Dear wanderer,

Perhaps you grew up dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts letter, or stumbling upon Narnia. Perhaps you long to visit Pemberley, to Defy Gravity, or to go to the ball. I will write you that letter, and build you that wardrobe. [A metaphorical wardrobe, that is.] Here you will find step-by-step lesson plans with takeaway homework assignments that show you how to embody fictional heroines in the everyday. This means chasing your dreams and making the impossible happen with your own inner magic.

For the full experience, you can Own Your Story, or join me for a literary tea party.

You have the potential. Heroine Training provides the tools.

Welcome to our headquarters, where dreams meet reality, where fiction is cherished, where magic is real.

Sincerely, your guide on this journey,



P.S. Read more about Heroine Training

What to See at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

What to See at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

As an Edinburgh resident, I’ve had the pleasure of attending the world’s largest performing arts festival for three straight Augusts.

With over 2,ooo shows to choose from, even a day trip to the festival is full-on. This year I’m limiting myself to two shows per day; pacing is important.

One of the best things about the festival is that you can sample the entire spectrum of what performing arts has to offer.

Through seeing lots of shows here, I’ve been able to identify what kind of theatre I like most: inventive and multi-genre storytelling, insightful and clever comedy, performers who radiate passion, and theatre that gives you food (as in literal, edible food. Not just food for thought.). 

Here are a few of my favourites, and their 2017 shows:

Austentatious

Austentatious

The first year I saw Austentatious at the Fringe, I ended up going three times, which is huge for my carefully curated Fringe calendar. This group performs an improvised Jane Austen novel, inspired by an audience-generated title drawn out of a top hat. I’m picky about my Austen, and they live up to her wit.

Chris Turner 

Chris Turner: What a Time to Be Alive & Cat FM

The quippiest way to get you to see Chris Turner is to rave about his signature improvised raps, but I return to his shows every year for the life insights woven into nerdy comedy. Plus this year he’s doing a show about cats. 

Dave Chawner

C’est La Vegan

A thoughtful yet not-too-serious voice on mental illness and wellness, who gives me hope with the way that his shows raise awareness for the topic. This year his free show is about vegan.

Will Pickvance

Pianologues

Pickvance at the piano is magic – not only because of his incredible ability, but for the passion and attentiveness that he has for his art, and how he monologues about his life as an artist while he plays. An enlightening and relaxing hour. 

Colin Cloud

Colin Cloud: Dare

They call him the real-life Sherlock Holmes, and it’s true – he is an artist in deduction. Colin Cloud is a showman and a mindreader. His shows are packed, and you can feel the awe and terror in the air of the crowd. 

Sh!t Theatre

DollyWould

Their clever, comedic, and poignant piece on London’s housing crisis has stuck with me all year. While I left Sh!t Theatre’s two-woman show laughing and feeling entertained (they have great props, and there were some musical theatre bits), the facts surrounding important issues really sunk in. This year, they are presenting a show about Dolly Parton.

Walrus

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

The premise is fascinating: a bill is going through parliament that would limit each citizen’s daily spoken word count. The latest piece of new writing to really excite me lately, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is about love, articulation, and human rights. 

TAGO

Tago: Korean Drum II

The last show I saw last year was Tago, a Korean drumming performance. It is loud, energetic, and powerful, and the performers are so joyous and present. An even better finale to the festival than fireworks. 

Plus a few more on my list this year:

  • Hot Brown Honey was SO hot last year that I didn’t get a chance to grab a ticket, so I’ve already booked for the preview.
  • At the International Festival, I’m looking forward to Rhinoceros, Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid, and Flight.
  • From my extensive research, it looks like the best theatre + food option are the Breakfast Plays at the Traverse. If you find anything else with food, get in touch!

Further places to research:

When in doubt, consult Summerhall‘s progamme. – their curated events calendar often includes the most thoughtful pieces, and narrow your shortlist from ‘super overwhelming’ to ‘almost manageable’.

Lyn Gardner, my favourite theatre critic has led me to many a good play. Consult her Fringe preview for suggestions, or look up reviews for your favourite play and see which critics are on the same page as you with their opinions.

Ed Fringe Review – the student-run publication that brought me to my first Fringe as a writer (so am I biased? Maybe. But I still think they’re great) – catch some of the smaller, ‘fringier’ events that might not get covered by bigger names in press. They send two reviewers to each show, so you can get multiple opinions at once. Great for spotting hidden gems.

P.S. I’ll be posting my favourites during the festival on Twitter. If you’re looking for something to see, get in touch! I love helping people pick out shows.

Sunday Sampling / 061

Sunday Sampling / 061

The problem with living in my favourite city is that is spoils travel for me. All other places must compete with my personal bias for my dear, magical Edinburgh.

My tea parties, however, remind me what’s worth traveling for: connecting with the most wonderful people. My San Francisco ladies at the whimsically English Crown & Crumpet pointed me towards their favourite bookshops, and explained the local appreciation for style and costume. The party was even covered in the San Francisco Chronicle

I’m already dreaming of my return visit, and a return to Bristol as well, where we set a place for Jane Austen at our table, because the women who attend these gatherings have the most creative and thoughtful ideas.

I have added a new Edinburgh tea party to the calendar, and in March 2018 I will be a presenter and sponsor at the Granger Leadership Academy (yes, that Granger). This conference captures the values of Hogwarts like no other, and that’s saying something, considering that it does not take place in Edinburgh 😉

my favourite reads lately

🎀 5 ways to style growing out bangs. you have no idea how essential to my life this article is right now.

🌊 do you ever want to throw your phone in the ocean?

🍳 what top models eat for breakfast

🌸 you should always have fresh flowers in your home – and other ideas for allowing yourself to enjoy abundance.

🇦🇺 why australians call each other ‘mate’: fascinating and informative!

💖 habit-changing advice, based on your personality. so so so so useful!

🔮 i love this interpretation on how to read the bottom card of your tarot deck.

👑 plus on heroine training: my little summer adventure list, hogwarts castle on a hill [yes the song!], & 3 things to do instead of multitasking

little summer adventure list

little summer adventure list

How to get me to do anything:

Write a little check box next to a task. I will feel compelled to do it, just to tick that box. To achieve the gold star.

Put a deadline on something and say ‘I dare you’? Oh man. Consider it done. 

[it’s kind of a problem].

I am terrified of letting deadlines pass.

Changing my mind and deciding not to keep a promise to myself is pretty much unheard of.

For the past few summers I’ve set an annual birthday list of adventures, and while this is fun for most of the year, I’ve noticed that July has felt less like my month of birthday celebration, and more like crunch time, the final sprint to the finish line of a marathon.

And so I cut the cord and let it go.

eeeeahhhahhhh

I think this was very brave of me, nixing my list so close to the deadline. I felt a moment of liberation.

I’d been meaning to go to the climbing gym to do one of my birthday list things, but dreaded it, feeling pressured by the task. But when I let go of the obligation, I felt myself wanting to go on a whim. 

Here’s what I realised:

I need to start living in the present rather than scheduling a time in the future to live in the present.

This year I’m replacing my birthday list with little seasonal adventure lists. Just 7 things per season that help me relish the world I’m in, in its current condition.

my little summer adventure list

I asked for suggestions on Facebook, and got some lovely responses!

The beach is my number one. I love swimming in the ocean, then warming up again in the sun wrapped in a slightly sandy towel before eating lunch while soaking up the sea air. Mmmm bliss” – Kirsty

 

Beach is definitely my favorite – I love living near Lake Michigan! I love to be in or on the water. But I also love all the classic things… Picnics, sidewalk chalk, flying kites, bicycling…” – @annakanski 

 

Ooooh I love this idea! Picnics, hosting a yard sale (is that an adventure?  🤔), stargazing, the beach, the drive in…so many!” – @sarahstarrs_

little summer adventure list

my little summer adventure list

1. have a picnic

2. camp in the cairngorms

3. read a book of poetry

4. play guitar outdoors

5. go swimming

6. visit a rooftop bar

7. go to the beach

what’s on your list?

P.S. I’ve just updated the Events calendar with some new tea parties and events. Take a look!