Hunting for Treasures

Geocaching is a great fun free family activity and an excellent way of turning a ‘boring’ walk into a treasure hunt adventure. All you need is a smartphone and the website, downloading the app might make things easier, but the website works just fine.

Geo – meaning Earth, and Cache – a French word invented in 1797 meaning a temporary hiding place to stash items (such as weapons or jewels!) mash them together and you’ve got a worldwide treasure hunt – yay!

The first thing to know is how to properly pronounce ‘cache’ – its ‘kash’. You have now saved yourself a half hour argument and can get straight on with the fun…

As with any new activity it can be a bit confusing to start, so save yourself another half hour of fumbling despair and read the beginner’s guide – hidden away on their website, just like a cache should be I suppose

There’s even a charming video to keep you right:

It’s amazing how many geocaches there are scattered around that people who don’t know about the geocaching world, or ‘muggles’ are oblivious of. So on a chilly Sunday afternoon, I tore my son away from his screen and off we went to find our first cache. I had treasure in my pocket to swap with whatever we found (essential) and a pencil to mark the log (also essential). I knew the local area quite well, so it was easy to find the rough location from the online map. There was also a hint on the website which told us the box we were looking for was at the base of a tree, which really helped to narrow things down. Of course it’s vital not to ruin the mystery for others, so I can’t tell you which tree it was, but rest assured we found what we were looking for.

In these days of solitary screens, geocaching is a welcome tonic, an excellent way of getting family or friends together to enjoy the great outdoors and collaborate in the magic of a hunt. Yes we found the small treasure, but we also found something much bigger, quality time and happy memories to last a lifetime. We can’t wait to find our next one…

Dreadful Penny

This Saturday – 25 January 2020 my new all female rock band Dreadful Penny will be making their debut.

There are many gruesome stats about the lack of gender balance in the music industry, so come and support women on a (rock and) roll to change that. Girls Rock School supports the best established and upcoming female led rock bands in Edinburgh and the showcase nights are always riotous good fun. Come and join Dreadful Penny, plus many other top acts.

Girls Rock School Edinburgh Winter Showcase, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh Art College, Lauriston Place, Saturday 25 January, 7pm-10pm, Entry on door £5 (£3 concessions), 18+ (14+ if accompanied by adult) All welcome.

Happy New Year

Today I have been looking at inspiring acting quotes on Tumblr:

“Why sit around and say, ‘I’d like to do something?’ You’ve just gotta do it. You might fail at first, but your failures are what are going to allow you to move onto success.”

Joel Edgerton

Speaking of failure, this background artist’s handiwork really made me smile:

So bring on the New Year and bring on lots of productive, spectacular failure.

Mary, It Began With A Lass

A fast paced journey through the life and loves of Mary Queen of Scots, telling the story of her love for Scotland and the men around her. Performed outdoors in locations special to her story.
Mary and Elizabeth I: two powerful women struggling to retain control of their nations and their love. Must a woman choose between love and power?

Performance 1 hr 15 minutes outdoors (alternate venues on hand if it rains)

Saturday 29 June at 7pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Sunday 30 June at 3pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Tuesday 2 July at 7.30pm at Burgh Halls Rose Garden, Linlithgow
Wed 3rd July at 7.30pm at Storytelling Centre Garden, Edinburgh
Thursday 4th July at 7.30pm at Storytelling Centre Garden, Edinburgh
Saturday 6th July at 7pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Sunday 7th July at 3pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour

Limited tickets available on the door; Edinburgh dates can be booked in advance via Scottish Story Telling Centre and include entry to John Knox’s House.

Hamish Henderson

I cannot wait to utter these words on stage:

On the Radical Road celebrates the centenary of Scottish folk hero Hamish Henderson. Brought up by a Gaelic-speaking single mother in Blairgowrie, then educated at Cambridge; Hamish believed that Scottish people can not express themselves fully in English so was passionate about keeping the Scots language alive. He was an early pioneer of the Edinburgh Fringe, so it is apt that Theatre Objektiv is bringing his poetry and songs back to the Fringe to entertain and inspire a new audience, 100 years since his birth. A great introduction to Hamish and his work.

Hamish Henderson on The Radical Road is on every night at 8pm at the Scottish Story Telling Centre on the Royal Mile. Tickets are available on the Edinburgh Fringe website:

To find out more about Hamish Henderson:

Pony spotting

If you’ve watched all of my Youtube videos and STILL have nothing better to do, go to Google Hangouts, start a chat with anyone and type in /ponystream

If it doesn’t make your mouth curl up at the sides just a tiny wee bit you are probably dead inside. I spotted a flaming pony, a unicorn pony, an Elvis pony and a hipster pony.

Too sickly sweet? Type in /pitchforks and find out why the aforementioned pony is flaming.

You have now utilised this app to the peak of its ability and have no further reason to ever use it again. Trot on Hangouts, you are so 2016.

Face up

Ah Facebook – I use you every day and yet I hate you. You play on my fear of missing out, yet cause me to miss out on what is right in front of me – the beauty of the wonderfully wild world.

You have messed so badly with our News Feeds you now expect us to make Groups to find out about the people who we really care about.

Isolated, we join large groups of strangers with a single common interest, instead of spending quality time with close friends building several common interests together.

We scroll endlessly through groups, pages and news feeds, like a slot machine that rarely wins in a casino that never shuts. Switch off! Uninstall. Remember those old TV adverts “It’s good to talk”? TALK, to whoever is next to you. Use your phone to call a friend and ask them what they are up to and how they are. Instead of staring into the hypnotic online void.

Ah well, time for bed, I’ll have a quick check of Facebook, then enjoy a real book, then melt into a nice early night… OMG it’s 2am. What am I still doing on facebook!!!!?

Machir Bay, Islay

Tweeting cats and dogs

As a self confessed crazy cat lady, I was shocked to find the number one interest of my Twitter followers is… dogs. How can this be?! Isn’t sharing cat pictures the main point of Twitter? Does this mean we need to set up a new social media site?

Having never knowingly posted anything about dogs I hastily added some cute dog GIFs to prove I thought they were OK too. But then I saw an article about Captain Marvel’s cat Goose, which I just had to share, negating all my hard work.

Having some reasonably strong political beliefs I genuinely thought that politics would be the number one interest of my followers. But no. Dogs.

The second biggest interest was Music Festivals and Concerts… well I suppose that makes me look reasonably cool, doesn’t it?

The thirst biggest? The weather. More people on my Twitter are interested in the weather than the international average. 17% more in fact. Which just goes to prove I’m British I suppose. Current forecast? Raining cats and dogs.

You can follow me on Twitter here:

I’ll follow back if you’re a cat person.

Bella playing Switch

Gen Z

“80% of 13–20-year-olds, or “Gen Z”, believe that gender did not define a person as much as it used to… and only 44% always bought clothes designed for their own gender”

I wish I could remember what I was buying online, something innocuous like a toaster, and when I went to fill in the form to complete my purchase they asked for my gender. “What the hell do they need to know that for!?” I fumed. I couldn’t even skip the question to prove a point.

I understand that marketing departments like to know who is buying their products, but forcing anyone to answer this question may very well backfire and turn potential purchasers away. Gender can be a loaded question for many different reasons, particularly if the only options on a form are male or female.

And even if a marketing department found out that 80% of people buying that toaster identify as female – what are they going to do about it? Start producing it only in pink?

Young people increasingly feel that gender doesn’t define them, so capturing this somewhat arbitrary information can make companies look out of date.

It’s probably just as well I can’t remember the name of the gift company that I saw lots of adverts for on YouTube last year. A man was unboxing loads of neat tech gadgets. “That’s cool,” I thought. “I wonder what the woman is going to find in her gift box?”…. Makeup. Groan. If I hadn’t valued my laptop so much I might have thrown it out of the window.

A world that is, thankfully, moving away from gender stereotypes, benefits not just for the trans community but absolutely EVERYONE. So lets stop asking this question unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Just be you you want to be

Dance the same?

I must admit I never understood why we moved away from yellow faced emojis and found myself gritting my teeth while hovering over a white or yellow face. Isn’t it better we escape judgments about skin colour or looks in general while online?

However, I must admit I did a squeal of joy when I heard there were emojis coming out with ginger hair!  So perhaps your online presence is the perfect place to showcase differences you are proud of, particularly if they are under-represented or even maligned in the mainstream.

Actually, I think I shed a tear of validation when I saw there was a single mum emoji (thank you Christina Aguilera’s Twitter!) Single mums are typically portrayed as incompetent parents or benefit scrounging sluts, instead of the kick-ass grafters of insurmountable love and that we truly are. So finding ways to represent ‘not so perfect families’ like mine can give us the chance to show them off in a positive light.

So in conclusion, if you want to use a generic yellow face and celebrate commonalities: that’s cool. Or if you want to celebrate uniqueness and select from over 30 different nose shapes on Bitmoji: that’s cool too. Dance the way you want to… just enjoy the party… and don’t leave a mess.