A Vegan Birthday Cake

Vegan Birthday Cake// Thrifted

Last weekend I was in charge of my mother-in-law's birthday dessert. I knew I wanted to make a tiered cake and decided to make this cake. I ended up doubling the recipe to make three 8 x 1 1/2 inch cakes. The only modification I made was to add a half teaspoon of almond extract to the cake batter. After the cakes cooled I layered them with frosting and sliced strawberries. I did a quick crumb coat and then a second more thorough layer of the frosting.

Vegan Birthday Cake// Thrifted
Vegan Birthday Cake// Thrifted

I followed Emma's instructions for making pineapple flowers. I used a knife to slice the pineapple but would use a mandolin next time in order to get thinner layers. It takes quite a while to dry out the slices so the thinner the better. My frosting had set by the time the flowers were ready and I had none leftover to act as an adhesive. Luckily, I have a vast collection of cupcake and cake decorating supplies and was able to use these butterfly toothpicks to attach the flowers.

Vegan Birthday Cake// Thrifted
Vegan Birthday Cake// Thrifted

Everyone loved the cake and no one suspected that it was vegan. I'll definitely keep this cake in my recipe book! 

xo Allison

Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland

The last three and a half days of our honeymoon were spent in Reykjavik. Last year, Icelandair started flying direct from Edmonton to Reykjavik. You can do a stopover to or from Europe at no charge. It was actually more affordable to fly with Icelaindair to the UK than any other airline. We rented an apartment through AirBnB that was very central in downtown Reykjavik and gave me some serious home envy. With an apartment (and kitchen) we were able to buy groceries rather than depend on restaurants while in Iceland. Even groceries are fairly expensive as so much has to be imported. Of course we had to have a drink at the Lebowski Bar since it's one of my favourite films. We also had some takeaway noodles to warm us up one night. It did not feel like summer weather!

We spent out entire first day catching up on rest and binge watching Orange is the New Black. The sun doesn't set during the summer so we were a bit thrown off when we tried to sleep. Being so central, we were able to see a lot of Reykjavik just by walking around. I didn't end up taking many photos of the city because of rain. We took one day do the Golden Circle Tour through Reykjavik Excursions. I would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting Iceland. The Geysirs reeked of sulphur but were still very impressive, but it was Gullfoss that really blew me away - I've never seen a waterfall that massive before. Witnessing the continental drift between the American and Eurasian plates in Thingvellir National Park was geologically very cool as well. I didn't take any photos in the park but at that point I was starting to get sick and was trying to keep my lunch down. Grant and I both agreed that next time we will rent a car and explore more of Iceland beyond Reykjavik.  I've also included a wee video from part of the day tour. I can't wait for our next adventure!

Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland
Our Honeymoon Part Three: Iceland

I'll be back soon with some recipes for you early in the week. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

xo Allison

Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland

Full disclosure, I fell hard for Scotland. We covered a lot of ground in the eight days we spent in there so this will be an extra long post. 

We took the train from London to Edinburgh and had an evening and one full day to explore Edinburgh. Grant had been to Scotland in high school for a pipe band competition. Both his parents are also from Scotland. He took the lead showing me around Edinburgh. We took a super touristy double-decker bus tour of the city but we were able to cover the main sightseeing spots in the least amount of time that way.  We walked High Street and through the Princes Street Gardens. I loved how much darker Edinburgh is compared to London. The older buildings in London have been cleaned but the Edinburgh is still soot covered. I loved it.

Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland

On Monday we started a week long tour with Highland Explorer. Grant and I really loved the tour and although it was a busy week, we're both glad we got to see so much of the country in those seven days. Our first stop was Stirling. We stopped at the Wallace Monument and then made our way to Glencoe. I would have liked to have stopped at Stirling Castle as well but if we stopped at every castle in Scotland we would not have gotten very far. Glen Coe is a beautiful and breathtaking and with a strife history. Of course there was a piper playing when we stopped for photos, only adding to the dramatic landscape. We also stopped at Doune Castle (used in filming Monty Python, Game of Thrones, and Outlander), Castle Stalker, King's House Hotel (nearly tame deer!), Callander, and the Glen Coe visitor's centre. We stayed in Oban for the night, a beautiful seaside town with some fine distilleries and McCaig's Tower (reminiscent of a Roman coliseum).

Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland

On Tuesday morning we made our way to Fort William where we boarded the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig. As huge Harry Potter fans, it was a thrill to take the "Hogwart's Train" over the Glenfinnan viaduct. We stopped in Mallaig for some lunch before taking a ferry over to Isle of Skye. Our first stop on Skye was the Clan Donald Centre which has a museum, gorgeous gardens and grounds, and of course, a castle. From there we made our way Portree, where we spent the night.

Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland

On Wednesday we made our way north to Staffin and then east toward Uig. We climbed through a small mountain range but it wasn't certainly high enough that I felt very uncomfortable. I requested that we stop at the Fairy Glen and it was definitely worth the trip. From there we made our way all the way back down to the south to cross the bridge back to the mainland at Kyle of Lochlash. After a quick stop to take photos of the bay we moved onto to Eilean Donan Castle. We didn't have time to go inside but the setting is so picturesque that I din't feel like we missed anything. From there we made our way to Inverness where we spent two nights.

OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
Our Honeymoon Part  Two: Scotland
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND

Our first night in Inverness we went out for some late night curry and then to a pub that was actually hosting a music festival. We had a late night and so on Thursday Grant and I took a break from the tour to get some much needed rest. We had a lie in and then went for a walk around Inverness. We caught up on some laundry (so exciting) and had a quiet night in at our B&B. On Friday we went to Culloden Battlefield and hooked up with a second tour for the final two days as most of our original group was only on a five day tour. From Colloden we made our way to Loch Ness where we did a river cruise. It was actually nice enough out that Grant and I both got some sun. After the cruise we made our way to Grantown-on-spey, where we spent the last two nights of our tour.

OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND
OUR HONEYMOON PART TWO: SCOTLAND

Saturday morning we were up early so we could make our way to Spey Bay. We made some stops on the North coast and in Elgin, where there are beautiful ruins of a cathedral. From there we made our way to the Glenfiddich Distillery for a very enjoyable tour. I'm not a fan of whiskey but Grant enjoyed the tasting we did. On Sunday morning we stopped at Balmoral Castle and then we drove west to St. Andrews before ending the tour in Edinburgh and catching a train to Glasgow. We stayed there overnight and flew out to Iceland Monday afternoon. If you haven't been, I highly recommend a visit to Scotland. There wasn't a bad spot on the entire trip. I can't wait until we can go back.

Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland
Our Honeymoon Part Two: Scotland

 Next week I'll share my photos from Iceland. I'm off to BC for an extended weekend. Enjoy the last weekend of July!

xo Allison