Monday 30 September 2013


I love Halloween, I am such a child. It's such a good excuse to play with make up, embrace being a bit scary, and bake things worthy of Hogwarts/Sabrina the Teenage Witch (was anyone else obsessed with trying candycorns after that Halloween episode?).

Last year I ran a series of Halloween DIYs in the run up to October 31st, which were really fun to do, so I'm bringing that back for 2013! As before, I'll do a mix of make up, crafty things and baking, and I'll try to use stuff that you should have in your house already (or at least, stuff that isn't a nightmare to find!). 

To start, I'm going pretty gruesome, with a step by step tutorial to a terrifying zip face.... Enjoy!

For this look you will need:

  • A 30cm zip that sort-of matches your skintone (make sure it has metal teeth!). I got mine in John Lewis (they have an ace haberdashery section)
  • Pale foundation
  • Concealer
  • Red and black eyeshadow
  • Black eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Liquid latex (you can get this from a joke or costume shop)
  • Fake blood 

Start by covering your face with foundation - you want to look a bit ghostly and ill so really slap it on!

Now get red eyeshadow (mine is from an Urban Decay palette, and is a metallic red) and put loads on - all over your top lids, underneath your eyes and down your cheeks a little bit. I just used my fingers for this as it's okay to be messy! You want to look a bit bruised and creepy.

Start building on black eyeshadow on your top lids and along the lower lashline, and make it smudgy. Add eyeliner! A kohl pencil is good for this (rather than liquid eyeliner) - I used a smudgy Urban Decay pencil.

Keep building up the red and black shadows, until you get super sunken, bruised looking, smoky eyes (what a look!). Use your finger to work the shadow down the sides of your nose and cheek, but try not to cover all the red colour with black - it'll look better if you can see the different layers of the shadow.

Now, get your liquid latex and paint the back of the zip. Make sure you cover the whole thing and the edges - you want this to be secure on your face all night!

Place the zip in the position you want it to sit (this is SUCH a good look for me), press down firmly and hold it in place until it starts to feel secure. Then go over the edges with latex, and don't be scared to slather it on! I used a paintbrush (and enlisted a pal to help), but you should be able to do this solo - the zip should be sticky enough from one coat of latex to stay put while you layer your glue! 

Be patient and wait about ten minutes - you might want to hold the pieces of zip under your chin in place while they dry.

The latex will dry in white splodges so you'll need to cover the edges of the zip in foundation to try and blend it into your face. I layered on concealer, then covered this in more foundation. Use your eyeshadows over the zip on your cheeks and at the side of your nose - this helps it all look like it's actually coming out of your face.

If you are careful with the latex and paint it on in smooth light layers, you'll get a smoother finish than I have here. I actually quite like the lumps of glue on my cheeks though, I think it makes my face look a bit scarred and horrible... which is what you want with this look!

Now, the gooey bit! Get your fake blood - I couldn't find any in shops (what do you mean it's only September?) so I made my own with honey, flour, red food colouring and red and black paint. If you can buy some, I'd recommend that instead, as this was SO STICKY.

Paint the blood on your nose, chin and throat, and let it drip down for a really horrible look.

It's so horrible, but SO good! Have fun freaking out your pals... 

Friday 27 September 2013

Book love

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

The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson
I hadn't read anything by Jon Ronson before, but I'm hooked after just one book. He's such an intelligent writer, and is super witty and funny too - even when looking at quite harsh topics. What a chap! This book races through psychopathy, psychiatry, Scientology, conspiracy theorists, mysterious hoaxes, and all sorts of strange behaviours. You'll speed through it.

Watership Down - Richard Adams 
This is a novel about rabbits, but it is so so so much better than that sounds. Think Animal Farm and you're on the right track... it's surprisingly gritty and violent in places, and the effort that has gone into creating the history & mythos of the rabbits is just BRILLIANT. I've been obsessed with the film since I was wee (the opening scene absolutely terrified me) and can't imagine how many times I've actually watched it, but hadn't read the book since I was a teenager. It's really just SO good, and worth taking a chance on (even if you don't really like rabbits).

Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
Aw, Neil Gaiman. If you haven't read anything by him then you need to immediately go to a bookshop and purchase something with his name on it. Doesn't really matter what. Ocean is his newest book for sort-of-kids-sort-of-everybody, and it's just lovely and magical and scary and sad and poignant and wonderful.

Warm Bodies -  Isaac Marion
Before starting Warm Bodies I knew it was going to be ridiculous. It's a zombie romance novel. A zom-rom. The front cover has a quote from Stephenie Mayer (her of Twilight fame, obv). It was going to be daft, but brilliant, I thought. And.. well... oh. I was just SO annoyed with it! I didn't care about any of the characters, they did stupid, stupid things, sulked about & just wound me up. I think it mainly frustrated me as I really liked the concept, and some of the imagery was just lovely. But it didn't deliver. Grr!

Monday 23 September 2013

How to: make a hula hoop

Say hello to my new favourite hobby - hula hooping! I was always RUBBISH at hula hooping as a kid (along with whistling, cartwheels and headstands... what kind of childhood did I have?!) but it recently came back into my life when I met my pal Joshua, who is some sort of hooping master! (Seriously, he goes to hoop camp and everything).

Anyway, before I knew it, I was hooked & had to make one of my own. Here's how you do it.

To make your very own hula hoop you need the following:
It's pretty easy to get the bits and pieces you need to make a hoop, but things like the pipe seem to only come in longish stretches, which means it might be worth teaming up with a pal or two to split costs! That or make yourself a hoop for every day of the week.

Start by measuring the size of your hoop. It should go up to your navel - mine is slightly bigger because I'm a beginner, and a bigger hoop spins more slowly, and is therefore easier to learn with!

Cut it with pipe cutters (and be careful when using scary scissors!) and make sure the ends are neat.

Now you need to heat the ends of the pipe so they are soft enough that the pipe connector will fit in. We soaked it in very hot water for a few minutes, but you can also hold straightners over the end if you can't be bothered to boil the kettle!

Shove the connector in, and make sure the hoop is firmly connected. If it's hard to join it together either heat it for a little longer, or wiggle the hoop up and down  until it slides in. Give yourself a pat on the back for making a hoop!

Now the really fun bit - making it pretty! Tape is good because it adds a bit of weight to the hoop (which slows it down, and makes it a little easier to use), adds grip, and looks lovely. I used white electrical tape to cover the entire hoop, blue glitter tape for a bit of sparkle, and red gaffer tape that has a bit of texture.

Try to be very patient when wrapping your hoop - you want to keep the tape nice and flat, and evenly spaced out if you are making it stripy. It turns out it takes a surprising amount of concentration (and at one point, two pairs of hands) but it's so satisfying when it's done!

Look at my lovely hoop! I've been practising almost every night and I am definitely getting better (when I first started I could barely keep it going round my waist). I'm mainly doing it because it's SO much fun (surprisingly so) and I want to learn loads of tricks, but it's also meant to be great exercise as it really works your core.

Go forth and hula! Let me know if you make one yourself...

Thursday 19 September 2013

Gold wishlist

Every time I start a blog post by commenting (mainly moaning) about the weather, I'm reminded of what a massive British cliché I am. But in Scotland it really is quite ridiculous - you can get every possible combination of weather in a day (I'm only slightly exaggerating... but sunshine, hail, sunshine, rain, snow, light shower isn't that uncommon in winter!).

Now September has struck, the days are getting much darker, the winds are freeeezing, and skies are pretty much permanently grey (except for one stupidly sunny day last weekend, which will feature in a blog post soon! I told you the weather was indecisive). Anyway, one of the nice things about darker days (alongside cosy duffel coats and hats with pom poms!) is that it feels acceptable to start dressing like a glitter ball - maybe to combat dull freezing days!

I'm pretending to be more of a grown up these days, but I'm still a bit of a magpie at heart... although now I keep finding myself obsessing over gold things - the more obnoxious, the better! I'm still on a spending ban (WOE, when am I not) because of the house & whatnot, so as always, here's a wishlist to help curb my shopping...

Top row

Bottom row

IMAGINE wearing all of this at once. Too much, maybe? I'm lucky enough to already own that satchel - it was a leaving present from my very lovely pals at The List and fits absolutely loads in it - I only ever use satchels these days, I can't imagine going back to normal handbags.

& if dressing like Midas sounds like your idea of hell, but you still want to be a wee bit bling - gold nail polish is lovely, and works really well in nail art designs!

Disclaimer: This post contains a sponsored link.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

The Other Side

We all know who Canongate are yeah? The indie Edinburgh publisher (and my old office neighbours!) who have worked with the like of Patrick Ness, Barack Obama, Michel Faber & Yann Martel (plus loads more)? 

Well, Canongate are turning 40 this year (happy birthday guys!) and to celebrate they are hosting The Other Side - a night of stories, sights and sounds... and it looks like fun.

At the party there will be (deep breaths)... amazing storytellers! Authors Michel Faber (love love love!), Matt Haig, Alasdair Gray and Michael Smith will join poet (and ex-Arab Strap musician) Aidan Moffat, RM Hubbert and Rick Redbeard from the Phantom Band. 

Jeremy Dyson (he of League of Gentleman, Psychobitches, & Ghost Stories) will take guests over to the dark side with his twisted tales (I don't know what this really means, but it sounds great). There will also be music! A showcase of original short films featuring Tilda Swinton (love her), Miranda July, and Gil Scott Heron, AND a preview of Under the Skin (written by Michel Faber, starring Scarlett Johansson, set in deep dark Scotland. Lovely stuff).

AND there will be live art by the super-cool Too Much Fun Club AND even more mash-ups of arty, Scottish, publishing loveliness. Plus, I imagine there will probably be gin.

Sound good? OF COURSE it does. It's on this Thursday (September 19th) at The Jam House, Edinburgh. 

Tickets are only a tenner (what a cultural bargain) and are available here.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Stay Home Club

As a fan of hibernating and cosy homes, I am a big big fan of the Stay Home Club. Run by illustrator, and all-round super person, Olivia Mew (who I've blogged about before - she designed my amazing star wars droid scarf), Stay Home Club is a collection of super cute (and slightly grumpy) items for yourself and your house!

As well as featuring loads of Olivia's illustrations, there's a whole range of things by contributing artists - if you've ever wanted an illustrated pillow then this is your lucky day.

I really want everything, but will do my best to hold off shopping until I get my house/future flat situation sorted (aaargh!). But until then, here's what I've got my eye on...

Top row

 Bottom row

Passive-aggressive apparel is the BEST. Be mine!

Monday 9 September 2013

How to: bake chocolate chip cookies

Autumn is here, days are getting darker, and nights are getting colder. That means it's pretty much perfect time for baking, and a good cookie recipe is something you should have to hand at all times!

Here's what you need:
  • 150g butter
  • 80g light muscovado sugar
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200g plain chocolate chips
  • 75g white chocolate chunks

Start by heating your oven to 175 degrees, and look out some baking trays and baking paper.

Ideally, you should have left your butter out for a while to soften up before baking. I forgot to do this (I'm a rubbish baker sometimes), so instead I grated it into a bowl. This looks super weird, I know (it looks like cheese!), but it makes it a million times easier to mix it, and avoids the danger of any horrible buttery lumps!

Mix together the butter, muscovado sugar and granulated sugar until it's soft and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix again until it's nice and smooth, then add the flour, bicarb of soda and salt. Mix again (I couldn't be bother getting my mixer out, so just used a wooden spoon for the whole thing) until everything's combined.

Now add your toppings! I went a bit chocolate mad with plain chocolate chips and white chocolate chunks (mmm) but you obviously can add anything - raisins, hazelnuts, marshmallows - go wild. Mix it all together so the chocolate is evenly distributed and spoon small dollops of the dough onto your baking tray. Try and spread them out and don't feel like you need to cram loads on the tray - you'll just end up with one MASSIVE cookie if you do this (although that's not necessarily a bad thing!).

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges of each cookie go light brown. They'll be stupidly soft when you first take them out of the oven - that's okay, as they'll harden up as they cool. Just slide them onto a cooling rack (I didn't even bother trying to take them off the paper until they'd cooled down) and leave for a while.

This recipe made about 24 cookies (I only had one baking tray, so it took me three goes to get them all in the oven). They're all a bit mismatched and odd sizes, but who cares about that? They are gooey, chewy, soft cookies and they are delicious.


Sunday 8 September 2013

Being happy

I was talking to a friend the other day about how weird blogging is. I write about my life and the things I like, and I share photos of what I get up to and what I wear. But how honest is it? I wouldn't ever make something up, just so I could write about it, but I leave things out and I gloss over things (and I always take about a million terrible outfit photos before I manage to get a nice one).

I want my blog to be a positive place - so it makes sense to focus on the fun things, but I think it's important to acknowledge every now and again that life ain't all lovely and brilliant. Things have been a bit hard lately, so I just wanted to talk about that.

Russell Loughlan
It's been a weird year for me so far. Lots of amazing, fun, ace things have happened. I've been to brilliant places, and I've made new pals that I absolutely adore. I changed my job, and absolutely love it (although I do miss my magazine days every now and again). Life, in many ways, is treating me well.

But, then again, it's been really difficult on many levels too. My relationship ended at the start of the summer, and my life is totally different. We own a house so we've still been living together, but of course things have changed, everything has changed. The house that we loved and shaped into a lovely home has just gone on the market, and that's all quite scary and exciting and strange to think about. I don't know where I'm going to live (other than the roughest of plans) because I don't know when the house will sell, or when I can move. It's a really odd situation.

Sometimes I'm almost giddy about how exciting the future is. For the first time in a very long time, I don't know what life will be like. I could go anywhere! I could change everything if I wanted! There's so much out there, and I've learned that I can be brave and I can do scary things. But other times I'm really struck by what I've lost. Not just Craig, but the life we planned, the future that was ours. It might not be the right thing for me any more, but I've needed to mourn for the what-could-have-been, and at times I feel like I have the heaviest of hearts.

Russell Loughlan
Luckily, Craig continues to be the nicest person I know. This could have been awful. I've heard horror stories about break ups, and exes living together, and I am so glad that this has been nothing like that. We've been good to each other.

I came across this quote by Jeanette Winterson when I was reading her latest book, Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? and it really stuck with me. I think is worth reading, regardless of how life is treating you.
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. 
The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There's the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that's going to take a lot of energy. 
There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
The pursuit isn't all or nothing - it's all AND nothing. Like all quest stories.

So. I'm not going to be sharing every part of what I'm going through (it is the internet after all), but I'll check in about life things maybe a little more often. And on the whole, I'm quietly optimistic that things are going to work out well. Which is a really nice thing to have.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Book love

Each month I chat about what books I've been reading in my monthly Book Love feature. I haven't read much this month (in my defence, I've had quite a lot on!), but ohhhh have they been good ones.

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness
Oh boy. A Monster Calls comes from an idea by Siobhan Dowd, an author who died of cancer before she could finish the book. Patrick Ness took on the characters, the idea, and the start she had made, to put together a heart-breaking story that is powerful and raw and scary and brutal. It's the story of a teenage boy who is struggling to cope with grief and loss... it's hard to sum it up really. I finished the book on the bus home, and I absolutely sobbed (thank god for dark sunglasses, and bus passengers too polite to say anything). Super powerful stuff. Read it. (But make sure you get the illustrated edition).

Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
I've had a copy of Gone with the Wind sitting on my bookshelf for years, but I always put off reading it as I thought it would be a bit boring (just looking at it brought back horrible memories of Middlemarch, which I struggled through at uni). But one day I was feeling a bit cross and miserable, and I really fancied reading something that was a little miserable too.

It's quite hard to sum up how I feel about Gone with the Wind. On one hand, I absolutely loved it. I love Scarlett - she's brash and she's cunning, she knows exactly what she wants, and despite being so utterly unlikeable at (many, many) points, I adored her. The book follows the epic journey of her life, from her start as a spoiled rich girl obsessed with beaux, through the Civil War, marriages, deaths, betrayals and heartbreak. It gripped me from the opening pages, and I actually felt a bit emotionally shaken throughout - I was so invested in Scarlett, so hurt when she did something foolish, or when she lost things through her own pride and stubbornness. As a character novel it's incredible.

But, bloody hell, it's unbelievably racist. If a book was written a long time ago, can you forgive racism, or sexism, by just writing them off as being "a thing of their time"? Scarlett grows up on a plantation, slavery is a constant throughout the whole book, characters (that you like!) are part of the Klan... Scarlett accepts that, you follow her lead, and that's terrible. So what does that mean for the book itself? Should it not be read?

I've been struggling against this since reading it, and found a few essays online that were pretty interesting (Reading against the Wind by Rohan Maitzen is particularly good). If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to comment - it would be interesting to hear what others think.

Monday 2 September 2013

August instagram

As always, August is one of my very, very favourite months of the year, but I am a bit relieved when September slopes in and life calms down a little. This was the first year in AGES that August wasn't my busiest (working) time of year, so I went on a mission to have as much festivally fun as possible, and I think I did quite well!

I did a little recap of each week during the festival, but here's how the rest of the month turned out.

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. I started my festival fun at The List's Festival Party, which was really good fun, but also really weird as it was my first year not being one of the List gang! It was AMAZING to get to take the day off afterwards though - in previous years I've always had to struggle through the next working day with hardly any sleep!

2. I bought succulents to use in my favourite DIY to date... cactusaurs!

3.  In the name of work I visited the Hendrick's Carnival of Knowledge, drank gin and read the Unusual Times. It's a hard life.

4. My house is just about to go on the market (eeek), so a lot of time this month has been spent tidying up and making it look pretty. I've never had such a clean home, and it is filled with flowers, which I love!

5. I don't quite know how I got away with this, but one morning I was invited to go along to the John Walker & Sons Voyager - a very, very fancy yacht that has been travelling the world to promote their new whisky (which sells for £600 a bottle, eeeek). I got treated to a fancy breakfast where Gordon Buchanan chatted about adventure, a tour of the boat, and the chance to pretend I was very, very rich for one morning. It was awesome! If anyone else wants to invite me to fancy parties, feel free.

6. One of my best pals laughed at me for being inspired by Katy Perry's new song (what? It's SO catchy!) but I just couldn't help it. Here's my lion girl in progress - I'm really pleased with this one!

7. My very favourite indie shop, Hannah Zakari, made another zine and asked me to contribute a tutorial, which was very exciting as I heart them so. I was so excited to see it (and it came with the loveliest of cards and the most ridiculously generous thank you parcel), but got SUCH A FRIGHT when I opened it to see a massive photo of my face. Ha! If you like lovely photos and interviews (or if you fancy making your own Ever So Juliet mask) hightail it now to their shop before stocks run out!

8. Summerhall was one of my favourite venues this festival. It's the old Edinburgh vet school that's been turned into a multi-arts venue, and it's so quirky and cool! This was a pop-up haircutting shed in their courtyard... what you can't see is that all the hair chopped off was stuck to the sides of the shed (aaawrgh).

9. I read Gone with the Wind and I feel emotionally exhausted. More in my next book love post!

10. As part of operation-tidy-house, we finally cleared out loads of stuff that had started to live in the library... restoring it to the position of my Very Favourite Room. Books are the very best.

11. On that topic, here's Charlotte Square, home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Edinburgh is so beautiful, I can't stand it sometimes. Well done, city o' mine.

12. To end the month on a bit of a posh note, I went to the Lord Provost's Garden Party which was thrown for people who had done good deeds for Edinburgh (I managed to wing my invite through work, and felt mildly guilty throughout the day as there were so many GOOD people there!). Still, it was loads of fun! I drank fizz, I played croquet, I made a choir laugh (mid choir) and I saw an army man that was wearing an entire cougar (it was terrifying). Again, fancy party invites? Just send them my way.