Shopping | White Stuff of George Street

The White Stuff Edinburgh

Recently I was invited along to the White Stuff‘s flagship store on George Street for a tour and to hear about what was going on there. As well as their regular line-up of special events and promotions, during August they became a Fringe venue and hosted the Craft Scotland Summer Show.

The White Stuff EdinburghThe White Stuff EdinburghLucy Roscoe

The White Stuff EdinburghUrsula Hunter

Taking place across the second floor, the Summer Show featured makers from all over Scotland specialising in everything from textiles, to ceramics, jewellery to papercrafts. The White Stuff also hosted Meet Your Maker events where the public were given the chance to hear a free programme of talks from selected artists.

The White Stuff Edinburgh

Next I got a tour of the changing rooms. Bit confusing as these are clearly wardrobes. However, each one is a Narnia, opening into an individually designed room. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but here are a few of my favourite details:

IMG_0445 IMG_0442 IMG_0431 IMG_0422

The last room – Under the Sea – and a few others were designed by kids in a competition. Their original drawings are hung on the door which is a really sweet gesture.

IMG_0452 IMG_0453IMG_0496

These kinds of gestures continue throughout the store. Everything is considered. As you first come into the store there is a tea-stop where you can rest your weary feet. There are chalkboards where the staff write about what else is happening in Edinburgh that week. By the changing rooms there is a fort for kids to play in and watch a cartoon. The men’s section boasts a vintage pool table. Dog bowls are available for our pooch pals. There’s a book club with books provided by the company. Overall, there is a real community spirit in the shop. There’s no hard sale here, it’s just very nice.

IMG_0487

Another major plus is the sweet shop. You know me, can’t resist something sugary! In all seriousness though, the sweet shop, along with additional fundraising activity such as bake sales, raises money for Lothian Autistic Society. The store has raised over £16,000 since 2010 which is amazing.

IMG_0480 IMG_0489 IMG_0507

And let’s not forget the clothes. The White Stuff is known for quality pieces with a focus on good design and construction and cheerful designs. With the season changing, let me tell you, there are many jumpers, scarves and jackets that I very firmly have my eye on.

IMG_0523

The White Stuff team very kindly gifted me a goody bag which included two of the recent reads from their book club. What a great selection! Need to get myself on the waiting list.

16c93f24-c27c-45bc-8c98-b5c64b46a221-image_s

Lastly – the selfie mirror! This is located in the changing rooms and emails you your pic to share to Facebook (or your preferred form of digital communication) and instantly canvas opinions on your new outfit. Genius!

Massive thank you the entire team at George Street for inviting me along and especially to Vita (their fantastic Marketing intern) for the tour. The White Stuff is truly a unique shopping experience. The staff seem to really love working there and I think that is so important for the atmosphere of any shop. I highly recommend you pop along and check it out. With an eclectic mix of events (bit gutted I missed the free gin for National Gin Day), you’re guaranteed to stumble across something special happening, as well as some gorgeous clothes!

Lucky Dip Club | Ice Cream Parlour

Lucky Dip Club August Ice Cream Palour

I honestly can’t declare my love for the Lucky Dip Club subscription service enough. This letterbox-friendly parcel of surprise goodies brightens up my month every time. This months theme was “Ice Cream Parlour” and we were promised sweet treats and the ultimate summer name necklace. As usual, the packaging give you a clue to the contents, this time a positive “Think Happy” mantra and sprinkles.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

Sneak peak! Again, you can see that Leona puts a lot of thought into the packaging. I love the doily decoration – very traditional ice cream shoppe appropriate!

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

It’s the promised summer necklace. I love that the name is subtle on this one, incorporated into the wafer cone. I’ve been wearing this a few times already. I also had to include the bag in the photo as it’s just so cute.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

Perfect pastel metal pin badge. Even the cherry on top looks happy to be sitting on this sundae mountain.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

Stationery! Always exciting in my book! The notebook is unlined so perfect for doodling happy thoughts and the cover has a nice matte finish. The addition of the pencil is a nice touch too.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

Sundae Girl pouch. This is the perfect size for either a makeup bag or a pencil case. I think I’ll be using mine for makeup as I always seem to have a few bits rolling about in my handbag these days.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

This month’s DIY kit is ice cream buttons and ribbon to accessorise the Sundae Girl pouch with. I think I’ll make the ribbon into a pull for the zip but save the buttons for a cardi or something. They’d look cute jazzing up a candy coloured top.

Lucky Dip Club Ice Cream Parlour August

And that’s it all. A pretty wonderful box once again. Next month’s theme is “Magic Forest”. Oooh… I’m imagining fawns, toadstools and hodgehegs (yes, that is how spell it). Come and join me in the Luck Dip Club addiction – sign ups open 1st September here.

Do you get Lucky Dip Club boxes? What has been your favourite piece so far?

Face Mask Fandom | Passion Peel Off

Montange Jeunesse

So it’s safe to say that I have a fair few face masks saved up. In a bid to stop being a hoarder I thought I would start a mini-series reviewing them. As the above photo suggests, it’ll mostly be the Montagne Jeunesse masks, although there will be a few other kinds thrown in there too. I’m hoping that this series will also help me identify which one works best for my skin, instead of what I just like the smell of.

Passion Peel off

First up is Montagne Jeunesse’s Passion Peel Off Face Masque. This is the £1 sachet that is readily available in Boots and Superdrug as well as most supermarkets. You only need a thin layer so I find that there is enough product in this sachet for two faces – I recommend sharing with a pal at the same time over saving it as there’s no way to re-seal these.

The mask is a very thin, runny red gel (not purple like the packaging suggests) which is very messy. Be warned! Once on the face, you leave it to dry and then peel off. A thin layer is very important otherwise you might end up with it dripping off your face and not drying. I also don’t recommend using peel off masks in a hot bath as the steam will stop it from drying (learnt that one the hard way!).

I don’t think that peel off masks are suited to my face. They peel away dead skin but don’t replace it with any moisture and as I have dry skin this is a bit of a problem. Also, as satisfying as it is to peel the mask away, it can get a bit sore when it’s also pulling out downy-like hair, which I have. Ouch!

On the plus side, this smells incredible – a fruity combination of pomegranate and passion flower. If you’re a fan of peel-off masks and you have normal or oily skin this would be great for you, although I’m not a fan. Boo, no snake-like shedding fun for me!

I hope you’ll enjoy this series. Which face mask do you recommend I try next?

Book Review | The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with all the Gifts

The reason that I was drawn to The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is the mystery. It has a striking cover and a blurb that gives nothing away, other than that there is a reason that people are scared of our heroine, 10-year-old Melanie:

“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks that they don’t like her. she jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.”

So if that is enough to make you read this book, please don’t read on as this review does contain spoilers… still with me? OK, let’s get into it.

Melanie is locked up in some kind of military compound. She is taken daily to a classroom with other children who are all strapped to chairs, barely able to move and muzzled. Here they learn about a world they have never seen and can never hope to see. This is post-apocalyptic Britain and the children are already dead.

The apocalypse came in the form of a blood borne virus. A new take on the zombie myth, the monsters of TGWATGs are known as ‘hungries’. They are people who have been taken over by the Ophiocordyceps fungus which turns them into brain-dead cells, waiting for human prey to pass their way so that they can transfer the fungus. This is actually not as far-fetched as it might seem. This is a real fungus that is known to infect ants and other insects and forces them to climb to a high point before exploding out of their head. Honest, I saw a David Attenborough documentary on it. Scary stuff! Knowing this lends a level of legitimacy to TGWATG that other novels from the genre just don’t have.

As you might have realised, Melanie is different. Not a hungry, but not a normal child either. She is extraordinarily intelligent and has an intrinsic feeling of what is going on in her life even though the adults have always shielded her (or themselves) from the truth. She knows that they think she is dangerous and that they do not want a relationship with her. Despite this, she slowly forms a bond with Miss Justineau, one of the teachers. A raid on the compound means that find themselves displaced and Justineau feels that she must protect Melanie from the military personnel, while it comes down to Melanie to protect them all from the hungries.

TGWATG creates a believable post-apocalyptic setting for some really fantastic characters. The five core characters (Melanie, a teacher, two army personnel and a scientist) are perhaps the standard line-up but they are all well realised and well-developed. Their motivations are clear, even if you disagree with their stance.

In short, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I really recommend it for thriller fans and zombie fans. It brings something new and fresh to the genre and introduces a remarkable new anti-heroine in the form of young Melanie.

Models Own | Polish for Tans

Models Own polish for tans

The sunny weather may long since have departed the Scottish skies but I’m still holding on to the belief that it’s still summer. Or at least my nails are. I’m late to the Models Own Polish for Tans party but I’m so not ready for the muted shades of A/W. The USP of Polish for Tans is that the bright neon colours flatter and accentuate tanned skin. Tanned skin is not for me, but luckily it also works on pale hands. I found that actually it did give the illusion of slightly bronzed skin.

Polish for tans beach bag

This is ‘Beach Bag’ and is a bright peach colour. To me, it’s a pretty unique colour, I certainly don’t have anything like it in my collection.

Polish for tans Shades

This is ‘Shades’ a gorgeous coral pink. The formula of both of these are the same – slightly thick but easy to apply if you take your time to apply three thin coats. They dry to a semi-matte finish like most neons. This does expose imperfections on your nails but if you’re using a base and topcoat this shouldn’t be a problem. The colours are definitely worth it!

There is another paler pink available in the collection as well as a neon green and a highlighter yellow. The whole collection is pretty impressive but these two are for sure the best. Available at http://www.modelsownit.com/

What do you think of Polish for Tans? How far into the autumn do you think I could get away with these shades?

Dance | MurleyDance Object of My Affection

MurleyDance

One of the shows I’ve seen at this year’s Festival Fringe is MurleyDance Object of My Affection. Featuring the only professional ballet company at this year’s Fringe, I was really keen to experience something different to the usual line-up of stand-up shows I usually attend.

Made up of three acts, Object of My Affection  explores our relationship with material objects and our connections to people we haven’t even met. The first act, Seated, is based around 5 pieces of furniture from different eras and the connotations that they embody. A love seat divides a passionate but fractious couple; a pair of thrones invoke a power struggle; a 1950s bar stool is flirtatious and rebellious; an armchair forms the central part of a family home and a piece of flat pack IKEA furniture conquers all. For me, this was delightfully and unexpectedly humorous – who knew that ballet could be funny?!

The second act, A Une Passante, took a more serious turn. Focussing on two people who pass but don’t meet, they imagine a passionate affair with sadness that this will never be. The dancers really capture and communicate the emotion of this glancing moment even to a dance novice like me. The last act, Into Decay, featured projected images, electro music and quick choreography that makes for a high-energy finale. As it explored people’s reliance on technology I would have liked to see more interaction with the projections but this is probably my affinity to the moving image showing itself!

I’m a newbie to the world of dance, only having attended a few shows previously but I do know that I really enjoyed this one. It felt accessible, engaging and emotive and I really connected to each of the stories that were being told.

The show takes place at Greenside at Nicholson Square which is a fantastically intimate space for a show like this and a rare chance to see professional ballet up close. It is on until the 23rd of the month and tickets are available here. The company will also be doing a UK tour later in the year.

Drinks | Nola Vodka Spritz

Nola Vodka Spritz

Hi Ladies! If you had seen me last Saturday night you will have quickly realised that I love a cheeky vodka or 10. However, necking cheap vodka ain’t so classy so when I spotted Nola Vodka Spritz on the supermarket shelves I knew it would help me up my vodka game.

Nola is a new, pre-mixed, low-calorie vodka based drink aimed at women looking for a lighter, fruitier alternative to wine. They come in both slim 25cl cans and  70cl bottles which look like wine bottles. The packaging is certainly very attractive and stands out on the busy supermarket shelves.

I tried both the watermelon and strawberry and the raspberry and elderflower flavours, two quite trendy flavour combinations. The strawberry and watermelon one was fruity and crisp, but I preferred the lightly floral flavour of the raspberry and elderflower. Neither were overly strong or sweet, so also a good alternative to fruity ciders which can be a bit sickly after half a bottle. I really enjoyed Nola and would buy it again for a Saturday night blogging on the sofa (like tonight!). At £2 a can or £6 a bottle it’s not too bad a price either.

P.S. This isn’t a sponsored post, just thought these would appeal to my fellow blogging ladies.

Cheers!