Sunday Summary #153


1.Tiny earrings 2.Cocktails in Glasgow 3.Mulled cider at the Christmas market 4.Die Hard at the Cameo 5.Wrapping 6.Christmas party ready 7.Christmas dinner 8.Presents 9.Winter sky

So, I think it's Sunday, right? It's got to that point where days of the week have lost all meaning. I've been at home in Aberdeenshire since Christmas Eve, drinking as much wine and eating as much food as possible. I'm heading back down to Edinburgh tomorrow for Hogmanay, and then I'm sure normal blogging service will resume after that. Things have been a little quiet on here recently due to a combination of being busy and lazy, so I thought I'd do a bumper Sunday Summary post today to catch up on this month's happenings before the year ends.

There have been cocktails aplenty over the last few weeks, with a little festive masterclass courtesy of G&V Royal Mile Hotel, and a catch up with a few of the blogging ladies over French Martinis in Horton's. I can hardly believe it was around this time three years ago I went along to my first ever blogger meet up - it seems like a lifetime ago! It has been truly lovely to meet and become friends with lots of amazing ladies over the last few years, all thanks to blogging. If nothing else, they're great for ranting to about Twitter and Youtuble drama because literally no one else in my life cares about that.

Laura and I got ourselves into the festive spirit with a recent trip to the Edinburgh Christmas market, where we ate venison burgers, drank mulled cider and wandered round all the stalls. Despite the fact that Christmas markets up and down the country are filled with the exact same crap, it wouldn't quite feel like Christmas without a trip to the market, would it? Afterwards, we headed over to the Cameo cinema so I could introduce Laura to my favourite "Christmas" film, Die Hard. It was AWESOME. I really need to make more effort to go to the cinema on a regular basis, especially the Cameo - watching old films on the big screen is much more exciting than on your laptop, which is probably balanced on your pillow as you wait for Netflix to stop buffering, surrounded by empty sweetie wrappers... or is that just me?

Last weekend was Lianne's annual Christmas party so I dug out my red lipstick, a suitably sequinned Chritmas jumper and headed round with a bottle of wine. It was lovely to have one last catch up with Lynsey, Roisin, Iona and Kirsty before we all headed off home for Christmas. We filled up on mulled cider and Lianne's festive nibbles (those ham & cheese twists - aaamaazing!), and there may even have been a party game or two. The next day (surprisingly hangover-free), Laura and I had our "flat Christmas". We made a roast dinner, exchanged presents and then spent the evening napping on the sofa, wine glasses in hand.

Sine I've been home, there's not been much to report - I've spent my mornings sleeping, my afternoons reading books, and my evenings drinking wine and helping to make (read: eat) lots of food. Apart from a trip out for lunch yeterday, I haven't even left the house since I got here on Wednesday so I think my choice to pack 99% pyjamas was a good one.

Hope you've had an excellent Christmas and are looking forward to New Year.

Gillian x

Mixtape: December


December Mixtape · via Spotify

Sick of too much Slade and Cliff Richard on the radio? Here are some suitably indie Christmas tunes to get you in the festive spirit. This year's mixtape features a selection of covers, original Christmas songs and wintery tunes, as well as my all-time fave festive song by The Raveonettes. It has definitely featured on a past December mixtape but I couldn't help sneaking it in again this year! You can have a listen to my December 2013 and December 2012 mixtapes over on Spotify for plenty of seasonal joy to tide you over for the next week or two.

Eels · Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
The Shins · Wonderful Christmastime
Great Lake Swimmers · Hang a String of Lights
The Raveonettes · The Christmas Song
Fruit Bats · It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas
Slow Club · Christmas TV
Fleet Foxes · White Winter Hymnal
The Civil Wars · I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Regina Spektor · My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)
Andrew Bird · Auld Lang Syne
Listen to "December" here.

What are your favourite Christmas tunes?

Gillian x

Top 5: Things To Do In Edinburgh This Winter


top 5 things to do in edinburgh this winter
1. Festive Cocktail Masterclass at G&V
G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD
Get yourself in the holiday spirit by learning how to make some wintery cocktails at one of the city's top boutique hotels. Last week I headed along to sample the masterclass for myself, and discovered the secrets behind three of G&V's most popular winter cocktails, the classic Charlie Chaplin, a festive Christmas Flip and the Old Scots Pine from the current A/W cocktail menu. We were in good hands with Bar Manager Matt and I picked up lots of new tips for making my own cocktails at home. Even if you don't fancy a masterclass, I'd definitely recommend heading to the G&V bar to enjoy some unique cocktails from the seasonal menu. More info: Mixology Masterclasses at G&V.

2. Christmas Burgers at Burger
Burger, 94a Fountainbridge, EH3 9QA
Sick of turkey dinners? For a twist on the traditional Christmas lunch, head to Burger to feast on their festive menu instead. If you're looking for somewhere for a last-minute work do, you can book yourself in for a 3 course meal - or if you fancy stopping by with your pals for a quick bite to eat, all the Christmas burgers are available on the current specials menu. Recently, I rounded up a few of my blogging babes and we had a festive catch up over burgers, hotdogs and fries. I opted for the Christmas Katsu burger which came topped with cranberry chilli sauce, stir fried sprouts, chipolatas and red wine jus. Delish! More info: Burger Christmas Specials.

3. The Nutcracker with Scottish Ballet
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson Street, EH8 9FT
Forget the panto this year and head to the theatre to see Scottish Ballet's production of The Nutcracker instead. As always, Scottish Ballet have done a fantastic job of putting together a beautiful production; everything is stunning from the choreography to the music to the sets to the costumes. I went along to watch the dress rehearsal on Friday and was mesmerised by the whole thing. Reimagining Peter Darrell's classic version of The Nutcracker, this production is perfect for adults and children alike, emphasising the magical escapism of childhood imagination. The Nutcracker is on at the Festival Theatre until the 3rd January and then it's doing a little tour covering Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle. More info: Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker.

4. Shop Local at Made From Scotland (& More!)
Made From Scotland Pop-Up Shop, 115-117 Rose Street, EH2 3DT
If you haven't finished off your Christmas shopping already, Edinburgh has lots of fantastic independent shops where you can pick up something a little bit different. Cheeky bit of self-promotion here, but I'd wholeheartedly recommend checking out the Made From Scotland Pop-Up on Rose Street before we close on the 23rd December, where you'll find lots of homeware, jewellery, accessories, prints and gifts from independent Scottish designers. Other great spots for Christmas shopping include the Red Door Gallery for prints & art, Black Box for jewellery, Godiva Boutique for vintage clothes & accessories, The Brotique for manly things and Paper Tiger for cards & stationery.

5. Christmas Films at the Cameo Cinema
Cameo Cinema, 8 Home Street, EH3 9LZ
Isn't there just something pretty great about watching old films in the cinema? Head along to the Cameo this winter to catch a showing of one of your favourite Christmas movies - there are lots to choose from, whether you love classic tales or something a little bit different. My top picks include Die Hard (best "Christmas" film ever, no?), Elf (a modern classic) and Home Alone (merry Christmas ya filthy animals). Just add a Christmas jumper, a bucket of popcorn and prepare yourself for a couple of hours of festive fun. More info: Christmas films at Cameo.

Any top tips for other things to do in Edinburgh this winter?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #152


1.Helter skelter 2.Neon satchels at the Cambridge Satchel Company Pop-Up 3.Roast dinner 4.Desk stuff

I'm feeling pretty festive this weekend, even though it doesn't really feel like there are only a couple of weeks left until Christmas. Yesterday afternoon Laura and I put up the Christmas tree in the flat (after only just taking down the last of the Halloween decorations last week...), followed by a festive roast dinner. I'm going to send my Christmas cards this week - all three of them - and will no doubt be doing bits and pieces of Christmas present shopping. I think it'll soon be time to break out the Christmas bed sheets too!

On Friday evening I headed along to the Cambridge Satchel Company's new pop-up shop in Edinburgh for some drinks, a catch up with my blogging pals, and a look round the new store. I had already been in a couple of weeks before, when I treated myself to a beautiful purple batchel. I've been admiring Cambridge Satchel Company bags for years online, but this was the first time I'd seen them in the flesh. As well as the George Street pop-up in Edinburgh, there's also one through in Glasgow at the moment so it's definitely worth stopping by if you've been eyeing one up and want to get a feel for them first! After the event, Laura and I wandered along George Street looking for somewhere for dinner but everywhere was fully booked so we ended up walking back to one of my faves, Passorn, for some delicious Thai food and lots of wine.

Aside from a wee midweek takeaway with some pals, the rest of this week has been fairly quiet as I've just been busy with work. I have a feeling things will be pretty hectic at the Made From Scotland Pop-Up Shop over the next couple of weeks (plus there are numerous Christmas lunches, dinners, drinks and catch ups planned) so I'm looking forward to being able to relax for a little bit once the Christmas holidays do actually arrive!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Reading Lately #4


1.Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I'm a big Amy Poehler fan so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of her recently released first book, Yes Please. Rather than a traditional autobiography, it's written as more of a collection of little stories and recollections interwoven with old pictures, snippets of scripts and skits, weird little poems and the occasional chapter written by friends or family. It's an easy and quick read, and felt a little bit like having a rambly conversation with one of your pals. Whilst Yes Please wasn't as hilariously funny as I thought it was going to be, I did enjoy it - although I probably wouldn't recommend it if you're not already a fan of Amy as I don't think it would come across quite as endearing and witty if you're not familiar with her (plus there are lots of stories about Saturday Night Live and Parks & Recreation).

2.Regeneration by Pat Barker
Ever since writing my MSc dissertation, I've been a little obsessed with all things to do with World War One. So, a novel which combines the war AND my fave city Edinburgh is pretty much my ideal book. Set in Craiglockhart War Hospital in 1917, the novel centres around psychiatrist Dr Rivers as he tries to deal with the strains of treating an overwhelming number of young men suffering from "shell-shock". Based on real people and real events, Regeneration weaves together fact and fiction; one thread of the story involves the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen who were patients at Craighlockhart for part of the war. The novel describes the horrors of war and the indelible affect it had on an entire generation in a brutal, vivid and honest way. I thought Barker was particularly good at writing characters, giving each one a unique voice and emphasising the human cost of the war. There are two more books in the Regeneration Trilogy for me to read, and they are top of my reading list at the moment!

3. The Rental Heart and Other Fairy Tales by Kirsty Logan
It has been quite a few months since I read The Rental Heart, but I had to include it in this post because I LOVED it. A collection of twenty short stories based on the themes of lust and loss, this little book is enchanting, dark, ethereal and just pretty lovely. Some of the stories are more traditionally fairytale-like than others, but all have a sense of something surreal and magical about them. My favourite of the short stories was the first one, from which the book's title is taken, about a world where mechanical hearts are bought and sold. This book probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I would definitely recommend it if you fancy reading something beautifully written and a little bit different.

What have you been reading lately?

Gillian x