Restaurant Martin Wishart

Monday, 2 April 2018

When you're after a nice low-key meal, you probably wouldn't think of a Michelin starred place as your first option. We happened to be in Leith and on the spur of the moment, we did just that at Martin Wishart. Lunchtime menus tend to be pretty good value at these places and you have the potential opportunity (often, not always) to taste spectacular food.


Notes and Lessons from our Fast-Track Home Renovation Project

Friday, 23 March 2018

 Downstairs loo/ cloakroom transformation

I must admit that as much as we've loved seeing our flat transformed into a family home, we were not looking for a project. Our stress limits were already being tested (with trying sell our house down south, trying to get our heads round the super-competitive property market in Edinburgh, the bonkers closed bids and offers over system in Scotland, juggling parenthood, work and other family challenges) to want any additional hassle whatsoever. But the universe had other plans. Here is how we turned an unliveable period property to a family home in 6 weeks.


Lunch at Paul Kitching's 21212

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A couple of months ago (yep, speedy blogging it is not), a few of us went to Paul Kitching's restaurant on Royal Terrace for a leisurely afternoon lunch. Despite its Michelin star, 21212 doesn't seem to get as much attention as I think it deserves in Edinburgh's pop culture.


The Hiatus and Reflections

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Hello, anybody there?

It has been rather quiet here for a wee while. But, a lot has happened in that time in the real world.

Mainly, we've been trying to get our act together as parents - tiny humans need 200% attention and as  much as I would have liked , I simply could not balance that with blogging whilst working full time outside of home too. The only spare minutes I got/get were/are spent cleaning, cooking and catching up on much needed sleep. Our closest family are several hundred (or thousand) miles away which means the only respite we get is when we pay for childcare (which we do in eye watering amounts).

We also bought our first home in Edinburgh. When we set out to buy in this beautiful city, we had absolutely no clue how brutal the property market is and how tough the closed bids system can be.  Its not about what you can afford as much as how much everyone else is able to afford i.e. a bidding war. So, after 63 different viewings, 9 bids and countless tears, we finally found a place we love.  We were one of 14 bids and top by a whisker. It had just one catch. It was a shell that needed everything doing to it. And in case you were wondering, buying a dilapidated property in central Edinburgh is just as (if not sometimes more) competitive than a ready to move in one - so we had very little spare cash.

Enter aggressive planning and construction programmes, planning and building warrant permissions, sleepless nights, a thousand phone calls, competitive tendering for each work package and lots of careful design. We went from contract completion to move in just 6 weeks!

Ed and I are still (just about) married - to each other.

All that said, I missed writing. I missed my happy place. I came here often to look at happy things from the past. And at the start of 2018, I decided I would blog again. Slowly.

The content will now include interiors (as that's what we've done pretty much all the time since last summer), more home cooking of the world food variety (as we are too broke to travel or eat out often), frugal fashion (I hardly buy clothes for myself now), some dining out (lunchtime deals are great) and occasionally (maybe), some reflections on being a parent.

Does that sound like a plan? Those of who that still visit me (Google analytics tells me my audience hasn't all gone), what would you like to see? Ann xx


Winter Walks around the Dean Estate

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Back in August 2015 I attended a very insightful talk by Christopher Fleet and Daniel McCannell about their book Mapping Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Book Festival.  Edinburgh has such a rich history - for example, the entire area we live in is a conservation area and every street has a fascinating story. Every so often, Ed and I look up Mapping Edinburgh to chose an area to explore.


Loch Venachar

Saturday, 7 January 2017

After a quiet New Year's Day at home and around our neighbourhood, we ventured on day trip to the Trossachs the following day. I know the areas around Stirlingshire and Forth Valley through work so we thought we'd try and do something near there - on cue Ed found Venachar Lochside.


Sunny Day in St. Monans

Sunday, 1 January 2017

We've been having a rather low key Christmas period to recover from a roller-coaster 2016. The day after boxing day got us wanting a little change of scenery and we went on an impromptu drive to the fishing village of St. Monan's in East Neuk. We knew nothing about St. Monan's and yet it was one of the loveliest little places we've visited in a while. And with a great wee restaurant too!


Kaiseki in Kyoto

Saturday, 31 December 2016

One of our favourite dining experiences in Japan was Kaiseki - traditional Japanese haute cuisine. Kaiseki of tends to be quite expensive and as we'd already indulged in a number of 'experience' meals, it wasn't on the cards. That was until we walked around Gion, worked up a massive appetite and decided on impulse that we would after all try it the multi-course meal. Kaiseki restaurants in Gion, we were informed, can seem a bit impenetrable due to Japanese only menus and a sometimes cool attitude towards foreigners. Gion Karyo, we read was not only more relaxed but also (by Kaiseki standards) more affordable.


Dishoom Edinburgh

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Given my background, I'm not a big fan of Indian restaurants in the UK as they very rarely replicate good wholesome Indian food.  Dishoom is different - it is authentic and not in a tourist trappy way and is a big hit with a lot of my London mates.  I was absolutely delighted when I heard that Dishoom was coming to Edinburgh and a blogger event (thanks Jen at LUX) meant I got to sample some of its delights before the crowds hit. That said, I've been back at Dishoom almost twice weekly with the family or friends and thought I'd share my 'insights'!


Flying Through Edinburgh

Monday, 19 December 2016

Until very recently, I was flying in and out of Edinburgh Airport more often than I'd have liked (especially when it wasn't on holiday.) I believe in making the most of every situation and I'd worked a certain shopping (including window version) drill for airport sanity. Edinburgh Airport has an excellent array of shops all offering at least 20% off on retail prices so shopping is quite satisfying. So, when I was asked if I'd help showcase Edinburgh airport's offerings for the holiday and gifting season, I happily obliged - I'd already had a list at my fingertips!


Havana - A Photo Essay

Monday, 12 December 2016

Back in June we ventured out to Cuba - a country at the cusp of significant change. The Rolling Stones had performed earlier in the year and Chanel showcased their 16/17 cruise collection. The first cruise ship (in over five decades) arrived from the USA just a couple of weeks before we got there. However, the average Cuban is rather cynical about all this change. Now with Fidel Castro's death, I wonder if more genuine change is afoot. Here is a selection of some of my favourite Havana snapshots to help with that reflection...


Lunch at Badger & Co, Edinburgh

Sunday, 20 November 2016

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to Badger & Co for a meal. A short walk home, we opted for a leisurely Sunday lunch to check out the restaurant's offerings. Having walked past the establishment several times, I expected it to be a dark speakeasy style place. and not especially family friendly. I was pleasantly surprised.

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