An Education

30.9.13

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Education: I think you either love it or you loathe it. Personally, I really, really love it. I've just come to the end of 18 years of full time education and it's a very bittersweet feeling. I'm certainly looking forward to the future and all the things it may or may not bring, but I'm unbelievably sad about leaving behind the books and the late nights and the endless note-taking. After I finished my undergraduate degree last summer I didn't really feel it as I knew I would be back come the autumn for my Masters course; this time it feels final. I'm seriously entertaining the idea of applying for a PhD, but realistically I don't think it would be the right option for me just now (give it a few months and I may have changed my mind, though). Yes, I have loved all the nights out and the sleeping 'til lunchtime side of things, but I have enjoyed learning so, so much. I didn't dislike high school by any means, but university is really where everything fell into place. These have been the best five years and I'd go back in a heartbeat and do them all over again if I could.

Some people aren't suited to university at all. Some people stick it out because of the opportunities it will bring at the end of it. But I can honestly say I have loved every second of it, even the 9am lectures about intellectual history and the three 60 page "short" articles that need to be read for the next day's seminar. Even over the last couple of months whilst I've been writing my dissertation, it may have felt like it was taking over my life and there weren't going to be enough hours in the day to get it finished on time, but never once did it feel like a chore. I chose my degree, Scottish History, because I loved the subject, not because I was thinking about what career I could pursue afterwards. Perhaps this was foolish, but I think it's better to do something you love and do well at it rather than scrape through something you're not interested in just for the sake of it. As you can probably imagine, it's not the most well-known or popular degree ever (in fact, only two other people graduated with the same undergraduate degree as me) but that has meant I've had first pick of course choices and the opportunity to work with some of the best scholars in the subject. A special wee mention has to go to my supervisor, who has seen me through not one but two dissertations and so many essays I wouldn't even know where to begin counting. Exams were never my strong point, but I would happily lie snuggled in my bed on a rainy November afternoon, surrounded by a sea of books and pages and pages of notes, tap tap tapping away on my keyboard, perfecting an essay or two. It's such a great feeling when you finish writing and you feel like you actually know something.

I would, of course, be lying if I said I only enjoyed university for the essays. I'll miss the Saturday nights at the union, sticky floors, 80s music and all. I'll miss the gummy bears snuck into the back of lecture theatres, served up along with last night's gossip. I'll miss all the people timetabled into my life, by fate or by circumstance, who'll no longer be on my schedule every week. I'll miss walking to class through the Meadows on windy autumn mornings, and I'll miss walking home even more. I'll miss evenings in front of the TV, half-heartedly highlighting something and instead swapping notes on the most annoying people in our classes. Oh, and I'll miss the student discount too.

And maybe it's overdramatic, but I think I'm going to feel a little lost these next few months. This will be this first year that a change in seasons hasn't meant a fresh new term, complete with pristine back-to-school notebooks and an empty library card waiting to be filled up with loans. It seems like both a lifetime ago and only yesterday, simultaneously, that I arrived for my first week of classes on a September afternoon five years ago. What I wouldn't give to be 17 again.

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #92

29.9.13

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1.Edinburgh rooftops from the Hotel Missoni suite 2.Getting ready for the festive season at the Hotel Missoni event 3.Cocktails at Bar Kohl 4.Food and drink at the Bristo Bar & Kitchen 5.Champagne cocktails at the Missoni event 6.Huge elephant skeletons at the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum for Doors Open Days 7.Cocktails at Lucky 7 in Glasgow 8.Tweet globe at the Mallzee launch party 9.Al fresco breakfast 10.Baby Fly is getting big!

This week seems to have been very very busy, but in the best possible way. The photos above are a fairly accurate representation of my life, lots of eating, drinking and doing blog-related stuff. On Monday quite a few of us headed over to the launch of the branch new Mallzee app (which you can read more about here), but not before we had stopped off at the Bristo Bar & Kitchen for some burgers and cocktails - of course. Then on Thursday, Jade and I went along to Hotel Missoni for an evening of cocktails, canapes and an introduction to their Christmas packages. I've been to the Missoni quite a few times now for blog-related events, and every time I've been so impressed with it - the decor is amazing, the food and drinks are delicious, and the staff are always great. During the event, we got to have a little tour of one of the suites and omgggg I didn't want to leave! As you would expect from Missoni, everything was decorated beautifully and every tiny detail had been thought of - and to top it all off, there were amazing views of Edinburgh from the huge windows. Sadly, as an Edinburgh resident, I don't often have the need to book a hotel in the city, but if you were visiting Edinburgh and fancied treating yourself to a stylish room I'd definitely recommend Hotel Missoni! We also got to have a little taster of some of the Christmas menu, which will be available from 29th November - prices start from just £27 for a three course meal, which I thought was very reasonable!

Yesterday evening, Lynne, Laura and I got the train through to Glasgow (complete with a couple of cocktails in a can, keepin' it classy) for a wee catch up with some of the other lovely Scottish blogger ladies (Lynsey, Paula, Roisin, Gill and Nikki) at Lucky 7. I love our wee Scottish blogging community and it's so nice to be able to see everyone a few times a month now that events and meet ups are happening much more regularly. Making new pals is definitely the thing I like best about blogging, especially when they worm their way in to become "real life pals" instead of "blogger pals" ;) - a few of us have even booked a wee holiday to the Highlands for November which I am SO looking forward to. If you've never been to any blog meet ups before then I can't urge you enough to do it - it's definitely a wee bit scary the first time you go but it's 100% worth it. Pretty much everyone I've met through blogging has been super lovely (as long as you like food and cocktails, you're welcome in the Scottish bloggers club aaaany time!) and it's nice to have a little group who sticks together and supports each other. This seems to have turned into a little ramble about how great my Scottish blogger pals are, but it's true, they're the best. Someone will no doubt be organising another casual meet up soon, so keep an eye on the #scottishbloggers hashtag and invite yourself along!

On Saturday I went out for the last of my Doors Open Days adventures (you can read about previous ones on the Doors Open Days blog). I went to the Anatomy Museum at the University of Edinburgh to look at some skeletons and dissections and stuff in jars. Nice! I've wandered past the museum entrance (and the huuuuge elephant skeletons!) once when I was accompanying my friend who was handing in an essay to the Biomedical Sciences department, but I'd never actually been in before so it was really interesting to be able to have a look around. I also sat in and listened to a little talk about the history of the Anatomy department and bodysnatching in Edinburgh - then went upstairs to have a look at William Burke's (of Burke and Hare fame) skeleton. I love creepy stuff, wish I'd had time to make it along to Surgeons' Hall too! This was the last weekend of Doors Open Days events, so I'll be finishing up my volunteering with them in a week or two. I've really enjoyed doing their social media and blogging and would love to find a full time job which combines my love of both Scottish history and blogging. Speaking of which, this week I set up a LinkedIn page in an attempt to get me a job - be my pal please?!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Introducing: Mallzee

28.9.13





All photos courtesy of Mallzee as I failed to take any at the launch, oops!

You might have noticed me mention Mallzee once or twice before on the blog, but as I recently went along to the launch of their brand new app I thought it was about time I introduced them properly. Mallzee aim to make shopping easy, fun and social with their app which recommends personalised shopping suggestions to you from hundreds of your favourite shops. The app is currently available in the iTunes store (and it's freeeee!), but sadly, as a die hard Android fan, I can't download it on my phone yet. Having had a look at it during the launch party, it looks pretty great, so I'm hoping it won't be too long before Mallzee are able to make an Android version too!

I went along to the Mallzee launch party with some of the other Scottish blogging ladies and we enjoyed bellinis, cake pops from Cake Cetera and canapes from Bespoke Cuisine whilst chatting to the Mallzee team and hearing all about the new app. Mallzee is based in Edinburgh and it's so nice too see young, exciting businesses from this neck of the woods making their mark. After a wee bit of mingling, Mallzee's CEO, Cally Russell, gave us a quick talk through the app and showed us the new advert (scroll to the bottom of this post to watch it - it's really GOOD, I promise!). Both the app and advert look very swish and professional but also fun and easily accessible. It was great to chat to everyone from Mallzee throughout the night and see a group of people who genuinely enjoy what they do. I've been following Mallzee for quite a while now, and it's so nice to see how far they've come and how much the product has evolved in a short space of time.

So, how does it work? Once you download the app, you can take a short quiz which determines the types of clothes you like and the shops which you enjoy buying from, and then Mallzee will recommend items which are suited to your personal style. This is great if you just fancy a browse, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when you log on to ASOS or Topshop and see that there are 50 pages of results to trawl through to find the things you actually like. You can also filter your results on Mallzee, so if you were looking for a black dress from Miss Selfridge all you need to do is tick the right boxes and the app will show you exactly what you're looking for. With over 200 big high street brands on board, it would be hard not to find something to buy! You can shop from the likes of French Connection, Mango, Forever 21, Motel, Accessorize, Urban Outfitters, ASOS and many more through the Mallzee app.

As well as making shopping easy and personalised, Mallzee's other main aim is to make shopping social. Once you spot an item on Mallzee, you can share it with a certain group of friends to get their opinions - they can like or comment on your item to let you know whether they think it would suit you. I really like the fact that you can choose which friends to share each item with, so if you're looking for something for a specific occasion you can share it with the people whose opinion you actually care about, rather than your whole list of friends. You can also save items to go back to later, or purchase straight through the app so no need to log on to your computer! The advert probably explains it much better than I do, so just have a little watch of this instead!



Will you be downloading the Mallzee app?

Gillian x

How To Wear: Grungy Plaid

26.9.13

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Recently Voucher Codes UK got in touch to see if I'd been interested in taking part in their How To Wear project. Always up for a challenge, I immediately started trawling through my favourite clothing websites to find some new clothes and accessories that fitted my brief. Voucher Codes sent over £80 and challenged me to find three items which fitted into one of this autumn's biggest trends, "grungy plaid", and create three different outfits to show you how you can update your wardrobe on a budget and make the latest fashion trends wearable for everyday life. I chose a Red Tartan Skater Skirt from New Look, a Tartan Skater Dress from ASOS and a pair of Double Buckle Strap Boots from New Look. Typically, all these items have gone into the sale since I ordered them, arrrgggh! But even at full price, they came in slightly under budget at £72.98.

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A classic red and plaid pattern screams "grunge" to me, rather than the more multi-coloured green/blue/yellow/purple tartans, so this skater skirt from New Look was top of my shopping list. The light cotton material and lack of pleats make it a nice casual skirt and avoid looking too much like a school uniform. I've paired it with a slouchy black top from H&M which I've had for years, and one of my most-worn necklaces which was actually from the men's section in River Island. For shoes, I've opted for a pair of black lace-up boots which I bought from Ebay last year. These are great in-betweeny shoes as the wedge makes them comfortable to walk in for the daytime but they still look a wee bit dressed up if you want to wear them at night. This outfit is perfect for wearing to the pub as it's comfy and casual but it still looks like you've made a bit of effort - not too much effort though eh, it is grrrrunge after all! Dress it up a bit with a sheer black shirt instead of a tshirt, or dress down with a pair of converse and a chunky cardigan.

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This second outfit is my take on grungy plaid for a night out, centred around this tartan skater dress from ASOS. The plaid pattern itself is actually quite bright and verging on being more preppy than grungy, so a dress like this would be great if you like the idea of the trend but aren't quite ready to fully embrace it yet. I've still kept some classic grungy elements in the outfit (plaid, leather jacket, chunky boots), but toned them down a bit and made them more dressy. The jacket is from French Connection* and is slightly more tailored than some leather jackets so is great for wearing on a night out. If you've been following my blog for a while then I'm sure you're sick to death of these shoes as I wear them all the time! They're comfy, the perfect height and they go with just about anything. The chunky heel and studs give them a bit of a grungy feel but they're still nice enough to go with the dress. This dress would also look great with a denim jacket and some ballet pumps for a more summery outfit.

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My final purchase just had to be a pair of big, stompy boots and these boots from New Look fit the bill perfectly. Between the months of September and April I live pretty much constantly in boots like these, so I had no trouble coming up with an outfit to pair them with. I opted for a checked flannel shirt from River Island which I bought around this time last year. I couldn't do a post about grungy fashion trends without mentioning a plaid shirt now, could I?! This outfit is perfect for a lazy weekend; a slouchy shirt, a pair of leggings and some comfy boots is pretty much the easiest outfit ever (and one of my staples for the winter months). You could wear the shirt open (or tied at the waist) on top of a black bodycon dress for a dressier option, or button all the way up and chuck a fine knit jumper over the top for an even cosier rainy day outfit.

I hope that gave you a bit of inspiration for how to embrace the grungy plaid trend without A) spending a small fortune, B) chucking out all your old clothes, and C) looking like you're actually in fancy dress. Which is your favourite outfit?



Will you be embracing the grungy plaid trend this autumn/winter?

Gillian x

Mixtape: September

24.9.13


September Mixtape · via Spotify

I can't quite believe it's been a whole year since I started making these monthly mixtapes. How time flies! Looking back at the ones from around this time last year is making me really excited for autumn and winter; it's strange how you can associate certain songs with certain times of year even though they don't really have anything to do with each other. This month's playlist is pretty representative of all the other ones - lots of old songs, one or two new (or at least new to me), mostly indie/rock. I'm definitely a creature of habit! What have you been listening to this month?

The Network · Roshambo
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros · Home
Kings of Leon · Supersoaker
Idlewild · Love Steals Us From Loneliness
Sharks · Turn To You
The Offspring · Self Esteem
Willy Mason · If The Ocean Gets Rough
Cat Stevens · Wild World
Garbage · Only Happy When It Rains
No Doubt · Just a Girl
Listen to "September" here.


Gillian x

Sunday Summary #91

22.9.13

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1.Seascape 2.Stag chandelier at Durn House 3.Gremlin ears 4.Throwback Thursday, first year 5.At the seaside 6.Dog in the dishwasher

I can't believe it's Sunday again already, this week has flown by. I've been at home in Aberdeenshire this week so haven't really done an awful lot, but somehow seven days have passed and I've crossed off about one thing on my to-do list. Oops. Oh well, back to Edinburgh and back to normality next week! I've also been half-heartedly job hunting since I've been at home but it's not going well so far; a PhD is seeming more and more appealing by the day. I think I should get the results of my dissertation back in about 2 weeks so I shall see how that goes first!

I've been busy with the Doors Open Days social media stuff again this week and on Saturday went out to visit some places in Aberdeenshire to report back on for the blog. You can read all about last weekend's Aberdeen adventures on there, and this weekend's will be coming soon! My parents and I headed up to Portsoy, Macduff and Banff to visit a few DOD buildings. My favourite was Durn House, a beeeaut Georgian mansion. My dream house is definitely a Georgian one, I love the high ceilings, big windows and perfectly proportioned rooms. One day... SIGH. We also visited the Macduff War Memorial as I am a little more than obsessed with war memorials after writing my dissertation on the subject. It's in the form of a huge tower on the top of a hill, and had amazing views of the town and sea. Unfortunately it was a bit dreich though, so the photos don't look that impressive!

Aside from that, this week has been very uneventful. I went to a little afternoon tea thing in the village hall with my mum on Tuesday, and today we're lighting the barbecue as it's unseasonably warm and sunny (21 degreeeees!). This afternoon I'm going to be catching up on Doors Open Day work, replying to emails and getting back on track with blog design stuff - that's about all the excitement in my life at the moment!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Diamonds and Pearls

20.9.13

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Dress: Chi Chi*
Skirt: Topshop
Belt: New Look
Shoes: Carvela

I've had these photos sitting on my laptop for a few weeks now, but am only just getting round to writing up the post, ooooops. I could never be a proper "fashion blogger" - wearing a nice outfit, taking photos of it, and blogging about it all in one day is way too much for me. I can only manage one at a time! But anyway, this outfit features the rather lovely "Regina" dress from Chi Chi which has beaut beaded details around the neck and shoulders. If there's one thing Chi Chi do well, it's definitely sparkly party dresses! This dress is actually a bodycon dress but I've worn it as a top along with a skater skirt from Topshop instead. I used to be all about the bodycon but lately (thanks to Netflix and one too many bars of Dairy Milk) I feel much more comfortable wearing skater-style dresses and skirts. Throwing a skirt on top of a bodycon dress is a great way of getting more use out of those things that are languishing at the back of your wardrobe.

The shoes were a bit of a bargain from Carvela a while back, reduced from £120 to £30! I love the colour of them and they're nice and chunky without being too stompy, but they hurt my feet like nobody's business. They seem really narrow at the front and so my poor little toes get squashed, so I don't wear them very often. As much as I'd love a couple of pairs of designer shoes, expensive ones always seem to hurt my feet more than cheap ones - think I'll just stick to trusty New Look heels from now on!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #90

15.9.13

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1.Fly 2.In the forest 3.Mountains 4.Train tickets 5.Loch Morlich 6.Apple and bramble cake 7.At Marischal College for Doors Open Days

This week I had a bit of a break from regular life and got the train up to Aviemore for a mini-holiday. This seems to be becoming a bit of an annual thing, this time last year I was doing the exact same thing. My mum and dad were in Glenmore anyway so I joined them for a few days to hang out with the puppies, go for walks around Loch Morlich, drink lots of wine and have a couple of end-of-summer barbecues. This year we also took a trip to Inshriach Nursery, mostly to go to the Potting Shed cafe - all it sells is cake, EXCELLENT. We also went for some pints at the new Pine Marten Bar - having a pub in Glenmore now is pretty exciting, let me tell you! It even has wifi, what more could you need? I also stopped in to Super Panther in Aviemore, mostly to use their wifi, but was pleasantly surprised by this nice wee cafe/bar. I had a huuuge and very tasty club sandwich and a strawberry milkshake for lunch, and I noticed they had cocktails on offer too but managed to restrain myself! It had a really nice, modern feel to it and the menu all look great - would definitely recommend if you happen to be in Aviemore!

Aside from that, this week has been pretty quiet. It has been so nice to have a little break from the internet (although I do have mountains of emails to catch up on now, waaahhh) and read a couple of books, eat lots of nice food, and spend time with the dogs (and parents too, I suppose). Fly is getting so grown up now, she looks so much bigger than the last time I was home. She's 4 months now so still pretty tiny, but she's got loooong legs and huge ears, the rest of her hasn't quite caught up yet! She loves causing mischief and hardly ever seems to sleep, no idea where she gets all her energy from. I could definitely be doing with some of that, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything on my to-do list checked off!

I'm back at home in Aberdeenshire at the moment as I was on Doors Open Days duties in Aberdeen this weekend. Yesterday afternoon my mum and I had a wander round a few buildings in the centre of town, including Marischal College, the Town House, the Advocates Library and St Nicholas Kirk. You'll be able to read all about it on the Doors Open Days blog next week! It's Aberdeenshire's Doors Open Days next weekend so I'm going to extend my holiday at home for another week and go to some buildings then. The weekend after is Edinburgh's DOD so I'll be back down to the flat ready to explore some more places. Edinburgh has loads of buildings open, not sure how I'll be able to choose which few to visit! I quite fancy going to Surgeon's Hall, anyone want to come and look at lots of gory things with me?!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Review: Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

12.9.13

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Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream in Very Light · £28

Well, it seems summer is almost over and I'm only just getting round to reviewing this, oops! The Clinique CC Cream has been a summer saviour in my makeup bag for the last couple of months, providing effortless, natural makeup for sunny days. I was pleased to see that the CC Cream comes in lots of different shades as tinted moisturisers/BB creams tend to come in 3 shades (if that), all of which are usually too dark for me. I went for the shade Very Light and it's the perfect shade for me. It looks a bit yellowy straight out of the tube, but once applied to the face it blends in really well and helps to counteract any redness. I usually prefer to apply it with my fingers, and then go back in with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush if there are any areas that need a bit of extra blending.

If you're after something with heavy coverage, then this definitely won't be the product for you. Rather than covering everything up completely, I find that it evens things out and improves the look of your skin whilst still remaining natural. I love when my freckles come out in the summer, so I really like products that allow them to shine through at the same time as covering up redness in my cheeks. I would definitely recommend using a good concealer along with the CC Cream as, although it does cover up redness to an extent, it doesn't eliminate it completely and blemishes can still remain quite obvious. But just a quick dab of concealer and a bit of blending in and problem is solved!

Considering it's a fairly light coverage and moisturising product, I was pleasantly surprised by how long the Clinique CC Cream lasted for. It's quite a thick cream which has a fairly matte finish, but it doesn't look heavy and does have a hint of dewiness to it. I always powder my T-zone and over any concealer just to make sure everything stays in place, but there's no need to go overboard with the powder as you'll get a 6 good hours or so out of it before you need to do any touching up. And by touching up, I just mean applying some more powder to stop it looking too shiny - I find that this doesn't really 'slide' off my face at all.

It is on the pricey side at £28, but you get 40ml which is 10ml more than the average foundation, plus a little goes a long way so it should last for ages. I'm really impressed with this product and have had a lot of use out of it already, I think it's definitely worth the hype. On days when I've needed a little bit of extra coverage, I often use this as a base first then buff in a small amount of foundation to the problem areas so I get the best of both worlds - decent coverage and natural finish. I think this is a technique I'll definitely be using a lot during autumn and winter!

Have you tried the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream yet?

Gillian x

Watching Lately #3

9.9.13

1. Celeste & Jesse Forever
I hadn't really heard anything about this film before watching it, so with the likes of Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg in the leading roles, I thought it was safe to assume that it would be a straightforward comedy film. Whilst there were definitely lots of funny bits, I'd describe this as more of a romantic drama. Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) are high school sweethearts who, although in the process of getting divorced, have remained good friends and still act very much like a couple. Their friends find it weird that they still live together and go on 'dates' even though they've been separated for several months. Jesse is reluctant to start dating again as he's convinced that Celeste (who initially broke it off) will change her mind and they'll get back together, but his friend Skillz (Will McCormack) encourages him to see other people. Jesse throws a spanner in the works a couple of weeks later when he announces that his new girlfriend Veronica (Rebecca Dayan) is pregnant and he wants to make it work with her. Celeste, who was sure she didn't want to be with him anymore, suddenly sees a different side to Jesse and the roles are reversed when she decides she wants to get back together. The story is mostly told from Celeste's perspective, and it gives a bit more of a realistic view of life than your average romcom. There is quite a bit of will-they-won't-they, but the film doesn't have a typical ending which was nice to see although it also may have made me cry a tiny bit (okay, a lot). I really enjoyed this film and I'd definitely recommend it.

2. Breaking Bad
I'm sure Breaking Bad needs no introduction, but here's a quick summary anyway. After being diagnosed with cancer, high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) begins cooking meth along with ex-student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in order to provide for his family. Throughout the five series, Walt and Jesse have gone from amateur, small-time cooks to practically the biggest drug lords in New Mexico. This series is the final one and, with only a couple of episodes left, the tension is well and truly palpable. Jesse has always been my favourite character and I really like how in this series he has been battling his demons and struggling with his conscience (I just want to give him a cuddle :'( oh Jesse bbz), in contrast to Walt who has become ruthless and manipulative in order to protect himself. If you've never watched Breaking Bad before, I'd definitely suggest you start right away - it's the BEST. Whilst the earlier seasons did have a bit of comic relief in them, as the show has developed it has become much more dark and intense, and pretty much every episode ends on an excellent cliffhanger. I'm going to be sad when it finishes, but I think it's definitely better to go out with a bang rather than drag it on for a few more seasons whilst it loses momentum.

3. Louis Theroux Documentaries
Netflix recently added the third series of Weird Weekends as well as lots of the stand-alone documentaries, so I've been watching all of them. I'd already seen a lot of these when they were on TV, but it was quite a while since I last watched them and I love documentaries like this so decided to work my way through them all again. I think Louis Theroux is a great documentarian and does well at both light-hearted comical stuff (the UFOs episode of Weird Weekends is probably my favourite, or the Demolition Derby one where he makes pals with the derby guys) as well as the more hard-hitting documentaries like the one about San Quentin prison. Equal parts entertaining and shocking, all the documentaries are worth a watch, and I love Theroux's awkward style of interviewing, especially in the earlier episodes. Although all the documentaries are factual (obviously), it often doesn't feel like you're watching a factual programme; both because it's really entertaining and also because it can be hard to imagine that some of the people being interviewed are actually real people.

4. Modern Family
I'd heard a few people mention Modern Family, but I never bothered to watch it as I thought it just sounded like your average American sitcom that's not very funny and gets repeated on E4 six times a day. But I was SO wrong, Modern Family is hilarious and definitely my favourite thing to watch at the moment. I only started watching about 2 weeks ago, and have already raced through three 24-episode series, ooooops. The show centres around an extended family and their everyday exploits; Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) heads up the family along with new young Colombian wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara), plus there's grown-up daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) and her family, and son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his boyfriend and new baby. My favourite character is definitely Claire's husband, Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), he has such a dad-ish sense of humour and I love his little made up curse words ("sweeeeeet potato fries!", "chicken in a BASKET!"). The format of the show is kind of like The Office, with the characters being filmed throughout their day, interspersed with little to-camera pieces and interviews. It has been really well cast and well written, and was definitely an unexpected surprise for me. Having had a quick flick through the IMDB reviews just now, I've seen quite a few comparisons to Arrested Development, and whilst I wouldn't go quite that far it definitely is a very funny, witty and clever programme centred around a dysfunctional but lovable family.

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #89

8.9.13

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1.Party pick 'n mix 2.Me & Kirsty 3.Laura & Kirsty 4.Vita Liberata goody bags 5.Parcel wrapped up in a map 6.Sangria and Nandos 7.Party times 8.Treats from Antipodes

Hello! Just a quick post this morning as I'm off to the station very soon to get the train up to Aviemore. Ma and pa are on holiday there at the moment, so I'm going up to join them for a few days and then get a lift back to Aberdeen for some Doors Open Days bizniz at the weekend. I'm hoping the 3G on my phone doesn't fail me so I can still do plenty of tweeting and facebooking whilst I'm in the middle of nowhere (hint hint, go give me a cheeky wee follow!).

On Friday afternoon I headed through to Stirling with Laura and Kirsty for Iona's 21st birthday party. I've been looking forward to this for ages and Iona did not disappoint - hostess with the mostess! The party was musicals themed so after much deliberation I went for Rock of Ages and donned my best 80s outfit. Rock of Ages has so many GREAT (and I use that term loosely) songs in it - Whitesnake! Journey! Bon Jovi! Poison! - and I must admit I totally love it. Slightly worryingly, I didn't actually have to buy anything new for my costume. I even bought some fishnet tights but then discovered I already had some at the back of a drawer, oops. Anyway, we all had a great night at the party dancing away to some tunes from musicals, raiding the super cute pick 'n mix sweetie bar and stuffing our faces with buffet food (why are mini sandwiches SO much better than normal sandwiches?).

Earlier this week I went along to an event for Vita Liberata at the Scotsman Spa with some of the Scottish bloggers. I must admit, I'm not the biggest fake tanner ever and I'd not actually heard of the brand before, but I tested out the sample from my goody bag the other day and I'm pretty impressed. It looks nice and natural, so fingers crossed it will be my new favourite thing. I'll no doubt be doing a review in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled if you're on the look out for a fake tan that's suitable for non-tanning pale people like me!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Outfit: Minted

5.9.13

uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 5
uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 4
uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 3
uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 1
uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 6
uniqlo mint silk shirt outfit 7
Shirt: Uniqlo*
Skirt: River Island
Boots: Ebay
Cross Necklace: Topshop
Triangle Necklace: Ginger Pickle
Lipstick: Rimmel Apocalips in Stellar

I'm not usually one for pastel colours, but when I spotted this beautiful mint shirt from Uniqlo I couldn't resist. This shirt doesn't really look like anything special in these photos (I swear, my outfit photos are getting worse not better, WHYYYY), but in real life it's just about perfect. It sits nicely, it's a bit drapey without being too oversized, it looks great with casual, dressed up or work outfits and it's super soft and comfy. The only downsides are that it creases pretty easily and it needs to be handwashed - but it is 100% silk so that's understandable! Unfortunately this mint colour seems to be sold out online at the moment, but they have plenty of other autumny shades too. I love the deep pink, forest green and navy blue shades, plus I think I may have to treat myself to the black version as I (shockingly!) don't actually own any black shirts.

I've paired my Uniqlo shirt with a studded bodycon skirt from River Island. I got this in the sale a few years ago for only £5, bargain! I love that the studs make it a bit more interesting than a plain black skirt, but it can still look fairly casual if worn with a tshirt or jumper. My shoes are also studded - this is obviously one trend that I have wholeheartedly embraced. I bought these boots from Ebay around this time last year and expected to wear them a couple of times and then forget about them, but they've actually been so useful. They're the perfect "inbetween" shoes, not too dressy if I want to wear them during the day, but still nice enough that I can wear them for a night out too. Definitely £20 well spent.

This necklace from Ginger Pickle is one of my favourite necklaces of ALL TIME. (Please tell me you have a top 5 necklaces list too? Sadly my number 1 recently got shut in a window and snapped, devastating). I love that it's really dainty but kind of statement at the same time, and whenever I wear it I often get people asking me where I got it from. I love all the aluminium jewellery from Ginger Pickle, my inner goth is in love with this Crescent Moon Necklace - think it will definitely be next on my to-purchase list! Sadly my Topshop cross necklace is in a bit of a sorry state, it has been well loved and is now looking a bit more brown than silver.

I don't notice so much when I'm wearing dark colours, but with this mint shirt on it's so obvious how RUBBISH my hair is at the moment. It's at that super annoying inbetween length and I can't decide whether to get it cut short or just wait it out and have long hair again. Either way, I'm not sure how much longer I can put up with it for arrrrghh. My fringe is shocking at the moment too, have to fight the urge to get the scissors out every. single. morning.

Gillian x