Ah Bologna!

Last month husbandface and I took our first trip to Italy together and had the most epic time in Bologna. I was inspired by the Tripadvisor Three Days in Bologna post and thought I would jot down some tips in case it inspires anyone to take a similar trip.

Two Towers in Bologna

Two Towers in Bologna

Firstly, I’ll state that Bologna is a great city to visit. It’s not too touristy (or not too touristy with British or American tourists) and has lots to see that are easily accessible. Our main aim was eat, drink and be merry – and that was perfectly achieved!

Hotel – we had some free stay nights to use up with hotels.com so we booked Al Capello Rosso through their site. We wouldn’t normally do this as I like to book local but this hotel was lovely! It’s a theme based hotel and we ended up in the Jimmy Carter room – which was lovely and huge, with amazing air conditioning (thank god!) and a lovely big bath and shower. It also had the benefit of being really close to the centre of Bologna which meant we walked everywhere really easily.

Lovely touch to the theming in our hotel

Lovely touch to the theming in our hotel

AperitivosLe Stanze – a fav place of a friend’s son to go. If you haven’t tried aperitivos then you’re missing out – snacks with your drinks!

Pizza – the most epic pizza ever – I completely forgot to take any pictures – but needless to say I’m not sure I’ll ever eat pizza anywhere else again! Everyone should go to Alce Nero Berbere for pizza when in Bologna.

Pasta al ragu – our friend recommended a place, but it turned out it was closed! We yelped and found Osteria dell’Orsa which was utterly lovely and incredibly cheap for pasta al ragu (never ask for bolognese!).

Dinner – the most amazing hidden gem – Libreria Coop Ambasciatori – a book shop with three separate restaurants – part of the slow cooking movement – we had the most amazing salads and wine. Heartily recommend!

Epic salad

Epic salad

Gelato – our friend recommended Cremeria Funivia which we duly attended and it was definitely very lovely. Another friend, through Instagram recommended Galleria 49 – literally a hole in the wall – and we found this to be utterly awesome – definitely worth a walk slightly out of town to get to.

Best gelato in Bologna!

Best gelato in Bologna!

Coffee – we found the coffee culture quite different in Bologna – but still very enjoyable. We enjoyed great coffee at Caffe Pasticceria Zanarini and Caffe Terzi respectively. The tradition is very much sit in, but sit in quickly! Most people only staying 5-10 mins but take out was a definite no-no!

Cappuccino from Terzi Caffe

Cappuccino from Terzi Caffe

Park – we headed, mostly because of the TripAdvisor ratings to Giardini Margherita – a lovely huge park in the middle of Bologna – we lazed around, ate more gelato, drank more coffee – it was bliss!

If I had more time…

  • The Fontana del Nettuno was not lit while we were there as a open at film festival was taking place nearby – would have loved to have seen this!
  • Santuario di Madonna di San Luca – it was 35 degrees when we were there so a little hot for a few kilometres walk up a top of the hill (and all the guides say it’s hard to find water to buy!) so next time we’re there, in the cooler climates, I’d love to take this walk.
  • Towers of the Asinelli and Garisenda – we saw them lots and lots and used them to pinpoint our locations but it would have been great to climb them too!

So that was our trip, I’ve made a map on Google so you can look up and know directions if needed.

Have you been to Bologna? Any tips for us for future visits?


Posted in Links, Lists, Personal, Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Read, write, do – week three

Out with the old

Out with the old

The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur – one was my last in my job at the Fringe and the other was the first at my new job, at CodeBase.

In with the new - my view from my new office at CodeBase

In with the new – my view from new office at CodeBase

I’ve not quite managed every day for reading, but I am managing to read more than I was. I’m currently in the middle of four (!) books:

  • The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins – lent to me by the lovely Darcie, it’s about your first three months in a new (probably more senior than I’m in) role. I’m more than halfway through and it’s a really interesting read with good ideas for strategies in a new job.
  • Destructive Emotions and How We Can Overcome Them by Daniel Goleman – this is a bit on the backburner at the moment with all the other books, but is an interesting read about the study into positive emotions and how they affect brain patterns.
  • How to be Both by Ali Smith – our current book read and my only fiction book at the moment. It’s an interesting book because of how it’s designed. It’s got two stories and how it’s been printed (both on paper and digitally) means that you could get different orders of the stories which could affect your impression of the book.
  • The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector – recommended by my Uncle, it’s a book which goes into studies on recent (and past) diets and the reasons behind them. I’m not very far along at the moment so can’t tell you too much yet!

Total fail – yet again – but I do plan to write more once I’m part time…


EIFF launch

EIFF launch

Last week was a busy week for me, so hardly had time for TV (Win!). Rich and I went to David Sedaris at the Usher Hall, we attended the Merchiston Community Council meeting, I blagged myself a ticket to the EIFF opening night film and party, I’ve been to yoga about 4 times, visited the cat cafe, Maison de Moggy, AND squeezed in another film, Welcome to Me, from the film festival. I’m pretty happy that I’ve been varying my activities. We haven’t been doing all that great with eating new things but yesterday took the time to make a menu plan with lots of new recipes – mostly from River Cottage and Jamie Oliver. Fingers crossed they turn out well!

Couldn't resist a photo from Maison de Moggy

Couldn’t resist a photo from Maison de Moggy

Posted in Links, Lists, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Read, Write, Do – week one

One week in to my plan of reading, writing and doing and thought I would post an update. I am not sure I’ll post one every week but we’ll see how we get on shall we?

I set my timer for 15 minutes and read every single day, without exception. Although, one time I did fall asleep! At the end of the 15 minutes I found that I carried on reading the majority of times. That was the plan really so please it worked out. It’s not like I don’t like reading, it’s just I fall out of the habit and so the 15 minute timer is about creating the habit.

I finished reading Fierce Medicine by Ana T Forrest (creator of Forrest Yoga) – a book I’d been reading since March! I started and finished Did you see the Gorilla? by Richard Wiseman. I started Distructive Emotions and How We Can Overcome Them, a(n) (off-putting named) book about the Dalai Lama and I started How to be Both by Ali Smith. How to be Both is our next book group book and coincidentally, Ali Smith won the Women’s Prize for Fiction for it this week. As you can see, a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and my non-fiction has a clear meditation, mindfulness, yoga slant which is where my interest currently lies.

Current Read - How to be Both

Current Read – How to be Both

This blog post. And that’s about it. Deary me. Hopefully this will improve in time.

Tuesday I went to the Traverse Programme launch, sort of missed the launch bit, but caught up with friends over a glass of wine or two. Wednesday, my day off, I spent shopping (Question: How many supermarkets can you visit in one day? Answer: Three), catching up with a friend for coffee and cake and a vinyasa flow class at Edinburgh Community Yoga. This was my first Edinburgh Community Yoga class and hope to write about it soon over at Project Jasmine. Thursday was another yoga session at Get Down Dog with Jack Irvine (my favourite teacher) and Friday was a brief (for me) celebration of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme launch followed by a super early night! Saturday lead to “gentle” (was not gentle!) vinyasa class at Meadowlark, followed by lunch with old friends at the The Salisbury Arms and that was followed by a catch up with friends in the afternoon over an Arbonne pampering session. I cooked two new recipes – River Cottage pinto bean chili (I used borlotti beans!) and blueberry American pancakes.

Blueberry pancakes!

Blueberry pancakes!

All in all good for less TV watching – did squeeze in The Good Wife on Friday and a couple of Gossip Girls – but generally happier with the change in activity.

Next week is my last week in current job so imagine I’ll be busier than usual, but still planning on continued reading and doing. If you’re doing something similar with your time/ life at the moment, let me know by commenting or tweeting me!

Until next time!


Posted in Book Group, Edinburgh, Links, Lists, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where has the time gone? Time for an update!

I can’t quite believe that my last post was 02 January. I had such huge plans for 2015!

A *lot* has happened in the last six months – I’ve been practising yoga a lot and set up a blog over at www.projectjasmine.com (but don’t look and see that because I’ve not blogged there in six months either!). Essentially what it means is that a lot of my spare time has been spent away from home in yoga classes. I’ve also been meditating a lot using the Headpace app.

I’ve been working on the Edinburgh PA network with some friends in Edinburgh – we have held two events so far this year and plan on a further two before the end of the year. Our plan is to set up a website there but at the moment it’s mostly a mailing list with PAs, EAs and admins in Edinburgh. It’s time consuming but really rewarding!

I’ve been volunteering at my local community council, Merchiston Community Council, and that’s involved revamping the website and, more recently, a campaign centred around the sale of the old Boroughmuir High School site

However, the main big change is I’m about to change jobs. After six years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, I’m about to move to CodeBase to be the (part-time) PA to the MD there. It’s a really exciting new role for me – I LOVE the tech and start-up industry and am really looking forward to a new challenge. The fact that it’s part time means that I’m clearing time (and space in my brain) to properly work on all the projects I’ve been thinking about over the last few years.

So, in my head I’ve made a list. And I’m going to bloody well try my hardest to stick to it!

My plan is to carry out a “read, write and do” plan.

Read – I love reading so so much – but in being all caught up in being busy (sometimes talking about busy overcomes actually being busy!) I’ve fallen out of the habit – I plan to get back into the daily habit of reading a book for 15 minutes. 15 minutes may not seem like much, but I think it’ll help form the habit and become part of a daily routine. I’ve only been doing it about four days so far, but each day, at the end of the 15 minutes, I have tended to keep on reading showing that all I needed was to get going! I also plan to read more blogs and articles. I’ve had Instapaper for an age – and there are probably about 500 articles to catch up on! Ooops.

Write  – I honestly have a yearning to write, but I hardly ever sit down and just do it. I’m mostly thinking about doing it! The plans I have in my head of blog posts are numerous and I have a target to write regularly at the following – Edinburgh Book Group, PA to the City, Project Jasmine and the Edinburgh PA Network (when it’s set up). I might follow  similar pattern to reading 15 minutes every day but with the overall aim to write a blog post every week, without fail.

Do – this is centred around, well basically, anything but TV! TV has really taken a prime spot in my life over the last couple of years and I plan to change that if possible. So, doing anything really – the two things above, and also continue to practice yoga and meditation, cooking different meals, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, learning about new things in Edinburgh, walking to new places. I’m going to challenge myself to document these “do” actions around once a week in a blog post here.

So that’s it in a nutshell, hopefully see you next week when I publish my first update!


Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment