Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dundee. One City, Two days.

Sights, Eats and Liquid Treats.

I traveled up to Dundee, Scotland last Tuesday to visit two of my closest friends, both called Anna. One lives in Dundee (who we are stayed with) and the other in Aberdeen. Both girls have been there 4 years and are in their final year of studying. This is my first trip to Scotland and is well overdue. After my 12 hour coach from London I was feeling both mentally tired and physically energetic, so after meeting the girls off my coach we headed straight for some food. Usually down south I avoid our local Weatherspoons but on this occasion we thought we would give it a go for some cheap grub. Amazingly I had a veggie burger and cider for £4.99 which was pretty tasty and afterwards we went back to Anna's flat and relaxed for the evening.

DAY 1.
The following morning the three of us got up and went for an explore around the city. In typical Scottish fashion, it was raining so we went to a local Museum and Art Gallery 'The McManus' (free entry). We spent an hour or so wondering this wonderful building and touching up on Dundee's local history.
When the rain had died down, we wandered off to the local charity shops to see if we could find some bargains. I found they were so much cheaper than at home and each seemed to have a small home section with great value furniture.
We came across a lovely little Vintage Shop 'RARA' ( run by a young girl from Glasgow. It is a great little place with a whole range of 50's-80's clothing with reasonable prices and I found myself a lovely Lyle and Scott jumper for just £20.00.

Feeling and hearing our tummies rumble, we decided to head for some lunch. We ended up choosing Duke's Corner, a student friendly bar and restaurant which hosts all different types of music events, with DJ's, live bands and even shows a film on Monday evenings. I had a Mushroom Burger (two burgers in two days, not like me!) which was delicious! There was a range of delicious dishes on the menu all for £5, including my burger and Anna K's choice of veggie Haggis. Our stomachs full, we headed back to Anna's flat for a cup of tea.

Later on in the afternoon we went for a long stroll along the riverside, past a few small parks and back to the city centre via lots of small cobble stone roads. The city was very peaceful and we all were feeling so relaxed. As the evening crept on we met some of Anna's local friends for a drink in 'The Art Bar'. I was trying to learn some of the local slang as we checked out a few more drinking locations. What I love about Dundee is that it seems to have a great pub culture with a different, trendy pub at every corner.

DAY 2.
In the morning Anna K. left us for Aberdeen, leaving just Anna F. and myself.
Once again we woke to rain so we started our day at 'Sensation Science Center' I felt this was mainly aimed at children and young students but we still had a great time exploring its hands-on experiments and we also watched an interesting show about planets. 
For lunch we treated ourselves to a posh lunch at 'Marco Polo Restaurant' who offer a great 2 course lunchtime menu for £6.95 which was really yummy stuff.
We had planned to visit a local beach but the weather sadly didn't clear up by the afternoon so we decided to take a trip to the local cinema, this only being a bus ride away. Anna, who admits isn't too good with buses asked a local guy for directions. Annoyingly, he directed us to the wrong bus so we had to get off and walk for about 30 minutes before finding the cinema. Luckily it hadn't eaten into 'The Hunger Games', our film of choice.
We both really enjoyed the film and two hours of thrilling teen action has made me want to watch the follow up film.
We then met a friend of Anna's in 'Netherend' pub which was nice, it had a cheap food menu and holds a good pub quiz on Thursday evenings for £2 per person I was told.
We ended our evening with episodes of Father Ted and Family guy at Anna's flat.
Sadly, the following morning I had to wake up early to catch my coach back to London. I enjoyed Dundee, I only wish I had prepared more for the rain and stayed longer for more beach and pub fun! x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Recipe of the Week # Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Recipe makes 12 yummy muffins in 30 minutes!

10z Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
5oz Brown Sugar
175ml Soya Milk
5oz Soya Butter
1 egg substitute (no egg or cider vinegar)
7oz Blueberries
12 muffin cases and a baking tray
An oven


*Pre-heat your oven to 180oc.
*Mix together soya butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
*Gradually add in your flour and the soya milk and baking powder.
*add the egg substitute and the lemon juice.
*Gently fold in the blueberries.
*Put the mixture into the muffin cases so they are about 3/4 full.
*Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through (check with skewer)
*Cool for a few minutes then enjoy!

Perfect for a birthday, tea party or just to treat yourself. <3

Dream Pop

Dream pop is a subgenre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s, when bands like The PassionsDif JuzLowlife andA.R. Kane (to whom the term has been attributed) began fusing post-punk and ethereal experiments with bittersweet pop melodies into dreamy, sensual soundscapes. The term was almost exclusively used in the United States. An "all-star" dream pop collective named This Mortal Coil were known for covering obscure songs mainly from the 1960s and 1970s.
The essence of the music is a focus on ethereal textures and moods, rather than on propulsive rock riffs. Breathy, high-register female vocals or almost whispered male vocals are usually the means of lyrical delivery; lyrics are generally introspective and existential in nature. Cover art tends to consist of blurry pastel imagery or stark minimalist designs, or a combination of these two styles. Overall, the 4AD record label is the one most associated with dream pop, though others such as CreationProjektFontanaBedazzledVernon Yard and Slumberland also released significant records in the genre.

Dream pop has been around for decades but I think now in 2012 we are all starting to appreciate the soft cords and sweet melodies of artists such as Bjork (photo above, right), R.E.M, Verve, Ladyhawke, Röyksopp, Sigur Rós and The Smashing Pumpkins just to name a few greats who have been around for years. Dream pop is my favourite music of the moment, I have been discovering some great new artists such as Grimes (Photo above, left), First Aid Kit, Bat of Lashes, Atlas Sound and Little Dragon with their bouncy, happy beats which can send you into a little jig around the house or out to greater things. It's feel good and uplifting songs are sweet to the ears, and I am seeing lots of new girl bands and female artists shining through Dream Pop. So you go girls, and check some of these lovely artists out before the Summer Festivals begin.

 The xx


 Little Dragon

A song for April: