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Sunshine in Stockbridge & Styling a Dungaree Dress


Blaady hell, Edinburgh - you are just so gosh darn pretty in the sunshine. Seriously, it's a beautiful city at any time, but when the sun is out, heart eyes all over the place you guys.

These photos were taken by my babe of a pal Louise after a tea and cake sesh with the gals on a recent weekend, whilst we were mooching around Stockbridge peeking in different shops and spending money on unnecessary items like £15 hand wash - Sean if you read this, it totally was not me that did that, and the new hand wash in the bathroom is a coincidence.


I was wearing one of my current fave outfits - I've wanted a dungaree dress for possibly about three years now and yet never got round to buying one, but this one was on sale in New Look for like a tenner and I snapped that bad boy right up. 

I'm also a bit into the whole socks and trainers look right now - it's so weird because even like last year, you wouldn't catch me in trainers AT ANY POINT. I don't think I even owned any apart from some super cheap ones that sat at the back of my wardrobe looking all sad. Now though, I'm obsessed  because hello, it's like a nice little holiday for poor abused feet. Plus you can totally jazz up some plain trainers with some shoe clips like these sweet lil pom-poms from Lindy Bop


Speaking of trainers - I'm very much looking for a jazzy new pair to wear to the gym, but I'm not really too sure what I should be looking for in terms of what brands are best etc etc...I tend to just get distracted by the pretty colours. Please give me all your recommendations?
  • Scottish Tapas at Auchrannie Resort's Eighteen69

    eighteen69 auchrannie
    eighteen69 restaurant arran

    So I mentioned in my post on our amazing stay at Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran that I'd be blogging about our meal at Eighteen69 separately, and I've finally got round to selecting the best photos to fully convey how amazing it was. Like, seriously guys - Sean and I both agreed that this was our favourite dinner out that we'd had in at least 3 years - we'd go back in a shot if it was a little closer, and probably will arrange another trip to Arran as soon as we can just so we can eat there again!

    edinburgh lifestyle blogger laurenella

    The Restaurant


    The short walk from the newer part of the hotel that we were staying in to the the glasshouse of the original house where Eighteen69 is located felt longer than usual as it was absolutely chucking it down, but the hotel lent us an umbrella and one of the waiters at the restaurant immediately took our coats and settled us down at one of the tables with a sampler of cocktails (yes, I may have drank about 2/3 of them, it's not my fault Sean is too slow!)

    A note about the service first - from the moment we walked in to the moment we left, we were never left waiting around for anything and all of our waiters/waitresses were SO friendly and happy to chat about the various dishes and what they recommended, which is very helpful when there's such a broad menu to choose from. 

    best restaurants in arran
    auchrannie resort restaurant
    restaurants in scotland review
    scottish food and travel blogger
    scottish tapas restaurant eighteen69

    A Selection of Scottish Tapas at Eighteen69:


    The whole ethos at Eighteen69 is all about sharing, so the menu is made up of freshly prepared little dishes of Scottish themed tapas, which come out as and when they're ready (and pretty much everything is locally sourced, which is a major bonus). 

    The menu is divided up for ease into cold and hot plates, with the hot plates separated again into vegetarian, meat, fish and side dishes. We were recommended to share around five dishes between the two of us to leave room for dessert, so we tried to opt for as broad a range as possible.

    From the cold plates, we opted for the Argyll Hot and Cold Smoked Salmon Platter, which was huge and served with chutney, salad and savoury scones as well as the two types of salmon, both of which tasted so fresh - nothing beats Scottish salmon!

    We decided that we obviously had to have some duck fat chips on the side, which were amazing - the perfect chunky chips, which went really well with the meatballs (Sean's pick) and the king scallops (my pick). Scallops can either be the most delicious thing ever, or completely average - and these were definitely the first option, especially served as they were with crispy pancetta and cauliflower puree. 

    The star of the show though, was the Mac & Arran Black, which is mac and cheese made with Arran cheddar, black pudding and bacon crumb - oh my goodness. I could have eaten vats of this stuff, and I'm pretty certain I was scraping every last bit out of the pot by the end. I need to try and recreate this at home, but I'm certain it won't turn out nearly as good!

    auchrannie resort isle of arran

    The Dessert:


    We were pretty full at this point, but we didn't want to NOT try the dessert menu, so we thought a safe option would be to try the sampler of three of the desserts between the two of us. Of course, when the dessert came out it turned out each sample was practically the size of a full dessert anywhere else, but we rallied ourselves and managed to scoff almost every bite! 

    The brownie and honeycomb disappeared the quickest (the honeycomb was perfectly sweet and chewy, and there was a huge slab of it in the bowl - result!) but Sean and I were divided on the remaining two, with Sean preferring the cheesecake-esque option, whilst I was completely in love with the gorgeous elderflower pannacotta.

    Would I Go Again?


    Um, yes. Absolutely, no question about it - I would pay the 40 odd quid for a ferry over to Arran JUST to return to Eighteen69 on a special occasion. Sean still reminisces over the food now - it really was so impressive, the flavours were amazing, the dishes were innovative and the locally sourced ingredients were so tasty. Plus the surroundings feel really special, and it's lovely to finish your dinner and then head into the lounge next door to sit by the fire with a glass of wine or a whisky. If you go to Arran, even if you don't stay at Auchrannie - book to visit Eighteen69, you won't regret it! 

    The restaurant is open Thursday through Monday from 5:30pm to 9:30pm and they do recommend that you book in advance, which you can do online

    *We were invited to enjoy a complimentary dinner at Eighteen69 as part of our stay at Auchrannie, but all gushing is my own! I'm getting hungry again just thinking about that mac and cheese...

  • Giving Life to My Dull Hair WITHOUT Cutting It at Austen Thomson Hair, Edinburgh

    Austen Thomson Hair Edinburgh

    My Hair History

    I've had a LOT of different hairstyles over the years. Even just in the course of having this blog, I've had a bob, I've tried hair extensions, I've had a fringe and ombre hair, I've been blonde...I've been blonder. The list goes on! Pre-blog, I had bright red hair, I had sort of purplish ends in my hair, I even had those awful tiger stripe blonde/orange highlights. Safe to say - I like to change my hair up a lot.

    My hair is currently at the longest length that historically I've let it get to before I've got bored and chopped it off. I tend to find that at this length it starts to look a bit limp and lifeless, it gets knotty and ratty looking and I just can't be bothered anymore and lop it off. NOT THIS YEAR. I'm getting married in October, and I know that I want to have my hair up with lots of volume and pretty plaits, which means that cutting it into a bob right now would be the worst possible decision. 

    I can't dye it either, because Sean (and my mum, and Sean's mum...and me I guess) would like me to have my natural hair colour for the wedding photos, rather than something that I'll get bored of in a year and then never have ever again in the course of my entire lifetime. 

    So I figured I was pretty much doomed...until, enter Austen Thomson Hair in Leith!

    Austen Thomson Hair Leith
    Hairdressers in Edinburgh

    LEARNING HOW TO DO A GOOD BLOWDRY AT AUSTEN THOMSON HAIR:

    After I had a good chat (maybe more of a rant) to the LOVELY hairstylist Lauren, who greeted me when I walked through the door, she suggested that maybe I'd be a bit happier with keeping my hair pretty much exactly how it is for the next few months if I spent a teeny bit of time properly drying and styling it, rather than just tugging a brush through it and chucking it up in a ponytail.

    I'd always thought that it would be too much of a hassle to do this in the mornings if I was in a rush to get out of the door, but I was persuaded by the promise of a few tips and tricks that would cut this right down.

    THE TIPS:

    1. I was told that I should change up my shampoo and conditioner, and use the sort of brands that are used in hair salons, not just whatever's on offer in Boots that day. (I have now done this, and can confirm that I can notice a difference in the condition of my hair!) 
    2. Lauren also recommended that I start taking the time to do some hair masks or hair treatments on a more regular basis, to keep the ends of my hair in better condition - let me know if any of you guys have a must have product I should try!
    3. To cut down on the amount of time that I would spend styling my hair, the next recommendation was to blast my hair upside down until it's about 90% dry, which would add volume even before styling.
    4. The last 10% required my nemesis - a round brush, but I've found that now that I wait until my hair is almost dry before doing this bit, it's much easier to do.
    5. To add a bit of texture without weighing my fine hair down with loads of products, Lauren suggested splitting my hair into sections and just tonging the bottoms to add a slight wave, using only a dry shampoo and a non-crispy hairspray so that it stayed looking and feeling very natural.

    Scottish beauty blogger
    Scottish lifestyle blogger

    Voila - an easy, quick-ish way of making my hair look like I actually put some effort in, rather than just leave it to do whatever it wants on a daily basis. 

    Since my visit, I've been putting into practice some of the tips that I was given and I've definitely been noticing a difference - I don't tend to find knots in my hair so much by the end of the day and Sean has even commented that my hair has been looking nice - an accomplishment indeed from someone who once took an entire day to notice that I'd added extra furniture to the living room.

    A blowdry at Austen Thomson Hair costs between £35 and £50 and is a great experience with lots of advice on products and technique, plus a bloody marvellous head massage thrown in for good measure. I reckon I might have to pop back on my birthday as a bit of a treat and I'll also definitely be heading back for my first haircut after the wedding - maybe I'll go short, or maybe by then I'll be so enamoured by longer hair that I'll only be after a bit of a trim!

    The atmosphere in the salon is fab, with great music being played, cool decor and friendly, chatty hairstylists offering teas and coffees pretty much as soon as you've sat down. If you're looking for a hairdressers in Edinburgh and haven't found one you like yet, I'd definitely suggest giving AT a try - they were just shortlisted for Scottish Salon of the Year at the HAIR Magazine Awards, so you know it's not just me who thinks it'd be worth your while!

    *My visit to Austen Thomson Hair was complimentary for review purposes, but as always all opinions are very much my own - and I came away with products that I paid for myself because I was so persuaded! (Much to Sean's annoyance...)