Giving Thanks

Monday, 30 November 2015
  • To Lis, Your undeniable fire for life inspires me to be the best person I can be.
  • To Dr McGregor, It had never even occurred to me to study chemistry until you suggested it to me, even though it was always my favourite subject. I'm a year into my degree and I'm the happiest I've ever been.
  • To Charlotte, For always reminding me that I am a boss ass bitch.
  • To my gran, You have always supported me in everything I've done. Without you I would not know that fortune favours the brave.
  • To Kathryn, Your dancing face makes me smile. 
  • To Batdog, They say that dogs can interpret human emotions. They've obviously never met you because you're an unsympathetic little shit. But you remind me that my problems are small in the long term and that sometimes you just have to pull on your boots and go on the walkies.
  • To Shaira, The kitchen story is at least, a good laugh. 
  • To 56 North, Your 2 for £10 burger deal for students makes me deeply happy.
  • To the a manager of an Edinburgh store, You gave me the harshest job rejection I've ever had. You ripped my confidence to shreds but filled me with a fire to prove you wrong. A year later I've now been promoted and love my job. You would have been lucky to have me. 
  • To Sarah, You're the bravest person I know even if you don't view yourself that way. Your unwavering friendship and support means more to me than I can put into words. 
  • To Natasha, You're the only person who texts me out of the blue to ask me how I am and I appreciate it.
  • To Imogen, You bought dog cookie cutters even though you hate dogs just so you could make my birthday cake. That's friendship right there. 
  • To Mary's Milk Bar, Your ice cream parlour is the best place for me to contaminate myself with lactose. Worth it every time. 
  • To Rose, I needed a laugh that night.
  • To Connor, Thanks for being my lab partner for a few weeks. I was a bit abrupt with you in the beginning but I think I was just a bit shocked that someone from university recognised me from my hometown. You dropped out a few weeks in and I haven't seen you since. How are things going?
  • To Scott, Thank you for singing in shower even though you know I can hear it because it makes me smile.
  • To Rhona, For completely bleaching our first year flat after every party.
  • To Simon, You made me feel incredibly small but it taught me the importance of being big. 
  • To Jenade, You're just the right amount of mean.
  • To Roisin, For coming to Geneva anyway even though you missed your flight.
  • To Morag and Louise, Without you two I'd still be using animal tested products. Who wants that on their conscience? 
  • To John, Stepdad doesn't feel like the right word. You mean more than that to me. 
  • To Grandad, you taught me to read and every day I see the beauty in the words I learnt from you. 
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Lush: The Experimenter

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Ok. I'm totally late to the party. Many weeks ago(actually more like months now) Lush released a few of the products from their amazing Oxford Street store out into their regular stores. I've been itching to visit London for years but have never gotten round to it(and the likelihood is I won't any time soon). So luckily I was able to get my hands on some of their new products. I actually bought some whilst I was at the perfume event at the Lush store in Livingston, my home town. Amongst the products I bought was The Experimenter which is an oddly shaped, brightly coloured bath bomb. It definitely stands out amongst their displays! I expected this to have quite a sweet scent but was pleasantly surprised to discover it's anything but that! It's actually which a rich, complex scent which definitely has a few layers and is very strong. There's definitely quite a lot of spice in there but also a lot of vanilla and tonka. It's quite a mature scent and I'm a big fan. It's very similar to their All Good Things perfume if you've ever smelt that. 

With all the different colours in the bath bomb it actually gives off a really nice deep blue/purple colour when properly dissolved in the water. It also contains quite a bit of glitter. Normally I don't like it when their bath bombs contain a lot of glitter as I find that they are often quite messy and that you need to clean out your bath afterwards but this was actually a pretty nice amount. I filled up a big hot bath, got some candles going and had a soak whilst reading a book. Such a nice relaxing way to spend an evening!

This bath bomb is quite expensive at £3.95 so I probably wouldn't buy it again. It was really nice but I've found myself favouring their bubble bars recently as you can break them up and use each one for two to three baths.

Have you ever tried this? What did you think?

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Ted & Muffy Event

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Hello everyone! I recently got to attend the blogging event hosted at the Ted & Muffy store in Edinburgh. You may remember that last year I went to a similar event at a store called DUO(blog post here). Well DUO have since rebranded so this was a good opportunity for us all to check out the store after the rebrand. The name comes from the two founders of the company, Ted & Muffy, and with the rebrand they've tried to go back to their roots in creating high quality, fashionable boots that fit well. The store has had a total revamp, it looked completely different. Everything was so sleek and modern. Everyone had a look around the store to get an idea of what was available and there were also some snacks and drinks to keep up occupied as well. Including some absolutely uh-mazing millionaire's shortbread. I got to see some of my lovely blogger chums like Abby and Louise and we had a good chat to help each other decide. I was really undecided as to whether I should get a pair of ankle boots or knee highs. They had some amazing over the knee pairs too but I knew that they wouldn't be a good decision as I wouldn't get enough wear out of them.

Last year I got a knee high pair of boots but found them to be a bit uncomfortable. I have really skinny ankles and found that they saged around the ankle a bit and rubbed. This time around I was measured by the store manager. My old boots fitted perfectly around the legs and the feet it was just the ankle that seemed to be a bit weird. I tried on a few pairs this time that were a bit more fitted around the ankle but decided to opt for an ankle boot this time around. I do love a good ankle boot. The pair that I went for in the end were the taupe Spark ankle boots which are the pair in the last photo. They're suede which maybe wasn't the best choice for Edinburgh's rainy weather but is lovely and soft! The colour is also quite unusual but would go with most outfits and as the manager pointed out is much easier to transition into spring with. I did try on the Phoenix style which were again lovely but I still didn't find them to be tight enough around the ankle. The boots have been ordered and I'm patiently waiting on their arrival. Like last year, I will be featuring them in an OOTD soon enough so you'll see them in action soon enough!

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Ted & Muffy and Octane PR for a great night!

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Stockbridge Market

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hello everyone. On Sunday I went down to the Stockbridge Market with my friend for a look around the stalls. I've never been to Stockbridge but I've heard so much about it. It's a very picturesque part of town and it's known as quite a well off area. I was reading someone else's blog and they had mentioned that they loved the pork gyoza that were on sale there. And that was all that I needed to convince me really. I love dumplings! So anyway, we arrived at the market at around 11:30. We walked down from Newington and I think it took us around about an hour. But it was a nice day and it's a much quicker walk from Princes Street. Everything looked so lovely. The market was already quite busy and there were a lot of people(and dogs, yay!) walking around looking at all the stalls. The market is a mix of food and crafts. Although I only managed to take photos of the food. It's clear where my priorities are! Although there was a stand selling dog treats and as much as I tried to take photos of all the dogs staring at the treats they all came out blurry. It was a good laugh to watch though!

The dumpling stand was actually the first one that we came to when we entered the market but we walked around twice before ordering any food. A few of the stands even had samples so we snacked on some passion fruit curd(amazing), Scotch eggs and some fancy oils/balsamic vinegar with bread and crackers. Then we made up our minds about what we wanted to get. I went for four of the pork gyoza with the chilli and soy glaze and corriander. They were absolutely delicious. They were so fresh and the filling was really tasty but the glaze just added such a kick to them. I'm a fan of spicy food and I can handle my spice. It made my lips tingle in the way that's just spicy enough to be comfortable. My friend opted for a haggis gambo from Knight's Kitchen, an African cafe. It was kind of like a pasty from what I could see but she really enjoyed it. They were also selling vegetable samosas so we got one each. I really enjoyed mine. It was really tasty had a nice flavour to it but it wasn't overly spicy. Knight's Kitchen is actually based in Newington, the area I live in, so I will definitely be going back to their cafe to try out more of their food. 

Then as we'd had a main lunch we needed to get a sweet treat too right? There were a few stands selling cakes and stuff but we were drawn to a woman who was selling her home baking. I had a home made custard cream and it was delicious. My friend went for some gingerbread which she says was really nice with a strong ginger taste. 

Overall we both really enjoyed our food and had such a lovely afternoon strolling around the market. I'll definitely be back!

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Easy Raspberry-Banana Smoothie Recipe

Thursday, 5 November 2015
Hello everyone. Feels like the first time in ages that I've shared a recipe. But here I am chatting about smoothies. I've always liked smoothies but it's only recently that I've started making them regularly. And this is entirely down to me using frozen fruit. I bought some frozen raspberries in Tesco and have already gone through the tub. They're much cheaper and don't make any noticeable difference to the taste of the smoothie. I just chuck all the ingredients into a jug and then blend up with my handheld blender. Which is so much easier to clean!

And I had to photograph this in the nerdiest way possible! The beaker is from Pyrex's Lab Kitchen range. I'm also seriously lusting after one of their conical flasks. Did I just use the words lust and conical flask in the same sentence? Yes, yes I did. That's the life of a chemistry student for you! In all seriousness, it's actually really handy as it has measurements on the side for rice, flour etc. 

  • One ripe banana, sliced.
  • 200ml almond milk.
  • 2 tablespoons fruit yoghurt(I use raspberry or cherry).
  • Handful of frozen raspberries.

I just pour in the almond milk first so I can measure it in the jug, then add some yoghurt and the banana. Then I blend it up until smooth. From here I'll add the raspberries a small bit at a time so that I judge how many I need on the colour of the smoothie. Personally I like to add some whole frozen raspberries on top. I really like the texture but I know some people won't. All down to personal preference.

So easy! And a great way to get in some of your five a day/use up some rather sad looking bananas!

What's your favourite smoothie recipe?

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My Edinburgh Gems

Monday, 2 November 2015
Hello everyone. I'm back today talking about how much I love Edinburgh. I could do it all day if I had to. In fact, I love it so much I've teamed up with Travelodge for their Flaunt Ya Haunt campaign. I'm going to be discussing my favourite places to eat and see in Edinburgh. I quite often get messages from people who are visiting Edinburgh looking for some recommendations so it's about time that I wrote a 'wee' city guide. 

Places to eat:

One of my favourite restaurants in Edinburgh is 56 North. It's also a gin bar so if you like a drink with your meal then you are all set! It's a bit out of the touristy region at West Crosscauseway but only by a 10 minute walk. It's also really close to Edinburgh University's central campus so you can have a look around there at the same time! They have a pretty amazing range on their menu and an extensive burger collection(2 for £10 with student cards as well!). I would really recommend their fish and chips or a Bill Murray burger. Their fries are uh-mazing. 

If you're looking for some good steak then I can't recommend Steak On Stones enough. I was invited here for a review meal earlier in the year and it was absolutely divine. It's a little bit on the pricier side and not necessarily somewhere I'd be able to eat on a student budget. But if I were going out for a nice romantic meal on holiday I'd want to to be somewhere like here. The steak was absolutely beautiful and I felt so classy the whole time I was there. I'm drooling again thinking about it!

If you've got a bit of a sweet tooth then you need to head down to Mary's Milk Bar. Situated in the Grassmarket it's a quick walk from the city centre and has a great view of Edinburgh Castle. Since becoming 'Buzzfeed famous' the Milk Bar often sells out so if you're visiting at the weekend maybe best to get in there quickly. Their ice cream is absolutely amazing. And the flavours are always very unusual. Last time I was there me and a few friends shared rhubarb and ginger sorbet, apricot jam and croissant and salted caramel. So good! They also do hot chocolate-ice cream floats. GET IN.

At the weekend there's the Stockbridge Market. Located in an extremely photogenic area of Edinburgh this is a great place to go for an afternoon's wanderings. They have some lovely food vendors but also some crafty ones as well so it's a good place to go and get a bite to eat. I went on Sunday and got some pork gyozas with chilli glaze and they were absolutely delicious! I also shared some vegetables samosas with my friend and we both got a cake for dessert too. We really enjoyed all of our food.

Places to see:

I can't recommend the National Museum of Scotland enough. It's the one place I take everyone who's just visiting Edinburgh. There is so much to see here that you could easily spend the whole day there. There's so much to learn about science, history, art, technology etc alongside lots of Scotland specific exhibitions. The entry is free(although there is a donation box). 

Camera Obscura it's a bit of a tourist trap but Camera Obscura is a really good time. Especially if you're travelling to Edinburgh with kids or the weather's a bit rubbish. There are a ton of optical illusions to go and see and it's generally a good laugh. There's also an amazing view from the top. It's a bit expensive which is why I probably wouldn't go back but I think everyone should go at least once.

If you want to see a great view of the city without committing to climbing Arthur's Seat then I can't recommend Calton Hill enough. It's a quick climb(it's mostly stairs actually) and the view is pretty amazing. I actually think I like it more than Arthur's Seat because you actually feel like you're still 'in the city'. Could easily do this walk if you aren't the fittest/or are with children.

I may be biased but as a University of Edinburgh student I absolutely love going to Old College. It's kind of the iconic thing that people picture when they think of Edinburgh uni and it is really lovely. I actually had some lectures here last semester(the lecture theatre was actually awful) and I miss going to it every week. They recently had the mini Kelpies installed which added a bit of character. Unfortunately now you'll have to travel further west and see the actual ones. 

Places to stay:

There's an absolute ton of places to stay in Edinburgh but there are a few Travelodges scattered around the city, in some really convenient places. Obviously I've never stayed in any of them but I got to go and stay in one in Glasgow at Easter and I was really impressed by how nice the rooms were. They were really spacious, clean and the beds were ridiculously comfortable. My parents actually bought a Travelodge mattress after sleeping in one they're that good!

The last time my dear friend Beth from Alphabeth was in Edinburgh she stayed at the Budget Backpackers Hostel in the Grass Market area. She said that she was pleased with how nice their room was and that the hostel was very clean. It also had a really nice 'cool vibe' to it as well.

So those are some places I'd recommend visiting if you're going to be in Edinburgh any time soon. If you have any recommendations leave them in the comments!

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This is a sponsored post. 

October Reading Wrap Up

Sunday, 1 November 2015
Hello everyone! What a quick month it has been. And a good one at that. This month I set myself the challenge of reading 4 books. I've totally smashed that this month and read 6. I read a few on my Kindle which I've not done for a while but it was nice to get back into using it. For some reason I find that I read a lot faster on my Kindle. I've also only got 2 books left to go before I finish my GoodReads 2015 reading challenge. Definitely completing that! Here are the 6 books I read this month and what I thought about them:

Life On The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers -  One of my flatmates lent me this book and I read it in a day. The book is made up of letters that a mother and daughter leave to each other on their  fridge door. Because of this it was a really fast read but very addictive and hard to put down. It takes a bit of a twist(which was honestly a little predictable) and it gets very sad. So in the space of a few hours this book totally broke my heart. Really interesting writing style with a great story line too. 5/5 stars would really recommend!

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne - This was October's Sassy Books read for the month. You can read my full post about it here. This is a book about a teenage girl with OCD. Personally I had a lot of mixed feelings towards this. But you'll have to read my review to find out why ;) 3/5 stars.

Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged* - This is probably my favourite book out of all the ones I read this month. It's about a muslim woman who works in publishing. Sofia isn't married and is sick of all the outside pressure she gets about it. She starts writing a book about muslim dating and her publishing company want to go ahead with it but the more she writes, the more unsure she feels about it. The main character was fun, witty and realistic. I really enjoyed reading this one and was pretty gutted when it was over. 5/5 stars. Better than Bridget Jones.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp - This book came into my hands in a very weird way. It was given to my friend Lis by a publisher in America. She came home to Scotland but decided I'd like it after she'd read it and passed it on to me. So thank you very much! Although it doesn't actually go on sale  until 2016. This book is about a school shooting and it's all told in the space of an hour from the perspective of several difference characters. I really enjoyed this book and read it really quickly but I couldn't really connect to quite a few of the characters and that made me struggle to find it as sad as I maybe should have. I rated it 4/5 stars and think it might spark some interesting debates. 

When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman* - I thought that this sounded like a really great read: a teenage girl wakes up in her bed but realises that everything else has changed. All the people in her life are all still there but they seem to be leading different lives and like she was a totally different person. But this book let me down a lot. When she woke up in her new life she seemed too easily willing to let go of who she was before. And this book also introduced the aspect of quantum mechanics. I've actually done quite a bit of quantum mechanics so I understood everything mentioned in the book but I can imagine someone else reading this and being totally confused. Maybe a good idea but not a great book. I gave it 2/5 stars.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - I've been trying to reread a book every month and this is my book for October. It's about a guy who works at a newspaper and it's his job to read the emails flagged by their systems software a being inappropriate(ie containing swearwords etc). He keeps seeing the emails between two friends but enjoys reading them and can't bring himself to report them. But after a while he starts to develop feelings for one of the girls. This book is adorable. It's admittedly not my favourite Rainbow Rowell book. That's not a bad thing though as all her other books are absolutely amazing so this is actually really good. I gave it 4/4 stars the last time I read it but this time around I'm updating it to 5/5.

What books did you read this month?

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