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Sea Birds at Musselburgh

Hello Dear Readers,
Summer is coming to an end, the nights are longer and the days shorter.
I have had a busy summer season at Seabreeze BB. Guests have come from all parts of the world, and I love listening to chat about where they stay, it me makes me want to go and visit their towns.
The Edinburgh Festival was a great success as always, even if the weather is not brilliant, crowds turn out in great numbers to watch the street acts.
This year I have had some very interesting guests. There as Anne from the Isle of Harris, she told me all about how Harris Tweed fabric is woven. No wonder it it expensive, so complicated.
I think in my next blog I will write about the Harris Tweed.
Also there were the 3 Opera singers, who would have a little practice in the guest lounge. Sounded great and loud.
Guests from Canada who were tracing their family tree.
Well, I could go on and on.
I don’t often get out to do very exciting things in the summer, but the highlight for me was the visit with a bird watching group to the bird hides at Musselburgh lagoons. http://www.the-soc.org.uk

The lagoons were where the coal fired power station used to deposited the waste ash, now the power station has gone the land has been turned into a bird sanctuary with ponds and hides. It’s is a superb walk around the that coast and the ponds. http://www.visiteastlotian.org
It was brilliant, I have never imagined that there were so many on my door step, literally 10 minute  walk wash from Seabreeze. Really good telescope is a good idea. Hundreds of birds on the ponds, then a Paregrine Falcon started to circle in the sky and attack a Dunlin in the water as we watched. It just want for the same one, hitting it, until it fell and them carrying it away. unnamed
I wish I had a camcoder to film it , it was so quick!

All the other bird did not even move, it was like they decide ‘ well if it’s going for that one bird, I am ok’ . Fascinating.

Above is a picture of a Dunlin and below is a White-rumped Sandpiper. I am no expert, I only know the names because Dave the guide told us. Dave was brillant, he could identify all the birds immediately.

seabirds

Really it was amazing, you you are satying at Seabreeze and want to so down to the lagoons, let me know and `i can give you a site map.

It is worth a visit.

I think I may have to invest in a good pair of binoculars, and go would to the ponds more often. Wonder how much they cost!! May put it on my birthday list for next year.

That’s all for now,

SeabreezeSal

Really fancied some homemade pakora

Hello Reader,

This morning, at breakfast, my guests Mr and Mrs Ward told me about a lovely meal they had locally, at Bonoful, Indian restaurant, which is in Portobello.http://www.bonoful.com

It is a short walk from Seabreeze BB. Much better than many of the Indian restaurants in Edinburgh city centre.

They especially enjoyed the vegetable pakora.

It made my mouth water so I thought I would make some myself, right NOW.

I surprised myself and my family as to how tasty they were and so easy.

I have discovered cold pakora with tomato ketchup sandwich. YUM YUM

I will share my recipe you,dear reader and hope you try it too.

One small tip, I always deep fry in a wok, as it uses less oil because of it’s concave shape and there is less chance of a ‘hot fat fire’. I fill it only, 1/3 with cooking oil, and oil seed rape as it has a higher burn point.

The measurements of the ingredients do not really matter as long as the batter is sticky and not runny.

Took me all for about 20 minutes to make, but I can chop veg really quickly.

If you are going to stay at Seabreeze BB, then email me a few days before arrival and I will make some you fresh, and HOT.

pakora

 

Vegetable Pakora

2 Potatoes, peeled and diced

1  Onion, peeled and diced

2 Fresh green chillies, chopped up

1 tablespoon of fresh coriander chopped up

1  teaspoon of salt

1/2  teaspoon of red chilli powder

1  teaspoon of cumin seeds

2  cups of Gram flour

Some water

You will need a wok to deep fry the pakora, fill 1/3 with oil.

Heat up the oil on a medium heat, mean while, place all ingredients in to a mixing bowl and add water, a little by little slowly, whilst mixing together.

This will combine all the vegetables and spices with gram flour to make a sort of thick sticky batter. This should take about 2 minutes.

When the oil is hot enough, add small amounts of the mixture with a spoon and fry for about 8 minutes.

Stood be light brown in colour and cripy.

Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and eat.

Serve with what ever sauce you like. Enjoy!!!!

Love them with just tomato Ketchup.

Let me know how you batch turn out.

Good Luck

 

Seabreeze Sal

 

 

 

 

Seabreeze BB introduces Homemade Granola

 

 

 

Well, its now May and everyone is turning to healthy eating, enjoying topping up the vitamin D, now that the sun is shining at last.

I fancied making some homemade granola, the shop stuff is so processed and contains too much sugar. I was pleasantly surprised as it was so quick and easy, so I thought I would share the recipe with you, dear readers.

So give it a go or just book into Seabreeze BB in Edinburgh have a short break and try my home made granola.

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats

1/2 cup of roughly chopped nuts eg. pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts

1/2 cup of seeds e.g. sunflower, pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup of dried fruit

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond essence

pinch of salt.

 

  1. Heat up the oven to gas mark 4 or 3oo degrees
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until sticky
  3. Spread thinly of a baking tray and place into the oven.
  4.  Cook for 7 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the tray in for a futher 15 mins.
  5. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
  6. Its ready, enjoy with milk, greek yogurt.

 

Granola

Its really delicious and no additives and sugar.

I have added some fresh strawberries for a extra heathly breakfast.

There are no real rules to this recipes add as much or as little of our favourite ingredients.

Just take note that thinly sliced coconut and almonds will burn quite quickly so I suggest just dry cooking them for 1 minute in a fry pan and adding them to the granola once it is cooked.

Well, I have enjoyed writing this recipe, I may write a few other in the future.

Enjoy!

SeabreezeSal

 

A wondeful trip to see the Isle of May, Scottish National Heritage site, to see the puffins.

Well, it is half way through April and all the birds are making nests and starting to breed. This bring back memories of last May, when my friend Karen and I want on a sea safari from North Berwick. After a hearty delicious breakfast we sat off  by car, to North Berwick, which is only 30 minutes drive from Seabreeze BB in Joppa, Edinburgh.

The best time to see the seabirds and seals is from April to July.

There is a really good bus service too, from the bus stop on Milton Road, which is a 5 minute walk from Seabreeze BB.

The island is located in the Firth of Forth, and has oldest working lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson in 1816.

May

It was a lovely day, we were very lucky with the weather. We boarded the boat at North Berwick, the company is called Seafari Adventues Forth. the crossing takes about 30 minutes. The trip was crossing was amazing, the boat circles several little islands, you can see 100’s of  grey seals on the rocks and lots of seabirds, the guide gives you lots of history and information about the wild life in the surrounding area.

The boat dropped us off on the Isle of May and we were allowed to wonder about for a couple of hours before it picked us up to take us back.

Birds 2

It was amazing to get so close to so many birds, 100’s and 100’s of them. From the beautiful Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Shags.

Seabirds

We were so close to the Puffins, taking lots of pictures, we did not know look, some of the sea birds were diving into the water to catch fish, some were flying over, others just sat on there nests and were not bothered as long as we did not come to close. If any one got too near the nests the birds would swooped down and try to attack them. A bit like the scene from Hitchcock’s film  “The Birds”, but not so scary!

Birds flying overhead

On the way back the boat circles the Famous Bass Rock, off the coast of North Berwick, you get the most wonderful views of the 1000’s of Gannets. It is the world largest colony of Gannets, the Seabird Centre in North Berwick have a web cam and  many of telescopes pointed at the Bass Rock so visitors can watch the birds.

Back in North Berwick, a fish and chip supper is always welcome, after a day at Sea.

It really is a trip that should not be missed whislt staying in  Edinburgh.

I hope to go on a Sea Safari again this year, why not give it a try.

SeabreezeSal

 

 

 

Fabulous Dining room At Seabreeze

Well, at last the dining room is ready to welcome guest to Seabreeze BB.

It has been a long journey, as with all old Edinburgh houses, as soon as you start a small renovation, it turns into something big and takes forever.

I am only, the second owner of this house and I have tried to maintain and enhance many of its original features. The beautiful cornices, the lovely wooden staircase and doors, the old door locks and keys. most of the rooms have the original fireplaces.

 

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Amazingly, I still have a tea set and a mirror the original owners  left behind. Which I shall leave behind too, if I ever have to leave this house. I feel they belong to the house.If any one is interested to see them I would be delighted to show them off.

dining room 7

 

It has been really difficult to take good pictures as I am not a photographer. so, please forgive me, I just tried my best..

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The new parquat flooring was going to take 3 weeks but when the 110 year old fire place and wall collapsed, and the joiner accidentley drilled through the main electric cable,  it all became  a challange to restore it. Now in perfect working conditon, it is the focal point of the room.

 

In winter it will be lovely to light the coal fire.

The new light fitting and table and chairs  make the room look so much bigger.

I hope it will be a joy for my guests to have breakfast and look out over the sea. I can not wait to welcome you all.

The next little project is the hallway, I hope that goes with out a mishap.

I sometimes feel the house is like the Forth Rail Bridge,  start painting it at one end and by the time you get to the other end it is time to start again!

Until the next blog,

SeabreezeSal

Yarn bombing at Newhailes near Seabreeze BB

Well, it is Easter weekend and lots is happening around the city, egg rolling at Edinburgh Zoo and at the Edinburgh Castle. Chocolate egg hunts in all the National Trust properties and local parks.

My friend Amanda popped in to Seabreeze, last week, for a quick coffee and a chat. She let slip that she was part of a knitting group that were planing to ‘yarn bomb’ Newhailes house, which is just a short walk away from Joppa. It was suppose to be a top secret.

Amanda is fairly useless at keeping secrets.

yarn bomb 1

To explain to any one who is not a knitter, this is when a venue, public monument or village centre is covered in lots of knitted things in the dead of night and no one in the local area knows any thing about it.

Residents can wake up in the morning to find that mysteriously, the local park, bus stop or bridge has been “yarn bombed”. Amanda had told me to keep it all hush, hush or else!! Believe me it was very difficult.

As I am really scared of her, I kept it quite.

It all happened over night, last Thursday, in secret. Well, being the curious, I just had to go down at Newhailes to see for myself. It was such a lovely bright sunny morning, I decided to walk down. Well, what a surprise. I have never seen anything like it.

yarn bomb 2

It was amazing, lots of knitted flowers, eggs, chicks and all sorts of colourful, beautiful things attached to the fencing and trees. There were lots of families at Newhailes house  joining in the Easter egg hunt around the ground and all were totally thrilled by the display. It was brilliant.

yarn bomb5

Newhailes is one of the best preserved stately house, now owned by the National Trust. It is only 1 kilometre from Seabreeze in Joppa. It is fabulous place to visit, one of the best in Edinburgh and the garden are wonderful. The house has not been restored much but preserved. It has the most amazing library, complete with the very first edition legal books from over a hundred years ago.

newhalies

It felt I must go home and start a knitting project, well, I wonder if I could yarn bomb the garden at Seabreeze BB, I wonder how long it would take me? Have I got any wool, in a box somewhere?

SeabreezeSal

Most Amazing Fabric Shop In Edinburgh

This morning I woke up with the notion that I might try making some tablecloths and napkins for Seabreeze BB in Joppa.

So I caught the number 26 bus from just outside Seabreeze BB and nipped into the city to visit “Edinburgh Fabrics”. It is the most amazing fabric shop, stocking mainly dress fabric. I really  fancied a good long browse, as I was not sure what I was looking for. Thier website looked great so I felt positive that I would find something. http://www.edinburghfabrics.co.uk.

Not being too sure the helpful young male assistant pointed me towards the craft cottons, such beautiful colours and patterns, lots to choose from. I fell in love with one called “Mille Coulers”, which means “1000 Colours” in French. It is a set of 12 patterns that compliment each other. Thats the one! Just perfect for my purpose. I made a purchase of 3 patterns, and am very pleased with my choice, even if I decide to use them for a different project.

napkins

Then, I spotted the Harris Tweed, such lovely colours and patterns, I was really excited. I felt inspired to make a waistcoat or a skirt, or if I am brave a jacket. I may have to save that or a winter project, I told myself, one project at a time.

Harris Tweed

There are so many trimming, beads and button, I could spend all day browsing, but alas I must get back home and get the sewing machine out.

On the way home I wondered if my project would be a success and what else I could sew later on.

Til the next time or next project!

SeabreezeSal

 

 

 

 

Seabreeze Bed and Breakfast On Edinburgh’s Historic Seaside

I have been busy getting the Seabreeze bed and breakfast ready for the new season. The weather is getting warmer and the days are longer. It has been a joy this morning to look out of the dining room window at the wonderful views across the sea to Fife. I just had to go for a walk along Portobello promenade.
The tide was out, the sun was bright, people taking their dogs for a walk. Young children running on the beach. I have often seen children paddling in the water in mid winter.
Lots of people in The Beach cafe for morning coffee and cake.
Looking back at the row of Victorian villas, St Philips church stands out in the sky line. The houses in Portobello and Joppa were holiday homes for the rich in Victorian times. There was a tram stop just out side Seabreeze BB and a pier on the beach, which burnt down many years ago.

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The renovated Victorian swimming pool and Turkish baths are a joy to visit, there is even the very first flotation tank which is still popular, over 100 years later. This is a sort of metal tank full of water, with air jets pumping through it, a bit like a spa pool but for one person.
At one time there was a outdoor swimming pool, it is said that Sean Connery was a lifeguard at the outdoor pool before he was James Bond. Bit of a career change may be not for the better!
Another attraction was a African village, complete with Africans, in traditional dress and living in mud huts. Can you believe it? In Scotland, They must have been freezing! Victorians came from all over the country to Edinburgh to see the village and how the people lived, over seas in the British Empire.

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Apparently there is a book in Portobello library that is a collection of photos for the past of the beach and promenade.
Many years ago, There were a lot of guest houses in the area, and all were very busy.
Well, I better get back prepare for my guests.
PS. I am, originally from Africa but glad I live in a centrally heated house, d’not think I would like a mud hut in Scotland, even in the summer. I must add I truely love living in Scotland.

SeabreezeSal

Cakes to die for near Seabreeze BB

As it was such a lovely March day, I invited by friend Pat over, who lives in Ayr, 70 miles away, on the west coast of Scotland, here to Joppa to walk along the John Muir Way. This is a long distance coastal path that passes right outside Seabreeze BB.
Pat had her dog Sky with her, we walked eastbound, past Fisherrow harbour, Musselburgh, crossed the river Esk, then on to Prestonpans, which is famous the Jacobite raising of 1745, to read more click on www.battleofprestonpans1745.org.
The sun was creating a little bit of warmth and we chatted all the way. Sky would run off, to play with other dogs. We walked past the demolished remains of the old coal powered Cockenzie power station,the two tall chimneys had been a land mark for so long, demolished 2015, now gone forever.
We end up at Cockenzie house and gardens, an old manor house, that is being lovingly restored, but best of all is the new Falko “ Secret Garden” Cafe situated in the conservatory of the house. The cakes and breads are to die for, they all look delicious. we have not seen a bakery like it in Edinburgh, although I am told that there is a branch in Morningside too. They were serving lunch and all the dishes looked lovely, that were coming out of the kitchen. But we were there for the cakes only!

Chocolate cake
Pat opted for the chocolate cake and I for the Raspberry cake. Oh! they were fabulous. Pat said she would be happy to drive from Ayr, all the way, just for a cake each week. It would be worth it.

SeabreezeSal

Welcome to Seabreeze Bed & Breakfast in Edinburgh

Seabreeze B&B is ideally situated for your stay in Edinburgh at any time of year – with special Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Breaks available. At Seabreeze Bed & Breakfast in Edinburgh, you’ll find a friendly and personal service with warm hospitality

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