Caroline's Catwalk

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A Festive Day Out in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities to visit. I've been lucky enough to go over the past few summers for the Fringe festival and whilst up there I've discovered many hidden gems the city has to offer resulting in me falling in love with Edinburgh more and more. I'd never visited in December before so decided to remedy this and hopped on a train at the start of the month for a day out to see the festive lights and to tick off some of my Christmas shopping. It has a great mix of high street shops including a H&M Home, Jo Malone and a recently opened Joules, alongside department stores decked out for the festive season and some great independent shops to explore.

Our first stop (following a traditional filled morning roll for breakfast.. would any trip to Scotland be complete without?!) was to head to St Andrews Square to see the ice rink and watch the skaters. I would definitely be the person going round using one of the penguin supports!

Princes Street Gardens houses the traditional European Christmas Markets where you can browse the many stalls taking in the sights and smells of whats on offer from the many food stalls including European cheeses perfect for your Christmas celebrations to the delicious mini Dutch pancakes, a variety of flavours of fudge, and not forgetting to enjoy one of the warm mulled drinks on offer. I highly recommend the Winter Pimms, it's surely an essential to keep warm in such cold temperatures! There's lots of cute decorations to buy to take home to create your own winter wonderland. Alongside the markets you can explore the Christmas tree maze, ride the Santa train, or see Edinburgh from above (if you dare!) on the Star Flyer. If you're looking for something a little more tame there's the beautiful traditional style musical double-tiered Carousel which is much more my level!

After all that walking we visited one of my favourite bars Tigerlily to refuel and enjoy one of their delicious cocktails. I highly recommend the goats cheese's wrap, I'm still dreaming of it now!

The Street of Light illuminates West George Street and is definitely a must see if you're in the city this month. Comprising over 60,000 bulbs you can watch the lights synchronised to music from 6pm every evening. Edinburgh looks even more magical lit up at night especially during the festive season.

Edinburgh Christmas 2016

St Andrews Square December 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets  2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Carousel 2016


Tigerlily Raspberry Mojito

Edinburgh Street of Light 2016

Edinburgh Street of Light 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 2016

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 2016

Have you visited Edinburgh this Christmas? 


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

10 of the Best Comedy Shows to See at Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Fringe-goers you know the drill, everyone wants to stop and tell you about their recommendations of the latest and funniest show they've seen and so here I am shouting about the best shows I saw during my week at the Edinburgh Fringe..

Edinburgh Fringe Posters

BEASTS Present Mr Edinburgh 2016 
19.00 at Pleasance Dome daily until 29th August
I saw the wonderful guys from BEASTS perform at a charity comedy gala on my first night at the Fringe and knew I should see more! We luckily managed to grab tickets from the half price hut and went along one evening. Usually sketch shows would leave me feeling unsure if it would be my sort of humour but BEASTS completely blew that out of the water! I don't think I stopped laughing from the minute they burst on to the stage to compete for the prestigious honour of 'Mr Edinburgh 2016' Watching the guys perform to win various rounds was a complete riot. I don't want to give too much away as you all need to go and see the show for yourselves but I must add that I had a sore throat from laughing so much (and at times crying with laughter!) and if that isn't high praise I don't know what is!

Hayley Ellis: FOMO
21.35 at Just the Tonic at The Community Project daily until 28th August
I saw Hayley at the Fringe back in 2014 after a picture of her super cute dog Kevin on her Fringe posters drew me to her show which turned out to be one of the funniest I saw that year! I've followed her on twitter since and recommend you all do the same (@Hayles_Ellis) In 'FOMO' Hayley discusses how we all compare ourselves to those friends we see on Facebook (you know the type!) as we fear are we missing out? How we question what we should have achieved by now, doubt if we're good enough, and how our lives on social media don't always reflect the true picture. She happily chatted with the crowd as we discussed what we'd put on our own vision boards for the future and left us laughing throughout!

Edinburgh Fringe The Pleasance

Al Porter: At Large 
22.40 at Pleasance Courtyard daily until 28th August
The Cabaret Bar at the Pleasance Courtyard is the perfect venue for Al Porter's show, it lends itself to a slightly rowdy audience who are mostly a few drinks down by that point in the evening. Al had us screaming with laughter (no literally, the ladies near us did not stop screaming!) as he entertained us with tales from growing up in Ireland, priests and waking up abroad after a particularly big night out. He bounces off the audience in his trademark camp and mischievous style which leads to further laughs from the crowd. A great show to really get you laughing!

He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's Daniel Cook 
13.20 at Just the Tonic at The Caves daily until 28th August
On our last day at the Fringe (sobs) we decided to seek out some more free comedy and ventured along Cowgate to The Caves to see Daniel Cook. As with most free shows you're taking a punt on how it'll be but from the minute I sat down I could see he has such an energy that we just knew it was going to be funny. He kept us laughing throughout the hour despite the humid conditions that day (I always wonder how Fringe performers survive in the heat of the venues!) with tales from his life and everything in between.

Edinburgh Fringe Assembly George Square Gardens

Ashley Storrie and Other Erotica
17.15 at The Free Sisters daily until 28th August
I love listening to Ashley and her mum Janey on their weekly podcast so knew both of them were must see's for me this Fringe. Ashley played to a packed out room on a wet Wednesday afternoon and she had us all in stitches from the start entertaining us with tales of erotica, turning 30 and being booked to perform at a particularly dry BBC Christmas party! She has a great way of interacting with the room and embracing the crowd, I'm the sort of person who would often be worried to sit at the front at a comedy gig but I'll happily head to the front row for Ashley!

An Act of Godley: Janey Godley
19.00 at The Free Sisters daily until 28th August
As mentioned above being a big podcast fan (I often listen to it whilst driving and then fear other drivers wonder why I'm in hysterics!) I knew Janey would be similarly busy to daughter Ashely and we made sure to join the ever growing queue 30 minutes before she was due to start. As expected Janey helped to seat everyone she could but it was standing room only at the back as the crowds gathered to witness Trump's No1 fan (disclaimer: this is a joke!)  Some would describe Janey's comedy as not for the easily offended but if her material offends you there's a strong chance you need to have a word with yourself! 

Edinburgh Fringe Axis of Awesome Gilded Balloon Teviot

Axis of Awesome: Won't Ever Not Stop Giving Up
21.00 at Gilded Balloon Teviot daily (not 25th) until 28th August
I remember first hearing Axis of Awesome on Scott Mills shows from the Fringe a few years ago and loving their mixture of comedy songs. After seeing them at the charity comedy gala earlier in the week we managed to fit them into our ever growing Fringe show schedule. Go along and see them show how many songs are actually based on the same 4 chords! I can't stop singing the Bucket List song to myself and there's even one for KFC fans in there!

Jenny Collier: Jen-Hur
17.30 at Underbelly Med Quad daily until 28th August
Jenny Collier is another of the comedians I've seen a few times at the Fringe. She doesn't go for the loud brash style some seem comedians seem to adopt but rather welcomes the audience in and you feel like you're listening to a friend (be it one of your funniest!) She talks about being Welsh and her previous job history and always gets a laugh from me with her well timed witty one liners.

Edinburgh Fringe Underbelly Med Quad

Soon Kempner: Queen 
12.10 at Underbelly Med Quad daily until 29th August
I've seen a couple of Sooz's previous shows (I loved 2014's 'Defying Gravity', who doesn't love Wicked!) and particularly enjoyed how she combines music with original comedy songs. Sooz discusses her parents divorce as a teenager, a certain character assassination email from her father, the successful career of her brother (impressionist Luke Kempner) and that time she never heard back from 'Jim'll Fix It' leaving poor Sooz feeling like even Jimmy wasn't interested!

Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely To Die 
21.00 at Pleasance Courtyard daily until 29th August
Felicity Ward is my favourite funny Aussie and possibly the comedian I've seen the most times at the Fringe (4 years and counting!) Her shows are always fresh and funny. This year Felicity talks again about mental health and her own anxiety as she recounts the day she left her bag on the bus. From excellent bus etiquette, to self help meditations, to chicken karaoke Felicity once again had me laughing until I nearly fell out of my seat! She manages to convey the underlying messages of the show and still leaves her audience feeling upbeat.

Edinburgh Fringe Posters Pleasance

Who have been your Fringe favourites? 


Friday, 5 August 2016

10 Tips For Visiting The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Fringe kicks off today and I can't wait to head up there next week. This will be my 6th year at the Fringe so I like to consider myself somewhat of a Fringe veteran when it comes to planning a visit there. Here's 10 tips for getting the most out of your visit to the Fringe..

Edinburgh Fringe App

1. Book in advance any shows that you really don't want to miss out on but try to make sure to leave gaps. Part of the fun is some of the shows you'll come across whilst you're there. You might read a great review or get chatting with an enthusiastic comedian handing out their flyers and you want to be able to fit in seeing them.

2. When planning which shows you're going to go to make sure to leave gaps in between shows of at least 30 minutes. It takes time to walk between venues, some might be across the city and it could take a while to get a taxi during busy times. You don't want to have to leave the show you're at early to try and make it to the next, and you don't want to be sneaking in late trying not to be seen (and inevitably end up sitting on the front row!) Some venues have multiple rooms so even if your shows are based around the same venue allow time to find out where you need to go.

3. One of the best tools for planning a visit to the Fringe is undoubtedly the Ed Fringe app.  The app makes it easy to browse and search for shows. You can add shows to your favourites and schedule them in your own personal planner. One of my favourite things about the app is the 'nearby now' feature which uses your location to display shows starting soon nearby. This is great if you've got a free hour or two and are wondering what to do next.

4. Wear comfortable shoes. It might sound obvious but you could potentially end up walking a lot  between venues. There's quite a few hills and lots of cobbles so make sure to wear something suitable so you don't end up with sore feet halfway through the day.

5. Take a waterproof jacket or umbrella with you. In my experience (thinking back to the summer when it rained practically the entire week I was there!) the weather in Edinburgh can be quite temperamental, one minute it's pouring down and blowing a gale, the next the sun's back out and you're questioning if you need to apply suncream.

6. Wear layers! Fringe venues spring up all over the city and range from large auditoriums to tiny pop up cabins and they can get very hot with numerous people packed in so you want to be able to take your jacket or cardigan off. I watched Jenny Collier from the top deck of a very warm double decker bus back in 2014!

7.  Visit the food trucks at Assembly George Square Gardens. Last year there was lots of great street food options including tasty gyoza's, fish & chips, burgers and you can sit and people watch (and no doubt be handed numerous flyer's!) If you're looking for something sweet stop by the crepe stand in the garden by the Gilded Balloon.

8. Go to see a compilation show. I really recommend 'Best of the Fest' for a chance to see a variety of acts. It's a great way to get a taste of whats on offer and should give you some inspiration for more shows you'll want to see. The lineups are released the day of the show on the Assembly website.

9. Many of the best shows I've been to have been part of the Free Fringe. Go along and discover some great comedians. Even though it's free you should give what you can afford (think how much you would spend on a ticketed show) Make sure you have change on you to put in the bucket at the end of the performance. I try to save £5 notes whilst I'm there to take with me.

10. Visit the Half Price Hut on the Mound to bag a bargain ticket. They're available the evening before and the day of the performances. You can also find out which shows are included via the app.

Edinburgh Fringe Tickets

Have you been to Edinburgh Fringe?

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