Edinburgh is one of those places that holds a special place in my heart, mostly because of the great memories I’ve made there over the years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the city a number of times all at different times of the year, and winter, was by far, my favourite.

Today I’m going to be talking about the 12 reasons I think you should visit Edinburgh this winter.

1. Christmas Markets

If you know me, you’ll know that my Achilles heel is a Christmas market. I love everything festive, and Edinburgh does this so well. From the markets themselves (located literally opposite the train station) to the Christmas lights decorating the streets, there is always something to put you in the Christmas spirit.

2. Gin

Edinburgh is famous for a number of things, including gin! If you’re a lover of the spirit, then you’re in luck. The gin distillery is a great place to visit if you’re interested in how they make the gin, and you get samples of the different flavours as well (just maybe have a bite to eat first…) They also have an amazing cocktail bar too!

3. Sunshine

This one is a bit down to luck, but the last time I visited Edinburgh, we were greeted with three gorgeous days of winter sun, and the most amazing sunsets. Golden hour is always one of my favourite times of the day and it’s even more beautiful because of the stunning backdrop of the architecture in the city.

4. Food

As Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the number of restaurants it has, including independent brunch places to worldwide brands, is up there with London and Manchester, meaning you’ll never go hungry. My favourites that we visited were Viva Mexico, The White Hart Inn, and The Boozy Cow.

5. Arthur’s Seat

If you’ve ever seen the film ‘One Day’ you’ll know of Arthur’s Seat – it’s basically the main peak of a collection of hills. It’s not the easiest of walks, but it also doesn’t take ages, so one to do if you’ve got the time: The views are also pretty amazing from the top.

6. Castle

Another place for amazing views is Edinburgh castle which is at the top of The Royal Mile, and looks out over the whole of the city – the picture at the top of this post is taken from up there. There is also Camera Obscura on the same road, which is a world of different illusions and interactive spaces.

7. Old Town

Think of Harry Potter and you’re pretty much thinking of the Old Town in Edinburgh. Lots of independent shops painted in different colours lined by cobbled streets and market stalls. We stayed at the end of Grassmarket, which is one of the main streets in the old town with pubs, cafes and restaurants, and it was the perfect base to explore further.

8. Tea Break

After a long day exploring, you’re going to be needing a bit of a caffeine fix, and Edinburgh does traditional tea rooms and fancy coffee joints incredibly well. If you visit in the winter, you’ll need something to warm your insides.

9. Side Streets

One of the most beautiful things about Edinburgh is that you can turn off any road and be greeted by quaint little side streets. My favourite thing to do in big cities is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists and experience different parts of the city that you usually might not get to.

10. Pubs

If there’s one thing that Edinburgh does right, it’s pubs. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to watering holes, but that’s never a problem in my eyes. The people of Edinburgh were some of the loveliest people too, who make you feel so welcome.

11. Light Tunnel

This was something I wasn’t expecting in Edinburgh, so it was a pretty cool surprise when we found it. The tunnel itself is situated on George Street in the New Town and is made up of 60,000 different coloured lights. There are also bars underneath it selling mulled wine and cider if you need something to warm your insides.

12. Traditional Food

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without trying haggis, neeps and tatties, which will definitely warm you up on a cold winter’s day. We went to The Royal McGregor to try the dish and a place I would recommend if that’s what you’re after.

So there you have it, my 12 reasons to visit Edinburgh this winter.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Where would you recommend? 


xx

This week has taken it out of me a bit, and unfortunately, I have become ill after all of my efforts to ward off a cold; but misery aside, I’ve managed to fit as much into this week as I can.

1. The Botanist

Tuesday saw one of my team turning 30, which meant that we had something to celebrate by going to the pub. We’re lucky that we only work about a 5-minute walk into our nearest village where there are loads of lovely places to break up our day: Always a good way to brighten up a Tuesday.

2. Ezra And Gil

On Thursday, I was working in Manchester City Centre, when we decided to work from the Northern Quarter to have a change of scenery. We chose to go to Ezra and Gil which I’d never been to before. Although we only had coffee (and cake…) the food looked amazing. 100% going back for brunch!

3. Paul Smith Launch

On Thursday evening, I met my friend Jacinta for the launch of the Paul Smith store in Manchester. It had been a couple of months since we had last seen each other so we had loads to catch up on over lovely cocktails and amazing fashion. The store looked amazing, and it was such a cool event to be invited to.

5. Megan Ellaby

On the same thought, at the store opening, I met the gorgeous Megan Ellaby and her boyfriend George. If you’re not familiar with Megan, she is a blogger from Manchester, and I was a complete fangirl when I met her. She was so lovely and we had a really nice chat where I basically just sang her praises.

6. Birthdays

On Friday evening, it was one of my best friend’s birthdays so we had him round to ours. We had been out the weekend before, but I didn’t want the actual day to go past without doing anything. Because I wasn’t feeling great, we had him round to ours and had sticky toffee pudding and chilled out watching TV.

7. Saturday Walk

We decided to get some fresh air on Saturday morning to blow the cobwebs away and hope that my body just needed to get outside. We walked around Sale Water Park which is about five minutes from our house and it felt good to get some early morning exercise.

8. Bents Garden Centre

A bit later on Saturday, we went to Bents Garden Centre as they had a Christmas food market. We both got a Bratwurst followed by a crepe, which we ate whilst wandering through all of the Christmas displays, and it made me feel so festive. I’d never been to Bents before, but I’ve always heard people mention it, and it exceeded all my expectations – they had so much food and drink choice (including a tapas bar, which looked lovely) and loads of home stuff too.

9. Home Cooked Sundays

This Sunday, we decided to make a Thai red chicken curry in our slow cooker as we hadn’t used it for ages. We had to leave it for 6 hours, which was hard when the whole house smelt amazing, but it was worth it – we also whipped up some homemade flatbreads which turned out surprisingly well. I also decided to bake a banana bread because we

10. Makers Market

You might have heard me talk about the Makers Market on here before, but this weekend we visited the Withington one for the first time. It wasn’t as big as the other ones, but it still had all the best food options. I find it difficult to go anywhere and not spend money and ended up buying some smoked cheese.

What have you been loving this week?

xx

This is something that crossed my mind recently, as to whether people in the blogging world can be classed as your true, real friends, rather than just people who have similar interests to you. I’ve been on social media now for more years than I can remember, and some of the people I’ve met along the way are still some of my nearest and dearest, whereas others are nowhere to be seen.

In my eyes, it’s hard to define what a ‘real’ friend is anymore: People change through the years, you physically move away from your friends for a number of different reasons, and life takes you in all kinds of directions. Friendships become harder to form when you’re an adult, which is why it’s easy to initiate a conversation on Twitter or Instagram, but at what point do these small scale chats turn into full-blown friendships, if at all?

When I first started out blogging, I was at university. Although I had been toying with the idea of starting one for years, I only did because I had to maintain and update a blog as part of a module. At first there was no interest from the outside world – mostly because I felt too embarrassed of it to promote it anywhere – but that was back in 2010 when blogging was just coming into its own.

It’s fair to say that I didn’t make any blogging friends and acquaintances until my blog got a bit bigger years later and I found myself attending events with people who I knew of from social media: I was also lucky that one of my closest friends from school enjoyed writing and had a blog as well, so I didn’t have to go to these events alone to begin with.

Now, I have a group of girls I have met through blogging that I see at launches and events who I feel I know well enough to class as friends – but I also don’t know that much about their personal ‘not on the blog’ lives, like I do with the people I have known for years.

When you work in a normal office situation, you have your work friends because you’re forced together in order to earn a living, and if you’re lucky, they’ll be just the kind of people you get on with – but blogging is different: It’s a hobby that includes being creative, having your own space on the internet, promoting your brand on social media and interacting with likeminded people: The thing we all have in common is our love for creating content.

With work friends, you learn almost everything about them because of the amount of time you spend together. And then there are your friends you have for years; your school friends, your uni friends etc. – you know their lives inside and out, and speak to them on a regular basis.

Unless blogging is your full-time career, it’s fair to say that the friends you make as a result of it are probably not ones that you see on a regular basis, unless you go out of your way to make the time to see them not in a professional sense.

And that’s when the line between online friends and real friends lessens.

The more events you go to as a blogger, the bigger your blog becomes, and the more presence you have on social media means the more interaction you have with other bloggers out there, some local, some global.

For bloggers, our passion is for sharing things we love online and it’s amazing that we have a community in which to do so. I won’t lie and say at times that there isn’t animosity and venomous behaviour online, but for the most part, the girls of the blogging world are pretty damn awesome.

Just because you haven’t known a person since school, only seen them around a couple of times, or maybe you’ve never even met them at all, doesn’t mean that they don’t want the best for you. The whole blogging world only want this industry to get bigger and bigger and for content creators to be respected in the industry.

The micro-influencer is finally having such a big effect on where brands and spending their marketing budget, and although it’s natural to be jealous of each other from time to time, the whole bloggersphere is so big and still so new, that there are enough opportunities for everyone.

The thing with the blogging world is, it can be all kinds of crazy: From huge, public arguments on twitter to YouTube collaborations, incredible one-in-a-lifetime events and Instagram goals, there is always something to talk about.

I’ve been told in the past that you can’t trust anyone in the blogging industry: Apparently everyone is just trying to get one over on your and beat you to the top, but that is never something I have felt – maybe when blogging is your full-time job it might be different and slightly more cut-throat, but for the most of us, making friendships online is something that has become our second nature because we grew up during the digital age.

I’ve met some of the most amazing people since I’ve been blogging and long may it continue.

xx

It’s been a couple of weeks since our stay in Brighton, so I thought I would round up all my recommendations into one post for you all. Brighton has been on my ‘to visit’ list for as long as I can remember, so when I had a few days off in October, I thought it would be the perfect place for an autumn getaway.

The one thing I found with booking so close to when we were planning on visiting is that the hotel prices were sky high, which meant we settled on an Air BnB just outside of the city.

We were there for four days and three nights and visited quite a few different places during our time, but I would have loved to have had more time to explore as there was so much to do and see. Brighton is often referred to as ‘London by the sea’ and it was easy to see why after only spending a handful of days there because of the bustle of the place.

Stay

Kemp Town

As I mentioned, we settled on an Air BnB I found about 20 minutes walk from the centre of Brighton, which suited us perfectly. Kemp Town reminded me of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and had a lot of trendy bars and restaurants; I think it also had the biggest student population in the city, meaning there was always something going on.

The apartment was easy to find and had on-street parking, which was a dream in a city full of permit-only roads. It was nestled in a residential part of the city, two roads back from the sea. It was in a gorgeous converted townhouse on the 5th floor so the views were pretty good. We both commented on how spacious it was, and the host even left us tea, coffee, bread, milk and eggs, which was lovely.

The walk into town was either via the main high street in Kemp Town, which was full of bars, cafes and independent shops, or walking along the coastline, which was lovely and peaceful.

Brighton was a mix of old cobbled streets (known as the lanes), sandwiched between modern buildings, white-washed townhouses and a seaside. I loved the fact you could wander down any street and discover something new and end the day watching the sunset on the pebbled beach.

Visit

Lewes

This was a place that was on my list to visit after one of my favourite bloggers, The Anna Edit, went there with her husband for a roast dinner. We decided to go on Saturday morning after we had had breakfast, and it took us about 15-minutes from where we were staying.

Although we found it quite hard to park with it being a Saturday morning, I’m definitely glad we persevered because the town was lovely and worth a visit: It was full of independent shops, cute coffee shops and there was also a castle which we had a wander up to.

Hove

Although Brighton is technically called Brighton and Hove, the two are separate towns, albeit next door to each other. Hove was slightly further away from us than Brighton, so we decided to get the bus there from Kemp Town, which took about 40 minutes because of the amount of traffic.

Of the two, Hove was my favourite because it was less busy, but had the same amount of shops, restaurants and bars and the beach was just as lovely. Also, if you’re looking for the famous pastel-coloured beach huts, head that way!

Eat

Curry Leaf Cafe

I’d heard of this restaurant before as I follow quite a few bloggers who live in Brighton, but it was actually someone I used to go to school with who now lives there, who recommended it on Instagram. There was one about five minutes from us in Kemp Town, but it was actually the one in the lanes in the city centre that we visited.

I was worried that we wouldn’t get a table because we hadn’t booked and it was a Friday night, but luckily we were there quite early and they seated us within 10 minutes. The cuisine is Indian street food with a modern twist and is delicious. We shared the poppadum starter, chicken malai tikka and the chicken kori gassi curry with rice and a naan and we were stuffed.

The food was definitely some of the best Indian food I have ever had, and the staff were amazing; I would highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area, and I would go back in a heartbeat if I was to visit Brighton again.

Wood Box Pizza

We stumbled on this place when we were walking home one afternoon to get changed only about 10 minutes from our apartment: It was also recommended to us by our Air BnB host, and it looked so amazing that I convinced Jordan to go back two hours later.

I’m a big fan of wood-fired pizzas and the fact that you can see your food being made in front of you. Although Wood Box wasn’t huge, the restaurant was really cosy and smelt amazing because of their good quality ingredients. We shared the Nduja and the Black Forest Ham.

Shogun Ramen

This was another restaurant that we stumbled upon by chance, but after a quick google search, we found out that it was voted one of the best Japanese restaurants in Brighton, and I can hands down see why.

I love Japanese food; I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite cuisines, and our meal at Shogun was definitely up there with one of the best I’ve had. We shared Gyoza, Char Siu BBQ Pork Ramen and a Chicken Katsu Curry and had a Japanese beer.

Drink

The Cocktail Shack At Artist Residence

This is a place I wanted to go to as soon as I found out we were going to Brighton as I’ve seen a few bloggers doing photo shoots and filming at the hotel. The bar is next door and is done out with neon lights with a tiki vibe with a view of the sea.

When we went in, we were lucky to get a table by the window because it was really busy in there. All of the cocktails were plays on celebrity’s names: I went for the Rhubarbara Streisand and Peaches Goldof.

There was also a secret bar downstairs behind a bookcase, but there was a private event on so we couldn’t go in, but it looked cool from the outside.

The Gin Tub

This was easily my favourite place we visited on our trip because it was one of the coolest bar experiences ever. The bar itself is actually in Hove about a 10-minute walk from the train station or a 15-minute walk from Brighton.

We were seated by one of the waiters on a booth that had a vintage telephone on it. He told us that to order a drink, you had to dial zero, and it would be brought to us. I had an Edinburgh rhubarb gin with ginger beer and a raspberry flavoured one with mint and elderflower – both were amazing.

Twisted Lemon

Another one of my favourites that we visited was Twisted Lemon, based in The Lanes. It was very easy to miss as you walk through a side gate and the bar is at the back.

It was really quirky, bright and yellow inside, and although it was busy with it being a Saturday evening, we were served straight away.

Brunch

Marmalade

We didn’t visit Marmalade until our last morning in Brighton, which was a shame because it was my favourite brunch spot. It was less than five minutes form where we were staying, and had a rustic vibe to it with tiles and bare walls, and the menu handwritten on a piece of wallpaper.

It was a really cool place to go for brunch, and the cakes, sandwiches and pasties that were on display looked incredible. I went for a sausage and egg sandwich with a wake me up smoothie, which had banana, granola, yoghurt, milk and honey in.

The Breakfast Club

I’d been to the London branch of this a few years ago, but the Brighton one was definitely my favourite. We had to queue for about 20 minutes to get a table, but it was worth it for the overall feel of the restaurant.

If you’ve never visited, most of the locations are in London. It is done out like an American diner. with bright leather sofas, green ceilings and yellow brick outside. We both went for pancakes, which had banana, vanilla cream, salted caramel and chocolate sauce. It’s safe to say that I was in a sugar coma for most of the day.

Six

We went to Six for more of a lunch than a breakfast, but we both ended up getting avocado on sourdough toast, because lol, basic. I went for the avocado royale which came with halloumi and cherry tomatoes – any breakfast with cheese gets a thumbs up from me.

They also did a selection of smoothies, which I wasn’t going to order until I saw the table next to us get one. I went for the ‘temptation’ one, which was banana, raw cacao, cacao nibs, walnuts, dates and almond milk. They also did an option for bottomless drinks, which I’d be doing next time for sure.

The restaurant is right in the middle of Brighton and Hove, so can be walked to from either of the towns. The day we visited was really sunny and warm and we ended up sitting on a table outside.

Coffee & Cake

Flour Pot Bakery

This place was an Instagrammers dream – whitewashed walls, pretty tiles and wooden tables amidst perfect pastries and coffees. I loved this place because it was so cute and cosy inside, but didn’t feel squished at all.

We stopped here on our walk around Hove, but they also have locations in The Lanes, Seven Dials and a couple more dotted about the Brighton area, all of which look just as adorable. They also sold fresh bread and pastries that were baked on site to takeaway which meant it smelt amazing too.

Red Roaster

This place was one that we walked past on our first walk into Brighton and I commented on how cool it looked inside. The door into it was a full-length glass door (which I struggled to open…) and inside it was done out in black and white tiles with pops of green everywhere from plants.

We only stopped here to get our caffeine kick on the way into town, but the cakes looked amazing too. It was slightly more expensive than the other places we visited, but worth a visit if you’re in the Kemp Town area.

Trading Post

Trading Post was on a road that was no entry, meaning that all of the tables that were outside were full of people enjoying the autumn sunshine, including us. We went to Trading Post after a morning shopping, and needing a little pick me up.

I went for a tea and slice of lemon drizzle cake, and Jordan went for a beer, which did make me extremely jealous when he came back with it. This is a good choice if you’re around The Lanes or the shopping centre area.

Sugar Dough

I thought I would mention this one, although we didn’t get a chance to visit it, because it was such a cute little cafe in the middle of The Lanes. From the outside it was painted pastel green and white and looked like the inside of a lollipop.

The cakes looked unreal – tiers of sponge and buttercream with crazy toppings – perfect for any sweettooths out there, like me! They also have a bakery in Hove if you’re over that way.

La Mucca Nera

Technically not coffee and cake, but worth a mention. If you were following me on Instagram (here if you’re interested) you’ll know that the first thing we did once we arrived in Brighton was to go for an ice cream.

We found a gelateria on the walk into town, and couldn’t resist: I went for cherry and Nutella and it was so smooth and creamy – some of the best gelato I have had outside of Italy.

And there you have it, all of my recommendations for a short stay in Brighton. I would 100% go back for another visit and hopefully for longer next time, preferably when its warm enough to go in the sea – it was so peaceful and calm being by the beach, and I enjoyed walking through different villages every day, seeing how different they all were from each other.

Have you been to Brighton? Where would you recommend? 

xx

This week has been a lovely introduction to autumn weather, and what we can expect when the temperatures start to drop that little bit more.

October is one of my favourite times of the year for a number of different reasons, but mainly because I’m a home bird at heart and I enjoy spending time wrapped up in blankets on the sofa. This year, in particular, I’m going to try and incorporate more Hygge into my life and enjoy some home comforts.

1. Autumn Sun

This week, I’ve noticed how dark it has been when I’ve been getting up in the morning and how late the sun is rising. Although I prefer getting up in the light, the darker mornings have made some pretty incredible sunrises, which always makes my commute in the morning, that little bit more colourful.

2. Podcasts

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a podcast, but this last week I’ve been enjoying Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete again whilst I’m in the car. I really enjoyed Emma’s book when I read it last year, and the podcast does not disappoint. I’m always up for discovering new ones, so if you have any you think I’d like, let me know in the comments.

3. WMHD

On Tuesday it was World Mental Health Day, which is a cause very close to my heart. Although I find it difficult talking about my struggles with anxiety, I always feel as though it helps to get some of my thoughts on paper, and I had some really lovely messages about the blog I wrote on the matter. Have a read here.

4. Homemade Pizza

On Wednesday, we decided to have a bit of a different meal and made homemade pizzas. This month has taken its toll financially already so we are trying to use up everything we have in the freezer before we do another food shop – that said, any evening that involves pizza is fine by me.

5. Friday Night Club

Last week was quite a crazy one. Jordan and I had planned to go out for dinner on Friday night, but instead, we cooked up a Mexican feast and stayed in instead. Although I love going out for dinner, especially for date night, sometimes you need to listen to your body and relax.

6. Crash Bandicoot

A bit of a random one to be included in here, but a love nonetheless. On Saturday afternoon, I went over to my friends flat to play the remastered version of Crash Bandicoot, which was a game I was obsessed with when I was a child. I didn’t realise but we were playing it for over 5 hours – what a productive Saturday!

7. Crazy Pedros

It was one of my best friend’s birthdays on Saturday night, and we went to one of my favourite pizza places in Manchester, Crazy Pedros – if you’re ever in Manchester and never been, I would highly recommend it. The pizzas are crazy flavours, but delicious, and its got a New York pizza parlour vibe about it – the cocktails are pretty good too!

8. Brunch

When Jordan and I lived with my parents, we used to go for brunch all the time at a cafe in Altrincham called King’s Court Cafe. The food was always amazing, so we decided to get out of the house on Sunday morning and have breakfast there. We sat inside, but the gorgeous autumn sun was shining and everyone seemed to be in such a good mood.

9. Walk

Because the weather was so gorgeous on Sunday, we made the most of it and went for a walk along the River Mersey into Didsbury village to a pub (also called The Didsbury). The walk took us about 45 minutes, but because it was so lovely and warm, it didn’t feel long at all. I love living near such beautiful countryside.

10. Olive And Vine

After a couple of gins in the pub, the hunger started to creep in. There is a Mediterranean restaurant opposite The Didsbury, called Olive and Vine, which neither of us had been to but I’d heard really good things about. We went over and had some tapas to share, which was delicious and the restaurant itself was lovely: One we’ll definitely be going back to.

What have you been loving this week?

xx