Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Make your own Gingerbread House


Is there anything more festive than a gingerbread house? Until now I have only ever decorated a pre-made gingerbread house kit but this year I decided to have a go at making it from scratch and I was pretty happy with it for a first attempt. I'm not going to lie, it took a long time to make and a lot of patience but I think it was worth it to see it all finished. Here is a little step-by-step guide but you can improvise and change it to suit wherever you like.


 Ingredients:

350g plain flour 
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
3 tsp ground ginger 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
125g butter 
175g soft brown sugar (50/50 mix of light and dark) 
1 egg 
5 tbsp golden syrup 

 Icing sugar for glue and decorating (I used about 250g in total)
Sweets for decorating

 Step 1: 
Cut out your shapes. You will need one shape for the front and back of the house, one for the two sides, and one for each side of the roof. You can add a chimney too if you like. 




























Step 2:
 Mix your dry ingredients then add the butter and crumble with your hands to make breadcrumbs. 

Step 3: 
Mix the egg with the golden syrup then add to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Kneed until it forms a ball then wrap in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Step 4: 
Roll it out on a floured surface until it's less than 1cm thick and cut your pieces. These ingredients gave me just enough to make my pieces and I had to re-roll the cut offs a few times. 

Step 5: 
Bake on trays for about 15 mins on greaseproof paper at 180 degrees celsius (fan). 


Step 6: 
Re-cut the shapes as soon as they come out of the oven as they will have reshaped a bit (it's much harder to do when they have cooled so do it asap). Also add in any windows or doors here being very careful not to crack the gingerbread. I tired to add some sugar glass to the windows here too by boiling sugar and water bit it didn't work out very well so I just went without. 


Step 7: 
Once the pieces are completely cooled, mix water and icing sugar to create a really thick icing (use the tiniest bit of water) and glue your pieces together as well as to the base (I used a chopping board).  

Step 8:
Decorate to your hearts content! 


I still haven't brought myself to break it apart to eat so it's sitting quite nicely as a decoration for now. It was so fun to make from scratch, you can make it completely your own and it was honestly so worth the time and effort to see the finished house. I thought it would be much harder than it actually was and I expected a lot more to go wrong with it but I think you would be surprised at how easy it actually is! 

T. x
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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winter Warmers - Pea & Ham Soup Recipe



This winter I have been living off big pots of soup I make on a Sunday evening. Lentil and Leek & potato were my go to for the Autumn months and the start of Winter but last weekend I decided to throw together a pea and ham recipe. It ended up a tasty winter warmer that all my friends and family loved so I decided to share it here. The first time I made the soup I used a ham hock which was really tasty but quite time consuming so buying some really nice thickly cut ham is just as good. I actually got a great quality package of thick cut ham from lidl for pennys. Enjoy!

Ingredients
Knob of butter
1 onion
1 medium potato
1 carrot
2 ham stock cubes
500g frozen garden peas
1 ham hock or 300g of thickly sliced ham
A handful of mint
Salt
Pepper

Method
1. Heat the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onions and carrots until soft. Add the potatoes and coat in butter.
2. Add in the ham stock and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add in the peas and mint next and bring soup mixture to the boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and blend soup up.
5. Add in ham if desired and serve up.

Enjoy 
L x

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

All I want for Christmas is a Makeover - Eve Learmonth Makeup Studio


When you walk into Eve Learmonth's Makeup Studio in Meadowbank, Edinburgh it's as if you're walking into your effortlessly cool friend's ridiculously fab new flat. The atmosphere is relaxed, with an eclectic mix of old school dance, rock and RnB drifting through the studio where clients and artists excitedly discuss their weekend plans. There is an energy that is perfect to get you pumped up for a brilliant weekend and the decor is nothing like you have seen in a typical beauty salon. The walls are a crisp white with a midnight sky feature wall eclipsing the alcove into the back space of the shop. The shop boasts a mixture of beautiful vintage furniture, customised Etsy accessories and contemporary pieces which creates a chic, professional and welcoming vibe.


Eve has embellished the studio with skulls, twinkle lights and custom made prints to add her own personality into the mix. The shop itself is a creative space that represents Eve as an artist so beautifully and must be a perfect environment to work in, for her and the rest of the girls in the studio. The studio has two full time make-up artists Eve Learmonth and Sarah Monaghan who are both specialised in a variety of different make-up styles such as party make-up, wedding, editorial and Halloween. Theres also an extremely creative and talented hairdresser Lucy Callaghan who is Vidal Sassoon trained and available for bookings in cuts, colour and hair styling. Finally, there is the artistic and outrageously talented Cheryl Patchett who is infamous in Edinburgh for her intricate and instagrammed nail art and designs. Each of these ladies are dedicated and creative artists who have glowing reputations in their crafts and you will certainly not leave Eve Learmonth's Make-Up Studio disappointed after booking in for some glam time with the girls. 



In the festive seasons there is gift exchanging galore and I couldn't think of a more lovely gift for the ladies in your life than a voucher for make-up, hair or nails with these artists. Girls of all ages love being pampered for a special occasion and the voucher is redeemable at anytime for a special occasion. Each of the girls have amazing Instagram and Facebook pages where you can check out their work and get details for booking appointments.

Eve Make-up Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Sarah Make-up Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Cheryl Nail Artist - Facebook & Instagram
Lucy Hairdresser - Facebook & Instagram


L x
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for the Beauty Obsessed Girl



I have to admit as gift guides go, this would be the one for me. I love beauty products, candles, luxurious packaging, anything a little bit special. I definitely have magpie tendencies and anything decadent is my cup of tea. I am firm believer in quality over quantity and I would rather one gorgeous lipstick than a litter of tat that is fun at the time but not very practical and will sit in the back of your drawer. So if you have any like minded friends or family members here are some ideas for gifts to please them this Christmas.

Lipsticks and Nail Polish
My favourite lipsticks to buy as gifts are the pretty packaged but great quality kind. Any twelve to fifteen year old girl is going to absoloute die over a MAC lipstick in any shade Kylie Jenner has been rocking of late. Alternatively an Essie Nail Polish set is also probably a bit out of your teens price range but very coveted and will be gratefully received. For a girl in their twenties you absoloute can't go wrong with a gorgeously packaged and luxury YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick or a truly spectacular Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick. Both of these lipsticks I have bought myself and nothing makes me feel more special and confident than having these as part of my beauty wardrobe.

Skincare and Bodycare
I am an avid skincare obsessive, I will try every new formula and every new face mask in the hopes of achieving an ever glowing complexion. I think women's obsession with having beautiful skin transcends the generations and a lovely serum or moisturiser is something you can buy for women of all ages. Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair is a product that I was first introduced to on my mothers dressing table. It is an amazing and pricey serum that hydrates and boosts the skin while fighting the signs of ageing. This is a product your gran, mum, sister or best friend would appreciate, it is a cult classic with a £52.00 price tag that is proven to work wonders on the skin. Another slightly less expensive option is the Nuxe Golden Shimmer Dry Oil it is £19.00 packaged like a bottle of liquid gold and gives your skin the most gorgeous sun kissed glow. It can be used on your body, face or hair and honestly sitting on your dresser alone it is a stand out. I don't think there is a girl out there than wouldn't be chuffed to get Nuxe in their stocking.

Candles, Candles, Candles
Okay so everybody loves a lovely scented candle. You can get your decadent and ludicrously expensive Diptique, Jo Malone and The White Company offerings that are worth the price tag but you aren't always getting a lot of bang for your buck. Personally I think the longest lasting, prettiest packaged and generally most gorgeous smelling are the Anthropologie Candles. The prices vary depending on style but generally you can get a beautiful, decorative candle for less than £25 that is a decent size and will not burn out by the New Year.


L x

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas Gifts for the Girl who has it all



We all have those friends and family members who seem to want for nothing and have everything. When it comes to Christmas present buying we agonise over what to buy these difficult darlings, and end up settling for money or some kind of voucher. So this year I have thought about it and I think Christmas is a time where you should buy these friends something they wouldn't dream of buying themselves. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and buy the perfect friend for even you most awkward of friend.

H&M, Oliver Bonas & Anthropologie 
Home decor items are perfect for a fussy friend. A really cool decorative item is something most people don't know they need but would absolutely love. Little trinkets are just the nicest stocking fillers and beautiful mugs, measuring cups and plates are the sort of luxury you might not treat yourself to but would love to have in your home.

Diptique, Jo Malone & Space NK
If you so happen to have a bigger budget then a gorgeous perfume or candle from one of these shops is literally the most glorious present any girl could receive. The scents on offer are rich, unique and last a lot longer than a high street perfume. You are looking at over the £50.00 mark but it is 100% worth it for the quality of the products.

Other Ideas
August speakers are a great gift for anybody you are struggling to buy for. The speakers are light weight can be connected up in the same way Sonos can but with a much smaller price tag. The sound quality is brilliant and they are really easy to work as it is just a simple bluetooth or wireless connection to set your music up.
Studio 5 is an amazing Edinburgh based fashion and textiles start up who specialise in sustainable fashion and have some of the most beautiful, ethereal pieces in their collection that would be a great present for many a friend or family member. 


L x
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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Secret Santa Ideas



Secret Santa is something I love the idea of but then when it actually comes down to making the purchase panic sets in quickly. It feels like the biggest challenge in the world to get a decent gift with a usually small budget for someone you potentially don't know very well. TQR are coming to the rescue and giving you some unique ideas for every type of girl.

Comfy clothing
I think when the budget is low one of the nicest things you can get somebody clothing wise is pyjamas, slippers, hats and gloves. For pretty, budget buys Primark is your best friend. They do lovely, decent quality comfy and cosy items in loads of different styles that anybody would love. For hats and gloves Asos is your go to, great really on trend stuff at a fab price.

Home decor
This obviously depends on who you have for Secret Santa but a lovely ornament xmas themed or otherwise is a lovely gift. The little reindeer is from Primark, and the lovely celestial coaster was just £8.00 from the beautiful Anthropologie. I got the cute little lightbulb succulent in a lovely Christmas stall in Edinburgh. I think you could easily find or make something similar in and about your local town.


Beauty
I love all things beauty and I think a lovely piece of make-up or skincare is such a coveted gift of many women. Boots or Superdrug are your best bets for a budget beauty buy. Loreal, Soap n Glory and No7 are the best of the bunch for gifts in my opinion. A lovely nail polish or eyeshadow is easy to pick out and will please many a beauty obsessed recipient.

Food & Drink
Chocolate is something a lot of people love and I think a lovely luxury bar of the stuff makes a great gift for something. Edinburgh based company Coco Chocolatier does a variety of amazing flavours that are around £5 each and are packaged so beautifully it would make a gorgeous gift for anybody.



Books
You can get a million different types of books for every person and every interest. Whether it is a coffee table book or a cook book its the sort of thing that will be well received. A great idea is to buy someone one of the books from the 100 Books you should read before you die list.

Boys, Newbies & Difficult Colleagues
Okay so last but not least I wanted to give you a list of amazing tat to gift a male secret santa, someone you don't know very well or just the most difficult person in the world. Your first stop should be Not on the highstreet it is a great website especially for gifts and you can personalise everything and get someone something really unique. My go to gift for secret santa for anyone with a sense of humour is a £10 deck of Cards Against Humanity, filthy but completely hilarious for parties and get togethers.

L x






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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Studio Five


As four students with graduation looming we are all apprehensive about getting out into the work place and finding a job that pays well and that we are passionate about. Especially for graduates with degrees in creative arts, jobs are few and far between unless your willing to move to London and work your arse off for free. 

Sisters Lucy and Kitty Pressland based in Edinburgh have taken their careers in fashion into their own hands by launching their own business, Studio Five. They have combined their creativity and skills to create a fashion and interior textiles brand that specialises in slow fashion and sustainability. The girls are taking a different, more ethical approach to their business focussing on producing affordable and aesthetically pleasing products for a younger market using as many sustainable or alternative products as they can.


Studio Five will focus on releasing two collections a year engaging in a slow fashion movement, with all of their products made to order to prevent wastage. Their first collection will be launching this month along with their website and will include beautifully designed t-shirts, scarves and cushion.


The interesting and admirable thing about Studio Five is how they engage with ethical responsibility within fashion and although aiming to be completely sustainable presents many challenges for the young company, they have chosen to embrace it and stay true to their identity and beliefs. The designs are a beautiful mix of ethereal prints with unique touches to give the products a young, cool edge.


We we were lucky enough to be sent one of Studio Five giveaway boxes which we were completely delighted about. It contained the softest organic cotton logo t-shirt that there was an instant fight over amongst the TQR team. Apparently Nicole won and is rocking the gorgeous and versatile tee in the photos. There have been many compliments and questions about the t-shirt especially from the men in our lives, probably because of its beautiful quality and simple but cool design. If you are looking for beautiful and ethically responsible fashion and interiors look no further than Studio Five, these girls are leading the way in a new more socially responsible fashion movement. 

Check out Studio Five on Instagram Studio Five 
If you have any queries about products you can email at studiofiveuk@gmail.com



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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Martin & Frost Christmas Gift Guide 2016

I am completely and utterly obsessed when it comes to christmas shopping. It’s my favourite time of the year and there is nothing I love more than thinking of gifts I can buy for my family and friends. I do however, end up sitting on my laptop for hours on end scouring the internet for gifts to buy before I start my search in ‘real life’ shops to get a picture of what I want to get. Sometimes I find it hard to fit in a major shopping session and so I love shops where I can find a lot of presents in the same place. My mum introduced me to Martin & Frost (in Edinburgh) because they have an absolute mammoth amount of christmas gifts. It's amazing for getting stuff for your Auntie, your Granny and for little bits and pieces to add into other presents. I got in touch with them to ask if I could shoot a couple of gift guides there after I'd spent a casual £70 on Christmas presents there. For this reason, I’ve put together some gift guides so that you can get some ideas of what you can find for your loved ones this christmas. 

Enjoy!


For the girly-girl: 

  • Pink Radley bag- £179- Obviously I had to pop in something pink here. This Radley handbag is absolutely gorgeous and although they are a little bit on the pricey side they’re timeless so that money doesn't count yeah? 
  • Joma ‘Little Heart of Gold’ necklace-£16.50/ earrings-£13.99. I absolutely adore Joma Jewellery. I own a bracelet myself and love buying them for gifts because they look lovely but don’t have a ridiculous price tag to go with them!
  • ‘Snow in Love’ Yankee Candle- £21.99. Obviously, you can’t read a gift guide that doesn't involve a token Yankee Candle. Who doesn’t love Yankee? This candle in particular also happens to smell pretty magical too!
  • Gold Star candle holders- £3.99 each. You can use them at christmas time but they're so subtle that nobody will notice when they are being used all year round. 



For the Person that loves a cosy night in

This is basically the gift guide for anyone buying a present for anyone I know. Maybe that's because it's so cold here this time of year. This time of year calls for nights in with a hot chocolate and some candles burning!

  • ‘The Little Book of Hygge’- £9.99. This is the book of the moment. It’s the book that teaches you all about the cosy night in!
  • ‘Frosted Forest’ candle- £12.00. Looks the part and smells divine. It’s a fab price too considering it’s a 3-wicker.
  • Floral Mug- £3.50- Perfect to sip your hot chocolate from!
  • ‘Love you to the moon and back’ light up sign- £10.00. I adore this because it reminds me of a book my mum used to read to me when I was a kid. 
  • Stocking- £3.00. It’s so fluffy!! (if I was more technologically savvy I would 100% add a despicable me gif here). 




For the Secret Santa

  • Reindeer tealight holder-£4.00. You can’t go wrong with this it looks cute and is simple enough to give to anyone as a present.
  • Santa Mug- £5.00. Everyone uses one and this one is particularly cool!
  • Santa Boot Salt & Pepper Shakers- £5.00. Why wouldn't you want these to crack out every christmas?!
  • Gillian Kyle Coaster sets- £12.50. Buy them and split them up between presents. They’re cute and christmassy. Plus, everyone loves Tunnocks teacakes right?!
  • Lindt Chocolate Characters- £0.69 each. Yum. The best Christmas chocolate.

N x





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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Secret study spots in Edinburgh

As i'm sure quite a lot of you are fully aware it's that tragic time of year again where you have a to-do list the length of your entire body. Exams are coming up in the next few weeks and coursework is due all within the smallest timeframe because your lecturers just love to see you struggle. Oh and it's 31 days till Christmas, your mum is asking 12837280 questions about when you're coming home, what you want for breakfast on Christmas day and if she should buy your Nan a present or you're going to get it before you go home. What a wonderful time of year.

I thought I would try to do my bit and lend a caring hand by sharing a few of my favourite sneaky spots in Edinburgh that are perfect for studying and ideal to get a couple hours of peace and quiet. There's a bit of a mix so hopefully at least one of these places will take your fancy.


Maxi's - Stockbridge

I went here for the first time with a friend for brunch the other day and we ended up staying for a cheeky afternoon tea and cake as well as a few drinks as it got a bit later and they were closing. It's so chilled and the staff are so so nice and pretty much leave you to it. They're not going to keep staring you down to get out or drop major hints they're closing up and you've just ordered another drink. There's a list of juices ideal for brain power, herbal and fruit tea's to cleanse your stress head and a good selection of beer and wine to celebrate a good study session. It also happens to have the coolest interior and an exposed brick wall that is so Instagram worthy it deserves a study break, even if it's just to get the perfect picture.


HULA - Grassmarket

I accidentally managed to end up in HULA yesterday whilst walking to the library and needed a quick lunch because eating in the quietest public library in the world is just an absolute no. Of course their juices are amazing and actually do give you a good boost of energy to power through the mountain of work you probably have. The soup and cheese on toast combo is fully recommended to make you feel like your being healthy by having a hearty bowl of homemade soup but enough cheese to keep you grounded. I ended up staying for a good couple hours and managed to research, write, reference, check and submit a piece of coursework all within said hours. Whether thats because HULA is an amazing study space or I thought the piece of work was due the next day when in fact it was that day is debatable but HULA definitely helped in some way or another. The only thing is I struggled to find a plug socket but that's not a major issue if you're more organised than I am and actually fully charge your laptop before leaving the house.



Urban Angel - Hanover Street

This is my favourite place in the whole of Edinburgh to eat, study, drink or be hungover in. It's the kind of place you can go for any reason and it's always 10/10. I'm totally obsessed with their all day brunch menu and even more so for their special juices. I've tried every single brunch item on the menu and honestly nothing is disappointing. Plus, I took my Nana once and she's quite the fuss pot but even she found something she loved so there's no room for doubt. It's the perfect middle ground of chilled vibes but can be a bit bustley at weekends so be sure to get in early if you're looking to spend a good while there. Another debatable factor is that because it's underground, the signal can be a bit dodge. They obviously have wi-fi so you're totally fine on that front but if you want to seriously shut yourself away from communicating with the outside world, this is the perfect place.


The Pantry - Stockbridge

I discovered The Pantry during the festival and it's just the perfect little sun trap. Now that Winter is 100% here and those -5 degree mornings are the grimmest thing to happen when you need to get up and study, this is in the best spot for a crisp Winter day. There's plenty places to sit (with plug sockets) and the best food. From brunch to lunch and dinner there's an endless list of choices. They're more than happy to mix and match if your fussy or want to try more than one thing which is ideal when brain food is needed.


RockSalt - Leith

I know you're already thinking, why would I go all the way to Leith to study. BUT i'll have you know it's a very very quiet and ideal area to study because nobody ever really ventures down. RockSalt does the best cake and has an unreal choice of delish soups and sandwiches. It's quite an open space so you won't feel like you're enclosed away from the outside world. I love it for finding a quiet corner to just chill out in and get my head down. There's table service so you can literally just sit down, put your headphones in, laptop open and get it done. They really don't mind you staying for hours and hours and will take care of you with endless cups of perfect tea and comforting cakes if you're extra stressed.

Z x
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Friday, 18 November 2016

Frances EP - Music Review


Frances is what I could only describe as the voice of a perfect hug. Her delicate tones but her fill-the-room powerful voice have sent her straight into everyones Winter playlists. After seeing Frances a few months ago at the Oran Morr, there were about sixty people along with her and her piano. She has the live factor and witty humour of Adele as well as a voice that I swear has never seen a bad day, and the feeling that she wrote every word for you to listen to. Frances is also favoured a lot by Sam Smith who raved about her endlessly, which lets be honest definitely isn't a bad thing. They're both similar in having unbelievable voices and I can see why they are compared closely but she has an edge I can't quite put my finger on.

Although she is pretty fresh out of the box, Frances is now signed to Capitol records whilst also being shortlisted for the BBC sound of 2016 beside Jack Garrat and nominated for the 2016 Brit award: Critics Choice. Previously singed to a French label 'Kitsuné' in 2014, Frances has come along pretty well in only three years. My total love for her started with her amazing red hair and her sweet voice with lyrics that you can tell mean so much to her, but mean so much to anyone listening. 'Grow' from her album 'Thing's I Never Said' is my total favourite. Listen to every word and it'll make you feel every emotion possible.

If you're ever looking for that perfect cosy song to have a bath to, walk through the crisp winter winds to or just need to listen to someone singing everything you feel, Frances is your girl.

Z x


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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Where to Eat: Badger & Co


Three out of four of the TQR team visited the much discussed and ornately decorated Badger & Co on Castle Street in Edinburgh's city centre. We were seated in a little lounge in the back of the restaurant which boasted some beautiful furniture including tiara and top hat wearing woodland faux animals on the wall much to our delight. The traditional British manor house style to the room with little modern twists was the perfect setting for some posh pub grub. 


We were quickly offered drinks and menus to look over, I was nursing a bit of a hangover so requested something non-alcoholic. The waitress asked what cocktails I usually drink and came back with the most gorgeous virgin version of a bramble which seriously rivalled the real thing. It's not usual that I will rave about the refreshment offerings in a restaurant because I would usually just grab a coke but in Badger & Co I felt thoroughly treated. The cocktails the girls got were also the perfect opener to the rest of the fabulous feast we enjoyed that night. Zoe enjoyed the Willow Wren cocktail and Toni had a fantastically names bright eyed a bushy tailed vodka based offering. 


We poured over the many delicious sounding offering on the starter menu but settled on the grilled scallop and apple black pudding and a pot of the homemade cream of vegetable soup to accompany the icy cold weather. The starters arrived promptly after we ordered and beautifully presented on the plates. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a lovely garnish accompanying, and the black pudding was lovely too but possibly could have had a little extra kick to it if we were being fussy. The soup though had the perfect kick to it infused with a little bit of spice which was such a lovely winter warmer. The portion was quite big for a starter although I'm not complaining because it was lovely, we all agreed it would be a great lunch option as it came with a big chunk of warm ciabatta too.


After the delicious starters we couldn't wait for the mains to arrive, between us we ordered the Crispy Parmesan Gnocchi, Chargrilled Pork Tenderloin and the Lamb Gigot. Honestly we were all completely enamoured by the delicious mains, we didn't have a bad word to say about the dishes between us. Toni and I exchanged compliments about how well cooked and tender our meat was and we couldn't help but try a piece of Zoe's gnocchi which was gorgeous and full of flavour. I ordered sides of honey, sesame green beans and beef dripping chips which on reflection was probably a bit excessive as the lamb did come with small sides. The girls and I shared the sides between us and couldn't get enough of the sweet but crunchy and green beans and the glorious hand cut chips.

When it comes to top notch British pub grub Badger & Co is up there with the best Edinburgh has to offer. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the staff are more than willing to offer expertise and advice to help you get the best dinner experience possible. I think it is the perfect destination for a traditional but special lunch or dinner in the city centre, reasonably priced with a great menu selection. It's also a lovely place for a quiet drink, with the clientele spanning all age groups so anyone would feel more than welcome. As you can see TQR could not rave about this restaurant anymore and we will most certainly be back. 

L x

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Autumnal OOTD


 

One of the things I love the most about living in Edinburgh is how beautiful it is. Particularly at this time of year when all the autumnal colours are so vibrant. In fact, my favourite thing about this season is that I can finally wrap up in as many layers as possible without judgement from other people because I am that person that is frozen 24/7. It's also the first year since roughly 2009 where I've invested in clothes that aren't black- my Granny is exceptionally chuffed. I've been enjoying experimenting with colour to the point where wearing all black now seems ridiculous. So without further ado, here is my perfect Autumnal 'Outfit of the Day'.

Shoes: Superga
Jeans: Topshop
Coat: Absolute bargain from a charity shop in Morningside, Edinburgh (sorry).
I've linked similar coats: herehere and here
Scarf: River Island 

N x

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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Why I Love Beauty



I think for a lot of women, and men as a matter of fact, beauty and the process of doing yourself up is something that is special. It reminds you of your mum or grandmother or some kind of feminine role model who has shaped your life and who you are. Beauty is sentimental and nostalgic, the smell of a perfume, my mums lipstick or even just painting my nails on a Sunday night can remind me of beautiful moments in my life.

There is so much talk of vanity and narcism with beauty products but to me it's really a form of self expression and building a sense of who you are and what you want to display to the world. I've always loved special, luxury items and would mull over my aunties fashion magazines circling all of my favourite pieces. I would douse myself heavily in my mums perfume whenever she wasn't looking and beg her to let me wear mascara to school. I would go to my aunties house and sit in her little dressing room pulling out all of her lovely products and I probably could have sat there admiring them all day. Make-up and beauty products have always been really special to me. 

I love fashion too and I can remember having one special edition of Vogue that I stole from the dentist at about 10 years old. I was completely captivated by this issue for the best part of 2002, and there wasn't even any free beauty samples left. I don't think I connected with fashion in the same way I did beauty as I grew into my teenage years which I think was for two reasons. Firstly, because I have outrageously expensive taste and I could never afford the YSL boots but I could just about stretch to the YSL lipstick. That click of the lid and the beautiful packaging for some reason just resonated with me and gave me the elation that a new dress might give another girl. Following on from that I've always been a bigger girl and although I loved the designer clothes and all the beautiful garments, realistically I knew even with all the money in the world they would never compliment my rounder, shorter figure.

Here's the thing about beauty products, no matter your size, shape, race or budget you can throw on a red lipstick, paint your nails black or cut all you hair off and still have that Hollywood transformation moment. Beauty has always welcomed me into its club with open arms, and it has never made me feel like I wasn't good enough for it. I've never felt bad browsing lipstick shades in boots but there have been some pretty dark moments of self loathing in high street changing rooms trying on jeans. I know most people can relate to that, and this isn't what this is about. It's about how beauty has given me those moments of feeling good enough and feeling pretty within myself.

I recently read the amazing Sali Hughe's Pretty Honest and she said something along the lines of you can't always make yourself feel good but you can make yourself look good. I think for the sad days, tired days or cold days this statement is one to live by. We all experience hard times or even just life changes that take a bit of adjusting to and and my amazing mum always made sure I was equipped for this in the beauty department. She just got it, she knew that if I had my moisturiser, my foundation and my hairspray even at 14 years old I could take on the world.

L x
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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Remember Remember

Bonfire night/Guy Fawkes/the 5th of November I feel is a bit of an underrated, or under-talked about night. Somewhere amidst all of the Halloween and Christmas hustle and bustle it seems to get a bit lost. However, if you make that little bit of effort, I feel like it can be such a special night.


The British bonfire night tradition is a celebration that originated in 1605. Guy Fawkes was caught on the 5th of November putting explosives underneath the House of Lords in an attempt to kill the king at the time, King James. Because he was caught, the King decided that everyone should have a bonfire to celebrate the fact that he didn't get blown up. People often burn scarecrows on the top of the bonfire to resemble Guy Fawkes (I don't know if he was actually burned or not for it). I also seem to remember there being something about how the firework idea came about because the explosives that Guy Fawkes used were found with gunpowder in them and fireworks are made of gunpowder but I can't really remember that part of the story.

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff... Living in Edinburgh, we are so lucky as to have loads of different options on how to spend the evening. Meadowbank have a huge display selling tickets for about £6 but if you'd rather not get tickets to see a specific show, which I don't usually do, then there is loads of other things you can do to make the occasion an amazing night.

  1.  Go up a hill, any of them really but your best views will be from either Arthurs Seat, Calton hill or Blackfird hill. But just a warning, you will certainly not be the only one there so head up a bit earlier to get the best views. The best firework displays are usually between 6pm-8pm.
  2. Take a flask of something with you to keep you warm, last year I took mulled wine and it was delicious! But you could take mulled cider, hot chocolate or even a hip flask of sloe gin would do the trick.
  3. Wrap up. Remember its even colder up the hills than it is on the streets, plus you will be standing about a lot so get all the cozy clothes out.
  4. Be in good company. Watching fireworks, if you don't mind the noise, can be so special so take someone with you who will appreciate it as much as you will.
  5. Take sparklers. Who doesn't love a sparkler?!


T x
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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

It's Officially Winter

The transition between summer and autumn, for me at least, happened overnight. It started with what to wear that morning, then my decision to turn the heating on after having it off for months, the Christmas items I noticed in the shop while buying my dinner, even the meal I decided to make that night had something different about it. Walking home from work in the dark for the first time, stepping over the golden leaves that had fallen from the trees, it dawned on me that winter was more than on it's way. Until that moment, I had gone without realising that summer was completely over, and probably had been for a while. 


I absolutely LOVE winter- any excuse for a new jacket, and I basically change everything about my lifestyle between summer and winter. As I am sure most of you do too. So here is just a few things that I do to get me through the cold weather and add to my love of winter:



The clothes.
I completely forget about my summer wardrobe- my winter woolies come out at the first sign of even the slightest temperature drop. The jumpers, coats, boots, scarves, cozy pyjamas, thick socks and layers on layers of Autumnal colours become a permanent fixture for the winter months. Even my makeup style changes as I start using darker and bolder colours. Having shopped for summery dresses over the past couple of months, I now find myself looking at the jackets and coats, fighting my way through the invasion of sparkly dresses, to find the cosiest clothes I can get my hands on. My outfit choices start to prioritise warmth over fashion and my dressing gown/blankets come out of their summer hibernation. I should probably mention that Zoe is not one for compromising fashion for warmth, hence the loafers, which she will probably wear even if it snows.




The food.
Overnight, I went from eating salads and antipasti to cooking all the hearty and wholesome food that I could think of. All the Winter warmer meals you can imagine started to appear on my plate; casseroles, stews, curries, wintery soup, lasagne, thai chicken broth and this delicious chicken, chorizo and veggie pie which Zoe and I made:




The atmosphere.
Even though its still October, there are signs of Christmas and winter everywhere you look. The dark mornings and early sunsets, the frost on the windows when you wake up, being able to see your breath in the air. Since early September there has even been little hints of Christmas appearing in the shops, selling advent calendars long before anything halloween-y appeared! Everything from the early night skies, to the cinnamon scented candles makes me so excited about this time of the year.



The cozy nights.
Harry Potter movies start to be shown constantly on the TV, not that they need to be... I mean, who doesn't have the entire DVD boxset anyway?! I get the sudden urge to have a night in, watching movies all cozy on the sofa, even more so when this years dose of the cold hits me. I go through ridiculous numbers of candles, drink about 10 times more hot chocolate than I probably should and watch far too many movies. It's all a part of this wintery feeling that I can't get enough of. 


T x
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

I am a Brunch Addict


I am a brunch addict. Whether it's sampling the many brunch spots Edinburgh has to offer or cooking up a storm at home, my brunch game is on. This is a fairly new obsession that has become a bit of a Sunday ritual. I feel like there is no better way to start a productive day and catch up with friends. I can recommend some gorgeous places in Edinburgh to eat breakfast and brunch such as Montpellier's in Bruntsfield, a beautiful and stylish cafe with a huge menu with every brunch option you could ever want. The Pantry in Stockbridge or Leo and Ted in Bruntsfield are the absoloute best for some eggs and coffee. For something a bit healthier check out Hula Juice Bar at the Grassmarket or the amazing Grams at Haymarket. 


Now, nearer the end of the month when I need to cut back a bit, eating out all the time and brunching  tragically the first thing to go. So, to satisfy my brunch cravings I like to invite some friends round and show off my cooking skills with a homemade but simple brunch. My favourite offering of the moment is American Pancakes with Strawberries and a drizzle of honey. 



INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4-6
225 Grams of plain flour
300 ml of milk
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoon of caster sugar

  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • Butter for frying
  • Squeezy honey
  • Strawberries

  • METHOD

  • As fas as method goes, I just throw all of the ingredients into my NutriBullet blast it until smooth. Then heat my frying pan to a medium heat, add a little butter and pour the batter in, it will look fairly thick but that is the way they should look to begin with.  Flip & repeat, then serve up with a drizzle of honey and some fruit.

You can add whichever fruit you want to this recipe or serve with eggs, bacon and syrup like a traditional American breakfast. Another amazing pancake combination is nutella and banana which is great if you are looking to treat yourself. You still have your instagram-able brunch whilst saving rather than spending. 
L x
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