Autumn Makeup Routine

24.9.15


So, I am rubbish at Youtube. I think I've done about four videos in the last year, but lately inspiration has struck and I'm going to attempt to be a bit more regular with my updates (well... maybe). Starting with a good ol' Autumn Makeup Routine featuring the obligatory dark burgundy lips. The lipstick is one of my absolute favourites from last year, and unfortunately for you it's a limited edition from Bobbi Brown's 2014 Christmas collection. Soz!

But everything else is standard makeup and features in my current daily makeup routine, including MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy which is my go-to lazy eye makeup when I can't be bothered with liquid liner cat flicks, and the combination of Benefit Gimme Brow and Anastasia Brow Wiz for brows on fleek.


Don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel for regular updates!

What's in your autumn makeup bag?

Gillian x

Watching Lately #14

22.9.15


So it seems I haven't written a Watching Lately post since April, say whaaaat. That doesn't mean I haven't been watching plenty of stuff, though, so this is just a wee selection of a few of the films and TV shows that have stuck in my mind from the past few months.

1. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Netflix recently released another original series, this time a prequel to cult film Wet Hot American Summer. A parody of all-American coming-of-age teen films, the original featured actors way too old to play their parts, exaggerated storylines and absurd jokes. Almost 15 years on, the vast majority of the original cast have returned for the series (including big names like Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper) which follows the "teenage" camp counsellors on their first day at summer camp in 1981. Whilst I do appreciate the satirical element of the show, it's just not as funny as I was hoping it would be. It's very silly and random and is not un-funny, but... meh, it just felt a bit too forced and obvious. I'm not sure whether I liked it or not. (A helpful review for you, I'm sure).

2. Creep
Starring only Mark Duplass as Josef and Patrick Brice as Aaron, Creep is a found-footage horror film which, despite its minimal cast, simple premise and sprinkling of dark humour, manages to create an extremely unsettling atmosphere. After responding to a Craigslist advert for a videographer, Aaron heads up to a remote cabin in the mountains to film a "day in the life" video for terminally ill Josef. But, all is not as it seems, and as the day progresses Josef changes from eccentric to weird to downright frightening. Although there are plenty of jump scares to put you on edge, it's really the unsettling (and very natural sounding) dialogue which amps up the creep factor. I'm not usually affected by horror films, but I can honestly say this one lives up to its name and it is probably the creepiest film I've ever seen. Creep is the first of a trilogy of films, and I am simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the next installment.

3. The Central Park Five
Focusing on the "Central Park Five", a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of brutally beating and raping a woman in New York in 1989, this documentary explores the story of their arrest, imprisonment and the subsequent overturning of their convictions after a serial rapist confessed to the crime 13 years later. Set against the backdrop of a manic 1980s New York City, rife with crime, drug problems and social and racial inequality, the story of these five young men is heartbreaking; the course of their entire adult lives was destroyed simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and then being forced by police into confessing to a crime which they did not commit. Interviews with the five men, along with family members, lawyers and journalists involved with the case, is interspersed with archive footage to uncover the failings of the legal system which looked to blame the "Five" simply because it was convenient. You can't help but feel moved by this story.

4. What We Did on Our Holiday
And now for something a little bit more light hearted! I wasn't expecting to like What We Did on Our Holiday at all - it seemed far too twee and family-friendly for my liking - but it was surprisingly enjoyable. Starring David Tennant and Rosamund Pike as a recently separated couple, they decide to keep this a secret from their extended family during a trip to Scotland for the family patriarch's birthday. But, of course, with three young children in tow it's hard to keep it secret for long and things become increasingly strained - especially when the children somehow manage to set their recently deceased grandfather (Billy Connolly) on fire and send him out to sea (no, seriously). Harriet Turnbull steals the show as youngest daughter Jess, with plenty of hilariously weird one-liners that seem to have come straight from the mind of a small child rather than a scriptwriter. Funny and heartwarming, without being sickeningly sweet, it's worth a watch even if you're not usually a fan of this genre.

5. Life After Beth
I first heard about Life After Beth when it was showing as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival a couple of years ago, but I didn't get round to seeing it then so I was very pleased to see it pop up on Netflix recently. An indie zombie rom-com, my fave Aubrey Plaza stars in the titular role as Beth, a recently deceased high schooler who has somehow returned from the dead. At first her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) is understandably pleased to have her back and is determined to make the most of every moment they have together, but as time goes on Beth starts to display increasingly strange behaviour and before long their suburban surroundings are beginning to turn into a zombie wasteland. It's not the best or most sophisticated film I've ever seen, but it's very entertaining and somehow manages to seamlessly weave together teenage angst and comedy zombies.

6. Cube
A cult classic (which I had never heard of), Cube is a vaguely sci-fi thriller which sees a handful of strangers wake up in an enormous cube structure with no idea of how they got there. Each room in the cube is connected to six more rooms, and the people stuck inside soon realise their only option is to navigate their way through the rooms to safety. But, of course, it's not that easy; some of the rooms contain gruesome traps and the seemingly endless combination of routes means it's more or less impossible to find the exit. I was expecting this film to be rubbish, and to be honest it is a little bit, but it's also strangely compelling viewing and I can see why it has become a cult classic. I think part of the appeal is that very little is explained about what the cube actually is and why these people were put there. Cube has also spawned two sequels, neither of which are as good as the original but both of which are excellent viewing if you find yourself accidentally becoming a big Cube fan.

What have you been watching lately?

Gillian x

Teeth Whitening with Vitality Edinburgh

14.9.15

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The dentist isn't exactly the most exciting or glamorous of subjects, is it? But we all visit the dentist at least once or twice a year, and finding a dentist which you feel comfortable with definitely makes the whole process a lot less stressful. So, if you're in Edinburgh and on the lookout for a new dentist I'd wholeheartedly recommend Vitality Dental Care. A couple of months ago, the team at Vitality invited me down to check out the practice and receive a complimentary teeth whitening service.

Vitality, which offers optical as well as dental care, is located within the Potterrow Dome at Bristo Square but it is open to everyone, not just students. The reception area looks out onto the open plan cafe in the Dome so you instantly feel a bit more relaxed by being able to people watch as you wait for your appointment. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, from the receptionists to the dentist and dental nurses who gave my teeth a checkup and clean before starting my treatment. As well as offering all the usual dental care, Vitality also specialise in cosmetic dentistry so they're the people to visit if you're after teeth whitening, invisible braces, veneers or the like.

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I'm quite happy with the general appearance of my teeth as they're nice and straight and not damaged in any way (apart from that pesky chip in my front tooth which has been there ever since the tooth came through!), but one thing I've always hated was the fact that they weren't very white. They weren't really terrible, but it was something I noticed all the time - especially in photos where I was caught off-guard with a big smile on my face. The team at Vitality recommended the Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening kit which would lighten my teeth by several shades to achieve the brightest natural shade possible for my teeth.

At my first appointment, I got custom moulds taken of my teeth and then went back in a week or so to pick up the finished trays and my whitening kit. In the kit, you get two syringes full of bleaching gel and all you need to do is fill your custom-made trays with the gel each night for 2 weeks and by the end you should end up with brightened, whiter teeth. The whole processes was super simple, but the team at Vitality were great at explaining everything clearly and checking up on my progress to make sure I achieved the results I wanted. And by the end of my treatment, my teeth had brightened from shade D2 all the way up to B1, the brightest natural shade achievable. I'm really happy with the results - my teeth look so much brighter but still really natural, which was exactly what I was hoping for.

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I would really recommend the Philips Zoom kit as it was really easy to use at home and gave me great results. I'd also recommend visiting Vitality Dental Care if you're in Edinburgh as their service was fantastic and they made sure I got the final results I wanted.

Have you tried any teeth whitening kits before?

Gillian x

The Dinner Party

2.9.15

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I think it's a sign I'm getting old: I would much rather stay in with some good food, wine and company than go out on a Saturday night. Usually my nights in consist of Netflix and maybe a takeaway if I'm lucky, but a few weekends ago I upped my staying in game and hosted a dinner party. I've been wanting to do this for ages but (as with most things in life these days) never quite got round to it, so when Argos got in touch challenging me to throw a dinner party for my friends, I thought it was the perfect excuse to finally do it. My dinner party was loosely based on a "Welcome to Edinburgh" theme as my pal Lauren has recently moved here so I thought it would be a great chance to welcome her to the city, as well as having a good ol' catch up with some of my other blogging pals. The whole thing went pretty well (I think) and was relatively stress free, so if you fancy hosting your own dinner party soon here's what we got up to along with some of my top tips.

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Planning
After deciding on a date for my dinner party, I had about a week and a half to pull it all together. My first stop was, obviously, Pinterest for a nice big dose of inspiration. Once I knew what I wanted to cook, I wrote a huge shopping list to make sure I didn't forget anything - especially as I was doing my shopping in a few different places. To stick with the Edinburgh theme, I wanted to use seasonal ingredients from local producers so I got my fruit and vegetables from Dig-In Bruntsfield and bread, cheese and other bits from the Edinburgh Farmers' Market. Planning also included working out where everyone was going to sit, cleaning the flat and making sure I had enough glasses and plates for everyone. Don't forget to check silly little things like having enough cutlery or a big enough dish for the oven etc. as those are the things you'll go to use last minute and then realise you don't have!

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Decor
I didn't want to go too over the top with decor and themes, so just went for a simple summery table using bits and pieces I already had (apart from the table runners which were a new purchase I couldn't resist from H&M Home!). Somewhere on Pinterest I saw the idea of using washi tape as a napkin ring, so I dug out some gold striped washi tape, a little piece of string and a sprig of rosemary to make simple napkin decorations. My table is quite small and could only seat four people, so I utilised my big coffee table for the other three guests and decorated it with the same table runner, candles and flower arrangements to make it all match. To save on space, I didn't want big floral centrepieces so instead opted for lovely little bunches of wildflowers (well, they were actually bought from a shop but you know, they look wild!) and arranged them myself in wee milk bottles and empty jam jars. I got separate bunches of lisianthus, lavender and baby's breath and managed to make five separate arrangements out of them!

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Food & Drink
I love antipasti platters and they're pretty simple to put together, so that seemed like an easy choice for the starter. I put together some melon, parma ham and mozzarella skewers, platters of salami, proscuitto and cheese, some salad and of course plenty of fresh bread from the farmers' market with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. As this didn't involve any cooking, I could do all the prep before the dinner party started which definitely made life easier. For the main course I wasn't so sure what to make so headed to Pinterest for some ideas. In the end I opted for honey & mustard chicken with parmesan roasted potatoes and chargrilled asparagus. The recipes I used were based on this one and this one, but I did a test run of this a few days before so I could make some tweaks to the ingredients and double check all the timings and temperatures etc. I thought this recipe would go really well with some chargrilled asparagus, which is in season during the summer, so I picked up a couple of bunches at Dig-In. Finally, for dessert I decided to make creme brulee and pavlova - for creme brulee you need loads of egg yolks and for pavlova you need loads of egg whites, so why not make both?! Both of these could be made the night before so I didn't have to spend much time in the kitchen during the party. All I had to do was torch the creme brulees with a mini blowtorch (I think I may have over-torched them a tiny bit) and add the cream and fruit to the pavlova, then serve.

Drinks wise, I served some failsafe white wine throughout the meal but for a welcome drink I decided to go for something a little more exciting and made a strawberry gin smash cocktail. Scottish strawberries are in season at this time of year too, so it was the perfect light, summery drink to kick things off. To make a pitcher (serves 4 - I may have had to refill this a couple of times!) you'll need 6 measures of gin, the juice of 1 lime, a couple of handfuls of sliced strawberries, 10-12 mint leaves, and then top it up with ice and lemonade. Give it a quick stir and then serve in a tumbler, preferably with a cute paper straw!

So, all in all, it was a great evening and a lovely way to catch up with my friends which (for me anyway!) didn't even involve leaving the house. Fancy throwing your own dinner party? Check out this handy blog post from Argos with lots of tips and tricks, and if you fancy winning a bundle of cute Heart of House kitchenware all you need to do is share your dinner party photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ArgosDinnerParty - good luck! What would your ideal dinner party include?

Gillian x

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This post was written in association with Argos, but all opinions are my own.
Competition Terms & Conditions:
To enter the above competition, entrants must share a photograph from their dinner party on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ArgosDinnerParty. Each entrant must also send their entry, along with their name and contact details to argos.competitions@gmail.com. 1. No purchase necessary. 2. Only one entry per person. 3. The prize draw is open to all UK residents, over 18 years of age, except employees of Home Retail Group. 4. The prize is as follows: a bundle of kitchenware goods from Heart of House. 5. To enter the prize draw you will be asked to provide your name and contact details. 6. The information you provide here will be safeguarded under the Data Protection Act and controlled by Home Retail Group. 7. The prize draw ends at midday on Wednesday 30th September 2015. 8. The winner will be notified via email or telephone by Argos or their agency within 14 days of the closing date. 9. The winning entry will be selected by an independent judge and the judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. 10. Entrants must use their own, unique photograph, and entering the competition confirms that they agree to this. 11. No cash alternatives will be substituted for the prize. The promoter reserves the right to offer alternative items/activities of a greater or equivalent value should unforeseen circumstances require it. 12. Use of a false name or address will disqualify any applicant from receiving the prize. 13. The winner may be required to participate in post-event publicity arranged by or on behalf of the promoter. 14. Promoted by Argos Distributors Limited, 489-499 Avebury Boulevard, Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes, MK9 2NW. 15. Details of the winner can be found by contacting NetBooster, Suite 1A Gateway Business Centre, Unit 1 Barncoose, Gateway Park, Redruth, Cornwall TR15 3RQ, UK Telephone +44 2078029500. Email: argos.team@netbooster.com. 16. If the prize is not claimed within 28 days, we reserve the right to withdraw.