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City Break: Edinburgh

If you are thinking of taking a city break to somewhere scenic, friendly and reasonably priced then Edinburgh could be the place for you.

I recently took a trip to this wonderful medieval city and was in awe of all it had to offer. It is much more than a stag and hen hot spot, it is a fantastic friendly city which has an impressive history, beautiful scenery (I mean that castle WOW), bustling streets, brilliant restaurants, quaint bars and great shopping!

So here is everything you need to know about what I got up to on my Valentines break away to Edinburgh.

How to get there

I travelled to Edinburgh with Ryanair, who I am sure you know run regular trips to Edinburgh with deals as low as €25 return!! Keep an eye on the Ryanair website for the best deals.

I flew out friday evening at 6.30pm and arrived in Edinburgh at 7.45pm. This meant there was plenty of time to go to the hotel, freshen up and get a whole nights entertainment in.

Where to stay

I stayed at Motel 1, Edinburgh Royal – See HERE. It is a really cool hotel with tartan decor, friendly staff and a really chilled out vibe. The best thing about this hotel is it’s location. Less than 10 mins walk to the castle and the Royal Mile it is perfect for anyone that wants easy access to all the main hot spots. Plus, the bus from the airport drops you right outside the front door – IDEAL!


Edinburgh Castle

On the Saturday morning I got up early with a mission to see Edinburgh Castle in all it’s glory. Because the queue into the castle was very long and the weather was freezing I popped on my phone and bought the fast track tickets which meant I was able to go straight to the top of the line to collect the tickets – Happy Days! The castle is even more beautiful inside than it is from it’s external view. As I knew I wouldn’t have the patience for going around reading all the history myself I opted to wait for the guided tour (leaves every 30mins). The tour guide brought us through the castle grounds stopping outside all the buildings to giving us some background history on each. The tour was short and snappy (compared to some) and left you with plenty of time to further explore any of the buildings that were of particular interest to you. The building which I chose to investigate more was that of the Palace which houses the Scottish Crown Jewels – certainly worth a viewing.

Get your Edinburgh Castle tickets in advance – HERE


Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the name given to the many streets which link the Old Town and lead the way to the Castle entrance. It is an area which is teamed with people, street performers, souvenir shops, fooderies and bars. A great place to just wander around and soak up the atmosphere.


Whiskey Tasting

With a strong dislike of whiskey, I was slightly apprehensive about a trip to the highly rated Scotch Whiskey Experience. However, having visited, I can gladly report it well exceeded my expectations. The interactive tour is far from traditional and aims to educate as well as entertain. The finale requires you to choose your own scotch whiskey to sample and although at the end of the tour I was not by no means a new found whiskey lover I now have a much greater appreciation for it’s art form.


The real beauty of the city is in the views that are all around you. Just wandering through the cobbled streets and taking in the medieval architecture is enough to see you through a whole day of exploring.


It is important to note that if you plan on exploring the streets and taking in the scenery then dressing appropriately is a must. Because I visited in February it was extremely cold (in my opinion) so if you intend on going then, pack comfy footwear and lot’s of layers. I chose to wear comfy dungarees for a Saturday spent meandering through the cobbled streets exploring.

Note: I regrettably packed heels for the trip (Cobbles + Heels = Disaster) there was no need to pack these as ankle boots are perfect for nights out (one less item to pack in your hand luggage)!

Dungarees: New Look, €34.99 – Shop HERE, Trainers: Office, €82 – Shop HERE


What would a weekend break away be without some over indulging, eh? On the Saturday night we visited a gorgeous Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid. It was walking distance from the hotel and the food was really tasty and authentic.

On the Sunday I was treated to a Valentines lunch at Angels with Bagpipes. Also walking distance from the hotel (sensing a pattern?) this restaurant was a real treat with the menu featuring different takes on traditional dishes.


The Old Town is awash with quirky bars to suit all tastes. We visited some old style bars specialising in local beers which were lovely places to just sit back and relax in. We also visited the famous Frankensteins which is a very popular late bar with a brilliant DJ’s and excellent party atmosphere (Frankenstein himself even makes an appearance).

If you plan on watching some sport on your break away then it is worth booking a table at Sportsters where you can be served some finger food at your own personal TV booth. We caught the Ireland V France 6 nations game here on the Saturday and it had a great atmosphere. Oh and you guessed it, it was 2 min walk from the Hotel.



Princes street is the main shopping street (think of it as the Grafton Street of Edinburgh) and was directly across from our Hotel  – too easy! All the top highstreet stores have a spot on this busy street so there is plenty to choose from.

My one purchase, H&M  – €49.99


So without boring you to death with every detail, I hope this description of some of the main highlights of the trip has given you a better insight into what Edinburgh has to offer. As you can imagine this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to see and do in this inviting destination.


Heather x


How to do Thailand in 2 weeks!

Similar to the fact that each one of us knows someone that has emigrated to Australia, we also know someone who has gone or is thinking of going to Thailand on holidays. It seems that the generic Times Square profile picture has been replaced with one of a sedated tiger and someone sprawled across it. So what is all the hype about and is it worth the 14 hour flight?

Speaking from my own experience and that of the 9 others in the group with me, Thailand is the holiday of a lifetime. So here is a summary of everything we done in our two weeks in this amazing Country.

Day 1: Myself and my friend touched down in Bangkok at 7am (the rest of the group flew out two days previous). Post 14hrs of flying our holiday enthusiasm was dwindling fast but we were finally there – or were we? We had to go straight and board another flight up to Chiang Mai! This 2hr flight was a walk in the park in comparison to what we had just travelled. Once we arrived in Chiang Mai we went to the nearest taxi desk (all the rage there) and ordered a taxi to take us to the So Hostel. This hostel was modern,clean and in a good location. There we met the rest of the crew and after hearing all about their antics from the night previous we made plans for the day.

TIP: Thai sim cards free at the airport.

TIP: Book accommodation when you get there.

Myself and my friend headed off to Tiger Kingdom while the rest of the group went quad biking through the forest (they had visited Tiger Kingdom the day previous). It was a great experience and certainly something to tick off the list. You don’t feel in danger when in the cage with the tigers, well I didn’t anyway. This is partially due to the fact they are the sleepiest tigers I have ever seen (on TV), sedation much?

Also, if you have time, try fit in the quad biking through the Jungle. Feedback from the guys was that they were very lucky to make to back in one piece but that it was completely worth it. And don’t worry, if you are returning your quad in an unrecognisable state, with smashed fenders and missing lights seemly it is completely acceptable and you will suffer no extra charge – Happy Days!

That night we headed to Zoe in Yellow, this is a great spot and well worth a visit. The night before the guys went to the ‘Roof Top Bar’ which they said was a really good also. There was a Military Coup and curfew on when we were over there which we ended up getting ‘caught up’ in (putting it v.mildly) but that’s another story 🙂

Thailand1Thailand 3

Day 2: After all that happened the night previous we were not the most enthusiastic bunch at 9am going on a Jungle Adventure, which was to involve two days of trekking and a night spent with a tribe. It actually turned out that these two days in the Jungle were the highlight of the whole holiday. We went on an elephant trek, zip lined over a river, drove up a mountain, picked up a hitch-hiker with a pet squirrel, got massages off tribe women, stopped at a waterfall in the middle of the jungle, went white water rafting and had the most amazing tour guide called ‘What’. So much happened in those two days but it wasn’t the activities that made it the highlight of the holiday it was the fact we were away from everything up on this beautiful mountain with no distractions just good craic with friends.

Thailand eephanThailand Jungle

Thailand Jungle11

Day 3: We arrived back in Chiang Mai that evening and just had time to get some food and freshen up before heading to the airport to board our flight to Phuket. We didn’t plan on staying in Phuket but because our flight landed there at 1.30am we decided to stay there a night and head out to Phi  Phi in the morning. We stayed at The Bangkok Residence which is on the main strip on Patong Beach. I wasn’t a huge fan of Phuket, one night was enough because we still managed to see a lot of crazy stuff walking down the strip in those few short hours!!

Thailand phucket

Day 4: Everything you heard about Phi Phi is true, it is even more amazing than you expect. When we arrived on the ferry, like typical Irish we went over to the nearest place advertising rooms and sorted ourselves out. Because we were a group of 10 it limited us a bit but we ended up booking a guest house called Sabai House. This was my least favourite accommodation of the whole trip but it was 2min walk to the beach, cheap and for the amount of time we stayed in the room (3-4hrs sleep max), it was perfect!

Our evenings were spent taking dips in the sea, drinking cocktails out of coconuts, jumping through fire hoops – over skipping ropes and piecing together the night before. Sabai was particularly handy given that it was a short stumble home from the main spots like ‘Slinkys’ and ‘Stones’. TIP: Watch your belongings at these beach parties, my bag containing phone and wallet was taken/lost, mostly my own fault 😦

Thailand phi phiThailand phi phi 1

Day 5: When you first arrive in Phi Phi you think you will never remember your way around the scattered pedestrian streets but one day in and you will be wandering freely. Still sore from trekking down the mountain and from our acrobatic efforts the night before we went for a thai massage. Whilst we were wreathing in agony as these two Thai women worked their magic, I would thoroughly recommend at least one. You leave like a new man/woman. Do however go to the ‘upper-class’ ones where the women outside look like they ONLY offer massage services.

Day 6: Maya Bay is a must see! The day we decided to venture out it was overcast and a lot of boats were not travelling. Luckily in Thailand money talks and after offering to pay an extra 100 baht we got a willing party to take us out.TIP: Bring money with you to Maya Bay as the minute you step off the boat you have to pay a tax, which we were told goes to the maintenance of the beach. The tax was 200 baht! Here we took the cheesy ‘jumping in the air photograph’. Of course at the time we all slagged the person who suggested taking it but if truth be told we all secretly love the photograph and are delighted we took it. Later that night we went to the popular Banana Bar which is an open air bar on the roof of a building which was good fun.

Thailand mayathailand maya1

Day 7: This day involved a lot of travelling. Ferry from Phi Phi to the mainland and then VIP Taxi across to the east coast of Thailand – Gulf of Thailand. The taxi only ended up being 200 baht dearer than getting the public bus so it was an easy decision. It takes approximately 5hrs to drive across but we had music with us so it flew. Once we got to the other side we boarded a ferry to Koh Phangan. We got the slow car ferry, Not advised, it took approx.  3hrs to get to Koh Phangan.

TIP: If you are planning on going to Koh Phangan at the time of the Full Moon Party book your accommodation way in advance as nice places on Haad Rin book up quick.

Myself and my housemate stayed at The Coast Resort. I can not sing this place enough praise. It is a gorgeous hotel in a brilliant location just a short distance from full moon and a 2min walk on the beach to Coral Bungalows Pool party. Its modern, stylish and chilled out with friendly staff, brilliant food and great cocktails.

Thailand coastThailand Coast1

The rest of the group stayed at the C Villas as they booked it a bit later. This accommodation was literally two doors down from our Hotel and was perfect also.

Thailand C Villas

Day 8: If you are up to it, rent mopeds! We were lucky enough that we could get on the back of the lads bikes and take in the sights. Driving across the island was really enjoyable. We managed to venture over to the other side which meant getting to see some of the less built up areas. Stopping for a refreshing glass of bulmers along the way was essential.

That night we hit the Coral Bungalows (we ventured here the night previous also). This spot prides itself on being the ‘original pool party’. It can be madness, no need for clothes – bikini only! Bucket drinking is the drink du jour and after that its dancing, music and jumping into the pool.

TIP: Glass can be found on the ground, so don’t walk around in your bare feet.

Day 9: Being v.hungover from the nights activities we took it easy the next day getting in some Thai massage’s and going for a drive on the mopeds. That night we went to The Jungle Experience which is a massive party in the jungle, lots of buckets, UV paint, dancing and boxing rings. TIP: Bring old runners to wear to this party which are also needed in jungle – Chiang Mai.

Day 10: After two nights at the Coral Bungalows and a night at the Jungle Party before the Full Moon Party we were wrecked. But the buzz around the place on that day would put anybody in the mood to party. The Full Moon Party is literally all night partying on a beach with thousands of people followed by a trip up Mushroom Mountain.

Thailand Full Moon1Thailand full moon

Day 11: TIP: Book tickets to get off the Island the day you arrive. Otherwise you will be stuck there after The Full Moon.

We ended up getting the guys at the C Villas to arrange our transport. Ferry back to mainland Thailand and then a 9 Hour bus journey up to Bangkok. Other modes of transport are available like FLYING but we hadn’t anything booked so it was buses for us. Besides from the bus driver driving like a lunatic, and the food at the place where we stopped being of an acquired taste, the bus journey was just OK!

Day 12: We stayed in the D&D Inn on Khao San Road which is the main tourist district. Hotel was fine, location was the best part about it.

We went shopping in MBK, the 5th Floor is where you want to go, if you want to get the best deals 😉

We attended a ping-pong show but honestly, neither the girls nor the lads really enjoyed it and it was very pricey (for Thailand). I wouldn’t really recommend it, even if you are just going for the laugh.

Thailand bangkok

Day 13: Went back to MBK for some last minute bargains before heading home!

What to bring:

  • Waterproof Mascara
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Bronzer
  • Plasters
  • Tweezers – to remove glass, thorns etc.
  • Insect repellent
  • Motillium
  • Immodium
  • Cross-body bag
  • Antiseptic wipes

Don’t bring:

  • Hair straightener = waste of time
  • Heels
  • High standards
  • Excess Baggage you have to haul it everywhere. Backpack or small suitcase on wheels is fine!
  • Expensive jewellery, clothes etc. it will get lost or destroyed


  • Toilet paper is a luxury
  • There is wifi everywhere
  • Thai people are the friendliest and most laid back people I have ever met

In Summary, I had the holiday of a lifetime with an amazing group of friends. I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Thailand and if possible try go for longer than 2 weeks 🙂

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