Posts in Travel
Top 5 Pros and Cons to Being an Expat in the U.K.

When my husband and I had the opportunity to move overseas to the U.K. we jumped at the idea! We had just gotten married and thought what better way to start our life together than having this once in a lifetime adventure?! We thought of all the places we would go, all the things we would see, and all the things we would learn. Sure, we knew that there would be challenges. Moving to a new place is always hard, let alone when it's a 9-hour flight from anyone you know. We sold our first home that we owned for merely a year before getting the news of this opportunity. I told myself "It's just things, you can replace them." We sold much of our furniture which we had just bought to fill this house and the rest we have stored. I was prepared to miss some of the conveniences of living in a place that was familiar but was more than ready for this new adventure. 

We have been over in the U.K. now for just over 6 months. We have already visited 4 different countries in the time that we have been here and have made some incredible memories. Neither my husband and I have any regrets about the decision we made and still feel grateful for the experience. Having said that it does not mean that every day has been a cake walk and that there haven't been moments of complete frustration in trying to acclimate to a new country and culture. I thought I would share what I feel have been the best things about living here and the most frustrating. So here we go-

Pros

1.  Produce- 

The produce here in the U.K. is truly incredible! For the first month, I was eating like 6 servings of fruit a day because it was all so delicious! Probably taking in more sugar than I needed to but I was obsessed. When we left MN we were buying organic as much as possible we were planning on continuing with that as we moved overseas. We had a much harder time finding organic produce here in the U.K. but after more research found that buying organic is less important here as they have much more strict laws on how crops are treated. The first thing we noticed is that all the produce is very small in comparison to U.S. produce. Likely due to lack of GMOs and other pesticides. Below is a great info graph that will break down some of the big ones.

2.      Travel Opportunities

One of the things we looked forward to most to moving to the U.K was the ability to travel to countries throughout the EU with ease. Ireland is a 30 minute plane ride away! It's crazy how much cheaper it is to travel from country to country here in EU vs how much it costs to fly city to city in the US. I mean an hour flight from Minneapolis to Chicago easily costs your $300. Here we can fly from Birmingham to Paris for $75. It really makes me wonder what the heck these American airlines are doing.. 

3.      History

There is just so much history over here in the U.K. We have sat in pubs that are older than the U.S! Castles, ruins, historical homes are just a stone’s throw away just about anywhere you go. We have 2 of the top 10 historical sites within 30 minutes of our house. We initially were so concerned about going to other countries that we forgot about everything in our area. We have recently been trying to see more around here. 

4.      Driving

So, most people may be surprised to see this on my list. Driving on the other side of the road?! Round-a-bouts?! WHAT?! Initially it is a bit overwhelming to acclimate but it's best to just jump on in. The longer you wait, the more you build it up in your head. Driving here is more fast paced and aggressive, the roads are crazy narrow, and people park on whichever side of the road they want. Again this may confuse some of you.. It might be more difficult to drive here initially. There drivers test is much more intensive- you first need to get a provisional license to even begin practicing driving. You then have to take a written theory test. After passing that you take an hour long driving test. From my understanding, few pass the first time. 

Drivers here are much less distracted because it's more fast paced you can't be multi-tasking or you are guaranteed to get into an accident. I have come to find that aggressive driving doesn't translate to bad driving as long as you are not distracted. The interstate here is great because you can only pass someone on the right. It is actually ILLEGAL to pass someone on the left. So you never get stuck in a situation where you are stuck behind 3 drivers going under the speed limit. The right lane is for passing, the middle is par on course, and the left is for slow and exits. It's AMAZING! I am not a road rager but driving back in the States after driving here I found extremely frustrated! The Brit's know how to drive.

 

5.      Temperate Weather (in comparison to MN)

Ok so another shocker I know.. This is more of a personal preference. I only like very hot weather when I am near a body of water. Since that doesn't happen often in the UK I am happy with the 70 degree summer days and the 40 degree winter days. The winters are drizzly here but they are still warmer than Minnesota winters so I am happy to throw on a waterproof parka and still walk around outside most of the day than only being able to be outside for 5 minutes between running from the car to the store. I am also a sweaty person by nature so not having to worry about constantly pitting out is a bonus! Not to mention having the windows open in the summer and getting that fresh air :)

 

Cons-

1.      Weather App is worthless

Although overall, I prefer the more temperate weather here in the UK dressing for the day is near impossible most of the time. Because the U.K. is an island the weather changes in a matter of minutes and the Weather App never seems to keep up. So, you must always carry a rain jacket, umbrella, and sunglasses. It will say 0% chance of rain and sure enough in the afternoon you get a drizzle for 20 minutes. 

2.      Lack of Healthy Food Options For Going Out

As a healthy living enthusiast, I do my best to eat healthy as much as possible. I do my best to cook most meals during week but sometimes you just want to be able to grab something quick. Our first 3 months here we struggled to find even a decent salad at restaurants. Everything here is just so heavy. Fish and chips, Indian curry’s, pub food. All good when it's a Saturday night and you are hanging in the pub but sometimes you need a good salad or some grilled veggies to get you through the week. 

3.      Bad Customer Service

So I am not saying that I have never received good service while being here but it has certainly been in the minority. This is something even the Brit's acknowledge. Many say customer service in the States makes them feel like kings in comparison. You get bare bones here and sometimes not even that...  Tipping is not really a thing here in Europe and I believe that has a direct correlation with service. There is no incentive to be attentive to customers. You may sit for 10 minutes before a server comes to get your order and then at the end of the meal you have to hunt down the server to get your check. We have learned to manage our expectations when we go out now. Never go in a hurry!

4.      Drafty in the Winter

Because places are so old they often are not well insulated. During the winter, you may not want to remove your coat the entire evening. The damp climate does not help the situation either. Layer up!

5.      No clothing dryers

O man this is a real pain to me. We must hang dry all of our clothes. ALL OF THEM. Underwear, towels, etc.. 4 days a week our living room looks a panty raid. We have to do so many loads because the washer is tiny. Not to mention the crunchiness. What I wouldn't give for a fluffy towel... There is not enough fabric softener in the world to create a fluffy towel without a dryer. It also makes doing laundry last minute a thing of the past. If you want an outfit for Saturday night, it better be washed up on Thursday. Goodbye to the days of being too lazy to iron and throwing your shirt back in the dryer for 10 minutes. 

Local Eats- Haddie & Trilby
Haddie and Trilby located at 10 Regent St, Leamington Spa CV32 5HQ

Haddie and Trilby located at 10 Regent St, Leamington Spa CV32 5HQ

Behind the Scenes of Haddie and Trilby

*** Be sure to read all the way to the bottom to find the recipe for the Haddie and Trilby House Loaf that started it all***

If it’s not apparent already. I have a real passion for food. I love the process of being in the kitchen and creating something that will not only nourish your body but will be something that is also beautiful and appealing to all your senses.  As much as I enjoy being on the development side of cooking, I just as much enjoy being on the receiving end… I find inspiration in what others create, flavor profiles I myself never thought to put together, ingredients I never heard of or thought to use, and the beautiful presentation which can be put on a plate.  It’s a truly beautiful thing!

So, when I decided to begin blogging about local restaurants and establishments, I wanted to find places that were unique and special. Places that perhaps took an item we may eat or encounter every day and added their own twist and passion.

It did not take me long to discover Haddie and Trilby (H&T) of Leamington Spa. I walk by it every day as I am heading to teach or have errands in town. The first time I walked by I found myself mesmerized by the beautiful treats, cakes, and breads they have in the window. I was particularly hypnotized by what I can only describe as a whipped cloud fluff. I know now that these “fluffs” are actually hard meringues, and are common in the UK, but not so much in the US.  I imagined that these large sugar fluffs came from the same place where unicorns, double rainbows, and fairies reside.  MAGICAL.

When I approached George, the owner of Haddie and Trilby, he was more than happy to oblige me and my little blog. He invited me in on a Monday when they were closed to sit and chat with him about H&T. Upon my arrival George offered me a plethora of drink options, many of which were coffee based. I am not much of a coffee drinker so I asked for tea. He offered a Lemon Verbena herbal tea. It was just fresh lemon verbena leaves with hot water and it was delicious 😊As it turned out those little leaves were locally grown and bartered from a local customer for bread… but more on that later…

 

George on the right.

George on the right.

George- The Man, The Legend, The Baker

George is the owner and founder of Haddie and Trilby. You may be surprised to hear (just like I was) that he did not have a long career as a baker. He actually worked for many years as a Sound Engineer for the BBC Radio. George always had a passion for food but had no formal training. He would cook at home and try to recreate meals he and his wife had on their travels but it was mostly a hobby. His journey into baking really began when he and his family moved outside of Leamington in search of the “country life”. While living in the country, George and his wife found there was no place nearby to buy fresh-quality bread, so he started baking at home with a breadmaker he bought for 30 Pounds.  His breadmaker eventually broke which led George to start making the bread by hand.  In no time, he was making 5-10 loaves per week, most of which are the house bread loaves which can still be found at H&T today.  (Recipe at bottom of page)

George’s passion for baking began to grow… he started taking courses to learn more and even worked in some local bakeries in the evening for free to hone in his techniques!  Eventually, with more knowledge and practice under his belt he decided it was time to open his own place. That’s when the idea for Haddie and Trilby was born. He thought if he was so desperate for a loaf of real bread in town there must be others in search as well.

 

Like Elephants, Real Bread Cannot be Rushed...

So who are Haddie and Trilby and why name your bakery that? Well for many in the Leamington Spa area Haddie and Trilby are local legends. Back during the Victorian Era a Leamington Spa native man named Sam Lockhart began training elephants for the circus.  He trained dozens of elephants but the most famous were the 3 Graces; Haddie, Trilby and Wilhelmina.

In his search for the perfect name, George thought he should create a name which would tie his bakery to Leamington without restricting location for potential future growth.  Haddie and Trilby was a perfect fit for like elephants, real bread cannot be rushed. For those of you wondering why Wihelmina didn’t make the cut, don’t worry the oven is named Wilhelmina. So the 3 Graces remain intact.

 

Real Bread is Coming...

In 2014 George was getting ready to open Haddie and Trilby. The only marketing he used was to simply put a sign in the window which read, “Real Bread is Coming”. To his pleasant surprise, there was a line out the door opening day and it hasn’t slowed much sense in the 3 years it’s been open.  I walk by most days and see people standing out the door waiting to get their hands on the beautiful and delicious food that is wonderfully displayed in H&Ts windows Tuesday thru Saturday. If you want to ensure you get the best of the best you better come early!  Haddie and Trilby opens at 7AM and closes when everything is sold out. Most things are set by 9:00 AM.

 

Waste Not Want Not.

As if I needed another reason to love H&T any more… did you know that many of the ingredients used in the amazing baked goods are from local residents that bartered for free bread? That means, if you have an apple tree that produces more apples than you can consume… bring them into H&T and George may swap them out for some free bread!  ! I LOVE THAT! Oh BTW – that lemon verbena tea I mentioned I was drinking earlier… someone had bartered that for free bread too.  Incredible!

Seasons are the biggest inspiration for what is created in the kitchen. George wants to cook with the fresh, local ingredients that are in season. This helps ensure the quality of ingredients and creates a variety we all long for as the seasons change.

Another way George is reducing food waste is by donating any leftovers to local food shelters. This may seem like a no brainer, but UK restaurants throw out over 600,000 tons of food a year. Most of which could have been used by local food kitchens. Starbucks is an example of a large company that is trying to reduce this number. They have begun distributing their soon to expire food to local shelters in several major cities. Their goal is to launch worldwide by 2021.

Imagine the impact if every restaurant took this approach??

 

Baking With Love

When I asked George where the inspiration for his creations came from he said it was a variety of places. The season has a large role as that dictates what ingredients may be available, but inspiration can come from travels, reading things online, and also whatever the staff may be excited to try. The last was what intrigued me the most. Although George only employs two individuals with actual culinary training, all the staff have an opportunity to experiment and bake. George of course wants to ensure that H&T is an efficient workplace but it is also critical that he and his staff have time to create and experiment.

When I spent my morning behind the scenes I got to see how this works. One of the staff had made up a new cake batter and was tasked with deciding what to do with the cake. All the staff had a taste and gave ideas and feedback. This of course was all happening in the mad chaos of trying to get that day’s goodies out. It was like a sprint think tank.

 

To Infinity and Beyond!

So, the bakery thing is panning out pretty well, but what is next for H&T? Well George has a few ideas up his sleeve… classes being the main one. George is hoping to offer classes to those who want to learn more about making delicious things (Breads, cakes, pizzas). It’s just a matter of finding the time to plan it all out. George disclosed to me that sometimes he needs a little harassing to get things done, so if you would be interested in these classes feel free to bother him about it when you are in picking up your bread 😊 I say that selfishly as I would like to learn how to make a delicious bread 😊

 

The Most Important Thing..

Let’s be real, what you are most interested in is what you should try right? I would agree…. But truthfully, even though you could be very happy walking out with one of everything, your tummy and your waistline may be mad at you later… 

 Here are the things I would recommend trying first:

Breads

Rye- I buy a loaf every week. It’s so dense and moist. Perfect lightly toasted with my peanut butter.

House- Classic but delicious. Perfect for a basic sandwich or as garlic bread with pasta.

Sweets

Salted Caramel Flap Jack- rich and decadent and who doesn’t love salted caramel anything??

Fruit Tart- My husband got this for me on my birthday in leu of a cake and it DID NOT disappoint!

Lunch

Sandwich special- every day H&T has 2 or 3 sandwich’s ready to serve up… made with their delicious bread usually a specialty cheese and some other seasonal goodies.

Focaccia- This makes a great lunch or savory breakfast. The egg veggie focaccia is delicious! Light and fluffy.

Pizza Night

Ok, full disclosure- I have yet to make it to pizza night on Thursdays. Sadly, I teach a class until about 9 so have not been able to make it. But I have heard nothing but amazing things and there is a line out the door as per usual. So, get there early or be ready to do take away as seating is limited.


The House Loaf

Ingredients:-

300g Organic Strong White Flour  

50g Maize Flour

50g Light Rye Flour

70g Malted Wheat Flakes

10g Fine Sea salt

2g Dried Yeast (Or 150g Wheat Sourdough Starter)

340g Water

Method:-

1. Put everything in a bowl and mix together with ONE hand

until it looks like a sticky mess and the flour is all

mixed in.

2. Put a tea towel over the top and leave in the fridge or

somewhere cool for 8-12 hours.

3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled worktop & fold it

and stretch it for 30 seconds, then place into a new clean

lightly oiled bowl. Cover with tea towel and leave it out

in the warm kitchen.

4. Repeat step 3 after 20 minutes another 2 times.

5. After the third time it should look very different to

yesterday! If not repeat step 3 again!

6. Place the dough into a suitable lightly oiled tin and leave

covered with a tea towel in warm kitchen until it has risen

a lot and looks like it wants to be baked! About 1 hour

should do.

7. Bake in the hottest oven for 15 minutes then have a look

and turn the temperature down to about 180-200c and bake

for another 10-20 until it sounds hollow when tapped.

8. Eat when cooled if you can wait!


Haddie and Trilby Info:

Haddie and Trilby is located at 10 Regent St, Leamington Spa CV32 5HQ

Hours- Tuesday- Saturday 7AM until they run out

Website- http://www.haddieandtrilby.com

CIao Bella- Fashion, Food, and Travel through Northern italy
This is in Torbole on Lake Garda. It's known for it's wind surfing. Was super fun to watch everyone out on the lake. 

This is in Torbole on Lake Garda. It's known for it's wind surfing. Was super fun to watch everyone out on the lake. 

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy"

- Giuseppe Verdi

I have to agree Guiseppe, I have to agree. There are so many incredible places in this world and every time I go to a new place I think this may be my new favorite place and this Italy trip was no different.

When people think of Italy they perhaps think of Rome, Florence, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, pasta, wine but most don’t think about mountains, lakes, german, YES German. We spent this trip in northern Italy, the lakes area of Italy. Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore are the 3 largest lakes in Italy and are all in the northern region that butts up to the Alps. For this trip we stayed on the northern tip of Lake Garda in Torbole for 4 days and then drove up further north to a small village called Caldaro near Bolzano for another 4 days.

Day 1- Travel Day to Torbole

The temperatures for this trip were going to be far above average so I was doing my best to dress for the heat! Comfy, cute sandals are a must! These rose gold numbers were great finds from Office and perfect for this trip!

Crop Top- Nordstrom Rack, Wedge Sandals- The Office, Pants- Zara, Watch- Kate Spade, Sunglasses- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose, Lipgloss- Neutrogena

Crop Top- Nordstrom Rack, Wedge Sandals- The Office, Pants- Zara, Watch- Kate Spade, Sunglasses- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose, Lipgloss- Neutrogena

We stayed in a Hotel Benaco right near the water. It's the little green building to the right side of pic. It was straight out of the 70's with a bed with the firmness of a rock but location couldn't be beat!

We stayed in a Hotel Benaco right near the water. It's the little green building to the right side of pic. It was straight out of the 70's with a bed with the firmness of a rock but location couldn't be beat!

Day 2- Torbole- sun and food!

I was very eager to paddle board on this trip but sadly the winds were too high for me to get out on the water. Instead we chilled on the rocky beach and watched the windsurfers do their thing. 

Gorgeous water set with a rocky backdrop. Perfection!

Gorgeous water set with a rocky backdrop. Perfection!

One Piece Swimsuit- H&M, Sandals- Target, Sunglasses- Kate Spade, Scarf Coverup- Zara, Nuetragena SPF 50- A MUST

One Piece Swimsuit- H&M, Sandals- Target, Sunglasses- Kate Spade, Scarf Coverup- Zara, Nuetragena SPF 50- A MUST

I am loving one pieces right now!

I am loving one pieces right now!

We had an amazing restaurant just across the street from us called Ristorante Pizzeria Al Porto Torbole sul Garda. We normally don't eat more than once at a place but we ate here twice because we enjoyed it so much. Amazing pizza and salads!

Top- H&M, Pants- Zara, Sandals- Office, Choker- River Island, Watch- Kate Spade

Top- H&M, Pants- Zara, Sandals- Office, Choker- River Island, Watch- Kate Spade

Day 3- Canyoning and Fancy Dinner!

Lake Garda is the more active of all the lakes in Italy. Cycling, windsurfing, kayaking, and canyoning are HUGE. It was ungodly hot so the idea of biking didn't really appeal to either of us. Not to mention I am not much of a cyclist in general. Windsurfing takes at least a week's worth of lessons to pick up on, so that was out. Canyoning was perfect for us because it was a day long excursion that required no additional training and it was higher up the mountain where it was cooler. 

If you are not familiar with canyoning, it's basically starting at the top of the canyon and working your way down by jumping, repelling, sliding, and swimming down. I have a slight issue with heights but I am all about conquering your fears! Jumping was no problem, the repelling was more challenging for me as you go backwards down and are trusting someone to hoist you down... All and all it was a fun experience and I highly recommend!

Nevermind that my mouth is open in every picture :)

Nevermind that my mouth is open in every picture :)

SUPERWOMAN!! So graceful :)

SUPERWOMAN!! So graceful :)

Dinner Time!

We had actually been to Torbole before. We spent 4 days there for our honeymoon. Last time we were there we went to this amazing Osteria called Osteria Le Servite outside of town that grows the ingredients they use in a giant garden out back. They have an incredible wine selection, amazing food, and great customer service. We just had to go back. 

Dress- Banana Republic, Sandals- Office, Watch- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose

Dress- Banana Republic, Sandals- Office, Watch- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose

Day 4- Fairy Ride to Malcesine and cable car ride up the mountain

Hat- H&M, Crop Top- Nordstrom Rack, Denim Skirt- H&M, Sandals- Office, Watch- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose, Lip Gloss- Nuetragena

Hat- H&M, Crop Top- Nordstrom Rack, Denim Skirt- H&M, Sandals- Office, Watch- Kate Spade, Earrings- Lilac Rose, Lip Gloss- Nuetragena

We decided to explore other towns on the lake on Day 4. There is a fairy that runs about every 30 minutes that will take you to different towns on the lake. We decided to go to Malcesine because it has a cable car that takes you up the mountain where you can see over the whole lake. There is also a restaurant, bar and kite sailors running off the cliffs so really worth the trip! It feels like you stepped into the "Sound of Music" when you reached the top. Oddly enough, the hills are alive with the sound of music because cattle that are grazing on the open pasture are wearing bells. It was truly breathtaking! Just make sure you either get up really early or do what we did and go around 3. The cable car stops running at 6 so we didn't have to worry about as much of a line on the way up or down. If you go middle of day, expect a wait fo 45 minutes for car on both ends. 

Fairy from Torbole to Malcesine 

Fairy from Torbole to Malcesine 

While we were in Malcesine we decided we needed a snack and some wine before we headed up the mountain. We wandered through the old streets until we wandered into a Venetian style eatery called Ciao Bei with cichetti tapas. While on our honeymoon in Venice we fell in love with this style food so were very excited! It did not disappoint. If you aren't familiar with cicchetti it's more or less Venetian Tapas. 

Sounds of Music RIGHT?!!?

Sounds of Music RIGHT?!!?

Places to sit and enjoy some wine or a Spritz

Places to sit and enjoy some wine or a Spritz

We are going all the way  up to the very top!

We are going all the way  up to the very top!

Day 5- Drive to Caldaro and my 31st BDAY :)

Our time had come to an end in Torbole. We had a wonderful time and feel we could still go back for another trip to explore even more! But it was onto another beautiful place. Further North we go! So as you may remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned Italy and it's relation to German. I am sure that confused many of you. Well let me expain- the area of Caldaro is very Northern Italy. The area that butts up to the Alps and Austria. This is where German comes into play. German is the first language spoken in this area, then Italian, and them MAYBE English. Unfortunately the small amount of German I had learned in elementary school was of no help. It was a bit more difficult to communicate here but still a good amount of people speak English or enough to roughly communicate. All the signs, roads, and towns have both a German name and then an Italian name. It's quite interesting really. 

So we drive about an hour and a half and arrive in Caldaro. It is a STUNNING little village. Best part is they have what they call WINE ROAD. There are 20 wineries in this little town of 7,000. It's beautiful!  

Sweater- Macy's, Santuary, Shorts- Banana Republic, Bralette- H&M, Sandales- Target, Watch- Kate Spade, 

Sweater- Macy's, Santuary, Shorts- Banana Republic, Bralette- H&M, Sandales- Target, Watch- Kate Spade, 

Our accomodation was a hotel called Bruhl. It had just opened the year prior and was stunning. It is run by a very sweet couple that are a two person show minus the house keepers. They are running drinks and food out to the pool for guests while answering the phones, while checking in new guests, while answering questions. They were fabulous and so was the hotel!

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

The room is very modern and open

The room is very modern and open

Day 6- Paddle Boating on Lake Caldaro and Wine Tasting

So about 6 minutes outside of Caldaro there is Lake Caldaro. It is the warmest alpine lake in the world. It's not very big but it's gorgeous! The waters a crystal clear and so blue! There are opportunities to rent paddle boards, wind surfing, paddle boats or just hang out on the grassy beach. I always thought a beach had to have sand but I acutally prefer the grass. It doesn't get hot and it's not a mess!

Pictures just don't dot it justice!

Pictures just don't dot it justice!

B-4296-baden-schwimmen-Kaltern-Kalterer-See-Lido.jpg
One of my favorite days! The water was perfect!

One of my favorite days! The water was perfect!

Time for some wine tasting! We hit up 3 different places in one day. The great thing is that they are all walking distance!

Day 7- Relaxing by the pool and dinner

The final full day in Caldaro was a sleepy one. Just relaxing by the pool and napping. We wanted to take it easy before traveling back home. Our amaxing hosts made sure we were taken care of with delicous snacks by the pool. If only this were only considered a snack :)

Our trip was an amazing one! We think that Caldaro will be an annual trip for us. It was just so beautiful and relaxing, not to mention the wine! If you are traveling to Italy I highly recommend looking into the smaller towns outside of Florence or Rome. It all depends on how you like to travel and what you like to see but my husband and I are all about food, wine, scenic outdoors and relaxing. Northern Italy is our idea of heaven. The landscape, weather, food, people. It has everything we love! Below are the places I would recommend if you decide to take a trip to Torbole and Caldaro.

 

Recommendations

Restaurant -

Ciao Bei (Malcesine)- Cicchetti and tapas

Osteria le Servite (Torbole)- great menu, steak was delicious!

Ristorante Pizzeria Al Porto Torbole sul Garda (Torbole)- good menu overall

Rottenburger Keller (Caldaro)- Good Pizza

Torggkeller (Caldaro)- Meats, cheeses, antipasti

Hotel-

Bruhl in Caldaro

Wineries-

Ritterhoff (ask for Doris )

Manincor

Erste & Neue (more of a large company, not as personal but good wine)

 

 

I hope that you found this blog post interesting and helpful. Feel free to leave comments and forward it on to friends and family!

CHEERS!

The Food Fanantic & Exercise Enthusiast

Scotch and Scotts- Fashion, food and travel in Scotland
Edinborugh-15.jpg

This was just outside Edinburgh in St. Andrews. So much more than just a golf course in this adorable little town. 

I just got back from spending a long weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland. What an amazing city. The moment you step into the Edinburgh you feel part of something grand. It's like stepping back in time. Surrounded by castles, beautiful architecture, and hundreds of years of history.  

As I was getting ready to pack I of course had to think about the elements. Scotland is not known for it’s bright sunny days. When I looked at the forecast the week before it was at least 60% chance of rain everyday with 20 mph winds. Needless to say I was a bit nervous about being wet and cold the whole time. I realized that we were going to see the sights and make some memories but is it so bad that I want to look back at pictures and think “That was a great trip” AND “ I looked good”? So I strategically packed outfits that I thought would be not only practical but cute. So here they are!

Day 1- Travel Day

So when deciding what to wear on a travel day I always do my best to layer. This allows me to fit more into my bag (I was only bringing a carry on for this trip). If I am packing heels for the trip I tend to wear them to the airport, again allowing more room in my bag.  I decided to stick with a neutral pallet. This allows me to mix and match various pieces. I of course had to pack my plaid scarf! I wanted to fit in with the local Scot's. 

 

White Linen Shirt (Banana Republic), Denim Skinnies (Banana Republic), Minus the Leather Jacket (Express), Plaid Blanket Scarf, Chunky Heeled Booties (Kenneth Cole Reaction), Watch (Kate Spade)

White Linen Shirt (Banana Republic), Denim Skinnies (Banana Republic), Minus the Leather Jacket (Express), Plaid Blanket Scarf, Chunky Heeled Booties (Kenneth Cole Reaction), Watch (Kate Spade)

After arriving in Edinburgh. Out for a nice dinner with a great view of the castle!

After arriving in Edinburgh. Out for a nice dinner with a great view of the castle!

Day 2- Arthur's Seat and Scotch Tasting

Arthur's Seat is an incredible hike up a large rock formation that has a great view overlooking the city. I of course wore my workout clothes for this part of trip. If you are going to Edinburgh definitely take this hike!

You can see for miles! Gorgeous!

You can see for miles! Gorgeous!

After we finished up with the Arthur's Seat hike we did the Scotch Experience. Even if you are not a big Scotch drinker this is a tour worth doing. You learn a lot and it's quite a production. You start the tour by getting in a cart that is shaped like a whiskey barrel. It's a ride that takes your through the different steps of the scotch process. At the end you get out and are given a Scratch and Sniff Sticker card that will give you the different scents you might experience when smelling/tasting a scotch. You learn how each region's climate plays into the final taste and smell of the Scotch. 

You wrap up the end of the tour by walking through the largest collection of scotch on the planet. It is quite something. Extremely old bottles to collector edition bottles and everything in between (see pic below). 

Ok so what did I wear for this? Again not knowing what the weather had in store for us it was important that I wore my hair in a way that if the elements got to it I wouldn't look like that girl from The Ring. Stringy, flat, nasty hair. So I chose to wear a scarf, one of my favorite hair accesories! Of course another must was comfortable shoes. It's important to have a great pair of cute  and comfortable shoes when on vacation as chances are you will be walking a great deal. We easily walked over 12,000 steps each day. Cole Haan makes the most comfortable and trendy wing tips. The soles are more like a tennis shoe while the top is a more formal wing tip. A MUST!

Fringe Top (Anthropologie), Jeans (Levi- Wedgie Fit), Shoes (Cole Haan), Head Scarf (Zara)

Fringe Top (Anthropologie), Jeans (Levi- Wedgie Fit), Shoes (Cole Haan), Head Scarf (Zara)

Enjoying Scotch sample in front of the world's largest collection of Scotch. 

Enjoying Scotch sample in front of the world's largest collection of Scotch. 

Day 3- Road Trip to Stirling Castle and St. Andrews

Day 3 we ventured out of Edinburgh. We rented a car to drive up the coast to see Stirling Castle and St. Andrews Golf Course. Believe it or not up to this point we still had not seen rain. We had gorgeous weather from start to finish of each day. Day 3 was no different. We drove an hour and a half to Stirling Castle. Very much recommend if you are able to get outside of city. I again chose to wear something comfortable and layer up. 

Chambray Shirt (GAP), Jewel Top (Banana Republic), Leather Pants (Anthropologie- Pilcro), Shoes (Cole Haan), Side Satchel (Target), Sunglasses (Target)

Chambray Shirt (GAP), Jewel Top (Banana Republic), Leather Pants (Anthropologie- Pilcro), Shoes (Cole Haan), Side Satchel (Target), Sunglasses (Target)

Having a little fun with the props :)

Having a little fun with the props :)

The famous bridge on St. Andrews Golf Course.

The famous bridge on St. Andrews Golf Course.

Day 4- Edinburgh Castle

This was our final day in Edinburgh. We did a walking food tour and a tour of Edinburgh Castle. This day our weather luck ran out and we ran into some serious ran. But It's ok as I had packed for that. A baseball cap was another way for me to ensure I wasn't going to have to deal with nastly hair should the weather turn wet. Of course a rain jacket is a must if you are traveling to this part of the world as the weather is extremely unpredictable. One moment it's sunny and warm and then 30 min later it's raining, then sunny, then windy, then hot. Needless to say you have to prepare for just about anything. This day was quite a bit cooler than the rest, so the warm sweater I packed came in handy. 

Sweater (Anthropologie), Jeans (Banana Republic), Shoes (Cole Haan), Rain Jacket (Super Dry), Hat (H&M), Watch (Kate Spade)

Sweater (Anthropologie), Jeans (Banana Republic), Shoes (Cole Haan), Rain Jacket (Super Dry), Hat (H&M), Watch (Kate Spade)

Could not escape the rain today. 

Could not escape the rain today. 

As I said, Edinburgh is an incredible city and I highly recommend visiting if you have the opportunity. When packing remember- wear comfortable shoes, bring a rain jacket (umbrella's may not cut it with the wind), hats and other hair accessories are a must to deal with the rain and wind, and layers are always recommended as it can go from cold to hot in an instant. 

The next trip will be Northern Italy. Stay tuned! 

CHEERS-

The Food Fanantic & Exercise Enthusiast