2 weeks in Scotland – Part 5 : Inverness

Hey, it’s been a while. I’ve been pretty busy in spring, I had to deal with the exams at uni, the competitive exams to get into a business school in September (by the way, I got them all, SO PROUD) and my job, so, yes, I didn’t have a lot of time for myself and the blog. As all is more or less set and as I’m doing pretty much umm nothing, except vegetating in front of my laptop all day long (I’m too poor to go out at the moment *sigh*), I thought maybe I could blog again.
Oh and I actually am working on a new project, with strips, absurdity and stuff. I have this in mind since early July, but I still have to do some extra researches (oh my, so serious). Should be in da place in mid-August.
Also, I feel like I should change the blog banner. What do you think? Haa, SO MUCH TO DO.

Unicorn Inverness WinaSo, after a few days in small cities, we were quite shocked when we arrived at Inverness. We were like “wooow look, they have Mark & Spencer, even Primark! And the pubs, they’re open! At night! Awesome!”. Leave us a week in a forest, be sure that we die the second day.

Shopping Center Inverness WinaShopping center at Inverness

I had a little crush on Inverness, it’s a cute city. The River Ness goes across the city and the bridges lights colours change randomly. The center streets are cobbled. The city is quite small but you can feel that it’s dynamic. I like it. Plus, it’s near the Loch Ness! Street cred.

Inverness WinaThe city

When we arrived, it was Burns night, a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems. You traditionnaly eat haggis, drink scotch whisky and listen to the recitation of Burns’ poetry. And here comes another fail. Because when we went out for dinner at about 9:00 pm, food wasn’t served anymore in the pubs. Oh Scotland, why, why are you doing this to us? Despair and desolation. So we went to an american restaurant. Feel the authenticity of a typically Scottish feast day. Still, Filling Station is a nice place, food is good.

The next morning, we went to the Loch Ness Exhibition Center. To get there, you can take Citylink service n°917 to Drumnadrochit, but there are many buses that can drive you there. Drumnadrochit is a small village, the closest one from the Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Exhibition Center is an interesting attraction, I learned a few things about the seeking of the monster of the Loch Ness, the different ways that have been used in that goal, the different expeditions to find Nessie, etc.

Loch Ness Exhibition Center WinaIt’s interesting, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-do. It’s nice for the souvenirs shop haha. I found a notebook there for a good friend, I don’t know if I would find it somewhere else. Still, if you don’t have much time to spend at Inverness and around, you can skip that attraction I think.

But if there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in that area is the Urquhart Castle.

Urquhart Castle WinaWe went there by foot from the Loch Ness Exhibition Center. It took us like an hour I think. We had planned to ride on poneys that day, but it was rainy and we didn’t have the time anyway. The walking was quite funny though, we were singing silly songs (like I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift)(this is probably why it was raining that day). It was also very nice because we were close to the Loch Ness. The place is very impressive.

Loch Ness WinaVisiting Urquhart Castle was great. Funny thing is that boyfriend didn’t know much about the castle, so when we arrived, he said “but… The castle is all in ruin!” haha.
Well yes, it is. But it has its charm I think. You can feel that it had a harsh story, based on battles and fire. Apart from that, the view from the castle is very cool.

Urquhart Castle View WinaThen, we went back to Inverness and had lunch at Ash Restaurant. We ate some haggis, eventually! And it was very good!

Haggis 2 WinaAsh Restaurant has a 2 courses lunch menu that is very reasonnable. It cost us about £8 per person I think, which is very good value. For the dessert, I had a toffee pudding that was absolutely diabolic.

Toffee pudding WinaThe rest of the day, we walked a bit around the city. We went back early at the hotel (we stayed at the Waterside Hotel and I recommend it, very nice) and slept like bears. We were travelling all around Scotland for more than a week now and we really started to feel exhausted. Our trip is about to end though, because next time, we’re going to Edinburgh, our last destination.

2 weeks in Scotland – Part 4 : Isle of Skye

Hello sweeties,

This was the part of the trip I was the most excited about. Before going to Scotland, I browsed TONS of pictures of the Isle of Skye. It really looked like fairyland or something, the landscapes were so gorgeous. And I must say I wasn’t disappointed on that point! If you guys go to Scotland someday, definitely go to Skye, it is absolutely amazing. I’m quite sad we couldn’t go to many places on the isle, but the few we’ve been to were really worth it. Moreover, this means we have to go back there for the Black Cullin, Neist Point, Fairy Pools, Faerie Glen, Claigan Coral Beach, etc. hehe. There are so much to see on Skye!

Our biggest handicap was that we visited the isle on the weekend and there really are not many buses. There are like 4 buses a day for each line and there are places that you can’t access by bus (or you have to walk for hours from the bus station before arriving), so it’s not very practical. I’d definitely recommend you to rent a car when at Skye, it’s a bit expensive but it’s way more convenient!

We leaved Fort William early in the afternoon and took the bus to Portree, the biggest city on Skye. It took us like 3h to arrive I think? I can’t really remember, but it was quite long. Thankfully, the landscapes, as always, were wonderful.

To Portree WinaOn the road babe

When at Portree, we stayed at the Cooling View B&B. The place is nice and clean, we could see the harbour from our room. It’s pretty cute actually, but the room was very very cold, even though the heating was on.

Day 1

Our 2 destinations for the day were Quiraing and Old Man of Storr. Both are on the north of Skye.

Quiraing is a landslip accessible with the bus services 57C, 57A and 60X, by stopping at Staffin. You have to walk quite a while though before arriving at the foot of the landslip. There are something like 2 miles to walk.

Quiraing WinaQuiraing far off

We couldn’t afford that. As we had to catch the bus to Old Man of Storr later, the timing was too short. So we just had a walk around Staffin and went on the bay. We saw a lot of sheeps and even some angus there! It was pretty fun, even if we were quite scared of being attacked by a ram haha.
 The view was very cool anyway and the air refreshing. The place is really lovely. Staffin Bay Trees Wina

Staffin Bay trees

Staffin Bay WinaStaffin Bay

Then we took the bus to Old Man of Storr. It was the same bus than the one for Quiraing, but in the other direction.

Climbing the Storr was the most memorable part of our 2 weeks, it was pretty intense. The Storr is a rocky hill, half way between Quiraing and Portree. It’s a very impressive place. I think the weather was part of that, but still. When we were at the foot of the hill, we couldn’t even see the top, the Old Man of Storr (a high sea stack of sandstone) was hiden by the fog. It was such a beauty. It has such a mystical dimension, it was so irresistible to see what was up there.

Foot of The Storr WinaSo we started to climb. The way was muddy, the rain was starting to fall, the wind was rising, but it was ok. About 15 minutes later, boyfriend told me to look back. And wow, what a view. It was sincerely the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The landscapes and the weather made us feel a little like in the Middle-earth haha. Boyfriend even sang the Misty Mountains Cold song. That was pretty sweet. Every 5 minutes, we were stopping and looking back and around. It was so beautiful. And so sad at the same time, as the trees of the hill were all burnt off. It was dead wood everywhere. 

The Storr WinaThen when we arrived half way, it started to rain and hail hard, it was very windy and I had difficulties to keep my balance. As it was getting a little too risky for me, we decided to go down. Boyfriend wanted to carry on climbing, but the weather really wasn’t working in our favour.

The Storr View WinaI was pretty sad that we had to stop, I really wish we could see the top. But I think we made the right choice and we’ve never been so happy about catching the bus haha. We were exhausted and freezing, our clothes were totally drenched and our shoes and trousers covered of mud.

When we came back to the B&B, we slipped between the sheets, had tomato soup and watched some Doctor Who TV show. After such adventures, we needed some casual haha.

 Day 2

We wanted to visit the Dunvegan Castle gardens, as the castle is closed in winter, but the bus driver told us that the gardens were closed too. Well. Fail haha. So we just walked around Portree before the next bus to Inverness. We had some tea, we did shopping (I bought a super cool lambwool tartan scarf there), we had lunch… Nothing very exciting actually. Oh talking about eating, you guys must know that many pubs in Portree don’t serve food in winter, even though they still present a menu outside (which is quite silly…).

Portree Houses WinaPortree colourful houses

We had lunch at the Caledonian Café, a really nice place. I really liked the atmosphere. And I really liked the food too! We ordered some garlic bread and baked potatoes. I had one with a Coronation chicken filling and it was delicious. It’s chicken with a curry sauce and dried grapes, divine. I’m a huge fan of sweet and savoury and of curry, so it was perfect. Boyfriend had a chicken, bacon and mayonnaise filling. Not bad (but I rather like mine huhu). The meal came with a salad, which is very appreciable. Moreover, the price was reasonnable, less than £8 if I remember well. So, you got it, I recommend this place.

Caledonian Café Lunch WinaBaked potato with Coronation chicken filling

We didn’t spend a lot of time on Skye the second day, as we had to take the bus to Inverness, but it was very enjoyable. The only bad point would be that after 5:00 pm, you can’t eat anywhere for a reasonnable price, the snacks are closed and the pubs don’t serve food. Our dinners were bought at the Co-operative Food (a grocery chain), as the sea food restaurants were out of budget. So it’s been 3 days that we didn’t have real dinner… Can’t wait to arrive at Inverness!

2 weeks in Scotland – Part 1 : General approach

Hello sweeties,

So there we are, the so waited post about my trip in Scotland. There are so much to tell!

Let’s go back in 2013. We are mid october, it’s been only a month since I went back to school and I already am considering going on holiday. In a conversation with boyfriend, I pop a “We should go on holiday. In Scotland and then we go to Iceland”, just like that. I don’t really mean it, it’s some kind of fantasy. And he says “we can leave on December or January”. Wait what? Really? Yes. “No. No we don’t”. 

(Skip to 1:40)

Yes, we do. And that’s how we decided to go to Scotland (the budget and the schedule not allowing us to go to Iceland too).

I know he wanted to go there for quite a while, but I don’t really know why I actually wanted too. Probably because some of the Doctors are scottish (David Tennant wink wink)(and Peter Capaldi, but I’m not updated and I didn’t see any episode with him yet, so I can’t say I like him (yet)). Also because some friends of mine went to Scotland last year and it seemed so nice. And because Scotland’s official animal is the unicorn, which makes it the coolest place on Earth. But I didn’t know much about Scotland and it was a really pleasant surprise.

We first planned to stay a small week. Boyfriend wanted to go only to Edinburgh, but I really wanted to go to the Highlands (and Glasgow), because that’s pretty much the point when being in Scotland. But the length of the stay was pretty short, so we extended it to 9-10 days. And when we booked the plane tickets, it increased from 10 days to 2 weeks (well, 12 days actually). Don’t ask me why.

We set 5 main places : Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fort William, Isle of Skye and Inverness. We finally decided to land at Glasgow and fly off from Edinburgh for practical reasons.

Now excitement goes up a notch, here’s the map of the places we’ve been to :

Scotland map WinaClick for more details

Pretty exciting eh? Now let’s be pragmatic. What follows is not very exhaustive and is only based on my experience, but I hope it will help some of you.

How to go to Scotland :

Well, there are many ways. From Western Europe, I guess you can take the train to France or Belgium, before using a local travelling way. From Paris, you can take the Eurostar to London, then take a bus, a train, a local flight, whatever you want. You probably can also take the ferry somewhere on the French west coast. I think you land at Aberdeen if you do so… But I don’t know about this way, so I can’t help.
 Wherever you come from, the easiest way (and probably cheapest if you do it well) remains the plane. We flew with Easyjet, from Charles de Gaulle Airport. It cost us about 130€ per person, extra luggage charge included (20€ per person).

National transports :

Scotland has an important bus network. That’s the travelling way we chose. It takes almost as much time as if taking the train and it’s a great way to discover the landscapes.
For the main routes, we bought a Citylink Explorer Pass. We took the 5 days of unlimited travel out of 10 days. It cost us £62 per person. That’s a very good value. Indeed, if we hadn’t take it, we would have taken the bus only 3 times for the same price. But don’t forget to calculate the cost of your travels without the Explorer Pass before  buying it! Depending on your trip, you don’t necessarily save money.

/!\ What you need to know about the buses : I don’t know how it works in the different countries, but I was quite um surprised about the Scottish buses. Indeed, they don’t indicate the name of the station when they stop (if they stop at the station you want to get off). There is no sign in the bus that indicates the station and the bus driver doesn’t say it. You have to know the timetable of the service you take, so that you know when to get off of the bus. And more important : inform the bus driver about the station you want to get off. 
The first time we took a national bus, we didn’t know it and we missed the station in Balloch and couldn’t go to Loch Lomond. So keep this in mind! 

Local transports :

Glasgow has a subway network, but Edinburgh doesn’t (I don’t get it). On the other hand, Edinburgh has its own bus company (the Lothian buses), while Glasgow uses the national companies. This explains why taking the bus in Edinburgh isn’t expensive.
In the Highlands, we mainly took the national bus companies: Stagecoach to travel through Skye and Citylink for the return Inverness/Drumnadrochit.

Food :

Haa food. You can eat decently for less than £8 in the pubs, snacks or tea rooms.  You can have Scottish breakfast for about £5 or £6, which is really nice. 
If you want to go to the restaurant, then it’s more expensive. I’d say you should count at least £12 for a non vegetarian meal (I noticed that vegetarian meals were generally less expensive). But in most of the restaurants, there is a pre-theatre menu that is less expensive than the classic menus.
 Of course, the most money saving solution is to buy your food at the supermarket. This doesn’t sound very funny, but sometimes you don’t really have the choice, as some eating places close at… 5:00 pm. If you’re French and you’re used to eat at about 8:00 pm, you’re doomed haha.

We mostly ate fish & chips, baked potatoes, pies, sandwiches… And haggis, of course! For those who don’t know what haggis is, it’s a pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. Yum-my. It is traditionnaly served with mashed turnips and potatoes. I dreaded this moment, but haggis actually tastes good (when you forget what’s inside).

Weather :

The weather in Scotland is… INSANE. It changes really quick. In a same hour, you can have rain (both drizzle and downpour), snow, hail (the small and the big ones) and the great sun. And I’m not even exagerating! When we experienced it at Fort William, it was unbelievable.
It’s not so cold in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. But in the Highlands, it’s pretty freezing. So always have a raincoat or any waterproof outerwear and don’t forget the scarf and the gloves!

A few things to know :

  •  At the restaurant/pub/tea room/bar /café: Most of the time, the service is not included in the check, so don’t forget the tips (well, except if you think that the service was lame…). It’s from 10 to 15% of the total. 
    You don’t need to give tips if you order a drink at the bar counter.
  •  Most of the attractions are closed in winter. Think about checking the opening times of the attractions you want to do before going.
  • If you’re a student, bring your student card with you, it’s a valid ID (if it has a photo on it) that lets you enjoy the concession price of some attractions.
  • The shops mainly close at 5:00 pm, sometimes at 4:30 pm or 6:00 pm. So do the tourist information centers. In the biggest cities, the center shops close later (at about 7:00 or 8:00 pm).
  • And again : always, always check the buses timetables. Trust me.
  • Scottish people are, for the most, adorable.

I think I said it all… If however you have some questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Ok, next time, we start the trip town by town. And we’re going to Glasgow first!

Cake. CAKE.

Hello sweeties,

2 weeks ago, it was my birthday. And I decided to bake my own birthday cake this year. I was quite nervous about it, because each time I try to bake a cake, it’s a disaster. It tastes too egg-y, too flour-y or too butter-y. And this time, it was… Great!

bdaycake 1 Wina

It’s a berries bavarois with sponge cake. I’m super proud of myself haha. The cake isn’t complicated to bake, but it’s time-taking. You’d better to bake it the day before.

Here’s my berries birthday cake recipe (8 pieces) :

  • For the sponge cake :

bdaycake 2 Wina

  • For the berries bavarois :

bdaycake 4 Wina
And a tablespoon of icing sugar. Make sure that the liquid cream is very cold, place it in fridge at leat 8h before use.

  • For the berries gelly :
    * 100 g of berries coulis
    * 2 gelatin sheets
  • 600gr of berries for the topping

First,the whipped cream that will be used in the bavarois. 

With a beater, beat the 40cl of liquid cream in a very cold bowl.
Tips : place a bigger bowl full of ice cubes under the liquid cream bowl.

When the cream gets thicker, add the icing sugar and keep on mixing until it gets even thicker. It’s ready when, when you stop beating and remove the beater from the bowl, the cream forms a beak at the tip of the whisk.

Place in fridge for at least 2h.

Second, the sponge cake. Here’s a quick recipe for those who are in a hurry. But you have to be organized, because all the ingredients have to be added without pausing mixing.

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C (thermostat 6).

Mix the baking powder with the 125g of flour. 

Separate the eggs yolk from the white.

With a beater, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. When it’s very firm, add the 125g of sugar, keeping on beating.

Lower the beater speed, add the 4 eggs yolk in once and immediatly add the flour and baking powder in shower.

Stop once it’s mixed (don’t mix too long), pour the mixture in a cake pan, smooth the surface and let it bake for 20 minutes.

You should get something like that :

bdaycake 3 Wina

 Now, the berries bavarois.

Let the 6 gelatin sheets soften in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes. 

Mix the 500g of berries, the juice of the lemon and the 200g of sugar. Pour the mixture in a saucepan through a sieve to remove the seeds from it.

Heat the mixture over low heat. When it’s lukewarm, remove from heat. Drain the gelatin sheets and add it in the mixture. Mix until the gelatin sheets have melt. Let it cool down completely.

When it’s cold, add the home made whipped cream.

Assembling beginning : Cut the sponge cake in half, lengthwise and crosswise. In a removable cake pan, place the first half  at the bottom. Pour a third of the bavarois mixture over the sponge cake and smooth the surface. Place it in the freezer for about an hour. Place the rest of the bavarois mixture in the least cold place of the fridge (we need to pour it later and don’t want it to be set).

Prepare the berries jelly : Soften the 2 gelatins sheets in a bowl of water. Heat the 100g of coulis over low heat. When it’s lukewarm, remove from heat and add the gelatin sheets. Mix until it melts. Let it cold down, but not completely, the jelly musn’t be set.

Take the cake pan out of the freezer and gently pour the jelly mixture over the bavarois.

Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then, pour another third of the bavarois mixture, place the other half of the sponge cake on it and pour the rest of the bavarois mixture.

You can let it set in fridge all night/day long, or 2h in freezer then 2h in fridge.

Remove the cake pan before serving, decorate the top of the cake with berries and admire your masterpiece!

bdaycake 5 Winabdaycake 6 Wina bdaycake 8 Winabdaycake 7 Winabdaycake Wina

iHerb mega haul – part 3


Yes, it is I, I am back! I have to apologize for that very rude and long absence. It was the end of the school year, summer was here and I just felt like “let’s pause the blog”. And that’s what I did. For 3 months. Yeah. The blog is my leisure space. So when I’m not busy studying, I don’t feel the need to come here. It was natural for me to stop it just like this. But now that I think about it, it wasn’t respectful to you, the readers. So, yes, I apologize.

I don’t know yet if I’ll make a break every summer, we’ll see about that later. For the moment, we need to end my first iHerb adventure, right? But don’t worry eh. To your dismay, I’m became addicted to this website, you’re going to hear a looot about it over here.

So today, I’m talking about balms and food. There’s absolutely no link between them, don’t try to understand, it’s vain.

iHerb mega haul 24 © Wina

Kuumba Made, Herbal Healing Salve, 1 oz (28.3 g) – $6.80

Boyfriend has a cat. And this cat loves me. His name is Mortimer and he’s very affective. So that he scratches to blood. Yeah, how cute is that. This is pretty much the reason why I bought this healing salve. And also because I’m extraordinarily goofy. I think it works quite well. I walked bare feet on a bout of glass the other day (that’s my risky gangsta girl life yo), I applied this salve and the cut seemed to heal faster. Also it works very well on moskito piqure or spider bite, on the cuticles and on my skin irritations. My mom uses it for her very dry and itchy feet and it relives her somehow. She asked me to buy her 3 jars of this little thing.
It’s like the Mac Gyver of the salves.

iHerb mega haul 25 © WinaiHerb mega haul 26 © Wina

Kuumba Made, Scar Repair, 1 oz (28.3 g) – $6.80

I also bought the scar repair salve. I have a few scars because of Mortimer on my left hand and a spot scar on my right cheek. I’ve been applying this everyday for a week. I didn’t see much difference. I guess it’s slightly better. I don’t know. But it smells good, it’s a little fresher than the healing salve.

iHerb mega haul 27 © WinaiHerb mega haul 28 © Wina

Badger Company, Foot Balm, Peppermint & Tea Tree, 2 oz (56 g) – $8.99

Haa Badger Company. I wanted to try one of their balms for quite a while. Now it’s done! I took the foot balm, because there’s peppermint in it. I’m fond of peppermint. I use the balm also on my cuticules or the dry skin areas of my body, not only on my feet. It works well. Plus, it’s natural and organic. My only disappointment is that it doesn’t have a cooling effect.

iHerb mega haul 33 © WinaiHerb mega haul 34 © Wina

Inka Crops, Inka Corn, Roasted Giant Corn, Chile Picante, 4 oz (113.4 g) – $1.71

I LOVE THIS STUFF. It’s roasted giant corns, seasoned with a spicy blend. It’s absolutely fantastic. Ate it all in a day. Maybe it’s a little too salty though. I want to make an entire order full of these things.

iHerb mega haul 35 © WinaiHerb mega haul 36 © Wina

SurfSweets, Watermelon Rings, 2.75 oz (78 g) – $2.25

This is my biggest disappointment. I was so excited to receive those candies and I didn’t like them. It doesn’t taste like watermelon. To me, watermelon flavour is probably one of the hardest thing to recompose. I’ve eaten watermelon candies that didn’t really tasted like watermelon, but they were good though. But there… I couldn’t even say that it taste good. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t taste bad neither, it’s not like so disgusting that you want to puke. It just taste weird. And I didn’t like it. Won’t buy again.

iHerb mega haul 32 © Wina

Annie’s Homegrown, Organic Macaroni & Cheese, Low Sodium, 6 oz (170 g) – $2.22

Macaroni & cheese is like a fantasm for me. Dude, I cooked so many macaroni & cheese in The Sims… So when I saw this on iHerb I thought that it was time for me to taste this. And… It’s so-so. The cheddar powder has a disgusting smell, seriously. But once it’s mixed with milk and all, it’s ok. The whole thing doesn’t taste bad, but it’s the kind of thing that you eat when you’re hungry and there’s nothing else in the kitchen. No big interest. Fortunately, we ate it with some bacon.

THE END. And remember, the coupon code is still valid if you order on iHerb for the first time :


Chinchillas, unicorns and glitters, always. Peace out pisces!

(Sorry I just… Goodbye.)