Tempo Tea Bar Bubble Waffle

Introducing the new Bubble Waffle sundae from Tempo Tea Bar, my favourite Edinburgh bubble tea dive. As well as hot, cold and blended bubble teas in a plethora of flavours, Tempo now create delicious desserts which I had the chance to preview last week. These freshly made to order Bubble Waffles are wrapped around a GIANT scoop of Crolla’s luxurious vanilla ice cream, a scoosh of fluffy whipped cream, topped with a rainbow of toppings and finished off with 2 Pocky sticks! Oh, and I forgot to mention the M&Ms, caramel sauce and lucky charms cereal *heart eyes*. 

This weekend at The Arches (a new shopping and dining complex full of independent brands just outside of Edinburgh Waverley train station on Market Street) there’s a Christmas Shopping event with exclusive offers everywhere, so if you’re in the area be sure to check out Tempo Tea Bar! The cute little tea boutique also stocks quirky music, gifts and art,  plus the friendliest staff in the world.
Another brilliant new store at The Arches is Atticus Boutique, which I can never resist popping into when I get off the train from university in Galashiels! Stocking on-trend clothing from fashion designers across the UK, my favourite is definately Neon Rose, whom I bought some awesome geometric print pyjama trousers from last week (check ’em out on my instagram @urbanity_blog)
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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Makers and Friends Edinburgh

If you’ve been reading Urbanity for a while now, you’ll know that I do love a pop-up shop. From Wear Eponymous to Scotland Redesigned, and from Craft Scotland and Urban Reivers to Don’t Look Lingerie and Isolated Heroes, Scotland has been spoilt for choice recently of independent, local designers in exciting new retail experiences. While these fab pop-ups are sadly over, fortunately I’ve discovered a new one just in time fro Christmas; Makers and Friends. From now until the 19th of December, you can shop from a range of UK artists, designers and makers at 17 Dundas Street, Edinburgh.

Makers and Friends is an idea that was conceptualised by Zen Zhou, a London-based jewellery maker and blogger at After selling her beautiful handmade products at various craft fairs with little success, she noticed that it didn’t make much sense to have every designer at separate stalls just waiting for customers to come by; why not collaborate with other makers and create a specialised series of pop-up shops across the UK where the makers could have their stock introduced to new markets in a dedicated retail space, as well as introduce their disciplines to customers with creative workshops in ring making, pom poms and wire work to name a few! It was great to discover some new independent artists, like Chau Art who creates intricate paper-cut greetings cards that I just couldn’t resist buying, but it was also brilliant to see some more local brands, like Lucky Cloud Skincare (read all about Lucky Cloud here). To find out more about Makers and Friends, check out their gorgeous instagram or visit their website to get involved!

If you do one thing this Christmas, consider buying your gifts from independent designers and makers. Scotland is so full of creative talent just waiting to be discovered and in most cases it is no more expensive than the high street, and much better quality, not to mention more unique. 

Anyone that knows me knows how much I care about the #shoplocal movement, and I think at such a busy retail time everyone should make more considered and ethical purchases, supporting the circular economy instead of the fat cats of big brands.

Every time you buy something from a creative they do a little happy dance inside!

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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An Ode to Boom Saloon

Photo by David N. Anderson

On Thursday night I went to a party at St Stephens church in Stockbridge. There was a DJ booth at the organ and the altar was filled with magazines and balloons. The pews were filled with creatives from around Edinburgh and beyond, drinking Brewgooder Clean Water Lager and munching on macaroni pies and cinnamon swirls from Twelve Triangles. In place of the priest and the preacher were Rachel and Jamie, creators of Boom Saloon, a new Edinburgh-based monthly editorial magazine (although that word sounds frivolous, I would call it an exhibition in print form, a scrapbook of creativity perhaps). 

As one of Boom Saloon’s kickstarter backers (you can watch the amazing Kickstarter campaign video here, produced by Campfire), I received a boom badge, t-shirt, bag, and of course Issue 001 of the magazine. The next day I immediately devoured its content and instantly fell in love. As a fashion communication student, every page inspired a new way of looking at print media, from the unconventional front cover to the juxtaposition of images in double page spreads. The articles are totally engrossing, full of rich ideas from emerging opinionists. 

Photo by David N. Anderson

Boom Saloon is:

“A magazine to reshape the creative landscape, championing talent of all forms in a movement for good.”

What does this mean? The magazine covers a huge range of cultural issues from contributors from around the world all from various backgrounds; Boom Saloon does not discriminate.

What’s more the team work on different social project with each issue. The first project, supporting underprivileged youth in Muirhouse, is already underway, with Boom Saloon’s creators working with the local community.

The launch night was a brilliant spectacle, and full of familiar faces like photographer Ellie Morag and Counterpoint zine editors Sam Bradley and Bethany Thompson. But whats more exciting than any party is the bright future of this enterprise, and I can’t wait to see whats in store. Check it out for yourself here!

‘Odes’ is my new monthly blog post series focussing on celebrating exceptional creative publications that I admire and aspire to, for their gripping journalism, beautiful photography, inspiring layouts and fascinating online features. Have you read my other ‘odes’ yet? 
An Ode to The Gentlewoman

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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Vegan December Challenge

So I’ve been vegetarian for years, but last year I went vegan for around 6 months. Why didn’t it last? 

On one hand, and most obviously to those around me, it was my eating disorder. For me, bulimia was directly caused by prolonged malnutrition from anorexia. In the most basic terms, excluding any psychological factors, I had starved my body and therefore it wanted me to store food ready for the next famine, so when I did finally give in to my cravings and eat properly, I wanted to eat anything and everything, as quickly as possible. 

Therefore, when I embarked on a vegan diet, arguably a restrictive way of eating relative to a traditional western diet, it triggered those same instincts as those early days of recovery. In short, it led to a huge relapse into bulimia. 

Controversial though it seems, and perhaps lacking in self-compassion as my therapist might suggest,  that is still not a valid excuse. Although of course I needed to take it slow and reel it back in at the time, it doesn’t mean my morals are gone forever. Now more confident and certainly more clued up after nearly a year’s worth of research, i want to take on the challenge again, and review it at the end of December to see how its working alongside, rather than against, my recovery.

One of the biggest things for me was cheese. I never even ate much of the stuff before I made the change to vegan (clearly anorexia is not closely linked with a love of cheese!), but as soon as I made the switch to exclude dairy products, there was nothing I craved more than a big fat block of cheddar, melty mozzarella on pizza, crispy grilled halloumi or fresh feta in a greek salad.  I’ve heard countless people, myself included, arguing that “I could go vegan, but I’d miss cheese too much!” This is partly because (as a lot of research suggests) processed cheeses like those mentioned contain chemicals that cause real addiction, and like with cocaine, withdrawal symptoms are real too.

Why is dairy unethical?

1. Humans are the only creatures on earth that drink milk in adulthood, and the only ones to drink the milk of another creature. Not your mum, not your milk. Simple as that.

2. Calves of dairy cows are cruelly ripped away from their mother at birth. Dairy cows are forced to mechanically breastfeed with natural hormone cycles.

4. Many dairy cows and chickens are factory-farmed with very low quality of life and zero time outdoors. They actually develop real mental illnesses and huge behavioural problems.
5. Male chicks are quite literally ground up and killed in their masses as they are of no use to the industry.

And what about health and the environment?

I won’t go into it of course as this is not a food blog nor a science blog, but what I will say is that there is very little evidence that a plant-based diet isn’t the best, easiest and cheapest way to achieve optimum health for the majority of the population, as well as hugely reduced levels of toxic emissions leading to climate change.

For all the Netflix junkies out there, here is a list of some eye-opening documentaries that hammer home this theory. If straight-up horrifying slaughterhouse footage (if you’re more iron-stomached I urge you to watch Earthlings) ain’t your thing, check these out:

Food Choices

Hungry for Change

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (1 & 2)

Food Matters

Food Inc.


Forks over Knives

Fed Up

Cowspiracy (my personal favourite)

I’ll leave you with this: “When consuming animals is no longer a necessity, it becomes a choice.” 

In today’s world abundant with food choices, with most of us living in a westernised society where is is not necessary for survival to hunt for meat and fish, the only thing keeping us from questioning the status quo is our own choices. Not willpower, not fad diets, not being a hippy, but making informed choices on whether we still want to consume the way we do despite all the evidence that it goes against our morals. And admitting that we, as humans, no longer have the birth right to dismiss all other sentient beings as being on this earth to please our tastebuds.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx
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Creative Brew Interview

Here is an interview I did with Creative Brew, a new website based in Glasgow showcasing the work of local creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“For fashion blogger Ruth MacGilp, following your creative passions is crucial. Ever since she was a young girl, Ruth has channeled her love of fashion into everything she does.
From choosing to study fashion textiles at university and setting up her own fashion blog, to playing a crucial role in the Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange, Ruth has utilised every opportunity to carve out a career in the industry she adores.
Here, Ruth discusses her professional career so far, her zeal for fashion blogging and how the innovative Edinburgh-based Scottish Design Exchange has offered her a myriad of exciting opportunities.

Introduce yourself

I grew up in Birmingham and have lived in Edinburgh since 2013. I’m a fashion and lifestyle blogger over at and I work for The Scottish Design Exchange.
Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

What are you studying at the moment?

Currently I’m studying a BA in Fashion Communication with Heriot Watt University, at the School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels.

Have you always had a love of fashion? 

Since I was very young I’ve loved dressing up. For me, fashion is fantasy, it’s all about experimenting with visual identity.
My Grandma was a dressmaker and taught me to sew, and in my teens I became addicted to reading glossy magazines and blogs. Biographies of legendary fashion designers and subscriptions to Vogue were always on my Christmas list!

You’re a fashion blogger yourself, so do you have any tips for those writers just starting out?

Urbanity has been running for a year and a half now, and its been pretty much non-stop. I would advise any new bloggers that if you want to be successful, you truly have to put the hours in.
Other than a few bits of advice, like do a coding course, go to networking events and post regularly on social media, the rest is up to you.
A personal blog is a totally unique entity; choose a niche, stick to your guns and focus on producing quality content.

What do you enjoy about blogging?

I use my blog as a portfolio of sorts. It’s a visual documentation of many different parts of my life and my career. It’s a platform for me to promote what I’m truly passionate about, like supporting local fashion brands and encouraging mental health recovery.


What bloggers have you got your eye on at the moment?

In Edinburgh there is a plethora of amazing bloggers and it’s a really supportive creative community.
At the moment I’m following Wardrobe ConversationsLittle ThingsThe Edinbugand Love From Lou Lou.

Tell us about the Scottish Design Exchange?

The Scottish Design Exchange is a not-for-profit design collective that supports artists and makers living in Scotland. It was founded by Lynzi Leroy last summer and has gone from strength to strength. Our flagship store in Leith is home to over 100 local creatives.

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

How did you get involved with the Scottish Design Exchange and what makes it so important to the contemporary design scene?

At the start of the year Lynzi hired me to set up the new fashion department at SDX, which opened in February. Now I manage around 30 fashion and accessories designers and take care of the company’s social media.
The Scottish Design Exchange is unique because unlike most boutiques and galleries, we charge zero commission to allow independent fashion designers- who often have a hard time gaining support after graduating from art schools- to keep 100% of their profits.
The Scottish Design Exchange offers designers specialist help with branding and marketing, with potential moves into micro manufacturing in the future.
The vision for SDX is to foster a thriving fashion industry right here in Scotland without the need to rely on imports and exports. It aims to establish a strong circular economy that encourages creativity first and foremost.

What opportunities has the Scottish Design Exchange opened up for you and what can it offer other creatives?

From great networking opportunities and endless blogging inspiration, to being awarded real responsibilities for fair pay (so rare at a young age!), the skills, experience and friendships gained from my work are immeasurable.
For local creatives, we provide a welcoming community and aim to show the public that shopping local is much better for the economy and the environment than high street fast fashion and mass produced design products

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger

What have been your highlights of working at the Scottish Design Exchange so far?

One of my favourite parts of the job is organising events. The launch party for SDX Loft, our fashion department, was a really proud moment for me. Since then we’ve hosted blogger events, social media workshops, art exhibitions, regular meet-the-makers days and styling events.

What advice would you give to those looking to break into the fashion industry?

Put your self doubt aside and aim high. See rejection as an opportunity for feedback. Don’t let your age, appearance, experience or education set you back or put you back; you’re worthy of success.
Postscript: We’d like to congratulate Ruth on becoming a finalist for the Blogger of the Year category of The Herald Scotland’s Scottish Fashion Awards. We’ll be rooting for you! Don’t forget to check out Ruth’s work on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Creative Brew Interview: Ruth MacGilp - Urbanity Fashion Blogger
By Jonny McIntosh of Creative Brew. Head to their website to get involved!

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