The Lobster Shack – North Berwick

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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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The Horseshoe Restaurant and Rooms*

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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.

Easton Regal Winter Hair Treat

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There are a million reasons why you should visit London in the winter: the lights, the shopping, the general festive cheer. But one which is terribly tempting is Easton Regal’s new winter hair menu which has just launched.

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The salon is a beautiful, super sleek haven from the city buzz, and they’re offering 45 minute hair-up sessions complete with a glass of bubbly!

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You can choose from styles like ‘Regal Wave’ and ‘Regal Knot’ and they’re guaranteed to keep you looking beautiful throughout the festive period!

You can book in for a Coife and Cocktail for only £49 at Easton Regal.

Harvey Nichols Edinburgh and Aspinal of London – Burgundy Red Travel Collection*

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If you follow me on Instagram (you can find me here) you’ll know that a couple of weeks ago, Harvey Nichols Edinburgh kindly invited me to an event being hosted with Aspinal of London.

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Positioned right in the centre of the swoon-worthy accessories department, Aspinal of London had set up a seriously old school monogram press, which meant that anything purchased could be personalised to your heart’s content. The selection of leather goods from Aspinal was truly the stuff of dreams – neon pouches, sleek clutches and the most glamorous of totes were all crying out for a little bit of initialing, so when I was handed a rather sleek box, I’m not ashamed to admit that I squealed more than a little bit!

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Aspinal of London Travel Collection

Tucked inside was the chicest of collections – Aspinal of London’s Burgundy Red Travel Collection. I cannot tell you how long I have lusted after this selection of goodies! Every time I’ve stepped foot inside an airport I’ve promised myself that I’m going to treat myself to an Aspinal of London travel wallet – they are just the epitome of glamorous travel (not to mention being incredibly useful) and I’ve never gotten around to choosing one. So, you can imagine how excited I was to get my paws on the entire travel collection! Safe to say I can’t wait to book up somewhere terribly exotic to christen the set!

Aspinal of London Travel Collection Travel Wallet monogram

Crafted out of the finest Italian Saffino calf leather, the Travel Collection comprises of a Classic Travel Wallet, Passport Cover and two luggage tags (one for hand luggage and one for checked) and is available in a veritable rainbow of shades. Mine, burgundy is a new shade for Aspinal, and it’s also my favourite!

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The Classic Travel Wallet is everything you want and need when you’re travelling. Whenever I travel I tend to get super paranoid about losing tickets and passports, so to have everything in one terribly good looking package is an absolute dream!

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Inside the Travel Wallet, there’s a place for everything! From a zippered compartment for coins, to a slot for your boarding passes, tickets and passport, it means that fumbling around at passport control is a thing of the past!

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Aspinal Travel Collection Travel Wallet interior

The interior of the Travel Wallet is trimmed in stunning blue suede. It’s buttery soft, and it adds the most beautiful pop of colour to the wallet.

Aspinal of London Travel Collection Passport Holder

I was so happy to see the Passport Cover tucked into my box – my passport has definitely seen better days, so to get a super sleek cover like this one is the stuff of dreams. In addition to the gorgeous Saffino leather, the Passport Cover has reinforced corners so it stays looking pristine no matter what adventures you get into!

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Once again, the Passport Cover is lined in gorgeous blue suede, and comes complete with a navy twill ribbon which acts as a page saver for whatever stamps and visas you need to keep out.

Aspinal of London Travel Collection Luggage Tags

The duo of luggage labels is just adorable. The two sizes means that one is perfect for hand luggage, whilst the other can be used on checked bags. I absolutely adore how the gold monogram shines out from the burgundy Saffino leather – it feels super grown up and glamorous, and it means I can easily identify my bag when it comes off the plane!

Aspinal London Travel Collection Luggage tags interior

Both luggage labels have little flaps which cover your name and address details, and again, the conners are reinforced with brass corners to make sure they hold up through even the most vigorous of baggage handlers.

Thank you so much to Harvey Nichols Edinburgh and Aspinal of London for the beautiful Travel Collection!

Harvey Nichols A Beautiful Mind Event*

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Last night, Harvey Nichols Edinburgh very kindly invited me to their Beautiful Mind Expert Panel Discussion. Nestled high up on the Forth Floor, the newest and best products for Spring and Summer were discussed by some of the stores experts, and I have to say, I had an absolute ball!

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The Harvey Nichols’ Beauty Hall is where I tend to go whenever I’m in the mood to treat myself, so when I had the opportunity to learn from the best, and absolutely jumped at the chance! The evening was hosted in the upstairs bar, and we were treated to the most perfect looking nibbles and copious amounts of fizz! It was a lovely way to meet people as excited about beauty as I am – and I was so excited to meet Debbie Jones, who is the head beauty buyer for Beyond Beauty.

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As well as being a serious beauty buff, Debbie gets to introduce the best and newest products to Beyond Beauty, so if you’re like me and are addicted to EOS lip balms or at-home beauty devices like Tria’s or Clarisonics, you have Debbie to thank! It was fascinating to learn about what’s popular up in Edinburgh versus elsewhere in the UK (EOS lip balms are a very big deal) and I loved learning about what’s coming up. London’s Beyond Beauty are going to be the first in the UK to open up a sculpting bar with Rodial, as contouring has become such a popular technique, and Debbie also talked about how important cleansing and at-home devices have become.

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Jacqui Fenner from Harvey Nichols’ Beyond MediSpa then shared about the incredible range of treatments which are available at the in-store spa. It’s one of the corners of the store I keep meaning to head into, but learning about their incredible treatments means I am booking up ASAP! Rather than the typical whale-music beauty salon, the Beyond MediSpa is far more futuristic! Instead of relying on products alone, the spa is focused on intelligent skincare and body treatments. Jacqui talked us through the Hydrafacial which is a new treatment which was introduced last year. The process includes everything from lymphatic drainage, hydra-dermabrasion, a mild peel as well as red light treatment.

She also talked about CoolSculpt which is the newest treatment at the spa. It sounds amazing! Basically, it’s a non-invasive way of getting rid of any areas which you can’t target with exercise. The treatment can be used on arms, tummy and thighs, as basically the fat is sucked and then frozen, and the fat cells crystallise and die. It’s a permanent solution, and one treatment can make you drop an entire dress size!

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Gillian from Tom Ford then explained about the brand’s rather impressive fragrance collection. She is so passionate about the brand, and it was fascinating to learn more about the thought process behind the perfumes. Rather than having delineated ‘male’ and ‘female’ scents, they are unisex and you really do need to take the time to see which fragrances really appeal. Gillian explained that Tom Ford doesn’t want his fragrances to appeal to everyone, but I think that once you find your fit, you really love it. We got to sample a little of the Neroli Portofino Body Oil (my favourite) and we all had serious scent envy!

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Michael Becman is a top Laura Mercier makeup artist, and has ‘made-up’ everyone from models to celebrities. He talked us through the top trends he is seeing with makeup, and was even kind enough to perform a demonstration of contouring. Since the Kardashians have become so popular, more and more people want to learn how to contour.

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The Laura Mercier Contour Palette has been swiftly added to my wish list after seeing Michael work his magic! He recommended to start contouring after applying foundation, and rather cleverly, the Laura Mercier kit has no warmth so whatever you contour gives depth to your face. Depending on your problem areas, contouring can shorten your forehead, slim your nose or lift your cheeks. Unlike the rather distressing Pintrest contouring tutorials I’ve seen, Michael’s work was like magic! He pressed the cream into cheek bones and chin, and instead of looking stripy, his model just looked well rested. It was incredibly subtle but so beautifully done. After working the kit to add depth, he used a highlighting shade to add some life to cheek and brow bones (always blend up!). Then, to finish off the natural look, he added a swirl of blush. To find your perfect flush, he recommended pressing just underneath your fingertips to see what colour suits you best!

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If contouring sounds like a little too much, he also shared what he loves for an easy, everyday look. Rather than just popping your regular moisturiser, Michael likes to apply a moisture mask for all day hydration, and he recommends attending to your brows rather than adding mascara if you want a bit of a lift. A touch of bronzer is then all you need to look beautifully natural.

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Manda Gunion from Nails Inc then talked us through what’s new from one of my favourite nail brands. Harvey Nichols Edinburgh has a Nails Inc manicure bar, where you can enjoy a glass of champagne alongside your mani or pedi. I love visiting before I have an event to go to, since it’s so fun getting to enjoy some bubbles alongside your pampering! This year marks the brand’s 16th birthday party, and Nails Inc are in the middle of rebranding their old style bottles from round to rectangular. The new bottles are incredibly well thought out – they are made of Venetian Glass, and the brush designs are patented to be as easy to use as possible. We got to see the stunning collaboration with Victoria Beckham which resulted in two exclusive colours, as well as new colours which are being released for Spring and Summer. Manda recommending plumping for the Judo Red, turquoise and yellow if you want seriously on-trend nails. She also talked about what’s new and coming for the brand; Alexa Chung has been signed as the newest face (or nails), and there is a new formula which easily washes off the nail. There is even a halal formula in the works which allows water to fully penetrate the polish! In store, there is also going to be an unlimited manicure card, which means, for £99, you can enjoy as many champagne manicures that you can squeeze into 8 weeks! This summer, the nail bar is also introducing a new pedicure treatment which sounds divine – it’s inspired by crystal, and as well as your regular moisturising treatments and massages, there is a warming jelly which deeply nourishes feet, leaving them toasty for hours after you leave the store. It will cost somewhere around £65 and it sounds amazing!

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Last, but certainly not least, was James Hoffman of Electric Hairdressing’s Edinburgh salon. It’s a relatively new edition to the Edinburgh store, and you can find it tucked in beside the MAC makeup counters. It looks super slick, and I’ve been meaning to head in and check it out! I’ve tried and loved Electric products in the past, so it was great to hear from James. He explained that the UK-produced products are more universal than brands like Kerastase, so they sort multiple hair-related issues. And, unlike a lot of salons I’ve been to, Electric also believe your hairdresser should be both your stylist and colourist so that you get a really bespoke look and service. If your in the mood for a seasonal change, James is seeing shorter, blunter looks and hair colour is getting lighter, with a move towards more ashy blondes.

After the experts had finished telling us about all of their wonderful departments, there was time to mingle, and get some one-on-one attention. I had such a wonderful evening, and I feel like learned an absolute tonne. Not to mention that my wish list has grown considerably! As if the evening wasn’t fabulous enough, everyone went home clutching the most generous of goody bags courtesy of the evenings’ brands.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Harvey Nichols for inviting me – I had an amazing time!

Urban Decay Shattered Face Case*

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Since I was little, makeup compacts have fascinated me. I still love the way they look, and they still keep me occupied for hours as I play about with the products within, and Urban Decay‘s newest offering is one to watch View Full Post

Space NK Beauty Bag

nationwide eventIf you find that your agendas are empty on Wednesday 18th September, I would high-tail it your nearest Space NK and buy a ticket for their Autumn Beauty Event. Entry is £15, but is redeemable, and if you splash out £150 or more at the event you will be presented with one of the most luxurious goody bags out there. Filled to the brim with £260 worth of niceties, this is worth the trip!