Monday, 29 July 2013

'You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be':

Last week was a busy one, which means it's been all quiet on the blogging front.  As well as working, I was writing a couple of freelance articles.  It's an exciting task, but also takes up quite a bit of time, and it's stressful having finite deadlines in my life again!

Two nights this week were dedicated to baking and decorating a birthday cake for my Dad.  He's just back from the rail trip of a lifetime (read about it here!) so a train shaped cake seemed appropriate, and I wanted to put some special effort into the first cake I've baked in years!  I was planning on blogging the whole process, but that seems laughable now when I think about what a state I was in.  It was a stressful and messy experience, with plenty of nightmare moments, some of which you can see in the photos above.  Craig had to talk me down from giving up completely quite a few times.  Melodramatic, I know.

In the end, though, the cake actually turned out okay.  As you can see, it ended up more pink than red, and the application of the icing left something to be desired, but it tasted all right and my Dad was chuffed.  See what I did there?

Between the torrential rain and the stress, I managed to snap some photos of a building site on the way to work that has been abandoned by humans, but reclaimed by nature.  I suppose it's been a week of seeing the good in potentially ugly things (that cake was definitely ugly at some points during the cooking process...).  Who knew piles of dirt could be beautiful?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Inferior Inspiration #8:

With the sun shining so much lately, I've been inspired by everything bright and multicoloured!

1. The Wall's Picnicware range from John Lewis is both adorable and practical, with everything from plates and cups to cool bags and picnic blankets.  My personal favourite is the Twister print.  Who doesn't love a Twister ice lolly? (£4.50-£25)

2. This striped SKARUM cushion cover from IKEA is already in my possession, although I'm saving it to adorn the newly covered sofa.  More on that soon, hopefully! (£5)

3. I spotted this bright orange retro Wild & Wolf Trim phone whilst shopping in Oliver Bonas last week and fell in love.  I seem to have a weakness for novelty phones (our current landline handset is a hamburger phone). (£36)

4. I first saw this Urban Outfitters sleeveless shirt in a photo on Fiona's Instagram a little while ago, and I'm currently trying to decide if I want to take the plunge and buy it.  It has bicycles on it, what's not to like? (£35)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Inferior Hype - Rimmel Apocalips:

Don't forget, you can still enter Inferior Design's birthday giveaway until Sunday 21st July!
Click here to find out how!

There are always certain products or brands that get a huge amount of hype online.  YouTubers and bloggers alike are often guilty of gushing about countless impulse purchases as the best thing since sliced bread, dubbing them their 'holy grail' items, before quickly moving on to the next craze.  Much like anyone, I'm always curious about whether or not these products are really as great as everyone says.  Now, when curiosity gets the better of me, I'm going to let you in on my findings and post an Inferior Hype review!

The Rimmel London Apocalips lip lacquers have a really silly name.  I mean, I know it's a pun that contains the word 'lips' for a lip product, which probably felt quite clever in the early planning stages, but on the shelf it's a pretty daft product name.  A play on the word 'apocalypse' can't even really be played off as humourous, just bad taste, and an apocalypse certainly isn't chic or glamorous.

Troubling names aside, however, I actually really like this product.  The packaging is a little tacky (I think the lids are meant to look like diamonds...), but that really isn't an issue when the lacquer itself is just what I'm looking for.  I much prefer wearing lipstick to sticky lipgloss, but hate how drying all of the lipsticks I've tried are.  I've found that Apocalips applies like a lipgloss (a thick, liquid consistency with a sponge applicator), but is not noticeably sticky and doesn't dry out.  I think the colour stains the lips a little, but for me that's an added bonus as I usually forget to touch up after eating or drinking.

Out of the three colours I've tried,  the neutral Celestial is my most worn.  Nova has slightly more pink tones, but both are great for every day wear.  Stellar, on the other hand, is like a punch in the face in lip lacquer form.  I considered buying it for a long time before I took the plunge, but it's actually a lot less scary on the lips as it looked on my hand.  Check out that swatch, it's practically neon!  (By the way, yes, taking and editing photos of just my lips felt very strange...)

Have you tried any of the Apocalips range, and do you think it's worth the hype?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Inferior Design's 1st birthday and a giveaway:

Happy birthday, Inferior Design!

As strange as it feels to say it, a year ago today I published my very first blog post here on Inferior Design!  This is also my 90th post!  It would've been better if it was my 100th, though, wouldn't it?  Never mind!  I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to blogging, but I've learned a lot over the last year and like to think I've made some improvements along the way.  Even just sticking with something for this long feels like an achievement worth celebrating, and I couldn't have done it without all of you.

Although my motivation for blogging will always be to entertain myself, it's comforting to know that there are people out there reading my posts and enjoying them.  The number of unexpected compliments I've had recently from friends, colleagues and even people I've never met about my blog has left me both surprised and touched.

To say thank you to all of you, I have decided to host a giveaway here on my blog for one week, starting today!  Everything in the photo above is up for grabs, even the cool birthday confetti, if you want it!  There will be three prizes (all of which have been featured in previous Inferior Inspiration posts) and a little something for three runners up, too.  I have chosen to host the giveaway through Rafflecopter, so that everyone can enter easily with just one or two clicks of the widget below.

The rules:

1. You must be 18 years or over to take part in this giveaway, or have parental permission to give me your address should you win (obviously I won't use your address for anything other than sending out your prize!).

2. You must follow me or Inferior Design on one or more of the following social media sites to enter (this can be done through the Rafflecopter widget):

3. The giveaway is open internationally, and will end on Sunday 21st July at 12am (GMT).

4. The winners and runners up will be contacted directly within 48 hours of the giveaway ending, as well as being announced on this blog post (and probably Facebook and Twitter!).  The prizes will then be posted to the address that you provide me with.

5. Please specify which prize you would prefer to receive under the heading 'Please send me...' on the Rafflecopter Widget.  (This is a compulsory part of entering.)

The prizes:

You can choose between a two-tone green Le Creuset mug, a lilac scalloped tea cup and saucer from Oliver Bonas (both featured in Inferior Inspiration #5) and a set of 'so ugly they're cute' French bulldog salt and pepper shakers from Debenhams (from Inferior Inspiration #2).  Which do you like best?

The widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I suppose all there is left to say is please feel free to enter above, good luck, and thank you so much again for supporting me and Inferior Design over the last year!  I'm looking forward to sending out some Inferior birthday presents to some of you next week, but all of you are winners in my eyes.  Cheeeeeeesy.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is not sponsored, all prizes were purchased with my own money.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Instagram #12:

1. My first set of acrylic nails, done by my lovely friend Jen (check out her Facebook page here!)  2. Some sweet williams in a make shift vase  3. A "gin 'mare" on World Gin Day (bad joke, I know)

4. My Daddy and me kicking it old school  5. Another baby photo, aren't we all much cuter than we are now?  6. Craig's new driving licence mugshot

7. Anthropologie finally had the 'C' back in stock!  8. My favourite part of the new Alkaline Trio artwork  9. A lost toy in the rain, the saddest thing I've ever seen!

10. Can you believe we picked up our names without even trying?  11. My sister with her handmade rabbit birthday cake  12. A Toy Story moment at work

13. The Temporary Secretary fox bag that I featured in a previous Inferior Inspiration post and couldn't resist buying!  14. Showing off the amazing picnic hamper that my lovely Mum bought for me  15. Our neighbours have chosen an interesting new colour for their front door!

16. A topknot to combat the ridiculous heat  17. Sunning my legs at the beach in Crail        18. An early birthday surprise for my friend Tom (it was love at first sight)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Inferior Inspiration #7:

Historically, I don't have much of a green thumb.  Okay, that's a huge understatement.  Every plant I've ever tried to grow or maintain has died on me.  Most impressively, I once killed a water plant during my first year of uni, and I'm not sure that's even possible.  Still, lately I've been dreaming of a beautiful, serene garden to spend these rare sunny days we've been having in.  Maybe Craig can take care of the upkeep, and I'll just enjoy the sun?

1. Gerberas (and their relatives germini) have been my very favourite flowers lately, and at the moment IKEA have them potted in a wide variety of colours for a good price.  I'm thinking about planting some in our window box, but I'm too scared they'll die! (£3)

2. This striped RAMSÖ parasol with FISKÖ base would be a must for especially hot days in my imaginary garden.  It's also from IKEA, and comes in a nice turquoise blue colour as well as the orange. (£17)

3. Ideally, Craig will be finished mowing the lawn and watering the plants by the time dinner rolls around.  A barbecue is the obvious choice, and the Portable Kettle Barbecue from John Lewis looks about the right size for two.  I am genuinely tempted by this, as it's portable, cute and in the sale, but sadly we don't have anywhere to barbecue in real life. (£20)

4. How fabulous is this fuchsia birdhouse (also from John Lewis)?  I can't decide if it's extremely tacky, or extremely awesome.  I think probably both. (£49)

5. Lanterns and candles at night make any garden beautiful, and I like the hard wearing and nautical style of the Rope Lantern from Matalan.  To me it's versatile enough to be used all year round, not just in the summer time! (£12)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Summer sun:

Today Craig and I decided to make the most of what may well have been the sunniest Saturday of the year and visit the beach.  We ended up driving up to my favourite little seaside town in Fife, Crail, and spent the afternoon wandering and soaking up the rays with our friend Ruaridh.

I love how picturesque Crail is, and it always seems to be beautiful weather there whenever I visit.  Some day I'd really like to live by the sea in a town like this, as long as it's warm and sunny all the time!  What did you get up to on this sunniest of Saturdays?  If you were stuck indoors at work, please feel free to live vicariously through these photos!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Inferior Design on Facebook:

Hi guys, I hope you're all looking forward to this sunny weekend (well, fingers crossed anyway!) whatever you have planned.  This is just a short, self advertising post to let you know about the Facebook page I have set up for Inferior Design.  A recent comment from another blogger on Twitter made me realise that many people who regularly read my blog probably don't have a Blogger account, and therefore can't 'follow' my posts in the conventional way.  

Love it or hate it, the majority of people these days have a Facebook account (even my 'Bookface' phobic Dad!), so setting up a dedicated Facebook page for Inferior Design gives those who want to keep up to date an easy way to feel included.  It also means that my Facebook friends who aren't partial to reading my blog (and that isn't a dig, I fully understand that everyone has different interests!) won't be as bombarded with links from my personal account.

Please feel free to like Inferior Design on Facebook at  You can also get there by clicking the Facebook icon in my right hand side bar.  Thank you to everyone who has already liked the page, even if we've never met, your support means a lot!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

What I'm watching #2:

Last month I subscribed to Netflix which, as some of you may already know, is both a great and terrible thing.  On one hand, I now have a massive number of new films and TV programs at my fingertips.  On the other, there is a lot of nonsense on Netflix, and watching it takes up quite a bit of precious time...

Source: here

My main reason for signing up to Netflix was to watch the recent and highly anticipated fourth season of Arrested Development, which went live on Sunday 26th May.  After being cancelled in 2006, the show has returned as a Netflix exclusive seven years later, with all of its original cast members still on board.  My old flatmate, Liam, first introduced me to Arrested Development during my fourth year of uni, and I'm very glad he convinced me to watch it.  I usually describe it as the most British comedy I've ever seen come out of the US, and encourage whoever I'm speaking to to watch it as soon as possible.  Craig and I raced through season four, so I may have missed some of the comedic subtleties that the show is famous for, but I was still entertained and comforted by the familiarity of the characters.  After such a long gap, the dynamic of the show is bound to have changed a little, but if you loved the first three seasons, then season four is definitely worth a watch.  And if you haven't seen Arrested Development, then start from the beginning.  Right now!

Source: here

Countless people recommended Girls to me before I finally got around to watching it. I love living vicariously through Hannah, the main character, who is an overdramatic, penniless writer living in New York City.  I also am in awe of Lena Dunham (the show's creator, and actress who plays Hannah) and wish she could be my friend.  Both male and female friends suggested I watch Girls, so don't let the gender specific title cloud your judgement.  This certainly isn't Sex and the City, but there is quite a lot of the former involved.  It's vulgar, and it's great.

Source: here

I started watching Dexter years ago, and got completely hooked, but somehow didn't make it past the second season before I stopped watching.  Craig hadn't seen the show at all, so when we noticed that it was on Netflix in bulk I suggested that we start watching from the beginning together.  It had been just long enough between viewings that I enjoyed the earlier episodes without remembering too much of the plot, and now we are well into the third season.  I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't go into plot detail, but if a crime thriller with hints of black comedy sounds good to you, then Dexter is probably worth a shot. Also, Michael C. Hall is great as Dexter!

Source: here

I know, I know, The Hills definitely falls into the 'nonsense' category that I was talking about earlier, but there's nothing better than a bit of guilty pleasure, easy viewing once in a while.  Lately I've been watching about a million twenty minute episodes on my days off while I'm doing housework.  It makes the time pass much faster!  I can't stand the more recent 'staged reality' TV shows like The Only Way Is Essex or Made In Chelsea as they are so cringingly fake, but for some reason this predecessor to those shows is much easier to watch.  You can't beat some old school drama and angst!

Monday, 1 July 2013

A 'haul' lot of shopping:

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate myself on the cheesiest post title of my blogging career so far. Secondly, here's a little post purely about some stuff that I bought for myself recently, also known (in the blogging and YouTube communities) as a 'haul'.  I even managed to find some bargains!

I scored a sweet deal with the recipe book, which was reduced to £5 in the Paperchase sale.  It was also the last one in the shop, and doesn't seem to be available online any more (sorry!).  It's one of those blank recipe notebooks that you can record your own culinary creations in, and it has plenty of pages!  I'm hoping it will inspire me not only to cook more, but also to start cooking from recipes and getting good at making my favourite dishes.

The copy of The Great Gatsby was a bargain too, as the back cover is damaged.  Waterstone's had reduced it to £2.99, and seeing as I was only buying it for myself to read I wasn't really bothered.  Damaged books need a home too!  Unlike almost everyone that I've met, I wasn't forced to read The Great Gatsby at school, and I've always felt that I missed out.  After seeing Baz Luhrmann's recent film adaptation, I decided it was definitely time to pick up a copy of the novel.

I nipped into HMV and was pleased to find that they had the new Alkaline Trio album back in stock (it was sold out last time I visited).  My Shame Is True is an excellent name for an album (for any budding Elvis Costello fans out there) and I'm sure this will be featuring in an Inferior Playlist some day soon.  I need to listen to the album more thoroughly, as so far there aren't any real stand out tracks for me.  It usually takes me a few listens to really like an album, and then I start to find my favourites.  I paid £12.99 for this, but didn't mind as I love the band and want to support them, and would much rather have a physical copy of the album than a download.

I also picked up The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.  Their earlier album Neon Bible has fast become one of my all time favourite records, but The Suburbs was the album with the most hype surrounding it when I worked at Fopp.  It has a totally different sound and feel to Neon Bible, but also to Funeral (the band's first album) and I'm hoping that I will come to enjoy The Suburbs just as much as them.  The album was £5.99 in HMV.

I am constantly on the look out for miracle products for curly hair.  Usually, in my experience, the bottle promises a great deal and delivers very little, which has made me shy away from spending money on hair styling products.  What's the point if they aren't going to work?  Upstairs in Boots on this shopping trip, I stumbled upon the holiday and travel section and found a huge variety of travel sized hair products.  I picked up the three 'curl friendly' products above for around £2 to £3 each (a fraction of what they would have cost in full size).  I will definitely be reporting my findings!

Yes, it may be tacky, but I have wanted a plastic bow ring for ages.  I think Kandee Johnson on Youtube was the first person I saw wearing one, and I instantly loved it.  I spotted this one in New Look for £2.50.  It fits my middle finger really well, and I love the colour.

Apologies for my face in this photo, but I thought the best way to show my new dress and belt was whilst wearing them!  This is me on my way to my sister's birthday party last weekend.  The dress was in the New Look sale for £12, and I adore the red flamingo print.  Flamingos seem to be everywhere this summer, for some reason!  It has a ruched waistline, which I decided to hide with a nude studded belt (also from New Look, and £3.99).  I think adding the belt made the dress hang better, and generally made the cut a bit more flattering.

Please leave links below if you have been indulging in any retail therapy lately, I love to shop vicariously!