Monday, 31 August 2015

ScotGrad Residential Training

If you’ve recently graduated or are about to graduate from a Scottish university, chances are you’ll have heard of ScotGrad (and if you haven’t then you’re about to thank me). ScotGrad essentially provide graduate placements for growing businesses. These businesses will have identified a gap in their business plan/strategy that could be supported by a recent graduate – this means that the graduate isn’t just making tea, they’re making a worthwhile contribution to the business and in doing so gaining valuable hands on experience. Throughout the placement, ScotGrad provides support for the graduate and offer a 3 day residential training programme which aims to help with business and leadership skills.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined 17 other recent graduates at the Jury’s Inn in Edinburgh for ScotGrad residential training. We had a pretty intense 3 days lead by Dr Russell Matthews from Strathclyde University and Dr John Park, who previous ran graduate programmes for P&G and Pepsico – both of which were fantastic. Not everyone who attended the course had a business related degree. We had engineers, designers, scientists and a few from an IT background but due to the nature of the tasks and discussions no one was at a disadvantage – everyone was in the same boat and was just looking to make the most of the training.

Throughout the training course we covered a mixture of business skills which made us think about our companies from an outside perspective and we were encouraged to think critically and really challenge our company’s existing business model. Where ScotGrad really differentiates itself from your typical graduate programme is the emphasis on personal development. Not all placements will become permanent so learning how to sell yourself and understand how to take advantage of your network was discussed at length and for those attending with permanent positions this would have been greatly beneficial for understanding your own value and, of course, for future career progression.

The final day was presentation day. We were asked to reflect on our placement and discuss how we would be able to incorporate what we’d learned during the training into our work. Some of the managers (my own included), ScotGrad and Scottish Enterprise employees as well as some employees from the likes of Business Gateway were in attendance – which sounds a lot scarier than it was. There was a very supportive and encouraging atmosphere so the presentations ran smoothly (and I felt rather silly at getting as stressed!).

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Workwear Pinspiration

If you follow me on Pinterest you might have noticed that lately I’ve been going a bit mental pinning workwear inspiration. I’ve recently started a new job, still in digital marketing but in a slightly more formal work environment, so I finally have a job that calls for business casual! Let me tell you, wearing jeans to work is great to start with but very soon every piece of clothing you own reminds you of work. What I love about office wear is that it really doesn’t need to be boring - I absolutely love printed trousers (as I’m sure you can tell from the image below) and throwing on a statement necklace or a pretty cardigan brightens up any look with minimal effort. So I’m not spending an absolute fortune I’ve been picking up a few bits here and there - New Look and Sainsbury’s are amazing for the likes of printed trousers and then when it comes to your daily staples (e.g. black trousers, cardigans etc) I don’t think you can go past Next. 

If you have any other suggestions for where to look please let me know! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Spring/Summer Nail Colours

Although I’m still struggling to update my wardrobe for summer (I wish I could get as excited about clothes shopping as I do for beauty shopping), I’m all for the Spring/Summer nail colours. Whether you’re for pastels or brights, I’m sure I’ll have some ideas for you. As I'm sure you would expect I'm all about the Essie polishes. 


Mint Candy Apple (far left) - this is one of my latest Essie purchases and I’m sure it needs no introduction if you read beauty blogs. This minty, turquoise colour screams summer and is surprisingly easy to wear. 

Go Ginza (top left) - described as a soft cherry blossom pink, this gorgeous polish is perfect if you’re already a fan of the likes of Essie Fiji or Blanc. The milky pink/lilac adds a little something extra to the ever popular white nail look. 

Maximillian Strasse Her (bottom left) - So this is definitely a Vivianna Does Makeup Inspired purchase. The cool grey/blue nail colour is even prettier on than in the bottle. The grey tones make it really easy to wear. I’m sure this is one that I’ll still be wearing constantly in the winter.


Meet Me At Sunset (middle) - If you’re a fan of orange, this is the one. It’s a vibrant orange without being neon making it really wearable all year round. 

Watermelon (bottom right) - if I had to pick one nail colour to wear for the rest of my life this would be it. Whenever I have the raspberry pink polish on I can’t stop looking at my hands - it’s one of those ones!

Meet Me At Sunset - If you’re a fan of orange, this is the one. It’s a vibrant orange without being neon making it really wearable all year round. 

Cute As A Button (top right) - I’ve had this in my collection for a while now but it’s been relatively unloved until now. The coral/pink toned polish is gorgeous on toes.

What's your favourite colour for spring/summer?

What’s your favourite nail colour just now?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

I love French pharmacy brands - Bioderma, Nuxe and La Roche Posay are all staples in my skin care routine. They’re gentle, effective and so reasonably priced compared to high end skin care. Until now Caudalie was one brand that I just didn’t have a lot of experience with. I originally associated the brand with the Beauty Elixir which received cult status in the blogging world a couple of years ago but with my skin being on the oily side it didn’t really appeal to me (this was before Caroline Hirons taught me the importance of double toning of course). Recently Caudalie brought out a range of 4 face masks designed to target all of your skin concerns. There’s the Gycolic Peel Mask for radiance; Purifying Mask for controlling oil; Moisturing Mask for skin in need of hydration and the Instant Detox for congested skin. A few weeks ago I won the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask on an Escentual Twitter competition (I never win anything, I was so excited!), and I have to say, so far I’m obsessed. 

Over the last few months my skin has went from being oily to more combination so I’ve been finding that my usual cleansing mask of choice, Origins Clear Improvement, has been a bit too much for my skin leaving it feeling quite tight, so far Instant Detox is the perfect solution for confused skin. According Escentual, it has a “cocktail of 8 essential oils which has a detoxifying effect on the skin whilst promoting regenerating, smoothing and purifying action”. It also has papaya enzymes to which lightly exfoliate the skin. I’ve found it deeply cleanses my skin without drying it out and it leaves my skin super soft. And no break outs! So massive thumbs up from me. I’m dying to get my hands on the other 3, so I’ll keep you updated! 

Have you tried any of the Caudalie masks? What’s your favourite face mask just now?

Monday, 30 March 2015

Pinspiration - Fireplace Styling

 The living room in my new flat is a Pinterest addict’s dream. It has stained wooden floors, big white bay windows, high ceilings, original ornate coving and a gorgeous white fireplace. Last week our sofas and side tables finally arrived so the room is feeling a bit more put together and I’m really feeling as though it’s starting to take shape. We’ve stuck to a grey, blue and white colour scheme to keep the room looking clean and simple but homely. As much as I love Scandinavian design I think there’s always the risk that the room will feel a bit cold and clinical so this is something that I’ve been very aware of when I’m been trying to find inspiration on Pinterest(you can see my last living room post here).

Now the fireplace was always a feature I knew I would have fun styling. My dad and boyfriend spent last weekend hanging up a massive mirror. I have a serious thing about mirrors - I think they make a room look so much brighter. I bought a couple of cream hurricane candle holders in the Laura Ashely sale a couple of months ago and I’ve got a few Jo Malone candles waiting to be used from my Estee Lauder days (God I miss that discount). As always, I’ve been using Pinterest for inspiration and I definitely think I need something to vary the height a little bit. I’ve been toying with the idea of a white mantle clock – I’ve seen this one from Matalan. Although I love the cluttered look on Pinterest I don’t think it’s something that would work for me – I like to clean too much – so I’m going to have to play about with the fireplace to get the right balance.

What do you think? Any advice for styling a fireplace?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I went on a little city break to Budapest. In all honesty Budapest was pretty a random decision, I wanted to go somewhere a bit different and after looking through some travel blogs I seen this review for The Corinthia Hotel in Budapest and basically seen all the heart eye emojis. The hotel was absolutely stunning, such a great central location and great value - you'd pay at least double for a hotel of that standard in most other places in Europe. Arnold Schwarzenegger was staying there the last night we were there too!

Budapest itself is absolutely stunning - it's like something from a Disney film. And SO CHEAP! The first night we walked up to Heroes Square, where we found an ice rink overlooking Vajdahunyad Castle and a market.

Here I am loving life with langos - fried dough, sour cream and cheese. Do I even need to say anything else?

We went on a Hop On Hop Off bus tour, the ticket was valid for 2 days and great value, it was something like £12 each. We did find the times a bit limiting as they stopped about 3pm - we arrived a week before they changed to the summer schedule! Fisherman Bastion was on all of the "must see" guides and I certainly understand why. You can see great views of Pest, the bridges and the parliament building.

The Budapest Parliament building makes the houses of Parliament in London look cheap. No joke. We went on a tour inside which although it was beautiful, was a little disappointing, we waited for an hour and a half because you could only go in as part of a guided tour and then it only lasted half an hour. Definitely worth a visit but check times - I was a bit apprehensive about booking tickets online (the site didn't look the most legitimate) but if I could do it over I would.

I also pre booked a candle lit dinner on the Danube which was fantastic - the food was actually really good and seeing everything lit up at night was stunning. And beer was like £1. 

Moral of the story - visit Budapest.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Lush Mother's Day

Oh how I love Lush. My mum on the other hand still hasn’t tried a single bath bomb (despite my attempts to persuade her, she’s still holding a grudge from that one time I left the bath looking like a Kesha video - I’m looking at you Golden Wonder). I’m very sure that is going to change pretty soon. The 15th of March to be exact. I was invited along to have a sneak peak at Lush’s Mother’s Day range and I have a feeling that this is the year my mum is going to turn into a fellow Lushie. 

The Mother’s Day range has 3 limited edition Bubble Bars (Ultra Violet, Rose and Mother Superior*) and 2 Ballistics (Secret Garden* and Rose Bombshell) as well a body conditioner (Yummy Mummy*), a shower gel (also Yummuy Mummy*), a soap (Love You Mum) as well as some fab gift sets at a variety of prices. Something to suit everyone!

My top picks? Secret Garden Ballistic which is shown above fizzing away and Mother Superior Bubble Bar which has the most gorgeous delicate floral scent. A special mention also going to the Yummy Mummy Body Conditioner which I’ve stolen for myself and have loving - it leaves my super dry skin really well hydrated and smells amazing. 

Massive thanks to the girls from Lush in Livingston for showing us the range - they're such a lovely team. Definitely go in and say hi next time you're about!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Pinspiration - Livingroom


So things seem to be moving a million miles an hour just now on the moving out front which is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. It also means that I now have even more of an excuse to spend hours on Pinterest. At the moment the living room seems to be the only room where my boyfriend and I have similar ideas. We're both thinking grey with some subtle colour to add a bit of warmth.

You can follow me on Pinterest here.

What do you think? Are you a Pinterest addict too?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Empties #3

My wardrobe is in dire need of a clear out and the fact that I hoard empty products probably doesn't help matters. Over the last couple of months I seem to have ran out of a lot of my daily staples. Don't you hate when that happens? I've got some skincare, haircare and nail products that are all ready for the bin so here's another empties post!

Aesop Parsley Seed Masque
This fabulous cleansing mask is perfect for keeping oil in check and giving skin a quick boost. If my skin is behaving, I use this on a Sunday for a deep cleanse, if my skin isn't behaving I use a more hardcore cleansing mask on a Sunday (Origins Clear Improvements) then use this during the week as it's a bit more gentle on the skin. 
Repurchase? I already have

I'm probably on my 4th tub of this cleansing balm. I've never really been a fan of Clinique products - sometimes you just need scent - but I love this. My skin is pretty temperamental but I know that I use this as my main cleanser morning and night my skin will calm down pretty quickly. Despite it being a balm, it leaves my skin feeling clean and doesn't leave any residue. 
Repurchase?  I already have. I like to have a backup for my backup.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
Anyone with oily/blemish prone skin needs this serum. It helps unblock pores, controls shine and helps reduce marks on the skin. I use this every morning before my moisturiser and it's a firm staple in my skincare routine.
Repurchase?  I already have

Another staple in my morning skincare routine, this moisturiser works really well in the winter when my skin does tend to get a little dehydrated but without making my skin oily. 
Repurchase? Yes

In the past I've had trouble with night cream. I've found that I do need something a little more hydrating but a lot of the products I've tried that are that bit more hydrating tend to break my skin out. This night cream is the perfect in-between and promises radiant looking skin. 
Repurchase? Yes 

I've had this treatment for a while now and I think my mum has used more of this than I have. It's considered an "intense conditioning treatment" and it is just that. I found that it left my hair feeling heavy and it I used it too far up my hair no amount of rinsing would stop my hair looking like a grease ball. My mum has blonde hair and she loved it, so it's probably one for those who use a lot of bleach and heat.
Repurchase? No 

I love anything that lets me have an extra 10 minutes in bed. I especially love these products when they don't aggravate the psoriasis on my scalp. So this is still a winner in my books. This is one of the first products I wrote about here and remains a firm favourite. 
Repurchase? I tend to stock up on this when Ecsentual have 1/3 off French Pharmacy 

L’Oreal Mythic Oil
I've finally finished an oil! This was great for when I was leaving my hair to air dry. I have the rich version which helped weigh my hair down (my hair is naturally a curly/frizzy riot - I do believe that is the term they use in the hair industry). I did find it to be a bit silicone heavy but for the price, I enjoyed using it. 
Repurchase? Once I've finished a few more oils, yes

I’ve spoken about my love for this here. I still use this on it's own and as a base coat and I don't see that changing any time soon.
Repurchase? Yes

China Glaze Orange Cuticle Oil
Super hydrating and smells amazing. 
Repurchase? Yes