Vegan Bay Baker / Aberdeen

Sunday 26 February 2023

The Vegan Bay Baker is a must if you’re visiting Aberdeen, and even if you’re not - it’s worth planning a trip for. Open since August 2022, it’s become a firm favourite of ours for when we’re visiting family. I’ve had to stop my husband from going in unsupervised, as he’d buy the whole shop otherwise.

It’s a very traditional bakery filled with breads, butteries, pies, sausage rolls, cakes, yum yums, doughnuts, and more - but 100% vegan! They bake all of their treats in their Newburgh bakery but you can buy them in their Aberdeen (featured in the photos here) or Peterhead shops. If you’re gluten-free then you can pop in on a Tuesday for some freshly made breads and bakes.

The Aberdeen shop is located at the Castlegate. They recently added a wee seating area so you can stop in for a fine piece or two. On this visit, we had macaroni pies (one topped with ‘bacon’), a coronation chickpea roll, BLT, and red pepper soup. Everything we’ve tried from here is super tasty, and I honestly don’t think you can tell it’s vegan. The prices are so reasonable too - unlike a lot of plant-based options where you feel you’re being charged extra.

We finished our lunch but I couldn’t resist a doughnut to take home for later. The fudge ones are our favourites - we even ordered a dozen to make a doughnut tower for my Mum’s birthday last year which is a fun alternative to cake! The yum yums and biscoff buns are a joint second or maybe the jammy cream thing that I don’t know the name of.

I spotted they were doing an afternoon tea not long ago which sounds fab - mini pies and butteries! Hopefully we’ll make it along to one at some point if we time a trip right. You can sometimes find them at farmers' markets too (in Ellon, Stonehaven, Aboyne, and Banchory) check their socials for details.

Before I sign off, if you're already a fan you can vote for Vegan Bay in the bakery awards at the moment - check out the link here
You can find Vegan Bay Baker at:
33 Castle St, Aberdeen AB11 5BB
38a Broad St, Peterhead AB42 1BX

EH9 Espresso

Wednesday 22 February 2023

EH9 Espresso is Dundee’s most colourful coffee shop. Open since June 2021, it’s on the newer side, but fast becoming a favourite with my friends. I thought I’d better get it up on Wee Dundee so popped in with my camera and here we are.

“EH9 is like a playgroup for adults. It’s quite a simple idea: Speciality Coffee, Bakes and Good People. That’s what we’re about.” - can’t argue with that. I am a big fan of this cute coffee shop’s aesthetic, it’s lovely to see such a cheerful lilac exterior alongside other independents on the Perth Road.

Whenever we visit we’re always greeted by the friendliest team of baristas and it just has the nicest vibes. I actually ended up taking these pics over two visits as I was there twice in one week - once for a sort of meeting and the other for a Sunday morning coffee with our dog (dog friendly bonus!).

My go-to is the oat chai latte for sure, such a good chai blend. The coffee is fab too, obviously, but I can't handle too much caffeine. Though there aren’t a lot of food options they still cater to vegans - the cinnamon scrolls are so delicious or you can opt for a vegan danish pastry. If you’re in the mood for something savoury there’s a Bross vegan bagel - The Betsy - with hummus and veggies.

I love the shelves decorated with plants, and filled with bits and pieces you can buy - how gorgeous are those filter coffee machines! They also have their own merch in the form of cool graphic tees.

If you’re looking for a chill place to get a caffeine boost this is the coffee shop for you. Also keep an eye on their socials for upcoming events as they recently had a latte art throw down which looked like a lot of fun!
Find EH9 Espresso at 248/250 Perth Rd, Dundee, DD1 4LL

Dock Street Studios

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Dock Street Studios is a multifunctional space; home to a beautiful shop, cafe and events venue. You’ll find it round the corner from the V&A (which you can just about spot from the cafe window) - it’s a great place to visit if you’re down at the Waterfront as you can have a wee walk via Slessor Gardens to get to it.

Sara has curated a wonderful selection of gifts, vintage and interiors with lots of work by local makers on offer too. There’s lots of quirky stationery and art prints - ideal for stocking up on cards if you’re organised. There are cabinets filled with handmade jewellery which would make wonderful gifts too. You’ll find plenty to choose from for accessorising your home; trinket dishes, textiles, candles and candle holders, plant pots and an abundance of artificial flowers.

I especially love the vintage items, there are just so many lovely one-off pieces. The stoneware in particular caught my eye, but I think my favourite was a multi-coloured pastel china tea set I noticed in the black dresser. The attention to detail in styling the displays is perfect for browsing too, you can keep looking and still spot more but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Tilted Duck Vintage has a new home at Dock Street Studios. There’s a cute and cosy corner with rails crammed full of retro-patterned clothes and chunky knitwear. The spotlight mirror is a fun addition! A few of my favourite vintage dresses are from Tilted Duck so it’s good to know where to find them now.

When we visited, the cafe was just serving hot drinks and ice cream. I have seen that they did sandwiches before - with a vegan option too. We decided to go elsewhere as we were quite hungry so ended up at the Dundee Cycle Hub for lunch but I'll be sure to pop back for a coffee soon.

Dock Street Studios has a surprisingly large exhibitions and events space through the back - it’s a bit of a Tardis as you can’t immediately tell on arrival! They are a Dundee Fringe venue and you can find out about upcoming events here, but do check their socials too.

Find Dock Street Studios at Dock Street Studios at 9/10 Dock St, Dundee DD1 4BT

Dundee Cycle Hub Cafe

Saturday 11 February 2023

It was a lovely sunny January day when I was meeting Lyndsey of Lyndsey Currie Textiles for a semi-business lunch. We had met at the waterfront for a wander and were deciding where to go when I remembered the Dundee Cycle Hub had a little cafe with a lovely window seat and some vegan options.

We headed over and were delighted to find the window bench was free. It’s the perfect spot for enjoying the Waterfront view with the bonus of people-watching. It was quite quiet, but I’d imagine it would be a lot busier in summer when everyone is making the most of the Urban Beach.

It’s such a welcoming space with industrial bike-themed decor, plants, books, magazines, and merchandise. You can hear the workshop happenings in the background, but it’s still very peaceful. It would be a great place to get on with some work on your laptop over a coffee and you can even bring your dog.

We had a look at the wee menu; there aren’t a lot of options as it is a small cafe, but it’s very reasonably priced. Vegan-wise there was just the black bean and coconut chilli bowl, but there was also an avocado toast which I’m sure could be made vegan. We both opted for the chilli which was just £6 and came with some tortilla chips. It was very warming and the ideal comfort food for a wintery January day. We both loved that it was made with desiccated coconut as it wasn’t something we’d tried before (we both make a lot of 
chilli) and it really added to the texture.

There is usually a vegan sweet option, you just have to check the cake cabinet on the counter. We decided to share a slice of Oreo rocky road which was delicious - very rich and chocolatey - I certainly wouldn’t have managed a piece all to myself after the chilli. We had been planning on ordering a hot chocolate too, as we’d asked if it was vegan-friendly when ordered with oat milk, but we were all chocolate-ed out after the rocky road.

Of course, the Dundee Cycle Hub is much more than just a cafe. They are a social enterprise that provides bike recycling, sales, cycle servicing and repairs, bike hire and training opportunities. If you’re thinking of hiring a bike (or electric bike) they will be happy to help and have lots of information on local cycling routes. Their website has lots of details of current events and projects if you’d like to find out more. They also have a cycle hub in Arbroath.

The Dundee Cycle Hub is a fantastic addition to the Waterfront and I have to say I’m tempted to organise a bike hire for myself… though I think it’s been well over 15 years since I’ve ridden one. We’ll see how well that goes as to whether it makes it onto the blog!

Find Dundee Cycle Hub at Waterfront Place, Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ

Mate Date: Drawing Day

Tuesday 7 February 2023

With Galentine’s Day just around the corner, you might be looking for the perfect mate date; how about a drawing day? It’s a wonderful excuse to spend some quality time with your bestie and you can do it for free!

When I was noting down ideas for activities Wee Dundee last month, I spotted an Instagram post by local illustrator, Cara Rooney featuring a drawing day adventure. It looked like such a lovely thing to do so I reached out to see if Cara would have me along on one so I could blog about it and luckily for me, she said yes!

You may be wondering what a drawing day is, and I’m sure there could be lots of variations. For us it was a mix of walking, exploring, drawing, coffee, and lots of good chats. You don’t have to be amazing at drawing to enjoy yourself - there’s plenty of joy in slowing down and noticing things around you that you wouldn’t usually.

If you’re thinking of arranging your own drawing day date you will need:
  • A willing friend
  • A sketchbook or other type of notebook
  • Some drawing materials (you don’t need much - limited colour palettes are fun!)
  • An idea of a route or at least a starting point
  • Warm clothes if you’re going to draw outside like we did (fingerless gloves would have been handy)
  • If you’re on a budget, pack a thermos and some snacks, or even a full picnic
  • A plan B if you’re relying on good weather

We arranged to meet for lunch at Pacamara as a starting point and hoped the weather would be on our side afterwards. Cara told me she likes to divide up her Moleskine page into little boxes, which makes it into more of a storyboard - I love the end result with her playful style. I was feeling very out of practice and had a scarily blank sketchbook but I reminded myself it was just for fun and it felt so nice and mindful once I started doodling.

After lunch, we headed down Taylor’s Lane to Magdalen Green. It was very breezy but we found a picnic bench at the bottom end which was a little more sheltered - it didn’t stop our pens from blowing off the table though! We were also interrupted by an overenthusiastic dog who came and slapped my sketchbook. After drawing here, and photographing said drawings, we walked along the waterfront until we found a good spot to stop next.

The sun was starting to set, which meant some beautiful evening light along with the choppy waves that feature nicely in Cara’s drawings. By this point we were pretty chilly, so decided to finish our day with a hot drink at Blend to warm us up. Blend is back to opening until 8pm on Thursdays now, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a cosy place to hang out after dark. We did some last doodles over oat chai lattes, then it was time for our drawing day to come to an end.

It was such a fun afternoon and I’d definitely recommend it as something different to do. A big thank you to Cara for letting me be part of a drawing day and for sending me over these copies of her super cute sketchbook (below). You can find Cara’s work on her website here, or follow her on Instagram here.

I’d love to know if you decide to have a similar drawing day. Let me know if you’d like to see more mate dates on the blog!