My blog's 10th anniversary fell on a weekend, so I thought I would go out for a day to celebrate (then stay in with a few glasses of Buck's Fizz the next day!). I decided to go to one of my favourite places on earth, Edinburgh. I go there all the time, since it's close at hand, but I still remember the excitement of my first trip there as a child, and this trip gave me the same buzz.
After a quick stop at the East India Company to pick up some nice bars of chocolate, I escaped from the rain in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Since self-portrait photos are something I do often on my blog, I thought this would be a good place to visit on my bloggiversary weekend. They were having an exhibition of modern portraits, which really appealed to me. I love paintings in a very realist style, but in more modern colours than the browns of centuries past, and there were a lot of the portraits that I really loved.
I then took advantage of a little booth where you could draw your own self-portrait. I didn't do a great job of getting a good likeness, so I added some of my bright pink lipstick to the picture!
Once I left the gallery the rain had luckily gone off, because I was heading off down Leith Walk on foot. Along the way I stopped into lots of interesting shops - the magnificent Italian food shop Valvona and Crolla (where I got more chocolate!), gift shop The Cat's Miaou, a lovely wee vintage and antique shop, the St Columba's Hospice charity shop, and the Hing Sing Chinese Supermarket just round the corner from my old lodgings.
Once of my reasons for exploring this area is that it's where I stayed when I started university. So I had a very literal walk along memory lane by having a wander along Cambridge Gardens where I stayed, and couldn't even remember which house it was that I stayed in! I had a look at Storrie's bakery, where I used to buy 6p sausage rolls, 4p rolls, and 10p cakes. Sometimes I would get custard slices to take home to my parents at weekends. It hasn't changed a bit. I sometimes used to wait for the bus outside this bakers. And I saw my very bus! I used to get either the 25 or 45 bus.
By chance I saw a sign for a flea market, so I followed this and ended up at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall where I had a good look round but only bought a postcard!
Then I headed up Pilrig Street. I passed a big park just behind my old lodgings, that I hadn't realised was there, with a lovely old house in it!
I went to the Edinburgh Indoor Food and Craft Market which is held at the Biscuit Factory. This was great fun to look round, with so many interesting foods. I had my lunch there, a chana masala from Tuk Tuk. I also bought some Snooze Balm from Coven Scrubs and Balms, which I thought would be lovely for afternoon naps, and I couldn't resist the marshmallows from The Real Hot Chocolate Company, which are the best I've ever tasted (I'm trying to shop and eat vegan at the moment, but these are the one exception I'm allowing myself!).
I headed back to the city centre, hitting my 10,000 step target, and getting some selfies at a turquoise police box which matches well with my blog colour scheme!
Then I went to the Fruitmarket Gallery where an artists' book market was being held. I was pleased to meet Marie-Alice Harel whose work I have admired on Instagram, and who I have just realised is a scientist as well as an artist! I bought some of her lovely postcards, and also The Cats That Stared by local illustrator Claire Hubbard.
And I will leave you with this. The day would have been worth it for this moment alone - the juxtaposition of prickly cactus and a man in a kilt made my day. It's a pity I didn't get the photo quicker, when she was even closer to his behind!