Using Cotton Backdrops in Blog Photography

When I buy a backdrop for my photography work, it’s a multi-use purchase. I can use it for blog photography or I can use it for my portrait photography. A backdrop very rarely has one use in my world – maybe because I’m savvy or maybe I’m just cheap. Either way, whenever I do add one to my collection, I always tend to sway towards backdrop paper or vinyl. I’ve never tried material backdrops, which tend to be made from cotton, as I presumed they’d crease easily.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to test and review a cotton backdrop, I was delighted. Courtesy of iBackdrop, I was gifted a backdrop in exchange for a review on my blog.

I ordered a simple white brick backdrop with a pink rose pattern – it’s pretty enough to add something special but it’s also simple enough for me to use it in blog photography and portrait photography. I have hopes of using it in my newborn photography too! I did have a hard time choosing which pattern I wanted because the range of backdrops on the website is amazing – from simple patterns such as wood walls and floors to balloons, bunting, scenic views, fairy woods and dinosaurs.

iBackdrop Rose White Brick Photography BackdropiBackdrop Rose White Brick Photography Backdrop

Whilst a lot of the backdrops are more suited to portrait photography and children’s photography (such as cake smashes), there are a lot of options for bloggers too. I regularly use wood vinyl off cuts for my blog photography, which takes up quite a lot of space. Instead, using a cotton backdrop, which can be folded for easy storage, would save a lot of room and maybe allow you to have a wider range of backdrops for blog photographs!

Here’s a sample of just some of the backdrops they sell:

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The material itself is lovely. It didn’t arrive creased, which I was very surprised about, and it actually feels a lot more like velvet than cotton. It’s a heavy material, meaning it will hang nicely and it’s not remotely see-through which is a problem I’ve seen in other, cheaper backdrops. The pattern itself is not as sharp as I would have liked, but as a backdrop doesn’t tend to be the focus of an image, that’s not a problem at all. In blog product photography, for example, the focus would be on the products, with a lovely shallow depth of field to blur out the background.

Blog photography is a huge part of blogging and any way of being able to improve it is always welcome. People tend to stick with what they know or what a lot of other people also use, which doesn’t easily allow for change! Cotton backdrops are an ideal substitute for the whole range of options that bloggers have out there, whether you’re using wrapping paper, coloured A4 sheets, vinyl cut offs or your shiny white desk. You can add so much more variety to your photography with these cotton backdrops.

Sleek Matte Me Lipsticks iBackdrop Cotton Backdrop

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I’m really happy with this backdrop and I’m sure it will be regularly used in both my blog and portrait photography.

If you’d like to have a look at their range of backdrops, you can find them at www.ibackdrop.com.

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

I was gifted a backdrop from iBackdrop in exchange for a review. As always, all views are my own. 

My Year in Review #2/3 | Books and Films

Last year, during my first installment of ‘my year in review’, I was going through a huge book dragon phase. I spent a lot of free time with a book in hand, a cup of tea in the other and a kitten on my lap – as you can imagine, those were delightful months.

This year, I only read 5 books… I know I shouldn’t be, because I had way more important things going on, but I’m pretty embarrassed about it! I absolutely love reading and I would consider myself pretty well read, but 5 books!? Outrageous (okay, not that far, but you catch my drift). So, instead of simply having a look back on what I read, I’m going to briefly review my year through film and books.

My Year in Review 2016 TV Film and Books

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Books:

What books did I read in 2016?

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs

My favourite read:

This is really tough. On my Goodreads, I gave The Sense of an Ending, The Girl with all the Gifts and Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children all 5/5 stars. They were absolutely incredible, completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

The Sense of an Ending left me speechless for a very long time. It made me think about life, time and mostly about memory – it’s not something you consider a lot, but our memories are very fragile and can quite easily be manipulated by time. The Girl with all the Gifts was one of the best books I’ve ever read and it left me completely in awe of the author’s talent. It was ridiculously clever – a lot of real-life science was kind of flipped on it’s side to create the whole “what if?” With a completely unexpected final twist, I would read this again in a heartbeat. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was really wonderful too. It was on my to-read list for a very long time and it did not disappoint. The characters and the use of time were definitely highlights for me. I didn’t actually know it was part of a series, but there you go! I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Fear of Falling was a bit of fun, a bit of trashy writing but enjoyable. You know the type. However, I was a little disappointment with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I think I read it when I was very, very young so I counted my recent read of the book as my first time. It was not how I remembered it at all. I’m completely invested and in love with Lewis Carroll’s universe and everything Alice related will be forever loved, but the book itself left me a little deflated. Of course, Carroll’s writing and whimsy is absolutely beautiful, I just wanted more.

Full book reviews: 

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Film:

Total number of new films watched: 26 (half of which were watched over the Christmas period!)

Highest rated films: 

  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016)
  • Skyfall (2012)

Lowest rated films: 

Sausage Party (2016) – This was one of the worst films that I have ever seen. It was stupid and not remotely funny. I kid you not there was a full on animated food orgy to end this disaster of a film. Just… what…

Suicide Squad (2016) – So much potential, yet such a disappointment. The director could quite easily have been replaced with an A-level film student with a handout of $175,000,000 and the differences would be minimal.

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Special mention: HBO’s Westworld (2016) was one of the most extraordinary pieces of television I’ve ever seen. I’m finding it hard to put the series into words, so I highly recommend any sci-fi fans to just watch it. You will not be disappointed.

Considering the year I had, that’s a pretty good haul of books and films! I read some absolutely incredible novels and I even reignited my huge (and pretty sentimental) love for film. That sounds like a good thing to me.

What was the best book you read this year? Did you watch any great films?

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Patisserie de Bain: Creme Pâtissière Review

If you’ve ever wanted to rub the sweet scent of vanilla all over your body, then you’re going to love me for introducing you to Patisserie de Bain.

I picked up this gorgeous gift set (which includes a shower gel, a body souffle and a vanilla-scented body scrubber) from Superdrug a couple of weeks ago. It was actually a free gift for buying two selected skincare products and I didn’t even realise what a little gem I had my hands on until I got home.

Patisserie de Bain: Creme Pâtissière Review

Before I even gave the products a sniff, I did a quick bit of research to check if the company was cruelty-free, vegan friendly and/or owned by a nasty parent company. I was over the moon to discover that not only are all of the products cruelty-free but they’re almost all suitable for vegans. The exception to the rule here is the lip balm, which does include beeswax. Routine checks, done.

Simply opening up these products was heavenly. The vanilla scent hit me immediately and it’s really, really mouthwateringly realistic. Both products smell equally as beautiful, too. The shower gel does take a bit of effort to lather up nicely, but you really can’t complain too much as the scent lasts on your skin all day. The body souffle, which is just a fancy way of describing a body butter or body cream, is absolutely perfect. It’s thick, it’s moisturising and it dries quickly, leaving you smelling fantastic.

I’m in love with this set. I, stupidly, presumed that these scents would be the company’s only choices but I was so wrong. There’s a massive range of other scents, including lemon bon-bons, cranberries and cream and orange zest. You bet I’ll be going back for some more!

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Have you ever tried any Patisserie de Bain products?

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Superdrug Store Opening, Beverley

Being a cruelty-free kitty, Superdrug is my idea of heaven when it comes to buying new skincare and cosmetics. Alongside the shelves of cruelty-free brands, Superdrug even has it’s own completely cruelty-free and vegan line of cosmetics and skincare called B. So, as you can imagine, I was super pleased to be invited to the opening of a new Superdrug store at Beverley’s Flemingate shopping centre.

Beverley Flemingate Superdrug Store

Superdrug stores are always super colourful and this Beverley branch isn’t any different. It’s pretty pink in there! As expected, there are aisles full to the brim with practically everything health and beauty related but it’s not the pretty aisles that make this store stand out, it’s the beautifully mirrored back wall, full of high-street make-up. Each stand towers around six-foot tall and displays such a range of cosmetics that any lipstick lover would throw a wobbly just looking at them all.

Towards the back of the store, you’ll find a Beauty Bar. This little gem offers eyebrow threading and tinting right there in the store. If I hadn’t recently tamed my own eyebrows, I’d of loved to try this out for myself! With it being at the back of the store, it’s nice and out of the way too so if you’re a bit shy (like me!) you wouldn’t be put off.

Beverley Flemingate Superdrug Store

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Whilst I was there, I also picked up up some goodies for myself. (How could I resist?)

I have tried a couple of Superdrug’s  cruelty-free ‘B’ products in the past, but I hadn’t ventured into their skincare range. My trip to this brand spanking new store was the perfect excuse to try something new, really, so as well as a Makeup Brush Cleanser, I picked up the B. Confident Day Cream and the B. Nourished Night Serum. 

Superdrug B Skincare Product Review

I’m still in my early twenties, so I’m not particularly covered in wrinkles but I do have the tenancy to scowl or smile way too enthusiastically. Before these little lines get any worse, I thought it would be a good idea to try something out. Both the day and the night creams are supposed to help with the prevention of early signs of aging. It’s only been a week or so since I began using them but I’ll be sure to share the news if these end up being miracle workers.

Either way, they both smell fantastic and they soak into the skin super quickly. This is especially a bonus for the night serum, as you don’t wanna be going to bed with a sticky, moist face! As far as face creams go, they’re really lovely.

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I really enjoyed my trip to Flemingate! Whenever me and Matthew go to Beverley, we always end up gravitating towards this place because who doesn’t love a shopping centre?

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

I purchased these products with a complimentary gift card for visiting the store. As always, all views are my own. 

Lush Review | Pumpkin

Some bath bombs are loved for the spectacular shows they put on in the tub and some are loved for their simplicity – Lush’s Pumpkin bath bomb, part of the Halloween collection, is the latter.

Pumpkin doesn’t spill out a myriad of colours. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling silky and moisturised. Once it’s plopped in the tub, it doesn’t even stick around for very long. Yet, despite all that, this Halloween exclusive is the perfect accompaniment for an autumn soak.

Lush Review Pumpkin Bath Bomb

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As the name suggests, the bath bomb looks like a pumpkin! You don’t often see character themed bath bombs so it’s definitely an eye-catching product. It screams Halloween and, if anything, it’s worth picking up as a seasonal treat just to get your spooky fix. The colour though is very simple – like the resulting bath water, it’s a basic shade of orange.

What makes this bath bomb so special is the smell. It smells like autumn! It’s sweet (thanks to the vanilla extract), spicy (hello, cinnamon) and incredibly warming. If that doesn’t sound perfect for these colder nights, then I don’t know what does.

Lush Review Pumpkin Bath Bomb

Although Pumpkin doesn’t leave your skin feeling super moisturised like a lot of Lush bath bombs, it melts all your aches and pains away. When I jumped into the bath, I slowly laid back and let out a very dramatic groan of approval – it’s incredible. This is completely down to the warming cinnamon bark old extract, making this ideal for those achy, tired autumn nights.

Lush Review Pumpkin Bath Bomb

If you’re looking for a taste of autumn for £3.95, give this a try.

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Have you tried Pumpkin yet?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

A Night at Napoleons Casino

I went to a casino for the first time yesterday! Just down the road from me, smack bang in the centre of Hull, is a wonderfully fancy looking building, home to Napoleons Casino. Alongside a handful of other lovely Hull bloggers, I was invited to try out the casino and restaurant. Of course, I head out in my fanciest dress – super excited for the new experience and super nervous to meet some new bloggers! Everyone was incredibly kind, so not only did I get to try out something new but I also was able to meet some lovely, local bloggers.

Here’s something you may not have considered, ever… If you put a group of bloggers around a table, in a stunning restaurant and in front of some fantastic food, what do you get? “This lighting is terrible for photos”, “There’s a shadow”, “What app do you use to edit your Instagram photos!?” plus a whole load of selfies, angles and tweets. When there’s only one of you (generally that’s me on my billy bob!) you don’t realise.

A Night at Napoleons Casino in Hull

Anyway, on arrival, we were escorted to the bar for a drink, before being seated at our table. Thankfully, the table was tucked away in the corner so we could all snap away without bothering anybody else – and trust me, there was a lot of snapping away because this place is gorgeous.

The highlight, for me, was the food. I quickly decided that I’ll be going back but living so close is just an extra bonus! Being a vegetarian is a bit awkward sometimes, especially if you’re visiting a new place, but Napoleons had some fantastic options for me to try. To start, I had strips of melon with a blackcurrant sorbet and pomegranate. My favourite course was the main – a mushroom and ale pie, wow. It was so rich and delicious that I instantly tried to find a similar recipe on Google. I need to make this myself! For dessert, I had my all-time favourite pudding which is pavlova topped with fresh fruit. How beautiful does that sound? It was one of the most incredible meals that I’ve had in a very long time.

A Night at Napoleons Casino in HullA Night at Napoleons Casino in HullA Night at Napoleons Casino in Hull

With very full bellies, we were then escorted to the casino floor for a crash course in Blackjack, Three Card Poker and Roulette from the wonderfully helpful Ash. He thoroughly talked us through each of the games, with a few cheeky practice games, before letting us loose into the real world. I felt like a little girl with pocket money. I didn’t know where to spend my £5 chip! Roulette was the best option for us all, we thought, and we head straight there. It turns out I’m pretty lucky – I won £17.50 on my first spin!

Me and Matthew have already decided that we’ll be going on Monday to try out this package for ourselves. Yes, it was so good that I’m going to go again within the space of a week.

A huge thank you to the staff at Napoleons Casino for having us! 

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Have you ever been to a casino?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Lush Review | Fizzbanger Bath Bomb

Lush is practically famous for the extravagant displays that the majority of their bath bombs perform. The Fizzbanger Bath Bomb is very simple in appearance, but that doesn’t make it boring. It’s a citrus delight! The beautiful yellow outer shell protects a centre of bright blue, which fizzes and pops thanks to all that popping candy – the resulting colour is a toxic lime green.

I absolutely loved the final colour of the water from this bath bomb! I don’t recall ever having a green bath before, so it was a bit of a novelty too. Green is my favourite colour so I was sure to love it, but it definitely was a shock. Looking at that lovely yellow bath bomb, you wouldn’t imagine it creates something so green!

Lush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb Review

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The scent of Fizzbanger is what stands out to me the most. It has a very strong citrus smell on first sniff, but then you begin to pick up the apple and spicy undertones it has. It’s kind of like a sweet apple pie, with a little bit of cinnamon! It’s really lovely. I found that the scent didn’t last the entire time I was in the bath, but it lasted long enough to leave its scent on my skin which is a big thumbs up from me.

It’s a slow fizz meaning it sticks around for much longer! It also means there’s enough time for a very simple display. Unlike the multitude of colours a lot of other Lush bath bombs produce, Fizzbanger sticks with yellows and blues. They can swirl together like a Catherine wheel or the overpowering yellow can creates little rays of sunshine in the tub. Either way, it puts on a good show.

Once the bath bomb has completely fizzed away, you’re left with the lime green resulting water and a white creamy layer on the surface. This is incredibly moisturising so I sat there soaking myself in it’s loveliness for a very long time – it was one of the nicest baths I’ve had in a while! It’s a pretty all-around great bath bomb to be honest. I do highly recommend it.

Lush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb ReviewLush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb ReviewLush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb ReviewLush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb ReviewLush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb ReviewLush Fizzbanger Bath Bomb Review

Lush’s Fizzbanger is a simple looking bath bomb with a simple but effective performance once it’s plopped in the tub and a very, very beautifully sweet scent. I can imagine this will go down a treat in the autumn months!

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Have you ever tried this bath bomb? What did you think?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills