Humans are creatures of habit and I cannot pretend to be any different. Over my last three years in Edinburgh, I have meticulously curated a list of favourite places that I would go to every single day if I could. I can’t pretend to be original either, so it’s unlikely that this is groundbreaking journalism, if you can even call it that. But if you’re new in Edinburgh or just needing some inspiration, here’s my guide to my ideal, if logistically impossible, day in the life in Edinburgh.
Image description: Scanned from a sketchbook, and done in blue byro pen, this image consists of two central female figures sat in an outdoor garden drinking. The two women casually socialise in what the artist has clarified is beer rather than coffee, in and outdoor setting surrounded by pants and telephone wires. Done in a sketch like manner, the image alludes to an observational style. Like the author of the article, the artist is inviting us, the viewer into the world of the women.
Morning Workout - F45 Haymarket
Allow me some extravagance here and let me live my imaginary influencer life. F45 opened up just off Lothian Road in April this year (2021), so it’s a relatively new addition to my list but I’ve already been converted: Its fast-paced, high-intensity style of training makes a nice change from fighting for squat rack space in Pleasance. With music loud enough to drown out any trace of a single thought, it’s exactly what I need in the morning before a long day of uni. Oh, and the trainers push you hard enough so you actually get something out of your workout besides feeling morally superior to everyone who’s still in bed by the time you’ve closed your Apple Exercise Ring. I’m an 8:30 girl usually but they have classes from 6 am right through to 7 pm to suit whatever your schedule. At the moment they’re offering people £7 for 7 days, so if you’re looking to change up your workouts and try something new you know what to do.
Post-Workout Coffee - The Source Coffee Co @ Brewd, Tollcross
Brewd is my post-gym sanctuary and the coffee is my post-workout refuel. I think I’m already on my fourth or fifth loyalty card here. I don’t even know anything about coffee and I’m happy to keep living in ignorant bliss; it literally just tastes so good. And crikey it’s strong, which for me, as a fourth year, is absolutely essential. All their food is vegan too, and people bring such cute dogs, in case you need any more persuading. It’s small though, which is why I desperately want to gatekeep it but I guess I’m feeling generous, so here you go. Get your coffee from Brewd. Just make sure you leave some for me.
Brunch - Grams, Stockbridge or Hula, Grassmarket/Fountainbridge
A couple of choices, depending on how far you fancy walking on what’s probably quite a grey day:
Grams is the pink one on Hamilton Place. You’ve definitely seen it on Instagram - either that or the Pantry, which is still on my To-Visit list. If I’m feeling something sweet I’ll go for waffles or pancakes and if I’m feeling something savoury I’d go for a Chilli-non-Carne and a large Ginger Jack juice at Hula, please. It got to the point last summer that one of the guys there actually recognised me, which I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed about. I just love how the food is fun and funky and I’m going to say healthy(ish).
A Little Sweet Treat - Stockbridge Markets or Sugar Daddy’s Bakery, Marchmont
Two options here too:
If this were a sunny summer Sunday afternoon, I would scour Stockbridge Market for something gluten-free (probably a brownie) and inevitably find a spot by the Boating Lake in Inverleith Park to sunbathe but that is not useful advice in October. Save that for something to do after your May exams.
Sugar Daddy’s, however, is perfect all year round. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to leave there with just one pudding, I think it might actually be impossible. Everything is just so good. Admittedly, as a coeliac, it’s not like I have too much choice on where I get baked goods from in Edinburgh but the one choice I do have is good enough for me.
Considerit, Sciennes deserves a special mention for their milkshakes. The doughnuts are all vegan and I’ve heard they’re delicious so have one for me and let me know.
At this point, I would ideally sit on the Meadows and read my book, but it’s probably raining so perhaps not. I’m also in my fourth year and I definitely have work to do, so in real life, I’d be off to Old College but for today’s adventures we’re going shopping.
Shopping - Literally anywhere, I will shop anywhere
Lighthouse Books, West Nicolson St
By far my favourite bookshop in Edinburgh but I also love Armchair Books on West Port and Rarebirds on Raeburn Place and I theoretically love that beautiful bookshop with the huge windows and wooden exterior off Leith Walk but I have no idea what it’s called. I’ve never been there, I just love a good bookshop and the shelf in my bedroom is suffering because of it.
Stockbridge Charity Shops
I picked up a lovely trench coat from the Barnardo’s on the corner of Deanhaugh street the other day, and the Shelter, also on Raeburn Place has an impressive collection of CDs and records (not that I own a CD or record-player but it’s fun to browse nonetheless). There’s so many starting on Gloucester Street going down Raeburn place you could spend a whole afternoon and your entire student loan shopping in Stockbridge.
Armstrongs (there’s four of them now)
Whatever you need, one of the Armstrongs probably has it. Last summer my flatmate and I did an Armstrongs crawl and found something in every single one. That was a dangerous day for my bank account. Let’s not talk about it.
Dinner Out (or in, it’s usually in) - Ting Thai Caravan, Old Town
Wow, it's been a long day and I am hungry. If I’m getting a Ting Thai, which I probably am because I am lazy and cooking in a grimy student kitchen just isn’t how I want to end my day, I’m getting a Prawn Pad Thai or Tofu Panang curry. Every. Single. Time. One time I actually ordered (and ate) both. That was a mistake. Don’t do that. I know there’s almost definitely better Thai food in Edinburgh but for £8 a meal you can’t really go wrong. And being in the middle of both libraries, I can understand why the entire lunchtime clientele wears flared jeans and depopped Ralph Lauren jumpers.
I would say I’d go out somewhere at this point but in all honesty, I am boring and I don’t know where it's cool anymore. I don't even know if it’s still socially acceptable to describe something as cool - I like Tamagotchi Tuesday and Big Cheese but in an ironic, I’m-only-here-for-karaoke-purposes way…obviously.