Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A new look:

Welcome to the new and improved Inferior Design!  My lovely new header was designed by my good friend Ruaridh (he also designed and made my Frightened Rabbit necklace and anchor, featured in this post).  He doesn't have a website, for some unknown reason, but you can bug him on Twitter (he's @Rookie_One) if you like!

I also had the design made into business cards (probably unnecessary, but fun to have all the same!).  I had them printed by MyPrint247 and I'm really happy with the way they turned out.  The website also offered free next day delivery, which is great if you tend to leave things to the last minute like I do!  If you're wondering, the cheeky tagline was put on there by Ruaridh...

Let me know what you think of Inferior Design's new look!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Vanilla Ink:

Vanilla Ink Studios in Dundee is currently home to nine extremely talented jewellers who need your help.  The group have been chosen to showcase their work at the prestigious International Jewellery London trade fair this September, which would obviously be an amazing and invaluable experience.  

Click here to pledge and help Vanilla Ink!

Necklace by Leanne

Unfortunately, the cost to attend something like IJL is high, and this is where you (and I) can really make a difference.  Through Kickstarter, Vanilla Ink are accepting pledges for donations to help them reach their goal of £6,800.  You can pledge anything from £2 to £1,000 (or more, if you like!), and the money will only be taken from your account if the Vanilla Inkers successfully reach their target amount.

Ring by Audrey

As well as feeling like a good person for donating some money to a good cause, you will also receive something in return from Vanilla Ink for your trouble, if they reach their goal amount.  Isn't that nice?  Depending on the amount of money you pledge to the cause you will receive various tokens of gratitude, ranging from a simple (but heartfelt) thank you via social media all the way up to jewellery making classes and bespoke jewellery pieces,

Earrings by Filipa

As you may or may not know, Dundee is my university city, and therefore very close to my heart.  Even though my degree was in English and film, I still spent quite a bit of time hanging around the art college, Duncan of Jordanstone, visiting and getting  under the feet of my arty friends.

Ring by Scarlett

I used to love visiting Emily in her studio and chatting with her (and her studio mates) while she worked (and I didn't...).  I always felt like the studios in the art college had a much better atmosphere than the library, and wished that there could have been 'studios' for us humanities students as well.

Glasses frames by Victoria

When I first heard about Vanilla Ink Studios, through Leanne, I thought it was a great idea and an amazing opportunity for these jewellers to have the continued support and security of a studio post-university or college.  
Please check out to find out more about the Vanilla Inkers, and to see more of their wonderful and unique work (I only had room to display a few of my favourites here).

If you can, please pledge a little towards their Kickstarter and help them to get to London.  I have no doubt that with a little help and encouragement, these talented jewellers could end up household names in the future!

Click here to pledge and help Vanilla Ink!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party:

Last night I had a great time (and also succeeded in keeping one of my New Year's resolutions!) at the Scottish Bloggers Valentine's Party.  It was my very first blogger meet up, and I probably wouldn't even have gone along if Margaret hadn't told me about the event, but I'm really glad I made it!  It was comforting to go in with somebody that I already knew, but I didn't need to worry because everybody was lovely and very friendly.

Unfortunately, I was too busy chatting to take any photos - time absolutely flew by!  The venue (Hemma Bar on Holyrood Road) had a great atmosphere and more than enough space for all of us to fit.  There were loads of us there!  Hemma's cocktails looked amazing as well, but sadly I was driving and couldn't try them.  I'm determined to go back and have a few at some point in the future!

We broke the ice with 'Blogger Speed Dating', which was a great way to learn a little about everybody there, and that just kind of naturally progressed (descended) into more general chatting.  The event organisers - Lianne, Gillian, Juliet and Jenn - had also put together an amazing raffle with loads of prizes.  The proceeds went towards Shakti Women's Aid, and I'm chuffed to say that I won a prize!  The raffle was actually so generous that lots of people went away with a prize, which was lovely.

As you can see, I won some award winning, gourmet marshmallows from The Marshmallow Lady, which are right up my street!  They will definitely be gone soon, and only survived this long so that I could get a photo...

So much thought and effort went into the organisation of this event, and I just wanted to say a massive thank you to the girls who put it all together.  It seemed like everyone who attended really enjoyed themselves, and I had a fantastic evening!  If you're a blogger who would like to attend a meet up but feel a little bit shy, I would highly recommend going along to an event like this one.  Just remember that everyone is in the same boat and they are all going along to meet new people with similar interests, just like you.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Edinburgh adventures:

Today Craig and I decided to go for a bit of a walk and do some exploring.  We ended up visiting Portobello, among other places, and I took some photos to share.  Even though I've lived in or near Edinburgh for most of my life, I'd never been there before today!

Before we started our adventure, we had a quick lunch at Brown's on George Street.  Choosing which cocktail to have took a long time...

(I should mention that Craig is mid-wink here!)

After lunch (steak sandwich, chips and a Bellini for me; chicken sandwich, chips and red wine for him!) we jumped on a number 26 bus and headed down to Portobello beach.

Even on a grey day like this one, the promenade and beach were busy with people and their dogs.  I always get excited when I'm at the seaside, I love being by the sea!  (It was definitely too cold for any paddling, though...)  I love the colour they've chosen to paint the railings with (they've painted the surrounding benches and bollards in the same shade - nice touch!).

Parts of Portobello are quite run down, but I still found it charming and beautiful in some places, if a little haunting in others.  The area used to be a popular beach resort in the late 19th century, and people from other parts of Edinburgh and Glasgow would holiday there.  Obviously it's far more residential now, but it's still lovely to be able to visit a beach after only twenty minutes on a bus from the city centre!

After walking the length of Portobello and back, we went on the search for some tea and cake.  We passed the Castle from an unusual angle.  It just looks like a well protected house from here, doesn't it?

Lovecrumbs on West Port (between Lothian Road and Edinburgh Castle) was first brought to our attention by Ruaridh, who had seen it reviewed in The Skinny's Food and Drink Survey (click here to read the article).  We couldn't get a seat last time he visited (also a Saturday), but Craig and I got lucky today, as some other customers were leaving just as we arrived.

I had a slice of white chocolate and peanut butter tart (amazing, but so rich!) and Craig chose white chocolate and raspberry baked cheesecake.  We both had tea as well, but my cup and saucer were cooler than his.

Lovecrumbs don't do pots of tea, but their alternative is interesting, and really quite clever.  Your first cup comes with a reusable tea bag, and you are also supplied with a vacuum flask full of boiling water to make as many more cups as you fancy.  The cakes - obviously the stars of the show - look and taste great, are displayed in a wardrobe and come in every flavour imaginable (including bacon... we didn't try that one!).  The decor is homely, but still modern, and the place has a great atmosphere.  I'd recommend stopping by if you're in the area (and if you can get a seat!).

Friday, 15 February 2013

Killer hooks:

I bought these hooks with our initials on them from Anthropologie (yes, I'm obsessed!) recently, specifically for mine and Craig's bedroom.  I decided it would be better to put holes in the side of our inexpensive wardrobe than in the back of our landlord's door!

Maybe it's just me, but there's almost something nostalgic and a wee bit comforting about having a peg with my 'name' on it again.  It's the little things, eh?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Well, this is awkward:

In a recent post, I mentioned that I had bought the January 'Superblogger' issue of Company magazine, and was looking forward to reading it.  I published that post in a hurry, so that anyone interested would have a better chance of finding it in shops before it was replaced with the February edition.  I also published that post before I had read more than a few pages of the magazine, and now I kind of regret featuring it at all.  That sounds unkind, but although I do really like Company's new look, I'm not entirely convinced about the quality of its content.  To me, a lot of their blogging advice came off as somewhat patronising, and I found the chosen success stories more disheartening than inspiring.

Bip Ling in Company, January 2013 - p. 49

The featured 'superbloggers' and cover stars of January's Company are extremely successful bloggers, Bip Ling and Susie Bubble.  They've both accomplished a great deal, and I don't begrudge them that whatsoever, but I also didn't find their interviews particularly relatable or uplifting.  I think the above quote from Ling illustrates my point pretty well.  Although I understand that the guys at Company are probably trying to encourage us to shoot for the moon, I think the majority of bloggers are lightyears away from contemplating a TV show.  Maybe I'm a pessimist, but both interviews made me feel far more depressed than motivated.

Susie Bubble in Company, January 2013 - p. 50

I want to make it clear that my problem with this Superblogger feature isn't with the bloggers themselves, but with the easily misconstrued tone of the whole article.  Take Susie Bubble's thoughts on the number of pageviews her blog gets each day (above), for example.  For a very new and small time blogger like myself, 30,000 hits a day seems like an impossibly large number, yet here Bubble seems to be passing it off as nothing.  Although I'm sure it wasn't her intention to come across as arrogant, I can't seem to see her answer any other way.

Bip Ling in Company, January 2013 - p. 49

Ling's answer to the same question (above) made me cringe even more.  Imagine having so many blog viewers that it scares you.  Just imagine!  Oh wait, I can't, because I am happy when even one person takes time out of their day to have a look at my blog.  To me, her response almost suggests that she would rather people didn't read her blog.  Again, I'm sure this wasn't her intention at all, but (as you might be able to tell) it really rubbed me up the wrong way.

'Do you speak blog?' feature in Company, January 2013 - pp. 102-103

To prove I'm not out to get Bip Ling and Susie Bubble, above is another blog related feature in the magazine that I have a problem with.  An A-Z of the blogosphere is a cute idea, but one that I think could have been executed a little better by Company.  Again, rather than being inspiring, the article comes across as contradictory, flippant and mostly seems to consist of product placement and weak insults.  Apple (and an abundance of their products) get a mention, as well as Canon, Nike, H&M, and Wah Nails.  Here are some of my favourite excerpts from the feature:

'D is for... daily.  If you're not posting every day, or more, then frankly, you're a part-timer.'  
Gee, thanks, Company!

'M is for... mum and dad, as in the Bank of.  Until the cashola rolls in, keeping up with the bloggers is pricey.  And that Celine tote won't buy itself.'
Wait, I'm confused.  Company, do you dislike bloggers?  I thought you were trying to appeal to bloggers in this issue?  Weren't you just trying to promote a peaceful and supportive blogging community, and now you're claiming that all bloggers are lazy, greedy freeloaders?

'O is for... OutfitOfTheDay.  Because getting dressed is a style bloggers' art form.  Cue comments: 'OMG I'm, like, totally loving your look right now.''
Hey, Company, remember a minute ago when you were trying to convince me that Bip Ling and Susie Bubble were the best thing since sliced bread?  Now you're implying that they (and their readers) are vapid airheads!  Good job.

I could probably go on about that one, but I feel I've let out a little too much of my inner cynicism.  Of course, the only thing more sarcastic than my comments is Company's article...  It's actually made me quite angry writing all of that down!

'' feature in Company, January 2013 - p. 105

The icing on the cake for me was this article entitled 'SHITBLOGZ.COM'.  Obviously, this is intended to be a witty mock up of a rubbish blog that nobody in their right mind would ever read - a 'don't's of blogging, if you will.  This article isn't witty at all, it's negative and hurtful.  Why run the risk of putting readers down by writing an article all about the 'don't's of blogging, when you could motivate them with the 'dos'?

'Say no to ugly fonts.'
Who's to say which fonts are 'ugly'?  Are the fonts I use ugly, Company?  I hope so.

'Boring content creates low traffic and minimal hits.  It's more about awesome than yawnsome.'
Again, apparently Company Magazine are the authority on what is boring and what isn't.  Luckily, one of life's great perks is that different people have different interests.  I say post whatever you want to on your own blog, because if you're interested enough to write it, then chances are someone else will be interested enough to read it.

'Sloppy writing + not making much sense + spelling/grammatical errors = not a riveting read.'
This coming from a publication who uses 'words' such as 'potench', 'cashola' and 'inspo' in their articles.  Also, the fact that there are mathematical symbols in a sentence about good grammar doesn't sit very well with me.


Apologies for this long rant, and thank you for hearing me out if you've made it this far.  I felt it was important to share my opinions, considering that all this issue of Company made me feel was angry and despondent.  As far as I have seen, in my limited experience of it, blogging is about connecting with people all over the world and learning from them.  There is a great deal of respect involved.  Bloggers with entirely different interests befriend and promote each other.  Why a well known and successful magazine like Company (with the power to reach an entire nation) would decide to insult half of their readers and alienate the rest completely baffles me.

The end of the magazine's 'Superblogger' interview suggests that we bloggers should always be positive.  'If you set out with a negative agenda [...] you'll already have failed,' the article warns.  Perhaps Company should think about taking their own advice, in this instance.

I'd love to hear your opinions on this, what do you think?  Have I been too harsh, or do these snippets make you as angry as they make me?  Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Instagram #7:

Lucky number 7!

1. An outfit of the day (featuring Scroobius Pip  2. Drinking tea, watching Juno and putting together a frame collage on a rainy afternoon  3. My lovely bargain pink lilies
4. More tea out of the mug I bought my Dad (somewhat ironically...)  5. My cool Dad's labeller  6. The first time I'd ever seen my Mum wearing her engagement ring!
7. Instagramming four lunches at once at my Mum's birthday meal  8. A very necessary hangover feast  9. When Krispy Kreme invaded the Grassmarket
10. Free promotional doughnuts!  11. Awesome new Vans wellies (bought in the Schuh sale)  12. The snowy weather that the wellies were bought for!
13. Delicious Malteaser cupcakes tempting me at work  14. An interesting horoscope...  15. Neil Pennycook (of Meursault) singing his heart out
16.  An attempt to show off a much needed eyebrow wax!  17. A very special Frightened Rabbit pre-order  18. A beautiful (but cold) sunny Edinburgh Saturday
19. Practising my lens flare skills on Craig  20. Chai tea at Loopy Lorna's  21. A fishy wallpaper friend
22. My first ever manicure!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Keeping my vanity in check:

I've just completed my first home decor project of 2013, and it only took me about an hour and a half!  Remember the slightly odd vanity unit/sink in our spare bedroom?  (I wrote about it in my 'Quirks and Perks' post, way back in July.)  Today I managed to tone down the cream/beige overload our landlord had going on there, and added some much needed colour!



The wallpaper that I used is a bit of an inside joke, because I saw it in the window of a shop once and thought it was a pretty funny take on the generic feature wallpaper that everybody seemed to have on one wall of their living rooms or bedrooms at one point.  My Mum was with me when I saw it, and thought it was hideous...  (It's okay, Mum, it's meant to be tongue in cheek.)  I got one roll from eBay for around £12, and I've still got lots left.

The hardest part of this whole process was getting the blooming cupboard door off the unit to make a template...  Once I had managed that, the rest was fairly straightforward.  I used the back of a cheap roll of wrapping paper to make a rough template of the whole door.

I then cut that down into a template of just the middle section of the door (the only part I wanted to wallpaper).  I used this template to cut a section of wallpaper, which I could then neaten up using the door as guidance.  Once I had one piece of wallpaper cut to the right size, the rest was easy!  I just traced around it with a pencil (it felt like primary school) and carefully cut out sections for the other three doors.

Next came these babies - found in the Anthropologie sale and perfect for the fun, cute and a little bit silly theme I was going for with this project.  They are literally cute as a button!

Et voila!  The finished product.  I used good old Blu-Tack to attach the wallpaper to the doors, which worked better than I thought it would (although might not last as long as I'm hoping).  I might look into finding some other way to attach it so that the paper is flush to the door fronts, but the key thing for this project was making the changes very temporary.  After all, we're only renting this flat, and we need to leave it the way we found it when we move on.

 I know that the Blu-Tack won't mark and will come off easily, and I've put the original door knobs in a safe place so that I can replace them when the time comes.  It just goes to show, you can add a bit of character without doing any permanent damage!

I'm working my way up to sharing the whole spare room with you guys, but I have a bit of work still to do on it first!  Still, I'm proud of myself for finally doing something I've been talking about since July, and amazed at how little time it took.  I hope you enjoyed seeing this small transformation, and that it inspires you to get on with any wee home decoration projects you've been putting off.  You can do it! :)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Liebster Blog Award:

Well, this is a very exciting post for me!  My lovely friend Margaret has passed on the Liebster Blog Award to me (to Inferior Design, really).  And what exactly is the Liebster Blog Award?  As Margaret so eloquently put it:

"From what I can find, the Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is for blogs with less than 200 followers and when you are tagged you have essentially received the award and are responsible to pass it on, so thank you, and here goes!"