Published in Scotland for Women of the World. Scottish Woman Magazine - the No 1 fashion and beauty magazine for women in Scotland, covering luxury lifestyle with a UK-wide & international perspective.
Spitalfields Market and the crowd-filled area around London’s Liverpool Street can be an overwhelming prospect at times when it comes to selecting a restaurant, so we’ll make things a little bit easier for you. With the nights drawing in and winter approaching, a warm haven for sampling Italian food and wine is definitely an enticing prospect. Time to get yourself acquainted with BOTTLES, then – a recent East London opening and superb collaboration with a quality wine list that’s also matched by tasty and creative food: a balance that not all wine bars manage to achieve.
Let’s start with the wines. There’s a diverse selection of over 180 labels, with a focus on top-notch varieties made by independent producers and small farms. Carefully selected by the co-founders of Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano, Franco Mancini and Daniele Marano, the result is expertly Italian-orientated (every member of staff is also a sommelier, so they know their stuff) with international options to sample too.So you’re covered for wine you know won’t disappoint – now on to the food, cooked up by SOOD Family, an Italian pop-up restaurant concept that began in Hackney, the area of much dining innovation. The brainchild of Michele Pompili and Carlo Deho, the idea was to use authentic and seasonal Italian ingredients in inventive ways, with each dish at BOTTLES matching a specific wine from each region. The menu features creations including peppery rice balls with pecorino & mozzarella; creamy burrata in tomato elixir; handmade spaghetti all’ amatriciana with guanciale, an Italian dry-aged bacon; thinly sliced seabass with spicy melon sauce, and an apricot and Caprino cheese tirimasu.
The feel is high end but relaxed, with statement brass lighting, gold & blue velvet decor and crate displays– you can nip in and sit down at the large communal tables for a post-work wine, snack on a few small plates or have the full dining experience. There’s a handy outdoor terrace (with heaters, never fear) leading out onto the market, with a buzzy first floor space with a mozzarella bar, and a more intimate floor beneath for a dating hideaway or cosy chat over vino.
We chat to Scottish actor Sharon Small about her role in the stage adaption of best-selling novel Still Alice, where she plays a woman dealing with the realities of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
Interview: Cheryl Caira
Dementia is a very emotive topic – whether someone is dealing with it personally or seeing the effects on a loved one. How do you feel Still Alice handles the realities of the condition – and what would you say are the positives people can take from the production?
In Still Alice, the topic of Alzheimer’s disease is dealt with in a very personal way. Although this story is bespoke to Alice’s particular experience of the disease, the themes of how she and her family deal with it are universal. She is a very high functioning individual struck in her prime of life. She is forced to deal with the reality that she can no longer live the way she did. Coping with the changes brings about frustration, sadness and fear, but also there are positives in the changing relationships with her family and herself. She is very much a person still, with cognitive disability but still able to have good days and bad days and wants to be a real participant in the world very day. With that comes hope and moments of love and joy.
The number of people with dementia is rising in the UK. Do you think plays like Still Alice, which bring these issues to the fore through the arts, are ever more crucial?
I think it is easy to ignore this play on the grounds of not wanting to think about the subject or worrying that it may be too depressing, but in speaking to audiences (both with and without experience of living with dementia) it has in fact had the opposite effect. People have left more informed and very moved by the story and are keen to have the discussion about a future where it might happen. I believe wholeheartedly that art should always try to make us aware, think more and feel. I think Still Alice has a huge contribution to play in that narrative.
How much did you refer to both the book and film when you were preparing for the role?
I had read the book with my book group sometime before and enjoyed it immensely. I only watched the film after I’d been offered the role and cried a lot. I used the book mostly to help get the fullest picture of Alice that I could. I asked the playwright to add some more of the speech Alice gives in the book, to be included in the play for added poignancy. But in the end, one depends on the scenes written to tell the most truthful version you can and Christine has done a beautiful job of sweeping audiences along with the story.
Photo credit: Geraint Lewis
Does playing Alice put you through the emotional mill as a performer – and are you able to easily switch on to the character then ‘off’ when offstage?
The play takes more of a physical toll on me as there is a lot to pack into 95 minutes, but it feels like a privilege as an actor to take it on and the energy of that carries you through. I do, however, look a bit battered at the end of the week. I feel an emotional responsibility to try to be as accurate as possible with the changes in her world. Especially when I’ve met audience members that have experience of living with dementia and felt that they were watching their mother, their sister or someone close to them.
How are you feeling about the prospect of touring, having not done it in a while? How do you deal with any touring challenges?
I’m really looking forward to the tour from the point of view of taking this story all over the country as dementia has no boundaries and affects so many people from all walks of life. The challenges of touring can be finding places to stay and just getting from A to B. The biggest challenge is being away from my boys and missing the day to day.
You’re based in London, but when you’re up in Scotland, what would make up your perfect day?
Although I live in London, I always love coming to Scotland. My favourite part of the journey is always when we reach Berwick – the coast appears in all its splendour, then I know I’m nearly home. I have two versions of a perfect day in Scotland. One is just hanging out with my mum and family or friends having a catch up, accompanied with some nice gin cocktails of course. The other being just walking or driving in the Highlands with the ever-changing landscapes.
You’ve had a number of diverse roles in hit TV dramas. Are there any that you have a particular soft spot for or are particularly close to your heart, and what are keen to do more of in the future?
I loved playing in a drama called Glasgow Kiss with Iain Glen. It was my first lead in a drama and I feel it showed Scotland off beautifully. Also, I’m a sucker for a good romance. I am proud of the part I played in Call the Midwife. Mistresses was great fun. I’ve always managed to find the positives in any job I’ve done as I understand how hard it is to work in this industry and appreciate that I’ve had a great deal of luck. I’d like to do more drama about family love as I love human stories and how we deal with adversity and heartbreak. Also I’d like to do a fun comedy – my wee mammy says I’m very funny. Ha!
See Still Alice at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh until Saturday 29th September
We’ve been a fan of stylish fashion and lifestyle brand hush for ages, so we’re spreading the news that they’re launching their first Scottish-based pop-up store to celebrate the new AW18 collection.
Normally sold online, the laid-back label will be showcasing its luxury loungewear, nightwear, chic daywear, basics & accessories in Edinburgh’s artsy Custom Lane gallery space in Leith.
The first in a series of regional pop-ups, customers can try on styles from the new collection and get involved in a number of events, including styling talks, beauty workshops, supper clubs, yoga classes, and an evening with top fashion influencers (full event details below).
Snap up those designs quickly though – the shop will only be popping up in the capital until this Sunday 23rd September.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thurs 20th September:
7.00pm-9.00pm, The Pool Style Event with preview of the AW18 collection
Fri 21st September:
7.00pm – 9.00pm, The Edinburgh Food Studio, Sustainable food evening
Sat 22nd September:
10.00am – 12 noon, Morning style talk with EGG Edinburgh Women’s Community
Mini facials and hand massages by OSKIA throughout the day + masterclass
7.00pm – 9.00pm, Influencer Style Event with WearandWhere
Sun 23rd September:
9am – 10am, Morning yoga with Leith Yoga
The hush pop-up will be located at Custom Lane, Custom Wharf 67 Commercial Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6HL
Fashion legend Pam Hogg on taking on the role of costume designer for the National Theatre of Scotland’s latest co-production, Cyrano de Bergerac
Cyrano de Bergerac – Brian Ferguson and Jessica Hardwick. Credit Mihaela Bodlovic
Interview: Cheryl Caira
How have you weaved your distinctive design style into the costumes for Cyrano de Bergerac?
My work is always about the feeling of a moment so for me the challenges are the same. As soon as I heard it was Cyrano my mind was racing, but the reality that it all had to work in split seconds with multiple changes just meant that everything had to be simplified. The costumes as a whole became more of a suggestion and practicality became the focus, to allow the actors freedom to move.
You’ve been called the ‘Queen of underground fashion’. Was the dark, romantic tragedy of the Cyrano de Bergerac story appealing as a basis for costume design – and what attracted you to working on this particular stage adaption?
Many thanks – I’d no idea I’d been bestowed with that title! The story of Cyrano is for me way beyond Romeo and Juliet, as it’s a love story so deep and terrifyingly bound in rejection, but the balance between this and the comedy elements, especially in this Glaswegian version [Edwin Morgan’s Scots translation] takes it to another place. Having spent the best part of my youth in Glasgow and now having my first shot at costume design back here is the best gift I could have been given.
Cyrano de Bergerac – Ensemble. Credit Mihaela Bodlovic
You’re hands-on with every stage of designing, from devising to catwalk, which is quite a rarity now. Why have you stuck to this approach throughout your career?
It’s been through necessity really as funding to build a steady business has evaded me, probably though lack of time to be able to dwell on this side of things, as I’m constantly in creative mode. I’d absolutely love to be able to employ a permanent small team who I could teach and they could grow along with me, allowing me more time for design, but there will always be a hands-on element at the first stages, as it’s from there that my ideas grow and develop – all the little mistakes that send me careering off in other directions I’d never have thought on.
What’s setting your creativity alight at the moment?
I never know what’s going to emerge until I’m in full swing, so it’s a mystery to me too and that’s the joy of it.
Cyrano de Bergerac – Samuel Pashby Bhav Joshi, Scott Mackie. Credit Mihaela Bodlovic
How much does Glasgow’s design heritage and arts & music scene influence your current aesthetic?
Glasgow’s an incredible city charged with life. You can’t help being influenced just by this energy alone. It’s always been a place of inspiration for me. As a child I spent days on end at the art galleries dreaming of being a painter and later years in every music venue dreaming again.
Is recognition through accolades like the ‘Style Hall of Fame’ at the recent Jersey Style Awards important to you?
Receiving an actual award is fantastic, but it’s not at all important. Recognition that my work is resonating is important as creating in a void is pointless. I try to harness the energy that drives me to create and in turn to hopefully inspire.
The culotte is here to stay. Embrace power dressing teamed with starry glam in these pieces from Emily and Fin. Blouse, £59, culotte, £79, emilyandfin.co.uk
Chalk it up
More unisex creations for us: Chalk’s ARCO Scarpa Collection is inspired by the famous Italian architect, with designs that celebrate the union between architectural discipline and the art of jewellery. Earrings, £290, thechalkhouse.com
Here comes the sun
We’re hanging on to the beachside dream and staying boho with Hansine’s floaty and fabulous tea dress, made in the UK with Italian fabrics and available in four different colours. £480, hansineshop.co
The UK may have had some warmish weather over the last few months, but we still need some bright prints to keep us warm when the sun goes down. We’re sweet on Hayley Menzies’ Candy Cane – inspired by the vintage fairgrounds of the 1950s. £325, hayleymenzies.com