Thursday, 25 June 2015

Etsy Favourites: White Rabbit Skincare

If you're a beauty and skincare geek like me, you'll be all over the wonderful Caroline Hiron's Beauty Mouth blog, where she gives no-nonsense reviews, recommendations and cheat sheets on skincare routines and products. Scotland-based skincare brand White Rabbit were given a shout out on the Beauty Mouth blog, recommending in particular their Comfort Cleansing Balm as an alternative to Eve Lom's cult favourite - with a more purse-friendly price and no mineral oils. I'm actually really happy with the cleanser I'm currently using (another Caroline Hirons pick, Emma Hardie's Moringa cleansing balm), but was intrigued to follow up White Rabbit's skincare range, especially being handmade in Scotland and their use of essential oils. I'm interested in moving my skincare towards more natural products so was delighted to see the large range of natural products they have. Even better, they are all vegan and bunny-friendly - tested on humans only.

I settled on a few products from White Rabbit's Etsy shop - two day moisturisers, one night cream and a serum. A few days later they were delivered, along with a cute White Rabbit canvas bag. It was perfect timing as my old moisturiser was running out and  it was good to feel excited about using some new products!
The Cell Renewal Serum, has a blend of oils with a bright hit of citrus scent from neroli oil. This is my favourite product to use and my skin felt instantly smoothed without the greasy feeling you can get with some oil serums. I currently use this every evening and on occasion in the morning if I feel like my skin needs an extra hit of moisture, and I really feel like it makes a difference. The night cream, It's All About M.E.! is suitable for all skin types, helping to soothe and calm skin, whilst firming and improving elasticity. This has a light floral scent and a lovely whipped texture and is a great combination with the serum as it's not too heavy. £1 of each pot goes to the M.E. Association so it's a nice charity boost as well. The other moisturisers I've tried are the Coconut and Rosehip Calming Cream and Dew Soft Day Cream. The calming cream is for problematic skin, whether that be a breakout or itching, and also contains witch hazel, tea tree and lavender oil. This is the creamiest in texture of the three and has a more-or-less neutral scent, with a slight lingering of tea tree oil. The day cream is indeed soft and dreamy with a light texture that still has real moisturising power behind it and is good for my sensitive skin days.

I'm really enjoying using the White Rabbit products, with my top pick being the Cell Renewal Serum and its heavenly scent. I am looking forward to trying more products and the range seems to be developing all the time so I will be keeping up with what they've got to offer and if you love natural cruelty-free skincare, you should too!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Edinburgh is Delicious: The Colonnades Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is one of life's more luxurious pleasures and we may have just experienced one of Edinburgh's finest, at the Colonnades, based at the Signet Library. We've been lucky enough to have afternoon tea at Signet Library in previous years at their annual Pommery Champagne Bar but as it is only usually available over the summer period it's been a total but oh-so-fleeting joy. After a £250,000 venue refurbishment, the newly renamed Colonnades introduce their elegant afternoon teas as a gloriously year-round fixture in Edinburgh. The venue has always been a stunning space, but it has been painstakingly restored with the highest attention to detail, from the intricate gold leaf, fluted Corinthian columns, handwoven carpet and mirrored tables to the bespoke stamped silverware and tea sets. Everything is perfection and we haven't even started raving about the food yet!

Part of Heritage Portfolio's collection, the afternoon tea changes seasonally to reflect the finest and freshest ingredients in Scotland, with produce from their gardens in Leith being incorporated into the menu. Rather than the traditional three tiers of an afternoon tea, the Colonnades place as much emphasis on the savoury elements as the sweet, so we began with an entire stunning stand of savoury goodies, including delicious bites such as fresh prawn cocktail with mango salsa, a brioche Aberdeen Angus mini-burger and Edinburgh Gin-infused smoked salmon on oatcakes.
The sweet treats that came next - another whole stand - were the stuff of dreams. Particular favourites were a tart lemon sorbet, passion fruit and mango eclair, lemon meringue tart in a crisp pastry adorned with stunning sugarwork and a classic mille feuille, with homemade pastry layers, organic cream and Perthshire berries. The scones were served warm with clotted cream and a divine strawberry and champagne jam.
An afternoon tea cannot be complete without, of course, the tea - with a selection supplied by the Wee Tea Company, we enjoyed unlimited cups throughout our sitting. Both the scented apple fruit infusion and the cherry tea proved lovely accompaniments. Glasses of fizz catered to those of the bubbly persuasion.

The Colonnades is now open for weekday bookings of afternoon tea and light lunches and there are plans to open on weekends for special occasions. We can't wait to visit again and we thoroughly recommend a visit for one of the most decadent afternoon tea experiences in Edinburgh.



Monday, 15 June 2015

Edinburgh Events: 12 Tub Cinema Club - whisky ice creams and films from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

It's finally sunny in Scotland and what better time to announce that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society have teamed up with S Luca's to make the most delicious-sounding whisky ice creams - a surefire winning combination in Edinburgh! These whisky-laced ice creams will be served all summer long at their Queen Street venue and will be launched with at a series of film screenings being held to celebrate their central venue, the 12 Tub Cinema Club, being open to the public.  Named after the number of ice creams available (and the number of single cask whiskies to accompany them), the North View room will be transformed into an intimate cinema, complete with bean bags, deck chairs and ushers serving the ice cream and drams. All of the films shown will be linked to whisky and will kick off with Ken Loach's recent bittersweet themed comedy, The Angels' Share. Other choice picks include Barfly, Withnail & I (epic whisky intakes in both films), Lost in Translation ("Imagine you're talking to an old friend!") and Casablanca (the classiest dram knock-backs seen on the screen). The screenings run from Friday 19 June and run until Saturday 11 July, with more details and tickets available via Eventbrite. Our whisky-expert friends Adele and Stuart from Braw Spirit blog were at the preview event and reported back on the amazing looking venue and the divine ice cream, with flavours including Maple Bacon Crunch, a sweet syrup and smoky bacon flavour combined with a peaty whisky and Banana Dram-a, banana and marshmallow ice cream with a sweet, fruity and mellow whisky. So start summer in style, have a scream for ice cream and go book it up!Photos courtesy of Adele Erwin and Stuart McLaughlin

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Edinburgh is Delicious: Madamoiselle Macaron's Fabulous First Birthday


Do you need a bit of French chic in your life? Stepping into Madamoiselle Macaron's wee shop you'll find her very own sweet and sophisticated slice of Paris with an Eiffel Tower display, chaises longues and Edinburgh/Paris map mash-ups decorating the walls.  Elegant patisserie is set alongside gorgeous bright macarons clothed in beautiful packaging for your delectation. Madamoiselle Macaron herself spent time in Paris, learning to make macarons at the Alain Decasse cookery school and we are super pleased that she has now settled in Edinburgh to make them for us! They are very special bite-sized treats with delicious classic flavours like pistachio, raspberry and chocolate co-existing side by side with gingerbread, Hendricks gin and Irn Bru flavours as well as our favourite florals like lavender, rose and fleur d'orange. Madamoiselle packages her treats in gorgeous illustrated boxes - pink, topped with grey ribbon, inspired by the beautiful bakery in Grand Budapest Hotel.

On the occasion of Madamoiselle Macaron's first birthday at Grindlay Street (joyeux anniversaire!), we were invited for a party and to have a look around after a recent refurbishment. It's such a lovely space to enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate with your macarons and the daily offerings of patisserie that are available. There is also a big quartz table at the back of the shop, and you can book a macaron class to learn how to master these little beauties yourself.  Groups are welcome (think a chic little hen do or birthday party) and there are plenty of macarons for all.  Thrillingly, to celebrate the shop's first birthday, there is a celebratory giant champagne oyster macaron which has a strawberry champagne filling, pearlescent sheen and an adorable fondant pearl. C'est tres magnifique, Madamoiselle Macaron!