Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Heads and Tales, Edinburgh

One of my favourite things about Edinburgh is that there is no shortage of cosy, intimate bars. Huddled away on Rutland Place is Heads and Tales, an underground gin bar with an amazing cocktail menu. Charlotte was invited along and I came as her plus one. We hadn't seen each other in over 6 months so we were well in need of a catch-up. The low lighting, lit fire and comfy chairs made this bar the perfect place to chat away whilst trying out some fantastic drinks.  

Heads and Tales offer a GIY cocktail - gin it yourself cocktail.

Step 1: Pick a glass.
Step 2: Pick a gin.
Step 3: Pick a flavour.

I chose a rocks glass, Hayman Old Tom gin and cardamom flavouring. I wanted something unusual! It was a great choice as it worked so well. Charlotte opted for an orange blossom cocktail and really enjoyed hers too.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Inverness Travel Diary

Third year has been a very stressful time for me and as I kept finding myself saying down the phone to my mum 'I just want a break from uni for a while'. And so an impromptu weekend away occurred. We drove from Edinburgh to Inverness on the Friday afternoon. A 3-hour drive that ended up closer to 5 due to roadworks. When we arrived it was raining heavily so we checked into our hotel and headed straight back out for dinner. Starving! After doing a quick google I found a highly rated Italian restaurant called Little Italy and we decided to go there.  The food was beautiful and the restaurant was really cosy. After that, we went back to the hotel and essentially crashed as we were so tired. 


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Caffeine & Cake

I was originally going to title this post: Coffee & Cake. But seeing as I don't actually like coffee, I felt it would be a tad unjust as I don't actually know if any of these places sell good coffee. But what I've gathered here are bakeries, coffee shops etc that are the perfect places to go if you're looking for somewhere for a 'coffee and a catch up' with a friend.

August 21

I first discovered this place as it's located between Edinburgh's central campus and the science campus (AKA my second home). A little bit off the beaten track but worth the visit. I stopped in one day on my way home with a friend and we had some tea and a little tart each. My choice was banoffee and my friend went for the classic strawberry. They were so beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. Because it's not in the centre of town it's pretty quiet so would be an ideal spot if you're looking to get some work done.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

5 Cities I'd Love To Visit

I love city breaks. I've never really been one for a pool holiday, I have a short attention span, and it wasn't until I started university that I started travelling for myself. On a city break, I can always find something to catch my eye. I've been really privileged in how much travelling I've been able to do over the last few years. But I've still got my eye on a few cities when that I'd love to explore. After getting my scratch-off map for Christmas, I'm obsessed with travelling to as many countries as possible. I have trips planned to Berlin and Rome for the end of may. After that, I've ticked off most of Western Europe. My travel plans now are set on exploring Eastern Europe and different continents with these beautiful cities. 


I don't normally associate European city breaks with sunshine but Dubrovnik allows you to take in the best of both worlds. Plus EasyJet have recently opened up a new route flying from Edinburgh so I can't really say no. After seeing Charlotte talking about her day trip there on her recent visit to Croatia I'm really keen to go and see the city for myself. It looks very historic and so, so beautiful. Another great thing about Dubrovnik is that you can go on day trips to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Perfect opportunity to tick off a few countries in the one trip. 

Photo credit: Colours and Carousels


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Cocktails

I've never really been a big drinker but I do enjoy the odd gossip over a cocktail or two with friends. Luckily for me, Edinburgh has an amazing selection of bars that offer amazing an unique cocktail menus. Ranging from bargain drinks to more high class treats there's something for every taste and every budget. I've summed up a few of my favourite cocktail bars here but there are so many more. What I love about Edinburgh is that new places are constantly opening so there's always somewhere fresh and exciting to visit. 

Panda & Sons
Panda & Sons is one of Edinburgh's worst kept secrets. On arrival at the location, this bar looks like a barber shop. Upon entering and passing through a bookshelf doorway, you'll find yourself in an underground bar. The atmosphere here is a bit higher class and the place is just indescribably cool. The cocktails are a little bit on the pricier side but they're worth it for the unique ingredients and the atmosphere. I'd recommend the Robinson Crusoe. Somewhere you just have to see for yourself.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Books Set in Scotland

When I think about the sort of books that I want to read more of it makes me realise that I'd actually like to read more fiction novels set in my home country: Scotland. I've read and loved a lot of books set here but I'd like to read a wider variety of Scottish literature. When I collate all the books that I've read that are set in Scotland there's a running theme: murder/mystery. Not entirely sure what it says about us (I'm fairly sure the murder rate is pretty low) but I do love a good murder mystery novel.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
This classic heroin tale is back in the spotlight after the release of the second film. I'm a fan of Irvine Welsh's work. If you're not familiar with the Scottish accent then you may struggle with this book as it's written phonetically. I even have to read it aloud to myself at points and this is how people speak where I'm from! That being said this book is packed with action and is really hard hitting. I'd really recommend it as a great intro to Scottish literature. 


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Dessert

There's something so great about treating yourself to something sweet. Luckily, Edinburgh has a great selection of places to head to if it's time for dessert and you're craving something sweet. From ice cream to crepes, from smoothies to waffles. There's something for everyone.

Photo Credit: Elevator Musik
Mary's Milk Bar
Mary's is famous amongst Edinburgh residents and for good reason. This little gelato shop has some of the most inventive and exciting flavours that I've ever seen. Hot cross bun, baked fig and black sesame as some of the amazing flavours that are on offer. The flavours constantly change so a trip to Mary's is always unique. Located in the Grassmarket you can grab a cone and enjoy the view of Edinburgh Castle. If you don't fancy an ice cream cone you could sample their handmade chocolate or even indulge in the ultimate treat: a hot chocolate ice cream float. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

March Reading Wrap Up

March was an odd reading month for me. I didn't read at all for the first two weeks of the month. Then I totally devoured a book on holiday and totally got back into the swing of things. I ended up in a bit of a rut where I was reading lots of books at once but have managed to finish a few and will get around to finishing the rest of them in April. 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
This poetry book is very popular at the moment. It's easy to understand why as the writing is so rich and emotive. This was the first poetry book I've read in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only downside is that because there's very little on each page making it such a quick read. It only took me half an hour to read cover to cover which seemed so fast. It is a bit of an investment for the time it actually takes to read. However, I picked this up using Waterstones points so wasn't actually any money out of my pocket. 5/5 stars. 


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Edinburgh Edit: Burgers

Burgers are the new trendy food. So for my next Edinburgh Edit I'm discussing my favourite burger joints in the city. New ones are springing up left right and centre but these are a few of my tried and tested favourites. What I really look for in a good burger place is a) variety b) flavour and c) value for money. It's quite common for restaurants to disappear in Edinburgh almost as soon as they've opened but all of these places have been going for at least two years which is a real sign of success here.

Bread Meats Bread
I literally never stop banging on about this place but I've been a few times and I think it gets better each time. I mean, where else in the city can you get a burger that's served inside a donut? Bread Meats Bread serves up a really inventive burger menu and even have a good few veggie options too. Their side dishes are also delicious (maple syrup sweet potato fries HELLO) and an actual Canadian has told me that their poutine is the real deal. 


Sunday, 26 March 2017

My Favourite 'Self-Help' Books

A few months ago if you had asked me if I was a fan of self-help books then I would have run screaming for the hills. But I've read a few of them over the last few weeks. Maybe it's because I'm feeling a bit down or maybe it's because I've just picked the good ones. But regardless, I've been really enjoying reading them. When it comes to self-help books what I'm looking for is really a little motivational kick up the ass and I really feel like these books have given me that. I'm trying to be less of a 'book snob' and enjoying reading out of my regular genre which has led to me finding these great books.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight - This book caught my eye so quickly. Outside of my blog I'm pretty foul-mouthed (and not ashamed to say so) and I was drawn to this book because it seemed a bit more light hearted and fun than others. It really helped put a lot of things into perspective. I've been focusing really hard on doing less at the moment because I think that over the last few months I've tried to do way too much and just totally burnt myself out. This book helped me to think of possible commitments in a more detached way and how to prioritise things for myself. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of her second book. 


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Problem With Scientists On TV

This blog post was inspired by a drunken conversation that I had with Beth in the basement of a Sports bar at midnight on a Friday night. But bare with me because I've got a pretty good point here...

We were talking about nerdy TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and the way that they portray the characters. Whilst I enjoy the show, I think there are a lot of problems with the way that they portray scientists and especially the female characters. There are a few shows that do this poorly but I'm going to focus on The Big Bang Theory in this post as it's the most popular.

When you think of a scientist, characters like Sheldon Cooper often come to mind. Which doesn't really help our image. When people think of scientists they also think of people who are socially awkward, arrogant and unfashionable. Which simply isn't true or fair.

Let's look at the female characters in the show. Amy, Bernadette, and Leslie are all quite frankly pretty weird. Likeable characters in their own right but not without odd and often unrealistic quirks. When compared to Penny, they nowhere near as 'desirable'. A show like The Big Bang Theory has such a wide audience and they really could be doing a little more to help portray the idea that all types of women can be scientists. So much work is being done to get young women interested in STEM subjects but a show like this stamps in a silent but strong message.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Brunch, Edinburgh

I'm always keen to meet new blogging friends so when Lucy from Fed in Ed asked if I'd like to go and review a brunch with her I jumped at the chance. We went to Brunch on George IV Bridge for a bite to eat and the chance to talk about Edinburgh, uni and of course, food blogging. 

We visited at 10am on a Friday morning. It wasn't too busy when we arrived so we were able to grab a window seat (the blogger's dream) but it was quite busy when we left so an early morning meeting was ideal! We sat down to peruse the menu and my eyes were instantly drawn to the pancakes... what can I say? I have quite the sweet tooth. Whilst Lucy opted to go for eggs benedict. We both decided to have some orange juice with our brunch which was served in adorable little mason jars with handles. 


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Scottish Identity and #indyref2

I remained silent on my political opinions around the time of the first Scottish independence referendum. September 2014 was a really big month for me, it included moving out for the first time, finding my own feet and starting university. It wasn't a time for blogging and quite frankly I was a little scared of opening the can of worms and blogging about politics. It seems that it's almost impossible to do so without attracting some form of anonymous trolling. 

But the thing is... I regret my vote against Scottish Independence. 


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Element Edinburgh

Tucked off on Rose St is a lovely and cosy bar called Element. With tartan interiors, cosy lighting and a Scottish menu it's quite the place to escape from the bustling shopping streets for a bite to eat and a drink. I was invited to come and try their spring menu so I went along with my friend Sarah on Wednesday night to try it out. We absolutely loved the decor which we admired whilst we siped on 'Fairytale of New York' cocktails and talked about our plans for the next year. The menu has some lovely choices but we knew almost straight away what we wanted.

To start with I opted for the tempura king prawns with Thai mayo. And can I start off by saying that I was totally blown away by the huge portion size? The tempura batter was light and crisp - just as it should be. The prawns were so tasty and the Thai mayo was a delicious, slightly spicy, accompaniment. It was a lovely start and definitely something I'd reorder if I were to visit again.

Sarah's choice was the golden beetroot and goat's cheese mousse which comes served with savoury granola and pickled walnuts. This was such a beautiful dish. Not only was it really thought out in its presentation but there were so many different flavours and textures that worked together so well.


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

5 Bad Ass Female Comedians on Netlfix

Today is International Women's Day - one of the best days of the year. This year I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite female stand-up comedians. Comedy is something that is really heavily dominated by men. When I first started watching comedians on Netflix (there are so many it's great) I was blown away with the selection but a little disappointed in the lack of women. Over the last few months they've added lots of female comedians and a lot of them are great.

So to celebrate International Women's Day I'm sharing with you some of my favourite female stand-up comedians that you can watch on Netflix. I think it's really important to be watching them and rating them highly because it says to Netflix 'Hi we want more of this please!'.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong's Baby Cobra set on Netflix was the first female lead comedy I watched on Netflix and I still think she's the funniest. I honestly watched this about three times on repeat because I just loved it so much. She has a very adult sense of humour and isn't afraid to make some pretty outrageous jokes which I love. 


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Blogging, Friends & Food

Last week I had one of the busiest days in a long time: full of food, blogging friends and good laughs. Annoyingly I didn't have my camera to hand that day so today's post is a mixture of photos taken using my phone and other people's cameras (I'm like a magpie). I'm going to do a quick run through of all the places that I visited and what I got up to at each place. It was a really busy time but it reminded me of what I love about blogging and how grateful I am for the opportunities it's brought into my life. 

Steak On Stones

I got to meet the lovely Sarah recently as she came to visit Edinburgh for a few days. We met at Steak on Stones for dinner one night. It's one of my favourite restaurants and was just as amazing the second time around. On a Tuesday night, they have a steak & shake offer. Steak, a side, a sauce and a milkshake for £17.50. We really enjoyed our food and the evening passed so quickly as we were just chatting away. We then made our way home and I had to get to sleep as the next day was my super busy day. The restaurant has a really expensive and classy feel to it and it's such a lovely place to go for a little treat. 


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February Reading Wrap Up

Despite being the shortest month of the year, I managed to get a good amount of reading into February. I really find that reading before bed is the best way for me to unwind and relax before sleeping so I've been trying really hard to keep it up. I've read some really good books this month which are mostly unintentionally centred around mental health. So this has been an extremely eye-opening month for me! I started a few books this month that I didn't finish so my goals for March are to finish these and carry on with the books from my most recent book haul.

Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon - After reading, and loving, The Wrong Knickers I was very excited to read Bryony Gordon's second novel. With a slightly darker perspective, this is a book about the author's lifelong battle with mental illness. Despite that, it's actually a pretty funny book and is eye opening without being too heavy. There were a few issues that I had with The Wrong Knickers but this book really puts them into perspective. I'd recommend this book to anyone suffering from poor mental health or anyone who wants to know more about what it's like to suffer (ie everyone). I gave this one 5/5 stars.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Things I Do To De-Stress

- Prioritise my to do list.
- Drink a lot of tea.
- Or alternatively hot chocolate. My favourite is currently a chocolate orange hot chocolate made with almond milk and topped with marshmallows for that extra bit of self-indulgence. 
- Take a walk by myself.
- Phone my grandmother. 
- Clean/tidy my surroundings.
- Listen to some fun, upbeat music. Dance around the room.
- Do the fastest 3 things on my to-do list because this makes me feel motivated.
- Go for a shower and change my bed sheets so I feel fresh and ready to face whatever bothers me.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Light a candle.
- Turn off my phone.
- Swim.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What Does It Mean To Be A Unique Blogger?

When I started my blog, 5 years ago, the blogging community was growing. And it still is. But now it's much, much bigger. Trying to get your own blog noticed can feel like being stuck in the middle of a massive crowd. And I guess the only way to stand out is to be original, to not be like the others. But can a blog really be 100% original?


Sunday, 19 February 2017

My Favourite Instagram Accounts

Instagram. Love it or hate it, it's almost an essential part of blogging these days. As fun as it is, it can be too easy to get swept up in all the number counting and stat obsessing that comes alongside trying to grow and brand another social media channel. I'm trying to take it back to the basics with my Instagram account again and make it more fun and reflective of my day to day life. I'm not a fan of pristine all white feeds and even if they're popular, they just aren't me. What I like are feeds that are unique, full of colour and let a personality shine through. I thought I'd write this post so that I could share some of my favourite Instagrammers in the hope that you find a new favourite and to remind myself what it is that I love about the accounts that I follow (someone remind me to have a clear out).

Shawna is an Edinburgh based Instagrammer and posts beautiful photographs of the city. It's nice to see something that's familiar pop up on my feed every now and again! I know that I'll really appreciate her photographs when I move to America in June as it will be a little reminder of home.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Treat Yo Self Book Haul

After Christmas and my birthday, I had a few vouchers burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to make a pretty big book haul to fill up my to-be-read pile and get myself excited to read lots of new books. These are a mixture of some books I've wanted to read for a while and some ones that I saw and bought on impulse. And of course being a #superfamousbookbloggers (that hashtag will catch on) I have to blog about it. I'll be reviewing these over the next few months in my monthly reading wrap-ups so consider this to be a sneak peak.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax - This book has been floating around the blogosphere and I was really interested as I certainly am very frazzled at the moment. It talks about how stress is a human invention and gives some tips on how to get rid of it. At the moment, I'll take what I can get. I also recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Giving a Fuck so I guess you could say I'm on a self-help book streak.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Recipe: Roasted Veggie Couscous

Starting university with minimal cooking skills was a pretty daunting reality. A few years on, I consider myself to a be a pretty decent cook. However, I won't turn down the opportunity to learn some new skills. Recently the Co-op has joined up the guys from the YouTube channel Sorted Food to create the Now Cook It website. Which teaches basic cooking techniques and also provides a wide selection of recipes to put them to the test.

I cracked out the roasted vegetable couscous that was absolutely delicious. The recipe serves two as a meal but we shared it as a side as part of a larger meal. I was cooking for my family who generally like to scoff at my cooking ability but everyone was really impressed with how it turned out and my gran even took the leftovers home with her for lunch the next day. This dish struck me as being particularly student-y as it's meat free (cheap) and also works really well cold so would make for a great packed lunch. The Co-op also offer a student discount if you have an NUS card so take advantage of it! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Living More Ethically

Almost 4 years ago I vowed on this blog to go cruelty-free. I wanted to stop using beauty products that are tested on animals. I'm not saying that I don't slip up upon occasion but I feel like I have succeeded with this goal. But that was years ago and I feel I've gotten a bit complacent about the choices that I make. Can I really consider myself to be cruelty-free if I buy jeans for exactly that are made through sweatshops? Or am I really helping the world if I throw away rubbish that could be recycled? I've set myself some resolutions of things that I'd like to do to live more ethically. These aren't new years resolutions. These are rest of life resolutions. And generally, talking about it publically on the internet holds me accountable to it. So tell me off if you need to!

Look into whether the tea that I am drinking is Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Over the last year, I've really gotten into drinking tea (it would appear I am now finally living up to the British stereotype. Which poses a new question of ethics for me, where is my tea coming from. So I'm aiming to only try and buy tea that's Fairtrade or rainforest alliance certified as these are tags that I can trust. This means the tea that I buy for my home but also asking serving staff in cafes if it isn't stated on the menu. 


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Taking Some 'Me Time'

2016 was a particularly stressful year for me. And after a while, it was beginning to get me down because it felt like I wasn't really getting free time and when I was I felt too tired/burned out to do things that I really wanted to do. I've bee trying to practice some 'me time' (I don't know what else to call it - self care?) and set aside at least an hour every day to just spend some time by myself doing something that calms me down. Even if it's just turning my phone off and getting into bed an hour early. Before, I think I was a little too obsessed with the idea of being productive and ticking things off my to do list to the point that it began to impact my happiness. I've been trying to work out some things to help me unwind and I've discovered these are my favourites.

Read a book - As a nerd, there's nothing that I love more than taking some time to myself and sitting down with a good book. If I'm looking to relax or de-stress then I'm likely to go for something that's an easy read. A chick lit like the Time Traveller's Wife or an old childhood favourite like Harry Potter or a Lemony Snicket novel. I know it's summer time now but I think that when the weather is a bit colder then snuggling up with a blanket and a book before I go to bed whilst it's raining is one of life's greatest pleasures. Even if I only get 20-30 minutes of reading done it makes such a difference to my day. I try to read before I go to bed and I find that I sleep better on the nights when I read before bed. Alternately, some of my friends bought me a beautiful journal that prompts you to write down things that you are greatful for every day. I'm trying to stick to it daily and it's such a lovely reminder. 


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January Reading Wrap Up

First reading wrap up of 2017! Wonderful to think I've completed 3 full years of reading wrap ups now!
Whilst it may not look like much from the photos, I managed to get an awful lot of reading done this month. However, most of it was on my Kindle so I don't really have a lot to show for it. 

I've read some excellent books this month and even gotten through a few that have been on my Kindle for months. I really seem to go through phases with using it. This year I've set my GoodReads challenge at 52 again and so far I am totally smashing it. If you'd like to join me on there you can add me as a friend here

The Next Together by Lauren James - This is a time travel love story kinda deal. Katherine and Matthew keep meeting each other throughout history, fall in love and then are separated through disaster. I heard another blogger talking about this and what really drew me in is that the characters are science students. It was really refreshing to see scientists represented as normal people - so often in the media the socially awkward stereotypes are rife! I really enjoyed this book and ended up giving it 5/5 stars.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

5 Years Of Blogging: A Giveaway

The 29th of January is my blog's 'birthday'. This year marks my 5 year anniversary of writing my first blog post (cringe city). It's a weirdly nostalgic day because whilst it doesn't seem like much, I really can't imagine what my life would be like if I'd never started my blog. Blogging has brought so many wonderful people and opportunities into my life that it's really weird to think about how different things would be without it. I've not done a giveaway in such a long time and my blogging birthday seems like a great time to give something back. I don't say it enough but I have some wonderful readers and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you and the comments you leave me.

I picked up a selection of things from a few shops that stood out to me. It's mainly a mixture of cute stationery and cruelty free/vegan beauty products. 

  • Postcard and post it note box from Paperchase.
  • Notepad from Tiger.
  • Cute motivational slogan pencils and pens. 
  • BarryM Gelly Hi-Shine nail varnish in Greenberry.
  • Nyx Extra Creamy Lipstick in Shade b52.
Entry to the giveaway is outlined in the Rafflecopter widget below. 

I'll be running the giveaway for a week and postage is UK and Ireland only. Winner will be contacted by email/Twitter and will have a week to respond before another winner is selected.

Good luck to everyone who enters. I've also launched a smaller giveaway on Twitter so come on over there are check out that giveaway in my pinned tweet here

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

University FAQ

Now that the UCAS deadline has come and gone (scary I know) students everywhere will be faced with the choice of where to accept and begin the process of applying for accommodation. I get questions about university a lot from readers (especially in the run up to September) so I've assembled my most frequently asked questions here in one handy place. Obviously everyone's university experience will be difference but it's useful to hear from as many people as possible.

What are you studying?

I'm currently studying the Masters of Chemistry with Industrial Experience degree program at the University of Edinburgh. 

It's a 5-year long undergraduate degree in which the 4th year is spent completing a year of work for a company.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday Spiel

It feels like months since I just sat down and wrote a blog post about what I've been up to. I used to write a little catch up every week as part of my Week In Photos series when I first started blogging. I really miss doing that and whilst I don't want to do it every week it's been far too long since I did something to that extent. Two months ago I found out that I would be moving to the US this year and I can't believe I haven't really spoken about it! So here's an old school ramble about what I've been up to.

Feel like I never post photos of myself on my blog anymore - so here's what I look like these days. 

I've hit the halfway mark of my 5-year degree which is both a relief and also totally terrifying. University is going well but as always it is extremely time-consuming. This is the first time in four years that I'm not working around academia after leaving my job at the pharmacy in September. I'm very lucky that I'm financially ok with doing this (read lucky as I've worked for a very long time so have the savings to do this). At first, it felt weird but I'm appreciating the free time that I have to commit to uni work instead.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

101 Things in 1001 Days - Round 2

One of my very first blog posts was my 101 Things in 1001 Days page. I loved writing this and enjoyed setting myself lots of challenges for the years to come. That run out a long time ago and I've finally gotten around to writing another. I took some inspiration from Becky who organises her goals by categories that will hopefully make it easier to keep track of things. I've set some pretty big goals (especially for travel) but I'm hopeful that I can complete as many of these goals as possible and if not at least have fun in the process! The next few years will be a big deal for me, I'll be moving abroad and graduating but it will be exciting!

Start date: 15th January 2017
End Date: 13th October 2019


1. Visit Washington, D.C.
2. Visit Chicago.
3. Visit New Haven.
4. Visit Philadelphia. 
5. Visit Germany.
6. Visit Prague.
7. Visit Belgium.
8. Visit Ireland. 
9. Visit London.
10. Visit York.
11. Visit 10 US states.
12. Visit Inverness.
13. Visit the Isle of Skye. 
14. Travel to a new continent.
15. Return to Boston.
16. Return to Toronto.
17. Take a train from one country to another (Scotland to England doesn't count).
18. Take a road trip with friends.
19. Try a really authentic, local dish that I wouldn't normally eat.
20. Write a blog post about my favourite places in New York.


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Humanities vs Sciences. Who Gives a Shit?

Recently I've read a lot of articles floating around on various student newspaper websites. The articles talk about the divide between humanities students and science students, normally arguing why one is intrinsically superior to the other. They are immature, bitchy and extremely closed minded. And I have a problem with them.

Pinning humanities students against science students is a waste of our time. It doesn't add any value and when we allow ourselves to believe that we are better than others it creates an inflated ego. Who wants that really?

Humanities students are fed up of being told that their degrees are useless and won't get them jobs.

Science students are fed up of being told we have no social skills, are boring and are in it for the money.

So why are we as students continuing to contribute to this weird ongoing fight about who is best?

I'm a big believer that you shouldn't have to tear down someone else's work to give value to your own. I'll fiercely defend my fellow scientists. If it wasn't for them you wouldn't be reading this blog post because computers, the internet etc wouldn't exist and you'd probably have died of cholera. But I can also respect the humanities and their importance in the quality of human life.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Huxley, Edinburgh

Do you ever walk past somewhere frequently but never go in? For me, that was The Huxley. Located in a beautiful building on the west end of Princes Street I always thought that it looked way out of my budget. Fortunately, I recently found out that it was much less expensive that I had thought and arranged to meet there for a mate date. As we walked in, we were really impressed by how beautiful the decor of the bar/restaurant was. Despite having an affordable menu The Huxley offers a more boutique dining experience and feels very classy. 

It took me so long to decide on what to order as the menu is so good! I literally would have been happy to eat anything off the list. In the end, I opted for the bbq wings as I wasn't sure I was hungry enough for a sandwich or a burger. Despite thinking I was going for a smaller option I really wasn't! The portion size was 10 wings so a pretty big serving! They were absolutely delicious. The meat was really tender and the seasoning/sauce was super tasty. The size makes a perfect main course with a side or would even be great to share between two as a starter. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

December Reading Wrap Up

Another year of reading has come to an end. I managed to scrape my goal of 52 books and finished the year on 53. December was, as always, a good reading month for me. I always try to finish as many books as possible before Christmas as I know I'll get a few new ones and want to read them straight away. After I finished my exams I spent a good few evenings cosied up with a book which was just what I needed!

My Blogging Secrets by Amber McNaught - Forever Amber is an amazing blog that I've been a fan of for a long time now. So when I saw that Amber has released a book I knew I wanted to read it a) just to support Amber and b) because I love reading books about blogging. I love Amber's writing style already and her book follows a similar chatty flow whilst not being afraid to discuss some harsh realities. I'd recommend it if you're a fan of Amber's blog but like most blogging books I don't think there's anything wildly new in here. 


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Most Popular Posts of 2016

My blog has changed a lot over the last year so I guess I have to start off by thanking those of you who have stuck around! This year I totally changed my blog design (which I love) and cut down considerably on the frequency of my blog posts. I used to love daily posting but the reality of daily posting is that it just isn't manageable around university so I cut back to posting once a week during the semester. A move for quality over quantity. 

One of the oddest things I've found about my blog is that it's always the posts I think are going to be amazing that crash and burn whilst the ones I think are just ok end up doing the best. I found it really interesting when I looked back at my most popular posts of the year as a lot of the time they were quite unexpected! 


In January I shared some goals that I wanted to complete before my 20th birthday. If I'm honest I thought I'd done terribly but now that I look back on the list I've actually completed a lot more than I thought I had done. I don't turn 20 until the 20th of January so I may be able to tick off a few more before then!


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Self-Confidence & Other Stories

Recently I went for a coffee date with another blogger. I met Anastasia from Nat Bees and we had some tea at Southpour, an old favourite of mine before we walked her dog through the meadows. We stopped in George Square, part of my university's campus, where I took some photos for Anastasia and she did the same for me.

And when I looked at the photos afterwards?

Well in all honestly I hate the way that I look in them.

And when I looked at them I said to myself 'it's fine I don't need to put them on my blog, no one needs to see me like this'.

But the thing is.

That's what I look like. That is my face. That is my hair. That's me. 

I don't think that I'd be being the sort of person that I wish to be if I didn't publish something because I think my hair is frizzy and that my roots are awful. Like everyone, I have good and bad days and sometimes I just have to roll with the punches. My appearance is often at the root of issues with my self-confidence. When I'm poking holes in my personality that's in a much darker frame of mind. 

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