Talk of the Town: Is cake the bear necessity of love?

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THEY are one of the world’s most endangered species – perhaps because getting them to mate is a notoriously tricky task.

Scientists around the world have tried everything from drugs to mood lighting to encourage giant pandas to breed. And now a cakemaker from the Capital is hoping she may have the answer.

Eunice Hessell’s secret weapon of love? A two-foot high mini zoo in sponge and icing, crowned with two very loved-up pandas.

She said: “I think that the pandas’ arrival at the zoo is just such a wonderful thing for Scotland and I wanted to make something special to celebrate.”

Only time will tell if sponge is the food of love for pandas.

Suburbia makes a pitch for rival annual festival

THE Capital is undoubtedly the reigning monarch when it comes to beguiling arts festivals – but there could be a new pretender to the throne

A small London suburb called Purley, in Croydon, is aiming to give us a “run for [our] money” following their successful foray into the market last year.

Festival director Fiona Lipscombe said: “If people come together I think we could create a mini Edinburgh Festival. The Edinburgh Festival has been going for more than 60 years, so why can’t Purley’s?”

Good luck to them, we say. Hopefully, the 70,000-population suburb won’t come to dread the annual invasion of wannabe comedians, artsy-folk and tourists when they reach the 60-year landmark in 2072.

Unleash an esoteric desire

IF you have ever pondered the mechanics of breeding hedgehogs or wondered how to defend yourself with a handkerchief, then we have the perfect workshop for you.

The Edinburgh Secret Society is hosting an eclectic evening of lessons – some practical and some useless – for those of a self-improving bent.

Get down to The Counting House on March 2 should you wish to be a swashbuckling genealogist with a penchant for juggling and interest in the breeding patterns of spiney mammals.

Romance in the air

THE Scots are not renowned for their amorous qualities or powers of seduction.

But it seems our majestic Capital city is a major hotspot for loved-up couples throughout the UK and Ireland come Valentine’s Day.

A poll conducted by lastminute.com shows that, outwith London, Edinburgh is among the top British destinations to take a romantic break on February 14.