An Interview with Edinblogger
Big Flavour sat down with Gary Wood, aka Edinblogger and founder of Edinbraw. He is the font of all knowledge when it comes to what to see and do in Scotland's capital. Gary gave us the lowdown on his favourite haunts, why he decided to start blogging and his best advice for those who are keen to get involved themselves. Check out our interview below and follow Gary on social to see what he has been up to recently.
A quick 7 before the mains:
The venue with the...
- Best tunes? Bread Meats Bread
- Friendliest staff? The Roseleaf
- Fanciest cocktails? Lucky Liquor
- Snuggest seating? Under the Stairs
- Finest pint? The Hanging Bat (although they serve schooners)
- Secretest beer garden? The Blackbird is great, but probably not much of a secret
- Smartest decor? Timberyard
Can you please introduce yourself and briefly tell us how you got into blogging?
My name is Gary and I run EdinBraw with my partner Gemma. I first got into blogging when I moved to Edinburgh 11 years ago, a group of friends all had blogs and it was our way of communicating with each other. I really enjoyed the community aspect, but eventually, my interest moved on to other things and the blog died away.
I see myself as quite a creative person and love learning new skills, four years ago I bought a new laptop and SLR camera. I was collecting hundreds of photos and doing nothing with them, it dawned on me that a new blog could be the answer! We were eating and drinking in the same places and taking Edinburgh for granted, we quickly came up with a plan to discover The Best of Edinburgh, to live like tourists and rediscover our love for this amazing city. This was the birth of EdinBraw.
The proliferation of social media has meant that anyone with a smartphone can have a go at blogging. In your eyes, what makes a blog (or blogger) stand out from the crowd?
I love the fact that anybody can start blogging and I encourage everyone to try it out. I've never gone out of my way to stand out of the crowd, in fact, I'm really happy to be part of the crowd - Edinburgh's blogging community is fantastic. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way for budding bloggers:
- High-quality images are essential, it's amazing how good camera phones are these days but you'll get much better results with an SLR or compact
- Proofread your content and ask a friend to become your editor, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can ruin a good blog post
- Become familiar with SEO from the start, you can write the best content in the world, but nobody will read it if search engines can't find it
- Get involved with social media, connect with other bloggers and join in monthly themed Twitter chats
The food scene in Edinburgh seems to have exploded in the last 12 months with new restaurants opening up every week. With so much choice, where is your favourite place to eat?
This is a tough one, there are so many great places to eat out in Edinburgh. Our absolute favourite (and the place we send everyone to) is Aizle. The concept of not having a menu might put people off, but for us, this is so exciting. We never know what to expect at Aizle and make a point of not checking their social media before we go, we're always confident Start Ralston and his team will deliver.
Gary's favourite restaurant in Edinburgh
Events such as the Pitt Street Market have been hugely successful drawing large crowds of hungry Edinburgers. Which of the street food vendors is your favourite?
That's easy! Barnacles and Bones, the only difficulty is deciding between crab or beef - insider tip, visit with a friend and try a bit of both.
Scotland often gets called "The Greatest Small Country in the World" and Edinburgh regularly features highly on lists of the best places to live. What makes Edinburgh, and indeed Scotland, such a great place to live?
I think its size probably plays a huge factor, you can easily get around on foot. Aside from that, it might be something to do with how charmingly beautiful Edinburgh is. I remember when I first arrived in Edinburgh, I think I was 17 and this was my first time out of England, as soon as I stepped off the train I knew I'd live here someday. Six years later I did just that! Although it's a small city, there's always something new to discover and there's plenty of entertainment with a festival for just about everything. For some bizarre reason, we've not explored a great deal of Scotland - this will change in 2018, we're planning on bagging a few Munros to burn off the calories that food blogging adds on.
For those visiting the city as a tourist, it's easy to get caught up seeing the usual tourist landmarks. What would you suggest to someone who wants to do something off the beaten track?
It's important to follow a few tried and tested routes to get the most out of your trip to Edinburgh, we'd start with a walk up Calton Hill to find your bearings and tick off a few of the obligatory monument shots. After that, we'd send you to our neck of the woods in Leith, it's foodie heaven and less manic than the Royal Mile. Then take a stroll along The Water of Leith to Stockbridge and, if you have the time, a walk around The Botanic Gardens.
What is your favourite tipple and where in Edinburgh would you be ordering your drink?
I love craft beer and can often be found in The Hanging Bar exploring their ever-changing menu. If we're talking cocktails, you'd find me in Bramble or Bryant and Mack - I'm partial to a Negroni, but have been known to drink some fairly outlandish cocktails too.
The Hanging Bat
The Hanging Bat on Lothian Road where Gary can often be found sipping on a craft beer.
What has been the most memorable experience you have had as a result of being a blogger?
This is going to sound a bit cheesy, but here we go... My first blog was used to communicate with friends, but EdinBraw's focus has been sharing our passion with strangers. One side effect of this blog has been the number of new friends we've made, we've met so many like-minded bloggers and passionate business owners in Edinburgh. We also stopped taking Edinburgh for granted, each time we're walking around we paying attention to how incredible the city is, we see Edinburgh as tourists and are so much happier as a result.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone who wanted to start a blog, what would that be?
Blog about your passion, inject your personality into everything you do and you'll be fine.