8 things NOT to do in Edinburgh

So last month I surprised my ‘little sister’ with a trip to Edinburgh for her 21st birthday. Woke her up, told her to pack a bag and off we went. SURPRISE!

Since returning home from traveling a while back, I have taken the advice of the Dalai Lama and “Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before”. Edinburgh has always been on the bucket list and since one of my best friends moved there to study last year, it quickly moved its way up the ranks.

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Despite painting the town green, we might have walked what felt like 1000 miles over the weekend to fit in everything there is to do and see in the medieval city – thanks to our fabulous tour guide of course.

So after reading a bucket load of blogs referring to how amazing Edinburgh is I decided to let you in on what we learned NOT to do:

1. Visit Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle might just be the most majestic castle I’ve ever seen. It’s located high above Edinburgh looking down on both new town & old town and visiting it might make you feel like any castle you’ve seen before was now a complete waste of time.

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It really is breathtaking and who really wants their breath taken away? Not me anyway.

It is simply the castle of all castles – you can tell by our faces.

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(I’m guessing by now you can tell how this blog is going to go 😛 )

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2. Oink

So Oink ranks very high on the “must-do restaurants” in Edinburgh, so of course it was a must-see over the course of the few days.

Oink simply specialises in pulled pork sandwiches. Pulled pork sandwiches so good that if you’re not quick enough you’ll miss out – it took us two attempts.

When we finally got our hands on one I decided to live life on the edge and order; the hagis filling, BBQ sauce and crackling.

VERDIT: It may have been the tastest pulled port sandwhich I’ve ever had.

So why shouldn’t I go there I hear you ask?

Well since arriving home, ALL i’ve been craving is a sandwich from OINK! Just don’t do it to yourself, nothing is ever going to be able to compare.

Though if you go against my advice, I’d recommend that you go the whole hog (excuse the pun) the morning after the night before.

It just hits the spot, but you’re at great risk that you mightn’t be able to cure a hangover in the same way ever again.

3. Armstrongs Vintage Store

One of Edinburgh’s hidden gems and I can honestly say, although I’ve only been there twice, it’s one of my all time favourite stores.

To me it combines theatre, tumblr and all things vintage … what’s not to like? or LOVE?

Just take a look for yourself …

Though I wouldn’t recommend going there – there’s more for me that way!

Just follow them on Twitter instead @ArmstrongsVtg

4. Do Harry Potter themed things 

How would I describe Edinburgh to a Harry Potter fan?

A kid in a candy store? ….. A Liverpool supporter in Anfield?

Edinburgh basically holds the essence of Hogwarts.

J.K Rowling roamed the streets of the city being inspired by the buildings, the schools, the people and the history.

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We visited the coffee shop where she reportedly wrote most of the books and took a stroll around the graveyard where she found the names for most of the characters.

 

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Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that is Thomas Riddles grave.

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I genuinely feel it might be too much for a superfan and just a reminder that Harry Potter is no more … ok sorry I didn’t mean that, it will always live on in Edinburgh.

5. Arthurs seat

Just your standard dormant volcano overlooking the city ….

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… no biggie.

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6. Calton hill

Absolultey no photo opportunities here at all …

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Nothing to see. …

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7. Panda & Sons cocktail bar

A cocktail bar disguised as a barber shop.

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How do you know it’s a bar I hear you ask? Just open the secret door in the bookcase. DUH!

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This is not just your typical cocktail bar though, these people are mixologists! If you’re looking for your standard Mijoto or Sex on the beach then this is not the place for you.

Cocktails in teapots accompanied with handtowels is the standard here.

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And of course cocktails with edible flowers.

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And it was far from handtowels and edible flowers we were rared really.

8. Paddy’s day

Lastly I DEF wouldn’t celebrate Paddy’s Day in Edinburgh – not a celebration, a pint of Guinness or green hat in sight.

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Seriously. 😉

I joke, I joke of course I’m not serious!!!

Edinburgh, I’m head over heels in love with you, I’m just in denial. Don’t worry i’ll be back. ❤

 

 

Dear 11-year-old me

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Dear 11-year-old Anna,

Look who it is?! It’s you at 28! Ancient I know, but don’t worry it’s pretty amazeballs – yes that’s a word.

So while I’m here, is there anything you would like to know? WWWOOOOOOOHHHHH of course you do, I can tell you one thing, you never stop asking questions and you’re still a chatterbox … maybe you should tone that down a little.

  • Honestly, listen to your Mother – she really speaks the truth.
  • Don’t worry, Sharon H will still live up the road until you go to college – will actually sing at her wedding and she will be the most amazing bride you will ever see.
  • Of course, Aisling will still be in your life, you still feel 11 when ye hang out! No, she’s not hugging trees but yes she’s still a vegetarian … Check out her blog! #proudofher
  • Please don’t drop art at school.
  • Stay weird – it’s better fun.
  • You will find an amazing group of friends that just get you – turns out they’re the exact same.

  • You will actually get to know must of them very soon, but you’re not as close just yet!
  • Though amazing people will continue to come into your life to this day & already you can’t think of what your life would be like without them.
  • Yes, everyone will eventually stop calling you “Anna Banana”.
  • Just be yourself, honestly it’s worth it – stop trying to impress people and be something you’re not.
  • Of course, you should audition for that part, audition for all the parts, if you’re not in you can’t win.
  • No, you’re not going to be on Broadway – but your 100% ok with that. You’ll still continue to sing and perform to your heart’s content.
  • No, you don’t get better at spelling – but it’s ok, you’ve figured out why and you’re damn proud of it. You even become a Journalist.
  • You’ll be free of a certain music teacher very soon.
  • You’ll surprise yourself and achieve more than you ever thought. You can do anything you put your mind to – DREAM BIGGER MY FRECKLY FRIEND! 
  • Nope, you never learn how to tame that curly mop of yours. 
  • There is a thing called YouTube & it will take over your life.
  • Sorry little one, you have NO chance with Stephen Gately, he gets married to his boyfriend of 13 years and sadly passes away in 2009. It still upsets you to this day.
  • Yes, I remember that bucket list you created, you’ve actually ticked more than half of it.
  • No, I’m not going to tell you which half. Though I can tell you that you’re still not married but actually really happy with the fact, as your having waayyy to much fun.
  • And technically you actually never really become an adult.

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  • Sam Smith is a major man in your life, don’t worry Garth Brooks still has a special place in your heart and he’s back on tour but 2014 is not a good year for you in that department – no you still don’t wanna talk about it. *sheds tear*
  • You’ll find a grá for Cork, DON’T FREAK OUT!!, other places are on the list too – Australia being one of them.
  • And no the water doesn’t flow down the toilet in the opposite direction over there.

OK, OK, STOP ALL THE QUESTIONS NOW! You’re just going to ruin it for yourself!

Just one piece of advice; keep taking chances, jumping at every opportunity & living life with no regrets. The good, the bad and the ugly will all add up to who you are today, everything happens for a reason and so far it’s all been totally worth it.

Oh, look who already has the hang of it? Yes, you could call it amazeballs.

Tips for those social media breaks

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Working in the area of social and creative media of course has it’s ups and downs, like any other career path you choose to take, but for me I wouldn’t change it for the world.

As Steve Jobs said himself,

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I know working in this world, having this blog as well as my jammed packed instagram/twitter accounts puts me in the position to share everything with the world and get easily addicted.

But I genuinely take more social media breaks or ‘Airplane Mode Days’ than people think, and they usually go like this:

 

Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction.

Even if you don’t emerse yourself into the world of social media, ‘Airplane Days’ are essential for everyone’s life balance and ‘creative pause’ – whatever your vice is.

Deemed ‘On Airplane Mode’ as I switch off all signal, notifications and data and solely use my phone as a camera or Ipod.

Even if it’s just while I’m in the shower, on a coffee date with a friend or away for the weekend. (When in Germany last year, I turned myself on ‘Airplane Mode’ from Friday to Monday, no problem – refreshing).

Below are just some things I’ve learned along the way – and continue to learn:

Without further ado, introducing life hack 101 with Anna;

The pause: Addictions are something we often do automatically, without thinking. Start to break this chain of trigger-habit auto-response by introducing a small pause in between them. When you get the urge to check something you’re addicted to, notice this urge, and pause for just one second. During this pause, simply ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this, and why?” You can then go on to do it, no matter what the answer, but the important thing is having at least the briefest pause.

Unplugging: Wether you reserve one day of the weekend and force yourself to disconnect, or just by simply turning off your notifications for a few hours, find something within your set means and unplug. Simple little things I do are:

  • Leaving my phone in my room for a few hours after work.
  • Make friends with silent mode.
  • When out with friends, leave your phones in the middle of the table; first to check theirs buys everyone food/drink. (We even did this on New Years Eve!)
  • Place your phone face-down. Might sound stupid but it works.
  • Deliberately ‘forget your phone’.
  • Of course my friend, Airplane Mode.

Schedule time for non-Internet and non-media activities. That means actually block them off on your schedule. Take a walk for 10 minutes. Do some yoga, or what I prefer to do is write in a notebook, remember writing? Talk to someone in person. Schedule time to spend with the favourites. Go for a walk in solitude.

Cold turkey weekends: It’s just like ripping off a ban-aid, just go for it. I promise you, you’ll feel amazing after it.

The goal isn’t to eliminate all information sources and be shut off from the online world. It’s not to throw out your iPhone or laptop. These tools are incredibly useful and powerful — obviously I make my living using them, and they have changed our lives in so many positive ways. The idea is simply not to be controlled by them, and to have a balanced life that includes other activities. It’s possible to stay in contact with Friends abroad, beat your top score on Candy Crush (if that’s what your into) and also be present in life’s unforgettable moments. 

As much as I love the world of social media, you can’t translate the phone calls, the sweet messages, the life chats, the hugs, the advice, the good deed’s or even the drinks but what social media does do is help you remember them.

Don’t forget every time you post something online you have a choice.

 

Be kind to it this world, don’t abuse it.