Tuesday, 5 April 2016

My Favourite: Courgette, Pesto and Pear Pizza

Last Friday, I had a few pals over for an early birthday get together. We had a "make your own pizza" party, which was actually sooooo much fun! In fact, the pizza guzzling (and booze, and games, and RuPaul...) kinda meant I forgot to take any photos all night. I know, right? Terrible. So I thought I'd share a wee pizza recipe with you instead. Adam and I regularly make our own pizzas at home, but we both like really different toppings. I love fruit on pizzas while Adam loves a bit of spice and meat... but I'm really not a fan of spicy, meaty pizzas, and Adam doesn't really like fruity nonsense on his. Dilemma! Thankfully, this is one pizza extravaganza that we both love. It has a béchamel base instead of a tomato sauce, with buttery roasted garlic, sweet pears, homemade pesto bursting with flavour and gahhhhhhIwanttoeatawholepizzarightnowwww...
So firstly, you need to make your base. I'll be honest... Adam always make the pizza dough in our house. Adam bakes various concoctions several times a week, from rye breads to Jewish sweet breads and everything in between. He enjoys baking and tweaking recipes, although he tends to stick to this recipe for his pizza dough, and I've got to say... it works a treat. He uses a baking stone and sprinkles a mixture of flour and semolina to make sure the base stays crispy, and it's pretty much fool-proof every time.

I love having béchamel sauce as a base on my pizza instead of tomato, too. It's just so bloody tasty. And easy- all you need is butter, flour, milk and parmesan. All you need to do:
  • melt a little butter in a pan
  • add flour and stir until smooth
  • slowly, slowly... add milk and continue stirring
  • at this point, add a whole garlic clove to give a mild garlic flavour (remove this at the end)
  • add grated parmesan and continue to stir
  • add salt and pepper to taste (neither of us mind using black pepper, although it does mean there are wee black dots in the béchamel! But when it tastes THIS GOOD, who cares?!)

Once your dough is nicely proved and rolled into whatever shape you want, spread the béchamel onto the base, leaving space at the edges (for the crust, innit). The béchamel should be fairly thick, else it won't stick to the pizza. 

Now, time for toppings! Adam tends to make home-made pesto (I know, right?) and I can share his recipe if ye fancy. Obviously, store-bought pesto will do the job nicely, but we make ours extra garlicky 'cos ain't no vampire chowing down on my jugular tonight. We also slow roast some garlic for extra punch, too. I can share the recipe for pesto and slow roasted garlic another time, but you get the idea. So, while we Adam organises the pesto and garlic, it's time for the fun stuff. In a nutshell:
  • tear up bits of the mozzarella and sprinkle over the béchamel
  • shave your pear and your courgette (teehee) with a peeler/ mandolin
  • chuck these juicy strips of goodness onto the pizza
  • squeeze the soft parts of your sweet roasted garlic over the pizza
  • add a few dollop of pesto wherever your heart takes your fancy

Woop! Nearly there! Just whack it in the oven (near the top on a high heat) for about ten minutes, or until it's bubbling up and crisping at the edges. Once it's done, let it cool for a few minutes before devouring it. And there you have it. My favourite pizza! 
We've both added our own twists over the years, to be honest. Courgette, pesto and pear pizza has become a "standard" in our house, so adding something different feels like we're jazzing up a staple. I really like adding goats cheese for a kick of flavour, while Adam enjoys various meats on his, like prosciutto or even bacon. In fact, it's such a staple that these photos are actually several years old! Adam took these photos for his food photography course at college, and I couldn't resist sharing them here. In lieu of photos from my pizza-birthday party, here are some stolen pics from Adam instead ;-) 

Give it a try. I swear you won't be disappointed. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Birthday Wishlist

So, it's my birthday on Sunday and I'm turning twenty nine. TWENTY NINE! The last year of my twenties! I'm actually kind of milking it and spending the entire weekend celebrating in one way or another. Any excuse, eh?! A few pals are coming round on Friday for a "Make Your Own Pizza" night with feasting and boozing, and then Adam and I are making full use of our Cineworld cards on Saturday and seeing as many films as possible without getting thrown out. Rock and roll. Sunday is my actual birthday, but I don't know what I'm doing! Adam has been very mysterious and has a full day and evening of shenanigans planned, but I don't know what's in store. I'm actually quite excited! I don't usually do surprises very well, and have been known to actively snoop to find out secret plans so I don't feel "too surprised". But not this year. Maybe I'm growing up, eh? In a similar vein, I actually kinda struggled to think of something I wanted for my birthday this year. I asked Adam if we could have a meal instead of a present... so like... wine me and dine me, please, and PAY FOR IT ALL, and I'll let you off the hook with pressies. But now I'm kinda regretting suggesting it. I mean, we all want something to unwrap on our birthdays, right?

Ha. I love that I claimed to struggle to think what I wanted for my birthday, and this wishlist proves I'm a big fat liar. Basically, I stalk the Rockett St George website on an almost daily basis, and I'd quite like a few things from there! I love their quirky, unusual homeware. There are a million things I'd like from them (accurate) but here are a few which consistently find their way to my basket. I lovvvvve this David display vase which is a bit of a billy bargain. I can't quite believe I haven't bought it myself, as I have a wee drool over him at least once a week, and plan where I'll add him to my flat. The whale book ends are also from Rockett St George, and I'm definitely planning to splurge on them myself if I'm still whale-less after my birthday. My bookcases are already packed to the brim, so I'd love to arrange a few favourites between these book ends on various other shelves and nooks around my flat. The final Rockett St George number is this wee pig plant pot. Loooooook at him!! We both love using fresh herbs in our cooking, but I tend to let everything die and have to buy fresh herbs weekly. I'm sure such a cute wee piggy would make me look after my herbs properly!

Moving away from Rockett St George, there's just one more housey thing I quite fancy for my birthday. I love the look of these cinematic light boxes which have been doing the rounds at the moment. I love that they're customisable, and I quite fancy whacking a few Dundonian phrases in there to keep my hometown alive in Leith!

There are one or two beauty pieces I'd love for my birthday, too. I've lusted after the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder for aaaaages now, and I've actually asked Adam if this can be my gift from him! I'm not sure of the shade- either Dim Light or Diffused Light, I'm guessing- so I'll have to pop into Space NK and have a proper swatch. The other two beauty pieces are actually just replacements of current favourites. I've never found a better lip liner than Charlotte Tilbury's Lip Cheats, but I only own Pillow Talk. PT is the perfect nude, but I actually wear a lot of red lipstick, so I quite fancy a Lip Cheat in Kiss and Tell to give me the perfect red pout! The final beauty item I'm lusting after is simply a replacement of my favourite facial oil. The Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil is one of the best, best discoveries I've ever made for my skin. It's specifically formulated for dehydrated skin rather than dry skin, and it's an honest-to-god miracle worker. I can't live without this stuff. Mine is running out, so I just need a replacement!

Finally, a few wee bits and bobs! Jeeeeez, and there was me saying I couldn't think of any gifts. Pahhhhhh. This necklace from Oliver Bonas is what DREAMS ARE MADE OF. It's a fricken dodecahedron! I mean, c'mon. I lovvvve the colour, the shape, the idea. It's true love. I need it. Aaaaaand last but not least, is a trilogy of books I already own, so this isn't a serious request, guys. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb is one of my favourite, favourite, favourite trilogies of all time. The only problem is... I own them all in e-book form. They only exist in my Kindle! Sob. I really want physical copies of these books so I can stroke them and smell them and nibble their pages. Or just read them. Ahem.

So there we have it! The biggest birthday wishlist known to man. Having spent an age typing this all up, it's genuinely made me re-evaluate what I fancy. Maybe just the necklace, please. And the bookends. And the David vase. And the Clarins oil. And the...

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Truth: When the stress became too much...

Well hullo! Long time no speak again, eh? You can probably tell from the title of this post, but life has been MENTAL lately, and there ain't no denying. I've barely had time to breathe, let alone blog. It's currently the Easter holidays, meaning I've had the opportunity to unwind a wee bit and try to clear my head. I'm currently curled up on the sofa with fluffy cat pyjamas on, with Fitz running rampant with a piece of string next to me. He's such a wee weirdo, but watching him is oddly soothing. I'd planned a wee "Life Lately" style post to return with, to show you everything I've been up to lately, but why not indulge in a wee bit of honesty instead? Life has been busy, busy, busy. Unwinding has been hard, but now feels like as good a time as any to try and unpack my thoughts!

Do you get stressed? See... I don't. Not usually. I've been pretty open about my depression on here before, but depression and stress/ anxiety are very different things. Although I struggle with Major Clinical Depression, I'm blissfully free of anxiety/ stress and the likes. I'm quite grateful, really. Sure, give me self-loathing by the bucketload, but keep your panic attacks to yourself, cheers. I can't imagine what it must be like to endure anxiety all of the time. I feel like anxiety-sufferers must be on constant high-alert, whereas I often feel like I'm moving through treacle. It feels as though I'm coated in a thick fog, which thickens and gathers around me, and weighs three times as much as I do. And lemme tell you now- that's saying something. 

But I've actually found stress getting the better of me lately. And it won't surprise you at all that teaching is behind it! I know teaching is a famously difficult, stressful and demanding job, yada yada... but jeeeeeeeeez. This is my fifth year of teaching, and I messed up BIG TIME. I took on far too many responsibilities. I took on extra classes, meaning I'm illegally teaching over my full workload. I designed, wrote and launched a new course- at Higher level- which I had to do in my spare time, on top of a full teaching workload. Whilst teaching this new course. Plus I'm the student teacher mentor, which has kicked up a notch this term. And that's not taking into consideration the normal fifty/sixty hour work week which we all take as standard.

Och... it was just stupid. I was stupid. 

My day would begin when I sat down at my desk at 7.30, at school. I'd teach until 3.30, when I'd stay at school and work until about 6pm. Then I'd travel home, eat tea with Adam, and sit down to work until about 2am. TWO A M. It's fucken mental. And I'd get up at 6.30 and start all over again. I was averaging about four hours sleep a night, and I started to feel guilty for "wasting time" having showers. I swear to god, there was literally no way I could have got through my workload if I'd gone to bed any sooner. I felt guilty leaving the desk at 2am; unable to sleep, worrying that I hadn't finished researching my lessons (for my Classics course) or completed my marking (for everything!) not to mention lesson planning, student feedback, writing reports, imputing assessment data... and the stress just became too much. 

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready for school. It was a Wednesday. I was standing in front of my dresser, staring at the wall. And I just thought... I can't do this any more. 

I started to panic. It honestly felt like it came from nowhere. I just shut down, crying my eyes out, knowing that I couldn't keep it up. It was impossible. And my mind started to spiral into overdrive. We've all read the reports... of how many teachers leave the profession within their first five years. I personally know at least three teachers who are desperate for a way out. But me? Not me. This couldn't be happening to me. 

See... teaching is one of the only things which saves me when my depression is at its worst. What was I without teaching? I was nothing. Worthless. What am I without teaching? I am nothing. Worthless. And the panicking just increased. 

I messaged my pal who gives me a lift, telling her I'd make my own way to school. I arrived in a taxi, tear-stained and confused, and ran to teach my classes as normal. I flew through the day on high-adrenaline with blinkers firmly in place, only pausing to engage in a passive-aggressive email exchange with my boss who demanded why I hadn't completed some administrative paperwork. When the final bell rang I shot through to said boss's classroom- and said boss immediately enveloped me in a massive hug. 

I mean... why did I think I could handle this alone?

My boss- the same woman I'd been arguing with via email about ten minutes before- was an absolute godsend. I swear she did it to tip me over the edge, because I wouldn't have admitted defeat otherwise. I had a wee cry, and she gave a wee hug. And she sat me down, and told me straight. This needs to stop. We're all watching you slowly kill yourself. 

She spoke to me for soooooo long about how teaching is just a bloody job. It's so easy to forget. Folk at school (including my boss!) tease me for caring too much. This isn't a boast, by the way. It's a genuine concern. A worry. I regularly find myself having a wee greet when any of my kids are going through tough times, and working 'til the wee hours to mark their essays they should have submitted a month before. They tell me their worries and I stew over their woes myself. It's not healthy. It's not a good example to be setting for them, either. And I was seriously damaging my mental health trying to keep on top of- frankly-  an impossible workload. 

To be fair, it wasn't my "caring too much" which caused my stress. My boss asked to see my timetable, including what happened after school, and her eyes bulged. "But... this is impossible. Nobody could get through all of this." 
Initially, I couldn't help but scream inside: "But I've been fighting this ALL YEAR. Why didn't you take some of the extra-work from me?" But why try to pass the blame onto someone else? It was my fault. I'd said yes. I'd ignored advice from colleagues and thought I was Superwoman. And clearly... I'm anything but. 

Anyway. This is a ridiculously long post to explain why life has been mental recently, and why I haven't blogged. And why I'm a massive fanny. And why I need to think before I act. And why stress nearly got the better of me. 

But it didn't win. I worked with my boss to try and figure out how to keep afloat. My life is now an endless stream of lists, lists and more lists. And learning to say no. And being stricter with kids. No more marking essays when they email them at 3am for a next-day submission. No more lunch clubs and revision classes every day. Instead, I'm learning to do what's right for me. I'm taking my time. I'm unwinding. I'm trying to relax.

So why does it still feel so difficult?

Friday, 19 February 2016

A Family Getaway to Ireland

Last week, Adam and I took my Mum and Gran to Northern Ireland for a wee break. It was actually our Christmas present for them, but we had to wait until the February break so I'd have enough time off work. Oooooft, but it was worth the wait. We flew to Belfast International early on Saturday morning and drove down to Newcastle in County Down. I know, right?! There's a Newcastle in Ireland! It's not quite the Geordie extravaganza you're thinking of... more like a sleepy seaside town nestled by the Mourne Mountains. Honestly, it was a stunning location, and forced my Gran to admit that other countries might just have mountains as good as Scotland's. She's still at "might", though. One step at a time.

We spent our days exploring forests, dams and rivers; stopping for lunch in quiet villages hidden by the hills and singing along to the radio. We stayed in an AirBnB which was a weeeee bit ridiculous, but its eccentricity added to the charm. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. No towels were provided (we had to run to Lidl to buy our own) and the bath tub shared a plug with the kitchen sink. I couldn't stop laughing when I found a wee bit of potato in my bath one night, calling: "Adam! There's a tattie in my bathwater! Come see!" There was no signal or internet in the house, and whilst there was a Jimmy Carr DVD in the living room, there was no DVD player. In all honesty, we had the best time. We played daft games every night, from charades to Head's Up and I managed to get through four books in the five days I was there. Bliss. 

Of course, it wasn't all sunshine. My Mum has started to deteriorate really quickly. Although she's been ill for about two or three years now, it's only been three months since her Alzheimer's diagnosis... but it's so noticeable. She walked out into traffic on the last day. My Gran gets so stressed and we had to work so bloody hard to remain patient and calm with the whole thing. I mean, I didn't even consider what an ordeal the airport would be for Mum. She unpacked her case about four times before security because she was sure she'd lost her iPad, even though I had it and repeatedly showed her it in my bag. I guess these things take time. It's just... time is the one thing we don't have. We definitely made the most of it... singing old songs whilst walking through Tollymore Forest and reminiscing about the past. I'm so, so grateful for Adam. He's so good with Mum and was such a rock for me. I won't get too soppy. What can I say? He's the bizz.

School returns on Monday and I'm nowhere near ready for it, but I feel rejuvenated for our wee adventure! Have you ever been to the Irish Newcastle?!

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Joys of Teaching

So, someone reminded me of this photo the other day, and I couldn't stop laughing for about a week. Kids are mental. Just too, too bloody honest. Anyway- I realised I actually wrote a post about it back in 2012, but my blog was brand-spanking new and had a grand total of zero followers when I posted it. You know what? It's too good not to share again! So here's reason number 1 why teaching is the *cough* best job in the world... 

There are days where I feel pretty smashing. Days when I look in the mirror and can't help but wink at the goddess beaming back at me. Days when I think my hair's really working for me, when my clothes make me feel confident, when my make up is perfectly applied. Days when I look in the mirror and think: do you know what? You ain't half bad!

And then this happens.

Yup. One of my second years took it upon himself to draw a picture of me. Excellent.

Me: Erm.... thanks? 

Kid: Nae worries, Miss. Do you like it, Miss?

Me: What are the brown bits beneath my eyes?

Kid: Aww, that's the bags beneath your eyes, Miss. You know how you always look dead tired, Miss?

Me: Tired?

Kid: Yeh, Miss, dead tired.

Kid 2 [who really didn't need to join in...]: Awww, aye, Miss, you always look dead tired.

Kid: Dead tired, Miss.

Kid 2: Exhausted, Miss.

Me [mentally calculating how many tubes of concealer I could buy with an entire month's wages]: Dead tired, exhausted, riiiight. And... what about those lines?

Kid: What lines?

Me: The lines on my eyeballs?

Kid: Awww, they're thunderbolts, Miss.

Me: Thunderbolts?

Kid: Yeh, Miss, thunderbolts. You know when you take a pure raj, Miss?

Me: [...]

Kid: They're thunderbolts coming oot yer eyes when you take a pure raj, Miss, and thunderbolts come oot yer eyes, when you go mental.

Me: [siiiigh]

Kid: But I drew you smiling, Miss, cos you're always dead cheerful and that. [Thinks] Apart from when you're taking a pure raj, Miss. And when you look dead tired. 

Kid 2: Dead tired, Miss.

Kid: Exhausted, Miss.

Ahhhhh, kids. God love 'em, eh?!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Workwear Capsule Wardrobe

It's happened again. My wardrobe is bursting with clothes and yet I have nothing to wear. I struggle to find outfits which make me feel good as well as all the boring stuff... i.e. clean, well-fitting and easily paired with other items. I try to plan my outfits the day before, but no matter how experimental I try to be, I always end up wearing the same things to work every day. I have a rotation of the same ten dresses, the same five jumpers... yet I have over seventy dresses in my possession (gulp) and drawers, cases, bags and shelves bulging with clothes I simply don't wear. I do try to experiment a wee bit more when I'm out with pals or whatever, but when it comes to my actual work wardrobe- I need to get a grip. I need to declutter and refocus. I need a workwear capsule wardrobe, dammit. 


Too often, I stress in the mornings about my outfits- whether they go well together, fit correctly or look like a big bag of shite. I've been researching capsule wardrobes for a few months now (I even have a secret Pinterest board... now that's commitment) and the time has come to commit. I've spent a few weeks trying to pin down my style and recognise what I feel the most comfortable wearing. This is the result. I already own lots of these items, so I know I feel confident wearing them and can already utilise them in different outfits. Just to be clear: the images above just represent the items in my capsule wardrobe. So, the "white shirt" with the cool black bow above just stands in for my white shirt, which is sad and bow-less, but is covered in wee black hearts. Let's have a look...

  • black top
  • striped top
  • white blouse
  • coloured/ patterned blouse
  • black polo neck
  • grey polo neck
I already own the black, striped, black and grey polo, as well as a white shirt. ACES. I just need to keep my eye out for a decent patterned/ coloured blouse. I have so, so many tops that I simply don't wear. I'm planning to donate and sell the vast majority of them. There are a few I'll keep for non-workwear, but I'd be happy with these basics. I'm particularly fond of layering tops beneath dresses, so the polo necks are perfect.

  • long, loose maroon jumper
  • jumper/shirt combo
  • fitted knit
  • long black cardi
  • long peach cardi
Again, I already own most of these! Hurrah! I have a long maroon jumper I tend to wear with a leopard print scarf, thick black leggings and boots, while the jumper/ shirt combo goes well with skinny jeans and a sparkly necklace. The cardigans will layer up as necessary, obviously. It's just the "fitted knit" I need to find. Any ideas?

  • skinny black jeans
  • cropped black jeans
  • black skater skirt
  • red skater skirt
  • colourful/ patterned skirt
So this time, I already own all of these! Whenever I look at capsule wardrobes, there are usually a million pairs of trousers. I just don't like wearing trews, I'm afraid. I'm starting to get into black skinny jeans and I love my faithful crops, but these won't be worn all that often. Now- the patterned or colourful skirt... I have so many options to choose from. I have a drawer full of skirts, to be honest, but I just don't need that many. I think I need to pick one as my patterned/ colourful choice and donate the rest. I need to be ruthless!

  • black pinafore
  • grey pinafore
  • black dress with big collar
  • colourful dress
  • colourful dress
  • shirt dress
You can probably guess- I just need to whittle down my current collection of dresses, which is bordering on ridiculous. I own so bloody many, and I just don't need them all. I love my black and grey pinafores, as I can layer different tops and blouses beneath them and feel like I'm wearing a completely different outfit. I have a few shirt dresses to choose from, but I do love my tartan number- perfect with thick black tights and boots. The black dress is this one from George (obvs). So that just leaves two extra! I reckon whittling down my dresses will be the hardest part...to be fair, I don't even actually own that yellow dress in the picture. But it's so pretty. I shouldn't get any ideas...

So there we have it. I'll still have other items of clothing in my non-workwear wardrobe, which I guess I could dip in and out of as needed. But there are so many things that I've "tainted" by wearing them to work... dresses which I categorise as "school dresses" so couldn't possibly wear them out at the weekend. Is that weird? Ach, I don't care. I'm excited! I'm looking forward to decluttering and streamlining. Anything to make it easier in the morning!

What do you think?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Hairy Chin

The other day, I was thinking something wise. This isn't unusual. I happen to be a very wise person, and often find myself contemplating the hidden mysteries of the universe. When the wisdom strikes, I tend to stroke my chin, old-man-stylee, which helps with the overall wise and calm look I'm going for. Are you picturing it? So there I was, thinking something wise, stroking my chin, when it happened. I found a hair on my chin.

Now... I'm not one for over reacting. But I didn't just find a hair. I swear my hand actually snagged on it. One moment I was appreciating the buttery soft texture of my chin (modest) when the next moment, a tiny wire tried to spear through the palm of my bloody hand. That is honest to god what it felt like. A tiny bloody wire. Thick and arrogant and trying to pierce my hand. 

I didn't think much of it (read: panicked and spent an hour inspecting it from every angle in the mirror) and simply plucked it out. No big deal, right?

Wrong. The wee fucker grew back practically overnight. I didn't notice it 'til I was half way through a lesson at school and touched my chin mid-sentence (probably saying something particularly wise) when it tried to attack my palm again! I swear I've plucked it out about seventeen times since then. It just grows back stronger and more determined. I find myself absent-mindedly fiddling with it all the time now; thumbing it during Netflix binges and twiddling at the bus stop. When did I become a chin-thumber? Does this happen to everybody? Is this hairy chin just a sign of my encroaching old age?

See... I'm twenty nine this year. Last year of my twenties. Is this the year that the chin sprouts hairs, then? What next? Grey pubes and liver spots? Am I supposed to embrace the slow decline of my body into hairy oblivion? Or keep plucking the bloody thing whilst weeping into the bathroom mirror?

Och, I'm only joking. Kind of. I'll embrace the hairy chin as a sign of my increasing wisdom and leave the tweezers well alone. But you can't stop me thumbing, dammit. You can't stop me thumbing. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Outfit: Grey Lace

Well, looky here! It's my first outfit post of 2016! And it's still January. I AM ON A ROLL. Considering I only had 2 outfit posts last year, though, I can't really do much worse, right? I can't tell you how long this post has been germinating. Last November, I was contacted by George at Asda about collaborating with them over a Christmas party post- giving a wee run down of my party tips and tricks for the festive season, and picking an outfit for my festive nights out. Of course, I accepted. One of my favourite dresses is from George, and I loved the idea of me spouting festive tips like an elfish guru. I mean- I was a festive pro, right? What could go wrong? 

Let me tell you. 


This post has been germinating for two flippin' months now, which clearly indicates I messed up somewhere. In the process, though, I've genuinely got some tips for you about getting ready for parties. This whole post will pretty much entail the following... don't do what I did...
So, I thought I'd branch out with my outfit choice. Back in November, I scoured the dresses George offered online and fell in love with this wee sparkly number (but, in black- now sold out online). I love sequins more that is strictly healthy, and I thought it could be fairly subtle with thick black tights, boots and minimal accessories. I would be a sparkly warrior; a mirrorball of wonderment. This was it. The Dress. So... I ordered it. In a size 20. The only problem? I'm a size 16. 

I honestly don't know what I was thinking. I'm going through a weird body-phase, actually. Everything I wear is super baggy and shapeless. In my head, I've gained about five stone. I've been really down on myself lately, but I didn't realise it was to the extent that I'd actually  think I was two sizes bigger than I actually am! But there ye go. I didn't even think twice! I ordered a size 20, assuming that's what I would need. I was so excited about my sequin dress for the party season, so I didn't want it to be too tight. 

Ha! When it arrived, I looked like a sparkly bag of tatties. The length was mental, too. It hung down to my mid-shins, whilst hanging off my shoulders and adding unneeded bulk all over with the excessive fabric. I felt so daft, and I looked so daft too. Sakes. I felt frumpy and silly when I'd planned on looking like a big sparkly sex on a stick. Plus I didn't have anything to wear for the party season, now. I made vague plans to take it to a tailor to get it taken in/ taken up/ sorted out... but of course I'm far too lazy and disorganised for that. In the end, I borrowed a dress from my pal Lynne. It was a lovely dress, admittedly, but it wasn't my sparkly be-sequinned triumph. So...

Tip 1: Organise your outfit far in advance! 
If only this dress had been here, eh?! When I finally caved and admitted I'd never sort out my sequin beauty, and I scoured the Asda website again and settled on this dress. It's much more "me", isn't it? The length is perfect, plus the lace inserts on the shoulders and across the back add an extra interest which lifts the casual skater-style dress to something a wee bit fancier. The fabric is so soft and comfy- and not to mention that the dress is £12. TWELVE POUNDS!! Billy bloody bargain. It might not have been dressy enough for a big night out, but it would have been perfect for my flat warming party and Hogmanay...

But WAIT. I was sooooo much more organised with these two festive parties, wasn't I? Pfffft. Of course I flippin wasn't. In fact, I spent most of Hogmanay in my onesie, whilst I was still putting my makeup on about an hour after everyone arrived at the flat warming. Maybe it was because I was downing the shots like there was no tomorrow and force feeding sausage rolls down everyone's necks. Best host, me. 

So, with my pyjama-clad Hogmanay shindig and lazy makeup skills... Tip 2: Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready! At least an hour for makeup alone, I'd say. And so would my guests who had to see my face half way through *shudder*
Anyway, this is slowly but surely becoming my new favourite dress, even now the festive season is over. It's the perfect bridge between casual and making-an-effort. I've already worn it for a catch up with pals in the pub, paired with this long Topshop necklace and chunky boots. You can tell I was chuffed. I mean... look at that leg lunge in the photo above. Pure, smug glory right there. 

And the last reason I love this dress... it's nice and roomy for some energetic dance moves. I like to think that the more people who stare while you're blowing up the dance floor, the better your performance. Bigger is better, right? And judging by the amount of stares I get, my dance moves are prrrrretty fricken killer. Tip 3: Whap out the retro dance moves like it's 1989. You're welcome. 

Dress: George at Asda*
Boots: George at Asda*
Necklace: Topshop
Killer Dance Moves: Model's Own

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

My Plans for 2016...

Ooooh, I really love the feeling of a fresh start which comes with a brand new year! I don't believe in all of that "new year, new me" palaver, but I do believe that a brand spanking new year can give a bit of oomph to any changes you want to make in your life. A new year brings so many fresh opportunities! I told you yesterday that 2015 was a bit of a bastard in a few ways, so I'm hoping that I can head into 2016 with all of the battle strategy, ammunition and armour I need to survive. My resolution for the past few years has been to "get happy", and it's exactly the same this year! I don't want my depression to bloody win, the wee prick. The only resolutions I have for 2016 are strategies and plans to find happiness. So here are a few...

Make the most of weekends
I often find myself knackered at the end of a long working week, and all I want to do is veg out in front of Netflix or sleep the entire weekend away. But no more! I always feel like I've wasted my weekends when I don't leave the flat and I really want to make the most of them in 2016. Adam and I have plans to explore Scotland a wee bit more by hiring a car, but I'd consider it a success if I even put a bra on, to be honest! Who can be arsed with a bra at the weekend?! 

Routine! Routine! Routine!
The biggie. I am soooooo bad at the whole adulting thing! I need routines to act as a safety net when my depression spirals, so I need to get my bloody arse in gear and actually follow some bloody routines. No more running out the door wearing whatever smelled freshest from my floordrobe. No more mascara stains on my pillow. No more takeaways three times a week! *Shudder*... it's probably worrying how excited I am about following these routines, from skin care to food shopping. I CANNAE WAIT. 

Feel better about my appearance
Right now, I am the heaviest I have ever been. Does being a big fat monster worry me? Erm... no. I know I'm a bit of a heifer just now, but my weight isn't the most important thing to me. Yet I still feel bad about my appearance. My self confidence is the lowest it's been in years, but I'm not sure my weight is the reason. Obviously, I want to eat more healthily and shift a few pounds, but I want to feel better about my appearance in other ways, too. I want to feel confident in my outfits, and sassy with my hair, and pretty with my face. I think I need to start celebrating my appearance more, instead of loathing it. So, if it's experimenting with makeup, taking more outfit posts or glorying in more instagram selfies... I want to feel better about my appearance in 2016.

And... that's it! Realistic goals to find happiness in 2016. Honestly? I can't wait!

Monday, 4 January 2016

The Highs and Lows of 2015

Well, hullo! Long time no speak, eh?! I hope your festive season was bloody smashing and that you're looking forward to 2016 with a smile. I definitely am! I'm so fricken glad 2015 is over. Long time readers of this 'ere blog will probably be able to tell that 2015 was an odd year for me. For one thing, I hardly blogged at all. In fact- I only blogged thirty four times. THIRTY FOUR! Jeezo. Although I've always been a sporadic blogger, I've really missed it... I've made some of my best pals and received some great opportunities through this wee slice of the internet, so I feel daft that I've abandoned it in 2015. Truthfully? This has been one of the hardest years I've ever endured. I can't even claim that I stopped blogging because I was too busy living the high life. There have been some amazing, magical moments in 2015, but also some of the lowest points I've ever experienced. 2015 has been a year of ups and downs, of highs and lows, so I thought I'd give you a wee run down. A very honest run down. Well. I'm nothing if not honest, eh?!

The Highs of 2015
Adam moved back to Edinburgh and moved into my flat
Ahhh, finally! After years upon years of a "weekend relationship", Adam finally secured a job in Edinburgh and moved into my flat at the end of November. Hurrah! We've already settled into a wee routine and it feels delicious. When has mundanity ever felt so good?

Well, this wee guy has obviously been a massive highlight of 2015! This long legged, tuxedo'd gent became my number one flatmate in August, when he was a rascally five month old kitten. Now, he's become our favourite, favourite thing. He's an utter daftie with his own distinct personality and I bloody love him.

A number of things happened this year in relation to my job which I'd honestly count among the blessings of 2015. Firstly, the classes I've been teaching are a bloody gift. I don't think I'll be so lucky with my pupils again... I've had kids that I honestly just like as people; kids I'll be gutted to see leave at the end of their schooling. Genuine bonds with good kids that make me love my job. Perfect. The second thing is a professional blessing as well as a personal one. I've been an English teacher for about five years, but this year I've branched out. I also have a degree in Classical Studies, so I've been campaigning to introduce it to my school for about a year. Finally, in 2015, it happened! I launched the Higher Classical Studies course this year for our senior school. It's been utterly exhausting but so bloody exciting to launch a course. I've written all the materials myself (SO MUCH FUCKEN WORK) and I'm the only teacher who can teach it. It's been mental. I'm secretly terrified that I'll fuck up, so I overcompensate with ridiculously long hours and geeking out to Euripides on the bus. And all of this on top of a normal English timetable. I must be mental. 

Pals! Pals! Pals!
Old pals, new pals, daft pals... I'm so bloody lucky! 2015 saw me reconnect with a few old chums who'd got lost along the way through the years, which was lovely. I had breaks away with some of my besties, and saw one of my best friends get married in the best wedding I've ever attended. I've had late night gossip sessions, belly laughs over cocktails, dancing, exploring, feasting and giggling with some of the best pals a girl can have. And of course- special shout out to Sam, who has managed to become my "second boyfriend" (Adam's miffed words, not mine!) despite the fact we've only met three times. Mad skills. 

The Lows of 2015

I wish I could say the highs of 2015 outweighed the bad, but that would be a big fat lie. There are only two "lows", but I'm still struggling to come to terms with both. 2015 was a difficult year.

My depression almost won
I wrote about messing up my medication earlier in the year, which was obviously the catalyst for what happened. I try to be honest with my struggles regarding my mental health but I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about it yet. 2015 was the first time in eight years where I made genuine plans to take my own life. My depression almost won. My depression tainted all of the potential joys of 2015 and has made me genuinely afraid I won't be strong enough to fight it in 2016. I thought I was stronger than this. 

My Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's
After years of waiting, we were finally given a diagnosis for my Mum. In early December, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She's only 55, so the diagnosis was a shock, actually. In all honesty, I thought she'd had a breakdown and that she could... you know... get "fixed". But no. There's no "fixing" Alzheimer's. Now, I feel fired up and ready to battle this with my Mum. I've been researching methods to help her, and I think positivity is the best way to handle this illness as a family member. My Mum's a fighter. 

So there we have it! I wanted to start off with the "highs" of 2015, but now it feels like I've ended this post on a bit of a bummer. Och well! There's no reason to enter 2016 feeling the same way! Although 2015 was a challenging year, I'm determined to make the most of 2016. I have a post lined up tomorrow detailing my plans for next year, so pop back to see some CHEER instead of this maudlin shite. Ahem. 

How was 2015 for you?!
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