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!

The Blogger Tag

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cute onesie? Check. Mug of tea? Check. Instagram filter? Check. The most "blogger" photo ever? I think so.

I was tagged yesterday by one of my blogging besties, Roisin, to complete The Blogger Tag - these are eight easy peasy (well, not that easy - let me tell you, I could be here all day with question seven!!) questions that are perfect for any blogger to answer! So in addition to tagging my pals Nikki, Lynne and Gemma, I tag any of you out there who fancy taking part!

Without further ado, I'll get on with answering the questions!

1) What's your favourite beauty product?

I think that has to be the L'Oréal Superliner - my holy grail liquid eyeliner. It's the product I think I would have the hardest time replacing, and as sad as this sounds, it's what makes my face look like my face! I switch up what foundation I use every so often, and I could happily swap my current powder/blushers for something different. I adore my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, but I know there are other concealers out there that are probably just as good, and I am forever trying different eyeshadows, lip products and particularly mascaras. My daily flick of liquid eyeliner, however, is just never quite the same if I use something other than the L'Oréal one! I love the shape and texture of the applicator, love the consistency of the product and I get a nice, clean line every time!

2) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I have a long, long list of places, but my top three at the moment are New York, Iceland and Hawaii. New York, as cliched as it is, has been at the top of my list for as long as I can remember. It's just one of those cities that has so many beautiful, iconic places to visit, and somewhere I would hate to go my whole life without experiencing. The buzz and the atmosphere must just be incredible! Then there's Iceland, somewhere I've wanted to go for years and I'm still not one hundred percent sure what inspired that! I think the landscape just looks so stunning, and the idea of swimming in the hot pools surrounded by ice sounds so amazing. There's something sort of magical about Iceland, or the many, many, many photos I've seen have certainly made me feel that way! Finally, there's Hawaii and if I'm totally honest about this, it's because Lost was filmed in Hawaii, and I have such a connection with that show that getting to visit the place it was filmed would be really special. Those, however, are just three on a very long list - check out my Wanderlust board on Pinterest for some examples!

3) What is your all-time favourite brand?

I think it would have to be Bourjois. They have an incredible range of products, which are excellent quality (not really surprising what with the Chanel connection), beautiful packaging, reasonable price point and consistently impressive new releases throughout the year - what more could you ask for! In particular, I love their foundations, mascaras, lipsticks and 1 Second Nail Polishes, but I'd really recommend trying any of their products!

4) Do you collect anything, and if so, what is it?

I suppose I collect DVD boxsets - I'm a bit of a TV addict, and although Netflix is one of the best things ever, there's something about owning a show you particularly love on DVD that just feels special to me. Bizarre, I know, but things like my complete Veronica Mars boxset, which I got years before they released the UK edition in 2014, means so much to me! The packaging is in French, and every time I look at it I remember how excited I was the day I finally managed to track down a region 2 boxset on!

5) Early bird or night owl?

Night owl, without a doubt. I am not what you would call a morning person, and given the opportunity, I would happily stay up till the wee hours writing blog posts, or editing essays (while I was at uni). I always feel more productive late at night than I do in the morning. Sadly, society does not take individual body clocks into account and starting the working day at 9am is the norm, but what can you do!

6) Tea or coffee?

Tea, hands down. If I'm at home I can get through a worrying number of cups in a day - there's just something really comforting about a good cup of tea. I love the smell of coffee, but unfortunately don't like the taste. I've tried everything from a latte to a cappuccino to some of the iced coffee you can get in Starbucks etc, but I'm yet to find one I actually like the taste of!

7) What is your favourite TV show?

We could be here all day! I think I have to say Lost because when push comes to shove, it is the show that always pops into my head first. The characterisation on that show was just absolutely incredible. However, my favourite TV shows (plural) include Veronica Mars, Being Erica, 24, Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, Dexter, Once Upon a Time, The Vampire Diaries/The Originals, Black Books, Friends, Prison Break and Arrested Development, and I watch Home and Away and Neighbours every day. It's so hard to choose! At the moment it's The Originals, because I've just finished devouring the incredible first season, but I absolutely adore all of the shows I just listed. I could write about/talk about/analyse television quite happily all day, every day!

8) If you could travel to any era, what would it be?

Oooh, now there's a question. In all honesty, I've never had a massive hankering to travel to any other era - I'm fascinated by really far back history (I really enjoyed studying the Aztecs at primary school!), and the irony is that I absolutely love books, films and television shows that deal with time travel, but I've never been too worried about actually visiting another time period. Maybe I would say the time of the Aztecs (roughly 14th-16th Centuries, in the Central American area) - I feel like although things have changed dramatically over the past century, I'd be more interested to see what the world was like in a completely different time, when it would be utterly unrecognisable to us. It really would be like living on another planet! I think my internet providers heard me saying this and decided to give me a taste of technology free life, because just as I typed this my internet totally lost connection for an hour and I honestly didn't know what to do with myself!

So that's it for the Blogger Tag! Thanks for tagging me Roisin. As I said earlier, I tag Nikki, Lynne and Gemma, but anyone who fancies answering these questions should go for it - leave me a link in the comments if you do!

Thanks for reading :)

Hello October - 7 Goals for the Month Ahead

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October has arrived, and with it, cooler temperatures and an inevitable countdown to Christmas. Autumn is probably my favourite season. I don't particularly worry about it getting colder - as someone who has perpetually cold hands and feet, and has done since birth, Scottish summers don't make a huge difference to my internal thermometer. But you know what they say - cold hands, warm heart, and all that! The frosty air brings an excuse to put on comfy jumpers, boots, scarves and, as all bloggers know, berry-toned lipsticks and nail polishes, and that actually fills me with excitement.

So, as it's the first of the month, I thought I would set myself a little blogger/youtuber challenge! I'm going to list seven things I want to do over social media - so that includes twitter, pinterest and instagram too - over the course of the next four weeks! Seven, incidentally, is my lucky number, so it seemed like a good choice!

1. Post at least two videos a week on my channel - this was my target last year and I FAILED miserably. Let's see if I can manage to succeed this time! I considered taking part in vlogtober, but I think that might just be asking a little much. You never know though, I'll make that final decision this afternoon!

2. Post at least two blogposts a week - again, this was the plan last year and I managed to stick to it for a little while, but then uni got in the way. I figure if I can get back into the habit this month, it'll be easier to continue it on into November.

3. Complete the Gala Daily #lovetober Instagram challenge - day one has already been uploaded!

4. Film another couple of videos with other actual human beings in them, not just me sitting rambling! Emma and Roisin, I'm looking at you!

5. Leave a thoughtful comment on at least one blog post a day - I'm terrible for enjoying a post and then realising I'm logged in on my old account (which I mainly use for watching YouTube videos), so I'll think "I'll log in on my blog account later and comment". Nine times out of ten I forget, but not this month! The community aspect of blogging is what I love the most, so I have to make more of the commenting features.

6. Take part in at least one of the mid-week #lblogger chats. I always manage to forget they are on!

7. Take my proper camera to blogging events instead of being lazy and using my phone! I have at least three blogger events pencilled in for October, so I'll be sure to take proper, professional photos this time!


What are your goals for the month ahead, blogging or otherwise? :)

Thanks for reading!