We’re Disney-bound!

So, if you hadn’t realised…. I’m off on holiday for two and a bit weeks. So if it’s a little quiet over here, it’s because:

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Whoop! And I wanted to let you know where you can keep up with my holiday online, whilst I won’t be blogging or uploading to YouTube until we’re back.

You can find me on instagram at @groggits , where I’ll be uploading a minimum of my 365 project photo a day, but more likely much more than that.

Snapchat as @groggits :  I use this occasionally but more likely that not I’ll be using Instagram stories instead. But feel free to add me on there anyhow!

Periscope as @groggits (are you seeing a theme here?) – Depending on how good the wifi is in the parks I hope to broadcast live, so make sure you follow me and request notifications for when I go live!

You can find me on Twitter in two places: @groggits is my personal twitter and @Shutterbug_Blog for blog and blogging related tweets. Instagram photos get pushed to my personal twitter, so you’ll be able to see when photos go up from there.

Please feel free to add me on any, some or all of these accounts and keep track of us whilst we take what will no doubt be the best holiday of our lives so far! I’d love to have you along for the trip🙂

See you when we get back!

 

Anniversary Weekend in London!

Last weekend we headed off to London for a weekend away to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t a surprise that day, however G Man had surprised me a few months before with the news that we were going.

The weather was really poor when we woke, incredibly humid and heavily raining, but we knew it wouldn’t spoil our weekend.

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We hopped on the train with our overnight bags and hot footed it to The Savoy to drop our bags as this was where we’d be staying overnight. I’d not been to The Savoy before, so when we got in we were surprised to see no check-in desk. Instead a woman took us to an individual desk in a side room, where we were seated and our details for our booking taken. Our bags were taken too, and we were told we would get a phone call when the room was ready and our bags would be waiting for us.

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By this point we were pretty hungry so we headed to Boxpark, Shoreditch, for the best pizza ever at Voodoo Ray’s. I had a Vegan Queen which, as the name suggests, is dairy-free. Perfect for me! And it was so tasty, you don’t even miss the cheese!

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We hung around for a bit there, since the rain was coming down heavily, and then headed to Wardour Street, Soho, and to Yorica where they serve allergy free ice creams. I got caramel and matcha soft serve. I asked for brownie pieces and sprinkles. The guy serving me looked a little confused and instead of explaining that the free sprinkles were behind me at a station once we’d paid, he put chocolate crumbles on top. It was all very good, but I thought it would have been nice to tell me where the sprinkles were. Other than that, it was tasty and nice to have a rest whilst we ate.

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We did a little shopping after that, and then headed back to the hotel. The same woman who checked us in earlier took us to our room and showed us around it, and then about 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door, and they had arranged a slice of cake as an anniversary surprise!

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I had been planning on being dairy free until my dinner, however since Gary doesn’t eat mousse and this cake had a layer of it, I thought what the hell, let’s not let it go to waste. It was very tasty!

We rested a little, had showers, and then got ready to go out.

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Dinner was at The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, only a couple of minute’s walk from the hotel.

It’s a lovely set up in the restaurant and it really reminded me of New York.

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The food was lovely. I got Chicken Milanese and some broccoli and then dairy free panna cotta for pudding. Though with this and the chocolate cake I’d eaten before, I was really rather stuffed and couldn’t eat another bite!

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The next morning the sun was shining and warm and we had brunch reservations at Balthazar, also in Covent Garden.

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Gary had booked this table two months in advance, as it books out really fast. Again, it reminded me of being in New York, which is hardly a surprise as the only other one of these is in Manhattan. The waitress as very attentive and friendly, and as Gary had mentioned when booking that I have lactose intolerance, she told me what parts of my order had dairy and checked that it was okay. Top marks!

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The food was awesome, as were the coffee and orange juice.

From here we hopped the tube to Kensington Gardens as I really wanted to see the Peter Pan statue there. I’d seen in once as a child, but really wanted to see it again. Because the sun was shining the gardens were packed with people enjoying the weather and running through. I really enjoyed the walk, however after we’d visited the statue we decided to head home so we could relax for the rest of the day.

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It had been an awesome weekend. I really enjoy staying in London, even though I visit a lot, when you’re staying overnight, the city feels different! Thanks London for another enjoyable weekend!

I also vlogged this trip for my brand new YouTube channel, so if you’d like to see the moving version of this trip, then head on over, or click and watch below!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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What a busy week it’s been! Crazy busy at work, and feeling exhausted and under the weather. It doesn’t help that the weather has been chillier and rainy, and now it’s September so everyone is talking about Autumn!

Still, the Disney holiday planning has continued, and I think we now have everything we need which is exciting. We’re now in the teens in our countdown and it doesn’t seem real – it was over 500 days away when we booked!

Not only this but today G Man and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary – pretty cool! So this weekend we are heading to London where Gary has surprised me with a night at the Savoy hotel and some wonderful restaurants to eat at! I can’t wait. And the weather promises to look good for us, so I plan on doing some vlogging! (You follow me on YouTube right?)

So for this trip I realised I don’t have a weekend bag, so it seemed rude not to pick up this adorable cabin luggage I found at the Disney Store!

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I love the Animators Collection, but haven’t ever found anything I’ve wanted to buy. This I *had* to purchase!

I’m really looking forward to this trip, and even though we visit London a lot, it’s going to be really special staying over night, and at such an amazing hotel too!

As I said, people are starting to get all excited for Autumn. Starbucks have launched this year’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. People are posting knitwear blogs. And I have to say I’m feeling it a little too. So I think when I return from Florida I’ll be all ready for crispy leaves and bonfires! But not yet please! I wants me holiday first!

So that was this week! Are you starting to feel ready for autumn? Or do you pine for Summer all year around? I’m really looking forward to amazing weather when we’re away to get Summer out of my system. Not long now!

To Blog & Vlog

Hi guys! Firstly, I made a boo boo with my last post. I wrote and then accidentally published it without scheduling first, so had to un-publish it. But that meant all you lovely subscribers got an email with a broken link in it to the post. Oh no! And then when it finally did go live, no one got notified. Dang! So if you missed it, it was a blog about the past bank holiday and all the fun stuff we got up to, so you can find it here! (Go ahead and click the link – it’ll open in a new window so you can read it right after you’ve read this!)

For my next update, I’ll let you know I’m not planning an August or September Favourites post. Mainly because I don’t have much content for August, and also because September is jam packed full of fun stuff and I just won’t have time! But October’s Favourites will no doubt be mahoosive, so stay tuned for that!

So now for my real post.

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There’s been a lot of chat this past few weeks about the legitimacy of bloggers and vloggers. If you don’t blog or vlog yourself, you’ll not likely be aware of the pressures people put upon themselves when putting out content. Readers and viewers have too much say in other people’s content, in my opinion. It wasn’t until I recently started my dedicated blog twitter (@Shutterbug_Blog) that I realised how salesy it all is. People are OBSESSED with follower counts, stats, click rates and schedules.

They schedule tweets, brand themselves up the wazoo, and really don’t think too much about their actual content. It seems so important to have collaborations with brands, get the perfect flat lay and start polls asking what content their followers want them to put up.

I find it all really strange. I flick through most tweets because I’ve seen the same post come up over and over again. I long to see posts of substance. And don’t get me wrong, they do exist, it’s just you have to really search for them!

I’m not saying I don’t get it. I do, I really do. It’s so hard not to get swept up in the hype. I have geared a lot of my posts this year towards beauty, because it’s something I’ve started getting into this year. And I noticed my post likes, follows and comments go up dramatically when I post beauty reviews. It’s always nice for a post to be popular! And I enjoy reading reviews about products I’m interested in, so I’ll continue to put out that kind of content because I like reading it. But I do find I miss writing these chatty posts, and putting out blogs about what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up. I like to use my brain a little!

I understand going all in when it comes to blogs and vlogs, if it’s your full time job or if you have all the spare time in the world. But when you’re doing it alongside working a full time job, I think you have to take it less seriously. You don’t need a planner for scheduling in your next ‘chatty’ post. You don’t need to film YouTube videos a year ahead just so you know you’re putting something out. If your followers don’t like your content, let them drop off. And above all, don’t apologise for not posting regularly. What’s better – forced, bland posts every other day, or well thought-out and meaningful posts as and when? I know what I prefer to read!

Anyway, I’m blabbering on about this because it’s becoming more a more frustrating to exist in a blogging world where you feel like you’re having to compete with so many other bloggers. People who are putting out bland, repetitive content but might be good at branding themselves, or at least bombarding enough people with tweets that they get additional followers (or even buy followers!)

I’m so blessed to have you guys as followers, and I hope you enjoy the variety of the content I bring. I hope I haven’t alienated too many of you with the beauty posts, and in turn I hope that if you follow me for the beauty content you aren’t bored by the wordy posts I put out.

That being said, this is where I’d like to announce that I’ve started my own YouTube channel! This year I’ve been enjoying watching YouTube channels so much, both beauty based and also Disney Vloggers, that I loved the idea of having somewhere that my friends and family could follow my trips and travels, and also bring another dimension to Shutterbug.

Having just bought my new Sony a5000 and tested out the video quality, I was beyond happy with the results, so as of writing this my channel has 3 videos on it, and I’d love it if you’d have a look and even subscribe.

I’m taking my new camera away when we go to Florida, and I hope to film during the holiday and then upload some videos when we get back. It’s going to be amazing to have another way to share this trip with you guys, instead of just blogging about it.

Don’t get me wrong, this blog is my baby and it won’t be neglected – it’ll just be a little bolt on to the Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug package!

So this rambling post does have a point, honest – I’m frustrated about the current state of the blogosphere, but I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, Shutterbug for 7, and I’m not about to give it up based on low numbers or click rates. I’m so blessed that even a handful of you guys read this blog, and I always love to read your comments and see you hitting the ‘Like’ button.

You can follow me over on YouTube by visiting my channel here. I’d love it if you were to click the subscribe button, hit like on my videos once you’ve watched them, and don’t forget to comment – I love hearing from you guys!

So this is where I’ll sign off, but if you blog, vlog or just exist in this world, remember: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice😀

Love you guys!

 

Bank Holiday Fun-ness!

I love Bank Holidays, but the late August bank holiday is always tinged with a little sadness since it’s the last one before Christmas. For some reason we have a load of bank holidays all shoved together meaning you really miss them when they’re gone.

Thankfully we saw the last of the summer holidays off with a packed weekend of fun stuff.

On Friday evening we packed up our camping chairs and headed off to Waddesdon Manor for an evening of open air cinema. Part of the Luna Cinema festival, they were showing Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, with the manor house as a lovely atmospheric background.

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It was a lovely set up. Small, but cosy. They promised food suppliers but when we got there it was just one pizza stand and a bar opposite. The line for pizza was pretty long. We got our food about 20 mins before the show was due to start, and I knew the people at the end of the line at that point would still be waiting for their food as the movie started. It was lovely to see the film in that setting. The trees surrounding the grounds helped bounce the sound around us, and it made Craig Armstrong’s score all the more stunning.

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As the sun went down it got pretty chilly and we were kind of envious of all those with blankets!

It was a really lovely evening though, and I’d love to come back and have a look around the gardens again. I’ve probably missed the season by now, so maybe next year.

Saturday was relaxed. We did a little shopping we needed to do, after a nice Starbucks breakfast. Then headed home, and watched Aladdin (we’re still working through Disney films to see before we head to Florida) and Hocus Pocus. I’d never seen either of these films before and enjoyed them both!

Sunday we had a nice lie in and then headed off for Sunday lunch with my family. My sister and her family have just returned from an amazing holiday in California and Mexico. It was so exciting to hear all about Disneyland and their resort in Mexico. They also brought back some gifts. They got me a California Adventure You Are Here mug from Starbucks, and a really pretty Disney Swarovski bangle, which I pretty much never want to take off!

Then Sunday evening we headed off to MK11 to see the Hot 8 Brass Band play. We’d seen them before last year in Brighton and were so excited to hear they were playing so close to our home, so snapped up tickets right away.

As well as bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, the gig was awesome. We danced from start to end, and Hot 8 never fail to put on a show!

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That brings up to Monday. Monday was reserved for catching up on blogging, chores and having a good old relax. There may have been some more Disney films dropped in for good measure!

So despite it being the last bank holiday for a while, it was a pretty good one!

What did you get up to?

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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The weeks have been positively flying by. We’ve been having cold snaps, heatwaves, rain and wind. And all throughout this time I’ve been counting down to my awesome holiday.

At time of writing this it’s 29 days until we fly to Florida, and we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy in the meantime.

We’ve been visiting friends, buying things we need for our trip, doing lots of planning, and I had a birthday too!

My birthday weekend was great. We went to the cinema twice, saw friends, did some shopping and watched some late-night Olympics.

Our cinema trips were to see Finding Dory in 3D and Suicide Squad in 4DX.

We knew Dory would be awesome, as we love Finding Nemo, and it didn’t disappoint. We really love watching movies in 3D and this film was perfect for that.

We saw Suicide Squad in 4DX. I don’t really know much of the back story for this movie, but I knew the 4DX element would help me to enjoy it even if I wasn’t following the plot. I really really enjoyed this cinema experience. The film was great. Though I lost the plot thread towards the middle, the beginning and end were great. And I know the 4DX experience made it a million times better than if I’d watched it on a standard screen. I’ve only ever seen Jurassic World and this movie in 4DX but I wasn’t disappointed either time. If you’re near Milton Keynes, I’d say make the effort to try it out. It’s worth the little extra cost!

I was also lucky enough to find the camera I have been lusting after for a while. Sony have been having distribution issues on some of their stock since an earthquake in Japan effected manufacture, and I’d been having massive trouble finding the Sony A5000 as a result.

I’d been after the white one, but knew I’d probably have to go for the black one and not be choosy. But G-Man managed to find a white one online and at the price I was happy to pay. I’ve been having great fun playing with it, and especially loving the wi-fi element, meaning I can send an image to my phone with no wires or computer needed. It’s going to be a real asset when we’re away, and I’ll be able to share more photos with friends and family (and YOU!)

I think the next month is going to be tough, trying to hold in my excitement for the trip of a lifetime coming up, but I’ve got some wonderful things coming up before then!

  • Luna Cinema at Waddesdon Manor to watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet
  • Hot 8 Brass Band
  • Bank Holiday!
  • My 10 year wedding anniversary
  • An exciting anniversary weekend in London
  • Planning and packing for Florida!!

And all that in just 28 days – I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!

There are a few more exciting things to share too, but all in good time🙂

I’ve also been looking into books to take away with me. I’m currently re-reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I’m loving again the second time around. I haven’t read the other two in the series yet, but I’m really looking forward to seeing film of the first book, once it’s out. I also plan on picking up the short story, The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl. I like the idea of taking short books with me, so I don’t feel like I’m having to dip in and out of the same book throughout the holiday. I often take a lot of books on my Kindle and don’t pick it up once. So I’m back to real books for this vacation!

So that was the past few weeks. Lots happening, and sadly I’m wishing it all away in the excitement for Florida. And before I know it it’ll all be over….. but I know I’m going to have the time of my life!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

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I’ve been a firm Lancome Hypnose mascara user for the past year. Having considered it my holy grail mascara (finally) I was happily living my life using it on my stubborn, fine, sporadic, straight lashes.

But it’s so darn expensive. Everyone was talking about Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, so when my Lancome one started to flake and run out, I headed to the shop and picked this one up. This was £19 so slightly cheaper than Hypnose.

I’d never tried this mascara in a sample or anything but, having seen other people rave about it, I thought ‘what the heck’.

Let’s talk about the packaging first.

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Pretty in pink, this packaging of this mascara is really rather heavy. Matte metal, so it’s nice to touch, but really really rather heavy.

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The brush is a really similar hourglass shape to my Hypnose, so I knew it would work for my eye and lash shape.

On first application I was surprised at how clumpy the formula came out. One coat was all I needed to get the finish I wanted. Too Faced say you can do up to 3 coats for maximum drama. I did actually try two coats one morning, and had to take it all off and start again because it looked too spidery. Any clumps that come out on the lashes can be easily brushed back, and do seem to disappear once the lashes are dry. Still, I’d rather not have to work around clumps, thank you very much.

The formula does dry pretty quickly, maybe not as fast as the Lancome mascara I love. The colour is intense and it does hold a curl (after lash curlers) decently – or well, as much as my lashes will ever curl….. But I do find this will flake little bits of mascara onto my face sometimes throughout the day. This isn’t humidity proof and will drop if I do too much smiling – and I like to smile. I have high cheeks and squishy eyes and this will contribute to the drop. I have found that if I brush my lashes after each coat, with my Real Techniques brow and lash groomer, it seperates the lashes and takes out clumps. I like this comb because the prongs are metal not plastic so they glide through and are easily cleaned. The result of doing this is actually the closest to false lashes I’ve seen with a mascara. 

Overall I’m not sad I bought this, and I’m happy to use it until it runs out, but when it does I’ll most likely pick up another tube of Hypnose. Frustratingly, I found out that my September GlossyBox will contain a sample of either this or the Better Than Sex waterproof mascara. I hope I get the waterproof one, just so I can try out the alternative formula. But I kinda wish I’d had the chance to try this before I bought the full size.

This isn’t a bad mascara, but it’s definitely not my holy grail. What I’ve learned: if it aint broke, don’t fix it.