#prayforjapan

I think everyone at work must be tired of me commenting on tragic events of the past week, but to be honest, the devastating blows Japan has suffered have broken my heart. Not only has this horrific tsunami + earthquake followed two other huge disasters (being worse-than-normal flooding and cyclones in Queensland, Australia, and a terrible earthquake in Christchurch, NZ – January and February of this year) but it also sits close to home for me.

My brother lived near Tokyo for 5 years and only just moved home a few weeks prior to this apocalyptic event. Further, his fiancee is still stuck in the middle of it all – a week on and there are still massive food, water and power shortages, thousands missing and even more homeless. We have been to the region three times – it is one of our very favourite places. To see these lovely, polite, hard-working people suffer like this does break my heart. To top it off, they have a nuclear disaster imminent as well. To think some people there have had to suffer through WW2, and now this. Some return home (or what used to be home for generations) to find their entire families gone – how unthinkable. To see a super prosperous nation just about wrecked to third world proportions is horrific. Images of Tokyo City as an un-lit ghost town really make the mythic notions if 2012 a near reality and are incomprehensible.

Amidst this sadness there are stories of hope – babies born and dogs surviving – taking care of each other even. Celebs and big business are doing their best to raise money, as are those on a tighter budget.

Still, I can only hope the disasters slow down soon. I was never a fan of films of this genre, and the real thing – consistent and cruel, is nothing short of depressing.

I realise nations have rebuilt time and time again, but to see this in my lifetime makes me wonder how, when the cut is so deep and vast.

I am sure we will go back to Japan. In the meantime, may these lovely polite people be able to recover and rebuild their futuristic yet richly cultural land. Love and thoughts with you now x

Glasgow glamorous? You bet!

For those of you who missed my Tweets, we had a brilliant time out in Glasgow. We were lucky enough to be guided to some of the hottest joints in town – places we definitely would not have found ourselves; but boy, are we glad we found them. I’m talking top class, schwanky and simply gorgeous venues – no cover charges, good music, amazing atmosphere, beautiful people and well-priced cocktails and beverages. If you’re heading to Scotland, and keen for a night out in Glasgow city, follow this route:

1. Some cheap pre-evening drinks at The Walkabout (particularly good value if you invest in one of their £3 member cards), 128 Renfield Street.

2. Share amazingly good Spanish Tapas at La Tasca, (39-43 Renfield Street). Book ahead by jumping online and securing your reservation – this place gets busy, but you’ll see why when you’re there.

3. Following dinner, we made our way to the gorgeous Corinthian Club – 4 elaborate levels (at 191 Ingram Street) of divine bars and restaurants. The martinis were delicious, and cheap! This beautiful venue was originally the site of a lavish mansion built in 1842, and in 1929 the building was converted into justiciary courts. Experience the splendour of a bygone era within a very contemporary context… well worth your time!

4. Once you’re keen to see something new, head over to Citation Taverne (40 Wilson Street), another glamorous location set on several levels. Here we enjoyed a few drinks on the upper outdoor terrace overlooking the street. Mirrors and candelabras set the mood as diners and drinkers revel in this uber-chic establishment.

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5. Not sure that anything else could exceed our expectations here, as these previous venues had, we ventured out to find “somewhere to dance”. Already well past our usual bedtime, the next venue would have to be good to keep me going…

…then we stepped inside The Social (27 Royal Exchange Square) – a vibrant club with awesome cocktails and kickin’ sound. The dance music was cool, and then the live sax and drums started in sync with the DJ. Absolutely amazing! Evidently the people to thank for this brilliant live evening of music were DJ’s Craig McHugh and Kevin Austin alongside Craig Nelson on Sax and Gary Kainth who was laying down beats on the drums. Best night I’ve had in ages!

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Glasgow – who would have thought? Each venue – 5 out of 5 – a top night out – and one I’d love to repeat at some stage in the future.

 

A spot of shopping in Scotland

Edinburgh. What can I say about this gorgeous city? I’m a little bit speechless. Beautiful buildings seeping with history, an impressive old castle perched high on the hill overlooking the town’s folk as it has done for hundreds of years; Wide, well-kept streets, and contemporary structures linking ‘New Town’. Edinburgh is a pleasurable escape from London where the people are friendly and everything seems just a little bit less expensive!

Stay at the lovely King James (Thistle) Hotel – it’s right in the city-centre where you can walk to clubs, restaurants, the famous Old Town, contemporary New Town (lined with the usual high street favourites like Top Shop, Monsoon and M&S) and of course… shopping malls.

The Thistle Hotel is located next to The Saint James Mall. A sign outside dates the precinct back to 1770, however the present shopping area is nothing short of modern, and boasts a range of local shops offering chic fashions for all ages at more affordable prices. Whether you’re keen to stock up on seasonal basics, hats or accessories, this is an ideal spot to start.

Ask for directions through this mall towards Harvey Nichols, the first Scottish store of the group which opened in 2002. The complex is five glorious stories located on the eastern end of St Andrews Square. From the street level (where shoppers can browse the likes of Mulberry, Pandora, Armani and other designer stores should a ‘splurge’ be in order) to the very top of the complex, a plethora of shopping delights await. Weary feet can rest on the top floor – the best kept secret in town – a luxurious dining, coffee and cocktail area aptly named Forth Floor Brasserie, surrounded by sweeping views of the historical city, mountains and a magical body of water known as the Firth of Forth (hence the name of the brasserie is not a spelling mistake, but a play on words referencing the view). There is even a level outside the restaurant where, if asked politely, the staff will let tourists sneak out to take a few happy-snaps of Edinburgh city. 

 Edinburgh Harvey Nichols

Probably my favourite of the stores in this precinct was Mulberry, and am love with their colours and styles this season. Check out the latest Mulberry fashion show on their website now.


From the New Town malls and high street to the inevitable stroll along the cobblestoned path of The Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle, stop in at a quaint little store, Ness, located at two points along the road (and . I quite liked the bright pink, purple and tartan themed bags, boots and accessories. Keep an eye out for the second of these stores on the way up the hill towards the castle. Turn left and follow the winding road and stairs down towards another old area that locals encouraged us to seek out, called Grassmarket. More wonky old streets, dated buildings and windy stairs opened up to a row of restaurants and pubs as well as a few eclectic and ‘one off’ clothing stores stocking everything from street-wear to formal wear and sexy chiffon gowns resembling ensembles once seen on Sex in the City.

Edinburgh is a city not to be missed if you’re in the UK, and while soaking up the historical atmosphere during a city-break here, you can certainly enjoy some retail therapy at the same time. 

~

Check inThe Thistle

Chill Out: The very glamorous bar at Hotel Missoni for it’s sexy decor and delicious cocktails, or The Walkabout Bar for its large, clean spaces, Aussie themes, live sport broadcasts, music and decently priced food and drink deals.

Get Around: Stay in the City and walk. The people are friendly so simply ask where they recommend you hang out.

Find out more at: edinburgh.org

Our adventures

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