Posts filed under 'restaurants'

Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle

The day after my birthday we decided to go and see Dunnottar Castle.  The forecast predicted showers increasing to steady rain into the afternoon, but at 10 am, it was pretty sunny.  We decided to risk it and take the 15 or so mile drive down south to Stonehaven.  I’m really glad we did.  Throughout the walk dark clouds would pass by, but for the most part it stayed sunny without a drop of rain.  If anything, the clouds made the castle on a cliff in the distance look more dramatic.

Walk to Dunnottar Castle in  the distance

Walk to Dunnottar Castle in the distance


Amber waves of grain in Scotland

Amber waves of grain in Scotland

You can drive pretty much right up to the castle, but there’s no fun in that for Stella and us…so we drove and parked by the Tolbooth in Stonehaven and walked over.  It was about a 3 mile walk round trip and totally worth it.   The views are breathtaking, and despite some gradual uphills, not too difficult.  You’re also able to walk up to the WWI memorial this way and would miss it driving straight up to the castle.

ww2Probably the most difficult part of the walk is actually down and then back up to the castle itself which everyone has to do regardless of where they park.  This castle is also in ruins like Slains Castle, but kept up and thus, they charge admission (£6 per person, dogs for free, but they must be kept on a lead).  The positioning on the cliff top is really quite stunning, but I kind of prefer the creepiness of Slains Castle.  Also, there were a lot more people at Dunnottar since it’s more of a sanctioned attraction.  Regardless, I’m glad we went.  The weather held out and it was a beautiful day.full castle family


Looks like painting on the wall.















When we started to walk back to Stonehaven we saw more clouds in the distance.  We arrived back in Stonehaven just as it started to spit.  We were starving, but we had Stella so we sat outside at a table in front of The Marine Hotel.  E went in and got a pint for himself, a diet coke for me, and put in an order for crab claws and garlic bread to share.  The rain was tolerable for awhile, but as the food came out it started raining harder and the temperature had dropped.  The waitstaff asked for the second time if we’d like a table inside, but we pointed to Stella, and then, to everyone’s delight, they told us dogs were allowed inside!  Well, we jumped all over that and the three of us got a table inside with our food, and I ordered a yummy latte.

Stella in a bar!

Stella in a bar!

I couldn’t have been happier.  It was super cozy inside and with a wide range of individuals including the mandatory drunken football hooligans.  It was great.  And I am so sad that I didn’t grab a picture of our food.  The little loaf of garlic bread with a sweet baslsamic drizzle, and a full clove of oven baked garlic.  And then 6, small but meaty crab claws sautéed with peppers and onions.  It was the perfect snack.  And the rest of the menu looked pretty amazing too…I think we’ll definitely have to go back.

Who’s that on the birthday line?

It’s Lauren, it’s Lauren!

And Lauren what’s your zodiac sign?

It’s Leo, it’s Leo!

And is today your birthday?

Yes it is, you know it is!

And how old are you on this day?

*Mumbles something that sounds like 26*

Go Lauren, it’s your birthday, go Lauren, it’s your birthday!

And where you from?

Gold Coast, Gold Coast

Bad boys gotta say bye-bye, happy birthday from WGCI.


If you grew up around Chicago and liked hip-hop, y’all know what I’m talking about.

Saturday was my birthday.  Normally I’m all sad on my birthday and I really thought I would be this year without my family or friends around.  But happy days- I wasn’t!  It was a gorgeous day, E brought me coffee in bed and made me brekkie, and got me some fantastic cards and chocolate.  We decided to go easy on the birthday this year since we treated ourselves to lots of purchases before we moved (E’s birthday is a month before mine), but my Tory Burch Fitbit bracelet is considered my gift if I ever actually get it (backordered forever).

We are kinda obsessed with cards in our relationship.  It’s pretty typical to receive more than one card for an occasion.  There’s a great card shop in the Union Square mall called Paperchase.  I’m pretty obsessed, its like a UK Papyrus but better I think.  E got these 3 gems for me.




Emergency S'mores!

Emergency S’mores!

Another thing I’m kinda obsessed with is s’mores.  In the US I had an emergency s’more kit.  We lived in a highrise and had an electric stove so the kit included a sterno to toast the marshmallows.  This kit was cracked out whenever I had an extremely, awful, horrible day.  But I also like to enjoy s’mores at any opportunity.  So E got me a little s’more kit, or they’re calling it a “dipping adventure” with white and milk chocolate, different cookies, chocolate candies and marshmallows.  I guess it’s a cross between s’mores and fondu (which I equally love).

As I said, it was a beautiful day in Scotland and we spent the day walking around downtown.  Had lunch at The Coffee House off Union Street, where you get free lunch on your birthday!  Hurrah for wandering in there.  We each had sandwiches and split a devine piece of carrot cake…because it was my birthday.  There was a lot of activity (which I believe is because the impending vote for Scotland’s independence), and we caught the Annual Aberdeen Celebration of William Wallace.  There was role playing with knights and queens, and kilts and bagpipes galore!  I thought of it as a proper birthday celebration and Scottish history lesson just for me.


We went home and played with Stella before getting ready to go out for dinner.  I had stumbled upon a spot called The Courtyard and saw it had pretty good reviews online, so about a week ago I made a reservation.  I’m pretty pleased with the experience.  We did the 3 course, which started with a little crab Amuse Bouche before our starter.  For starters, I had scallops with pig belly and E had pigeon with duck and cherries.  For mains, I had duck with pear and ginger sauce and E had one big ole hunk of pork belly.  Dessert was strawberries with lemon posset and E had orange cheesecake with oreo crust.  I think the latter was a weird combo, but it also came with orea ice cream that was delightfully American.  Anyway, everything was great and I would definitely recommend.

Dinner at The Courtyard

Dinner at The Courtyard

I did notice last weekend when we went out to a more casual dinner, that a lot of women wear dresses out to dinner.  I was also discussing with my friend Erin how it seems girls really go all out on the weekend.  We were kinda implying that they seem a little ridiculously over-dressed for where they were and the weather…but I think I need to step up my weekend out attire a bit.  Luckily for dinner, I did wear high heels (the one pair that came with me!) with my jeans…but all the other women in the restaurant were in dresses.  I didn’t feel terribly out of place, I certainly looked put together and all.  But now I’m thinking my dresses might get a little more wear than I anticipated…at least in the summer before I freeze my butt off.   But for the time being, I no longer regret sending all my dresses and heels over.