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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Round Up

Hello! I quite enjoyed looking back what I had been up to at the end of March and putting together my March Round Up photo post last month - I think I may make it a monthly feature!  I hope you all had a great month - mine was a blast. I'm getting closer and closer to going on holiday too, excitement is definitely setting in - sparkly mouse ears at the ready!

So here is a little visual summary of what I've been up to in April...

1 - Sprinkles the Unicorn, a shaker for cupcake sprinkles!   2 - A photo from my 'Parklife' WIWT 
3 - Cocktail (actually, mocktail) and Burger Fridays   4 - Turning up to meet each other in the same blue tights. Great minds...  5 - Burger Queen   6 - Bedtime reading

7 - Midweek treats from Urban Outfitters & Boots   8 - Shoes in the trees at Kelvingrove Park
9 - My new Abandon Ship Apparel kitten dress (obsessed!)  10 - SmOAK at Sanctuary's beer garden
11 - DIY Nails at the Speed Beauty event   12 - In the park with The Boy

13 - The Boy rocking shades for the first time this year   14 - Spoiled for choice with Gumbo's menu
15 & 16 - some snaps from the Scottish Hair & Beauty Awards bloggers event (full post to follow...)
17 - Kitchen inspiration   18 -  Cracking up at my alter ego Kenneth on 30 Rock

Most of these pictures were posted to my Instagram and Twitter accounts - @misswestendgirl - feel free to come and say hello! My Instagram account is set to private but that's only to keep the spammers and robots at bay.
How has your April been? What have you been up to? Do you have a TV alter ego?
Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 29 April 2013

WestEndGirl Eats: Bar Gumbo

This weekend The Boy and I went to Bar Gumbo on Byres Road after spotting their mouth-watering menu a couple of weeks ago. Promising gumbo (of course), pulled pork, brisket, macaroni and much more, there was no doubt that hitting this relatively new West End eatery was at the top of our to-do list.

Bar Gumbo is situated around the bottom half of Byres Road and can be easily spotted due to their bright orange sign against the rustic wooden exterior. Once inside, we were greeted with a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. Customers were chatting and enjoying their food while the smiley guy behind the bar came right over to welcome us and make sure we were seated right away. I really like being made to feel welcome, especially if I haven't been somewhere before and the staff at Bar Gumbo were really nice and helpful throughout our visit.

When it came to the menu we took a little bit longer than usual to choose what we wanted - it all looked delicious! Bar Gumbo specialises in soul food: warm, hearty, with or without a spice kick and full of flavour. The kind of food that always makes sure I visit House of Blues while on holiday. Finally, we decided to get a few different things so we could both try them. We ordered pulled pork nachos (for 2), a Po Boy sandwich, hush puppies and barbecue beans. While waiting for the food to arrive we enjoyed the bluesy and 50's rock and roll music on the stereo which suited the relaxed mood of the place perfectly.

I also had a nosey through to the back room where the bar extends through to. There are more tables and a small stage area set up as besides being a bar/ restaurant, Bar Gumbo also hosts live music events. You can expect to hear a variety of different kinds of bands play at Bar Gumbo as well as open mike nights. This again, echoes the 'good food, good music' philosophy of my beloved House of Blues, so it's really nice to see something similar in my own neighbourhood.

Once the food arrived I didn't know where to start. The nachos were generously portioned with lots of tender pulled pork hidden under a layer of gooey cheese. After a taste of the barbecue beans we decided it would be the cherry (or bean!) on top to layer these over the top of the nachos. Adding the beans made an already very tasty dish even better - I'd recommend it to anyone trying out the pulled pork nachos. The beans can be enjoyed on their own too as a side. The Po Boy sandwich was served in a huge soft sub roll and was packed with the same tasty pulled pork and house slaw, and served with a salad.

Finally the hush puppies (cornbread stuffing balls, not the shoes!), which were served with a barbecue dip, were just what I had hoped for. Fluffy and very tasty, these were a welcome addition to our lunch. Next time I will order a bit less food and enjoy these little balls of deliciousness more - even though they are fluffy they can be filling and if you have filled up on other food already they won't be enjoyed quite as much.

We really enjoyed all of the food and it is clear from the menu (and taste) that the food has been selected and prepared by people with a passion for Southern soul food flavours. There is also an extensive cocktail menu with the same attention to detail (I really enjoyed reading each little narrative that came with the cocktail description, even though I didn't order any myself). We never had any room left for dessert - deep fried vanilla cheesecake - but there's always next time...

Bar Gumbo are a welcome addition to Byres Road and offer something a little different to what else is on the street. If the menu isn't enough to get you in the door, the love behind their food, drinks and support for music will. We're already planning our next visit to be in a week's time, maybe I'll see you there!

Have you been to Bar Gumbo? Did you enjoy it? What is your favourite blues song?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Weekend Wear: Green & Black

Sadly this post is not about Green and Blacks chocolate (sorry if I got your hopes up),  instead it is about my colour combo of choice for what I wore this weekend. The Boy and I headed out to Bar Gumbo on Byres Road (full review to come) and I had a new green Topshop dress (£25 down to £12 in the sale) that was dying to be trotted out.

I have this dress in black as well and it is one of my most-worn, 'goes-with-everything' dresses. I wear the black dress on its own, layered under t-shirts and cardigans and with printed tights. It's a good wardrobe 'basic' of mine. The dress is a simple skater cut, with three-quarter length sleeves and a nice textured material which makes it that little bit more interesting. The material also has a little stretch to it which makes it ideal for going out for food too!  So when I seen the same one in green (a shade that I have decided should be called 'Christmas Green') and less than half price I snapped it up. The only thing about this dress is that it is a bit short, I definitely wouldn't go bare legged while wearing it but then again I don't really go bare legged anyway!

It was really nice and sunny this weekend so I let my Lanvin x H&M sunglasses see the light of day and wore my lightweight Betsey Johnson jacket (basically a fancy sweatshirt because it's made from soft jersey material) and Mickey Mouse printed tights from Primark. I bought these tights ages ago but hadn't worn them yet. Being a huge Disney fan (and patterned tights fan too), I love the subtle nod to Mickey Mouse and how wearable the print is.

I also wore jewellery by Bonnie Bling, Tatty Devine, Fossil and Thomas Sabo. After realising I had so many dark colours on (not intentional!) I added a splash of colour with my comic-book romance hair bow by Something Different - a fantastic local brand whose hair accessories are always cute and well-made.  Never one to shy away from bows (as if!) I also wore a black bow belt from River Island.

What did you wear this weekend? Did you rock some sunglasses? Do you ever make up names for colours?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Events: Speed Beauty

After reading online about Itison's Speed Beauty event a couple of weeks ago, I knew that it would be something that I would be interested in. Playing with makeup and talking about makeup generally makes me about as happy as a pig in muck so the idea of spending an evening with some awesome brands and fellow slap addicts to boot made it easy for me to sign up. The event was held on Wednesday night in Merchant City's Metropolitan venue and the concept behind it was simple: similar to speed dating, Speed Beauty allowed you to spend ten minutes with each brand before deciding at the end who had stolen your heart!

Once all the attendees had arrived, we were split into 4 groups and the running of the evening was explained. Each group will go to their first designated brand and spend ten minutes with them. During the ten minutes they will see a demo of the products and participate in some beauty banter. After the ten minutes has ended, there will be two minutes of Q&A with the brand, before the horn was sounded and that will be your group's cue to move onto the next stand. After all the groups had visited everyone there will be time to then go back to the ones you like, have a chat and buy anything that took your fancy. The brands listed as participating were impressive: Illamasqua cosmetics, DIY Nails, Beautiful Brows, We Are Faux lashes and Belle & Blackley hair. Unfortunately once we got there we found out that We Are Faux had cancelled at the last minute, which was a bummer as my friend and I were looking forward to seeing them. However, the rest of the brands were still there and we had such a great time that the fact We Are Faux hadn't managed to come didn't cause too big a dampener anyway.

The other girls in our group were really nice. Everyone was excited and up for a laugh and it had the atmosphere of a fun giggly night out. Our group's first stop was at Illamasqua, a high-end cosmetics line normally stocked in the likes of Debehams and Selfridges. I've been a fan of Illamasqua since seeing their initial advertising campaign and adore their commitment to encouraging individuality and their use of cruelty-free makeup and tools. At their demo, make up artist Mika created a 'night time' look on a lucky girl in our group - creating a dark, smokey eye with glitter pigments and a soft pink lip.

While talking us through the products being used, another Illamasqua artist let us play with a selection of different products, allowing us to try them out for ourselves. I especially liked their blush duo in Lover/ Hussy and their glitter pigments which were so soft they didn't feel like there was so much sparkle in them (some glitters by other brands have a rough 'gritty' feel which was not the case with these glitters). Illamasqua also invited us to their 'Beauty School Drop In' (Grease reference, love it!) tutorial at Debenhams to learn a pin-up make up look for free. I was impressed with the demo and the products and before we knew it, it was time to move on to our next stop - DIY Nails.

It's a not-so-secret fact that I am huge fan of nail art and in advance of the event I had seen that DIY Nails, a Scottish nail art brand would be at Speed Beauty. DIY Nails was created by Tammy, entrpeneur extrordianaire who can turn pretty much anything into some mani candy! Needless to say, I was all over this stall. I was happy to sit and chat about decals and ring finger accents until the cows came home (first pigs and now cows...) and even had my nails done with some super cute unicorn and french fry decals. DIY Nails can make decals out of pretty much anything and take bespoke orders which I  think is a genius idea - I could have Prince on one hand and pizza slices on the other (IMAGINE!). I knew that I would be back to see Tammy at the end to buy some decals and she kindly put aside the ones I liked for me!

The next stall was Belle and Blackley who are a salon in the city centre. Their stylist took us through 5 ways to use GHD straighteners (other than for straightening) and also gave us some top tips on how to get the best out of using the straighteners. The curls and waves created in the ten minutes looked really good and seemed very easy to do. The group definitely seemed impressed with this demo. After this there was one more stand left and we made our way over to Beautiful Brows once hostess Sherri sounded the horn.

Beautiful Brows - where to begin?! I will admit that before the evening started I was probably looking forward to this stand the least. What can I say, I was naive! I heard other girls in the group talking about Beautiful Brows and how amazing they were but I didn't realise just how amazing until I seen them for myself! Beautiful Brows have come up with a semi-permanent brow makeover system using makeup and stencils. I know the stencil bit sounds a bit strange but it has to be seen to be believed. The friendly representatives from the brand did everyone in our group's eyebrows - and still had plenty of time left to chat to us. The process takes seconds to apply so it was easy to get our whole group done. For the rest of the evening we were all looking at each others eyebrows, it was quite funny!

I was really impressed with the products from Beautiful Brows and how they managed to transform my patchy eyebrows into more solid, yet natural shapes. So impressed in fact, that I went back later to buy a kit. I will post a full review of my Beautiful Brows kit (or what I am now referring to as Voodoo Magic For The Face) separately.

After the 'Speed' part of the night was over, we spent a bit of time with each of the brands and chatted a little more. I also bought my brow kit and some R2D2 and burgers n' fries decals. It was tempting to buy some of Illamasqua's beautiful makeup but I decided that could be a purchase for another day - and it's always easy to pop into Debenhams and see them anyway. 

I really enjoyed Speed Beauty, and was pleased to hear that it was a tester event for more in the future to be arranged. I would definitely be interested in going back. Also, the staff at Metropolitan and representatives from Itison were very helpful and upbeat, which helped create a relaxed setting for people to enjoy themselves in so a big hi-five to all involved in the running of the night! 

Did you go to Speed Beauty? Which one was your favourite brand? Would you wear pizza slices on your nails?

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

WestEndGirl Eats: Fast Fiesta Fix at Pinto

When I'm in the city centre shopping (which tends to be pretty regularly), or some other activity that calls for a quick lunch there are lots of places a girl can go. Glasgow is heaving with choice and you can't turn a corner without being presented with a meal deal or lunchtime offer. Most often when I'm looking for a bite to eat without sitting down for too long, I rock up to Pinto on Queen street for a fast fiesta fix.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the location. It's very conveniently central to the centre of town and right in the middle of the two main shopping areas of the city centre. I normally pop in when heading from one end to the other and last Thursday was a perfect example of that when The Boy and I stopped for a bite to eat during a shopping trip. Now, perhaps a Mexican fast food outlet may not be everyone's idea of a romantic meal but I had very high hopes of us both starting at each end of a super-sized burrito and our lips locking in the middle like a modern-day urban Lady and the Tramp while Enrique Iglesias crooned softly in the background. OK, maybe just in my imagination then...

The first thing that always hits me (along with the yummy smell of fresh salsa) when I enter Pinto is how bright and clean it is. The lime-green, yellow and red colour scheme is very warm and inviting - especially on disastrous windy days like last Thursday when you feel like you've been blown up and down the streets and failed miserably at keeping your dignity (sorry to everyone that accidentally seen my underwear that day...). It is the kind of open-plan, casual seating environment that is comfortable  to eat in whether in a pair, a group or even alone - and I've done all three.

The atmosphere is friendly and laid back, and the staff are always very nice. They know their stuff and it comes in handy if you haven't tried something before. The first time I went to Pinto I went by myself and didn't know what I wanted. The person behind the counter at the time took me through the different choices, the fillings and the toppings - helping me pick something that suited my taste. I don't like things that are too spicy, but their chicken burrito is smokey without being too hot so is now my firm favourite.

Which brings me nicely onto the food. The food is fresh and prepared in front of you after you pick your own ingredients - kind of like Subway, but (as the staff have pointed out), that's where the similarities end. After choosing what you want (whether a burrito, bare burrito, tacos, nachos or salad) you have a choice of fillings and toppings to create your own Mexican feast. There are also specials such as chilli bowls and chicken tortilla soup and sides to choose from. You won't go hungry in this place! Drinks-wise, they have the usual soft drinks, bottled water, beer and fresh lemonade and margaritas (both made and mixed in-house). My 'usual' order is a chicken burrito, some nachos and a lemonade. Delicious! There are also bottles of hot sauce of varying spice for customers to help themselves to - for those daring to turn up the heat!

Charging just over a fiver for one burrito might seem a little steep to the uninitiated but when you see the sheer SIZE of them, you realise it is value for money and one burrito consists of so much food that it is a meal in itself, no sides required! I actually need to use both hands to tackle one, they use super-sized wraps and pack them with lots of tasty fillings. Although Pinto are essentially a fast-food kitchen, the food and presentation are higher quality than the usual burger or sandwich joints and as such I generally think of them as being a little classier.

My Pinto meal certainly did the job last Thursday and I felt fuelled up and ready for round two at the mid-season sales. In fact, I was feeling so good that I ended up buying three dresses! Pinto are proving so popular with the locals that they have recently opened a new smaller branch on Gordon Street and a much-tweeted about third branch is to be opened for the Summer. I'm looking forward to seeing them continue going from strength to strength.

Have you  ever been to Pinto? What is your shopping snack of choice? Do you ever fantasise about recreating a Disney love scene?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Weekend Wear: Flower Child

Spring must have finally sprung because today I embraced my inner flower child and decided to wear not one, but two floral items in my outfit! I do wear flowers in my hair quite often but don't have many floral items of clothing in my wardrobe - in fact I think you could easily count them on one hand and still have a couple of fingers left over.

I bought this dress from Primark a couple of days ago because I really liked the Betsey Johnson-esque flowers n' stripes printed on the skirt. I think it manages to combine two different prints and somehow get away with it. The top half of the dress (hidden under my jacket) is a simple black scoop necked t-shirt so it balances out the skirt quite well I think! The print on the skirt is pretty, I really like the contrast between the colourful flowers and the edgier, monochrome stripes.

The jacket is from Topshop and is my first ever venture into stonewashed denim. I've always been an indigo/ black denim lover but this little number manager to convert me to the light side. Also from Topshop is today's flower crown, picked up in a sale last Autumn. I can never have too many hair accessories and this one reminded me of something a character from The Wicker Man might wear since it's so Summer-y looking. You won't see me leaping over a fire with no clothes on anytime soon though!

I wore my flowery pieces with some Vivienne Westwood x Melissa 'Ultragirl' flats with leopard print bows and my studded Urban Outfitters satchel (still glued to my side on non-work days) - it can't be all sweetness and light, I had to do something to toughen it up a bit! Today was also the first day that I wore my new, much anticipated Lime Crime Velvetine lipstick in Red Velvet. I had read many reviews of the product and wanted to try it for myself. Overall, I found it really long-lasting and highly pigmented. The 'velvet' matte effect makes it a little different from my usual MAC reds and the crimson colour is really striking. I like the 'liquid lipsticks' that seem to be a popular formula just now - this Lime Crime one is good but Lush's Passionate is still my absolute favourite. Obsessed!

What did you wear this weekend? Will you be wearing flowers this Spring/ Summer? Have you ever jumped over a fire?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Local Lovin': We Are The Robots

In Local Lovin' I will be looking at designers/ stores/ brands/ creators of marvellous things/ anything else that catches my eye - all based in Glasgow. I believe that we should be supporting the talent that we have locally so have decided to start Local Lovin' as a regular feature. If you would like to be featured please get in touch! See my Contact page for details. 

This post has been a long time coming and some of you readers will already be aware of design darlings We Are The Robots (WATR) and their cute, quirky creations. The girls have been appearing at design/ craft fairs at venues such as Hillhead Bookclub, Oran Mor and Chambre 69 for as long as I can remember. I first became aware of WATR when I bought my Sheldon Cooper cameo ring (those 4 words alone just smack of awesomeness, don't they?) from them a couple of years back for a very reasonable couple of quid. The girls were also one of the first brands that I seen using the now-very-popular Scrabble tile motif in their jewellery, and I was drawn to their fun, statement designs using my favourite pop-culture icons (yes, Jim Parsons is an icon, okay?) and nostalgia-tastic items such as lego blocks. Since discovering them for myself, I have also bought a few of their pieces for friends as gifts - even for boys, seeing as some of their designs are suitable for everybody!

I wanted to hear a little more about the thought process behind their designs and the company in general so I caught up with the girls (or, as they are better known, The Robots) who were lovely enough to answer my questions...

When did you start your company and what made you decide to do it?
We have known each other for about 8 years now and met working together for a high street retailer. We became friends and after a while realised we both had crafty/design-based backgrounds and wanted to make our own jewellery.
We set up We Are The Robots (named randomly after a Kraftwerk song!) about 7 years ago and joined the Glasgow Craft Mafia, selling at markets organised by the Mafia and great events like Made In The Shade. For a while we were one of the only Glasgow based kitsch jewellery companies selling at such events.

If you had to sum up the style of your products in a sentence how would you describe it?
We try to make fun, kitsch, but also wearable jewellery, clothing and accessories.

What kinds of things inspire you to create your clothes and accessories?
We’re inspired by all manner of things! From music to pets and everything in between! We tend to design items which we like ourselves! We’re well aware of current trends, what is selling in high street stores, celebrities etc. however, we like to stick to our own designs and stand out from the crowd even if it’s not to everyone’s taste!

What kinds of customers can normally be found shopping at WATR?
It’s obviously hard to tell with online sales however at our stalls our customers are generally young girls and women, aged 16-30.

What have been your favourite pieces so far?
When we started out we sold pixel heart necklaces which we loved (and even had matching tattoos done of them, pictured right) It was always a great feeling being out and about and spotting someone wearing one of them.
In more recent times, we’re particularly fond of our kitten collars and leopard collar chains, also popular with customers.

Finally, Anything coming up soon for WATR?
We have stalls at Ecomunky at Oran Mor 28th April, and a monthly stall at Granny Would Be Proud in the Hillhead Bookclub.
We have recently joined forces with Made In Glasgow, a platform for Glasgow based artists and designers. As well as featuring on their website we are in talks with them about future events, details of these will be released shortly.

We are updating our website constantly and coming up with new ideas all the time. For anyone interested in keeping up to date, we suggesting “liking” us on facebook or following us on twitter (@wearetherobots_) or instagram! (@wearetherobots).

A big thanks and hi-five to We Are The Robots for being featured in this week's Local Lovin'! I hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about them. I really admire their passion and the thought that goes into their collections, as well as their dedication to going their own way and being themselves (it can be so easy to forget your own principles and it's great that they don't). I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them at future craft fairs too!

Have you ever bought anything from We Are The Robots? What is your favourite WATR piece? Do you consider Sheldon Cooper to be an icon? 

Thanks for reading!

*all pictures used courtesy of We Are The Robots*

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Weekend Wear: Saturday Cinema Date

I meant to post this yesterday after we went to see The Place Beyond the Pines but by the time we got out of the film and had something to eat it was pretty late. I wore my favourite Luella (RIP) slime monster T-shirt for our wee Saturday cinema date - I wish I could wear it every day, I love it.

I wore my tee with a blue denim skater skirt from Primark (STILL loving the skater skirts), black suede creepers from Topshop and my Betsey Johnson blazer. It was 12 degrees yesterday which is the warmest it has been for ages so there was no need to wear loads of layers and wool knits for a change. I didn't go OTT on the accessories (say WHAT? I know) and wore Tatty Devine LOVE and HATE tattooed knuckles brooches (my first ever Tatty Devine pieces that I got many moons ago, talk about opening the floodgates) with a glittery Crown & Glory bow in my hair. 

I matched my nails to my tee by using Illamasqua's Radium polish (the PERFECT slime green, should you ever be looking for one) and wore Louise Gray x Topshop lipstick in Legend.

We managed to avoid the wet weather and popped into a few shops before the film was due to start. Star purchase of the day had to be a pair of flowery cat ears from H&M which are right up my street. I love wearing flowers on my noggin, and I also like to wear cat ears - why hadn't I thought of combining them before? It's so obvious! Anyway, after my beady eye spotted these bright and beautiful babies, there was just no doubt. "They're the best" said The Boy. "You need to get them". I love that he supports my crazy headwear choices.

The film was great, I don't want to give anything away though so I will say no more. Afterwards The Boy suggested that we "go and eat tacos and cheesecake until our insides explode". I couldn't think of a better end to the day.

What did you wear this weekend? Do you miss Luella too? What is your favourite post-cinema meal?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Let's Go to the Hop

People that know me know that I like to dance. I dance when I'm happy, excited, nervous - regardless of whether there is music or not. I dance like no-one is watching. It should be noted that I use the word 'dance' very loosely. I have never actually learned to dance properly and tend to throw myself around haphazardly, pretending I'm in my own manic music video much to the amusement of my friends. I do however really admire people that are skilled and trained dancers and can even be found watching Dancing With The Stars sometimes to see them do the Charleston.

Taking a dance class is one of those things that has always been on my to-do list. After all, it couldn't hurt to actually learn some proper basic moves to mix in with my own clumsy brand of body shaking, right? So on Monday I went along to a taster session for Swing Dance lessons provided by the Glasgow Lindyhoppers to see if it was as easy as it looks on TV.

The class was held downstairs in Blackfriars, Merchant City. My friend and I went along not really knowing what to expect or how busy it would be. It was very busy, with attendees ranging from regulars to the class, to others like myself that had never done it before and thought it might be fun. Most people seemed to be in their twenties and thirties and there was an almost-even mix of guys and gals. One of the things that I had wondered about was what to wear - especially on my feet. I decided that ultimately comfort was key and wore my trusty Converse. That seemed to be the general consensus as most of the other people there had either Converse, Vans or similar footwear on. Not a tap shoe in sight. No matter how experienced or inexperienced, everyone was very nice and the atmosphere was laid back and friendly. So far, so good.

The instructors took us through a warm up that was linked to the kind of dance moves you would expect from swing dancing, mainly gentle footwork (I would call it Swinglite). They then explained that as swing was a couples dance with one person leading (normally the male) and one person following we had to partner up with a lead. She asked all of the 'leaders' to stand along a wall and we (the followers) were asked to go and pick a partner.

I started to get flashbacks of my high school ceilidhs mixed in with the part from Hairspray where it's a Ladies Choice dance. This lasted for an anxious fifteen seconds and then I told myself off for being a baby and asked the guy standing opposite me to dance. It turned out that picking a partner didn't really matter because A) everyone was really friendly and, B) we ended up in a circle and changed partners every few minutes so by the end of the class you had danced with more or less everybody anyway.

What I really liked about this class was that what we learned was started from scratch, under the assumption that we were all first-timers and no-one was patronising or bossy. We had plenty of time to practice each step that we learned before moving on to the next part. So after learning each step individually we then put the whole thing together to music. Turns out in the hour we had been taught a little routine, and we were all pretty good at it. It was a good feeling, dancing in sync with another person and being twirled around. I knew what my feet and arms had to be doing at all times and even though that sounds like hard work, it wasn't really and was a lot of fun (I now know what that lady from the Flashdance song was going on about....I think). If I had been told at the start of the class that I would have a Swing routine learned and executed confidently within an hour I really wouldn't have believed them. It was really all in the way it was taught - they snuck it up on us!

To wrap up the class the instructors did a very impressive demo routine of the dances we could learn if we chose to come back for more classes. There is then a 'spare' half hour where they put music on and invite people to stick around, have a drink and show off their new moves. The great thing about the classes is that they are on a drop-in basis. You can turn up to any class, any week and pay a fiver without the need to sign up to a 'block' of lessons. I found it a really fun way to socialise and get a bit of exercise, and I now know my rockstep from my triple step! I might not go every week but I think I will be back to learn a little more from time to time.

The classes are run by Glasgow Lindyhoppers in Blackfriars every Monday at 7:30 and cost £5 a class.

Have you ever tried Swing dancing? Do you think you might try this class? Have you ever had the Flashdance feeling?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Beauty Bites: Sinful Colours

Last week over the Twitterverse I had heard that US drugstore nail polish brand Sinful Colours had arrived in the UK and was being stocked in Boots. Sinful Colours have a reputation for delivering a high-quality, 'professional' finish a la OPI and China Glaze at a purse-friendly price so I decided to buy a couple of colours and try them for myself.

I managed to squeeze past the tweens that had crowded the display at Boots to pick my colours out. With 70 shades to choose from, and a range of finishes which included glitter, pearl, shimmer, cream and matte; I was left spoiled for choice (even the amount of PINKS to choose from was huge.). They had every shade in stock except for Unicorn, a lemony pastel yellow - the actual colour of a unicorn's horn (in my imagination). After a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing (and sighing from The Boy - well, there is only so long you can wait for a girl to pick some nail polish I suppose) I settled on Pinky Glitter - not as clever a name as Unicorn but chosen because, well, you's pink and glittery. I also picked out Mint Apple which is a nice shade of light aqua.

At £1.99 each they certainly live up to their low-cost promise, but how did the colours actually turn out? Mint Apple was very easy to apply and after just two coats I built up a strong colour that dried very quickly. I decided to wear Pinky Glitter as well so painted my ring finger nails that colour (ring finger accents are my manicure detail of choice at the moment). To make the pink really stand out, I applied a bright polish first (Raspberry Crush by Model's Own) with Pinky Glitter layered on top. One coat of Pinky Glitter worked really well and I could see the flecks of pink and gold sparkling in the light (although difficult to capture on camera). I layered another coat on top to see how that affected the finish and I am pleased to report that unlike some glitter polishes it could withstand two coats and dry properly without any smudging.

A few days later and the colour has held up really well. I didn't bother using a topcoat this time to see how the colours would last on their own. There is some slight chipping but considering what my hands have been through the last few days (things like doing the dishes etc) I think the polish has held up pretty well, probably as well as if I had used one of my OPI, MAC or Chanel colours to be honest.

At £1.99 I would definitely recommend picking one up and since they are currently in the 3 for 2 offer at Boots you could always mix and match a couple (if like me, you find it hard to choose between 70 colours).Overall I'm impressed by the range of colours, the quality and the price.

Have you tried Sinful Colours nail polish? What do you think of them? Do you ever imagine what a unicorn might look like?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

WestEndGirl Eats: Big Licks

Recently The Boy and I visited Big Licks  for a sugar high since we were both craving something sweet. For those of you who are Big Licks virgins (ooh-err), Big Licks are an ice cream parlour located on Argyle Street stocked with tasty treats, mainly ice cream and donuts. It might still be a little chilly outside but I say there is no bad time to eat ice cream and indulge in a little bit of donutsin' (my new favourite made-up word. It basically means hanging out and eating donuts, for example "where were you last night while we were all donutsin' ?". I doubt it will catch on but I still intend to use it).

The West End is home to a few popular ice cream parlours already such as 3 Steps to Heaven and Nardini's - both on Byres Road. But what sets Big Licks apart from the rest is that they are also home to Nom Nom donuts - appropriately named or what? It was the MASSIVE colourful sign in their window advertising their donuts that first caught my eye. Until we get a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin' Donuts in Glasgow, I'd say these guys have the edge. And even if we do get more donut shops, there's room for everyone in my opinion and I'd struggle to keep away from this place.

The Boy and I both ordered a glazed ring, nothing fancy (there's always next time...) but boy, oh boy were they tasty. I'm not too ashamed to admit mine was gone in under a minute. The light pastry seemed to melt in the mouth and the glaze was sweet but not sickly, complimenting the donut nicely. I could have happily eaten a dozen of them and at £1 a donut they are a perfect treat to pick up when walking home from work. The Nom Nom donuts stand is on the right as you walk in the shop, or just follow the aroma of freshly baked goodies.

Big Licks' main attraction though is their ice cream, of which they have at least a dozen weird and wonderful flavours including Irn Bru, Bubblegum, Kinder and Curly Wurly. I opted for a two scoop cup with one scoop of Salted Caramel and one scoop of Snickers flavour, while The Boy picked out a two scoop waffle cone with Tablet and Honeycomb flavours. All four ice creams were delicious and we enjoyed them while sitting at window seats in the cute pink-walled parlour. I would recommend getting a couple of scoops to try out some different kinds - it also makes the job of narrowing your choice down a little bit easier!

It's a small shop but that didn't seem to put off the several customers that popped in while we were enjoying our ice cream - it is certainly a hit with the locals which ranged from couples buying larger orders to share and parents in with their excited children for a weekend treat.

I give Big Licks two big thumbs up for their excellent choices (and quality) of ice cream, their delicious Nom Nom donuts, friendly service and general good donutsin' spot - I told you I was still going to say it!

Have you ever been to Big Licks? Do you prefer ice cream or donuts? Do you have a favourite made-up word?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Weekend Wear: Parklife

This morning I woke up and the sun was shining. Like, REALLY shining! It was the perfect weather to go for a walk in the park so to my (and The Boy's) surprise, we managed to leave the house while it was still in the AM and headed over to Kelvingrove Park for a stroll in the sun.

What I wore today: I'm basically living in skater skirts at the moment (or as I like to call them, 'cheerleader skirts') and this black one from Topshop is my current favourite. I wore it with a bright  pink knitted popcorn sweater from Primark with the pink spiked denim shirt I bought recently underneath (can never have too much pink...) and purple Docs.

Even though it was bright and sunny, don't be fooled - it was still a bit chilly today so a jacket was still a must-have. I was happy to hang up my Westwood peacoat for a day (no offence Viv, but I'm sure it was getting sick of the sight of me too) and wear my trusty Topshop biker. There's something about wearing Doc Martens and a biker jacket that makes me feel like a tough chick from a B-movie girl gang, I'm sure I even walked with a little more sass! I wore my hair in a little half-beehive at the back, so happy that my hair is growing longer and I can start to do more interesting things with it now!

Accessories-wise, I took full advantage of the sun and wore turquoise sunglasses (bought for only 3 Euros in Barcelona, nothing fancy but remind me of Alabama Worley every time I wear them). I also wore my new satchel that I got in the Urban Outfitters sale this week (£34 down to £18 if you're wondering), it's small but perfectly formed and is great for being out and about.

Finally, I wore some jewellery by some of my favourite design mavens, Tatty Devine and Bonnie Bling. I got my beloved Peely Wally necklace by Bonnie Bling repaired this week so it looks good as new, and my Party Ring brooch is classic Tatty Devine awesomeness.

All that frolicking in the park worked up an appetite so we headed over to Smoak's new pop-up residency at The Sanctuary, Dumbarton Road, yum!

Have you been out and about today? What did you wear? Do you ever feel like a film character?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ice Cream Castles

Ice Cream Castles

Spring, are you there? I don't know about you but I'm starting to long for bright and sunny days. This dreary, cold weather has surely got to come to an end soon! I'm in the mood to eat ice cream and wear pastels, so couldn't help but think about what I would like to be wearing while messing around on Polyvore earlier. I may be wearing a wool peacoat on the outside, but this is the look I'm REALLY thinking about!

This Markus Lupfer sweater, flower crown by Crown and Glory, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Tarina Tarantino ring and Betsey Johnson tights and bag all make up my sweet Springtime Sundae. And white speckled nails are the hundreds and thousands that I'd scatter on top. 

Are you ready for Spring? What are your favourite Springtime outfits? And favourite flavour of ice cream? 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 1 April 2013

March Round Up

Hello! It's the first of April already - although it still feels like December weather-wise (*shakes fist at the sky and buttons up 16th layer of clothing*). I've had a wonderful Easter weekend with my nearest and dearest and spent the last few hours of March on the dancefloor laughing and throwing some (bad) shapes to some incredibly cheesy 90s pop music. I hope your Easter weekend was fun too!

Here is a little summary - mostly in pictures - of what I've been up to over the last month...

 1 - Pizza Express deliciousness. 2 - Rocking the Princess Leia buns at my Mum's birthday.
3 -  In the park on a rare sunny afternoon (and how cool is this graffiti?). 4 - Chocolate crispy cakes for Easter. 5 - Ghost at the O2 Academy (brilliant). 6 - Cheeky cheap n' cheerful make-up purchase.
7 - Cat ears and pink lips. 8 - New Forever 21 store at Buchanan Quarter.
9 - Steak & Guinness pie, oh my! 10 - The Gaslight Anthem (also at O2 Academy).
11 - SMAC-down. 12 - Posing by the horse paintings in my favourite dress.


13 - Channelling our inner Magentas to go see Rocky Horror Show. 14 - SMOAK (so tasty).
15 & 16 - Roller Disco (one of my new favourite ways to spend a Friday night)!
17 - At King Tuts to see Cancer Bats (freezing but fun). 18 - Nail art tribute to Macaroni.

Most of these pictures were posted to my Instagram account - @misswestendgirl - come say hi! My account is set to private but that's only to keep the spammers out ("make $$$ and get a zillion followers" know the kind). It's been a busy but very enjoyable month.

How has your March been? What have you been up to? What's your favourite terrible pop song? 

Thanks for reading!