Wishlist #2 | Pop Culture

Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Over the last year I've been gathering quite the collection of pop culture related accessories which started with my Ryan Gosling ring and over time has grown to include a Breaking Bad necklace, Game of Thrones brooch, and a Doctor Who keyring, amongst others (I even bought B some Breaking Bad wall art for Christmas) .

Given that I'm a bit of a TV addict I do like incorporating my favourite shows in all aspects of my life and would LOOOVE a wall full of cool quirky art related to my favourite films & TV shows.  When we get a new place I'm definitely planning a pinterest worthy feature wall!  For now though I've just been lusting after prints online and have found quite a lot of awesome accessories and homewares with a pop culture twist that I thought I'd share with you.


Stranded at the Drive In

Saturday, 22 February 2014

I don't know about you, but I can't hear the phrase "drive in" without bursting into the Grease soundtrack.

So this weekend I threw on my leathers (not really) and drove down to Ingliston with my T-Dog (or B-Dog) for our very own drive in movie experience.  Itison had kindly invited us along to their Valentines drive-in movie night and having never been to one before I totally jumped at the chance (commiserations to all my blogger pals without cars who had to turn it down - SUCKS TO BE YOU! :P).

If you've never been to a drive in before basically you park up your car, tune the radio to the advertised station and sit back and enjoy the film. The gates open 1.5hrs before the film starts so you've got plenty time to get food etc before it kicks off.  Street Food Cartel were there selling pizzas, nachos and popcorn - I went for pulled pork nachos (YUM) whilst Blair had a pizza, and given that it disappeared in about 3 minutes I think he enjoyed his too!  We'd also stopped off at Tesco on the way for some chocolate so once the film started we reclined our seats, put up our hoodies (yeah it's cold sitting in a car with the engine off) and tucked in.  

The film being shown was Top Gun, and despite this being a total classic I had never actually seen it so what better way to experience Goose and Maverick for the first time than on an outdoor screen beside an actual flipping airport runway?!  Seriously, it felt unbelievably cool watching a film about planes (that's my full film synposis right there) whilst real life planes were taking off in the background.  If they do more of these through the year then I'm definitely up for going again, I loved the novelty of being in the comfort of your own car whilst watching a film - I was so tempted to come in my PJs!

If you want to see more of my drive-in movie experience then I vlogged my whole Valentines weekend which you can see on my youtube channel.

Baking | Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

Thursday, 20 February 2014

I haven't written a baking or recipe post in what feels like aaaaages.  In fact I haven't done any baking at all since I think maybe the summer?  Poor show indeed.  Anyway this weekend I was having major cake cravings and had a search through my recipe books to find something to bake, settling on milk chocolate cupcakes from my Baked in America book that Jemma got me for my birthday last year.  

This was a fairly basic cupcake recipe (with added chocolate), which I finished off with butter icing.    To be honest I couldn't really taste much of the chocolate so it's maybe worth increasing the chocolate if you want proper chocolately cakes (or ice with a choc fudge glaze?).  One major thing to point out before you read the rest of this post is that the book claimed the recipe would make 12 cupcakes, when in fact I ended up with 24 cupcakes and one regular sized cake.  That's like, a crazily big difference!  So if you want to follow the recipe I'd suggest either cutting it in half, or just bear in mind that you're going to end up with a hell of a lot of cake.

380g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
240ml evaporated milk or single cream
120ml cold water
1.5 tsps vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, softened
340g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
175g milk chocolate, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a tray with cupcake cases
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl using a hand whisk (or a fork) and set aside
3. Combine the evaporated milk, water and vanilla in a measuring jug and set aside
4. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer (this may take a while….)
5. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
6. Add the melted chocolate and stir until evenly combined
7. Alternately add in the flour and milk mixtures, mixing well until combined
8. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for around 20-25 mins
9. Once ready set aside until cool before you ice with whatever you fancy (I went for vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkles)

Like I said above, I ended up with 24 cupcakes and one normal sized cake - I ended up taking all of the cupcakes into work (they disappeared quickly!) and kept the cake for me and B (which I topped with a dusting of cocoa).

How cute is my cake stand by the way?  My sisters' boyfriend got me a Joules baking set for Christmas which contained the stand and some really cute cupcake cases - I'm sure they'd make even the ugliest cakes look pretty!

Related posts:

Valentines Weekend Vlog

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

This weekend I did a bit of vlogging as (for once) I actually had some exciting plans.  Here's what I got up to:

On Thursday evening I met up with Gillian, Laura & Kirsty for burgers and cocktails at 56 North - a nice wee "Galentines" dinner to kick off the Valentines weekend.  I've been here a few times now for food and it's always been really good - they do a 2 courses for £10 offer and they even have a selection of cocktails for just £3.95 so it's a pretty cheap night.  After stuffing ourselves and having a good old gossip we met up with Lianne and walked along to The Southsider for their relaunch event.  Now stupidly we didn't think we would be getting fed here, hence the burgers beforehand, but once we were seated (drinks tokens in hand - wahey) they started bringing us out tasting platters from the menu with things like chicken wings, mini burgers, pizza, sweet potato fries and hot dogs....hello food coma!

I used to go here quite a lot back when I was in uni, mainly for their pub quiz, and I even lived pretty much round the corner for a while so it was nice being back in my old stomping ground for the night.  The place has been totally spruced up since I was last there though, thanks to a recent £100,000 refurbishment - although it still has that nice traditional pub feel.

I don't really buy into the whole Valentines Day thing and in the 5.5 years Blair and I have been together I think we've only gone out for a Valentines meal like once or twice.  So instead of paying a fortune for a candlelit meal in a restaurant surrounded by other couples we stayed in and enjoyed a 3 course meal with cocktails in the flat.  I made up scallops and chorizo to start, followed by spinach and ricotta pasta, then chocolate and caramel tart for dessert.  Yum yum yum!

I didn't do anything of note on Saturday but on Sunday afternoon we went to our first ever drive-in movie experience at Ingliston (next to Edinburgh Airport).  I'd been invited by Itison to come to their Top Gun showing and having never been to a drive-in before I jumped at the chance (despite Top Gun not really being my cup of tea!).  A full write up is coming soon, but in brief it was really cool and I hope they do more of them through the year.

BAFTAs 2014 | Best Dressed

Monday, 17 February 2014
I did a series of posts during last years awards season of who I thought was the best dressed at various award ceremonies like the BAFTAs, Grammy's and Oscars.  I forgot to do the Grammy's this time round but having watched the BAFTA's last night (Leo was there....swoooon!) I spotted quite a few amazing outfits so here's my round up of the best dressed.

Angelina Jolie
You generally don't see many women at award ceremonies straying from the tried and tested dress code of SUPER FANCY IDEALLY FLOOR LENGTH DRESS but Ange bucked the trend and went down the androgenous route with this black tuxedo.... and she looked great.

Lupita Nyong'o
This may be my absolute favourite of the night - the colour is stunning, the shape is beautiful, and the simple belt and matching cuffs just tops it off without being too much.

Helen Mirren
On the wrong person this sequinned/ruffled number could look really tacky but on Helen it looks divine.  Although I wish she still had the pink hair.

Samantha Barks
A simple classic. Beautiful.

Lara Pulver
Another dress with a belt - I absolutely love the contrast of the black with the pale dress, especially with her dark hair.

And finally - here's Emma Thompson giving her best Del Boy Trotter impression.  Laaavley jubbly!

OOTD | Valentines with George

Saturday, 15 February 2014

dress* - george at asda - £18
cardigan - new look - £17.99
clutch* - george at asda (not online)
belt - old

Blair and I spent this Valentines Day in the flat, in our comfiest clothes, eating a yummy 3 course meal (prepared by moi), drinking cocktails and watching New Girl.  The night before though I went out for dinner with the girls followed by a relaunch party at The Southsider which was the perfect opportunity to wear my new dress.

I'd been asked by George at Asda to take part in their Valentines Day fashion campaign whereby I'd pick an outfit from their collection and their stylists would match it with some accessories.  I went for this cute skater dress in a gorgeous bright coral/pink colour.  It actually came with the necklace so the George at Asda team picked a matching accessory in this classic black clutch (which has a strap - rejoice!!).

I love the fit of this dress, it's made from a scuba-like material so it's stretchy and the skirt flares out perfectly. The necklace that it comes with isn't attached so you can pair it with different jewelery if you wanted to, although I personally think it looks really nice with the black accessories.  You could also go sans-cardigan and tights for a more spring appropriate outfit, but it's been bloody freezing this week so I'll happily stick with my 100 deniers for now thanks.

Miss Dixiebelle

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Last Thursday I went along to a relaunch party at Miss Dixiebelle in Bruntsfield for a night of vintage fun with some of the blogger girls.  Now not that you can tell from my OOTDs, but I do have a soft spot for vintage styling - ahhh how I wish I was born in the 50's, the days of circle skirts, victory rolls and red lips (Greased Lightning baby!).

The Miss Dixiebelle salon was inspired by this era with their Hollywood dressing room style mirrors with spotlight frames, old style vintage hairdryers, cute pastel walls and pin up art work - so cute and kitsch.  We had a lovely evening looking around the refurbished shop and the brand new hair salon, sipping prosecco and cranberry from cute teacups, and munching pick'n'mix (yay!) and delicious key lime pie marshmallows from the Marsh Mallow Lady.  

If you're looking for a proper vintage dress for a night out, or fancy a 50's style makeover then I'd definitely recommend popping along to Bruntsfield for a visit - I imagine it would be the perfect venue for a vintage lovers hen do!

Top 3 Skin Saviours | Reviews-Day Tuesday

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

I find it quite ironic that since ditching the face wipes and sticking to a proper skincare routine - using decent cleansers, regular face masks and treatments, and you know, actually using a moisturiser - my skin seems to have gotten worse.  Now I'm not saying I have terrible skin because I definitely don't, it's just that I've gone from having the rare spot to getting them every couple of weeks, and I have quite a lot of redness on my cheeks that never used to be there.  Basically I have more issues that I need to deal with now, and that means I've had to try find solutions for those issues, and over the last 6 months or so I feel like I've found a couple of products that really help.  Quick disclaimer here - I'm aware how subjective skincare can be, so what works for me may not work for you, but if you have combination skin with a blemish prone t-zone then I would recommend giving these a try.

Origins Super Spot Remover - £14
This little beauty has got me through many a troubled spot (pun intended), and it's definitely one of my "wonder products".  It's an intensive spot treatment which target spots and helps speed up the healing process.  I tend to use this whenever a spot starts to surface, applying on clean skin just before I go to bed and leaving it to work miracles overnight.  Well, not actual miracles - it's not like the spot disappears in one day but it's definitely reduced and after a couple of applications I normally find it completely clears up.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask - £30
Long term readers of my blog are probably already aware of my love of REN Skincare - their Clarifying Clay Cleanser is one of my all-time favourites, and I adore their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, so it's no surprise that 2 of their products have made my skin saviours short list.  First up is the Clarity Restoring mask - this is part of the ClearCalm range that features the clay cleanser and is designed with blemish prone skin in mind.  It feels a bit like a less harsh version of the glycolactic mask (which can be a bit stingy on more sensitive skins) and aims to combat the 3 main causes of breakouts - excess sebum, build up of dead skin cells, and blemish-causing bacteria.  I like to use this once a week, increasing to twice a week if my skin is particularly bad (like if I'm having a hormonal breakout).

REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate - £30
Next is the Resurfacing AHA Concentrate.  This is an overnight treatment along the same lines as Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and contains a combination of glycolactic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids to exfoliate and promote skin cell turnover leaving you with a fresh, glowing complexion in the morning.  I use this a couple of nights a week to give my skin an intensive treatment overnight and I LOVE it - I can totally see the difference in my skin the morning after, particularly in terms of pore reduction.

So that's a quick insight into my skin heroes - if I'm having a bad skin day/week/month then this trio are the ones I'll turn to for help.  As I said at the start, skincare is a really personal subject so it can be difficult to take advice on products as you might have a completely different reaction to them than me, but hopefully if you have a similar skin type to me then this will have proved useful. 

F/N/OOTD | 80s Floral

Saturday, 8 February 2014

chanel vitalumiere foundation
clarins eyebrow pencil
sleek rose gold blush
topshop crescent moon highlighter
bourjois 24hr colour tattoo in on and on bronze
clinique high impact mascara
bourjois colour boost lip crayon in peach on the beach

barry m matte nail paint in mocha
barry m gelly nail paint in papaya

t-shirt - primark
blouse - dorothy perkins (link to similar)
jeggings - dorothy perkins (link to similar)
boots - primark
necklace - ginger pickle (link to similar)

I decided to take photos for a little impromptu Outfit of the Day the other morning as I'd just missed a bus so had another 15 mins before I had to leave the house.  The decision was also spurred on by the fact that I realised I had accidentally matched my makeup to my nails (mocha and coral), and given that I pretty much NEVER paint my nails it was almost like I'd planned a proper face/nail/outfit shoot.  And before you say it, yes I know my nails are pathetic, but I'm hoping that by wearing nail polish it will stop me biting them.

This was also the debut of my new t-shirt which I'd picked up in Primark last weekend - I love that it's a bit tacky and OTT - it's so 80's.   Paired with my current favourite plum jeggings, my trusty fur lined boots, and a wee collar popped underneath it was the perfect outfit to take me from the office to dinner, which is exactly what I did.

Wishlist #1 | Hearts

Thursday, 6 February 2014
Valentine's Day is coming up next week and what better way to celebrate the most meaningless and commercial of all the holidays by putting together a list of all the things I want to spend money on that have a vague relation to Valentine's because HEARTS.

Beautysets - Hearts

dark red heart print dress - new look - £17.99
heart print culottes - boohoo - £8
knitted heart tights - asos - £8
sheer heart tights - dorothy perkins - £4
red enamel heart stud earrings - river island - £2
heart bangle - dorothy perkins - £6.50
dark red heart print snood - river island - £8
black heart print skater dress - asos curve - £25

Boots Haul & First Impressions | Reviews-Day Tuesday

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Despite me saying to myself that I wasn't going to buy any more beauty products this month I somehow ended up in Boots the other day and came away with a couple of makeup items that I REALLY REALLY NEEDED (sarcastic face).  I've used everything a couple of times now so thought I'd show you what I bought and give you my first impressions / mini reviews.

Maybelline Baby Skin Primer - £7.99
This is the main thing I went in for as my Benefit Porefessional is about to run out and I was really keen to try this, especially after my friend Lynsey raved about it in her latest video.  So far I'm impressed - it pretty much lives up to the name and gives you baby soft skin, smoothing out your pores and imperfections.  It has a clear thick silicon gel consistency and is a pretty decent dupe for the Smashbox Photo Ready Primer which I've used and loved in the past.  I know silicon based primers aren't for everyone, and I've heard about people breaking out when they use them so obviously if that's you then I wouldn't recommend this, but otherwise I encourage you to give it a go!

Maybelline Dream Touch Lumi Concealer (ivory) - £6.99
I fancied trying a new brightening concealer for under my eyes and the packaging of this looked very similar to the L'Oreal Touche Magique which I used to use all the time so I thought I'd give it a go.  I have a few issues with it though - firstly, the lightest shade "Ivory" is far too dark so it doesn't quite give my undereyes that highlight I was hoping for.  Secondly, it seems to crease really easily, so all in all not that impressed.

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush (plum) - £6.49
Maybelline had a 3 for 2 offer on and as I'd bought the primer and concealer I scoured the counter looking for something else I could add and settled on this blush.  It has quite an oily texture, reminds me a bit of those cheap tinted lip balms that I used to use when I was young.  The colour is quite sheer so it can give you a hint of colour or can be layered up to give a stronger look.  I'm on the fence so far, need to try it a few more times before I can give a proper review.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick (peche cosy) - £7.99
I kind of regret buying this as now that I have it home I realise that the shade is a pretty decent dupe for the Topshop Whimsical lipstick which I still have half a tube of, so it doesn't really add anything new to my collection.  In saying that though it has quite a decent formulation and doesn't dry out your lips or flake so I don't dislike it, I just don't *need* it.

Models Own Blusher Brush - £8.50
This one is easy - I wanted to buy an angled blush brush as I haven't used one before and this is was the only one in Boots so I bought it.  I'm happy with it so far - the bristles are nice and soft and it picks up the product well.  Not much else to say!

Tipped Wavy Hairpins for Thick Hair - £1.89
This is a bit of a fail - I bought these to use with rollers as I thought that my normal hairgrips wouldn't be thick enough but actually these are faaar too wide so they don't hold the rollers at all and just fall out.  I don't have any use for these at all now as my hair is pretty fine so if any of my real life pals want them give me a shout!

One Night in Paris

Sunday, 2 February 2014
Superior Room - Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Superior Room - Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Superior room at Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Bathroom at Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Superior Room - Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Le Bristol mini bar
I managed to resist the temptations of the mini bar!
OOTD Paris
outfit of the day
Breakfast in bed - Le Bristol Hotel Paris
Crepes breakfast - Le Bristol Hotel Paris
mmmme - crepes (and gold leaf) for breakfast!
Parisian buildings
Musee Galleria Paris
Base of Eiffel Tower Paris

Eiffel tower close up
Open Top Bus Tour Paris
feeling a bit lonely...
Eiffel Tower Paris
Les Invalides Paris
Pont des Arts Paris
B and I's padlock from our last trip to Paris is on here somewhere!
Notre Dame - Paris

As I've mentioned on here before, my job involves working with hotels - as such this means that through the year I go out to meet my clients and sometimes this involves getting to go abroad.  Last week was one of these occasions and I jetted off to Paris for the day - now normally on these trips I end up flying out in the morning, having a meeting all day then flying home at night (pretty exhausting) but this time I was lucky enough to get an overnight stay at the hotel which made the trip 10 times more exciting than usual!

As my flight home wasn't until 3.45pm the next day I decided to take the day as a holiday so I could take advantage of my time in Paris and do some sightseeing.  I booked myself onto an open top bus tour thinking it was the best way to see lots in a short space of time, although I didn't count on it raining the whole time and having to sit in the cold with no umbrella....still, there are worst places in the world to be cold and wet so I can't really complain.

The hotel I was staying at was the Le Bristol which is just around the corner from the Champs Elysee.  I know given my relationship with them I am slightly biased, but honestly the place is absolutely amazing - stunning traditional decor, really grand and opulent without feeling stuffy (I sometimes feel a bit out of place when I visit big fancy hotels, but I don't get that feeling at all here), the food is outstanding, and the rooms just feel so welcoming and homely - if I could afford it I'd stay here every time I visited Paris!  Oh also they have a beautiful hotel cat who just wanders around - I didn't see him this time but there's photos of him throughout the hotel (including on your "do not disturb" signs - so cute!).

I vlogged the trip which you can see on my Youtube channel - it's a pretty quick video since I wasn't there for long but you can see a tour of my hotel room and some of the sights of Paris from my bus tour.  My next meeting is booked in for April and I think I'll be bringing B along with me and making a weekend of it - can't wait! :)