The mum-of-two – who does not want to be named for fear of the intruder returning to her Portobello home – had been with her neighbour in the sitting room, completely oblivious to the fact a stranger was upstairs hunting for cash.
But when she went to her bedroom to get something for her friend, she found the thief crouched at the end of her bed, rummaging through her property.
Her two sons – aged just six and eight – were sleeping in adjacent bedrooms during the incident, which happened on Tuesday at around 9.45pm.
Shocked and terrified, the householder shouted at the man to leave, prompting her neighbour to come to her aid and help force him outside.
The woman, whose husband was out at the time of the ordeal, said the brazen intruder told her he was homeless and that he “just wanted money”.
She later discovered that he had also been in another downstairs room, where he had gone through her purse and stolen her mobile phone.
She said: “I was just absolutely stunned to see a strange man in my bedroom. It was a bit of disbelief and my thoughts were ‘my boys are sleeping and I just want him to get out of the house’.
“It’s one of those nightmare scenarios, finding a stranger in your house, especially when you’ve got family sleeping.”
The woman – who does not want her children to know about the incident in case they suffer nightmares – said she was amazed the man had reached her bedroom uninterrupted.
“I was in the sitting room, a neighbour had popped in to say hello,” she said. “We were having a glass of wine. She was looking at my books and I said there were better books upstairs. I went up and there was this guy crouching in my bedroom.
“We had been in the sitting room with the door open and the stairs were only six feet away. We didn’t hear him go upstairs.
“I was really surprised. I had lights on in the hall, the intruder must have heard our voices. We were just feet away.”
After spotting the intruder, she raised the alarm before confronting him.
She added: “My neighbour came up the stairs – we just told him to get out. Then my neighbour’s husband came in, we got him downstairs and said ‘out you go’.
“After he left we found he’d been in another room downstairs as well, he’d been through my purse but hadn’t taken any of my cards.
“The police were brilliant, they were here in a few minutes and out searching.”
Officers failed to trace the man, however, and are now appealing for witnesses.
A police spokeswoman said: “This incident left the victim shaken up and it’s believed the suspect stole a mobile phone before he was asked to leave.
“He’s described as white, aged in his late 30s or early 40s, 6ft 2in tall, reddish, cropped receding hair, slight build, and wearing a tight-fitting navy tracksuit.
“Anyone who recognises the description of the man, or who noticed any suspicious behaviour in the area, is urged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”