An exciting meeting to start my weekend. Who am I?!
As I bolted out of the office at midday I internally squealed with excitement. I arrived home with an hour to spare and began to nervously clean every surface imaginable (Mrs Hinch, you have taught me a lot). Was the next thing on my agenda really happening, did they actually want me or would it all fall through at the last minute when they realised I wasn’t in actual fact Scottish, just took Edinburgh under my wing and lovingly called it home from home…
As I sat with the project team and the lovely Erika Saccone, a European fashion influencer, it seemed it hadn’t fallen through and yep, they absolutely wanted me… Briefing complete, myself and Erika got to know one another over delicious Thai food (Ting Thai Caravan – if you haven’t been, put it at the top of your list) and a few Espresso Martini’s to keep us alert (obviously) before calling it a night. All good tour guides need an early night, right?
Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Palace – just a handful of the amazing sites to behold when visiting Edinburgh… the first time round. They add character and understanding to a historic city but, for me, Edinburgh’s true character can be found through its architecture, the friendly faces and all those little small streets leading to who knows where! Given Edinburgh’s permanent aesthetically pleasing backdrop, admiring the Castle from small cobbled streets can sometimes be more rewarding – chances are you won’t have to force your way past coach loads of tourists and bonus, you may stumble upon an Instagram worthy café for a coffee, #relateable.
Stockbridge doesn’t feature on Trip Advisor’s top 10 places to visit in Edinburgh. A flaw? Absolutely! Let’s get something straight, I’m not the kind of girl who grabs a coffee at the vendor positioned beneath the Eiffel Tower; I want to get lost in the raw, unedited parts of a city, meet the locals and try my best at fitting in. Making the journey to Edinburgh for the weekend, this is exactly what I wanted Erika to experience in our beautiful city. Factoring in my favourite independent boutique shops en route, I took Erika on a whistle stop tour of the city because, why would we want her to leave without the desire to plan a return visit.
Whether you have lived in Edinburgh for longer than me, have only began your studies here or are planning a flying visit for the weekend, have you ever thought about what you might find if you tried to Uncover Edinburgh?
Princes Street and George Street offer just about every High Street store your heart may desire, Multrees Walk is the place to be for high end goods and Harvey Nichols, Scotland’s only designer department store, allows you to feel like a glam diva for whatever amount of time you choose to walk around admiring things you absolutely cannot afford. Nice try Edinburgh, you are just like every other major city in the UK…. when it comes to the High Street that is. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes people mistake Zara as a friend of mine who emails a lot and I love H&M as much as the next gal, especially for workwear, but what I really enjoy is the personable experience that comes with shopping local!
Thankfully, if you dig deep enough you will find that Edinburgh has an abundance of independent retailers all of which are greatly loved by locals and tourists alike who have been lucky enough to stumble upon them!
A shop where ‘character’ only begins to scrape the surface and describe this independent retailer. Greeted with a warm, cosy atmosphere, it’s inevitable from first impression you will be returning. If the wall size display of jeans, colourful knits or dainty jewellery isn’t enough to grab your attention, the friendly staff or resident puppy, Nessy, (the obvious choice for employee of the month, every month) will do just that. Adele, the founder of ALC, saw a gap in the market 6 years ago for a bespoke boutique in Edinburgh to help it’s customers find that pair of jeans, or in other words – your new best friend! The snowball effect took place and now the shop stocks a wide range of unique brands not readily available on the high street! Stop in to pick up cosy knit to see you through the winter, a statement coat or simply to have a chat with the super knowledgeable girls and suss out your next favourite pair of jeans.
[61 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY]
Those Were The Days
Sick of the typical shopping experiences? Venture down the steps on St Stephens Street, Stockbridge and travel back in time to fancy yourself as a 1920’s lady trying on a vintage flapper dress or celebrate the Spice Girls going on tour by picking up your favourite 90’s style piece. Handpicked from as far as LA and New York, Claire, a self-confessed Vintage Rummager, does a great job of finding vintage pieces and nursing them back to their pre-owned state with love and care so the customer doesn’t have to! This hidden gem celebrates all era’s and gives ladies and gents alike the chance to pick up something truly unique, offering clothing for all occasions! I can assure you that if you pick up a party dress from Those Were the Days for your upcoming Christmas Party, chances of Susan in HR wearing the same one are slim to none – winning! Claire shared her love of vintage clothing with Edinburgh and opened Those Were the Days 7 years ago. The gorgeous and quirky shop expanded within the last year to host Edinburgh’s only vintage bridal shop with dresses dating back to Edwardian times. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a vintage lover, so to speak, call to the gorgeous boutique and I can guarantee you will be leaving with, at the very least, a smile on your face!
[26-28 St Stephens Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AL]
Epitome of Edinburgh
Ever fancied a total investment, in clothing terms, obviously? Epitome stocks the most amazingly niche and luxurious brands from A.P.C. to Engineered Garments and Sofie D’Hoore including many brands which are only available in the UK. The airy and contemporary store shouts about what it aspires to offer from the minute you open the large glazed door and step inside. The atmosphere gives the most relaxed shopping feel and totally transports you from the manic feel of the city centre only minutes away! Epitome has built rapport with locals and tourists alike over the past 6 years situated on one of Edinburgh’s main artery streets. If a luxury Max Mara coat isn’t what you had in mind, the eagerly sought after Veja shoes will catch your eye or admire and treat yourself to a beautiful dainty jewellery on display. Disclaimer, you will be totally spoilt for choice and leave wanting to be 10 times cooler than you think you already are! PS. if all this sounds too tempting, Epitome ship worldwide, so, what are you waiting for!
[35 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6QQ]
Unfortunately for us, our day flew past at lightning speed and after spending too much time admiring clothes and chattering like best friends with the respective shop owners, 6pm came about quicker than we imagined. A coffee at Burr & Co to perk us up followed by pizza at Civerino’s Slice was the only thing we could manage as we discussed the day – retail therapy is hard work! The following day we uncovered a hidden coffee shop, The Milkman (a personal favourite), and enjoyed the crisp, fresh day in Edinburgh’s city centre browsing the high street and what it had to offer!
With so many independent hidden gems my trips to the city centre will be a little different from now on, and so will my wardrobe! Zara will still email me on the odd occasion but knowing of such boutiques adds an element of personality and excitement, and if I am ever looking for a chat I will absolutely be popping in to the girls at ALC – even if it’s just to visit Nessy!
Do yourself a favour, Uncover Edinburgh. You will be shocked with what you find, the people you meet and fun you have along the way! Independent retailers make it very easy to WearWhatWorks.