March Highlights

Monday, 31 March 2014
holidaying in copenhagen (read more here)

where we bounced on sidewalk trampolines

ate the best churros ever

explored castles and palaces

whilst wearing fetching blue shoe covers

and got engaged!

celebrating my birthday and engagement with my parents & tapas

bowling and cocktails with friends 

visiting the beautiful Cliveden House for work

more cocktail celebrations with B's family

drinking DNAquiris...

….eating liquid nitrogen ice cream….

….watching Kirsty and Iona do battle in a cream cracker eating competition….

…and playing with puns….

all at the launch of the Edinburgh Science Festival at Summerhall (tickets on sale now)


What I've Been Eating #1

Sunday, 30 March 2014
Every time I sit down to do an online food shop we go through the same routine: I ask B is there's any meals he wants me to make, he says "fajitas" and then can't think of anything else, he then tells me that I should keep a note of the meals we enjoy so we can remember the good ones and I say "yeah good idea, I will". We've been doing this for about 3 years and I still haven't started this elusive 'list of meals we enjoy'.  I am a terrible person.

Anyway, as I was doing the latest shop I hit upon the idea of taking photos of our meals so I had a record of what we've had and can look back when I need inspiration.  I also thought it would make a nice little series for the blog as it's the sort of thing I'd like to read so I'm sure some of you must feel the same.  I can find it really hard sometimes to think of meal ideas and normally end up having very similar things over and over again, so hopefully this will help me mix things up a bit more.


Healthy beef burgers with bacon and homemade chips
I found this on the Slimming World website as I was browsing for some healthy recipe ideas.  I'm actually thinking of joining Slimming World classes soon (thinking of that wedding dress body!) so I've been looking at what my meal options will be and so far it looks like it's going to be pretty easy to stick to the plan (ask me again in a few weeks though).

The burgers were made with extra lean mince, topped with bacon (with the rind removed) and served on a wholemeal bun with corn on the cob and healthy chips (1 cal cooking spray and some bbq seasoning).


Sweet five spice & chilli pork with brown rice
I was kindly sent a couple of chinese inspired meals from a company called Ilumi who make gluten, dairy & nut free ready meals.  When they arrived in little microwavable packets I initially had some horrible flashbacks to my days on the Diet Chef plan (that did not go well) but I needn't have worried, I had the five spice pork the other night for dinner (served with brown rice and peas) and it was really tasty.  It was also the right side of spicy for me - it had a bit of kick but didn't leave my mouth burning. 



Strawberries and cream pancakes
I realise this probably makes me sound like a weirdo but, I don't like fruit.  I like fruit flavoured things, but I don't like eating raw fruit - the fleshy texture turns my stomach, yeuch!  I'm trying to force myself to introduce fruit into my diet though as I really want to start eating healthier, so I recently bought some strawberries as I thought I could add them to ice cream or yoghurts to mask the fact I was eating fleshy little hairy balls (nice imagery there).  On Saturday morning after an unusually productive start to the day I thought I'd be brave and try eat some raw with pancakes and cream and the verdict is....they were actually pretty nice!  I'm not converted into a fruit lover just yet, but this is definitely a breakfast I'll be repeating.



Pulled pork and sweet potato chips
Yeah so I obviously didn't cook this myself but I thought I'd include it anyway!  The other night me and some of the blogger girls went along to an Edinburgh Science Festival event and met up for dinner at the new Clerks Bar first.  We'd all been drooling over the menu before we arrived so I was pretty set on pulled pork (my fave) and sweet potato fries and was not disappointed.  The pulled pork portion was MASSIVE and it was only £7 so a definite bargain.  The sweet potato fries were perfect too, nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just how I like them.  Will definitely be coming back here with B for dinner soon.


Chicken & spinach pasta
We had roast chicken at the weekend and I ended up using the leftovers to make lunch for my whole week which is pretty thrify of me!  I combined the cooked chicken with wholemeal pasta, spinach, pine nuts, and chilli & tomato pesto and it was amaaazing.  I've been terrible with lunch recently and have pretty much bought a sandwich and popcorn from Pret every day for 2 months which is a massive waste of money and is also a ridiculous amount of calories so I need to start doing this more often.



Chicken thighs with white wine & lemon
This is fast becoming one of my favourite meals - I think I've made it about 5 times in the last 2 months.  It's super simple to make and is really full of flavour, the perfect cheats way to make a roast.  All you need to do is brown some chicken thighs (seasoned with salt & pepper) in a little spray oil, add around 300mls of white wine and the juice of one lemon, simmer for about 15 mins (until the liquid has reduced), add some parsley and serve.


So that's what I've been eating over the last week or so (easter eggs, rosé wine and percy pigs not pictured), I think my favourite new things were the chicken & spinach pasta and the burgers so I'll definitely be making them again.  Have you got any good (ideally healthy) recipes you can share with me?  I need some inspiration!


Recent Beauty Buys

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


wearing double wear light in 0.5, miss manga mascara, sleek blush in crochet & revlon lacquer balm in coquette


This is my second Sleek blush palette - I got the Pink Sprint one from B for my Christmas which contains really bold bright pink and berry shades, so when I was in Superdrug recently I had a wee look to see if they had something more subtle/peach toned to add to my collection.  This looked pretty perfect as I don't have any peach powders (I do have a peach creme blush from Bourjois but I find it quite hard to work with tbh).  The middle one is very similar to their Rose Gold single blush, but is a bit lighter so is perfect for summer when you just want a little flush on the cheeks.  As with the other palette you need a really light hand on application as they are super pigmented - one wrong move and you look like a clown.

I've found that if my nails are painted then I'm less likely to bite them so for the last month or so I've been on the lookout for new colours recently and as I'm loving pastels at the moment these three caught my eye.  This is actually my first ever Essie polish and the colour is absolutely adorable - mint is probably my favourite colour and this shade is just perfect.  The new speckled egg Models Own range is also pretty cute, this lilac shade being my favourite - I love that it looks like nail art, but without the fuss.  I haven't used the hypergel one yet but I'm curious about what "hypergel" actually is - there's a note on the bottle that says "no UV required" - does this mean it glows in the dark??  I guess I'll find out soon.

Everyone seemed to rave about this last month so (of course) I gave into temptation and bought it.  I can't say I'm completely blown away by it though, although maybe it's just because I'm so used to my beloved Clinique High Impact that I'm still trying to get used to the change.  I don't feel like it gives my lashes a great deal of length or volume, although it does build quite well without getting too clumpy.  I'm on the fence for now, but I'm going to give it a good go!

Double Wear Light has been one of my favourite foundations that I've tried in the last few years - the coverage is perfect, not too light, not too heavy and the finish is great.  The only annoying thing was that their lightest shade (1) was a touch too dark for me which meant I couldn't really get away with it during the day unless I mixed it with something else. The pale girls prayers have been answered though and they have released a new lighter 0.5 shade and the colour match on this is perfect for me, so I can now wear this allll the time (woo hoo!).  Also, I bought it using my Boots Advantage Card points so it was basically free.  Win win.

Not using heat protector has been my biggest beauty sin for years, and I finally decided it was time to change a few weeks ago after noticing that my hair was looking pretty damaged.  It's safe to say that this Tresemme Keratin Smooth spray has well and truly won me over - it leaves my hair feeling amazing!  I've been spraying all over my hair (focusing mainly on the tips though) after towel drying, and once blow-dried it feels so soft and the shine is incredible.  I haven't yet used it on dry hair but I think you can so I'll maybe give it a go next time I'm using the ghds.

My first experience of micellar cleansing water was Bioderma which I bought from ebay (I wrote a full review here).  A few months later I saw that L'Oreal had brought out a version and decided to try it, and although I felt like it wasn't *quite* as good as Bioderma I kept buying it as it was a hell of lot easier to repurchase (i.e. I could pick it up from Boots/Superdrug rather than buying online).  I've been using L'Oreal now solidly for about 6 months, but after seeing a few reviews of the Garnier one I thought I'd give it a go.  I haven't opened it yet as I literally bought it on the day I took the photo above so I might do a full review at some point.

I had the original Effeclar Duo but to be honest didn't really notice that much of a difference to my skin after using it, but after seeing a lot of great reviews of the new + one I thought I'd give it a go as I have a lot of the problems it claims to help (blemishes, blocked pores etc).  I've been using it for a few weeks now and haven't noticed a massive difference yet, but to be fair I haven't been disciplined enough to use it twice every single day, so that's maybe why.  I'm going to give it a proper try from now though, applying every morning and every night, so I'll maybe write a full review in a few weeks to let you know how I got on.

It's funny, a couple of years ago I was a total lipstick-phobe and basically lived in vaseline alone, but now whenever a new lip product comes out I'm like OOOH GIMME.  The Lacquer Balm range caught my eye on my latest Boots browse and after looking at all the different shades for about half an hour (much to B's delight) I finally settled on Coquette.  This is a really pretty pink which makes me feel SUPER girly when I wear it and it's perfect for brightening up my makeup look.


Spring Fashion Haul | ASOS, Primark & New Look

Monday, 24 March 2014
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I thought it was about time I posted this long overdue haul - some of the things featured here were bought about 6 weeks ago but I've been so lazy about taking photos that I just kept putting it off.  I had a spontaneous burst of productivity this weekend though so after having a massive wardrobe clear out I decided to take photos of all my new stuff and finally write it up.  

Most of the stuff was bought just before my Copenhagen holiday and then the rest is just random shopping that I've done at the weekends.  I apologise for not including prices for most of the Primark stuff but the receipts have been binned as I bought things so long ago.

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primark
This dress was a bit of a spur of the moment purchase and I'm not entirely sure when I'm going to wear it.  It's a great little summer dress and the pattern is even more neon in real life.  The only annoying thing is that it's got a cut out back so I'll definitely need to wear it with a cardi or with a top underneath.

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primark

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primark - £10
I picked this up as I was on my way to the till so didn't even try it on (normally a Primark no-no), but it was just too pretty to pass by.  I think it will look great with a white top in the summer or paired with some pastel accessories.

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primark

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new look - £12.99 (link)
As seen in this OOTD post, this is fast becoming my favourite smart/casual top for work, paired with a statement necklace.

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new look - £12.99 (link)
I really liked this when I tried it on in the shop but now that I've got it home every time I put it on I feel like it looks like a nurses smock!

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new look
Back in the 90's these cut out/cold shoulder tops were all the rage and I had a few tops like this in my wardrobe.  I bought this from the ASOS website (no longer online) when I ordered my coat and bag which are coming up below, I thought it would be good for the holiday as Copenhagen was forecast to be a bit chilly.

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new look - £4
I picked this up in the New Look clearance section last time I was in one of their stores.  I'm not that keen on the pattern but I really love the style and I'm a bit obsessed with grey.  It's very oversized - I bought 1 size down but could have done with going down further as it's still pretty huge.

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new look - £24.99 (link)
I bought this jacket as I decided I needed something a bit smarter for going out to client meetings as my khaki leather sleeved Primark number wasn't really cutting it!

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asos - £39 (link)
This was a last minute buy before we went on holiday as I really wanted a jacket with a hood and struggled to find something that wasn't padded anywhere so the minute I saw this on ASOS I knew it was ideal (plus it was in the sale!).  I don't know if it's just the style but it is really massive so I'd advise sizing down.  Unfortunately as it arrived the day before the hol I couldn't return it so just had to keep it even though it's a bit too big (I've been wearing it open with a scarf most days, or sticking a belt round the middle to cinch it in).

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asos - £18 (link)
Ahhh the bag of dreams!!  I love this, it's so cute and the colour is totally perfect for spring.  What a babe.

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I'm cheating slightly here as only the silver & pastel necklace (Primark) was bought by myself, the rest are all birthday presents, but as they are still new additions to my collection I thought I'd just include them here anyway.  I'm totally in love with the pastel one - it looks great with the black & grey top and the the purple cold shoulder top listed above.

Copenhagen

Saturday, 22 March 2014
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So I've finally got round to writing about my epic weekend in Copenhagen which, if you read my post last week, you'll know ended up being prettaaaay special.  This post is a bit of a beast so you might want to grab a drink and get comfortable…..

Day one
We arrived in Copenhagen early in the evening on Friday, and after checking into our hotel we went straight out for dinner at an Italian over the road - Restaurante Vesuvio.  After stuffing ourselves with yummy pizzas we went in search of a nearby shop to stock up on water and chocolate goodies (our first stop on every holiday!) before settling in for the night.  Their English TV channel was showing The Dark Knight so that was a nice wee treat.

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Day two
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for a fun day of sightseeing.  First stop was Christianborg Palace which is where the Danish government sit.  I'd planned on us going in here for a wander round, and had been looking forward to visiting the ruins under the building in particular but unfortunately we found the place completely closed so I'm guessing there was some sort of function on which was a bit of shame.

Next up we went in search of a fountain from a scene in the TV show Borgen that we both love, I'd read that it was at the library but when we got there we couldn't find it so ended up going into the Jewish Museum instead as it was one of the free attractions on our Copenhagen Card list.  The Copenhagen Card was a travel pass I'd bought which not only got us free travel on all buses and metro, but also free entry to around 70 attractions - I'd definitely recommend getting this if you're visiting the city as if you're planning on visiting lots of attractions it ends up saving you quite a lot of money.  Every attraction we visited was included in the pass so all we paid for during the holiday was food and drink (and some souvenirs at the airport!).

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After the museum we walked along to the postcard pretty Nyhavn, stopping on the way for a jump on the sidewalk trampolines (normal....).  Nyhavn is one of the most touristy areas in the city so it was the busiest place we'd seen so far.  It was lunchtime too so all the cafes were fit to burst with people sitting at tables outside enjoying the glorious sunshine.  We ended up stopping for some churros and ice cream at a little shop - they were probably hideously overpriced but omg they tasted so bloody good.  After our naughty pit stop we walked along to Amelienborg Palace, where the Danish Royal Family live.  You can go on a tour round several of the rooms in the palace (obviously the bits where the current royal family don't stay in) which have been preserved as they were back when older generations lived there - it's like stepping back in time!

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Afterwards we walked to the waterfront and sat in front of the Opera House whilst sharing a hot dog in the sunshine.  The last thing on our Saturday list was The Little Mermaid which is one of the most well known attractions in Copenhagen.  We got a bus out to the pier area and after walking the length of the pier and back we FINALLY found it, and wow, it was not worth the trip at all.  Seriously, unless you're desperate to see it don't bother.

That night we went for dinner at XO Burgers & Steak which again wasn't far from the hotel.  The service was pretty slow but the staff were really nice and apologetic about it so we weren't too bothered.  Plus the food was great - we both had steaks and they were bloody beautiful, plus I had a strawberry margarita which was literally like drinking a pure strawberry smoothie, yum yum yum.  The rest of the evening was spent in a food coma whilst having a Parks & Recreation marathon in our hotel room (thank you Tunnel Bear - you make holidaying with Netflix so easy).

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Day three
On Sunday we started off with a walk in a nice little park near our hotel called Ørstedparken which I'd seen in Esteé's Copenhagen vlog.  This ended up being the scene of a pretty special moment the next day!  Next we went to visit the Rosenborg Castle which was the old royal residence and is pretty much in its original state.  I love visiting places like this and soaking up all the history, imagining what it would have been like to be there when kings and queens were partying it up in the great hall.

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After the history lesson we got a bus out to Copenhagen Zoo where we spent the rest of the afternoon.  There's actually two parts to the zoo, and you go through a tunnel to get to the park on the other side of the road where the African animals live (alongside the petting farm.  Seems sensible).  After an hour or two we both started to feel pretty knackered though as we'd done a lot of walking over the last 48 hours (and I'm lazy so it was tiring) so once we got back to the hotel I had a cheeky nap. 

For our last night we decided to do something a bit different, and after discovering that there was a cinema just across the street we thought we'd go along and see if they were showing any films in English.  Luckily they had a screening of Her (or "Hende") so off we went for our first Danish cinema experience.  The place reminded me a bit of the Cameo in Edinburgh with its intimate screen and big old style cinema seats.  They also had seats up the sides too (like in a theatre) which I thought looked pretty cool.

After the film we went out for a late dinner at Biscaya tapas bar, again handily located just over the road from the hotel, and right next door to the cinema.  As it was 9pm on a Sunday the place was almost empty so we were served super quick (restaurants in Copenhagen seem to be open to around midnight most nights which is awesome) and oh my god it was honestly the BEST tapas we have ever eaten.  Everything we tried just tasted amazing, from the queso frito (fried cheese) to the chicken croquetas to the chistorra sausage and the spicy meatballs, even the classic patatas bravas tasted better than ever.  Definitely recommend trying here if you're in the city.

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Day four
Next morning Blair suggested we went for breakfast in Ørstedparken before checking out so we went to the coffee shop next door for some take-out drinks and pastries.  If you've read my post from last week you'll know that what happened next was pretty exciting - he proposed!  I was pretty much stunned into silence so the rest of the afternoon feels like a bit of a dream, but after popping back to the hotel to checkout we went over the road to visit the City Hall.  When I booked our hotel one of the main selling points was the view of the main square and city hall but unfortunately they were building a new metro stop directly opposite so it was basically a view of a building site, oh well!

Determined to make the most out of our Copenhagen Card we popped into the Hans Christian Andersen museum next door and it's safe to say this is definitely one more for the kids than adults….even in our happy little post-engagement bubble we didn't find it that exciting.

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After picking up our cases from the hotel we took a bus out to the aquarium The Blue Planet which is quite near the airport.  This was good fun although there was a distinct lack of sharks which was a bit disappointing, haha.

After an hour or two we got back on the bus out to the airport, although in hindsight we could have walked as it was pretty much the next stop.  We were early with like 2 hours until our flight so we had an early dinner at Prego (airport food has never tasted so good) and then looked round the shops before boarding the flight back to Edinburgh.

So there we go, that was Copenhagen.  It's certainly a holiday I won't ever forget, given that it's now the setting of our engagement story.  It's a really lovely city too, in a way it reminds me of Edinburgh, perhaps crossed with a bit of Amsterdam and a touch of Budapest (haha).  For ref the hotel we stayed at was The Square - despite the view not being what I expected I would still recommend the hotel, after all the metro works aren't their fault!  The location was great, walking distance to lots of attractions, on the main bus route from the airport, 2 minutes from the central train station, and near lots of great restaurants - seriously every meal we had this holiday was amazing, nothing was cheap but it was worth it.  The hotel was also right next to the famous Tivoli amusement park which unfortunately isn't open this time of year - so if we go back I definitely want to pay this a visit.