Halloween and Me

I actually really like Halloween a lot and as you can see from above, I quite like getting into the Halloween spirit as well. In 2012, I decided to take on my favourite YouTube sensation of the time MirandaSings and embody her (with perfection, obvs) for the selfie on the far left. It went down quite well actually and I had red bottoms on just like her and everything – the wig did keep getting stuck on the lipstick though! A year later, I decided to try being a Minion and made me costume from scratch once again. I got a yellow top from a charity shop and drew the Gru Inc. logo on using a sharpie and stencil (it’s backwards because the video clip that shot is taken from is flipped for some reason) and paired it with denim shorts and red braces. I then somehow managed to find a yellow beanie hat and made my own goggles out of polystyrene cups and elastic… it was a bit of a faff but it’s actually my favourite costume I’ve made so far.
Last year, none of my friends had a party so my friends Lucy, Maria and I decided to have some Halloween fun and attempt some good old trick or treating around where Lucy lives. I decided to be a “Meow” as my sister calls cats and did the basic cat makeup with cat ears and a random beanbag for a cape… I don’t know why to be quite honest with you. This year though, I’m back on track with enjoying Halloween dressing up as much as possible: Maleficent was my task this year. As it stands, I’m sat here staring at the staff my Dad very kindly made for me which matches the character’s staff with perfection as well as some rehearsed makeup in my head and some horns ready for me to wear too – I really love Halloween and I love putting as much effort into it as possible (or is appropriate, because I don’t wanna end up like Cady when she goes to the Halloween party in Mean Girls… or Georgia at the beginning of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging).
Why am I sharing this with you? I think it’s great fun to look back on a celebration like Halloween and see how your opinions have changed over the years. I find it interesting to see that I didn’t like putting in as much effort some years in comparison to other years and how my choices in characters have changed as well. Especially because I like making my costumes, I also like to see what kind of things I made and how much fun it was doing it, too. I also came to realise this year that I’ve unintenionally been dressing up as characters that begin with M every year (MirandaSings, a Minion, a “Meow” and now Maleficent) which is a pretty cool coincidence in my eyes!
Do you enjoy Halloween, and what are you dressing up as? Lemme know in the comments down below and don’t forget to head to my Instagram tonight to see how my costume looks this year!

My Current Favourite YouTubers

I recently started to get a bit sick and tired of watching the same YouTubers talking about the same topics over and over again; beauty YouTubers started to be the only kind of videos I was watching and I kind of forgot that people use YouTube to talk about so many other things that I’m interested in. To celebrate that and the road of discovery that followed, here are my current 5 favourite YouTube channels…
I really love stories as we know from my passion for theatre so films really interest me as well. What I really love though is the hype that surrounds movies and the production behind them; I actually find it just as interesting as the movies themselves. Grace from Beyond The Trailer combines that perfectly and shares her full reviews of film trailers as well as movie news and recommendations. Plus, if you’re a fan of the box office success of movies, her channel MovieMath is good for that as well!

I’m a massive fan of understanding things to help combat prejudices like transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism and all of the other ‘isms around and Ashley Mardell is fantastic at keeping me all clued up on those things. Ashley makes videos raising awareness about both the basics and the nitty gritty on topics like trans people and gay people; incredibly eyeopening and I always feel like I’ve left having learned something.

Todrick Hall of todrickhall
Hall has been pretty famous for a while now with his original takes on songs going viral. Now, he has his own MTV reality show which is coming to the UK very soon but in the meantime, I love watching his vlogs and performances that he regularly uploads to his channel. Not only is he a fantastic performer to watch but his ability to create songs that are so catchy and so much fun is infectious.

Samar Naserri of Sam4G0d
Possibly my favourite person to watch on the internet as of late is Sam who makes videos on topics ranging from her passion of musical theatre to Disney to anything that interests her life. Every one of her videos is filled with so much laughter and fun as well as making me happy to be watching someone who has very similar passions to myself. If you fancy getting lost in a series of fun YouTube videos for a whole afternoon then her channel is definitely the place to be.

Ellie Steadman of Ellie Steadman
I learned who Ellie was through watching a video she did with another YouTuber a few months back and fell in love with her sweet approach to making videos. She talks a lot about her love for Disney and the Disney parks which is always great fun to listen to, as well as spicing things up a bit with generally fun videos.

Who are your current favourites? Tweet me @shaunycat and let me know!

Welcome to American Month!

The time has finally arrived! If you watched the video I uploaded to my YouTube channel on Sunday (and if you didn’t, link is here) then you will have heard me mention the concept of American Month. It was an idea I came up with back in May actually and it’s a way of showing you exactly what I got up to on my trip of a lifetime to New York the other week whilst hopefully not annoying everyone but not shutting up about it. So today, instead of jumping right in at the deep end and getting going with something on one of the blogs or on YouTube, I thought I’d take my time to introduce you all to the concept and how the month will play out because if you’ve been reading Shaunyland for a while, you will know that I have a serious problem for explaining what I plan to do and never actually doing it… oops.

On Mondays, I plan on taking to this blog and sharing a beauty review with you of a product that I bought whilst in America and have tried and tested sharing with you both my opinions and many a picture of the product and its capabilities. This is actually pretty standard as far as beauty reviews go and I’ll be doing the same kind of thing on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well on the most part.

On Tuesdays, I’ve decided I’ll use Shaunyland on YouTube and try and do something that isn’t relevant to American Month to keep the flow of standard videos going smoothly. This might be a beauty video of some sort or a chatty video or a vlog… it’s literally the same as Sundays normally are over on YouTube.

Thursdays will be the day that I take to Shaun’s Musical Musings to review a show that I caught in New York; I saw five shows and there are five Thursdays this month which seems pretty apt. It seems as though 4/5 of the shows I saw in New York are planning on making a West End debut in the coming years so if you are a fan of theatre and you live in the UK then these reviews will actually probably be pretty relevant to what you could possibly see.

Fridays will see me heading back over to YouTube where each week, I’ll be sharing a vlog of each day that I made whilst I was in New York. I did actually say in the video where I mentioned American Month that this would be each Wednesday, but I soon decided that it would be much nicer to do it on a Friday. Not only because people watch YouTube more comfortably on a Friday, but also because it would mean my final New York vlog would conclude American Month, too. Sundays will also see me using YouTube to promote American month and I’ll be doing a sit-down video on my trip each weekend. It currently looks as though this will be prominently orientated towards beauty (led by my Sephora, Bath & Body Works and American Drugstore Haul this weekend) but if you have any other suggestions on what you’d like me to pull together then please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

I do hope you enjoy American Month as much as I am enjoying pulling it all together. Those five days in New York were the best five days of my life, and I can’t wait to share the experience with you.

What To Expect From Me in NYC

I’m sure most of you know this already (and if you don’t then where on Earth have you been!?) but I’ve been planning and planning a trip to my dream destination New York City for months and months (nay, years even!) Well, tomorrow is the big day! Oh yes, I’m flying off to New York City tomorrow morning. It’s my first time on a plane (which strangely really doesn’t scare me whatsoever) and of course, it’s my first time in the Big Apple… but more on feeling nostalgic and heart-warmed in a moment.
 
I want to take a moment to talk about what’s going to go down when I’m in New York on social media and Shaunyland in general. Naturally, as I’m sure you would assume, I’m gonna be sharing my trip everywhere on the internet while I’m there because I’ll be filled with such excitement so I thought I’d give you a heads up on where I’ll be posting stuff if you’re interested and what kind of things I’ll be posting where. Of course, you’ll find most of the information about what I’m up to and pictures to go with that over on Twitter (@shaunycat). As I’m sure you can imagine, you will not miss a single thing that I’m up to if you follow me over on there be it the food I’m eating, the sights I’m seeing, or the Broadway shows I’m watching. Don’t miss out!
 
If you’re looking for a heck of a lot of pictures then my Instagram (shaunynolan) is where it’s at. I’m going to be posting almost every nice picture that I take over on there around the clock over the five days I’m in the city so be sure to be following me over on there to be kept in the loop – there will definitely be times where I won’t be tweeting the pictures I’m posting on there because I’ll be so busy! My Snapchat (shaunnolan) will be a similar case but you’ll probably get even more seen over on there. I’m essentially going to film and take pictures of a lot and then post them on my story in one big go when I get WiFi. If you follow me over on there at shaunnolan then you’ll be able to watch my story immediately.
 
Other than that, I won’t be posting anywhere else on the trip. I know I’ve been saying I’ve been dedicated to Shaunyland again so much these past few days but naturally, I’m taking this as a proper break so blogging will not resume until next Wednesday when I’ll post a new blog post up on here. As for vlogs, videos about New York and blog posts, I’m doing a YouTube video for the Sunday after this one coming explaining everything – eeeek!
 
I don’t think you even need to know me all too well to understand how excited I am for this trip and how elated I am that this is really happening. I’ve dreamed of this day for as long as I can remember and I’ll finally be jetting off to Broadway after 16 years of waiting. This is a dream come true, and the first step of many that I’ll be making towards my future in New York, and I simply can’t wait to share these foundation steps with all of you.
 
Watch out New York: here I come!

Does Wearing Makeup Make Me Shallow?

Exam season has just ended and with exam season comes a heck of a lot of makeup-free days because the last thing you want to do when you’re tired and bored of revising is slap on a full face of makeup for what, your textbook? So with this in mind, I decided to test out how hard a proper makeup-less day would be: I’d wake up in the morning and do nothing more than put on the clothes you see me wearing in the picture above and do my normal things around the house and around town and funnily enough, it was actually much, much harder than it seems.
I’d say I’m someone who doesn’t like going makeup free. I’ll put my makeup on first thing in the morning and take it off last thing at night and you have to be pretty special to see me without makeup on, and even more so to see me when I haven’t even washed my face or anything like that (apart from the start of a Makeup Shakeup YouTube video of course) so to me, going into town looking like that, which is something that should be totally normal for most people, was totally alien to me. I couldn’t help but spend the entire time wondering what people thought of me and if they wondered whether or not I looked unwell or if I looked nasty or something like that. To be quite honest with you, this kind of nervous thought process was probably what drew attention to me as I was walking around town wearing a teal blue hoodie with the hood up and trying my best to hide my face… it just made me look like some sort of dodgy teenage drug addict.

It is hard though to lose the comfort blanket of makeup in a place that is so full of people. It was mostly strange to me because I like to think I’m someone who is comfortable enough in themself to not feel the need of approval from others and to a degree that is still apparent, but I think it’s also apparent that I can’t feel this way without feeling like I’ve tried my best to look somewhat presentable. I don’t think this is because I want people to look at me and think I look good I hasten to add, by any stretch of the imagination, but more that I want people to see me as someone who takes care of themselves and without makeup on making me look much more like how I feel I should look, I struggle to conjure up this feeling.

In all honesty, I doubt people looked at me and thought I looked terrible. I think we all know very well that we see our own flaws and imperfections as much worse than those around us and to most people in the town where I live, I’m pretty sure that a teenage boy wearing no makeup was incredibly tame and normal in comparison to the full face of it I’d normally walk the streets wearing. Nonetheless, I still felt like people were judging me for how my face looked, wondering why I hadn’t bothered to hide my imperfections or why I didn’t try to look less tired. It’s with this that I also want to add that applying heavy makeup every single day of the week for years does make your skin without makeup much worse than those who never or rarely wear base makeup (unless you’re very lucky of course). This is probably the main reason why my male friends around me, none of whom wear makeup, have much better skin than I do and to me have no visible or distinctive blemishes, but I most certainly do. It’s the frequent application of what is essentially face paint that makes redness and blemishes much more obvious when the makeup isn’t there, as well as it having no good effect whatsoever on the terrible acne that I used to suffer with that still tends to come back and haunt me in waves every now and again.

Does me wanting to wear makeup every day to hide my blemishes and make my face feel much perkier make me a shallow person? I don’t like to think so. I like to think that it means I take pride in the way I look and I like to look as happy and glowing as I feel inside. I don’t think this makes me a shallow person whatsoever: I think this makes me pretty normal. Makeup is like clothing for your face in my eyes; people make extravagant fashion statements to express themselves and make themselves feel good on a day to day basis and makeup works in exactly the same way. If I wanted to hang low and be a bit of a nobody as I walk down the street then I’d go out of the house like I did on my no makeup day and live my life that way every day of the week, but I don’t.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be doing another makeup-free day for a very long time if I can help it for the sake of my own self esteem. I don’t think this makes me shallow and the same goes for anyone who feels the same way as I do. As some people wisely say: I don’t spend time and money on applying makeup to please other people, I do it for myself because I love it.

Back to Blogging

Saying that “it’s been a while” would be a tremendous understatement. If you scroll down to just underneath this post, you’ll soon realise that I haven’t posted a single thing on Shaunyland since May 1st – that’s six weeks ago to the day! It hasn’t been without good reason though: I’ve been keeping extremely busy with exam season that started a week or so after my last blog post and only ended yesterday and whilst there were pockets of time where I could have blogged, I didn’t want to go about producing stuff that was going to be half-hearted when I could just wait and bring blogging back in full-swing by the time Summer came.
Luckily for you (or unluckily, depending on how you take reading my blog into account), Summer has begun for me and I’m filled with so much free time where I don’t have any commitments whatsoever that I already don’t know what to do and I’m writing this only nine or so hours into the long break; I’m as free as a bird (apart from when the intense feeling of doing absolutely nothing consumes me and I decide to be totally lazy). All jokes aside though, I really do hope that I can bring myself back into blogging in a serious way over the next ten weeks of Summer and work at it like I did a while back.
I’m sure you’re looking for a bit of a catch-up and a throw-forward as well so I might as well throw those into this post, too. I haven’t done much whatsoever since I last posted here on Shaunyland other than exams – it’s gotten so serious that I haven’t even been to the theatre for what must be something like seven weeks now, which is totally crazy by my standards. As for the future, I’m sure you’ve all seen from social media that I’m off to New York on Thursday which is going to be beyond exciting (and if you don’t follow me on social media, my links are at the top of the sidebar on the left hand side incl. my Twitter and my Instagram.) NY-wise, I have a full-scale blogging plan for how I’m going to present my trip and all about it when I return but stay tuned for a YouTube video explaining all of that in the coming weeks.
Talking of social media, I did manage to work out how to have anyone add me on Snapchat in the past few weeks and in you want to add me over on there, my Snapchat is shaunnolan and I post on there really frequently so if you want to have a visual representation of what I do in the menial and boring parts of my day (or because my Twitter and Instagram posts just aren’t detailed enough to cover every inch of my life for you) then be my guest. I’ll be posting over on there a lot when I’m in NYC as well, but I think I’ll cover all of that kind of rubbish in another chatty post like this next week.
I like this, do you like this? I can’t really remember a time when I wrote so informally on Shaunyland without trying to sell you something or try and convince you of how much I like a product. So, with that, I’m going to love you and leave you all. Hopefully I haven’t been so informal that this is getting tedious, but I do hope that you’re excited to see where Shaunyland is going to go over the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to producing a whole heap of content greatly, be it in the form of a YouTube video, or in the form of a good old-fashioned blog post. Watch out everyone… I’m home!

The Shaunyland Group

Every time I “fall out of love” with Shaunyland, I decide that’s it’s time for a bit of a face lift because there’s something about a massive rebrand that reawakens my passion for it all. This time however, it wasn’t that I’d fallen out of love with Shaunyland at all. In fact, I had so much passion for it but simply no time to put the passion in so I was burning to do something to make this time off worth while and to come back with a bang, and what better way to do that than to totally rebrand everything and bring it all together in a new way which, in turn, will fix some niggling issues I’ve been having; in comes ‘The Shaunyland Group’.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to group together my two blogs, my YouTube channel and my other social media profiles for a while now. I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up a website which could be the base for all of my Internet Empire, but I got as far as pressing publish and soon decided that adding another website into the mix would only hinder the problem. Soon, it hit me that the best way to handle this would be to brand everything together with an umbrella brand to keep all of these profiles in order and linked directly back to me and so ‘The Shaunyland Group’ seemed like an apt name and way of doing just that. Nothing’s changed really apart from the visual aspect and nothing has gone from the internet, but I can now link everything of mine on the web together by way of The Shaunyland Group.
As well as the error I was having in linking all the profiles together, I also wanted to make Shaun’s Musical Musings more prominent on the internet but I couldn’t quite work out how. Since I made SMM much later than I made Shaunyland, it’s always seemed like a sub-blog when in actual fact, I hold it in equally high regard to both this blog and my YouTube channel. I’ve also had an issue where I feel like I wanted to share more theatre news and updates with everyone who wants to listen on Twitter without clogging up everyone’s timelines who don’t care and losing my personality on my Twitter account in the process, so along comes @smusicalmusings on Twitter: a Twitter account run by yours truly that shares information from the theatre world as soon as the information comes in, something perfect for people who love the theatre. I’ll be using the account to tweet out info about shows that are opening and closing in London and New York as well as when cast recordings are released, some fun Twitter games, and even some special behind-the-scenes shots and insider information from a theatre nerd’s perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be tweeting about theatre as much as I normally do over on @shaunycat and that will forever be where my Twitter heart lives, but give @smusicalmusings a follow if you want to hear even more gossip from the theatre world!
I’m hoping that The Shaunyland Group is an effective way of reaching out to everybody that interacts with my content in an easy and organised way for both my sake and yours. A list of the social media profiles and websites that are a part of The Shaunyland Group are linked down below, and be sure to check Twitter out to take a look at the new artwork and designs as well as giving all the links a massive follow if you’re interested!…
I’m not going to set dates again like I always do for when blog posts will go up on their respective blogs because I always fail to keep to that after a week or so and it ends up just being pointless. Instead, I’m just going to blog as much as I can whenever I can and space out scheduling the posts so the flow of blogging is constant and so I don’t feel so pressured by the schedule of it all, however I do promise to keep uploading YouTube videos on Sundays at 8pm as much as I possibly can. And with that, here’s to The Shaunyland Group!

Dreams Really Do Come True

To some, it may seem like a city break; to some, it may just seem like a short holiday. But to me, going to New York City is possibly the biggest dream come true that could happen at my mere age. New York is the home of my hopes and my dreams; the home of glamour and Broadway. Sure, London is pretty good with supplying me of this goodness most weeks but in my mind, New York has always been the next step up. Broadway is the home of theatre on this planet and as a result, Broadway is the home for my hopes and desires; the goal where I’m aiming to shoot, and in a little over 14 weeks time, I will be pounding the streets of that concrete jungle. Bring on June the 18th, and it’s true what they say: dreams really do come true.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Shaunyland!

Wow. I can’t quite believe it, but this week marks the 2nd Birthday of my Shaunyland profiles across the internet, and when I realised it the other night I was gobsmacked. I don’t know if it’s because these past two years have felt like a lot longer in my head, or if it’s quite the opposite, but I am delighted to even think that I have spent two years working on something as special and important to me as Shaunyland. Granted that the past year have been a bit wishy washy on the Shaunyland shores (be it the deletion of everything and the reactivation a month later loosing literally hundreds of you, or the fact that I have been MIA twice since), these past two years have been incredibly special to me regardless.
I started Shaunyland back in January 2013 because the narcissist inside of me (“I wonder how deep inside of him that narcissist really is…” I hear you all cry) told me that I could easily do what all the bloggers and vloggers I follow do, but boy was I wrong. It took me a rather long time to find me feet in Shaunyland be it balancing blog posts and videos or making sure that my content was entertaining and I would argue that it wasn’t until about 10 months into it that I started to pick up off the ground and more than just my extended friendship circle were finding me online: to this day, more Shaunyland readers come from the United States than anywhere else in the world which, considering I’ve never even been to America, is pretty incredible.
Shaunyland has also taught me more about myself as a person and I honestly do not think I would be the person that I am today without it. Sure I was confident before, but Shaunyland has built my confidence and ‘sophisticated-ness’ in every sense of the words be it confidence when meeting new people and interacting with others, or confidence in reaching out and connecting with others on the internet and appreciating what social media has to offer the right way. I also wouldn’t be as open as I am today about everything in my life, and I honestly do not think I would be anywhere near as quirky or (arguably) sophisticated as I am today had Shaunyland not lifted me out of the awkward transition phase in my pre-adolescent years and dropped me down in a more adult and well-suited environment.
Running Shaunyland across the internet has taken me to many new opportunities as well. In the past, I’ve found myself collaborating with my friends and opening them up into the world I use online as well as making new friends and most recently, becoming an official blogger at LondonTheatreDirect (which I also have my friend Jess to thank for for letting me know about it!) Experiences like writing for LondonTheatreDirect have opened me right up into the industry I want to become a part of in the future, and have also given me the opportunity to attend some amazing events surrounding the theatre as well.
I really would not have been able to have made Shaunyland so special to me and enjoyable had it not been for your loyal readership which truly means the world to me. Thank you for reading what I write, watching what I film and interacting with me on social media because, unless you are a blogger, you cannot even begin to understand how wonderful it is to know that people are enjoying the content you create. Thank you so much for making these past two years fantastic and let’s see where we get to by 2016!