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!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are a few more exciting things to share too, but all in good time ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyLast weekend I had the pleasure of taking family photos for my good friend Caroline, with her husband Chris and their baby Leo. It was a lovely afternoon and the weather held off for us, meaning we were able to utilise their lovely garden and the natural light of the sun, which had decided to grace us with its presence.

13We got some lovely photos, and having sent them over, Caz and Chris seem to like them too! So I’m very pleased ๐Ÿ™‚

On Wednesday I headed over to Amy’s house for a Bridesmaid dress trying on session. Sarah’s getting married next year and the dress samples had arrived to we piled into Amy’s house, ate fajitas and tried the dresses on. It was good fun to try the different styles on and get our first bridesmaid fix!

Yesterday I turned 32 and we had a nice relaxed day. We headed to Bicester Village for a browse and I got some amazing presents from friends and family. I have some awesome new things to take to Ibiza in 3 weeks and one of my friends even gave me some Euro to take. I’m a very lucky girl!

I also let myself go a little, diet-wise, so this week I’m going to begin training again. Now that my injured hip seems to have recovered, and my tattoo has mostly healed I have no excuses!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Firstly I’d like to say well done to everyone for surviving Lost day….. Yeah it passed me by too, but it’s pretty cool.

On 4th August 2015 at 16:23 and 42 seconds the date and time aligned to make up The Numbers from the tv series Lost. People wondered what would happen. And obviously, much like the whole tv series, nothing happened…. So there you go. But, you know, pat on the back for surviving.

The last few weeks have been pretty uneventful – or should I say blissfully uneventful. We were feeling rather burnt out from the busy start to our summer, and have very much enjoyed the lie-ins and chilled out evenings. Catching up on movies and being generally lazy.

Still recovering from my injury and getting my first tattoo (pictures once it’s healed, but hop over to instagram if you can’t wait) has meant that swimming training has halted for the time being. Which is both good and bad. It’s 26 days until my Ibiza trip and I’d hoped to be feeling a little fitter and looking a little more toned by then, but hey. What you see now is what you get!

We’ve had, until this weekend, terrible weather. One of the past weekends was positively autumnal and saw us hunkered down under a blanket, drinking tea and watching movies.

I’ve tried a few new recipes, one from a new dairy free cook book. It’s the kind of ‘dairy free’ book which calls for a lot of dairy free cheese, dairy free milk and dairy free cream. I consider this as cheating in allergy recipes because I could look at any recipe and make those substitutions myself – I do have a brain. But one recipe caught my eye. Boston Baked Beans with Chipolatas and Dumplings. Unfortunately I failed to take a photo before I served it up, but it was so delicious there’s no doubt I’ll be making another pot shortly. It’s definitely an autumnal dish and can see it featuring in regular rotation on my repertoire.

Last night the Book Club met at a local TGI Friday’s to celebrate a few of our birthdays. We have 2 birthdays in June, 2 in July and 2 in August so we took the opportunity to push July and August’s into one and have a meal together. Fantastic company and hearty food – with free desserts courtesy of the Friday’s Birthday Club – AND 4 free huge slices of birthday cake for the birthday girls. We had to stand on our chairs and shout across the restaurant to earn them, but I have little shame so all was good.

11828664_10152876895446511_2124377560263580556_nI even had a cheeky cocktail, called Summer Peach, which had orange sherbet in it. Perfectly refreshing and juicy.

I took my cake home to share with Gary – I was truly stuffed!

So, next weekend is my birthday! I’m turning the big 32 and have no idea what I’ll be getting up to, but I intend to rinse the whole weekend doing fun things ๐Ÿ™‚ You only get one birthday a year, after all!

Jurassic World 4DX

Today is Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s 6th birthday! Thank you to all those who follow, comment and share. If you’ve been following Shutterbug for all 6 of those years then you deserve a treat today!

On Saturday evening Gary and I headed to the XScape building in Milton Keynes and to the newly refurbished Cineworld cinema.

We were off to see the eagerly anticipated Jurassic World – in 4DX. If you don’t know what 4DX is then I’ll tell you – you watch the movie in 3D where available, on special seats which move appropriately to the movie. There are lights, fog, water, smell and air to experience too. I knew this would be the perfect movie to try out 4DX for the first time, but I was a little nervous for some reason. Probably nervous excitement! Milton Keynes is home to the country’s only 4DX cinema, and we’re very lucky to live on the doorstep.

If you haven’t seen Jurassic World yet or experienced 4DX and don’t want to be spoiled, it’s probably best that you don’t read on. But do come back once you have, and let me know what you thought!

So entering the screen, you could see there were less seats than in a normal cinema screen. In rows of about 8-12 seats, but these were in blocks of 4. The seats are ergonomic and high off the ground, with foot rests. There’s enough space in front of your seat and the one in front that people can walk through your row without you having to get up or move to let them past. On your arm rest there’s a button stating ‘water on’ ‘water off’. I chose to leave water on ๐Ÿ˜€

The trailers started and I’d hoped we would experience a 4DX trailer to acclimatise us to the feel. And I wasn’t disappointed. Our trailer was for the new Terminator movie, not my cup of tea, but I loved feeling the seats tip forward, side to side, flashes to the sides of the auditorium, air from behind and in front and under the seat by the legs.

I couldn’t wait for the film to start. What surprised me from the beginning was the 4DX experience was all the way through, not just in certain action parts. When you’re introduced to the family at the start it’s snowing and there’s snow on the ground. You feel icy air all around you as if you’re there. The kids get on a boat and your seats move as if you’re on water, with a fresh sea breeze on your face. It’s incredible. Fast moving chases fling you around as if you’re being chased. The island, when you’re first introduced to it SMELLED GOOD. It was like being on the best ride, because it lasted the length of the film. Discussing with Gary, I discovered I experience more, as I was wearing a sleeveless dress so in certain parts I experienced things on my arms and legs that he didn’t. The water parts were fantastic (you don’t get soaked) and you could tell every effect had been thought through to complement the film.

I’ll stop talking 4DX now and talk about the film, but I’m so glad I saw the movie in this way. I genuinely want to experience it again, and it’s worth the extra few pounds.

So the movie; first of all fans of the original score won’t be disappointed. The important themes and phrases are in there and the new score is in keeping with the old, but new enough. During the film there are also massive references to the original movie, in a nostalgic and respectful way, which I really enjoyed.

The movie story and execution is brilliant from start to end, with nothing confusing or irrelevant. There’s masses of product placement but I guess that should be overlooked because of what the film is, you kind of have to expect it. (Starbucks, anyone?)

Most importantly, Jurassic World was in keeping with the other movies. In my opinion it’s up to the standard of the first and is no disappointment. I was fully immersed in this film, whether or not this was due to 4DX, I don’t know. All I’d say is if you don’t know whether to see it – go! See it in 3D or 4DX if you can, but if you liked the original, you’ll love this!

If you’ve seen the movie and/or experienced 4DX I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Cake and Ice Cream

This weekend G-Man and I headed off to the big smoke and to Regent Street for the second annual NFL street party. I don’t have any interest in American football at all, but Gary does so off we went in search of cheerleaders and hot dogs. We found neither, and ended up going shopping else where!

There was a lot of buzz and little inflatable activities to do but nothing really amazing, so we went off to get some lunch. Firstly we headed off to Stax off Carnaby Street where we’d eaten before. We were seated but told no burgers were on the menu for another 40 minutes which was a shame since that was what I’d really fancied. Twenty minutes later we still hadn’t been given any water, no one had taken our order and none of the wait staff were exhibiting any sense of urgency so we got up and left. I doubt the waitress even realised we’d gone and wondered why she’d left two menus at the window bar. Stax, we gave you a chance and you let us down.

We then headed to The Diner on Carnaby Street where we had an amazing meal and the staff were brill. I had a Hawaiian burger with wet fries. The Diner gravy is amazing guys, you’ve got to try it.

Then we headed off for another wander into a few shops and around the area taking in the gorgeous warm autumnal weather.

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We stumbled across a gelato shop in Covent Garden called Gelatorino. This shop’s only other store location is in Monte-Carlo so we guessed it would be the proper stuff. So many places serve what they call gelato but it’s just ice cream. Real gelato has the most amazing smooth mouthfeel which is down to the lack of ice crystals in the mix. I chose a small tub with two flavours – green apple and salted caramel. Together they tasted like toffee apple! Both flavours had such amazing strength and body and were just wonderful.

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Unfortunately Gary took a turn for the worse and started to feel a migraine coming on soon after this so we headed on home and had a relaxing low-key evening.

Sunday was chores and lazy lie ins – that’s what Sundays are for, right? I managed to get some food prep done for the week ahead before we headed out and over to my Mum and Dad’s. It’s my Dad’s birthday on Tuesday and we all got together, along with my sister and her family, to celebrate the big day! There was lot’s of catching up, chats, singing and dancing as well as party food – including yummy banoffee cake!

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Gary took some photos of our ugly mugs too!

It was a good weekend. Busy enough since I’m still not feeling right after this sinus thing and hay fever is still kicking my butt. Next weekend is รผber exciting, but you’ll have to wait until then to read all about it ๐Ÿ™‚

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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Yes, it’s only midweek, but time flies so fast – so here’s my ‘this week I have been mostly’ update:

  • Changing from coffee to tea. I usually go through phases where I want either tea or coffee, but never both. I’ve just started making my change back to tea, and with good timing since Teafields London have sent me a huge parcel of samples. They’ve included some wonderful (and expensive) teas including a beautiful flowery earl grey, jasmine pearls and some wonderful looking green tea that looks like little pebbles. I plan on doing them justice by sampling each one and doing a write-up on here, so stay tuned!

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  • Feeling nostalgic as one of my friends found an old photo from around 2001 at a Four Star Mary gig in Oxford. The room we were in was above a pub and hotter than hell. I can be seen in the photo below wearing a union jack skinny fit tee which I loved, and it said Made In England under the flag. I’m going to be celebrating Aaron, the guy in the photo’s wedding at the end of the month alongside a lot of the people with whom I went to this gig – it’ll be a fabulous reunion!

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  • I’ve been so busy recently that I haven’t had a huge amount of time for Pinterest or Instagram but that just means that when I do find the time, there’s a lot of lovely things to look at. One such thing was this lipstick I found on Pinterest. I have since found it for just a few quid on Amazon and have proceeded to add it to my birthday wishlist. It looks like magic!

  • Looking forward to my next Body Attack class, tomorrow evening. It’s crazy since it’s such intense cardio and during it you feel like you want to die, but afterwards you know how hard you’ve worked. I can’t wait to continue attending and see the improvements weeks down the line.

 

  • Looking forward to Saturday because during the day I’m meeting up with the girls for a picnic kind of to celebrate my birthday which is the following week, and in the evening to celebrate Tash’s birthday, also next week, with drinks and dancing. The weather’s looking a little shoddy but one of the girls has offered up their house as a backup should it seem a little dicey picnicking by the lake. I love spending time with these girls so I really can’t wait for Saturday to arrive!

Lots to look forward, and more to come!

Party On!

And so begins my two months of having no free time, but spending all of my time doing wonderful and exciting things!

Last weekend I spent a lot of time with some of my most wonderful friends. Sarah, my newly engaged friend, was turning 30 on Tuesday and she held a fabulous party on the Saturday. We gathered on the edge of a cricket ground and picnic’d for a few hours to start the celebrations. Good food, chats and company were experienced as we kept out of the heat of the sun in the shade. I’m very lucky to have such a great bunch of friends and the time flew by, before we headed into the pavilion and made ourselves comfortable on the lawn outside it.

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The barbecue fired up, we watched Sarah open her presents and then dug into another feast. We talked late into the evening and it was quite dark before we left! But not before we got to have a slice of the wonderful cake made by the birthday girl herself!

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An amazing cake, and it tasted amazing too! It was a really great day and we so enjoyed celebrating Sarah’s birthday all together.

In other news I finally got around to highlighting my hair. It was a bit of a mission….. I used L’Oreal Glam Highlights

 

It comes with an ‘easy’ application brush. It is fairly easy and quick but not on your own. I couldn’t get an even pressure applying it myself and after letting it develop, washing it out, conditioning and drying it was really patchy and I wasn’t happy. So I called on Gary and he fixed it for me! I’m really pleased with the result. It’s quite subtle at the moment, but I intend to build up the intensity over the next few months with further applications and in the end will have an array of shades running through my hair! Here’s the result:

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I’ve also been to the gym a few times this week, and yesterday tried out my first Body Attack class, aware that it was cardio interval workouts and HIIT. The instructor talked to us before the class and told us what to expect. She was very clear about what to do and what not to do if you started to flag a bit, and was very reactive to any struggles all the way through. I really enjoyed it, but it was truly knackering. We intend to go again next week, but it’ll be a different instructor since this week’s was covering for the normal one, so I hope next week’s is as good! It’s really hard but something I’d like to get good at. I’m obviously a glutton for pain….. eek!

And lastly, I received something very exciting in the post yesterday. It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a while and is extra specially wonderful. Here’s a sneak peak, but there’ll be more about it soon….

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This Week I Have Been Mostly…

mostly… on holiday! I made the decision not to blog at all – or even really read any of your blogs, whilst I’ve been on holiday. This does mean, however, that there will be an abundance of blogs appearing over the next few days/weeks! So stay tuned!

Also, Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug is celebrating it’s 5th birthday today! Rest assured we are all wearing party hats ๐Ÿ™‚
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