Sunday Summary #161

31.5.15

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1.Country walks 2.Puppy pals 3.Flowers 4.Benefit Roller Lash pop-up 5.The Jolly Botanist 6.Spa in the City 7.Lush Planets treatment 8.Dinner at Gusto 9.Water of Leith 10.Hey

Well hello there! It's time for another Sunday Summary, and the last couple of weeks have been pretty busy as usual. Yesterday I spent the day in sunny East Lothian as we were out there shooting our first lookbook for work. I was in charge of behind the scenes photos and videos, which meant I mostly spent my time wandering round picturesque villages and woodlands taking pictures of puppies. Yes, that unbelievably cute 11 week old dachshund puppy was one of our models! Once we had finished shooting, we even had time for a barbecue before heading home - a pretty lovely day considering it was technically work.

On Friday evening I went along to the Benefit pop-up bar in St Andrew Square where there were treatments and cocktails on offer in the cutest 50s style beauty parlour tent. I got my eyebrows waxed by the lovely Claire and then got my makeup done (including the new Roller Lash mascara which I maaaaay just have to purchase now!) all whilst enjoying a pink lemonade cocktail. The previous weekend saw St Andrew Square being transformed into another kind of beauty haven for Spa in the City. I was invited down on the Saturday along with some other Edinburgh bloggers to enjoy hair demos, spa treatments, cocktail masterclasses and lots more. I got to try out a mini version of the new Planets treatment from Lush Spa, a hand and arm massages with palm reading (usually this is part 2 of the full 3 hour treatment). I've never had my palms read before so it was a really interesting experience, and something a bit different that you wouldn't usually get in a spa! Today is the last day of this year's Spa in the City (in the West End today), but if you're quick you might just be able to grab a couple of last minute treatments.

Now, this wouldn't be a Sunday Summary without some mention of food and drink, would it? Last weekend I hopped on the train through to Glasgow for lunch at Las Iguanas with some pals including Gill who was on a flying visit up from London. It was so nice to catch up with everyone, especially Gill who I hadn't seen in almost a year. A year! Madness. I've also been to Gusto and Passorn recently (reviews coming soon), and even managed to fit in a wee bit of Sunday lunch complete with cocktails at The Jolly Botanist a couple of weekends ago. I think it's pretty fair to say that eating is my only hobby!

What have you been up to lately?

Gillian x

Outfit: All Navy Everything

26.5.15

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Top: French Connection
Jeans: House of Fraser*
Jacket: New Look
Necklace: New Look
Boots: Office
Bag: Primark

What's this, another outdoor outfit post? It's pretty handy having a live-in photographer (a.k.a. Laura) who I can rope into taking photographs of me pretending to be a proper blogger. Still in the "awkward posing face" stage though. And maybe next time I won't do it after going out for dinner and spilling spaghetti all down my top. Aaaanyways, this is my current favourite dinner outfit as it's the perfect mix of not too fancy but not too casual. I bought this tshirt a couple of weeks ago and I've worn it SO much already, I definitely need to buy it in a couple more colours! It's nice and slouchy but the fabric feels a little bit luxe so it's fancier than your average tshirt. It's a summer wardrobe staple if ever I've seen one.

I'm really into navy at the moment as it's pretty close to my beloved black, yet it somehow feels a bit more grown up and stylish. I've paired my navy top with some new indigo wash skinny jeans from House of Fraser. I much prefer dark wash jeans rather than light ones, so these are a perfect addition to my wardrobe and I'm sure they'll get a lot of wear. I used to wear 90% dresses but these days I'm all about the skinny jeans with a pair of ankle boots, a nice top and a statement necklace. Easy peasy!

Accessories wise, you can't go wrong with a big gold necklace along with navy, so I've opted for one of my current geometric favourites from New Look. My bag is a new one from Primark; I bought it as I needed a bag last minute before I went on holiday to Copenhagen. My usual daytime bag broke, so I just bought the first one I could find which was relatively small but big enough to fit my camera in. Turns out, this is a pretty perfect bag! It's got two separate compartments so I can keep my camera and lenses in one, and all my money/makeup/sunglasses etc in the other - you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in it even though it looks pretty small.

Gillian x

Top 5: Things to Do in Edinburgh This Summer

21.5.15

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1. Spa in the City
St Andrew Square & West End; 23-24 & 30-31 May; more info.
Beauty lovers rejoice as Spa in the City is back for another year. This free event sees spas, salons and beauty counters setting up camp in St Andrew Square (the first weekend, with a smaller version taking place the following weekend outside House of Fraser in the West End) offering taster treatments, mini makeovers and tutorials on all things beauty. Make sure to head along early to sign up for your favourite treatments, then spend the day watching demos in the Beauty Heroes tent or taking part in cocktail masterclasses by Element Bar. I'm heading along on Saturday and I can't wait!

2. Fully Fashioned at National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, EH1 1JF; until 16 August; more info.
The latest exhibition to open at the National Museum of Scotland, Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story explores the history of this famous knitwear fashion house. Celebrating their 200th anniversary, it's quite amazing to think Pringle have been around for two centuries and the exhibition explores their role as one of the first luxury knitwear manufacturers in the world. There's vintage knitwear galore and even a couple of pieces which belonged to Grace Kelly and Queen Elizabeth. Although this is a temporary exhibition, there are plans underway to open the Museum's first permanent Fashion & Style gallery - keep an eye out for that soon!

3. Hidden Door Festival
Secret Courtyard, King's Stables Road, EH1 2JY; 22-30 May; more info.
One of Edinburgh's lesser known festivals, Hidden Door is the perfect place to discover some new talent and do something a little bit different. This year, Hidden Door is based in a secret courtyard just off the Grassmarket, and there's plenty of music, theatre, cinema and visual art to get stuck into. The courtyard itself is set to be pretty impressive, with volunteers giving the abandoned space a huge makeover right now (expect lots of cool street art) and kitting it out with stages and bars. There's also food and drink to enjoy from the likes of Harajuku Kitchen and Ninja Buns.

4. Film in the City
Grassmarket & St Andrew Square; 6-7 & 12-14 June; more info.
Spa in the City not really your thing? Try Film in the City instead! All the screenings are free, so just head along with a picnic blanket and some snacks and enjoy some classic movies. There are lots of different films on the schedule including Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride and Mean Girls - yes please! STV Edinburgh has a timetable of everything being screened here, and look out for the Edinburgh International Film Festival which is on during June too.

5. Edinburgh International Magic Festival
Various venues; 26 June - 4 July; more info.
I don't know about you, but I love a bit of magic. The Edinburgh International Magic Festival aims to bring back the excitement of live magic shows with plenty of tricks, illusions and escapology to keep you entertained. With the main hub based at Summerhall, as well as shows there's also workshops, exhibitions and even a ceilidh.

What are you looking forward to doing in Edinburgh this summer?

Gillian x

Images: Lippi Photography for Film in the City; Magicfest.co.uk;
Kat Gollock for Hidden Door; This is Edinburgh for Spa in the City.

Copenhagen City Guide: Things to See & Do

18.5.15

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It's time for the second installment of my Copenhagen City Guide posts, and now it's the turn of Things to See & Do. Don't forget to check out my Copenhagen Food & Drink recommendations here, and there's also a Copenhagen vlog to watch over on my Youtube channel!

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Museums & Attractions
National Museum of Denmark. A lovely big, bright and airy museum which is free to get in, it's easy to spend a good few hours in here browsing the different exhibits. There's lots on Danish history, from the Vikings all the way up to the millennium, and there are plenty of exhibits about other cultures and countries from around the world too. There are quite a lot of fun interactive things to do in the National Museum, our favourite being the Japanese photobooth which was part of the Cosplayer! Manga Youth exhibition. Teehee.

Christiansborg Palace. As well as being the seat of the Danish Parliament, Christiansborg Palace is also a royal residence. There are several different parts of the palace to explore, but we concentrated on the Royal Reception Rooms. These rooms are used for official ceremonies and functions so are decked out with lots of beautiful antiques, impressive chandeliers and specially commissioned artwork from over the years. My favourite room was the library, wish I could have one of these in my house! Don't forget to visit The Tower too - it's the tallest tower in Copenhagen (don't worry, there's a lift to take you up!) and there are stunning views of the city.

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Parks & Gardens
Tivoli Gardens. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world, Tivoli is right on that fine line between "tacky" and "amazing". As well as tame attractions like merry-go-rounds and pedalos, there are plenty of big rollercoasters and spinny things (technical term) too, in addition to lots of gift shops, restaurants and food & drink stalls. It can be quite expensive (approx. £10 entry fee then an additional £5-7 per ride) so if you're planning to go on lots of rides definitely look into getting a season pass or multi-ride ticket. We did try out the Odin Express ride, but apart from that just spent our time wandering around and taking it all in. I'd definitely recommend visiting in the evening, hopping on a couple of rides, then grabbing a drink or some candyfloss to watch the sun set and the park light up. Tivoli is at it's most beautiful at night when all the illuminations are in full swing.

The Lakes & Ørstedsparken. We passed by the Lakes every day as we walked to and from our hotel, and they are a beautiful place for a stroll on a sunny day. Ørstedsparken is also a lovely little park nearby where you can enjoy a picnic or just go for a walk to escape city life for a while (although, as cities go, Copenhagen is very relaxed so you probably won't feel like you need to "escape"!).

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Sightseeing
Copenhagen Boat Tours. Setting off from the picturesque Nyhavn port, a boat tour is the perfect way to explore the canals of Copenhagen and take in some of the sites that are a bit further from the city centre. We couldn't really be bothered to walk all the way out to see the Little Mermaid statue as we'd heard it was pretty small and not very exciting, so we caught a glimpse of her from the boat instead. We also saw the Opera House, the Black Diamond and the Sixtus Battery, among other things. The tour cost approx £8 and lasted around an hour. If you're interested in hearing what the guide has to say, definitely sit near the front of the boat as it can be quite hard to pick up what they're saying - but we were more interested in just enjoying the view and snapping some photos!

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Shopping
Strøget. A pedestrianised street right in the centre of Copenhagen, this is where you'll find all the major "high street" shops. There are plenty of tacky tourist shops too, but its worth taking a walk along here to visit the likes of & Other Stories, Vero Moda, Monki and Cos, as well as some other Scandi-shops that aren't such familiar names in the UK.

Strædet & surrounding streets. When you're visiting Strøget, don't forget to wander down the side streets around here to find the less touristy and more independent shops on Strædet. There are lots of little gems hidden round here, including the likes of Mant which I wanted to pack up in its entirety and take home with me.

Værnedamsvej & surrounding streets. This little area in Fredericksberg is full of independent boutiques, cute cafés and little shops. Unfortunately I can't remember the names of any of the boutiques we went in, but they were exactly what I imagined Danish style would be like - minimal, modern and very, very lovely.

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Stay
Avenue Hotel. Located around a 15 minute walk from the city centre, Avenue Hotel is a cosy and welcoming boutique hotel in the Frederiksberg area. We were able to snap up a great deal when booking, so our room was a pretty reasonable price for a boutique hotel. There's lots of design-led furniture and fabrics from the likes of Missoni, and all the artwork in the hotel is by Danish Instagrammers. My favourite part of the hotel was the patio where we had breakfast in the sun one morning - comfy chairs, blankets and croissants, yes please! The breakfast in general was great too, lots of delicious bread, cheese, cold meat, fruit and cereal. The staff were very friendly and helpful too. Overall, I can't recommend this hotel enough!

What are your top Copenhagen tips?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #160

17.5.15

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1.A Scandal at Surgeons' Hall 2.Cherry blossoms 3.Harajuku Kitchen 4.Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Macaron 5.Attempting to look Victorian

It has been another busy week here in Edinburgh with lots of events and fun stuff in the diary. Last night I headed along to Surgeons' Hall for a "night at the museum" style after hours party, A Scandal at Surgeon's Hall, as part of this year's Festival of Museums. Dressed up in my best Victorian outfit (and by that I mean a cameo necklace and a black dress), I was ready for "one last fright". We investigated a 19th century crime scene (and solved the case - I knew all those hours of watching murder documentaries on Netflix would come in handy!), got our tarot cards read by a fortune teller, and danced away to a ceilidh. As a Scottish History graduate, I love the chance to explore museums in a different way, so the Festival of Museums is right up my street. It's only on for one weekend, but there are events all across Scotland and you can still catch some last minute events this afternoon and evening; check out what's on today.

On Friday evening I went along to Mademoiselle Macaron with a bunch of other blogger babes to celebrate the shop's one year anniversary. I'm ashamed to say this was my first visit, despite having had it on my to-visit list for the last year! The macarons were top notch and I will definitely be a regular customer from now on, it's hard not to fall a little bit in love with Mademoiselle Macaron as soon as you step in the door. There will be a full post about Mademoiselle Macaron coming soon, so keep an eye out for that if you love sweet treats.

There was also, of course, a wee bit of eating and drinking with Laura this week. You should know by now, we can't go more than a week without going out for some food and wine! Earlier in the week we wandered up to Harajuku Kitchen for some sushi and other tasty Japanese nibbles; we've been here a couple of times now and it's always lovely, would definitely recommend! One evening we also stopped off at Pickle and Custard for some cocktails but, I have to say, the cocktails were a little bit disappointing. This place seems like it would be really nice for lunch or coffee so I'll have to head back during the daytime, but don't think I'll be making a return visit in the evening for cocktails. And finally, this afternoon we're off to The Jolly Botanist for some Sunday lunch because, well, you gotta treat yo'self.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Edinburgh: The Boozy Cow

14.5.15

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If you've wandered along Frederick Street during the last couple of months, you might have noticed that Amicus Apple has been replaced by The Boozy Cow. Although still run by the same people, this bar and restaurant is pretty much unrecognisable from its former incarnation. Now, don't get me wrong: Amicus Apple was nice. Nice food, nice drinks, nice atmosphere. But, it was always the sort of place you just ended up, rather than the sort of place you raved about and couldn't wait to make a return visit. That has all changed with The Boozy Cow and, somehow in a city overflowing with great cocktail and burger places, it brings something new to the table.

Laura and I headed along last week to try out the new menu and we had more than our fair share of delicious food and cocktails. After a quick introduction from the manager, explaining a bit about the idea behind The Boozy Cow and what their food is all about, we perused the menu. They're really big on the idea of sharing, getting stuck in and letting things get a little bit messy, encouraging you to ditch the cutlery and eat with your hands (don't worry - plenty of kitchen roll available on the tables!). I opted for a Phili Cheese Steak and Laura went for the Maple Bacon Cheeseburger, and then we shared some sides of onion rings, skinny fries and (on a recommendation from our waitress) cheese waffles. Everything comes served on a big metal tray so you can easily swap and share and try a bit of everything. The food was, like, next level delicious. My Phili Cheese Steak was melt-in-the-mouth, with a brioche sub filled with tender steak strips, onions, pepper and The Boozy Cow's speciality cheese sauce. The fries were super skinny and crispy, just how I like them, and the onion rings weren't greasy at all. And the savoury waffles with cheese sauce, sweet onions and soured cream were an inspired choice, a bit like mac and cheese but with added potatoes! Once that was all polished off, we shared the one and only dessert on the menu, the Chocolate Stampede. Basically, a bucket filled with all the good things you'd want from a dessert: ice cream, honeycomb, cookie dough, marshmallows, whipped cream and peanut dust topping.

Whilst we were enjoying our food, The Boozy Cow's resident cocktail expert selected some drinks from their menu for us to try too. As well as all the regular bar equipment, downstairs in the kitchen they've got plenty of speciality gear too so they can make their own infusions, powders and even their own speciality ice! We started off the night with a Disco Bru, which is a mix of Bacardi, lime and an Irn Bru reduction - an Irn Bru daiquiri, if you will. We also had a Boozy Back Cow which will be pretty familiar to Amicus regulars (clue: Hollaback girrrrrl) and some new concoctions like the Bacon Maple Old Fashioned (whiskey infused with the essence of maple bacon fat... lots of sciencey things going on in this one to create a surprisingly smooth and tasty drink!) and the Moo Tai (The Boozy Cow's twist on a classic rum and grand marnier Mai Tai). I also loved the Million Dollar Milkshake - I mean, how can you not love something that comes served in it's own wee sippy carton! This is a blend of Kahlua, milk and their very own specially powdered Nutella.

The grungry warehouse feel of the restaurant was livened up with grafitti all over the walls, vintage filament lightbulbs and comfy leather booths to relax in, and the laid back atmosphere was complimented by friendly service from the staff. The food and drinks were all excellent, and the menu was the perfect size: big enough to give you plenty choice, but no so big that you end up feeling overwhelmed. You can tell that the team have put a lot into transforming this space, not only in terms of the decor but also in terms of what's on the menu. They have spent ages perfecting the menu, sourcing great produce and even making their own unique ingredients - for both food and cocktails. I can't wait to go back again and try out some more of the menu, I have a feeling it won't be very long before we make a return visit!

Have you been to The Boozy Cow yet? You can find them at 17 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, and they also have a branch at 24 Netherkirkgate in Aberdeen.

Gillian x

In Bloom

12.5.15

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Basil Bouquet · Next Day Flowers · Appleyard London

There's something about this time of year, isn't there? The days get a little bit longer, the sun a little more golden, and, suddenly, everything seems to be in bloom. There are leaves where you'd forgotten there once were leaves. Blossom spirals like confetti towards pavements and paths and great swathes of green grass. Gardens spring into life and even on a rainy day, spring seems lovely and new when there's a big bunch of freshly cut flowers on the coffee table.

Appleyard London sent me this beautiful Basil bouquet* using their flower delivery service and it has been putting a smile on my face all week. Pure white lilies fill the room with perfume and Athena roses intertwine with tanacetum daisies, shiny little hypericum berries and feathery greenbell. Part of the new The Pantry range, this bouquet is simple, classic and looks like it has just been picked straight from a country garden.

The bouquet arrived in a lovely branded cardboard box, and inside the flowers were safe and sound inside their cellophane wrap. All that was left to do was trim the stems and arrange the flowers and foliage in a vase. Did you know that metal vases can react badly with flower food? If you love vintage style metal jugs as much as me, here's a little tip to make you flowers last longer: place a large glass jam jar filled with water inside your jug and arrange your flowers inside the jar. Et voilà!

Treat yourself to your own bouquet of blooms with the discount code BLOG33 to receive 33% off your order (excluding the bouquets in the Flowers By Post range).

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #159

10.5.15

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1.Tiki Iced Tea at 52 Canoes 2.New notepads 3.Dinner at La Petite Mort 4.The Blackbird beer garden 5.Castle 6.New hair 7.Nyhavn 8.Off to Copenhagen 9.At Christiansborg Palace 10.Flying home 11.The Boozy Cow 12.Flowers 12.Copenhagen vlog

Time for another bumper Sunday Summary! The biggest news this month is that I went off to Copenhagen for a week of exploring, eating, drinking and general holidaying. My best pal was over there for a conference so Laura and I decided to crash the party and join Calum for a few days of holiday after his conference was over. You might have already caught up with my first Copenhagen City Guide all about the food and drink we sampled whilst there, and stay tuned for the second installment about the rest of our adventures. You can also see a bit more of the trip in my Copenhagen vlog. Already plotting where to go next...

But, for now it's back to normal life. Can't complain though as "normal life" is pretty good just now! At work, we've just moved into an ace new office for Made From Scotland and for the first time in my working life I have my very own desk. Yay! So, of course, the first thing I did was buy lots of new notepads and planners. And as for non-work life, there has been plenty of eating and drinking at new places in Edinburgh. First recommendation is La Petite Mort which opened just a few weeks ago. I spotted it whilst walking home one day and though it looked good (that art deco font had me at hello), so Laura and I wandered along one sunny evening and had dinner and some drinks. Those scallops with smoked halloumi were deeelicious. Think I'll have to go back again soon and snap some photos so I can write up a proper review (any excuse, eh?). Second up is The Boozy Cow, who kindly invited me down on Thursday to try out the menu. I won't say too much as a full review will be going up next week, but it was really good - both the food and cocktails. Thumbs up from me!

This weekend has been pretty quiet and has mostly involved cleaning the flat and catching up with emails. Glamorous! The next couple of weeks look like they'll be quite busy with a few different blog events (including Madamoiselle Macaron, Pringle Fully Fashioned and A Scandal in Surgeon's Hall, social events and work stuff, so a quiet weekend isn't always a bad thing.

What have you been up to lately?

Gillian x

Copenhagen City Guide: Food & Drink

6.5.15

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If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll probably have noticed that last week I jetted off to Copenhagen for a little holiday. This post is already pretty photo- and information-heavy, so I thought I'd split up my adventures into two posts; in this first city guide I'll tell you all about the fantastic food & drink I discovered whilst in Copenhagen, and the second installment will be all about what to see and do in Denmark's capital. Oh, and don't forget to watch my Copenhagen vlog to see some more of my trip!

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Restaurants
Höst. From the Pinterest-worthy interiors to the never-ending courses of delicious food, this was the perfect introduction to modern Nordic dining. The restaurant is full of leafy green plants weaving inbetween the tables, and the understated Scandi-style furniture and rustic decor is beautiful. I had delicious Norwegian lobster tails served with pickled carrots & sea buckthorn, followed by ribeye steak with shredded cabbage, pea shoots and squid ink crisps. There were lots of complimentary taster courses too, including blackened potatoes with salmon mousse as we perused the menu and some b-e-a-utiful scallops with cucumber and cress as a pre-starter. Thumbs up!

Oliver & the Black Circus. On our last night, we treated ourselves to the tasting menu which included four courses, a cocktail to start and a glass of wine to match each dish. A relatively new restaurant, Oliver & the Black Circus offers a casual approach to fine dining with cosy interiors, unusual flavour combinations and, as the menu says, the invitation to "be weird together". I opted for scallops with garlic cream, monkfish soup with coriander & watercress, beef tenderloin and then white chocolate mousse with chocolate & strawberry crystals. The wines complimented each course brilliantly, and we enjoyed the unusual carrot, sea buckthorn & elderflower cocktail of the day too.

Cock's & Cows. For a more casual, but every bit as tasty, dining experience, we loved Cock's & Cows. Very similar in style to the burger restaurants that are super popular in the UK at the moment, there were plenty of burgers to choose from which were a bit more interesting than your average takeaway. I went for the Zé Brazil beef burger with fried buffalo mozzarella and chilli mayo with a side of salt & vinegar fries. Word to the wise: the portions of fries are huge, so definitely share (there were three of us and two portions would've been more than enough)!

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Cafés
Strangas. Known as a "dessert boutique", Strangas is a haven for cake lovers. We visited for breakfast so sadly had to steer ourselves away from the beautiful (and no doubt delicious) cakes, cheesecakes and macarons behind the counter, and instead opted for some Danish pastries. I had a lovely vanilla and raspberry pastry which was still warm from the oven - heaven! You can takeaway (or "cakeaway"...) or sit in and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautifully decorated conditori. We even chatted to the owner, Nikolaos Strangas, who was reminiscing with us about his time working in Glasgow a few years back!

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Bars
Gilt. Hidden away behind a windowless facade and a heavy black door, Gilt is the sort of place you could easily walk past and not know it was there. With a secret speakeasy feel, there's vintage furniture, dark & moody lighting and, of course, potent and delicious cocktails. I chose a Barbarer cocktail which was a mix of rhubarb, rosemary, vodka and... some other things in Danish that I can't remember. As with everywhere we visited, the service was very friendly and laid back (we visited midweek so it was very quiet, and the bartender asked us to keep an eye on things for 5 minutes whilst he popped to the shop next door for some more limes!).

Café Munter. With eating and drinking notoriously expensive in Copenhagen, when we noticed a sign for "2 cocktails for 100kr" we couldn't say no. Located on a lovely little side street full of independent shops, we sipped our mojitos outside surrounded by blankets and fairy lights. We all had a little chuckle as munter means something very different in Scotland, but in Danish it means "cheerful". Cute!

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Let me know where you'd recommend for eating and drinking!

Gillian x