November Favourites


It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, which means everything gets sparkly, festive and full of yummy foods.

But before then, we need to round-up November, which has been cold and rainy for the most part and some people have even had snow.

My favourites this month have mostly been of the non-beauty variety. I haven’t really tried anything new other than one or two bits, but I’ve still been enjoying things from last month (including my amazing Charlotte Tilbury lipstick!) But I’ve definitely got some great things to show you nonetheless.


Firstly let’s talk about some books I’ve been loving this month.


A Year Between Friends (the sequel to A Year Of Mornings) is a fabulous book full of photographs, craft projects, recipes and letters between the two authors. Mav and Steph are two friends who met via Flickr and live 3191 miles apart in their respective Portlands. The original book, simply photographs, is one of my all time favourite security blanket books. Their photography never fails to inspire me, and this second book didn’t disappoint.


Second on my book pile this month is Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. I may have mentioned this book in past blogs, because I read it at Christmas-time every year. It’s about a young girl who is critically ill and her conversations with an angel. It’s a wonderfully philosophical book, beautifully written and though it’s not the most joyful of books it’s still fantastically Christmassy. I missed reading it last year as I just didn’t give myself enough time to get through it, but it’s short and sweet and always makes me feel.


I’ve been finding some real gems in TK Maxx this month, and had to mention this American Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa I picked up. It’s dairy free which works well for me, and tastes lovely mixed with soy milk. I love how the cap of this can is like a paint can/golden syrup can and you have to open it with the flat of a spoon. They have lots of other flavours but some of those contained milk so I went with this one. It’s not too rich, and give you a yummy dry chocolate flavour with side notes of candy cane. Yummy!


TK Maxx also have a good range of Nip+Fab products depending on when you shop, and I picked up this Viper Venom frown fix. I actually bought it for the deep lines that are forming on my under eyes. I do have very sensitive under eyes, but thought I’d give this a crack. I use it twice a week, or so, after cleansing but before moisturiser. It sometimes stings a little, which is why I don’t use it more than a few times a week, but I do notice the lines have plumped out enough to make a difference. I don’t know if I’ll buy it again but it was under a tenner so I’m glad I gave it a go!


To banish the winter chills I’ve been enjoying wearing my double-sided blanket scarf that I bought last year from River Island. It’s thin enough that you can wrap it as a scarf and it’s not overly bulky, but thick enough that you can wear it as an actual blanket and it’s so cosy! Plus it’s tartan and dog-tooth and I love both of those prints!


As a massive Gilmore Girls fan I was ecstatic to find out they were filming 4 feature-length additions to the series, and last week they appeared on Netflix. I’ve seen all 4 episodes now and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Such an emotional roller-coaster. I really hope they make more!!

Lastly, but most definitely not least is this bad-boy:


G-Man surprised me with a Liberty advent calendar, which he had pre-ordered for click and collect on release day! He’s an amazing husband – I didn’t even know Liberty did click and collect!

I have no idea what’s inside and am avoiding all spoilers because it’s my understanding that the contents has been widely reported – so I’m hoping I don’t accidentally find out.


Inside the magnetic folding doors are 25 beautiful Liberty printed drawers, that remind me of William Morris print. I cannot wait for December 1st when I can begin opening the drawers and I have a feeling I won’t want to get rid of the calendar when it’s all opened. Maybe I can reuse it next year!

December promises to bring festive fun and cheer. Lots of friends and family and obviously Christmas. I have a few festive YouTube videos up my sleeve too! December is also bringing the arrival of my new MacBook (hopefully!) at which point I will be editing my long promised Disney World footage  – so keep an eye out for that!

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous November! Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you’ve liked this post, and want to be notified each time I publish. You can also follow me on twitter @Shutterbug_Blog and on YouTube at Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s YouTube channel!

It’s Only Words

When I was a lot younger I really didn’t like to read. It took me ages to get to the standard the other’s were at in my year at school, and I didn’t like that it took me ages to finish reading what they’d already read. I didn’t read for pleasure and all the books I was supposed to read at school were boring and tedious. The funny thing is, both my parents are librarians so it didn’t make sense I would have an aversion to books. They just never held much interest for me, and didn’t understand why someone would want to read a book when they could watch a movie and get more of the effects in less time, with much less effort.

I can’t remember the first book I read an enjoyed. I know I read the Jostein Gaarder books and enjoyed those. But with ‘Sophie’s World’ I found myself skipping a lot of the philisophical letters nearer the end, finding them unnecessary to the plot. Which they were….. I enjoyed reading things like The Diary of Anne Frank because you could read it easily and fast. Mostly because they were short entries, I could assess my progress whilst reading.

I came onto the Harry Potter books late. During all of the hype for the 4th novel, I thought it was something I was missing out on and so bought the 3 preceding it, so I wouldn’t be left out. I’m glad I did that – it’s a world I’m happy to be part of!

It wasn’t really until I had my hiatus a year and a half ago, that I found the intense pleasure in filling my time by immersing myself into a world of someone else’s. I’d done this, of course, through my various obsessions of TV and Movies, but never with a book, or a series of books. Last year I read a total of about 11 books, which was a huge deal for me. The highlights were The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen’s Fool (both my Philippa Gregory) and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I found it was easy to get involved in the stories and feel the emotions of the people involved. Sure I’ve read some duds in that time too (Cloud Atlas anyone?), but mostly I’ve enjoyed them.

So that brings me to my latest finding (and yes I know I’m slow on the uptake!) A while ago, Gary told me about some books that had come out, that he thought I’d like. I hadn’t heard of the stories at all, but he said they were for teens and they were about a teenage girl who had fallen in love with a vampire. As an original Buffy fan, I rolled my eyes, and said ‘how original’. I didn’t think anymore about them (except how cool the covers were!) until two saturdays ago. A girl I work with, Sarah (Hi!), told me she’d just finished reading Twilight, and that it was amazing, and I should read a little bit and see what I thought. I bought my own copy that night. And I’ll hasten to add, it’s now two weeks later and I’ve read all four – and I’m a slow reader!

I was amazed firstly at how well written the characters were. You could immediately become Bella and understand how she was feeling. I have to say as well that Stephenie Meyer (I love you!) has managed to capture, with words, exactly the feelings of a teenager feeling in love. As Sarah pointed out, an experience that’s so personal to you, and it’s there on paper. Incredible. Anyway, I flew through the first book and fell head over heels in love with it. The second and third books were purchased and inhaled straight after. I kept saying it this people, but it wasn’t like I was reading the books, it was more like they were reading me.

The final book was bought straight after I had read the second and third and I finished it last night. I’m just reading the draft of Midnight Sun at the moment. It’s nice to go back to the start and read from another perspective. Even though it’s not finished yet, I’m enjoying it a lot, and it’s like visiting an old friend – even though I only read it two weeks ago!

I saw the Twilight film and enjoyed it. Obviously not a patch on the book, but it was nice to see it all there in front of me. I’m looking forward to New Moon.

It’s been a long while since I was this emotionally invested in something like this. And it’s nice to experience it again. Twilight is right at the top of my favourite books now, where it belongs, and I can’t believe I resisted involving myself in it for so long.