Where I’ve Been Christmas Shopping 2020

It’s time for Christmas shopping 2020! Last year I put out both a Scottish Gift Guide and an Edinburgh Gift Guide to let all my local pals know about my favourite local shops. I always think it’s nicer to gift something from a small business: it’s always good to support small businesses and Christmas is a huge revenue boost for them, but it just feels more special as a gift receiver! I love learning about my family and friend’s favourite shops in their hometown and it feels more like they were out doing what they love and thought of me.

Buildings in Edinburgh with external red staircase

This year, I thought I’d share where I’ve been buying gifts specifically – so if you’re getting one from me, spoilers ahead! I’m the only person in my family who lives in Scotland, so I always buy Scottish-owned shops for gifts, and I’ve been isolating on and off so most things were ordered online. Here’s where I’ve been Christmas shopping in 2020.

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Ultimate Christmas Movie Schedule 🎄

A television with a screen for the series "Dash & Lily" Season 1 now available.

I asked, you answered. Everyone has their own traditions of what Christmas films to watch in the lead up to Christmas. Some people start with Love Actually, others save it for the big day itself. Here is my Ultimate Christmas Movie Schedule – either watch along with me or come back to find inspiration when you’re debating which Christmas film to watch next!

Lead Up to December🎅

It’s November, it’s “too early”. Whatever. I don’t care. I’m getting started on my Christmas films. This November we started off strong with Home Alone to kick us off. I firmly believe you need to start off with a classic to really get you in the Christmas spirit. After that, I tone it down a little – gotta ease into it, don’t want to waste any sweet sweet serotonin. Especially not this year.

November is for any old American Christmas classic, and Hallmark movies/corny Netflix Christmas films. Also – films that technically aren’t a Christmas film but have Christmas in it. Here are my top picks for November:

Classic American Films🎁

Home Alone 1 & 2

Santa Clause 1 & 2

Deck the Halls

Christmas With the Kranks

British films that snuck their way into my Canadian heart🧣🍁

Nativity

Harry Potter – at least the first one, right?!

Corny Netflix/Hallmark films ☃️

The Princess Switch

The Princess Switch 2 – out on Netflix on November 19th 2020!

The Christmas Calendar

The Knight Before Christmas

Holiday in the Wild

A Christmas Prince

Dash & Lily – a new Christmas series out this year on Netflix. Binged it in one day. Obsessed. Bought the books to read over Christmas.

Not-Christmas Films That Are Still Christmas Films🤫

Bridget Jones Diary

You’ve Got Mail

Die Hard

Little Women

Ding, Ding, Ding, it’s December!🎅

For me, December must start with Arthur Christmas. December 1st it is on and I’m in full festive mode. After that, I slowly work my way through the classics. Sometimes on repeat. Sometimes a corny Netflix film sneaks its way in too.

The List of Ultimate Classics🎄

Arthur Christmas

Love Actually

Home Alone

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – live action is the one for me!

Elf

The Holiday

Miracle on 34th Street

The Polar Express

The Muppets Christmas Carol – not one I’ve ever watched but I have been heavily influenced to include it 😂

THAT is *my* Ultimate Christmas Movie Schedule. To be honest, there are just so many fantastic Christmas films I couldn’t possibly fit them all! But rest assured, I will watch them if I come across anymore. Leave a comment with your favourite, especially if I missed it out! ❄️

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FREE Things To Do In Edinburgh

A girl looks over a fence at the side of a terraced street, looking at the street below. In the middleground are buildings of grey stone, orange and white plaster. In the background is George Heriots School, a large stone building in the 1600s.

Edinburgh is a stunning city, so stunning in fact that you don’t really need to spend money to enjoy it! Whether you’re a tourist or a local just tryin’ to have a penny pinching weekend (preach), here are some free things to do in Edinburgh:

Museum Hopping in Old Town

ALL the museums in Edinburgh are free to enter, and that makes museum hopping one of the best free things to do in Edinburgh on a rainy day. This is especially useful for the tourists here! If you’re curious about Scottish history, the National Museum of Scotland and the Edinburgh City Museum are both fab places to visit. If you’re into old architecture, the Writer’s Museum is one of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh and it’s winding stairs and small nooks and crannies are so fun to explore! The Museum of Childhood and it’s room of creepy dolls are just the icing on the cake. All of these museums are within walking distance of each other in Old Town.

Don’t Forget About Art Galleries!

If museums aren’t the one for you, try an art gallery. Despite my history degree, I’m not a fan of walking through museums. Art galleries, on the other hand, I just love. I don’t even spend a lot of time looking at the art, I just like the feeling of walking around them. The National Portrait Gallery is a stunning building and has a great exhibit for those interested in the history of the Scottish monarchy. The National Gallery of Scotland’s permanent (free to visit) collection takes you through the Art history canon with pieces from ‘great masters’ of the renaissance right up until impressionism.

Both have touring exhibits that are sometimes free, sometimes not. Check before you visit, you don’t want to miss out!

Dean Village and the Water of Leith

Dean Village has been on so many ‘hidden gems of Edinburgh’ videos and blogs that it is no longer a hidden gem if you ask me. However, if you make the trek there and you want to find a hidden gem – cross the bridge to the far side of the water and walk left towards Corstorphine. The walk along the Water of Leith on that section is so pastoral – it’s like something out of an impressionist painting! Bonus point – it’s very near the Modern Art gallery – but right now you need to book ahead to visit and buy a ticket.

Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and Edinburgh’s Other Peaks

One of the most popular free things to do in Edinburgh is go up Arthur’s Seat – and for good reason! It’s an amazing thing that the city has this mountainous hill right in the middle of it, and it’s quite an experience to climb up. Other than Arthur’s Seat, there are six other hills – Calton, Corstorphine and the Braid Hills are probably best for tourists or those new to the city. That said, I’ve been up all of Edinburgh’s hills but I never regret a day I spend out on one! Top tip: Calton Hill is a great spot for a sunset picnic – as long as your dressed for the weather!

Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens are free to visit outdoors only – maybe not the best option for a rainy day. For a small fee you can also visit the glasshouses, but check ahead of time! They close in high winds.

Watch Seasons Pass in the Meadows

The Meadows are a giant park just beyond the University of Edinburgh in Old Town. They border Marchmont, Bruntsfield and Morningside isn’t too far either! They’re pretty central. In the summer, the Meadows are usually packed on sunny days with barbeque-ers and picnic-ers alike. In Autumn, the trees turn into a kaleidoscope of orange hues, a walk up to Bruntsfield Links then has a beautiful view looking back on all the Autumn colours against the backdrop of Old Town’s grey skyline. Their pink blossoming trees are a sight to behold in Spring. In Winter… it’s mostly just rainy, but still a nice place to walk through! Particularly on a (dry) frosty morning.

What about free walking tours?

It’s a bit complicated, there are plenty of free walking tours in Edinburgh, but I feel bad putting them on a “free things to do in Edinburgh” list. If you genuinely do not want to spend any money, please just do a self-guided tour. If you’re just on a tight budget, go ahead! Just know that each tour guide has to pay the company whether or not you pay them, so they’re not really free – money will be exchanged on your behalf even if you don’t pay. If you go and don’t pay, it means that guide paid for you.

*As a former free walking tour guide: it’s totally fine if I lost one or two people to weather, but I definitely had days where I paid to work. Usually it was really quiet day to begin with and no one paid enough to cover their own charge. Or because it suddenly started torrentially down-pouring. Can’t win em all!


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Wild Camping Near Edinburgh

a woman with braided hair sits in the foreground on a beach looking out at a sunset of orange and blue

Hello happy campers! This article will share with you the best spots near Edinburgh for wild camping. Wild camping is a great option for any adventurous spirit who lives in Edinburgh and doesn’t have access to a car. Edinburgh has great transport links, but it can be tough to find places off the beaten path. One August, in the midst of Edinburgh’s Fringe, I went on a winding public transport trip to Callander just to feel like I’d escaped a bit. Luckily, there are places a lot closer to home that don’t require as long on the bus to get to. Here are the best places to go wild camping near Edinburgh – and how to get there.

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My Classic Wedding Outfit

In my mind I’ve worn a thousand different outfits to my wedding. A tea length dress with a ballet tulle skirt, very Dégas. A white dress and leather jacket, heels not included. A sleek two piece outfit, no top underneath because I’m chic and risquée. The very real short, sparkly, 70s style minidress I saw online but couldn’t track down. These flitted in and out of ideas of weddings I had but never planned, with men and women I’ve never known or met. Just daydreams, really! And the real thing couldn’t have been more different. In my dreams, my outfit was so clear. The aesthetic was there. In real life, it was a bit of a jumble to get to the classic wedding outfit I ended up with. Let me explain.

A bride and groom standing in an archway.

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Everything You Need To Know About Brandheroes

Brandheroes is an micro-influencer marketing platform used by brands and influencers alike. Based in the Netherlands, Brandheroes is a growing platform used by many well known and respected businesses. For influencers, it’s a useful tool to know about. The app connects them with well known clients and helps them build their portfolio. So, here’s everything you need to know about Brandheroes.

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How I Went Freelance

Hi friends! Maybe you’re here because you want to know how to go freelance, but I’m going to say it right off the bat: I don’t know! There’s no one right way. On today’s episode of the Monthly Memo I’m talking about how and why I started freelancing. I haven’t done a Monthly Memo since April because… to be honest, there’s not a lot going on in lockdown! And my only updates sucked. They were like “I’m missing my wedding today” and “I miss my dog a lot” – not exactly fun, blog worthy material. On the other hand, since April I’ve been working away at becoming a freelancer. And here we are.

www.thisiswaterli

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