I’ve been writing this blog for 8.5 years and so as you can imagine, I’ve covered Christmas quite a lot, and a fair few times. Back in 2013 (and before I knew that Blogmas existed)… More
A few months ago, when Ciate launched their Glitter Flip lipstick, I was definitely one of the ones who took notice. Watching a Kathleen Lights video on the subject, I was super impressed by the formula and the apparent transformation of the product on the lips.
If you haven’t heard about Ciate’s transforming liquid lipstick, Glitter Flip promises to be a metallic liquid lip that transforms to a glittery finish once you press your lips together.
Based on the previously mentioned Kathleen Lights video, I decided my best colour match would be the berry shade ‘Infamous’. I wanted to pick it up when I was in Florida, but the shade was out of stock, so I waited until I got home and saw that the Ciate website had restocked – so I went for it.
As you can see from the photo above, the shade is a pretty raspberry, but on lips it pulls a little darker than that on me – naturally, since I’m so pale!
I wanted to give it a good try, and see whether the product was as good as the YouTubers said it was.
I applied the liquid lipstick onto clean lips. The doe-foot applicator has a little well in it, to hold a little more product. The instructions say to apply one even coat and leave 1 minute before pressing your lips together for the glitter effect.
The product didn’t have a scent that I noticed. It applied smoothly and evenly. I waited a full minute and then pressed my lips together.
Here’s how the product looked in shaded natural light. As you can see it’s an even colour, with some tiny sparkles, but nothing ground breaking.
In direct sunlight you can see more of the sparkles.
I also gave it a test to see whether it would transfer:
Any product that was on the inside of my lips came away, and anything on the line of my lips too – but the product didn’t transfer from the centre of my lips. I also took a drink from a can and the product came off on the can.
First impressions of this product were, that I loved the colour, wasn’t overwhelmed by the sparkles (but they were really pretty) and found the product transferred.
It felt really comfortable on my lips, and wasn’t too matte. This was great for me, because, as you can see, I have a lot of lines on my lips. I actually forgot I was wearing lipstick the longer I wore it.
I went and ate lunch after this, and when I’d finished the lipstick had come off on the inside of my lips, but touching up the colour was seamless. I was able to press my lips together to regain the glitter effect on the areas I’d touched up, with no problem. You honestly couldn’t tell I’d retouched it, which is great for a liquid lipstick.
Overall I was impressed with this formula. It was really comfortable, the staying power was pretty good, and it was easy to touch up when I needed to. Did it give me the WOW factor that YouTubers implied it would: No. But I did find that in the right lighting, this liquid lipstick is really effective and I’m looking forward to wearing it during the festive season!
I filmed the whole test, so if you’d like to see how I got on, watch the video below!
Last week feslt well and truly Autumnal, but at the same time Christmas is forcing its way into my environment.
We’ve been waking up to frosty cars, and experiencing beautiful sunsets, but at work we’ve been listening to Christmas music, and this weekend we watched the first Christmas film of the season (Krampus!).
Early this week we had some beautiful frosts which were highlighted by clear skies and golden sunrises. I’m lucky to work in a barn conversion surrounded by fields, so we get some epic views of the seasons changing.
The same day’s sunset was something else:
At home things are moving along. We’ve finally taken delivery of our dining table, which means meals are mostly eaten there, whilst we admire the rest of the gorgeous kitchen! It also means I can now host my Share A Meal, which I’ll be talking about again in a blog post soon (but hit the link if you haven’t read the first one yet!).
I’ve finally got a place to put this gorgeous candle I was given last Christmas, and it fits there perfectly!
I’ve also been working on my dressing room/ office space, and pictures are finally going up on the walls.
I don’t know what’s going to go on the other walls yet, but I want to find things organically – things I know will be perfect – so who knows when it’ll be finished. But for now I’m really pleased with this little section of the room.
So, coming into the Christmas season, I’ve already picked up some presents. I’m also looking forward to my office Christmas party, which is right at the start of the month, and then later on in December I’m attending the Blogosphere Christmas Festival, which I’m really excited about.
I’m really eager to decorate our house for its first Christmas, and to see it all lit up AND I’m hoping to meet up with friends and catch up, because it’s been too long! I’m also attending a New Year party (the day before new year’s eve!) which is a party with a difference!
Aside from all of this, I have filmed a new YouTube video (which might be up by the time you read this, so head on over to my channel!) My last video has had over 1.6k views and is going up, so that’s rather nice 🙂
What have you been up to lately – are your decorations up already? How long does it take to get you feeling festive at this time of year? I’d love to know, in the comments!
By now you will have seen my post of the beauty products I bought on my recent trip to Florida. One of the products was a Sephora Favorites kit. I love these boxes, because you get to try out brand you probably would never try before.
Sephora is high-end, and to spend the money on something you may not get on with is a risk. So these kits allow you to test out a brand without splurging and potentially wasting your money.
This kit was $28 but with a $70 value. It contains 5 trial size and 1 full-sized lip product, and comes in this cute little lip-shaped box.
As you can probably tell, these are all nude shades, but have different finishes and undertones so you’re not ending up with 5 of the same thing.
This is my first impressions, so I haven’t tried these out for any length of time yet, but I’m really looking forward to doing so!
So let’s go through them all. I’ve swatched them in the same order as the picture above:
We start with an Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig from Kat Von D. I’ve never tried anything from Kat Von D and when I rubbed the swatches off my arm, this one wouldn’t budge. I really had to scrub! This dries down matte and is a warm, terracotta nude.
Next is a Full On Lip Cream in the shade Dolly by the brand Buxom. Buxom have just launched in the UK and I’m very much looking forward to trying this shade out. I also think it will work as a nice topper for some of the shades of liquid lipstick I already have. The pigmentation is nice, but sheer so not as ‘full on’ as some of the ColourPop glosses I have already.
The next is a Color Splash lipstick from Tarte in the shade Rum Punch. Again, this pulls a terracotta shade and looks like a matte, but is fairly creamy and reminds me of a lipstick I had as a teenager. I’m thinking 90s with this one!
Next is a Multistick in the shade Brioche by the brand Bite. I’ve had lipsticks from Bite in the past which I’ve liked. You can actually wear these multisticks on eyes, lips and cheeks and they end up as a powder feel, so I might give that a crack. The texture was slightly more splotchy on swatching and this multi use formula might be why.
The penultimate lipstick is by the brand Make Up For Ever and is a creme lipstick in the shade Artist Rouge. I LOVE this shade. It pulls more berry nude and the fact that it’s a cream rather than a matte is very appealing to me. I can see this being my Christmas shade!
And lastly, is the full-sized product, which is a Liquid Velvet by Ciate London. The shade is called Bitter Sweet and I think this might be slightly too cool-toned for me, but I’m sure I can make it work. The doe-foot applicator has little wells in the centre of both sides, which contain product so you don’t have to keep dipping into the tube too many times, which is a really nice feature.
All in all, I’m excited to try all of these products and brands. I like the fact I can try stuff for the first time in sets like this. Which is probably why I’ve splurged out this year on my advent calendar again (more on that later!) I’ll be trying these out over the next few months, and sharing my thoughts on instagram, so make sure you follow me over there if you want to know what I think!
And if you’ve tried any of these products, I’d love to know how you go on with them.
My recent trip to Florida felt like a bolt-on to my trip last year. If you’re new to Musings of A So Called Shutterbug, you may not be aware that last year, for my 10 year wedding anniversary, me and my Husband planned a dream two weeks in Orlando staying at Walt Disney World. We visited all the parks and also Universal Studios. It was a jam-packed holiday, but there were things in and around Orlando that we didn’t do because we wanted to make use of our park tickets 100% of the time.
So when we got the opportunity to go back to Florida and stay with friends for a week, this year, we snapped it up. As part of this trip we wanted to do all of the things we hadn’t had the chance to do last time. And I’m pleased to say we managed to tick everything the list.
Now, as much as this is a post about what to do OUTSIDE the parks, we DID visit the Magic Kingdom for one evening, for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I haven’t planned a post about this event, but if you’d like to see one then please leave a comment.
We also managed to fit in both Universal Parks in one day, but again, that’s not why I’m here.
If you haven’t got the time or resources to visit the parks, or if that’s just not your thing, there’s LOTS to do (for basically no money) in and around Orlando. And I wanted to share with you, what we did!
You could spend a whole month in this area, and eat in a different and good place every meal time and never eat the same place twice. Whilst in Florida, we ate at Chick-Fil-A 3 times. You might not consider it good food, but we certainly did and I’ve been craving it ever since we got back.
Other places we ate were Smokey Bones, Egg City, Cracker Barrel (which is a big breakfast favourite of ours – you can even sit outside on the porch chairs and play checkers whilst you wait for your table!)
Blaze Pizza at Disney Springs (and I’ll come back to Disney Springs in a bit) is epic
And restaurant style food is also aplenty. We ate in some great ones but the best was Homecomin’, also in Disney Springs
The food here is amazing. I was able to try fried green tomatoes for the first time and oh my were they good.
NBC Sports Grill at Universal’s City Walk (again, more about there in a bit) is great. We went there for Sunday football and not only is the atmosphere awesome, but the food is amazing too. We tried Wisconsin cheese curds there for the first time and I’ve been dreaming about them ever since!
So, other than getting fat, we like to go shopping when we’re away. One of our favourite past-times is going to local supermarkets and seeing what things they have that we don’t. We visited Target, Walmart and Publix as well as Walgreens and CVS. We spent a good hour and a half in the first Target we went to. I just love slowly browsing EVERYTHING (sorry to Sarah and Nick who we were with!)
This is aside from visiting the shopping malls, industrial parks like The Loop and one of the many outlet malls (Premium Outlet Mall is our choice) to have a good look.
One thing to remember is that even if you don’t have a part ticket you can still visit the bar and restaurant areas of the parks.
At Disney it’s Disney Springs, and has just been completely overhauled. It’s free to park here, and has shopping, restaurants, bars and entertainment. It also features the world’s largest Disney store which contains lots of the official Disney World parks merchandise, so even if you can’t visit the parks, you can get your merch on!
The Universal Studios equivalent is called City Walk. The parking here isn’t free so you need to know you’re going to make a trip of it, but City Walk is open until the early hours so you can definitely make a whole night excursion if you wish. There’s a cinema, bars, restaurants and I think a bowling alley too. You can also visit the new Toothsome’s Chocolate Emporium, Blue Man Group theatre and Hard Rock Cafe from here, all without park entry.
Let’s also not forget the 192 and its tacky gift shops. I LOVE visiting these and this time around went to Orange World, and the Wizard Gift shop.
The shop-fronts are tourist attractions themselves, and that’s even before you go inside to see what interesting things they’re stocking. Orange World also just happens to be direstly opposite my favourite Cracker Barrel for breakfast.
One of the things I was eager to do, was ride the monorail and see some of the resorts on the line, whilst we were staying off property this time. You can visit any of the Disney World resorts without having a room there, but just remember you cannot park there or use the pools. We parked up at the Ticket and Transportation Centre (this isn’t free but you pay once for the day and can park at any of the Disney car parks using your ticket), and hopped on the resort monorail to the Polynesian and the Grand Floridan hotels.
This meant I could get myself a wonderful Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian (they taste the best here anyway!)
It was my first time seeing the Grand Floridan, and though it’s a little stuffy, I’m glad I went and had a look around.
The other thing we did was park up at Disney Springs and get on a resort bus (again, this is free and you don’t have to be staying at a resort to use these buses) You can get the bus to any resort of your choice. We wanted to visit the Boardwalk as we hadn’t before.
We’re so glad we did, and we got there a few hours before sunset, so we were able to see it in both daylight and then at night after we’d eaten. The Boardwalk area is a lot quieter than other Disney restaurant areas. It has a few shops, restaurants and bars but comes to life at night with night clubs and lights aplenty.
Last time I was in Florida I wanted to visit Winter Park, but we just didn’t have the time. It’s north of Orlando and we wanted to know the trip would be worth it. I love the Rifle Paper Company, and new they had their flagship store and head office there, but didn’t know what else there was. I’m so glad we visited this time, because we managed to have breakfast, do some shopping, and have a good look around.
Winter Park has a lovely ‘sleepy town’ feel but also feels like a hub of business. It’s rather trendy and I’d even go as far as to say it’s a little ‘hipster’.
There are loads of restaurants and coffee shops. One coffee place I knew I wanted to visit was Foxtail Coffee, and try their nitro cold brew. I’d been following them for a while on instagram and really wanted to visit.
And last but not least, you can’t visit Florida without going to one of their white sand beaches. We’re not beach day people, so we made a short visit to Clearwater on the morning of our flight out from Tampa airport.
An absolutely stunning place. We visited on a chilly, and windy, morning but it would be nice to spend a little more time there next time we’re in Florida. It looked exactly like a postcard!
As you can see, as long as you have a car, you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money filling your time in Orlando and the surrounding areas. We’ve discovered loads of places this time around, and next time we visit I know we’ll be making a trip to these places again.
Orlando, you have my heart!
It used to be when I visited another country I got very excited to go around the malls, but there are so many American brands that have come over to the UK now, that the pull isn’t the same. I can’t say the same, however, for makeup.
There are a whole heap of brands you can’t get in the UK, not to mention Sephora doesn’t sell here any more. So, needless to say I had a list (some of which was added to by my American friend Beckie!) and I got almost all of the things I wanted. The one thing I didn’t get was from the brand Ciate London (ironically I cannot find this brand here, easily, even in London). I wanted one of their Glitter Flip lipsticks, and the colour I wanted wasn’t in the Sephora I went to. Doh! So my search continues….
Anyhow, here’s what I picked up on my travels. This is purely cosmetics, but I did buy other things. They’ll be popping up on my instagram no doubt, over the next couple of months, so keep an eye over there.
We made a trip to Bath and Body Works, of course. I bought I couple of gifts for family and some car air fresheners, but aside from those I picked up some lovely skin care products. The At The Beach range does what it says on the tin. The website describes the scent as a refreshing, vacation-ready blend of white frangipani, toasted coconut & bergamot waters essenced with a cool, saltwater breeze. And I’d agree with that. I picked up a mini body cream, shower gel and perfume spray. All perfect travel sizes, and big enough for me to get sick of the scent but have long enough to use it!
I also picked up a body cream from their autumn range called A Latte Love, which is marshmallow pumpkin latte scented and made with pure honey. This smells INCREDIBLE and I’ve been using it daily. It’s super moisturising and the scent is so long-lasting. As it warms up on your skin it just smells like Main Street at Disney World and all good things to do with autumn. I’m so glad I bought it!. Then from their Christmas range, which was just launching (I’ve just realised I managed to buy something from their Summer, Autumn and Christmas ranges! Go me!) I bought a body spray called Snowflakes and Cashmere. Last time I was in Florida I bought two body sprays I ended up throwing away, mainly because the liquid was coloured (I hadn’t realised it wasn’t the bottle that was coloured when I bought them) so every time I sprayed them I was worried about staining my clothing. It looks as though they’ve stopped that funny business now, so I was pleased to pick one of their sprays up. This one is a warm blend of cashmere cream, shimmering vanilla & frosted clementine. I’ve worn it every day since I’ve been back and it’s really a lovely wintery but cosy smell. As it warms up throughout the day I just wafts of the lovely smell and it’s perfectly reminiscent of this time of year. I’m in love!
I also made sure I picked up some of the things I use on a regular basis, that I can’t easily get in the UK, to stock up! I bought another of my favourite Coconut Passion body spray (a vanilla coconut musk which isn’t too sweet or heavy) from Victoria’s Secret. VS is so so much cheaper in the states and they always have deals on so I picked this up for half the normal price, which is handy as I’m almost out of the one I currently use!
I also bought 2 of the ELF Daily Hydration Moisturiser. I’m just about finishing the last of the 2 I bought a year ago, so these should sort me through to the end of next year, with any luck! And, weirdly, you can never buy cherry chapstick in the UK. I end up buying a bulk of them on Amazon when I need them, but as they’re aplenty in the states, I bought 2 multi packs. So if you’re from America and you think of sending me a care package, chuck in a couple of these would you please? 😀
I bought a backup of my backup of the CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara. I already have one in my backup drawer but as I was there, it made sense to get another one. You can’t get this for love nor money in the UK, so there you go! I also intended to buy another of my green primer from ELF but accidentally bought the blemish control primer instead (I was jet lagged and didn’t read the box properly). But I used it anyway and it wasn’t too bad. It says it’s got oil-controlling properties and I’m all for that, so ho hum!
From Physician’s Formula I picked up one of their Butter Blushes in the shade Natural Glow. I already have their plum shade and love it so wanted to try this. I’ve used this once, and it didn’t really show up, so I think I need to try it again. I’m wondering if it works more as a highlight or blush topper on my skin tone. And then I picked up a Wet N Wild bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana. This was recommended to me as a good all over face ‘lit from within’ bronzer. It’s honestly the lightest bronzer I’ve ever seen, and it’s got spf in it which I found really interesting. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m eager to give it a go!
Also drugstore purchases, I picked up some lip products. For the Halloween party I was attending as Snow White, I knew I wanted red lips so I brought about 5 different lipsticks away with me, but when I arrived I knew I wanted something light and not too bold. It’s too hot in Florida to worry about my lipstick! So I saw NYX had a range called Plump It Up and shade number 5 was this lovely jelly red. It was perfect. It wasn’t long-lasting, but long enough, and gave a cooling tingly feel to the lips.
Next I picked up a Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit, again recommended to me. I picked up the shade Pink Really Hard, which is actually a little too pink for me, but it was the closest to something I would wear from the selection at the time. I did see, in another store, a better and warmer pink shade, but I’m sure I’ll still get use out of this. It’s quite comfortable and I’m interested to see how long it lasts when I do get around to wearing it.
Last from the drugstore products, I saw Flower Beauty in Walmart (Drew Barrymore’s cosmetic line) and I wanted to try one product from the range. So after browsing for a little bit, I settled on this Hydrasilk Ultimate Lip Butter in Rose Petal. It’s a lovely pink nude shade and I’ve worn it a lot since coming home (and I’ve been harping on about it on instagram too!). It’s incredibly comfortable, long-lasting and pigmented. I’m very impressed!
So now we come to my Sephora purchases. As mentioned, I was only unable to pick up the Ciate item I wanted, and the rest of these were on my list.
I’ll start with the items I picked up from Too Faced’s new peach range.
As someone who is constantly battling a shiny oily t-zone, I was excited to pick this cooling matte primer up. Primed & Peachy comes in a tube with a pump, and the product is peach toned. I’ve used this a lot since I bought it and can confirm it’s both cooling and matte. I wouldn’t say it’s skin perfecting. It’s a sticky primer so it definitely works best if you press it onto the face. The times in which I’ve smoothed it over my skin, I’m oily again later in the day, but when I press it on, it adheres my foundation a lot better and I stay relatively matte throughout the whole day. My face also smells like peaches for some time afterwards, which is pleasant.
As a matte eyeshadow fan, I knew I wanted this Just Peachy palette. I already have the Sweet Peach Too Faced palette, but this one was all mattes. As you’ll already know, these shadows don’t have the same peach scent as it’s earlier counterpart, but they still smell peachy. I’ve used this once, and found the shadows a little hard to blend but I persevered, and they blended enough in the end. I’m excited to use this more as we go through Autumn and Winter, since I don’t really wear eye shadow in the Summer.
My last purchase from Sephora was this Sephora Favorites ‘Give Me Some Nude Lip’ lip kit. I’m going to post a full first impressions on this kit with swatches, so look out for that in the next few posts, but basically it includes 6 nude shades from Sephora brands and one of them is full-sized.
I love the Sephora Favorites boxes because you get to try out brands without paying the full price, and they sometimes come with vouchers inside to exchange for one full-sized product once you’ve tried them (I know the perfume boxes usually do). I’m excited to try these lippies out. The colours look amazing, and there’s a good range of finishes and shades.
Since I bought some bits at Sephora and already had some points on my card, I was able to exchange my points for a sample sized product.
I chose this sample sized C.E.O moisuriser by Sunday Riley. Everyone harps on about this brand, and even though I have no idea what this does, I decided this was my chance to see what the fuss was about! If you’ve tried this, please let me know what you think!
So those are the beauty products I picked up on my recent trip to Florida. It’s amazing just how inexpensive the drugstore products are, which mean I was able to splurge a little when Sephora came around!
If you’ve tried any of these products I’d love to hear what you think of them, and how you used them!
I’m back! And this week I have been mostly recovering from much delayed jet lag!
We had an AMAZING time in Florida, so good that we’re already trying to work out how we can go back next year. (I accidentally wrote ‘next week’… wouldn’t that be grand?!)
I was back to work last week, and it’s Christmas in full swing for my job-role, so it was nice to get stuck back into it.
As you know, I don’t go for full blow-by-blow posts when I return from a trip, but I will be posting some Florida related posts in the coming weeks. A few hints and tips for things to do when you’re not visiting the parks every day, and also a post on some of the beauty products I picked up whilst I was away.
If you want to catch up on photos from the trip, head over to my instagram. I also did quite a bit of insta-live whilst I was away. If you missed those, make sure you’re following me, because I enjoyed it so much I might just do it again.
I’ve gotta say I didn’t do any filming for YouTube whilst I was away, because I’d much rather enjoy my holiday than feel like I’m ‘working’ it. In fact I didn’t touch my camera the whole trip – my iPhone was my camera and did the trick 100% of the time.
So, a little bit about the trip. We stayed with some friends whilst we were there, and had a list of things we wanted to do – and we did EVERYTHING on the list.
I was very pleased that we managed to do everything we wanted to do, and still felt like we had down-time during the trip.
We ate some amazing food
We got to go to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
We went SHOPPING!
Florida is a wonderful state, and I really do feel like Orlando is like a second home. It’s got a little bit of everything you’d want.
Anyhow, now I’m back, and Halloween is over. It’s Guy Fawkes night tonight, and that means tomorrow begins full-blown Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of year, so bring on the glitter, lights, food and music. Bring on the festive films and festivities!
It’s coming on Halloween, and if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll already know I’ve been sharing some of my old OLD posts on a few of my favourite scary movies. And if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll have seen some of my random mentions of scary films as and when I watch them.
To get in the mood, a few weeks back we watched a movie called Trick ‘r Treat. I had never heard of it, but it was featuring as a scare zone at Orlando’s Universal Halloween Horror Nights, and the character Sam looked kinda cute for a scary sack headed ghoul, so we found it and watched it. For a movie that was released straight to DVD 2 years after it was finished, I was actually really impressed. It was scary enough, enjoyable and had a nice comic-book feel to it. I’d recommend it if you haven’t heard of it.
But I thought I’d share some of my favourites, whether they’ve been mentioned previously or not. And by favourites, I mean the ones that stuck with me, and I would watch more than once. Here’s my top 10 in order!
10: The Shining
I’ve seen this film so many times, that I wouldn’t even call it a horror film now. It’s just a work of art. Scary, violent, messed up it is, but it’s visually incredible and Jack Nicholson is epic. I tried to read the book, but just like Joey, I put it in the metaphorical freezer years ago and never took it back out. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day. If you haven’t seen this, and you like scary films, this Halloween make it a must-see.
9: The Gallows
This movie surprised me. As a big fan of found footage films, I was really surprised by how good this was. The scares were effective and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested.
8: The Fog
As a child growing up with a massive Hammer Horror fan (my Dad) I was exposed to some very bad, and then some very good scary films. John Carpenter’s The Fog (not the remake please) was one of them and I’m not ashamed to admit that the end brought me out in a cold sweat on more than one occasion. What I love about John Carpenter’s films was not just the ability to make a fricking fantastic horror film, but also how he composed and used the music almost as a character in itself. I just have to think about his films to hear the score in my mind. Having stood on the very shore that inspired this story, on a dark misty night not too long ago, I can honestly say this film is one that stays with you.
Another John Carpenter film, you can have Halloween films without Halloween itself, and it’s sequel (we don’t need to talk about the other sequels really) Adequately frightening and creepy, this is the paradigm of films about Halloween and is a great place to start if you’re wanting a classic scary movie fest this October 31st.
6: It Follows
This movie has such a retro feel, so much so that you’re never really sure when it’s set, but can only assume it’s present day based on some of the technology used. The music, costumes and sets are so ‘of an era’ – and this isn’t even mentioning the storyline. You can read my full review here, if you’d like to know more.
5: Ghost Watch
Not strictly a film, but it’s made the list anyway. This BBC drama caused such a kerfuffle it was actually banned. Due to its style of filming and use of well-known presenters at the time, people actually thought this was a real event. Based on the Enfield Haunting (which was the inspiration for The Conjuring 2) Ghost Watch has inspired so many films after it (The Blair Witch Project to name one), is used as a case study in film schools and still has a cult following. I can honestly say it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and the effects and technology used in it are so impressive for its time. Watch it, then research it to find out why it caused so much drama.
4: Grave Encounters
I really bloody loved these films. There’s only two but I secrectly hope there’s a third. Again this is found footage, but it really pulls inspiration from other places (but not in a copycat type way) and offers scares and weirdness in a way I just liked. Read my full review here.
3: The Blair Witch Project
You may have seen my recent review of this film and it’s sequel (I’m going to just forget that The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows ever happened) so you can head there for a full review. But this movie marked a change in scary films. Using found footage, which was never mainstream before, and also the brand new power of the internet, they created a cult following even before release. And the film didn’t disappoint. To this day I still get chills watching the last shot of The Blair Witch Project.
2: Paranormal Activity
If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of these films. I don’t understand why people trash them. Yes, the last one was VERY bad, but when you’ve invested in the others you kind of have to include it. The first one was epic and covered found-footage ground in a way that had never been done before. Some of the effects in the first 3 were pretty epic – gobsmacking in fact. Even the spin-off movie ‘The Marked Ones’ was REALLY good and towards the end literally made me gasp in the cinema when I realised what was happening. I guess I know the films really well, and I was pretty much the only one who realised what was going on, BUT still. I honestly think they’re worth the investment in time. And they made it to my number 2!
This film was made for my generation, it was the first 18 film I ever watched and will always hold a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, parody films have pretty much ruined if for any generation afterwards, so there’s that. But I’m a staunch fan and will always be! I wrote a review of the first 3 films ahead of the 4th being released, back in 2011 which you can find here if you’d like to read it.
And that’s my top 10! Of course I have many many more I’d love to include, and I hope I find more in the years to come, which knock others off the list. But until then, if you’re looking for some scary film recommendations I’d go with this list!
Let me know if you have others in your top 10 or if you watch any of these on my recommendation, let me know what you think! Just don’t have nightmares!
One of my new year’s resolutions last year was to fix something that had started bothering me about myself.
I’ve never been a particularly tolerant person, and I used to justify it as me just standing up for myself. But over the last few years I had started to feel petty, bitter and nasty. It was making me feel unhappy about myself, and I realised I was becoming a not very nice person.
I would see friends, calm and collected, non-judgemental and supportive and wonder how I could be like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a beast. I’m supportive but I could see a side of me I didn’t like. I would jump to assumptions about people, gossip and scoff at things I didn’t understand or were different from me. I wouldn’t listen and I wouldn’t learn.
So I made a conscious effort to change my behaviour. Instead of immediately jumping to an assumption about someone, I thought about things from their side. Before I scoffed at a trait or behaviour, I found out a little bit more about it.
It’s made me feel calmer and happier about myself. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a way to go, and I could never claim to be a saint. I have times where I snap back to old behaviours, when I’m tired or stressed or caught up in the moment. But those will change with time, I hope.
I hate it when someone belittles me for something I’m passionate about, or tries to make a scene about something they don’t understand (even if they think they do) so why would I do the same? And when someone does behave like that towards me, I can now sit and reason it with myself, deal with the bad feelings it’s given me and move on. I don’t retaliate, or have that burning feeling that I have to defend myself for too long. And afterwards I can remind myself I’m a good person, and getting better every day.
It all boils down to the golden rule, do as you would be done by.
I’m pleased I took a step back and thought about what I didn’t like about myself and made a change. I hope I stay on this journey as long as it takes to become a better me!
It’s been way too long since I wrote a good horror review and in the spirit of the Halloween season, I thought I’d write about one of my favourites, The Blair Witch Project. (This post does contain spoilers so if you don’t want to know about the films, then don’t read – then go watch them and come back!)
In 2017 it’s way too easy to take this film for granted, so I thought I’d school those of you who were too young to appreciate the rise of this film, at the time.
Ahead of its release in October 1999, a website appeared. This in the day when very few families even had a computer, let alone the internet, made for an exciting discovery. The website (which you can still visit today, albeit in a much pared down form) promoted a documentary about 3 film makers whose footage was found after their disappearance in the 1990s. The site took you to another other site that looked like a Burkittsville town site but was in fact part of the original one, which had small videos of interviews with towns people (some of which featured in the film), newspaper articles (fake of course) and allsorts of tidbits to immerse you into the story. I knew the site back to front, and everything was placed in there to lead you to the conclusion that this was a REAL documentary, and the film makers really were missing.
Of course the film came out in America way ahead of the UK, and reports of people having to leave the theatre part way through because of the found-footage style recording making them seasick, spread across the country.
I was sold! Finally seeing this at the cinema was a darn creepy experience but I was so impressed by the film style, of which hadn’t been seen in mainstream cinema before, and was so different from anything else I’d experienced.
The movie contains no score or sound effects. The actors had a basic storyline to follow, but their reactions to the scares they faced were, for the most part, genuine. Myrick and Sanchez, who made the film (and also The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows which we won’t mention again, and was more like a Marilyn Manson music video than an actual film) set up speakers in the woods and didn’t tell the actors. When they heard snapping branches, running or children playing around them, their reactions were real. Piles of rocks and twig things in the trees – they had no idea to expect them. They could only assume the sounds were part of the film making process, but in that environment, in the woods in the dark and in a tent – you can imagine how real it all felt. Even when one of the film makers went missing, the others had no clue that was going to happen.
The actual film’s a corker, so if you haven’t seen it and you’re a fan of an indie film, and a found footage one at that, I’d say give it a crack. Then don’t watch the sequel.
Now that’s done, you can move onto the 2016 Blair Witch.
I was skeptical about this ‘sequel’. As such a fan of the original, I really didn’t want a repeat of Book of Shadows, but I was pleasantly surprised.
This film’s story starts with a guy who turns out to be the brother of Heather, the original film maker from the first film, who went missing. He receives tapes of the house she went missing in and is convinced he sees her reflection in a mirror. So sets up a team to go into the woods, find the house and see if she’s there. Sounds legit.
I won’t go into any more of the storyline, but I will discuss how this movie uplifts the first one. Firstly, obviously there have been changes in technology since the first movie, and changes in found footage style. There is use of a drone camera, head-worn cameras, GPS equipment. There’s an element of sound effects used, where there was none in the first, and you do actually see menacing ‘things’ in this film, where in the first it was mostly left to your imagination.
But at the bare bones of this, the 2016 Blair Witch is still raw, still about the relationship between the people and the woods, and still feeds on the fear of the viewer as well as the actors in it.
There are a few hard to watch parts in this, flashes of the original film and a supernatural element that wasn’t in the first. There’s also a suggestion of time shifting. But all of these just bring the story up to date. You can’t continue a story 20 years later and not expect some changes to be made.
All in all, these two films are great companions. They’re scary, play with your mind a bit and leave you adequately unnerved. And I wouldn’t want anything less.
A few weeks back I posted a poll on twitter to see whether people would be interested in a blog article about what I’m taking in my flight bag, ahead of my trip to Orlando. The result was a majority yes, with one person saying no and the rest telling me they wanted McNuggets….
So here it is (and everyone else needs to get their own darn nuggets)
I’ve travelled long haul more often than not when flying, and so I’m pretty set in my ways. I don’t tend to take a whole lot because I don’t see a 9 hour flight as particularly long. I seem to be able to get myself into a good mind-set and don’t have many problems (probably the many years of long shifts in retail. You’ve gotta get through it somehow!).
This year I’m taking our fantastic Walt Disney World backpack as my hand luggage. It’s strong, covered in Mickeys and fits so much in it. It’s also go tonnes of pockets so I can separate everything and I know I’ll be able to find it at a moment’s notice.
Now, I’m the kind of person who goes for ease so I don’t take any liquids or gels with me. This means I can go through security without any hassles. I do take a Chapstick but that’s never caused any problems.
Important stuff first, I’ll be taking my passport, duh, along with my travel wallet which will have cards, cash and driving licence in it (and my Sephora and Ulta loyalty cards, of course!) I’ll also have any other important vouchers or documents pertaining to the trip.
I’m be wearing layers on the flight so won’t need a change of clothes, but I am packing my flip flops so I can change into those once we’re in the hire car, and leave my converse and socks in my bag.
I’ll be taking my Sony a5000 in a little case, you can see in the top picture. I don’t intend to use it on the flight, but I prefer to have it in my hand luggage so it doesn’t get chucked about. Inside this case is also an e-cloth.
I can’t go on a long-haul flight without a neck pillow and eye mask. I never know whether the eye mask they provide will work for me (the bridge of my nose always causes problems!) so I take my own. This one is actually from a past flight, but I use it regularly because it works on my face!
Of course I’ll have my phone, but when I travel I pop it into a case, since I can then chuck it into any bag without worrying about it getting lost or scratched. This particular case is by Tortoise and is leather. I have had a couple of these in the past (different phone sizes) but I always go back to them because they are robust, easy to take the phone in and out, and this one also acts as a phone stand.
Please ignore the amount of finger prints on my screen…. but as you can see the case acts as a stand so I can watch YouTube or tv on the phone at any point and not have to hold it.
I also will be taking my Beats headphones, but of course I forget to photograph them. DOH! The little red pouch in the top picture contains my sunglasses. I doubt I’ll need them for when we land, but it’s holiday so sunglasses!
Bottom right on the photo, that tiny blue square is a Juice pack for my phone. My battery on my iPhone 7+ is really good, but who knows how much I’ll be using it, so better to be safe than sorry.
I will take a book with me (it might not be this one) but I have a habit of taking books on holiday and never reading them, so who knows! And of course I’ll be taking some sweeties!
I’ll no doubt add things like plasters and pain killers, last-minute because they always come in handy.
So even though it looks like a fair bit, that backpack will still feel empty! I’ll probably end up shoving my jumper in there at some point and trying to fill the space, as we do! But these are my essentials.
I can’t wait to get on the flight now!!