This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Hi guys, I thought I’d take the opportunity to check in, as it’s been a little while since I posted one of these. I didn’t expect to be sat here writing this post, whilst outside the place where I live is covered in snow AGAIN. It’s mid-March! I need some Spring now. I hope you’ve been enjoying the food and beauty posts that have been coming up. I even posted a book review!

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These past few weeks I’ve been a bit quiet on social media. Well, specifically on Twitter, I’ve been loving instagram. I just haven’t had anything to say on Twitter to be honest. I like to follow the rule of ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all’. I feel like I’ve had to hold my tongue a lot in the past but for a few reasons the past couple of weeks have been particularly tough. I don’t want to start becoming part of the problem. And then twitter drama in the blogging community this past weekend, cause a LOT of angst amongst people I follow and it’s meant some people have shown their true colours, even though I pretty much always know where to look when it comes to the drama. I fear the twitter community, for bloggers anyhow, creates a fake level of self-importance. I mean, the whole industry is based on the assumption that people want (and need) to hear what you think, so when it’s done in 280 characters, it can cause confusion and conflict. Anyway, I stayed out of it, but managed to put my two cents in with a tweet which covers both sides of the argument;

“Don’t be a dick. The end”

I didn’t need 280 characters to make my point.

Speaking of social media – does anyone remember Vero…..? That lasted all of 20 minutes didn’t it? I suppose if they’d made it so that you could actually use the app when the big rush happened, people might have bedded in, but I forget it’s on my phone. After 3 days of not being able to login, it didn’t really make an impression and so to me it’s another dead platform….. I might be wrong in the future, but for now buh bye Vero.

The past few weeks have been tiring! Work has been busy, I haven’t been getting good quality sleep and I’ve been feeling run-down and not entirely well. I need Spring to happen now. I long for the sunshine, and the warmth, and not having to wear all my clothes in one go. Unfortunately, I think my hayfever season has started, so even though there’s currently snow on the ground, I’m taking antihistamines, and they’re making a difference…. I swear I should have been put down a while back.

I’ve got an exciting event to attend at the end of this week, and that involves meeting some new people. Something I’m always nervous about, but feeling (at time of writing) fairly okay with. It’s local, and it’s doing something I’ve never done before, so I’m excited. All part of trying new things this year!

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I’m still plodding away with learning calligraphy (which you can follow here on instagram) and I’ve been reading a lot more than I usually do. The first book from the Slow Sunday Book Club has been read, reviewed and discussed (see start of post for my review link) and the second book has been announced: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. It’s not my usual choice of reading material so I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll be joining in this month, but I did pick up another book on recommendation from Amyleigh at Northern Blood. It’s called A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. She’s got great taste in reading material so I’m looking forward to diving into it.

G-Man and I have just completed watching the 3rd and final season of the Netflix show Love. It’s a Judd Apatow show, and I love all his stuff, so if you do too and you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. It’s really really good. I’ve also been watching Crashing, after being told by Gary I had to. And he’s right, it’s a good show (which also Judd Apatow’s involvement) based on the true story of the main actor, who is trying to make it in stand-up. I’ve been really enjoying TV and films about stand up recently!

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So for now, I’m still stuck in my state of hibernation, which really isn’t helping my mental state of ‘let’s stay in bed and sleep until summer’, because really I’m eager to actually get up, go out and do stuff. But the weather and the coldness is making me feel slow and lethargic. I just want some sunshine! Maybe, if we all wish for it hard enough, it might just happen? Ready…….. GO!

 

 

Has Instagram Stopped Us from Living in The Moment?….. NO!

I’ve been taking photographs regularly since I discovered Flickr in 2007. Unfortunately by then it was too late for me to have gleaned enough knowledge from it to pick a decent wedding photographer (I was married in 2006 and the professional photos were not very good. Thankfully my Brother-in-Law had his camera and took a bunch of great album worthy photos, phew!)

My love affair with phone photography started with the app Hipstamatic (which I really need to start using again) and then when instagram appeared, I was all about “the ‘gram”.

In my time taking photos I have completed 3 separate 365 projects (2 documented on my Flickr and 1 solely on instagram) For those who don’t know what this is, it’s simply taking one photo a day for a whole year. It’s kind of hard, and sometimes you don’t know what to take a picture of or just forget. But it’s taught me to really consider what makes a photo ‘interesting’ and whether a picture really is interesting before I load it to the internet. It really helped me to look at things in a different way to enable me to take a decent photo 365 times over a year.

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But after the first 2 (I did those back to back, since the first one was rather boring) I decided to put my camera away for the most part. I didn’t keep it in my bag (mobile phones didn’t have decent – or sometimes any – camera back then) I felt like I was too swept up with taking a photo at every good opportunity that I was missing out on the actual experience.

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Since then, and with vast technological advances, we all have awesome cameras in our pockets. My iPhone camera has a higher pixel quality than my Canon dSLR. But there’s always the chance to get swept up in a photo moment rather than fully living the experience. I remember going to an exclusive Hosier gig. The tickets were REALLY hard to get and he was just about topping his game. Everyone was talking about him. Two women in front of me took a few photos at the start of the gig, and then about an hour later I saw one of them uploading them to her instagram (whilst the gig was happening) and then within 15 minutes she was back on instagram, not only checking her likes, but sharing the photos with her friend sitting next to her – of the gig she was at that was STILL HAPPENING. She was busy reminiscing about something that was still happening in front of her and that she was missing….. FACE PALM

It’s certainly a fine line between sharing an experience and completely missing it. Years back, just after Michael Jackson had died, I went to a local town to see a Thriller Flashmob (remember when flashmobs were a thing?) The actual flashmob might have been good, I don’t know because this is what happened:

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You can play ‘spot the MJ impersonator’ with this one. I was totally struck by the amount of hands, phones and cameras there were in my way (this was 2009 so it wasn’t hugely the norm). But then, remember mine was in the crowd too!

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My first fulltime job was in retail back in 2001 and me and the girls used to find it odd seeing holiday makers with their cameras in a shopping centre taking photos of themselves in front of stores….. little did we know it would be the norm just a few year later.

Anyway, this is all bringing me to why I’m here talking about this today. A few days back Sara Tasker shared a link on Twitter (which you can find here) This article is about a Vimeo video (that you can watch in the article) created by a fella named Oliver, showing how ‘everyone takes the same pictures on instagram’. In itself it’s a really enjoyable video to watch, and well put together, so I’d encourage you to see it. But this site decided to interview the creator and here’s what he said:

“During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones,” he says. “As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.”

I was with him up until then. I feel like this guy has really missed the point of instagram. He’s actively searched on instagram for places, tags and similarities and then put them together in a video. You could make a video of old paintings of fruit and tell people about how everyone back then was so obsessed with sharing their fruit bowls that their apples went bad before they could eat them…..

What he saw when he watched the video (he’d carefully curated) “Everyone spends the whole time behind their screen, everyone spends their whole holiday trying to get the perfect shot, that shot has been done already, this is all for likes, oh look at you bragging about your pretty beach holiday”

What I saw when I watched his video: “These people are living their best lives, look how happy they are, what an awesome view, what a crazy experience, these people belong in this world, I wish I could visit this place one day”

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What Oliver has failed to remember is

  • instagram promotes creativity, and it’s awesome to be creative and share that with like-minded people
  • taking photos is FUN
  • Not everyone is sharing everything from their holidays. That shot you’re seeing is the work of potentially 1 minute of their life
  • So what if they do spend their whole holiday with their face in their phone – it’s THEIR holiday and THEIR face!
  • Everyone is chasing experience to fill their one chance at life – so what if they’re having and then sharing the same experience as someone else has. It’s their experience – there are A LOT of them to have.
  • Sharing on instagram provides a little ‘experience’ to everyone who sees that picture. And it’s amazing for those who can’t (or haven’t yet) visit these places. Isn’t that the point, really?
  • If you feel it’s a ‘brag’ or you don’t like it – don’t look at it. Instagram isn’t mandatory. And if you can’t come off it, because you’re enjoying sharing your own pictures, remember why you’re using it. Your feed is there for you; curate it. Someone might just be sitting there looking at your photos thinking ‘what a bloody bragger’. They’re not for you, just like you, Oliver, are not for them.

I’m definitely an advocate of not missing an experience. But I’m also very concerned about forgetting experiences I’ve had. I have a huge fear that my memory will go and it’s a very lonely feeling. I want to be able to relive past experiences, and reminisce. The world of online albums and having a camera ‘right there’ when I need it is wonderful to me. I understand you shouldn’t have your face in your screen all the way throughout your life. If I’m filming or photographing something, I’m very careful to not view it through a viewfinder. But so what if people do – it’s their life, and if it makes them happy then ‘whatever’. And who knows, they might have experienced that thing a hundred times before, so filming whilst you’re there shouldn’t anger you – you concentrate on you. They might just be taking pictures or filming something on behalf of someone who just couldn’t get there. Their sharing this experience could bring enormous joy to someone across the globe, or even just to them in years to come.

It boils down to – why do you care so much? Concentrate on yourself, Oliver, and don’t spend so much time on Vimeo making videos about other people’s life experiences….. say what? It’s what you enjoy…..? oh! well…. my point has been made.

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All images are my own, are copyrighted to me and cannot be used under any circumstance.

OMG! 20 Years of Blogging!

Yes, you read that right. 2018 marks my 20th year of doing this blogging thing.

Over the years I’ve used different platforms and blogged in different ways. This blog you’re reading now, Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug, has been alive for 8.5 years so will be celebrating its 9th birthday this year. Obviously I like this iteration of blogging, however I’ve been going since I have had LiveJournal, Tumblr, Windows Live, MySpace, AcmeCity…. I can’t even remember all of the blogging platforms I’ve used.

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When I started blogging, back when I was 15, the internet was a smaller place. There were fewer people using it – it was only for nerds and geeks. Not every home had a computer, let alone the internet.

Depending on the platform I was using, I wrote about my life, tv shows, films and made graphics for fansites (mainly Buffy and The X-Files). I helped with a film review site and took photos, lots of photos. These are mainly showcased on Flickr, still. I can’t bring myself to delete the older photos whether they’re good or bad. (Btw, this post is smattered with some of these old photos, and I’ve enjoyed looking through them – the one above was taken 10 years ago when I was 25.)

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And then when I started Musings, here on WordPress, everything seemed to click. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I became immersed in the blogosphere and the world that is ‘influencing’.

When I started blogging, it was all about the words. What your story was and how you could put it across. And I still clutch onto that like a security blanket. But now it’s so much harder to get people to read what you write. There are so many younger, prettier, more wealthy people out there. They’re taking amazing photos, seem to have an endless supply of props for their shoots, apparently all have been born with marketing degrees and buckets of confidence to get that elusive candid but obviously set-up shot of them looking at their shoes.

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And more power to those people – but it can get a little frustrating when you read their posts and there’s actually no content, just 50 large photos of the same thing and lots of words that don’t tell you anything about anything. I will say, this isn’t everyone. I read blogs by some amazingly talented writers and photographers, and if you’d like to know who these people are, just follow my twitter because I like to retweet their amazing posts.

Anyhow, I digress. That’s not why I started blogging. I don’t often talk about myself in the ‘real world’ Unless someone asks me directly about something (at which point I can talk for hours until you stop me) but usually people don’t ask me, so I don’t volunteer. I’ve learned that usually people are just being polite, and don’t actually want to know the answer. But I like to share what I want to share (it’s part of being a control freak). And so I blog.

Blogging and photo blogging has taken me through sickness, health, job changes, happy times, events, holidays, style changes, and many many hair cuts.

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It’s made me happy with looking at myself through taking selfies, it’s shown me how to look at the world in a different way – I see the beauty in everyday situations. It’s taught me to see many sides of different situations and think before I speak. It’s allowed me to see different worlds and cultures in places far from me and close to home.

Through reading other people’s blogs I get to live their lives a little, see their worlds and perspectives. Learn what’s important to them and how they feel and see things. I get to watch people change, have children and watch them grow. I see marriages end, relationships start and read about them going through hurt and happiness. It’s like reading an amazing novel, thousands of them in fact, but this is all real life.

For me blogging is not for money, or free things. It’s partly because it’s nice to feel needed, so when I see comments, likes or shares, it’s helps me to carry on. But it’s mostly because I love to do it. My little diary, my little square of the internet. I REALLY enjoy writing, I LOVE to take photos, I enjoy making a connection.

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So even though the blogging world has changed dramatically since I started to diarise my life in this virtual world, I feel like my ‘blogging ethic’ has stayed the same even if it has evolved slightly to allow me to keep my head above water.

I may not have the readership of some, or the engagement of others, but it’s mine. My little space here. So thank you for reading it and here’s to the next 20 years!

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.

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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.

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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!

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My Mini Fashionista!

A few weeks back, when the Summer had decided to make a last ditch attempt at actual sunshine and warmth, my Niece Niamh expressed a wish to show me some of the outfits she’d recently bought.

A budding Influence and Fashionista, she was excited when I told her I’d love to create a look-book type post, based on the items she’d picked, since they were very on-fashion.

With a keen eye for trends, I’m sure this isn’t the only time she’ll be featuring on this blog – and as you will see, she’s a natural in front of the camera!

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Cold-shoulder top from Primark, necklace from Claire’s Accessories.

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Her favourite necklace, from Claire’s Accessories. Niamh loves unicorns and wears this necklace every day when she can.

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Shorts from Asda, Top from Primark. Niamh loves the look of the cold-shoulder tops that are in the shops at the moment. Along with the addition of embroidery, another of this year’s hot trends, this top is perfect!

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Then for evening, parties, general social events (these kids have better social lives than me!) she’d picked this dress at Primark. It’s got mesh detailing at the top with beautiful lace at the top. So pretty and feminine!

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A girl after my own heart, these headphones (also Primark) are covered with turquoise rhinestones and had me totally mesmerised whilst they glistened in the sun! I’m such a magpie!

As you can see, my Niece has an eye for fashion and style. In a few years I’m going to be taking tips from her! Thanks for modelling for me Niamh!

Playing Tourist with London Duck Tours

If you’re a regular reader of mine you’ll know I’m a big fan of London, and visit whenever I can – especially in Summer. So when I was asked whether I wanted to play tourist and go on a London Duck Tour, the answer was a resounding YES!

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I’d heard of Duck Tours before but wasn’t really sure what they were, having just seen the big yellow boat-like vehicles cruising through the streets of London. I was definitely intrigued. Me and hubby arrived at the Southbank on the day of our tour, and basked in the gorgeous sunshine until our transport arrived.

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The DUKW vehicles (affectionately referred to as Ducks and painted an appropriate yellow) are so-called thus: D = First year of production code “D” is for 1942, U = Body style “U” utility truck (amphibious), K = Front wheel drive, W = Two rear driving wheels (tandem axle). These vehicles were used to carry supplies and were most suited for this due to being able to go on both land and water. Fitted with a lovely roof, they are very accommodating on both grey and gloriously sunny days.

We hopped onto our Duck, Titania (all the Ducks are names after female characters from Shakespeare plays) and got comfy in our seats. Our tour guide Mark quickly gave us a brief of the journey ahead and then we were off!

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The tour started in Waterloo, then Westminster;

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Parliament Street, Whitehall, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Piccadilly;

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Grosvenor Place and Buckingham Palace, MI5 and Lambeth Bridge before splashing down into the Thames next to MI6.

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We then travelled by water past the Tate Gallery, underneath Lambert Bridge and then turned around beside the Houses Of Parliament before heading back to dry land. Back on solid ground, we passed through the Vauxhall area and then back towards Waterloo.

Considering I’m a regular visitor to London, it was great learning so much about places I’ve seen many times, as well as noticing things I’ve never seen before and travelling through parts of the city I’ve never seen. I even learned that the Thames isn’t as dirty as I’d once thought, and its only the colour it is due to the constant churning of clay and soil on its bed. Who knew?! (Well, obviously Mark, our guide knew….)

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I loved the tour. Our guide was informative, funny and really knew his stuff. I honestly felt like I was on holiday, and the time we spent on the water was so relaxing!

I’m so pleased I got the opportunity to take this tour. I’ve seen that London Duck Tours also do themed tours including James Bond and D-Day. I might have to look those up! I visit London so frequently it’s so easy to forget about the landscape and history surrounding you in such a fast-paced environment. I LOVED playing tourist!

I was given the opportunity to take this tour for free by London Duck Tours, but at under £30 per adult ticket I’d say it’s worth every penny, for such a unique way to see and learn about London. You can find out more about their tours, and buy tickets and vouchers here, at their website London Duck Tours

Have you ever been on one of these tours, or even one of their themed tours? I’d love to know what you thought. Leave me a comment below, and tell me about it!

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I was given two tickets to the London Duck Tours for free, in return for my honest review of the experience. All views are my own and totally unbiased. If you like the look of the tours, go try one and see for yourself!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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This past couple of weeks has been filled with glorious sunshine and warm weather (for the most part!) It meant I’ve been able to get stuff done and generally feel more productive just because they weather has put me in such a good mood!

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a couple of friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a LONG time and we sat in the pub garden and enjoyed the sunshine on what was, at that point, one of the hottest days of the year. The sun shone, the cider flowed and the bunting flapped in the breeze. It was bliss.

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Last weekend was Glastonbury festival, and I watch it every year. It holds a special place in my heart, being the place I met my husband and every year I watch and wish I was there. This year was no exception, and I really enjoyed what I saw on the TV, my highlights being Radiohead, Chic and The Foo Fighters – all of whom I’ve seen live before and all of whom never fail to impress.

In true honour of Glastonbury and Somerset, I had to have a few ciders during my watching time, and I picked this little beauty up from the supermarket just to try it.

 

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In true Role Models style, I like the idea of Jack Daniels more than I actually like the taste of it, so I was intrigued by the idea of Whiskey Cider. I have to say, I was very impressed. The whiskey takes the acidic edge of the cider, and the cider takes the burning from the whiskey away so they compliment each other beautifully. I need to pick up some more!

Last week wasn’t so warm, and we had some rain too, but it was a nice break in the humidity and a chance for me to get some decent sleep – which I didn’t really achieve, for one reason or another.

We were gifted some beautiful flowers are work, which helped to brighten the office even when it looked grey outside.

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Thankfully, this weekend the weather has picked up a little more, which was fortuitous because I had plans in London which wouldn’t have been all that great had it been rainy and grey. I’ll share more about what I was up to in a later post, but I will say (and I’ve said it many times before) that there’s nothing like London in the Summer sunshine. If you haven’t visited in the summer before, you really must add it to your travel bucket list.

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We spent the majority of our day by the Southbank, however we ventured off to Covent Garden and Soho, and had a lovely vegan lunch in Veggie Pret (the vegan brownies are the things dreams are made of!) followed by a stroll through China Town before we headed home.

I keep alluding to things on my twitter account, that I don’t want to jinx by telling everyone (fyi. not pregnant) and I’m hoping to be able to share things with you soon. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for the time being, but soon I’ll be back to my blogging/vlogging social media self (I hope!).

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather! Stay tuned for my upcoming post, on my trip to London. It’s a quacker! *wink wink*

Mid Month Beauty Favourites!

I haven’t posted a beauty favourites in a few months, mainly because I haven’t had anything new to write about, but I thought I’d just let you know about a few items I’ve been loving. These items are all perfect for bringing you from the Spring through to the Summer.

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I’ve mentioned this product before, but I’m so glad the weather has picked up so I can use it again:

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This is the Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette. It contains what I would consider to be two bronzers and one highlighter, though you can use them how you like. What I love about this palette is that when I use it I get such a natural tanned look. It’s not heavy or dirty looking, and doesn’t glitter. I use the far right pan mostly as I have never gotten the hang of highlight! I can only use this bronzer when it’s really warm and sunny because it really makes me glow, but I am still in love with this a year on from buying it. And for £8 you can’t go wrong!

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These two body creams were amongst a few I picked up from Bath and Body Works when I was in the US last October. I saved these for the warmer months, and I’m really enjoying using them. Tahiti Island Dream is a fresh summery and fairly heady scent that reminds me of tropical islands (not that I’ve ever been to one!) It’s summer in a tube. Beautiful Day is fresh and also summery with a little fruityness to it. So lovely.

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This fragrance mist from The Body Shop, I understand has just been discontinued amongst the rest of the range featuring this scent. I picked it up because it really compliments their Pinita Colada range (which I have seen back in stores for Summer – whoop!) It’s a fresh, light and slightly tropical scent with floral notes, but not too floral. I’m glad I still have just under half the bottle left. I’ve been enjoying wearing this on warmer days.

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I picked up this ColourPop Ultra Glossy in my last order, and hadn’t dared wear it until the weather picked up. In the tube it’s an intimidating neon orange, but on the lips it’s a subtle orange gloss. I’ve been really loving wearing this, as I prefer juicy lips in the summer, over matte or satin. I love how this wears down to a nice peachy tone and leaves my lips hydrated (almost waxy, but in a nice way and not sticky). I have this in my handbag at all times for those times when my lips need a hit of subtle colour.

And lastly, off the subject of beauty:

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I’ve been really enjoying having the chance to show off the lovely bralettes I to cover up during the Winter. This black jersey tunic has a huge hole in the back, so every time I wear it I get to pick my prettiest bralettes and show them off!

So those are some things I’ve been enjoying using now the weather has picked up. Do you have any products you love to reach for as the summer creeps in?

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.

When In Rome

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (hi guys!) you’ll know I recently took a 5 day trip to Rome.

It was the first time I’d been to Italy and I was really excited to see what it was all about. I struggle with travel anxiety and especially in places where I don’t speak the language, but G Man had already been and had been fine so I was pretty chilled about this trip.

I’m used to long haul flights so the 2.5 hr flight seemed like a breeze. I was able to listen to the second and third Childish Gambino albums in full from take off to landing perfectly!

We grabbed a shuttle bus with a very friendly driver to our hotel and checked. The River Palace hotel is situated just off the Piazza del Popolo so was in a great location for walking to all the places we wanted to visit.

We arrived pretty late in the day so headed straight out to grab some dinner. We found a lovely little place and sat inside because it was a tad chilly. I had a great bowl of spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. I wasn’t majorly hungry and the serving was a perfect size. I hadn’t expected this, but it seems in Italy you eat a starter, 1st course of pasta, 2nd course which is your main course and then desert. I couldn’t work out how everyone wasn’t the size of a house!

Back at the hotel we slept badly and we had decided the room as way too small (you couldn’t actually fit into the shower and my knees butted against the sink when I sat on the loo) so we upgrade and moved our belongings into our new room. The second room was much better, we even got an extra pillow each!

I was very impressed with the breakfast in this hotel, which comes as part of your room. There were pastries, pancakes, fruit, cereal, meats and cheeses, bread and hot food (scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon) and coffee with juices. All of this was buffet style so you could have however much you wanted, and the dining rooms were never too busy.

Over our stay we visited the Pantheon, The Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and of course the Piazza del Popolo, amongst other things we passed by. We also ate in some amazing places, one of which was recommended to me on twitter, Di Qua.

We actually ate here twice and I really liked the modern feel of the restaurant mixed with the traditional cuisine.

The other thing I hadn’t expected from the food was that the only things you can eat are pasta and pizza – like every restaurant had the same menu. So it then boiled down to quality, price and ambience. I think we chose pretty wisely!

We also wanted to hunt out a good gelato place, and after searching on Pinterest I saw Giolitti recommended a couple of times. When we arrived we joined a line of people to pay – you pay for the size of gelato you want, and pick up a ticket. You then take your ticket to the gelato counter, where it’s every man for himself (think Brooklyn meat deli) – I noticed whilst we were waiting that they had milk-free options and when we requested these our server was awesome. We specified that we wanted milk free and chose our flavours, and he immediately put down the cone in his hand and said we wanted a cup (I assume the cone had risk of dairy) and then went out the back for a brand new paddle which he scooped my gelato with. I really appreciated how he took my intolerance seriously without being told – much better than here in the UK. We then went outside to eat! I chose Melon and Wild Cherry flavours and they were both out of this world. As we ate the line outside for ice cream snaked out of the door. I think we chose a perfect time to go in!

Another thing I noticed whilst we were there was that people ask for their gelato in a cone, use a spoon to eat it with and then throw the cone away…. Very confusing.

We did a huge amount of walking on this trip – we hit 23k in one day alone. I’m so glad I took my Sketchers and Tevas. I also sunburned by face quite badly on one of the days…. I’m such a sunshine novice!

I took loads of photos on this trip, so here’s a selection of some of my favourites!

It was an awesome trip and although I was tired by the end, I’m very glad I visited. I’d like to see other parts of Italy now, as I now don’t have the anxiety of the language barrier. If you can recommend other parts of Italy, then please go ahead in the comments. Where should I go next?