My Night at the Chinese State Circus

As a young adult, the circus hasn’t really appealed to me since the age of 5. My faintest memories of the circus often involve big clowns on small bikes and even a clown riding an elephant. To a child, bright lights, and funny noises was entertaining but now as an adult, it is concerning especially due from an animal cruelty perspective so I was obviously a little bit apprehensive when I received an invite to attend the Chinese State Circus in Edinburgh.

However, with me being assured there were no animals involved with the circus, I decided to attend my first ever circus show in about 18 years  filled with a sense of intrigue, curiosity and excitement.

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As soon as I got out the car my excitement continued to grow, friends, families, lovers, old, young, so many different groups of people of all different backgrounds were arriving and clearly excited for the show which seemingly rubbed off on me. I mean I’ve been in a lot of tents but never a tent this colourful or this size!

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When I got inside the tent, I realised I was super early and there was a pop-up bar hosted by local gin brand (Minus) -33 dishing out the drinks. I mean, I’m a good guy, I do like to promote my local brands so it would be rude not to have a G&T with Elderflower… or 5!

I received a goodie bag with a Chinese State Circus book inside, a bag of popcorn and my pass for the evening. Since I hadn’t eaten all day, my hunger got the better of me and the popcorn was finished before anyone could take a picture. However, now with a belly full of popcorn, I managed to relax and read my new book…

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and make some new friends…

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After partaking in some pre-show shenanigans, I went off to take my seat still unsure about what to expect – but the G&T’s definitely loosened me up! But it wasn’t long before I was captivated by what was going on in front of my eyes.

There was a girl juggling parasols using her feet, a team of people juggling hats and doing tricks all in perfect synchronicity, Shaolin Warriors that terrify and entertain in equal measure, men somersaulting through small hoops at a ridiculous height and so much more.

By this point, I was hooked but sadly an interval was called so I made the most of my break and treated myself to some traditional circus food – Candy floss! I even topped up my glass of G&T whilst mingling with the other guests. Everyone I spoke to was on the same wavelength as me – unsure to begin with but completely sold on the show and the performance.

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It wasn’t long until I was being ushered back to my seat and prepare myself for Part 2 of the show. The show got even better in the second half where a female team was foot juggling with drums and a Bicycle act that featured a lot of girls and a lot of bikes that completely blew me away, the way they interchanged bikes and positions and on such a  small stage, performed with so much elegance. Truly amazing!

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Then came the headline act, at this part I started to wonder  “how else could this get better?” I mean what more could they physically do? The final act went above and beyond. Two people in a big, rotating, metal cylinder would entertain me enough. However, when they started to climb on to the outside, start skipping and doing flips it very nearly gave me a panic attack, It was definitely one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed!IMG_0597.JPG

WHAT A NIGHT! A circus, something I had viewed negatively for many a year has given me an incredible night and has truly changed my perception on circuses. The circus is currently still performing dates around the UK, with tickets still available here. I fully recommend that you at least try and get along to a show and you will definitely not be disappointed. In case my words aren’t enough, check out the trailer for the Dynasty Tour yourself.

After a wonderful night, I want to thank Phil MacHugh at Skapa PR for the invite and for being a great host and also my friend & Foe-tographer Sophie Grosvenor for the pictures – where you can catch some of her other pictures here.

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Jay Carrington

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Saira Shoes Fashion Event

I got invited to attend an event in Shoreditch, London for Saira Shoes to check out their new collection Hmmm… Should I go to a night of cocktails and canapes in London toon surrounded by fancy footwear? Try and stop me!

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Saira is an independent shoe brand that is based in the UK that specialises in designing quality female footwear. Their designs are heavily influenced by the likes of Asia with the use of materials from the likes of India with a unique blend of modern and traditional styles. Saira design a  whole range of footwear such as loafers, boots, casual flats, sandals and more.

The night got off to a bit of a disaster, as I keep forgetting how bad London is regarding traffic especially between 6-7pm. Although the Uber app said the journey should take 35 mins from my hotel to venue, it took me 35 minutes to go round the corner. At this point, my trusted sidekick advised we hop out and just get the tube.

30 minutes, 2 trains, a London underground battle with the public, a much-needed toilet break and a hunt for a very discreet bar we finally arrived at the venue.

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The Ninety Eight bar  is a lovely venue, with a spiral staircase leading down to the bar. As soon as I got to the bottom I was swiftly greeted and escorted through into this cosy little back room. The room had a mummified theme with the benches and statues being wrapped up I get greeted with friendly faces, a Bellini cocktail and vegan spring rolls. What more could you ask for? Time!

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There is nothing worse than having your hands and mouth full while someone is trying to introduce themselves and you’re stood there chewing your 500th bit of chicken satay. However, I did meet some lovely people when I was here and it was great to be surrounded by such incredibly talented people.

 

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“why did the chicken cross the road”

 

The SS16 collection was an incredible display with a whole range of footwear on show

Although they are not my footwear I would normally wear I did spot my personal favourites. Since I love chelsea boots, I looked across the other side of the room and it was love at first sight. Arguably one of the most stunningly designed boots I had ever came across. Silver boots with a fancy golden patterned design. Everywhere I go I always see boots and they are either black or brown, leather or suede boots but just plain with no designs. Lately, I’ve been getting bored of wearing the same plain boots so when I saw these, I had to admire them and if these were available in a size 11 I would have definitely grabbed myself a pair.

Jay Carrington

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My Session With AG Fitness Trainng

Due to my “Get Fit” resolution highlighted in my diary last week, I decided to turn to Andy Graydon, one of Scotland’s finest PT’s. Since Andy is based in Glasgow and so am I, it seemed only fair that I paid him a visit.

I got in about 30 minutes early and sat down and observed a Crossfit class that looked simply terrifying. While they were doing what seemed like 997867868676576 pull-ups and 18 minutes of kettlebell(ing?) and skipping – a workout that would send a shiver down the spine of even the most hardened athletes. I contemplated running away as I imagined myself trying to do one pull-up and not even getting off the ground while everyone in the gym gave me a wedgie each, which would be labelled under “#LADGymBantz”

Finally, they finished and Andy came over, introduced himself and put my mind to much-needed rest. He talked me through what I was going to be doing and made me  sign some forms – nothing major, just that if I died then my family couldn’t sue them, no biggie.

My workout was fun but tiring, I’m used to going to the gym by myself, putting on my headphones and zoning out but there is something incredibly enjoyable about having regular “gym bantz” rather than just silence. I often find going to a gym alone can be a rather tedious and boring affair but when you have someone next to you who you can have a laugh with and generally have a good chat it can be a much more enjoyable experience.

 

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Workout

We did a 5 minute warm-up on the rowing machine. Followed by a little bit of shoulder mobility work with a resistance band.
We started off the resistance training with a bench press. the bar was 20kilos
then we had 5kg each side, so a total 30Kg.
After that we went on to single arm kettlebell rows, using a 12kg kettlebell.
We then finished up with the battle ropes and a stretch.

Verdict

 9/10

It was a great experience and taught me exercise can be an enjoyable social experience rather than just a lame workout. Anyone can tell you to “do exercises and get fit” but the way Andy talked me through each workout and explained why we were doing it and what we were doing was beneficial. Andy’s personality and knowledge gave this such a strong rating. I would have made it 10 since it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing exercise. However, it is still exercise… *minus 1 point*

You can check out Andy’s website here, Facebook here and also his Twitter here. If you’re like me and need to get back in shape to have a sexy 2016 then make sure you get in contact with him!

 

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