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.

2016 Favourites: What’s Made the Cut?

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

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TV:

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

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

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

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

So now onto the beauty side of things!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep an eye out for my 2016 overview!

May Favourites

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And all of a sudden it’s June! The weather of late has been acting more like November, but thankfully I’ve been flooding myself with happy things to remind myself that it’s really the end of Spring and Summer is surely on its way.

So let’s take a look at what I’ve been loving this month!

May Faves

I’ve mentioned a few of these products in my last couple of blogs, but they’re worth mentioning again!

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The By Nature Coconut Sea Salt Spray is light, natural and smells amazing. It hasn’t got the same hold as my Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray but it’s a nice lighter alternative and I like the effect it gives.

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The Barry M Lip Oils are fabulous. So much so that I’m almost at the end of the Coco Loco one I have. But at £4.99 each they’re the kind of product I don’t mind using all up and re-buying. And I will!

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The Bee Good Plump and Firm Moisturiser was part of May’s Glossybox. I hadn’t tried it until I read a tweet from someone I follow who was raving about it. It’s an expensive product (full size is about £24) so I’m trying to keep this sample size as long as I can. The first time I used it my skin practically drank it up. It’s light but not too light, soaks in really fast and leaves my skin feeling lovely!

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Milani isn’t a brand that’s generally available in the UK and I plan to stock up on their products when I’m in the US towards the end of the year. But I’d been stalking their cult blush shade Luminoso on Amazon for a while and when I saw it at £4.49 with free P&P I knew I had to snap it up. When it arrived I was impressed with the packaging. A nice chunky compact with lovely gold surround, opens up to the baked blush with all its swirly pigment. And underneath the product is another compartment for a little brush. I won’t be using this brush but it’s great to have the option when you’re on the go. The colour on my skin is lovely. A nice summery coral blush, it’s VERY pigment so a little goes a really long way with the option to build up if you want to.

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The NYX Dark Circle concealer is a product I’ve been trying for a few months now, and I’ve really grown to love it. Not enough on its own, I pat it onto my under eyes in a thin layer and it does an amazing job before I top it with concealer (at the moment I’m using Benefit’s Boing) I like how light it is, so it does its best to prevent creasing, unless you use too much. It’s a great peachy colour which works against my dark circles and has some great reflective qualities.

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I mentioned this lip balm in a lip product blog I wrote not so long ago, but I’m loving it so much that I’m going to mention it again. This Dr Bronners lemon lime lip balm is choc-full of lovely oils and scent. It’s gorgeous on my lips, so hydrating and really good underneath lipstick.

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The Urban Decay Gwen Stefani range has to have been their biggest hit with me out of all the ranges they’ve released. I love Gwen anyway, but I now own both the eyeshadow and blush palettes, two of the lipsticks and a lip liner. One of the lipsticks, Firebird, was bought only a few weeks ago and I bought it specifically for a hen party I’ve just attended. No word of a lie, the colour lasted the whole day. And that was afternoon tea, cocktails and pizza afterwards. It was comfortable on my lips, didn’t bleed or crack and just stayed looking like it had when I’d applied it. It’s a lot brighter than I would normally wear but I got tons of compliments and it matched the pink feather boas we were all wearing!

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Go pick it up!

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I’d be stupid if I didn’t mention the new Ariana Grande album Dangerous Woman as a May favourite. I’ve listened to it more times than I can count, and now even Gary knows some of the words! I can’t decide which songs are my favourites because I like them all, but I have woken up with Moonlight in my head on more than one morning. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then you must!

This Week I Have Been Mostly…

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You might have noticed no blogs last week. I decided it’s nice sometimes not to blog J So I took a little break. You could still find me on both my twitter accounts (@groggits and @Shutterbug_Blog) but I decided that as I was feeling tired, run down and had a relentless headache turned migraine, I would give myself a break.

Apart from feeling totally exhausted and run down this week, I’ve done a little cooking with some fresh ingredients. Last weekend I made a lentil salad for my work lunches, which involved roasting cherry tomatoes, red onions and a whole garlic. I’d never roasted garlic before but was pleased with the results. It all looked pretty and tasted good, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort in the end.

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Towards the end of the week I made myself a nice scramble using leftovers.

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We’ve been beginning to pick up bits and pieces for our Florida holiday in September, and I purchased this Yankees cap to wear whilst we walk the parks. I’m not great in the heat and relentless sun, being a true brit we’re rarely subjected to it. This cap is perfect and light in colour so hopefully will keep me cool. I’ll just have to deal with hat hair for a while!

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We’ve been visited a couple of times recently, by a fox, who likes to hang out in our garden. Totally relaxed and dozing, he likes to sun himself on our lawn. The birds don’t seem threatened by him at all, and as a result neither are we. He can share our garden with us!

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And this weekend, I have been mostly listening to the new Ariana Grande album Dangerous Woman. It’s really great and I might go as far as to say it’s her best yet. My favourites at the moment are…. actually I can’t choose one. They’re pretty much all good! Though I was surprised Focus on Me didn’t appear, and can only be found on the Japanese version of the album, which I obviously don’t have….

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What have you been up to? Have you heard Ariana’s new album? What did you think?