If you follow my Instagram account you may have noticed that a couple of weeks ago I spent a long weekend in Edinburgh. I had an absolutely amazing time. It is such a beautiful city and, I have to say, I was very sad to leave.
The journey started with me obsessing over the Virgin Atlantic hostesses uniforms, particularly their coats. They are amazingly cut with so many subtle, yet intriguing details. I guessed straight away that they were designed by my hero Vivienne Westwood; only a genius like her could cut a coat like that. I mean, seriously, look how gorgeous they are and perfect for over the top of a vintage wiggle dress!
But the holiday didn’t really start until we finally got to the hotel, quickly freshened up and headed out into the streets of Edinburgh. The hotel was ideally located on Charlotte Street which runs perpendicular to the ends of George Street, where the pricier high street shops such as Hobbs and Laura Ashley are located, Rose Street which is full of restaurants and bars as well as quirky independent shops and Princes Street which is the main shopping street and has all the usual shops you’d expect to see on any UK high street.
The first place we headed for was a small patisserie just around the corner in Rose Street for a spot of lunch, where I had this amazing berry mousse on a soft and very light pastry. My mum had an enormous macaroon but had started to devour it before I could even take a photo of it!
Once we’d refuelled we head off down Rose Street. I don’t think I have ever seen so many pubs, cafes and restaurants in one place before! We looked at quite a few of them, planning to try this one and that one before we left. The one I really wanted to try was this cute little Mexican restaurant that looked like it could’ve been lifted up from its plot in Mexico and transported as it was to Edinburgh. However, both times we tried to eat there it was completely full. We did, however, come across Jamie Oliver’s Italian and, as neither myself or my mum had been to one before, we decided to go in and book for the following night.
We walked the entire length of Rose Street perusing in some of the shops as we went but not really buying anything. At the end of the street is Jenners, a department store that is owned by House of Fraser. We were lured in by the Triumph lingerie window display as I was determined to show my mum the Doreen bra which she thought was hilarious once she saw it. “It’s a granny bra!” were her exact words. We spent quite some time in the lingerie department trying things on but, to my mum’s shock, I didn’t actually end up buying anything.
Like many of the buildings in the centre of town Jenners is quite old and, thankfully, still retains a lot of its original features. It made me think of Are You Being Served? and I half expected Mr Humphries to pop out and say “I’m Free!”.
As I was admiring the gorgeous fretwork of the balcony I spotted the Biba section. As you may already know I am a huge fan of the original Biba from the 1960s so was curious to see their latest offerings. We had a good look through everything, but I can’t say anything was really me. It’s a shame that there isn’t a heavier influence of the original designs in the new stuff. If there was I definitely would’ve been interested.
However, as we were leaving we visited the accessories department in the basement and I spotted this to die for Biba bag. The unusual shape of it caught my eye initially as I’m not usually attracted to leopard print but as soon as I picked it up I fell in love with it. The shell is hard so it doesn’t contort and lose its shape and the strap can be released at the bottom so that the strap is long enough to wear over the shoulder.
The best bit about the bag, though, was revealed when I turned it around. One side is the textured leopard print but on the other it is just plain black leather, so it’s two bags in one. I was sold! Both the front and back have the classic Biba logos on them in gold (coloured metal, obviously) and the lining has the logo printed all over it in matching black.
It opens up very much like a purse but instead of a twist clip is has this beautiful gold metal clasp that looks very much like a ring. It comes in its own black dust bag to keep it clean which also has the Biba logo on it.
When I bought it it was reduced from £129 down to £104 (I was on holiday so the price didn’t really matter!) but you can now get it at House of Fraser for £90.30. It also comes in a plain black patent version and a gorgeous shimmering petrol blue patent, which I was also tempted by.
Once we’d tired ourselves out shopping we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before going out for something to eat. Initially we tried the Mexican restaurant on Rose Street but it was packed and the wait was over an hour so we decided to have a look on George Street. By this time it was raining so we wanted to stay fairly close to the hotel so we could make a dash for it once we’d finished.
We went into Browns Bar and Brasserie, which we could actually see from our hotel window, as it looked like it might be good. Once we got inside we immediately knew it was for us. It was like a lively Parisian bar with lots of small tables dotted in every nook and cranny and the atmosphere was buzzing. I had roast chicken with honey roast carrots and parsnips and arrabiatta rosti potato in a red wine jus which was just heaven and my mum had the Browns steak pie.
Our waiter, Adam, was a complete flirt and decided we should have this aptly named (according to him) wine which actually was very good. I hadn’t really had any alcohol since I was ill last Christmas and my mum doesn’t drink very much so after half a bottle of this each we were rather tipsy!
I did also enjoy three scoops of ice cream after which really finished off the meal and we headed back to the hotel where I had my first whisky of the trip. I am a big lover of whisky (I used to be married to a Scot) and was determined to try a few different ones whilst in Edinburgh. Unfortunately the one I ordered, Dalwhinnie, wasn’t available so I fell back to my all time favourite Glenmorangie. The perfect way to end the day.
So, that was day one done. Watch out for my next post where my mum and I hit the charity and vintage shops!