Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Swan


I really wanted to share a pic of the beautiful little guy above. I recently changed work locations and the swan was a leaving present from one of my co-workers. It was put together with a lot of patience and a lot of identically folded pieces of paper. It used to have pride of place above the circulation desk in my old library but having admired it for long enough my co-worker let me rehome it. The swan now sits pretty on the mantelpiece in my living room and there’s just something really bewitching about this perfectly formed creature – summoned up from a few boring ’ol pieces of paper.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Blackness Castle



Last Sunday, on one of the dullest, mistiest days I've experienced yet in Scotland, it seemed appropriate to visit a castle called Blackness a little bit outside of Edinburgh. It’s the kind of place that would seem completely at odds with sunny blue skies.

My husband and I were still in tourist mode after our trip to New York but were also unfortunately still jetlagged. We didn’t get up until 3pm that day! In our defence the clocks had gone forward that night and having only gotten back on Thursday after an overnight flight I was straight into a new job on Friday and Saturday. So by the time we arrived at Blackness Castle it was closed for viewing. But it was still fun to wander around and clamber over the rocky beach. And the place was deserted. After a week scurrying around the anthill that is New York it’s made me appreciate the slower pace of Scotland and being able to find a tourist site as beautiful as this and to have it all to yourself. Even if it’s partly because everyone else probably just made it there before closing time :)

The skirt I’m wearing here has already featured in this blog in an earlier post where I waxed lyrical about how much I love it. I bought it around 7 years ago – it was a vintage find in Urban Outfitters – and I still wear it every other week. It’s my favourite purchase ever.

As for New York, aside from lost luggage, missed flights and bone-chilling cold, I’d an amazing holiday. But more on that in the next post...


Outfit: skirt, vintage, Urban Outfitters; jumper, The Loft; blouse, AWear; shoes, Office; bag, vintage.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

New York, New York


I'm New York bound for 6 whole days tomorrow morning...and I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve! I've been in New York once before at the tail end of a summer working in America but it was a fleeting trip with a group of friends where we all had varying tourist priorities. I'm going with my husband this time and we're pretty much on the same page with what we want to see and do - with the exception of vintage shopping though whenever I do drag him to flea markets or vintage shops he almost always has more success than me!

I'm flying out on my own tomorrow as my husband has been on a work trip in the US for the past week so I have the joy of being reunited with him in a city I've been dreaming of re-visiting for years. So today shall be spent packing, fine tuning our itinerary and trying to contain my excitement. Top of the to-see list are places like the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the High Line, the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, the Brooklyn Flea Market and copious amounts of neighbourhood wanderings. Oh and the New York Public Library - because library hopping is something of a past time for us librarians!

If anyone has any must-see, must-eat, must-do recommendations then I'd love to hear them. I've been longing to go back to New York for so long now that I want to cram as much as I can into this week - and seeing as it's the city that never sleeps that should be a little easier!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Book Love: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry


I’ve been meaning to incorporate book reviews into this blog for a while! I am a librarian by day after all so it’s pretty bad I haven’t gotten around to this till now but how and ever! Here’s my first mini review and it’s a good’un…

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I loved this book even though it pretty much broke my heart in two! It’s set in a nameless city in India during the 1970s when the then prime minister declared a State of Emergency which saw democracy and all sorts of other human rights quashed. It centres around four characters from different backgrounds whose lives intersect as they struggle to survive during this turbulent time.There’s Dina – who is trying to eke out a living and maintain her independence following the death of her husband; Ishvar and his nephew Omprakash – two Untouchables trying to escape their caste system and make better lives for themselves; and Maneck a naieve student from a relatively affluent background. And then there’s pretty much a fifth character which is India itself – beset by poverty and corruption and a horrific caste system.

It’s not a cheerful read by any stretch but in the midst of the heart-wrenching bleakness there are glimmers of hope and small triumphs of the spirit that make your heart soar. It’s a pretty long book too at almost 600 pages and by the end I felt so completely immersed in the world of the characters that, as tough a world as it was, I found it hard to extract myself from it and close the covers after the final page. And for weeks afterwards I found myself still haunted by it and mulling over the characters and their fates.

I’d definitely recommend it – just be prepared to experience the full spectrum of human emotions between the covers of this book! It's a bit of a rollercoaster but one you'll strangely not want to get off.

Rating: 9/10

I always love getting book recommendations so if anyone has any must-reads I’d love to hear them. I’m going on holidays next week so I’m trying to pick a couple of good books to take with me.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Age Isn't Just a Number


So I turned 31 a couple of weeks ago. It’s well time I updated my twenty-something profile in my sidebar! I started this blog when I was 28 and suddenly 3 years have whizzed by and I’m now a ripe old age in blogger years. Yet somehow the gulf between the ages of 28 and 31 seems so much bigger on paper and when I say it aloud than it does in my head.

Turning 30 last year didn’t really bother me that much. But then I was still a penniless student finishing up my masters and I didn’t really have time to dwell on the number of candles on my cake. Fast forward one year and 31 has been a tougher transition.  I feel like more of a fully fledged 30-something now – the training wheels are off! I don’t want to be in my 20s again – I enjoyed them enough the first time round – but there are a couple of things I definitely miss. In no particular order…

-          People cut you more slack in your 20s! There’s more of a sense of ‘She’s young and still figuring it all out’ – and less of an expectation to have it all figured out! I think I’ll probably be in my 80s and still figuring it out though to be honest…

-          Hangovers hurt less and didn’t last as long. Hello two-day hangovers!

-          I was lower maintenance in my 20s. I could put up with grubbier/cheaper rented accommodation and go backpacking and stay in bargain basement hostels/hotels. While I’m not exactly a princess now I do need more comforts than I used to.

-          There used to be less of a line in the sand between the weekday and the weekend. For a few short years that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time all my closest friends were crammed into the one small city and every night of the week felt like a potential Saturday night. Then university wrapped up and people started scattering and getting more serious jobs and now, while I have the occasional mid-week splurge, I largely cram the fun stuff into the weekends.

-          A seemingly limitless expanse of time! In my 20s it felt like I had all the time in the world – to travel the world, change careers, have a family, etc. Suddenly time feels like less of a luxury and life feels a whole lot shorter. The upside of this is that because time feels more precious I try to spend it more wisely. Whether that’s having a lazy Sunday afternoon crocheting with my cat Midge on one side (with one eye on the ball of wool) and my husband on the other side or catching up with friends and family. But I feel the need to not let my free time trickle by passively but to fill it with hobbies and people I love.

So they’re just a couple of things that I miss about my 20s - is there anything I might have missed out on!? But so far my 30s have been pretty good too and while the pace might have altered a little I’m largely fine with that and looking forward to many more adventures to come.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Weekend in London

I spent two nights in London for my birthday two weeks ago. I've been a few times before - once for a job interview and another time for work but only one other time as a tourist. So while I had ticked the London Eye off my list, Big Ben and several other sightseeing big'uns I wanted this weekend to be more about capturing a flavour of the city. That and lots of vintage! It's such a cool city - there's a dizzying choice of things to do, lovely places to eat and quirky shops to visit.I just wish we'd had more time there. But in the 48'ish hours we did have we packed a lot in!

The first stop on Saturday was Camden Market - an Aladdin's Cave of vintage clothes, furniture, crafts and bric-a-brac - and it didn't disappoint at all! I'd heard that the quality and value has dipped over the years but I loved it - compared to the selection here in Edinburgh I thought it was amazing. And I loved all the shop facades along the main street - each trying to outdo the next with amazing 3D dragons, runners and angels jutting out from them.



The next stop on Saturday was Brick Lane and Spitafields. Thanks to Cat from the blog Take Courage I had her excellent guide to vintage shopping in Spitafields at my disposal. My absolute favourite shop on her list was a store called Blondie Vintage (114 Commercial Street). I spent over an hour here trying on pretty much every one of their gorgeous dresses. Alas, as is often the way with vintage, the ones I loved didn't love me size wise. I'll be making a bee-line for this store the next time I'm in London though and I'm sure I'll find a gem.

In between vintage stores I loved all of the amazing street art around this area. My favourite being the elephantopus below!


I gave my husband a break from vintage shops and markets on Sunday and we rose early and feasted on museums and art galleries. We visited the Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. The fact that all of them are completely free makes you very greedy! The V&A building is beautiful and from the second you step in and spot the glass chandelier suspended over the reception desk you know you're in for a treat. The Science Museum was pretty cool too - though the ground floor set the bar pretty high but I thought the next two floors up were a bit of an anti-climax with lots of interactive gadgets but very little besides.


We finished Sunday with a wander around Soho and a quick peek at Trafalgar Square before hotfooting it to the airport and collapsing into sightseeing comas all the way back to Edinburgh.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Prim and Proper Palace Wanderings


It’s been ages since I last featured an outfit – partly due to the relentless rain in Scotland so far this winter but also because I feel like I’m at a style crossroads. My tastes have changed but unfortunately my wardrobe is still lagging somewhat behind. I want to dress more simply and move away from my print-on-print ‘busier’ way of dressing and add more basics and colour blocking to my outfits. So while this outfit isn’t exactly subdued it’s a little simpler and more prim than I’d normally wear.

I wore this – along with a heavy coat and woollen jumper – to explore Linlithgow Palace (just outside Edinburgh) with my husband last weekend. It was another grey and misty day – the kind that lends itself perfectly to exploring palace ruins! The palace used to be the home of Scottish monarchs several centuries ago but was burned down in the eighteenth century. It remains roofless and uninhabited today with just the bare walls of the building intact but it’s so beautiful and eerie to wander around. You feel very miniature against the grand scale of most of the rooms and you can almost hear the echo of the hustle and bustle and revelry that must once have filled the rooms. I always prefer preserved historic sites like this any day – where your imagination fills in the blanks of what it must once have looked like – over restored ones that do the imagining for you.

We bought a book on Scottish castles and ruins in the gift shop on our way out so I’m currently planning lots more historic rambles. So bring on the gloomy weather!

Outfit: top, Urban Outfitters; skirt, Hobbs on sale; shoes, Office; bag, vintage, scarf, Miss Selfridges on sale.