A Little Spring Wishlist


Has Spring sprung? Being in Scotland, it's hard to tell. Yes, we get a bit of sun for about 5 minutes but come 6pm the chill in the air comes in with a bite. It's hard to shop for spring, let alone dress for it, when the weather is so...British. Yet, that hasn't stopped me from eyeing up some things in the shops. 
I so want some new jackets. A pink bomber jacket is defo on my list, yes, I'm aware I will look like Pink ladies Jan, but pink is the colour I want to coated in (pardon the pun), this spring. From head to toe, with a floral head band to some pink socks...maybe pink shoes too. With pink lipstick from MAC... maybe I should cool the pink love. 

Moving on...the long line jackets are so cool too with a mixed denim skirt and THOSE boots. Oh god it would look fabulous! Bodysuits seem to be the staple at the moment and this one from Nobody's Child is to die for! I'm hoping they have it back in my size.
It's just a shame I don't have money for a new wardrobe for these wonderful pieces. But a girl can dream. 

I'll be dreaming of these lovely things. What have you seen in the shops that are calling your name in the night?

Thursday Thoughts: Blogs, Brands, and Bad Business

As the blogosphere has grown, more and more companies are recognising that they can advertise with us, just as we are aware that we can use their brand and social media to advertise our blog. At first it appears fun but since I started this blog, I'm noticing a discerning trend from some brands. A lack of respect, poor communication and exploitation. (This might be a bit ranty, brace yourself.)

First, I need to talk about the communication skills, or lack of which is what made me write this post in the first place. Communication is key! Some brands emailed me offering to work together and after I reply accepting the offer, I don't receive a reply. Luxemme, you may have seen them as they work with A LOT of bloggers. They offered to send me an item of clothing to style and in return they would give me exposure and possibilities of working with them again. Now, I love doing outfit photos so with the dress I chose, I already had accessories planned and a photographer in mind. However, after ordering it, there was no delivery. I waited a month, they work with a lot of people and probably processing my 1 item order, and then I emailed their customer service. No reply. I then sent them a message on twitter. No reply. I them emailed the woman who was the last person from Luxemme, I had been emailing and guess what? That's right. No reply. So I messaged the CEO because he was the very first person to contact me (probably on an automated thing) and tumbleweed. The funny thing is, is that they have since followed me on twitter and instagram. Odd.
Now, this isn't about the dress, it's about good work ethics. I don't need another dress and I wasn't in love with it but the fact that the company was just ignoring me? That's not right. And they are not the first company and brand to have done this. I am ready to draw the line and be more selective.

For someone who isn't well established in the blogging world, I find it flattering when a brand wants to work with me and as long as I agree with the product and their ethics, I usually say yes. However, brands are noticing that smaller blogs are really aiming for more followers and hits and so they email you luring you in with, "We'll give you great exposure on our website and social media" and "You will be part of a buzzing blogging community". Truth of the matter is, that some brands will share your post once. Along with the other 80 bloggers they have been working with. And as for that "buzzing community" can sometimes just involve in a measly hashtag for the brand to follow you. I strongly suggest you find other communities that aren't based on a brand. Here we have the Edinburgh Bloggers, Scottish Bloggers and excitingly, The Girl Gang. All based on our love for blogging, not because we have all been asked to review a lipstick or style a top.

Don't get me wrong, when companies keep interacting with you after you've blogged for them, it works. Coconut Lane keeps their bloggers in the loop with frequent emails and support over social media. They ask for our input and wants to work in unison with us. So I have a growing respect for them.

However, this leads me to the loss of respect for brands who are now exploiting bloggers. Keeping in mind, only a selected lucky few can blog for a living. The rest of us have jobs, school, uni and a life. Since I started this blog 2 years ago (2 fricking years!)  I am noticing this trend more as more brands are contacting me. To begin with, all I wanted to was to get my little blog out there. I wanted people to read my little thoughts on the events or the fashion. More exposure on a twitter feed with 2k followers? How could I refuse? And that's what brands see. How can we refuse? So they give you a time limit to post your blog and expect to get traffic because you've posted a link. They might give you something for free...but then they might only give you £20% off and they expect you to pay £40 for a necklace just to blog and be one out of 200+ "Brand Ambassadors". I politely refused this offer and the bombardment of emails after was actually overwhelming. I was getting 2 emails a week from the company until I eventually just blocked the email address.
Well let's get one thing straight-we don't need brands to keep blogging. For the majority of us, we started the blog as a hobby. If blogs are going to become the new magazines, and high street shops are on their way out, brands are going to rely on us a lot more. It's time for them to treat us with respect.

Respect. R. E. S. P. E. C.T. Something so many brands are forgetting to do. They forget that there are people behind the blogs. We certainly don't live to serve their company.

We are expected to write for free. That is something I am getting a lot of. Probably because I have publicised my interest in journalism and writing in general. It comes back to the exposure thing. But I recently read a status on facebook that we shouldn't be exploited like this. It is our time and effort that we are putting in. Should we be charging a fee? Is this the way forward for brands to know our value? Can we put a price on our blogs? This is something I'm thinking more and more of. As you can see, I don't have ads on my blog-my blog was never made to be monetised but if I'm going to be spending time writing for someone instead of my own thoughts or work...then maybe we are worth a price. I'd be really interested to know your thoughts on this.

And breathe... I just wanted to let people know the truth behind some of the blogs and brands in a classic Katie ranty way. Thanks for sticking around!

Blogger Party With Nobody's Child

It was a change for little me to be getting on a train to Glasgow for a blogger's event but I was lucky enough to be invited to a bloggers party celebrating the new clothing brand, Nobody's Child. I have seen them on my instagram and have been lusting over some of their clothes for a few months and so I could not miss this! The party was held at Glasgow's freshest hair salon, BLOW which was offering hair styles and some girls got some sparkly glitter roots. I knew as soon as I walked in that this was not just your average hair dressers. It is something unique, a perfect place for us bloggers to hang out, eat, drink and talk fashion.

These are some of my favourties from their website that I just had to show off because I think pink is going to be a very popular colour this season and a new season always means new clothes. So why not go to a new online store? I am lusting after the jacket and flared sleeved playsuit. I'm a sucker for bell sleeves aren't I? 

Forever Your Betty with Sarah showing off Nobody's Child's off the shoulder dress
Going through to Glasgow meant I finally got to meet some Glasgow bloggers, some that I had been reading their blogs for ages and totally fan girling over when I saw them. I FINALLY met Lis from lastyearsgirl who was one of my earliest followers and we have been speaking on twitter for like a year in passing, so I had to giver her a huge cuddle of course. The ladies from Nobody's Child told me the history of the brand and all the work that went behind it which was so inspiring.

Nobody's Child was founded by two family business and two brothers, one being the designer. Starting their journey 10 years ago, they officially launched in October 2015. They know how much we like to shop and how fast we like to shop. They provide budget friendly garments which are high quality (win!!). How many times would you pick something up at Primark and it would already be falling apart? Well, after seeing these clothes close up and personal, I can confirm that they are a high standard brand that deserves to be in your wardrobe. Even better, they pride themselves of being ethical and have complete control and knowledge of their factories and sources. You can read more about them here. 

In BLOW, they have the PERFECT selfie light which means you can have a 'blowfie' as the girls in the salon call it. Perfect to capture the smiles of the night. It was so fun getting to catch up with the girls and me and Louise probably did spend a tad too long in front of the perfect lighting...#sorrynotsorry
More bell sleeves...

Through the night the drinks were flowing, the food was eaten and I was a tad tipsy but maybe it was just the buzzing atmosphere. I was surrounded so many influential women and an exciting new clothing brand. Thinking back, I feel so inspired. It has taken the founders on Nobody's Child 10 years to finally be where they are, proving hard work and integrity can truly pay off.

Eating Edinburgh: Southpour Brunch

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a preview afternoon brunch at Edinburgh's newest bar and eatery in Newington. Southpour is the freshest instagrammable, rustic bar that makes your hangover brunches look fancy and taste better than the sambuca from the night before. The cosy and relaxed ambience is perfect for a catch up with friends and some chilled drinks to start day or start your night. 

In classic Katie and Emily style, we arrived 15 minutes late (It would be rude to break our late traditions now) and were greeted warmly by the staff. Other Edinburgh Bloggers were already there taking photos of the selection of food and the oh-so 'Edinburgh hipster-esque' rustic interior, I had some catching up to do before anyone digged into the food and ruined a good photo. The struggle to not eat anything before everyone had got their snap was very much real. The food was presented beautifully and I had only had a yogurt that morning. I was almost dribbling over the cooked breakfasts, both veggie and normal. The bacon was crisped to perfection. But I was definitely dribbling over the brownies, which I will most definitely be going back for with a coffee. 

There was something for everyone depending on your taste. I had a try of the veggie cooked breakfast. I think you can tell a lot of a restaurant or cafe depending on their vegetarian options. I can confirm that the veggie sausages were delicious!! They also serve sweetcorn and tomato fritters and scrambled eggs which were divine! They weren't too gloopy and heavy and they weren't too watery either. The eggs benedict looks amazing too and I was told that they hit the spot. You can find the full brunch menu here
The homemade, own recipe cocktails is something the bar staff really pride themselves on and the selection we had for brunch was refreshing. Just what you need to give you that kick starter for the day. But I still had the taste of too much vodka from a couple of weekends prior and alcohol was strictly off the menu for me but their orange juice was just as good as any bloody mary. 

Lucky us were given cute little paper parcel goody bags filled with melt in the mouth chocolate truffles (yaaaaaas), a bag of coffee and a little bottle of vodka. It's like they already knew me! 
I will be going back their for lunch and coffee and already can't wait for those brownies. 

If you've been, let me know what you think! Brunch is always a good idea.

Love From, Ireland

Happy St Patricks Day!! With the amount of times I visit my family and Ireland, how could I not celebrate it with a blog post of my latest trip?
Ireland is lives up to it's pet name, 'The Emerald Isle" with lush green fields that stretch for miles and are broken up by little stone walls. It's quaint, peaceful and remote. Just what is needed after stressful weeks at Uni. Of course, I don't go to see the countryside, I go to visit my Grandparents. They are my rocks who I can turn to and look up to. And with living in the Mid-West, they look up to the Sligo Mountains. Although, I have to admit, they've got nothing on our Scottish mountains do they?

The Irish elections were in full swing when I was there and you couldn't drive down a single road without seeing a campaign poster..or 5.  But honestly, the view looks better without them, so try to ignore them.... 
My grandparents took me out to a few cafes, one at the Foxford Woollen Mill and when we went to Sligo, we had to go to the Bagel Bar to set us up for shopping with a giant cup of coffee included. There is a TKMaxx that my nana (aka Power Woman) just loves and being an hour and a half away from her house, it is the closest store. Just to give you an idea of just how remote it is. Like, tractors are still a popular mode of transport! I also had to go into my favourite shop, Exhibit. We don't have one in the UK but their skirts just fit me like a glove and their designs are just perfect! So I got a couple of things from there too. It would be rude not to. 

Just a cute little pig

Yet, despite the distances of towns, everyone is very content with it all. The community is very much alive and they thrive off the each other. There were people always popping over to visit my Grandparents and with my Nana's new business, she was never too far from her phone. Nana has bravely opened up her home as a Spiritualist Centre. It is so inspiring to see her following her dreams, proving that it's never to late. While she was working, that left me and Granddad to take a drive to Foxford where he treated me to THE BEST LUNCH and THE BEST CHEESECAKE! I had a thick crusted, melt in the mouth spinach and red pepper quiche with a side salad that glistened. That salad made me feel a bit too good so the only option was a devilish white chocolate and milk chocolate chip cheesecake that was so creamy and rich which caressed the tastebuds. Can you tell I liked it?
We also spoke about how my generation are obsessed with sharing everything, so I decided not to take any photos on that day and keep social media to a limit. It reminded me of the art of conversation. I don't think I've lost that but I know many who may have. Technology is great but of course it has downfalls. Since that afternoon with Granddad, I deleted Facebook off my phone (whaaat) and make an effort of not scrolling through Instagram when I'm standing with people. The art of conversation and the beauty of community spirit is something I think we can all learn from the generations before us.

When I'm with my Grandparents, it feels like home. I can relax, speak to them about anything and just leave all my worries and stresses behind. It is always horrible when I have to say goodbye but they have this way of really motivating me to be the best I can be. Their support and guidance reaffirms any doubts that I've ever had. So the journey back is a mix of sadness and excitement for what the near future has to hold. I take their strength, energy and lessons with me where ever I go. This is what I get when I go to Ireland. And this is why I love Ireland.

Edinburgh Fashion Week

Edinburgh Fashion Week launched last weekend and they know how to launch a Fashion Week! After a long awaited year since their last Fashion Week, The Mound has once again become home to a a fashion fuelled buzz and I couldn't miss out.  It is a week full of showcasing the wardrobe must haves for Scottish shoppers from Princes Street and George Street favourites including River Island, Gap, LK Bennett, Jigsaw and John Lewis as well as collaborations from Thistle Street and West End retailers. Postgraduate designers from Edinburgh College of Art closed the launch weekend on Sunday with a creative collective which-from the photos I saw-looked AMAZING!! 

I sat front row for 2 great fashion shows, the Thistle Street Show and the Edinburgh Collective Show where our beloved shops can strut their new lines and designs for the up coming season. The models had ATTITUDE and I loved it! The men showcased kilts with a casual sense, proving that they are not just for weddings. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good quality picture but you can see a bit of it here in action!

 The VIP lounge was a fabulous area with glasses of fizz, make over from Benefit girls and of course a great place for a catch up with the Edinburgh Bloggers. The local independent shops set up stalls and almost made me spend my rent money. There were just too many nice things from Covet and Biscuit. The bright colours are here to stay for the Spring and that makes me unbelievably happy. 

Me and my tall bestie Louise from lovefromloulou.com

Beautifully bright handbags from Covet

Scotland has a lot more to offer than haggis, mountains and Irn Bru. The Thistle Street Collective Show brought to life the garments and accessories from the Great British independent shops that reside on the cobbled Thistle Street (like the title says), and ECA just proves that Scotland's fashion scene is something to be celebrated. Over the past few years I have seen our local fashion industry grow and grow and if this year's EFW has anything to show for it, we deserve our recognition as a fashion landmark. 

To All The Women

To all the women that I have met in my life. I thank you. I thank you for being there and standing together, by my side and each others. I thank my mother who despite struggles and obstacles raised me to be kind, caring and independent. She taught me that no good can come from anger or violence. She taught me the value of the Earth and the people around me. Despite the struggles and hardship that is happening over the world and to it, I can still see the beauty and have faith it can outgrow the bad. I thank my Grandmother who showed me that perseverance will get your through and I thank her for the wisdom she has shared.

I thank the women, my friends who turned into family, who stood by my side and help me up in my darkest time. I thank you for rooting for me and pushing me forward.  You made me find my own strength when I was ready to give up without a fight. Those are the women who saved my life and everything I have done, and continue to do proving there was no energy wasted.

To all the women who I admire with all of my heart, I stand by you and give back what was given to me. The encouragement, the drive and the fight. We fight together to be something more than people thought.  I may have met you once, twice or known you my whole life. I may have only seen what you have written your recorded. Yet, I will never forget. We go beyond expectations and continue to shine. We hold our own lives in our hands and we care for it and so many others. We care for our family, friends, partners and children. We fight for them.

I stand in a world where there is too much violence, stigmas and where the word 'feminist' is sneered at. Together we stand in a world which we can change. Together our compassion, strength and fight can overpower and heal the wounds that have been made as we watched from below the ceiling made of glass. May every crack and smash make us one step closer. May we never be silenced.

To all the women, I stand with you.