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!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Life reboot: Be kind to yourself

Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed with life in general, I like to strip things back to basics. Rather than over complicating everything (which I seem to be very good at doing) taking in a few simple pleasures always helps me to clear my head. Being proactive and addressing my physical health and appearance really seems to help the emotional and psychological side too. Our body is a vessel which carries us through the ups and downs of life. You need to be kind to it otherwise you will burn yourself out, and be of absolutely no use to anybody! Here's my three recent life reboots which are helping to make a much healthier and happier outlook on life.

Reboot 1 - Skin

My skin very much reflects how I'm feeling on the inside. I feel like my stress escapes through the body in the form of tension headaches and spots! I'll explain more about the headaches later, but I have been indulging in a regular skincare routine recently. Taking the time to actually do it is just as satisfying as seeing the results from the products themselves.

This corrective formula is designed to condition and lift the delicate area around your eyes. I am such a bad one for rubbing my eyes with face wipes to get rid of stubborn eyeliner at the end of a long day. I've luckily never suffered from dark circles but I do get quite bad bags under my eyes when I'm tired. I apply it first thing in the morning before my makeup, and it definitely helps to cool and calm that morning puffiness under my eyes. You only need to use a tiny amount too, so I can see this 15ml bottle lasting me quite a while.

I recently found out that Glasgow was ranked as the UK's most skin friendly city! Simple combined  the average hours of sunshine, pollution levels, and a poll of stress levels from women living in the city over the course of a year. I live just a couple of miles outside the city centre, so was quite pleased to hear this. Guess where was discovered to be the worst... Liverpool! Which really surprised me as I thought it would be London (who actually ranked second)

A beauty therapist years ago gave me the fear over using Simple products, saying that they strip your skin and are actually very harsh. So I had always avoided them until now, and I'm very glad that my opinion has completely changed for the better.

Simple selection - Every Day

I have been using these 4 products above every morning. Although I cleanse my face the night before, I like to use the cleansing wipes and eye makeup remover pads in the morning after my shower. I always think I've got all my eye makeup off and end up still resembling the little girl from The Ring when I come out the shower. I have been using the protecting moisture cream and then the beauty balm instead of my usual foundation. I absolutely love it! It's a light and creamy consistency but has actually got quite a medium coverage for a BB cream, and I'm wearing it in the first picture in this post. It is my total go to base every day now, and the colour adapts to my skin really well whether I've got fake tan on or absolutely nothing. A wee hidden makeup gem that I will re buy over and over!

Simple selection - Every night

Taking 20 minutes in the evening to treat my skin is a nice wee wind down before bed. I go between the cleansing lotion and facial wash depending on how much makeup I've worn that day. Along with the eye makeup remover on a cotton pad, then the facial toner. Plus the same protecting moisturiser that I use in the morning too. The thought of going to bed with makeup on (which I was quite bad for doing lazily sometimes, especially after a night out) makes me feel horrible!

Simple Selection - Every other day

I've been using these three products every other day when I feel like my skin needs it. The illuminating radiance cream feels like a primer with a slight shimmer to it, and is also quite moisturising so makes for a lovely dewy makeup look along with the BB cream. The moisture mist is great for me during long days filming on set, where I don't touch my makeup for at least 12 hours and my skin starts to feel a bit tight. I literally just spray this over my makeup and it brings it to life again! Probably not how you're meant to use it but it works for me. The sun kissed moisture cream has a gradual tanner in it, so I use it the days after I've faked tan to help my face match by body (school boy error!) as the tan on my face does fade when I'm cleaning it so much.

Reboot 2 - Body

I would be lying if I said I wasn't one of those girls who thinks about her weight and body shape on a daily basis. But I'm finally taking a more positive approach to it, with lifestyle changes and sustainable actions rather than fad diets. I did a big monthly shop last week, as I've been getting catering on so many jobs recently that I've not needed to have a lot of food in the house. But there's no greater feeling than your fridge and cupboards being full of good, healthy food. I'm still a big fan of Quorn and have been incorporating it into my cooking at least once a week. 

I'm happy to get excited about food, rather than starving myself and counting calories. I eat what I want, making sensible choices, and don't deny myself a treat when I'm in the mood! I must say though, since getting back into exercise again I am not craving chocolate and crisps the way I used to. I think they definitely have an addictive quality to them and the less you eat them, the less you end up wanting them. I was told at the Health Sanctum that my recent headaches are probably being caused by the withdrawal of certain foods, including carbs! Health Sanctum is a health and weight loss clinic that has opened just down the road from me, and they specialise in alternative and holistic therapy. I've been visiting them for Techno-shape sessions and I feel so lucky to have such an informative and supportive source right on my doorstep.

Okay, so excuse my bare belly! But here are some 'before' pictures of my stomach (which is the main area I am addressing) before I started the TechnoShape sessions. Each session lasts 40 minutes, and consists very simply of wearing a 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. Ever work out and get a red face and red arms, but your stomach is always still cold to touch? Encouraging the blood to circulate more in this area while you work out boosts your body's ability to burn fat in this area. That's the science behind it anyways, and I've completely 4 of 6 sessions, so I'll be excited to share the results with you when I'm done :)

Reboot 3 - Mind

Probably the simplest of the three, and the overall message of this post. Be kind to yourself. Look after your body and your mind and they will look after you. Be kind to others, because we are all on our own personal journey and facing hard battles along the way.

I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.
—  Tracee Ellis Ross

Sunday, 27 July 2014

That blogging thing

Ahhh, blogging. It's quite a funny old thing really. I went to have a chat recently with other bloggers and YoMeGo, who are a social media agency based in Glasgow. They wanted to hear our views on blogging and how we think it has changed over the years. Plus all the nitty gritty bits in between, like sponsored posts, blog analytics and relationships with PR companies. I guess I didn't realise until I sat down with a pizza and some beers to have a good blether with everyone else, how MUCH it has actually changed since I started out about 5 years ago now.

I started my blog when I was at uni, where they encouraged us to keep an online journal of the work we were producing. It wasn't long before I discovered the online community that existed here, and that all types of subjects were being written about - from fashion to photography, and beauty to babies! I liked what I saw, and I decided to keep on writing about my day to day life. Before I knew it, people were subscribing and chatting away to me on twitter etc, and to this day I have met so many people through blogging who I would now consider as very close friends. My blog has always been a very slow burner, growing gradually but still presenting me with a lot of amazing opportunities to work with brands and visit different places. Overall it has been an absolutely amazing experience, and despite life being hectic at times I still try to post whenever I can. It is only a hobby, after all, and not a full time job which some people can commit every day of their lives to. I am adament that I would still write my blog even if 2 or 2000 people were reading it. But I still admit, it has been hard not to get caught up in the negativity and nitty gritty bits which I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Gem hit the nail on the head for me with her recent post Blogging: Room 101. Give it a wee read if you can, I think Gem has verbalised a lot of peoples feelings about blogging recently better that I ever could. I have been seeing a lot of similar posts with the same theme popping up recently, which is sort of comforting. Despite wanting to stay true to myself and why I write this blog it has been very hard not to get caught up in the rat race. I don't want to worry about numbers. I don't want to judge the quality of my writing on the amount of post comments I get. I don't want to feel pressurised into attending every event I get invited to in case I 'miss out' on something. I don't want to turn down the opportunities presented to me from PR companies by taking more than a day to reply to their emails. But at the same time, I don't want to sell out. I will only feature products on brands on here that I am genuinely interested in or excited about. Whether it is bought by myself with my hard earned cash, or sent to me for free. If I do receive a product to write about, I don't want to feel the pressure from PR people to post about it and say what they want me to say, link what they want linked to and adhere to ridiculous deadlines.

This is not why I started my blog. I started my blog for me, and although I am so grateful for the opportunities it has presented me with I also don't want to verge away from being anything but my absolute self. It is so easy to get caught up in this saturated wave of bloggers trying to outdo each other, trying to gain celebrity status in their chosen field. I know a lot of people who think blogging is, quite frankly, about 'getting free shit'. And if that's your vibe, then that's fine with me! That's just not the sort of blogs I am reading anymore, and not the sort of blog I plan on being myself. Gem put it very well when she said about it being a content war and a technology game. You don't need a fancy layout or a professional camera to be a 'good' blogger. Everyone has their own reasons for writing a blog, and for me it is a personal diary documenting my life, which I love being able to look back on.

When in doubt, take a break and try to strip everything back to basics. One thing that I have been letting myself down with recently has been my photo taking. Life has been so busy and taking a quick iphone picture then slapping a filter on it seems a lot easier than using my actual camera, uploading the pictures, editing them and then saving onto a folder on my laptop. So that's one thing that I want to try a lot harder at, because I enjoy reading posts that are visually pleasing too.

Pictures by the lovely Lynsay (Miss West End Girl) at the Toast of The Town Photography Workshop. Ripcurl surf t-shirt from Spartoo, Kunzite Crystal Necklace from an Astrology shop in London, and denim Levi shorts are a cut up pair of my uncles old jeans (SORRY UNCLE CHRIS!)

I don't mean for this post to come across negative at all. It's quite the opposite, I'm excited about staying passionate when it comes to blogging, and the YoMeGo event and the Toast Of The Town workshop really cut through the crap for me and made me realise the reality and nature of blogging these days, and where my 'place' is amongst that. Joe Blogs Network held the photography event at the Millenium Hotel in Glasgow, with Stuart and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography leading the class. We covered all the basics and explored the different settings on our cameras, along with some quick hints and tips specifically useful for blog photography. It was such an informative day in a beautiful setting (with a yummy lunch thrown in too) and has really helped to reignite the excitement of properly exploring my camera, different lenses, and taking my time when it comes to photographs. So from now on, I will try to put the iphone down and improve the quality of my photos on here.

For now, that's my goals when it comes to the blog. I want to write nice long rambly posts (like this one, soz) with funny life anecdotes and pictures that are pleasing.

Anyway, onto you - how do you feel about blogging? Wether you've been doing it for 5 years or 5 weeks I would love to hear your views. After all, we really are in this together!

House of Mask & Glasgow nightlife

Hello lovelies, my goodness, it'd been a while! I think I need to stop apologising for not posting regularly. I was so excited so sit down with a pot of coffee this morning and open up my laptop to start blogging. Life has been absolutely hectic recently and I want to get back to the basics of blogging feeling enjoyable, rather than a chore or stress. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that, and I'm going to touch on the nature of blogging these days in a future post.

I won't go into why I've been off the radar recently but you can follow my life on a more daily basis (without that sounding creepy?!) via instagram and twitter - both are @hellorogue. For now, I wanted to share a bit of Glasgow nightlife with you. Our city is so buzzing at the moment, what with the Commonwealth Games being held here. There is such an electric atmosphere! That goes for nightlife too, the clubs and pubs are busier and there's loads of exciting events happening.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a launch party for Cubanisto (a new rum flavoured beer) called House of Mask. This is their hidden party network that will host a series of weird and wonderful secret events across the UK throughout this year. Myself and Ashley were given the address to the location just a few hours before the event, jumped in a taxi and had no idea what the night would hold.

The venue ended up being SWG3, which is a huge and very adaptable warehouse space in Glasgow's West End, which is used for gigs and all sorts of club nights. We entered the venue through a smoke filled tunnel, and had to sign off a confession in exchange for entrance into the club. Then we were given white masks by clinical men in white suits and loaded up into an elevator. This brought us out into a small office room, where two rather creepy looking ladies asked us to sign over our confessions in a robot like voice. In exchange for the confession, we were given a puzzle piece, and entered the club through a hidden door inside what looked like a stationary cupboard. Thoroughly creeped out and excited by this point, we headed straight to the bar!

The idea of the jigsaw was to find two more people in the club who had matching pieces. I thought this was a great idea as an ice breaker in having to go up and chat to complete strangers! I finally found my two missing pieces, and we went up to a booth to hand them in exchange for a key. The key opened up certain boxes placed around the room where prizes could be won. Inside my box I won a voucher to exchange for a sandwich - RESULT! I was so hungry and definitely needed a munch to soak up all the Cubanisto's we had been drinking (which is very nice, by the way - light and not too fizzy with the smooth taste of rum throughout) There was a photobooth that synced up with your key and uploaded the photo straight to your facebook etc, not to mention you had to exit the photobooth via a secret door at the back. There was also live graffiti taking place, with UV paint which was quite trippy, and peoples anonymous confessions being projected onto a screen at the back of the room.

The clock on the dj booth counted down to midnight, and then an amazing beat boxer took to the stage. I didn't catch his name (sort of blaming the alcohol by this point) but he was singing in between beat boxing, it was absolutely insane! After his performance, Roska dj'd until 2am, and then we went for food and grabbed a taxi home. Me and Ashley both agreed that we would love to attend more House Of Mask parties, they sure do know how to throw a good night, with so many different layers and aspects to the evening that you wouldn't get at any normal club night. You can see some of my pictures from the evening on instagram, and all of the above were taken by the Cubanisto/House Of Mask photographer.

Back to reality last weekend with a fairly normal (in comparison!) club night at the ABC for my beautiful friend Heather's birthday. I don't go out in Glasgow as much as I used to in my early 20's, but I sort of prefer it this way because it means I really have more money and energy for when I do go out. Sounds like I'm getting awfully old, I'm only 25! My favourite clubs in Glasgow are the ABC, Cathouse and The Garage, and favourite bars include Tiki Bar, Slouch, and Nice & Sleazys. There are so many options for places to drink and dance in Glasgow depending on what night of the week it is, what sort of music you like, and how much money you have to spend. I feel lucky to have such a vibrant and bustling nightlife scene on my doorstep, even if I don't frequent them all as much as I used to.

It will be a quiet few weekends for me over the next month, as I just spent the bulk of my 'play' pennies on a trip down to Leeds to get tattooed by a rather talented man called Neil Dransfield.

This Wizard of Oz inspired piece is on my thigh, and took around 5 hours. I did it all in the one sitting which is the longest I've ever sat for before. Absolutely over the moon with how it turned out, and it's totally worth being skint for the next month for. Plus, with the size my thigh has swollen to, drinking and dancing is probably the last thing I could manage to do right now! :)

What is the club/pub scene like where you live? And do you go out more or less than you did when you were a bit younger?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

London & a quarter of a century

Hello lovelies! It's been busy in the Millar household as I'm on a job with Channel 4 at the moment, painting some sets for a comedy series (which reminds me, the second series of Kirstie Allsopps Fill Your House For Free starts on tuesday at 8pm - another wee gem that I art directed earlier this year) I was able to have a couple of weeks off before I started this current job, leading right up to my birthday. Here's a run down of the places I went and the people I got to have ALL THE FUN with!

Hello Landan! I arrived at Euston about 2pm, checked into my hotel at Waterloo and headed over to Camden to meet my friend Mark for a few beers and a catch up. We went to Worlds End, The Lock Tavern and Brewdog.

Later on in the evening Sally came to meet me and we went to The Diner for dinner. IT WAS SO GOOD. Absolute filth. Under those two fried eggs lived a burger patty, cheese and dirty rice. I couldn't finish it all and got it put in a doggy bag to take back to the hotel with me.

The next morning I got up bright and early to meet Chloe for breakfast on the South Bank. We took a wander along the river where I met my future husband, Jack, as you can see above.

We took the tube to Oxford Street for some retail therapy, and walked along to Carnaby Street which is my favourite area to shop in. I got a jumper from Cheap Monday, skirt from Monki, and some Simpsons goodies from Johnny Cupcake. After a few hours we got the bus to Westfield shopping centre where we met Chloe's fella for dinner and visited a few more shops. Was pretty surprised to see these Paul Frank jammies in Primark of all places!

On the Sunday my friend Louise popped down from Glasgow for the night to take me to see The Drowned Man. She is a HUGE fan of the show, and now I can see why. It is the most intense piece of immersive theatre I have ever been to. It is like being stuck inside a video game for 3 hours, where you wander amongst the 4 floors of set wearing a mask the whole time, and can follow any of the 30 actors in the show on their journey. I highly recommend it if you're looking for something a bit different to see in London.

The next morning Uncle Greig Arrived to join me for the last few days of my trip. We went for lunch at Ping Pong, followed by a visit to the cigar shop in Mayfair, then a wander around Harrods. All finished off with macarons and tea at Laduree (my favourite)

The next day I dragged Greig to Hoxton to visit Rockalily Cuts for a vintage up-do! I am a major fan girl of the owner ReeRee Rockette, so it was a total honour to be invited along to the salon :) I'd wear my hair like this every day for the rest of my life if I could.  The night before I went to London I used Crazy Colour in Violette over the top of my blue, and this is how it turned out. I've been using the SKR Hair Argan Oil to keep my hair in top condition amongst all this dying, and it seems to be working a treat! It isn't as heavy as a lot of argan oils I've used in the past.

After the salon we went a wander around nearby Shoreditch and Spitalfields, and that evening I took Greig with me to see The Drowned Man for a second time! The next day we went to Covent Garden for lunch and a wander, and caught the matinee of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. A lovely little family friend of mine was playing the lead role of Charlie Bucket. Rhys is only 9 and did a spectacular job, I was close to tears throughout the whole performance.

And then Thursday was home time. I feel like I managed to cram quite a lot into my 6 day trip, and have probably missed out a few details here and there. It was brilliant fun and a little getaway was just what I needed. I missed out on seeing a few familiar faces when I was down there, you all know who you are! Hopefully next time I'm down I can catch a blog event or even have a night out with some of you lovely girls who have became friends through the good ol' blog. Power of the internet huh!

The week after I got home, I celebrated my 25th birthday. I had a lovely day off visiting my family, which was ended with a ride on the back of my Dad's new motorbike through the countryside. Absolute bliss! That weekend I had a night out with friends at Glasgow's Grand Ole Opry. A western themed night with live bands, bingo and a shoot out. Last year I only lasted until 9.30pm before becoming so drunk that I had to go home... but thankfully this time I paced myself and was still dancing at last orders.

A few days before I started back at work, me and the chums took a road trip to Alton Towers. Doing the whole thing in a day is quite tiring considering the 4.5 hour drive from Glasgow, but the rides kept our adrenaline going all day. The first picture is Kyle going a bit yoga-tastic after our first ride, which was on the smiler. It's a fairly new rollercoaster there and was absolutely insane. After a few hours we sat just down from the Towers to have lunch, and initially Kyle was a bit worried about finding a Quorn option since he is veggie (in reality we should have brought packed lunches, but getting up at 3am to hit the road was hard enough) and after a wee wander he managed to get a bean burger while me, Dom and Leah stuffed our faces with quarter pounders and chips. I didn't feel too guilty as Dom's UP band told us we walked 6 miles that day! The last picture is us waiting in line to go on our final ride of the day, Oblivion. Not for the faint hearted at all! I can't thank them enough for a great day, I haven't smiled that much in a long time.

Well, congratulations if you made it to the end of this post. That's about my life in a nutshell recently :) Now it's head down and back to work, with a few more adventures on the horizon to keep me on my toes...