10 Memories of Summer

Saturday, 30 May 2015

If the last few days are anything to go by, then I *think* summer might have arrived in Edinburgh.  Hurrah!!  Check out the view of the castle from my office the other day, so dreamy.

In saying that, I may now have jinxed it.  So apologies if it's pouring with rain all next week.

As part of their #BRIGHTERNIGHTS campaign Rekorderlig challenged me to get nostalgic and share my best memories of summer. Now I'll be honest - I normally ignore emails like this, but by the time I'd finished reading it I'd already thought of about 3 or 4 things so I decided to take part.  Also, funnily enough one of my favourite summer drinks is a strawberry and lime Rekorderlig (with tons of ice) - mmmmm!

Yay, list time!

1. Going for walks with B and discovering bits of Edinburgh that we didn't even know existed.  Like this awesome waterfall in Cramond.

2. Summer BBQ's in the back garden whilst visiting family in Aberdeen.

3. Family holidays at Pontins in Blackpool.

4. Having 4 years of amazing holidays in Malia, Faliraki, Gran Canaria and Zante with my best pal back when we were wide eyed students.

5. So many beautiful sunny weddings!

6. Cycling to my friends' house in the next village every day in the school holidays.  I realise that sounds like something from Now & Then but no, it was the year 2000.

7. Sitting by the sea eating ice cream with B.

8. The garden party we had for my Grandpa's 90th birthday last year.

9. Sleeping in a tent in my best friends' back garden when we were 9 or 10 - definitely the only type of camping I am down for (a mum someone on hand to deliver snacks and a proper bed just a few steps away if we got too cold/bored).

10. So many nights at the Edinburgh Festival with friends, checking out shows, playing "spot the famous comedian", drinking cider and eating burgers at pop up bars.

I'm looking forward to that last one in particular this summer - I've got a week off in August so am planning on spending the days doing final wedding prep (painting a million jars and tins…) and the evenings at shows with B or chilling out in beer gardens with my pals.  Can't wait!

Some things I'm not so looking forward to from summer though are:

1. Roasty toasty bus journeys to and from work.
2. Having to squeeze an umbrella into every cute summer bag as you just can't trust Edinburgh weather.
3. Wasps all over the damn place. 
4. Having to resist the temptation to buy frappuccinos every day.
5. Getting woken up at 5.30am every morning as our curtains are too thin.
6. It getting too hot for my beloved black tights and ankle boots combo.  But my legs are too paaaaaale!
7. Slow walking tourists getting in my way during every lunch break.
8. Not being able to sit in the sun for more than 5 minutes without my pasty skin burning.
9. The "staying inside whilst it's sunny" guilt at the weekends.  Sometimes I don't like going outside ok?
10. The mid-afternoon makeup melt.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite and least favourite things about summer are! :)

4 Blogs I Always Read

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Today I'm taking inspiration from Hannah Gales' recent post - "7 blogs I always read" - where she (let's be honest) fangirls all over her 7 favourite bloggers.  It got me thinking about who my favourites were, and although I do read quite a lot of blogs (everything from beauty to food to tv to weddings) there are just a select few where I'll read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of their posts. 

So these are the blogs where you can guarantee I will go and read their post the minute they announce an update on Twitter.  The blogs that I'll actively go check in Bloglovin "just in case" there's a new post, even if one hasn't come up in my feed.

There are varying reasons why I love these blogs, but it's largely because I care about the girls behind the blog and I want to hear about their lives and what they're up to and what they ate for breakfast etc etc.  These are blogs that make me smile, blogs that make me laugh, and even blogs that make me want to cry sometimes by virtue of second-hand sadness.  One common factor is that they all seem like genuinely lovely human beings, and if I could I'd give them all a big squeeze and tell them that they are awesome.

In the words of Dermot O Leary, in no particular order, here are the results.

Given that I got the idea for this post from Hannah's blog it should be no surprise that she's one of my faves.  I first discovered her blog a year or so ago when someone on Facebook shared a link to one of her lists posts (I think it was this one - 42 things all noughties teenagers will remember).  At the time I didn't really think of her as a real person with a blog.  That sounds weird. What I mean is, I saw that as a fun list on a website, not a fun list on a blog written by an actual real life blogger.  That still doesn't quite explain it but let's move on.

I love Hannah's style of writing - it's really open and honest, and has a proper personality to it.  She's also witty and very very funny - I mentioned her lists briefly and she has a TON of them so if you're looking for an amusing trip down memory lane then she's your gal.

OK I know Kirsty is my real life pal, but she is also one of my absolute favourite bloggers too and I was obsessed with her blog before we met.  I remember I used to read her posts and think "I want to be friends with this girl!", and now I'm proud to call her one of my closest pals.  Like the others on this list one of the best things about Kirsty's writing is her honesty - you really feel like she's pouring out her soul and you can't help but feel a connection when reading (some of my faves are her Confessions series).  She's also naturally hilarious which I can confirm is definitely the case in real life too (as you can see in the videos we filmed together for my youtube channel).

Louise was one of the first vloggers I discovered back when I was getting into watching Youtube.  At the time she was pregnant and I loved her chatty videos where you felt like you were right there with her.  I've continued watching her videos and reading her blog for a few years now and have seen her achieve so many great things that I feel oddly proud of this person on the internet.

Sometimes I read criticism that she's changed too much since she started out, but I think that's really unfair.  If you think about how her life has changed over the last few years - having a child, making new friends through Youtube, and all of the opportunities that expanding her channel have brought her, it's unreasonable to think that she'd stay the same (quite shy) girl who first started filming videos in her bedroom.  I mean when I think back to my own personality 4/5 years ago and compare it to now I feel like I've completely changed, and that's just from growing up and being shaped by my new friends and career etc.  I can't imagine how different I'd be if I was sitting here with a million subscribers, being screamed at by a crowd of fans at meetups, and casually filming videos with Jamie Oliver of a weekend.  

Anyway, the point is - I don't care that she's not quite the same person she was a few years ago, I enjoy reading her blog/watching her videos and getting an insight into her life.  I love that one post/video could be about doing errands with her 3 year old daughter and the next could be about being on stage with David Blaine at a Youtube party.  Never a dull moment with that one.

Little Winter

Ahhh sweet wee Katy. Not only is she another beautifully honest writer, she is also the proud owner of the most adorable cat in the world. OK yes let’s get this out there – I love that cat like it was my own. Look at it wearing a bow tie for crying out loud!!

Life has been a bit shit for Katy recently and her posts about how she’s coping with having to re-adjust after a breakup have left me wanting to reach through the screen and scoop her up into a big hug.

Also as well as her personal posts I also love her lifestyle and homewares post - she has the best taste.

So that’s my 4 most read blogs – the ones that I’m most excited to see a new post notification from in my Bloglovin feed. If you aren’t following them all already I’d definitely recommend having a read, as, in case you can’t tell by my love letter above, I think they are pretty bloody amazing.

Do you have any blogs where you read every new post without fail? What is it that makes a blog unmissable for you? For me it’s being an honest writer who you can feel a connection with from reading their posts, but I know everyone is looking for something different so I’m curious!

Friday Thumbs Up: Wedding Invitations

Friday, 22 May 2015
Currywurst thumbs up

For my second Friday Thumbs Up (see last weeks here which includes an intro to the series) I want to tell you about two websites that have been an absolute godsend in the last few weeks.

As soon as we started wedding planning I decided that when it came to invitations I wanted to design them myself, despite not actually having any design experience, or knowing the first thing about using a tool like Photoshop.  After pissing about in Word for a few days and having no joy whatsoever (other than you know, invites that LOOKED like they were made in Word) I thought I'd give Fotor a go as I'd used it a few times to build collages for blog posts.  

By using their blank canvas collage option it meant I could pretty much do whatever I wanted, adding text boxes, images, shapes, background colours etc - and in a really simple, easy to use interface that required no technical knowledge whatsoever.  Now it's not perfect - my main issue with it is that you can't save and come back to something later which is annoying, but for a free tool it's pretty ace.  

Now obviously doing the design is only the first part, you then need to turn those into physical invitations and that's where the second lifesaver comes in - Printed.com.  I found out about these guys thanks to A Rosie Outlook as she wrote about using them for her own wedding invites recently.  They will print a huge range of products for you from invitations to flyers to stickers and posters.  They also have a fantastic range of paper types (which was the one thing that put me off using Vistaprint - which I used for our save the dates - as their options are fairly limited).  Also - and most importantly - the prices are really really reasonable, when I first generated a quote for my invitations I was shocked to see it come in at just under £20 for 80-odd.  £20!!  

Aaaaaaand as I'd started going through the checkout process when getting the quote (just to check there weren't any extra costs I'd been missing) I got one of those "we see you put some items in a basket" emails a few days later with a 20% discount code.  Little do they know I was always planning on coming back to complete the purchase, I just needed to finalise the reverse side of the design, so SCORE!  

Obviously as I've not actually bought them yet I can't confirm the quality of the print (although Rosie was really pleased with hers and in general their reviews are great), so I plan on doing a follow up post with images of my design etc later in the year once the wedding is over.  If you're in the same position as me though and are looking at designing and printing your own invites then I'd definitely recommend looking at both Fotor and Printed.com, as they have made what could have been a very painful process nice and stress free for me! I'm also going to use them both to design and print our table names and some artwork for decorating the venue, and anything else paper related I can think of!

Revolution Edinburgh

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Last week I was invited to try the new menu at Revolution (aka the best type of blogger mail you can ask for), so Blair and I went along after work ready for a feast.

Slimming World Food Diary #1

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Since the start of the year I've lost my way a little bit with Slimming World - I did really well to get my 1.5 stone award at the start of December, then managed to put half a stone back on again over the holidays.  In the last few months I've yo-yo'd between 1 stone and 1 stone 4lbs which is due to the fact I've yo-yo'd with the plan too (a few days on, a few days off) and haven't counted syns in a long time.  With 4 months to the wedding I knew I had to get myself back on track, and taking inspiration from my friend Roisin's weekly food diary videos I decided to start filming my own.  This has been a massive help in keeping me on track and I've felt more motivated than I have done in ages.  I definitely recommend doing the same (or even just taking photos of everything you eat and posting it on Instagram) as it's really helped keep me focused, and also as everything is recorded I feel accountable for what I'm eating so have been less likely to stray!

In saying that, this has been in no means a perfect week - I had an off plan dinner on Wednesday and a kind-of off plan lunch on Friday, but as you'll see at the end of this post, it didn't affect my weight loss at all.  Going forward I'm going to allow myself one off-plan meal a week - a meal where I don't count syns, or save my syns to account for it.  I know that's not recommended and it certainly won't work for everyone, but I find that if I have one "naughty" meal to look forward to then I'm much more able to focus on sticking to plan for the rest of the week.  For this second week I've got a takeaway planned for Friday night and when I've had tough days earlier in the week and really wanted to pig out on chocolate I've just focused on that big dirty burger that's coming up in a few days.  So I'm definitely not a perfect example of a Slimming World member, but I'm a believer of doing what works for you and if this cheat meal helps keep me on track then that's what I'm going to do.  Anyway, on with the diary!

Friday Thumbs Up

Friday, 15 May 2015

 This morning whilst I was getting ready for work, Blair was lying in bed struggling to find the energy to get up and for some reason I decided to give him a big cheesy thumbs up, much like the image above (terrifying at 7:30am). Once he'd woken up a bit he joked that I should write a blog post called “Lynne’s Thumbs Up” where I give something a "thumbs up" every week. Now not being that familiar with the world of blogging, what he doesn’t realise is that’s basically just a lite version of a monthly favourites so you know, not that silly an idea. 

I did just laugh at first but then the idea stuck in my head whilst I was doing my makeup and I thought fuck it, I’m using that, so here we are. I’m using the title “Friday Thumbs Up” instead though, as “Lynne’s Thumbs Up” sounded a bit too self-indulgent.

For my first "thumbs up" I'm going to talk about a new TV show I’ve been loving this week – The Affair.  

A Weekend in Liverpool

Friday, 8 May 2015

Blair and I recently spent a busy weekend in Liverpool seeing as many sights as we possibly could in 48 hours.  We both love going to museums and art galleries, and Liverpool is great for that sort of thing as there are soooo many great culture spots.  As we only had 48 hours I'd planned quite an ambitious itinerary including 4 museums, 1 art gallery, 2 cathedrals and a bombed out church, a tour of the Liverpool FC stadium, some cool bookshops, and of course, great food.  Amazingly we managed to do it all, and I'm so glad I had the sense to book Monday off work as I definitely needed a day of rest to recover!

Wishlist: All of the Pastels

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Dress shopping is taking over my life.  Seriously.  For the last 6 months or so I've constantly been on the lookout for bridesmaids dresses for my wedding in September, and so far the search has been fruitless.  We have found a few "possibles", but haven't settled on definites yet, and I'm starting to tire of visiting ASOS and desperately loading up the New In section.