Friday, May 10, 2013

Adventures in Edinburgh

I took the train up to Edinburgh last Friday to visit my friend, Adeline, who's lived there for the past six (seven? eight? nine?) years. Adeline is my French, impossibly petite, curly-haired (think: dark, glossy ringlets that Samantha from American Girls would be jealous of) friend who also happens to be my go-to guide on all things related to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness - and more importantly, yoga and what beauty products to use on my face. True story. Speaking of stories, the tale of how we met will be saved for another post (suffice to say that you'll either find it really interesting or really surprising - or even both).

That evening, Adeline took me out to dinner (tres romantical, might I add) at The Pantry, a foodie's delight located in Stockbridge, which boasts all the types of things trendy restaurants these days like to boast of i.e. fresh, locally sourced food that's delicious and beautifully presented. And trust me, folks, it was all of the above. MY, WAS IT GOOD. After enjoying our fill of freshly baked bread, smoked salmon and main dishes compromised of sole (for Adeline) and pork belly (for me), we waddled - stomachs bursting - out of the restaurant and into the gusts of that famous Edinburgh wind.

Huddling under Adeline's turquoise umbrella, I managed to pinpoint the exact street I'd like to live on for the rest of my life:

The only problem is, I have no idea what that street is called, except that it's in Stockbridge. And I want to live there. Please add a grey cat scratching at that blue door and it'll be mine, thanks.

The next morning, we woke up late and stuffed our faces with pastries while watching an impeccably groomed Jillian Michaels scream, "MOVE!!! MOVE!!!" at clinically obese contenders for the Biggest Loser USA title. It was horrific and I may need to seek counseling for the trauma inflicted upon me during those moments.

We then made an effort to get off our behinds and do something productive by heading to the Shore in Leith, where I've never been. "There might be some historical buildings down this way," said Adeline as we wandered around the quaint port. "This one looks weird," I commented, with the intelligence and inflection of a Kardashian. "I'm not actually convinced it's really, like, you know, old and stuff," I said confidently to Adeline, while waving my hand. "Hmm ... I think it might be quite a significant building," Adeline ventured politely. I peered closer at the sign accompanying the house. Apparently, it was Lamb's House, where Mary, Queen of Scots, had stayed. Nicely played, nicely played.

And so, because my throat was feeling quite scratchy from my cold and talking too much like a Kardashian, Adeline took me to Roseleaf Cafe, which, at first glance looks deceptively like a pub. In reality, it's a pub, cafe, tea room (note: there is a difference between a cafe and a tea room), and restaurant all in one. Menus were bound and sandwiched within back issues of National Geographic and I ordered the "Heartbeat" - an ice cold, refreshing blend of pomegranate, apple, and raspberry juice - while Adeline went for the "I-Pal", a mixture of carrot, apple and ginger described as "a wee gold mine packed full of nature's nutrients". Delightful. We spent the afternoon there chatting away about nothing and everything.

A trip to Edinburgh isn't complete without a whisky purchase (or two). We headed to Royal Mile Whiskies - the one-stop shop for tourists and whisky fans alike. I'm not a huge whisky drinker, but my Dad loves Oban in particular and John's a Laphroig fan, so I bought a small bottle of Oban for my Dad in preparation for Father's Day and a mini sample of Edradour for John so he could try something a bit different.

Soon, my short vacay to Edinburgh drew to a close and I bid Adeline and the beautiful city farewell. If you've never been, I highly recommend getting the train from London. At four and a half hours, it's a bit long, but if you're at a window seat on the right side of the train, it's beautiful going up - especially along Scotland's east coastline. On the train ride back down, I smiled at the tiny lambs playing hopscotch on their mothers' backs whizzing past, before closing my eyes for some much needed sleep from all that yapping I did with my best friend.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Laduree & Uniqlo Partner Up To Make Irresistably Delectable Tees

My favorite French and Japanese imports have teamed up to make the most adorable selection of tees EVER. Laduree (of macaron fame) and Uniqlo (of chic Japanese-designed apparel fame) have combined their talents to produce this limited edition collection of t-shirts for women which are available to buy via Uniqlo's website. Already, the design I've shown above has sold out and the others are disappearing quickly as we speak.

I was initially introduced to Laduree by one of John's ex-flatmates, who suggested I bring a selection of the luxury macarons to a dinner party I was attending. Needless to say, I was smitten the minute I stepped into the Burlington Arcade shop. Rows and rows of pastel perfection greeted me as I struggled to make a selection of twelve, let alone six. My favorite flavor is probably salted caramel, although I'm also a sucker for their seasonal specialties as well. Their gift boxes are beautiful and terrific to use as keepsake boxes long after the last crumbs of macarons have been dusted/licked away.

I started shopping at Uniqlo when their first store in Hong Kong opened, taking advantage of their free alterations service and simplistic, clean lines with a twist. I was thrilled when they opened in London and still visit frequently for quality basics like shift dresses, leggings, and "comfy" clothes. 

I almost ordered the tee above (as I loved the design so much), but in reality, when am I going to wear a t-shirt with macarons and the Eiffel Tower printed on it? Certainly not to work, and probably not during my "down time" either - it's probably slightly too childish for me. But, I hope someone with more fashion sense than me has picked up a piece or two from this line because it's just too cute to pass up.

© angloyankophile

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