I’ve been Googled

Last night I attended Dine the Decades, a Google City Expert event in Edinburgh. I think it was my third event as a City Expert but it was definitely the best!



About 60 of us, Google City Experts and guests, met on Castle Terrace at the Red Bus.

Red Bus

Red Bus

On the journey to our mystery destination we were each given one of the objects – a tag, a moustache, a mask. When we arrived at our destination (I know I was in Granton but still have no idea where I was!) we were separated by these objects in to different tables. Each table was decorated according to the era we were in – the 1920s (I think!), the 1940s and the 1970s. Each table was hosted by someone from that era.

Food from the 40s

Food from the 40s

Our first table was the 1940s. We were greeted with (mostly delicious) cocktails, and played consequences whilst waiting for our food.



The next table for us was 1920s and we grabbed a chance at the photobooth.



Finally we made it to the 1970s – FONDUE! Best idea ever.



It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – we were excellently fed, watered and hosted by the superb Jelly and Gin. I was impressed (and pleased!) with the obvious budget which had been assigned to the event by Google.

The company was excellent, it wasn’t the usual scene of people that I know quite well so I met lots of new and lovely people.

The Google City Experts initiative is about people knowing their cities and reviewing them on Google. If you are interested in becoming a City Expert, there is more information here and the sign up page here.

City Experts

City Experts

Were you there? Why not add me on Google+ or comment on your experience below?

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Breakfasting with TED

Just this week I’ve started a resolution.

Every day at breakfast, I’m going to watch a new TED talk. The purpose of this is to give me a  time to think and learn new things and to give me a bit of inspiration to start the day. I first came across TED in 2011 when they held their TED:GLOBAL event here in Edinburgh. My husband was working their event and we had to take a day off to get married (Loooong story here).

So far I’ve watched:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story

A really eye opening talk about how one vision of an event or person can have dangerous repercussions – has taught me to continue to try to be more open minded. (NB Chimamanda mostly recently gifted words and vocals to Beyonce’s new album with the song ***Flawless.)

Carin Bondar – The Birds and the Bees are Just the Beginning

A funny and weird talk about how the natures sex acts are not as “simple” as we thought. Made me laugh!

Paul Rothemund – Playing with DNA that Self-Assembles

Brief (5 mins!) talk on how DNA can be manipulated – pretty inspiring!

I’m really enjoying so far and looking forward to picking out more talks to watch.

If you have a favourite TED talk to recommend, send along in the comments – would love to watch it!

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Reading List 2014

2013 was a great year for reading and since 2011 (I was sure it was longer!) I’ve been setting myself a challenge of reading books, some from a list of books I’ve been wanting to read for a while and others that I find as I go along.

Last year was one of my better years from reading from my list – just two outstanding – and so I’m sticking to 2 x 12 books. 1 x 12 from the list below and the rest as I go along. Although I read nearly 50 books last year, I’m keeping my total target at 24 books.

The list below is:

01. Elizabeth Jane Howard – The Light Years
02. Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake
03. Jeffrey Eugenides – The Virgin Suicides
04. Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowlands
05. Khalid Hosseini – And the Mountains Echoed
06. Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding
07. Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible
08. Walter Isaacson – Einstein: His Life and Universe
09. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Women’s Prize for Fiction Short List)
10. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent  (Women’s Prize for Fiction Short List)
11. The Undertaking – Audre Magee (Women’s Prize for Fiction Short List)
12. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing – Eimear McBride (Women’s Prize for Fiction Short List)

By the way, if you have any recommendations on what to read. I’d love to hear them!

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List – 2013 Books

So this year has been pretty amazing for books!

I think, in fact, this is the highest amount I’ve ready in one year. I *did* think about aiming for 52 books in a year when I reached 47 but then got entrenched in (and fell in love with) The Luminaries which is some 700 pages long and a book I’m still reading.

My 2013 list is as follows (if the book is in bold it was part of my 2013 reading list):

1. Airs Above the Ground – Mary Stewart
2. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey
3. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
4. The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
5. The Island – Victoria Hislop
6. Run – Ann Patchett
7. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Pseudonymous Bosch
8. This Book Is Not Good For You – Pseudonymous Bosch
9. This Isn’t What It Looks Like – Pseudonymous Bosch
10. You Have To Stop This – Pseudonymous Bosch
11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbostky
12. My Life in France – Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme
13. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
14. The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick
15. The Thread – Victoria Hislop
16. The Red Book – Deborah Copaken Kogan
17. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
18. Let Not the Waves of the Sea – Simon Stephenson
19. How to be a Good Wife – Emma Chapman
20. Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil
21. Up Til Now – William Shatner
22. Flight Behaviour – Barbara Kingsolver
23. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
24. May We Be Forgiven – A.M. Homes
25. Wonder – R.J. Palacio
26. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
27. Microserfs – Douglas Coupland
28. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
29. The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton
30. Voyage of Innocence – Elizabeth Edmondsen
31. The Black House – Peter May
32. The Lewis Man – Peter May
33. The Chess Men – Peter May
34. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier
35. N-W – Zadie Smith
36. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
37. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple
38. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
39. Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver
40. A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
41. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
42. When You Are Engulfed in Flames – Davis Sedaris
43. Santaland Diaries – David Sedaris
44. Time After Time – Kate Atkinson
45. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (re-read)
46. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins (re-read)
47. Me Talk Pretty Some Day – David Sedaris
48. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal – Jeannette Winterston

Looking over the list there are so many books I loved reading this year! This is the year I fell in love with Margaret Atwood and David Sedaris (where have you been all my life?) but two highlights were Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and I heartily recommend them as they were recommended to me.

Did you keep track of what you read last year? What were your highlights? I’d love to hear as I’m always looking for ideas for the reading list!


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