Wednesday 31 July 2013

July instagram

July was FUN. I heart summer. 

1. Trying out Rock the Lab tattoos at work. I like working in science, I do!

2. More science! We turned Edinburgh's Summerhall into another planet for Fuselab, a bootcamp for young innovators (who all put teenage me to shame). I got to sneak in and watch a morning session - not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.

3. Dinner at The Vintage Leith, an amazing bar & restaurant that opened up on the Shore this year. If you live in Edinburgh and haven't been yet, you have to go - it's so good!

4. Embracing my inner hipster, with a ridiculous pair of raybans (shh, I love them).

5. The weather has been incredible - almost 28 degrees (that's amazing for Edinburgh) and so scorching. After work one day I headed to the beach with pals, paddled, and watched the sun set. Perfect!

6. Raewyn, my Sri Lanka partner-in-crime, on the night that inspired this blog post.

7. Watching Jazz & Blues in Princes St Gardens as part of the Edinburgh Festivals Carnival (which launches the Jazz & Blues Festival). I know I go on about it a lot, but I absolutely adore living in a festival city.

8. Cuddling that idiot. He wasn't very happy, but he's very patient with me.

9. Assembly Festival gardens opened their doors in July, and it's the nicest place to go on a sunny day. It looks like they've got some amazing (and super veggie-friendly) street food set up too, so I reckon I might just move in here in August.

10. Look at my cherry tree! I grew actual cherries! So proud.

11. I bought my dad a copy of Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art speech and couldn't resist getting one for myself too. I'm a bit in love with all of it, but this page in particular stood out to me. It reads:
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art. I'm serious.
12. Well, it might not be that good, but I'm making art. Here's the start of my next illustrated blogger, who is coming soon!

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Outfit: swedish shoes

Here's another slouchy outfit (it's too sticky and damp for nice dresses at the moment). This is mainly an excuse to show off my LOVELY NEW SHOES, which annoyingly I can't really wear outside as it's very soggy, and I am scared I will slip and fall over (I am terrible at wearing heels at the best of times!).

Blazer - Urban Outfitters
T-shirt - Primark
Slouchy jeans - Primark
Wooden sandals - Le Comptoir Scandinave*
Necklace - Accessorize

This is pretty lazy dressing, but I hope the shoes make it a wee bit interesting! I've had my eye on a pair of Swedish clog-types for quite a long time, so was pretty pleased to find a pair that looked walkable in!

I got the blazer from Urban Outfitters pretty recently too, and it's so perfect for summer! It's really light to wear, but looks pretty smart - I've got a few nights out coming up so I am picturing myself wearing this over a nice dress (although, realistically, it'll be raining and I'll end up wearing my cheap and ancient raincoat that I am a bit in love with).

Let's just not talk about my ridiculous hair today. It can't handle rain. Or humidity. Or sunshine, really.

Monday 29 July 2013

Book love

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

The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness
Oh dear. I had such HUGE expectations for this book - I am utterly in love with Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, and was so excited to begin his newest work. But it just fell flat. It's a story that retells a Japanese folk tale in a normal (fairly boring) world. There are very beautiful passages (he is a brilliant writer after all), but I just did not care about the main characters at ALL, and a lot of it felt like he was trying very hard to say very clever things, without actually succeeding. Wah!

E. E. Cummings - Selected Poems 1923 - 1958
Beautiful, quirky, lovely poetry. It somehow manages to both be simple and easy enough to dip into every now and again, and deep enough to catch your breath and give a little more sense to the world. If poetry just brings back memories of dire days over-analysing classic works in school, I hugely recommend looking out ee cummings - you won't regret it.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Thunderstorm wishlist

Well, I don't know if you've seen recently, but Scotland has been glorious. Proper, HOT, sunny-all-day, 28 degrees type of weather. Sunshine that lasted for WEEKS, rather than a few hours here and there.

Obviously it couldn't last. Once again the skies have turned grey, and the seemingly endless rain has also been accompanied by incredible thunder and lightning storms. Even though I have just bought two new pairs of lovely sandals that I now CAN'T WEAR (wah), I won't moan, I promise.

Instead, I'm going to try and look on the bright side of a rainy day, and have put together this thunderstorm themed wishlist to help me do just that.

Top row

Bottom row

Surely everyone wants a lightning storm on their knees, right?

Friday 26 July 2013

The best things to see at the Edinburgh Festivals

Okay, it's LESS THAN ONE WEEK away. Let's talk about the cultural behemoth that is fast approaching my fine city's shores...

This year there are 2,871 shows taking place at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. That's 24,107 artists in  273 venues...  NOT EVEN including any of the fun things taking place at the Book, International, or Art festivals.

So how do you pick? Well really you should just go out and take a chance - open a festival programme at random and pick the show that jumps out to you from the page, wander down the Royal Mile and chat to performers and people flyering (as well as watching some ace street performers!), or ask the people sitting next to you in the pub what they'd recommend. Watching something TERRIBLE and finding amazing hidden gems is all part and parcel of the Edinburgh Festivals experience.

But if that sounds like too much hard work, then go and see one of these instead:





Something Awesome

Something FUN

PHEW. Hopefully that helps! If you still feel a bit overwhelmed, then take a look at my guide on how to do the Edinburgh festival and have a cup of tea. It's going to be brilliant. 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Sri Lanka!

Picture the scene.

I was in an Edinburgh pub (this one actually. Quite nice, quite cheap, annoyingly slow service though), with one of my very best girls (Raewyn. Her picture's been on here a few times). We were drinking large glasses of wine (of course) & I was spilling my heart out about how break ups are sad and weird and a bit knackering (they are. Of course they are.).

Rae interrupts.

"Let's go on an adventure!" she says.

I can't afford it. I have to sell a house, find a flat, pay all sorts of moving costs, yadda yadda ya.

"We'll go in December!" she says, eyes lit up. "Adventures!".

Now Rae is one of the most likeable, fun people I know. I am very much on Team Rae. And two-and-a-bit glasses of wine in, with self-pity on my shoulders, and the knowledge that a credit card was happily sitting in my wallet, I said yes & joined Team Adventure.

So I'm going to Sri Lanka! For AGES. HIYA.

Photo from
It's going to be amazing.

We're flying out in December for three-and-a-bit weeks, stopping first in the Maldives for four nights (omg), and then flying to Sri Lanka and travelling across the island for the rest of the trip. I've never been away from home over Christmas before... and this year I'll be spending Christmas, New Year AND my birthday in foreign lands.

We're going to go to markets, visit an elephant orphanage (!), swim in the sea, wander along beautiful beaches, hang out with turtles, eat amazing food (I hope), and have an amazing time (I know). And I've only got... twenty weeks to wait.

If you've been to Sri Lanka before and have any tips on where to go or what to see, please suggest them! And if YOU are sitting, swithering over something that you maybe can't quite justify, just do it. And join Team Adventure too.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Burgher Burger

People of Edinburgh! You might want to take a look at this....

Burgher Burger (run by the very brilliant people from Jelly & Gin) is a guerilla dining experience like no other. They take an established chef out of their (posh) restaurant, stick them in an unexpected venue (usually a greasy spoon cafe), and offer up a three course set menu chosen by their chef of the night. It's a meat-loving, super-friendly* communal dining experience, that elevates burgers from lowly pub food to things to be worshipped. How awesome is that?!

*it's definitely not super friendly to vegetarians. Sorry veggies.

Burgher Burger disappeared from Edinburgh late last year, but is back (hooray!) for a super posh pop-up in the The Pommery Bar at The Signet Library during August. They've released the menu, which sounds pretty brilliant. Check it out...

 Starter: Chicken and corn soup with popcorn and polenta bread
Main: Beef burger with horseradish sour roll, deep-fried panko covered potato balls, chilli chutney and charred onions
Dessert: Pear and drambuie tiramisu

Tickets are £55, which gets you a cocktail, a three course meal and half a bottle of Pommery Champagne (so a bit of a bargain really). It's on for four nights over August, and tickets can be bought here:

p.s. if any of my pals are reading this and want to go - let's DO it!

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Outfit: hello hipster

Let's talk about glasses. I looooove sunglasses, but as someone with pretty good eyesight, I've never really seen the point in wearing fake 'geek' glasses. I mean, surely, it's just a bit weird and show-offy?

Well. I'm going to hold my hands up and say that I've turned into a bit of a show off. I was offered a pair of designer glasses to review for this blog, and after a quick poll of my workpals ("Will I look ridiculous? Should I say yes? Am I turning into a mega hipster?") I said YES PLEASE, and picked an amazing pair of Ray-Ban Glasses that really are a bit too good for me.

They arrived super quick (thanks!), and then sat on my desk for ages as I tried to work up the nerve to wear them. Typing this seems super daft - they are just glasses after all! - but I think I realised the dark dangerous slope I was standing upon.

Because.. well. Look at them.


They are SO MUCH FUN. In about three minutes I went from - oh god, I don't think glasses suit me, I feel like a Clark Kent wannabe, to someone who was posing and instagramming like they've never done before.

I figured I'd embrace a purposefully hipster-esque outfit to match them, so I paired them up with this...

Women's Glasses - Ray-Ban Wayfarer Glasses
T-shirt - American Apparel
Shorts - New Look
Necklace - Accessorize
Scrabble Ring - Etsy
Unbrushed hair - Oops

Okay, maybe it's not the hippest outfit, but it was a SUPER hot day and this looked cute (I promise it did. One of these days I'll learn how to not pose awkwardly).

I wore them out to town (for an afternoon of reading in the park, gin in the sunshine, and Sunday night noodles), and didn't want to take them off. I love them, and if that makes me a show off, then bring it on - I have super cool glasses!

Disclaimer:  MyOptique sent me a pair of glasses to review. Thanks guys! 

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Book love

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

The Princess Bride - William Goldman
How have I lived for twenty seven years without reading this book? This was a gift from a pal, and has sat, slightly neglected, in my library for over a year. How little I knew. I saw the film a few years ago, and because it's quite funny and lovely and very good, I didn't think I needed  to rush and read the book. But, oh. Buttercup! Westley! The narration (which could come across as contrived and a bit ridiculous - but is actually perfect, and leaves you just on the verge (ahem) of googling Morgenstern to find the original text). It's a brilliant, funny, wonderful, sharp fairytale of true love and devestation and YOU SHOULD READ IT.

Illium - Dan Simmons
Imagine the Iliad (you know - Homer? Troy? That pesky Helen?). Now imagine setting it on MARS, throwing in some Shakespeare-obsessed robots from Jupiter, and an earth populated by the last of the humans. It's bonkers and it probably shouldn't work, but it really does! Dan Simmons is brilliant, I really love everything I've read by him. If sci-fi isn't your thing, and you want something scary, I would hugely recommend The Terror - ahhhhh!

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
I'm so late to the Gatsby party, and didn't read the book until after watching the film (bad English Literature graduate, bad). You all know what it's about, right? Wealth! Love! Mystery! Broken hearts! The roaring twenties! It's good, I flew through it, there's lovely turns of phrase every now and again, but I feel like I missed out a bit by not getting to experience the story properly through the book (as I had literally just seen the film - which was beautiful, but a bit flat). I should really make a list of classics I'm still to read, and get started on them before this happens again!

Monday 15 July 2013

June instagram

I am getting later and later at doing these posts each month - I'm definitely not on my best blogging form at the moment (but in my defence, I do have a good excuse)!

June has FLOWN by, and with it has come sunshine, parties, adventures and pals. Here's what it looked like for me...

1. The sun came out & I spent many a happy afternoon reading in the sunshine. After watching the Great Gatsby I finally got round to reading the book - more of this in my next book love post!

2. I got to spend an entire day with my pal Niki & his dog Eddie (HI EDDIE) - he's such a cool little guy! (The dog. Niki is cool too though).

3. I tidied up my garden and found this mismatch of gnarled vegetables. Now there's tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, squash and pumpkins (!) growing.

4. Borrowing my pal Jules' amazing sparkly gold shoes for a fancy event. I'm such a magpie, I love them!

5. Hanging out with my pal Lucy (and a really tiny pint), in my favourite Edinburgh pub.

6. Hi Riley! I wish I could be even half as comfy as he looks!

7.  Matching outfits with my palio Jude at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival launch. Countdown to the most wonderful time of the year (aka the Fringe!) is on, and I absolutely can't wait. I love August in Edinburgh!

8. Every summer The List holds a midsummer party with fancy music, lovely people & an entire roast pig - yum! After the monsoon last year, it was luckily a glorious sunny night, and I got to see all of my old work pals (who I've actually not left alone since changing jobs, ha, but it was nice to be back in my old stomping ground!).

9. I went camping to a beautiful place in Scotland, Glen Etive, with my pal Joshua & his flatmate's ace camper van! I'll blog in more detail about this soon (as it was absolutely stunning!), but in the meantime here's a photo of the extreme measures we had to go to after being attacked by thousands of midgies... aaargh!

10. Trying out some of the samples at a Slow Food event... all in the name of work. It's a hard life!

11. Fancy hair for the Edinburgh Film Festival opening party. I got to walk a red carpet and drink fancy cocktails with lots of beautiful looking people in glamorous outfits. So much fun!

12. One of the films I saw at EIFF was For Those in Peril - an intense, but brilliant film set in a tiny Scottish community. My wonderpal Steph worked on the film, and it was the first time I've seen her name in credits - I'm so so proud!