Thursday, 19 April 2018

Top 5: Edinburgh Coffee Stops

Edinburgh best coffee shops Machina Espresso

Top 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh Cafe Noir

I've been meaning to share my favourite Edinburgh coffee stops since I mentioned them in my foodie interview with Talor Gilchrist last year. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, as my boyfriend is obsessed with finding the best one (I'm not exaggerating- we visited 4 in one day while on holiday in Brighton). There was just one problem- he didn't agree with my picks! So, I have enlisted his help to offer you both the best coffees and atmosphere you'll find around (in no particular order):
Top 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh The Pastry Section, Cairngorm Coffee, Castello and co, Brew Lab

1.) Brew Lab
Ian's fave pick, I'd describe this as a hipster's haven. It's got the exposed brickwork, mismatched furniture, filled doughnuts and pour over coffees made at the brew bar. They put a lot of care and attention into the roast selection and equipment. They even offer coffee courses so that you can up your home brews with latte art and the like! Ian feels it was one of the earlier third wave coffee shops in Edinburgh (est 2012) and has the full coffee house aesthetic. For a while they featured Ian's favourite capuccino (he claims). It is always busy, so sometimes difficult to get a seat.

2.) Cafe Noir
A really lovely coffee shop that both of us enjoy. Me for the aesthetics, which is all brass, parquet flooring and plants, and Ian for the actual drinks. It describes itself as a patisserie and the cakes are supplied by Pat The staff are always well-informed about the coffee being served. It's more laid back than other coffee shops, based in the West End near Haymarket, and has a quieter vibe. It's less studenty than some of the others.

Top 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh Cairngorm, Castello, Brew Lab, Low Down,

3.) Machina Espresso
This is our latest find. We recently visited the Tollcross one (its sister cafe is on Nicolson). I found the coffee quite strong, which is usually a sign that Ian will like it. As well as selling drinks, they sell coffee machines and beans to help set you at home. We went on Easter Sunday, when it was quite chilled and quiet but Ian tells me the Nicolson one can be busy.

4.) Castello Coffee
We often visit the tiny one on Castle Street. It's a cosy and relaxed stop if you're tired of shopping on Princes Street with friendly staff and good coffee (but could do with a toilet FYI). If you are nipping in for a takeaway I would definitely choose this one over others. The new one on Bruntsfield Links is much more spacious.

5.) Cairngorm
Cairngorm Coffee has two shops, each with a different aesthetic. The first one (on Frederick Street) has a more industrial feel, while the Queensferry Street one has a cleaner look with science lab stools and beakers. Ian is especially fond of their club sandwich. I'm personally offended by their tea in glass beakers (weak, teabag removed) but everything else really works. Ian normally buys his coffee beans here so we pop in regularly.

Best coffee shop in Edinburgh Cairngorm Coffee Queensferry Street

Special shout out to The Pastry Section and LOW DOWN for their cakes and friendly staff, because I couldn't squeeze them into my five.
Best coffee in Edinburgh latte art
I'm sure caffeine addicts will  have a lot of opinions about these choices- let us know your favourite Edinburgh coffee shops over on Twitter @WardrobeConvos! Ian and I are always on the look out for new spots.

With thanks to Ian Finlayson for his photos and coffee shop knowledge. If you like puns and photos of food and coffee, follow him on Instagram!

Monday, 16 April 2018

April Wishlist

1.) Dinosaur Sweatshirt | Tee Party
I've been having a go at embroidery recently, after many years of meaning to get back round to it. It's having a bit of a moment on clothing and this neat and petite design is on the money.

2.) Rainbow Earrings | Happy in Finland
Just another adorable pair of earrings that I need, need, need. I'm also in love with the 50 other variations and colour combinations- nearly two for every day of the month ;)

3.) Giddy Up Shift Dress | Sister Jane
Sister Jane is a brand that I don't know much about but I feel like I've heard of it a number of times. I accidentally found myself perusing the website and loving so many of the items. I think a couple of items will be slipping into my shopping basket very soon...

4.) Rude Matisse Inspired Brooch | Liv and Dom
I really enjoy Liv and Dom photos popping up on my instagram feed. The rude little nude figures are adorable and just a bit naughty. This is the only wearable item but I recommend taking a peek at the other ceramics.

5.) Krilling It! Clutch | Eat.Me.Do
I could swear that I'd featured this bag on a wishlist before because I have looked at it online so, so many times. I'm not sure why I love shellfish as a pattern so much when I really don't like to eat them but I think it's because they're so quirky. And pink.

1.) Indoor Cat Sweater | Stay Home Club
It's true that I spend most of my time indoors, and I also love cats - making this sweater a perfect fit for me with its cute Satoshi Kurosaki illustration. I also love the colour (you can probably tell by it's abundance in this wishlist), it's such a lovely sunny shade.

2.) Seagull & Chips Necklace | Sugar & Vice for National Maritime Museum
The weather is getting better (I even went outside without a jacket on at the weekend) and this necklace just makes me think of sunny days trying to eat chips outside without being attacked.

3.) Yellow Rainbow Cat Earrings | I Like Cats
More cats! Even if this wishlist didn't feature my name, the double dose of cats would certainly give it away as mine. I Like Cats have recently added a whole range of awesome acrylic cat jewellery and this colourful pair are my favourites, followed closely by these rather wonderful Cat and Sword earrings.

4.) Citrus Wreath Plate | Natalie J Woods
I love this plate! The illustration is super fresh and those oranges look good enough to eat! Of course, I'd probably end up putting cake on it rather than something healthy like the oranges it depicts.

5.) Pointed Toe Brogues | ABO Shoes
It's been quite a while since I wore a brogue but I think I need to start wearing them again, especially if they come in such pretty colours and with such dreamy laces!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Unlikely Style Icon: 90s Nickelodeon - Chuckie Finster from Rugrats

Scottish blogger Helen from Wardrobe Conversations takes style inspiration from Rugrats
Colourful style inspired by Chuckie from Rugrats featuring vintage glasses and retro Sugar & Vice
Scottish street style inspired by 90s cartoon character Chuckie from Rugrats
Red haired costume inspiration - Chuckie Finster from Rugrats
Colourful Play Purse beaded bag matched with bright Topshop boots

It's 90s Nickelodeon week! Kimberley's already shared her awesome Clarissa Explains It All look (with all the layers and double denim that entails) and now it's my turn. I decided to add another Chuckie to my Unlikely Style Icon repertoire (you can see my Chucky from Child's Play look here), this time I went for the fabulous Chuckie Finster from Rugrats. They do both have a similar look, going for bright colours and sporting some fabulous ginger hair - that's definitely a style I can get on board with!

I didn't actually have Nickelodeon growing up (we were a 4 channel household, well until 1997 when they introduced channel 5) but I do remember watching Rugrats. I'm not sure which channel it was on but I remember really enjoying it. Of course, Chuckie was my favourite character and it wasn't just because of his sweet style - I also related to his tendency to worry about things and be a complete scaredy cat. Both are traits I possessed as a child and still kinda do: I'm constantly running through worst case scenarios in my head and am always sprinting back to my flat to make sure I locked the door, even though the door locks when it closes! I'm sure I worried about different things when I was a kid but you get the idea.

Red haired scottish blogger dresses as Chuckie Finster from Rugrats with vintage glasses and Sugar & Vice planet necklace
Colourful street style infront of an orange wall

For my Chuckie look I went for a whole paint box of colours, and even tried some shades I don't normally wear. Hello blue and jade! The jeggings are one of the first things I've bought from M&S that isn't underwear. I never think to visit the ladies department but I've been seeing people share a lot of great items online so I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised - they have a lot of great stuff in there, in a whole array of rainbow colours! I will definitely be going back.

For the rest of the outfit I mostly stuck to my usual colours with lots of splashes of orangey red. I opted for these red boots, rather than Chuckie's un-tied sneakers look, (they're more fashun after all) and added this awesome space necklace instead of the planet motif on the jumper (though I was tempted to DIY it in glitter fabric). I bought this necklace as a gift for my sister years ago (see her weaing it in her guest post). Sugar & Vice have changed the look of the design since then and while I love the new version, I'm glad I managed to bag the original - not least because it looks ace on top of this jumper/shirt combo. I added my new Play Purse bag, mostly because I just wanted to wear it. It's super small and completely impractical but I do love it so! It's not exactly a Chuckie accessory but it totally reminds me of the time when I was watching Rugrats. These beaded purses may have originated earlier but they definitely had a come back in the 90s. The final finishing touches were these thick vintage glasses and a few drawn on freckles. Overall, I think it's a pretty good look for me.

Putting this look and post together has been a lovely trip down memory lane. I spent a rather enjoyable evening watching early Rugrats episodes and it was way more fun than I thought it would be. I was really surprised by how much I remembered from the episodes and the theme song just transported me right back to the days when I would get up early at the weekends so I could watch cartoons. Those were the days!

Jumper | H&M
Shirt | H&M
Jeans | M&S
Boots | Topshop
Necklace | Sugar & Vice
Bag | Play Purse
Glasses | Vintage

90s Nickelodeon inspired outfit

So there you have it, another Chuckie look in the bag. Are there anymore Chuckie/Chuckys out there that I should add to my Unlikely Style Icon list?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Unlikely Style Icon: 90s Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains it All

90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All DIY costume 90's style by blogger Wardrobe Conversations featuring dinosaur handbag 90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All style with blogger wardrobe conversations easy halloween costume: 90s Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All with only 5 items
Let me open this by saying that Clarissa Darling has been the biggest style inspiration in my life. Literally. At age 10, watching her on TV opened my eyes to personal style, choice and pattern. Hold on to your hats for this homage!

This week we are sharing unlikely style icons from 90s Nickelodeon TV shows and let me tell you- I saw my share of them. We had cable growing up, before Sky took over, and we had the coveted second box in our house so us kids could watch a different channel in our parents' bedroom. As well as watching The Lion King every day for a year and copying the WWF (now WWE) moves on our parents' bed alongside the wrestlers, we watched Nickelodeon.

My top choices were Sister Sister, Are You Afraid of the Dark- that late night scary viewing, hitting our screens at a spooky 7pm- and Clarissa Explains It All. And, of course, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Clarissa Explains It All starred Melissa Joan Hart and was a sort of teen diary about Clarissa Darling, a young teen living with her hippy-turned-bourgeois parents and annoying brother Ferguson, who always had a side story of some silly get-rich-quick scheme. It had some surprisingly grown up themes around dating and sex, feminism and animal rights at an appropriate level for pre-teens. She was clever, outspoken and very cool. Her best friend, Sam, climbed into her bedroom through her window and she had a pet alligator named Elvis. She even somehow made custom video games to play out solutions to her ordinary teen problems, which featured the faces of her family superimposed on characters. Not bad considering it used floppy disks and she didn't even have dial-up.

What she was really known for was her fashion sense, which featured clashing everything. It was so different from everything I had seen before- and even the way other characters in the show dressed- and didn't seem to have any rules. Even so, she looked like she was free to do as she pleased and was just so damned cool. (Or, I thought at least, but some of my earliest attempts to mash up my outfits like her were really not understood by my primary school peers. Cycling shorts worn under patterned dresses, for example, although I still maintain that was a look and probably a precursor to the not-as-excellent skirt over trousers look of the millenium).
Veronica Dearly collection of motivational pin badges subscription box 90's Nickelodeon Clarissa Explains It All as worn by Wardrobe Conversations blog Wardrobe Conversations: 90s Layering Style with Clashing Patterns
Here are the main things to pulling off Clarissa's looks:
  • More is more. Pile on any kind of colours and patterns you can. Forget colour coordinating or scaling print sizes- just throw any combo on!
  • Layer for a youthful and modest look. On the bottom this means bright tights, leggings or cycle shorts underneath shorts and skirts. On top, layer loose tshirts with either a biker, denim jacket, or sleeveless version of these two. These basics are often unisex and oversized.
  • Clarissa's hairstyle is long and natural, with a fringe. She wears it either loose, in a high ponytail or a chunky French plait. Vital accessories include puffy hairband or scrunchie.
  • Speaking of accessories- wear everything at once. Bucket hat, scarves, hundreds of gummy bands, and rings on every finger? Go ahead! Patches, pins, chokers, statement earrings? You can have it all! Clarissa is also known to wear heavy black Buddy Holly glasses on occasion. She was ahead of her time.
  • Finally, the look is always finished with a heavy pair of black Doc Martens boots. Clarissa is cool and practical. Just remember to pair with garish socks.

I had an idea of how I wanted to put this together but I felt a lot of pressure to get it right.  It all started with this amazing Dreamland t shirt, which has been giving me Clarissa vibes since I got it. I knew it had to be paired with double denim, in the form of both shorts and jacket. The bright coloured legwear was the hardest, since I personally despise it on me (check out those rugby player quads). I think Clarissa would toughen it up with darker colours but I went against her rules to match the white from the top through the cropped leggings... because I can't help matching, okay?! I wore my entire Veronica Dearly pin collection and risked my bald patch showing with this awful hairstyle.

And of course, I brought my own pet reptile in the shape of Steve the Stegasaurus.
Scottish blogger Wardrobe Conversations: Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All Wardrobe Conversations: Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All 90s Nickelodeon TV style with The White Pepper and Dreamland Clothing
I had so much fun dressing up as my childhood hero for this photo shoot. 12 year old me would be squealing with delight right now, and I am a little bit too.

Top | Dreamland
Stegasaurus bag | The White Pepper
Pins | Veronica Dearly
Boots | c/o Doc Martins
Rest of outfit | borrowed or old

Fun, Colourful 90s Outfits with Wardrobe Conversations
I hope you check out Helen's post later in the week- she has a really fun one too, from a different Nickelodeon show. Which one was your favourite?

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Styled by Kimberley: Yellow

Yellow is the happiest colour there is but I can hardly bring myself to wear it. And why? Because many moons ago I read a magazine article that told me not to. My skin is too waxen, it said. I was warned it would make me look pale, which is the worst thing you can ever be, according to noughties girl's mags. Funny, when you remember just how terrible fake tans were back then.

Nowadays, I couldn't care less how pasty my skin is. It's my skin tone. I enjoy having a light, healthy tan (and our collab with Bellamianta fake tan was one of my bet ever looks tbh) but if I sometimes have a blue hue then so be it. It's not one of the things that I find myself fixating on (and there are many, don't get me wrong). At the moment, I am mostly obsessing about how bad my hair is.

I think that bloggers are mostly recognisable by their hair. It's an important aspect of a woman's identity. And at the moment mine is... meh. You may have noticed that I have stopped dying my hair pink or wearing it in my favourite pin curls. The reason is not a lack of care or imagination... it's because my hair has been falling out.

I hardly had a glorious full mane anyway but with ill health last year I started to notice more going down the plughole. More over my pillow. More shedding every time I touched it. I quit the bleach, tried out hair masks and cut out the heated tools but nothing seemed to help. I started to worry that it wasn't ever going to end. It continued for months. I have never felt that my hair was my crowning glory anyway, happy to lop it off numerous ways just to try something new, but suddenly it felt precious. And it was disappearing. I spoke to a number of women and I realised many have gone through the same thing. It's very common in pregnancy and autoimmune diseases, and there are stories (myths?) about dry shampoos causing it, too. All the chemicals and bleach and heat we use makes it snap off and I know many friends who've had to take the chop to save their locks. All I know is that I have fine hair as it is and I couldn't afford to lose any. I was panicking.

I know now that it was caused by malnourshment. It turns out vitamins are actually important for hair health (who knew?!) and my nails and skin were were suffering too. As I got my health on track, I began to see lots and lots of baby hairs coming in. My hairdresser confirmed it- the amount of new growth showed just how much I had lost but also that it was over. Hooray! I thought. Now I just had to wait it out. I was a little self-conscious of my silly flyaways, sticking up like I'd bumped into a Van de Graaf generator, but they were here. And they were growing. I've been letting it dry naturally, and using specialist Nioxin shampoo to encourage the regrowth (I have mixed feelings about that). The layer of new hairs has grown out enough to lie flat(ish) now but I'm not quite back to my usual self. Yet. Things can only get better, right? In the meantime, I have accepted that my hair needs this rest, and instead of over-styling my hair I've stuck to pinning fun looks on my Pinterest board. It's an important lesson in patience. And it really isn't all that bad.

Anyway, back to my outfit! When Helen challenged me to this Styled By challenge, I immediately knew that she would be dressed full on yellow, on yellow, on yellow. In truth, I had to really dig around to put even this largely monochrome look together, but I'm actually pretty pleased with the pops of colour against the stripes (I was probably inspired by bumble bees, okay?) It's just what I needed with this ongoing winter we are having (although the photos took 3 attempts to take, since each time it was a drizzly and dark outside). This layering is maybe not one for April but it's perfect for actual spring time, and I'm especially loving longer length hems over trousers at the moment. It's a 90s trend I can get on board with! Adding in a brightly coloured vest top and matching nails was an inspired moment and pulls the look together. I have to say, now that I'm aware that a few yellow items have slipped into my wardrobe, I think I'll be expanding my banana coloured collection...

Dress | New Look
Vest top | H&M
Bag | borrowed from my sister
Shoes | Topshop
Name ring | c/o Bonnie Bling
Earrings | You Make Me

Thanks to Ian Finlayson for taking my photographs.