29 Sep 2015

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan - #SassyBooks September

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty & Fashion blog

Life is uncertain, it doesn't play by the rules. Marina Keegan had just graduated from Yale and had a career lined up at the New Yorker when she was killed in a car accident. She, like many others, had her whole life ahead of her, only to be cruelly snatched in an instant. Because of this, I thought that The Opposite of Loneliness would be quite a difficult read, but to an extent I was pleasantly surprised.

This was our first non-fiction choice for #SassyBooks, despite considering numerous other options, and overall I'd say it was a good choice. Being a collection of short stories, essays and poetry it covers a lot of bases and interests, holding a lot of appeal for numerous people.

The book is split in to non fiction and fiction sections, each hosting a good amount of work despite it being our shortest book so far. Whilst I enjoyed the fiction section, I did think that the majority of the work was focused on more romantic themes which I felt were a bit juvenile at times. There's no denying that Marina was a talented writer, with an enthralling writing style and a knack for tugging at the emotions in a way that is relatable yet thought provoking. There were some points where I wasn't sure if these works were really fiction, as she seemed to perfectly slot in to the thoughts of her chosen character in a way that made it feel so real. One story in particular did give me nightmares as the ocean creeps me out, but on the whole I enjoyed them all.

The non fiction section was undoubtedly my favourite, with her personal essays reflecting perfectly the feelings of a young adult trying to find their way in the world. She's refreshingly honest, clearly very intelligent and somehow manages to write about herself in a way that doesn't seem self obsessed - something I know I struggle with and so admire greatly. The best way to describe her essays, and in fact most of her work, is thought provoking.

I suppose part of this comes from the circumstances as well, with an underlying feeling of "seizing the moment" crawling through every piece. It's difficult to argue that Marina was full of promise, with a clear talent for the written word and great things ahead of her. Because of her passing, we'll never know if she would have actually achieved all of these things, but she sure was on track. The impression I got from the book was that Marina did in fact live every moment to it's fullest, she was relatively well rounded and a generally nice person.

Her writing may come across as pretentious at times, but there's skill and meaning behind those words. Her non fiction work is approachable and relatable, like chatting with a friend. It's somewhat refreshing, but at the same time I can't help but wonder how many incredible writers I'm missing out on because they haven't been propelled to this level of status due to their circumstances? I loved this book, but there is an aura of scepticism which isn't all that unusual from me.

October's book comes from an author I've enjoyed before, and had also been suggested by a couple of people in previous months. Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne is the story of how one teenage girl copes with feeling ostracised from "normal" teenage life due to her struggle with OCD.

As per usual, make sure you check out everyone else's reviews of The Opposite of Loneliness on the #SassyBooks hashtag! I can't wait to see what everyone thinks.

28 Sep 2015

September Favourites

August Favourites | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I feel like I only shared my August favourites last week, but lo and behold here we are at the end of September already. It's been such a busy month that I feel like I haven't had the chance to blog properly, but October is looking a bit calmer so fingers crossed I can get back in to my routine! I feel like I say this every month, but we'll see...

One of the things I've been loving this month is this cute little gold polkadot tray from Asda. I spotted this when I was finishing work one evening and for a mere five pounds I knew I had to grab it. Browsing through Instagram this week it would appear that I'm not the only one who couldn't resist it, but I love it too much to be annoyed. Maybe it's the new marble tray? George actually have some really cute home bits in at the moment, it's making me wish I had a flat to decorate again.

August Favourites | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Beauty wise, I've found myself reaching for the Bourjois Maxi Delight Bronzer quite a lot since returning from my holiday. Having managed to pick up a bit of a tan, this has been a must have in my current daily make up to add that post-holiday bronze glow that I'm so desperate for. Sadly my tan is fading already, but I'll be using this for as long as I can get away for. It smells gorgeous and adds a beautiful shimmer without being too over the top - ideal for someone who's a little bit apprehensive of bronzer like myself.

Something else that I fell in love with whilst on holiday was the Caudalie Divine Oil which I got in my Glamour Summer Edit box from Latest In Beauty. I've made my way through the bottle quite fast, but it's such a great multi-tasker that I can't help picking it up for numerous uses. I mostly use this as a facial oil which is working wonders for my skin, but this beautifully scented oil also works really well at keeping my hair in check too.

August Favourites | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I rarely leave the house without a hand cream of some sorts, with The Body Shop being a firm favourite of mine. At the moment I'm loving the almond hand & nail cream which has been sitting on my desk to keep my dry hands hydrated and soft all day long. It's not too greasy and sinks in quickly, plus the almond scent is nearly good enough to eat!

Now, it wouldn't be a favourites post without some sort of candle right? I do love a good candle, so when my friend brought me back this Cappuccino Chocolate candle back from Greece as a birthday present I was buzzing to add a new scent to my line up. I typically go for quite sweet, vanilla like scents but the addition of a coffee edge to this candle makes it feel so much more grown up. I absolutely adore the smell of coffee, but don't drink it often as it just makes me a bit crazy, so you'll find me burning this candle at all hours instead.

What have you been loving this month?

26 Sep 2015

Saturday Share #7


25 Sep 2015

Debenhams AW15 Press Day

Autumn/Winter is potentially my favourite season fashion wise, I'm all about the layering and I do love the slightly more muted colour palette. Debenhams Press Events never fail to get me excited for the changing seasons, and this year's visit to Glasgow's Blythswood Square certainly didn't let me down.

One thing that I can always rely on the designers at Debenhams to ace is the use of texture, something that I always look for when Autumn comes around. Seventies inspired fashion is still huge this season, much to my dismay, but despite my inital dislike for the trend I've actually found a few looks that I think I could interpret through my own wardrobe. It's definitely a more autumnal trend in my eyes! The suede pinafore with the fur gilet was a firm favourite of mine.

Much like their summer collections the accessories for this upcoming season are nothing short of incredible. With intricate embellishments and shoes to die for, Debenhams are looking like a one stop shop for the festive season. I just love the deep blues on offer, with the midnight velvet platforms heading straight to the top of my wishlist.

Obviously I saved the best for last. Christmas is a treasure trove for beauty addicts like myself, and this year's new releases are pretty damn exciting. I don't want to give too much away - I do hate a spoiler - but highlights for me include the Alice & Olivia x Nails Inc collaboration and Benefit's step in a bolder direction. Gone are the typical pastel, candy shop styles of last Christmas only to be replaced by bright, fun, kitsch packed pieces that scream party time.

It's going to be one hell of a season! Big thanks to Debenhams for inviting me along to check it out.

24 Sep 2015

10 Happy Things #4

1. It's been nearly a month since I went on holiday (how?!?!) and I'm missing the sunshine a lot, but I've got a few more trips sorted for the next couple of months which I'm really looking forward to.

2. The Foo Fighters have been one of my favourite bands pretty much since I started high school, and I finally got to see them play live this month. It was just incredible to experience their music in the flesh after waiting so long!

3. I kind of forgot how much I like autumn. I hate being cold, but there's something refreshing about the crisp mornings with a hint of frost. I love seeing the trees change too, the fiery autumn colour palette is one of the reasons I love this season so much.

4. I finished my internship yesterday, and whilst I'm sad it's over it'll be nice to have a few days to myself! I've got a massive to do list to work my way through, plus I'm excited to get back in to the swing of things with blogging & what not.

5. The colder days have meant more cosy nights tucked in bed with a good book and some fluffy pjs - absolute bliss!

6. Earlier in the week I paid a visit to Iolla to pick out a new pair of glasses and decided to go for something a little bolder than my previous pairs. I'm really excited for them to arrive so I can show them off properly!

7. I feel like all of my happy posts include Jellybear, but there is no getting over how good it is. On Sunday I met up with Lis to chat over cookie dough and chocolate milkshakes - I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday!

8. Much like Jellybear, Claire Barclay Draws also seems to pop up in my happy posts a lot... I've been steadily building up my collection month by month and as my September treat I decided to commission a little custom necklace to show off my Mancunian roots. Claire was ridiculously kind and also included a brooch of my blog header as a surprise extra! I'm thinking about putting together a post dedicated to showing off my substantial collection - is that something you'd like to see?

9. I'm now finally caught up with Suits, and all I can say is OH MY GOD. The next episode seems so far away, so I'm trying to find something to keep me occupied in the mean time. Throw your recommendations my way!

10. I had a bit of a crisis of confidence in my blog at the start of the month, but I'm crawling out of it now and it's a great feeling. I work hard for my blog, and whilst it may not be massive, it's mine and that's all that matters.

What's been making you happy this week?

22 Sep 2015

YouTube Advice From Jim Chapman

YouTube Tips from Jim Chapman | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty & Fashion Blog

YouTube is a fickle thing, with some people becoming a success practically overnight and other channels taking months to gain that first handful of subscribers. Everyone and their dog seems to have dipped their feet in to the world of YouTube recently - myself included - so when I was given the opportunity to ask YouTube mega-star Jim Chapman for some advice on starting a successful YouTube channel for River Island's Style Insider I grabbed it with both hands.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful YouTube channel?

It’s really hard to say. I think you need to be consistent and reliable so your viewers always have something to see but it’s also impossible to say what it is about me or Tanya or any other successful YouTuber and what makes them a success. You can’t quantify because it’s our personalities. I think you just need to get out there and try it and do it for fun. Essentially it’s easy, all you need is a camera and a laptop and you’re away, but there has to be something about you that people want to watch.

Is there something that you do in particular that you think makes your videos standout?

No, I don’t know what it is. I must be doing something by accident because I have no idea. I often watch my videos and think why would anyone care, but they seem to. I think it’s important to remember you can’t be a success overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and a certain degree of ‘X factor’ or likeability.

Do you think maintaining communication with your viewers is important?

Yes I think a lot of people say when they watch my videos they feel like I’m talking directly to them so talking directly to millions of people is probably something that’s not that easy to do. I’m also constantly tweeting, I’m always talking to them in some capacity.

Have you had any big hurdles to overcome?

Weirdly it’s all happened so fast and been so reactive I often don’t sit and plan things so I don’t have that many problems. A lot of the time if I do, it just then becomes content because I’ll talk about it with my audience and it gets solved. There’s never been anything terrible I don’t think.

How much do you think YouTube will change in the coming years?

I don’t know. I really feel like this is just the beginning. It’s taken a long time for the balance to start to tick over but suddenly we’re becoming household names. I feel like it’s becoming more mainstream now which is a good thing, as long as it maintains the makeshift nature where’s its easy and watchable as opposed to being really overproduced. I can’t only see it getting bigger and better.

Hopefully you found Jim's responses as interesting as I did - I've been slacking on the YouTube front lately, but if hearing more about it from someone who has clearly been a huge success isn't motivation then I don't know what is! For more from Jim, be sure to check out his video for Style Insider which is jam packed with fashion advice, YouTube fame and his original life plans.

Do you have any of your own advice for starting a YouTube channel?

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Images by Jenn Five for River Island

21 Sep 2015

Referendum Revisited

(photos taken by Lis of Last Year's Girl)

Last Friday marked one year since the Scottish Independence Referendum, and despite sharing a few posts on my thoughts in the run up the referendum I never really concluded my final thoughts or indeed what I ended up voting on the day. To commemorate the first year after the vote I thought I'd get a few other Scottish bloggers involved to share their thoughts on the outcome and what they wish for the future...

In the end, I voted yes. I still remember the day so clearly, I had just finished a horrendous night shift and drove home in tears trying to figure out what box to tick on the ballot. I went down to the polling station as soon as it opened, as I had to travel up to Aberdeen that morning, and stood in the booth trying to decide for a few minutes before deciding. I was so split between the two that I decided I wouldn't mind either outcome and in the end I figured that change, though it is scary, is more often than not a good thing. I was somewhat disappointed when the resulting majority voted no, but as time has gone by I'm confident that independence is in Scotland's future.

Liam from Liam Likes voted yes too, and this is what he had to say:

I voted yes because I feel that the current system that we have with Westminster is broken and there's no hope in it changing. I think the Scottish Government could do so much more good for us as a nation than the UK Government ever will. The day of the vote was full of energy and excitement, the day after was as if someone had sucked all the air out of the room. I was so disappointed, I felt that we had thrown away the opportunity to build a better nation. I would have loved the vote to have been a yes but it wasn't and we have to respect that. I am hopeful for another vote sometime in the future but not for at least a few years. I do think independence will happen, Scotland seems to be going in a very different direction from the rest of the UK so I'm hopeful and at least we have a Scottish Government who actually cares about the people.

Morag of Mo'Adore voted yes, despite being a strong no originally:

It’s not much of a secret that last year I voted yes, despite having been a strong no for years beforehand. In my heart I wanted to vote no (to remain British) but the logical reasons were piling up that Scotland would be better off without Westminster (and if you’re thinking “logical reasons for independence? What’s this one on about?” then you weren’t researching hard enough). These days I’m still feeling the same. I don’t believe in Scottish independence because of nationalistic principle, I believe in it because I feel Scotland would be better going alone. And despite the recent election of Jeremy Corbyn which could tilt the political direction of the UK, Westminster has done little to convince me of why Scotland should remain.

On the other hand, Jodie from A Little Bit Young voted no:

I voted no. It was a decision made more with my head than my heart, however I patriotic I am, I see the securities of staying in the union. A year on, I feel the same and was happy with the referendum result. The outcome of the General Election in May and slide towards SNP shows that as a nation, Scotland wants the promises of the Smith Commission to be fulfilled. 

Lynnsay from The Sartorial Scot voted no:

I voted No last September and it wasn't a difficult decision for me to make. Economic factors aside, I see myself as being both Scottish and British - I felt that if we left the UK I'd be losing a part of my identity. When the result came out of course I was relieved but the country was basically torn in half and people I considered friends were talking about 'no voters' in such a terrible way. I understand it was a disappointing result for so many people but we are still one nation and one country, it should have been a time to come together and not grow apart. However, now a year on, I feel like both sides have pretty much built their bridges. My opinion is still the same, I don't want to leave the UK. But I think it will happen someday and I really hope it works out if it does. We are all Scottish and want what is best for our country - whether we are Yes or No voters.

Ruth from Urbanity was another yes voter:

I voted Yes because people across the world throughout history have fought and died for the right to their independence, but all we had to do was put an 'X' in a box. I was obviously disappointed by the result but I understood that maybe Scotland wasn't quite ready and it wasn't the right time. A year on, I think momentum has only grown stronger due to backlash against the Conservative Government.

Ma gal Lis of Last Year's Girl voted yes too:

I was undecided for a long time, but since I decided I was voting yes I never looked back - and I would do it all again tomorrow. Politics can feel like something far off, that makes no difference to ordinary people's lives, but the truth is it touches everything that we do. The referendum brought that home to me, and I think to Scotland. For the first time, we were having a say in whether we could bring government home, and have every decision affecting Scotland made in Scotland. I think that feeling has stayed, certainly among the people I have spoken to, since the referendum, whichever way they voted - and I hope it stays that way.

And finally, Sally from Style Postcode voted no:

I decided to vote no - at the time I felt this would be the best choice for my future, a little selfish maybe, but I felt that there were a lot of unanswered questions that did not justify a yes vote. At the time of the no vote being announced I was both relieved although strangely a little bit sad as I witnessed the Scottish people coming together. A year on, I am still happy with my no vote decision and feel that it was something that was meant to be at the time. I am still happy to see that Scotland are being given more say towards their affairs and if I could see evidence that all issues would be answered to, I may sway my vote to a yes.

How did you feel about the outcome of the referendum - if you voted or not?

19 Sep 2015

Saturday Share #6

Saturday Share | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion Blog

  • I didn't used to believe in the impact of Mercury being in retrograde, but after a pretty awful time last year I definitely think it does have some level of influence. Maybe I just want to blame my problems on the planets, but if you're interested in it then check out this post by Gala Darling.
  • I recently joined the UK Bloggers Facebook group and it's been a great source of information, they also have a website with lots of tips like this guide to the financial side of blogging
  • YouTube can be quite daunting to get started on, but Kayleigh has shared a beginner's guide to YouTube which is full of great tips for branching out!
  • Speaking of YouTube, I filmed my first "make up tutorial" type of video and you can watch it here.
  • Twitter is one of the best social networks in terms of getting your blog out there (in my opinion at least) and Becky has shared 7 ways to increase your Twitter followers.
  • I love lists of happy things, so when Hayley shared 50 things that make her happy it inspired me to make my own little list to refer to when I'm sad.
  • Blog organisation can be a bit of a nightmare task at first, but it makes life so much easier in the end - here are some tips for blog organisation.
  • Cheese is pretty much the main basis of my diet, so these things you'll only understand if you're obsessed with cheese spoke to me on a new level.
  • This Barbie has a better Instagram account than I do, and it's pretty hilarious.
  • We don't always have the time to sit down and whack out a blog post for every day of the week, but here are some things you can do when you're too busy to blog.
Enjoy your weekend!

17 Sep 2015

A Trip to Ardoe House - Aberdeen

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

I don't have the warmest feelings toward Aberdeen, having experienced one of the lowest points of my life there, but I decided to give it another go when I was invited to stay at Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House last weekend.

Despite living in Aberdeen for two years I was unaware of Ardoe House's existence, which as it turns out was a massive loss for me. Nestled away in the trees you'd be forgiven for forgetting that you're only ten minutes from the city centre, which makes it the ideal escape from the usual hustle and bustle. I couldn't quite believe it when it turned out to be less than five minutes from the flat I lived in last year!

The hotel itself looks incredible, which I suppose is to be expected from a 19th century country house! It certainly makes the most of the granite that the surrounding area is famed for, but in a way that sparkles more than Union Street. Surrounded by 30 acres of greenery it's an absolutely gorgeous location, however we were blessed with that beautiful Scottish rain that left us marooned indoors for our stay.

Luckily, I was more than happy to curl up in the massive marshmallow bed for a nap or three! Our room was a really brilliant size, with plenty of space to spread aaaaaall of my stuff out - I like to over pack - without feeling cramped. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the bathroom, but despite being larger than all of my house's bathrooms combined it really could have done with a bath tub. I do love a bubble bath! There was a solution though...

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

Yup. The spa.

Having experienced my first "proper" spa day back in June for my anniversary I'd been eager to get myself back on the table for another massage ever since. The spa facilities at Ardoe seem small, but they provide such a great range it's really difficult to choose. Both Paddy & I decided to have a massage and it was clear that the spa therapists know their stuff. If I was still living in Aberdeen I'd be up for weekly treatments! My therapist was really chatty, which I hadn't expected, but it was actually really relaxing to just have a mindless chatter with someone whilst tucked under lots of cosy towels. Plus it meant I managed to stay awake for a change...

We spent most of our day by the pool however had to share with an infant swimming class that was a tad noisy - it's probably worth checking the class timetable before heading in! I stuck to the jacuzzi for most of the day so ended up a tad pruned when it was time to go.

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

One of the most important things for me when visiting somewhere new is the food. This isn't all that unexpected for me, I love food, and I loved the majority of the food at Ardoe House.

The only food related issue we had was our lunch, which took forever to arrive and was a little underwhelming. Due to a kitchen mix up we ended up with five portions of chips between the two of us, and as delicious as the sweet potato fries were it was a bit too much! There did seem to be some communication issues between the kitchen and the staff as we had a similar issue at dinner when asking for something to be removed due to dietary requirements, but the staff were all quick to rectify any issues which saved it for me.

Dinner totally blew me away. The menu is relatively simple, offering a mix of Scottish classics and making the most of local produce, but it is made well which is exactly what you want. The "Fet Like" salad I had for my starter has been lingering at the forefront of my mind since first bite and I'm determined to find a local supplier of the cheese. For my main I had steak which was cooked to perfection and the portion was ideal as it left me full, but still with room for a sticky toffee pudding afterwards.

The breakfast selection was fairly typical, however I was beyond excited when I realised I could have it delivered to my room to enjoy in bed. A lazy girl's dream! Paddy was also delighted to discover he could have haggis with his, so we were a happy pair.

A trip to Ardoe House, Aberdeen #DestinationDeen | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, beauty & fashion blog

Although the service did sometimes feel slow, we weren't exactly rushing about so it didn't really matter all that much. The staff were all brilliantly polite and made sure we had whatever we needed which you would expect from a hotel of this calibre. It does seem that the hotel runs a slightly "reduced service" Sunday/Monday, which would appear to be their quieter days, so this may have been to blame, but it won't stop me returning to Ardoe House or recommending it to anyone who's after a little break in Scotland.

I just can't believe that Ardoe House is so close to the city I thought I knew relatively well. I could probably see it from my favourite study spot at the top of my old library! It's a little sanctuary hidden away in the trees and one I'd love to visit again. I'm thinking a spa day, afternoon tea and reliving the amazing night's sleep I had in the massive bed.

But I suppose any bed seems a whole lot bigger when you don't have to share it with a cat...

My stay at Ardoe was complimentary in exchange for an honest review.
Read my full disclaimer here.

16 Sep 2015

Holiday Reading Round Up

Holiday Reading Round Up | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Ever since I was young I've loved reading. My room has always been packed with books and it's not uncommon to find me squirrelled away reading in bed at all hours of the night. For a few years now I've been setting myself a challenge on Goodreads to finish a certain number of books in a year and I've managed to complete it each time - so far. My reading habits tend to fluctuate, I'll have weekends where I'll polish off 3 books but then I can go a month without finding anything that takes my fancy, however each summer without fail I will read a shit ton of books when I'm on holiday. Here are the books I got lost in during my recent trip to Turkey:

Me, Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 

Me, Earl & The Dying Girl had been hanging out in my to-read list for well over a year and as much as I did want to read it I felt no great urgency to do so. This all changed when I spotted a trailer for the film on tv one night and I hurriedly downloaded it to read on the plane.

When a girl from his past is diagnosed with leukaemia, Greg - encouraged by his mother - decides to forgo his policy to avoid obvious friendships in an attempt to blend in. Him and his partner-in-film-making Earl set out to make what is left of Rachel's life a little bit sunnier.

This book was so easy to read, and quite refreshing in a way. It's honest, simple and laugh out loud funny at points. It deals with so many sensitive issues but in a way that sticks out amongst a plethora of books about teenagers in ill health. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie now!

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey 

Having sat on my mum's bookshelf for a few weeks now, Elizabeth Is Missing was hanging about at the back of my mind when I was deciding what books to take away. This book seems to have been pretty popular this year and I can really understand why.

Maud is getting a bit forgetful, but she does remember one thing. Elizabeth is missing, and she has to find out where she went. Despite the lack of help from anyone else, Maud sets out to find out what happened not only to Elizabeth, but to her sister Sukey back when they were young.

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did, especially as it frustrated me to no end when reading it, but I thought it was really brilliant in the way it was put together. You're discovering the story from Maud's perspective, which isn't always clear thanks to her fading memory. It's fast paced and emotional, with an expertly created edge of unease that will leave you struggling to put it down.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman 

Last summer I had my heart broken by Gayle Forman's "If I Stay" (post here) so I should have known what to expect when I downloaded one of her newer novels, Just One Day. Forman has a real knack for the emotional teenage girl drama without making it seem too chick lit or young adult - it's a serious talent in my eyes!

Having spent her summer travelling Europe, Allyson decides to step outside of her comfort zone and indulge in what seems to be a whirlwind romance with a Dutch actor she met that very day. The pair travel to Paris, aiming to take it all in with very little time to do so, however Allyson awakes the next morning to discover that Willem has gone.

Just One Day made me cry, a lot, as is becoming a regular occurrence with Gayle Forman's books. The timing is just perfect, with the whirlwind trip to Paris whizzing past a lightning fast pace, sucking you in to the story before slowing as the romance fizzles out. My heart ached with Allyson's as she had to come to terms with what happens, and I couldn't help but obsess over her hunt for the one that got away... I'm going to download the next book, Just One Year, as soon as I've finished this post!

Grey by E.L. James

Yeah. Confession time. I have read all of the Fifty Shades books as I just can't resist a bit of hype, but I found them to be so poorly written that I couldn't face going to see the film. The trilogy was far too cringe-worthy for my liking, but when E.L. James released a new book showing Christian Grey's perspective on the story I couldn't help myself...

The writing is just as bad as the original trilogy, however it was quite interesting to see things from his perspective instead of whining Ana. Whilst it's still not converted me, I do think that this book added a little bit more depth to the story as a whole and has kind of made me want to watch the film... Mostly because I didn't need to put up with Ana referring to her "inner goddess" every few sentences.

Boy I hated those books.

Ways To Die In Glasgow by Jay Stringer 

Whilst waiting for my (delayed) flight home I decided to reacquaint myself with the wonderful world of Glasgow through Jay Stringer's latest novel. I do love a good crime novel, but it's rarely a genre I choose automatically unless my mum has recommended it to me. However, seeing as Jay is my adopted big sister Lis' husband I figured I'd give it a go without any prior maternal recommendation!

Mackie has a tarnished past, so to speak, with a murder charge to his name and a love of alcohol as a sidekick. When he's ambushed by two hit men he sets out in an attempt to find out what's going on, and just where his ex-gangster uncle has disappeared to. With private investigators, not so squeaky clean cops and a determined nephew, Ways To Die In Glasgow really shows off the underbelly of Glasgow with the unavoidable side of Weegie humour that comes so naturally to our city.

Although it took me a while to get in to, I soon polished this off and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I said before I really like crime novels, and this being set in Glasgow was just an added bonus. It was unpredictable, hilarious and an absolute page turner. Well worth the read in my opinion!

I also read The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, but seeing as it's this month's choice for #SassyBooks you'll have to wait a couple of weeks for my full review... such a tease.

What have you been reading lately?

14 Sep 2015

Current Morning Skincare

Current Morning Skincare Routine | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I'd say that my skincare routine changes like the weather, but considering that Scotland can quite easily experience all four seasons in one day I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. Regardless, I do like to switch it up every so often and with the weather slowly descending in to winter I thought I'd share my current choices before I'm forced to change them again.

Current Morning Skincare Routine | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

In the morning I like to keep things pretty simple, with none of my fancy serums or oils or any other sort of shenanigans. A quick and easy three step routine is ideal for starting off the day right, plus it lends itself to those mornings where I just want that little bit of extra snoozing time... aka most mornings!

Current Morning Skincare Routine | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

To start with, I like to polish away all of the build up that my face has accrued overnight with the honey & camelina facial exfoliator by Bee Good. I've posted a full review of this here, but to summarise it's the perfect balance of creamy and abrasive and so is ideal for buffing away dead skin cells without being too harsh for sensitive skin. Through continued use of this, my skin feels brighter and the horrible dry patches that plague me far too regularly are no longer an issue.

Before moving on to my moisturiser I like to make sure I've really got rid of any residue with a swipe of the Eau Roma Water toner from Lush which is gentle and refreshing - perfect for early starts! This toner really helps calm down my skin and is an essential if it's on the edge of a breakout.

Current Morning Skincare Routine | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

The final step in my morning routine is moisturiser and for years I've been using the hydrating light moisturiser by Simple - I struggle to find anything that works as well for my skin! Luckily it's cheap, eh? This moisturiser does what it says on the tin, it's really light to the touch and sinks in effortlessly yet still provides an unbeatable level of hydration that keeps my skin plump and moisturised throughout the day.

For too long I've been telling myself that I didn't need an eye cream, but now the bags under my eyes are starting to get a little ridiculous and I find myself being very aware of how prominent they are. In an attempt to combat this I've been using the Vitamin E eye cream from The Body Shop and was kind of amazed at how much of a difference it's made. I really love the entire Vitamin E range from The Body Shop so really I should have known better!

What are your morning essentials?


11 Sep 2015

Holiday Photo Diary - Alanya, Turkey

Alanya, Turkey Photo Diary | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog

Alanya, Turkey Photo Diary | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog

Alanya, Turkey Photo Diary | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog

Don't you just hate when you spend months waiting for something and then it's over in a flash? I suppose they do say that time flies when you're having fun... and sunbathing.

It's safe to say that my trip to Turkey was a very much needed week of relaxation, cocktails and sunshine. After the stress of the last few months it was absolute bliss to spend my days chilling out beside the pool - and the all inclusive ice cream bar certainly helped!

We stayed in Alanya which is on the south coast of Turkey, near Antalya, and boy was it hot. Living in Scotland means that I rarely experience temperatures higher than the low twenties, so it was a bit of a novelty to be somewhere that the temperature is pushing forty degrees...

Alanya was absolutely beautiful, with a great mix of history and contemporary culture. It wasn't as traditional as I'd expected, but I loved it nonetheless. Having never been to Turkey before I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and whilst the culture in regards to tourism is on the pushier side (BOUNDARIES PEOPLE!) I'd love to return and see more of the country.

Not only did I come home with a bit of a tan (!!!) but I can now officially say that Paddy & I survived our first holiday without strangling each other. We did come close to it at times, particularly when our flight home was delayed, but we have made it home in one piece. Milestone moment!

The post-holiday blues are well and truly kicking in... luckily I'm off for a spa break this weekend so I'm easing myself back in slowly.

Have you ever been to Turkey?

7 Sep 2015

Guest Post - Victoria Sandwich Recipe

Hey, it's Elizabeth here from Elizabeths Blog, I'm here to do a little post for Charlotte whilst she's away.

After flicking through both my own and Charlotte's posts, I decided to do a cooking post and if you follow me on Instagram then you will probably have seen that one time I tried to make Smores under the grill and came out with this wonderful outcome:

So I thought I’d keep it simple and go for a Victoria Sandwich, which I still managed to not do properly as they didn't rise as well as they could have, but here goes:

Firstly, your going to need to gather your ingredients which are:
125g sugar
125g butter/margarine
125g SELF-RAISING flour
2 large eggs
Vanilla Flavouring (which incidentally isn't in the photo)
Little extra butter for greasing.

6 heaped table spoonfuls of Icing Sugar
3 heaped table spoonfuls of butter

Right now that you’ve got your ingredients, put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix them together until the mixture falls of your spoon without any help.

Then comes the messy part (well if your clumsy and have no hand eye co-ordination then its messy otherwise its probably not) crack the eggs into a cup (it makes it easier for me anyway) and add one egg at a time and mix then add a little flour, then add the second egg and mix in the flour again.

I then added a few drops of vanilla extract and mixed that in too.

I then greased the tin I was using and put the mixture into the tin and put it in the oven for 25 minutes (this can change depending on how big or small you’ve made your cake) at 180 degrees. Personally I like to double check when taking the cake out of the oven that it is cooked by putting a knife in the middle (or deepest part) and seeing if it comes out clean.

I then allowed it to cool.

When it had cooled down I whipped up some butter cream to go in the middle by adding the icing sugar to the butter and rubbing them together and used a spatula to spread it across the cake evenly.

Then what I call the best part MELTING CHOCOLATE cause there always seems to be some left over! I personally melted mine in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time and mixed at each break. I ended up using 150g of milk chocolate for mine but if you want a thin layer, id suggest using less chocolate.

I hope you liked my post! You can find more cooking fails over on my instagram and my rare cooking successes on my blog. If you fancy a chat or have any questions about my cake, tweet me – especially pictures of your cakes so I can see what cakes are meant to look like, not these pancake attempts

*side note: if you have a tin that the bottom comes out off, make sure the bottom is the right way before you put the mixture in, I’m still cleaning burnt bits of cake out of the bottom of my oven – oops*

Elizabeth x

4 Sep 2015

Guest Post - What's In My Make Up Bag

Hi everyone, I'm Dyan from The Little Blog Of Everything! Charlotte has very kindly let me guest post on her blog this week while she is away on her holidays! I am extremely nosy and I absolutely love 'What's In My Bag' type posts to see what other people carry about with them. Therefore, I thought I would share the contents of my makeup bag at the moment for my everyday looks.

1) NARS Blush Orgasm - This was a bit of a splurge for me but it is one of these products that I feel is hyped so much, you just can't help but try it out? It is a really lovely product if it's applied subtly I think as it turns into a very bright pink very quickly! 

2) MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation  NC15 - I have extremely pale skin so finding a foundation that's not orange is a little bit of a problem for me! I thought I found the ideal one for me in Revlon's Colorstay but the fact it doesn't have a pump, the product was wasted pretty quickly. I decided to leap and try MAC as I was spending a lot of money on cheaper foundations that were no use to me. I couldn't rave about this product more, it's a good colour and lasts throughout the whole day!

3) Maybelline Fit Me Powder - I think powder is powder, I don't really have anything else to say about this! It's pretty cheap and does the job.

4) Tanya Burr Cosmetics Eye Palette Galaxy - I haven't actually tried this yet as I picked it up at the weekend but I picked this palette as I love the shimmery shades. The packaging is also lovely.

5) Khroma Beauty Kardazzle Face Palette Kim - Each Kardashian sister has their own palette which contains six eyshadow shades, a blush, a bronzer and a highlighter. This is an absolutely brilliant product for travelling. I particularly love the shimmery silver eyeshadow in this palette. 

6) Bourjous 1 Seconde Mascara Summer Edition - I ended up with this as I was away for the day and I left my mascara at home! In all honesty, I kinda just picked this as I loved the packaging but it's actually pretty good.

7) L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Primer - I picked this up due to Blake Lively's partnership with L'Oreal. She is absolute style goals for me. The actual product is decent but I wouldn't say it was outstanding.

8) Maybelline Falsies Mascara - This is the best mascara I've ever tried so it will always be in my makeup bag! 

9) Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer Fair - This is another one of those cult beauty products but it is truly a brilliant concealer for the money.

10) Khroma Beauty Kardazzle Face Palette Kourtney -  I particularly love the blush in this palette as it is a lovely rose pink and the highlighter is also really pretty. 

11) Tanya Burr Cosmetics Lipgloss Daydream - This is one of the lip glosses from Tanya's new collection and when I swatched it after I bought it, I wasn't too keen. It looks lovely when applied though, definitely one of the nicer shades of hers that I've tried!

12) NARS Hardwired Lipstick Adriatic - This is a new bargain purchase of mine, it's a nude shade and I honestly couldn't believe I found a nice colour by NARS in TK Maxx as the stuff I have seen in there has been awful!

13) Tanya Burr Cosmetics Lipgloss Champagne Toast - This is hands down my favourite lipgloss I have ever owned. I actually repurchased this as I loved it so much, it's a shimmery nude that goes with any makeup look. 

14) Superdrug Tea Tree Spot Stick - I am pretty loyal to Sudocrem when it comes to spots but I'm pretty impressed with this product! It was really cheap and it seems to be effective on that pesky odd spot that appears! 

15) Zoella Kissy Missy - I wanted to try this as I was  intrigued by the fact that it was a tinted lip balm, it's much more pink than I expected which makes it rather nice.

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like to see anymore by me, you can find me over at The Little Blog of Everything or on Bloglovin

Dyan x


2 Sep 2015

Guest Post - Four AW15 Fashion Must Haves

As the shops fill in with the A/W 2015 trends I decided to put together my top 4 must haves for this season. I have desperate to run out and buy my autumn/ winter clothes, as there pretty much hasn’t been a summer in Scotland this year.

Below are the four items I think everyone should have in their wardrobes this autumn winter and four items that I believe if you buy now will last your seasons (especially if you live in the UK where we only really have one season).

Camel Trench Coat – ZARA - £59.99
High Waist Suede Skirt – ARK - £20.00
Chunky Knit Sweater – ASOS - £30.00
Cut Out Leather Ankle Boots – Office - £78.00

One - A classic trench coat is always a great go-to piece to have in your wardrobe. This one is a slightly pricier but I feel that an good trench is an investment piece that will last your years and never go out of style!

Two - I love this suede skirt from ARK. It is a really reasonable price and I think it would last a few seasons. Also this skirt is an item that could be worn during the day to work or on a night out with some heels! Who doesn’t love a versatile trend?

Three- Oh, Knitwear! My favourite part of Autumn/Winter! Cozy, cute knits such as this one from ASOS. Knitwear can be pricy however I do feel that if you invest in good knitwear it will last you a good few seasons and it doesn’t really ever go out of style.

Four – These leather boots are on my WANT list and as soon as I get pennies I will be splurging on these beauties! I feel with boots it is always better to buy leather (I know this is expensive and now always possible. I don’t always stick to it), however, they are more likely to last the test of time and keep you going for a few seasons.

So that is my top four must haves for this season. What are yours?

Jude from The Wee Blondie

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