The best weekend in Edinburgh

I went to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago to have a reunion with friends from University and to get into the Christmas spirit! It was honestly one of the best weekends I have had in a very long time (one of those where my jaw hurt from laughing for 3 days afterwards). We did some really Christmassy things as well as having long catch ups, so I thought I’d share what I did whilst I was up there.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

If anyone has ever been up to Edinburgh and to the Christmas markets you’ll know what I mean when I say they definitely put you in the festive mood! I went to Winter Wonderland as well in London this year, but I do have to admit Edinburgh topped London. I’m not sure if it was the fact that we won a massive penguin or that we went on the Ferris wheel but I came our feeling so much more festive than before! I also discovered that I am in fact still scared of heights and I won’t be going on another ferris wheel anytime soon.

Virgin Street of Lights

This was recommended to me by a friend who lives in Edinburgh and it was really good! It’s free and there is a light show to music along one street. It was really cool and definitely added to the Christmassy mood! (Plus made for some good photos!)

Usquabae

This was a small whisky bar that one of my friends found on google maps. It was such an amazing find and I really do have to give him credit for it! We drank wine (not whisky as I guess we should have) and chatted all evening and was just one of those evenings I’m going to remember for a long time.

 

Brunch at Loudons

This was the best brunch I have ever had. So good that we actually went twice. Oops. This place was really good for allergies and catered for me being gluten and dairy free both time really well. I had a coconut latte both mornings (and now I’m completely sold on coconut milk in coffee!) I had French Toast for the first time and I keep dreaming of going back and eating it again!! I’m not sure I can quite re-create it at home as all their bread is home-made including the gluten free bread so it tasted even better! I may have also gotten cake to takeaway both days…

 

Drinking lots of mulled wine

We basically did a tour of Edinburgh based on where the mulled wine was! We went to the Royal Mile Tavern on the Saturday night which had live music and the BEST mulled wine I’ve had. I would definitely recommend going. The mulled wine was also such good value, especially in comparison to London prices!

Have you guys been to Edinburgh recently? What did you think of it?

 

Two of my favourite festive events 

I hope you guys have all had fantastic Christmasses! I had a very chilled one this year with lots of family which is exactly what I needed amongst lots of revision.

I went to two Christmassy events this year which I absolutely loved. They really put me in the spirit of Christmas and took my mind away from work before Christmas Day and Boxing Day kicked in.

The first was the light show at Kew Gardens, which I think is called “Christmas at Kew”. Mum booked it as a surprise for me on the 23rd so we both went together. It was really lovely and mulled wine put me right in the mood! We also got some roasted chestnuts for the walk around whilst we explored all the lights.

We also found a toasting marshmallow stall where you bought a flavoured marshmallow and then toasted it over a fire – I thought this was the most amazing idea! We went for the raspberry and champagne flavour which was definitely a good choice as we polished it off very quickly…

The lights themselves were absolutely beautiful. My favourite had to be the set of lights themed around the 12 days of Christmas song. It took us a little while to figure out the theme but we got there eventually!

The last part of the walk around Kew was the light show. This was really amazing and themed to Christmas songs. I loved all the pretty colours but of course had to get a photo when it was the colour pink…

 

The second Christmassy event I went to was on Christmas Eve with my parents and best friend. Our family has a tradition that we go to Carols by Candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall at some point before Christmas. My favourite time to go has always been Christmas Eve as it makes it extra special.

I absolutely love singing carols and this has been the only time this year I have managed to do it so it definitely put me in the Christmassy spirit!

I also love the Royal Albert Hall as a venue so it was so nice to be back and the of course spending time with my parents and friend who I don’t get to see very often!

A day in Brighton

I went to Brighton last weekend and I completely fell in love with it. There is something quite calming about walking to the station on a Sunday morning and not seeing anyone – I love that feeling of being up before anyone else! I got to London Bridge and got myself a coffee and hopped on the train to read my book “Spectacles” by Sue Perkins. I don’t normally like train rides but this felt so calming and almost like I was just relaxing at home.

Brighton is so pretty and quaint to walk around it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday. I love little independent shops and Brighton is brimming with them, I bought some little goodies as Christmas presents for some friends. I definitely felt like I could have spent hours in all the shops though so I think I’ll need to make another trip soon!

Brighton also has the highest concentration of vegan and gluten free restaurants and cafes I have ever seen. We had a roast dinner at a place that did vegan roast dinners (as well as meat ones) and all the sides were plant based. I honestly couldn’t believe it!! There are so many cafes that I want to try, there seemed to be such a huge range of places unlike some areas of London!

The Christmas lights were also up and they were so lovely I really began to feel Christmassy!

We had a wander around the Pier and it was so good to look out to the sea and see such a huge open space. I was sad to get back on the train in the evening but I also felt so contented coming back to a warm flat after a chilly walk back from the station.

Perfect Sunday ❤

 

 

 

 

Postcards from Cádiz

Hi guys! I thought I would give you the photo downlow of my trip to Cádiz the other week…

(Is it obvious that I enjoyed taking photos far too much whilst I was there?!)

I was a massive lover of the tapas culture in Cádiz. Basically I could eat every time we stopped for a drink and what isn’t amazing about that?! We found a really cute street full of lovely restaurants and I had to take a photo of the outside of this one as it looks so bright and happy! 

I took this within half an hour of when we arrived at the hotel. It was chucking it down with rain but I still insisted we run up to the roof terrace to have a look! This was the view out over Cádiz!

How pretty are these buildings off of a main square?!

We spent a good part of an afternoon wandering along the promenade and it was beautiful to look out to sea and have a real good chat…

Cádiz Cathedral from the outside… we spent far too log in the square in front of the Cathedral admiring it and eating tapas… of course…

This was the view from the top of the Cathedral. I think I could have spent all day up there taking photos but mum definitely would have wanted to throw me off the edge…

There was a point on the promenade where there were loads of cats. Someone had set up little houses for them and fed them on a daily basis. As you can imagine this was my actual dream and we may have gone back twice to check on them..

Cádiz Cathedral from along the promenade… I think this might be the shot that most people associate with Cádiz..

On one of the days we had the best beach day.. it really was beautiful!

Anyone will tell you I’m a sucker for blue skies…

On our last day we went up the tallest watchhouse in Cádiz. This was the view from the top across the rooftops. It was incredibly windy but I tried my best to get as many photos as I could before going back inside to avoid being blown over! Torre Tavira also had a camera obscura and the show was amazing, nothing like being able to see the whole town from one tiny mirror set up!

I absolutely loved Cádiz, I found it really relaxing as there wasn’t too much touristy stuff to do compared to Barcelona so you don’t feel stressed to get up and do everything. Instead we spent loads of time just chilling in restaurants and coffee shops and on the beach and so it was a perfect break to set me up for the rest of term and January exams. 

Have you guys been to somewhere in Spain recently you would recommend? I love hearing your thoughts!

Social Media vs Reality

I think everyone on the internet has written a post about the evils of social media and how it can negatively impact our mental state. I’m pretty sure everyone has also written a post about how social media is an edited, snapshot version of someone’s life and not to buy into it in its entirety.

I totally believe that social media is never a true portrayal of someone’s life. Even those who are more honest than others are still posting a momentary highlight of their life. Even though there are so many posts about this around I thought I would do something a little bit more personal.

When I was in Cádiz, on our first day it was absolutely CHUCKING it down with rain. Torrential, soaking feet kind of rain. Mum and I were walking around the town to get a feel for it and I was taking some photos. I took one photo of a really impressive tree with a fountain in front of it as well as these pillar type things. 

Being totally honest with myself I wanted a photo for Instagram, I still feel this need to show to the world “hey look I’m on holiday”, even though I can see the flaws of social media and that everyone is doing the same thing, I still want to do it. 

So here is the photo I posted:


BUT 

here is the original: 


See what I mean? 

Even though I have read tens of blogs about social media not being a true portrayal of reality, it only truly hit home to me how much every photo is edited when I realised how much I had just done it myself.

So, I guess this acts as a reminder, to both me and you, the extent to which social media is actually edited. I mean, if I do it without even being properly aware of how much I am editing my photos then I hate to think how heavily edited other photos are on Instagram, especially people who rely on Instagram for an income.

So yeah, basically don’t compare your life, holidays, friends, relationship, home or “lifestyle goals” with Instagram, you’ll never win as everyone on Instagram is cheating with those pesky filters and saturation filters.

Postcards from Madrid 

Happy half term to those of you who are on half term this week! I thought I would celebrate half term with a little post about when I went to Madrid in June last year with my Uni housemates. I mean I am in Spain again at the moment so I thought I would stay loyal to one country this week…

 It was an amazing trip away with them so I thought I’d show you some of the photos I took whilst over there. I think Madrid gets a little bit overshadowed by other European cities and I would definitely recommend a visit – there’s lots of sightseeing as well as great nightlife!

This is one of the main squares in Madrid and it was just absolutely stunning!

I couldn’t have a post about Spain without a sangria photo! We were always on the look out for sangria and there was so much about! Super affordable as well in comparison to ther cities!


This is Buen Retiro Park and it was absolutely beautiful. There were lots of performers and so much space to just sit and chill. We all loved it!

We went up to the top of the city hall building which has a library as well as lots of public offices. It also had a lift up to this incredible view for just 2 euros. It was so worth a trip and there were also some great exhibitions that we walked around!

This was Roual Palace of Madrid and it was absolutely stunning. There were some gorgeous stately rooms as well a massive open space. Beautiful even on a boiling hot day!!

I hope this inspires you to have a look at Madrid when you’re planning your next trips – it was so cheap to get there and food & alcohol was much more reasonable than Barcelona! There’s also so much to do!

Have any of you guys ever been? What do you think?

A rainy day in Cádiz

Mum and I planned a sunny getaway to Spain for my Reading week and her half term… alas the blue skies we had hoped for actually turned into torrential rain (and very wet feet) today.

So what do you do when you’re in Spain expecting to go to the beach but it’s chucking it down? 

Do what the Brits do of course and whack out the umbrellas and go for a walk! (And take some photos to occupy yourself!)

I’m amazed by the beauty of Cádiz and the tiny little things we found. One of the things I love about taking my camera to places with me is that I notice so much more when I’m looking for things to photograph than I would if I was just wandering around aimlessly. 

In my mind I guess it’s a form of mindfulness as it keeps me in the present moment rather than worrying about things like the weather or my upcoming exams! 

We spotted these benches by the promenade and I made my poor mum wait for me while I took some pictures. I just find the tiles amazing…


We also spotted this very old (and huge!) tree that mum was fascinated with. It took me ages to try and get a photo.. basically the tree was too big for my camera lense..


In front of said problematic big tree was a fountain and it looked so beautiful and autumnal in the rain.


We ended up in a local wine bar to dry off from our walk. 3 Euro wine and tapas definitely reminded me that I’m in Spain rather than in England!