It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, it was around two weeks ago, when I ventured up to Edinburgh and it was close to freezing. Weather forecasters are suggesting this year's festive time could be the mildest on record, so that will give plenty of people the opportunity to get out and about, rather than watch festive telly!

I headed up to the capital with my partner Karen to visit her American friends Buffy and Orpheus who stay in San Franscisco - and proudly proclaim Edinburgh to be their favourite city in the world - so much so, that they come back every year!

And make no doubt about it, Edinburgh IS Christmas. The festive fair and Christmas markets are a real sight to behold, with open ice skating, ferris wheel, and all sorts of children's rides - it is all there to see in Princes Street gardens. From a Christmas tree maze to a mini-train journey around Princes St. gardens, and some really eye-catching decorations, it is easy to see that Edinburgh really offers a lot for the visitor. We also popped into to the National Gallery - the perfect place to visit when the rain came on!

And the grande finale was the spectacular Virgin lights show at The Royal Mile which really is magical and exhilarating in equal measure. Like the Tower Bridge at London, the beautiful multi-coloured rays beamed out of the model tower and lit up the street at 6.30pm.

Stretching from St Andrew’s Day to Christmas Eve, an architectural installation of 26 arches of 60,000 lights, it runs from City Chambers to the Tron Kirk.

The stunning canopy of light is 19 metres high, and you can listen to music sung and played by choirs from across Edinburgh synchronised to the lights.

Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Edinburgh Police Choir and many more all contributed to the musical mix, with two displays a day at 6.30pm and 8.30pm, and it all finishes on Christmas Eve. Tickets are hard to come by, but as long as you place yourself in a local bar or cafe near to the location, you should be fine!

The winter chill continued on to the Sunday, as we enjoyed a walk along the beach at Fairlie. I was impressed by the amount of mallards who had the same idea, sitting in large numbers at the shore, near Miller's Walk. Arran had its sprinkling of snow, providing a marvellous perspective.

There was also a robin fluttering about close by, and it was too good an opportunity to miss, as I captured some excellent close-ups of my feathered friend. A redshank also put in a rare appearance further along beach, as I walked to the popular mound area, which is well used by dog walkers.

After the stunning sights of Edinburgh, it was nice to return home to enjoy the simplicities of a beautiful walk on a cold wintry day, which have been few and far between, given the temperatures!