Thursday, 19 February 2015

My Edinburgh Adventure

Love has be in the air recently with Valentines day and all, and my boyfriend decided that wad the perfect time for a little weekend get away to Edinburgh. We've been talking about visiting the city for a while now and having a little trip the zoo to see the pandas, I just love all things bear related you see. So he was amazing enough to surprise me with this little weekend city break. Being the detective that I am I sussed his little surprise, he was asking what time we could drive up... there's not many places up of Newcastle to be honest, but it didn't ruin it in fact I think I made it that much better because I was able to get all excited for our little trip. 

I've never been to Edinburgh or Scotland for that matter, apart from one quick flight  to train change over so I didn't really get to see the city. I don't know why I've never been, seems odd especially now I'm in Newcastle and you can grab train tickets for next to nothing. This made me even more excited for the weekend ahead. On Thursday night James finally gave me a little outline of what he'd planned for us and managed to included lots of my favourite things from yummy food at Five Guys and Ben's Cookies to sight seeing at the castle. Fair to say I was very excited for our little trip to Edinburgh.

We set off on Friday around lunch time when we had both finished our morning lectures, we left plenty of time for the drive up so we would have chance to explore the city a little before dinner that night. The drive up took a little longer than planned because of the numerous speed cameras but before long we were across the boarder into Scotland. We arrived around four o'clock as planned and had chance for a quick wander around the city. Just before we headed to the hotel night started to fall over Edinburgh and as the city began to illuminate it looked ever so beautiful.
We headed to our Hotel, the Ben Doran Guest House which was a lovely period property just slightly out of the city centre. We were staying on the second floor, just up the winding staircase in a cosy three bed room. The room felt so perfect for the occasion as it was very quaint and romantic with its blush toned decor, ideal for a Valentines weekend getaway.
Once we've freshened up a little bit we headed to dinner. We had a 9 o'clock reservation for Tapa, a highly rated Spanish, tapas restaurant. I'm so glad we managed to get reservations here because I had heard so much about it and it looked so yummy online. I'm a massive tapas fiend so I'm going to be doing a full review on this place soon. I opted for the wine and James had a beer, we then tried to narrow down our choices for what to eat as I wanted almost everything on the menu. We finally chose on three items each and one to share. I was in heaven surrounded by spicy potatoes and seafood mmm, they also had these amazingly yummy aubergine crisps which were to die for. We were stuffed to the bone but we just had to leave enough room for dessert because who doesn't love some churros and chocolate lava.
On Valentines morning we woke up to open presents, I was treated to my a beautiful bunch of roses, my favourite chocolates and the cutest handmade coupon book ever. Then we headed to breakfast downstairs before sorting ourselves out for a day at the Zoo. I love visiting the Zoo, it's always been on of my favourite things to do so spending Valentines doing just that seemed so perfect. Even though the day was a little grey and misty, it didn't stop the animals coming out to visit us and those that it did luckily had inside enclosures which we could still see them in. We watched the gibbons play and cooed at the pygmy hippos. We watched the talks about the chimpanzees and the sun bears, I could of watched these guys play all day. Then it was our time slot to view the pandas, flsjhskqwi. Fair to say I was a little excited. I've seen panda bears twice before, once at the San Diego Zoo and once in the Washington D.C. Zoo however due to the bears being in the inside enclosure meant we got very close to these big cuddly bears. And while one was asleep the other was sat eating his weight in bamboo. It was too cute.
We then headed to the penguin parade where they actually walk the birds around the outside of their enclosure, it was too cute. Then we got to see the Koalas, they are literally the cutest little things, I want one. Love was definitely in the air at the Zoo between the couples spending their day their and all the animals coming into mating season, it was too cute. I loved the Zoo so much, James even treated me to a giant cuddly panda bear teddy which now I can't live without. I named him Xiang Xiang. 
We headed pack to the hotel to refresh before heading back out for dinner. James had booked us a table in this little Indian and Thai restaurant called Shamoli. From the outside you'd miss this place as it sits upstairs looking out over the royal mile but inside was a lovely little restaurant which was packed with couples. The service was amazing, the waiters were so charming and really helpful to us. We opted for a bottle of pink bubbly, it was Valentines day after all. I went for Thai cuisine and started off with the Tod Mun, a spicy style thai fish cake made with fresh cod followed by a huge porotion of Pad Thai with king prawns which was delicious. James opted for Indian cuisine and had the Onion Bhajees followed by a chicken Bhuna, rice and garlic naan; which I stole some of course. The food was too yummy but we were so full by the end of the meal that we couldn't try the dessert. This restaurant was too cute and definitely one of the best thai meals I've had in a long time.
For dinner I wore my Missguided  floral lace bralet in black with a white isometric crepe skirt from Primark along with a pair of red suede topshop heels. Of course my Michael Kors belt and black Sutton bag to finish my look. After dinner we headed back to the hotel after dinner because we were so sleepy from our long day at the zoo. We snuggled down with our new panda teddy and watched a movie in bed, the perfect end to a lovely Valentines day.

On our final day we slept through breakfast, opps, clearly the day before had taken its tole on us so we took it easy before checked out of the Ben Doran and headed into town for some sight seeing. First stop, Edinburgh Castle. We ventured up the Royal Mile and to the castle where we paid to travel inside the walls and I'm so glad we did as it gave us some beautiful views of the entire city. We saw the Scottish crown jewels and learn't a lot about the history of the castle, we even got to visit inside the dungeons ooo. We then headed to the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions museum for some light hearted fun. The optical illusions were so fun to play with but it was the vortex tunnel and the hall of mirrors that I love the most. Even though I was a bit scared in the hall of mirrors as I felt like I was in an episode of Pretty Little Liars and A was lurking around the corners, oops. I love the fibre optic room, it was like looking out into the galaxy I was totally mesmerised.
We then headed through the Old Town of Edinburgh and down onto Princess Street to do some shopping. We popped into Michael Kors, Burberry and Harvey Nicholas to lust over some pricer items before needing a little midday pick me up. For that we headed to Ben's Cookies, mmm. We bought a large Bens box so I could take a few home to my Mum and Sister during the week, it also meant I got to indulge on lots of white chocolate and cranberry cookies, my favourite. The atmosphere within the city was great because it was the day of the Scotland Vs Whales rugby world cup match so the streets were littered with supports and fans as well as street performers, little stalls and bagpipe players. A little more sight seeing done we deduced to head out of the city to start our journey home as we didn't want to hit traffic from the match. We drove down to Five Guys, just out of the centre so James could finally see what I had been raving about since my experience at Five Guys Leeds, check out the post I wrote about it here. I opted for a small cheese burger with a small fries and James went for a cheese dog, but of course we both had Coca Cola Freestyles, yummy. We then set off on the road back to Newcastle.
I had such a lovely weekend away. It was such a great surprise and so romantic, I loved it. Edinburgh is such a lovely place to visit and I'd highly recommend it to anyone for a weekend city break. There's loads to do from delicious food to museums and sightseeing to getting up close and personal with pandas. I definitely have to head back across the boarder soon and see more of this beautiful city and country. I hope you all had a romance filled weekend with your special somebody no matter how you spent it or where you were.

How did you spend Valentines day? Have you been to Edinburgh? Where's you favourite city break?
Let me know in the comments below. 

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