With Julez

Glasgow based blogger - events, travel, music and sport


The Edinburgh Festival

As mentioned in my previous blog, now that I have moved back to Scotland I am trying to make an effort to go to new places and see all the exciting things that my country has to offer.  With this in mind I took a trip to the Edinburgh festival this weekend to experience some culture, support the arts and appreciate the work of poor performers etc etc..

If you don’t know, the Edinburgh Festival is an annual celebration of arts and entertainment taking place during the entire month of August. Artists, comedians, dancers, singers, and general creative types (hipsters) from all over the World descend on Scotland’s capital to showcase their work. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh turns into a chaotic runway of bizarre and wonderful street art and the whole city is buzzing. I’m pretty sure the Edinburgh Fringe is directly responsible for the deforestation of the rainforest with all the leaflets that are handed out, but we will overlook that because why support the trees and ecosystem when you can support struggling performers who have dedicated their life to ‘art’.

There is something for everyone at the Fringe. From well known celebrities to up and coming performers plus every single drama student in the UK you wont be short of things to do or see. Generally tickets for big well known names sell out pretty quickly but if, like me, you are just there for a day out there are plenty of free shows to choose from. In fact there are so many shows that it’s literally impossible to see everything. There’s also a lot of ‘contemporary’ street art which you won’t understand and various promoters trying to get you to come to their show, just keep your head down, avoid eye contact and you’ll be fine. You don’t want to be that guy who gets peer pressured into the 1 hour poetry reading about the life cycle of an orange, trust me, it’s not pretty.

We spent the majority of the afternoon in Cabaret Voltaire, where there are several rooms all showcasing up and coming talent, usually of the stand up comedy variety. Everything is free and I can honestly say I enjoyed every performance that I saw. Like I said, this was only one venue of the hundreds to choose from, you really need a good few days if you want to experience the festival properly.  If you are strapped for cash take a look at http://www.freefestival.co.uk which lists all the shows that are completely free. I would recommend buying tickets in advance if there is anything you really want to see, then spend the rest of the day visiting some of the free/cheaper shows which are still of a very high standard. (mostly..)

I might return to the Fringe this week so please let me know if you have any suggestions of things to go and see. If you are thinking of going but haven’t quite got round to it yet – do it!! You will love it and there isn’t long left!



Rio 2016 highlights

Well, after weeks of sleepless nights, screaming at the television, becoming a self taught expert in gymnastic routines and even shedding a few tears the Rio 2016 Olympics have come to an end. I mentioned in my blog before the games started that I believed it would be full of history making moments, stand out athletes and that Rio would put on a spectacular show… and put on a show they did!!

Team GB finished second in the medal table, ahead of the once untouchable China - the most successful Games EVER for Great Britain and I can honestly say I have never been prouder to be British. I watched every GB medal ceremony, staying up until 3am on a work night if need be - MY COUNTRY NEEDED ME (to watch religiously and binge eat pringles). Yes I know I could have watched it on iPlayer the next day but its not the same is it!? I’ve seen more of Claire Balding in the past few weeks than I have my own family and I’m not even sorry about it. I am a self confessed Olympics addict and am already experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of having nothing to watch – what did I used to do with myself? Never in a million years did I think that I would stay awake until 2am watching trap shooting but I did, and I would do it again!

There are far too many Olympic highlights for me to mention, in fact the past few weeks of my life have just been an emotional rollercoaster of sporting genius – I’ve been excited, stressed, anxious, angry, elated, hungry and everything in between. God only knows what the athletes felt like! I will therefore try to list my top 5 highlights of Rio 2016 although we all know that there were literally hundreds of examples that could be used.

Let me know your favourite Olympic moments in the comments as I’m sure every country has it’s own reason to celebrate.

1. Team GB's cycling success

It’s undeniable that Team GB owned the track cycling at the Olympics, no one else even came close. The Velodrome is where British champions are born. Not all heroes wear capes, some wear funny looking helmets and really tight onesies.

Great Britain were Beyonce and everyone else was Kelly Rowland or the other one. I wasn’t really into my cycling before but now I take spin class as if I’m Laura Trott in the Omnium and no one, I mean no one will get past me. (a few people would probably get past me, turns out cycling is really hard…).

In all seriousness those cyclists are superhuman and it warmed my cold black heart to see how happy they were when all the sacrifice paid off in the end. Also Jason Kenny and Laura Trott - talk about couple goals! Their babies will be champions… or bikes, who knows!?

 2. The living legends – Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt

It’s impossible to write a blog about the Olympics and not mention Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. They are history makers, they are role models to future athletes and they are both really really tall. Clean athletes at the top of their game, the top of the podium and it’s going to be sad not to see them in Tokyo 2020. What will future Olympics look like without them? Will they ever be beaten? I guess we will have to wait and see!

3. The Double Double

For Team GB, winning a gold medal at home in 2012 was a feat that many thought would be unsurpassable. That was until several of our athletes successfully defended their titles and became Olympic Champions not once, but twice (5 times if you are in the men’s rowing fours, but who’s counting..). You’re lucky if I can get out of my bed before 7 am two days in a row, never mind winning an Olympic Gold, twice! But, Jade Jones, Nicola Adams, Alistair Brownlee, Helen Glover, Heather Stanning, Mo Farah, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, the men’s and ladies team pursuit, the men’s sprint, the men’s rowing four, Charlotte Dujardin and Andy Murray did just that. (phew what a list, did I miss anyone!?)

Can any of them make it once, twice, three times a champion in Tokyo 2020? I’d put my money on it, for sure!

4. Team GB Hockey

Never did I think that I would be sat home, alone, on a Friday night, watching a women’s team sport that I have never even played before and actually enjoy myself in the process (completely sober I may add). But, that’s exactly what happened the night the Team GB ladies played in the hockey finals. They moved the nation, they moved the news, and Maddie Hinch moved in so many directions that I think she might be made of elastic. There was blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of sticks flying around resulting in the whole of Great Britain becoming invested in a hockey game – something which has never happened before, not in my life time anyway. Team spirit, girl power and gold medals – it was a great night!!

5. Simone Biles, just in general.

 Last but by no means least, Simone Biles. Is she the greatest gymnast EVER? Many would say yes, yes she is. How there can be so much power in one tiny body I have no idea, I can barely do a cartwheel. Who am I kidding I can’t even touch my toes. Chris Pratt’s a fan, Zac Efron’s a fan and I’m pretty sure every aspiring gymnast in the world is a fan of Simone Biles. Not to mention her sassy leotards and eye make up, the girl is unstoppable! In fact, the entire US ladies gymnastic team were for me, the ultimate squad goals of Rio 2016. How do I join!?



Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - Glasgow

Since moving back to Glasgow, something I have been telling myself I need to do (but haven’t quite got round to it yet!) is to discover new places and try new things as well as revisiting some of the old and iconic places my city has to offer. Becoming a tourist in my own city if you will. I think, like most people, if you have lived somewhere for a long time you take for granted the fun events that happen and you don’t take the time to experience the unique things to do in your home town.

With this in mind, I went to the number 1 ‘thing to do’ in Glasgow according to Trip Adviser. This was to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Now I am sure I went many times as a child but I haven’t been for years and couldn’t even remember what was inside the gallery. I’m not exactly the cultured type but it’s free so I really had no excuse not to go.

The building itself is amazing, surrounded by Kelvingrove Park and Glasgow University. The entrance/front door of the museum is very picturesque, many a selfie to be taken there. Once inside there are paintings (in an Art gallery.. funny that!), dinosaurs, ancient artefacts and an alarming number of stuffed seagulls. Now I’m not much of a historian, or art lover for that matter, but even I enjoyed wandering round looking at all the different pieces. Now I won’t pretend I knew what they were all meant to be, I mean I am pretty sure I could have drawn some of them, but I did enjoy listening to other people giving their interpretation of what I considered to be a squiggly line on top of a square. I even attempted my own piece of art in the form of decorating a box with coloured string, Pablo Picasso eat your heart out.

Now we missed the famous organ recital which happens every lunch time, but despite this we did spend practically the whole afternoon inside Kelvingrove, which surprised me as I thought I’d be bored after 10 minutes and want to find the nearest pub! In fact as we were leaving they were clearing up the cafĂ© and reception ready to close for the evening, time flies when you are looking at paintings, who knew!?

Overall I had a great afternoon at the museum and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Glasgow or if, like me, you haven’t been since you were a child. I wouldn’t set aside a whole day for it, but it’s definitely worth visiting if you are in the area.

Anyway, this visit marks the start of my new goal to try and experience all the delights that Scotland and the UK have to offer, instead of doing the same things and going to the same places every weekend.

With this in mind I am open to all suggestions of fun/different things to do – I’m already planning a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe (which is a must), a visit to see the famous Kelpies and a sub crawl which isn't really a cultural experience but more of an excuse to drink all day with my friends across the entire city, but aside from these activities I am an open book so let me know your thoughts!



Rio 2016

Having worked in major events for over 3 years it is clear that the biggest, best and most prestigious event in the sporting world is of course the Olympic Games. My old manager who worked at London 2012 called it the ‘biggest peace time event in history’ and I think he is right.

Tonight is the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I just want to wish all the athletes, teams and of course the staff who have worked tirelessly over the last few months the very best of luck. The blood, sweat and tears that will have gone into getting this event ready is incredible, trust me I’ve been there! The hardest part about working at such a large is event is actually finding the time to enjoy it and take it all in, so hopefully my friends and colleagues out in Rio manage to at least experience a little bit of the magic in between running around like headless chickens!

The anticipation and run up to the Games has been a little tarnished this year due to the issues with the preparations in Rio, but I have no doubt that once the event starts it will be fantastic. Who knows just yet what records will be broken and how history will be made but you can bet your last dollar that something spectacular is bound to happen – already we have a ‘Refugee’ team competing and some very exciting young athletes who are ready to make their mark. Not to mention legends like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill – you just know something special is bound to happen.

So let’s do this, Rio 2016 – it’s your time to shine!! (special shoutout to Team GB, make us proud!)



Green Juice in Glasgow

A little bit of a different post today but.. it's happening.. After almost 25 years of blissful ignorance I have finally succumbed to peer pressure and have decided to try and join the healthy living club.

Up until now I have survived almost exclusively on, to put it politely, garbage. McDonald’s, Pizza and the occasional Subway if I was feeling ‘healthy’!

Unfortunately, as with most people, my metabolism apparently isn’t what it used to be so I am being forced to rethink my diet and exercise and start to eat better and bla bla bla you know the drill! Trust me I'm as bored reading about being healthy as you are. 

Now I am not about to jump straight into a diet exclusively devoted to Kale and quinoa - chocolate is still my best friend. However I am willing to make a few changes. The first of which was introducing ‘green juice’ into my life. Apparently it's healthy. I’m not ready to make my own just yet so I popped into Juice Garden in Glasgow and picked up a ‘5 a day’ juice from their extensive menu of healthy sounding beverages. It had fruit, vegetables and was bright green so it must be healthy, right!?  To be honest it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – so far so good!

I have also joined (ok re-joined) the gym, have bought some snazzy matching work out gear and booked into some hellish sounding classes. Not sure why I’m not skinny yet!? I’ll let you know how it goes…. In the mean time if anyone has any particular classes they’d recommend please let me know.

So, without further a due, go forth and fitness. No..ok.. but you get the jist!

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