8 Reasons I Love Blogging: It’s Our 8th Blogiversary!

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This is just a quick post to say “Yay” for Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug – it’s our 8th birthday today!

This is the longest I’ve ever consistently written a blog, since starting blogging in around 1998.

To celebrate I thought I’d share 8 reasons why I love blogging!

  1. It’s my own little corner of the internet. I write blog posts for me, and I’ll only put out things I’m proud of, so I love it when people relate to what I write.
  2. I love writing. I’m fairly creative but most of the things I’ve tried, I suck at! But I can write, and I’m glad I have somewhere to do it. And I think I’m not so bad at it. It’s my favourite hobby!
  3. The community is awesome – I’ve only discovered the blogging community in the last year or so, and I’m so pleased I did. As a fairly anti social person, I love that I can stretch my social legs and chat to kindred spirits via social media.
  4. It pushes me to be better at both writing and photography. I think about things in a more creative light.
  5. I love to hear other people’s perspective on things, and blogging allows this debate (as long as you’re not mean!) It’s more than once shown me perspectives I wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
  6. It’s shown me how awesome it is to praise others, and myself on achievements. It was once seen as vain to big yourself up, or take photos of yourself, but I think if you feel good about yourself you should show it. And it’s a great feeling to support other people if you think what they’re doing is great!
  7. Being in the blog community allows me to see what’s going on in the world, discover trends up front and early on and sometimes have the opportunity to work alongside brands. I love that I’m part of a big group of people that brands trust to share their products.
  8. The blogosphere has evolved a LOT since I started all those years ago, and I love how it’s evolved and is still evolving. But we all have the creative freedom to alter how we blog as the season changes. It’s never dull!

So here’s to another fabulous year of blogging!

Do you write a blog? Send me your links in the comments below, and hit me up on twitter @Shutterbug_Blog

I’ll see you there!

Mid Month Beauty Favourites!

I haven’t posted a beauty favourites in a few months, mainly because I haven’t had anything new to write about, but I thought I’d just let you know about a few items I’ve been loving. These items are all perfect for bringing you from the Spring through to the Summer.

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I’ve mentioned this product before, but I’m so glad the weather has picked up so I can use it again:

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This is the Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette. It contains what I would consider to be two bronzers and one highlighter, though you can use them how you like. What I love about this palette is that when I use it I get such a natural tanned look. It’s not heavy or dirty looking, and doesn’t glitter. I use the far right pan mostly as I have never gotten the hang of highlight! I can only use this bronzer when it’s really warm and sunny because it really makes me glow, but I am still in love with this a year on from buying it. And for £8 you can’t go wrong!

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These two body creams were amongst a few I picked up from Bath and Body Works when I was in the US last October. I saved these for the warmer months, and I’m really enjoying using them. Tahiti Island Dream is a fresh summery and fairly heady scent that reminds me of tropical islands (not that I’ve ever been to one!) It’s summer in a tube. Beautiful Day is fresh and also summery with a little fruityness to it. So lovely.

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This fragrance mist from The Body Shop, I understand has just been discontinued amongst the rest of the range featuring this scent. I picked it up because it really compliments their Pinita Colada range (which I have seen back in stores for Summer – whoop!) It’s a fresh, light and slightly tropical scent with floral notes, but not too floral. I’m glad I still have just under half the bottle left. I’ve been enjoying wearing this on warmer days.

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I picked up this ColourPop Ultra Glossy in my last order, and hadn’t dared wear it until the weather picked up. In the tube it’s an intimidating neon orange, but on the lips it’s a subtle orange gloss. I’ve been really loving wearing this, as I prefer juicy lips in the summer, over matte or satin. I love how this wears down to a nice peachy tone and leaves my lips hydrated (almost waxy, but in a nice way and not sticky). I have this in my handbag at all times for those times when my lips need a hit of subtle colour.

And lastly, off the subject of beauty:

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I’ve been really enjoying having the chance to show off the lovely bralettes I to cover up during the Winter. This black jersey tunic has a huge hole in the back, so every time I wear it I get to pick my prettiest bralettes and show them off!

So those are some things I’ve been enjoying using now the weather has picked up. Do you have any products you love to reach for as the summer creeps in?

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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This is more of a life update post than a weekly update, but I’m sure you’ll allow me some creative licence!

The past few months have been pretty heavy going, with life changes and busy things happening. The attacks on the UK have been very triggering for me, so I was pleased I had a few scheduled posts ready to go, so I didn’t have to think too much about blog content when, being truthful, I just didn’t feel like blogging.

Twitter has become a hostile place to hang out, at times, with a lot of unnecessary bitching and drama for drama’s sake. I’ve taken a bit of a step back on there too. Instead I’ve been enjoying taking photos, and looking up from screens a bit more. Seeing what’s around me, and then sharing it with my followers on instagram.

As well as bits and bobs happening in my life, that I won’t go into right now for fear of jinxing, we did get offered the opportunity to take an amazing trip, which we decided to go ahead with and will be venturing out on in October.

Friends of ours are going to be in Orlando for a couple of months at the end of the year and offered us use of one of their spare rooms whilst they’re there. If you’re a new reader you may not know, but I am a huge fan of Florida (and Disney!) and fell in love with the place when we visited last year for our 10th wedding anniversary. This was an opportunity too wonderful to pass up, so we booked out tickets and are starting to form plans for our week there. Neither of us can wait, and we’re so grateful to our friends. I don’t want to wish the year away, but I really can’t wait for October now! It’s given us an amazingly exciting thing to look forward to, after what could potentially be a very stressful few months.

So other than that, there’s not been a huge amount going on. We’ve cancelled a few plans, a few events have been cancelled out of our control, and the country seems to be in a bit of disarray at the moment. I’m taking each day at a time, and I’m not going to lie and say I’m doing fine, because I’m not. My mental health is taking a battering, but I’m putting a smile on my face and getting on with my life, because what’s the alternative? I don’t have a bad life, people have things much worse than me, and I know I’ll keep on going. One great thing I will add is that the warmth and sunshine we’ve been having has done wonders to lift my mood, as have my friends and family. Never underestimate the power of laughter and turning your face to the sun when you’re feeling down.

So that’s my little update; a bit of a brain fart I know, but hey, this is what my brain is like right now!

London, Manchester and Carrying On

Just under two weeks ago I had a couple of days off work booked, because I was supposed to be seeing Ariana Grande at the O2. As you might know I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan and it was going to be the highlight of my summer.

I don’t need to tell you why the concert was cancelled, and I don’t want to go deep into my feelings about it here. We had a hotel booked (the Intercontinental O2, which is right next to the O2) and we’d paid already so we decided to go and have a couple of days in London in the sunshine despite the attack.

I’m really pleased we did. London in the sunshine is beautiful. Our room overlooked the O2 and we could see the people walking over the top of it – we were that close!

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We had a lovely time wandering around. We never really have the chance to just mill about, since we’re usually in London for a particular reason. Stands selling fresh fruit, juices and waffles pop up this time of year, and they look and smell so inviting.

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We ate dinner at The Diner, and I had this yummy corned beef hash.

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The next morning we grabbed breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and sat outside on Covent Garden markets – it was already too hot to sit in the sunshine, but we had a lovely warm breeze from our table.

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I won’t lie, the police presence was both reassuring and scary. I have an issue with guns, they make me nervous just by seeing them. I know they’re in capable hands in this circumstance but they can still be used in error. Besides that it was a lovely couple of days and a nice way to spend it in lieu of the events.

As I type this, the afternoon after the London Bridge attack, my heart is heavy once more. The Ariana Grande concert for Manchester is this evening, and I don’t suppose my eyes will stay dry. The whole situation is frightening and frustrating. No one knows how to behave in these kinds of situations and people are sensitive for varying reasons. Arguments are being caused because of people’s differing opinons in situations like this and no one knows what to do. No one feels in control. All we can do is do the right thing and continue to live our lives.

I’m glad we decided to keep our reservation in London and continue our day. London is beautiful in the sunshine, everyone was happy and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves.

Anxiety: What It Took Me A Long Time To Learn

I’ve suffered with GAD for as long as I can remember. I remember realising I had something odd going on with my mind when I was in about year 5 or 6. I was having OCD tendencies, which I knew I wanted to stop and made a mental note to do the opposite of what my mind was telling me to do.

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Members of my family suffer from OCD so I knew it was something I’d been exposed to, but it still surprises me to this day that as a child I knew this was an issue and something that needed stopping.

It wasn’t until many many years later I was diagnosed with GAD and found out that this was something another member of my family suffered with. And it wasn’t until a few years after that, that I read a blog post online that really helped to change the way I dealt with anxiety.

I honestly don’t remember where I read the article. I was doing research for a blog post in my job and happened across the post, with relation to something else. But the post struck a chord with me.

Simply put, the author noted that she’d been trying to suppress her anxious feelings. They’d been weighing her down to the point where she was saying no to meetings, new business and opportunities. She’d been allowing her anxiety to define her and it was preventing her from moving forward in a business sense. Until one day she had a breakthrough. She decided she would greet her anxiety – acknowledge it. She moved forward knowing that she would have this reaction and instead of causing herself more stress trying to fight it, she described herself moving forward with the anxiety walking alongside her.

She soon found that it wasn’t there as much. Because she’d decided not to pay attention to it so much, not use up her energy analysing it or fighting it, that it wasn’t getting the attention it wanted and so it didn’t seem as important as it once had.

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This idea was really powerful to me. I hope it is to you, too.

Anxiety is a big snowball of horrid. You have it, you analyse it, you feel guilty for it, and then you have more of it. It’s a cycle that seems so unnecessary and is very tiring. It can debilitate, numb, paralyse. It’s in no way fun.

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It’s different for everyone, but I hope, if you suffer, that by reading this you might find some sense of relief. It won’t work every time, it doesn’t cure, but it might offer a little respite on occasion.

 

Why I: Got Married Young

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I’ve had a few people ask in the last few months, how I met my husband. So I thought that the next post in my Why I series, could be about why I got married young.

I look younger than my actual age, and when people hear that I’ve been married for almost 11 years, they instantly ask my age.

I’m turning 34 this year and I married when I was 23. People always say that’s really young to get married, but I say if you know you want to marry someone it doesn’t really matter how old or young you are!

I met G-Man when I was 19, through a friend’s boyfriend. Our official story is that we met at Glastonbury music festival. The truth is we had met a couple of months before that, and had even had a conversation at a party but the evening wasn’t about meeting boys and so our encounter was brief.

So, when we met up at Glastonbury we were able to have proper conversations, relax and watch music together. And he stayed with me and my friend the whole time he was at the festival.

There was definite sparkage between us, and I knew I liked him. We saw each other pretty much every day from that point on. After about a month I knew this was something serious and the rest, as they say, is history!

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This was the first photo of us together, in my bright orange bedroom!

We look a little different now!

We got married in the garden of a little private manor house in Hatfield, under the roof of a mini garden pavilion, whilst our friends and families sat theatre style outside on the lawn. I walked up the aisle of lavender and it was the shortest but most-perfect ceremony. A beautiful September day, small wedding and fantastic start to our married life together.

Over the years, I’ve had friends ask me things like ‘how do you know when you’re ready to get married?’, ‘how do you know you want to marry someone?’ – and I almost always answer the clichéd ‘you just know’. And that’s because you do – you just know. As certain as you know you’re alive, you just know. And if you’re questioning it, then that’s between you and your partner to work out.

I love my marriage. We get on like a house on fire, we’re best friends and though we used to argue, we know how to argue productively now. I wouldn’t say we even do argue any more. He’s the best thing in my life, and I’m happy every single day because of him.

I don’t want this to sound soppy, but everything I’ve said is true. He’s a proper gentleman and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my days with him!

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ColourPop – I Bought More!: Review

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Not too long ago, ColourPop Cosmetics offered free international delivery, and having seen that they had just launched a new range of their Blotted Lips (including liquid ones!) I knew I needed to try them.

I bought direct from the website and had them shipped to the UK so had to pay customs, but I factored that into my budget, and the customs charge still came to less than the postage would have been had I bought any other time.

As well as the blotted lips, I also picked up two of their Supershock eye shadows, which at the time came with a free eyeshadow brush (which isn’t bad!), a gloss, ultra satin lip and a pressed blusher compact.

So here’s what I think of them all!

I picked up three of the original formula blotted lip sticks, in three of the new shades: Sucker, Ice Cube and Bees Knees.

I’ll start with the packaging – they’re tiny plastic lipstick tubes, which means they’re light and easy to carry in your bag. The formula is a little waxy and applies evenly however they sometimes need warming up a little to get the right amount of pigment. The idea is they look like lipstick that’s already worn down, or been blotted (hence the name!) and that is how they look. One sweep and they’re subtle, but two can give a more pigmented look. Some people had said their product had been flying out of the tube when taking the lid off, and I hadn’t had this problem UNTIL taking these photos, and one of them flew off, onto my white Egyptian cotton bed sheets and stained them – so that was fun…. (not).

Let’s look at swatches:

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Sucker is a lovely coral shade, which is lovely for Spring and Summer and looks nice and fresh.

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Bees Knees is a bright pink – the only one I haven’t grabbed for yet, because it’s more of an evening shade for me. But I look forward to wearing this out!

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Ice Cube is more of a plummy shade on me, and streaks a little more than the others. The shade of this is really natural on me though, and it adds a nice pop of colour to my make-up look when I want to focus on my lips.

Here’s what they look like on:

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This is Ice Cube

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And Sucker

As I mentioned, I haven’t worn Bees Knees yet, so I can’t show you a photo with that. But I’m sure you get the idea from the swatch!

Next I also picked up one of the Ultra Blotted Lip liquid lipsticks. I chose the shade Doozy.

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I was really surprised at how much I liked this one. The formula is light and goes on easily, with a really lovely light finish. It dries down matte, like the other Blotted Lips, but not too matte, not drying and wears down really well. In the photo above, I’ve tried to show one swipe and two swipes. The bottom part of the swatch is one swipe and the top is a second swipe over it. I love the colour, and was really happy with how close it looked to the promotional shot ColourPop offered with this colour.

Here’s me wearing it:

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Overall, apart from the packaging mishap, I love these Blotted Lips. They’re very wearable, and I think I got it spot on with the shades I chose. They last a long time on the lips and are very comfortable. They wear down nicely, and are easy to reapply on top (however this will intensify the colour). They DON’T respond well to balms or oils on top, so if you suffer from dry lips like me, after 2-3 hours you might want to remove, rehydrate your lips and then reapply. But overall I’ve been very very happy with them.

I also picked up an Ultra Satin Lip and a Gloss, so let’s look at those.

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Saddle Up is a sheer gloss. It’s sticky but you expect that from a gloss, and as you can see from the swatch above it offers a very sheer orange/coral colour to the lips. I haven’t worn this yet, but I can imagine getting a lot of use from it in the Summer!

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Calypso is a lovely brown terracotta on my lips. It feels comfortable and dries to a semi-matte satin finish. Again I haven’t tried this all day yet, but I can see me using this more in the Autumn/Winter months as it is quite dark. That being said, I might get impatient and wear it in the Spring anyway!

Next I’ll talk about the Supershock eyeshadows. I’ve only had highlights from ColourPop so wanted to try their shadows. I picked up Sailor, which is a holographic shade and Mixed Tape which is a nice mauve satin finish. The idea is to layer the two, but so far I’ve only tried Mixed Tape.

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This is Mixed Tape and I’m actually wearing it on my eyes in one of the selfies above (the one wear I’m wearing Doozy on my lips). This is easy to apply and nice and subtle. I wore it on its own, but was pleased with the soft powder finish, longevity of the colour over the whole day, and I reckon it would blend well.

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This is Sailor, and I’m really looking forward to wearing this at some point. It’s bronze, champagne and has a light mint pull to the glitter. As I mentioned this is holographic shadow, so it’ll pull different colours and I’m sure it’ll look lovely on by itself but come into its own layered on top of other shadows.

And lastly, I picked up one of ColourPop’s new pressed powder blush/highlight compacts. I think they’re limited edition (I might be wrong) but I saw Kathleen Lights rave about this particular one in one of her recent-ish videos. It’s called Double Play, and features a tan/nude blush and a champagne highlight.

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I was kind of convinced it would be way too orange on me, if I’m honest. I bought a Sleek shadow in the colour Suede after Kathleen Lights recommended it, and it wasn’t for me. This looks so similar I don’t even know why I thought it would work, but I still bought it. lucky for me I LOVED it. I’m actually wearing this blusher shade all the selfies above.

The blush is the shade Getting Handsy and the highlight is Padded Down. I’m not great with highlight so I haven’t tried it yet, but the blush is the ONLY blush I’ve worn since it arrived.

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When I first applied the blush, I used a teeny tap, which was good because it’s really pigmented and I was able to then build if I wanted to. I was so so surprised with the colour it came out on my cheeks.

I’m not sure if you can tell from the swatch above, but on my face I get a very warm ‘blushy’ tone – that’s a dumb thing to say I know since it’s a blush. But there’s less orange and more pink to it when it’s on my face. I’m not explaining myself well, but needless to say I was over the moon.

That highlight looks really metallic in the photo, but when I tried it on my face was nice and subtle. I just need to work out the best way to apply it to my face – but that’s an issue with me and not the product!

This blush lasts ALL working day on my face, which is awesome.

So all in all, I was mighty pleased with the items I bought – and now I don’t need to buy ANY more lip products (how many times have you seen me write that?)

Have you tried any of ColourPop’s new Blotted Lips? What did you think?

This Week I Have Mostly….

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Hi guys. This is just a quick post to catch up with the past couple of weeks.

I’ve been busy making some exciting plans in my personal life and that’s kind of overtaken things, so I haven’t planned many blog posts.

That being said, my ColourPop cosmetics order arrived so I plan to do a post on the items I bought (there’s some crackers!) Here’s a preview:

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Last week I was also featured in John’s Road to Volunteering blog, in his Community Champions blog post. It was an honour to be asked to be featured and to be considered amongst such an amazing bunch of lovely bloggers was wonderful. John’s words about me were so kind. Make sure you click the link above and have a read. And whilst you’re there, check out John’s blog and the other ladies featured and follow them too!

In other blogging news, I had what I consider to be an inspired idea for a new blogging series which could even turn into a YouTube series too. I can’t get started on it just yet, but I’m hoping to be able to start working on it within the next few months. If you’re intrigued, follow me on Twitter @Shutterbug_Blog and keep an eye out, because I’ll be needing help from other bloggers!

In TV I’ve just gotten up to date with Riverdale (one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a long time, and who knows why I kept watching it), and we’ve been flying through watching Twin Peaks. We’re determined to watch it all, and the film, before the new season airs. I think we might manage it (fingers crossed!)

Spring seems to be making its presence known, and it’s been so nice to have warm sunshine at last. I’ve even been going outside without a coat on. It’s amazing what the weather can do to lift my mood, and I’m hoping this is the warmer weather here to stay until September. Fingers crossed!

So that’s it for now. Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming ColourPop post, and I’ll be back soon!

 

How Waking Up Earlier Helped Me Feel Less Tired!

I’ve always needed LOTS of sleep. Since I was a kid my bed time was always way earlier than anyone else I knew (or know now) but now I’m an adult I’ll happily go to bed at half 8 without complaint.

They used to say you need at least 8 hours sleep in order to fully recharge, but I think that’s been changed to 6 hours now. I feel like a good 6.5 hours is all I really need, and a few years back I realised that I will actually feel worse if I have too much sleep.

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There’s a lot of research about different types of sleep, you can get apps and trackers that will tell you how much ‘useful’ sleep you’ve had and such.

But a while back I decided that I’d just wake up a little bit earlier in the normal working week and see how that affected my tiredness. After a little trial and error I found that waking up around 45 minutes earlier than I had been (and I usually go to sleep around the same sort of time every night) lead me to feeling more awake and refreshed than I had when I’d slept a little longer.

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I was sold! I’ve also tried a few other things to help with getting a good night’s sleep. I’ll put my phone down as soon as I go to bed, and watch tv for a bit before falling asleep. I don’t like to use my phone after around 9:30 if I’m honest, just because it’ll give my brain a little rest. iPhone recently added a feature that takes the blue out of the screen backlight after a time set by you, which is supposed to help your brain switch off and be less active ahead of sleepy time.

I was also sent a few sample products by the brand Kiss the Moon to try out. A couple of balms and face oils.

 

One was a temple balm and one was a face scrub and since my skin is so picky and changeable I didn’t really want to try the scrub. But I do love a nice face oil. I’ve given them all a go and though I didn’t find them to aid my sleep at all, they did have lovely calming scents. There’s three types and each one is aimed towards a different skin type. I decided to take one on holiday to Rome with me.

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The calm oil is my favourite scent of the bunch, but I’ll be honest they’re very ‘herbal’ scented and not really my cup of tea. I did find them to be calming, as I mentioned before, but they didn’t do anything for my skin. I have face oils which when I wake up I can feel they’ve made a difference to the softness of my skin, and with these oils they didn’t seem to make a difference, so I can’t say I’d reach for them. That being said, that’s not the primary point of these. They’re designed to relax you in an essential oil kind of way, and in that this succeeded.

Of all the things I’ve tried out, to help me wake up feeling more refreshed, I’d say setting my alarm to an earlier time was the most successful. It took a couple of attempts to know when was best, but now I’ve done it I’m so pleased I did. My brain has enough time to wake up, I’m not rushing to leave the house, and I’m calm and relaxed. I’m so pleased I did it!

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Kiss The Moon sent me a few samples of their products free of charge to give a go. You’ll be able to tell my opinions are my own and I have recieved no financial benefits for posting this article.

This Week I Have Mostly….

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Another month closes and we’re another month closer to summer. Which can only be a good thing. The weather has been somewhat volatile and as a result my winter parka is still not away, and I haven’t been able to put on my lovely spring clothes just yet.

Since I updated you last, I have been to see Bruno Mars, which I must say was all the way up there with some of the best concerts/gigs I’ve seen in my time (and I’ve seen a LOT). The stage setup, the dancing, production and the voice of the man himself was all perfect. He’s an incredible singer and entertainer, and we enjoyed it so much we looked to see whether we could get tickets for the following night (sadly, we couldn’t) If you enjoy Bruno Mars’ music, and get the opportunity to see him live, please take it.

I’ve been a little low-key on the old social media side of things, as we’ve been planning to sell our house and move to another one. Things are progressing and I’ll come back with news as I have it, but it’s all rather mentally taxing, so it’s been nice to have some more down time.

I’ve been spending my down time watching Netflix, and in the absence of my April Favourites (which I’ve decided to skip this month) I thought I’d tell you about a couple of things I’ve been watching.

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I finished watching Bates Motel this weekend, and oh my, what a show. If you like the Hitchcock movie Psycho, you really ought to watch this. But I recommend watching the original film first and then going straight into the tv show. There are so many nods to the film; lines, scenes, even just the way the actors behave, that it’s a Hitchcock fan’s dream. But on its own the show is really well written, the story lines are great and Norma and Norman are acted AMAZINGLY well. I’m really glad a watched it.

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I’ve been watching Riverdale pretty much only to kill time. The show is as bad as the Photoshop job in the promo photo above. It’s based on Archie comics characters, of which I know zero about, but I have it on good authority that the link is pretty tenuous anyway. The story line is loose, I don’t care about the characters and I seem to only find myself wondering what brand of lipstick the girls are all wearing. But for some reason I keep switching the darn show on.

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I love Netflix documentaries, and we watched Casting Jonbenet a couple of weekends ago. It’s an interesting take on looking into the death of Jonbenet Ramsey. The makers of the documentary made the film as if they were casting for the parts of the main players involved in the story, and as such were able to get first person theories and opinions from local townspeople. All put together in re-enactments, they create a collection of theories on what actually happened. It’s worth a watch.

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Having never watched Twin Peaks when it originally aired in 1990 (when I was 7) I thought it about time I rectified the situation, and what with a new season of the show airing this month, we have just begun to watch the show. I knew the show was going to be a bit twisted, since it’s David Lynch, however what I didn’t expect was the humour and so-subtle nuances of the characters. We’re only a few episodes in so I can’t make a proper judgement yet, but I will say I’m very much enjoying what I’ve seen so far. I’m also really pleased I’m watching it now, as an adult, because I think I wouldn’t have recognised these subtleties back then – I would have just thought it was weird!

Coming up next weekend, I’m off to see Harry Potter Live at the Royal Albert Hall, another one of those events where you watch the film and a live orchestra plays the score live in front of you. I’m looking forward to it, because I love John Williams’ score in the Harry Potter films. And no doubt I’ll be running around making preparations in the house, whilst trying to remember it’s also important to chill out and relax. Ho hum!

I hope you have a great week 🙂