We're going through changes

I look back on pictures of myself and my family 20 years ago, and wonder how many changes have taken place for us all personally, materially, and in our relationships with others since then. No matter what or who have came in and out of my life, one thing has always been a constant - my family. Coming from a rather 'dysfunctional' set up (well, it feels pretty normal to me!) I'm used to adapting and accepting whatever has come my way. Always being open to change. To be less cryptic, I'm talking about things like not meeting my Dad for the first time until I was three years old, being an only child for 15 years, experiencing parents with various different relationships and partners over the years, and by the age of 23 I am now a sister to two siblings from my mum, and more recently two siblings by my dad. Christmas at Mum's house, boxing day at Dad's house. It's the way I've always known it to be, but I guess I still wouldn't have it any other way.

I get nostalgic over this sort of thing especially when I know my mum was my age now, 23, when she had me. It makes me wonder how I would have dealt with the situation. The fear (of pretty much everything) and my dad not initially being there for her. Hearing in awe how she handled things, I imagine the same mum then as I see going about her day to day life right now. Creative, loving, independent, and pretty damn selfless. My mum has brought me up being very open when it comes to talking about life (which is why you get to put up with these lovely long chats of mines!) and the fact that you can not change the direction of the wind but you can always adjust your sails.

After living life with a less than normal family set up, you can imagine how intrigued I was when finding out years ago that my Grandpa (on my Dad's side) whom I have never had the chance to meet due to him and my Gran splitting, had a son in his new marriage not long after I was born. After plenty of questions and also plenty of years later, I felt like I was finally of the age to action getting in touch with this Uncle, my dad's half brother. After finding out the complicated history on my Dad's side, I knew that this wouldn't be as easy or straightforward as my other family experiences have been. I was given a word of warning for hurt and rejection, but this situation wasn't any less awkward or strange as what I'd been through before and survived/came out the other end of. So I went in with an open heart and open mind, and fast forward to 4 months later I guess I can say fortune does favor the brave. The nitty gritty details can stay where they belong, but what I can say is that I am so excited for this new chapter in my life. After getting things back on track in the last year and having my family and best friends around me, good work prospects, a new home and a new outlook on life I now have a new member of my family to add to that addition. I finally got to meet my Uncle Greig (feels wierd saying that, he is a year younger than me!) for the first time, and we have been building a great relationship with each other ever since. He is quickly becoming one of my closest friends, and I really do regret not being able to have known him earlier on in our lives, due to a situation we were born into, which was completely outwith our control. But I am so looking forward to making up for lost time. Plus, he is one cool guy! And actually has a blog (which he might kill me for sharing the link) but here he is :) Edit: Just realised I have been linking to a youtube video rather than Greig's blog. DOH! Have updated it with the proper link now, and in the flesh it is http://through-a-hole-in-the-world.blogspot.co.uk/

Anyways, I ended up writing a bit more about that than what I planned to. But I hope if you have been in a similar situation you can take comfort in knowing things do end up working out the way they are meant to. No matter how crazy, unusual, or dysfunctional you think your family set up may be! Here's some other things which have been making me smile recently:

Nail Tattoos from Nail Art. I can't wait to use these lovelies - they look super easy to apply and will be a godsend for someone like me who is utterly rubbish at nail art! All you do is stick them on and apply a clear coat of nail varnish over the top. My current polish is quite dark (hiding the state of my nails since I bit all my acrylics off - classy!) so I'm waiting until I put a lighter shade on to get use out of these.  They're £5.99 for a pack of 60 stickers, available online or at boots. Will let you know how I get on, got my eyes on the wee anchors first!

I got this Tigi Professional Fat Curl Stick and the Tigi Secret Rocker set from Fabriah, who sell a whole range of professional hair products online. Having a Mammy as a hairdresser has given me a taste for salon based products for most of my life - which quite often doesn't come cheap unless you are raiding the beauty section at TKMaxx. But Fabriah offer a whole selection online, and in all honestly it's one of the best selections I've ever seen. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that the Rockaholic hairspray from the above range is my ultimate favourite - so I was looking forward to trying these out too!

The dry shampoo is very effective, for someone like myself who washes her hair every day and sometimes needs help on a morning or evening where I just can't be bothered. The smell is DIVINE, and the formula is not powdery at all (I'm looking at you Batiste!) I have never needed to use detangler on my hair before, but now it's getting longer I'm finding it does tangle after washing. So every morning when I'm out the shower I've been spraying this, leaving it for about a minute and successfully brushing them right out. I love having a nice shine to my hair, but find some oils a bit too heavy, however I've been putting this one on while my hair is still wet and once blow drying it leaves no sticky residue at all. Just shiny hair! This bumper pack is such a good wee deal and now I will be holding these three products as highly as their sister hairspray from the range. 

A big thumbs up to Tigi for their curl stick too. I've been dying to try one of these, as curling your hair with ghd's sometimes gets a bit tiring. The curl stick has optional heat settings depending on how much of a wave you are wanting. I did burn my fingers at first but eventually got the hang of it! I'm looking forward to trying it on different settings to see what kind of looks I can achieve. Any advice for using one of these? You'll see the results in the pictures below!

Some other newbies to me are these bits of makeup from MyFace cosmetics (kinda reminds me of Myspace!) I got the blusher in lady monaco, face powder in fair, concealer and foundation in fair03 and their blingtone eyeshadow in bellbottom blues. Firstly I need to speak about the eyeshadow - I wouldn't normally go for blue but I was a complete magpie to their blingtone range. My photo really doesn't capture it (I'll never make it as a beauty blogger eh, no swatches or anything here!) but have a look on the website and you'll see what I mean. Sparkly but grown up without feeling you're at the school disco :) I did mines up with a dark smoky eye and I feel like it really brought out the brown in my eyes. Keen to try more of them now, this one was so pigmented with next to no fall out. 

The blusher was as nice as I'd hoped - pigmented but easy to spread evenly. Both it and the powder have a good sized mirror inside, which I feel like some compacts are really lacking these days. The foundation and concealer gave me a medium coverage I would say, and a bit lighter than what I'd usually go for now that the colder months are coming in. But a really strange thing happened, once I set my face with the power (which felt very light) it seemed to really compliment the foundation well and by the end my coverage looked a bit heavier than what I thought it looked like to start. That doesn't even make sense does it? See for yourself...

I have booked up a last minute holiday in the sun to Marmaris on the 17th of october with my flat mate, so I'll certainly be taking this foundation (and the rest) with me, so in the evenings I can still feel like my skin can breathe in the heat. Above is a picture of me after having used all my new hair stuff and new makeup - feeling rather pampered. Check my fringe out though, you will be glad to know I got it chopped today, I was starting to struggle to see! I'm wearing my new skull shirt from Miss Ikon. You can see a full length picture here on the website. It's lovely quality and tucks in at all the right places. Not bad for £11.19 eh?!

Aw, my wee Dexter boy is getting so big! And naughty as ever. He is currently snoozing at my feet while I write this. John will be coming to animal sit for me while I go on holiday, and Dexter adores him so I'm sure they'll be glad to get some boy time together. Not forgetting the piggies either :)

A better shot of my new boots I've got on in the picture above, also from Ikon Clothing. Just what I'm needing in time for the wetter weather we've been having in Glasgow. I'd been contemplating a pair of Doc Martens for a while, and these bad boys were only £20 and haven't needed any breaking in at all. They're all soft and padded inside, and really comfy! So the perfect alternative until I do maybe decide to take the plunge and buy a real pair.

Last but not least, some presents from my nearest and dearest. Johns best friends Andrew and Olivia got me the Laduree Macarons all the way from New York. Can't believe they got them home for me in one piece :) Forever in their debt! And the hello kitty dish towels were a present from John's mum when she went to London. They are too perfect, I'm actually scared to use them! Would it be really sad to leave them for my first flat with John and just keep them on 'display'? Haha, oh the joys of growing up :) 

Talking about growing up, I hope you all think of me tomorrow when you are enjoying your lazy sundays and I am in work! But I'm in a good mood after enjoying my day off today so can't really complain eh. Hope you are having a good one whatever you are upto. I need to start getting organised for my holiday, feels a bit late in the year to be buying bikini's now but I'm going to have a look online anyways. I'm putting together a top 10 of the web post to share my favourite websites with you all. I keep on finding wee gems, bookmarking them and then forgetting they exist. I have pretty much fully resorted to buying my tea online now too because it is funnily enough the one thing I always forget when doing my food shop. Thinking about ordering the free 16 trial pack from Victory Tea for a wee change. Plus I really like the cut of their jib (is that just a scottish saying?) Ps. 1500 readers now? Jeezo. You're all MENTAL ♥ I love it!

Ayden x

The View From Our Last Summer

Enjoying the very last of what's left of the sunnier months, last saturday John and me took a trip to the capital for the Sky Ride. We cycled on a closed off route around Edinburgh's Arthurs Seat, ate lunch at a table across from Edith Bowman and Sir Chris Hoy, and took a wander around the shops in town before having lunch on Rose Street. That day really gave me the wee push I needed to get back on my bike, so I hope when I finish this current job I can encorporate some cycling into my fitness routine. Determined to real my goal weight in time for christmas, but long working days and on set catering has been keeping me at a stand still. Hopefully not for too much longer! Check John looking all manly carrying our water/map bag (naaaat) He's my hero!

After our day in Edinburgh we came home and got ready for a night out in Glasgow. Feeling rather brave I decided to wear my AX Paris dress I showed you all in the last post. To say scared would be an understatement - going out to a club with nae bra on under my dress. Oh well, needs must! My friends were playing paparazzi all night, and looking back I didn't have any 'slips' worthy of a glossy magazine. Sunday was my last day off before moving onto 6 day weeks in work, so I took full advantage and had the laziest day ever. I normally make myself feel guilty for not keeping busy, but having nothing to do for the day was an absolute joy.

My last weekend of freedom flew in, and since then my evenings are mostly being taken up by sleep, sleep, feeding animals, and more sleep. Hence me being a bit rubbish on the olde blogging front, but now I am a loony with Instagram if you'd like to pop on over and see how life treats me when I'm absent from here. You can find me at @hellorogue. Now one of these photo collages all you cool kids seem to be doing, just for good measure (but only this once)

- Home made lasagne by the fella - Bath night for the piggies - Dexter's "Feed me now plz" pose -
- A feast at Jamie's Italian with John - Tesco providing the best tissues EVER - camomile tea o'clock -

I have 3 weeks left on this BBC programme then I am a free agent once again! Been getting phonecalls for more work while I've been on this job, but to be honest I'm looking forward to taking at least a few weeks at the end of this, just to do my own thing for a bit. Spend more time with friends and family, gut my wardrobe and the flat, join my local gym, start planning our halloween party, blogging more, and getting started on my sleeve. I physically cannot venture anywhere until I give my winter wardrobe an overhaul - the chilly months are closing in fast and I am NOT prepared. I'm a 'add tights and a scarf to your summer outfit to make it ok for winter' kinda gal. But normally that doesn't quite cut it. So I have been eyeing up some autumn and winter essentials from Frasers, including Jackets, Boots, Knitwear, Hats, Scarves and gloves. Here's my wishlist as the sunnier days dwindle:
Jacket - £115 at Label Lab
Boots - £125 from Steve Madden
Cardigan - £45 at Warehouse
Snood - £27 at French Connection
Gloves - £47 at Moschino
Hat - £25 at Label Lab

So if I were to shop all under the one roof at Frasers (which I often like to do because I have access to lots of different brands) I'd get my wishlist for £384. Not to mention MAC, Mulberry and Yo Sushi all in the same building after that. Gulp! I really do need to start building up my staple pieces for the colder months. Where do you normally go for yours? There's only so long that legendary Topshop duffel coat will last before it starts to get holes under the arms and a bobbly bum...

Ayden x

Edge of the Map

It's 11pm, I'm cosied up in bed with the kitten and a hot ribena, and I don't have much to say apart from recently I have been indulging in two of my favourite things. Tea, and going on adventures.

After discovering Teapigs in a lovely little cafe in Brighton last year, I hadn't drank them again until earlier this week. Looking for a new travel mug, I ended up on their site making an impromptu order. £37 later I had said travel mug, a pack of their everyday tea, an eco shopping bag, and a mix and match pack of sample selections from the whole range... Woops.

Dexter having a wee sniff - they do smell awesome. For someone who drinks so much tea and has a tattoo dedicated to the stuff, I actually never tend to branch outside of your average english breakfast. Shock horror! Greig took me to Tchaiovna in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago and introduced me to some insanely good teas. Which I otherwise would not have ventured for on my own! So I tried to steer away from playing the safe card with this selection. I seem to be pretty stuck in my ways but I'll let you know how I get on. Have you ever ordered from Teapigs? Have any other wee things like this you like to indulge in?

Almost two weeks in to my BBC job now, with another 4.5 to go. This weekend is the last one I'll have both saturday and sunday off until we're finished the programme, so I will be certainly making the most of it. Last weekend I had two days off in a row too, so John and I went on a wee overnight trip to stay in a Wigwam in Machrihanish with his close friends.

Packing the car bright and early on saturday morning.

The little car on my satnav driving on water while we took the ferry.

Love him ♥

3 hour journey ahead of us. Let the nonsense commence!

John on the top deck.

An un-manned honesty box on the road to the camp site, with fruit, veg, jam etc from local farmers. John got some eggs and they were amazing.

One of these wee cuties was Phil, Jen and her little boy Blairs for the night.

Our home for the evening :)

Exploring the beach, five minutes from our campsite.

Phil on his board! I've surfed on a beach nearby to here a couple of years ago. We're going to head back and get some surfing done soon.

Jen and Blair playing on the beach while we watched the guys surf. It was chilly...

But when the sun came out from behind the clouds, absolutely glorious! I sat on our blanket and chilled, enjoying some peace and quiet. I absolutely adore being by the sea, it makes me feel so calm and I'd love to live by the ocean one day. I felt as proud as punch wearing my new Ray Ban Clubmasters from The Sunglasses Shop all weekend. These are the fourth pair of sunglasses (and Ray Bans) that I own, mainly because I have such an odd shaped head (genuinely) and feel like these are the only ones that actually suit me. Even my reading glasses are Ray Bans. I know what you're thinking - this girl got ISSUES. Big face issues! Anyways, I was super impressed how quickly they arrived in time for my weekend away, and although I went for the tortoise-shell there were so many more colours to choose from. I normally get quite nervous ordering clothes and accessories online, as I really like to try them on first. So I was pleased when they arrived and fitted me perfectly/suited me well. I think they are my most loved so far, but there are some more gems on the Sunglasses Shop website, so even though that time of year is slowly drifting away from us I can see a wishlist post coming soon. Maybe something movie inspired?! The Lost Boys (which really helped the clubmasters gain their status) is one of my favourite films of all time. I think I felt just as cool as Michael hanging out by the beach. But no vampires please.

'One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach... all the damn vampires'

We spent saturday and sunday around the beach and campbell town, and John and I had to leave on sunday afternoon unfortunately because I was back at work on monday. We could have stayed so much longer, it was lovely. We sat up on saturday night drinking and eating, and having a BBQ and a good giggle together. John then decided to try and freak me out in the wigwam when it was time for bed. But that backfired and I think he ended up scaring himself more ;) Silly, silly boy.

Just before we left on sunday we all went for lunch at the Bluebell Cafe in Campbeltown, and bought some nice sweeties and chocolate for the drive home. I ended up sleeping pretty much the whole way back, and so was wide awake and hyper when I came home greeted by the piggies and Dexter on sunday night. I think Dexter quite enjoyed it though, we are normally sleepy and hyper at the exact opposite times. Mind you, I'm getting sleepy now as I come to the end of writing this and he is snoozing quietly next to me :)

I think this bottle above is the reason why we got such a good sleep on saturday night! I'm not normally a fan of rum, but have been drinking Kraken recently and it is yummy. Have you tried it before? I love the bottle and label design too, and I recently booked in to get my sleeve started, but all I'll say for now is that it will have a bit of the Kraken and under the sea theme as inspiration. I can't wait to tell you more once I get going!

As I mentioned before, this weekend is my final two days off in a row until the end of this job, so I am fully taking advantage by having a busy wee time planned ahead. Friday night I'm going to a gig at Nice and Sleazy's, saturday night I'm going out to the Cathouse for Katrina's wee brothers 21st birthday, and sunday I will be having the laziest of days in bed with my fella watching more episodes of Dexter (we're at the doomsday killer episodes at the moment) Saturday during the day I am hoping the sun will stay out, as we are going through to Edinburgh for the Sky Ride. I'll be honest, my running has been lacking lately so I am using this weekend to boost myself back into exercise and give cycling a go for the first time in years. Here is our route:

If you're not doing anything else on saturday please come and join us! We'll be getting the train through from Glasgow to Edinburgh about 11am, and it should make for a good (healthy...) wee day out. Edith Bowman is supporting the event, and I also believe Sir Chris Hoy might be there too. It is totally free - all you need to do is register :) The last time I rode a bike was in Interlaken, Switzerland, on my travels two years ago. So I am a bit nervous but think this will be the perfect chance to get my confidence back and feel comfortable when it comes to riding a bike again. They say it is a skill you never forget, but riding on the road is another thing! Something that I am totally clueless about, and probably the main reason why I have avoided it for so many years. The roads will be closed specially for this event but I'd really like to find out what the law/rules are when it comes to riding your bike on the road. Safety gear, pavement vs road, lights etc? Can anyone fill me in? Be sure to send me a tweet if you think you'll be going. I fully intend to burn off all those calories in advance for a few Kraken's and coke on saturday night ♥

Ayden x