Pinterest Wanderlustin'

Monday, 13 April 2015

Lately I've been having a serious case of itchy feet. When I got home from Australia, I made a promise to myself that I would gradually tick all of the places I wanted to visit off my very long "to visit" list, and then? I went back to uni. So for 2014 I was busy with my Masters, and didn't get a chance to get away anywhere.

Now, here we are in April of 2015, and my wanderlust is spiralling out of control. Pinterest is my weakness - I could (and do) spend hours scrolling through the many, many beautiful travel pins and updating my Wanderlust board (which you can see here!). So here are the places that are currently sitting right up at the top of my list, and that I'm hoping I'll have the chance to visit soon - I've had casual chats about getting away for a wee city break with a couple of my pals, just need to get something in the diary!!

Iceland

I've been desperate to visit Iceland for a really long time now. There's just something so beautiful and magical about the Icelandic landscape, it fills me with excitement just looking at it! So when Amy from The Little Magpie uploaded a post last week showing off her photos from her recent trip, the green eyed monster definitely took over - it just looks so lovely.


Budapest

This is a very recent addition to my list, thanks to another blog post! Nikki (from Nikki and Things) uploaded a post after her city break to Budapest, and I'm not kidding - the minute I was done reading I was googling cheap flights to Hungary! I knew it was an interesting city, but I had never really paid attention to how utterly beautiful it is! Look at some of those buildings!!


New York

And finally, we have New York. Yes, NYC is still at the top of my list because despite wanting to go for as long as I can remember, I still haven't made it there! Roisin, our friend Gill and I had planned to go this year but a few big life changes (moves to new cities, job changes, etc) has meant it has been postponed - but we'll get there!!


So for now, my top three travel destinations consists of these three lovely places!

Where would you jet off to tomorrow if the opportunity to get away arose? :)

Thanks for reading!


*All images sourced on Pinterest, and pinned on my Wanderlust board :)

3 Years on YouTube!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Today is a special day! It marks three years since I hit upload on my first ever YouTube video. While it hasn't always been the most consistent of journeys, I can honestly say it's become such an important part of my life, and I can't imagine not having my little space on the internet to ramble away on!

So, although I have a video dedicated to this going up this weekend, I decided to choose a few of the videos I've enjoyed filming the most, and pop them all in one handy little post for me to revisit in the future. I might do a post like this every year, and add to the list of favourites :)

So, in no particular order, a few of my favourite ever videos to film/edit have been...

Reacting to the X-Factor 2014 with Emma

My plan for my next year here on YouTube is to film more reacting to videos. I absolutely loved filming this, and even if Emma and I are the only two who think this is funny, it was a ridiculous amount of fun!



Vlog: Internet Friends

I really enjoyed this chatty, rambly vlog. I just decided to sit down and talk about the amazing friends I've made through YouTube and blogging, and though it was totally impromptu, I'm happy with how it turned out!



Port Douglas Part 1 - Meet my new friends!

I loved all of my Australia trip vlogs, but this one will always have a special place in my heart. My friend Lynsey said I looked like the happiest person in the world meeting those wee kangaroos and Samsun the koala!



Confessions of a Rewatcher (TV)

I had a stupid amount of fun filming this video, and it was round about this time that I realised I needed to channel my passion (as dramatic as that sounds) and actually start focusing my channel on what I wanted to talk about, which was film and TV. Rather than try to cater for what I thought other people wanted to watch, I just started making the content I enjoyed, and could not be happier!



Pretty Little Liars - Reacting to the Big A Reveal!

Another reacting to video - despite the blurred footage, again, I loved filming this, and definitely plan on making more of this type of video in the near future :)



Vlog: Good News, Lush Christmas 2014 and Dinner in Edinburgh

This seems like a totally random choice, but it's really for the first minute of it! I vlogged my reaction just after I found out I had passed my Masters with distinction, and got an amazing mark on the dissertation I had poured my heart and soul into, and while I never thought I'd willingly upload a vlog of me crying, I'm really glad I captured that moment.



Festive GRWM: 2014 Edition

Another fairly recent one, but as my channel started off focused on beauty, I couldn't very well not include a GRWM! My get ready with me videos never tend to work out as well as I hope they will, whereas I was actually pretty happy with how this one turned out :)



The Gossip Girl Tag feat. Rose Keats

And finally, we have the Gossip Girl tag, filmed with Roisin! How could I do a favourite YouTube videos post without including one with a friend I met through this very online community!




So I'll leave it there, but keep your eyes peeled on Sunday, when I'll be uploading a "3 years on YouTube" themed video! Thanks so much to all four hundred and thirty something of you, who have chosen to hit that subscribe button over the past few years. I know I don't have the most regular of channels in terms of content - my videos are a mish mash of everything from beauty to books to films and tv to chatty vlogs, so I really, really appreciate you watching :) if you haven't already visited my channel, here's a wee link if you fancy it - be sure to say hi!

Thanks for reading (and watching!) and here's to another three years!

5 Reasons To Watch Once Upon a Time

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hello all - I really enjoyed writing my 5 Reasons to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt post the other week, so I'm back with the next in that little series!

Anyone who watches my videos on YouTube, regularly reads my blog or follows me on Twitter, can tell you that I'm a huge Once Upon a Time fan. I fell in love with the show way back in 2011 when it first started, and my adoration for it has just grown and grown. For anyone who hasn't heard of the show, a simple summary would be that the show explores the lives of all your favourite fairytale characters, brought together in two worlds - the fairytale world which includes The Enchanted Forest, Neverland, Arendelle, etc, and non-magical world a.k.a our world. Via curses, portals and a whole lot of magic, the characters travel between the two, and each episode is told half in real time, half in flashbacks to events in the past (usually in the magical world).

So, if that isn't enough to pique your interest, here are 5 reasons to start watching Once Upon a Time!


The Fairytale Characters

I'm not exaggerating when I say all of your favourite fairy tale characters will make an appearance in this show at some point. To name a few, you'll meet Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin, Belle, Pinocchio and Gepetto, Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Mulan, Maleficent, Aurora and Phillip, Red Riding Hood, Ariel and Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Robin Hood, Tinkerbell, Elsa, Anna and Kristoff, the seven dwarves and the mad hatter. And that's just off the top of my head. That isn't even counting two of the main characters, Emma (played by the brilliant Jennifer Morrison) and her son Henry (played by Jared Gilmore). You never know who is going to turn up next!


The Plot Lines

Ever wondered how Maleficent is connected to Snow White? Or how Prince Charming met Anna from Frozen? What about the history between Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan? Okay, so up till now you probably haven't, but what I love about this show is that it creates this amazing, rich backstory for characters we already know and love. Like why Ursula became evil, for one! In The Little Mermaid, she just goes about her villainous business, and we never find out what brought her to that point. Enter Once Upon a Time to fill in the blanks! Following on from this...

It's a perfect dose of Escapism

My favourite thing about OUAT is that it really is the perfect level of escapism. It's dramatic, and filled with intrigue, but in a light hearted way. This isn't a Breaking Bad style, heavy going show. It's emotional, but fun, and envelopes you in a magical world, where anything is possible, and nothing is black and white. It has a nice nostalgic quality to it too, because if (like me!) you were fairy tale mad as a child, it brings these tales back into your life in a new way, and gives new life to old stories!


The Writing -

The writers really do an amazing job with this show - hardly surprising, when their past work includes Lost! Whatever the storyline, they handle it beautifully, but I'm sure it won't come as a surprise that it's packed full of romance. It's fairytale land, how could it not be! The writers do the most brilliant job with their pairings - not only have they been really lucky to bring together a bunch of amazing actors, so many of who have incredible chemistry, but they just know exactly what to do to tug at your heart strings. And putting romantic relationships aside, they also do a great job with friendships/familial relationships in this show. People who have gone through a lot have a way of finding each other, which is always nice to see.

They have also written a ridiculous number AMAZING kick ass female characters over the past four seasons. Emma, Snow and Regina, three of the most prominent characters, are strong, feisty and independent, and while they are not immune to the considerable charms of some of the leading men, they are more than capable of taking care of themselves - there's none of the Disney-esque damsel in distress stuff here.

And finally, we have...

The Cast

If I could join a cast of a TV show, it would be Once Upon a Time. Not only are they all phenomenal on screen, but when we see blooper reels, or interviews with them, they seem to be having the best time. The show has done so well to bring together such a great group of actors. Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Lana Parilla, Robert Carlisle, Colin O'Donoughue and Emilie de Ravin are just a few of the brilliant cast members, and I now struggle to imagine anyone else playing some of these famous fairytale characters. Also, let's be honest - none of these people (in addition to the likes of Jamie Dornan) are particularly difficult to look at - always a bonus!



So there you have it - 5 reasons why you should put Once Upon a Time firmly on your "to watch" list!

One bonus reason - if you are a fan of Lost, this show is full of Lost references! From lots of the same cast members (Emilie de Ravin, Jorge Garcia, Lana Parilla and Elizabeth Mitchell are just a few who have appeared in both!) to constant references to the lost numbers (you know what I'm talking about!), and even the odd Apollo bar. That all makes me much happier than it probably should.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you've had a lovely Easter weekend!

Wednesday Wishlist - Monochrome Must-Haves

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

It's time for another Wednesday Wishlist. Spring is approaching, which means the shops are being filled with bright and beautiful colours, which I always enjoy browsing through. The majority of my wardrobe, however, consists of little black dresses - no matter how many times I tell myself I'll buy something colourful, I always end up coming back to black. It's classic, flattering and goes with anything (is what I tell myself when I'm putting back that bright orange top in favour of a black one)! So today, I thought I'd do a little pre-spring fashion wishlist, with some of my favourite monochrome bits and pieces from some of my favourite places to shop. I know we're into April now (whaaat?!) but I put this wishlist together a week or so ago, hence the "March 2015" caption!


ASOS PETITE Mono Aztec Print Peg - ASOS - £22.00

Aztec Jacquard Shift Dress - Topshop - £70.00

White Winged Mini Tote Bag - New Look - £15.99

ASOS Knitted Vest With Lace Hem - ASOS - £28.00

Wool Wide Brim Hat - H&M - £19.99

White Iridescent Stone Ring Pack - New Look - £7.99

That hat? I've been considering it for months now. Every time I go into H&M I try it on, and every time I chicken out. I'm not someone who has ever worn hats, so it's well out of my comfort zone, but it just looks so cool... should I bite the bullet and go for it?!!


Where are your favourite places to shop at the moment?

Thanks for reading!

That Time I Chatted to the Outlander Cast

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post letting you guys know how excited I was that Outlander was finally making its way over here to the UK, courtesy of Amazon Instant Video. Well - last night I finally sat down and watched the first episode, and it did not disappoint!!

I know I might be a tiny bit biased, but this has to be one of the most visually stunning shows I've seen in a very long time. I have a lot of love for the part of the world where this is filmed (which I've mentioned in many previous posts, and which will become important later in this post), but my emotional attachment aside, the Scottish landscape just looks so beautiful. It isn't just the gorgeous backdrop that makes this so lovely to look at though. Everything about the way this show is filmed is just beautiful - the lighting, the costumes, the camera movements - I actually had to pause it at one point to screen shot a couple of moments that just took my breath away... observe...


I don't want to give too much away, but in the first episode we meet Claire (Caitriona Balfe), our leading lady who finds herself transported back in time from 1945 to 1743. There is an amazing magical feel to this first episode, which is right up my street, and we are introduced to a number of main characters over the course of the episode, including Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. It grips your attention instantly, and I'm very much looking forward to watching episode two!

This post, however, is not just a rave review of the first episode, but a little anecdote to fill you all in on something that happened last week! Picture the scene - I'm sitting at my desk, editing a video, when an email pings into my inbox inviting me to participate in a blogger conference call with two of the Outlander cast members! Cue much excitement/preparation of my question.

The chance to chat to Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe was an amazing opportunity, and honestly, they were just lovely. A number of bloggers took part, and so there was only time for one question each. As a Scottish blogger/vlogger, talking to the cast of a show located in Scotland, I had one very obvious question in my mind - I wanted to know how they had enjoyed the experience of filming up North in the beautiful Highlands.

Before we continue, there are two things you should know about me - one, I have phone fear. This is something I think I'll write a whole post on at some point, as I know it is something which is more common than you would imagine! Sit me in front of a camera and I'll chat as if I'm talking to my oldest friend. Send me into a face to face meeting or interview with a stranger, and I keep my cool. Put me on the phone, and for whatever reason, the nerves just take hold. Secondly, I believe in being enthusiastic about things in life. So if I like something, I really like it, and there's no holding back.

Anyway, let's get back to it. I sat listening to the other participants on the call asking their questions, and Sam and Caitriona giving some really great answers. They discussed whether the love scenes or fight scenes take longer to choreograph (love scenes, being the answer to that one), how they would explain Outlander to someone who hasn't watched it before - "a really great adventure, filled with historical drama, romance and fantasy" (Caitriona Balfe) and how it feels to be bringing the show home to the UK now that it's available on Amazon Instant Video.

And then it was my turn. The person before me had asked a question relating to Scotland, and so I had a nice straightforward transition into mine. I asked how they enjoyed the experience of filming up in the Highlands, and the following exchange took place:

Caitriona Balfe: Oh, it was amazing. I mean we moved the whole company up there, near Aviemore-

Lynsey: Oh, that's literally - I'm not joking, that's literally like my home from home, it's my favourite place in the world!!

That's right folks. I fangirled all over her answer. And not in "hi, I'm a huge fan of your show" style fangirling - I fangirled over a town in the Highlands. The transcript of the call does not do justice to the squeal of excitement I gave at the mention of Aviemore.

While I tried to block out the past ten seconds of my life, Caitriona and Sam gave this lovely answer to my question:

Caitriona Balfe: Yeah, it’s so beautiful. And we shot up there for almost two weeks and it was, honestly, such a special time. And for the most part the weather was very kind to us when we were up there; cold, but sunny and clear. But yeah, that’s been one of the greatest things about this job for me is really getting to explore Scotland and see how beautiful it is first hand. But I feel really great that we’re able to, sort of, bring that to a wider audience as well and show Scotland off in its best light.

Sam Heughan: Yeah. I really enjoyed going up to Kinloch Rannoch, which we shot a few times – that’s where the standing stones are – and it’s just terrific every time we go up, isn’t it? And it feels like a little family outing; everyone gets to go out and all the crew stay in the same hotels. Yeah, it’s really good fun.

Putting aside my moment of fangirling, it was amazing to hear these actors talk about the show firsthand. It's clear that they are incredibly passionate about their characters. One of my favourite moments in the call was when Caitriona and Sam gave these answers to a question from Ginger Wiseman, from Outlander Podcast. She asked what the most rewarding part of playing these characters was, and they said:

Caitriona Balfe: Wow, the most rewarding part of playing her? I think it’s honestly seeing how much this character has touched so many people’s lives. As an actor you hope that you get chance to play great characters and this definitely is one, and it has been such a dream playing her. But the unexpected side effects of that are seeing all of these women across the world who have been really touched by having the book in their lives or, they’ve met each other through the friendships that they’ve sparked over the books, and seeing them get together and really support each other, that’s been really amazing.

Sam Heughan: I think Jamie Fraser is – it’s certainly the bit about Scotland that’s been a joy to be able to, sort of, bring the culture of Scotland –an authentic one too, sort of, probably for the first time – to film and TV, and share it with the rest of the world, I think is one of my proudest moments.

So thank you so much to Sam and Caitriona for taking the time to answer our questions and giving us a bit of real insight into what it has been like working on the show, and thanks so much to Amazon Instant Video for inviting me to take part!

Outlander is available on Amazon Instant Video now! Have you been watching? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

How to Make a YouTube End Card!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Hello all, and happy Monday!

Today I thought I'd do a post on something I loved finding out how to do, and that is make a YouTube end card. You know the clip at the end of a YouTube video with the clickable links to subscribe or watch another video? In my early days of YouTube I hadn't the faintest idea how to go about this, so when I got more serious about my channel, I decided it was something I needed to teach myself! This particular post talks you through the process on iMovie, because that's what I use to edit my videos - I'm not sure how much the process differs on other editing suites, but I'm sure somewhere out there someone will have made a post on that!

So, you've reached the end of your video, said your goodbyes, and you're ready to make your end card...

STEP 1: Insert either a "Title" clip, or a Picture.

If you want to keep things basic, just insert a title clip, the way you would if you were popping a title at the start of your video. This way, you can either leave it blank, or insert a bit of text to say "subscribe" or "my last video" - whatever it is you want to link your viewers to!


If you want to make it a little fancier, pop into photoshop or paint, or even a website like Picmonkey, and create a little endcard image for yourself - this is a bit more fun! You can then include whatever you like in it - I have a subscribe button, icons showing all the social platforms I use (twitter, instagram, bloglovin, etc!) and a bit of text to indicate that they might like my last video too! Leave enough blank space on the image that you can insert your video clip.


To insert it as an image, make sure you import your end card into iPhoto - that's where iMovie sources images from! Just click the little camera icon, select your image and drag it onto your project!


STEP 2: Insert Clip

Once you have inserted that into your project, select the bit of footage you want to add on to the end card! That might be a clip of a related video (if it's a haul, you might want to link back to your last haul), or maybe just your last upload! I usually aim for a clip that lasts ten to fifteen seconds.

Drag the clip on top of the end card image - iMovie will then ask what you want to insert it as. At this point, choose "Picture in Picture".


The clip will then appear on your end card - drag it into place, and resize it to fit.



STEP 3: Export your video and Upload to YouTube

Now you're ready to export and upload your video as usual!


STEP 4: Edit Annotations

Once your video has uploaded, select the "Annotations" button from the editing bar under your video. Skip to your end card, and click on the "Spotlight" option from the "Add Annotation" dropdown menu.



A transparent box will then appear on your video. Drag this box over the clip you have inserted, or the "subscribe" button you have included.


Click the little box beside the word link, and YouTube will bring up a box to let you choose what you're going to be linking to. This has options which include video, channel, subscribe, Google+ Profile, and playlist.


Click on the relevant word and insert the relevant link - if you're linking to the subscribe button on your channel, link to your channel, or insert the youtube.com/ address of whatever video you're sending them to!


You can insert multiple spotlight links, so repeat this process as many times as you need to.

Be sure to click save and apply changes.


And you're done! You've made a perfect end card to keep your viewers watching your content!


I really hope that was useful for some of you - I know I was certainly thrilled when I learnt how to do it!

Thanks so much for reading guys, and hope you have a great Monday! Be sure to send this link to any vloggers/YouTubers you know who might find it useful :)

Insta-Life Update #3

Friday, 27 March 2015

After yesterday's My Favourite Instagram Accounts post, I realised it's been a ridiculously long time since I did one of my insta-life update posts! So I decided that's what I'd do today.

Instagram is just the nicest (and quickest!) way of capturing a moment. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I definitely think it makes you appreciate the little things more. I wish I'd done one of these posts back at Christmas time - I went on an instagram binge in December, because everything just looked so lovely all decked out in Christmas lights and festive decorations. Alas, I did not, so we'll have to make do with a few snaps from February/March!

Top row L-R - Rory, Radley, Ice Cream
Middle row L-R - Shopping, Dylan Moran, Quotes
Bottom row L-R - Harvey Nics, Catch Ups, Movie Night

Back in February we got a new hamster - his name is Rory and he is a mad little ball of fur who is constantly entertaining us. He started off seriously timid, and he still occasionally jumps at his own shadow for no apparent reason, but he has also mastered climbing the wallpaper and curtains, like an intrepid explorer. This means you really can't take your eye off him for a minute, but he's so cute he can get away with anything.

Roisin and I went along to an event at the Radley store in Edinburgh, which was lovely - my post on that has been totally delayed, but look out for a full post on that soon! The handbags were absolutely beautiful. We then met a few of our lovely Edinburgh blogger pals for dinner and a catch up, which is always fun.

This is a random one, but this photo proved to be far more popular than I had expected! I took a snap of this Cadburys Marvellous Creations Fairground Candy Crunch Ice Cream, and people seemed to be very excited about it. It is absolutely delicious, by the way.

I went for a browse in New Look a couple of weeks ago and they had so many lovely things I wanted to buy!! Sadly I had to think about my bank balance and went home empty handed, but I did instagram this snap of me in one of the dresses I really liked, and people were very, very nice about it. I'm not one for posting any sort of fashion related photos, I don't do OOTDs or anything, but I can't lie - I definitely got a wee ego boost on this occasion, so thank you to the lovely people who left lovely comments!

Emma and I went to see Dylan Moran last week in the Clyde Auditorium and he was just as funny as he always is. He is my favourite comedian. Black Books is one my favourite TV shows of all time, and I have a boxset of his stand up shows which I dig out any time I need a good laugh. I'd only seen him live once before, so it was a total joy to get to experience his amazing humour in person again. We laughed till we cried: my personal favourite bits included the line "there are only four ages of human - child, failure, old and dead", and his reading of his own version of Fifty Shades of Grey. It was genius.

I've still been keeping up with my Sunday night quotes as a little bit of inspiration for the start of the week :) I'm so pleased I've kept this up.

Roisin and I went along to Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh for a beauty event a couple of weeks ago, which was all very lovely and sophisticated! We sipped lots of bubbly, lusted after too many bronze/neutral eyeshadows and I went home with a gorgeous MAC eyeliner, which I showed in this beauty haul over on my channel!

Nikki and I FINALLY caught up for dinner on Saturday! Having not seen each other since December, this was well overdue, so we spent a good few hours eating, drinking and catching up on all the gossip which had accumulated in the space of three months! I do love a catch up with that girl!

And finally, Emma and I had a wee movie night last night - I was desperate to watch Hitchcock's Rope, which I hadn't seen in ages! I love this film, I really do! If you like creepy, suspenseful films, and haven't seen this, check it out as soon as possible! It is based on a true story, which always blows my mind, about two college students who try to execute the perfect murder. They believe themselves to be intellectually superior to others, and think this means they can get away with whatever they want. It is SO GOOD.

So those were just a few highlights from the past few weeks! What have you been getting up to lately? :)

Thanks for reading!