2017 Beauty Favourites

It’s been a big year for new releases in the beauty and skincare world, and even though I have mentioned a few products throughout the year, I wanted to post a round-up of those I still consider to be worth the purchase, months down the line!


As someone who only wears eye shadow in the winter and autumn, and then only very rarely, I own far too many eye shadow palettes. This one, however, is definitely up there as one of my favourites. Bought early on in 2017, I decided I needed to take the plunge as and when I saw it available. The Anastasia Modern Renaissance isn’t one of the cheapest palettes, but then it’s not one of the most expensive either. At £43 it’s going to be one to think about, but then with shadows as pigmented and blendable as these, you’ll get the right amount of use out of it for the cost. Obviously, these are warm shades so if those aren’t your bag then scroll on. But there’s a great mix of shimmers and mattes, darks and lights. So many complete looks can be made from this palette, AND the double ended brush that comes with it is a pretty decent brush. You could take this palette on a trip with you, and you might just want to take a black single and you’d be fine for the whole trip.


I received this seasonal iteration of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser (I have linked this year’s seasonal scent as the one I have is no longer available) as a Christmas gift last year, and I still have some left. I’ll mention I have about 50 thousand cleansers so I change between them depending on what my skin’s doing and how much make-up I’m taking off. I have combination skin and was concerned that this cleanser would be too hydrating for me, but it’s not. It is VERY hydrating, and it does take off all your makeup, so I prefer to use this as a second cleanse on occasions when I’ve been wearing a heavier face of slap. It makes my skin feel lovely, and for £22.75 I’d hope so too. I think it’s a little dear to repurchase myself when this finishes – unless down the line I find I can’t live without it. But then, as I mentioned, I have a heap of others to work through.


I had to buy backups of this Pinita Colada body scrub when they brought it back this summer. I don’t think I can live without it, even though you can no longer buy it. Obviously it smells like pineapple and coconut, but the nourished feeling I have after using this is beyond compare. My skin feels soft and sloughed for hours afterwards, without needing to moisturise straight afterwards. I think I’m on my last tub though…. Fingers crossed they bring it back next summer!


I have been a little on and off with the Pixi Glow Tonic. I’m currently on my second bottle, and for some reason I’m finding the scent a little off-putting this time around. It’s less floral and more resin…. Anyhow, I’m trying to see past this, because I have discovered that after prolonged usage of this toner, my t-zone is a lot less oily and stays more balanced throughout the day. It’s one of those products that’s a slow-burner (and by that I don’t mean literally) and then you don’t realise the difference it’s made until you stop using it. At £18 I’d say it’s priced about right, and is now even easier for me to pick up since they now stock it in M&S. No more trips to Carnaby Street needed for me!


I received my first bottle of the Davines All in One Milk in my 2016 Liberty advent calendar. That mini bottle was finished fairly fast and I think the one I’m using now is my 2nd full-sized bottle. This is a cream spray (I wish they’d work on the packaging to help get that last inch out) that aids tangles and I spray it onto towel dried hair before I detangle and then blow-dry. It smells quite soapy but it’s a smell you quickly get used it. It coats my hair in a nice way making it less thin, flyaway and feel lovely, but still like real hair (if that makes sense). The price of this keeps increasing (I blame Brexit) and it’s currently £19.40. It’s very expensive and I’d say it’s probably worth about £12, but I keep buying it, so that’s got to say something about both me and Davines.


I’m a bit naughty including yet another product you can no longer buy, but this is too good not to mention. I received this full-sized face mask in my goody bag at the Glamour Beauty Festival, and I think I have one more use from this tube. I’m genuinely so sad to finish this product because it’s hands-down the best face mask I’ve ever used. It leaves my skin looking and feeling clear and clean, but not tight in the slightest. One 5 minute use of this and my pores are so clean. It calms down breakouts and exfoliates too. As you might know, The Estée Edit is no more so I can no longer purchase this little beauty. If anyone has one of these hanging around that they haven’t used, I’d be happy to take it off your hands!

Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream

As I mentioned earlier, I have combination skin, and have been greatly enjoying a more balanced visage lately, thanks to this little beauty. I thought I would only use this occasionally and in the winter, but I have been using this all year and every night, and will definitely repurchase this when it’s empty. When the Body Shop’s Oils of Life sleeping cream was released, I was given the chance to try a sample via Glossybox (who I subscribed to at the time). Once my sample pot had been scraped clean, I knew I should probably buy the full size. It’s £29 so it took a little while to justify the purchase, but as the weeks went on I knew I was missing out. And to be honest, it’s such a large pot and you don’t need a lot so it’s going to last me a lot longer than it probably should be kept, if I’m honest! I put this all over my face at night, on cleansed skin, and it remains sticky-ish. When I wake up my skin is SO soft, and my t-zone feels almost the same as the rest of my face – my skin is being balanced overnight! It also smells very comforting and doesn’t break me out at all. I will also say, there’s something very reassuring about the heavy glass pot and large lid on top. I think they’ve got the packaging right. I just need to find a way to decant this, so I can take it away when I travel.

Skin Laundry Face wash

This Skin Laundry gentle foaming face wash was another product I received a sample of in 2016’s Liberty advent calendar. I had been on the look out for a face wash and something that didn’t describe itself as a cleanser. I don’t know why, as they’re the same thing, but I just wanted something reliable to wash my face with! I loved the sample so much that I purchased the full size once it was finished (which was quite some time, as you only need a small amount). At £20 this is an expensive face wash, but it gets my face so so clean, without stripping it and my face doesn’t feel tight afterwards.

Two tubes of foundation

Back to make-up and I’ll mention the only two foundations I’ve used this year. In fact I’ve taken to mixing these two for my perfect face base.

I’ve used The Balm’s BalmShelter for many years. This tinted moisturiser offers a nice light base, with buildable medium coverage, and offers spf with a dewy finish, but doesn’t always last all day on my combination skin.

I bought the Urban Decay Naked Skin for a little more coverage but found the colour slightly too light (it’s my correct shade but I like to bronze up a little!) and I’m not fond of a totally matte finish.

So, I mixed the two! The Naked Skin lifts the shade of my tinted moisturiser slightly for months when I want to look less glowy, and adds a bit of coverage. The BalmShelter takes some of the matte away from the foundation and keeps my skin looking like my skin. It’s a perfect marriage!

Because I’m mixing the two, I can change the balance depending on how my skin is doing or how much coverage I need, and I simply mix them between my fingers and apply the whole lot with my hands. I’ve really moved away from using applicators to apply my face base. My fingers work just fine!


I’ve really taken to lip products this year, and had quite the splurge over the months, mainly on ColourPop products. These two are the ones I’ve worn the most.

When ColourPop launched their Blotted Lip range, I was totally intrigued, and I now own 6 of their shades (I think)! Despite the packaging issue (on some, not all, the product comes out of the tube completely on taking off the lid) I have been impressed with this matte wash of colour. My favourite of this range has been Lexi (which was part of a limited edition range), though I love all the shades I’ve picked up.


Of their liquid lip products, I’m a fan of their satin lip, however I have been very impressed with their high pigmented and long-lasting glosses. My favourite of these is the shade Finders Keepers, which offers a mauve/nude almost opaque gloss that wears down to a lovely natural pink shade. Their blotted lips usually retail for $5 each, and their glosses are $6.


On the eyes, I’ve stuck to one mascara and one mascara only. The CoverGirl Clump Crusher cannot be bought in the UK so I pick up a few tubes whenever I’m in the states. I don’t know why, but it’s simply the only mascara that works for the type of lashes I have (stubborn!) It’s $7 so doesn’t break the bank either. I use it in conjunction with my Surratt eyelash curlers I picked up a couple of years ago in New York. They fit my face and eye shape well and actually curl my lashes, which is what you want!


This E.L.F blush, is has been a star for the past two years. The shade is Tickled Pink and every time I wear it I get compliments on how healthy my skin looks. It’s my perfect natural pink shade, so blendable and buildable, and lasts all day! Oh, and it’s only £4.50 so there’s no excuse not to buy one for yourself 🙂


And last but definitely not least is this blush and highlight pressed powder palette from ColourPop called Double Play. I think this was originally limited edition, but it’s so good I’m glad you can still pick it up. The blush (shade Getting Handsy) is an amazing muted terracotta and looks so natural on my pale skin. It’s like a gorgeous warm bronzer I suppose (but you wouldn’t want to use it as that!), and lasts all day. The highlight (shade Padded Down) is so so pretty. I’ve never gotten the hang of highlight so I don’t use this much, but you can see from the swatch above that it’s stunning!

So those are the products that stood the test. I’ve used them constantly all year and they’re still the products I reach for, which I feel really means I must like them!

I can’t wait to see what comes out in 2018 and whether any of these products get replaced. Only time will tell!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought! Stay tuned for my first impressions of a brand newly launched to the UK (you know what it is!) coming soon!

2018: A Year of Self-Improvement

Every new year we sit and think about resolutions. We look back over the year past, and wonder what will face us in the coming 12 months.

I’ve never been one for setting new year’s resolutions mainly because I either forget I’ve set them or I fail early on and get annoyed at myself.

So this year, I’ve decided to set myself two challenges, partly because I hope if I fail at one I’ll still achieve the other, and of these particular challenges one I know I am already partially skilled at and the other is something I’ve wanted to do for many many years.

The first challenge came to me during a period of new film watching. As a huge Nora Ephron fan it seemed bizarre that I’d never seen Julie and Julia. The film is based on a true story about a woman who lives in NY and decides to make her somewhat dull and frustrated life a little more exciting by cooking each and every recipe in her classic Julia Child cookery book – all 524 recipes. And every time she makes one, she blogs it. I had no idea this was a story about blogging either, so I was very pleased to see a mix of my love of Nora Ephron, food and blogging all in one film. (I very much enjoyed the film by the way!)

Anyhow, it made me want to start some kind of food challenge. So I decided that I would set myself the task of cooking at least one new recipe for every week in 2018. I know this could be a massive task, since I sometimes run out of time in a week, and if I’m on holiday or sick this will also be impossible. So I’m allowing myself the occasional skip-week. And I’m also including recipes like sauces or new variations of old favourites.

recipe books

And then the idea is that I will blog the recipes, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have at least 52 new things under my belt, will have hopefully increased my skill set in cooking, and with luck will have tried new foods and found new favourites!

I have so many cookery books and Pinterest at my fingertips so hopefully the hardest part will be choosing what to make next!


My second challenge is a skill I’ve wanted to learn for some years, and I think I even mentioned it in my New Year roundup last new year! I’ve taken the first steps in beginning to learn calligraphy. A dear friend went for it last year, when I was toying with the idea, and seeing her coming on leaps and bounds has really inspired me. She has warned me it’s not as easy as it looks and to preserver, and I intend to! I’m hoping by Christmas 2018 I’ll be writing beautiful envelopes on my Christmas cards! Here’s hoping!

Anyway, I’ve bought some pens and a new notepad (you need special paper don’t you know) and I intend on sharing pictures of my journey on instagram, and here, as I go (if I’m any good!) Fingers crossed!

So those are my two challenges for the year. I have one more up my sleeve, but that’s more of a thinker so maybe I’ll share that down the line.

I’d love to hear if you’ve set yourself any challenges or new year’s resolutions for this year? What do you want to achieve by January 2019?

My Kind of Christmas – A Look Back

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) I wrote a Christmas related post for every day of advent.

It was fairly hard to do since I had to think of 24 different subjects to write on, all on the theme of Christmas. And this was before I was interested in beauty, before gift guides were commonplace on a blog, and long before advent calendars offered anything more than a chocolate behind the door.

I called it Shutterbug’s Advent Calendar – my friend even made a pretty graphic for me!


Isn’t it lovely?

Instead of re-hashing what I’ve already written, I thought I might share some of my older posts with you, interspersed with some of the photographs I’ve taken over the years, celebrating the festive season!

So, here we go!:

What’s A Traditional Christmas? (click to read)

In this post from 2012 I talk about what Christmas entailed traditionally for me growing up.

baubles on christmas tree

The Christmas Queen’s Guide To Gift Buying (click to read)

In this post from 2010, I offer my hints and tips for finding the perfect Christmas gift – and 7 years on it’s still relevant! If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, then head over for some festive inspiration.

gift wrap and snowball cocktail

Christmas In A Day (click to read)

As part of my 2013 advent calendar posts, I discussed that year’s Sainsburys advert, which pulled clips from a short film called Christmas In A Day. I say short, it’s just under 50 minutes long, but it’s worth every single minute. The video is still up on YouTube so I’d urge you to click on the video link in the post, grab a cup of something warm and settle in for a film that will give you all the feels. I’ll be honest, I totally forgot about this film, so I’m really pleased I unearthed it in this post. I’ll be giving it another watch this year, for sure.

tiny gift bow held by finger

Favourite Christmas Movies (click to read)

It wouldn’t be a Shutterbug Christmas without me sharing my all time favourite Christmas movies. You’ll find them in this 2013 post, and they’re still the ones I’d pick!

close up gold gift bows

Christmas Eve Eve (click to read)

Here’s a post about what could possibly be my favourite day of the Christmas run-up, Christmas Eve Eve!


Fun Times at Winter Wonderland (click to read)

Last year we made our annual trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, and I blogged about it (in fact I also vlogged it, and that video is at the end of the post!) So if you’re interested to see what I got up to, then take a look at this post.



Looking Back, Looking Ahead (click to read)

This post was actually published at the very end of last year, but it mentions Christmas and New Year traditions we have in our home, and was highly requested by followers on twitter. Each year we write a letter to ourselves and look back and forward on the year past and year ahead. If you’d like to read about this new tradition, then click the link above!


I hope you enjoy a little look back on my thoughts on Christmas from over the last 8 years. Christmas really is my favourite time of year.

I’m lucky to have a medium to enable me to look back and see what was happening in Christmases past. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

putting the star on a felt advent calendar

Let’s Talk About Snow, Baby

When I was much younger, I always loved the snow. And to an extent I still do.

Snowfall seems to create a different world from the place you know so well. Streets and parks look unfamiliar even though you might have walked or frequented them over and over again.

black and white photo of snowfall around housing estate

I’ve experience snow in a few places. Growing up it seemed like it snowed every year for the first years I can remember. In my mind’s eye I can remember photos I’ve seen of me bundled up playing in the snow. I remember the street I grew up on looking so magical, when there was heavy snowfall. The sides of the roads all slushy, deep and dirtied from vehicles trying to make their way (sometimes unsuccessfully) up the hill. And then for the longest time it just didn’t happen. For years it seemed, we just didn’t have any snow.

Then, as I grew into a young adult with responsibilities, snowfall started to become inconvenient. It once took over 3 hours to make a 30 minute trip home from work, my Dad driving, due to sudden heavy snowfall. Living in Milton Keynes, people often say all the roads look the same. I usually disagree, but on that night, everything all white and the road signs covered with the stuff, it was very disorienting.

candle on dining room table with snowy scene behind


Working in a mall was always fun when it snowed (not). As soon as it started you would panic you wouldn’t get home. But until the head office had notified you could leave, you were stuck. Even if the customers had all left.

New York snow is definitely the prettiest I’ve seen. I can’t explain to you why, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. I visited for Valentine’s Day in 2003 when the city saw a record-breaking blizzard (there’s even a Wikipedia page all about it) and I was snowed into my hotel. I mean, of all the places to be snowed in, New York’s a good one. We survived on deli sandwiches and watching the great President’s Day movies on the tiny TV in our room. It was pretty fun in hindsight.

macro of snow

There’s something exciting and magical about snow. It seems to blanket over the monotony of day-to-day life, and add an extra level of interestingness. Your trips to work might be a little strange, the view from your kitchen window will be iced, and if you’re at school there’s always a chance you could get a bonus day off!

In England we’re a little famed for our over-reactions to this weather. Granted it can be genuinely dangerous on the roads, but that’s usually down to people not driving responsibly. The shelves in the shops will end up bare as people hunker down for what could be a whole 12 hours of inconvenience. Okay, I may be over exaggerating.

icicle snow drip on wire


My now conflicted opinion of snow comes from being a fairly new, and quite un-confident driver. When I met Gary, I couldn’t understand his negative opinion towards snow, despite his explanation. But now I’m going to stand up and say, snow is inconvenient and dangerous – and bloody cold!

Despite this, I don’t think I will ever lose the feeling that there’s a bit of magic in this kind of weather. As a child I have a distinct memory of going to bed, and listening to the main road outside. And then all at once everything became silent, and I knew it had started snowing. I wasn’t the type of person, back then, to look at a weather forecast, I was just a kid caught up in my own world, so I have no idea if it was due to snow. All I knew, without even looking outside, was that it was the kind of snow that would have turned the world white when I opened my curtains.

I used to have a theory, that if you looked directly into the sky as it started to snow, if the sky was that weird opaque pale orange colour, and all you could see was thick snowflakes rushing towards you, it would definitely stick to the ground, instead if just melting away. I was usually right.


Today I’m talking about snow, because as I write it’s falling on the UK. And by this I mean literally – I’m watching it come down. I woke this morning, at a stupid time, in the anticipation of a snow-covered cul-de-sac outside, and I wasn’t disappointed. Some plans have sensibly already been cancelled, whilst others hang in the balance.

a snowy scene from the kitchen window

This time around, I feel a little like this snow will be a tad more special since it’s Christmas time. We don’t often get snow in December in these parts any more. It tends to land in January or February, which at least adds a little something to those nothing-y months. But that postcard idea of snowfall at Christmas rarely occurs. So this year is different.

baubles on a tinsel string

I’m not a big fan of being wet and cold, so skiing, snow angels, snowball fights or building snowmen is never on my to do list when it’s snowy. But I will say, if you’ve got nowhere to go and you’re warm and safe somewhere, it’s blooming beautiful to watch it fall.

What Striving to be More Tolerant has Taught Me

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!


The Blair Witch Project

The blair witch project poster

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.

What’s In My Flight Bag?

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)

flight bag flatlay

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.

UK passport and longline wallet

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!

mickey mouse lock screen on iphone 7 plus in case

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.

iphone 7 plus in stand case

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!

tic tacs and a Disney book

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!!


I’m Going on my Hollibobs!

You’ll all know by now, that in a week I fly off to my second home, Orlando!


I’m crazy excited, and I’ll be posting a lot of stuff on my instagram, so make sure you’re following me over there.

I’ve scheduled a bunch of posts ahead of time, so keep checking back here for new articles. Halloween season hasn’t passed me by so there’s quite a bit of horror film chat about to occur (if you hadn’t already noticed on twitter!)

So whilst I’m away, please still comment on my blog posts and stuff and send me the love. I’ll reply to you when I can 🙂

Ahead of my flying off, I have a post coming up about what’s in my hand luggage, which was asked for by my followers on twitter, so keep an eye out for that.

See you on the other side!

September Favourites

I’m obviously on a roll with monthly favourites, because here we are!

Not a huge amount to chat about this month, because I was moving for the first part and now we’re settled I can’t afford to buy anything new! So this will be interesting….

Let’s start with some beauty:

Two tubes of foundation

I’d been finding my BalmShelter tinted moisturiser to be slightly too dark (because British Summer) but I didn’t want to mix it with anything that might make it sit more oily on my skin. So I picked up my Naked Skin foundation, which I was finding too matte and slightly too light, and mixed them up. And I’ve been loving the result! I get an increased level of matte higher coverage and it lasts longer. And if I mix it right, the shade match is perfect. Yay for me!

Tube of ColourPop liquid lipstick

Since we’re now into Autumn I thought I’d try out some of my darker shades of liquid lipstick that I hadn’t had the chance to wear properly in the summer. This ColourPop Ultra Satin lip in Calypso is perfect. I like that it’s satin so it’s not too drying on the lips, has really long staying power and is SO comfortable. Here’s what it looks like on:

auburn haired female takes selfie

Off beauty and onto homewares. You should have expected this since I’ve just moved house….


I picked up these white marble bookends from Dunelm. They sell for £25 but I had a voucher to use, so I did! Now, I’m not one of those white marble bloggers, however I needed something heavy for my cookery books and I didn’t fancy bookends that were golden pineapples or brass owls, so I went with these. And they’re perfect. They go really nicely in my new kitchen and I’m very happy!

And lastly, for this month I’ll talk about a new gadget I picked up ahead of my holiday.

Holding a manfrotto tripod

This Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod is amazing. I wanted something little that I could use on a table top, but this has the added benefit of allowing the legs to be folded shut so you’ve got a handle. Invaluable for vlogging, selfies and any other hand-held photography problems. The angle of the thread at the top can be changed as the whole top is on a ball. You push the red Manfrotto logo in and it releases the ball so you can angle the camera how you wish. It’s also the loveliest soft plastic, so it’s very tactile in the hand. I’m a fan!

So that’s it! Have you tried any of these products? I’d love to hear what you thought.

Share A Meal with World Vision UK

I love food, and I love sharing food. Coming into the Christmas period (let’s face it, it’s really soon) we start to think about family, getting together and sharing food and drinks. But it’s easy to forget those in other countries facing diversity.

To promote awareness, World Vision UK have launched the #shareameal appeal to raise money for the refugee children in Bidi Bidi, Uganda, along with Great British Bake Off’s star baker Selasi.

EOB (5)

Selasi recently visited Uganda to see how we could make a difference.

“It’s heartbreaking to see pain and hunger etched onto the faces of orphaned children and hear their harrowing stories of rape and violence. It is vital that, as a community, we come together to do what we can to help provide these kids with a better future.”

Thousands of children flood into Uganda’s refugee settlements, escaping civil war in South Sudan. Many of these having seen their parents murdered and having to walk for weeks without food or shelter. This is a dangerous and frightening trek, having to hide from fighting to avoid being killed. They are along, traumatised and hungry.

Selasi FB 3


And this of course is something we just can’t relate to. But we can help, and World Vision UK have come up with a way we can help bring aid to these children, in a way we can relate to.

World Vision UK help feed these children and find them foster families, to give them a new start. However, global funding just isn’t enough and so to raise money, they’d like you to take part in #shareameal.

World Vision UK invite you to be inspired by Selasi and host a dinner party. It can be as small or large as you wish, just as long as you’re sharing a meal. Following the meal, you and your guests donate the value of the meal to World Vision UK and that money goes to the children.

recipe books

They’ve even made it really easy for you, but putting together a pack that includes everything you need – invitations, an exclusive recipe from Selasi and thank you cards for your guests too!

Visit http://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/share-meal/ to download your pack!

Now, if this wasn’t fun enough, they’re also giving you the chance to win a meal for two, cooked by Selasi himself! To enter, simply post a picture of your Share A Meal event on Instagram using the hashtag #shareameal and tagging @WorldVisionUK! For more information visit www.worldvision.org.uk/shareameal

EOB (9)

So all that’s left to do is start planning your meal and who you want to invite.

With so many holidays coming up, you could host an American-style Thanksgiving, a Christmas themed meal, something for New Years or simply use some of the fantastic Autumnal ingredients that are starting to appear in supermarkets.

recipe books

It’s an excuse to show off your repertoire AND help the refugee Children in Uganda.

I’m already planning mine, so keep an eye out for my post about that in the next couple of months!

recipe books

Event photos provided by World Vision UK. All other photos are my own.