Friday Hi-Fives: From Aberdeen To London

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Hello, Friday lovers! It’s the end of another week, which means it must be time to sit down and hi-five again. How have you been? This week has been full of adventures by train for me, as I’ve travelled from Aberdeen to London and back home again. Tonight I’m even heading through to Edinburgh – no rest for this gal!

The last few days in London gave me a chance to meet up with a few friendly faces, including Erica and Jesse, as well as have some interesting chats about blogging and social media with the likes of Nuffnang and Talented Talkers. While in East London I jumped at the chance to have my nails painted be the super-talented Nancy – you can see the results here!

Do you ever take advantage of visiting shops and restaurants that you can’t access in your home town? On this trip I managed to squeeze in TWO visits to Wahaca (worth it!) and hit up H&M Home and & Other Stories before heading home.

Lately I’ve also been checking out what’s new at Arran Aromatics for Christmas at their Glasgow festive press night and had a lovely afternoon at Blythswood Square Hotel – it’s going to take more than a little wet weather to keep me indoors…

I’m looking forward to heading through to Edinburgh this evening to the National Museum of Scotland for their Museum Late: Victorian Sensation event, and start the weekend with some tattoos, music and magic! Before that though, let me share this week’s favourites and must-clicks with you:

Link Love

Here’s what Star Wars would look like if Wes Anderson directed it

Sometimes a REALLY great sweater is all you need to build a wicked look – I love this post from Megs

I’ve enjoyed catching up with part one and part two Nikki’s Biscuit Cruise

Donna’s cute thrifted outfit is what Autumn style is made of!

Would you rock any of these beauty looks from 80s movies?

 

Also Making Me Smile…

Bulletproof Coffee (double espresso blended with butter and coconut oil…I certainly FELT bulletproof after a cup…)

Having my caricature portrait done at Arran Aromatics – flower crown and all!

Celebrating our first ‘houseversary’ since buying the flat

Checking out the Ella Masters exhibit at Tatty Devine

Saturday cinema dates

 

I hope you’re had an awesome week – whether you’ve been home or off gallivanting on trains! Let me know some of your favourites from this week too, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Love,

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Scrapbook: Happy 14

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London is somewhere that feels very much like a second home to Gary and I. Over the years, we’ve had many happy trips there – for concerts, events, relaxing, shopping and catching up with friends. Sometimes we’re even booked a stay ‘just because’! So it only felt right that we mark our 14 year (!!) anniversary by hanging out there.

I often compile these Scrapbook posts as a photo diary from our adventures, and also to serve as a mini travel guide – in case any of you guys are thinking of visiting a place yourselves. So, even though I’ve shared a London Scrapbook in the past, we did visit quite a few new places on this trip and I wanted to share the details…

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Where We Stayed

On this particular jaunt to London, we stayed at the Citizen M hotel at Bankside, instead of our usual haunt in Hoxton. Staying in a new area was brilliant, and it was really well-placed to either walk or hop on the tube (London Bridge station) to anywhere we wanted to explore.

The hotel itself was beautiful – with sleek, contemporary design and fun amenities. Also, the bed was RIDICULOUSLY comfortable – it might not seem like much, but it’s a total godsend if you’ve been walking around all day and want to relax!

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Shopping

It wouldn’t have been a trip to London without hitting a couple of stores. I love the well-merchandised stores and specialist boutiques in Carnaby Street – it’s such a pretty part of the centre of town. We stumbled across We Built This City by accident, but we were very glad we did. With its bright, airy interior and massive range of independent designers (including Scotland’s very own cutie, Karen Mabon) it’s well worth checking out.

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I really enjoy popping into stores that we don’t have back home – Selfridges and Liberty stock almost everything you can imagine, and I picked up a cute flamingo tee from high-street chain, Monki.

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We also hit Shoreditch (of course!) a couple of times during our stay and visited favourites like Tatty Devine and Beyond Retro. As you might already know, I also took a fun-filled tour of Lush Oxford Street – you can check it out here!

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What I packed

The day before we left, I got a new Canon DSLR camera and this trip gave me a great opportunity to get familiar with it. It’s super lightweight and has an excellent zoom – ideal for shooting from the hip and taking quick snaps on the go (like the two photos above).

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You never know what you’re gonna get with hotel toiletries (unless you’ve stayed there before), and when I travel I like to know I have good-quality beauty products with me. This ace travel set from Gordon Castle feels and smells amazing – and I reckon that has something to do with the fact that some of the ingredients come straight from the gardens at Gordon Castle itself. I’ve been keeping a tube of their Flower Garden hand cream in my bag lately and at under 100ml, it was also ideal for hand luggage (and silky soft paws!).

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Markets We Visited

We arrived at lunchtime on a Sunday, which gave us plenty of time to check in, freshen up and head back out. On a Sunday, Brick Lane and it surrounding streets really comes alive with its vibrant markets.

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Old Spitalfields market is also a must-visit, and has a really eclectic mix of fashion, crafts, food and much more.

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A stone’s throw away from our hotel we found Borough Market, which was mainly food and flower-based. Crowded with hungry locals and tourists, it was also home to Chegworth Valley’s fruit, vegetables and fresh juices.

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Street Art Spotting

I’m a sucker for anything colourful and creative, and London is brimming with unique and intricate street art. I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps while I was there.

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What We Ate

Gosh, what DIDN’T we eat?! I won’t share every single morsel but I recommend checking out a few places – mainly for your breakfast and brunch needs!

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These include The Breakfast Club (I’ve mentioned my love for this place before, too!) for breakfast, brunch, dinner, drinks – anything really; Cereal Killer Cafe for retro kitsch and cereal concoctions; and my new favourite, The Table for – are you ready? – sweet potato, almond and toasted coconut pancake with Valrhona chocolate sauce! I could happily eat this bad boy all day…

We also hit The Diner with our gal pal Erica for milkshakes and a catch up – hooray!

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Elvis Escapades

Once we heard about the Elvis exhibition at the O2, our mission was clear! We spent our anniversary day snooping around The King’s clothing, vehicles and other memorabilia at this excellent event. It was difficult to take clear photos inside the exhibit due to how low the lighting was (and we weren’t allowed to use flash), but it was a very impressive collection and we had a lot of fun checking it out.

For the rest of the day, we relaxed, ate pizza and went for a lovely walk along Southbank in the sunshine. Bliss!

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Coffee n’ Donuts

Brooklyn Coffee in East London does the most delicious coffee – I grabbed an iced latte to keep cool in the sunshine, and a yummy glazed ring from Vicky’s Donuts who had a pop-up in the store. Dum Dum Donuts at Boxpark are also well worth cruising over to as well if you can’t get enough of the sweet stuff!

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Phew! I think it’s fair to say we had an awesome time celebrating our anniversary, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we are back in London again. If you seeing a bit more of where we went, you can see more of our Happy 14 fun times on Instagram (under #happy14).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of my Scrapbook series, and if you are planning a London adventure, that it might inspire you to add a few places to your itinerary list. And if you think there is somewhere I must visit next time, let me know!

‘Til next time, London,

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Lush Oxford Street Tour Highlights

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Hello from London town! If you’ve been following my tweets and Instagram posts, you’ll have noticed that I’ve spent the last few days away from home and hanging out in London. It’s been lovely as always to spend some time in one of my favourite cities and I’ll post a full recap of my trip next week!

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I couldn’t possibly let a visit to London slip past without going to check out Lush Oxford Street – one of the company’s newest locations and a hot topic amongst bloggers and fans of the cruelty-free brand. “I hear it has six floors”, “it’s got a spa!”, “there are Oompa Loompas in there” – the rumours seemed endless.

I’ve never been a fan of rumours, so I couldn’t wait to check out the store for myself.

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The lovely team at Lush wanted to make sure I took in every nook and cranny of their fantastic flagship branch, and kindly sorted me out with a fun-filled tour. I can’t wait to share the juicy details with you today!

I don’t want to describe every inch of the store because I want to leave a few surprises for you guys if you decide to pay them a visit yourself (and I hope you do!). Instead, I wanted to give an overview of my experience and a few product highlights…

One of the first things that anyone walking into Lush Oxford Street will notice is the sheer size of the store. It’s main floor is massive and feels alive with the buzz of energy, positive vibes and excitement – and that’s from both customers and staff. The store feels like the Disneyland of the bath and body world – and we all know how I feel about Disneyland, right?

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Something else to bear in mind is that Lush Oxford Street is home to several exclusive products that you can’t get anywhere else – from special soap to showder (that’s powder that lathers up in your shower!).

My tour guide, smiling Lush guru – and owner of the best eyebrows EVER –  Akter, started our journey on the main floor and kicked us off with hand & foot care, deodorant and moisturisers.

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One of the hero products that we looked at in this section of the store was the Salted Coconut hand scrub, which feels and smells gorgeous. It works really well on its own or when used in harmony with your favourite hand cream (I swear by Lemony Flutter).

Let me also tell you about Elbow Grease – a light, multi-purpose moisturiser that has the unique ability to sharpen the appearance of tattoos. Having had a play around this one, I can honestly say it is a total game changer! I love how Lush constantly think outside the box, and this is a great example of their innovation.

We witnessed a LOT more of that in the next area of the store, too…

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We moved on to haircare, which is something Lush have really knocking it out of the park with in recent years. From solid shampoos designed for every hair woe imaginable (including the rather magical Odango), to a wall of henna blocks – I thought I’d seen it all, until Akter walked me through the amazing hair dressings and treatments available. For that salon-pampered feel at home, I can’t wait to try Lush Oxford Street’s hot oil masks – which at only £6.50 a pop can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks after mixing.

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Mr Dandy’s Hair Candy and Hair Custard smell as yummy as they sound and are just the trick for adding volume and moisture to your tresses!

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It’s all very well talking about hair washing and grooming but Lush Oxford Street also have a barber and styling section to take things to the next level – perfect for keeping locks coiffed and beards looking sharp. I loved the vintage-style barber’s chair and slick tiling.

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Next up, facial skincare. As well as boasting all of the usual fresh face masks for every skin type, a few noteworthy exclusives to the store include the bubblegum blue Don’t Look At Me, and energising Cup O’ Coffee. As always, the masks are kept on ice with plenty of fresh ingredients and look good enough to eat!

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One of the things that always keeps me coming back to Lush again and again is their soaps – made in huge moulds and cut into slices like cake. Some of them even smell like cake too! Cold pressed soaps such as Lush Mechanic make sure that a little goes a LONG way and a rainbow of other soaps like Layer Cake (which even looks like a rainbow!), Bertie and Apandapand would brighten up any bathroom.

I couldn’t stop sniffing Sea Salted Caramel (obviously!) and Maypole – which smelled and resembled a stick of rock from the seaside! Yum!

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We hit the showers next – well, the products at least – and this is an area where Lush Oxford Street really showcase how innovative the brand is. With boxes of exclusive ‘showder’ stacked up like kawaii detergent, and sheets of soap paper (yes, really!) bursting with natural juices and beautifying oils, is it any wonder I started to feel like I’d stepped into Willy Wonka’s factory? A world of pure imagination indeed!

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My excitement surrounding the make-up section had just about reached its peak when I was finally let loose! I have a lot of love for Lush’s make-up range, and already swear by their Passionate Emotional Brilliance liquid lipstick as my go-to shade – but a gal can never have too many options, right?

I swatched everything from peacock-hued Eye Jewels to lipstick blocks designed to help you create your new signature shade. I picked out a new lipstick to try – it’s called Wonder and I think we’re going to be very happy together! You can also expect mascara, brow crayons, lip tints and much more.

The thing that stood out most was the high-quality and great pigmentation from each of the products, making them make-up bag essentials in my book!

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Moving downstairs, we escaped the bustling crowds of the main floor entering into Lush Oxford Street’s Spa and Gorilla Perfume Galleries. Greeted by the sweet, spicy scent of Lush’s massage bars and an overwhelming feeling of calm – this floor is completely different to the lively and interactive one we’d just visited.

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I don’t want to give away what exactly you’ll find down here, but rest assured every sense will be tingling and you’ll gain a deeper insight into what inspires Lush’s famous Gorilla perfume collection. Here’s a sneaky peek!

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Like Charlie Bucket, we boarded the glass elevator for a trip that took us to the top floor – and possibly my favourite part of the whole store! The doors slid open and I stepped into a technicoloured dreamland of bath, gifts and Fun (the playdoh-esque multi-purpose soap that makes you feel like a big kid in the tub!).

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After seeing Lush’s amazing HD video of The Experimenter, I was super excited to play with one myself! I got to try a few demonstrations using The Experimenter, Frozen and Intergalactic bath bombs and they were all kinds of amazing in the basins alone. I can’t wait to use them in my own bath though, because we all know there is NOTHING like a Lush bath, right?

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My top bubble bar picks include Big Bang, Granny Takes a Dip and Watermelon – guaranteeing the frothiest, most colourful baths around.

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Next, I was utterly enchanted by bath oils, which looked like tiny bath bombs and melt into your bathwater to create a silky, luxurious experience. These cuties were inspired by the divine chocolate truffles of Brick Lane’s Dark Sugars. With names like Johnny Appleseed, Lime Pastille and Delight you just might need to resist popping them in your mouth – much better popping them in the bath I reckon!

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I am a huge fan of Lush’s Snow Fairy scent (from their Christmas range) and often joke that it’s like crack for girls (because it IS!), so it was no surprise that I was all over the adorable Flamingo bath wands as they smell really similar. Plus, y’know…they look like flamingos!

This brought our happy little tour to an end and I couldn’t believe it! In true Lush tradition, I left the store smelling like candy and carrying a little more glitter than usual. I’d say that’s a win-win situation, wouldn’t you?

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I may not have spotted any Oompa Loompas, but one thing’s for sure – touring Lush Oxford Street was an awesome treat and learning about how this exciting brand is continuing to push the envelope with its innovative products just makes me admire them even more.

If you’re a London local, or just visiting like me, be sure to put Lush Oxford Street on your must-visit list!

Are you a Lush fan? Have you ever visited Lush Oxford Street – and if you have, did you feel like Charlie Bucket?

With fresh, natural love…

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A huge thank you to the lovely team at Lush for arranging this amazing day and a special thank you to my tour guide at Oxford Street, Akter!