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St Andrews is always going to be a favourite spot for me – after spending years at school and at university there I feel like I know every little corner of the town. Over the past few years though, chain restaurants have started to creep in, and it can sometimes feel like a meal out has become a little ‘samey.’ So I positively jumped at the chance of dining in the gorgeous Kinnettles Hotel restaurant.

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The dining room itself is stunning – a metallic feature wall glints in the light, and we kicked off supper with a couple of cocktails. Even though it was a Sunday night, I couldn’t resist an updated Old Fashioned. Bourbon was mixed with orange bitters, and a homemade, maple infused simple syrup. Wonderfully fragrant and delicious to sip on, it was a glorious choice! We also tried the elderflower mock mojito. Fresh and fruity, it was equally delicious, and you’d never know it was virgin!

The meal kicked off with freshly homemade bread and sea-salted butter. Deliciously soft, these are the breads I always attempt to make at home, yet never quite get there. As we would find throughout the meal, Kinnettles only serve fresh, locally sourced produce, which is currently in season. It means that menus change regularly, and if you’re looking for a new lunch spot, they offer two courses for an incredible £12.95!

We were then served up a couple of the most delicious amuse-bouche, which set the tone for the meal. First off a white bean dip served up with homemade crackers – rich in flavour we may have used the last of the bread to finish every last morsel. The second was a cod goujon, which was divine. The quality of the fresh cod was emphasised by the zesty lemon mayonnaise.

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After tasting how delicious the cod was, I couldn’t resist ordering the Bergamot Cured Sea Trout with Pickled Heritage Carrots, Scorched Orange, Almond & Chive Dressing (£9).

An absolute riot of colour and taste, I’ve been dreaming about this dish since Sunday! The sea trout was firm and flavourful, without erring on the too-fishy side, and the use of scorched orange was an absolute revelation! Bright, fruity with a good dose of crunch thanks to the heritage carrots, this was a real taste of summer!

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We also opted for the Ham Hock Raviolo, Burnt Tomato Consommé, Hazelnuts (£9). As well as looking incredibly dramatic, the consommé had a beautifully clear tomato flavour, whilst the ham hock gave the dish a rich, savoury depth.

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Main courses were equally dramatic, and thankfully, just as delicious. The Cod, Orange Braised Chicory, Brown Shrimp, Pomme Dauphine, Parsley & Chive Puree (£23) made the most of the hunk of fresh fish, which petaled into hunks of firm, pearly flesh.

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Topped with sweet Brown Shrimp, this felt like a dish fit for a seaside town. The presentation of all the dishes was right side of dramatic. With coloured leaves creeping over the dish, it was as delicious as it was beautiful.

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I couldn’t resist the Roasted Venison, Grilled Herbs Polenta, Heritage Carrot, Braised Red Cabbage, Chestnuts (£23). I’m having a bit of a love affair with the meat at the moment, and this was sheer perfection. Roasted on the outside, whilst perfectly rare in the centre, it melted in the mouth.

As if the venison wasn’t perfect enough, it was served alongside the most wonderful Grilled Herb Polenta – crisp on the outside, and buttery smooth on the inside, it was an absolute joy of a pairing, soaking up the meat’s juices and providing a wonderfully rich element to the dish.

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In addition to the wonderful venison and polenta, the dish featured sweet heritage carrots and braised red cabbage. It felt like it was all my favourite things on a plate, which combined to create a dish inspired by the best of winter produce.

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Even though we had indulged in two courses, when we caught sight of Pressed Beetroot, White Chocolate Bavarois, Dark Chocolate Sponge, Beetroot Sorbet (£8) on the dessert menu, we couldn’t resist! After all, when have you had the option to indulge in beetroot sorbet?

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It was an absolute triumph of a dish – the sweet earthiness of the beetroot worked perfectly with the rich dark chocolate, and the combination of textures was just divine! The White Chocolate Bavarois leant a hint of sweetness to the overall dessert, and the crisp, tempered chocolate was delicious as well as incredibly beautiful!

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I opted for the Apple & Mascarpone Sugar Tuile, Apple & Basil Sorbet, Almond Shortcrust (£8), which although probably the exact opposite of the rich chocolate and beetroot pudding, was equally delicious.

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The Mascarpone was encased in the most beautiful sugar tuiles, and was so light and flavourful. Apple and cinnamon is one of my all-time flavour combinations, and this was a particularly airy take on the duo.

Cubes of fresh granny smith gave a hit of freshness, whilst the apple and basil sorbet was fresh and green. The dessert all rested on a buttery shortcrust base, and it was just perfect end to a delicious meal! It’s undoubtedly one of the best meals I’ve had in St. Andrews, ever, and we’re already planning a return visit!

Thank you so much to Kinnettles Hotel for having us! You can find out more about the hotel and restaurant here.

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One of the most popular resolutions which people proclaim each year, has to be the ‘I’ll be healthier.’ It can encompass most things, whether it’s a new gym membership, new classes to attend, or even a healthier diet, but recently the rise of ‘Veganuary’ has been hard to ignore. Certainly, the appeal of nixing all animal products from your diet sounds appealing, but it also sounds tough. No meat means no quick ham sandwich for lunch, no juicy steak to enjoy at the end of a long week – not to mention no skimmed latte to start each morning off!

So, to make life easy, Harvey Nichols has introduced a new, completely Vegan menu which will be running all January. It’s a delicious affair offering a choice of salads, soups and main courses, perfect for treating yourself to (with absolutely no guilt!). We stopped in on a very cold, snowy night after work, desperate for some hearty dishes. I’m glad to say, we were far from disappointed. Still shaking off snowflakes, we were shown to a table with the best view in Edinburgh – St. Andrew Square below us, and the castle illuminated from afar, where we were able to choose our starters (Hummus, black olive and sun blush tomato salad with pita bread £7 and Chunky winter vegetable soup £6.50) and mull over the day’s events. I’m not sure if it was the cold, or simply how ravenous we were, but I completely forgot to take any photographs of the starter!

My enthusiasm for getting stuck in meant we were a good 3/4 of the way through when we noticed my camera sitting there on the table untouched … oops!

Despite my lack of evidence, both dishes were divine. The Hummus was light, and flavoured wth lemon, whilst the pitas were soft and warm, and the whole thing was just delicious. I had chosen the Chunky Soup, and it was exactly the sort of thing I was in the mood for – piping hot, and absolutely chock-full of tomatoes, courgettes and all other sorts of vegetables, it was served with freshly baked bread, and was a perfect antidote to the freezing temperatures outside.

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After forgetting to photograph the starters, I hovered over the mains until they were suitably documented! Vegetable and Chickpea Chilli was served with Guacamole and homemade Tortilla Chips (£11) and was another delicious choice in cold weather.

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The mix of tomatoes, chickpeas, peppers and sweetcorn was delicious, and suitably spiced, whilst the homemade tortilla chips and guacamole were a delicious accompaniment. It’s a dish I’d never even imagine could be vegan (my own guacamole is usually about 1/2 sour cream) but I didn’t miss any of the animal products, so it’s definitely something I’ll be recreating at home!

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Since I’m going through a bit of a curry-kick at the moment, I wasn’t able to resistive Lentil and Spinach Curry served with a Garlin Pitta Bread (£11). This was another absolutely knockout dish! For anyone who thinks vegetarian/vegan cook is boring, then they need a bowl of this to prove them wrong.

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The curry was made up of creamed chickpeas, which had a delicious mint and coriander dressing, as well as fresh spinach mixed through. The different textures and flavours in the curry made it such a joy of a dish, and it’s another one I’m planning to recreate at home!

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Served alongside the yummiest hot, fluffy garlic pita you can imagine, this was exactly what I needed after a long day at work. I absolutely wolfed it down, and it was perfect served alongside a glass of vegan wine. Yes – the menu even has completely vegan wines to choose from which you can order by the glass or by the bottle. Whether you prefer white, red, rose or even sparkling, there’s a choice in there for you! We enjoyed a glass of the Primitivo (£9) a rich, fruity red and Garnacha Blanco (£7.50) a light, sweet white. I’m admittedly not a big wine drinker, but the Garnacha Blanco was a complete revelation – it was sweet and incredibly drinkable (which was dangerous considering it was a school night!).

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Even though we were absolutely stuffed from supper, when spied a vegan Banana Split (£6.50) neither of us could resist! What arrived was the cutest, and most delicious dessert you could imagine! The vegan sorbets were absolute perfection – the raspberry was incredibly bright and fruity, whilst the chocolate was so rich and moreish! The coconut cream was wonderfully light and airy, and there was even a cherry hidden in the middle in there!

It was such a delicious meal, and it’s really changed the way I’ve thought about introducing vegan dishes into my everyday routine! I’m already planning a return trip!

Information about Harvey Nichols Forth Floor can be found here.

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A couple of weeks before Christmas, a new face opened in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge – Boston & Hawthorne. Billed as the capital’s only curiosity bar, it’s a cosy little spot, tucked off the main street, with killer cocktails and a menu perfect for sharing.

When I popped in, it was for a special opening event. With candles flickering, we were given time to explore the cabinets and mingle, before sitting down to sharing banquet. The food for the evening had a Roman-theme, which was entirely unexpected – so as we were seated we were plied with mead as we got to know everyone at the table.

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The first course was a pizza bread, absolutely covered in cooked peppers. As with the rest of the meal, we were encouraged to use our hands and dig in!

With a perfectly crisp base, this was such a delicious way to start our meal. The peppers had been cooked until soft and sweet , and the pizza dough had a delicious, sourdough flavour.

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Once we had all munched our way through the pizza, it was time for the main event. Possibly Edinburgh’s most generous sharing board was heaved to the table – much to all of our delight! It was a truly Bacchanalian affair, bedecked in meats and vegetable, which we all spent at least five minutes taking pictures of.

Once we had all taken enough pictures, it was time to dig in. There was so much to choose from – there were exotic options like the wild boar sausages, and squid arancini, as well as breaded aubergines, duck, new potatoes and a huge hunk of venison. While imposing, the spread was perfect for diving in and out of.

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The concept of a Roman banquet was something I’ve never experienced before, but is was such a lovely way to be introduced not only to Boston & Hawthorne, but also to some more Edinburgh-based bloggers! I’m always on the lookout for new sites to read and explore!

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To round the evening off, we had to try some of the bar’s rather delicious sounding cocktails. They’re all priced at £6 each, and I have to say – they’re a real bargain!

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Somehow we all managed to order a different one each – the most eye-catching of which had to be the Parmatini, which came draped with a slice of ham! It was declared delicious, and I enjoyed my Fluid Whisky Apple Pie. Served hot in a vintage cup and saucer set, complete with a finger of shortbread, it was a toasty way to end the evening.

Thank you so much to Boston & Hawthorne for having us!

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In the run up to Christmas, it’s easy feel more than a little frazzled, so, last month, when Salon Success got in touch to invite me to a Jingle Mingle, I couldn’t resist. Held in Edinburgh’s Tigerlily, a whole host of Edinburgh-based bloggers had been invited to find out what was new in the world of haircare.

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Ratherly cleverly, we’d all been invited for our different hair types – there was short hair, long hair, red hair … all so we could see the range of hair types catered to by Salon Success’ clients. With brands like Paul Mitchell and Gem Lites, it was really interesting to see what was new, and I’ve found some really HG products – the Marula Oil hair brush is incredible – imagine a Wet Brush but 100 times better! I’ve become more than a little obsessed with it!

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With copious amounts of prosecco on tap and beautiful goodies to learn about it was a perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit! I discovered a couple of killer brands I’d never heard of before (Gem Lites and Kenra) , as well as find new products from the iconic Paul Mitchell.

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As if an evening filled with the best of haircare wasn’t enough, we were also treated to a wonderful supper from George Street favourite Tigerlily. I’ve had a look at the menus online, and I don’t think any of the dishes we enjoyed are up there. But they were so lovely I had to share them anyway! Starters consisted of ham hock and cheese croquettes – wonderfully crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they were a great way to warm up from the soggy streets of Edinburgh outside!

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Our main courses were another perfect choice for a winter’s evening- slow cooked beef on a bed of winter spinach and mashed potato.

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Dessert, I think was everyone’s favourite. A berry parfait was served with a rich pistachio cream, honeycomb and chopped pistachios. It was such a stunning looking dessert, and the mix of flavours was just lovely.  It was the perfect way to round off the evening, after wishing everyone an early Merry Christmas, we all went home laden with new products to try.

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As someone who spends most days in Scotland’s capital, I always enjoy a great day out! So, when I was invited to pop through and see some of the best spots in the city, I absolutely jumped at the chance! Travelling through from Edinburgh to Glasgow couldn’t be easier – you can do what we did and jump in the car (it’s about a 40 minute drive), or if you’d rather kick back, there is a regular train service which deposits you right in the city centre.

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After parking at Buchanan Galleries, we wandered down Buchanan Street to pop into the new T2 store. If you’re a tea lover like I am, this is a must-visit destination! With loose leaf teas piled from floor to ceiling, there are blends for everyone, and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

With a chance to taste a variety of blends, including a delicious matcha ritual and turmeric latte, I felt like a kid in a candy store! It took a while, but eventually I managed to select a tea blend, as well as a super handy infuser (I picked the purple one here) which I’ve been using pretty much daily ever since!

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From T2, our next stop was Laings in the Argyll Arcade. The jewellery is one which I’ve explored in Edinburgh (you can read about my visit here), so getting to see three of their Glasgow outlets was great fun! Depending in whether you’re in the market for a new watch, a specially commissioned piece or a luxury treat, Laings has something for you!

I spent a good hour looking at the best of what Laings has to offer – an I have to say, my wish list has grown considerably! From examining ‘Hearts on Fire’ diamonds with specialist equipment to oohing over necklaces and rings, it was such a special start to the day!

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After all that glamour, we were absolutely famished, so headed over to Merchant City for brunch at Hutcheson’s City Grill. It’s a real mainstay for Glasgow, with a space to eat both upstairs and downstairs depending on your preference. We headed upstairs, to enjoy a leisurely brunch.

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As we perused the menu we were treated to a couple of glasses of champagne. The dining room is absolutely stunning! We oohed and ahh’d over the architecture and all of the velvet seats, whilst deciding on our choices.

We couldn’t resist The Hutchesons Fry (£12) which was perhaps the heartiest breakfast option on the menu! A wonderfully herby sausage was served alongside crisp bacon, cooked mushrooms, scrambled eggs, beans and Stornaway Black Pudding.

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I went for the Smoked Scottish Salmon & Scrambled Eggs (£10) which came with a toasted English muffin. It was a gorgeous dish, and I love how nicely presented it was.

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After enjoying our brunch, we headed downstairs to explore the rest of Hutcheson’s City Grill. The bar is absolutely glorious – all marble and glass, and I’ll be heading here for drinks the next time I’m through!

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After fuelling up, it was time to get down to the serious business of shopping! Buchanan Galleries is one of the city’s best shopping malls, with stores ranging from Accessorize to Hollister, as well as a large John Lewis. We window shopped for a while, and although I was going to stock up on a few pieces of makeup in Boots (they have a great selection of premium brands) I ended up being sensible and picking up a couple of home bits from John Lewis.

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Once we dropped the bags off in the car (after all, who wants to lug sheets around town with them?!?) we headed down Buchanan Street for a bit of a peruse. As well as having all the regular high street stores, Glasgow also has a huge Apple store, an Urban Outfitters and Frasers – the king of the city’s department stores. If you love beauty as much as I do – Frasers is a real must visit on a trip to Glasgow. As well as stocking all your regular premium brands, they have Scotland’s only Charlotte Tilbury counter, as well as the Chanel counter of your dreams. They even stock the brand’s Les Exclusifs perfume collection, so it’s where I head whenever I’m running low on their Gardenia.

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After all that shopping, it was time for supper – so we headed back over to the Corinthian Club for supper. The building itself is absolutely stunning – it looks like a wedding cake with swirls of rococo plasterwork and possibly Glasgow’s most picturesque dining room. It was a lovely mix of couples, families and friends, all enjoying suppers or stacks of late afternoon tea. In a bit of a blogger fail, we both opted for the Fillet Steak (£29.95).

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And really, who could blame us? Served on a slate with a copper pan of Cafe de Paris, crispy thick cut chips, cooked cherry tomatoes and a peppery watercress salad. It was a deliciously indulgent way to finish the day – the juicy meat with the mustardy Cafe de Paris butter was fabulous, whilst the peppery watercress said give the dish some zing!

We had a fabulous day out! Thank you so much for T2, Laings, Hutcheson’s City Grill, Buchanan Galleries, House of Fraser at the Corinthian Club for having us!