Sunday 29 March 2015

Is public debate dead?

Hello everyone, I apologise in advance (once again) for this rather lengthy and specific rant I may be about to embark on however I feel a few of you will probably have experienced something similar to this in the past or perhaps you deal with things like this on a daily basis (dear lord I hope not!) but I'd like to share something that made me really angry, disheartened me a little bit and generally ticked me off surrounding a local issue and public debate (which after this encounter I can assure you is well and truly dead!) Don't worry I'm not going to go into excruciating detail about this particular encounter but it really did get me thinking about the way in which we, as a public, interact with one another when we come up against conflicting ideas, opinions and general newsy type information that is flung our way on a day to day basis.

For me this revelation really started with Scotland's independence campaign, living in Scotland the divide between the Yes and No camps was far more obvious than people outwith the country but my issue really began with the campaign strategies. I think and I just found the way in which Yes and No debates were hosted and managed was a disgrace, inside the political parties and outwith. Now, no, I am no politician, but in my opinion the way in which our current politicians do conduct themselves is a bit crazy, normalizing name calling on television, dirty fighting in campaigns and debates only creates the impression that yes, this is how professional debate is supposed to go - how is this any different from 'plebgate'?

My own experience of course was quite small, I commented on an article online for one of the local newspapers and was swiftly bombarded with abuse, vile comments and general rudeness, which needless to say I was flabbergasted at. Is this democratic public debate? I don't think so. How can we be expected for our views to be heard and our opinions to be taken seriously, if we can't even have a mature discussion about important issues within our community. Just to put this into a bit of perspective I demonstrated my support for a local build and stated it would give people a place to go as opposed to loitering in the streets, the response from one woman was to call me a German stereotype dating back to WWII.... yes I'm afraid that is the extent of public debate I have witnessed.

Needless to say this entire experience has put me off of getting involved in 'public debate' and specifically local 'public debate' for a good long while at least until there are some sort of guidelines, screening process or at least something put in place to ensure a real debate, specific to genuine, valid opinions about the topic at hand without cyber bullying, name calling and rudeness can take place, do you see that happening any time soon? Nope nor do I.

Has something like this ever happened to you that sparked a political revelation? I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and experiences (keep it clean!) be sure to share them in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, having a clean and rational debate with myself.

H.Elizabeth x 

Friday 27 March 2015

MAC Lipstick | Craving a Cosmo

Well ladies and gents it's that time of the month again, perhaps I should say week rather, where like a magnet I am drawn ever so slowly into the MAC store to look at all of the pretty lovelies they so often have in store and once again I am pleased (my bank balance not so) to report that I have added not one, but two new sultry shades to my ever growing MAC lipstick collection. So to make myself feel a bit better at spending an eye watering £31.00 on two shades at once I thought I would share my purchases with you and attempt to rationalize such reckless spending.

This time, and as per usual, I was drawn towards their lipsticks. After falling head over heels for Bourjois Rouge Edition matte gloss in 'Nudeist' I decided I needed something a bit more hydrating and with greater wear ability in a similar shade - because lipstick all over a Starbucks cup is just not appealing! And like many of us self confessed make up addicts I found myself in MAC. Recently I have been finding it increasingly difficult to get into MAC, mostly because I go at peak times and nobody seems to actually want to go in to buy a lipstick, instead what they'll do is crowd around the lipsticks going through each and every stick for swatches then gushing over the shades which is just fine, if they would let the actual buyers in to get a look at least. After spending about 10 minutes battling my way to the front I finally had my moment and by god did I seize it! (victory is mine)

So instead of just being good and making an informed decision I found myself panicking at the prospect of potentially never getting to see the MAC counter ever again (a slight exaggeration on the part of my inner monologue) and ended up coming away with not one but two brand new creme sheen sticks - I regret nothing! Admittedly the shades are quite similar but they're right up my street so I thought 'why not?' Not only are they similar in shades but names too (as you can see from my oh so clever title) they are called 'Craving' and 'Cosmo'

First of all, Craving is described as a  'burst of plum' and I can completely see why, it is subtle enough that you can wear it day to day while also looking striking on paler skin tones such as my own, I would say it's a good tester lipstick for when you're trying to be a bit more adventurous. As ever the lipstick just glides on - never found a smoother application than with MAC, I have yet to find a liner for this one (or Cosmo for that matter) but if you can think of one to recommend I'm all ears! Cosmo on the other hand is far more of a nudey pink than a plumy pink, described as a 'pink coco' which as per usual, MAC, you have hit the nail on the head and of course it reminds me of a pink coco truffle. Through the grapevine I have heard nobody ever looks bad in Cosmo and I can quite believe it, being a striking shade on paler skin and I imagine even so on darker tones it's a beautiful colour with a gorgeous creme sheen finish similar to Craving.

I can't wait to debut these in the summer and I'm pretty sure these will be getting packed for Paris in May (a mere 8 whole weeks away!) but as I of course said I'm still on the hunt for perfect liners to compliment these so if you have any suggestions be sure to share them with me in the comments below, Tweet them at me, or as usual and of course if you'd just like to see more from me be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks I'm craving more cosmos (and MAC)
H.Elizabeth x

Thursday 26 March 2015

Aberdeen Events | Aberdeen Art Gallery Extreme Makeover

Hello everyone, I'm back today with a special Aberdeen post about an event that I will be attending in the Granite City tomorrow evening that I'm pretty excited about and that is the 'Extreme Makeover' of Aberdeen Art Gallery. As some of you may already know the Aberdeen Art Gallery is due to formally close down for 2 and a half years in order to undergo a major redevelopment and giant makeover as part of some revamps taking part in Aberdeen City in the next few years (all of which are very exciting and I'm happy to be part of) so to celebrate the Art Gallery are having one last hoorah and shebang to celebrate art and culture in the Granite City and of course these exciting new developments.
The event itself takes place tomorrow evening (27th March, 6pm) and is a free non ticketed event (but is set to be extremely busy) There are a whole host of activites due to take place throughout the evening including a dress up masquerade competition, a tour with a twist, which I'm super excited for, sketch classes, construction activites and the opportunitiy to make you mark on the gallery, literally! For a full list of what will be going on be sure to check out this link.
Throughout my life I have paid numerous visits to the Art Gallery and witnessed the weird and wonderful, for example I remember a couple of years ago one of the exhibitions featured solely on David Beckhams sleeping face, one that I really really enjoyed was the Annie Lenox exhbition and most recently I attended an after hours event surrounding the world wars. So in all honesty I am both sad and excited to see these new developments as it has played such a role in Aberdeen's culture but I am of course looking forward to giving the current design the proper hoorah and send off it deserves!
I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures (if allowed) and I will of course keep you filled in and updated on the evenings activites, or better yet if you're in Aberdeen be sure to come along on the evening and say hello if you see us skulking around. As always I welcome any and all comments or Tweets and of course if you just want to keep up to date with the latests be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.
Until next time folks, giving the gallery one last hoorah.
H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Nose Piercing | Process, Pain and Aftercare

In case any of you haven't noticed, I have a nose piercing it is relatively new I've had it for about 7 months so I wouldn't blame you if you hadn't seen it but today I wanted to chat to you a little bit about it for those of you who are perhaps thinking about getting a nose piercing and you're not sure what to expect or perhaps you're just a little bit nosy (ha!) and want to know a bit about 'how much it hurt' or 'how can I blow my nose' or silly little things like that which I find a bit funny (but are in fact serious considerations!)

When I decided to get my nose pierced I went back and forth a great deal, I asked my family what they thought, of course they thought it was silly to put another hole in my nose, I asked my husband who as ever was so forward with his opinions and said, 'whatever you think' or 'do what you like you'll look fine either way' In fact when I was thinking about it I got outside the piercing studio about 2 or 3 times then decided against it. I googled and pinterested and instagrammed pictures of people with nose piercings to get an idea of how it would look but I didn't actually see anything that was particularly informative about aftercare or pain or anything really - which I was disheartened and a bit scared about, so I thought I would be a good little pioneer and give a full overview today. Step one I would say is to think about it long and hard - it's a bit like getting a pet I suppose - are you responsible, will you clean and look after it as you know you should and will you be patient enough for it to adjust to your face?

Choosing a piercer
Choosing a piercer for me was very easy, when I was 16 I had my lip pierced by what then was Retro Rebels (a Gothic clothing store and piercing studio on Aberdeen's George Street) then had a micro-dermal on my chest a couple of years ago (which was painful and fell out due to no fault of the piercer) and given they have been made over into Rebel Ink and in recent years have become one of the most reputable piercers and tattoo studios in the Granite City, I was confident they were the way to go. But when you are choosing a piercer yourself there is nothing better than word of mouth, speak to others who have been there, look at reviews online and of course go in and have a chat to the actual piercer to answer any and all questions you may have, and if they're not very nice or appear to brush you off, don't go there, they obviously aren't interested in the well being of their customers.

Getting your nose pierced
I still remember the day I went to get the deed done, I wasn't nervous as I am quite good with pain and I have been to the studio a few times to have tattoos done so I had already spoken to the piercer a few times previously and he is super friendly. All of the equipment used should be sterile and having been there before I had no worries (plus is just smells so clean which I love!) Unfortunately the day I went they didn't have the colour or style of stud I was going for but I was advised by my piercer which would look best (listen to yours, they are almost always right and I still have my red stud!)

The way in which the piercing is done is your piercer will draw a dot on your nostril where they think the best position for the piercing is which you will then have a look at to see if you are comfortable. They will then put a thin, hollow metal tube inside your nose to get the position of the needle on the dot and this is where it will go through.The pain itself only lasts a few seconds but I'm not going to lie, it does hurt, I would say more than a lip piercing but less than a tattoo but of course they are two very different types of pain and everybody is different but this is just my experience. There was a little bit of blood, but of course you have just had a needle go through your skin of course there is going to be a bit of blood. Needless to say I was chuffed with my new piercing and if anybody is interested it cost me £15 (for which I had a birthday voucher)

Nose Piercing Aftercare
Upon leaving the studio I was given a pamphlet about general piercing aftercare and the thing I love about a nose piercing is that it is a pretty low maintenance piercing to care for (a bit like a cat) but of course with anything you do need to be vigilant about looking after it otherwise it could become infected. Straight after having it done it did feel strange and I got worried for a while I would never be able to blow my nose in a satisfying way again, but this passes and as the swelling goes down it just feels like a part of your face and in fact I don't even notice that it is there most of the time!

I used good quality cotton pads and a saline solution every day for the first couple of weeks to keep mine clean but I did run into a couple of problems, for example sometimes you can develop something called a keloid - which is a small bump right next to the piercing and if it isn't give the proper attention can become a permanent part of your face. Thankfully mine was relatively small and with continuous cleaning it disappeared within a week but I would advise keeping make up and heavy products away from this area while it is healing (something I didn't really do!)

Today I have no issues or cleaning problems with my piercing and continue to love it just as much as when I first had it done, I can blow my nose, wash my face and do everything a regular person without a piercing can the only difference? I have some lovely bling on my face! This post has been much more long winded than I thought it would be, but honestly I just wanted to be as helpful and informative as possible when it comes to this kind of thing because it is important and I don't feel as if I could have left anything out in explaining the process and aftercare. Be sure to leave me a comment below if you have any questions, if perhaps you are thinking of getting a piercing or maybe you already have one and just wanted to add something, post it below, come share it with me on Twitter or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts be sure to follow me on Bloglovin'

Until next time folks, blowing my nose like a regular person.

H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 22 March 2015

Pure Gym | What to expect from your first Kettlebell Class

It has been 24 hours since my first ever kettlebell class as I type this, my muscles are sore... very sore and walking to work today was not a piece of cake as it usually is (perhaps that was an inappropriate comparison) my legs are stiff, my shoulders are stiff, in fact today I am sore in places I didn't think could possibly be sore, and I have my new Kettlebell class to thank, but you know I don't regret a minute of it! So today I thought I would share my experience of my first ever Kettlebell class at my local Pure Gym just for those of you who might be curious, fancy giving it a go or have been a bit scared at the prospect of attending class alone.

If you are a member of Pure Gym you will already be aware of the benefits. Use of quality work out equipment on a budget, convenient city centre locations and not to mention a plethora of classes you can take part in for free, which is something I have only just been brave enough to try out. One thing I will say is that if you are going to book in for a class you are going to need to download the app, these classes fill up like nothing on Earth and if you're not fast (you can book classes up to 8 days in advance) then they'll be gone before you know it and at my gym, kettlebell classes are the first to be snapped up so be fast!

Honestly I was quite nervous about starting this class and now that it's over I'm not altogether sure why, I think it was partly down to feeling like 'the new kid' in class and thinking everyone would be watching how weak I was - not the case whatsoever. The class accepts all ability levels so you don't need to worry about being able to lift something that is realistically far too heavy, for example I started off on an 8kg kettlebell (you can get a 4kg one though so no worries) and you will never feel like the new kid in the class because there will always be somebody who is just joining that week too.

There will be sweat, my gosh there will be sweat, the classes are run as a kind of circuit and you take part in one minute of really going for it and 30 seconds of active rest. My class began with standard weighted squats (you will be sick of squats by the end of this trust me) and progressed to jumping squats. From the outside looking in, as I often did before I started classes, it looked like a piece of cake (these inappropriate cake references are probably trying to tell me something) especially when you add in the swinging of your kettlebell up to head height and above your head, but after a few minutes of doing this you are going to want to throw your kettlebell away! After the class I seriously thought I would never go back again but alas and lo and behold I have already booked in for the same class again next week (the feeling and results are just that good!)

What I found really great about this class is, not only are you getting a fantastic all over body workout but the instructor helps you out with your breathing techniques (which is something I tend to overthink or get panicky about) and you really are getting the full package. Going to this class has given me the confidence when I go to the gym outwith classes to be able to pick up a kettlebell and know what I can do with it to get the greatest all over body benefits that I can.

If you are considering booking in for a weighted Pure Gym class I would really recommend this one for a beginner, you're able to pick the size of weights you feel comfortable with (get there quick for the good 'uns) and as opposed to simply working out your arms or your legs you're 'engaging your core' and getting an all over workout. Please share your own experiences of Pure Gym classes or kettlebell classes in the comments below, or come share them with me on Twitter, I would love to hear how you get on! As always if you'd like to see more from Granite City Girl be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm pumping iron (sort of)

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 20 March 2015

Being Female | Getting Measured For A Bra

Ah the joys of being a woman, not only do we get to deal with the misogynistic realities of the working world (and world in general) get paid a joyful visit from aunt flow every month and feel compelled to wage war on our weight, faces and general appearances day to day but now we have to worry about the migrating state of our 'nunga nungas'. Not that this is exactly news to the female population it's just the sad state of affairs that come hand in hand with womanhood, but a recent bra fitting in my good old local British Home Stores has given me (and my boobs) 'the fear' and today I would like to share why.

Recently I noticed a gap, more specifically, quite a large gap between my actual chest and my bra (a size which has suited me just fine since I was 18 years old) and I got a shock. Given that I have been working my bottom off in the gym I suppose I should have expected this, but being the curvy lady I am never expected to lose all of my weight from my chest first. For the first time in 4 years I was clueless (and bra-less) and after seeing a sign in BHS for a bra fitting service, something I have never ever had done before, I leapt at the opportunity for a bra revamp!

The girl who measured me was so helpful and informative and because some of you, like me, may not know how a bra is measured I'll just go over that quickly. First you are measured under your bust to get the circumference which helps workout the banded part of your bra for example I was shown to be between 36 and 38 (typical!) Then you will be measured at the fullest part of your bust to get the cup size (I believe that your band measurement is subtracted from your bust measurement and that gives the cup size) The results revealed to me that I was wearing a bra that was miles too big for me, and I mean by something like 3 or 4 sizes too big, which in turn got me thinking of the repercussions of wearing the wrong size of bra and what it really means for my general health, well-being and my 'nunga nungas'  

Wearing the wrong size of bra doesn't just effect how they look or the way in which your clothes hang (poorly if anyone was wondering) as I found there are a multitude of problems that can occur from wearing the wrong size of bra and the world has to know:

  • Stretched boobs; wearing the wrong size can cause your tissue and skin to stretch resulting in, you guessed it, saggy boobs!
  • Back pain; a bra that is too big doesn't offer you the support you need and you'll find yourself more hunched over with poor posture resulting in back pain.
  • Back fat; yes the dreaded back fat which I thought was just a disgusting thing I had and therefore had to live with - nope bra is too tight!
  • Bra gap; if you have a gap your boobs will just straight up fall out of there - thigh gap - yes please, bra gap - no thank you!
  • Indigestion; strange one but I have heard that if your band is too tight it will dig into your ribs and upper stomach and can cause indigestion.

So really what began as a simple days shopping turned into a real learning experience for me and I'll be damned if I wear the wrong sized bra ever again. I feel much better in myself knowing I won't have any of the above problems (for a good while at least) and that I'm doing something small to actively benefit my own health as well as of course reaping the benefits of my clothes hanging better and generally feeling more comfortable day to day, ladies you never know the true joy of a well fitted bra until you have been measured properly, so I urge, if you do one thing in these next couple of weeks take 10 minutes to go and get yourself professionally fitted!

I hope you have enjoyed this rather school teachery, PSE esque post and at least come away knowing something you perhaps didn't know before. As always I appreciate any and all comments so be sure to leave yours below, come share your thoughts with me on Twitter, or if you'd like to stick around and see more Granite City Girl posts you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, holding up my 'nunga nungas'

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Aberdeen Art and Culture | Albyn Gallery

It isn't often that I am let out of my cage enough to sample the local culture (it is a habit I am trying to break out of believe me) so when I was contacted by the PR for a local up and coming gallery in Aberdeen's West End with a unique twist to come along I practically leapt at the opportunity.
The Albyn Gallery, as I was to learn, plays host to over 100 pieces of unique, mostly modern, art pieces and has everything from Pino's romanticism, Disney Illustrations by Allison Lefcort (which yes is as exciting as it sounds for Disney lovers) and a plethora of works by Bill Mack, who is famed for painting classic film stars from the 1920s to the 1970s on pieces of the original Hollywood sign. The gallery is owned by the Douglas family who began collecting art a few years ago and are keen to share their love and passion for art with the public, Keith Douglas, the owner of the gallery has said, “As a family, we love art and have amassed a fantastic collection. I believe that art collections should move and evolve and, aside from some particularly sentimental pieces, I look forward to sharing my collection with others and continuing to develop what we enjoy in our home.”

But before you brush Albyn off as ' just another art gallery' let me just shed some light on how unique this collection and experience at the gallery truly is. First of all the Douglas family's passion for their collection is unrivaled, which you can tell from the way in which Keith imparts his knowledge of art, their collection and the art world in general (something I'm sure you are aware you cannot get at your run of the mill gallery) Secondly I just want to take a moment to mention some of the more unique pieces of art that really drew me in for example the Hollywood works by Bill Mack with some interesting surprises, the unique use of media by Martiros Manoukian and the wonderfully upbeat works of Dorit Levi. But for those who aren't very into art or are perhaps amateurs (like myself), don't worry the history of each piece will  be enough to satisfy your culture buds, so there really is something for everyone.

In short I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at the gallery and to be shown around by someone as passionate about art as Keith was nothing short of a delight. When you visit Albyn you'll be given nothing short of a truly unique experience that you simply don't get at your run of the mill gallery and you'll definitely come away with more nuggets of information than you'll know what to do with, and let's face it for those of us in Aberdeen such places are few and far between and we ought to grab these opportunities when we can!
I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into Aberdeen and Granite City Culture, it was lovely to be shown around the Douglas family's art gallery and I do hope you get the opportunity to book in a visit, be sure to head over to their website for a taste of what they have on offer. As always I love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment below and if you do get a chance to go along to Albyn Art Gallery I'd love to hear about your experiences on here or on Twitter. Of course if you'd just like to see more from me and the Granite City be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.
Until next time folks, I'm feeling cultured and artsy.
H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 15 March 2015

Garnier | 2 in 1 Eye Make up Remover Review

Back at you with another beauty review and today's product (in my opinion at least) is an incredibly useful one for you ladies who may be a little too generous when it comes to eye products, specifically mascara and lash glue or perhaps even for those of you looking for something a bit gentler to help remove your make up generally, and surprise surprise it comes from one of my personal skincare saviours, Garnier.

It all really started when I was taking off my make up at the gym, you ladies will know how it is, when you're in a rush for a class, you're trying desperately to clean off the (what feels like cemented on) make up of the day and your mascara just won't budge. You end up panicking due to your late state and vigorously rub your eyes until they're a lovely shade of scarlet, and not to mention you've yanked the majority of your lashes our along with it, well given that I felt I was down to my final three lashes per eye, I had enough and went on the hunt for something a bit kinder to my skin (and for my sanity!) As fate would have it I then happened upon Garnier's Skin Naturals Fresh Eye Make Up Remover as part of a 2 for 1 offer, and today I wouldn't be without it!

The cleanser itself is a liquid consistency and as you can imagine I was quite nervous about it all spilling out at me and essentially wasting my money, but thankfully Garnier have created a sturdy bottle that doesn't allow for leakages. What really drew me to this product was their supposed 'biphase' double action forumla which says it will clear stubborn make up (even waterproof) without the need for vigorous rubbing (it even says 'protects' eyelashes on front so double bonus!) I was quite skeptical to begin with but I'm one for giving anything a go once so in I jumped.

The scent wasn't overwhelming or chemical, which is a big no no for me as these types of cleansers and removers tend to dry out my skin something chronic, this is actually a lovely fresh and clean scent that reminds me of the 'Clean Cotton' Yankee Candle (which I could sniff until the cows come home!) but I'm a terrible judge of how things smell so perhaps you should give it a whiff yourself before committing to the product. The day I tested this out, just to clarify, I was wearing eyeliner pen and pencil, eyeshadow, Benefit's Roller Lash mascara and a set of Eyelure false lashes, so it isn't as if I was simply swiping of a slick of liner, and all I can really say is wow. As well as removing all of my make up, even mascara and remnants of glue from my lashes, with no trace of panda or red eye I only had to use 2 cotton pads (a refreshing change from the usual 4 or 5) The forumla didn't sting my eyes or leave my skin greasy like my facial cleanser sometimes does and it was just a genuinely pleasant product to use.

If you're looking for something that just does a damn good job of make up removal than you can stop your search right here, and you'll be saving a tonne of money on cleansing pads to boot! Of course now that I am a self confessed convert from cream to liquid make up remover I'm looking for micellar recommendations. Be sure to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter, or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, rubbing my eyes pretty.
H.Elizabeth x

Friday 13 March 2015

Q & A | Taking part in blogger chats

Hello everyone, today I'm back with my now fortnightly blogging advice segment because you guys haven't told me you hate it or asked me to shut up yet and because you enjoyed my last post on effectively scheduling posts so much I thought I would share a little bit more about my experiences of blogging. Today I'm going to focus a little bit on expanding your community, making friends and forging relationships with fellow bloggers in the form of a mini Q & A, otherwise I could literally go on all day about the blogging community and engaging with your audience!

What are blogger chats?
Blogger chats are a way in which bloggers, writers, marketing professionals,  and anybody who wants to be part of the community come together for a weekly chat about anything and everything. Often they are centered around a topic of discussion which is open for comment and idea sharing or it is an open chat where you can pose questions, thoughts or comments to the group for comment and discussion.

Who are they for?
Anybody who is involved or has an interest in the blogging world can join in! If your thing is books you can be sure there will be a book bloggers chat or perhaps you're a big foodie and looking to swap recipes, then the food blogger chat is the ticket for you, whatever your niche there will be a chat for that, I for example take part in the lifestyle and beauty bloggers chats.

How do you take part?
Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag (as you'll have perhaps guessed these chats live on Twitter) whichever chat you choose to take part in will have a designated hashtag for example the lifestyle bloggers hashtag is '#lbloggers' and the beauty bloggers one is '#bbloggers' To search for these chats all you have to do is type the hashtag into your Twitter search bar at the designated time and that's that, you are officially taking part in a blogger chat.

What are the benefits of taking part?
Well first of all it is so much fun and in addition to the obvious benefits of being enabled to easily promote your blog and brand it's a great way to meet new people. It is a very rare thing in real life to find people with so much common ground and so much to talk about on a weekly basis and it is a fantastic boost. The blogging community and the weekly chats have helped keep me motivated, inspired and generally upbeat about my writing and life online.

Granite City Girl's blogger chat etiquette
Now as you can imagine, and like with anything there are a certain set of unspoken rules if you like and general etiquette that is expected from you while taking part in these chats and I will one day do a more in depth post on the pros and peeves of blogger chats and etiquette, but today I'm just going to outline the basics:

  • Don't spam other bloggers with your link
  • You can promote a product or service, but only do it once or twice
  • Be mindful of other bloggers and respond to their queries if you can help
  • Send your / ask for links towards the end of the chat to avoid spamming

As always I hope this has been able to help at least one of you in some small way (and if it hasn't well it has certainly made me a bit more organised when it comes to blogger chats and obviously given that this timetable will be living on my blog, I really have no excuse for missing one every again. Be sure to leave your questions, comments and feedback below and of course if you are a fellow blogger and have noticed I have missed out one of the key blogger chats or a special nugget of information be sure to share that with me on here, on Twitter or of course if you just enjoyed this post and would like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can always come find me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'll be refining my chat etiquette.

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Wishlist | Fitness Fashion

It has been some time since I have done a wishlist post, in fact I think it may be coming on to 2 or 3 months since I last did one of these, and this is mainly because I have been on a rather dire spending ban and you know avoiding temptation is the best way to keep your word. Of course this didn't stop me from fantastically obliterating my bank balance within one week of payday last month, but today I bring you a different kind of wishlist, a wishlist that I myself deem as far more practical and of use to me than the aesthetic wants and needs I usually face and that my friends is a fitness wish list.
It's no secret that in the recent weeks I have stepped up my gym game, attending some classes, gymming it 3 times a week and walking at every given opportunity (I have successfully only taken the bus 3 or 4 times this year!) but of course with this upsurge in activity I have found myself seriously lacking in appropriate attire (I literally have 2 vests, 2 pairs of exercise trousers, 2 sports bras and 1 pair of trainers- isn't that just a bit sad?) so today I thought I would share my latest wants and honestly needs from the world of fitness, fashion and sports.


BooHoo Jazzy Panelled Leggings
I've been on the hunt for some jazzier leggings for working out for a little while now, I keep seeing people in the gym with all of these fabulous printed sports trousers and leggings and I'm so jealous! So I resolve, now that I have lost a bit more weight I'm no longer going to hide away on the corner treadmill with the same old black workout trousers instead I'm getting jazzy with it!

Sweaty Betty Seamless Pants
Now really, what are these if not practical? I always worry when I'm in the gym that everybody is going to see my pants because of a lot of impractical choices on my part admittedly for my undergarments, but now I have found a solution! I think.

These may be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I first discovered the invisibobble when it came with one of my Glamour Beauty Boxes last year and I loved wearing them, they didn't pull on my hair, rip anything from my head and they gave me kink free styles which was a bonus! Of course being the klutz that I so well and truly am I have already lost ALL of my invisibobbles and can definitely be doing with some for the gym!

Resistance Bands
As a self confessed slave to trend, seeing these around my gym has made me want one! They seem so versatile and I think they could help me in a variety of ways (especially if I get scared off the weights again!) and given that I'm feeling incredibly bored of cardio at the moment a resistance band may be a nice change of pace in terms of weight and strength training.

Eco Yoga Mat
In short, I have been a cheap skate in the last year. I picked up my yoga mat in a sale at TK Maxx about a year ago just because I fancied one, but little did I know at the time it would become a weekly fitness staple, a staple I might add that has been getting on my wick. As you're of course meant to, during yoga or floor exercises I sweat quite a bit and as a recent experience of downward facing dog almost turned into a trip to A & E  due to a rather spectacular face plant I decided it was time to retire my old mat and search for something bigger and better (preferably slip proof and sturdier!)

I hope you've enjoyed this very rare wishlist today I hope this has inspired you in some small healthy, fitness related way and really I apologise as I have been so selfish trying to give myself a little bit more of a kick up the backside. Of course leave your comments below I would love to know what is on your wishlist or if you think there is something I should add to mine let me know! As always catch me on Twitter for a wee chat or if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City posts be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, feeling fit!

H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 8 March 2015

The Goldilocks Complex | MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation SPF 15

Thinking back to the first foundation I ever bought still makes me cringe. Thinking of how runny and uncontrolable it was (and not to mention how ill matched to my skin tone) and how inexperienced with handling this substance I so well and truly was it isn't any wonder that the majority of my selfies from around 2008 are all in black and white, or contrasted so highly you can see nothing but a pair of well lined eyes! Of course taking the next step in make up mistakes, like every other girl I moved on to the much coveted Dream Matte Mousse, until of course waking up one day to realise just how bad it looked, felt and generally awful it made my face feel. It was time to move on to bigger and better things and after much deliberation, countless forumlas, lots of ho humming and ha-ing I took the plunge and invested in a MAC foundation.

The sales people in my local MAC (in Union Square - shock) are so helpful, they know their stuff and judging by the way they always look flawless, no matter the time of day, I would quite happily put my make up decisions and face in their hands. So when I went in looking for a new foundation that offered maximum coverage that didn't mattify my face too heavily and wouldn't appear to crack or break up through the day, they knew just what I was looking for. The MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation (Shade NW15) is a creamy gel based foundation that is quite thick and feels substantial, the sales assistant said that the forumla of the foundation is quite hydrating to the skin and as it has spf 15 I had little worries about the potential sun damage I may get while wearing it (very little given we are in Aberdeen after all) To boot I was informed that it is pretty sturdy against water, so the Aberdeen rain ought not to worry me either! So that was that, love at first sight, and off I merrily skipped with my brand new foundation pleased as punch.

I remember the first time I used this product, it was a month before my wedding when the girls and I were heading off the Edinburgh for the hen weekend formalities and needless to say as I wasn't quite used to the thick consistency of a cream foundation, I was over zealous and ended up with quite a wet looking face (no I don't mean dewy, I mean wet) so rule number one of a cream / gel based MAC foundation, a little goes a long way and given that I have had it for around 8 months I think that's pretty great going for such a deceptively thin tube! The foundation itself, once you've got to grips with it that is, is lovely to put on, I personally used to apply mine with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, but have recently swapped to the Real Techniques Foundation brush, which has worked wonders for streaky lines and even application.  The real test for me was the wear ability and durability of the forumla as we were shopping, lunching, dining and drinking in the evening this really had to last at least 12 hours - surely that isn't asking too much right? No it was not and I am pleased to report that if you're searching for durability then your search is over! My face was able to last through Edinburgh in the rain, heat and humidity of the shopping centres' of the day and still look fab in the evening!

Now even though this sounds like a match made in heaven I must assure you that our tale does not necessarily end here or have a particularly happy ending to say the least (here comes our story arc!) as much as I loved and got on with the appearance of this foundation it wrecked my skin no end, and the most horrific part was it took about 2 - 3 weeks to repair said damage. As you guys probably know by now I have combination/dry skin but I'm relatively careful with what I put on my face so as not to flare up a bad bout of dry skin and as careful as I thought I was being, when it comes to make up sometimes I'm just not sensible enough. This foundation is difficult to remove at the best of times, it takes quite a few pads and a deal of scrubbing to remove it, and even then a cleanser is recommended to completely remove it, so after a solid week or so of using the foundation my skin began to suffer. My face came out in red dry patchy areas all over and no amount of moisturiser was helping and after a couple of weeks of these patches I began to panic my face would never be the same. I swore off all make up for 2 - 3 weeks, moisturised every hour and slowly my face began to heal and return to normal. Needless to say I stopped wearing the foundation altogether for a little while, but when I did return I made sure to take precautions. Today I use a pea sized amount of foundation and even then I have lathered primer all over my face to protect my skin (Smashbox is a life saver!) Now I have happily finished the tube I don't think  I will be repurchasing this product, just because I feel I can find something that does offer the coverage I'm looking for that perhaps is a bit kinder to my skin. Alas the search continues to find that foundation that isn't too thin, or too thick but is just right.

I hope you have found this review helpful, buying one of your first high end foundations can be daunting especially when you're shelling out £25 - £30 at a time on something you don't feel fully informed about, so I hope this has helped weigh out the pros and cons of one of your options at least. If you have a solution to pull me from the Goldilocks foundation complex I am facing right now I am of course all ears and would love to hear you recommendations in the comments below, or you can come share them with me on Twitter. Of course if you'd like to keep up with my latest reviews, recommendations and rants you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm searching for the one that's juuuust right.

Friday 6 March 2015

Worst Dressed Lists | Harmless fun or a backstep for feminism?

As we wave goodbye to another awards season you'll, like me, have been over saturated of late with the latest and greatest fashion has to offer, with best dressed lists appearing in magazines, online and of course on fashion blogs all over the world, but today I want to talk about the flip side of our best dressed idols, today I take a stand and make a case against the worst dressed lists of the world.

Since the dawn of fashion we have had an ranking system of fabulous and faux pas and throughout the years I will hold my hands up and admit they have been my guilty pleasure. Spare 5 minutes on a lunch break I'm flicking through a magazine looking at the latest and greatest of the fashion industry but I'm also looking at the supposedly shoddy statements the fashion and particularly celebrity world has to offer, and this year I feel the internet in particular has been rife with negativity surrounding this subject recently and I just want to say today, it's not okay!

Put yourself in their position for a moment if you will, you're off for a night on the town to celebrate a year of hard work and dedication to your craft (I suppose it's much like our office Christmas parties minus the pressure) You've had a look on your mind for some time now, your hair, make up and outfit have undoubtedly been a year in the making, you put on your glad rags feeling like a million bucks and you're off for a night of fun, frolics and glamour. Except you're not and that is never made more evident than when looking online, in the newspapers and in magazines of the coming months. instead what you're really in for is an evening of being picked apart by strangers, cameras flashed in your face when you least expect it and god forbid, what if you need to scratch your nose when you're there?! But I digress, you flick open the pages of your favourite magazine and lo and behold there you are shamed and slated for the very outfit you have been planning for months, heartbreaking is the only way that can be described.

In a world where feminism now reigns supreme. in magazines, online and in day to day life, how can it be justified for one woman to so publicly name and shame another for their appearance, dress sense or style? Surely this is a counterproductive method of sharing in girl and lady power alike, and not to mention in poor taste! Are we scraping the barrel so much so in the journalism and writing world that all we have left to talk about are the fashion faux pas of the rich and famous surely not!? As a suggestion (which I highly doubt anybody will heed but it must be said) why not simply celebrate the diversity in fashion and celebrity culture we have today? And if you dislike a look just don't include it, this appears to me to be a basic pre schooler lesson, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all,'

But of course as some of you will be screaming out at me through your screens we are reaching somewhat of a turning point in the fashion world, with journalists (good ones anyway) ranking actors and actresses in particular on their craft and talent over  'who they're wearing' or 'how long it took to get styled' and with campaigns such as 'Ask her more' reigning supreme on our television screens, and of course the imminent descent of shows such as Fashion Police I feel we are only paving the way for bigger and better things in both the fashion world and world of film, music and celebrity.

Style for me, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and with personal tastes as varied as ever I think this is a time where we can learn from one another as opposed to criticizing each others choices. Let me know what your guys opinions of the 'Worst Dressed' lists circulating the internet are, do you perhaps agree with them? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments box below or come Tweet them at me and as always if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can follow me on Bloglovin'

Until next time folks, I'm going to rock my 'worst dressed' frock.

H.Elizabeth x

Thursday 5 March 2015

Aberdeen Events | Colour Me Rad 5K

Hello everyone, I'm back with another Aberdeen event announcement that I am pleased to report I will be attending and taking part in with one of my nearest and dearests and that is the Colour Me Rad 5K Run.
As I understnad Colour Me Rad have been around for quite a while now, taking their events all over the UK and inspiring similar events all over the world but we have never had one take place in Aberdeen until this year and I am super excited to be a part of it (although due to popular demand I almost wasn't!) The basic premise behind the run is a celebration of colour, positivity and fitness, unlike other 5K runs, Colour Me Rad fire off blazes of colour canons, colour bombs and mortar at intervals throughout, decorating your city (as well as your clothes, hair, face and everything else) with all the colours of the rainbow.
Registration cost £20 and with that you get a tshirt, a pair of 'rad' sunglasses, a temporary tattoo and a colour bomb (received at the end of the run) to throw at your friends and family to spread some colour and joy (although if someone cuts me off or is rude they may get this in the fizog) A portion of the proceeds go to a local charity in each location and in Aberdeen's case this is Northsound's Cash For Kids. This years race takes part on the 6th of June at the Beach Boulevard, and if this sounds like something you're interested in attending be sure to book your place ASAP as spaces are selling fast!
In the past I have taken part  in many runs, races and 10K runs but none like this, and I am really looking forward to it on the day if it isn't raining of course then it's just like that sad bit in Mary Poppin's where Bert's chalk drawings wash away! For more information and dates for Colour Me Rad visit their website.
Until next time folks, colouring myself rad!
H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Mothers Day Gift Idea | Cakes By Post with Baker Days

If you, like me, have been struggling a little bit in the gift ideas department for Mothers Day then this revolutionary new service (for people wit a sweet tooth anyway) may just be what you have been looking for. A few weeks ago I was approached by Baker Days, an online cake delivery service who specialize in personalized cakes and cupcakes for any and all occasions (and I mean all occassions - they have a Ryan Gosling cake for goodness sake, yummy in more than one way I suppose!) and they asked me if I would be interested in giving my own mum the gift of a letter box cake in celebration of mothers day, which of course as an avid cake lover I jumped at!

Mothers Day Gift Idea
Upon looking a bit more into their services I found that Baker Days are no one trick ponies, with services ranging from letter box cakes to large personalized cakes, photo cakes and even cupcakes, with next working day delivery if ordered before 2pm and not to mention they are incredibly delicious I think this is a service that is certainly due to take off in 2015! There is something a little bit more satisfying about not having to move from the comfort of your own home for a cake (the former fat kind in me beams at the thought!) all you need to do is choose your design, size, sponge flavour (they also do fruit cakes, dairy free and gluten free so something for everyone!), give them your address and you're good to go.

The letter box cakes come in a white box which is well packaged and I was very pleased to find that the postal service hadn't damaged the box or contents (I have not had the best relations with the postal services!) Here is what the cake itself comes in, a beautiful little tin that you can keep after you've demolished the innards along with a little card, pamphlet about Baker Days and a small pack of love heart sweets. Even before we got the tin open we could smell the cake, it was all butter-creamy and mouthwatering, the tin was incredibly difficult to open although given it has to go through postal to arrive this can only be a good thing. The design I chose doesn't look exactly like the design on the website  it is a bit blurry but nothing was majorly out of place. Now I hear you scream, 'but how did it taste?' well we were able to get four portions out of the cake and it tasted delicious, and it makes me squeamish too but as it was a mothers day cake I had to get the lady of the hours verdict, summed up by one word, 'moist' and when it comes to cake that's really all you need (the Mary Berry in me coming out!)

Given that the cake went down an absolute treat with my mum, dad and my hubby I would say Baker Days have it nailed for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, birthdays and all manner of occasions (and I'm not kidding when I say they have something for everyone!) and they've definitely struck a chord with me! If you know anyone who would love to receive not only a personalised card (which we are incredibly saturated with in the UK) but a personalised cake they could actually enjoy head over to Baker Days just now and have a browse of their amazing range! If you'd like to share a similar service with me of course I'm all ears, drop me a comment below, come Tweet at me or if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite Cit Girl antics, adventures and reviews be sure to follow me on Bloglovin!

Until next time folks, drooling over a new kind of Ryan Gosling!

H.Elizabeth x

Sunday 1 March 2015

Domestic Goddess | Chilli chicken and chorizo potato skins

Hello again, back today with yet another domestic goddess themed post, what can I say I feel I am on a culinary roll at the moment, and I thought since I always seem to share sweet snacks (which admittedly I am obsessed with) I'm going to change it up and offer a savoury in the form of my sweet chilli chicken and chorizo potato skins (anybody have a quippier name for them? all ears!)

I was inspired to make these by Pinterest (although their recipe revolved around sour cream, cheese and bacon) as well as an odd combination of ingredients that were left in my fridge at the end of a busy week, and as it turns out it was honestly the best thing I ate the entire week and has quickly become one of our favourite dinner dishes to make after work. These are super quick to make, require very little skill and are delicious!

Microwavable Plate
Sharp Knife
Frying pan
Spoon (for scooping)

5 Baking Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or any oil really)
Ready to eat sweet chilli chicken (2 packs)
Philadelphia Sweet Chilli Spread
Diced Chorizo
Cheese (grated to sprinkle)


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Wash your potatoes well and dry with a clean dishtowel.
  2. Coat the potatoes lightly in your olive oil and place on your microwavable plate. Microwave the potatoes (5 mins per potato so for 5 you will need 25 minutes) so they are soft and easy to cut.
  3. In the final 10 minutes of your potatoes cooking in the microwave heat up your chicken in the frying pan then add the sweet chilli spread. Make sure you coat all the chicken in the sauce which should now go a bit runny having been warmed up.
  4. Remove potatoes from the microwave and leave to cool for 5 minutes until you can comfortably handle them (or dive right in if you're impatient like me!) Cut them in half and then spoon out the potato inside (leave a little bit in so they aren't just skin and fall to bits!)
  5. Once you have your 10 skins, scoop in your sweet chilli chicken mixture, add your diced chorizo to the top and sprinkle with a bit of cheese (optional)
  6. Put these in the oven for about 15 minutes until the skins are slightly burnt (that's how I like 'em)
  7. Leave to cool for another 5 minutes and then tuck in and enjoy.

Serving suggestion:

Use the mash that you had taken out of the potatoes as a side to your skins or you can put it back on top to make a nice lid for your skins.
These are really lovely to have as leftovers too, I often find myself making slightly more just so I can take them to work the next day and let me tell you they are often the envy of my colleagues.These are so versatile and can  be swapped and switched around for different things, for example you can put chilli in your skins and if you're feeling particularly health conscious you can even swap your potato for a pepper (obviously you don't need to microwave the pepper though!) Please do let me know if you give these a go or if you have your own spin on these, of course you don't have to follow this to the letter you can mix it up and have any filling you like, I am actually tempted to try a fajita mix in my next ones. Leave any comments or suggestions for new recipes to try below, come share them with me on Twitter or of course if you'd like to see more recipes, reviews and recommendations you can follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin!

Until next time folks, mashin' tatties.

H.Elizabeth x
Blogger template by pipdig