Edinburgh

Day 1Day 2

A dedication to my dear friend Dom Jackson.

DAY 1

After reminiscing about a fabulous trip to Scotland with my late friend Dominic and the fun and fond memories of the Edinburgh Festival, I had one place in my mind that HAD TO appear in my travel adventures.

Another early start with my good friend Tara (@mystyledshoot) and we were at Gatwick en-route to Edinburgh… So excited!

In my usual flying panic (I hate flying!) I had forgotten to check in online (yikes) and running super late (as usual!) the app was no longer doing check ins! But luckily the kind man from Easyjet helped – the crisis was quickly averted and we were smoothly through security. The usual routine of picking up my travel must haves from Pret followed – a “Hot Shot” to knock our socks off and kick start the day paired perfectly with a comforting Turmeric Latte (to steady my flying fears).

We jumped on the plane and took our seats at opposite ends of the plane, before Tara called me over to join her… phew! Calm restored by Tara… I know what you’re thinking “you’re only flying to Edinburgh”! But flights are so much less scary and more fun when sitting with friends.

After going through security, it’s hard to find a drink to travel with that isn’t plastic BUT the Cabin Crew let me know that they have a bag for rubbish AND a bag for recycling… another phew and definitely worth a mention!

After another easy flight with Easyjet we  landed in Edinburgh, stepped out of the airport and into a black cab en-route to our first stop “Pumpkin Brown”. Without knowing the exact location, we were dropped off on the iconic Grassmarket, a beautiful place filled with fabulous energy, really cool architecture and bright striking colourful buildings. A really great place for photography!

Immediately I spotted the vintage shop I’d visited with my friend Dom, across the road… it’s called Armstrongs Vintage and is a great place for discovering retro and vintage hidden gems! I picked up an old-school Champion bumbag from the 90’s on my last trip. Something I will always cherish.

Breakfast:

Arriving at Pumpkin Brown I knew we’d picked the PERFECT place to enjoy brunch. This is an exclusively vegan place serving everything from Acai Bowls and Caramel porridge to Snickers Cakes and the BEST smashed avo on delicious sourdough toast you can imagine… (expect turmeric and red velvet lattes too!) Think healthy clean food that’s wonderfully comforting and delicious too.

The staff are so friendly and it was great chatting to Katy the chef and hearing about the Pumpkin Brown story of how the place had evolved and became not just a take-out venue but somewhere you can sit and relax on one of the most beautiful streets of Edinburgh, whilst enjoying delicious and nourishing food at any time of the day.

I give Pumpkin Brown a massive thumbs up – I’m totally in LOVE with this place.

After a couple of hours looking around Edinburgh and searching for some warmer clothes for my lovely friend Tara (she’s used to warmer climates!) we checked in to our Airbnb for a quick pre-afternoon tea sleep.

Afternoon Tea:

With posh afternoon tea booked at the Radisson Collection on the world famous Royal Mile, we headed off ready to check out what was on offer! On arrival we were taken up to “Cucina” the award-winning restaurant within the hotel which has such a fab vibrant decor!

We were greeted by a kind host named Axel who talked us through the fabulous selection of teas. His knowledge was outstanding! From the tea ingredients to what to pair the tea with and even how many minutes each tea should brew for; I love it when days permit for time to enjoy and appreciate such small but beautiful things.

We chose our teas and along came our beautifully presented afternoon Tea. Wow!!! And guess what?….  It was in partnership with Pumpkin Brown so we got to enjoy a mix of the two and more sweet treats!

We braced ourselves (I always find the amount of food served up with afternoon tea a bit daunting) and carefully selected our bigger than bite sized treats… Tara most gracefully enjoyed her selection whereas I was in food heaven and completely forgot the size of my tummy and got completely stuck in! From pulled jackfruit mini wraps to lemon tarts and gluten free scones, everything was so delish.

The vegan afternoon tea here is a must if you’re visiting Edinburgh and in a great central location too!


With our bellies full we headed back to the apartment, Tara having only just returning from Las Vegas, was pretty tired, so we took some down time before our night time escapades.

Dinner:

Feeling rejuvenated, we requested an Uber and were ready to enjoy a fab evening C/O Wagamama!!! A special one off tour called “The Vegan Hangout” hosted by Loui Blake… anyway, what a cool night enjoying all the Waga’s vegan delights including the cult followed VEGATSU!! Food and drinks flowing we met and caught up with Loui Blake – owner of the relatively new and hugely popular Erpingham house (we can’t wait to visit!!) and his lovely partner Lauren. Such a fun evening and we were the last people in the house as usual… We called it a night and headed out into the torrential rain and grabbed a cab home…

Wagamama have nailed the Vegan thing, great food, great flavours and seriously generous food sizes, what more do we need?

Perfect day!

Day 2

After a relaxing lay in, my friend Beth called & had landed at Edinburgh airport ready to join us for the rest of the Edinburgh trip! She arrived at the apartment, dropped her bags and the 3 of us headed off to breakfast…

Breakfast:

Beetroot Sauvage is situated behind a row of shops on a high street, in a cool warehouse style building that’s much like a tardis. The plant-based cafe is home to a fabulous wellness centre and treatment room and a heavenly garden where they hold a plant based Sunday market. It’s such a cool friendly space and the type of place I’d love to have back home. Think somewhere you’d head for breakfast with friends and if you had your laptop with you, end up staying for coffee, lunch and a yoga class or two.

Breakfast was first class and between us we worked our way through smashed avo on toast, pancakes and lots of coffee. Pancakes are my absolute fave and these were up there with some of the best I’ve tasted and with a big mug of cappuccino served with coconut milk, were a totally scrumptious treat.

After breakfast Rebecca gave me a tour of the venue, showing me the garden where they hold the Sunday markets, plans for vegetable growing areas for children to learn about growing their own veg (love this) and the fab yoga studio and  treatment room, this place is definitely somewhere to head to if you’re in Edinburgh for fun or work. Breakfast complete, tiramisu cheesecake in hand (please don’t judge me) we were off for a walk to work off some of yesterday’s calories…. I would have loved to have stayed longer and can’t wait to visit again soon.

Lunch:

We managed to talk Tara in to staying an extra day, so the 3 of us made our way to Seeds for the Soul, an exclusively vegan cafe serving “hearty food to nourish body and soul”.  You can eat in or get food to take away, so they’ve got you covered for all the vegan goodness you need.

On arrival we saw cakes, plenty of cakes! So we knew we’d picked the perfect spot for lunch.. hanging fairy lights and a fab interior styling (straight away I was figuring out how I could recreate the look at home!)  

Smoothies awaited and the we caught up with owners Roberta and Thomas who talked us through the menu… we felt totally spoilt for choice.

We decided to share the Falafel salad, which was perfect, crisp on the outside with a warm, moist middle along with some really tasty buffalo cauliflower which was totally yum! So much so, Beth has been trying to recreate her very own version at home, since we returned.

This cute cafe only opened early 2018 and already has huge loyal support from the local community and those further afield. We can see why as the passion and dedication of owners Roberta and Thomas shines through in the food, venue, ingredients and delicious flavours.

With our bellies full and our souls happy, we ventured into the city centre for some shopping and sightseeing before heading back to the apartment to relax and unwind.

Dinner:

One name we kept hearing when planning our trip to Edinburgh was “Harmonium” – so we had this near the top of our list!

Before we go on to talk food, which quite possibly needs its own blog, I’ll set the scene…. Harmonium is situated in Henderson St, Leith… Think stylish upcycled furniture, high ceilings, bright flowers, church pews, industrial lighting, open kitchen and super friendly and welcoming waiting staff!… Thanks Ben, Katie and the team for your perfect hospitality!

We checked out the menu and Katie talked us through the options… what I didn’t write earlier on is that Tara and Beth weren’t vegan.. menu options are written as  “fish”, “scallops” and “Calamari” and Tara and Beth were thinking “how”? I told them everything was actually vegan and they didn’t know what to expect.. everything about this trip had been plant based with not a “meaty looking” alternative so this was a great contrast and new experience for my non vegan friends.

Everything about this venue is understated, think relaxed fine dining and no screaming vegan message. Somewhere perfect to trick your non-vegan friends into eating something new – love this!

Starters / Sharing plates are a great choice if you’re with friends and can’t decide on the great selection of menu options…  with generous portion sizes they’re perfect!

With drinks ordered we worked our way through the menu before deciding on Pan Seared King Oyster Mushroom Scallops, Heart of Palm Calamari and Harissa Baked Cauliflower as sharing plates alongside the Thai Style Crab Cakes main plate.

The presentation of the food alone is a work of art and the tastes and recreation of fish based dishes and flavours – INSANE, my non-vegan friends were completely blown away and confused as to how vegans eat such awesome food – My happiness reached a whole new level!

The good food doesn’t stop there, we went for Rum and Dark Chocolate Mousse and the Raspberry Sorbet… it is safe to say, the chefs have perfected desserts to another level too.

As if the food and vast drinks list isn’t enough, the team have created a wicked cocktail and after dinner drinks menu. We checked out the “Coffee and Cigarettes” – think sophisticated, masculine and dark…. and “The Signature” which is a perfect evening treat. The cocktails MUST put Harmonium on Edinburgh’s Cocktail Hot List!

All in all, we LOVE Harmonium, they have completely and utterly delivered on every aspect of a super cool foodie joint (not just for vegans!) I’m sure meat eaters, veggies and vegans alike LOVE this place and we can’t wait to return again someday.

Our Edinburgh journey was over, so much fun and laughter, so many amazing people running great vegan friendly businesses and so much inspiration for myself and my friends Beth and Tara, so much so that since returning, the girls have completely changed their diets and started a meat free journey – safe to say, I’m super proud of them!  

Dinner:

One name we kept hearing when planning our trip to Edinburgh was “Harmonium” – so we had this near the top of our list!

Before we go on to talk food, which quite possibly needs its own blog, I’ll set the scene…. Harmonium is situated in Henderson St, Leith… Think stylish upcycled furniture, high ceilings, bright flowers, church pews, industrial lighting, open kitchen and super friendly and welcoming waiting staff!… Thanks Ben, Katie and the team for your perfect hospitality!

We checked out the menu and Katie talked us through the options… what I didn’t write earlier on is that Tara and Beth weren’t vegan.. menu options are written as  “fish”, “scallops” and “Calamari” and Tara and Beth were thinking “how”? I told them everything was actually vegan and they didn’t know what to expect.. everything about this trip had been plant based with not a “meaty looking” alternative so this was a great contrast and new experience for my non vegan friends.

Everything about this venue is understated, think relaxed fine dining and no screaming vegan message. Somewhere perfect to trick your non-vegan friends into eating something new – love this!

Starters / Sharing plates are a great choice if you’re with friends and can’t decide on the great selection of menu options…  with generous portion sizes they’re perfect!

With drinks ordered we worked our way through the menu before deciding on Pan Seared King Oyster Mushroom Scallops, Heart of Palm Calamari and Harissa Baked Cauliflower as sharing plates alongside the Thai Style Crab Cakes main plate.

The presentation of the food alone is a work of art and the tastes and recreation of fish based dishes and flavours – INSANE, my non-vegan friends were completely blown away and confused as to how vegans eat such awesome food – My happiness reached a whole new level!

The good food doesn’t stop there, we went for Rum and Dark Chocolate Mousse and the Raspberry Sorbet… it is safe to say, the chefs have perfected desserts to another level too.

As if the food and vast drinks list isn’t enough, the team have created a wicked cocktail and after dinner drinks menu. We checked out the “Coffee and Cigarettes” – think sophisticated, masculine and dark…. and “The Signature” which is a perfect evening treat. The cocktails MUST put Harmonium on Edinburgh’s Cocktail Hot List!

All in all, we LOVE Harmonium, they have completely and utterly delivered on every aspect of a super cool foodie joint (not just for vegans!) I’m sure meat eaters, veggies and vegans alike LOVE this place and we can’t wait to return again someday.

Our Edinburgh journey was over, so much fun and laughter, so many amazing people running great vegan friendly businesses and so much inspiration for myself and my friends Beth and Tara, so much so that since returning, the girls have completely changed their diets and started a meat free journey – safe to say, I’m super proud of them!