Monday, 29 September 2014

30/7/2014 - Commonwealth Games - A night at the athletics!

Hii all! Unless you've been living under a rock or you don't watch much TV, listening to a lot of radio or read the newspapers often, you'll probably know that the Commonwealth Games has descended upon my beautiful city and Glasgow is in full Commonwealth swing! Even people who didn't care much last week have embraced the atmosphere now and there's a great united spirit about the place which Glasgow often lacks. For once, this amazing city is being shown somewhat positively in mainstream national and international media.

I wasn't super bothered about getting tickets when they first went on sale but when a friend of my families had spare tickets to the athletics, one of my absolute favourite sports to watch, me and my sister thought we'd make a night of it on Monday and take the tickets off their hands.

The ever-inspiring Libby Clegg taking the Gold for Team Scotland - such an inspiration and I think it's so much better having disabled sports mixed in with non-disabled

My lovely sister and I - '#CommonwealthieSelfie'

It was amazing not only to be a part of such a huge event for the city of Glasgow but also to see famous names competing in the flesh. I had a great night and if any of you fellow '#scottishbloggers' have the opportunity to go along while the games are on, I can't urge you to take up the opportunity enough. I love the idea of looking back in 30 years and being glad I was a part of Glasgow 2014!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

20/9/2014 - '#IndyRef'

Have you ever seen that movie with Jim Carrey called 'Yes Man'? I haven't, but the basic premise of it is about a man who decides to say 'yes' to everything in life. I kind of feel at this moment in time, a lot of my generation has adapted that premise in regards to Scottish Independence. Blind positivity and faith.

I've been a 'Better Together' supporter right from the get-go and while the 55% result in favour of remaining part of the UK would indicate that I am with the masses, my Facebook news feed definately suggests that amongst my peers of similar demographics, ages and social backgrounds, I stick out like a sore thumb. 

I'm half Scottish on my mum's side and half English on my dad's. Not that it matters. I don't think ones opinion on independence (Scottish or elsewhere) should have anything to do with the nationality which they define themselves as. I'm Scottish. I'm English. I'm British. Yep, all of them, because they are not mutually exclusive.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this post. I don't think there is anyone in Scotland this weekend who isn't full of opinions and I wanted to put my 2 cents (or pence) out there into the world. You don't have to like what I have to say and you don't have to agree, but it'd mean a lot if you read this and I hope that we can all be, at the very least, respectful and open-minded. 


Holyrood vs. Westminster

What everyone wanted from the independence referendum, regardless of the end result, was a Scotland that would be of more benefit to themselves and the people they care about. Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but I don't know anyone who's voting motives were entirely selfess. Whether we were a Yes or a No, we all wanted the same thing as the end result - a better future for Scotland - socially, economically, politically, environmentally and so many more 'ally's' if you will. We all want to benefit more from what's happening in our country and that's not selfish, it's human nature. 

I definiately think that Scotland is a truly unique country. We are small, compared to the rest of the UK (population alone, we are <10% of the size of England) as well as internationally, making up only a mere 0.0007% of the worlds population. Yet, without us, there wouldn't be things we take as givens in our everyday life - the telephone and the television are of course the headliners, but if that doesn't do it for you, imagine life without Biffy Clyro or whisky - now that is a bleak thought. Scotland is a blend of strong history, well loved cultural roots and an enevitably bright future. It's for that reason that the political debate regarding it's independence is so unique as we're all aiming for the same thing, we just believe in different ways of how best to achieve and maintain it. 

However, although we have a lot going for us, we have some baggage too. We have poor health, low life expectancy, widespread drug and alcohol problems, high crime rates, an even faster increasingly aging population that the rest of the UK and rapidly dying industries. Some of these problems are worst than other and some affect certain parts of Scotland more than others, but if we are to look at Scotland as a whole, there's no hiding from any of these. We can offer a lot to the world and we have a lot going for us, but it'd be ignorant, in my opinion, to think that we could at this moment in time, thrive without the help of the rest of the UK. That being said, it's very much a two-way street, we give a lot to the rest of the UK too, so it's a partnership and that's what the 'Better Together' campaign means to me. We don't claim that this partnership is perfect, but that it's simply more beneficial for all involved to remain as one than to disband. 

Now, the issues that have arisen the most through the Independence debate are very widespread and only some effect me personally at this stage in my life. Without going into too much finite detail about my politcal views and the reasons why I hold them (that is not why I am writing this most), issues regarding career prospects in the UK as well as the EU, health care and the sustainment of the NHS and economic stability for young people are what I personally want most from my country and I believe that a centralised UK government can provide stronger and more resilient opportunities for communities individually as well as our society as whole, to flourish.

The UK has what I believe to be a very unique mix of unity and individual heritages. That being said, we also share a lot of our resources - educational, medical, judicial, media, business and banking to name a few and surely separation would incur huge financial costs to establish each of these again for each nation, and probably substandard versions at that? Take for example, Great Ormond Street Children Hospital in London. It provides expert care for children with some extremely rare and specific medical needs. As this is what they specialise in, they are well equipped with the latest medical technology and some of the countries more experienced doctors to treat their patients. If Scotland (or Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter) were to become independent from England, there would be a serious likelihood that we could forfeit our access to such resources as we would be, in theory, a foreign nation. That isn't 100% certain, but it would definitely be a high possibility).

Finally, I know a lot of Yes voters who claim that Westminster have too much of a say in Scottish matters, but I would strongly oppose that by saying that a huge amount of the finances to allow Scotland to function comes from the London wealthies - it's at large thanks to the Eton elites that communities in some of the poorer parts of the UK (whether that be Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or other parts of England) are able to survive. They may be unpopular but it's their mega taxes that contribute hugely in funding our roads, schools, hospitals and leasiure facilities. That is a fact.


Turn Out & Voter Involvement

How would you feel if I told you that more votes were cast in the final of Big Brother in 2006 than in the UK General Election in 2005? My Higher Modern Studies teacher told me that and that fact hit me so hard that I have never voted in any reality TV show since. It's not entirely surprising though, because politics doesn't often aim to appeal to young people, those who ironically, are the ones who often have the passion and occasionally the childlike naivety to believe whole-heartedly in their cause. 

For the Independence Referendum, the voting age was lowered (by the SNP) to 16 instead of the usual 18. Of course this was done because by it's very nature, the 'Yes' campaign appears more pro-active and more revolutionary than 'Better Together' - qualities which young, impressionable first-time voters are stereotypically drawn to. That being said, it would have been so easy for school kids to brush it off as just another boring and unimportant adult matter and most of them not even bothering to vote at all could probably have been understood and even forgiven. As much as I dislike Alex Salmond as a politician, he has the belief of Scottish independence flowing through his veins and while it slightly pains me to admit it, it was by and large thanks to him that so many young people took an interest in this referendum. 

On top of that, voting on an issue that could be the potential of a new chapter for Scotland and the possible end of the United Kingdom as we know it, the Scottish people really have gone above and beyond any expectations that I ever had. Turn out numbers have been nothing short of astonishing with a fantastic 97% of the electorate registering to vote and 86% of those registered made it to the polling stations. To me, that is just amazing. In Falkirk, a polling station even closed it's door early because EVERY SINGLE PERSON who was on their list had turned out to vote. Take a second to absorb that please because that really does bring a lump to my throat.

There's people from every possible background with strong views from both sides and while many will be feeling deflated today, the involvement and passion from such an overwhelming majority shows Scotland in such an inspiring light.


The Aftermath

On Thursday night, I went to bed around midnight. The polls had closed at 10pm and the votes were being counted but at that time, there were no results yet. I lay in bed, knowing I needed to be up for work at 6:45am but wide awake, too anxious to just roll over and drift off. I lay in the dark scrolling the '#indyref' hashtag in Twitter, telling myself that I'd go to sleep when the first region had announced their results. Around 1am - Clackmannanshire - 53% in favour of No. Excellent. Now I came sleep, or at least attempt to. I did sleep, but not well at all, waking up every so often and refreshing my 'Scottish Independence' Google window to see that the latest was. 

This morning, I woke to what I'd been hoping for ever since the independence referendum was announced. As I said, I've been a firm No since the start but also as I said, the past few weeks on Facebook has taught me that I am in the very tiny minority amongst my peers. 

I walk past Glasgow's George Square on my way to work, and although Yes rallyness was still going on at 8:30am on Friday morning, there was an eery feel about the city. It felt weirdly still which if you are familiar with the morning bustle of Glasgow city centre, you'll know is rare. You could just tell that Glasgow was 1 of the only 4 regions to vote in favour of Yes. 

Lunch time at work, Facebook and Twitter, people were not happy. Some much more respectfully than other but some 'ashamed to call themself Scottish' and branding No voters as gutless, fearful and too lazy to develop an informed opinion.

After work, once again, passing George Square. The No campaign were supposed to be having a celebration rally but things were turning ugly. Police, riot vans, flag burning. As quickly as I could, I was on the bus, home, safe and away from it all but from what I have seen on social media, the Internet and the news, Glasgow city centre was a violent and hateful place tonight, with a tiny minority of No voters painting a picture to the rest of the UK and to the world that we are a nation of racist and ignorant bigots which we are, of course, not. To judge either side, Yes OR No, based on this violence is like writing off all Muslums based on the actions and beliefs of al-Qaeda or all Christians based on the actions and beliefs of the Westboro Baptist Church. It's sheer ignorance. 

I know many people (myself included) from both sides who believe that these riots would have happened regardless of the outcome and that both Yes and No camps have small numbers of supporters who, as disgusting as it is, express their political stance through violence.

This is not a sign of a functional society and it is not a safe or effective way of making a point, political or otherwise. Glasgow has a bit of a reputation as a violent place which it is not, but last nights events have made it ever harder to shake that image.


I have no doubt that debates about Scottish Independence will continue for weeks, months and probably years to come and whether we'll get another go at it in our lifetime is unknown but perhaps unlikely. You have to be a gracious loser before you can ever hope to be a deserving winner and while I don't think independence is right for Scotland at this time, I'm by no means saying that I don't think it ever will be. For now though, at this moment in my life and in British and international politics, I feel strongly that the proverbial 'building' is a much stronger than each brick involved, England included, can be individually.

I am extremely firm in the opinion that I made earlier on - that both camps, Yes and No, are aiming for the same thing, a fairer, more equal and more rounded country to live in. I personally believe that we are 'Better Together', some believe we are better apart, but we can all agree that what we undoubtably want is to be just that - better, however that may be. 

I welcome any opinions from either side, providing they are the two things I statement up top - open-minded and respectful.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

3/9/2014 - August Favourites

Hi hi hiiii! 

I can't quite get my head around the fact that it's September. Seriously, there's FOUR MONTHS of this year left - what the heck is that all about?

Anyway, August has been and gone and once again, it's monthly favourites time - not a huge amount this time around, but it's what I've been loving!

Moon & Star Ring - eBay

I love anything with moons, stars, suns or ideally, a combination of all three. If it looks like it belongs in Mystic Meg's dressing up box, count me in! I stumbled across this ring on a Chinese marketplace seller's shop in eBay and didn't even think twice about getting it - it never fails to amaze me the little bargains you can get from the other side of the planet! 

I've ordered the gold now too and can't wait for it to arrive.

Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Polish in 'Blood Orange'

Well it saaays 'Blood Orange' but I think we can all agree this is red, no? With A/W pretty much here (yey!) I am definately embracing more Autumnal colours on my nails and this is a new favourite. It's so glossy and rich and dries super quick. 

As I've bored you all with a million times, I love Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine's so much and I think this is a great addition to any A/W nail polish colour, no matter how big or small.

Glittery Slippers - Primark

When I clocked these amazing glittery slippers in Primark for only £6, I didn't hesitate about nabbing them. The matte silver colour makes them look so much more expensive and I love a dressy flat shoe, for tall chica's like myself, it's a great alternative if you want to be dressy but not too dressy. 

I wore them out for dinner with my mum last week and then again for drinks with my girlies at the weekend - they're so versatile!

Garnier Body Tonic Smoothing Scrub - Superdrug

In my last favourites (read here), I mentioned the Garnier Body Tonic Hydrating and Firming Lotion. I'm still loving it and when I recently repurchased, Superdrug had a 'Buy One, Get One Half Price' offer on the full range so I decided to try out the accompanying smoothing scrub. 

Once again, the citrusy scent is divine and so fresh, especially for morning showers but the scrub itself is also incredible. It's one of those really chunky scrubs which leaves you baby soft which I absolutely love. Together, they're a great duo.

The Killers - Sam's Town

If you say my most recent post or if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that this month I finally (FINALLY!) got to go and see my favourite band, The Killers. I can't quite put into words how much it means to me to finally have seen them live and while their music is always a staple on my iPod, I've been really into their second album, Sam's Town at the moment. Which of their albums is my absolute favourite constantly changes, but right now, I'm defininately in a 'Sam's Town' phase.

What have you been loving throughout August?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

20/8/2014 - The Killers

Hey y'all!
Yesturday, I ticked something major off my bucket list which it looked like was never going to happen - I finally saw one of my favourite bands of all time, The Killers in concert and it was every bit as amazing as I expected! 

I've been a huge fan of them and their music ever since my friend's mum lent me their first album, 'Hot Fuss' the best part of 10 years ago now. They've played in Glasgow a few times before but for one reason or another, I've never gone - finances, other plans, nobody up for coming along with me. In 2012, another favourite band of mine, Tegan and Sara supported and even then, they sold out super quickly and I couldn't get tickets for <£300. Finally having got tickets for yesturday's show on pre-sale, with support from Miles Kane and The Courteeners no less, I was SO EXCITED. A dream finally coming true.

Jumper - H&M
Pinafore - Primark
Jacket - Topshop
Belt - Primark
Sunglasses - eBay
Bag - New Look
Shoes - Garage Shoes
Necklace - Miss Selfridge
(Lips - MAC's 'Up The Amp' with Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in '06 Pink Pong' on top)

It was in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow and while not a festival as such, I knew mud would be involved so thought I'd best play it safe with my Doc Marten-esque shoes - the last thing I want is soggy feet!

Other than that, rockish vibes all round - black, leather jacket, sunglasses!

The show was absolutely incredible, better than I ever expected or can properly put into words. Having waited so long to see a band who's music means so much to be, it was a really emotional moment for me when they first came on stage and while I'm normally pretty bad for doing this anyway, I was ruthless is pushing my way forward in the crowd. As luck would have it, my phone decided to pack it in just 10 minutes in (despite it having upwards of 70% battery) so I didn't get as many photos or videos as I'd hoped for but in a way, that allowed me to enjoy it even more. 

Hands-down, one of the best concerts I've ever been to and a definite high point in my life. It's nights like last night that make my love of live music as strong as it is - there's just no substitute.

Were any more of my lovely Scottish blogging pals there? 

Monday, 18 August 2014

18/8/2014 - OOTD

Helloo lovelies - hope everyone had a smashing weekend!

I was off (a rarity if you work in retail!) and what would a weekend off be without a trip to the pub? On Saturday, a friend of mine was home for the weekend so we decided to make the most of the last remains of Summer (sniffle sniffle!) and sit out enjoying the sun with a nice chilled cider!
Here's what I wore...

T-shirt - Primark
Skirt - New Look
Bag - H&M
Boots - Primark
Watch - Casio

Hope everyone had a great weekend and a good week ahead - I'm going to see one of my all-time favourite bands, The Killers tomorrow and I've got an interview for a great job opportunity on Friday - Happy Sophie!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

14/8/2014 - OOTD

Hi hi hi!

Anyone who works in uniform will know the immense pressure to look decent when you see your co-workers outwith work, am I right? I'm actually on holiday from work at the moment but had to pop in briefly today. Voila! My outfit!

Jumper - Primark
Jeans - H&M
Necklace - Primark
Bag - H&M
Shoes - Topshop
Nails - Models Own's 'Jade Stone'

I bought this jumper in Primark about 2 weeks ago and I absolutely love it and can't stop wearing it! I'm normally not a big jumper wearer nor can I ever get collars to sit properly under jumpers, but the sewn-in colloar in this is perfect and the sheer panel at the back makes it less bulky which I like. Paired with skinny jeans and my Topshop studded loafers (which are very blister-inducing by the way!) and I think I've managed to fool people at working into thinking I've done things other than sleep, watch Netflix and go on nights out with my time off...!

How was everyone's Thursday?

Monday, 4 August 2014

4/8/2014 - June & July Favourites

Helloo! Last month, I didn't do a Monthly Favourites cause I forgot (baaad blogger!) but now I'm back with an almighty favourites for June & July!

Garnier Body Tonic Hydrating and Firming Lotion 

I did a full post reviewing this body lotion (click here) way back at the end of last Summer when I first discovered it, and I've recently gotten back into using it. The scent is light and citrusy and it's firming properties make it perfect for those 'Ooh no! I need to get my arms/legs/stomach out!' Summer panics. Almost all of us have had them, don't lie...

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion +

Okay so I maaay have bought Glamour magazine (which I don't read) with Ellie Goulding on the cover (who I don't like) just so I could try out this moisturiser and I'm so glad I did. Although I know its worth investing in good skincare, I'm always wary to part ways with my hard earned cash for something I've not tried out. It's a thin lotion formula and applies really nicely, it's not sticky but you can really feel it hydrating your skin. I'm going to treat myself to the full sized version come pay day - this stuff is magic for your face in a bottle, and a very cute bottle at that!

Barry M's Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in 'Blueberry'

I love Barry M's Gelly nail paints and this shade is the latest addition to my collection. Some colours of nail polish just scream "Summer!" and this is definitely one of them. It's really bright and vivid after only 2 coats and looks amazing on tanned toes with white leather sandals.

Daisy Necklace - Miss Selfridge

Isn't this the cutest necklace? I'm a lover of anything with 60's vibes and this reminds me of Marc Jacob's Daisy perfume which I love the imagery of - all in all, not bad for £7.50 in sale. I've been wearing it with dresses and printed tops in Summer but I think in Autumn and Winter, it'll look nice with a collared shirt under a jumper.

Desperate Housewives

Please someone confirm to me that it is normal to watch an entire series from start to finish even if you've seen it all before? I am currently doing that with Desperates Housewives and I'd forgotten how amazing it is. Admittedly it does get worse nearer the end as a lot of TV shows do, but I'm at the start of season 3 (of 8) at the moment and I am, once again as I was 5 years ago, addicted. If you've never watched it but like addictive drama ("Okay, just one more episode then bed...") and sharp comedy, Netflix is now, you won't regret it.

'Addicted' - Amy Winehouse & 'Recover (Chvrches)' - Paolo Nutini

Pardon the hilariously contradictory song titles (you can't make this stuff up!) but these are two songs I've been listening to a lot over the past few weeks. I'm a huge Amy Winehouse fan which I'm sure I've mentioned before and as I was listening to 'Back to Black' on the anniversary of her death last week, I'd forgotten how much I love 'Addicted' - it's a bit more 'pop' than her usual jazz stuff but it's a great song and an iPod must. Secondly, is Paolo Nutini's cover of Chvrches 'Recover'. I love the original but when I heard Paolo's rendition on the TITP highlights, I thought it was fantastic and possibly better than the original. It's definitely a whole different tone than the Chvrches one - give it a listen here.

What have you been loving this month?