A Day Out in Edinburgh

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a day trip to Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities.

Though I missed out on the festival this year, there was still plenty to do and see - and having made a  resolution to take more photos I can include here on the blog, I thought it would be fun to document our day out with the camera. As you'll see I've had mixed success, but I'm getting better!

We started out with coffee and delicious cinnamon buns at Peter's Yard, a Scandinavian-style cafe near the university area of the city, which is great for people-watching and also happens to sell the best crispbread ever.

The next stop was the recently refurbished National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. Including everything from science to nature, world cultures to Scottish history, this incredibly comphrehensive museum is a great place to explore, and really does have something for everyone - from elephants and flying fish to maps of the stars! Recently we were also lucky enough to be treated to a tasty afternoon tea up in the top floor restaurant, which has beautiful views of Edinburgh's spires and rooftops.

Whenever I come to Edinburgh, I always enjoy visiting the Fruitmarket, a small but beautifully-formed contemporary art gallery with a great exhibitions programme and a tiny cafe.

On this visit, we spent ages browsing in the lovely bookshop, which has a great selection of contemporary art and art theory books, as well as such delights as Gemma Correll greetings cards, zines by local artists, polaroid cameras, picture books and Tunnock's teacake badges, before taking a look at their current exhibition - a solo exhibition of work by Ingrid Calame, which had been part of this year's Edinburgh Art Festival.

Ingrid Calame …puEEP, 2001 via Fruitmarket
Across the road we took a peep at one of this year's Edinburgh Art Festival commissions - Martin Creed's Work No. 1059 which has transformed the Scotsman's Steps. (I didn't take any pictures of this one for some reason, but you can see some images here).

As evening approached, we thought about going to one of our favourite Edinburgh bars, Ecco Vino on Cockburn Street, but instead ended up going to see a film before ending the day with a meal at Seadogs, a new discovery.

This laid-back restaurant on Rose Street specialises in (you guessed it) fish and seafood, and also has several sister venues close by - the original Dogs restaurant serving up hearty gastropub fare, Dogs Amore (Italian food) and Underdogs (a basement bar). I ate moule frites followed by this rather epic (if badly photographed) syrup sponge pudding to share.  What better end to a delightful Edinburgh day?

The map at the top of this post is a detail from artist J. Maizlish's beautiful map, Sites of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2011, which was also one of this year's festival commissions. You can download a copy of the map here, or see the original in Edinburgh at the Ingleby Gallery

Five Things


I can't stop reading this new online magazine for teenage girls, the brainchild of teen blogger extraordinaire Tavi. The majority of the content is created by young people themselves, with additional contributions from some 'favourite grown ups' such as Miranda July, Joss Whedon and Zooey Deschanel. Yet far from having any of the slightly patronising worthiness of some youth-led  projects, this is simply a smart, well-written and well-designed website, full of intriguing content whether you're a teenage girl or not, and beautifully illustrated with photographs and illustrations by the likes of Minna Gilligan (see above). A complete breath of fresh air - I only wish it had been around when I was fourteen.


One of the best things about holidays is the time to indulge in reading, particularly when you're staying in a cosy house where there are plenty of comfy armchairs to draw up in front of the fire on a rainy afternoon.  I've been enjoying re-reading some old favourites, including Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace. Next on my list is Bluebeard's Egg but I've  also got a real urge to re-read The Robber Bride - I wonder if I can find a copy in the book-filled attic?


I've just discovered the appealingly playful, rainbow-bright paintings of Florian Meisenberg, a young New York-based artist. I love Meisenberg's lively sense of colour, but also the way he blends lightness and thoughtfulness in his works. I wish I'd caught his solo exhibition at Kate MacGarry Studio earlier this year. The show was entitled http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90RM07vHQiw and if you click the hyperlink you'll find a video of a flying cat, which to be honest is exactly the sort of thing I look for in contemporary art.


Monster movies aren't usually my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed this quirky and surprisingly funny Norwegian film about, um, trolls. Go see!


I've recently discovered this brilliant recipe blog, with beautifully photographed step-by-step instructions to making all manner of tasty treats. So far I've tried the cocoa brownies and the chewy oatmeal and raisin cookies (pictured above) both highly recommended, and now I'm hooked. My only problem is that as this is a US blog, most of the measurements are in cups and have to be translated into kgs/lbs, which can make some quantities a bit hit and miss - or at least it can when I'm doing the maths!

A Postcard from Scotland

I'm spending the next two weeks on holiday in Dunbar, Scotland - this is a picture I took there for this blog over three years ago! It's difficult to believe this blog has really been around for such a long time.

It's been ages since I had such a big chunk of time off work, and I'm looking forward to a chance to relax, including lots of blustery walks along the cliffs and across beaches like this one, curling up with a book and a cup of tea in front of the fire, watching seals from the window, wearing wellies, eating delicious fresh fish from the local fish shop, and most importantly, catching up on a long-standing writing project which it is high time was completed! And who knows, maybe there will even be time to fit in some overdue blogging too...?