Happy Hump Day! This marks my first week back to work (boooooo!), so I’m pretty pumped that it’s halfway over! Last week, I shared my travel guide for London, and today I’m going to be sharing my travel guide for Scotland.

We spent 3 days in Scotland and actually got to see quite a fair bit. We flew into Edinburgh and spent a day there, then the next 2 days were spent driving around the Highlands and visiting various locations. When visiting Scotland, I would definitely recommend renting a car. The larger cities (ie., Edinburgh, Glasgow) have public transport, but it’s definitely not as convenient as it is in London. And definitely spring for the upgrade and get a GPS – it’s a lifesaver. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the weather considering how far north we went. I would periodically check on the weather back home and Indiana had far more snow, plus wickedly low wind chills.  For the most part it was mid 30’s – low 40’s while we were there and I was pretty comfortable walking around in a coat, scarf, and hat.

Hotels:

As I mentioned, we spent our first day/night in Edinburgh. We stayed at the Apex City Hotel (if you read my London recap, you’ll recognize this as the same chain of hotels we stayed at in London) in the Grassmarket area and it ended up being a great location. It was very near to a good selection of restaurants and shops, and it’s not a far walk to the Edinburgh Castle. If you visit this area, be sure to stop by The Red Door Gallery. It’s an adorable art boutique, and the perfect place to grab a souvenir! I grabbed this lovely print that showcases some of the business in the Grassmarket area:

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

 

After we left Edinburgh, we drove up to the Inverness area and we stayed at a B&B that was actually a recommendation from our pediatrician. And it did not disappoint! It’s called Antfield House and it was absolutely adorable! The owners were so friendly – we were the only ones staying there at the time (they actually opened up early for us; they’re normally closed from January until March!), and they were so accommodating. They upgraded us to a nicer room, cooked us an awesome breakfast spread, and gave us recommendations of places to eat and things to do. It’s a ways off the beaten path, but it’s in the most quaint setting. I SO wish we would have been there in the spring because I can’t imagine how gorgeous it would be with everything blooming!

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

Restaurants:

You’ll find just as many pubs (if not more) in Scotland as in London. Our favorite was actually a recommendation from the owner of the B&B we stayed at. It was called The Dores Inn and it sits right on Loch Ness. Of course Jordan had to try haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, while we were there – if you don’t know what it is, well, I’m not going to be the one to tell you. I tried a little bite; it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. When we were in Edinburgh, we actually found a super tasty Mexican restaurant (like I said before, you can only eat fish n’ chips so many times) called Mariachi. It was a nice change of pace, for sure.

Attractions:

Edinburgh Castle - A must-see in Edinburgh. Also, this was the coldest I was during our entire trip. The castle is set up on a hill and it was windy as all get out, so if you’re going anytime but summer, dress warm! It was 16 pounds/person to get in (~$24), and that gets you access to the castle, which also has the National War Museum and Regimental Museums inside.

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop LifeThis was the governor’s house – nice digs, no?

Scott Monument – If you’re a lover of gothic architecture, this is the monument for you. There are also platforms you can climb up to that give you great views of the city.

Royal Mile – This is basically the Main Street of Edinburgh and it’s a mile full of a restaurants and shops. If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs, there are plenty of opportunities. Cashmere and wool are big exports in Scotland, so there’s lots of shops with scarves, hats, and suits. And, of course, there are plenty of places to pick yourself up a kilt. And they sell baby kilts! I was 5 seconds away from buying one for Roarke, but I couldn’t justify spending the money for something he would wear basically just to make me laugh and swoon. He makes me do that anyway.

Loch Ness – Obviously, you can’t go to Scotland without visiting Nessie. We stopped by the Loch Ness museum and they tried to explain it all away with science, but I’m not fooled. I know she’s out there. #ibelieve

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

There’s actually a guy that lives on the beach and has dedicated his whole life to hunting Nessie. I’m sure he’s not crazy at all.

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

 

Urquhart Castle – This castle is situated right on Loch Ness and has some pretty breathtaking views. I think tickets were about 10 pounds/person (~$15)

Highlands – Obviously, this is pretty vague because it encompasses a huge chunk of northern Scotland, but in general the area is breathtakingly beautiful. On our way back down to Edinurgh, we drove the A82 which essentially goes from Inverness down to Glasgow. The mountains, the lakes, the snow…it was all just gorgeous.

Travel Guide: Scotland | Lemon Drop Life

I didn’t edit that picture at all. I imagine it would be just as amazing in the summer, too. I would definitely recommend driving up north and taking in all the beauty!

That recaps all the things we saw in Scotland, overall it had a much more relaxed vibe than London so it was a nice breath of fresh air in the middle of our trip. One thing to note, though, if you’re visiting both countries in the same trip. While both countries use the pound, the Brits  and Scots each print their own (with their own respective political/royal figures and such), so there is a difference. We made an ATM withdrawal in Scotland and got a bunch of Scottish pounds and then when we went back to London, we discovered there was a difference. Luckily, most places took them (the only problem we encountered was the automated ticket machines in The Underground), but usually the business owners would give us a strange look like we had just handed them Monopoly money. So just be aware of that.

I loved our visit to the UK – there really was so much to see and do, and I feel like not having a language barrier really brought our stress levels down compared to other international travel we’ve done. Got specific questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail!

If you follow me on Instagram (@lemondroplife), you know that a couple weeks ago JP and I took a little adventure to the UK. It. Was. Awesome. So I’m recapping the London portion of our travels for you today, and I’ll be posting a travel guide for Scotland next week!

First of all, winter is a great time to travel to Europe because it’s off-season and you can get some pretty great deals on flights and hotels. And with London being one of the most expensive cities in the world (seriously, the dollar-to-pound conversion totally. stinks. At the time we went, 1 pound = 1.54 US dollars, which is actually better than normal.) the off-season is a great time to go!

Hotels:

When we’re traveling we usually book all of our hotels through hotels.com. We’ve had really great experiences with them and have gotten to stay at some incredible hotels at discounted prices. For our first couple days in London, we stayed  at the Apex Temple Court Hotel, which was right off of Fleet Street. The hotel was upscale and absolutely fabulous – probably our favorite of the trip.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

 

For the last few days of our trip, we stayed at the Citadines Hotel near Trafalgar Square. Again, the hotel itself was very nice – the rooms are set up more like apartments for extended stays, complete with little kitchenettes. Honestly though, the staff were not the most helpful. Pretty much anytime we went to the desk to ask a question, they acted like we were inconveniencing them. The location, however, was absolutely superb. Literally, a 3-minute walk to the nearest Underground station – which brings me to my next point of discussion.

The Underground:

The Underground (or ‘tube’, as it’s more commonly known) is, hands down, the easiest way to get around the city. We flew into Heathrow and took the tube all the way into the city to the station nearest our hotel. Our plane got in around 7:30AM London time, so it did get quite crowded with people commuting to work, but other than that, it was a breeze. Every morning, we went to the nearest station and purchased an all-day travel pass (12 pounds/day; ~$18.50). It might seem intimidating at first, but it’s one of the easiest subway systems I’ve ever navigated – I promise, with the help of a little Underground station map, anyone can do it!

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Restaurants:

Obviously, there are a lot of pubs in London. Like, A LOT. A couple we went to worth mentioning were The Swan (located in the Bloomsbury neighborhood) and The Sherlock Holmes Pub, which was right around the corner from the Citadines hotel. They both had great food and amazingly friendly staff. However, a girl can only have fish n’ chips so many times before her body starts to shut down from the carb overload.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

 

Indian food (one of my favorites) is highly popular in London, and we went to a restaurant called Masala Zone (there are several throughout the city) that was SO good. Seriously, we ended up going twice. We also went to a fun little pizza place called Franco Manca – the pizza tasted just like what I remember when I was in Italy! I’ll warn you, it’s a pretty popular place. There was a line outside the door when we got there, but it went fairly quickly.

Attractions:

There is an insane amount of things to do and see in London. We could’ve stayed another week and still had plenty to see. So let me run through the list of what we saw. (WARNING: it’s going to be a loooong list.)

St. Paul’s Cathedral – There was a charge to go in, so this was just one where we took a picture and went on our way.

Tower Bridge – Lots of good photo opportunities. You can go inside and tour it for around 10 pounds, I think. You’ll soon discover that there are a lot of sights that cost money, so you’ll want to pick and choose which ones are most important to you.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Globe Theatre – Shakespeare’s famous playhouse. They actually still put on plays here, but only in the summer, since it’s an open-air theatre.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Harrod’s – This is a shopping mall, on steroids. Eating a box of chocolates. At Disney World. That is to say, it’s INSANE. You’ll see shops from every designer you’ve ever heard of, and some you haven’t. Obviously, most everything there was way too expensive for us, but they do have a food section where you could pick up some gifts and make people think you’re rolling in the dough.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Big Ben – Another photo opportunity. And, if you have time, I would recommend seeing it at both day and night. And make sure you go at the top of an hour so you can hear the bells chime – it’s pretty spectacular!

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

British Museum – This one’s actually free. And HUGE. There is a whole lotta history to take in here, so if you’re the kind that likes to read and see everything, you could easily spend an entire day here.

Madame Tussaud’s - There are so many wonderful historic things to see in London, so I am somewhat ashamed to say I was a little giddy to see this one. What is it about wax figures of celebrities that make people go into a duck-faced, posing, selfie frenzy?? I’m not sure, but I was right there with them. And, let me say, some of these wax figures look scary-real. Like, I was pretty sure Benedict Cumberbatch was going to come to life at any moment. (Which would have been AWESOMEEEE.) This one cost 20 pounds/person (~$30), but we ended up buying bundled tickets for this and the London Eye that gave us a bit of a discount on each attraction.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop LifeWe look nice together, no?

Piccadilly Circus – This is kind of the like the Times Square of London – big digital advertisements and street performers everywhere. I would recommend this one at night.

Westminster Abbey – The site of royal coronations and weddings. Unfortunately, it was closed on the day we went for a church service, so make sure you check beforehand whether it’s open. If I remember correctly, it’s 20 pounds/person (~$30) to go inside.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

London Eye – Basically, a huge ferris wheel that gives you an amazing view of London. We did it at night and it was absolutely incredible. I have a thing about heights (in a nutshell, I crumble onto the floor like a small child), but I still really enjoyed it.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Hyde Park – It was rainy and cold the day we walked through, but if you go in the summer, I’m guessing Hyde Park would be absolutely beautiful. The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is also located here.

Buckingham Palace – Obviously, one of the most famous sights to see while in London. They do the changing of the guard every day at 11:30AM, and if you want to see it, I suggest getting there at least 30 minutes early. We got there around 11:10, and there was already a huge crowd. You can book tours, but they only offer them at certain times so you’ll want to check on it beforehand.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Imperial War Museum – This one is free as well, and it’s an excellent museum. It’s very interactive, so if you have school-age children, this might be a good one. They have exhibits for World War I and II, as well as the Holocaust.

Phantom of the Opera – One thing there’s no shortage of in London is Broadway shows. We chose to see the Phantom of the Opera – neither of us had seen it before, and it seemed like something ‘classic’ to see while we there. We purchased tickets while we were there, and we got a pretty good deal – about 42 pounds/person (~$65). Our seats were pretty good, and the theatre was only about 75% full. The show was fantastic and the music was incredible!

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Tower of London – I think this one was around 20 pounds/person (~$30), but there’s a lot to see inside, including the Crown Jewels.

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Borough Market – Surprisingly, this ended up being one of our favorite stops. It’s a large market with dozens of food vendors – we had lunch here twice. And I’m not ashamed to say that the second day, my lunch consisted of a freshly baked loaf of rosemary focaccia bread and a heavenly almond croissant. #fattiemuch?

Travel Guide: London | Lemon Drop Life

Phew. I think that exhausts the list of things we saw while we were there. We had very full days trying to see everything we wanted to, so I would definitely recommend wearing comfortable shoes and keep the things you’re carrying to a minimum. I carried a small cross body bag and a small backpack (this one), which held my nice camera. It worked out really well; I think the backpack was one of my smartest purchases and can easily be used for future travels.

I enjoyed London so much; if you’re looking for a taste of Europe without worrying about a language barrier, this is the spot for you! It’s definitely a place I would like to visit again in the future!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you’re looking for a sweet treat you can whip up last minute, I have the perfect idea for you!

Valentine's Day White Chocolate Bark | Lemon Drop Life

 

This literally will take you less than 5 minutes of active time and another 30-60 min. of cooling time. And they’re totally adorable, right?! So here’s what you’ll need:

  • Silicone heart pan (I got mine at Target – it was on sale for $8)
  • White chocolate candy melts (I used the Ghirardelli brand)
  • Valentine M&M’s
  • Sprinkles

1. Fill the bottom of each heart mold with a mixture of M&M’s and sprinkles.

2. Melt your white chocolate according to the instructions on the package.

3. Quickly fill each mold with the melted chocolate.

4. Lightly tap the tray on a flat surface so that the chocolate settles evenly, and leave on a flat surface to cool.

This recipe is so simple and you could modify it countless different ways! You could fill the molds halfway with the chocolate first, then add the candy/sprinkle mixture in the middle, and then top it off with more chocolate for more of a ‘sandwich’ effect. After I finished these, I also thought that another great addition might be to add a layer of crushed pretzels to the bottom as kind of a ‘crust’, if you will. It would give it that salty/sweet combo that is sooo delicious.

These treats are perfect for sending along to daycare or school – just drop an individual heart into a small cellophane bag with a sweet note attached, and BAM! Instant Valentines!

They would also be great for other holidays – I’m thinking stars for 4th of July and trees for Christmas; the possibilities are endless!

 

 

Cheerio!

We have returned from our wonderful UK getaway and I can’t wait to share some photos and a recap with you guys (probably later this week).

As promised when I did the nursery reveal, I wanted to show you all how I made the paper flowers for above Everly’s crib.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal | Lemon Drop Life

 

There are TONS of tutorials out there on Pinterest, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, here. I’ll just refer you to the tutorial I used and give you a few tips I picked up along the way.

I used this tutorial, which actually uses large sheets of crepe paper. I have no idea where to find those and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this, so I used tissue paper that I already had on hand.

Basically, each flower is made up of three layers, and each layer is a different size.

DIY Paper Flowers | Lemon Drop Life

I used one sheet of tissue paper  for each layer. I did 3 different sizes of flowers; for the large flowers, I used a full sized piece of tissue paper for the outside layer, approximately a 3/4 sized piece for the layer #2, and a piece that was a little less than half sized for the inside layer. And I just scaled down the size about a 1/4 sheet for the medium size, and about 1/4 sheet more yet for the smallest size. You get the idea. I know it probably sounds like you would use a crazy amount of tissue paper, but you can usually make good use of the scraps you cut off for other flowers.

I cut some of my flowers with rounded edges, and some of them with pointed edges for a different look. I think the pointed flowers were my favorite. Obviously if you want the center of your flower to be a different color, you’ll want to make sure that layer #3 is a contrasting color from layer #1 and #2.

DIY Paper Flowers | Lemon Drop Life

The next step is to stack the layers and accordion fold them. Then you’ll make another ‘stack’ exactly like the one you just made and tie them together in the middle with a twist tie or floral wire. Then you fan out and fluff up each layer. I attached the largest flowers to the wall with command strips and the medium and small ones with double sided tape. It doesn’t take much to keep these babies on the wall. And on the plus side, I don’t have to worry about Everly getting injured if one fell of the wall. Yep, hanging stuff above a crib makes me a bit nervous.

These are such easy and cheap decorations that have a HUGE impact.  They would make a perfect backdrop behind a dessert table or photo booth!

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal

 

 

First of all, thank you guys for all the love and kind words on the nursery! So glad you guys like it as much as I do!!

Today I’m going to share the sources for everything. First off: the paint colors. We painted the walls with Silver Sky by Behr, which is a lovely cool white. We added crown molding but we dropped it down about 10 inches below the ceiling and then we used a pale purple (Lavender Lace by Behr) above the crown. It’s tough to capture in photographs, but we also carried the same shade of purple onto the ceiling.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal | Lemon Drop Life

The shelves (actually intended to be picture ledges) are Threshold from Target. I scored them on sale for $10 a piece!

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal | Lemon Drop Life

As I mentioned in the reveal post, the rocking horse is vintage – I found it at an antique store in Indy (Midland, for all you locals). The curtains are from Target.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal | Lemon Drop Life

The rattan hamper (that I’m using as a side table) is from Wal-Mart, along with the cute little geometric lamp.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Sources | Lemon Drop Life

 

I ordered the glider online from Walmart. It’s the Baby Relax Hadley Double Glider and I LOVE it. The throw blanket and geometric pillow are from Target (sensing a theme here?) and the round pancake pillow is from the Etsy, shop HappyCosmos.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Sources | Lemon Drop Life

The pouf is (surprise!) from Target. The rug is from Rugs USA.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal

If you’ve been around very long, you’ll recall this crib since it was the one we used in Roarke’s nursery. Well, Roarke has officially been transitioned into a toddler bed, freeing up the crib for Everly. It’s the BassettBaby Ava Convertible Crib – we bought ours at Babies R Us, but I can’t find it online. I actually couldn’t find the white one like ours online anywhere – the only ones I found were the dove gray option. The paper flowers were a DIY – I’ll be sharing the tutorial for those next week!

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Reveal

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Sources | Lemon Drop Life

 

The blanket was made by the fantastic WinnieCole – she’s a local gal and she makes seriously awesome stuff!

The dresser was a Craigslist find that I painted a very pale pink. I used Heirloom Traditions Chalk Paint in Blushing and mixed it at about 35:65 with some white chalk paint I had. The changing pad was from Babies R Us. The little purple vase (being used to hold things like lotion and diaper cream) is from Target and the geometric decoration is from Hobby Lobby. As I shared previously, the two animal prints above the changing table are from a burnett and the print in the middle is one I made myself. Picture frames are from Target.

Sugar and Spice: Nursery Sources | Lemon Drop Life

If there is any other specific things you saw or questions you have, comment on the post and I will be sure to address them! JP and I are currently out of the country (ooh, see how sneaky I am? London & Scotland!) so I may be a bit slow to respond, but I promise I will!