Santa Baby

Dear Santa,

It's not too late, y'know. Here's a few ideas with less expensive versions:
 Tiffany Bows Ring - £1,250 (Tiffany)

Ribbon Bow Ring - approx £35.88 (LichenAndLychee on Etsy) 

Polka-dot Dress - £676.23 (Dolce&Gabbana)

 Vintage Dress - approx. £23.92 (The Vintage Studio on Etsy)

Mary-Janes - £325 (Vanessa Bruno)
Mary-Janes - approx. £50.87 (Killah)

Merry Christmas, C x


Christmas Card

I just spotted the First Minister for Scotland's official Christmas card, designed by Jack Vettriano, and had to share it with you all:

First Minister’s 2010 Christmas card

Look at that fabulous outfit! I approve. 



Had to quickly share my love and excitement over the new Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall collection (via tomandlorenzo). Bright colours and grey! Bows for belts! Cropped jackets and princess coats!

(except yucky turquoise on the end there, but the style is fab)

My favourite was this one:
I might have worn a different belt, maybe in cobalt or emerald green (not a fan of yellow), but overall I think this is stunning. The slash neck emphasises shoulder width so a hippy girl like me would look more hourglass and well-proportioned. I also love her platinum hair. Mwah!


Pantone announced their colour of 2011:
I LOVE this colour. It's so cheery but it's also a hard enough pink that I wouldn't call it 'girly'. I may just have to buy the mug. Last year, they used that ghastly blah turquoise:
Which you can probably guess, I am really not too fond of. It reminds me of school toilets and windowless ferry cabins. Both of which have connotations of vomit. Lots of it.

So I'll buy the mug and then I'll make a cute tea dress in that very colour. And how will I make that tea dress? Well, with my brand new SEWING MACHINE.

In case you didn't know what one looked like. Best birthday present ever. 

It was my 21st, and despite being snowed in, it was the best birthday ever. Want to see the dress I wore? Of course you do:

Miss Selfridge, on sale for £30. It has a tulle underskirt, which keeps it nice and pouffy. I did my hair up in a 60s beehive and wore black opaques and black heels, since it was snowing. See the pink in the flowers and leaves? Pantone 18-2120. Trendy.

If you were looking for something to click on, try this: www.latestinbeauty.com
You can pick 3 free sample products every month, and you pay £1 via your mobile phone to cover postage. There are some crappy products (like a perfumed wipe) that I wouldn't bother with, but you can get sample microdermabrasion kits, perfume in teeny black vials and men's products too. I'll let you know whether it's worth it when I get my first box.

C x


Edinburgh Vintage

Despite the economic downturn, there is an abundance of unusual shops in Edinburgh, and since it's apparently 69 sleeps until Christmas, it might be time to start the list for Santa.

  • Arkangel & Felon just popped up this year. It's pretty expensive, not really suited to the average student budget, but they have lovely labels like Anonymous by Ross & Bute, and the vegan shoe brand Beyond Skin, and the vintage interior of the shop is so pretty it's worth peering in just to admire.
  • Iconic, on the other hand, has been around forever. I like to think of the shop as where all the really good stuff from charity shops end up, although they have a reasonable collection of local crafts, crockery and collectibles with four-figure price tags for the mega-minted.
  • Bra Bohag - used to be Retrospective & The Bicycle thieves, which was a cracking little vintage shop - now the owner has now turned to mid-century furniture. It's not a student shop, most furniture is into the hundreds, but it's worth the wander over just to have a drool and picture the Ercol dining chairs replacing your Ikea Ivar wobblers.
  • The Red Door Gallery sells a lot of the art students' creations, and put on some proper weird and wonderful exhibitions. Almost everything is affordable (I make art sound like such an consumable thing?) so it's a great way to treat yourself before loan day.
  • Godiva have been in Edinburgh for years, and I'm actually more of a fan of the menswear, the womenswear can be a bit too twee (but there are gems). The vintage Disney T-shirts are super trendy and a steal at £12.50. 

Not a shop, but an event coming to Edinburgh soon is the 2010 Fiddle Festival. It's got a super line-up of gigs, ceilidhs and workshops, running on the 12th - 14th November. Check it out!

C x


Scarf knitting

Spent my Saturday knitting, I had forgotten how easy it was to pass time with.

It was a super simple scarf to do, using moss stitch (knit one, purl one). I used 1 hank of gorgeous Colinette Giotto wool (rayon/cotton mix), using 8mm needles. It's supposed to be 21 stitches wide but I lost a bit of tension occasionally which made it a little wobbly. Seems to blend in with the textured wool though. I didn't bother with tassles or anything but I'm considering sewing the two ends together to make a snood...?

Probably the last Saturday of this year with enough free time to do the whole thing, but I am offering my services to friends if they want a simple Winter scarf, free of charge (except paying for the hanks - £6.95 for one Giotto hank). 

Love x



What do you give to someone who already has everything? I am faced with the problem of buying a 'thank-you' present for a couple who are quite sophisticated (so no cutesy knitted nonsense that I usually go for), already own very fine wine, probably wouldn't appreciate chocolates, and live quite far away so hauling a bouquet of flowers isn't really an option.

As I trawled the internet, I came across some amazing presents. Alas, I've still not found the right thing, but here's some a few ideas:

Whisky Stones I enjoy a wee dram now and again, but I hate it when the barman puts ice in it. It dilutes the flavour of the whisky and if you're drinking something quite smokey, such as an Islay malts, you can lose those tastes that make a particular malt so distinctive. These are a great idea for keeping your drink cool, but they don't alter the flavour, nor do they absorb any to ruin your next glass.

tree2mydoor can send any of their young trees anywhere in the UK in lovely jute bags with a cute card attached. I particularly like Rowan trees - Scottish myth has it that they will protect your house from evil beasties and witchcraft. The Gaelic for rowan is Caorunn, isn't that lovely? I think I want to send myself one...

I'm not sure why I like these porcelain keys so much but they they would look really dainty hanging off a fresh branch in a vase.

Okay, I'm slightly obsessed with the Pantone mugs, and have considered accidentally dropping  my current mugs so I have an excuse to buy some lovely Pantone mugs. But little did I know you can get just about everything else in your favourite Pantone colours! I thought these tea towels would be quite nice as a present for someone who likes to cook, or who has a husband (giggles).

This doorstop is a bit of an unusual thing to give as a present, but I think it would look good just about anywhere, and in any decor. You know what, I'm rubbish at buying gifts because the only things I like, I end up wanting for myself. How greedy.


Recipe: Spinach & Pine Nut Pasta

I'll admit I can be quite lazy after a long day at uni and just want to pop on a slice of toast or three for dinner. So I made this the other night to try and eat something more nutritious:

The Quickest, Easiest Pasta Recipe Ever


  • Pasta - fusilli or something similar
  • Pine Nuts
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Olive Oil

1. Boil and cook pasta.
2. Drain then put back on the heat with the oil, spinach and pine nuts, stir through for a minute or two, until the spinach wilts. If the pasta starts to stick to the pot add a wee bit more oil. Serve.
3. Top with rocket.

Bish Bash Bosh.


Birds and TV

Apologies for not writing recently, things have been a bit hectic and then my Easter holidays started badly with food poisoning. Yuck. So I had a couple of days in jammies. Obviously, at some point, I was going to play dress-up-dollies on polyvore:

Also had some time to catch up on television/films. I finally got round to watching Precious: Based on... and let me tell you, if you haven't seen it yet, don't even attempt to watch it without a full box of tissues, that film will ravage your emotions until there are none left! If you're not down for that, go for The Blind Side, which is equally captivating but a heckuvalot happier.

On TV, Breaking Bad S3 has just started (excited, yup??); The Pacific, a new WWII drama by the same guys who did Band of Brothers; and How To Make It In America, a new HBO drama set in NY (where else?) about two gents attempting to break the male fashion scene.

The Pacific looks as though it will be just as rewarding a watch as BoB was. Very roughly, it's in the same format, starting and ending with interviews with actual veterans, but centered on the efforts of the Marines against the Japanese army on a small set of Pacific islands. Cue claustrophobic battle scenes, dizzying cuts from soldier to soldier, and lots of scary Japanese dudes. With swords.

How To Make It In America is probably not one for everyone. The obscure references to cult fashion brands certainly fly past me, but it's an interestingly realistic tale of how damn-near-impossible it is to be a success is in these high profile industries. It also randomly stars Kid Cudi of annoying 'Day'n'Nite' fame, but then HBO does always makes the weird work wonderfully.


Cross Stitch

My finished cross-stitch project looked awesome:

I mounted it and gave it to Mum for Mother's Day. My one regret was not using an embroidery frame - I lost a bit of tension in places and the bottom border ended up a bit squint. But I was happy as it was a first attempt.

I also made the stupid mistake of not using a craft knife when creating the card mount. Instead I used a nice pair of blunt scissors that, as I should have known, slipped and cut the top of my thumb open :(   Such a rookie mistake.


Oscar Results and Red Carpet Round-up

Well, well, well. I can reveal that I did in fact predict 9 Oscar winners correctly. And what did Rival Opponent predict? 9 also. So, by rules of the Oscar Prediction Gaming Society, no feet are to be rubbed in the event of such a tie. Gutting.

Picture: The Hurt Locker 
Actor in a Leading Role : Jeff Bridges
Actor in a Supporting Role : Christophe Waltz
Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock
Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo'Nique 
Animated Feature Film: Up
Cinematography: Avatar
Directing: Avatar The Hurt Locker
Documentary: The Cove
Foreign Language Film: A Prophet El Secreto de sus Ojos
Music (Original Score): Avatar Up
Music (Original Song): Nine - Take It All  Crazy Heart - The Weary Kind
Visual Effects: Avatar
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Up in the Air Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Writing (Original Screenplay) : Inglourious Basterds The Hurt Locker

And let me warn you boys to just stop reading now. This is the part where I tear everyone's outfits apart and feel really good about myself for a couple of minutes then feel slightly bad because I'm sure they're all really nice people and they're all really talented and probably thought they were going to be the prettiest girl in the room. Ach:

Givenchy Couture
Did your Grandma ever have one of those knitted dolly things that covered up the spare loo-roll? Saldana's dress looks like Grandma's naughty cat jumped up on the cistern and knocked Miss Loo-Roll into the pan where the dress began to dye at the hands of the purple toilet block.

Giorgio Armani Privé
Bubble wrap! At 3.5 hours, who wouldn't want an interactive dress to bear them through the Oscars? Pop. Pop. Popopop.

Elie Saab Haute Couture
Okay, first real compliment: This dress is pretty gorgeous and super flattering on just about anyone. I'm positive it would have looked divine on someone with much darker skin, but it underwhelms against her near-match complexion. I want to see it in that striking purple she wore to the SAGs.

I LOVE the colour on her. Love it. But I am concerned as it appears a giant sea slug is in the throes of consuming dear Farmiga.

Jenny Packham
Drat. I had been planning really nice things to say about this dress all day, but all the photos I had seen were taken from the side. Then front-on appeared. 

I think the dress itself is stunning. She hits the the lingerie trend spot on, and the colour suits Cyrus' skin tone (take note, Kendrick). But why wear it a size too small? She has to shrug to stop any poppage outage, and even her teeny-weeny waist looks ready to split some seams. 

But seriously, gorgeous dress. 

I'm stuck for what to say other than I personally love this dress, although I know others disagree. I can't think of another dress that would have shown off Bullock's shiny hair as well as this one does. The magpies in Hollywood must be going mad.

Does anyone else have a problem with the colour of Carey's dress? It's matronly, and the cut of the top does nothing to balance out her already huge...shoulders. 

Getting tired? Let's all pause for a moment and admire the gorgeousness of Eli Roth:


Also, have you seen how skinny Suzy Amis is? Sheesh. 

Okay, finally, I have to mention these two dresses. 

Oscar de la Renta
From a distance, Diaz looks spectacular. But take a look up close. And while you're at it, take in Mulligan's (Prada).

It looks to me like Diaz and Mulligan were in some kind of freak accident involving Dad's toolbox and magnetic undergarments. 

Oh my gosh, how awesome would magnetic knickers be? You could keep all your coins safe under your dress thus minimising the amount of clutter in one's clutch! 

How does one apply for a patent?

(Images from Just Jared, IMDB and other random websites. Thanks!)



Oh my gosh. I want I want I want.
This kind of organisational porn makes me seriously sick with jealousy. Look at the shoe rack! And all the space saved! And the pretty storage boxes, oh don't even get me started on those...
Lottery is most definitely being entered into this weekend.


Scottish Fiction


"It isn't in the mirror, it isn't on the page
It's a red hearted vibration
Pushing through the walls of dark imagination...

It isn't in the castle, it isn't in the mist
It's a calling of the waters as they break to show...

...scottish fiction"
Favourite Idlewild song. Ever. 

This inspired another polyvore post. Seriously, that thing has me going crazy. I'm like a kid again when you have a brand new colouring book and you don't know which picture to start on, you want to do them all!



I'm probably behind the times here, but I've just discovered the awesomeness of polyvore.com. It is fracking addictive! It's simply an online scrapbook where you can clip images from the internet or use ones uploaded by other users to create collages of fashion and art. Mostly, it's used as a source of inspiration and wardrobe planning. I made my first set this evening to avoid studying:

There's 'man clothes' (haha) too, if you were worried by how girlie this post is. Speaking of 'man clothes', I also found this super tee-shirt site: http://store.glennz.com/, it's quite similar to threadless but a bit more geeky.


Charity Shop Finds in Edinburgh

Found the best bargains in a wonderful charity shop today. Bethany Christian Trust have the right idea when it comes to utilising the high volume of high value stock that's available in Edinburgh. In other words, thank goodness for the old ladies of Midlothian who give away MaxMara suits, Calvin Klein winter coats and M&S Autograph woolen goodies.

I was in the BCT Newington shop today, but I've been in the Morningside and Stockbridge branches and they're all full of little gems.

Goodies today:
Mounted North by Northwest Print, £2.

 Daks Collection Wool Jacket, £15

Episode Pencil Dress, £4.50

Best Edinburgh charity shops to see:
  • Oxfam Bookshop - Stockbridge - filled with rare editions and classic Vic lit, you won't find a Dan Brown novel in sight.
  • Mary's Living and Giving Shop - Stockbridge - Mary Portas' pop-up charity shop with donations from designers, celebrities and the Edinburgh elite, with the likes of Christopher Kane, Ralph Lauren, Pringle hanging on the rails, donated by Jamie Oliver, Grazia magazine, Lauren Lavergne ...you get the picture. 

  • Oxfam Music - Stockbridge - Sheet music in a charity shop? Musicians rejoice! It's also got 'decent' vinyl, with classic jazz, funk and rock covered, a pretty good selection of CDs and occasionally musical instruments. Dandy.
  • Shelter - Stockbridge and Newington branches - Filled to the brim with Topshop, M&S, Gap, Reiss, Calvin Klein, Thomas Burberry, Barbour etc etc. Menswear is particularly good.
  • Oxfam Books - Newington - Given its close proximity to the university, half the shop has been filled with academic books and textbooks. I got a Davidson's Principles and Practicles of Medicine, RRP £46.99 for £6 a few years ago.
  • Cancer Research - Morningside - Super place for posh shirts. Thomas Pink, Burberry, Calvin Klein...I don't know why they seem to accumulate here but there's a great selection. 
  • St. Columba's Hospice - Morningside - For furniture and bric'a'brac. I'm told that when the rich old people of Morningside die, this is usually where their stuff is given to. I can neither confirm nor deny this but there are lots of lovely old things in there...


Recipe: Nut Roast, Poached Pears

Belated seasonal post - January was too cold and snowy to inspire anything other than overeating and hot toddy consumption.

Had a delicious nut roast for Christmas Day, a super veggie dish that takes minimal effort but is very filling and protein-rich. The 'traditional' dessert of poached pears was made by moi, except I made the mistake of using a very fruity Merlot to poach the pears in, and I think an oaky wine works better, like Rioja, so it doesn't overpower the taste of the pears.

Chestnut Nut Roast
Serves 5

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1-2 small carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g chestnut puree (or mashed chestnuts)
1-2 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley and thyme)
1 tbsp veggie stock/Bouillon powder
1 egg
1/2 cup (lightly packed) grated cheese
Salt + Pepper

1. Grease and line a loaf tin (about 13 x 22 cm) with baking paper or well greased greaseproof paper. Heat the oven to 200 C.

2. Heat oil in frypan and fry the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

3. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-60 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes and the turn out onto serving dish. Goes superbly well with roast parsnips and cranberry sauce. I had steamed broccoli on the side too (but I only took a photo of the next day's leftovers, which I had freezer veg with instead).

Poached Pears
Serves 4

1/2 bottle good red wine
4 pears, cored (tricky, but an apple corer does the job)
200 g caster sugar
1 clove

1. Put wine, clove and sugar into pot and bring slowly to a bubble.

2. Add pears upright [takes a bit of fiddly balancing] and leave to simmer for 30 mins, or until pink colour has spread through the pear (make take longer than 30 mins, depending on type of pear and ripeness)

3. Remove pears from pan then boil down remaining wine mixture to a sticky syrup [the proper recipes say reduce it by half]. Pour this over each of the pears and if you want something to top it all off with, add a couple of raspberries to the plate.