Laing Jeweller, Edinburgh

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When it comes to jewellery, I can be a touch fussy. I can’t wear costume jewellery as it makes me itch, and the real stuff I love is a tad out my price range.  So, I’m left with something of a capsule collection of daily favourites and an ever growing wish list of pieces to save up for. So, when I got the opportunity to visit Laing Edinburgh, the swishiest jeweller in Edinburgh, I absolutely jumped at the opportunity.

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Not only was I invited to have a look around the new George Street store, but I also got the chance to learn all about diamonds from Richard Laing himself – the sixth generation jeweller who runs the place, and who is pretty much the authority on all things diamond!

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The new Laing store is an absolute joy to explore – there are cabinets upon cabinets filled with real treasures – Mikimoto pearls nestle beside diamonds, and I won’t even start on the watches (yet!). My afternoon started with a masterclass in all things diamond, and I couldn’t be in better hands than Richard’s. Not only is he the sixth (!) generation of his family to run the place, but along with his father, Richard is responsible for buying almost every diamond in the place!

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Looking at a loose stone, we talked all about those famous ‘c’s – cut, colour,carat and clarity. Obviously, we all want the clearest, sparkliest stone, but what I hadn’t realized is that colour and clarity are most important. A smaller, better stone looks far better than a big cloudy one! Getting the chance to handle an uncut diamond was such a thrill. It looks pretty ordinary to the untrained eye, but knowing the brilliance inside is so special! Once the stone on the right is properly cut, it will be about two carats (the size of the stone on the left), and I was even shown a secret test to test how well a diamond has been cut. All you do is slip the stone into a special viewer and look down. If it’s been perfectly cut, the facets all line up, creating hundreds of perfect hearts. Honestly, it’s the most magical kaleidoscope you can imagine!

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Then, once I knew what I was talking about, it was time to view the jewellery on offer in the store. Honestly, stunning is an understatement when it comes to Laing’s pieces. They are designed and made exclusively for and by artisans working exclusively for the jeweller, and the result is a whole array of pieces which are beautifully elegant and absolutely stunning!

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What Laing have also done is introduce the idea of a jewellery collection. When someone opts for a particular style of jewellery, for example an engagement ring, there is an entire set to collect. It means that birthday and Christmas gifts are more than sorted, because you can choose from tennis bracelets, necklaces and earrings all with matching settings.

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What is also absolutely adorable, is that Laing’s settings are all inspired by seven women in the family. Depending on the personalities of the muses, there are flourishes to the pieces to reflect hobbies and loves. It’s such a special nod to the heritage of the jeweller, which I think is just so important!

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There are real heritage pieces in the store too! I was lucky enough to handle the absolutely jaw dropping 175 Necklace, designed to commemorate the 175th birthday of Laing. Again, the piece has been inspired by the seven ‘Ladies of Laing’ and contains nods to all of their styles. The sheer scale and attention to detail in the piece was so wonderful to see, and honestly, it is as much an art piece as it is jewellery!

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I think what affected me most was the sheer clarity of the stones Laing use. Honestly, the twinkling and sparkling of the diamonds was just incredible, and getting to handle the pieces and learn from Richard was just so much fun!

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Then, as if I wasn’t having enough fun, I was shown upstairs to the exclusive watch salon. It’s an absolutely beautiful, light-filled space, filled with concessions for the world’s very finest watches. Turning from Rolex, to Cartier to Jaeger-LeCoultre I was absolutely spoiled for choice. Without even saying anything to him, Richard whipped out a selection of the most perfect watches, including some of my real must-haves. The first was the Men’s all-gold Rolex Datejust which I’ve been in love with since I was about 15, and the second was a new favourite. A Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with Alligator strap. I’d never had the chance to play with one before, and now I’m obsessed! Originally designed for polo players, it’s a discreet, almost cocktail-esque watch which has two faces! One is a subtler, more day appropriate side, whilst the other is a bit flashier, glinting with diamonds.

To say I enjoyed my afternoon is an understatement! A huge thank you to both Richard and to Laing the Jeweller for having me!

 

Ilia Finishing Powder Brush*

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When it comes to brushes, I don’t think that there is any better than a really great powder brush. It’s probably the only brush I use absolutely every day, and it make such a difference to how powders look and feel on the skin. This is my first brush from Ilia, and I have to say, I’ve been seriously impressed!

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With super soft acrylic bristles which are shaped into an angled dome, Ilia have designed their Finishing Powder Brush to really push powder into the skin, giving a really natural finish. Rather than letting powders sit on the surface of the skin, looking horribly fake and cake-y, Ilia’s brush really makes powder disappear, leaving skin looking almost filtered. I’ve been loving the brush to apply a quick slick of bronzer in the mornings – it looks absolutely flawless, and leaves me with a natural-looking glow. I’ve also noticed that my makeup lasts longer when I use the brush – I don’t even need to touch-up at lunch!

Ilia Finishing Powder Brush is priced at £36 and is available here.

Where to meet Santa in Edinburgh*

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I think winter is my favourite time of year in Edinburgh. There’s something about strolling down George Street when it’s all twinkling and fairy lit which just feels so magical. Especially this year, when the entire West end block of the street is dedicated to the street of light.

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2016, Edinburgh – Unlike some Christmas events, which are confined to a specific location, the entire city of Edinburgh comes alive when the winter rolls in. From an enormous Christmas Market to a funfair, ice wall, ice skating, Christmas tree maze and more, you’ll find something for everyone when you’re welcoming in the festivities. Running from the 19th of November until the 7th of January, it’s an event that consumes virtually all of the city’s main shopping streets, so can’t be missed!

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a visit to St Nick! Thankfully, the capital has you covered!

Santa Land, Edinburgh — tell any child they’re going to Santa Land and their excitement levels will likely go through the roof! Santa has pitched his grotto in Santa Land this year, near the Christmas Tree Maze and Santa Train, and will be there between 19th November and Christmas Eve. He will be of course dishing out gifts too!

Opening times:

* 10.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday

* 10.30am to 8pm Saturday & Sunday

* 10.30am to 7.30pm Christmas Eve

*Many thanks to Stagecoach for sponsoring this post – you can find easy transport options at www.stagecoachbus.com

Ban.do stationery at Rooi*

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When it comes to cute stationery I can get a little obsessive. I like my things to be super organised and look cute too! So, when I was contacted by Rooi and asked if I wanted to try a couple of things, I absolutely jumped at the chance. The site has some of the best selection of stationery around, and when I saw that they had US-based brand Ban.do my mind was made up for me!

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Considering I’m always looking for ways to keep my thoughts straight, I thought that the Rough Draft Mini Notebook in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun would be a good shout. It’s the perfect size for popping into my handbag, and I love the fact that it has a thick, durable cover which withstands a bit of rough and tumble when I’m out and about. It’s also super cute. I love the cute, slightly snarky doodles!

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Then, as if the notebook isn’t awesome enough they sent over a whole booklet of stickers! Considering I’ve just treated myself to the Ban.do Agenda (it’s on offer at Rooi at the moment if you want to indulge), these couldn’t have come at a better time! With stickers for everything from nail appointments to coffee dates, with pretty much everything in between, they’re the perfect way to perk up boring appointments!

You can find ban.do stationery at Rooi here.

Black Chicken Remedies Love Your Face Serum*

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Ok, so it’s not exactly news that I’m all about hydration when it comes to skincare. Especially when we’re in the middle of winter. So, when I got the opportunity to try out Australian brand Black Chicken, I absolutely jumped at the opportunity! So, when a green tube arrived with the postman, I was more than a little intrigued!

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The brand is Australian made and owned, and all the ingredients are naturally based and toxin free. They’re all about making your skin as good as possible without adding anything unnecessary or unnatural, so I thought that the face serum was the perfect place to start. Packaged in a dark glass bottle, it’s got a bit of an old-school apothecary feel. The ingredients list for the serum is like a who’s who of great skincare; Apricot Kernel Oil, Jojoba Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and Neroli Essential Oil are all in there.

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The serum itself is an absolute dream come true if you suffer from dry skin. It has a thicker texture than any other serum I’ve tried, in fact, it feels more like an oil to apply. You can use the Love Your Face serum either morning or night (or both if your skin is feeling particularly parched) and you only need to massage a few drops into freshly cleansed skin. My face absolutely drinks the serum up, and I’ve noticed that my skin texture has improved dramatically, even just using the serum a few nights in the row. It also cuts down on redness, which means I don’t need to use as much foundation the morning after. I’ve fallen absolutely in love with the serum, and can’t wait to try other products from the range!

Black Chicken Love Your Face Serum is priced at £66 and is available here.

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