Requested: My Every Day Makeup Application

I was recently asked to write a post on what order I apply my every day makeup. I really liked the idea because I quite often think to myself that I put my makeup on a little bit backwards! But there’s a reason behind it, and I’d like to share that with you today!

Since I’m a really cack-handed, accident-prone person I always start makeup with my eyes. I’m the kind of person who likes to try things out with my eyes, since I’m new at this makeup thing. I have a tendency to sneeze, blink or just poke myself in the eye with mascara and because of that I’d much rather be able to remove my eye makeup without messing up my base and having to start all over again – and wasting product. I can also wipe away any fallout from eyeshadows without worrying about mucking things up! So whatever look I’m doing I will always start with my eyes.

Firstly I tightline. I don’t always do this but I like the fuller look it gives my lashes. I use the NYX Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils because they rarely transfer and they stay put. A lot of people think tightlining is lining the waterline, but it’s actually not. It’s pushing eyeliner between the lashes on the lashline to give a fuller appearance at the base of the lashes. I will use this eyeliner to push product between the lashes and then use a cotton bud to neaten up and remove any product from my waterline. It takes some practice at the start but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I’ll sometimes use a tiny angled nail art brush with a Bobbi Brown gel pot instead. I have very watery eyes, and they’re sensitive too so I make sure there’s no product likely to drop into my eyes.

If I’m using eyeshadow, I’ll do this next, starting with a primer (I use NYX at the moment) and then go ahead with the shadow colours. Eyeliner comes next, if I’m using it and then I’ll curl my lashes and use mascara. I use the CoverGirl Clump Crusher, which is my current favourite. It actually keeps my lashes separated, coated and somewhat curled for the whole day and doesn’t leave me looking spidery. It doesn’t flake either!

Once my eyes are done, I prime. I use the Pür HydraGel lift under eye primer and whatever face primer I’m using at the time. Let those settle a little and then go in with my foundation. Then I use concealer on my face and lastly on my under eyes. I like the Benefit BOI-ING potted concealers.

Currently I set my under eyes with the ELF brightening under eye powder, and my face (only where I’ve put concealer) with the Bare Minerals Perfecting Veil pressed powder. But I’m actually considering picking up the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder because I need some help with oil on my nose before the summer hits.

Next I’ll go onto blush and bronzer (if I’m wearing it) I’ll apply the bronzer first because it gives me and idea of what blush shade I should go for.

Then I’ll use clear brow gel (NYX Control Freak) to tame my eyebrows – I don’t use any coloured products on my eye brows because they’re heavy as they are. They just need setting so they don’t move during the day!

If I’m going to use a setting spray I’ll spritz that next because it will sometimes dull the brightening effects of the under eye products I use. If this happens I’ll tap a tiny amount of Touche Eclat under my eyes and on my nose to highlight, once the setting spray has dried.

Lastly I’ll go to my lips with whatever product I’ve decided will work – balm, gloss, lipstick.

Then I’ll probably spend 10 minutes trying to find suitable light to take a selfie and then I’m done!

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to pop those below!

 

Anniversary Weekend in London!

Last weekend we headed off to London for a weekend away to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t a surprise that day, however G Man had surprised me a few months before with the news that we were going.

The weather was really poor when we woke, incredibly humid and heavily raining, but we knew it wouldn’t spoil our weekend.

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We hopped on the train with our overnight bags and hot footed it to The Savoy to drop our bags as this was where we’d be staying overnight. I’d not been to The Savoy before, so when we got in we were surprised to see no check-in desk. Instead a woman took us to an individual desk in a side room, where we were seated and our details for our booking taken. Our bags were taken too, and we were told we would get a phone call when the room was ready and our bags would be waiting for us.

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By this point we were pretty hungry so we headed to Boxpark, Shoreditch, for the best pizza ever at Voodoo Ray’s. I had a Vegan Queen which, as the name suggests, is dairy-free. Perfect for me! And it was so tasty, you don’t even miss the cheese!

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We hung around for a bit there, since the rain was coming down heavily, and then headed to Wardour Street, Soho, and to Yorica where they serve allergy free ice creams. I got caramel and matcha soft serve. I asked for brownie pieces and sprinkles. The guy serving me looked a little confused and instead of explaining that the free sprinkles were behind me at a station once we’d paid, he put chocolate crumbles on top. It was all very good, but I thought it would have been nice to tell me where the sprinkles were. Other than that, it was tasty and nice to have a rest whilst we ate.

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We did a little shopping after that, and then headed back to the hotel. The same woman who checked us in earlier took us to our room and showed us around it, and then about 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door, and they had arranged a slice of cake as an anniversary surprise!

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I had been planning on being dairy free until my dinner, however since Gary doesn’t eat mousse and this cake had a layer of it, I thought what the hell, let’s not let it go to waste. It was very tasty!

We rested a little, had showers, and then got ready to go out.

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Dinner was at The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, only a couple of minute’s walk from the hotel.

It’s a lovely set up in the restaurant and it really reminded me of New York.

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The food was lovely. I got Chicken Milanese and some broccoli and then dairy free panna cotta for pudding. Though with this and the chocolate cake I’d eaten before, I was really rather stuffed and couldn’t eat another bite!

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The next morning the sun was shining and warm and we had brunch reservations at Balthazar, also in Covent Garden.

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Gary had booked this table two months in advance, as it books out really fast. Again, it reminded me of being in New York, which is hardly a surprise as the only other one of these is in Manhattan. The waitress as very attentive and friendly, and as Gary had mentioned when booking that I have lactose intolerance, she told me what parts of my order had dairy and checked that it was okay. Top marks!

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The food was awesome, as were the coffee and orange juice.

From here we hopped the tube to Kensington Gardens as I really wanted to see the Peter Pan statue there. I’d seen in once as a child, but really wanted to see it again. Because the sun was shining the gardens were packed with people enjoying the weather and running through. I really enjoyed the walk, however after we’d visited the statue we decided to head home so we could relax for the rest of the day.

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It had been an awesome weekend. I really enjoy staying in London, even though I visit a lot, when you’re staying overnight, the city feels different! Thanks London for another enjoyable weekend!

I also vlogged this trip for my brand new YouTube channel, so if you’d like to see the moving version of this trip, then head on over, or click and watch below!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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What a busy week it’s been! Crazy busy at work, and feeling exhausted and under the weather. It doesn’t help that the weather has been chillier and rainy, and now it’s September so everyone is talking about Autumn!

Still, the Disney holiday planning has continued, and I think we now have everything we need which is exciting. We’re now in the teens in our countdown and it doesn’t seem real – it was over 500 days away when we booked!

Not only this but today G Man and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary – pretty cool! So this weekend we are heading to London where Gary has surprised me with a night at the Savoy hotel and some wonderful restaurants to eat at! I can’t wait. And the weather promises to look good for us, so I plan on doing some vlogging! (You follow me on YouTube right?)

So for this trip I realised I don’t have a weekend bag, so it seemed rude not to pick up this adorable cabin luggage I found at the Disney Store!

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I love the Animators Collection, but haven’t ever found anything I’ve wanted to buy. This I *had* to purchase!

I’m really looking forward to this trip, and even though we visit London a lot, it’s going to be really special staying over night, and at such an amazing hotel too!

As I said, people are starting to get all excited for Autumn. Starbucks have launched this year’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. People are posting knitwear blogs. And I have to say I’m feeling it a little too. So I think when I return from Florida I’ll be all ready for crispy leaves and bonfires! But not yet please! I wants me holiday first!

So that was this week! Are you starting to feel ready for autumn? Or do you pine for Summer all year around? I’m really looking forward to amazing weather when we’re away to get Summer out of my system. Not long now!

To Blog & Vlog

Hi guys! Firstly, I made a boo boo with my last post. I wrote and then accidentally published it without scheduling first, so had to un-publish it. But that meant all you lovely subscribers got an email with a broken link in it to the post. Oh no! And then when it finally did go live, no one got notified. Dang! So if you missed it, it was a blog about the past bank holiday and all the fun stuff we got up to, so you can find it here! (Go ahead and click the link – it’ll open in a new window so you can read it right after you’ve read this!)

For my next update, I’ll let you know I’m not planning an August or September Favourites post. Mainly because I don’t have much content for August, and also because September is jam packed full of fun stuff and I just won’t have time! But October’s Favourites will no doubt be mahoosive, so stay tuned for that!

So now for my real post.

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There’s been a lot of chat this past few weeks about the legitimacy of bloggers and vloggers. If you don’t blog or vlog yourself, you’ll not likely be aware of the pressures people put upon themselves when putting out content. Readers and viewers have too much say in other people’s content, in my opinion. It wasn’t until I recently started my dedicated blog twitter (@Shutterbug_Blog) that I realised how salesy it all is. People are OBSESSED with follower counts, stats, click rates and schedules.

They schedule tweets, brand themselves up the wazoo, and really don’t think too much about their actual content. It seems so important to have collaborations with brands, get the perfect flat lay and start polls asking what content their followers want them to put up.

I find it all really strange. I flick through most tweets because I’ve seen the same post come up over and over again. I long to see posts of substance. And don’t get me wrong, they do exist, it’s just you have to really search for them!

I’m not saying I don’t get it. I do, I really do. It’s so hard not to get swept up in the hype. I have geared a lot of my posts this year towards beauty, because it’s something I’ve started getting into this year. And I noticed my post likes, follows and comments go up dramatically when I post beauty reviews. It’s always nice for a post to be popular! And I enjoy reading reviews about products I’m interested in, so I’ll continue to put out that kind of content because I like reading it. But I do find I miss writing these chatty posts, and putting out blogs about what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up. I like to use my brain a little!

I understand going all in when it comes to blogs and vlogs, if it’s your full time job or if you have all the spare time in the world. But when you’re doing it alongside working a full time job, I think you have to take it less seriously. You don’t need a planner for scheduling in your next ‘chatty’ post. You don’t need to film YouTube videos a year ahead just so you know you’re putting something out. If your followers don’t like your content, let them drop off. And above all, don’t apologise for not posting regularly. What’s better – forced, bland posts every other day, or well thought-out and meaningful posts as and when? I know what I prefer to read!

Anyway, I’m blabbering on about this because it’s becoming more a more frustrating to exist in a blogging world where you feel like you’re having to compete with so many other bloggers. People who are putting out bland, repetitive content but might be good at branding themselves, or at least bombarding enough people with tweets that they get additional followers (or even buy followers!)

I’m so blessed to have you guys as followers, and I hope you enjoy the variety of the content I bring. I hope I haven’t alienated too many of you with the beauty posts, and in turn I hope that if you follow me for the beauty content you aren’t bored by the wordy posts I put out.

That being said, this is where I’d like to announce that I’ve started my own YouTube channel! This year I’ve been enjoying watching YouTube channels so much, both beauty based and also Disney Vloggers, that I loved the idea of having somewhere that my friends and family could follow my trips and travels, and also bring another dimension to Shutterbug.

Having just bought my new Sony a5000 and tested out the video quality, I was beyond happy with the results, so as of writing this my channel has 3 videos on it, and I’d love it if you’d have a look and even subscribe.

I’m taking my new camera away when we go to Florida, and I hope to film during the holiday and then upload some videos when we get back. It’s going to be amazing to have another way to share this trip with you guys, instead of just blogging about it.

Don’t get me wrong, this blog is my baby and it won’t be neglected – it’ll just be a little bolt on to the Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug package!

So this rambling post does have a point, honest – I’m frustrated about the current state of the blogosphere, but I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, Shutterbug for 7, and I’m not about to give it up based on low numbers or click rates. I’m so blessed that even a handful of you guys read this blog, and I always love to read your comments and see you hitting the ‘Like’ button.

You can follow me over on YouTube by visiting my channel here. I’d love it if you were to click the subscribe button, hit like on my videos once you’ve watched them, and don’t forget to comment – I love hearing from you guys!

So this is where I’ll sign off, but if you blog, vlog or just exist in this world, remember: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice 😀

Love you guys!

 

Bank Holiday Fun-ness!

I love Bank Holidays, but the late August bank holiday is always tinged with a little sadness since it’s the last one before Christmas. For some reason we have a load of bank holidays all shoved together meaning you really miss them when they’re gone.

Thankfully we saw the last of the summer holidays off with a packed weekend of fun stuff.

On Friday evening we packed up our camping chairs and headed off to Waddesdon Manor for an evening of open air cinema. Part of the Luna Cinema festival, they were showing Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, with the manor house as a lovely atmospheric background.

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It was a lovely set up. Small, but cosy. They promised food suppliers but when we got there it was just one pizza stand and a bar opposite. The line for pizza was pretty long. We got our food about 20 mins before the show was due to start, and I knew the people at the end of the line at that point would still be waiting for their food as the movie started. It was lovely to see the film in that setting. The trees surrounding the grounds helped bounce the sound around us, and it made Craig Armstrong’s score all the more stunning.

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As the sun went down it got pretty chilly and we were kind of envious of all those with blankets!

It was a really lovely evening though, and I’d love to come back and have a look around the gardens again. I’ve probably missed the season by now, so maybe next year.

Saturday was relaxed. We did a little shopping we needed to do, after a nice Starbucks breakfast. Then headed home, and watched Aladdin (we’re still working through Disney films to see before we head to Florida) and Hocus Pocus. I’d never seen either of these films before and enjoyed them both!

Sunday we had a nice lie in and then headed off for Sunday lunch with my family. My sister and her family have just returned from an amazing holiday in California and Mexico. It was so exciting to hear all about Disneyland and their resort in Mexico. They also brought back some gifts. They got me a California Adventure You Are Here mug from Starbucks, and a really pretty Disney Swarovski bangle, which I pretty much never want to take off!

Then Sunday evening we headed off to MK11 to see the Hot 8 Brass Band play. We’d seen them before last year in Brighton and were so excited to hear they were playing so close to our home, so snapped up tickets right away.

As well as bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, the gig was awesome. We danced from start to end, and Hot 8 never fail to put on a show!

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That brings up to Monday. Monday was reserved for catching up on blogging, chores and having a good old relax. There may have been some more Disney films dropped in for good measure!

So despite it being the last bank holiday for a while, it was a pretty good one!

What did you get up to?

First Impressions: E.L.F Cosmetics

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I’d not heard of E.L.F Cosmetics (stands for Eyes Lips Face) until I started watching some of the US beauty YouTubers. This American brand kept popping up in favourites videos for their quality yet cheap priced products and when I found out they had a UK site, I knew I wanted to place an order.

They seem to have a new offer on a free gift every couple of weeks, so I placed a £25 order and waited patiently for it to arrive. When it did (about 2 weeks later as they ship from US) I saw that my free gift wasn’t there. As it was free I decided not to moan, and carried on with my life. Until a few days later they sent me an email telling me that they knew they’d forgotten to include it and gave me a £25 gift card to apologise. Amazing! So I headed back on to their site and placed another order, for £25 worth of products. (Which this time arrived to me within a week!)

Incidentally, this triggered their free postage offer, and also earned me another free gift. Win win. I will also mention that E.L.F cover customs charges too, so you have no fear of having to pay extra when it’s shipped. (Which is more than I can say for the terms of ColourPop’s new international shipping costs…. But I digress…)

So in the end I have gained a huge haul of E.L.F products all for the measly cost of £25. So let’s have a look:

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I haven’t had the opportunity to fully use all of these products but I have tried them all enough to be able to tell you a bit about them.

First of all, they look really high-end with regards to the packaging. It’s all flimsy plastic when it’s in your hand but it looks nice on the dresser!

Let’s start with some eye and face colour products.

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I picked up the powder blush in Tickled Pink and the cream blush in Rose Royalty. I’ve mentioned this powder blush in a monthly favourites recently, because whenever I wear it I get a compliment. It’s a lovely subtle pink with a teeny bit of shimmer and enough colour payoff that you can start subtly and build it up if you want. The cream blush is also really nice. I’m not great at applying cream blush, but this blends into a powder finish really quickly and give a really natural flush to my cheeks.

I picked up the silver barrelled Bare Lash Tint mascara, which has a really thin dainty spooly. The idea being I could use it on my bottom lashes. This gives a really natural coating to the lashes, but isn’t thick enough of a formula to hold a curl on my stubbornly straight lashes, even after using a curler. The Studio 3 in 1 mascara was part of my free gift. It has an hourglass shaped spooly, but with one of those spikey balls on the end. And the brush is really really bendy. It actually gives a really nice natural finish to my lashes, but still doesn’t compare to my Lancome Hypnose. It’s a lot cheaper though, so I have been using it on a day to day basis. My main con with this mascara is that it takes a really long time to dry so I find it transfers as I carry on my morning makeup routine.

This eyeshadow palette in Need it Nude was also part of my free gift. It’s obviously trying to dupe the Naked palette by Urban Decay. I have Naked 2 already so don’t really have any intention on using this, but have kept it for one of the shades which is a little more rose gold than anything else I currently own. I have, however, given them a go in conjunction with the Naked palette I own, when I was looking for a natural look for a wedding I recently attended. The formulas don’t really compare. The E.L.F shadows are chalkier, don’t blend as well and they colour payoff isn’t great. I can see it fading off within a few hours of wear, whereas I know I’ll get a full day with Urban Decay. Sorry E.L.F.

I also picked up one of E.L.F’s lip stains. This is a double ended lip wand, with stain one side and gloss the other. I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve here. Maybe something like Lipfinity, but whatever it was, it didn’t work. The colour goes on (nothing like a stain) like a liquid lipstick, but uneven patchy. If you try and go over it you pull the colour you’ve already laid down off. It never seems to dry. And when you think it has, you put the gloss over the top and it just pulls all the colour off and onto the wand. Leaving you with a coloured gloss wand in your clear gloss which looks really manky. Not a fan – glad I only paid £1 for this….

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Next we’ll talk about face products. I picked up a mineral primer, mineral serum foundation and a mineral mist. The mist isn’t a setting spray, and to be honest I’m not sure what it’s designed for but I’ve been using it throughout the day to cool my face. It doesn’t mess up my makeup or make my face wet, but it does make me feel a little fresher. The mineral serum foundation, I picked up in Light. It looks a lot darker on the packaging, but that’s package colouring and not product. The product contained is actually less than you think because it comes from a central tube inside. I liked this foundation. It set down to a non-tacky finish, and blended in well with my fingers. It gave me a medium coverage result, but has more yellow undertones that I usually wear so I haven’t been reaching for it all that much. I did find it wore away on my oily t-zone by the end of the day. I have, however, been reaching for the primer. It’s gives a nice smooth finish to my skin, and even though it does feel silicone-y, I don’t mind that. It doesn’t do anything for my pores, but they’re not a massive problem. It does seem to aid in oil control, at least on my skin, for a good while before I need to powder again.

And speaking of blotting, lets move onto to the on the go blotting papers I picked up. They come in a little plastic case, perfect for my handbag, which has a mirror, a sponge with sticky pads on it and the blotting papers. You’re supposed to remove a sticky pad on the sponge, attach a blotting sheet and then dab onto your face, but I tend to just go with the papers and miss out the sponge. The powder is lovely a light and doesn’t bother my makeup when I use it. My skin is left matte again, but not looking too powdery. It doesn’t add any coverage though, so bare that in mind.

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Lastly let’s talk tools. I got an eyeshadow blending brush in my free gift, and I love it. It’s large, fluffy and does the trick. It’s great in my crease and feels lovely on my skin. I decided to try the mascara and shadow shield as I always get mascara on my eyelids which is a massive pain if I’ve spent ages on my eyeshadow. Unfortunately, this product is a complete dud. I really like the idea, but the paddle on the top is almost the texture of custard-skin. It’s impossible to angle correctly and when you do it just flops about on the handle. I really want to love this, and I’m considering taking it off the handle to see if I can make a better use of it that way.

I also needed to pick up some brush shampoo, and though I was searching for a solid one (I still aim to pick up the Lottie Solid Brush Cleanser) I chose this, since I was getting it for free with my gift card. The reviews said it was amazing, smelled great, and the website said ‘Back In Stock’ after people were moaning it hadn’t been available for ages.

It did do a great job on my brushes, though I couldn’t detect any smell. It’s a basic brush cleanser from what I could tell, but I’m glad I have it because it does what it says on the tin!

So that’s my first impressions of E.L.F Cosmetics. I want to pick up one of their moisturisers and also their Bubble Mask (which is always sold out) when I’m in America, but until then, I’m happy with the hits, and might persevere with some of the misses!

What have you picked up from E.L.F that you’ve loved? Have you tried any of the things I wasn’t keen on and loved them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Ladies What Brunch

Having spent a lot of lovely time, but not nearly enough, with the Book Club girls in Cornwall, we decided we needed a girly meet up before Tash headed back to Vietnam.

I’d heard, through a girl in my office, about Jones & Sons in Dalston and their amazing bottomless brunch. We managed to find a date that worked for us all (which was also Caz’s birthday), made our booking and eagerly awaited the date.

Bottomless Brunch at Jones at Sons is awesome. You choose either ‘on the wagon’ or ‘off the wagon’, you choose which drink you’ll be getting served for 2 hours you have the table, and then you get to order as much food as you want off their menu for a set price. There are just two rules, once you’ve chosen which drink you want, you have to stick to that drink, and you can only order another round of food once everyone at your table is ready to order again too. This makes a lot of sense as it means the wait staff aren’t running around to each table multiple times over the duration of your visit.

We arrived at the restaurant slightly early, but were seated right away with no bother even though they were incredibly busy. Our drinks chosen and our food selected we waited patiently (yeah right!) for our food, eyeing up what other people were being served with hungry stomachs.

Inside Jones & Sons there’s a lovely buzz. Chitter chatter loud enough to create an atmosphere but not enough to make you shout – just how I like it. The wait staff were wonderful and really accommodating.

I chose to go with bucks fizz to drink, and every time my glass needed topping up we heard the sound of a new Prosecco bottle being opened! I must have drunk about 6 glasses over the time we were there so I was pleasantly merry by the time we left.

Now to eats:

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I started with poached eggs on sour dough toast with the most perfect avocado I’ve ever eaten. Well seasoned and perfectly ripe, the dish warmed up my stomach for what was to come. Next I went for a full english, which came complete with black pudding (which I love). Then after the girls had raved about the french toast, I decided to finish with that. It was soft and fluffy (could have been a little more custardy and a little less burnt, but they were changing to lunch service so I’ll let them off!)

I have to say I probably could have eaten another course but our 2 hours was up and we got the cheque. Even though Jones & Sons is a little off the normal track I’d take in London, I’ll definitely be back. The location, food and service was spot on, and I’d recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

After brunch we fancied another drink to headed to John Lewis on Oxford Street and to their rooftop garden. It’s open over the summer and I really wanted to see what it was like.

It being Pride London weekend, there were LGBT flags flying on top of all the buildings and down Oxford Street.

The John Lewis rooftop garden was very serene and lovely place to digest the food we’d just eaten. We all picked cocktails, though were surprised to find out that the only place you could get non alcoholic drinks had run out of juice….. I chose a cucumber cooler which has gin in it so I was happy!

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It was an awesome day, and brilliant to spend it all together on what seems like the last consistently pleasant weather day! If you haven’t been to Jones & Sons in Dalston, I really recommend it. The John Lewis Roof Garden is open until September 4th.

A Cornish Holiday

If you’ve read my last proper post, you’ll have seen that I’ve recently returned from a lovely holiday in St Ives, Cornwall. We went down that way for our friends Sarah and Nick’s wedding, but we had the place we rented for a week so took advantage of being down that way.

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Above was the view of Carbis Bay from our property. We’d been to Cornwall a few times, usually choosing to stay in or near Fowey, however we can now say our hearts firmly prefer St Ives.

The Monday after the wedding began with breakfast in a little cafe, whilst it drizzled outside, but within about half an hour of us finishing, the sun had come out and it was warm enough to walk around without a jacket over my vest top.

The streets of St Ives are so pretty. They wind, rise and fall and the shops are adorable.

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We ate some great food and drank some yummy cider (loving Rattler now!) I had a gorgeous rum and gin cocktail at the Rum and Crab shack along with some crab nachos.

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I was constantly amazed by how clear the water in the harbour and on the beaches was (and how vicious the seagulls were!)

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Other than the wedding on the Sunday, there were two other highlights of our stay in St Ives. The first was a ghost walk we took with Caz and Chris one evening. The guy who was guiding it was outstanding, and we were taken to some awesome locations. The grave yard and the beach were two stand-out places. So atmospheric and unforgettable. The second highlight was Amy’s birthday which fell on Thursday. We met up in the evening for sit-down fish and chips followed by cupcakes on the beach.

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It was an awesome break, and I can’t wait to get together with this lovely lot again! We’ll definitely be going back to St Ives soon! Whilst we were there we went into so many art galleries, and came away with three pieces for our house. I might have also come away with these beautiful works of art….

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Sigh, I’m in Love!

So, thanks St Ives. We’ll be back soon!

Busy Doing Nothing & Hot 8 Brass Band

It’s been a little while since I’ve written, and that’s partially because not a huge amount has happened, and partially because I’ve been busy not being busy.

G-Man and I both came down with a cold that didn’t want to go away, so we’ve spent a lot of time catching up on TV, watching movies and having some much-needed down time. After such a busy summer it’s been great therapy.

Autumn is in full swing, the clocks have changed, the weather is getting more crisp – though as I write this it’s glorious sun and warm outside. Halloween is notoriously warm, and it usually gets really cold between then and Guy Fawkes Night. This year, however, our local firework display is tonight (the day after Halloween) and so it’s going to be a lovely mild one. It’s going to be nice not having to wrap up too warm to go and watch the display.

Traditionally Halloween is a night that I either avoid being in the house, or buy loads of sweets for Trick or Treaters who never show up. Last year I broke this tradition by going to see Lena Dunham speak after the release of her book. This year Gary and I travelled to Brighton for a gig.

New Year’s Eve 2014  I took a trip with my Mum to my Grandma’s and on the journey we listened to Radio 2. Craig Charles was playing his show, and during this he played a cover of Sexual Healing by the Hot 8 Brass Band. Look them up if you don’t know them, they’re really good. We found out a few months ago that they were playing a tour to celebrate 20 years of the band, and we grabbed tickets right away.

If you have a spare 5 minutes have a watch – it’s worth it.

We arrived in Brighton just in time to watch the sunset and then had a wander through the zombie-filled streets (it was Halloween after all), grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to Coalition, the venue for the gig.

imageThe band was amazing, so tight. It was so much fun and we danced the night away.

The drive home was really foggy but that added to the Halloween atmosphere. We woke this morning achy, tired and my ears were still muffled and ringing….. But it felt worth it. If you get the chance to listen to Hot 8 then do. You’ll not be able to sit still!

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 😀

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!