The Best Nightlife Recommendations in Edinburgh

As Scotland’s second most populous city, Edinburgh is alive day and night, filled with places to dine out and to dance in, to listen to music and take part in gaming. This is as true on Princes Street at the heart of the city, as it is at the outskirts of Edinburgh. The first step on a night out is, of course, to eat and you will find cafes and restaurants that cater for a variety of tastes.

O’Oliviero at Grassmarket, Old Town, is open until 11pm. Its menus include steak, fish and chicken dishes, in addition to Mediterranean recipes based on Parmesan cheese, olive oil and tomatoes. It also offers patrons a comprehensive wine list. Hendersons Vegan Bar on Thistle Street is open until 9pm, Sunday to Thursday, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday. It offers a range of meatless and delicious dishes, accompanied by vegan wine and beer, coffee and cake. For a truly unusual dining experience, go to The Witchery by the Castle, which offers an incomparable range of starters and main courses, seafood and local meats.

Combine dining out with throwing dice at the Genting Casino Fountain Park. Do not forget to register online before you go and be aware that everyone under 25 must carry ID. Book a table for the Fahrenheit Restaurant, the latest booking 11pm, and choose from a variety of Scottish dishes. The restaurant price includes a bar drink and a complementary £5 bet. Gaming patrons have access to the Late Bar, and activities include American roulette and blackjack. Learn to Play packages are available to gaming novices or you could practice beforehand at an online casino such as The casino stays open until 6am.

Situated in the atmospheric vaults of its South Bridge premises, is Whistlebinkies Live Music Bar. It opens at 5pm every evening and entry is free. Live bands play every night and events include the Open Mic contest on Monday, when patrons provide the entertainment. The bar serves a wide range of draught and bottled beers and lagers, and Highland, Islands, Islay and Speyside whiskies, not to mention whisky blends. Join the young night time revellers flocking to the Lulu Bar and Nightclub on George Street. Opening at 10pm, the bar serves over sixty cocktails and a range of wines, beers and vodka. DJs play house, hip-hop and disco music, and dancing ceases at 3am.

The nearby Why Not nightclub opens at 10.30pm and dancing lasts until 3am. DJs play RnB, dancehall and club classics. A dress code is in operation, with no sportswear, boots or tracksuits allowed. Less trendy but still stylish is the Jazz Bar on Chambers Street. In spite of the name, various types of music are played, including funk, soul, electric, blues and roots. The bar opens at 5pm on weekdays, but you can enter at 1.30pm on Saturday. Patrons hand over cash at the entrance (no cards), which goes directly to musicians. There is a continuous bar service.

Other evening entertainment in Edinburgh includes theatre and live music. The Royal Lyceum, King’s Theatre and the Edinburgh Playhouse offer year-round programmes. The Traverse Theatre offers more contemporary and experimental productions. Classical music lovers will find programmes at Usher Hall, the Assembly Rooms and Queen’s Hall.

Read more >

How Scotland Has Influenced Singapore’s Design

Scotland may be a little country on the global scale, with a population of around five and a half million spread over approximately 30,000 square miles, but for beauty, culture and influence it punches well above its weight. Tourists from across the world come to see the land that raised Robbie Burns and Walter Scott, and to stand in awe by our magnificent lochs and mountainsides, but the Scottish influence can also be seen many miles away from Caledonia’s shores. Singapore is another country that has a burgeoning tourist industry, and it has a lot to thank Scotland for.

Raffles, Slings and So Much More

Singapore is an island city state at the southern point of the Malay peninsula. It’s a densely populated and fast paced kingdom, for while its population is slightly larger than Scotland’s, they occupy an area of just 278 square miles. It was founded as a colony by the London statesman Stamford Raffles in 1819, and his name can be found across the island, not least on the legendary hotel that bears his name and that serves more than a few Singapore sling cocktails. Singapore gained its independence in 1963, and today it’s the Scottish influence that is most obvious in its design. Many of its chief architects were Scots, and their design is evident in the iron railings across the city and in the impressive Cavenagh Bridge, once called Edinburgh Bridge. Raffles may have been the founder, but the first governor of Singapore was John Crawfurd from Islay.

A Warm Welcome Awaits You

Singapore hasn’t forgotten its Scottish roots, and visitors from Scotland are made warmly welcome. Warm in more ways than one, of course, for Singapore is known for its hot climate with temperatures often reaching  above 30˚C all year round. Despite its bustling nature, it’s also renowned as one of the safest cities in the world, with violent crime and pickpocketing virtually unheard of. This may be due to Singapore’s famously strict penal code, which states that selling chewing gum, for example, can lead to a two year term of imprisonment. The upshot is that as you walk Singapore’s streets you’ll feel welcome and secure.

How To Get To Singapore

International flights to Singapore land at Changi Airport, just outside the main hub of the city. Over 7,000 flights land at its four terminals every week, but even though it is one of Asia’s busiest airports, it’s also one of the most beautiful and best organised. It’s a long haul from Scotland, of course, so many passengers choose to stop over in destinations such as Dubai or Mumbai initially. This gives an opportunity to explore another exciting destination first, and there are regular Mumbai to Singapore flights available at bargain prices.

It’s little wonder that Singapore is such a popular tourist attraction, but it’s good to find that there’s a distinct hint of Scotland amidst its exotic streets and alleyways. The beautifully rugged lochside scenery of Inverness-shire may seem very different to that of the Malay peninsula, yet the people of Scotland have left a lasting legacy there.

Read more >

The Must Have Decorations

Renovating and decorating of homes is the in thing. People are pumping out huge sums of money just to have the most outstanding home in the area. There are many companies that will make renovating your house a free hassle experience. Some people enter competitions such as Extreme Home Make over so that their house gets to be renovated for free.

Talking of decorating your house, it’s now time to starting accessorizing. The smallest things always go a long way. The use of savings, and winning prizes to upgrade homes has become a common practice. Especially among players that have perfected their competition skills.

It is advisable to get advice from local interior designers. Start exploring shops, decor outlets and even browse the web. This will help you develop an idea of the style you want. As you explore take the decoration details in to consideration.

Every home has its own unforgettable memories. Picture framing is what really make these memories last forever. Look for fun textures when putting picture frames in the kid’s play room. Use beveled edged frames and non–traditional frames for other rooms.

Fresh flowers always add style to your home. They smell fresh and are appealing to the visitors. Do this for the living room or the kitchen. However, the flower pots or vases in which you put the flowers in determine the level of style. Make sure you choose attractive pots or vases so that they will grab people’s attention.

Wall clocks and wall hangings are important as well. They help to bring out the glamour of your home. Although this might sound expensive, you can still achieve it if you saved enough money or scooped some impressive jackpots from forex trading. Now wall clocks are more for decorating purposes rather than telling time. A Cuckoo clock will really add a vintage feel to anyspace. Wall hangings is an umbrella term that refers to tapestries, carpets and flags. These have to have the latest style. Consider putting local art work like paintings in your living room. Ornamental mirrors are not only to look at your reflection but for decorative purposes also. A series of ornamental mirrors will make the bathroom look bigger.

The opportunities to express yourself with home furniture are plenty. This is because home furniture varies greatly with style. Materials used include from wood, metal, glass and plastic.

Keep an open mind when you are shopping for your decorations. Have your own style in mind and remember, decorating and renovating work together. One cannot happen without the other. If you are not sure about different styling, search online and house guide websites will help you with everything you need.

By decorating your home, it also adds to your house value. For example, if you bought your house for £200,000, after renovating it, you might sell it for £330,000, you just have to find the right websites hosted by legit web hosting providers. Unlike cars, houses don’t depreciate. Their values become more and more expensive. Having a house is an investment. You should always remember that.

Read more >

What is An ESTA and Why Do You Need One?

If you are heading to the US this year, there is a very important requirement which you must ensure that you have before touching down on American soil, an ESTA. This stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation and it is required by all residents of any country which is classed as being under the Visa Waiver Program. This requirement came about in the wake of 9/11 and there are 38 countries which have signed up to the program. If you are going to the States, you should first check to see if your country is part of the program, and then ensure that you have your ESTA before you leave home. Let’s have a look into more about the ESTA and what you need to do in order to get your hands on one.

What’s It All About?

As aforementioned, the ESTA came into play in 2008 following the ‘Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commissions Act’ the idea behind this was to further increase national security in the United States. The idea of the ESTA is not only to better vet the people who are entering into the US, but also as a way to speed up the process at the border. Visitors need to apply for this requirement on the ESTA USA website, and then Homeland Security will review your application before granting permission to enter. At this point, the US government can review who you are, what criminal history you may have, and any other information which could be pertinent in terms of them allowing you to enter. Assuming you have no red flags next to you name, you’ll be granted the ESTA.

How to Apply For An ESTA

Once you head to the ESTA website, you will need to fill out some personal information including your passport number, and then answer some questions about your travel history and your reasons for traveling to the United States. The application process is very simple and speedy and once you have submitted your application, you will be given a reference number as you wait for confirmation. In most cases you will be approved straight away, or within 15-20 minutes. In some cases the authorities may take a longer period of time, up to 48 hours in fact. If you don’t have your approval straight away, don’t panic, just be patient.

How Long Does It Last?

An ESTA will last for 2 years from the date of approval, after which time you will need to repeat the process and apply again. During this 2 years period you will be free to enter into the USA as many times as you like.

How Much Does It Cost?

To apply for an ESTA you must pay a $14 admin cost, regardless of whether your application is approved or not, you will need to pay this sum when you apply, and it will not be reimbursed.

Not having your ESTA when you arrive in the USA could see you being refused entry to the country, don’t run the risk of this happening and make sure that you have your ESTA well in advance of your trip.

Read more >

What’s The Deal With The Canadian ETA?

As someone who has been traveling for many years, I am still trying to get my head around the many different visa requirements which each country needs in order to enter. I completely understand that nations must protect themselves, especially in these dangerous times, and that relationships between various countries is changing all of the time, hence the need for pre-approval for your visit.

I recently went to Canada and was surprised to find that before I could be permitted access to this great nation, I would first have to get my hands on a fancy new electronic visa. Having been through the appropriate steps, and being granted access for my visit to Toronto, I wanted to go into a little bit more detail about this new visa, in case you have a trip to Canada coming up.

What is an Electronic Visa?

In an effort to improve border security, a new piece of legislation was introduced in 2016, that would see visitors being vetted, prior to arriving on Canadian soil. The idea is that you apply online, and wait to find out if you will be granted the visa. You will not be allowed to enter the country unless you have this visa, and so you must ensure that you have applied prior to your visit.

Who Needs An eTa?

There are over 38 countries on the list for who needs an eTa, most of which being some of the most popular visiting nations to Canada. If you are in any doubt as to whether your home country is part of this deal, simply go online and have a check.

Where Do I Get One?

Whilst this process is helping to beef up security, it has also made the experience for visitors and border officials, far easier, and far quicker. With this in mind, the application process is super simple and all that you need to do is head to the Canada eTa visa website, fell out some personal details and a little bit of information about your travel history, and your plans for your time in Canada.

Can I Get Refused?

The people who are refused the visa, are those with criminal records, no fly orders, or those that have been suspected of terrorist activity. Assuming that you match none of this criteria, it is unlikely that you will be refused a visa. If you are refused the visa, and you have no idea why, you can make an appointment with the Canadian embassy to have things straightened out, this is why you should apply nice and early.

Extra Details

If you have children, regardless of what age they are, they too will need a visa which you can apply for on their behalf. The cost of an application is $7 CAD, a price which you will pay regardless of whether your application is granted or not. Finally, your eTa, when approved, will last for a 5 year duration, you will be able to enter Canada as many times as you wish during this time, and then you must reapply after the 5 years is up.

Don’t arrive without your visa or you may be refused entry into the country.

Read more >