Help Find Yulia

If you go around my work just now, you’ll find posters everywhere, on bus stops, lampposts, cafe and shop windows – from Yulia’s friends at University of Edinburgh. Yulia is a student fro Russia who was last seen by her friends on Thursday 6th June. She is due to graduate this month. Police have been able to find CCTV footage (on poster below) of her walking down South Bridge in Edinburgh and then appearing at Buchanan St bus station in Glasgow a few hours later, at 4.55 p.m. on Friday 7th June.

Yulia was wearing a dark coat with a belt, dark shoulder bag, red and orange coloured scarf, grey trousers and brown shoes with white laces.

Yulia speaks fluent English with a Russian accent, is of medium build with long dark-brown hair. She is around 5ft 6ins in height and has a small mole on her left cheek.

Her friends say she wears a number of rings on her hands, including a thumb ring which looks like a spoon.

Find Yulia
Download this poster to print and display in your community.

If you are wondering what the Russian script on the poster is, I’ve been told it loosely translates to: “Yulia, come back, we love you. Nothing else matters”

Call Police Scotland on 0131-311-3131 (+44 131 311 3131 internationally) quoting #0639 if you have any information.


The Missing People Charity number (116 000) enables you to share information confidentially, and if you click on the link you can share information via Yulia’s page on the Missing People website.

We’re having another party – and you are cordially invited!

I love parties. I love having friends over and taking part in parties. Having our ‘Community’ blog party in September here was so much fun, I thought I’d try and have another one. So during the 12 days before and after Christmas Day, we’re having a ‘Christmas’ blog party.

Once again, I have a whole mixture of people with a whole mixture of thoughts. Because some of them asked for a ‘prompt’ I thought I’d show you the list, which lots of friends contributed to over facebook and twitter.






New Year





Brussel Sprouts
















There’ll be rants, anecdotes, recipes and who knows what else. And if you’d like to get in on the action, please do get in contact (which you can find out how to do on the ‘about laura anne‘ page). Even if you don’t want to contribute with a post, I hope you do pop in as others share by commenting on their posts!

Of course, I’ll also be (re)sharing some of my winter recipes (and maybe some summery ones to for my friends in the southern hemisphere) and having my annual nativity story rant (because it is tradition). Meanwhile, for those of you who like to see my ‘Edinburgh at Christmas‘ pictures, some new ones are over at my other blog. Plus a brand new ‘Translator‘ post for my Americaneze speaking friends!

Oh, and if anyone feels like contributing some storytelling of ‘The Night Before Christmas‘ we’ve only got Australia, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England represented so far. I think we need some more accents!! If you can make a vimeo/youtube video, let me know so I can add you to the collection for Christmas Eve!

Hurricane Bawbag

Well, it’s been an exciting day. Yesterday our country got given a ‘Red Alert’ weather warning as a storm was headed our way. Some of you live in lands where tornados, hurricanes and cyclones are fairly common. Scotland is not one of those places.

All in all, I think we’ve done pretty well. Our country erred on the side of caution and a lot of local authorities decided to close schools or let kids go home early before the storm was due to hit so it would be less dangerous for them getting home from school. When you’ve got gusts of wind reaching 84 mph, that’s a good idea.

Especially hearing of a wall collapsing on an industrial estate, a roof coming off at a cinema, roofs of garages flying off, youtube videos of trampolines rolling down the street, Christmas lights collapsing onto pavements and roads….

In true Scottish humour, the stormy weather was nicknamed ‘Hurricane Bawbag’ (Bawbag is a Scots word for ‘ball-bag’ you can look it up in a medical dictionary and you’ll get the gist!) and became a number 1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Even t-shirts and hoodies were made in its honour, and pictures like the one above went viral on facebook and twitter.

If you’re wondering ‘why the flying panda?‘ – that’s a wee shout out to our newest Edinburgh residents, Sunshine (Yang Guang) & Sweetie (Tian Tian) who arrived from China at the weekend.

I’ve spent the day at home – I’ve got 3 weeks of annual leave to take before the end of the month anyway, cosied up in my new winter pyjamas. Except when I was running around my garden with my Mum rescuing flowerpots so they wouldn’t go flying around. We almost went flying ourselves in the process. :)

I expect tomorrow will be less exciting.

And I’ll also have little excuse to get down to the Post Office to buy stamps to send some Christmas cards!

I totally missed my calling…

Over the summer, City of Edinburgh council ticked me off x2. Firstly, they made a weird permit zone in the area where I parked my car so it would be in walking distance (or a very short bus ride) from my work. Making things like heading to a friend’s house, going to the supermarket or taking in various supplies pretty easy. Now you can’t park there between 10 a.m.-11.30 a.m. Secondly, the tramworks returned. Starting almost from scratch since the snow apocalyse apparently ruined the tram lines (anyone else thinking…’what happens when it snows again?!’) meaning that from Haymarket to the East End everything is diverted and traffic is clogged up, doubling the commute time. Oh joy.

There is one thing saving my sanity. The Airlink bus.

I live 5-10 minutes car journey from Edinburgh Airport, and the bus stop at the bottom of the brae where I live just happens to be one of the few stops the Airlink bus makes between the airport and Waverley Station (a 10 minute walk from my work). I like the airport bus for a few reasons.

1. It’s much cleaner than the other buses

2. They have leather seats rather than the carpet like seats (again, easier to clean)

3. The other passengers tend not to sneeze on you or play awful music at top volume

4. They sometimes can give you change if you don’t have the exact bus fare (yippee!)

5. It’s fun to overtake all the other buses en route that have to stop at every.single.stop. Mwa ha ha ha!

6. You rarely have to stand and wait for the bus on the way home, as the bus is already sitting outside waiting for passengers (this is something to be especially appreciated at night).

However, I’m beginning to realise I help more people on my way to work than I do when I’m at work. People at the centre are now used to hearing my tales of the airport bus. The people I overhear – like the 2 spiffy business chaps sitting behind me yesterday, one of whom was a Daniel Stewarts pupil and told his colleague that it takes 2 hours to get to St Andrew’s. (Yes. It might do. If you’re driving a tractor.) Or perhaps the American who asked me where I was from, and when I replied ‘I’m from Edinburgh‘ asked ‘Where’s that?‘ (true story). The German girls who were about to miss their train to Dundee one night.

Often I end up helping people by telling them where to get off the bus to get to where they are staying, or walk them to a place where it will be easier for them to find their way. I answer their questions about which tour bus is best, things they should see, places that are good to eat, pubs they should visit and often encourage them to walk through the Close where the Writers’ Museum resides so they can see the pavement slabs engraved with the words of famous Scottish writers and poets as the best way to get up to the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. I advise them not to bother with umbrellas in the rain (too windy) and making sure they have good comfortable shoes as they walk up and down the hilly streets of the Old Town.

Some Edinburgers get irritated by the tourists in Edinburgh, but I rarely do. I enjoy showing them my city and telling them tales about it. I love to take people to some of the places you probably won’t here about in a Lonely Planet Guide or an article in an Airline magazine.

Perhaps it’s the geographer in me, or maybe it’s the Scottish pride instilled in me…I don’t know.

But as I talk the Australian guy sitting next to me through the sights that are passing us by outside the bus window, and explain to the elderly couple from London that if they ask the bus driver nicely they can probably stay on the bus on the way back since they just missed their stop because the new computer screen calls it “West End” not “Shandwick Place”, I wonder if I missed my calling.


Haste ye back airlink passengers!

(And taste the Edinburgh chippie sauce before you leave while avoiding the deep fried mars bars)

The last 7 days in pictures

If you are in Scotland or North East England, you have no interest in this post. You’ve experienced it yourself, and maybe more if you live in West Lothian where they got 3 feet of snow.

After 3 days of snow & a teeny bit of thaw…this is the view outside our front door this time last week!

The beginnings of the gutter icicles – they grew & grew but the plumber took down the gutter before I got a chance to snap the final icicle product…

These guys are usually under the Christmas tree, but this year they’ve got a place on the windowsill.

My blog-famous Christmas tree – it’s 6th year. I only got 3 new hats from the Big Knit campaign this year.

A while ago someone on twitter advised me what advice I’d give to my 16 year old self. My reply was ‘GET A PHYSIO!’ – I hurt my back when I was 15 but with my last chance for student membership exams (Modern, Tap & Ballet), I kept silent & continued on for several months anyway. All was fine until after the summer when I went back into training & my back had healed squint.

The old injury flared up when I did the dance workshop at our Summer Holiday Club & again when I was ill 2 weeks ago. A trip back up through the snow/ice from Tesco made me best friends with this heat pack thing of my Mum’s as I almost fell a few times carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Oops.

Hopefully Santa is going to bring me my own one, and bring my Mum her own pair of wellies.

On Friday I was getting worried for my Mum as the snow was turning icy & my wellies have no grip. So I bravely ventured into town despite the back issue. I managed to snap a few photos of Edinburgh Castle in the snow. Prettyful!

The snow began to thaw at the weekend, we rejoiced as we managed to excavate Cassie the Corsa from the snow…and then we woke up to total chaos on Monday morning! Usually you’d be able to see all of South West Edinburgh & the Pentlands in this photo…but the snow came down thick & fast for 6 hours straight over the thawing old snow turned to ice.

View from the bus on North Bridge … 15-20 minutes before Lothian buses decided to suspend all their services…!

Doug came to visit the centre after leaving work early when the buses got stopped. We ate bagels and we decorated the centre in between trying to pay all our bills that came in last week & came up with a contingency plan for how things would go if the sucky weather continues… (this involved a lot of phone calls & e-mails!)

After getting stranded for several hours (thankfully Doug & I were able to walk back to his – but it hurt!!) and catching the last bus before they stopped the route going to where I live, I woke up this morning to find the bus I would have gotten to Interact wasn’t running in our area. However with blue skies & sunshine, the view a few hours later from my bathroom window was pretty rockin’.

I did bravely venture down to the bank later in the afternoon – I needed to put my wage cheque for November in the bank! Plus, I went over to PC World and just bought a power adaptor since my laptop is now a necessity with the centre being shut – I’m unlikely to get to the Apple Store in Glasgow anytime soon. While there the staff had no clue which adaptor was the right one, but did think I needed to see a doctor because apparently I looked like I was in pain (thanks for that dude!). I thankfully guessed correctly…phew!

It’s December

And since we’re getting a white advent (never mind Christmas), I guess it is time now to put the tree up. More than ever does that little tree need those woollen innocent smoothie hats!

My laptop is still out of action (using my Mum’s PC one, and it’s driving me mental) and it is still snowing in Scotland. Normally we don’t get that much sticking around in Edinburgh, but this time  the airport has been shut most of the last 3-4 days and schools in Midlothian have been closed for the week. Some Edinburgh schools are still shut as well. The Forth Road Bridge even got closed this morning – the first time ever this has happened due to snow.

My visits to Ayshire and Dundee been cancelled for the moment, and most of volunteers are snowed in so our centre is shut probably until Monday.

I have got a snow video so you can see what it’s been like over last few days at our house, but it may be a while before I get it uploaded.

Meanwhile here’s a picture taken yesterday of Edinburgh Castle (on St Andrew’s Day no less) I nicked off of Neil Costley’s facebook wall.

Sunshine on a rainy day

Today it wasn’t raining literally. It was just a bit of yeuccch day.

You know the ones I mean right? The day your alarm decides to malfunction so it flashes but doesn’t make a noise (I wondered how I felt so good after my 9 min ‘snooze’…turns out 9 mins was an hour). You don’t get time for shower or breakfast. The buses all drive past as you’re parking your car (seriously there IS a BK webcam that Lothian Buses have!!!). You go to Starbucks for breakfast and they don’t have any cinnamon swirls left. Your colleagues’ phone is going bananas because flights have been cancelled again. The centre office looks like a tornado ran through it, and you have a new pile of work to do….all the stuff that was put to one side to deal with the priorities. And you find out your bank balance is so low, you might not get paid at the end of the month.

Oh, poor Anna got pooped on by a bird on her way to the centre too.

Well….enter the sunshine.

Firstly in the form of two ladies (Fiona & Anna) who have just started volunteering with us. It helps that they bring Fiona’s baby son (he’s 8 months old). For the purposes of blogging we’ll call him Mr SmileyBurp. He smiled, laughed, blew snot bubbles through his nose (Mummy gave him her cold…boo!). Oh, and he burped. Together while Mr SmileyBurp was supposed to be napping in his buggy, we started chatting and then we got to praying.

See God gave us a vision, and he’s been speaking to us a lot lately. We’re pretty fed up with what we see, and we want not to whine and complain but do something about it. We reckon our God is pretty big, and He could can do pretty much anything.

So we did. And we decided we’re going to read and study the book of Nehemiah.

And then we might be inviting the leaders in our city to lunch.

I came home. And discovered that the nightmare is occurring. Poor Mr Brown resigned, though he’s probably never looked so happy (at least not that I’ve seen). he left No. 10. And then Mr Cameron (ugh….I’m sorry, I’m lacking grace) got announced as PM. Facebook and Twitter exploded. Out of all my 750 FB friends, only one cheer.

So…uh….Mr Aussie Dude? Now’s a REALLY good time to make an appearance. Beccause I’m looking to leave the country.

But then there was more sunshine….in the form of my favourite couple in the whole world. I can never post this video on my blog enough.

An e-mail with a video, made by the lovely Lori who had been visiting the Quilting Group at Central (they make quilts for cancer patients). And you know that Lenny & Rita are part of that group. So they videoed a message for me and Lori sent it via e-mail.

They didn’t have to do that, and it filled me with so much encouragement and hope. I love you guys!! It means everything to know that there are people praying for us, and yes I hope that God takes me on a puke-free flight from Edinburgh to Las Vegas so I can meet you guys in person.

I have so much love, and feel the encouragement from all these people. Some in person, some over the internet. Each is special, unique and I thank God for each one of them.

Oh yeah, and while I’m still in Edinburgh, we’re going to help rebuild this city…because it’s got a little a lot broken in places…