Wednesday 30 October 2013

Book love

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

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
I don't think I would have ever gotten round to reading this book if I hadn't been given it as a you've-had-a-stressful-day-here's-a-book present (one of the best kinds of presents), as I always thought that you had to read it as a teenager, or it just wouldn't make sense. So I was a wee bit apprehensive about starting it, and then was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly it hooked me in.

I can totally understand why some people hate it. Holden Caulfield is frustrating and cynical and thinks everything is phony ("goddamn phonies!"), but I really took to him. He's very blunt and desperately trying to prove to himself that he's in control, but he's actually a bit scared, a bit sad, and very lost. It's funny and rebellious and sad and full of old-school American slang. I really loved it.

Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein
I also loved Starship Troopers! I've watched the film before, so I was expecting a bit of hilarious sci-fi action, but there's so much more to this book (they are actually very, very different things). I get very easily lost in a character when I like them, and I had a lot of time for Rico - so when he was musing on the philosophy of war and describing why, of course, it's important to take part in military service and live in a limited democracy, I was thinking yes! Totally! That all makes perfect sense! Hmm.

If you like sci-fi (why wouldn't you like sci-fi?) then this is a good one. And unlike the other Heinlein book I've read (Stranger in a Strange Land), Starship Troopers isn't full of weird 60s sexism. Hooray!

Monday 28 October 2013

Halloween how to: Medusa makeup

I've been blogging Halloween DIYs for the last month (because I'm a cool guy, and not a child), but when it came to putting together a Halloween outfit for an ACTUAL party I was going to, I was so unprepared! The theme was villains, so I decided to dress up as Ursula - I had grand plans to make a dress with tentacles, craft a seashell necklace and paint myself purple.

But then, it suddenly was two days before the party and I had done nothing. A mad scramble for ideas and a manic rush round the shops later, and I became Medusa!

This is probably the laziest costume I've ever put together, but I thought I'd blog about it in case you too also need to scramble for a last-minute Halloween outfit!

I used the following:

I didn't really have a plan for my eye makeup, instead I just used it as an excuse to go a bit mad with colours! I used Maybelline Colour Tattoo in 25k Gold on my eyelids, which I absolutely love - it's such a lovely colour and it does actually last for hours.

I then blended some turquoise and purple MUA shadows in the crease, and added a line of purple shadow under my lower lash line. I used a really glittery MUA purple shadow to go over this (why be subtle? I wish I could have glittery eyes everyday!). Then I added winged liquid eyeliner, false lashes and tonnes of mascara!

Lenstore kindly offered me some contacts from their Halloween contact lenses range to try out, so I picked FreshLook Colorblends in Gemstone Green. I've never tried coloured lenses before so I was a bit unsure about how much of a difference they would make - but look how good they are!

It took me about 10 minutes to get them in - it's quite an odd experience to stick things in your eye! Luckily I had Craig (a regular contact-wearer) on hand to offer some tips, which were to stare straight ahead and hold your eyelid firmly open. It feels weird to have lenses on, but not uncomfortable at all... I'd definitely wear them again.

For my hair, I put it up in a really messy updo (made mainly by backcombing a massive part of it, and pinning in a really loose beehive), and left sections down that I could plait and use to secure the snakes. I took sections of snake (which I'd chopped up, to make it easier to put in my hair) and started to weave them through, using hair to wrap round them.

I figured Medusa would have really messy hair (all those snakes would keep you mega scruffy), so I didn't stress about making it look particularly nice or planned, I just focused on getting the snakes secure and even across my hair.

I had plans to paint a snakeskin pattern on my face, but ran out of time (oops) so just sponged on some turquoise shadow instead. It's rushed, and it's definitely less gory than I usually go for Halloween, but I really liked it!


p.s. the nice folks at Lenstore have also set up a discount code, so you can try out coloured contact lenses for a wee bit cheaper. New customers receive 10% off their first order up until the end of November, with the code EverSoJuliet_Reader - enjoy!

Friday 25 October 2013

Happy thoughts

Every now and again I forget about blogging about set topics, & instead, just have a ramble about things that are nice in my life. The last few weeks at work have been MANIC with one deadline after another, the nights are cold, and I've just paid for my hotel in the Maldives (hooray), so am counting down to payday with dull ferocity.

So thank goodness for the little things in life...

1. Tiny plants

Oh tiny plants, you are the BEST.

I am a big fan of any type of plant to be fair, but currently I am particularly obsessed with the tiniest of cacti and succulents. A few weeks ago I made up a terrarium using cacti from Dobbie's, a jar from Ikea (which was a surprisingly good find, I reckon - it was really cheap & has a super nice shape!), and a mix of cacti soil & fishtank sand to make a deserty scene. It was fairly painful to put together (the tall cacti is SO PRICKLY) but I think it's worth it... and I actually made a pal do the painful bits for me.

On my desk at work I've got a wee collection of greenery (topped off with a passive-aggressive flag), but distressingly my plants have started dying. The green succulent in the top right photo suddenly went all black & rotten from the roots up, and hasn't responded well to my efforts of succulent emergency rescue. Poor wee plants! If anyone has any tips for dealing with cacti rot, please let me know!

2. Neil Gaiman being a bit wonderful
Image: lifehack

I adore Neil Gaiman. Adore him. I've been a big fan of his books since first discovering Stardust as a youth, and I always try and go to his talks at the Edinburgh Book Festival. He's the sort of author that is EXACTLY how you hope he will be in person... he's funny, and he's smart, and he was lovely when he met my book-loving niece (who had never been to a book event before) this summer.

Quite often he says things that are very clever and make a lot of sense, other times he says things that are ridiculously inspiring, and every now and again he says things that make you pause and realise the importance of daydreaming.

If you haven't ever read anything by him (what! who are you?) get thee to a bookshop, stat.

3. Movies

Image: Neon Circus
I have a Cineworld Unlimited card which is amazing - I pay about £15 a month for unlimited movies (plus money off food & drink & whatnot), which means I go to the cinema a lot. I'd really recommend getting one if there's a Cineworld near you & watch more than one film a month... and if you use the code RAF-69AA-41VU-28SN-16XK then both you & I get a month's membership free! (Promise this isn't a sponsored post - the card is totally worth the money).

I really love the cinema though - I worked in one when I was at uni (and I honestly think it's the perfect student job!) and got hooked on free films and watching almost anything that was on.

In the last week or so I've been to see Captain Phillips (which, bloody hell, was super tense) and Sunshine on Leith (which I heart SO MUCH). I'm a sucker for musicals, so I knew I'd love Sunshine on Leith, but ahhh, it was so good. It's set in Edinburgh (obviously) and it was lovely to see my hometown look so beautiful!

Monday 21 October 2013

Halloween how to: spooky nail art

This week's halloween tutorial is useful if you want to make a wee nod towards Halloween, without actually dressing up or putting too much effort in!

I've put together five nail art designs that are fairly quick and easy to do, and don't need much more than some nail polish, a kirby grip and/or a thin paintbrush (I use an old liquid eyeliner brush, which is perfect for nail art!).

Here's how you do it...


1. Paint on a large dot of blue.
2. On top of this, add a dot of black polish.
3. Using either a kirby or a small brush, paint on lines of red to make a bloodshot eye.
4. Use the kirby again, and dot on a tiny bit of white on the pupil.

Haunted House

1. Paint a base coat. I used Rimmel 'Too Cool to Tango' which has fast become one of my favourite polishes!
2. Dot on a large circle of white polish to make the moon.
3. Paint the basic shape of a house. You can use a small brush to make the edges neater if you like, but I just used the normal polish brush.
4. Use a kirby grip and some yellow polish to paint on light shining through a door and window.


1. Paint a bright coloured base coat. I used Rimmel 'Ultra Violet' which is a lovely colour (and much nicer than it's photographed here!).
2. Dot on a large black blob to make the body.
3. Use a kirby to paint on eight legs.


Paint a white base coat. This is O.P.I. 'My Boyfriend Scales Walls' which has a slightly greyish tint (sorry again for the terrible light).
2. Dot on two black eyes.
3. Splodge on one large dot and use your brush to drag it down into a tear-shape to make the mouth.


1. Paint a base coat. This is Model's Own 'Beth's Blue'.
2. Dot on a large white dot, to make the moon.
3. Start making the shape of the bats, by splodging on bat-shapes. I used a kirby to paint a large dot in the middle, and two smaller dots on either side to make the wings.
4. Use a small brush to shape the bats (aim to make them look more like actual bats, and less like terrible splodges). I neated up the wings and bodies, and painted little bat ears. This was quite faffy - maybe only try this one if you have a steady hand!

I hope that was useful... if you are looking for any more nail art ideas, I have another ten halloween designs here, so you should be spoiled for choice!

Saturday 19 October 2013

OUTFIT: The perfect yellow raincoat

I have been on the hunt for my ideal yellow raincoat for an absolute age - and I used to think it just didn't exist! I wanted one that would withstand horrible Scottish weather and make me look a wee bit like a lighthouse keeper, but didn't feel like I was just wearing a tent. I kept passing tiny children wearing dream raincoats & was so jealous that they didn't seem to come in adult sizes (er, I'm a normal person, right?), but then... I found it!

Hooray. Say hello to my very perfect yellow raincoat.

Raincoat - ASOS (via Ebay)
Dress - Primark
Dr Martens - Spartoo*
It's an ASOS rain mac that's sold out on their site, but this Ebay seller seems to have MILLIONS of them. I don't actually know how that works, but I don't actually care, as it's perfect. It came really quickly, and fits pretty well (I think it's actually a wee bit too big, but that's my fault for being cautious and ordering on the larger side!).

Since it arrived it's pretty much rained non-stop in Edinburgh, so I've had loads of chances to test it out and splash about in puddles. It's just so good!

Another benefit of having a super waterproof coat is that you can cuddle soggy kittens!

Riley is the MOST ANNOYING cat sometimes... particularly on rainy days when he can't decide if he wants to stay in or out. If he's in, he ends up mewling at the back door pathetically, and if he's out he can only last five minutes before he decides he's too soggy and needs to come in. And repeat. Aren't cats fun.

And did I mention it's only twenty three pounds? What a BARGAIN.

Aw, yellow raincoat, I heart you!

Monday 14 October 2013


This week's halloween tutorial is totally inspired by (aka my very best attempt at recreating) this amazing bleeding heart cake by London bakers, Lily Vanilli. They posted a guide on how to make these cakes on their blog (which you can see here!), but I thought it would be helpful to make my own version with step-by-step photos.

To make your own gory hearts, you need the following:
  • cupcakes (I used this recipe, which is super easy & always works well!)
  • red food colouring
  • red fondant 
  • buttercream (use 200g butter, 200 icing sugar)
  • cherry jam
  • a paintbrush

Once you've made your cupcake batter (you can see step by step cupcake instructions here), add a couple of drops of food colouring (I used red.. which came out really weirdly orange, but it works for halloween!), and stir into the mixture. 

Spoon into cupcake cases, and then use either a bit of tinfoil or baking paper to stick between the case and the tin. This means your cake will bake in more of a wedge shape, which is helpful for these hearts! Bake for 15-20 minutes, then when they are ready, put them on a cooling rack and leave them alone for half an hour.

Roll out a lump of red fondant (remember and dust the surface/rolling pin with icing sugar beforehand so it doesn't stick!) until it looks big enough to cover a cupcake. Take the cake out of its wrapper, splodge a little buttercream on the bottom and place in the middle of the fondant. 

Now, this does look tricky (and a bit rubbish) but remember, there is light at the end of the cake tunnel! Start wrapping the fondant up and over the cake, squeezing the edges together when they reach the top. You want to create three funnels (meant to be the arteries) so don't join it all perfectly, instead let it fold in on itself (like in the left and middle photos). 

Don't worry about any folds or creases in the sides of the icing, they'll make the heart look much more realistic. Just use your fingers to shape the top of the heart, give more definition to the arteries, and make sure the fondant feels nice and secure around the cake.

 If it looks a bit rubbish, do not worry! Food colouring will fix everything. I mixed red food colouring with a spot of cherry jam to make a gloopy paste, which I painted onto the cake. Make sure you get it into all of the cracks and creases - and look how much it transforms the cake!

Smear a bit of the cake blood around the bottom of the heart. Mmmm, gore!

Serve with an evil laugh. Enjoy! 

Monday 7 October 2013


Every Monday in the run up to October 31st I'll be posting a Halloween tutorial (mainly because I am a child, and dressing up is fun!). Last week I showed you how to give yourself a terrifying zip face, and this week we're going to be skeletons!

This tutorial only uses items that you are likely to already have in your make up bag (or can very easily get). You will need:

  • a foundation that's a few shades paler than your skin tone
  • white eyeshadow
  • black cream eyeshadow
  • black kohl eyeliner pencil
  • black liquid eyeliner
  • eyeshadow applicator/brush (or paint brush)

Start by making your face as pale as possible, by covering it in foundation. I prefer to use tonnes of foundation rather than white face cream, as it means you don't need to really worry about your neck/arms/hands, etc (because realism is something everyone aims for in skeleton make up, right?).

Using a kohl eyeliner pencil lightly sketch out the outline of your skull - the eye sockets, nose and cheeks. These are the areas that you'll colour in with black. Don't worry about being particularly neat, but try and keep things sort of even! If you don't have the steadiest hand just use short strokes, rather than trying to draw long lines.

This bit is so satisfying to do! Colour in, making sure you build up the black shadow so it's really dark. I used a MAC paint pot which was perfect for the job - and loads of highstreet brands make cream eyeshadow, if you don't have a pot to hand. You can use black facepaint too (obviously!) but I like eyeshadow, it's been made not to crease on your lids, and might actually be a bit easier to take off at the end of the night. 

Now, you're going to need a steady-ish hand. Outline the black areas with liquid eyeliner - this gives them a bit more depth. Don't worry if you smudge a little, just keep a make up wipe to hand and try to go slowly.

Next, take your kohl pencil and start to lightly sketch in details across your face - I made short strokes around my eyes and cheeks. Smudge these lightly with your finger, then use liquid liner to highlight a few details (you should hopefully see a difference between photo 2 and 3 here, to show you what I mean!). 

At this stage I also patted on a little bit of white eyeshadow on my cheeks and forehead. 

Take the kohl pencil again and start to draw the shape you want for your mouth - I coloured in my lower lip and triangles between my mouth and cheeks. Go over this with liquid eyeliner (maybe not your lip though, you don't want to be tasting eyeliner!) and draw strokes to make your skeleton teeth. 

Tada! Yeah, it's a bit rough & ready, but it should help if you find yourself needing a costume in a hurry! Next Monday I'll blog another Halloween DIY, and I reckon it'll be something a little cakey... so stay tuned if you have a (gory) sweet tooth... 

Sunday 6 October 2013

Win tickets to the Pleasance Sessions!

Alright, Scottish people, listen up!

You probably already know The Pleasance from Festival time. It's one of the big Edinburgh Fringe venues, and is normally packed with comedians (from properly famous ones in Pleasance Grand, to first timers in tiny hot rooms), a courtyard full of beer, picnic tables and MILLIONS of flyerers.

But, unless you have been a student at Edinburgh Uni, you probably don't know that it hosts live music, comedy, theatre and film events all year round. AND you don't have to be a student to go along (although I'm pretty sure that you still get to buy drinks at student prices... hello).

In October they are launching a brand new festival, The Pleasance Sessions, which brings together some of Scotland's favourite promoters, festivals and publications to curate three weeks of handpicked live acts, and it looks brilliant!

The whole festival celebrates stripped back sets and fresh collaborations, and features all sorts of super-cool Scots, including Miaoux Miaoux, Sparrow and The Workshop, Rick Redbeard, The Pictish Trail, Abandoman, Three Blind Wolves (I love them!), Conquering Animal Sound and an LP launch from Lau’s Aidan O’Rourke.

Photo from EUSA Live
AND because they are such cool guys, the very nice folk at EUSA have given me some tickets to give away! You can win a pair of tickets to the Opening Night on October 10th (that's this Thursday!) AND a pair to any of the Pleasance Sessions events...
Take your pick!

To enter, all you have to do is follow the instructions below... Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 1 October 2013

September instagram

My plan for September was to chill out and do as little as possible. And, well, that didn't quite work out. Somehow I found myself out most days & nights.... and I'm a bit knackered now!

It was packed with pals, crafty projects, surprisingly sunny days, and loads of dining out. YUM. Here's what it looked like.

Instagram username: @eversojuliet

1. Earlier in the year I went to see the Surprise Movie at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which turned out to be About Time - the newest film by Love Actually & Notting Hill chap, Richard Curtis. I absolutely loved it, and not long after the film company got in touch to ask if they could use my quote on  some advertising material. I thought it might be used on web ads, or something wee, and then got a bit of a surprise when the tv advert popped up during X Factor & my tweet was on screen and MASSIVE. I realise this is a really lame thing to be excited about, but I thought it was cool!

2. French Connection held a party in stores across the UK to celebrate the end of London Fashion Week and mark the launch of their new collection, so I went along with some pals to run riot in store, and attempt to take part in styling challenges. I am rubbish at being stylish, but it was fun to play dress up!

3. I baked for the first time in aaaages, and made so-easy-you-can't-go-wrong cookies. 

4. Every year I like to write a series of halloween tutorials, which are really fun to put together, but it is quite odd to be making yourself all gory in September! This is a mug of super sticky fake blood (honey is perhaps not the best thing to be covering yourself with), which was used for...

5. ... this super scary zip face! If you missed yesterday's post, take a look here. It's a really horrifying look, and ain't that hard to put together. Perfect if you've got a party coming up (or want to terrorise people with minimal effort).

6. Here's a slightly less-scary DIY from this month... I made a hula hoop and I love it so!

7. I realised this month that I've basically ignored my kindle all year, and am pretty much only reading 'real' books these days.

8. Sci Fest were nominated for Best Large Festival at the Scottish Event Awards, and we WON! I reckon Amanda & I also won the photobooth... I really am quite obsessed with them.

9. My work pal Matt had a space-themed birthday party this month... and as it was being held outside I picked the warmest thing I owned (a big leopard coat) and tried to make it spacey! A space leopard is a real thing, right?

10. As part of house-selling fun, we've been living a ridiculously picture perfect life. There are always fresh flowers in the house, it's always spotless, and we now have a vegetable box that's always packed with the most amazing & colourful things we can find. This was one night's tea - so much bright goodness!

11. My pal Simon came over to Edinburgh on his round-the-world tour (he's been filming in London and is now off to perform in L.A. - the glamorous life of a science celebrity!), so I had an ace weekend of pal hangouts, touristy things, good food, wine, and an epic twelve hour mission to create a pizza. Joshua, Simon & I went to Edinburgh Castle for some wholesome fun, and this is us... pretending to be a lion. I think (I'm not quite sure why else we'd be pulling these expressions).

12. And to round off the month, I finally snoozed  for hours in the sunshine with this lovely chap. Phew!