Things I’ve learnt from Fringe….

In the words of Staind it has indeed been awhile. I am just back from THE BEST WEDDING in Manchester and a trip to Edinburgh Fringe. I have seen some of the most wonderful comedians bare there hearts, souls and other body parts to an audience and it was heart warming, alittle scary and downright beautiful. 

  Below are just some of things I have learnt from my first fringe fling: 

1: The fringe bible is your friend but an inanimate object can only do so much so get talking to others. The flyerers are fountains of information who you can occasionally bare your soul to (I had got my first cold in seven months up there which coincided nicely with my holiday). My friend Kevin also happens to be an awesome reviewer so I heard things on the fringevine (see what I did there) 

2: Check out the Free Fringe. Fringe can be ludicrously expensive so its worth having a look at some of the free fringe shows. I saw some of my favourite shows due to the free fringe (more about that later) 

3: Get up early- I planned to do all the cultural stuff in the mornings (I only succeeded once)- most shows don’t start until around my midday giving you a chance to explore (saunter) around the shops/caves/museums. 

4: Be prepared to spend those pennies- I managed to do my trip on a teeny budget but still over spent. Next time I will make sure I save a bit so I can spend alittle more. All the pubs put up there drinks prices as well. In other words YOU WILL SPEND MONEY. 

5: Take lots of photos- Edinburgh is a beautiful city and I was lucky enough to be there when the weather was good. Take advantage and explore its deep and dirty history. 

6: Be prepared to queue – Halfway through is when shows really start to make a name for themselves hence bigger queues! If you don’t get into the show you want to see- down a beverage of a choice and there will undoubtedly be another show to see. 

7: Theres always a theme- You’ll find an overall theme each year- 2016 seems to be about mental health. Its great so many comedians tackling an issue that affects us all at some point. 

8: It will direct your comedy taste- Turns out I like comedy that’s slightly surreal, passionate and alittle dark (just like my music). Out of all the shows I saw whilst up there I didn’t enjoy TWO of them. Not everything will be to your taste but this just highlights the kind of comedy you do enjoy!!! 

9: Find a good pub- My favourite venue/ pub was Bannermans, a dive bar gig venue in the caves that felt slightly haunted. I also liked Cabaret Voltaire and the The Blind Poet (they have an amazing selection of beers & ciders). 

10: Be prepared to walk- Edinburgh is very hilly so be prepared to have calves that resemble tree trunks by the end of your visit. Buses are cheap but walking really is the best way of seeing the city. 

Lastly enjoy it!!! Bask in the glory that is fringe and have a wonderful time. 

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Chicken & Mushroom pasta. 

Sometimes all you want is soul food, food thats comforts you and eases you into whatever you’re doing. Chicken is my least favourite bird, however combine chicken, mushroom, panchetta and goats cheese and you have something that simply tantalizes those tastebuds. This recipe is easy and just as spicy as you want it to be (note I like my food VERY spicy!). 

You will need: 

  • Diced chicken breast. 
  • A selection of mushrooms (button and the bigger ones) chopped. 
  • Chopped panchetta. 
  • A chopped chilli. 
  • Chopped onion. 
  • Chopped spinach. 
  • A hunk of goats cheese. 
  • A hunk (loaded spoonful) of cream cheese. 
  • Black pepper and cayenne (again depends on taste) 
  • A chopped clove of garlic. 

Method: 

Once you’ve resisted the urge to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression (after all the talk of chopping). Saute your chopped onion with some olive oil, the garlic and the chilli and add alittle water to the pot along with the stock so as to not burn the pan. The onions should be vaguely sauteed by now so add the diced chicken, mushroom and the goats cheese. Let the chicken and mushroom simmer adding water as and when needed. After about say 10 minutes add the cream cheese and panchetta, let it simmer further but be careful not to let the pan burn. I gave it roughly another five- ten minutes and added the chopped spinach, black pepper and cayenne. By now you should have something that smells delicious, serve with pasta and a glass of whatever takes your fancy- enjoy!  

Shaziya Niamh 

 

Wine Time Wednesdays- Why I won’t be dry this January. 

I spent my New Years up in Chester with my friend Claire drinking ALL the rum. Days later its Wednesday, I’m back in the midst of work and life and stuff and suddenly its just alittle depressing after all the fun festivities of Christmas and New Years. 

This is why January is the saddest month of the year- you meet the slump. Its dark, miserable and cold outside. Don’t get me wrong I applaud any one willing to give up anything in the first month of the year but it’s not for me. Though I won’t be painting the town various shades of red this month I will be having the odd tipple, usually on the Wednesday! 

The first wine of the year is one that blisters of memories of my twenties, but more than that its a good wine to start the year with. This wine is as easy on your wallet as it is on your tastebuds and whisks you into a subtle vanilla whipped frenzy. 

The wine in question is Campo Viejo Temperanillo, (www.campoviejo.com) you’ve probably seen it in your local shop. Its definitely worth a try. I paired it with pizza and a night watching Jessica Jones on netflix. 

  

Happy Wednesday! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Heres to another f@-!ing New Year! 

2014 was horrific, all the bad things in one. 2015 has been the year of….. stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, middle of the road….stuff. I write this still recovering from the flu thats lingered for the last week, watching Masterchef and I can’t find the words to describe this year because it is what it is. 

This year has been the year I learnt to like myself abit more, got to know myself better and learnt to really   to really love not in the romantic sense as I stopped looking, but my friends and family. I feel stronger, more content and ready for whatever 2016 has in store. 

The Danish have this wonderful term hygge which I absolutely adore, it means taking pleasure it means getting cosy. For myself that means lighting my candles, long walks, cosy mornings and evenings reading books and watching films in bed. I’m using this week to fully recover, indulge, make plans for the year ahead and fully embrace hygge. 

Heres to a healthy, happy 2016 full of utter wonder! 
Shaziya Niamh xo 

                   

Paris 

  
I haven’t really written anything in months because life and the stuff (new job/vague workout routine) have gotten in the way. Thats the thing though life gets in the way, in the way of the stuff that you need/ want desire to do.  

Friday was a regular Friday night my friend Kirsten was over and we were chatting about stuff over mulled cider with the tele in the background. Then the news happened and reports about the events seeped through and suddenly it wasn’t so normal because although I don’t live in Paris my heart still hurts for all those affected by the events of Friday night and not just Friday night but other events in other places. I watched the news and I cried for the people affected, the lives lost and their loved ones. 

Just because it happened in another country doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us. These people were out enjoying thier lives, spending time doing what they loved with people they loved and thats why it hits so close. It could have been any of us, it hurts, I want to hold all the people  I love just alittle closer and hug them alittle tighter. 

Last night I lit my candles as I always do and send good vibes out to Paris but not just to Paris but to the world. Send out those good vibes and do the little things because those little things make a big difference. 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Alittle piece of lovelyness on Brixton Hill. 

  

Months ago I went for coffee with my friend Shona and you know when you meet up with a friend at a place but you don’t have any idea where to go or really what to do. 

Well thats what happened that day and it led us to stumble upon a really nice cafe on Brixton Hill called KataKata. This place serves up delicious juices and crepes that are both vegan and vegetarian friendly. Given my general lactose intolerance eating out can be a minefield, I find cheese makes me bleed and wheat makes me sleepy, which means I have to think outside the box and makes me adventurous by accident! 

Anyhow, Katakata is a little piece of heaven the staff are really friendly and although I had a delicious juice and hot water with lemon this time next time there will inevitably be a crepe with my name on! 

  
So next time you’re in Brixton be sure to check out this place! 

Happy Monday! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Humans of New York. 

Humans of New York was started by a bloke called Brandon way back in 2010 and has become a global phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of him before he takes photos of the people he meets (usually in New York) and asks them A question and the answers can be anything from utterly heartbreaking to completely smile inducing!, either way they tell a stories we can all relate to on some level. 

Brandon’s on his holidays at the moment and (lucky for us) instead of lounging by the pool he is outthere traveling and bringing more stories to our attention. 

He is currently over in Pakistan the Hunza Valley to be exact. I went over (to Pakistan, not the Hunza Valley specifically) when I was 11 going on 12 and though my memories of that time have faded slightly. However, I do remember just how beautiful a country it is and was. Its often depicted as a horrible place but what I love about his photos and stories is that he is really showing the true beauty of Pakistan. 

I don’t know half as much about the Pakistani side of my heritage as I would like to but his photos have made me feel really connected to the place and people. 

Shaziya NIamh xo