For me, the ballet evokes a unique kind of festive nostalgia. There’s a grandness to it. A sense of occasion. There’s excitement and grace and beauty and hypnotism. The ballet promises escapism; a temporary portal into a fantastical world.

You can therefore imagine my child-like glee when I was offered tickets to see the Scottish Ballet’s showing of Cinderella at the Festival Theatre last weekend.  

I’m always fascinated by the different ways a classic tale can be told and re-told, and this version was no disappointment. Choreographed by the Scottish Ballet’s artistic director Christopher Hampson complete with set design by Tracy Grant Lord, we watch as the dancers movements, costumes and backdrops evolve from the sparse surroundings of Cinderella’s home into an increasingly magical aesthetic. 

The dresses develop from basic material, design and colour before peaking at Cinderella’s embellished tutu in the ball scene – a sight my inner wannabe ballet dancer was basically in tears at. Roses were the theme woven throughout the performance, which drove the visual experience into beauty overdrive while reinforcing the implied idea that Cinderella’s story itself mirrors that of the rose: at first fragile and ordinary before flourishing into her true and beautiful form. (If you’re thinking I’m not normally this deep then you are absolutely right. But what can I say, Christmas is a time of romantic reflection and the ballet gets me all sentimental…)

It’s easy to immerse yourself watching Cinderella, when the dancers, set design and music (performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra) all work together in such impressive harmony. In line with the Cinderella narrative we all know and love, the performance balances depth with comedy. It’s visually arresting and emotionally moving, factors which together played deftly into the suspicion I’d carried all along: that Cinderella was going to be a very magical experience indeed. 

Congratulations to the Scottish Ballet for putting on such an excellent performance, both on stage and behind the scenes. A perfect (almost) end to 2018! 

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Edinburgh’s rich history of distillation, trade, and pursuit of good times has for centuries provided fertile ground for spirit manufacturers and consumers. Leith’s edgy vibe is an increasing magnetism for modern entrepreneurs, and the area’s food and drink industry is continuing to thrive.

Taking into account my fondness for gin-drinking, good times, and of course Leith, I jumped at a recent invitation to the launch of Gleann Mór Spirits’ Leith Gin at Malmaison. The spirit (both inside my glass and outside of it) did not disappoint – and I decided to meet up with co-founder Karin Mair to find out more about the whats, hows and whys behind her new venture. View Post

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With a prime spot on the shore, a (potentially) sun-drenched beer terrace and highly Instagrammable outdoor seating, The Salvation certainly has an aesthetic that commands attention. I’m invited along for a spot of feeding and watering to see if its dishes match up to its design. View Post

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August means only one thing here in Scotland…. insane traffic, fancy dress and overweight Americans in plastic ponchos. The 054Edinburgh Festival is here!

Keen beans that we are, we descended on Edinburgh from various corners of the country on Friday, just in time for the first night of the festival and this year’s Late’n’Live. Despite part of our contingent falling asleep halfway through the show (no reflection on the comedians, only the amount of booze consumed) and the other half disappearing to the beer tent outside to befriend the unfortunate Barry, our celebrity of the night who was still visibly recovering from his on stage metaphorical crucifixion by one of the comedians, it was one of those heady summer nights, its magic fully saturated by the atmosphere you can only find at the Fringe.

From live music in pubs, dinner in a Chinese restaurant with only enough room for three tables and one large, ominous looking and unexplained trapdoor, beer tents, fairy lights, Sobranies, fake marriages, jagerbombs, Mark Darcy-esque fights and drunken races in the meadows, to bed at 6am on an uninflated air mattress, once again the random nature of the night and hilarious sequence of events was one which can never be replicated, only loosely based upon in Festivals to come. To The Fringe, 2014!

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I haven’t been in London in the summer months for a while, and I always forget how strange a sensation it is to feel TOO WARM in the UK. Since these words are barely uttered up in our somewhat bipolar Scottish environs, it is strange to travel only five hours south and hear yourself uttering the phrase several times a day… because it really is FAR. TOO. WARM. Such heat is welcomed when fortunate enough to sport a bikini and lounge by the poolside, but to have to, like, do stuff and walk places and all that it really is a big exhausting sweat bath.

Once you have come to terms with the unavoidable consequences of London heat – potential passing out on the tube, dehydration, flat and/or frizzy hair, mugginess, spots and worst of all the dreaded SULA (that is, ‘sweaty upper lip alert’, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term), it is actually rather nice. For example, I know that if I tried to attend a festival in Scotland in July, it might be alright during the day but after that cut off point of 6pm when the cardigans come out, you know you won’t last long.

But once the sunshine surrenders itself and gives way to the balmy, comfortably warm evening, there is nothing like a London summer. Especially when you are at Lovebox festival with all the people lovebox2you love the most, when being dropped from your sister’s shoulders (thanks again, Holly) and running around covered in hotdog condiments (again, thank you Holly) trying to find your lost friend Giulia ‘by the flags…next to the funfair…by the tobacco tent’, does not hinder your experience in the slightest.

London, you are big and dirty and TOO WARM sometimes but after weekends like these, I would just like to say thank you for the way you make me appreciate life and friends and festivals in the sun. One day I shall live among you mad city dwellers but until then, hasta luego big city, I love you long time.

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