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Cambodian trip: the temples of Angkor

One of the 216 faces of the Bayon

Hello dear readers! Happy Saturday, what are you up to this weekend? Write it down in the comments so that maybe I’ll get some inspiration. If you follow me on Instagram (@camyinwonderwblog) you’ll know that tomorrow new windows are coming and I’m quite happy and excited to see them.

But enough chatting now, here I am with the following chapter of the trip that my boyfriend Gabriele and I had in January. Maybe you have read my posts about Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the first from Siem Reap, Cambodia, already. If not you can find them in the category “My travels”.

“Cambogia”: it’s “Cambodia” in Italian, my mother tongue

On the second day in Siem Reap we started visiting the complex of Angkor’s temples (UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the widest religious monuments in the world (162.6 hectares, as you can imagine we visited a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of the place). On our first evening we got a Grab from the town centre back to our hotel. Grab is an app which offers the same service as Uber, that is pre-booked taxi rides, but cheaper, and we discovered it in Bali. As the driver was quiet because he couldn’t speak English very well, but you could see from his eyes and his smile that he was a sweet person and really kind, we asked him if he could be our ride around Angkor on the following days. A tuk tuk was enough for us, we didn’t need a car with A/C! As I had searched a lot on the internet to have an idea about the costs, we arranged a price of 15 USD (in Cambodia they use Cambodian Riel and US Dollars) for the small circuit (there is the grand circuit or the small one). We would meet at 9am and visit the temples until 2pm. We were very happy of having found a tuk tuk by ourselves without having to use the super – expensive one from the hotel (of course, that would have been a car with A/C, maybe the driver would have also been a guide, so I don’t judge at all who wants to go that way!).

A little Google is always helpful

At 9.00 am our Grab arrived at the hotel and we went towards the temples, but before we had to buy the tickets. We bought the three-day tickets for 62 US Dollars per person (you can buy the one day ticket for 37 USD or the one week ticket for 72 USD). As we went to Cambodia just to see Angkor we obviously bought the three-day ticket because in one day you really don’t see anything.

The ticket is made just for you, so at the counter expect to be photographed and to receive your own beautiful personalised ticket with your face on it. It’s a great souvenir to bring back home and keep on the fridge. Ha!

Angkor Wat – not the best hour! It was too late and crowded already

Our first stop was at Angkor Wat (which means “capital of temples” and is located 5.5km from Siem Reap), unfortunately it was already too late and it was packed with huge groups of tourists and buses from the organised visits. As a matter of fact we stayed shortly because we would return for the sunrise. This is the most famous temple in Angkor, a classic example of Khmer architecture. We soon went to the Bayon, which is not far from there. Before visiting I was super confused because I really couldn’t understand which was the best time to visit it, by reading the Lonely Planet and on the internet. Sunrise and sunset are definitely not-to-miss (as a matter of fact we’ve seen both and it was breathtaking) but they are crowded. They say that the best time is slightly after the sunrise, when the groups go back to their hotels to have breakfast, and that’s what we’ve done. Instead of going back to the hotel to eat we remained there, hungry but happy. And we managed to go on the top of the temple (the stairs were so steep!), which we couldn’t do on the first day at 10.30am.

I loved the Bayon, it was quiet and peaceful because everybody was visiting Angkor Wat, I guess. It was 11.30am, more or less. The Bayon is a khmer temple from the 12th and 13th century and 216 (!) faces were carved into the stones. While walking around you constantly feel like someone is watching over you.

Can you spot the faces ? Try!
Myths
Offers

The heat was incredible and the stairs were tiring me so quickly that the temptation to go straight back to the hotel and have a dip in the pool was strong. But after the Bayon we didn’t stop and our tuk tuk headed towards the Ta Prohm, which I really liked. I think it was my favourite, along with one that we saw on our last day. You might think that vising one temple after another all day long might be boring, but it really isn’t because they are all very different. Some are flat and they develop in length while others are not that wide but they’re developed in height, so that you’ve got a beautiful view of the surroundings. I loved wondering how life was when Angkor was inhabited: kings, queens and maids… Wow! The same thing that I do when visiting castles. Shame that now I only fantasise about Game of Thrones when I’m in a castle…Ahah! It’s not a shame, obviously, I actually love it.

One of Lara Croft’s most famous scenes, with Angelina Jolie, was recorded in the spot above, as you can see from the endless queue to take a photo.

I loved the Ta Prohm because, except for other visitors, it was really like finding yourself in an “Indiana Jones” movie. The huge trees wrapping up the old buildings and becoming one whole thing. It was surreal to think that those walls, stairs, rooms were so old that secular trees (!) managed to grow around them.

Offers
What a lucky cat

For today this is it, people! I prefer to split the photos and the stories into more blogposts instead of writing a super long one that maybe would bore you. I will continue with the sunrise at Angkor Wat next time… What a magical morning.

I hope you are enjoying my chronicles from Asia (and if you follow me on my other channels…from Scotland, too!)

Have a great weekend!

xx

Camilla

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Breakfast at the Waterside Hotel

Don’t you love it when you end up with an empty fridge and you’ve got an excuse to go out for a meal? I surely do! Yesterday Gabriele (my boyfriend) didn’t have his English class, because his teacher couldn’t be there, so we decided to go out for breakfast. I had been at the Waterside Hotel, in West Kilbride, only once with my grandmother but, as it was winter, we were eating inside. While this time we could enjoy the beautiful outdoor beer garden, right in front of the sea. If you follow me on Instagram (@camyinwonderwblog) you’ll have seen my stories about it already. I just loved it! I had a Vegetarian Breakfast, while Gabriele had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast. We also had tea and a cappuccino.

I really loved the atmosphere of the place, it was really quiet and relaxing, with some families, doggies and group of friends chatting. But it was not busy at all, which we loved.

The beach beside the hotel (I didn’t have enough zoom, sorry)

From the Waterside’s beer garden you’ve got beautiful views on the Isle of Arran, which never tire me. We could also see people enjoying the sun on the beach right beside the hotel.

After our brunch we went back home because I had to register a video assessment, while Gabriele studied a little bit. In the evening we went do the shopping at ASDA’s. It was a simple but very nice Wednesday. Before moving to Scotland I was very worried about the weather and its implications on my mood but so far (we arrived here more or less two months ago) we have been so lucky. I hope it’s not global warming… In the end it’s the middle of May now, right?

I really wanted the special copy. I love them, they look like a sweet, great couple, and I’ve always had a little crush on Harry…Ahah! Congratulations Harry & Meghan!! xx

Have a nice evening, guys.

Thanks for reading,

xx

Camilla

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Flying to Cambodia

Just arrived in Siem Reap!

Hello dear readers! Here I am with the new post about the trip that my boyfriend Gabriele and I had in January. After two days in Bangkok and three days in Chiang Mai, our next destination was Siem Reap, Cambodia. We left our hotel Tri Yaan Na Ros, in Chiang Mai, at 4 o’clock in the morning. We went to the airport with a pick up taxi that we booked through our hotel, we didn’t want to risk and look for one in the middle of the night with the Grab app (even if it would have been cheaper). We had a bad experience in Bali, when we refused the hotel taxi because the price was 4 times what we would find on Grab, but then we couldn’t find any driver at the moment of having to leave for the airport and we had to accept the hotel taxi, at the very last minute, to not miss our flight! Unfortunately there wasn’t a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Siem Reap so we had to change the plane in Bangkok after one hour up in the air, which was quite stressful because we were up from the early morning and I couldn’t sleep on the plane (moreover I’m quite afraid of flying, I’ve never been as a child and teenager, but lately I’m always quite uncomfortable… AH, growing old!)

After the cooler climate of Chiang Mai, we arrived in the crazy heat of Siem Reap at about midday. In the airport there was a long queue and we had to fill in a lot of papers (the visa that they gave us on the plane wasn’t enough) and prepare all the documents for the counter, that is photos in passport format, passports, visas, more paperwork and money. Regarding the money, please don’t be stupid like me, and prepare 30 US Dollars for the airport because otherwise you will lose a lot of money, as they do a ridiculous change at the counter (they earn a lot and you lose a lot). We had only Thai bahts so we have been fooled, losing 36 euros (both of us, not per person) and I was really mad because we tried to save money as much as possible to spend them in better ways and losing them in such a stupid way has been frustrating. I had read that preparing 30 US dollars was better but we didn’t because I didn’t know that the loss was this big.

Once we’ve finished the various queues and we got our backpacks, we found a kind tuktuk driver from the hotel waiting for us. A tuk tuk transfer airport-hotel (20 mins) was included in the hotel price (great bonus!), many hotels in Siem Reap do this, so if you’re planning a trip choose one which has this service. When we arrived at our hotel (the Cyclo D’Angkor Boutique Hotel, beautiful and cheap) we were so relieved, because of the stress, the heat and the tiredness. The staff was extremely kind, they gave us a welcome drink and explained everything about the hotel and the surroundings, the small tour or the grand tour (of the temples), the sunrise or sunset visit (same). Luckily our room was ready in advance.

Our hotel room
Lovely shower

On our first day in Siem Reap we didn’t do anything except rest, freshen up and study the Lonely Planet to plan what to visit the following days. Actually we just wanted to visit Angkor and the Landmine museum and for four days of our stay it was a reasonable plan.

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Maybe the word “Angkor” doesn’t sound familiar to you but you may have seen the Tomb Raider movie (2001) with Angelina Jolie? Well, Lara’s floating Defender lands exactly on the roof of one of Angkor’s temples! We watched it a few days before our departure for Asia and we were very surprised and amused of seeing scottish Iain Glenn, AKA Jorah Mormont from Game of Thrones, as the young, black-haired, villain!! :-D)

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After settling in the hotel we were very disoriented to be honest, because we didn’t know where was the center, where were the temples, which was the best way to visit them, how to move from one place to the other. Our hotel suggested a taxi but it was very expensive and we didn’t need it, a tuk tuk was fine for us. Brave people even explore Angkor’s temples by bicycle! Visiting it on foot is out of the question because of the miles and the heat.

On the same first day we had lunch and a short stay in the pool, because it wasn’t that sunny, and in the late afternoon we booked a Grab and went into town.

Our hotel was closer to Angkor than to the city centre. I really liked Siem Reap, it’s a colonial city, with colonial buildings and wide sidewalks. It reminded me of Cuba. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of that nice part of the city because we were just quickly passing by with the tuktuk. We were usually going to the more touristy part to have dinner, because there were a lot of recommended restaurants, around the famous Pub Street.

While out and about in Pub Street we saw a lot of begging people with amputated limbs, because of the injuries sustained from the landmines, and this really clashed with the atmosphere of the area, full of tourists and loud music, and it brought you back to Cambodia’s difficult history. The hardest scene that I saw was a poor man crawling on the street, beside the tables where tourists were having dinner. I don’t remember exactly but I think he had both legs missing. Those are scenes that break your heart and make you feel powerless. Mostly farmers are left without limbs or even worse, dead, because of the crazy amount of mines still left in Cambodia. It was really dizzying the fact that, while visiting some temples in Angkor, you had stay on the main path because in the woods you could step on a mine, that’s what I was reading on my guide. I feel so lucky to live in a place where I know I can go in the woods, in the fields, wherever I want, without risking of losing an arm or a leg…or dying. I will write in the following days about our visit to the Landmine museum, in Siem Reap, and also to the Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the other jaw dropping temples.

Thanks for reading.

Have a lovely evening,

Cam

xx

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Thai trip: Wat Phra Singh and Chiang Mai’s Walled Old City

Hello dear readers!

Today I’ll write about our last day in Chiang Mai, when we visited the Wat Phra Singh temple, in the Old City. It’s placed near a very noisy, busy road but the walled old part of the town has some beautiful little streets where you felt like you were in a rural village. It has been my favourite temple among the ones that I’ve seen in Thailand, because I just loved the atmosphere. It’s the kind of places you read about in novels and, even if there was a high school nearby and a busy road, too, it still was really quiet. I loved seeing the monks with their beautiful orange, traditional ropes walking among the gardens, studying, reading and praying in the temples. There were also some tables where you could speak with monks and ask them questions about life. Even if I’m not a Buddhist, I lighted a candle and some incense. The place was really spiritual and I felt like I was in a church, it really didn’t make a difference to me, which religion I belong to… I hope to give you a sense of that through the photos, even if I know it’s difficult.

Outside
Inside – look at the wallpaper! (Can we call it wallpaper?)
Candles and incense

You could buy incense and candles with a small offer.

This was my favourite part…
So peaceful and spiritual
Monks studying.
There were a lot of quotes hanging on trees

After our visit to the temple we went for a lovely traditional Thai massage at Lila Thai Ex-Inmate Employment Center, they have got 8 (!!!) centres in Chiang Mai and we hadn’t even planned to have a massage but we exited the temple and we just found it in front of us.

I really believe this is great for women who were former inmates, as it gives them the opportunity to start a new life and to have their own salaries. The idea of opening this array of salons was of the former director of Chiang Mai Women’s Prison and it helps women who were in jail because of the criminal activities of their husbands (but also because of other reasons, mostly drug related). Choosing which massage to do has been very hard because it was one better than the other, really. I would have done all of the beauty treatments, as well, because the salon was so cheap. We spent 17 pounds (19 euros) for a 2-hour massage. I’d move to Asia right away just for the prices of the massages. I must say it was a bit hard at times, I personally prefer a Balinese massage, but could you go to Thailand and not try a traditional Thai massage? NO. The salon is really relaxing, well kept and my masseuse was kind and professional, she couldn’t speak English but there wasn’t much to say and we communicated through gestures…HA! I’m an Italian, after all.

After our massage we were extremely relaxed, but hungry. It was so hot… We walked to a nice guesthouse with a restaurant (and a pool) where we had been for lunch on our first day, called Good morning Chiang Mai. As we appreciated the food, we went back!

After lunch we went back to the hotel to relax and rest a little bit, and to enjoy the pool. I was reading a very nice book. On our last night in Chiang Mai we had a lovely dinner in town, in a very nice restaurant called Dash! (as a matter of fact it was full and we had to wait 15 minutes). We had spring rolls and two Mai Tais, of course! Our first, original Mai Tais. To be honest, as the prices from Grab taxis (it’s like Uber, we discovered this app in Bali) were so cheap, we weren’t even walking from the hotel into town anymore! It was so handy. I know, we are lazy people, but we were walking miles during the day and I was also afraid of stepping onto a mouse (I love animals and I wouldn’t do a mouse any bad, but, just stay away from me because I’m scared, I can’t help it…Haha!)

The food was absolutely delicious

Ok dear readers, I’m done with my storytelling about Chiang Mai. Next time we’ll fly to Cambodia, stay with me!!!

xx

Cam

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Thai trip: Maerim Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai

Hello readers!

Here I am with the third blogpost about my trip to Thailand and Cambodia. After having left Bangkok, we arrived in the beautiful town of Chiang Mai. We spent 3 nights and 4 days there, before catching our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. What we loved the most about this city in the north of Thailand was the atmosphere, the nature that surrounds it and the walled old town. Our hotel was really close to the centre, 10 minutes on foot. On our first evening out we went to the evening market and I had the best Indian dinner in my life (New Delhi Indian Restaurant, write it down if you’re ever going to Chiang Mai…I followed the Lonely Planet advice!).

During our evening walk we found an agency which was organising visits for tourists and, as we wanted to do something different from the usual, we chose to visit an elephant sanctuary.

Maerim Elephant Sanctuary, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Before choosing to go I visited the website of the sanctuary, I’ve read the reviews on TripAdvisor and I questioned the lady from the agency. As you may have understood if you follow me on Instagram I really love animals, I’m a vegetarian and I try to do my best to avoid anything that exploits or hurts animals. I sign a lot of petitions on Peta and Change and I avoid meat, the circus, “Seaworld” and similar places, leather, fur, products that are tested on animals, etc. To be honest I was sceptical and afraid of sponsoring a tourist-trap that was exploiting elephants, but I haven’t been disappointed at all by the Full Day Visit (they picked us up at our hotel at 9am and brought us back at 6pm).

Maerim is an elephant sanctuary one hour from the centre of Chiang Mai, it’s immersed in nature and it doesn’t allow people to ride elephants, because that is bad and stressful for them. They have seven elephants which were saved from circuses and riding camps for tourists, where they were forced to work and tormented with hooks. They are always looking for volunteers who could stay with them for at least 4 weeks so, If you’d like to do an experience like this, now you know 🙂 If I hadn’t different plans for my life at the moment I would definitely consider it.

When we arrived at the camp, at 10.30am, we met the guide and they gave us a blue uniform and a bag full of bananas (I was feeling like I was a member of Lost‘s Dharma Initiative… LOL). They showed us a video that explains why elephants shouldn’t be ridden, what they do at the sanctuary, etc. And then we finally met the beautiful, majestic animals that elephants are. We fed and pet them.

Me dressed up as Lost Dharma Project

It was a beautiful experience, really. I totally recommend it. It was so emotional to be able to meet, feed and pet elephants, animals that we don’t have in the western part of the world, except in the sad zoos.

For lunch there was a cooking lesson: we prepared our own rice noodles (they fortunately had different broths, both for meat eaters and for vegetarians… Very organised, well done!)

Cooking lesson!
Ta – daaah! Made by me

After lunch we walked beside the elephants (scary yet exciting!) to reach a field where we fed them again and where we chilled with them, while the guide explained about their projects in the sanctuary and gave us a lot of infos about the elephants (did you know that there are three species of elephant? African, Asian and Sri Lankan).

Maerim is planning to save another female elephant from a riding camp, which of course is quite expensive, so they are always looking for more visits, they sell souvenirs in the sanctuary and they look for volunteers and donations. I only bought ethical souvenirs during this trip (and I hope to keep doing the same in the next ones): at the Elephant Sanctuary, at the ex-inmate employment centre (where we had our beautiful, traditional Thai massage) and at the Landmine Museum, in Cambodia.

We soon reached the guides and helped them wash the elephants

What my boyfriend and I loved the most about this full day visit was the bath with the elephants. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of me washing them because, you know, I was full of mud and poo, but I let you imagine. There were two paddles, called “The Elephant’s SPA”: one full of mud, where we massaged them, and the other with (not so clean) water, where we rinsed them. It was so moving to see them lying on their side, trusting us enough to let us touch them. I was especially excited when I was massaging this majestic, female elephant and while moving I accidentally stepped on her huge, shaggy, hairy foot. What was my small foot in comparison to hers? The bath is very good for elephants, as they are always full of flies and bacteria, and also quite dry.

After bathing them we went back to the reception, the day was over, we swimmed and chilled by the pool, we changed back into our clothes, bought some souvenirs and we then took the pick-up back to the hotel.

I was really sad when the visit was over because I didn’t know when in my life I’d get the chance to stay with these beautiful creatures again. My thought at the end of the day? I still wish that elephants could live free, into the wild, because even if in the sanctuary they treat them well deep down it still feels wrong that they have to get their bath with tourists everyday…But I also know that visitors feed them, pet them, massage them and if they choose a sanctuary instead of a riding camp they must like animals. I have to be idealistic but realistic: in 2019 maybe elephants can’t live into the wild in Thailand, because horrible people would take them for their purposes: circus, riding camps, etc. Maybe elephants need this sanctuary to be safe and protected and I’m sure that 40 year-old Chock-Dee would live better in Maerim than in the riding place where she is right now. I hope they’ll earn enough to buy and save her. What do you think? Please tell me your opinion in the comments because I love reflecting about animals.

xx,

Camilla

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Thai trip: a night train to Chiang Mai

Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok

Good evening dear readers!

I hope everything is fine with you. Here in Scotland it’s so sunny today. This morning my bf went to his English class while I did a yoga session. I love following “Yoga with Adriene” youtube tutorials, I started doing them again (after A LOT of months) yesterday after my walk/slow run and I’d like to make it a habit. After that we went to do the shopping because we had finished almost everything at home and we needed some food! Then in the afternoon I went jogging and I’ve had a lovely hot bath. Ok, so, I would like to go on with the (visual) narration of the travel to Thailand and Cambodia that we went for three months ago (it feels like a million years ago 😦 ).

Leaving at 19.35, arriving at 8.40!

On the 12th of January at 19.35 we took the night train who would take us from Bangkok Hua Lamphong station to Chiang Mai, in the very north of Thailand, a much quieter city full of culture, temples and nature. We were very happy to leave Bangkok and go there, also because we had read that the climate was cooler. Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 and it was the ancient Lanna capital of the independent homonymous kingdom.

The train ticket was more or less £28 (33 euro) pp, for a berth in second class with A/C. I had bought the tickets online, on 12 Go Asia. I wanted to try first class because it was so cheap and we would have had a private cabin with a sink as well, but it was full, so never mind, we had an even more authentic experience and the place was so clean and comfortable!

The journey lasted 13 hours and I can genuinely tell you that they passed quickly, except for the last 2, when we couldn’t wait to arrive at the hotel to have a shower. At 8.30pm a kind and polite steward came to prepare our berths, I was staying on the lower and my boyfriend on the upper.

The steward making our bed… It was just us backpackers in second class lol

We had curtains for our privacy, space for our big backpacks and, thank God, we had a small bulb inside our berths so that I could read. Unfortunately I only slept from 10pm to 4.30am because of the jet lag, but I had a great book with me so I read that while waiting for our breakfast because, yes!, a lady came to get our orders for breakfast shortly after leaving Hua Lamphong station. At 7am it was funny because she came talking super loud and waking up everyone by opening their curtains or knocking… What an adventure, I was super excited, really. Closing the curtain and having you privacy, it felt like being in that tents that we were making up at home, as a child, with covers and cushions…!

And the next morning…what a breakfast! The lady brought us a tray with toasted bread, butter, jam, eggs (as you liked them) and, if you eat meat, bacon and sausages. If you wanted you could also have dinner the night before, but we weren’t hungry. So, I went “upstairs” and we had breakfast on my bf berth.

Going to the toilet was really funny because I had this very long skirt, so it was comic because the toilet was extremely small, the train was moving so much, there was a hole on the (wet) floor, the window was completely open so the wind was blowing me away and I was afraid that someone could see me… LOL! What an experience. I was trying to keep my balance and laughing at the same time.

Good morning!
Arrived in Chiang Mai!

Once arrived in Chiang Mai we found a lot of red pickups waiting for backpackers arriving with the night train, they were extremely cheap and everybody could talk to the driver first, see where they had to go and arrange the price. We were going to Tri Yaan Na Ros (recommended by the Lonely Planet guide) an authentic, Lanna style colonial house for just £32 (37 euro) a night. Beautiful interiors and a huge bricked-up bath tub. The surroundings were lovely, too, we had a primary school near and I could spend hours looking at the squirrels running on the trees. Can you imagine switching from noisy, crowded, super hot Bangkok to this heaven with birds singing in the day, toads singing in the night and squirrels? This was definitely our kind of place. And it was also a stone’s throw from the centre and the walled old town.

Our hotel in Chiang Mai (unfortunately the pool was freezing cold and I wasn’t brave enough to get in, but my bf was)
This kitty cat welcomed us
Our beautiful king-size, canopy bed

That’s it for today guys, I’ll go on with the trip very soon, writing about what we have done in Chiang Mai during our four days (including visiting an elephant sanctuary and my favourite temple ever in Thailand. It was like being in another, peaceful world).

But please tell me about you in the comments, have you ever been to Thailand? In which part? Did you enjoy it? I’m curious! 😀

xx,

Camy

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Bathroom: before and after

Good evening dear readers,

Today I’d like to show you the before/after photos of our bathroom. After changing the bed in the main bedroom (https://camyinwonderworld.blog/2019/04/07/new-bed-before-and-after/), we switched to renovating the bathroom, which I personally think is very, very important in a property. Especially as I love hot, long baths. 😛 The bathroom is where you have a bit of “me time”, where you get pampered, so we tried to create a relaxing and tidy space, with much less clutter than before.

As you may have seen on my Instagram stories we have done some housework last weekend. We worked three days in a row and are now super-satisfied with the result. The former style of the bathroom wasn’t special, it was quite old actually, and the wallpaper was ruined, so we wanted to renovate it and give it a modern style. On Friday, the first day of housework, we went to B&Q and b&m Home Store to buy new wallpaper, rims for the window, paint, a tall boy and everything that we needed. When we got back home we removed the old wallpaper and let the walls dry out. On the second day we hanged the new paper, with a lot of patience and a couple curse words, and on our last day my boyfriend worked on the details and has done some electrical work, while I assembled then new tall boy. I could play it cool and tell you that I have done it perfectly but I actually assembled the upper part of the tall boy the wrong side…Ahah! My boyfriend made fun of me for half an hour, but let me tell you, in my defense, that it was the first piece of furniture that I have ever assembled. Before this I had only helped him putting together some IKEA chairs in my home in Italy…

On Monday the best part arrived, we cleaned the whole bathroom and I put a bit of a woman’s touch: candles, diffusers and bath bombs. Now we are looking for a big, round mirror to hang above the toilet and for a blind. If you’ve got any suggestions on where to find them, I’d thank you very much!

DURING

We got rid of the old blind and mirror, which were not very nice, along with other white, plastics pieces of furniture. As they say nowadays, and with the whole Marie Kondo school of thought, “less is more”. Create spaces that spark joy for you.

BEFORE

AFTER

The white rims that my boyfriend put on the sides of the window were very necessary, to protect the wallpaper

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

New rug from b&m Home Stores, grey to match the wallpaper

So, what do you think? Did we do a good job? We are chuffed to bits, honestly.

At the end of May we will get new windows for the sitting room and the twin bedroom and I can’t wait. Right now we have old, brown, wooden windows who let a lot of cold air and wind inside the house and when there are strong rain storms even water leaks in. Finally the heat will stay inside, as it’s supposed to, and we’ll save good money on our bills! Fortunately now it’s not cold, it’s not raining much and it’s not even windy, but when we arrived here in March in the evening you could hardly hear the television because of the strong draughts of wind. Ha! We’ll not miss that.

Have a lovely evening guys, I hope your week is going fine.

xx

Camilla

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Thai trip: Bangkok

Street food in Chinatown, Bangkok

Good evening dear readers,

Today I’d like to start with the first chapter of a series of blogposts about the trip to Thailand and Cambodia that my boyfriend and I took in January. We traveled 18 days in total, so I won’t do only one blogpost about this journey, as I’ve got a lot of stories and photos to show you.

On our first day (night I should say, as we arrived in the evening) we checked-in in our hotel in Chinatown, had a well-needed shower (we traveled from Milan to Bangkok with a 2-hour stop in Dubai) and then hit the street to have dinner. We were extremely hungry and I had found a nice street food “restaurant” on the Lonely Planet bookguide, my dear companion during my travels, so we went there. We had Thai beer and noodles: it was absolutely delicious. The atmosphere, the food, the traffic, the suffocating heat, the noise, people from all over the world… Keep in mind that we left freezing Lake Como, in the middle of winter, so it was surreal to be able to wear hot pants and a top, really.

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I think that the day you first land in a new country for a journey is one of the best, because you have all the experience ahead of you, the curiosity, the expectations… When we left our hotel room to stroll around Chinatown I had that feeling that I love about travels. It’s so exciting that it gives me addiction.

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After our dinner we had a little walk (during which we had seen two massive rats. As in Chinatown the streets are full of food stalls there is so much food waste on the pavement and obviously rats are very common) but we were so tired that we soon got back to the hotel to go to bed. By the way, after seeing the huge rats on our first night, I never walked calmly again for the following 17 days.

The following day we had a very long walk around Chinatown and Little India, which we hadn’t seen in the daylight. I must say we weren’t very impressed, so we took a taxi to go to the Royal Palace. That area of the city is extremely different from Chinatown: cleaner, less crowded, less noisy but also very touristy. For lunch we went to a vegetarian restaurant that was recommended on the Lonely Planet but unfortunately we didn’t eat well, but I’m always happy to spend my money in a vegetarian restaurant, because of the ethics that they spread and that I share.

The view from the rooftop in the morning
The swimming pool of our hotel (we never used it!)

On our last day in Bangkok we went to the more modern and luxurious Sukhumvit with the subway (the best subway in the world I’ve ever been in: sparkling clean, precise, cheap). We had lunch in a very nice place that I had found on the Lonely Planet guide (this time they were right!) and my boyfriend went to the hairdresser to get his hair cut. Then we took the subway back to Chinatown to get our luggage and then go to the station, where our night train for Chiang Mai would leave.

We only spent two and a half days in Bangkok and to be honest with you I personally wouldn’t go back. It didn’t impress me and it’s not my kind of city, so if I’ll ever go back to Thailand I think I would skip it (maybe I would go on a river market first though, I’m ashamed of not having been to one). Maybe we stayed too shortly, obviously you can’t visit a huge city in 2.5 days, perhaps we didn’t find the right spots of Bangkok and you could give me some great advice, who knows?! My boyfriend and I were just very happy of having booked the night train to Chiang Mai because we knew that up there the setting was very different.

What did I like about Bangkok?

  1. The sunrise that I saw from the rooftop of our hotel. I just couldn’t sleep because of the jet lag so I took the elevator and went up to the last floor, alone, as my boyfriend was sleeping. I loved that little moment for myself, on the empty rooftop, seeing this immense metropolis slowly waking up and the red sun between the skyscrapers. It was really emotional (maybe because of the lack of sleep…ha!)
  2. The Sky Bar of Lebua Tower (the one that you can see in the movie “The Hangover Part II”). It’s ridiculously expensive but that night was what I loved the most of our two days in Bangkok. You’ve got a breathtaking view of the city, it’s one of the highest rooftops in the world and there still was this suffocating but marvellous heat. There was a woman singing live, with this great voice, and the orchestra, and going up the 67 floors with the luxurious elevator and the hostesses with their chic, elegant uniforms… What a beautiful memory. If you’ll ever go there keep in mind that they accept only smartly dressed people, remember this when you pack your luggage! Unfortunately we didn’t see the sunset because we spent 1.30 hour in our taxi (the traffic in Bangkok is crazy), so if you want to get there in time to see the sunset just leave very early from your hotel.

That’s it guys, I’ll go on with the rest of our journey in the next blogposts.

Next chapter: the Chiang Mai night train. What an adventure!

Have a lovely night,

xx

Camy

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Easter in Arran (Brodick Castle & Goat Fell)

The highest point we reached, going towards Goat Fell

Hello dear readers! I hope you have spent great Easter holidays. We had a blast: Saturday I went to see the Kilmarnock VS Aberdeen football match with my boyfriend, my German friend from university and my Scottish relatives and we had a lot of fun! When you have good company everything is better. The following day we went to the Isle of Arran and yesterday we had a pic nic on the beach because we had sunshine and 21 degrees here. I’d like to share with you some photos that I took on Sunday. I broke a record, I think: I walked 19.8 km, almost 20 km. Our first visit in Arran was Brodick castle: we only visited the gardens, we didn’t go inside. The park was beautiful, it has a breathtaking seaview and was full of beautiful flowers. I will split the photos into two blogposts, because I really took tons!

Brodick castle’s “Walled garden”

We didn’t reach the very top of Goat Fell because of me! 😦 I was so tired. We hadn’t planned to reach the Goat Fell top, we actually wanted to see some Highland cows, so we started the trail and then ended up walking almost 20 km! We just couldn’t stop because we wanted to see what was the view behind that hill and then behind that hill and so on.

A little break: we cooled off by putting our feet into the river
How to feel free and grateful for our earth and the fresh water ❤

We stopped 15 minutes before reaching the top and we went of the side of the mountain to look at the seaview. It was such a relaxing and peaceful place, I would love to go back there with a tent someday. I just hope the wind wouldn’t blow me into the sea!

After our walk we finally saw some Highland cows, by chance, really. We found them on our way to the brewery (we stopped there because there was a bus stop nearby and we deserved a fresh beer).

At first we stayed in because we hadn’t seen the beautiful garden, then we moved outside.
The brewery, I had a delicious IPA (usually I don’t like beer)

In the end we decided not to take the bus because it was quite early, so we enjoyed walking on the beach, but we ended up being quite in a hurry because it was longer than we thought and we saw the ferry approaching. We even had to cross a little river, that we hadn’t seen, because otherwise we would have lost the ferry. Thank God it was shallow. But my boyfriend still got the lower part of his trousers soaked!

We couldn’t believe that we were up there! (The highest point is Goat Fell)

We took the last ferry from Arran to Ardrossan just in time! On the ferry we stayed out on the deck to look at the beautiful view but after 15 minutes we went back inside at the bar to have a tea because it was cold and windy (the waitress gave us some cakes for free, it was the last journey of the day and otherwise they’d have to throw them away!).

If you’d like to go to the Isle of Arran you may want to know that there is a convenient direct train going straight from Glasgow Central Station to Ardrossan Harbour, taking you right in front on the ferry. It’s a great service, really. Obviously dogs, cars and bicycles are permitted on the ferry. We took the 9.45am ferry (it takes 55 minutes to get to Brodick Harbour in Arran) and then we took the 7.20pm ferry from Arran and arrived in Ardrossan at 20.15. The ticket is so cheap, 8 pounds with return. The ticket for the car (return) is about 32 pounds. In Arran we paid for the Day Rider ticket on the bus (6.30 pounds) but in the end unfortunately we didn’t use it because we took the 324 bus to get to Brodick Castle and spent all day (as you can start the trail to Goat Fell there, too) and we didn’t even take the bus to go back to the harbour as we walked on the beach. The next time I’d love to do a tour of Arran, going to Lochranza, a distillery and seeing other parts, in general (hopefully some deers, eagles and seals, too! 😀 )

Anyway, this was an unforgettable Easter with two of my favourite people in the world so I really can’t complain. Walking in nature, with the sun shining, seeing the sea from above… It gave me such a peaceful feeling.

Have a lovely day, guys

xx

Camilla

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Saltcoats beach, Ardrossan castle and spring blossoms

Good evening dear readers! I hope you’re having a great Good Friday. Today the beach was packed because of the Easter holidays and because it was the best weather ever. If only I think about the 7th of March, when we first stepped foot on the Scottish soil… It was so cold! I wasn’t feeling this warm in Scotland since I was a kid, because during the last decade I was always traveling to other places in summer and, even if we were coming here, we were quite unlucky with the weather. Today I was wearing flip-flops and then walking barefoot on the sand… I felt like I was on holiday in a sunny location, really. I hope this summer will be like today most of the time… Too optimistic? Could be. But enough talking about the weather. My eyes are red, and hurt, because I’ve used my laptop/telephone from this morning at 7.40. I read so many job offers, evaluated them, chose which ones to go for, edited my CVs on my laptop, on Indeed, on other websites… Then I helped my boyfriend doing the same. I’ve really exaggerated with my screen time today, but I really wanted to show you the photos that I took this afternoon while walking along the beach and up to Ardrossan castle (unfortunately it’s just ruins now, but there is a nice view and park there). This will be a mostly photographic blogpost.

I love seeing the hills with the windmills back there
I’ve always wanted a barefoot kind of life 😛
New pink blouse from Primark (and the
knee long cardigan that you’ve seen two posts ago)
One dog is swimming, can you spot his head? lol
It’s nice to see dry sand once in a while
That’s one of my favourite cars along with Wranglers… The Land Rover Defender (my dad had it!)
That’s Ardrossan “castle” up there
The lovely windmills
The ferry coming back to Ardrossan from the Isle of Arran
A postcard
A bit of history class now, guys! 😛
I live for little corners like this one… Pink, purple, yellow flowers
Blossoms

That’s it, guys. Now I’ll have a hot bath and then I think we’re off to bed because we’re quite tired because of the CV editing and job-hunting. Fingers crossed! By the way, I’m very happy because last night we met my Scottish cousin and her hubby for a drink and we had a great time. What had to be a quick drink evolved in a three-hour stay! We chatted a lot and it was just so nice to get ready to get out with someone in the evening, that’s what we miss about Italy! Friends, relatives, our dog… Actually I’m even happier because tomorrow a dear friend of mine is coming to visit us from Switzerland for a few days and we’ll go to a football match with my cousin and her hubby, my uncle and my friend, too! I’ve never been to a Scottish football match (well, actually I’ve also been just to ONE Italian football match, Ac Milan VS Verona in San Siro, Milan!)

Told you today on Instagram stories that there were people in the sea!

Have a good night!

xx

Camilla

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6 things to do when you’re sad

Good afternoon guys! Today I’d like to share with you some ways, that I find very useful, to boost my morale when I’m feeling down. If they work for me, they might as well work for you. I’d like to talk about feeling sad because I felt sad on Sunday myself and I think that it’s important to deal with this topic, this is one of the things that I love the most about my favourite youtubers or bloggers. We are human and it’s okay and perfectly normal to have a bad day: live it, don’t deny it and the next one (or the next week) will be better.

  1. Reading

I feel that when I’m sad I get distracted too easily while watching movies or a tv series, my mind runs away and spins around and I often pick up my mobile phone and lose the picture of the movie. Reading really works better for me. When you read a good book you just dive into the plot and the characters and that brings you far away from your worries and bad thoughts. Also, a movie lasts only 90-120 minutes but with a good book you are busy for hours, if you feel like reading. But, I must say that there is an exception, that is, watching your big faves in television (Bridget Jones always cheers me up and gives me hope, to be honest. Laughing and crying with Bridget, that’s so good for me. I think watching Game of Thrones would be great, too, because the characters deal with so many terrible tragedies…it instantly makes your problems look smaller).

2. Walking at the beach or in the woods

A second great way to get distracted from sadness, in my opinion, is to wear sneakers, a comfortable outfit and to get out of the house. I think that staying in all day when you’re sad makes you feel paranoid and even more miserable. Fresh air is always good for you, so try to get to your nearest park, beach or wood. When I’m in Italy I’ve got a wood 10 minutes from home, I’ve done that path countless times, on beautiful days and on horrible days (I mean emotionally), it’s a very steep walk and going back home after to take a shower and wash away all the sweat is so satisfying that it gives you the motivation to go the next time. Here in Scotland, on the other hand, I live in front of the beach and I love it (as you can see from my caption, I’m a big fan of salt water…ha!) but sometimes I miss the trees of Lake Como!

3. Run yourself a hot bath (or a long shower)

The water is so good for us: seeing the sea, a lake or a river, going to a spa or even having a nice, long bath or a relaxing shower is something I totally recommend. I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling a bit down and I wear my pyjamas I find my day even more depressing. So, put your pyjamas under your pillow and take it out only in the evening! Choose a nice, perfumed shower gel, bath foam (vegan, please! Be kind ❤ ) or a Lush bath bomb, and light a candle. If you have a bath tub, bring your book with you, or put some music on, or watch your favourite youtube videos or series. If you have a shower, put some music on and indulge in a perfumed scrub or a nice hair mask.

4. Make yourself pretty

This one could sound shallow, but I honestly think that showering, choosing your favourite clothes (no, the pyjamas doesn’t count!) and working with your hands and make-up, to get you well-groomed and even more beautiful than you are, is a great solution. Our actions influence our mind, our body influences our mind. So, get prepared as if you were meeting someone, even if that day you’ll be alone, and you’ll see that you’ll feel better, more productive and your desire to stay in bed all day will fade. (Sometimes it’s good to stay in bed and sleep when you’re not feeling well, but give yourself a limit).

5. Clean your house

Maybe you’ll think that I’m crazy because having to clean your house would make you feel even sadder…ahah! But, believe me, living in a clean and tidy space helps your mind getting “cleaner and tidier”. Make your bed, open the windows to let fresh air in, fold the throw on your sofa, place your cushions as you like them and make the kitchen shine, so that you’ll feel like cooking something.

6. Cooking

As I was saying for make-up, working with hands is very therapeutic in my opinion, because it brings the attention away from our mind and into our hands. So, cooking is a big one for me. And after having kneaded, baked in the oven or stir fried you can eat your delicious creation, too!

So, I hope that the next time that you feel sad (I hope as late as possible) you will think about some of these ways that usually help me feeling better, to feel better, too. I know, talking to others is easy but putting into practice not so much, but I hope that it’ll help even just a little bit (or as we say here in Scotland, a wee bit!)

Have a great Thursday guys!

xx

Camilla


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Meteoropathic

Good afternoon dear readers! Today I’m so happy because of the weather… It’s so warm, it feels like summer! Last week it was sunny and beautiful, but still cold. Today I went to Irvine with my boyfriend because he had his English class. We then went to ASDA to buy a couple things and to wash the car (it’s been almost two months since he last washed it on the outside! Record-breaking for a car-addicted like him). I’d like to share my first spring look with you! It’s very, very simple actually but I couldn’t wait to wear my new clothes. My trousers are from Zara (these are 2 years old), my white blouse from Primark and the boots are from a mall in Switzerland but I can’t remember the brand, sorry!

What a beautiful, warm day
Tea time

I hope to find a job soon, I’ve sent some CVs but didn’t get any answer for the moment. I think I’ll go directly to the places I’ve sent the CVs to to hand them in person, because that works better for sure. For now I’m focusing on writing the blog, taking good photos, cooking healthy food (don’t look at the above picture, it’s just a snack haha!), reading and looking after the house, my boyfriend and my cat. I can’t say I get bored but I really feel like starting a job or doing something that brings positive feelings into my life. I’d like to start taking some classes (I’ll tell you more soon, for the moment I’m still quite superstitious! 🙂 ) and doing more sports in the meantime, I hope the weather will keep being nice and warm so I’ll start running along the prom.

I hope you’re having a good mid-week. I’m happy because tomorrow we’ll be meeting my Scottish cousin and her two kids (my boyfriend has never met them, it’ll be a good opportunity to practice English). She’s coming here from England for the Easter holidays. I’ve last seen her on Lake Como in July!

Have a good evening guys,

xx,

Camilla

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Beginning the week

Good evening guys, how are you? I must say today I woke up fine, while yesterday I was in a very bad mood, a mixture of sadness and boredom. I think that various factors got on me: my friends going back to Italy, the cloudy sky after a week of beautiful sun, Sunday (day that sometimes I find a bit depressing). I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I stayed in my pijamas almost all day, then at 16pm I tried to perk up and I dressed properly, put my headphones on to listen to some music and I cleaned the kitchen. But I must say I’ve had better days. The situation got better during the night, when at 2am my boyfriend and I got up to see the first episode of Game of Thrones simultaneously with the USA on Sky. I know, we’re a bit crazy, as a matter of fact when the alarm sounded I said “No, I don’t care, I’ll see it tomorrow at 8pm” but then I changed my mind because the temptation was just too strong…Ahah! I won’t tell you anything about the first episode because I don’t want to spoiler, I hate spoilers myself! I’ll just tell you that I was so emotional for seeing all the characters… GOT is one of the few series/movies that gives me goose bumps, really. Beside this, today my boyfriend started his English classes and I am very happy for him, I hope he will keep being motivated… Right know he’s improving his English so fast. It’s seven on them in class and I think this is a great thing because the teacher can focus on each of them more carefully. While he was doing his 2 hour class I waited for him in the car and I didn’t even got bored because I had brought my laptop to watch the latest videos of one of my favourite youtubers, her channel is called ShantiLives, it’s in Italian! If you know Italian and you are interested in personal development, love&emotions and the LGBT community, you should really check her out. She puts me in the best mood! After watching Shanti’s videos I read the book that my friend brought me as a gift last Monday. It’s called Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’m really enjoying it, it’s very different from the kind of books that I usually read and it makes me think over and reflect. I find it challenging and very interesting and I’m also happy to read it because I had started a new thriller but it didn’t catch me much, it’s called The cutting edge. The last thriller that I read (You were gone, totally recommended!) was much better because it was psychological and it also talked about feelings, not a pure detective book. Moreover it was set in London, my favourite city, while this is set in New York. Actually, I bought it because it said that it was psychological and I liked the plot but the first pages weren’t special. But maybe I’ll change my mind while going on with it!

This evening we had dinner very early, as we’d skipped lunch. This morning we had late breakfast, got ready and then left home to go to the English classes and then to do the shopping at Tesco’s.

For dinner we had meat-free sausage rolls, potato waffles, salad and fresh bread with hummus. It’s been a month and a half since I’ve last had this kind of fresh bread in Italy… It’s so simple yet so delicious.

Vegan products

I bought a Cleansing Face Wash and a Cleansing Micellar Water at Tesco’s, as they were cheap and vegan. I’ve just finished my lovely, “high tech natural” face wash from Dr Joseph Sudtirol and I don’t want to spend too much for now so I didn’t order it online (I’m not even sure they would deliver it to the UK from Italy). I hope they will be good for my skin, I’ll let you know! I also bought a vegan shampoo, as that was finished, too.

What about you? How was your Monday? Comment below if you have a spare moment.

I’m off to a hot bath with a lighted, perfumed candle and some youtube videos now… Have a great evening guys!

xx,

Camilla

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What to know before bringing your cat to the UK

Hey there! I’ve thought about writing this post because I believe that somebody might be interested in this. The 5th of March my boyfriend, my cat Minnie and I left Lake Como to come to Scotland. We drove across Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. We then took the P&O night ferry from Rotterdam to Hull. First of all, let me tell you that the journey has been quite stressful, but it doesn’t have to be like that for everybody. Since we didn’t come here for a short holiday but we are staying at least for some months (it depends on Brexit, work and how we’ll settle here) my boyfriend’s car was absolutely filled with luggage. We managed to secure the cat carrier between our seats, but behind, fastened with some belts. The position was quite handy because I could easily check on her while my boyfriend was driving, I could give her food, water or take her in my arms. Also, it was safe and the carrier wasn’t moving at all thanks to the belts (my bf thought about this). The vet made a prescription for us, we gave her a tranquilizer at 8am when leaving home but unfortunately it didn’t make her sleep and, as she hates the car, she was meowing the whole time. After 10 or 12 hours of journey we arrived in Rotterdam, where we spent a night in a b&b because it was too late to catch the ferry (which travels at night, it leaves at 9pm and arrives in Hull at 8am). We decided to catch the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull instead of the one from Calais to Dover because Hull is in the north of England, for those of you who may not know, so that we didn’t have to drive again for eight hours from Dover to Scotland. Also, we could sleep and rest on the ferry while covering miles. The night in Rotterdam has been a blessing for us, because we washed Minnie (who, poor baby, had dirtied herself during the journey) and she has been able to walk and stretch her legs during the night and the following day (we requested a late check out at 3pm). We found an animal-frienldy hotel near the Europoort so that she could stay free in the room with us.

What do you need to bring a cat to the UK? I had read it all on the P&O ferries website, on the Gov.uk page and on various blogs.

  • He needs to be microchipped
  • He needs a European passport
  • He needs an anti-rabies vaccine (given at least 21 days before the journey)

They say on their websites that dogs also need the tapeworm vaccine, but not cats. When we arrived at the Europoort at 5pm on the 6th of March we had to check-in Minnie at the main reception and that’s when I got such a fright (and anger) because after showing the lady at the counter the European passport and telling her that she had been vaccinated and microchipped, that is to say every single requirement that you read on the Gov.uk “Take your pet abroad” page and on the P&O ferries “Taking your pet with us” page, she asked if Minnie had had a certain vaccination. I later understood that she was talking about Drontal for cats (a wormer which the vet thankfully had given her one day before we left Italy). She said “I don’t think she can travel” but then she checked on the passport, or on her health book, can’t remember, and she said “Oh, ok Drontal cats” and counted wiith her fingers how many hours had passed since the vet had given that to Minnie.

Now, let me tell you that I sent various angry emails to P&O ferries and to the UK government websites because on their site they expressively say that all a cat needs to enter the UK is what I told you before and NOTHING else. After 12 hours of driving and one night in Rotterdam we managed to board the ship only because my holy vet didn’t want us to run any risks and so he decided to give Minnie the Drontal cat wormer.

So, I hope this article has been useful for you or for anyone you know who wants to bring their cat from Italy or other European countries to the UK (at least for now, as after Brexit I guess something will change).

Have a good evening,

xx

Camilla

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Saturday

Good morning dear readers! How are you doing? This morning I woke up at 8.30am after a great night’s sleep. Last night I went to bed at 10.30am (earlier than usual) and I’ve read for half an hour before sleeping, I think that helped. Yesterday we bought a king size duvet (even if the bed is a double) and that was also the reason I slept so well, the double size duvet was too small, so I was always waking up because of the cold in the middle of the night. I also bought a lovely and funny brushed cotton duvet set (I think cotton is not warm enough for Scotland) with otters on it. I have always loved otters, I find them so sweet and adorable, swimming with their tummies up and holding hands… Only thinking about them warms my heart! I love Mackays duvet sets, they really are original and beautiful. We’ve got many at home, with deers, too…It was 50% off the original price so that convinced me even more.

Duvet set with otters on it
My latest addiction (and curse)
Tea time

I’m starting to notice that, since I arrived to Scotland, I’m not cooking at all. I mean yes, I cook the occasional vegetables and pasta and I put things in the oven and not in the microwave, but I haven’t prepared, baked or knead anything with my hands. Moreover, I’ve started buying processed, unhealthy frozen-food, chocolate and biscuits… I really need to stop buying those and go back to a healthier, more natural way of eating. Okay, we are eating salad, hummus, organic cheese, organic eggs, fruit and vegetables, too. But the problem is, I find so many ready-to-eat dishes in the supermarkets and that really makes you think “Why should I cook for two hours when I can put this pre-prepared dish in the oven for 40 minutes while I do my stuff?”. In Italy I was cooking much more and I wasn’t buying candies, chocolate, biscuits… Maybe it’s the colder weather that is getting to me!

Actually, usually I love cooking. I think that it’s really satisfying and good for you to work on and prepare the food that you are going to eat later, you control the quantities: salt, sugar, butter and whatnot. Maybe the problem is that this home has been a holiday home for years and I’ve never cooked here and I’m going on with the habits that I have when I come to Scotland on holiday. But I need to keep in mind that this is not a holiday and my body needs healthy, non-processed food.

What about you? Do you like cooking? What are your eating habits?

Tell me all about it, I would love to know your ideas and get some suggestions.

Have a good Sunday,

xx,

Camilla

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Mac’n’cheese and shopping in Primark

Hello dear readers! How is your Saturday going? Our friends went back to Italy yesterday, we spent five lovely, busy days and we will miss them but I am grateful that they came to visit us. I will have some great memories of these days and look forward to seeing them again. This morning it has been a bit sad having breakfast without them but I got distracted by doing my chores, there was a lot of bedsheets and towels to wash and the house was generally quite dirty and untidy because we were always out and about and we had guests, so.

Today it’s another sunny, lovely day here in Scotland. We just came back home, we went into town because my boyfriend had to get his hair cut. In the meantime I went to a couple charity shops, there were some great books (at 99p!) but I obliged myself to wait before buying them because I’ve got THREE books on my bedside table that I need to finish first. Anyway, today I’d like to share with you some photos from Thursday. My friends, boyfriend and I went to Irvine for lunch and then we wanted to go to Ayr but my friend’s boy wasn’t feeling too well so we just stayed in Irvine instead and went to the mall. My friend’s other child, a 12 year old girl, was way happier because we went to Primark, which in Italy has only three stores!

We had lunch in GRO coffee. I really love both GRO both the Ship Inn in Irvine harbour but we decided to go to GRO because my friend loves organic food and it has a garden so that her boy could play outside. I prefer the Ship Inn during cold, rainy days because it’s so cozy and nice, with the fireplace and the wooden furniture.

Furry customers – one of the many things I love about GRO, that it’s dog friendly
Could we please take a moment to appreciate this cakes?

At Gro I had mac’n’cheese, while my friends had huge, delicious baked potatoes. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy but we still used the garden to play ball.

GRO is delightfully furnished, full of low sofas and stools…It’s so comfortable and feels like home, really. Plus you don’t have to cook and wash the dishes…AH!

Lovely, modern but cozy interior deisgn

This is what I bought from Primark (except a sweater that I’m wearing right now, it was on sale for 3 pounds):

My boyfriend also bought a Game of Thrones throw and 3 Dragon eggs tealights. Yes, I know we have been marketing slaves, BUT the final season is here and I’m afraid they won’t be doing collections from the series anytime soon after the final season ends, so… I know the magnets are not really useful but I will be so happy to think about GOT everytime I open my fridge. HA! Marie Kondo says you need to own only things that bring you joy, right? Well, Game of Thrones brings me joy. I’m proud of not having bought the pijamas actually. There was a pijama with the phrase “You know nothing Jon Snow” (Jon is my favourite character, I even went to see Kit Harington in theatre last November, in London) but it wasn’t special so I bought this pink one instead, which I find comfy (that’s why I bought a 10-12 instead of my usual 8-10). The trousers are a bit long for me because I’m quite short but I prefer my pijamas quite wide to be really comfortable at night.

That’s all guys,

I hope you’ll have a lovely Saturday night,

xx

Camilla

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Wild flowers in the woods

Hello readers! How are you doing? I just wanted to share with you some photos that I took yesterday. My boyfriend, my dear friends and I went to Kelburn castle & country park, in Fairlie (near Largs). The sun was shining, it wasn’t windy… the weather was just perfect, really. Because of this reason I decided to bring my guests to the country park, where I’ve been going since I was a kid. I think it’s so nice, not only for children but for adults as well (if you like this kind of places). Yesterday there was the duck race (fake ducks!) and the hunt for the Giant Peach, in the Dream forest, included in the ticket. It’s a place for families and doggies.

The equestrian center, at the entrance of the park
The monument that the widow of the Earl of Glasgow had erected for her husband. There’s a love letter under the statue in which the wife praised his kindness as a father to their children
Kelburn castle, the coloured part has been done by four Brazilian graffiti artists

They say that the glen below Kelburn castle was one of the most romantic of Scotland, because of the wild flowers and the trees.

We made the “Who laid the egg?” trail in the woods and found out the secret word, there were wooden animals, each with a fun fact and a letter…Then we went to the gift shop to collect the prize! I’m not telling you what the prize is, just let me tell you that you’ll enjoy it but your dentist won’t. After the guessing game we visited the dream forest, which has been renovated since I’ve last been here.

House of Stark
Hey fluffy sheep
On the top of the tower of the Dream Forest

After our visit to the country park we had lunch at Scott’s, in Largs Yacht haven. I had sizzling vegetable fajitas and they were very good. We stayed alfresco because it was just the perfect weather to do so.

Largs Yacht Haven

Once we finished our late lunch (it was 5pm!) we headed to Largs to have an ice cream at Nardini’s and for a walk along the prom, it was packed!

That was our Wednesday… I hope you enjoyed my story.

What about you? Have you ever been to Largs? Comment below!

Have a lovely day guys!

xx

Camilla

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A sunny day in Glasgow

Uphill

Good evening guys! I hope everything is fine with you. We have our friends over so we are out and about all day long visiting and eating. What’s better than that?!

Yesterday we walked almost 8 miles on the beach, it was hot, there was no wind…Pure heaven.

On Monday my boyfriend and I went to Glasgow to meet my friend and her two kids and we spent a nice, sunny day in the city, even if it was a bit windy. We had lunch at the Willow tea room on Buchanan Street, I had an avocado on toast with eggs.

My boyfriend had the afternoon tea
The view from the Willow tree…Lovely isn’t? 😛
My friend had this amazing cheesecake

After lunch we went straight to Lush, but I didn’t buy anything because I’ve still got two bath bombs at home. We then headed to the GoMa, the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, which we visited quickly because it’s really small.

Buchanan Street
At the entrance of GoMa
GoMa
Glasgow Museum of Modern Art
Andy Warhol

After the museum we went to Uphill with the subway to visit that part of town and Glasgow University, which I find absolutely wonderful. It’s the second time in two weeks that we go for a walk there. It really makes you wanna start a master….. ha! Everytime I’m in those beautiful courtyards I wonder about graduating there… It really looks like Hogwarts, to me. My grandma told me that her brother graduated in Glasgow University and then got married in the chapel! I didn’t know that for twenty-three years, not until now! Can you imagine?

The lovely houses of Uphill
Glasgow university
Glasgow University
Back in the centre, near Central Station
Pure talent

After our visit at the Chapel of the University we took the subway and went back to the centre, where we had a stop in Primark. I bought a knee-long cardigan and two blouses, which I can’t wait to wear, let’s hope that the weather will keep being as sunny and beautiful, yesterday and today really were special. My guests brought me luck!

Have you ever been to Glasgow? What do you think about it? Tell me in the comments if you wish. Personally I prefer Edinburgh because of the architecture, the castle and the streets in general but I’m starting to enjoy this city as well and I hope to live it as much as possible this summer and in the next months. Beer gardens, marathons and festivals, here I come!

Have a great evening, dear readers.

xx,

Camy

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New bed: before and after

Good morning dear readers!

I slept like a baby last night, what about you? I’m using a lavender Room spray that I bought in Sainsbury’s two weeks ago and maybe it’s helping. I’d like to buy a Pillow Spray though, because I love lavender so I would love to spray it onto fabric and sniff it before sleeping…

On Friday we had our new double bed delivered, I’m so happy. The other one was so old-fashioned (in a bad way, unlike the tea room in Troon, if you have read my previous post you’ll know) I really am like a child with her toys when it comes to home refurbishing, new appliances, new accessories… I love seeing a home blossom and I wouldn’t mind renovating homes as a job, but I don’t have an Interior design degree, so I’ll do it as a hobby! In my home in Italy I have a king size bed because the bedroom is bigger but here it would have been really too bulky so we opted for a double instead. I move so much during the night, turning and turning and disturbing my bf, poor thing, so a king size would have been ideal. This is an Ottoman bed and I’m really happy with it because the old one wasn’t so we didn’t know where to put all our stuff.

Anyway, let me show you the before and after photos.

Before
Before

And below you have the photos of the new bed. Fabric, modern, in a beautiful grey. We moved it to the other side of the room because it’s just more comfortable to walk around and to sit at the desk where I put my make-up on.

After
After

On Tuesday early morning the Council will come to collect the old one, just in time for one of my best friends and her kids to arrive (they’re coming to visit us from Italy tomorrow, I can’t wait, it’s our first visit since we’re here).

Have a great Sunday guys! What are you up to today? I would like to read your comments.

Xx

Camy

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A tea room in Troon

Yes, I am short, but in my defence I must say the wall was very, very high.
Troon beach

Hello and happy Saturday dear readers!

Today we went to Troon, a little coastal village in South Ayrshire. What I love the most about it are the nice shops, the tea rooms and bakeries and the beautiful, sandy beach. Today it was packed with people, we had a walk along the prom and everybody was there with kids, dogs (swimming in the sea, too!) and it just makes me so happy to see happy dogs and families at the beach during the weekends, even if it was quite chilly and cloudy. Before walking to the beach we visited some shops, especially home interior shops, I would have bought everything, really. Candles, luxury armchairs, top quality body lotions and various accessories with deers (there was this coat hanger…..to die for).

We also saw the new “Game of Scones” book, a friend of ours told us about it just the other day! It’s a collection of recipes from Game of Thrones obviously (season 6, to be precise) and we were quite tempted of buying it, we’re always so curious and excited when it comes to GOT but I can only imagine which recipes it containes…Pidgeon pie, kidney and whatnot ahah! I’m not really into this kind of food, sorry. But you never know, maybe we’ll change our minds and buy it in the end because I guess there is also the lemon cakes recipe, Sansa’s favourites…LOL.

Anyway, after buying some candies and chocolate in Poundland we headed for Silver Spoons tearoom, because we were pretty hungry and it looked very nice from the outside.

Egg-mayonnaise sandwich and lentil soup for me

The food was very good (and cheap) but we were stuffed so unfortunately we didn’t get to try the cakes (my heart aches). Next time!

After the tea room we visited the Ayrshire Arts and Crafts Fair as the entrance was free and we were walking by. They had really nice things: food, pictures, cushions, jewelry and so on. I bought a present for one of my best friends as in May it’s her birthday (can’t say what it is…shhh!) and a wooden, handmade candle holder by Big Shed Crafts.

Ayrshire Arts and Crafts Fair
Is that a dolphin?! A seal? Oh no, it’s just a brave labrador 😛

Our walk along the prom has been quite short as it was really cold (at least for us, Italian standard, you know) and my boyfriend was in a hurry to get home and see his team football match.

What about you? What did you do today and what are your plans for tomorrow? I’m curious.

Have a lovely Saturday night, we are happily staying in and cosy,

xx

Camy

P.S.

Our new candle holder
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Scotland, my beloved Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter’s bridge)

Good afternoon dear readers!

I told you I was going to come back here soon, this morning I woke up so excited because of the blog, I really couldn’t wait to finish the chores at home to start writing… Let me tell you a bit of my situation now, so that you get to know me better. Almost one month ago I moved to Scotland with my boyfriend and my cat because I’ve got Scottish origins, my grandma is Scottish and has a house here, so we wanted to try this life experience. Until now I must say that Scotland has been so welcoming and generous with us, doing all the paperwork has been easy and we are very grateful to the Scottish people we have met. I’ve been coming countless times to Scotland to visit family, since I was a newborn, and my bf had been here twice with me, too. We would like to improve our English and do a job experience. This said, last week we went for a 3-day trip to the Highlands, so I would like to share my first travel story with you.

DAY ONE

Last Monday we left the house at 9.30 because we didn’t want to wake up too early, also to avoid the Monday morning traffic. Our first stop has been in Duck Bay’s restaurant in Loch Lomond, one of my favourite restaurants. As we arrived at 11am, too early to have lunch, we had breakfast: pancakes with maple syrup and cappuccino (I must say we really miss italian bars to have a quick breakfast with a fresh croissant…but every country has its pros and cons :D)

After our breakfast we headed to Glen Coe, on the way we had a quick stop at the Green Welly Shop to get some water and a sandwich, because we didn’t want to stop again for lunch. The road wasn’t easy, it’s quite narrow and we noticed because there were A LOT of lorries, buses and cars…BUT we managed to reach Glen Coe, where we parked and had a nice (but steep) walk. Ok, I’m not an athlete, let me tell you this immediately… During our walk we saw some deers and I was so excited because I really love deers, I see many when I’m in Italy but never get to observe them, this time on the other hand we had a videocamera with us so we sat down and zoomed to observe them, it was so fascinating…

At the beginning of our walk (photo stolen from boyfriend)
Glen Coe
Tired after the walk (we were eating our sandwich)

After our walk (and the deer-watching) we headed to Fort William, we didn’t know where to sleep, while my bf was driving I checked out some homes on Airbnb but we wanted to stay very central so that we didn’t have to take the car to go out for dinner so we booked a hotel right in the centre…If only we knew…It was very expensive for what it offered, the photos didn’t match the reality and we definitely wouldn’t go back…But at least we had a nice bath and then a nice dinner in a pub which offered Mexican dishes, all washed down with a pint of beer. We were given a table by the window and it was raining outside…Lovely, pure Scottish night.

DAY TWO

The following day we had two places we wanted to visit. The first was Glenfinnan Viaduct (yes, the Harry Potter’s bridge! :D)

After a 30-minute drive from Fort William we reached Glenfinnan, the weather was cloudy and it was slightly raining, but we are used to that, aren’t we? We walked for 15 minutes along a trail and reached a point from where we could see the bridge and the lake, it was absolutely beautiful. We even saw the train cross the bridge…Unfortunately it wasn’t the famous Jacobite because the service hasn’t started yet, it was just a standard train, but it was still very exciting. There were other tourists walking around, too.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

After visiting the bridge, we went by the lake to see the monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie (also known as Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart, thanks Wikipedia), maybe those of you who aren’t British won’t know, he claimed for the throne of Great Britain but was defeated near Inverness, in the famous Battle of Culloden, then escaped from Scotland. He died in Rome, actually.

After Glenfinnan we headed to our second destination for the day, the absolutely magnificent Eilean Donan Castle. Let me tell you, I wanted to visit this castle from many, many years (I only went there as a child with my parents, but can’t remember) but we were always coming to Scotland during winter so often it was closed or my relatives didn’t want to drive 4.30 hours to get there and I still didn’t have my driving licence…So, you can imagine my excitement!

We arrived there after driving for 1.30 hours, first we bought the tickets, then we had a very late lunch (we were sooo hungry) in the beautiful, wooden bar of the castle (you could see it in all its majestic beauty, from the main, big window).

Knock knock!

We couldn’t take photos inside, so you’ll have to go there yourself! It was beautiful because they gave you free audioguides (they’ve got them in Italian, too) and the castle has furniture in it, it still belongs to the MacRae family. The castle also appears in the American romance movie “Made of Honor”, with Patrick Dempsey, which I really like. But it has appeared in many other movies, as well.

After our visit and a 15-minute drive we then reached Kyle of Lochalsh to sleep in the (lovely) b&b we booked while driving. The owners were very sweet. Unfortunately we struggled to find a place to have dinner, everything was closed but there are few restaurants, actually. After wandering for 20 minutes we opted for an Indian restaurant which didn’t attract us much from the outside but I must say the papadams, naan and mint sauce were very good and the owners were very kind. Kyle of Lochalsh is the town where the Skye bridge to reach the Isle of Skye is (I thought you could reach it only by ferry, what a great news! They actually opened it in 1995, the year I was born btw :D)

DAY THREE

We didn’t visit the Isle of Skye because we didn’t want to add hours to the long journey back home and because it was raining cats and dogs, so we headed back home but on the road we stopped at Doune Castle because… Game of Thrones fans will know already… That’s where the pilot episode of GOT was recorded! I was soooo excited! Unfortunately I don’t have photos to show you because my phone was dead…That’s so me!
Well, these was a summary of our three day trip to the Highlands… I hope you enjoyed it.

Have a great evening, guys!
xx
Camy

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Hello there!

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Camilla, I’m 23 years old and I have always felt curious about opening a blog, so… let’s give it a try!

I would like to share my passions with you here… Mosty, traveling. But also: food, books, animals, movies, tv series (GOT anyone!?!) and…cooking, when I feel particularly inspired. I swear I’ve got some interesting and exciting adventures (with photos, of course) to post about, so keep (well, start…LOL) following me!

I will get back in touch with you very, very soon.

Have a lovely evening!!

xx

Camy