2015 Edinburgh Festivals

Going Viral at Northern Stage

Going Viral at Northern Stage

This time of year, I always write a blog about the shows I’ve seen during the festival season. 2015 has been an interesting season because it’s the first since 2008 that I’ve not been working within the festivals and so I’ve not been in the thick of it all, completely absorbed in the work and play of the Fringe.

One thing for sure, I saw fewer shows than I have in previous years (2014: 28, 2013: 30, 2012: 28, 2011:37, 2010: 30, 2009: 19) but, for the first time in a long time, I had time for things outside the Fringe and the festivals. I went to the cinema (twice), visited friends outside of Edinburgh, met friends for shows and dinner, made dinner for myself (this is super unusual in August!) and, well, I had a life! I was very glad to have some time and space to myself I also felt that I got a chance to absorb the work and take it in, rather than rushing around to either another show or to work.

My 2015 list of shows are:

  1. The Harmonium Project
  2. Puddles Pity Party
  3. 4×4 Ephemeral Architectures
  4. Booking Dance
  5. The Encounter
  6. Going Viral
  7. Andrew Doyle
  8. Simon Munnery – Fylm School
  9. Funmbi Omotayo: Legal Immigrant
  10. Miss Behaves’s Gameshow
  11. Beauty of the Beast
  12. Light Boxes
  13. The Big Cabaret Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
  14. The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
  15. Polyphony
  16. Fake It til You Make It

If I were to pick out some stand out work it would be The Encounter (exquisite theatre) and Fake It til You Make It (heart-wrenching and thought provoking). I also thoroughly enjoyed hanging out, but not really going to anything, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival – it’s so chill at Charlotte Square!

So, a different year for me – some good, some bad – but all in all a great experience for 2015!

What were your favourite shows of 2015?

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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?


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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

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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!


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