09.08

Cider-with-Rosie-Bophut-Koh-Samui-honeymoon-6

After a few days of being so very lazy we’d all but melted into our sun loungers, Jason and I decided it was probably time to get out and explore the island a little. We wanted to try and find a balance on our honeymoon between spending enough relaxing days at our hotel that we’d come back refreshed, but also making sure we didn’t waste the opportunity to explore such a beautiful part of the world!

Our hotel was set about a five minute drive away from Bophut fisherman’s village, and so we hailed a cab (and by that I mean the lovely team at our hotel called one for us, and gave us strict instructions that if we got charged more than 400 baht per journey, we were being quite literally taken for a ride!), hopped in and headed into town to spend the evening exploring.

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Our first port of call in the village was the main street itself- a chaotic collection of awning-covered shop fronts, restaurants sending wafts of incredible cooking smells out towards us, and endless tiny stands all claiming to be serving Koh Samui’s Very Best Pancakes! The whole place was pretty set up for tourists, of course, but still kind of charming too!

We made our way through one of the little beachfront restaurants and set ourselves up at one of the tables they had on the beach at the back, ordered ourselves a round of drinks, and settled down to watch the sun begin to set over the bay. The waitress brought over a Singha (for Jason), and a strawberry daquiri (for me), and we sat and drank them whilst having yet another (you’d roll your eyes if you knew how much we talked about the wedding on honeymoon!) conversation about The Big Day. It’s been amazing to us both how we had such different experiences of the same day- we kept saying ‘do you remember when this happened?’ and ‘where you here for this moment, or that moment?’, and having our memories jogged by the photos our friends and family put on Facebook.

If I’m being honest with you though, I secretly only half listened to Jason whilst we chatted that evening, because I was so busy staring out to sea hoping so much to see dolphins in the bay…;) We spotted some in the distance during a boat trip we’d taken the previous day (the captain shouted that a pod were swimming nearby, and I almost fell overboard trying to get a better look!), but I had this dream that perhaps if we were really lucky, we’d see some leaping in the bay. It never happened, but it didn’t stop me gazing out at the water all day every day, just keeping my fingers crossed…

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Once we’d finished our drinks (Jason just as clear-headed after as his final sip as he was his first, myself…not so much. It was POTENT!), we wandered down the sand to the next restaurant along, whose name, in truly unhelpful blogger fashion, I’ve totally and completely forgotten.

Whilst the name of the restaurant wasn’t at all memorable though, the meal most certainly was. We ate Massaman curry, steamed rice, spring rolls, and I know I’m forgetting things again because it felt like we had at least half a dozen dishes on our table. The curry was *so* incredible though- rich and warming and decadent, and with a glass of Merlot on the side? It was heaven.

What I wore ::
Camisole – Abercrombie
Skirt – past season, similar here.
Bikini top – Monsoon (similar).

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The real highlight of the meal though came halfway through, and wasn’t food related at all. I glanced up at Jason mid-way through taking my fifty millionth mouthful of curry and rice, and caught sight of the sunset I’d been waiting for all evening lighting up the sky behind him. Spoons were thrown down, napkins fell to the floor (well, the sand, since we were eating on the beach and all), and I grabbed my camera just in time to catch a couple of photos of the dreamy, violet-hued sunset below. Wasn’t it a good one?

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Next to come? A walk through the palm trees, & our day spent driving a lap around the island…

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30.04

Kings-cross-train-station Edinburgh-Station-roof

So, this is it! The last of my posts from Edinburgh. It’s testament to the city, really, how tricky it’s been to narrow down only four short days of sightseeing and photo-taking into blog posts (ones that don’t require ten minutes of scrolling!). I could’ve waxed lyrical about all we saw (and ate…) whilst we were in the city! I figured that I’d pop the last few photographs I wanted to share from Edinburgh in one post, and use it as an opportunity to give a few of the restaurants and tourist attractions we visited, as well as other aspects of our holiday a more in-depth review. Look at me, being all informative and ‘travel-blogger’!

:: Travelling by train ::
We made the decision to take the train up to Edinburgh, as opposed to flying or driving. We live just south of London, and so the from door-to-door the entire journey took about 6 and a half hours. We made the decision for a few reason: 1. Because I hate flying, and if there’s an option for us to get somewhere without having to board a plane, I’m all over it like a rash! I wouldn’t say I’ve got a phobia of flying or anything super serious, but it does make me anxious enough that I’ll dread flying home throughout whatever holiday I’m on and so was keen not to have our break spoiled by my silly worrying! The train journey was really relaxing, and kind of forced us both to take a breather after having had a busy few weeks in the run up to going away.

And reason number 2. The train was cheaper, since I have a 16-25 railcard and so could take 1/3 off the price of the ticket up to Edinburgh. Score! The only thing we would say though is that if you book with a company like The Train Line (as we did) make sure you check your connection times before you book the tickets. We actually missed our train from King’s Cross to Edinburgh, because The Train Line had booked us onto a train that left Kings Cross only 25 minutes after our train from home got into Waterloo. Even though we caught tube trains really promptly, there’s no way we would’ve made the connection! So, check your tickets people! (One last note about the train- I reread Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the way there, and it was awesome.)
  Gothic-architecture Edinburgh-scenes Edinburg-skyine Nira-Caledonia-hotel

Nira Caledonia
I’ve mentioned before that the hotel we stayed in was the Nira Caledonia, but it deserves a little more press than it got in my previous post. It really is the loveliest hotel we’ve *ever* stayed in. Jason and I always feel that it’s the little details are what make a good hotel great, and the Nira Caledonia was full of them. The concierge greeted us by name upon arrival, coffees were unlimited and delicious, the juices at breakfast were all fresh (not watery or synthetic tasting!), the bed linen was plush, and we didn’t need to remortgage our house just to grab a coke from the minibar. Which, you know, is always great! ;) We were completely blown away by our room too! We actually were given an upgrade when we arrived (a complete- and very lovely- surprise!) and so ended up staying in one of the Garden Suites which comprised of a huge living space, bedroom, ensuite bathroom, and private access to the hotel’s garden. It was crazy beautiful! There’s not one single thing I could fault about the hotel, and we felt that the service more than justified the (incredibly reasonable!) price we paid to stay there. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Blackwood Grill
The Blackwood Grill is the restaurant linked to the Nira Caledonia, and was where we ate dinner the night we got engaged. The food (and service!) was absolutely superb. We ate an amuse bouche of tempura fried cauliflower with a sweet soy dipping sauce (cauliflower has never tasted so good!), lobster ravioli (for Jase), fillet steak, charred winter vegetables, triple-cooked duck fat chips, sea bass with a herby tomato sauce, and warm chocolate fudge cake to share for dessert. That cake was *insane*. I swore blind I didn’t want dessert, but the waiter (who obviously knew how amazing that cake was) slyly handed me a spoon and a knowing smile at the same time as he brought Jason his slice of warm fudge cake. I’ll be honest with you, the situation worked out less well for Jason than it did for me…;)

Fresh-vanilla-fudge Fudge-Kitchen-fudge

Fudge Kitchen
The Fudge Kitchen fudge was expensive, and tasty. Not the nicest fudge I’ve ever had, but really lovely and buttery, and great in how varied the range of flavours was. We brought home a box of four different flavoured slices for my Mum and sister, and a slice of the vanilla for ourselves which we only managed to eat half of before we accidentally left it on the coffee table, and Teddy stole and scoffed the rest. And then he smelt so bad for the next 48 hours we were tempted to shut him out in the garden until the fudge situation had…passed. So…there’s that information for you.

Scottish-piper

Mary King’s Close tour
Okay, now for a not so great review. Jason and I were both really disappointed by the tour we took of Mary King’s Close! Jason had been so looking forward to it (you know how we love a good dose of history!) and even though I’d been reluctant to go at first, by the time the tour came around I’d become really excited about it! We found that the information given on the tour (by a guide who was dressed in period clothing, and who assumed a character based on one of the real residents of 17th Century residents of Mary King’s Close) was kind of gimmicky, and not as insightful or informative as we’d like. It almost felt as though we could have got pretty much the same information just with a little Googling, you know? The tour itself wasn’t ridiculously expensive (I think we paid £12.95 each) but ultimately, we felt we’d rather have spent the time and money on exploring another part of the city. Not something I’d really recommend, if I’m honest.

Grassmarket Blue-door

Holyrood no.9
The Holyrood no.9 was another of the places that came most highly recommended for us to visit in the city, and it didn’t disappoint. Not one single bit. Burgers = excellent! Chips = excellent! Drinks = excellent! Jason and I ordered BBQ burgers with brioche instead of ciabatta buns (we’re far fonder of brioche buns than we are ciabatta, thank you *very* much) and demolished them in about thirty seconds flat. They’re very different to our beloved Patty & Bun burgers (which are really super soft and so juicy you kind of almost need to wear an apron and rubber gloves to eat one- sexy) in that the burger itself was far thicker and kind of ‘steakier’…if we can pretend that steakier is a word. In short, we loved it there. Definitely worth a visit, if you’re in the area!

Final things to note about the city! 1. Even though we were there midweek (Monday-Thursday) AND out of season (mid-April) we still found that pretty much every time we went to a restaurant in the evenings, we had to wait at least half an hour for a table. Apparently this is pretty standard for Edinburgh, and that you really do need to book tables in advance if you want to be seated straight away each evening. And 2. It’s an incredibly hilly place, and since the city is pretty small we ended up walking all over each day instead of hopping on the tube/bus as we would do in London. So pack comfortable shoes (ones that can cope with a load of cobbles!)

And that’s it! Edinburgh- you were a blast! We’ll *definitely* be back!

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28.04

Mary's-Milk-Bar-Salted-Caramel-gelato   Mary's-Milk-Bar Mary's-Milk-Bar-milkshake-machine Mary's-Milk-Bar-Icecream Mary's-Milk-Bar-Coffee Mary's-Milk-Bar-gelato-and-sorbet

Three words kept cropping up in the comments and emails I received after asking for recommendations of where to eat whilst in Edinburgh last week :: Mary’s. Milk. Bar.

Over and over again, people told us we couldn’t possibly visit Edinburgh and not stop to worship at the shrine of Mary. And because we are good, obedient people (especially when the reward for obedience is ice-cream) we took a trip down to Grassmarket and to Mary’s Milk Bar on Wednesday afternoon! I’ll tell you, it didn’t disappoint…

We ordered one scoop of smoky salted caramel, one of the kiwi and banana sorbet, and a couple of coffees. E v e r y t h i n g (including the coffee) was absolutely outstanding. The gelato was some of the creamiest I’ve ever eaten (in Italy & the UK) and the sorbet was incredible! Mary herself was so lovely to chat with too, and the shop (all retro and pastel-hued) was so sweet and friendly and charming. We want to go back and sample the full range of milkshakes, and some of the more unusual gelato flavours too! It’s just as well we have such strong ties to the city now (what with getting engaged there and all…), because otherwise it might be embarrassing to keep going back to Edinburgh *just* for the ice-cream…

Find Mary at ::
Mary’s Milk Bar
19 Grassmarket
Edinburgh
EH1 2HS 

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28.09

Sorrento-alleyway

We spent most of our non-wedding related time in wandering around the town of Sorrento, trying not to get lost. Correction, Jason and my Mum spent a lot of time trying to stop *me* getting lost. My internal compass has been on the blink for the last 22 and a half years. My Grandma’s was broken for a full 80 years. It’s a family problem.

We stumbled across so many delicious fruit stands and shops on our travels, and had to restrain ourselves from buying as much fruit as we could carry. I did buy some of those wonderful peaches though, and a Granny Smith (Nonna Smith?;) apple so tart it made my eyes water! Don’t those plums look almost like they’re lit from within?

Italian-market-plums

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Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, HOLIDAY, PHOTOGRAPHY

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