Wednesday, 28 March 2018

COLOURFUL KITCHEN IDEAS

It's been two and a bit years since I bought my lovely little flat, and I've only just got round to fixing up my kitchen. I was so good when I moved in! I spent hours painting and transforming each room - the bathroom had to be completely rebuilt from scratch (so depressing, but so worth it), I had to paint over intense lime green walls to create a calm, neutral bedroom, maths was needed to get the candy cane striped wall in my study just right, and the living room was pretty much pain-free but still took an age to paint.

The one room I just hadn't touched was my kitchen, which wasn't AWFUL, but it definitely wasn't great. It had off-white walls (that needed painting), off-beige vinyl flooring (that looked grubby constantly), and blue, but-not-nice-blue-more-denim-blue, cabinet doors. And that's how I left it. For two years!

But I've finally worked up the courage to tackle it (on the world's smallest kitchen budget), and here's what I'm thinking...

Colourful quirky bright kitchen ideas
Kitchens: Pinterest
I know they're all over pinterest, but I'm pretty bored of white kitchens. I want something colourful! I'm lucky that my flat get loads of light so it can pull off having colours in each room, without it feeling too busy... or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

I love the idea of bright cabinet doors, against a bright, white room - I've already painted the walls white (whyyy did I not do this years ago?), and have had fun photoshopping different colours onto the existing cabinet doors to see what might work. I'm pretty obsessed with those red cabinets (and it's nice to see a red kitchen that isn't boring grown up dull red), but that geometric bench is also super cute!

Colourful quirky bright kitchen ideas
Kitchens: Pinterest
The other big kitchen update that's happened so far is that the grim flesh-coloured floor is gone! It's been replaced by a fun black and white vinyl floor (which was only £40 from Online Carpets!). Next I've got to change the cabinet doors, mayyybe extend the worktop so it runs the full length of the kitchen, and then the fun bits start. Plants! Shelves! Anthropologie's entire kitchen collection! (Ahem, I can but dream).

So wish me luck on my budget kitchen! I'll keep you updated on how it develops (which, hopefully, won't take another two years...).

Monday, 12 March 2018

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Last week was a challenging week. I generally manage to stay pretty zen about the stresses in my life, and I try pretty hard to not obsess or dwell on stuff that gets me down, but I've been totally rubbish at that lately. Work suddenly stepped up a notch and is Busy and Hard, and I'm feeling the pressure of the millions of things I've got to get done before the next Festival rolls around. Aah!

So here's an effort to remember that life doesn't just revolve around work, and there's lots of nice things to be happy about! I remember reading about how making a note of things you were grateful for actually contributed to feeling better in your life, and that's what my happy thoughts series is all about.

These are three of the things that are cheering me up right now...

1. Riley

Riley cat is coming to visit!

If you're a long-time reader you might recognise this furry face - he's my very lovely, fluffy cat, who due to life-happenings, now lives with my ex's parents. For the last few years I've been Riley's holiday home, and it is such a treat to get to hang out with him (even if he covers my flat in cat hairs). Riley's here for the next week and I am so excited for purring cat times!

2. Stardew Valley

Help me, I am OBSESSED. My very nice boyfriend downloaded Stardew Valley for me (which has resulted in me taking ownership of his Switch) and honestly it is the only thing I want to do with my time. I only want to tend my tiny adorable farm, and look after adorable animals, and harvest adorable crops. When I'm not playing it, I'm reading the Stardew Valley reddit, or thinking about my planting strategy.

I am a 32 year old woman! This is not how I thought actual grown ups behaved! But I don't care, it's so much fun, and if you ever enjoyed Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing or SimFarm, you have to give it a go.

3. Queer Eye

If you haven't watched Queer Eye on Netflix yet, girrrrrl what are you doing with your life? I was not prepared for the pure emotion of this show - it's taken all the fun of a makeover show, but added amazing emotional depth and maturity and PURE JOY. It's a spin off from the original show, but this time they battle toxic masculinity and encourage positive self-reflection, and it's so pure and joyful and emotional - I was sobbing in the first 20 minutes of the first episode. It's so good!

I was delighted to discover that Jonathan, the show's groomer and definitely the best one, also has a podcast: Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. He's just a lovely person to listen too, and I am super into the variety of really interesting subjects he covers - he's got pirates! AI! Politics! Gender identity! Fashion! Sort-of everything! And it's earnest and funny and interesting.

So, it's a new week. I'm going to put my energy into the nice moments, and do my best to not over-analyse or dwell on the stressy stuff (and if I do, I'll just rewatch Queer Eye until I have some perspective and feel better again!).

Monday, 5 March 2018

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Have you remembered it's Mother's Day this Sunday? March 11th for everyone in the UK! If you haven't, don't panic - there's still a week to get something ordered and pretend you were prepared all along.

I'm lucky in that my mum (who I very much hope isn't reading this post and seeing all my present secrets!) is pretty easy to shop for. She's always delighted when she gets flowers, doesn't seem to mind when I gift her endless candles (which in my opinion, you really cannot go wrong with), but she's also into more quirky styles and gifts, which means picking presents for her is really fun (and I can pretend that I'm shopping for me).

Here's a few mum-friendly gifts that caught my eye, and will hopefully inspire you if you're a little bit stuck!

quirky mother's day gift guide

Top row

Middle row

Bottom row

Monday, 26 February 2018

HELLO PIXIE CUT

Oh hi. I cut all my hair off.

I've been gradually going shorter and shorter over the last year or so, but I've never been this short. It's SHORT-short. Don't have to brush or dry my hair short. Shorter than a guy's haircut short! And it's GREAT. I'm now 100% a pixie cut aficionado, and I can't quite believe it's taken me so long to join the short hair crew.

Here's what I've learned in my month since getting the chop...

pros cons pixie hair cut

Do your research! Deciding to cut my hair was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I did make sure I did my Pinterest research and went to the hairdresser armed with photos of what I loved, and what I didn't. I am very lucky to have an ACE hairdresser who kept me right (the brilliant Linden from Dean Jones Hair), but it definitely helped to know what my hair boundaries were.

Not having to dry your hair is the BEST. Oh my god, I cannot state how strongly I despised drying my hair before, and how glorious it is to not have to do it now. These days I just wash and towel dry my hair and that's it! It's saved easily 30 minutes off my routine every day and it's SO EASY to look after.

I don't care if I look like a boy. One of the weirdest comments I got was 'oh, you'll need to wear make up everyday'. Um, okay. I saw this online too, with loads of people worrying that you'd lose your feminine qualities if you chop your hair off. To that I say, WHATEVER. I don't need a mane to feel like a woman, and I don't actually care if I look like a tomboy. It's been really refreshing to realise this!

Everyone will ask you why. This threw me. I had known I wanted to change up my long-ish bob, figured why not?, and then a couple of days later got it cut. But almost eveeeeeryone asked why I did it, and I didn't have an answer other than - I wanted to?

pros cons pixie hair cut

Phantom ponytails are a thing. I got my hair cut weeks ago and WITHOUT FAIL every night I go to take it out of a ponytail. I also still go to put it up if I'm about to go in the shower, and one particularly stressful board games evening (ahem), I found myself trying to tighten my ponytail in concentration. It's a bit of a surreal feeling!

I'm in total denial about growing it out. Everyone's agreed that growing out a pixie cut is HORRENDOUS. But I kind of feel optimistic? It can't be that bad, right? Plus, that's in the future! It's ages away! Ask me again in a year or two...

It's just hair. At the end of the day, there's only two things you can count on - change is the only constant and hair grows! If you're swithering over a pixie cut but worry that it won't suit you, does it really matter if it doesn't? Your hair will grow and at least you've tried something new.

Did I say it's the BEST? It really is. You should definitely cut your hair.

Monday, 19 February 2018

10 THINGS TO DO AT THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL

If you've read this blog for a while, you'll know I'm a big fan of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, who have just announced their 2018 programme - marking 30 years of EISF (and 2 years since I left the sci fest tribe!).

Themed this year around Life, the Universe and Everything (with a nice nod to Douglas Adams), the Festival will transform the city into a celebration of science and technology with talks, experiments, exhibitions, parties, activities and events to entertain and educate all ages. This year they're looking at where we've come from, where we're going, and how science is going to save the world, and as usual the programme is packed full of fun, creative experiences (as well as more of the serious talks and lectures you might expect from a science festival).

There's loads to choose from, but I've picked out my favourite events to point you in the right direction. Bring on the sci-fun!

What's on at Edinburgh International Science Festival 2018
Jason Hackenworth - Existence: Life and Beyond 

1. Science Festival Lates Sci Fest's Opening Party takes over their family venue, adds in some bars, and let's you get hands on with slime, surgery, space and psychology. It is so much fun, and this year it promises some extra 80s-themed fun to celebrate the Festival's 30 years!

2. NASA's Newest Recruit I secretly want to be an astronaut, so sign me up! The very funny Marcus Chown chats space jobs - want to be a Moon miner? A galactic architect? An alien cultural exchange officer?

3. A Panel of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones meets science and tech, in this chat about how the worlds of science and fantasy collide, hosted by comedian and author Helen Keen.

4. Dreading Friday the 13th  Taking place (of course) on Friday 13th, this event takes you on a journey through the psychology behind superstition... is it harmless? Can it help you? Science will explain!

5. Cheeseology 3.0 Back to the Festival for a third year (as everyone bloody loves cheese), this night teaches you about cheese as you eat cheese, giving you a win/win of leaving both smart AND satiated.

6. Existence: Life and Beyond Taking over the National Museum of Scotland's beautiful Grand Gallery, this free interactive exhibition will look back at the origins of life on Earth, and forward to the horizons of what life could be in the future. It'll also feature a new MASSIVE balloon sculpture by artist Jason Hackenwerth, who was last at the Festival with Pisces in 2013 (pictured above). I'm so excited to see what he'll make!

7. Frankenstein's Legacy: Who Are You Calling Monster? This year marks the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, and three writers from Scottish Book Trust's New Writers Awards programme have been commissioned to create new stories and poems inspired by this iconic book. These writers will read their own takes, and chat about the role of science and technology in creating and controlling life (which seems pretty important now they are cloning monkeys and teaching scary robots to open doors!).

8. Baking in Space Baking and engineering combine, in this event with Andrew from the Great British Bake Off (!!!!), who just happens to be an aerospace engineer as well as an adorable baker, and scientists and guests from the European Space Agency.

9. Get Your Hands Off Me You Damned Dirty Alien! More space! Aliens! Ethical dilemmas! A gang of astrobiologists, theologists, philosophers and theorists debate how our world will change in the (ever-increasing) likelihood we meet alien life.

10. The Lab of the Ludicrous Part stand-up comedy, part journal club, and part science project, this night leads you through some of the strangest science studies ever conducted.

Edinburgh International Science Festival runs 31st March - 15th April, and you can browse their full programme here.
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