[CLOSED] Competition: Win Benefit Cosmetics with Benefit & Funny Women

31.7.12

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"Laughter is the best cosmetic, so grin and wear it!" // They're Real mascara and The Porefessional primer*


Please note this competition is now closed. Thanks for all your entries!

This year Benefit Cosmetics have teamed up with Funny Women, leading female comedy producer, to put on a fantastic show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Funny Women at the Fringe are putting on a range of events showcasing female comedy talent throughout the festival, helped by the Benefit team and their Benebus! If you're in Edinburgh you can find the Benebus parked beside George Square Gardens, with the Benefit ladies giving out complimentary 'make-uppers' and goodie bags. The Funny Women shows will be on at the Bosco-Assembly Theatre (George Square) from the 3rd to the 26th August between 2-3pm. I will definitely be heading along to watch the semi-finals of this year's Funny Women Awards on the 8th of August, I can't wait! Any other Scottish bloggers heading along?

Sadly many of you won't be able to make it to the Benebus though, which is where this competition comes in! If you fancy winning yourself some Benefit goodies, all you have to do is tell me your best joke. It can be about anything, just make sure it's funny! I'll choose my favourite two jokes at the end of the competition, and pass your details on to the Benefit ladies so they can send you your prize. Make sure you read the following quick rules before you enter:

1. The competition will be open for one week, and will close at midnight on Tuesday 7th August.
2. Please leave your email and/or blog address so I can contact you if you win.
3. You must be a follower of my blog, either through Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin.
4. Open to international readers - anyone can enter!
5. There will be two winners. You may enter more than once if you think of another excellent joke, but you can only win once.

The lovely Jasmine from Benefit sent me a couple of products to try out, and I can confirm that both They're Real and The Porefessional (which now has new Spygal packaging) are brilliant. So if you'd like to win yourself some similar goodies, just leave a comment with your favourite joke! Here's one to start you off: why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fungi. BOOM.

Go, go, funny ladies!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #31

29.7.12

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1.Roses 2.Sleepy puppy 3.Blue skies 4&5.Homemade curry feast 6.Pear drops juice 7.Wolf jumper 8.Naked Apple Kopparberg


I've been visiting my parents this week so have spent most of my time being very lazy and catching up on sleep, TV and blog designs. Even though I haven't really done very much, the week seems to have gone past really fast. It's surprising how quickly the time flies when you're lying on the sofa - one minute it's Homes Under the Hammer and the next it's time for Come Dine With Me. Crazy! I've had a couple of emails from uni this week about choosing courses for my MSc which starts in September. So far there aren't very many courses up, but I'm hoping they add more to the list soon. There are a couple I have my eye on from previous years, fingers crossed they will be running this year! I also get to do an internship at an archive or museum as part of my course which I'm really looking forward to. I quite fancy a job in that sort of area once I'm finished uni, so it will be good to get some experience of that.

I have also been enjoying eating lots of nice food since I've been home. We had one (one! in July!) sunny day this week so we took the opportunity to have a barbecue. It wasn't quite warm enough to sit outside though, so my dad was relegated to the cooking while my mum and I sat inside with a glass of wine, waiting for the food! It's so nice to have someone cook for me for a change, as much as I love cooking sometimes it can feel like such a chore if I'm in the flat by myself. We also had a bit of an Indian feast earlier in the week, my mum made a curry with pilau rice and homemade naan bread and I made a few dips and salads to go with it. So good!

Also - Scottish Bloggers, did you know that Karris is organising a meetup for next month? You can read more about it on the Scottish Bloggers blog and Karris's Facebook page. It will be in Glasgow on Thursday the 30th of August - email scottishbloggers@hotmail.co.uk if you're interested in coming along. I've only been to a couple of blogger meetups so far but I've really enjoyed them, can't wait to see some familiar faces and hopefully meet lots of new people too!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Paradise

27.7.12

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Blouse: Miss Selfridge
Skirt: River Island
Shoes: New Look

I originally bought this skirt a few months ago to wear to a friend's birthday night out and have ended up wearing it loads since. I usually prefer dresses to skirts, but had spend all day looking for a dress and found nothing so settled on this skirt from River Island. I thought it might turn into one of those pieces of clothing I buy for a specific purpose and then end up shoving to the back of my wardrobe and never wearing again, but I quite often reach for it when getting ready for a night out.

I really love the print of this skirt, it immediately made me think of t-shirts and sarongs my granny used to bring back from holidays in the Seychelles. I love how it's a tropical print but with bold colours and a dark background. Although it's really bright and colourful, it looks good with a mainly black outfit - which keeps it firmly in my comfort zone! I usually wear it with this sheer pussybow blouse from Miss Selfridge, which is easy to throw over bodycon skirts without too much effort.

Evidently I forgot to take a picture of my shoes with this outfit. I had a look on my computer to see if I had any saved from an old outfit post, but turns out they've never appeared on the blog before despite being my current favourite heels! Even though I have a larger collection of heels than I'd like to admit, more often than not I'll reach for the same black pair (which have to periodically get replaced because I wear them too much!). Usually they're from New Look, as I find their heels are the comfiest and easiest to walk in. The only thing I don't like about this pair is that they're peep toe and I almost always wear tights - a bit of a fashion faux pas but never mind!

Do you have a favourite pair of heels?

Gillian x

Top 5: Bras for Busty Girls

24.7.12

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Those of you with ample chests will, I'm sure, be able to identify with Busty Girl Comics. Although I wouldn't change my boobs for the world, we do seem to have an unfair number of problems to contend with! One of my main annoyances is the fact that I can't just go into Primark or Topshop and pick up some nice, pretty and affordable underwear sets. Even Marks & Spencer - purveyor of quality pants for many years - when I checked online the other day, only had 14 bras available in my size from a selection of nearly 300. Fourteen! Ridiculous. Thank goodness for Bravissimo, is all I can say (I just want to clarify, this post is in no way sponsored by Bravissimo, I just really love them and think they are a brilliant shop!).

I first went to Bravissimo a couple of years ago as none of my bras felt like they were fitting properly and I had heard Bravissimo were really good at measuring. I went from (what I thought was) a 38DD to a 34GG - no wonder nothing fitted properly! I've always had a really good experience shopping there as the staff are friendly and helpful, the changing rooms are nice (I always love it when shops have changing rooms with doors instead of curtains, so much better!), it never feels busy or rushed, and it's really easy to order things with free delivery to your house if they're not in stock in the shop. I do sometimes order from online shops like Bra Stop as well as they sometimes have great bargains, but I much prefer to try things on in an actual shop first if I can. Here are my five favourites available from Bravissimo:

1. The Deco by Freya:
This is probably my all-time favourite bra, and it has been repurchased in several different colours. It's super comfy and the cups are completely smooth so it's perfect for everyday wear under tshirts or vest tops. If I could only buy one bra for the rest of time (how cruel) it would definitely be the Deco.

2. The Lucine by Bravissimo:
This bra is exclusive to Bravissimo, which means it's not sold anywhere else. This is the newest addition to my underwear collection, and it's fast becoming one of my favourites. Although it has some serious underwiring, it's also a plunge style which means you can wear it with low cut tops without your underwire poking out the top. Nothing I hate more!

3. The Bettie Mae by Bravissimo:
Another Bravissimo exclusive, this was already one of my favourites and when I noticed it was in the sale recently I ordered myself another one in case I can't find a similar one again! I really love the shape of this bra, it's a plunge style again which I think is much more flattering than a lot of 'big' bras which tend to have really high underwiring in the middle which separate and flatten your boobs. I also love the bright coral fabric, it's so nice to have a bra that's not black or nude!

4. The Tango Plunge by Panache:
Oh look, another plunge style! It's really flattering as well as being supportive, plus it comes in lots of different colours.

5. The Alana by Bravissimo:
This was the first ever bra I bought from Bravissimo. Although it does have that annoying high underwire in the middle, I can forgive it because it's just about perfect in every other way. It's really supportive and has a decent sized strap at the back which doesn't ride up. It gives an amazing shape so it looks brilliant as long as you keep your top on, not quite so pretty and cleavage-y if you take it off haha!

Do you have a favourite style of bra? Where's your favourite place to shop for underwear?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #30

22.7.12

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1.Bed time ♥ 2.Japanese tapas 3.Banana flavour white russians 4.Hair 5.Nutella croissant 6.Bottle of Tru Blood leftover from Halloween 7.Boring to-do list 8.Thai red curry and noodles takeway


I can't believe that I'm writing my 30th Sunday Summary already, it doesn't seem that long since the start of the year. Summer seems to be disappearing rapidly and so far I haven't really done anything exciting at all. I'm back at home visiting my parents (and my dog!) for the next couple of weeks which will be nice but probably very uneventful. I'm looking forward to August though, I'll be back in Edinburgh and hopefully will have lots of time to go and see shows at the festival. I don't think I made it to a single show last year as I was working ridiculously long hours, but I'm determined to make the most of the festival this year! Any recommendations of what to go and see?

It was my flatmate's birthday on Thursday so we went out for a meal to celebrate. We went to a new restaurant, called YummyTori, which specialises in Japanese tapas style food. The food was really good and I loved the fact that it was tapas style which meant you could try lots of different dishes. I went for calamari, pork and leek dumplings, crispy chicken and teriyaki chicken. So good! A meal out inevitably turned into cocktails which then turned into going out out and drinking far too many shots. Needless to say, I did not enjoy the 3 hour train journey to Aberdeen the next day!

Apart from that, life has been fairly quiet. I've been busy with blog designs again this week, I can't believe how many of you are enquiring about it - genuinely thought no one would be interested!

Are you a fan of Japanese food? What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Ombre Jumper

19.7.12

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Jumper: Primark
Jeans: Topshop
Ring: Claire's Accessories
Belt: H&M
Shoes: H&M

Believe it or not, this is my first foray into the ombre trend, what a terrible blogger I am! I bought this the last time I went shopping because I couldn't find anything I really liked and was determined not to come home empty handed. I wasn't sure about this jumper at first but I actually love it now, this is my go-to "I have to leave the house but I can't be bothered to get dressed properly" outfit at the moment. It's pretty shapeless on its own but it looks nice half-tucked into high waisted jeans. They also had a blue/turquoise version of this jumper which I was tempted by but I went for the coral/pink one as it's much more of a 'me' colour.

The shoes are another recent addition to my wardrobe. I love the crochet style of the material, perfect summer shoes. Unfortunately it has been raining pretty much every day since I bought them, so haven't had much of a chance to wear them yet! I really need to buy some more nice flats, all mine are the horrible £4 ones from Primark that fall apart after about 5 wears.

I rediscovered this ring the other day when I was cleaning my room, I've had it for years. I'm pretty sure it was from Claire's Accessories but I can't actually remember! I seem to have a bit of a thing for animal themed jewellery, all my favourite jewels have some sort of creature on them. I love how the shape of this snake ring coils around my finger.

Are you a fan of ombre things?

Gillian x

Makeup Storage

17.7.12

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I'd been meaning to sort out my makeup storage for the past two years or so, but never quite got round to it. My makeup was scattered between various makeup bags or just piled in messy heaps beside my mirror, making it rather difficult to actually use my desk as a desk. It also made it difficult to find what I wanted when I was in a hurry, which meant things quickly got forgotten about if they weren't part of my daily makeup routine. Since sorting out my storage a couple of weeks ago I have made full use of my lipsticks and blushers, and am now much more likely to reach for different colours when doing my makeup in the morning. I still have a pile of old Glossy Boxes sitting on the floor full of makeup, however, so I'm not completely organised yet!

I was originally intending to buy some of the Muji acrylic storage drawers but the ones I wanted were out of stock so I went on the hunt for something else. I settled on these drawers from Amazon which are a similar size to the narrow Muji drawers, but with 3 drawers instead of 2. These are the perfect size for small items like lipsticks, eyeliners, eyeshadows etc. but aren't so great for larger things like bottles of foundation. I think I will keep an eye on the Muji website for the other drawers coming back in stock, would be handy to have even more drawer space!

I read on someone's blog (or maybe Twitter?) recently that they had bought these plant pots from Ikea to use as desk/makeup storage. I forgot to bookmark the post though and can't for the life of me remember who it was, so if it was you please let me know and I will add in a link to your post! Anyway, when I was in Ikea the other day I spotted the pots and decided to get some for myself. I got two - one for makeup and one for other toiletries - and they are great for keeping larger things in, like makeup remover, foundation, moisturiser, dry shampoo, hairspray etc. There is also a slightly smaller version but I couldn't find it anywhere in the shop, it would have been perfect for keeping my makeup brushes in! Currently they're just in a mug but I would like to have something a bit more grown up haha! Have you seen any good DIYs for makeup brush holders?

My daily makeup which I use every day stays in a makeup bag on my desk at the moment. The bag is a really old one from Superdrug (I think) and it does the job fine, but I'd like a new one that looks a bit nicer with the rest of my stuff. I'd rather keep my daily makeup in a bag than in another drawer as I think it's much easier for grabbing quickly if I need to get ready at a friends house or if I'm going away for the weekend. I don't really have to think about packing a makeup bag as all my usual stuff is already there - just chuck in a lipstick or two and I'm ready to go!

How do you store your makeup?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #29

15.7.12

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1.Dominos 2.Burritos and nachos at Illegal Jack's 3.Rocky road ice cream 4.Ikea meatballs and chips 5.Strawberry laces 6.Last night's outfit 7.At the pub 8.Dancing


I can't believe it's Sunday again already, especially considering I've done pretty much nothing all week. I'm still enjoying having lots of spare time to myself now that uni is finished for the summer, but I am getting bored rather quickly! This week has mostly consisted of playing The Sims, designing blogs, watching The Office US on Netflix, and eating too much food. One of my friends came over after her work on Tuesday to drop some things off and we decided to go for an impromptu meal out. We decided on Illegal Jack's which is a great Tex Mex restaurant 5 minutes away from my flat. I almost always have a burrito from there, so good! I am rather partial to their margarita pitchers too but restrained myself this time!

On Thursday my flatmate and I had a little day trip to Ikea. We got the bus there so I couldn't buy too much stuff (which was probably a blessing in disguise, really). I did get a couple of little bits and pieces though, including some new fairy lights for my room - yes I am still a child - and some desk organisers/storage things. Think I might do a post next week about my makeup storage, it's looking much neater than it did before! My favourite bit about Ikea is definitely the cafe though, always have to have some meatballs and chips!

As my flatmate has gone home for a few days, I was all set to have a quiet weekend in by myself watching rubbish films and eating ice cream, but my friend texted me yesterday afternoon asking if I wanted to go out. I hadn't seen her in months and she's probably one of my favourite people in the entire world, so of course I said yes! It was good to have a catch up with her and everyone else at her flat, then we headed to the pub for some drinks and then out to a club. I had such a good night but I've got a rather sore head today! I swear I used to be able to go out 4 nights a week and be absolutely fine, but now it takes me a full day to recover from a night out. Must be a sign I'm getting old!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Recipe: Banoffee Pie Cupcakes

11.7.12


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Banoffee pie is probably one of my favourite desserts ever, and these cupcakes are - dare I say it - even better. They're incredibly sweet but surprisingly not too sickly because the cake mixture is more like a muffin than an actual cupcake. The icing tastes exactly like the toffee layer of a banoffee pie and the slice of banana on top just finishes it off perfectly.

You will need:
For the cupcakes (makes approx. 18):
75g melted butter
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
115g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas
2 eggs
125ml milk
         For the toffee icing:
60g butter
90ml milk
220g dark brown sugar
240g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract









Method:
1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Melt the butter (either in the microwave or a pan) and allow to cool.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground spices into the bowl, then add in the sugar. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and milk. Add to the rest of the ingredients and mix well until it forms a lumpy paste. (Sounds appealing, right?!)
4. Divide the mixture equally between paper cases and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
5. Meanwhile, make the icing by melting the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add in the milk and brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for one minute.
6. Remove from the heat and beat in half of the icing sugar. Once cooled slightly, beat in the vanilla extract and the rest of the icing sugar. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a drop more milk at this point.
7. With a piping bag, decorate the cakes with swirls of the icing. Top with sprinkles (I used white chocolate stars) and a slice of banana.

Even if I do say so myself, these cupcakes are SO good! I've quite often baked banana cakes or muffins, but this was my first attempt at doing a toffee icing to go with them. I was worried it might turn out horribly but the icing was actually so easy - just make sure your sugar doesn't burn by leaving it on the boil for too long. Yum!

Are you a fan of banoffee flavoured things? Let me know if you try out this recipe!

Gillian x

Outfit: Club Tropicana

10.7.12

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Dress: Primark
Shoes: Kurt Geiger
Belt: Dorothy Perkins

I used to wear bodycon dresses ALL the time but lately I seem to have fallen out of love with them, abandoning them for the much more forgiving skater dress. When I spotted this dress in Primark for only a fiver I had to have it, there's something about the print that I really love so I can overlook the fact that it's a bodycon style. It does also help that I accidentally bought it a size too big which makes it a little bit less clingy! Even though I have like a billion floral dresses, for some reason the print on this one stood out as being a bit different. I think it's because of the bold, bright tropical flowers contrasted with a dark background rather than the usual ditsy style Cath Kidston prints.

Sticking with the 80s theme, I put my hair up in a side ponytail. I quite like it in these pictures, but I took it down before I actually went out - I don't know why but I really hate wearing my hair up! I'm not even sure why I don't like it, I'm just convinced it makes my head look really weird. Eternally jealous of girls who can just roll out of bed and put their hair in a messy ponytail or a bun!

I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking of setting up a blog design shop. Well, the shop is now open! I always get the urge to change my own layout every few weeks but I really like the one I have now so I thought I would put my HTML skills to better use and help to design layouts for you instead! There are currently two options in the shop - full layout for £20 or custom header for £5 - but I'm happy to do other things, just email me to discuss what you'd like and how much it would cost. Have a read of this page for more details, or email me at gillian@elevatormusik.com to discuss your design!

Are you a fan of bodycon dresses or do you prefer something a bit looser?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #28

8.7.12

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1.Morning sky 2.Mai Tai 3.Chocolate cupcakes 4.Fab ice cream 5.Bedtime face 6.New shoes from H&M 7.Drive 8.Masters offer 9.New makeup storage 10.Hello 11.Homemade cocktails

It's been a while since I wrote a Sunday Summary with a hangover, mostly thanks to the lethal homemade cocktails pictured above. It's nice to have a bit of a social life back again, it feels like I've been far too busy to do anything fun lately (although busy doing what I'm not sure?!). As well as going out last night, I also met some friends for a catch up at the pub on Thursday which was nice. Not particularly enjoying the after effects of my socialising though, it's after 3pm and I still haven't quite managed to get out of bed yet! I think a takeaway might be in order later tonight to perk me up a bit.

This week I got confirmation of an unconditional offer for my Masters course which starts in September. I already had a conditional offer but had to wait until I got a copy of my degree certificate to send them in order to confirm my place on the course. So I have officially accepted my place now, I'm strangely excited to go back to studying - even though it's only been about a month since I was out of studying! I will be doing my Masters at Edinburgh University as well, which is quite handy as not only is it the best university for studying that particular course, but it also means I don't have the upheaval of having to move to a different city, make new friends and get acquainted with a new university's resources and departments. Plus I mega love Edinburgh, so you know, win win!

Aside from that, very little has been happening in my life. I'm enjoying having lots of time to myself and have seized the opportunity to read as many books, watch as many films on Netflix and sleep for as many hours as humanly possible! Seeing as I have lots of free time at the moment I was wondering about starting to do some blog designing as I'm a bit of a loser and love designing layouts! I'm not sure if anyone would be interested though? Let me know if you would be and I'll see about setting up a wee shop!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Friday Favourites #1

6.7.12

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This week I thought I'd add a new feature to the blog called Friday Favourites. It's a pretty straightforward concept and I'm sure you'll have seen similar posts on other blogs, but basically I'll share a few links to blog posts or websites I've come across recently which I've loved. I probably won't have time to do it every week, but hopefully a couple of times a month I'll be able to share some interesting links with you. If you've read (or written!) any particularly excellent posts recently feel free to email or tweet me with the info!

1. This post with beautiful photography and writing from Jennie's blog. I'm sure many of you will already be readers of her blog, but if you're not you should definitely have a look. This post in particular has really inspired me to start using my camera more and attempt to write something more meaningful on my blog than the usual "I love wearing this outfit, it's so pretty!" commentary.

2. This tutorial for creating bokeh photography. I keep seeing people's Instagram photos with pretty light effects but I can't find an Android app that will let me do the same. I came across this link on Pinterest and bookmarked it to try and create the real thing some time. Looks pretty simple!

3. These stickers of your own Instagram photos. This is such a nice idea, not sure what I'd do with all the stickers but I want some anyway. I used to be obsessed with collecting stickers when I was younger, now I can have stickers with my face on. Perfect.

4. This post about leaving university sums up exactly what I (and I'm sure a lot of other people, too) am feeling at the moment. I'm not moving out of my flat, but a lot of my friends are moving away while I'm staying on at the same university to do a Masters course. Partly because I'm really enjoying studying and think it would be useful for my future career, but partly because I just have no idea what else to do.

5. This new blog about inspiring people, places and events in Scotland. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the blog develops and reading some interviews with creative Scots who are making the most of all the opportunities available.

Hope you enjoy these links, let me know what you've been reading lately!

Gillian x

The Graduation Ball

4.7.12

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1.My outfit 2.Dining room 3.Antipasti starter 4.Posing 5.Casino room 6.Centre pieces 7.Blackjack 8.Pals ♥


Last Friday it was the Graduation Ball at university. Most of my friends are moving away this summer for jobs or postgraduate courses at other universities, so this was our last big night out together. I'm sure we'll all stay in touch, but it will be so weird not having some of my best friends living 5 minutes down the road anymore. I had such a good night and it was a wonderful way to end my time as an undergraduate. Aww you guyyssss!

My dress is a vintage 1950s prom dress which I ordered ages ago from Posh Girl Vintage. I knew the exact style of dress I wanted for the ball but it took hours of trawling through Ebay, Etsy and Google to finally find one that I liked and was in my size. At first I wasn't sure if the mint green colour would suit me, but as soon as it arrived I fell in love with and I'm so glad I ordered it. I don't know when I'll ever get the chance to wear it again, but I don't care! My shoes are from Dune and the clutch bag is from ASOS.

The ball was held in one of our student unions, Teviot, and started with a champagne reception in an outdoor marquee. After that, we headed upstairs for dinner and took full advantage of the free wine! I was a little sceptical about the ball just being held in the union, but it was decorated SO nicely, especially the dining area. After dinner, there was a whole load of other things to do like a ceilidh, face painting, a photo booth, a silent disco and loads more. I spent most of my time at the casino, however, perfecting my blackjack skills! I also spent a disproportionate amount of time dancing to cheesy 80s tunes, my fave!

If you're graduating this year, are you going to your university's grad ball?

Gillian x