Lush Salted Coconut Hand Scrub

Monday, 29 August 2016
When I was in high school I worked weekends in an aquatic pet shop. My hands would be either in water or wet for the majority of my shifts and it meant that they were often left very dry, cracked and painful. I was 16 and had old lady hands. It was during my time there that I discovered hand scrubs. I really love the Crabtree & Evelyn hand recovery scrubs but they are very expensive at £17 for a tube! When I saw that Lush had released a hand scrub I was very excited because Lush are a company that I really love (read the reasons why here) and it's only £7.95. Which still isn't the cheapest but it's considerably cheaper than what I was using before!

Coconut is one of my favourite scents so I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I smelt this for the first time. I thought it would have that classic, rich coconut scent. But it doesn't smell at all like coconut. The coconut in this product is coconut oil which actually doesn't have a scent. According to the Lush website this is scented with sweet gorse which is a yellow flowering plant that grows just about everywhere in Britain. It's not a strong scent which is good if it's going to end up on your hands. However, the coconut oil means that this scrub is very moisturising and doesn't dry out your skin. This scrub is quite dense with sea salt as the scrubbing particle. It's not as harsh as Ocean Salt but stronger than Rub Rub Rub. It very easily removes all the dead skin cells and leaves my hands feeling really smooth. I imagine if you're into gardening or a similar hobby then this would be really effective at cleaning your hands up a bit as well. 

Books That Leave You Thinking

Friday, 26 August 2016
Books have always been my 'thing'. I can't remember when I learnt to read but I know that since then I've always had a book on the go. I try not to be a 'book snob' and will try something from every genre at least once. Sometimes if I'm feeling down or busy or stressed then I want nothing more than to get absorbed into a cheesy, young adult romance novel. But I also truely believe that the best books are the ones that leave you thinking. The ones that you close and can't stop thinking about. The books that make you question why things are the way they are and what you can do to change that. It's the books that really stay with me that effect me the most and remind me why I'm such a fanatic reader, why I crave the few minutes every day where I can get sucked into a different world. If you're looking for a book that's going to change the way you see the world then these five books are my recommendations. 

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger - I've read this book so many times and it impresses me every single time. One of my favourite things about this book is that my opinion of the central character, Holden, changes so much depending on the mood I'm in when I'm reading it. There have been times where I've loved him and times where I've hated him. The book is about a young adult who drops out of private school to face his problems. Sometimes I empathise with him and sometimes I find him really frustrating. But he has such a unique narrative style that I find I subconsciously copy his 'voice' for a few days after reading it. You phoney.

Mimi's Bakehouse, Edinburgh

Tuesday, 23 August 2016
With three locations and an online store Mimi's Bakehouse is taking Edinburgh by storm. They've been on my radar for a while and I had been intending on trying out their afternoon tea but I ended up making a spontaneous trip there with Charlotte, Lis and my flatmate, Rebecca, when Lis and Charlotte were in town for the cat cafe. We got the bus down to Leith where the original bakehouse is. It was late afternoon on a Saturday and we did have to queue for a table but the queue moved quickly. Seeing how busy it was was a fairly good indication of what was yet to come and we got to have a peek at their cute decorations before sitting down. 

 Mimi's has a really cute, quirky decor sense. With lots of bunting, artwork and decorations. They also have a selection of things for sale in case you want to take anything home with you. It was really busy but there were quite a few groups in for afternoon tea and after they had left the bake house really quietened down. But if you don't want to stop in they do take aways as well. 


See With Iolla

Saturday, 20 August 2016
It's been four years since I started wearing glasses and since then I've become very firm in what I like in a pair of specs. When you wear glasses, all day every day, they almost become like a little part of you so I think it's really important to get a pair that you love. I was invited along to the Iolla showroom in Glasgow to see what they have to offer in terms of glasses. The shop is on Argyle Street in Finnieston. Being in the West End of Glasgow you'd expect it to be quite hip and you wouldn't be wrong!

When we arrived at the store I was really impressed with the decor of the shop. It was really modern with exposed brick etc but still kept lots of little Scottish touches as well. The word 'Iolla' means sight in the Scottish Gaelic language so I guess that's only fitting. The staff as well were really helpful, explaining how their pricing system etc worked and leaving us to try on some glasses for ourselves although they were also happy to help with recommendations. 

10 Cheap Things To Do In Edinburgh

Wednesday, 17 August 2016
After growing up 20 miles from Edinburgh and having lived in the city for the past few years, I consider myself to be a local. I feel more at home on Edinburgh's cobbled streets than I do on the suburban pavements on my home town. Every August Edinburgh fills itself with guests for the Fringe Festival and it's amazing to see so many different people come together. But Edinburgh attracts tourists all year round and for good reasons: the city has such a rich and exciting history but most attractions in Edinburgh are actually free or very cheap. So after your travel costs a visit to Edinburgh isn't likely to break the bank.

I'm sure that I can convince you that there's so much to do and eat in Edinburgh and that it doesn't have to cost the world. In fact, most of Edinburgh's museum's are free so even if the weather is a bit miserable you can still keep occupied! But what about accommodation? During the Fringe it can be hard to find hotels/hostels with space - and the ones that do will be charging a fortune. Why not try out Homestay? This website allows you to book a room with an Edinburgh local. So you really get to experience what life in the city is like. And as I'll mention - Edinburgh's bus system is really cheap so you could also save money by staying a little further out as it would only cost you £3.20 to get in and out of the city. I've always found that locals are the best people to ask for recommendations about their city - especially for food - so who else better to stay with.

Here are my recommendations, as an Edinburgh local, on 10 cheap things to do in Edinburgh:

1. Climb up Calton Hill for an iconic view of the city.
Cost: FREE.
People will argue whether Calton Hill or Athur's Seat has the best view of Edinburgh. I'm including both in this post but Calton Hill is my personal favourite. Why? You still feel like you're in the city and you can pick out loads of landmarks. Last summer my friends and I climbed up and had a little cider at the top of the hill as the sun set. It was honestly one of my favourite days and it just made me feel so lucky to be watching the sunset over a beautiful city with amazing friends. The climb is really easily and probably takes about 15 minutes as it's only a little hill. Definitely the one to go for if you have less time in Edinburgh as Arthur's Seat is quite a time commitment.


Isle of Arran 2016

Sunday, 14 August 2016
Earlier in the year I visited the Isle of Arran with my family. If you've read my posts about our visit last year then you'll know that it's a special spot for my family. We go there as often as we can and my grandad's ashes are scattered there. Unfortunately for our trip this year the weather wasn't as great so it wasn't as action packed as the 2015 trip. But that doesn't mean that we still didn't have a great time. We went around Easter time so it was nice to be able to get away from the stress of uni and exams for a bit. Obviously I've been meaning to schedule this post for a while I just got distracted by going to Canada...


Holiday Must Haves

Thursday, 11 August 2016
So.... guess who booked another holiday? I know what you're thinking. Yes I have been to Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and the US in the space of the last year. But I'm travelling whilst I'm young ok?! My friend and I will be visiting Denmark and Sweden in September. In a bit of a whirlwind trip we'll be visiting Copenhagen and Malmo in the space of three days. So if anyone has any recommendations on things to do in either city then that would be greatly appreciated! I love packing so I'm glad that I'm going away again so I can think about what to take with me. With each trip I go on I get better and better at packing more efficiently so I'm determined to make this my lightest bag yet. Of course my smaller camera will help with that. But it's gotten me thinking about what I consider to be essential when I'm travelling. If you've seen my post on travelling light then you'll know I only travel with hand luggage for short breaks so it's important to only take what you need. Here are my holiday must haves!

Google Maps download - Ok so I didn't know this until I was in New York but you can download areas on Google Maps and then use the GPS location to see where you are on your map without using internet. This is actually a life saver. My extra tip is to 'save' the locations you want to go to  and this shows a little star over the area on the map. The stars will still appear without internet meaning you can see all the locations. I used this almost like a to do list when I was in New York and removed the stars after I had visited. That meant it was really easy to see what I still wanted to see and where I was in relation to them all. Actual life saver!

Dinner at The Brasserie, No 11 Brunswick Street

Monday, 8 August 2016
Edinburgh is currently alive with the thrill of the Fringe Festival. Which is lovely but also quite tiring so on Saturday night I headed along to No 11 Brunswick Street, a boutique hotel in the New Town/Leith area, to try out the dinner menu at their restaurant: The Brasserie. The hotel is inside an old Georgian town house and still has the original wooden floors and tiles. The place definitely has a higher class feel to it and we agreed it would be a lovely spot for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays and graduations. It's small - only sitting 26 and is rather dark so had a really cosy, intimate atmosphere. There were lots of candles burning and it felt very romantic although my 'date' was only my friend Rebecca! I wasn't actually feeling too hungry by the time I arrived but after we read the menu we were so hungry. There was a real selection of traditional Scottish food and a few twists as well.

To start off with I ordered the grilled queen scallops with bearnaise sauce. I am a huge seafood fan and this didn't dissappoint. They were soft and almost buttery in texture and you could just tell that they were fresh. The benefit of Edinburgh's location means that we can get some really great, fresh seafood. The sauce complimented the scallops really well and all of the sauces are homemade.

Rebecca ordered the haggis filo parcels with spiced turnip puree and whiskey sauce for her starter and they did not disappoint. I'm not the biggest haggis fan but I tried a little bit and it was lovely. The filo pastry was very light and just melted in the mouth. Mary Berry would be proud as there was definitely no soggy pastry to be found at The Brasserie. The whiskey sauce was notable but not too strong. Really the perfect dish for someone interested in seeing what Scotland has to offer. Rebecca and I both agreed that the portion sizes of the starters were really good. Sometimes if I order a starter I'm full before the main course arrives but this was just a lovely light bite to get us started.

Bedside Essentials

Saturday, 6 August 2016
After starting a second job for the rest of the summer it feels like I've been spending most of my free time in my bed because I've been absolutely shattered. And it's gotten me thinking about what I like to keep by me and I've reorganised my bedside table so that I'm only keeping the essentials to hand. Plus I'm super nosy and love seeing what people keep in their rooms which is why I'm writing this blog post. Also I wanted an excuse to show off this super cute new photo background I picked up!

Hand Sanitiser - Ok so I like to snack in bed. But I also read in bed and I don't like to touch my books with my hands after I've been eating in case I mark them. So I like to keep hand sanitiser on my bedside table so that I can eat and read at the same time without having to get up and wash my hands. Lazy? Yes but this is literally a post about things I don't want to get out of bed to reach so.... I bought this Limoncello hand sanitiser from Bath and Bodyworks when I was in New York and I love the smell of it. It's so fresh! 


July Reading Wrap Up

Wednesday, 3 August 2016
July was a good month for me in reading. It always is because I set myself a week every July to read as much as I can. I actually read 4 of these books during that one week so you can see how much it works for me. I spent a lot of time reading Kindle books this month until I had read all but two of the books on my Kindle. It was nice to feel caught up. Then there was a really good sale on Kindle books so I stocked up on 5 new ones which only cost me £7.95 which is a total bargain! I read faster on Kindle for some reason so that really helps me be able to read more. I also really enjoyed the books I read this month: in particular the Holly Bourne novels which I got hooked on. I've taken on a second job at another pharmacy which means that I'm going to be a lot busier in August but hopefully I'll still get a lot of reading done. At the moment my plans are to finish rereading the Harry Potter series and try out some of my new Kindle reading. But until then, here's what I thought of the books I read in July...

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - When my sister said that she was thinking about throwing out her copy of this one I seriously couldn't help but rescue it. I absolutely loved Louise Rennison's books when I was a younger teenager and was so saddened when I heard recently that she had passed away. Despite being older now I still really enjoyed rereading this book. It was just so much fun! The voice of Georgia Nicholson is so strong, almost like a teenage Bridget Jones. This book is laugh out loud funny and I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoyed it just as much this time around as I did when I was 13. 5/5 stars. Really tempted to reread the whole series now if I can find them somewhere cheap.