Birthday Bling: Gem’s a Jewel But Jenny’s a Crystal…

Age Appropriate Gifting

Bring me the shiny things… and the leather bag…

I turned 20 the other week. August 12th marked the end of my teenage years and… the start of Grouse Shooting Season. Charming way to mark the occasion.

I asked my family not to get me presents. I’m not particularly materialistic and there was nothing I really wanted. But then… I thought, this is not just an average birthday. This is 20, a big one, I think. The end of that era we call childhood which opens a door into decades of adulthood. Real adulthood, this time, not just the way they tell you you’re an adult when you turn 18. That’s like a dry run, a practice for the real thing.

How do I know? Well, it’s obvious. They’ve dropped the teen from the end of my real age and added the altogether less exciting ty.

140720131139So I decided I would get something special that I could keep forever. If I was choosing it, I would enlist the help of my expert mother, qualified in all things jewellery in all but legitimacy. I wanted a unique little something, a trinket that would not tarnish, nor rip or tear or break, that I could keep and love and cherish and have as a reminder of this time in my life and what all the events happening in it meant to me, the good and the bad.

So I bought a handbag. Kidding! Well, kind of.

I did get a handbag, but that was more an indulgence and a present than something meaningful.I do love it dearly, it’s a beautiful leather manifestation from River Island and sure, I hope my leather bag fetish lasts a lifetime but nothing will last as long as the real gift…

An amethyst and diamond ring.

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Amethyst symbolises piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom… The perfect gem to symbolise trying times and a new attitude.

Diamonds may be a girls best friend, but diamonds get lonely. I was searching the web for the perfect companion for my triumverate of bejeweled joy. And instead, I uncovered a jewel mine with enough carved precious stones to satisfy even the most bug eyes magpie.

Jenny Mills Jewellery

An Australian Lady with a Swarovski Heart

Jenny Mills is an Australian Jewellery designer and her creations are composed mainly of Swarovski crystals and pearls on silver hooks. The one that caught my eye was the amethyst pendant. It’s text based charm may not exactly match the simplicity of my ring but the colours vibrancy was beautiful. The powerful purple hue was mersmerising!

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E-219-3-620x376Further inspections delivered my eyes with more and more sparkles are fine gems to make me melt! Colours and clarity in all the crystals whispering of unparalleled quality. So finely crafted, so lovely and utterly unique. One woman and her skill and creativity, made all that, and the sites categorization into sections for easy perusal made my trip through the glittering mine of heart shaped lovelies all the easier and more rewarding.

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What purchase I will make is yet to be decided, but one thing is for sure; more people on my side of the pond should know of her. E-242-620x376Such a gift would be perfection, a gift to remember forever and treasure like the heart shapes on her pendants.

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SSDD

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Mid-Week Mayhem in Glasgow’s City Centre

Bottoms up!

“Three Pink Pussys, three Cock Sucking Cowboys, two Fanny Bombs, a Camel Toe, a Kermet the Frog and a Bushtucker Trail, please”.

Nope, that’s not the directors notes for a bad porno. That is an example of what your order might be at Tingle.

Tingle is a Shooter Bar and café located on 33 Mitchell Street in Glasgow. Fantastic pre-club venue – better as a place to find drinks with legendary names.

Don’t let its size put you off – it may be tiny on the inside – roughly equivalent to the cupboard Harry Potter spent his formative years living in – but the sheer entertainment value of their shot titles coupled with their student-friendly prices more than make up for it.

“Down in one!” is pretty much the only chant you will hear from this place. Forget your football teams; what matters in Glasgows hottest shooters bar is the colour of your poison.

And it is poison; their drinks menu is something to behold, if you have the nerve to try one of their more adventurous concoctions. Their signature drink is a Bushtucker Trial. A brutally punishing shot of pure Tequila, no lime or salt and complete with booze soaked Mezcal Algae Worm (and yes, you do have to drink the worm or be forever labelled a pussy by your mates).

But one of the best things about Tingle is wobbling up to the bar after your third Bubble Gum Drop (Banana liqueur and Midori) and asking in earnest for a Kermet the Frog (Midori and Peach Schnappes). Priceless. Or rather, cheap – all shots cost £1.50.

But that’s just taster, a warm up for the drinking muscles if you will (or a complete break down of them, depending on how literally you took the term “shots”). From there, it might be recommended that you take a trip down to Firewater, on Sauchiehall Street.

Just 15 minutes walk or £3.50 in a taxi when bribed with Haribo, Firewater is a stylish bar set underground in the centre of Glasgows’ busiest clubbing street.

Whether you start here or stumble in on your travels, one of the best features is not it’s chic, minimalist urban décor, with both booths and open floor space, nor the good looking bar staff. Not the cheap ass cocktail pitchers that come with questionable titles such as Tennessee Tea, which sounds ridiculous but taste delicious. It’s not even the hazy glow, that disguises how drunk everyone really is therefore making your own level of inebriation acceptable even to the most picky of punter.

Nope, what makes Firewater truely great as a mid-week, low budget hang out, is… 90p vodka mixers! That’s right, 90 pence! You can’t even buy water for that number of coppers!

So if you are looking for a laugh, try ­Tingle. If you can stagger out of there with some shred of dignity, Firewater is an acceptable location for a casual drink, pre-party venue, or stage for the main event. Ever filled with Glasgows best combination of girls in short skirts and guys in t-shirts, the dress code is “go with what you feel”, to a background of indie rock tunes.

Feel like moving on to some where a little livelier? Well, you are on Sauchiehall Street, so go explore!

So that was a brief run down on what i did on my 20th Birthday night out 🙂 follow as I have lead my lovelies! 😀

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SSDD

Review: The Hangover Part III

**SPOILER ALERT** just the last paragraph though, please, read on…

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I feel like I have a hangover. And I’ve never even really had a hangover.

This was meant to be a review of what had the potential, however unlikely,  to be one of the funniest films of the year – The Hangover Part III. Yeah. So, a heads up; this one isn’t exactly going to be the most positive review in the world

I was so disappointed.

The only reason I can see for this movie to have been produced in the first place would be to deliver fans with a trifecta of classic Wolfpack hi jinks, a final, concluding pilgrimage into the boozy haze that is the Vegas/Bangkok adventures of those 4 friends. People like things to come in threes, afterall.

Well. It can only be said this attempt (feeble, poorly executed) was at best, bearable to watch. It wasn’t so much unfunny, as much as it just, wasn’t about a wild night out. Nor a missing friend. Not even memory loss.

Half way through I found myself actually wishing it would end! Where was the rambunctious night of drug and alcohol fueled madness? Where was the tiger?? The baby even??? Where was the HANGOVER!?!?

With a plot centered around repaying a debt they never knew they owed, this was more an amateur version of Ocean 11 than the Wolfpack Revisited. Yet again we have a kidnapping but was there ever any real danger? Was it even necessary? I actually forgot Doug had even been taken it mattered so little in the plot. Poor Justin Bartha. He’s a good actor, National Treasure would just have been another brooding Nicolas Cage film without him as nerdy side-kick, but he just isn’t necessary in The Hangover.

Put it this way – as much as I hate to see the guys criticised, I do not disagree with the Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 21%. I wasn’t alone in wanting and hour and a half of booze fuelled stumbling through the grandest suites in Las Vegas, doped up thrashing around the seediest back-alleys of the Thai Ladyboy underworld; I wanted a drug dealing monkey! What I got was that guy from The Flintstones and a sexually deviant Chinese guy with an agenda. Not even the so-called Sexiest Man in the World, Bradley Cooper, added any brownie points.

Sure, I chuckled from time to time, but the only big laugh was during that little bit of extra footage as the end credits rolled, signaling the end of this shambolic conclusion to a greatly anticlimactic comedy series. Instead of waking up with a tattoo on the side of his face, our dear Dentist Stu (Ed Helms) wakes up… with a boob job!

Now that would have been a hangover worth watching!

 

SSDD

Doing The Things That Scares You

Doing The Things That Scare You…

Not always the simplest of tasks, is it. By their very existence, a thing that scares you isn’t something you’re going to be readily willing to do. The question is; why?

The answer may be, evolution.

By challenging the things out bodies repel we are forcing them into situations they would otherwise avoid entirely. From this, we are growing, adapting, learning. Whether we survive or not is in the hands of our own inherent abilities, or lack there of, and our willingness to defeat the obstacle in front of us.

Defeating an obstacle might not be as simple as whipping out your Samurai sword and slicing and dicing some monster, or calling upon your Knight in Shinning Armour (yes, capitals, why give him a real name if he is robed in shiney things??) to slay a beast in your honour and rescue you and offer you a lifetime of unconditional love in return. Not all things in life can be Disneyfied.

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Are you a Samurai, or are you waiting to be saved? …

There are things that scare us that can’t be seen. There are also things that others can see that we can’t, and that can be scary.

Epilepsy-ScotlandFor example, in a couple of days, my friend is going to bungee jump for Epilepsy Scotland . You can’t see epilepsy, but for a lot of people, the threat of a fit is something they carry with them on a daily basis. She is 19 and doing a bungee jump (!!) so help someone else feel less scared. As excited as I know the lucky bitch is (I would LOVE to do a bungee jump and she’s a bit crazy so i know she would too!!) I’m pretty sure she is going to be shitting bricks before it. I am not fooled by your calm and ginger demeanor Lambie, no I am not – I saw the twitch when you told me you were doing it!

That mad nutter on the left is Gillian, the other is me :)

That mad nutter on the left is Gillian, the other is me 🙂

Now for a flattering one... ;)

Now for a flattering one… 😉

Then again, Doing The Thing That Scares you can be so much more. It can be a challenge you have to face every single day. Yet it is a good thing to challenge our fears. Sometimes the mere act of questioning a fear can save your life. To acknowledge that something terrifies you is the first step to defeating it. Otherwise, it’s just a part of your life, a feature that refuses to move, like a stain, ingrained from years of neglect, left to fester til it is indelible and indistinguishable from the rest of you. And who really wants that? Who wants a dirty great mark, marring the colourful, bizarre and wonderful path that is your life?

Living in fear is not way to live. Sure, grey is a colour. But what kind of journey would life be if that was all you saw? There are things that have to be black and white, like your morals, the law and so on, all to avoid chaos and anarchy (not meaning that I don’t support free will or that I’m a communist or a dictator or anything, but I do believe we should live to some degree, under a set of rule – just so long as those rules don’t begin to control you entirely).

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To live in the shadows of something is unnecessary, when the means to defeat the darkness is already available to you. You are the key. Face up to the challenge, face up to the fear. Combat the terror. Hold a spider, look down from the top of the tower, eat that slice of triple chocolate fudge cake.

taken from Sally's Baking Addiction

taken from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Take baby steps. “Once bitten…” isn’t a phrase for no good reason; if the spider bit you the first time, maybe don’t start with the Black Widow. If you once fell from a 20 storey building then (aside from being a medical marvel and quite frankly, a magician) maybe begin with something lower. If you quake at the sight of food, start small, a biscuit here, a sandwich there. Baby steps.

see things from a different perspective...

see things from a different perspective…

Or you could go all Herculean and raise the bar well above your head and not falter. Go from hospital bed, poisoned and ill to Arachnid Master, Spiderman! Not only look down, but leap off the tallest floor (though this time, might I advise a rope, harness, or very large crash mat). It’s medically inadvisable to go from eating nothing to everything at once so that might be silly, but make the change – fat free to full fat (or as I’ve heard it described, “extra moist, rich, decadent, with an honest chocolate taste and a smooth velvety crumb…” “…Death by Chocolate…”) 

My point is – do not let fear rule – or ruin! – your life. People deserve better than that.

 

SSDD

The Curious Case of the Optimist

Recently I have experienced that curious branch of humanity, The Optimist.

The road to your sunrise may be long, it may be at the end of a scarcely trodden path... but it is there...

The road to your sunrise may be long, it may be at the end of a scarcely trodden path… but it is there…

More often than usual I have encountered this peculiar breed, or perhaps I have just become more atuned to their presence in my life. In an age of austerity and recession and all that bad stuff we are told to be scared of, Optimists seem to be few and far between. Their numbers were slashed dramatically when the worlds money had it’s plug pulled and no-one could finds where the pipe lead to get it back,. Like their will to find the pot of gold drizzled away with the bounty, once they encountered Sir Fred Goodwin and had someone to blame. Those silver linings and golden nuggets have been become ever more grey and tarnished. In America, Optimist did not so much vanish, as go into hiding from all the gunslingers, after that tragic spate of school shootings. Money worries have never been Americas prime complaint, even during the hard times; they are too community orientated for that.

Optimism (1)But now, I find myself bombarded with them! Left right and centre, at my emotional weakest, at my most ill expectant, bang, another one serenades me with pearls of tolerant wisdom, showers me with unrelenting bombs of positivity. Silver linings have  never been my thing. I’ve lived in the shadows cast by the glow of The Optimists glimmering light. I’m hardly the Hades to their Zeus, but that oh-so-familiar form of wit, sarcasm, always took the place of peace of mind.

SAD is a real thing – all Scottish people suffer from it.

It’s a kind of National Affliction I reckon. Everyone is just happier when the sun is out. It was today and I saw people out in shorts! In Scotland! That kind of madness hasn’t been seen since the great heatwave of… well, last March, but still. This year we had snow for godssake.

So why, you are asking youself (coz I can absolutely hear those cogs whirring, voices speaking, irritating little nagging buggers whinging away in your brains, magic as I am) why is she blogging about the weather?

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Well, because happiness is in itself a form of Optimism and one neglected too often, I feel. Simple pleasures such as the sun can noticeably alter a person point of view. It literally shines a brighter light on life. The sun is an illuminator, both in a literal and figurative sense. People see clearer, encouraged, as they are, to crawl tentatively out of their safe, though often chilly and pessimistic nooks and sniff the sweet, warm scent of positivity.

Coose to see the world through rose tinted specs... what's the worst that could happen... in fact, don't answer that...

Coose to see the world through rose tinted specs… what’s the worst that could happen… in fact, don’t answer that…

It can be scary; too much of that heady scent can be overwhelming for some. But an occasional measure of it can truly enlighten. It can boost a persons belief systems enough to get them through. And so long as you are getting by, for the time being, is that not enough?

optimism

 

 

SSDD

Time Travel

The question was posed to me today of Time Travel.

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Of all the super powers in the world to choose from, it’s actually not one I’ve really considered in depth. Quite a surprise since in essence, I’m quite a retrospective person. I like to plan, to look to the future and try to figure the paths before they have even been trod. I don’t like surprises, I like to be in control and to know the outcome before I embark upon a journey. Then again, when that fails, like the best made plans always do, my life subsides into a series of “it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments. Actually, that happens far more often than I would like… thought not as much now that I have more or less given up drinking (alcohol that is, not liquids in general… that’s just mighty impractical…).

The reason this question was asked of me was because this person was feeling melancholy and wished that he could undo things in his life so far, to make them better.

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Perhaps your first reaction to this question tells something about the person. At first, I was cheeky – “If you had the ability to go back in time, what would you do with it?” At first, I said, “Use it :P”

Portrait of Oscar Wilde with Cane

Oscar Wilde, visionary author and all round wonderful, clever guy

My gut reaction was to go back and play Poirot; investigate, stalk some great thinkers. It would be interesting to go back to pivotal moments in the lives of certain people and see what it was that inspired them or made them do certain things. As a book lover, I would probably go back and stalk Oscar Wilde. The man was a visionary. Had be been born in this era, he would have been hailed as an imaginative genius, a hero of gay rights, a quirky, damaged, comedic maverick, his place in the trendy, hipster regions of London guaranteed. While all these things happened in his time, his life ended in exile, those rights stripped of him for his sexuality and ingenuity, not to be reinstated til a generation more receptive to his progressive views arose.

But it needn’t be famous people. Perhaps someone more ordinary, but important or interesting to you. My grandfather, for example, spent his entire life at sea, as a Chief Engineer. He visited over 120 ports all over the globe, in every exotic alcove, every far off crevice and limpet encrusted recess you could ever hope to name, in a career spanning almost half a century. Imagine the things he saw. To share such moments as those would be an experience like no other. And the world has moved on from those days. It has changed shape, technology metamorphosing it from flowing on billowing while sails to bleeping along in a blur of binary and sonar.

The person who posed the question was thinking more in terms of righting wrongs, both ones that had been done to him and ones that had come around as a consequence of sufferings of years ago. There are events in all our lives that echo down, down, down and impact us in very real ways.

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He wants to go back to change things, Marty McFly, Back to the Future style. But I am a big believer in your own history being the making of you. A lot of your life might suck and for sure there are going to be things that continue to sting, no matter how long you leave them for, or how much time has departed since those events took place, but all that makes you a richer person. I would certainly love to eradicate some of my regrets to ease my own conscience, but then, to balance that up, would that then make me a better person, or just a different one? And if it made me a different one, would I even like who I became as a result? Were we able to re-write our own key life events so that they worked “in our favour”, would we not be plainer people? To have never suffered is not really to have experienced all of life. To have only seen the good things, and known nothing but joy and ease of living is to have experienced only one surface of the many faceted diamond of life. You have only ever seen the shiny side. But there are all manner of clarities, colours and cuts of diamonds. Why limit ones self to seeing only one aspect of the gem?

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So I guess it got me to thinking; What if we could travel back in time? Forgetting the complexities of time travel and the potential for anything from the sweetly Hollywood version seen in Back to the Future, to the catastrophic tampering seen in The Butterfly Effect to happen, what would most people do if they could go to any time? And what would be the motivation?

Personally, I think I would leave my own past alone. I would travel back as an Observer, to understand more why certain things happened. They say knowledge is power. Whoever “they” are, or were, i think they’re onto something. Humans have this innate ability to adapt and survive and we will continue to do so. The fact that we can live our lives through horrors of increasingly unbelievable magnitude is proof of that.

Adolf Hitler

Maybe there will be some who think it criminal not to use such power for preventing some man-made atrocity, like the Holocaust. Or even, not going to the crib of Hitler, or Stalin, and smothering them before the evil had time to germinate. But think about the marks they left on history. Is there any way to predict the impact those events not happening would have had on an infinite number of lives through generations and countries alike? How could one individual possibly handle that level of onus? For something like to be eradicated, wiped clean, would change the fall life along history in unpredictable ways. Perhaps it would pave the way for something even worse. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is one of my favourite sayings  because I believe it to be true.

Anyway, there you have it. Time Travel. For better or worse, the potential inspires retrospect. Whether you use that power for personal or public gain, is a question to battle with your own conscience.

Past

SSDD

Times Flies When Distance Parts You…

How did they get so old??

This year, a lot of my family are reaching age-related milestones, not to mention an first wedding anniversary and a new engagement so far already. So far we have have had twins turning 16… a 17th (Higher exam age in Scotland)… Most recently, on 9th May, an 18th… coming up a 21st… my own 20th…

So my question is – when did we all get so old!?

It’s like these milestones just snuck up on us and it irkes me, because I’m missing them! My little cousins turned two of the ages socially dictated to be the most prevalent in terms of a persons maturity (16 and 18) and because we live approximately 443 miles away from each other, I had no idea that was how old they were becoming until, in February  my mum informed me that in January this was how old the twins had become. The second instance was not quite so shameful; I was asked to sign the card for the 18 year old the week before we sent it, which was a bit of a hint.

As for my older cousin, who is turning 21 this July, he is going to be at sea in San Francisco working and will consequently miss both his own coming of age in America (while actually being in America, which is ironic considering he’s Scottish and had never been to America before this trip) but will also miss my 20th, or, as I am beginning to consider it, my termination-of-my-teenage-and-therefore-able-to-get-away-with-things-I-wouldn’t-otherwise-be-able-to years. This puts him in a similar situation as the one I am in with  my other younger cousins.

Now, if you are still following after this rather convoluted explanation of my family’s aging population, I think you to be a very intelligent person, because I am even struggling to keep all that crap in check.

I suppose my point is really that, while I have always thought myself very close to my younger cousins, despite the massive distance between us (equal to almost a return journey between here and the moon!! … Well, you might be able to pull and Apollo 13 and use the gravitational pull of the Earth to get you all the way back, but I wouldn’t put my money on that working a second time… that one seemed like kinda the luckiest, smartest fluke in the world…) but the fact that their graduating to these pivotal ages of development seems to have almost completely bypassed me gives me the sad feeling that perhaps this distance really is making more of a difference than I noticed.

I mean, that kind of makes sense; we see each other once a year, if we’re lucky. But I still always saw myself as the cool(ish) older cuz, who had wisdom and knowledge beyond their youthful years… Forgetting entirely that they are, in fact only two and 4 years younger than me. Hm.

Ok, I can still pull the “experienced and knowledgeable beyond anything you can perhaps imagine, though I wouldn’t put it past you to already be well informed as the internet is not the friend of children’s innocence these days” thing as far s the 16 year olds go, but with the 18 year old – not so much.

I would say that at 18 I was not so much more well informed in the deep dark ways of the world as I was this time last year. A lot can happen in 12 months, that’s all I’m saying.

As much as we can say, “distance will never come between us”, that can, in effect, become horse shit when the fact is, facebook and text messaging just do not instill the same level of intimacy as face to face conversing. Human contact cannot be replaced by technology, as wonderful as Skype is. Science says that your body cannot tell the arms of your mum from your own arms, it only knows you are being embraced, meaning that you can effectively stave off your own loneliness. You can convince yourself you are being hugged by a loved one while really just wrapping your own arms around yourself. However, the fact remains that if you admit it even for one moment, the illusion is broken, and you know you are just standing being a bit awkward and touchy feely with yourself.

I would say it’s “old age” that’s making me so sentimental, were I not so sure of being told that 19-nearly-20 is no age to be making such claims, but for sure, my missing of these dates are laying heavily on me. They come about only once in a lifetime, and I would rather not miss them so entirely. I really do feel so detached from them as if one of us really were on the moon, sometimes, and it makes me disappointed that, for all our technology and all our good intentions, staying in touch is not always as simple as it seems.

I hope to see them later this year, for our semi-annual catch-up, but there are no guarentees in life. Perhaps I’ll catch them on their 20th, 21st… wedding…

Ponderously wishing I were as indifferent to the passage of time as I was at my cousins age… oh right… they aren’t 12 any more…

 

SSDD