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Edinburgh Fringe Reviews, with five days left of the Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe Reviews, with five days left of the Fringe




You could probably argue that the first rule of writing reviews of live performances would probably be to write said review on opening night, or quickly after.

Evidently I didn't read the rule book (or didn't care enough to check).

I make a point of visiting the Edinburgh Fringe every year, but I never tend to make it a priority. And this year I only made it along on Sunday, just one whole week before the whole thing closes its doors for another year. So if you're Fringed out, this is probably a little late - but if you live in or around Edinburgh and have a few hours to kill this week, here are mini-reviews of everything I went to see (which I'm writing in chronological order, but this list also happens to end with my favourite).

Pricks
When I first seen this show's title, I thought "yes, a show that slags off penises". It was - somewhat unfortunately - not about that, but instead a personal memoir about living with Type 1 Diabetes. It's a solo show performed by Jade Byrne, but incorporates sound recordings from Jade's family and other diabetics who she interviewed for the performance.

Out of all the shows I seen, this one made me feel the most emotion. It made me laugh when she responded to silly questions ("can I catch it?"). Educated me when she explained how treatment has moved on over time. Gave me a sore throat as her mum's voice echoed round the room, worrying about who was going to look after Jade when her mum couldn't. Made me uncomfortable as she asked us to put on our blurry glasses as she attempted to illustrate what it felt like to go into hypo. Clenched my fist when she recounted a story when a barmaid refused to serve her Redbull during a hypo, believing her to be a regular drunk.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker
I've always liked wine but have never been able to describe what flavours I like beyond "pinot grigio". Since most wine tours and articles come across as full on upperclass twaddle, so I've never really looked into it.

So a Fringe show that educates me on wine, but simultaneously acknowledges the wanker attitude of most wine journalists and copywriters? Sign me up.

Hosted by Anna Thomas, a native to South Australia who decided to pack up her corporate career and become a wine tour guide, talks us through six of her favourite wines and shares titbits of her life (content warning: she talks about her miscarriage; and financial warning: it costs extra to taste the wine). She confirms (what I've always known, to be honest) that most wine labels are marketing guff, and there's not a single wine that can honestly claim to have undertones of seven different berries. But out of everything she mentioned, my favorite was this: "the best wine in the world isn't the one that some wanky wine journalist tells you should like, it's the one that matches your palette and helps you unwind after a long week".

Plus it turns out Roussanne is the wine I never knew I needed in my life (it's savoury and nutty).

Sidewalk Smut
While exploring Edinburgh and the various Fringe hubs during my five hour break between shows, me and my friend came across a stall adventuring personalised erotica. As a sexology nerd I could not say no to whatever the hell this was.

Turns out, the women was a friendly, funny and feminist-friendly sex therapist and former sex phoneline operator named Cameryn Moore. Aside from her Fringe Show that rips apart society's shitty attitude to sex and re-builds it, she also offers a service called Sidewalk Smut where she interviews curious pedestrians about their sexual preferences, sends them away for about 15 minutes so she can crank out a personalised one-page piece of erotica on her typewriter.

And you can bet your ass I ordered one. While I'm not exactly going to scan and share it on the internet for everyone to see, from a short interview Cameryn managed to pin point exactly what I like in bed and I absolutely adore my short story. I'm keeping it forever.

Politics for Bitches
Potentially one of the most talked about shows at the Fringe, I'm not sure Politics for Bitches needs an introduction or even a review - but here is one anyway:

Fucking awesome.

Especially if you're a frustrated millennial. If you're a 60 year old Tory, you'll probably walk out.

So what do you recommend?
Sidewalk Smut and Politics for Bitches are my top choices - but the other two are definitely solid options (but probably appeal to a more niche audience).

Since the Fringe has already been on for three weeks, I suppose a good closing question is to ask what have your favourite shows been? 
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My favourite Glasgow restaurants for vegan and omni friends

My favourite Glasgow restaurants for vegan and omni friends


(This is Nippon Kitchen)

One of the most common questions I get asked is: where in Glasgow can meat-eaters and vegan friends dine together?

Once upon a time this was a difficult question to answer, and I even struggled to pick places for my own group of friends. These days Glasgow offers a generous selection of vegan menus within its eclectic dining scene - and I have a pre-prepared list for lunch and dinner dates.

This list is by no means exhaustive (vegan menus are so common in Glasgow now that I can't even keep up) and I've decided to limit it to my five favourite restaurants - in no particular order.

Nippon Kitchen





If you were to ask me to choose a favourite restaurant from Glasgow's generous dining scene, it would be Nippon Kitchen. I first discovered Nippon Kitchen back in 2015 and have returned on many occasions since, singing it's praises every time. It's a Japanese place that has always been accommodating for vegans but about a year ago they launched a standalone vegan menu. It's not the cheapest of options, so I usually reserve it for when my parents are down or I'm looking for a nice date venue - but I couldn't rate it higher if I tried.

Pizza Punks



I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't love Pizza Punks. For £10 you can build your own pizza from dozens of toppings (including veggie haggis, mac and cheese, and Irn Bru Pulled Pork), or you can order one of their pre-made options. There's also a vegan chocolate brownie freakshake.

Rose & Grants


If it's brunch you're looking for, then I recommend this place. Not only do they serve a tasty vegan breakfast - they also have lots of vegan goodies behind the counter (like cakes and Vegan Burd Chocolate bars). They even at one point sold limited addition Irn Bru ice-cream!

Tickled Trout




This is a very recent discovery of mine, which I recently reviewed for Vegan Connections. You'll find it on the outskirts of Milngavie - and it is well worth the car drive. The vegan menu is a very recent addition, but contains tasty and creative dishes such as tomato tart and panna cotta. They also have a generous drinks selection behind the bar (plus, it's next to a Dobbies Gardene Centre and that's never a bad thing).

Bread Meats Bread



With a word like meat in the title, you wouldn't think for a second that this place was vegetarian-friendly, let alone vegan. But words can deceive. Bread Meats Bread on St Vincent Street (where all the burger restaurants are) actually sells my all time favourite vegan burger. They also sell vegan poutine!


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July Linkables

July Linkables




So, uh, hi again. Remember me and my Linkables series? If you're new around these parts, Linkables is where I round up the best the internet has to offer. It used to be weekly, then it became monthly - and then it became whenever I could actually find the time (even though I do love putting them together, and I've been told people love them).

I would say I've had lots of exciting things going on in my life, but that would be a lie. I've just become a cliched adult who has a job to go to, a flat to run, and personal relationships to nourish. I've also been taking more time to myself and introverting self-care time has become a standard part of my life (at last).

But enough about me and my standard life. Links!

If you read one thing from this list, make it this article on how the mainstream chat on mental health is far too cutesy and really does fuck all for people with severe mental health problems.

Shan BOODY is a new (to me) sex and relationship YouTuber. Her work is sex-positive, inclusive, modern and covers topics not always covered by other sexperts. My favourite videos are Women Who Love Casual Sex, Working in Porn with Erica Lust, and The Importance of Sexual Intent





I've written before on men caring too much about their fandoms, and I found this great piece that explores a similar theme: The Problem With Not Caring About Pop Culture



I loved Daria as a teenager (much to my parents' dismay) and as an adult I know why I was drawn to her.



My Instagram Stories game is something I'm trying to improve in both my work and personal life, so this article is just as much for myself as it is for you

“People will come to you with their problems and imply that you’re the only one who can solve them. This is almost never true.” TRUTH!

What have you been reading this month? 




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What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.

What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.




Back in February I shared my experience on getting comfortable with long-term singlehood.

But I told a little white lie. Sort of. I mentioned that I hadn't been in an official relationship in seven years. Which is completely true. What I didn't mention is that I have been in what you would consider (or what I like to call) two casual relationships, both roughly lasting 18 months. Not only that...but I've been in a new casual relationship since March.

For the most part, when I have a casual relationship it tends not to be public knowledge. But when someone has found out I get a barrage of questions (and confused looks). Questions that I am going to answer today. Maybe you'll decide that a casual relationship is something you would like to explore. Or maybe you'll decide it sounds like the worse thing ever for you personally, but you'll go forward with a more open mind towards people who have chosen this style of dating.

So what exactly is a casual relationship? 

In a nutshell, it's somewhere between friends with benefits and a serious committed relationship.

Where exactly the line between casual relationship and serious relationship lies is up to the people involved. For me personally, I still go on cute dates, have sex, get to know the person really well, maybe even buy them a birthday present. What I don't do is introduce them to my parents, or take them to the office party, have much evidence of it on social media or - this is the important bit - plan a real future them.

Have a think, chat it out with the person you're seeing and decide what a casual relationship should look like for you.

Aren't you afraid that you'll miss out on someone real if you're messing around with someone casual for too long? 

First off, it's 2018 and we shouldn't be assuming that everyone's end game is marriage.

Secondly, this is the reason why I have limited record of my casual relationships on social media - so prospective partners don't mistake me as spoken for.

Thirdly, I identify as polyamorous and wouldn't consider a serious relationship unless the conversation of ethical non-monogamy was on the table (but more on that later).

Do you end a casual relationship after a certain amount of time or just let it run on? 

I personally let it run on for as long as both parties are happy for it to. Other people might choose to put a time limit on it from day one. It's everyone's own choice.

Aren't you just delaying an inevitable break-up? 

Since I identify as poly and I'm not overly fussed about finding myself a life partner, my current casual relationship might carry on for the rest of my life. Most people are surprised to hear that my previous two relationships lasted 18 months - but both my exes were not fussed about finding a serious relationship (though they didn't identify as poly).

But if you are someone who ultimately wants a serious monogamous relationship, you will need to accept that you'll be delaying an inevitable break-up. But if you're respectful and honest with your partner - and no one is in love - the break-up should be swift.

Do you break-up with a casual partner the same way a serious partner?

100%. My second casual relationship even bought me a break-up pizza.

Would you date or have sex with other people? 

While it is up to the individuals involved it's generally my advice that expecting commitment and monogamy from someone you're not serious with is possessive.

In both my previous casual relationships, I didn't actually sleep with anyone else but was still swiping through Tinder and went on one or two dates (that didn't lead anywhere). Both these previous relationships were slightly unhealthy in the sense that I felt a little bad about dating other people - and I recognise now that I should have had a serious conversation with them and potentially ended it if we weren't on the same page. Thankfully, in my current relationship we communicate about the other people we're seeing and get excited for each other.

Remember: if you are sleeping with multiple people it's really important to practise safe sex.

What would you do if you met someone serious?

As I mentioned earlier, I would never enter a relationship that would only ever be exclusively two people. My current casual partner feels the same way and we have already had the conversation where we've agreed that (assuming circumstances don't change) that if either of us did meet a life partner, we would continue to date and would become secondary partners.

Are you sure that you're not just a commitment-phobe? 

I had/have my reasons for not being official with any of my casual partners, and those reasons still stand. Being with them in a serious capacity didn't feel right and I don't regret letting them "get away".

Do you want a serious relationship or do you prefer casual relationships?

Sometimes I respond to this question with "none of your business" BUT if you're really interested...

...I'm not opposed to having a life partner however it's not something I actively look for. My first casual relationship was actually the least healthy relationship I've ever been in - I was aggressively set up with the person, they weren't honest for three months about only wanting something light, and I learnt more about what I didn't want more than what I did want. My second casual relationship had a few issues, but not nearly as many as the first and I was happy during the 18 months I was with them. My current casual relationship is the healthiest relationship I've been in, with a mature adult who wants the same thing as me and knows how to communicate their needs (and listen to mine).

As long as you listen to your gut, communicate with your partner, and don't string anyone along a casual relationship can be just as a fulfilling as a serious one.

If you're not hurting anyone, then you're not doing anything wrong.

P.S. I'm happy to answer any (respectful) questions! 
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