Thursday 28 February 2013

February sponsors!

Here's a little round up of the lovely folk who have been sponsoring Ever So Juliet this month! If you are looking for a new read or a nice place to shop, then this should hopefully provide some inspiration....

Sail the Ship
I've said it before, but lifestyle blogs that mix chatter, recipes & the occasional crafty project are my very favourite! Jen's blog is a perfect example of this - especially her recipe posts (how amazing do they look?!).

Win a festival trip in Scotland
Want to win tickets to a festival of your choice in Scotland? Plus accommodation?  AND train tickets? Well here's your chance - The List & Visit Scotland are running a competition... and if you win you can choose which festival you go to. Brilliant! 

Studio 336 
It's the third month in a row that the lovely Studio 336 have been on my sidebar - have you checked them out yet? Erin's an art graduate & etsy-shop owner, who blogs about handmade goods, DIY ideas & snippets of everyday life.

 If you would like to sponsor Ever So Juliet then you can do so here! This site reaches 11,000 unique users per month (eek!), so it's an ace & very affordable way to show off what you do. Adverts start at only $5 (which is £3!) for a month on site & a spot in my monthly sponsor feature.

Alternatively I am also always up for a button swap, so please feel free to send me an email (thisisjuliet @ or comment below if you fancy it. Thanks!

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Book love

Each month I chat about what books I've been reading in my monthly Book Love feature.

The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan
Immediately after finishing the Percy Jackson books I went straight into another Rick Riordan series, I just couldn't resist! I found this book a little harder to get into, but probably because the set up was the same ("hey kids, ancient gods exist, you have powers, the world is ending!"). I still think he is a wonderful story-teller though, and it just goes to show that very good kid's fiction can be read by anyone.

The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
This is a really lovely, daft, fun, old school sci-fi novel. There's quite a lot taking place (the novel skips around a lot and covers an entire lifetime), but that's what I think classic sci-fi is about - epic, sometimes ridiculous tales taking place over a huge landscape. There's armies on Mars! Brain-washing! Time distortion! Mystery! Aliens! Hooray!

Life of Pi - Yann Martel
I tried to read this book years ago, but gave up before Pi even got on his boat (it's one of the few books I've ever quit). Friends that had read it all insisted it was worth struggling through the start for, but I didn't pick it up again until after watching the film (which I sort of regret). Anyway - it's a weird one, I really loved the book on my second attempt, but I knew I would because I had loved the film! I feel a bit robbed & cross at myself for giving up all those years ago. Definitely worth powering through!

Tollesbury Time Forever - Stuart Ayris
I knew nothing about this book or author, but saw that it had LOADS of five star reviews on Amazon, so thought I'd give it a go. Oh boy. It really isn't my cup of tea at all. It picked up a lot in the second half, but I just couldn't stand the protagonist... at ALL. I stubbornly stuck with it (because I really hate quitting half way through & I wondered if I'd suddenly realise what all the fuss what about), but vented my frustrations one night on twitter. To my HORROR, the author had obviously been searching for his book name & replied! He was really lovely about it (just thanked me for giving it a go), but I was mortified.. and then felt like I definitely had to continue reading to the end as an apology. Oh dear. Never again.

Monday 25 February 2013

Ladybird Likes

I've been a fan of Ladybird Likes for a while now (I recommend having a look at Zoe's blog too - it's lovely!), but I hadn't found an excuse to order myself anything from her site... until their first birthday rolled round.

The first ten customers to spend over £20 got a free goodie bag worth £30... and I am so chuffed that I was quick enough! I bought three beautiful brooches (a black cat, little owl ampersand) and got everything you can see in photo above - necklaces, earrings, another brooch & a lovely art print. So spoiled!

I'm also a sucker for lovely packaging, so this ticked all of my boxes - there was twine, calligraphy & handwritten notes. So lovely!

Moon collar clips | Retro robot brooch | Paper plane brooch
I'm already planning my next purchase - how cute are these?

Thursday 21 February 2013

What's in your pocket?

Recently I was contacted by the nice folk at Moneysupermarket, to take part in their 'What's in your pocket' challenge - a campaign to celebrate life's 'little wins'. 

They recently put together a feel-good experiment where they set up hidden cameras in a dry cleaners & told customers they'd left a £20 note in their pocket by mistake (you can see their reactions here). It's such a sweet idea - it encourages money saving by feeling good & getting an unexpected surprise (like finding money in your pocket you didn't know was there!). 

I was given £20* and was challenged to spend it on anything I liked, but with the aim to share this feel-good feeling. 

You may know (I feel like I've been going on about it!) that I've really got back into painting this year, and so I thought it would be nice to combine my crafty side with this campaign. So I used my £20 to buy a few new paints (SUCH a treat, as the ones I've been using are over 10 years old!) and some blank cards and envelopes.

First I painted a Valentine's card for Craig - much nicer than a cheesy Hallmark card (and it fits in better with my make-things-for-your-valentine philosophy!). I looked up old tattoos for inspiration (and channelled a bit of Ella Masters too). I'm really pleased with it - it was so much fun to do! (& Craig liked it too, hooray).

I then painted a thank you card for my old boss Robin. I worked for him for almost six years and wanted to give him something nice to say thanks, so I thought a little painting would be perfect! I'm a bit of a sook!

I've got three cards left, and I've barely touched the paints - so they'll last me for a long long time! Shop bought cards can cost up to £4, so this is a good way to save money by making my own. And (hopefully) my friends & family will get a nice surprise when they realise they are handpainted! Win-win!

Wednesday 20 February 2013

A weekend in Athens

A couple of weeks ago Craig & I flew to Greece for a long weekend in Athens. It's one of those places that has been on my "must-go" list for years - I studied Classical Literature for two years at uni & learned a lot about Greek mythology & traditional culture, so I really really wanted to visit in person! I also have, ahem, recently been hooked on the Percy Jackson books which are all about Greek gods!

The Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora
Athens was only three hours away on a direct flight from Edinburgh (which is amazing, I thought the flight would be much longer!). As you fly in for landing you can see loads of little islands & bright blue sea, and then the huge sprawl of Athens (the city & the urban zone around it has a population of over 4 million people!).

Athens (the big hill in the middle is Mount Lycabettus) 
We stayed in the most amazing hotel, the Athens Gate, which was absolutely perfect. It's in a brilliant location - a five minute walk from the Acropolis, right next to the metro station, across the road from the Temple of Zeus (and tour bus stops!), and has the most amazing view from their rooftop restaurant.

Statues on the Erechtheion (next to the Acropolis)
As we were only there for three nights we decided to not rush about madly trying to see everything & instead picked a few key things to do. There's a couple of bus companies that do tours round the city (the ones you can jump on & off) so we booked tickets for that on our first day - it's an ace way to get your bearings and see as much as possible, when you are fairly short for time!

A wee tip if you are doing the city sightseeing bus tour - don't bother with the Piraeus part, unless you are a big fan of cruise ships!

We visited the Panathenaic Stadium, which was amazing! It is an ancient stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games & is built entirely from white marble. 

When we visited the only other people to be seen were a group of women in traditional dress, walking around very slowly & men in Olympic jackets looking cold. We were trying to work out exactly what was happening (without just staring... it felt like we'd just walked in on some ceremony) & saw them light a torch several times, using the sun & a big metal dish.

Turns out that we had stumbled upon a dress rehearsal for the European Youth Olympic Festival lighting ceremony, which was the next day. So cool! 

After the Olympic group left (we had been slowly wandering round listening to the audio tour), we were given free reign of the stadium - so I couldn't resist posing on the podium (I'm number one!) and Craig ran a lap! 

The other big destination on our trip was the Acropolis & Parthenon - it's such an iconic site and it was amazing to be up close and walk around in such a historic place! Again it was super quiet when we were visiting, so it did feel really special to stand in the middle of such history and look out over Athens.

Just down from the Parthenon is an Ancient Agora, with a big temple in the middle of beautiful ruins & gardens. We sat here for ages and it was my favourite moment of the whole trip. There was a market near by, so we could hear music & chattering voices filter through the trees, but it was so calm and peaceful and quiet! I sketched the temple (annoyingly I only had a ballpoint pen, but I'm quite happy with the outcome!), and just basked in the sunshine.

There had been a bit of trouble in the city at the start of the year, so we were at first a bit cautious about going to places where the locals had been protesting... but we really didn't need to worry! There wasn't a bit of trouble (although there was a lot of angry graffiti) and everyone was so nice and friendly. The whole city had such a relaxed feel to it, and they have the shiniest metro I've seen - even cleaner than Hong Kong's!

Can you tell I'm a bit in love with Athens?

If you are looking for a weekend away I'd definitely recommend it - I want to go back!

Monday 18 February 2013

25 facts about me

I'm jumping on the blogging bandwagon today! It feels like absolutely everyone has written their own version of this post, but I've found them really interesting to read (particularly if it's from a beauty or fashion blogger who doesn't do many personal posts). If you have written one please link it in the comments below so I can have a gander!

So here's my version - twenty five random facts about me.

1. I was once asked to make Peter Andre's birthday cake, which would have been given to him on stage at his gig at the Picture House. But I couldn't handle the pop star pressure, so I said no! 

2. I love animals so much and have had pets my whole life. I sort of don't trust people who don't like animals! If I won the lottery I would buy lots of land and set up a sanctuary for unwanted & mistreated pets. 

3. When I was at university I worked in a cinema and absolutely loved it (I think it's the perfect student job!).  I loved watching movies, talking about movies & getting paid to recommend movies, it was such a dream! These days I try to go to the cinema at least once every two weeks... once a week ideally! 

4. My favourite book is Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson. I saw her talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival last year & it was one of the best events I've ever been to. 

5. I cry at films SO easily, I'm a wuss. As well as crying at ridiculous films that don't really deserve a wail (er, Matrix 2...), I have also embarrassed Craig & various pals by crying for AGES after the film finishes (after watching The Fountain I cried for at least fifteen minutes on the walk home). Oh cringe.

Hieroglyphs | L.A. | Brand New
6. The first CD I ever bought was It's Like That by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins. I remember feeling SO cool playing it on my walkman, ha! 

7. I love the Final Fantasy video games (top three favourites: eight, seven, nine). I can't even imagine how many hours of my life have been spent playing them. 

8. I've always been fascinated by Egyptian history & mythology. In school I tried to teach myself hieroglyphs (badly), in university I took Archaeology for two years & recently I've studied the Pyramid Age & Hieroglyphs and Myths as evening classes. I am rubbish at languages though, so I still struggle to translate hieroglyphs in museums! 

9. My favourite band is Brand New. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Simon and Garfunkel, Ani DiFranco, Jay Z  & all of the terrible pop music they play on Radio One. 

10. I have been to the following countries: America (to twenty one states), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Cuba, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Greece, China, New Zealand and Turkey. I thought I was quite well travelled until I got a scratch map & realised what a huge amount of the world was left to see. 

Lord of the Rings (just an excuse to post Aragorn's face tbh) | Eating! | Nail art
11. When I was in primary school I had an operation to correct a muscle problem on my eye. After the surgery I had double vision for months, and was not allowed to read, write, or watch tv to avoid any strain on my eyes! 

12. I am terrible and always bite my nails. That's why I like nail art so much, if I've spent hours painting my nails then I am much less likely to nibble them.

13. I'll eat almost anything, apart from seafood (fish suppers from the chip shop are the only exception to this rule!).

14. My ears used to be stretched (not much, only to about 6mm). I got them done when I was at uni & only took my plugs out a year or so ago (much to my mum's relief... who was convinced I'd need surgery to get them back to normal!). 

15. I know a ridiculous amount of trivia about the Lord of the Rings films, due to watching every single programme & behind the scenes DVD that existed whilst procrastinating at uni! 

Cupcakes | Harry Potter | Disney
16. I ran a cupcake company for two years (& was the very first cupcakery in Edinburgh!). I made cakes for weddings, birthdays & everything else you can imagine... on top of a full time job. My biggest order was for the new Topshop on Princes St - I baked 800 cupcakes that were handed out to customers on the opening day. I closed the business to focus on my magazine job, and don't regret it at all, but do wonder what life would be like if I had chosen cakes instead!

17. Whenever a Harry Potter film comes on TV I have to watch it... no matter how many times I have seen it before. One weekend over Christmas I watched the Deathly Hallows (both parts) two days in a row as they were being shown on Sky movies & I just couldn't resist. 

18. One year I took part in the MoonWalk - an overnight marathon that raises money for Breast Cancer charities. I trained for ages, but sprained my foot badly two weeks before the walk & was so slow and sore... not something I'm keen to repeat! 

19. When I was a teenager I was in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember when Romeo & Juliet was released my best friend was super jealous because he said my name in the film. My dad even bought me a book, that just had photos of him swooning. Ha ha ha. 

20. I've been to four out of the five Disneyland resorts (California, Florida, Paris & Hong Kong). I really want to visit Japan anyway, but while I'm there I'll have to go to Disney Tokyo to complete the set! 

Love | Craig "jumping" off the cliff | Old books
21. I have been going out with Craig for almost seven years. I knew he was a keeper when he told me Philip K. Dick was his favourite author. Aw! 

22. I've been collecting old books for almost ten years. My favourites are those that have handwritten dedications inside them - I keep meaning to take photos of these & blog about them, some are over 100 years old.

23. When I was in Queenstown (New Zealand) I jumped off a 109m high cliff, freefalling for 60m. I used to think I was okay with heights, but it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done - making myself step over the edge of the cliff into empty space was SO hard! 

24. I am terrified of sharks, and do my best to stay out of the sea (if I don't go in the sea then there's zero chance of being eaten alive!). I blame watching Jaws when I was quite wee for this massive phobia.

25. I have a brand new job which I'm starting today! It's goodbye to the very lovely List (where I worked for almost six years!) and hello to the Edinburgh International Science Festival. How exciting (if a bit scary, I have first day nerves!). 

Sunday 17 February 2013

Games night

My life tends to be quite busy - I never want to be the person that only lives for the weekend & does nothing mid-week (although it can be nice sometimes!) so I always find myself working on some project or other, and find it hard to say no to events!

Still, the thing I'll always make time for is big catch ups with my pals - I reckon I've got the loveliest friends in the world, and even though I don't get to see half of them nearly as much as I'd like, it's always worth it when I do!

We've been a bit board game mad recently (board games are cool, right?), and set up a games night for the chance to catch up (& be ridiculously competitive with each other!). Ladbrokes very kindly also sent over a night in pack of goodies* to help us have a fun night in - a Marilyn Monroe box set, super indulgent champagne truffles, & a few crafty bits & pieces (which I ended up not using... but I have plans for!).

It was so nice to just take a night out from our busy schedules, and catch up with everyone. Good chat was fuelled by good food, wine (and ridiculous strawberry mojitos), and lots and lots of nibbles (it turns out that dunking toffee popcorn in white chocolate is delicious!).

We also played a whole heap of board games -Trivial PursuitBest of TV & Movies & Articulate - and it was so much fun - even if I was in the losing team!

It's nice to appreciate the smaller moments in life & just be daft with your friends.

Disclaimer: I was very kindly gifted the night in pack courtesy of Ladbrokes, who are celebrating the Oscars with diamond slot games in their online casino. Thanks guys! 

Friday 15 February 2013

How to: cook a simple vegetable stew

I've got a pretty good recipe for you all today - it's warm and filling (perfect for the rainy dark nights we're still having), and is super cheap, healthy, and quick to cook.

To make it even cheaper I've also teamed up with mySupermarket - a site that recommends the cheapest place to shop online for groceries by comparing prices from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Ocado and Waitrose.

I'm in the pretty lucky position that I live near six pretty massive supermarkets (the benefits of living on the edge of town!), which is a huge step up from my student days relying on the tiny co-op by my flat... so in theory I should be in a great position to pick & choose my local shop based on who gives me the best deal! The reality is that I am super lazy - especially when it comes to the weekly shop, so I was intrigued to see how mySupermarket would shape up.

First, get your list of ingredients. Here's what you'll need for the stew.
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 big leek
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 smallish swede
  • mushrooms 
  • 1 pint of vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • small tin (200g-ish tin) of red kidney beans
  • small tin (200g-ish tin) of chickpeas

On mySupermarket it asks you to select a supermarket (I went with Tesco, as that's where we normally end up shopping), and as you add items into your basket it makes suggestions when multi-buys & cheaper items pop up - letting you compare prices for all supermarkets at once.

As I'm lazy I just copied and pasted my list into the Shopping List bit at the top & tweaked it a bit (apparently "1 smallish swede" isn't compatible with computer search engines, ha) until each item was in my basket. It turned out that Asda was £1.24 cheaper than Tesco... which yeah, is a fairly small amount, but this is just one recipe - I imagine if you used this site for each big shop you'd save quite a bit within a year for the same food!

Once you've picked the best shop for you, you can either checkout online (it directs you onto your chosen retailer's website, with the basket all filled up & ready to go), or if you'd rather buy instore, you can print off a shopping list with your chosen items (some deals are online-only though, so keep that in mind!). It's pretty cool & definitely one to bookmark if you are thrifty minded!

Once you have your ingredients in hand (which have only cost you £6.21, hooray), here's how you make the stew.

First, put some olive oil in a large pan & fry the onions slowly for five minutes. While they are cooking, chop up all of your vegetables into smallish chunks. Add them to the pan, cover with a lid and fry it all over a medium heat for five minutes.

The vegetables will have started to soften up at this point. Add in the tomatoes and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then pop the lid back on and simmer for ten minutes.

Add in the beans, give it a good stir & simmer for another five minutes. Then sprinkle with a handful of parsley and enjoy. The vegetables are really nice and tender, and it's such an easy way of filling yourself up with good food. Yum!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Krispy Kreme opens in Edinburgh!

For the last few months Krispy Kreme have been popping up all over Edinburgh, handing out free boxes of doughnuts (it's been pretty good!). This has all been to promote the opening of their first Scottish store which opens today!

Earlier this week I was invited along to the V.I.P. opening (best Monday ever!) to check out what they have on offer. I'm easily won over by doughnuts so be prepared for the sugary giddiness that is about to follow!

SO MANY DOUGHNUTS. The store is in Hermiston Gait, which is a big (and pretty lifeless) retail park on the edge of the city. It's a bit out of the centre of town, but perfect if you are out shopping or driving back into Edinburgh (it has a drive thru! SO indulgent!).

When you walk into the store you can see a huge window that shows you what's going on in the kitchen - I think it's really interesting to see exactly how they doughnuts are made!

First the doughnut batter is heated up in a special booth that lets the dough rise up until it's all soft & fluffy. Then they drop into hot vegetable oil, fry until golden brown, flip, and fry on the other side. Then the conveyor belt moves them under a icing fountain (look! It's ace!) and then cools them down.

We were given fresh doughnuts that has just been iced and they were DELICIOUS. So hot and melt-in-the-mouth & ace!

Craig, Lianne & I going a bit doughnut mental
We also got a chance to tour the kitchen, and decorate our own doughnuts in a massive chocolate fountain! It was so much fun (look at the delighted faces above).

Eventually after eating a mountain of sugar (and being handed 24 doughnuts to take away with us... good grief), we staggered back home. I have since been living off Krispy Kreme and contemplating my first trip to the drive thru... although I might need a wee break from sugar after this week!

The new store opened at 7am this morning and will be open until 10pm every night.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Matalan Click & Collect

Matalan have recently launched a new service - Matalan Click & Collect - which aims to take the hassle out of waiting on on deliveries, by letting you collect your parcel from your local store (and not have to waste hours sitting about waiting on the postie!).

They asked me to try out the service & report back, so here's how I got on...

I've been eyeing up a few bits & pieces from their homeware section for a wee while now (seriously, look at these jars! & these ones! Love!), but was won over by clothes (and justified it by saying - it's spring! I need a new wardrobe!).

I ordered a navy cardigan*, cream lace dress* & denim shirt* and opted to pick them up from one of the Edinburgh stores. It was super easy to navigate around their site & check out (I've actually never bought anything online from them before, just in store), and it told that I'd get an email letting me know when I could pick up my items... which would be within three days. So far, so good!

Ahh - is it really obnoxious to have myself as my phone wallpaper? I promise I don't normally!
The very next day I got a text telling me that my order was ready to collect, so on my next free day I nipped into the store, showed the confirmation email on my phone (no need to worry about printing things out) & collected my parcel. Super easy, and no ridiculous drive to a delivery office that only opens during working hours!

The only danger with Click & Collect is that as soon I was in store I thought - oh, I might as well have a wee wander round the shop & try things on... wouldn't hurt (etc) - and ended up buying two new dresses! (This jersey dress in two different fabrics). I would have actually bought a third one in the same cut (which is super flattering on me!), but they didn't have my size in store... perhaps that's one for my next online order!

Overall, this was a super easy (& fun!) experience. I hate hate hate missing parcels... and it's great to have another option for ordering online (especially when it's so speedy). Thanks Matalan!

Disclaimer: I was gifted credit to use on items of my choice from Matalan. All opinions my own! (It really was super quick). 

Monday 11 February 2013

French bulldog inspired wishlist

Craig & I are looking at getting a dog sometime soon (fingers crossed this year!), and I have the awesome job of researching breeds to see what type will fit best into our lifestyle & live happily alongside Riley. We'd wanted to get a rescue dog (Riley was a rescue cat), but most advice recommends getting a young dog so they can grow up alongside the cat without terrorising it... which opens up the wonderful world of puppies!

I never used to be a fan of small dogs, but keep finding myself coming back to french bulldogs - I can't resist their squishy little faces! I also didn't realise the whole world of french bulldog inspired items out there... look at this lot!

Top row

Bottom row

I don't know how work-appropriate the shoes are, but they are super cute! I want it all please.

Anyway, it would be criminal to publish this post without any photos of the dogs themselves, so here we go....

Photos from Love Maegan's french bulldog pinterest board
AWWWWWHHH. Hiya pups!

Friday 8 February 2013

Illustrated Blogger #1: A Rosie Outlook

Welcome to a brand new feature - Illustrated Bloggers! Each month I'll be introducing you to one of my favourite bloggers & telling you why they are brilliant. I'm also going to (gulp!) paint their portrait... fingers crossed you know who it's meant to be!

First up, it's this lovely lady...
Who is she?  Rosie from A Rosie Outlook

What's her site about? A UK lifestyle & fashion blog

Why is she brilliant? 
  • Rosie's blog is a snapshot into her life - full of adventures, photos of the seaside & good advice.
  • I absolutely adore the way she writes, it's just like reading letters from an old friend. 
  • A Rosie Outlook covers a huge range of topics: DIYs, recipes, wishlists, outfit posts & lovely photos. Perfect for reading with a big cup of tea!
  • Rosie has the most adorable schnoodle dog called Bodhi, who makes regular appearances on her blog.  I'm a total sucker for a cute pup face. 
  • Her hair is the perfect shade of just-lilac, I have proper hair envy!

Wednesday 6 February 2013


For the last year I have been pining over satchels - in particular, a brown leather, keep forever kind of satchel. To try & satisfy my cravings, I kept buying cheap bags from high street shops that fell apart or got unstitched and ratty very quickly, but still found it hard to justify spending anything over £50+ on a bag.

So it was VERY exciting (and lovely and thoughtful), when my very generous parents bought me one for my Christmas present (all of my christmas hints must have worked!). Thanks mum & dad!

Leather Satchel Company review

There are loads of satchel makers out there, but I knew I wanted to use The Leather Satchel Co - a satchel maker who has been in business since the 1960s (so they know their stuff!). They hand-craft each satchel to your exact requirements & each one comes with a 5 year craftsmanship guarantee .

Leather Satchel Company review

As I'm planning to use this bag for a very long time, I thought it made sense to get it exactly as I wanted it!

So I ordered a 14" satchel in London tan leather (it looks quite orangey in some of these photos, but it's a really rich chestnut brown). I got them to add a briefcase handle and change the traditional straps to magnetic fasteners (much easier to get in and out, but still looks lovely!). Also, because I couldn't resist, I asked for my name to be blind embossed across the front. Super indulgent, yes, but I love it!

Leather Satchel Company review

It took less than two weeks from ordering to delivery, which is pretty good considering it's all made by hand!  Currently the leather is quite stiff, but it'll age really well & the leather will soften up. I LOVE IT. 

The size fits my laptop perfectly & is big enough to fit in an A4 pad (just! If you wanted to carry a folder you'd be better sizing up). My only issue is that I'm used to having a wee zip pocket for my keys & phone, and it's a bit weird just throwing them into the bag (there is a big front pocket, but I feel weird about putting keys in there). Still, that's a small gripe - I think I just need to get something zippy to hold my valuables. 

Satchels start at £80+ when ordering directly from the workshop, but you can also buy them from ASOS & amazon (good when they have sales on!). 

Monday 4 February 2013

Kiehl's, Edinburgh

Last week I was invited to visit Kiehl's flagship UK store (the largest one in Europe!) for a skincare consultation and a chat about the brand. The store sits in the very swish Assembly Rooms on Edinburgh's George St - a street that's well known for high-end brands and designer items.

I'd popped into Kiehl's before but scurried off before actually speaking to anyone (it looked too expensive for me!) so I was pretty excited to have a proper look & see what they had to say.

Kiehl's was founded as a New York apothecary in 1851. The founder (John Kiehl) passed the business to his apprentice (Irvine Morse), who handed it down through his family for the next 150ish years. I really loved hearing the history of the company - they have a big scrapbook in store that you can look through, and photos of the owners are up all over the walls. Over the years the business moved from traditional pharmaceuticals to skin care lines, with each family member adding items & developing the product ranges (for example, one daughter was a big fan of dressage, so she created horse care products!).

In 2000 the company partnered with L'Oréal in a bid to grow the brand's presence - but under the strict conditions that Kiehl's values were upheld, and that the generous sampling policy would be kept in place.

The Edinburgh store carries bath, body, skin & hair care products, plus specialised ranges for men, babies & athletes. There's a big treatment bar in the middle of the shop, a coffee bar & a men's barber area... Boots this is not. It's a seriously beautiful shop to look at.

For my consulatation, Cheree (the store's supervisor), did two tests - a hydration test (to check how much water was in my skin), and an oil test (to check how much - you guessed it - oil was in my skin). You can actually do the hydration test at home - just push your cheeks in an upwards direction & look for little lines (like crepe paper). If you see them it means your skin is dehydrated & you need to drink more water!

For the oil test she placed two tabs (that looked a little like blotting paper) onto my forehead and cheek to check the oil content of my skin. My forehead measured normal, and my cheeks were a little bit dry, but overall my skin was balanced (which is good. Hooray!). We then chatted through my usual face, body and hair care routine (which is to say, mega lazy and non-existent) and Cheree gathered up loads of samples to show me.

They offer free consultations & samples to EVERYONE and I'd really recommend going in and having a chat if you have a spare 20 minutes! I had been expecting a pushy hard-sell (as you'd get with some of the other high-end brands), but instead it was really relaxed & chatty - they want you to take away samples & then come back when you're won over by the products, rather than push you for a quick buck.

The products are fairly pricey (think £15.50 for a 75ml moisturiser), but they are designed to last for AGES - they recommend using pea-sized amounts of each product at a time, as a little is designed to go a very long way!

As a little treat, Kiehl's are offering a 10% discount to anyone who quotes Ever So Juliet in the Edinburgh store. This discount will run through February, so there's plenty of time to pop in for some samples & a chat, then buy the products you love a few weeks later!

I'll keep you updated on how I'm getting on with the samples I'm trying... so far so good though (I'm actually remembering to use the cleanser each night, which is already a big improvement for a make up wipe addict!).

Kiehl's is based in the ground floor of the Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh.