Next Edinburgh speaker

Valerie Simpson

More info

April 26, 8:30am • Google Garage • part of a series on Inclusive

Edinburgh is hosting the CreativeMornings Mini Euro Summit in May! This very special summit will see CreativeMornings volunteers from around the world joining us at our Friday 24th May event!

With the Creative Mornings international family descending on us in Edinburgh, we’re looking for members of our community to host them on the night of Thursday 23 May.

If you have a sofa, box room, or blow-up mattress to spare, for an incredible member of the Creative Mornings family, please let us know!

Email us at with the following details:

- Your name

- Your address

- The type of accommodation you have to offer (bed, floor, or sofa).

Thanks so much!

Edinburgh is hosting the CreativeMornings Mini Euro Summit in May! This very special summit will see CreativeMornings volunteers from around the world joining us at our Friday 24th May event! With the Creative Mornings international family descending on us in Edinburgh, we’re looking for members of our community to host them on the night of Thursday 23 May. If you have a sofa, box room, or blow-up mattress to spare, for an incredible member of the Creative Mornings family, please let us know! Email us at - with the following details: - Your name - Your address - The type of accommodation you have to offer (bed, floor, or sofa). Thanks!

Edinburgh is hosting the CreativeMornings Mini Euro Summit in May!

This very special summit will see CreativeMornings volunteers from around the world joining us at our Friday 24th May event!

We’re looking for community members to host wee field trips after the main CreativeMornings event. If you’ve always fancied yourself a tour guide, showing similarly minded creative folk a favourite part of the city - like all of your favourite coffee spots, a tour of Edinburgh’s brutalist architecture, or a walking tour of all of your favourite Edinburgh sites - the Euro Mini Summit Field Trips are for you!

If you’re interested, email the following to

  • The name of your tour
  • How many people it can include
  • Your name
  • Your contact details

Once they’re all in, we’ll be in touch to let you know if your tour has been selected to be offered to our Creative Mornings International family.

An Interview with March’s #BrawBagel Challenge Winner - Kristina B. Royer!

Our sponsors over at Bross Bagels are pretty darned stellar when it comes to collaboration and creativity - and CreativeMornings/EDI is a community with which they let those talents and values shine! Not just bringing their dangerously delicious treats to our events, but also inviting us to bring our collective, creative talents to their menu! 

Each month, we invite you to submit your Bagel ideas, taking inspiration from the CreativeMornings global theme. The result? The #BrawBagel Challenge! Each monthly champion - hand-picked by Mama Bross herself - wins the honour of having their culinary creation featured on the Bross Bagels menu for the next month! Such delectable glory 🥨 🥇

Our #BrawBagel Champion for March 2019, inspired by the global theme of “Water”, is Kristina B. Royer! 

Kristina’s bagel creation features a Salt bagel, wasabi cream cheese, dried nori seaweed, pomegranate seeds, lox (or without for veggie option). 

Of course, we wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to learn a little more about the sources of her creative genius. So, we caught up with Kristina after she received her winner’s announcement. Read on for foodie inspiration, costumed legendry, and tips to spark your creative minds…

📸 Our March #BrawBagel Champion, Kristina! 

Hey Kristina, it’s fab to meet you - and congrats on your wonderful creation! We’d love to learn a little more about your creative journey. The path you’ve taken to CreativeMornings Edinburgh, and becoming a bagel artiste…

- What first drew you to come along and join the CreativeMornings Edinburgh community?

I’m an artist and curator from Washington, DC  and had attended a CM event there. When I realized Edinburgh had a chapter, I joined the email list and started coming to events. I wanted to meet other creative types and get inspired by the talks.

- Which CMEdi event was your first? 

It was Intention with Eileen Hall at Fruitmarket, in July 2018. 

- Which CreativeMornings speaker has been your favourite - in Edinburgh, or any of our fellow 199 chapters around the world? 

Jannica Honey, who spoke at Codebase last year - her energy was amazing as was the photography project she presented. She was so honest about her own experiences, and I felt the whole audience really connected with her.

- Now, let’s get to the tasty stuff - your bagel! What dishes in your dining past influenced such this sumptuous concoction? 

I love sushi and my bagel creation is basically a deconstructed suhi roll housed in a bross bagel. The wasabi cream cheese spread has some heat and coolness to it. The nori sheets offer a salty kick, and the pomegranate seeds add bursts of flavour. The way they pop reminds me of how my siblings and I would burst seaweed pods on the beach when we were kids.

- With regards to the theme of #CMWater, which elements felt the most important for the creative culinary statement you wished to make, and to the balance of flavours? 

Thinking about days spent at the beach, I wanted something that was a little salty and a little sweet. Like drinking a soda-pop or eating ice cream on the beach with the salty air all around you. 

- Have you had Bross Bagels previously? 

My husband and I have been active stalkers of all Bross bagelries since they opened. We usually haunt the Leith location because of its proximity to our home, but we’re moving to Portobello next month and will probably be at the Porty location every Sunday. The Montreal is my tried and true, but I also love the vegan options when I want to switch it up. 

📸 Kristina & her husband, a.k.a. Hall & Oates 2.0! Creative Costumes for the win! 

- If you could offer the CreativeMornings Edinburgh, and Global, community one creativemessage… what would it be? 

Take yourself on a solo art-date once a week. I learned this from the Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron and it really helps get your creative juices going. On your lunch break or on a day off or a free evening, visit a gallery exhibition, go see a film, or see live music. There are tons of free arts events all over the city and by making a rule to fit one thing (outside of wherever you work) per week you connect more with the city and people around you. - Do you have any creative works you would like to share? 

Are you looking for art for your creative workspace? I can help you purchase, rent, or commission artwork by local artists. Contact me through my web site 

Well, that was a wonderous, appetite building, creative ride indeed! Thank you so much Kristina! 

If you’d like to try your hand at becoming our next #BrawBagel Champion, entries for April are now open! So, get your culinary thinking caps on, get creative with this month’s theme of “Inclusive”, and send us your best bagel ideas - at: 

#CMWater With CreativeMornings Edinburgh

Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varano illustrated the theme. It refreshes our bodies - in and out - upon waking, and throughout our waking hours. Diffuses the nectars of beans and leaves into the beverages that set us up for fully charged, creative days. Keeps our car, bus, and motorcycle engines cool. Maintains hydration as we walk and cycle from place, to place - enabling journeys to inspiring places, spaces, and communities. Water, the theme of March’s CreativeMornings events, is - quite literally - a key ingredient in our vitality.

In keeping with this aqueous theme, you all swept in with a refreshing morning joy. Greeted by delicious Bross Bagels, and coffee from The Milkman. Oh, and… a very special, sustainable surprise in the form of stylish reusable cups, from our sponsors at FreeAgent

A special gift to members of the CreativeMornings Edinburgh community, the FreeAgent cups are wonderful contribution towards our goal of being 100% waste free and sustainable. If you picked one up at the event, we look forward to seeing you bring them along to all of our future events - and thank you for all of your donations! All of those coppers, coins, and notes that you deposited in the donation bucket added up to £40.02, all of which will go to the charities CCLASP and the Refugee Council!

Nourished and buzzing from the sweet energy of our monthly community reunion, we were all keen to hear from our speaker, Anna Deacon. A wild swimming photographer, what sets her apart is not just an astonishing eye for light, movement, and natural beauty; but, also, a true presence for the acts of living and connecting in the contexts in which her photography takes place. 

In September 2018, the context and community that drew Anna in was that of the Scottish wild swimmers. Meeting them around Scotland as they took their chilly dips and dives in cool wilderness waters, Anna herself became a wild swimmer - sharing in the revitalising experiences, hearing the stories of her newfound network, and capturing the rosey red cheeked smiles on their faces as the emerged from lochs, seas, rivers, and oceans. 

The photography and stories Anna shared in her talk reveal wild swimming to be something genuinely special. Nature’s own healing resource, those who heed her waving, watery call are finding a new process of relief from anxiety, burnout, pain, and grief.

Ending her talk with a conversational Q&A, you all engaged with passion. Clearly inspired by Anna’s wonderful talk… and, perhaps, hearing that call to wild waters, too. 

If you, like so many of us, were enthralled by the messages shared by Anna during her CreativeMornings/Edinburgh talk, be sure to follow her adventures via her blog on, on Twitter @WildSwimmingPh1, and on Instagram @WildSwimmingPhotography

The month of #CMWater may now be over, but hopefully it’s inspired you to continue your journey into new found creativity, community, and revitalisation. In the words of E.E.Cummings,  “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.”

We can’t wait to see you all at our next event, all on the global theme of ‘Inclusive’. May you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️

Credit: Event Photography by Ellie Morag

Back in December 2018, we got to meet the founder and director of Braw Beards, John Jackson. A mighty fellow, who found inspiration in his experience of rehabilitation for extreme sports injuries. The result? A world leading beard care brand, that’s attracted the love and attention from those of all genders, crafts, and interests around the world. 

Last month we got the chance to catch up with John, and find out a little bit more about his time up on the CMEdi stage, and becoming a member of our fab creative community! 

Photography by Ellie Morag 

What was the preparation for your talk like? Were you nervous about what to expect?

I was a little nervous in the build up to the talk. Myself and the CMEdi team sat down and discussed how to structure the talk so that definitely helped keep me focused. There is so much to the Braw Beard story and timeline it was tricky to fit into a 20min talk but CMEdi helped condense it nicely.

How did you feel up on the stage, in front of our CMEdi community? Did you find yourself easing into it once you got going?

I was nervous walking to the stage, but once the first sentence was out I started to relax. After I got the first laugh from the crowd, it reminded me I was in good company.

Were there any special responses and/or interactions before, during, or after your talk which stood out in your memory?

After the talk there were a lot of people thanking me for the talk and saying it was inspirational, which is always nice to hear. If someone takes just a little bit of inspiration from the talk, it’s a good feeling. I remember someone asking a question along the lines of  “How many employees do you have?” and they were stunned when I said none haha. I’m ALWAYS busy, that question opened my eyes, maybe I need to get some staff to help out!

We have loved having you as a speaker; but, also as a community member – you are now part of the family! Related to that… 

Would you recommend taking part in the CMEdi community and events, as a speaker and/or attendee?

100% yes. To be honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect so I went along to the talk previous to mine to get an idea. Again everyone was friendly and there’s a relaxed atmosphere. Plus you’ll always learn something new. If you get the opportunity to do a talk at Creative Mornings, DO IT.

What aspects of both experiences stand out as particularly special/important?

As an attendee - the relaxed atmosphere and wealth of knowledge in the room. There’s a good chance there will be someone in the room in a similar position to yourself.

As a speaker - the preparation and promotion from the CMEdi team. They care about you and want to see you do well so they’re willing to help with any advice you need.

What positive things have resulted from your experiences, and connections made at CreativeMornings Edinburgh? Collaborations, projects, or simply an increased sense of optimism… they all count!

After doing the talk, it has made me keen to do more. I really didn’t enjoy speaking in public before but after doing a few talks (CMEdi being the most recent), the response from the audience has always been welcoming and enthusiastic.

Head on over to the Braw Beard Oils website, scroll to the bottom of the page, and get yourself signed up to their newsletter! With fun events, blogs, and general updates on the go, you’ll be glad to stay in touch!  Plus, check out the Braw Beard Championships film - a promo for the epic event held every year… could you be the 2020 Braw Beard champ?! 

#CMTradition with CreativeMornings/EDI

Reunited for one final CreativeMornings/EDI event in 2018, Friday 14th December saw our community bundled up within the art-filled walls of the Fruitmarket Gallery. Freshly brewed coffees, rosey cheeks, and Festive Schmear Bagels!

Festive Schmear with Bross Bagels

While pre-event speculation on what exactly “festive schmear” could be veered off into the suspicious, Larah Bross - AKA, ‘The Bagel Lady’ - soon cleared it all up, in the most delicious of ways. With a fine array of toasted chipotle and cheddar bagels, filled with pomegranate cream cheese. Sweet, savoury, and a little smoky zing! Schmeckt gut!  

Sweeping us away from the temptation of seconds, we pulled up a pew in the main gallery. Front and center, the bearded legend John Jackson began his talk…

Photography by Ellie Morag.

Founder and director of the Braw Beard Oils brand, and movement, John has had a wild and bumpy ride to where he is today. An accomplished racer in mountain biking, downhill and endurance competitions, it was injuries incurred through his sport that brought John to his beard maintenance calling.

Whilst in rehab for these injuries, he learned massage therapy - an educational experience that led him to discover the world of oils. His eyes now opened to what these natural substances could provide, he was inspired to seek new ways they could be of used. Clocking his girlfriend using similar concoctions to keep her hair in tip-top shape, an idea was born… Braw Beard Oils, for the hair on your face!

“All the feedback was really positive, and that’s when I decided to make it a business” - John Jackson, Braw Beard Oils.

Little did John know how successful his brand would become. Not just for the fantastic products at the heart of what they do, but also - arguably - because of the character, community focus, and commitment to giving back that the Braw Beard Oils team brings. Just peruse their Brawtherhood gallery, sponsored athletes and ambassadors, social media channels, and the crowds that gather at events that they attend - you’ll see a grand beardy movement, with global reach, and support for numerous good causes, such as Cahonas Scotland!

We can’t wait to share John’s full talk with you, when the event video is broadcast. In the meantime, treat yourself, and the fine lookin’ facial hairs of you and your loved ones… check out the Braw Beard Oils blog - delving into everything beardy. From How To Get The Salvador Dali Moustache and How to Deal with a Beard in the Wind, to How John Avoids Eating His Moustache!

Closing the show was our own little tradition. The #CMEdi Festive Jumper Competition! 

Well done to our winner, with their crackin’ B&M reindeer sweater. We hope that Toblerone set you in good stead for a braw festive season! 

While we celebrated our community in festive fanfare, nearly 4 years after #CMEdi first began, for other CreativeMornings chapters around the world this special experience of “monthly breakfast lecture series for creative communities” is brand new!

For their first ever event, CM Tucson (Arizona, USA) had community building local artist, Melo Dominguez, as their speaker. Mel’s artwork being a direct expression of Chicanx culture, political issues, social issues and environmental issues - blending treasured old traditions with the present-day needs and motivations of the communities they work with.

With the CM Tucson community, Mel shared the joy she finds in using creativity and activism to create a difference throughout Tucson - find out more about Mel’s artworks, and community initiatives, and contact them at 🎨

CM Medellin (Colombia) gathered for the second ever event, with the fantastic John Fredy Asprilla - AKA “Sprint” - of the Son Batá Cultural Collective! In his talk, Sprint introduced the crowd to the vibrant ways in which this collective brings diverse creative traditions new life, through their two core aims: 1) Show young people that it is possible to express and achieve their dreams, and 2) Reconstruct black identity, and community in urban territory.

This generous collective of folks are known for making Medellin resonate, and a whole country dance with its music and its famous phrase:

“¿Estamos Melos? Sisas, sisas!”

[Aren’t we awesome? Yeah, YEAH!]

With our truly awesome event of #CMTradition behind us, we hope the memories will help you bring your own fun and creativity to the crafts and customs we inherit. After all, if the famous Henry James is right, “A tradition is kept alive only by something being added to it.”

We can’t wait to see you all at our next event, all on the global theme of ‘Surreal’ - which also happens to be our 4th Anniversary!!

May you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️

#CMEdi Speaker Catch-up: Jannica Honey 🍯

Like a whirlwind of creative passion and empathy, Jannica Honey took to the CMEdi stage in October; positively inspiring and remaining in the hearts and minds of our community ever since.She’s even got her own Bross Bagel, thanks to the first winner of our #BrawBagel Challenge! With the exceptional response Jannica as received from our community, we were excited to follow up with her after the event to find out a little bit more about her magic. 

For a little extra inspiration, and insight into post-CMEdi-speaker life from your fellow creative, Jannica Honey, keep on readin’… 👇🏽

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

What was the preparation for your talk like? Were you nervous about what to expect?

I prepared a lot, not only because I was pretty nervous, but also because I thought it is considerate and respectful towards the people turning up to hear from me. I was grateful to CreativeMornings/Edinburgh to be invited, and I wanted to hold that space. You believed I would do an intriguing talk, and I wanted to make sure I delivered. I also recommend people to prepare WHEN they feel uncomfortable, at least then you know you done your best. 

Preparation is like investing, sometimes we get scared when we invest in ourselves.

I felt comfortable before even meeting the team, I knew you all would be ace! My awkwardness lays within me: I find it challenging to hear my own voice for a longer period of time. I thrive on connections: you know that beautiful/exciting exchange of words, emotions and stories? When I do talks I find myself in the land of Jannica Honey only and I sometimes loose the connection, well, nothing to worry about I am talking to my therapist about that… ;-)

How did you feel up on the stage, in front of our CMEdi community? Did you find yourself easing into it once you got going?

I felt like I had some really intriguing/interesting stories to share, and I could see that they were awake and ready to hear me. In fact, much more awake than me.

 I guess what I am trying to say is, I felt very looked after before the talk. So, when I finally had to climb up on that stage and I found myself with the microphone in my hand, I was just felt honed in to being there. I mean, when you end up getting a hug by CreativeMornings/Edinburgh’s film crew after your chat, you know your words have been perceived.

Were there any special responses and/or interactions before, during, or after your talk which stood out in your memory?

Someone asked me about guidance straight after the talk and I figured that my honesty in my presentation unlocked something in him. We spoke about the importance follow “what you are all about” to create authentic work. When I speak about authentic images I simply talk about how to create photography of a certain quality. 

The talk also emphasised something to me, something that I kind of knew about already, how we are all connected and we affect each other regardless we want it or not. This can be positive and negative of course, the beauty with honesty is if you are honest people are just going to respond just like they are open and honest and it is just there where we all connect.

Community & Connectivity around Jannica’s photography.

We have loved having you as a speaker; but, also as a community member – you are now part of the #CMEdi family! 

Related to that,  would you recommend taking part in the CMEdi community and events, as a speaker and/or attendee?

Yes, I would love too! To meet the CreativeMornings/EDI community was like opening a secret door. An entrance leading to not only good coffee and chats, but also learning new things and early mornings. I know that work/art/inspiration happens in connections, and CreativeMornings/EDI facilitates just that in the most relaxed yet professional way.

One of the more positive things that have resulted from my experiences, and connections made at CreativeMornings Edinburgh, is that plenty are now aware of the events that CreativeMornings/EDI put on. Last but not least, your support and guidance has also put me at peace with my presentations.

I feel like something shifted and that shift definitely happened after the morning with you. I also had a lot of interaction on social media, people asking if when I am doing another talk and people asking about it.

I actually think these kinds of events extend way beyond me, way beyond us here in Edinburgh… it is like a mutual positive experience for all participants. The idea of sharing narratives is central for human evolution. At CreativeMornings/EDI we might be in a beautiful high-tech place eating bagels, but these kind of activities have been going on for a very long time, perhaps without the microphone and Insta-stories, more around a fire, sharing, connecting and learning. A reciprocal experience of something changing and evolving… developing.

If, like us, you found yourself looking for more the magical inspiration that Jannica Honey shared, don’t miss out on two workshops that she will be running in the new year, at the Arienas Collective: 

In these “half-day workshops with photographer Jannica Honey, you will consider the questions: What is a portrait? Or to be more specific, what is a good portrait? And do we need to see ourselves to see the other?”

2019 Dates include January 13th, and February 24th. Full details and booking available at: 

#CMHonesty with CreativeMornings/EDI

Wednesday 24th October 2018 saw the full moon, complete with golden autumnal halo, fill the night sky. In celebration of this lunar event, photographer Jannica Honey took over the CreativeMornings/EDI Instagram account; sharing images and behind the scenes stories from her many stunning projects. As our speaker for the month, her storytelling takeover extended the event into a three-day experience. A core feature being Jannica’s commitment to creative vulnerability, and authenticity… perfectly in tune with October’s global theme of ‘Honesty’.  

With the event’s rhythm in motion, opening the doors to welcome you all on that final Friday morning of the month brought it all full circle. From the virtual stage, to face-to-face greetings, hugs, and reunions. 

In special celebration of our new CMEdi-Bross partnership, Larah Bross of Bross Bagels kicked it all off with an epic array of Party Bagels! Six giant bagels, with various delicious fillings, laid out and ready for all to enjoy. As Larah says, “They’re big enough to feed 10-12 people… or one nasty hangover!” - the perfect breakfast spread to fuel the creative day ahead.

Bross Party Bagel - Photography by Ellie Morag

Bross Bagels - Photography by Ellie Morag

Bellies full, and caffeine levels rising, we took our seats with excitement. Ready and eager to hear Jannica Honey’s inspiring story of photography, humanity, and womanhood.

“Honesty opens doors. Honesty is not just to do with being bold or frank. It’s about giving something up of yourself.Honesty is not about being rude. It’s about being vulnerable.” - Jannica Honey

Swedish-born, adopted Scot, of boundary-busting, mixed-heritage parents, Jannica’s career has carried on a tradition of crossing every kind of border. Further influenced by her academic background in anthropology and criminology, Jannica’s photographic craft has seen her delve into the nuanced, and typically unseen realms of culture and society. Every step taken with empathy, and heart. 

Jannica Honey on stage - Photography by Ellie Morag

Before introducing us to the intimate - sometimes ‘taboo’ - contexts this journey has lead her to explore, Jannica makes clear the importance of honest intent in each project.

“If you lose honesty, you lose touch with your photography. With your subjects… I went in honest. I think having a hidden agenda should be illegal.”

Starting with her project going behind-the-scenes of an Edinburgh strip-club, dehumanising notions are immediately forced aside. The first image, looking through the stocking-and-garter-clad legs of a dancer, her tampon string clearly visible. Jannica tells the story of how this image came about. How the dancer, Mina, had previously been fired from a club for having a tampon string showing, and became anxious on the day of shooting as her period had, naturally, started once more that very morning. 

‘Mina’s String’ with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag

With a bond formed, only possible due to Jannica’s willingness to be as authentic and vulnerable as these women, they saw capturing the moment as positive action. Saying “f**k it” to the natural events of a woman’s life being made taboo. 

To this day, the bond between Jannica and Mina - forged in trust and mutual empowerment - is still strong.

“Vulnerability is like a bucket of ice-cold water over the head. It shocks us, gets us to open up, and start connecting.”

While very different in terms of their grounds for connection, this honest approach remains constant in Jannica’s next project. Into the highly secretive world of the Orange Order. 

“I had to be vulnerable and honest with them. Granted a seat at their top officials’ meetings, I earned allowance to take photographs at the front of their march.

I don’t agree with their beliefs, but their vulnerability humanised them in my eyes… with conflict on significant points, but empathy.”

Behind the Orange March with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag

Contrasting once again with previous projects, Jannica’s venture onto the reservation lands of the Mohawk Nation would not have been possible without that same submission to vulnerability. By opening up about her own story in conversations, she was gifted tours of the land by an incredible mix tribal members - including the chief peacemaker (reservation police officer), and the local cocaine dealer. 

Welcome to the Mohawk Nation with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag

The projector then switches to a stunning image of a woman and her horse - both in action, strong, and covered only by natural light. With that, we are introduced to Jannica’s most recent and ambitious project, When the Blackbird Sings.

Initiated by feelings of disempowerment resulting from both personal heartache, and the 2016 election of “a guy caught shouting grab ‘em by the p**sy”, she conceived of the project as a way to take power back. Power in the form of consensual vulnerability, honesty, and humanisation.

The series portrays the multiple aspects of the female cycle through photographs of women and nature. Constraints being the utilisation of twilight as the only light source, and only shooting on the new and full moon over 12 months. Thus, the shooting schedule was formed by moon cycles - an intrinsic feminine rhythm - channelled the earth’s natural rhythms into her work. The result being a continuing reconnection to womanhood and femininity.

Photography by Ellie Morag

Behind these photos is hours, if not days, of honest conversations with no topic out of bounds. Photographer and subject are co-creators of both dialogue and image.

“We were having full, honest conversations… experiences of abuse, miscarriage, IVF, menstruation, menopause… we shared it all.” 

Jannica makes clear, however, that with this degree of honesty and vulnerability, time and space is needed away from projects.

“You need to be honest, but hold a space for yourself - which ultimately facilitates your ability to hold a space for others to be safe in vulnerability. Throughout ‘When the Blackbird Sings’, I had to do a lot of self-caring work in my own time. Including in the run-up to the exhibition. For others, as well as for me.” 

With massive applause, and a sense of awe throughout the audience, Jannica ended her talk on a high. A welcome speaker on the CMEdi stage, and in the community. Discover more of her work via her website at, and join her fantastic conversations on Twitter @JannicaHoney, and Instagram @JannicaHoney

Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag

Speaking of social media, the CMEdi volunteer organisers want to take this opportunity to thank our own Twitter-pro team-member, Cilla, for all of her fantastic contributions. October’s event was officially her last in the role, as she heads off to new adventures, and successes!

“It was such a pleasure collaborating with you on CMEDI over the past 18 months. I hope you find joy and happiness in everything you do, and I’m excited to see your side projects bloom! As you said, quite rightly, on Friday: it’s not really goodbye. We’re looking forward to seeing your smiling face at future CMEDI events! All the best x” - Ellie, CMEdi Photographer & Instagram Queen

“I’ll miss your laugh and amazing social media skills - good luck in everything that comes after, and looking forward to seeing you at the next events! Xx” - Chloe, CMEdi Operations Champion

“On the work side, Cilla has been a massive help in shaping and writing grants, and her live-tweeting was on point. On a personal level, I loved dressing up for an 80s night with her - and her ambition to get CreativeMornings/EDI into the Usher Hall will live on!” - Alex, CMEdi founder & host

The month of #CMHonesty may soon be over, but hopefully it’s inspired you to continue a truthful trend throughout your days. In the words of the great Will Rogers,  “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

 We can’t wait to see you all at our next event, all on the global theme of ‘Restart’. May you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️

CMEdi x Bross Bagels Partnership: Meeting Larah Bross!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

After some photography and film-making fun, all whilst sipping on some of Bross’s very own coffee, we are introduced to the Bross Bagels team. A brief tour of the new Leith shop catches us up to speed on the latest goings on - a new upstairs seating area being built, vegan additions to the menu, and our worlds being opened up to the culinary possibilities of Latkes, whitefish, and organic fruit as food colouring - #CMEdi blue bagels, anyone?

 The energy in the shop is a perfect balance of busy preparations and relaxed banter. Each person in the shop playing an active part in conversations – including the odd individual quickly ducking their head in from the street, and through the doorway, notifying us all “I’ll be back soon for the day’s bagel!” and, “Remembered my mug the day and all!”.

 From the start of our visit, creative ideas are passing back and forth between the Bross and CMEdi teams. Touching on cultural sharing, sustainability, and our mutual love for creative community building, and support. We could have talked, planned, and laughed together all day!

 But, with the mid-morning, bagel-hungry rush fast approaching, it was time to capture some thoughts and insights. Music playing, joyful chatter continuing, and the smells of fresh baked breakfasts filling the air. Our interview with Bross founder, Larah, beginning with a more laughter and happy strides towards the seats in the sunlit shop window.   

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

Audrey: We’d love to start with learning a little more about the foundation of Bross, and that creative fire that got it going - because we feel it really resonates with us. So, what do you think has made this one the most exciting new independent businesses in Edinburgh, and Scotland?

 Larah: I definitely think a key thing is that there was no local bagel place. We brought bagels. And, it’s not just the bagels, it’s the culture - this whole new exciting thing that came along with it. Also, of course, the branding, and everyone wanting to get involved. Then, as everyone started to hear about it, talk spread… people were saying “have you had a bagel yet?”, or “Have you been to the bagel shop?”… And there’s only one!  

 So, it’s like when everyone starts to hear about a good thing, and then they’re wanting to tell 10 people. Who’s been there first? And, who has been there? 

I think everything happened really quickly, but really well. I also think the fact that I am not a business person meant that I took a whole bunch of risks that, if I were a business person, I would never have taken. I think the success really lies on that. That is, just really going for it, and not planning too much, and not debating ow its going to work. You’re just basically jumping in the deep end, and deciding “I’m going to open up a bagel shop!”

 Audrey: It’s taking that leap, and just going for it!

 Larah: Yeah!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

Audrey: So, with your craft - which I’ve termed “Wowing the crowd with your delicious bagel presentation, and delivery!” - how have your team, and yourself developed over this past year? Tell us about you, as people!

 Larah: My team was very important for me. I didn’t really mind if they had never been in hospitality before. I didn’t even really mind if they had never even heard of a bagel before, because I was teaching them about bagels - so that was fine, and easy stuff to learn. It’s more about being able to talk to people. To create a vibe so that, when someone comes into the shop, they’ll be like “Oh, wow! It’s a whole experience!”. You know, this whole new thing!

 So, they have to be fun people to work with, be outgoing, be able to shout out a number, have a bit of a chat with the customer while they’re waiting, if there’s a massive queue… It’s best if they don’t stress out too much about moments like that.

 Right now, I think I’ve got a really great team, they’re all really believing in the brand. They think it’s exciting to work here, and to be part of it. To be part of history - it’s all really going in that direction.

 Also, for me, it’s the first time I’ve ever been the ‘boss lady’ - the Bross Lady! So, it’s been a learning curve, and I told them that as well. I’ve never run a business before, so there’s going to be things that are probably going to be 'weird’ and different. But, everyone respects that!

 It’s something that… well… As long as they’re having a good time at work, for me that’s what’s important. I was in hospitality for quite a long time, and there was nothing worse than not being thanked at the end of a shift, or just not being well looked after, and not being respected. Just, not being treated like a real person. So, here at Bross Bagels, we try and make sure that everybody is nurtured.

 For example, I’ve told everybody that if they’re good at anything else - besides making bagels - to let me know. We have one of the team members who’s a sign-writer, and that’s what she does as a side-business. So, I said “we’re happy to pay you to do the signs.” Anything you’re working on, on the side, - I don’t think this is anyone’s 'end job’, so - we’re happy to support everybody’s other passions, and work goals, and things like that.

 I think it’s good place to work. And, I’m hopefully responsible for that.

 Audrey: That sounds like it’s multiple layers of culture change. For your customers, bringing in a new culinary experience. Also a new brand. And, internally, that investment in people’s development and personal/professional projects. We hear about that being done at Google, and Virgin - but, not at smaller businesses, especially not in hospitality. So, you’ll be getting my application shortly…

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

Audrey: So, it was just over a year ago that we met you at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2017. It was CreativeMornings/EDI’s event for the global theme of 'Genius’, with Sashana Souza Zanella of the Edinburgh Food Studio. You were fresh out of the gate, a little nervous. But, for us, your approach to creativity and your overall energy were just fantastic. We definitely feel that you’re a great creative partner for us. But, what about CreativeMornings Edinburgh gets you excited?

 Larah: The people. Definitely.

 As soon as I did that CreativeMornings, I knew that these are kind of people that I want to be around. This is the most comfortable environment for me, being a creative person, and just knowing that I can cater for these people. Using my enthusiasm that just rides with the CreativeMornings vibe, it’s a really good match for me.

 So, yeah. It’s mostly the people that it attracts, and that are involved. We have a similar ethos!

 Audrey: That’s so wonderful to hear. We love this community, so it makes a huge, positive impact that you find a resonance in this element of CreativeMornings.

 Larah: Yeah, I think it’s a really good match. I mean, how could you go wrong with creativity and bagels?! I think, together, we could actually cross a lot of barriers that maybe without each other we wouldn’t be able to.

 Even just thinking about the things we could do together as collaborators, it’s great! So, I’m really happy to be involved in this. I don’t see any disadvantages at all. This feels like the best thing that could ever happen!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

Audrey: Yes, we love Bross! And, looking forward to the next 6 months, what do you hope to bring to our monthly inspirational mornings?

 Larah: A WHOLE LOTTA BAGELS! Yes, we want to bring new ideas, including bagels.

 One idea we’ve thought about is bringing themed bagels, following the CreativeMornings themes. Potentially leaving that up to the people of CreativeMornings as well! Perhaps a suggestion box, game, quiz, or something else that people could get involved with, and really recommend their kind of bagels.

 We can explore what different types of people would have on their bagel, selecting one each month, and put it on the breakfast menu for CreativeMornings. We would also put it on our Bross Bagels menu for the month - a Monthly CreativeMornings Bagel. Changing it up as we go along.

 That’s really only one of the possibilities that we could explore, but they are truly endless.

 Audrey: Do you have any additional messages for the CMEdi people, or perhaps a question?

 Larah: ARE YOU READY!? Start thinking! Start thinking about these creative bagels that we can come up with, together.

 What’s the craziest thing you can come up with, that would work on a bagel? You’ll maybe end up seeing it in one of our shops. In Leith, Portobello, and maybe one more coming…

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

Audrey: Yes! Really fun and exciting times ahead!  

So, I have one more question for you. We have our monthly global theme, but, if you could pick a theme for the month, that the whole world would take part in - all 191 chapters around the world, for a whole month - what would it be?

 Larah: One that I would enjoy, thinking about 191 different cultures around the world, it would have to be 'Culture’.

 It relates to ideas we’ve had for our bagels, and collaborations. It would be great to find out what bagels the people of these cultures would create. Say, this is our Montreal style bagel. But what’s Romania’s bagel? What’s Ethiopia’s bagel?

 And so, we would go around the world, celebrating each country’s bagel! We could then pick the winning bagel for each place, and put that in our bagel menu. So, people could be like “Could I get an Israeli bagel?” or “One Indonesian bagel, please!”.

 Yeah, it would be 'Culture’. It’s what could, and should, bring everybody together. Culture and food together, that’s all you need!   

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸

So, stay tuned for the many delicious things yet to be announced. You can bet we’ll be calling on you for all your hole-y baked ideas.In the meantime… check out the awesome new Bross Bagels website, peruse the menu, and let your own creative minds run free. What would your custom bagel be? 

See you at our next event… Bross Bagels and creative inspiration await 💙