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:

BackdropsBackdropsBackdrops

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

Supporting Small Businesses

I’m a bit of a sucker for small businesses that offer handmade goods. It doesn’t matter if they’re starting up an online store, they’ve opened up their first shop or they’re selling those goods at a Saturday market, I’m always more willing to give their products a try.

I recently came across the lovely Tarnya’s Etsy store, after stumbling across one of her promotional tweets. Every single one of her prints had something special about them – shout out to the adorable cactus print that I was also smitten with – but it was the watercolour Deathly Hallows symbol that caught my eye.

A lot of Taryna’s art uses the continuous line technique where the pen can never leave the paper, creating a sketchy look so I was torn. Sketchy art or Harry Potter art? Artsy or fandom? Oh, the perils of being an artsy fangirl. It had to be the Deathly Hallows symbol – I knew it would look amazing on my bookshelf and I just couldn’t resist.

Supporting Small Businesses

How beautiful is that? I absolutely love it. It’s taken centre stage amongst my books and it’s looking great. Without a doubt, I’ll be popping back to Taryna’s Etsy store when I next fancy a little bit of colour to brighten up a space.

If you’d like to have a scroll through Taryna’s prints and stickers, you can find her Etsy store here or you follow her on Twitter here.

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Do you like to support small business owners too?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Favourite Movies Of All Time

Engrossing myself into works of fiction is something I really love. Unsurprisingly, as well as fictional books and games, I am a huge fan of films. Now that I’m a little busier than I used to be – with a full time job and shit to do – I don’t get to watch as many films as I’d like to, but c’est la vie. When I do sit down to watch a film, my attention is fully absorbed and I’ll savour every moment.

Unlike a lot of people, I don’t often re-watch my all-time favourites. Instead, I kind of lock them away in my mind with a huge label across it saying “wow, never ever forget this film.” I do, however, have the tendency to re-watch some of the cheesier, guilty pleasure movies, but I can’t help myself… Mamma Mia, for example, is my ultimate, embarrassing guilty pleasure and I can’t get enough. I just love ABBA lots.

I thought it would be a really nice idea to share a huge list of some of these favourites. I would never be able to narrow them down to just one! So, here’s a snippet of my all-time favourite movies.

My Favourite Movies Of All Time

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Moulin Rouge

This is probably the film that means the most to me. Me and Matt watch it on our anniversary every year. 

Inception

The Aristocats

Catch Me If You Can

It’s been on my list of favourites since I was a child. It’s an incredible movie!

Unleashed

Cast Away

Even the name “Wilson” chokes me up… 

Black Swan

Donnie Darko

Dirty Dancing

Gran Torino

The character development in this film is just immense. 

Mulan

The Truman Show

This is a very special kind of film. It’s goofy, because of Jim Carrey, but the revelation and plot are incredibly moving.

Pulp Fiction

Mamma Mia

Perfect Sense

Me and Matthew watched this early on in our relationship and, to this day, we still sometimes just say “wow, do you remember Perfect Sense? That ending…”

Ex Machina

Titanic

12-year old Morgan would smack me if I didn’t include Titanic. After all, it does still make me sob every time. I bloody love this film.

Alice in Wonderland

Shutter Island

Her

A fantastic insight into where technology is heading.

The Green Mile

Love Actually

Oblivion

Buried

Definitely the best lone location movie I’ve ever seen. So tense.

Easy A

Wreck It Ralph

Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper being awesome again. It’s a very relatable story about mental health.

Memento

Kick-Ass

The Grey

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Thinking about this film makes my heart hurt. So enjoyable until your heart breaks.

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That’s definitely a very varied list and I know that I’ve missed so many. I’m sure I’ve forgot some big ones too, but I could just go on and on and on and on… When me and Matt first met, we’d spend full days watching movies over the weekends. We’d rent whatever movies we could find from our old Love Film subscription, so we’d end up with a right jumble of movies – I think that could actually be why I have such a varied taste in films! We would watch easily four films a day. Although we did watch a lot of crap, we found some fantastic movies and some of them are still my favourites to this day.

So, what are some of your favourite movies?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills