31 Dec 2014

2014: A Year in Review

 January
The start of the year was pretty exciting, I passed my driving test (third time lucky!) and finished my first semester of university. It was my mum's birthday so I took her for afternoon tea and enjoyed some time off before heading back up to Aberdeen for my second semester.
February
February wasn't a particularly exciting month, I watched a lot of House... Eilidh came down to Glasgow with her boyfriend for a weekend of food & cocktails. I ate a lot of burgers this month, including a visit to Cocktail & Burger for a late Valentine's Day.
March
I spent most of March in Aberdeen and had lots of friends come up to visit. I discovered the wonderful Cup in the city centre and visited at least 4 times in March! It was also the Student Societies award ball where my magazine won Student Voice.
April
In April I went to see McBusted, amazing. I also went to the Coronation Street tour in Manchester, also amazing. The exhibition that I had to put together for university took place in April, which was stressful but fun at the same time.
May
May was a busy month! I had an exam and a couple of hand ins, then I finished for summer. I interviewed a band for the magazine, got free front row tickets to McBusted and saw Katy Perry three times in the space of 1 week. Obsessed.
June
In June I went to Brighton & spent a day in London too, I'd love to go back to Brighton! I'm actually going to London in February which is really exciting. I celebrated four amazing years with my boyfriend and also passing first year of university! At the end of the month I also headed to Jersey with my family.
July
July is usually an exciting month and this year it was no different! I started out the month in Jersey which was an amazing place, I'd love to go back. I then successfully managed to get myself an internship at a Glaswegian PR company as well as starting in my current part time job. I spent a weekend in a castle with my boyfriend's family, started running and turned 19. Busy month!
August
In August I worked quite a lot. I also went to see The Killers, watched the Commonwealth badminton finals and bought myself an iPad. I saw one of my favourite authors speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival, which was great. I also did the ice bucket challenge... not so great.
September
September was big month for Scotland with the Independence Referendum which saw me voting for the first time. I also signed the lease for my first "proper" flat, celebrated 4 years of blogging and went to see Still Game live on stage.
October
In October I was back up in Aberdeen for the start of second year. I had the best steak of my life at Grill On The Corner in Glasgow, spent a day baking with bloggers and saw one of my favourite bands - Twin Atlantic - live twice. I was also chosen as a co-editor for my university magazine, pretty cool.
November
I had a week off of university in November which was mostly spent catching up with friends and eating lots of food. We had to put together a photoshoot for our coursework which  meant spending a very cold day on the beach (more about this later!). I went to my first charity ball which was a great night and then spent a weekend in Manchester for my aunt's surprise birthday party!
December
December is always a busy month for most people, with all the Christmas celebrations and what not. My boyfriend's birthday is at the start of the month so we went for dinner and went ice skating to celebrate. I've spent the month loaded with a chest infection that will just not budge but it certainly hasn't stopped me having lots of fun with my friends and family.

So that's my year! It seems to have gone crazily fast and it's really weird to think that it's 2015 tomorrow... I can't wait to see what this year will bring for me.
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30 Dec 2014

TUESDAY TEN: New Year's Resolutions


I'm kind of awful at making (and sticking to) resolutions, I'm usually way too specific and a bit too ambitious in the goals I set. For this upcoming year I decided to just have some general goals to kind of work towards, nothing overly set in stone just some changes I'd like to make in my life that can be done at my own pace.

Cook more - during the summer I cooked/baked quite a lot but since starting back at university it's kind of flown out the window. I really enjoy cooking so it's definitely something I want to make a more conscious effort to do regularly!

Read more - I read a lot, but not enough. I tend to not read for months, then do nothing but read for a week. This year I want to be more paced with my reading and just read more often, including magazines and sadly also university books. Needs to be done.

Take more photographs - I started out 2014 with a 365 challenge that I failed miserably with, but this year I'm just going to try my best to take more photographs. I do take a lot of photographs but on the whole they're usually for my blog, so I want to just get out and take more photos! I got an amazing new lens for Christmas so want to make the most of it.

Go outside/see new places more often - this kind of ties in with taking more photographs to an extent, but I'd also just like to go and see somewhere new every once in a while. Even if it's just going to somewhere new that's nearby or going away on a holiday to some foreign country, I want to see things!

Be more creative - I like to think of myself as a creative person but I feel like I don't always do enough to express that. This year I'd like to try out some new things, maybe a DIY or two and just try to be wholly more creative as a person.

Be more confident in myself & my abilities - I'm kind of guilty of putting myself down a lot, but I am starting to get better. Since starting this blog my confidence has grown leaps and bounds but in 2015 I want it to keep on growing.

Work harder - this applies to all walks of life, I need to "apply myself" more to basically everything I do. I work hard, but I could work harder. I need to stop putting things off and doing everything last minute, I want to be organised and make sure that every piece of work - university or otherwise - is the best it can be.

Make healthier choices - bit of a typical resolution, especially post Christmas binge-fest... I don't have the healthiest diet, I definitely don't drink enough water and I probably don't get enough exercise. I don't think I'll be doing anything drastic yet, but I do want to get back in to running and drink more water.

Say yes to new opportunities - change is scary, but doing something new is the only way to move forward. In the past I've turned things down because I didn't think they were my cup of tea but this year I want to push myself a little bit harder to try some new things, listen to new bands, talk to new people etc etc.

Be happy - easy peasy. I'm a negative thinker and it needs to change. I get so bogged down with the bad things in life that I sometimes forget to see the good. There are so many cliche phrases I could use here, but my favourite has to be "if you want to see the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain".

What are your resolutions for 2015, if you have any?

If you have a spare moment, I'd really appreciate if you could answer a few quick
questions for me in my 2014 Reader Survey
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29 Dec 2014

BOOKS: 2014 Reading Wrap Up


I don't mention books anywhere near as much as I'd like to on here, and one of my many aims for 2015 is to change that. If you didn't already know, I read a lot. A lot a lot. I don't always have the time for a book and I am guilty of neglecting my reading, but when I read boy do I read. Here's a little summary of the 34 books I have read so far in 2014 (my Goodreads Challenge for this year is 35 books so I have one more to go!), some with quick little reviews, starting from the highest rated and working my way downwards.

5 STARS (amazing)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler - absolutely amazing, one of the best I've read this year
If I Stay by Gayle Forman - total tear-jerker, sobbed like a baby
Where She Went by Gayle Forman - the sequel to If I Stay, equally as emotional
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - so grippy, a page-turner and a half!

4 STARS (nearly amazing)
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone - straight to the point, no bullshit allowed
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran - fantastic, but not totally mindblowing
Rookie Yearbook Two by Tavi Genson
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - great book but bit of a disappointing ending
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - so so so good but a tiny bit cliched at points
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - great but cliched, much like Fangirl
Adorkable by Sara Manning - really enjoyable read
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai - awe-inspiring & inspirational (but a little bit rambling)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - a little slow to start out but so gripping (major plot twist)

3 STARS (nothing ground-breaking)
Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland - I don't really remember this... I read it in January
The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne - good read but a bit meh at times
The Maze Runner by James Dashner - decent but a bit too over the top at times
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner - again, good but very OTT
You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher - kinda standard chick-lit, a holiday read
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey - not as good as The Fifth Wave (the 1st in the trilogy)

2 STARS (meh)
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - confusing but had potential
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - an awkward read
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg - easy read, a bit too young for me (kind of naff)
The Accident by C.L Taylor - IT HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Totally wasted. Ugh.

What books have you enjoyed this year? I always love a recommendation or two! If you want to keep up with what I'm reading you can add me on Goodreads here. I haven't quite decided what my 2015 reading challenge will be but I did struggle to keep my pace up this year, so I might go for 35 again or maybe 40!

x
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28 Dec 2014

BLOGGING TIPS: The Conclusion


So here we are, the last Sunday of 2014 and the final post in the Blogging Tips series for now. Some might say I timed this particularly well, but in all honesty I missed so many weeks at the beginning that it's actually pure coincidence how this has worked out! I'm not really introducing anything new in this post, it's more of a recap of what's gone down throughout the series and links to all of the topics I've covered.

I started out under the vague heading of Content, covering everything that goes in to a blog from layouts to bloggers block and the best way to interact with PRs. Under this heading I covered 6 topics which were:

  • Dealing With Bloggers Block - inspiration sources, ways to stay motivated and why you should NEVER copy someone's hard work
  • Blogging On A Budget - shop your stash, sharing your knowledge and other cheap (or free!) ideas for posts
  • Basics of Blog Photography - a few little tips & tricks, including lighting, composition and technology that comes in handy for blog photography
  • Photo Editing for Bloggers - a little run down of how I edit, some handy free applications and some more tips & tricks to bear in mind when editing photos
  • Layout 101 - The bare bones of HTML vs CSS, things to avoid in a layout, handy widgets to include and where to go if you want some help
  • Working With PRs - chatting etiquette, attitude, disclosure and when to say no
The second heading covered the blogging Community, which I think is one of the most important aspects of blogging. For this, I wrote about 4 key topics that were:
  • Twitter - how to utilise this for your blog and why Twitter chats are awesome
  • Facebook & Pinterest - discussing if Facebook pages are really all that important, some great resources on Facebook and how to make the most of the ultimate procastination tool - Pinterest
  • Instagram - Tips & tricks for Instagram photos, apps for editing, the wonders of the hashtag and some great accounts to follow
  • The Importance of Community - a little ramble about why it's so important to dive head first in to the blogging community, and some ways in which you can do this
Finally, for alliterative purposes I decided to dub my final heading Consistency, but really it's all about keeping your shit together. Not quite so poetic, eh? Anyway, this heading only consisted of two posts which were:
  • Time Management - getting the right work/life balance, prioritising your time, blogging on the go and why scheduling is the BEST
  • Organisation - a few tips & tricks from one of the most unorganised people you will ever meet (hint: moi!) including the wonder of the to do list.
I've really really really enjoyed writing this series, and seeing the reaction to it has made it all very worthwhile too. It took a lot of time and sometimes I was ready to tear my hair out but it's something I'm very proud of! A lot of the respondents for my Reader Survey (please fill it in if you have a chance!) mentioned these posts and that they would like to see more which is something I might consider in the future, so if you have any topic ideas then fire away! Like I said right in the very beginning, I'm no expert when it comes to blogging, but with a good few years experience under my belt I thought it would be a bit useful to share a few of my experiences and routines just in case they helped anyone out.

Thank you SO much for reading! If you're on Pinterest, you can find a handy little collection of all of these posts on this board here.
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25 Dec 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


I can't believe that it's Christmas Day again already! I hope you're all having a wonderful day and spending it those you love. x
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24 Dec 2014

READER SURVEY 2014


As the year draws to a close I thought it would be a good idea to find out a bit more about what the people who read Colours & Carousels think - so I've put together a little survey. It's just 10 quite basic questions and is entirely anonymous, so please be honest with me! I'm really interested to find out what you guys think of my content so far & what you'd like to see in the future. I have a few ideas in regards to moving forward with my blog but they're all just notions at the moment, nothing really all that concrete.

You can find the survey here, and if you have anything you want to add there's a comment box at the final question or feel free to leave it in the comments of this post, tweet me, e-mail me or anything that takes your fancy! Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill this out - I really appreciate it. x
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23 Dec 2014

TUESDAY TEN: Blogs I've Loved in 2014


This week's Tuesday Ten is a little different in that I'm sharing ten of the blogs that I have loved reading this year. I love finding new blogs to read so this kind of post is right up my street - hopefully you'll enjoy it too! As per usual this was a struggle to narrow down to just ten, but here are some of the lovely ladies that have captured my attention over the past year...

Ellie's Favourite Things - absolute babe'in style
Water Painted Dreams - my blogging bestie
Mo'Adore - ethical beauty & life, with amazing and informative posts in between
Ghostparties - my wishlist grows a mile with every post
Maisy Meow -  absolutely gorgeous clothes & Eilidh is so lovely too


Miss Makeup Magpie - my beauty bible
The Lovecats Inc - drool-worthy baking and impeccable style
Fine and Dandy - pure loveliness in a blog
OhHay! - a wealth of creative inspiration
Oh! Leona - hilarious, honest, absolutely lovely person and this post made me cry like a baby

Who's blogs have you loved reading this year?

x
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22 Dec 2014

FOOD: December Degustabox First Impressions

monthly food box

Hey guys! Today I thought I'd share a quick first impression of this month's Degustabox* so that I can show it all off before I start eating it. One of my resolutions for 2015 is going to be to cook more and this box will certainly be helping me do so. I've already got a few ideas for recipes to try out and if they're any good then I will definitely share them.


It's a bit embarrassing to admit that the garlic cooking oil is probably the most exciting thing in this box for me, I absolutely love garlic and make so many meals that include it. I can't wait to give this a go, I'm thinking with some sort of lemon chicken pasta dish or a cheesy garlic bread! My mum buys a Degustabox too and she got the chilli oil which I'm excited to try out too. Green tea isn't my favourite thing in the world, but I do like lemon tea so maybe this will encourage me to drink more green tea (health benefits and all that jazz).


I had seen these Glo Worm drinks do the rounds on a few blogs before so was pleasantly surprised to see them included. I think they're meant to be mixers so I'll save most of them for an alcoholic beverage but I ended up drinking the raspberry & oris flavour which was really nice.


I'm so bad for eating bags of crisps in one sitting and these got pretty much devoured by me and Eilidh. I had tried these before so they weren't a new discovery for me but definitely worth trying if you haven't before. They're not too dissimilar to prawn crackers in texture and taste like Pringles! So good.


I've always wanted to try Chia, so this is the perfect little introduction for me! This packet contains a sachet of oats and a packet of chia seeds to sprinkle on your food too. After hearing so much about the health benefits of chia I can't wait to try this out for breakfast one day!


These three were probably my least favourite things in the box as they're not really things that I would usually eat but they are going to a better home with my mum! Marmalade is just not something I like but she definitely does so I'm sure it'll go down well. When I opened this box I had a pretty awful hangover and the sight of the wine was nearly enough to turn my stomach but it's actually alcohol free. Again, I'm not a fan of wine so off to the wine rack it is. There was one of the curry kits in a previous box that I still haven't got round to using so I was a little disappointed to see another (not a big fan of spicy food!) however I like the idea of cooking a curry so I'll try it out anyway.


Finally, chocolate biscuits. You absolutely cannot go wrong with chocolate biscuits!

What do you think of this month's box? If you fancy trying Degustabox for yourself you can get £3 off with the code J733J!

x
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21 Dec 2014

BLOGGING TIPS: Organisation


IT'S THE FINAL TOPIC! OoooOoooooOoooooh...

Okay, so, this week I'm going to be chatting all about organisation. Organisation is so important in blogging as there are just so many factors that need to be kept in check, like e-mails, social media and your posts themselves. This is possibly kind of hypocritical of me because I could be considered as one of the least organised people out there BUT I figured that being able to share some things from my perspective would be a bit useful. Although I'm disorganised I'm always striving to sort my life out that little bit more and there are a few things that really help me do so.

LISTS
I love a list. Or ten. I have so many thoughts jumbled in my head that it really helps me to write them down somewhere so you'll usually find me with  lots of lists on the go at once! Every morning when I wake up I make a list of everything I need to or would like to get done that day and highlight the most important ones. Being able to tick something off of a to-do list is such a great feeling. As well as my daily to-do list I use the app Wunderlist on my phone, iPad & laptop to make various lists for shopping, post ideas, university deadlines and even my wishlist. I love Wunderlist because it syncs all of my devices effortlessly, making it super easy to add to or check what I've noted down.

CALENDARS
Much like lists, calendars are a great way to see at a glance what important events are coming up that might have an impact on your usual daily routine. This year I didn't bother with an actual physical calendar and instead stuck with the calendar on my phone and my diary. I find the iOS calendar app to be particularly useful because it allows for easy colour coding. On my iPad I currently have five different calendars for my personal life, university, work rota, blog events and birthdays which I can view individually or all at once to keep on top of what's going on. I struggle to rely on my memory alone so having a note of important dates really comes in handy for me.

APPS
As well as Wunderlist I have a few other apps that really help me keep my life a bit more organised. Strangely, one of the apps that I'd seriously recommend trying is actually a a sleep tracker (I use the free version of Sleep Time) which uses a gradual alarm system to wake you up at the least obstructive time, leaving you feeling much more rested. When using this I find it so much easier to get out of my bed which usually gives me a few precious extra minutes in the morning to get a few things done.

Alongside these two I'm a big fan of Evernote, a note taking app that syncs across devices. I use Evernote for my university notes and other various bits and pieces as it allows you to create separate "notebooks" to organise each topic. Similarly, I use the Google Docs app when drafting whole blog posts as it's a really easy on-the-go word processor - again with multi-device synchronisation! There are hundreds and thousands of apps for organisation & productivity available so I think it's a case of figuring out what you need it to provide and giving a few different ones a testing to see which best suits you.

FIVE MINUTES OR LESS
In last week's post I mentioned the "5 minutes or less" rule which I try to stick to. Basically, if there is something on my to-do list that will take me under five minutes I do it straight away so that it's over and done with. Adopting this method means that I get the more menial tasks out of the way leaving less distractions when it comes to the bigger tasks I've set myself.

So there we have it, my few little tips to help keep on top of things. It's difficult - I'll be the first to admit that - but it's something that's worth putting some effort in to! Like I mentioned at the beginning this is the final topic I'm going to cover in this mini series but next week I'll be putting together a massive master-post containing links to all of the posts I've written alongside some other useful resources I've found!

x
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20 Dec 2014

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: Giving Back


I'd been a bit stuck for ideas for my last gift guide, I wanted it to be something different but knew that last posting dates would have passed which was hindering my ideas slightly. However after reading this great post by Hayley I decided to make the final gift guide all about ways to give back to the community and those in need at this time of year. There are so many amazing charities out there that provide aid to those in need so be sure to do a bit of digging in to what cause is most important to you, but here are a few of my favourite choices:

BUY A HOMELESS PERSON A CHRISTMAS MEAL
Social Bite are a Scottish enterprise providing good food for a good cause. It was Lis who first brought the company to my attention and since then I've been following their operations across their various social media platforms. I was so amazed to see that they would be opening their doors on Christmas Day to provide meals to homeless people in Glasgow and for a tiny £5 you can contribute an entire meal. You can find out more about it (and their incredible success) through this post here. If you wanted to buy Christmas Dinner for someone in need then Crisis offer a similar programme here.

ADOPT A PENGUIN (OR ANOTHER ANIMAL)
I've mentioned my love of penguins before so when choosing an animal for this gift idea it seemed like the obvious choice. There are so many charities that provide the opportunity to adopt an animal, including local zoos and the London Zoological Society. The funds raised from animal adoption help with the conservation and breeding of endangered or struggling species across the world. You can adopt a penguin for a year for £19.99 through Gift Republic here.

BUY SOMEONE A CHICKEN
A few years ago my friends and I bought one of our friends a goat for an African family for her birthday (long story) and since then I've been really enamoured with the idea of buying something that provides sustenance for the long term. Age International allow you to choose from a variety of animals including chickens, cows, donkeys and goats that will all have a major impact on the lives of those who need them most.

PROVIDE WARM WINTER CLOTHES FOR THOSE IN NEED
As cold as Scotland can be it's nowhere near the freezing cold temperatures in countries such as Tibet which can reach as little as minus 40. For just £10 Save The Children provide a bundle of warm winter clothing that will help protect children in these countries from the harsh conditions.

TEACH A CHILD TO READ
An education is one of the most powerful tools a person can have but sadly it's not something that everyone has access to. By donating £10 here - the price of many books these days - you could create the opportunity for a child to gain an incredibly value skill for the rest of their lifetime. Or if you wanted to spread the reach of education even further why not teach a teacher?

x

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19 Dec 2014

OUTFIT: Livin' it up in the city

Playsuit - Missguided
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
I went on an actual night out this week - which is a rarity for me nowadays. As much as I love getting dolled up and dancing I'm not the biggest fan of spluttering the little spare money I have on a hangover and sore feet! But seeing as it's Christmas time I was definitely in the mood for dancing the night away with the lovely girls from my course.

I borrowed this playsuit from my flatmate Eilidh and I'm kind of in love with it. It's not something I'd usually go for as playsuits aren't always the most flattering for my bod shape but there was something about this one that I just liked a lot. It's very low cut so a few safety pins were involved too! My shoes were a present a few years ago and I love them, they're reserved for special occasions but they always make me feel super duper fancy when I wear them.

My last deadline before Christmas was yesterday, which was a relief. There's still two more reports and an exam between now and the end of the semester in January but I'll deal with them when the time comes. I'm back home for Christmas now which would be amazing if I wasn't working every single day... Hurry up payday! I cannot believe that it's Christmas in less than a week. I'm so excited. And also stressed out about how much wrapping I need to do...

How has your week been? Are you excited for Christmas?

x
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18 Dec 2014

RECIPE: Mince Pies

easy mince pie recipe uk

If I'm being entirely honest I'm not actually the biggest fan of mince pies, but when I fancied doing a bit of seasonal baking they were the first thing that popped in to my head! They're really easy to make, especially if you decide not to attempt your own pastry unlike me. I always remember making these or some chocolate truffles back in school at Christmas time. If you're heading off to a little Christmas get together these would be the perfect thing to take along!

Ingredients
275g plain flour
175g unsalted butter
25g icing sugar & extra to dust
Cold water
Mincemeat (I bought a jar from Tesco!)
Milk

If you don't fancy making your own pastry then a pre-made roll of puff pastry will do the trick - and save a bit of time too!

To make the pastry, slice your cold butter in to cubes and rub together with the flour in a bowl until the mixture looks slightly like breadcrumbs. Mix in the 25g of icing sugar then create a well in the middle of your mixture to add in the water a splash at a time. Knead the dough in to a ball and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to rest.

Once your dough is prepared roll it out to an appropriate thickness (I made mine quite thick) and use a cutter to cut circular shapes for the base. Place the bases in to a muffin or cupcake tin and gently mold to the shape of the tin. Spoon a small amount of the mincemeat mixture in to each well being careful not to overfill. I decided to use a star shaped cutter for my toppers however any shape would work just as well! Place on top and brush with a small amount of milk for a golden finish.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 180c or just until the pastry has browned nicely. Once finished, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for a while. After removing from the tray dust the pies with a splattering of icing sugar and enjoy!

Do you have any festive favourites when it comes to baking?

x
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17 Dec 2014

BEAUTY: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Shade 07 Nude-ist




Rouge Edition Velvet in 07 Nude-ist - £8.99 by Bourjois
I've been meaning to rave about this liquid lipstick for months, yet for some reason I'm only just getting round to it now. I bought this back in August on one of my many therapeutic trips to Boots without really knowing all that much about it. I figured I'd get the most wear out of the shade Nude-ist and I'd say that was the right decision to make.

The Rouge Edition Velvets claim to have a soft velvet texture with a matte finish & long-lasting hold - which on the whole I find to be pretty true. I absolutely love the texture of this lipstick, it's difficult to describe but I'd say it's akin to super soft, thin paper and I can't get enough of it. It is a bit of a weird one to get used to so I would definitely try before you buy! Application is simple using the doe-foot wand included and the colour pay-off is pretty incredible. I do find the shade applies slightly bolder than it appears in the tube however this could easily be remedied with a lighter hand when applying. As can be expected with a matte product I find this pretty drying on my lips, it really clings to dry patches and lines that before seemed undetectable and definitely requires a bit of prep before wearing. With a balm on top it's not too bad, but I'm not sure if I could manage wearing it for more than a few hours at a time. My biggest issue with this lipstick is that the staying power really isn't all that great and I find it fades fairly quickly and unevenly if you don't use a lip liner underneath. I think this is such an issue for me as whenever I wear this I can't stop rubbing my lips together because the texture is just sooooooo so so nice. Bad habit. Most of the reviews I've read have claimed great staying power so I'll just have to work on that.

The packaging is compact and sturdy, which makes it ideal for throwing in to your handbag for top-ups throughout the day. The tube is made of a clear plastic which shows off just how much product is left (I love it when they do that) and the doe-foot sponge applicator sits tight within the lid for minimum fuss.

On the whole I still love this lipstick, it just requires a little bit of extra work from me when it comes to wearing it. The shade is just beautiful and I love the formulation, so I think I might pick up another couple from the range!

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16 Dec 2014

TUESDAY TEN: The Library Of Fragrance

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 -5
6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
The Library Of Fragrance has been hovering around on my radar for a little while now, but recently I've become kind of obsessed with their incredible selection of scents. Not only do they have Paperback, Rain and Apple Pie but they also have Pizza, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Marshmallow. How amazing would it be to smell like pizza? It would probably make me soooooo hungry but just imagining the reactions to a pizza perfume makes me want to order a bottle right this second.

With their vast range of perfumes I'm struggling to decide which one I'll be treating myself to after Christmas, but at the moment I'm leaning to some of the more sweet, food based treats like Marshmallow or Sticky Toffee Pudding. There are so many amazing choices on the website which you should definitely check out - I want them all!

What would your dream perfume be? Strangely I really like the smell of candles just after they've been put out... not sure how well that would work as a wearable scent though!
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15 Dec 2014

WATCHING: My Five Favourite Festive Films


At Christmas time (there's no need to be afraid) I love nothing more than cosying up on the couch with a big mug of hot chocolate, my selection box and a good festive film. I have a few that I watch time and time again, year after year, and so I thought I'd share five of my favourites in case you're in need of a bit of inspiration. It was difficult to narrow this down to just five as I have loads of films that I love to watch at Christmas that aren't actually all that festive, but I struggled through it as I'm just *so* kind.

Love Actually
"Follow the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England."

It could probably be argued that this isn't a festive film but I watch it every Christmas Eve without fail and it's set at Christmas so there are lots of Christmas scenes therefore it is on my list. End of story. Anyway, this is probably the most "grown up" choice on my list as I just think it's hilarious but heartwarming in a way that so many other films try and fail to emulate. Plus the cast is top notch - it's just missing Hugh Laurie really.

Elf

"After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity."

Every year I watch Elf earlier and earlier. It really appeals to my inner child whilst still making jokes that I only really understand now I'm much older. Will Ferrell is hilarious and just makes me want to sing all the time. It's probably one of the most quotable Christmas movies out there! A lot of Christmas films can have a bit of a sad storyline so if you want something that is guaranteed to make you laugh then Elf is perfect.

Arthur Christmas

"Santa's clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours."

Okay I'll make it very clear that Hugh Laurie does voice on of the characters in this film however that is not the only reason this is on my list. It's a bit more recent than my other choices but my family and I went to see this in the cinema when it came out and we all loved it - even my dad which is unusual. It's a really heart-warming story that brought a tear to my eye (but I cry at anything) and it really emphasises how a simple little gift can mean the world to someone. Too cute.

Home Alone
"An 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas must defend his home against idiotic burglars."

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart) I went to see this on the big screen at the Itison Drive In at Loch Lomond Shores. It was such a great experience and I'd definitely do it again, especially if it was Home Alone. Home Alone is a pretty classic Christmas choice but somewhat shockingly I hadn't actually seen this film until a couple of years ago - it's now one of my favourites. Parts of the plot do annoy me (WHO DOES NOT CHECK IF THEY HAVE ALL OF THEIR CHILDREN WHEN GOING ON HOLIDAY?!?!?!?) but it's such a funny festive tale with so many catchphrases that sneak in to my daily conversations. 100% must watch this Christmas.



How The Grinch Stole Christmas
"A creature is intent on stealing Christmas."

Young Taylor Momsen aside it's difficult not to love this film. I've used the phrase heart-warming a lot but this film takes the biscuit when it comes to pulling at your heartstrings. It's a cute tale that really reminds you of the "true meaning" of Christmas, beyond the greed and consumer driven holiday that it's kind of become. Much like any Dr. Seuss it's both light-hearted and humourous whilst still delivering a more serious message, making it a great film for all of the family to watch. Jim Carey's performance as the Grinch is just perfect!

What are your favourite festive films?
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14 Dec 2014

BLOGGING TIPS: Time Management


It feels apt to be writing about this just after I have made a pile of lists in an attempt to plan out my life for the next two weeks... Work, university & the Christmas period makes for a very busy time and I'm determined to keep on top of my blog at the same time too. It's difficult but I know I can do it if I manage my time appropriately! So, the penultimate blogging tips post is all about time management and how you can help get your head in the game (High School Musical reference fully intended).

BALANCING ACT
One of the most difficult things to do is find the correct balance between work/studying, socialising and blogging. Last year only had to balance my blog with a not-so-bad university timetable, however this year it's also got to compete with a part time job & a slightly busier timetable. Stressful to say the least. In order to keep everything running relatively smoothly I dedicate certain times that will be exclusively for one part, for example: I have university four days a week and work all weekend, so Wednesday's are the day that I focus on my blog the most. I do spend a lot of evenings working on my blog too, but Wednesday is the main day. If I have a Sunday off then I'll use that too and then fit my uni work in as and when is needed. Sit down and figure out where you have a spare hour or so that can be spent doing something useful, more on this later.

GETTING YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
My education is my highest priority so if there is uni work that needs to be done my blog is pushed to the sidelines. I'm lucky in that I only really need to focus on my work when I am actually there but obviously I need to turn up so that I get paid, which is a pretty high priority too as I need money to eat. Although my blog is high up on my list of priorities it is not at the top, I can take time away from my blog if I need to. It's important to understand that you shouldn't be sacrificing other important things just for the sake of a post on the internet - don't miss that important lecture so you can take some outfit photos!

SCHEDULING
A.K.A the best thing ever. I schedule pretty much every single blog post I write and I try to work about a week in advance (it's usually more like two days in advance) or more if I know I'm going to be busy. When I have the time I will sit and write as many posts as possible in order to provide the time to spend on other activities when need be. Nowadays you can schedule everything from posts to tweets & statuses on Facebook pages so it's something you should definitely consider making the most of. If you know you're going to be without access to your computer or phone for a long period of time but still want to post it can be worthwhile sitting down and scheduling a few bits and bobs to maintain a bit of an online presence whilst you're off doing other things. This comes in particularly handy for holidays, Christmas time and when deadlines are approaching.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SPARE TIME
If I stopped wasting a minute or two scrolling through my Twitter feed on my phone every so often I would probably get a lot more done. I am a procrastinator and a half, but it's something I'm trying to work on. Right now, if I can't spare the time to head to my laptop I'll reply to e-mails when I'm on the bus or on my breaks at work instead. I draft a lot of my posts using the Google Docs app on my iPad whilst I'm travelling home at the weekends and then put them all together when I get back to my laptop. If I have a lot of photos that need to be taken I take them in bulk when I have a spare moment then edit them when I have the chance so that they're ready to be inserted in to a post, meaning I don't need to worry about it being light enough that day to be able to finish a post off. Even when I'm watching TV I'll be working on something - even if it's just taking part in a Twitter chat or planning out my next week of posts! I find that utilising a spare minute to get a task done really helps me much more than checking how my farm is doing on Hayday... I'm trying to adopt a "5 minutes or less" rule where if something on my to-do list will take me less than five minutes I do it straight away instead of putting it off for hours, this really helps me get through my tasks for the day. Lists are also awesome but shall be mentioned more next week...

How do you think you manage your time - are you a procrastinator like me or super efficient? If you have any tips I'd love to hear them!

NEXT WEEK: The final topic I'll be covering in this series is organisation. Think apps, lists and calendars! If there's anything in particular you'd like covered mention it in the comments and I'll see what I can whip up x
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13 Dec 2014

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: Gifts for your other half

I can't believe that this is my penultimate gift guide, which means there's less than two weeks to go until the big day is here! This week I'm sharing a few cute couple-y presents which would make nice little extras come Christmas day.

Personalised penguin cushion - £21 from Not On The High Street
Penguins are all over the joint since the John Lewis advert appeared on our screens and I'm really not complaining because I absolutely love them. This would be such a cute addition to anyone's couch, especially if you live with your partner. Monty & Mabel would love it!

Blinkbox gift card - £5, £10 or £20 from Tesco
If you can't quite decide which DVD to buy your partner then why not consider a service such as Blinkbox? By getting a gift card you're giving them the choice of hundreds of movies & TV showsS to watch for the price of one DVD - works out pretty well I'd say! Plus, you can always watch with them which means it's really a present for both of you.

"A day without..." print - £7.58 from Etsy
If  I love you more than WiFi then I love you a lot. It's always heartbreaking when the internet stops working, so this makes the perfect comparison when you want to show just how much you care about someone. A year without WiFi? Unthinkable.

Bacon & egg mugs - £16.48 from Etsy
Not only are these absolutely hilarious they're also adorable. I love a good pun, especially if it combines music and food. Hello... is it brie you're looking for? Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to diss a brie? I think you get the jist.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 - £69.00 from Amazon
This is a bit on the pricier side so not really a stocking filler, but it's such a cute way to be able to capture memories from all of your time spent together. I think there's something so romantic about film photography and the way it captures special moments forever.

What are you getting your other half this year?

x
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12 Dec 2014

LIFE: Blogging Sleepover with Debenhams




A wee while ago I got a very exciting text from my blogging besto Hayley inviting me to a blogging sleepover thanks to Debenhams. Obviously I jumped at the chance to spend some quality time with Hayley eating some yummy food and just having a general natter!

As part of a campaign to promote their gift finding service, Found It, Debenhams very generously provided us with a massive box of goodies including biscuits, hot chocolate and onesies. I picked this onesie from Dorothy Perkins and I've been pretty much living in it since... so much warmth. We went the whole hog and got ourselves a chippy before crawling in to our onesies and settling down for an evening of Twitter chats. Afterwards we watched one of my childhood favourite films Angus Thongs & Perfect Snogging with plenty of biscuits to accompany our orange hot chocolate (delicious by the way) before calling it a night.

You can read Hayley's post about the night here. Massive shout out to Debenhams for being so damn generous, I actually cannot believe how much lovely stuff we were treated to for our little pamper night!

x
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BEAUTY: NKD SKN Fake Tan




As someone with painfully dry skin I tend to go for a gradual tanning moisturiser (on the rare occasion that I do actually fake tan) so a tanning mouse was a bit of a new concept for me. After seeing it do the rounds on the blogosphere - especially in the Scottish blogging community - I jumped at the chance to give NKD SKN* a go.

First things first, I'm a big fan of the packaging. It comes in a sturdy plastic bottle with an easy to use pump that dispenses the perfect amount of product for a gradual application. I love that it's black as it will hide any grubby fake tan fingerprints and generally looks a bit classier than other tans on the market.

The mousse is tinted which makes it really easy to apply the product evenly, no streaks for me! It dries within seconds and so far I've not noticed any product transferring on to my clothes or bed sheets. Even my white fluffy dressing gown is in pristine condition after being put on post-application (risky move, I know). At first the scent is barely noticeable however after leaving the tan to properly develop on my skin overnight I did start to notice a bit of that Digestive like aroma that is so difficult to avoid.

I was a bit worried that the medium formulation would leave me looking a bit like an Oompa Loompa however it's actually a perfect fit for my pale skin. It adds a subtle glow and really does look like a natural tan for me. I've found it fades evenly and doesn't stick to my dry areas as much as other tans do. I've been using this once a week for three weeks now and I think I'm converted...

NKD SKN is available online or in Superdrug and retails at £14.95 which is not too shabby compared to some other high street brands! If you order from NKD SKN before the 18th you'll also be able to get a whopping 45% off with the code COLOURS45 meaning that the mousse would be just £6.80 - TOTAL BARGAIN. Just in time for the Christmas party season too!

x
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11 Dec 2014

OUTFIT: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

how to style a christmas jumper

how to style a christmas jumper
Jumper* - Bon Marche
Skirt - New Look (old)
Boots - F&F at Tesco
Living in a flat with temperamental heating in a very cold city means that layers are an absolute must, but sadly a onesie isn't always appropriate.  I own lots of boring knitwear that's perfect for throwing on, but nothing quite as adorable as this Christmas jumper from Bon Marche. It's so so so cosy (I totally haven't worn it to bed, at all...) and is perfect to throw on with a pair of leggings to run to the shops or for travelling home. It definitely runs a bit large to size as this is a small and sits a bit big,  but I would usually go for a bigger size for added comfort anyway so it's not a big issue for me!

To make the most of this cute little polar bear I figured I should dress it up a bit and not just wear it to slob around the flat, so when I paired it with this tartan skirt I bought in New Look last year I discovered one of my favourite outfit combinations for the festive season. The amount of red makes me feel really Christmas-y! All I need now is a Santa hat to match my polar bear friend and I'm sorted. I think I'm going to wear this on Boxing Day for dinner as after starting work at 6am I'll definitely be after something comfortable that's still festive. Too cute!

I have one week left until my final deadlines before Christmas and that means one week left until I finish for the holidays! I have a fair bit of uni work to do before that (and sadly during the holidays too) but I'm just excited to not have any classes left. I'm going to be working pretty much non stop as of next Thursday so I really need to get organised pronto... Luckily I've nearly finished my Christmas shopping so that's one thing off the list! How are you getting on with yours?

x
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10 Dec 2014

LIFE: Mid-week treats & festive decorating








At this time of year the dark nights and miserable weather are enough to make anyone crave a treat or two. I always find myself getting quite homesick as Christmas draws nearer, I tend to miss my home comforts and getting cosy in the living room with my family to watch Christmas movies. Earlier this week I was having a bit of a rubbish day with more issues arising in my flat (last week's flooded bathroom is the least of my problems right now) and our internet provider trying to put our bill up without telling us, so I definitely needed a little treat and a night in to relax a bit.

Alongside a bit of retail therapy I rate comfort food very highly when I'm feeling a bit down, so when the chance came to get takeaway from JUST EAT* I jumped on my laptop and ordered myself and my flatmate Eilidh a pile of Chinese food to chow down on. As Christmas is just around the corner we decided to make a night of it so I cosied up in my onesie, popped on the Christmas tunes and we decorated our flat to make it look a bit more festive. Duck rolls & Michael Buble are the perfect pairing for a rainy Aberdeen night!

Decor wise, our tree was a last minute panic purchase from Argos as every other tree we had planned on buying was out of stock. It's 6ft, so a bit bigger than we wanted but it's made such a difference to how our living room feels! The baubles are also from Argos, we did have some pretty rose gold ones from Asda but they were tiny and barely covered a 3ft tree let alone a 6ft one! The tinsel is from Asda and our topper is from Poundland of all places. The adorable paper chains are also from Poundland and were adorning our door frames until our unfriendly ghost Betsy (long story) decided to be a grinch and they all fell down in the night. Eilidh also got some wrapping paper with brussel sprouts on from Paperchase - so cute. My presents are all waiting at home to be wrapped so it's just hers that are living under the tree just now.

How do you cheer yourself up at this time of year - do you go for comfort food too? It's such a bad habit but I just can't resist...

I was kindly given a £20 voucher to spend on JUST EAT in collaboration with JUST EAT & etailPR
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