Sunday, 26 February 2017

Sunday Chatroom Actress Rachel Flynn

Last week I found myself in a what we thought was a traditional working mans pub that turned out to be a quirky and Pinterest worthy bar on Lothian road accompanied by two of my oldest and dearest friends. We drank over-priced but delicious cocktails and found ourselves discussing everything from body image, showmances, dream dinner party guests and dairy free diets. I almost should have had my voice recorder on from the minute we sat down as dining and drinking with the beautiful, eloquent and seamlessly talented Rachel Flynn enables me to just chat away about her life as a successful actor without feeling like I'm interviewing anyone at all. Between myself and our other drinking mate Kirsten we grilled Rachel on the trials and tribulations of auditions, agents and London life in between the completely necessary love life analysis and intense examination of the lengthy cocktail menu. 

Rachel who this Christmas fulfilled a childhood dream of playing the princess in the Edinburgh King's Theatre Pantomime, and has been a successful working actress since graduating from the prestigious LSMT theatre school in London in 2014. 'I was about sixteen when I thought actually I want to be an actor, after convincing my mum that I wasn't going to be a lawyer. Then it was sort of all go from there'. From growing up with Rachel I knew that she was probably more than capable of becoming a lawyer as she was very academic, admitting to being part of the debate society and maths club. 'I think the more understanding you have of the world in general and knowledge you have the better actor you are. You are just a lot more well rounded and equipped to research a character and understand this other persona you are taking on'. 

She studied at Motherwell College in Glasgow and then naturally progressed to further training in London where she juggled work and intense hours at stage school. Rachel who despite from the age of 14 being the most prepared and most rehearsed person in the room felt the pressure of the industry immediately. 'Straight away I had to identify my strength and weaknesses, make sure I was on top of everything so I'm the most employable person I can be. I also think positivity is so important especially when things are tough. People want to work with happy and upbeat people, who are willing to give suggestions and put in that little bit extra work. You have two types of actors people who can look at a script then take it and put their own spin on things, really own it. I'm definitely that kind of person I want to take risks and be fearless, really delve into a directors vision. There are other extremely talented actors who work better with specific direction and guidance, which some directors prefer because they are creatives and have an exact vision they want an actor to portray'.  Rachel spoke of how as an actor this can be difficult because you don't always have the freedom to be creative and sometimes you have to put your head down and get on with it even if you don't feel like it's right. 'I would probably say that's my biggest weakness, I really need to know why my character is moving over there, not just because there is a bit of set that needs moved. It can be hard but there are so many parts where you do get that freedom and it feels amazing, and it's why you do it'.

In such a competitive industry Rachel's natural drive and determination has definitely helped her stay focused and go above beyond. 'When you go to drama school they quickly tell you what your casting is your leading lady or triple threat ensemble or the girl next door and I never really knew what I was, I still don't. You have an idea of where your own strengths lie but it is actually really important to have the courage to trust in somebody else's opinion of you.' Rachel spoke about the pressure of looking a certain way for meeting casting requirements. 'I've been told to lose weight before. It's never horrible, it's just a would Rachel slim down a little bit for this role and I've lost out on roles because I'm not slim enough. It is a lot of pressure, I know girls I went to school with have eating disorders because they think that they need to be super thin to work in this industry. In dance auditions there are girls there in crop tops and shorts with abs and I just think how can I compete? But I know that yeah these people look amazing but and I know this to be true talent will carry you through'. 

That brought us on to discussing the fact that talented women are losing out on parts due to a dress size. Should all of our panto princess' be a size 8, is it the right representation for our society? 'You know I do think there is starting to be more truthfulness in casting regarding female figures. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix is a good example it's a musical comedy and the leading lady in that is maybe a 12 or a 14. She's curvy, with bigger boobs and that's brilliant and so overdue to happen.' 

I personally think that the theatre land is maybe the most behind with diversity in body types. Arguably to be a triple threat on the West End in theatre and perform 6 or 7 nights a week you do need to be super fit but do you need to be a size 8, not really. I then went on to ask Rachel about what she thought about diversity in the London theatre world in general. 'While I was training just before I came out into the industry it was such an issue that the West End was so white and they were really trying to colour blind cast. If there is no ethnic specification then why can't Epinone be racially diverse, and it has happened a bit which is great. It's great now though because actually at the minute there are so many shows in London that offer roles to all different types of ethnicities. Motown, The Lion King, Dream Girls and Hamilton will be opening soon so things are changing and in the future hopefully there is a lot more colour blind casting'. 

'The hardest thing about being an actor is the criticism. I got really upset recently over a horrible review and felt so insecure about my performance, but the other cast members were like Rachel come and read the six other glowing reviews you have. It's so subjective, you are never going to please everyone and not everyone is going to think you are wonderful, but there is nothing wrong with that. You are in the role for a reason and as long as you are giving your all then who cares if one person wants to slag you off'. 

Speaking with Rachel about her career, training and future makes it clear why she has had such success already. She is soon to join a luxury cruise liner as one of their lead singers which will give Rachel the opportunity to see some of the world which she is naturally looking forward to. As a once budding actor myself I know it is genuinely one of the hardest professions in the world and Rachel is succeeding against all of the odds. There are so many cheesy and predictable phrases I could use but I am going to go with you saw her here first because I don't think it is difficult to predict an extremely bright future for Miss Flynn. 

L x

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Prepping for a Big Night Out

Going out for a special occasion, be it new year, a wedding, birthday or even just a reunion with the girls, I like to make that extra bit of effort to look and feel really good. Here is a few things that I do to try and achieve a more polished look:
  1. Exfoliate. Exfoliating is really important before hair removal and doing your tan as it prevents the tan from going streaky or patchy and also prevents ingrown hairs. Get in the bath with a cheeky bath bomb and soak yourself for a while which will soften up your skin making for a deeper exfoliation! Always moisturise after exfoliating or your skin will dry out really quickly!
  2. Remove all unwanted body hair. Rather than shaving, I epilate my legs as the hair grows back more slowly and thinner than it does when shaving. Im far too unorganised to get them waxed so having an epilator at hand is very ideal for me.
  3. Tan. In order to get fake tan to look natural, make sure you wait at least 1 day after shaving/waxing/epilating to put it on or you will look like a plucked chicken. Do not moisturise directly before tanning either or it will most likely go streaky. Like most things, the more money you spend, the better the product will be so if you want your tan to look a 10, then definitely don't go for a cheap one. I have tried cheaper ones before, but after using St. Tropez I wouldn't go back to anything else. 
  4. Nails. Full manicure and pedicure please! I just do my nails myself but I love using the Barry M daylight curing nail polish as well as Rimmel's Super Gel as they give you such a professional finish. I also feel like there is something classy about having the same colour on my toes and fingers.
  5. Face. I love giving my face a deep clean now and again, I would do it every day if I could but that would just ruin my skin. I tried the Montagne Jeunesse 'blemish mud' and my face felt so fresh and clean afterwards. I then left an Elemis moisturising mask on over night and my face felt completely rejuvenated. After doing this, it feels like I'm putting my makeup onto a completely clean canvas.

T. x

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Ordinary is it worth the Hype?

Before Christmas I went to an amazing Q&A/book signing with the amazing and inspirational Sali Hughes, (incidentally, I begged, borrowed and madly tweeted Waterstones to acquire said tickets but that is a story for another time). The lovely lady who interviewed Sali asked her about a new Canadian skincare from the cosmetic skincare company Deciem that was supposed to be revolutionising the skincare market, this of course greatly spiked my interest. The story is that The Ordinary is a new skincare line that strips back on unnecessary perfuming, fancy packaging and sort of chachki like filler ingredients that have no proven benefit in order to focus on selling products that contain purely high quantities of the good stuff. The ingredients such as Retinol, Vitamin C,  Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid and Caffeine that are proven to help improve the look and feel of skin and all for around £5.00. It sounds too good to be true I know, so I have put some of these products to the test.

My items arrived from The Ordinary within about two days and I have now been using them within my skincare routine for around 2 weeks, so I plan on providing an update on these products next month. This review is going to be a general idea of my first impressions. The first product I tried out was the Natural Moisturising Factors + HA I used this before I applied my make-up for the day and honestly I felt the effects instantly. As I have mentioned many times before I suffer from quite severe dry skin and after showering I always have a tight uncomfortable feeling on the skin on my face, this product relieved this feeling instantly and left my skin feeling hydrated the rest of the day. I then used this moisturises after the Hyaluronic Acid 2% with B5 and I truly felt as though my skin was softer feeling, comfortable and hydrated. I know from past uses of hyaluronic acid filled products this acid agrees with my skin and helps rehydrate, plump and combat the dryness of my skin majorly. So far I am really enjoying both products and will report back on the longevity next month. 

I also picked up the Caffeine SolutionVitamin C Suspension Serum and the Lactic Acid 5% which I am still testing out as we speak. I really enjoy the gentle exfoliation of the lactic acid so far and I am in the middle of comparing it to other similar products that cost a bit more. The other two products will take a bit more time for me to comment on their effects but in terms of texture and scent, I am a fan. So far based on my initial usage and impressions I could not recommend these products enough, they contain proven effective ingredients at a very reasonable price and are easy to come by. I definitely feel as though this type of attitude to skincare could really change the industry in a positive way and I look forward to seeing what they do next. Let me know if you have tried any of The Ordinary skincare and what your thoughts are! 

Lyndsey x


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Lisbon in 48 hours.

For my 20th birthday I was lucky enough to be surprised with a trip to Lisbon, Portugal. My boyfriend had obviously been listening to me complaining about having Seasonal Affective Disorder (I don't really, I just hate the Scottish weather), so he took me somewhere a lot warmer, which wasn't too hard to find.

Just a 3 hour flight from Edinburgh, Lisbon was the perfect choice for a sunny city break. It is such a beautiful place, rich in culture and not yet taken-over by tourists. I absolutely loved that every second building was covered in differently patterned tiles, it was unlike any city that I have seen before. In addition to the unique culture, we were also provided with amazing value for money throughout our stay. From our lovely apartment (this one), to the public transport and of course the food and drink - not forgetting that Portugal is the home of piri-piri chicken and custard tarts.

It is safe to say that in 48 hours, there was plenty of amazing things for us to see, do and eat. Hopefully I managed to capture the magic in this video. 


T. x

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Sunday Chatroom - Eve Learmonth Make-up Artist

There really is no better way to kick off our chatroom series than with a friend who is basically family and someone who I have personally got to witness go from strength to strength as an artist and business woman in the last couple of years. I got together with Eve in her beautiful Edinburgh Make-up studio on a freezing cold Thursday night a few weeks ago. Cheryl the ever talented nail artist had a client in so Eve and I excused ourselves to the sofas for a chat on a very familiar topic of ours, Make-up

Eve who currently owns a beauty studio in the east side of Edinburgh specialising in make-up, hair and nails, she has always wanted to offer women a unique beauty experiences where the atmosphere is chilled and inviting. The shop is always bustling with great music and laughter. The studio has an almost girls getting ready for a night out feeling at the weekend. A make-up artist as well as a young business woman herself Eve started working on beauty counters as a teenager, she was always interested in art and knew she wanted to translate that passion into a career. 

It is fair to say that counter work isn't the easiest, and seriously hard graft at the weekend for any aspiring make-up artist. This is the way Eve trained in make-up and she honed her craft working for different luxury beauty brands and learning technique and product knowledge as she went. She worked on a variety of counters which allowed Eve to develop a style that is versatile mixing the trend driven, modern make-up styles with a more classic technique that focuses on bringing out natural beauty.  

Eve discussing her favourite type of client and worst type of client, she said 'I love brides but girls coming in before a night out has to be my favourite. They are always in a good mood, always buzzing and excited. They are telling me what they are wearing, where they are going, what they are drinking. It's like all the girls who are in the salon at the same time having that girl getting reading feeling together' 

'I get this all time but someone who says I really want to have my make-up like Kim Kardashian but really natural, or ask for a smokey eye but they do not want a smokey eye' 

We then started to speak about Eve's own make-up mistakes and reminisced about Maybelline's classic Dream Matte Mouse (still available FYI), the Barry M nude lipstick, her lack of eyebrows and how pretty much every girl of the 2000s made these mistake, character building stuff we agreed. There was also mention of Avon's teal and pink mascaras that were applied alternately to her top and bottom lashes, which she told me she recommends to her clients on a daily basis. Cheryl aka @chezpaintsnails then piped in to all of our pleasure with woes of half white half black eyeshadow at high school which brought us onto the horrible panda eyes which we all loved dearly at fourteen. 

I then asked Eve what her most important piece of beauty advice was with which she replied as quick a flash, for me fake tan and we both exploded with laughter. 'For me a tan and for a lot of people but in general highlighter. No matter who you are, what age you are it will make your skin look so much brighter and give it that glow.' Her beauty icons are Amber Heard who she loves for her experimental beauty looks, whether its bronzed and glowing or a statement lip she looks amazing. She also spoke about fellow artist Amber Dean who did an incredible masterclass at the shop, which inspired Eve to try different looks and techniques and to break away from her usual habits with make-up. 'Sometimes its nice to have someone come in and do something different, it leaves you feeling refreshed with new ideas!' 

Blusher or Bronzer - Bronzer (obviously)
Mascara or Foundation - Foundation
Lashes or Lipstick - Lashes
Mac or Nars - Nars
Never do hair again or Never do make-up again - hair every time!
Long hair or Short hair - Long hair!
Red or Black nails - Black
No eyebrows or No eyelashes - No eyebrows (followed by hysterical laughter then we discussed this in depth and came to the same conclusion).
No GHDs or No Hairdryer - No Hairdryer

Eve's Beauty Must Haves


'If I could tell my sixteen your old self anything it would be to stick in. I almost through the towel in  hundreds of times, I was under pressure with sales, rubbish hours, terrible pay, the stores I worked for were really strict and it was horrible working really hard to make loads for someone else but not getting much back. I kept thinking I really want to do this myself, and after four years with all the different counters, salons and freelancing I was able to open my own shop. You have to work hard though, build up a clientele, be nice to everyone, work horrible hours and work long days. It is worth it though. Don't quit!' 

If you would like to book in with Eve at her salon you can contact her via telephone, e-mail or in the salon.

T 07715 289306

Lyndsey x


Thursday, 2 February 2017

The Sun Inn Review Or Should I Say Rave

So we are a little bit out of Edinburgh with this review, in the lovely Dalkeith where I visited the truly fantastic Sun Inn (FYI Scottish Gastro Pub of the Year 2011). My family and I weren't together over the festive period due to work commitments so we decided to make up for it by going for a nice meal in the New Year. My parents were already huge fans of The Sun Inn and had previously raved about it, so I was very excited to eat there myself, especially when the rents are paying.

We dined on a very busy Friday night and because we were a group of nine we were seated in a really cool and modern space in the back. The space was minimally furnished and designed in an almost industrial style which was really cool but surprising for a gastro pub and a contrast from the more traditional cosy vibe of the rest of the restaurant.  As soon as we sat down we were offered drinks and served them really promptly which is always a strong first impression. The menu was adorned with traditional pub grub but with a twist. There was a variety of choices with meat and also vegetarian options that sounded really good, my sister got the pasta and raved about it.

To start I had the lobster risotto with crayfish and scallops which was on the specials menu. It came beautifully presented and was literally the perfect portion size as risotto can be very stodgy and filling.  The rice was dripping in flavour and just melted in my mouth, and the fish was cooked beautifully. Every item on the plate complimented each other perfectly and it was one of the nicest risottos I have ever had. 

I then chose from the specials menu again and went for the Venison. It was the best choice on the table by far. I wish I could describe exactly what I was served but the special menu from that night I couldn't get my hands on so my enthusiastic summary of the delights I was served will have to do. The venison was cooked perfectly and was beautifully tender, mixed with the haggis it was a terrific mix of taste and texture. It was served with lovely, crisp roast potatoes and a rich, thick, berry infused glaze that was almost indescribable in taste.  I think it is pretty clear I enjoyed the main course, and it has really made me keen to cook more with venison.

Due to the fact it was technically my Christmas dinner, I decided to indulge with dessert. Not often do I see baked Alaska on a menu so as soon as I clocked it on the menu I was sold. I was not disappointed as the meringue melted in my mouth and the contrast of the sweet and sour of the citrus was perfect. A fabulous way to top off a beautiful meal.

All in all this review is a bit of a rave but rightly so, as the food was truly outstanding. My parents have assured me that the food is also always to this standard so I will be definitely be going back. The rest of my family ordered fairly similarly to myself but my sister raved about her vegetarian options too, so The Sun Inn do cater for many different dietary needs.  If you have visited the lovely Sun Inn let me know what you thought!

Lyndsey x

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