Mixtape: February

27.2.13


February mixtape // via Spotify

I know I say this every month, but is it really almost March already? In my defence, February is a shorter month than all the other ones, but still. I think the weather really influences what I listen to, and this month the weather has been rather dreary - cue lots of sad, acoustic songs on my playlist. Most of these songs are old favourites, but there's also a few new (to me) discoveries which I've found using the "Related Artists" feature on Spotify. It's a really easy way to find music that you'll probably like, and doesn't require any effort or searching which is perfect for lazy people like me! What's on your playlist this month?

Luke Temple // More Than Muscle
Sad Brad Smith // Everyone Knows I'm Still in Love with You
Violent Femmes // Blister in the Sun
Dawn Landes // I Won't Back Down
Damien Rice // 9 Crimes
Alkaline Trio // Maybe I'll Catch Fire (Acoustic)
Bright Eyes // Lua
Elliott Smith // Stupidity Tries
Sebadoh // On Fire
Travis // Closer
Listen to "February" here.


Gillian x

The Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party

25.2.13

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1.Hello bloggers! 2.Fairy light ladder/bookshelf. Amazing! 3.Wine and love heart confetti 4.Chit chatting 5.Strawberry cocktail 6.Speed dating

After several weeks of planning, on Saturday it was finally time for the Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party. After the Christmas Party, a few of us got chatting on the train home and decided it was time we had an Edinburgh meetup, so Jenn, Lianne, Juliet and I myself took matters into our own hands and decided to throw a Valentines-themed bash. Sadly Juliet couldn't be there on the night, but huge thanks for all her hard work behind the scenes! The event took place in Hemma, a lovely bar on Holyrood Road which was bedecked in fairy lights and quirky decor - blogger heaven! They also had a rather nice cocktail menu, sadly I didn't have time to work my way through very many of them so will definitely have to go back soon for some more.

We started off the night with some drinks and general chit-chat, before moving on to the main event - the speed dating. We thought this would be a great way for everyone to get a chance to speak to all the people there, as sometimes at events you end up talking to whoever you happen to sit next to, and never have time to say hello to the people sitting at the other end of the table! Each pair of bloggers had a couple of minutes to swap blog addresses and ask each other a question or two before moving on to the next person. I think the whole thing worked pretty well, even if we did get a little confused towards the end! Hopefully it gave everyone a chance to introduce themselves and even discover a few new blogs to follow.

After the speed dating, we held a little raffle in aid of local charity Shakti Women's Aid. We raised a total of £88, wooohooo thanks for all your donations! Lots of people won some great prizes (including myself - a lovely little gift basket from Pippin!), all thanks to our very generous raffle and goody bag sponsors. Have a wee look at them all here:

Black Box Boutique, Collin Resultime, Cuckoo's Bakery, Doodles, Dotcomgiftshop,
Ginger Pickle, Godiva Boutique, Kiehl's, Lashes of London, Lyceum Theatre, NailGirls Glasgow, Nairn's Oatcakes,
Ortak, Pippin, The Marshmallow Lady, Totes Amazed, and Yelp.

Thank you so much to all the lovely bloggers who came along, it was so nice to chat to lots of bloggers who I'd never met before, as well as catch up with some who I'd met at previous events. Hope you all had a great night and looking forward to seeing you all at the next Scottish Bloggers event (any volunteers?!). Here's everyone's blogs if you fancy a read:

Alex, Claire, Fiona, Iona, Jade, Leanne, Lori,
Louisa, Louise, Lynne, Lynsey, Margaret, Morag, Paula,
Phoebe, Roisin and Sarah.


As usual, I took my camera along and failed to take very many pictures, but feel free to borrow them if you'd like! Let me know if you've written up a post about the night.

Lots of Scottish Blogger love to you all,

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #61

24.2.13

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1.Tulips 2.Egg 'n Spoon 3.Setting sun 4.New purchase from River Island 5.Coke float 6.Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party

Hello hello, how are we all this week? I've had another busy week, but it has been busy in a good way! As well as slightly boring uni-related things, I've been catching up with friends, going shopping, and organising a blogger event. I'm pretty exhausted now, and will definitely be spending this evening in bed with Netflix and a takeaway. Now I just need to decide what kind of takeaway to get, so many choices! What's your favourite?

Last night was the Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party which I've been helping to organise over the last couple of months. This was the first event I've attempted to organise, and I think the rest of the party planning committee and I did pretty well! I won't give too much away as I'll be doing a proper post about it tomorrow, but it was lovely to catch up with some of my favourite Scottish bloggers and also meet some new faces - hopefully I will be seeing you all at another event soon. We held the event at Hemma which was such a nice venue, I will definitely be going back to sample some more of their cocktails - I somehow only managed two drinks last night as I kept getting distracted chatting to everyone and trying to co-ordinate things!

On Thursday I went round to one of my best pal's flat for tea and a much needed catch up. She has been a super busy bee lately working lots and volunteering so it had been aaaages since we last saw each other. This seems to be a bit of a recurring theme with me and my friends, I think it's a sign we're getting old! After tea, I sampled my first Krispy Kreme doughnut which, I must say, was rather good. My friend had been to the new Edinburgh store the day before and brought back a huge box of doughnuts, so I was more than happy to help eat one or two of them! I'm loving the fact that there's now a store in Edinburgh, but not loving the fact that it's at Hermiston Gait - where even is that?! THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Open one in the city centre pleeeease Krispy Kreme, I promise I will spend all my pennies there.

I also did a little spot of clothes shopping this week as I was in town anyway and hadn't bought any new clothes since about November. I got bored by the time I'd gone round about 3 shops though so didn't actually buy very much. I got a few things in Primark and some new shoes from New Look, and I also bought the River Island peplum top that I instagrammed a quick picture of in the changing rooms. I'm still not 100% sure if I like peplum things on me, but for some reason I thought this top was quite nice so I bought it anyway.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Top 5: Favourite Books

19.2.13

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I first started planning this post way back before Christmas, but it has taken me this long to actually decide what my top five favourite books actually are. So difficult! I love reading, and one day I'd like to live in a house big enough for a library which I could fill with all of my favourite books. Sadly, I don't read as much as I used to because of all the other reading I have to do during term-time, but I try to race through as many books as possible during the holidays. You can keep up to date with what I've been reading recently on my Goodreads page - as for all-time favourites, I think I've finally settled on a top five.

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
If pushed for a number one favourite book, I think it might be this one. This is a pretty slow-burning novel, and nothing much really happens until the very end, but that's not to say it's boring. Far from it. McGregor's writing is absolutely beautiful and poetic, and he somehow manages to describe the everyday in a way which makes it haunting and heartbreaking. The novel is set on a summer's day in a Northern English city, focusing on the occupants of one particular suburban street who witnessed a certain awful "event". But what actually happens is more or less irrelevant; this is a novel about the characters. The characters aren't given names, but rather are described, and each description flows effortlessly into the next in an almost dream-like way. The stories of their lives are intertwined with what happened that day, focusing on the tiny, mundane details that contain so much beauty and emotion. I can understand why this novel probably wouldn't be to some people's tastes because of the unconventional writing style, but I love it and think If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is definitely a very underrated book.
In some rare and sacred dead time, sandwiched between the late sleepers and the early risers, there is a miracle of silence. Everything has stopped. And silence drops down from out of the night, into this city, the briefest of silences, like a falter between heart-beats, like a darkness between blinks. Secretly, there is always this moment, an unexpected pause, a hesitation as one day is left behind and a new one begins.

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
Set in a New Hampshire liberal arts college in the 1980s, The Rules of Attraction focuses on the lives of three students, Sean, Lauren and Paul, who are caught up in - for lack of a better expression - a strange love-triangle. There aren't really any chapters and the book begins and ends mid-sentence - sort of like a neverending circle which leaves you feeling confused about what's real and what's not. Each section of the book is narrated by a different character (usually one of the main three, but some secondary characters too) and each narrator describes the same events differently, emphasising the sense of self-centred loneliness and delusion which runs throughout the book. As with all of Ellis's novels, none of the main characters are conventionally likeable, but instead are narcissistic, self-pitying, and unstable, spending the majority of their time in a hedonistic downward-spiral. Parts of the story are fairly unsettling, but it's also funny and witty and it perfectly captures the rather bleak idea that we see things as we want to see them and nothing really changes. It's blunt and graphic and definitely not your typical college-based comedy, but it's an honest and gripping study of disaffected youth which is certainly worth a read.
I tell him, 'But I want to know you. I want to know who you are.'
He flinches and turns to me and says, raising his voice at first then letting it drop softer, 'No one will ever know anyone. We just have to deal with each other. You're not ever gonna know me.'
'What in the hell does that mean?' I ask.
'It just means you're not ever gonna know me,' he says. 'Figure it out. Deal with it.'

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
I first read this novel when I was about 15, and the protagonist's obsession with music really appealed to my own belief that I should have a specific song picked out for every possible situation in life. Rob is a thirty-something record store owner who spends his days making top five lists (totes appropes) with his misfit music snob colleagues, and feeling sorry for himself because of his recent break-up with girlfriend Laura. On the surface, High Fidelity is a tale about love and relationships from a male perspective, but it also goes deeper than that, looking at how personal flaws and obsessions really affect our relationships with others and how we perceive and over-analyze the things that have happened along the way. Rob is immature, insecure and life seems to have become a bit stagnant, but looking back on his "desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups" forces him to reevaluate things and, by the end of the book, he's grown up a bit and maybe life isn't so bad after all. The characters in this novel feel very real; yes, they're flawed, but in an ordinary, relatable kind of way. They're self-obsessed and clueless, but it's endearing and you can't help but smile. It does have a happy ending, but is also filled with plenty of melancholy, cynicism, sarcasm and obscure music references to stop it from becoming sickly sweet.
People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
In some ways, The Secret History is quite similar to The Rules of Attraction, but in other ways it's totally different. It's also set in a liberal arts college in New England (and in fact both novels make passing references to characters/events in the other) and has a dark and twisted feel to it, but that's about where the similarities end. The novel could be described as a "murder mystery in reverse"; the victim and the culprits are revealed within the first few sentences of the book, but the reasons why and the aftermath of the murder take another 600 or so pages to explain. The novel centres around a group of six Classics students who are very close-knit and secretive, and more than a little bit weird. Richard Papen, the story's narrator, is a newcomer to the group but quickly becomes entangled in their dark world. The characters seem to struggle to separate reality and literature, their own lives and the classical arts, and the novel becomes a kind of modern Greek tragedy. At first I couldn't get into this book, mainly because I found the characters incredibly arrogant and annoying, but the writing is so good that the story ends up being completely compelling anyway.
It's a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
And finally, the top five is rounded off with a classic and cautionary tale of the American Dream. Nick Carraway narrates the events of the summer of 1922, telling of the rise and fall of his neighbour, the great Jay Gatsby. A mysterious millionaire, Gatsby is famous for his parties but he remains aloof, only throwing such lavish parties in the hope his first love, Daisy, will attend one day. Everything in The Great Gatsby feels like it's beautiful and damned (coincidentally, also a Fitzgerald novel); despite their wealth and the splendour of the lives they have created, none of the characters are particularly happy and you get a sense that everything could come crashing down at any moment. And, well, it does all come crashing down. The novel captures the glittering capitalism of the Jazz Age, at the same time as reminding the reader of the underlying discontent and tragedy bubbling away beneath the surface. The idea of love is doomed and distorted, and, despite the possibilities offered by the American Dream, the lives of the characters remain empty and unfulfilled. It's a fairly short, easy to read book, and it's beautifully written. If you've never read it before, go and do it now!
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams - not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

Honourable Mentions
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck // Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk // Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson // The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides // Dracula by Bram Stoker // The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Have you read any of these books? What's in your Top 5?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #60

17.2.13

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1.Red rose 2.Planning for the Scottish Bloggers Valentines Party 3.Elevator photos 4.Thai food 5.Froyo 6.Redbox noodles 7.Night out

Good evening, how are we all today? I've had such a good week but I've been so busy, can hardly believe it's Sunday again already. On Tuesday I met up with Jenn and Lianne to do some more organising for the Scottish Bloggers Valentines Party. I can't believe it's less than a week away now! If you haven't RSVP'd yet, you've got until tomorrow to let us know you'd like to come along - just send us a quick email to sbvalentines@gmail.com. Ahhh I'm so excited, just need to plan my outfit now!

My best friend has been up visiting this weekend so that has been really nice. We decided to go out for dinner on Thursday evening, having kind of forgotten it was Valentine's Day. Oops. We were definitely the only non-couple in the restaurant haha, although I'm pretty sure the waitress thought we were a couple anyway! But we had a really nice meal at one of my favourite restaurants, and I even got a rose to take home with me at the end. Cute!

Another one of my friends came through to visit on Friday and we spent the evening at the pub catching up. She used to live just round the corner from me and we had a lot of the same classes at uni together so we saw each other all the time, but this year she's doing a postgrad course through in Glasgow so I haven't seen her at all for the last few months. Glasgow's hardly far away though, I really need to be less useless at organising get-togethers! We ended up drinking rather a lot of red wine, reminiscing about "the good old days" and talking about grown-up stuff, when did I get so OLD?! Had a little bit of a sore head the next day so we spent the day lying on the sofa watching a marathon of Friends and eating Subways. Perf.

I had recovered by Saturday evening though, and then it was time to go out again for a friend's birthday celebrations. I had a really good night, but I drank raaather a lot and am definitely paying the price for it today. I'm supposed to be going to the cinema this evening, but so far I haven't managed to get out of my bed. The thought of having to get dressed and walk to the cinema is not very nice, but a huge bucket of popcorn and lots of Coke would go down pretty well right now.

My BFF is off home again tomorrow, so it'll be back to normality next week. I seem to have essay deadlines looming already, so looks like life will be fairly boring for the next few weeks.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Friday Favourites #2

15.2.13


Remember that one time, months ago, I said I was starting a new feature on the blog and then promptly failed to do anything after the initial post? Well, it's about time Friday Favourites were resurrected, and hopefully it'll be less than six months before the next one appears! This is just a little selection of some of the websites, blogs, posts, articles, shops etc. etc. etc. I've been loving recently. Let's get started.

1. A girl can never have too many dresses in her wardrobe, in my opinion, and having had a browse through Bank Fashion's online store I can safely say there are more than a few of their dresses on my wishlist. They stock lots of gorgeous dresses from some of my favourite brands, like Glamorous and Rare, but top of my list at the moment is definitely the Little Mistress Embellished Waist Dress from Bank Fashion. I am loving v-neck dresses at the moment, and the gorgeous coral colour of this one has me looking forward to summer already.

2. I stumbled across Amy's blog, Amy Antoinette, during a recent #bbloggers chat on Twitter, and I instantly fell in love. Everything looks so beautiful and dreamy, and blogs which combine lifestyle posts with a little bit of fashion and beauty are my absolute favourites. I'm particularly enjoying Amy's excellent taste in stationery and her DIY posts. Dreaming of the day I have a house filled with lovely "upcycled" vintage furniture!

3. This month, the babe that is Claire from Bee Waits For No One has set herself a fashion challenge in order to raise money for charity. She's wearing the same dress every day for the whole month to raise money for Glasgow Women's Aid, and I am super impressed by how she is managing to make each day's outfit look totally different to the last. To find out more, have a look at all her One Month One Dress posts here - I think number 7 is my favourite so far, that BAG! If you fancy donating, hop on over to Claire's JustGiving page.

4. This article from IFB, 5 Lessons Learned from Jason Segel put a wee smile on my face this week. "What would Jason Segel do?" has definitely become my new motto in life. Bravo to whoever decided to use Segel's career as a model for blogging. I'm sure lots of you will be familiar with Independent Fashion Bloggers already, but if not it's worth having a browse through their archives. I always take IFB articles with a pinch of salt - it's much more directed towards American bloggers and people who want to turn their blogs into businesses - but there are some useful tips, tricks and links to resources which can be helpful.

5. How lovely are these Star Sign Pillows from Free People? I came across them whilst browsing on Pinterest recently and now I need a Scorpio one in my life. Don't know if I could ever justify spending £88 on a cushion, though. I'm tempted to try DIY-ing one myself, but sewing is definitely not my strong point!

What links have you been loving this week?

Gillian x

Part of this post was written in collaboration with Bank Fashion.

Wishlist: Happy Valentine's Day to Me

14.2.13


1.Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette 2.Catalina Off Shoulder Skater Dress 3.Long Sleeve Heart Flippy Dress 4.Lipstick Hip Flask 5.Black Stud Trim T-Bar Court Shoes 6.Mini Mari Tote Bag 7.Heart Shaped Cake Stand 8.MAC Speak Louder Lipstick

I've never really been big on Valentine's Day (probably because I don't have a boyfriend, which is pretty much an essential component of such celebrations, eh?) but I don't hate it either, and I appreciate heart shaped things as much as the next girl. It's highly unlikely any potential suitors are going to show up at my door this afternoon bearing gifts, so instead here is what I would buy myself because I LOVE ME.

I am so in love with this Topshop heart print dress, it would be perfect for the Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party, no? Sadly it seems to be sold out online at the moment, but I may have to nip in to Topshop next week and see if I can find one lurking in store. Failing that, I might have a look for the Motel dress instead, although it looks a bit indecently short. Why do you always do this Motel?! :(

I mentioned in my last outfit post that my going out shoes were in a bit of a sorry state, and this New Look pair seem like they'd be a good replacement. I always find New Look heels pretty comfy, and I like how these ones are fairly plain so they'll go with everything, but not too boring because of the stud detail. Whilst we're on the topic of accessories, how much of a beauty is the bright pink Accessorize bag? I've been thinking of buying a coloured bag for ages as it would be a really easy way to brighten up my otherwise all-black outfits. Very tempted to order this one!

Makeup-wise, I really fancy trying the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. I'm not really an eyeshadow sort of person, so the previous palettes didn't interest me, but for some reason matte eyeshadows seem really appealing to me. Still can't decide if I would actually use it or not, so am managing to hold off ordering for the moment. I'm sure, however, that MAC's Speak Louder lipstick would get a lot of use so it will definitely be getting purchased next time I'm treating myself to some MAC things.

And finally, Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete with a bit of novelty tack would it? Lipstick hip flask? Yes please. Heart-shaped cake stand? Oh, why not.

Gillian x

Recipe: Banana Pancakes

11.2.13

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Every year I plan on making pancakes on Pancake Day and I always miss it, but this year I was prepared and actually made them a couple of days early. Pancakes are definitely not one for a weekday breakfast when you have 5 minutes to wolf something down before you leave the house, but they're perfect for lazy Sundays when breakfast is actually more like lunch. Bananas are one of my favourite fruits (although, I love pretty much all fruit - would be hard pressed to pick a top 5 if anyone asked me. Which they obviously would) and they go perfectly with pancakes, so it just made sense to put the two of them together in this recipe.

You will need (makes approx 6-8 pancakes):
80g plain flour
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
285ml milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 egg, beaten
1 banana (plus extra to serve)
Maple syrup (plus any other toppings)

Method:
1. Put the oven on at a low temperature and put in a plate to warm. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl mix together the milk, oil, vanilla extract and egg.
3. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until everything is combined well and the batter is smooth. Thinly slice a banana and add it to the batter, mixing to make sure it is evenly distributed.
4. Put a pan on the hob to heat up with a little drop of vegetable oil. Turn it up to a high heat to warm up, but once you begin cooking turn it down to a medium heat to make sure the pancakes cook evenly.
5. Add a couple of spoonfuls of mixture to the pan - if your pan is big enough you could do more than one pancake at a time, but I could only fit in one. After 1-2 minutes the mixture should bubble around the edges and become solid enough to flip over.
6. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown and the mixture is cooked all the way through.
7. After each pancake is done, put it on the plate in the oven to keep warm until all the mixture has been used up.
8. Serve in a big stack along with a handful of sliced banana and lashings of maple syrup.

Ahhh, these are so good! I love that the banana in the pancake batter goes slightly soft and gooey when cooked, and adds a bit of sweetness to the pancakes. Maple syrup and bananas are a classic topping to have with these pancakes, but they'd also be great with some melted Nutella, golden syrup or fresh strawberries. Some chocolate chips would be amazing folded into the pancake batter, but sadly I didn't have any in the cupboard, boo!

What's your favourite kind of pancakes? Will you be making some for Pancake Day tomorrow?

Gillian x

Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party

10.2.13


Some of you may have noticed on Twitter over the last few weeks some discussions about #sbvalentines, and I'm really excited to finally announce all the details about the event! The event is a little blogger meetup taking place on Saturday the 23rd February from 7.30pm til late at Hemma, 75 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh. Hemma is around a 10 minute walk from Waverley Station (exit via Market Street, cross the road and head along Jeffrey Street until you reach the Pleasance, then just head straight down Holyrood Road) or a couple of minutes in a taxi, so should be pretty easy to get to! There are also lots of Travelodges/Premier Inns/Easy Hotels etc. nearby if you're coming from out of Edinburgh and fancy making a night of it!

On to the party itself, what have we got planned? As well as having some drinks and chit chat and generally just having a nice evening meeting other bloggers, we'll also be doing a bit of speed dating, and holding a charity raffle. The speed dating will be a fun way to get to know everyone (we hope!) as often at events it can be difficult to find time to get round and talk to everyone. It'll also help to break the ice as it can be a bit daunting trying to introduce yourself to a bunch of strangers! Don't worry, we won't force anyone to go on a date afterwards (well, probably not) but hopefully it'll give everyone a chance to swap names and blog addresses and find out a little bit about each other. We'll also be holding a raffle in aid of local charity Shakti Women's Aid, so remember to bring your pennies along as there are lots of lovely prizes up for grabs. We've had very kind donations from the likes of Black Box Boutique, Cuckoo's Bakery, Doodles, Sister Vintage, Dotcomgiftshop, Lashes of London, Ginger Pickle, Lyceum Theatre, Osmo, Godiva Boutique, Kiehl's, Leo Bancroft, Pippin, Totes Amazed and lots more! A couple of our sponsors will also be coming along on the night to showcase some of their products, exciting!

Everyone is more than welcome, whether you're a brand new blogger or have been to events before, so just let us know if you'd like to come. If you've already sent us an email, an official invitation should be winging its way to you, but if not just send us a quick note to sbvalentines@gmail.com to let us know you'd like to attend. If you'd like to come please RSVP by Monday 18th February, just so we can finalise things with the venue and organise some goody bags for everyone attending! Remember to check our hastag on Twitter, #sbvalentines, to keep up to date with what's happening. Feel free to share this post to get the word out, or pop one of these little buttons on your blog:




Everyone dig out your best first-date-dress and join us for an evening of fun! SO SO EXCITED. Hope to see you all there!

Lots of love from Gillian, Jenn, Juliet and Lianne xx

Sunday Summary #59

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1.Early morning face 2.Teriyaki glazed meatballs 3.Mountains of food 4.Enchiladas

Well, it seems all I've taken photos of this week is food. I would like to say that this isn't really an accurate representation of my life, but that would be a massive lie. My favourite activities at the moment are definitely eating and sleeping. I was going to do some baking this weekend, but discovered I didn't have all the ingredients to make cupcakes, and I may have accidentally eaten the Smarties I was going to use to make Smarties cookies. Oops.

This week I have been attempting to sort out my wardrobe - and failing miserably. I have a ridiculous amount of clothes, but probably only wear about 7 or 8 different outfits on a daily basis. I'm trying to sort out a bunch of stuff to sell on Ebay, but there's so many things I'm reluctant to part with even though I never wear them. I would love to be the kind of person who has a capsule wardrobe and is able to dress nicely with minimal effort, but sadly I don't think that will ever be me! Even though I have plenty of stuff to wear I always feel like I just don't like any of it and always get the urge to go shopping for more. Arrrgh!

Aside from that, this week has been fairly quiet. I feel like I am so boring these days! Next week a few of my friends are coming to visit so hopefully I'll have a little bit more to report back on in the next Sunday Summary!

How has your week been?

Gillian x

Review: NARS Orgasm Blush

7.2.13

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NARS Blush in Orgasm // £21.50

I'm sure this product needs no introduction as it's a bit of a cult favourite. I've never really been a big fan of blush, but lately I've been more and more interested in cheek products for some reason, so when I spotted this NARS blush in the shade Orgasm on Buyapowa for a few pounds cheaper than normal, I decided it was time to invest.

The blush is a really pretty peachy-pink colour with subtle gold shimmer running through it. It does look quite shimmery in the pan, but when applied it doesn't look over-the-top at all - just a nice, natural glow. Plus it means you don't really need to bother with a highlighter! Blushes which are leaning towards more peachy tones tend to suit me better than bright pinks, so this is the perfect shade for me.

This is the first NARS blush I've used, but it's such a gorgeous and good quality product, so I can see why they're so popular. The blush is really soft and pigmented, so it's really easy to work with. I've been using the Real Techniques Blush Brush to apply the blush, and it seems to pick up the perfect amount of product to give my cheeks a nice rosy glow. Before using it, I was worried that the blush might be too pigmented and would end up being too bright on my skin, but that's not the case at all - it's actually quite a subtle shade but can be easily built up for a more colourful look. The photo above is how I would normally wear it in the daytime, but if I was going on a night out I would apply a little bit more to end up with a brighter finish.

£20 is on the more expensive side for blush, but I honestly think it's worth paying a little bit extra for a product that you really love. I'd much rather buy one high end product which I use all the time, than three or four "drugstore" ones which I'm not that impressed with and usually get shoved to the back of a drawer and never used again. Maybe it's a sign I'm getting old?! Orgasm is such a lovely everyday shade, so I think I will definitely be getting my money's worth.

Have you tried NARS Orgasm Blush?

Gillian x

Outfit: Black Lace

5.2.13

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Dress: Lashes of London*
Earrings: Matalan
Shoes: New Look

I do love a good skater dress. Even better if there's some lace involved. This 'Cartona' dress from Lashes of London combines a few of my favourite things and is a very welcome addition to my going-out wardrobe. I wore this outfit recently for a much-needed catch up with some friends - along with a big jacket as it is still freeeeezing! The underneath layer is a luminous neon pink which is a colour I would definitely avoid on it's own, but with the black lace over the top it tones it down a bit and it ends up looking more like a bright red. I love that it manages to look bright and colourful but at the same time still quite "black" so it's not too far out of my comfort zone. The only thing I'm not so keen on is how short the underneath layer is - it barely covers my bum - but a pair of tights help to solve this problem. The dress is a total bargain at the moment too, it's only £15 reduced from £50!

The last time I was in Matalan, I had a gift voucher to spend and needed a few extra pounds to make up the total, so picked up these earrings on the way to the till. I like how they're quite simple but striking, and they're very different to any other earrings I own. Most of the time I forget to put in any earrings, but lately I've been making an effort for nights out to work my way through my drawer full of jewellery. I think one of the reasons I always forget about earrings is because I never wear my hair up so you can't even see them most of the time anyway!

I took some photos of my shoes to include in this post, but when I looked at the pictures on my computer the shoes looked properly disgusting so I thought I'd better not upload them haha. They have definitely been well worn! I also have a really bad habit of wearing peep-toe heels with tights, usually I don't notice because I've already had a few drinks by the time I put my shoes on and it's always dark in clubs so no-one's going to notice my shoes anyway, right?! Looking at the photos, it does look a bit weird though, think I will have to invest in a pair of closed-toe heels to become my new going-out shoes!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #58

3.2.13

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1.Hangover cures 2.Q&A a Day journal 3.Absolut Mango 4.Nutella croissants for breakfast 5.Fifty Random Facts About Me

Hello! How has your week been? Mine has been fairly boring, which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in Sunday Summary posts these days! Almost everything I've done has been uni-related which is a bit rubbish. I've got a few birthday nights out/catch ups with friends/pals visiting over the next few weeks so I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Now that I'm fully settled back into my usual (boring) routine I've had some more time to start doing Youtube videos again. I quite like doing videos, but they're so much more time consuming than blogging - no idea how the "big" Youtubers manage to have multiple channels which they update every day! This week, I've uploaded a Recent Puchases video, as well as the 50 Random Facts one above, and I've got a January Favourites ready to be edited and uploaded soon, so remember to subscribe to my channel if you'd like to keep up-to-date. I've also started watching Youtube videos on my phone when I'm getting ready in the mornings, any recommendations of channels I should subscribe to to keep me entertained?

I really don't need any more notebooks/journals/diaries, but when I spotted the Q&A a Day 5 Year Journal on Amazon I couldn't resist. Each page has a question for every day of the year, and a space to write down your answer for the next five years. I thought it was a really nice idea and it will be interesting to see how things change over the next 5 years (although, it's a little bit terrifying that I'll be 27 by the time it's finished). Some of the questions are straightforward ones like "How late did you sleep?" but some are a little more abstract like "Write down the cure for a broken heart". Loving this little book! Have you bought any cute stationery recently? I really shouldn't buy any more, but a girl can never have too many notebooks, right?

Well, I'm off for a fun-filled afternoon of replying to emails - what are your plans for today?

Gillian x