My USA East Coast Trip Bucket List

new york

It’s just two weeks until we head out to the States for our honeymoon, and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve got all our travel and accommodation booked, but we’ve left our days free. I’m not usually very good at spontaneity, but I think this will be good for me! There are a few things I don’t want to miss, though… 

Walk the High Line 

I’ve heard so much about the High Line, and I’m excited to see it for myself! The High Line is a public park built on top of a historic rail line on Manhattan’s West Side, and is full of beautiful design, architecture and gardens. It’s a pretty cool concept, and seems like a fun way to while away an afternoon before heading to Chelsea Market for some food. 

Top of the Rock 

Last time I went to New York, we did the whole Empire State Building thing, which was pretty impressive (understatement of the year…). This time around, I want to take a trip to the Top of the Rock instead, because, of course, when you’re on top of the Empire State Building, you can’t see it! Plus, my love for 30 Rock makes me want to run around the Rockefeller Centre quoting Liz Lemon, which I won’t do lest Paul divorce me on our honeymoon, but I think admiring the view is the next best thing. Either way, I want to go to there. 

Go to a Rooftop Bar 

Is there anything more glamorous than a rooftop bar in New York? Or indeed, in any of the cities we’re planning to visit. This is our honeymoon, after all, and although we’re not particularly fancy people, we can definitely go for a swish cocktail or two whilst looking out over such a gorgeous city. This is an absolute must-do! 

statue of liberty

Catch a Game 

We’re lucky enough to be visiting some friends whilst we’re in Philadelphia, and they’re taking us to a baseball game – New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies. So, this one is a bit of a cheat for this list, since it’s already booked, but I am still psyched about it. Baseball games are such a big part of American pop culture, and I’m excited to see one for myself – even if I won’t know what on earth is going on – and to get myself a pile of stadium-style nachos. Go Phillies! 

See a Show 

I wanted to book a Broadway show in advance, but the cost seems ridiculously prohibitive. I’ve heard from so many people that it’s worth popping into the theatre on the day to see if you can grab a deal, so that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. I love a musical at the best of time, but on Broadway? Fuhgetaboutit! And, if worst comes to worst, we’ll just head to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for the next best thing… 

Try Some Food Trucks 

The best part of holidays is always the food, right? And I’m pretty sure that we’re going to get to gorge ourselves on some of the best food of our lives over the fortnight. I want real New York pizza. I want dirty burgers. I want lobster (no change there). And I want to check out the street food scene across the pond. I’ve already got a few in mind to try and track down, but when it comes to street food, I really can be spontaneous! 

Learn Something 

Last, but no means least! We’re going to some pretty historic places in the USA – Boston and Washington DC in particular – so it would be a waste not to pick up a little American History. I’m not super-touristy in that sense, I’m not fussed about museums but I think the Freedom Trail in Boston will be high on our list, and you can’t visit DC without at least seeing The White House!

I’d love to know your recommendations for Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Hit me! 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Our Copenhagen Trip

copenhagen grafitti

After the wedding, we took a little trip to Copenhagen for a few days. I’d heard so much about the city, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. It was a hipster’s paradise with bikes, beards and craft beer everywhere – like Leeds on a much bigger, better scale! 

copenhagen park

We stayed in a gorgeous airbnb apartment on the edge of Vesterbrø, and spent our days hopping from cafe to restaurant to bar and back again. It was exactly what we wanted and needed. I won’t bore you with a detailed itinerary of our trip, but if you are planning on heading to the city and are feeling a bit lost, these are the best things we did whilst there: 

Torvehallerne 1

Torvehallerne – half-filled with market stalls of fresh produce, half-filled with stalls and vans with street food ready to munch on right there, it’s a great place to while away a few hours and try something a bit different! 

copenhagen street food

Copenhagen Street Food – the coolest place I’ve probably ever been. Right on the water, this warehouse is crammed full of different street food vans and bars serving up beer and cocktails. We sat in the sunshine outside in deck chairs, munched on massive burgers and drank G&Ts. Oh, and we got to play with a pug that belonged to the people sat next to us. Amazing.  

copenhagen street food sign

Sticks’n’Sushi – our fanciest treat of the week. This restaurant is at the top of the Tivoli Hotel, with fantastic views, and serves up absolutely fantastic sushi. Definitely worth splurging on, if only so you can sit on their swings and watch the sun set after your meal. 

little mermaid

The Little Mermaid – she looks a little bit sad, but as one of the main tourist attractions, you have to at least pay her a visit! 

Kødbyen – okay, maybe this is the coolest place I’ve ever been! Copenhagen’s meat-packing district transforms at night to a total hipster paradise, with uber-cool restaurants, bars and clubs full of the young, beautiful and bearded. We stopped at War Pigs where they serve up craft beers from taps in the wall, and piles of barbecue food on trays, but Mother is also supposed to be amazing. Definitely not one to miss if you’re in the city over the weekend. 

Mikkeller – more craft beer, if that’s a surprise! This cute little bar is tucked away below street level and serves up a selection of their own brews. It’s a bit rough around the edges, with wooden tables and little decoration, but if you’re a beer aficionado then you’ll love it! 

hot dog

Foderbrættet – right on the main street in Vesterbrø, this bar serves up delicious hot dogs and glasses of champagne, and not a lot else. It’s an unusual combination – the fanciest drink with one of the least-fancy foodstuffs – but it works. This was our first stop once we’d settled into our apartment, and that first glass of champagne was very welcome! 

tivoli gardens

Tivoli Gardens – you can’t come to Copenhagen and not go to Tivoli Gardens. A delightful little theme park in the centre of the city, full of magical nooks and crannies housing unusual plants, wildlife (we saw peacocks!) as well as cotton candy stalls and restaurants for bigger meals. It’s wonderful to walk around, and I’m sure even better if you like rides! Definitely worth a visit at least once. 

tivoli gardens 2

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

A Trip to Kielder

Kielder Water Boat

Kielder Water in Spring

‘Little and often’ is the secret to my happiness at this stage of my life. Whilst I know many people experience ‘wedding come down’ in the weeks following their big days, I’m already excited about the next few things we’ve got planned. I choose weekends away and regular fun experiences over blowout two week holidays just once or twice a year. I am impatient by nature, so having to wait 6 months for the next big thing brings me down rather than buoys me up. It’s far better, for me, to have something to look forward to every couple of weeks. Our trip to Kielder was one such event – taking place just a couple of weeks before our wedding, which was perfect timing. You can’t stress about table decorations when you’re in the middle of the forest in the sunshine. In fact, you can’t really stress about anything. 


The whole thing was Joe’s idea; he wanted to go to Kielder Observatory, and we decided to make a proper weekend of it, staying in the nearby Kielder Lodges. It’s a gorgeous part of the world, completely cut off from the rest of civilisation by virtue of winding roads (which wound through endless fields of baby lambs, much to my delight) and lack of phone signal.

Our trip to Kielder Observatory was first on the agenda so, just before 11pm, we dutifully put on hundreds of layers as instructed by the website and jumped in the car, winding our way up a seemingly endless track to the Observatory itself. It was pitch black and freezing cold. Dar from the big domes and scientific instruments that I was expecting, Kielder Observatory looks a lot like a high-tech shed. There was a wood-burning stove and mugs of hot chocolate, and blankets to curl up under on the viewing deck. It was really kind of magical. 

The night was unfortunately cloudy for the most part, but we learnt all sorts and got to hold some crazy space dust that had landed on earth (it was metallic and so awesome!). I fell a little bit in love with the incredibly enthusiastic Geordie astronomer – it is my favourite thing when people are passionate about something niche – and we had a thoroughly good time. The clouds parted briefly so we did get to have a look at the stars through a fancy telescope, which was pretty incredible. When you live in a city, you see a couple in the night sky on a good night but there are thousands – and the pitch black at Kielder meant you could see it all! When we left at 2am I was exhausted but totally buzzing. 

bird of prey at kielder

birds of prey at kielder

The excitement of the weekend wasn’t over yet, of course, and after a massive lie in and a bumper breakfast we set to exploring. Nick and Helena found their happy place at the Birds of Prey display, and we investigated Kielder Castle (which wasn’t much to look at but had a cute cafe. And then it was time for my favourite part of the weekend – the walk around Kielder Water!

kielder water 2  

Most people will tell you that I am not outdoorsy, and they would be right. But when the conditions are right I am more than happy to pull on my walking boots – and this was perfect. The sun was shining, the scenery was beautiful and I was with some of my favourite people in the whole world. What a dream. Of course, you can’t walk around the entire thing (or you could, but it would take you hours!) so we planned a short little jaunt. I practically skipped the entire way, beaming. It was so gorgeous and life feels so magical when you’re walking in such a beautiful place. I am grateful that I get to do things like this, and that we live in Britain which is chock-full of surprising, stunning places like Kielder. I could have walked twice as far as we did, giddy as I was, but I was over-ruled by the group who wanted to get to the pub (fair enough) so we took a shortcut back. 

kielder water 6

The rest of the weekend was for eating large amounts of delicious food, drinking wine and playing Cards Against Humanity. It was truly perfect – and I would recommend it highly for a bit of rest and relaxation! 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Yorkshire is pretty wonderful. There’s pretty much everything you could want here in God’s own county – from the mean streets of Leeds to the rolling pastures of the Dales, the bleakness of the moors and the quaint little towns with drystone walls. I’ve made my way around quite a bit of these green & pleasant lands over the past couple of years, but there’s still plenty to explore – including Yorkshire’s coast. So when I was invited to come down to Ox Pasture Hall near Scarborough, I jumped at the chance. 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Ox Pasture Hall is perfectly situated for those wanting to see more of Yorkshire – it’s a five minute drive from Scarborough for those who want to stroll along the beach, but tucked away in the countryside for those who want a quiet break and a ramble in the fields. It’s also not far from York or Whitby, so there’s plenty to do for a longer stay. Oh, and it’s dog friendly for those with pooches (and those who, like me, really want a pooch and will happily coo over other’s pets when out and about…). We were just there for one night, but we managed to walk along the seafront and snack on some proper fish & chips – whetting my appetite to come back to this part of the world! 

Chips at Scarborough Beach

The hotel itself looks like a rustic country house, set in stunning gardens. There’s a log-burning stove in the bar area and a few hints of the old life of this building scattered around the place. It’s very cosy, although we went on a Wednesday so it was a little quiet – which depending on your sensibilities will be a good or a bad thing! Our suite was absolutely beautiful, and incredibly spacious. It was light and airy, and incredibly comfortable – the bed was like sleeping in a cloud. I was very disappointed to go back to my regular bed which has very few cloud-like qualities. 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Let’s talk about the food though, shall we? That’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it? I’ll be honest and say that the afternoon tea was nothing much to write home about; having had some very good afternoon teas in my time, I was a little underwhelmed by the selection. However, that being said, dinner more than redeemed any lingering disappointment from the tea – it was incredible. It’s not cheap, but I was so full afterwards that I couldn’t really manage any breakfast the next day, so it’s easy to get your money’s worth!

Afternoon Tea at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

There are two menus – the A La Carte and Bistro. Since we were feeling fancy, we went for the A La Carte. A surprise ‘amuse bouche’ arrived first – a little cup of more-ish tomato & red pepper soup served with fresh bread and a dollop of garlic sauce. This was followed by Whitby crab for me – a very fresh dish – and ham hock for Paul. I want to sing the praises of the main course, however – a delicious beef dish made up of a slow-cooked joint and steak, which was melt-in-the-mouth and incredibly decadent. The menu changes regularly with the seasons, but if you get the chance then order this dish! There was no room for dessert after all that, which is not my usual modus operandi but needs must! 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Whitby Crab at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Beef at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

All in all, we had a wonderful time. It is one of my enduring memories of Bridget Jones that she was a little obsessed with going on a mini-break, which always confused me as a teenager. However, I think if all mini-breaks were like this one then I think I could definitely get on board with her way of thinking. 

Disclaimer: We were offered a complimentary stay and meal at Ox Pasture Hall in return for this review but, as always, I would never lie to you about the cloud-like nature of a bed. That’s serious stuff. 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Exploring Knaresborough

knaresborough 9

There are a lot of things I like about living in England. The NHS. Pimms. Blackberry picking. But one of my favourite things is that everywhere you go is steeped in history. People have been living on these green and pleasant lands for centuries, which means that everywhere has its little stories to tell and secrets to reveal. Not all of our history is good, although it is often grand, but there are so many little tales to be told on top of all of that – weird, quirky, and downright odd tales. I’m also very lucky, living in Leeds, that it’s so quick and easy to get out into the surrounding towns and villages where these tales are just waiting to be discovered. Leeds has its own history, but sometimes its nice to step out of your every day and go exploring. 

knaresborough 1

Which is exactly what we did when we took a little day trip to Knaresborough a few weeks ago with Joe and Cheryl. It’s a lovely, quaint place with old buildings, cosy pubs and plenty of history. It’s also currently decked out in all the Tour de France finery from the festivities in July – there was bunting galore which put such a smile on my face. There is something about that community spirit that you lose a little bit in the big bad city. 

knaresborough 6

knaresborough 4

We spent the day wandering around, discovering the not-so-secrets of Knaresborough. The ancient, crumbling castle overlooking one of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen. The House in the Rock, now hidden from public view (most of the time). Antiques shops stuffed with ancient books. Mother Shipton’s Caves where you can make a wish and find out more about the life of this soothsayer (it’s a little creepy, I’ll tell you…). Perhaps most fantastically, you can take a look at the Petrifying Well – a waterfall-like structure where the water gives objects hung there a stony exterior. 

knaresborough 3

knaresborough 10

All in all, a wonderful day out – and a lesson in how much has happened before us. And how freaky nature can be…

knaresborough 7 knaresborough 8

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Brunch at Cheese & Alfies in Christchurch

cheese and alfies 2

We woke up on Sunday surprisingly fresh and un-hungover – I got so distracted dancing to cheesy tunes that I kind of forgot to drink anything for the last few hours of the wedding, which definitely helped – but a decent brunch was still the order of the day. A little scout on the blogs told me that Cheese & Alfies was our best bet – a quirky little cafe in Christchurch’s historic quarter with an extensive brunch menu. Perfect.

cheese and alfies 3 cheese and alfies 4

It was perfect for Sunday morning brunching – relaxed decor, generous portions and friendly staff. There were books tucked into the backs of the chairs and fun posters adorning the walls, as well as plenty of room for groups as well as couples or individuals. There was a little bar at the back upstairs, and by the looks of their website they do private parties – so I had a little daydream about having a cute birthday party here. It struck that perfect note between unusual and unique without being pretentious.

cheese and alfies 5

The food was also delicious and exactly what we were looking for. Thick slices of doorstop bread with real butter, mounds of scrambled eggs and crispy slices of bacon. Kirsten had the ‘pan haggerty’ which I was most jealous of (as I always am with dishes covered in cheese). My smoked salmon and poached egg was gorgeous – and the toasted seeds which garnished the dish were a welcome addition.

cheese and alfies 7 cheese and alfies 8

I don’t usually mention the child-friendliness of the restaurants that I visit – mostly because I have absolutely no experience in that area – but I think it’s worth mentioning this time since we had Martha with us. A kids menu complete with crayons was presented to us on arrival and there were toys and books squirrelled away on some bookshelves in the corner – perfect for distracting a fidgety little one whilst her parents finished their breakfasts! Plus, I was rather proud of my doodling efforts…

cheese and alfies 6

All in all, a brilliant brunch!

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest


holiday 9

This last week saw us pack up the car and trundle down the M1 for our holidays. With saving for a wedding high on the agenda, we’re not planning on any big foreign jaunts this year so a stay-cation was the order of the day. Our lovely friends Laura and Stuart were getting married and since the journey down was so far, we decided to extend our stay and make a proper little seaside holiday out of it with some friends.

holiday 8 As a kid, we often holiday-ed on the Jurassic Coast – I have fond memories of Lulworth Cove in particular – but Christchurch and Mudeford was a new one on me. The views from our holiday home were spectacular and it was just a few short steps until we were by the sea. The weather could have been nicer (we were hoping for scorching sunshine and got more ‘cloud cover’ instead) but it was so refreshing to be by the sea – and to be in a place with absolutely no phone signal at all, although it made planning anything with the group a bit of a nightmare!

holiday 1

Most of our time was spent eating, drinking and chatting – which is as it should be when you’re on holiday. There were walks on the quay, spying on the buckets of people catching crabs and treating ourselves to ice creams on the beach. Is there anything better than a Mr Whippy eaten by the sea? We wandered through the cobbled streets of Christchurch and in the evening sipped cocktails and nibbled pizza at a pre-wedding shindig. We cooked up a storm in our kitchen and invited everyone to our table – passing round bowls of deliciousness and topping up wine glasses.

I’m a big fan of group holidays – they manage to be both sociable and relaxing at the same time, which is pretty much my favourite thing. In the last few years I’ve really discovered my extroverted side – time spent with people I love is exactly what I need to feel happy, inspired and ready to face the world. This group holiday was particularly special though, because I got to hang out with my favourite little lady.

holiday 4

I have no doubts that being the parents of a toddler is exhausting work. She may look like an angel but the terrible twos are certainly on their way. But I can’t think of anything more joyful than having Martha around. It’s a cliche, I know, but her laugh is just so uninhibited and bright that it makes my heart happy. It’s so amazing how much she changes and learns in between our visits. Like when she grabs at your camera and says ‘cheeeseeee’ with the biggest grin on her face. How fun is that?

holiday 6

Oh, and isn’t this just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Little people are the best.

holiday 5

holiday 7

Christchurch is certainly a beautiful part of the world and one I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future – if Paul’s parents don’t retire here, then I’ll be very surprised! I just wish every week could involve walks on the beach, cheeky ice cream breaks and being surrounded by our fantastic friends, don’t you?

holiday 2

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest


bivouac 1

I am not an outdoorsy person. My family have often mocked me for my aversion to the Great Outdoors – they are into camping and hiking and generally getting fresh air, whilst I would usually rather be inside, under a blanket, where the wi-fi is. However, as time goes on, my love for the countryside grows stronger; I will always be a city girl, but I can appreciate the benefits of a weekend in the outdoors now more than ever. Maybe it’s because I now live in Yorkshire – an area renowned for its natural, rugged beauty. You don’t have to travel far out of Leeds to find rolling hills, dry-stone walls and scenes of breath-taking beauty.

This weekend I packed up my walking boots and my waterproof jacket and made my way north to Bivouac – an eco-friendly glamping site near Masham – for a hen do. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement – the weather had decided to turn from glorious sunshine to torrential rain in just a few days, whilst the lack of lighting in the cabins and the potential problem of having to trek across a field to get a decent shower were not assuaging my fears.

I shouldn’t have worried – it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a very long time. Company makes all the difference, of course, and the girls were fantastic but equally Bivouac totally captured my heart. It felt rather ‘Wuthering Heights’ as the fog and mist drifted in across the fields, but there was no doubting that this was a beautiful part of the world. The cabins were quaint and the little cafe where we had a tea party was a blogger’s dream – wooden beams, mis-matched chairs and delightful scones. Heavenly.

It was refreshing to leave my phone off for a few days, to not worry (too much) about what I was wearing – as long as it was waterproof, and to forego make-up and shiny hair for a fresh face and a top knot. Having a real log fire to heat our little cabins was lovely, and we didn’t miss the use of electrical light too much. Sure, we got soaked a couple of times but that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it? I’m certainly a convert – and I’d love to come back and really get stuck in to a little bit of rural living. I just need to buy some Hunters first…

bivouac 2

Want more? Follow me: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest

Harry Potter Studio Tour

studio tour 8.jpg studio tour 1.jpg

studio tour 2.jpg

I am a child of the Harry Potter generation. I was the same age as Harry and his friends throughout the series, and I devoured the books the day they came out. I laughed, I cried, I dreamed of living at Hogwarts. The books have meant different things to me over time – from bookish child to awkward teen to enthusiastic adult – but they have always been important. The movies, too, although less so – I admit to becoming practically dehydrated through weeping in the final movie, but it’s the books which give me all the feels. Re-reading them now as an adult is a fun experience – I am more considered and analytical now (that English degree wasn’t totally wasted), I’m appreciated the depths and the values of the text, but I’m still getting a wave of nostalgia. I’m also seeing things from the adults’ point of view – Molly Weasley is pretty much always right and I think she might be my new role model.

studio tour 3.jpg studio tour 4.jpg

studio tour 6.jpg

This is all a long-winded preamble to say that I finally visited the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour – a long awaited trip that did not disappoint. It was incredible to walk around the sets and appreciate all the hard work that went into the movies. They’re a bit of an anomaly – eight movies which used the same set – so the level of detail in the props, the costumes, the sets was built up over time. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a part of that, but it’s definitely impressive. It’s not cheap to visit, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re a fan. Plus, we got to meet THE Hedwig – who was very fluffy but very grumpy (although maybe she was just in character, amiright?).

studio tour 9.jpg

It was also super fun to spend time with my brother and sister – we don’t often see each other when our parents aren’t around and I really enjoy building this new kind of relationship with them. As a kid I definitely took my family for granted, but now more than ever am I grateful for them and I enjoy being in a new phase where we hang out because we want to, not because we’re supposed to. We’ll probably never be the closest, but I like coming from a big, loud, smart, interesting family and I’d hate to lose that. We’re very different in our interests and personalities – for three people who have the same genetics and the same upbringing, we somehow ended up quite different. A love for Harry Potter, however, is one of the things that we all share so this was the perfect opportunity for a bit of sibling (and hangers on – sorry Paul!) bonding.

studio tour 7.jpg studio tour 11.jpg studio tour 10.jpg

Want more? Follow me: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest 

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest


edinburgh 9

What can I say about Edinburgh? I am totally head over heels with Edinburgh. It might be my favourite city ever, although it’s too soon to tell. Full of beautiful buildings, ancient pubs hidden down secret alleyways and cobbled streets. You can’t help but stumble across years of history, on places where secret trysts were made, deals done and promises broken. It feels like a place where dramatic things happen.

It’s no wonder that JK Rowling was so inspired here and you can see the influence that Edinburgh has on Harry Potter. At times, it felt like we were strolling down Diagon Alley, or popping into The Three Broomsticks. We found ourselves tucked into the back of The Elephant House cafe where Harry Potter was penned. As a lifelong fan, it was vaguely thrilling although the ordinariness of the cafe was perhaps a disappointment. Or it was, until I went to the bathroom… Pushing open the door to the ladies toilet you are confronted with a cacophony of graffiti, proclaiming their dedication to the story, to the characters and to the author. I felt myself tear up imagining how that must feel, to have your art touch so many people so profoundly. Whilst it may not be ‘high’ art (although, who decides…), there is something so magical about that.

It was just a weekend, but what a weekend! We stayed in the most beautiful apartment. The owner clearly has impeccable taste, the art on the walls was perfectly curated, the bookshelves were filled to the brim with classic and modern literature, the chandelier hung over a long table with mis-matched chairs perfect for debating politics and art over too many glasses of red wine and a dish of something garlick-y. Oh, and the bed was in a box. We sat by the fireplace, jazz music on the CD player and looked out over the Royal Mile. To think we paid almost the same for a Premier Inn last time we came is comically tragic.

edinburgh 1

On the first night we joined Emma and Matt for dinner at Ondine, a swanky seafood restaurant found just a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile. Far from the ancient pubs steeped in history, this was a swanky place with proper napkins and an extensive (and expensive) wine list. It’s not often that you get to dine in Edinburgh, though, so lobster was the order of the day and we finished the meal with whisky to celebrate Burn’s Night. Not your usual haggis, neeps and tatties celebration, but it felt fitting. Since we were dressed up to the nines, cocktails at the next-door Hotel Missoni was the only logical step – it was achingly stylish, the drinks were potent but I think I preferred drinking champagne in the apartment afterwards…

edinburgh 4 edinburgh 3 edinburgh 2

edinburgh 6 edinburgh 5

The next day was a day for exploration, for wandering aimlessly through Old Edinburgh in search of curiosities and curios. The weather was incredibly kind – although freezing cold it was bright and clear for most of the day so our wandering was pleasant rather than arduous. I think my favourite find was a bookshop filled to the rafters with second-hand books, crammed into corridors that you could spend hours browsing. It felt like something from a Dickens novel, with that overwhelming ‘old book’ smell and no rhyme or reason to the shelves other than a vague commitment to the alphabet.

edinburgh 7 edinburgh 10

edinburgh 11

I want to give you recommendations of the places we stumbled across, but it doesn’t feel right when I don’t know the city well enough. However, if you do want to follow in our footsteps, lunch at Mussel & Steak Bar was hearty and wholesome, Caffe Lucano allowed me to combine my love for hot chocolates and limoncello (not in the same cup, but in the same visit…) whilst affording excellent people-watching opportunities, and Holyrood 9a served us epic burgers in stylish settings that wouldn’t be out of place in hipster Leeds.

edinburgh 12 edinburgh 13

edinburgh 15

It’s hard to look back on holidays with any sense of detachment. After waiting so long for this weekend, I left feeling a bit deflated. Not only was I back to work with a bang (and on my birthday of all days) but having been ill on the last day I couldn’t squeeze every last drop out of Edinburgh as I had wanted. Looking back now, though, it feels like it was perfect. Perhaps it was a mix of the two – but there’s no denying that Edinburgh is always going to be close to my heart and top of my holiday wish list.

Oh and we got engaged, so there’s that…

Want more? Follow me: Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest