Sunday Summary #79

30.6.13

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1.My new little pal 2.Afternoon tea 3.Sunbathing with Moss 4.Scones with strawberries, balsamic and basil 5.BBQ platter 6.Fly

Oh my gaaaaaad puppieeeeesssss!! My ma and pa have been talking about getting a new puppy for a while, and much to my delight it happened to coincide with my trip home. We went out to a farm yesterday afternoon and saw a barn full of puppies (videos on my Instagram if you're interested, which OF COURSE YOU ARE) and picked the only girl of the litter. She has been christened Fly, after her mum, and aaahhhhaaaaaaaaa she is basically the custest little thing I've ever seen. I'm due to go back to Edinburgh on Wednesday, but I'm so tempted to stay an extra few weeks to play with the puppy whilst she's still tiny. I think Moss (who's about 2 now) is going to love having a wee pal, but at the moment he's a bit sad that she's not big enough to play with yet!

Earlier this week my mum had some friends round for afternoon tea so we used one of the many tea sets I seem to have inherited. I think this is my favourite of all my tea sets, I love the vaguely peacock-y pattern and, after some internet sleuthing, my mum thinks it dates from around 1890-1910. Even though I don't actually drink tea (or coffee, shocking, I know) I'm sure I'll use them anyway. For cocktails perhaps? For the afternoon tea, I made some scones and my mum made some macerated strawberries with balsamic vinegar and basil. Not quite the traditional scone topping, but it was so good.

I was planning on getting quite a bit of dissertation work done whilst I was at home, but I seem to have done hardly any. Oops. Instead I've been enjoying drinking wine, eating lots of food, watching TV, sleeping and playing with my puppy pals. Even though the weather hasn't been brilliant, we've still managed two barbecues. On Friday we had a little BBQ selection for tea including chilli and garlic langoustines, steak, silken chicken, homemade pitta breads and ciabatta and lots of salady things. We also had another barbecue feast last night with some family friends. It might have been spit-spotting rain, but we braved it outside til the end!

And now for a bit of housekeeping, I'm sure most of you will have already switched over from Google Reader but just as a quick reminder it shuts down tomorrow so remember to follow by another means if you want to keep up to date with my posts. Google Friend Connect is still staying for the moment so you can follow using the widget in the sidebar, or alternatively swap over to Bloglovin, use another RSS reader or subscribe by email. All the different ways to follow are also listed in the sidebar.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Mixtape: June

27.6.13


June Mixtape · via Spotify

Well, I think this might be my most eclectic mixtape yet. There's a bit of everything here: folk, country, alternative rock, indie, chart, heavy metal, 80s rock... I'm certainly not picky when it comes to genres! This month has been a bit of a mixed bag weather-wise, and it has definitely affected what I've listened to. On days like today when the sun is shining, you really can't beat a bit of Weezer's blue album or some classic hair metal tunes a la Van Halen. But when it's dreary and miserable outside, I definitely reach for sad acoustic songs.

I also seem to have been listening to quite a bit of chart music this month, which is something I never really do unless I'm watching the music channels on TV whilst getting ready for a night out. I really hate myself for liking it, but Blurred Lines is so damn catchy arrrghh. I managed to restrain myself from including it, but have added in Get Lucky which I've been listening to a lot too. I'm not usually a fan of Daft Punk, but this song is in my head and it will not leave.

Weezer · My Name is Jonas
N.E.R.D · She Wants to Move
Lori McKenna · Swallows Me Whole
Parkington Sister · Cruel
Passenger · Let Her Go
Pearl Jam · Last Kiss
New Order · Bizzare Love Triangle
Daft Punk & Pharrell · Get Lucky
Van Halen · Panama
Eels · Little Bird
Listen to "June" here.

What have you been listening to this month?

Gillian x

Edinburgh: Tempus Summer Menu

24.6.13

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Last week, along with some other bloggers, I was invited to Tempus on George Street for an evening of food and wine sampling to celebrate the launch of their new summer menu. I had never been to Tempus before, despite having walked past many times, so I was looking forward to seeing exactly what it was like inside. And I can certainly say I wasn't disappointed; the decor was stunning, the food was delicious and the cocktails were excellent!

We were greeted with an Elderflower Tattoo from the cocktail menu as we came in, and sipped our drinks in the dining room as we waited for everyone to arrive. The room itself was gorgeous and was much more opulent than I had imagined. I mean, just look at those chandeliers! Despite being nice and luxurious, Tempus also had quite a relaxed atmosphere so it would be the perfect place to enjoy some drinks or dinner in the evening. After a quick introduction from chef Stewart Jarvie, we got started on the first course. There was a lot of food to get through so luckily Iona was on hand to go halfers with me, although to be honest it all tasted so good that I could probably have eaten it all myself! First up was some cured Coppa ham with buffalo mozzarella, field mushrooms with goats cheese on toasted brioche, and a fishcake with lemon and mustard aioli. I'm not usually a huge fan of goats cheese, but the baby mushrooms on toast were delicious! For our second taster of starters we had Loch Fyne smoked salmon, crispy duck with broccoli, bacon and pine nut salad, and mussels in a garlic, lemon and cream sauce. I think the duck was my favourite starter out of them all, the sticky honey sauce drizzled over the top was so good.

Whilst nibbling our way through the food we also had some expert wine advice and had a few different wines to try, all of which were picked to perfectly compliment the food. Sadly I was too busy enjoying the wine and the food to note down which one went with which, but they were definitely all very nice! We were also introduced to a new app called Plonk which seems like a really useful app to have if you like dining out (or in!) a lot but aren't sure which wines to choose. Sadly it doesn't seem to be available on Android yet, but I'll be keeping an eye out. Back to the food, and in the first selection of main courses we had a Crombies beef burger with mature Isle of Mull cheddar, rump of lamb with puy lentils and carrot puree, and salmon fillet with pea and mint salad. The burger tasted just like "proper" homemade burgers, and I liked the lamb with something a little bit different to the usual potatoes and mint sauce! We then had slow cooked pork belly with salsa verde, Orkney sirloin steak, and pan fried bream fillet with tomato salsa. I love a good steak and this one was cooked really well, it was really tender and still pink in the middle.

After all that, there was still room for some dessert! First up was a coffee creme brulee, sticky toffee pudding and a selection of cheese with quince jelly. Unfortunately I don't like coffee or cheese so gave those two a miss, but I can confirm the sticky toffee pudding was delicious. It was lovely and rich, without being too heavy. The other plate of desserts was much more up my street, however, with lemon tart and clotted cream ice cream, pineapple carpaccio with coconut ice cream, and a vanilla panna cotta. The coconut ice cream was lovely and had quite a mild flavour so it didn't overpower the pineapple.

All in all, the whole menu was great and everything was cooked perfectly. The full-sized portions are fairly reasonably priced too, especially for George Street, with starters around £6, mains £16 and desserts £5. I think I'll definitely be heading back if I'm looking for somewhere to have dinner in the centre of town, plus the cocktail bar would be a great place for a few drinks of an evening.

I hadn't actually realised before (I'm not sure why as they're right next door!) but Tempus is part of The George Hotel, so after wining and dining we were treated to some champagne up on the 5th floor in the new Panorama Suite. If you follow me on Instagram or read yesterday's Sunday Summary post then I'm sure you're bored of seeing these sunsets by now, but I just had to include another picture as it was beauuuutiful. The views were stunning and you could see right across the Forth. We were lucky to be visiting on pretty much the nicest day of the year so far, it was lovely and warm and we were able to sit out on the terrace as we watched the sun set over the Edinburgh rooftops. This would be such an amazing suite to hire out if you had a special function or party - any takers?!

Have you been to Tempus before?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #78

23.6.13

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1.Edinburgh sunset 2.Time for bed 3.Breaking Bad doodles 4.Wine tasting at Tempus 5.The Castle from Princes Street Gardens 6.New shoes 7.More sunset 8.Mini steak sandwich, grilled asparagus and salad 9.Homemade waffles with bacon and maple syrup

Where has the nice weather gone?! After a pretty nice week, it's a bit rubbish to be sat inside on Sunday afternoon watching the pouring rain through the window. I shouldn't really be surprised though, if there wasn't any rain in Scotland in June then there would definitely be something drastically wrong.

When it was warm and sunny earlier this week I went shopping for some summery clothes. I find it so hard to dress for summer, I just want to pile on the layers and put on a pair of boots. But I was good and didn't buy anything black, woollen or long-sleeved this time! My favourite purchase was the red Vans-esque shoes pictured above. They were only £6 from Primark and are so comfy. I can't even remember the last time I wore a pair of new shoes that didn't give me blisters! I also got a couple of lovely vintage casual dresses from Miss Selfridge, of all places. I hardly ever go in there, but went in for a browse and noticed they had a little stand of vintage things. I've noticed Topshop do a similar thing too; I'm not sure who decided it would be a good idea to stock vintage things in high street shops but I like it! I never seem to be able to find nice things in charity shops, so having someone else do all the hard work is perfect. They were very reasonably priced too, I got two dresses for under £20.

On Thursday evening I headed along to Tempus for a special taster of their summer menu. I'll be writing up a full post in a day or two so I won't give too much away yet, but it was a lovely evening with lots of great food and wine, and the company of some of my favourite blogging ladies. After dinner we were treated to some champagne in the Panorama Suite on the 5th floor, and the views were stunning. The photos don't even do it justice, it was b-e-a-utiful. It was a really warm evening and it didn't get dark until almost midnight; it definitely felt like we were on holiday or something, lounging on a roof terrace and watching the setting sun is not something I get to do every day!

At the moment I'm visiting my parents, partly for a little holiday and partly to do some dissertation work. There are some archives and things I need to have a look at up here, so thought I may as well stay for a week or two. I can't believe how soon my dissertation is due, it definitely doesn't seem like a whole year since I graduated last time around! In fact, next Thursday it'll be exactly one year to the day. Madness.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Indigo Eclipse

21.6.13

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Dress: Boden*
Sunglasses: Topshop
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins

If there’s one thing I hate about summer, it’s wearing summer-appropriate clothes. My wardrobe is mostly compiled of black dresses, leggings and oversized jumpers, none of which are particularly practical for warm weather. When Boden got in touch recently about reviewing an item from their website I decided to go for something a little bit summery. It’s still quite “me” i.e. a skater dress with long sleeves – can’t go wrong – but has a lovely bright print and is a nice, cool, floaty material so is a perfect choice for summer.

Boden isn’t really a shop I’d looked at before as I assumed it was for more mature customers, but they actually have a lot of nice stuff. Some of it is a bit mumsy, it’s true, but there are quite a few hidden gems too. I love that the clothes are a bit more grown-up and sensible without looking frumpy. I don’t particularly like getting my legs out, so the length of this dress is perfect as, unlike the rest of the highstreet’s offerings, it doesn’t stop an inch below my bum. It works really well as a casual, slightly slouchy dress with sandals for the daytime, but you could also swap for a big pair of heels and a waist belt for an evening holiday-ready outfit.

Speaking of sandals, how nice are these ones? I bought them a couple of years ago from Dorothy Perkins but have hardly had a chance to wear them as the last two summers have pretty much been total washouts. I can never be bothered wearing heels in the daytime – far too much effort – but the little wedge on these is manageable for day-to-day walking around whilst looking a bit nicer than your average Primark gladiator sandals. Here’s hoping the sun sticks around so I can wear them more than two or three times this year.

If I ever bought a pair of designer sunglasses, I think it would definitely be a pair of Rayban Wayfarers. The wayfarer style is the only shape of glasses I’ve found so far that seem to suit my face, but sadly these are just cheapy Topshop ones. They do the job fine though, and I don’t really wear sunglasses that often (thanks again, weather) so it’s probably a bit of a waste of money shelling out for the real deal.

Have you bought anything from Boden before?

Gillian x

Cocktail Hour: Strawberry Mojito

19.6.13

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What's that you were saying? Time for another Cocktail Hour? Yes, I quite agree. Next up is the perfect cocktail for summer afternoons: Strawberry Mojitos. I love a traditional mojito as much as the next person, but the addition of strawberries makes them even better in my opinion. The strawberries add a wee bit of sweetness without overpowering the classic flavour combination of mint and lime. I also like to use brown sugar in this cocktail to give an extra bit of flavour, but ordinary caster sugar works well too.

You Will Need:
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 lime (juice only)
4-5 strawberries, quartered
2 tsp soft brown sugar
6 mint leaves
2 x 35ml white rum
Sparkling water
Crushed ice

Method
1. In a highball glass, add the lime wedges, strawberries, brown sugar and mint leaves, and muddle together to release the flavours. If you've haven't got a muddler, the end of a wooden spoon works just fine!
2. Add in the juice of the other half of your lime, along with the rum. Add in a good handful of crushed ice and stir everything together.
3. Top up with a little sparkling water, and garnish with a strawberry and sprig of mint.

These cocktails are the absolute perfect accompaniment to barbecues or boozy summer picnics, it's practically a crime to drink them inside. If you're making them for a party I'd definitely recommend buying a bag of crushed ice as I find home-crushed ice tends to melt really quickly and you don't get the nice icy effect in the glass (as you can probably see from the pictures above, all my ice has vanished). Even if your ice does go a bit melty, they still taste great so it's not the end of the world!

Are you a fan of mojitos?

Gillian x

Review: Benefit Stay Flawless Primer

17.6.13

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A couple of weeks ago I went along to the launch night of Benefit's newest primer, Stay Flawless, in Edinburgh (have a look at my Facebook page for some more photos from the event!) and have been testing it out since then. It's a solid primer which comes in the form of a stick for easy application, and aims to keep makeup in place for 15 hours. Benefit's Head Makeup & Trend Artist and Brow Expert, Lisa, was on hand to give us a demonstration of the product and explained that the best way to apply it was in circular motions to activate the "makeup magnet" which would help your foundation to stick to your face and keep you looking flawless all day. As always, it was such a lovely event (those Benefit girls are a nice bunch, aren't they?) and Lisa said I had nice eyebrows so that pretty much made my day!

Along with the Stay Flawless Primer, we also got some of the Hello Flawless Foundation* to test it out with, plus a Foundation Brush* for application. Now, I must admit I'm not a big fan of foundation brushes - I much prefer to apply foundation with my fingers - but I do love Hello Flawless! I bought some last summer (review here) and my main complaint was that it was a tiny bit too dark for me - but as it turns out I hadn't actually bought the lightest shade, what an idiot! I originally bought Ivory Believe in Me, but this time round I was colour matched to Ivory I'm Pure 4 Sure. Slightly confusing as they're both called Ivory, and Believe in Me appears first on the website, so I think I just assumed it was the lightest one. Aaaanyway, I'm really glad I've discovered this as Pure 4 Sure is the perfect match for my skin and it has made me love this foundation even more.

I thought I would do a little experiment to put Stay Flawless to the test, and have put it up against The Porefessional, which is another favourite of mine (review here - I actually like it much more than this review might suggest, perhaps it's time to start doing re-reviews of some old products?). The Porefessional is great at creating a smooth, even base and minimising the appearance of pores, but it's not the longest lasting primer in the world. Stay Flawless, on the other hand, claims to keep makeup in place for up to 15 hours. So, on the right side of my face (with fringe) I've applied Stay Flawless and on the left (no fringe) I've applied The Porefessional to see how they compare when worn with Hello Flawless foundation. I apologise in advance for all the photos of my face!

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10 AM: After 1 Hour
This is what my freshly applied makeup looks like (hello dressing gown). Both sides look pretty much the same, and both primers have done a good job of creating a blank canvas to apply foundation on top of. The Porefessional is super easy to apply, but I'd say Stay Flawless takes a tiny bit more effort. You have to be careful not to apply too much otherwise the product will go a bit sticky and kind of ball up a bit - sort of like when you get glue on your hands and you rub your fingers to get it off, and it kind of collects together? I don't think I'm explaining it very well! To prevent that from happening, just make sure you're not too overenthusiastic with application, and tap/blend it in lightly with your fingers to make sure it settles in to your skin.

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1 PM: After 4 Hours
Having spent the morning doing work in the flat, having lunch and putting away my grocery shopping, my makeup is looking pretty much identical to when I applied it. Both primers are holding up well and there's no sign of slipping or fading from my foundation.

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5 PM: After 8 Hours
I've now been wearing my makeup for a full "working day" and it still looks pretty fresh and flawless. During the afternoon, I went to the library and did some work there for a few hours but even their ridiculously warm building (seriously, someone needs to turn off the central heating!) hasn't affected my foundation. It's difficult to see in the photo, but on The Porefessional side there is a little bit of wearing off where my nose meets my face (errrm? is there a word for this?), but apart from that both primers seem to be doing their job pretty well.

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7 PM: After 10 Hours
I've now finished making dinner and am getting ready to head out to the pub for a couple of drinks. I've applied some lipstick (Illamasqua Scandal), but haven't touched my base makeup at all. I have fairly normal skin, but do have a slightly oily T-zone and you can see that both my forehead and nose are starting to look a little bit shiny. Nothing too drastic though, and the rest of my face still looks fine.

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11 PM: After 14 Hours
I'm now home from the pub and my foundation is starting to look a bit worse for wear. My lipstick has totally worn off, but my foundation is still doing pretty well considering I applied it 14 hours ago! I also think there's quite a noticeable difference between the two sides now. The Porefessional on the left is looking really quite shiny now, but Stay Flawless is still quite matte. It definitely doesn't look as fresh as when I first applied it, but it's certainly holding up much better than The Porefessional.

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12 AM: After 15 Hours
Hair up, jim jams on, nearly time for bed! It has now been a whole 15 hours since I applied my makeup, and whilst it's not looking perfect, Stay Flawless has done a good job of keeping my makeup in place and keeping shine at bay. It hasn't done quite so well in the T-zone area, so it might not be ideal if you have particularly oily skin, but it has definitely fared better than The Porefessional in terms of staying power. Even if it doesn't last you the whole 15 hours I think it would certainly keep your makeup in place for longer than other primers which weren't designed to be so long lasting. I don't have particularly bad pores so I found Stay Flawless gave enough of a smoothing effect to skim over everything and create a nice base, but if you have problematic pores you might want to give The Porefessional a go instead.

Overall, I really like Stay Flawless as it has done pretty darn well at keeping my foundation in place for 15 hours. It's not a miracle worker, and if I wasn't doing an experiment for reviewing purposes, I would probably have done one or two sly repowderings throughout the day. But, to be honest, I really didn't expect it to last anywhere near 15 hours so I'm pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I think a lot of products with "lasts X hours" claims have just picked a random number for the sake of it, but 15 hours seems about right for Stay Flawless - Benefit have obviously done their research! I think there's definitely still room for both of these primers in my makeup bag as they do different jobs and would be useful for different occasions; if I know I'm going to be busy and be out of the house all day, I'll definitely be reaching for Stay Flawless.

So, Stay Flawless versus The Porefessional: which one would you choose?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #77

16.6.13

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1.The Great Gatsby 2.Trying out Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation 3.Pulled pork burrito 4.The best lie in 5.Haircut 6.Trout with avocado and mango salsa

Sunday again already? Oh goodness, the weeks seem to be going by rather fast at the moment. This week has been a pretty good one though, I spent most of the week being really productive and doing lots of dissertation work, and then took the weekend off to do some fun things. On Thursday evening I finally went to see The Great Gatsby at the cinema. It's one of my all time favourite books so I was suuuuper excited to see it, but also a little apprehensive in case I didn't like it. It wasn't 100% faithful to the book but I thought it was pretty great anyway, it was visually stunning and I loved the soundtrack. Tobey Maguire was a bit annoying (I just hate his faaccceee urrrghhhh and that weird smile he does) but apart from that the casting was good. The only thing I was slightly disappointed by was the fact they didn't include my favourite line: "I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library". Good effort though, old sport!

One of my friends was visiting for the weekend, so on Friday we went out for dinner. We both fancied trying somewhere we hadn't been before so after a quick Google we came across Sweet Melinda's and decided to go there. It was such a cute wee restaurant and the food was really good, so I think I'll definitely be going back. I had seared tuna for my starter, then grilled trout with an avocado and mango salsa. Yum! Things got decidedly less classy after that, however, as we stopped to buy a bottle of prosecco from the corner shop on the way home (it had a SCREW TOP) and then had copious amounts of homemade cocktails before heading out to The Hive. If you're from Edinburgh, I'm sure you'll know that The Hive is, in fact, the height of sophistication. Needless to say, Saturday was not a very productive day and I spent most of it curled up in bed watching back to back episodes of SNL on Netflix.

I also decided to give myself a little haircut on Friday. My fringe was really annoying me so I gave it a trim to try and make it sit better, then I just got a bit carried away and chopped off half my hair. I've been thinking about getting it cut shorter for a while as my hair was just looking so long and boring. It's so nice to have a change (although, it's not really that different, just a bit shorter haha) and it feels much more voluminous. Plus it won't get tangled up in the straps of my bag anymore!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Review: Illamasqua Scandal Lipstick

13.6.13

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A few weeks ago I noticed Illamasqua were doing a 50% off flash sale, so I was on the website quicker than a flash (pun most definitely intended) and ordered myself a couple of things. I've always admired Illamasqua makeup from afar but have never bought any before because there's not a counter near me. But half price lipstick was too good to refuse, so I took the plunge and made my choices after a very quick Google for swatches and reviews. Blogs are mighty useful sometimes, aren't they?

Anyway, one of the things I got was a lipstick in the shade Scandal. Based on the photo/swatch on the website I wouldn't have even given this a second look, but I'm glad I did a little background research first as it looks completely different in real life. As you can probably see from my photos above, it's a very bright coral shade, but on the Illamasqua website it looks more like a muted pinky-brown. If I had ordered it expecting it to be a fairly neutral shade I would have been very disappointed, but thanks to reading a few reviews of it first I was betting on it being a lovely bright, bold colour. It's described as a "warm coral pink" and it definitely is, it looks like quite a true coral in these photos but in real life I'd say it verges on being slightly more pink toned. I absolutely love the colour and it's the perfect shade for summer.

Scandal is a matte lipstick but it doesn't feel at all drying. Like any matte lipstick (or any lipstick at all, pretty much) it will cling a little bit to dry patches, but it feels very smooth and tends to glide over the lips much more easily than most of my other matte lipsticks. I've applied two or three swipes in the photos above to get the full effect, but to be honest you only really need one swipe and you get a fairly full-on colour. It's SO pigmented! It's really creamy and easy to apply, and it creates the quickest statement lip ever. If you don't fancy being quite so bright, it also looks lovely dabbed on to the lips and then blended with a little bit of lip balm to give a more subtle tint.

As for longevity, I'm a little bit torn. If you don't do anything (i.e. eating or drinking) it will last for hours. I'd say it would last pretty much all day with maybe a little top up at midday. However, if you actually plan on doing normal stuff, it's not very long-lasting at all. I wore it recently for an evening out and, despite doing the old blot and reapply trick a couple of times before I went out, after two drinks it was looking very patchy and definitely in need of reapplication. By the third drink I decided to give up altogether, smudge it into my lips and switch to lip balm instead. It's a lovely lipstick with a really nice formula, but not the most practical of lip products. I like to be as low-maintenance as possible on nights out, so having to reapply after each drink is really not ideal. It's the perfect shade for bold night time makeup, but unless I'm planning to drink through a straw the entire night I think it will be relegated to my day time makeup bag.

Have you tried Illamasqua lipsticks?

Gillian x

One Thousand and Ninety Six Days

11.6.13

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Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it. -- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

That's exactly how I feel about "blog birthdays" (and also the longest day, come to think of it). As spring turns into summer, somewhere in the back of my mind I remember the time I sat down at my dining room table and wrote my very first blog post, but then that thought disappears as quickly as it came and before I know it I've missed another anniversary. But this year I remembered and thought I would reflect a little on three whole years of blogging. Three years; thirty six months; one thousand and ninety six days.

When I say "very first blog post", well, that's a little bit of a lie. Certainly, my first post on this blog was published on the 11th June 2010, but I wasn't new to the world of blogging at that time. Ever since I was around fourteen I've been blogging in some form or another, whether on my own domain, Livejournal, Wordpress, or various forums, boards and communities. Blogging in the mid-2000s was very different to what it is today, though, and I would never have dreamed it would have evolved in the way it did. Even when I started this blog, things were completely different. When I published that first outfit post all those years ago, thoughts of PR samples, sponsored posts and blogger events never even crossed my mind. That's not to say I didn't have big (and unrealistic) aspirations; I hoped that within a few months I'd be living the Gala Darling dream, dressed to the nines in sequins and leaving my mark on the world, one glittery footprint at a time. But in reality I knew that wasn't really what my blog was about, I didn't have advice to give or knowledge to share, instead I just wanted to write about what I'd worn at the weekend and how surprisingly comfy my new shoes were. In many ways, I think this blog started as an extension of my reading of, and posting in, The Highstreet community on Livejournal. Reading about British girls my own age (both on LJ and once they started their own blogs), who shopped in the same shops as me, used the same makeup as me, and had the same interests as me, made blogging accessible in a way many of the "big" blogs at that time weren't. In fact, I still don't subscribe to very many American/overseas blogs or ones that only talk about designer clothes, and a fair few Highstreet girls are still on my reading list!

I suppose what I'm trying to say, in my long-winded, roundabout way, is that blogging has changed a lot over the last 3+ years, but I think it's changing for the better. Yes, there seem to be regular Twitter dramas and no one really knows what the etiquette surrounding sponsored posts is, but that's nothing when you think of how far we've all come. Isn't it completely bizarre to think that an entire industry has grown up around us? People (and a lot of people, not just one or two) can make a living from their blogs, and being a professional blogger for established companies is a completely legitimate line of work. Hardly a day goes by where you don't hear blogs mentioned on TV or in magazines, or even by non-blogging friends and family members. I blog because I enjoy it, but if it can bring me added benefits then that can only be a good thing. I'll be starting the search for my first "proper" job in a month or two and I really hope my blog will be something that can help me out on that front (if for nothing else other than to add something apart from "watching TV" to the hobbies section of my CV).

I'm lucky enough to receive samples and new products to try out from time to time, and whilst I'm incredibly grateful for these and it never fails to put a smile on my face when the postie brings me yet another parcel, that's not really what blogging is all about for me. It's about the people. I still can't quite believe over 1,000 of you subscribe to my blog, read my posts and leave the loveliest comments on a daily basis. Seeing the same people return to my blog year after year really makes me so happy, and I hope you've enjoyed seeing me "growing up" as much as I've enjoyed reading about your lives over the last few years. My life might not be drastically different to when I started this blog (unlike lots of you who seem to be moving countries, getting married, buying houses and having babies - like proper grown ups!), but I definitely feel like I'm a little bit older and wiser. Getting the chance to become friends with people you'd never even have crossed paths with if it weren't for blogging is an amazing thing. When I started this blog, there were only about 4 or 5 other Scottish bloggers (that I was aware of, anyway!) but now there are hundreds of us. Our Scottish blogger gatherings are always a highlight, meeting people in real life who you already "know" is such a strange but wonderful thing and I can honestly say the ladies who I've met at the various meet ups in Glasgow and Edinburgh are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

I think I've stayed fairly true to myself throughout my years of blogging; in my first post I said I would be writing about a "mish-mash of all the things going on in my life, with posts about fashion, food, makeup, and everything inbetween" and I think that's exactly what I've done. I'm so proud of my little blog and even though I still have a bit of that 2005 mentality where EVERYTHING MUST BE KEPT SECRET, I'm slowly starting to introduce my blog to more and more real-life friends and talk about it to non-bloggers. So here's to the last three years, and hopefully another three (and lots more) to come! Thanks so much for sticking around, blogging really wouldn't be any fun without you lot!

Gillian x

P.S. Let me know in the comments what your favourite blog post(s) from any time during the last 3 years is (I hope there aren't any horrors hidden in the archives!) and I'll choose one comment randomly this time next week and send you a little present to say thanks. xx

Sunday Summary #76

9.6.13

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1.4am 2.Raspberry Ripple 3.Sunshine on my window 4.Vintage summer dresses 5.Cocktail... 6...& Burger 7.At the Benefit Stay Flawless Event 8.Dragonfly cocktails

First thing's first, you might notice the blog is looking a little different? I've been meaning to redesign it for months but have always been busy with uni stuff or other peoples' designs, so was happy to be able to finally give it an overhaul this week. Thanks for all your lovely comments and tweets about it! I've even updated all the about/contact etc. pages, that took a while! I think my next step is getting some business cards printed, no idea who I would give said business cards to but I quite fancy some anyway. Speaking of blog designs, I don't really have time to do custom ones anymore but I was wondering about making a few premade templates available to download from my shop? Not sure if anyone would be interested though, so do let me know!

What a g-l-o-r-ious week it's been, weather-wise! Sadly I've been stuck inside doing dissertation reading instead of outside enjoying the sunshine, but I'm sat beside the window with a smoothie in hand just now, so it's not all bad. I've finally made a proper start on my dissertation work and I'm really enjoying it, but I'm going to have so much reading to do over the next month or two. Ideally I'd like to get all of my research and reading done by the end of July, so I can just spend all of August writing it up - but we'll see how that turns out (!).

On Tuesday evening I had a very impromptu trip through to Glasgow for dinner and cocktails. My friend was jetting off on holiday on Wednesday so was staying over in Glasgow on Tuesday night, so I got the train through to keep him company for the evening. We went to Cocktail & Burger which I had heard a few people mention on blogs and Twitter, and it turned out be be rather nice! The food was 2-for-1 and the cocktails were pretty cheap, which made a nice change from Edinburgh prices. After a couple more daiquiris I headed back to the train station to go home, and I was all tucked up in bed by midnight. I always forget how close Glasgow is, but it's less than an hour away by train so I really should make more of an effort to go through.

This week was a good week for cocktails, as I also had a few on Friday night at my favourite cocktail bar, the Dragonfly. After being at a lovely blogger event for Benefit Cosmetics, Lynne, Laura and I headed along for a few drinks. One of the cocktails I had was the Raspberry Ripple (above) which tastes just like ice cream, it's amaaaazing! I may or may not have sneakily licked the hundreds and thousands off the side of the glass... can't take me anywhere. The Benefit event was for the new Stay Flawless primer, and we all had a lovely wee evening hearing about the new product and chatting to the Benefit girls. I'll be trying out the primer, along with the Hello Flawless foundation, over the next couple of weeks and will be doing a review soon. I already love The Porefessional so I've got high hopes for this one!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x