The Edinburgh Series: When Lucy came to stay

It’s been almost a month since I made the big move to Edinburgh, can you believe it eh? We are now in December (not sure what is more shocking at this point, 2017 where have you gone?) and I’m currently counting down the days until I’m back home in leafy Surrey. This week just passed however, I got a mini taste of home when a close friend came to visit me in Edinburgh. It’s far to say we packed the weekend full of Christmas activities and sight seeing and had great fun exchanging stories and catching up.

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Here’s a run down of what we got up to:

Friday 1st December

My friend arrived around 11ish and we made our way straight away along Prince’s Street, looking at all the Christmas displays in the shop windows and weaving our way through the crowds of people strolling up and down the street. We then headed to the Edinburgh Christmas markets, which can not fail to put you in the Christmas spirit. Up until this point, I thought it would be near impossible to beat the Bath Christmas markets but actually Edinburgh might just clinch it! The smells of bailey’s hot chocolate, mulled wine and cinnamon can not be avoided- there are so many tasty food stalls and tempting drink stands. There is also such a variety of things of offer- an ideal place to visit if you are in need of some Christmas stocking fillers. After a little wander, we made our way over to the Old town of Edinburgh. This is an absolute must-see- although a little touristy in parts, there are some gorgeous streets that look especially picturesque with all the Christmas lights up. We wandered along the cobbled streets to St Giles Cathedral- an orchestra were rehearsing for an evening concert when we went in- there are quite often orchestras playing here of excellent standard so it’s well worth checking this out. The Cathedral itself is magnificent- with beautiful arches, stained glass windows and really quite stunning flower arrangements, it’s definitely worth popping in.

After exploring various shops, streets and avenues, we stopped for a bite to eat at Southern Cross Cafe. We had a little pick-me-up in the form of a jaffa orange cake and a caramel shortcake (both incredible). We had a lovely window seat and spent a good couple of hours chatting and people watching passerby’s. Idyllic.

Following this, we wondered around some more of the shops, one of the best of the touristy shops probably has to be Thistle do nicely. Think the exceptional pun name drew me in here, but they had a good selection of Scottish shortbread, Scottish-themed gifts and of course tartan scarfs (absolutely unavoidable in the Old Town of Edinburgh). We stumbled across a fudge shop called The Fudge House which had a pretty impressive amount of fudge on display, plus FREE samples (would particularly recommend the Chocolate Peanut butter fudge- out of this world.) We also came across the Elephant House, where J K Rowling was thought to have written some of the Philosophers Stone in. We didn’t go in but was good just to go and visit and see where it all started for her (or at least supposedly!)

Our evening was spent eating copious amounts of pizza and garlic bread (carb overload) and watching Elf (nothing quite gets you in the Christmas spirit like this movie).

Saturday 2nd December

Saturday was perhaps our most jam-packed day! We woke up bright and early and headed out to Calton Hill, a famous world heritage site in Edinburgh. The views were lovely and you can look over at Arthur’s Seat which looks particularly impressive, especially on a clear, crisp morning. From Calton Hill, we made our way to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat. A word of warning here: bring appropriate footwear. It is not a particularly difficult climb but it can be quite slippery and muddy. There were a number of people trekking up in Gucci-style loafers and Chelsea boots, which were caked in mud before they even reached the peak of Arthur’s Seat! If you are a little unsteady of your feet (like me) then definitely wear either trainers or walking boots to avoid a muddy catastrophe half way up.

The nice thing about Arthur’s Seat is that there are various routes you can take to get to the top. We went for the path with a gentler incline and then came down a fairly steep set of steps. There are various viewpoints around Arthur’s Seat and it is incredible how far you can see- we were so luckily and picked a bright, clear day so could see for miles. We of course had to take some obligatory pictures at the top and spent a worryingly long time brainstorming Instagram captions for them on the way down (we are a rather wild bunch, I know). I honestly think this is a must-see and am so happy to have ticked this one of my Edinburgh bucket list! As the weather has taken a turn for the worst, thanks to Storm Caroline, I probably won’t be climbing this again this year but will definitely be tempted to walk it again in the warmer months.

 

 

It’s safe to say that we were freezing after walking Arthur’s Seat and so headed down, past the Scottish Parliament building (so different to Westminster- definitely worth checking out) to a little cafe. We warmed ourselves up with a warm hot chocolate and some soup before heading back along the Royal Mile. The rest of the day was spent browsing the Christmas markets and Princes Street- trying to make some headway with Christmas present shopping! In the evening, we went ice-skating at St Andrews Square. Not only was this very affordable, especially compared to the likes of Somerset House in London, but it was so much fun! If you’re in the Edinburgh area, I would recommend booking yourself a ticket. The outdoor rink is so christmassy with people there to help the less-able-skaters (aka. me) and there’s a bar in the center to reward yourself after an hour or so of skating!

As this post is starting to resemble something of a small essay, I am going to put our Sunday and Monday activities into another post next week. I’d love to hear what Christmas plans you have, wherever you are in the world and particularly any Edinburgh recommendations!

 

The Fashion Edit: Style inspo from the movies

Style inspiration for me comes from so many different outlets- there’s nothing that I enjoy more than reading lifestyle magazines cover-to-cover or wondering down streets filled with independent and boutique shops, with the most incredible window displays. I also love a fashion vlog- partly because I love a good nose into somebody else’s wardrobe but also because I think they are so interesting to see how people style items and what influences them. So whilst YouTube, magazines, blogs and the high street possibly influence me the most, I do love drawing inspiration from the costume design in movies/series.

Rachel Green

Admittedly, I am a huge Rachel Green (and Friends) fan. However, her fashion is absolutely incredible. Whether it’s the 90’s child in me or the fact that this style is very much in at the moment- her outfits have me swooning at the television set over and over again.

From the sheer top under the slip dress, to that dungaree and blazer look, her style is everything, and is making me want to pack a bag and head straight back to the 90’s.

Elizabeth James from the Parent Trap

Lizzie has me swooning over her fashion staples but in an entirely different way to Rachel Green. Elegant, sophisticated and ever glamorous, her wardrobe oozes style. Those silk dresses in particular catch my eye every time this film pops up on T.V.

That crisp blue shirt and long lined white coat just look so effortlessly stylish, definitely something that I’d like to incorporate more into my every day wardrobe.

Mia from Uncle Buck

Again, I think it’s something about 80’s/90’s fashion that makes me love Mia’s fashion in the 1989 film, Uncle Buck. Her circular sunglasses, the leather jacket and oversized coats are things that also feature in my own wardrobe. Mia also has the hair of dreams, perfect curls and no bad hair days in sight- something I can only dream of!

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What are your fashion icons from the movies? I’d love to hear your favourites!

The Surrey Series: Afternoon tea

Recently, I’ve made a rather big life decision and moved to the opposite side of the UK. Scary eh? Before the big move, I had a bit of time to spend with my family, as the next time I see them will be Christmas (really not that long at all now and I haven’t even started to think about Christmas shopping, despite shops being stocked to the top with gifts and christmassy-themed pieces). Afternoon tea is something both my mum and myself have wanted to do for ages but never quite found the right time or place. There are so many places that do afternoon tea in the Surrey/London area that we are completely spoilt for choice, which actually makes decision making ten times harder!

Here’s a list of some of the one’s we considered and the one we actually went to in the end:

The Ritz

Ah the Ritz, what can I say? When you think of England this is possibly the one that springs to mind. Timeless and elegant, this one is definitely on a lot of bucket lists around the world. Traditional Afternoon Tea is priced at £54 per adult- quite pricey depending on how many people you are going with. Whilst the afternoon tea looked delicious here, there were other options that we were equally tempted with! I definitely would love to go to the Ritz at some point- even if it’s just for a cup of tea rather than the full works! You can find out more about it here. NB: The Ritz do have a dress code which is worth checking out if you are like me and live in jeans and casual wear!

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This restaurant has been on my radar for years and is somewhere I absolutely would love to go! I love it’s quirky look and menu- many people know it for its famous egg shaped toilet cubicles! Anyway I digress, the menu for Afternoon Tea looks delightful, they even do a special Christmas themed menu. The coolness and quirkiness of this place definitely comes at a cost, ranging from £75- £85 per person. As we didn’t fancy taking out a second mortgage to go here we gave this a miss but it’s another one that is absolutely on the bucket list. Find out more here.

Claridges

Another gorgeous restaurant, a place that rivals the Ritz for definite! This place literally oozes elegance and sophistication. Again, it comes with a rather heavy price tag of £60 per person but the menu is exceptional and is making my mouth water just thinking about it! Take a look at their Afternoon Tea options here. Note: It’s not obvious on the website but I would suggest they also have a dress code, so I would don your trainers and jeans and put on something a little more formal for a trip here!

Penny Hill Park

Penny Hill is a manor house and spa and is somewhere I’ve had my eye on for a while! For a girlie afternoon, I think this is definitely a nice place to consider. They have a festive menu as well as a normal all-year-around menu so it’s definitely a tempting place to visit! Moving out of London, this place is quite a bit cheaper than the other options above, starting at £35 per person. It could  also be an interesting alternative to a traditional hen do, having a spa day and then treating yourself to afternoon tea. Check out there menu here.

The Dabbling Duck, Shere

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This is the place we finally decided on! Situated in the picturesque village of Shere, the Dabbling Duck is a cute, homely cafe based in the heart of the village. The Dabbling Duck won the Surrey Life Food and Drink award in both 2016 and 2017 and it’s clear to see why! The customer service was fantastic, they gave my Mum and myself a corner to ourselves and didn’t rush us in any way as we reminisced, giggled and chatted our way through the afternoon. There was such a variety of foods on offer and was actually the perfect amount for the two of us! We went for the Afternoon tea with prosecco option which came to £28 each. It was such a special afternoon and a wonderful way to say goodbye to leafy Surrey for the time being before heading up North. Would highly, highly recommend- you can find out more about this hidden gem here.

Introducing The Joanna Edit

Welcome to The Joanna Edit – my little corner of the internet where I can express all the things I love and that are important to me.

I’m a twenty-something year old, Surrey girl living in beautiful Edinburgh. I am a brunch enthusiast, book-lover and have great admiration for all things vintage. Oh and I can’t resist a good cup of English Breakfast tea.

 

The Fashion Edit: Inspirations

There is something really rather wonderful about fashion. I love the way it constantly evolves and how it allows an individual to express themselves. Over the last couple of years, my personal style has changed dramatically and continues to change as I draw inspiration from various bloggers, brands and style icons. In the last year particularly, I feel like I have found my groove with fashion, I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I’m getting closer to knowing what suits my body type best and what I feel most comfortable in. This is partly down to me trying to make better decisions and trying to stop bad purchasing habits (a long time in the making) but it’s also down to finding a wealth of inspiration from various different places…

Brands

Lazy Oaf

Where do I start with this brand? In many ways this is completely out of my comfort zone but I love the playfulness and silliness of this brand. Occasionally I come across some real gems- past favourites have included their smiley-face blue pinafore and cloud puffer jacket. Definitely not an office-wear kind of brand but their quirkiness puts it up there with my top ten favourite brands. Arden-Rose, blogger/vlogger, often styles Lazy Oaf pieces over on her insta- worth a look if you’re into all things unconventional.

 

Unif

Another somewhat quirky brand with some really unique fashion pieces. This brand is all about colour and logos- two things that I’m generally not huge advocate of. It’s such a bold, bright and fun brand though that I can’t help but draw inspiration from it.

Vloggers/bloggers

 

Sunbeamsjess

I love the 90’s, retro fashion vibe and no-one pulls this off in quite the same way as Jess, from Sunbeamsjess. She is the definition of ‘cool’, putting together combinations of clothing that I would never think to consider and looking effortlessly stylish in doing so. Her YouTube channel is full of style videos, travel vlogs and books, and I often turn to her insta when I want to change up my wardrobe or simply want a good book recommendation.

What Olivia Did

Liv from What Olivia Did, is one of my favourite bloggers, her fashion is often quite simple but she really elevates pieces with a striking bag or cracking pair of shoes. A fellow and-other-stories/topshop shopper, Liv’s style is not all that dissimilar to my own and I find myself scrolling through her insta when I want to style pieces that I currently own in new ways.

Alice Catherine

Parisian-chic with a love for all things fashion and vintage, this Manchurian fashion blogger has the wardrobe of dreams. Stripes galore, she doesn’t shy away from the latest trends but incorporates them effortlessly into her wardrobe. Again, quite simplistic in her style- making her one of my favourite bloggers to follow.

There are so many more bloggers that I draw inspiration from, including Megan Ellaby, Lizzie Hadfield, Lily Pebbles, The Anna Edit and Sophia Rosemary. I find there’s nothing better than scrolling through their blogs in bed on a Sunday morning with a good cup of tea.

Books

I love a good book, really I do. When I’m looking for style inspiration I turn repeatedly to ‘Women of this town’, ‘Brooklyn Street Style’, and Alexa Chung’s ‘It’. In my collection, I also have a whole load of fashion centered magazines- including Kinfolk, Suitcase and Oh Comely. Admittedly these magazines are a bit more of an investment, however they not only make wonderful coffee table books but also serve me time and time again with fashion inspiration.

 

 

 

 

The Book Edit: 2017 top picks

Everyone has a weakness of some description. For me, that weakness is books. I can not resist snuggling up on the sofa, with a cup of tea or a mug of hot chocolate, topped with frothy milk and marshmallows, and getting lost in a good book. My ever expanding book collection takes up most of  the space in my bedroom and I can not wait for the day when I have my own house and a library of my own, something similar to the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast but perhaps not on such a big scale.

Working in the publishing industry I am lucky enough to receive proofs, some of which have made my top ten favourite books of twenty seventeen so far (I will enviably have found some more favourites before the year is out).

1. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I would not be at all surprised if this book becomes the new big thing. Un-put-down-able. On multiple occasions I almost missed the stop on my train beings so caught up in the main character’s trials. It’s a wonderful page-turner of a children’s book that is full of magic, enchanting and memorizing characters and a sassy protagonist with a strong moral compass and real zest for life. I can not recommend this book enough- it’s up there with one of the best books I’ve read this year.

2. Room by Emma Donoghue

Published a couple of years ago, this book could not be more different to the book above. It follows the story of a young mother and her small son, who live in Room 24/7. As the plot untwists, the reader is faced with a series of questions- who is Old Nick? Why does the mother and child never go out? Why is the Room and everything in it personified? A dark story, with twists and turns throughout. It demonstrates a mother’s pure unfaltering love for a child in the most dire circumstances. Well worth a read and a story that will stay with you long after you’ve turned over the last page.

3. The Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Pulling at the readers heartstrings from the very beginning, this novel opens with what seems like an incredibly broken marriage and family. The son is at the centre of this- diagnosed with autism, Sam, sees the world in a very different way to other boys. His struggle to communicate and to understand the world is apparent from the outset. It is a beautiful story about a father mending his fraught relationship with his son and making a real difference in his life. An uplifting novel, shining a light on autism- something that is still not altogether understood or accepted in our society. It’s an uplifting reminder to never give up when things seem to tough or too hard- relationships can be re-ignited if you are willing to give things another try and time.

4. Jo Cox: More in Common by Brendan Cox

Written from the heart of somebody so close to Jo Cox, this book could not fail to be a moving tribute and celebration of a wonderfully inspiring woman’s life. Like many others, I had not heard of Jo Cox before last year, when her life was tragically cut short. As Brendan so eloquently writes in the book, it is ironic, that an action intended to silence a voice and encourage hatred did quite the reverse. Following her death, there was an undeniable out pour of love and support from people around the world, complete strangers, who came together to show respect for a lady campaigning to do what was right, not only in her home town but also overseas. Thousands of people, now know of Jo Cox- what she stood for, her work, her dreams, her ambitions. It is tragic, that her children, husband, family and friends and the wider community will never see what she could have gone on to achieve, however she lead her life to the full- something I myself would love to be able to say. This is a very touching and real account of a loving friend, mother, wife, politician and humanitarian. It is a reminder that we are stronger together and that we have, in Jo’s words, more in common than that which divides us. Her voice will never be silenced- her work and spirit will continue through others. I can not recommend this book more- a simply beautiful account of a feisty, passionate and seemingly fearless woman.

5. It by Alexa Chung

I loved this book. On a recent trip to Slovenia, this book provided amazing fashion inspiration and perfect beach reading. If you are a fan of the ridiculously talented Alexa Chung, then you undoubtedly need this book in your collection. The retro, stylistic and simplistic vibe of this book makes it somewhat different to other fashion centered works I’ve read this year and puts in up there with my top favourites. Well worth a read/general flick through- will definitely be revisiting it come the autumn when my wardrobe needs a bit of a makeover.