This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

February has hit with a smash and a bang. Just as we’re trying to get used to the New Year, to the new “President” (I kinda like writing it that way) and longing for the Spring, we’ve been greeted with February. The groundhog says it’s going to be a long winter, but I’m hoping he’s just rodent with a long shadow.

I seem to be on a never-ending spending spree, and every weekend congratulate myself for a whole week without buying something, only to remember something I just bought or to go out a treat myself. This needs to stop, but at the same time there’s always something I need or want.

This week ColourPop got me with a new range of lip products called ‘Blotted Lips’.

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I knew I needed to get them, but with ColourPop being so hard to ship to the UK (not to mention expensive) and with the sting of customs charges, I didn’t think it would be on the cards. But then my American friend told me she was heading to visit family in a couple of weeks and would I like her to pick anything up for me. I knew this was meant to be so asked if I could ship something to her parent’s home. She said yes! So I filled my basket and got everything I’ve been lusting over for the past 6 months. This included a heap of lip products and one highlighter. I’m planning on doing a ColourPop video once it’s arrived. I’m so excited!

I’ve been really enjoying filming and uploading to YouTube and though I haven’t got many followers and there’s so much competition, I’m really enjoying the process and the comments I get from my viewers.

I babysat for my Niece this weekend, just past, and she gave me this picture she’d made for me:

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Apparently the night before she’d been so excited that her YouTuber aunty was going to be in her house and babysitting for her. She’s told all her friends I’m a YouTuber – which is technically true – I YouTube, so I’m a YouTuber! I love that I’ve got a fan!

I’ve also started working on a new series of blog posts called ‘Why I….’, the first of which will publish in a few days. It’s all about why I have made certain life choices and the affect it’s had on me. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them, and I look forward to seeing any discussion they stir up.

Having recently completed binge-watching the second series of The Man in the High Castle (awesome!) we had a TV void to fill, so we’ve just started watching The OA on Netflix.

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I’ve seen a few of Brit Marling’s films and though I find them self-indulgent, they’re incredibly interesting and unique, not to mention intelligent. We’re part way through and I’m hooked. I’m really interested in seeing how it ends – no spoilers please!

The week to come promises to be cold and icy, and all I long for is some sun, warmth and not to feel so pasty. I hope Spring comes soon, but until then I’ll just look at instagrams of tropical islands and pretend I’m there. Bring on Summer.

If you’d like to see my latest YouTube video, that went live this weekend, then go ahead below. It’s one for book worms – all about my favourite books!

ColourPop image copyright to ColourPop. OA image sourced via Google Images.

January Favourites

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And so we move into the second month of the year, in the hope that we can bypass the cold weather and all of a sudden be honoured with Spring-time. I wish!

It’s been crazy cold, icy, some people have had snow; but we have had plenty of lovely winter sun, so it’s not all bad.

This month, as well as upping the frequency of my blog posts a little, I’ve been able to post up a couple of videos to my YouTube channel, which is really exciting.

As well as that there have been some fab things on the TV, great music and I’ve had the chance to try out some of the beauty things I got for Christmas AND splurge a little on the January sales…

Let’s start with some music.

Ed Sheeran announced his new album and released two tracks from it, which went straight to number 1 and 2.

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My favourite of the two is Shape of You which I’ve had on repeat ever since. I can’t get enough of it, and I’m excited to hear the rest!

I mentioned in a past post I wrote about my 2016 in blogging, a planner that I’d picked up from Dot Creates.

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The Ultimate Blog Planner is a spiral bound notebook with sectioned pages designed to allow you to plan out your blogs as and when inspiration hits.

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I’ve actually started to really fill up the pages! Because it’s not dated you can write in it as and when you want, and it means you’ll never forget that glimmer of an idea you have because you can run and write it down when you have it! They come in 3 designs and are really inexpensive, so if you blog – go get one!

On a recent January sale shopping excursion we headed into The White Company, a shop I didn’t really go into, and saw they had a sale on their towels. We really needed to replace our towels since they were a wedding present 10 years ago – they’re still going strong, but they’d been washed and washed and washed… you get the picture. Anyway, we found these amazingly soft and HUGE bath sheets, hand towel and face cloth all in their sale.

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I swear when I wash my face with the face cloth it’s like rubbing my face with a fluffy puppy…. and when I get out of the bath and use my towel – woah mumma!

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Next, I finally took the plunge and bought a Beauty Blender. I’d never actually used a beauty sponge, but thought I’d see if they had any discounts on the Beauty Blender website. I managed to get a gift set which contained a pink and black sponge, a black micro sponge, a black oil blotter sponge and black sponge cleansing soap for £32 which I think is pretty good! They also included a free mini white sponge cleansing soap and mini cleansing liquid bottle too! So I think I got a great deal.

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Anyhow, I used the micro sponge and the pink Beauty Blender this past weekend and I’m really impressed. I’m mostly impressed with the micro sponge, and how it’s improved the look and longevity of my undereye concealer. Win!

Next, I want to talk about cleansing. I’ll admit it, that before Christmas I ONLY used miscellar water makeup wipes. They did me no harm, and they did the job. But since receiving the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser at Christmas I have seen the error of my ways. It’s amazing.

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Not only does this variation smell amazing, but it’s so soft on my skin. It’s moisturising, gets all of my makeup and mascara off my face without needing to scrub and it leaves my skin feeling amazeballs!

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And last is this incredible body scrub from The Body Shop. I picked this up in their sale for about £6 I think.

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If you were reading my blog last year, you’ll know I’m pretty obsessed with any body products that are coconut and pineapple scented. So when I saw this, I HAD to get it.

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Not only does it smell amazing though, the product is incredible. It’s very soft and has just the right about of exfoliating grit in it. You rub it over your skin and afterwards you feel soft and moisturised for DAYS. I mean it – no need to moisturise afterwards but you’re not feeling greasy or anything. I’m obsessed!

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I’m hoping this is a whole range because I’ll definitely be picking up more scents if it is!

And that’s it for another month! Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear what you think 🙂

Blogger Recognition Award

This week I was nominated by Elen at Black Coffee Breakfast for a Blogger Recognition Award, which is a part award/part tag!

The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

So here goes!

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Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug started as a creative outlet for writing and to showcase my photography. The idea was that it would be kind of like a diary too, and it meant that my friends and family would be able to read what I’ve been getting up to, especially when I travel.

It’s grown to be an amazingly fulfilling exercise in social interaction. I love how it allows me to interact with people I would never have met before, share my opinions and perspectives and hear other people’s!

My two pieces of advice for new bloggers would be:

  1. Post what you want, when you want and make sure you’re writing for yourself. Don’t start writing a blog for fame or fortune – that’s HARD work and really rare. I always say a bunch of engaged readers is much more rewarding than a heap of followers who don’t even read your stuff.
  2. Interact! Get on twitter – speak to people! Follow people you want to follow and don’t follow anyone you don’t! Be you! That’s all you can be 🙂

The blogs I’m nominating (I really can’t 15 though – most have already been tagged!) for are:

Emmy’s Beauty Cave

A Healthier Moo

Just Charlie G

Sophie Kate

Thanks for reading!

Why I Love Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes is celebrating its 50th birthday today so I thought I’d share some of the reasons why this New City is a place I love!

I have lived here for most of my life (bar 2/3 years somewhere in the middle where I lived just outside) and even though it’s been the butt of people’s jokes, I still firmly believe it’s an awesome place to live. Here’s why:

  • Milton Keynes was built a New City, with the environment, industry and lifestyle in mind. It has excellent links to London (be there on the train in less than an hour), redways (paths that run alongside or under the main roads, tarmacked in red) that allow you to travel through the town on bike or by foot almost completely without having to brave dangerous dual carriageways.

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  • The buses have always and probably still are unashamedly always late. You might as well burn the timetables, and more often than not if your bus stop actually has one of those new fangled digital displays tracking the buses on it, your bus will get 5 minutes away and then disappear – see MK is magical! I don’t use the buses anymore, so I see this as charming……
  • Despite it often being a punchline (the bit in Love Actually, where someone is learning English and they say “Milton Keynes has many roundabouts”, for one) it’s also famous for a few very cool things. It’s home to Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine which cracked the code and won the war in the 40s. Part of Superman 4 was filmed here, outside our train station, which was thought to look futuristic at the time. It still looks the same now, so make up your own mind next time you’re here! Cliff Richard filmed his ‘Wired for Sound’ music video here, roller skating through our shopping centre.

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  • And on the subject of our shopping centre, the old bit (because we call tend to refer to the two sections of mall by saying ‘the old bit’ and ‘new bit’, even though the new bit is really old now….) was Europe’s largest shopping mall when it opened. I worked in the shopping centre on and off for the majority of my working life, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s not the fanciest but I like it 🙂

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  • We also had the UK’s first multiplex cinema in The Point, which was a huge pyramid-shaped building with red neon lights outlining it. It was an exciting thing to see as a child, in its prime. Go give it a google! The smell of the popcorn as you walked in, and the sound of the kids playing the arcade was incredibly exciting, and something I’ll never forget.
  • I love how you can drive a few miles and be out of the cityscape and in the countryside. We have loads of old villages, pubs, markets, forests and trail walks. There are farms and fields, but also on the flip side of that we have high-rise apartment buildings, bustling businesses, a theatre, ski dome – pretty much everything you’d want. Oh and about 5 Nandos within the space of 5 miles…

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  • Even though we’re mocked for our roundabouts, I honestly believe MK was set out really well. It’s one way grid-system roads were based on the layout of New York City!
  • This also makes it really awesome for running – Milton Keynes has become a mecca for runners and cyclists with events all throughout the year. The paths and roads are relatively flat and it’s easy to run for miles without having to worry about cars.
  • The Bowl, Milton Keynes’ open air concert venue, has been home to artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Queen, Bon Jovi, REM, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Radiohead to name a very few. Over the years there has been talk of its purpose changing but thankfully it hasn’t happened yet. I love seeing live music events there!

I have loads of great memories of Milton Keynes and I hope to have many more! Children’s Day at The Bowl was always great fun. I remember having a red balloon with a tag tied to it which had an address and my name on. The idea was that if someone somewhere far away found your balloon they’d contact the address and the organisers could see how far it flew. All the balloons were put together and released in one big magical swathe of red! I think I’ll always remember that!

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Milton Keynes continues to grow and develop. It’s always been that way, and I’m often surprised at where they find the space to build what they build, but it’s never too much. With all the greenery mixing in with the industrial landscape, it’s the best of both worlds. And I really don’t think I’ll be moving away any time soon.

Happy Birthday Milton Keynes, and here’s to many more!

 

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This week I have been mostly hiding from the cold! It’s been in minus degrees quite a lot this week. I’ve had to scrape ice off the car more times than I’d care to think about, and my black car starts to look white before I’ve even finished work.

I spent the week catching up on TV in the evenings, I got rid of my mousey blonde roots and added highlights. I had a lovely pamper session on Friday evening (this was after my dinner of a Big Mac meal and 6 nuggets on the side…. Yum!)

I decided that I wanted to try my hand at general day vlogging this weekend, so that’s what I did on Saturday. We had some errands to run and then headed off to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to see Gaslight. Originally a play, I have see both iterations of the story in film but really wanted to see what the play was like.

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I really enjoyed it, and Gary (who didn’t know anything about the story at all) was really impressed with it too. We were both enthralled until the end.

If you saw my last post, you’ll know I recently picked up some new beauty bits, and this week I’ve been trying out my Renaissance Palette. I’ve really enjoyed how versatile it is, all the colours blend so nicely together and last a really long time on the lids. I can see me using it a lot this year!

Now we’re a few weeks into January, I have to say I’m kind of missing taking a photo each day to upload to Instagram. If you aren’t aware, last year I completed a 365 project where I took a photo a day for the entire year. I’ve completed this project 3 times now, and I think last year’s was the easiest. It made a huge difference that I was uploading to Instagram instead of Flickr, and what with having the camera on my phone instead of an actual camera, it was so much easier to upload and edit the photos in super quick time. But now I don’t have to take a picture every day, and as I say – I’m missing it! Maybe I need a new photo project. Does anyone know of any good ones?

On Saturday I also filmed my Q&A video, which has now gone live on my YouTube channel. I really enjoyed filming this one, so I might do it again at some point, depending on how well it’s received. Have a look if you fancy it!

My New Year Beauty Splurge

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I admit it, I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to treat myself, and buy some of the things I’d been lusting over towards the end of the year.

And finally all the items have arrived so I can tell you (brag) about them!

I haven’t tried all of these items yet, since, as I just mentioned, they’ve only just arrived, but I’m going to share them with you anyhow, and if I love them you just know they’ll feature in a future post!

So let’s start with a couple of bits I picked up for my hair. I have been growing my hair out mainly as a kind of experiment just to see how long I could get it to grow. I have a trim every 3 (read 6) months and tell my hairdresser to cut off as little as possible. This is all well and good, but my hair is very fine and not thick so I have to do a lot to it to make it look like it has volume and isn’t limp.

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I found out about Grow Gorgeous through twitter and decided I would take the plunge and try their Hair Growth Serum and End Split Ends serum. I haven’t started using them yet, but the hair growth serum is a 2 month supply if you use it daily (which I probably won’t) so I’ll keep you updated. It’s supposed to add thickness and healthiness to fine and thin hair and promote a longer mane. The split end serum, I’m sure you can guess, is to help with my wispy ends towards the time in which I really should be getting a trim. I’ve just had my hair cut, so I’ll be starting to use these very soon!

The next thing I picked up is a product I’m sure you all know about.

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette was probably the most sought after palette towards the end of 2016. Every beauty blogger and YouTuber was talking about it, and it was always either sold out or just darn hard to find in the UK. I saw it was in stock at Cult Beauty so went for it.

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There were a few reasons people were going nutty over this palette. Firstly, the quality of the shadows. They’re so pigmented that you only need a slight dab with the brush to get an adequate amount of product to apply. Secondly, this palette is mostly mattes with 3 shimmers. And the colours all go together. You can get masses of looks with this palette and there are so many combinations for different looks. Third, it comes with a nice brush and mirror and it’s light. It doesn’t feel like it’ll break in your suitcase. The brush isn’t the best but it’s enough to do the job, so you would do fine if you only had this to work with. I’ll level with you, at £41 this isn’t cheap, but it’s a gorgeous palette and I can see me getting use out this all year around. The shadows blend really nicely and because you barely need to use any it’ll last a long time before you hit pan.

Next, I was totally susceptible to Stila’s tweets advertising their sale and decided to pick up a few of their lip products. I got a nude liquid lipstick set featuring three of their Stay All Day lipsticks. They’re lovely shades, and so lightweight. They dry down very quickly but don’t drag or patch when you’re putting them on. Once they’ve settled they are transfer proof. I’ve only tried the colours so I can’t vouch for how long wearing they are, but I’ll let you know.

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I also picked up one of their glitter glosses. I’d been after a glitter gloss over the Christmas period, but didn’t see one I liked or was worth the cost. This Stila Metallics gloss in Citrine was £4.50 so I guessed even if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t be a waste of money.

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But I LOVE it. Just look at the sparkles! It offers a lovely subtle glittery finish to bare lips and a metallic sheen as a lipstick topper. It smells lovely (as do the Stay All Day, liquid lipsticks) and when it wears off it leaves your lips all glittery (which I love). It is a sticky gloss, so if you don’t like that then you might not like this. I wore it on a windy evening and my hair stuck right to my face!

Next up, I’d been wanting to try an Urban Decay foundation for a while, and when a friend raved about the Naked Skin foundation for her oily skin I thought I’d give it a try. I was colour matched in store to be shade 1.0 and I was really pleased with the finish and the colour match. I’ve used it a few times now, and here’s what I think.

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This is a medium to buildable foundation. I expected to hate the smell and though it is a little painty to start with it goes away. It offers a matte finish, and I prefer a dewy finish so sometimes I use a hydrating primer underneath and that seems to help. It’s very easy to apply, goes on streak-free and with a brush offers a very natural finish. It doesn’t stay tacky, which I appreciate, but isn’t transfer proof. However each time I’ve used this (and with different primers underneath), around 3-4pm I noticed that my chin, nose and forehead oils had broken the makeup down and there was pretty much nothing left. I always set my t-zone with a powder too, so I don’t know if this was hindering rather than helping performance. It’s a shame. I need to work around this, and find out what’s going on with my skin and also which primer will work best with this. I really like this foundation so I’m willing to make it work! I’m going to try it with a setting spray and see if that changes anything.

Lastly, and mainly to get the free shipping when I ordered my palette, I picked up a Morphe brush to apply my new foundation with.

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It looked like it would be good for foundation and the reviews agreed, so I went for it. This is the Morphe Deluxe Buffer brush (M439) and it’s my first Morphe brush so I have high hopes for it. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

And that was my splurge! Let me know if you’ve used any of these products because I’d love to know what you think. And if you have any Modern Renaissance palette looks you like, then let me know. I’d love to see how you’ve been using yours.

We Went To Disney World – the movie!

 

Okay, well it’s not a movie so much as the YouTube video I’ve been promising is now up!

It’s taken me a little while to get all the footage together, and in a way that got as much as I wanted in but without boring everyone!

And if you want to read about our trip, then you can read my blog ALL about it!

I hope you like it. If you do, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe if you want to see more!

2016: My Year in Blogging

I think this year has to have been one of my most consistent blogging years, the last one being during my year of half marathon training.

And I know exactly what changed it; the blogging community on social media and actually being actively social.

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Blogging has changed a huge amount since I started. I’ve been writing a blog for around 15 years and this particular blog for 7 and a half now. I’m so proud that Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug is the way that it is and that people seem to like it!

I started the year with around 300 email subscribers and ended it with over 600. After having started dabbling with makeup I started to see my reader stats increasing and people seemed to be interested in that kind of content. I’m not going to lie, as much as my blog posts are written for me, no one will deny the draw to being popular. Especially in such a competitive environment. And it’s SO competitive.

When I started blogging it wasn’t popular. It was something emo kids and poets did. For the record, and though there’s nothing wrong with being either of those things, I’m neither. I was just putting thoughts to ‘paper’ and then releasing them into the great ocean of the internet. I think that’s why I get on with twitter so much. You have a thought, you release it, and then it’s gone (for the most part!).

When I began putting in that extra 10% effort this year, I could see it made all the difference. But I also saw that the world of blogging, this expansive Blogosphere, was totally different from how it was when I started. EVERYONE has a blog. The content is rarely original, but when it is, it’s so good. And people can really make money from blogging. People are jacking in their 9-5 jobs to work for themselves and become influencers full-time.

And not only that, the popularity contest is so fierce that people actually pay for followers. Things I didn’t know even existed were brought to the forefront – people spend hours scheduling tweets to go out on a weekly basis. They will plan posts months ahead, spending hours perfecting their Media Kit and profile pages to be PR friendly. I have, for the time being, decided that a media kit and PR related type stuff is not for me. The other day someone had to explain to me what an Insta Pod was – I’m still not 100% sure…

A few years ago I dabbled, and worked with companies reviewing their stuff. I worked with Vita Coco, Chobani and a few tea companies. I had chocolate and yogurt coming out of my ears and finding the time to review everything was hard. I found my content was becoming watered down this ad content and I decided to let it go.

I also found it’s so hard to get noticed in the seas of ‘young’ ‘hip’ bloggers who understand social media and branding way more than I can at my mid 30’s. It’s frustrating to think that the 40th review someone has read about the latest Zoella perfume can get so much more engagement than a post I write about travel or a favourite charity….. But still.

So since I considered myself pretty good at twitter I set up a second twitter account dedicated to Musings and let it loose on the world. I got a few followers but they were mainly people who I already knew. And nothing seemed to happen….. Then I realised that I was being totally dumb and in order for people to engage with me I needed to engage with them. It’s been to the detriment of my personal twitter account, I must admit, but even so, I have really enjoyed it.

Things really started to fly when I discovered The Bloggers Hub (or I think they might have found me!), a network of like-minded bloggers who chat, help each other and are really fun. The guys who run the network are great, welcoming, and really help to boost your exposure all at the same time. They seem like the kind of people I’d really get on with IRL and there’s zero bitchiness from anyone, which is the one thing that had put me off being involved in any other twitter blogger network. Their twitter chat was also the first one I ever participated in (and since I’ve never felt the urge to join in with any others, if I’m honest). Through them I’ve found some amazing, friendly and really down to earth bloggers. I’ve also had my eyes opened to some of the pitfalls of blogging, some of the drama and plenty of the scams.

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Through twitter I got the balls to start my YouTube channel too, which is still very much in its infant stage. But it’s great to know there’s an outlet I can push my videos through, when I really want people to know what I’ve been creating.

Something I’ve always had an issue getting over, so not just this year, is the fear of putting what I really think onto the screen. And by that I mean, I sometimes have the strong urge to write a response to something that might be going on in the press or something in my life, but I’m afraid of the responses I might get. Sometimes it’s a social or political issue that I don’t feel like I know everything about but I still have a strong opinion on. I might know enough to write a post about it, but someone who knows more about it than me might comment and I won’t be able to stand my ground. This is something I hope, in time, I’ll get over. But the more exposure my blog gets, the higher the chance that someone might respond negatively to what I’ve written. I mean let’s face it, beauty bloggers get flack for using too much product in their swatches so what hope do I have if I start to comment on politics?

I also had the chance, towards the end of the year, to attend a couple of Blogger events. One was too far from home, but one was right where I live, and I chickened out. Apart from it being too much money for what you got, I didn’t feel ready to take that scary leap and be social with people I’d never met. The fear was too great. But maybe this year I’ll take the leap. There’s one blogger I’ve been friendly with for the past year, who I would consider a friend even though we’ve never met. Maybe meeting her this year will be the first step to conquering this fear. I think I need my hand held!

So what does 2017 and blogging hold for me? This year I upgraded my Peanuts Moleskine notebook, where I usually write in long hand, a full blog, if I have the idea in my head and I need to get it out. I bought a Dot Creates Blogger Planner. Inside it’s got loads of space for planning upcoming blogs. Up until now I’d either use my Peanuts Moleskine or more often just open a new page on my iPhone Notes app. This can be a little clumsy and when it comes to things like this, I appreciate putting pencil to paper more. This blog planner will also be great for planning YouTube video ideas and it makes my brain feel a little more organised!

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So planning will be important in 2017, though I don’t feel like I’ll ever be the kind of person who can sit, plan and write out posts months in advance. I’m far too much of a spur of the moment, type out whatever’s in my brain right now, kind of blogger.

I know I’ll continue with twitter because it’s been so much fun, socialising with everyone and learning too. I considered dabbling with scheduling tweets, but I enjoy actually engaging in real-time too much. Even scheduling blog posts too far ahead of time makes me feel distant from my content, so for the time being I won’t be scheduling tweets.

I’m going to work on my brand, but I want to keep it real. I don’t want to find myself moving back to where I was when I was doing PR and collaborations. That’s not me – if I talk about a product it’s because I love it and I’m just doing the same as if I told my friends about something amazing that I’d tried. And I want my readers to know that too. If I’m telling you about it, it’s because it’s worth talking about!

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I can honestly say that 2016 was my most enjoyable year in blogging, and I hope 2017 follows suit. I now know that putting that little bit of extra effort in, finding your tribe and being social makes a whole heap of difference. There’s a reason it’s called social media but for someone who isn’t incredibly outgoing or social I was just a little slow on the uptake.

But it’s okay now, because I got there eventually. And I love it!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

You guys, we did it! We survived the first week back after the Christmas holidays.

Christmas seems like so long ago now. The trees and decorations are down. There are tell-tale fir-needle patches outside driveways up and down my street where the bin men have taken away old trees. Lights are being removed from houses this weekend, and all of a sudden there seems to be a lot more space in my living room.

I always miss the tree and lights in my sitting room, and as such we have two sets of fairy lights which stay up all year around. One on my mantle and one around a mirror in our hall. It’s lovely to light these on a long summer evening and it looks like fire-flies in the balmy warmth (I wish things were a little warmer right now). That being said, I usually make myself feel bad by flicking to the weather forecast in Orlando, however this weekend the weather has gotten down to 3 centigrade there so maybe I don’t feel so bad right now.

This week we’ve had -4 degree weather at points. In fact the day it got to -4 it was -2 when I woke up, -3 when I left the house and had reached -4 by the time I’d arrived at work.

Even though it was a 4 day week it managed to feel 7 days long, and my sleeping pattern has suffered due to the 10 day break. I’ve been tired all day, and felt that for sure I’d be dribbling on the sofa and ready for bed by 9:30pm – but alas I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as soon as I got into bed. I have also been waking up around 5am and needing to pee desperately and so getting back to sleep has been a massive pain in the bum. I usually fall into a gorgeously deep sleep about 10 minutes before my alarm and then feel rotten when I need to get up – thereby starting the cycle again. Awesome!

Anyhow, despite this, work was good and I even managed to get some more blog posts written. I’ve really enjoyed blogging this past year. I’ve written a separate blog all about my past year in blogging, which you should keep an eye out for if you’re interested.

I also decided I didn’t spoil myself enough in the sales and so spent an obscene amount of money on makeup this week. More on that when it all arrives….. I also treated myself to some hair products from Grow Gorgeous and a new blog planner, which I’ve already started using and can see it being really useful. But again, more on that in that blogging post coming in the next few days!

The last couple of things I picked up were books, which had been priced crazy low on amazon. I bought a cook book for £4 which I’m glad I only spent £4 on because on getting it home and flicking through it I don’t see anything I’d like to make, so far. Poopies. I also bought the Adnan Syed book ‘Adnan’s Story’ which was on my Christmas list but no one bought for me. It was only £5 and I didn’t want the price to go up so I hit ‘add to basket’!

This weekend, other than shopping irresponsibly, I have watched another couple of Netflix documentaries. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is about Aileen Wuornos the female serial killer who murdered 7 men in the late 80’s and was given multiple life sentences. I’d seen the film Monster about her year’s back and it was very interesting so thought I’d give the documentary a try.

We also watched Audrie and Daisy about young girls in America who had been sexually assaulted by their peers and the aftermath. This was an incredibly powerful and also frustrating watch. I highly recommend it. I actually found myself crying at the end over both the strength of the girls and also out of frustration of the world and the people in it. Please watch it if you get the chance.

Something I’ve been promising for a while is my Walt Disney World video – I’ve been putting it off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a massive job – I’ve got quite a lot of footage, not a lot of face to camera stuff so I need to work out how I’m going to link it all. But probably the most important reason I’ve been putting it off is that once it’s done, it kind of puts a close to our Florida holiday. And I’m not ready for that yet. So it will happen, and hopefully soon, but it’ll happen when I’m ready. I really can’t wait to watch the footage again if I’m honest, but it’ll be bittersweet!

So that was my week. I’ve been fighting off the urge to hibernate and come out for Spring, but as it happens I’ve been managing to peel myself from my cosy bed and go out into the freezing cold world. Speaking of freezing cold – I’ve been really enjoying watching the Instagram stories of the people I follow. So many people have had snow all over the world and watching their videos of snow falling, wintry walks and calm white vistas has been magical. It’s for that reason I’m so pleased that social media outlets exist like that.

What have you been up to this week?

2016 Favourites: What’s Made the Cut?

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My one and only 2016 resolution was to learn how to use makeup. And I can honestly say it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept! I’ve really enjoyed learning about and using makeup and have found an awesome community of people through it.

I subscribed to GlossyBox for one year, and though I’ve now not renewed my sub with them for next year, I can honestly say it did give me the chance to try some things I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.

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So, I’ve compiled a list of all the things I’ve talked about over the year, that have earned a place in my favourites for the whole year. They’ve stood the test of time and I think these are worth the hype.

I’ll start with non-beauty favourites and then get into the makeup!

Music:

Ariana Grande’s album Dangerous Woman has been my album of the year. Since it came out, it’s pretty much been the only album I listen to. Fact.

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TV:

I’ve watched so much amazing tv over the year. Here are the ones I LOVED:

  • Love
  • Gilmore Girls
  • House of Cards
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • The Night Of
  • The Man in The High Castle
  • Making a Murderer
  • The Jinx
  • Billions
  • Stranger Things
  • The Affair

That’s not to mention things I’ve continued to watch, but these are the ones I discovered this year.

I also got heavily into YouTube this year, partly through watching makeup YouTubers (that’s a real word now btw) and partly through watching Disney Vloggers.

So now onto the beauty side of things!

I started the year with the Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk and Honey bath, which was given to me as a Valentine’s gift. I’m still working through this jar, though I can see myself needing a repurchase towards the start of next year. It’s an amazing bubble bath, which smells so relaxing and gives the best bubbles. It’s a real treat every time I use it!

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Gwen Stefani had an amazing year collaborating with Urban Decay. I picked up the shadow palette and a couple of her lipsticks, but the one that really stuck with me all year was this blush palette. I’ve used it so much and can find use from every single shade. The powders are pigmented, buildable and blend-able and last all day. Plus the packaging is awesome!

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TheBalm Balm Shelter is a tinted moisturiser I use practically every day that I wear makeup. It’s pigmented, light, comfortable and gives natural coverage. Enough said. Oh and I bought it a year ago and it’s still going…..

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2016 was the year NYX came to the UK and I’m so glad it did because I’ve found a few staples for my makeup collection. The Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils, for tight lining, their Dark Circle under-eye concealer and their Pro Mix foundation lightener. Amazing.

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PIXI Glow Tonic (I no longer need to exfoliate, like, ever!) and the PUR Hydra Gel under eye primer – just buy them. Seriously, you’ll thank me.

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Makeup Revolution’s Radiance Palette transformed my summer look. I adore this palette and for basically no cost. The powders are pigmented and buildable and give the perfect amount of bronzing, shimmer and highlight.

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Better Than Sex by Too Faced and Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher mascaras have changed my eyelashes from straight thin wisps to fabulous girly lashes.

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My go to and absolute favourite lipstick this year has been the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Stoned Rose. It’s a fantastic pinky, nude, brown. It’s long lasting, comfortable and smells amazing too!

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And lastly, I managed to pick up a full size of the Victoria’s Secret body mist in Coconut Passion, which I drench myself in daily.

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So, those are the things I’ve loved over 2016. Have you used any of these this year? I’d love to hear what you’ve been loving – comment with a link to your 2016 favourites! I’d love to have a read.

Keep an eye out for my 2016 overview!