5 new restaurants to try this autumn

Don’t think about hibernating for the autumn/winter months just yet! From swanky, 7 course tasting menus to places to grab a relaxed meal after a long day at work, these eateries are all worthy of a visit. Read on and discover 5 new restaurants to try this autumn. Continue reading “5 new restaurants to try this autumn”

Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh

If you read my blog or my Instagram you’ll know I take brunch pretty seriously. I am obbessed with anything served with avocado, I love eggs all ways and would choose breakfast over lunch every time.

When Gusto, on George Street, launched their brunch menu a month or so ago, complete with a new smoothie and cocktail menu, I was delighted to pop along and check it out along with one of my best girlfriends.  Continue reading “Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh”

Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live

Stockbridge has been named the ‘Best Place to Live in Scotland’ in the recent Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. This won’t be news to locals, but for those of you who are just discovering this cute pocket of Edinburgh, where should you hang out? I’ve pulled together a rundown of my favourite places to eat, drink, shop and generally mosey around in Stockbridge… Continue reading “Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live”

My Gut Feeling on Fermented Food

Last year I heard the Hemsley sisters speak at their book signing in Edinburgh. They were promoting their  cookbook, Good + Simple. ‘Cooking with love, for someone you love’ was a phrase they used a lot. Their way of eating and living doesn’t cut out ‘all the good stuff’, as many healthy eating regimes demand. They are all about natural, organic, fresh home cooking. You don’t need to be paleo, or even vegetarian, to enjoy their ethos and get stuck in to their recipes. Continue reading “My Gut Feeling on Fermented Food”

Festive Toffee Tipples

I did a little bit blogging with Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer for Foodies Festival, which has led to trying out the new Red Square Toffee Vodka – not something you’d usually find in our drinks cabinet. Continue reading “Festive Toffee Tipples”

A Foodie’s Guide to The Open, St Andrews

All eyes are on St Andrews this week as The 144th Open Championship gets underway. It is an honour to welcome the Championship back to St Andrews for 29th time, and through doing so an equally exciting opportunity presents itself to local businesses, especially those in the food and drink sector. Continue reading “A Foodie’s Guide to The Open, St Andrews”

More Sunshine, More Wine!

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Spring has arrived in Edinburgh and we spent every moment of the Easter weekend soaking it up. Our spot of choice – The Magnum on Albany Street. The few tables available on the street outside are an amazing sun-trap, and we were lucky to snap one up for lunch.

The Magnum is a great little New Town pub and the menu is slightly fancier than you might expect from a such a relaxed venue. It’s also great value for money with 3 courses coming in at £14.95 – lunch or dinner.

To kick start the afternoon we tucked into a bottle of Chocolate Box wine (actually ordered by accident and slightly more expensive than we bargained for, but very enjoyable none the less) and ordered our starters.

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I opted for the courgette and smoked cheddar frittata, served with saffron yogurt and cherry tomatoes. I could take or leave the frittata if I’m honest, but Mr F&P’s smoked salmon bruschetta was absolutely delicious and with the sun beating down we could dream we were sitting somewhere in along the Almafi Coast, enjoying up some real Italian cooking!

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More sunshine, more wine, and onto our mains which included a perfectly poached fillet of coley served with a raisin puree on a bed of roast potatoes and green beans. The seasoning was just right, and the potatoes were booked in a indulgent amount of garlic and salt, making them extremely moorish.

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Our table also ordered a plate of fish and chips, one of the more traditional pub dishes on the menu, and it was enjoyed every bit as much as the poached coley.

Dessert did not disappoint. Two scoops of ice cream were just what I felt in the mood for on such a sunny afternoon. One vanilla and one butterscotch and caramel, it was a bit of a race to eat them before they melted – but of course I had help. I’m pleased to say we devoured the ice cream and won.

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The cranachan cheesecake was oaty and creamy with a good biscuit base, but the most interesting dessert by far was the butternut squash tart with blood orange sobert. A really colourful and different pudding which went down a treat.

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Roughly four and bit hours later, with full bellies, slightly red foreheads and odd sunglass marks, the sun finally crept behind the New Town buildings and we scampered across to Spit/Fire, a new pub across the road from The Magnum which is definitely worth a visit. The rotisserie menu upstairs looked incredible, and the plates coming out from the kitchen smelt even better – another place to explore next time the sun comes out to play.

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Lost in my hot chocolate

I don’t often think of going to a hotel for a singular cup of tea, but in cities like Edinburgh, the hotels have really had to up their game and are now host to some really fantastic destination restaurants and tearooms. Of course the tearooms are often full of ladies who lunch or groups of afternoon tea goers, but don’t forget you can pop in just for a cuppa as well.

We did just that at the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian Hotel at the bottom of Lothian Road. If you have not been since the refurbishment, it is well worth a visit. We headed to the Peacock Alley and were lucky to snaffle the last two armchairs available.

Back in the day this spot used to be Caledonian train station, and the Peacock Alley is actually the courtyard of the original station building. You can read a little more about the history of this glorious building here.Waldorf Astoria

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Mirrors

You can see some great now and then images from Lost Edinburgh, like this one:

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And the drinks were just as enjoyable as the setting.

Hot Chocolate

It might be £1 more for a hot chocolate, but enjoying the stunning interior of the Peacock Alley whilst a harpist twinkles away in the background, is worth it. Plus, it’s table service and the staff could not be more accommodating.

I know I’ll be back and not just for those lovely, complimentary buttery rounds of shortbread.

Gin and lawn bowls

Heading north to Perthshire...
Heading north to Perthshire…

Since I can remember my family has been going Crieff Hydro for weekend breaks, family reunions, the odd bank holiday Monday. So when my fiancé and his family announced we were heading there for a surprise birthday weekend, I was 100% on board. 

There is something extremely comforting about going to a hotel or resort that you know like the back of your hand. It may not be the most luxurious place in world, but it is the familiarity of Crieff Hydro that makes me so fond of this family retreat. Not to mention the hundreds of indoor and outdoor activities on offer, both for children and grown ups, the swimming pool and spa facilities, various eateries to choose from, the list goes on. 

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Crieff Hydro sign

 Crieff is a mere hour and half from Edinburgh city centre. We left promptly after work on Friday and arrived in time for dinner. First thing I want to mention is the fillet steak I had in the Brasserie on the Friday evening, because it was absolutely delicious. Now, with the surprise birthday celebrations and, if I am honest, the hunger we had worked up driving there, I don’t have a single photo to show you, do you will just need to take my word for it.

Over the course of the weekend we made the most of good weather and lots of the activities on offer. The grounds of the hotel are vast and inviting so it was easy to spend most the Saturday running around outside in the sunshine.

Crieff Hydro grounds

hotel frontAs we were staying in the hotel on the dinner, bed and breakfast rate, Mr F&P’s nephews were given packed lunches in the Winter Garden. The boys refuelled after morning of soft play, football and trampolining, and the adults enjoyed some gin and lawn bowls. The grand Victorian front of the hotel gives the perfect setting for such a civilised game, and we weren’t the only ones to think so – the lawn was mobbed all weekend. Caorunn gins in hand, a quick lesson from Mr F&P on the rules, we chose our end, rolled the jack and got to work. 

front of hotel instagramGin and Lawn BowlsMaybe it was beginners luck, or perhaps the gin, but I very quickly came to appreciate everything about a game of lawn bowls. If only I had discovered this earlier in the summer!

Later in the day, half of our group hit the pool and the birthday girl hit the spa after a morning of horse riding. Mr F&P and I decided to go for a walk up The Knock. Not really knowing where we were going, we set off into the woods behind the hotel and found ourselves at the top much sooner than we though. 

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 Our walk up and down The Knock was no longer than 40 minutes. For the proper hill walkers out there, the Perthshire is a stunning area to explore. Plus, the lodges on site at the hotel mean you can take the dog with you for the weekend and they also allow you to be completely self sufficient. 

On Saturday evening we dined in the Meikle Restaurant and I must be honest and say I much preferred our more casual, relaxed dinner in the Brasserie on the Friday night. On Sunday Mr F&P and I had a slower start to the day. We enjoyed some breakfast followed by coffees outside in the sunshine with the Sunday papers. 

Soon it was time to head home. We all made one last stop at Gloagburn Farmshop (more on that later) before saying our goodbyes and going our separate ways.

Crieff Hydro is perfect for a family weekend away. It is just really easy. Everything is in the one place, the staff are really friendly and there is something for everyone to do. For those wishing to venture into the town it’s a quick 15 minutes walk away, or you can go further afield and explore Perthshire. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be everyone’s cup of team. For example, the hotel is not ideal for romantic weekend away – there are kids everywhere and you need to be OK with that. That said there are some gorgeous luxury lodges which would be a better bet for some peace and quiet. 

Until I have the opportunity to go back, I’m off to find my local bowls club…