Tuesday, 15 August 2017

What Helen Wore: Dubai

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Kimberley's post about her recent trip to Brighton has me all reminiscent about my own holiday. Granted, mine was way back in February but it was a pretty special one. To celebrate my 30th birthday I jetted off to Dubai on my first trip abroad. Yep, that's right, it took me until the ripe old age of 30 to get out of the UK (well, apart from one weekend in Dublin). And it's taken me 6 months to write this post. The photos have been sitting in drafts since I returned but now it's finally time to share what I wore in Dubai.

Going in February meant that the weather wasn't spectacular but it also meant I could survive the heat. The temperature varied from about 17 to 27 °C (if I recall correctly) so it was manageable for an unacclimatised soul like myself. Being from Scotland I was a bit worried that my wardrobe wouldn't be summery enough and I'd have to buy lots of new stuff. Turns out I was wrong. A lot of my items worked and I only ended up buying two new pieces of clothing, both of which can be seen in this outfit. The top and skirt were bought for their comfort factors and have become firm favourites in my wardrobe since this trip. Don't you love a holiday purchase that lasts!

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Top | H&M
Skirt | Zara
Shoes | Clarks
Necklace | Charcot (gift)
Glasses | Spex Pistols

I wore this outfit for a trip to The Palm for afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria. It was a birthday treat for me so I thought I'd get a bit more dolled up - hence the heels. I also added this shiny Charcot necklace, which was a surprise birthday gift from the lady herself - Kirsty Stevens. I might have blinded a few people as the mirrored surface caught the sun but it was worth it.

The food was absolutely delicious and we all stuffed ourselves while listening to a medley of power ballads being played on the piano. It was hilariously good fun. Afterwards we went for a wander around the grounds (where I demanded these photos be taken) and enjoyed a few wines at the bar. The heels came off pretty quickly (boy do my feet swell when they're hot) but I'd brought some sandals with me so I didn't have to hobble around like a weirdo. Apart from the footwear, it was a pretty successful outfit. I've definitely developed a new love for floaty midi skirts since this holiday.

One of the things I got asked about a lot before I went was "what are going to where - don't you have to cover up in Dubai?". Luckily we were staying with our lovely friend Susan, who lives out there, so I had her on hand to ask advice about what to pack. Turns out I could wear pretty much the same as I where at home, just without as many layers. I kept my knees and shoulders covered, mostly because that's how I dress anyway, and I didn't have any trouble. It all felt really rather relaxed. Here's a few examples of some other outfits I wore during my trip.

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Looking back at these photos has me dreaming about going away again. Where would you recommend I try next?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Top 5: Things to do in Brighton

Yay, it's holiday time! I spent a wonderful break in Brighton during those few days of summer we had back in July. I have never been to Brighton and Hove, and it was only vaguely on my Places To See list. The visit was a birthday treat from Ian and, since he used to live there, he was my guide for my stay. I only know it as a cool place a number of my fave UK designers and makers live but I hadn't thought of it as a modern holiday destination. I was all set to be underwhelmed by the much-talked about hipster haven of a seaside town that is Brighton but, damn it, I was won over.

1.) Brighton Royal Pavilion
I thought I was going to skip this attraction when I was planning the trip. And by planning, I mean glancing at Tripadvisor and vaguely nodding at Ian's suggestions of places to go. He's not really a fan of it but I have to say I really fell for this building and the surrounding gardens. It was my fave and I went to see it twice. The pavilion was originally a royal seaside residence that was completely renovated in the 19th century in the style of Indian palaces. Maybe that's why I love it- the nostalgia of when I lived in India- but the symmetry and repetitive patterns, along with the theatrical flair of Indian design really speaks to me. I recommend it!

2.) The Lanes, North Laine and flea market
One of the major pulls to Brighton is the very studenty vibe, with lots of shabby-but-cool shopping areas. It's a bit confusing because there's the Lanes and then there's North Laine. North Laine is the side I was expecting to see. It has a market feel to it, with vendors of the weird and wonderful, like one shop that is almost exclusively fur throws alongside delicate lace underwear. There's a lot of festival wares. Snooper's Paradise is top of most people's lists; a huge indoor market of vintage bits and bric a brac. I was feeling a little tired when we went, so I recommend going when you have the energy to sift through all the piles of things.
The Lanes, on the other hand, is a quaint series of (you guessed it) tiny lanes that offer a more bespoke shopping experience. There are independent shops that I recognised, alongside a load of specialist shops for cookware, fancy jewellery and, of course, the now infamous Choccywoccydoodah.

3.) Eating and drinking
Let's be honest, this is what I go on holiday for. I could have more than filled my Top 5 with foodie places and coffee shops but I'll sneak them in here instead.
The Chilli Pickle is hands down my favourite Indian restaurant. They were amazing with my gluten issues and I am still dreaming about the masala dosa I ordered. I nearly cried that I couldn't order the sweets selection for dessert (because of wheat)- gulab jaman and ladoo are my favourites.
There are a lotta lotta coffee shops in Brighton with all the latest brews (and we sampled 2-3 in a day with Ian's coffee addiction) but Twin Pines Coffee was my fave. Moving away from the now-typical hipster industrial style, this coffee shop has an art deco vibe and the most beautiful loo.
Decent pubs were The Craft Beer Co. for beer, The Black Dove for cocktails and Brighton Beer Dispensary for a relaxed atmosphere (and board games!).
I also enjoyed really good pizza at Morelli Zorelli and ice cream at Boho Gelato.

4.) The Pier
Being big kids, the pier was an instant lure for us. A mini theme park at the end of the pier, it offers arcade games, coin machines and rides. It seems I'm pretty good at throwing basketballs, bopping lights and shooting dinosaurs. It was easy to lose an afternoon playing all the games for those precious prize tokens, with candy floss and slush puppies. After all that competition, we pooled together our tokens (I didn't have many at all) to pick a prize. I now own a 17% stake in a fidget spinner. Lucky me!

5.) Brighton beach
I couldn't go to Brighton and not mention the beach, especially after a July visit. It's a typical British beach, in that it is shingle rather than sand. Although the smooth pebbles not comfortable to sit on, it's actually quite nice not to come away with sand in all the wrong places. Ahem. As I mentioned, I grossly misunderstood how hot it was going to be, so I was just wearing my breton stripe outfit from this wee's outfit post, when really I could've done with a bikini. It felt very much like a holiday!

What a lovely staycation. (Is it still a staycation if it's not even in Scotland? The climate suggests otherwise). I'm already half-planning the things I'll do next time, so hit me up with your favourite hotspots to add to my list. Five is too few for this wonderful seaside resort!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What Kimberley Wore: Brighton

This week it's all about summer holidays, so I'll be sharing my recent trip to Brighton! Although it was a staycation, as a birthday treat, it was a totally different climate from Edinburgh- super sunny and hot, hot, hot! Can you tell by my squint? I like to pack light and I wasn't expecting it to be quite that warm, so had to do some re-jigging of my luggage on arrival.

Firstly, I'm starting off with my favourite outfit. I'm calling this the Brighton Breton. I wanted something to wear walking around the Lanes (more about those on Thursday), that would be cute but comfortable. This bardot-style top from Oasis was bought just before the holiday and it's been a great purchase- I wear it most weeks! I own a number of striped tops but finding one that's a great fit is the dream. This one is a little bulky under this skirt but I like the overall look.

The skirt has been lurking in my wardrobe since 2010, unworn, apart from the hapless day on which it was purchased. It's a typical Kimberley anecdote *fades out*
I'd just started a new job at the time and dashed out to order a coffee between meetings (because I was totes profesh and everyone drank flat whites so I did too, even though they made my hands shake and my heart race). The very sweet but clumsy barista accidentally knocked it all over me, so I did a Topshop dash for something to replace the dubious crotch stain before an afternoon of meetings. I returned wearing this skirt. If I didn't already have 5 pairs of "spare" shoes under my desk, my colleagues might have questioned my sudden outfit change. I bought the skirt because it was red and I never wore red. I didn't wear it again because I don't wear red. Stick to what you know, people.

I can't even say why I've been hoarding it since. I think I've wanted to prove to myself that it wasn't a dumb purchase made on a caffeine high. Anyway, this is the first second and last time I'll wear this skirt, because following this it outing it became mysteriously covered in coffee stains... I don't know how this happened but it seems I never learn...

I kept my accessories practical, with my comfiest Clarks sandals and trusty backpack. With a base block of both grey and red, I kept the look chic with minimal jewellery and simple French braids that kept my hair off my face. It's an easy look for lunch, coffee and even playing at the arcade (I did all three!) and if the skirt weren't destroyed I'd be wearing it all summer long.

Top | Oasis
Skirt | Topshop (old)
Shoes | Clarks (old)
Backpack | Topshop

Thanks to Ian for squeezing in time to take these quick snaps on the go!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

August Wishlist

1.) Camouflage Scarf | Helen Ruth Scarves
Want to wear leopards without the Pat Butcher 'rude? While there's nothing wrong with that in my books, this camouflage scarf from Scottish designer Helen Ruth is a beautiful way of slipping a spotty number into your outfit. Its floral-skinned felines and vibrant colour combination is simply sumptuous!

2.) Small Wall Banner: BEACH | Not The Kind
I adore this abstract take on a beach from the Not The Kind giftshop. It's an on trend way to bring a landscape scene into your home. The beach hut vibes really reminds me of my recent Brighton visit, which makes me smile.

3.) Gelato Shoes | Miss L Fire
Sticking with the holiday vibe of this month's wishlist are these gelato shoes from Miss L Fire (and they're on sale!). The great thing about combining retro style with a novelty twist is that it makes them surprisingly timeless. Wear them every time the sun peeps out!

4.) 99 Ice Cream Ear-rings | Lou Taylor
I really like ice cream, okay? I may have scoured the internet for the best ice cream accessories... Lou Taylor has nailed the nostalgia of the 99 with these fun statement earrings.

5.) ASOS x MTV Print Ruffle Mini Dress Z | ASOS
I love a collab and I was very excited for this collection. The ASOS x MTV is attention grabbing with it's bold colours and graffiti prints. A few pieces are not quite right for me but this one is the perfect mixture of brash and demure that it's top of my lust list.

1.) Otto Necklace | One We Made Earlier
I spied these necklaces when visiting the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. I always love checking out the shops when I visit galleries because they're usually filled with some awesome independent designers and special collaborations. I had seen One We Made Earlier's designs online before but they look even better in real life! And they have lots of different colour combinations. I love this one because the black and white contrasts beautifully against the bright yellow.

2.) I'm Tired Tee | Big Bud Press
Speaking of yellow, have you noticed a bit of a theme? I'm very much appreciating this sunny colour at the moment, be it a splash of the shade or an all over look. I'm also really enjoying a white tee with a fun slogan and this one from Big Bug Press caught my eye when browsing Instagram. To be honest, all of their photos catch my attention. Bright, solid colours and kickass accessories - it's a total feast for the eyes!

3.) Screenprint Canvas Bucket Bag | Mika Bon Bon
More yellow mixed with black and white. I currently have a bucket bag that I got in the H&M sale a million years ago but it's now starting to fall apart. I love the shape because it allows me to fit all of my crap in there so maybe I need to replace it with this much more fun version. I love the grid pattern and the pops of colour. It also comes in green if that's more your hue.

4.) Sunshine Van Enamel Pin | Hello Sunshine
I find enamel pins are the easiest way to brighten up my outerwear. Sticking a few on the collar of my denim jacket can instantly make it look more interesting and tie it in with the rest of my outfit. What with all the yellow I'm loving at the moment it looks like I might need some matching pins. This campervan one by the lovely Hello Sunshine is perfect for wearing on summer adventures.

5.) Not Nice Socks | Rosehound
Socks can just be boring essentials but it's always more fun if you take a page out of Jon Snow's book (the news presenter not the Game of Thrones character) and go with something a little more interesting. The colours of these ones remind me of the Brownies uniform but the message is a bit cheekier. Of course, I might be too nice to wear them. I don't want my feet to be telling fibs.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

July Round Up

Hello! you may have noticed that we've taken a wee summer holiday from the blog! Here's what we've been busy doing in the interim:

Watching: I've been telling anyone who'll listen to watch The Handmaid's Tale. Or better yet, read the book by Margaret Atwood! It's one of my favourites (I originally read it for a Gender Studies class at Uni) and I've read my old copy about five times. I was worried that the series would not live up to it but I have to admit that, overall, they did a good job. The stillness of the shots, uniformity and clever soundtrack really create the oppressive atmosphere.

Doing: I may have been on a break from the blog but my personal life has been busy! I've been quite unwell for some time with coeliac disease symptoms, so I've completely cut gluten from my diet and it has been a big learning curve. It's in all my favourite things (bread, cake, gravy, falafel, Quorn sausages). Cooking at home is fine but, as someone who loves to eat out, it's becoming a big issue. If anything, I've eaten out more as I try out new places. If you've got any gluten free recommendations please send them my way! It's not been all naps and wheat alternatives though, I've also settled into a new flat, gone on holiday to Brighton and had old uni friends visit from overseas with their families. I have had to cancel a lot of blogging events but I made it along to the Edinburgh International Magic Festival Magic Fair.

Buying: my illness has played havoc with my skin, hair and nails. I've been investing more in skincare and makeup. I don't switch brands often because I have sensitive skin but I've given up removing makeup with a wipe (I know, shocking habit) in favour of  Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm and moisturiser. I've also picked up some Eyeko eyeliner and I want to try Bare Minerals foundation.

Clicking: I've been doing a lot of pinning on Pinterest from my bed. My nails had been quite weak, as I mentioned, so my Pinterest Nail Art Board has been filled and I then treated myself to a minimalist Shellac nail design at Buff Concept Store. I love it!


Watching: Baby Driver. One of my favourite films of 2017 (so far). It's definitely in my top ten, maybe even my top five. I loved the soundtrack, the action, the ending. It was so much fun to watch and I came out of the cinema with a huge grin on my face. I really want to see it again!
Another film I enjoyed watching at the cinema was Dunkirk. Ok, enjoyed is the wrong word. I found it tense and gripping throughout and also rather emotional. I had issues with some of it (there was a moment when it got a bit too sentimental and why does Kenneth Branagh need someone to hold his binoculars for him?) but it looked amazing and the score was fantastic. It won't make it into my top ten but it's definitely worth a watch and really should be seen on the big screen for the full effect.

Doing: I managed to fit quite a bit into July. There was the Dreamland pop up in Hayley Scanlan's beautiful Dundee shop, a couple of trips to Dundee Rep for comedy and Miss Marple, painting ceramics at Tin Roof's Dundee Ceramics Workshop, getting crafty at Dundee Mini Make-Off's Summer pop up, enjoying dinner and a hard shake at Bird & Bear and visiting a whole bunch of exhibitions. Plus, Kimberley made me brunch 3/5 weekends. All in all a rather good month.

Buying: Books and fluffy shoes. After finishing The Power (so good!) I took myself to Waterstones to find something to fill the reading shaped hole in my life. BirdBox was a quick and easy read that didn't really leave me satisfied, so now I'm reading The Handmaid's Tale again. It's been years since I read it and I'm really looking forward to revisiting it, especially after watching the TV show.
The fluffy shoes weren't really needed. I'd spotted them in TKMaxx in June but had no money. Then, when I popped back in at the start of July (not long after payday) and my size was still there I knew it was meant to be. The low heel makes them super comfy but the fluff adds just the right amount fun.

Clicking: I love a good dystopian story so this article caught my eye. It charts the rise and fall and mega rise of dystopian fiction, pointing out important titles from the past 100 years. It doesn't include that many surprises but certainly added a few titles to my reading list.
I've also been eyeing up Camille Walala's amazingly colourful WALALA x PLAY at NOW Gallery via online articles and social media. I would love to make it down to London to see it, and also to catch Grayson Perry's exhibition at Serpentine Gallery. Anyone want to come with?