Thursday, 29 November 2018

Gift ideas for the people who are Impossible to buy for

When it comes to buying gifts I regard myself as a bit of an expert. I love everything from the planning, the buying, the wrapping and then, of course, the actual giving. There really is no better feeling than giving a loved one a present that they are genuinely delighted with.

Of course, I can appreciate there are just some people that are impossible to buy for. I have a select few treasured ones in my circle (my mum) who are exactly this way and it is a struggle every year to come up with the goods. That is why I have put together this little gift guide for the person in your life who seems to have it all.

The Experiential Gift

Sometimes a gift is just a gift but an experience is so much more. Treating someone to a lovely dinner or an overnight trip is such a special way to indulge somebody around the holidays.

With the fantastic V&A Dundee recently opening a weekend trip to Dundee would be the ultimate way to relax and soak up the local culture. I recently spent the day in Dundee and had the best Sunday Roast at Daisy Tasker in The Indigo Hotel. Check out my full review here. There are also lots of cool shops and bars to keep you occupied throughout the day and night.

Another great way to say I love you is with the gift of a good meal. Now, you could treat a loved one to a slap-up meal at one of Edinburgh's many incredible and delectable restaurants. I also think a gift card for your loved one's favourite restaurant is such a great way to help them get a little bit of me time. This is especially great for a busy parent or a skint student who is in need of a little TLC. Tesco is offering 20% off gift cards for popular restaurant brands Mitchells & Butlers, Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Taste Card. So it is the perfect time to grab a gift card and treat that special person in your life. All gift cards can be found here.

The Gag Gift

If all else fails a good old gag gift never fails to please. My favourites this year have to be the TEXT A POTATO where you can write any message on a potato and have it sent out to a loved one. On paper, this sounds ridiculous but last year during Secret Santa this went down a treat and had the whole table in stitches.

I also love to get friends and family customised items from mugs to pyjamas to jars of Nutella. This always goes down a treat especially if the gift is cosy or edible. I love that John Lewis is doing customisable tins where you can choose which flavour of chocolates go in and have your family name put on the lid of the tin.

The Sentimental Gift

This is the type of gift I reserve for grandparents, godparents and aunts and uncles. My lovely great aunt every year demands we buy her socks or underwear which my siblings and I always refuse to do. Instead, we like to take her out to afternoon tea and give her a little gift she can cherish. I love websites like Not On The High Street - you can get everything from a poster of the stars in the sky the night you were born to customised knitting tags and birthstones.

Now, this suggestion is not rocket science but I think pulling out the photo albums and taking a deep dive through the Facebook archives can be very valuable. A lovely framed photo or trip down memory lane via a scrapbook can be the perfect gift for a parent or grandparent.

L x


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Best Places to Eat in Edinburgh Right Now

If you are looking for some foodie inspiration in Edinburgh, then you are in the right place. I have put together a little list of the restaurants that I personally think are the best places to eat in Edinburgh. As I am quite an indecisive person when it comes to food, my favourite places tend to change quite often, so let's just say that the places I have picked out for this post are my favourites right now. 

Firstly, the recently opened Hawksmoor is a restaurant that you need to go to if you are even considering having steak. I have already written a full post on this so you can read all about it and see some drool worth pics of the food here

Another new kid on the block is Borough. Situated in the heart of Leith, Borough's menu mainly consists of small, tasting plates and is accompanied by a very well thought out wine list. Serving contemporary European cuisine, this little restaurant is all about flavour and is the ideal place for a relaxed dining experience. 

Beef Tartare

Courgette Tart


Next on my list is Lancers Brasserie in Stockbridge, serving Authentic Indian cuisine. I can honestly say that this is the best Indian restaurant that I have been to. The meat in the curry was cooked perfectly and melted in the mouth, the rice was fragrant, the Peshwari naan was perfect and every bite of food was just so full of flavour. I can't fault it.

best Indian in Edinburgh

Now for Fhior. This one is pretty special, namely because you don't get to pick from a menu. The only choice you have is which drink you would like and whether you would like to have 4 or 7 courses. Although you might end up spending a little more on your meal here than you might at a more traditional restaurant, you get more than your money's worth. On having 4 courses, each of which was fairly substantial on their own, we also were given fresh, homemade bread and butter, a few slices of cured meat and a little 'snack' dish to start off with. This place has the perfect combination of fine food and relaxed dining, oh, and the wine pairings are a must have.

edinburgh restaurant

Another little gem that you shouldn't miss is The Walnut on Leith Walk. Although this restaurant is small, the food is mighty and absolutely delicious. This place is for people who love food but don't need or want the facade of a fancy restaurant. It is comfortable, relaxing, has amazing service and lovely staff but most importantly, the combination of ingredients is just divine. 

Best restaurant in Edinburgh

Best restaurant in Edinburgh

Another fantastic new edition to the Edinburgh restaurant scene is 83 Hanover Street the debut dining project from former Gleneagles restaurant manager and the owner of one of our favourite bars in town 99 Hanover Street, Juan Jose Castillo Castro. The concept is amazing with tapas style dining and all the food being produced in Scotland but with Chilean flavours. Great for a delicious snack before cocktails on the town and a lovely venue for date night too. I'd recommend the Beef Short Rib and the Charred Octopus.

Last month I was lucky enough to attend a blogger sleepover at the beautiful Bonham Hotel in Edinburgh's West End. The hotel itself was stunning and I couldn't recommend it more highly if you are looking for a romantic and classic staycation in Edinburgh. On the other hand, you could reserve a table for dinner as the food on offer is exquisite and exemplary for a hotel restaurant. The perfect location for an overnight anniversary or birthday celebration along with a special dinner.

If none of the above takes your fancy then (you're crazy because they are amazing) here are a few more of the best restaurants in Edinburgh that I highly recommend:

Aurora on Great Junction St
BABA Lebanese food on George St
Lovage restaurant on St Mary's St

Please enlighten me with any food places in Edinburgh that you think I need to try, I am always looking for new favourites!


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Taking care of my hair with Charlie Miller

A few weeks ago, I decided to get my hair cut and dyed with the goal of feeling better about wearing it down. Pre-Charlie Miller, I had been wearing my hair up 90 % of the time. Even after taking the time to straighten or curl it all, I just wasn't happy with how it sat and out would come the bobble. It felt dull and flat with no shape or shine whatsoever and so, with the help of Nicola from Charlie Miller, I decided to do something with it.

I met with Nicola for a consultation and patch test the week before my appointment where she helped me to pick out a colour and some highlight tones to put through it too. She heard exactly what I was looking for and explained how she was going to achieve it. The plan was to go for a richer, slightly darker brown colour, putting in some highlights to frame my face as well as keep in a few pieces of my natural colour to help the highlights blend in.

After meeting Nicola, I was really looking forward to my appointment. Everyone in the South St Andrews Street salon was really friendly and the environment was so calm, it didn't feel like my hair was being rushed so that they could get the next customer in. The overall experience was just so relaxing, I was completely comfortable sitting there with a G&T in hand chatting away to Nicola, it was such a nice way to spend my afternoon.

Having not had my hair dyed before, I was a bit worried about the damage it might cause and how my hair would feel afterwards. But Nicola was very reassuring and explained how L'Oréal's new Smartbond treatment that she used provides really good protection during the dying process. The treatment has been developed to strengthen hair fibre and create a stronger bond between the hair and dye. Basically, it makes your hair stronger, softer and shinier after it has been dyed and that's exactly how my hair feels.

I don't want to be dramatic because I know that I didn't go blonde or anything, but even this little change has made such a difference. In the 2 weeks since I have had it done, I have been wearing my hair down almost every day and the few times I have worn it up, it has looked so much nicer than it did before and it feels much healthier.

Charlie Miller

Toni x


Thursday, 26 July 2018

Our Experience of Edinburgh's Most Talked About Thai Restaurant - Chaophraya

Since its opening in late 2012 Chaophraya has seemed to be the Thai restaurant on everyone's lips. Everyone from our best friends to my next door neighbours to the postman was raving about the delicious food, incredible service and, of course, the complete showstopper that is the view of Edinburgh Castle from the rooftop dining area. 

We put off visiting Chaophraya because of the general hype around the place - not to mention that it was near impossible to secure a booking over the weekend. Fast forward a few years and we finally found ourselves at one of the best tables in the restaurant inside the amazing glass rooftop dining area.  

Chaophraya strikes me as one of the rare restaurants that you can visit with multiple types of party. The delicious Thai food would be the ultimate setting for a Friday night out with the girls, a family celebration or a romantic date night. By the end of the dinner, we were tempted to book a table for the following week to enjoy the tremendous food again and again. 

From the moment we arrived and were seated the service was fast and efficient and the general atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed despite how busy it was (even on a Tuesday evening this place is very popular). We settled in and agonised over the lush cocktail menu before finally settling on a Raspberry Collins and Kier Champagne cocktails.  The drinks were excellent. They have some completely original cocktail recipes which showcase some delicious Thai flavours and were the perfect tipple to kick-off an evening of fantastic food and company.

The service at Chaophraya was excellent throughout the night - the waitress looked after us throughout the evening and had perfected the balance of being attentive but not overbearing. She ensured our water glasses were never empty and we had limitless access to the rooftop terrace for photo shoots throughout the evening. 

The menu had something for everybody and for three foodies it was difficult to decide what we didn't want to try never mind what we wanted to order. In the end, to start, we settled on the Yaowarat Dumpling Platter and the Chicken Spring Rolls which we shared. 

The spring rolls were perfectly crispy and the filling was moist and bursting with flavour. Lyndsey has a bit of a love/hate relationship with spring rolls after bad experiences in the local Chinese (haven't we all) but Chaophraya reaffirmed her love for the crisp delights. The selection of pork, prawn and beef dumplings were simply perfect. We loved the variety of flavour and textures with the different fillings but the prawn dumplings were a firm favourite for us all. The sweet soy sauce that was served with the dumplings was incredible too.

We decided to order a few things to share with our mains so we could taste a variety of the incredible dishes that were on offer.  From the 'Thai Re-Imagined' section on the menu (a variety of small plates recommended to accompany the mains) we ordered the Miang Kahm with Nasturtium- a little mouthful of ginger, coconut and spice served on a leaf. The flavours within this small bite were so intense, an interesting way to prepare our palettes for what was to come. An absolute must try from this section on the menu is the Sous Vide Pepper and Garlic Beef. Anyone who hasn't tasted this dish is missing out in our eyes. The slow-cooked beef melts in the mouth and the blend of truffle oil, mung bean and garlic in the rice/pearl barley will have you craving more. We also tried the Chicken Boxing: succulent chicken wings coated in crispy breadcrumbs served with a sweet chilli sauce which was the ultimate guilty pleasure side to accompany out Thai banquet. 

The mains we ordered comprised of a classic Massaman Curry, a spicy Beef Jungle curry and Tiger Steak. We ordered coconut rice and purple rice which were both totally perfect to go with our dishes. The purple rice definitely had a bite to it but was a great match with both curries for both texture and taste.

One of the best dishes of the evening had to be the Weeping Tiger Sirloin Steak. This is a dish we haven't come across too often in Thai restaurants in the UK but one Lyndsey has enjoyed in Miami on holiday several times. The steak was perfectly marinated and cooked in beautiful aromatic spices - with just the right kick to compliment the melt in the middle sirloin. She asked for it to be cooked medium-rare and that's exactly what it was. Sometimes steak restaurants can struggle to get the cooking right so was pleased to see that a Thai restaurant could get it spot on.

Our desserts were as delicious, if not more than they look. Zoë tried the Thai style Sticky Toffee Pudding with a hint of ginger and it was divine. The blend of ginger was just right and didn't take anything away from the comforting warmth from the toffee sauce and soaked sponge. Lyndsey went for the chocolate box which was rich in flavour but light as a feather- the ultimate chocaholics dream come true. Toni went for a soaked bubka (kind of similar to baklava soaking) which was sweet enough and a lighter end to such a wild flavour rollercoaster of a meal.

Our experience with Chaophraya was flawless and utterly delicious. The price point isn't ridiculous for the quality of the food and the whole experience was fun and memorable. We loved each course just as much as the next and can't wait to return again very soon. They're more than happy to meet any dietary requirements or make dishes milder or spicier if you wish. The food is fresh, exciting and simply the best Thai restaurant in Edinburgh.

 L, T & Z x

Be sure to book in advance during the mania of the Edinburgh festival and fringe!


Thursday, 12 July 2018

The #1 Steak Restaurant In Edinburgh - Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor Edinburgh

Listen up guys and gals, there is a new restaurant in town and it has possibly (almost definitely) taken the title for the best steak restaurant in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the 9th location that Hawksmoor have set up a restaurant in, and I think I speak for most in saying that I am so excited that it is finally open!

I was lucky enough to experience a little preview of the menu last night and it did not disappoint. For a start, the staff were amazing. They knew where every single ingredient on the table came from, including the wine- which was delicious btw. On top of the wine, the cocktails that we tried were also delicious and original. Shout out to the 'Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew'- a gin/beer cocktail that has me thirsty for more.


I was really impressed to find out how much of the produce was sourced locally. For example, all of their bread comes from none other than Twelve Triangles and they get their cheese from I J Mellis in Stockbridge. A lot of their seafood comes from the Isle of Mull, taking no more than 6 hours to get from the sea to their kitchen. For me, the best scallops you can get are from Mull and so I was really happy to hear that, and I was even more excited when I actually ate them. Delicious. Scallops were just one of the starters we got to try, another favourite of mine was the Langoustine Scampi which surprised me because it's not something I would usually go for but the batter was just so light and you could tell how fresh the fish was.

Hawksmoor Edinburgh

Hawksmoor Edinburgh

Hawksmoor prides itself on the fact that all of the beef they sell comes from grass-fed, local native breeds. It was really nice to hear just how committed they are to sourcing meat of the highest quality while bearing in mind ethical standards. It certainly tasted like their efforts have paid off. My personal favourite out of the cuts of meat we tried was the Fillet, but the general consensus around the table was that Rump is the one not to miss. 

Hawksmoor Edinburgh

Macaroni cheese

Lobster, Hawksmoor


From sides to sauces (peppercorn sauce, beef dripping fries, the butter lettuce and herb salad were my no.1's) I couldn't fault one element of the meal... maybe that was just the 14%abv Cab Sav swaying my opinion but either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Even when desserts came, they did not disappoint. I often find that this can be a falling point for many restaurants but certainly not Hawksmoor. They have something for everyone, and if these pictures aren't enough to make you believe me, then go and try for yourself.





I have a feeling that it is going to be a busy opening month at Hawksmoor so if I was you I would get booking. I really hope that if/when you get the chance to go and try out the best new steak restaurant in Edinburgh, that you will enjoy as much as I did.

Toni x


Monday, 2 July 2018

Best Glossier Products - Just Three Glossier Gals

If you don't know Glossier then please let us know the location of the rock you have been living under so we can remove it and you can read this post whilst adding each product to your basket. This is a brand that we just love, it has become a staple in our routines and is perfect in every way. They are fun, their branding is flawless and their products are even more so. We've listed our fave Glossier products, what they're good for and why we love them. *This post is not affiliate linked, we just really love them xoxo

Lyndsey: For a girl who likes a lighter touch when it comes to makeup application this cleanser is a great everyday option. The formula is designed to cater to all skin types and it leaves my sensitive, dry and eczema prone skin feeling hydrated and clean. It is the perfect morning cleanser or for days when I am wearing little to no makeup - I wouldn't use it after a night out for example as it isn't heavy duty enough for that in my opinion. The scent and texture of the cleanser are light and clean smelling which I really like for something I will be using on the regular. Great product for the low maintenance beauty girl amongst us.

Lyndsey: Boy Brow is definitely the stand out product for me amongst the Glossier range. I am lucky enough to be blessed with pretty full brows, for me, it is mostly about filling in gaps and taming lose hairs into a formation. I love the small spoolie that gives you lots of control of the style and shape of your brows and it also ensures a small but effective distribution of gel across your brows. I never find the gel making my brow hairs clump together or flaking off onto my face at the end of the day, which has been my issues with other similar products. Boy Brow ticks all the boxes with my brow needs, a fail-safe for girls with bushy brows they need to tame.

Zoë: This Glossier product is something of a blessing to every single person that uses it. Even people that don't use it have only good things to say or share about what they've heard. I have super dark hair and my eyebrows are what can only be described as baby caterpillars if not managed. I rarely use anything on them because they don't need to be darker, they don't need to be filled in and I quite like them being a little bit wild and natural. Boy Brow has let me keep their natural and naked look but has managed to support their stray ways. It works with a full face and looks amazing when I don't wear anything else. I'll apply it once and that's enough for a whole day. Boy-Brow is one of those products that I'll never not have in my make-up bag.

Toni: As a girl who has quite fair and thin brows, this product was a godsend when it was introduced to me. After I used it once, I knew it was something that I will always have in my makeup bag. It bulks my brows out by filling in the baldy patches while shaping the hairs that I do have. The product sets really nicely, holding the hairs in place and it doesn't melt off half way through the day. I use Boy Brow every time I wear make-up (almost every day) and it has lasted for so long, it's only just starting to dry up/run low and I have had it for almost four months which I would consider a win.

Zoë: Glossier's Stretch Concealer is the best concealer I've ever used. I've got darker skin than most of my friends so found it quite difficult to get any recommendations that actually work with my skin tone. If Glossier has done anything right, it's their extensive colour range to meet any skin tone. It feels weightless, blends like a dream and goes a long way. I've used it as a primer on my eyes, a coverup for dark circles and scars as well as concealing it just works for everything. The texture of it is almost like a moisturises and feels like it when you blend it into your skin- delish. It's a dream concealer I couldn't recommend more. 

Zoë: My ultimate nudey lipstick is CAKE from Glossier. It doesn't dry out my lips, it doesn't make me look like I'm wearing foundation on them and I swear it's my exact lip colour. I was sceptical when I first bought it because I couldn't actually see it on my lips but swift realised that for that exact reason it was perfect for me. It's an amazing colour and looks great with a saucy clear gloss over it, or just bare on its own and looks fab mixed in with other colours. It's perfect. PS: the way it clicks back together is also very satisfying.

Zoë: Can I get a digital confetti canon for this Solution? My skin has been through the shitter from having acne as a teenager and picking spots (sinful) that's left my skin pretty scarred and has left me terrified to use anything new on my skin in case it goes back to being covered in acne again. It's so sensitive I just want to wrap myself in cotton wool and never let anything come near it. Obviously, that's ridiculous. When Glossier announced the Solution coming out I had a flashback moment to the Cake lipstick thinking they were making these products just for me. It's a miracle worker that reduces redness, spots and pore size. It makes your skin smoother and softer and actually gives you a real-life glow. Can I hear you adding to your basket yet? I thought so.

Zoë: This little bottle of joy has been made for us gals who have emotionally troubled skin. As it says on their website it's perfect to use before your period and skin hell arrives or ideal to use when you're stressed or eating junk food. It's really a bottle of saving grace. Easy to apply and I never go a day without it. I really don't know how my skin and I got on before this- it's a little bottle of dreams coming true.

Toni: A little stick of glowy dreams is how I would describe this highlighter. I have this product in the shade Quartz which has a slight pink tone to it which sits really nicely on my cheekbones and ties in well with my blush. I can create my ideal makeup look with this highlighter so easily, I only need to use a tiny amount to get a nice glow with a dewy finish. It can feel quite sticky to put on at first but it sets after a few minutes and then you cant really feel it anymore. It is intended to be applied to your skin directly from the stick but it definitely needs to be blended a bit with a brush or your finger.

Toni: You will find this balm either in my hand, pocket, bag or next to my bed. I always have it on me and I never get sick of it. I do have other lip balms that I use in between so that my lips are getting a bit of a change but this is definitely my main. I have the birthday flavour which, as you can imagine, has a very sweet scent/taste just like b-day cake so I could see why it might not be for everyone. But on top its tasty flavour (lip products can often be unpleasant to taste but this one is actually delish) it has a slight shimmer to it which looks gorgeous on its own or really cute on top of a lipstick.


Friday, 29 June 2018

ArmedAngels - Sustainable High Street Fashion

Did you know the fast-fashion industry is second to oil in having the worst ecological impact?

Fashion sustainability is something that is always in the back of our minds when buying clothes but unfortunately, the back of our minds is where it tends to stay. For those of you who don't know, sustainable fashion involves being environmentally sustainable as well as sourcing the fashion in an ethical way. This includes producing minimal wastage, using sustainable fibres like cotton that has been organically grown or even wood (don't believe me? see pic below), using non-toxic chemicals in the dying process, be fairtrade classified and use recyclable materials. These are only a few of the choices that fashion brands can make to be more sustainable.

These trousers from Armedangels are made from wood... WOOD!?

We aren’t going to pretend to be something that we are not because let’s be honest, all three of us love to follow a trend now and again. If it’s Lyndsey’s love for checked blazers, Zoë’s obsession with khaki green or even my impulsive decision to buy a barbie X Missguided top (don’t judge plz) but wore it once and realised it was a bad/regrettable purchase decision. But my point is, we couldn’t possibly claim that we are sustainable because it can't happen overnight and is a huge commitment.  However, what we can say is that we all try our best to reduce our impact as much as possible when it comes to fashion. None of us use a tumble dryer, we wash on low heats, we recycle our clothes (be it to charities, our friends or putting it in the right bin at the end of its life), we try our best to buy clothes that we know we will get lots of use out of, we all prefer to spend a little extra on a quality product that we know will last and we all try our best to keep up with sustainable movements.

For me, it takes a lot to make a new purchase. I will spend a long time deciding if I’m going to get use out of a product and, to be honest making myself wait pays off because more often than not, a week later I’m thankful I didn't act on impulse (other than the Barbie top...that was a full regret). These little changes and decisions are so easy to make. I think for so many people, the reason they don't make these simple changes is because they don’t know the extent of the damage or don’t know about the damage at all! 

After doing a research project on fashion sustainability while I was at university, what I learned made me sick. I know we hear stories about ‘poor working conditions' and 'sweatshops’ but that is the bare minimum of it. That’s nothing. The social injustice and environmental damage being caused by the fashion industry, more so fast fashion, is monumental. It’s heart-breaking. But I am not an expert on this subject so if you are interested in finding out more then here are some amazing ladies who really know their stuff:
Ruth at Urbanity Blog
Jennifer at The Sustainable Edit

This is why we need to support sustainable fashion brands like Armedangels and applaud retail giant John Lewis for acknowledging the problem and promoting a brand with great objectives. Although this is a small step and I know they could be doing more, it’s a start. 10 years ago when Armedangels was first established, fast fashion wasn’t even a term, it was just fashion. Sustainability certainly was nowhere near the mainstream and went unrecognised. So who knows, in another 10 years this could be the norm.

So, a little bit about the brand: Armedangels is 10 years old and was founded by one student who had two interns and that was it. They brought the brand to what it is today and continue to work tirelessly to bring fashion sustainability into mainstream fashion. The price point of the clothing is slightly more than most high-street retailers but you need to remember the investment in being sustainable unfortunately comes at a higher cost. The clothes you are buying are a real life-long investment so really it's a small price to pay. I would say that there isn't really a specific age that these clothes are targeted towards because they really are versatile and could cater to most people. They've got simple T-Shirts, culottes, jeans of all styles and shift dresses for example. I feel like it is also important to mention that not only do Armedangels ensure that their clothing is sustainable, but they are also actively working to reduce any future impact that the fashion industry may have. Just one example of this is that they are helping farmers to develop their cotton farms into organic/sustainable/fair-trade cotton farms. This is a difficult process which can take up to 3 years and often means that farmers cannot generate a regular income during this time. As you can imagine, this is not a transition that farmers are able to achieve on their own which is where companies like Armedangels come in. Work like this is helping to change the fashion industry in the best way.

So, obviously Zoë and I wanted to try on the entire range and we took some pictures of our favourite pieces, click on the links below to shop. 

 Khaki Trousers

 White T-shirt
Khaki Culottes

Toni x

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