Monthly Archives: October 2013

Best Books Are Not Necessarily the Ones That Sell – Lindsey Fraser as guest speaker

October 30th, 2013 | Posted in Blog | Aija

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One of the most interesting parts of having guest speakers come to the Stirling Publishing class is the varied mix of individuals from all fields of publishing. This time the guest speaker was the key step between an author and publisher; a literary agent, who gave an astute talk from someone who has seen a varied side of the publishing trade.

Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates spoke to the MLitt Publishing class of 2013/14 on the long path that led to the start of her own business together with colleague Kathryn Ross. For a time Lindsey was aiming to become a teacher, until the teacher training proved to Lindsey that it was a wonderful career to be admired – but it was not for her. What came out of her studies was the realisation of deep love for books. Therefore, Lindsey went to work at James Thin bookshop, and worked at the children’s books section until becoming part of the family run company of Heffers in Cambridge. Heffers was another children’s bookshop, an experience Lindsey emphasizes invaluable for those wanting to work within the publishing world – learning the tricks of the trade from the other side, from the booksellers’ perspective and creating those ever-vital connections for your future networking. During her time at Heffers, Lindsey learned the value that was placed on who reads, what and how it is accessed. Lindsey warmly reminisced about how Heffers were diversified in this respect compared to all other booksellers before and at the time, and Lindsey got to hone her skills at readership development.

A career move eventually was inevitable, and so Lindsey came to work with the Book Trust Scotland, where she waved her magic wand until founding Fraser and Ross Associates in 2002. Slowly expanding, at the moment Fraser and Ross represent some fifty authors and illustrators, with the benefit of having two – slightly – different personalities with different tastes working together. Whereas Lindsey would be more squeamish and un-impressed on some titles, Kathryn sees the potential and pushes for it – or vice versa, and there comes the beauty of Fraser and Ross Associates diversification.

Knowing the editors within the publishing companies, and knowing the publishing companies’ aims in and out, is the key. A literary agent should not submit the same title to more than a couple of imprints at the same time, as that would be fishing for someone to catch on a title you are not backing one hundred per cent, but not offering it to more than one would also limit the chances of the title being picked. Whereas one publisher might have something similar already in process or is not particularly keen on the content of the novel, another publisher might see it as the gem it is.

Lindsey also remarks on how the publishing industry initially got terrified by the emergence of digital publishing, and how she sees it a near god send for convenience and actually a sensible way forward. And some publishers have even improved the quality of their print books, for noticing that e-sales have increased their print sales as readers who liked the book in e-format more often than not want to buy a hard copy. And ultimately, the eventual experience is the same; you read a book and you either hate it or love it. Only thing Lindsey truly criticises e-publishing for is the low royalties that come toward the author, which should in all senses be higher as e-publishing has not nearly as high costs as printing.

As parting wisdom Lindsey remarks on publishers who hold on to the rights of a title even if the title is not in print; the rights ought to be relinquished so the author can go on to find another channel for their book to keep out there. Generating income for a literary agent or the author is not always a straightforward line; a lot is to do with selling and maximizing rights – having one publisher in the UK and another one in US, but always trying to make sure it is the authors’ rights that are respected, as much meeting profit margin demands. The literary agent is responsible of much of the negotiations between author and potential publisher, as well as being the gatekeeper for first drafts, offering initial feedback. What this boils down to is not the individual likes and dislikes and quirks of personalities, but also being aware of the target audience and the market demand, for what has been a phenomenal success in UK does not mean it will also fare well in other countries. And here it is, the sad truth; best books are not necessarily the ones that sell.

The tweets from Lindsey Fraser’s Visiting Speaker session are Storified here.

Aija Oksman

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Edinburgh Artisan Fresh Markets

Written by Aija
Monday, 28 October 2013 19:24 in The Edinburgh Address Blog


Edinburgh is a fantastic example of supporting the local producers – every weekend there is a fresh market or few to choose from, to get that fresh goodies kick. The offer is as varied as it is fresh, and there is the added bonus of exceptional atmosphere to go with your shopping. Face to face shopping with those who actually have made/grown the products available, and it is well worth the moment to spend talking with the producers, informing yourself of where the meat, fish, fruit, vegetable, baked goodies or hand-made crafts actually come from. It is more a social enterprise than just another shopping experience.

The Edinburgh Address has many apartments conveniently located just around the corner from some of the best Edinburgh fresh markets, to make it easy for our guests to nip out for a fresh bun with some home-made jam or other delicacies for your breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Just up the road from The Stylish City Break @ Gayfield Square and a short walking distance from South Charlotte Street @ Charlotte Square there is the St. Mary’s Market, just in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral on Cathedral Lane. The market is every Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and is one of the community-focused markets, which also supports various social projects within Edinburgh city and the Lothian area, and are committed to reinvesting part of our profits from stall rent into projects that benefit the local community with a focus on employability and skill development.

Just across the road from Apartment Castle Terrace @ 9A and Garden Apartment @ Castle Terrace, and short walking distance (less than 10 minutes) from The West End Retreat @ Lynedoch Place, Drumsheugh Apartment @ Drumsheugh Gardens and The Studio @ Drumsheugh Gardens is the most popular market in the city; the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market. With over 55 specialists attend every Saturday (9am to 2pm, on Castle Street) with their artisan goodies, fresh bakes, vegetables and fruits and fresh dairy, meat and fish products. With the quirky add of the smallest café on wheels, the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is somewhere you want to spend a good hour browsing for the best for you daily needs. Or if you just want to drop by for a quick snack, make sure to try some of the best hamburgers and other delish dishes cooked and served smoking hot and ready to eat (especially head for the MacPherson family’s Well Hung and Tender stall – you won’t regret it!).

Near our lovely Stockbridge Grandeur @ Carlton Street apartment, there is the artisan Stockbridge Market, Sundays from 10am to 5pm, on the corner of Saunders and Kerr Street’s (not too far to walk from our other city centre apartments, mind you!). The Stockbridge Market brings that extra bit of grandeur to the artisan delicacies in offer; where the farmers bring in their freshest of products with traders and specialty producers from all over, including Scotland’s own as well as French and Italian specialties. Just the idea of those French cheeses and wide selection of antipasti makes my tummy growl.

Have a delicious stay in UK’s happiest city!

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Brave new words: literature in science

Written by Aija

“We react to the new world around us with awe and curiosity. In order to understand it, we tell ourselves stories.”

That is part of the description of the event Brave New Words: A Celebration of Words and Science at In Space that drew many science and literature buffs. In the form of prose, poetry and graphic fiction, the event celebrated the winner entries of Tales from Within – Imaginative Non-fiction on Stem Cells, with readings of Sarah Byrne’s short story “The Beginning” (read by lovely Ariadne Cass-Maran), Eliot North’s poem “He Blew Me a Kiss” (by rally of Rally and Broad, Rachel McCrum), all set with the graphic fiction display of Naomi Moris on the wall as well as a lively discussion with some special guest, led by storyteller Emily Dodd. The guest speakers were the writers Pippa Goldschmidt, Ken MacLeod, Barbara Melville and Mhairi Stewart.

Can literature and storytelling be a gateway to science? To make it more appealing and slightly more understandable – into the vernacular of layman –through these crossover platforms? After a quick poll of how many of the attendees were in science, and the total coming to less than 1/4th of those present, the answer seems to be yes. The interplay between narrative and science enables deeper levels of science to be explored, as well as ensuring a wider reach, especially for non-science plebs such as myself.  Unfamiliar things intrigue us. Same way as science fiction or crime literature carry an appeal of mysterious unknown territory, science non-fiction writing can provide an access to many complicated issues. It is a dialogue, engaging the members of the public. As Pippa explains; creative non-fiction is an interesting way to explore science – for fiction to be true, it has to borrow from the real world and from real science. This builds trust between the author and reader.

Emily continues on this train of thought by asking how does science use storytelling? The panel agrees, science does not work without words, and it has the same beginning and end structure. And science also readily provides action that makes a story captivating. Science and art are both creative forms and in order to succeed in either one needs to have an open mind. Whether science in entertainment is purposefully dumbing down the science it represents is a question that has Ken on the fence. It is not as much about dumbing down, Ken explains, as it is about simplifying, not lying but making it more understandable. Especially, as Ken puts it, when considering the abysmal amount of ignorance among people when it comes to basic scientific concepts, such as the solar system.

By default, is science writing dystopian or utopian? Gloom and doom stories do tend to attract more than fansical explorations of the uknown. Barbara believes science writing can be forward looking – yesterday’s beliefs of impending doom are today’s science. We wonder in order to create and explore – this is where creative writing and science can unite.


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Scotland’s Finest Dishes – the “must taste’s” of Scotland’s traditional dishes

Thursday, 25 October 2013 | Written by Aija | The Edinburgh Address Blog


One of the most enjoyable things to do when travelling is to try all the local specialties. Each nation has its traditional dishes that go way back to the beginnings of a nation. Scotland is no different. Everyone’s aware of the fact that some of the best lamb and mutton comes from Scotland, as well as what haggis is. But there is so much more in traditional Scottish cuisine to be explored – for those with a strong stomach and a taste for hearty home meals. The indigenous game and temperate climate, Scotland is a well of delicious dishes; the abundance of seafood, pastures of free grazing lambs and the plenty agricultural lands ensure fresh, home-made goodness. And deep-fried Mars bars.

Being a expatriate now local to Edinburgh, I went digging for some of the most typical Scottish dishes, so here they are – and they are, in their own way, scrumptious!

Aberdeen Rowie
A buttery, also known as a rowie or Aberdeen roll, is a savoury Scottish bread roll. They are noted for their flaky texture and buttery taste (hence the name). To those who have never experienced one they are probably best described as a flattened, round croissant, with a very salty taste.

Cullen Skink
Cullen Skink is a thick Scottish soup made of smoked Finnan haddock, potatoes and onions. This soup is a local speciality, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the northeast coast of Scotland. The soup is often served as a starter at formal Scottish dinners.

Sheep’s Head Broth
Also called powsowdie. Best way to dissuade you from even thinking about this traditional Scottish food is to quote part of the recipe. ‘Choose a large, fat, young head. When carefully singed by the blacksmith, soak it and the singed trotters for a night… Take out the glassy part of the eyes… then split the head with a cleaver.‘ Mmm – right? Also, Sheeps’ heads are not skinned in Scotland but singed only and this gives the good flavour to the broth.

Recipes and ingredients vary widely between regions, and even families, but the dish usually consists of tatties (potatoes) and onions and some form of cold meat (especially sausages or leftover roast.) The potatoes are cooked by stewing with fat stove being the old Scots word for stewing. And absolutely heart-warmingly tasty especially on a cold day – comfort food at its best!

Lorne Sausage
Sliced sausage (often known as square sausage, or lorne sausage) is a delicacy which may be pork, beef, or a mixture of the two – is set into a square and sliced into pieces. The sausage is rarely a perfect square given the minced state of the meat, which is often bulked out with other ingredients such as rusk. Especially great for breakfast with a couple eggs and a fresh-from-the-oven roll!

Scotch Pie
A Scotch pie is a double-crust pie originating in Scotland but also popular in England. The traditional filling is minced mutton, often highly spiced with pepper and other accompaniments such as mashed potatoes, baked beans, brown sauce or gravy, contained in a crust of thin, stiff pastry. An individual piemaker’s precise recipe, including the types and quantities of spice used, is usually kept a close secret, for fear of imitations.

Every year, the Scotch Pie Club holds the World Scotch Pie Championship (entry deadline is November 1, 2013!). Butchers and bakers enter their pies into this competition, and the maker of the pie judged tastiest by a panel of judges is awarded the title of World Scotch Pie Champion!

Another type of meat pastry or pie, with this one originating from the town of Forfar. It is made of minced beef, sometimes with onions and spices, placed on rolled-out pastry and folded into a semi-circular shape; the whole thing is baked in an oven.

Haggis, neeps and tatties
Scotland is famous for its game and salmon, the national dish is haggis and neeps (innards and offal chopped up lungs, liver and heart) mixed with suet, onions, herbs and spices, all packed into a skin bag traditionally made of a sheep’s stomach. Haggis is often served with mashed potatoes and mashed swede or turnips. And don’t forget to serve with some mouth-watering whisky sauce! Traditionally served on Burns Night suppers as the main deal.

Dundee Marmalade
Traditional marmalade containing thick chunks of orange rind, this recipe (probably invented by his mother) being a new twist on the already well-known fruit preserve of orange marmalade. On a fresh roll or a rowie, yum!

mars bar

Deep-fried Mars bar with Mel McGinnis at Fiddler’s Arms, Grassmarket

Rowan Jelly
Rowan berries can be made into a slightly bitter jelly which in Scotland is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to game, and into jams and other preserves, on their own, or with other fruits. The berries can also be a substitute for coffee beans, and have many uses in alcoholic beverages: to flavour liqueurs and cordials, to produce country wine, and to flavour ale.

Tablet (or taiblet in Scots) is a medium-hard, sugary confection from Scotland. It is made from sugar, condensed milk, and butter, boiled to a soft-ball stage and allowed to crystallize. It is often flavoured with vanilla, and sometimes has nut pieces in it. A bit like fudge, but not fudge.

Oh, and Glasgow is the home of the deep-fried Mars bar.

Is your mouth watering yet? Can’t wait to get your hands on some of that haggis with tatties? Most local restaurants and pubs serve a variation or another, so finding the local delicacies will not be an issue! And before you choose your restaurant, see our special offers for the perfect flat for your stay – all our flats are very central, so after that hearty meal, you can almost roll back to the comfort of your apartment. How about an extra special treat for yourself or someone you wish to indulge, as they deserve? At the Edinburgh Address we also have a fantastic chef available, for that special night in with your mates or your significant other – professional chef Steven Harvey offers a fine dining experience to our guests in their Edinburgh Address apartment.  Choose one of our four decadent menu options, and allow yourself to be spoiled

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Publishing in a small nation on the brink of independence – Adrian Searle of Freight Books

What happens when an award-winning design company expands to create a publishing imprint? Back by popular demand, Adrian Searle, of Freight Books and the editor of Scotland’s leading literary journal Gutter, gave an insightful guest appearance for the Stirling MLitt Publishing class of 2013/14.

Adrian kicked his talk off with a wee slide show on all the expectation many have concerning what career in publishing will be like – money, fancy travels and big parties, more money and private jets… Before a big red X took over the screen and Adrian launched into the thick of it; publishing career is a lot more sweat and tears than money and fancy parties. Much more spending money than gaining money, a constant struggle for making that profit margin.

Adrian explained how publishing actually chose him rather than him actively pursuing the career in publishing – and it did not harm to do Masters in creative writing, after being lured into the spell of creative writing after the anthologies he published. Though setting up the imprint was far from easy, and ultimately took years to have all aspects figured out, and Adrian says a lot of it was thanks to the recession, and the “spaghetti plan” of other publishers. Though it might seem ominous to thank recession for enabling the success of another imprint, but it is a cutthroat business out there.

Combining the best of two worlds, going beyond the minimum both in published titles as well as their design, is what Adrian thrives towards. A great example of this is the Look Up Glasgow, a collaboration of the writer side of Adrian and the specialist architectural photographer David Barbour. The design of the book is all sorts of amazing, from the clever jacket that opens into one large photo on the inside of the jacket, to the clever cover design. Adrian, though, does admit he is perhaps not as motivated by money as he should but he does explain how the long-term aim is to make decent enough profit that allows them to publish without compromise those that truly tickles their fancy. On the one hand this means publishing a lot more non-fiction than fiction, but then the fiction that is published is something truly remarkable – such as the new translation of The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu. The advice to be learned here is, as Adrian emphasizes, publishers need to diversify – not just publish fiction.

Freight Books aims to branch out from what has become expected publications from Scotland – more than golf or whiskey books as there is so much more to be discovered from Scottish literature scene, as well as from international scene. Some of the title Adrian explains were from the start known not to be big sellers, but were done with prestige and diversification in mind. Such as the Pedro Lenz book, Naw Much of a Talker, which was originally written in Swiss vernacular and translated into Glaswegian. Personal pet projects combines with the anticipated bestsellers.

Commercial decisions do rule much of the published titles, but as Freight Books is not limited to just publishing of new titles, but also branches into design and journal fields, Adrian and co. have created one of the most successful Scottish publishing labels that keeps on surprising.

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We’ll Weather the Weather Whatever the Weather Whether We Like It or Not


Written by Aija
Saturday, 07 September 2013
The time of the year has come, when the weather proves to be even more precarious than normally – that half of the year when any Courtesy of Annu Oksmantype of weather phenomenon could take place. Such as today; sunshine, rain, sunshine, heavy rain, sunshine and wind wind wind.

That does not stop the locals nor the tourists from venturing to the great city of Edinburgh, ready to experience and explore. A great opportunity to get to know the city better is the upcoming Doors Open Day weekend on 28 and 29th September! Organised by the Cockburn Association, the Doors Open day weekend provides something for everyone – architectural discoveries, educational heritage encounters as well as the best of the cultural opportunities – and what is more, admission to all buildings is FREE!

A city of contradictions not just by its weather, but also through its never-ending possibilities of discoveries and experiences, the metropolitan hub with a village feel that enchants as much as infuriates. Much of the city’s deep rooted intellectual and cultural heritage is played down by the down-to-earthness and approachability of the locals. Not a day goes by that an expat like myself will find herself in midst of light hearted banter and off the cuff quips about the tram works or the upcoming referendum the same as the stranger on the street would be talking to a close friend.

City built in three levels allows you to ceaselessly find new routes to your already established haunts, the hidden wynds, closes, pathsCourtesy of Manuel Bukovics and staircases ensure you get your daily cardio as much as find endless amounts of hidden treasures.

How about wandering down to Leith Shore for some of the best home-made food in the lovely Granary? On the way there, why not stop by one the Swedish (oh yes, with meatballs and smörgåsbord and all!); Sofi’s, Boda or Joseph Pearce’s.intellectual and cultural heritage is played down by the down-to-earthness and approachability of the locals.

Have a quick snack at the Spoon or a heftier meal at the Mosque Kitchen, neither too far from the Pleasance Cabaret Bar before you mosey on to one of the well-kept secrets of the local student hoard. The wonderful underground pop up events, such as the Wordy Thursdays, an open mic night by Soap Box that is sure to have your linguistic senses tingling! Or the ever so quirky and wonderful Neu! Reekie! that surely is unbeatable when it comes to fusion nights.quips about the tram works or the upcoming referendum the same as the stranger on the street would be talking to a close friend.

Courtesy of Melissa McGinnis

Being relatively new to the city, I Still get to enjoy the walk about and sudden realisation I’ve stumbled on a way I have never been on before, found a nook I have not yet explored or sat down for my drink and a meal somewhere I haven’t tried out before, or warmed myself up with a snifter of whiskey I haven’t tasted before. Although, bit by bit, the homey feel of Edinburgh has even the most curious explorers set in their ways – and more often than not, I will opt for the Last Drop on Grassmarket for my drink, more times than I care to admit settling for that smooth taste of Dalwhinnie, or go for a meal at the Caley Sample Room. I’m a creature of habit, even in exciting Edinburgh.

I think I’m here to stay. Royalty and grungy underground scene in the same city, what more can you ask for?

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New Town Magic

Friday, 30 August 2013 by Aija


The modern face of Edinburgh city – or so they say, as in all honesty, modern is only referring to the things you can do and what and where you shop, not the actual part of town. New Town is as rich in history and culture as the rest of the city – built in stages between 1765 and around 1850, and still retains the most of the original neo-classical and Georgian architecture. The Old and New Towns were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

In 1766 a design competition was held to find a suitably modern layout for the new suburb that originally spanned from Princes Street down to Queen Street, joining the crossing Hanover, Frederick and Charlotte Streets. The competition was, rather surprisingly, won by 26 year old James Craig, who, following the natural contours of the land, proposed a simple axial grid, with a principal thoroughfare along the ridge linking two garden squares. A nice contrast to the jumbled old cobble street and alleys (or “closes”) or the Old Town, especially with the stipulations of unity (such as how the wrought iron façade details must be painted black) and the communal gardens in the squares between houses. Small patches of respite amidst of the city’s hastiness.

The names of the streets speak for themselves; named after the King and his wife, St. Andrew’s Square and St. George’s Square were the names chosen to represent the union of Scotland and England, and this idea was continued with the smaller Thistle Street (for Scotland’s national emblem) between George Street and Queen Street, and Rose Street (for England’s emblem) between George Street and Princes Street. The three streets completing the grid, Castle, Frederick and Hanover Streets, were named for the view of the castle, King George’s father Frederick and the name of the royal family. Inventive, don’t you think?

What is more, the New Town is home to some of the greatest Edinburgh galleries, such as the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery as well as being sprinkled with dozens upon dozens of unique smaller galleries of contemporary local artists. There is more than you can imagine to discover; personal favourite would be the Castle Fine Art gallery on Multrees Walk. Castle Fine Art is known for its rare discoveries that include the renowned Alexander Millar and the occasional exhibition of either Keith Richards or Bob Dylan, to name but a few.

And that reminds me – Multrees Walk. One of the more high-class streets in Edinburgh, located just off St. Andrew Square, Multrees is home to such exclusive shops as Calvin Klein, Harvey Nichols, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton and Swarovski as well as a few lovely cafes, such as one of the two famous Valvona & Crolla deli’s, with unmistakable style of cooking that derives from recipes handed down s over the years from the owners’ families in central and southern Italy and all prepared from the very produce they sell in their own shops.

Another rare gem we would like to recommend for the drama lovers out there, is the Hill Street Solo Theatre – tucked away down a minor street this venue is easy to miss, but the Hill Street Solo Theatre has been in nonstop action since 34 years now, and is one main stay of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Focusing on those artists out there that are interested in developing their solo performance work as well as offering workshops and talks of solo theatre, with extensive performance schedule, we would highly recommend spending a night cultured in this unusual jewel!

For a bite to eat, how about starting with the Urban Angel on Hanover Street. Their ethos of providing natural, season, fresh and as local as possible, mainly organic, daily changing inventive menus is what draws in loyal client base that would in a heartbeat recommend the wide range of deliciousness.

An up-and–coming area of Broughton Street is just down from St. James’ Shopping Centre, and for those looking for rare treats and unique shops and places to eat, you would fare well acquainting yourself with the offerings of Broughton. On Broughton Street you would do well to check out the Basement Bar, a fun place and even the staff states that “you won’t find friendlier staff, better tunes or a bigger collection of Hawaiian shirts anywhere in Edinburgh, so what are you waiting for?”, and we are bound to agree. Also, while you’re at Broughton and get peckish, try out the Bonsai Japanese Bar Bistro – amazing choice of sushi and other dishes that will leave you wanting more even after you’ve stuffed yourself silly! Another fine choice is Treacle, with a sophisticated vintage interior and a fair trade menu that reflects the season you could not choose a better place for your lunch/dinner and/or a drink whilst exploring the Street!

Another place for a good night out, we would recommend is the Fingers Piano Bar on Frederick Street. Although it does get extremely busy on weekends, even weekdays can provide you with a treat of piano players who truly know their trade, while you enjoy that excellent drink. All in all, great atmosphere and worth the crowds, if you’re in that kind of a mood. Reviews might be more than mixed, but try out for yourself, don’t believe all that hearsay, we say!

And if you’re looking for something really special, it is the Voodoo Rooms you want. Hidden away on West Register Street the Voodoo Rooms offer an award winning bar, with specialty rums, tequilas and amazing cocktails, and food served daily! But preposterously fine drinks are not the best part – the best part are the live shows that the Voodoo Rooms host, not just for the Fringe, nono – but throughout the year! The Voodoo Rooms aims to provide an electrifying eclectic and exotic range of music, cabaret, exhibitions, screenings and much more to ensure that you shall return, over and over again. And by the way, our staff party there just recently was a blast, great wine for good value and a show for a donation price that we know from experience the Voodoo Rooms are recommendable for that night out – fantabuloustic!

Does dusky purple lights that cast romantic shadows on the walls, jazz-centric music and fine dining sound like just the night for you? Then for a little bit of extra glamour, the Jam House is an experience not to pass. Superb! And for wine connoisseurs there is the treat of Whighams Wine Cellar on Hope Street by Charlotte Square, which has become a leading wine bar and restaurant in Edinburgh, frequented by local dwellers and visitors alike.

It’s not all about party-all-night and eat-yourself-silly, now, is it? Some of the finest views you can have of the city is up from Calton Hill. Climb up any time of the day to enjoy the sunrise or sunset over Edinburgh city centre on one side, Leith on the other and the rest of Edinburgh spreading in all directions – you can even see the ocean from up the Hill! The many monuments up on the Hill provide a rest after the climb, and especially the Athens’ Pantheon, which was built as a memorial to the Napoleonic Wars, is known for many locals and readers for a place to sit and take in the day, read a book or enjoy your picnic – if you get up on the monument itself that is!

The elegant, spacious housing that was to be the answer to the overcrowding of Old Town has proven to be a gem for The Edinburgh Address as well – we are proud to have not one, not two and not even three apartments in the area, but all together we have four gorgeous apartments in the midst of the New Town grandeur.

The two grand apartments we proudly represent are the New Town Chic @ Northumberland Street and New Town Boutique @ Northumberland Street. Conveniently right by each other, the two apartments are perfect for a larger group (can sleep all together eight) or two smaller groups (each sleeps four) when looking for a bit of luxury where to rest after a day of exploration, hill climbing, fabulous dining followed by wine, cocktails and a show or a few. Both of the apartments are ideally located in Edinburgh’s prestigious and central New Town and are in an excellent position from which to explore Edinburgh, being less than 10 minutes’ walk from both Princes Street, with its city centre shopping and the delightful Stockbridge Area. And you’re in for a treat, as with both of these apartments we currently have special offers, which you would be wise to take a use of!

What more is there to say? New Town has magic, hidden treasures in all its little alleys, nooks and crannies, and you never know – if you venture all the way down to Young Street, you will get a glimpse of the sordid night life of one of Scotland’s most well-known literary characters; Ian Rankin’s Rebus is known to frequent the Oxford Bar in Rankin’s novels. Why not become part of that fictional atmosphere, and make it a one-night reality.

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World’s Weirdest Hotels and Why You Should Spend a Night

My Social Passport by Aija Oksman


Have you ever thought of doing something completely different when you travel? To try out something that would push your own limits and allow you to experience something than no one else can even describe? Of course you have. We all have. But have you ever thought of combining those mind-blowing experiences with spending your nights in a mind-blowing environment?

Firstly, how about some northern lights, snow, vastness of the Finnish mid-winter darkness and whilst enjoying the whole show nature provides you with, then to actually spend your nights in an actual igloo? The Igloo hotel in Finland offers travellers and experience seekers the opportunity of spending a night or few in an actual igloo – albeit it might be built of glass, it is the closest thing to amazing you can get. And besides, if you were in a real igloo of snow, you couldn’t see through and have the whole universe above you dancing in all the colours of polar lights.

Salt hotel in Palacio del Sal in Bolivia
You probably never thought of sleeping in salt. Can’t believe anyone has. Situated at the edge of the largest salt flat, Salt Hotel in Palacio del Sal will offer something rather different as a sleeping experience. Uyuni, the closest large city, is bit ways away but an overnight train will get you there in a jiffy, so you have the opportunity to enjoy both the hotel’s healthy environs as well as the pleasures of a city. But wait! It’s not just the hotel that’s made of salt, also the dining table, the chairs and the pool is built of salt. That should keep you afloat. Do bring with you lots of water. And don’t lick the walls – the staff has strict policies against that.

Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi in Sweden
Shifting from solid frozen to a free flowing river, the Icehotel at Jukkasjärvi is constantly moving. Throughout the building process (from December onwards), a new part is added to the hotel, which ensures the ongoing surprise element as well as unique surroundings for those seeking for a truly exceptional experience. And the hotel promises to “develop and offer sensuous, inspiring and unique experiences within art, nature, accommodation and gastronomy”. And all of this whilst you enjoy one of nature’s most beautiful shows; the polar lights dancing right outside your windows. Oh my, now that’s definitely something different.

Osaka Capsule Inn in Japan
How about a bit of sci-fi effect? Designed like jet airplane’s cockpit, the Osaka Capsule Inn offers travellers a rather different place to sleep. Situated in Osaka, the Capsule Inn will provide the travellers with a calm space for rest as well as all the amenities of Osaka city. Though it may be a cramped space, at least you can’t complain your significant other stealing your side of the bed.

Hobbit Motel in New Zealand
As the latest Peter Jackson triumph, and the story afore Lord the Rings is finally coming to big screens in December, what could be better than book your trip closest to a Shire you can hope for, in Waitomo, New Zealand. The hotel offers a real agriexperience, complete with a Kiwi Culture Show, sheep shearing and any other typical farm hands-on experience you might have a burning desire for. Return to the roots, find that ring and relax with a pipe by your doorstep – hobbit style.

Jules’ Underwater Lodge in Key Largo, Florida
Starting out as a research laboratory in the 1970s, Jules’ Underwater Lodge is probably the most eccentric experiences one can hope for. Being dipped into the deep parts of the ocean, to see sea life in natural habitat floating, swimming, by your windows is something only dreams are made of, or Jules Verne’s novels. Being claustrophobic could hinder the experience but surely any apprehensions are swept away by the natural beauty of the mangrove lagoon, tipped with the scuba gear provided for that personal touch with the sea life.


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October in Edinburgh

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 by Aija


Edinburgh city, a strong contestant for years for the best city in UK, with the happiest inhabitants, most culturally vibrant and the best travel location, never sleeps – even in October.

As always,  Edinburgh offers much to its vast student population, great things for the more stable residents as well as showing its best for the families with children as October is also Mid-term break from schools.

October in Edinburgh is especially exciting for families. For the pupils being on holiday, families are forced to think of other forms of entertainment. How about the Scottish International Storytelling Festival? From 18th till 27th October, this years Festival is all about journeys –  with nomads, explorers, pilgrims and voyagers.  Audiences are to be transported by travellers’ tales that span worlds of geography, fiction and landscapes of the heart, the wanderlust of myths, legends and ancient traditions bringing some magic into the city of literature!

For the older kids, and the parents, there is another kind of festival – the Oktoberfest, bringing the best of Bavarian spirit right into Edinburgh. Strange, right? What does an ancient Gaelic nation have to do with Bavarian “high culture”? Well, nothing – it’s just that little quirky spark that sets Edinburgh apart, celebrating traditions and the best bits from around the world. Mark it on your calendars, as it definitely will be an event not to be missed – 9th till 13th October!

For art lovers of all ages, the Scottish Parliament is providing a true rare treat – in a first for any Parliament, the Scottish Parliament is set to host a free exhibition of more than forty Andy Warhol works of art exploring the themes of power and politics. The exhibition titled Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics exhibits nearly fifty of Warhol’s finest works, supported with workshops where art lovers can learn more about Andy’s extraordinary screen printing method. The exhibition coincides the International Legacy Festival of Scot-American Andrew Carnegie, who believed art and culture should be accessible to all. The exhibition is free and running from 5th October till 3rd November – book your tickets now, especially for the workshops!

Ending this wonderfully quirky month is the Beltane Fire Society‘s Samhuinn Fire Festival on 31st October. A spectacular show made of volunteers who put on the grandest of shows for one night only. And what better place would there be to celebrate Halloween than where the celebration originated. Spooky things are on their way – are you ready for All Hallow’s Eve?

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Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble…

Sunday, 06 October 2013 by Aija

Scotland is by many accounts considered the home of Samhuinn – a traditional Celtic holiday. The end of summer and beginning of winter is embraced, and it is believed that this change in season causes two worlds to nearly collide; the druids would prepare a feast for the one day a year when those from beyond could join the living in a celebration.

Lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to frighten away evils, and laying out a feast of new harvest fit for a king for the kinder sprites was a norm on a night when the doorway between living and the dead would open in search of an opening for a permanent residence. The twilight is inviting, and so Halloween is the favourite time of the year to many in the city as it is a perfectly valid excuse to be a little naughty, a lot frightful and perhaps a pinch childish, too. This year, like every year, the city explodes with activities all themed with Halloween and horror for all the family, the hoards of students and tourists alike.

Who loves Halloween more than children? Costumes, candy, tricks, candy, ghouls, candy. Well, at least if American television is to be believed. Instead, traditional Samhuinn is more about the ghouls and activities of lantern making, bonfires, secret haunts and witchery in the grander scale. Some of the most exciting children’s events for Halloween has an almost-adult like myself trying to find a good enough excuse to join some of these events myself!

Friday 18th & Saturday 19th October: Halloween Hoedown – Puppetry Workshops

  • Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 2pm & 3.30pm (1hr)
  • Free, booking essential. Learn how to make your own puppets with Yugen Puppet Company.
  • Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Sunday 20th October Bewitched!

  • Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 11.30am (1hr)
  • Join traditional storyteller, or Shennachie, Jess Smith and hear magical tales of witches and the supernatural from the Scottish travelling culture.
  • Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Saturday 19th – Thursday 31st – October Spooky Happenings at Almond Valley

Encounter unearthly creatures on a trail of terror, collect the clues and claim a small prize for your bravery. Join in with creepy crafts and gruesome games, and have a spine-tingling good time.

Friday 25th October Friday Fright Night

6pm-9pm. Doors re-open after dark for traditional Halloween games, a moonlight trail, and a ghost train journey into the depths of the night. Come dressed to kill. Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston.

Saturday 26th October: Harry Potter Film Showing & Wizarding Ball

Ghillie Dhu does it in style; Get sorted to your house upon entry, enjoy a food banquet and a butter beer or two whilst taking part in Quidditch, Wizarding Ball and watching the first of Harry Potter films! 12-5pm, £10.00 Per Person (All Ages).

Saturday 26th October The Big Halloween Big Draw

Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two. 1.30-4.30pm. A magical potion of Halloween fun for budding artists, inspired by the exhibition Witches and Wicked Bodies. Find your funny bone by creating your own mixed media dancing skeleton; make a magnificent magic wand from brightly coloured paper, silks and ribbons and use traditional pen and ink techniques to join our ‘Witches Gathering’ by drawing your very own witch to add to our eerie group work. Free entry to exhibition for participating families.

Friday 1st November The Meadows: The Sick Kids Halloween Freaky Friday Monster March

The Sick Kids are holding the first ever Freaky Friday Monster March event. There are plenty of spooky shenanigans planned for this fancy dress sponsored walk around the Meadows, from 6-8pm. Terrifying and fun in equal measures, entry fee is just £7 per person!

Technically a little old for trick or treating? Cannot pass off your obsession with Harry Potter due to the fact you have kids as your kids are already in college or don’t have kids at all? There are some very special treats for the rest of us as well, as Halloween is not all about kids 

Thursday 31st October: Halloween Murder Mystery – The Sorority

Blue Murder Events and Ghillie Dhu have framed up for the perfect Halloween event for crime fictions fans; Following a tradition started almost two thousand years ago, The Sorority Coven meet.   However, they have come a long way from the pointed black hats, billowing cloaks and broomsticks of their ancestors. There are pressing issues for The Sorority to discuss…

Friday 1st November: Club Noir Halloween Horrorama

  • At the Picture House, Edinburgh, 11pm till 3am for some Kitsch horror.  Bloodthirsty burlesque. Glamorous Scream Queens with fetish for Halloween. Cabaret of 14+ acts: striptease, dance, live music, variety. Devil, Madame De Sade, Ghosts, Lady MacBeth, Playing With Fire, etc, etc.
  • Also starring DJs playing vintage and modern music.
  • Dress up.  Like only a Club Noir audience knows how! Anything Goes.

And to wrap the Halloween season up is the ever breath taking Beltane Fire Society’s Samhuinn Fire Festival, October 31 from 9pm.

And last but definitely not the least, travelling from a bit further away, a student? Not is the city alive with ghouls and witches, ready to frighten the bravest of souls, is the Frankenstein’s Halloween Party Week from 25th October till 3rd November every night till 2am- and not just any party week, but one of the biggest Halloween parties in Europe! Come dressed for occasion and jump cue!

The Edinburgh Address loves Halloween just as much as the next person – therefore, our October is filled with special offers to coincide with the busy October! Browse through the special offers on the homepage and find the perfect location to stay whilst getting frightened out of your wits – or while enjoying a calmer Halloween, enjoying the best of the Edinburgh autumn has to offer.

Have horrifying Halloween!

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