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Living in a place means that you can get kind of blinded to what’s around you. I know that I’m guilty of always heading to the same coffee shops, restaurants and bars.

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About a year ago, the Principal Hotel popped up on George Street, occupying 5 of the street’s historic townhouses, it brought with it a rather fabulous restaurant in the form of the Printing Press, and a great little coffee shop – Burr & Co.

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Since then, I’ve visited both Burr & Co and the Printing Press numerous times, all whilst dreaming of the rooms within. I got a sneak peak at the bedrooms late last year (post here), and I’ve been pretty obsessed with the hotel since!

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So, a couple of weeks ago, I booked a Monday off work, packed my bags, and headed through for a night of luxury.

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As you can see from the photos – the room was absolute perfection. We were in a deluxe double in the newer portion of the hotel. With views of Stockbridge, heading down to the Forth, it was the cosiest way to spend a Sunday evening you can imagine.

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We had been well looked after by the Principal Edinburgh – when we got into the room, there was the cutest little picnic basket all packed up for us! With goodies from Burr & Co (including possibly the world’s largest, most delicious brownie you can imagine) as well as drink vouchers for downstairs – it was just what we needed!

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Not to mention the tuck box – a tin of goodies found in every Principal Hotel room. It’s the cutest idea – rather than the usual overpriced mini bars, Principal Hotels offer tuck boxes which are filled with little treats you can enjoy at no extra cost.

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So, we unpacked, ran downstairs for two cups of Edinburgh’s finest hot chocolates and headed back up to enjoy a night of comfy luxury!

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I can’t even tell you how comfortable the bed was – the perfect mattress was topped with the softest, snuffliest bedding, and I had the best night’s sleep!

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All too soon it was morning, and we padded down the the Printing Press for breakfast. I’d only ever been for supper in the restaurant, but I’m already planning a return am trip!

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The buffet on offer was positively groaning under all the delicious offerings.

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Whether you’re a pastry-lover, a toast-cruncher or a cereal kind of gal, there are options for everyone. Even though I’m not normally a regular breakfast-eater, I couldn’t resist The Principal’s offering!

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In addition to what has to be the best breakfast spread in Edinburgh, there is also a menu full of delicious hot options. As we chatted over freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee, it occurred to me that somehow I’ve never ordered a traditional cooked breakfast.

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So, there was only one option for it – we both ordered a Cooked Breakfast. Promising slices of Gildener sweet-cured smoked back bacon, a Gloucester Old Spot sausage, Stornoway black pudding, grilled plum tomatoes, buttered mushrooms, Heinz baked beans, as well as free-range scrambled eggs, it was a rather impressive plate to receive!

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What arrived was an absolute delight! Enough to feed a small army, it was an absolute feast! The bacon and sausages were real stand outs – rich in flavour and subtly sweet – it was absolutely delicious!

Thank you so much to the Principal Hotel Edinburgh for having us! Rooms at the hotel start at £212 per night, you can visit for breakfast too at £15.95 per person.

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If you’re at a loss for what to do this weekend, I would seriously suggest a wander around Edinburgh’s West End. It’s filled with stunning little boutiques, chic salons and the cutest cafes and restaurants.

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Exploring can be hungry business, so knowing where to eat is crucial, and we were well taken care of with a reservation at Kyloe – Edinburgh’s first dedicated steak restaurant. Located upstairs, right at the heart of Rutland Street, with views up Princes Street and a peak at the castle, it’s a favourite of tourists and locals alike.

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The menu boasts every cut and variety of steak you can imagine, including a brand new lunch menu. Available Monday-Saturday from noon until 3.30pm, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a quicker option than the restaurant might ordinarily serve.

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We both opted for the Steak Frites (£15) – well, you couldn’t come to Kyloe and not indulge in a little beef! Served with a fresh salad, the frites were chunkier than anticipated (I’m a fan of something closer to the French style) but they were wonderfully hot and crisp. The steak was juicy and flavourful, and the salad and peppercorn sauce were great additions.

You can find out more about Edinburgh’s West End here, and see Kyloe’s menu here

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Going out for dinner, although delightful, can sometimes feel a little same-y. You sit somewhere nice, get a glass of something, and have a good chat with whoever you’re out with. It’s nice, but it’s predicatable. So, when I was invited to Steak on Stones a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. Housed in the same building as Edinburgh favourite Steak (review here), Steak on Stones is a slightly more casual offering, and, as you might have guessed from the name, steaks come served on volcanic rocks, allowing diners to cook their meals themselves, and control how ‘done’ you have your steak.

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We popped in on a Friday night, starving after a busy day at work, so started with a Mezze Platter (£15). It sounded incredible on the menu, and what we were presented with was even better.

A huge board heaving under it’s contents, we kind of wondered how we would manage a main meal after all these goodies!

We dipped the crisp garlic bread into the pots of garlicky hummous and rich Baba Ganoush. I was obsessed with the mix of olives and grilled hallumi – it was pleasantly salty and very moreish. The inclusion of pickled vegetables rather than the regular raw crudite was a welcome change too!

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After savouring the Mezze platter, it was time to move on to the main event – which of course, was steak! Steak on Stones have a surprisingly exotic menu. In addition to the cuts of steak you might expect – rump, sirloin filet etc, they also offer Kangaroo! There is even the option to choose ‘Meat Roulette’ where you and a dining partner can share a selection of Kangaroo, Mystery Meat as well as Rump. The restaurant prefer not to let you know what you’ve been chowing down on until you’re done,

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Since we are both cowards (and we know how good Steak on Stones’ steak is) we both opted to grill our own Fillet Steaks (£30). Lean and flavourful, we both found that layering a little salt on the grill, (and letting it cool down a touch) resulted in the most fabulously tender and flavourful steak!

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We couldn’t resist a couple of portions of fries too! Hot and crisp, we alternated between mouthfuls of Beef Dripping Chips (£3.50) and Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50). Although the chips were great, the star of the show were the Sweet Potatos, which were absolute perfection!

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Even though we were both stuffed, neither of us could resist giving a couple of desserts a go! The Treacle Tart served with Ginger Ice Cream (£6) was delicious. The ice cream mixed creamy richness with firey ginger, whilst the tarts were deliciously sweet.

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I opted for the Creme Brulee served with Shortbread Biscuits (£6) and it was a delight! Rich vanilla custard wobbled under the glassy top, and the buttery shortbread was delish! I’m not going to lie, we couldn’t finish our desserts (although not for the want of trying!) and we positively rolled out of the restaurant!

Many thanks to Steak on Stones for having us! You can see their whole menu here

Did you know we’re currently in the middle of English Wine Week? Me niether! But, it’s a rather important one, as English winemaking has come leaps and bounds in the past couple of decades. Previously a bit of a joke in the wine-world, English vineyards are now challenging their French counterparts, and Surrey’s Greyfriars are my first dabbling into the idea of English wines. They’ve also come up with some rather fun pairing options for their wines:

1) Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea doesn’t get much more luxurious than when served with a glass of chilled English sparkling wine. Full afternoon tea includes a selection of freshly cut sandwiches, delicious homemade cakes and warm scones served with clotted-cream and fruity preserves.

Alongside the tea, and for a little more indulgence, enjoy a fine glass of Greyfriars Rosé Reserve.

This award-winning sparkling rosé has a delicate pale colour reminiscent of a rosé from Provence. Hints of vanilla and Summer fruits on the nose with the fresh fruity flavour of berries pair beautiful with sweet treats and scones topped with lashings of cream and jam. £21 per bottle.

2) English Cheese 

Floyd is a new soft hearted and distinctively fragrant cheese from the Surrey Hills. Made by Francis and Pam Gimblett not far from Greyfriars Vineyard in Haslemere, Floyd is a soft, washed-rind, cheese produced using milk from a small Jersey herd close to the dairy.

Greyfriars NV Sparkling Fumé pairs perfectly and brings out Floyd’s flavours. This light crisp wine has distinctive Sauvignon Blanc aromas of gooseberry and citrus. £15 per bottle.

3) Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips is an iconic British dish and sparkling wine is the perfect pairing with deep fried food. Greyfriars Classic Cuvée works well with the richness of the dish and the bubbles break down the starch giving a lighter crispier taste to the fish and chips. The Classic Cuvée for the classic British meal. £21 per bottle.

4) Chicken Tikka Masala

Greyfriars Pinot Gris really hits the spot with spicy food, especially Indian, like the British favourite Chicken Tikka Masala.

This aromatic English still white wine with refreshing acidity pairs perfectly with spicy dishes. The acid in the wine tones down the heat and leaves room for the fruitiness to express itself. £13.50 per bottle.

 5) Rhubarb and Custard

Rhubarb and Custard is a quintessentially British dessert and works perfectly with Greyfriars signature Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. This light fresh crisp wine has subtle hints of vanilla that match perfectly with the creamy custard.

As well as serving a chilled glass of the sparking wine on the side why not poach the rhubarb in the wine too to create a decadent adult twist on this much loved dessert? £21 per bottle.

During English Wine Week, pick up a bottle or two of Surrey’s finest wines and prepare to wow your palate.

ABOUT GREYFRIARS VINEYARD

Greyfriars is a range of sparkling and still boutique English wines of world class quality, made by Mike and Hilary Wagstaff and their family on the North Downs in Surrey.

The vineyards span 50 acres over three sites with 75,000 vines. The facilities include a state-of-the-art winery, chalk underground cellar, shop and tasting facilities.

The wines have won much acclaim and several major awards and medals at international wine competitions.

The Greyfriars collection comprises a vintage sparkling Rosé, Blanc de Blancs (oaked and unoaked), Classic Cuvée; non vintage Cuvée, Rosé and Fumé. The still wines include a vintage Gris and Fumé.

Grayfriars Wine can be found here.

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When it comes to must-haves, coffee is pretty high up there. I’m not going to lie, I have at least a cup of the stuff each morning, and quite a few cups to keep me going through the day. I can be a little picky about which coffees I drink though, and getting a cafetiere together can be a bit of a faff.

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So, when Lyons sent through a box of their new Coffee Bags, I was more than a little intrigued. Packaged individually, and looking rather like an overgrown tea bag, using the Coffee Bags couldn’t be easier.

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After boiling the kettle, I just pop one of the Coffee Bags into a cup, pour the boiling water over them, give them a quick stir, then pop the bag into the bin. It’s as easy as making a cup of tea, and it provides a much-needed, great tasting jolt of caffiene whenever I need it!

Lyons Coffee Bags come in 3 different roasts, and are priced at £2.60 per box, and I’ve bought mine at Waitrose.

 

 

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