UK 2015 Glossybox Review: September

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Glossybox is a monthly subscription box that sends approximately five samples (or full size) makeup and skincare products. I've been reviewing my items in Glossybox since last summer. This month's theme is the "style edition" and features make-up and hair products.


My box included the following items:

Maria Nila Luminous Colour Hair Masque: This hair mask has a light scent and made my hair feel soft and hydrated. I'm not too fond of using it from a pot and prefer a bottle, so the packaging is the only negative aspect.

Invisibobbles: Every subscriber received a hair band, and the colour I received was grey. These promise to prevent your hair from breaking or becoming tangled in similar products.

Marsk Eyeshadow Brush Pro: I've used Marsk products before and have liked them. This brush helps blend eyeshadow, and I will be using this when my current brush needs replacing.

Nails Inc Polish (in 'Uptown'): Nails Inc polish is okay, but I really dislike this muted pink colour. I've actually got two pots of the same colour in a different brand that I bought a few years ago, and I hate the colour. This will become a re-gift. I wish that I'd been sent the other option, which appears to be a grey shade.

Bellapierre Shimmer Powder (in 'Whesek'): I received a shimmery silver shade, and I actually do have an identical or almost-identical product, which I do like a lot.


Also included was a voucher for BestSecret, which I also received last summer but never got around to using. I'm not going to get around to using this one either as I endevaour to save money going forward, and as I realised after moving house, I seriously need to de-clutter.

The Battle of Britain at 75 Concert

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The Battle of Britain took place 75 years ago on the 18th of September. The bloke and I got tickets for that day to go to a concert at Biggin Hill airport, which was a runway used in the second World War by the pilots who defended the country from the German planes. The concert was broadcast live in cinemas around the country and on BBC Radio 2 'Friday Night is Music Night'.


The event was hosted by Dermot O'Leary, Jeremy Vine, and Sophie Raworth. The concert included a live orchestra (BBC Concert Orchestra) and a selection of music of the era performed and sang by Pixie Lott and others. Archive footage was shown as well as new footage from RAF personnel and stories from those who lived through these times. Some of the letters and poetry written at the time was set to music. 


When we arrived at the hangar, where the concert was held, we admired a few Spitfire planes in front of the hangars. Two of these would be used in fly-past and a display before the concert. 


We walked around a couple of kiosks set up with Spitfire finds and another selling stamps. Live music was also taking place outside as well as a re-enactment of the camp. The area was cramped with only two food stands and a bar serving, so the queues were horrendous and they did not plan that correctly. We did not have lunch nor dinner as we had rushed around that day and got stuck in bad traffic.


When the sun was setting, we watched the two Spitfires go onto the runway so that they could take off.


We watched the displays.



After the display, we made our way into the hangar for the concert. We were sat far back and couldn't see the stage as there were too many heads in the way (the seats were not staggered), but I managed to get a couple of photographs. The sound quality also was not great in the hangar and I had trouble making out what was being said, but we did catch a repeat of it on television, and it sounded amazing.


Did you watch the concert at Biggin Hill or see it in the cinema? What did you think?

A month ago, the bloke and I met up with two friends in Mattingley, a small 'settlement' near Basingstoke with a pub named "Leather Bottle", which was used as a coach inn in the old days. The name 'Mattingley' also has some family history as I have relatives (by marriage, I believe) with that surname who originally came from the area. Even before I knew this fact, I visited the "Leather Bottle" once before, several years ago before I bought my apartment in Basingstoke.


The bloke and I sat in the garden and had a drink while we waited for our friends to arrive. The weather was sunny but overcast in some places, so we had a cool breeze when the sun was hidden by the clouds. This still did not deter us from sitting outside to enjoy what was left of the summer.


We ordered our mains, and I opted for the chicken and ham pie, which was served with carrot and cabbage and mash. The bloke ordered lamb, and this came with potato dauphinoise and beetroot and broccoli.



My friends ordered salmon salad and Mayalsian chicken curry. I understand that all meals were delicious. My chicken was good, but the crust was a little too heavy and filling, so I ended up leaving a lot of it.


For dessert, I had the eton mess, which was light and hit the spot.


The others had a pot of English tea, which was served in blue and white china.


We stayed for more drinks and small-talk before we decided to head over to Silchester to have a walk around the ruins. The settlement was called Cavella, and it was an Iron Age settlement that was developed into a Roman town. It comprises of 40 hectares and was the centre of the Atrebates tribe around 1st BC. When the Romans took it over in 43AD, it became known as Cavella Atrebatum. For some reason, it was abandoned between the 5th-7th centuries, but it's one of the best-preserved Roman towns in the UK and excavations currently take place to find out more about the Romans and the tribes of England of that time.


We parked up and walked from the parking area down a small pathway with fields around. We came across some elderberries, blackberries, and I also pointed out some mistletoe on a large Oak tree. 


The acorns were also on display on the trees. This is my favourite time of the year, before the cold and dreary winter. The acorns bring back memories of my favourite time of the year on the farm.


The town of Silchester was arranged around a Roman grid layout, and we saw various signs around the area to describe the layout of the town and the features that were still visible. We headed toward the North Gate. We saw the main area of the town was still being explored and excavated, and new technology has appeared in recent years in order to study the ground from above to 'see' strctures or levels of ground underneath in order to provide some insight into the use of the ground.


We walked along the top of one of the ancient town walls, which had a large drop on one side with beautiful lush blackberries. I wondered how many people had fallen in attempt to pick from the bushes hanging off of the cliff-face of the ancient wall. That would have hurt as it's a pretty steep drop through the brambles.


At one point, the bushes disappeared so that we could see exactly how far the drop was. I loved the beautiful trees growing along this old wall. These trees must be hundreds of years old.


On the horizon and over the fields, we caught some glimpses of a church spire. The angle of the lighting on it made it look like a painting, and the clouds looked like a painting by one of my favourite artists, John Constable. 


Finally, we arrived at North Gate, and we saw a board explaining its use as lining up to the major roadway to Dorchester-on-Thames. We also saw an illustration of what it may have looked like. Today, you can see the stonework and where the gate slotted into it and the roadway with the grassy mounds on either side. It's covered with blackberry bushes too.


We decided to walk to the ampitheatre, so we followed the old wall.



The ampitheatre could hold 3,500 to 7,250 people. Horse bones were discovered nearby, so the ampitheatre probably had events involving horses.


After walking to the ampitheatre, we walked along the wall and entered the church yard before making our way toward the centre of the ancient Iron Age and Roman town.


If I did not know that there was an ancient town here, I never would have realised. The land is flat here with grass on top, and it is in the middle of a field. It certainly does not look like the place where you would find a thriving town.


Silchester ruins is managed by English Heritgage, and it's typically opened from dawn to dusk. There is not a fee to walk around or explore the ruins, and there's not a lot to see, but it's a pleasant walk. We didn't walk around the whole area, but we got a good feel for the place.

Goodbye, Basingstoke. Hello, Ruislip.

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I am going to miss Basingstoke. It's been 'home' to me for the past eight years. In December of 2007, I moved back to Southampton from Bath and Bristol (where I was working in a small village near Clevedon in Somerset) in order to start a new job in Basingstoke. My partner at that time, who was from Southampton, also started a new job in Reading on the same day, so we planned to move closer to our new jobs.

Sunflowers in my apartment

Things were going great then; my partner at the time and I were in the process of buying our first home closer to our jobs, and it was a new build and very closely fit the idea of my dream home. But then things took a bad turn - the chain fell through and then, I assume from the stresses of buying houses and responsibility, he split up with me as he became infatuated with someone he knew from an online forum; she didn't have feelings for him but liked the attention and led him on. (He was actually really abusive mentally and physically, so I don't regret leaving that chapter behind but only wish I could take back the many years wasted with this horrible person.)

At the time, I had only started my new job in Basingstoke in early December of 2007, and the split happened six months later. I enjoyed this job in Basingstoke very much, and a few of my colleagues were very supportive of me. With their help, I moved into a small rented flat and had a ten-minute commute to work as opposed to an hour or two hours one way, which is what I had to put up with for the past several years.

The bulk of my income was paid to rent while some of my items remained in storage, and I viewed it as a waste as I wanted to stay in Basingstoke and at at the company I was working at for awhile. I started to make permanent plans for purchasing an apartment, since everything (except for my job) fell through in my life, and this took all of the savings I had plus some help from the parents. My life slowly started to come together, and I completed on my apartment at noon in January 2010. However, there were talks about redundancies at work and I was at risk, so a couple of hours after I signed my completion on the apartment, I was told that my role was made redundant. This was not expected; I'd had communication from colleagues who also could not believe it. I'd had glowing appraisals and reviews from colleagues, was known in other departments for being helpful, and was working on several projects. By this time, I'd also been there for 2.5 years.

Afterwards, I ended up working in London although I had been trying to find a similar role in Basingstoke off-and-on without luck. After a short stint in a start-up company near Reading (which ended up taking the same amount of time to commute to as commuting to London), I became self-employed and realised that I'd have to move to London. My partner was also working in London, so it just made sense; we'd save money in the long term. 

Although I am sad to leave Basingstoke, I have a new area to explore in a suburb of London. It's also convenient to get out of London in order to visit other parts of the UK. I've also got the task of making my new home my own and decorating it, so readers will no doubt be seeing before-and-after photographs.

Until then, most of my possessions are still in boxes as we decide what work on the house we will have done first. I may not get as much time to post updates as frequently as I have in the past, until I get settled a little more. I only just picked up the keys on the late afternoon of September 30 and moved on 1 October, so it's been a very busy week, and I still have not been through all of the boxes.

Street Art: 0707

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Street artist 0707, is an Italian artist based in London. Although I have not seen his work in London before, he painted several portraits of women using black and white paint across the city early this year. The portraits are really stunning and have brightened up the walls.







For more information about 0707, see his Facebook page here: 

Street Art: Attai

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Street artist Attai (also known as Butch Attai) lives in London and has a fondness for painting houses on stilts. His artwork is typically found on shutters and scaffolding around the city. The houses are colourful and bring colour to the grey walls.





For more information about the artist, see his Twitter page here: 

This summer, London and Bristol hosted sculpture trails 'Shaun in the City', and I spent time trekking around London and around Bristol in order to find all of the sculptures. I went to Bristol in August. A couple of years ago, Bristol hosted 'Gromit Unleashed' (here and here) and one of the Gromit statues was in front of a wall near the waterfront. Behind the sculpture, local Bristol street artist Cheo painted a wall with a very hip-looking Wallace and Gromit.


This summer, Cheo painted Shaun the Sheep with the dog Bitzer on a wall next to the original mural.


No sculptures of Shaun were placed in front of the wall this year, but both could be seen and photographed side-by-side in this prime location in Bristol.


The murals are still on display in Bristol and are located near the waterfront. My photographs do not really do them justice as the day was quite sunny with sun and shade from the trees obscuring the photograph.

Pastry chef Caitlin Freeman has created several desserts based on famous works of modern art by Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. The video ( describes how these can be created. I would love to have some time to create these edible masterpieces.


Ten Speed Press has published a book based on nearly thirty modern art dessert designs, "Modern Art Desserts". The video shows the Mondrian cake being created:

Those looking for a souvenir of London may be interested in Katie Bonham's sculptures of clay and brick houses using bricks and clay found in the Thames.The artist finds these items in the Thames and turns them into beautiful sculptures, such as miniature clay and brick houses and buildings as seen below.

Photoraph from Katie Bonham

While visiting the London Museum a couple of years ago to see the Cheapside Hoard (which I blogged about here), a few of these beautiful clay buildings were on sale, and I bought one. It's my very own piece of London symbolising London's history in a souvenir form.

For more information about the artist, visit

When I first saw work appear by ALO in London in early 2013 (my first post can be read here), I instantly fell in love with this unique style. The artist has built up the technique since, and I've covered his work in the following posts 'ALO Part 2', 'ALO part 3', and 'ALO Part 4'. The artist had not been around London for a little while until earlier this summer. I noticed that several new portraits had popped up across the city, so I photographed all of the new work that I could find to include in this blog post.















I love finding a new painting by ALO. Happy hunting.

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