Archive for the ‘Lifestyle: Feature’ Category

Nanu Streets: Candlemaker Row

Candlemaker Row

Nanu Streets is a brand new feature on, taking a closer look at interesting stretches of Edinburgh that you might have missed. This week we’re featuring the wee stretch of shops on Candlemaker Row, between Greyfriar’s Bobby and Grassmarket. Candlemaker Row is home to a few independent shops perfect for completely unique, slightly unusual purchases.


At the top of the street we find Deadhead Comics. Don’t let the faded yellow paint and dusty windows put you off going in, despite a few of its aesthetic problems is the best comic book shop in Edinburgh for people who actually want to buy comics. Edinburgh’s other comic book retailer has given away huge amounts of floor space to action figures and manga seemingly at the cost of back issues. Deadhead is purely dedicated to comic books and alongside the wide range of current releases and collected editions sits a wide range of back issue comic books. If you are looking to buy books on a regular basis, Deadhead offers a pull list facility so you can guarantee you will never miss an issue. Plus if you miss a book or are looking for a particular graphic novel, it can more often than not be ordered to come in with the next week’s shipment. Opposite Deadhead Comics is another specialist bookshop which could make Candlemaker Row a one stop shop for genre fans. Transreal Fiction dedicates its considerable book shelf space to Science Fiction and Fantasy books alongside some merchandise and cuddly toys; a pleasant addition, if only a fleeting distraction, from the huge numbers of novels on display. Hours could easily be lost for any sci-fi or fantasy fans in this Edinburgh institution. Tucked slightly below ground and further along the street is Analogue Books; a tiny art bookshop crammed with design, art and lifestyle books, magazines and prints. Zines are displayed hanging from the shop’s ceiling and books are laid out in such a way that’s ideal for browsing. You’re guaranteed to find a good handful of interesting reads and not just a forgotten coffee table book. Prints from local artists are available to buy and once in a while a local artist exhibits their work in the shop too. Just next door is the lovely independent boutique Hannah Zakari. The wee shop only opened a couple of years ago, after six years of trading online and specialises in handmade, quirky pieces from independent designers. Delicate, subtle pieces of jewellery are found upon entrance to the boutique, further back a variety of prints and modern illustrations are on display and a Boiler Suited Lego Man necklace is waiting to be picked up by the perfect owner. Ideal for gifts and with a really relaxed

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shopping environment, it’s great to have an Edinburgh branch of Hannah Zakari open for business. Right at the bottom of Candlemaker Row is a very unique shop, a shop that sells dinosaurs. If you reckon owning a Spinosaurus tooth is the coolest thing in the world, and honestly who doesn’t, then Mr Wood’s Fossils is the place for you. Stocking a wide range of fossils, meteorites and minerals Mr Wood’s Fossils offers the chance to own prehistoric relics for surprisingly reasonable prices.   Just beyond Candlemaker Row is Armstrong’s Vintage Emporium. Take a look at our Vintage edition of Nanu:Maps to find out more about Armstrong’s, one of the best loved vintage shops in Edinburgh.

Online Poker: An Industry In Greed

Online Poker

The rise and fall of poker is a fascinating glimpse of an industry based on dreams and greed. Rank amateur Chris Moneymaker dared every Joe Normalton to believe miracles could happen when he made a legendary run to World Series of Poker Main Event victory in 2003. There’s a pivotal moment in the final one-on-one battle when Moneymaker stared Persian poker professional, and part-time Bond villain, Sam Farha in the eyes and pulled off an outrageous bluff that swung the momentum in Moneymaker’s favour.

It is not only a script that Hollywood would have spurned for encroaching on hyperbolic clichés but it caused an astonishing ‘boom’ in the poker industry that saw ‘America’s past-time’ spread across the world, inspiring the golden age of online poker. Poker phenoms and teenage millionaires have come and gone in the years that have passed, but none so astounding as an unknown twenty-something going by the name of Isildur1 who stunned and reignited the poker community by having epic duels with the best players of our generation. Not only did he beat the greats of our time, he destroyed them with a maniacal style

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that won over $5 million dollars during a few nights in November. More astounding perhaps was that this 22 year old Swede wasn’t on suicide watch after losing that amount just as quickly as he’d won the sum. Isildur1 became something of a folk hero in the poker community for his love of the sport and willingness to shy away from nobody.

As we approach the new year, the clamour among the poker community for another catalyst like Chris Moneymaker or Isildur1 to arise has never been more apparent. On April 15th 2011, a day now dubbed ‘Black Friday’, the USA’s Department of Justice suspended the gaming licences of the three largest online poker companies in the industry for allegedly defrauding poker players of over $300 million. That brought the poker community to its knees as many professionals found their online bankroll frozen for the duration of the investigation meanwhile casual players have been turned off by Black Friday’s events. The upshot of which is pulling away the curtain of fame and fortune and witnessing a global community experience turmoil for the last 18 months.

Since Black Friday, there has been much unrest within poker community message-boards over the feeling that a new scandal was being broken week by week. Readers may recognise the name ‘Full Tilt Poker’ (FTP) and their tag-line “play with the pros” from associations with late night poker television shows as well as being the site of choice for Isildur1’s stunning run. Pre-Black Friday, FTP was the second largest poker company in the industry but behind the poker-face was a boardroom loaded with over-fuelled egos whose greed and incompetence revealed their grand ponzi schemes. The owners allowed poker players to withdraw money that the company simply didn’t have whilst making exorbitant ‘loans’ to the heralded pros that they sponsored. That inevitably brought the company to its knees and saw FTP become the major focus of the Department of Justice’s efforts to reclaim $300 million in funds.

The poker world has been under a microscope during this arduous process and that applies to the players as well as the corporations. One story in particular beggars belief in an altogether different fashion from Moneymaker’s rise to stardom. In August, a series of chat-logs were posted to internet message-boards which alleged Matt Marafioti, a high-stakes poker professional, had been conspiring with a well-connected Swedish IT expert named Samer Rahman to hack the poker accounts of other high-stakes professionals. It wasn’t long into their plotting that Marafioti discovered he was a pawn all-long after finding trojans and key-loggers on his computer which had been planted by Rahman. Then, revelation after revelation began to unfold from the story. Rahman was found to be linked to Mohammed Kowssarie, a notorious figure in the poker community after, allegedly, stealing millions from Scandinavian poker professionals, as well as being very open about his strong ties to the “Bandidos”, a violent biker gang based in Sweden. The Bandidos’ presence is overtly prominent, widely known to intimidate individuals and influencing aspects of online poker and the nation’s culture in the process. For instance, the day after the Marafioti scandal broke, the founder of poker news site PokerListings, Andreas Oscarsson, was found shot dead, the consensus being that the Bandidos had made the hit in order to prevent Oscarsson from giving testimony against a former business partner. What may have began with Matt Marafioti’s greed ended with the Swedish Hell’s Angels silencing a witness.

Fortunately, one of the stories from the last 18 months have had a somewhat happy ending as Full Tilt Poker was acquired by Pokerstars, the market leader, with the promise that every FTP player would be receiving their money back when the site re-opens on November 6th after nearly two years of doubt. Howard Lederer, former CEO of FTP, is currently doing a PR crawl, perfecting the art of saying “I don’t know” to interviewers who ask probing questions about how they could have possibly let things at the company get so out of hand.

Meanwhile, contenders for the void in the poker hero have started appearing. A Russian amateur under the guise of ‘maratik’ won over of $1,000,000 in the World Championship Of Online Poker’s $5200 buyin main event having entered through a series of qualifiers at the equivalent cost of 14p. Maratik’s winnings would be enough to enter himself into the ‘One Drop’ poker tournament which held its inaugural event this year and boasted a knee-trembling prize pool of $42,666,672.

Despite all the struggles poker has faced in the last year and a half, it is a sport that is in the ascendancy. The cries from the community to better police itself have rung out loudly throughout Summer and there is a buzz within the community that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow after all.

Nanu Maps: Tea Rooms


Hello, is it tea you’re looking for?

In this edition of Nanu: Maps, Ellie and Elyse go in search of Edinburgh’s finest tea rooms. From the quaint and traditional to the modern and chic, Edinburgh does tea rooms very well. Unlike coffee shops which adorn the streets of Edinburgh in quantity, tea shops are much more sparse in the city, but uncompromising in variety and quality. Tea is a staple of the British diet and can be enjoyed to the maximum in the following establishments.

View Nanu Maps: Tea Shops in a larger map


Mon – Sat 08:30-16:30; Sun 09:30-16:30

Clarinda’s is a proper tea room. Antique china plates adorn the walls, doilies abound, and there’s a cake trolley laden with the day’s fresh homebakes, made on the premises. The instant you open the door there’s a welcoming whiff of thick soup, and the homely atmosphere continues with the small, “granny’s kitchen” style tables – which you will often find yourself sharing with other customers. Compared to many Royal Mile cafes, Clarinda’s is reasonably priced – only 90p for a cup of tea! There are a few specialist tea options, as well as a wide array of sandwiches (served with a handful of crisps, of course) and baked tatties. A lovely, quaint little establishment, which is popular with tourists and older locals alike – though due to its popularity, don’t expect to be able to hang out long after you’ve finished your cake.

Frederick Street
Mon-Tue 08:00-17:00; Wed-Fri 08:00-19:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-19:00

If you’re looking for a modern, sleek version of the traditional tearoom, head straight to Eteaket. The décor is lovely, with bold pink and blue detailing as well as some kitsch accessories. There’s a substantial sandwich menu and a glorious selection of homebakes (a word of warning – their portions of cake are literally slabs). However, the stars of the show here are certainly the teas: from the classic English and Scottish breakfast teas to an exotic cranberry rose chai tea latte or milkshake, with a whole spectrum of black, green, rooibos, herbal and “speciali-“teas in between. If you prefer your cuppa to be a builder’s brew with a bacon roll for a couple of quid, Eteaket is not for you – but for an elegant afternoon tea, it can’t be faulted.

Loopy Lorna’s Tea House
Mon-Thur, Sun 10:00-18:00; Fri-Sat 9:00-18:00

With a specialty tea menu as long as your arm and a groaning table of homemade cakes, traybakes and cupcakes to ponder, it’s no surprise Loopy Lorna’s has been voted the best tearoom and coffee shop in Edinburgh. Located in Church Hill theatre, it’s a cosy little place with mismatched china, friendly staff and whimsical tea cosies. A wee bit more pricey than your average, but you do get what you pay for in quality and quantity. It’s also well worth the extra stroll into Morningside. You’ll be glad of it after you’ve polished off a slab of Lorna’s chocolate cake. Get onto the website for tea facts, tea essays and tea poems.

Clerk Street
Fri-Sun 11:00-19:00

Walking into Anteaques on Clerk Street is like walking back in time. A mustachioed waiter, clad in 1900s attire, welcomes you into the shop and maneuvers around customers to show you to a tasting table. The tea menu is a comprehensive read, with all kinds of teas on offer, as well as the traditional accompaniments of scones and cakes. Old-fashioned brewing paraphernalia, antiques and curios are squeezed into the tiny space of Anteaques and create a unique and memorable atmosphere, unlike any other tea shop in Edinburgh. The slight snag is that it’s only open three days a week; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And be prepared for a very polite waiter to ask you back in half an hour when a table is free. It’s worth the wait.