To Autumn

A different blog post this evening, one that perfectly encapsulates the scent, the touch and the sight of this time of year. Tonight’s air is thick with woodsmoke, the frisson of fireworks and the burning embers of community beacons that drew the young and old together all across the country.
Today is November the 5th. Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes Night. Also my Granny’s 90th birthday. To her I’ll dedicate John Keats’ beautiful poem; To Autumn.

        To Autumn

    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
        Until they think warm days will never cease,
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
        Steady thy laden head across a brook;
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.



A Weekend At Home

I think if one is to indulge in a rare weekend at home, I would highly recommend it being an Autumn one.
Compared to the carpeted streets of Glasgow, the leaves are still very much on their trees here, but the gold and russet shades have definitely crept across the greenery. I can still feel the change in the air however, the whole atmosphere feels incredibly cosier than it did when I left for uni back in mid September. 

Coming home in Autumn means having a wholesome dinner cooked for you in the evening! Last night we had roasted garlic chicken, baked potato, sprouts and lashings of onion gravy. MMmmm. Tonight is a homemade curry, currently being prepared as I type. Even better 😉

It also means drawing all the curtains with your dad come 5pm, hooting away together about all sorts of nonsense, the living room getting prepared for everyone to sprawl out in afterwards, mugs of hot drinks at the ready. The dark, cold evening firmly shut away from view.

It means sleeping in absolute silence. There is no whir of traffic, no slamming of doors from flat mates, an abundance of pillows, and the gorgeous pleasure of waking up in a certain kind of cosy comfort that is hard to explain. You feel safe, warm, and so content knowing you’re sharing your living quarters with people you know inside out and who care about you a lot. That’s prittttty lovely stuff for an October Saturday morning!

It means padding about in super squishy, fleece lined pajamas, with not a scrap of makeup on and having a plethora of toppings available for your porridge come breakfast time.

It means seeing your friends in person! Catching up over sips of G&T and swipes of lipstick as you get ready for a good old night out in your home town.

It means the clocks go back! Tonight, British Summer Time in the UK ends and we are treated to an extra hour in bed.

It also means having to leave everybody and everything behind again for another few months. That’s always the worst part; waiting for your train back to uni on a gusty concrete platform, clutching your holdall and focusing on the good memories made in your whistle-stop visit, knowing that judging by the speed of the first half term, you’ll be back home in no time. 
And of course we all know what that means….
CHRISTMAS is just around the corner!



Blessings in disguise. The other side of the coin. When one door closes, another one opens. On the bright side…

I’m not sure how it happened, but a few of days ago both the music player and FM radio on my mobile phone simultaneously decided they’d buddy together and stop working. The radio no longer produces any sound whatsoever in earphone output or speaker. The music player’s volume is constantly at optimum level, so unless I want to be completely deafened by the sharp cymbal-clash to the opening of Haddaway’s What Is Love?, I’m afraid no in-ear entertainment is a go-go.

I was so used to plugging my ears each morning with a radio presenter’s idle chatter, or the oddly compiled music collection from various mobile phones over the years, that all of a sudden, I had nothing.

But it isn’t really nothing. In fact it’s a lot of something. I’ve found myself catching intriguing snippets of passer-bys’ conversations with their companions or children. I’ve anticipated the arrival of an emergency vehicle after clocking the siren pushing through the usual honks and engine roars of everyday-traffic several blocks away. I’ve heard the bark of a dog in a tower block above me, which was exactly the same pitch and length as that of the one featuring 16 seconds into Blur’s Parklife. 

I’ve also realised the visual and the auditory are intricately connected. I’ve always appreciated and been left in awe at the golden sunrises washing across the trees and city skyline as I strode along to Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel heading towards uni. But when you don’t have a soundtrack accompanying your journey, your mind becomes its own thought playlist. 

Instead of spotting something and vaguely pondering on it for all of a couple of seconds due to the music clouding over my thoughts, I can now properly take time to reflect on what I have seen, perhaps connecting it to an aspect of my life, or even making up my own imaginary scenario for the reason behind why something had happened that I had witnessed. 

I’m able to simply embrace life and breathe in my surroundings (if a little co2-polluted). I can roll an idea over in my mind which has begged for serious consideration and planning for some time, without the words and beat of a distraction stomping it out. 

Maybe soon I will get bored of my own thoughts, and begin to desperately crave a disturbance to my own conscious for the 15 minutes of my day where nothing else matters but from getting from A to B. 

For now though, I’m unplugged and unchanging.


p.s. Have a go and let me know. Could you go cold-turkey on technology? 

The Boots Booty

From that title there are various puns that could be made, but I’m gonna keep it simple; what are the hidden treasures that our nation’s favourite chemist have kept under wraps? Or certainly, what are the products that not so many of us know about, but exist and are patiently sitting on the bottom shelf ready and waiting for our grabbing hands? Here are 3 of my highstreet budget heroes:

Coconut & Almond Leave-In Conditioner; normal to dry hair

One of the first items that comes to mind is their Coconut and Almond haircare and bodycare Ingredients range. Now, technically, the range isn’t quite sitting on that bottom shelf (yet). Several weeks ago I realised that they had stopped selling their lovely Coconut and Almond leave in hair conditioner spray, and with my dismay so very real, I did what any broken-hearted beauty lover would do. I tweeted them. 
The correspondence as follows:

Hi Phillipa, this is coming back in a new and improved range in 1-3 months. Keep your eye out! – Laura”

Well I think we all know just how quickly the tears were replaced with those of joy. When I first bought the product the cost was around £1.50 for 150ml and glowing reviews online mirrored the results it produced. Just a snip of other leading brands’ prices, the formula is lightweight and delicious smelling, with the hint of almond taking away any possibly overpowering coconut scent. It left my hair feeling soft, looking nourished and was brilliant sprayed liberally throughout my damp tresses. Excited to see what the redevelopment will have to offer is a slight understatement.. 😉

Boots Essentials Extra Firm Hold Hairspray

At a whopping 450ml for £1.99 this product is a dream purchase. Post-spray the hair is left firmly in place, not resembling a crispy toupee that’s hard to touch, but instead finely misted, and distributed evenly across the desired area. I do hate it when aerosol/spray products seem to just have a single jet-engine hole that fires the product in one particular area rather than an even distribution. There’s no dodgy squinting or preparation to take cover here. 
This body moisturiser is an absolute steal at £1.49 for 400ml! The scent is subtle, but long-lasting, leaving a lovely whiff of sweet cocoa post-application. The texture a happy medium, neither being too thick nor too thin, with a little going a long way, and being housed in a squeezy bottle means no messy dunking of the digits into a pot of gloop. The product simply leaves your skin replenished and conditioned throughout the day, with long term benefits too due to the addition of Vitamin E. 

So that’s mine, now I would love to know what your highstreet heroes are! Are there any own-brand products that you reckon could rival my picks? Tell me your secrets! 🙂


Turning New Circumstances Into Opportunities

Let’s rewind a few weeks. I was looking towards my final year at university, I was thinking about the work that would be required, the hours that would have to be put in, and the prospect of getting to know 4 new people who I would be sharing the same living quarters with. Everything was pretty calm, apart from the periodic meltdowns of trying to decide a dissertation topic (let’s not go there, but I’m almost sorted now), and I thought about how aside from academic chaos, my life would remain subdued, steady, and stay-in-every-night serene.
Fast forward a few weeks, and, as predicted I’m shuttling head first into the academic chaos, but the quiet days in the library, and quieter nights in with my own company? Not so much. You see, I do like to see friends and catchup, but Me, Myself and I do just fine too. Let’s discuss the somewhat minor changes in life though, that have got my comfort zone a little shook up…

  1. I’m living with guys for the first time at university. Us two girls are outnumbered, so learning to deal with putting the seat down on the toilet every. single. time. is a new forte of mine, as well as finding conversation topics that aren’t just about girl things, or banal chats about our course (because no one else is studying English Language in the flat). They’re not the most talkative of folk, but figuring out new people’s personalities and what gets them chatting is always a good skill to improve upon.
  2. I’ve joined a society for the first time in my whole university career. Whoops. Albeit the English Language Society, so I’m not exactly stepping outside my box into a new one coated in glitter and rainbows, but it’s something. My pals have taken over the Board which means the society is going to be properly up and running, holding regular gatherings and meet ups over cheeses and wine. Mmm. We had our first in fact last Thursday, a good old Glaswegian subcrawl, made up largely of Freshers and the odd fourth year dotted here and there, but all in all it was a great night. I actually went out without the guilty conscience of “I should really be spending this time wisely and reading up for class.” There was nothing. I was genuinely excited to get out and get boogying and meet tonnes of new people. Luvly.
  3. Honours courses mix third and fourth year students together, so I’m constantly meeting and greeting new faces who I never knew existed before this term started. This, along with not being in a class with one of my closest course friends for the first time in honours, means that again I sit next to new people and have new stories to hear and old ones to share. The fact that there seems to be an abnormal amount of English/Northern English folk in third year this year makes me a happy Larry, and provides great chat and knowing smiles as we compare stories of what it’s like living in Scotland. Group presentation work which is a rarity in English Language also calls for new interactions and understandings of personalities you mightn’t normally sidle yourself with. See. I’m growing up!
So to round up, I think making the decision of saying goodbye to old flat mates and living with brand new people this year has turned out to somewhat be a blessing in disguise. I was always looking forward to getting to know people from different cultures because I love plaguing them with questions about their language, foods and customs, but rather than sitting in the fluffy security of having known my flatmates already, and therefore not bothering to be very social and going out in the evening, I’ve had to make my own entertainment, leave the confines of the flat to actually see people I know, (and meet new people to get to know!) and that has been brilliant. 

Here’s to fourth year then! Having originally thought it was going to be the hardest year of my life, and hey, I’m not disputing that thought, I reckon it’s going to be one of my favourites. Only now am I letting myself get immersed (well, perhaps it’s more of a dipping-of-the-leg in the water rather than just a toe), into university life, BUT as the saying goes: Better late than never.


Are you yet feel properly get into uni life and still mostly living it through the academic side of things? Maybe you’re already there and absolutely loving it? It’d be great to know.

Change of Seasons

I think this could possibly be my first post where it is written without planning and published all on the same day – possibly within 1 hour!

Summer draws to a close in a week’s time and I’m heading back up to Glasgow early tomorrow morning (Friday 18th September). Several times now across the realms of the internet I have read the lamentations of people’s dread for Autumn; the transition not so much a transition, but more a gust of icy wind tumbling straight towards them in the leaf littered air, the feeling much more like a tonne of bricks than the light bump of a conker. Some days the weather is warm still, the sunshine breaking through heavily clouded skies to reveal endless stretches of cyan, a familiar comfort blanket to swaddle us in. Other days the mornings begin damp and continue in that drizzly manner, leading to radiator-heated rooms and the encroaching gloom of dark evenings.

For me I’m currently experiencing both outlooks on Autumn. Seasonally speaking I think Autumn is breathtaking in every way. We can wrap up in our favourite coats and boots without the numbing bite of Winter, enjoy the bejewelled colours of the great outdoors and the seasonal foods to stock our cupboards and fridges with. But with a new season comes a new academic year. Semester One begins again for the fourth (and final) time, that heavy feeling in my stomach of the impending work to come, never getting easier, always pushing me harder. I realise that I will return to living without my family whom I have seen everyday for four months, my home pals will become pixels through the electronic screen, lines of text on a private message.

I’ve always tried to be a positive, optimistic person. I try my best when people I know are feeling down or going through hell, but when it comes to myself I can’t help but view situations at their worst. I feel like any prospect of a future in a decent enough job is bleak and am terrified of failure. I’m hoping this September will be the last time I ever feel this, but chances are it won’t be. This time next year I’ll probably be experiencing similar nerves but in anticipation of a job interview or my First Day At Work.

Having come to this realisation however, that we will always face challenges in both personal and academic/work life, I just simply have to breathe it in, close the final page of the previous chapter, bite the bullet and continue to kick ass. Everybody goes through it, everybody will go through it, all in our own individual ways, it’s just about how we choose to go about it.

As this new season begins, and I face the beginning of the end, or perhaps the end of the beginning, I will go into it with an open heart, a clear mind, and the knowledge that I’ll make it out alive – if a little scathed, with new prospects in line and my pixelated friends and family there with me every step of the way..


My Autumn Staples

The A-Line Denim Skirt

This past year at uni had largely seen me in skinny high-waisted jeans and the odd plain dress for lecture days, whilst black leggings proved perfectly comfortable for days in the library. However, there’s definitely something about wearing a perfectly fitted skirt and clopping about in polished black brogues that feels incredibly put together. Enter the blue denim skirt. 

A sharp silhouette with a sturdy fabric that holds its shape, a high waist to tuck in t-shirts and blouses, and a block colour that will complement almost any colour and print. I bought this back in July having been in need of a versatile, durable skirt that washes well, holds its shape and will see me through many months to come.

The Vintage Coat

Nowadays it is very easy to find a well-cut coat of quality material on the high-street, but there is certainly something about an item of clothing from a bygone era that encapsulates effortless chic. I’m thankful for inheriting two divine winter coats of my Mum’s from back in the day. The first is an androgynous teal green and blue pure wool duffel coat, with deep pockets, sleeves just reaching my wrists and the hemline brushing my knees. It has a button fastening and as expected, keeps you niiice and toasty.

The second is a hand-tailored sheepskin by Oakleaf. A gorgeous biscuit coloured, fur-lined coat, with a matching fur collar and turned up sleeves. Again this coat has the ever vital pockets; I think if a jacket doesn’t have pockets then I’m not quite sure it deserves the title of A Coat. The chain loop for hanging, rather than a fabric just adds to the glamour of seeing this number hanging up in the wardrobe. 

The Leather Boot

2015 is my fourth year owning this beautiful pair of calf-length, two-tone, brown leather boots. From Marks & Spencer in 2011, I bought these with the intention of seeing me through many an Autumn/Winter, and so far, so good. I always believe everyday footwear should be an investment, and have done since my school days when we would buy perfectly fitted leather shoes that would last for the full academic year minimum. 
Once you have bought a good quality pair of shoes, it is vital to endure in post-purchase maintenance so that you squeeze every penny’s worth out of them. For me, this includes regular polishing and re-heeling. Here’s to the next four years..

The On-Trend Shirt

With a new season comes a new key piece, plucked straight from the clothing rail that embraces the season’s colours and prints.
I don’t exactly follow fashion trends, but rather pick up what I fancy in a store and make of it as I will. Seasonal trends however, I love to transition into. Swapping summer rain macs for wax jackets and brighter colours for moodier blues and grey hues is something I truly enjoy come September. Due to my colouring, my wardrobe palette is 90% greys, blues, black and the odd brown and white anyway.
The moment my eyes fell upon this floral shirt I knew I would not be leaving H&M without it. It encapsulates every gorgeous stormy colour, including blackberry purples, hints of mustard yellow and an overall shade of blue that complements, rather than clashes with my greeny-blue-grey eyes. A round necked button-up collar, with buttoned sleeves to match, this neckline is a dream for someone who doesn’t quite suit the typical triangular collared shirt, allowing the option of a more formal attire by closing the whole neckline, or the option of a relaxed open collar, with a little décolletage.
This is still available to buy but you must be quick! I reckon this is going to go down a storm, along with the dresses and blouse in the same print.

I can’t wait to shrug on the coats and slip on this shirt come the cooler weather. A good lightweight scarf and rust-toned eyeshadows won’t go amiss either. 

What are your key pieces for transitioning into Autumn/Fall?