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Over the past few weekends, for one reason or another, I’ve found myself ending up in North Berwick. Before this summer, I’d never even ventured to the town, but now, since it’s only a half hour drive from Edinburgh, I’ve become quite the regular!

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Discussing places to go in the town, everyone had something great to say about The Lobster Shack, so it was about time to go explore the harbour and indulge in a little fresh seafood!

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The Lobster Shack is located right in the centre of North Berwick’s harbour, and you can’t miss it. If the blue and red shed wasn’t eye-catching enough, there will be a long, though quick-moving, line of people all debating over the small, well balanced menu.

DSC_0429Considering that The Lobster Shack consists of a single ‘shack’ with one chef and a few wait staff who buzz around taking orders, tidying and doing whatever else, the menu has everything you could enjoy on a sunny day in Scotland, and from beginning to queue to being served up with steaming boxes of seafood, could have only been 15 minutes. Considering it was a sunny afternoon, it was a pleasure to stand outside and watch the boats come and go and relax a little.

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We opted to sample three of the menu’s best-loved dishes – a half lobster, breaded haddock and a carton of seafood chowder. Honestly, I forgot to photograph the chowder, but it was the best cup of the stuff I’ve had outside of the American East Coast. It was indulgently creamy, with hunks of potato, haddock and lobster. Served with slices of crusty bread, it was the perfect start to an indulgent lunch in the sunshine. Then we moved onto the mains – both hulking boxes of seafood, chips, salad and coleslaw. The breaded Haddock and Chips is the fish supper of your dreams. The fish was juicy, the breading crisp, and the double-cooked chips were crunchy on the outside, yet still pleasingly light and fluffy in the middle.

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I went for the half North Berwick Lobster, and honestly, I think it’s one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Cooked simply with a little garlic butter (the remnants of which are poured over the chips) the half lobster was a gleaming mass of fresh meat, just waiting to be wrestled out it’s shell. Wonderfully sweet, the freshness of it was evident, and sitting in the sunshine enjoying it was absolutely heavenly!

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I’m always on the hunt for new places to go out in Edinburgh. As far as capital cities go, it’s a pretty small one, and it’s easy to lapse into a routine of old favourites when planning to meet friends, so whenever a new place pops up, I want to be the first one in the queue!

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Foundry 39 has opened up in the city’s West End, a space filled with the most gorgeous of Georgian architecture, although strangely lacking in the culinary department. Happily though, the restaurant has an extensive drinks selection, as well as casual favourites including nachos and sharing platters, and a menu dominated by sourdough pizzas and gourmet burgers. Basically it’s the casual hang-out spot you’ve been dreaming about.

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The interior of the restaurant is rather Pinterest-worthy too! Corners of it are dusted with copper accents and there are succulents mounted on the walls. After nestling into one of the restaurant’s many booths we got to grips with the drinks list. Our first choice was a Peach + Rhubarb Bellini (£8.25) to ease any work stresses, and it was a great choice; a mix of fruity and bubbles, it was the perfect refresher and got us ready for the fun to begin!

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Then we got stuck into the good stuff – a Nachos Sharer (£7.50) which came presented on an aluminium tray let us catch up on the week’s events. I’m a big nachos fan, and really, who isn’t? Foundry’s were a generous portion of fried tortilla chips (my favourite) with hearty dollops of salsa, sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese melted over a sprinkle of jalapeños. The mix of hot and spicy chilis and salsa with the cheese and sour cream was well balanced, and they took the edge off our post-work hunger pangs.

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We were both feeling absolutely ravenous, so we opted for burgers. Again, they came on an aluminium tray (a nice touch which keeps everything tidy) along with our choice of fries. Burgers and sides can be ordered separately, so you can really tailor your supper to your cravings, and if you’re feeling a bit healthy there are even salads and slaws to choose.

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I opted for the Buffalo Blue Cheese & Chicken Burger (£8.95) and a portion of Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50), and I’m pleased to say, the meal was just a dream. I never normally order chicken burgers, but the promise of crispy fried chicken with lashings of blue cheese sauce was just too good to resist. The chicken was cooked perfectly – juicy on the inside and crisp and well seasoned on the coating. There was a generous schmear of blue cheese dressing which gave it a delicious hit of savoury flavour. The fries too, were just heavenly. Crispy, yet fluffy on the inside, they were the perfect mix of slightly sweet and savoury, and they were deliciously moreish.

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We also opted for a more traditional order of a Cheese Burger (£7.95) with an order of House Fries (£2.50). The burger was filled with a giant patty of fresh, well seasoned beef with a generous swipe of mustard and cheese. The mix of flavours was just perfection, and it’s the definition of a good, traditional burger and fries choice, but to be honest I didn’t really get the chance to taste it – and that’s always a great sign, right!?

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To accompany our mains, we thought it would only be right to sample a different choice from the drinks list, Captain Barbosa (£7.50) caught our eye. Spiced rum, Courvoisier VSOP, as well as ginger, lime juice and ginger beer was a wonderfully fresh yet boozy concoction which tipped us merrily into feeling tipsy.

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I don’t tend to order dessert at restaurants – but the promise of Dark Chocolate Brownie (£5.50) was too good to resist. I’d been craving a rich, chocolatey treat for days, so my expectations were high. Happily, Foundry 39’s was a delight – a huge slap of gooey dark chocolate topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. It was warm, rich, and incredibly satisfying!

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We couldn’t leave without trying the Berry & Raspberry Ripple Sundae (£6.50) either. It is the summer after all! It was a perfect mix of rich, creamy vanilla ice-cream with fresh berries and slightly tarte compote. It was a great sharing dish, and we savoured every mouthful!

Thank you so much Foundry 39 for having us!

 

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If I’ve come across you any time in the past couple of months, chances are that I’ve extolled the virtues of Edinburgh’s New Waverley Arches. Located to the back of the train station and up a little, the development is absolutely chock-full of independent businesses which range from a city-best nail salon (Buff Concept Store, I’ve got a review coming soon) as well as a Bubble Tea parlour (here) and even a raw restaurant and wine store.

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Baba Budan though, is ruling the coffee-scene up there.Now located in two of the arches (these photos were taken when they were just in a  single arch) Baba Budan is every coffee lover’s dream come true! It’s a stunning little spot where you can hide away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, and I have to say, their offerings are pretty much the definition of perfection!

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Every time I go in, I order one of their to-die-for flat whites. The coffee is so rich and creamy, it’s my perfect way to caffeinate! As if drool-worthy coffees weren’t enough, the pastry selection at Baba Budan is in-cred-ible. They have a daily selection of the freshest, lightest donuts you can imagine. They come in dreamy flavours – my latest was bourbon cream, and it was just to die for!

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If you’re more into pastries, Baba Budan has you covered – there are trays of the flakiest croissants and cinnamon swirls you can imagine. I’ve never actually gotten around to trying them yet (because, duh, donuts!) but it’s only a matter of time!

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Baba Budan is also the perfect little lunch spot, as they sell the most mouth-watering of bagels. Filled with everything from tuna to falafel and humous, it’s such a welcome change from my regular lunchtime salad!

Baba Budan is located on East Market Street

 

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I’d never been to Peebles properly before heading to The Horseshoe Restaurant and Rooms in Eddleston. I think I had driven through in the middle of the night on the way back up from Cheshire, but considering how close it is to Edinburgh, I’m kind of amazed and ashamed I’d never seen it in the daylight.

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The Horseshoe Restaurant and Rooms in located just off the road in Eddleston is definition of picture postcard pretty. With most of the main restaurant dating back to 1862, it was originally a blacksmith’s forge and the rooms are located in a Victorian school building. It’s the cosiest of set ups, and when I found out that they even have their own kitchen garden, I was in absolute heaven!

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Attention to detail is everywhere at the Horseshoe – even the planting beds are planted to supplement the kitchen. Just outside the rooms there are wild strawberries, lavender and daisies, all of which can be used either for desserts or for their wild flower displays which are sprinkled throughout the buildings.

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The restaurant is possibly one of the most comfortable I’ve been in. It’s a luxe mix of golds and rich woods, with candles flickering in every corner. The sitting room and lounge, also has a beautifully large circle window which lets you sit and watch the world go by. The dining room is an intimate affair with only 10 tables which vary in size, meaning it’s easy to find a corner to tuck yourself into to enjoy your meal. We started with amuse bouche of red pepper cream with a red pepper crisp, then duck with a little foie gras. Both were rich and flavorful, setting the scene for the rest of lunch. We also tucked into some of the freshly baked breads and home-churned butter. The olive studded option was satisfyingly warm, with a light crust and springy texture.

Summer truffle risotto, king oyster mushroom and mushroom ketchupThen we moved onto starters, and honestly, there was only one option I was going to choose – a Summer truffle risotto, king oyster mushroom and mushroom ketchup. I’m always a touch nervous opting for a heavy starter, but this one was absolutely heavenly. The rice was perfectly cooked, whilst the mushroom added texture. The cheese and truffle shavings were also a absolute revelation – they were so rich, whilst there was also a citrus element, which cut through the richness, balancing the dish.

Venison loin, black pudding, potato terrine, carrot, raspberries

Then I moved onto the main course, which was a study in rich comfort – Venison loin, black pudding, potato terrine, carrot, raspberries. I was a little apprehensive about ordering venison – I’ve not had it in years, and I’m not a fan of meat that’s overpoweringly gamey. This however was an absolute dream. The venison was melt-in-the-mouth tender, juicy, with a delicate flavour, which sat perfectly with the homemade black pudding which was rich and spicy. The raspberries cut through all the rich meat, with a pleasing tartness, whilst the chard was surprisingly sweet.

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After savouring every mouthful we headed back through to the sitting room and bar area for tea and petits fours. A sort of salted chocolate fudge was absolutely delicious – rich and smooth, and I’m already pondering ways of recreating it at home.

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The Horseshoe is the perfect spot to while away the afternoon, delighting in food that has been thoughtfully sourced and cooked. The pairings of flavours were really incredible, and the wine list is something special too! The Horseshoe offers over 300 bottles – and keep a special eye out for resident wine expert Mark Slaney’s sourced ‘Desert’ Wines!

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If you’re more in the mood for supper, they offer both an a la carte and tasting menu with accompanying wines. There are eight en-suite bedrooms which are, again, so comfy and cosy. Farrow and Ball paint, with crisp white linens mean that you can partake in some of Mark’s wine suggestions without worrying about how to get home safely.

Lunch at The Horseshoe Restaurant with Rooms starts at £20.00 for two courses and their website is here.

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Byron Lothian Road 2

If you’re local to Edinburgh, chances are that you’ve noticed the new Byron which has just opened up on Lothian Road. Considering how often I pop into the North Bridge location for a quick burger, you can imagine how excited I was when I was invited to try out the new restaurant, and learn all about the incredible craft beers that Byron serve.

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So, we tucked ourselves up into a corner of the new restaurant (which is absolutely gorgeous by the way, all exposed brick walls and quirky details) and got ready to learn all about brews.

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To be honest, I’m not the biggest beer drinker – I’ve never even ordered a pint, so it felt like perfect timing. As if a night full of beer and burgers didn’t sound great enough, there were representatives from BrewDog and Sierra Nevada to talk us through the pairings.

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The night started out strong with starters of spicy buffalo wings. I’ve never really felt the need to order these before, but they were an incredible discovery. Lightly battered and covered in the pleasingly spicy and vinegary Byron Hot Sauce, we happily dunked them into the accompanying blue cheese dressing whilst learning all about Byron’s beer beginnings.

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The second starter we tried was the surprisingly delicious Watermelon and Feta salad. I’m not going to lie, I’ve made this salad about three times at home already, as it’s just about the most summery dish you can imagine.

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Then came the burgers; Byron served us two of their most popular from the menu – The Chilli and the Smoky. The Chilli (above) was first up, and was a rather mouth-watering amalgam of meat, jalapeños and chilli mayo. It was pretty much as hot as I can handle, but it was a nice change from my regular choice. Then came The Smoky. In something of a bad blogger move, I didn’t take a photo – but this might be a new Byron favourite (although I still miss their Bunzilla). The mix of crispy onions, bacon and BBQ sauce was divine, and I’m already planning a return trip to grab another.

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To go with the burgers, we were treated to what is pretty much the most extravagant side on the menu! The Cheese and Bacon Topped fries are something of a (seriously) guilty pleasure. Not many places in the UK have cottoned onto cheesy fries, but these were pretty much perfection.

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Then, as something of a surprise, we got a bowl of Macaroni Cheese. Both of us were absolutely stuffed by this point so we only really could manage a forkful, but it was everything you could hope for – melty, cheesy goodness!

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We finished the evening with perhaps the most unique deserts you could imagine – bourbon spiked Irn Bru Milkshakes. Honestly, I was dubious at first – I’m not the biggest fan of the orange drink, and I would live on Byron’s Vanilla hard shakes. Happily though, these ones were a delight – not too heavy on the ‘bru, they were the perfect way to finish the evening!

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If you’re in Edinburgh, I would highly recommend heading over to Byron for one of their rather delicious burgers (and of course, some of my new favourite sides). The new Lothian Road location couldn’t be more central, and it’s an absolute gem of a space! I had an absolute ball learning all about the different types of beer on the menu – it’s so refreshing to see how much effort and care they put into the menu, and who knows, I might even order one the next time I pop in!

 

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For the amount of time that I spend in Edinburgh, I’m kind of embarrassed at how little time I spend in the Old Town. I’m far more likely to bounce around New Town or Bruntsfield. Basically, if there’s Georgian architecture around I’m there. That’s starting to change though, and since the development of the Waverley Arches, I’ve been starting to venture further up the Royal Mile on a rather regular basis.

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If you’ve not found your way up there yet, I’m telling you, you need to. Edinburgh has taken some abandoned railway arches and transformed them into a street of adorable little  businesses which are all super chic and are just what the city has been needing!

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The archway I think that I’ve been hitting up the most though, has to be Tempo Tea. It’s an adorable little nook which specialises in every kind of bubble tea you can imagine. If you’ve never tried bubble tea before, and you’re anywhere near Edinburgh, you have to try it out! Basically you choose a flavour, whether you want milk or fruit tea, what tea you want, and then if you want tapioca pearls, popping bobas or a sort of aloe jelly.

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I don’t think I’m selling it well, but trust me, they’re delicious! I first got hooked on Bubble Tea when I lived in Dubai – there was a great one in the Dubai Mall which I visited on an all too regular basis, and I feel like I’m going down the same road with Tempo Tea.

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The shop itself is a dream. It’s teeny tiny, but it’s just so cute! On one wall you can find CDs, T shirts and special candies, whilst the other side has some seating, complete with post-its to scribble on and wall mounted iPads for selfies. It’s such a cute little cafe, and I just love the attention to detail – even the lights are bubbles!

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I’ve been working my way through the menu, and I’ve been seriously impressed with Tempo Tea’s offerings. You can order your tea anyway, and if you’re feeling brave, you can even experiment with combinations!

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I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of embarrassing about how often I hit up Tempo Tea, but they are seriously addictive! My favourite at the moment has to be a XLarge Taro and Vanilla milk tea, with Assam and Tapioca Pearls. It’s got a hint of sweetness without being overpowering, and the pearls are so yummy! My friend grabbed a Banana milk tea with Assam and Tapioca Pearls, and it was delicious too! It pretty much tasted like those foam banana sweeties from childhood i.e. delicious!

If you’ve got a spare afternoon to spend in Edinburgh – head up to Tempo Tea and the Waverley Arches, I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

 

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I always think buying presents for  men is super hard – and Father’s Day might just be trickiest. Thankfully though, Harvey Nichols has come to our rescue with their relaunched Menswear Department.

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Designed after the flagship Knightsbridge store, The menswear department is definitely the chicest spot to shop for Dad anywhere outside the capital, and to celebrate, the store held a super-fun weekend filled with special services for the discerning shopper. As you arrived up the elevators, you were met with the cutest little bars serving up Arbikie – an incredible Scottish Gin and Vodka distillery.

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As if that wasn’t enough, you could personalise the most luxurious of items – Grenson let you make up your ideal shoes, picking every detail from leathers to laces.

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They could be as subtle or crazy as you could imagine, and the example shoes were absolutely breathtaking.

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My favourite part of the whole event though, was the Etch’d stand, which, with an in-store purchase meant that you could get specially laser-personalised.

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Even though I was expecting just initials, Etch’d can personalise basically anything with a flat surface, and I can’t tell you how awesome their pieces looked! Considering the chaps come from a graphic-design background, their designs were insane!

 

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Based in Tollcross, you can even get phones and laptops laser etched, and I am seriously considering getting my laptop done. It’s just the coolest!

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It’s not just electronics and perfume bottles which got the special treatment though, even shoes and sneakers were etched.

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Since I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by, I popped down to the beauty department to find something etch-able, so treated myself to Omorovicza’s Perfecting Lip Balm. It’s something I’ve been wanting since my facial (here) and the flat lid was perfect for the laser.

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I couldn’t be happier with my rather special balm, and I would seriously recommend heading up to Harvey Nichols’ first floor. The menswear section couldn’t be better, and it’s absolutely packed with awesome Father’s Day gift ideas!

Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm is priced at £32.00 (I did receive a discount on mine) and is available in-store. You can find Omorovicza here.

 

 

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YSL Touche Eclat

I think one of the first high-end purchases I ever made was one of YSL’s iconic Touche Eclats. It might be odd for a 14 year old to lust after a concealer, but there was just something so special about the golden pen, I just had to have one of my own. Since then I’ve kept at lease one kicking about my makeup collection, and it remains as one of my favourite under eye concealers.

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Every so often, YSL offer limited edition versions of the Touche Eclat, and I always make sure to pick up a couple. Over the past few years, there have been leopard ones (review here), lip ones (review here) and even lace ones, so when I saw the new slogan edition, I obviously had to treat myself! Even better, that the day after picking one up myself, YSL very kindly sent one over, so now I can show you two out of the available three!

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Everything about the new Slogan edition is the same as the original, apart from the fun slogans which are painted on the side. You can choose from ‘all lights on me,’ ‘no need to sleep’ or ‘I am not a morning person …’. They’re such a fun update on such a staple product, and I just love the fact that it feels like YSL aren’t taking themselves too seriously!

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If you’ve not tried the Touche Eclat yet, one of these limited editions is such a fun way to gal in love with them! I usually apply mine after foundation to create a super flawless looking base, and I just love the way that it completely erases any signs of tiredness or puffiness!

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To use, I just use two clicks, and paint the formula under my eyes in a rough triangle. Then using my ring finger, Although the formula is usually available in eight shades, the limited edition only comes in the original shade 01, so it is something to consider if you have a darker skin tone. I’m just obsessed with my Touche Eclats though, if I want to look particularly glowy, I dot and blend a little of the formula across my cheekbones, brow bones and nose too! It’s such an easy way to look wide awake, and fresh faced!

Have you ever tried Touche Eclat?

YSL Touche Eclat Slogan edition is priced at £25.00 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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After opening earlier this year, Byron North Bridge has quickly become my favourite burger haunt in Edinburgh.

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From the gorgeous restaurant itself, to the mouthwatering array of burgers, it’s one of those rare no-fail locations. No matter what your craving – burgers, killer salads or even the best milkshakes, Byron has you covered!

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Whilst we debated over burger choices, we shared a plate of nachos, which was such a great choice! The tortilla chips ware warm and crispy, and there was the perfect balance of guac, salsa, jalapeños and cheese – nothing was too much or too little, and the little kick from the chilies was perfect!

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Then we got onto the main event – the burgers. I decided to try Byron’s newest offering – The Bunzilla. Inspired by the head chef’s trip to Japan, the burger has quickly become a favourite of mine (I may have already gone back for another) and it’s such a unique twist, you just have to go check them out!

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A bit of a take on the brand’s much loved B-Rex burger, the Bunzilla has quickly become my go-to. It’s up there as one of my favourite ever burgers thanks to the mix of soy-glazed burger patty, miso roasted bacon, an onion ring, wasabi mayonnaise and shredded white cabbage for crunch.

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Cooked to Byron’s medium perfection, the burger was absolute perfection. I love the attention to detail with the accompanying homemade Japanese Pickle. The mix of flavours was absolutely divine, and I couldn’t be more obsessed with the wasabi mayonnaise. It was equally parts sweet and fiery, giving the burger a real blast of flavour.

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Of course, we couldn’t just have burgers! We grabbed an order of fries and onion rings, and of course, we sampled some of Byron’s to-die-for milkshakes!

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I can’t imagine a yummier way to end a meal than with one of their incredible ‘hard shakes.’ This time I tried the vanilla with a shot of bourbon. Even though I’m not the world’s biggest drinker, these are the definition of delicious!

Byron Bunzilla are available now!

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When it comes to Mother’s Day, you know you have to bring the goods. As well as a bunch of the most beautiful flowers you can find, you have to, of course, get the most delicious chocolates you can find.

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Thankfully, Prestat have made it so, so to easy get serious brownie points with boxes of their incredible chocolates.

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I think if my mother had to choose her favourite flavours, either rose or violet would be up there, so when this stunning box came through the letterbox, she couldn’t have been happier!

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The truffles couldn’t be prettier – topped off with a candied petal, they look like jewels in a box. The chocolates themselves are the smoothest dark chocolate, which hold a smooth filling which bursts with the floral flavours.

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Next up are the Prestat’s Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles. To be honest, Pink Champagne truffles are among my favourites, and I was blown away with how good these ones were! The chocolate shell had the perfect amount of ‘snap’ and inside there is a soft, almost gooey centre. Unlike some I’ve tried, the alcohol doesn’t overwhelm the taste, instead there’s just a soft whiff of champagne with white chocolate. A must try!

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When the box of Prestat goodness arrived, the Yuzu truffles were the ones I got most excited about. I love an exotic flavour, and I’ve been dying to try yuzu for a while. The truffles themselves, are dark chocolate shells with a wonderfully tart, almost lemon curd-like filling. They are insanely good, and I’ve already bought a second box (a truffle with a good espresso is just divine!)

Prestat Rose and Violet Cremes are priced at £17.50, Pink Marc de Champagne truffles are priced at £13.00 and the Yuzu truffles are priced at £13.00. They’re all available here

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So I’m absolutely astonished it’s coming up to Mother’s Day already – 2016 is completely whizzing by (I’m still guilty of writing 2015 about 50% of the time!) and it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to treat your mum! Appleyard London‘s bouquets are a sure-fire hit, and they make it super easy to earn a whole lot of brownie points without trying too hard.

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When Appleyard London kindly allowed me to pick out of of their glorious bouquets of mother’s day flowers, so I went for the Lemon Drizzle. It’s a mix of bouquet of pink  sweet avalanche roses, lemon carnations, crisp white blooms and lemon flair hypericum berries. I just adore the mix of flowers and berries, and it looks so special in a beautiful crystal vase in the breakfast room.

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Appleyard London have an absolutely incredible selection of bouquets to choose from if your fancy treating someone to some mother’s day flowers. They run the gamut from spring-fresh, full of daises and lilies, to full blown glamour filled with roses.

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As well as being absolutely beautiful, I am just obsessed with how much of a great gift they are! They come posted in a huge big grey box which keeps the flowers absolutely pristine, and they come wrapped in layers and layers of tissue, meaning you don’t even need to wrap them!

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I also love the attention to detail from Appleyard London. Not only are the flowers an absolute knockout, but they come with plant food, a card and instructions on how best to care for them. It’s really these little touches which make the whole experience an absolute joy.

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Appleyard London flowers are also as long-lasting as they are beautiful. I got six days of perfection, then I just picked out the blooms which were looking a little tired, and got an extra four days!

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If you’re looking to really make someone’s Mother’s Day special, I couldn’t recommend Appleyard London enough! Even better news is that I have a sneaky discount you can use! Just enter BLOGGER33 at checkout for 33% off your bouquet!

 

 

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