Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas from Granite City Girl and Fam

(Marble enjoying our tree box that comes but once a year!)

Today I just want to keep it short and sweet and say Merry Christmas from Granite City Girl and family. No doubt you've seen I have taken a little break from posting (I'm so good to myself aren't I?) but I'll be back in the New Year with more news, gossip, reviews and little life happenings.

Until next time folks, have a lovely Christmas, I hope Santa was good to you!

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 18 December 2015

The Perfect Match | The Best Foundation for Pale Girls

Pale Girl Foundation

Now I know I'm a little prone to exaggeration on this little corner of the internet but today please regard me with the seriousness afforded to those who don't quite so frequently cry wolf as I'm about to let you in on the mother of all beauty secrets and the product of all products to end the struggle we pale girls face on a day to day basis. That's right ladies and gents, I'm about to share with you the best foundation for pale girls in the whole wide world... well you know a little exaggeration never hurt anyone right?

I remember the sadness I felt as I squeezed the remnants of my MAC foundation from the tube as I realised it was yet again that time of year where I'd be forced into searching for a new foundation, I suppose it's a little like a break up that you didn't quite see coming. First you don't want to believe it's true and you try and squeeze those last few cosy, fuzzies from the relationship in order to salvage the relationship and romance, but at the end of the day you knew what this was and it's over before it has even begun. So you're thrust once again into the badly lit department stores under fluorescent lights desperately searching for the one in a sea of colour swatches and scary looking Clique and Clarins counter carnivores who really don't give a toss if your face matches your neck as long as you look good under the lights of their Debenhams store, who cares right? So you go home empty handed, off colour and quite frankly disappointed. 

But, much like fate intervening, it's only when you stop looking that it hits you square in the nose, and eventually all over your face (okay I'm speaking about foundation now) that you find your perfect match.

I never expected to find my perfect match just sitting there at a Body Shop bloggers event, in fact at first glance I had pretty much written the poor pot off, to me it was just another store attempting what the 'real' make up counters of the world have on offer, but as the ladies at the Body Shop were so friendly and professional I thought I would keep an open mind, and ended up walking away with around £60 worth of products (woops!) One of which being their brand new Fresh Nude Foundation in Chelsea Porcelain 010 (their lightest shade in case you were wondering)

You could say it was love at first swatch really, and the more I heard about this foundation the more I knew that it was the one for my face. With you choice of a dewy or matte finish simply from your choice of application this little gem can carry you through season to season, I prefer a dewy finish as it gives your skin a beautiful glow in winter without making you look all wet and sweaty. Despite the coverage claiming to be light to medium I have found you can really build it up with very little product at all, which I have found to be perfect for people like me who are looking to cover their face without reducing myself to a Halloween mask. Unlike with MAC products this doesn't dry out my skin, I don't have to use half as much primer as I used to and since it doesn't budge all day I go through so much less product, so you could say I'm saving money... right?

Not only is this foundation a god send for my skin and a perfect match but if you like you could purchase their new Fresh Nude brown and white droppers, so if your skin is a little more tan through the summer you simply add a drop of the darker shade, or more pale in winter add a drop of the lighter shade. Now I know, I know this is probably something that has been around since the times of yore but seeing as I have just heard of it now I think this is a beauty revelation due to change the face of the make up industry forever!

The foundation itself retails at £15 which for a product of this versatility and wear-ability in all seasons I really don't mind paying, particularly when you consider the same product could cost you double somewhere else! Since purchasing this foundation I have found I'm far more open minded to companies who are perhaps not immediately known first hand for their make up brand because there are some real gems out there as beauty bloggers are discovering with the newly founded H&M make up range (which STILL hasn't arrived in Aberdeen unfortunately)  but I'd love to know what your favourite 'odd' beauty brands are or even your favourite Body Shop product is. Be sure to leave your top picks and secret weapons in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or if you'd like to see more of my perfectly matched face you can follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, Netflix and chill with my perfect match!

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Have Yourself a Very Smelly Christmas | Lush Magic of Christmas Bubble Wand

If there's something I love about Christmas it's the smells. And I'm not talking about the latest Yankee Candle everyone and their cat seems to be buying at the moment (I'm a clean cotton type of gal) I'm talking about the smells from the great outdoors, and admittedly indoors. From the smell of fresh baked cinnamon buns and rolls in local supermarkets to the sickly sweet hot chocolates and ginger bread lattes wafting down the high street, and let's not forget the seasonal goodies from Christmas German markets, a treat only just afforded to the Granite City this year, let's just say the only time it feels like Christmas is when I can literally smell it in my nasal cavity. And according to any and all beauty bloggers you seem to speak to, nothing smells as good as a Lush Christmas bath does, so I thought okay, this year I'll give it a bash.

For someone who loves smells so much it's hard to believe that I have never been afforded the luxury of a Lush bath, let's face it I've had just about everything else from them, moisturisers, cleansers, eye creams, face masques, shampoo bars, you name it I've probably had it, but a bath? Unfortunately not, that is until now! This was something on my list when searching for our new home this year, it MUST have a bath...I swear I didn't move so I could have a bath... ahem. So a few weeks ago off I popped to my local Lush store and picked up their Magic of Christmas Bubble Wand.

You could say it was love at first sniff (I seem to be falling for an awful lot lately!) with a couple of cinnamon sticks as the wand as well as almonds and orange oil as the key notes I was sold, cinnamon and orange happen to be my favourites scents, so between that and the gorgeous gold and glitter filled appearance I was sold! And so it was that after a long week back at work and a rather stressful evening I would have my Lush bath after all.

Like a regular Lush bubble bar / wand you use this by holding it under your running tap and swishing it around (rather magically and flamboyantly) in the water, you can reuse this one which would have been great... had I known that before and not wasted the entire thing on a single bath! Nevertheless the bar changed my water into a gorgeous deep orange colour with glitter throughout and an abundance of fluffy silky bubbles that left my skin feeling pampered! I must have lay there for a good half hour just taking it all in and relaxing before finally admitting defeat and rinsing off in the shower. I have to say the scent didn't scream cinnamon or orange to me and I wracked my brains for a good hour afterwards sniffing the bag to try and unpuzzle what it really reminded me of. It wasn't until much later when I was brewing my nighttime Chai Tea that I realised it was literally like bathing in Chai Tea, a very luxe, silky smooth Chai Tea mind!

Overall I think I would repurchase this bubble wand, with the intention of using it properly and not treating myself to the entire thing all at once! My only criticism is that the scent didn't hang about for very long and I had expected to continue feeling the warming and relaxing effects throughout the rest of my evening - this didn't happen. But perhaps that's just me and I'm just overestimating the power of baths, for which I blame my fellow beauty bloggers, don't be duped baths won't solve all of your problems!

What has been you favourite Lush  Christmas product so far? Or even just your favourite Lush product full stop, I'd love to hear your top picks. Be sure to leave them all in the comments below, come share your smelly goodness with me on Twitter or if you'd just like to hear more from Granite City Girls and future bathing adventures be sure to follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, it's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 11 December 2015

Family Road Trip | Baxters Highland Food Village Fochabers

Things to do in Fochabers
Is there anything better than spending time with your family? Writing this I can already see my family rolling their eyes, well I have to get it from somewhere. Every weekend my parents spend time with my grandma and often take her out for the day, whether that's a jaunt to the shops, a trip to Dundee, out for lunch or maybe just chilling inside watching tipping point (it always seems to be on when I visit!) and sometimes, quite often actually, I'll tag along for the ride (you know, that and the free food)

So on this particular day when I tagged along we braved the journey Northward (it was snowing) for about an hour to Fochabers to visit the Baxters factory and their food village; note, if I hear the words, 'food' and 'village' in the same sentence I'm there! Having only recently visited the BBC Good Food Show I was still very much in the foodie mindset and on the hunt for some more culinary delights.

The Baxters Highland Village is home to a variety of specialist shops and sort of reminded me of a mini German market with an obvious Scottish Twist. From stores selling scarves, handbags and Highland fashion designer pieces to cook shops with a plethora of crockery, a cafe and let's not forget what we all came for, food stores and stocks a plenty, I was in my element. We took a visit to their newly opened seasonal Christmas store, which in all truth looked like Santa Clause had thrown up all over the shop, from baubles, trees, decorations, wreaths, plaques and ornaments to scented sticks you can literally hang on your tree this place had it all! Short of a real life reindeer  this would be a perfect Santas grotto / workshop away from the North Pole. Thankfully I was able to compose myself enough to not run out of the store with all of the glittery goodness and take a few snaps in the process.

Visiting the food village was enough to make the journey worth while, with chutneys, jams, spreads and samples a plenty I could have easily spent a small fortune on things I would just eat from the jar, and lets not get me started on their range of teas, coffees and hot chocolates! The Baxters food store stocks brands from independent retailers up and down the country which I love as it gives you a chance to try something a little different and can be considered a must visit and a haven for fellow foodies. Everything seemed to be quite pricey for the products they were selling, retailing a pumpkin spiced hot chocolate at £5.99 and I simply couldn't justify it with a cupboard full of hot chocs and coffee flavourings at home, so off we popped to the confectionery section - something we can ALWAYS justify. As luck would have it Baxters happened to stock my all time, new favourite chocolate brand, Seed and Bean who I discovered at the BBC Good Food Show in November - and given it is a little more difficult to come by in Aberdeen I plan to savour my Cornish Sea Salt and Lime bar throughout the festive season... maybe. 

We didn't stick around for lunch, none of us were very hungry on account of a lush McMuffin breakfast (oops) and Fochabers was just so cold and wintery we weren't sticking around in search for an eatery in town, so we headed on back to Inverurie for dinner, cake and a much needed hot chocolate. Overall I enjoyed my wee family day out (thank you Dad for braving the icy roads for our enjoyment!) I really think this would be a great family day out nearer Christmas, if the weather permits of course, it all just feels so festive and has put me right in the mood for Christmas.

What do you love to do with your family, have you ever visited the Baxters Highland Village? I'd love to hear where you go for your own little adventures, be sure to leave your comments below, or come share them with me on Twitter. As always you can follow more of my foodie faves and adventures on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, om nom noming my way up North.

H.Elizabeth x 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Ditch Dull Winter Skin | The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion

Throughout the summer I get freckles, I suppose we can call it a Scottish tan can't we? During the summer I may suffer with hayfever but my skin never feels better, my skin feels more hydrated, looks brighter and just feels great. Fast forward a few months or rather a couple of weeks given the length of the Scottish summer in comparison to winter and it's a different story. My freckles have faded, my skin looks grey and I'm just not drinking as much water as I really should be, and this happens every year, like clockwork.

So when I visited the Body Shop in Aberdeen's St Nicholas Centre a couple of months ago and explained my impending skin problems I was handed the holy grail of hydrated, healthy skin in the form of their Vitamin C Exfoliating Facial scrub. As the name suggests the scrubs key ingredient is Vitamin C, commonly known as the sunshine vitamin and can be found in citrus fruits like oranges, but you know rather than eat an orange from time to time I'd prefer to smother them all over my face! 

The scrub does exactly what it says on the tin, gently buffs away dead skin cells leaving skin feeling soft and smooth as well as giving your skin a refreshing summer glow and over time can improve your skins texture and overall tone. And a small bonus point? It smells amazing! This scrub strikes a great balance between being an abrasive and gentle scrub with micro particles and crushed garnet making up the abrasive texture of the formula, but it might still be a little too much for sensitive skin types. The beads are very fine and can get a little messy but as I use this product in the shower before cleansing it really doesn't make a difference but it's something to consider for the traditional morning rush.

Since I began using this scrub I have noticed a difference in my skin tone and texture, it's simply smoother and brighter, the effects seem to be lasting a little longer than the more 'fashionable' scrubs I have used in the past and I'm looking forward to seeing when the cold weather really sets in just how well the scrub can hold up. Though this scrub is a little more pricey than the usual high street brands retailing at £15 for a 75ml tube a little goes a long way, all you need is a pea sized amount for each use so you will get the good out of the product.

Keep your eyes peeled throughout the winter months on my instagram for a new, fresh summer face, or a dried out one from scrubbing too hard, only time will tell! What is your favourite winter skin care saviours or even your favourite Body Shop products? Be sure to leave them in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or if you'd like to see more of my radiant / dried face be sure to follow Granite City Girl on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, rubbing oranges on my face for winter.

H.Elizabeth x

Friday 4 December 2015

Ladies who Brunch | Brunch at All Bar One Glasgow

Glasgow eatery

If I'm completely honest with you these Glasgow foodie posts are honestly a way for me to keep my taste buds and memories of the fabulous food of that very magical weekend alive, not that I'm using you guys to relive my foodie fantasies or anything... ahem... So today the memory I'm choosing to revel in and get jealous of my past self because of is our trip to the ever stylish All Bar One, St Vincent Street in Glasgow's city centre. 

All Bar One really does have all a bar can offer, with the ability of carrying you through from breakfast to brunch and a slap up supper right through to cocktails and nibbles after work. The stylish surroundings (of which the biggest mirror in the world was my fave) and spacious layout mean day or night All Bar One can be your go to and it was certainly our go to after a rather stressful train journey and hike in the pouring Glasgow rain! 

Our order was taken pretty much straight away and it was lovely despite being breakfast / brunch having table service and not having to go up to the bar to order (does this make me lazy? Probably) We ordered from the breakfast menu, and I suppose I lied a little on the title of this post because it was far too early to be considered brunch... but doesn't it just roll off the tongue better when you say brunch?  Breakfast for me conjures up images of droopy eyed individuals sat with a bowl of sad looking cornflakes and a black coffee... brunch just happens to be breakfasts glamorous later sister. Okay fine! It was breakfast.

I ordered the Eggs Benedict which as opposed to the more traditional bacon came with a gorgeously textured thick ham which wasn't fatty or unfavourably chewy in the slightest (can you tell I have a 'thing' about ham?) The eggs also came served with a sprinkling of mixed seeds which offered a great contrasting crunch to the texture of the eggs and toasted muffin that accompanied, and may I also just say, that egg and hollandaise sauce, oh my goodness that egg and hollandaise sauce! In fact I have never experienced such a sadness linked to food when I finished my breakfast that morning but having said that I really do think it's an experience you all should try for yourselves!

The food was so reasonably priced and a great thing about All Bar One is that usually if you check online prior to visiting you can download a 2 for 1 voucher or something similar that will make your breakfast experience even sweeter....well cheaper at least. So after taking a couple of selfies in the biggest mirror in the world we left All Bar One Glasgow full and content and ready to face the day ahead (the BBC Good Food Show in case you were wondering) 

Well guys, my mouth is now well and truly watering and I'm sitting here as I type resenting my past self and it was literally only a week ago. Now I'm back to life and reality sat on my sofa with my own sad looking bowl of cornflakes, puffy eyes, clutching the worlds biggest black coffee trying to get to grips with the morning ahead.... nothing like the All Bar One experience I tell you, but who knows, maybe in the future my husband will become something of an amazing chef and we'll purchase the second biggest mirror in the world... a girl can dream right?

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading yet another Granite City Girl travels / foodie post and perhaps you'll pop into an All Bar One in your area or in Glasgow particularly. Be sure to leave me some of your favourite foodie joints for breakfast / brunch in the comments below whether your thing is McDonalds or Malmaison tell me what is the best breakfast / brunch you've ever had is (it might even be that bowl of cornflakes we spoke about earlier!) Otherwise ladies and gents you can catch me on Twitter or more from the Granite City Girl blog on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, I'm in search of the next best brunch.

H.Elizabeth x

Thursday 3 December 2015

Aberdeen Events | #GetGifted at Warehouse

All I have to say to you guys today is, why, oh why, do bad things happen to good people? Yes you read it correctly this weekend there is a fantastic shopping event taking place at Warehouse in the Bon Accord Centre, Aberdeen and I being on the spend ban I truly am as of December will be unable to attend, that as well as you know family commitments.... but I mostly blame the spend ban.

The #GetGifted event is Warehouse's way of saying thank you, to all of you shopaholics and fashionistas out there for shopping with them throughout the year in the form of (you guessed it) a special Warehouse gift. Get yourself along to Warehouse this weekend (5th of December) and you will receive a gift, whether that's 20% off of your shop, a free item from your shop, a voucher, or even a £250 spending spree. And if that doesn't excite you and make your palms sweat then I really don't know what will.

Be sure to share your purchases, prizes and gifts from the day with me on Twitter so I can make myself that little bit more jealous and wallow a little more, and you can keep up to date with the latest events and Granite City goings on on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, go on #GetGifted.

H.Elizabeth x

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Granite City Shopping | How to survive a spending ban

There may or may not have been somewhat of an intervention in my home recently. After having a bit of a splurge a couple of weekends ago in Aberdeen's Union Square (for the record Union Square I wholeheartedly blame you!) and coming home with way too many bags to be deemed acceptable I know now that something had to be said, though of course I didn't see it at the time. My spending, at times can be likened to Rebecca Bloomwood and trust me when I say I'm about one more shop away from literally freezing my bank card in a block of ice. 

So having taken everything on board, and coming to terms with the fact that no, I in fact don't need to buy my 5th winter coat of the season I have decided (forced myself) that a spending ban is long overdue, and we all know how bloggers handle spending bans right? Write.... about how I plan to survive my self imposed spending ban.

Understand the difference between essentials and non essentials; my new mantra? Do I need this to continue my day and live my life to the best of my ability? When it comes to that new dress...odds are no, when it comes to that lovely bag of tatties.... perhaps I do yes. Lists here are going to become my best friend particularly when planning my weekly shop and food plan.

Stop prioritising convenience; what do you usually grab out of convenience rather than necessity? Take aways, a Boots meal deal over a lunch from home, the morning Starbucks (that will be the hardest admittedly) and even something as small as a  bottle of juice when really you should be drinking water, you know what they say...every little helps.

Don't be ashamed to tell your friends and family; I have been in the position of falling out with friends when I say I have no money, thing is people see it as an excuse to get out of plans you have already made but if they're really your friend they'll understand and opt for a movie night at home with your rather than a night on the tiles. Trust me when I say you'll need a strong support system. 

Well guys now all of my cards are on the table, it's ready, set, stop spending and you'll know not to expect any haul posts from me any time soon, and if you do see one slap me on the wrist (or face) and confiscate my bank cards. 

Have you ever faced a self imposed spending ban? Or perhaps a forced spending ban, which you know is totally not what this is or anything (seriously they're making me save money against my me!) be sure to let me know in the comments below and share you top money saving tips. As usual you can catch me on Twitter (not spending) or more from the Granite City Girl blog (where I won't be writing about spending) on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, can you pay my bills, can you pay my telephone bills?

H.Elizabeth x
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