Chic Week vs Bleak Week // Braving the Outdoors

And I'm back for my weekly series Chic Week vs Bleak Week. Let's just all pretend together that the last instalment of this series was indeed posted a week ago and not 6 months ago, kay?

Bleak Week

Summer has officially arrived in Glasgow. Temperatures have spiked dramatically; pasty legs have  hastily been fake tanned and finding a seat in a beer garden has become akin to finding a Glaswegian man with his top still on.

You might be fooled into thinking that a person such a I, who is trying rather desperately to live a chic metropolitan life, would have spent last week flocking to the cities most popular, prosecco serving, sun traps amidst all the other straw hat topped gals. I wish. No, unfortunately I did not don a loose fitting dress to enjoy a glass or ten of the fizzy stuff but instead donned walking boots *gag* and headed to the Outer Hebrides to embrace my inner outdoor loving self on a camping trip.

I'd love to pin it all on Calum and say I was dragged on this tenting adventure, kicking and screaming, under severe duress. Annoyingly we were both equally to blame on this occasion (rare but it does happen). In fact, I do believe the whole thing was partly my idea.

I think I envisaged sunbathing on the Caribbean-esque beaches of Barra, sipping Pimms under Insta-worthy sunsets and toasting marshmallows over a romantic campfire while nattering about how blessed we are to live in the worlds most beautiful country. Of course, on my imaginary camping trip, there would have been a smattering of outdoor activities like sea kayaking and hill walking so that I could miraculously develop abs and post smug pictures of myself standing atop a gigantic mountain in a sports bra and leggings captioned "Nailed our quick pre-breakfast hike! #Phew #NoBiggie". I could gloat later about how fit, healthy and downright glowy I felt. Perhaps I could even righteously lecture non-outdoorsy people about how they should spend less time on their phones and just get out there and see the world, you know?

Needless to say; this is not what came to pass.

Turns out that yes the white sand beaches are stunning but it's pretty hard to get a tan when you're wearing ski thermals, two fleeces *gag* and waterproofs. True, the sunsets are breathtaking but having to watch them through a tent wall because it's too god damn cold to sit outside kind of takes the shine off. Plus it would seem that having a romantic campfire isn't all that practical in a 30mph gale. Worse still - it turns out tantrum-ing your way to the top of a hill doesn't make you instantly drop a stone and give you a smug healthy glow. Instead it provides you with a sweaty sheen, a burnt nose and the realisation that your heart is about as healthy as a 90 year old lard enthusiast's. Another imaginary life bites the dust.

It isn't all as bad as it sounds though. Admittedly, it's almost as bad as it sounds but there were a few saving graces. Like the fact that it wasn't the kind of camping where you bring your spade so you can sh*t in a hole in the woods. I've done that kind of camping one time and suffered such bad post traumatic stress that my bowels wouldn't move for a week. This trip, however, we stayed in proper campsites, with proper plumbing and proper hot showers. I mean they weren't quite Sandals resorts but they were civilised.

Unfortunately, all those proper facilities came with a side of proper camping w*nkers. Influxes of middle aged English folk escaping to the quaint Scottish countryside in camper vans that cost more than a one bed in Glasgow.

The camping community, I've discovered, is a community like no other. A uniform of vintage softshell jackets, well worn fleeces, faded patterned headscarfs and crocs is a must if you wish to be accepted into it. Yes that's right, it is an unimaginable faction of the human race where slipping a pair of the ugliest footwear known to man on to your tootsies results in an open armed welcome. It goes against any footwear rule I've ever known. Crocs are supposed to shun you from a society not cement your place within it. What fresh hell is this?!

Don't be mistaken in thinking when you read the words "vintage" and "well worn" that this means one could get away with wearing one's cheapy old Primark joggers and battered H&M hoodie. No, this is a whole different ballgame to the time you went camping in the woods as a teenager so you could get sh*t faced on Strongbow cider away from the prying eyes of parents.

In a proper camping environment like this one your attire must be outrageously expensive "technical" outdoor gear (Rab and North Face are like the Gucci of the outdoor world, apparently) but it must also be visibly old. Brand new gear is nothing but a sign of your blatant inexperience. You can expect to pitied and judged by the veterans of roughing it. Despite the fact that they are staying in a camper that has better facilities than your permanent home and the only reasonable chunk of time they spend actually outdoors is when they walk their Cavapoo along the beach.

After spending a whopping ten days trapped amongst these happy campers (making our way from Vatersay and Barra, through South and North Uist and finishing with a quick stop in Skye) I was so ready to get back to the land of flat whites and manicures. Looks like my inner self isn't all that outdoorsy after all.

Chic Week

Since bleak week kind of went on a bit I'll keep it short with the flip side. Let's be honest you're all here  for the grim stuff anyway.

Upon returning to my favourite concrete jungle, Glasvegas, I felt like I'd spent ten days being dragged repeatedly through all the hedges. I could barely remember which end of a lipstick to use and my straighteners felt utterly alien to me. Spending ten days amidst people who give you scornful looks for daring to do something as glamorous as putting on a skiff of mascara will do that to a person. Thank goodness the girls from Bobbi Brown were on hand to save me.

The day I got home I was welcomed back to metropolitan life with a make up masterclass by the gorgeous Aimee Morrison, one of Bobbi Brown's pro artists. Bliss. As I sat lapping up every tip Aimee shared with us (and having several revelations that I've been doing my makeup wrong my entire life) the memories of my rural adventure, sleeping under the stars, became evermore distant.

I left Aimee's masterclass looking like a new, chic-er, human with the gorgeous glowy skin I had hoped my time in the outdoors would provide. Turns out stomping around in the heather for days on end is not necessary to achieve a healthy glow - just a layer of Bobbi Brown's newest Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation and a wee pop of Pot Rouge. Who knew?!

Stay tuned for when I try and pass on some of the pearls of makeup knowledge I gleaned in another post later this week, including a quick look at Bobbi Brown's ultimate beauty favourites - I've been using them since I got back and I already know I can't live without them.

How's your week been?

Jess x

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