Wednesday, 25 March 2015

WIN TICKETS TO EDSCIFEST'S
BIG BANG BASH

There's only ONE WEEK to go before the Science Festival launches (oh my god), and it's turning into such an exciting year.

To celebrate Edinburgh's best festival (ahem), I have FIVE pairs of tickets to give away to our amazing space party, the Big Bang Bash!


An out-of-this-world party celebrating the wonders of space, the Big Bang Bash takes place in the super beautiful National Museum of Scotland, on Friday 10th April.

These's so much spacey fun to enjoy! You can sample space-themed cocktails from the Bar at the End of the Universe, discover the solar system in a massive planetarium, make your own spacecraft to take home, watch roving scientists perform mid-boggling experiments, and listen to short talks from space experts including Marcus Chown, Prof Monica Grady and Dr Roberto Trotta. There's also vintage sci-films, a space-tacular DJ, and a model of the Mars Rover to ooh at, while you're drinking your drink and getting your geek on.

For your chance to win tickets (remember, you'll need to be in Edinburgh on Friday 10th April!), just fill in the form below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! I'll pick a winner on Wednesday 8th April and will notify them by email.

Monday, 23 March 2015

OUTFIT: RED RIDING HOOD

My winter coat collection is seriously getting out of hand, but I don't care... look at this beautiful duffel coat!

Coat - JOY
Skirt - H&M
Boots - ASOS
Headband - Crown & Glory 
I had been eyeing up this coat all winter, but couldn't quite justify buying it, so I just did that weird thing where I would look longingly at it every time I passed JOY, with occasional pathetic trips into the store to stare at it. Step in my hero lovely boyfriend, who very kindly bought it as a spur of the moment present (what a guy!).

The last month has been freezing, so I've been wearing it LOADS and it's so cute. The hood and sleeves are impossibly soft and cosy, I find myself absent-mindedly stroking them all the time.

I'm also a big fan of my mermaid-inspired Crown & Glory turban (I know I'm writing about them loads, but I'm quite obsessed with hair accessories this year!). This arrived in my Glitterati box and at first I was a bit unsure about it (it is a shimmery spandex band, after all), but it's surprisingly wearable and I love the colour combination of it with my jacket.

Friday, 20 March 2015

HOW TO: MILKMAID BRAIDS

Next up in my series of incredibly easy tutorials for bad hair days is milkmaid braids - something that is SO quick and simple to do, but always makes you look like you've made an effort.


Start by parting your hair into two, and braiding two plaits. I use a kirby grip to secure the end of each braid instead of a bobble - it feels much easier because you are plaiting to the very ends of your hair, and you don't want to faff around with a bobble you're only using for 30 seconds.

Take one braid and pull it tight, crossing over the middle of your head. Secure the very end (with the handily already-attached kirby), and keeping hold of the braid, attach more kirby grips along it until it feels secure.

Now get the other braid, pull it up and over, tuck the end of this braid under your already-secured braid, and then pin it into position. Use some hairspray to secure everything, and that's it!

It's a really cute look that's perfect for days where you just want to get your hair out of the way.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

SCOTTISH BALLET'S
A Streetcar Named Desire

 I was very excited to receive an invite to Scottish Ballet's award-winning production A Streetcar Named Desire, but I was also, weirdly, a bit nervous. I seem to be the only person in the entire world who hasn't actually ever read A Streetcar Named Desire, or watched the play, or the film, or even (at a push) the Simpsons parody episode.

Would I be able to pick up the story, or would I be lost in a sea of pirouettes and cabrioles? (I am also very, very new to ballet. I had to google those).


I shouldn't have worried. A Streetcar Named Desire is beautiful. Achingly, powerful, you-may-need-to-cry beautiful. I didn't always know exactly what the small details were (I was quite baffled by the dramatic discovery of a piece of paper), but I was surprised by just how well I followed the story. The staging is simple and moody, with flickering light bulbs and surprisingly dramatic crates, and the music is just incredible.

I was lucky enough to get the chance before the show to chat with Luciana Ravizzi, who shares the role of the lead character Blanche with Eve Mutso. It was absolutely fascinating to listen to Luciana talk about her role - particularly the challenges of playing such a raw, emotional character, and how emotionally draining each performance is.



A Streetcar Named Desire is in Edinburgh until Saturday 21st March (book tickets here) and then tours to London, running in Sadler's Wells from Tuesday 31st March to Thursday 2nd April (book here!). Scottish Ballet also have an Under 26 £10 ticket offer if you are lucky enough to be youthful!

I can't recommend this enough - I've been thinking about it all day long. Go and get your culture on.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

WIN A CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLE EASTER EGG

If you've ever been lucky enough to be gifted a box of very fancy chocolates, you've possibly come across Britain's fanciest chocolatier, Charbonnel et Walker.

Founded in 1875, Charbonnel et Walker is one of Britain's earliest chocolatiers. They specialise in making seriously dreamy English chocolates, truffles and confectionery, and even hold the Royal Warrant as Chocolate Manufacturers to Her Majesty the Queen (who knew that was even a thing? What an amazing fact).


It's not long until every chocolate-lover's favourite holiday (Easter, obvs), which I am counting down to with great anticipation (as I haven't eaten ANY sugary treats since Pancake Day, weep!).

As all good chocolate shops should, Charbonnel have put together an Easter range of treats, including super deluxe easter eggs, mini speckled chocolate eggs, bunny themed goodies, and a massive chocolate fish (which I assume is a traditional easter gift...? I've never come across massive chocolate fish before, but I'd very happily eat it!).


To celebrate all of these Easter treats, Charbonnel have very kindly given me three of their super deluxe Milk Chocolate Easter Egg filled with Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles to give away. For your chance to win, all you have to do is follow the instructions below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway Winners will be picked on Wednesday 1st April and I'll email you to let you know you've won. By entering you also agree for your email address to be passed on to Charbonnel (which I think means they'll send you delicious photos of chocolate and the occasional offer). UK entries only please. Thank you!

Monday, 16 March 2015

DESK INSPIRATION

I live in a super small, cute flat, but it's still taking me forever to work my way through my decorating wishlist. I've finally finished tweaking my living room (since last blogging about it, I have replaced the window seat fabric and it is beautiful!), and now I'm dreaming of desks.

I wish I had a home with a separate study, but I've got to make do with a desk at the end of my bedroom. I use this space for painting normally (and pretend to myself that I'll blog from there... but almost always do it on the sofa!), so I need to find a desk set-up that's cute, has space for crafty things, but doesn't look totally mismatched with the rest of my bedroom!


As always, for life inspiration I've turned to Pinterest, which makes it very easy for you to curate a picture-perfect life without the cost (or DIY skills!). Pulling my desk inspiration board together made me realise that I'm a surprisingly big fan of bright colours, that I need a peg board (who knew?!) and I clearly want to spend hundreds of pounds on a fancy arrow light.

I don't have the budget for any of this (plus I live in a rented flat, so I need to be sensible and respectful of that), but this is my new project! (I love a new project, fingers crossed it works out...).

Friday, 13 March 2015

BABYLISS DIAMOND STRAIGHTENER

I cannot quite believe I'm saying this, but I've found straighteners that are better than GHDs.

BaByliss Diamond Straightener* - £40
One of the perks of blogging is that nice companies, like BaByliss, occasionally offer you things to review (which is brilliant, as there are so many things out there to write about, and definitely not enough pounds in my purse to afford them all!).

BaByliss have a new-ish range of products - the Diamond Radiance Shine Collection (made up of a hairdryer, curling tong and straighteners), and asked me to try one out, boasting that the straighteners were possibly the best out there. Pssssssh, I thought. Of course they'll say that. But I'm a sucker for playing with hair stylers so I was intrigued to see how they'd match up with my super trusty GHDs (and, I'll be honest, I was quite keen to get a spare pair of straighteners to keep at my boyfriend's house).


The straighteners boast a Diamond Radiance Shine System, which combines diamond-infused ceramic plates (so fancy) with active ionic conditioners (which essentially reduces the frizz of static electricity when straightening your hair). The plates are longer than those on most other straighteners which means you can style larger sections of hair at one time, and the sides are curved, meaning if you are one of those wizards that can curl hair with straighteners, it's even easier.

They also heat up to a top temperature of 235ºC (with two lower heat settings) and are ready to use in 15 seconds. Aaaand they've got universal voltage (handy) and automatic shut-off (which is SO useful, because I spend far too much time in my life freaking out about leaving my straighteners on).

Left: Scowly, curly hair
Right: Sleek, straight, happy hair!

It all sounded very impressive, but I thought it was just enthusiastic marketing chat, until I used them!

I first tested them on super annoying hair (illustrated in my mega unflattering, scowly photo above) - I'd left my hair to dry naturally so it was all kinky and wavy, and my hair's pretty thick so it takes a while to straighten (which makes me worry about the damage I'm doing to it).

These straighteners just glided through it SO quickly, leaving the shiniest, nicest, straight hair in their path! I had them on the hottest setting at first, which was super hot (it almost scalded my hand when I touched a just-straightened strand), but I reckon my hair was exposed to less heat overall, as it was just so quick to style all of it.

Afterwards, my hair was super soft (shown in the happy photo above), and it stayed straight for the whole day - no annoying waves creeping in, just super lovely hair. They've now replaced my GHDs for good, and I've been getting comments on how shiny my hair is.

Love love love love love. The Diamond 235 straightener is only £40 and it is my new favourite thing. Can I rave about it even more? LOVE.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

OUTFIT: AZTEC CARDIGAN

As much as I love my ever expanding wardrobe of winter coats and jackets, I am excited for Spring, and not having to wear one million layers of clothing every time I leave the house.

I wanted to share with you my new favourite slouchy furry, sort of cardigan, sort of jacket, thing, which is from JD Williams (who very kindly gave me my pick of knitted goodness from their massive knitwear section). As I gravitate towards anything that looks warm and soft, I couldn't resist this oversized cardigan, which is cosy enough to wear as a jacket on days that aren't TOTALLY freezing.

Turban - Crown & Glory velvet headband
Cardigan* - JD Williams
Black T-shirt - H&M
Black skirt - H&M
Ankle boots - ASOS
I'm not going to lie - as soon as it arrived, it became my go-to slouch around the house outfit (paired super stylishly with a pair of pyjama shorts), which is great for comfort (it's SO comfy), but not so good for a blog outfit post, where I attempt to look like I know how to dress.

So, I forced myself to take it out of my slouchy pile of clothes, and put together an outfit that was still warm and comfy, but also going-outside appropriate. I'm pretty pleased with it!

I paired it with my Crown & Glory turban headband (from their Glitterati box), a super simple outfit, and a simple gold necklace.

Rope headband - Crown & Glory
I don't think it's the most flattering shape for my figure, but I also don't care. It's like wearing a massive furry blanket - which kind of ticks all of my boxes.

This is the sort of thing I'd wear to the pub, or for a mooch around the markets on Sunday, and if Spring ever actually appears, it'll be an ace thing to have for weird sort-of-spring, still-quite-freezy weird weather days!

Monday, 9 March 2015

RACE FOR LIFE

If you've read my blog for a few years, you'll maybe remember that I tried running (several times), found it really difficult, and then gave up and didn't really mention it again. I hated running. It was hard and it hurt and I found it really hard to motivate myself, so I told myself I'd find another sport instead. (I didn't. I found Netflix).

So, when Cancer Research UK got in touch and asked me to be part of their Race for Life blogger team, I struggled. Obviously I want to help charity (I'm a professional fundraiser, I love charities!), and obviously cancer is terrible (every TWO minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer - that's terrifying), and obviously Race for Life does amazing things (since 1993 over seven million people have taken part, raising over £513 million to fund life-saving work).... but running is kind of difficult?


Yeah, I didn't struggle for long. I do think running is terrible, but if I'm able to use this blog to encourage even just a couple of you to enter Race for Life yourselves, or just donate some money, then that's definitely worth my feeble struggle attempting to run (weep).

So, I've signed up for a 10k in Edinburgh in June, because I figured if I was going to try this, I might as well aim high. I went for my first run yesterday using my old friend Couch to 5k, and got out of breath running for one minute. I think this is going to be a difficult journey - but I'll blog about it along the way, and this time I have a terrifying goal ahead of me, which I'm hoping means I'll be motivated by fear.

If you would like to join my running gang and sign up for Race for Life too (they have 5k runs, which are significantly less scary if you are also a running wimp), you can use the code RFLEver to get discounted entry (which makes the pain of buying actual sports gear a little easier). You can also donate to my fundraising page (which I haven't filled in yet, because that makes it real) at justgiving.com/eversojuliet.

I've got the fear. Wish me luck! 

Friday, 6 March 2015

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

I want to say quickly - if you are my mum, and you're reading this (pretty likely, hello mum!), please stop (I have definitely bought you one of the below, don't spoil yourself!).

Anyway, Mother's Day is on March 15th, which means you have just over a week to get yourself together, make plans with your mum, and buy her something nice!

Here's a few gifts that I think would be lovely (here's hoping my mum agrees...).


Top row:

Bloom & Wild flower subscription 
I've blogged about Bloom & Wild before and I just think it's the BEST idea ever - beautiful handpicked flowers that fit through your letterbox. I've signed up for a three month subsciption and I just adore it... so why not send monthly flowers to your mum, and be the best child ever (plus you can send flowers for using £10 using this referral!).

Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of Constellations
An illustrated exploration of the night sky's constellations - this book looks beautiful beautiful beautiful.

Robin's Nest Measuring Cups
As always, if Anthropologie want to sell some homeware, I want to buy it. How cute are these measuring cups? My mum is the world's best baker, so almost definitely does own measuring cups already, but surely not ones quite this cute!

Bottom row:

Zukr Boutique chocolates
Chocolates are a seriously clichéd Mother's Day (like flowers, I know I know), but if you're going to gift them... go for ones that are almost too pretty to eat, like these artisan handmade chocolates.

Grid necklace
My mum's a fan of chunky statement necklaces, so I think this geometric necklace would be right up her alley. This is from one of my favourite boutiques, Hannah Zakari, who sell all sorts of treasures from indie designers across the globe.

Rifle Paper Co notebooks
I'm going to be traumatised if I ever find out my mum doesn't actually like notebooks, as beautiful stationary is one of my go-to presents. This set is by the very beautiful Rifle Paper Company, who have also illustrated the gorgeous In Bloom book collection.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

MAYBELLINE BROW SATIN

One of the very best makeup lessons I have ever been taught is to pay attention to your brows! Looked-after eyebrows frame your face, make any type of makeup look better, and just make you look like a much more polished human!

It took me years to learn this though. I have really fair (almost blonde) brows, and because most of my teenage life was spent with a fringe, I did not touch them at all - until my best pal pinned me down with a pair of tweezers and an eyebrow pencil, and showed me the wonderful world of brows!

I get mine tinted and shaped fairly regularly at a Benefit Brow Bar, but as they are fair, I need product to keep them well defined between appointments. I've tried pencils, waxes, powders and all sorts, but now have a new favourite - Maybelline's Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil.

Left: No brows. Right: Brows!
Brow Satin is a precise pen and filling powder duo (which basically means a mechanical pencil at one end and a creamy powder shadow at the other), that comes in four shades: dark blonde, medium brown, mahogany red and dark brown. I've been using mahogany red (which feels like such a treat to have an eyebrow product aimed at redheads!).

It boasts that it blends seamlessly for natural and fuller looking brows, and I definitely agree with it (I hope you do too!). It's easy to be heavy-handed if you are just using a pencil (remember, small strokes everyone!), but this has such a soft and creamy consistency the colour doesn't ever feel blocky.


To use the pencil Maybelline recommends that you fill your brows in with the pen, then blend with the powder. I didn't read any instructions before using this (because who reads makeup instructions?), so instead I've been using the powder to fill in the thickest inner part of my brow, then using the pen to define the arch and outer end of my eyebrow,

Either way, it's a super easy product to use, and has found a very welcome home in my everyday makeup bag. Brow Satin costs £5.99 (bargain) and can be bought in Boots and other highstreet shops.

Monday, 2 March 2015

FEBRUARY INSTAGRAM

How is it March already? It was Christmas mere minutes ago! Next thing you know it'll be summer (which is fine by me, as I am getting fed up of wintery weather!). Anyway, despite passing by in a mere moment, I packed quite a lot into February. Here's what I go up to...

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. The start of the month was pretty busy, with a few late nights at work, and a flurry of report-writing (not my favourite of tasks!). Luckily my team are lovely (and know how to get on my good side), and brought me loads of doughnuts! I'm giving up sugary treats for all of March, but I so wish I could have a doughnut now!

2. My weak spot in life is Anthropologie's house & home section (seriously, I want it all!), so when I saw this weird little trinket dish I could not resist. I didn't know where to put it at first, but it turns out a few tealights fit perfectly into it, so it makes a lovely candleholder. Treat yo self!

3. The nights are finally getting lighter, and a couple of weeks ago the most beautiful pinky-purple sky appeared in Edinburgh. This photo was taken from my bedroom window and my whole flat was bathed in soft pink light, it was gorgeous.

4. It was my lovely friend Jules' birthday (happy birthday Jules!) and Joshua & I thought it was a themed party, so dressed up as Jules from her gothier days. Turns out it was NOT a themed party, but I actually really loved my grungy makeup (and will probably blog a tutorial soon...).

5. It's tulip season, hooray! I love this time of year, when you can fill your house with tulips and daffodils for only a few pounds. I have to try really hard to resist buying tulips every time I go to the shop, I just love them so much.

6. My friend Eilidh got a baby hedgehog, and she is the CUTEST thing ever! Hedgehogs are surprisingly soft and cuddly (the spines feel like the bristles on a hairbrush), and I was so won over, I am joining the hedgehog-owner club, and should be picking up mine at the end of the month. EEEEEK. Watch this space for spiky updates!

7. The Edinburgh Science Festival programme launched and I am super proud (and a little exhausted already). There's only a month to go until the festival kicks off, and there's so much to do (aaaah), but I work with brilliant people and am super chuffed to be part of such a cool science gang.

8. We also have seriously adorable artwork this year (designed by my very clever boyfriend), which makes for super cute cupcake toppers!

9. A good month is always marked by how many weekends are spent eating yum breakfast and drinking lovely coffee, and this month excelled at it!

10. I also had a really delicious/exhausting Sunday pub roast at the The Lioness of Leith, where we got a whole chicken (whaaaat), and a whole tray of sides. This was so nice, I immediately had to have a lie down afterwards.

11. February also saw my very first trip to the ballet. I was invited along to Northern Ballet's Romeo & Juliet, and I was worried I'd feel a bit out of my depth (because ballet is just so cultured and grown up), but it was absolutely beautiful!

12. Aaand to round off an absolutely FREEZING day, I sought shelter in a Hotel Chocolat cafe for the richest, smoothest hot chocolate I've ever had!

Here's hoping this month is a little bit warmer...
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