Friday, 29 May 2015

WEEKEND IN EDINBURGH [MAY 2015]

We're off on an adventure!

It has been over a year since my last trip to Edinburgh, and quite a few years back since I last had a proper tour around the city. And now that Viv and Ross have finally moved into their new place, it gives me all the more reason to visit more often and explore more of this amazing city.

Arriving just after noon at Edinburgh Waverley station, we popped into Mimi's Picnic Parlour on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh's Old Town, the mini cafe/takeaway version of Mimi's Bakehouse. I had my regular flat white and we both shared some generous portions of a cheese and chive scone, and coconut macaroon sandwich treat. The place itself is quite small but cosy, and seats about 8 people in total - a nice little place to relax whilst watching the hustle and bustle outside along the Royal Mile.





Viv initially contemplated booking us onto one of the walking tours, but to keep things more relaxed she  decided to just bring me round on her own little route that she had planned out. 

COWGATE!

I've been to Edinburgh Castle years ago, but of course we just had to make a quick stopover for an obligatory selfie with it. As you may have guessed, it was rather windy that day!


We then popped into Iain Mellis Cheesemonger where Viv usually gets her cheese supplies. Established in 1993, Iain Mellis has since opened five more shops across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews, with the best cheese from across Europe. Unsurprisingly, despite our efforts to resist to multiple block of cheese that surrounded us, Viv picked up a couple for us to nibble on - one of them was the deliciously aromatic Murcia al Vino, also known as 'the drunken goat'!



After visiting a couple of small museums, we stopped by the Albanach Whisky Bar for an afternoon tipple. I'm not much of a whisky drinker in general, but when in Rome...

I meant Edinburgh. 
I swear I only had one drink...



It is not often that I would stop to watch a bagpipe player on the streets, but there was this one (rather dashing if I must say) bagpiper that made both our heads turn.
Okay, his attractiveness doesn't really show much in this photo as this was taken on our way back passing him again (by coincidence), and he had put on a few more layers due to the chilly winds.

Viv: You don't often see such a good-looking bagpiper.
Me: Mmm-Hmm... *discreetly takes photo and drops tip in his bag*


After a quick drink at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel bar (formerly Hotel Missoni where we stayed during Viv's wedding weekend) we went to one of her favourite French restaurants in Edinburgh - Chez Jules, a casual, friendly bistro serving classic French dishes. Click here to read the full post about our pleasant meal there.




We then went to my first comedy show at The Stand Comedy Club where there were about 5-6 different acts throughout the evening. All were pretty entertaining, except for one lady who clearly didn't look very comfortable on stage... I felt a bit sorry for her, but as they say, the show must go on!
We have been Youtube-ing Danny Boy ever since watching that show.

The next day, we woke up nice and early to get ready for Spa in the City. The event was not due to start until 9am, but the queue had clearly already started forming about half an hour before then. We thankfully weren't too far back in the queue, although it still did take us about half an hour before we finally got our wristbands and goody bags, before hurrying off to the treatment stands that we had our eyes on.


Most of the complimentary treatments were booked up really fast, but I managed to booked myself for the Toni & Guy 'Fashion Fix Updo' and the table massage at Neal's Yard Remedies.

We made our bookings for later in the afternoon, so that we could go for lunch first at Ruan Siam, a casual and intimate Thai restaurant. We ordered a few small dishes to share including my favourite Som Tam, Thai Green Curry, Mee Krati, Tom Yam Soup, and finished off with sticky rice with coconut milk and mango.



Back at St Andrew Square Garden, we popped in for the mini Cocktail Masterclass run by Element, where they demonstrated some drinks from their new summer cocktail menu.


At the Toni & Guy marquee, I went for the Ballet School Braid as I usually prefer having my hair up. I was pre-warned that it was going to be quite a fidgety hairstyle, but as they say, No Pain, No Gain. After much tugging, pinning, and a whole lot of hairspray, I was finally done. I don't think my recent haircut which added more layers to my hair really helped as you can see my unruly hair trying to break free...
I pity the poor stylist's fingers who had to do another head of hair as the next customer requested for the same style after seeing mine.
Trend-setter *ahem*

So here's a few shots before I washed it all out the next day...


My 'Screw Face', as quoted by Owen...

'Inspired' by the Cocktail Masterclass earlier, we bought some ingredients from Sainsbury's and made our own little strawberry concoction.

The Art of Blending


MORE strawberries you say...?

For dinner, we went to vegetarian restaurant David Bann, which reminded me of Mildreds back in London. Viv and Ross had the beetroot, bramley apple and Dunsyre blue cheese mousse, whilst I had the Risotto of asparagus, celery and lemon. 
Looks like we had a pretty meat-free day!



A nice healthy meal, ending with a not-so-healthy dessert - Assiette of desserts for 2 to share (or 3!) which consisted of vanilla and whisky pannacotta, homemade chocolates filled with sambuca, coffee and white chocolate, hot apple, cinnamon and calvados tart, with raspberry ice cream and pineapple sorbet. But the again I guess it's not so bad sharing the calories between the three of us - sharing is caring!


On my last day in Edinburgh, after battling with the multiple knots in my hair, we had a light brunch at Clarinda's Tearooms. The place is pretty cosy and quaint, and thankfully a large table of diners were just leaving as we entered. We both ordered the English Breakfast, or rather the HALF English Breakfast - the smaller 'off-menu' version. Like a kids meal.
Unfortunately we were both too stuffed for cakes, so I'll have to leave that for next time.








We then walked it all off at Arthur's Seat - walking around rather than upwards and over. I don't think my midi hip-hugging skirt and ankle boots would have survived that journey. Or Viv's dodgy knee.
I'll make sure that I am better equipped for outdoor adventures on my next trip!



We already had French once during this trip, but I was intrigued to visit this other restaurant, Petit Paris Restaurant, that Viv mentioned usually had some rather good-looking French waiters...
Unfortunately the better looking ones were not working that day (drats), but it was a relaxing, cosy restaurant and we had a pleasant light lunch. I haven't had some good onion soup in a long time, and I really enjoyed it there. The fish soup that Viv ordered was also really creamy and tasty. The chocolate tart was rich and indulgent, and I was also very pleased with my fruit tart and raspberry macaron.
I really was interested to try out the good food - honest.





With a bit more time to spare before I had to catch my train, we took a different route home so that I could see Greyfriars Bobby - a Skye Terrier who supposedly spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he himself died on 14 January 1872. Whether or not the story is totally true or not, I hope that one day I will be able to keep some faithful dogs of my own. I do miss my Evan and Ethan back in Malaysia!


And as all good things come to end, it was then time for me to get back on my train back to London...


I very seldom venture out of London these days, but it is nice to escape every once in a while, and I have to admit that I felt a bit happier than usual that weekend. Maybe it was the weather, the excitement of being in a different place, or maybe it was just the comfort of being around family.
I guess that I should try and get away a bit more, and I'm already looking forward to the next one in a couple of weeks time!
Expect to be bombarded with plenty more photos and selfies.

Love & Light.

(Not sure when I suddenly became so spiritual)

The Cheekster, signing out x


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