Friday, 17 October 2014

#193. Halloween Fashion Wishlist 2014

Clockwise from left: Gold Skull necklace; Cat phone caseHalloween Pumpkin Jumper; Halloween crop top and skirt with Halloween Vampire print;  Jumper with FrankensteinsVeil cat earsTshirt with bleached skeleton print; Monster face clutch bag; Glitter Jack O Lantern Pumpkin ClutchFang beanieZero ghost dog tote; White Halloween Boo Tshirt; Black Ghost Kintted Jumper; Halloween leggings in Skeleton print; Personalised Silver skeleton necklaceTshirt with Bat Print; The Whitepepper Cat Bag; Rose Halloween Veil hairclip; Glitter Bat ClipsBlue Glitter Eye Clutch.

After coming across some really cool bat print tights last week, I thought it would be fun to put together a Halloween fashion inspired wishlist, showing the best spooky styles I could find. There are some great clothing choices from ASOS, and beautiful accessories from Rock n Rose, Luna and the Moon and Etsy. Everyone does seem to be getting in the Halloween mood which I am happy with as it is one of my favourite times of the year. So here are some suggestions for getting in the festive spirit without fully dressing up.

I love the ASOS Monster Face Clutch. Look at that wee face! It's a fun way to celebrate the season, while being practical with a cute bag big enough for all your bits n bobs and will see way beyond Halloween. The bags from Luna and the Moon are also amazing, check out all that glitter! They would be eyecatching and stand out with any outfit. The pink jumper with the Frankenstein pattern, is bright, bold and eyecatching and would look great with skirts or jeans and big chunky boots and I love the simple dracula motif on the beanie and the gothic prettiness of the rose veil from Rock N Rose. There are plenty of choices to cover all your Halloween inspired needs.

Are you excited for Halloween? Will you be wearing any Halloween related fashion?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#192. STV's 'RBS Finding Scotland's Real Heroes' awards ceremony 2014

John, Kate, Fiona, me, Erica, Sarah and Ellen

A few weeks ago I was very excited to be asked along to STV's RBS Finding Scotland's Real Heroes awards ceremony as a blogger ambassador. The invite came completely out of the blue and I was delighted to be asked. 

The awards are sponsored by RBS and broadcast on STV and are about finding the ordinary people, who give an extra mile and have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others. Projects and people were nominated and shortlisted, before the Scottish public voted for the winners in each of the eight categories, ranging from the Real Heroes Courage Award, to Environmental Project of the Year and Hero Animal of the Year. You may have seen the series on TV a few weeks ago, where the thirty finalists were interviewed and visited by celebrity reporters, to find out more about them. You can catchup here, if you fancy finding out more about the show and watch some clips.

Sarah, John and I in front of the media wall

I think it is really important that people who give a lot of their time for good causes are acknowledged and honored in some way. Projects aren't set up and people don't fundraise for the thanks, but it is good for them to receive recognition and support for their hard work.

So all dolled up in my new ASDA frock and with my trusty DSLR in hand, I travelled to the ceremony, held at RBS headquarters at Gogarburn, Edinburgh. After walking on a red carpet, I was ushered into the VIP lounge (Ooooooo!), given a glass of champagne and introduced to the other bloggers who had been chosen to participate. I had only met Erica before, so it was great to catch up and meet some new and friendly faces (Sarah, John, Ellen, Kate, Fiona) and chat all things blog with them. All of us had been given a separate category to focus on and it was interesting to see who had been paired with which.

We  were well and truly looked after, with a delicious buffet dinner (chicken and chorizo lasagne (hello!), meatballs and couscous) and had some more time to chat with the other bloggers and get our photo taken in front of the media wall. I was delighted as I must admit I had always wanted to do that, haha! There was such a great atmosphere, all about the community and these amazing people. 
The winners - big congratulations all!

We were then directed into the conference hall, where the evening's filming would take place and were shown to our seats, with great views over the whole auditorium. All the candidates were there for each category (including a gorgeous dog, Ben!), along with special celebrity guests who were presenting the awards, such as Bill Paterson, Ron Donachie and Jayd Johnson. It was all very exciting and there was a great atmosphere, everyone was in such high spirits to honor these amazing people. It was really interesting to see how television is created and award ceremonies are run. The stage manager came out to talk to us and practice our cheering, certain sections had to be refilmed when someone stumbled their words, a camera man was accidentally in shot or an old man got up to go to the toilet and walked right in front of the stage and there was a lull in filming as people were moved around to fill in the gaps in the audience when a celebrity went to present an award or the winners went backstage for photos. I had never been to anything like that before and I was fascinated watching it all unfold and was excited to see the final result on the TV.

Carol Smilie was presenting and looked stunning in a beautiful gold gown, very like the one Kate Hudson wears in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, with a little tail-looking-tassel on the back. It was very inspiring and humbling hearing all about the nominees in each category, people really are amazing, and seeing the heartfelt speeches of the winners. Each project or person really had pulled all the stops out to try and help others from Margaret Gibb, such a selfless lady, winner of the Community Champion of the Year and RBS Scotland's Real Hero of the Year, who has supported generations of families for over 40 years, to Jenny Cook, the amazing ten year old from East Kilbride who fundraises tirelessly for Yorkhill Children's Hospital and is the well deserved winner of the Scotland's Real Heroes Courage award to Sid the horse, winner of Hero Animal of the Year for his work with the Riding for the Disabled Association in Aberdeen (sadly Sid wasn't at the ceremony, but I did get to meet Ben the dog!). Each nominee was truly inspiring and if I had my way, they all would have won.
My pre ceremony excited face...I wasn't this excited after 45 minutes of still waiting for a taxi!

The category I was asked to focus on was RBS Community Project of the Year and there were three very strong nominees: Serenity Cafe, The Driving Force and Fet Lor. All are completely different projects but are united in their drive to help others and their stories are all very moving and humbling. 

Serenity Cafe is based in Edinburgh and is run by people in recovery, giving a place to meet, to relax and learn and to build work skills through volunteering. Fet Lor is the oldest youth club in Scotland and provides a safe and fun haven for young people in an under-privileged area in Edinburgh, free from gangs and territories. As the introduction video was played for each one, I was so nervous and excited for them and would have loved all three projects to have won, but was delighted when The Driving Force were announced as the winner.
The Driving Force with their award. Congratulations!

The Driving Force, based in Bonnybridge provide free hospital transport to cancer patients and people with other long term illnesses. It must be very daunting and scary for people who already have the anxiety of going into hospital to organise practical arrangements, such as their travel to and from treatments, particularly if they don't have any friends or family close by who can help. This is where The Driving Force come in. Set up ten years go, a team of volunteer drivers help them make this journey as smooth as possible and take the patients right to the door and are there to collect them afterwards, with a friendly smile and banter, or just to reassure them with a bit of company. I think this is such a great service and such a worthy and well deserving winner. 

The winners and the celebrity hosts

I got the chance to speak to founder Dr Bridget McCalister and some of the volunteers briefly afterwards and congratulate them on their win. Meeting them I understood what a huge deal winning meant to the charity. They were absolutely over the moon and excited to have won, as you can imagine and were so thankful for all the hard work from the amazing people who make The Driving Force happen, from the volunteers to the fundraisers. It was actually one of their fundraisers who nominated them, which was exciting and Dr McCalister said she couldn't wait to let everyone know. I asked what was next and what the win would mean for them. Dr McCalister replied that they will keep doing what the charity does best but the win means it will raise awareness for the work they do, both in terms of drivers but also for future patients who need transport to and from the hospital. With their win, more people in need will hear about them and be able to make use of this wonderful service. That is pretty exciting. I am really looking forward to meeting them properly in a few weeks time and see what they have been doing since their win and how it has changed things.

The Driving Force meeting Carol Smilie

Overall, I had such a fun time at the ceremony and felt very privileged to be asked along, given the opportunity to meet The Driving Force and learn more about all the other nominees and winners. You can find out more about all the winners here. Thanks so much to RBS and STV for having me. It really was such a special evening. I felt to proud to be part of each winners special moment.

There are so many inspiring and inspirational people in the world, who are so selfless in supporting and going out their way to help others. So it is right that they get their chance to shine and are acknowledged for all their hard work and dedication. It made me feel very proud to be Scottish and very humble to be in the presence of such amazing people.