Edinburgh is a festival city for the whole of August, come rain (it does) and shine (likewise) we locals struggle to negotiate our day-to-day lives through the festival crowds, but we do so with a smile. The festival is largely contained in the city centre and even in town there are pockets that remain untouched by the madness... so where do the locals go?
1 Behind the Book Festival - just a block or two to the west on Queensferry Street you'll struggle to find a hopeful actor giving out a single flier. This city centre street is home to one of the capital's best ice cream shops, Affogato and to traditional jewellery and antiques emporium, Goodwin's.
2 Go North
North of George Street (check out the amazing view) nestles some of Edinburgh's finest independent boutiques. On Thistle Street you'll find 21st Century Kilts (fancy a leather kilt, sir - this is your kind of shop), Kakao by K (modern Scandi design-led clothing), Jane Davidson (one of the UK's top design boutiques), ALC (think denim) and Pam Jenkins (the shoe shop of your dreams).
North and West - Hill House Studios host whisky tastings every evening till the 14th at 8pm.
Further north on Queen Street you'll find Scotland's oldest bespoke tailor, Stewart Christie for all your traditional tweeds. Clientele include a smattering of Scotland's glitterati and the country house set.
3 Honour Edinburgh's storytelling tradition by heading to two of the city's finest independent bookshops. Golden Hare books in the suburb of Stockbridge (20 mins from the centre to the north) and The Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield - only a stone's throw from where Muriel Spark lived in a tenement on the south side of the city.
4 Even in the thick of it you can visit Edinburgh brand Urban Reivers in a basement on George Street only a couple of doors up from the Assembly Rooms. This label's signature perfume in its REEK range is Damn Rebel Bitches - based on the lives of the Jacobite women. It is mixed by indie perfumer Sarah McCartney and launched recently, has been garnering rave reviews. The reivers' signature range of vintage map silk accessories will come as a relief after the clichéd tourist gifts with which you'll be bombarded on the Royal Mile.
5 If you're feeling really adventurous head down to the Edinburgh Fashion Festival pop up shop at Ocean Terminal in Leith where you'll find a range of Scottish design talent. The Scottish Design Exchange also has space in this modern shopping centre and their range is well worth a peek. If you have books you don't want to take home, drop them in while you're down to innovative local charity Street Reads which provides books to the homeless.
6 Top snacking can be found at on Dalry Road, Sushiya (a traditional sushi bar behind Haymarket Station), Spitaki on Claremont Street and Rollo on Broughton Street - all within easy reach of the city centre but off the tourist trail.