Sunday Summary #151

30.11.14

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1.Globes at Anthropologie 2.Rose Street's Christmas lights 3.Cambridge Satchel Company Pop-Up Shop 4.Dinner at Just Burgers and Beers 5.Sunset 6.Sushi at Harajuku Kitchen

This week started off with a wee bit of shopping at Anthropologie. I went in to get one of their Gold Monogram Mugs and spent pretty much my whole lunch hour wandering round sighing at how beautiful everything was. If only I had unlimited funds, those beautiful globes would definitely be mine! I also popped in to the new Cambridge Satchel Company Pop-Up Shop on George Street for a browse earlier this week. I was desperately in need of a new bag anyway, plus I had some birthday money to spend, so I treated myself to one of the Batchels in bright purple. Beaauuuutiffulllll I lovveeee ittttt.

On Wednesday evening I went along to a blogger event at Just Burgers and Beers to hear all about Dune Surfer beer. Dune Surfer is a desert beer which is designed to be refreshing, flavourful and light. At only 2% ABV and 60 calories per bottle, it's great for "urban nomads who are always up for what’s next" - it'll keep you refreshed whilst you're out on adventures or being active. Of course, if (like me) dune surfing is something that's probably never going to happen for you, I can confirm that it's a great beer to enjoy with some burgers too! It's infused with acai and goji berries so it has a really lovely unique taste, and the low alcohol percentage means you can have a few on a weeknight without worrying about the hangover the next day. I went for the spicy Anna Nicole Smith burger and Dune Surfer was the perfect refreshing accompaniment - both on its own and in the cocktail concoction we tried. Thanks to Just Burgers and Beers for having us, and I'd definitely recommend heading along for a bottle of Dune Surfer soon!

I had planned on doing absolutely nothing this weekend, but on Saturday afternoon I decided to drag myself out of my pyjamas and Laura and I had a wander round Rose & Ammi Flowers. I wanted to get some wee plants for my desk, and after much deliberation settled on a couple of cacti and succulents to add a bit of greenery to the room. Afterwards we stopped off at The Blackbird for some afternoon drinks (and chips, sshhhhh) and I spent most of the time having a breakdown as there were THREE dogs in there enjoying an afternoon pub sesh. They all made friends with each other and it was TOO CUTE. Once I'd recovered from that, we headed a couple of doors along the road for dinner at Harajuku Kitchen. We shared some sushi as a starter which was yum, but the real highlight were the main courses. I opted for the Beef Tataki which was the most beautiful seared tenderloin in a citrusy ponzu sauce. Delisssshhhh. Laura was equally impressed with her Teriyaki Chicken. After we'd finished off our wine, we headed into town to meet some of Laura's friends who were visiting for the weekend. We spent the evening at the Christmas Market sipping mulled cider, before heading for a couple of cocktails at Bar Soba to end the night. A pretty lovely Saturday considering I was planning to just lie on the sofa and watch X Factor!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Mixtape: November

29.11.14


November Mixtape · via Spotify

Ahhh, thank you Spotify Radio for existing! This month has been all about The Shins radio channel for listening to whilst I'm at work. It's great because it plays me songs I like, but I don't have to go to the effort of making playlists or choosing what I want to listen to that day. Plus, I've discovered a few new tunes this way, like When U Love Somebody by Fruit Bats which is a definite contender for current favourite song.

A week or so ago I managed to nab a couple of tickets for the Foo Fighters gig at Murrayfield in the summer. They've been a regular on my playlists ever since One by One came out (just looked this up, and that was 12 YEARS AGO?!) so I'm very much looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. I used to be such an avid gig-goer but this has fallen to the wayside over the last few years - I'm determined to make more of an effort and find out what's on rather than hearing about a gig after it's happened and thinking "aww, I should've gone to that".

Bishop Allen · Crows
Deer Tick · Twenty Miles
Foo Fighters · Long Road To Ruin
George Ezra · Budapest
The Shins · Death Cream
The Decemberists · Down By The Water
Peter, Bjorn & John · Amsterdam
Fruit Bats · When U Love Somebody
Andrew Bird · Pulaski at Night
RHODES · Darker Side
Listen to "November" here.

What have you been listening to this month?

Gillian x

Wishlist: Winter at John Lewis

26.11.14

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Sick of gift guide posts yet? Yeah, me too. Don't worry though, this isn't a gift guide - more of a "you should buy me these things because I want them but you definitely won't so I'll probably buy them myself anyway". John Lewis has always been a favourite of mine for a browse, and it's especially good at this time of year when you want to get all your Christmas shopping (or Christmas wishlisting) done at once. A few weeks ago I went along to a press night introducing this year's Christmas collection and I came away with lots of ideas (mostly for myself). Look out for the Croft collection and the Copenhagen collection - think rustic, country style and chic, simple European influences, respectively. John Lewis are also selling real Christmas trees for the first time this year which I think is a great idea for city dwellers!

Gone are the days when my wishlists would be full of sparkly dresses and shoes I'd never wear; now I dream of mint KitchenAids and pretty marble cheeseboards. Yes, a cheeseboard. I saw an aaaamazing one in Anthropologie but even I couldn't justify £80 for a cheeseboard - however, this John Lewis version is almost as good and only £20. I also love the herringbone throw because you can never have too many blankets, and this one fits in with the new (well, in-progress) colour scheme for my living room. As for other home bits and pieces, I'm in the market for a new lamp for my desk and I really like the simple design of the Whitby lantern. It would look awesome with one of those vintage style filament bulbs that seem to be the in thing at the moment. The baby deer cushion needs no explanation, other than IT'S CUTE OK BYE.

I've had my eye on the new rhubarb Edinburgh Gin ever since it came out, and I'm desperate to try it. Their raspberry version is amazing, and I lovvvveee rhubarb so this will surely be right up my alley. Speaking of drinks, I couldn't resist the very Pinterest-worthy Mason jar cocktail shaker.

I really am in need of a new daily handbag, I've been looking for months and months but haven't found anything I like that's big enough to fit all my stuff in. I've heard the Michael Kors Selma is quite roomy, so this may end up being the one I go for. I like the navy version for something a little bit different to my usual black. Might as well get a new purse whilst I'm at it, and I really like this bright pink envelope style one from Paper Thinks. And finally, couldn't make a wishlist without include some makeup. YSL Rouge Volupté, one day you'll be mine!

What's on your wishlist at the moment?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #150

23.11.14

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1.Chimichangas 2.Steak at Kyloe 3.Stripes 4.Tapas feast

As usual, this week has been all about the food. Should probably change the name of these posts to "What I've Eaten This Week", eh? It all started off with a little trip to Chimichanga, which opened a few months ago on Queensferry Street. I always have fairly low expectations for chain restaurants, but the food here was pretty lovely. We opted for one of the sharing starters which included lots of good things like pulled pork quesadillas and tex-mex spring rolls, and then I had a steak chimichanga. The food was good, but the service left a little to be desired - the only time our waiter paid any attention to us was when he told me they had run out of Coke so I asked for water instead and he looked at me with absolute horror and tried to persuade me to have Sprite instead. Erm?!

Friday's dinner was a rather more classy affair as my flatmate Laura and I headed to Kyloe to treat ourselves to some steak and wine. Well, if we don't treat ourselves then no one else is going to, so why not? We both had sirloin steaks which were delisssssh, and the beef dripping chips were amazing - sort of a cross between chips and roast potatoes, you definitely need to order these if you're ever visiting Kyloe! It was pouring rain outside so it seemed like a wise choice to stay a little longer and order dessert whilst we waited for the rain to stop (...yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it) so I had a lovely salted caramel banoffee sundae. Feeling very full, we made our way home and spent the rest of the evening watching I'm A Celebrity. On that note, I've been well and truly sucked into I'm A Celeb this year, and I think Foggy is definitely the middle-aged man version of me.

Yet more eating and drinking was done on Saturday, as Lynne, Kirsty, Jade and a few more pals headed out to celebrate Laura's birthday. Our first stop was Cafe Andaluz on George Street for plate after plate of delicious tapas. Ahhhh, so good! Then it was time for cocktails at one of my faves, The Blackbird, where we spent the rest of the night until it was chucking out time.

Oh and also, in some exciting news, I've been nominated in EdinBlogger's 2014 Edinburgh Blog Awards! Yay! Thanks to whichever of you cheeky devils nominated me, and if you fancy voting for me in the Lifestyle category you can do so here.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Recipe: Brioche French Toast

21.11.14

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If there's one thing I've learnt whilst writing this post, it's that breakfast foods should be present at every meal. Other things I've learnt: French toast is very difficult to photograph prettily, and I should clean my George Foreman Grill more often. Those problems aside, this idea for French toast (or the infinitely more descriptive "eggy bread" as it was always called in my house) using brioche struck me when a loaf of Brioche Pasquier Sliced Brioche Loaf arrived in my latest Degustabox* delivery. Sweet, spongy brioche - which handily comes ready sliced - loaded with crispy bacon and maple syrup... what could be better for a weekend brunch? If you fancy trying out this easy recipe, here's how.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
4 slices Brioche Pasquier Sliced Brioche Loaf
2 eggs
50ml milk
4 rashers of bacon
Maple syrup to serve

Method:
1. Switch on your grill (or use a frying pan) and begin cooking your bacon whilst you prepare the French toast.
2. Add a little bit of butter to a frying pan and melt over a medium heat.
3. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk with a fork.
4. Dip each brioche slice in the egg mixture, coating well on both sides. Allow the egg to soak into the bread.
5. Add each slice to the frying pan (depending on the size of your pan, it's probably easiest to do two slices at a time) and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until golden brown and a little bit crispy on the outside.
5. Serve the French toast topped with the crispy bacon and a generous helping of maple syrup.

The brioche is great in this recipe as it adds a little bit of sweetness to the French toast and it soaks up the eggy-ness really well. Any excuse for bacon and maple syrup is good enough for me, but this would also be great served with bananas and golden syrup or some fresh berries if you prefer.

Don't forget to check out what else is in this month's Degustabox here!

Gillian x

Outfit: Winter is Coming

18.11.14

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Dress: H&M
Jacket: New Look*
Faux Fur Stole: H&M
Necklace: Kirsteen Stewart
Boots: DUO Boots*

Berry shades! Faux fur! Black lace! Gold things! All this can mean only one thing... winter is coming. Whilst daily outfits at this time of year usually consist of slouchy jumpers and old jeans, nights out in autumn and winter are the perfect excuse for a little bit of luxe. This H&M faux fur stole is a few years old and gets dug out of the wardrobe every November - it's a little bit ridiculous and I can't help but love it. With the rest of this outfit being fairly simple, I think it works well with my new Burgundy Crepe Blazer from New Look and it makes me feel a little bit faaaancy. Usually I stick to a black coat for winter, but I'm loving all the burgundies, reds, dark greens and greys from New Look's range of jackets and coats this year. Think I may need to add a couple more colourful jackets to my wardrobe ready for the cold weather!

A couple of weeks ago I went along to an event at the DUO Boots Edinburgh store. We got to find out all about DUO and get ourselves fitted to find the perfect pair of boots. Some ladies chose knee-high boots (and even a couple of over-the-knees), but I was firmly a member of the ankle boot tribe as soon as I laid eyes on these beautiful Sanna Boots. DUO offer a fantastic fitting service, with boots (and other shoes) available in narrow, regular and wide fit and up to 21 different calf sizes. No matter what style or size of boot you need, you're sure to find the perfect fit. My Sanna boots not only look nice, but they're also comfy and fairly practical too - although I'm not sure if suede was the most sensible of choices for the Scottish winter!

The black lace skater dress is another old favourite from H&M, and the necklace is a new favourite from Kirsteen Stewart. Working for madefromscotland.com and being surrounded by pretty things means I maaaay have bought quite a few new pieces of jewellery (and some homeware and gifts and cards and and and...) lately. This little Kirsteen Stewart number has quickly become my favourite everyday necklace. Unfortunately it's out of stock online at the moment, but if you're in Edinburgh head to our Pop-Up Shop at 115 Rose Street to pick one up for yourself!

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #149

16.11.14

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1.Hello 2.Book shopping in Waterstones 3.Sunset over George Street 4.Sunday morning reading

This week seems to have flown by pretty quickly, no doubt helped by the fact that I had Monday off work. Every week should be a four day week. Saying that, I didn't do anything particularly exciting with my day off and instead spent it clearing out my wardrobe and getting rid of a ridiculous amount of clothes I never wear. I've decided it's time to start being a grown up and rather than buying loads of stuff from Primark that I don't even like that much, I'm going to buy nice, fancy clothes but less often. A wee trip to French Connection and Oliver Bonas later, and I have a couple of lovely basic tops, a classic striped skater dress and some new statement jewellery. Yay!

I've been in a pretty spendy mood this week, and also ended up having a bit of a book binge in Waterstones after work on Friday. As well as a few different novels, I also bought myself Amy Poehler's new book, Yes Please. I've been favouring reading books in bed before I go to sleep rather than watching Netflix (what is happening to me?) so I think another Reading Lately post is long overdue. Have you read any good books lately which you'd recommend?

On Saturday afternoon Laura and I headed into town for a little mooch around, spending most of our time in Space NK. After wandering round the shop for the best part of an hour and swatching everything in sight, I treated myself to the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg. Ohhhh myyyy, it's a beauty. I've now got a £5 voucher to spend from my Space NK loyalty card, so no doubt I'll be back very soon to buy myself something else. It has to be done, right? After that, we headed over to the Angels Share for an early dinner. The food was pretty nice (mackerel & potato salad then mac & cheese for a tenner, yes please) but the service was a bit rubbish which definitely let it down. I'd been here for drinks at the bar before, but never for food in the restaurant area, and I think I'll just be sticking to cocktails at the bar from now on. On the walk home we stopped off at Frisky for some froyo, then headed back to flat to watch the Scotland v New Zealand rugby game.

Today has been a lazy day of reading, making French toast for brunch, catching up on blogs, replying to emails and lazing around on the sofa. Exciting weekend indeed! What have you been up to?

Gillian x

Today's Makeup #6: Bordeaux

11.11.14

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It seemed like I hadn't bought any new makeup in ages, then all at once my makeup bag filled itself up with lots of new goodies. My favourite of which has to be the b-e-a-u-tiful Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Bordeaux from the new Scotch on the Rocks collection. I went to the Bobbi Brown counter in Jenners a couple of weeks ago to get some concealer and corrector, and whilst I was there the counter lady tried out the Bordeaux lipstick on me. I was going to put it on my Christmas list but, erm, I ended up loving it so much that I just bought it there and then. Couldn't resist the autumny-wintery-red winey goodness! I though this lipstick would be perfect for Friday evening's birthday meal out, and paired it with some other new makeup which I've been loving lately.

For my base, I used my new Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 3. This was another impulse beauty counter purchase but it has definitely filled a little gap in my makeup bag. It's lovely and natural looking, lightweight, glowy and perfectly pale - yay! This is perfect as an everyday foundation as it doesn't look like you're wearing loads of makeup, but it does even everything out nicely. It's quite buildable too, so you can up the coverage for the evening if you need to. To keep things looking radiant, I opted for Lush's Feeling Younger Skin Tint which is my new favourite highlighter. It's creamy, blendable and has a beautiful rose gold sheen - use it as a cheekbone highlighter, mix it with foundation or use it as a glowing primer. As the lips are quite bold, I kept my cheeks nice and subtle with just a wee bit of Feeling Younger and a swipe of Revlon Bronzilla Bronzer.

To add a little something different to my usual black cat eyes, I used the Mary Kay Emerald Noir Palette* from the Midnight Jewels collection. This palette is gorgeous and I'm looking forward to experimenting with some forest green smokey eyes for Christmas time, but for now I just smudged a wee bit of the light green shadow along my bottom lashline for a pop of colour. This is the first time I've tried Mary Kay makeup, and I'm really impressed with these eyeshadows. They're creamy and blendable, and can be sheered out or built up depending on the look you're after. Finally, I finished off with a little bit of my favourite concealer and mascara, NARS Creamy Concealer in Vanilla and Benefit They're Real Mascara.

What new makeup have you been loving lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #148

9.11.14

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1.Grassmarket 2.Sparklers 3.Homemade Breaking Bad prints 4.Birthday cocktails at The Blackbird 5.Dinner at Martin Wishart 6.Rugby

After a super busy weekend, I'm very glad I've got tomorrow off work to recover - who knew celebrating your birthday was so exhausting?! It was my birthday on Friday (24 now, WEEP) so my parents came down to visit and we went out for a lovely meal at Restaurant Martin Wishart. We all opted for the tasting menu and had course after course of delicious food (not to mention a seeming endless supply of canapes, amuse bouches and palette cleansers) which included scallops, truffle risotto, halibut ceviche, langoustines and duck. Yum yum yum. If you're looking for somewhere to treat yourself for a special occasion, I would definitely recommend heading down to The Shore and eating at Restaurant Martin Wishart as the food, wine and service are all exceptional.

After many, many glasses of wine the night before, we were all feeling a bit sleepy on Saturday, but I headed in to town to meet my parents at lunchtime for a quick look at the madefromscotland.com Pop Up Shop, followed by something to eat and drink at The Kenilworth. We then meandered up the road, with a pit stop at The Hanging Bat of course, and got ourselves ready to walk over to Murrayfield for the Scotland v Argentina game. Despite the rain, I really enjoyed the game - mostly because we won. Nothing better than a wee bit of Flower of Scotland and a good game of rugby! After that, we had some dinner at Passorn which was delicious as always, then I headed off to bed for an early night.

This morning I managed to persuade my parents to take me to Ikea as I needed some new shelves for my bedroom (and about a million other things). I always love a trip to Ikea, even if it does mean getting up early on a Sunday morning. It seemed a little bit early for my usual Ikea treat of meatballs and chips, so I fueled up on a breakfast raspberry muffin instead then battled the crowds to stock up on shelves, storage boxes, wine glasses, candles, picture frames and erm, a little frog finger puppet. Why not? This afternoon was then spent building all the flatpack stuff, tidying the flat and attempting to put all the things in their new homes. I'm now crashed out on the sofa and am very much looking forward to getting into my bed tonight with a good book and some hot chocolate.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Gillian x

Edinburgh: Tempus Autumn Menu

6.11.14

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Last week, following a quick stop off at Jenners Beauty Hall after work (a couple of sneaky little purchases may have been made!), I headed along to George Street to meet up with some blogging pals and try out the new autumn menu at Tempus. You might remember Tempus from my Tempus Summer Menu post (can't believe that was a year and a half ago!) and I couldn't wait to go back. Once again, we settled in to one of the booths in the dining room and chatted away whilst we perused the menu.

First up, I chose the wild mushrooms with garlic on toasted sourdough bread. Garlic mushrooms are just the best, aren't they? Served with a wee bit of salad, and topped with parmesan shavings, this was the perfect light but tasty starter. For my main course I opted for the rump of lamb which was served with confit shallot, carrot and cumin puree and wilted spinach. Now, I must admit I was rather jealous of everyone else who chose the burger or fish and chips - my main was rather lacking in carbs! The hand cut chips looked amazing, so I would definitely recommend ordering a side of those as my poor little lamb was a bit sad and lonely on the plate by itself. The lamb was cooked really well, medium-rare as I had asked for, and I loved the confit shallot but I was still feeling hungry by the end due to the lack of tatties!

A smaller main course did, however, mean that I had plenty of room for dessert. I shared a "Taste of Scotland" dessert which consisted of chocolate fondant, honey ice cream, cranachan and fresh berries. I'm defintiely more of a starters person than a dessert person, but I really enjoyed this - especially the rich and gooey chocolate fondant with the delicately flavoured honey ice cream. Click here to see the full Tempus Dinner Menu.

Tempus is a great place for a catch up with friends as it's nice and central, the atmosphere is relaxed yet luxurious and the food is tasty. I can also vouch for the cocktails, order yourself one to sip whilst you decide what to order!

Have you been to Tempus?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #147

2.11.14

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1.Pumpkins 2.Happy Halloween 3.Autumn in Edinburgh 4.Wayne's World 5.Party time, excellent 6.Sunday treats

These photos are all looking rather autumnal, aren't they? I am loving the dark nights, rustling leaves and the nippy chill in the air. I'm snuggled up on the sofa just now, getting ready to wrap myself in blankets and watch a few solid hours of American Horror Story Coven (thanks Netflix!). Perf. Today has been a pretty perf day in general, despite not really planning to do anything. After a wee wander through the sunny Meadows, Laura and I went for a late brunch at Heller's Kitchen. After that we headed over to the Grassmarket and meandered round a few shops. The first stop was Godiva Boutique, where I treated myself to the Runaway Fox stag necklace which I've had my eye on for months. We then went over to Red Door Gallery and spent ages admiring all the beautiful prints - we're planning to start a gallery wall soon, and I'm sure we'll be back to snap up a few of the designs. Lindsey Brown has an exhibition on at Red Door at the moment and I loved her illustrations, particularly the wee raccoons. I was very tempted to buy the big print but settled for a card to put in a frame for the moment. The next port of call was Black Box Boutique where I bought myself a shiny little necklace by Wolf & Moon, and then we got ourselves a smoothie at Hula for the walk home. Laaaverly!

Friday was Halloween (aka my favourite time of year) and Laura and I went as Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World. Party time, excellent! Although our Halloween plans didn't go exactly as planned, we all had a good night dancing away to old tunes in Citrus Club. I (as always) got a bit over enthusiastic with the baking, so we're probably going to be eating pumpkin cake pops and ghost brownies for weeks!

There's not much else to report from this week as I've just been busy working. I've got a few days off next week so that will be good - although to be honest, I'll probably be spending them catching up on sleep and Netflix. Such an exciting life I lead! It's my birthday on Friday and my parents are coming down to visit for the weekend, so I'm looking forward to a couple of fancy dinners and a trip to see the rugby at Murrayfield.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x