Places & Travel

A Weekend in Sheffield

I’ve just returned home from a brilliant weekend in Sheffield with my dad and brother. I finally had time to use my camera and it was lovely to briefly be able to relax and chill amongst the chaos of my daily life - I never imagined I could be so busy, so sorry for my recent absence!

Here’s what we got up to…

 

Tamper

You probably know one of my favourite things to do when travelling is to discover new vegan places, so I was delighted when my dad found a little place called Tamper only a five minute walk from the hotel. The interior was stunning and the New Zealand style coffee culture was incredible - definitely some of the best coffee I’ve ever had! I opted for the Rejuvenator on day one, and I tried the porridge when we returned the following day. James gave The Big Kiwi a shot, followed by the french toast special on day two, whilst my dad tried the granola. It was all so delicious!

flat white
rejuvinator
tamper
granola and yoghurt
 

Hybrid

view from the Plug

Our main reason for visiting was to see Hybrid in concert. For those who haven’t heard of them, Hybrid are a cinematic electronic band, creating lush and rather unique sounds. Definitely worth a listen - the music is incredibly powerful and they were fantastic live. It was even better being in such a tiny venue called the Plug, ideally located just opposite from our hotel!

Even cooler: as we checked out of the hotel the next day we actually saw them packing up so were able to have a little chat!

 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

autumn leaves
boys and a view

On our way back up to Glasgow we stopped by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, somewhere we often visited when I was younger and lived in Leeds (although I have no memories of it!). The autumnal colours were gorgeous and there were some fascinating sculptures dotted through the park - a tranquil place to visit on a beautiful November day.

autumn trees
 

And everything else…

wagamama

In addition to all of that, we explored Sheffield’s centre (including a stop by the water wall opposite the station) and visited Meadowhall Shopping Centre - a hellishly busy place (although it did have some fab shops) which makes Braehead look tiny! We kept our pre-concert dinner simple with a trip to Wagamama, where I had my usual ramen - yum!

IMG_4697.jpg
IMG_4735.jpg
 

So it was a completely wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I finally got a little breather after sending off UCAS applications, studying, sitting exams, plus all of my other extra activities at school.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below - I’d particularly love to hear about your experience if you’ve ever been to Sheffield, or if you’re a Hybrid-lover like me!

Heather xoxo

 

Sunny in Spain (and other highlights)

Is anyone else in complete shock that we’re in August already?! For me and all other Scottish students this means results day is only a couple of days away (7th of August to be exact) and then back to school isn’t long after that either - where on earth did summer go?!

 

So rather than dwelling on the upcoming return to school for my last ever year at high school, I thought I’d instead have one final throwback post to my fantastic holiday in Spain, rounding it all up with lots of very sunny photos. These pictures didn’t distinctly fit into a category so I’ve lumped them all together here to act as a summary for my fab trip (see the other posts about Spain here).

 

Featuring sunrise, sunset, a trip to Camp Nou, street photography and swimming, here they are…

 
the early morning alarm was definitely worth it...

the early morning alarm was definitely worth it...

sunrise
my dad walking along the beach towards sunrise
sunset and palm trees
sunset over the sea
sunset palm trees
sunshine
a stormy sunset

a stormy sunset

"more than a club"

"more than a club"

Camp Nou
Camp Nou
remember to look up...

remember to look up...

sunshine in the street
"big fish, little fish, cardboard box"

"big fish, little fish, cardboard box"

braids looking over the beach
a big turn out for Spain vs Russia penalties

a big turn out for Spain vs Russia penalties

pretty palm trees
street view
pink flowers
lollipop, lollipop, oh lolli lolli lolli...
white and purple agapanthus
a little bit of wall art
view of Barcelona from the Sagrada Família

view of Barcelona from the Sagrada Família

beach time
smile in the sea
 

As usual I’d love to hear your thoughts on my photography (and credits go to my mum and dad for all the photos of me - thank you both!). Spain was so beautiful and it was brilliant to have so many photo opportunities everywhere I went. I hope you’ve liked this mini holiday/travel series and enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

Heather xoxo

 

P.S. Best of luck to all the Scottish students getting results on Tuesday, and English students getting theirs later on - I hope everyone gets the grades they want :)

 
Sunny in Spain (and other highlights) - hefafa.me.uk
 

Montserrat

As well as exploring the beautiful city of Barcelona during my holiday in Spain, I also loved taking a day trip out to Montserrat - a mountain range and Spain’s first national park with a monastery nestled high amid the mountains. The natural rock formations were stunning, with a huge variety of smooth and jagged rock faces surrounded by miles and miles of vivid greenery.

 
 
 

Close to the monastery was the famous “Stairway to Heaven” - a striking spiral arrangement of large blocks in a seemingly precarious position. Unfortunately it’s beauty is slightly ruined by the metal barrier surrounding it to prevent people from posing for awesome (but extremely dangerous!) photos at the top step like this!

 
the Stairway to Heaven

the Stairway to Heaven

 

Looking around the monastery was loads of fun (I loved the contrast between the modern organ and the old, ornate building), but the best bit had to be exploring the mountain range. It was a fair amount of walking but the panoramic views were breathtaking - I’d definitely recommend making an effort to break away from the rush of tourists at the monastery to admire the natural beauty of Montserrat for yourself! Having taken the funicular railway up to Sant Joan, we followed the main rout then broke off up a rocky staircase to get to the highest point within easy access - it was a little challenging but an awful lot of fun!

 

Montserrat was the perfect location to whip out my camera too, so here are a few of my favourite photos…

 
Montserrat
family under an arch
rocky surface at Montserrat
arches at Montserrat
San Joan Funicular

San Joan Funicular

rocky surface at Montserrat
family under archways
view in Montserrat
monastery at Montserrat
pink flowers
Montserrat
Montserrat
Montserrat
views over Montserrat
rocky staircase
Montserrat rocky tower
Montserrat
inside the monastery

inside the monastery

monastery at Montserrat
inside the monastery
 

So if you’re ever in Barcelona it’s 100% worth a visit to Montserrat. It’s not too far to travel and gives a brilliant little break from the city to instead be surrounded by nature. Alternatively, if you don’t want to stray too far from the city but still want to be a little immersed in nature, then I’d suggest heading to Park Güell instead (mentioned in this post).

 

Hope you liked all of the photos and let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear about your favourite national parks, or your experience if you’ve ever been to Montserrat.

 

Heather xoxo

 
Montserrat - hefafa.me.uk
 

Eating Vegan in Barcelona

You all seemed to enjoy my round-up post about the vegan food I ate when in Paris, so I thought I’d do a similar style of post but about the vegan food in Barcelona. The food was absolutely BRILLIANT and there were even more options than in Paris. Once again the HappyCow app was a total lifesaver - I’d done some research beforehand and had saved a few restaurants that tempted me. Having my vegan dad with me was a big help too - at least it wasn’t just me being awkward about food!

 

So here are the photos of all of the delicious vegan food from Barcelona…

 
spinach linguine with pomodoro sauce and a variety of veggies from Pasta Market

spinach linguine with pomodoro sauce and a variety of veggies from Pasta Market

dragon fruit (top left) and Indian lassy (bottom right) smoothie bowls at Eat My Trip

dragon fruit (top left) and Indian lassy (bottom right) smoothie bowls at Eat My Trip

strawberry ice cream (and the best one I've ever had!) from La Lletera de Girona

strawberry ice cream (and the best one I've ever had!) from La Lletera de Girona

takeaway campburg from La Trocadero

takeaway campburg from La Trocadero

falafel pitta at the Falafel Vegano stall in La Boqueria

falafel pitta at the Falafel Vegano stall in La Boqueria

falafel burger from La Central

falafel burger from La Central

bread with tomato at Restaurant El Beso y La Luna

bread with tomato at Restaurant El Beso y La Luna

patatas bravas from Restaurant El Beso y La Luna

patatas bravas from Restaurant El Beso y La Luna

previously a vegan paella for three at Restaurant El Beso y La Luna - it was eaten before I could photograph!

previously a vegan paella for three at Restaurant El Beso y La Luna - it was eaten before I could photograph!

pisto con jalapeños empanada from El Viejo Almacen

pisto con jalapeños empanada from El Viejo Almacen

takeaway açai bowls from Alimabre Açai Bar with a variety of toppings (best açai bowl ever!)

takeaway açai bowls from Alimabre Açai Bar with a variety of toppings (best açai bowl ever!)

pomodoro pizza from LeccaBaffi

pomodoro pizza from LeccaBaffi

plantain banana chips with guacamole at La Carioca

plantain banana chips with guacamole at La Carioca

vegana tapioca from La Carioca

vegana tapioca from La Carioca

completo açai bowl from La Carioca

completo açai bowl from La Carioca

virgin beach, sangria and mojito cocktails from El Paraigua

virgin beach, sangria and mojito cocktails from El Paraigua

mango and raspberry sorbets at gelaaati!

mango and raspberry sorbets at gelaaati!

açai red bull

açai red bull

passionfruit ice cream from Mima

passionfruit ice cream from Mima

two Bio Bento lunches: creamy avocado soup starters, pea fritters and a bulgur wheat vegetable salad, and miso flavoured aubergines with scrambled tofu and cucumber

two Bio Bento lunches: creamy avocado soup starters, pea fritters and a bulgur wheat vegetable salad, and miso flavoured aubergines with scrambled tofu and cucumber

strawberry (and concealed banana) sorbets from Dino

strawberry (and concealed banana) sorbets from Dino

vegan mixed box of paella, rice, couscous, roasted vegetables, salad and a falafel pitta at the Organic Barcelona stall in La Boqueria

vegan mixed box of paella, rice, couscous, roasted vegetables, salad and a falafel pitta at the Organic Barcelona stall in La Boqueria

healthy frappemocha smoothie from Flax & Kale (basically a chocolate coffee smoothie bowl in a glass - absolutely amazing!)

healthy frappemocha smoothie from Flax & Kale (basically a chocolate coffee smoothie bowl in a glass - absolutely amazing!)

açaitella bowl from Flax & Kale

açaitella bowl from Flax & Kale

 

After our time in Barcelona, we then headed a little South West to stay at a campsite next to the beach for a week. Tarragona wasn’t far from here so we were able to have a trip one evening to the all-vegan El Vergel Veggie Restaurant. WOW WOW WOW was the food divine! A three course meal for just 15€ each, plus a couple of sharing plates too, was an absolute bargain for the delicious meal we had. The decor in the restaurant was beautiful too - I’d recommend it to anyone!

 
sharing plate of croquettes stuffed with mushrooms and smoked vegan cheese, served with aioli

sharing plate of croquettes stuffed with mushrooms and smoked vegan cheese, served with aioli

chickpea, tomato and basil soup

chickpea, tomato and basil soup

sharing plate of vegan chorizo with chimichurri and potato wedges

sharing plate of vegan chorizo with chimichurri and potato wedges

rigatoni with smoked tofu and caramelised celery

rigatoni with smoked tofu and caramelised celery

pannacotta and red figs cake

pannacotta and red figs cake

 

It was certainly easier than I expected to find vegan food in Barcelona - there were so many restaurants serving vegan meals for almost any time of the day, as well as a few health food stores where you could find a more diverse range of vegan food than I’ve ever seen in the UK! Many ice cream shops had clearly labelled vegan flavours and I was lucky enough to enjoy some authentic Spanish food too (vegetarian paella is usually vegan). Even so, I’d still suggest bringing a few vegan snacks with you just in case (although you can easily find these whilst in Barcelona anyway). Definite essential for vegan travel anywhere is the HappyCow app!

 

My favourite meals are hard to choose but I really loved the burger from La Central and the food from Flax & Kale (they have a huge range of food on their menu)! I’d also definitely recommend the empanada - they had about five different vegan flavours and are really tasty snacks to have on the go!

 

Regardless of favourites though I would happily return to all of the places I visited - they were brilliant! The vegan restaurant in Tarragona is essential to visit if you’re a vegan in that area, but aside from that almost everywhere else I visited had non-vegan food. On that note, thanks again to my mum and brother for putting up with me and my dad having to hunt for vegan places - it really is very much appreciated. 

 

Hope you all enjoyed this foodie post - I’d love to hear about your food experiences in Spain in the comments!

 

Heather xoxo

 
eating vegan in Barcelona - hefafa.me.uk
 

Gaudí

Here I am at long last with the first of a few Barcelona-themed blog posts! As you’ve probably guessed from my Instagram feed and my recent Shakira Shakira blog post, I absolutely loved visiting Barcelona with my family. We did so so much while we were away and it was great to have the opportunity to explore a new city and just relax.

 

Probably one of the key contributors to Barcelona’s beauty is Antoni Gaudí, a Spanish architect whose work is heavily influenced by nature and his other passions. During our visit we saw a fair few of his designs spread throughout the city…

 

Casa Milà (better known as La Pedrera)

 

A controversial building due to its unconventional style (which resulted in it being named “La Pedrera”, translating to “The Quarry”), the Casa Milà was fascinating to visit. The chimneys on the rooftop appear to imitate warriors and are beautifully designed. The museum in the interior was brilliant and gives a lot more insight into Gaudí’s style and inspirations - I’d definitely recommend for anyone who is keen to learn more about him.

 

 
chimney on roof of La Pedrera
chimney on roof of La Pedrera
looking up from inside La Pedrera
looking up from inside La Pedrera
archway on the rooftop of La Pedrera
detailed exterior of La Pedrera
La Pedrera
spine-like attic
roof of La Pedrera
 

Park Güell

 

Park Güell is beautiful and has some of the best views over the city. It’s high up and a lot of climbing to reach, but definitely worth it! The designs are very organic in style and have many intricate and colourful mosaic designs. A lovely place to walk around but be warned: it’s very busy so make sure you book entry in advance (we made this mistake and had to revisit at another time to enter the main portion of the park!).

 

 
view over Barcelona
entrance to Park Güell
Park Güell
mosaic dragon
house in Park Güell
house in Park Güell
wavy mosaic benches in Park Güell
view from Park Güell
 

Casa Batlló

 

Due to other plans we didn’t have a chance to enter the building, but it was still lovely to admire the ornate and colourful design from the street, both at day and night. The Casa Batlló has a fascinating bone-like design (it’s local name “Casa dels Ossos” literally translates to “House of Bones”) and the detail of the metallic coloured tiles and mosaic style facade is beautiful.

 

 
the Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló at night
 

Sagrada Família

 

Last but not least is probably Gaudí’s most biggest and most famous project: the Sagrada Família. Gaudí began planning this in 1915, combining Gothic architecture with inspiration from nature to design a huge Roman Catholic church which is still unfinished and is not expected to be completed until 2026 at the earliest (exactly 100 years after Gaudí’s death). 

 

Even in it’s unfinished state, the Sagrada Família is still a breathtaking piece of architecture and my favourite of all of his designs - I’ll definitely need to go back to see it in it’s full glory when it’s completed! The views over Barcelona from the towers are stunning, and I can imagine they’ll be even better from the central Jesus tower which is planned to be 170m high!

 

 
Passion Façade
interior of the Sagrada Família
Nativity Façade
stained glass window in Sagrada Família
Passion Façade
spiral staircase
 

Barcelona is filled with the work of Gaudí and I loved admiring his variety of pieces (especially given my love of architecture!). If you’re ever in Barcelona it’s definitely worth passing at least a few of his designs - they really are incredible. For more information about Gaudí (and each of the four designs I’ve mentioned), here are some links to Wikipedia:

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my photography (and many thanks to my dad for the photos of me!). Let me know in the comments about your experience of Barcelona if you’ve ever been, or some of your favourite architects in other locations.

 

Keep your eye out for my next post in the Barcelona series… this one is all about the amazing vegan food I had on the trip! Hope you’re all having a brilliant summer so far!

 

Heather xoxo

 
Gaudí - hefafa.me.uk