Edinburgh Photo Diary 2022

scottish national gallery edinburgh city

Whilst my husband and I were up in Scotland earlier in the year helping take care of my dad, we took the opportunity to do a quick overnight trip to Edinburgh. It was a chilly couple of days, but we made the most of it, at least being dry and this is a city with so many lovely coffee shops to stop in to warm up!

24 hours in Edinburgh

pretty city edinburgh

Pretty Edinburgh

In fact, our first stop as soon as we got off the train was to visit The Milkman. This is such a popular café in Edinburgh, if you enjoy good coffee, a sweet treat and a cosy atmosphere then I can highly recommend visiting.

The Milkman Cafe

The Milkman Edinburgh

We stayed at another one of the hotels in the Locke Group (which we stay at quite often in Manchester). The Edinburgh Eden Locke was in a great location, very central, and it looks understated but charming from the street. Our room was bright and modern, all their hotels are styled to perfection. What I like about this hotel group is that they’re mini apartments, so you have a kitchen and dining area.

Apartment hotel Edinburgh

Best Hotel In Edinburgh

Edinburgh Eden Lock Hotel

Although it was cold (March) we lucked out with the weather staying dry and one of the days we had blue skies all day! We love to just explore and get off the beaten track, discovering new places and stumbling across cafés and pretty streets. Also it is always so much quieter even if you just go one street over from the main tourist locations!

Greyfriars Bobby Pub Edinburgh

No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to the famous Greyfriars Kirkyard Graveyard to visit the grave of Greyfriars Bobby, Scotland’s most famous dog! The graveyard dates back to 1650, and it is also rumoured to be where J.K Rowling got the inspiration for many of her characters names in her Harry Potter novels, if you search the gravestones you will find graves with names quite similar to those in the books, like McGonagall, think Scrimgeour, Riddell and Moodie. So keep your eyes peeled if you’re a Potterhead.

After a walk around the graveyard, you have to pop into the Greyfriars Bobby Bar for a pint of locally brewed Innis & Gunn!

Exploring Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Castle View

If you have ever visited a Brewdog, you will know they have an extensive selection of beer to pick from and their Vegan food options are AMAZING too! Best Vegan Burger and chips I have had in a long time. Edinburgh has recently opened one of the Brewdog Hotels, called the Doghouse. We didn’t say here (unfortunately) but the bar attached to the beer themed hotel is open to the public, and it was the perfect place to rest our legs and refuel after a long day of walking. I like that they have good Alcohol Free beer as well as a selection of Vegan and Gluten Free beers too!

Brewdog Doghouse Edinburgh

Brewdog Doghouse Hotel Edinburgh

We have visited Edinburgh quite a few times over the years, as my family live about an hour North of the city. So we have visited all the main attractions like the castle, Scottish Museum, National Portrait Gallery and done a few of the ghost tours too. On this visit, we decided to just explore the streets, and visit some new areas of the city.

Edinburgh Castle

Pretty Store Fronts Edinburgh

Colourful Edinburgh Streets

I am a sucker for looking on Instagram for new & fun looking vegan food options and I knew next time I was in Edinburgh that I 100000% would be paying a visit to Considerit. They’re an all vegan bakery and their doughnuts and sweet treats are incredible. I had a tough time picking what to have (never a bad thing) I went for the pistachio and white chocolate and my husband went for the double chocolate, they were HUGE! Well worth the walk, and it was nice to get out of the city centre and explore the area.

Considerit Vegan Doughnuts Edinburgh

Vegan Doughnuts Edinburgh City

Edinburgh The Royal Mile

Photos of Edinburgh

If you’re lucky enough to catch a sunset in Edinburgh, you will not be disappointed, it is my favourite time of day in the city. The buildings glow, and look like they’ve been painted a golden colour. The castle looks stunning bathed in the light of the sunset. I do love that Edinburgh has so many of its historical buildings still intact. The cityscape looks almost as it would have hundreds of years ago, and there is something very magical about that! I can see why J.K Rowling took so much inspiration from this beautiful city.Scottish National Gallery

Exploring Edinburgh Scotland

Historical Edinburgh

The Milkman Coffee, actually has two locations in Edinburgh – very close together (on Cockburn street), and because we loved the first café so much we decided to stop at the other one before we got the train home. This one at the top of Cockburn street is very bright and airy, it is a calm oasis from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh. They had some fantastic Vegan cakes on offer and the coffee was top notch once again.

The Milkman Cafe Edinburgh

Vegan Cakes Edinburgh

Top Coffee Shops in Edinburgh

Let me know what you love to do in Edinburgh, any must see places, cafés or secret spots you have discovered.

Edinburgh University Buildings

Winter Sunset in Edinburgh

Lovely Coffee Shops in Cornwall Part 2

Cafes in Cornwall

If you haven’t seen part one of my Cornish Coffee Shop series, you can click through and check it out. In the past couple of years Cornwall has stepped up not only its coffee game, but we are becoming very spoilt for choice when it comes to lovely cafés too. I remember when we were super limited, and it was more of a tea shop/old fashioned vibe, but not any more!

I’ve shared 4 more of my go-to cafés in this post, don’t go shouting about them too much though, I still want to be able to get a seat.

Stir Cafe and Cook Bookshop Wadebridge

First up is STIR, which is run by a super friendly couple, this is their new premises in Wadebridge, and it has become our go-to stop or coffee when we are in town. Not only do they make delicious drinks and cake, they have a perfect spot to stop and enjoy it. They have outside (and inside seating), the outside feels almost Mediterranean, so peaceful. It has a terrace vibe with plants and colourful patio furniture. They’re nestled at the end of a row of independent shops in The Cedar Barns and STIR themselves also have a fantastic range of Cookbooks, cookwear and local artwork.

So you can enjoy a coffee and a cake then browse the shelves for a cookbook or two, they have an extensive selection to pick from.
Stir Cafe Wadebridge

If you’re travelling from Wadebridge to Newquay (or the other way) along the A39 Atlantic Highway then you would have seen Hawksfield, which is a collection of Independent & small shops, cafés, and businesses. It is a cool location to stop at for brunch, a coffee and some retail therapy, oh & a cheeky ice cream too!

On this site is a café we have been going to for a while now called Strong Adolfo’s it has a real classic surf, biker, Californian vibe, I love it! Their menu is seasonal, and their ingredients are locally sourced, as is their coffee (origins coffee roaster) and they have a good eco ethos (using their food waste as bio-fuel).

Atrong Adolfo Coffee Shop

Strong Adolfos Wadebridge

Now the vibe is chilled, and the decor is very cool, but the menu is EPIC! You can expect to queue for a table at breakfast & brunch time, it is well worth it. They do classic full English (and a vegan option too) as well as American style pancakes, granola and some lovely smoothies. Their breakfast stops at 11am, so arrive early, so you’re not disappointed. Their equally amazing lunch menu starts at 12.15.

They also have an impressive cake counter, with so many in-house baked treats, they are big on FIKA (Swedish tradition of coffee and cake). I can never resist one of their Vegan cakes, no matter what time of day. It is always so relaxed, and you get a very warm welcome, even when it is very busy (over the Summer) you never feel rushed. Oh & the view over the Cornish hills is breathtaking no matter what the weather. Hawksfield Atlantic Highway CornwallStrong Adolfo Cafe Cornwall

Pollen Café opened in Truro, in 2020, it has quickly become my go-to café for a matcha latte and a cake. They offer delicious locally made cakes, all almost entirely Vegan and quite often they’re refined sugar free and gluten free. Perfect to go with a coffee, tea or in my case a matcha.

Pollen offer a lovely breakfast & lunch menu, all locally sourced ingredients and fresh to order. I am a big fan of their chia pots, acai bowels, and they do their own homemade granola! For lunch I tend to get a gluten free bagel with vegan bacon lettuce & tomato (VLT) delicious!

Pollen Cafe Truro Cornwall
Pollen Healthy Cafe Truro

I have to mention the cakes, again, Pollen stock my favourite EVER cakes. They’re locally made in small batches by the Conscious Kitchenery (based in Newquay). They have the most incredible flavours like, Kiwi~Apple~Marigold and Pineapple, Pecan Butter Caramel, Mandarin, Tonka Bean. My personal favourite is Matcha Mint Choc Chip. They’re a chilled cake, with the consistency of a cheese cake, encased in chocolate, so full of flavour, and they look STUNNING too!

These Conscious Kitchenery cakes are made in small batches (locally) and the flavours are tailored to the seasons, as well as being Plant based, Raw Vegan, Refined Sugar Free And Gluten. I am telling you, they’re well worth making a trip to Pollen just for a cake, savour every bite.

Pollen Best Cafe in Truro

Nalu Coffee House is my newest spot for coffee, they opened less than a year ago. Located on cliff road, Newquay (opposite Aldi) perfect if you don’t want to go all the way in to town for a coffee. The decor in Nalu is gorgeous, think plant heaven, Bali vibes with a modern twist. They have both inside and outside seating, and even a cool takeaway hatch. I want all their furnishings for my house!

Nalu Coffee Shop Newquay

Nalu Oat Matcha Newquay

Nalu serves up delicious healthy smoothies, as well as the best coffee, iced coffee, matcha and tea. So on a warm day you can cool down but you can also warm up on those Autumnal days too. They always have a scrummy selection of homemade cakes and sweet treats for that afternoon pick me up.

They carry a good selection of vegan and gluten free options and plant based mylks. I think their chia breakfast pots are the perfect way to refuel after a swim or if you want something warm you have to try the brekkie wrap.

Pretty Coffee Shops in Cornwall

Their food is prepared fresh and is seasonal, they offer a lovely selection of wraps, poké bowels and classic avocado on toast. So if you want a calm plant filled oasis in what can often be a very hectic Newquay then this is the café for you. Oh & their pink and turquoise cups are super cute too, I am sure they help make my drink taste even better (its the small things that count!)

Nalu Cafe Newquay

Nalu Cafe

Dundee Photo Diary

Dundee is where I am originally from and where my parents moved back to after my dad retired from the Army, my entire family live there – apart from me. So going back to visit is always lovely. Dundee has changed so much in the past 10 years, especially, with the opening of the V&A and the development of the waterfront. It is looking very modern & has become a very vibrant and fun city.

Victoria and Albert Museum Dundee

The opening of the V&A a couple of years ago has completely transformed the river front with so much investment in the outside spaces down there too. The gardens and promenade are lovely and are a great place to sit with a coffee to watch the world go by and take in the beautiful view across the river Tay to Tayport/Newport. I haven’t made time to visit the V&A yet, but my dad said it’s good, and it has a nice café inside ( I do love a good museum café and gift shop).

The building itself is quite imposing, and I wonder why it is so dark and large, especially as it blocks out a big section of the view. There is no denying that it is unusual and looks different from every angle. I will see if it grows on me as the trees and gardens around the building mature.

V&A Gallery Dundee
Dundee Scotland
Another classic visitor attraction are both ships, the first one is the RSS Discovery which is docked right next to the V&A. It was the vessel Captain Scott took to Antarctica (Scott of the Antarctic) back in 1901. Well worth a visit, the ship, and the exhibition inside the main Discovery point are very good.

The other vessel you need to visit is HMS Unicorn (photographed below), first launched in 1824, it the oldest ship left in Scotland, as well as one of the six oldest ships in the world. It is just a short walk from the V&A along Riverside Drive, it is a pretty walk along the river, especially on a sunny day.

Unicorn Dundee

Riverside Dundee
The Birchwood was such a lovely café in the centre of Dundee, serving a wide selection of Vegan options, including the best Vegan Breakfast Bap, but unfortunately it seems to have closed down, let’s hope it is just temporarily.

I can also recommend The Bach (great vegan options) The Little Things Café (fantastic coffee and cupcakes) and Serendipities (a non profit café who, train, work with and give opportunities to adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health barriers). It is a lovely positive space and the food is AMAZING, I highly recommend going here for lunch. Their menu is 100% Vegan, which is incredible.

Birchwood Cafe Dundee
Historical Dundee

You can’t go to Dundee and not take a walk along the river all the way to the Tay Rail Bridge, it is such an impressive sight rising up from the water. This bridge has a tale to tell. The Tay Rail Bridge disaster took place on the stormy night of 28 December 1879. The central navigation spans of the Tay bridge collapsed into the Firth of Tay at Dundee, taking with them a train, 6 carriages and 75 souls to their fate.  The bridge was rebuilt in 1887 and is still in use to this day.

My grandad used to always point out the old foundations that are still in the water alongside the new structure.

Tay Rail Bridge Dundee

Who could forget one of Dundee’s most loved and famous characters – Desperate Dan, they were first written & illustrated back in 1937, and I just love the statue that stands in his honour in the City centre. There is Desperate Dan, his dog and Minnie The Minx, they are great fun.

Desperate Dan Beano Dundee

Dundee is quite a fun place to spend a couple of days, with lots to explore. There are so many great cafe’s, bars and places to eat as well as museums, galleries, and lots of outside spaces to visit and enjoy. Let me know if you have ever been and what you enjoyed most.

St Andrews Photo Diary

Pretty St Andrews Fife

Each time I make the trip from Cornwall to Scotland to see my family, I always have to visit St Andrews. It is only a 20-minute drive from where they live, and it is such a pretty town, so much to see. With a beautiful beach, historical University, Castle, lots of cafés, restaurants and shops it is easy to spend the whole day here and never run out of things to see and do. I have been numerous times and I never grow tired of exploring the cottage lined backstreets and walking along the coastal path. If you visit you HAVE to stop (no matter what the weather) and get an Ice Cream from Jannettas Gelateria, they serve the most delicious gelato! So many flavours, the Vegan ones are sooooooo good.

St Andrews Book Shop

Here are a few snaps of my most recent trips, one back in August 2021 and more recently this year in March. It was a lot more sunny in March and a lot less crowded too. The town has a massive university population, so if you are looking to go be warned that at lunch time the cafés get very busy with students!

St Andrews Scotland
The St Andrew’s Brewery Bar is a great place to get a pint and something to eat, you can’t get a more locally brewed beer!
Pretty Cottages St Andrews
Historical St Andrews

If you get a dry day, you must walk down the harbour and along the beach, Scotland is famous for its beautiful coastline and wild beaches and St Andrews beach is lovely. Grab a takeaway coffee and enjoy the sound of the sea, and the seagulls!

Golf Shop St Andrews
Scotland St Andrews
There might only be 4 main streets in the town, but they have lots of my favourite shops like Oliver Bonas, Jo Malone, Jack Wills, H&M and Paperchase, but they also have so many wonderful independent shops too. Lots of shops selling Scottish handmade products, as well as THE best bottle shop, selling so many gins and whiskey’s. I challenge you to pop in and not come out with at least one bottle of Edinburgh Gin!

Classic Cars in St Andrews
Hatch Cafe St Andrews
Mitchell Cafe St Andrews
Spoiled Life Home Shop and CoffeeThere are so many historical buildings and amazing architecture in St Andrews, it is all so well maintained, I love nothing more than wandering up and down taking photos and learning all out their rich history.

Architecture St Andrews
St Andrews Brewing Company
There is no shortage of lovely home wear shops and Spoiled Life is my favourite, it is quite new and is well worth a browse if you ever visit. Best of all is it also has a small café inside too, so you can shop and have coffee at the same time.
Explore St Andrews
Jannetta's GelateriaJannetta’s Gelateria – I always get either pistachio, lemon, hazelnut, or mint choc chip. All vegan flavours and delicious. Best gelato in Scotland.
Pretty Shop Fronts St Andrews
I really like all the fun classic cars that are dotted around the town, up the small cobbled streets, I always have to snap them & my dream car is a Nissan Figaro. They are the perfect car for narrow streets and town driving, adorable and nibble. Pretty Front Doors St Andrews

Where do you love to revisit, what small town or village makes you want to sell up, change jobs and move there? I always daydream about winning the lottery and moving to St Andrews, it is just such a quaint small town, but with a lot going on. It is super friendly, and I love that it is right on the coast, I currently live on the coast in Cornwall and have to say being by the sea is great for your soul!

Vic St Andrews