Monday Link List: 043

These collars are so beautiful, pity I can't find a sourse for them. I want to see the girl with this style :)

I love this nautical inspired outfit by Rebecca, I just discovered her blog over the weekend and I love her adorable outfits and dreamy photos.

This kind of explains why I blog, I've no expectations of my writing or my photographs changing the world, but if I am part of convincing one person to try out something new, or share their own writing or photography I'm happy.

An oldie but a goodie from the archives of The Fiercest Lilliputian.

Pinned It, Tried It, Love It is an awesome idea for a series of posts, I love this heart jean DIY, so cute!

I've been thinking about trying out Project Life for a while now, and knowing you can get 250+ of these filler cards for free online is making it even more tempting.

I love everything about this, from Lisa Congdon's 365 Days of Handlettering.

Living Well - Get Some Sleep: Savannah talks about putting emphasis on getting a good nights sleep. In the past few years I've definitely noticed I don't manage as well as I once did without sleep, but it's led to the tendency to over sleep when I have the chance. I love this advice for getting into a regular sleeping pattern.

Woman Photoshops Herself & Her Cell Phone Camera Into Historical Photos: Photographer and retoucher Flora Borsi creates the most amazing images of her at important events, I love the first one, so fun!

Seven Confidence Tips For Any Age & Any Size: Katie is one of my absolute favourite bloggers, she is such a sweetheart and her post about gaining self confidence gives some genuinely helpful pointers on becoming happier in your own skin. I want to print them out and put them on my wall so I remember them every day.

Little Girl Throws A Tantrum Because She Can't Have A Unicorn: I totally feel for the wee girl in this video, I'm still pretty devastated that I can't have a real life unicorn.

Animals Photoshopped To Create Hilarious New Species: An oldie but a goodie, I still absolutely love these photoshopped animals. Some of them are kind of cute, but the Shorse is definitely my favourite, fascinating and terrifying.

How I Became A Jewellry Designer: Moorea shares her story of becoming a designer, from college to creation of her own brand and her plans for the future. 

Non-Feminists 'More Hostile' Towards Men Than Feminists: It's a bit old, and I'm not convinced about the legitamacy of their control group, but I still found this article really interested - particularly because I have been doing a lot of reading about Men's Rights Activists lately.

My Life Through Instagram

It feels like a while since I shared my own photos here. and although I always promised myself I wouldn't be one of those bloggers who shares their Instagram photos in every way possible. Turns out I am. Not having access to the photos on my DSLR is making me desperate. Hopefully there are at least a couple of you who haven't seen these all before.

We've had a quite nice mix of blue skies and April showers over the past week, although we did get a little bit of hail yesterday. Scottish weather likes to change it up. It's so nice to be able to sit outside again though, I feel like everyone has been hiding inside all Winter and suddenly the city seems full of people again. It's nice but I think the dogs miss having the park to themselves. We're having to keep a close eye on them around everyone's bbqs. 

We've got people staying for the weekend, so we're trying to take advantage of the good weather while we can. It's lovely to have a full flat, although it is a bit manic. Have you guys got any big plans for the weekend?

My Favourite Independent Edinburgh Haunts

I'm still completely unable to get any photos of my camera - which for a personal style blogger is causing some considerable problems. There is a plus side though, I'm having to dig deep and come up with some posts that are outside my comfort zone. I frequently talk about how much I love my city, but I've never really shared my favourite spots, there are so many it's proved quite difficult to cut them down but here's my list of essential places to visit in the city. 
Okay, I'm not sure how many of you are comic fans, but popping into Dead Head might change your mind. Featuring Scottish and International artists It can be a bit overwhelming walking in, but it won't take you long to get stuck in and find your new obsession.

I can't help but stop and gaze into Mr Wood's shop each time I walk by. Even if you aren't interested in fossils they are still amazingly beautiful, I've always promised myself I will buy one but at the moment I still just enjoying looking at them all. 

Filled to the brim with beautiful things, this shop on Candle Maker Row is a must see if you are in the city. Selling jewellry, bags, art and homewares from a variety of designers there is definitely something for everyone. I'm absolutely obsessed with their collection of brooches! 

Sandy Bells
A large selection of whiskey and live traditional music every day of the week makes Sandy Bells one of my must see venues for visitors, but it's great if you are a resident as well. Located on Forrest Road, it's even dog friendly - your furry pal can get his own bowl of water and a couple of biscuits if my two haven't been in there first and eaten them all. It can get pretty busy at night but if you want a quiet spot to have a dram during the day it is the place ot be.

You can tell I have a sweet tooth can't you? I just can't say no to artisan chocolate though, and The Chocolate Tree has the most amazing selection of organic, diabetic and bean to bar chocolates. Ali and Friederike make real efforts to ensure all their products are ethically sourced and were one of the first British companies to work directly with cacao farmers. Pop in and grab a bar or have a seat in their cafe and enjoy a hot chocolate on a rainy Edinburgh day. 

Pick your item, paint it then come back in a few days when the lovely people at Doodles have fired it. Perfect for kids or adults, you can even sit outside on sunny days. Your studio fee includes your item, paints, apron, juice or tea and firing and they also cater to groups.

Although most of my clothes are second hand Godiva is my go to place for when I need something fancy right now. There stock is a mix of independent designers, vintage or you can get a made to measure dress by their in-house designer, and the shop is a pleasure to be in. I absolutely love the refreshing change from Edinburgh's mass of high street stores.

Located on Argyle Place The New Leaf is owned and operated by the workers, who take a living wage and then funnel profits back into the shop and other co-operatives in the city. They have an amazing selection of organic, locally sourced and fairtrade products and not only do they have an amazing tea selections (and cheaper that at any of the local supermarkets) but you can also make your own peanut butter! Yum!

Who doesn't love a shop stuffed to the brim with sweets? If you're like me and have a bit of a sweet tooth you should definitely check out Canderson's on Leith Walk. They have an amazing selection, including my favourite - Flying Saucers. 

Enjoy a cup of tea and take part in a sewing workshop, or just go in and use the machines. Materialize is a lovely wee studio based on Lady Lawson Street and provides a beautiful wee spot to get your creativity on or learn a new skill.

A beautiful curated collection of homewares, clothing, toys and gifts Bohemia tempts me constantly. They are a little bit out of my price range but the shop is a bloggers dream with adorable satchels, pretty dresses and, currently, the most lovely collection of foxy pillows I have ever seen.

Until a few years ago based on Forrest Road, the Forest Cafe moved into it's new location on Lauriston Place last year to bring back it's own brand of inspiring art, tasty veggie treats and fun events. A haven for any arty or hippy types in Edinburgh it's become an insitution in it's own right and is a centre for social enterprise and activism in the city.,

Well, there you have it. Honestly I could have included so many other places, I keep thinking of them as I try and finish of my post. And of course if any of you are ever visiting Edinburgh get in touch! I'm happy to give people advice about places to visit!

Monday Link List: 042

I love this print from Fab, I mean, tea and Alice in Wonderland - it's obviously meant for me!

I'm really looking forward to doing fancy things with my hair this Summer - I use it as a scarf when it is cold. This tutorial from ABM is inspiring me to try out some new things.

This week's mantra.

This fake book cover by Kali Ciesemier is beautiful!

These paper butterflies are beautiful.

This photograph is beautiful,  Spring and flowers just go together in my mind.

Journey To Publication Part 4 - Moving On: Meg talks about the frustrations of waiting to hear back from publishers and starting to write again.

Honest To Blog: Lucy posts about her battle with anxiety, which echoes my own. I'm always amazed and inspired by the strength and honesty of other bloggers - especially when it comes to deeply personal issue
Dove's Real Beauty Campaign has been doing the rounds all week, my first opinions of it were great - who doesn't love a company taking an interest in increasing self esteem in woman, but I've got to admit I kind of agree with the post by Little Drops about why it makes her so uncomfortable.

Learn The Basics of Photoshop - The Complete Guide: An amazing collection of Photoshop tutorials for all sorts of purposes.

25 by 26: I love reading people's goals and dreams, both long and short term, and Kaelah's list this year is fantastic and inspires me to get on with some of my goals for this year.

The Pansy Project: Paul Fleet plants pansy's at the site of homophobic attacks, or as close as possible then photographs them and shares them on his website - such a beautiful way to mark something so sad.

In All Honesty: Becky does what I wish I had the guts to do, and gives us an actually look into her life (messy closet and all).

8 Fairy Tales & Their Not So Happy Endings: Because who doesn't love a gory fairy tale?

10 Things I Do Instead Of Writing Blog Posts

 We all have those times when we sit down to write a blog post and get distracted. In fact it happens to me much more than I would like - a lot of bloggers seem describe themselves as type A personalities, but that definitely isn't me. It takes a lot of organisation, berating myself and 'rewards' for me to keep blogging. Not that I don't absolutely love it - because I do - but when real life gets in the way I would much rather spend my evenings spending time with LFand the dogs. I'm very rarely organised enough to have posts scheduled more than a day in advance. 

So here is a short list of some of the many things that distract me when I sit down to write a post.

1. Get lost in new blogs: We've all had that moment, we just need a little inspiration, or you get a particularly sweet comment and then spend an hour trawling through someone's archives. Finding a new blog you love is one of my favourite things about this community - I'm constantly inspired and amazed by all the amazing people in our little community. But damn can it be distracting when you are trying to get something done.

2. Spend half an hour deciding what to watch on Netflix while I write: I love background noise, I'm one of those people who just cannot survive without some music or the tv going in the background. The problem is I never think to choose what I want to watch/listen to until I sit down, and then of course the first thing is never quite right, or LF doesn't like it, and then we spend another half hour deciding, again, what we want to watch. 

3. Checking Bloglovin' for new posts: it'll only take a minute, and I don't want to write a post that is the same as one someone else just wrote (in fact I'm tempted to check right now) and then of course something catches your eye, and then it's rude not to comment and then you see an awesome comment someone else left and then you are back at number 1.

4. Checking the news: and then getting caught up in whatever the latest story is.

5. Thinking about when I last took the dogs out: do they need a run? Do they look like they need to do their business? Should I take advantage of the brief moment between the rain while I can? Will they last till this evening? Where could I take them? Could I take outfit photos at the same time?

6. Decide to 'network' for a while, try to come up with witty remarks to make on Twitter: fail miserably, instead update people on what tea I am drinking.

7. Actually take the dogs out: realise that I live in Scotland and this sunlight isn't going to last, take the dogs for a run. Naturally it starts raining as soon as I leave the house, go back in for wellies, spend half an hour letting the dogs run in the rain, fail to take outfit photos, have to bath them both when we get some.

8. Check emails: spend half an hour deleting spam

9. Press Stumble by accident, get distracted looking at cute dog and cat gifs: wonder if I could convince Scallywag to to be cute on camera, keep pressing Stumble until midnight.

10. Think about unrelated thing: should I make tea? Should I make coffee? What should I wear tomorrow? What should I have for dinner? Am I hungry? Do I need to go to the shops? What would I do if one of the dogs ate a bumblebee? Have we got milk? Did I pay that bill? Have I got time to put a wash on? What book should I read next? Do I have time for a bath tonight? Did I remember to write today's blog post?

So what distracts you guys from blogging? Or am I the only one with the concentration span of a goldfish?

Emma Deer's 27th Birthday Bash

I'm so excited to be taking part in my first group giveaway to celebrate Em's 27th birthday this month. I've absolutely loved Em's blog for quite a while and she's an amazing lady so I am really pleased to be part of her birthday celebrations.

All you have to do to enter is pop on over to Em's blog, leave a comment and then there are literally hundreds of ways you can get additional entries. There are so many amazing prizes, and they will all be going to one person so good luck! Maybe you'll even find your new favourite blog in the process.

The giveaway is open until April 23rd.

... and remember, you can tweet once a day for more entries! :] 

Monday Link List: 041

I miss the IT Crowd. 
Love this map of Hogwarts by Gamma Ray Burst
This umbrella 3D Mobile is absolutely adorable, I want one above my bed
These terranium instructions from Wit & Whistle is adorable
Yes, also can someone make me that hat? 
This Moss Faerie House is absolutely beautiful, by Sally Smith of NY

 Vintage Makeover Series: Ally started a new series on altering vintage dresses - I love her wardrobe so I'm excited to learn some of her tips and tricks.

I Adopted A Dog In Its Final Hours On Death Row: I wish I could adopt all the dogs, so this story really touched me. We've been looking into fostering dogs (like Adrian did recently) but can't do it until we own our own home :(

I Travel Full Time - With My Dog: From Sarah's true life series, we've always planned on travelling with the dogs (LF really wants to live in France again before we think about starting a family so I can learn the language) and while we knew it was possible with the pups, this article made me feel so much more confident about it.

Giant Peg Board Cross Stitch Wall Art: I'm always blown away by Allison's crafts and this one is no exception (plus I have a soft spot for anything cross stitch) I absolutely love the way the colours look on the black pegboard.

Before & After - Locks of Love: Erin donated some of her (gorgeous) red hair to Locks of Love, an awesome charity who make wigs for children with permanent hair loss. I love her new bob.

Turning A Too Short Dress Into A Blouse: I've got so many slightly too short dresses, this is such an easy fix to turn some of them into blouses.

Doing A Couch To 5K: Sarah talks about her first couple of weeks doing the Couch to 5K programme and her plans to run to support her cousin on Mother's Day.

Tips For Travelling Solo: I've actually never travelled alone, I generally travel to visit friends so I had never really thought about it until reading this guest post from RiKenna but suddenly it sounds incredibly tempting.

In other news, I'm taking part in Emma Deer's amazing Birthday Giveaway, you'll be able to enter with me tomorrow (I thought two posts in one day might be a bit much) but if you can't wait till then go to Em's blog and enter now!

Spring Inspiration

 It's taken a while, but as I've mentioned, Spring has finally hit Edinburgh. I've had my first trip to the beer garden, we sat in the park over the weekend and played with the dogs and we've even started planning camping trips to the beach. It's also time for Spring cleaning (just in time for Mania to start shedding like crazy) and slowing switching to my Summer wardrobe. It's busy but it is also lots of fun.

Spring is the season that stumps me most when it comes to clothes, it's still too cold for my floral dresses, but too bright and pretty to be wearing my dark Winter wardrobe. I'm determined to take the plunge soon though, and this is some of my inspiration for this Summer (guess what? It's mainly floral)

1 // 2 // 3  
*Top photo has no source - so let me know if it is yours!

Monday Link List: 040

This picture makes me ridiculously happy
 Katie's outfit is making me yearn for some warm weather, she looks absolutely amazing.
 And so it Kaelah's! I'm would literally steal this dress off her, so it's a good thing we live in different continents.
 These painted owls are so cute, and such a nice easy DIY as well.
 Heart frienship bracelets - how did I not know how to do this until now?
 I'm dreaming about coloured hair again, and this mint colour is fantastic.
 This Red Riding Hood print is so striking.
This is where I want to spend my Summer, I could just wander the mountains with LF and the dogs perfectly happily for months

Add An Icon To Blog Post Titles With CSS:  I've been wondering about how to do this for a while, more specifically with images behind your post title. So glad I finally found out!

Thoungs About Friendship & Employment: As bloggers we spend a lot of time thinking about what we say online, but do you consider how your personal FB could effect your employment?

The Colour Clock: Time as it's hexadecimal colour value, such a cool idea!

How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method: Going back to my usual schedule has made me feel like I have so much extra time - I'd love to fill it with a new project like getting back into writing fiction.

Take A Photo (Video): I absolutely love this photography project, I would love to try this out in Edinburgh over the festival.

The Human Jukebox (Video): This is some of the most inventive busking I've seen.

What I've Done: March

  • Being busy. March has been the busiest month for me in quite a while, trying to juggle a much bigger workload (albeit temporarily) with everything else has really taken it out of me. By the time I was settled at home each evening I just didn't have the energy for anything. On the plus side now that it is all over I'm still getting up super early, for me, and fitting so much more into my day. 
  • Spring Take One. Back at the start of March we had a couple of absolutely lovely days, sunshine, blue skies and the flowers even started to peak out. It didn't last but it was lovely. 
  • Rediscovering StumbleUpon. It's been pretty awful for my creativity. 
  • Meeting Scallywags Mum. This was so exciting for me, Ermintrude is such an awesome dog and the way Scallywag reacted to her was just incredible. I never knew dogs recognized their mothers before. 
  • Mother's Day. I love my Mum more than anyone in the world, honestly, she rocks and I loved any time I get to hang out with her. 
Introducing a friend to the X-Files - I love it. Buying lots of books (although I haven't got round to much reading yet). Junk food, neither of us have been very good at cooking lately so there have been lots of pizzas. Playing the Sims 2. Long weekend walks with the dogs. Family dinners. Early bedtimes. Baths. Smooties.

Looking Forward To
A little bit more spare time. US Netflix (we just got it - so much Star Trek). Getting some reading done - I've just started 'Dead Pets: Eat Them, Stuff Them, Love Them' by Sam Leith. Sunshine. Beer gardens. Evening walks. Jackets not coats. More blogging and blog reading. Taking my own outfit photos again. Cutting back on my caffeine consumption (I've been running on coffee lately and it is not good). Pulling out my Summer wardrobe.

Snapshots: Silly Self Portrait Practice

I have a confession for you guys, for the past few months I haven't taken any of my outfit photos - my long suffering boyfriend LF has been doing them for me. I'm so lucky to have a partner who not only actively supports my blog, but also contributes, reminding me to save posts that we talk about for my Monday Link List, encouraging me when I am thinking about posting something more personal and putting up with my pulling my camera out my bag at odd moments and demanding he photograph me. Basically, he rocks. 

On the other hand though, I kind of miss taking my own photos. I learnt so much about photography in my first year of blogging, starting off with a (pretty crappy) compact, to borrowing a friend's Olmypus e500 (thank you Gordon) and finally getting my own lovely Canon. I used to love taking half an hour out of my day to pop behind the house and set up my tripod, then frolic, fiddling with the settings until I had something I was happy with.

I'm determined over the next couple of months to return to my routes and get used to taking my own photos again. There are a couple of problems with this though, firstly it has been forever since I've done any self portraits and I am abysmally out of practice. Secondly, I've not found anywhere close I feel 100% comfortable taking photos on my own. We live in a lovely area but it is pretty busy, finding somewhere quiet enough that I won't be interupted mid photo is proving difficult. It's these times that I really wish we had a backgarden. I'm going to go for an explore this weekend and see if anywhere jumps out at me.

Until then I'm trying to get some practice in the house. We don't have the best light, or the nicest walls, so I ended up taking these ones in the bathroom. The light in there is lovely and at least the walls are white. I can't use it for outfit posts, there just isn't enough space but it works well for self portraits - I don't think you guys really want to see my bath or toilet. I had some fun fiddling with settings and making funny faces for a little while earlier this week and I am feeling way more confident about going out on my own soon. Any advice on taking your own outfit photos outside for a nervous nelly like me?