to go back. Oh it’s called Corbett Towers, almost forgot to mention it. 🙂

Rosslyn Chapel I found very interesting; it’s so small and so ornate that it actually looks friendly, which can’t be said about most religious buildings I think. The sculpted ceiling with stars and flowers was really impressive and wherever you look there are so many symbols. We also got to listen to a guide who told the humoristic version of the chapel’s history; this was around 12 or 1 o’clock, so if you’re ever around at that time don’t miss it.

Glasgow high street was also fun, a bit of a city escape for half a day, where I bought a new grey jersey dress. Don’t judge, I wanted it for a long-ish time and they had a 20% off so I couldn’t help myself.

Because my dad is a passionate collector of whiskey bottles, we naturally had to visit a distillery – heck, we were in their home country! So we went to Glengoyne for a tour around the factory where we got to see all the different techniques they use in the process of making whiskey and a look around their shop. It was all so good that we couldn’t possibly have left empty handed. Well obviously I had no role in the buying of a whiskey bottle but I did get a box of handmade chocolates with whiskey filling… they were so good I had to limit myself to just one a day so it would last me longer.

And last but not least – St. Andrew’s! A charming little town by the sea, best known for the university which gave it its name (or maybe the other way round). It’s the third oldest in the UK and the oldest in Scotland, dating from the 15th century. I loved walking around the city center with all the boutiques and pastry shops and around the amazing campus and by the harbor. This place really has it all! P.S – take your time to visit the Glass House restaurant for lunch. Such good food!

 

 

 

 

I realize this took ages to post but just loading 43 photos takes about 5 hours…but I’m finishing off with a pretty photo! 🙂

 

Washed out ♬

Seems like an appropriate title since I’ve just returned from  – rainy-  Scotland. Now really, it wasn’t that bad except for Edinburgh where it poured down the entire day. No harm done, it’s still up in the top 10 places I’ve seen this past week and a bit.

Which brings me onto the point of this post: I’ll be doing a top 10 Scotland based on the things I’ve seen so far, with photos to prove my reasoning of course. Some are really breathtaking; exhibit A

Natural’s not in it ♬

My excited face was in reference to 2 factors: the adorable cars exhibited in which me and my friend have decided to travel through Italy in 2 years’ time and the fact that we were at Blenheim Palace, just my favorite place in the UK really. I know one day that’s going to be my address, right after I move to Paris or Rio or New York or Barcelona or somewhere like that.

We had a small photoshoot in a Rousseu-inspired style if you may; although there were cold winds and some showers, I braved them all with a gypsy floral skirt that offered no warmth whatsoever. I compensated with layers of knitwear and a ‘lady-of-the-manor’ jacket as my dad would call it.

I wonder how many walk-in wardrobes can fit into a palace like that….

*credits to the photographer ;)*

Listen to the title song by clicking here.

Mini cycling trip

When London gives you sun, you take it and go cycling.

That was my mantra for today, since we Londoners are being lured in with actually ok weather. I’m not sure if it’s just a temporary sadistic weather joke or it’s going to be like this for a while but hey…. I’m not going to complain this time!

So given the happy happy times we lead, I went cycling with the fam’ (cool bunch of people 😛 ) outside of London in a county-type-place called Weybridge. It was very pretty with all the green and we cycled for about 3 hours along the canals, switching views from either bumpy roads to stupendously posh houses with equally stupendous boats (more like mini yachts) parked in front of them. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I sighed as I pedaled past.

Oh yeah, here are some arty photos taken with my not-so-capable Ipod camera. 🙂

Ana x