Halloween night in

While I've had incredible nights twirling around my favourite nightclubs in full costume (any excuse to safely wear a tiara in Glasgow, eh?), I'm so excited about a Halloween night in on Saturday. I probably shouldn't admit it, but a cosy night in sounds infinitely more appealing right now than shivering in a taxi queue at 4am. 

If you've decided to kick off your heels and wrap up in your snuggliest blanket this year, then here are some ideas for a Halloween night in.

If you're going to stay in, then you're going to need snacks. I love anything with a theme so Halloween cakes and sweeties are some of my favourites. These chocolate orange cupcakes with Halloween sprinkles might not win any awards for decorating, but they tasted spooktacular (sorry).

What better accompaniment to Halloween snacks than a scary film? Eh, okay, so I don't really do 'scary', but my October tradition of watching Hocus Pocus, Casper and The Addams Family always leave me feeling suitably Halloween-y. While you're getting into full relaxation mode, why not treat yourself to a bubble bath before you cosy up with a stack of DVDs? The Sparkly Pumpkin bubble bar from Lush has a fresh grapefruit and lime scent, which is a welcome contrast to the sweet smells usually associated with Halloween.

Speaking of sweets, don't limit yourself to home baked treats - not when the supermarkets are chock-a-block with novelty chocolate. Calories don't count on Halloween if they're shaped like tiddly pumpkins or tiny skulls, or so I've heard... 

It's an oldie but a goodie - pumpkin carving has to feature somewhere in your Halloween plans! I haven't carved mine yet, but I'm already scoping out the best window in the flat for a ghostly face to loom down from.

If you want to kick it really old school this Halloween, then how about reading some 90s ghost stories? Sam bought these beauties off eBay recently and I can't wait to catch up with Camp Nightmare and Camp Cold Lake... Are all Goosebumps books set in summer camps?! 

No matter what you're up to, a spooky candle is essential. I treated myself to these two from Maple & Whisky as a reminder of last Halloween's trip to Walt Disney World. Their scents immediately transport me back to Main Street U.S.A. and make me itch to book another holiday to watch Mickey's Boo To You Halloween Parade in person. Going out on October 31st is definitely much more appealing when it's in 30 degree Orlando heat! 

What about you? Are you heading out for the night or having a Halloween night in?

Feel Good Friday #24

As someone who studied English at university and has always leaned towards the arts and social sciences, technology and science are a bit of a mystery to me. It's embarrassing to admit, but I just don't 'get' it. While I really respect people who work in these fields, when someone tells me about a brilliant new scientific development, they say 'science' but they might as well say 'magic'. 

When I read about Joyce Cook's pioneering new corneal transplant, I definitely filed it under 'science I'm in awe of but will never understand'. Retired nurse Joyce volunteered to be the first patient in Scotland to undergo the ground-breaking procedure back in June and can now see her clearly for the first time in years, including seeing her grandchildren's faces for the first time. The procedure involves using donor tissue to replace the damaged cornea and has a faster recovery time than traditional corneal transplants. 

The 87 year old said 'My sight had been deteriorating for years and years, but it began getting really bad a couple of years ago and I realised that I had better stop driving, which is a great loss of independence... You don't appreciate it until you don't have it.' However, since the surgery Joyce has been experiencing the many benefits of improved vision, including being able to walk more confidentially and see in 3D again. 


The cherry on top of the cake though must be seeing the faces of her grandchildren clearly for the first time. 'The results are fantastic, I can see everything so clearly now, everything is tack sharp. It's so good to be able to see colour so vividly again. Faces have become so much clearer, it's wonderful. I'm now able to see my grandchildren's faces so much more vividly', she said.

While I might not understand the surgery (and the thought of operating on someone's eyes gives me the heebie-jeebies) I'm so glad there are people out there who do 'get' it and dedicate their careers to developing new techniques which will improve the health of people around the world. And, of course, special thanks to the brave souls like Joyce who are willing to take that leap to be the first person to change the lives of many. 

Halloween decorations for 'grown ups'

When one of my friends visited our flat for the first time recently, she said 'Oh, wow, what a grown up flat!' when she stepped into the hallway. I thought she was joking and was a little taken aback that she would poke fun at me the second she walked into my home. You see, I've really not made any effort to disguise my lack of sophistication in my home d├ęcor - after all, it's my home, why shouldn't there be Harry Potter and Disney paraphernalia dotted around?! However, I do sometimes wonder if the Tesco delivery guy thinks we have children when he walks by our living room shelves, teaming with photographs and knick-knacks from various Disney parks. The funny thing is though, my friend wasn't joking - she genuinely does think we have 'a grown up flat'. Apparently the way to disguise your lack of sophistication is to dot your childish bric-a-brac against a backdrop of white, grey and black tones. 

This combination of childishness and muted surroundings is what I've aimed for in my Halloween decorations this year. I like to think it's an acceptable way for grown ups to decorate their homes for Halloween. You know, assuming that I'm not the only 'grown up' who still thinks it's fun to embrace the silly side of this most tackiest of seasons...

If you aren't afraid of giving the Tesco delivery guy a chuckle, I can't recommend pound stores and supermarkets enough. After a rummage through the Halloween aisles (my second-favourite aisles of the year), it's easy to decorate your home for just a few pounds. I bought my ghost candle, ghost light and skeleton sign in various pound stores, while the Halloween wreath was, I believe, bought in Asda many (full) moons ago.

Oh, and by the way, I only lit the candle for the photograph and the flame wasn't as close to the plant leaves as it looks in this shot - the ghost looks cute next to the plant pot, but potentially a little bit of a fire hazard! 

Even Sam's stuff isn't safe from my cheesy decorating! This cute pink spider has gotten comfy next to Sam's Playstation controllers (although that definitely doesn't stop him from playing with them) and the jack-o'-lantern candle holder looks right at home next to his Halloween appropriate scary bedtime reading.

I think the little Frankenstein snow globe is my favourite pound store purchase this year - although he does look more scared than scary! That's our hallway table and I do like to think it would be easy to walk by without noticing it's decorated for Halloween. I've also included a photograph of the wonderful Harry Potter themed print which hangs above the table - although not a Halloween decoration (Harry Potter is for life) I think the focus on the Forbidden Forest makes it particularly fitting for this time of year!

What do you think of my hopefully-not-too-tacky Halloween decorations? Have you decorated for Halloween this year?

October afternoons

I love an ice cream cone in the park as much as the next person, but it's in autumn when I really feel lucky that Glasgow is one of the greenest cities in Europe. The mild weather, vivid leaves and bright blue skies make October the perfect month for wrapping up in your cosiest knitwear and heading to your nearest park. And with over 90 parks and formal gardens to choose from, Glaswegians really don't have to travel far to find a dear green place. 

When Saturday arrived with cornflower blue skies and brilliant sunshine, I instantly knew it was a day for the park. Bundled up in a cable-knit jumper, tartan scarf and berry lipstick (me, not Sam), we caught the subway through to the West End for an afternoon in Kelvingrove Park. Set on the banks of the River Kelvin, Kelvingrove Park is a beautiful park dating back to 1852 and is home to the famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

While busy with families, couples and dog walkers, as the park stretched out as far as we could see, it really was easy to forget we were in middle of Glasgow's West End. If it weren't for the gothic spires of the University of Glasgow visible over the treetops, I could have imagined we'd been transported out of the city. We spent a relaxing couple of hours wandering around, spotting squirrels and ducks, and admiring all of the dogs out for their afternoon walks. This big beauty above sadly doesn't belong to me, but happily bounded straight into my photograph.

After an afternoon of wandering in the fresh air, we made the necessary decision to go for tea and cake. I knew about Cottonrake Bakery because I'd spotted their cool Donut Repair sign on Instagram (and had then been suckered in by their delicious looking pastries). Knowing it wasn't far from Kelvingrove Park, we set off in pursuit of hot tea and lemon meringue tarts. We luckily managed to nab a table - and I nabbed the last lemon meringue tart too! It was clearly meant to be. I tried Sam's raspberry and white chocolate tart as well (for blogging purposes only, obviously) and can confirm it was also delicious. 

With the bakery rubbing shoulders with the great Caledonia Books and Roots, Shoots and Flowers, we couldn't resist finishing our afternoon by browsing second-hand books and an impressive selection of teas. As soon as I saw the bright orange boxes of pumpkins, I of course had a snap a photograph of the Roots, Shoots and Flowers' beautiful autumn fruit and vegetable display. How can this season even make root vegetables look gorgeous?!

What about you? Are you a summer person or is your allegiance with autumn?

My favourite Disney villains

It's strange to consider any villain a 'favourite', but if you're ever going to cheer for the bad guy then it's at Halloween. I spent two weeks last October in Walt Disney World soaking up the celebration of Disney villains and loved every second. From the spectacular HalloWishes fireworks show to the silly and spooky Mickey's Boo To You Halloween Parade, the villains are at the forefront of the celebrations - whether they're appearing in a plume of smoke in front of Cinderella Castle or they're sidling up to you on Main Street, U.S.A. (Cruella de Vil demanded to know what animal I'd murdered to make my polka dot dress). As we creep closer to Halloween, I thought it would be fun to share some of the Disney villains I love to hate.

Let's start with the most flamboyant of Disney villains. He's really not so scary with his cravat and paralysing fear of the crocodile, but his single-minded determination to murder Peter - and the recklessness with which he'll kill anyone who stands in the way of his goal - give him a little bit of an edge. 

While I might laugh at Gaston (and have a bit of a crush on the real life version at Walt Disney World), he really does take being a creep to another level. Egotistical, chauvinistic and selfish, Gaston shows how twisted he really is with his poisonous lies during 'The Mob Song'. After pursuing Belle for the entire film before proclaiming she's 'as crazy as her old man' and trying to turn the town against her, Gaston shows the ugly side of angry men who insist they've been 'friend-zoned'.

Fanatical, wicked, with cheekbones that could slice glass, Cruella de Vil makes being bad look good. Even though I wouldn't say no to her Panther Deville being parked in my drive or an armful of Cruella inspired faux fur coats, as a woman who sees dalmatian puppies as 'little beasts' with no other use than to be killed and skinned, she definitely gives me the chills. 

Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame genuinely terrifies me. Abusing his position of absolute power, he uses his faith and self-righteousness as an excuse to justify his cruel and hateful behaviour. Devoid of any of the funny quirks that make other Disney villains somewhat endearing, Frollo tries to murder a baby, is consumed by his desire to 'purify' Paris by committing genocide and blames Esmeralda for his desire to rape her. When you mention 'Disney' and 'rape' in the same sentence, you know you're a long way from love stories and happy endings.

'Long live the king!' This sentence, proclaimed seconds before he murders one of the greatest characters in animated history, is the most chilling line delivered by any Disney villain. Pair that with my favourite villain song and Jeremy Irons' perfect drawl and Scar is the ultimate Disney villain. With a pathetic reluctance to admit any wrongdoing and a over-reliance on the servants he detests, it's impossible not to feel a little ball of hate in my stomach when I watch Scar on-screen. Plus, I'll never forgive him for this scene

Who are your favourite Disney villains? Let me know if I missed anyone who really gives you the creeps!

Feel Good Friday #23

I first saw the photograph below because my friend tagged me in it on Instagram with the caption 'Where do you see yourself in five years?'She knows me so well. 

I didn't ponder the story behind the photograph at the time, because, well, an as enormous animal lover, it simply didn't occur to me to question why a man would be scooting around town with a little train full of dogs. I mean, why not?

But when the full story popped up on my Twitter a few days later, an already awesome photograph became even more wonderful.


This is Eugene Bostick, a lively 80 year old who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Eugene and his brother live on a horse farm at the end of a dead end road. The road is occasionally used as a place for people to dump their unwanted dogs, leaving them alone to starve. After finding the abandoned animals, Eugene explained he and his brother 'started feeding them, letting them in, taking them to the vet to get them spayed and neutered. We made a place for them to live.'

Eugene currently takes care of nine dogs, but has rescued countless others over the years. With a horse farm as their new home, the dogs have plenty of room to run and play, but Eugene thought it would be nice to take them on little trips to other places as well. Eugene says 'I started out with my tractor. I had a little trailer and I put four or five dogs in there and took them riding. Then more dogs started to show up and I said, "Uh-oh! That’s not enough room!" That’s when I came up with the dog train'.


Once or twice a week now, Eugene and his dogs will set out in the train which he built himself by welding together wheels and plastic barrels. They often putter through the Sycamore Golf Course which runs along the back of the Bostick property, as well as taking trips into town or through the forest near their home. 'Whenever they hear me hooking the tractor up to it, man, they get so excited,' says Eugene. 'They all come running and jump in on their own. They're ready to go.'


As well as cheering up locals - who often stop Eugene to say hello and take photographs - the rides brighten up the lives of these formerly abandoned dogs. 'They bark a lot. Then they get tired and just stop and look around,' Eugene says. 'I'll keep it going as long as I can... The dogs have a great time. They just really enjoy it.'
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