Edinburgh Fringe 2017 Top Picks

With the Fringe in its 70th year, this fantastic festival brings thousands of people, performers and patrons to our streets and brings them alive. It transforms Edinburgh as we know it; but with literally thousands of shows to choose from, the trouble is knowing where to start. With the action kicking off on the 4th August, we’re ready and raring to go.

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© Suitcase Mag

So, here are our top picks to get you going…

Quarter Life Crisis | 3-13, 15-27/08 | From £6.50

“Alicia is a hot mess”. Now, if this doesn’t speak volumes to you, you mustn’t have reached your quarter life crisis stage yet. Lucky you. Promising to mix addictive basslines, spoken word and audience participation, we’re not quite sure what to expect but we know it sounds good!

Hot Brown Honey | 2-8, 10-13, 15-20, 22-27/08 | From £10

More than just theatre or cabaret, Hot Brown Honey are on a mission to fight the power – with a bit of panache (and dance, poetry, comedy, circus, striptease and song of course). This is set to be the beginning of a movement. Let’s be there with them.

Showhawk Duo | 24-26/08 | £10

Massive Ibiza tunes, played on acoustic guitars…! The whole room will be jumping and they were apparently discovered playing on the Royal Mile in previous years so these shows are set to be extra special.

Avocado! |  2-11, 14-23, 26-27/08 | From £7.50

The avocado has in essence become our icon of the decade – even becoming its own emoji due to popular demand. The boys at Avocado! are set to sketch out scenes I’m sure we’ll all be familiar with and what it means to be a 20-something in this day and age “flat whites and flats we can’t afford”.

Erin McGathy, Murdertown | Aug 2-13, 15-28 | From £8

Erin hosts a podcast called “This feels terrible” where she is very open and vulnerable, but quite hilarious and this show sounds like it will be a departure from her usual style with a one woman murder mystery.

Austentatious |3-14, 16-28/08 | From £11.50

A choose your own adventure romp through Jane Austen’s back catalogue. They’ve been to the Fringe before; it’s a funny, silly, hour and you won’t be disappointed. 

Sara Pascoe Ladsladslads |2-13, 15-27/08 | From £7

Ridiculously intelligent, comedian and now published (and lauded) author, Sara Pascoe uses her intelligence and wit to create thought provoking but hilarious comedy shows. Once you’ve seen her, go and buy her book ‘Animal’. You can thank us later.

Tessa Coates: Primates | 2-26/08 | From £6

An up-and-coming new(ish) comedian to the circuit whose Debrief podcast is gaining popularity which she co-hosts with previous fringe performer Stevie Martin (not Steve). The preview info doesn’t give much away but we’re waiting in anticipation to see how this debut show goes.

Nina Conti | 17-27/08 | From £12

Nina actually has two shows this year – “In Your Face” which is like the plastic mouth they use in Celebrity Juice for an hour of improvised “witchery” and her second show “In Therapy” features the ventriloquist monkey she’s become known for. Again, a return performer who’s tried and tested.

#Dave: Literally the Best Magician | 5-27/08 | Free

A magician / comedian / mind reader. It’s completely brilliant and it’s free! You’ll leave the show laughing, a bit confused and completely blown away.

The Guilty Feminist | 4-5/08 | From £13

Panel based discussion and comedy show about ‘noble 21st century feminists goals and the hypocrisies and insecurities which undermine them’. It’s relevant, at times poignant and always funny. Each show opens with panellists admitting “I’m a feminist but…”

Skin | 2-13, 15-28/08 | From £7 

“This is not my body”. A dance show which will tell the story of a boy’s journey through gender transition. The critically acclaimed group will perform an ’emotionally driven story of identity and belonging’.

EIF Fireworks Concert | 28/08 | From free

Of course we have to go out with a bang. These fireworks will be some of the best you’ve seen in your life – mind blowing, goosebump inducing, breathtaking. Choreographed to a score by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. You can either watch for free from Princes Street or pay for a better view from Princes Street Gardens. Not to be missed.

What else are you planning to see? Hit us up with your recommendations!

 

 

 

5 Shows to Rebound with Now Love Island is Over

WRITTEN BY ALLANAH LANGSTAFF

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Confession: I’ve been having a summer romance with ITV2’s Love Island. For those on the outside, it may seem like a tawdry reality series banking on backstabbing, sex and hot bods in a state of undress to draw in an audience. However, the series’ enduring popularity has proven that it takes so much more than that to keep viewers switching on six nights a week for eight weeks. My Love Island Addicts WhatsApp group have shared over 1000 messages; I have people I’ve not been in touch with for years in getting in touch just to have someone to talk to about it; I have the app installed on my phone to vote for my favourite couple. The series has explored feminism, body image, masculinity, anxiety and been unapologetic about having a good time.

But now it’s over. So instead of being a total melt and mugging myself off, here are the shows I’ll be watching to fill the void.

Game of Thrones | Sky Atlantic | Mondays | 2am & 9pm

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Get yourself a honey to watch GoT with who looks at you the way Tormund look at Brienne

Summer is over. Winter is Coming. We are one week in to what promises to the most epic series to date of the on screen adaption of A Song of Ice and Fire. Thankfully, living in Edinburgh means you don’t have to feel bad about shutting the curtains in July to get the full atmospheric effect of George R R Martin’s world brought to the small screen.

Shark Week | Discovery | Begins Sunday 23rd July

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Shark week is probably one of the biggest events of the year in Natural History programming. This year Michael Phelps is racing a Great White Shark on Monday 24th July.  Enough said.

Girlboss |Netflix

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According to TV critics this is a series you aren’t supposed to admit liking. Look, I get it, the titular character Sophia, based on Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso, is a total jerk.  And it is quite hard to root for a character and their business having read the unflattering depictions of its real life inspiration. That being said, I’m enjoying it as one of those shows you stick on in the background. Britt Robertson gives a great performance, it’s stacked with early 2000s pop culture nostalgia and it’s set in San Francisco which makes me extra forgiving of even more terrible shows and films. See movie The Sweetest Thing.

Top of the Lake | BBC2 | Thursdays | 9pm

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For those of you mourning the end of The Handmaid’s Tale this coming Sunday you have a few more weeks of watching Elizabeth Moss on the small screen. The follow up to the 2013 series returns this week with what is being billed as an incredible performance from Nicole Kidman. No subscription required.

Ozark | Netflix

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Comparisons are already being drawn to Breaking Bad for it’s ‘family man turns to wrong side of the law’ storyline as Jason Bateman’s financial advisor character turns money launderer for a drug cartel in the back woods of Missouri. I haven’t seen an episode yet but the trailer hooked me in with the moody colour palette and presence of Laura Linney. Another one to watch with the curtains closed.

What else will you be watching?

 

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

WRITTEN BY DEBBIE SMITH

It’s no secret that weddings cost a lot, with the average in the UK now costing £27,000 (yes, really). When my best friend asked me to marry him, I couldn’t wait to get planning our special day. But if you’re like us: on a budget and dreading the thought of a two year engagement then there are plenty of options out there to explore. Let’s face it, wouldn’t it be better to save some of that cash for a gorgeous honeymoon or perhaps a deposit on your first home? Here are some tips from an Athena bride to be on how to plan a beautiful wedding, without the hefty price tag!

Invitations

There are a ton of cute, free wedding invite templates online that you can download, edit and print off to send to your guests. Just pick up some lovely craft paper and voila, a beautiful invite that costs next to nothing! Wedding Chicks is a fab website full of free printables for all you budget conscious brides-to-be and they have hundreds to choose from.

Ceremony


Did you know that you can get married anywhere in Scotland? You can tie the knot up a remote, scenic hill in the highlands, or even in your neighbour’s huge garden! All that’s required is your marriage notice, fees and hiring a celebrant. The basic cost for a ceremony is only £125. Other options are registry offices, they are cheap and often in beautiful old buildings which will look great in the photographs!

Reception


It’s worth looking into your local town hall as often they are free (or very cheap) to hire and come as a blank canvas for you to decorate how you choose. Get on eBay and buy some bunting, lanterns and table covers for a small price and you’ll have the place looking beaut in no time! Some bar/restaurants have large function rooms for hire for a small fee or sometimes they’re even “free” if they work on a minimum spend at the bar.

Outfits


Now we’ve all heard from a friend how much they’ve spent on a wedding dress and thought “that’s more than my rent!” but if you’re savvy and have a look online, the web is bursting with budget bridal boutiques and second hand bargains on eBay. ASOS do a fabulous bridal range and have some gorgeous suits for the groom all at reasonable prices.

Flowers


If you’re having a small wedding and only require a few bouquets, some florists will do a deal for around £100-£150. If you like a challenge and fancy having a keep-sake from your special day, look into brooch bouquets on Pinterest. You can buy one ready made or get creative and make your own! Baby’s breath (or gysophilia) is a beautiful and cheap flower to use for a cool, bohemian look.

Music & Entertainment 


Hiring a band or DJ can soon ramp up the cost of your big day. Why not have an evening in with your other half, open some wine and get on Spotify to make a playlist bespoke to your day. That’s what we did and we also included song request slips in our invites for our guests, to make the day more personal. Photo booths are all the rage these days, but can cost a lot. Get on eBay and you’ll find props for under £10! Throw in a Polaroid or a camera on a tripod and you’ve got yourself a make-shift photo booth your guests will love – and you’ll love looking through the photos as your keepsakes of the day!

Photographs & Cake


Wedding photographs can cost upwards of £1000 but, whilst they are special, there are ways around the large sum! Check with friends and family, you may have a budding or qualified photographer in there who would take your photos for you at mates rates! Get on to local universities and check for students looking to build a portfolio, they’d be happy to help. As for wedding cake? Have a go at making your own! You can get as creative as you like and there are tons of cute cake toppers online to pop on top of your creation ready for the big day. Failing that, get on to the friends and family, there’s surely a keen baker in there somewhere!

Food & Drink


Whilst I’m sure we’d all love to treat our guests to a lavish three course meal, but it can really add to the bill. Opt for a buffet instead, most venues will offer deals on a substantial buffet or may even let you bring your own. Get all the family round to help make the sandwiches and whatnot and you can save a fortune! Drinks packages also drive the cost up so try negotiating a corkage fee with your venue and BYOB. Most of the popular supermarkets do bottles of Prosecco for £5-£6 each, so you can save a pretty penny on your bubbles for the toasts!

So there you have it, some simple ways to keep the cost of your big day down. With some careful planning and personal touches, you can make the wedding of your dreams on any budget!

Have you planned a wedding on a budget? Share your top tips with us in the comments!

5 Podcasts to Feel Empowered

WRITTEN BY KIM STEELE


There are loads of great podcasts out there to make you feel empowered and and galvanised for action. The beauty of podcasts is that when you mention your favourites, everyone has more recommendations for you and before you know it, you’re a podcast queen. 

Here are five of our favourites:

1. The Guilty Feminist

Hosted by Deborah Frances-White and featuring a plethora of badass co-hosts and guests, the podcast aims to “explore the noble goals of a 21st century feminist and the insecurities and hypocrisies that undermine them”. This one can make you laugh and cry at the same time. Her recitation of Once More Unto the Breach (episode 34) is goose pimple inducing.

2. Heroine Addicts

Join Alice, Emma, Louise and Miztli as they explore the lives of their favourite heroines episode by episode. That’s heroine with an e. The theme tune is super catchy and their subjects are varied, whether actual or fictional, but always about kick ass females throughout history. From female wrestlers to Moana, it’s a surprise and a treat each fortnight when a new episode drops.

3. Guys We F****d

The anti-slut shaming podcast. This one does exactly what it says on the tin: hosts Corinne and Krystyna literally interview the guys they f****d. Makes for interesting listening. Viva la sex. 

4. Girlboss Radio

Everyone and their cat has now heard of Sophia Amoruso author of Girl Boss book and about who the Netflix (now cancelled) series was loosely based on. In this podcasts, Sophia chats to other amazing bosses. You’ll finish them feeling inspired and ready to be a boss too.

5. We Should All Be Feminists

A TED Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie believes that we teach girls to be successful, but not too successful otherwise men will be threatened and that needs to change. An empowering, touching, and sometimes funny half hour TED talk that will leave you invigorated and ready to go out into the world to make change.

What are your favourites? Tell us in the comments below…

 

The GLOW Edit: 5 Things You Need If You’re Obsessed With GLOW

WRITTEN BY KIM STEELE

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80s, catfights, wrestling, women’s empowerment, fighting the patriarchy, friendships and kicking ass – GLOW’s got it all.

The void left once you complete the box set can be filled with these five items inspired by the show.

A Glittery Swimsuit

Cos, obvs. No GLOW fan could possibly be without one of these. This shimmery number from New Look is perfect to channel Ruth (pre-Zoya).

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Wrestling Belt 

Every wrestler needs a belt. These are cropping up all over the high street so we’re calling it now that this will be a big thing in the coming months in the afterglow (see what we did there). Cinch that waist and kick some ass.

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Biba T-Shirt

Justine is the QUEEN of cute tees . You’re unlikely to get them on the high street, though. We’ve set up an alert for Biba t-shirts on eBay. Fingers crossed!

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Cat Ears

Pair this cute fascinator with some heavy eyeshadow and a hella’ eyeliner and you’ll be feeling your inner Sheila in no time.

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Velour Track Top

We’re not quite ready to make a return to the heady mid-noughties Juicy Couture days, but we can sneak a little bit of velour back into our wardrobes with this perfect cropped hoody from Urban Outfitters.

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Still need a fix? Follow them on Instagram to learn the moves.

What are your other favourite costumes in the show?

10 Subscription Boxes to Celebrate Payday

WRITTEN BY EVE SMITH

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If you’re already lamenting pay weekend having been and gone, why don’t you give yourself something to look forward to at the end of this month?

It’s a craze that’s been around for longer than you’d think, but it seems there’s a subscription box for just about everything right now. So what else can you get dropped on your doorstep besides mascara and fresh fruit? From cheese toasties to tampons, there really is something for everyone…!

  1. Lucky Dip Club

Do you remember those amazing lucky dip bags you used to get as a kid? Lucky Dip Club’s subscription boxes are like the grown up version of those (kind of). The best bit is that each box features one personalised item that’s intended just for you! Here’s a sneak peak on Instagram #luckydipclub.

  1. Cheese Posties

Can we just take a moment to admire the name of this subscription box? It’s awesome! Okay so just to be clear here, the #cheeseonpost guys don’t actually send you a hot toastie – the idea is that you get all the ingredients and throw it together in your toaster with the special bag they send you. You get to decide how often you’d like your toasties delivered, and you’ll get a different flavour combo each time. Sandwich lovers rejoice!

  1. Buddy Box

Have you heard of the Blurt Foundation? They’re increasing awareness and understanding of depression, and they have their very own subscription box called the Buddy Box. Described as ‘a hug in a box’, it’s the most amazing thing to land on your doorstep when things are getting too much and you’ve forgotten to take some time for yourself. July’s theme is ‘When You Feel All At Sea’ and its insides are sure to make you (or whoever you send it to) feel calm, relaxed, creative or just a little bit better.

  1. Bloom & Wild

I’ve used Bloom & Wild a few times now for gifts, and I love them because the flowers actually fit through your post box – so you don’t have to be there to collect them. If you love a floral Instagram like our girl Bec, then you should check out their monthly subscription bouquets to liven up your feed!

  1. The Paper Gang

Ohh Deer have their very own Papergang subscription box packed full of notebooks, cards, prints and other bits and bobs to make your desk the office shrine. At about a tenner a month, this could be a nice way to liven up a random workday every once in a while!

  1. The Willoughby Book Club

Lots of us Athena Collectiv girls are big readers! If reading is your jam, The Willoughby Book Club will send you a gift-wrapped book every month based on whatever it is you like. What’s even better is that they donate a book to charity every time a book subscription box is sold!

  1. Rough Trade Club

If you like to listen to music on something other than your phone, you can get Rough Trade’s magazine and a new album as an LP or a CD each month, the choice is yours. The idea? You spend less time looking for exciting music, and more time listening to it.

  1. Bakery Cakery

Delicately wrapped parcels of hand baked cake with a choice of coffee or tea…what’s not to love? Herefordshire based Bakery and Cakery have teamed up with Bruce and Luke’s coffee and teapigs to make sure you can enjoy your cake properly…with the right brew!

  1. Pink Parcel

This one’s all about the timing! Choose a date close to your period, and you’ll receive a box full of your favourite tampon and pad brands, beauty products to treat yourself, tea, and a little something sweet to curb those PMS cravings…Pink Parcel’s blog is pretty fun too!

  1. Beer 52

Beer and a magazine once a month? Yes please! Beer52 sends you a case of 8-10 craft beers, a beer snack, and the latest issue of Ferment Magazine. Cheers!

Do you have a favourite subscription box? Tell us about it in the comments below!