Tuesday 19 February 2019

LDN to EDI: A visual diary

Staying true to our ritual of venturing out of London for a few days each month ~ be it near, far, wherever you are ~ Lew and I hopped on a 55 minute plane to Edinburgh, Scotland's not-so-wee, incline-rich capital. 

The city was fresh for both of us, my last time being in childhood (many a New Year's Eve was spent there during my youth) and Lew having not been to Scotland at all, making for two extra curious and excitable explorers in a town that offers so very much – from awe-inducing landscapes, to strong shopping scenes and sweet coffee + food haunts, not to mention the most friendly of locals. 

We even managed to skip Scottish weather stereotypes and were greeted with sunny spring scenes upon arrival. On a nerdy personal note: the houses, with their giant, lust-worthy windows and lofty ceilings were ~ quite literally ~ up there for me too. Combined with a rewarding hike up Arthur's Seat summit on day two, all conditions contributed to us leaving on a high, in all senses. 


Where we stayed:

Kingsford Residence ~ Aesthetically on-point, self-catered studio apartments, complete with a mezzanine bed situation and the giant window/high ceiling combo I covet so dearly. Affordable and amiable, with lovely extras such as a chill club room, gym and roof terrace feat. wonderful views. Def recommend. 

Where we ate:

The Pakora Bar ~ So good. I went for the veg haggis pakoras – when in Scotland – but the curry and wrap offerings also looked (and smelled) most inviting. 

Bertie's Proper Fish and Chips ~ Post-Arthur's Seat climb, the proper chippy cravings were real. Possibly the prettiest fish and chip joint I've dined in, with super friendly service (s/o James) and a range of dietary requirement-friendly options too. 

Paradise Palms ~ Our last supper (late lunch) before flying back to London, this eatery was such a find – and one I'll definitely be returning to on my next visit. Excellent vibe, original interior, good tunes and a stellar plant-based menu. Also seemed a solid evening drinks kinda place.

Where we caffeinated ourselves: 

Artisan Roast ~ Cute and cosy with a homey nook at the back, the coffee was strong and the staff were chipper.

Century General Store & Cafe ~ Part crafty lifestyle store, mainly family-friendly coffee + brunch spot, Century has a fun selection of reads and is handily located for a pre- or post-Arthur's Seat fuelling stop. 

Fortitude Coffee ~ A personal fave of the coffee hangouts we managed to squeeze in during our 3-day stay, Fortitude was equipped with excellent tunes (any place that plays Otis wins me over), simple yet characterful interior and a hearty range of baked goods. Nice beans too. 

Where we visited: 

Scottish National Portrait Gallery ~ Delightfully free and full of talent (old + new), this iconic art museum caught my eye for its BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibit, which didn't disappoint. A beautiful building featuring exquisite natural light that I was sure to make use of. 

Royal Botanic Garden ~ Where there's a botanic garden, I'll visit it, and Edinburgh's horticultural landmark is a pretty remarkable one. We got there in time for a stunning sunset in the Queen Mother's Memorial Garden, which was a bit special. 

Edinburgh Castle + Princes St. Gardens ~ One of the quintessential tourist go-tos, and with good reason – this spot is steeped in history and offers first-rate views of the city. Great for people watching too. 

Holyrood Park + Arthur's Seat ~ A climbing feat, with an elevation of 823 feet, Arthur's Seat is one of Edinburgh's breathtaking scenic landmarks and so worth doing if you can. The summit and its surroundings are quite the treat for the eyeballs (and your cardiovascular system will thank you too). 

Scottish National Museum ~ Another free cultural gem in the city centre, this 7-storey structure is brimming with historical curiosities from a range of spheres – and very family-friendly too. The building and roof terrace alone are worth the visit. 

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Time travel is real, I have proof

It's a Wednesday, a hump day, a beautiful weather day, a tricky-for-my-fam day, a kind of down day. Until it wasn't. Until – until – something a little bit lot magical happened.

Rewind to earlier in the week, and Salpal (mum, for the unacquainted) found an old Canon camera of my late dad's, which was encased in a waterproof jacket. Fortunately for the camera, there was no battery inside, meaning its insides were free of leakage after 20ish years of abandonment. First little win. Salpal puts a new battery in and the film inside makes its distinctive whirring winding noise. She pops it out, hands it to me and suggests I get it developed.

Don't get your hopes up, Brogues. I repeated this necessary mantra to myself to avoid disappointment from the potential of quashed expectations. I secretly couldn't swerve their inevitable heightening though. Please pleeease let there be something, just a little singular petite out of focus picture. Anything!

Fast forward a couple of days and I'm handing said film into Snappy Snaps, along with one of my recently finished, unexpired films (I thought this would also soften the blow of disappointment should the expired film return fruitless). But fruitless it wasn't.

I beamed and, I won't lie, squealed a tad when I received the slightly hazy, pinkish, developed exposures of my 7 year old self in the bath – literally exposed – with my 2 year old little sibling. Some of which I haven't published here because, you know, modesty. They instantly brought Leila and I right back to that bath time, our mum sat on the side playing with dad's funny looking camera.

An actual time pod. 'Mundane' moments from the year 2000, frozen and forgotten until the year 2019. Within a fraction of a second, the tenner I'd spent on the film's development became a priceless piece of nostalgia; a preservation of childhood, but experienced in the now, as if our past and present selves were co-existing simultaneously. I realise this is all very hyperbolic by now but really and truly, it's how it felt; feels.

And so, inspired by my unexpected (and most welcome) Wednesday high point, I've made a mini pact with myself to continue this time freezing exercise in a more intentional way: every now and then, I'm going to hide away films at various points of my life – pivotal, seemingly insignificant, whenever – and resolve to develop them in years to come. It's easy to get obsessive about future plans and momentous moments, but it's the minute by minute, everyday sh*t we're living through right now that's the magical stuff. I'll revisit it on film one day.