Fashion | Olivia Burton’s Wonderland Watch

For my last birthday,  my boyfriend asked me what I would like – and I had absolutely no idea! I have loads of makeup and didn’t want to buy any clothes until I’d lost more weight so I was left at a bit of a loose end; there was nothing that I wanted or needed. Until I realised that I didn’t have a watch …

It came to me when I was walking home from work and it was pouring it down outside – but I was running late for the train and needed to know the time! I obviously pulled out my phone to see what time it was, which then got wet and resulted in the screen being smudged with watermarks. It occurred to me that it would have just been much easier to look at a watch, especially for when my phone is hidden away in my bag instead of in my pocket. So, naturally, I placed a few hints and said I’d like a watch for my birthday.

Now usually I love being surprised with presents, rather than choosing my own, but unfortunately my boyfriend is colourblind and neither of us wanted to risk him picking out the style or colour of a watch. So, I started hunting online and, the more I looked, the fussier I became. I wanted a nice pastel colour, a good sized face, some roman numerals and a leather strap. And that’s how I came across Olivia Burton!

After browsing some more, I came to the conclusion that Olivia Burton is just a fabulous designer. I ended up having three different watches (all designed by her) that I couldn’t decide on and finally opted for the Wonderland one with a pastel coloured lilac leather strap. And I was far from disappointed when it came!

My boyfriend had opted for the giftwrapping option which was definitely a good idea since he is worse at wrapping presents than I am! The giftwrap was a simple cream box with some light illustrations of birds and woodlands – which, unfortunately, I forgot to take a photograph of. The actual box that the watch was in is just as pretty, however, with a simple brand name and logo and, of course, of very high quality.

And as for the watch itself? I’ve yet to find any fault with it! The leather strap is incredibly soft and lovely to feel against your skin, which is great, and the design of the watch was exactly what I was looking for. The rose gold face keeps it modern against the roman numerals in place of the 6 and 12 with a soft touch through the pastel strap.

I’d definitely buy this watch again – or maybe just go and buy the other two that I loved … when I win some money, though!

Stacey x

Beauty | Time Delay Anti-Ageing Day Moisturiser @ Boots

We all need a good moisturiser, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have dry skin, like I do. Like many, I’ve hopped around different brands, never really settling on one moisturiser but recently I decided to opt for an anti-ageing on instead.

Now, I’m only 22 and have been asked many times why I would want an anti-ageing moisturiser – especially as I don’t have any wrinkles yet! But I’ve also heard so many times that if you start investing in anti-ageing products earlier than you need them, it can be beneficial in keeping wrinkles away for longer … and I’m all up in that!

However, it’s really important to get the right anti-ageing product for your age group – and that’s where Boots has come in really handy. Not only do they have products to reduce the signs of ageing, but they now have a range called ‘Youth Maintain’ for people like me who want to prevent the ageing process. Using a product that someone much older than you would use can actually do more damage to your skin than anything else, especially as many of these products contain collagen, which younger skin will already have plenty of!

Having used the Youth Maintain exfoliator by the Time Delay range at Boots, I decided to try out their moisturiser too. This particular one is for during the day as it contains SPF15 which, although isn’t the highest SPF factor I’ve ever seen in a moisturiser, is still a plus.

I was really happy to see upon opening the box that the product was contained in that it had a really pretty, attractive look to it. The shiny, metallic lid was something that was really appealing to me as I’m practically a magpie, especially in this gorgeous purple/pink colour.

The actual moistuiser itself is lovely and creamy – it feels very soothing on your skin when applied so it’s something that I always look forward to putting on. This also ensures a nice smooth base for applying makeup and getting rid of any dryness in your skin. It does feel ever so slightly heavy on your skin but dries in quickly so isn’t much of an issue for me. It’s definitely not greasy and there’s plenty of it as well, so thankfully it isn’t running out any time soon!

All in all, it’s great value for money, especially as it’s usually on some kind of deal and it’s ideal for helping to maintain the youthful aspects of your skin – although I’ll let you know how well that has worked in 10 years time!

Stacey x

Books | Me Before You

It’s the book that everyone’s been talking about for the past couple of months – Me Before You, written by the wonderful JoJo Moyes. The hype surrounding this novel is likely to have something to do with the film that has recently been released, depicting Moyes words on screen for the world to see. So, naturally, I just had to read it to see what it was all about for myself.

** Warning: The rest of this post contains spoilers **

The first thing to say is that this book is not for the faint hearted – it contains very real themes surrounding assisted suicide, disability and depression. Moyes very successfully incorporates these themes through the view of the Will Traynor’s hired care assistant, Louisa Clark.

Will, having lead a very successful life and career in London, was unfortunately left severely disabled after being the pedestrian in a motorbike accident. The novel does not immediately disclose these details, and this is due to the fact that it is not written from Will’s point of view. Instead, the reader discovers details as Louisa does, a simple young woman who simply took the care assistant job to support her family after losing the job she truly loved in a cafe. Perhaps it is Louisa’s lack of interest in the job initially that results in the beginning of the novel being slightly slow in revealing the key themes of the novel, but this only adds to the realism that not everything in life is immediately obvious. For Louisa, she could only view Will as an ungrateful and moody individual who actively made her job more difficult, especially given that she was hired to keep him company and cheer him up. Indeed, she becomes increasingly frustrated at Will’s unwillingness to cooperate with her attempts to make his days somewhat brighter and more interesting, not realising the true reason that Will had no interest in this.

It is not until around halfway through the book that it becomes apparent that Will is suicidal, having unsuccessful suicide attempts in the past. The plot thickens when Louisa finds out that she had actually been hired to try and dissuade Will from going to Dignitas in Switzerland to finally end his life. After initially struggling to come to terms with this, she realises that her slight attachment to Will means that she did not want to see him die and so embarks upon a mission to show Will a more positive side to life. The reader is taken on a journey through Louisa’s attempts to plan fun trips that are suitable for someone in a wheelchair, all the time concentrating on the fact that even for someone who is a quadriplegic, life can still have its perks. This is clearly Moyes showing and engaging the reader in the main reason that so many people are opposed to assisted suicide – to engage the reader in this is to encourage them to want Will to live a full and happy life, despite his condition.

Moyes does, of course, have an ending that perhaps could have been predicted from the start; that despite the trip of a lifetime and finding love in Louisa, Will still had no desire to continue living his life and eventually takes his life in Dignitas. However, by firstly engaging the reader in Louisa’s point of view that life can still be good for someone who is almost completely paralysed, Moyes shows the tension between the arguments for both and against assisted suicide. It becomes clear that, no matter how hard it is for family or friends to accept or deal with a loved one wanting to die, it is infinitely harder for that person to accept continuing to live. By portraying Will’s story through Louisa’s eyes, it is easy for the reader to sympathise with both Louisa and Will, yet having to accept the final decision, no matter how much they have become attached to the characters and the love story associated with them.

It is the saddest of endings. It is an issue that no one wants to address. It will always be a situation with conflicting views and jigsaw pieces that will never join together. But, as Moyes demonstrates, one that must be discussed at length in order to give more control to people who feel that there is no other way out; for those who no longer have any reason to continue living, no matter how much goodness in the world that they are shown. For someone in Will’s situation, this made little difference as he was still in constant pain and was still dependent on another person – no amount of holidays, bungee jumping experiences or love was going to fix that.

Although I could have guessed the ending, given that the novel’s sequel is entitled ‘After You’, I was still taken on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey. Through Moyes’ amazing writing skills, I was rooting for Will to choose to live and became wrapped up in Louisa’s somewhat ignorant views regarding such a choice; it was only at the end of the novel that I was able to truly recognise that my opinion, Louisa’s opinion, or anyone else’s opinion did not matter – this was Will’s choice.

Forced to accept this through Moyes’ clever writing skills and techniques, I cried non-stop for the last few chapters. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel which will, no doubt, take me on another journey of understanding grief and loss – in fact, I’ve already bought it.

Stacey x

Beauty | Vitamin E Skincare Collection @ The Body Shop

I’ll admit it – since signing up to The Body Shop’s new Love Your Body membership club, I’ve been completely addicted to their products. I’ve bought birthday presents and Christmas presents for pretty much every family member and friend I’ve got from there for the past year and I have no regrets at all.

It has been slightly trial and error, I’ll admit. There have been some products that I simply wouldn’t buy again, but having now purchased the Vitamin E Skincare Collection a few times now, I won’t be abandoning it any time soon.

The collection comes with three products – the vitamin E cleanser, a vitamin E overnight oil serum and a vitamin e moisturiser. The cleanser, I’ll admit straight away is not the best cleaner I’ve ever bought. I’m a sucker for Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish cleanser so the vitamin E one from The Body Shop just doesn’t compare at all. However, it’s not bad to use when I’ve ran out of my usual cleanser and forgot to order more; either that, or I’ll give it to someone as an extra wee present if it’s their birthday and the main present I’ve got them is looking a bit lonely.

So why do I keep ordering the collection if I don’t really like one of the products that comes with it? Well, it’s cheaper than buying the other two products separately and let’s face it, an extra cleanser or an extra present for someone is never a bad thing!

The serum and the moisturiser, on the other hand, are pretty much faultless! I use these every night as part of my skincare routine and my skin has never been better.

The serum is only to be applied at night as it’s an overnight oil and comes with a dropper so it’s much easier to only apply the amount of oil that you need; I usually find that half a dropper does my full face so it’s a long-lasting product as well! It has a silky texture and, given that it is an oil, makes your face and hands quite slippery so I would definitely only recommend putting this on straight before you go to bed (especially if you have glasses, like I do, that will just slide down your face after applying it!).

The moisturiser is also a product that I would highly recommend – even my sister who has incredibly sensitive skin uses it and swears by it. It has such a smooth texture and leaves my face feeling soft and fresh. I only tend to use this moisturiser in the morning because I have another one that is specifically for night-time use, but it definitely sets me up for the day and makes my skin into a perfect base for applying makeup to (or even just to head straight out the door!).

But the best bit? If you sign up to the Love Your Body Club, you get regular discounts on products and points added to your account with every purchase which add up to result in some discount vouchers! Totally worth it.

Stacey x

Beauty | Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish

With so many skincare products out there, it’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves blankly staring at millions of products on the shelves in Boots with not the faintest idea what product to buy for what problem. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I’ve went to get a product to clear up my latest breakout and had thousands of brands staring back at me, all promising amazing results. Well, enough is enough.

When I finished my dissertation in March, I’ve never been more relieved to have finished anything in my life … ever! I dedicated a whole week to recovering before starting on the last of my university coursework – and then I looked in the mirror. I might have felt considerably less stressed, but my skin definitely didn’t look it. Spots were taking over my face like a mini army, my skin was dryer than the Sahara Desert and my complexion resembled that of a ghost. And I had no one to blame but myself – my dissertation had taken over my life meaning that stress and lack of sleep had replaced my skincare … and it was obvious.

After looking online, I spent a considerable amount in The Body Shop before heading over to QVC to invest in my favourite cleanser – Liz Earle. This is a product I’ve sworn by since I was a teenager – and looking back, I definitely took my fairly good skin for granted, especially when compared with some of my peers. So naturally, I bought three bottles.

When going to buy the Cleanse and Polish, there are many different packages; for instance, you can get two/three bottles of it, with or without a muslin cloth, in a pump or in a tube, with other Liz Earle products or without. Personally, I always opt for the product in a pump, purely because it’s more convenient and easier to use – and it looks prettier than the tube too. Although it’s not exactly the cheapest cleanser out there, it’s definitely worth the money and if you create an account on QVC, you can opt to pay the cost in a few monthly installments too!

The product itself is very creamy and just heavenly to put on your skin. The routine is very simple – just pop the product on your face, then take it off with warm water and a muslin cloth before finally splashing your face with some cold water at the end. And that’s it! I do this twice a day – morning and night – and I honestly find that if I skip either of these, I’m far more prone to breakouts.

In addition to keeping the breakouts at bay, the product also gives my skin a brilliant, healthy and natural looking glow – so much so that I don’t really mind not wearing makeup anymore. For when I do wear makeup though, it’s fab for taking it off at the end of the day.

It’s definitely a product to bear with though as because it gets rid of all the dirt and impurities in your skin, you may actually find you break out at first, but honestly don’t worry – a few more applications of the product and it will clear them up in no time and keep them away for good!

So there we have it – smoother and clearer skin in a bottle! And it only takes a few minutes each day. Lifesaver.

Stacey x

Travel | Premier Inn Hub – Edinburgh Royal Mile

As a student, I’ve found it hard to save up enough money to go on holiday with my other half; this year has been especially difficult since I am due to pay nearly £7,000 in tuition fees alone for my postgraduate study in the coming months. So instead of saving for a couple of weeks away on a beach in Spain, I’ve been putting every last penny I can spare into a savings fund for my future which is, quite frankly, incredibly boring and adult – i.e. no fun at all.

Understandably, I was pretty gutted about this as it’s been a few years since I’ve went abroad anywhere and life is just so much better on holiday with a tan, so my boyfriend and I decided to take a last-minute trip to Edinburgh. As we only live around an hour from there, it was an ideal location – away from our usual hunting grounds with the opportunity to relax and be proper tourists. Now, usually Edinburgh is fairly expensive – after all, it’s Scotland’s capital – but for a bargain hunter like me? Easy peasy.
After many searches on Trip Advisor, I came across the Premier Inn Hub. This is basically a more compact version of a standard Premier Inn room – and a lot cheaper! Yes, it has a bed and yes, it has a bathroom and yes, it is right in the heart of the city. What more could a girl want? The room itself was pretty small but it had everything you want want – a smart TV with some free movies (hello, Bridget Jones), a comfy bed, a bathroom with a fabulous shower and storage space under the bed and behind the floor-length mirror. Check, check, check and check!

20160606_143217_HDRWe did end up with an accessible room because it was the only room available when we arrived so, in fairness, our room would have been slightly larger than the average but from having a peek in the other rooms while they were being cleaned, I would have still been pretty happy in one of them. Every room also comes with a customized map of the city, as you can probably see from the photograph above, which just added such a modern touch to the room. A final perk would be that everything from check-in to check-out is controlled by technology, including the lights and temperature of the room – ideal for my tech-obsessed boyfriend!

Since the rooms are compact there was no room for a kettle, however the hotel compensated for this by having facilities in their deli for all guests to help themselves to free unlimited tea and coffee. For me, I found this 20160606_200906_HDRfar better than having a kettle in the room because there was far more selection in 20160606_205138_HDRterms of teas and sugars in the deli than the average hotel would ever provide in the room – and there was more of it! We definitely made use of the deli while we were there because it was surprisingly reasonably priced for a hotel in the city centre and it was tasty too! I’d highly recommend the bacon sandwiches and millionaires shortbread – after all, what could be better than snuggling up in bed with chocolate, tea, bacon and Bridget Jones? And for all of you that aren’t scaredy cat’s like me, there was a good selection of horror films too!

All in all, we had a great trip and we’re already planning to go back! It was the ideal place to chill, see the city and it only cost a grand total of £240 for four nights (Monday-Friday). To put that figure into perspective – the other hotels we were looking at in Edinburgh cost upwards of around £100 per night so we definitely got a great deal.

Oh, and Edinburgh is a great place. It might be filled with tourist attractions and stereotypes of Scotland but it’s fun and if you look past that, it’s quite simply beautiful. Perfect for a mid-summer city break – so 1…2…3…go!

Stacey x

 

Welcome | First Blog Post!

Hi everyone and welcome to my first blog post on Tartan Tulip! Firstly, thank you so much for popping over to read this and I hope, despite my current lack of substantial posts, that you continue to come visit or maybe even follow me!

I thought my first post would be an ideal time for a quick introduction to myself and this blog so firstly, my name is Stacey and I’m 22 years old. I’m from a little town in Scotland and I’m very proud to call it home. I’ve very recently graduated from university after completing my law degree (or, as I like to call it, four years of absolute hell) and I’m now about to start studying for my diploma so that I can actually become a trainee solicitor!

I did have another blog prior to this, Red Rendezvous, however as my Honours year at university was so hectic, I accidentally abandoned it for a year and decided that now would be a perfect time for a fresh start. I also must confess that I really wanted a new blog name as I kept spelling ‘rendezvous’ wrong and if I can’t spell my own blog name then what’s the chances of anyone else getting it right?! So this time round, I’ve went for something that truly relates to me – Tartan Tulip reflects my Scottish heritage and my sheer love for both tartan and tulips … plus, I can actually spell it!

Anyway, thank you so much again for listening to my little ramble and I do hope that you continue to visit. I’m over on Bloglovin’ so please feel free to follow me on there or here (or both!) and leave me a comment to let me know where you are too!

Stacey x

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