Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Edinburgh Fringe Food Tour


 Don't get me wrong, I do love the Edinburgh Fringe festival... however after a month of not being able to walk anywhere without a flyer-er trying to make me go to a free show, join a circus troupe and buy some organic leggings made by new-age vegan monks, I am welcoming life after the Fringe.

There is one thing I am really going to miss though. The one thing that made venturing out worthwhile was the abundance of amazing food trucks. Oh my goodness, the smells as you walk into town! I think if they were there all year I would never make it to a lecture; I would just steadily become distracted and drift from cuisine to cuisine. Mmmmm. Anyway, last week as the Fringe drew to a close we decided to do a little tour of all the amazing trucks and we think we found our favourites. Get ready to feel jealous.
My ultimate favourite was the Jingle Bus. Oh my goodness those pakora wraps are to die for. I would never had ordered a pakora wrap as a treat but word of mouth really did it for this company and it wasn't long before I was hearing everyone rave about their wares. I'm really interested in trying to recreate these but I haven't really been able to find any recipes that have a similar texture; everything I've found seems very bhaji-ish whereas these were a lot softer. If anyone has any suggestions please pass them on!
 The favourite of the boys (for those who don't know, I live in a 'New Girl' kind of set up... it's awesome) seemed to be Dumplings and Wings. It's pretty explanatory what they sell but boy were they good. The wings with Bourbon sauce may very well be the best thing on at the Fringe this year.
 Awww look at them all waiting patiently. Love em.

The only reason why this stand wasn't my favourite was that wings are ridiculous to eat in public. We sat down with our inviting boxes filled with sticky treats and within minutes our entire faces were covered with the stuff. I was more coated than the chicken. This is a food that's just impossible to eat outside with any dignity at all. However... this might just be me, everyone else seemed to fare a little better along the clean-feral continuum while I struggled and somehow managed to get the marinade in my hair (how!?). Meh,  maybe it's just me.
Last but by no means least their dumplings were sublime. I've never had street food dumplings before but they were soooo good! Also they were pretty small so they were perfect for having a taster from one stall but still being able to try other things. 

Oh food vans, I will miss you so. My jeans however will not. Get ready for healthy food posts, you guys!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Dino snores- A sleepover at the Natural History Museum

You know that rare moment you get when, while experiencing something you suddenly realise that you are forming a precious memory? This. This Friday me and George had this almost constantly when we went to a sleepover at the Natural History Museum.

When I asked George what kind of present he wanted for his 21st he said an experience. For my 21st he had bought me tickets to the Ballet in Vienna at Christmas time (ie when Vienna is at it's Christmas-marketty best) and so I knew I had to do pretty well here. Cue frantic researching. Finally I found the coolest thing. Dinosnores for adults- a sleepover at the Natural History museum with an amazing three course meal and activities all night. I was sold. We were excited!

We arrived at 6:30 to find a spot in the hall to sleep in. This was such a fun beginning! When we arrived the museum was all shut up so there was a guard on the closed gate, as went up to him and nervously asked about Dinosnores he swung open the massive doors to let us in. It felt like such a little special secret world!
 If you get a chance to go to this event, do it! One of the most wonderful things about it was just how organised it was. As we arrived we were given a little time to settle in and get a free drink and then from that point onwards we just had a plethora of fun things to do. We had an amazing meal, a gin tasting, a stand up comedy show (which was about frogs, so naturally I was a little skeptical, but it was actually hilarious), and then a lecture about the sex lives of insects. After that we were set free in the museum to wander where ever we pleased. If this wasn't exciting enough they also gave us a treasure hunt to do if we wanted. I repeat, a treasure hunt. It was amaze-balls.
 I had so many little favourite moments of the night which just felt magical so I thought I'd make a list so I never ever forget.


  • WE WERE PRACTICALLY ALONE AT NIGHT IN THE FREAKIN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM! That's sooooo cool! There was about half an hour where me and George were the only people in the Dinosaur exhibit. You know that hellish room with kids screaming and yelling where you can't actually really see anything because of all the crowds? Yeah that one. Complete blissful silence. 
  • I've never seen anything cooler than the shadows of dinosaurs on walls in a completely eerie, silent room. 
  • It's pretty cool to walk around a museum with a beer. Alcohol in places you're not usually allowed alcohol is a strangely wonderful thrill. 
  • At 3am when everyone was getting sleepy they handed out a load of floor pillows and put Jurassic Park on a projector. It felt all kinds of wonderful.
  • Running from exhibit to exhibit trying to find answers to the treasure hunt made everyone look like a little kid on a school trip. 
  • After watching Jurassic park we found our way back to the main hall. All the lights had been turned off in the corridors and so me and George walked along hand in hand guided by our phones. At one point we looked up and the beam of light just passed over this giant turtle which was suspended from the ceiling. It was just so magical to have all these amazing artefacts just there in the dark, waiting to be seen.  

 One of my favourite things was that as we fell asleep there was a harpist playing for us. I adore harp music, it puts me in a weird meditative trance which just completely made my night the most magical it could possibly be.
In short, if  you can go to Dinosnores, go to Dinosnores.

Friday, 14 August 2015

DIY Hair Dryer Caddy


 I'm a really messy person, especially when it comes to rooms. If you gave me an Olympic stadium I would still find a way to make it look cluttered. I don't like this about myself but for quite a while I've just shrugged it off as being something unavoidable about my nature. It's just who I am. This has kind of changed now I'm living with George because, while I was ok to live in my own mess I really don't want to inflict it upon others. Cue operation tidy up.

My thought process is this; I am a messy person, I accept that, so I am trying to find way to make my messiness not look messy without changing my habits too much. For example, I am really guilty of wearing clothes and then just dropping them around the place or balling them up. Solution! I have bought some cloth bins which fit inside the bottom of my wardrobe- I can still ball up my clothes and dump them but now they are contained and hidden. It's kind of working, too!

One big messiness issue was my hair stuff, I would start off with good intentions and have a shelf for all my hair paraphernalia but in about a week it would just be laying on the floor surrounding my mirror (where I sit cross legged to do my hair). My solution was to create some storage which was movable and floor friendly. It's essentially an Ikea hack because I used the Lantliv plant mover but if you don't need the wheels you could just use a board or flat plate.
You will need:
A PVC pipe wide enough to holster your hair dryer
A saw
Some masking tape
A ruler
A permanent marker
Sandpaper
Superglue
A Lantliv plant mover from Ikea or something similar.
1. With your pen mark on your pipe the length you would like your pot to be. Make sure your hairdryer and brushes fit.
2. Continue marking all the way round until you have a dashed line.
3. Join up the dashes with masking tape so you have a clear cutting boundary.
4. Cut your pipe using the saw.
5.Cut pipes at different lengths.
6. Sand off the tops of your pipes
7. Position your pipes on the Lantliv to work out the positioning you want.
8. Start  gluing the pipes down. I started with the little pipe in front, waited for that to dry and then positioned the others around it so I had a stable anchor.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Red Door Gallery

As soon as me and George moved in we recognised a very clear problem; neither his previous decor nor mine was going to work in a shared room. In his uni room he had a few maps and club posters on his wall and while I thought they were kind of cool I wouldn't have chosen them for myself. Last year I covered my room with Disney posters and fairy lights and while I really loved this look for myself I wanted our room to feel like ours rather than my room which we were both living in.

Cue decorating weekend! On Wednesday we skipped off to Ikea to buy gender neutral bedding (surprisingly difficult to find without being mind numbingly boring) and storage and shortly after we set out to buy some art. Edinburgh is amazing for art shops and so I'm sure I will we sharing a few more favourites but our new stand out is Red Door in Grassmarket. Oh my goodness we loved everything! We ended up buying a couple of things and adding many many things to our wishlists.
I thought I would share some of my favourites below. If you have time and you're in Edinburgh check it out!!!
Also, before moving in I found it surprisingly difficult to find any blog posts or advice on decorating a room together. Any posts were either about decorating a shared bedroom for children or just creating a pretty drab neutral adult room. Has anyone else had this problem? I feel a blog series coming on!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

09/08/15 This week


This week has been soooooo exciting! I moved back up to Edinburgh for the Fringe and OMGBIGNEWSALERT George has moved up too! After nearly seven years together we are finally living together for the first time. It's all a bit readjusty at the moment but we survived the obligatory couples' Ikea trip so I think we're going to be ok. 

I shall leave you in the trusty hands of this week's instagram highlights while we go and work out whose job it is to do the washing. Byeeeeeee

Friday, 31 July 2015

An Apology

I recently posted a series of photos of myself wearing a Native American style headdress that I was sent to review. I jumped at the opportunity to review such an item because I really love the way they look. I'm afraid that is all the thought I gave to the issue. The idea of cultural misappropriation just didn't cross my mind at all. Sure, I'd cringed at the images of 'white girls' at coachella wearing such items but I think to be honest this was more about their attempts to be edgy than the fact they were misappropriating cultural items. I just didn't relate this, or in fact any offence, with my portrayal of a piece like this as I knew that I would be representing the piece artfully and in a cool way. 

I got my first comment from a reader and was a little shocked. I feel guilty for using ignorance as an excuse but I was ignorant of the amount of offence that could be caused here. I talked to a number of my friends about this issue and a number of us agreed that Native American culture just hasn't really permeated into the UK awareness. In fact I would argue (and this is just myself as I'm sure many Brits have sought to become a great deal more informed than I have) that the only things I learnt about the Native American culture was their aesthetics; I remember making these headdresses at school and so I had never registered them as something that could cause offence. 

In response to this comment I really considered my views on the topic. I will paste the comment below because I think it sums up what I really feel on the topic. 

Hi, 
I'm really sorry this post made you uncomfortable of course it wasn't my intention to do so. 

I read through those articles and found them really thought provoking. I agree with you (and the authors) that cultural misappropriation can be an incredibly uncomfortable thing when it is accompanied with a view of 'dressing up AS that culture'. 

Personally, though I firmly believe in anyone's right to disagree with this, I think that aesthetic items of culture can trickle into the fashion world without being accompanied by the entirety of the history and issues surrounding that culture. For instance I have a kimono and love it. I feel that I am allowed to love it as a piece of fashion rather than a cultural item and I don't feel any guilt in admiring it without knowing the particular area of Japan that this style is worn, or the atrocities or history of violence that this item could potentially represent. Although this might be an unpopular opinion I firmly believe that you are allowed to judge an item which may have a significant meaning to some, on purely aesthetic grounds. 
EDIT Marianne pointed out really well in the comments why this is an inaccurate analogy. I hope you'll read her comment because it's really well said. 

The focus of my blog is to celebrate the beauty of things in a positive and happy way. If I am representing a culture here, which was certainly not my intent, (I believe you can refer to an item by a country purely referentially so I think it is as acceptable to call this fashion item a Native American headdress as it is to call a hairstyle a French Braid) I do not believe I have done so negatively. My concern was only to represent an item I found beautiful, beautifully. 

I hope you can see from reading my blog that I am a respectful person who would not intend to cause offence in any way. I have really sat and considered my views on this topic and I feel comfortable with expressing my conclusions even if I know these may not be shared by others.

Ally

So. I do believe this. However on reflection I can only conclude that I believe this because of lack of understanding or proximity to the topic. I chose to take the post down. I truly want all my readers to know that I did this because I am hugely concerned about upsetting people. I hate the idea that people may be offended by my actions, that makes me feel awful and so I can only imagine how those who feel close to the topic may feel in response. 

To all those who felt hurt or offended by this post I am truly sorry. I would like to share a number of the articles shared by one of my readers in the previous post as I wouldn't like them to get lost in the process of deleting the post. I recommend them wholeheartedly and I can honestly say that they opened my eyes to a phenomena an view I wasn't aware existed. If anyone would like to share further articles on the topic please feel free to in the comments. 

http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html
http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/jul/30/why-the-fashion-headdress-must-be-stopped
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/advice/a38218/native-american-headdress-music-festival/

Saturday, 25 July 2015

26/07/15 This Week


I need to address the elephant in the room. I really didn't intend to take a year off blogging. I guess it just kind of happened. I think it was down to two reasons. 

1. My new room had basically no natural light. I was really hard to get engaged with creating content in any way when I knew I wouldn't be able to look good. A couple of times I contemplated going out onto the pavement to photograph things but fear got the best of me. Luckily this coming year I'm in a new room with lots of amazing natural light. 

2. I'm really really happy! The year before last I was in a situation where I was just generally quite low and so blogging was something I did to escape and it felt really good to have a rigid schedule to stick to. However, because my living situation wasn't wonderful I wasn't doing too much extra curricular stuff and so I allowed (and welcomed) blogging taking up a huge amount of my time. Suddenly when I found myself in a great environment this year I realised that this was time I wanted to spend getting to know my new friends and doing really fun things. I completely loved this year but I have missed blogging now I'm more settled into a regular routine. So... I'm coming back to it. 

So basically expect lots more DIY, lifestyle and generally happy content. Yay!
Talking of happy content, I was talking to my Mum a while ago and she told me that she has started a new type of 'happiness meditation' which I just loved the sound of. At the end of every day you have to list three things that made you happy that day. Sometimes it's really easy and sometimes it's really hard but you always have to do it. The idea is that by getting into a habit of searching and recognising small details in the day retrospectively you will eventually train yourself to recognise the happy things at the time. I love this idea and I've been trying to do it a lot more. I thought I would share some every now and then. 

Anyway. I'M BACK, BABY!