Posh and Becks? It just isn't our style
THEY are, of course, the perfect Capital celebrity couple, from the dazzling bling watch strapped around his wrist and ice blue studs glinting from each ear lobe to her carefully curled flowing blonde locks, die-for curves and - naturally - her pop star credentials.
As if that's not enough, they even have the kinds of names you might well hear in a classic episode of Footballers' Wives: Clayton, the six-foot something dashing striker who escaped the rough streets of Bradford for soccer glory - well, okay, Easter Road glory - and Pippa, his songbird girlfriend with a dazzling smile and an appearance in BBC's Fame Academy on her CV.
No wonder some have dubbed them Edinburgh's answer to Posh and Becks.
"Well, that's definitely not me," insists Pippa Fulton, rolling her eyes at suggestions that her life as a Wag - even if it is a Hibs Wag - is one of 1500 dresses and similarly priced handbags. "Honestly, I'm more Primark than Prada. Harvey Nichols or Jenners?" she looks unimpressed. "Not for me. I like my bargains. I'm from Hull and I'm proud of it, for goodness sake!"
Breathless from dashing through the drizzling rain, Pippa flops into a plump plum sofa in the Balmoral's newly restyled bar. Hibs striker Clayton Donaldson is next to her, somehow managing to scrunch his towering frame behind a table.
They do tick the Posh and Becks' boxes - pop singer falls for a handsome footballer, embarks on a nomadic life following him from club to club while nurturing her own dream of stardom. But that, it seems, is where they'd like the comparisons to stop.
Instead, Pippa, 25, is focussing on rehearsing with her new eight-piece band, Envy, and tracking down gigs for the New Year. "We'd like to be a corporate band, doing corporate events," she explains. "Maybe doing weddings, that sort of thing." It's not quite the Spice Girls' world tour, yet Pippa doesn't mind.
Likewise, it's pretty unlikely that David Beckham will be spending the week sorting out his thermal undies - a trip to Aberdeen yesterday and another jaunt north to Inverness on Saturday both expected to give 23-year-old Clayton his first chilly taste of football in Scotland in winter.
Like his girlfriend, though, he couldn't be happier than to find themselves settling into their New Town apartment, discovering the city's bars, restaurants and tourist spots and even sampling the delights of Scottish cuisine.
"What kind of pies are those you get at half time at the football?" ponders Pippa in her distinctive Yorkshire accent. "They are so delicious, I love them! God I could eat dozens at once."
Giggling and barely able to contain their obvious delight at their new adventure north of the Border, Clayton and Pippa are gleefully considering delving into the sticky joys of the deep fried Mars bar - they were delighted to spot a chip shop near their new home that proudly boasts the battered sweet on its menu.
Still, Edinburgh's brightest celebrity couple have embraced the Capital since Clayton arrived at Easter Road in July from York City, where he was regarded as one of the rising stars of the English lower leagues. Certainly, his first foray into Scottish football couldn't have been more dramatic: thrust into the maelstrom of a Hearts-Hibs derby game, it was a far cry from the Conference League and York City's average 3000 attendance.
"My heart was pounding when I walked out and saw it," he says, gently spoken despite that powerful 6ft 1ins physique. "It was so much bigger, it was a lot more feisty. Everyone here is so much more passionate - the result is really important to everyone. For the first five or ten minutes of the game you can feel the blood really pumping through your veins before you start to settle down."
The frenetic match had barely started when team-mate and fellow new signing Brian Kerr slammed home the only goal of the game. Striker Clayton would have to wait until September and the match against Falkirk to score his first goal in green and white - from the penalty spot.
Since then, he's netted a further four times - with his first hat-trick for his side against Kilmarnock setting him well on the way to his target of scoring at least 15 goals for the season.
"This has been a great move for me, everyone here - people connected to the club, people inside and outside of football - have been fantastic. I think I could easily put down roots here. Right now I can't imagine being anywhere else."
Pippa grins as she points out that both of them can lay some claim to Scotland courtesy of their surnames yet she wasn't always quite as convinced as she is now that Edinburgh could be "home".
A familiar face to viewers who tuned into the first Fame Academy reality pop show in 2002 she opted for the BBC show despite being offered the chance of appearing in Pop Stars: The Rivals. She survived for six weeks until finally being voted out and declaring she was "going for a pint".
"I just love it here. I love going to the games and cheering on Clayton," she smiles.
While Clayton's career on the pitch takes off, Pippa is busy reviving her own career. Her management are actively seeking a record deal to get the album she has already recorded into the shops.
"I'm just happy to be back singing live and living in a beautiful city with my boyfriend," smiles Pippa. And her only regret?
"I've got to get the train to Glasgow to get to Primark . . ."
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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