November in Review

Ahhh it's Chriiistmaaas! Well, almost but you know, it's December so that's kind of the same thing. November seems to have gone by quickly and my god has it been a cold one. I've had a very up and down month (which seems to be becoming a recurring theme at the moment) but I've got two more weeks at work before I have a faux Christmas with Matthew then jet off back to my beloved north east to see family and friends over the lovely festive season. So here's what I've been loving and doing over the month of November:

The Personal
November was another busy month at work for me and it's been full on, but one thing I have been trying to do is go out walking a lot more. A few weeks ago I shared some of my top tips for chilling out and letting your mind rest because if you're someone like me, you might find it hard to switch off and get rid of the anxiety sometimes, and one of the ways I do that is by going for walks. Matt & I have been making a conscious effort to go out at least once every weekend for a couple of miles walk around where we live and it's been lovely just to get out in the fresh air and to also just spend some time with each other without any other distractions. We also had Matt's parents surprise us with a visit one Sunday afternoon for some Sunday lunch as unfortunately this year I won't see them over Christmas like I usually do. I know it might seem obvious that I should get on with Matt's parents, but I'm honestly so pleased that I do get on with them so well because they're such lovely people.

I have literally watched one film worth a mention and that is Cloud Atlas. Cloud Atlas is a book by the author David Mitchell and I have never read it but Matt and so many other people have and absolutely love it. The story follows lots of different individuals who are kind of linked in some sort of timeline, hierarchy pyramid that could be so so confusing to try and explain so - I won't try to! But all you really need to know is that the film is very good, the individual character stories are very interesting, and visually I thought the film was very attractive. There was just something about how it was shot that was lovely to watch. Another highlight of the movie version of this fiction is the fact that so many fantastic popular actors and actresses star in it and play multiple characters. Watching it, Matt & I started to notice this but even at the end of the film when it was scrolling through all the actors' various roles, we were surprised at just how many times they had all popped up throughout the film. If you need a new film to watch this weekend for a chill date night, try this one.

This month seems to have been a TV month rather than a film month in this household. We've watched an awful lot of magician-themed shows in November including the American version of Penn & Teller's Fool Us and lots of David Blaine documentary-type shows on Netflix. I love street magic and I honestly think David Blaine is still one of the best illusionists there has ever been. We also watched quite a lot of stand up comedy this month because I think subconsciously I've known I've been in need of a good laugh. We rewatched our favourite, Tommy Tiernan's Crooked Man, and Jim Jeffries' Freedumb (in the light of Trump's win it seemed extremely fitting), the wonderful Kevin Hart, and we also watched some new ones too. My current favourite discovery is Tom Segura. Some of his stuff is on Netflix and I really recommend him as a stand-up act to watch - he's just quite a normal, average guy, but his humour is fantastic and his voice and mannerisms almost make the jokes funnier. Definitely worth checking him out!

November was a good month for my beloved 80s vibes. Bowie Legacy was released this month and it of course has a fantastic collection of Bowie's hits and my favourite thing about it is that they his earlier works have not been messed around with. Remastering old tracks is always a good thing if it makes the songs sound clearer and more appealing to the ol' ear holes, but sometimes remasters spoil the vibe of old recorded tracks but luckily that hasn't happened with this release. I feel like this album is a perfect one from the die-hard Bowie fans to those of you who just like some of his most popular songs and everyone in between. R.E.M. also re-released Out of Time as it was it's 25th anniversary in November and it is still an absolutely fantastic album. R.E.M. are without a doubt one of my favourite 80s bands and this is one of their best albums so if you have somehow missed out on this album, give it a listen. The Human League are also another 80s fave of mine and they've released a crazy 4-disc deluxe Anthology (aptly titled "A Very British Synthesizer Group") of their 40 years worth of work - including previously unheard tracks and DVD footage of the band - so naturally this has ticked so many boxes for me. These guys are like the original birth of electronica music in my eyes so they're the kings of the genre and it's nice to see them produce a collection of their work.

The unique, electronic god that is Gold Panda also release Your Good Times are Just Beginning despite releasing another album only a matter of a few months ago. This most recent offering is as good as ever and certainly a one for any electronic fans. And speaking of more electronic sounding gems, Busted released their new album Night Driver in November and I literally lost. my. shit. I absolutely love Busted; they're one of my favourite favourite bands and have been since I was a wee 12 year old, and I adore their new mature sound. Obviously I will still scream my little heart out listening to Who's David and air guitar and jump around to Crash the Wedding if I hear them, but Night Driver has a more mature and contemporary yet 80s sound to it which is right up my street. Busted have definitely taken some inspiration from The 1975 and artists such as Kavinsky so naturally, I'm as much as a fan as possible, but I do just think this album is super catchy even if you don't like Busted. I kept thinking I couldn't go and see them on their Night Driver tour next year because the tour is during time at work but I'm starting to think otherwise...

Video Games
I haven't played a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. this month and it is bugging me. However! I have now downloaed Life is Strange finally and so I plan to blast my way through it in December so fingers crossed I have more to offer on the game front in next month's monthly review post. If you've got any game recommendations though, send them my way because lord knows I could do with as many suggestions as possible to get out of this no gaming slump I've slipped into.

- A.
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The Shadow Switch Hype

If you're remotely involved in social media, particularly the platforms used by many beauty bloggers and makeup enthusiasts, you're bound to have seen the latest craze to sweep through the beauty community called "Shadow Switch". Shadow Switch by Beauty Essentials is a product which tons of people have been trying out with their eyeshadow brushes and after reading several posts about it, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to grab one to test for myself. You can pick up Shadow Switch from Amazon for around £5.99 so I ordered one and it arrived through my letterbox a few days later.

As the name implies, Shadow Switch allows you to quickly "clean" your eyeshadow brushes during use so you can use the same brush with multiple colours and the colours won't transfer and blend so you don't need to have an arsenal of brushes ready for one eye look. When it arrived I quickly ripped off the packaging and was a little bit surprised with the cheap box it came in. I do like nice packaging but it's not the be all and end all for me however the box this guy came in was screaming "the Pound Shop" to me but I told myself that didn't matter - it was the contents that counted. The whole product comes in a bog-standard tin that you often see beard balm or moustache wax products come in with the slightly gross loud Barbie pink "Shadow Switch" logo sticker on the lid of it. Once you pop off the lid, you are greeted with the cleaning product which is a sponge.

Now I'm not going to lie - even before I purchased it, I thought this product just looked like a glorified brillo-pad (you know those metal scourer sponges you or your mam definitely have under your kitchen sink?) and looking at the product now in my hands, I felt exactly the same. You can remove the sponge from the tin by just pulling it out and it is just a flat circle sponge like a burger patty. The sponge is a little softer than a scourer sponge though so I was intrigued to see how it actually worked. Once I had applied my makeup, I started to do my eyes and once I had applied my base colour, I swirled the brush over the sponge surface to get rid of the colour. I was so surprised to see just how well it worked! The sponge does a brilliant job of pushing the brush bristles back and forth to get rid of any shadow product retained in the brush and it collects in the sponge. This worked really well for my fluffier eyeshadow brushes and even darker shades were removed enough meaning that I could confidently apply the next colour without worrying if there was still some residue from the last shade on the brush. As you can probably see from the photos, the brushes still retain some of the eyeshadow colour, but this doesn't transfer onto the skin so its not a problem!

Now I know most people like to use fluffy blending brushes for most of their eye makeup application, but I straight up love using those cheap sponge applicators you usually get free with eyeshadow products from the drugstore. I like using these sponge brushes because they're so affordable to replace but they're also great for packing on colour. I like to use them to apply base colours usually or if I need to really pack on a shadow that isn't that pigmented and then I will go in with a fluffy blending brush to sort out the edges. So naturally because I use these sort of brushes, I needed to see if they could be cleaned using the Shadow Switch too. And would you believe it - it does a pretty good job?! It definitely doesn't remove all of the product, but it does manage to get the majority of the eyeshadow off the flat, dense sponge applicator which is all I really need it to do as I only ever use quite neutral nude shades with these brushes anyway.

All in all don't let this cheap product deceive you. The packaging might not be the nicest or the most glamorous amongst your makeup stash, but if you don't have the funds or the space to buy and store various eyeshadow brushes, definitely pick this guy up first and see if it works for you. I don't know how long the product will last and I have to work out if it's going to still work after I wash it or if that will kill the effect of it, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see this simple sponge in a pot works magic on my makeup brushes. Also just as a side note - I use a flat brush to pack on my translucent face powder on the areas of my face I get oily and it does a grand job of freshening that up a bit too so it isn't just limited to your eyeshadow utensils!

- A.
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Autumnal Dungarees

There's something about dungarees that I just love. I think they give outfits such a put together but understated look and I always feel like I have such an attitude in them (as sad as that may sound). I always feel a little bit androgynous in them too - even if I've thrown in some girly feminine pieces alongside them - and it's definitely something I really like. Having that little bit of a tomboy vibe or androgynous look to an outfit just keeps me in my comfort zone but in the best way; in a way so I feel extremely confident in what I'm wearing. One of absolute favourite pair of dungarees are these tailored Miss Selfridge ones that I got in a sample sale years ago. They've got a more formal feel but put with the right accessories and they can become so dressed down and casual. I'm still head over heels for bardot tops too and I've started to pair them with dungarees more and more because there's just something about that tiny bit of shoulder poking through that I like.

New Look Bardot Top (similar) | Miss Selfridge Tailored Dungarees (similar) |
Poor Boy Vintage Saddle Bag via Asos Marketplace (similar) | Converse Hi-Tops via Schuh

- A.
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