Sick of too much Slade and Cliff Richard on the radio? Here are some suitably indie Christmas tunes to get you in the festive spirit. This year's mixtape features a selection of covers, original Christmas songs and wintery tunes, as well as my all-time fave festive song by The Raveonettes. It has definitely featured on a past December mixtape but I couldn't help sneaking it in again this year! You can have a listen to my December 2013 and December 2012 mixtapes over on Spotify for plenty of seasonal joy to tide you over for the next week or two.
Eels · Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
The Shins · Wonderful Christmastime
Great Lake Swimmers · Hang a String of Lights
The Raveonettes · The Christmas Song
Fruit Bats · It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas
Slow Club · Christmas TV
Fleet Foxes · White Winter Hymnal
The Civil Wars · I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Regina Spektor · My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)
Andrew Bird · Auld Lang Syne Listen to "December" here.
1. Festive Cocktail Masterclass at G&V G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD
Get yourself in the holiday spirit by learning how to make some wintery cocktails at one of the city's top boutique hotels. Last week I headed along to sample the masterclass for myself, and discovered the secrets behind three of G&V's most popular winter cocktails, the classic Charlie Chaplin, a festive Christmas Flip and the Old Scots Pine from the current A/W cocktail menu. We were in good hands with Bar Manager Matt and I picked up lots of new tips for making my own cocktails at home. Even if you don't fancy a masterclass, I'd definitely recommend heading to the G&V bar to enjoy some unique cocktails from the seasonal menu. More info: Mixology Masterclasses at G&V.
2. Christmas Burgers at Burger Burger, 94a Fountainbridge, EH3 9QA
Sick of turkey dinners? For a twist on the traditional Christmas lunch, head to Burger to feast on their festive menu instead. If you're looking for somewhere for a last-minute work do, you can book yourself in for a 3 course meal - or if you fancy stopping by with your pals for a quick bite to eat, all the Christmas burgers are available on the current specials menu. Recently, I rounded up a few of my blogging babes and we had a festive catch up over burgers, hotdogs and fries. I opted for the Christmas Katsu burger which came topped with cranberry chilli sauce, stir fried sprouts, chipolatas and red wine jus. Delish! More info: Burger Christmas Specials.
3. The Nutcracker with Scottish Ballet Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson Street, EH8 9FT
Forget the panto this year and head to the theatre to see Scottish Ballet's production of The Nutcracker instead. As always, Scottish Ballet have done a fantastic job of putting together a beautiful production; everything is stunning from the choreography to the music to the sets to the costumes. I went along to watch the dress rehearsal on Friday and was mesmerised by the whole thing. Reimagining Peter Darrell's classic version of The Nutcracker, this production is perfect for adults and children alike, emphasising the magical escapism of childhood imagination. The Nutcracker is on at the Festival Theatre until the 3rd January and then it's doing a little tour covering Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle. More info: Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker.
4. Shop Local at Made From Scotland (& More!) Made From Scotland Pop-Up Shop, 115-117 Rose Street, EH2 3DT
If you haven't finished off your Christmas shopping already, Edinburgh has lots of fantastic independent shops where you can pick up something a little bit different. Cheeky bit of self-promotion here, but I'd wholeheartedly recommend checking out the Made From Scotland Pop-Up on Rose Street before we close on the 23rd December, where you'll find lots of homeware, jewellery, accessories, prints and gifts from independent Scottish designers. Other great spots for Christmas shopping include the Red Door Gallery for prints & art, Black Box for jewellery, Godiva Boutique for vintage clothes & accessories, The Brotique for manly things and Paper Tiger for cards & stationery.
5. Christmas Films at the Cameo Cinema Cameo Cinema, 8 Home Street, EH3 9LZ
Isn't there just something pretty great about watching old films in the cinema? Head along to the Cameo this winter to catch a showing of one of your favourite Christmas movies - there are lots to choose from, whether you love classic tales or something a little bit different. My top picks include Die Hard (best "Christmas" film ever, no?), Elf (a modern classic) and Home Alone (merry Christmas ya filthy animals). Just add a Christmas jumper, a bucket of popcorn and prepare yourself for a couple of hours of festive fun. More info: Christmas films at Cameo.
Any top tips for other things to do in Edinburgh this winter?
1.Helter skelter 2.Neon satchels at the Cambridge Satchel Company Pop-Up 3.Roast dinner 4.Desk stuff
I'm feeling pretty festive this weekend, even though it doesn't really feel like there are only a couple of weeks left until Christmas. Yesterday afternoon Laura and I put up the Christmas tree in the flat (after only just taking down the last of the Halloween decorations last week...), followed by a festive roast dinner. I'm going to send my Christmas cards this week - all three of them - and will no doubt be doing bits and pieces of Christmas present shopping. I think it'll soon be time to break out the Christmas bed sheets too!
On Friday evening I headed along to the Cambridge Satchel Company's new pop-up shop in Edinburgh for some drinks, a catch up with my blogging pals, and a look round the new store. I had already been in a couple of weeks before, when I treated myself to a beautiful purple batchel. I've been admiring Cambridge Satchel Company bags for years online, but this was the first time I'd seen them in the flesh. As well as the George Street pop-up in Edinburgh, there's also one through in Glasgow at the moment so it's definitely worth stopping by if you've been eyeing one up and want to get a feel for them first! After the event, Laura and I wandered along George Street looking for somewhere for dinner but everywhere was fully booked so we ended up walking back to one of my faves, Passorn, for some delicious Thai food and lots of wine.
Aside from a wee midweek takeaway with some pals, the rest of this week has been fairly quiet as I've just been busy with work. I have a feeling things will be pretty hectic at the Made From Scotland Pop-Up Shop over the next couple of weeks (plus there are numerous Christmas lunches, dinners, drinks and catch ups planned) so I'm looking forward to being able to relax for a little bit once the Christmas holidays do actually arrive!