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March 2019 Issue 5



Meet the mums who took the long route to motherhood

COMING UP ROSES Spring beauty goes pretty in pink PICK ME UP, I’M



FIERCE Pack a punch in new season pastels

March 2019






7 This month’s must-do 8 The Hood to-do list 10 The style chart 12 Downtime 15 Sisters of Insta’

32 Joining #GenerationEqual How education and employment are central to Scotland’s feminist mission 35 Find your fire Coach Kirsty McWilliam on taming your inner voice

60 In high spirits Can The Spiritualist’s substance live up to its style? 64 A seafood celebration Ondine’s Roy Brett serves up a coastal Scottish feast



16 Maps to motherhood Five women open up about taking the road less travelled to parenthood 27 Ashley Davies On dividing up her household’s domestic drudgery 28 An artistic endeavour Scots designer Karen Mabon on art, ambition and inspiration…

37 This month’s must buy 38 A brighter shade of pale Who says pastels can’t pack a punch? 52 Treatment truths Can a non-surgical facelift really rival Botox for results? 54 Coming up roses Pick pink for a new season beauty boost

NEIGHBOURHOOD 70 Declutter like Kondo Simple spring-cleaning for elegant interiors 74 Peace in the valley Head to Highland Perthshire for Scotland’s newest wellbeing retreat 77 48 hours in… Dublin An itinerary to make the most of Ireland’s capital

MANHOOD 82 Garry Spence On a love affair that will last forever hood • 3


Rachel Winning joins Hood as sales manager this month My favourite thing about springtime is… that we might get a bit of sunshine. Even a teeny bit would make me very happy. The most exciting thing in my diary this month is… a trip to a beach cottage in Cornwall. It’s a hideous journey to get there, but well worth it for the cream teas. I’m currently reading… The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. Unputdownable.

Photographer Donna McGowan turns her lens on our beauty looks from page 54 My favourite thing about springtime is... more daylight! I love the light mornings – those dark winter starts kill me… The most exciting thing in my diary this month is... all of my photo shoots. I’m super busy with exciting fashion editorials and beauty campaigns, working with some very exciting people. I’m currently reading... Animal by Sara Pascoe.

My Spotify is blasting… Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved.​ My kids love this, so it’s been on repeat for days.

My Spotify is blasting... 90s R’n’B, as always.


Editor: Jennifer Crichton-Gibson Designer: Paul Dickson Contributing beauty editor: Sara Hill Contributing fashion editor: Laura Hudson

HoodMagazine HoodMagazine_ HoodMagazine_

Our digital editor Gillian McDonald lists her pop culture picks from page 12 My favourite things about springtime is… the spring flowers everywhere – tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms…. The most exciting thing in my diary this month is… getting the keys to our first home. Bring on the endless trips to IKEA. I’m currently reading… an old favourite again – If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. My Spotify is blasting… Heartworms by The Shins.

Digital editor: Gillian McDonald Partnerships manager: Sarah Fraser Sales manager: Rachel Winning

Published by Miller Mitchell Media Limited, The Drying House, Eskmills, Station Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7PB Tel: 0131 273 5245. Email: Website: Printed in Scotland by Allander Print Limited. Distributed by Take One Media.

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All prices are correct at time of going to press but subject to change. Hood Magazine cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material. The views and opinions expressed by contributors to this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers. Hood Magazine takes no responsibility for claims made by advertisements in this publication. ©Miller Mitchell Media 2019

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MOTHERHOOD. A MORE WEIRDLY LOADED TOPIC IS HARD TO FIND… If you’re a mum already, you’ll likely have batted away every kind of over-familiarity, from hands on your belly and comments on your breast-feeding (or lack thereof) through to queries about when you’re going to furnish your progeny with a sibling. Similarly, if you’ve danced on a table at your own thirtieth birthday party (was that just me?), and are still without child, you’re among a very lucky few if you are yet to endure people enquiring after your biological clock. For all the progress of feminism, fertility is, it seems, a subject still rife with difficulty and, once you reach a certain age, one that becomes ripe for public debate. While there’s no question that much of the discussion that goes along with the subject of pregnancy and reproduction is well-meaning, one needn’t look far to see how damaging it can be. From the couple trying to conceive and having their hopes dashed every month, to those enduring IVF, exploring adoption or simply deciding to be child-free or ‘done at one’, the endless rounds of questions can be heartbreaking. And while we were certain we wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day in this month’s edition, we were also determined that we would not exclude any reader, regardless of where they are on the journey to finding their ideal family situation. The result, Maps to motherhood, was a true privilege to put together and I am honoured to have met the five fabulously open, honest and optimistic women who shared their beautiful stories with us. I’m sure you’ll love reading about their experiences, from page 16, as much as I enjoyed writing about them. Similarly, while we’re on the subject of including every reader, this seems a good time to address the subject of our magazine’s distribution. We are thrilled that you, the readers, seem to be enjoying the mag so much each month, and we are doing our absolute utmost to ensure that each and every woman who wants to read it can get

their hands on a copy. However, as we continue to work to grow the title, we accept that there are some places in Scotland’s more remote areas that are still proving tricky for us to reach – and that some pick up points in our main cities are emptying far before month’s end. As such, we’ve decided to offer up a subscription service to ensure that those of you who can’t get to a drop off point early each month don’t miss out. Yes, there is a cost involved for printing and posting subscription issues, and yes, we will be continuing to work to expand our free distribution as much as we possibly can – but in the meantime, we hope it will be a welcome addition to our online offering for those who live a little farther out, or who want to ensure they receive their copy of Hood straight to their doorstep each month. We’d love to know what you think…

Jennifer Crichton-Gibson Editor


Dancing like nobody’s watching as Wick’s own indie boys done good Neon Waltz take over Edinburgh’s Mash House. Binning my tights and stocking up on jaunty ankle socks in hopes of brighter mornings. Mainlining kombucha and eschewing merlot as I continue on my sober spring journey. Instagramming @hood_mag_jen

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This month in the


A BLAST FOR BIBLIOPHILES Aye Write!, Glasgow’s biggest annual book festival, returns this month with a packed programme for all genres of book lover. Spread across three weeks, the festival will see both local favourites and world-renowned writers descend upon the city’s iconic Mitchell Library for a variety of readings, discussion events and celebrations of all things literature. With authors as fascinating, funny and fearless as Glasgow itself, Aye Write! will host the likes of Gina Miller, Lionel Shriver, Louise Minchin, Val

McDermid and Alexander McCall Smith. We’re particularly looking forward to hearing Laura Bates – best known for founding The Everyday Sexism Project – discuss her latest collection of essays, Misogynation, on March 16 as she uncovers the true scale of discrimination and prejudice women face today. March 14 to 31 Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN,

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The hood to-do list

Our pick of the concerts, festivals, events and happenings you won’t want to miss this March

James Fairgrieve

ENGAGE WITH SOME SCOTTISH ART GIVE A FELLOW FEMALE A BEAUTY BOOST Have you ever considered what it might be like to be unable to afford basic toiletry essentials? From shampoo and body wash to sanitary items, toothpaste and deodorant, so many of the daily-use items we take for granted are out of reach for women living in poverty in Scotland, which is where Beauty Banks comes in. Launching this month at five Superdrug flagship stores in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, the food-bank style initiative allows shoppers to donate items whenever they stock up on their own. Simple, but life-changing.


SAMPLE SOME STREET FOOD AT CANTEEN Set in the gorgeous grounds of Archerfield Walled Garden, Rogue Village’s family-friendly street food festival, Canteen, returns this month, with an open-air cocktail bar, music from resident DJs Four Corners and all manner of kids’ entertainment in addition to some seriously finger-licking plates. March 30, Archerfield Walled Garden, Dirleton, East Lothian, noon to 6pm, £1, children free. 8 • hood

Prepare to roll up your sleeves and tuck into some of the freshest fish Fife has to offer, as Bowhouse Market’s Food Weekends return for a new season. Bringing together some of the Kingdom’s leading food producers, the first of this year’s events will adopt a distinctly maritime vibe, with seaside-themed entertainment and activities as well as street food stalls and a makers market. March 9 & 10, Bowhouse Farm, St Monans, Anstruther, Fife, 10am to 4pm, free.

Whether you’re an avid collector or an art world novice, you’ll find something of interest at this month’s Borders Art Fair. Boasting exhibition stands from more than 60 local artists, covering contemporary and fine art, sculpture, textiles and print, as well as a series of workshops and demonstrations aimed at making art more accessible, the three-day celebration attracted more than 5,000 visitors last year and looks set to be even bigger this year. Our advice? Get there early… March 15 to 17, Springwood Park, Kelso, 10am to 4pm, free.


SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Looking for a way to mark March 8 this year? While there are community events happening up and down the country, for a larger scale get together, head to the Central Belt. Taking place on March 6 in Glasgow, Women’s Work? will offer up a day of workshops, talks and film screenings focussed on women’s perspectives of the economy, while on the day itself, Business Gateway Edinburgh will be hosting Scotland’s 2019 International Women’s Day Flagship Event at the capital’s City Chambers.

GO FOR A GREEN GROCERY SHOP If, like us, you’ve been trying and struggling to cut back on waste, the opening of Scotland’s first plastic-free grocery store could be music to your ears. The brainchild of food industry expert Kelly Wright, Edinburgh’s The Refillery sells all manner of day-to-day produce, without any plastic packaging in site. Simply turn up with your Tupperware, shop and go. Genius. The Refillery, Newington Road, Edinburgh, Tues to Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 4pm.



Known for their live performances, Deaf Havana have headlined Reading and Leeds, supported Kings of Leon and won, lost and won critics afresh throughout their decade and a half career to date. Now touring their latest, and poppiest, album to date, Rituals, the band hits Scotland this month on the back of some rave reviews. Get your tickets now. March 21, SWG3, Glasgow, and March 22, Unit 51, Aberdeen, 7pm, £20.80.

Fans of Attenborough, take note – Blue Planet II, the hugely-acclaimed underwater nature series, will be coming to life live in concert in Glasgow this month. Hosted by the BBC’s Anita Rani, and featuring live music by the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the fully-immersive experience will take viewers on a journey from icy polar seas to pulsating coral reefs, all under the expert tutelage of TV’s greatest natural historian. March 21, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 6.30pm, from £34.

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STYLE 1 CHART Your must-have fashion and beauty buys, instore and online now


Whistles trench coat The epitome of a wardrobe classic, we haven’t seen a better trench than this offering from Whistles, which combines a flattering cut with sleek, minimalist detailing for a true timeless buy. It’s an investment, yes, but could be worn with pretty much anything, from jeans and a striped top to a date-night dress and heels, for years to come. £289, Whistles

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Anthropologie headband Thought Alice bands were just for under-tens? SS19 says not. Pep up a relaxed weekend look with this cute version – we love the subtle nod to schooldays from the black and white gingham too. £28, Anthropologie

AMA pure wool scarf Spring might be on the horizon, but the milder temperatures haven’t hit quite yet… In the meantime, keep cosy and look cool with this luxurious fine wool scarf in a soft shade of peach. It looks great thrown over a classic trench, and will certainly keep the chill at bay. £225, Harvey Nichols



Accessorize hoop earrings A wardrobe of 2019’s style staples isn’t complete without a pair of small, simple gold hoops. This graduated chunky finish on this pair looks contemporary and classic at the same time, and the small size makes them wearable for any occasion. £5, Accessorize

Dune Elsie trainers A sleek pair of sneaks is a must-have for SS19, to be worn with casual jeans and elegant trousers as well as silk slip skirts and midi dresses. This Dune pair strikes the right balance between classic and quirky, with a monochromatic colour palette and unusual basket weave detail – plus, they’re super comfy. £85, Dune



Miss Selfridge pencil skirt A good heritage print is a timeless classic for your closet, providing a multitude of options for those ‘what to wear?’ days. This sleek pencil skirt will look just as great with a crisp blouse as it does with a chunky roll neck jumper, seeing you through the season in style. £35, Miss Selfridge

Simply Be basket bag Every so often, a fun trend slips over the line into classic territory, which is exactly what’s happened with the basket bag. Raffia, wicker and woven numbers have been huge for the past few seasons, so get in there early and snap up this cute but chic bucket-bag, complete with crisp gingham lining and sleek wooden handles. £35, Simply Be

Primark linen jacket If you struggle to find office-appropriate pieces that work for the weekends too, then Primark has come up roses for you. It’s take on the classic linen jacket is the elusive combination of stylish and purse-friendly, and the boxy fit, cropped sleeves and tortoiseshell buttons make it look far pricier than it really is. Don’t worry, we can keep a secret… £17, Primark

8 Chanel Rouge Coco Flash lipstick in Ultime Of course, no classic look is complete without the ultimate red lipstick, and who better to provide it than Chanel? ‘Ultime’ is, as the name suggests, the perfect true red to suit all skin tones, and the new formula, packed with plant butters and oils, provides a silky coat of colour with a long-lasting shine that’s comfortable to wear all day long. £31, from March 8


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Hobbs loafers Another wardrobe staple, Team Hood loves a bit of leopard print. For SS19, this timeless trend is moving away from clothes and towards our accessories for a subtler pop of print, so why not try these ultra-chic leopard loafers? Ideal for both your work and weekend wardrobes, they’ll be a staple for seasons to come, we guarantee it. £189, Hobbs

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Dial up your downtime Don’t waste your precious free hours. These are the TV shows, movies and books worth dropping everything for this March…

DIRTY JOHN Based on the cult podcast of the same name, season one of Dirty John is the first in an anthology series focusing on the real stories behind true crime cases. Eric Bana stars as the charismatic John Meehan, a serial conman who romances his way into the life of Debra Newell, a four-time divorcee looking for love played by Connie Britton. Expect to hold your breath as the secrets, lies and manipulation that follow have horrific consequences for the entire family. Streaming on Netflix now

PLEASE LIKE ME When 20-year-old Josh discovers he’s gay during a break-up with his girlfriend, gets a new boyfriend and has to deal with his mother’s suicide attempt all in one day, it sounds like the start of a very dramatic series. But Please Like Me is gloriously low-key, following the mundane exploits of the awkward, self-centred Josh and his friends. Written by, and starring, Australian comedian Josh Thomas, it’s the funniest thing we’ve watched in ages – and all four seasons are available to binge now. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video now

RUSSIAN DOLL A cross between Groundhog Day and Black Mirror, Russian Doll tells the tale of a New Yorker who finds herself caught in a mysterious loop. On the night of her birthday party, Nadia is hit by a car and killed – but then she wakes up the next morning and does it all over again, with the loop resetting each time she dies. Written and produced by comedy dream team Natasha Lyonne (who also stars as Nadia), Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, the eight-part series is as sharp, compelling and darkly funny as you’d expect. Streaming on Netflix now

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Selected by Rare Birds Book Club founder Rachel Wood, these funny, charming novels set in the past feature spirited historic heroines with plenty of modern ideas

QUEER EYE This heartwarming reboot of the early noughties makeover show has become something of a worldwide sensation since it launched on Netflix last year, and we can’t wait to have the Fab Five back on our screens. Returning for its third series, Queer Eye will see both men and women receive advice on everything from finding their signature style to learning to love themselves for who they are. Bring on the French tucks, avocado salads and incredible overnight home transformations…. yas, henny. Streaming on Netflix from March 15

GUILT BBC Scotland has just launched its brand-new channel with a programme packed full of original Scottish content, but arguably the most anticipated show in the line-up is Guilt, a gritty drama starring Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives (pictured) as brothers. Set in Edinburgh, the siblings accidently run over a man while driving home from a wedding and decide to cover up the crime. Suspicions begin to rise, and their lives are thrown into disarray as increasingly desperate attempts are made to hide their guilt. Live on BBC Scotland this March

The Illumination of Ursula Flight Anna-Marie Crowhurst Restoration England comes to life through the eyes of Ursula Flight in this brilliantly funny novel. After a chance encounter with an actress as a child, Ursula dreams of a glittering career on the stage – only to be married off to a complete stranger before she’s sixteen. In an age where the role of women is as strictly defined as the corsets they wear, Ursula defies societal convention to seek out adventure and make her dreams a reality. Party Girls Die in Pearls Plum Sykes Wide-eyed country girl Ursula Flowerbutton arrives at Oxford University in 1985, planning for a quiet year studying history. Instead, on the morning of her first tutorial she finds the body of a socialite on a chaise-longue. Together with her new friend, American heiress Nancy Feingold, the two must piece together the mystery and find the killer living amongst them – all while chasing future Dukes, attending society balls and squeezing in late-night study sessions in the library, of course. Dear Mrs Bird AJ Pearce Set in London during the Blitz, Emmeline Lake dreams of being a war reporter, but the closest she can get is a job sorting mail for Mrs Bird, the agony aunt at the nearly defunct magazine Women’s Friend. Instead of destroying letters containing unacceptable topics, Emmy starts writing back. What follows is a charming and uplifting story of courage and friendship that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Rachel Wood is the founder of Rare Birds Book Club, a monthly book subscription service for sociable readers. For more information, visit

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WE MAKE MUMS Every day, our world-leading IVF team helps another woman become a mum. If you need a little help, call us on 0141 891 8749, or visit


Originally from Australia but now based in Aberdeen, mum-of-one (with another on the way) Kylie Abreau is the brains behind the beautiful fashion, lifestyle and parenting blog, Confidently Kylie. Kylie uses her platform to encourage fellow mamas to remain self-assured after having children, inspiring ‘modern mums’ to hold on to their passions and enjoy living a stylish life to the fullest – with their little ones in tow, of course. Follow for: the reassurance that life can still be glamorous after having children @confidentlykylie


Not just a social personality, Carys is also the founder of children’s interiors and clothing company Freddie Loves, which sources stylish clothing and homewares for little ones like her own son, for whom the business is named. Through her Instagram, Carys shares her life as a mother-of-two since the arrival of baby daughter Sage, giving her followers a look at life as she navigates parenting, renovating her Falkirk home and running her business. It makes us tired just thinking about it! Follow for: Inspiration for a stylish home and equally stylish children’s clothing. @ccaryschapman


Blogger Sarah Ferguson lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and two children, Wren and Ivor, and uses her blog to showcase snippets of her very photogenic life. From sleek maternity fashion to cosy homecooked recipes and crafting with small children, Sarah offers a comforting but contemporary look at family living. Plus, we love her super chic androgynous style for serious #ootd inspiration! Follow for: A Kinfolk-esque take on modern family living. @brassbuttonsandconfidence

SISTERS OF INSTA’ Our pick of the parenting bloggers showing us how to juggle life in style this month


Mother-of-two Karena Thomson might have swapped Aberdeen living for the glamour of life in Qatar, but she’s still very much a Scot at heart. Juggling an expat lifestyle with her toddler son Jack and baby daughter Daisy, we love her seriously stylish but always realistic take on motherhood, sharing sleep issues and teething troubles alongside dreamy snapshots of her beautiful babies and boho-chic wardrobe – and her trips back home to the motherland, of course. Follow for: Joyful and beautiful photos of life as a young family abroad. @karenavalentina


Perthshire-based Nicola Burke, aka Wee Slice, shares a laughout-loud look at life parenting two children in the countryside, having relocated from the capital to live a quieter life (and launch a distillery). Nicola says her blog is an antidote to the immaculate lives usually showcased on social media, and she uses her posts to share a real-life insight into what it really takes to raise a family, a dog and a business or two, while holding on to sanity at the same time. Follow for: A giggle-inducing, refreshingly candid take on modern motherhood. @weeslice

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First comes love, then comes marriage (maybe), then comes a baby in a baby carriage, right? Not so, for many modern families. As Mother’s Day approaches, we meet five Scottish women who took a longer, but no less rewarding, route to parenthood.

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The mother by marriage Journalist Susie Cormack Bruce and her stepdaughter Pearl, 12, live in Glasgow. They met when Pearl was four years old


earl was just about to turn five when we came into each other’s lives. Her mum and dad had been apart since she was a baby, so there was never any issue of divided loyalties for Pearl, or friction between her mum and I, which certainly helped in creating the family unit we have now. I met Pearl quite quickly into my relationship with her dad, but we were careful to introduce me to her initially as her daddy’s friend and then, as her trust grew, I made time to become her friend too. It was really important to establish my own personal relationship with her, something unique to the two of us, and I’m really glad we formed that bond so early on. To this day we have a little saying: ‘I’m your step-mum now, but I was your friend first.’ Before her dad asked to marry me, he asked Pearl what she thought first. Thankfully, she agreed it was a good idea and I think, although she was little, she understood that she had a part to play in forming our family. It also brought home to me that I wasn’t just marrying Alan, I was also committing myself to Pearl and she to me, and that meant we wouldn’t be a couple but a family from the off. That was quite a daunting prospect, but if I wasn’t ready for motherhood in my 40s, I reckoned I never would be. The challenges I’ve found in become a stepparent haven’t had anything to do with Pearl or her mum, but her dad, my hubby. Because he doesn’t see as much of her as he’d like – his job involves travel – when she’s with us, he tends to go into fun-time daddy mode, letting her stay up later than she should and seemingly losing the ability to say no to her. That’s really not healthy for Pearl and it’s also not fair on her mum, who then, because of the time split, inevitably dishes out the lion’s share of discipline.

Alan also has a tendency to let Pearl push her luck on the cheekiness front, while I nip it in the bud with a few personal phrases that she knows mean she’s going too far. Pearl’s mum and I discuss her use of social media and set some boundaries, and I think it’s important she knows her mum and I are a united front. I’ve witnessed the divide and conquer routine with friends who are in similar circumstances and no one wins. The only thing I do struggle with sometimes is the term step-daughter, because when Pearl’s with us, she couldn’t be any more loved, or any more mine than if I had given birth to her. I’m very protective of her, but try not to be too overbearing as I know she needs to grow up and experience all that life has to offer – the good and the bad. And I hope that by being that friend first and step-mum second, she’ll continue to feel comfortable confiding in me. Although it’s worth noting Pearl’s not yet hit her teenage years – maybe check in on that again in a few years’ time…”

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The same-sex mums

PR agency founder Lee Beattie lives in Glasgow with her wife, Sarah, and their two-year-old daughter, Edith Rae. The couple sought medical help in conceiving Edith 18 • hood


Tell us about the process of seeking medical assistance to become same-sex parents. Is there much support out there? We lived in Brighton at the time, which you would think would be one of the most knowledgeable places in the UK, but our lovely GP actually didn't know very much about it and said from the outset that we would look it all up together. We explored the options and her recommendation was that we'd need to go private, which is what we did. At our first consultation with The Agora Fertility Clinic they talked us through our options. We'd already decided that Sarah was going to carry the baby so she had tests to see how fertile she was. Thankfully, the answer was very, which meant that we didn't have to think about IVF. We went for Intrauterine Insertion (IUI) which, really crudely, is having sperm inserted into the uterus. The first attempt didn't work, which I think probably came down to the fact we had no idea what to expect from the process. It's very medical and actually, I think the first time we went in we were quite unprepared for how uncomfortable it would be. I think there's a lot to be said for the fact that the next time we went, we absolutely knew what to expect. We'd met the nurses, we'd been in the rooms, Sarah had taken some painkillers first. So the second time was successful, and we moved back to Scotland soon after, when Sarah was two months pregnant. How did you make the decision that Sarah was going to carry your daughter? At that point it was more practical than anything else. Sarah is a freelancer and I own my own business, so for me to take the time out needed would have been a lot harder. But honestly, Sarah had more of a burning desire to actually do that part than I did. I know for some people that's quite a difficult decision, but for us it was an easy one. Physical experience aside, was it an emotional process? Straight away, you’re offered counselling for if you want to talk about the whole thing, which I think is excellent, though we decided against it. Our communication levels are really good anyway, so it was fairly easy, but still more emotional than

we might have expected. I can't even tell you the amount of blood tests and injections, and that very medical side of the process was the bit we were probably unprepared for. I guess the whole process of becoming a family is very romantic for many heterosexual couples, but the reality for a same-sex couple isn't very romantic at all! We were glad to get out of that bit, to know we were pregnant and start looking forward to parenthood. Tell us about the process of choosing a donor. Was that difficult? The Agora made recommendations for sperm banks and, essentially, you pay for access for three months and start looking through a sort of online catalogue. It’s a wild experience because you have

I GUESS THE WHOLE PROCESS OF BECOMING A FAMILY IS VERY ROMANTIC FOR MANY HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES, BUT THE REALITY FOR A SAME-SEX COUPLE ISN’T VERY ROMANTIC AT ALL! an abundance of questions about what is important to you. You can search hair colour, eye colour, there are photographs of the men as babies, educational details and reams of medical information going back to grandparents. There’s also a personal letter from the donor, which is good because it gives you a bit more of a sense of their motivation and outlook on life – there's even a little voice recording, a sort of interview with a nurse. Obviously, your main concern is whether the person is healthy, but you also have to consider that at some point in the future, your child may decide to explore their background, so you want to feel like you’re looking at a good person. It's all quite weird, really, but you just work your way through it and try to look at it from your child's perspective.

What kind of reaction have people had to your family set up? Obviously, Brighton is the gay capital of the UK, so when we moved back I wasn’t sure if Scotland would be less open, but that wasn’t the case at all. I don't know if maybe we’ve just been lucky, but we've never come across a situation yet where people have been shocked or negative. That said, we’re not at a place yet where we walk into a room and people automatically see us as a couple, so we do find we have to explain our situation at every turn. But once that’s done, nothing’s been awkward. Do you think Ruth Davidson’s recent pregnancy has also helped with the way same-sex parenting is regarded? Honestly, the fact that the leader of the Tory party in Scotland is a gay woman who has started a family is just something I wouldn’t have believed 25 years ago. I mean, I grew up with Section 28 and that’s really not that long ago. I think it's important for young people to see what they can be and, when I was 14, there weren't really any out, gay role models, and certainly not any having families, so it wasn't necessarily a route that you understood was open to you. Young kids coming out now can see people like Ruth Davidson and others in the public eye being out and open about their lives, and I think that is massively important and a very positive step forward. How do you prepare Edith for the questions she might face in the future? I think that even from the very beginning, it’s about just talking openly. There are books that explain about all the different types of families, but we also just make sure that we talk to her about it all the time, that some people have a daddy and a mummy, some people have two daddies, some people just have one mummy, that family set up is different across the board. I know that when she goes to school, she is still likely to be in classes where the vast majority of kids have mums and dads, but I think it is changing a little bit and we just need to make sure that she is confident knowing everybody has different aspects to their lives. I don’t think kids have preconceived ideas about this stuff, so we’ve just got to build on that open-mindedness positively and be present for questions if they arise.

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The mum after miscarriage Alison Chalmers lives with her husband Danny and their two children in Dunfermline. The couple had trouble trying to conceive Sam, five, and experienced miscarriage before welcoming two-year-old Belle

Photo by Alan Inglis Photography


ooking back, I coasted through life into my late 20s. I’d landed the job I wanted and was lucky to meet and marry my wonderful husband, Danny, before I was 30. It seemed everything was falling into place, and we put off having children for a while. When we felt ready, I thought I would be holding a baby nine months later. I was out by years. Trying and failing to get pregnant was a dark time for me. I resented my body for failing me and – the worst part – resented friends who seemed to fall pregnant instantly. After intrusive examinations, we got ‘good’ news: there was nothing stopping us conceiving. Through a fog of hurt and disappointment, I struggled to take this positively, as it meant there was no quick fix. I’m relieved to say our struggles brought us closer. I can’t deny it was a strain, but Danny’s unwavering faith we would be parents carried me at times when I thought I was forever going to be an auntie and not a mother. Meanwhile, people were unwittingly rubbing salt into the wound by

asking why we hadn’t filled the house with babies, having no idea of our pain. I could have stopped this, of course, by sharing our story, but I was embarrassed to admit I was unable to fulfil what seemed the most basic of female functions. One day, a friend mentioned acupuncture had helped them conceive, and this turned out to be the game-changer. My practitioner was as much an emotional therapist as he was a healer, and he showed me how my stressful job was impacting on my health. Just two months into a new role, I was pregnant, and our wonderful son, Sam, arrived in 2014. Two kids was always the dream, so after just four months of trying for a second, we were delighted to fall pregnant. Sadly, we were never destined to hold this baby, and at just eight weeks our child died. I hate the language of miscarriage. I refuse to say I lost the baby – that sounds as if I carelessly mislaid them. I won’t say I miscarried as that only adds to a mothers’ guilt that it was something they did. There’s a lot of work to be done to change the

stigma surrounding miscarriage. I know there has to be a timeline for when a foetus becomes a baby, and just eight weeks in is exceptionally early, but for me, a positive test means there’s a baby. If a heartbeat can be heard in early scans, then a heart that’s stopped counts as death. Dealing with a miscarriage with a toddler is a strange phenomenon. We didn’t take time out as a couple to process, throwing ourselves into filling the house with love and light for Sam. I felt guilty questioning Mother Nature when I already had an amazing little boy. I was so thankful for what we had that I shut down my bereavement. Turns out, that’s not the most productive thing to do. It’s only now that I am accepting it by opening up and realising so many others have shared this experience. Just three months later we were pregnant again, and our beautiful Belle was born at the end of 2016. We are now joyously living in the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m thankful for my two children every day, knowing that pregnancy is a hope, not a given.”

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Clinic manager Lynsey Crosbie and her partner Gary had their first son, Cameron, by IVF. She is currently pregnant with their second child, who was conceived naturally 22 • hood

Photo by Diana Baker Photography Limited

The IVF mum


Did you always know that you would need help to conceive, or were you shocked to have difficulty getting pregnant? “I used to say I didn’t see myself with kids, and I wasn’t remotely interested in parenthood until my mid 30s – maybe I subliminally knew it wouldn’t be an easy path for me. I came off the pill initially to take a rest from it, but a year or so later we started to wonder why nothing had happened, and that’s when all the irregularities came to light. After a few tests, I was made aware that I was not ovulating every month and then, after a private blood test, that my egg reserve for my age was abnormally low. How quickly were you able to be referred for IVF and what was your expectation of the process? I had many months of ultrasounds to check my womb and fallopian tubes were fine, then I was referred to hospital, where I was given a year’s fertility drug treatment to help regulate ovulation. We were placed on the list for free IVF, but that usually takes a year and, given my low egg count, our consultant advised we go private if we could find the money. In this day and age where debt is actively discouraged, I’ll never forget the consultant saying ‘Find the money if you can, put it on a credit card if need be – whatever it takes.’ We were lucky we did have it – we used some of our wedding savings. What was the process after you chose to push ahead privately? As the fertility challenges rested with me and not my partner, the treatment was all tailored to me. I initially had injections daily to shut down and take control of my system, then a secondary set of daily multiple injections to stimulate the growth of eggs for surgical retrieval around two weeks later. The eggs removed are then given the magic treatment with the sperm ‘in vitro’ and grown into embryos. How difficult was the actual treatment, both physically and emotionally? I was very lucky that, apart from a few night sweats, I found it absolutely fine and manageable. I’m a positive person and I just psyched myself up, knowing it was just a process I needed to get through. My boss kindly started me off with my injections


and showed me exactly what to do, and then I just got on with it. The treatment can affect your mood horribly, going from hysterical laughter to tears in minutes, though personally I was mostly filled with anxiety and much more adversely affected by the months of taking the fertility drug Chlomid than I ever was by the IVF. Did you find IVF was something you could discuss openly? Sadly, I think it’s still a hugely taboo subject for many and not openly discussed at all. At the start of it all, I felt so unfeminine and embarrassed by the whole thing, that there was something wrong with me and that I was somehow a failure at being female. I felt like I’d brought this on my partner, and that I was robbing him of the chance to have children that he’d have had with someone else. But the more people I told, the more others would open up about their own experiences. Suddenly, everywhere I went, I would meet IVF mums, which was so reassuring. I also think, with more women wanting a career, working harder and longer and putting off kids until later, we’re more commonly running into fertility issues. I was extremely lucky to have IVF work for me and, once I came out the other side, I realised all those feelings of self-doubt were absolutely ridiculous and pointless. But you can’t help it at the time. How did your partner find the process? Gary is probably the most laidback man I’ve ever met. We’re well suited in that

we’re hugely positive and always try to see the upside in anything, so we kept ourselves upbeat with loads of date nights, cinema trips, meals, theatre trips and city breaks. We didn’t fixate on it at all and agreed to take each day as it came. The wait for the phone call to hear whether I was actually pregnant or not, however, was another story. We were sat having lunch, crippled by nerves. We could barely speak to each other, let alone eat our meal! How did it feel to know you were pregnant and were going to be a mum? It’s been the biggest blessing of my life. I had no other embryos after the chosen front runner was implanted, so Cameron really is a walking miracle. He was against all odds – to such a degree we nicknamed him Phil Collins whilst he was growing inside me! Strangely, one of the best things for me is that, even when he wakes me and I’m utterly exhausted and demented, when he lays his head on my chest in bed and I know that all he needs in the world is me, that is just indescribable. I also love seeing him develop and learn his new life skills. Did you expect to get pregnant naturally a second time? I never, ever expected to get pregnant again. We would’ve tried IVF again a few years down the line, of course, but had it not worked I was very prepared and very happy to only have one child. So to find out we were going to be a family of four by surprise was the biggest shock of my life. We had our wedding booked, I had my figure back, my life and routine with Cameron were pretty much nailed and I was back at my beloved job then, boom, I was pregnant again, naturally. It just goes to show you never know what’s ahead of you. What would you say to a friend who was struggling to conceive and contemplating IVF? It’s easy for me to say, but you have to keep positive and upbeat. Look after your body and do things you enjoy. IVF can consume your entire breathing existence. It can drain all your money and savings and potentially break your relationship with the strain and worry. So you have to try to keep perspective and continue enjoying the life you have.

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The adoptive mum

Susan and her partner David* are shortly going to welcome two siblings into their family home by adoption 24 • hood


In need of some support? Fertility Network This UK-wide organisation offers information, emotional support and guidance on treatment options for anyone trying to conceive. The useful website also includes links to local support groups the length and breadth of Scotland. NCT The UK’s leading charity for parents, NCT provides support for “your first 1,000 days”, offering everything from neonatal and postnatal classes through to information and guidance for surviving the baby and toddler years. MyGov Fostering and adoption procedures can differ from one local authority to the next, but the MyGov website is a great place to start seeking out information on the situation in your local area.


y partner and I didn’t start trying for a baby until I was 40. He’d always been keen to be a dad, but it had taken me a while to be sure parenthood was for me. We got pregnant fairly quickly, but I had a miscarriage, and then just couldn’t get pregnant again. When we decided to adopt, our local authority in Edinburgh warned us it would make sense to have a family-sized home set up before beginning the process, so we made it our mission to move out of the city to a bigger, more child-friendly home, which set us back almost a year. Once we were settled, we got in touch with the adoption team in our new local authority, and they came to visit us to talk about our lives and motivations. We then joined a ‘prep group’, attending six full days of sessions with other prospective adopters, where we learned all about attachment, therapeutic parenting, how adopted children’s needs can be very different, and loads of other things we didn’t know before. We then started an intensive programme with our social worker, which involved him getting to know us really well, and helping us prepare the paperwork that led to us being approved. We had to write a lot about

our own family backgrounds, our support network, how we’ve learnt from setbacks in our own lives – all sorts of things that would affect our ability to be good parents. I was surprised by how emotional I found some of this (I didn’t have a particularly stable or loving background, so I guess there were some triggers there) but our social worker was really encouraging and underlined the fact that it’s useful to be able to demonstrate resilience and to understand that not everyone’s lives are perfect. They had to check that we didn’t have criminal records and spoke to some of our friends to verify our characters. As well as having to decide what age of children we wanted, we also had to answer some difficult questions about what level of challenge we could cope with, such as whether we were equipped to parent children with disabilities or experience of abuse, as well as whether we’d be happy for any adopted child to maintain contact with their birth parents. There’s no obligation to take on any more than you could handle, because no one wants a placement to break down. After another year, we were approved to adopt, and then the matching process

started. Some people can find a match almost immediately, and we did hear of a sibling group who we thought might be for us, but their circumstances changed after we’d waited for them for several months. If your social worker can’t match you with a child or children in your area, you’re advised to go on a website called Linkmaker, which is – forgive the cold language – a bit like a directory of children who need homes. At first it feels awful – almost transactional – scrolling through the case notes of these poor kids, but you can see why it’s necessary. Almost a year after we were approved, we heard that the circumstances of the siblings we’d originally waited for had changed again, and we met them last month for the first time. Next, we’ll visit the children at their current foster carers’ house, then they’ll come to visit us, and slowly the contact will be increased until they’re comfortable enough to move to their ‘forever home’. Our life is about to change dramatically, and we’re as terrified as we are excited.”

*Names changed upon author’s request

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A SH L EY DAV I E S Is washing her hands of half her household’s domestic labour


othing makes a person feel more alive than carrying an overloaded food recycling bag that’s about to burst. Every second counts in that exhilarating dash to the outdoor container, and you just know that cold, soupy grimness sloshing around the bottom is eating its way through the gossamer-thin material, ready to splosh over your legs. Run too fast and you might jolt it open. Walk too slow and you’re just letting gravity turn you into a victim. Will tonight, you whisper to yourself, be the night when split, damp teabags, furry cucumbers and that avocado that went from rock hard to rotten in ten goddamn minutes be strewn around the garden path? Cor, it’s exciting. We have something resembling a division of labour in our house and bins are, in theory, my husband’s job. I don’t think we ever discussed this; it just sort of happened. I blame it on the fact that he likes to tie tidy knots to ensure the liner doesn’t slide inside the bin like a saggy little sock inside a chaffing Welly boot, and that untying these knots sends me into disproportionate rage. As a result, our bins are always left too long before being emptied. We press the contents down and down until they’ve transformed into a repulsive domestic diamond, and removing the liner from its container feels like the sort of task that would leave James Herriot mopping his brow and considering an alternative career. Also, no matter what you put in your bin, your hands always smell the same afterwards. Eau de garbage. Suburban death broth (yeah, good band name). We’ve been clearing out a lot of crap recently and so the wheelie bin is fuller than normal, and when I went out last week to try squash yet another bulging sack in there, it burst, farting a gust of trash gas into my face. Valuable lessons were learnt that day. Husband-features’ main beef with me relates to my propensity to let post pile up, and he has an entirely valid point. Every now and then, usually

“OUR BINS ARE ALWAYS LEFT TOO LONG BEFORE BEING EMPTIED, PRESSED DOWN AND DOWN UNTIL TRANSFORMED INTO A REPULSIVE DOMESTIC DIAMOND” before we have house guests, he’ll gather my mounds of mail, by now measured in height rather than units of correspondence, and place them sweetly under my nose. I’ll promise to deal with it, but of course I’ll be lying, and eventually it’ll all end up in another plastic bag in some dark corner of the house, gathering mould. The only domestic duty I actually take full responsibility for is laundry. Somebody once said that being a freelancer is like having homework to do all the time, and that’s exactly how I feel as a home-based writer. So laundry is a perfect task for me: it’s achievable, and doesn’t require any planning. Getting to the bottom of the laundry basket (if you’ll be kind enough to disregard the bikini that’s been in there since before the Brexit vote) almost feels like job satisfaction, and when it’s warm enough to hang washing up on the line again I’ll finally feel like I’m pulling my weight. And hopefully my hands won’t smell of bin juice. @msashleydavies (Twitter)

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AN ARTISTIC ENDEAVOUR When Scottish designer Karen Mabon started putting her drawings on silk scarves, she had little idea how popular her designs would become – her range now spans everything from clothing to homewares, with celebrity clients clamouring for her custom work. Jennifer Crichton-Gibson catches up with her on a rare hour off to discuss inspiration, growing a business and what it feels like to take a call from Buckingham Palace… 28 • hood


Tell me about your career path up to launching your own line – what got you interested in illustration and design? I trained at Edinburgh College of Art in jewellery, and then did a masters in goldsmithing at the Royal College of Art in London – but I don't really know why I got into jewellery to be honest. I wanted to study fashion, but I was a bit intimidated by the department so opted for jewellery instead. The subject felt quite magical to me, and I liked the alchemy of creating beautiful things out of nothing. But drawing was always my favourite thing and it wasn't until I left the Royal College that I realised that was all I wanted to do. What prompted you to launch your own line so early in your career, and how daunting was the experience? I was so young when I launched, I think that maybe was an advantage because I had nothing to lose and was possibly a bit reckless too, which worked in my favour. When I started it, I had quit my job as a designer for the high street and was working full time as a waitress where I was constantly spilling things on customers and forgetting to take their orders. I was 30 minutes late for work every single day and on the verge of being fired. In my head, I had already hit rock bottom, so it wasn't like I had a reputation to uphold or anything I would be sacrificing. I saved up £400 in tips and bought some printed silk, sewed the first scarves by hand myself, sold them and then used the money to buy more scarves. I already felt like I had let everyone down because I didn't have a proper job, so I just clung on to the vision I had for the brand and worked solidly and consistently on that vision. I think it was just absolute desperation to prove myself that propelled me forward. I would get up every day at 5am, go and do a shift at the café, come home and work until midnight and then do the whole thing over again. It was exhausting. I was either going to burn out and give up, or make it work somehow. I didn't call it Karen Mabon at the start either. I called it Red Brick, which in hindsight was a godawful name but I think I felt embarrassed about what I was doing so I hid behind this alter ego. Then, when I had my first meeting with Liberty, Ed Burtsell, who was the managing director at the time, told me to make it eponymous because customers subconsciously warmed

to a woman's name. "Look at Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgwater, Amanda Wakeley, Kate Spade, Lulu Guinness, Orla Kiely..." he said. He had a point. Were there any unforeseen difficulties and issues to launching? Oh yes! Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. I was so unbelievably naïve, and if I had known how hard and stressful production was, I would never in a million years have started it. Fortunately, I didn't know, so here we are. The most difficult thing by a mile is quality control and production, especially as you scale up, and the logistics of shipping, import/ export and customs were massive hurdles too. There have been times when parcels have gone missing or been swapped over or delivered to the wrong place, so it has been a huge learning curve.

Did you have a moment when you realised the brand was going to take off? I think the biggest misconception about business is that there is that one big break and then everything is ok, but it wasn't really like that for me at all. I think building a business is a lot about relentless optimism and resilience. In the beginning, I clung on to every positive and tried to ignore all the people who told me it was a waste of time. There was a lot of rejection to swallow and move past. I would send my lookbook out to literally thousands of stores and just one would reply, but I would take that as a positive sign. I think I quickly learned that things I thought would be big breaks – such as having my work in Vogue or selling to a department store – don't necessarily bring in a lot of revenue. I think the moment I

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thought 'there is something here' is when I got my first reasonably-sized wholesale order which was enough to cover my rent. That was when it finally started to form into a tangible thing I could earn a living from. You started out designing scarves but now create a wide range of products. How does that diversification process work and how quick has it been? It has taken years to diversify. When I started out, I sampled loads of different products, and had a vision of a full womenswear and jewellery line, plus shoes, bags, pencil cases, the works. But the reality is that it's very expensive to develop a new product, especially if you are an obsessive perfectionist like me. And decent factories have quite high minimums too, so you have to be really confident something is going to work before investing. I was really lucky in that companies slowly began to approach me about designing products or working on collaborations, including Radley handbags and Peter Alexander, which is a huge pyjama chain in Australia. I'm feeling more confident now about taking a risk with new products, and this year I'm aiming to expand my homeware offering and branch into ceramics. Do you consider yourself an illustrator, a fashion or interiors designer, or all of the above? I consider myself a designer I think. I started off making illustrated and printed products because that's what I felt was lacking at the time – when I launched my brand, it was just after the recession, Phoebe Philo was at Celine, everything was really minimal and there wasn't much colour anywhere. But I've always loved print and pattern so I'm really happy now that the popular aesthetic is moving back towards maximalism and a sense of playfulness. I've just signed with an illustration agency for the first time, which feels weird because I don't see myself as an illustrator at all. I'm working on a big multi-product collaboration at the moment and it's exciting, because I've included some pieces which are a bit more grown up, more about colour and texture than full on print. I think it's really important to try and grow up with my brand and I'm trying to work out how to do that. So, in that sense, I suppose how I see myself isn't of very much 30 • hood

importance – but when people attach a label to me it gives me imposter syndrome. Where do you get your inspiration for new prints from? I wish I knew! If I ever sit down and try and write down some new scarf design ideas it never works – the best just pop into my head at odd moments. But I have learned how to harness my creativity a bit more. I've realised how important having down time is because that seems to be when I come up with ideas. Last summer I got really into cycling because it's my boyfriend's favourite thing to do, and I absolutely loved it – something about the countryside whizzing past was really inspiring. I read a lot and visit galleries for visual ideas. To be totally honest, I'm not really that into fashion exhibitions. My best friend works at the V&A and she is relentlessly horrified by my indifference to the blockbuster fashion displays there. Everyone has already posted the best bits on Instagram before I can get time to visit! I much prefer intimate and quiet

exhibitions, and one place I never fail to be inspired by is a department store. Any time I go into central London I just can't resist popping into Liberty. I think it reminds me of why I started my business in the first place; I am such a consumer and I just love beautiful objects and treasures. You’ve worked on some incredible collaborations. How big a part of your day-to-day work are those now? That is by far the best part of my job. I think being a designer can often be quite lonely and I love the chance to collaborate with a team and be given a brief. I do occasionally turn things down – I can't do unpaid projects anymore because it doesn't make sense financially and my time is really precious to me. Also, sometimes a brand just isn't a good fit for whatever reason. Have you had any pinch yourself moments in terms of brands approaching you? I think the best moment was when I was in LA a couple of years ago. I put a little


mention on my Instagram story to say I was there. I got a reply immediately from a girl who worked at DreamWorks Animation, asking if I would like to come in the next day to discuss a project, so obviously I said yes. The offices were like something out of a dream. After our meeting, they took me on a tour of the animation department, before we went out into the courtyward for lunch. There was a carp pond and a topiary of their logo with the boy sitting on the moon. Everything was free, from the ice cream truck to the slushy machine to the barbeque. It was like a fairground. It was like one of those old beer adverts about the best workplace on the planet, but it was real and it was in front of me. Afterwards I just sat outside in the baking heat and couldn't work out if it was a dream or not. Who is the most exciting client you’ve created custom work for and why? I think Buckingham Palace was definitely the most exciting project. I am such a massive fan of the royal family, so it felt really personal, and the name just carries

so much weight too. It felt significant at that point in my career to take on a bigger project that was quite prestigious. How did you find Scotland as a place to found a brand? It was the perfect place to incubate my business – there is something uniquely supportive about the Scottish creative scene. There is an integrity about it and people aren't competitive – they want to help each other rise to the top which is a really special thing. What’s next for the brand? Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions or ideas? I'm working on a huge collaboration at the moment with a French department store which I am so excited about – it includes kids’ clothing, homewares, womenswear, the full works. I am absolutely desperate to make some ceramics, so I think I need to do that this year too and just get it out of my system. I'm not sure if it's an age thing,

but in my twenties, I spent all my money on clothes and shoes and now I'm in my thirties suddenly all I want to buy are nice lamps and salad bowls. I have an idea for a tufted rug that I really want to make too, so I might just make one for my own flat and see if anyone else wants one! With so many different strands to your business, how difficult is it to find a balance between work and downtime? Honestly, it’s really difficult. For years I didn't have a personal life. I was single until I met my boyfriend two years ago, and that suited me just fine because I was travelling constantly and I could stay up drawing late into the night every night if I fancied it. But meeting my boyfriend was the best thing that ever happened because he drags me out into the world and I've realised how important friendships are. It's just scarves, at the end of the day.

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Joining #GenerationEqual A Scottish Government advisory body has unveiled plans aimed at making the country a world leader on gender equality. But as we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, just how far from true balance are we? And what will the recommendations mean for your work life, your boardroom, or even your local school? Hood reports…


hether it’s through the glass walls of the corner office, around the conference room table or on the company masthead, when you take a peek at the movers and shakers shaping things at your firm, what do you see? Or, more importantly, who? That’s the question that, for the past 12 months, has been front and centre for the group of women charged with shaping Scotland’s mission to become a world leader on gender equality. Hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds across business, education and the third sector, the members of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) have spent the past year examining, among other gender-based issues, the reasons for the gulf between female academic achievement and representation at the highest levels of business, 32 • hood

the way our law treats sexual abuse complainants, parental leave provision and everything else in between. Ambitious? You bet. But deliberately so, according to the body’s independent chair, Louise Macdonald OBE. Writing about her experience leading the body’s work in its first annual report, entitled #GenerationEqual and published in late January, she insisted the NACWG’s role was not to examine work already being done by the Scottish Government and others in the equality field, but rather to take a bolder and more overarching, theoretic approach to the issue. “We were tasked with bringing a revolutionary lens to the work. So early on we agreed that we would focus on systemic change – that changing the system would lead to changing behaviours and that changing behaviours leads to changes in attitudes and culture,” she explains.


Among the board’s broad-ranging and ambitious proposals for life in Scotland is a call for a body ensuring gender equality is put at the heart of all aspects of Scottish education system, from pre-school to secondary, in order to close the gap between female educational attainment and high-level representation in business and public life. Keeping women in the workforce is also key to its recommendations, with calls for dads be given two months of ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ paternity leave as standard, and for childcare and educational provision to be extended for all children from six months to five years. Meanwhile, tackling violence against women and updating the justice system to recognise the impact of misogynistic abuse are also on the body’s agenda for the coming year. And while the report contains only recommendations and not actual legislation, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the NACWG shortly after its publication to assure members their “thought-provoking and challenging” suggestions would be taken forward for serious consideration in 2019. “When I came to the first meeting of the Advisory Council we talked then about the importance of the council not

EACH OF US – WOMEN AND MEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY – HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF TACKLING GENDER INEQUALITIES simply being content to tinker around the edges, but being prepared to be bold and to challenge and to really push the envelope and I’m delighted that in this report that that’s exactly what you’ve done,” the First Minister said. Describing the recommendations as “a big challenge’ to the government, the First Minister also acknowledged the need for public participation in the process. “Each of us – women and men, individually and collectively – have a responsibility to meet the challenge of tackling gender inequalities.” It is a point that Macdonald herself acknowledges, saying “We are also calling on everyone in Scotland to ACT differently. Because this is not just about WHAT we do – but HOW we do it. Each of us taking personal responsibility and committing to no longer being a bystander whenever we encounter gender inequality. As a Council, we believe this is one of the most urgent fundamental issues of our time. And we also believe every one of us can make a difference. No-one has the ‘right answer’ – but we will find solutions faster together.”

The NACWG recommendations in brief • To create a ‘What Works?’ Institute to develop and test ways to change public attitudes to equality and rights for women and girls in Scotland. • To legislate for local and national candidate quotas for all parties by the 2021 election. • To incorporate the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) into Scots Law. • To create a Commission on Gender Equality in Education and Learning, from early years to secondary school, tasked with making recommendations on how gender equality can be embedded in all aspects of learning. • To provide 50 hours per week of funded, quality, flexible education and childcare for all children between six months and five years old. • To improve access to justice for women and girls experiencing men’s violence by creating a world-leading process for complainers of sexual violence, criminalising misogynistic harassment, and creating a consistent model to ensure access to expert legal advice, and legal aid, for women suffering domestic abuse. • Creating a body to hold the media to account on, and provide guidance around, gender equality. • To create two months of use-it-or-lose-it paid paternity leave in Scotland. • To embed gender sensitive approaches in all work relating to programmes • Developed through the new Scottish Government ‘Scottish Approach to Service Design’ model. • To carry out a gender review of the new National Performance Framework. • To create a ‘Gender Beacon Collaborative’ bringing public and private bodies together to take a systemic approach to equality and work.

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In association with Coaching Direct

Find your fire Whether you’re looking to turbo-charge your career or find a better work-life balance, our coach and columnist Kirsty McWilliam can help. This month, she shares her advice on channelling your inner-voice to ensure every part of your mind is reaching for success…


adonna ringing in my ears reminds of a time when I believed I could do anything I wanted. And with my whole happy life ahead of me at the time, what could possibly go wrong? I think back to a little girl splashing around in her paddling pool, butt-naked and screaming with the joy of not giving a damn. To the tone-deaf girl singing her heart out in the school choir. And then I consider the teen suddenly comparing herself to her friends, the ones with better hair or cooler clothes and a new voice creeps in… one full of doubt. Who am I talking about? Our glorious inner voice. In everyday life, we each have a narrative in our own head which changes as we age, and the voice behind it can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Reflecting back to my youthful choir days, I remember I felt wonderful singing, it made me feel free. I was in no way thinking of my limitations or others’ opinions. How about you? Who was the young you, how did she feel, and what changed? As adults, we naturally start to realise our limitations. But it is how we react to this that will decide whether the inner voice becomes our best friend or our worst critic. When we compare ourselves

MASTER THE MESSAGE Read: The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters Watch: This Talk Isn’t Very Good by Steve Chapman at TED talks

to others, we sometimes feel we fall short – and we felt that way even before social media ensured we could make constant comparisons to posed for photos, and a world curated to look Insta-perfect. Our inner voice can always be traced back to our self-regard and how we feel about who we are. Self-regard is the foundation of emotional intelligence, but it is not self-esteem, which dictates whether you feel good about yourself but also ignores our limitations. Both high and low self-esteem can be problematic, but self-regard is about liking yourself, warts and all. Having good self-regard means being able to articulate your strengths, but also to accept that you are not perfect – and that that’s ok. If you are feeling yourself lacking in the self-regard arena, there are a couple of things you can do to help build it up. Ask yourself, what is the tone and content of your inner voice? Over a period of a week or so, write down what you say about yourself and check how it makes you feel. Would you speak to your friend the way your inner voice speaks to you? What is your inner voice saying to you? Write down all the occasions where you’ve failed to see something through because you’ve spoken yourself down. Be aware of

it and reflect on the ways you could have been kinder to yourself. Now you know what your voice sounds like, let’s turn up your positives and tune down the negatives. Barbara Frederickson Ph.D, a psychologist who studies positive emotions, created a three to one ratio of positivity as being the ideal to achieve optimal levels of wellbeing. The theory is that when you have one negative thought, it takes three positive thoughts to counter it. One negative thought is not so bad, but if that negative thought leads to ten more, you can see how that plays out. This theory helps you recognise the negative and control it with positivity. When I am coaching a client, I like to call this The Bank of Three. So, what is in your bank? I’d suggest starting with a trio of amazing things about you. Keep relaying them in your head to channel your own little girl confidence. Believe in you – the real and unique you. You can change your thoughts and feelings by changing how you speak to yourself, so find that little girl dancing in the paddling pool and chat to her – she was pretty damn awesome. Kirsty is the founder and CEO of Coaching Direct, an Edinburgh-based centre for emotional intelligence, coaching and training.

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Woman hood

THE ALCHEMY OF ELEGANCE “Wrapped up in a place, a person and a moment, scent tethers itself inextricably to emotion,” says Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, and we agree – who doesn’t have a particular fragrance that immediately transports them back to a specific point in time? For Gucci’s latest fragrance collection, The Alchemist’s Garden, Michele and his team looked to transfer this ideology into fragrance, creating a series of seven new eau de parfums that each tell the story of a memory. Housed in antique-style bottles perfect for prettying up your dressing table, the scents are all evocative in their own right. But we think Winter’s Spring, with its bright, powdery floral notes and hints of mimosa and musk, is the perfect way to herald the start of sunnier days ahead. Gucci Winter’s Spring EDP, £240, Harvey Nichols

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A brighter


PALE Who says pastels can’t pack a punch? Brighten up your new season wardrobe with pretty pops of colour for a look that’s both feminine and fierce Photography: Aleksandra Modrzejewska

Jumper, £135, Harvey Nichols. Skirt, £32, River Island. Loafers, £25, Marks & Spencer.

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Boiler suit, £60, River Island.

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Polo neck, £15, and jeans, £25, Marks & Spencer. Scarf, £68, Rose & Rose at Anthropologie. Jumper (tied around waist), £10, Primark.

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Jumper, £160, Filippa K, and skirt, £70, Free People, both at Harvey Nichols. Earrings, £22, Oliver Bonas.

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Beret, £44, and bag, £68, Anthropologie. Jumper, £10, Primark. Trousers, £42, Next. Earrings, £18, Oshala Jewelry.

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Only £79 for mum or £139 for two!

Treat your mum to some pampering this Mother’s Day with our Mum’s the Word spa package, available at all our Scottish PURE Spas in Edinburgh, Glasgow & Aberdeen. Includes a PURE Spa facial, PURE massage and PURE product gii set, as well as full use of the spa facilities, a glass of fizz and chocolates - spoil your mum, or enjoy a spa day together. Bookings available between 1st - 31st March, gii cards valid for 12 months.

Use the PURE Spa app or visit to book now.

Jacket, £260, Stand at Harvey Nichols. Jumper, £10, and scarf, £4, Primark. Model: Louise Roberts at Model Team

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In association with Next

Cardigan, £32, jumper, £24, bag, £28, and trousers, £36, all Next.

Smooth transitions Confused about how to dress for March’s changeable weather? Next has the answer, with a spring/summer collection full of light, bright and cheerful pieces to see you through Scotland’s transeasonal uncertainty Photography: Aleksandra Modrzejewska 46 • hood


Jeans, £34, top, £32, boots, £70, and trench, £70, all Next.

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Coat, £72, top, £28, and jeans, £30, all Next.

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In association with Next

Checked shirt, £25, denim jacket, £32, jumper (around shoulders), £25, and skirt, £28, all Next. All items available from Next stores nationwide. Model: Laurie Duffy

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YOU USE IT TO FACE THE DAY WE USE IT TO FACE CANCER Self-esteem is important to all women, it just happens to be in sharper focus for those who have cancer. That’s the reason Look Good Feel Better exists. We have been helping to combat the visible side effects of cancer treatment for over 20 years through free confidence-boosting skincare and make-up workshops across the UK and worldwide.

Registered Charity No. 1031728

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In association with Oshala Jewelry

A Scottish gem Looking for an ideal gift, or for some beautiful jewellery for yourself? What could be better than shopping from a small Scottish start-up that sets beautiful gem stones in precious metals right here at home? We caught up with Lesley Anderson, the founder of Oshala Jewelry, to discuss the inspiration behind her homegrown collection… How did you first become interested in jewellery? From an early age I found jewellery fascinating as my Granny owned an antique shop. I learned about hallmarking and how to polish silver, as well as being allowed to spend time playing with pieces in her jewellery box. She always gifted us with something to mark special occasions. I never thought it would become a career choice, it was just fun and part of life. Midnight Onyx pendant, £42 Sherbet Lemon bracelet, £30

How did you end up getting professionally involved? I happened to get a job in a fine jewellers on the high street in 2011 and really enjoyed it. They put me through some training with the National Association of Goldsmiths to further my knowledge, and I gained my Professional Jewellers Diploma. What made you found your own line? By late 2017, I felt I wanted more control over the type of jewellery I could source and offer to people, and that’s when I decided to set up my own business – Oshala Jewelry. I wanted to create a business that sold good quality, affordable jewellery, always set in precious metals. I specialise in genuine gemstones and my customers can buy from me with confidence. Nature has created such a wide variety of beautiful crystals and gems that I want to share with others.

Ocean Shimmer stud earrings, £15

Jade hoop earrings, £18

Pink Blush stud earrings, £15 Where do you seek inspiration for your collections? It can be from anywhere. Everything from fashion magazine trends to things like national holidays or events can provide ideas, and even natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights. Inspiration is everywhere!

Luscious Green pendant, £30 Sherbet Lemon bracelet, £30

Who is the Oshala Jewelry customer? Everyone is welcome, whether they are buying for themselves or as a gift for others. However, you don’t have to spend money to visit Oshala. There is a blog on the website which goes into specific detail about crystals, which tells you everything from which stone is related to the Chakras (for the New Age spiritualists amongst us), through to what a gem is composed of and which jewel is given for each wedding anniversary, and it even goes into history and folklore too. For more information, or to shop the collection, visit

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An appointment to polish The list of celeb fans of CACI’s Non-Surgical Facelift treatment is lengthy – but can a facial really outshine Botox? Our beauty editor, Sara Hill, goes under the spotlight to find out…


hile I try to approach my skincare regime from an educated point of view, there’s little question that a celebrity endorsement can turn my head on occasion – and the list of famous faces who wax lyrical about the treatment I’m about to undergo, fittingly known as the red carpet facial by those in the know, is certainly eye-catching. From Jennifers Aniston and Lopez through to Kim Kardashian West, Sadie Frost and (swoon) Eva Mendes, there’s plenty of smooth-skinned star backing for CACI’s ‘Non-Surgical Facelift’. As such, I arrive at Glasgow’s Skyn with some fairly high expectations – after all, if it’s good enough for Mrs Ryan Gosling… The treatment, to be specific, is actually a combination of a Synergy Non-Surgical facial with a Hydro Mask salon treatment, 52 • hood

both of which are designed to be sufficiently anti-ageing, uplifting and tightening in combination as to stave off the need for injectable or surgical intervention, particularly for clients in their late thirties, like me. My lovely therapist, Amanda, explains that while its celebrity fans use the treatment to prepare for the spotlight during the ongoing awards season, for us mere mortals, the aim is to work the facial muscles to create a lifting effect, while also stimulating collagen production and boosting hydration. To achieve this, Amanda has a series of light-emitting gizmos at her disposal, using microcurrent technology to send tiny electrical impulses into the muscles of the face and neck. The procedure is painless, though I do jump just a little when it makes contact with


Three more to try ELEMIS DYNAMIC RESURFACING FACIAL This clinically-proven resurfacing treatment targets blemishes, uneven skin tone and superficial scarring, promising to increase skin smoothness by up to 32 per cent. Book at Pure Spa and you’ll also receive a relaxing complimentary foot ritual and access to the spa facilities, ensuring you’ll leave not just glowing, but relaxed and rejuvenated. From £60.

my upper lip. A water-jet tool, meanwhile, creates the feeling of being sandblasted slightly, though in a very comfortable way, while the final mask is beautifully cooling and hydrating. For me, the best thing about the whole experience, apart from feeling like my face has had a really, really good spring clean, is the fact that I can immediately notice a real lift in my skin. I think you’d need to go quite regularly to really see permanent, long-term change – a course of ten treatments in close succession is recommended for full impact, followed by regular maintenance – but the difference is genuinely noticeable after just one. Moreover, while I have sensitive skin that responds to anything approaching microdermabrasion by turning a fetching shade of beetroot, this was much gentler and didn’t leave me red at all. In fact, my face felt very soothed and cooled. There’s no question indulging in the full course immediately would involve a

significant investment, but if you were considering anything more dramatic in terms of injectables or a facelift, you’d be looking to spend a significant amount of money, and I’d definitely say this would be a worthwhile alternative to consider first. It feels like good value for money, particularly for anyone around my age – I’m 38 – who is looking to slow the ageing process rather than reverse it. I have to acknowledge though that, often, it’s the therapist that makes a treatment. And on that front, Amanda was brilliant. Really sweet, great fun, but also very knowledgeable and eager to talk about your skin and what will work for you in terms of customisation. I’ve already made an appointment to go back and see her for a further treatment, and I fully plan to make it a regular occurrence.

MICRODERMABRASION At Edinburgh’s Zen, the therapists use DiamondTome, a crystal-free diamondtipped wand that replaces abrasive particles for gentle skin resurfacing. The result is a reduction in fine lines and rejuvenated skin, without discomfort or down time. Opt for a 30-minute skin refresh, or a one-hour appointment which ends with a healing treatment mask. From £55.

LASER FACIAL Using a specially crafted beam of thermal energy to target the deeper layers of the skin, Inverness’ Laser & Skin Clinic’s laser facial works to target old and damaged skin to encourage cell regeneration. As such, it’s particularly effective in the targeting of acne scarring, deep lines and wrinkles and enlarged pores. £65, plus £35 for an initial patch test.

Skyn, Newton Place, Glasgow, £90 for 90 minutes. Tel: 07970 496804.

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Sheer glow

Mix a few drops of a pearlescent illuminator with a sheer foundation to create a radiant, real-skin base that glows with health. Add extra illuminator to the bridge and tip of the nose and your Cupid’s bow, and layer on a brow gel to achieve fluffy brows. Finish with a slick of volumising mascara for fluttery, full lashes.

Coming up roses Herald the start of spring with fresh, freckled skin and pops of pink for a dreamy, ethereal look. Our beauty editor, superstar make-up artist Sara Hill, shows us how to get the look… 54 • hood

Pretty in pink

Pink might seem scary, but with pared-back skin, it looks pretty, fresh and oh-so feminine. First, apply a radiant lightweight foundation, then sweep on a light dusting of a true pink blush before creating a statement smoky eye using two or three tonal shades of pink. A slick of subtle pink lip gloss completes the look.

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Coral Queen

A monochromatic look is fierce but wearable, we promise. Accentuate (or fake) your freckles with an eyebrow pencil, pressing into the skin with your fingertips for a realistic fade. Use a multitasking stick in a creamy coral shade on the eyes and cheeks, and dust highlighter onto the nose, inner eyes and cheekbones to lift the face. Finish with a bright coral lipstick that packs a colour punch.

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Get the look

Sheer Glow NARS Brow Gel, £18.50, Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, £20, NARS Illuminator in Copacabana, £23.50, Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, £23,

Pretty in Pink Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush Soft Glow Duo in Lush & Libido, £28, Harvey Nichols Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup, £28.50, John Lewis Urban Decay Naked Cherry palette, £42, John Lewis Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fu$$y, £16, Harvey Nichols

Coral Queen Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas, £30, John Lewis NARS Audacious Lipstick in Natalie, £26, Illamasqua Beyond Powder in Deity, £34, Maybelline Brow Precise Micro Pencil in Soft Brown, £7.99, Superdrug

Photographer: Donna McGowan • Make-up: Sara Hill • Model: Eloise Osborne at Model Team Hair: Kimberly Logie • Make-up assistant: Lyka Monique

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Private practice Being embarrassed about women’s health issues serves no one – and yet, how often have you cringed at the idea of discussing your most intimate concerns with your family GP? Hood sat down with head of women’s health at Dr Nestor’s Medical and Cosmetic Centre, Dr Rosy Fazzi, to find out what’s really bothering Scotland’s women, and why they needn’t blush about it… How big an impact does childbirth have on the female body, and do you think women are fully prepared for it? I think the impact of childbirth is still not spoken about openly, which is a shame as it brings a big shock for first time mums. The most distressing post-birth effects are often the changes women face down below – we all know to expect stretch marks and mummy tummies, but no one warns you about the laxity and urinary incontinence issues. This is particularly distressing 58 • hood

for such a young cohort of women who associate such problems with an older age group. I’ve heard first-time mums swear blind they won't have any more children because of unexpected intimate changes they weren't prepared for. And that is a real shame. How much of your work is based around hormone issues? Quite a bit. The menopause in particular can cause a whole host of symptoms

that can really disrupt women’s lives at a time when they should be enjoying themselves the most. Depleting oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels really put women’s bodies through the mill. Luckily, addressing hormonal imbalance is relatively easy now, and these issues can be very satisfying to treat for both doctor and patient alike. I think as women talk more about the treatment options readily available now, we become unwilling to put up with these symptoms any more.

In association with Dr Nestor

How big an impact can a hormone imbalance have on our health, and how do women know when to seek advice? I find most women are pretty clued up about knowing when their hormones are out of kilter, but redressing the balance can get quite complicated. Symptoms like hot flushes, dryness down below and weight gain around the middle are due to low oestrogen levels, while low libido and reduced assertiveness can be attributed to low testosterone. Reduced progesterone levels, meanwhile, are to blame for the mood swings, anxiety and insomnia. An in-depth chat with the patient and blood hormone levels can reveal where the problem lies. How does a woman’s health change before during and after the menopause? The changes our bodies go through during this time are huge. Risk assessment by a trained health professional throughout every stage of the menopause is essential to safely commence and continue an HRT programme, and blood pressure needs to be monitored regularly – notably both cardiovascular and breast cancer risk changes at the five-year mark. Of course, throughout the menopause, it’s important for women to understand that their symptom control will improve, along with any baseline risk, if they adopt a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly, keeping your BMI within normal limits, stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption can all bring real benefits. What’s the most common concern you see in clinic? Problems ‘down below’ still remain an unnecessarily taboo issue. Lots of women present having suffered in silence for years over stress incontinence or feelings of laxity, dryness and discomfort. This causes a lot of embarrassment, which can lead to self-esteem issues and sometimes relationship breakdown. These are the most common presentations to the clinic, and often these women are so relieved to hear they’re not alone. Have the problems your patients face changed over recent years? Yes, absolutely. Now, with women striving to ‘have it all’, we find ourselves in increasingly demanding jobs, having children later in life in order to focus on

LOTS OF WOMEN PRESENT HAVING SUFFERED IN SILENCE FOR YEARS our careers. This tends to mean that when the menopause hits, we have so many more responsibilities that we can't allow to take a back seat to menopausal symptoms. Quite rightly, women are now seeking help with these problem earlier, whereas in the past they may have put up with symptoms or not known there was help available. How much do the needs of women change in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and what are the most common issues faced in each decade? The younger cohort of women tend to come with post-natal problems. I’ve seen women as young as their mid-twenties who have delivered large babies and been left unable to exercise without wearing pads. This can be embarrassing at any age, but especially in younger women who feel it’s not the norm for their age. Non-surgical radiofrequency tightening procedures are great for these women, especially if their family is not yet complete and they want to manage symptoms in-between pregnancies. In the 40s and beyond, it’s the menopause that tends to wreak havoc with women’s bodies.

We all know about the hot flushes and the ceasing of periods but so many of the more nonspecific obscure symptoms remain unspoken about. Many women present not sleeping, with erratic moods, poor concentration, difficulty word finding, vague aches and pains, weight changes and pain during intercourse due to dryness and thinning skin below. Bio-identical hormones and ThermiVa treatments can help address these symptoms very effectively. Where once these women coped well with their demanding lives, they suddenly find themselves struggling, and it’s wonderful to be able to offer them something to help.

Dr Rosy Fazzi, MBChB, MRCGP, is the head of the women’s health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical and Cosmetic Centre, Dundas Street, Edinburgh. For more information or to make an appointment, visit

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Glasgow’s hip hotspot The Spiritualist certainly attracts a chic crowd – but is it all style over substance? Jennifer Crichton-Gibson finds out…


here’s something slightly discombobulating about showing up at one of Scotland’s hottest cocktail bars in the midst of a sober spring. After all, it’s one thing to pledge to 100 dry days while shaking off a festive hangover, quite another to resist temptation in a spot that simply screams decadence. Understated, The Spiritualist is not. Frequented by Glasgow’s beautiful people, there’s a slightly modern-day Gatsby vibe about the place, a feeling that hedonism is never far away. Tables hang, suspended and spot lit, from the vaulted ceiling, while those not organised enough to have booked a pew mill in front of a supremely stylish bar packed with rare and specialist spirits. Art-deco touches such as golden globe chandelier lights, huge portraits and touches of navy and teal in the restaurant space add to the truly opulent ambiance, while a DJ spinning tunes from decks set atop a grand piano ensures that patrons are left in no doubt about this being somewhere to come for fun, not peace and quiet. 60 • hood

So often, however, the appeal of such spots begins and ends with the cocktail list, the menu falling somewhat short of the mixology. So, it is with great relief that we note The Spiritualist’s mission statement, outlining sustainable, seasonal and largely Scottish sourcing practices – beef and lamb comes from Millers of Speyside, seafood from Glasgow’s Bernard Corrigan Ltd and fruit and veg from Charles Stamper, while cheese, eggs and dairy are locally sourced. It’s an impressive list, and one that fills us with optimism. Things start well with a Smokehouse fish plate, £8.50, stacked with well-balanced smoked salmon, deliciously fresh flaked trout and a scoop of mackerel pate, alongside some deliciously crisp rye bread. However, I can’t help but be a tad disappointed with my starter of seared Shetland king scallops with scallop roe salsa, cauliflower puree, black pudding and crisp pancetta – strictly speaking, the elements are all there, and all tasty, but the portion size is tiny, priced at £10 for three small nuggets of scallop that


Three more to try JUTE CAFÉ BAR Nearly 20 years old, but showing no signs of going out of fashion any time soon, this warehouse-like space at the centre of Dundee Contemporary Arts remains a firm favourite with the city’s most stylish crowd. Expect a fresh, delicious bar menu, a wide cocktail, wine and beer selection, and DJs on the weekend, not to mention a cinema…

could potentially be swallowed in one, each topped with mere crumbs of pork. That the whole dish is served in one lone half-shell makes me wonder whether I’m looking at a solo scallop chopped up for serving, and I find myself hoping my dashed expectations are the fault of some particularly diminutive shellfish specimens, rather than a stingy hand in the kitchen. Thankfully, the generous and frankly delicious mains that follow suggest that to be the case. Showcasing The Spiritualist’s seafood offering to a far higher standard, my main of baked cod fillet, £17, comes perfectly cooked with a crisp salted skin, sitting atop a moreish mess of chorizo, chickpeas and baby leaf spinach. The accompanying lemon butter sauce is light and delicate, and the whole combination is simple but genuinely delicious. The highlight of the meal, however, sits across the table from me – a table that at this point feels frankly too wide, meaning I have to actually ask to share rather than adopt my usual approach of stealing food from unwitting dining companions. Far more appetising than it might sound to

some, the slow-cooked and meltingly tender pig’s cheek, £14.50, comes with fragrant truffled parmesan polenta and an intensely savoury, totally moreish mushroom and pancetta ragu. It’s so good, we double up with some parmesan and truffle fries to mop the plate clean, rendering ourselves completely, regrettably incapable of dessert. Thankfully, some genuinely inventive mocktails are on hand to add a sweet touch to end the meal, the Don’t Worry (Bee Honey) combination of honey pineapple syrup, pineapple juice, lime and ginger ale proving to be a particularly lovely concoction. By the time we move to leave (read, roll ourselves out of the door), The Spiritualist has filled with people who look like they know how to say ‘no’ to a truffle fry, the DJ is spinning some Stevie Wonder, and the bar staff are flaring like there’s no tomorrow. Stone cold sober or not, there’s no denying, this place has spirit. Next time though, I’ll be the one on the espresso martinis…

BAR ONE Looking to sup some serious martinis? Inverness’ coolest cocktail spot serves up inventive mixed drinks as well as classic cocktails alongside delicious flatbread pizzas with unusual toppings – think nduja and pesto, or buffalo chicken. Leave room for the deceptively alcoholic and crisply topped lemon meringue cocktail.

COPPER BLOSSOM Both bar snacks and restaurant dishes at this capital city favourite put seasonal local produce front and centre, making this a great spot for dinner as well as drinks. That said, the cocktails are among Edinburgh’s best – opt for the rhubarb, peach and apple-laced Lady Gaia and you won’t be disappointed.

Miller Street. Merchant City. Glasgow. Tel: 0141 248 4165.

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A Marks & Spencer Mother’s Day Looking for a way to make your mum feel special this month? Marks & Spencer makes it easy to mark the occasion with a host of beautiful flowers, food and gift ideas that’ll ensure she realises just how much she is appreciated…


ew things say ‘I love you’ like flowers, but when it comes to Mother’s Day, arranging delivery of a beautiful bouquet can often be a costly experience. Not so at Marks & Spencer, where beautiful floral bouquets start from just £25, and include free delivery across the UK on the big day itself. And while orders can be placed right up until midday on March 30, customers who get organised with their selection before the 26th will benefit from the inclusion of a box of Marc de Champagne Truffles, worth £6, to make their gift extra special. Want to go in a different direction? Marks & Spencer’s range of gourmet gifts are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any foodie mum, from chocolates and breakfast treats to truly beautiful colour-changing gins hailing from central Scotland itself. It’s time to get gifting…

Did you know? Marks & Spencer is the only UK retailer to offer free delivery on all flowers on Mother’s Day itself. No premium delivery fees here!

Collection Mother’s Day Orchid Vase, £45, online order Looking for something extra special this Mother’s Day? This exquisite bouquet comes readily presented in a glass vase, meaning no rearrangement is necessary. The stunning collection of lilac and white spray roses is complemented by bold lilac stocks and finished with luxurious cymbidium orchid heads for a truly elegant and eye-catching finish.

Rose & Freesia Gift Bag, £35, online order This gorgeous bouquet of pink and cerise roses, accented with delicate white freesia, is presented in a charming gift bag, while the pretty colours and beautiful scent make it a perfect gift for mums who appreciate a truly classic bouquet. 62 • hood

Rose and Hyacinth Bouquet, £35 including free Champagne truffles, online order If your mum is a fan of bold, bright colours, this cheerful bouquet may well fit the bill. Boasting a seasonal mix of luxuriously scented blue hyacinths and pink roses interspersed with Salal foliage, it’ll put a smile on any face.

In partnership with Marks & Spencer

Gifts for chocolate lovers

Citrus Gin truffles, £4, in store Perfect for any chocolate (or gin) fan, these delicately flavoured truffles feature a smooth citrus gin ganache enrobed in milk chocolate for an adult upgrade on traditional fruity chocolate treats.

Just to Say Chocolates, £5, in store Marked ‘With Love’, these decorated milk and dark chocolates feature a selection of milk and dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel and spiced biscuit milk chocolate ganache fillings, sending a deliciously clear message to mum.

Say it with bubbles Want to say ‘cheers!’ in style? Stock up on Louis Vertay Champagne, reduced from £20 to £15 from March 5 until the big day itself

Breakfast in bed Surprise mum with breakfeast in bed this Mother’s Day. At just £2, this delicious sourdough loaf features a flour-dusted monogram that’ll definitely bring some extra cheer to her morning tray…

A colour-changing curiosity If your mum is a fan of a good G&T, Marks & Spencer’s colour changing gins are both delicious and pretty – and the best bit is, they’re created right here in Scotland by The Old Curiosity Distillery in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh. The Distillery’s owner, Hamish Martin, is also the man behind the acclaimed Secret Herb Garden, and it is through experimenting with the 600 varieties of herbs grown there that Hamish ended up creating his acclaimed gin range. The distillery produces floral gins, all made from botanicals which are hand grown without chemicals before being picked, dried and infused, resulting in spirits that are clean, natural and delicious. This Mother’s Day choose between floral pink rose gin or the beautifully pastel-hued aromatic lavender gin. Slainte mhaith, Mum!

The Marks & Spencer Mother’s Day range is available in stores across Scotland, or to order at

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A seafood celebration Looking for a dinner party menu to create conversation? These recipes from Ondine’s Roy Brett make the most of Scotland’s stellar coastal bounty

Hot shellfish platter Serves 4 • • • • • • • • • • • • •

500g langoustines, halved and cleaned 400g blue shell mussels, washed 8 razor clams, washed 2 native lobsters, halved and cleaned 500g surf clams, washed 8 hand-dived scallops, de-shelled and washed 4 banana shallots, diced ½ bunch chervil, chopped 1 pinch tarragon, chopped 100g unsalted butter 100ml champagne 50ml olive oil Sea salt and pepper for seasoning

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1. Brush all of the prepared seafood with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat two large frying pans over a medium heat, then brush with a little oil and a knob of butter. 2. Add all of the large shellfish to the pans, flesh side down and caramelise before turning over. 3. In a separate pan, heat up a little oil, then add the shallots and cook without colouring. Add the mussels, razor clams and surf clams to the pan. 4. Pour over the champagne and cover for 30 seconds until the shells just open. 5. Take the razor clams and clean out the stomach then return to the pan with the other shellfish. 6. Once all the shellfish have opened, assemble them on the serving plate. 7. Reduce the cooking liquor from both pans and whisk in the remaining butter and the chopped herbs. Check the seasoning and adjust as desired. 8. Pour the champagne, herb and butter sauce over the shellfish to finish, then serve immediately, preferably with a glass of champagne!


Roast monkfish tail with spiced aubergine Serves 6 • 1 monkfish tail For the marinade: • 5 tsp fennel seeds • 5 tsp caraway seeds • 3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder • 3 tsp Maldon sea salt • 300g natural yoghurt • 150g cashew nuts • 150g ginger • 150g garlic

For the spiced aubergine: • 6 aubergines • 100ml rapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing • 3 tsp cumin seeds • 8 red onions, diced • 1 tsp ginger paste • 1 tsp garlic paste • 300g chopped tomatoes • 4 green chillies, sliced • 2 tsp fresh mint, shredded • 2 tsp fresh coriander, shredded • Sea salt and pepper, for seasoning To serve: • 100g roasted cashew nuts • 1 bunch deep-fried curry leaves • 100g lemon yoghurt • 4 lime wedges

1. First, prepare the monkfish marinade. Roast the seeds in a pan until they just start to colour and then blend to a powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again to form a paste, then spread the mixture all over the monkfish tail and allow to marinade for up to six hours. 2. Next, make the spiced aubergine. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Brush the aubergines with a little rapeseed oil and roast them over an open flame to char the skin before transferring to the oven. Roast for around 20 minutes, or until soft, then remove from the oven, cover with foil and set aside. 3. In a thick bottomed pan, roast the cumin seeds in the oil, then add the chillies, red onions, ginger and garlic pastes and cook at a moderate heat until soft but without colouring. Add the chopped tomatoes and reduce until the mixture thickens. Taste and season if required. 4. Peel the cooked aubergine, then drain in a colander to remove any excess water before adding to the pot with the spiced tomato mixture. Cook for ten minutes, then add the mint and coriander. 5. To cook the monkfish tail, preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the fish on a roasting tray and roast for 15 minutes. Once cooked, cover with foil and rest for five minutes before serving. 6. To serve, place the spiced aubergine in the centre of six plates, section the monkfish tail and place on top. Sprinkle over the cashews and curry leaves, and finish with a wedge of lime and a little yogurt.

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Squid tempura and Vietnamese dipping sauce Serves 4 • • • •

2 squid, washed and cleaned 1 green chilli, sliced into rings 1 banana shallot, sliced into rings 1 lime, cut into wedges, to garnish

For the dipping sauce: • 100ml fish sauce • 100g palm sugar • 50ml rice wine vinegar • 100ml lime juice • 10g garlic, finely chopped • 10g green chilli, finely chopped • 10g ginger, finely chopped • 1 tsp corn flour • Water

For the batter: • 70g corn flour • 30g plain flour • 100ml ice cold sparkling water • 5 ice cubes, crushed • Pinch Szechuan pepper • Pinch Maldon sea salt • Rapeseed oil for deep-frying

1. First, make the dipping sauce. Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, vinegar and 100ml of water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Mix the corn flour into a paste with a little water and then add to the pan and remove from the heat. As the mixture starts to cool down, add the chillies, ginger and garlic, then mix well and set aside. 2. Next, make the batter. Mix the flours and the salt and pepper together, then add the sparkling water and crushed ice cubes and mix well until combined. 3. Heat the oil in a pan to 180°C. Dip the squid and the chilli into the batter along with the shallots, then fry until crisp. Once cooked, carefully shake off any excess oil then lay on a drying cloth or kitchen paper. Season well with salt and pepper. 4. To serve, pour a little dipping sauce into a pretty little pot and then place the squid around it. Garnish the plate with the chilli and shallot rings and finish with a wedge of lime.

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In association with Restoration Yard

Perfect provenance With a CV including stints at Gleneagles, Edinburgh’s The Caledonian Hotel and as Nick Nairn’s executive head chef, Colin Halliday arrives at Restoration Café with as much pedigree as the produce he cooks. We caught up with the new man at the pass to discuss passion, produce and provenance…

When and why did you first find yourself in a professional kitchen? I studied food and nutrition at high school and felt an unbelievable sense of achievement when I immersed myself in the cooking. I was always making soups, casseroles and Sunday roasts. Then, aged 15, I started as an apprentice chef at The Caledonian Hotel and I’ve been in the kitchen since. Which chefs have you found most inspiring in the time since? I’d have to say John Webber, who I worked with at the Nick Nairn Cook School. John has been awarded a Michelin star on two occasions in his career and has a depth of knowledge that’s second to none. When we were teaching, he would relay information to the customers about the produce they were going to be using and I would think, wow, I never knew that! I learnt a fantastic amount just listening and watching. Describe the creative process of bringing a Restoration Café menu together… I start with random scribbles, to be honest! Then I look at seasonality, current trends, customer feedback, social media, cost, balance of dishes and, of course, I take input from the team. How important is local produce in that process? Very. Using local ingredients adds a real sense of provenance to the café and shows customers we’re supporting local businesses.

What are your dreams for Restoration Café? I’m passionate about making this a destination restaurant, one that offers a great experience and exceeds the expectations of our customers. That’s the level I want to achieve across all the eateries we have here, as well as our growing events and wedding business. Do you find it easy to switch off from the kitchen when you’re at home? No, I’m forever scribbling down ideas, watching cookery on YouTube and reading Savour and The Staff Canteen. I’m travelling to London this weekend and, even then, I’ll be spending a couple of hours in Borough Market. Are you a reserved diner or a ‘go for it with all three courses’ type when eating out? I prefer savoury dishes and always go starter and main – though occasionally, I’ll have the cheese trolley. What are your musts for a successful dining experience? The company is the most important thing. The food has to be good, cooked well and seasoned correctly, and everything on the plate needs to be there for a reason. The ambiance has to be one in which we feel relaxed too, meaning the service needs to be friendly, attentive and not overbearing. Restoration Café serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea seven days a week, as well as offering special evening events and private dining options. For more information, visit or search @restorationyard on Facebook and Instagram.

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Declutter like Kondo Her Netflix series might be all the rage, but Marie Kondo’s penchant for organisation is as daunting as it is dramatic. Forget the idea that decluttering needs to be a monumental task though, and you’ll find a few simple steps can go a long way to ensuring a tidy happy home. Edinburgh-based professional organiser Zoë Berry shows us how…


ecluttering is having quite a moment. With the arrival of Netflix’ Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the world seems to have gone crazy for the clutter-free life – and no one is more delighted than Zoë Berry, the Edinburgh-based founder of Life/ Edit, which specialises in helping clients get to grips with their own mountains of clutter. “I actually haven’t watched the TV programme, hilariously, because I’m too busy working on client’s houses, but I am very grateful to Marie Kondo because suddenly, decluttering seems to be all anyone is talking about,” she laughs. “I’ve noticed a huge increase in people talking about clearing out their wardrobes, but we’re also seeing a rise in people saying they would like to tidy their homes and don’t know where to start, so we’re getting lots more phone calls – I’m currently booked up for two months.” If you’re among the series’ fans but would rather bury your head in a bulging chest of drawers than attempt to start from scratch with Kondo’s strictly guidelined method, however, you’re not alone. Our day-to-day lives come with stuff, Zoë admits, and there’s no need to suddenly, ruthlessly fill your wheelie bin without stopping for breath. “The most used word I hear from new clients is ‘overwhelming’. My clients are people who know that there is an issue with their house and that it could be better organised, but they don’t know 70 • hood

where to start. A rule I have is to never start with something that is particularly difficult or emotional for people, and that varies from person to person – for some clients, it could be baby clothes that prove tricky, for others it could be books. I always offer a free consultation before starting with any potential new client, which is usually just having a cup of tea and a chat. During this time, I find out about them and their home, and about what is going to be challenging for them to deal with. Whatever it is, it’s something we have to work up to and certainly not tackle in our first session. When I initially work for a client, we work out together what would make the biggest single difference for them – a quick win that would have immediate benefits – and we implement that first of all, leaving the more difficult items to later on in our decluttering journey. In my experience, there is almost always an emotional element to decluttering, even if the client doesn’t realise it at the start. It could be something big and life-changing such as a bereavement, divorce, or the arrival of a new baby, but that’s not always the case, and even when it’s a simple ‘help me sort out my house’ there often comes a time when we stumble across a possession that provokes a memory or a story. In that sense, I love that my job combines my passion for sorting out spaces with helping people live the kind of life they want to live.”

In association with Life/Edit

Zoë’s top tidying tips

Declutter before shopping “One of the most common mistakes people make when wanting to declutter is to go out and buy a load of storage supplies before they start,” says Zoë. “But actually, we’re looking to thin down the amount of stuff you have in your house, and buying boxes is far from the first step in that. That might well come further down the line, but it is definitely the wrong place to start!” Break the task down Is there one thing or one room that is causing you the most problems? Drill down into that and you’ll figure out where to start, says Zoë. “If your hallway causes you stress every time you come home because you walk in the door to clutter everywhere, that’s a very good place to get cracking.” Consider aesthetics Simply put, if it’s on a bookshelf or somewhere open, it’s got to look good, says Zoë. “Part of what I do is about aesthetics and, while organising is great, if something doesn’t look pleasing it’s not going to make you happy or make you want to maintain it. Kids’ stuff, in particular, can be really hard to integrate in a way that looks tidy but Ikea’s Kallax units paired with baskets are great. Bathrooms can also be tricky.

Invest in something attractive, such as a nice wicker or rattan basket to keep toiletries and toilet rolls in. The bathroom is somewhere we tend to have lots of products out on view, but if you can put them away in a basket in a corner or on a shelf, it immediately makes everything look so much tidier.” Make maintenance stick “I think if you’ve managed the process well, the joy of having more space and less stuff is sufficient to prevent people just going out filling the new capacity in their home,” says Zoë. But in terms of keeping the place tidy after a clear out, it’s all about getting used to tidy new habits. “When something has a home, it goes back into that home at the end of each day” says Zoë, adding “Something I feel very strongly about, perhaps because I’m a mum myself, is making sure that everyone in the house gets on board and does their bit. But I think everything, including making family members pull their weight, becomes easier when you’re starting from a decluttered space. Cleaning is easier, tidying is easier, finding things is easier, there’s less stress – it has a ripple effect on everything. Then it’s just about quietly maintaining so that it never again becomes a mammoth task.”

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Stall shoe cabinet, £100, Ikea

Zig Zag storage pots, £22 to £38, Bohemia



Malarna blackboard planner, £30, Ikea

Looking to clear some clutter? These interiors pieces will keep things organised in a stylish way…

Kallax shelving unit, £55, Ikea

Skubb drawer organiser, £6, Ikea

Knipsa seagrass basket, £16, Ikea


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Peace in the valley Looking for a mind and body boost, minus the flight to an Indian ashram? The new health and wellbeing retreats at Highland Perthshire’s beautiful Ballintaggart could be just what the yogi ordered…


e often refer to this as stoned yoga,” laughs Heart Space Yoga’s Ben Newton, as he looks out across our candlelit activity room to find a sea of beatific, blissed out and, frankly, somewhat glaikit, faces gazing soppily back at him. Yoga nidra, or yogic sleeping, practiced by a fire as the sun sets over the spectacular Scottish valley outside is, it seems, every bit as restful as it sounds. But I’m getting ahead of myself, for Ben’s interjection into my hitherto insomnia-induced life is just the latest moment of chilled-out bliss in a weekend that has frankly served to knock my expectations out of the park. Rarely would I associate the words foodie or gourmet with the concept of a health retreat, but at Ballintaggart Farm, good food 74 • hood

and good company are every bit as important to the experience as good yoga practice, making its new programme of wellbeing getaways very appealing indeed. I arrive, bleary-eyed after the early morning drive, to a cup of herbal tea, taken overlooking the valley below as a firepit burns enticingly in the courtyard. The day’s activities get underway with a challenging but brilliantly coached yoga masterclass at the hands of Emma Flynn, a humorous and totally unintimidating coach from Edinburgh’s Tribe Yoga, before we retire to the library for brunch. The food that follows is a revelation – fresh local fruit, yoghurt and the farm’s own secret recipe granola (co-owner Rachel does a roaring trade mailing bags of the stuff out to former guests) followed by exceptional home-baked sourdough and a hot course


of parsnip, celeriac and Isle of Mull cheddar fritters with the farm’s own eggs, beetroot ketchup and leaves from the kitchen garden – and proof positive that eating well needn’t mean eating parsimoniously. If there’s a better breakfast to be found in Perthshire, I’ll be moving there… Our group then takes a walk to the garden to pick ingredients for our cookery class (though we go rogue and spend a good ten minutes taking Instagram shots of each other flying over the valley on the perfectly positioned tree swing) before preparing a light lunch of miso-marinated mackerel and pearl barley risotto under the expert tutelage of Ballintaggart’s Cook School staff. Ben’s yin and yoga nidra classes follow, leaving us relaxed to the point of ridiculousness, before we all snuggle up around the campfire to listen to a moonlit book reading while supping on spiced chai. Not sufficiently full of food, we then gather around the table once more for a light supper of salmon with artichoke and pickled cucumber, before retiring to our accommodations for the night at the nearby Grandtully Hotel, recently taken over and renovated by the Ballintaggart team.

And what a renovation. A true country mile from the barren bedchambers I’ve experienced at various other retreats, not to mention small country hotels, my cosily luxurious suite at ‘The Tully’ is a feast of mid-century modern furniture, Insta-tastic floor tiles and a yellow roll top bath that leaves me with serious interiors envy. Cloud-soft linens adorn the king size bed, while the provision of Pukka teas, freshly ground Glen Lyon coffee and Noble Isle toiletries ensure guests want for nothing. Fully rested and recuperated, all that’s left for it is to put away another bowl (read, three) of that impeccable granola before hitting the road back to the central belt with a new-found ability to take it slow and breathe in the scenery. Chic, luxurious and with an ability to slow my ever-frantic mind? I’ll see you at the next one…

Ballintaggart’s next retreat will take place from Sunday April 7 to Monday April 8, priced at £300 for all activities, food and overnight accommodation. A day only option is also available, priced at £150. For further information, or to book, visit

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48 hours in…


An intimate capital city with both a lively, party-friendly reputation and a firm foothold in the history of literature’s greats, Dublin surely needs no introduction. Looking to experience everything it has to offer in just one, craic-packed weekend? Let our 48-hour itinerary be your guide…

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DAY ONE 9am Start your weekend the millennial way, with a highly Instagrammable brunch. Dublin is filled with trendy spots to kickstart your appetite (or increase that follower count), and few are more suitable than Meet Me in the Morning, located in cool Camden. Offering an original take on classic brunch dishes, from French toast piled with kale and broccoli to pumpkin fritters with poached eggs and whipped ricotta, its home-baked doughnuts are well worth grabbing for an afternoon snack too. For something a little more traditional, Hatch & Sons, beside St Stephen’s Green, has a menu packed with modern twists on traditional Irish fare, with twice-baked eggs, slabs of homemade soda bread and, erm, avocado toast all featuring on the menu. 10.30am A must-see in Dublin is the centuries-old Book of Kells, an illuminated and elaborately decorated Gospel manuscript that’s often referred to as one of the greatest remaining pieces of medieval European art. It’s located at the beautiful Trinity College, where you can also view the stunning Long Room, with stacks of original volumes and busts of influential literary figures lining the main passage. The National Library of Ireland, just around the corner, also offers fascinating exhibitions on Irish literary icons such as WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney. 1.30pm Walk around the corner and head to Etto on Merrion Row, overlooking the pretty Victorian gardens. Serving contemporary Italian cuisine, this award-winning bistro is a great location for people watching, with stunning food that belies its stripped-back surroundings. Choose from sitting at the bar to enjoy some quick and tasty nibbles (the hake croquettes are divine) or take a table for a more leisurely lunch experience. 3pm Walk off those calories with a stroll around Dublin’s beautiful city gardens. St Stephen’s Green is a tranquil hub in the heart of the city, with ornamental Victorian features that are too pretty not to snap a picture of, whilst the Georgian gardens at Merrion Square play host to the famous statue of Oscar 78 • hood

The Long Room, Trinity College

Wilde lounging on a rock – Wilde was resident at Number 1 Merrion Square as a schoolboy. 6pm Time to get all dressed up and head to the city’s most glamorous hotel, The Westbury, for dinner and drinks. Start your evening in style with a few pre-meal aperitifs at stunning art

deco-inspired bar The Sidecar, where you can enjoy the perfect espresso martini in plush surroundings. Warning, you’ll need a reservation to ensure you can enjoy your drinks at a slower, seated pace – ask for the corner seat if you can get it! 8pm Head just across the hallway to arguably the most beautiful restaurant


O’Connell Street

FLYING FROM SCOTLAND Ryanair offers multiple daily direct flights to Dublin from Glasgow and Edinburgh, whilst Aer Lingus also flies into Aberdeen.


in Dublin: WILDE. With seriously stylish interiors (think greenery, marble and luxurious velvet seating) and a super-Instagrammable, garden-inspired terrace, this is a place to see and be seen. Here, you can enjoy the most spectacular dishes alongside attentive service and a wonderfully unhurried, elegant atmosphere. Be warned, you will need to book in advance – this is a very popular place. 11pm Not ready to call it a night? Take a wander around the corner to glossy cocktail spot The Chelsea Drugstore. Inspired by the iconic King’s Road hangout, as name-checked by The Rolling Stones, this bohemian bar specialises in quirky cocktails and a lively atmosphere to see you through to the early hours.

DAY TWO 10am Start your day with a hearty breakfast in stylish surroundings at Sophie’s, a rooftop brunch spot located in the ultra-chic The Dean hotel, where the weather is the wallpaper – it’s a glasshouse restaurant. Order the French toast, piled high with berries and whipped cream, or the eggs Benedict for a lip-smacking start to the day. Reservations are recommended. If you’re looking for something a little healthier after your indulgences the night before, Brother Hubbard on Capel Street is renowned for its Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast dishes – think beghrir pancakes with white chocolate, poached pears and nut dukkah, or eggs menemen. You can’t book, so expect to queue – the food is more than worth the wait…

11.30am Ease into the day with a wander around Dublin’s shopping district. Glamorous Grafton Street is lined with sparkling flagship stores that aren’t yet in Scotland, so make the most of your baggage allowance at & Other Stories, or lust after the designer goodies at Brown Thomas. Running parallel, Dawson Street is a haven for culture vultures, with antique shops galore, a huge Tower Records and the iconic bookshop, Hodges Figgis, with four storeys of tomes to delve into. 1pm No trip to Dublin is complete without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. Located a twenty-minute walk outside of the city centre, the original Victorian brewery houses an interactive experience, to be taken in a pint glass-shaped

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National Library

inner building, no less. You’ll start with learning the basics about the black stuff, before travelling right through the story of Guinness, enjoying a tasting where you learn the approved art of drinking it, and taking a walk through memorable advertising campaigns of years gone by. The tour culminates with a complimentary pint of Guinness (what else?) in the rooftop bar, with views across all sides of the city. 3.30pm Post-pint, it’s time to soak up some more of Dublin’s artistic past. The Dublin Writer’s Museum houses the personal collections of Ireland’s literary greats, including works by and items belonging to icons such as Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, whilst the Francis Bacon studio at The 80 • hood

Celebrate St Paddy! Forget a one-day party in a pub – in Dublin, St Partick’s Day is marked with a five-day programme of events spanning everything from storytelling and history tours to contemporary Irish photography exhibitions, via a food fayre, a Guinness gala dinner and live music events. Be sure to head out after sundown (as if you wouldn’t) to catch the ‘greening of the city’, which will see all of Dublin’s favourite Liffey-side landmarks lit up for the occasion. March 14 to 18.

Hugh Lane Gallery is also well worth a visit. Bacon’s London studio has been relocated in its entirety to the Gallery, so you can view books, photographs, canvases and personal effects all belonging to him, presented exactly as they were in their original setting. 7pm Hop in a taxi to the up-and-coming suburban district of Portobello, just a stone’s throw from the city centre, and head to Richmond for your dinner. This petite bistro is so much more than a neighbourhood restaurant; it’s an award-winning, Michelin-recommended hideaway that serves vibrant and elegant dishes to savour. On a Sunday, the early bird menu is available for the entire evening, so if your trip

falls then, book a table and enjoy three courses for less than €30. 10pm Dublin is a city renowned for its ‘craic’, so you can’t end your stay without visiting a traditional Irish pub. Avoid the tourist traps of Temple Bar and their overpriced offerings, and instead, walk from Portobello to Camden Street Lower and head to Devitt’s. Deceivingly old-fashioned on the outside, this rustic pub perfectly combines the old and new Dublin, with kitsch, retro interiors alongside a slick wine list and packed bar menu. There’s live music every night and a sparkling, often raucous, atmosphere, whatever night of the week you visit – which is all part of what makes the city so beloved, is it not?


The Westbury

WHERE TO STAY… The Dean Located in trendy Camden, this hip boutique hotel is the perfect crash pad for a weekend of fun. Expect sleek Brooklyn-inspired interiors and rooms filled with everything you could possibly need, from a fully-stocked fridge to a record player and a stash of vinyl. Make sure you go for drinks in the lobby on one of their Tower Records DJ nights and, of course, head upstairs to Sophie’s rooftop bar and the cosy outdoor terrace. The Westbury For an elegant experience, The Westbury is the place to go. Ideal for a romantic trip, this art deco-inspired, five-star hotel has Gatsby vibes galore and an unbeatably central location just off Grafton Street. Number 31 A luxurious townhouse in the thick of things, Number 31 is a bolthole in the heart of the city. This freshly-renovated Georgian townhouse boasts classical

features juxtaposed with sleek modern fittings, and serves a delicious breakfast to boot. The Shelbourne Situated in an iconic Georgian building beside the museum district, The Shelbourne is something of an institution. Here you can expect five-star service at every turn, with the breathtaking building the perfect backdrop to a truly opulent stay. Grafton Guesthouse Prefer to live like a local? Grafton Guesthouse is an adults-only boutique hotel in Dublin’s creative quarter, with a vibe that beautifully combines Victorian original features with bare brick walls and stripped-back Scandinavian style. While breakfast is served there, staying here feels more like living in a cool apartment in the city centre rather than staying at a B&B.

Your little black book of Dublin Top five food and drink spots Don’t miss activities

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GA R RY SPE NC E Is having a love affair with a difference


his is as good a place as any to try writing my first love story, so let me talk about the night my life changed forever, back in 2012. As the warm air breezed through our open windows and Mo Farah ran his way into the history books, I took in my new surroundings. I thought about how much life had changed – going from the clichéd Glasgow harbour bachelor pad to meeting my future wife, then finding out we had twins on the way, all within twelve months (twins – I have to stress – who were absolutely planned, as much as anyone can ‘plan’ for more than one baby per pregnancy). This was our first night in suburbia and we were about to tick a major box on the ‘moving in’ list, perhaps even the biggest. Before we’d redirected our mail or even found out which electricity company supplied the house, we had to test the local takeaway. We did have a head start here because Ruth actually grew up in the area and, having very quickly realised the benefits of living within a mile of the twins’ babysitters (sorry, I mean grandparents) here we were, shacked up and settled into Bishopbriggs, the home of Stan’s Chinese Restaurant. I’ve never seen or tasted anything like it, and despite how much I adore every mouthful to this day, nothing will ever match the level of foodstuff-based ecstasy I experienced that warm summer’s night. Something happened inside me. I look forward to my Stan’s, sometimes days in advance, and on the only occasion in six years where the bags contained the wrong food (surely the worst thing that can happen to a human) we actually decided not to complain because – and I quote – “they’re too important to our life”. I always order dry ribs and a prawn cocktail which, for reasons that are still very much a mystery to me, really annoys my wife. I don’t know why this is seen as such a “weird way of doing takeaway”, and I have never felt the need to judge her choice of beef in black bean sauce. This menu choice gives me the best place from which to judge the quality because 82 • hood


I’ve always said that the truth is absolutely in the ribs – if they’re no good, you should never return. We found this out in the most heartbreaking way a few weeks ago when our friends were over and, after 126 attempts (this number is not exaggerated – love makes you do silly things) we had to dial the secondchoice takeaway. Not even Janet Street Porter could’ve managed to get any meat off the bones they delivered, and there was no more than a sachet worth of sauce on my prawns. It was absolutely gutting, not least because, like a new partner, we were desperate to show Stan’s off to people whose opinions we respect. Lest this look like I’m using my word count to provide some sort of free advertising and get a few cheeky ribs thrown into my next order for no extra charge, let me assure you that Stan’s does not need the business. We’ve actually developed a strategy for making sure we get through on the phone during the peak evening order period, and if they ever closed down I swear it would affect house prices round our way. This is a love that will never fade. Garry is the host of Capital Scotland’s Drivetime show, weekdays from 4pm to 7pm

Glasgow | Edinburgh | Dunfermline | Peebles 421029_2020_Press_170x245_!

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Hood March 2019  

Hood is Scotland’s first, free national magazine created exclusively by women for women, we don’t just know our reader, we walk in her shoes...

Hood March 2019  

Hood is Scotland’s first, free national magazine created exclusively by women for women, we don’t just know our reader, we walk in her shoes...