Category Archives: Edinburgh

Signor Baffo’s Restaurant: Fringe Review

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Reasons I loved this show:

*One child laughed so hard on stage, he wet himself

*The interaction from the kids was so spirited it bordered on improv

*He made a massive mess on the floor with eggs and flour

*The kids got to chuck stuff at him

*There were a few classic lines for the adults that sailed straight over the kids’ heads

So – I was super-chuffed when I was offered tix for this show and asked to review it. You see, the first line after the title was “free pancakes for everyone afterwards and tea and coffee for parents”. Now this is a performer who knows his audience.

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I’m always a bit nervous taking my wild kids to live performances (see this review) – but the layout of this Fringe show was ideal. Lots of big cushions at the front for wee ones and then rows of seats for the adults – with plenty room down the sides for toilet dashes. (Too bad that cute blonde kid on stage didn’t make it.)

From his entrance on a bike to his sprint exit, Signor Baffo held the kids’ attention like the Pied Piper. His energy was relentless but perfectly controlled. He mixed it up constantly, drawing us in to the tiny details of a sausage in a dress then taking up the whole space with spaghetti bolognese tennis. My boys were spellbound.

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Afterwards, it seemed the guy had spent every penny of his profit on the extras – pancakes with all sorts of toppings for the kids, tea and proper coffee for us, balloons, stick-on moustaches, hats, crayons… Like I said – he clearly knew his audience.

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The final seal of approval came from KD who, just as we were walking out The Principal Hotel’s front door, suddenly wailed: “I want to go back!” and sprinted down three corridors before I could catch him.

5 stars *****

Signor Baffo’s Restaurant 11am (45 mins) 5-27 Aug Venue 119 The Principal, George St

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PAW PATROL LIVE! review

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After an astonishingly successful trip to Justin’s Band in March, I felt brave enough to accept a family press ticket to Paw Patrol Live – The Great Pirate Adventure.

The first thing to say is we are HUGE Paw Patrol fans in our house. Huge. Bribe-them-with-a-new-pup-for-sleeping-through-the-night huge.

So when I told them we were going to see them live, their faces were a picture.

“Live? Like alive? In real life?” KD sought to clarify with a three year old’s logic.

“Yes! They’ll be right in front of you! Marshall, Chase, Rubble – the whole gang!” I confirmed, as they both started jumping up and down squealing.

“Are you going to see Paw Patrol?” the nursery teacher asked at pick up. “He’s mentioned it once or twice…”

Then, at 6am today, a human bullet hit me in the stomach.

“Is it today Mummy? Do we have the tickets for today?” KD demanded, holding my face in his hands for my full focus.

Thank goodness it was a 10am showing.

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I’ll make a small complaint here about The Edinburgh Playhouse. No issue with the Box Office and ticket collection, but come on. A massive snaking queue of effervescent children waiting to get into the venue?

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At least it moved fairly quickly – and the ticket staff were fabulous.

“Now, no crowd surfing at the end, young man,” he warned my seven year old.

Huge thanks to Emma at Norton PR for acquiescing to my request for an aisle seat – we had row M in the circle. This meant loads of legroom and easy access which, when you have a child with ADHD, is a godsend.

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Kudos too to Mummy and Daddy who timed the entry to perfection – three minutes til showtime.

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As a parent, there are few things more touching than witnessing the look of glorious wonder on your children’s faces as they take in their cartoon heroes right in front of them.

They sat motionless.

Not silent, but motionless.

They yelled every character’s name and waved hello as they entered, gazed spellbound as they sang and danced, screamed and pointed at the errant parrot and generally soaked in the whole experience.

There was a quick dash to the cash point in the Omni centre so they could have the flashing cutlasses brandished by everyone around them (£15 a pop – ouch!). There was also a harried return to locate the mobile phone which slipped between the seats and was noted as missing back in the car. But otherwise, it was a stress-free experience.

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“I want to go and talk to them!” was the only complaint at the end. I wonder if the company might consider a meet-and-greet. Not in the foyer – that place was crazy. We even got collared by a film crew who wanted KD’s reaction – but he was in a huff. He was not up for it in the slightest. But perhaps somewhere else…

If I had to sum up the show in one word, it would be ‘energetic’.

The cast were brilliant – they must have been knackered by the end. I loved the way they combined oversize puppets with a video background. A lot of the music was familiar from the TV show, but there was plenty of new material too. The boys got involved with some of the dance routines and there was just enough panto “he’s behind you” to engage the audience without descending into farce.

As a parent, I loved it. Super colourful, high tempo, professional and fun.

As a kid – well, they couldn’t have been happier. When a boy with a short attention span can be engrossed for 90 minutes, you know you’ve done a great job.

Bravo production team.

5 star recommended *****

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Should you put your kids on social media?

My sister had a gorgeous baby boy in February. He’s the cutest wee thing and his laugh makes my heart burst.

You’ll just have to take my word for it though. She’s decided his face will not be on social media.

“I feel it’s his choice and I shouldn’t make that decision for him,” she told me. “Also, there are some weird and awful people on the internet and it freaks me out. I want to protect him. And anyway, people’s baby spam gets so boring…”

It’s a tricky one – particularly for parent bloggers like me.

I take reasonable precautions – I give my children code names, I password-protect the most personal posts and I try to only publish pictures that are appropriate.

I’ve cut back hugely on the instagram pics of my boys. My profile there is open – and I’ve decided to make it less personal and more general. I’ve ‘rebranded’ to EdinburghKim and the focus is now on Edinburgh life. It’s still my Edinburgh life – but I’m thinking more about my audience and what they might be interested in – like recommendations of cafes and days out. Any family pics or videos I put on my insta stories – gone in 24hrs.

Could I take my kids off social media altogether?

I don’t think I could.

I bumped into my friend Sarah in the gym this morning. We hadn’t seen each other for months so the kettlebells were ignored for a good 15 minutes while we caught up.

“I love seeing your pics of the boys,” she said. “You can tell how close they are!”

We met at a baby music class, so I feel like our kids are a big part of our relationship. I love watching her girls grow up, and all the funny things they get up to. I think removing our little ones from social media would really affect the bonds I have with a lot of my friends.

I pushed the boundaries a little bit recently though.

On holiday in Spain, we made a video.

The point of it is to sell our property in Aberdeen – but it’s a bit daft, and both my youngest and my husband feature in it. They both absolutely loved the process and the finished product. KD in particular was a natural on camera and has watched it over and over and over.

One friend who saw it said we should start a channel and my immediate reaction was NO WAY!

That’s a step too far.

If, when they’re old enough, they want to start vlogging then I’ll advise and supervise, but for now I’m going to give them that privacy at least.

Where do your boundaries lie?

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It’s hard, but it’s quick – The Cleanse

I love food.

I love baked Camembert and steak pie and Magnums and rum cocktails.

I’m active but I’m greedy. If there’s a packet of Oreos in front of me, I’ll hoover half of them and don’t even get me started on Kettle Chips…

Last Wednesday I got a fright. My jeans had been feeling a bit tight, so I booked into a spin class and thought I’d jump on the scales in the gym.

I nearly burst into tears right there next to the kettle bells.

I was 2.5kg (5.5lb) over my maximum weight. I have a 2kg(4.4lb) plus or minus range I try to stay within – and here I was miles over. How had this happened? I realised it was pretty simple. I’d been eating like a pig.

Send help

So after blasting that spin class, I did what any woman does. I got straight on Whatsapp and wailed to my girls.

“Do you want my help?” Dionne – the London-based nutritionist and personal trainer – asked.

“YES!” I shouted.

Being the wonderful supportive friend she is, she immediately sent me details of the cleanse* she normally charges a lot of money for.

“It has to start with your gut health,” she explained. “You need to clear out all the crap, get on top of the cravings and change your eating habits for good.”

Christ. I read through that pack with growing dread.

On the list of foods to enjoy, I was pleased to see:

eggs

walnuts

oats

steak and chicken

peppermint tea

most vegetables

coconut

On the list of foods to avoid were – well – everything else.

“I can cut out everything but coffee,” I texted back, but she was adamant. I was desperate. I said I’d do it.

The headache

Oh dear lord the headache. It started later on Wednesday and I swear it didn’t shift until Saturday morning. It was so bad that I called Dionne on Friday night and said I wasn’t sure I could carry on. She was sympathetic and said I could adapt it as long as I stuck to the golden rules:

8 glasses of water a day

no processed foods

no carbs after 2pm

no sugar

Thank god I woke up without that headache on Saturday or I would have probably quit in a spectacular orgy of Cadburys and Costa. As it was I drank my peppermint tea, gave myself a pep talk and carried on.

The turning point

Sunday was a huge challenge because we went to a family barbecue. My mother-in-law is a spectacular cook and hostess, all my favourite things were on the table in front of me – tortilla chips, Desperados beer, big floury rolls, ice cream… But I abstained. Ok, I had four tortilla chips. FINE it was eight. But old me would have scoffed the bag and washed it all down with beer, so I’m still calling it a win.

I woke up on Monday and I didn’t crave coffee. I was astonished, then smug. I posted it on Instagram and everything.

Last night I went out for dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages – I drove, I drank a virgin Mojito (apple juice, lime juice naughty) and I had steak and salad for dinner. I had one small glass of red wine and savoured every sip. The next day was the weigh-in, I gave myself the wine for making it that far.

The weigh in

So this morning I headed to the gym and those scales. I told myself not to hope too much. 1kg would be great, a sixth of my goal weight loss before our summer holiday. I stepped on and held my breath. Oh. I’d lost 500g. No, wait – what’s that first number? I actually gasped.

I’d lost 2.5kg. That’s five and a half pounds. In a week.

I’ve lost a third of my goal weight loss in one week.

I am so damn proud of myself.

So what’s next?

Well – I have created some good habits and I’m going to Spain in seven weeks, so I’ll be damned if I stop now. Dionne (who was super proud) said I could reintroduce fruit a week today. One portion a day – and berries are my friend. Meantime I’m happy to avoid the coffee and I can stay on the wagon. I may introduce a sandwich at lunchtime – but I can do without carbs at dinner time. I think I’ll bring yoghurts back for my afternoon snack. Oh – and I’d better do my measurements for a truer reflection of my transformation.

Bonus features

Genuinely – I feel fantastic. I feel in balance – neither full nor hungry. I’m so proud of this willpower I’ve discovered in myself. I feel strong. I’m totally motivated – this works and I have a holiday at the end of it. If I do have a wee cheat, I enjoy every morsel of it. It’s a good lesson for life. You should try it.

*The Cleanse is tailored to each client – Dionne knows my medical history so could confidently recommend it. She’s a nutritionist, not a dietician, so always has a consultation with the client before suggesting any programmes.

 

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When cliches start to make sense…

Why are we all so scared of getting old?

It’s easy to ward off the flab and the bad health if you just go to the gym and eat healthily – as for wrinkles and sag, I think I’d rather look natural than inflated.

I feel myself getting more and more comfortable in my skin. Life teaches you some tough lessons as you gather responsibilities. All those old cliches begin to make sense.

Be yourself. This drove me insane as a teenager because who the hell was I? Who did I want the world to think I was? Now I know what makes me happy, what’s important to me, what I will stand up for and what makes me uncomfortable. I’ve learned that ignoring these things bothers me for days. Don’t you hate that feeling of ‘God I wish I’d said something’? So now I do. (most of the time)

Beauty is only skin deep. I never even understood this phrase – like how deep is skin? Now I’ve met enough boring beauties and handsome arseholes to get it. People whose beauty conforms to 21st century standards are rarely good company. In my experience they’re pretty low in self-confidence and fairly draining to be around.

Just ignore the bullies. Yeah – cos that was possible in the playground. There was one lunchtime though, age nine, when I was in the firing line, and I leaned through the gate to talk to the lollipop man. He was elderly and hilarious – full of stories. Now I know there is ALWAYS someone to talk to, if you just look around. Bullying is a fact of life – people abuse power absolutely everywhere – so you might as well hone your coping mechanisms. I’ve also figured out that, when someone is upsetting you, think about the worst thing they could do and make your peace with it. Their power over you vanishes. I had a boss whose relentless demands nearly made me ill. When I realised that if she fired me I had genuine options, I stopped letting her get to me. I also developed those options and handed in my notice.

Love yourself. Ooft. Now if I had the answer to this one I’d call myself the Messiah. I think women in particular are very bad at being nice to themselves. I have this one friend who’s like a mirror. She and I beat ourselves up about things and turn to each other for comfort. One day we realised we would never speak to each other in the tone of our internal monologues, so we resolved to change. I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who’s adored me since I was 17 so I’ve always had a foundation of ‘if this wonderful guy loves me that much, I must be OK’. Of course the devil on my shoulder reminds me I didn’t date very much so maybe no one else would have had me. I think, as I work through challenges and counsel friends through hard times, I’m realising how powerful love really is.

It’s all water under the bridge. This once vague concept has become pretty central to it all, really. The bridge is our path through life – sometimes it feels strong and sturdy, other times it sways slightly and, let’s face it, on occasion it feels like it will be washed away by the torrent. It’s all about how you perceive the river. I try very hard to keep my bridge strong and fortify it with the people I love and the things that make me happy. Everything else I consign to the water and let it wash away. It’s not allowed to stick to my bridge. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to scrape away the flotsam and jetsam. I guess it’s like the Forth Road Bridge. I’ll never be finished painting it.

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Best friends

Isn’t it just the cutest when your toddler becomes a proper wee lad with views on the world and a proper best friend?

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I feel like our wee Smoosh has grown up so much in the last few months. The things he comes out with just astonish me. He remembers everything, which frequently catches me out, and he repeats everything. Rod insists it was me who “taught” him the F word – but when he said it to Grammy, after she’d told him to stop playing with the gas hob, he added: “That’s what daddy says”…

Last night in the car on the way home from Glasgow I said: “Hey – no sleeping!” and his answer nearly made me crash.
“I’m not sleeping mummy – I’m just chilling.”

He’s such a sociable wee lad (he and his friend Lewis yell “Hi stinky bum” across the street at each other at the school drop off) but his very best friend has remained constant for a long time now. I’ll call him Spiderman because that’s who he thinks he is.

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The woman in the supermarket asked me if they were twins.

Spiderman’s mummy is also a superhero, she saves me frequently, including when I crashed the car last week. It is so great to have a friend who will happily take your kids or give you hers, who also lives a few streets away and who shares your guilty passion for alcohol on a weeknight. She loans me her daughter too, when I want to play makeup or princesses.

I spend a lot of time discussing how hard being a mum is – but actually, friends like that make it wonderful. I’m lucky to have her and all the other awesome strong mums around me who get it – so I’m going to take a day off from the moaning.

I’ll be back tomorrow no doubt.

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33 times when you know you’re a mum

You know you’re a mum when:

1 The supermarket checkout looks like this:

2 You come home from visiting your best friend, your partner asks how she is and you have no idea. You’ve spent the afternoon breaking up fights, cleaning up spills and interrupting every sentence with “NO! Don’t do that!”

3 Your washing line looks like this: 

4 You start referring to 7am as ‘a long lie’

5 Your reflexes become superhuman – you can catch a small child as they run onto the road using only the sound of their footsteps.

6 You think this is totally normal: 

7 Nakedness is no longer odd, sexy or even slightly unusual.

8 Every time you open a kitchen cupboard, a packet of Hula Hoops falls out.

9 Every time a packet of Hula Hoops falls out a cupboard you catch it with your superhuman reflexes.

10 You have a playlist called “Chillout” and you play it top volume to drown out the screaming.

11 Your own parents start putting up signs: 

12 Your car, once your pride and joy, smells like McDonalds, has at least three jackets in the boot and has snacks stored in every pocket.

13 You no longer buy heels. Or anything white.

14 You spend a lot of time sitting in your car, eating snacks, because someone is finally asleep in the back.

15 You don’t even look in H&M adults any more, you go straight to the kids’ section and spend more than you ever spent on yourself.

16 You’ve started visiting Poundland because they have cheap stickers and no one cares if your kids run riot.

17 You used to go to parks for a run – or, centuries ago, to have a sneaky fag or snog. Now you’re there every day, bargaining with a toddler who’s stripped half naked and lain down on a bench.

18 Even though you’re finally realising you’re an adult and should have a Drinks Cabinet – the booze never hangs around long enough for you to create one.

19 You’ve become very tidy, simply because your children eat mess.

20 You used to eat out frequently, now you’re lucky to eat a McDonalds with a decent view.

21 You are obsessed with keys.

22 Any dreams you had of a flower-filled garden have been crushed.

23 You’ve stopped buying newspapers (no time to read them), watching the news channel (drowned out by wails for Peppa Pig) or even listening to it on the radio after your child started paying attention and asking awkward questions you’re so not ready to deal with.

24 Even though you never used to particularly go out for cake, it’s now your Friday saviour (or Tuesday or every damn day): 

25 You’ve mastered that quiet scary voice your mum always used to make you shit yourself.

26 You get overexcited when you finally get a night out and inevitably get too drunk and slightly disgrace yourself.

27 You are no longer woken by an alarm clock. You’re woken by a headlock.

28 You don’t even put up a fight any more when a small child wants to do your makeup.

29 You always carry wipes – even to business meetings. Hell, especially to business meetings. Is that banana or shit on your sleeve?

30 You bribe your children for the smallest thing – even five minutes of no fighting is totally worth two brand new bumper sticker books.

31 Interiors decisions are no longer based on aesthetics, they’re based on durability, wipeability and whether they can be glued back together.

32 You pick your battles wisely: 

33 You do occasionally get overwhelmed with love:

If you liked this post you should check out

20 Life Hacks for Stressed Out Mums

8 Stress- busters for Busy Mums

How to tidy – in 13 steps

 

 

 

 

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