Friday 30 January 2015

Family Addition | Nikon DSLR 3200

Hello everyone, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to our homes latest technological addition because she will be featuring a great deal on this little space here, introducing my new and improved camera, the Nikon DSLR 3200.

 As you guys probably figured I'm not much of a photography whiz, especially if some of the pictures on this blog as of late are anything to go on, truth be told I didn't have a camera whatsoever, with my good old digis having been claimed by natural disasters (in this case clumsiness) I have since been making use of my trusty iPhone 4 and iPad, both of which have worked wonders in keeping up to date with all of you guys, making blogging on the go that much easier and of course reading all about you and keeping up with your wonderful blogging spaces, and of course they will continue to serve these purposes.

It wasn't a spur of the moment decision by all means and I'm not at all implying that you need high quality images on a blog in order to gain readers or be successful in your chosen niche, equipped with a good quality writing style and blogging know how you really can achieve anything, this really has been more about personal preference and a desire to improve upon a much loved skill. With traveling and many many life events on the horizon for the coming year it only seemed natural that I am able to document them on something other than a fuzzy wee screen which has been tried and tested memory wise.

Now when I'm going to spend a great deal of money on something I like to weigh up my options, review, research and discuss every little thing with my family just to ensure I am making the right decision. For example I am a big believer in reviews, and sad as it sounds if I see a product, place or restaruant with one negative review on a reputable site I tend to write them off immediately (especially if a holiday is concerned - shopping for our upcoming Paris hotel was certainly a process I can tell you!)

Nikon DSLR 3200 Features
Having read a lot of reviews on this camera before buying it I found out that it is one of the best entry level DSLR cameras for beginners and admittedly I am a novice. Previously I had taken a photography module in college but it has literally not served me at all in the real world (it revolved around old school film cameras and dark rooms,  not enjoyable I tell you) But the reviews for this camera seemed seriously impressive and the features sounded ideal for my purposes, mainly traveling, documenting memories and of course blogging.

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • Auto focus and Manual options
  • 9 point auto focus
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 4 self timer options
  • Max pic resolution 6016x4000p
  • Video mode with sound
  • Wide range of effects and exposure modes

Granted this camera will definitely take some playing around with before I am completely comfortable in shooting with ease but I'm looking forward to toddling along and figuring it out. I'd quite like to build up  a collection of what I call 'investment pieces' this year....step two...designer handbag (maybe) But of course I am looking forward to getting some beautiful shots when we go to Paris this coming May and Tuscany in August  (if weather and my skill set by that time permits) and who knows what in between!

This was really just to introduce you to my new investment piece and the equipment that will hopefully help me blog more efficiently and I do hope you notice a more positive change in the next few months! Of course if any of you have any pointers for handling this type of camera I'm all ears, I always think guides from real people are far better than the written ones especially since you've been sitting playing about with settings and it's really all about what makes you feel comfortable. If you do have any suggestions or just want to say something about this type of camera in general be sure to drop me a comment below, come share your words of wisdom with me on Twitter, or if you'd like to see more from me and this blog be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, head's buried in the instruction manual.

H.Elizabeth xx

Thursday 29 January 2015

Granite City Fitness | Aberdeen's Reebok FitHub

Hello everyone I hope you’re all well and not too bummed out by my last slightly ranty post, I promise today brings a bit more excitement and positivity! Today, as I'm sure you'll notice is not a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday but I just wanted to give you a quick little life update on an exciting event coming to Aberdeen this weekend that was brought to my attention by Reebok only a few days ago and as a newly bona fide fitness freak I’m really looking forward to attending.
This Saturday (the 31stof January) Reebok are launching their first ever FitHub at Aberdeen’s DW Sports centre at the beach boulevard, where they will be hosting fitness challenges (to win yourself a goody bag), fitness demonstrations, advice on training and nutrition and an exclusive competition to win a pair of Reebok trainers. As well as all of the exciting fitness events of the day Reebok will be showcasing their SS15 collection specifically designed with the new generation of fitness bunnies in mind. Thankfully I have once again been able to press gang my friend, Jade to join me in this event and we are both very excited to get our fit on!
The FitHubs are part of Reebok’s overall aim to empower more people to live fuller fitter lives, whether your thing is running, CrossFit or Yoga Reebok are looking to bring as many gym bunnies as possible together to experience fitness in a way that is different, challenging and rewarding.
I’m really looking forward to sharing how the day goes with all of you, so be sure to watch this space for what I experience, learn and hopefully take away from the day (both physically and mentally) If you have ever taken part in anything similar to this be sure to share your experiences with me in the comments below or of course if you’d just like a catch up to see how it is going or has gone you can catch me on Twitter and as always you can follow me on Bloglovin.
Until next time folks, off to get sweaty!
H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Gender Stereotyping | Sexism in the Gym

Today I want to talk to you about something that happened to me quite recently, something a little different to the cheery reviews, antics and adventures you'll be used to seeing on Granite City Girl but I'm sure this will unfortunately be relatable to some or maybe even all of you and it's something I would really like to get off my chest before I explode into a big bundle of frizzy ginger rage one of these days! Granted that what I am about to vent about is indeed not the pivotal point of sexism in the world, the UK or even Aberdeen but it's an inequality I would like to share with you today from the depths of sexism and the relationship it shares with personal fitness in the gymnasium.

Not to toot my own horn but I take pride in my personal fitness, I eat relatively healthily, visit my local gym 3 times a week and walk at every opportunity I get and yes despite what I am about to share with you this will long continue. So where do I go from here? Well personally I have ventured out into lifting weights at the gym, nothing major but I'd really like to build up my strength and tone up a bit for summer (cliche I realise this) and that's when it all started.

My local Pure gym are not known for having an abundance of weight lifting equipment but I can guarantee there are at least two of everything in the one closest to me, so I just don't understand the recent phenomena sweeping the males (in particular) in attendance at my local where they choose to stand, stare, sneer, shuffle and generally share my personal space when I'm trying to get a workout in. I'm not sure if it's down to sheer lack of manners driven by their parents neglectful tendencies which has caused them to think that this sort of thing is acceptable behaviour, but today I'm just going to tell you that no, it is not okay.

In fact in terms of 'gymnasium etiquette' it is the furthest thing from okay. I only noticed it from a couple of incidences, when I sit down ready to rock (yes, rock) the weightlifting apparatus and suddenly a figure appears before me  quite obviously waiting for me to leave, and maybe, just maybe they reckon if they stare at me long enough and make me uncomfortable enough then I will just give up and leave. But those incidences are not even the ones which prompted me to write this incredibly angry and ranty (apologies) post today. Instead this was prompted by two boys, obviously gym buddies, who appeared at my side and started chatting about me, my weight lifting ability and apparently lack of drive, stamina or determination because and I quote 'I'm just a girl.'

Now I won't bore you with the intense details of their incredibly offensive and down right sexist dialogue that actually prompted me not only to leave the weight lifting equipment for the evening, but to actually leave the gym, it isn't any wonder statistics have shown girls and women are less likely to take part in sports or fitness related activities if this is the type of behaviour we are to expect in the gym. As you can probably guess this exchange angered me at first but then made me feel incredibly self conscious approaching any equipment that wasn't 'for girls' and that's when it really started to feel ridiculous and made me really get thinking about gender. Pre school gender stereotypes seem to stick with us from pink prams for girls and action men for boys, all the way through school, college and now our local gym?! Steppers and cross trainers for girls, press bench for boys?! This is ridiculous, why not take this a step further and start a colour coding system?

Since that perception altering day I have rebuilt my confidence with weight at home then been back to the gym and indeed started weight lifting publicly again, despite similar incidents happening every second day I go it seems, but I persevere and on a couple of occassions have proceeded to point out alternative equipment these ignorant people can use which achieves the same effect, much to my amusement and their embarrassment.

Just as a message out there to all of the individuals who condone this behaviour, think there is nothing wrong with it or indeed believe weight lifting is not for women and girls, if you proceed to par take in this activity, lacking in manners and etiquette, I can guarantee if the lady on that converging press is anything like me she will take longer, maybe even get out her phone, take increased amounts of water breaks and generally stall until you shift your body and your attitude.

Have you ladies (or indeed gents) ever faced the same issue? Or perhaps you've faced a similar problem in your local gym or just in the world in general, I'd love to share a rant with you! Be sure to share your experiences in the comments below, come chat with me about it on Twitter or of course if you love rants like these, enjoy the occasional review and life related posts be sure to follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin!

Until next time folks, I'll be the one taking my sweet time on the weight machines!

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 25 January 2015

Having and Giving and Sharing and Recieving | Lush Recyling Scheme

It finally happened! Throughout the last year I have been loving Lush and since losing my Lush virginity all the way back in February last year with my 'Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser' and I'm pleased to today report that I have accumulated enough empty Lush pots to take part in their recycling scheme. I say I have only just managed this, truth be told I actually have 8 pots at home!

For those of you who have never been or are unfamiliar with the Lush recycling scheme (where have you been one may ask?!) it is basically a 'you scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours' which has economical (for Lush), environmental (for the world, obviously) and of course consumer (us) benefits. Lush ask that you collect and wash out any of your little black pots which have the wee recycling symbol on them and when you have 5 of them, take them back to your local store where they will exchange them for a free fresh face mask. The pots are then transported back to their production warehouse in Poole I believe, where they are then cleaned out thoroughly and reused for the next person to take home and love. Lush are working towards a closed loop system whereby they no longer have to produce their little black pots due to their durability and re-usability and of course by relying on the loyalty of their customers - and honestly who wouldn't be opting into their scheme?

Anyway, moving along from the techy techy environmentalist side of things, today I thought I would share with you which 5 pots I shall be trading in, alongside a mini review of what I thought of each product and finally what I shall be trading them in for.

Enzymion Moisturiser (x2)
My skincare savior! Following a horrendous experience with a rather thick (such as concrete) MAC foundation I wanted to use something a bit more natural and less chemically on my skin, and my usual moisturiser (Nivea) just wasn't cutting it! The consistency of this moisturiser is quite runny and can drip off your face if you use too much, but it smells lovely. I wouldn't say it leaves your skin feeling amazing or soft right away but give it a week and your dry, dull skin will have cleared entirely! You can read my full review for the Enzymion Moisturiser here.

Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser
You can see my full review of this cleanser here, but as you'll know if you've already read it, this helped to soften my skin and clear any and all blemishes I had. Although I had originally gone in the day I bought this for a cleanser that would also remove eye make-up (which this obviously doesn't and wouldn't) I still fell in love with it. The smell is lovely (if like me you are a fan of lavender) and the consistency is great too. A little of this goes a long way, it'll last you for weeks as long as you use it sparingly which I do!

Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Mask
I had a bit of a love hate relationship with this mask, while I loved the scent and the feeling it left on my skin it was incredibly flaky and the chunks of berry kept falling off of my face and into my tea! Because this was kept in the fridge it was quite hard to get out of the tub and onto my face and often flaked while it was drying so messy messy! I totally agree with the synopsis on their site however it is a very calming and soothing mask but I would not recommend if you are looking for something low maintenance!

Love Lettuce Face Mask
Fresh, fresh, fresh, is all I can say about this face mask. What I love about Lush's Fresh Face Masks is that because they are kept in the fridge to prolong their goodness, every time you put them on your face it is like getting a huge breath of fresh air, but maybe that's just me who enjoys a cold compress. Another thing I loved about this mask was the grainy quality meant you were not only moisturising (and cooling) your skin, but when you wash it off you're exfoliating too, which is why I would only recommend you use this one once or twice a week max. The smell is divine too, I believe it's a mix between honey, almond and lavender all of which I love. This is one I'll definitely be repurchasing in the future.

For all of these empty pots I can treat myself to one of their fresh face masks again, and I'm going to try and go for something different this time which of course is still good for dry skin as I'm still a bit of a sufferer, especially with Aberdeen having now joined the rest of the UK in the cold weather slump! At the moment I have been swithering between their Oatifix mask which sounds like a dream for dry skin or their BB Seaweed, because it looks and sounds so fresh. Do let me know your thoughts on what I should treat myself to in the comments below or of course any Lush products you yourself have been loving lately, I'd love to hear from you! As always you can catch me on Twitter or if you'd like to see more reviews, ramblings and rambunctious goings on you can follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin

Until next time folks, getting fresh!
H.Elizabeth xx

Friday 23 January 2015

Girls Day Out | Cari & Co Victorian Tea Room

Throwing a curveball into the mix today and stepping away from all of the healthy themed posts we have all been loving lately I wanted to share another one of my most recent Granite City outings with you, in the form of another girly day out. Now I must apologise because when I say recent, I'm talking the start of December! Sorry guys the time just seemed to escape from me, especially with Christmas and New Year, but onwards we march into 2015 and with a new Granite City high tea review!

Now I love a good bargain (and cuppa) as much as the next girl / human being out there, in fact saying goodbye to my student discount earlier this year was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do (I still wince paying for full priced items in Topshop) so when I heard this cutesy little tearoom in Aberdeen's West End (posh district) had placed an offer on the 'itison'' website (much like Groupon) I was ON IT and I've got to tell you I think we're on to a winner here! 

Cari & Co Victorian Tearoom

For the cheap and cheerful price of £16 my friend and I were treated to a three course afternoon tea in a very Victorian, vintage setting in Aberdeen's lovely West End, and yes I would even go as far as to say it has been added to my list of hidden Aberdeen gems. The tearoom has to be one of my favourite finds of the year, I always find myself pining over all of the beautiful afternoon tea venues I see fellow bloggers and tweeters posting on the regular and have even started collating a diary list of 'tea venues to visit' in the various UK cities, does anybody else do this? But I must admit, I felt a little victory at finding my very own one in my home city, and I'm so pleased that today I get to share my experience with you.

Our high tea at Cari and Co was served in true vintage fashion with beautiful cake stands, cutesy cutlery and rare antiquities galore we were treated to a sparkling raspberry rose fizzy beverage by what can only be described as one of the loveliest and most attentive women I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, I think she is the owner as she took great pride in the store, a trait which I always find so lovely and inspiring in a business owner! Everything had a unique feel, from the individual sets of tables and chairs right down to the cups and saucers, detective inspector Monk has nothing on this immaculate tearoom, it can only be truly described by one word and that is stylish.

Treated to a starter of ham with onion chutney sandwiches as well as chicken and cranberry (chutney and cranberry are two of my favourite condiments!) which unfortunately we didn't get a picture of since we demolished them so quickly, we were swiftly on to our next course of scones with cream and jam which were divine! Just as a side note, the Great British debacle of cream or jam first, can anybody settle this for me? I believe I alternate every time I am treated to a scone just to see if there really is a difference to no avail.You'd think that after being treated to all of this we'd be well and truly stuffed, and you're right but our treats did not end there, oh no sir! We were then presented with a bowl of sweety yummy in the form of a lavish cupcake and cream filled meringue, both of which were like nothing I have ever tasted in my life! Then of course in true vintage style we commemorated the end of our fine dining experience (and our ability to stuff our faces spectacularly) with a cup of peppermint tea.


It must be love, love, love, honestly if I had a car of my own (or a licence for that matter) I would probably be right there stuffing my face every weekend. This is one I'll be keeping up my sleeve for special occassions and birthdays and you know any which way and excuse I can use to stuff my face with cake, scones and delicious teas. For those of you out there who are perhaps not local to Aberdeen this is a gem I highly recommend you come and try, although it may be a little bit out of your way but if like me you're a bona fide tea taster you'll not regret the journey!

As usual I love hearing from you lovely lot so be sure to leave me a comment below, I'm always out and about and I would love to hear if you have any similar spectacular tea rooms in your respective cities, you can come share these with me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City antics and adventures be sure to come find me on Bloglovin

Until next time folks, I'll be pining over tea and scones!

H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Granite City Girl's First Blogiversary!

Hello everyone! So as some of you may know today marks the Granite City Girl blog's first birthday or blogiversary as some like to call it. I really wracked my brains for something spectacular to do to commemorate this special occasion, I thought of doing my first ever giveaway, I thought of sharing my own birthday pictures from the past 21 years for something a little different and I even thought of video logging the day - unfortunately this is something I am not quite ready for but stay tuned, you never know! Being the understated lady that I so truly am I thought I would instead strip it all back and just share with you today what I feel this blog and you readers have given me in the past year since that fateful evening that I sat on my bed and began drafting my first ever blog post!

First of all I just have to say how much I love blogging (if that wasn't already obvious I think something may be wrong) throughout the  last year it has been such a fun and creative outlet for me and has been such a great way to cope with the stresses of university and every day life and throughout has kept my passion for the written word, fashion, beauty and lifestyle alive.

I must just clarify, that as I have been attempting to get a bit healthier and eat a bit better I do not keep cakes and biscuits in the house, and any sweets we have belong to my partner and I am under strict instructions (from myself and will power) not to touch and therefore I treated myself to a celebratory lemon, as you can see (well lemon water) maybe next year we can have cake!

Blogging has given me a new perspective
Since I began blogging I have adopted a new perspective on life. I think the only way in which I can describe it is that I have become more perceptive and a bit more considerate of what I say, type and do in day to day life. It may not show on my blog but I think about things in much greater depth than I did previously (I wonder what this says about educational standards in the UK given that a blog has taught me more than I thought possible) This is in part thanks to the amazing blogging community who have opened my eyes to the wider world, to more opinions, perspectives and of course a whole plethora of new products for which I thank you all... my bank balance on the other hand damns you all!

Blogging has also given me an outlet for my passion
Writing has always been and continues to be my passion in life, if I did not have this blog to practice, proceed and progress with writing my all then I may burst! For me being able to sit in my home with a cup of tea and really get down to writing is one of the most therapeutic practices I have taken part in. Of course one day I do hope to weave this into my career one day, but isn't that every writers dream?

Blogging has allowed me to express my truest self
You'll notice a bit of a change in my posts over the last couple of months and if I'm completely honest I've gotten far more confident in my posts over the last little while. When I first started blogging I felt an intense pressure to keep up with the latest and greatest in the beauty industry and spend quite a lot of money on products I really didn't need and all and it was really just to keep up with other bloggers, and if I'm truly honest I wasn't happy with my writing then at all. Since then however I really feel like I have found my voice, and that doesn't mean blogging about the next beauty trend or up coming health fad, it just means writing about my own life, experiences and things I feel strongly about, and this is something I aim to continue with moving forward especially aiming to be less scared when it comes to expressing my opinions!

Finally Blogging has give me some damn organisation 
Before blogging my spare time was a mess, I'm talking endless amounts of TV, doughnuts and internet based procrastination (a part from the times I was studying or planning a wedding of course) but today my life has compartmentalized so well and I'm really enjoying the order, sad as that may sound to some! 

I just want to finish off by saying thank you very much to everyone who tunes in every week and comments on these little posts, I really didn't expect as much as I receive from blogging and here's to the next year and beyond on Granite City Girl.

Until next time folks, I'll still be here!

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 18 January 2015

Domestic Goddess | Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks

With my healthy eating going relatively well (for three weeks in a row, what an achievement) I thought it was high time I got back into my kitchen and began to experiment with some healthier snacks and sweet treats to stave off any hunger pangs, cravings and general sweet toothiness I get throughout my days and I thought what better way than some sweet and fruity flapjacks?

Following a general flapjack recipe I altered it slightly to make it a bit healthier and Granite City Girl friendly (by simply adding honey, apple and cinnamon) and with it having become my new health friendly snack I thought I would share it with you guys as part of my year of health and well-being. 

Shallow tin
Baking Parchment
Wooden Spoon

115g Margarine 
75g Brown Sugar
250g Rolled Oats
4 tbsp Honey (add or take away depending on how gooey you like them)
1.5 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Apples

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, grease and line your shallow tin with baking parchment ready for your mixture.
  2. Add the butter, sugar and honey to a pan and place over medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat and add your rolled oats and ground cinnamon. Grate your apples, skin on or off, entirely your choice and add this to the mixture too.
  3. Spoon your mixture into the shallow tin and press into corners of the tin with a fork, bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once golden brown remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes then cut into squares (or any shape you so choose)
  4. For decoration you can add a few slices of apple to the top or you can drizzle over some honey.
These are really fun to make and you can even substitute the apples for pears, bananas or even chocolate, they're so versatile and you can always make them that little bit healthier... you know if you really want to mess with the masters recipe! Of course I'm not saying if you eat these everyday you'll lose a great deal of weight or that its a miraculous hidden health gem, but it's a damn sight better than eating a massive cake or chocolate bar on a daily basis.

So now that I'm back to baking I'd love to hear what you've been doing in the kitchen, especially if your home bakes are relatively healthy, and of course if you do give these flapjacks a go be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know how it goes. As always I love hearing from you be sure to catch me on Twitter or if you'd like to see more from the Granite City you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time, I'll be baking.

H.Elizabeth xx

Friday 16 January 2015

Zest of my life | Lemon water for health

If you guys have been keeping up with me on social media and of course on here (with my recent gym rant - apologies) you'll know that I have been making a bit more of an effort to look after myself. From sorting out a proper skincare routine to cooking a bit more healthily (or rather just cooking full stop), cutting down takeaways and exercising regularly I'd say it has been going pretty well so far. But fear not today is not just another 'weight loss goal' post which have been bogging us down since the New Year hit, instead I'm going to chat to you about something that I have implemented into my daily routine that has worked wonders for my health, skin, immune system and maybe most noticeably energy levels and that ladies and gents is lemon water.

Lemon water first came into my life the day before my wedding. Sheer fluke and luck helped me discover this wee gem of a health holy grail as I opted for this as my 'refreshing beverage' over a peppermint tea (how very dare I!) and I honestly felt so alert and refreshed, far more so than if I had went for a latte that I decided to take it all the way home from Cornwall with me (metaphorically speaking)

Since coming home and getting back into somewhat of a routine I decided to look into this a little bit more, and even asked a few people in my work their thoughts on drinking lemon water every day, and having been given the health and nutritional approval I decided I had nothing to lose and began drinking a hot lemon water every day instead of a mid-morning coffee (I did not replace my morning coffee though - I'm not mental!). Now don't worry, I'm not going to sit here and list the benefits of drinking lemon water which you could quite easily google yourself, instead I'm going to explain to you what I have personally noticed in upping my zesty intake.

The first thing I noticed was how awake the beverage makes me feel, perhaps this is due to the fact that the sour quality of the water shocks you into waking up a bit more (probably a point best left to the scientists if I'm honest) I was really chuffed to find an alternative to caffeine, especially for when I'm at work, it stops me reaching for a bottle of fizz, or (and I'm ashamed it got this bad) reaching for 5 strong coffees a day. Lemon, as you'll possibly know, is known to be great for curbing hunger pangs or cravings which has been perfect for my mid-morning biscuit cravings. Despite my best intentions and eating something filling and sensible for breakfast, seeing my colleagues reaching for elevenses always leaves me feeling peckish, so it was at this time of day I decided would be best to squeeze in my lemons. As well as the practical benefits to drinking lemon water, like waking up and not gorging on EVERYTHING in sight. In addition I have noticed such an improvement in the quality of my skin. I do think this is part and parcel with my updated skincare routine (which I promise I will share with you soon) but since updating my beverage choices my skin is brighter and I've had far less breakouts. In fact I would go as far as to say I have had one nasty spot since drinking lemon water every day and that's the gospel truth.

So in short I suppose what I'm trying to say is if you are thinking of putting one thing into your diet this year for an all-round health benefit I would recommend lemon water, ditch the shakes, juices and protein packed nonsense and go for something a bit more natural. Of course I do recommend (as silly as it may sound) that you drink your lemon water through a straw as the acid could erode the enamel in your teeth which won't be a good look no matter how lovely your skin is or even how awake you are! Oh and be sure to attend the dentist regularly - health lesson and advice of the day.

I hope you've enjoyed having a wee read of this, I know it's a bit different to what I would usually share with you guys but this year I'd really like to give you more of a sense of my daily life (I will stop if you tell me you hate it of course!) Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below, have you added anything to your lifestyle to improve your health? Share your health tips and endeavours with me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with life in the Granite City be sure to follow me on Bloglovin

Until next time, I'll be here feeling zesty.

H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 14 January 2015

My Coffee Table | Latest Reads

Over the past few months I have had a little bit of an obsession with the phenomenon sweeping the nation, blogosphere and coffee tables everywhere and since then I have gained quite an impressive library of fashion, beauty and lifestyle books, discovered some great authors and spent more than I care to think of in Waterstones! So in light of my recent discoveries and additions I thought I would share with you my top picks in fashion, beauty and lifestyle reads from my own coffee table.

A London Year: 365 Days of City Life in Diaries, Journals and Letters
A London Year is a collection or journal entries, diary excerpts and short musings from various individuals which date back to Tudor times and takes you right through to the 21st century, I really enjoy just picking this book up at any page and reading a little except and it really shows how much London has changed and how far people have come especially when you read an excerpt about the war, air raids and even executions. This is a lovely thick hard back book which is a great addition to anyone who loves reading about history, people's lives or who just loves London past or present!

Elvgren: Complete Pin-Ups Book
Pin up is something I have loved and admired style wise for a good while now and I love the glamour that comes hand in hand with post war 1950s style, in fact one of my greatest discoveries of this past year has been pin up You Tube sensation the Cherry Dollface. This book is a tribute to one of the world's greatest pin up illustrators, Gil Elvgren who liked to photograph models and then paint them into a hyper reality of long legs, gravity defying hair and flawless make up. This is actually a book I have had for years, and I use this when I'm looking for make up or style inspiration with a vintage feel.

Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic
One of my most recent purchases and I'll tell you for fashion and beauty enthusiasts it's a definite page turner. Since adding this nifty wee book to my collection I haven't been able to put it down, the ideas inside are inspired and even if you're not looking to read too much then the outfits captured inside are enough to satisfy your style cravings. With styling tips, interviews and inspirational quotes from French and fashion greats alike this  book can help you develop your own personal style with a Parisian flair for everyday glamour with that highly coveted je nais se quois.

So I hope you've enjoyed reading my coffee table picks, of course this is only part of our collection and we're always looking to expand so if you have any great reads we have missed out be sure to share them with me in the comments below or come share them with me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City reviews, antics and adventures be sure to follow me on Bloglovin

My head will be in a book, until next time folks! 

H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 11 January 2015

Dear Diary | Getting organised for 2015

Stationary is something I have always had an affinity for. Going to school back in the day I was always the kid laden down with a bag full of stationary you name it I had it, pencil cases, sharpeners an endless supply of pencils and pens, ring binders and all manner of things that weighed down my bag while all of the other girls carried 'chic' handbags and their much coveted Jane Norman shopper bags I simply had too much STUFF (stuff might I add that these girls had no problems asking to 'borrow' when their tiny handbags struggled to fit in a pencil) This has been an obsession I have carried over into college, university and now that I work in an office I'm excited to finally fill up my desk with stationary goodies and nick nacks from the Boxing Day sales!

My main aim is to buy an all purpose diary to take around with me every day and write down my hourly happenings and goings on in a bit to become a little bit more productive in my days. So today I thought I would share my top diary picks of 2015 with you to see if you might be able to help me decide which one would be best for my scatter brain of late!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Being a beauty addict and well one of those people attracted by the shiny shiny, I mainly chose these for their appearances but really who can blame me?! There you have my top diary and journal picks of 2015 I hope this post has inspired you to get yourself organised for the rest of the year, or maybe even start documenting memories from this year! The sky is the limit.

Be sure to share you favourite diary and journal picks from the sales this year in the comments below or share your best organisational tips for work, university or just life in general, every little helps! As always you can catch me on Twitter or if you'd like to see more from the Granite City you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Attempting to stay organised! Until next time folks.

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 9 January 2015

Benefit Brow Bar Experience | Bene Wow!

Attack of the caterpillars!!! Which to you may not sound like much of a horror movie, but when they're on your face, trust me every day turns into a nightmare. It started with one... one unruly hair sprouting just below my perfectly formed brows courtesy of a Dundee salon a couple of months ago, plucked and on with my life, only to be replaced with two unruly hairs, much like Hydra, cut off one head and two will take its place, and so on and so forth... Okay so I may be getting a little dramatic in my ripe old age but would you really want to read any other type of introduction to my first ever Benefit Brow Bar experience?! 

It was actually the day before New Year's Eve (the eve of New Year's Eve if you will) I decided to try and get my brows tamed at the Benefit Brow Bar, because the night before I had noticed how out of control I had allowed them to get and since we had a family party  for New Year I really just needed to regain some order on my face. Of course being a Benefit Brow virgin I had no idea whether or not it was based on a first come first serve deal or if it was an appointment in advance system, so I did panic a little bit and thought I was destined to welcome the New Year with neanderthal brow!

Alas, the stars aligned, the odds were in my favour, basically it was meant to be and I was able to get booked in as soon as I finished work which was great. I chose to visit their Boots Brow Bar as I have unfortunately heard a few horror stories about the one in our local Debenhams and I wasn't altogether keen to undertake damage control so close to our party date, sorry Debenhams! 

Brand new brows - Bene Wow indeed

The store was really quiet when I went in which was a relief as I've never fancied feeling like a zoo animal getting my brows waxed etc. but the area the Boots Bon Accord brow bar is actually in a nice spot away from crowds. The girl who was doing my brows that evening was so lovely and I'm really sad I didn't get her name as we had a nice little chin wag while I was there. First obviously I had my brow filler from the day removed, cleaned, prepped and primed all ready for the tint to go on. Every time I have my brows done I really just ask for the same colour as my hair is at the time, which at the moment is a rich auburn colour, so really I only ask for a medium brown, this was all over and done in 3 minutes, which we were alerted of being fished by an alarm, courtesy of a very cute little benefit brow alarm clock, so on with the waxing!

I'm not sure why, but this time I felt a bit more sensitive to the waxing process and I'm pretty sure I let out a couple of winces, but really I think they were just a bit more thorough at Benefit than the salon I visited in Dundee, which can only really be a good thing. I would say the entire process took about 10 - 15 minutes, given I was being a bit yappy and chatty with the Benefit girly and I have to say I have never been more chuffed with my eyebrow shape! To cover the redness I was offered some of the 'Boing' concealer to cover up the freshly waxed areas, which I was told has sort of clean, antiseptic qualities and that's why you can use that to cover up straight after a fresh wax, but unfortunately this meant going around sans filled in brows which I dislike, however the shape and tint made it all worth it.

The cost was £18.00 for the tint and wax, and I was given a little card from them which means if I continue to go and get my brows done with them and collect, I think 8 or 10 stamps I get a free tint and wax, yay! So I will definitely be going back, in fact I was so excited and happy with my brows that I text my brow buddy, Lisa, straight away to tell her to go get hers done there too! (Eyebrows are kind of our 'thing')

I was so excited to debut my new brows at our New Year's Eve party and play about with my little brow palette at home that it was actually my favourite part of my New Year's Eve party routine! Have you guys ever had an experience like this with Benefit or even another company that you just couldn't wait to share? Be sure to share your thoughts, experiences and comments below, or of course I'd love for you to come chat with me about them on Twitter or of course if you'd like to see more from me, myself and I, be sure to follow me on Bloglovin

Until next time folks.

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Gym Etiquette | Make up and The Gym

If any of you guys follow me on Twitter you'll know that the past few months I have been making an effort to eat a little better and start using my gym membership on a regular basis (I now go to the gym three times a week) and since going to the gym, yes I've noticed my skin has cleared up, I have more energy and of course there is the added benefit trying on clothes with confidence, but today I'm going to talk about something that bothers me about health, specifically the gym, and low and behold this time for me the issue all comes down to make up (shocking right?!)

Now as you'll know I love make up, I would not leave the house bare faced any more than I would leave the house just in my pants but something I can never and will never be able to get my head around is ladies and gents who insist on wearing a full face of perfectly contoured and lined make up to the gym. First of all it is such a waste of money, I would never choose to drip my £20 a bottle foundation all over the equipment in the gym or to smear my best eyeliners across my face mid workout and secondly, I point blank refuse to believe you are working out effectively if you come out with you make up still perfectly intact! 

In fact one fun story recently which sort of lead me to this snapping point which I had to share with you was post workout (I'm talking spin class, cross trainer, weight training and a good half hour on the stepper) I saw a girl who had walked in the same time as me, full face of 1950's pin up make up and pin curls in her hair, all still in place and still flawless and as she puffed a little sigh of, 'oh that was such a great work out' I just straight up said there is just no way! (Her little puff kind of reminded me of that scene in Friends where Rachel is giving birth that that cute little woman made her pathetic 'contraction' noise)

This particular post was spurred mainly to say people of the world, the Granite City in particular, enough is enough, nobody cares what sort of sweaty mess you look like at the gym and if they do well they'll just continue to waste their money on a membership they aren't using appropriately.  

Skincare Savvy; Why you should never wear make up for a work out:
  • When you sweat your pores open up, which allows dirt and bacteria from the days nasties to be secreted, but make up prevents secretion and can lead to the clogging of your pores which as you know can create spots, blackheads and terrible breakouts.
  • It is simply poor etiquette to sweat your foundation all over the machines.
  • You look ridiculous, more ridiculous in fact than if you had just wiped off the make up in the first place, panda eyes and a runny complexion are not a good look.
  • At risk of sounding a great deal like my dad, 'It is not a fashion parade' you're there to get fit not to flirt, save your money and your make up!
  • If you're worrying about what you're wearing or how you look exercising, you aren't exercising.

My gym skincare routine:
Of course this routine isn't as rigorous as my usual home, morning and bedtime skincare routines but these are the products I use at the gym to keep risk of dirty nasties down:

Garnier Goodbye Dry Cleanser (with cotton pads to remove make-up)
Arbonne Gentle Facial Cleanser (to get rid of any make up which is stuck on there)
Nivea Moisturising Cream (what it says on the tube!)

I understand that going bare faced and baring all can be a daunting prospect, especially for gym newbies, but would you rather put up with acne prone skin and a great body, or would you rather have the best of both worlds out with the confines of your gym walls?

I hope you've enjoyed this rather different and rather ranty post today (apologies) but I'd love to hear your thoughts below, is there anything that bothers you about the outside world or the inner workings of your local gym? Be sure to let me know in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with my latest's you can find me on Bloglovin

Until next time folks, I'll be the one not sweating off my best make up.

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 4 January 2015

Oh my god, look at her buns | Philosophy Cinnamon Buns

Hello everyone and welcome to the first blog post of 2015 on Granite City Girl! Instead of having another festive, New Yearsy post I thought I would just get stuck right in and share with you one of my recent purchases (with my Christmas money so it is probably a little festive) which I have been lusting after since time began! Well since I bought my last one. May I present the Philosophy Cinnamon Buns shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath!

If you've read my previous Philosophy review which revolved around Granny's Apple Pie shower gel all the way back in March 2014, then you'll already know how I feel about Philosophy and I have to be honest I've become a bit of a Philosophy groupie, which has been both an enriching and money draining experience but I of course have found a way to rationalize my little obsession as always (excuses like it's for the blog have since become a staple in our house!)

This gel was not on offer and I feel a bit crazy for having paid £14.50 for it, but as a post holiday treat this is how I was able to reason with myself into actually buying it. Unlike the Christmas specials Philosophy annually come out with, this one doesn't come in a fancy wee box but has the usual luxe packaging with a recipe for cinnamon buns on the front, which I love. Just as a little note of how long these shower gels actually last, I still have the Granny's Apple Pie shower gel which I bought back at the end of February in 2014! This one, like the last one, feels very silky, sumptuous and rich, it's very creamy and it's easily worked up into a foamy lathery delight which as you'll know I love! The scent is very very sweet so if you like fresh smelling scents then this one isn't for you, and because of the white, silvery colour along with the smell it feels like you're washing with the icing off a cinnamon bun which is amazing, but may not help any healthy eating or food cravings for a post shower snack! Another aspect of the Philosophy gels which I love is the fact that when you do shower and you're bathroom is all steamy the smell lingers and travels through your house (which isn't difficult for our tiny one bedroom) but it's so lovely and it smells beautiful all day!

Even though thinking about the price of course still hurts me a little bit, I can simply wash all of my cares and woes of the price tag away as soon as I step into the shower, and being able to walk around all day smelling like a cina bun helps too!

Have you guys ever spent this much on a guilty pleasure? I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on the Philosophy shower gel range! Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or if you've found any Philosophy dupes be sure to come Tweet them at me or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City buys, adventures, antics and reviews you can follow me on Bloglovin

Until next time folks, I'll be the one smelling like a cina bun!

H.Elizabeth x

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