Friday, 18 October 2013

More Pictures of Dunnottar Castle

I wanted to finish sharing photos of Dunnottar Castle because I said I would. This place was just so very cool. We're thinking about a season pass! I can see many more trips here in the future.

Take a peak!


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Perfect Saturday and Dunnottar Castle

I've been trying to write this post since Saturday night. But, I have a toddler that needs me  if I  happen to sit at the computer. Then bedtime comes and I'm just as tired as he is!

I need to tell you about our weekend. It was one of those weekends that just kind of ended up being perfect in every way. Filled with all my favourite things.

We've been exploring the city and getting to know our way around. I truly love living in the city and am so grateful we have this opportunity to be so close to the things that we need. But Friday night I knew we needed out. I grew up in West Virginia. I love me some country roads and wide open spaces. I needed a day of just that. So I told LD we'd be going to see Dunnottar Castle just a mere 15 miles from our front door. He was totally game.

It seems this is the place for new Aberdonian expats to frequent. The famous Dunnottar Castle! I was getting tired of saying, "no we've not been yet." We jumped in the car early Saturday morning and off we went!

It was a beautiful day too. The sun was shining and the blue sky was glorious. Just what we needed. Sebastian fell asleep in the car and I settled in for the drive. Luis surprised me by taking the coastal route! At first I didn't know what he was doing and started to freak out that he was going off course {that dreaded type A personality in me...} but he told me to just enjoy the drive. I couldn't. I didn't know what was happening. But again he told me to chill out and enjoy the drive. That's when the coast came into view.

Ever since I worked on cruise ships in my early 20's I have felt a peace around the ocean. There is something about the sea that makes me feel at home. It was the most gorgeous drive. I rolled down the windows and took a deep breath of that salty sea air.

There were farmhouses and little derelict cottages along the way. It was the picture of Scotland. Then we came upon the crowing jewel Dunnottar Castle!

Isn't she stunning?! She is the perfect setting for a novel. One I just read too. The cliffs themselves were magnificent but to have a castle on top made it extra special.

The history for Dunnottar is extensive. Dating back to 5000 BC for the site alone. Christianity was brought to Dunnottar in the 5th century and King Donald II even defended it from the Vikings in the 9th century. Dunnottar Castle was home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland, the Earls of Marischal. Their job was to keep the Honours of Scotland {crown jewels} safe. Dunnottar was actually under siege for eight months just to get the crown jewels! They were smuggled from the castle and were hidden in a nearby chapel for 11 years before they were recovered. Wow! What a legacy! But, in the end the 10th Earl of Marischal was convicted of treason and the Government seized the property.

Go on and take a peek!


The castle is huge. Every turn produces more and more. You think it might never end. There are several floors to explore as well as hidden nooks and crannies. It is incredible.

After we saw the castle we went into the town Stonehaven. LD has spotted a park for Sebastian to get his wiggles out. We spent the rest of the afternoon right there. Enjoying all there was to do and watching Sebastian enjoy the pirate ship and all the fun there was to be had.

I saw a path that looked interesting so I told the boys I'd be back in just a minute. When I crested the hill I realized we were right there at the beach! What could be more perfect?! I spotted a tiny ice cream shop that made handmade ice cream and just knew I needed to go get my boys. Let it be said that the only thing that Sebastian doesn't mind waiting for is ice cream. We enjoyed a walk down the beach and called it a day. We made it back home just in time for our groceries to be delivered.

It was just a really nice day. It had all my favourite things; family, fun and food!

PS stick around this week and I'll show you more of Dunnottar Castle!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

{Ask Mary} Housing in Scotland

Ellie asked, " I'd love to know more about typical housing in Scotland. Our friends in Ireland told us that most places are furnished. Sounds funny to this American, but it makes sense too."


I've lived in Scotland for almost 6 years. I've lived in 3 cities. When we were looking for an apartment just before Sebastian was born we looked in about a dozen different areas surrounding Glasgow/Paisley/Greenock. We never once found a furnished apartment. There isn't a market for it.

Aberdeen is a whole different ball game. We couldn't find anything NOT furnished. I asked our estate agent why this was and she said that it all has to do with the oil and gas industry and Aberdeen University. Aberdeen is a very transient city. People move in for just a couple of years and then they move back out. Their job is done. Not to mention how expensive it is to live here! There is a huge market for serviced and furnished apartments. People are paying big money to have everything taken care of for them.

We live in the city centre so that is more of the reason why we found a furnished flat. It makes sense that people want to be close to their places of work/study and that they would be the ones to need such places. To find unfurnished places you'd need to go out of town. Even then the ratio is 5 furnished to 1 unfurnished. It is what it is.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Being a Monica

I'm a Monica. I can't even believe it. After taking this personality test I've just been crazy thinking about the fact that I'm a Monica. Which makes me a Monica!! Am I really that neurotic?!

I'm a Monica and it pains me to write that. While I'm not a "neat freak" I do happen to like things done it a certain way/order. When LD tries to help me I freak out a little bit until I find myself yelling for him to stop. Seriously. What is wrong with me?! The man wants to help me do some of the chores and I am telling him to stop because he isn't doing it the right way. *facepalm*

I'm a Monica. I was going to start cleaning the apartment on Saturday afternoon. But, I had to do things in order of importance before I could even start. I had to unload the groceries, which then led to organizing the cupboards. Then I needed to start some laundry because why waste such precious time when I was cleaning. That whole kill two birds with one stone thing. Then I needed to start the dishwasher because well three birds with one stone is even better! I kept going on like that and I hadn't even started cleaning! Once I started cleaning I had to start at the bottom and work my way up {we live on 3 floors}. LD came in the kitchen to get Sebastian a snack. He left the wrappers on the counter. I then had to wipe down the whole kitchen again before I could move on with the house cleaning. Just because of some wrappers!

I'm a Monica. I can be competitive. But just watch out. I need to win. I don't play any sports {I have not a single athletic bone in my body} but I do love a good board game. This summer I went to camp with the teenagers from my church. I taught them how to play Phase 10. I was secretly coming up with a strategy to beat them all. I wanted to beat kids! I have a problem. When LD and I play a game {doesn't matter what it is} we play for something. The prize is always enticing.There is something in me that has to beat him!

I'm a Monica. I can be bossy. I don't mean to be but I think I can see all angles and so people should just listen to me and I'll solve all their problems. Because seriously, I could if they just did what I told them to do. I tell LD every Saturday morning what we are doing for the day. The whole day. I've planned out every minute. No wonder than man doesn't want to do a single thing after church on Sunday!

Even reading over this post makes me cringe. I can't believe I'm a Monica. I'm embarrassed. But, I also have some light shed on me. I can see clearly now... and I want to just chill out a bit.

Monica has some really good qualities too though. We're both fiercely loyal friend. My Mom says, "When you're friends with Mary, you're her friend for life." Its true. When you're my friend I've got your back. Always. You can count on me. I don't do fake friends.

I'm a Monica. While I may not have liked to see myself in such a way, I am who I am. I'm working on not being so neurotic and trying to give up control more often. I'm going to accept that I'm a Monica and rock it!!