Ladies that Lunch

My cuz is over from the States just now. I say cuz but she feels more like a sister. Actually, I say sister but we’re nothing like one another – we’re polar opposites. She’s tall and blonde, I’m short and brunette. I’d describe myself as low maintenance (i.e. easy pleased) and I’m sure she wouldn’t disagree when I describe her as high maintenance. In fact, when (drunkenly on the way back from Edinburgh) we put our preference for Heroes’ in order they were exactly the reverse. I mean who the hell puts chocolate éclairs first and fudge last???
Anyway, we decided to have a day out in Edinburgh to have a day Shrinking, which, for the uninitiated, is a day out drinking loosely disguised as shopping. On previous shrinking trips we have managed at least 2 shops before hitting the bars and getting the last bus home.

So, knowing that we were off to the capital to be ‘ladies that lunch’, I asked Lusa (L-USA) what she fancied. Her criteria came back in quick fired messages as follows:
Lusa Cell: You can pick
Lusa Cell: Something nice
Lusa Cell: Nice rather than cheap (smiley)
Lusa Cell: No chinese
Lusa Cell: No seafood only
Lusa Cell: French sounds good
Lusa Cell: If you like it there
Lusa Cell: Or something new

So no pressure there then ;p.

I gave her 2 options La Garrigue, a French restaurant OH and I had visited before and enjoyed, or Twenty, a grill and smokehouse on Princes Street I hadn’t been to before but was on my list. She checked the menus and went for Twenty. I booked the table before she could change her mind.
On arrival at Twenty we were delighted with the beautifully elegant and spacious dining room, which had impressive views up The Bridges and over Princes Mall. It wasn’t overly busy but then it was 1pm on a Wednesday. The tables that were taken were all ‘ladies that lunch’ so, although we may not have liked it, we fitted in perfectly with the usual clientele.
We were seated and given the choice of 2 menus, an a la carte one and a Twenty Twenty one. The latter being one that offered 2 mains and 2 drinks for £20. To be honest, there were loads of dishes I could have chosen from the 20/20 menu so I was happy to stick to it and after asking the waitress a number of questions around the steak, Lusa was also able to chose from it.
I went for the 2014-07-09 13.25.43Togarashi marinated salmon fillet with enoki & shimeji mushrooms, seaweed, udon noodles & chilli broth and Lusa went for the 2014-07-09 13.25.58Josper grilled fillet steak sandwich with chimichurri mayonnaise and triple cooked chips.

Lusa is born and bred Scots but when asked how she wanted her steak done she replied Mead.Ee.Um and not how I would ask for it Meejum so now I know how Will.I.Am got his name ;).

We both decided to wash our dishes down with a bottle of Peroni (the house beer – yes really!)  Therefore, for £20 there were definitely no complaints and the service was impeccable. In comparison, and slightly disappointingly to the magnificent decor within the dining room and adjacent Juniper bar, the toilets were a bit plain and nothing special but they were clean, which is really what matters.

After lunch we wandered down to the Grassmarket and making the most of the Scottish sunshine we enjoyed a couple of drinks sitting in the sun at Biddy Mulligans and The Beehive. From there we ventured along the Cowgate to the The Three Sisters. Still wanting to bask in the unusual Edinburgh warmth we tried to find a bar on the Royal Mile to continue our sunny sesh but there were no free seats outside any of the bars on the Mile. Then we spotted that Gordon’s Trattoria had a couple of empty tables and with new found confidence (found in the bottom of a bottle) we ventured forth and asked one of the waiters if we could just have drinks. The cute silver haired waiter was very welcoming and beckoned us in. Although we only stayed for one drink it was a good laugh and I’m pretty sure we managed to turn the edges of the silver fox a little red before we left.2014-07-09 17.48.44-1

Just as a point of interest there is a plaque dedicated to Stephen Fry’s ancestors on the wall ;p

After the Italian’s we headed to George Street knowing that we were going to be getting a bus home soon. Again there were no free seats outside so we found ourselves inside All Bar One. Cocktails for £5? Oh ok, a Cosmopolitan and a Long Island Ice tea it is then….
….it wasn’t long until we were on a bus putting our preferences for Heroes’ in order.

Tunisia – day 1

A couple of months ago Mini-me and I were chatting about holidays and things to do. After a glass or 2 of wine we decided a week in the sun doing nothing except soaking up the sun and drinking cocktails was the definite way forward. OH and her bf weren’t getting an invite – this was going to be a girly, mother ‘n’ daughter sunshine romp! As it was much cheapness it didn’t take me long to book an all-inclusive holiday in Tunisia.

I had to work right up until the last minute as I was oncall and unfortunately ended up having to go out and do a visit grrr. However, as this didn’t give me a lot of time to pack it ended up being a good thing as I didn’t keep putting last minute essentials into my suitcase as I usually do when I have time and room to spare.

Leaving our home town well and truly behind Mini-me drove us to the secure car park next to Edinburgh airport. Although it was £36 to park for the week it turned out to be hassle free and money well spent. As, as if by magic, the screen next to the barrier lit up with our surname (having electronically read Mini-me’s registration) and invited us to take a ticket and then to park anywhere we found a space. We then walked to the nearest bus stop and in less than 5 minutes a bus picked us up and deposited us at the airport. There was no queue at check-in so we skipped ahead to security and with no liquid nitrogen or hidden bombs in our shoes we were allowed through to test as many perfumes as we wanted.Image

Stinking like two expensive hookers but looking like a middle age mum and daughter going on holiday we hit the bar and ordered our first drink of our trip. £9.10 for 2 drinks – roll on all-inclusive alcohol!

Even before we had finished our drinks our flight was being called and before we knew it we were sitting on the flight and ready for take off.

You could tell it was a holiday flight and everyone was gearing up for a fun time as there were people drinking cans of Tennents behind me and women sneaking drink from their duty free stash in front. The pilot soon put paid to this and made announcement involving the illegality of it and the police being there to greet the flight when we landed. It was just a threat at this stage but it ended up being one he had to follow through on because then some complete twat decided to have a fly ciggie in the toilet. Then, when he was caught, instead of putting it out properly he threw it into the paper towel bin and nearly set the plane alight. The pilot sounded really pissed off with his next announcement and obviously the police had to be contacted this time.

Thankfully it wasn’t as ‘exciting’ as it could have been and our flight details didn’t need to be mentioned on the 10 o’clock news!
With hindsight I maybe should have tried to set the flight alight as we may have got through passport control a bit quicker. It was the worst bit of the holiday so far! Everyone was tired, pissed off and short tempered. Including Mini-me who nearly started WW3 when an glammed up old German woman tried to push in the queue in front of her. Mini-me was haivng none of it and put the glamorous granny firmly in her place, which was behind Mini-me.

Eventually, we got to our hotel and were immediately shown to the dinning area where thoughtfully they had left out some bread and salad. Unfortunately, before we got there a swarm of locus descended on the buffet and wiped it out within minutes. Mind you, grated carrot on flat bread turns out to be quite nice when you’re tired and hungry.

We were then given our room key (minus our bags) and off we trotted to see what delights were in store for us. A swan made from towels holding a couple of sweets tried to hide the fact that the room was best described as adequate. Saying that, it was clean and had air conditioning so it was better than some beach hotels I have stayed in.

The bags arrived and we departed to search for the bar. Mini-me was on lager and I decided it was a gin night. We sat til midnight making sure there was consistency in each drink. Happily there were no issues with the free alcohol.