Saturday 28 February 2015

Aberdeen Events | Shoes and Sparkle with Union Square

Hello everyone, I just thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about an event that I will be attending in the Granite City next week that I am super excited about that features food, fashion, frolics, and to boot (pun very much intended) it is in my favourite shopping centre, Union Square.

The event is called 'Shoes and Sparkle' and will be held on the 5th of March from 5pm in the stylish setting of Valeries Brasserie Cafe. The event is free to attend and hosts brands such as Dune, Clarks, Sole Trader and Deichmann who will be showcasing their SS15 collections with an informal showing and a bit of background surrounding the inspiration behind the designs and trends of the season. Plus I hear there is going to be quite a nice little discount for shoes purchased on the evening!

A representative of Union Square has said it is set to be the 'ultimate celebration of all things shoes' now if that isn't enough to get shoe-a-holics hearts racing then I don't know what is. I'm really looking forward to going along on the evening to see the collections they have in store, and  of course potentially meeting some other fashion, beauty and shopping enthusiasts and bloggers (not sure what this is going to do to my bank balance though!)

As the saying goes 'Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she will conquer the world'

Until next time folks, I'm looking out my gladrags.

H.Elizabeth xx

Friday 27 February 2015

Blogging | Scheduling your posts

As a blogger who reads the blogs of fellow bloggers (too much blog?) I have noticed that we are almost always one of two types, the scheduled posters or the spontaneous posters.  Today as part of my 'amateur blogging 101' I'm going to chat to you a little bit about spontaneity and scheduling because I have been known to adopt both methods  in the last year I have been 'Granite City Girl' and I would like to share why as well as a few tips on how I schedule my posts.

When I first started I didn't have a routine at all, in fact I felt I had so many ideas and things I wanted to share that I would quite regularly post twice in one day because I was just too excited and felt an urgency to share (plus I was afraid I would forget what I wanted to say) These posts were often quite a bit shorter, rushed and if I'm honest they just came across as sloppy, in fact you can see the difference (I hope) if you look back at last Feb's posts in comparison to this years. I think I felt that if I ever missed a day of posting that I would need to make up for it the next day and that meant my content would suffer as a result and these days content is just not something I am willing to compromise on. Of course that isn't to say spontaneous posting doesn't work for everyone, in fact for some bloggers I find it adds to the charm and overall feel of their site if they aren't sticking to a schedule and obviously there are times, whether due to university studies, family commitments or illness that it just isn't practical to plan out your blogging schedule as I found when I was juggling my job, university and wedding planning (remember it's okay to take a break)

Today however, times have changed  and I have adopted a manageable schedule I feel suits my available time, lifestyle and general personality. In fact it was one of my New Years Resolutions to not only up my weekly posts from 2 to 3 but also to post on dedicated days and times. In order to achieve this I make sure my posts are scheduled around 2 weeks in advance and keep a diary of what is going up and when, and today when I have an idea I don't rush to post it online through fear of it being lost in the vast dark spaces in my brain but I keep a note of it in my diary alongside my schedule and I'll build upon it later. As this is my hobby I really don't allow it to stress me out entirely, if I feel a bit anxious about posting or pressured in any way I step away and do something else for a while, at the end of the day a hobby shouldn't make you feel antsy or stressed in any way, but I completely understand the pressure bloggers face (these are the times I thank the lord I'm not famous and can sit in my pjs just fine!)

There are times however I feel spontaneous posting is necessary, for example those times you are announcing something small or you want to share a little snippet from your life that perhaps doesn't necessarily merit an entire post day dedication, for example when I announced Granite City Girl was on Pinterest or when I wanted to share an event that was happening in my hometown a few weeks ago, just little things. These are events I will usually post about on a Thursday or Saturday. I have posted an example of my own schedule below, just to give you an idea:

Granite City Girls Post Schedule
Wednesday 9.00am (GMT)
SP: Tursday 9.00am - 12.00pm (GMT)
Friday 9.00am (GMT)
SP: Saturday 9.00am - 12.00pm (GMT)
Sunday 9.00am (GMT)

I do hope this has helped shed some light on why things are the way they are on Granite City Girl (and hasn't made me look like too much of a control freak) but of course if you have any questions or comments about the blog, content, scheduling or anything be sure to ask in the comments below. I'd be really interested to know if you have ever felt pressured as I did to post daily and what it is you do to combat that, be sure to comment below, share your thoughts with my on Twitter or of course if you'd like to see more from me you can find my blog on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, penciling in our next appointment!

H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Weighing in | 50 Shades of Grey

It has been about a week and a half since I, like the majority of the world, dipped my toe in, bit the bullet and dove straight in to see 50 Shades of Grey at my local cinema. As a film buff I see most of the films that come out, and I have to say the hype surrounding this particular novel (if you can call it that) to film adaptation, in fact my local newspaper (The Evening Express) estimated that around 15,000 Aberdonians were set to flock to the cinemas on opening weekend to see it (which I of course avoided at all costs due to my intense hatred of crowds!) Since then I have seen various reviews, rants and general posts about the '50 Shades Experience' mainly revolving around issues of consent, domestic violence and feminism all of which have been very interesting to read, the world would be a very boring place if everyone were the same wouldn't it? So today I thought I would leap on the bandwagon and share my own views on this phenomenon that has men and women a like up in arms, going gaga and flocking to the cinemas!
First let's start with the film. The film itself? I didn't hate it. Of course being Oscar season it doesn't exactly fit in to the typical melodramas we have been saturated with and it was sort of a refreshing change of pace. The dialogue was cheesy, given it was taken directly from the book the majority of the time I really expected nothing but, the acting wasn't fantastic (I guess some of those scenes would have been pretty difficult to film so...solid effort I suppose) and the storyline itself is a basic Mills and Boon / Twilight crossover and so I'm not entirely sure where the success of this particular piece of smut came from but ho hum the public are mysterious creatures sometimes. If you are swithering about whether or not to see it, I wouldn't waste a tenner on it (if like me you have an Unlimited card go for it) as I do feel it is rather pricey. On a little side note I feel the cinemas have missed a trick here, give 50 Shades book owners a discount? Or free Ann Summers discount voucher with every ticket purchased? That's just the PR lady in me though I suppose.
With all of the comments of domestic violence circulating the blogosphere, internet and world given its popularity, I went in fully expecting to come out with my feminist hat on bemused at how such a violent film could be made in this day and age yet be so wildly popular with women in particular but it is here where we enter a rather grey area (HA!) The film and the book a like cover themselves incredibly well from revolving around an abusive relationship, and despite the naivety of the central female character I have to say that this is not a violent tale. Everything in the film is consensual, and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING (in fact there was even an incredibly in depth contract read, reread and then agreed to) and it really comes down to a case of sexual experimentation, taste and character development, something we would never criticize people in the real world for (each to their own and all that jazz) As a feminist, I applaud the central character for being open minded enough to give everything a go and despite the overpowering and at times intense male presence in the film I think she held her own incredibly well, she ruled out everything she was uncomfortable with, did not run to his beck and call and was able to maintain her individual identity throughout the course of their relationship (brief I may add)
Even though there are sighs, hos and hums from the film critics and publics all over the world it appears this saga is here to stay (having signed on for another 2 films, and why not it's a money making machine?!) and I for one am excited to see the characters develop and delve ever deeper into the realms of female sexuality, experimentation and BDSM which as a nation we are quick to brush off and shy away from (I am also looking forward to seeing how much Ann Summers sales upsurge in!)
Until next time folks, feminism hat is well and truly on!

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 22 February 2015

Health and Fitness | Gymmin' Solo

'We should totally go to the gym together, it'd be great for motivation,' in this modern, health conscious world this statement appears to be the equivalent of insisting upon someone becoming your husband or wife, which is always met with one of two responses, the positive, 'Yes that would be fantastic, lets do it!' or the slightly more stand offish, 'Um, you know what give me a text I might not be able to make the times you're able to go,' and well ladies and gentlemen, I, Hannah Adams, am proud member of the latter and today I am going to tell you why buddying up at the gym can be counterproductive.

I suppose you don't need a trained psychologist to figure out one of the main reasons I prefer solitude at the gym, being an only child I'm quite used to going out and getting things done myself, it is something I have always took great pride in and even though I am now partnered up and happily married I still strive to assert my independence in day to day life, and the gym is no exception. In the past I have tried going to the gym with a few people, friends, colleagues etc. so I know that it can have its benefits, you know don't knock it until you try it and believe me I have tried!

From my own experiences, and of course people watching those buddies at the actual gym I have noticed a few cons to the gym buddy system for example the first thing that I noticed was the fact that there sometimes isn't enough equipment for you to train side by side. For example using a stepper in the gym can be a battle, in my gym there are only 6 and the majority of the time they are full, so if you're lucky enough to get one, you are just that, lucky and the odds of having 2 side by side empty is a rareity. Basically you're not going to get to use the equipment that you would like to use.

Something I have personally found is that one of you is always going to outlast, outdo or outrun the other, one of you is going to run out of steam first. Personally I have experiences both sides of that coin, the first when I ran out of steam way way before my partner and felt the guilt of asking to leave first and secondly when we literally stayed in the gym for 20 minutes before my partner was tuckered out and I was left feeling as if the gym was  waste of time.

The final point I am going to make in favour of gymming solo is that how many of you can say you and your gym buddy have the same exercise tastes? I certainly can't. For example when I first arrive I love to blast about 30 minutes on a stepper or treadmill, whereas my gym buddy may want to dive straight for the weights, which is something that would render me useless half an hour in and have me crawling back to the changing rooms. Some things you just are not meant to compromise on you know?!

So the next time somebody asks you to partner up or be their gym buddy don't be afraid to just say no, especially if you feel they're going to hinder your progress. This of course is just me, but I'm a lone wolf (bit of a scrooge sometimes if I'm honest) so you may love having a gym buddy, let me know your thoughts in the comments below, do you have any top gym and fitness productivity tips? Catch me on Twitter and share your thoughts or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City goings on and musings be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, lone wolfin' it at the gym.
H.Elizabeth x

Saturday 21 February 2015

Lady Power | Femtellectual

Hello everyone, I just wanted to share a little bit with you about a website that Granite City Girl also features on that I think deserves a bit of light and attention shed on it and that is the lady driven blogging / magazine platform of Femtellectual.
I have been writing for Femtellectual quite regularly for the last couple of months and I have been loving every minute. We are basically a collection of ladies who write about anything and everything from politics to pedicures, feminism to film and everything in between. We are a community of women from all over the UK who support equal opportunities and rights for women, identify as both intelligent and 'girly' and reserve the right to share our views, opinions and general goings on with the world.
So ladies and gents if you enjoy witty, intelligent conversation, debate and reviews be sure to pop over to the website, or visit the Twitter page and check out some pretty clever ladies and their musings on life!
Until next time folks, feeling fem.
H.Elizabeth x

Friday 20 February 2015

Guest Blogger | Supersized Supermodel

Hello everyone, we're going to be doing something a little bit different on Granite City Girl today and introduce you to a new blogger by hosting this blogs first ever guest post! So we'll just get straight into it, her name is Cristina Nika Kask, she is a fashion and lifestyle blogger and today would like to share a little something on the fashion industry and her opinions of plus size modelling, I have really enjoyed working with her and find her an absolute delight, and I think you will too hope you enjoy!

H.Elizabeth x

L- Tess Munster says #EffYourBeautyStandards. R - Robin Lawley in Sports Illustrated

I've always wondered what the range of sizes are for a plus size model. You can imagine my surprise when I Googled it and saw that plus size models are size 8 and up. It is shocking to think a girl who is a size 8 is plus size. That doesn't work in the real world. So, what is wrong with the fashion industry? They are causing unrealistic expectations that every woman should be a size 4. Are sizes 8, 10 and 12 plus size or actually average?

Plus size or average?
In fact, 20 years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23% less. Standards for women are impossible and frustrating. There are not enough plus size models, actually, all of the models that are promoted as full figured are in fact average size. Many 'plus size' every day women are confused by the sizing boundaries used in the fashion world. Many of them would think, 'if a model that is size 12 is considered plus size, what does that make me!?' Last week, a so called plus size mode, Robin Lawley said it was 'ludicrous' to be called a plus sized model. She has called upon designers to create their samples in larger sizes, believing that this shift would effect change in the representation of body diversity. A big problem that she pointed out is that clothes today are not made to fit the woman, on the contrary, a woman is obliged to fit the clothes. Not only is the modelling industry pressuring models to be skinny, but by doing that they are pressuring girls of the world to rise up to unnatural standards.

If you were to look at different pictures of so called plus sized models, including Robin Lawley, looking gorgeous in swimwear, you want to be that girl, you see they are incredibly sexy and confident. And just that is the standard you should strive for, to be confident with your body, and to feel sexy in your skin.

What's with the 'plus size' label anyway? Why are we labeling women's bodies like that? There is no size diversity in the modelling world. There are desirable sizes for the fashion world, and there are sizes 8 and up, considered to be plus size. So there is a whole no-man's land of models who are in between the 'straight size' and the 'plus-size'. Regardless of that, even if a model is size 18 and above, I don't think anyone should be called plus size. I think it's a derogatory label to anyone. There is no label 'minus size' for extremely thin models.  I understand the need for this kind of labeling in the fashion industry when it is needed to explain diversity to a client, but the term is used in the media and in every day life. Saying that a person is 'plus' implies there is extra or an excess of something, which could be offensive if you're referring to the size of a person.

And ladies, don't forget, no matter what kind of label someone pins on you, the most important thing is that you are satisfied with your body and looks in general. That is the one thing you need so you can rock every outfit!

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Domestic Goddess | Nar Nar Bread

Hello everyone, I pleased to report to you today that since New Year there have been no more baking disasters or kitchen mishaps, I'm sure we all remember when I melted my gravy lid on to my cooker top, not one of my finest moments, and that my resolution to bake and cook a bit more this year remains firmly in tact (hold for applause) So today, given my success, I thought I would share one of my newest culinary creations and sweetie successes that I have seriously loved munching on through the last week.

Usually when people hear the word 'bread' in a recipe title they shy away from it as it can be such a sticky and awkward mess, and (as my partner says) 'You can buy one from the shop' but let's face it, you and I both know there's nothing like homemade. Banana bread is different in that it is so much sweeter and most importantly it's so simple to make it's unbelievable.

Small loaf tin
Large mixing bowl
Cup for measuring
Small saucepan
Wooden spoon

2/3 Ripe bananas
1/3 cup of butter
½ cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½  cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp  ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat your oven to 175°C and butter your loaf tin (ooh sounds rude) 
  2. Melt your butter in a saucepan but be sure not to let it boil. 
  3. In your mixing bowl mash your bananas with a fork until smooth and then stir in your melted butter.    
  4. Mix in the baking soda then stir in the sugar, beaten egg, vanilla extract and then flavour with cinnamon. Following this mix in your flour (don't panic, at this point it will seem like there is a lot of flour but persevere and keep mixing)
  5. Pour the batter into your buttered loaf tin and pop into the oven for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes (yours may need a little longer, make sure you keep an eye on it) 
  6. Before removing the loaf tin from the oven do the good old knife test and make sure it comes out clean before leaving to cool on a rack.
Serving suggestion:

Have a slice along with a chopped banana with some cream / ice cream for a dessert and enjoy.

If you guys do happen to give this a go (which I highly recommend) please let me know in the comments below I would love to see how yours turn out so be sure to Tweet any pictures you have at me, or of course if you have another similar recipe (or any banana based recipe for that matter) do let me know as I always love a baking challenge. I hope you have enjoyed this 'Domestic Goddess' post, if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl bakes, reviews and ramblings be sure to give me a follow on Bloglovin.
Until next time folks, baking mad over here.

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 15 February 2015

Nip + Fab | Glycolic Fix Cleanser

As some of you may know from the likes of my Twitter or Instagram or maybe just as a person generally I am a serial swapper when it comes to beauty products, and in this case I'd like to focus a bit more on the skincare aspect of my swapping tendencies. In fact I'm never as much of a switcher and swapper than when it comes to my cleanser. Over the last year I have dabbled with Lush, Garnier and I've even went a bit higher end with an Arbonne cleanser, but today I am pleased to report that I think I've found THE ONE in the form of Nip + Fab's Glycolic Fix Cleanser.

Nip + Fab are a brand which I have been seeing everywhere recently mainly due to their Glycolic Fix cleansing pads that everyone and their mothers have been raving about. However on looking at them in the store I decided I just didn't need another make up remover tool / cleansing pad product, but what I did need and had been desperately searching for was a gentle foaming cleanser that would be kind to my dry winter skin, and being one of those people who fall haplessly into trends I chose the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser and I'll tell you I'm glad I did.

This product, as you may suspect from the name and packaging, contains 2% Glycolic Acid, which according to Nip + Fab if used regularly over the course of a couple of months will give the user the appearance of having had a facial peel (which as you know is saying a lot and if true can save you oodles of dolla') Now I think it can be difficult to boast these kinds of results unless you have tried both (which I personally have not) so today I'm just going to tell you a bit about the cleanser, what my favourite parts of the product have been so far and what perhaps you ought to consider before purchasing.

The cleanser is a gel consistency so it is really easy to squeeze out as much as you need without worrying it'll come squirting out at your face like some liquid cleansers tend to do. In terms of scent, you will either really love it or hate it as it has a strong grapefruit smell with a hint of apple (as it clearly says on the bottle) so it's a very clean smell, which is something a bit different to my body wash products such as the warming apple pie and cinnamon bun gels I use regularly, but it's a welcome change! I try to use this cleanser twice a day, in the morning before moisturising and in the evening before bed (also before remoisutrising) I find it really easy to work up into a lather and find the best results for squeaky cleanliness come if I use it just after exfoliating.

So far the most impressive aspects of the cleanser have been the longevity of the product, I bought it just before New Year and I have barely used a quarter of the gel and how the make up of the forumla has not dried out my skin, which seeing the word 'acid' brought up concerns over and overall I just love the way it has made my skin feel (would hope that a skin peel would deliver results a bit more dramatic than this considering their price) My one and only criticism would be that when you wash with it, it does make your skin feel a bit tight for a little while but that is easily combated with a thick moisturiser (I use Nivea Soft) which always does the trick.

I'm fancying trying some of their facials next, Dragon's Blood has been enticing me for a good while now. Have any of you tried anything from the Nip + Fab product range? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, come share your skin holy grails with me on Twitter or of course to keep up with my latest reviews, recommendations and general adventures you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'll be foaming my face!

H.Elizabeth xx

Friday 13 February 2015

Happy Valentines | A love letter to my freckles

Oh no, not ANOTHER Valentines post! Is it a gift guide? Perhaps a post to show off my gifts and wonderful love life? Well ladies and gentlemen you're in luck, because today's post contains none of those things, because I plan on spreading the love this Valentines in a different way this year because lets face it this day of love doesn't necessarily have to mean the love we share with a spouse or boyfriend and it doesn't even have to mean the love we share with our cats (just me?) Today I instead challenge you to take the time to think about the relationship you have with yourself, your supposed flaws, kinks and quirks and embrace them for all they are. In light of this I would like to share with you  love letter to my very own 'flawed' freckly face, and just what it is I love about the skin I am in.

As you guys will probably know I am a ginger, which living in the North East of Scotland suits me just fine, we get little sun, you're more likely to get scrutinized by your face being ginger if anything and finally my legs are never out of place on a dance floor considering the sunshine epidemic, in many ways I suppose it is like living like a vampire. Of course abroad this puts me at a distinct disadvantage with sporadic sprouting freckles, unfathomable sunburn and such a thick layer of SPF 50 I'm destined to slide right off of any deck chair or sun lounger I deem fit, but don't worry I'm not about to go on a lengthy rant about genetics, because as we have just established such negativity today shall not be tolerated. So without further ado here is my very own take on the perks of being pale:

Never needing to worry about streaky/melting limbs
The only thing I want is streaky bacon thank you very much, in the past I have had friends who loved a good tan, and quite frequently I see people moping and moaning about their fake tans being ruined due to movement or rain or sweating and really that's just quite a lot of upkeep for someone like me. I won't lie and say I have always felt this way, in fact I went and got myself a tan just last year at a local salon and I have to say never again, sitting down was a chore, moving was difficult and streaks were simply unavoidable. Did I also mention that tanning with a sun bed can cause skin cancer and wrinkles? I think from now on I'll keep to the pale and interesting look!

Foundation? Does it come in Casper? Skincare products are super easy to find
Is porcelain on the menu? If yes then that's me, palest one you've got, no questions asked, and did I mention my tone is consistent come rain or shine (in our case lack thereof) I often see people sharing their latest skincare secrets or make up must haves that alter foundation wise season on season but something I pride myself upon is I will forever own the fairest foundation of them all, it is both a money and time saver!

No freckle pencil necessary
Freckles in fashion again?! As ridiculous as I do find the notion of penciling freckles on I must say when they did grace the catwalk as an aesthetic choice I beamed a little and wore mine with pride, and I didn't even have to buy a freckle pencil!

Colour clashing? I don't think so!
Being pale opens a lot of fashion and style doors too, since nothing clashes with white the only thing I really have to consider clashing with is my hair (so orange, red and yellow are mainly out of the question)

Forever the fairest of them all
Have you ever seen the pin up ladies of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe, Dita Von Teese, Audrey Hepburn or dare I say the fairest herself Snow White? We can rock a bold red lip flawlessly, create a brilliant cheekbone with a flawless contour and even boldly go where no tan brow has gone before.

Now I know being pale comes with disadvantages the sun being one of them, but today is not a day for dwelling on the negatives and this Valentines (and you know every other day before and after) I challenge you, whether you’re a single pringle, in a new relationship or even married, try to embrace the skin you're in freckles, warts, birth marks and all. Too often do we see negativity in our midst, whether it be on the news, on social media, or even ranting in our everyday lives, it's time for a little positivity.

I know this is something a little bit different to what you might be used to seeing on Granite City Girl or you know any other blog this Valentines but I do hope you have enjoyed it. I invite you to comment below what it is you enjoy about being pale or even what you like about your tan, freckles, birth mark, body shape, personality, anything, it'd be great to share the love. Be sure to come Tweet at me to share your own perks or if you'd like to see more of my pale mug be sure to follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'll be the one without the freckle pencil.


Thursday 12 February 2015

Granite City Girl is now on Pinterest!

Ladies and gentlemen I have a new obsession, it takes up a great deal of my time, shows me pretty things I simply can't have and is basically another way I can justify sitting on the sofa stuffing my face with doughnuts, I am talking about Pinterest. Yes some of you may say I am late to the party, but hey better late than never right?!
Pinning, repinning, liking, loving, let's just say it is one of my new hobbies (which is a fine way to justify laziness and procrastination) If you'd like to come find me you'll be treated to plenty of new recipes, style inspiration and motivational quotes a plenty (because who doesn't need a little kick up the bottom sometimes?) 
My main motivation behind joining the legion of pinners is because as some of you may know hubby and I are looking to relocate later on this year and as much as I would love to, I just don't have a head for interior design and Pinterest appears to be where the designers, interior decorators and creative heads live which so far has been glorious. Pinterest also serves as inspiration for new recipes, style ideas and of course make up tutorials, so far this is doing nothing to help my bank balance!
So if you would like to join me on Pinterest and waste your days away looking at all of the pretty lovelies of the world then my link is: and of course as you know I love hearing from you, and I am in need of some more pinners to follow be sure to comment below with your Pinterest profile or of course as always you can catch me on Twitter or follow my weekly happenings on Bloglovin.
Until next time folks, I'll be pinning all of the things!
H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Matte made in heaven | Revlon Colourburst in sultry

Honestly I've never been one for a matte lip, for some reason I got it into my head that my lips simply weren't plump enough to pull it off (I personally blame instagram and Kylie Jenner) or that they dry out your lips something awful, something I do not need, and until today have stuck mainly to creme lips and sheer butter balms, you know... the safe bets. But recently I have discovered a game changer and I want to introduce you to said beauty balm which has came into my life and altered all previous perceptions of plump lips and matte mishaps, ladies and gentleman I introduce Revlon's Colourburst Matte Balm in Sultry!

Now these have been around for a while now, you will undoubtedly be familiar with the Emma Stone advert with all of the lovely matte and sheen balloons, or perhaps you've seen bloggers raving and reviewing these like mad throughout the past few months (admittedly I am late on the bandwagon) but if I'm honest this is really more about me getting over my fear of the matte! Revlon boast a triple butter complex, meaning they are not only colourful and highly pigmented but they have moisturizing qualities too, which with our wintery weather in Scotland recently has been a godsend, so after hearing this I was incredibly keen on giving it a go.

The shade which I chose to experiment with, which is called Sultry, was actually inspired by a fellow beauty / lifestyle blogger I came across on Twitter (and I apologise to the lovely lady whose name and blog name escape me!) and I instantly fell in love with the shade. It is a brown - pink shade which I think has a very vintage appearance when applied and can be absolutely stunning if styled well. One of the first things I noticed was the scent, which sounds odd but upon looking into the forumla further I discovered that it has a light peppermint fragrance, which also explains the cooling sensation I experienced after reapplying later on in the day! I was really interested to see whether or not these would last throughout the entire work day, because I had heard mixed reviews where this was concerned, but I am pleased to report that I have had no issues whatsoever and it only required one very small top up while I was at work.

In short if, like me, you're looking to experiment with a matte formula which looks great, doesn't dry out your lips, has longevity, is highly pigmented, easy to throw in your handbag and as a bonus smells lovely then Revlon are your guys! Do let me know how you've found these or maybe if you've found something similar to this forumla, I would love to know in the comments below, on Twitter or of course if you'd just like to see more from me, my face and I be sure to hop over to Bloglovin.

Until next time, I'll be with my matte made in heaven.


Sunday 8 February 2015

Granite City Girl's Digital Detox | Switching Off and Winding Down

Hello everyone, today I'm going to be talking a bit about a phenomenon sweeping the nation, particularly the Twitter and blogging world of late, it's an epidemic of sleep sprays, fluffy pillows and bedtime bliss, yes ladies and gentleman I'm talking about relaxation! It is true that since the New Year dawned on us everyone has kept up their side making an effort to eat a bit better, exercise more and perhaps most importantly get a few more hours or in my case minutes of shut eye every night. Not even I have been able to escape this inevitable eventuality that is the digital detox and this year have made a vow to get more sleep, relaxation and reading time by attempting to get into bed to wind down an hour earlier every night.

Switching off an hour earlier every night can be difficult if you have been conditioned to be switched on for what feels like 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and it can be particularly difficult if you're a writer, blogger or if your career lives online (or perhaps of course you're a serial procrastinator) but I would really urge you to give it a go even if just for a week to see what all of the fuss is about! Of course winding down means something a bit different for everyone, winding down for you could mean anything from taking your Nintendo into bed or listening to whale music when you're trying to drift off, but today I'm going to tell you what it has meant for me, how I've been staying grounded and finally the differences I have noticed both physically and mentally.

As silly as this may sound it has been a challenge moving from the sofa with an iPad to bed with a book has been a stretch for me, I am constantly wired, switched on and most importantly logged on, as I'm sure some of you have come to realise given my over active Twitter feed, and I think one of the biggest things for me was making bed time and wind down time something to look forward to, which in my case began with an inspirational book. Choosing a book in Waterstones has got to be the highlight at this point, there have been a great many highly coveted fashion, style and beauty books on the market right now but I chose the inspirational DVF biography, 'The woman I wanted to be' (which is brilliant and I highly recommend by the way)

To kick of my digital detox, I dedicated myself to an entire week of an hour early to bed, switching from switched on at 11.30pm to winding down at 10.30pm with an hours reading in bed, baby steps you know? The first night was easy I was actually in bed by 10pm and shifted through a fair chunk of my book, and so it went for pretty much my first week, by which time I had finished my book! Now given my first week went by in a tizzy of restful evenings, inspirational woman power and endless cups of lemon water and tea I'd say it went incredibly well, but how have I found it to have benefited my health?

First of all, I am so awake! I am having the best sleep that I have in years and I rarely wake up through the night anymore (which was quite frequent these past few months due to a disrupted routine) I drift off so much easier when I read before bed rather than surfing the net. In fact in addition to making sure I have no tech on before bedtime I have even began putting the TV in the living room off so there is complete silence in the house (you know other than the other half and the cat) Since getting more rest I have been able to go to the gym much more and am being able to put my new-found energy to good use, which in turn works wonders for my health. Oh and did I mention I'm much less of a Grinch to live with now?!

I really do recommend if you can to try and have an hour or maybe even half an hour of peace, quiet and relaxation before bed and get yourself into a routine to improve your overall health, energy and just your general mood if I'm honest. I'm going to aim to continue on this path and try to read a book every couple of weeks (especially if they revolve around female empowerment - any suggestions are welcome!) and I have even become so obsessed with relaxation I'm thinking of investing in a deep sleep spray. Have you guys become part of the digital detox generation of these past few weeks? Let me know how you have found it in the comments below or come share your tips for relaxation with me on Twitter. Of course as always you can keep up with the latest Granite City posts on Bloglovin!

Until next time folks, I'll be catching some zzzs

H.Elizabeth xx

Friday 6 February 2015

Blogging | Buying Your Own Domain

Today I'm going to be doing my first in a segment of tips, tricks and things I have learned during this last year as a blogger. Now before I get into my first 'Blog Tips' post I in no way am an expert and I'm not claiming this is the fountain of youth or holy grail equivalent to blogging nuggets, but this is just my opinions and little things that I have found to work for me, and I'm going to start of with buying your own blogging domain.

As you guys may have noticed recently I have purchased and upgraded to my own domain, as opposed of course to for me it was a decision a good few months in the making. In fact last year I made a deal with myself that if I kept up my writing and still found myself as passionate about blogging in a years time then I would buy my own domain and work from there, which as you can all see I have.

Before buying my domain I decided it would be best to find out a few of the ins and outs, perks and pitfalls if you will, that come hand in hand with buying your own domain, which is something I am hoping this post can help all of you with any questions or queries you might have revolving around domain purchase. I have to be honest in that my main reason for purchasing my domain name was really to drop 'blogspot' from my URL, that can pretty much sum up how little I understood or knew about the benefits that come with owning your personal domain name, but upon a little research (admittedly after I bought the name) I found domain purchases can bring a whole host of benefits to you the blogger.

Blog Ownership
Owning your domain takes the who out of the question of ownership. Funnily enough on researching domains a bit further you'll find that this content you may have worked very hard for, perhaps for years can all disappear at the click of a report button never to be seen again. With your own domain you are in control and have ownership of the platform in addition to the content (but I still suggest you back up your work somewhere more concrete you know... in case of apocalypse)

Increased Traffic
Since buying my own domain name I have noticed an increase in traffic being referred to blog, and as much as I would of course like to believe it is due to a step up in content we can actually trace this back to my new domain. When your address contains Google and other search engines will tend to index these whereas when people search for your unique domain address you will usually come out on top of the search engines.

At risk of sounding incredibly vague, it just sounds and looks much better to drop your host. By creating your domain name you are creating your blogging brand and at the end of the day who do you want to be promoting? Blogspot? Or you? Brands will want to work with you a little bit more and you'll get that little sense of pride from typing your new domain name that is genuinely just yours.

One thing I will say however is that setting up your domain name is relatively easy, I personally purchased mine through GoDaddy who, to give them credit, did try to set up my domain but I think a few wires were crossed and all the did was make the domain a forwarding to my blog - which of course is not what I wanted. But by reading the instructions on Bloggers and GoDaddy's websites carefully enough I was able to set it up myself (and if I can do it, believe me you can too!)

Hopefully some of you have found this interesting, helpful or somewhere in between, I really just want to share a few things I have learned and found as a blogger this last year and I hope to share more knowledge I may accumulate in the months going forward. If you have any questions on how I set up my domain, what I have found the differences to be or if you just want to ask me a question in general be sure to leave a comment below, come share it with me on Twitter or if you just want to keep up with my latests posts be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm off getting tecchy.
H.Elizabeth xx

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Hook 'n' Roll | Benefit's Roller Lash Review

As you'll have seen if you're a make up fiend like myself, the beauty blogger and cosmetics world has been in somewhat of a tizzy ever since there were whispers of a brand new Benefit mascara, four years in the making, set to be a steady contender against their already fabulous 'They're Real' formula, which you all know I am a groupie and advocate of. Naturally being a lover of all things lash and self confessed beauty hoarder I had to get my mitts on one of these suckers as soon as possible, and when I found out that this months Elle magazine were giving away an exclusive sample, practically pressed my face against the newsagents window the day they graced stands!

First of all, lets just take a moment to appreciate the packaging, the sample came in a little pink and black box, very chic, pin uppy and understated which is beautiful, it was then that I knew the two of us were destined for a long and happy life together (you know until Benefit release their next mascara perhaps 5 years in the making!) Before I get into my first impressions and general awe of the product I just want to share with you what is so different about this mascara and why there has been such hoo ha. The wand boasts a 'hook and roll' design which grabs every single lash to lift and curl, much like velcro hair rollers, to heights and curliness you've never before seen. 

There are a few reasons people have gone so crazy for this new mascara first of all the wand is smaller than Benefits previous mascaras and I can tell you it is much softer than the 'They're Real' wand, it has a slight curve which aids the 'hook and roll' design and is perfect for catching on to lower or smaller lashes. Benefit have claimed that the formula itself has conditioning properties, is more lightweight than anything we've seen before and is said to hold lash curl for 12 hours (something I am yet to test out)

So as you can see this is why I was so excited! Making sure I had the best lighting possible I got down with the mascara! At first I as incredibly worried we weren't going to get along, you really have to wipe the excess off on the tube before you get to work I warn you because as silly as this may sound it was very wet and I almost got in a spectacular mess, so I would say it takes a bit of playing around with, but after some perseverance I can safely say I am in love. The lift and not to mention volume you can achieve with this product is incredible, in fact so incredible that I didn't even feel compelled to wear my false lashes (a major step for me!) I also just want to mention that since removing the mascara m lashes don't feel dry or crisp like they sometimes do if I've been wearing a hard going mascara, in short is is lash magic in a bottle.

In short I do recommend you going and getting your hands on a copy of this months Elle magazine as soon as you can before I snap up all of the copies to avoid paying oodles when the official release date comes (Which is February 28th RRP. £19.50) Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are on this latest and greatest mascara or if you have found something that's even better I'd love to hear about it. Be sure to catch me on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can find me on Bloglovin

Until next time folks, I'll be perfecting my 'hook n roll'!

H.Elizabeth xx

Sunday 1 February 2015

Ooh La La | New Look Parisian Haul

This month I have been on a bit of a spending ban, well when I say spending ban I mean I tried my best, failed spectacularly and today I am justifying my splurgey tendencies with this blog post. One day we may delve a little deeper into my psyche and determine why I have such a terrible spending habit and shopaholic tendencies but today I think it would just be that bit more fun to share my recent work wear haul and purchases from New Look (which in actual fact only came to around £55!)

Looking at my wardrobe, as I'm sure we all do, I felt as if I've been in a bit of a clothing rut. Dressing mainly in a midi skirt and a floaty tee, or being really lazy and throwing on jeggings and a shirt, my working wardrobe has left much to be desired. So when the brand new New Look Parisian inspired collection came into stores earlier this month I just couldn't help myself and of course I was able to fully justify these purchases by telling myself they will come in handy for our holidays later on in the year too and of course I get to share my finds with you guys.

Parisian Fashion

Monochrome Tunic Dress £14.99
This was actually something I spotted in New Looks window display, and usually I don't get along with shift / tunic style dresses or horizontal stripes for that matter (I have the fear of looking like a fashionable but chubby zebra) But this is such a lovely fit and the material is so flattering and falls just right, it doesn't exaggerate my hips as some of these dresses often do and I'm looking forward to wearing this little number to work in the colder months with some wooly tights and then taking this to Paris with me in the summer and baring all! (legs)

Striped Baggy Shirt £17.99
This isn't something I would usually go for but the softness of the material drew me in! Since buying this I have barely had it off my back and it is totally worth the price just for the comfiness and wearability of the material. I can wear this shirt with so many things, dress trousers, jeggings or even tucked into a high waisted skirt. Statement pieces you can wear with a multitude of things have got to be my favourites, which is why I almost cried when I ruined my faux leather skirt a few weeks ago!

High Neck Ribbed Crop Top £12.99
I was scared to make this purchase if I'm honest, high necked and cropped are two words which are generally not in my vocabulary, I have the uni-boob fear you see! But feeling like a daring devil I tried this on, and I was pleasantly surprised. Of course I won't be dawning this with my belly on show or with anything too risque, instead I think I'll pair this with a pair of high waisted jeans or a skirt if I'm going dressy.

Grid Check Leggings £7.00
These were on sale, and I remember eyeing them up when they were full price and thinking I just wouldn't wear them enough to jusfity their price. But now I have them I can barely get them off (and no, funny people, it's not because of my big bum!) I wear them to work, around the house, out shopping and like the shirt I love how versatile they are! Usually patterend items scare me a little bit and I only have one item that goes with them, but in this case I have been very creative with my wardrobe and lucky!
Given that this has been my one and only haul this month I think my loose spending ban has done me some good, but I am pleased that I was able to find such fashion gems which are all so versatile! Now all I need to do is look for some great fashion accessories to go along with them and my life will be complete (until the next haul)
Of course as always I'd love to hear your styling suggestions, have I perhaps missed a trick or maybe you want to point me in the direction of some similar looking items which could dessicate my bank balance even further, either way I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and suggestions below. Of course as always you can find me loitering about on Twitter or if you'd like to keep up to date with my latests you can always find me on Bloglovin
Until next time folks, I'll be nursing my bank balance back to health.
H.Elizabeth xx
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