Mixtape: January


January Mixtape · via Spotify

January is almost over already, how is this possible? Anyway, here are some tunes I've been listening to over the last few weeks. As usual it's a bit of a mix of old favourites and recent discoveries.

Voxtrot · The Start of Something
Blondie · Atomic
Cheap Girls · Sleeping Weather
Spoon · I Turn My Camera On
Talking Heads · Psycho Killer
The Decemberists · Rox in the Box
Hozier · Take Me To Church
Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room · On Monday
Idlewild · As If I Hadn't Slept
The Strokes · 12:51
Listen to "January" here.

What have you been listening to this month?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #155


1.Kitten friends 2.New apron 3.Dinner at the Scran & Scallie 4.Little cat nose 5.Catching up at Las Iguanas 6.New bag 7.Homemade curry feast 8.Brunch at The Blackbird 9.Yo Sushi 10.Courgetti 11.Reading material 12.Banksy? Seems legit

I didn't quite get round to writing a Sunday Summary last weekend, so here's a little catch up of what I've been up to lately. As usual, most of it involves food. I've been pretty good at menu planning and trying out some new recipes lately (aided by my new '50s housewife apron from Etsy), like the Pinterest-tastic courgetti, and a homemade curry night with butter chicken, carrot & peanut raita, honey chilli potatoes and naan bread. Delish! Of course, I have had a couple of meals out too. Yesterday evening, Laura and I were down in Stockbridge (more on that in a minute) so decided to try out The Scran and Scallie whilst we were there. The food definitely lived up to expectations, I'll be going back ASAP! We tucked into fish & chips and steak pie, followed by the tastiest vanilla & rhubarb cheesecake I've ever eaten. Earlier in the week I headed along to Las Iguanas for a long overdue catch up with some of my blogging pals and we took advantage of the midweek cocktail deals. Also in food news, last weekend saw a trip to Yo Sushi to combat mid-shopping spree hunger, and brunch at my favourite hangout The Blackbird. This was actually the first time I'd had brunch there, and I can confirm that the French toast with bacon & maple syrup is most excellent.

So, I mentioned we'd been in Stockbridge and the reason was to visit the brand new cat café, Maison de Moggy. Cat café! Basically, you pay your entry fee and then spend an hour or two hanging out with a bunch of cats. I'm not really the biggest cat fan in the world, but it was a pretty fun thing to do just for the novelty of it - and I have also now decided I want a bengal cat after falling in love with cheeky little Marcel and Phillipe. You can find Maison de Moggy at 26 Hamilton Place for the next few months, then it will be moving on to another location in Edinburgh.

Aside from a couple of cinema trips (to see Birdman and The Theory of Everything) and some shopping (hello new Accessorize bag and some makeup I really don't need), things have been fairly quiet. I'm using this terrible weather as a great excuse to stay in and read lots of books, watch lots of Netflix and eat lots of snacks.

What have you been up to lately?

Gillian x

Simply Be Real: A Very Marilyn Moment


I think we've all had at least one "Marilyn moment". When you live in blustery Edinburgh, it tends to happen on a weekly basis, but there's one in particular that sticks in my mind. It didn't involve a subway grate and a white halterneck, but I'm pretty sure I could've given Ms Monroe a run for her money. Plus, the very talented Erica Sharp has immortalised my embarrassment in beautiful illustrated form, as part of the #SimplyBeReal campaign.

Picture the scene: an unseasonably balmy May evening, a table at Pizza Express with my name on it (I did warn you about the lack of Hollywood glamour, didn't I?). I donned my favourite black skater dress - a little Warehouse number with a pleated skirt and a flash of jade green - and a slick of red lipstick, deciding to forgo a jacket due to the early summer sunshine. I skipped down the stairs and out onto the street, and almost immediately I realised my mistake. Sunshine doesn't mean anything when it's also blowing a gale. A warm breeze whipped round my ankles, dishevelled my hair and, of course, blew my skirt up around my waist. Desperately trying to hold down the pleated skirt of my dress, I slunk round the corner to the bus stop as quickly as I could. Unfortunately for me, the next bus wasn't due for another 5 minutes and unfortunately for the rest of the bus stop queue, the clientele of the chip shop opposite, and all the post-rush hour passers-by this meant 5 minutes of me hopping around and flashing my pants to all and sundry. I tried gracefully holding down my dress with my arms by my sides, Marilyn stylee. I tried wrapping my dress tightly around my legs in a strange makeshift bodycon defence against the weather. I tried sitting on the bus shelter seat, bag firmly on lap, but even that didn't help. I've never been so glad to see a number 11 bus in my entire life.

And the point of this cautionary tale? Fashion is usually a disaster. I'm sure you all have your own Marilyn moment. Or a ketchup stain on clean blouse moment. Or a toilet roll stuck to new stiletto heels moment. Or a laddering your tights as you jump in the taxi moment. But it's fine, we're all in this together. None of us are perfect, and you can bet your bottom dollar there's a whole SD card filled up with outtakes from any "outfit of the day" blog post you read. These silly little mishaps just make it all the sweeter when you get it right. You know, the looking like an absolute babe whilst secretly wearing Bridget Jones pants moments? Those. Simply Be are celebrating all these real moments with their #SimplyBeReal campaign and have been matching up bloggers with talented illustrators to bring these moments to life. I'm in love with Erica's illustration and I'd like to think I looked half as glamorous as that during my real life Marilyn moment! You can check out the other ladies over on the #SimplyBeReal page.

What's your biggest fashion mishap?

Gillian x

Watching Lately #12


1. Peep Show
A bit of a cult classic, Peep Show is one of those programmes I've caught odds and ends of over the years but never really watched properly. Over the last few weeks I've been working my way through it, and although I wouldn't put it up there as one of my favourite TV series of all time, it is pretty funny and great for half an hour of entertainment before I go to bed. Peep Show follows flatmates Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) as the dysfunctional pair attempt to navigate their way through everyday life. They're both weirdos, but in a very ordinary way, and it's sometimes a bit worrying how much I can relate to Mark (I too have very little to say to my closest friends).

2. They Came Together
I hadn't heard of this film until it popped up on my Netflix homepage, but it took about 5 seconds between reading "Amy Poehler & Paul Rudd" and deciding to watch it. A satirical take on the ever-popular rom-com, They Came Together pokes fun at all the predictable, formulaic elements which make up the majority of romantic movies; think of it as the Scary Movie of the romance world. It's never going to win any awards, but its silly, slapstick style of humour makes it an easy watch and there are some genuinely funny moments in amongst the more tired old gags. Molly (Poehler) is a cutesy, ditzy sweet shop owner who is struggling to keep her business afloat because of a huge corporate candy business moving in across the street. Joel (Rudd) works for said evil corporation and they end up hating each other before falling in love and... I'm sure you can see where this is going. The film has pretty terrible reviews on Netflix but I think that's because the sort of people who leave Netflix reviews are a bit stupid and don't understand that this is meant to be a spoof (surely the name alone is a bit of a giveaway...?!) If you don't take it too seriously, it's definitely worth a watch!

3. Dinner Date
Dinner Date is my ultimate guilty pleasure TV show. It's terrible and I love it. It's sort of a cross between Come Dine With Me and Blind Date, and I highly suggest watching it on ITV Be whilst you're eating your dinner every weekday. In each episode, one singleton has to choose three menus they like the sound of, then over the next three nights they go round to the house of each menu's creator for a blind date. At the end, they pick the date they liked the best and then they get to go on a proper date in a restaurant. It's great for many reasons, mostly because: the people are always weird and awkward; everyone seems to dress like it's 2003; usually at least one of the dates say "I have never cooked a proper meal before". At the end they do a little update of what's happened one month on, and my favourite update so far was along the lines of "she chose #3, they exchanged numbers but never met up again. The week after, she went on a date with #2 instead". BRILLIANT.

4. Birdman
Last week I went to the cinema to see Birdman, which features Michael Keaton as a washed up Hollywood star trying to prove himself as a serious Broadway actor at the same time as struggling with his own personal problems. Whilst this is technically a very good film with good performances and good production and all that, I just found it a little bit... boring? I'm not sure that's the right word, but it just seemed to be lacking something for me. I did enjoy the slightly dark comic relief brought by Edward Norton's character, but overall I just found myself waiting for something more to happen and it never really did. Reading up on it after watching, I did quite like the idea that some critics have put forward that it's a modernised retelling of Macbeth, with Keaton's Riggan as Macbeth and his Birdman alter-ego as Lady Macbeth. Interesting!

5. The Theory of Everything
I haven't been to the cinema in months, then two trips in one week... madness! Yesterday Laura and I went to see The Theory of Everything which tells the story of Stephen Hawking's relationship with wife Jane, beginning in 1960s Cambridge with him as a PhD student. The whole thing was beautifully filmed and I loved the costumes, especially in the early section of the film with all those sixties dresses and perfectly coiffed hairdos. The story, which covers the couple's 30 year marriage, manages to be both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time with the themes of love and endurance nestled inbetween the frustrations and impossibilities of everyday life. The film reminded me a lot of A Beautiful Mind which used to be a favourite of mine, will need to give it a rewatch soon!

6. Tabloid
I had vaguely heard of the story of Joyce McKinney but didn't really know much about it before watching Tabloid. In this documentary, McKinney herself is interviewed - along with other people involved in the case - to uncover the "truth" (and I use that term loosely) behind the bizarre woman who was briefly a tabloid sensation in the late seventies. Accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a young Morman man, former beauty queen McKinney claimed it was all for love and the events reported in the newspapers at the time were exaggerated or entirely fabricated. The documentary looks at McKinney's warped relationship with the press over the years and even by the end you can't quite decide if she's a victim of tabloid manipulation or if she herself is the fame-hungry manipulator. Either way, it's a very bizarre story (which just gets weirder with the introduction of cloned puppies...) and fascinating viewing.

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #154


1.New Year drinks 2.New cookbooks 3.Mantelpiece 4.Friday's face 5.Snow

Happy Sunday folks! I'm afraid I haven't got too much to report in this week's Sunday Summary as life has been fairly boring lately. Very nice, but definitely a bit boring. Not that I'm complaining - I do rather enjoy sleeping until lunchtime, playing The Sims and reading books snuggled up on the sofa!

Last weekend my best pal was visiting and after a late lunch at the new Yo Sushi on Princes Street, we decided we'd rather continue eating rather than have a proper night out so we booked a table at Cafe Andaluz for dinner. Of course there were some drinks involved and we headed for a few pints at Cloisters before bed time. Very civilised and grown up of us! Thankfully this meant we were hangover-free for a trip to Ikea the next day, and Laura and I bought aaalll the thinggssss for our flat. New bar cart, check! Lots of candles, check! Picture frames for our soon-to-be gallery wall, check! And of course we finished the shopping trip off with a huge plate of meatballs and chips at the Ikea cafe. YAS.

After that, I don't think I left the flat again until Thursday when I had to venture out for essential food supplies. God, isn't my life so exciting? The weather has been pretty horrible this week though, so I think I'm justified in choosing to hibernate as much as possible. Aside from a lovely little trip to Secret Arcade on Friday night, this weekend has been very quiet too and I'm planning to spend the rest of this evening lounging on the sofa.

Please tell me your lives are just as boring as mine?!

Gillian x

Be Your Own Girl


be your own girl
As is part of the Rules of January, my dashboard is full up with posts about resolutions, goals and advice - and you know what? I just can't be bothered. I know advice and rules work wonders for some people, but for me it just fills me with "you're not my mother, you can't tell me what to do"-related feelings. So, I'm here to give you some non-advice. I know you know this already, but it's okay to do whatever you want.

Be your own girl (or boy, or whatever else you fancy). Life is so much better when you stop caring so much about what other people think. Be selfish, take care of yourself and do whatever makes you happy. Thrive on your own strengths and make peace with your weaknesses, whatever they may be. Get rid of toxic friendships or boys who make you feel bad about yourself. Write self-indulgent blog posts and post endless selfies on Instagram if you think you look good. Wear whichever clothes you want to, and do your makeup however you like. Hate the things everyone else likes and like the things everyone else hates, if you want to.

Take all those annoying Pinterest quotes and shove them you-know-where. If you want to compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter twenty, do it. If you want to feel a bit sad because you're in your twenties and you don't have your shit together, do it. Allow yourself time to wallow as well as time to be happy.

Life-wise, live in a way that makes you content and safe and happy to wake up every morning. Blog-wise, write in a way that you're proud of and want to read back on yourself, even if no one else is reading. Career-wise, work in a way that gives you whatever you need, whether that be money, security or happiness. Take all advice, even this, (probably especially this) with a pinch of salt.

Do all these things, or don't; everything is completely and utterly up to you.

Gillian x