#100happydays: Day 3 ‘Stuffings’

Here’s one from yesterday which I somehow managed to post to my Facebook but forgot to repost here. These mildly macabre window displays caught my eye on George Street yesterday afternoon; so much so I had to take a quick snap of them!

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#100happydays: Day 2 ‘Cherry Blossoms’

We’ve been having a mixed bag of seasons this week, so yesterday’s glorious summer sun was followed by some driech Scottish rain. But the grass was still lush and green, the cherry blossoms were out, and I was just on my way home from the gym after a rather satisfying workout.

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#100happydays: Day 1 ‘Sidewalk Sunning’

Today was quite possibly the sunniest day we’ve had all year, and on my way to the pub to watch the football I saw this; two people sunbathing between two parked cars.
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100 Happy Days Challenge: what I’ll be doing for the next 100 days

I may be the very last person I know to join the 100 Happy Days Challenge; I’ve seen it come up on the blogs I follow, Instagram, Facebook…so here I am, finally joining in with my 100 days of smiles, laughter, good times and optimism. And what better way to kick things off than to share some things that have made me happy recently, which in turn helped me start off this Monday with a massive grin on my face.

Wow, what a week! I’ve been spending it with some of the best friends a girl could have (both old and new), hanging with my gorgeous pup Rhod, having fun in the sun, revisiting my ‘hometown’, marathoning Breaking Bad , watching football in the pub with my boys, trying out new places to eat, birthday nights out for good friends I don’t see nearly enough, catching some local live music…I could not have asked for a better week, and to top things off I’ve discovered since the wifi router was moved a few weeks ago, I can actually take my laptop out onto the balcony and work in the sun!

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‘Cerulean blue’ shellac love heart manicure

I had these glorious shellac love hearts done a couple weeks ago by Zara at CutieCool nails, and they are my favourites yet! Zara specialises in vintage styled nails; she’s my go-to for manicures and some of her work can only be described as art.

I wanted something a little different this time so chose a bright, summery turquoise ‘cerulean sea’ over a glitter base. Stunning!

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Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

I just watched Amelie for the first time in years; it’s a Friday evening and there’s nowhere I want to be more than snuggled up with my dog watching the colourful world of possibly one of the most feel-good films ever made.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s vision of technicolor Paris is peppered with tinges of nostalgia; his characters are timeless, though of course the catalyst for Amelie’s adventures is the death of princess Diana…which leads her to a hidden treasure she feels compelled to return to its rightful owner…

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This film always reminds to be playful, to be kind, and to see the mischievousness in the mundane. And it’s hard not to be at least a little in love with Audrey Tatou…

Amelie’s style is so gloriously French; nonchalant mismatched Montmartre glamour rather than the polished Parisian luxe we associate with French style now. Bohemian rather than boho, rich colours in well worn fabrics; it’s a look the French pull off impeccably but so often falls short in attempts to replicate the same effortless, guileless, almost incidental design.
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Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, spring edition (Edinburgh Corn Exchange)

I’ve been in stealth mode since new year; with work, new flat mates moving in, the possibility of a new house this year, exciting trips to places I’ve never been and oh-so-much renovation work in my dust palace. Aka as home. Just call me the ninja blogger.

Today I decided to take a wee break from everything and visit Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. Their updates kept popping up in my Facebook feed so I could resist. This particular event was held in the Corn Exchange, which can only mean one thing – vintage furniture and housewares aplenty! I have to say, sometimes I just prefer these to the smaller dos in town, because as much as I love retro fashion I am a mid-century design kind of gal!

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There were some serious gems today of the furniture variety; some which (if I’m totally honest) I almost didn’t want to share because I want them for myself! Like this late 60s Torbjorn Afdal rosewood coffee table from Dregs of Society, which I fell in love with as soon as I stepped in the door.

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Dregs of Society have got some fabulous pieces, including a couple I couldn’t resist taking home for myself. The 3-piece Gimson & Slater Vesper leather suite was glorious but I just don’t have room for more seating in the flat so I had to (reluctantly) walk away.

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I did take home both the oiled teak G-plan coffee table and a G-plan inspired ‘square’ table, which will sit just fabulously alongside my existing mid-century pieces – I’m going for a 70s bachelor pad aesthetic with mid-century references in my own home.
And I couldn’t resist this little cocktail side table, which I plan to spray paint copper for a metallic accent in my soon-to-be-painted charcoal grey bedroom.

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I was looking for some pretty 20s jewellery, which I found at Tramp Gems. Perhaps to subtle for my Gatsby party outfit, but I thought this delicate necklace was beautiful, and the chunky costume bracelet inlaid with green stones.

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Look at this beautiful cloisonné peacock belt buckle!

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Mabel on the Table was another treasure trove of fun vintage homewares, and I walked away with a very unique square leather suitcase which I plan to use as a hat box and these old school promotional tins. I also scored a full 9 piece Royal Worcester gold tea set, which I will be displaying as part of my Tom Dixon inspired palette on a black backdrop.

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As I was leaving with my bounty, I got to chatting with the girls at Mademoiselle Macaron and the lovely Caroline from La Robe a Caro. I’d already devoured a couple of macarons earlier on in the day, which by sheer coincidence matched my new manicure perfectly.
Caroline makes bespoke vintage style dresses in funky fabrics, and I will definitely be phoning her to make me something in this ‘tache print soon.

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A successful shopping day for me, but I’ll need to do a clear out to make room for all my lovely new goodies!

TRAVEL REVIEW: FUZZ Wax Bar (Toronto)

Can I just say, I was loving the ‘wax bar’ phenomenon that seems to be taking place in Toronto? The last time I was there I’m sure there weren’t nearly as many depilatory depositories as there are now! I stopped off at FUZZ Waxbar before dinner one night for a quick half leg wax; I’m fastidious about de-fuzzing usually so try to make a point to wax every ten days or so…whether I need it or not!

Check out the hilariously named products they sell…

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FUZZ was clean, efficient, and my aesthetician Jana was super-fast. My only complaint? Hot (called ‘hard’ in Canada) wax isn’t usually used for legs, but my aesthetician was happy to accommodate when I requested it. She did say strip wax was more efficient for finer, shorter hairs; however it’s not possible to go over an area more than once using strip wax, so it’s six and half a dozen! Not exactly ‘painless’, as I’ve had waxes with less ouch, but she made up for it with speed. And how cute is their sign?!

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Fuzz Wax Bar
701 Queen Street West
(647) 748 3899

TRAVEL REVIEW: Ritual Spa (Toronto)

I enjoyed a fabulous fortnight holidaying and working in Toronto, my hometown…I nearly had to be dragged back kicking and screaming! As I wasn’t visiting family this time, I had the opportunity to properly explore the city and I properly fell in love with the place again. So of course I wanted to share some of my favourite places with you guys!

I spent a lovely hour having my hands and feet buffed to perfection one Saturday afternoon; the first of many spa appointments planned during my two week stay in Toronto. This time my one-woman pamper party made a stop at Ritual.

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This place came highly recommended by both BlogTO and Yelp, and I can see why! I have never, I repeat never, had such a thorough manicure and pedicure. The amount of dead skin that came off my soles and my cuticles could have fashioned a mini sculpture of me, gross but so satisfying at the same time.

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And at under $50 Canadian for the two treatments, a total bargain for someone who is used to paying upwards of £60 in Scotland!

Ritual Spa
789 King Street West
Toronto, ON
(416) 306 0040

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TRAVEL FITNESS: Summer in Toronto

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When in Toronto, I make a point of hitting as many fabulous fitness classes as I can. It’s where I first tried Zumba before the craze caught on in the UK, and where I first realized a fondness and affinity with kettlebell workouts! I’d always loved the ‘idea’ of yoga, but had yet to find a class that was a perfect fit in Edinburgh.

I have my old stalwarts, the failsafes that I head to time and time again. I have my favourite yoga studio, which I’m mostly faithful to. But I love to try new places as well, and this summer i found myself at Brass Vixens, Barreworks and Totum Life Science.

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At Totum, I tried my very first spin class. This may be hard to believe as a cyclist, but spin was utterly new to me. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did! I have to say, I much prefer exercise that tests the limit of my strength and endurance, rather than technical skill; especially in the beginning! I can push myself hard, harder, hardest til I nearly keel over, but ask me to balance or perfect a particular move and I’m flummoxed.

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Totum is a boutique gym, and the King West location was super-convenient; I planned my other workouts most days around spin classes at Totum. I found the yoga classes lacking but that seems to be the case with most gym-centric yoga workouts. For yoga I’ll stick with my favourite vinyasa flow classes at Octopus Garden that I’ve been enjoying for years.

Brass Vixens
A few of my friends have tried pole dancing and they all love it, so when I found a studio specialising in pole classes in Toronto I jumped at the chance to try it.

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I am not a girly girl, and taking that into account I think this type of workout was never going to be my style. I’ve never been great at choreographed dance, and deep down I’m suspicious of exercise that claims to be fun.. I prefer ‘hard’ workouts such as kettlebells and spinning, where I feel immediately my efforts are doing something. If I want to party I’ll go to a club!

I attended a total beginners class here, but the other girls had at least a basic knowledge of the moves. Maybe the instructor sensed I wasn’t that into it as she emphasized the ‘fun’ aspect of the workout, but I was told to improvise whatever I couldn’t manage which felt a bit half-hearted to me.

Barreworks
I’ve saved my favourite for last here, but I’ll admit I found my first Barrworks class very difficult despite having a good base in lower body strength.

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This workout combines aspects of Ballet barre work, Pilates, flexibility and strength training, but though there were moves that may feel familiar, these are variations that work your muscles in very different ways! Take the classic plank, for example, which is modified with a torso-rotation to tone the obliques.

I could barely move after my first workout here, but noticed significant changes in muscle tone and strength after just two weeks of almost daily classes. This was definitely one of my favourite workouts in Toronto and one I wish someone would bring to Scotland in the near future!

Totum Life Science
445 King Street West, Suite 101
Toronto ON
416 979 2449
kingstudio@totum.ca

Brass Vixens
721 Queen Street West, Suite 202
Toronto ON
416-901-2848
info@brassvixens.com

Barreworks
625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor
Toronto ON
416-362-2773
info@barreworks.ca

2576 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto ON
416-232-2773
infoyonge@barreworks.ca

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