Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Caturday


More times than others I never know how to start writing a new post (if I was 15 and this was Live Journal it would definitely be DEAR F*CKING DIARY) Alas, I'm 25 and sitting in bed with a hot chocolate at 10.30pm on a Tuesday night, candles burning and relaxing music on. I'm a week away from finishing what has felt like the longest stint ever on this BBC job. 4 months is a pretty long gig for us freelance folk. 11 hour days and a 3 hour commute on top of that has tired me right through to my soul. But hey, I'm almost finished and won't need to work again until mid January, so it's not all bad. It's been an amazing programme to work on and such a gem for my CV, I can't wait to share the show with you when it airs next year. For now, I've been able to save a little bit of money and I move into a new flat next month too, just me and the cats. What a crazy, crazy year this has been and although I am beyond tired right now, I'm excited for whats to come and I have a feeling this year will finish on an absolute high. Also, perks of the job - I nabbed this faux fur coat above from the Costume sale at work. It's a Zara number, £79 and I got it for £30 when it was only worn for half a day in a scene by one of our actresses. It makes me feel like a teddy bear!

Onto the equally as furry nature of this post, I wanted to show a bit of cat related appreciation and give you an update on how Binx is doing (I took these pictures on Saturday so hopefully you'll let me off with the name of this post too...)


I had to do a double take when one of my favourite makeup brands Shu Uemura teamed up with none other than Karl Lagerfelds cat, Shupette, to launch a makeup collection - La Maison De Shupette. The makeup isn't for cats of course, it is for us lovely humans. Shupette is one of the most beautiful kitties I have ever seen and I absolutely adore how cute this range is. I'm wearing the lip and eye palette in the picture above but you can see a closer look further down. My Adventure Time phone case has been on it's last legs for a while, so I finally replaced it with this Gemma Correll Cat print case from Iconemesis.  It's super sturdy and I've always been a big fan of Gemma's quirky illustrations (her 'where you will find me at parties' one could not be closer to the truth) They also do a Pug print one too if you're more of a dog lover, plus prints from a handful of other lovely artists if you're looking for an iphone case that's a bit different.


The Parisienne Chic lip palette is absolutely lovely. I'm wearing the colour on the left in the very first picture. I don't wear lipstick if I know I've got a long and busy day ahead, so the rose tinted vaseline is normally my go to but these lip colours are great because they are similarly moisturising and have a great burst of colour to them. I was initially worried that the eye-need-shu trio would make my eyes look circa school disco 2001, however they are a lot softer in colour than I initially thought. Made for a cute girly eye that could go from marshmallow to cranberry. Nice change for these winter months that isn't boring brown and cream! I have mixed feelings about the packaging and illustration of Shupette. She's a lot cuter in real life and I feel like they could have done her justice a bit more! However I do still find it quite sweet. Just realised I have my David and Goliath cat print pj's on in that picture above too. Am I gaining all the crazy cat lady points yet?


Now onto my little furry little rascal Binx. This boy has came on leaps and bounds since I rescued him, he was only 4 weeks old and weighed a measly 900g. Fast forward to today he's over 2.5kg, has had both jags and the vet doesn't need to see him again until he gets neutered at 6 months old. Dexter has been such a good big brother to this new addition, very patient and kind towards him, and almost 'showing him the ropes' like the Dear Kitten video (which is so sweet I could cry!) Both boys are addicted to drinking out of anything that isn't their water bowl, even though they have fresh water every day. My glass of water is normally second choice and in first place is the bathroom tap. So I got them this water fountain from Feedem, which Binx absolutely loves but Dexter is definitely still a tap man. The only think I don't like is wee creepy crawlies seem to gather underneath the actual machine base - anyone got any ideas of how I stop this? Have you ever used a water fountain for your cat/dog?

Binx definitely only has two settings at the moment - cute and sleepy (which isn't very often) and manic hyper mode, which are broken up with brief toilet and food/water breaks. He is an absolute rocket, full of energy and literally wants into EVERYTHING I touch around the house. Changing bedsheets? I will help you Ayden. Folding washing? Hi Ayden can I be of assistance with this! And anything new that comes into the house has to be given the once over and approval by him too (normally sniffed and licked to death)


I got this beautiful flower delivery from Appleyard London as a wee pick me up, and naughty Binx was straight in about it as soon as they arrived. I only found out a couple of years ago that Lillies are poisonous to cats, so despite them being my favourite flowers I never have them in the house anymore. So I went for this Rose Envy bouquet which contains roses, red berries and blue veronica. Despite being delivered by post they arrived really fresh and lasted about half a week longer than most of my supermarket bought flowers do (bad Ayden, I know) But hey, sometimes we are allowed to treat ourselves, right? It is really refreshing to have Christmas Flowers in the house that aren't all red or plain poinsettas! They came with a free box of chocolates too, which I took into the office and they were ALL inhaled over tea break. They're lucky I'm so bloody good at sharing.


All in all, I like cats. Have you guessed? Binx is absolutely crazy, but I guess that's just kittens for you. Dexter is such a gentle giant so I'm hoping he will be a calming influence over time. Oh and does anyone want to buy a Mulberry handbag completely covered in bite marks? Kitten not included... well, not yet ;) Just kidding, wouldn't change my furry family for the world.

Monday, 17 November 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Can you believe that Christmas is almost upon us? I seem to go into complete denial until I'm having festive tunes and soppy tv adverts forced in my face. I'm no Scrooge, I just can't grasp how quickly this year has flown in! I've been getting organised and using Clipix to gather all my favourite finds from various corners of the internet. Mostly ideas of things I would like to buy myself once this job is over, presents I would like to buy for other people, and websites that are generally just awesome and contain lots of hidden gems that you wouldn't always find in the shops. I've picked my top 13 as a sort of Christmas wishlist, and I hope you like them or they direct you to some sites or brands you've maybe not stumbled across before.

Christmas Wishlist

From left to right...
 
1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 - £90 @ Urban Outfitters
2. Ginger Pleasures Gift Set - £45 @ Origins
3. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle - £68 @ Chanel
4. Girl Boss Book - £15.31 @ Nasty Gal
5. Magical Unicorn Slippers - £24.99 @ Firebox
6. Kitty Coin Bank - £14.99 @ Firebox
7. Clementine Print - £15 @ LaLaLand
8. Toast Heated Pillow - £29.99 @ Firebox
9. Personalised Stack Rings - From £35 @ Bloody Mary Metal
10. Cinderella Play Dress - $95 AUD @ Black Milk
11. Peanut Butter Maker - £49.99 @ Firebox
12. Blue Unicorn Kigu - £39.99 @ Kigu
Of course my furry friends wanted in on the action too - so I let Dexter and Binx do their own wishlist for Santa from Pets At Home. They have both been very good boys this year - Dexter is being a great big brother to Binx, and Binx is settling into his new home with us really well. My little wild cat has been an unexpected addition to the family, which has incurred me a few extra costs but I wouldn't change it for the world! So this list is a mixture of practical things they could really be doing with, and some other goodies thrown in for fun.

Pets At Home

1. Rattan Cat Carrier - £39.99
2. Christmas Tree Hat - £5
3. Baby Bea Kitten Treats - 79p
4. Litter Kwitter - £39.99
5. Red Necktie - £4
6. Microwave Heatpad - £22
7. Floral Scratch House - £10
8. Turkey Dreamies - £1
9. Willows Activity Centre - £100

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? And do you prefer to do it online or in person? This weekend myself and Heather are heading to the Country Living Christmas Fair at the SECC to get properly into the Christmas spirit! Also to find some much needed festive inspiration to get started. 

I have 2 free tickets to give away to the fair this weekend in Glasgow, running from Friday to Sunday. So if you would like to enter, leave your name and contact details in the comments and I will choose a winner on Thursday 20th. Depending on what day you would like to go I can meet you in person beforehand to give you the tickets. I'll be going this Saturday :)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The journey to a positive body image

So, I'm 25 years old, a female, and apart from stating the obvious I'm heavily influenced on a daily basis by the media about how I should look physically. Makeup and fashion trends come and go, but what I'm talking about is weight, body shape and the constant pressure we face to look a certain way. This is a trend which never seems to stop circulating.

Magazines and advertising campaigns are plastered with bikini bodies, post baby weight loss and fad diets. Celebrities get slated for putting on too much weight, or loosing too much weight?! So basically, you can't be too fat but you can't be too skinny either. I've always been curvy but the 'real women have curves' photos that do the rounds of the internet really infuriate me. Just because someone is naturally slim or has an athletic figure doesn't make them a 'real' woman? Possibly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

I wouldn't say my weight is something I have 'battled' with, as I have always had a healthy bmi and no need to loose weight for medical related reasons. It's all just aesthetic. But it is something that I think about almost every day of my life, probably since the age of about 18/19. Ironically, I remember being happy with my shape and size before then because I never actually thought about it much. As soon as I started analysing it, the weight piled on and that made me obsess even more.


Here's me from the ages of 18-23. The puppy fat evolved and was renamed 'womanly curves' as I liked to tell myself. Fad diets, calorie counting, then binge eating to make myself feel better and repeating that process over and over again. Plus a stupid amount of alcohol while I was at uni. My sleeping patterns were awful, so I was tired all the time and drinking too much red bull and eating absolute rubbish to fuel me throughout the day. Stressful days at work and break ups? That's okay to have a takeaway tonight then, because I've 'earned' it, and it will make me feel better.  I could never tell the difference between eating when I was actually hungry, or if it was just because I was bored or for comfort. Then when I did eat I was filling my body with empty calories that made me even more tired, even more hungry, and put even more weight on. Maybe that guy wouldn't have dumped me if my boobs were bigger, or my waist was smaller, or my bum was more like Kim Kardashian's. Or the thing in recent years of the 'thigh gap'. Did you know that thigh gaps are actually determined by your bone structure and how wide your hips are, rather than how big or small your thighs and bum might be? Ladies, we can do a lot of amazing things when we put our minds to it but changing your bone structure is not one of them.

At my heaviest I was just over 11 stone. I'd get the usual 'oh but you don't LOOK that heavy' or 'you carry your weight REALLY well'. All sort of round about reassurance but I know what they meant. Years of snowboarding, surfing and motocross meant I had built up a lot of muscle that you couldn't really see (but I promise, it's there!) and of course muscle weighs more than fat. I'm convinced it's in my thighs, those god damn things are solid and will never loose an inch no matter what I do.


Here is me from the ages of 23-25. In the past couple of years I have completely re-evaluated what I am doing with my body, trying to re-educate myself and break bad habits. Despite the pressure we face every day from the media, I wanted to do this for MYSELF and no one else. To actually feel healthier in general. I have been actively trying to make long lasting lifestyle changes, and it's been bloody hard, but in the past wee while it seems to be paying off. I embarked on a detox plan called Clean 9, with the help of a lovely makeup artist I work with called Alexis Miller. This kick started my recent weight loss by almost completely eliminating my addiction to sugar, caffine and junk food in general. Sounds faddy, but it isn't and it really worked. I'd be happy to do another post on that if anyone is interested in hearing about it.

I have been working on my focus area for quite a while now, the bit that bothers me the most - my tummy! It is so satisfying to look at both sets of pictures above and be able to show how my body shape has finally started to change. I lived with a personal trainer for a year, tried all the classes under the sun but was still finding that I couldn't define my shape the way I wanted to. This is when I stumbled across TechnoShape, which I have already mentioned in a previous post. Each session lasts 40 minutes and consists very simply of wearing an air pressured belt while you work on the treadmill.


The belt gently moves and almost massages your stomach, encouraging blood circulation to your mid drift. When I work out I always get a red face and arms but my stomach is cold to touch, so by encouraging the blood to circulate more in this area while you exercise boosts your body's ability to burn fat in this area. Hence the steady inch loss! I finished up on the course today and I am really chuffed with the results. After 6 sessions of Technoshape I lost 5cm from my waist, 7cm from my stomach and 4cm from my hips

From left to right, before, during and after

I would say the detox and healthy eating helped with my weight most, and the TechnoShape obliterated those inches, helping me to shift stubborn fat and define my shape. I seem to have hit a plateau with my weight loss recently, at the end of july I was 10 stone 3lbs and I'm now sitting at 9 stone 5lbs. I tell myself my goal weight is 9lbs, but realistically the weight doesn't matter when I can see my body shape changing and feel better about how I fit into my clothes.

A final treat because you are all so awesome, TechnoShape are offering the chance for you to win 6 sessions at a studio near you - worth £275. Even if you're not far from your goal and need that final push, or are looking for an excuse to kick start those changes, I would recommend it to everyone after seeing how well it has worked for me. I know this price tag might be quite a lot for most people, but it does actually work and targets that stubborn area. Weigh that up against the amount of money people spend buying into fad diets or plans where the weight and inches go straight back on as soon as you start eating normally again. The inches I have lost with TechnoShape have came off, and stayed off! Enter below via Rafflecopter, and good luck! I'm so excited to be giving a set of these sessions away to one of you lucky readers :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Despite the long hours I have been working for the past couple of months I actually feel more alert and full of energy than I have in such a long time. My skin is clearer, I'm less irritable and I feel like I have made a massive shift emotionally as well as physically. All these things are connected and a healthy mind makes for a healthy body too. Cutting out the addictions to caffine and sugar has made me realise how AWFUL I felt before, when I didn't realise how much I depended on them. But don't get me wrong, I still treat myself with a nice coffee during the week, pizza at the weekend, a glass of wine after a long day and a slice of cake when it takes my fancy. But now I find myself also craving the healthy options because I know how good they make me feel for a longer amount of time, with no crash afterwards. Everything is fine in moderation, and at the end of the day you need to be kind to yourself. Apart from thinking about weight loss and a smaller waist band, the most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin. This is my journey - it may be very different from yours or quite similar. We all have our own goals which will take varying amounts of time, steps and determination. Above all, ignore what the media tells you you should look like, strip it all back to basics and work out what you want to do for you.

 
‘Girls of all kinds can be beautiful – from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing and all in between. It's not easy though because many people still put beauty into a confining, narrow box... Think outside of the box... Pledge that you will look in the mirror and find the unique beauty in you.’ - Tyra Banks

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Newcastle Adventures

So, I have a new family and their name is Alpha...

It all started last Saturday when I got the train down south to meet Amy Valentine for a night out at the O2 Academy Newcastle. It was my first time visiting the city, and I've no idea why because it was literally only an hour and a half on the train from Edinburgh! We were heading to an alternative club night they hold there called Alpha. I love an eclectic mix of music but my heart will always belong to pop punk, screamo and rock - so I was excited to try out a new club night as there's only one in Glasgow that me and my pals really go to.


I stayed at the Thistle Hotel which was right across the road from the train station, and just around the corner from the venue (sober Ayden liked the convenience of this already) When I arrived I had a couple of hours to kill before I met Amy, so I took a wander around the shops and bought a new outfit for the evening (completely disregarding all the clothes I had already packed, typical) Once Amy arrived we met to meet the guys who run Alpha - Anth, Chris and Ash, along with John who is one of the managers of the O2 Academy Newcastle. We went for a beer and had a proper good chinwag about all things Newcastle, Music, and the sort of club scene that exists in the city. I was also banned from mentioning Gordie Shore, haha!

Maybe it's just that I've never sat down and spoken to anyone who runs their own club night, but I was absolutely inspired by what the guys do, and how successful their night has become despite only launching in April 2013. As I've gotten older I am much more fussy where I end up spending my nights out, maybe for the fact that I get hangovers so badly so I want it to be worth it. For me, good music is a priority. I like songs that I can dance to and that create a good atmosphere, which ultimately leaves everyone in high spirits and up for a good time. So when I gave the guys a list of my 5 favourite alternative bands, I was pleased when they said they played every single one! (for the record, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Brand New, Underoath and Jimmy Eat World)

Next up on the priority list for me tends to be alcohol options and prices. I don't binge drink or consume large volumes of alcohol when I'm out, so what I do drink I like to be tasty! I know that might sound weird but the thought of a vodka and orange just bores me to tears. I love a cocktail (maybe that's why my hangovers are so bad?!) so was pleased to hear that Alpha did a few simple but effective cocktails, and most famously the Fireball in a little plastic bucket for £5!

Third on my list tends to be the actual venue its self and how the club night operates. I'm talking about theme nights and competitions, the sort of incentives that are not totally necessary but still fun and makes a club stand out from the others. Alpha have done a load of theme nights including Adventure Time, Pirates (where they built the stage into a pirate ship) and wrestling to name a few. The night we were going was day of the dead, black lights and UV paints by the face painters turning everyone into glowing sugar skulls. I'm a big fan of set dressing because of my job, so it was fun to hear that the guys like going all out on the decor and really making the most of fun themes!


Amy and I left the guys feeling pretty excited for the night ahead, so we went and got some food (I popped Amy's buritto cherry) then started getting ready to go out. We went across the road from the hotel to a bar called Science for pre drinks, Amy had a pink cosmo and I had a red cola cocktail complete with kola cubes on top. Told you I've got a sweet tooth!

And then, the Alpha madness commenced...


Alpha (which means the beginning) was in the main room of the club, and Omega was the second room (which means the end) It was really refreshing for there to be two rooms playing a mix of alternative music, so we could go a wander with our fire buckets and see what each room was playing. The O2 Academy Newcastle is such a big venue, similar to the one in Glasgow and I don't think I got quite used to the massive scale! Because the rock night we normally go to in Glasgow at the Cathouse is just a few small and rather sweaty rooms (you can hear the 25 year old pensioner coming out in me now!) The place was absolutely heaving, and we never waited for more than 5 minutes at the bar which was a bit of a shock too. 

The clocks went back that night so the club shut at half two (which was really half three) and for the first time in ages I was dancing when the lights went up and the last song was played. Wild West by Will Smith FYI! You'll normally catch me hovering about the dance floor at 1.30am thinking is it socially acceptable for me to bail now, as chips and cheese are calling, haha. Amy will back me up here, I think it was the best night out we have both had in a long time. It was a combination of everything I have explained above, plus getting to actually spend time with the guys who run it and realising how much heart and soul they pour into what they do at the weekends, between working 'normal' jobs during the week. I absolutely admire that sort of commitment, and I can't thank Anth, Chris and Ash enough for throwing us into the deep end and showing us what Alpha in Newcastle was all about. Sunday morning me and Amy went for breakfast before our train/flight home, and I spent the whole journey curled up in a ball listening to Jimmy Eat World on repeat on the O2 Academy TV youtube channel. I told you, this girl doesn't do hangovers, but this one was 100% worth it.

Now for a slight twist in the story, as it turns out Alpha have just started in the ABC2 in Glasgow every Friday night! They only opened up about 4 weeks ago which explains why I haven't heard about it yet, but I left Newcastle in such high spirits last weekend knowing that this little taste of Alpha was going to be in my home city every friday night too. So I was reunited with Chris and Anth on friday night when I went to their Alphaween event, dressed as Finn from Adventure time.


Again, friday was SUCH a good night! I feel like my moany 25 year old OAP bitterness has been wiped and I've got a new lease of life for being excited about going out. I hope I make sense and that some of you can relate to me on this one? I will definitely be visiting Alpha again now that it's in Glasgow every friday, and to be honest would be happy taking a girls weekend down to Newcastle again because it's actually a lot closer than I thought. For that reason I'm also going to keep an eye out for gigs there too if Glasgow ever sells out. O2 customers can get access to gig tickets up to 48 hours before general release by texting 'Priority' to 2020. Unfortunately this doesn't apply to the club night, but if you're in Newcastle and love a bit of pop punk and rock then I would definitely reccommend trying out Alpha. Glasgow readers, if you'd lost faith in our city then fear not. Alpha is in town and I have a funny feeling this is only the start of something awesome with the potential to be HUGE. I see a great excuse here for a bloggers Christmas night out! Drop me a wee line on twitter if you are interested (@hellorogue)


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Working in the Television & Film Industry


I get quite a lot of emails and questions from readers asking how I got into working in the Art Department for the TV and Film industry. It can be quite a tricky one to get into, and I didn't have much help in getting my own foot in the door. So for this reason I am always more than happy to give advice and support to those who need pointed in the right direction. S1 Jobs emailed me a few questions to answer for you all, and I got to ask my own in return!

1. What was the reason for choosing Glasgow for your profession?

I was born in Glasgow, grew up in Glasgow, went to uni here and was lucky enough to find my place in the thriving TV & Film industry that has been established here. I feel extremely lucky to have a blossoming and satisfying career where I have not needed to move to another city or country, away from my family and friends and the life I have built here.


2. What were the factors you had to consider when choosing a location for work?

When you mention to people the industry I work in, the general hype and attention seems to be focused in London. I wondered once graduating if I would need to move down south to find work, but luckily enough there is a real buzz around Glasgow with a lot of tv shows and films now being made up here. Whether there was enough well paying work to support myself financially was another big worry. But I dug my heels in, worked extremely hard, and have now enjoyed 3 years of being self employed, and the last year as a limited company. I have not had to give up my profession and get a more 'reliable' job with a guaranteed income every month. Not yet, anyway!


3. What were the challenges you encountered whilst finding work in Glasgow?

The TV and Film industry is very competitive, and the very first pieces of advice someone gave me were 'it's all about who you know' and 'you're only as good as your last job'. Both have proven to be very true, as I would very rarely go to the jobs section of a newspaper or a recruitment website to find my next contract. It is all done through word of mouth and recommendations, so the reputation you build is vital! My biggest challenge was generating enough work to keep me busy in the first couple of years being self employed until I had a decent amount of contacts under my belt. These were all to be potential future resources for work, and I now find being re-hired by the same Designers over and over again.


 Here are the questions I asked S1 jobs in return:

1. What are the most popular university or college courses that school leavers are applying for? 

Some of the studies that we find are popular with young people currently are psychology, philosophy, English and French. These have generally always been popular and remain to be. 
  
2. Are there any industries in the UK that are really lacking new young graduates/workers at the moment? 

It has been noted primary school teaching is lacking in young graduates. It is common for those to undertake a post-grad in primary teaching but not so much in the undergrad courses. 

3. What is the most sought after career or industry that young people want to work in?

There isn’t a most sought after industry as such but it’s a common story that young people limit themselves to the industries that they have studied for. We would recommend that you analyse the skills that you have learned from wherever you have worked or studied before and see what skills are transferable. This will open up the opportunities for you in other industries you may not have originally considered.

Kayleigh Lockhart – Brand manager – S1 Jobs  


And to finish the post, S1 Jobs have illustrated me in my dream job - working on a big Hollywood Blockbuster. Right now I love working in Glasgow, and I am stepping up between being an art department assistant and an art director, depending on the scale of the job. But one day I would absolutely love to leave bonny Scotland and venture across the water to Art Direct a film or TV show on a massive scale. I hope in the next 10 years when I am much more experienced at my job, I can chase that dream and turn it into a reality.

Do you enjoy what you do for a living? And if you got a chance to start again, what career route would you pursue?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Yuu Beauty!

The cold, dark winter nights are definitely closing in. I drive to work at 6.30am and don't get home until 8.30pm, so leaving and returning home when it's still dark outside can make for a serious case of the winter blues. I did question my sanity one evening upon leaving the office at 7pm and rather than embarking on my Penicuik to Glasgow commute home, I popped over to the other side of Edinburgh for some late night pampering at Yuu Beauty.


It was dark outside when I arrived and didn't make for the best photograph, even though the salon was lit so nicely and very atmospheric. So these two photos belong to Yuu Beauty! Exhausted after work I was welcomed with a cup of tea and introduction to the facial I would be getting, which was the Super Skin Smoothie (£50 for 60 minutes) Before we began, the therapist completed a skin scan under UV light to highlight my problem areas she should work on, and identify any imperfections such as sun damage, pigmentation and where my skin was uneven. I have combination skin, with dry patches but a rather oily t-zone!


The treatment room was absolutely lovely, and at this point I would be keen to tell you what happened during the treatment... but I actually fell asleep for almost the WHOLE hour! Apart from waking myself up snoring a few times haha. Absolutely mortifying but I was just so relaxed :) The head neck and shoulder massage as part of the facial definitely helped too. I was awake for a little bit at the very start when my therapist carried out the diamond peel microdermabrasion, which was like an exfoliating roller attached to a little hoover to suck up any of the dead skin (how yummy) It was totally safe and painless, and this exfoliation procedure promotes collagen and elastin production in the skin. The results are immediate and the title skin smoothie is no lie - as soon as I touched my face I was shocked because it was actually the smoothest and softest I'd felt it in a very long time.



It's always the same with me after a treatment like this and I say to myself "I NEED to do this more often!" Not only has my skin benefited from the trip, but it was actually nice to take a little bit of time to myself as midweek my pattern is normally work, sleep, cats, repeat. A salon which is open until 9pm and 10pm during the week is right up my street at the moment because it means that I could go for a bit of pampering after work one night, or go and get a spray tan and my nails done for the weekend without having to worry about doing it myself at home. They have a salon in Glasgow as well as Edinburgh so I'll definitely be back. It's nice to find such a great wee place like this near to work, as I don't really know my way around Edinburgh at all.


Since the facial I have been trying not to overload my face with makeup at the weekend, and I wear literally no makeup during the week in an attempt to let my skin breathe a bit. I did go for a makeover at Bare Minerals Boutique at Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow at the weekend just there to try out their new pure brightening serum foundation, which felt weightless on the skin and still had great coverage as you can see above (no filter!) So I'll be interested to get my hands on a bottle of my own soon and see if I can perfect their brush technique at home. Picture above is of me and my Uncle Greig (who is actually 6 months younger than me - confusing family trees for the win!)

I am getting much better at the work/play balance despite my long hours during the week. I have two months left on this TV show so if I've had a tough day I just try to think of the money boost and time off I'll be able to take once I'm finished. Rosie's recent post really struck a chord with me, 'trying to find some peace', as I have felt very overwhelmed with life recently and was never living in the present moment. But I have turned a corner and I'm getting better at prioritising, and making time for myself. Sounds simple, but it really does work wonders. Here's a list of things I have been doing which help relax and let me recalibrate my thoughts:

1. Pampering - Whether it's at a salon like I've done above, or at home, I like to spend a bit of time at the end of the week for my nails, deep condition treatment on my hair, skin routine, eyebrows and maybe some tanning! It's good to feel nice in time for the weekend.

2. Cleaning the flat - I know some people find tidying a chore but for me a clutter free house makes for a clutter free mind :)

3. Watching a favourite tv programme - I tend to not watch many films on my own, but I try to make time for a half hour here or there to completely switch off and watch something on tv or my laptop. This week it's been Cat Watch: The new horizon experiment, Tattoos After Dark, and Suits (cannot wait for the walking dead to start back)

4. Retail therapy - I actually really enjoy going shopping on my own (sad or what, eh?) and have not bought much for myself recently but it's nice to have a wander with a coffee in hand and see what's in the shops. Managed to get a few ideas for christmas presents already.

5. Music to boost your mood - I constantly have music playing when I'm at home (spotify has brilliant playlists tailored to any mood or activity - tidying, cooking and generally chilling out etc) I recently dug out a pile of old cd's to play in the car on the way to work, which has uncovered some absolute gems which I'll have a shameless sing along to! Definitely makes my journey go in much quicker.

Remember, we are only human and can physically only get so much done in the one day. So when life starts to get overwhelming, take an hour to sit with a cuppa and write a list for the week, splitting it into achievable daily goals. It's good to be productive but an over ambitious list that never gets completed will just stress you out even more. Also, don't ever be afraid to ask for help. I used to be absolutely rubbish at this but I am getting a lot better recently. Your friends and family might not know if you are struggling until you tell them, and I'm sure they would be happy to lighten your load even in the slightest - just as you would for them ♥

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Feeling lucky

Well hello my lovely and loyal readers ♥ My goodness, I had the pictures uploaded for this post since last weekend, but I have literally not had a minute to sit down and start writing. So here I am, pj's on, cuppa made, tucked up in bed, and spotify playing a sleepy playlist. The last couple of weeks have been super busy for me between working 11 hour days on the new programme we're filming, plus a 3 hour round commute every day. I'm holding on for dear life and trying to keep up, with the positive vibes that this madness is only temporary and come December I'll have some time off and a decent amount of money in the bank to relax for a few weeks.

I literally have no social life at the moment on weekdays. My only connection to friends and family is through texts and social media! If you follow me on instagram or twitter (@hellorogue) then you might have already heard there's a new blue eyed boy in town...


Meet my newest member of the fluffy family, Thackery Binx (aka the black cat in Hocus Pocus, and Binx for short) This little fella was found abandoned on a country road in Perthshire by a family friend, wandering next to his sibling who had been run over :( I won't explain the full story and bore you all to tears, but he ended up being in my care with the plan of building his strength back up and then I'd find him a permanent home. But oh no, this wee dude has made quite the mark on our household, with his number one fan being his already devoted big brother - Dexter.

It filled my heart with so much joy to see Dexter treat this new kitty with such patience and kindness. After everything Dexter has been through recently I didn't want to expose him to any unnecessary stress, but of his own accord he has stepped up to the mark in looking after Binx in a way I never thought possible. Got me thinking of the Dear Kitten video. Absolutely adorable. Binx is only 5 weeks old but the vet is pleased with his progress and the weight is piling on, he was literally skin and bone the night I took him home. My lucky little black cat.

 'Dear Kitten, welcome to the household. You'll do just fine' ♥

Apart from long lies and kitten cuddles, here's my recent reasons to smile, and a few of my favourite things at the moment:


I'm still keeping up my healthy eating and TechnoShape sessions, almost finished a full course and have lost quite a few cm off my waist and tummy so far. Can't wait to share the results with you when I'm done! Absolutely obsessed with Nakd bars, they are my go to sweet treat with a cuppa in work, and I got this mixed box from Natural Balance Foods. I've been considering going on a wheat free diet to see if it's what has been causing various issues with bloating and a sore tummy. But one step at a time for me at the moment. I had a pretty bad viral infection at the start of this new job, so started taking various vitamins to help keep my stamina up, and ended up with the cold by the end of the first week taking them! But I'm hoping that's just all the lingering nasties pushing their way out of my system and I'll be back to normal soon.


Loosing a bit of weight and toning up my figure definitely called for a pretty new underwear set. I got this Freya Deco Rebel set from Bras & Honey. My confidence took such a hit after my break up, so simple treats like this really brighten up my day. I've never been one for spending much money on underwear, and don't think twice about wearing non matching bra's and pants (shock horror!) But this gorgeous set is so comfy and flattering to wear, it's definitely ignited a little bug in me. Trying to avoid their website again until payday. I can see an addiction forming...


Majorly enjoying channeling my inner goth recently, after dying my hair dark brown (bye bye blue!) and a lot of love for black, grey, silver and studs. My new sugar skull tshirt and black acid wash skirt from Spartoo, with black tights, black vans and my grey Fred Perry raincoat was the ideal outfit for running errands around town last weekend. Very rarely leave the house these days without my kunzite crystal pendant, which I got from an astrology shop in Covent Garden earlier on in the year.


Cass Art is opening in Glasgow next month, and I have been using this watercolour 24 half pan and beautiful sable brushes to paint up one of the props in the first episode of the new tv show we are filming. Wish I could share more details but it's all confidential until the programme airs (boo) I am creative in my job on a daily basis but very rarely do any sort of drawing or painting at home in my own time. But this has to change as I find it so theraputic. So I took the set, brushes and water colour paper home at the weekend with the hope of starting my own little project soon.

I was off work for 3 days with that viral infection, so spent most of the time chilling in my OnePiece (comfiest thing ever - hands down!) and spending time away from the computer because I had such awful headaches. Apologies for the bad quality phone photo, now that I'm single and my flatmate is out all the time I find it absolutely impossible to find someone to take impromptu outfit photos for me. Next time I'll be chapping on the neighbours door, haha! Iphone next to DSLR pictures isn't the best *hides behind hands* I have a 15% off discount code for you to use on your very own OnePiece, it's LUCKYCAT and is valid until 1st October :) It's already 'that' time of year in Scotland - sun misleadingly shining while it's absolutely freezing.

By the time the weekend came I had total cabin fever, so ventured out the house and got my nails done by the super talented Bethany Lillico who works in the South Side of Glasgow. Told you, it's the simple things! Okay, these may be material things but they make me smile none the less.


I feel like my physical and emotional health takes such a battering during the week that I really need to devote my weekends to feeling good on the inside, and outside. Looking after my body, and ultimately realising how precious a thing SLEEP is! Looking after my mind by doing things I enjoy, and investing my energy in positive people and situations. Not really doing myself many favours by taking on the responsibility of a 5 week old kitten who requires a lot of love and attention. But despite how exhausted I am right now, I have a lot of love to give and feel like he has been my lucky charm after all the recent bumps in the road.

This Saturday I'm heading down to London for the Tattoo Convention, so if you're going I'll maybe see you there! In the meantime, keep in touch via twitter and instagram (@hellorogue)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Nine Lives

Well it's pretty safe to say that my furry friend Dexter has been through the wars recently. I've had a lot of people asking on twitter and instagram what happened to him and how he is doing now, so I thought I'd share the story. Which ends in the seemingly obvious moral of how massively important cat insurance is.

It all started the weekend I went down to Leeds to get tattooed, and my flatmate Gary called me the day before I was coming home to say that Dexter had been sick a few times and was moping about feeling sorry for himself. Both Dexter and Tinkerbell are sick every so often, but never enough to worry because it's always fur ball related. However this time Gary was suspect of Dexter climbing on top of the bookcase in the living room and trying to 'groom' the hair extensions on a fake unicorn head we had up there. Sounds absolutely mad but Gary is a propmaker and this was a wonderful creation of his he made back at uni! Neither of the cats had bothered about going up there years before now, so I don't know what all of a sudden struck Dexters interest.

I got home at 6ish the next day, and got quite a fright when I saw how much Dexter wasn't himself. I kept a close eye on him overnight, and rushed him along to the vets as soon as they opened the next morning. They took him in for bloods and an xray, with their biggest concern being these long fake hair extensions that he had been grooming getting caught up in his intestines. After him being kept in overnight and a massive chat with the vet, we decided that an operation was the next step to go in and investigate, then remove whatever was lurking inside his tummy. Turns out it was the tiniest clump of long hair that was stuck in there, causing all the trouble. One more day and Dexter probably wouldn't have survived :( The hair had caught between his bowels and intestines, causing them to concertina and cause a blockage. The vet told me a few stories of cats swallowing needles and thread - and funnily enough it's not the needle they were worried about, it's the thread! Any piece of hair, string, ribbon, tinsel, thread etc that is longer than their own hair can cause serious amounts of damage.

Dexter came through the operation and was in the pet hospital for a week and a half afterwards in recovery. They said if a human had been through this procedure they would be in intensive care for weeks. They had to cut him open inside in 6 different places, and remove a part of his bowel that had been damaged. He was on a drip for the duration of his stay, and was in a really vulnerable position to the point that I didn't know if he was going to make it through. Every day I waited for the call to say he could come home. I cried with relief the day that finally came!


Here is my handsome boy about a week after he got home. You can see where his legs have been shaved for the drip he was on (which he was apparently quite a pro at pulling out the last few days of his stay!) and I was having to give him tablets twice a day for about three weeks, along with trips to the vets every three days. Until he finally got signed off last weekend :) He looks quite skinny in this picture but his appetite is back in full swing and he's piling the weight on again. Dexter has some lovely new toys from Gor Pets to enjoy now that he's home (a new scratching post and a bouncy mouse toy) He has also totally claimed my gorgeous tartan blanket from Heritage of Scotland. It's Loch Carron Lambswool with the Bruce of Kinnaird tartan, and I'd been using it as a throw for the bottom of my bed and over the chair in my bedroom. Then I noticed that on the blanket is the only place Dexter would sleep when he was back in the house. So I think he's claimed dibs on it for now, but I'll let him away with it since he's not been well.


You can't quite see in this picture but a huge section of Dexter's belly got shaved for the operation. He's such a hairy cat so it's really strange seeing skin for a change! It's growing back pretty quickly already though.


Oscar and Dougall got this new play pen from Rakuten Play for when they have 'floor time'. I'll be honest, what's happened with Dexter has made me even more wary about any potential dangers in my room. So although the pigs don't have as much free reign as they used to I feel a lot better knowing that any hazards are out the way when they're out their cage. The above picture was piggy dinner while I cleaned their cage, but they've also got a good few toys to play with and 'mweep' around during floor time :)

To celebrate Dexter coming home, Jokers Masquerade sent him this absolutely BRILLIANT costume! Can you guess who it is?...


Katy Perry California Girl - SO GOOD! I've used Jokers before for past Halloween Costumes, but I had no idea they did pet costumes too. Okay, this one is for a dog BUT you know my history of dressing Dexter up haha. And before you say it, absolute alarm bells were ringing around that wig - believe me. But don't worry, I popped it on for photo purposes, completely supervised and put it straight in the bag and away in a drawer once we were done. I have learned my lesson and there is no way I will go through that drama again.


Daisy dukes, bikini on top! Hahaha how absolutely raging does he look in this picture?! He wasn't tolerating the wig and the glasses at the same time, it was either to be one or the other. But the cupcake bra he was very happy to wear, and actually wandered off for a bit once I took the wig off. I'm determined to get some better pictures of Dexter come Halloween time with this outfit on, and possibly try it on Heather's dogs next time she comes round as the outfit is a Large (he's a big cat after all)

To say this stuff with Dexter has been an ordeal, is an absolute understatement. Any pet owner will know how much animals become more like family, and the thought of them being ill or passing away is really unimaginable and hard to deal with. The biggest lesson I've learned through this, is that even though Dexter is a house cat - pet insurance is still absolutely vital. I was naive to think that because he stays in the house means he is exempt to any sort of danger. So if you don't have pet insurance I cannot stress more that you should seriously consider getting it. Dexter's vet bill tallied up to £966 in total, and I couldn't have got through this experience or paid the bill without the help of my friends and family. I'm a very lucky girl, and Dexter is a very lucky cat. I am so grateful to have my fur-baby home. They say cats have nine lives and I am absolutely positive that Dexter has used up one of them. Take it from me, life lesson learned!