Edinburgh in a Day

dsc07335dsc07349dsc07330dsc07333It seems like only yesterday I was writing my last blog post apologising for my absence but here we are again and needless to say it’s been a chaotic few months. I’m working on a post currently to give you guys a full catch up, but in the meantime I thought I’d show you what I’ve been getting up to! My boyfriend recently moved to Glasgow to work and so I thought I take a little holiday to visit him, and while there’s a special Glasgow post coming soon, I thought in the meantime I’d share my top places to visit from our recent trip to Edinburgh!

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Urban Angel

First port of call on our arrival in Edinburgh was food and a quick google took us to Urban Angel. We realised later that this popped up in Zoella’s recent Edinburgh blog post, so we were inadvertently already on to a winner. There was a little bit of a wait when we arrived but we managed to snag a table in the cafe to have a little pre-brunch coffee before it seemed like the whole of Edinburgh arrived, and soon there was a queue down the street! We eventually got taken through into the restaurant which has a beautifully simple, rustic vibe which really reflects the menu. I went for the poached egg and avocado with homemade lime ricotta which was so amazing whilst the boyfriend went for the traditional eggs benedict we both agreed that it was definitely worth the wait and the perfect choice to set us up for our day of adventures.

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Mary’s Milk Bar

Now I know that going an ice cream bar isn’t the most first thing you think you when planning a trip to Scotland but the fact that this place is packed come rain or shine means you know it’s something special. The gorgeous pastel front gives you a hint of the treats inside and the sheer variety meant we spent a good five minutes at the till while we tried to decide! In the end we went for salty peanut, cinnamon and chilli (strange but we couldn’t help but going back for more), chocolate mocha sorbet and violet, which was definitely the favourite although we couldn’t help but tuck in so quickly that I didn’t even have time to grab a photo! I definitely recommend checking out their Instagram though for some drool worthy shots.

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Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

This is definitely the most touristy item on the list but with rave reviews from everyone I asked we figured it was worth a go and boy were we proved right. As the name suggests it’s full of optical illusions and tricks which means it’s perfect for a fun and silly day out and the perfect place to get some great photos!

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National Museum of Scotland

Now while my boyfriend is very big on museums and galleries, I’m a bit more picky and being the big kid I am, I tend to prefer the museums that are big on interaction. So I can’t lie when we arrived I was dragging my heels initially, but within 10 minutes I was running amongst the 8 year olds having the time of my life (needless to say the boyfriend was a bit more composed about the whole situation). It’s such an interactive museum that it reminded me of when I was little and how fun science and history seemed. I’ve been to quite a few of the “big” museums of the world but this one has definitely become one of my favourites, and it was free! Even if you’re not a typical museum buff I can’t recommend it enough as there’s something for everyone, and it’s worth a trip for the interiors alone!

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Civerinos

Now we didn’t actually eat here on this trip as we were still so full from brunch, but it’s one of my favourites to visit when I’m in Edinburgh so I couldn’t leave it off this list. It’s a relatively simple menu but everything is made with the freshest ingredients (the pesto especially is my absolute favourite) and it is aaaaall good! Plus its self proclaimed mix of “high art and low culture” makes it one of the coolest Italian restaurants I’ve been to and makes it perfect for everything from a casual lunch to a night out with friends. Not to mention they do a mean nutella calzone…

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Other honourable mentions;

Paper Tiger-The perfect gift/stationery shop with everything from Rifle Paper Company to Ohh Deer, it’s great for picking up some souvenirs and presents.

Red Door Gallery-Another brilliant spot just off the Royal Mile it’s like the Etsy shop of your dreams, especially for pop culture junkies with pieces inspired by everyone from Steve Zissou to Dana and Scully. Whether it’s jewelry, cards, stationery or prints it’s amazing for quirky, individual pieces from local artists and I can’t recommend it enough!

Coco Chocolatier- A chocolate shop with a difference, it has everything from the more classic Espresso to the slightly more adventurous Haggis Spice, Earl Grey Tea and Bergamot, and even Lavender. The packaging is beautiful and although you have to keep a eye out to spot this hidden treasure it’s a treat in every sense of the word!

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So that’s it for my tips on how to spend 24 hours in Edinburgh, I hope you guys like it and if there’s anything I’ve missed please let me know as I’d love to have some new places to explore for my next visit!

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A Trip To The Market

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Borough Market is one of those places that has long been on my wish list to visit as it is the ultimate treasure trove of different and fresh produce, the Aladdins cave of wonders of food if you will. Since the 13th Century it’s been bringing lovers of food from all around the world to share in the best of British and international produce. So with one of my best friends by my side who happens to be a chef and highly experienced in traversing food markets, I was ready and willing to be led on a culinary journey (and to eat my own body weight in food along the way).DSC06095DSC06096

Walking through the market I was overwhelmed, as it’s truly a sensory experience like no other where you are encouraged to touch and smell everything so you can truly immerse yourself in the fresh produce.
DSC06098DSC06103DSC06105DSC06094 On our travels we couldn’t help but swing by the Ginger Pig to get something to take away for later, as a massive fan of their cook books I couldn’t miss the chance to try their sausage rolls straight from the source! We tried a sweet chilli as well as a pork and stilton  one, which was my favourite thanks to the quality of the meat as well as the richness of the stilton, topped off with the buttery flakyness of the pastry. Needless to say it’s a stall that I’ll definitely be revisiting again!DSC06106

The best part of going anywhere like this with someone who works with food everyday is the sheer amount of knowledge they bring to the table. It truly richens your experience as she was able to tell me what to go for depending on what was in season and the signs to picking the best produce, not to mention answering all my questions about things I didn’t recognise. For example those longer, grey looking carrots? They’re called salsify which can be cooked similarly to any root vegetable but have a kind of oystery taste. See, learn something new everyday!

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Not to mention the sheer quality and beauty of the produce makes it a beautiful experience in itself, I mean just look at the colours! This is something that you definitely won’t see at any supermarket. It makes for a foodie’s paradise, strolling through the stalls imagining and dreaming of everything you could make.DSC06109DSC06110DSC06116

But finally came the time to stop dreaming and start eating and my friend promised me we had saved the best till last, and judging by the 30 people strong queue I was inclined to believe her. We went for the salt beef sandwich by The Northfield Kitchin, which I was assured was one of the best stops in the market. The smell of the freshest local beef combined with pickle and just enough spicy English mustard to provide a bit of a kick meant I was drooling at the mouth before we’d even got close.
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Each one loving prepared in respect owed to the excellent quality of product means that you can taste the care and devotion in every mouthful, which combined produces one hell of a sandwich and one that was worth every second of waiting.

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From the look on our faces you can tell it was pretty much love at first sight bite.

DSC06136Thoroughly stuffed and satisfied we took a moment to revel in the magic of what we had eaten until we decided it was finally time to move on to see what the rest of the market had to offer, and you never know, potentially pick up a couple more snacks along the way.DSC06140

The best part of the market is that for those of you that aren’t quite so carniverous there’s still plenty of treats to tempt you, from fresh scallops to fallafal and haloumi burgers that would make even the most devout meat-eater go weak at the knees. Unfortunately due to my fixation on sandwiches and sausage rolls I didn’t take any photos of these treats (bad blogger award I know) but be sure to check out @boroughmarket’s instagram for more drool worth photos.DSC06142DSC06144

I couldn’t help but pick up a few of my all time favourite blood oranges along the way, which might be making their way to a recipe soon…DSC06151DSC06156DSC06157DSC06161DSC06162One last look around the treasure trove and I had finally literally had my fill of Aladdin’s cave of wonders. But of course we couldn’t leave without taking a jewel or two for the road…

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I would love to know if you’ve been to Borough Market and what your favourite stalls are or if there’s any other markets around the UK that you love to visit please let me know! In the meanwhile I’ll just be dreaming about those doughnuts for a little while longer…

A Day In Brighton

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For years I have been seeing hundreds of posts and videos of bloggers raving about Brighton, not to mention the hundreds of beautiful instagrams taken of it. As a result it has long been number one on my list of must-go places in the UK, so of course when the chance came for a brief day trip I jumped at the chance! I thought it’d make a nice beginners guide to Brighton and give me a chance to share with you the best places I managed to stumble upon during my day.

 

Mange Tout

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This was one that came highly recommended by pretty much every blogger who’s written about Brighton, and when we turned the corner from the car park to see it opposite I knew it was fate. With a varied yet simple, fresh menu it ticks every box and was the perfect brunch fix. Not to mention it has some of the best coffee I’ve ever had which was served with some delicious homemade meringues! This is the perfect option for the pickiest of friends not to mention those who like things a little on the healthier side, all in all putting our trip off to a great start.

 

Magazine

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This for me was literally the stuff dreams are made of, a shop dedicated to magazines! This is the hardcore stuff though, no Grazia or Elle to be found here, only slightly obscure yet beautifully made magazines covering everything from fashion to film. Some of them are more like books than conventional magazines, and although I finally manage to whittle it down to one (trust me it took a while) I could have easily left with half the store. Whether or not you’re a magazine obsessive like me I cannot recommend it enough even if just to look and try something new!

 

The Flour Pot

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By this point we’d done enough walking that we were ready for another snack so as soon as I saw The Flour Pot bakery I knew that it was the answer to our prayers. This was another one I’d seen highly recommended by multiple bloggers so I had to pop it and grab a few treats for later. There was an amazing of variety of both savoury and sweet treats and a great gluten-free selection as well (which in hindsight I can thoroughly recommend as some of the best coeliac bakery products I’ve had).

 

Bert’s Homestore

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This is one for those who love all things home, Bert’s has everything from baking supplies to decorations, to toys. It’s one of those places that is impossible to leave without at least a little something, not to mention it’s just a lovely place to look around while you’re reminded of all the things you don’t need but really want. I am so distraught that these stores are only in Brighton, but it’s probably better for my bank account.

 

Edited

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After Bert’s I was definitely in the homeware mood and Edited was perfect to give me that fix. It’s like a combination of all the coolest stuff you’d find on Etsy all in one place. With a brilliant mix of the quaint and quirky there’s something for every style, and left me really wishing that I could fit one of those giant ice cream cushions in the car with me.

 

Brighton Pier

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One of the last places we managed to hit is probably one of the most famous places in Brighton, the beach! It is one of the most picturesque beaches so I couldn’t resist having a ride on the merry-go-round and a go on a couple of the arcade games while I was there. A must have for anyone visiting, it was the perfect way to reflect on the events of the day while enjoying the picturesque scenery. Plus it’s a great place to visit if you’re a big kid like me and can’t resist a ride or two.

 

The Brighton Pavilion

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This is a bit of a cheaty one as we didn’t actually manage to go inside because they were renovating, but the gardens alone were worth the visit. The building itself is so stunning I can’t wait to come back and see the inside, but for the meantime I was perfectly content to wander around the grounds and take some pictures. It was definitely the perfect way to end my first trip to Brighton.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it hopefully gave you a few ideas of where to go if you’ve never been to Brighton before. I enjoyed it so much I’m thinking of doing some more “In a Day” guides, so let me know if you’d like to see some more of them and where I should go next. Also please let me know your favourite places in Brighton too as I’m already compiling a list of where to go for next time!

Walking on Sunshine

Is it me or has Winter seemed extra long this year? Now as much as I love Christmas and snow and all the fun that goes with it, once we hit the January slump I find myself crying out for any little bit of sunshine or warmth to come my way. So as soon as my wishes were answered and Belfast, land of rain and cold had it’s first full day of sunshine, I ran out camera in tow to make the most of it.

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119422119522First stop the park, and what a beautiful park it is. With over 100 acres to choose from I got lost in the trees and cherry blossoms whiling away the hours, and the beautiful scenery proved perfect for my snap happy tendencies.

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One of my favourite bits of the park are the millions of daffodils which were scattered around, which are the epitome of spring to me and one of my favourite flowers (so much so that I had to include two photos).
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The park runs alongside the river Lagan which is another one of my favourite walks to take in Belfast as you get to see some amazing views along the way. I even stopped for a little break and took the opportunity to get some University reading done while I was at it (plus a cheeky selfie of course!)

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I couldn’t help but snap some more of my favourite flowers too!
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I finished the day with a walk through the Botanical Gardens next to the university, which even after three years still continues to amaze me and makes me feel like I’m studying at Hogwarts! The gardens are always popular when it’s sunny especially the stunning Palm House, which is our own little Alexandra Palace with an amazing selection of tropical plants inside.

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Here’s hoping we have lots more of these days to come and I’d love to know how you’re making the most of the sunny days too!