Pizza Express Edinburgh: Date Night

Pizza Express Queensferry

Pizza Express Queensferry

My husband and I try to go on a date night once a month. We tried to do Alphabet Dates but kept forgetting what letter we were on! Last weekend we went for a meal out in Edinburgh followed by a few drinks. We went to Pizza Express in Queensferry Road in the West End of Edinburgh. I love Pizza Express – the food is always so tasty and the service is always so good.

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

There is a new summer menu at Pizza Express and included on this are some summer cocktails. I tried both! First, there was the ‘Gin Spritz’ – which was Bombay Sapphire gin served with a Cucumber and Mint Belvoir Presse. It was nice and refreshing but I thin cucumber is such an acquired taste, you either love it or hate it. The second drink I tried was the Hugo St. Germain – this was Prosecco with Elderflower liqueur, lemon, and mint. This was my favorite of the two. I could drink this all day. Again I think Elderflower is one of them tastes you either love or hate but I think it is perfect for the summer.

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

For starters, my husband and I shared the Dough Balls Doppio. I love the dough balls at Pizza Express. They are the best starter there, especially with the various dipping sauces- Pesto, Garlic Butter and ‘pestorissa’, a harissa spiced tomato dip. I think the sharing portion was perfect for 2 to share and although there were other wonderful sounding starters like the Antipasto or the Bruschetta. I wanted to make sure I left enough room for the main course!

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

I opted for the Zapparoli which is described as ‘Chicken, hot soft ‘nduja sausage, mozzarella, garlic oil and Gran Milano cheese on smoky, creamed corn, finished with red Roquito pearls and parsley’ It was one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten! It was so flavourful, in fact just writing this post I am dreaming of the taste of the pizza again. This has been the first pizza in ages that I ate the whole thing! The red Roquito pearls were my favorite bit of the pizza – they should be on every pizza in my opinion! My Husband had an American Pizza on a classic base. He loved it and ate up every last bit of it too! Must have been good.

The great thing about Pizza Express is it caters for all; there was a whole range of groups in from birthday celebrations, to large groups and families with young kids. We were on a date night and it and still felt intimate enough. That is the worst thing I find with eating out, sometimes you feel like you are just another customer of a generic chain restaurant company. The menu has something for everyone and the food always tastes so fresh.

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

For pudding, I opted for the Coconut Delight – described as “Two scoops of intensely creamy, dairy-free, coconut sorbet, made with coconut milk and coconut pieces, served with fresh mint”. I am a massive coconut fan but I wasn’t so sure about this – it tasted like it had a little too much desicated coconut in it.  I couldn’t eat it all. However, it’s great to see more dairy-free options on the menu as someone who sometimes needs to go Dairy Free. This would be nice blended up as a summer cocktail too!

My husband is a self-confessed chocolate addict so naturally, he went for the Chocolate Fondant ‘PizzaExpress’ described as “A rich and intense warm chocolate cake with a soft melting center, served with vanilla gelato, fresh mint, and icing sugar” for me after a big meal I couldn’t imagine chocolate. But he said it was amazing – admittedly it did look really good!

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

Overall the service and experience at Pizza Express was amazing. The new summer menu all sounds so delicious that I need to go back and try out the other new dishes on offer. There is a lot more on offer for Vegans and the great thing about Pizza Express is that it also caters for Gluten Free diets too. The Pizza Express in Queensferry Road is great as the back door exits straight into the beer garden of Indigo Yard – which is perfect for after dinner cocktails and it is a short walk away to Gin71 which is where we ended up before our carriage (Uber) whisked us away!

You can check out your nearest Pizza Express and the full menu here! 

disclaimer

*Thank You to Pizza Express for inviting me to try out their new summer menu. My meal was complimentary as payment for this post, however, all views and opinion are my own.

 

Restaurant Review: The Raj, Edinburgh

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Indian food is my favourite. I could eat it all day every day, I love how flavourful it is. I was also thinking the other day how bland looking and tasting traditional British Food is.

 

I recently was invited along to try out the new menu and visit the new restaurant. The Raj is a well established Indian, recently relocating from Leith to Blackhall. Blackhall is a 15 minute bus ride out of Edinburgh city centre and there are buses every few minutes. So it’s really handy to get to!

The Raj, Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

We received a warm welcome and were impressed by the restaurant. The menu was impressive, there was almost too much choice, everything sounded so good!

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Whilst we were waiting for our starters we had poppadoms and chutneys. We got a tray with 5 chutneys. Mango Chutney, yoghurt and coriander, mint sauce, spiced onions and my personal favourite an Apple Chutney which is made on the premises. I used to never be bothered about chutneys and poppadoms however I definitely recommend them here purely for the Apple Chutney!

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For starters,  I opted for the Mysore Bonda, which is deep fried potatoes with a coconut chutney. I am a glutton for anything coconut flavoured. These were so tasty. They tasted a bit like a donut, that kind of batter. Matched with the coconut Chutney it was delicious. My husband opted for samosa. It was also delicious. The waiter also brought us their speciality dish, Lal Michi, this was chopped marinaded chicken (although also available with lamb) with mango chutney and spices and served on an onion Bhaji.  This was one of the best Indian starters I have ever had. The flavours were wonderful and although there was a spice it wasn’t over powering.

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I tried the Mango Lassi, which was delicious and you could tell was very freshly made! I love lassi, it’s a bit like a fruity youghurty drink if you’ve not tried one, I highly recommend it! I also had a half pint of Kingfisher, it wouldn’t be an Indian without beer right?

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For mains, I opted for the Aromatic Lamb, on the waiter’s recommendation. Lamb is not something I normally order although I’m really starting to get into it! This lamb dish was again so flavourful, it came in a dish with spinach, mushrooms, and garlic. I know I keep saying that it was so flavourful but it really was. It wasn’t like sometimes at Indians when the spices overpower the flavour and so your mouth is on fire and you cannot taste anything. My husband had the Chicken Patia, this is his normal favourite and he was not disappointed here. We ordered a naan and rice between us which was plenty, in fact, I even took some of the curry and naan bread home for leftovers.

 

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After the meal we were brought a dessert plate, this was a plate with fruit, custard, and various baked fruit tasters. Although I was stuffed full this was a nice small plate. This is complimentary to all diners and is a welcome addition. In addition to this, all diners are also offered a complimentary liquer or liquer coffee. This is an excellent touch and shows what the Raj is all about. Great customer service and great authentic South Asian food!

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The restaurant has a buffet on a Sunday and Monday, which is £10.95 for the choice of over 50 dishes. This may be the way forward as there is so much good food on the menu. I will definitely be going back to The Raj and recommend you go too!

For more information see www.therajblackhall.com

*Please note I was invited along for a complimentary meal at The Raj to review their new menu. Views and photos are my own.

For more information see

www.therajblackhall.com 

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A Visitors Guide to Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy

A few weeks ago my family and I went on a wee trip away to Aberfeldy, Perthshire. The drive up there was gorgeous, through the rolling hills and we had beautiful weather which made it all the better. Here I am going to share about a recent trip to Aberfeldy and some top tips.

The Drive Up
The Drive Up

Where to Stay in Aberfeldy

Ducks at Moness Resort, Aberfeldy
Ducks at Moness Resort, Aberfeldy

We stayed at the Moness Resort, which is just on the outskirts of the town. Moness is a resort that has cottages and hotel rooms to stay in. It also has a Spa, Swimming Pool and restaurants so is great for a family getaway. We (5 adults and 1 child) stayed in a 2 bedroomed cottage, which had a double en-suite room, a twin room and an open plan living room/ kitchen which had a sofa bed in it. The cottage was really spacious and had a great outlook onto the hills surrounding Aberfeldy.

The Courtyard, Aberfeldy
The Courtyard, Moness Resort, Aberfeldy

 

Cottage at Moness Resort in Aberfeldy
Our Cottage

We made great use of the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. The pool was nice a warm and the facilities really clean. It was a good spacious spa area and was quite relaxing despite the number of kids! One disappointing thing I would say is you are not allowed to use the swimming pool after check out. Check Out is at 10 am which is a complete rush in the morning and so no way are you going to be able to get up, packed and manage to squeeze in a swim in the morning. This is the second time we have stayed at Moness and I would say is one downside is the rushed check out.

There are other places in town some lovely B&B’s and Hotels. I know my family always stay in The Townhouse which comes highly recommended although I’ve never stayed there. The campsite isn’t bad either.

Where to Eat in Aberfeldy

Beer Garden, Juniper Daze
Beer Garden

The great thing about Moness is it is within a walking distance of the town centre. We went for a walk down into town, looked at a few of the shops and ended up in the Black Watch Pub. It has a beer garden and on this particular day was a sun trap. We sat out all day and had our evening meal here. Most of us ordered steak and it was delicious! The waiting staff were really attentive and it was a great evening.  My mum’s family comes from Aberfeldy and everyone we came across was so friendly.

Apart from the Black Watch, there are a few other pubs which serve food. I have eaten in The Fountain and Schihallion and both were good. The Indian, Chillies is also lovely and I would recommend.

What to Do in Aberfeldy

One place we did visit was the Highland Safari Visitor Centre, this is a great place. It has something for everyone. There is the opportunity to go on a 4×4 tour of the surrounding area – I have been on this tour before and it was excellent, although we did have nice clear weather. At the centre, there is deer centre, a nature trail, an owl experience as well as a park and cafe.

We had a shot at Gold Panning. When I read about gold panning, I thought it was something pre-engineered for kids. I was surprised to find that instead we actually got a bucket full of what looked like sand but when you cleaned it under running water there were all sorts of precious stones. We went thinking my 4-year-old nephew would love it, but he ended up hanging out in his ‘headquarters’ in the park whilst us adults panned for gold. Unfortunately, we didn’t find gold but did find a whole load of other stones like quartz and amber.

Deer at Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Deer at Highland Safaris,
Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Highland Safaris
Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy

On the Sunday morning when we were there, there was a farmers market in the town square. It was nice to have a wander round and I ended up buying a few locally sourced products. Including Chutney, Cheese and a bottle of Eden Mill Gin! Of Course!

Birks O' Aberfeldy
Birks O’ Aberfeldy

There is the Birks O’ Aberfeldy to walk up if you’re feeling athletic. I still haven’t gone all the way up them yet but keep meaning to do so! There also is some other great walks around here, as well as Dewar’s World of Whisky if you’re into that. Nearby Pitlochry is also lovely for walks, sightseeing, and shopping.

Where to Book

I highly recommend a visit to Perthshire and Aberfeldy in particular. Moness is a great place to base yourself, there always seems to be deals on Groupon etc. But I would recommend looking to book directly too as I’ve always managed to get some great deals.

The Highland Safari 4×4 trip needs to be booked in advance but you can go to the visitors centre without booking.

(Note: I was not asked by any companies to promote their services on this blog. I am however happy to visit places and write honest reviews about them on my blog – check my contact page!)

The View from Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy

Where to Eat and Drink in Paris

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

I recently returned from Paris, you can read about my trip and my Top 10 Tips on these other posts. This post I am dedicating to all the food and drink that I had in Paris. I ate well when I was there and overall I would say prices are probably comparative to any other big city. Here is a rundown of places I ate and what I thought about them.

 

  1. L’Ivress

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

If you are in the Les Halles/ Opera area make a point of going here. This is a wine bar I visited when I was a student and visited Paris and knew I had to come back. It is a wine bar who have a great selection of wines. They ask your preference for wine and suggest a few getting you to try a few before buying. This changed my husband into a wine convert. He now loves a glass of wine. If you go here order one of the charcuterie boards it is amazing! We booked ahead and are glad we did.

2.  Eiffel Tower – Snack Bar

Paris Eiffel Tower

Now there are so many dining options at the Eiffel Tower – there’s cafe’s, fancy restaurants, snack bars – all pretty pricey I might add! We arrived at the Eiffel Tower slightly early. So we hung about soaked up the atmosphere and grabbed a Pretzel from the snack bar at the base of the Eiffel Tower. It was really yummy and just what we needed for a wee snack going on. The prices are as expected!

3. Angelina – Breakfast

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

If you have completed any research about Food in Paris you may have already heard about Angelina. This is a Chocolatier and Pattiserie. It is situated near the Louvre. We went one morning before hitting the museums. They have a set menu for about €17 each. This gave us a whole tray of pastries, cakes and yummy goodness and a pot of the famous African Hot Chocolate- this is basically the thickest Hot Chocolate you have ever had – it’s so thick you get a spoon to eat it with! If it wasn’t rich enough you also get a pot of cream to stir into it! I highly recommend going to Angelina even if it’s just for a takeaway Hot Chocolate!

4. The Cafe Campana, Musee’ d’Orsay

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

The Museum D’Orsay has two massive clocks – which are quite iconic. Behind one of them is a restaurant that my husband and I decided to stop at because we were starting to get a bit fatigued with Museums. We ordered a drink and a Characterie board between us and so I think it cost about €20. The meat platter was really nice and I did start to get food envy of other people. The only thing I didn’t really like is because the restaurant is so open is you started to feel like a goldfish in a bowl being stared at.

5. Cafe Indiana, Grands Boulevards

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking

One thing I love about France is Happy Hours! Most bars and restaurants have a happy hour at around 5-7pm. Mostly it was cheap cocktails although some did cheap food too! Look out for it! My husband and I stopped into Cafe Indiana for a drink and ended up staying for dinner after I spotted they had Steak Tartare on the menu. This is something I have always fancied trying but never really seen it on menus. The Steak Tartare I ordered had olives, basil and parmesan through it too. It was nice but not very filling I would say. This place also had amazing cocktails, there seemed to be a few of them in Paris.

6. Mercado, Supermarket

If you are really on a budget; one thing I suggest is finding a supermarket. The range and quality of food in there are incredible and so you can stock up on meat, cheese, baguettes and even cheap wine. Have a picnic in one of Paris’ many parks!

7. Planet Holywood, Disney Village

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

This is as cheesy as it gets as you can imagine. But we ate here so I thought I would put it in. We went here to have a little rest before the Fireworks at night. It was quite pricey and very busy.

8. McDonalds/ McCafe

In all honesty, McCafe is actually not bad. The one we went to in Les Halles served properly looking coffee and cakes -like proper pastries. It was Starbucks quality but McDonald’s prices! They also had fresh salads available there – it was in all honesty quite a good cheap meal if you’re stuck!

9. La Creme De Paris, Grands Boulevards

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Oreo Milkshake

We went here on our last morning for Crepes and Waffles. They were delicious. The restaurant is open fronted, it is very white and looks great. I opted for a caramel apple crepe and my husband went for a Nutella and strawberry one. They were both delicious and freshly made!

10. Berthillion, Ice Cream

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

You may have heard of Berthillion Ice Cream – there are a few places that sell it on l’Île island – this is the island behind Notre Dame. We went to a wee shop selling it out of a window, not the actual shop- but only realized this after we had queued for a while. A woman was trying to tell us this but we didn’t understand her french! The ice cream is lovely and there are so many unique flavours.

There is a short overview of my Paris food experiences! The food was certainly to die for! If you are on a budget remember

  • you can order a meat platter between two
  • look out for happy hour
  • Most places give water for free
  • Wine is cheaper than Coke

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to Pin it for later!

 

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

How to have a Fantastic day at Disneyland Paris!

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“The Happiest Place on Earth”

Disneyland truly is the happiest place on earth! Except for the one time, I got a little tired and cranky! Before I went I did a little bit of research into visiting Disneyland and so this is a collation of my different top tips for having an ace day out at Disneyland Paris!

Disneyland Paris

1 Buy Tickets in Advance

Mike

This may be obvious to many but as soon as you book your travel tickets. Or you know you are going to Paris; start comparing prices! We went via 365 tickets and got money back on Top Cashback. We only booked a few days before we went and by the time the e-tickets came we were in Paris so had to find a printer. Anyway, the prices only get more pricey so keep an eye out for deals!

2. Get to the Park for Opening

Walt Disney Studios

The park is open early but the rides aren’t open but you can join the queue for your preferred ride and so you can basically walk right on the ride. It also means you have the whole day in the parks.

3. Plan Ahead

Mad Hatter

This tip goes with the one above. Plan where you want to go in advance and then work around this. I knew I wanted to go on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower Terror; so we went to the Studios first. We weren’t too fussed for other rides so anything above that one was a bonus.

4. Take Food and Drink with you

Storm Trooper

Take a few snacks with you to give you an energy boost through the day. Even if it is from the wee newsagents at the train station- it’s cheaper than in the park. Also, keep a water bottle on you; there’s a lot of water fountains you can refill with around the park. Saves a bit of money that you can spend on souvenirs.

Chez Remy

5. Take a small bag

Mary Poppins

Be minimalistic with what you are taking. You have to take your bag on every ride, just wedged in there with you on the seat. So make sure it zips up and can be stuffed into small places. I took a Cath Kidston bag. Even better find a Mary Poppins style bag that holds everything!

6. Make use of the Single Riders Queue

Parade - Finding Nemo

For some rides, they offer a Single Riders Queue. We used this for Crush’s Roller Coaster and waited 10 minutes instead of over an hour. We got on one after each other so we weren’t waiting around. It’s good if you are not too bothered about going together. Also whilst I am on it – Never trust the Queue times they say!

7. Use the Fast Pass Facility

Most of the bigger rides have a Fast Pass opportunity. This means you scan your ticket and get a pass to come back at a later point. We used it for Indiana Jones – Which by the way is really not worth the long queues! We also had one for Star Tours but never actually used it. The fast passes run all the way up until the park closes at 10 pm!

It's a Small World!

8. Queues are Boring

Buzz Lightyear Queue

Queues can get boring –  even for adults. Bring something to entertain yourself; have a power bank with you to charge your phone. Perhaps you could download your favorite Disney songs – start a sing-song and spread the happiness. I did get so bored and annoyed I went a bit mad Scottish lady on the railroad worker.  Also, a few of the bigger rides were closed for technical difficulties when we were there so just be aware of that!

Queue Selfie

9. Get a good spot for the Parade/ Illuminations

 

  

 

Check the Parade times and get a good spot. We stood just next to the gates to Fantasyland. It was good as we had a nice clear view down the street so we weren’t straining or necks. We got there about an hour early and one of us went for an ice cream. It was so worth it – I loved the Parade! For the Illuminations, I recommend getting their early too. Although we were a bit late so stood at the top of Main Street near the exit so we could make a swift exit for the train. You make that call yourself!

Singing in the Rain

10. Soak up the Atmosphere

Walt Disney Studios

There is so much to do and see. Take some time look around wander around. There are such amazing details everywhere in Disneyland it’s incredible. Take time to soak it up. You never know who you might see! Go out to the Disney Village for food and the shop there is a little more room. One thing that was good was my husband wanted a t-shirt but they never had it in his size at this shop but they just called another part of the park and got one sent over in minutes! Here are some little-known facts about Disneyland to whet your appetite!

Disneyland Paris

Tinkerbell Lampost - Disneyland Paris

Visiting Disneyland Paris as an adult

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My Edinburgh Photography Tour Experience

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Photography Tour

This weekend I wrapped up warm and headed up Calton Hill in Edinburgh to meet James, who was going to take me on a photography tour of Edinburgh. I was a little apprehensive at first as I only have a compact camera; thinking this tour was maybe going to be too advanced for my camera. Also, I thought, I’ve lived in and around Edinburgh for most of my life. I don’t need to know much more about it! I was glad to be wrong on both parts.

Edinburgh Castle - Juniper Daze

James was very approachable and helped me setup my camera, taking the time to explain to me what the settings are and what they mean. There were me and another person on the tour, he too was a local who wanted to know how to use his camera. We started by taking pictures of the National Monument – going a little off the beaten track to make our pictures interesting and have depth. James showed us the difference between Auto and Manual modes- and how dramatically different it makes the pictures.

Edinburgh SkyLine

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

We walked around learning about the History of different parts of Edinburgh; I learned a lot that I never knew! I also saw a lot of things I never noticed. I suppose when you live in a city you never really notice things. We also learned about different concepts and ideas: including the rule of thirds, abstract photography, and composition lines.

ToolBooth Dynamic Earth

Abstract Photo
Abstract Photo

John Knox's House, Edinburgh

The tour lasted 5 hours and in this time I felt myself getting more and more confident as I was going on. My compact camera was good, although I have since realised now I’ve gotten home I had a smudge on my lens. I definitely have the bug for doing more photography and possibly even upgrade my camera to a DSLR.

National Monument

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

If you are wanting to get to grips with your camera I would definitely recommend this tour; you will leave it knowing how to actually use your camera and get great shots. If you are visiting Edinburgh, it’s a great way to see the hidden parts of Edinburgh. I am going to return to some of these points when I have cleaned my lens or got a new camera and the sky isn’t so cloudy!

Burns Memorial

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

You can find out more information about the Tours

http://jameschristiephotography.com/edinburgh-photography-tours-2/

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Reasons Why You’re Never Too Old for Lego

I am a self-confessed AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego), there’s a real life acronym for it and everything! Admittedly the box does say 4-99 but I think you can still play after your 100th birthday – You are only as old as you feel right? I love Lego and cannot resist a visit to the Lego Store whenever I see one. For my 24th Birthday –  I flew to London and went to Legoland. I had the best time!  Here are reasons why Lego is the greatest.

LegoLand
Me in Legoland on my Birthday – With my Birthday Badge!

It Fosters Creativity

In an age where we are all robots, conforming to how we are expected to be and act the way we are supposed to act. Lego gives an escape to your childhood and those days when you had ideas of your own.

Science Says So

Scientists have said that Lego is good for you. It boosts your cognitive thinking and makes you smarter. Apparently!

It’s Stress Busting

Lego is escapism. It helps stress bust, it takes you away from the worries of everyday life. I know a few people who use lego as a stress buster.

Fun for all Ages

Lego brings together people from all generations together. Nothing breaks the ice like a box of Lego. Everyone will love Lego.

My Lego Minifigures from Paris
My Lego Minifigures from Paris

It’s a good investment

Lego can be expensive but you do get your money’s worth. It lasts for years and is basically a family heirloom.

The Sense of Accomplishment

Nothing beats that satisfied feeling you get when you finish a lego project! It’s the ultimate sense of accomplishment.

Amsterdam Lego

There are some reasons why Lego is a great hobby to have. There are so many Lego events on this summer with Brick Live in Glasgow in July and Brick City at New Lanark from June to August. The event at New Lanark looks awesome and I am definitely going to head along this summer. There will be a lot of different models to see and the chance to build your own! The events are not just for kids, although there are lots of kids events – remember Lego is for all ages. So embrace your inner builder and break out the Lego! See http://www.newlanark.org/visitorcentre/brick-city.shtml  for more details on the exhibition and I recommend you book tickets as there are some days already sold out!

 

 

 

My Top 10 Tips for Visiting Paris

10 Tips for Visiting Paris

10 Tips for Visiting Paris

I recently visited Paris and so wanted to share my top 10 Tips to have an awesome time in Paris. You can read more about my trip here.

  1. Plan Ahead

Paris is massive, it’s bigger than you think. Plan ahead have a rough idea of what you want to do. This means that you will see as much as you can but also you’ll save a lot of money and time. Book things in advance like the Eiffel Tower if you want to do that, you skip the queues. We also booked our river cruise in advance and got 2 tickets for £11 via Expedia. If you are going to Disneyland look out for deals leading up to visiting. We used Google Maps and marked on the places we wanted to go and then printed it off so when we were in Paris we were checking we hadn’t missed anything. 

Book Your Eiffel Tower Tickets in Advance

  1. Pack Smart

I am the worst at packing, I pack everything and wear the same thing. I would say for Paris-  layers are a good option. Even if it is colder, you might be walking a while or in the museums where it’s a little warmer so pack and wear layers so you can add and subtract! Also, think sensible shoes. Trainers are your friend there is a lot of walking!

Paris Eiffel Tower

 

  1. Get a Paris Visite’ Metro Pass

This is a metro pass that lasts for 1, 3 or 5 days. You pay a one off and that all your metro and bus sorted. The Paris metro system is brilliant and you will rely on it! We bought ours at the airport and it was about €60 but it covered us from the airport and back and out to Disneyland and back. You get some discounts in places, including 10% off in LA Galeries LaFayette.

Top Tip - Get a Paris Viste Metro Card!!

  1. Be Vigilant

I read this post before I went to Paris. I am so glad I did. Within 5 minutes of us getting off the Metro in Paris on our first day my husband was stopped and someone tried to tie a piece of string around his finger. Immediately I was like NO!! We were asked to sign the petitions at every major tourist attraction. Also be so aware of Pickpockets – a lot of people came up to me in my personal space asking for cigarettes etc.  Take a zipped bag and be aware!

Hotel D'Invalides

  1. Free Tours

We were going go on one of of these but we were so burned out, see my next tip! But we did stumble across some of these tours and they looked good. The tours are free and you only have to pay a tip at the end depending on what you thought. I wish we had done this!

 

  1. Chill Out

We went for 4 days to Paris – we walked 75,000 steps in 3 days. Everything was sore by day 4, we were going to go to Sacre’ Cour but we were exhausted. So don’t burn yourself out! Chill out. Soak up the atmosphere!

Garden Des Tuilleries

  1. Under 26 and from the EU?

It’s not too well documented that Under 26’s from the EU get in most places free. (Get to Paris quick before Brexit!) Even better your Passport counts as a ticket in most places so you don’t need to Queue. We got into The Louvre, The Orangerie, Musee’ D’Orsay and Pompidou for free. (although Pompidou you need to still queue for a ticket!) You can also get into L’Arc De Triomphe for free I think.

The Lourve

  1. Learn Some French

Admittedly, most people you come across will speak English and there are English Menus. But it goes a long way to attempt some french. Bonjour, Merci, Bonsoir, Au Revoir are the basics. The french appreciate it.

 

  1. Watch the Metro Exits

The Metro stations are huge and cover a large area. Be careful when you get off the Metro you are going to the right exit. I only say this as we got off the Metro that was about 3 minutes walk away from our hotel, except we took the wrong exit and walked a mile in the wrong direction before realising.

 

  1. Free Places

There are loads of free things to do in Paris. There are lots of Pinterest Pins about it – for example this post here. My highlights would be the Roof Terrace on top of La Galleries Lafayette is a must do! The shop itself is awesome but the views from the terrace are brilliant. Wandering round Pere LeChaise cemetery is cool too.

View from La Galleries La Fayette
View from La Galleries La Fayette

There are 10 Top Tips for visiting Paris. Hope you find them useful! Have you been to Paris what top tips would you give? Pin this post for later! 

Top Ten Tips for Visiting Paris

The Whistle Stop Barber Shop, Edinburgh

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

On a recent sunny day in Edinburgh, my husband and I tried out a relatively new restaurant  – The Whistle Stop Barber Shop. The WSBS is located on South Bridge in the Old Town, near the National Museum. We got an excellent deal through 5pm.co.uk – 15% off our bill and a free cocktail on arrival!

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

The service we received was amazing, from a friendly welcome to the waitress talked us through the menu, made recommendations but without being false or scripted. We got the choice of 5 cocktails for our free one, I went for a Gin based one and my husband a rum based one. We later ordered another cocktail each too. They were also very tasty! The restaurant is decorated like an old American prohibition barber shop, which seems to be the in thing at the moment. The best thing about it, however, was the fact that there was an actual barbers shop downstairs.

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

The food was amazing though – We shared the Buffalo Chicken Nachos. These were some of the best nachos I have ever eaten! The chicken was so so tasty! I am going to try to make my own buffalo chicken some day soon! The nachos were served on a baking tray adding to the hipster vibes. For mains we went for a burger and a sandwich- I had the Joey Tribbiani Sandwich and my husband had the Angry Onion as recommended by our waitress. Both were so delicious! The meals were really filling which is a shame because I really wanted a pudding as the first tow courses were so tasty!

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

I definitely will be back, even just for a drink – but most likely for the Buffalo Chicken! I could not fault it –  but I would say make sure you book ahead on 5pm so you can get the discount and cocktail – everyone loves a freebie right?!

 

Find Out More

Find out more about The Whistle Stop Barber Shop

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A Weekend in Paris – April 2017

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It was a bit of a last minute decision we made to go to Paris for our first wedding anniversary. We only booked a number of weeks ago, and I am glad we did. We went early Friday morning and flew back late on Monday, so a long weekend. Because we booked so late the flights were quite pricey, about £400 for the two of us from Edinburgh. The accommodation was about £180, although more on that later! We flew Air France and immediately noticed a massive difference between flying with them as opposed to our usual Ryanair or Easyjet. The whole process was hassle free, it was a lot more chilled on the flight as you weren’t being constantly asked to buy random crap and you even got a drink and snack on board. We flew into Charles de Gaulle airport and got the Metro into Paris.

Hotel D'Invalides

We stayed at the Mercure Opera Faubourg. It was just off Grand Boulevard a pretty Main Street in Paris. The hotel was well situated for the Metro and within walking distance of a lot of restaurants and bars.  The hotel itself was not brilliant. Although it had a 3 Star Rating. The walls were paper thin and it didn’t really bode well on our romantic anniversary break when we could hear our next door neighbors conversations and movements including their toilet trips. It got so bad at one point I genuinely thought there was someone in the room. Also, the room had a weird shaggy carpet like you may find in a seventies throwback movie. I don’t recommend the hotel.

 

We had a busy few days in Paris, packing a lot in. So much so by Day 4, we were actually so exhausted that we put everything we had planned to do aside and instead chilled out in a McDonalds for a while and then got to the airport a few hours early and chilled out on these funky leather beds watching the planes taking off. It was strangely relaxing. (FYI Charles De Gaulle is a massive airport so it is worthwhile being there a tad early)

 

Book Your Eiffel Tower Tickets in AdvanceI have been to Paris before but one major difference I noticed was the increased security. Your bags were searched going near any tourist attraction and even shops. There were police and army presence everywhere we went. I am not sure if this was heightened due to the fact it was the Paris Marathon weekend.

 

The first thing we did was go up the Eiffel Tower. I would recommend pre-booking this. I was a little apprehensive as I am scared of heights. Well, not so much heights, but I get vertigo when looking down from some heights. You get a lift straight up to the second floor when there you can pay to go all the way to the top, although the second floor was fine for me. The views were incredible and you got a real sense of the scale of Paris. The thing I loved about Paris is that it is such a picturesque city. All the buildings are beautiful and so because it was such a clear day we got great views. The only wobbly bit I had was walking down the stairs from 2nd to 1st floor. I found it worse on the 1st floor for some strange reason and my legs started shaking. There are cafe’s and shops and photo opportunities on the different floors but it is easy to avoid that. If you are planning a trip to Paris I also recommend going to the Trocardo to get pictures of it too!

Paris Eiffel Tower

We got lots of different views of Paris and plenty of panoramas from different locations including the rooftop viewpoint of LaGallieries LaFayette (a massive department store, well worth a visit) as well as from the Pompidou Centre and behind the clock at Musee D’Orsay. Also, that’s where Blair Waldorf meets Prince Louis so you know iconic. Sacre Coeur is good for views, as it Montparnasse Tower although we never managed to get to either.

View from La Galleries La Fayette
View from La Galleries La Fayette

One thing that I really loved about Paris was the food! We had breakfast at Angelina, which has a world famous African Hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was so thick and creamy, you could eat it with a spoon. They had a special menu for breakfast where you got baguettes, pastries, hot chocolate and fruit juice. It was delicious! We did eat out at some quite nice places but all in all, it didn’t work out that pricey. It was really hot when we were in Paris so we had a lot of snacks throughout the day. We ate in the restaurant at Musee d’Orsay, which the menu does look quite pricey at first glance, however, we had a charcuterie board between us which was enough. Also, wine is cheaper than coke!  I am going to write a post all about the food in Paris and where I recommend going so watch this space!

Garden Des Tuilleries

On the Saturday after our amazing breakfast at Angelina, we went to the Louvre. Something that is not too widely advertised is that if you are under 26 and an EU citizen (so do this whilst you can!) you can get free entry into most museums. Not only that but your passport is your ticket, so you don’t need to queue! The only place we needed to get a ticket was the Pompidou, we showed our passport and got a ticket in exchange.

 

So in one day, we went to the Louvre, the Orangerie, Musee d’Orsay and Pompidou all for free! Admittedly we are not really art fans. We went just because we felt we had to, there are some nice pieces etc, but by the time we got to Pompidou (the modern art museum) I was over it. I mean there were some iconic paintings but yeah I couldn’t spend hours looking at art.

The Lourve

Paris is stunning at night time as well as during the day. We went on a boat trip that we pre-booked on Expedia before we went. There were so many to choose from, party, dinner, sightseeing etc. We went for a basic 1-hour sightseeing one. It was good although had very limited commentary, there was a couple sitting next to us that had just gotten engaged which was cute. The Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour every hour after dusk. Make a point of going to see this. Also, take a trip to see the Louvre lit up at night and if your anything like me run around pretending to be Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code. I not afraid to say I spent half my holiday making comments about movies or tv shows whilst we were away. “This is where Serena and Chuck met for breakfast!” “This is where Carrie and Big got together!” “This is where Anne Hathaway throws her phone in the fountain!” “That’s where Jason Bourne stands on top of the building!” My husband has no idea what I was talking about, except the Jason Bourne reference.

 

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We went to Disneyland for a day too. I loved it. We were uncertain about whether or not to go as it was so pricey but we are glad we did it! I’ll do a separate post all about it!

All in all, we had a fantastic time away. We are completely knackered and have totted up about 78500 steps or 36 miles! Paris you were brilliant by you have broken me!