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Travel: 48 Hours in Edinburgh & Where To Eat and Drink

edinburgh castle looking up from below
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outside edinburgh castle
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Edinburgh is a UK city that has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time, so I was thrilled to spend a short weekend there, even if it was for a very fleeting, jam-packed 48 hours! Isn't it funny that we tend to look past a lot of popular UK destinations on our doorstep and favour travelling abroad instead?

Truth be told, there are a lot of hidden gems right underneath our noses here in the UK and I can hand on heart admit that I too have been guilty of this and have only really started to explore my local staycation opportunities in the last few years.

When visiting Edinburgh for 2 nights back in May, we were fortunate to have a super central base close to Edinburgh castle staying at one of Dunc and Dee's rental apartments (within Edinburgh's Old Town District) and right on top of a popular up-and-coming fine-dining restaurant called Timberyard. If you're looking for somewhere central to stay in Edinburgh you can read more about our stay at Dunc and Dee's quirky apartment, which includes plenty of pictures to give you a good idea of the space.

So, what did we get up to with 48 hours in Edinburgh?

In all honesty, it mostly consisted of eating and drinking - surprise, surprise, with a typical sightseeing bus tour thrown in for good measure! Read on to find out which food and drink hotspots I recommend checking out in George Street and the surrounding areas... 

Where To Eat and Drink (Mostly George Street)

sitting outside tigerlily edinburgh enjoying the sunshine
buttermilk pancake with honeycomb butter and peaches at tigerlily edinburgh
poached egg, sourdough and avocado tigerlily edinburgh

Tigerlily Edinburgh, George Street

On your first day in Edinburgh, it's guaranteed that you'll need a good breakfast to start the day and fuel all the steps and stair-climbing that lies ahead of you - most of the city is an uphill climb! Tigerlily is both a restaurant and bar, oh and did I mention it's a trendy, boutique hotel too? (apparently 'the best boutique hotel in Edinburgh' according to their website). 

If the breakfast and plush bar interiors are anything to go by (think hanging foliage and bold, mismatched furniture) then I'll definitely be looking to stay here next time we venture to Edinburgh! 

On their breakfast menu, there's a good selection of items to choose from, we immediately spotted the Classic thick Buttermilk pancake that comes with honeycomb butter, peaches and almonds (£8), be warned, this is only one pancake, but it's huuuge, delicious and very filling. 

When ordering, if we can't decide between two dishes, it's pretty much a given that we order both and share (oh I do love that my husband is into food as much as me!). For the second breakfast/brunch dish we ordered the Sourdough with gucamole, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket (£6.50) and added poached eggs for an extra £1 - uh-mazing! We enjoyed the breakfast so much here, we even went back for seconds the next morning! 

sharing snacks at candy bar in edinburgh
candy bar interior edinburgh

Candy Bar, George Street

Candy Bar & Diner, again can be found on Edinburgh's George Street and is perfect for all-day dining, whether it be for lunch, dinner or a late-night snack! The food here is a lot more casual and affordable - ideal if you aren't too hungry and just want to nibble on a couple of different small, sharing-style plates. Think Mac & cheese fritters, halloumi fries, ravioli nachos (yes this is really a thing here, and they are really delicious!).

Granted the food on offer at Candy Bar is all a little on the indulgent and deep-fried side, but did you come to this blog expecting any less?! Haha. Anyway, I can guarantee by the time you're ready to visit Candy Bar you will have probably already clocked up around 15,000+ steps from walking around the city - so you earned it! ;-) Don't forget to order an insta-worth 'eye candy' cocktail.. if you're not sure which cocktail to pick, check out their Instagram for lots of inspiration! 

cocktail bars in edinburgh

Panda & Sons, Queen Street

Next up, Panda & Sons, OK, not George Street, but is located on Queen Street, literally just behind it. Panda & Sons is a little unique, why you ask? because it's one of Edinburgh's secret bars! 

SHHH! Can you keep a secret? 

Let's just say it's not as obvious as just looking for a sign that will say 'Panda & Sons' outside. You'll need to look for a 'barbers shop' and once inside the doors, you will probably have to queue for 10/15 minutes before you are lead down through the secret cove into this secret bar that fuses the classic Prohibition-style Speakeasy and a nod to the Vintage style Barbershop (clue, clue!) With its quirky concoction of cocktails and craft beers this hidden bar is great for a pre or post-dinner drink! 

Find out more here: http://pandaandsons.com/

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interior italian restaurant contini on george street in edinburgh
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italian food at contini edinburgh george street restaurant
risotto balls italian restaurant on george street
where to go for food and drink in edinburgh

Contini Restaurant, George Street

Last up, Contini on George Street, what can I say? Hands down, one of the best Italian meals we've eaten in the UK! We stumbled upon this place by chance, surprisingly when we visited, Edinburgh was experiencing an unusually warm weekend with lots of sunshine and naturally, everyone was out in their shorts and crop tops and wanted to wind down with a prime spot sitting alfresco along Edinburgh's buzzy George Street

We managed to nab an outdoor spot and indulged on grapefruit mojitos for a little while until realising that we didn't actually have that much time before we needed to head back to the airport for our flight. We asked to be seated for dinner (as it was getting a little hot and sticky) and indulged in delicious Arancini and bruschetta for starters and followed on with some ravioli and sausage pasta to share for our mains. The food was delicious and I strongly advise that you seek this place out! 

Find out more here: https://www.contini.com/contini-george-street

Hope you enjoyed reading through my recommendations! 

Where is your favourite place to staycation in the UK? Let me know in the comments below as I'm always searching for new places to explore! x0. 
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Travel: Where To Stay in Lisbon - Modern Airbnb Loft Apartment on The Elevador Da Bica Street

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modern spacious apartment for two in Bairro Alto Lisbon
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our first time in an airbnb in Lisbon
recommendations on where to stay in Lisbon

Our first Airbnb experience in Lisbon!

Airbnb. Everyone's heard of it, but have you ever stayed in an Airbnb property? I'm guessing your answer to that question is most probably YES - just like the majority of the universe! 

For us, believe it or not, it wasn't until our most recent trip to Lisbon, in 2018, that we booked and stayed in our first Airbnb property. Late to the party, I know! I'm not sure why we were so late to the party, maybe because I'm always so anxious I'll end up picking the dodgy property and it will all end in a massive shambles! 

For this trip, after much research and many positive reviews online we took the plunge. and how wrong was I to worry?!

Lisbon was the absolute dream, a vibrant city, made, even more, dreamier, by the fact we had the most adorable Airbnb apartment in the heart of Barrio Alto, located right in the centre of The Bica Elevator Street where the famous tram 28 stops right in front of the apartment. As soon as we arrived, there was a cool, buzzy vibe. 

There are a couple of bars and restaurants quite local to the apartment, some a few blocks away, so naturally there does tend to be some noise on an evening, however, we didn't have any trouble sleeping during our stay and were happy to tolerate a little bit of hustle and bustle on a night-time in exchange for having a base to stay that was super central and close to neighbouring Baixa and Chiado. 

As you can see from the photos, the apartment was super modern, very spacious, light and airy and had all the essentials we needed for a short weekend break to Lisbon. 

This apartment can easily sleep 3; there's a single bed which can be put up downstairs in the living area, however, I think its the ideal base for two! It has a really cool setup, with trendy split level living - the spacious bedroom, with plenty of storage space on a raised second level (via stairs) and the living area, sitting/eating area with combined kitchen. The bathroom with shower is also on this level. 

If you're a keen foodie, then this is an ideal nesting spot for you. The Time Out Market in Lisboa is right on your doorstep - literally a 2-minute walk down the elevator. 

Lisbon's Time Out Market is basically a huge foodie hall full to the brim with lots of different local food vendors (and provides plenty of choices), some of them from very well-known Portuguese chefs! 

Maybe you're reading this feeling a little dubious about food markets, but you can take comfort in the knowledge that the Time Out Market is the first market in the world where everything on offer has been chosen, tried and tested by an independent panel of city experts. Take it from me, during our 3-day trip we couldn't help but head back here every day to try a new snack. It was far too tempting! 

We absolutely loved our time in Lisbon and would LOVE to go back to again. We had so much fun exploring the city and loved its rustic vibe and charm. I think next time, I'll look to try another Airbnb in a different area of the city, as I'm sure there's plenty more to see and do. 

We have already booked our next Airbnb apartment in Santa Monica for our California road trip! ;-) 

Have you visited Lisbon before? If so, where would you recommend staying? 

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Travel: The Running Horses; A 16th Century Pub With Rooms & Gourmet Grub Near Box Hill, Surrey

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sandown - luxury pub with rooms
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gin and tonic with juniper berries
gin and tonic with juniper berries
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breakfast at the running horses, mickleham.

The best part...? 

Leaving work on a Friday evening after a long week at work, knowing that I only needed to drive a mere 10 minutes down the road to reach my next destination; the Running Horses Pub in Mickleham, located just outside my place of work in Surrey!

To give you a little bit of background, the Running Horses pub is believed to date back to the 16th century and sits opposite St Micheal's Church (a church which was once mentioned in the Domesday Book) - although, it appears that there is still a lot of history surrounding the pub which is yet to be discovered, which adds to the charm and character of this little place hidden amongst the Surrey Hills

If you're not familiar with Mickleham, it's a small village in the Surrey Hills, sitting on the doorstep of Surrey's famous National Trust site, Box Hill - a great attraction amongst keen cyclists and walkers, as it boasts amazing views across the North Downs. 

Our Room

We spent the evening/night in Sandown; a luxury en-suite double room overlooking the front, outdoor terrace of the pub - perfect for alfresco dining on a summer's evening and clearly a popular drink-spot for passing cyclists! 

Our room was very quaint and characterful, complete with creaky floorboards (what do you expect from a 16th century pub?) and split-level mezzanine; the en-suite bathroom with luxury rainfall shower immediately on your left, then you follow a few stairs up a raised second level which houses the bedroom complete with double bed, a small storage space for hanging clothes and a desk with chair and coffee facilities! 

Prices are very affordable, from £89 per night, with one of five double rooms to choose from, or you can upgrade for £10 more per night to stay in the Gatehouse, which has its own private entrance at the back of the hotel. 

The amenities of our room were basic compared to other hotels I have stayed in, however, features most things you would require for an impromptu overnight stay in the countryside. Our room had free wifi (sadly the majority of the time an essential for me, as I'm usually posting coverage while I stay), a Nespresso coffee machine (fresh milk is available from the bar downstairs) sparkling water, Temple toiletries and blackout blinds for an uninterrupted night's sleep! 

The bed featured plush bed linen and big, squishy pillows - as soon as my head hit the pillow after dinner I was out like a light! 

Dinner in the pub downstairs

Alongside our overnight stay, a three-course dinner was included with a bottle of house wine, which will set you back about £80-100 per couple. 

In true British style, we made the most of basking in the summer evening sun and grabbed a gin and tonic to sip outside the front of the pub before we were to be seated inside for the duration. 

The lighting and atmosphere in the pub was very relaxed and laid-back which we loved. Alex and I ordered the Chef's special of braised octopus confit pork belly, chorizo puree, and squid ink mayo and steamed asparagus, smoked tomato, olive and shallot vinegarette, garlic crisps and herb salad to start and share - two bloody delicious starters!

For the main course, I had Lion of rabbit, confit leg pie, carrot puree, sauteed spinach finished off with a drizzle of thyme jus and Alex had a squid ink pasta, washed down with a couple of glasses of house red each! We both absolutely loved dinner and were pleasantly surprised at the gourmet food options. 

We will definitely be dragging our parents back for a meal in the near future :)

For more information about the pub and rooms:

The Running Horses, Mickleham:
double en-suite bedroom priced from £89 per night 

For other hotel options in Surrey, see my review of Ripley's historic coaching Inn or a cosy country inn retreat in Churt. 

(*) Our overnight stay at The Running Horses and evening meal was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)

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Travel: Dunc and Dees Quirky Apartments in Central Edinburgh

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kitchen at stylish old town retreat in grassmarket
recommendations on where to eat and drink in edinburgh
Back in May me and Alex enjoyed a quick mini-break to Edinburgh which was absolutely fabulous. We were so lucky because the weather was glorious and we spent most of our time sitting outside indulging and drinking cocktails in the sunshine or walking here, there and everywhere. I've never stayed in central Edinburgh before so was super excited to be able to explore a new city. 

So where did we stay?


For the two nights that we were visiting Edinburgh, we stayed at Dunc and Dee’s vibrant apartment located close to Edinburgh castle. It is comfortably nestled within Edinburgh’s Old Town district, on Lady Lawson Street, and sits directly above a fine-dining restaurant (called Timberyard) that if you're foodie lovers like us you’ll no doubt be desperate to visit - we promise we'll be back to visit on our return! ;-) 

If your looking for a central base to stay in Edinburgh, then this apartment is perfectly placed, as its minutes from Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and the famous Grassmarket district.

When researching our weekend break to Edinburgh, it was cheaper (and certainly much quicker!) for us to fly from Gatwick-Edinburgh late on a Thursday evening, so we arrived at the apartment around 11pm, after a quick taxi ride (around 15-20 minutes) from the airport. 

Check-in was super easy and stressfree - if you’re concerned about arriving late, there’s no need to fret. All of Dunc and Dee’s apartments have a key-box on the outside, and Dee shared a passcode with us before we arrived, so its super ideal for those who look to check-in outside of normal hours. 

The apartment was vibrant and fresh throughout, with a unique style of new, vintage and up-cycled decor - the apartments are very boutique by nature.

Each individual room was very spacious, yet cosy and homely at the same time. Dunc and Dee really have thought about all the little details and essentials you would need during your stay; a well-stocked kitchen with complimentary breakfast cereals, milk, tea and coffee and in the bathroom, a full range of toiletries are provided, plus fluffy white towels for each guest. 

It was also lovely to see cute personalised touches throughout the apartment which included a chilled bottle of prosecco waiting for us in the fridge (now where else do you get this?), a bowl of jelly beans and some delicious homemade shortbread - which proved a welcome snack for the flight home :)


On our first morning waking up in Edinburgh, we had arranged to meet up with Dee to visit another one of their local apartments; the stylish old town retreat, which is in the nearby Grassmarket district. It was a quick five/ten-minute walk from our apartment on Lady Lawson Street, so would also be perfect if you're looking to travel as a group of friends to Edinburgh and would benefit from two apartments in close proximity of each other. 

 The old town retreat is the smaller apartment of the two with one-bedroom, however, is extremely spacious with a large double bedroom, separate bathroom, living area with dining space and kitchen - a brilliant base for two people. The second apartment was equally as glamorous with its quirky and individual character and style. 

A touch that we appreciated most was the local “food and drink guide” that clearly been given lots of thought and consideration from Dunc and Dee. Before embarking on a weekend away I would usually spend a good few days researching the best restaurants and cocktail hotspots to visit, however, I admit, on this occasion I was awful so the food and drink guide was very welcome indeed! Dee is a chef so the hosts really do know their stuff when it comes to recommending local foodie hotspots. 

The more I travel, the more I have developed a penchant for seeking out quirky and boutique accommodation; less and less am I drawn in by the standard hotel chains - sometimes its ideal for convenience, however, I find it so much more exciting locating a hidden gem, which offers much much more in terms of hospitality, individual style and personality and all the home comforts for a very competitive price! 

Its great when you've found an absolute gem that is SUPER reasonable in the price where you get triple the space of a standard hotel room - the apartments really are you're "home away from home".  We will definitely look to stay at Dunc and Dee’s apartments again on our next visit to Edinburgh :)

In my next blog post, I'll be sharing what we got up to, plus all of our new favourite foodie hotspots and cocktail hides in Edinburgh. 

Where's your favourite place to visit/stay in Edinburgh?


For details on the individual apartments see below: 

Stylish Old Town Retreat by the Grassmarket:
one bedroom apartment priced from £90 per night 

Vibrant Apartment by the Castle:
two bedroom apartment priced from £120 per night

(*) Our stay at Dunc and Dees Edinburgh self-catering apartments was provided on a complimentary basis in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions expressed here are my own (*)
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