My low carb life

Avocado salad for lunch (Photo credit: Dave Paul)

In the famous words of Ziggy Stardust, “I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.”

I have no idea what he was talking about, but over the last week, I have committed myself to eat a Keto diet; the one which is low carb and high fat. The very idea of cutting carbs from my diet made my stomach rumble, but I have forged ahead nonetheless.

I should explain a little of what ‘keto’ actually means. Keto is short for Ketogenic diet, where you reduce your carbohydrate intake to 10-15% of your calories and get the majority of your calories from fat. This puts your body into a state of Ketosis, where it starts to burn your body fat for fuel instead of converting carbs which are stored as fat. So you have to lower your carb intake but increase your protein and fat intake. That essentially means I have to stop eating chips, but I can eat loads of butter, cheese, eggs and meat.

Omelette - Dave Paul

Omelette, olives and cucumber meal. (Photo credit: Dave Paul)

From what I’ve been reading, the diet has many health benefits. There have been a lot of studies carried out that show that keto can actually help diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as giving you lot’s of energy. How can that be bad? It also apparently burns fat faster, and if I want that Christmas body I’ll have to move quickly. Here is how I got on:

Saturday – Day One

The first day was a shopping day. I made a trip to Waitrose because I like to think I’m middle class, and got myself a selection of low carb, high fat, protein-rich foods to eat; Italian meats, butter, cheese and more eggs than Michael Phelps. It seemed like a herculean task at first, but I found I actually had to buy LESS stuff as I was cutting out potatoes, pasta and rice which are basic food items. I then realised that all of my meals will be glorified ploughman’s for the next few months, and decided that there is definitely nothing wrong with that. Bring on the meat.

Sunday – Day Two

Off to a strong start. I made a low carb bread sandwich of mixed meats, pickles, piccalilli, cheese and salad leaves. I took a hit mid-afternoon when I realised that milk has carbohydrate in it. Damn you lactose, you natural milk sugar you. In fact, I found out that pretty much everything has carbohydrate in. Sugar is classed as carbohydrate. Everything has sugar in it. This is going to be harder than I thought.

My ‘builder’s tea’ isn’t the same without milk. And, no biscuit, no point.

Monday – Day Three

I can eat certain vegetables and still stay on keto, as long as I’m careful to choose low carb ones. Celery and spinach yes, carrots and parsnips no. I made a nice salad with meat, avocado, cheese and lettuce. I have decided that I cannot deprive myself of milk in tea and coffee. No milky Lattes though, a basic Americano with milk for me

Tuesday – Day Four

I have eggs for breakfast, again. As an ex-chef, I can’t help but turn out my omelette perfectly cooked and folded neatly onto my plate. I try not to think about the fact that I can’t have cereal, bread, bagels, rolls, toast, porridge, or French toast but I’m not focusing on what I can’t eat. It’s what I can eat that should be my focus. Mmmh, bacon. My breakfast usually keeps me full until dinner, but not today. No crisps. No chocolate. Unless it’s dark chocolate that has over 70% cocoa solids. Then I can have two squares, and still be low carb. I miss Dairy Milk already. Jerky to the rescue! I can eat lots of this, it’s 0% carbs, and I like to chew it like a cowboy as I play video games.
Sausages for dinner but with no mashed potato so I cook up pak choi and spinach and have it with a garlic and double cream sauce. Delicious.

This low carb thing is fine, why aren’t more people on this diet?

Wednesday – Day Five

I thought that lunch at university would be tough to keep low carb. Sandwiches, paninis, wraps; almost all convenience foods you buy have quite a high carbohydrate content in them, so I didn’t think I would be able to manage. To my pleasant surprise, the salad bar at the university is well stocked with low carb options. By avoiding the chickpeas and the jacket potatoes, but having extra cheese and olive oil, I had a lovely lunch and another omelette for dinner. I don’t know how Michael Phelps does it. I have a craving for salt and chilli chips though. Stay strong Dave.

Thursday – Day Six

Weirdly, this diet actually isn’t very difficult. Apart from the aforementioned not being able to get anything without carbs in it pretty much anywhere, you actually end up having to buy less food and saving yourself some money.

The other strange thing is that I am almost never hungry.

Something about not eating carbs that I thought was inevitable was constant hunger, but there was none! I have discovered how many things go with eggs, and being able to eat an entire packet of Italian cured meats and not feel bad about is incredibly liberating.

I think my face has lost some weight, I’m certainly looking thinner. Finally, a diet I can really stick to. I actually think I can finally lose some weight before Christmas and be happy at the same time. YES!

Friday – Day Seven

I got drunk and ate a Burrito at 2 am.

Saturday – Day Eight

The keto diet was fun while it lasted.

EN4’s Christmas Show Selections

It’s that time of year when it becomes too cold to think… about anything other than something hot to drink.

With all the coldness enveloping Scotland this winter, it’s time to look forward to the almost overwhelming number of Christmas shows that are descending upon us this festive season. 

Christmas Cabaret – 8th/15th/22nd Dec 

Christmas Cabaret

Christmas Cabaret

Many Fringe shows cannot resist the allure of Edinburgh, even after the festival – one such show is getting ready to return to the capital this winter for a Christmas Cabaret. Join Bruce Devlin for the next three Saturdays at what will surely be a fast-paced evening of entertainment. Hosted at the Stand Comedy club in York Place, the cabaret is set to delight and excite adults and teens alike. With full-on merry cheer to get you ready for the holiday season, it boasts an impressive line-up of singers, comics and cabaret performers. 

‘A ‘best of’ hour featuring a selection of the biggest and best…’ (Fringe Review 2017).

Tickets – £6 or £5 Concession 


Bugle Boys Christmas Crackers – 11th to 30th Dec 

BUGLE BOYS_Landscape

The famous Bugle Boys

If you’re a fan of American Drag queens, then going to see the Bugle Boys at the Assembly Roxy will obviously be the first show you see this Christmas. 

Another fan favourite from this year’s Fringe festival, the trio have certainly brought back their talent. The show, along with some laughs and antics, will feature the queens singing – not lip-syncing – some of the most iconic Christmas tunes. Dressed in faux military wear  and ready to blow the crowd away, Ewan James Armstrong, Martin MacLennan and Tom Harlow light up the stage alongside their long-suffering pianist Chris Gorman.  

Tickets  – £5 to £15 


MagicFest Christmas Show – 27th to 30th Dec 


A festive dystopian adventure with the miracle of Christmas future

If you’re looking for something that stretches your mind, then why not head down to the Traverse theatre this season for a wonderful magic show full of surprises. The perfect match-up of Scottish magician-scientist hybrid Kevin Quantum, and Swedish high-tech wizard Charlie Caper sees the duo impress audiences with their combination of magic and science. 

In the “Miracle of Christmas Future” the audience gets to see how magic, robots and humans come together to create a vision of the future of Christmas. The show combines classic sleight-of-hand with state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive and mesmerising experience that is not soon forgotten. Incredible illusions are sure to challenge your knowledge of the impossible. 

This event is clearly made for magic enthusiasts, sci-fi fans and people who are after something more interesting than your average Christmas miracle

Tickets – £22 adult, £20 concession, £15 child 

With so many amazing Christmas events taking place around Edinburgh, it’s sure to be a Christmas Cracker of a festive season.

Podcast: Festive movie favourites

xmas poscast 2

Get Christmas ready!

December is finally here so it’s time to start binging your favourite festive movies. Join Olivia Hill, Michaella Wheatley, Linnéa Lind and Paul Sinclair as they chat about their top picks and compete in a seasonal movie quiz!






Game Review: Battlefield V

Watch as Liam Mackay reviews Battlefield V and discusses its pre-launch controversies.

Buy Battlefield V here.

Podcast: Edinburgh’s Concert Hall: Condemned before Constructed.


Artist impression of the Impact Centre. Photo credit to Impact Scotland.

In this weeks EN4 News podcast, Calum Wilson and Joanna Hampson discuss the newly proposed concert hall.

The hall, known as the Impact Centre, has faced controversy after the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland complained the proposed building would overshadow the historic Royal Bank of Scotland building, known as Dundas House.

The Highlands named as top world destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet

The Highlands and Islands have been selected as one of the top places in the world by Lonely Planet.

The beautiful landscape helped place the region in the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2019.

The guide named the Highlands “one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe”. The “innovative and fast-developing” accommodation across the Highlands is another reason for the area’s high ranking.

Lonely Planet’s guide recommends looking out for a number of animals native to the area including red deer, golden eagles, otters and whales.

The Highlands have long been a popular destination. They are home to Britain’s largest National Park, Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, and a stunning coastline.

We found out where else in Scotland visitors should be sure to check out, by asking the public the most beautiful places they have been.



How did I fail at becoming Scottish?

I moved to this beautiful, but cold-as-hell country, four years ago. I came ready to conquer and soak up all the culture and the weird words you guys say. I had read a lot about Scottish stereotypes, and since those articles are always true, I thought I had you guys figured out.

Four years, and a lot of saying, “yous, ay, yer, wee”, later – and I’m still being asked if I want a tax return receipt every time I buy something.

Even if I’m buying milk, 30 rolls of toilet paper and the cheapest wine they have at Tesco – they still mistake me for a foreigner. Well, they are not mistaken, but I like to be right. Just ask my boyfriend. Besides, what maniac tourist is going around buying 30 rolls of toilet paper?

The question is, what is giving me away, and how did I fail so miserable at integrating? I drink and swear excessively, I’ve become overly apologetic and nice to strangers, and I quote Braveheart at least once a day. Yet, you guys somehow won’t accept me.

Let’s break it down. I’m Norwegian but don’t necessarily look it. I’m short, have curly and brownish hair and I’m wearing tartan for crying out loud. I even gained like 8 kilos a stone during fresher’s week.


Author of the article, Constance Maria Enger

I also try to sound like yous, but judging by the laughter I receive: I’m not always doing that well. Living with 6 Scottish girls from around the country was a recipe for a confusing dialect, and not to mention a disaster.

It wasn’t until I travelled to the land of hillbillies and Clinton-supporters that I was finally mistaken for a Scottish person. I’ve never been happier. “Yooo, dude, are you like, Scottish or something? You sound weird”, in which I lied: “Yes, yes I am.”

Maybe the thing that is giving me away is that I’m so obviously trying to be Scottish: Just like I try to speak French in France. When I say try, I mean fail, and when I thought I said burger – I said salad.

The fact is, tourists always make a fool of themselves while trying to pretend they are not in fact tourist.

In the end, it would take me years and years to perfection your quirks and even then I would probably be caught by some know-it-all.

It’s strange feeling at home in a country that constantly reminds you that you’re a stranger. I don’t really fit in, but you guys don’t really care about that. It’s all in my head.

I shouldn’t be offended when someone offers me help with directions – I should be grateful. because I’m usually lost anyway. The point is, I’m still treated like the princess I am, and I feel welcome everywhere. That should be what’s most important.

Maybe, just maybe, I need to take a chill pill and just be myself. Perhaps if I act like I do at home – Scotland will finally be just that.

Behind the Red Door

Twenty miles outside of Scotland’s bustling capital lies a place with a vibrant community of close to 20,000 people, where the Union canal divides the neighbourhoods at the hilltop and the High Street at the foot, which leads to the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. In many ways, the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow is a worthy equal to Edinburgh.

However, the recent launch of Red Door means the West Lothian town may steal the limelight from the big city when it comes to showcasing local music. On the high street, hidden between the eleven pubs, small cafes and local shops, there is a red door which many people often walk past without noticing  — the entranceway to St. Peter’s Church. In the close future, following the work of three musical enthusiasts, this red door will signify the portal to a new venue which could bring the community’s music scene to life.

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The recent renovations transformed the heart of the 90-year-old church into an unexpected Greek-orthodox style kirk with a Cycladic style dome, gifting the upcoming venue with perfect architectural acoustics which further enhances the intimacy of the venue, which will fill a void in the community’s arts scene.

Although the town hosts an annual folk festival which draws in big crowds and has a jazz club which puts on regular shows, it lacks a venue fit for these types of events. For years, local musicophiles and art-lovers have had to hop on trains to travel to the neighbouring cities Glasgow and Edinburgh to see touring artists or leftist, specialised (music) events. As big venue spaces in the capital, such as Studio 24 on Calton Road, Grindlay Street’s Citrus Club, and Market Street’s Electric Circus closed up recently, this is the perfect time for Red Door to attempt to provide an eclectic mix of talent for the town’s inhabitants to enjoy right on their doorsteps.

Red Door as a brand is the brainchild of Stewart Veitch, a solicitor and trustee of the church, Robin Connelly,  who has a background in promoting small-scale events and jazz gigs at St James’ Church in Leith, and Rob Adams, a journalist and music critic. One of the co-creators, Stewart Veitch, explains how this will change both the church and the community: “I suppose it is about creating an identity, because for many people in the town, the church is just a red door on the high street, they don’t know what lies behind it, so this is an invitation for them to look behind it and see what is there.”

Red Door drew its first big crowd in with Richard Holloway’s book launch of ‘Waiting for the Last Bus’. The former Episcopal bishop of Edinburgh, who is also a broadcast journalist and author, was the first to baptise the church as a cultural venue to explain his exploration in prose of our fear of death. The event was organised in collaboration with Far From The Madding Crowd, the town’s local bookshop which was awarded  ‘Independent Bookshop of the Year for Scotland’ in 2017.

Sally Pattle, who owns the bookshop, commented on the collaboration: “At Far From The Madding Crowd, we are really excited about Red Door and what it means for Linlithgow. There is already a vibrant cultural scene here in the town, but Red Door are offering something slightly different in that there will be regular events for people to look forward to.”

Following this successful partnership, both local entities have decided to put their hands together once again for a music-cum-literary event. On Saturday, October 27, two of the most distinctive jazz guitarists in the UK, Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen, will help inaugurate Red Door as a musical venue. Aside from the concert, which will see the adventurous alliance explore melody and musical invention in a whole new setting, includes the book launch of Paterson’s latest book ‘The Fall at Home — New and Collected Poems.’

This event will be followed by an intimate gig with BBC Folk Award-winning singer-songwriter Chris Wood, whose first stop of his tour is the little burgh, and a look into different cultures with Jyotsna Srikanth, a superb violinist, who plays in the (Indian) Carnatic tradition. Veitch explains the importance of including touring and world-music artists: “We are setting up what we think are high-quality artists, who seem interested in being involved, almost to establish this as another gig on the circuit for similar acts. We are keen to see how these artists will respond to this place as well as how the local community will view it as an audience.”

Starting next year, the Red Door team is hoping to incorporate spoken word into its program, including hosting an event with Shore Poets, the main poetry collective in Edinburgh. When asked about how Red Door will establish itself from here on, Veitch added: “The initial splash of events are close together and we are hoping that, by doing so, we will establish an audience quite quickly. We want to draw in a listening audience and create social space to gather people, get them away from Netflix.”

Red Door is hosting events on Saturday October 27, Thursday November 8 and Wednesday November 28.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Why are you so good?

Bohemian Rhapsody. What makes this song such a timeless classic? For a song that is more than 40 years old, the anthem remains a favourite for people of all ages.

With the highly anticipated release of the Freddie Mercury’s biopic, which shares the same name as the rocking gem, coming up tomorrow, EN4 News’ reporters discussed what makes Bohemian Rhapsody such a timeless classic.



Picture credits to kentarotakizawa

Re-visiting Edinburgh’s Archive

Language is an example of how different parts of Edinburgh or institutions may describe their community, such as re-development, or advancement…then to others who would describe theirs as having been gentrified, which gives them a sense of feeling like they were sold or bought out.

These two terms of interest connote quite different meanings, and in each image, there is a theme of public services or spaces that have changed or are changing, from schools to a fire station, a market and a park. These images are a small note on how cities change, as for every street has a story to its own.

Old Observatory, Calton Hill, 1967

City Observatory, 1967 (Unknown)

Poked through panels lay bare to the elements as the observatory sits in disrepair. Once a tool to track the transit of stars in order to keep an accurate time for mariners, it was relocated to Blackford Hill and renamed The Royal Observatory. Today, the City Observatory is a museum.

4. Calton Hill

City Observatory, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890 (Unknown)

Once called the North Loch, it was later drained in the 18th century due to the spread of diseases. The site, that is now Princes Street Gardens, then became open to residents of Princes Street, and later opened to the public in 1876.

1. Princes st Gardens

Ross Band Stand, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Market 1890

Stockbridge Market, 1890 (Unknown)

The Stockbridge Market was active between 1823 and 1906. All that remains today is the Greek-Doric entranceway that connects Hamilton Place and St Stephen’s Place. A new Stockbridge Market, that is on every Sunday of the year, is located just around the corner on Saunders Street.  

Stockbridge Market

St Stephen Pl, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith walk, 1890

Sanger’s Circus, 1890 (Unknown)

Sanger’s Circus was a travelling show that was seen nationwide. Performers and animals gradually make their way down a part of Leith Walk that is now predominantly student accommodation.

Leith Walk (TOP)

Top of Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Meadows 1863 James Valentine

The Royal Infirmary, 1863 James Valentine

A flock of sheep grazes in front of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary that opened in 1879 after being located at Robertson’s Close. It was then relocated again to Little France in 2003 and has now seen a re-development known as the Quartermile.  


Meadows, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Royal High school, 1874

Royal High school, 1874 (Archibald Burns)

The Old Royal High School was completed in 1829 to be then vacated in 1968. It has since seen community push back from a planned hotel development while other ideas of a music school have been platformed.

Royal High School

Royal High school, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Donaldson's Hopital 1925

Donaldson’s Hospital, 1925 (Francis Caird Inglis)

Sheep graze in front of Donaldson’s Hospital where the grass was rented out to a butcher for use. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1850, it has now since been made into luxury apartments. The old headmaster’s office is currently set at just over £1.15 million in price.

Donaldson Hospital

Donaldson’s Hospital, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957 (Unknown)

The newly built Great Michael Rise surrounds an anchor that is a symbol of Newhaven’s history in shipbuilding and fishing. Once a village outside of Edinburgh, new homes were built with families in mind. These industries died off towards the end of the 1980’.


Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Fire Station 1890

Stockbridge Fire and Police Stations, 1890 (Unknown)

Stockbridge Fire and police station were located on Hamilton Place. The fire station now operates as a public toilet and the police station has been an Indian restaurant for over three decades.

Stockbridge t&P

Now Public Toilets, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith Walk Tramlines, 1904

Laying Tracks, Leith Walk 1904 (Unknown)

Laying tram tracks at the bottom of Leith walk, labourers stair into the camera as Leith is connected ever closer with Edinburgh city centre. The tramlines were taken up in 1956, but plans of re-laying them down Leith are to be decided upon at the end of 2018.

Leith Walk(Bottom of)

Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

North bridge, North British Hotel(Balmoral) 1901

North Bridge hotel, 1901 (Unknown)

Once named The North Bridge Hotel and owned by The North British Railway Company, it was then sold in the 1980′ and renamed as The Balmoral Hotel in 1991.

North Bridge

Balmoral Hotel, 2018 (Ross Fraser)


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