Get to know me

I’m a happy bunny today because I’ve been nominated twice for the Liebster Award! I know that blogging isn’t about winning over followers, but it is lovely to know that there are people out there reading my posts (especially after I convinced myself that I would post for months with only virtual tumbleweeds to keep my blog company.)

I think I’m supposed to answer 11 questions that another blogger has set me, then come up with 11 of my own questions to ask 11 other bloggers (who have less than 200 followers) – phew, here goes!

Natalie from Silver Linings of an Empty Summer nominated me for my first Liebster Award. Thank you, Natalie!

What is your favourite childhood memory?

I used to spend every summer back in Northern Ireland (I moved to Glasgow when I was six) and would spend weeks playing with my cousins in the countryside. It all seems very quaint now - we didn't have mobile phones to keep in touch and we only came home when it was dark/we were hungry!

Your celebrity crush (female and male)?

Katy Perry! Katy is my ultimate girl crush – she is so beautiful and girly and OTT. I love her hair, makeup and a-maz-ing stage costumes. I’m going to see her in concert for the first time in May and I am so excited!

Ryan Gosling. I didn’t get the Ryan Gosling thing until (weirdly) I saw The Place Beyond the Pines. I say weirdly because he has face tattoos in that film, and yet that was the first time I suddenly thought “Oh now I get it!” And then there’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, where he is clearly chiselled out of marble.

Your least favourite beauty related scent?

This is where my beauty ignorance raises its unexfoliated head – the first scent that popped into my head was Brut of all things. Seriously though, if you’ve never smelt it before, give it a (tiny) sniff next time you’re in Boots.

If you could only use one make-up brand for life which would it be?

I love Rimmel for day-to-day makeup – it’s cheap, cheerful and my go-to brand for products to wear during my 9-5.

What is your favourite nail polish name?

I don’t think I have one!

What is your favourite part of your body?

Pass! If I had to choose I’d probably say my legs – I’ve learned to like being tall as I’ve gotten older, and of course I never tire of old ladies stopping me in the supermarket to say “You’re so lovely and TALL!” (I’m around 5ft9in by the way, in case you’re imagining BFG proportions).

What is at the top of your beauty wish list at the moment?

I’m not very good at treating myself to more expensive makeup, but I would quite like a few more MAC lipsticks.

What is one thing on your bucket list that you have already ticked off?

Okay, so I haven't actually done it yet, but I did book a holiday to Florida back in December. I already can’t wait for October to spend Halloween in Disney World!

Whose blog is your go-to blog for great posts?

I literally can’t choose one! I’m pretty new to blogging and I’m adding more and more blogs to my Following list on Bloglovin every day.

What are your opinions on twerking?

I don’t really have any – except to wonder why Miley got so much heat from the press when Robin Thicke is like that creepy older guy from IT at the office Christmas party...

What is an interesting fact you know?

Err... hang on a second while I nip on to Google...

Lottie from The Red Lipstick Blues nominated me for my second Liebster Award. Thank you, Lottie!

If you could go anywhere tomorrow, money no option, where would you go?

I would love to tour around America – New York, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans... (you get the picture!)

If you could turn back time, what year would you like to visit and why?

I would go back to 2010 because I spent an amazing summer in Berlin and Paris with Sam to celebrate turning 21.

How do you like to spend a lazy Sunday?

I’m happy with clean bed sheets, a DVD box set and pancakes in bed. If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I might even stretch myself to tea and scones at our local cafe and feeding the ducks on the way home.

What’s your favourite song?

I don’t have one - I have such an eclectic music taste it’s genuinely impossible for me to pick just one.

How do you cheer yourself up when you’re blue?

I talk to Sam, watch an episode of Friends (for the 27th time and it’s still funny) or look at photos of pygmy hippos/teacup pigs on the internet.

What are the qualities you look for in a boyfriend/girlfriend?

I like people who are kind, passionate and quirky. I think it's attractive when someone has a hobby or interest that they genuinely love - music, cooking, books... there's nothing sexier than someone with passion. Unless they’re passionate about taxidermy or those weird synthetic dolls or something...

What would you like to change about the world?

I wish more people would be kind – I know it might sound too simple, but kindness is so underrated.

What are you currently doing education/work wise and do you enjoy it?

I’m a marketing officer for a not-for-profit organisation. I work with a great team and the job is definitely a step in the right direction.

What good things have happened in 2014 so far?

I’ve paid off my holiday to Florida, went to see The Lion King, had nights out with friends, and spent days with Sam.

What is your ultimate handbag essential?

One of my friends once said if I was a Barbie one of my accessories would be hand sanitiser... (Soap and Glory Hand Maid, FYI.)

What’s your favourite childhood memory?

This was Natalie’s first question, so please see above!

Thank you again to Natalie and Lottie for nominating me and thank you for reading!

I would like to nominate:

Hannah from Just Hannah.
Kelsey from Things Lovers Do.
Bridget from Dear Baker.
Samantha from Nashbag.
Natalie from Unfortunataliex.
Essie from The Li'l Sparrow.
Cat from 9 Lives London.
Chelsea from Cupcakes and Cocaine.
Big Heels,  Big Hair.
Hannah from fashionistaDigital.
Keeley from Keeley's Wardrobe.

1. What do you think is the hardest thing about blogging?
2. Who was your embarrassing teenage crush?
3. If you could change something about your past, would you?
4. Which three celebrities (dead or alive) would you like to go on a night out with?
5. What's  something that you wish you were better at?
6. What's your favourite meal to cook?
7. What are the qualities you look for in a friend?
8. What  would be your ideal job?
9. If you had to wear the same outfit every day, what would you pick?
10. What is your favourite Disney film?
11. Would you rather go on a city break or a beach holiday?

Be inspired

I know that Mondays don't have quite the same clout as New Year when it comes to motivation, but there is still something about the beginning of a new week which makes me want to grab life by the b-, ahem, where it matters and push myself to do more. Whether it's a run after work, actually clearing out my desk (not just moving things from one tray to another) or finally making that phone call I've been putting off - a new week really can be a brilliant motivator. 

Have you stopped going to the gym or has the novelty of being back at work already worn off? It doesn't need to be January 1st to feel that push to try harder. I know that some people think quotes on the internet are terribly cheesy, but I like scrolling through Tumblr and finding little flashes of inspiration. I think that a good quote at the right time can give you that tingly little feeling which says "I can do this." It's nice to know that you're not alone - there are millions of other people out there trying to find motivation to work harder at their job, dedicate a little more time and effort to that thing that they're passionate about, or just be more positive about the day-to-day. 

So, if January has worn you out, have a scroll through some happy quotes and recapture that little tingle from the beginning of the month. Don't have time to scroll through Tumblr but want some instant inspiration? Don't sweat it, honey. Have one of mine (if you recognise that reference, we should probably be friends).

Blue Monday

Phew, Monday is almost over! Today is apparently the most depressing day of the year because it’s the day you’re most likely to have a relationship break-up, a financial breakdown, or just a big old cry.

I thought I’d put together a little list of tips which will help put a smile back on your face.

Get a move on! I have a confession: I’m not a sporty person, at all. While I (sort of) wish I was one of those people pounding the treadmills at the gym throughout January, I just can’t find the motivation. It’s cold, it’s dark, and I’m tired from not eating potatoes and chocolate for every meal (I miss you, Christmas). But these little beauties are enough to tempt even me out for a run. Bright, clashing and OTT, these have a distinct whiff of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air about them – and what more could anyone who was young in the 90s want?

Use up all your Christmas bits. After grinning like a Cheshire cat when I managed to get my hands on the Soap and Glory Yule Monty gift set, it is now sitting full in the corner of my room. It might sound simple but a hot bubble bath and a new magazine can be all it takes to wash away the stresses of the day. So grab a Lush Magic Wand (I still have two), wave it through the bath and forget about everything else.

Give to charity. I genuinely think that donating some money or volunteering with a charity can really help put a big smile back on your face. I think that everyone gets a little more charitable around Christmas (with all that goodwill floating around) but it’s important to remember that you can still help in January. Whether it’s helping out at a fundraiser for a local charity or dropping some spare chain into the donations box at the supermarket – it feels good to give. I did have a nice cheery spring in my step today after giving a pound to the old man collecting money outside Tesco (which I definitely didn’t do just to save face after my satchel set the store alarms off and he started shouting “Run, hen, run!”)

Watch a DVD box set. Whether you use up a gift voucher your auntie bought you or you borrow one off a friend, a DVD box set can help ease the January blues. Grab a big blanket and some popcorn (or a fruit salad if you’re being good) and hibernate until February. Sam has just bought seasons 1, 2 and 3 of The Killing, which should make staying in to save money a lot more interesting.

Wear a bright lipstick. I tend to stick to classic red if I want to inject some colour into my makeup but there’s something about January that makes me want to experiment with oranges and pinks. It doesn’t have to be lipstick – try a colourful blusher, eye shadow or nail polish and notice those grey skies a little less.

Take a baby step. If your finances are the reason you’re feeling blue this January, why not take some small steps in a more positive direction? You could open a savings account or put together a budget for the year. Your summer holiday, new car or beautiful handbag might seem unachievable now but you’d be one step closer by doing something so easy this month. You would of course then be entitled to treat yourself to this freaking adorable Bringin’ home the bacon purse.

Wear a novelty jumper. It is impossible to feel glum in a novelty jumper. Fact. This cute geek bunny jumper would be perfect layered over a shirt in the office. Take that, January.

Peter Pan and a fairytale proposal

Last Saturday night I went to see Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story at The Hydro in Glasgow. I had been looking forward to the show for months: I studied Peter and Wendy as part of my Children’s Literature class at uni and have been in love with the story ever since. I’m sure most people have seen a film adaptation of the story (if you haven’t, Disney’s Peter Pan, Finding Neverland and Peter Pan are good places to start), but I was excited to see the story told live on stage, especially through such an enormous production.

Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story is a modern adaptation of the classic story. While the plot is much the same, pyrotechnics, breakdancing and modern pop songs have been added in, making this production feel very much a Peter Pan for 2014. Even though I knew this wasn’t going to be a small, traditional production of Peter Pan, I did struggle with some aspects of the show at first: I couldn’t help but feel that some songs have been forced in because of a word in the title, even if they didn’t make very much sense in the narrative. But as the show went on I couldn’t help but fall for its quirks – after watching a troupe of pirates kick, thrust and roar along to Wild Boys by Duran Duran, it was hard not to be won over!

The show has been touring arenas around the world and it’s easy to see why such enormous spaces are needed to accommodate the performance: fireworks, flames and pirate ships fill the stage – not to mention the huge wind turbine which means Peter can swoop, dive and jab at the pirates, always staying just out of Hook’s reach. When Tinkerbell appears on stage, she whizzes through the air as an explosive trail of gold stardust (I had a mini heart attack the first time this happened, not going to lie), and the tick-tock-tick-tock of the hungry crocodile can be heard across the whole arena as he swaggers around the edge of the stage, snapping at the audience’s feet.

The show is loud, cheesy and over-the-top. Captain Hook sings opera (really bloody well). Stacey Salomon floats through the air singing Westlife (see what I mean about cheesy?) And you get to help bring Tinkerbell back to life! Cue 10,000 Glaswegians on their feet, chanting “I do believe in fairies!” While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, this show is a helluva lot of fun.

Then there was the proposal. During the final scene, the actor playing Peter, Sandor Sturbl, interrupted the show to explain to the audience that “this is usually the moment that Peter Pan gives Wendy a kiss... But this is not a normal show... This is not Peter Pan giving Wendy a kiss, this is Sandor Sturbl giving Lily-Jane Young something much, much more special.” He then got down on one knee and proposed to Lily-Jane Young – the actress playing Wendy! If you watch the footage (which has been popping up all over the internet since last Saturday night), you can see that the song stops abruptly right before “Peter” starts talking, so I think the audience was a little confused about what was happening, but as it became clear the entire arena started to cheer and applaud  for the couple. It was, ahem, the perfect fairytale ending!

Books I want to read in 2014

I haven’t set myself any concrete New Year’s resolutions this year, but I do have a couple of bad reading habits that I’d like to break: if I read a couple of books in a row that I’m not that into, I tend to fall away from reading books for a while, swapping them for magazines and blogs instead; and I buy new books all the time, only to stick them on my (already groaning) bookshelves and forget all about them.

In an attempt to beat both of these bad habits (try to say that five times fast!), I’ve looked out just some of my many unread books, which I hope to read over the next few months (or over the full year – no need to make your New Year’s resolutions too challenging!)

I found “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” lying on a table in my old office canteen, with a note that said “Pick me up!” on it. Inside there was a note to say I’d just joined a secret book club (I won’t say their name – I don’t want to spoil the secret!), and I have to read the book and pass it on. I think I’ll add this to the top of my reading list because I feel so bad that I haven’t followed the note’s instructions yet!

I won a signed copy of “Black Jesus” after entering a Waterstones competition on Twitter. To be honest, I only entered the competition because the author, Simone Felice, is a founding member of The Felice Brothers, a folk rock/country rock band that I love. The story sounds original and quite dark, so I’m disappointed that I’ve let this book gather dust for so long (it’s also, at 183 pages, pretty short, so I really have no excuse!)

As someone who loves Disney so much, it probably comes as no surprise that I love fairytales and children’s stories. I actually choose Children’s Literature as a module at uni, and – despite my friends teasing that I was studying books like “Spot the Dog” – it turned out to be my favourite class. I really can’t wait to read these beautiful editions, although I am a little worried about spoiling the covers! (I’m not the only one who frets about that, right?) Confession: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was on my set text list for Children’s Lit, but I never did get round to reading it... I’m sorry, Professor Furniss.

As an English graduate, these are the types of books people assume I’ve read, and I always hate having to admit that I haven’t. Christopher Brookmyre is an author that so many of my friends gush about, and Sam owns a full set of his books (so, again, I don’t have any excuse!) I’m a bit of a sucker for quirky titles, so I picked “A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away” out of the set before I’d even read the blurb. I have to admit, I think “Persuasion” might be the toughest of the lot for me to read: I’m really not very good with this type of classic literature, finding it very wordy and slow. I tried to read “Wuthering Heights” twice (once when I was 17 and again at 24), and I’ve given up both times – perhaps I should also add it to my list for 2014!

Okay, okay, so these two might not be winning any fancy literary prizes any time soon, but I couldn’t resist adding them to my list. I like animals and I like books, so I can rarely resist a book about them. I’ve actually put off reading these two because I think they’re going to be really sad, but I think it might be time to stop being such a wuss and read them (in the privacy of my own bedroom, of course).

By the way, “Oogy” is a New York Times bestseller, and “From Baghdad with Love” is an international bestseller, so don't feel bad if you also pick books just because they're cute stories about dogs.

Sam works as a personal assistant for Alan Bissett, so it’s really embarrassing that I’ve only actually read one of his books (“Boyracers”, FYI). I don’t think Alan will ever interrogate me about his books or anything (that would be weird), but I’d feel a little less guilty every time I see him if I’d read at least a couple more of his books. Alan’s writing is very modern, funny and quick, so reading these should be fun (and I swear I’m not just sucking up to my boyfriend’s boss!)

The Lion King

I’m back at work after my first Christmas holidays since school (everyone who reassured me that Christmas holidays “aren’t that great” lied – they’re bloody brilliant): I feel like every task is taking that little bit longer now that the cogs of my brain are clogged up with mince pies and cranberry mojitos. While I try to get back to normal, I have been cheering myself up with memories of last weekend when I went to see... The Lion King!

If you’ve never seen The Lion King before, I absolutely insist that you buy tickets to rectify this as soon as possible. If you have been to seen The Lion King before, let’s face it, you should probably still buy tickets to go see it again. I went for the first time on my 23rd birthday at the Lyceum Theatre in London, and completely fell in love. When it was announced that the show was coming to Edinburgh for the first time ever, to say I was excited would be a bit of an (enormous) understatement.

So when Sam’s parents asked if we’d like to go again, I didn’t even have to think about it for a micro-second before saying ‘yes, definitely!’. So, last Sunday, eight of us squeezed into the Edinburgh Playhouse to watch this wonderful musical.

I think the first thing to mention about The Lion King musical is how completely unique the show is. There is not a single man in a lion costume to be seen (or not seen, as it were). The stage mechanics are completely exposed: every lion, every bird, even every blade of grass, has an actor attached to it, entirely visible. I love that, for example, in a scene with Scar, you can watch the actor’s face (which is grotesquely contorted with make-up), or you can watch the sculpted mask attached to the actor’s body (which responds to his every movement).

I also love how heavily influenced by Africa the show is. I know that The Lion King film is set in Africa but I didn’t expect to see so many African elements in the musical: the choreography, the costumes, and the stage design – the whole production evokes images of a traditional Africa, close to nature, wildlife and heat.

And, of course, I have to mention the music. The show is full to bursting with the original songs from the film, so you can have a little (or really big) sing-a-long with the cast. I loved seeing some of my favourite Disney songs brought to life on stage – particular favourites include “Be Prepared” and “Circle of Life” (which opens the show, and, if you’re a Disney fan, is guaranteed to give you goose bumps). There are also three new songs (also written by Elton John and Tim Rice), and African-influenced music, in case your toes weren’t tapping hard enough already.

Everyone – from Sam’s little sister, to his dad, to his wee granny – loved the show, so you clearly don’t have to be a Disney obsessive to enjoy it. If you ever get the chance to go see it, grab it with both hands. And, if you’re really lucky and find yourself in a seat by the aisle, get ready to see the magic up close! 

I've now seen the show three times so should possibly cool off on buying more tickets. But then again, going to see The Lion King on Broadway in New York does sound amazing... 

Favourite bloggers

I decided to start tartanmouth for a few reasons, but one of them is because I have been reading and enjoying other people’s blogs for so long that I thought I should hurry up and join the party! While my list of favourites seems to get longer every month, there are a few blogs in particular that I would like to give credit for inspiring me to start my own: below are a list of my absolute favourite bloggers, who I always hope have posted something new every time I log on.

Little Blog of Horrors is a blog by Ayden, who also lives in Glasgow. I’d say that her blog mostly fits into the ‘lifestyle’ category, with a wonderful mix of posts on beauty, tattoos, her pets, art, travel, and what she’s been up to lately. Ayden doesn’t post as much as some of the other bloggers that I follow, but I definitely feel that her blog nails quality over quantity: if I see that she has updated while I’m out and about I’d rather wait until I get home, preferably with a big mug of tea, before I sit down and read her latest post.

A Rosie Outlook is another blog that I really like to take my time to read: I think you can tell that Rosie puts a lot of effort into her blog, as she writes about such a wide variety of topics, and always manages to combine engaging writing and beautiful photography in her posts. I also really admire her honesty – she has been brave enough to speak about tough issues on her blog that I think other people (myself included) would be too shy to talk about. A Rosie Outlook has also single-handedly made me want to move to the seaside with my boyfriend and our (imaginary) dog!

Away with the Fairies is one of my absolute favourite beauty blogs. I could never be a beauty blogger myself (I own one Mac lipstick, and still feel really rather fancy for it), but I couldn’t help but fall in love with Away with the Fairies – it’s just so pretty, colourful and cute. Hannah writes about make-up and style in a way that is honest and interesting – even when a product has been sent to her for review, I like that she writes about the cons as well as the pros.

I think if I could have any blogger’s wardrobe, I would choose Amy’s from The Little Magpie. Always stunning, and effortlessly cool, Amy manages to make classic items look bang up-to-date – reading her blog makes me want to strip my wardrobe back to nothing but black clothes, red lipstick and badass shades. She also manages to make outfit posts funny: I have actually LOL’ed at some of her more self-deprecating remarks (not so effortlessly cool when you’re on the bus).

Jazmine is another blogger whose wardrobe I covet.
Jazzabelle’s Diary showcases her gorgeous style to simple perfection, with locations around London as the most stunning backdrops. Jazmine also occasionally features corners of her bedroom, which match her wardrobe in the style stakes – I absolutely love these updates, even if they do put my hodge-podge approach to interior design to shame!

Ellie’s Ramblings is a beauty blog that I discovered more recently, but it is now definitely one of my favourites. I actually discovered Ellie’s blog when I was looking for posts about Disney World (if you’re as much of a Disney nut as me, I really recommend reading Ellie’s posts on her holiday there last autumn), but I keep going back to her blog for her brilliant reviews of all things hair and make-up. Also, kudos to her for speaking out against body-shaming in women’s magazines like Heat and Now – respect!

Like I say in my About, I'm still trying to get my head around blogging, but you can now follow tartanmouth with Bloglovin.

Looking forward by looking back

Happy New Year! I have decided to start off my brand new – and first ever – blog by taking a look-back at my 2013. January can often be such a depressing month: once the decorations have been packed away, and you’re back at your 9 – 5, all the fun of Christmas and New Year can seem like such a distant memory. I thought I should remind myself that all months, not just December, hold the promise of making wonderful memories, to help clear away the cobwebs and lift the January blues.

I kick-started the new year by taking a trip to a beautiful and snowy Oslo with my boyfriend, Sam. While most people got back to normal after Christmas, we escaped for a few days to wander around the city, sometimes knee-deep in snow; hide-away in coffee shops with steaming cups of tea and free refills; go sightseeing; and have frosty cocktails in the ice-bar – while wearing our extremely, ahem, flattering thermal robes.

Back in Scotland, I visited the Scottish Tattoo Convention and bought a beautiful original painting by Rachel Baldwin (one of my absolute favourite tattoo artists – if you like tattoos or art at all, I really recommend having a look at her work).

Other highlights from the beginning of last year include going to see the Moscow State Circus with Sam and his family (if you go and you’re at all shy, try to avoid sitting at the end of a row!); cocktail pitchers and bad dancing with some of my best friends at the final ever Girls Aloud tour; and going for dinner with friends at Wagamama at every opportunity. 

I celebrated my birthday in April by going on a little holiday with Sam to London – and we even managed to squeeze in a day trip to Brighton, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. We were typical London tourists: taking a spin on the London Eye; sightseeing at Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament; and browsing in kitsch little British souvenir shops. Brighton was a wonderful explosion of colourful graffiti, pretty bunting, tiny independent shops and enormous ice cream sundaes in the best ice cream parlour I’ve ever visited. The cheesy photo above is from when we visited Snooper’s Paradise – an enormous second-hand shop which seems to sell almost everything, and even has a cute little photo booth tucked away down one aisle.

Sam treated me to a late birthday present in May – the first ever Edinburgh Zoo Nights! If you’ve never heard of these nights (I know London and Belfast Zoo have also held similar events in the past), they’re an opportunity for adults to visit the zoo after regular opening hours have closed. As well as the unique opportunity to see the animals in the evening, Edinburgh Zoo also organised plenty of extra entertainment, including a cocktail tea party, street performers and a silent disco.

Then, on a scorching hot day in June, a little group of us went to the West End Festival to watch the Mardi Gras parade, eat ice lollies and have drinks at the street party outside the forever quirky HillHead Bookclub. The West End Festival takes place over a weekend in June, and is made up of so many different events – if you’re local to Glasgow, you should try and pop along to something this year (especially if we’re blessed with another sunny weekend for it!)

I thought I had spent most of last summer eating too many vegetarian hot dogs at BBQs, but, looking back, so many other things happened (although there were still a lot of BBQs.) I volunteered at the Dog’s Trust Glasgow Open Day & Fun Dog Show at Strathclyde Park in July. I’m a massive supporter of the Dog’s Trust and the work that they do, so I was delighted to help at this fantastic day out. I donned my fluorescent Dog’s Trust volunteer vest and got to work – including giving out prizes at a ‘Cutest Puppy’ competition! I have volunteered with several charities in the past, but giving out prizes to the cutest puppies in Glasgow has got to be the best volunteer job ever.

I help run a literary magazine for students in Scotland called Octavius, and last summer we launched our second issue. It was such a stressful experience – with so many weeks spent worrying we’d never find a venue, or that the magazines wouldn’t be printed in time for the launch date, or that, after all of our stressing, no one would even show up – but it turned out to be such a fantastic night. We launched Octavius Issue 2 in a packed out event in Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street – the photo above was taken by the lovely James at Waterstones, and makes me feel very happy that so many people came along to support our wee magazine.

Then, in September, we popped back down to London for Sam’s birthday. While last time we did the classic tourist-y things, this time we properly geeked-out at the Harry Potter Studio Tour. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter films at all, I really recommend going along to this: it is incredible to see exactly how much detail went into everything on set, including things that are only on screen for literally seconds (plus it’s one of only two places in the world that you can try Butterbeer – if that doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will.) I also recommend going to Wahaca if you're ever in London - I took Sam here for a birthday dinner of Mexican tapas and tequila cocktails, and have been craving it ever since.

In October I said hello to a new member of the family, in the very fuzzy shape of Cotton the guinea pig. Since this photo was taken, she looks even less like a guinea pig and more like a massive bundle of cotton wool. We had a Halloween bake-off in work during the day on Halloween (so much cake!) and Sam made “pumpkin pie and mashed brains” (actually Quorn chicken and mushroom pie, and mashed potato with food colouring) for when I got home. Looking back, I can see that any self-restraint over food goes flying out the window around October!

In November, Sam and I celebrated four years together by going to see The Lion King at the Edinburgh Playhouse. I’ve seen The Lion King before in London, but I absolutely loved this night as our seats were so close I could have reached out to touch the animals (I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t seen it, but they ask you to keep the aisles clear for a reason!) I also loved that the actor playing Zazu put on a Scottish accent for the occasion – I will always remember the little Proclaimers singsong in the middle of The Lion King!

Finally (and well done you if you’ve managed to read this far!), I volunteered at the Dog’s Trust Glasgow Christmas Fayre in December. But – to be completely honest – I tried to spend as much of the month as possible drinking honeycomb and whipped cream hot chocolates from Costa, watching a lot of Christmas DVDs, and relaxing at home. I did also manage to squeeze in a couple more trips to the theatre in December, including my second time seeing the Christmas show at the Lyceum. The photo above is of the ceiling during the interval of A Christmas Carol – if you’re ever lucky enough to go see the Christmas show at the Lyceum, look up right at the end because something special might be about to happen!
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