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10 fun questions on literary Edinburgh

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This picture was taken right beside the entrance to an Edinburgh street used as the title of an Ian Rankin novel.Name the street/book.
Scottish surgeon, Joseph Bell, taught at Edinburgh University and was the inspiration for a famous detective created by Edinburgh-born author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Name the character.
Author Daphne Du Maurier and her family were the inspiration for the Darling family, created by Edinburgh-born author JM Barrie in what book?
What writer is based in Edinburgh but has a series of popular novels set in Africa?
This year (2018) marks 100 years since the birth of an author whose childhood in Edinburgh provided the inspiration for her most famous book, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.Who is she?
Greyfriars Kirkyard is the last resting place of many Edinburgh residents including a Mr Tom Riddle, a famous author used it for help when creating character names.Who was she?
The author of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde didn’t want to be remembered with a statue, but wound …

Sandwich-free packed lunches for warmer weather

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Even where I live (Scotland) the breaks between rain showers are getting longer, in fact we’ve even had a few days where there hasn’t been any rain at all. In other words, the weather’s as good as it gets for eating outdoors and even when that’s not really an option, packed lunches have a lot to be said for them. It’s not just the fact that they can be so affordable, they save you queuing, plus you know exactly what you’re eating and drinking. Nevertheless, I still see loads of people buying convenience food because they “don’t have time” to make a packed lunch in the mornings, well the answer to this is to move away from the traditional sandwiched-based packed lunch and start making packed lunches which will keep perfectly happily overnight, so you just need to pick them up in the morning. Here are some ideas for sandwich-free packed lunches for warmer weather.
Start with the right containers
If you’re planning (or hoping) to make a packed lunch regularly, then invest in some pr…

Five quick tips to beat everyday stress

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If you’re suffering from any sort of mental health issue which is causing you serious problems, then you need to get help of some sort. If, however, you’re simply facing everyday stresses, from exam nerves to people getting on your nerves, then there are some quick tips you can use to deal with it. Acknowledge your stress and recognize its beneficial intent Stress is your mind letting you know that it thinks you need to take better care of yourself and get out of what it perceives as a dangerous, or at least uncomfortable, situation. When you feel yourself starting to get stressed, acknowledge the fact, acknowledge the cause and commit to dealing with it either immediately or later. Ideally you want to deal with stress as soon as possible, but if that’s not practical, the very act of making a promise to yourself to do something later to improve the situation can help to feel calmer in the present. Accept that stress can be irrational and that is fine Stress can be like a (hopefull…

7 ways to help bees

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By this point in time, you’ve probably heard about how the humble bee is in a lot of trouble and if the humble bee gets into a lot of trouble then humans do too, because we need them for food, in fact the whole world needs them for food.The good news is that you can help, especially if you have a garden, but even if you don’t.As a minimum you can spread the word about what individuals can do to get the bees back.Here are 7 ideas.
Grow pollen-rich flowers
You can now buy bee-friendly flower seeds, but essentially most wildflowers are rich in pollen and therefore good food for bees.If you’re not keen on filling your garden with wild flowers, try poppies, cornflowers or sunflowers.Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still help out the bees by planting flowers in containers.
Let you lawn show its wild side
Personally, I have never had a problem with flowers like daisies and dandelions growing in a lawn.I actually think they look nice and bees love them.
Go organic
You wouldn’t want …

16 tips for making laundry easier and more fun

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Speaking for myself about the only thing I can say for laundry is I’m glad I have a machine to do it for me. I really don’t know how people managed in the days before they existed. In fact, I don’t know how I managed in my London days when I had to use launderettes. Anyway, as you’ve probably gathered from that, I don’t like laundry so I’ve worked hard at learning how to make it easier on myself and here are 16 tips I’ve gathered over the years.
Before you wash
Make members of your household responsible for their own ironing, folding and hanging up
Sometime clothes need to go in the wash after just one wear (e.g. if you’ve worn them to work out) but mostly they don’t, but if you do all the ironing folding and hanging up then you’re asking for people just to chuck clothes in the laundry without thinking about whether or not they actually need to be there. If, by contrast, you delegate this as much as possible, you’ll encourage people only to put clothes in the wash when they actua…

Book Review of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

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This is another classic which is availableforfree although it can be worth paying the small fee for a cheap digital copy or a hard copy since some of the free digital copies have some quality issues. I got a free digital copy from Amazon to save space in my bag and I noticed that every time there’s an illustration the copy says what the illustration is and goes straight on to the text. You get used to this but to begin with it’s a bit confusing. Also there are a few snippets missing, which have then been added at the end. Having said that, if you’re really low on funds these are minor issues and other free digital copies may be better.
Characters
The book is narrated in the first person by J and who mainly talks about himself and his human friends George and Harris, plus Montmorency the dog. There are a variety of minor characters sprinkled throughout the book. The three young men are all clearly fairly well off, although they mention working, and none of them are particularly …

A real-world wardrobe clean up

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Let me put my hand up and say I love a good “closet organization” video on YouTube. I know the story by heart now, person with way too many clothes declutters and finds a whole pile of ready-made solutions to turn her closet (and it is invariably a her) into the place of her dreams or helps man in life to do the same with his closet. At the start of the video the place is a hot mess and by the end it looks glorious. If only real life worked like that. So partly because decluttering and organization are two of my favourite topics, partly to show that the real world isn’t necessarily like social media (and that’s totally OK) and partly just for some fun, let me tell you about my slow and sporadic progress to wardrobe peace.
Purging
Now this is where life gets interesting. I really needed to purge and honestly I don’t know why because, apart from underwear, I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually bought an item of clothing, apart from one occasion a few years ago when I …