Month: January 2014

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Capri holiday on a budget

Budget holiday is a funny term, isn’t it? I mean, everybody who goes on holidays has a budget, it’s just for some it’s unlimited and for others not. We certainly belong to the latter group and 2013 was a year of a big failure and a small success in that department. 2013 was the year when I had my last long holiday before becoming a doctor. My holidays this year are only 4 weeks long and before I start my actual job in 2015 I will get about 7 weeks with a graduation conveniently placed right in the middle of that time. I was planning a big trip to Asia. We had a modest budget and then J’s passport expired and my holiday of a lifetime just didn’t happen. It’s ok, I got over it (eventually). My point is, I needed a plan B. Amalfi coast came to my mind, think Roman holidays, driving on a Vespa in Rome and then lounging on a terrace overlooking the Med. It seemed like a perfect idea, but …

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My favourite thing to do in Norway

I met K when I was doing my first degree here in Edinburgh. I wanted to surprise my then boyfriend (now husband) so I bought tickets to Oslo for £12 return. I knew K was in my year but I didn’t know her very well. One day, I sat next to her in a freezing lecture theatre in George Square, I remember the heating wasn’t working and it was a haematology and immunology lecture. I asked if she could recommend any things to do in Oslo in June. “Why don’t you come to my summer house?”, she asked casually. And that’s how I met my best friend, thanks to cheap Ryanair tickets. Life can be weird sometimes. Now, whenever we visit K’s summer house in Norway, my favourite thing to do is to wake up super early in the morning, make a cup of strong coffee and walk barefoot to the top of the rocks. It’s just me, seagulls and the sea. K’s summer house is on a small island, which allows for unobstructed views …

Snapshots from Dublin

 My beautiful friends  This photo reminds me of this song  Coffee tasting menu at 3fe. They know their coffee. Dublin is one of my favourite cities, it feels a lot more European than any other city on the Islands.  If you have a chance, go there. Above are some snapshots from my weekend trip to Dublin to visit my best friend K.  Disclaimer: these photos do not do Dublin any justice. Places worth visiting: 3fe – arguably the best coffee place in Ireland website 32 Grand Canal Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland The Cobblestone – if you fancy a pint of Guinness and a jam session of authentic Irish music (think fiddles and feeling as though you’re in Lord of the Rings) website 77 King St N, Dublin 7, Ireland Trinity College Library – to see the Book of Kells and the iconic library website College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland Guinness Storehouse – classic tourist attraction website St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland Dublin also has awesome street art, so just walking around is a …

Mushroom hunting // Grzybobranie

My younger brother (age 23) is not a morning person. In October when I was in Poland one morning my mum shouted from downstairs: who’s going mushroom picking? My brother was the first one downstairs, basket and a small knife in this hand, ready to go to the forest. Another story: A couple of years ago I was having lunch with a bunch of people and someone asked me if it was true that mushroom picking is a national sport in Poland. I laughed and then said he was absolutely right.  I remember my grandfather used to have a knife with a picture of two mushrooms on the handle. He used to say it was a magic knife which would point to the place where mushrooms grew as though it was a magnet. Us kids were over the moon to spot the mushrooms magically detected by the knife.  I find it charming that “grzybobranie” (polish word for an outing to pick mushrooms) is such a thing in Poland. Whole families or retired men on rickety …

Do something awesome today // Edinburgh Printmakers

Almost a year ago I had a chance to do a little bit of printmaking at Edinburgh Printmakers. I thought it was the middle of winter but it turns out it was March and winter just decided to make a little come back to Scotland. Printmaking is something I’ve always wanted to try and hopefully will get to do more of in 2014. I’ve admired the work of Edinburgh-based printmakers and illustrators such as Mina Braun, Fiona Purves, or Robbie Porter   for a long time and it was exciting to finally see what it’s all about. I didn’t have much time to prepare for the class so I quickly put together a typographic template in Photoshop. We were using a screen printing technique where ink is pushed through the stencil against the surface of the paper, using a squeegee. (I only had my phone camera so please excuse poor photos quality). First I used a pencil to copy my design onto a transparent paper. Then it was used to make a stencil. This involved developing the …

5 Favourite Books of 2013

Everyone loves a good list of books, so here is my list of the most enjoyable reads of 2013. Disclaimer: I’m no literary blogger so please don’t expect a comprehensive review or any in depth analysis. Or even better, don’t expect anything but a list of 5 books I liked reading.  1. Island Beneath the Sea, Isabelle Allende   If you’ve read anything by Allende and like her style you won’t be disappointed. This is a story of a girl from Senegal, who works as a slave in the island of Sainte-Domingue, known as today’s Haiti. It is graphic at times so not for the faint-hearted, but also full of magical realism.  (3.5 stars) 2. Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter I read this book on a train from Rome to Naples and then on a terrace overlooking the shores of Capri island, so that might have clouded my judgement, but I loved it. A story of a young ambitious Italian who falls in love with an American actress holidaying in Cinque Terre in the golden times of Hollywood films. The …

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Winter in Poland // Childhood photos

Some of you may know that my family house in Poland got struck by a lightening during summer two years ago (unlucky I know, we got over it though and now we even joke that “Things we lost in the fire” by Bastille is our family anthem). The roof and attic were gone and our house now features on the top banner of a website of a local voluntary fire brigade (it’s a thing in Poland, don’t ask). Anyway, a good things is some of our family photos were saved by our neighbours. This Christmas I had a chance to scan some of the pictures and here is one of my absolutely favourite series of winter shots featuring me and my little sister. ^^ feeling a bit squashed ^^ happiness Can you tell who is who? The top photo just cracks me up.

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Borowice // Poland

I just finished reading “Call of the Wild” by Guy Grieve, a Scot who felt trapped in his office job and yearned for adventure. He left his family for a year to live in the Interior of Alaska in the solitude of the great forests and temperatures plummeting as low as -60 degrees. His story reminded me of the Polish winters, which I dearly miss. Don’t ask me why, but I love a very cold crispy winter day,  as in when the air is so cold it hurts a little when you take a breath. The coldest winter I remember was in 2006 – we went on a trip to Karkonosze Mountains on the Polish-Czech border in the south-west Poland. We took an overnight train with our friends and the inside of the coach was covered in frost – as the heating on the train wasn’t working. After 12h we arrived in Borowice. ^^ that’s my younger sister. The temperatures were reaching -25 Celsius. We stayed in a small guest house and rented very old …

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Looking back at 2013

2013, you’ve been a good year. Read more after the jump You took me a year closer to becoming a doctor and finally ceasing to be a student. I have exactly 43 weeks of med school left and I have mixed feelings. I cannot wait to be done with university, which has been organising my life for the past 6.5 years, at the same time I don’t want the rest of my life to be dictated by my employer either. We’ll see how it pans out. For now let’s just focus on you. You’ve been definitely better than 2012. You gave me time to do things I enjoy doing, you’ve been generous with sunshine and full of meetings with friends and family. I almost thought you were ruined when J forgot to update his passport and my plans for a trip to Thailand fell through. But you redeemed yourself with a wonderful vacation in Capri and Norway instead. Anyway, here’s what I want to remember of you, and now make some space for your baby …