Tuesday, 11 August 2015

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL TIPS

It's the most wonderful time of year (assuming you are in or near Edinburgh, like being entertained, and agree more with this article than this one!). The Edinburgh Fringe has rolled back into town, bringing over 3,000 shows with it, and Scotland's capital is heaving with tourists and comics and theatre kids who still haven't been battered down by four weeks of flyering. It's brilliant!

It can also be pretty overwhelming if you're not quite sure where to go or what to see, and sometimes it feels like too much of a headache to think about. To help, I wrote a fringe do's and don't's post a few years ago, and I thought I'd update it for 2015.

Here's my top ten tips for surviving this year's festivals...

The Royal Mile, photo by Chris Scott
1. Walk down the Royal Mile 
Yes, it's FULL OF TOURISTS. And yes, you will want to kill them for suddenly stopping in front of you, and bashing you with their massive backpack. But it's also packed full of (free!) street performances from circus types to living statues to pop up musical theatre. You are almost guaranteed to see someone swallowing a sword, and sometimes you'll find a flyerer with some free tickets to give away. The Royal Mile is also lined with pubs, so you can escape from the masses if it all gets too much!

2. Read reviews
The List's top-rated page is REALLY useful, as they aggregate all of the main reviewers, so you can easily spot who is rising to the top. Take reviews with a pinch of salt though, and don't let them put you off something you like the look or sound of - a quick look at FringePig (a site that reviews the reviewers) shows you they aren't all to be trusted!

3. Be prepared to see terrible things
The fringe isn't the fringe unless you've cringed the entire way through a one star show. It's always good to take a chance on someone or something you haven't heard of before - they might be the next big thing! And if they are awful, then it probably wasn't expensive, and you'll have a good fringe horror story for the pub.

4. Stay out late!
During the festival Edinburgh's partying hours extend until 5am, and there's loads of shows on to keep you going until the very, very small hours. Late n Live is Gilded Balloon's infamous original late night show and it's just so much fun! It starts at 1am and the line up changes each night. Underbelly have their own party night, Spank, which starts at midnight in the Cowgate.

Hendrick's Emporium of Sensorial Submersion
5. Find a hidden bar
It's fun to hang out in the festival beer gardens, but sometimes the crowds get too much! Luckily there's a secret spot for curious types. This year Hendrick's (of the excellent, cucumber-infused gin) have taken over an empty building on 91 George Street, packing it with curious oddities, synaesthetic diversions, and a mysterious and scientific trip through the world of gin. You can either chill out in their bar (which feels like you've snuck into an eccentric gentleman's townhouse), or book into their Emporium of Sensorial Submersion - a two hour experience of cocktails, peculiar performances, sound and taste!

6. Visit the Book Festival 
I love love love the Book Festival. It's held in the most gorgeous garden in Edinburgh, is the most perfect place to be on a sunny afternoon, and they have millions of really excellent authors each year. For the last few years they've also been running Jura Unbound, a free and super sociable event with world-play, music, drinks and surprises. This runs every evening from 16 - 31 August at 9pm, and each night promises something different.

7. Prepare for terrible weather
If you assume that it's going to rain constantly, it means you'll never be disappointed and you'll be SO DELIGHTED if the sun actually does come out. That's how Scots think, and it makes life so much easier. Even if it's sunny and bright in the morning, that doesn't mean it won't thunderstorm later that day. Keep a raincoat or something with a hood handy at all times, and avoid umbrellas - Scotland is windy and you'll poke someone's eye out on the Royal Mile!


8. Eat a good breakfast
If you're spending your day running between shows, it's hard to find the time to eat something for dinner that isn't just a burger! Instead, breakfast like a king, and carb load in the morning to keep you going. I've already written about my favourite Edinburgh breakfasts - featuring the best poached eggs in town.

9. Escape to Leith!
Yeah, it's the world's biggest arts festival, and yeah yeah, culture. Sometimes you need a break, and Leith is an easy place to escape to, just jump on a bus for twenty minutes and head for the Shore. I'm biased, cause this is my neck of the woods, but the Shore is lovely. There's a big park, a woodland walk along the Water of Leith, nice cafes and restaurants and bars. Plus, even on a sunny Friday, it's still going to be millions of times quieter than George Square.

10. Remember the fireworks
Marking the end of the Edinburgh International Festival, the annual fireworks concert combines the playing of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with a display specially choreographed to the music. The concert is held in Princes St Gardens, but you can get a great view from most places in town.

Have fun, and remember that sleep's for September!

Monday, 10 August 2015

JULY CATCH UP

I do this every year, I'm a bit of a baddie. As soon as the summer rolls round, I abandon any attempt to stick to my blogging schedule, and shelve my laptop for a few weeks. I've been a bit distracted with work and life lately (more on this soon!), so it's been nice to get some headspace and not fret about any upcoming features!

Now I'm back, I'm feeling a bit creative again, and I've been writing my monthly catch up posts for so long now, I couldn't let one slip!

So, yes yes yes, I know it's basically halfway through August already, but here's what I got up to in July.

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. As soon as I returned from Croatia (which I will blog about very soon!), I had to speedily repack my bags and head west to Kelburn Garden Party. The Garden Party is a music, art and theatre festival set in the beautiful grounds of Kelburn Castle - Scotland's famous graffitied castle (isn't it beautiful?).

2. Apart from a torrential downpour on the festival's first night, we were lucky to have lots of sunshine and beautiful weather. The Castle is nestled next to the most beautiful glen, which had pop-up installations and sculpture threaded throughout, plus a little cave packed with blankets and beanbags. So perfect!

3. I've decided from now on I'm going to conquer all holiday blues by just immediately going on holiday again days after I return (ha, I wish!). Thanks Kelburn, you were ace!

4. My new favourite hobby is cooing over Soba, who remains as cute (and as grumpy) as ever. I think he's getting fat, but I can't tell, does that make me a bad hedgehog owner? Eep!

5. July was made up of long mornings and lazy breakfasts, in an attempt to get some rest before the madness of August started. This was one of my favourites: Joshua made me a breakfast in miniature, with quails eggs, tiny bacon, mini aubergine slices, tiny button mushrooms, and mini potatoes (made with a melon baller). It took him AGES (and was eaten very quickly), but was so sweet!

6. I dress pretty regularly like a five year old these days, so I couldn't pass up this jumper from H&M. Guttingly, it has just shrunk in the wash (making it appropriately sized for an actual five year old), and I'm weighing up whether it's worth buying again. Is that too insane?

7. I am a fan of subway tiles, and little hipster coffee shops, and bunches of wild flowers. This cafe in Stockbridge has all three!

8. I know it's a bit weird to take a selfie with a hedgehog, but Soba was looking cute, and I was having a good hair day! I was also dressed like I'd just come out of the 90s, wearing a strappy dress over a t-shirt. That's cool, right?

9. One of the perks of my job - I went out for dinner with the British Council, at a super fancy hotel in Edinburgh. A few glasses of wine in, I was seriously impressed with the gold-embossed pudding with a mini palace on it, SO cute.

10. A new farmers market has opened up round the corner from my flat, which means there's lots of interesting food stalls to go to each week... so much nicer than tesco! After my mini breakfast I was quite partial to more quails eggs - look how tiny they are!

11. It was a beautiful sunny day in Edinburgh, so Joshua and I went on a massive cycle. On our adventure we passed a big skateboard tournament and a biker's festival in an industrial state (which included a massive motorbike in the air? It was all a bit mad!). I've been watching loads of Sons of Anarchy recently, so it was cool to stumble across it, although we didn't stay for long.

12. August began with sunshine and pints with the loveliest of friends (and the cheekiest of dogs). Now we're over a week into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and I am already totally knackered and in serious need of salad. Bring on the rest of the month!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

OUTFIT: KIMONOS & CURLS

Alright, I know that jeans are in no way an exciting outfit, but I liked what I wore to work and I wanted to share it! This was from a muggy cloudy day - while the rest of the UK was whining about a heatwave, Scotland was cloudy and filled with thunderstorms.

Kimono - New Look
Vest top - H&M
Jeans - Topshop
Shoes - New Look
Satchel - The Leather Satchel Co

I bought this kimono from New Look back in March when I was feeling enthusiastic about summer, but I've only just gotten round to wearing it. It's really light and floaty, so it's perfect for hot weather when paired with a vest top.

I try to dress a little smarter if I have client meetings (so I'll wear a dress, rather than jeans), but for a day spent in the office, this is a pretty perfect comfy combination.

 

I've also been living in these shoes since I bought them, and they are now so beat up, I'll probably have to bin them soon (sob!). They are the world's comfiest loafers, go with almost anything, and have a nice pointed toe, so even though they are now a bit scruffy, they still feel a little fancy.

Sunglasses - Forever 21
Necklace - H&M


Since I returned from holiday I've been curling my hair pretty regularly in an attempt to recreate sea hair (my hair always curls amazingly in the ocean, it's like magic!). It's a bit of a faff to use a curling iron all the time though, so I'm experimenting with some sea salt spray - I'll let you know how I get on!

I'm also quite obsessed with statement necklaces at the moment, and I really love this plaited one I bought from H&M (who have the loveliest things in right now). Annoyingly though, because I'm a sucker for cheap jewellery, I always face the problem where the colour rubs off and then my neck goes green. Aargh!

Monday, 6 July 2015

HOW TO: GRUNGEY MAKEUP

It's fun to play around with makeup. After years and years of doing the same thing with my makeup (liquid eyeliner and a fairly dramatic cat's eye) I shook off my eyeliner addiction, and have just had fun doing what I want, when I feel like it.

Usually I go for a fairly natural look (mainly because it's quick and easy), but I recently had an excuse to do really dark, grungey makeup and I loved it.


I thought it would be fun to do another makeup tutorial and show you how I did it. It's pretty easy, and most of what you'll need is probably in your makeup bag already. 


I used my favourite makeup palette (can you tell? Sorry it's so obviously used and not picture-perfect clean!). This is a Sleek Makeup palette and I love love love it, their palettes are only £7.99, have beautiful shades and are really long-lasting too.


To start, I just went through my normal makeup routine - filled in my eyebrows, used primer and foundation (which looks a bit yellow in these photos, but it was just the weird evening light when I was taking these shots!), and added a little cream blusher.

You then want to start on your smokey eyes. Use a little gold pink eyeshadow across your whole eyelid, then add a dark purple colour over the lid, using the gold pink shadow to blend it all nicely at the crease. This is a bit easier if you have actual eyeshadow brushes - I didn't, so I just used a few of these sponge applicators instead. 


Build the purple shadow to the colour you want (think grungey and dark), and then add a line of that eyeshadow to your lower lash line.

To make your smokey eye super dark, get a bit of black eyeshadow and add this to your eyelid, close to your lash line. Blend the join between the black and purple shadows. 


Then add black liquid eyeliner on your top lashes, line your waterline with a kohl eyeliner pencil, and add mascara. And that's it!

Friday, 3 July 2015

WINDOWSILL GARDENING

One of the things I was proudest of in my old house was my garden - in just over a year I turned a blank plot into a colourful place filled with flowers, vegetables, trees, and loads of happy birds, butterflies and bumblebees. It was hard giving up that space (and I still occasionally wonder how my garden is doing, I hope the new owners treat it well!), but I've tried to bring as much plant life as I can into my little flat.

Mini ceramic pots - Anthropologie
Wooden house - Tiger
Fox skull - Emporium Galorium
I have a bit of an obsession with cacti and succulents - probably because they are so easy to look after, and only need watering every once in a while. If you don't consider yourself green-fingered, then succulents are absolutely the way to go!

All of these plants are from Ikea, who have an amazing and affordable succulent selection. I've got them dotted around my flat on a couple of windowsills and on my desk.

Dinosaur planter - Tutorial
Cacti painting - by Joshi!
My kitchen windowsill is really broad and gets loads of light in the morning, so it's the perfect place for most of my plants, I just need to remember to water them frequently as it gets so much sunshine! I've got loads of herbs in the kitchen (parsley, basil and rosemary are doing well), a baby tomato plant, and a couple more succulents (obsessed).


My bedroom also has deep windowsills (I love this flat), which means I've got a mini garden set up there too - even though watering can be a bit of a faff, plants make me so happy!

This is a flowering plant (a callie purple, I think), which was sent to me from the kind folk at Set Your World on Flowers, who are selling their flowering plants exclusively in Waitrose stores across the UK. They specialise in growing high quality plants that have loads of blooms and are guaranteed to last - so perfect, for lazy flat gardeners. I was sent a few plants a month ago, and they are all looking very happy (you can see the other one on my kitchen windowsill above) - I love that they are adding a bit of colour to all of my greenery.


If you don't have much shelf space, hang things instead! I made this hanging planter using a tutorial I found on pinterest, and strung up a glass bauble that I got in a charity shop. Ivy is now growing, and should look lovely, when it's a little longer, and starts trailing down the window.

Vase - Ikea
Aaaand finally, more cacti (I'm sorry, I can't help myself). This is a little terrarium that I made a couple of years ago, and the plants inside are all going strong - look how happy the cactus is, it's about to flower! These are so easy to make, all you need is a container, some soil and some sand, and a couple of rocks to scatter about. Then you just need to sprinkle them with a little bit of water every now and again, and you can't go wrong!
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