Organic September

This September, East Lothian retailers and producers are asking everyone to make a Small Change in their everyday lives, in order to make a Big Difference to our food and farming.

SA_SCBD_Food&Farming_Logo_RGB_AWThe Soil Association Scotland, the organisers of Organic September, is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.

It is an ethos that Mike Callendar of East Coast Organics, firmly believes and is organising a farm visit on Sunday 14th September (1-4) to the Eco Farm near Morham (not the Boggs Holdings base).

“This is our yearly event for our members, customers, friends and anyone that is interested in sustainable food production. The whole event is a celebration for everyone that has believed in, and supported us over the past 18 years.

As always, it will be a fun day out for all the family with organic hot food and drinks and an organic market.  There will be tours of the farm, polytunnels, crops and orchard, a kids corner with goats, kunekune pigs, rare breed sheep, geese and ducks as well as a chance to play on a JCB digger.”

Always thinking of the environment, Mike is keen to encourage visitors to be eco-friendly “Please try and car share or cycle.  From Haddington head south to Gifford for 2 miles then take a left to Morham.  The Eco Farm is 300m on the left EH41 4PD”.

Cocoa beans may not grow in Scotland but the demand for organic chocolate is certainly growing. Ali & Friederike Gower, of The Chocolate Tree, who specialise in crafting artisan chocolate from their small factory in Haddington, have recently re-launched their range of premium organic chocolate, with amazing flavours like sea salt & caramel and brambles with cardamon.

To create their chocolate bars, they work with an organic certified couverture (a very high quality chocolate). The blend of cacao beans used to produce the chocolate is sustainably & ethically sourced from Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Organic farming ensures the preservation of biodiversity in these very special parts of the world.

Although most often associated with the food industry, the organic label covers fashion and beauty too as Rosemary Renton from the Small World, suppliers of Fairtrade certified organic cotton bags & homewares, in Prestonpans, is keen to point out: “Most people think of cotton as ‘natural’ but only organic certified cotton is kind to the planet, the producer and the purchaser.  Conventionally produced cotton is an intensive process which accounts from almost one quarter of all the world’s insecticides.  This results in terrible conditions for the cotton growers and thousands of chemicals are used to turn raw material into the textiles that we put next to our skin every day.

By choosing organic we can all support a kinder, greener and more ethical way of living – from more bees and hedgerows, better animal welfare, and shorter more trustworthy supply chains.

For more information about Organic September, visit

Queen Margaret University open days

Queen Margaret University open days

Thursday 4th September & Saturday 4th October 2014

Campus tours, university application advice and course talks are just some of the things on offer at Queen Margaret University’s up and coming open days.

The open days, which will take place on Thursday 4th September and Saturday 4th October, will give visitors a chance to find out about a wide range of undergraduate courses. The event, which is suitable for individuals looking to start university in September 2015, will offer visitors the opportunity to meet academics and students, view accommodation and hear about student life. A range of presentations will provide helpful tips for applying through the UCAS system and understanding student funding.

The University offers a niche range of undergraduate degree courses in the areas of Health Sciences; Business, Enterprise and Management; Media, Communication and Performing Arts; and Social Sciences. To help visitors get a better insight into these areas, academics will present subject talks on, for example, Performing Arts, Costume Design and Construction; Business & Management; Media, Film and PR; Nursing, Podiatry and Physiotherapy. Visitors will also be able to find out about new degree programmes which the University will offer in 2015. These include ‘Public Sociology; Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing; and Nutrition & Food Science.

In addition to course information, visitors can take organised tours of the campus to view teaching, learning and clinical areas, as well as accommodation and sports facilities.

The event will run from 11am – 4pm on Thursday 4th September and Saturday 4th October.

Register for the event via the QMU website

(Registration is not compulsory. You are welcome to attend either of the days without registering but in order to speed up your arrival at the university it is best to register at:


QMU graduate named one of the UK’s top event planners of 2014

Sian DownesSian Downes, a recent PR and Media graduate from Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Musselburgh, East Lothian, has been nominated as one of the top four event planners under the age 30 in the UK and the only ‘Rising Star’ in Scotland, as part of the 2014 Event Awards.

The annual Event Awards is the only industry awards ceremony in the UK that celebrates the creative, experiential and supplier sectors in the live events sector.  This year’s glittering Event Awards ceremony will take place at The Troxy in London on 2nd October, when Sian will find out if she has won the top accolade.

Sian is currently the Events Manager for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.  Since joining the organisation in April 2013, Sian has overhauled the events programme by boosting the number of annual events held by the Chamber from 35 events last year to 120 events in 2014.

Her biggest success to date was managing the 3rd Annual Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, including the development of the event’s branding, logo, sponsorship packages and the choice of award categories available to enter.

Sian has secured more sponsorship opportunities than ever before for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards by engaging with high profile brands like Audi, Vision Events, The Royal College of Surgeons, Hunter Adams, Westfield Health, Skanska, SuperJam and Links of London.  She has also boosted attendance at the 2014 event by over 130% compared to the previous year.

Commenting on her nomination in the 2014 Event Awards, Sian said: “I’m thrilled to have been named one of the UK event world’s ‘rising stars’ this year.  I’m already looking forward to the 2014 Event Awards in London this October and wish all the other nominees the best of luck.

“My QMU degree has certainly equipped me well for my chosen career path by offering lots of practical opportunities as well as building my academic knowledge.

“I really thrive on working in such a dynamic environment and have enjoyed taking on the challenge of boosting the profile of Chamber events and working alongside the members.”

For more information on the Event Awards 2014, visit:


Be Prepared for Bertha!

There is the potential for severe weather over much of the UK during Sunday 10th August, as a depression tracks over, or close to, the UK. There continues to be a great deal of uncertainty in the forecast but the public should be aware of the risk of flooding due to heavy rain as well as very strong winds and large waves.

Keep an eye on the alerts issued the Met Office and SEPA.

A list of East Lothian emergency numbers can be seen in this pdf.  Why not print off a copy now – before you need it – add your own phone number and distribute to vulnerable neighbours?



Win a Big Cheese Making Kit!

To celebrate having 3,000 followers we have teamed up with award-winning East Lothian company, The Big Cheese Making Kit, to bring you a competition to win a kit of your choice.


To enter, simply follow us and retweet this tweet.

The lucky winner can choose from Halloumi, Mozzarella & Ricotta, Scottish Crowdie, Goat’s Cheese or the Kid’s Kit.

The draw will close on Friday 8th August at 4pm after which time the winner will be contacted.

And remember, you can buy kits from The Big Cheese Making Kit website.

Journalist Kate Adie and international theatre director to receive honorary degrees from Queen Margaret University

Journalist Kate Adie and international theatre director Eugenio Barba receive honorary degrees from Queen Margaret University

On 1 st July, the internationally renowned journalist, Kate Adie joined influential theatre director, Eugenio Barba to receive an honorary degree from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Katie Adie was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her contribution to news reporting and our understanding of world events. The former BBC international affairs journalist was joined by Eugenio Barba, a theatre practitioner who has significantly influenced practice and critical thinking within the art form. Eugenio is director of Odin Teatret, a theatre company which he founded in 1964, and founder of the International School of Theatre Anthropology, both of which are based in Denmark. Both honorary graduates were acknowledged for the relevance of their work to society at large, reflecting the university’s own commitment to enhancing lives in the communities it serves.

The University was delighted to award Kate Adie, one of the UK highest profile journalists, with a Degree of Doctor of Letters at the graduation ceremony held in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Dressed in flak jacket, helmet and holding a microphone whilst crouching on front-lines, Kate Adie became an iconic figure associated with breaking news from some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. She is particularly well known for her reporting of significant international events including the student uprising in China when she received a gun-shot wound to her elbow whilst reporting events in Tiananmen Square. She has also reported on turbulence and conflicts across the world such as in Northern Ireland, the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the first Gulf War, the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the 1997 uprising in Albania and the civil war in Sierra Leone in 2000.

Kate hung up her flak jacket and helmet in 2003 to become a freelance journalist. Since then she has written five books, been a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, and won numerous awards including three Royal Television Society awards, the Richard Dimbleby Award from BAFTA in 1990, the Broadcasting Press Guild’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, and an OBE in 1993.

As a leader in education for allied health professionals and the only provider of audiology education in Scotland, Queen Margaret University (QMU) was particularly keen to honour Kate given her work with the charity Hearing Link. Kate is a patron of Hearing Link which supports people with hearing impairment and deafness.

The University, which has areas of expertise in creativity and culture, also bestowed a Degree of Doctor of Letters on Eugenio Barba, an influential theatre practitioner, researcher and theorist who has enjoyed a 50 year career in the arts. Eugenio Barba has directed 76 productions, mostly with his theatre company Odin Teatret. The honorary degree recognises his influence on how we see and understand theatre and on the way drama is taught in universities and colleges.

Born in Italy in 1936, but emigrating to Norway in 1954, Eugenio began his working life as a welder and a sailor, whilst studying for a degree in French, Norwegian Literature and History of Religions at Oslo University. He went to Poland to learn directing at the State Theatre School in Warsaw, but left one year later to work with Jerzy Grotowski, a leading contemporary experimental theatre director. Eugenio also spent time in India studying Kathakali, a dance-theatre art form, which uses hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of dialogue and which was unknown in the west at that time.

Since 1974, Eugenio Barba and Odin Teatret have developed a unique style of working – one which trains actors who help communities discover their cultural voice, creating social interaction and breaking down barriers. Eugenio has also written over 20 books, contributes to academic publications and education, and has won numerous awards.

Professor Alan Gilloran, Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University, presented the orations for both Eugenio Barba and Kate Adie.He said: “Among contemporary artists who have made a mark on the history of theatre, Eugenio Barba is the only one who has worked in such innovative ways across all fields of theatre, ranging from artistic creation to theoretical reflection, and to the use of theatre in a social context as a trans-cultural tool to activate relations between different social and ethnic groups. Eugenio Barba’s influence reaches across all our performing arts programmes, and for that reason, all of our graduating drama and performance students and graduates owe a debt of gratitude to him.”

Professor Gilloran continued: “Kate Adie’s inspirational and gutsy style of reporting has shed light on some of the world’s most significant events and has touched the lives of millions of people, both in the UK and around the globe. She also has expertise in areas of speech and communication which are aligned with the work carried out by Queen Margaret University’s speech researchers – the impact of vocal quality, accent and non-verbal communication in conveying information in different contexts.”

The Principal of Queen Margaret University, Professor Petra Wend, paid tribute to both Kate Adie and Eugenio Barba. She concluded: “It is entirely appropriate that the University honours both these highly influential professionals – Kate Adie for her work with the media, across societies affected by conflict and in support of people with hearing loss, and Eugenio Barba for his ground-breaking development of contemporary theatre and his ability to create performance which unites communities. Both Kate’s and Eugenio’s achievements in their specialist areas reflect the relevance of the university’s work and its aim of serving communities and improving quality of life.”


Queen Margaret University Professor awarded Royal College of Nursing Fellowship

Professor Brendan McCormack (low res)Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of Division of Nursing at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has been awarded a prestigious Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Fellowship.

Celebrating the very best in nursing, the annual RCN Awards present Fellowships, Honorary Fellowships and Awards of Merit to those who have given an outstanding contribution to nursing.

RCN Fellowships are awarded to RCN members who are registered nurses in the UK and who have made an exceptional contribution to nursing or health care.

Professor McCormack is an internationally-renowned authority on the nursing of older people, person-centred nursing, and practice development. His seminal work, ‘Practice Development in Nursing’, explores the basis of practice development, its aims, implementation and impact on health care.

The Professor was appointed Head of Division of Nursing and Research Professor at QMU earlier this year, having left his post as Director of the Institute of Nursing and Health Research, and Head of the Person-centred Practice Research Centre, at the University of Ulster.

He brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership to his new role and his appointment underlines QMU’s commitment to its established international agenda and focus on research development.

Commenting on his RCN Fellowship award, Professor McCormack, said: “I’m really proud to have been awarded this honourable title from the UK’s official nursing industry body.

“Over the years, I have been keen to bring a different perspective to the professional development work of the RCN, enthusing QMU students and colleagues with passion for patients, so it’s hugely rewarding to have been recognised by my industry peers.”

In recognition of his continuing research commitments, he was awarded the status of ‘Senior Distinguished Research Fellow’ by the University of Ulster in 2011, and ‘Researcher Hall of Fame’ by Sigma Theta Tau International in 2014.

Professor McCormack was also recently named one of only 11 researchers in Irish universities on a list of the world’s top 3,000, compiled by the multinational media body, Thompson Reuters. Inclusion means that the research of each academic is listed in the top one per cent for the number of times their work has been cited by other scientists.

Those selected will also be published in a new book – the Thompson Reuters 2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. Inclusion in this publication means the researcher is among those ‘who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognise as vital to the advancement of their science.’

Professor McCormack is editor of the ‘International Journal of Older People Nursing’ and has more than 160 peer-reviewed publications, as well as eight books published. For the past five years Professor McCormack was also President of the All-Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association [AIGNA], Chairman of the charity ‘Age Northern Ireland’ and a Fellow/management committee member of The European Academy of Nursing Science.

Nursing has a long history at QMU and is one of the original subject areas which led to the creation of QMU as we know it today.

Over the years, the nursing portfolio has rapidly grown and today a number of nursing and nursing related courses are on offer. In addition to the BSc (Hons) Nursing programme, QMU offers a number of postgraduate and post-registration courses.

Lecturers teach across all courses and are constantly in contact with all levels of the nursing profession, which greatly benefits students. QMU also has important links with international nursing departments through staff exchanges.

For more information on annual RCN Awards and Fellowships, visit

Save our Chimneys!

(text taken from Change petition)

From all over our county we can see our chimney’s, from all over Fife, going over the Forth Road & Rail Bridges, up Calton Hill, all our coastal fishermen returning home from sea, even returning from afar by plane we can see our chimney’s,

When were returning to anywhere in East Lothian this is what we look for to know that we are nearly home,

To keep them is a massive Thank You to all who Built, to all the Coal Miners, all the Workers, the Engineers & for all the power that lit so many homes for so long,

I think we should create a ray of light using laser beam lighting up our chimney’s in memory of all that’s been involved in Cockenzie Power Stations History and if possible give back a little to the environment and create some kind of Wild Bird Sanctuary,

Edinburgh planners and Architects worked together to save the Ferranti Crewe Toll Clock Tower which sits alongside the new engineering buildings,

Why don’t we incorporate our chimney’s into the future design of the plans for Cockenzie Power Stations land,

The chimney’s have a tiny footprint but a massive impact.



Staying at Seton Sands?

Seton Sands holiday park is a popular holiday destination for families.

It is perfectly placed to explore the gorgeous coastal areas of East Lothian and beyond such as:

Seton Collegiate Church owned by Historic Scotland

Cockenzie House and Tearoom – they often hold family-friendly events but it nice just to look around the gardens and visit the tearoom

Secret Garden, Cockenzie – a lovely place for a picnic

Harbour takeaway (and sit-in!)  do amazing fish + chips and occasional lobster curry

Gosford Estate –  a lovely estate to walk around

Dirleton Castle (Historic Scotland) – worth combining with a visit to Dirleton Gallery

Museum of Flight, Drem.  See Concorde.  If you are going here, it’s worth popping into Scottish Archery Centre – if there is not a party on, you can have a go at archery.

All East Lothian swimming pools are free for children during the school holidays.

East Lothian museums including the nearby Prestongrange industrial museum are free, as are all libraries.

Seton Sands is on the 26 bus route which takes you all the way to Edinburgh Zoo for a flat rate of £1.50.  LothianBuses also have family fares and day tickets which offer great value for exploring Edinburgh.

The nearest train station to Seton Sands is Prestonpans from where you can the train east to North Berwick or west to Edinburgh.  The journey is short and the fares are reasonable – make sure you choose the Kids Go Free ticket option when travelling with children – and hang on to your ticket, it gives free kids entry to many Edinburgh attractions.

If going to Edinburgh you might want to look at

The Bank Museum, Gorgie City Farm, National Museum of Scotland, National Library of Scotland, Portrait Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art (all free) and Camera Obscura (great value or free kids entry with a Scotrail Kids Go Free ticket).

Keep an eye on for local event listings

If you need any further information, ask @lothianloop

Dadswork Petition

East Lothian organisation, Dadswork, is experiencing a funding crisis.

Please consider signing their petition to East Lothian Council.

  1. DadsWork requires funding from East Lothian Council to continue its work and survive from closure.
  2. DadsWork is an unique and innovative service supporting fathers and provides key services for male parents/carers in East Lothian, it provides parenting support groups, counselling for men, play group for under 5’s , parenting courses and workshops, welfare support, 1-1 , home outreach, returning men to employment and further education.
  3. DadsWork has never asked East Lothian Council for any funding in 12 years.
  4. DadsWork provides services no other service in East Lothian can provide.
  5. DadsWork will close unless funding is secured as of the end of June 2104 and 75 families will be stranded without support as the local services are already at full capacity and wont be in a postition to support them.
  6. DadsWorks families will be without designed activities aimed at them to enrich their relationships between the male parent/carer and their children.
  7. DadsWork provides partnerships with many other services and organisations i.e Social Work, Education, Health, Substance Misues Services, Criminal Justice which will end and futher deny fathers the support they require and deserve.
  8. DadsWork has been the front runner in advice and support for many organisations and services in the UK in developing their services and ensuring their father friendly, including the development of Dads Rock and Fathers Network Scotland.
  9. DadsWork has launched a successful Go Mad with Dad series of fun filled activity days for male parents/ carers with over 700 people attending.
  10. DadsWork provides information to the National Parenting Strategy, Legislation and the way forward for fathers rights

Click here to view the petition.