EDINBURGH UNFRINGED

… sorry, the what Balloon? I should see how many shows? I can stay out until what time?

Edinburgh’s International Festival, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Assembly, Gilded Balloon, the Tattoo and the rest. For some, Edinburgh is a minefield throughout August, to others it’s the greatest time of the year and to locals, it is hell! Plain and simple. If you are like me you know what the festival is, you can find your way to George Square Gardens (and will possibly find yourself there more times in one week than you care to admit), you don’t raise an eyebrow at the fire breathing street performer encouraging you to ‘give it a go’, you know every route around the old town just so you can avoid hounds of tourists and you have sat through your fair share of ‘free fringe’ shows all the while swearing you will never make that mistake again!

It’s a strange time of year; beers are acceptable on Tuesday afternoon and a quiet weekend in just doesn’t exist in August because why would it! There is so much to do, so much to see and just when you thought you couldn’t fall in love with Edinburgh anymore, the nightly fireworks remind you that you are, in actual fact, wrong!

However, if you find yourself in Edinburgh this month and decide that crowds of people taking part in a silent disco on almost every street isn’t your cup of tea then steer clear of the festival ‘hot spots’ and take a trip to a few of the hidden gems Edinburgh has to offer, even if it is just to get a breather from the electric madness of the Royal Mile!

PITT STREET MARKET

Make your way to Canonmills and take the Water of Leith walkway to one of my favourite places n the city. Tucked down a residential street hidden away from the city centre find the streetfood yard selling some of the best street food Edinburgh has to offer with incredible live music, even better beer and a buzzing atmosphere! Disclaimer: You’ll not want to leave! Given the number of street food vendors that station in the city centre during the fringe, this August you can check out the ‘Stripped Back Pitt’ enjoying food from foodie favourites including Barnicles and Bones, Melted, Rost and Buffalo. You can check out the all new Pianodrome situated indoors made entirely from recycled piano’s! It’s absolutely worth a visit but don’t make the journey through the week, The Pitt St Market is only open Saturdays and Sundays 11am – 10pm!

https://www.thepitt.co.uk/

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TREEN

‘A killer wardrobe without killing the planet’

New kid on the block, Treen, is a vegan fashion retailer taking up space at Space Seventeen on St Stephens Street, Stockbridge! Mill over gorgeous pieces from a range of carefully selected brands and chat with owner Cat Anderson who only launched this forward thinking masterpiece in July of this year! Fast fashion is the phrase on everyone’s lips but getting away from it is something we all struggle with, pay Cat a visit and I’ll be surprised if you leave without falling in love with something, even if that’s just Nessy the shop dog!

https://shoptreen.com/

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THE PASTRY SECTION

You woke late and need breakfast on the go? You have an hour to kill and a coffee stop to people watch is high on your agenda? Or actually, you have no excuse and just want cake? Then don’t mess about, make your way to Stockbridge and find this cute contemporary bakehouse among the range of independent stores on Raeburn Place. Feast your eyes on some of the most incredible creations and flavour combinations you didn’t imagine possible all baked from scratch in store. Decide between a cinnamon bun, ginger cake with biscoff icing, banoffe tart, the humble brownie or a seasonal favourite! Wash it down with your choice of tea or coffee and pass the time with the friendliest staff who are more than happy to answer any questions you might have or simply chat the day away!

https://www.pastrysection.com/

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CAVEFIT

The Edinburgh Grand has been one of the most exciting openings in the city for some time, additions seem to get better and better as the space inside fills with new and exciting vendors but for me, the most exciting offering is just getting warmed up. Enter Cavefit. A raw, top class gym focused on high intensity workouts matched with changing club lights and blaring music to get you through another 10 burpee’s.

Forget the outside world as you climb down into the Cave and bare all for 45 minutes through a gruelling and intense CaveFIT class as the coaches hold nothing back to ensure you leave with nothing left in the tank (just the desire for a better Spotify playlist)! The only thing that beats the workout are the showers on offer and pamper station fully kitted out with GHD hairdryers and Rag and Bone hair products. Believe me, you will be planning your next visit before the coach says ‘finisher’.

CaveFIT. Humble. Hungry.

https://cave-fit-theedinburghgrand.com/

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THE SHORE

Hop on a bus down Leith Walk and feel the crowds disappear as you arrive at the shore for a little R+R from the fringe antics. Enjoy brunch in Toast, one of my favourites on the water’s edge, grab lunch at East Pizza and don’t even think about sharing because, it’s too good (and all locally produced!)  or if it’s a pamper you are after book a blow dry from one of the fabulous team in SESH hairdressing! Talk a dander and enjoy the independent charm the shore has to offer – if you fancy spending the night there, grab a wrist band for the Chill Fest Leith and enjoy £5 cocktails in almost 20 bars around the shore and beyond! Choose Leith!

https://leithchillfest.com/

HAWKSMOOR

A boujee hideaway in the appropriately named Edinburgh Grand building situated on St Andrews Square. Slip away from the manic streets of the city and find a booth with your name on it in an old refurbished Grade A listed building for a spot of lunch. Hawksmoor, famous for amazing meat cuts, are offering a lunch time special for £25 for two courses or only £28 for three! Including a Yorkshire pudding adventure you don’t want to miss, some of the freshest fish and succulent steak I’ve had the pleasure of eating and the promise of peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream to wash it all down, you can’t really go far wrong with this place!

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If you do find yourself swanning through the city and taking in the sights of which ever festival your fancy yourself a liking, one word of advice –  not to take the flyers from those trying to sell their show as the best in the business. You will end up with a handbag or back pocket with enough paper to make your own Fringe catalogue for 2020…

Whatever you get up to, have fun and if you find yourself in George Square Gardens I might just see you there!

Chat soon, Caoilfhionn x

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HEY GIRL, PLAY IT COOL!

August is approaching, when did that happen? Despite time moving at lightning speed, it’s hotting up out there – that’s one positive at least! It’s getting to the stage where duvet’s are just getting a bit too much in the night. Frankly what we all need to invest in is one of those sheets you cling to for dear life when you rent a villa in Spain, get too liberal with the air-con pre bedtime and wake with chattering teeth come 3am. I now find myself waking every morning at an ungodly hour with the sun steaming in through the side of the blinds and quickly grab my eye mask in an attempt to steal another hour’s sleep. 7am 7am rolls around and putting together plans and to-do’s for the day whilst trying to cool down in a borderline freezing shower, the thought of going to sit in an office all day in black tights and a fitted dress grabs me and fills me with absolute dread! So what do you wear to work when it is uncharacteristically tropical outside?

Firstly, you don’t want to be like Martha from Accounts who, as soon as the sun comes out, complains that it’s too warm to be in work, despite moaning that she can’t face another day of rain this year just last week but more importantly, just like with any outfit, make sure you are comfortable! That dress you picked up for a holiday with the girls in Malaga three years ago? Whilst it may be the perfect beach dress, it may not be what you are looking for right now: being appropriate for the weather doesn’t necessarily mean appropriate for the office! You may look fab for a day in the sun but fast forward four hours, you are in a small meeting room with your manager and your spaghetti strap is slipping down faster than you can say can we postpone this meeting!

I hear ya, you want to keep it cool but smart. I‘ve got you covered, keep reading and sit in work feeling smug for the remainder of this heatwave we are experiencing! Whatever you do, don’t complain!

KEEP IT MIDI
Cool, airy and not too much leg on show, winning! I don’t know about you but I almost never wear bare legs to the office so throwing on a loose fitting midi length dress or skirt keeps me feeling smart and never too hot!

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KEEP CALM AND SLIDE ON
Keep it smart with a pair of sandals. Warm feet are no fun for anyone and will ultimately make you feel warmer. Slide into a pair of mules to keep your feet half covered or a sandal with a chunky heel for a smart vibe Flip flops are not recommended unless you want daggers thrown at you from colleague’s any time you walk to the bathroom or the printer. Flip…flop…flip…flop…

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YOU ARE GOLD!
Don’t waste all your energy deciding what to wear and leave the accessories out! A midi skirt, crisp white tee, white trainers and layered gold jewellery just squeals summer and a totally smart chic dressed down look! Friday, sorted!

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GO WIDE
Forget the fitted trousers, I think we know that but how do you fill that void? Opt for a pair of wide fit suit trousers with a chunky sandal. If you struggle to create an outfit without some sort of denim, try a flared jean or go white. Just try and keep it as loose as possible and whatever you do, leave the black skinnies at home!

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SHORT IT OUT
I get it, you lie to wear a suit to work and thats cool. Swap out your regular suit and make a statement with shorts! A cool, cool Girl Boss incoming!

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Granted, this weather won’t stick around for long so dig through your wardrobe, reinvent your everyday look, stay cool and most importantly, WearWhatWorks!

Chat soon, I promise
Caoilfhionn

(NOTE: PHOTOGRAPHS ARE NOT MY OWN AND HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM PINTEREST)

UNCOVER EDINBURGH

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…

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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?

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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?

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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!

ALC
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]

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Aoife – fashion student, retail assistant, blogger and stand in photographer. Girl has got it all going on
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NESSY!

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]

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Self proclaimed vintage lover, Claire!

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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]
https://www.epitomeofedinburgh.com/

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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!

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Almond croissants and coffee from The Milkman.

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!

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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.

Chat soon
Caoilfhionn x

HEY, YOU! DON’T BE A RAT

It’s 9:30pm, I am writing this from the comfort of my sofa, eating banana bread and watching the bake off on catch up – a critical point to begin on. Work finished at 5pm, admittedly I did go to the gym but that’s a daily occurrence. I then proceeded to come home, shower, make dinner and slump on the sofa.

Is this what we all do?

Continue reading HEY, YOU! DON’T BE A RAT

Summer’s over… let’s office!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but its true! The Edinburgh Fringe has come to an end (listen close enough and you’ll hear locals scream with happiness), sunshine comes a little later in the mornings and hello, its September – where has 2018 gone?! Summer is well and truly over, which means autumn clothing will be making a reappearance soon enough. Anyway, I digress…

Continue reading Summer’s over… let’s office!

LETS MAKE SOMETHING CLEAR

Insecurities, we all have them! As small or insignificant you may think something is, to someone else it could be life changing. The difference between going for that dream job or simply having the confidence to go on a night out!

Continue reading LETS MAKE SOMETHING CLEAR