When we were looking for a destination for our end year trip, our main criteria was that it had to be relaxing. We just wanted to eat, drink and sleep. We eventually decided on Bandung, Indonesia. The reason? It’s a great city for cafe-hopping and good food! So, this post will mainly be about the cafes and restaurants we visited (and how photo-worthy they are)
We all need a break sometimes, and after months of endless work and long office hours, we finally decided that it's time for a weekend getaway! We've been wanting to visit Batam together as it has been a long time since we visited the island. After some research, we decided to stay at Sijori Resort & Spa.
A photolog of the Food & Music Festival happening this weekend, Let's Go Jalan Jalan 2017.
Flowers are always associated with beauty and love. Many people gift flowers to their other half from time to time, on special occasions or just as a sweet surprise. One of the things that is more precious than the gesture of flowers is time. And last weekend, A Better Florist gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the gift of both.
Each workshop is unique as it features different flower combinations. For our class, the main type of flowers we got to work with are Roses, Carnations and Baby's Breath.
The first step was to clean up the flowers. Good idea to get rid of the thorns on the roses before doing anything else. The Carnations required some 'massaging' to aid it in blooming. We also had to remove the leaves on the lower parts of the stem as we did not need them there for a bouquet.
Next, we moved on to the hard part: Arrangement. A demo was done for us by the teacher to show us the final product. No one could quite remember all the steps, but it was fine as he guided us along the way.
If we had one thing throughout the class, it was confidence. We thought we had a good finished product several times, only to get a chuckle from the teacher when he sees our work. And after rounds of guidance, we finally had our finished bouquet!
A hundred photos with one bouquet
We saw a video where Photographer Emily Quinton took many different photos from just one bouquet. So we decided we have to give it a try too! We didn't reach a hundred, but here it goes.
In the end, a two hours workshop gave us an entire weekend of fun. Nothing beats trying something for the first time together with your loved ones. Really appreciate A Better Florist for the invitation as we enjoyed ourselves during the workshop. We both truly feel that this workshop could be a wonderful gift to your other half, as you get a bouquet of flowers at the end, and more importantly, you get to spend a great time with him/her.
P.s Flowers are still looking good after six days!
Other Tips & Info:
- Details on which flowers will be used is available at the sign-up page of each workshop.
- Feel free to bring back leftovers for other uses such as flat lay photography.
- Be careful while dealing with the roses as it's easy to get pricked.
- Plant food is given at the end of the class.
Today marks the beginning of the true Scotland trip for us! After watching Braveheart, we really looked forward to follow the trail of William Wallace!
*Cue bagpipe music*
12th May 2017
08:00 | Breakfast at 19 Snowden Stirling Guest House
Morning started with a sumptuous breakfast prepared by the host, together with the company of two other female guests who have travelled in the opposite direction of our itinerary. They shared their experience of travelling in Scotland thus far and told us that we are about to visit their favourite castle of Scotland!
10:00 | Strolled along the Old Stirling Bridge
Old Stirling Bridge was introduced to us through an instagrammer as a good location to photograph the impressive Wallace Monument. It's connected to a park and was really lovely to see the locals going about their daily routines.
Oh, do not be misled by the plaque! This stone structure is not the original Stirling Bridge from the battle. The original wooden bridge has collapsed in the 1297 battle.
11:00 | Climbed up to the Crown of The National Wallace Monument at Abbey Craig
Parked the car at the carpark and took a courtesy bus to reach the base of Wallace Monument. Bought our entry tickets from the reception desk and began our journey up the 246 spiral stairs. Along the way up, we went into three exhibition galleries to learn more about the monument, William Wallace and the battle at Stirling Bridge. The spiral staircase is pretty narrow, so the galleries also served the purpose of easing the walk and being the passing point for everyone.
Eventually we made it to "The Crown" which is the top of the monument. The view of the vast landscape around Abbey Craig was absolutely breathtaking! Thus, we braved the strong winds and stayed there to admire the scenery for much longer than we should have.
13:00 | Toured the Stirling Castle
We went on to visit the Stirling Castle nearby which was highly recommended by our fellow travellers at the guest house. And indeed, It became one of our favourite castles of this trip!
Started the visit with eating ice cream bought from a cute ice cream truck just outside the castle while admiring the view of where we just came from. Next, we purchased the tickets and entered Stirling castle just in time for the free guided tour (takes place every half an hour) around the castle. The engaging guide shared with us the history and fascinating facts of the royal buildings. We strongly recommend joining the guided tour when visiting any place of interest!
After the brief tour around the castle with the guide, we continued to walk around the castle to take photos and appreciate the buildings with some still in the midst of restoration. In addition, there are costumed characters hanging out in some rooms where you can mingle with them or ask questions.
Truly enjoyed our visit there! It felt like we stepped back in time and we'll always remember this castle with its unique yellow building named "The Great Hall".
16:00 | Late lunch at Oak Tree Inn near Loch Lomond
It's time for a late lunch! We headed towards Oak Tree Inn that was situated in the lovely loch side village of Balmaha. This is a really nice location for a stopover/meal. Saw a lot of hikers there as it's just across the Loch Lomond-Trossachs National Park visitor centre.
17:00 | In search of the lone tree at Milarrochy Bay
Anders was captivated by a photographer's photos of this lone tree, and thus we went a little off our intended path to look for it. There is very little information about this tree, and thus we had a hard time finding it.
Finally, we found it right here on the beach in front of a small building. The light was working against us by that hour of the day. Still, we took some shots and made the best out of the visit!
19:00 | Stopped over at Luss Village
We originally planned to stop by a few more places on our way to our next accommodation, but due to time running out, we had to drop a few of them. One that we thought we had to visit was Luss. It's dubbed by some people as the most beautiful village in Scotland, and once you step in there, you can see why!
The beautifully conserved cottages makes this village really special. We really wished we had more time here. Every cottage makes a good photo spot! Walking through the rows of cottages will lead you to the pier with a nice boardwalk that opens up to a fantastic view of Loch Lomond!
We had to rush off this place, but fortunately still took enough photos and made it worthwhile. We stopped by The Green Welly Stop to grab some quick dinner before doing a long and direct drive to Huntingtower Lodge, where we will spend the night. The evening skies accompanied us on this beautiful drive as we rode towards the sunset and ended our day.
You can read up on the rest of our 17 days' adventure in Scotland and England here
Woke up pretty early today due to jet-lag. But on a positive note, we get to have an awesome long day ahead!
11th May 2017
08:00 | Mini-photoshoot at our Airbnb
Since we were up early, we thought we might as well use the opportunity to have some fun around our lovely apartment. The large windows allowed ample sunlight into the living room and kitchen and made it perfect for taking pictures!
09:00 | Breakfast at Singl-end cafe & bakehouse
Look out for the black board with "Singl-end" on Renfrew street and take the stairs down. This place is cosy with many fascinating decorations such as old photos, postcards and Scottish themed prints all around. Being the first customers that morning, we saw the staff dishing out varieties of breads, cakes and savoury bites to display on the large table near the entrance. It was so tempting!
Had a hard time choosing from the extensive breakfast menu. Eventually decided on Singl-end Cooked Breakfast with Marshmallow Hot Chocolate for him; and Meaty Baked Eggs with tea for me.
11:00 | Failed to collect rental car from Hertz
Our initial plan was to collect the car and drive back to our Airbnb for check-out. Unfortunately, we had problems locating the Hertz temporary office, followed by the need to switch the car due to suitability and it caused a delay in the collection of car.
13:00 | Late check-out at Airbnb
Due to the hiccups at Hertz, we were late to return to our apartment for check-out. Thankfully, the host who was there cleaning up the place kindly waited for us. We'll share more on our good and bad Airbnb experience in a separate post.
13:30 | Break time at Waterstones bookstore cafe
Having two big luggages wasn't the easiest to roam the street with. So we went ahead to park ourselves in a cafe inside Waterstones bookstore near our Airbnb. It's a great place to chill with a book and drink!
14:30 | Collected the car and visited Glasgow Cathedral
Finally! We have a car to move on to visit Glasgow Cathedral. Parking is opposite the cathedral, and we had a hard time looking for it initially. The cathedral interior is remarkable with the medieval stonework, open-timber roof and stained glass windows! An interesting attraction of the cathedral is the dark vaulted chambers of the lower church. There are guides walking around to share the history and little-known knowledge of the cathedral which we really appreciated.
16:30 | Explored Stirling city centre
As our B&B host was not around when we reached Stirling, we decided to walk towards the Stirling city centre. The first store that caught our attention was Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, a traditional-looking sweet shop with a huge selection of sugary goodies. Next, we popped into Europa Music store to browse through the vinyls. Gradually, all the stores started to close when nearing 5.30pm. Bought a cup of hot chocolate from The Burgh Coffeehouse for our walk back to the B&B.
18:00 | Checked into 19 Snowdon Stirling Guest House
Our B&B in Stirling is a large Victorian guest house situated in a quiet residential area. We got a large double bed room with a private bathroom adjacent to our room. The view outside our window is the backyard, where the owner's two dogs ran around and played!
19:00 | Drink and dine at The Birds and Bees
As we had no reservation made, we were informed that we may need to wait up to an hour before getting dinner service. But we still went in and was seated at a nice booth seat with a romantic ambience. It felt like a date night!
Inside the restaurant, there's a pub where we ordered their beer on tap. Do try their Birds and Bees Golden Summer Ale which I liked! The manager also kindly served us olives while waiting for dinner service. Beer and olives made the waiting much more bearable.
Sooner than expected, food was served! We ordered the Beer Battered Haddock Fillet and Creamy Brandy Char-grilled Chicken Breast. Strongly recommend this place for its tasty food and top-notch service! Try make a reservation if possible to save waiting time.
Not the smoothest day of our trip due to all the hiccups, but travel almost always bring along some issues. The key to easing past these issues is to simply stay positive and create an experience out of it! For us, it was finding a nice bookstore and simply relaxed. The day concluded with a nice purple sunset. Looking forward to the next day!
You can read up on the rest of our 17 days' adventure in Scotland and England here