Sometimes the best present is to be present

I'm in a bit of a strange daze right now, mainly because my belly is full of pizza and Christmas chocolate and I've been sleeping silly amounts the past few days. It has been so nice to switch my brain off over the festive period, but now it's got to the point that even when I check my phone I still can't remember what day or date it is. The last week has been a total blur of food and laughter, between spending Christmas Day at my Mums, Boxing day at my Dads, and then the day after up at Pete's Dads. It was lovely to get out of the city, get some fresh air and go for walks (So although I've been quiet on here you can still follow my daily updates on Instagram)

I'm really looking forward to cracking out my new diary and notebook (okay, notebooks...) and getting organised for 2016. Along with getting back on the healthy living wagon. Seriously, I look about 5 months pregnant and feel hella sluggish! One of the pressies Pete got me for Christmas was a nutribullet, so I look forward to whizzing up ALL THE FRUIT AND VEGGIES while praying my body forgives me for how indulgent I've been. I had a glass of water this morning and it tasted like sweet nectar, as if I've been trawling through a desert for all of December. Caffeine and alcohol, y u no hydrate me? I feel bloody broken! 2016, I am so ready for you.

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas Tree

Oh y'know, Christmas! (Or maybe Catmas, which will sound more appropriate by the end of this post) I feel like that last blog post opened the floodgates for my festive cheer to come pouring in. Panto time, Christmas tree decorating, present wrapping, and watching some feel good festive films on TV. This jolly and sparkling time of the year is definitely in full swing.

The Blogger Grand Central Sleepover

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At the age of 26 I still don't feel like I'll ever be too old for a sleepover, even though my 11 year old sister has just started going to her first ones (and she thinks I am totally ancient!) I've mentioned it before on here, but I am still amazed at the close friends I have made through blogging. When I started this blog at uni I never realised that it would introduce me to people who would become friends for life. Crying with laughter together at girly weekends away, crying over a cuppa in the kitchen at whatever shit life has thrown at you, and crying tears of joy watching them get married. Happy tears and happy times with a lot of these wonderful humans! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a midweek festive sleepover with Laura, Lynsay, Lori, Lisa and Sami at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

Winter Skin - From prep to party!

Naked Face
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2015 has been the year of skincare obsession for me. After my skin took a turn for the worst (pretty much out of the blue) back in the spring, it has been a long and frustrating struggle to work out why it happened, and how to maintain the progress I have made so far. I last blogged about my skin back in September, so I thought I'd give you another update a few months on, and share what products I have been using.

A Bathmas Gift Guide

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I can't believe that tomorrow is the first of December. Where has this year disappeared to?! I have just started doing my Christmas shopping in dribs and drabs, and I've really had to rethink my game plan this year. I have a lot of family and friends to buy for, and I absolutely love buying people presents. I just don't know where to stop, and when you end up spending £30+ for over 20 people... It all starts to add up. We've got a house, a puppy and a holiday to save for next year, so I've tried to be a lot more savvy with my present buying this Christmas. I'm trying to gift everyone with just one really special pressie, rather than 3 or 4 (often daft) things each. Does anyone feel like just one present feels really lonely? For example if I bought a friend a new diary from Paperchase, I'd need to get the matching pen, desk planner and other little bits for them... This is how it gets silly and out of hand!

 I actually feel a bit awful writing the above when there are so many people on this planet who don't even have a roof over their heads or a warm place to sleep at night. So I'd like to even up the materialistic side of this post and say if you're in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen doing your Christmas shopping, please pop into Social Bite for a sandwich or coffee. 100% of their profits are given to good causes, and 1 in 4 of their team are formerly homeless people. They also feel the local homeless community through their 'Suspended Coffee and Food' initiative. This means that customers can pay in advance for a coffee or any item of food from the menu, and a local homeless person can come into the shop to claim it. Social Bite are based in Scotland, but I can imagine there are other similar ran Social Businesses across the UK. Please take 5 minutes to look one up, and give a little kindness to those who really need it most at this time of year.

The most wonderful time of the year

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I'm sorry about the post title, you're thinking Christmas - right? Not quite yet. But it is gonna be upon us very soon so I hope all the Bah Humbugs out there can stop resisting it angrily and just LET IT GOOO. (See what I did there? Frozen, Christmas... again, sorry!) Anyways, before I fully embrace the festive period into my warm bosom, this time of year has another reason to be wonderful. A week ago today, I got to watch one of my blogging besties get married.

This is Halloween

Halloween Party
 
It's no secret that I absolutely love Halloween and dressing up. This year was mine and Pete's first Halloween in the flat, so we decided to throw a wee pre-drinks party before heading out to a club with friends. We literally live across the road from said club, so it's pretty handy! I'm not one for going out every single weekend, but I do quite enjoy getting dolled up for a special occassion - and Halloween is a super special one in my books. 
 

Seeing clearly with Iolla

Iolla Glasgow

The Finnieston area in Glasgow's West End is such a cool hub of bars, restaurants and quirky little shops - So it was no surprise to see another trendy indie brand pop up there recently, in the form of Iolla. I've worn glasses pretty much full time since I left school, after ignoring my severely less than perfect eyesight to the point I was suffering from terrible tension headaches. I'm not one for contacts (think Rachel and the eyedrop scene from friends) and feel so creeped out at the thought of putting anything on my eyeballs! I'm sure for regular contact wearers it's an absolute breeze, but for me it is out of the question. Plus, with so many awesome styles and colours you can choose from in glasses these days (no offence to Harry P style NHS glasses from the late 90's...) we really are spoiled for choice! Your choice of frame and colour can totally compliment your own sense of style, allowing your glasses to become a fashion statement as well as a necessary daily item for folk like me with not so great eyesight.

I belong to Glasgow

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I love Glasgow. You mighta guessed that by now though, huh? I lived in a little town 20 minutes outside the city with my family until I was 21, and for the past 5 years have lived in and around Glasgow. At the moment I'm in the South Side, and it's so handy for jumping on the train into the centre (takes about 5 minutes!)

Even if you are very familiar with Glasgow, or have never been to visit at all, I really hope you enjoy this post. Travelodge asked me to 'flaunt my haunt', so of course I was more than happy to do so. Last week, Ashley and I got all wrapped up and headed into the city for a whirlwind trip to some of our favourite haunts.

Put on your war paint - The Selfie Generation

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I feel quite baffled at the contradicting advice constantly given to women.

The way we dress evokes "What a plain jane, she's so boring, I'd love to give her a makeover" to "Look at her wild dress sense. You call that fashion? What an attention seeker!"

Our choice to wear makeup goes from "Oh you look very pale today, are you tired? Are you feeling unwell?" to "You wear far too much makeup! Don't slap it on - embrace your natural beauty"

The expectation for us to have children starts with "Oh, you had a baby in your teens? That's very young..." to "SO, when will you two start trying for a baby?! You don't want kids? Why not?"

Talk of marriage is often met with "Oh don't rush into settling down, you've got plenty of time!" to "When will you two finally tie the knot? Hasn't he put a ring on it yet?"

Sex shaming is probably the biggest contradiction of them all "Oh you were still a virgin in your twenties? You're a late bloomer aren't you!" to "She has slept with HOW MANY guys/girls? What a SLUT"

How I cope with anxiety

relaxing

Anxiety is a funny old thing. The term is often thrown about very loosely, along with depression and OCD, from people who don't actually suffer from it - but use it as a verb to generalise how they are feeling. Getting worried, experiencing lows, or being someone who likes things done a certain way is completely normal. But once you truly suffer from these illnesses and perhaps need to go for counselling or be medicated - you understand the difference between what is normal, and something that stops you from functioning in your daily life. The above are just examples of the many, many mental illnesses out there, but today I'd like to talk openly about one which I suffer from myself. Anxiety.

Romance & relaxation at Ardoe House

ardoe house

A couple of weekends ago me and Pete escaped into the countryside for a relaxing break together. We drove up to Aberdeen for a 2 night stay at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House. Relying on a satnav and their postcode which covered quite a big area we got a little bit lost on the way, but the hotel staff were able to direct us with no trouble at all when I phoned in a panic (getting lost and being late are my number one worst things, ever!) Turns out it's really only 10 minutes from Aberdeen city centre, cleverly nestled amongst the beautiful countryside.

The Good Life 365

good life 365

This month has very much been a completely fresh start for me. I feel like I've hit the massive red 'reset' button for my life. I won't lie, I'm scared... but it's definitely been a long time coming now. I wrote back in January an outline of my goals for going into this new year, and I think I've realised now that my happiness and self development is an ongoing thing, which will never really be 'ticked' off the list upon completion. Like one of my favourite quotes - 'Happiness is the journey, not the destination'. It's great to have daily goals, short term goals, and hell even long term goals! But the wholesome and healthy state of mind in which I'd like to live my life is an ongoing work in progress. Some days will be better than others, I may take a few steps forward then stumble back again, but that's okay. I'm only human. We all are. I recently read The Book Of Brave by Laura Jane Williams, and her words could not have rung more true to me at this moment in time. "Fucking up isn’t failure for as long as you have values, and you stick to them. If you go off-course, it’s about how you bounce back from that"

My mole removal at Transform

transform

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post about the mole removal I had booked, after years of wanting to do it. Two weeks ago on friday, the day finally arrived! I met up with my friend Ashley in the morning for a coffee and a pep talk, and she walked me over to the Transform clinic in Glasgow city centre.

A mid-twenties skin crisis

"I've always been quite lucky when it comes to my skin" - are the words that I shall never utter again, EVER! As the last 4 months I've had a bloody tough time of it skin wise. Much worse than all of my teenage years combined. When I say I was lucky, I'd get the odd spot here and there, blackheads in the usual areas, but nothing that makeup couldn't cover or a few days of some skincare tlc wouldn't clear up. It all began the day we started filming on that last BBC job I worked on (note, this links to the very end of the post/story so keep that in mind) I came home from work, took my beanie hat off and noticed that my forehead was covered in lots of tiny bumps under the skin. They weren't sore or red, which you'd think would be okay with the addition of makeup... but that actually didn't help at all, as every little bump scattered across my forehead was still so clearly visible underneath. In certain lighting it looked absolutely awful.

I had no idea where this strange outbreak had came from, but I jumped straight in to finding a way to control/get rid of it. At first I wondered if it was my hat or hair that had been irritating my skin, so I went weeks without both and tried to pin my fringe out of the way when possible. I'm not a vain person (even if my instagram selfies beg to differ) and I would happily leave the house most days with no makeup on. But these spots really started to upset me and dent my confidence after a few weeks of absolutely no improvement whatsoever. The strangest thing of all was that they were just on my forehead, and the rest of my skin was still completely clear.

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My skin under minimal face makeup 6 weeks ago

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My skin under minimal face makeup now

A Portuguese Adventure

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I almost named this blog post after the daytime TV show 'a place in the sun', as I seem to be watching a lot of said programme during the day recently since coming back from Portugal (and having a good old case of the post holiday blues) I'm taking a bit of a time out from work at the moment due to some health issues, but I look forward to getting back to fighting fit soon. I shall try leave this post to more pictures and less writing - just a collection of my favourite photos from our 10 days in Portugal. I feel like my posts have been very picture heavy lately, I hope they're not taking a silly time to load on your computers and phones! Bring on the sunshine...

My Tattoo Tour

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Hello everyone! This is the last post I'll be squeezing in before heading off to Portugal on Wednesday, and it's actually one I've been meaning to do for a while. I got my first tattoo at 18, and 8 years later my body is starting to fill up with a pieces of 'artwork' that I've collected from around 10 different tattoo artists so far. I thought I'd share some photos and who I got the tattoos from, along with a few questions I commonly get asked. It was so hard to photograph every single one of these individually without it being a total photo spam, and I hope I haven't missed any out! I was initially planning on posting them in chronological order, but that's too much of a maze for me to get my head around haha. So we shall start from the feet and work our way up.

A Summer Confession

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As you can maybe guess by the title of this post, I have a confession to make. Something that I never normally verbalise for fear of people thinking I am strange or slightly anti social, or that I just don't like to let my hair down and have fun. Which brings me onto the confession... I don't like festivals. I love summer, music, gigs, drinking cider in the sunshine, and even festival fashion. But put them all together and take me to a festival, and I just feel SO out of my own depth! Maybe it's just my anxiety talking, but I've noticed as I get older I feel like I have less patience and more fear of uknown places, big rowdy groups of people and alcohol fuelled events.

Copper Dreams

Hello everyone! That's me officially finished up on my BBC job now and back into the land of unemployment (well, self employment) I'm so excited to be taking a bit of time off to focus on my own projects and generally just recharge my batteries. My body and my brain are in major need of some tlc, so that's exactly what I'll be doing on the lead up to my holiday in a couple of weeks. I also just wanted to thank you all for your overwhelming support in the form of comments, tweets, emails and texts about my last post. It genuinely brought a tear to my eye and was such a massive weight of my shoulders finally verbalising something I've wanted to talk about for so long. I'll let you know how I get on with the actual procedure, but for now - I'd like to chat about HAIR!

If you've followed my blog for a while now, you'll know that I went on a hair colour journey from brown, to blonde, to pink, and then to blue. As much as I loved the blue, it was really hard to upkeep so I decided to get rid of it. After some failed bleaching attempts (that blue is stubborn as hell!) I ended up having to go dark brown over the top and I really wasn't enjoying it at all. I'd had a little twinkle in my eye for some titian coloured hair, so over the course of a few months with some colour knowledge from my Mum and a visit to Blow, this is how it turned out...
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The M Word

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Today on the blog I'm going to talk about something really personal to me. A subject that I rarely mention to my family and friends, never mind strangers or people who I don't know very well. Purely for selfish reasons of self confidence and hoping that if I don't mention it, I will draw less attention to it. That 'it', is an elephant in the room but of tiny proportions. The mole on my nose! This may seem like such a trivial thing to some people, but to me... I feel very vulnerable, awkward and exposed when talking about it. So despite it being an obvious thing slap bang in the centre of my face, I appreciate you all understanding how difficult it actually is for me to talk about this.

The Good Sleep Guide

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I love sleep. I love my bed. I love cosying up under the covers at night to watch a film, and waking up in the morning with daylight sneaking in through the curtains and the cats curled up at my feet. I'm one of these people that could fall asleep anywhere, and I struggle to stay awake when in any sort of warm, dark room (which is a nightmare at the cinema, driving down the motorway at night, or in any sort of meeting containing a power point presentation) I'm that friend at a sleepover who would happily make a bed on the floor with a tea towel folded up as a pillow, and has drifted off in the nightclub toilet many a time. Sleep is my friend, and it seriously effects my mood and the whole of my day if I haven't had enough zzz's the night before. However as I get older and I've noticed that certain life events trigger bad sleeping patterns for me. Some nights I really struggle to fall asleep, or I wake up lots during the night, or feel like I have been drugged when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning. Normally this is to do with what sort of food and drink I've been consuming, my work schedule, general life worries and deadlines, and sharing my bed with a boyfriend and two cats who like to visit in the dead of night. 

On the topic of sleep, my friends over at Joe Blogs Network shared 10 top sleep tips by Dr Lauren Kita with me, so I thought I'd share plus my own suggestions with you. Everything listed below is just from my personal experience, and what works for me might not work for you! If you do have persistent trouble with not getting enough sleep (or even having too much) it can be detrimental to not only your physical health but your emotional and mental health too, so I'd definitely say have a chat with your doctor. Here's my personal guide to a good night's sleep:

The Glasgow Girl Bosses

“You combine hard work, creativity, and self-determination, and things start to happen.” — Sophia Amoruso, CEO of Nasty Gal and author of Girl Boss.

Today's post is a tribute to all the truly inspiring business women I've had the pleasure of meeting in the past 5 years or so. These ladies have taken their passion, talent, and instinctive entrepreneurial skills to the next level. Resulting in very successful businesses doing what they love, for a living. The icing on the cake for me is the fact that all of these gals are Scottish, and their businesses situated right on my doorstep in Glasgow. The locality of this success and getting to see these all star females do so well in their chosen field is ridiculously inspiring, and a constant push and reminder to me that your goals are never too far from reach. You've just gotta go out there and grab them. They encourage me on a daily basis to work hard, dream big, and don't let anything stop you from moving forward towards your goals. They are the epitome of Girl Boss.

Ashley Baxter
 // Girl With A Camera, Insurance By Jack //
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My Holiday Essentials

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The weather in Glasgow at the moment is horribly muggy - so warm but dull, with torrential downpours every second day. Sort it out, eh Scotland! For the last couple of years I have spent summer at home, sprinkled with city breaks throughout the year to make me feel like I've got off my backside and went on some sort of holiday/trip. However this year I've booked a couple of weeks in my Aunty's house in Portugal with Pete. We are jetting off to to a little town in the Algarve called Alvor, in August. I spent a couple of weeks there when I was 20, so it will be nice visiting a place that is sort of familiar.

Now, onto the holiday essentials. I am an absolute nightmare when it comes to shopping and packing for a holiday! I tend to be a binge shopper, doing it all at the very last minute and spending a silly amount of money on the cheapest of bikinis, clothes, shoes and toiletries that I would never in a million years wear or use when I get back home. Or the fact that they've been SO cheap, everything has snapped/broken/turned green by the time I return to the UK. This year I have been determined to put an end to the panic buying, and have started picking up little bits and bobs in preparation for going away. Hopefully come August I'll just need to pop out and buy a few final pieces! Here's what I have picked up for my holiday so far

Happy Hump Day

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Photo by Ashley Baxter 

It's only taken me about 6 years, but I finally got around to making a facebook page for the Little Blog Of Horrors! Can't beat some mid-week productivity. Come over and give it a wee 'like' to keep up to date with me between posts. You can also keep in touch via Twitter and Instagram. Hope you're all having a wonderful week ♥

Thoughts on a quarter life crisis

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Put the kettle on and take a seat, this may take a while.

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Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and thought 'Who the HELL am I?', 'What the fuck am I doing?', and various other notions of life imitating a runaway train that is speeding completely outwith your control? Yeah, I've been feeling a little bit like that lately and today my speeding train seems to have crashed and exploded all the carefully packed cargo out on the tracks for everyone to see. Well, not everyone - probably just myself. I am my own worst critic, and also my own worst nightmare. I'm maybe trying to blame these recent realisations on turning 26 and a quarter life crisis, but in reality it's just the timing of life being good, genuine happiness being experienced and feeling like I know myself more than I ever have before. But with this comes the ugly side of nostalgia. Mixed emotions and looking back to when you thought you were happy, and thought that you knew yourself - and that indefinite fear of 'oh my god how did I ever manage to lie to myself like that'. Looking back on this blog and my life, I can't say that I have never been happy or that I've spent 26 years lying to myself, because that's not true. The people I hung out with, the decisions I made, and the directions I went in must have felt right for me at the time, otherwise I never would have chosen them. It doesn't excuse any shitty behavior or clear mistakes that I've made, but I am not a bad person and I wouldn't do something without having some sort of justification behind it in my head. I see now that bad decisions I made were probably dictated by fear, jealousy, and being too blind to see the wood for the trees. I just feel so awake now, and the most raw, alert and exposed I have ever felt, so it's standard that I am going to look back on aspects of my life and feel like an absolute stranger to myself. I am not a different person as such, but I have grown and changed in a lot of ways. Undoubtably this happens with age and experiences, and I'm completely grateful for all the adversities I've faced in recent years because every single one has taught me a lesson, and contributed to the person that I am right now, sitting at the computer wondering where the hell I am going with this blog post. But bear with me.

Birthday Weekend

Last Thursday I turned the grand old age of 26. To be honest the best birthday present I got was getting to come home early from two weeks in Shetland the day before. I have missed my home comforts, family, friends, the cats and Pete so much. I'll save my Shetland adventures for another post, but for now here's a wee birthday run down (and thanks to everyone for all your love and well wishes on instagram, twitter etc!)
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I was working all day Thursday, which felt like such a shame considering how awesome the weather was. Felt like a mini heatwave when my plane touched down in Glasgow. I had been craving Dominos pizza for weeks (that BBQ base tho) so that's exactly what we had on my birthday eve. Followed by present opening, then I went for a bubble bath and Pete came through mid soak with a giant jammy dodger birthday cake. I have a jammy dodger tattooed on my arm, so this made me smile a lot. Since my birthday was on a week day, and I had work on the Friday too, we extended the celebrations into the weekend. Movies and wine on Friday night, then on Saturday we took a drive over to my Mums so I could catch up with all my family. I ate my body weight in sandwiches and cake, and my Mum bought me a pink hetty hoover! I'm bloody over the moon - I have wanted one forever, but at what age can you really buy yourself a hoover... Oh well, Mammy did the honors for me! Haha.

Getting Naked (finally)


I'm pretty bad for missing out on the hype as soon as they happen. Fancy fashion collaborations, makeup launches, TV shows - you name it! My finger tends to only be on the pulse for the few things I quite like to geek out over, and there's only a handful of events in recent years which I can say I've got myself worked up about or in the queue for early (most notably... Adventure Time X Dr Martens, Katy Perry tour tickets, and new episodes of The Walking Dead) While I am absolutely rubbish at staying 'down with the kids' (I apologise immediately for saying that) I recently got my hands on a product from a few years back that is definitely worth the hype. A classic makeup staple, if you will!

What's happening, Glasgow?

T.G.I.F! First of all I wanted to thank you all for your reaction to my last post. I really appreciate all comments and feedback, and its reassuring to know that I'm not alone in how I feel when it comes to everything I was discussing. On Tuesday I head up to Shetland with work for two weeks, so rather than being sad or anxious about being away from home and the job being quite tough, I'm going to try and put a positive spin on it. I can take all my 'life admin' stuff with me to get sorted, my camera and laptop for blogging, a couple of books, and hopefully on my day off I can go explore some of the island. It will be strange having evenings to myself, and no cats or Pete to entertain! So I guess I'll just need to make the most of it - have lots of bubble baths, paint my nails and indulge in some cheesy shows on Netflix. I'll hopefully be home in time for my 26th birthday, then I'll only have a month of the job left and will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I shared a little bit of my love for Glasgow at the end of the last post. There are so many fun things happening in the city over the coming weeks and months, I thought I'd share a handful of the events I am looking forward to (skipping straight past the Brand New gig the first week in June... which I am now going to miss, sob!)

Sunday Best

I can't remember the last time I titled a blog post with Sunday Best. It makes me nostalgic for my early days of blogging, when this was a very personal diary with not many people reading it, google reader was the way to catch up on blog posts, and blog comments were much more of a regular thing (I mean leaving them as well as receiving them) Blogging has changed so much over the years and in all honestly I've found it really hard to keep up. I love the people I've met and the friends I've made. I love working with some of my favourite brands - and I promise you that I wouldn't do it if I felt like it compromised the heart and soul of this blog. I could never not be true to myself or you guys either. My blog has always been quite a slow burner, and I've come to accept that it will probably continue to be that way. I write what I want and when I can, but I still feel the pressure and comparisons creeping into my brain (of other blogs that started out around the same time as me, but are now massive!) They say you get out what you put in, and I guess that is true. I just feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do, with regular blogging being one of them. My full time job is so hectic that I am considering a change in career once this 5 month TV job is finished. It's just not giving me the routine or lifestyle that I want anymore, which saddens me because I love the core of what I do, but I feel like my life and personal priorities have changed and my job makes me compromise almost every aspect of my life.

I don't quite know what I am trying to say, or if any of that makes sense. I feel like my thoughts right now would take a proper essay in order for me to fully communicate them. I turn 26 next month and something has changed in me, and my priorities are slowly changing (quarter life crisis, alarm bells ringing?!) I'm not the person I was last year, or even 5 years ago when I made a lot of life/career/etc decisions which have brought me to where I am right now. I am the happiest and the most 'me' I have ever felt, so maybe that's why I am itching and craving for change. I know what I like, and I sure as hell know what I don't like. It all seems to be career orientated, so that's where I need to have the biggest brainstorming session once I finish this job. My anxiety also seems to drive a lot of the thoughts and ideas that I have, and I am working carefully to suss out when it's my anxiety talking, and what my inner voice REALLY wants and needs. Some days I will completely pick my life apart and analyze absolutely everything, and then other days I literally just think 'fuck it' - everyone is making it up as they go along at some point eh.

Recently I have been focusing on the mantra 'Not every day is good, but there's something good in every day' - and it works really well when I am feeling deflated, defeated, or generally a bit down in the dumps. You should try it, some days it has helped me stop the very reddest of mists from descending! Here are some things I am grateful for recently:

When fitness is fun

I really envy those of you who actually enjoy going to the gym and fitness classes. They say three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic, and despite being a member of my local gym for over a year now, I wouldn't quite call my frequenting of it a 'habit'... Today I thought I'd share a few sports I've taken part in over the years which are brilliant for burning calories without even realising you are working out. This sort of fitness is the most rewarding for me, when it's fun too and doesn't feel like a chore!

1. Surfing


Sunday cookfest

I love food. Moving into my new house with a massive kitchen has been an absolute godsend when it comes to preparing and cooking meals. I don't get much time during the week to cook big feasts from scratch, but at the weekends I have started to enjoy spending time making nice meals. I'm not the best chef, and don't like being rushed... but I'm getting better (baking will still always be my forte!) A couple of weekends ago Pete and I had a go at a Scandinavian dish from the Transun blog, rather than our normal hungover Dominos order. Here is our attempt at Langoustines with smoked potato puree and soured cream:



For the Barigoule:
50ml Olive Oil
1 Carrot
1 Brown Onion
3 Garlic cloves
2 Bay leaves
2 sprigs Thyme
1 tbsp Fennel seeds
100ml White wine
100ml White wine vinegar
200ml Water
1 Lemon (in halves)
5 Small parsley roots
300g Fennel

Peel the carrot, onion and garlic and chop into smaller pieces. Fry them in the olive oil together with the bay leaves, fennel seeds and thyme for about 3 minutes. Add all the fluids and the halved lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Split the parsley root and fennel lengthwise. Simmer in the broth for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Then allow to cool in the broth.

Smoked potato puree:
300g Potatoes
50g Butter
100g Crème fraiche

Peel the potatoes and boil them gently in salted water until soft. Remove the water and pass the potatoes through a sieve. Add the butter with a spatula and add crème fraiche until you have achieved a smooth and creamy texture. Add salt to taste. Smoke according to instruction.

Langoustine broth:
Shells from the langoustine
300ml of the barigoule liquid
5 red cherry tomatoes

Roast the langoustine shells in the oven for approximately 5 min at 150°. Place in a saucepan with halved tomatoes and strain the Barigoule liquid into the pan. Bring to the boil and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Champagne cream:
200ml Double cream
2 tbsp White wine vinegar
Mix vinegar and double cream, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let steep for 5 minutes, then whisk lightly. Cool until serving.

The other ingredients:
10 Langoustines
100ml Panko
100g Butter
10cm Leek (the white part)
2 tbsp Leek ashes

Shell the langoustines according to instruction, place in fridge. Slice the leek so all guests get one slice each, steam for 5 minutes. Warm leek with parsley root and fennel in the oven with some Barigoule liquid. Bread the backs of langoustines with panko, fry gently in browed butter on the back only. Remove tails from the raw shrimp. Garnish with leek ash over the top.

We followed the recipe in that order to start, but then it included a bit of chopping and changing, looking ahead and keeping an eye on a few different sections at the one time. Unfortunately we didn't manage to make the leek ashes, or have such lovely presentation as the Aveqia chefs do!


Okay, when it comes to presentation I have to laugh because as quite a creative person I could not make this dish look pretty at all! Pete tried one plate and I did the other. Mark and Emma over at Food and Drink Glasgow blog did an absolute stellar job on presenting their dish. I need to learn a few lessons from them for sure. We snapped a few quick photos then got tucked in, and it tasted absolutely divine. The langoustines themselves in the panko breadcrumbs were delicious, and I would definitely make them again along with the potato puree. It was the barigoule that took the most time, and although it tasted amazing it's not the sort of thing you want to start making from scratch when you are starving and feeling impatient. The whole dish took an hour and a half from prep to plating up. I am a big fan of seafood, and although de-shelling the langoustines was time consuming (and ugly, hello little alien prawns) it was totally worth it.

What sort of meals do you like to cook from scratch at home? I want to make more time for cooking, and take it as a relaxing and enjoyable experience rather than a stressful or rushed one. Definitely need to get back into baking again too. I've had the thought of Nutella Cupcakes floating in my brain for months now...


Somewhere in between

It's got to that point in the year for me where I am craving an image refresh in time for Summer. I have been so busy on this 5 month TV gig that I've not really had the chance to look after myself much. My skin has broken out and won't seem to clear up, my hair majorly needs done, and my mind and body are desperate for a holiday! Did I mention my nails are a mess too, and I've put back on all the weight I lost last year? Yeah... this girl needs to get her shit together - putting it politely!


The skin breakout only seems to be on my forehead, and a shame I don't have a fringe to cover it with anymore! I have been using the new Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue recently as to not irritate my face any further. Most days I try to not wear any makeup at all, but when I do I use this as it's light and hydrating with a nice coverage. Definitely perfect for summer! You can still see my blemishes through it but I'm not so fussed as I don't want to overload my skin, even though you can build this up in gradual layers quite nicely for a heavier coverage. Any ideas or nice products you could suggest in zapping these and getting my clear skin back again? I would prefer one angry spot over a rash situation like this. It just doesn't seem to be budging! Most mornings before work I have been favoring an extra 20 mins in bed over a face full of makeup, but when I can be bothered it usually consists of this quick and easy magic 10:


BareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Vanilla 02
Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Moisture Lotion
Estee Lauder Double Wear Mineral Rich Powder in 2.0
Mac eyeshadow quad containing Prized, Burmese Beauty, Skintone 2, Showstopper.
Mac Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare
BareMinerals Stroke Of Light
BareMinerals Lash Domination in Intense Black
Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Glimpse
Mac Lipstickin Bare Again
Clinique blusher in Bashful Plum

I am wearing everything above in the first photo. Special mention to the Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel. I finally bought it the other week and it is such a nice product. Goes on really smoothly and easily, is long lasting, and if it doesn't start to dry up in the jar after a couple of months (which every similar product I've bought in the past has done) then it will receive a strong 10/10 from me!


Now onto my hair. As most of you might know, I had blonde, pink and then blue hair last year. I have given my locks an absolute beating so decided it was time for a break. I went dark brown over the blue as it turned out to be the only safe way to get rid of it, and now you can see how much my natural colour has came in since I used that brown dye.


I have been using these absolute saviors from Bumble and Bumble to prep my hair for it's next dye session after the break I've had. The Creme De Coco Shampoo and Conditioner make my hair feel so clean and moisturised, not to mention they smell absolutely amazing (do you like pina coladas?!) I've only been using these for a couple of weeks, but a little bit goes quite far and it lathers up rather nicely (I am quite a naughty person who washes my hair every day) I am keeping my natural colour as a base for the direction I want to go in, and since taking the photos for this post my Mum had a go at lightening up the ends of my hair at the weekend. It went pretty well and lifted a lot better than what she thought it would! With my hair still being in good condition thankfully. I'll share photos of my new colour soon, I'll probably need one or two more visits to get the result I am looking for. In the meantime I'll keep on using this shampoo and conditioner combo to hopefully maintain healthy hair while I get back on the hair dye wagon.


Apart from work being stressful, and me looking like I have rolled out of a hedge into work every day, life is actually pretty good. I finally changed my room around after showing you the first photos a few posts back! My dust sheet curtain is no longer, and I picked up this teal coloured set from Tesco. I had been eyeing up all the beautiful fabrics from Hillarys Blinds after I was invited to their Craft Roadshow a while ago, but hopefully I can update little aspects of my house when I have more time and money. My boyfriend has just moved in with me too, so we are in the process of having a massive spring clean and shuffling the contents of cupboards and rooms about. I finish this job mid July so we have been looking into a couple of weeks in the sun to celebrate. My ideal location would be somewhere tropical like the Caribbean (hello Barbados!) Majorly jealous over Rosie's amazing honeymoon in Bali right now. My Uncle has just moved to Singapore too, so we were talking about a big holiday like that for next year. I think in August we will end up in the Algarve at my Aunty's flat in Alvor. I can't think of anything better right now than lying on the beach with a good book, swimming in the sea, eating fresh seafood and not having to worry about anything else.

The weeks and weekends are flying in so quickly at the moment, which is great as I only have 3 months left on this job, but also quite scary as I feel like life is flashing before my eyes. I definitely need to factor in some more 'me' time, and look after my body and mind a little better as I have been quite complacent lately. Sticking in at the gym, more sleep, eating well and switching off from 'work mode' when I am spending quality time with friends and family are at the top of my priority list at the moment. I am a happy little lady, I just wish there were more hours in the day to achieve everything I want to do. Or a Bernard's Watch, for those who remember the show? That would do rather nicely right about now.


Thackery Binx, what took thee so long?

Feels like it's been a while since I updated you on the newest member of my household (named after the little boy/black cat from Hocus Pocus, if you could guess by the title of this post...) Binx! If you've followed the story from the start, Binx was a wild cat I rescued last year. He came into mine and Dexters life rather unexpectedly, but has been welcomed with open arms despite how down right crazy he is. My pals over at More Than were asking about some animal stories in their #PawHumour campaign, so I thought it would be a good excuse for Binx to take the spotlight! He is the absolute LOL of my life (I mean, this boy really cracks me up, every single day)


The first photo is Binx today, versus when I brought him home as a tiny baby. He is absolutely huge now, almost as big as Dexter, and his eye colour has changed from blue to green.


Tiny baby vs rather large kitten! I can't believe sometimes that this is the same cat. The vet said judging by the length of his tail (it's a rather bushy one at that) he is going to be a big strong boy!


Some of Binx's favourite hobbies include sitting in bags, playing fetch with his light up bouncy ball, and watching me take a bath. Creepy, huh. He really doesn't have any idea of personal space. Straws are also a firm favourite, and despite giving him a whole bag of his own straws to play with, he will disregard them ALL for the one in your drink. It made my flat party a bit of a nightmare as no ones drinks/straws were safe!


The best thing that Binx does to make me laugh is this sticky out tongue face. I've no idea how it happens, but when it does he just sorta forgets it's out there. The bottom right photo has to be the most kawaii looking picture of him I've ever taken! Not to mention him looking quite like a soot sprite from the Studio Ghibli films...

As far as friendship goes, these two like to act up when I'm home and chase each other about. However a couple of times I have caught them unaware having a wee cuddle on the couch together! Dexter has been a very patient and kind big brother to Binx, who is a crazy ball of energy and extremely feisty. I often forget now because of his size that he is still just a playful kitten. Would love to hear how anyone else reading this has got on, introducing an adult cat to a crazy kitten. My boys are both house cats, and after Dexter's unicorn hair trauma last year I have pet insurance for them both, and a very supportive Vet who I can always rely on for advice. Binx recently got the snip and I was worried, just after what I had been through with Dexter. Of course, in true Binx style the operation was not straightforward and it turned out one of his you know what's were missing! So they had to perform a full operation on him to go find it. Luckily, it was only hiding high up towards his stomach and they were able to remove it safely.


I know this post has been totally kitty related, but if you are a dog owner then it's pretty important to insure your dog or puppy too. If you choose to go with More Than, they are donating £20 to the RSPCA for each policy sold - which will go towards helping unwanted and neglected animals in England and Wales. Up here in Scotland we have the SSPCA, and it would be amazing if More Than decided to work with them one day soon too (hey, we feel all left out over here!) 

I plan on visiting my local Cat and Dog home in Cardonald this week, as my boyfriend has got a load of old blankets and duvet covers he was going to bin after doing a clear out at the weekend. Cat and Dog homes take these sort of 'softs' as donations. I'll be honest, I can't quite remember what they do with them and I keep meaning to ask (I assume they use them in cages and for bedding) I was working on a tv show a few years ago and the prop buyer asked me to drop off a load of blankets to one, and it's something I've always done ever since! So if you have any old duvet covers, blankets or pillow cases then I'm sure your local Cat and Dog home would appreciate you doing the same ♥