Ella and Tutu in Edinburgh

Ella and Tutu in Edinburgh This week Ella and Tutu are experiencing the well-preserved historical beauty and modern additions of Edinburgh, Scotland. They begin at Edinburgh Castle or the palace on the hill as Tutu tended to refer to it. Ella is entranced by the beautiful city and the old, stone-built buildings. Next, Ella and Tutu begin to dance and model under the watchful gaze of the medieval castle. After all, Edinburgh is famous for their theatrical arts! Tutu practically leaps from Ella's embrace when she heard that the girls would be stopping for ice cream as Mary's Milk Bar. The little travelers are quite ecstatic at the prospect of trying some Scottish ice cream. They wonder what flavors the shop would serve! They both can't believe all the wonderful and creative options of ice cream, like Strawberry Black Pepper, Rose and Cardamon, and even Milk ice cream! The two decide…

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Our Family’s Favorite Recipes: Scotland Edition

Our Family's Favorite Recipes: Scotland Edition While in Scotland, we enjoyed treating ourselves to the many delicacies the UK has to offer! Some of our favorites were fresh scones with clotted cream, Scotch pies, fish & chips and Glenlivet Whiskey! One aspect of travel that we always look forward to when leaving Pittsburgh is experiencing the new flavors and foods. I find joy in discovering small, hidden away cafes. I look for stores that truly reflect a nation and its people. I really respect how Europe has maintained their love of small, specialized establishments that sell only the finest and highest quality items. The kids and I enjoyed a delicious tea on the Isle of Iona (while my husband swam in the very cold Atlantic Ocean.) Here is a list of some of the coolest (and weirdest) Scottish foods out there! Haggis: A savory pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs…

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Ella and Tutu in the Scottish Highlands

Ella & Tutu in the Scottish Highlands Story by Anna Mares. Doll by Lenna McGraw. Photographs by Laura Mares, Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer. On this Scottish adventure, Ella and Tutu begin at a quiet Air B&B near the city of Inverness. With one look the girls immediately fall in love with the plain white stucco walls and pretty flower baskets in the front of the house. The man inside is a wonderful storyteller, and the girls listen entranced by his wondrous stories of the friendly old sailors who had lived in this very house many years before.  After a perfectly wonderful night's rest, the two head down the rickety old steps to the kitchen below. Tutu is excited to fill her artistically crafted bowl with her new favorite food... muesli!  The two begin on their journey to their family's castle, Castle Fraser, and are stunned by the beautiful view of the grounds…

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Ella and Tutu on the Scottish Isles

Ella & Tutu: On the Scottish Isles Story by Anna Mares. Doll by Lenna McGraw. Photographs by Laura Mares, Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer.Today Ella and Tutu have decided to venture onto the secret isles of Mull and Iona. As Ella and Tutu shiver against the cold glass window, the two gaze into the endless blue sea before them, imagining all the fun yet to be had. Ella dreams of the beautiful nature the isles will hold, and Tutu of the new scrumptious desserts she will taste.   As the ferry noiselly chugs onward, the two friends decide to discuss their excitement over a warm plate of a Full Scottish Breakfast.  Their mouths water as they taste the perfectly browned toast, grilled tomato, eggs, back bacon, sausage, tatties, and mysterious black pudding!  At last! The two arrive on the isle of Mull, and begin the drive for the next ferry to take them…

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Mares Family Portraits in Edinburgh

Mares Family Portraits with Natalia Swiader My family loves to travel! We travel as often as we can to visit my husband's family in the Czech Republic. This year we stopped in Scotland on our way back to Pittsburgh. We love visiting places we've never been before to meet new people, explore new places and try the traditional foods. As a family photographer, I value family portraits. While planning our trip to Scotland, I searched for a talented family photographer and luckily found Natalia Swiader Photography! Natalia is an up and coming wedding and portrait photographer in Edinburgh, originally from Poland, who has a passion for creating beautiful portraits. Natalia is very kind and friendly, we had a wonderful experience that became one of our highlights from our vacation in Scotland. We met Natalia on Edinburgh's beautiful Circus Lane for a sunset photo shoot. It may be the most picturesque street…

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Family Adventure Awaits in Norway – Pittsburgh Lifestyle Photographer

Family Adventure Awaits in Norway In August, our family flew to Bergen, in western Norway.  Our first two days were restful. We arrived, went grocery shopping, hung around our AirBnB and went shopping for wool sweaters at the Dale of Norway Outlet. We stayed in a beautiful home in Stanghelle. I loved the modern white and light gray space with rustic accents. We had a couple meals on the porch and enjoyed the beautiful view. We would have loved to have had more but it was often cold and drizzly. When in Norway, one must try new food! We tried vanilla sauce, brown cheese (gzdrandsdalsost), Freia chocolate and bread that we could bake at home to enjoy fresh from the oven. Everything was delicious! The kids didn't enjoy the brown cheese but I did! I wish it was available here in Pittsburgh. Stanghelle is a village located between Bergen and the fjords. In the Dale of Norway Outlet, we saw the sweaters that the Norwegian Olympic…

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Ella & Tutu Visit Norway

Ella & Tutu Visit Norway Story by Anna Mares. Doll by Lenna McGraw. Photos by Laura Mares.(Originally posted September 2017)This week Ella and Tutu are vacationing in the majestic Fjords of western Norway. Tutu is excited for the plane ride! Ella discovers that she can lay down across two seats and decides to catch some shut eye. When the dreams come to an end, the sleepy-eyed friends awaken in the air above Norwegian islands. Ella & Tutu Visit Norway Soon, they brace for the rough landing. However, when they get off the plane they are no longer in America but Norway! Mommy suggests that they stop for some food at the local grocery store, and starving Ella readily agrees! She and Tutu take command of the cart as they zip around the store, crafting a dinner for the family. Tutu recommends her favorite Scandinavian crackers, for she would know! She was here last year, during her…

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