All posts by annekirsten1

Who wants to be a MacMillionaire?

Henderland Road. One of the city's most affulent areas. Photo by Emily Glass.

by Anne Mackie and Emily Glass

A recent report by Barclays Banking suggests the number of millionaires in Scotland has increased by almost 20 per cent in the past two years.

Around 40,000 individuals now boast net wealth exceeding £1 million – a definite increase from the 34,000 at the end of 2008, and it’s set to rocket by 2020. New evidence indicates Scotland will see a 38% jump in millionaires by the end of 2020, higher than any area other than the north-east of England. That will mean 56,000 Scots millionaires by 2020, leading the country to outstrip the rest of the UK.

Continue reading Who wants to be a MacMillionaire?

Finally filming the hobbits

by Anne Mackie

After months of delays, filming on the two ‘Hobbit’ movies is now underway in New Zealand. The wheels of ‘the Lord of the Rings’ prequels are finally in motion after plans were delayed due to funding problems, rows over actors’ wages, and director Peter Jackson’s surgery.

New Zealand: Hobbit hotspot

Continue reading Finally filming the hobbits

Edinburgh Dog wins Crufts Crown.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Anne Mackie

A flatcoated retriever from Edinburgh has scooped two Crufts awards at the annual dog show.

Nine and a half year old Jet took the Best Gundog title, before going on to win Best in Show, beating off opposition from 21,000 other dogs at Birmingham’s NEC as Crufts celebrated its 120th anniversary.

Breeder Jim Irvine, from Queensferry, said: “In the dog world this is the ultimate prize, this is what everyone aspires to and normally I find it’s always someone else who wins this. To have a good dog and to get this far is just unbelievable.”

Jet’s owner, Iain Ross, said: “I am over the moon, I can’t believe it. It’s a lifetime achievement, it’s wonderful.”

The New Town Campaign

Edinburgh's infamous George Street (photo credit: Callum Davidson)

By David Walsh and Anne Mackie

It’s billed “the Athens of the North” but new plans are being put in place to boost and revive the profile of Edinburghs New Town. New evidence suggests the city is failing to make the most of its neo-classical architecture, streetscapes and it’s role in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment. It is thought many of the city’s highlights are missed out by visitors who are more inclined to visit various attractions no further than the Royal Mile.

Continue reading The New Town Campaign

Walking on fire


Are you hot footed enough to fundraise? Credit:

By Anne Mackie

2009 saw the UK’s first ever Firewalk in support of the OneKind charity. More than      £3, 000 was raised by 18 fearless supporters who walked bare foot across hot coal  burning at a core temperature of over 600°F.

The success of the event has sparked other hot-footed charity walkers across the UK with events in 2010 running throughout Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. The heat is definitely on as Onekind have promised to stage two further firewalking events on Saturday 26 March 2011 in Edinburgh, and Sunday 27 March 2011 in Glasgow.

Safe danger experts at Survivorbility are looking into promoting other fundraising phenomenons including glass walking, board breaking, re-bar bending and arrow breaking.

Steve McGardle,  member of the firewalking institute of research and education said: “Charity fundraising can’t afford to stop, no matter what the economic climate, so you need to find a creative way to inspire the amazing people who want to raise money for your charity. Hosting a charity fire walking event is not only more exciting than asking people to run a few kilometres, fire walking has also proven to be an excellent way to raise money”.

With tuition and training for the hot footed fundraisers provided on the night, there is no better way to face your fear, surrounded by family and friends, walking across burning hot embers miraculously unharmed. It’s the challenge of a lifetime.

OneKind will announce venues in early 2011 for Firewalks via their website.  Early registration is recommended and costs £20 entitiling you to a fundraising and information pack, containing everything you need.

OneKind is an animal protection charity.

Domestic Abuse: Charity’s Funding at Risk?

Charity's funding at risk as part of impending spending cuts?

By Anne Mackie

In a recent survey by Scottish Women’s Aid, it was recognised that 120 women seek help for domestic abuse on a day to day basis.

Last month, the campaign drew a 24 hour poll where it was noted that 123 women got in contact for the first time. Statistics proved a total of 1,188 women; children and young people were given some form of help that day.

Although the charity supported a number of women and young people in refuge, a total of 24 women and 26 children were not provided for on the day of the poll. It is thought this was due to lack of sheltered space. The charity claim the principal reason these individuals were left unaccommodated was because they refused to stay in the vicinity. This left 9 women and 11 young people where they were.

There are concerns that some of the charity’s funding could be at risk as part of impending spending cuts. A potential 40 per cent reduction in women’s support funding across Scotland is expected to have a disturbing effect on the quality of support available to victims of domestic abuse.

Scottish Women’s Aid manager Lily Greenan voiced her appeal to the Scottish Government to guarantee dedicated funding streams including the Violence Against Women’s Fund and the Children’s Services Fund continue to provide assistance to the victims of abuse. Greenan said:

“These funds provide an average of 40% of women’s aid groups funding, which will come to an end in March 2011 with no decisions being made about their future.”

Scottish Women’s Aid are still supporting 63 per cent of the women and young people from the poll through Women’s Aid outreach, drop-in and follow-on services.

UK Touring Theatre in Audience Decline

An empty space: The future of Theatre?

By Anne Mackie

West End theatre has experienced a record breaking year in 2010 according to theatre producer Colin Ingram. Regrettably the same box office breaking statistics do not parallel the success of touring productions across the UK.

In a report produced by Ingram it was publicised that touring theatre is in decline due to high ticket pricing across the UK. Ingram said:

“Only popular musicals are touring the UK due to the simple fact that they are easier to fund. Fewer people are going to the theatre because there is the cheaper and frankly modern option of reality television and 3D cinema. Theatre is valued as too traditional in society today”.

A survey across major UK theatrical venues revealed 57 per cent of the population would rather watch reality television including The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing than attend a theatrical production.

With ticket prices averaging £42, the cheapest peaking at £32, the BBC and ITV are undeniably winning television ratings. In 2009, the ITV’s X-Factor audience peaked at 20 million – 62% of the television audience.

Regular theatre-goer, Jonny Farley expressed his concerns regarding the rising price of theatre tickets:

“There should be a better pricing system with more advantageous offers. I’m seeing fewer shows as a result of the current box office prices”.

The average theatre goer has risen from 25 to 43 years of age. As a result, producers are placing less emphasis in new innovative theatre writing. ‘Safety net’ shows including the Rat Pack concept, appealing to an older audience are persistently regurgitated. Investor of Rat Pack show ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’, David Warnock explained their consistent popularity:

“These shows are churned out time after time because they work. Audiences want to relive Frank Sinatra’s song. They bring in more money than your average new musical for the simple fact that they are popularly reliable”.

Theatre productions on all levels face considerable competition from both rivalling theatre groups, and large scale television companies. Audiences are left to debate a Saturday night on the sofa or in the stalls unless a significant reduction in ticket pricing is met.

Guyliner… Gayliner?

Feminising the face of masculinty?

By Anne Mackie

Make-up isn’t just a girl thing. Recent figures prove that 3.3 million British men openly agree to wearing some form of make-up on an everyday basis.

Research confirms men are just as concerned as women with regards to their appearance. One in five male make-up users wear it to work. While one in four said they would feel anxious going out without it.

The typical “male-up bag” consists of a selection of cosmetics including face powder, eye-liner, spot concealer and fake tan, one in seven men suggest. 26 per cent of these men wear it at least once a week, while 13 per cent apply it daily.

Cardiff born Jon Kidd describes his love for makeup as a straight man as a “cosmetic crush”. Statistics show Kidd is among 16 per cent of men in the country who adore their makeup.

“People say men nowadays are feminised. I disagree. We care about our appearance just as much as the average woman”.

Opinuim Research completed a recent study amongst 1,800 men where it was revealed that more than a third of make-up wearing males borrow cosmetics from their female partners.
39 per cent of these women not only lend their make-up but also help them apply it.

Opinium Research consultant, James Endersby, said:

“There is an increasing trend that men are just as aware about their appearance as women and like to take care of the way they look”.

In an age where celebrity icons including Russell Brand are sporting the ‘guyliner’ and ‘manscara’ look, metrosexual makeup is a catching trend, considered ‘normal’ by youngsters.

Despite various arguments, it seems the metrosexual man could be here to stay.

Remember, remember the month of Movember

By Anne Mackie

The month of the moustache, Movember, marks the annual appreciation of one aspect of male beauty – our fellas and their facial hair.  During the month of November men all over the world unite in masculinity and for once it’s not about the girls and all about the cause.

The initial concept for Movember was grafted in 2003 and despite no money being raised, the event inevitably caught on. Last year, 255,755 people participated raising £26 million for Prostate and Testicular cancer.

Glasgow based NHS manager, Lee Brown is supporting the event alone, turning his back on his usual clean cut look for something a little more rough. Brown is documenting his “mo-gress” on his Facebook profile, posting photographs and documenting his feelings on the subject. Brown said:

“I’ve had the same look all my 30 odd years. What better way to celebrate a change than to do it for charity? Facial hair is an innate element of what it means to be male. I can’t think of a better way to combat a disease that threatens male organs!”

Lee Brown at the beginning the month

And the girls need not feel left out. The campaign urges woman to become ‘Mo Sistas’ and help support and encourage their ‘Mo Bros’ throughout the month.

While it may cause laughs, it’s no laughing matter. Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. In 2008 Cancer Research recorded that there were 913,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide.

All men taking part should register through Movember UK to enable donations to be made – the most successful applicants will receive prizes at the beginning of December.

So lads, show that Mo, and help revolutionize the face of men’s health!

“The First Noeldle, The RAF Did Say”

The Noeldle is on sale now at £1.10

By Anne Mackie

Students’ favourite, Pot Noodle, have released a festively flavoured option which they describe as a “festive fusion of turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings”.

Two pence from every pot sold will go straight to the RAF Association’s Wings Appeal in support of the Miles More Minutes project granting troops more communication time with loved ones over the Christmas season.

The festive flavour was carefully crafted and tested in 2009 for workers serving on 27 Squadron, RAF Regiment. The troops considered the brand a home comfort according to Regiment Member, Sergeant Ian Hobbs.

Head of RAF licensing, Stuart Balfour claimed: “The snack is enjoyed by so many of the troops and it’s great to know that every pot sold will help them keep in touch with loved ones at what is a really important time of the year.”

It is expected to hit the supermarket shelves in October after a triumphant experiment with British troops abroad throughout last year’s festive period. Priced at only £1.10, will it be your Christmas dinner alternative?

Ohh Yes It Is! Panto Dream Team Return!

Jack and the Beanstalk runs until January 2011

By Anne Mackie

Edinburgh Panto Dream Team, Andy Gray, Grant Stott and Allan Stewart were this month reunited after three years of ‘panto-ing’.  They will lead this year’s shenanigans in the King’s Theatre pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

In his usual panto attire, Allan Stewart will play his much beloved and comical Dame May McTrot, with Grant Stott delivering his meaniest “baddie” yet, the giant henchman, Fleshcreep.  Andy Gray returns in his much missed “I’m no’ very well” catchline  as The King.

Featuring the tallest, biggest beanstalk in pantoland, Producer, Qudos Entertainment described the computer controlled giant as “huge, carrying humans to his clouds in the sky “.  The beanstalk also grows up through the auditorium, reaching a massive 35 feet and all from a few little beans!

At the official launch,  Chief Executive of the Festival Theatre, John Stalker, said:

“It is so exciting to have Allan, Andy and Grant back on stage together for this year’s fantastic pantomime. Together with yet another great script from Paul Elliott we have all the makings of a great show to take our minds away from all the talk of spending cuts.  One thing is certain, no one is cutting back on buying pantomime tickets – we have the highest ever advance sales so I would encourage everyone to book now to avoid disappointment.”

More comical, and outrageous than ever before, Jack and the Beanstalk promises a Christmas season of fun frolics and spectacular antics for all the family, with a variety of ticket prices to match.  The Kings Theatre box office have confirmed a record number of of 46,000 have already been sold  and it’s only October!

Jack and the Beanstalk runs from Saturday 4 December 2010 –  Sunday 23 January 2011. Tickets, with concessions/group discounts can be booked on 0131 529 6000 or through the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh website. Book soon? Oh yes you should!

Child belonging to….?

National Adoption Week, 1st - 7th November 2010

 By Anne Mackie

It’s National Adoption Week.  A campaign that aims to raise awareness of adoption, spreading the word that every child deserves a loving family life.

The campaign is supporting information evenings at daily drop in centres throughout the week for potential families looking to adopt.  

Organiser David Holmes opposed these claims, highlighting the campaign as “a fantastic way of giving security to children that have had a very difficult start in life. These meetings provide a common lead to find loving permanent families”.

In Edinburgh, children need the same support and love of a family. The Midlothian Council has advised people to put their names forward to adopt local children who need a permanent home with a loving, new family.

New statistics allege approximately 4,000 children need adopting every year. Habitually they are victims of neglect or abuse, removed from their biological parents for safety sake.

In the Edinburgh area, there are 90 children living in foster care. Almost 20% of these children are in need of adoptive care.

The council has put out a plea specifically seeking potential families for children in sibling groups or those over the age of 5.

Social work Cabinet Member, Jackie Aitchison said:

“Midlothian Council is committed to increasing the numbers of children who can be placed for adoption by providing support to adoptive families to help them take on the care of children. Adoption can be rewarding and challenging and we are committed to provide help, guidance and support at each step of the way. We will often pay an adoption allowance to assist in providing an adoptive home for a child, if additional support is required.”

Aitchison urged the people of Edinburgh to: “Think about whether you can offer a permanent secure home to a Midlothian child and pick up that phone now!”

Both single parents and partnerships are urged to apply. The only requirement is that you can support and offer a child a stable and loving family life.