Bank Holidays In Edinburgh

The Easter weekend is always a good one. Who doesn’t love a 4 day weekend? I made that a 6 day weekend and flew up to Edinburgh for two days before going to Newcastle to see some family and friends.


I had never been to Edinburgh before so I was excited to explore. We stayed in Tune Hotel at Haymarket. Although basic, it was everything we needed for two days and didn’t break the bank.

The castle was beautiful as the sun set on our first day. It wasn’t until the following day we went to look at it properly.


On Thursday night we headed to Malones, the pop up Irish bar that opened for the 6 Nations. It is still open and you can se why. Beer, a great outdoor setting but the highlight was the food. Pizza Geeks was serving up wood fired pizzas. There was even one with haggis on!

We also headed to some really interesting bars. Hoot The Redeemer was a small cavern of a bar full of arcade games and bright lights. There was even a vending machine for alcoholic ice creams! The best part of Hoot The Redeemer was the door, which was a Fortune Telling Game from a funfair. Just like Big!

Another bar we loved was Panda and Sons. You walked through what looked like a Barber shop window to get in, went down the stairs and opened a door that was disguised as a bookshelf. Inside was a basement bar full of tables and references to hairdressing and barbers everywhere.

Overall, I loved Edinburgh. I definitely want to go back and explore. We walked past lots of good looking places for food and beers. Every building looks unasuming but they are incredible when you get inside. Nomad coffee shop had a beautiful interior as well as a few others scattered in-between.

 

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Networking At Cosmo’s Self Made Summit

When you think of Cosmopolitan magazine you might still think of pages full of sex tips and advice on “How To Please Your Man” but that is a thing of the past. Gone are the racy pages and you’ll see more about issues that are relatable. This would be things that you feel are really aimed at you. With the main audience being 29 or younger (amongst others), jobs and careers will be a popular factor. With cracking a career that is right for you in the current climate, they hit the nail of the head with their Self Made Summit. I headed to County Hall last Saturday.


The day started with registration and breakfast. We then had an introduction to the day by Farrah Storr, the editor of Cosmo. The first keynote speaker was Olivia Palermo, who you might recognise from reality show The City but she is a key influencer in fashion. She spoke about how she works, how much detail goes into her website, social media etc and gave out advice.


There were 3 sessions for everyone at the summit. The first I went to was “Make Me Famous: The Power Of Social Media To Launch a brand. The speakers were Hugo Taylor, Made In Chelsea Star turned business owner of Taylor Morris London, Alice Liveing founder of Clean Eating Alice, Youtuber, blogger and writer Louise Pentland and Jess Ronan, the Head Of Small Business at Instagram. It was interesting to see how people started and how they control their social channels. It was really interesting to hear from someone who worked for Instagram as it is seen as one of the most powerful social media channels.


The second session I went to was From Blog To Brand. The speakers were Rosie Fortescue from Made In Chelsea and owns her own jewellery line, Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo who you will recognise from Youtube and as an owner of Real Techniques brushes, Vlogger Fleur De Force and Sedge Beswick, the managing director of SeenConnects. Sam, Fleur and Rosie have used their blogs and websites to launch a career, build a brand and assist with social media and content. There was a mix of planning and those who post when they have something to post.


Lunch was such a pleasant surprise! I was expecting sandwiches and nibbles but instead got a bento box with lemon chicken, salmon, spiralised veg, potato cakes with haloumi and olives. It was all delicious, light and helped make the day feel special. If you wanted to feel even more special, there was lots going on to pamper you. There were hair stylists on hand, you could get HD Brows, get a manicure, get your make up done and more! If you wanted a decent headshot you could get some for free! There was even an option to get a monogrammed leather purse from Mon Purse!

The second keynote of the day was Katherine Ryan. She spoke of the struggle she had when first starting out and how she worked hard to get to where she was.


The third session of the day was “Turning Your Hobby Into Your Dream Job” with Alfie Deyes. You might know him as PointlessBlog and boyfriend of fellow YouTuber Zoe Sugg (Zoella). I myself am a big fan of PointlessBlog and other YouTubers so I was excited to hear him talk. He spoke about how he started and how he copes with the work, the fame and how to handle it. I may have shamelessly gone and asked for a selfie at the end but I truly admire someone who puts their life out there so publicly.


The overall thoughts of the day was positive. I met some great people, made friends and networked. I got to hear from some people I really admired. The speakers that made my day were Sam Chapman and Louise Pentland. They were down to earth and came across as so friendly and lovely. Louise is a massive inspiration to me, working hard, keeping a work/life balance and writing a book. Ultimately that would be my aim.


I am so happy I went to the Self Made Summit and I would urge people to check out Cosmo events. As well as all the amenities, the great goody bag and food – I met fabulous people and got a lot of it. THAT is how you host an event!

Steak In Warsaw – Butchery & Wine

Warsaw was a great trip for food and drink. We headed to a few bars that were full of vodka. We then headed over to Butchery & Wine which was near our hotel.

When looking at steak restaurants in London, the price tag is pretty hefty. After a trip to MASH a few years ago, I found it was overpriced and unseasoned. It put me off a little.

Butchery & Wine was not like that at all. The setting felt a little fancy yet reserved. The dim lighting and cut back decor made it romantic and perfect for a date night.

I started with short rib croquettes with a harissa sauce. Andrew had the steak tartare. Both great pieces of meat and tasted delicious.

As Warsaw was so cheap, it meant we tried what we might not have one in London. A chateaubriand was really good value and I was so glad we had it. Pink in the middle, crisp on the outside.

The great thing about going out in a couple means sharing food is a lot more acceptable. A chocolate fondant between the pair of us meant we had a bitterly sweet dessert without being taken over by the rich flavour.

Poland is perfect for when you want to go somewhere and not spend too much. With wine, two starters, a chateaubriand, sides, sauces, a shared dessert and service, you would expect it to be quite expensive. Not this time around! All of that at Butchery & Wine was about £90! I would definitely recommend but see if you can book beforehand, just incase.

Ramen In Warsaw – MOD

I love a city break. It usually means I can throw a couple of holidays into the year. I had been to Krakow when I was younger but we were excited to go and explore Warsaw. After looking up places to eat and drink we came across MOD. It was a doughnut shop by day and a ramen place by night – what could be better?


Fusion food might seem a little over the top but some go so well with Asian foods and flavours. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the flavours that came out.

I started with beef bourginion dumplings. It was full of flavour and had cheese sprinkled all over them. The taste was really good but part of you got confused thinking it was going to be full of soy and saltiness.

My boyfriend Andrew loves ramen. I reckon he would have it every day if he was allowed. Mod had high standards to reach and they did not disappoint! My ramen dish was duck. It was rich and full of flavour. Andrew had a lot more spice with his minced chicken.

To finish it all of we shared a chocolate tart with miso cream. Again, rich, lots of depth with flavours mixed together.


The decor was pink, marble, dark wood and potted plants everywhere so it felt very East London. It felt warm, welcoming and we left feeling full and happy. It was amazing value for money too. As a lot of Warsaw was so cheap; for starters, mains, a shared dessert, wine and service, we spent around £20 a head!

If you are in Warsaw then you should definitely head to MOD. We didn’t get a chance to go in the day time for doughnuts but they look a little like Crosstown Doughnuts.

Being A Tourist In My Own City – London

I have a love/hate relationship with London. Being from the outskirts, I am used to the tube, the sights and everything in between.

Working in Soho means I usually steer clear of central on a weekend all together. If possible, I try and stay in Hackney, going as far as Liverpool Street.

When we have family visiting, it’s usually a time that we can see a few sights. This weekend was no exception.

We did the classics; Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Southbank, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden. Sounds like a lot for one day but not all that far from one another.

It was nice to see London through a tourists eye. To be honest, I can walk through these places so quickly because I have seen it all before. London really is beautiful and it’s so easy to take it for granted.

The Southbank is one of my favourite places in London. It may be touristy but it feels laid back. There’s kids running around, tourists taking pictures, music playing and incredible views.

When you are next in the city, take a second to look up at some of the great buildings and architecture. It’s the true heart of London that can take your breath away!

OOTD – Double Denim

Yes, double denim might remind you of 90s pop bands but it’s creeping more and more into people’s current wardrobes.

I was a little skeptical at first but went out of my comfort zone. To be honest, I don’t know why I worried, clashing denim is great!

I paired two very different shades. My jeans are from Marks & Spencer. They have lots of colours but the bright blue worked well against the rest of the outfit.The jacket was from Zara last year. It was one of those items I hunted for as it was a hard thing to find in the right size.

I wanted to break it up a bit so I added my checked shirt from Monki. It’s the easiest shirt to iron and is super comfy. I actually have the same shirt in a few colours as I loved the fit so much.

I have been a fan of Doc Martens for years. I used to live in my boots. I wear these 1461 red shoes a lot. I have a double monkstrap pair too I am in the process of wearing in (we all know that pain)!

Finish it off with my Ray Bans and a red lip and I was good to go!

Saturday Afternoons In Borough Market

Borough Market is an institution. The famous food market is always busy and has a great selection of food, drink and produce.

We ventured over on a busy Saturday to window shop and take in all of the sights and the smells.


There is so much to see it can be a little overwhelming.The hot food stalls are all on one side and it means that it can be reaaaaaaaallly busy. We tried some scotch eggs from Scotch Tails but didn’t have space to take a picture!


If you haven’t been before I would recommend trying a few bits! Bread Ahead have a stall further into the market. You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of their INSANELY good doughnuts.

If you are a fan of spicy then Pimento Hill does some delicious Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam. You will get some testers to try before you buy too! Spice Mountain has all of the spices, salts and peppers you will ever need!


We headed to Neal’s Yard to try some cheese. After going to Clove Club in Shoreditch and trying the tasting menu, they had some incredible goats cheese from Neals Yard. We tried some in store and it was so good. We took some home with us. The huge blocks of cheese don’t even look real and the whole room is full of all of the cheese you can imagine.


3bis Gelato is right next door to Neals Yard. As it was getting a little warmer as we are falling into spring, we decided to share a tub. Chocolate sauce is drizzled underneath and topped with the ice cream of your choice. There are a small selection of flavours to choose from but they all look so tasty.

Buying lots from Borough Market can get expensive Take a friend to share bigger dishes and wander round getting all the tasters you can stomach!

Sundays At Columbia Road

As a Londoner, it is a known fact that as soon as there is a hint of sun, you go and explore the city. As I live in East London, there is always a lot to do. With so many great markets around; Broadway Market, Netil Market, Well Street Market and Chatsworth Road Market, you can go from one to the other if you want to! One of my favourites is Columbia Road Flower Market.

Columbia Road for me is the epitome of the East End. It has lot of character, great shops and a huge selection of plants and flowers. The traders shout out and make jokes in strong cockney accents. I love it but as it is a major tourist attraction, it gets realllllllllly busy. This time round it is potentially the busiest I have ever seen it! If you get there are the wrong time you can feel like you are wadding through a huge crowd yet getting nowhere and not seeing many flowers.


As I saw hints of spring I went with the aim to get my first flowers of the year. I picked up a mix of flowers for £10. I also got some pussy willow for about £3.50. I love pussy willow and have only just found out they last for a few years! What a great value for money!

Independent florists can be really expensive. The great thing about Columbia Road is that you get a chance to pick from a huge range of flowers at great prices and you keep a London institution alive!

 

Palm Vaults – An Instagrammers Dream

I am that person who takes pictures of my food in restaurants. I love a good shot of a well made coffee. Bloggers do it, people who love Instagram do it and I think I found the perfect place to do it – Palm Vaults.

You have probably seen pictures of Palm Vaults, based on Mare Street in Hackney, without even realising. They are known for their pink decor, Miami based decor and rainbow lattes. I didn’t fancy a rose, velvet, matcha or tumeric latte. Despite the idea of something colourful, I wanted a decent coffee that had actual coffee in.

We ordered a latte, a flat white and a chocolate and salted caramel brownie. The coffee was good but the brownie was incredible. Really tasty ! Andrew was fighting me for the last bite.


The decor is lovely, but not very well planned out. The chairs take up a lot of space and as it is nearly always full, you’ll find people standing and waiting for you to leave. Andrew was despairing over the amount of people taking pictures of the place rather than enjoying the coffee in front of them. There were girls swapping seats so they could all get the right angles.

I headed to the bathroom before we left and the decor didn’t disappoint. Palm tree wallpaper, a pink sink, massive mirror and Aesop hand wash. It was something out of Pinterest! The only downside is girls with big SLR cameras were trying to get in and shaking the door so they could take a picture. Not what you want when going for a wee!


Overall, I think Palm Vaults has a lot of promise. However, we went on a quiet Friday afternoon. I have walked past on a weekend and seen queues out of the door! I’d like to go and try brunch or breakfast (with a cheeky cake on the side too maybe) but I think I might leave that for an afternoon with the girls, who’ll appreciate the Instagram aesthetic!