Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pink aztec nails


These nails were fun!

I painted a light pink base and painted a fairly thick white stripe over the middle of each nail. Once that dried I used a black nail art pen to do the details (worryingly I think my beloved crayola nail art pen is dying - sob. If you see one for sale in the UK please tell me!). Then I used a white nail pen to double up the top zig-zag on the thumb & ring finger.

I have another aztec nail art tutorial here if that doesn't make sense!

It's been a bit of a manic week so far - I've just got over a horrendous cold (go away colds, I hate you), and am off to the Scottish Magazine awards tonight. So excited! My team are nominated... cross your fingers for us please!
Monday, 28 November 2011

November instagram

How is it almost December already? This year is flying by at a slightly terrifying rate. But it's okay! Fun things have been happening.


1.  We bought a house! Or have reserved one, at least, while we wait on mortgage paperwork & what not to go through! But OH MY GOD, HELLO HOUSE. It has a GARDEN. & is probably the most exciting thing I've ever bought. I have seriously read so much about houses and mortgages and legal things that I am considering doing a "how to be a first time buyer" post (watch this space).

2. Learning how to play the piano (with help from youtube!). Currently my ability only covers lost theme songs (ha, sorry neighbours), but I am going to learn some festive songs this year! Riley is obsessed with the piano and will happily lie on top of it gazing lovingly while I play. Super cute.

3. This was a good breakfast day.

4. I love this. It sits around the corner from my work (just off Edinburgh's Royal Mile) and is just so weird but brilliant.

5. Reading my nanowrimo draft on Craig's kindle. I've been horrendous at nanowrimo this year because house-hunting & buying has taken over every spare evening and weekend. I do love my story though - am determined to keep writing past November this year!

6. Super short slightly stripey nails.

7. My business cards from Moo arrived and I love them! I will post about them in more detail soon, as they are beautiful.

8. An exciting part of getting a house is planning what to actually put into it (so be warned, the number of home posts will probably jump up!). We are definitely turning one of the rooms into a library and I love this one - love the colours, love the sofa, love the pug!
Friday, 25 November 2011

Animal Crossing birthday cake

Do you like cake? Do you like video games? Say hello to this then....

HELLO.

Isn't it beautiful? It's from the incredible Gourmet Gaming - a website dedicated to replicating food featured in video games by creating recipes in real life (how amazing and creative is that?). It's not just cake either.. there's an amazing mix of food including a Sonic chili dog, Legend of Zelda soup (this looks amazing), Sims mac and cheese and more!

Luckily for me Dani (the girl behind the site) is currently doing some design work at The List, so I was able to twist her arm and share this recipe for her Animal Crossing: Wild World birthday cake!

 

What you will need:
2 mixing bowls, hand whisk, a sieve, three 8-inch cake tins, baking paper and an icing bag/pipe.

For the Cake:
  • 4 Eggs (Separated and  at room temperature)
  • 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 400g Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 227g Butter (at room temperature)
  • 450g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 200ml Milk
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
For the Pink Coconut Icing:
  • 500g Cream Cheese
  • 200g Butter
  • 50ml Natural Yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 270g Icing Sugar (approx.)
  • Few Drops Red Food Colouring
To Garnish:
  • 6 Strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Flakes
  • 4 Green Candles
This is what we are aiming for. 


Make your cake! 
Grease your cake pans, line with baking paper and preheat your oven to 175 degrees C.

In a mixing bowl beat together the butter and 350g of the sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Now add the 4 egg yolks (one at a time), followed by the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, mix together, then slowly add the milk.

In a separate bowl add the egg whites and whisk until fluffy (Juliet note - make sure bowls are SPOTLESS before you try to whisk egg whites, or you'll have problems!). Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until peaks form. Gradually add the remaning 100g of sugar until the peaks stiffen. Then gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture, and pour evenly into cake tins. Bake for around 25 minutes.

When the cake is baked (do the stabby/prodding tests to make sure), leave to cool then pop in fridge while you prepare the frosting.

Make your icing!
Beat the butter (poor butter) in a bowl until light, then add the yoghurt and vanilla. Gently stir in the cream cheese, being careful not to over mix (this will thin the frosting and make it runny). Gradually add the icing sugar bit by bit, adding more as you need it (to thicken or sweeten the icing). Then add the red food colouring and put it in the fridge to chill.

Construct your cake! 
Aim for flat and smooth cake layers (even out with a knife very carefully if needed). Ice the bottom layer, being careful not to go over the edges, place the next layer on top and continue this until you have a stack of three layers.

Set aside 3 tablespoons of icing and cover the cake in the remaining icing - this does not have to be neat. Now place the strawberries (with stalks trimmed) pointed end up evenly around the cake. Put the last bits of icing into an icing bag/pipe, using a large nozzle, pipe drops of icing between each of the strawberries around the cake. Garnish with the green candles and a sprinkling of coconut.


Tada!

Dani's instructions are so detailed it puts my recipes to shame (ha) but I can't wait to try this out!

I was absolutely addicted to Animal Crossing a little while ago - I'd definitely recommend it if you like quirky games (particularly if you happen to enjoy collecting fruit & fishing, & hanging out with grumpy foxes. It is cooler than this sounds).

Hope you enjoyed!
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Pure spa

 
 
Excitingly last week I was invited to go to a bloggers night at Pure Spa. I've walked past the salon LOADS (as it's on Lothian Road, just round the corner from Craig's work actually!) but have never been in. I love discovering a new wee place- especially when you find out that it's pretty huge inside (the joys of Edinburgh buildings!).

There were also lovely looking cupcakes!

After coming in (flustered from a power walk straight from work!) I was very kindly given a complimentary manicure, with a minx nail wrap on my ring finger. I am the scruffiest nail painter ever, so it was a total treat to have a professional doing it! I went for a bit of a radge colourful design but it looked lovely against the rest of my black nails (they used Spa Ritual nail varnish - lovely and glossy AND vegan!).


Then one of the girls from Paterson SA curled my hair using ghds, and taught me how to pin my hair up in a loose, curly side chignon. It was SO beautiful! & she made it really easy - explaining how to do each step bit by bit so you could easily tweak your design if needed. I'm going to try this myself soon and hopefully post a step by step tutorial.

Sorry for the knackered photo, I wish I had taken a better one - this doesn't do it justice! 

It was a lovely night - I (shyly) said hello to a few bloggers I've followed for ages now, and it was a perfect end to a day that had been full of mortgage and bank chat (buying a house is FULL ON!). Thanks to Rach for setting it up & to everyone at Pure Spa (& Paterson SA)!

They have a list of special offers here - including Christmas discounts, girls night out packages & a 2 for 1 pamper package (I need to find someone to do this with me!). The weather is about to get horrible (probably) so you might as well be all pampered & relaxed when you face the endless rain...
Monday, 21 November 2011

Movember

Tis the season for boys with mustaches. You've probably seen them walking around... looking a little dubious, with their newly grown facial hair. You might know one. I live with one. 

Hi Craig! 

Movember runs across the world each year to raise funds and awareness for men's health (specifically prostate & other men-affecting cancers). Guys who take part (aka mo bro's) have a month to grow a mustache and raise sponsorship for Movember (through admiration, amusement or, er, pity of their mustache growing attempts).

So, if you know a fundraising hairy man, sponsor him! & if not, perhaps you could sponsor mine instead? (particularly if you liked his blog guest post!).  Just click here if you are feeling generous.

Raising money for charity is cool and good and totally lets you justify you buying yourself christmas coffees from Starbucks multiple times a week (or at least that's what I tell myself...).
Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas shopping: gifts for guys

 Hi! So hopefully you've all seen my first Christmas gift guide (and found it fairly useful!). To follow on I thought it would be fun to get a different perspective on gift ideas, and roped my (ever patient and helpful) boyfriend into writing something! Enjoy....


Hi I'm Craig, I am 30 years of age and I enjoy music and fun.

Juliet wanted to get some Y chromosome perspective on gifts for those difficult-to-shop-for gentlemen in your lives. As a gentleman of refined taste myself, I was happy to help. While I can't guarantee that all men everywhere will like this stuff, I can definitely confirm that none of it would be unwanted should it end up in my stocking.

Jah bless!

IF YOU HAVE.... 

£10 to spend


1. Han Solo in carbonite! This silicon mould is in the shape of Han Solo as trapped in carbonite, and can be used to make Han-shaped ice cubes, chocolate bars, or whatever else you can come up with. £9.99

2. Tasty beer! Brewdog are moving from their boutique brewery roots to gradually taking over the world. Find out why with a bottle of tasty 18.2% stout, a great gift for any beer-loving gentleman (or lady). £9.99 Also available, personalised bottles here – worth a look.

3. Bike SpokeLit. This light attaches to the spokes of a bicycle wheel, and dramatically increases visibility from the side. The main thing however is – it looks super cool! £7.99

4. Moustache Hip Flask. Hip flasks are practical. Moustaches are stylish. It follows then, that this hip flask is both practical and stylish! £12


£25 to spend


1. Leatherman 'Style' multi tool.  Leatherman make the best and hardiest multi-tools, as is well known by all men. This is their teeny-tiny handy key-chain multi tool, ideal for all manner of unexpected man/tool/object interactions. £23

2. I like Pandas, and I also enjoy parties. If you know someone who also likes this fantastic combination, then this might be the t-shirt for them. £21.99

3. Help save wild animals with the WWF! Get a plush toy, sponsor an endangered animal. If your boyfriend likes animals, then he'll like this. If he doesn't, you might want to reconsider him being your boyfriend (OH SNAP!) £19.99

4. Home brewing starter kit. This kit contains everything you need to make your own lager (except sugar, I believe). 40 pints worth! That is a lot of lager, plus the satisfaction of making it all on your own. You can add funky flavours or do whatever you like, all for a top-value £23.80.


£50 to spend


1. Massage Chair add-on thing! Obviously these are great. £59.99

2. Kymera magic wand remote control - this is a magic wand that you use as a universal remote. You teach it gestures to turn on the tv or hi-fi or change the channel or the volume, and you get to feel like a magic wizard! Good deal, I think. £49.95

3. It’s well known that gentleman of a certain age enjoy spending many hours playing video games. You will surely know if the gentleman in your life falls into this category. If so one of these will go down a treat:
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original Zelda, the latest instalment is out on the Wii. This edition even features a shiny gold controller! £47.90
  • Guns! Explosions! Ridiculous storylines and industry-leading multiplayer! That’s right, it’s the world’s biggest entertainment franchise (I know, what the hell?) – Call of Duty MW3. Pow-pow! £43 or thereabouts
  • If stealthy sneaking (and springing across rooftops) in historically-accurate(ish) representations of Constantinople and other Renaissance-era cities sounds more up your street, the conclusion of Assassin’s Creed – Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, might be in order. £49.90 (collector’s edition).
4. Awesome glasses. These glasses are nigh-unspillable and pretty smooth. Support someone close to you’s drinking problem this Christmas with these. And at £42 (plus postage, natch) you’ll have enough left from your £50 to buy a little beverage to go with them. Mmmmmm, alcohol.


£100 to spend


1. Learn to surf! Surfing is the best thing ever, you get to have amazing fun, be in the sea, make cool friends and get fit. The first time you catch a wave is amazing. Coast 2 Coast are friendly and professional and based in Dunbar (just outside Edinburgh) and offer a great course of four lessons for £95 (all equipment hire included). By the end of that you'll be shredding gnarly surf-tubes!

2. Vuzix iWear. These are those glasses that you wear that make it seem like you’re watching a massive screen some distance away from you. Plug them into you ipod, DVD player, laptop or whatever, and have an ignoring-everything-around-me party. £100

3. House of Marley headphones. These have been voted the best among all the recent ‘celebrity’ headphones that are filling the shops, even better than Dr Dre’s Beats (and for significantly less outlay). Great sound, pretty stylish, ideal for jammin’ (see what we did there?) your beats. £99.99

4. Nixon make nice watches (and OK, some pretty ugly ones too!), and this one is particularly nice. Modern and simple, it’s a good watch. £100
Thursday, 17 November 2011

Polished criminails

Today I'm guest posting over at Polished Criminails, a lovely nail art blog (which also has a cracking name!). Rachel-Karina is working through a 31 day nail art challenge, so I did a quick tutorial on easy pastel leopard print!


This also gave me a great excuse to update my own leopard print how to (which previously just had awful iphone photos). It now has action photos!

& hopefully my epic Christmas gift guide has been useful! Part two (written by my lovely boyfriend Craig!) will be up tomorrow.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Christmas shopping: gifts for gals

Okay, it's time. I'm doing it. Get your heads out of the sand, people. Christmas is coming! I know it's technically still 38 days away, but now is the time to shop.

Buying things in advance is good for multiple reasons. It'll let you feel all smug when you're all done by the first week of December (and means you can avoid shops at their VERY WORST when they are full of anxious people buying anything in sight). It means you can buy ace things online that take a couple of weeks to arrive without stressing about Christmas post. & you won't be totally skint in December, so can save money for partying. Woo.

So, to help you out I've compiled a wee gift guide of AWESOME things that (roughly) fit into a few price ranges. I've roped the lovely Craig into doing a more manly version of this later on in the week.. keep an eye out for it!

IF YOU HAVE....

£10 to spend


1. A Pugs not Drugs tote by Gemma Correll. I've mentioned how much I love this bag before, but it is worth posting again! I'm not going to tell you why tote bags are good (they are just good), & if you are going to get one then you might as well get an adorable one with a pug on it. It's a bargainous £10 (and should probably be bought fairly quickly if you're interested, as they often sell out!).

2. You can't go wrong with a wee treat from Lush, and the Snow Fairy gift set is lovely and smells really nice! It includes snow fairy shower gel, angels delight soap & a shimmy shimmy massage bar (which I think makes you a bit sparkly in a twilight/teenager at Claire's way, but hey, it's Christmas). It comes all gift-wrapped up (for lazy/busy people) and costs only £10.95. 

3. Chocolate is a bit of a cliché present at Christmas time, but just look at this. Look at it. It's the Tattoo Love gift set from Coco Chocolate - an Edinburgh based chocolate shop who make totally amazing chocolate. It's all organic and ethical and tasty (plus the box is designed to be a bit hardcore, so you can use it as a jewellery box once all the chocolate has gone). Please someone buy this for me? It's £10.95.

4. Something a little different, but who doesn't like wolves? Etsy is a brilliant site for finding unique gifts (of all shapes and sizes) from independent designers and artists. This wolf print by Alice Potter is really sweet (and wintery!) and comes in at £10.


£25 to spend


1. A moustache isn't just for Movember, it's for life! Tatty Devine are known for quirky, unique jewellery & their moustache necklace is a perfect example. Look! Imagine the photo opportunities! You can pretend to be a dapper gentleman every day. It's £27 (and if you buy it in November they'll donate money to charity. Aww).

2. Another nod to the lovely Hannah Zakari, this print is perfect for the optimistic, mildly drunken, person in your life. It will sit perfectly in a kitchen (or within a gin shrine. Do they exist? Somewhere, probably). It's £25.

3. Another treat from Etsy, this retro apron is handmade in California by Boojiboo. They design a massive range of aprons (which apparently flatter everyone) in a huge variety of fabrics. This will make you feel like a proper baker (not just someone who gets mix all over their jeans & licks the spoon), and comes to just £24 with postage (but order early to give yourself time for delivery!).

4. To match your fancy apron you also need a lovely set of kitchen scales from John Lewis. Every baker needs scales, so they might as well be pretty ones that can smugly live on your kitchen counter (in a oh-those?-I-just-happened-to-be-casually-baking way). They are £25.


£50 to spend


1. Urban Outfitters do a nice wee range of cameras, including this fisheye camera. This is one of the more user-friendly of their cameras as it takes 35mm film (which can be bought & processed on the high street), and let's you take arty (or daft) photos of your friends/family/surroundings. It's £45 (so buy some film for the recipient while you're at it!).

2. Bebaroque is a label set up by two Scottish art students, creating beautiful items that are hand embroidered and printed. Their Saylor tights have been inspired by old sea dog tattoo art & are covered in mermaids, shells and anchors! They come in just under £50, at £49.46.

3. Back to Hannah Zakari for this super cute gold skull necklace by Michelle Chang. It's lovely. Really lovely. & £60 (but shh, it's worth it).

4. Next to Models Own, who have opened their Christmas Shop. This set includes fifteen polishes (fifteen!) and looks ace. Out of all the polishes I've tried this year, Models Own are my hands down favourite - so easy to apply, lovely colours, last for ages. It's £50.

£100 to spend 


1. A (beautiful mustard) bag with a trick up its sleeve! This bag is called Betsy and is a really lovely SLR-carrying-camera bag by Jo Totes. There's pockets for normal bag supplies too, but you'll no longer look like an enthusiastic tourist (or bag lady) when you are photo taking. It comes to £90-ish when you factor in international shipping.

2. It's from Tiffany's. It is only £100. You are welcome.

3. I felt quite torn recommending a Kindle as a pro-books, pro-paper kind of gal, but Craig bought one earlier this month and it's... nice. And convenient. (& I was totally won over when I found out I could read my nanowrimo draft on it - like it was an actual book). It's £89 so you can throw in an amazon voucher with it too.

4. Snoop Dogg has a Spirit Hood. You could have a Spirit Hood! It's £103, and yes, it's a bit radge (to be honest as I am typing this I am swaying between thinking it is the worst thing ever - the "worn by" press on the Spirit Hood website includes Pete Wentz & Cascada for christ's sake... - or thinking "oh man, that looks SO cosy). They donate part of their profits to animal charities & have a whole range of animals (that wolfy one looks the best though!).

.... & that's that. Phew. Hope this was helpful! Happy shopping. x
Monday, 14 November 2011

Museum Lates


On Friday night I went along to the very first Museums Lates event at the National Museum of Scotland. I've been looking forward to this for ages (one of the perks of working for an events magazine is that we work closely with the museums & were supporting this night), so I was delighted to see it sell out way in advance (even if that meant there was a bit of a scrambled panic for tickets when we got back from holiday!).

Museum Lates has been set up so big-kid-grown-ups like me (and you) can go along to the museum at night, when there aren't any massive groups of children taking over everything. You can explore the museum at a more relaxed pace, have a glass of wine in hand, listen to djs & bands, take part in interactive things & basically act like children (without having to embarrassingly & awkwardly push children out of the way).

(Note: this has only actually happened once. Honest. It was at the Glasgow Science Centre and there were BABY GUINEA PIGS that were being hogged by kids. It was our turn to hold them. We were just being fair. Ahem).


Anyway. It was so cool! We got in just after doors opened, so instantly went to get our faces painted while there was no queue (which was good thinking, as the queues were MASSIVE later on in the evening)...

Rae got an amazing sparkly flower thing, & I got leopard spots to match my cardigan! 

We explored loads (although looking back, I don't think we even made it to the top floor - there is SO much to see).



Went to the silent disco (my first silent disco experience!). Quite surreal dancing to Blur underneath a massive Chinese dragon...


& got dressed up in safari gear to get our photos taken as Victorian hunters...

There's an official photo of us with our elephant & gear on.. shall scan and post here soon!

It was really really brilliant - the night ended with a set from Found and acrobats magically spinning and dancing from the ceiling.

The next one is in February and will be themed around the new Egyptian mummies exhibition (as a MASSIVE Egypt/archaeology fan I cannot wait!). Keep an eye out for tickets - I highly recommend it, and it'll probably sell out in five minutes.
Friday, 11 November 2011

Not another bill

Every day at work I check my pigeon hole in the hope that some sort of "mysterious" & "fun" parcel will appear. It doesn't. I get bills and paperwork & (on exciting days) a copy of business insider. It's not enough! I think in four and a half years of working here I've received one or two interesting parcels? (Oh, wah, my life).
YUHHJZNVXNTM
Anyway - so this (and a wee moan with my colleague Amy) reminded me of an amazing looking website that I had read about aaaages ago - NOTANOTHERBILL...


Notanotherbill is cracking. You sign up and for £15 every month you'll get a surprise present that is wrapped up beautifully and sent to you. It's full of things from independent designers, craft markets, illustrators, vintage sales, cool shops - just lovely things that look brilliant!

October's present - check out the wee fox badge!
 It was set up by an art student called Ned Corbett-Winder (cracking name) who personally sources everything and packs each present! It looks like you can select what type of present to get (at least a little) by choosing whether you're more interested in a "car boot sale, gallery or fashion show", but he promises to swap it for something else if you genuinely don't like it. (I reckon if you don't like it you could save it to be a birthday or christmas present for someone else...).


It reminds me a little of the glossybox/beauty box deals that are constantly floating around on blog reviews (which I've never tried as I am happily stuck in a bit of a make up/skin care rut!), but perfect for a magpie/hoarder type like me.


You can look at more of the previous presents here & buy a subscription for yourself (or a gift for someone cool) here. There's a trial deal on the site just now offering 3 months for £30 (and yeah, it's massively indulgent but it is COOL and good and looks like fun).

Now to impatiently wait until it arrives...
Wednesday, 9 November 2011

How to: rainbow aztec nails

Okay. I should probably apologise in advance for this. It's going to be a bit of a weird how to. But I painted my nails in a sort of rainbowy tribal aztec style (with inspiration from wah nails as always) and have been getting so many "ooh, that must be hard" comments that I decided to do a tutorial. So er, here goes.


This is what you are going to end up with! Lovely colourful nails. I used models own colours (feeling blue, top turqoise, lemon meringue, fuzzy peach & red alert). For the details I used my crayola nail art pens and a gloopy black no17 polish.

This is where it gets a bit strange. Hello awesome photoshop.


Step 1. Paint a yellow strip in the middle of each nail (the white bits are supposed to be bare nail!).


Step 2. Now do the same thing with the rest of your colours. Overlap the yellow slightly on each side with orange and green, then do that with red and blue. Lightest colours first!


Step 3. Now use your black polish to paint across the bottom of the nail. I used the GLOOPIEST polish in the world, which explain why my lines are totally squint.


Step 4. Using a white nail art pen (or a thin brush, OR a kirby if you have a steady hand) paint a line about half way up the nail. Do polka dots on the lower patch of black.


Step 5. Get a black nail art pen (or again, kirby or cocktail stick or tiny brush) and outline either side of the white line. I then drew triangles on the top of each line (which was easy enough on my left hand, but SO hard on my right hand). Then on my ring finger and thumb I did tiny little diagonal lines (you can see these in the top photo!).

& that's it! SO easy. Well. That was a little lie. If you are like me (i.e. very messy) yours will look a lot more like this at the end:
Shamefully this totally looks like my actual nails.
But all you need is some cotton buds and nail polish remover to tidy it up. I really need to try and be neater though, it is quite shameful.

Any tips to not look like you've painted your entire hand?
Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who took part in my first ever blog giveaway! I was a little nervous that no one would enter (ha) but you did, and hopefully you liked the fun things I brought back from America.

So, with a little help from random.org, I can reveal that the winner is....

(I'm a photoshop master these days).

... Rosie from a rosie outlook ! Yay. An email will be winging its way to you, and I'll send out your prize shortly.

I'm going to try and line up another one before Christmas, so keep an eye out! x
Friday, 4 November 2011

Happy thoughts

 Such a busy, busy week! I feel like I am still trying to catch up on work things since returning from holiday (which feels like years ago, sob), & there's loads of exciting ARRG business to be working on, AND I'm trying to keep up with nanowrimo (difficult start, but I am getting there, finally!).

So, here are the things that are keeping me calm and happy in the midst of all of this madness!

1. Perfecting polka dots


It's taken me a bit of practice since my first attempt, but I am finally learning how to do even and neat polka dots! I really really like them, and they are fast becoming my go to polish (which makes a nice change from the leopard print trap I was in!). I am currently wearing purple and blue varnish with white polka dots.. which makes me feel a little like I'm thirteen years old, but ah, it's fine.

The best thing I've learned is to do the dots in rows (rather than just randomly wherever) and using a nail art pen (like the one I am giving away here) really helps keep the dots the same size.

 2. Christmas treats!



I do feel a little dirty saying this, so let me explain. I'm not ready for Christmas lights/presents in shops/tinsel or any of that nonsense. But I do enjoy the gradual way it creeps in as shops and cafes launch their Christmas menus. What can I say... I like treats! In particular, hello thereMmmmm. Be still my heart.

3. Endor


I tend to get a bit obsessed with a band, and listen to them pretty much on repeat (I thought I'd grow out of it after my teenage years, but no luck). Currently I'm on an Endor kick, and I love love love them. When I'm writing (for nanowrimo) I tend to prefer something a little quieter, and they fit the bill perfectly.

They are playing in Edinburgh at the Electric Circus next Thursday (November 10th) & tickets can be bought here. Give them a wee listen.

(On a different note, I have been listening to this song loads recently, and just realised how much it reminds me of the Spill Canvas!).

p.s. I'll be picking a winner of my giveaway tonight - good luck to everyone that's entered already (and thanks for entering!). Have a good weekend.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Nanowrimo

It's November! Which means it's nanowrimo time!

Nanowrimo poster. & an excuse to post a photo of Riley.
Nanowrimo (aka national novel writing month) is just brilliant. So good. So brilliant. You can read a lot more about the what's and why's here, but the basic idea is simple: write 50,000 words in one month. It sounds hard and scary, but it really isn't. & if you are one of those people who always think that someday you'll write a book, or that you would if you could find time, then it is definitely for you.

To complete the challenge you need to write 1,667 words every day.  You'll start the process thinking hard about what to write, or how to word a sentence, or carefully musing for ten minutes on what adjective to use, but about five days in (when you are 1,000 words behind and catching up on a Saturday morning) you'll discover the simple pleasure of just writing. Your writing will be awful. You will start to spell things wrong. You will notice your characters changing as you plot scenes while writing them. You will use too many exclamations marks. (Maybe that is just me). But that is the glory of nanowrimo! It makes you write. & at the end of a (long, tiring, but massively satisfying) month you'll have a first draft. It might be the WORST FIRST DRAFT OF ALL TIME, but that is still considerably better than a non-existent first draft.

Along the way the nanowrimo website holds your hand. You get handy graphs to keep track of your daily word count. Forums where you can discuss ideas and meet local participants (although I'm always too much of a wimp to go to the writing sessions in Edinburgh). & you get pep talks from amazing authors. These are staggered throughout the month and are brilliantly timed to encourage you to keeping writing when you are making excuses to yourself and skiving (my favourites are Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde & Philip Pullman).

Hoodie. Mental hair. Crazed eyes. Must be November.
& then at the end of the month you'll have a book! That you can sell and gain riches (*ahem* ) or hide away and sneakily read every now and again whilst wearing your nanowrimo hoodie (which you'll buy in week three, full of love for the Office of Letters and Light). Do it! Do it do it do it!