A Sleepover at The Bonham Hotel, Edinburgh

Over the last couple of years, I’ve started spending more and more of my time through in Edinburgh – whether it’s visiting friends, going on fun-filled days out or heading to events in the city. There are some areas of the capital that I’m not as familiar with yet and the leafy West End of Edinburgh is one of them – it seems filled with pretty neighbourhoods just itching to be explored.

When Laura got in touch to invite a few of us to her summer blogger sleepover, I was excited to see that our setting was The Bonham – one of Edinburgh’s oldest boutique hotels, located in a quiet West End street. I always look forward to Laura’s Glasgow sleepover events and going to a different city with my little pink suitcase felt like a mini holiday this time around!

I was the first one in our group to arrive, which meant I could spend a few minutes admiring the beautiful converted townhouse (which is spacious enough to hold almost fifty rooms and suites!) with its grand staircases and high ceilings. There was a statue in the reception area that reminded me of Bosley, so I felt at home right away…

After meeting Laura, we were taken to our luxurious sleepover suite which The Bonham hotel staff had thoughtfully kitted out with blankets, DVDs and white chocolate ‘Welcome’ cards. Enormous windows gave us a stunning view of the entire street and soon we were joined by the rest of the girls and got into our pyjamas.

The coffee table was quickly groaning with sweet treats (and that was before the hotel had even served us any food!). I’d visited the lovely Madamoiselle Macaron earlier that day and picked up some of their famous macarons for us all to try. Lori brought along a Victoria sponge and Lisa had baked a lemon loaf cake. Laura’s creation was the showstopper – a home-made raspberry buttercream cake Mary Berry would be proud of!

Our evening was packed with girly activities with top notch brow treatments from Benefit, summer jewellery making (kits supplied by Hobbycraft – and if you were wondering whether you can have too many tassels, the answer is no, no you cannot!) and a chance for us all to relax while having a good gossip about the best and worst of reality TV.

The team at The Bonham made sure that we were well-looked after and brought a delicious selection of food to the room.

I especially enjoyed our starters (poached Leven Farm duck eggs with asparagus and a grain mustard dressing) and desserts (a dense, dreamy chocolate mousse with pistachio parfait and edible flowers) but all of the dishes were delicious!

A chocolate fondue was brought in last as we snuggled up under the blankets and watched a movie. The room had plenty of sofas and armchairs and was spacious enough for us to stretch out. Call it a food coma (4 hours of grazing will do that to a gal!), or maybe it was too much excitement, but I found myself flagging just after midnight and my soft, squishy bed was calling me.

The next morning, the girls and I regrouped and headed downstairs to The Restaurant for a hearty breakfast before we checked out, ready to take on the rest of the weekend. We even managed to fit in a walk through the West End streets on our way to the station!

I had a wonderful time during our stay at The Bonham and, for me, the stand-out factor was the service – the team were very pleasant and helpful throughout and sometimes it’s nice to forego the option of self serve and feel like you’re in good hands.

You can find out more details about The Bonham, plus booking information, here!

 

 

 

With thanks to all at The Bonham hotel – this trip was arranged for review purposes, but all views and food babies are mine.

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with The Cambridge Satchel Company’s Spring Collection

Cambridge Satchel

Bonjour! Last week I was transported to the glamorous bygone days of the French Riviera… and I didn’t even need my passport (or a time machine!). Instead, I headed through to Edinburgh for a very special visit to The Cambridge Satchel Company’s store at Grassmarket to get to know their new Spring line a little better.

Inspired by vintage travel postcards, pastel-hued French sunsets, and the need to carry all of your precious essentials around in style, The Cambridge Satchel Company’s dreamy new collection left me completely smitten and with major wanderlust! Ooh la la!

Cambridge Satchel

I couldn’t help but snap some photos while I was visiting and chatting all things bag-shaped with the lovely team at the store – so I thought I would share a few of them today, along with some details on what you can expect from the new range.

Here are 5 very good reasons to fall in love with The Cambridge Satchel Company’s Spring Collection…

Cambridge Satchel

New colours: taking their cue from traditional villas, the sea and chic vintage French fashion, the colour palette for Spring includes brand new hues in Terracotta (my favourite from the collection, almost verging on peach and gorgeously girly), French grey (a soft, blue-grey that will go with EVERYTHING!), Clay (an off-white that has the power to smarten up even the most distressed denim) and Amber (warm, rich and will only look cooler as it gets worn).

Cambridge Satchel

Floating along on clouds: ahh, the cloud bags! My absolute favourites from the collection (and pretty much my favourite design that The Cambridge Satchel Company have ever released). These adorable, scalloped-edged satchels are included in the new colours and are the perfect size for a day of sightseeing.

Cambridge Satchel

New textures: as well as four new shades, the Spring bags also come in some brand new materials. From soft grain to luxurious Saffiano leather, the structured design that the brand is known for is given some extra je nais se quoi thanks to these additional touches of texture.

Cambridge Satchel

Poppy’s back… and she’s had a makeover: The Cambridge Satchel Company’s Poppy bags are a design loved by many (Lady Gaga often rocks the dusky rose colourway!) thanks to striking the perfect balance between pretty and practical. The retro push-lock closure and doctor’s bag style make this bag seem as though it’s leapt from an episode of Mad Men. So, Poppy is back for Spring because she really didn’t want to miss out on a trip to the Riviera; in new colours and Saffiano leather options.

Cambridge Satchel

This time it’s personal: actually, that’s not strictly true – personalisation at The Cambridge Satchel Company is not a new concept as the brand have been offering this service for a long time. However, there are some new monogram colours and symbols to choose from to help make your new season bag your very own! I love watching the process and I decided to adorn my terracotta backpack with silver initials (mine, of course!) to match the hardware. I just can’t wait to take it on my next adventure…

Cambridge Satchel

Cambridge Satchel

The Cambridge Satchel Company’s Edinburgh store is filled with beautiful bags and is a must visit on your next day in Edinburgh. Let me know if you pop in – and which bag(s) you’ve fallen in love with!

Here’s to travelling in style…

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With thanks to The Cambridge Satchel Company 

Taco Tuesdays (and Wednesdays!) at El Cartel, Edinburgh

El CartelWe’re big fans of Taco Tuesdays in our house. And Taco Wednesdays And Saturdays. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, any day is a good day to have some delicious Mexican treats! On a recent trip to Edinburgh (there’s been a few of them lately!) Gary and I were looking for the perfect place to go and have tacos and hang out for a little while, and when we found out about El Cartel on Thistle Street, we were instantly smitten!

Serving up authentic home-made Mexican food in the kind of cosy space you can make yourself at home in, El Cartel is a relaxed yet vibrant space that really stands out on its quiet cobbled street.

El Cartel

We grabbed a table by the window and couldn’t wait to look over the menu. The options available to vegetarians were really impressive, so we decided to try a selection of tacos and sides to share – that way we could try out more dishes (what can I say? That’s teamwork right there!).

If you love tequila or frozen margaritas (I already have a few babes that spring to mind…), then El Cartel also have that covered. Their speciality drinks also include Jarritos soft drinks, so we ordered a couple of flavours – Mandarin for Gary and I had Guava. This Mexican drinks brand has been around since the 1950s, and I loved the retro shape of the bottles! The actual juices were very sweet (and very bright!).

El Cartel

With a covetable Spotify playlist of hip hop and soul as our soundtrack, it wasn’t long before our dishes started to arrive. The food is served as and when the dishes are ready, rather than everything coming at once, but the service was very quick and within a few minutes our table was filled with plates.

Let me tell you about our tacos – are you sitting comfortably? The first ones we tried were the avocado ones, which were served in a soft, freshly made flour taco. YOU GUYS – the avocado was battered! Sesame battered to be precise. My mind was blown! Combined with the slow-cooked lager broth beans, this taco was pure indulgence and I almost wanted to call off the whole ‘let’s share everything’ approach so I could have them all to myself!

El Cartel

Next up, we tried out the sweet potato tacos, which had a little more kick to them and a really amazing flavour and texture combination thanks to pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, chipotle crema, red onion and sheep’s milk cheese. These were Gary’s favourites and what I really loved about them was the range of ingredients  – the pumpkin seeds were nice and crunchy with the softness of the sweet potato providing a good contrast.

We enjoyed a couple of sides too – the street corn was a great example of simple yet effective food, with juicy corn cobs covered in spicy cheese and crema. Yum! Fresh guacamole was also served with plantain chips for dipping and topped with spring onion, pomegranate and a sprinkling of sheep’s milk cheese.

All of the food was awesome, and what really made it stand out to me was how incredibly FRESH it all tasted. The restaurant isn’t huge, and from where we were sitting we could see a bit of the kitchen, and noticed that every single dish was made to order. I’m also now officially a pomegranate on guacamole fan – don’t knock it ’til you try it!

El Cartel

When visiting an enormous city like Edinburgh, it can often be tempting to stick to the main streets. But El Cartel is really just a hop, skip and a jump from the hustle and bustle of Princes Street, and provides a slice of Mexican cool right in the heart of the city. Come for the tacos, stay for the good vibes!

Have you been to El Cartel? And do you celebrate Taco Tuesday too?

Fiesta, forever…

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