Wednesday, 30 March 2016

HOME TOUR: MY LIVING ROOM

It's been a while since I last did a home tour post, so I thought today I'd show off my colourful, lovely living room!


When I bought the flat, this room was all yellow, with light mustardy-yellow walls, dark yellow curtains, and black and yellow glass lampshades. I loved how bright the room was, and I had been eyeing up very colourful living rooms, so I wasn't put off by the colour, but I knew it needed a bit of a boost. 

With a gang of helpers (thanks pals), we painted the whole thing, which took aaaages. We painted three walls white (using Dulux White Mist) and repainted the main wall a much brighter yellow (Dulux Lemon Tropics), which instantly made the room feel much bigger and brighter. 

I took down the curtains at both ends of the room (I live on the top floor, so I figured there was no need really), and I replaced the lampshades with these cute white and copper cut-out shades


The room doubles up as a living and dining room, so I wanted to make sure it worked together as one big room with similar colours (white furniture, copper tones, lots of green leaves), but also could be used as two distinct spaces. I think the balance works out quite well - the sofa end feels cosy and nice to hang out in, and there's a bit more breathing space around the dining table so it doesn't feel too cluttered.

It's so lovely having space for a dining table again, I forgot how nice it is to have friends round for dinner and not have to eat off your knee! My dining table and chairs are from Ikea (like most of the furniture in my flat!) - I've got this table, which I absolutely love, and these chairs, which took forever to build. 


As I had to order a sofa weeks before I actually moved into the flat, I got my dimensions a bit wrong, and chose a sofa that is definitely too little for the space. It's left me with a bit of a gap between the sofa and my door, which was perfectly filled by my Christmas tree in December, but needs a bit of work now. I bought a massive bonsai tree (from Ikea, obvs), but it's not big enough - I have my heart now set on buying a massive fiddle leaf fig tree, but I am struggling to find one in the UK! 

My sofa (and it's matching footrest) are both from John Lewis (courtesy of my very kind parents!) - I went for the Portia sofa in Senna Charcoal, and it's comfy and the colour seems to be wearing well. 


Soba lives in the living room, in a bookcase that Joshua & I converted into a hedgehog house. I'm still so proud of our cage DIY, I think it looks ace - and it looks even better after Josh added some vinyl landscapes to some of Soba's rooms (he lives on the top level of the unit). 

I've got loads of plants in this corner, more copper touches, and my favourite armchair, which is another Ikea number (but I don't think it looks too Ikea, if that makes sense!).  


And finally, in the very middle of the room, I have my bookcases. I've got more in my study, but this is most of my fiction collection, and I love having them all on display again after a few years living without shelves. I love organising books by colour (and I can always find what I'm looking for!), and it's such a nice bright way to pull the room together.

I'm so pleased with how it's come together!

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Monday, 28 March 2016

OUTFIT: ORLA KIELY SHOES

As it's Science Festival season, I thought I'd share what I wore to our programme launch back in February. This year's Festival is themed around Building Better Worlds, so as press props/venue decorations we made these adorable happy planets, which are too cute to resist posing with!

Dress* - Tu at Sainsburys
Shoes - Orla Kiely at Clarks
Necklace - JOY
I've blogged about this dress before, but it's become a bit of a staple in my wardrobe when I need to be a little more dressed up! It's a really simple polka dot dress from Tu at Sainsburys, and I love the dipped neck and back which makes it feel a little more fancy. I had been a bit wary of the length when I first got it (because I am short, and longer dresses can drown me), but I've been wearing it with heels which works really well.

Talking of heels, look at my very favourite new pair of shoes...


Aren't they beautiful? They are from the Orla Kiely x Clarks collection, which I had been eyeing up as soon as they were released, but as they were a bit pricey, I couldn't justify buying them. Then in January I just so happened to be passing a Clarks, popped in, and found one pair in my size left in the sale! It was meant to be.

I'm pretty rubbish in heels, but these are so comfy and nice to walk in, thanks to the super chunky heel. They're so cute, and I love pairing them with an all-black outfit to add a pop of colour. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

SUNDAY LINKS

Happy Easter everyone! I'm super excited for Easter this year, as I haven't had any chocolate since February (aaah!), and I am so ready for my easter eggs! It's a super busy weekend for me as the Edinburgh International Science Festival has now started (hooray!), so the last few days have been spent running around getting everything ready, and lots and lots of science, dinosaurs, tiny homes, and lego. It's not a bad way to spend your weekend!

Even though work is super busy, I've been determined to get back into the blogging rhythm, so I've got a few posts up this week (life update, cactus wishlist, a trip to Valldemossa) for you to catch up on if you'd like, and here's my weekly round-up of interesting things I've found online. Have a nice Sunday!


Fancy some easter baking? How amazing do these creme egg brownies look? Yum!

I really connected with this: sometimes #girlsquads make me feel like shit.  'Telling yourself that there’s room for all women to succeed is hard, because the evidence of history isn’t there — we have always had to fight for token spots and quotas, setting ourselves apart from ‘other girls’ by being unapologetically confident and tough. And though things are changing gradually, it’s not so easy to forget.' 

This is fascinating - a look at the stand-up comedians who run big brand social media.

I am currently quite  obsessed with enamel pin badges (I can't resist an instagram trend). Finest Imaginary has just brought some new ones out and they are adorable (that bear!). 

Now the weather is getting better, I really have no excuse to not start running again, but I'm finding it really difficult to get motivated! I need something like the Hogwarts Running Club - it looks amazing!

Remember that cringey Financial Times article that scoffed because millennials weren't willing to pay £800 per month into their pension? Here's a lovely comeback from a CBA millennial: 'If only someone had suggested to me that saving up for old age was wise then I wouldn’t have bothered building that scale model of the Taj Mahal out of £50 notes in my living room'.

Aaand here's a really interesting look at the changing world of pop (and why we are now all Beliebers).

Friday, 25 March 2016

A TRIP TO VALLDEMOSSA, MALLORCA

A few weeks ago Joshua & I escaped the grey Scottish skies for somewhere a little brighter. We headed off to Mallorca for his (super belated) birthday trip and it was AMAZING.

I always kind of thought of Mallorca as being super-Brits-abroad territory but last summer Josh & I really got into Frederic Chopin (by playing a surreal Japanese video game about him all summer - is that weird? It sounds really weird when I try to describe it. ANYWAY, we like Chopin, now, okay?). The game tells the story of Chopin's life, and one of the places that kept coming up was Valldemossa - a small Spanish village where Chopin lived and wrote some of his most famous works.

We had joked about going on a video game/Chopin pilgrimage, but then when I was looking for holiday inspiration, Valldemossa kept ticking all of the boxes. Beautiful location, cheap and quick flights, ace Airbnbs, lovely weather - check check check!


WHERE WE STAYED

I was so impressed at how easy it was to get to Valldemossa from Edinburgh. We flew to Palma from Edinburgh with Jet2, which only took about two hours and was a total bargain. Then we got the airport bus to Palma bus station, and it took another 30 minutes to drive from Palma to Valldemossa.

I booked this beautiful apartment on Airbnb, mainly because I was quite obsessed with the bathroom - check out that bath! It was really perfect for what we needed, with a gorgeous balcony that looked out over old rooftops and mountains, loads of space, and a great location in the middle of town, just round the corner from a bakery. The hosts were really good too - picking us up from the bus stop and driving us to get firewood and wine (the essentials) before they gave us keys and left us alone.

I can't imagine travelling and not using Airbnb these days - you get so much more for your money, and you get your own wee house! If you're thinking about using it, do it (and use this link if you'd like money off!).


WHAT WE DID

Valldemossa is a beautiful old quiet town, and had the perfect amount of places for us to explore over a long weekend. We OF COURSE went straight to the Monastery where Chopin lived with his lover, and it was really moving - they had his actual piano, books and sheet music, and you could explore his rooms and stand in his very peaceful garden, looking out over the hills to Palma.

The whole monastery is really fascinating, and you can explore old rooms, including the monks' library which is filled with ancient books and maps, and the old pharmacy which has shelves stacked high with old bottles, vials, and mysterious looking potions.

We spent a fair bit of time reading our books and drinking wine in the sunshine, but also went on a proper adventure - exploring the Archduke's Way, which was a 4 hour hike up a mountain... a bit exhausting, but totally worth it for the amazing views we got over the island.


WHAT WE ATE

Spain is the home of cheese, meat and wine, so we consumed all three with gusto. The best place we went was a tiny restaurant called QuitaPenas, which was just around the corner from our apartment and served the most amazing tapas, made entirely from local ingredients.

Valldemossa's speciality is the coca de patata, a sweet cake made from boiled potatoes, which sounds odd but was delicious. We had these for breakfast every day for the local bakery, which was also packed full of tasty-looking pies, cakes, and meringues (I broke my sugar ban to eat the world's biggest meringue, because of course I did!).

As we were in Valldemossa in the off-season, it was surprisingly difficult to find a restaurant that was open in the evening, but every night we managed to find somewhere to go (even if we did have to explore every tiny street before we chanced upon a lit up door).

Oh, I want to go back already. SO lovely.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

CACTUS WISHLIST

I have always been a sucker for cacti. They're one of my favourite plants (so cute! so easy to keep alive!), they're surprisingly tasty (prickly pear margaritas are ah-mazing), and thanks to being the hipster's current plant of choice, there are now loads of ways to show your love for all things small and spiky.

As with all my wishlist posts, this comes at a time when I'm a bit skint, should be saving, but instead I'm daydreaming about what wonderful things there are in the world to buy. My very, very favourite cactus item is the adorable cactus garden chair from Oliver Bonas. I don't have a garden, nor do I need another chair, but look at it! SURELY I deserve that in my life, right? They are due to be released this month, so I'm keeping my eyes on their website and counting down to payday...


Top row

Middle row
Bottom row

Monday, 21 March 2016

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? I didn't mean to disappear from my blog for an ENTIRE MONTH, but life got in the way. Generally when things get a bit busy and tough/stressful/tiring, the first thing I do is ignore my laptop, and it always feels a bit hard trying to restart and wondering where I got the time or energy to blog from.

But it's been good busy! Here's what I've been up to...

1. Edinburgh International Science Festival is go (almost!)


The Science Festival starts THIS WEEK (aaaah!), and it has been an extremely busy few months getting everything ready. I've had a never-ending to do list (which has been pretty stressful), but I'm getting there, and I'm so excited to see it all in action. We launch on Thursday with our opening party, Science Festival Lates, then it's straight into two weeks of robots, food, space parties, experiments, theatre, super clever people, and living pretty much exclusively on noodles and wine.

If you're near Edinburgh you should definitely come along, it is so much fun! I've picked out a few of my favourite events here, and you can also use our new SciSpy app if you're on your phone (it's loads of fun). 


2. Holidays


To get a bit of head space between the Festival programme launching and the Festival actually happening, Joshua & I went off on a mini adventure to Mallorca. We stayed in the most beautiful town called Valldemossa, which is so so different from the brits-abroad vibe I've always associated with the island. It was the perfect island holiday, with amazing food, mountains to climb, sunny balconies, and beautiful scenery. I'll write up a trip to Valldemossa post very soon!


3. I got a new job! 


And finally, my big news is that I got a new job! Come May, I'll be leaving the world of science and turning my attention to film, in my new role of Development Manager at the Centre for the Moving Image. The CMI run the Edinburgh Filmhouse, the Belmont Filmhouse AND the Edinburgh International Film Festival so I am super excited and can't wait to get going.

It feels really surreal that this will be my last Science Festival though, I love it there and I work with so many wonderful people, I'll be sad to leave them. Still, it means I've got a really exciting summer ahead (if a bit exhausting). Bring it on!
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