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Boohoo Festival Fashion & The Edinburgh Fringe

Recently, I realised that I am now closer to 30 than I am to 20. This seems ridiculous to me, since I still occasionally spend a good 5 hours in one day playing The Sims and I have been known to have cookies for breakfast on regular occasions in the same way that I did when I was 16 and lived off Coca-Cola and 4 packs of triple chocolate cookies from the local Tesco.

I'm not sure if it's strange that I've got to the age of 26 without ever going to a festival - at least one that involved sleeping in a tent and mooching around in wellies. I've been to Lovebox once, and I went to one of those Secret Cinema events in a field - but that's pretty much it. I just don't think it's for me - there's nowhere to plug in your phone charger or a kettle if you're sleeping in a tent. 

Dress: Boohoo*
Choker: Boohoo*
Shoes: TK Maxx
Bracelet: Boohoo*

I might not be a legitimate festival goer, but that doesn't mean that I don't take advantage of 'festival fashion' as an excuse to wear anything with sequins, fringing, lace or billowing sleeves. Sienna Miller in the early noughties is still pretty much my ultimate style goals, though maybe I'll give the coin belts a miss this time.

Boohoo are my favourites for picking up this kind of stuff - it's such a bargain and I've never had any problems with the delivery or the quality of the items, unlike some other online shops I've tried. I also find that sometimes you want to try out some new fashion trend but you don't want to drop serious money until you know you won't just end up looking in the mirror and thinking you look like a bit of a douche - Boohoo are great for this! I picked up a choker for under a fiver and now I'm obsessed and have a whole bunch of them.

Whilst I won't be wearing this outfit to a 'proper' festival this year, I have worn it out and about at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which I think still counts, right? This dress is great for throwing on whatever the weather (useful in Scotland in August when it could be ridiculously sunny but more likely you'll have wind and torrential rain) and the loose fit means that you can drink as many pints of cider in between comedy shows as you can manage - well I have to get the festival experience in somewhere!

If you're up in Edinburgh for the Fringe and you're looking for recommendations, David O'Doherty is HILARIOUS and will make you cry with laughter, and Austentatious is one of my favourite shows of all time - it's an improvised hour show in the style of Jane Austen based on a prompt from the audience and it's such fun to watch. Go and see both!
  • Isle of Skye: where we stayed and what we ate

    It's taken me a while to get started writing this post, because I've just been sat here at my computer gazing at the photos and sobbing internally at the fact that I can no longer look out of my bedroom window and see this gorgeous scenery whenever I want.

    As you might have spotted on my Twitter and Instagram (it was a ridiculous instagrammable holiday), last week Sean and I spent a long weekend in Skye. It was a very generous Christmas present from Sean's Dad and Step-mum and we'd been looking forward to it for ages. I took a whole heap of photos, so I'm going to split it up into two posts for anyone who might be thinking about taking a trip themselves...or anyone who just likes living vicariously through other people's travels like I do. 

    This post will be a little summary of where we stayed and the food we ate...the most important part of any holiday, obvs.

    cottage stein downstairs isle of skye waternishcottage stein b&b isle of skye

    We stayed at the Cottage Stein in Stein, up in the north-west of Skye - it's a bed and breakfast owned by John and Fiona who moved to the area a couple of years ago. Now when I say bed and breakfast, it's not just your average bed and breakfast. There are only two en-suite bedrooms available and both have stunning views over Loch Bay. We opted for the downstairs room, which had access to a deck area via bifold doors stretching across the entire outer wall. It also had a rainforest shower and the MOST comfortable bed I have ever slept in ever. Also I totally covet that bedspread, not gonna lie. 

    It's not the cheapest stay available to you on the island, but if we ever went back to Skye I would save up just so I could return - Cottage Stein has a 5 star rating for a reason. The rooms are stunning, the breakfasts are better than most restaurant breakfasts I've ever had and most importantly, John and Fiona are really just the nicest people ever. From the little touches like the cookie jar left in the room, to the offers of tea and cake when we got back from our day trips - to the fact that they went above and beyond whenever possible, washing muddy jeans, airing out wet shoes, lending suncream on sunny days and even printing out a link to the mattress we'd been complimenting! Basically, I don't think we'd have enjoyed ourselves half as much if we stayed anywhere else. 

    scottish lifestyle blogger traveledinburgh lifestyle food blogger carper

    Skye is a fair drive away from Edinburgh, so even setting out at just past midday on the Saturday we didn't arrive until around 7pm in the evening. We were absolutely exhausted by that point and just wanted to chill out in our lovely room, so we'd stopped by the shops to pick up a few essentials for an armchair picnic on the first night. Alongside our baguette, blue cheese and Spanish meat platter I'd brought along a few treats that had arrived that day from Caprera, a new online marketplace for artisan food delivering throughout the UK (mainland only). 

    I love discovering new independent brands so this was a revelation - the Chocolate Tree Chilli Chocolate* was my favourite this time, but once we're in the new house I'll definitely be stocking up on a few other bits that have caught my eye...I've recently rediscovered a love for marmalade on good quality bread, so this is definitely going to have to get in my life! 

    Single Track Cafe Kilmaluag Grand DesignsSingle Track cafe Isle of SkyeSingle Track Kilmaluag hot chocolate

    On day two of our trip we headed for a tour of the north of the island, more on that in tomorrow's post - and we had our lunch stop marked out thanks to John and Fiona's recommendations that morning. Apparently some of you might recognise Single Track in Kilmaluag from being on Grand Designs one time, but we had no idea about that when we stopped there. It's a tiny little cafe in a tiny little village right at the top of the island and what they do - they do well. The small but carefully selected menu offers items like homemade soup and sandwiches, but the real draw is the hot drinks menu and the cakes (which we couldn't fit in but that looked unreal). 

    Sean had a macchiato and promptly declared it to be one of the best coffees he has ever had in his life, whereas I opted for a something a little more sugar filled - the raspberry and dark chocolate hot chocolate. Oh my god. Looking at it now, I can almost taste it again - it was sooooo good. 

    I have no photos of our dinner stops from any of the days unfortunately, but on the Sunday night we ate at the Stein Inn as it was right by where we were staying. It was fine - it hit the spot, but it was just your typical pub grub, so don't expect anything too amazing if you go there. 

    Red Roof Cafe Glendale SkyeRed Roof Cafe Skye Brie Scone

    On the second full day of our trip we headed out west, again armed with a recommendation of somewhere to stop for lunch. Red Roof Cafe in Glendale is a bit off the beaten track but it was easy enough to spot once we got within viewing distance of it - mainly because it's a bright white building with an equally bright red roof. 

    The guys at Red Roof clearly put a lot of thought into what they do - everything is seasonal, fresh, fair trade and mostly organic and local - plus they clearly know a lot about their tea and coffee - my tea came out with a timer so that I didn't commit the fatal error of over brewing my Earl Grey. Sean had coffee again and also rated this one highly, although it did come over a little less hot than I would personally like my coffee, as apparently it's served at the optimum temperature rather than, you know, hot. My giant cheese scone with brie and beetroot chutney went down a treat though - the food is excellent.

    That night we had dinner at the Old School in Dunvegan which I would highly recommend. Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either and the food is yum - my favourite was my seafood starter with the best Cullen Skink I've ever tried. The decor is lovely too - i'm a sucker for fairylights! 

    That's it for this post - I'm off to make myself some toast because I've suddenly made myself super hungry. Let me know if you're planning a trip to Skye and would like some more tips!
  • Nespresso #CoffeeWithCurrys Event @ The G&V Hotel

    nespresso blogger event g&v hotelnespresso prodigio blogger event edinburgh

    I mentioned in my post on my Nespresso Pancakes that I had been inspired by my attending a fantastic blog event the other week held by Nespresso and Currys to promote the new Nespresso Prodigio - the latest coffee machine that you can CONTROL WITH YOUR PHONE. I still can't get over that you guys - the thought of being able to set your machine to have an espresso ready alongside your exam is just the best thing that's ever been conceived of. 

    Now, I have to say - this was one of the coolest events I've ever attended. Currys and Nespresso really thought outside of the box when they came up with this evening - a five course sensory dining experience using different Nespresso flavours, held at the gorgeous G&V Royal Mile Hotel (formerly the Missoni Hotel). 

    g&v royal mile hotel dining experiencescottish lifestyle bloggers laurenella laura the likely ladyg&v hotel royal mile edinburgh coffeewithcurrys

    For the first course, we were all blindfolded so that we couldn't see what we were eating - something a teeny bit terrifying...more because I was 99% sure that I would end up throwing my wine either over my camera or myself. As you can probably see in the stunning pic of me and Laura above - I wasn't actually trusted with a proper blindfold. I don't know what they thought I was going to do with it, but I ended up having a waiter tie a napkin around my head. There's a sentence i never thought I'd say...

    I didn't get a photo of the first course, mostly down to the fact that obviously I was temporarily devoid of sight and it's surprisingly difficult to a) find your camera and b) focus on the plate in front of you when you have your eyes covered by a cloth. I will just describe it to you and you can google pictures to try and imagine it, that'll do eh? It was a type of caprese salad with a coffee dressing - it might sound weird, but trust me it was UH-MAZING.

    coffee risotto nespresso coffeewithcurrys blogger eventcoffeewithcurrys nespresso event venison coffeenespresso coffeewithcurrys panacotta

    Next up was a coffee infused risotto, which I quite liked but I think it was probably a bit of an acquired taste as I saw a few confused faces around me. I think the issue was that with the coffee flavour and the consistency it felt a little bit dessert-esque, maybe? Not a problem for me of course, because I would eat dessert at any time.

    Next up - venison (yum!) with, wait for it...fried custard. Oh my goodness, it sounds weird but it was bloody delicious. If I could only work out how the frick the chef did it, I'd be having this with every meal tbh. 

    The dessert course was a coffee flavoured panna cotta and I came out with possibly the most 'blogger' thing I've ever said in my life which was - "this panna cotta is too shiny to photograph properly!" talk about #bloggerproblems! This was my favourite course and if I hadn't thought I might get chucked out for bad behaviour I would have tried my best to distract all the other guests and steal their portions too. 

    For the final course (and the final nail in the coffin for anyone who had been hoping to get to sleep before midnight) we were invited to try out the Prodigio machine and make ourselves an espresso to go with some chocolate truffles. The excitement of using an iPad to serve our coffee was too exciting, even though it would potentially have been easier to just, y'know...press the button on the machine. 

    I had a great time at my first official Edinburgh based blog event so thanks to the lovely peeps at Joe Blogs for inviting me. Now, how to persuade Sean that we need to get our hands on the new machine...