Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Italian Grill

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Last week we were invited along to Italian Grill in Dundee to try out their food and it was perfect timing. Last month Helen moved across to my side of the city but we've really struggled to match up our schedules for one-to-one BFF time. Weekends away and Helen's Halloween calendar have taken up all our time so I was really looking forward to good food and gossip. And gossip we did!

Apparently Italian Grill has been around for a while but I've never really noticed it in City Square. With an understated exterior, it's tucked alongside Caird Hall right in the centre of town. Inside, I was quite surprised by how modern it was, with clean lines and simple decor. (Apologies for our photographs of this- we haven't quite adjusted to organising photos around the winter nights yet.)

Before booking we checked that they could accommodate my gluten free dietary requirements and I was pleasantly surprised that they could, for mains at least. There wasn't a separate menu but I was advised on which dishes I could swap out for gluten free versions on the main menu and ordered from that. The only starters I could have was a garden or caprese salad, but I always go with caprese anyway so it suited me. The buffalo mozzarella was tasty but I wanted more basil than the decorative leaf! I was envious watching Helen tuck into her porcini mushroom arancini with tarragon butter. It looks so good and she hoovered it up so I guess it was!
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In between courses, we got to talking about how we never go out for dinner. Together, at least. I often do. I've spent a lot of time around foodies and eating out is one of my favourite things to do, when I'm not cooking at home. Helen prefers to just meet up casually over a coffee or quick bite but I really enjoy a sociable dinner occasion. I enjoy a brunch or a lunch or a tapas or street food markets. Anything with good food! This pastime has become a bit (okay, A LOT) trickier since I was diagnosed as coeliac but I find Italian restaurants are often a safe bet so I'm becoming a bit of a pasta connoisseur.

Which brings us on to the mains - both of us are pasta fans so we stuck to those. We had a worrying moment where we mistook Helen's spinach cannelloni for a meaty lasagne but it was actually just a generous portion. The restaurant has a good grill selection too (the clue is in the name) and I was very tempted by the stone bass. My barometer for an Italian restaurant is the spaghetti bolognese though (or a ragu, if they do it) so I opted for that. The gluten free pasta option was penne so really I had penne bolognese but the sauce was good and it had pancetta through it for more flavour. The portion was the perfect size without feeling too gluttonous. Gotta save space for dessert, after all.

After much deliberation we both got a simple affogato. The coffee was STRONG and I would go on to regret having caffeine after 5pm but at the time it was a good finish to the evening. I was giddy and hyper as we shared some wine and raced through topics of gossip before walking home together. We're neighbours now, after all.
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Thanks to Italian Grill for having us in. It's a great space to hang out with friends the mains were mostly £8-12 so it's an easy weeknight option. We're also very intrigued by the cocktail masterclasses. Anyone want to join us?

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Styled by Kimberley: Colourful Autumn / Winter Style with Lauren Smith

This week's outfit theme is unbelievably on brand! Red and pink, with a big splash of my favourite blue, is peak Wardrobe Conversations. As Helen explained on Tuesday, we are wearing custom hand embroidered pins made for us by textiles artist Lauren Smith. And the balance of colours on mine is just perfect!

I feel as though I'm always in a pink combo at the moment, although I suppose you haven't seen it here. We've not been blogging much lately so I've got 'new' outfits to share but I've really got into instagram stories lately so I'm feeling under pressure to wear something different. This is the problem with regularly being on social media... got to keep up with the Jones' and all that jazz. Pink trousers and breton stripes were my summer go to- a la my London capsule wardrobe- but now I've swapped them out for a herringbone pink coat and accessories. I've even got a hot pink duck umbrella (you know the ones) to double up.

Leopard print is EVERYWHERE at the moment and I am absolutely living for it, Pat Butcher fan as I am. I'm taking this opportunity to stock up on my favourite neutral, i.e. all animal prints, but I'm a bit worried that such a strong trend will look dated really soon. This new blue and gold jumper from Nine by Savannah Miller is a playful take on it and the quality is pretty good. I think it'll be carrying on in my wardrobe for years to come.  Oh! And I guess the tortoise shell handbag handles. I love a pony skin shoe or a fake cowhide. I've also picked  up a snakeskin dress, tiger striped top and I've got a leopard print scarf and coat (for separate wears) on my list. There's just so much choice! Dalmation remains my favourite print though.

Which animal do you love to wear? (Faux of course!)

Coat | Zara
Jumper | Nine by Savannah Miller
Jeans | New Look
Boots | Primark
Bag | Topshop
Glasses | c/o Specsavers
Earrings | Liz Harry
Pin | c/o Lauren Smith

And if you'd like to grab yourself a pin, or some of Lauren Smith's other goodies, you can find her popping up at some upcoming fairs:

November 3rd - Tea Green at Kibble Palace
December 2nd - Urban Market at Drygate
December 8th and 15th - SuperMarket at the Argyle Street Arches

Monday, 5 November 2018

Styled by Helen: Colourful Autumn / Winter Style with Lauren Smith

Colourful outfit with heart sunglasses, pink berret, red dress and pink bootsScottish bloger, Helen from Wardrobe Conversations wears a red coat, red heart sunglasses and a pink beret

After a lovely summer of dressing in bright colours (mainly red) I have to admit that autumn has hit me pretty hard. The cold dark mornings have me reaching for the rather dull combination of black jeans and any jumper I can find. It might also be a bit to do with my over indulgence in Halloween which has placed black firmly on my wardrobe menu. Don't get me wrong, that's not necessarily a bad thing - I love a black and white combo and darker shades certainly have their place but I was starting to feel in a bit of a seasonal rut.

Luckily the lovely Lauren Smith came to the rescue. Lauren is a textile artist based in Scotland who creates fabulous embroidered pins and decorative hoops. I'd spotted her work at the Craft Scotland Summer Show and loved the different patterns and colour combinations she comes up with. So of course I was over the moon when she got in touch to ask if we'd like to feature her work. She even made us some custom pins using our blog colours! The result is this lovely little circle of joy and it was just what I needed to inspire a bolder approach to A/W dressing.

Red, pink, gold and mint embroidered pin worn on a pink beret

Admittedly this mostly red look is well within my comfort zone but I felt that I hadn't worn a get-up this bright in quite some time. Putting it on certainly cheered up my mood and the weather seemed to follow suit - it turned out to be a lovely sunny day which was great for taking these pics! Kimberley said I looked like a cartoon character and I'm very happy with that, anything that puts a smile on my face while dressing in the dark is a good thing.

More colour was injected into this look when I realised I'd lost my black beret. A quick lunch time trip to Oh Hello Vintage meant I had myself a much more colourful replacement and the perfect backdrop for my new pin. I'm usually one to add pins and brooches to my jacket (as evidenced by the many small holes in this red coat) so I thought I'd mix it up and place it up top. I like the result - it kinda makes me feel like a Girl Guide (even though in reality I never made it past the second week of Brownies).

Scottish blogger Helen of Wardrobe Conversations keeps warm in a red coat

Dress | H&M
Coat | Charity shop
Belt | M&S
Boots | Topshop
Beret | Oh Hello Vintage
Pin | c/o Lauren Smith
Glasses | c/o Spex Pistols
Sunglasses | Claire's Accessories
Earrings | Blue Rinse Vintage

I'm going to try and keep the colourful outfit momentum up to get me though the winter months, even if it's just a little splash here and there. Looking to do the same? Here's my little list of ways to inject some summer into your winter wardrobe:
  • A colourful coat
    Investing in some bright outerwear that might not go with everything in your wardrobe can be hard so take a trip round some charity shops for some colourful items with smaller price tags. I tried out a yellow coat this way and ended up wearing it so much that it feel apart!
  • Bright knitwear
    Colourful hats, gloves and scarves are easy to come by and can add a pop to any outfit. There are some awesome Scottish knitwear brands out there if you're looking for something that will last (hello Collingwood Norris, Hilary Grant and Green Thomas). If a cheaper alternative is required then vintage shops and fairs are a good shout or you could have a go at knitting your own (or get your knitting best friend to gift you something - thanks Kim!).
  • Sunglasses
    Every year when summer fades I pack my sunglasses away at the back of my glasses drawer (yes, my collection fills a drawer now). This is a MISTAKE! It may not be out often but when it is the sun is low and harsh. Sunglasses are definitely  required in these situations, especially when driving, so why not make them as colourful and fun as possible.
  • Accessories
    Pins and brooches are easy to position so they're visible even when you're all bundled up, so pick something colourful to brighten up even the most grey of days and outfits. I would definitely recommend checking out Lauren's website (even looking at the homepage will cheer up your eyes!)

What's your approach to keeping it colourful during the colder months?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Top 5: Horror Films to Watch on Halloween

Halloween is one of my absolute favourite times of year and I really enjoy going all out on the blog with outfits /costume inspiration based on our Unlikely Horror Icons. Last year we had two badass witches (The Craft and The Love Witch) as well as a couple of looks inspired by Stephen King (IT & Misery). This year, house moves, trips away, carving pumpkins and binging The House on Haunted Hill have eaten up mine and Kim's time so there hasn't been the chance to play dress up. Boo! 

Instead of sharing creepy costumes,I thought I'd share my top 5 horror films I've watched (or am looking forward to watching) for Halloween 2018. 

1.) Trick r Treat
This go-to Halloween film mixes several short stories together that crisscross and get tangled together. There are ghost children, werewolves, poisoned candy and a creepy little pumpkin guy called Sam - what more could you want?! It's one I come back to every year and I love introducing new folk to it. Even some of my scaredy-cat friends have enjoyed it. 

2.) Halloween H20
With the new Halloween film in cinemas at the moment it feels like a good time to revisit some other titles in the franchise. I've never been a huge fan of the Halloween films (Michael Myers just seems like a really dull bad guy) but the score is one of the best in horror movie history and you can't beat a bit of Jamie Lee Curtis. For me, Halloween H20 holds a special place in my heart. It hit pretty much at the right time and it had the Josh Hartnett factor. Plus it's on Amazon Prime right now. You're welcome.

3.) Hocus Pocus
This is one I came to pretty late in life but which has now become a firm favourite every Halloween. It's family friendly fun but still has some creepy moments. Plus it has a talking cat, a sassy Thora Birch and Bette Midler hamming it up. I went to see it at the cinema just the other day and it looked glorious on the big screen.

4.) Suspiria
I'm rather excited to see the Suspiria remake next month, mostly because it stars the always wonderful Tilda Swinton. I've seen the original but it was very late at night and quite a few years ago so I'm definitely looking to revisit before seeing the new version. All I can remember is sumptuous set design so that in itself makes me want to watch it again.

5.) Beetlejuice
Celebrating it's 30th anniversary, this creepy and hilarious Tim Burton classic is full of Halloween costume inspiration. Who doesn't want to dress up as Lydia Deetz?! I've done it before (with Kim doing a great Beetlejuice) but there are so many other looks of hers to try. If you spot a wide brimmed black hat, I want to know. Again, I just watched this at the cinema for the first time. I've watched it many times at home but seeing it on the big screen and with an audience made it even more special.

For the past few years during October I've done #31daysofhorror, which involves watching a horror film every day of the month. This year (due to the aforementioned busyness) I haven't had a chance to watch that many but I'm pretty happy with this small list that I'm currently working through. What will you be watching this Halloween?

Monday, 29 October 2018

October Wishlist

Spooky Halloween Wishlist featurin Joanie Clothing, The Sad Ghost Club, SoS15, Old English Compandy and Annie's Fingers
1.) Loretta Embroidered Bee Dress | Joanie Clothing
I love the easy witchy vibe of this adorable dress by Joanie, featuring an embroidered collar. The cutest!

2.) Halloween Print | Sad Ghost Club
I've been a fan of Sad Ghost Club for some time- a fantastic art project that promotes mental health positivity through ghost illustrations. How adorable is this limited edition print?

3.) Kitty Cat Clutch Bag | SOS15
It's rare that I share a cat accessory but this glittery bag is too cute even for me.

4.) Bad to the Bone pin | Old English Company
For a little not to horror, an enamel pin is a great choice. I also like the adorable pumpkin pin and waving ghost.

5.) Anatomical heart iron on patch | Annie's Fingers
The illustrative style of Spanish artist Annie's Fingers really lends it self well to things creepy and fun. This is a Halloween treat you can enjoy all year round!

Spooky and stylish Halloween wishlist featuring a concrete skull planter by Studio Emma, Stay Spooky silver necklace by Oh Someday x I Like Cats, Th Shinin print coat from Pinup Girl Clothing, Momento Mori skull earrings by Misfit Makes and Overlook Hotel bag charm by Sugar & Vice

1.) Colourful Concrete Skull | Studio Emma
I featured one of Emma's concrete designs on my December 2017 Wishlist but then she went and made  them even better by creating a spooky version for Halloween!! Colourful and creepy is my perfect combo.

2.) Stay Spooky Tombstone Necklace | Oh Someday x I Like Cats
I like to stay spooky all year round and this silver necklace would help me do just that.

3.) Pinup Couture Car Coat | Pinup Girl Clothing
I already have a pair of socks with this wonderful The Shining pattern on so the next step is surely this amazing car coat! Then after that it's time to carpet my flat in it, right?!

4.) Memento Mori Earrings | Misfit Makes
These statement laser cut earrings are printed with these amazing original illustrations and they are awesome.

5.) Horror Hotel Bag Charm | Sugar & Vice
More Wishlist items based on The Shining! Can you tell it's almost Halloween? Sugar & Vice always have the best creepy collections and this year's is no exception.