This Week I Have Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

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:

IMG_1246

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.

IMG_1169

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.

IMG_1168

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.

IMG_0936

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!

IMG_1167

 

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.

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and as much as this can be true of relationships, it can also be true for blogging.

I was unable to take part in the usual blogging chats, conversations or read tweets whilst I took my recent trip to Italy. I missed the social side and the chats but it also allowed me to take a step back and think about Shutterbug and my YouTube.

And what I’ve gained from that, I’ll share with you.

Before my trip I assumed I would be vlogging. Why wouldn’t I go somewhere like that and film? However, during the time there, at no point did I feel like I actually wanted to film. It almost felt like something I felt I had to do, but at no point felt natural. And I knew that would come across on the footage, so I decided early on in the trip that I wouldn’t vlog.

It made me realise that I felt happier not vlogging, and so as a result I’ve decided that as much as I enjoy putting up YouTube content and that I won’t shut it down totally, I’m not going to force myself to create videos weekly. It’s not like my following is so large that it demands regular uploads, and I’m aware that subscribers won’t grow massively, if at all, if I don’t post often – BUT I also know that if I force it, the content will become bland and unnatural.

So that’s where I am with YouTube. As and when I post, it’ll be because it’s something I want to do and not something I feel I should be doing.

As for my blog, I’ve decided my content needs to be more my own voice again. I enjoy putting thoughts to screen, and of late I’ve been feeling like some of my content has pandered towards what I feel I should be posting to get views and follows, and not what I want to put out sporadically.

So I’m going back to my roots. You might not notice a difference, but I’ll notice a change in feel and that’s what will be therapeutic to me.

Lastly, in the next few weeks I hope to upgrade my WordPress package to a paid service which will allow me to use more features, and also have a dedicated url for Shutterbug. I’m not sure how this all works, or what will change logistically at that point, but it’s a big deal for me. It feels like an important next step in my blogging journey and it’s exciting!

So thanks for following, reading and supporting Shutterbug. And I hope the changes I’m making are one you’ll like! See you on the flip side!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

I’m back from Rome!

I’ll do a dedicated blog post, but thought I’d pop in and let you know I’m back and raring to go.

It was a tiring but really awesome week, with lots of walking, eating and sight-seeing.

I also took loads of photos!

I’ll share more in my Rome post, but head over to my instagram for more over the next few days.

After we returned from Rome we headed straight to London the next day for our next adventure – Moulin Rouge by Secret Cinema! Again, if you’ve read my other Secret Cinema blogs, you’ll know I wait until Secret Cinema have released their event video before posting – I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone until SC have decided to share the details first.

I will say, that I think it was the best yet! Here’s what we wore:

IMG_1032

I had a flouncy skirt on too, but more of that when I post about it down the line. It was an awesome night! But we were so tired from Rome we didn’t stay for the after party.

That’s my trouble – I always like to enjoy things to the point where I’m knackered so after Rome this little outing may have been one too many. It was an awesome night though, and I’m so glad we were able to get tickets.

Back to work on Monday, and to normality – I’ve still got the travel bug though, so who knows where I’ll be going next!

 

Why I Love Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes is celebrating its 50th birthday today so I thought I’d share some of the reasons why this New City is a place I love!

I have lived here for most of my life (bar 2/3 years somewhere in the middle where I lived just outside) and even though it’s been the butt of people’s jokes, I still firmly believe it’s an awesome place to live. Here’s why:

  • Milton Keynes was built a New City, with the environment, industry and lifestyle in mind. It has excellent links to London (be there on the train in less than an hour), redways (paths that run alongside or under the main roads, tarmacked in red) that allow you to travel through the town on bike or by foot almost completely without having to brave dangerous dual carriageways.

img_0327

  • The buses have always and probably still are unashamedly always late. You might as well burn the timetables, and more often than not if your bus stop actually has one of those new fangled digital displays tracking the buses on it, your bus will get 5 minutes away and then disappear – see MK is magical! I don’t use the buses anymore, so I see this as charming……
  • Despite it often being a punchline (the bit in Love Actually, where someone is learning English and they say “Milton Keynes has many roundabouts”, for one) it’s also famous for a few very cool things. It’s home to Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine which cracked the code and won the war in the 40s. Part of Superman 4 was filmed here, outside our train station, which was thought to look futuristic at the time. It still looks the same now, so make up your own mind next time you’re here! Cliff Richard filmed his ‘Wired for Sound’ music video here, roller skating through our shopping centre.

2517994259_e73b3b4358_o

  • And on the subject of our shopping centre, the old bit (because we call tend to refer to the two sections of mall by saying ‘the old bit’ and ‘new bit’, even though the new bit is really old now….) was Europe’s largest shopping mall when it opened. I worked in the shopping centre on and off for the majority of my working life, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s not the fanciest but I like it 🙂

2490561938_4c40f6dcea_o

  • We also had the UK’s first multiplex cinema in The Point, which was a huge pyramid-shaped building with red neon lights outlining it. It was an exciting thing to see as a child, in its prime. Go give it a google! The smell of the popcorn as you walked in, and the sound of the kids playing the arcade was incredibly exciting, and something I’ll never forget.
  • I love how you can drive a few miles and be out of the cityscape and in the countryside. We have loads of old villages, pubs, markets, forests and trail walks. There are farms and fields, but also on the flip side of that we have high-rise apartment buildings, bustling businesses, a theatre, ski dome – pretty much everything you’d want. Oh and about 5 Nandos within the space of 5 miles…

8722795609_f7889a9497_o

  • Even though we’re mocked for our roundabouts, I honestly believe MK was set out really well. It’s one way grid-system roads were based on the layout of New York City!
  • This also makes it really awesome for running – Milton Keynes has become a mecca for runners and cyclists with events all throughout the year. The paths and roads are relatively flat and it’s easy to run for miles without having to worry about cars.
  • The Bowl, Milton Keynes’ open air concert venue, has been home to artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Queen, Bon Jovi, REM, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Radiohead to name a very few. Over the years there has been talk of its purpose changing but thankfully it hasn’t happened yet. I love seeing live music events there!

I have loads of great memories of Milton Keynes and I hope to have many more! Children’s Day at The Bowl was always great fun. I remember having a red balloon with a tag tied to it which had an address and my name on. The idea was that if someone somewhere far away found your balloon they’d contact the address and the organisers could see how far it flew. All the balloons were put together and released in one big magical swathe of red! I think I’ll always remember that!

8722794127_b8abf34390_o

Milton Keynes continues to grow and develop. It’s always been that way, and I’m often surprised at where they find the space to build what they build, but it’s never too much. With all the greenery mixing in with the industrial landscape, it’s the best of both worlds. And I really don’t think I’ll be moving away any time soon.

Happy Birthday Milton Keynes, and here’s to many more!

 

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

This week I have been mostly hiding from the cold! It’s been in minus degrees quite a lot this week. I’ve had to scrape ice off the car more times than I’d care to think about, and my black car starts to look white before I’ve even finished work.

I spent the week catching up on TV in the evenings, I got rid of my mousey blonde roots and added highlights. I had a lovely pamper session on Friday evening (this was after my dinner of a Big Mac meal and 6 nuggets on the side…. Yum!)

I decided that I wanted to try my hand at general day vlogging this weekend, so that’s what I did on Saturday. We had some errands to run and then headed off to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to see Gaslight. Originally a play, I have see both iterations of the story in film but really wanted to see what the play was like.

33602_full

 

I really enjoyed it, and Gary (who didn’t know anything about the story at all) was really impressed with it too. We were both enthralled until the end.

If you saw my last post, you’ll know I recently picked up some new beauty bits, and this week I’ve been trying out my Renaissance Palette. I’ve really enjoyed how versatile it is, all the colours blend so nicely together and last a really long time on the lids. I can see me using it a lot this year!

Now we’re a few weeks into January, I have to say I’m kind of missing taking a photo each day to upload to Instagram. If you aren’t aware, last year I completed a 365 project where I took a photo a day for the entire year. I’ve completed this project 3 times now, and I think last year’s was the easiest. It made a huge difference that I was uploading to Instagram instead of Flickr, and what with having the camera on my phone instead of an actual camera, it was so much easier to upload and edit the photos in super quick time. But now I don’t have to take a picture every day, and as I say – I’m missing it! Maybe I need a new photo project. Does anyone know of any good ones?

On Saturday I also filmed my Q&A video, which has now gone live on my YouTube channel. I really enjoyed filming this one, so I might do it again at some point, depending on how well it’s received. Have a look if you fancy it!

My Itchy Feet; A Blog About Possibility

This time of year, when we’ve all had some quality time off, we’ve woken up when we wanted, chosen what we were going to that day, been adequately lazy and then probably a little more lazy than that, and been completely our own bosses, it’s very hard to go back to work.

Yet, tomorrow we all get up at stupid o’clock and once again join the rat race.

This year seems a little harder for me since it’s the first year out of many that I haven’t had a holiday or big event to look forward to. And last year was a biggie as I had one of my best friend’s wedding and my 10 year anniversary to Disney World to look forward to.

Reading everyone’s 2017 blogs has got me yearning in the same way as I do most years.

img_0137

So this year I’m putting fingers to keys (because pen to paper seems so 2008) and I’m going to type out some things I really want, just so that I can be accountable for them. These aren’t necessarily things I want for next 12 months, but for years to come and who knows when I can start putting the wheels in motion. But here’s a start:

I want to properly learn a new language

Let’s face it, it’ll probably be French. I already have a basis in French and I find it the easiest to get to grips with. But I want to be able to confidently hold a conversation with someone in another language without getting flustered and confused.

I want to learn a new skill

For a while I thought maybe calligraphy, but I’m not artistic enough for that. Today I thought I might want to learn shorthand – so maybe I’ll look into that.

I want to get a degree

This is a big one. I’m aware of the work load – and that’s partly why I haven’t taken the leap yet. I really really want to learn Law. For years now I’ve loved the idea of going back to school and learning basic law and then doing a degree in criminal law. I know it’s a huge one, and I am aware it would be hard. Especially since there’s no way I can do without working full-time. Sometimes I feel like it might be too late, but then is it ever too late? I love the idea of using that part of my brain again and being good at something – at least I hope I’d be good at it. But it takes time, money and a LOT of energy so I know it’s not something I can just jump into.

I want to travel

For a long time Gary and I have wanted to take a month off, travel, even just go to New York, rent a place for a while and live there. I’d love to be creative in a place like that. One thing I mention a lot is travelling the UK and taking photos of the kind of places no one takes pictures of. Then making a living selling those photos. It’s a big dream, but again it means taking time off work or leaving work and then how do you fund it. I’m seeing a lottery win in my future…..

So there’s a little insight to my itchy feet. Who knows what the future holds – but for now all bets are off and nothing’s off the table. It’s frustrating but at least I’m happy in the knowledge that any or all of these thing are possible eventually. I just need to work hard to get there!

Awesome Things That Happened to Me in 2016!

thisyear

2016 has been an amazing year. It started out with a trip to New York, and deciding to complete another 365 challenge, this time on Instagram.

I’ve really enjoyed posting a photo a day, and only had to miss two days when I got sick in October, which I’ve made up for.

January kicked off with me getting into makeup and starting to blog more. My blog has been through many phases alongside the phases I go through in my life, and I must say that beauty blogging has opened many more doors than any other subject I’ve written about. I’ve met so many people and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.

February continued in this fashion with the start of my beauty favourites blogs, and I also saw the amazing film It Follows for the first time.

March began with seeing my Book Club girls, well half of them, for the first time in ages, and discovering Pretty Little Liars. I took a trip to London for my niece’s birthday

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

and I spent a week off work turning my spare bedroom into a wonderful walk in wardrobe!

image

In April, my Mum wrote a guest blog which people really loved, and I started my dedicated blog twitter account. I also discovered some fabulous podcasts and House of Cards became my new favourite tv show.

May teased us with 18c weather followed by horrid winter again. I visited London a few times, went for my only run of the year

image

and Ariana Grande released Dangerous Woman! I also became obsessed with all things coconut scented.

June was a big month – Sarah’s London Hen Party was amazing, followed by her wedding in Cornwall.

13339680_10157191642380727_3294498019744828662_n

image

We spent a whole week in Cornwall and had an amazing time.

image

I saw some great films, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Gallows and this blog turned 7!

In July we said goodbye to Tash the only way we knew – over food! We had fabulous brunch in Dalston followed by cocktails at the John Lewis rooftop bar.

image

image

I went to EDC, which was wildly out of my comfort zone but really fun

image

attended a family wedding, Secret Cinema Dirty Dancing

13774636_1065892776791821_717341203_n

and watched Stranger Things.

August was filled with movies, including Finding Dory and Suicide Squad for my birthday. I bought my new Sony a5000 and we went to see Romeo and Juliet at Waddesdon Manor as part of the Luna Cinema festival.

wm2

We also saw the Hot 8 Brass Band at a local venue and danced the night away.

IMG_6139

In September, though I didn’t blog a huge amount, I announced my brand new YouTube Channel! I also got very excited for Florida, celebrated by 10 year wedding anniversary and spent the weekend at The Savoy in London!

savoy1

October was the month of Disney World. We took the trip of a lifetime and had a blast.

img_6481

On my return I got the sickest I’ve ever been, and thankfully recovered within a week. We went to see the Harry Potter play

img_6640

went to a Bad Company gig and celebrated my mum and dad’s ruby wedding anniversary.

img_6621

November was the return of the Gilmore Girls and I also attended Jurassic Park Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

img_6719

From the end of November to present it’s been all about Christmas and New Year. I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and vlogged.

ww2

It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. There’s a lot of change in the air, and I’m really excited about it all. Who knows what I’ll be writing in a year’s time? Here’s to another great one 😀

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

December, you have been good to me. I have had a wonderfully festive month and even though it’s not been as packed as my festive season usually is, it’s meant that I’ve been able to relax and spend time on things I wouldn’t usually.

I had a fantastic Christmas week, starting with work’s Christmas party which was at a lovely pub. The week leading to Christmas wound down enough to allow me to get stuff prepared for the January return to my desk.

Christmas Eve Eve was lovely too. Despite Gary having to work in London we were able to spend a fabulous late afternoon and evening together. Then on Christmas Eve we had the whole day together which we can only remember having had once before in the whole 14 years we’ve been together.

We were able to take the day at a snail’s pace, have a lovely dinner which we decided would be a warm salad (it was so good) and then watch our traditional Christmas films until pretty much midnight

Christmas Day was spent with our families, but Gary did spend the later afternoon with my family at my Mum’s. We ate, drank and felt very merry. On Boxing Day we decided to head to the shops to see what the sales had to offer, and it wasn’t that busy in the morning. Gary surprised me by taking me into the Apple shop and telling me he had decided to get me a new phone handset but he didn’t know which colour I wanted so I had to choose. After the initial bamboozled shock had started to pass, I chose a black iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m in love!

I also picked up some bargains from The Body Shop and Boots and then we headed home, because Boxing Day is for being lazy too 😀

We’ve watched a couple of new films this week, an old one called Eye for an Eye and a new one called Lights Out. Both were very enjoyable!

For the rest of the holidays, it’s all about getting things done. Today I’m spending the majority of the day prepping and writing the content you’re going to read over the next week or so. I also have to plan in some time to begin editing my Disney World video, but I’ve been kind of putting it off because I know how big a job it is! But since I have the time whilst I’m off I really should start!

Gary and I have planned a date night for this evening, which I’m really looking forward to, and I get to see the Book Club girls a couple of times over the next few days. It’s been too long!

I’m feeling really positive for the coming year. I always love the start of a New Year because, and I know it sounds corny, things actually *feel* different. It’s a new page and there’s so much possibility.

Fun Times at Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we headed to Hyde Park in London for the annual Christmas fair, Winter Wonderland.

ww2

The intention had been to go the previous day but despite it being mild weather it rained hard all day. I’m so glad we waited because the weather was lovely the following day and even though it was colder, the sun shone brightly!

When we arrived at Hyde Park the line to get into Winter Wonderland was huge, but we walked a little further down the path to a different gate, and walked right in (pro tip!)

We headed to the Bavarian Village section first, because that’s where the best food is, and I was hungry! Every year I get the same thing. German sausage, potato dumpling with gravy and hot spiced red cabbage. It took a little while to find it this time around as they’d extended the Bavarian Village section massively, but I followed my nose and found the correct stall.

ww1

The food was yummy as always, and after eating we had a little further look around the area. I was pleased to see the inside tent still there, with live singers on stage performing Christmas hits.

I got some mulled wine too 🙂

ww3

The village wasn’t too busy at this point but it was getting more and more packed by the minute! For some reason they felt it important to correctly sign post EVERYTHING!

ww5

The fairground rides this year were awesome. There was a fantastic looking rollercoaster, big wheel and haunted house.

Gary grabbed some sweetcorn to munch on which looked amazing.

ww4

We had a little look around some of the craft stalls and then headed out of Hyde Park.

We wanted to see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and I had to nip into some of the shops. If I hadn’t already been in London I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to Oxford Street at Christmas time. It was PACKED. But I’m really glad we did. We headed to Liberty and just as we walked in a choir started singing ‘Carol of the Bells’ which is one of my favourite carols. I’m so pleased we went in when we did!

ww6

Heading home, shattered, but happy, the sunset was awesome and it was a lovely end to a perfectly festive day!

I also vlogged this trip so make sure you check out the video, even if it’s just to see the sunset at the end!