Take a closer look at Edinburgh’s West End this Christmas

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Edinburgh’s West End is inviting you to come and take a closer look this Christmas, exploring its full range of unique events and themed master classes throughout the month of December.

This is a very exciting time for Edinburgh’s West End which is constantly growing with a number of stylish boutiques, luxury hotels, fine dining, traditional pubs and modern bars. As well as a range of hair & beauty salons and spas– providing the very best in style and well-being with some of the finest places to visit in the city.

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Throughout December, Edinburgh’s West End will host a number of themed master classes and pop up events as well as a unique Christmas Concierge Service to organise all of your shopping with a personal touch in the run up to the big day. This service will run on the 8th, 15th and 22nd of December.

Some of the festive master classes include: Breath Works – An introduction to mindfulness and meditation. If practised regularly, can help you to relax, feel happier and more content. Glam Candy – Skincare and Make-up master class with a demonstration from a professional make-up artist. Just g Boutique – Fashion Colour Master Class to discover the styles and colours that will make you shine this season. Rogue Flowers are hosting a pop up shop for Christmas with a number of in house master classes as well as their very own Christmas Grotto.

A full list of the calendar of events and activities taking place within Edinburgh’s West End throughout the festive period will be available on their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/EdinWestEnd/ from Sunday 20th November, as well as a weekly ‘Take A Closer Look’ social media competition starting on the 5th of December. For further information and booking details please keep up to date with their social media in the run up to December.

A Stay at Jesmond Dene House*

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Just over a fortnight ago, I took a week off work for the first time in what felt like a lifetime. Realistically, it’s more like a year, since I had so much time off, but it was very much needed! To make best use of the time, we decided on a bit of a road trip to explore down south and see a little more of England.

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Whenever I have a spare weekend, I tend to find myself in Cheshire, so, on this trip, I wanted to venture a little further afield. The first stop was the stunning Jesmond Dene House located in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I’ve never really visited Newcastle before (unless a school choir competition counts), and since it’s only about a two hour drive from Edinburgh I don’t really have an excuse, but since visiting the stunning Jesmond Dene House, I think I’ll be back far more regularly!

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The hotel is situated in the centre of the city, within a stunning parkland. It was built as a mansion for a Victorian industrialist, and you can only imagine our oohs and ahhs as we drew up in the pouring rain. The hotel is a study in Arts & Crafts architecture, and is absolutely stunning. After trying to dodge the rain to take a few photos, were were ushered inside by the concierge, who whisked away our bags, and showed us to our room.

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Honestly, the welcome couldn’t have been warmer, and it was absolutely fascinating  to learn about the history of the house. There are nods to the property’s history throughout – with photographs on the walls and original features in some of the bedrooms.

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We were shown to room 2, located just off the lobby, with views to the back garden, it was the perfect spot to spend a rainy evening.

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The room was previously a library, and benefits from almost double-height ceilings, turreted seating area, and copious original features. It was an absolute gem, and we couldn’t have been happier with it!

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I was absolutely obsessed with the nook, which overlooked the gardens. It was such a cosy little spot to answer emails and enjoy the rain pounding outside.

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The room is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need. The wifi was super fast, and, importantly for a hotel, free of charge, and the cupboard was filled with fluffy robes, a mini bar and complimentary coffee and tea. Needless to say, we fixed ourselves a few cups of tea and settled down to enjoy watching the rain outside.

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The room was wondrously spacious and benefits from a double bed, which can be split into two singles depending on your needs. Swathed in super-soft white linens, they were absolutely heavenly, and so comfortable to lounge on!

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I loved the mix of contemporary decor within the traditional room, and it was the perfect place to relax and begin to unwind.

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After arriving we had a couple of hours to fill before our supper reservation (more on that tomorrow!), so I did what anyone would, and drew myself a long, hot bubble bath.

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You can see why I wanted to spend so much time in the bathroom – it was stunning! With a huge bath which was perfect for wallowing in, as well as a double sized shower and two sinks, it was absolutely heavenly!

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The bath was set beneath an original doorway, and getting to soak in a bath whilst sitting under all the carving was absolutely glorious! Despite being pretty much in the centre of town, the hotel was so tranquil, it was the perfect place to begin our vacation!

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Soon though, it was time to tear myself away from the room, for supper, which we enjoyed in the hotel’s dining room. Jesmond Dene is probably best known for it’s restaurant which has been awarded with 3 AA rosettes. Honestly, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time (and you can read about it tomorrow) and I can see why it’s so beloved.

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Positively stuffed, we were thankful that the room was only a few footsteps away, and sank into the beds. Perfectly comfortable, we both remarked on how well we slept, and how cosy the hotel felt.

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All too soon though, it was time for breakfast, which we enjoyed in the conservatory. Still full from dinner the night before, we didn’t really take advantage of the breakfast like we should have. Guests are free to choose hot items from the menu (there are mouth-watering options including French Toast and Porridge which is served with a hint of Single-Malt Whisky and stewed fruits) or from the buffet – there really is more than enough choice for everyone.

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The buffet is a Continental affair, with a wide array of yogurts, breads, cereals, patisseries, meats and cheeses. I so wish I had been able to squeeze in a pain au chocolate or muffin, as they looked and smelled absolutely divine!

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Despite the array, we chose to keep it simple, ordering black coffee and orange juice, and sharing a plate of smoked salmon and watermelon.

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Despite sounding simple, they’re some of my favourite breakfast foods in the world, and so easy to get wrong. At Jesmond Dene, however, they were perfection. The coffee was delicious, and strong enough to shake off any morning snooziness, whilst the orange juice was freshly squeezed and wonderfully zesty.

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Our watermelon was perfect – firm and juicy, with wonderful flavour, and I’m still dreaming about the smoked salmon! Home cured in dill, it was rich and flavoursome, and the perfect way to round off a truly enjoyable stay.

We both had an absolutely wonderful stay at Jesmond Dene House, and are already looking at dates for our return! Our stay was complimentary, but the room rate was £250 per night including breakfast.

 

 

Ford Farm Cheesemakers Truffler English Cheddar*

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When it comes to cozy evenings in, I’m not sure if you can beat a great cheese board. A few good cheeses, a sprinkling of crackers and some fruit is deceptively simple, yet incredibly satisfying. Add in a glass of champagne or prosecco, and I’m in heaven! So, when I was sent some Truffler English Cheddar from Dorset Ford Farm, I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

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Ford Farm’s Truffler is a rich and creamy cheddar is studded with Black Truffle.The moment it’s out in the open, all you can smell is truffle, and it’s really dreamy. Rich and savoury, it’s just the thing if you’re in the mood for something decadent. I first paired it was wheaten crackers, grapes and pear, and it was delightful.

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The next day, though, when I was scouring the fridge for an easy supper, I happened upon a remaining chunk of the Truffle. Finely grated, I turned it into the most gourmet of toasties, andI have to say, it was rather impressive. The cheddar melted beautifully, and turned wonderfully gooey, whilst the bread stayed satisfyingly crisp. I’m already getting an order together, and I don’t want to mention the ‘C’ word too soon, but Truffle would make a rather perfect addition to a festive spread!

Ford Farms Truffler is priced from £2.00 per pack and is available here

Moi Beauty – Edinburgh*

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A few months ago I took something of a pledge to take better care of myself, and as a result I’ve been sampling some of the best spas and nail bars Edinburgh has to offer! Last week, Moi Beauty in Edinburgh’s Morningside was on my must-visit list, when I was kindly invited to give their Luxury Shellac Mani and Pedi.

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The salon is an absolute haven in the city – all exposed brick walls and white; it feels more New York than Edinburgh. I popped in on a rather dull Saturday morning, and the welcome couldn’t be warmer. I was ushered in out of the drizzle, shown to one of the salon chairs and tasked with choosing my colours.

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Shellac is no joke at Moi Beauty – I’m not sure that I’ve ever come across a bigger selection of colours to choose from! Even though my heart was all about the pink and neon, my head prevailed and I opted for chic and understated nude for my fingers and a deep chocolate for my toes.

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My morning started with my Luxury Shellac Pedicure, and it was exactly what I needed! While I poured over Hello! magazine, my therapist Claire got to work. My feel were buffed, exfoliated and massaged, and honestly, I have to say, Claire worked miracles! My heels were filed into submission, any a bit of reflexology soothed away the week’s stress. Then, once the Shellac had been applied and dried, my feet were dipped into bags of liquid paraffin to soften them even further.

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Then, once the paraffin had hardened and been peeled off, I popped over to the nail bar for a Shellac manicure. Considering I had peeled off a three week old shellac manicure the night before, my nails weren’t in the best of shape. Claire didn’t so much as blink, and got to grips with her clippers and files, leaving my fingers looking immeasurably better!

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My cuticles were softened and clipped, and I was buffed into having hands that look like they belong to an adult! My beige polish is just beautiful, and it’s such a great choice for a long-wearing polish, as it goes with absolutely everything! It was such a heavenly way to start the weekend, and a week later, my nails still look perfect!

Thank you so much to Moi Beauty for having me! You can find their website here.

 

LKER One Original Sound Foldable Headphones*

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Headphones are one of those things I’ve been meaning to invest in for a while. I’ve been relying on Apples’ earbuds for far too long, and really, they’re not all that great, so, when I got the chance to try these stunners from Lker, I absolutely jumped at the chance!

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All brushed steel and soft leather Lker’s One Original Sound Foldable Headphones fold into a neat little bundle, small enough to pop into any of my handbags. They’re incredible comfy to pop on, and they do a great job of drowning out the outside world when I want to concentrate on something. The sound quality is great – music sounds rich, and I’ve been able to tune into an episode or two of Parks and Rec whilst working away at Starbucks without any sort of interruption!

Lker One Original Sound Foldable Headphones are priced at £49.00 and are available here (UK)