18 May 2017

National Smile Month: Reasons To Smile with Janina Ultra White

Janina Ultra White National Smile Month Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Janina Ultra White National Smile Month Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

This post was produced in collaboration with Janina Ultra White

These days, barely a week passes without some sort of "national holiday" plastered all over social media, and whilst "National Candied Orange Peel Day" is all well and good (it's a real thing, look it up!) it's not really the kind of thing that I personally observe. National Smile Month, however, is right up my street. Running from May 15th to June 15th, National Smile Month is a celebration of all things oral health. My teeth are probably my favourite feature, as I've been blessed with nice straight teeth that have given me minimal fuss in the past, but like most people, I've always wished they were that little bit whiter. Years of tea-staining have taken their toll, and as a result, they're not quite the pearly whites I'd like them to be.

Step in Janina Ultra White with their range of non-abrasive whitening products, using fruit enzymes to whiten the teeth without causing any damage to the protective enamel. I've been using the activated charcoal toothpaste twice a day and within just under two weeks of use, I'm already noticing a difference to my tea-stained teeth. I'd never used whitening trays before, as I found that I struggled to wear them comfortably, but the Janina pre-filled trays are designed to be soft and flexible with your comfort in mind. I like to pop these in when I'm in the shower and having used them three times now I'm excited to see how my teeth look after finishing the set. I will admit though, these make me drool like crazy, hence using them in the shower. Attractive, right?

To top off my whitening routine, I've been testing out the Instant White Teeth Whitening Spray, which is designed to be used on the go with no need for water or a toothbrush. I replaced the breath freshening spray that I usually carry in my handbag with this and I think it's made a real difference in how my teeth look and feel throughout the day. It's ideal for little top ups on the go, such as before important meetings or after a coffee. Between these three products, I think I'm pretty well equipped to keep my teeth looking healthy whilst I'm working towards a whiter glow. The best thing is that they've been brilliant for my sensitive teeth, and unlike other whitening products I've tried they don't leave my teeth feeling stripped or sore in my quest for pearly whites.

It's been a while since I shared one of my happy things posts, nearly a year in fact. I find that searching out the good in life really helps during tough times, and so, in celebration of my newly glowing grin, here are just a few reasons that I'll be flashing a smile this month...
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16 May 2017

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng & Rice Mask

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng Rice Mask Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng Rice Mask Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I'm rarely a loyal customer, which is probably a business' nightmare, but it's not always due to a disappointing product or service, in fact, it's more often than not just because I am continually obsessed with trying new things. As much as this could be attributed to my love of blogging and the need to test new products to create new content, I think it's just in my nature, so when I find myself returning to a brand on numerous occasions I know it's truly love. One brand in particular that I know I can rely on is The Body Shop, my love for which has been instilled from an early age thanks to my mum's fondness for their products. Whatever my skincare concern, be it the chronic dryness that plagues me all year round, hormonal breakouts, a dull complexion or just a spot of bath time pampering, I know that I can turn to The Body Shop to cater to my needs.

I have a lot of favourite products from The Body Shop, but the one I'm currently ever so desperate to share is the Chinese Ginseng and Rice Mask that was released last year. £16 will buy you a rather reasonably sized pot of this goodness, which is even better considering that my first pot lasted me nearly a full year despite twice weekly use. I have a plethora of face masks in my collection, so I hadn't been planning on replacing it until those were emptied, but after a few short weeks without using this mask I knew I had to have it back in my life, and here we are.
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10 May 2017

Marc Jacobs Daisy Kiss Eau de Toilette Review

Marc Jacobs Daisy Kiss Perfume Review Fragrance Direct | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Marc Jacobs Daisy Kiss Perfume Review Fragrance Direct | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

For years I always saved my nice perfumes for those ever elusive "special occasions", until one day I just stopped. Saving things for best is all well and good, but what if that perfect moment never comes? I'd much rather treat myself to a little splash of sunshine in the form of my favourite fragrances on a daily basis. A good perfume can boost my confidence, it makes me feel put together, and I just like smelling nice! As a result, I've ended up tearing through my perfume collection a lot faster than usual, but instead of wallowing in despair I'm taking it as an opportunity to try out some new scents.

If my previous perfume choices are anything to go by, it's clear that I'm drawn to sweet, sugary scents with the odd hint of florals or warm vanilla. I love a hint of citrus, but musky, spicy scents aren't really my cup of tea. I've always loved Marc Jacobs perfume, with the super cute bottles being a huge bonus and the fruity, creamy scents being a welcome addition to my growing collection.
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4 May 2017

Tempus at Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Tempus Grand Central Hotel Glasgow Review Food Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Tempus Grand Central Hotel Glasgow Review Food Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Mondays can be tough, right? Particularly the first Monday back in class after a three week long Easter break, so what better night to indulge in a slap-up meal at one of Glasgow's most revered hotels. That's exactly how my blogging partner-in-crime Lis and I spent last Monday night, with a trip to Tempus Restaurant at Grand Central Hotel. Having never stayed in the hotel, I was yet to set foot inside Tempus prior to that night. However, my high school leaver's dinner actually took place in The Grand Room and, unsurprisingly where I'm concerned, the food was a highlight of the evening.

With that in mind, I had high expectations as to what Tempus would have in store for us on an unseasonably cold Monday night. I had been expecting to find a quiet restaurant, with it being a Monday night, but instead, the huge restaurant was nearly full. Despite having a few large, lively groups in, the atmosphere was still rather intimate, making it the perfect place to catch up and enjoy a bite. Tempus offer various deals throughout the week, with a theatre menu running in the evenings alongside tempting steak offers that are perfect for a mid-week pick me up. With that in mind, it's easy to see why the restaurant was in fact so busy on a night that is typically quiet elsewhere.

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2 May 2017

Recently Reading: April

April Recently Reading Book Blogger  | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
April Recently Reading Book Blogger  | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I go through phases with reading where I find myself reading four or five books in a week, then don't pick anything up for ages. March was a really good month for reading for me, but it kind of dwindled in April because I was just so busy watching NCIS with college deadlines. April as a month seems to have passed at lightning speed, I was only just getting used to it and suddenly it's May already?!

Anyway, since my last reading update I've managed to squeeze in some really good books - and some not-so-good ones too - so I thought I'd post a little update on what I've loved and loathed book-wise. As always, I keep track of what I'm reading over on Goodreads so be sure to add me as a friend to see what's next on my pile. I set myself a slightly under-ambitious challenge of reading 20 books this year and I'm already 12 books in, so I think I'll manage to reach 20 in no time. Plus, I have a 12-day trip planned (I loved Croatia so much when I visited last year that I'm heading back again in June!) which is sure to be spent reading by the pool.

I like a mix of genres in my reading material, with thrillers being one of my favourites. That's pretty noticeable in this month's selection as I seem to have been going through a bit of a thriller binge, which is a far cry from my self-help/getting my life in order phase from the end of last year. I've had to force myself to take a step away from the self-help books as they weren't helping my dwindling mental health, instead, I chose to focus on getting lost in fictional worlds.
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27 Apr 2017

The Italian Kitchen, Glasgow

The Italian Kitchen Glasgow Merchant City Restaurant Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
The Italian Kitchen Glasgow Merchant City Restaurant Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
The Italian Kitchen Glasgow Merchant City Restaurant Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
The Italian Kitchen Glasgow Merchant City Restaurant Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
The Italian Kitchen Glasgow Merchant City Restaurant Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

If I had to pick just one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life (god forbid) I'd probably pick Italian. Pasta has been my go-to food for as long as I can remember, and I am a long time lover of carbs. There is no shortage of brilliant Italian food in Glasgow, so I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, but I think I have a new favourite in the shape of The Italian Kitchen on Ingram Street. I was invited along for an evening of delicious Italian food and excellent chat with some lovely Glasgow food bloggers - Alison, Claire, Esther and Lis - last week and it was honestly one of my favourite blogging events this year.

The Italian Kitchen first opened back in 2003 in the heart of the Merchant City, situated in the building that housed the original Mitchell Library back in 1877. As such, you'd imagine it would be a building full of that typical Glasgow charm, and it doesn't disappoint. The restaurant underwent a swanky refurbishment at the start of 2017 and the result is a beautifully welcoming, warm and open restaurant.
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25 Apr 2017

Best Fake Smile

Scottish Student Outfit Blogger Mental Health | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Scottish Student Outfit Blogger Mental Health | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Scottish Student Outfit Blogger Mental Health | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Scottish Student Outfit Blogger Mental Health | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Trousers - New Look (similar below); Top - New Look
Denim Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger via charity shop (similar below);
Shoes - Adidas Gazelles; Bag - gift

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me going on and on about these yellow trousers that I'd spied in New Look and couldn't get out of my head. I love yellow, it's a colour that always makes me smile, and although I wasn't sure I was brave enough to pull off such bold trousers I decided to snap them up before they disappeared forever. The exact pair is no longer on the website but there are two nearly identical options which I've linked below if you want your very own pair of happy yellow trousers. I'm still not quite sure how to style them, but they're so comfy and I'm so glad I did decide to buy them. I figured that such bold trousers needed a relatively simple combination, but I also think they'd look brilliant with some leopard print or a striped top too. I needed a bit of sunshine in my life, and these trousers have been one of those small joys that just makes things seem a little bit sunnier.

I'm not one for hiding things on my blog or social media and I like to think I'm a relatively open person online. I don't shy away from discussing things like my endometriosis experience, or when I'm feeling stressed or even sharing my alopecia diagnosis and treatment, but for some reason, I've ended up keeping things kind of bottled up recently. Since the start of this year I've been feeling lower and lower, and here we are nearly five months into the year and I think this is the most down I've ever felt. It's been a slow spiral, but looking back on how this year has started out for me I can't say I'm all that surprised. I've been really struggling recently and in an attempt to avoid placing my burden on anyone else I just suffered in silence until I couldn't anymore. A couple of weekends ago something snapped and it all came pouring out, now I feel like everything is moving so fast and I'm both petrified, overwhelmed and relieved.

One of the biggest issues for me and something that seems to have the biggest impact on my mental health is my physical health. I get sick a lot, it's not unusual for me to be ill, I've had migraines since I was young, my chronic conditions leave me exhausted and I just seem a whole lot more prone to picking up bugs than my friends, but right now my body is really taking the biscuit. At the end of January I had what I'd assumed to be an intense bout of food poisoning, but 13 weeks later it's still causing havoc with my body. I've had constant nausea, sickness, pain, a lack of appetite and I'm just generally exhausted. For the past three months, my stomach has been churning and cramping like nobody's business with no apparent cause - yet. I'm undergoing investigations, with test after test and prescription after prescription all just to try and solve what I thought arose from a dodgy burger.

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13 Apr 2017

5 Podcasts for Bloggers

Podcasts for bloggers Instagram motivation creative living entrepeneurs | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Podcasts for bloggers Instagram motivation creative living entrepeneurs | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

So, I did a thing. I bought a new phone.

Obviously, my usual buyer's remorse kicked in as soon as I walked out of the shop, but let's be honest, I kind of needed it. My old phone was on its last legs and my contract wasn't due for renewal until August. I was trying to wait, but with each passing day, my phone grew slower and slower, taking it upon itself to reset every half hour or so and freeze for hours at a time. So here we are, I've returned to the dark side and I bought a beautiful rose gold iPhone 7 Plus with my own hard earned money because I deserve pretty things.

At least that's what I tell myself, anyway.

Okay, back to the original point of this post. Ever since I bought my new phone I've been well and truly sucked back into the world of podcasts, as they have this certain knack of making my early morning bus journeys feel a little bit more productive than they did when I just stared out of the window listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack. I've always loved podcasts, it all started with Serial a few years ago, but for some reason, I'd fallen away from it as I'd never found a great way to listen to them on my old Android phone. Podcasts are wonderful things and can take many forms, some teach me new things, some inspire me to kick start that new project, some tell me stories of fictional words with terrifying news broadcasts (hello Welcome To Night Vale) and others lull me to sleep with soothing voices. There's a whole world of podcasts out there, just waiting to be listened to, and I intend to make my way through as many as possible.
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11 Apr 2017

Farmacy Skin Savior Kit

Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Is anyone else ever totally sucked in by super sleek packaging? Yeah, me too. There's something about the combination of crisp white pots with wooden lids that caught my eye when I first discovered Farmacy, and even though I hadn't heard of the brand before discovering them through Cult Beauty I was eager to try their products out for myself. Founded in New York, Farmacy utilise a combination of naturally derived ingredients which are then activated in their lab situated less than three hours from where they are grown. It's quite a cool concept really, and there's an interesting video about it on their website. I love how they bring together traditional methods with new technology, and the attention to detail they show is really clearly evidenced by their products.

Farmacy grow their own ingredients and endeavour to have the freshest and most potent materials in order to boost the benefits found in their products. Echinacea is a key ingredient in their range as it's packed full of antioxidants that work wonders when it comes to protecting your skin. They don't test on animals, either, which is always good to see.

The Skin Savior kit contains four of Farmacy's best selling products and is a brilliant introduction to the range. The small sample sizes are perfect to trial these popular products and absolutely brilliant for travelling. Despite being smaller sizes, each product still has the beautiful packaging that you'll find across the range, and the set comes packaged in a small metallic tray which is perfect for storing your skincare on your dresser. Or using as a photo prop, in this case!

Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I love the nourishing, healing effect that honey has on my skin, so I was really excited to try out the Honey Potion hydration mask. This warming mask transforms from a syrupy gel into a soothing cream when massaged into the face, and has a gentle warming sensation that feels super luxurious. The mask suits all skin types but is particularly useful for those with very dry or dehydrated skin like mine, as the blend of honey, propolis and Farmacy's signature echinacea works wonders for rejuvenating tired complexions whilst restoring the skin to a nourished, soothed state.

I love using this in the bath as the soothing warming sensation is reminiscent of spa treatments, making it the perfect treat for a proper pamper. My skin is a little sensitive after use and can look quite red which I'm putting down to the warmth, but after completing my whole routine there's a noticeable glow. My favourite thing about this mask, however, is the fact that it does a brilliant job of hydrating my dry skin without being too heavy and causing breakouts. In fact, having been using this range for a few weeks now, my skin has remained clearer than ever, which I'm putting down to the inclusion of naturally antibacterial honey.

The full size of the face mask retails for a slightly eye-watering £51.00, however, it does contain over ten times as much product as the sample pot included in this kit. I've been using this mask two to three times a week for the last three weeks and have over half of the small pot left so I imagine I'd get a lot of use out of the full size.

When the temperature starts to rise as the seasons change - albeit only slightly in Scotland - I find myself reaching for facial mists more often and the Farmacy Skin Dew Hydrating Essence Mist has been a welcome addition to my collection. This can be used as a toner, setting spray or as a refreshing mist throughout the day. I use this as a toner mostly, but I also pop it in my handbag in case I get a bit flushed when I'm on the go. It is beautifully refreshing, and isn't tacky like some facial mists can be, however, I'd be reluctant to repurchase the full size of this at £38.00 as it hasn't blown me away for the price. Despite having a moisturising effect on my skin, it's not really the kind of thing I desperately need to add into my skincare routine and instead prefer to use a more brightening toner such as the Roger & Gallet Beauty Vinegar. If you do like a facial mist, though, I think this could be worth trying out as part of this set - particularly as the rest of the products are brilliant.

Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

The Honey Savior skin repair salve was hailed one of 2016's best beauty products by Refinery 29, and I can absolutely see why. As I've mentioned before, I have particularly dry skin, and I've been struggling with eczema on my eyelids and around my lips recently. The salve contains no sulphates or parabens, instead containing a mix of castor oil, sunflower oil, honey extracts, canola oil, Royal Jelly and honey. This combination is a serious skincare wonder, instantly soothing stressed out skin and is one of the best products I've found for calming down my dry, flaky patches. Despite its super thick, balm-like consistency, it leaves no residue and sinks into the skin like a dream. The full size of this comes in at £32.00 and I'm definitely going to be repurchasing it to help keep my eczema under control.

Finally, I've saved the best for last. Although the Honey Savior really blew me away, the main highlight of the Skin Savior kit has to be the Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm. This balm is like a mini-facial in a pot and is by far one of the best moisturising treatments I've found. Yup, ever. At first I was a little reluctant to slather a heavy balm all over my face and feared weeks of breakouts and blockages, but instead, I've been left with plump, glowing skin that feels super hydrated. My skin tone looks more even and my foundation is applying like a dream thanks to the disappearance of my dry patches.

Although it's called a balm, when you apply the product to your face it instantly melts into an oil like consistency which is then massaged into the skin and left to sink in overnight. Much like the Honey Potion, a little goes a long way with this, and I think that paying £42.00 for the full-size jar is a bargain. Honestly, nothing I've tried before really compares to this. It's soothing, nourishing, hydrating and gives a gorgeous glow without being too heavy for the skin. It's probably not one for those with oily skin, but if you think your skin could do with some more moisture then this is definitely one to try out. I can't remember the last time I was this impressed with a skin care product.

Farmacy Skin Savior Review Cult Beauty | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

(sneaky bonus shots of Clyde playing assistant photographer/stylist)

Although I wasn't entirely blown away by the Skin Dew, I think the rest of the products in this set really make up for it. It's the perfect introduction to the brand, and I can't wait to try more of their range. Cult Beauty also stock another set called the Perennial Picks Skincare Discovery Set, which contains an exfoliator, a serum and a moisturiser alongside the Sleep Tight balm so I think I'll give that a try next. Farmacy is not a cheap brand by any means, but skincare is an area I like to invest in as I think it makes the most difference for me. Plus, the packaging is just gorgeous, which is always a bonus for me. It's been a really long time since I fell so hard for a new skincare brand so I'm really excited to see what Farmacy has in store in the future.


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This post contains a press sample - read my full disclaimer here
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5 Apr 2017

My Blogging Toolkit

Blogging Toolkit Essentials Technology Kit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Blogging Toolkit Essentials Technology Kit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

This post was produced in collaboration with Caseable

I like to think that after six and a half years I've pretty much nailed my "blogging toolkit", as I've amassed quite a selection of cameras, computers, books and more all in the name of blogging. You don't need the latest and greatest kit to start a blog, all you need is a computer and some words, but having settled into a pretty standard routine I've come to be reliant on a handful of things that make my life a lot easier.

It can be easy to get swept up in the desire to have the newest camera or a fancy laptop, but a lot of the time there is a reason why that camera is around everyone's neck or why a certain book keeps popping up in flatlays. I know what features and gadgets suit my blogging life, and more often than not those same functions will appeal to most other bloggers too.

I'm very guilty of buying things just because they look pretty, and as you may already know I'm an absolute sucker for Kate Spade, but I also put a lot of research into my purchases because I like to get the most for my hard earned money. I get a lot of buyer's guilt and used to feel ridiculously guilty about spending £20 for a fortnight's food shopping when I was convinced I could have done it in £10, but at the same time I also feel quite strongly that I work hard for my money, so what I choose to spend it on is up to me. If I'd rather spend it on a new lens for my camera than the contents of Topshop, that's my choice! Although, I'd quite happily spend it on both given the chance...
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31 Mar 2017

Mango Spring Edit

Mango High Street Best Sellers Spring Summer 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


Mango is a shop that I always used to dismiss, thinking it wouldn't be my style and was probably going to be way out of my budget. That was, until last summer when I spotted Hannah rocking some of their amazing summer dresses and suddenly they were on my radar. Ever since then I've found myself wandering into their Glasgow store on many an occasion and have discovered plenty of gems within their range. With classic basic pieces as well as on-trend patterns and cuts, Mango is a fantastic place to fill your wardrobe. They have a plethora of super cute slogan tees, laidback summer dresses in perfect prints and a killer accessories game to boot - all with pretty purse-friendly price tags too.

I've been trying to cut down on my spending recently (woohoo student life) so I've been trying to pick up more wearable pieces when I feel that urge to shop, which is where Mango seems to excel for me. Although they have some more trend-led pieces, the majority of their collection is so easy to wear and they have something for every occasion. 


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Mango High Street Best Sellers Spring Summer 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


Just like last spring, I'm still having a bit of a love-in when it comes to trousers, and Mango have some seriously beautiful pairs that I have my eye on! Think classic suit styles, paper bag waists and the ever-so-cliche spring florals in flattering cuts. My body shape makes it difficult to find trousers that fit properly, but I find that Mango's selection tends to tick the boxes when it comes to fit. They also have some beautiful culottes and wide leg trousers that would be perfect for summer, if the sun does ever decide to make an appearance!

Another firm favourite of mine from Mango is their jackets. I bought my first Mango jacket in the January sales, which you can see in this outfit post, and I wear it most days. The perfect coat can really make or break an outfit, which is why I'm not surprised that I've found myself unintentionally building quite a collection. The structured pink blazer featured above is a sure-fire sass magnet and would be the perfect way to smarten up a pair of jeans and a casual tee. I'm picturing black jeans, a slouchy grey tee and my trusty grey Adidas Gazelles.

Let's finish on a high, and chat accessories. Much like a jacket, the right accessories can really change an outfit for me. Mango's bags are to die for, with shapes and styles that wouldn't look out of place on the catwalk. How gorgeous is that quilted yellow bag? I have a real thing for yellow accessories and that floral detail is something else entirely.


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What styles are you loving for spring?

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28 Mar 2017

Heads and Tales, Edinburgh

Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I don't spend nearly as much time as I'd like to in Edinburgh these days, despite it only being a short train journey away. As a result, I don't really know much about the Edinburgh food scene, but now that I've pretty much eaten my way around Glasgow I thought it was about time to get started on Edinburgh's host of restaurants and bars too. I was invited along to review Heads and Tales, a gin bar located just off of Princes Street, so I recruited my original blogging bestie Hayley for a night of cocktails and catch ups to see how it fared.

Heads and Tales is home to two Edinburgh Gin stills, which is a particular favourite of mine, so I was really excited to get stuck into their menu. The bar itself is located underneath The Huxley restaurant and at first glance, it's easily missed, but when you descend the stairs under a canopy of fairy lights you'll feel at home straight away. With a mix of cosy cave booths, comfy armchairs and towering tables this sprawling bar is definitely a gem hiding away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre.

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24 Mar 2017

How to Get Free Stuff for Your Blog


How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Spoiler alert: you can't.

Okay, click bait title aside, there is a misconception nowadays that bloggers are all sent lots of shiny new products for free, with no hard work involved, and it gets a little tiring. Sure, it is really nice to be seen as worthy of receiving press samples from brands, but I've spent years building up my blog and put a lot of work in on a daily basis to be in this position. When you think about all of the hours of work that go on behind the scenes, is that new mascara really a freebie? Well, no. There is a big difference between payment-in-kind and free, which a lot of people don't realise. To create just one post I can spend hours styling, shooting and editing photographs, writing the post content, optimising said post for search engines, scheduling social promotion and monitoring analytics. That doesn't even include the time spent researching, testing or replying to emails - blogging can be a pretty time-consuming hobby when you take each small part into account. Yet time after time I have people tell me just how lucky I am to "get sent all of this stuff for free". Whilst I am very lucky to be in this position, it's not just luck. It's hard work - and a lot of it.

"But Charlotte, you said you'd tell me how to get these not-so-free freebies for my blog?!"

Well, here are some of my top pieces of advice when it comes to securing brand collaborations and press samples...

How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Work Hard

I feel like this should be a given, but unfortunately, a lot of people don't always realise it. If you want something, work hard for it. Put in the hours to refine what you do, work on your content, improve your photography, promote your blog, learn SEO - whatever it is you think you need to do. I'm not saying that you need to have Pinterest-perfect pictures to get these opportunities because that's just not true, but the reality of it is that with so many bloggers out there you need to be able to keep up with the crowd in some way or another. Work hard and reap the benefits! It took me years before I was offered my first brand collaboration, and I'm still a small fry in the blogging world, but I'd be nowhere if I didn't put the time in. You can't just expect these opportunities to fall out of the sky and land straight in your lap.

Provide Mutual Value

The whole point of brand collaborations and press samples is exchanging value between all parties, so you need to have something to bring to the table. The brand are providing you with something of some sort of value, be that products or money, and in return, you're providing them with content and promotion. They're also providing you with the opportunity to create content, which in turn is valued by your readers who come to your blog to see what you think. It has to be mutually beneficial, and as much as I wish the blogging world didn't all boil down to numbers, there needs to be something in it for everyone involved. To be fair, though, this isn't always number focused - maybe you can provide beautiful imagery or moving words. The PRs on the other end of that email will need to justify who they're choosing to collaborate with, so it's important that you can provide something that will make it worthwhile. A big audience doesn't necessarily mean an engaged audience and everyone will have their own idea of what constitutes as being successful. 

Know Your Worth

Knowing your worth is something that I've only just started to come to terms with, but is so important. Appreciating the value of what you can provide is not only important on a personal level, but for the industry as a whole. The work you put into a blog post is valuable, you are providing a service, albeit a service that you (hopefully) love. Fair enough, not everyone has the desire to monetise or create sponsored content, but spending hours creating beautiful content in exchange for that fabled "exposure" can devalue what the industry as a whole does. As I said in the point above, there has to be something in it for everyone and that something should be relative to your worth. Don't undersell yourself and the hard work that you do!

How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Be Professional

Professionalism and politeness are key in so many walks of life. Running a blog does not mean you are automatically entitled to samples and I hate when I see people acting as if they are. A blog is a business, so careful consideration is needed when you're putting things in the public eye. Tweet what you like, I do, but be aware that it can come back to bite you. If you're seen to be inflammatory or are consistently slagging off brands or fellow bloggers, it might not necessarily give the best impression and could be off-putting. You might not care, and that's cool, but if working with brands is part of your overall intentions for your blog then I'd definitely spend a bit of time thinking about how you come across on the internet as a whole. Building relationships is a big part of working with brands and so being polite, and doing what you say you will when you will, is so important. Communicate, be honest and open. It's a two-way street, and you never know where you'll bump into people again. I've had experiences where I've built a great relationship with someone who has then moved into a new role and gets in touch with new brands and opportunities or has even recommended me for other opportunities with their contacts. 

Stay True

Quite possibly the most important point of them all, really. Personally, I blog because I want to share the things I love, so I turn down campaigns or opportunities that aren't really relevant to me - which is quite a lot sometimes. Staying true to yourself and what you love is so, so, so, so important and it quickly becomes glaringly obvious if someone is "selling out" and writing about random topics like car insurance or generators on a beauty blog for the sake of a few quid. Blog about what you love and your passion will shine through. At the end of the day, is that not what it's all about?

What would your one top tip be for a new blogger? Let me know in the comments!

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21 Mar 2017

Living our lives through a lens

Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Top - Primark; Jacket - Mango (old); Jeans - Dorothy Perkins;
Bag - Primark (suuuuuper old); Sheer Socks - Next; Shoes - Next

Do you ever pick up something in store that is totally not your style, but convince yourself that you're definitely cool enough to pull it off? Yup, that's what happened with these shoes. Back in February, I was at an event with Next to chat all about their new shoes and these beautiful nude frill loafers caught my eye. They're not a colour I'd usually pick for shoes, or a shape, or even a heel height that I'd typically wear, but there was something about them that I just couldn't resist. Lo and behold, they've instantly become my new favourite shoes and I find myself trying to fit them in with every outfit I can. I love how they smarten up a pair of jeans, and when you throw a pair of those super on-trend sheer socks into the mix I almost feel somewhat... fashionable. Imagine that!

I'm really loving frill and flare details at the moment, with the flared sleeve trend being a particular favourite of mine for spring. I picked up this gingham top in Primark a few weeks ago, and although the boxy shape does nothing to highlight my waist, I find myself wearing it on a weekly basis. It's so easy to wear and I love the flowing sleeves, with the gingham pattern being perfect for the upcoming spring season. Paired with my favourite cosy jacket that I snapped up in the January sales from Mango, this combination is perfect for casual days at college or coffee dates.

Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Speaking of college, I've just started my third and final block of my first year. I don't have anywhere near as many classes this block, which is a huge relief, but I do have some big deadlines to work on in the coming weeks. My timetable has cut down to two and a half days a week which is already making a huge difference to my productivity levels (in my mind at least) and I'm feeling excited to get stuck into my new modules as they're all really interesting. More time means more time to spend on my blog, too, which is always nice! Now that I'm not working I really want to make the most of this extra time and have been trying to build up some work experience as well as taking on a couple of little freelance projects and finishing off some e-courses. Improving my content is always top of my list, and I've come out of a little tough spell feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running once again. I'm planning on filming a college/university based Q&A video for my YouTube channel at some point soon, so if you have any education related questions to ask then leave them in the comments or you can submit them anonymously using this form and I'll try to answer them in my video.

In other news, I've just realised that I haven't shared something pretty big on my blog. I've shared the news on every single social media platform, and even my YouTube channel, but somehow it slipped my mind to actually mention it here.... So, we adopted kittens! They're called Bonnie & Clyde and are six-month-old brother & sister. We rescued them from a local Glasgow charity called Catflap, and you can get a proper introduction to them in this video I filmed for my channel at the weekend. They've settled in so well and the whole family is absolutely smitten with this precious pair. Losing Ginger left a real hole in our lives, so having Bonnie & Clyde has really helped us through what was a difficult time for us all.

That just about covers it, for now at least. I finally found a remote that works for my new camera so regular outfit posts should be coming your way more often now. Hopefully!


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