spring favourites

I decided to photograph my recent favourites on my windowsill, amongst my little collection of elephants and my little red cactus.

These are all the beauty products I've been finding myself reaching for time and time again lately.

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Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Perfume. I have lusted after this perfume for a very long time, and this past Christmas I was lucky enough to see Santa squeezing down my chimney with it. Since then, every time I put it on,  I fall in love with it a little more. It's dramatic, rich, seductive and heady, and makes me feel like behaving very, very badly. What more could a girl want in a perfume?

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never. I love this. It walks the line between purple and pink, is just blue toned enough to have that teeth whitening effect and works just as nicely as a dramatic day-time lip or a subtle night-time one. I'm a sucker for a matte finish anyway, and these Nars pencils (this is my second, I also have Dragon Girl) have a lovely texture, that's not remotely drying and is super easy to apply. They're not as matte as my Mac Ruby Woo, for example, but they don't come with the drawbacks of being drying and difficult to apply. Winner.

My Mac lipstick in Angel is getting more and more wear as the weather softens into spring. It's the perfect pinky nude and I love the colour of it. It's a Frost finish, but I find it to be very creamy and not remotely shimmery. Oh and apparently it's Kim Kardashian's favourite, and who doesn't want a Kardashian pout? No?

Perched on my Mac lippie is my gorgeous ROX Identity stud ring that you can buy right here! It comes in gold and a very pretty rose gold too. I love this ring, I wear it all the time and find it gets loooads of compliments. It's chunky enough to make a little bit of a statement, but not so much that you're granny's going to be horrified. Mine was a leaving present from my former (*sob*) colleagues who I miss very much and must see more of! 

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On the other side of my cactus, is the rather polarising vanilla scented hand sanitiser from Bath and Body Works in Sugared Vanilla Wish. I bought a few of these in lots of different scents when I was last in America (I miss you Kentucky!) and this has to be my favourite so far. It's really sweet, but there's something about it that smells like holidays. Like suncream or something. Anyway, they're all very strong smelling, which has caused some interesting reactions at work with about an equal measure of people begging me to stop using it as wondering where they can buy it. But it beats Carex any day in my opinion.

This Rimmel BB Cream is great. I have the shade 'very light' and it is actually light enough for my skin tone, yay! It gives much better coverage than I was expecting from a BB Cream and although it's not super matte, it's not remotely shiny which I appreciate given my oily/combination skin. Very easy to apply, I just blend it in with my fingers. It's the perfect product for a manic-mad-rush-morning, i.e. me, every Monday to Friday.

Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaning Spray. Okay, as much as I love clean make-up brushes, actually washing them is a pain in the ass. I rarely bother to do it, okay. It just pains me. There are many other things I would rather do. But then I heard that brush cleaning sprays existed and I knew I had to get one. I just spritz this on my brushes after use (if I'm not having a manic-mad-rush-morning, that is) and bam! they're a little more hygienic for a little longer. It hasn't entirely eliminated the need for make-up brush washing, but it has reduced the urgent need for it and alleviated my guilt for not doing so, almost entirely. YAY.

Soap and Glory's Kick Ass Concealer is my final beauty favourite of recent times, and I have entirely failed to photograph it appropriately for you. Inside you get a two colours of concealer and a mirror, just like your standard compact, and behind the mirror, in a little compartment there's a teeny tiny powder puff and a pale setting powder. This stuff means business. You get a peachy concealer, that's lovely and soft and easy to blend, perfect for combatting blue tones in those bags under your eyes and a much more yellow toned one, that has a thicker consistency. The yellow one is really great for covering redness, and boy, does it stick around. Set everything with the setting powder, and this concealer is not going to budge. It's war paint.

Other things I've been loving lately:

Salon I find myself being fascinated by every article I read on Salon. I've liked them on facebook, and pretty much every article they post, I read.

This advert is beautiful and it will make you cry.

And aaargh, Leandra Medine, I love you.

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Another favourite of recent months, was the weekend I spent in Newcastle with these ladies, and photographer Mhairi. It was the best, wildest, most debauched, hilarious, incredible, ridiculous weekend I have ever had and my little heart is overflowing with joy and love for these ladies. 

Bring on the next one.


life lately

Here's some bits and bobs from my life of late.

In the past few months I've had multiple job changes, two injuries and a dramatic increase in freelance work. I've felt incredibly busy and quite stressed, as well as frustrated at having to stop training for the half marathon, but it's made me appreciate the little things in between, like reading a good book with a good cup of coffee, simple dinners with friends on weeknights, brightly coloured outerwear and how beautiful this damn city is.

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This may be the most saccharine outfit I've ever worn.
Coat from Miss Selfridge, fluffy lilac cropped jumper from Primark and Mary Katrantzou x Topshop floral blouse peeking out at the top there.

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I have yet to read either last month's Elle or Porter magazine. Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, however, I finished. It was bloody good.

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I met my stepdad for a roof top lunch at the amazing Chaophraya on Castle Street one Saturday. That steak was called 'Weeping Tiger' and oh my god, it was delicious.
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The best thing about not having a niche/being remotely specialised in any area whatsoever, when it comes to translation, is that I get to work on lots of different kinds of texts. Last week I got to learn about Giulio Carlo Argan and Helmut Lachenmann. If I could do it full time, I would. 
One day.
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Nicola and I finally got together to make this salad I'd been obsessing over. Sautéed peaches, chicken, chilis and feta in a honey-soy-balsamic dressing. Yum.

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I squeezed in a Sunday macchiato and some Bruce Chatwin time before a caffeinated catch up and some free scones with Jules.
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Birthday girl in her namesake restaurant! An evening filled with good steak, flowing wine, a heady atmosphere and ridiculous dancing.

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Before this mist and rain descended on us in Edinburgh, I was enjoying wearing bright things. 
Coat from Topshop, shirt from Primark, Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Audacious.
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Beautiful, beautiful Edinburgh at sundown.



I know we're all over the #nomakeupselfie now and have moved on to #cockinasock (hellooo) but I've been procrastinating over posting this all week, so dammit I'm still going to do it.

I came home one night and took a bunch of drunken selfies.

Apparently this is what I like to do when I'm too drunk to stay out, too jazzed on jaegerbombs to pass out immediately.

Hair poofed and back combed, smoky panda eyes, gel liner, (remnants of) red lipstick, a hell of a lot of other make-up that either faded off or just didn't show up in my 3am bedroom light, and pouting to high heaven.

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Approximately twelve hours later I got my #nomakeupselfie nomination through.

And I balked.

It was a reaction I wasn't expecting, as I'd spent the past couple of days almost looking forward to getting a nomination, so I could get on that bandwagon and be a part of something which was turning out to be pretty extraordinary. But when the nomination actually came, I kind of backed out. I had an arsenal of excuses, pinched from the various criticisms of the campaign, ranging from how the supposed bravery of going bare faced was not comparable to the bravery required in facing cancer, to the feminist knee jerk of women being able to do much more donation-worthy things that simply not wear make-up. 

Mostly I was just a bit fearful of putting my face out there without my protective layer of my Bobbi Brown longwear and my Naked palette. I mean, considering the state of my face in the selfie above, and all my other selfies, to go to a bare faced one would be quite the change.

But none of those things were the point. 

Although it was a #selfie, the picture had nothing to do with me and my fears or criticisms whatsoever.

It was about joining forces and raising money for a worthwhile cause. And the selfie campaign, although causing some real controversy, raised over £8m in six days, which is pretty incredible.

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Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about selfies in general, and why on earth they seem to upset so many people. Selfies have been voted the most annoying social media habit, and they generate so much attention and criticism that they've been used in both advertising and fundraising campaigns to great success; the kind of success that something less controversial wouldn't have achieved.

But I just don't get it. What's the big deal with selfies?

Sure maybe it's vanity, narcissism, a cry for attention. But, what's wrong with a little vanity now and then? Is it really so bad?

If you read any kind of self-help text, or hear motivational speakers, or read any of those cheesy quotes that have been reblogged a million times on tumblr, there's always a message about loving/respecting/appreciating/believing in yourself, before you'll be able to love someone else or achieve your dreams, or whatever.  And I think selfies are a little part of that. They're a little celebration of yourself and your appearance, which, in a world where we're being pressured to conform to someone else's beauty ideal, I think can be a good thing.

Looking in the mirror and thinking "aw man, I look good today, i'm going to take a selfie" is not a bad thing. You're allowed to think you look nice, and you're allowed to take a picture of you looking nice and post it to your instagram if you want. Well, at least I don't have a problem with that. The only issues arise when you become dependent on the number of likes on your selfies, and start equating that to your self-worth. Your selfie-worth (sorry, couldn't resist). 

Maybe I think this way because I'm a selfie taker, and a selfie poster. But so are 99% of the people I follow, and enjoy following, on instagram.

I like having my IG feed full of people looking good and feeling good enough about themselves to want to take a picture of that moment. I also like the idea of me 'liking' a picture having a positive impact on someone's day, no matter how small. It's nice to be nice after all.

I just don't see the problem with selfies. Or even the problem with a little bit of vanity. If you want to celebrate your appearance, go ahead. It's got nothing to do with anyone else.

Take your selfie for your selfie* :)

/end cheese.



sunday strolling

I love where I live.

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It's very easy to get into a routine after you've been living somewhere for a while. You forget to pay attention to the things that made you want to move there in the first place, like the cobbled streets, the grandeur of the buildings and all the fascinating monuments and beautiful views, that make Edinburgh such an incredible place to live.

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Sometimes it's nice to play tourist in your own town.

On Sunday, Julia and I met up and did just that. We took our cameras out to play and went for a little explore. It was a little bit of a soggy, grey Sunday, but nothing will blow away the remnants of a hangover like a nice dose of fresh air! We started with a little wander around Stockbridge market, which is pretty much a foodie's dream.

There was a beautifully smelling paella stall...

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There's stalls bursting full of local, organic, middle class type products, like these mouth watering pies and the paté, ooh we tried the paté and it was damn good.

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Handmade soaps... Not edible, but they smelled divine.

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Sadly we made the rookie mistake of not coming on an empty stomach, so I didn't get to try Mummy's Chicken. Next time though, I'll come prepared and hungry!

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I have a confession to make. As much as I try, I still don't like olives. Even after sampling some of these, which I was assured by Julia were really good olives, I just don't think they're for me.

I guess I'll never be a pro martini drinker.

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My favourite stall was this one, especially for our furry little poochy friends. Full of all kind of interesting puppy snacks that are healthy for them too, and clearly irresistible.

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This little guy was getting very excited about the doggy donuts. And he was just the perfect height for the table! TOO CUTE.

After our little market amble we popped into Peter's Yard for a coffee and then went for a walk along the water of Leith.

There was a coffee stall at the market, but we quickly decided that Peter's Yard coffee was too good to pass up on, and that it must be full of some kind of 'scandi crack.' Really, it's bloody good. I may have a terrible starbucks habit through the week, but Sundays are for Peter's Yard's ridiculously creamy cappucinos. I don't know how they do it.

Oh no I do, it's the scandi crack.

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Told you we got a coffee.

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It's so nice and peaceful down by the river, so we just wandered along, chatting about our weeks and stopping to take pictures.

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Julia was smarter than I was and wore some sturdy and well loved Hunters, and yet still managed to look chic in her Zara camel coat.

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Well. She was all chic and composed until she started breaking and entering and busting through fences...

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We kept walking and walking, discussing how nice it would be to live right by the river, and have a little balcony for barbecues and sunbathing in the summer, and all of a sudden we ended up here:

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I'm wearing a Topshop coat, Topshop Jamie jeans which OH MY GOD are as good as everyone says, little burgundy Supergas which were not as suitable for traversing muddy pathways as Julia's Hunters, and a distracted expression because I was busy watching this awesome dog going for a dip.

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He was a Golden Doodle. He was enthusiastically and relentlessly retrieving the ball from the river.

I want one.

After we'd had our fill of doggy watching we headed up to the gallery.

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As much as I love galleries, oftentimes I'm left a little stumped by modern art. See Dublin. I mean I like that it's challenging and it makes you think, but a lot of the time I just do not get it.

The current exhibit on at the National Gallery however, is different.

They're showing Louise Bourgeois: A Woman Without Secrets and it's fantastic. You really get a sense of who she was as a person, which I think was aided by the fact that a lot of the descriptions of the works featured quite a lot of text from Bourgeois herself, so there was little ambiguity about what each piece 'meant' or was inspired by.

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There was lots about human anxieties and emotions, sexuality and gender issues (which if you've read my last post you'll know is right up my street!), mothering and nurturing. Although a lot of it on first glance looked mental, after a little reading and some contemplation it all started to make (some) sense.

We left wanting to know more not just about Louise Bourgeois and her art, but who she was as a person too.

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After we'd had our fill of art for the day, we strolled back home for some cake and some tea. It was the perfect Sunday!

Can't wait for the next one!