Eclectic update & recent loves

'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans'

New camera, same little poser face. Ended up going with the Canon 1100D (I was talking rubbish in the last post, Katrina has a Nikon, it was Greig who has the 1100D) I also bought a lovely Canon 50mm lens. Lipstick is Girl About Town by Mac, and my bejewelled shirt is a wee belter from Glamorous. Paired with black leggings and vans, keeping it simple and I am a Magpie for those sparkles.

Afternoon tea at the Blythswood Hotel with Kyle and Leah. Absolutely delicious. Oh my foxy friend came along for the day too!

A sleepy Dexter asking what is Inimals!? Well that's where my new foxy friend is from! He's actually a cover for my ipad. Lovingly made by Clare, who is 23, lives in Glasgow and studies Architecture at Glasgow School of Art. Clare has just started making up these custom phone/tablet covers on the side, after experimenting with some scrap material and her sisters sewing machine. Very proud of my crafty locals :)

Examples of some of Clares previous makes. Aren't they adorable? You can tell her background as an Architecture student gives her an eye for fine detail and perfection! Not a stitch was out of place, and this cover is sturdy and secure despite being soft and constantly moving about my handbags on the go for work all week. Clare has done everything from Flamingo's to Meerkats! Prices range from £10-£20 depending on size and design
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What Inimal would you choose? Let me know if you order one in time for Christmas! The sheep one made me giggle because it looks just like Dexter (who is extra fluffy at the moment, see...)

What a boy. He really is such a great little companion. Hiding under the covers having a snooze as a type this. Hard life being a cat eh?

Winter is properly upon us now, and I am ready for the party season! When I say party season... I'm still waiting for the invites but I'm sure they're in the post... Don't worry about me, I'll be sitting here patiently with my sparkly new Chi Chi dress, waiting on some lovely christmas party plans to unfold. Isn't it pretty? I have a lovely clutch bag and heels to match, and I can't wait for an excuse to get all dressed up. Would you do accessories with this, or is the sequined top section a statement enough? We have the Scottish Bloggers Party in a couple of weeks, but that's a cheesy christmas jumper sort of do (already organised, am I the keenest party bean that you know?) I am never normally as keen about getting my Christmas Tree up, and tend to wait until it is 'socially acceptable' (out of fear of making font page in the local paper - you know there is always one family with the full nativity set up in their garden in october) Every year I usually have an Artificial Christmas Tree, as I've never really known any different, but the more and more I see real ones it makes me want to get one. Maybe not this year as I am in a shared flat, but if me and John have our own place by next christmas then I would love for us to do it all properly :) What is normally your preference?

I'd been having a gander online at Baking Mad, for their Christmas Cake recipe and Christmas Pudding recipe (to be honest, I got distracted browsing ideas for Christmas Gift Hampers before actually focusing on what I was originally looking for!) I think I will give either one a go closer to christmas day, as I am having christmas dinner with John and his family so would like to bring something along for us to have a cuppa with after dinner :) I ended up making their Oreo Brownies as a wee something to take to the lovely Ashley Baxter today who is taking my photos at the Christmas Market in Glasgow! Of course myself and my friends had to test 4, 5 or even 6 pieces first JUST to make sure it was up to scratch. We all approve ;) Hopefully she likes them too!

Some final pictures taken yesterday with Greig and John at Once Upon A Tart. We had some brunch and I set off to buy some props for the new childrens tv show I am working on. The boys spent ages in Guitar Guitar, being geeks while I shopped next door, and then John came along with me for the rest of the day as my assistant (alas, mighty carrier of bags) and I ended up loosing him in Hamleys! We was playing along to christmas tunes on the giant piano... as you do. I really love this time of year :)

Ayden x

Let The Sky Fall

Since my last post, technology is yet again failing miserably around me, left, right and centre as my SLR has now decided to take a turn for the worst! The flash board needs replaced - which fortunately still means I can use my camera okay in daylight. But no more night shots for me unless I want to pay £150... So I've decided that after 3 years with a second hand camera (which I use every single day between my blog, work, and personal life) it is finally time for me to bite the bullet and get a complete upgrade. I took the pictures in this post with my flat mates Canon 1100D, and my current camera is the Canon 350D - but I really don't know where to go next. Could any of you recommend a decent upgrade that won't totally break the bank? All suggestions are greatly appreciated! :) Here's how I got on with Katrina's camera (the show must go on, as they say)

My use of auto mode and extreme editing seems to have warped the colours in this picture a bit too much (I'll never make it as a beauty blogger eh?) Revlon have launched their 'Sweet Boutique' on facebook, giving away 100 lip butters every day until the 4th of december! Simple as always, just like to enter. I was intrigued to see how these applied on the lips, as I always associate lip butters to be in little tubs or tubes. These looked more like a lipstick to me. And doing close up lip pictures like this made me realise I sort of have a mustache going on. But I'm okay with that! It's Movember after all (and by Old Gregg from the Mighty Boosh's standards - facial hair and lippie is a good look!)

Berry Smoothie

Raspberry Pie

On application they are the perfect mix between lip butter and a lipstick. More colour than the usual lip butters I have used, and more moisturisation than you would get from a normal lipstick. I like the in between, because I eat and drink a lot when wearing lippie and dislike constantly having to reapply or make sure i've not started to loose colour towards the inside of my lips. Who would have thought it's so hard being a female eh?

Hello! Are you fed up of my face yet? These berry colours are just perfect for winter, and are a good step from summer lips into the more vampy makeup look. The nail varnish pictured is called Vixen, also from Revlon, and is a gorgeous deep red but I've managed to make it look almost black! You can see here for a proper representation. Look at all these beauty bloggy brownie points I'm winning! Kidding on, I'm bloody awful. But what I can say is that this shade will be staying on my nails for the rest of the winter, and the lip butters will be in my day to day make up bag replacing the likes of Mac's Hue and Cut A Caper. Does your makeup reflect the seasons? I've started back on Estee Lauders Double Wear again now that the colder months are settling in. Mind you, at the moment most days I am leaving the house with hair tied in a bun and a bare face because I'd rather get an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning. But it makes it feel extra special scrubbing up nicely at the weekends.

Oh, I feel like I'm back in the Myspace days with this picture. I have been enjoying my new geeky amanda dress from vintage inspired Lovestruck clothing, and double geeking it up the other day when I wore it with my new pair of specs from Firmoo too.

I felt like a lovely little librarian in the dress. I find a lot of vintage pattern/cut clothes to be a better fit for me (Topshop take note - just because someone is a size 10 in jeans does not mean they are TALL with slim thighs) I can get so many things to fit at the waist, but my goodness never around my thighs or mahoosive bum. With Lovestruck I'll certainly be back. They only do tops, skirts and dresses at the moment but I would love to see what vintage inspired trousers they could produce. I am absolutely dying for a pair of high waisted jeans with a bit of a flare in the leg. Something right out of Charlies Angels perhaps? Haha yes please!

Firmoo are still running their free glasses scheme for first time buyers (you just pay shipping) which there is no catch with, and I genuinely can't fault. So if you haven't done it already, do take advantage. These are my second pair from the site, and the first one are still holding together nicely despite being knocked off my bedside cabinet etc by Dexter. He is the naughtiest kitten ever right now, I think he telepathically goes for anything he knows I don't want him to touch.

Tomorrow is my last day on my current CBBC show, and I start a new one on monday :) Having the weekends off has been great, and since our crazy bungee jump a couple of weekends back (thank you for all the comments, they made me giggle! Hope you don't still think we're absolutely mental!) we have decided to make our recent date nights a bit more easy going. Ladbrokes sent us on a night out with something to drool over that wasn't just food (maybe the post title is a clue?)

Firstly, John surprised me with last minute tickets to see Band of Horses on friday night, so beforehand we went for the aforementioned drool at Zizzi's in Princess Square. It was fantastic. We took advantage of their 3 course set menu for £24.95 each. This included a glass of bubbly before the starter, and a shot of Lemoncello after dessert! I was not a major fan of the shot, but I did think it was a nice modern italian touch to the end of the meal. The meal us up perfectly for the rest of the evening, and I must say I love Princess Square at Christmas Time.

Using my camera phone at this point as my SLR flash had stopped working but I still had no idea why :( To the gig I wore my new Doc Martens and Fashion Culprit dress - but all the detail was lost in this picture so I took one at home last night to show you how pretty the back is:

A playsuit with similar detail on the back caught my eye when shopping last week. I don't normally go for this sort of style but I am completely in love. I can't quite share the full pictures yet, as this is part of my entry to a challenge coming up soon. But I will post more details when it goes live on the host site :) In the meantime, a sneaky preview...

As the post title suggests, the second part of the night out was going to see the new Bond film, Skyfall, at the cinema. Since we had tickets to the gig, we planned for the cinema the next afternoon but unfortunately John got a call to work. So I called Greig up and along we went that evening. Although I wasn't faced with the REAL Daniel Craig, seeing him on screen was the next best thing. Think I would have felt just as awkward drooling over Mr Bond sitting next to my boyfriend as I did next to my uncle! Haha.

I must admit, I am not a hard core fan of the Bond films, but what I do appreciate is the enormity and the overall production values of this franchise. They are very well made. I am not very good at reviewing films, as I feel like working in the film and tv industry makes me watch things differently nowadays. I often feel like I can't switch off and let myself get caught up in the story - especially in action films where the plot often doesn't do very much for me. That aside, I was really enthralled by Skyfall. From a Production Design point of view, I was in absolute heaven. I could only dream to work on such a huge scale film like this one day.

I don't want to ruin anything for you, but the bustling market and deserted island sets really blew me away. Two very contrasting locations, but both would have had so much work put into them to make them feel 'real'. When I say real, I mean realistic enough that the viewer just takes it for granted and doesn't even blink twice to this location being anything but a genuine place. Don't get me wrong, the production designer will often try to work with location managers, to find somewhere that can be adapted or added to, rather than being completely built up from scratch. But big films like this often have purpose built film sets (like whole towns inside of a studio... complete with roads, harbours, you name it) Diagon Alley in Harry Potter for example - everything completely built from scratch and deliberately designed from cobbles to roof tiles.

Completely biased, but I also really liked the fact that Scotland was quite prominently featured in the film.

My favourite still by far. Bond in the eerie Scottish landscape.

One final thing I'd like to add is how much I enjoyed the opening titles to the film. Random, but when you see it you will know what I mean! This is something that by tradition, the Bond films are rather epic in executing. The Adele track has been everywhere on the radio recently but I don't think you can appreciate how brilliantly it fits in until you watch and listen to the opening titles. It made me hear the song in a whole new light, with my undivided attention as beautiful illustrations unfolded along to the music. Getting out to the cinema was a great break in my current routine of weekly tv series from the comfort of bed. We are addicted to The Walking Dead. Having dreams about zombie apocalypse almost every week but it is most definitely worth it! :)

Ayden x

Leaps of faith

I've sat with this 'compose post' page open for about half an hour now before typing anything, a programme has just started called 'Freaky Sleepers' and I am totally intrigued! Have any of you seen it? It's just quite odd timing as I've downloaded an app a few days ago for my ipad, that monitors my sleep phases and movement/noises during the night. So far there has just been the odd talking and snoring (such a classy girl, I know) but I used to suffer from night terrors when I was younger, and a bit of sleep walking too. Nowadays, sometimes my dreams are so vivid and noisy (if that makes sense?) that I can actually wake up in the morning with a sore head. Sleep texting has to be the funniest thing this programme has mentioned - I laugh because I have totally done it! I'm sure most of us have. So tired that you don't quite remember opening and reading a message, or even sending one.

As much as I love my sleep, and the comfort of home with cosy pj's in bed - I also can't do without the odd adventure. There was only a tiny slither of summer left when me and Katrina decided to book a last minute week in the sun. With a strict budget and an open mind, we ended up going to Marmaris in Turkey. 

Starbucks in Glasgow Airport.

Our hotel in Marmaris.

Hungover breakfasts.

Warm summer evenings.

Always a disco nap before it's time to get ready!

Possibly the most offensive way to display plus size clothing...

Beachfront :)

Another note for British Visual Merchandisers - Turkey are ON IT when it comes to mannequins!

Lots of selfies and being silly.

The Turkish landscape was stunning - lush and green leafy mountains off in the distance (not what I was expecting at all)

Your cocktail was never without a sparkler.

Funky wee towel arrangement by the Maid on our last day! Haha. I think we got a great deal for a last minute holiday, the hotel was clean and modern, and the weather stayed at about 35C almost the whole week (apart from a little drizzle) and with their currency still being the Turkish Lira rather than the Euro, everything seemed much cheaper! One thing that I did not like, however, was the unwanted and overwhelming attention we got from locals there. In no way am I being big headed, because we weren't the only females experiencing it! But I felt especially vulnerable without the presence of a male with me. Having so many visible tattoos certainly didn't help me in busy situations like the markets, and I got thrown in the hotel swimming pool one evening fully clothed because I would not accept a drink from the bar manager! I wouldn't let someone talk to me or treat me like that in Scotland, so I'm never going to be cool about it happening somewhere else. It was great to catch some last minute sun though. I would love to visit Istanbul one day but I don't think Marmaris is a place I would return to now I've been there once.

Not long after I got back from holiday, I heard that Debenhams at Silverburn had launched a new beauty hall - including Mac! So I went along for a mingle and a wander, but avoided temptation to buy anything for myself. It is my Papa's birthday soon, so I got him some new aftershave and there was 20% off everything in store that night. I ended up with a bag full of perfume samples in this cute Viv bag along with my purchase. Which made me feel a bit better after all for not buying something for myself :) But the new and improved hall was looking brilliant so I'll certainly be back. Finding myself in Silverburn a lot these days since it is on the south side of town like me!

Not long after the beauty evening, a rather interesting little parcel arrived on my doorstep. Tony the Tiger has received a makeover for his 60th birthday (would you believe Frosties are that old?!) with his famous scarf being given a revamp by celebrity designer Philip Armstrong. These scarves are limited edition, with only 500 going on sale at the start of the month at £6.99 each. But what I really like is that all the proceeds are being donated to Fareshare food banks to provide 12,000 breakfasts to hungry school children across the uk. I find these colours a bit too bright for me to wear personally, but I think it is such a nice idea and I am even happier to keep it stored safely as something quite unique to look back on in years to come. Maybe one day I'll be telling my grandchildren about 'blogging in my day' and break out the box of heirlooms! Happy Birthday Mr Tiger :)

Now when I said earlier that I love going on adventures, I must admit that sometimes the fear of the unknown still really scares me. I'd rather sit and get a tattoo than go to the dentist, I get really uncomfortable watching high tension quiz shows (with big pauses like Million Pound Drop and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire) and even bidding on ebay sends me into a nervous panic. I did actually look into opening my own ebay store once, looking into wholesalers like One2Wear who even do ebay starter kits to make it all SO easy for you. But it turns out that sitting wating for an item to sell makes me just as anxious. So when the people at Ladbrokes set me a challenge to get my heart racing, you can imagine how I felt. I'm not painting a very brave picture of myself but for the love of BLOG I knew I was going to do it! Can you not just teach me a crash course in how to play poker games Oceans 11 style?

Oh no... Tandem Bungee Jump it is then!

I am not going to say anything else here, apart from you have full permission to laugh at my expense at this video! I was in total fear zone, and poor John had been pulled along for the ride and was still being so lovely to me! How he has not dumped me after that I will never know :)

(Especially once I draw your attention to the funny George of the Jungle noise he makes as we are pushed off the ledge... Priceless!

Ayden x 

Party Season picks

Positively considering pouring coffee on my macbook this chilly monday morning. Taking me absolutely ages to do anything - with the dreaded spinning beachball almost a permanent resident! Until the wages from my current contract for CBBC hit the bank, I have been doing some fantasy online window shopping to get the feel for christmas presents and outfits for the winter party season. Styling an outfit doesn't really come naturally to me, so I often like to plan a basic idea out beforehand, and ideally get the opinion of friends when it comes to buying. I was recently introduced to Fantasy Shopper, a website which helps you discover outfits from your favourite stores, style outfits, and get inspired!

I still have a voucher to use at House Of Fraser from my birthday back in June, so I thought I'd use Fantasy Shopper to help me explore HOF's dresses collection and see if I could plan some outfits ahead of the party season.

There are a fantastic selection of stores to choose from on Fantasy Shopper, categorised from London and New York, with Milan and Paris to be added soon! Which I think is rather impressive. However the first, and pretty much only hurdle that I faced was all the dresses I seemed to be selecting from their House Of Fraser section were out of stock when I clicked through to the source website. If they weren't out of stock, a lot of them were listed as on sale (which is great, in a way!) so often left me with a minimum amount of sizes left to choose from. This wouldn't bother me so much if I was looking to create a mood or inspiration board. But isn't such a reliable source if I was wanting to then go and buy the item after discovering it on Fantasy Shopper, only to find that it wasn't actually available :(

Maybe this isn't the case for every store or brand, and I know that it wasn't every single item on the House Of Fraser section - but it was genuinely most of them that I clicked on. Maybe Fantasy Shopper is promoting and circulating peoples favourite items so much, that traffic is forming to the source website and the item then becomes sold out? Or maybe it just takes a while for them to update live stock from their listed websites? (some of the dresses I then went on to find on Frasers actual website weren't listed on Fantasy Shopper at all) I'm not 100% sure, either way it is not a bad thing at all, because I still really enjoyed using the site and browsing through other peoples fantasy outfits:

It really is 'fantasy' when it comes to the prices these outfits that caught my eye come to - but I think they work great as inspiration for styling your own outfits! The site features high street all the way to designer, and there are also message boards where you can ask people for advice. In the top picture you can see there are badges to be unlocked with different challenges for you to complete. I will really have fun doing this, but it does make the site feel more like a game than an actual shopping source, along with my other comment about so many items being out of stock. I will be keeping Fantasy Shopper bookmarked for sure anyways, and I did like looking through other peoples dream wardrobes. Alas, since my christmas party outfits will need to be come a reality after payday, I headed back to the House Of Fraser website to gather my favourite dress choices:

1. Hobbs Betsy Dress - £99
2. Warehouse Feather Hem Dress - £130
3. Jolie Moi Chiffon Dip Back Galaxy Dress - £25
4. Oasis Embellished Holly Shift Dress - £70
5. Lipsy Sequin Body Dress - £48

Have you started planning your outfits for the likes of christmas nights out, christmas day, and new year? If you have, please link me - I'd love to have a nosy :)

Apart from waiting patiently for pay day, here's what else I have been upto...

Having John stay at mines lots while he's been working, theatre trips with Mumma McCartney, Dexter enjoying his new perch on the piggies cage, sugar skull halloween makeup, cat in a bag, sneak peek of my finished mermaid, yo sushi with Kyle, halloween makeup round 2, roses from my friends little boy, Afternoon tea with Jen and Blair, new doc's from my Daddy, sparklers on guy fawkes night, fireworks at glasgow green, papa looking like Carl from Up in photobooth, finding an old picture done of me in Italy when I was 11, mums completely home made party spread, Tylers 8th birthday, John and Dexter playing the new Halo while I get ignored! :)

Life. Is. Good ♥

Ayden x

Next Christmas, I'll give you my heart

Monday mornings drinking coffee and writing emails with Dexter cuddled into my side, it is actually too cold to get out of bed. But I have a meeting at the BBC about work at 1pm so once I've written this I need to get myself ready. I actually don't mind the cold so much, as long as it isn't really windy and rainy then I do enjoy getting wrapped up on frosty winter mornings. I met my Dad and baby Lily in town on saturday because he was kindly treating me to a new winter coat or boots. My Dad is like a woman when it comes to shopping, he knows how to treat himself and would happily indulge in jackets from Armani every winter if he could! I've had my eye on Barbour Jackets from Repertoire Fashion, and this Parka from Drop Dead Clothing (that one being more my price range) but I think if I get this job today I will treat myself. I was too indecisive about jackets so he ended up getting me a lovely pair of fur lined Dr Martens :) Their new store in Glasgow is beautiful, too many lovely satchels and coats as well as their well known boots. But I will share pictures of my new booties in another post.

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed a bit of Christmas coming early, with Next kindly inviting me to the penthouse suite of the Blythswood square to have a nosy at their new Christmas collection.

The view from the penthouse was fantastic. There is something about the rooftops of buildings that really intrigues me! We sipped champagne and ate some delicious canapes (you guys know how highly I hold the Blythswood Hotel anyway by now!) The items that really pleased me from the clothing were the gorgeous, traditional-esque christmas jumpers, the delicately embellished party pieces (in particular the studded sheer shirt above) with the right amount of sparkle to feel that christmas party spirit, and the cosy floral jammies and tartan slipper boots. I am a big fan of Next home, and was so pleased to see that they had some lovely christmas bunting! All the bunting in my room is from there. Nothing wrong with making your surroundings a permanent party eh? All this stuff should be in store about now so I plan to pop in for another look soon.

Another great part of the night was getting to meet and chat to some new friendly faces. The three pictures above were taken by Ashley. She takes some wonderful photographs, and I think we are going to meet for a shoot together soon :) Despite how much of a poser I seem, I do get nervous with other people taking my photo. But she is such a lovely lass with brilliant chat, I'm actually just really looking forward to hanging out with her again! Ashley's sister Carolyn designs and makes her own beautiful dresses, so creativity and talent certainly runs in the family. A year or so ago you wouldn't have caught me in a million years going to a night like this alone, but I feel much more confident and content within myself now, and in a good way I think you put yourself out there more than what you would if you had brought along a friend. Doing something every day that scares you really does pay off :)

You still have until 8pm tonight to enter my Haagen Dazs competition, I'll be drawing it when I get home from the fireworks display with my friends at Glasgow Green. Good luck! ♥

Ayden x