Electric Daisy Carnival UK, 2016

Not so many Saturdays ago, I did something very uncharacteristic for me, and went to a dance festival.

It’s not that I’m not a festival person – quite the contrary, in fact it was at a festival that G Man and I met many many years ago. However dance music has never been my thing, though over the last few years I’ve grown a large soft spot for drum and bass.

EDC (or Electric Daisy Carnival) is a large festival, originating from Las Vegas, and for some reason for the last 3 years they’ve decided that Milton Keynes is a good place to hold the UK version. Since Gary was out of town that weekend and two of my friends had already bought tickets it seemed rude not to tag along.

So first things first I bought my ticket. Next I had to work out what to wear. Well, since it’s all ravey and neon I cracked open my Urban Decay Electric Palette and went to town. With a little inspiration from Pinterest I came up with this:

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and for the nails, my speciality, unicorn nails!:

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Clothes were the obligatory denim shorts and a nice bright yellow vest. The day was so humid that nothing but loose clothing would do.

Once we’d arrived and our tickets had been checked, we had a mooch around to look at the various stages and tent. The main stage was amazing. The eyes in the owl which made up the centre of the stage were little screens so it looked like it was looking around – the stage even had a full blown waterfall on one side. Insane!

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We worked out who and when we wanted to see people in the line up and then had a look around the tents. We stayed for quite a bit of Goldie’s set in one of the tents and I had a good dance, and really enjoyed myself.

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We also saw Sigma’s DJ set quite early on and they were excellent too.

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On the main stage we saw a couple of DJs I hadn’t heard of but they played some stuff I recognised, so that was good. It was great seeing people on the fairground rides, whilst the music was being played, right in the middle of the crowds!

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I have to say I met some really nice people at this festival. Obviously some of these people were a little ‘out of it’ but I never at any point felt unsafe. Everyone’s very connected by the music and it felt like a little acid crazed family.

By the time the sun had gone down, it had gotten a little chilly, so we stayed put to watch Avicii who closed the show, and then there was a 5 minute ceremony to say goodnight complete with fireworks!

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All in all it was a great day, and I’d love to go again with G Man – I think he’d have a lot of fun! The only negative I’d say is that once it was over it wasn’t clear where the exits were and the only obvious exit was closed off and guarded by security so that the acts to leave that way in their vehicles.

I’d say to you have to go to EDC with an open mind. There will be drinking and drug taking and the portaloos aren’t fit for a queen, but then this is a festival. If you can get on with the music and are willing to get into the swing of things, it’s well worth the cost of the ticket.

First Impressions: E.L.F Cosmetics

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I’d not heard of E.L.F Cosmetics (stands for Eyes Lips Face) until I started watching some of the US beauty YouTubers. This American brand kept popping up in favourites videos for their quality yet cheap priced products and when I found out they had a UK site, I knew I wanted to place an order.

They seem to have a new offer on a free gift every couple of weeks, so I placed a £25 order and waited patiently for it to arrive. When it did (about 2 weeks later as they ship from US) I saw that my free gift wasn’t there. As it was free I decided not to moan, and carried on with my life. Until a few days later they sent me an email telling me that they knew they’d forgotten to include it and gave me a £25 gift card to apologise. Amazing! So I headed back on to their site and placed another order, for £25 worth of products. (Which this time arrived to me within a week!)

Incidentally, this triggered their free postage offer, and also earned me another free gift. Win win. I will also mention that E.L.F cover customs charges too, so you have no fear of having to pay extra when it’s shipped. (Which is more than I can say for the terms of ColourPop’s new international shipping costs…. But I digress…)

So in the end I have gained a huge haul of E.L.F products all for the measly cost of £25. So let’s have a look:

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I haven’t had the opportunity to fully use all of these products but I have tried them all enough to be able to tell you a bit about them.

First of all, they look really high-end with regards to the packaging. It’s all flimsy plastic when it’s in your hand but it looks nice on the dresser!

Let’s start with some eye and face colour products.

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I picked up the powder blush in Tickled Pink and the cream blush in Rose Royalty. I’ve mentioned this powder blush in a monthly favourites recently, because whenever I wear it I get a compliment. It’s a lovely subtle pink with a teeny bit of shimmer and enough colour payoff that you can start subtly and build it up if you want. The cream blush is also really nice. I’m not great at applying cream blush, but this blends into a powder finish really quickly and give a really natural flush to my cheeks.

I picked up the silver barrelled Bare Lash Tint mascara, which has a really thin dainty spooly. The idea being I could use it on my bottom lashes. This gives a really natural coating to the lashes, but isn’t thick enough of a formula to hold a curl on my stubbornly straight lashes, even after using a curler. The Studio 3 in 1 mascara was part of my free gift. It has an hourglass shaped spooly, but with one of those spikey balls on the end. And the brush is really really bendy. It actually gives a really nice natural finish to my lashes, but still doesn’t compare to my Lancome Hypnose. It’s a lot cheaper though, so I have been using it on a day to day basis. My main con with this mascara is that it takes a really long time to dry so I find it transfers as I carry on my morning makeup routine.

This eyeshadow palette in Need it Nude was also part of my free gift. It’s obviously trying to dupe the Naked palette by Urban Decay. I have Naked 2 already so don’t really have any intention on using this, but have kept it for one of the shades which is a little more rose gold than anything else I currently own. I have, however, given them a go in conjunction with the Naked palette I own, when I was looking for a natural look for a wedding I recently attended. The formulas don’t really compare. The E.L.F shadows are chalkier, don’t blend as well and they colour payoff isn’t great. I can see it fading off within a few hours of wear, whereas I know I’ll get a full day with Urban Decay. Sorry E.L.F.

I also picked up one of E.L.F’s lip stains. This is a double ended lip wand, with stain one side and gloss the other. I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve here. Maybe something like Lipfinity, but whatever it was, it didn’t work. The colour goes on (nothing like a stain) like a liquid lipstick, but uneven patchy. If you try and go over it you pull the colour you’ve already laid down off. It never seems to dry. And when you think it has, you put the gloss over the top and it just pulls all the colour off and onto the wand. Leaving you with a coloured gloss wand in your clear gloss which looks really manky. Not a fan – glad I only paid £1 for this….

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Next we’ll talk about face products. I picked up a mineral primer, mineral serum foundation and a mineral mist. The mist isn’t a setting spray, and to be honest I’m not sure what it’s designed for but I’ve been using it throughout the day to cool my face. It doesn’t mess up my makeup or make my face wet, but it does make me feel a little fresher. The mineral serum foundation, I picked up in Light. It looks a lot darker on the packaging, but that’s package colouring and not product. The product contained is actually less than you think because it comes from a central tube inside. I liked this foundation. It set down to a non-tacky finish, and blended in well with my fingers. It gave me a medium coverage result, but has more yellow undertones that I usually wear so I haven’t been reaching for it all that much. I did find it wore away on my oily t-zone by the end of the day. I have, however, been reaching for the primer. It’s gives a nice smooth finish to my skin, and even though it does feel silicone-y, I don’t mind that. It doesn’t do anything for my pores, but they’re not a massive problem. It does seem to aid in oil control, at least on my skin, for a good while before I need to powder again.

And speaking of blotting, lets move onto to the on the go blotting papers I picked up. They come in a little plastic case, perfect for my handbag, which has a mirror, a sponge with sticky pads on it and the blotting papers. You’re supposed to remove a sticky pad on the sponge, attach a blotting sheet and then dab onto your face, but I tend to just go with the papers and miss out the sponge. The powder is lovely a light and doesn’t bother my makeup when I use it. My skin is left matte again, but not looking too powdery. It doesn’t add any coverage though, so bare that in mind.

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Lastly let’s talk tools. I got an eyeshadow blending brush in my free gift, and I love it. It’s large, fluffy and does the trick. It’s great in my crease and feels lovely on my skin. I decided to try the mascara and shadow shield as I always get mascara on my eyelids which is a massive pain if I’ve spent ages on my eyeshadow. Unfortunately, this product is a complete dud. I really like the idea, but the paddle on the top is almost the texture of custard-skin. It’s impossible to angle correctly and when you do it just flops about on the handle. I really want to love this, and I’m considering taking it off the handle to see if I can make a better use of it that way.

I also needed to pick up some brush shampoo, and though I was searching for a solid one (I still aim to pick up the Lottie Solid Brush Cleanser) I chose this, since I was getting it for free with my gift card. The reviews said it was amazing, smelled great, and the website said ‘Back In Stock’ after people were moaning it hadn’t been available for ages.

It did do a great job on my brushes, though I couldn’t detect any smell. It’s a basic brush cleanser from what I could tell, but I’m glad I have it because it does what it says on the tin!

So that’s my first impressions of E.L.F Cosmetics. I want to pick up one of their moisturisers and also their Bubble Mask (which is always sold out) when I’m in America, but until then, I’m happy with the hits, and might persevere with some of the misses!

What have you picked up from E.L.F that you’ve loved? Have you tried any of the things I wasn’t keen on and loved them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Ladies What Brunch

Having spent a lot of lovely time, but not nearly enough, with the Book Club girls in Cornwall, we decided we needed a girly meet up before Tash headed back to Vietnam.

I’d heard, through a girl in my office, about Jones & Sons in Dalston and their amazing bottomless brunch. We managed to find a date that worked for us all (which was also Caz’s birthday), made our booking and eagerly awaited the date.

Bottomless Brunch at Jones at Sons is awesome. You choose either ‘on the wagon’ or ‘off the wagon’, you choose which drink you’ll be getting served for 2 hours you have the table, and then you get to order as much food as you want off their menu for a set price. There are just two rules, once you’ve chosen which drink you want, you have to stick to that drink, and you can only order another round of food once everyone at your table is ready to order again too. This makes a lot of sense as it means the wait staff aren’t running around to each table multiple times over the duration of your visit.

We arrived at the restaurant slightly early, but were seated right away with no bother even though they were incredibly busy. Our drinks chosen and our food selected we waited patiently (yeah right!) for our food, eyeing up what other people were being served with hungry stomachs.

Inside Jones & Sons there’s a lovely buzz. Chitter chatter loud enough to create an atmosphere but not enough to make you shout – just how I like it. The wait staff were wonderful and really accommodating.

I chose to go with bucks fizz to drink, and every time my glass needed topping up we heard the sound of a new Prosecco bottle being opened! I must have drunk about 6 glasses over the time we were there so I was pleasantly merry by the time we left.

Now to eats:

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I started with poached eggs on sour dough toast with the most perfect avocado I’ve ever eaten. Well seasoned and perfectly ripe, the dish warmed up my stomach for what was to come. Next I went for a full english, which came complete with black pudding (which I love). Then after the girls had raved about the french toast, I decided to finish with that. It was soft and fluffy (could have been a little more custardy and a little less burnt, but they were changing to lunch service so I’ll let them off!)

I have to say I probably could have eaten another course but our 2 hours was up and we got the cheque. Even though Jones & Sons is a little off the normal track I’d take in London, I’ll definitely be back. The location, food and service was spot on, and I’d recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

After brunch we fancied another drink to headed to John Lewis on Oxford Street and to their rooftop garden. It’s open over the summer and I really wanted to see what it was like.

It being Pride London weekend, there were LGBT flags flying on top of all the buildings and down Oxford Street.

The John Lewis rooftop garden was very serene and lovely place to digest the food we’d just eaten. We all picked cocktails, though were surprised to find out that the only place you could get non alcoholic drinks had run out of juice….. I chose a cucumber cooler which has gin in it so I was happy!

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It was an awesome day, and brilliant to spend it all together on what seems like the last consistently pleasant weather day! If you haven’t been to Jones & Sons in Dalston, I really recommend it. The John Lewis Roof Garden is open until September 4th.

June Favourites

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June was a busy month! It was the month that this blog turned 7! Whoo. It was the month that the UK chose to exit the EU (I’m not commenting on this, it’s a massive can of worms). It was the month my friend Sarah got married and I got to be a bridesmaid (yay!) and it was the month that Pretty Little Liars made its season 7 return!

It was also the month where I fell in love with some new beauty products and continued to love some products I already had.

So let’s go for it!

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I bought the Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) from Liberty about two months ago, and have been using it a few times a week (not every day) after I take off my makeup. At first I didn’t think it was making any difference to my skin, but after about a month I realised I haven’t needed to exfoliate my face at all since I started using it. I usually need to exfoliate once or twice a week but now – never! I have also found the redness in my face has reduced quite a bit, and when I don’t use it the redness is more prominent. It smells nice, doesn’t feel harsh on my skin and I’m always shocked at how much comes off on the cotton wool pad even when I think I’ve removed all my make-up. Gross! The Pixi Glow Tonic isn’t cheap at £18 but I think it’s worth it. I have also found my local M&S stocks this, so I don’t need to treck to London every time I want it. And Pixi have just launched ready-soaked pads in the US which are perfect for travel, so I’ll be picking those up from Sephora in Florida when I’m there in September, instead of packing this big bottle!

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I’m still on my pina colada kick, so when I found out Body Shop had a range in that scent, I was all over it! This body sorbet is light, refreshing and not heavy on the skin. I layer it with the next product I’m going to talk about and smell amazing all day! I’m going to take this on holiday with me, because it also has soothing properties and no doubt I’ll burn in the sun. If I run out I’ll be hitting up a Body Shop in Florida for a new one!

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Also launched at the same time as the Pinita Colada range, was this Polynesian Island Tiare body mist. This is light, and fresh and as I said layers perfectly with the body sorbet. Unfortunately it comes in a glass bottle so I won’t be travelling with this.

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On a similar note, I picked up this nspa body scrub from Asda whilst on holiday in St Ives. I really felt like I needed a body scrub and this one was inexpensive and smelled lovely. It’s making my skin feel lovely!

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As part of a recent E.L.F haul (I’ll be doing a first impressions soon!) I picked up this blusher in Tickled Pink. I thought it was a dupe for Nars Orgasm, but have since found out that’s the ELF Twinkled Pink – who named these so similarly?! But I’m still really loving this shade. It comes out as a really natural colour on my cheeks and it’s lovely to be able to layer this so I can get as pigmented a tone as I’d like. Plus I’m enjoying the mirror in the packaging.

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And lastly, this bad boy – The Balm BalmShelter tinted moisturiser. I’ve had this for months, and I wear it every day, but it really came into its own for the recent wedding I was bridesmaid at. I intend to post a feature on the makeup I wore for the wedding, but need to rave about this now. When I get sunburn, due to my oily t-zone, I get burn on my forehead and my nose. And I mean Rudolph style burn on my nose. This tinted moisturiser not only controlled my t-zone, with only a light dusting of mineral veil powder when first applied, but since it has spf 18 it prevented any facial burn. My chest, shoulders and back burned, but my face stayed perfect ALL DAY. Seriously I am so impressed with this product. I love it!

June Faves

So that’s my June favourites! Let me know if you’d tried any of these and what you thought!

 

A Cornish Holiday

If you’ve read my last proper post, you’ll have seen that I’ve recently returned from a lovely holiday in St Ives, Cornwall. We went down that way for our friends Sarah and Nick’s wedding, but we had the place we rented for a week so took advantage of being down that way.

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Above was the view of Carbis Bay from our property. We’d been to Cornwall a few times, usually choosing to stay in or near Fowey, however we can now say our hearts firmly prefer St Ives.

The Monday after the wedding began with breakfast in a little cafe, whilst it drizzled outside, but within about half an hour of us finishing, the sun had come out and it was warm enough to walk around without a jacket over my vest top.

The streets of St Ives are so pretty. They wind, rise and fall and the shops are adorable.

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We ate some great food and drank some yummy cider (loving Rattler now!) I had a gorgeous rum and gin cocktail at the Rum and Crab shack along with some crab nachos.

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I was constantly amazed by how clear the water in the harbour and on the beaches was (and how vicious the seagulls were!)

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Other than the wedding on the Sunday, there were two other highlights of our stay in St Ives. The first was a ghost walk we took with Caz and Chris one evening. The guy who was guiding it was outstanding, and we were taken to some awesome locations. The grave yard and the beach were two stand-out places. So atmospheric and unforgettable. The second highlight was Amy’s birthday which fell on Thursday. We met up in the evening for sit-down fish and chips followed by cupcakes on the beach.

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It was an awesome break, and I can’t wait to get together with this lovely lot again! We’ll definitely be going back to St Ives soon! Whilst we were there we went into so many art galleries, and came away with three pieces for our house. I might have also come away with these beautiful works of art….

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Sigh, I’m in Love!

So, thanks St Ives. We’ll be back soon!

Shutterbug is 7!

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I’m interrupting your usual blog reading to let you know that today I am celebrating Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s 7th birthday!

Thank you so much to all of my followers, readers, subscribers and everyone in between. It’s been lovely having you along for the ride!

Here’s to another fabulous year!

A Beautiful Wedding

We have just returned from a lovely break in St Ives where our good friends Sarah and Nick married at Carbis Bay.

The weather for the two important wedding days was perfect just when it needed to be. We arrived in Carbis Bay on Saturday evening just in time for the sun to begin shining. All gathered together, friends and family relaxed, caught up and ate fish and chips on the beautiful beach, which looked like something from another country.

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We even managed a dip in the sea!

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The following morning was the big day and the bridesmaids showed up early to get our hair done. We had been given free rein on how to have our hair, but Sarah had said we should all have a plait somewhere. I’d seen a picture a while back of the kind of thing I wanted, and showed the hairdresser. She nailed it!

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I was so pleased with it!

The weather had been grey and rainy, but the sun shone bright and beautiful as soon as Sarah put her dress on.

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After a few photos it was show time. The ceremony was stunning, with the back doors to the conservatory where we were seated open, we could hear the waves from the bay below, throughout.

Photos afterwards on the grass and then the beach, along with drinks and chats. It was perfect.

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We all got a little sunburnt, and I was delighted that my tinted moisturiser, which has spf, protected my nose and forehead which normally burn first. I’m planning another post describing the make up I used, soon. I was so impressed with how my face still looked perfect at the end of the day!

Wedding breakfast, coffee and then disco later we were all pretty shattered. But it was a wonderful day. The DJ agreed to play some corkers, including a Book Club only dance to Wannabe by the Spice Girls, which was definitely a highlight.

Thank you Sarah and Nick for including us in your day, allowing us to share a wonderful week with you and friends, and for asking me to be bridesmaid. The day, and week, was perfect!

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