Post-Christmas Beauty Gift Guide!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Hello all! Hope you're all having a lovely time in the lead up to Christmas - I cannot believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve!! This year I didn't do any sort of gift guide in time for Christmas itself, but what I thought might be fun would be to do a guide for things to look out for after Christmas! Let's face it - most of us end up doing a little bit of shopping in the sales when Christmas is over, and if you're as beauty daft as I am, you usually end up with a much wanted gift card for one of your favourite beauty outlets. So I thought I'd put together a little wishlist of sorts, of beauty bits and pieces I have added to my ''future purchases'' list, and I'd love to know what's on yours!

I also wanted to let y'all know - I have an exciting piece of beauty related news! House of Fraser got in touch to let me know that they're running a "12 Days of Christmas" offers event, starting tomorrow! It'll be running from Christmas Eve to 4th January, with some big beauty names being reduced each day. Keep your eyes peeled on their Twitter and Facebook accounts (and the House of Fraser website of course!) for more details :) A few of the bits and pieces on my current wishlist are available at HoF so I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on the 12 Days of Christmas deals!

1. Soap and Glory "The Perfect 10" Palette - Boots - £16.00

You know me - I'm a self-confessed eye makeup addict, and there's nothing I like more than a good eye-shadow palette. This one grabbed my attention in Boots yesterday, and I can't help but think it would make a smashing addition to my collection. Had to resist temptation when out shopping for my family and friends, but that won't be an issue after Thursday!

2. Lancôme Mascara Gift Set* - House of Fraser - £22.50

Isn't this a gorgeous gift set?! I'm a recent Lancôme mascara convert. You know how I only ever buy drug store mascaras? That has now changed thanks to trying the Hypnose mascara for the first time a few months ago! House of Fraser have these great gift sets which include one of the Hypnose range mascaras, a mini black kohl liner and a 30ml bottle of their Bi-Facil, all for just £22.50!

3. YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick in Shade 13 - House of Fraser - £25.00

I just can't deal with how gorgeous this colour is. I still don't own any of the Rouge Volupte lipsticks, but I just think they are stunning, and I hear consistently good things about them. So this little gem has most certainly caught my eye.

4. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector - Space NK - £33.00

This is something I've wanted for ages and ages - I've seen many a YouTuber use this gorgeous skin perfector in tutorials and I've always mentally added it to my basket, I'm just yet to actually take it to the checkout. I think I've always just a little bit worried that it's a overrated? If you've tried it and have thoughts on this, let me know in the comments below!

5. Barry M Aquarium Nail Paint in Treasure Chest - Superdrug - £3.99

Isn't this stunning!! I mean, seriously, I love the Barry M nail paints as it is, but this gold glitter is just beautiful. I've already got one of the polishes from the Aquarium collection and it is gorgeous, I always get compliments on it, to this is definitely one I'll be hard pushed to walk away from (when it's just £3.99!).

6. MAC Teknakohl Liner in Risqué - House of Fraser - £14.00

Would you just look at that colour? I love experimenting with different eyeliner looks and honestly, I think this just looks so pretty.

7. Estée Lauder Pure Colour High Shine Gloss Collection - House of Fraser - £34.00

Gorgeous, glittery, shiny lipglosses - have you ever seen such a lovely gift set when it comes to lip products?! These are just stunning. Bravo Estee Lauder. Bravo.

So that's it for my little "treat yourself after Christmas" beauty guide! I'd love to know what's on yours!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have an absolutely fantastic Christmas.

*This is a collaborative feature but all comments and opinions are my own.

Scottish Ballet - Peter Darrell's "The Nutcracker"

Friday, 19 December 2014

If you're anything like me, nothing quite gets you in the Christmas spirit like going to see a nice festive show. Whether that's a Pantomime with the family, a screening of a Christmas film with your friends, or, in the case of this particular post, the ballet, there's just something lovely about heading out on a cold December evening and escaping into the theatre to watch a Christmassy story unfold.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the dress rehearsal of the Scottish Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, and I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time! In a little behind the scenes chat, we found out all about the history of the Peter Darrell production (which you can find out more about here), and discussed the lovely, nostalgic, childhood centric feel to this version. Rather than attempt to create a dark or unexpected take on the story, this particular production has a really magical feel to it, and encourages you to see it through a child's eyes - what could be more Christmassy than that?!

One of my favourite photos I took at the dress rehearsal ♥

I can't even tell you how stunning the set and costumes are - you really do have to see them for yourself. They are absolutely captivating. From the amazing glittering capes and beautiful dresses, to the flurries of snow and amazing Christmas tree, the whole look of this production is incredible.

I quite enjoyed it - can you tell?!

I left the Festival Theatre finally feeling festive, and I would totally recommend heading along if you can over the next couple of weeks! Tickets are available here and the show runs till the 3rd January 2015 in Edinburgh, and continues on to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and ends in Newcastle on 14th February :)

Hope you're all having a lovely week and looking forward to Christmas!

Thanks for reading!

Christmas Gift Idea - The Book of Everyone*

Sunday, 7 December 2014

With Christmas just over a couple of weeks away now, I'm sure most of you are in the process of getting your shopping done and picking out gifts for your nearest and dearest. I, for one, am a huge fan of personalised gifts - taking something ordinary and adding some individual little touches to make it extra special for your friend/partner/parent/child/insert appropriate terminology here...

So, when I was contacted by the lovely people at The Book of Everyone to tell me a little bit about what they do, I was instantly intrigued! The concept is really, really cool - you pop in a couple of basic details about the person you want to make it for (name, date of birth) and in minutes it creates an amazing, personalised book, full of fun facts about the year they were born. I decided to make a book* for my BFF, Emma, who you have all seen on here/in my videos on many occasions before! Hence the reason the photos don't show the full pages - keeping some of the personal information off the interwebz!

Apologies for the phone photos - having some technical problems with my Canon 600D this weekend!! #bloggerproblems

From details on world leaders and nobel prize winners, to technological advancements, popular films/tv shows/books and facts about their star sign, this book is a seriously interesting read. There is also the opportunity to personalise it further, by filling in the blanks on pages like "You're made of sterling stuff, but above all you're ---", and " You're not always an angel, in fact, you're partial to a bit of ---", and adding in your own photographs and quotes on some of the pages.

What I really love about this is the way it's written - this book could easily have read like a list of facts, but the tone is really lively and funny, some of my favourite comments in Emma's book being "riotous celebrations break out across the globe in honour of the birth of the legend that is Emma" and "1989 wasn't all about you, Emma". It takes what is already an interesting concept and injects it with a healthy dose of humour, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The other absolutely amazing thing about purchasing one of these snazzy customised books is that the lovely people at The Book of Everyone have teamed up with Age UK this Christmas, so "every book you buy, goes towards the "gifting" of a book for an elderly person who might not receive a gift". I just think this is a lovely idea - it's easy to forget, sometimes, when you're lucky enough to be spending the festive season with friends and family, that there are a lot of people out there who don't have anyone to share it with.

For more details on the book - which comes in four styles (digital, paperback, hardback and deluxe - an option for every budget!), visit their website at It is then dispatched to you in the space of a week, and the quality of the finished book is amazing!

What's on your Christmas gift wishlist?!

Thanks for reading!

7 Glasgow Bars You Have To Try!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

As someone who has lived just outside Glasgow for my whole life, and who has studied and worked in Glasgow since I was eighteen, I'd say I have a pretty good knowledge of the city centre - so I thought I'd share that with you! If you're visiting Glasgow and you're looking for somewhere close to the train station to stop off for a drink, I've got you covered! Here are seven bars, each within walking distance of Glasgow Central Station (and Argyle Street and Queen Street stations too!), and the drinks I'd recommend ordering there!:

October (Princes Square):

This is one of my favourite Glasgow haunts. Whether you are looking for food or just for a cocktail, October has a really nice, chilled out vibe, while still feeling pretty sophisticated. I think this is partly due to the location in the gorgeous Princes Square shopping centre - it just oozes luxury, so even just popping in for a soft drink feels like a bit of a treat. That said, the prices are not extravagant!

I'd recommend: The Vanilla Apple Sour cocktail.

Hortons (92 West George Street):

If my friends and I can't decide where to go for a catch up, we inevitably end up in Hortons - it's a firm favourite! By day it is a chilled out bar-come-restaurant, and by night it is a lively hub for after work drinks, weekend nights out, and it even has a bit of a club vibe on Friday and Saturday when it stays open till 3am and some of the tables are pushed aside to make way for a dance floor. The music is usually good, the staff are friendly, and it is home to my favourite cocktail in the whole of Glasgow...

I'd recommend: The Bellini Martini.

The Old Hairdressers (Renfield Lane):

If you're into more of a hipster vibe, might I suggest popping along to The Old Hairdressers in Renfield Lane? This bar is literally a two minute walk from Central Station, and is definitely one of the hidden gems in the city centre if you know where to look! It's a nice choice for a date night, or a quiet catch up with a friend, since the music tends not to be blaring too loudly and the drinks are fairly reasonably priced considering how close it is to the train station. It has a very unfinished look - bare walls with artsy posters and a sort of mishmash of chairs. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it!

I'd recommend: If you're a beer fan (which I'm actually not, but I'm aiming for variety in this post!) there is an interesting selection in here, which my friends have praised!

Palm Sugar (175 Buchanan Street):

For a more "grown up and classy" choice, check out the Palm Sugar Lounge on Buchanan Street! Admittedly, I haven't been there later in the evening - my friend and I used to pop in here for a cheeky after-uni glass of wine sometimes, so usually we were here between 5 and 7 - but at that point it was fairly quiet, so a good place to relax after a busy day at work, uni, or maybe even a day of Christmas shopping!

I'd recommend: A glass of rose (this list wouldn't be complete without a rose recommendation!)

Strata (45 Queen Street)

Strata is a recent discovery for me, I've only been a couple of times but I've really enjoyed it both times! Nikki, Roisin and I went a few weeks ago (see this vlog for footage!) and I ordered what was one of the best cocktails I've had in a long time (see recommendation below!). It's a slightly longer walk from central station, but is less than a five minute walk from both Queen Street and Argyle Street stations.

I'd recommend: A Passionfruit and Apricot Daiquiri

Sir John Moore (260-292 Argyle Street):

In the interests of keeping this post one hundred percent purse friendly, I thought I'd include the Sir John Moore, which is a branch of Wetherspoons across the road from the downstairs entrance to Central Station on the corner of Argyle Street and Hope Street! If you're keeping an eye on your bank balance, or you have very little time before your train but want to squeeze in a quick drink before you go, this is one of the handiest pubs for the station! It's cheap and cheerful, with a typical Wetherspoons menu, but it's definitely somewhere we head to for a quick bite to eat every so often!

I'd recommend: A bottle of Rekorderlig, in whatever fruity flavour they have that day!

Bunker (193-199 Bath Street):

This is a last minute add on, but I have to recommend Bunker on Bath Street! This is somewhere my uni friends and I used to pop into for a drink before we'd go out with our dancing shoes on back in the day, but more recently I've discovered what a brilliant place this is in terms of deals on meals! There are some really excellent deals on (any main meal for £5 on a Monday, for example), and the food is amazing! I'll throw in a quick food recommendation here - if you're a pulled pork fan, the pulled pork pizza is incredible!

I'd recommend: An Appletini.

So there we have it - seven different pubs and bars to check out on your next few trips into Glasgow!

Let me know if you've been to any of these bars, or if you have any Glasgow night out recommendations! :)

Thanks for reading!

6 Ways Blogging and YouTube Changed My Life

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Happy Sunday everyone! Dramatic title today, yes?

I've talked very openly, very regularly about how amazing I think the blogging and YouTube community can be. There's something incredible about having this little bubble to escape to from time to time, where everyone is interested in similar things, and you can talk to people at the other side of the word as regularly as you talk to someone who lives next door. It connects people in such an amazing way, and I really do struggle to picture what my life would look like now if I hadn't involved myself in this little world. So, naturally, I thought it was time to turn this topic in to a list style post - here are 6 ways blogging and YouTube changed my life!

1. It has opened doors for me career wise:

My blog and my YouTube channel are not massive in terms of follower number - I don't have thousands of subscribers or followers, but over the past couple of years I've made a conscious effort to publish posts and videos on a more regular basis, and that is something employers have been impressed with. It's a fun hobby, but as you guys will all know, it takes a lot of time and effort! From finding time to film a video and then edit it, to making sure you take photos of whatever it is you are blogging about before the lighting is awful (living in Scotland, that is no mean feat!), it requires times and dedication. I can honestly say that at least three jobs/internships I have had have been partly to do with my blog and channel, which, now having been to university twice, says a lot.

2. It had boosted my confidence:

This is quite an important one; I really do think I owe a lot to blogging in terms of how much my confidence has grown over the past two years or so. I've always been a very chatty person with people I know - my friends will tell you, I rarely shut up for long enough to eat my meals (hence the reason I'm always last to finish at dinner), but with new people I used to be incredibly shy. I was a painfully shy child who got really anxious about going to new things that my friends wouldn't be at, and it definitely held me back at times. Since blogging though, I really pushed myself to change that. I started saying yes to going to events where I wouldn't know anyone at first, and continually accepted invites to meet ups where I could get to know the people whose blogs I'd been reading for so long. Now the prospect of going to events solo doesn't phase me in the slightest, and I definitely think I've gained a lot of confidence in other life situations because of it. Starting a new course at uni last year, I threw myself into talking to everyone on my course immediately, something that without a friend by my side would, in the past, have made me feel nervous. Alongside a few other life changes, I think blogging can take some of the credit for that.

3. It has taught me new skills:

A couple of years ago, I wouldn't have had the faintest idea about video editing. "But you did a degree in Film and Television Studies", I hear you say! That's true, but my course was all theory - think English Literature, but studying films and television shows instead! This time last year, I edited a video for one of my university group projects, and that project was nominated for an award at the Herald Scottish Digital Business Awards in Glasgow last month. When they announced our names at the ceremony, they cited the use of video as one of the things they liked most about our project - how cool is that?! I now have over 100 videos on my YouTube channel, and the progression from totally unedited videos filmed on my phone, to properly edited videos with cuts, titles, music, endcards, etc, is actually really amazing to see. iMovie is fairly straightforward once you start using it, but it blows my mind that that is an entirely new skill I have to offer in terms of future career, all thanks to the blogging community!

4. It has made me appreciate the little things more:


A platform like instagram changes the way you look at the world. In some ways it can be a negative thing - Emma and I were just talking last night about how sometimes humans spend too much time trying to capture the perfect photo of something amazing rather than just appreciating the something amazing! However, what I love about instagram is that when you're in the blogging mindset, you start noticing everyday things - the cup of tea you're drinking, the pretty street art you walk past, the sparkly new nail polish you just put on - and realising that they'd make a pretty photo. It brightens up your day because things that you wouldn't have thought much about before, suddenly become a significant part of life. That can help cheer you up after a bad, or even just an uneventful day, and that's something to be thankful for!

5. It gave me my topic for my Masters dissertation:


I love blogging and YouTube so much I just spent the past six months studying it! I wrote my masters dissertation on the impact of social media communities on the consumption of beauty products in women aged 18-30, and I loved every last minute of it. I felt so connected to what I was studying, and it must have showed, because I ended up getting a better mark than I ever expected, and winning a prize for best dissertation on my course!! Finding something you feel so passionate about is a gift, and not only do I think I learnt a lot during my studies, but I've learnt a lot about the beauty and marketing industry just from blogging myself. I know what sort of PR emails bloggers respond well to and what puts them (and me!) off. I know how to organise a blogging event, how to promote something on twitter, or run a twitter chat. So many skills!

and finally...

6. It has given me a huge new group of amazing friends:

We all knew this was going to be the last one, right?! I genuinely count myself so incredibly lucky to have met the people who have come into my life on this blogging journey. The people I have met have become such an integral part of my life that it actually stresses me out to imagine life without them! People I started off reading their blogs or chatting to them on twitter have become people I don't go a day without speaking to, who I go on regular nights out with, discuss everything from life goals to politics to makeup to feminism with, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I used to watch people like Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter) and Zoella, back in the early days and think, "how cool must it be to end up making such a close friend through your blog". Well, now I know. And it isn't only the people I see and speak to regularly - I'm so grateful for every last person who reads my blog or watches my video, anyone I chat to via twitter or instagram, and the lovely people I interact with regularly during the Sunday night #lbloggers chat. It's such a lovely community, and I sometimes have to stop and pinch myself when I realise such a lot of important people to me wouldn't be in my life if I hadn't started my blog and my YouTube channel!

So there we have it - six ways blogging and YouTube changed my life!!

How has writing your blog/participating in the blogging community, or making YouTube videos changed your life?

Thanks so much for reading, I hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

Favourites of the Week #20

Sunday, 9 November 2014

So, way back in the day I did a little series of posts titled "Favourites of the Week" - somewhere along the line, those posts fell to the wayside! Today, however, I decided to bring it back! Hope you enjoy!

Track of the Week
Blank Space - Taylor Swift

Ahhh Blank Space. If this song is not single at some point I will be so surprised - it is amazing! I won't spend too much time discussing it right now because the next favourite is connected...

Album of the Week
Taylor Swift - 1989

I got this album the day it came out and I am absolutely addicted! Every single track is incredible. Favourites are Blank Space, Wildest Dreams, Out of the Woods, This Love and Style, but the whole thing is just amazing. I made a video ranking the tracks, so if you are a Taylor fan and fancy checking it out, here it is!

TV Show of the Week
The Office (US)

This week I have watched pretty much all of season five of The Office Netflix binge-watching style! Every time I get home from work and want to just relax with something easy to watch, this is what I'm going for. I'm also loving Season 4 of Once Upon a Time (have I ever mentioned that I like that show?!) and Season 5 of The Vampire Diaries, the boxset of which I am making my way through at the moment. It, however, is an entirely different sort of genre - much more dramatic! It's incredible, but when I just want a laugh and a distraction at the end of the day, The Office is perfect. Michael Scott will never fail to make me laugh and Jim Halpert will never fail to make me want to marry him.


Film of the Week
Gone Girl

Emma and I went to see Gone Girl a few weeks ago now, but as it was the last new film I saw, I thought I'd include it. I actually really enjoyed the film, but honestly? For me the book was better. There are reasons why, which I won't discuss on here to avoid spoilers, but I'm going to try to rope Emma into filming a video with me about it. I will say though that had you not read the book, I think the film would have been absolutely amazing! Bravo to the entire cast, who I thought did a really good job with it.

Beauty Product of the Week
Makeup Revolution "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" Eyeshadow Palette

Guys. THIS PALETTE. There are no words for how I feel about this palette, it's just so, so good. The colours are beautiful, the pigmentation is insane, they last all day, they blend nicely and the entire palette is just £6. There is little else for me to say on the matter other than put this on your Christmas list! Or next payday list ;)

Book of the Week
Looking for Alaska - John Green

After finishing Gone Girl a couple of weeks ago, I haven't actually properly got into anything else yet, but I have started John Green's "Looking for Alaska". It has definitely impressed me so far, in the first chapter I've read, but I need a bit more time to actually get into it. This week on my commute to and from work I'll take the time to read it, rather than listed to Taylor Swift's album on repeat and create dramatic music videos in my head!

YouTuber of the Week

My favourite celebrity couple (yes, that's right, I have a favourite celebrity couple) are Kristen Bell and Dax Shephard, but they are now very closely followed by Tom and Gi Fletcher. I've been watching Giovanna's vlogs for the past few weeks now, and I just absolutely love her! I haven't actually read any of her books yet, but I think I'll download them on to my kindle and give them a go, because I just think she seems like the nicest person. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and any time I see a new "Coffee with Gi" video pop up in my subscription box I am a happy girl!

Website of the Week
Bored Panda

Bored Panda makes me happy. I love looking a pretty photographs, and if there is a place on the internet that you can find beautiful images, Bored Panda is it. If I'm lacking inspiration I love to hop on to Bored Panda and have a look through the lovely pictures and it always cheers me up!

Style Icon of the Week
Fleur East


Sounds like a random choice, but from the very earliest auditions of this year's X-Factor I have had the hugest girl crush on Fleur East - she is just beautiful, and seems like a nice person. She's also a brilliant performer. Anyway, every week I just think she looks stunning, and obviously she has stylists on there now, but right from the word go I always thought she looked really cool!

So that's it for this week! What have some of your favourite things been lately? Let me know in the comments! :)

Thanks for reading!

#lovetober Instagram Challenge!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Throughout the month of October, I took part in Gala Darling's #lovetober instagram challenge! I had so much fun with this - usually I'm rubbish and end up missing a day, but I completed the challenge (with only one belated post, and I did it first thing the next day - I was in Manchester, which threw me off!!), and I'll definitely be getting involved with more challenges like this in the future. I think having a topic every day really helped keep it fun but focused, and I loved looking through the hashtag to see what other people were posting!

Anyway, I thought I'd post my photos in a few wee collages on here to have a look through my #lovetober snaps all in one handy place, not mixed up with my other instagram photos! I love the mix of personal photos, inspiring quotes and pretty images this challenge produced :)

Top L-R: The Challenge, Flower Power (Bird of Paradise)
Bottom L-R: Nostalgia (Grad Ball 2011), Photobooth Friday (with Emma, 2012)

Top L-R: Made Me Laugh (Dumble-door), Daily Mantra (Be kind)
Bottom L-R: Your Bookshelf (Some favourites!), Thankfulness (family and friends)

Top L-R: Street Art (Melbourne), Favourite Colour (All of them!)
Bottom L-R: Your Inspiration (Malala Yousafzai), Jump! (Bit of a cheat - flying!)

Top L-R: Perfect Weekend (Night Out, Night In, XFactor!), I'm Obsessed! (Once Upon a Time)
Bottom: A Beautiful Place (Aviemore), Pay it Forward (Inspire)

Top L-R: Big Dream (PhD), Favourite Artist (KlairedeLys)
Bottom L-R: In the Morning (cup of tea), Your Bucket List (NYC!!)

Top L-R: Favourite City (Glasgow), Your babes (as many as I could fit!)
Bottom L-R: Seasonal Love (jumpers, leaves, hot chocolate, lights!), Throwback Thursday (laughs with pals)

Top L-R: Spirituality (connectedness), Before and After (photo filters)
Bottom L-R: Self-Care Routine (Tea and The Office), Wonder (the universe)

Top L-R: Biggest Challenge (being brave enough for Australia), Beside your bed (book and lipbalm!)
Bottom L-R: Advice (gratitude), Halloween (happy halloween!)

Did you take part in #lovetober? If so, leave me your instagram name in the comments - I'd love to check it out!! I'm @lynseymac1 over there too!

Thanks for reading!

Reacting to the X-Factor Live Show (with Emma!)

Monday, 27 October 2014

This weekend, my best friend Emma and I filmed a video reacting to the XFactor week 3 live show - she hadn't seen any of this season yet, so it was her first proper introduction to the contestants. We also ate pizza and sweets, and laughed a lot. I had so much fun editing this video, so thought I'd share it on here too!

The show lasted for 2hours and 10mins and I managed to edit it down to just over 10mins (minus intro and end card!). Hope you enjoy it, I think I'll try and film more videos like this with Emma, since film and tv was what we studied at uni! Even if you don't pay a huge amount of attention to the show and end up watching this, I hope it entertains you!

Thanks for reading (and watching)!

Weekend in Manchester!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I gained a lot from my trip to Australia - confidence, life experience, a new perspective of the world, a thirst to visit new places and time spent with my aunt, uncle and cousins (and their adorable pets!). In addition to that, I made two friends who I am incredibly glad came into my life. The BUNAC group flight was a fantastic way of going about my trip, and I had a lot of fun with the entire group. In a situation like that, you are thrown together and bond quickly because of the intensity of the situation. You are travelling to the other side of the world, leaving your family, friends and comfort zone behind you, staying in hostels and getting to grips with new cities. It's easy to make friends because you need people while you are there, it's just too overwhelming to do it alone. My friendship with Gemma and Emily, however, wasn't like that - they quickly became real, proper, for-the-long-haul type friends. Sometimes you just meet people and know they were meant to come into your life, and I'm so very glad I met these girls.

Top Left - Hong Kong (2013), Bottom Left - Sydney (2013)
Right - Manchester (2014)

Okay, soppy nonsense over for now! Emily, Gemma and I have kept in touch by all the wonders of technology since I left Australia eighteen months ago - phone calls, texts, Skype, FaceTime and Facebook kept us connected, but we hadn't seen each other in person since we were together in Sydney. After months of saying "we have to catch up", now that all three of us were back home, a few weeks ago I booked a trip to Manchester and off I went for a long awaited catch up!

I got the train down on Saturday morning at the very early hour of 6am - this gave me pretty much two full days in Manchester. During the first few hours we completely lost track of time, spending a few hours just talking and catching up properly! We then headed to Media City, which I was so excited to see, and went for lunch in a cool, studenty place called The Dockyard. I ordered a burger and sweet potato fries, which were particularly good. I do love a sweet potato chip.

After lunch we took a wander over to the Imperial War Museum, which had a fascinating exhibition called From Street to Trench for us to explore. You weren't really supposed to take photos in the exhibition, but after that we headed up to the viewing platform where I got extremely snap happy! This sky high platform has an amazing view of Media City, and a slightly unnerving floor with mesh see-through areas to show just how high up you are! I've included a snap of Old Trafford here too - I'm not much of a football fan, but it would have been weird not to! Check out the Corrie set too!!

Then it was time to head home, chill out for a while and cover even more life topics with some snacks, before getting dressed up to head out for cocktails!

We went to three bars in total (the first of which I forget the name of!) but the others were called Apotheca and Hula. In Apotheca, Emily and I both opted for a delicious, strawberry milkshake-esque cocktail, which was amazing!! It was too dark to get any proper photos in Hula, but it was so cool - a beachy, Hawaii themed bar-come-club (there was a dancefloor of sorts, but it was more bar like in atmosphere!), with fruity cocktails that made you feel like you were on holiday, and an actual fish tank built into the wall!

Having finally got to bed some time after half past two, Sunday morning was a sleepy, chatty, tea drinking affair, sitting in our pyjamas as the hours disappeared, reminding me so much of the weeks we all woke up in a Sydney hostel together and planned what we were going to do with our day! The afternoon was planned in advance, and it involved cake - what could be better! We headed to a seriously cute little part of Manchester called Didsbury (forgive my total lack of knowledge of English geography, it might be much more famous than I'm giving it credit for!), which is full to the brim of cute little coffee shops and restaurants. Honestly, I could imagine myself living in Didsbury (not that I have any plans to move away any time soon!) - cute cul-de-sacs, tree filled parks, quirky cafes and vintage shops. Blogger paradise, basically.

We went to Art of Tea - it was what can only be described as the cutest coffee shop I've ever been in in my life! In addition to serving cake, milkshakes, an array of brunch items and an obligatory selection of teas and coffees, this place has a vintage book shop hidden at the back. I went for lemon cake and a strawberry milkshake. It was amazing.

colour co-ordinated shelves ♥

Next up was a walk in some of Didsbury's lovely parks, bursting with Autumn colours...

5pm came far too soon and it was time for me to jump on the train back home! I had the loveliest weekend, and really enjoyed Manchester - I'll definitely be heading down again at some point over the next year! Thank you Gemma and Emily, if you're reading this, for the best weekend! See you in Scotland in a few months!!!

Thanks for reading, hope you all had a great weekend!

I've Been Thinking... The Internet, Spoilers and Booktubing.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hello all! Hope you're well.

This is probably going to be a relatively short post, but it's just something that popped into my head a minute ago. Literally a minute ago - it's quarter past eleven at night and I got inspired to write this #nightowlproblems.

I'm a lover of the booktube community, and I love having a nosy at what other people are reading. In a unrelated, but also related thread, I also love thinking. Typing that sentence, it sounds like a such a strange thing to say, but it's true. I'm definitely more of a thinker than a doer, which is why I think I love being in an educational environment so much. It's not always a good thing - there are times when being a doer is definitely preferable, and in those instances I need to give myself a kick and get on with it. But by nature I'm a reflective person, I like to think and assess and analyse and dissect things, from a Buzzfeed article I just read that made me distinctly uncomfortable, to how social media has changed how we communicate, to just about anything in the world. Give me a topic, I'll probably find a way to over-analyse it.

I DIGRESS. Thinking about things can be a great thing. But what happens when you actively engage in thinking about something before you get involved in it? Does that temper with your enjoyment of the said something? In this case, I'm talking books!

A month or so ago I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (which I discussed in a post here), and thought it was an amazing book. However, for weeks before I finally downloaded and devoured it, I had been reading spoiler-free reviews, and watching booktubers discuss it in hauls and recently read videos, which put the twist in the novel at the forefront of my mind. Not that I knew what it was - I made sure I avoided finding that out at all costs, which I'd urge you to do if you intend to read it, it's worth waiting for! Before I read it, I was constructing an idea in my head of what it was about, how it would make me feel and how great it would be to discuss the twist with other fans of the book once I had finished it. The point was, I knew that there was a twist. I knew that there was a shock coming my way, and that once I knew what it was I would be kicking myself for not seeing it coming.

So what did I do? I spent the entire time I was reading it trying to beat the book. Trying to beat E. Lockhart, and beat the main character to figure it all out first. I actually had a weird situation going on in my head because part of my brain, the part that loves storytelling was crying out for me to not work it out because I have to tell you - I LOVE a good twist. There are three in particular that always stick out in my mind, all TV related (one from Lost, one from Dexter and one from Veronica Mars), that I'll just never get over the joy of experiencing. There's nothing quite like witnessing a twist in a book, tv show or film for the first time and thinking "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!". And after that you have the pleasure of witnessing it from the other perspective, from that omniscient point of view when you know what's coming and you get the delicious thrill of anticipating that moment, picking up on all the little clues you missed before, making it a totally different reading or viewing experience. This is what I adore about rewatching my favourite shows over and over again. You get to envy friends and family members who are seeing it for the first time, while revelling in the fact you already know what happens. I also think there's a comfort in rewatching things that you have seen before. As Blair Waldorf once said of her favourite movies, "I like knowing how things turn out." (Gossip Girl, Episode 2x19). But naturally, that comfort should only exist because you've had the initial experience of discovering exactly how it is that things "turn out".

I loved We Were Liars, and I just and no more managed to avoid figuring out the twist. The book, by nature, challenges you to piece together what happened, so this is not the best example of what I'm trying to discuss, it's just a recent example! I remember briefly discussing this with Roisin and we started to wonder if the desire to figure it all out first actually might take away from the enjoyment of the reading experience.

Now, however, I'm finally reading Gone Girl, after planning to read it for the longest time. Now that the film is out, though, I made the decision that I wanted to read the book first - I know experiencing the twists would be amazing whichever medium you visit the characters in first, but since the book has been on my to read list pretty much since it came out, I decided to stay loyal to it and go for it before the film. And guess what? A similar thing is happening again!! Gone Girl is on the tip of everyone's tongue on social media at the moment, from people raving about the movie, to others weighing up the pros and cons of the film against the novel. I'm seeing it everywhere, and miraculously still haven't had anything spoilt for me (famous last words, better avoid twitter tonight just to be sure!). But I'm desperately trying to work it all out, second guessing every little detail in every chapter.

So, is social media the cause of this, or is it just human nature to be competitive and figure it all out before it is actually revealed to you? I'm not sure. There is definitely an element of social media that plays on human emotions in terms of "involvement" - people like to feel part of something, so I reckon it makes sense for people to want to read a book or see a film quickly in order to keep up with the conversation. Additionally, the internet has brought with it the HUGE issue of spoiler culture, with twitter definitely being a terrible culprit for unmarked spoilers! I even had The Fault in Our Stars (I know, I can't believe I still haven't read it either!) spoilt for me on a Frozen screenshot on Pinterest the other day!! Pinterest, of all places!! While a lot of people are becoming desensitised to spoilers these days, for the most part I think we try to avoid them. So does that sense of urgency spoil things, and take away from the amazing work writers (both of novels and screenplays) do in creating this incredible world full of clues and hints and red herrings, or does it make it all the more thrilling? Could that desire to figure it all out actually make you so consumed with the twist that you end up missing all the obvious clues? Or does it, in fact, make you smarter, and more likely to spot something because you know you should be looking out for it? I don't know. It's late, and this is now becoming a ramble, but I genuinely would love to know what any of you guys think about this!

If you are a booktuber or book blogger, leave your links in the comments below - I'm so glad I'm getting back into reading for pleasure after uni sort of deprived me of that! And whoever you are, let me know what you're reading at the moment - I'm over on Goodreads at lynseymac!

Thanks for reading! I'm off to Manchester (so excited!), so hope you have a great weekend too!


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Hi guys!

Today I wanted to do a really quick post in honour of International Day of the Girl 2014 (which was yesterday as it turns out - I'd successfully managed to convince myself it was today!). There is lots going on on twitter and across social media surrounding the day, and I thought I'd just give you a quick list of what I think are some really interesting campaigns, hard-working charities and twitter accounts to go and follow if you're interested in involving yourself in the growing movement to help empower girls across the world.

Room to Read is one of my favourite charities in terms of working towards education for children, particularly girls - they build libraries, publish books in local languages and promote gender equality in a really impressive way. So far they have helped over 8million children worldwide, published over 700 children's titles and given over 27,000 girls access to and support in their ongoing education. Room to Read scores really highly in terms of transparency and accountability, which is also good to know. Follow them on twitter at @RoomtoRead.

Girls not Brides is an organisation fighting to end child marriage across the globe. Today, 15million girls worldwide are married off before they are eighteen, with many of them being forced in to marriage as young as twelve years old. Girls not Brides are currently promoting one of their member's campaigns which is...

#FaceUp from Plan UK. This campaign is fighting to end child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), and is asking people to upload a selfie and add their tag "I'm putting girls' rights where they can't be ignored" across their face, like so...

Mine isn't up on the Facebook page yet - this is a blurry screenshot, but you get the idea!

Another campaign I've been enjoying over the past couple of weeks is actually from Moroccan Oil - their #inspiredbywomen campaign is focusing on some of the amazing work being done by inspiring women worldwide to initiate change. I was particularly struck by Jessica Matthews' story. I think her idea for the Soccket is just incredible.

Having just won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Kailash Satyarthi this week, I couldn't very well write this post without including The Malala Fund. Malala Yousafzai is such a huge inspiration. At just 17, the relentless work she has done to empower young women is incredible. The website outlines the issues which are pushing their campaign - namely, that 66 million girls worldwide are out of school, every 3 seconds a girl becomes a child bride and 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls. Education can start to change these statistics.

Aaaaand last (for the moment!) we have He for She - this is quite an obvious one, but this UN campaign led by new ambassador Emma Watson is wonderful because it so openly invites men into a conversation about feminism. Bravo bravo. Check out the twitter account here!

Some other relevant twitter accounts I particularly enjoy at the moment are:

Girl Summit 2014 - @GirlSummit

Girl Rising - @girlrising

Clinton Global - @clintonglobal

Day of the Girl Summit - @IDG2014

The Geena Davis Institute - @GDIGM

And this is a video I found today through the Girls not Brides website which I thought was interesting - it deals with encouraging men in Kenya to discuss and stand up against child marriage and keep their daughters in school. The man leading the movement, Wanjala Wafula, is amazing:

Thanks for reading, and happy International Day of the Girl! Hope you've all had a great weekend!

Event - Christmas (and Halloween!) at Lush Braehead

Friday, 10 October 2014

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Lush store in Braehead shopping centre, Glasgow, to have a nosy at their 2014 Christmas collection. Beautiful bathbombs, soaps and shower gels that smell good enough to eat were all on display, and I thought I'd share some of my favourite snaps from the night with you all!

This year there's a bit of a fairytale theme going on which, as you will know if you've read my blog for a while (or if you look at my blog header!) is right up my street. All the usual Christmas favourites - the Golden Wonder bathbomb and the amazing Snow Fairy shower gel had reappeared, and to the delight of everyone, the Snow Fairy scent is actually available this year in bathbomb form! The choice of products was endless and we were treated to delicious little cakes courtesy of Three Sisters Bake, and an amazing hand and arm massage. Big thanks to the lovely ladies at Lush for that!

There was so much lovely stuff to admire that I'll let the photos do the talking in this post! I will say, however, that if I had to pick a "top three items" from this year's entire collection, they would probably be...

1. The So White Shower Gel - I loved the smell of this so much I couldn't leave without it. It has a lovely, fresh, apple scent (So White/Snow White/Apples - keeping on with the fairytale theme!).
2. The Fairy Ring Soap - the little toadstool photographed above! While you would usually get just a small piece of this, which is all you really need, you can actually buy the whole thing if you have the money and feel inclined. How cute would that be sitting in your bathroom!?
3. The Christmas Hedgehog Bubble Bar - this is the softest, smoothest bar with a lovely scent, but I honestly don't know if I could bear to break him up and melt him!! This was a discussion I had with some of the other bloggers at the time!

I'll leave it there, but if you want to look up any of the lovely products photographed above, hop on over to the Lush website where you can find the entire range. I haven't included the names of evey product above (many of them you can see on the packaging) but feel free to tweet me or leave a comment below if you want to know the exact name of a specific product included in any of the photos - I can't remember all of them off the top of my head, but I have a handy wee list somewhere that I am more than happy to go and check for you!

Thanks for reading!