Photo of woman with brown hair wearing a red headscarf, sitting on a chair

It’s Edinburgh Fringe time again!

The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival running for most of the month of August each year. I’m going to assume that you’ve heard of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe because most people have! But, just in case you’re completely oblivious to one of the biggest events in Edinburgh, here’s a wee bit of background on it for you.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (most commonly referred to as The Fringe) started in 1947 and has run every August since then. It’s an open access arts festival, meaning anyone can put on a show. And anyone does!

Tourist and performers from all over the world descend on our capital, and it’s often the starting point for comedians. With around 300 venues in the city, you’re spoiled for choice on what to see! Whether you like comedy, dance or theatre there is so much to choose from. There are even performances to keep the kids entertained for part of their school holidays!

If you’re a bit of a history buff and want to read up on the Fringe you can do so here.

Unless you were to take the whole month off to see shows, you will unfortunately only be able to scratch the surface of what’s on offer. You really need to be selective about the shows you go to. I love comedy, so something that’s going to make me laugh is always top of my list.

Our first show was Tash York’s ‘Adulting’ at Underbelly. A cabaret comedy, that I really hope most grown-ups can relate to. Tash talks (and sings) about the real struggle that being an adult is. The show is so funny because everything Tash is saying is true. I think everyone likes to pretend that they’ve got all their s**t together, rather than admitting that they haven’t taken their glass recycling out for so long that now when they go to the bottle bank they’re going to look like raging alcoholics (I’m not referring to myself in this scenario…)!

Tash sings along to tunes you will definitely recognise, with even a bit of Disney thrown in there. Oh, and she even did a wee bit of improv! This show is hilarious and should definitely be on your list of shows to see at this year’s Fringe. Underbelly is a great venue, with lots of mini venues there are loads of other shows to see. There are also a couple of outdoor bar areas you can sit in to soak up the Fringe and the sun (or rain depending on which Scotland you get!).

‘Adulting’ is running until Monday 27th August at Underbelly, Bristo Square – Buttercup. You can buy tickets here.

What are your top picks for the Fringe? Comment and let me know what you’re planning on seeing or have already seen!

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

*Tickets were gifted by Tash York but as always all views are my own.

Image provided by Tash York

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Photo with three bottles of gin, two bottles of tonic on a white table with marble backdrop

Gin subscription delivered straight to your door?!

There doesn’t sound like much better than this.

Recently, Flavourly got in touch with me about their monthly subscription boxes. When I heard that they offered a gin subscription I was definitely keen. The rise of subscription boxes over the last few years has been big. And, why not? Hardly surprising that people want to receive something nice through the post – rather than a bill. It’s a great way to discover new brands that you might not have otherwise heard of. And when it comes to gin it can be pretty expensive trying all the ones you fancy.

So, how does it work and what do you get? Flavourly pride themselves in working with smaller brands, who focus on quality and experimentation during the distilling. Each month you will be sent a box with three 200ml bottles of gin, a mixer, a snack and a copy of Flavourly magazine. And all for £35 a month! The box that I got introduced me to some new gin, which I always love! I got a bottle of Badachro Scottish gin, Blackwater no.5 Irish gin and Sovereign no.1 elderflower and gooseberry gin liqueur. Along with this, there were two bottles of Lamb & Watt tonic water and a packet of Soffles pitta chips.

I really like elderflower as a flavour with gin and quite often use elderflower water as a mixer, so I was looking forward to trying this out. I mixed the elderflower and gooseberry gin liqueur with the Badachro gin and used the tonic as a mixer. The result? A sweet, refreshing cocktail that was very easy to drink.

I’ve tried many different subscription boxes over the years, and to be honest, once I got over the initial excitement of them they’ve quickly lost their appeal. I’m not sure if it was because I felt like they maybe weren’t the best value or that the items in the box maybe weren’t right for me. But with this, I don’t think I would ever tire of new gin. And for the money, it really is great value. You would never be able to buy small-batch gin for this price and you get to try brands that could potentially have never been on your radar.

Not a gin lover, but know someone who would love you forever if you bought this as a present? Then you’re in luck! Because not only can you subscribe yourself, you can also give as a gift. Pick from a single one-off box, or in multiples of three (three, six, twelve months).

If you want to give Flavourly a try then use code FROCKS10 for 10% off. And if you do try them out I’d love to know what gins you get!

Oh also, today (9 June) is World Gin Day so that definitely gives you the perfect excuse to drink some gin!

 

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo by me

*I was gifted a subscription box by Flavourly – as always all thoughts are my own.
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Photo of scales and Slimming World and Weight Watchers booklets

I’m a quitter.

I always have been. Pretty much every extracurricular activity I’ve ever started I’ve quit.

Normally, quitting is seen as a bad thing. Well, especially if it’s something that’s seen as good for you. I’ve decided I’m quitting weight loss clubs. This might be viewed by some as quitting something good for you. But I wholeheartedly disagree. Don’t worry, I’m planning on telling you why. And also talking a bit about my relationship with food and dieting and what made me get to this decision.

Before we go all the way back to my teenage years, let me fill you in on the point I decided once and for all that weight loss groups are ultimately a load of s**te. During a moment of weakness in February, I joined Weight Watchers. Focusing on, as I’ve always done, the number on the scales I was feeling a bit bummed out after some Christmas weight gain. Week in week out I was disappointed with the results. Nothing much was changing with the number.

But I’d been making changes. My new job and free gym membership meant more exercise. I was eating better. I was convinced the weight would at some point catch up and drop off. The tipping point came a few weeks ago. The woman in front of me getting weighed had a good week. She lost more than the week before. When asked what she had done differently her answer was exercise less. To which the class leader told her that just goes to prove you don’t have to exercise to get results!

I couldn’t believe my ears!

I was livid. This woman was being told to focus on her results on the scales rather than being encouraged to be fit and healthy! Oh, and getting charged about £6 a week for the privilege! When I got home I emailed and cancelled my membership.

I’ve had body issues for most of my life. During my early teenage years, this was unjustified. But as I got closer to 20 my weight just kept creeping up. I spent most of my 20s very overweight. I’ve actually been going to weight loss clubs on and off for almost half of my life. I joined Slimming World and finally lost the weight (over 2 stone), the fear of gaining the weight back has definitely kept me obsessed with the scales.

As much as I’m slating these groups, I don’t deny they serve a purpose. And can do you good. If you have a lot of weight to lose they can be a great starting point. But they are not an effective long-term way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle (body and mind). They can help people overhaul their diet. But I learned nothing about nutrition at any of the groups I went to. And once you’ve lost the weight the only focus is on keeping that number on the scales the same. There is no focus on body fat percentage, or how many inches you’ve lost.

Once I lost the weight I needed to get rid of and started exercising in a different way my weight changed. I was seen as a failure. I was asked what I was going to do to get my weight back down. Your success or failure at these things is purely based on how much weight you take off and keep off. How demoralising is that?! I never got any praise for the fact that I knocked about four minutes off my 5k time, or that my strength was improving and I could leg press more than my body weight. No well done for the fact that even though the scales have changed I can still fit my ass into my size 10 jeans.

When I say I’m quitting weight loss groups I’m not saying I’m stopping caring and will eat everything in sight. What I’m saying is I don’t want to spend my life on a diet. Friday night pizza shouldn’t make me feel guilty!

I need to redress my relationship with food. And I need to start looking at my body and not focus on the bits I hate. I need to stop hating bits of my body! When I have kids in the future I don’t want them to see me constantly on a diet. I don’t want to give them the same body issues I have.

Being obsessed with how our bodies look, rather than what they’re capable of is bad for our mental wellbeing. And diet clubs enable this unhealthy way of thinking.

I would love to know your thoughts on the subject and find out about your experiences of weight loss and body positivity.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

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Photo of girl in amongst trees with black, green and blue hair

I take a lot of photos.

So when I got asked if I wanted to go to a photography workshop with Kilometre Zero Events recently, I jumped at the chance!

I’ve been interested in photography since high school when I did a class in sixth year. We got let loose around the town (probably one of the attractions for me) during school time. After taking photos on 35mm SLR cameras we then spent time in the darkroom developing them. I loved it. But despite enjoying taking photos I didn’t invest in a good camera until last year. And only took it off auto setting a good few months after.

The workshop I was attending was portraiture photography run by Kilometre Zero Events. It took place on a lovely sunny (and warm) day in Edinburgh city centre. I arrived to meet the photographer taking the workshop and the rest of the people attending, at the canal at Fountain Park. I was really quickly put at ease when I realised that not everyone was a pro! As someone who is not confident with the manual settings on my camera, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t have enough knowledge.

Photo of girl with black, green and blue hair and nose ring looking through bars on a gate

Our tutor for the day, Julien, split us into two groups – one of the beginners and one for those a bit more knowledgeable. There was a model for the day, who went with the more experienced group to start with and within my group we took it in turns to play the model. I found this a bit awkward at first despite quite often being in front of the camera. It was an experience having someone other Mark taking my photo!

After we all got a turn of modelling and directing, we switched about and we got a chance to work with the model. I haven’t yet got to the point of investing in lenses, so I turned up with the 18-55mm lens my camera came with but I was given different lenses to try during the workshop. It was really interesting to see what the difference between the lenses was, and how it affected the final result.

Throughout the whole workshop, Julien kept checking on everyone and giving pointers and tips on the settings on your camera. In total, we were taking photos for two hours. This felt like just the right amount of time while also flying in! It was so much fun. And because there was a group of us I was thinking nothing of sitting on the ground. Something I would normally feel self-conscious about!

I had a great afternoon and I was pretty pleased with some of the photos I took. And even more pleased with the fact I feel a little bit more confident with using my camera on manual mode! I met some really nice and interesting people. Plus I got some great new accounts to follow on Instagram – which I always love!

Kilometre Zero also run fashion photography workshops along with workshops for yoga and meditation. You can find all the experiences they offer here.

Photography of girl with black, green nd blue hair looking from behind green leaves

A bit about Kilometre Zero Events:
Kilometre Zero create unique creative events where you’re not just learning the theory of something, but getting hands-on experience. They offer a range of workshops and classes that you can enjoy without any long-term commitment or membership needed. As well as group classes and workshops, they offer one-to-one tuition and can even be hired for parties with a difference.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photographs taken by me

*Sponsored post with Kilometre Zero Events

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Photo of a cake with five candles, streamers and a peg board with 'Frocks and Fairycakes 5 today' on it

Half a decade…

Today marks five years, half a decade, of me writing Frocks and Fairycakes!

It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I wrote about my wee blog turning four. And last year writing that milestone felt like a big deal. Getting to five years somehow feels different. Bigger. And mostly because I really don’t normally stick to anything!

I started writing this blog when I was 25. Even that seems like a lifetime ago. Frocks and Fairycakes came about as an outlet for my creativity. A way to escape my boring day job for the big bank and do something that felt more “me”. Maybe I was going through some sort of quarter-life crisis…? When I first started blogging I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t want any of my real life people knowing about it. Someone I knew IRL finding me on Instagram was the worst thing ever! Now? Now I love to tell people I’m a blogger. Hell, it’s on my CV.

Setting up a blog with no tech knowledge at all was not really that easy. Despite getting started on Blogger – a fairly easy platform to use – I still had to figure out how to get widgets on my blog. Mostly because I wanted my Instagram feed down the side! When I was 25 I was living back with my Mum though. This must have been how I had time to figure it all out – I didn’t have any housework or cooking to do!

That being said, I really do cringe when I look back at old photos on my blog. Or remind myself of how it used to look! I never used to edit my photos! Occasionally I would crop them with PicMonkey (back when it was free). I definitely used to do more outfit related posts, mainly because I didn’t know what to write about! I also seemed to have the ‘moody blogger’ look down to a tee. With my new photographer, I find it hard not to smile or laugh when we take photos!

Even in the last year, there have been some changes to the blog. I made the leap (finally) away from Blogger and actually spent some money on it. A new theme has also resulted in me being a lot happier with the look. It feels more grown up. I’ve also been seeing an increase in opportunities. Which I’m super happy about! I’m not sure if that’s a result of the move and the new look or whether it’s almost five years of work paying off. Either way, I’m not complaining!

The move away from Blogger really wouldn’t have happened without the geeky knowledge Mark possesses. He pretty much did everything for me in terms of moving it over and getting it to look just how I wanted. So he now has the added responsibility of helping with the website maintenance as well as being my photographer (and daily Instagram boyfriend).

I’m sure the next year will again fly in. I hope that when I get to six years I’m feeling just as enthusiastic about writing. I’m still amazed that people actually want to read what I write about, and I hope that continues.

Oh, and damn right I bought myself a cake to celebrate turning five! Because I love any excuse for cake…

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

Photograph taken by me

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