Edinburgh. #Girltime

How happy do I look here? Well this is what happened...

I have been fully dedicated to my New Years resolution which is to have more "Me Time", this is definitely not going to be a one I give up on lightly. It sounds silly but it is really hard for us Mums to get some REAL child free time and you sometimes have to force your self or actually book something in to grasp it. So after our fab trip to York last year, (Link at the bottom if you missed it) me and two of my girls Mandy and Christine (all have 2 children the same ages) decided on another great city break, that is not too far away as we don't want to spend all the time travelling....and if we are honest leaving the kids with the Dads, anything could happen really, so being near by is just good sense. The girls were making fun a bit because it was more like a military movement for me to go away for all of 32hrs, the husband is a fab Dad and quite capable but I did worry for their overall malnourishment. When he goes away he couldn't care if there is only a mouldy carrot left in the fridge for moi but I felt it my duty to stock the cupboards and put outfits together before I left so the kids didn't look like hobos and more importantly I didn't get the "Where have you hidden the rugby kit?!" call at 7am when I have had a vat of wine.....

So a few weeks ago we had a play date, crunched the calendars of various bloody kids party's and managed to set a date and decided on Edinburgh! I have only been once, 10yrs ago so I was looking forward to it but M actually lived there for about 10yrs and it was like coming home for her, plus meant we had a tour guide. Bonus. Like last time we wanted to milk out as much time as possible and arranged a 7.45am pick up, I was up from 6am like a kid at Christmas, I didn't mind a bit through and I enjoyed getting glammed up/ready for some much needed girl time. There was a slight hiccup when Oscar decided to pour a full jar of honey all over the kitchen while I was in the shower but I think it made Daddy realise he actually had to watch the kids for the next two days and I just made a quick exit at that point, like Andy on the Shawshank Redemption arms open wide "I've really escaped" type joy. At the Station we had an important meeting on who would get which magazines so as not to double up, then we got a bottle of Prosecco (naturally) some fresh croissants and we were off. Bliss.

6am...better get ready!

What more could you want...even a cheeky nail varnish!

There wasn't a lot of choice in our hotel as we needed one with a 3 person room and it was short notice so we didn't know what to expect of the Apex Waterloo which had been pre booked, however we couldn't have been happier. It was a stones throw from the Train Station and actually at the top of Princes Street. It was really modern and the staff were so friendly. They told us our room wasn't ready but as it was only 10am we hadn't expected it to be, they checked us in though and took our bags so we could go off shopping unencumbered...don't have to tell me twice. We immediately hit Princes Street, I must mention to wrap up warm though as it was baltic, it reminded me of when I went to New York and nearly got frost bite "The wind blows right through you"; it didn't stop us beelining it to Harvey Nics though. We had a good drool at the windows of Louis Vuitton and Mulberry but decided it was cake time...for energy obviously. We stopped at a lovely cafe opposite Michael Kors called Valvona & Crolla, which is one of a few in the city run by a big Italian family, so you can imagine the Pistachio cake and Snow balls were immense. At this point I realise I'm not even a proper blogger as I haven't taken tonnes of cute pics of handbags, cakes and trinkets but to be fair we were having too much fun. It was a nice touch of the hotel to text us to say that our room was now ready (2hrs early) and our bags were in the room, the day couldn't be going any better.

A little more shopping...child free, husband free and just taking as much time as we blumming well liked was heavenly and when we got tired, another pit stop at Jamie's Italian was just thing. Some more Prosecco, yummy food...if you haven't ever tried fried stuffed Nachos they are a must and then a disco nap was in order. We got settled in our lovely room and then had a lil fashion show of things to wear that night, a novelty for me in an all boy household but as the hotel had a Pool/Spa we thought it rude not to give that a try. So we headed down in the lovely fluffy robes the hotel provided, with our mountain of magazines and just chilled out. It wasn't the biggest of pools but still nice for a dip or a sauna and would you know it because someone was asking me to do something every 5 seconds I eventually finished the book I've been reading for months. Fully cooked and relaxed we headed back to the room for a brew...I may have brought a giant box of Maltesers too and then we started to preen for the night ahead. Its amazing what you can do without a toddler hanging off you ha ha. 

One of the nicest things I ever eaten, fried Nachos. 

M being healthy....

Me...not so much!

Just chilling like a villian!

We headed straight to the top of the ritzy George Street to a bar called Tiger Lily, which we immediately all loved, and could have stayed there the whole night to be honest but we wanted to sample some others and get a bite to eat. After wandering down to a few more bars we stopped at a lovely restaurant called Contini, we didn't have a reservation but they managed to squeeze us in for a stone baked pizza and some nibbles which hit the spot and soaked up some of the Long Vodkas...it is an epic drink very popular throughout Scotland. Its Vodka, Lime and Soda with a few drops of Angostura Bitters, Its a lovely pink colour, sweet and sour but very refreshing, definitely try one if you're in Edinburgh; it was our drink of choice all night. We popped into a few other bars I cant remember but ended up in the very nice Le Monde, we enjoyed the bar upstairs but we headed to the Night Club downstairs as our dancing feet were itching. A few more Long Vodkas, dancing like mad and I asked a man what was under his kilt, it now was definitely time to go to bed...his answer priceless though "How warm are your hands?!" We tried to flag down something called a Rickshaw car, which are little cycle cars for tipsy people with tired feet to get home but they only take 2 per cart, so that was a shame. However there is this weird smell in the Edinburgh air which I thought was just me being drunk, but its lush and smells like fresh Bread. I am told by our oracle Mandy its actually the 'Hops smell' from the local brewery making beer. Anyway like most people well served we were now ravenous and just as we were battering into the wind a 24hr Golden M appeared...Forgive my for I have sinned "3 Large Big Mac and Fries

Social Media papped...

This is our "Im pissed and I dont care!" face...


The shame...

I couldn't really remember getting to bed but didn't feel too bad probably due to the fact that I didn't get up until 9.40am! This is the first non 5.30am gun shot to the face thanks to my son, in over 6mths so I was loving it. We quickly got ready so as not miss our slap up brekkie which finished at 11am....3 girls, one bathroom, free Elemis products... say no more. It was well worth the rush though when we saw the lovely continental buffet including fresh pain au chocolat and made to order hot breakfast, when I spotted French Toast, bacon and maple syrup on the menu nothing else got a look in. Unfortunately this day the weather had took a turn for the worse, still bitterly cold but now pouring with sleet. When we were checking out though, again allowed to leave our bags behind to squeeze in some more shopping before our 4pm train, we were offered umbrella's on loan which I was super impressed with as I'm mostly made of sugar when it comes to any type of precipitation. We hit Princes street again, getting a few gifts for the small people at home and obviously some shortbread, then slightly flagging (hungover) we headed back to the hotel for a cuppa and to retrieve our bags before home time. Again another nice touch of the hotel was a £10 gift card to spend in their Cafe for booking directly with them so that was worth doing. It worked out perfectly as we got a large pot of tea and selection of...carbs really, but just what we fancied before home time. 

Get in my face.

Standard Castle pic.

 Free Food! Thanks Apex.

Helping on the way home.

I really liked Edinburgh even though we didn't even set foot near the touristy spots, there was also no question I would fully enjoy the 32hrs to myself and although I was sad to be heading back to reality (mess, potty training, more mess) I was very pleased to give my 3 boys a big hug. That saying is very true 'You don't know what you have until its gone'. 

Ashlie xox 


The Last trip York. 

Our fab hotel Apex Waterloo

The restaurant Contini

Our fav bars.


Valentines Day #recipe

Just a very quick blog here to show you what we have been up to this week in prep for Valentines Day. There are very much two camps when it comes to this day, the ones who go mad on all the romance, fully commit to cupids calling and then there are miserable people....Ha ha just kidding, but the people who think its all a money making scheme. 

From a girls point of view, I have a foot in each camp...with my weight leaning into the cheesetastic Valentine's Day. When you have been married for a while you need every excuse you can get for a bit romance though but I realise that flowers etc are double price on this day; however we are girlsss, leave us out at you're own peril!

 I think there is a compromise to be had here though, us girls just want to know that you adore us....any day of the year but a card with a few nice words, a bunch of tulips and a bar of chocolate will set you back about £5 but have a lot of brownie points. For extra happiness, listen to us. If she has been moaning about her nails book a manicure, or hinting at some jewellery get it or mentioning an addiction to Jo Malone candles buy one, chances are it will cost less than a bumped up bunch of roses and really be a loving Valentines Day. 

Well I've said my piece and hopefully saved a few fellas bacon.

Anyway without much ado the boys have been doing some lovely crafts at school so I decided to do some baking with them, it coincided nicely with a play date with some new school friends and 2 of the cutest girls I've met. So I made a batch of my short bread which is supper easy an ideal gift for kids or adults.

55g of Caster Sugar
125g Butter
180g Plain Flour

If you wish add a bit of orange zest, or a splash of wiskey or a pinch of cinnamon if you like. 

Preheat Oven 180C

1. Beat Sugar and Butter until creamy
2. Stir in Flour well.
3. Form a ball of dough with your hands.
4. Roll out 1cm thick and cut out any shapes you like, as you can see we did hearts and buttons.
*Which I made with a circle cutter then placed a ring with the smaller ring cutter inside and put two holes with a cocktails stick in.
5. Place on a grease proof try and bake for about 15-20mins or until edges start to go golden.
6. Transfer to a wire rack and when cool EAT or decorate as you like. 

The kids decorated/ate their hearts immediately and I cant believe I forgot a pic of a finished one but they looked nice without anyway.

So CUTE! Ozzie eatin more than decorating. 

I put a few buttons in a box with a note "Cute as a Button" which they are, in for my boys to have on Saturday. 

Whatever you do, spread the love...its free. 

Ashlie xox