Outfit: Classic Stripes

27.8.15

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Top: Joy
Jeans: New Look
Necklace: H&M
Bag: Oasis at House of Fraser*
Sunglasses: Rayban*
Shoes: Lotta from Stockholm

A rare spell of sunshine this weekend called for a day of exploring the neighbourhood, eating cupcakes and - shock horror - wearing open toed sandals! Seriously though, I think this is the first time this summer I've worn something other than ankle boots or ballet pumps. Not that I'm complaining, I can't wait for autumn... sorry summer fans. I'm currently trying to downsize my wardrobe so I have less stuff (but actually wear most of it), and this is one of those classic outfits which will always be a staple in my wardrobe. You really can't go wrong with a navy Breton striped top and a pair of skinny jeans, can you? This particular striped top is from Joy and, although it seems to be sold out at the moment, they also have a red version which is equally nice. I know this because Laura has the red one; we are apparently the sort of weirdos who wear matching clothes now, HIYA.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good black handbag for everyday use? I've been searching for mooooonths for one which is big but not too big, has plenty of zippy pockets and compartments, is simple but not too boring and can fit all my essentials in it (which often includes my laptop and camera). Well, Oasis have done it! Their Terri tote bag is perfect. There are so many compartments (yesssss) and plenty of room for all my stuff, but it still looks quite nice and compact for daily use. House of Fraser have a great selection of tote bags with lots of sizes, shapes and colours - but I knew as soon as I saw Terri she was the one for me!

With the wardrobe streamlining, I've discovered that the only colours I really wear are black, navy, grey and red. I'm all about the red accessories, like these clogs by Lotta from Stockholm. Aren't they lovely? I've had them for a couple of years but sadly haven't worn them all that much because the weather here is usually terrible. I'm quite tempted to get one of the closed toe Highwood pairs to wear with tights in the autumn.

What are your classic staple outfits?

Gillian x

Home Comforts

23.8.15

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August is always a busy month. There's the Fringe, of course, which seems to take up every spare evening and weekend. Then there's all the inevitable holidays, days out in the sun, birthday celebrations, after-work visits to beer gardens... you know how it is. As much as I love being busy with new things to do - cider in hand and some friends to catch up with - sometimes it's nice just to take a day off and spend some time by yourself. Curling up in a little cosy corner (because, let's face it, this summer has been more like autumn when it comes to the weather) with a book is one of my favourite ways to take a break from it all.

I'm slightly obsessed with blankets. Almost all visible surfaces in the living room are draped with blankets, so when The Tartan Blanket Co kindly offered to send me a new one for the collection I couldn't say no. I went for the Jacob Tartan Wool Blanket* which fits in perfectly with the neutral-yet-homely sort of theme we've got going on in the flat. The blanket is lovely and soft and perfectly cosy, ideal for snuggling up in front of the TV, or with your favourite book in your favourite chair. It's a bit of a bargain too at only £30 for a huge multi-purpose blanket which can be used as a throw, a picnic blanket, a bedspread or whatever else you fancy. Top it all off with a map cushion from John Lewis and what more could you need?

I don't read books nearly as much as I'd like to, mostly thanks to always being distracted by some Youtube videos to watch or a new blog post to read or the latest Netflix addition to binge. But, I love reading so lately I've been making more of an effort to switch off the computer and pick up a book instead. I've just finished Love Letters of the Great War which was just as beautiful and heartbreaking as you'd imagine. Ever since writing my master's dissertation on the First World War, I've been a little obsessed with the subject and a lot of the novels and books I've read over the last couple of years relate to it in some way. This collection of letters was beautifully put together and kind of made me wish I was back digging through the archives again... time for a PhD?! I've also been reading 365 Stories by James Robertson, a quirky little collection of short stories. Each story is 365 words long, and there's a story for each and every 365 days of the year. Another book which I'd wholeheartedly recommend is Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things which might just be my favourite novel of all time. The writing is enchanting and poetic and just, ughhhh, go read it!

What's your favourite way to spend a quiet afternoon at home?

Gillian x

Edinburgh: Indoor Picnic at Monboddo

11.8.15

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So, you've probably noticed that the weather this summer has been absolutely terrible. I think the last time there was a full day of sunshine suitable enough for a picnic was... erm, April? To make the best of a bad situation, the clever folks at Monboddo have devised an indoor picnic so you can enjoy all the best bits of outdoor dining without having to worry about getting rained on. A couple of weekends ago, they kindly invited me along to try out the indoor picnic package with a few other blogger chums.

First up was that British summertime staple, a glass of Pimms. We sipped our drinks and caught up on all the latest news: Lynne's wedding preparations; Kirsty's holiday chat; Laura's new job. We had a table right by the window so had a pretty lovely view of Edinburgh Castle (and there were actually some blue skies for a while!). The indoor picnic package includes a platter of mini BBQ picnic food with corn on the cob, mini burger sliders, baby baked potatoes and coleslaw. After the obligatory Instagram photos were taken, we all tucked in and it didn't take us long to demolish the platters. Each platter is shared between two people, so you get a decent wee selection of nibbles each.

Once we had finished our food, we perused the cocktail menu to choose the cocktails we fancied. As well as Pimms and food, the package also includes two sample cocktails (basically slightly smaller versions of the normal cocktails served in a flute rather than a big cocktail glass). I went for a Bramble and The Monboddo, a fresh gin concoction with pomegranate and passion fruit. We also got a sorbet which was made using the same flavours as the signature Monboddo cocktail - evidently I made a good choice with my drinks order!

The indoor picnic package is on every weekend (Thursday to Sunday) during August and is priced at £25 per person. It's quite pricey for a lunch, but it was a fun little experience so definitely worth it if you want to do something a bit special. I was kind of hoping there would be a dessert platter - some cupcakes or mini tarts would have been perfect for the picnic theme - as there wasn't an awful lot of food considering the price, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless. You can find out more about the picnic package and Monboddo's other offers here.

Will you be trying out an indoor picnic this summer?

Gillian x