Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

September 29, 2015

Paisley Favourite

(Please excuse that piece of wild hair yeah I know, I've noticed it too and yeah I know, its bugging me too!) Its a myth that bloggers have an endless supply of "only worn once" outfits to cycle through, and I'm no exception. I can hand on heart say this outfit has been a go-to for me at least once a week, to the point that I'm genuinely concerned that my boyfriend or friends think I only own that one top. I'm kidding, I wouldn't care if I did only own this top as its became one of my favourites over summer. Being a pale yellow-toned girl, I never consider wearing yellow much despite it being my favourite colour, but I couldn't resist this baby and I've never looked back.

Plus, the paisley hits all the right buttons for me, too. I love teaming it with an orange lip because let's be real, 90% of my wardrobe is either denim or black/grey/white but now and again, I do approve of a bright outfit which you may have noticed. Also!!! It's officially the end of summer now! I believe the last official summer day was the 27th, so you know what that means - time to crack out the layers and scarves and such - finally!

Topshop Bardot Top (similar & similar but nicer?!) | Topshop Joni Jeans | Fringe Bag | Office Clogs (similar)

- A.
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September 28, 2015

Fave Face Masks

Face masks are something that I never used to be interested in but now I probably do far too often. I don't necessarily wear them for a pamper sesh, but they're just nice to put on on the days when you've had a rough day at work or when you're waiting for dinner to finally finish cooking. I thought I'd mention some favourites that I've been loving lately that range in price so there's something for every purse and budget.

The cheapest of the three is the Quick Fix Facials Anti Blemish Mud Mask. This face mask, as the tube suggests, is for oily and spot prone skin and does a great job of helping the two along. I've found that it helps disguise the acne (rather than bring it to the surface like the next mask I'll mention), whilst it helps balance the oils on the skin. For only £4.99 this tube is supposed to provide up to 10 applications which is already pretty good value for your buck however I've used my tube at least 12-13 times (I actually tried to keep count for you guys,) and I still have a couple of applications left so it really is great value.

*Wearing the Quick Fix Facials Mud Mask

The next mask in my arsenal is the Yes to Tomatoes Clearing Face Mask for Combination Skin. I'm a big fan of the Yes To range having previously used all the other products in the Tomatoes line, but the face mask trumps them all. This is a good one for when you want to purge your face of any stubborn spots or oily patches. It helps bring all the badness to the surface of the skin so this one is best used when you know you don't have anywhere important or nice to go to in the next few days. At £11.99, I initially was worried the little tub wouldn't last all that long, but after using it 5+ times, I still have a lot of product left. This is a great mask for those of you who like to *feel* a mask working as its drying.

Lastly is the Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask which is the more expensive of the bunch but by far my favourite, too. Liz Earle is one of my favourite if not my most favourite skin care range and this mask only heightens the pedestal I put them on. Retailing at £15.75 for a 75ml tube, you are paying more for less product, but this clarifying mask is fantastic. Including ingredients such as green clay and manuka honey, this mask is perfect for drawing out impurities and balancing the skin making it perfect for those who are fighting the everlasting battle with acne. I prefer this mask to all others as it doesn't feel stripping at all yet you can feel it working as it often makes my face feel on fire (in a good way I assure you). You can apply this thinly for a quick skin pick-me-up or thickly for a more concentrated "help me banish the blemishes" move. Its great for naturally helping you regulate your oiliness and if you're unsure about taking the jump and buying the full-size, you can buy a mini 15ml tube for around £6 which will last you at least 4 applications. This mask also comes with honeycomb sponges which are great for removing any mask in a gentle, exfoliating way.

Do you have any mask faves you'd recommend to an oily spot-prone lass like me?

- A.
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September 25, 2015

Dressing Down

Whilst I've been at uni these last couple of weeks, I've been trying my best to wear only my outfits that would be deemed "unsuitable" for school. This isn't me having a dig at how I dress, but as I'm currently doing my teacher training so I can teach 11-19 year old's Religious Education, most schools have rules and regs stating what is okay and what is a big no-no in fashion for the classroom. With that being said, I've kind of been struggling. As I'm petite, admittedly most of my dresses and skirts aren't of the knee-length variety because they don't suit my small stature as much as a mini a-line does for instance, so these "too short for school" numbers have been recycled into many outfits before its too late.

So I've been dressing down a lot of my more *night out* items such as this dress, and I kind of love that they look like a complete mash up. Also, this is a last-ditch attempt to get my pasty pins out without wearing tights because its getting pretty darn chilly now!

New Look Check Flannel | Warehouse Lace Baroque Dress | Mango Bucket Bag | To Be Announced Western Boots

- A.
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September 24, 2015

Morning Skincare Routine

Skincare is something I've struggled to get a solid routine with in the past, despite having every issue with my skin you could possibly think of. Generally overly oily, spotty, yet dehydrated with the odd dry patch, my skin is less than desirable and a mammoth problem to tackle, but I may have found a slight solution.

This isn't a *singing full praises, holy grail products* post as these products don't help me deal with every issue my skin has, but they've done a grand job of making everything more manageable and its all thanks to Liz Earle. Liz Earle is a range that holds nostalgia for me as I always remember using the toner and creams every weekend at my grandma's as a kid, but getting older and realising the price of the products as a teen, I decided against investing in them until recently. As I mentioned, my main problems with my skin are my acne and oiliness but I've been trying my best to steer clear of using multiple products which claim to aid in the "mattifying" and "clarifying" of skin as I find they do more harm than good. So in steps Liz Earle as their products are gentle and include many natural ingredients which have helped hydrate my skin without making it oilier and it has ultimately resulted in my skin looking healthier, my breakouts not being as sore and painful, and my skin looking a little brighter and more radiant too. But enough of that, let's get down to what my morning routine using these products looks like:

So first things first, when I wake up in the mornings my eyes hurt. I tend to have really puffy tired eyes regardless of how many 40 winks I get, so I like to get 2 cotton pads and soak them in the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion and leave them on my closed eyes for around 30 seconds to a minute, just to wake them up a little. This product is really great for doing that or for leaving on for longer if you're having a face mask pamper sesh and don't want to use up a cucumber! Its also perfect for extremely sensitive eye sufferers like me as it does not irritate my eyes in the slightest.

Next step is washing my face. I either do this before or after a shower, it just depends how I'm feeling each morning. But either way, I put a clean muslin cloth into my wash basin and let the hot tap run over it. Whilst that's heating/steaming up, I apply the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser all over my face and neck in gentle circular motions then when my muslin cloth feels hot to the touch, I ring it out and use it damply to remove the cleanser. After washing the cloth and leaving it to dry, I finish off by splashing cold water on my face and patting it dry with a clean towel. My one word of warning is to always make sure the temperature of water isn't too hot as using hot hot water can actually be quite bad for the skin and can strip it of its natural oils and goodness!

After that, I soak a cotton pad in the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and sweep it all over my face, eyelids and neck before applying my morning moisturiser, the Skin Repair Light Moisturiser. This moisturiser has vastly improved the hydration of my skin and I would go as far as to say it has actually helped combat my oiliness a little as the application of my makeup is much smoother each morning and its longevity has definitely improved.

I'd highly recommend the Liz Earle range to all skin types of all ages as all the products are very natural and gentle to use and the scents are extremely relaxing and calming too. They also have fantastic deals for buying products in bulk or if you want to buy a whole routine (such as the products I use) you can get them all as one package for a fraction of the price if you were to buy each product separately. You can also get your mits on Liz Earle products on the highstreet in stores such as Boots and John Lewis, so if you're unsure, you could always take a look at the products at face-value before committing to purchase first!

*This post was not sponsored

- A.
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September 22, 2015

Dahlia Smock Dress

Smock dresses aren't something I typically wear as I worry about their bagginess actually making me look bigger than I am in the tummy department, but I couldn't say no to buying and wearing this one. Before it gets too autumnal and the tights come out and the hats have to be reserved for the odd wind-free day, I thought it would team nicely with a fedora and some tan bits and bobs to break up the sea of black. Also, as the title of this post suggests, its the best dress for smuggling those 6 month showings of food babies.

P.S. Apparently its the last day of summer today (or tomorrow, depending on which shitty website you believe) but how great is that?! I can't wait for autumn and Halloween!

Boohoo Fedora | Dahlia Eliza Smock Dress (similar and similar) | Primark Saddle Bag (similar) | Office Clogs (similar)

- A.
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September 18, 2015

Book Club

Reading has always been a big part of my life from a young age when my dad was a fun sucker and would only let me read before bed (no videos, no playtime for me - I know, shocking). In hindsight I thank him for forcing me to read because I really enjoy it and its not an aspect of my hobbies/pass times that I've shared on here, yet. So I thought it was high-time that I changed that and thought I would start sharing, now and again, what I've recently finished reading and give loose reviews on each book/comic/etc. that won't ruin it for anyone that is hoping to read any of the titles mentioned, but will give you guys a little insight or a chance for you to agree or disagree with what I thought! So let's kick things off with Dan Brown.

Whether you like his work or not, I've always kind of been a little bit in love with it. Its your classic thriller sort of story, almost James Bond-esque in the whole "boy meets girl" side vibes and each story never really disappoints. I'd been meaning to read Inferno for a while, but finally remembered back in July. Inferno takes place in Venice, with your classic main character, Robert Langdon, trying to work out what Dante's Inferno has to do with some big cataclysmic event which is about to take place. It is very much the same spiel Dan Brown readers are used to, but I particularly enjoyed this one. The thing I like about the series focusing on Robert Langdon is the facts. I love that Dan Brown works a butt-tone of facts into his fiction which always seems to fascinate me I mean, there's been countless times I've read something in a chapter and then had to google it and have a further read-up on the truth of it. Fascinating stuff. This may be why I've particularly enjoyed Inferno as I'm already a Dante fan and love art history, so I may be biased. Buy a copy here

Now let's talk comics (well, graphic novels if we're splitting hairs). Comics/graphic novels are a big favourite of mine and Blacksad has been on my radar for well over a year but again, I only recently took the dive to get it. What drew me in to Blacksad was the artwork. I'd seen a mini-review of it online and the artwork instantly struck me. Half of the fun of a graphic novel is the artwork and I've got to like the artwork to like the novel, so I knew only the story could let me down from this novel - but it didn't.

Blacksad essentially centres around a detective (Blacksad, if you hadn't of guessed) who you see work on several investigations. Nothing new or exciting or different except that he's a cat. His boss that he doesn't like? He's a dog. The slime ball guy in one of the stories? A frog. You see where I'm going with this right? These animal hybrid people might seem silly to some, but they work so well in the stories. You kind of switch off from the fact that they're animal people but at the same time, you'll be wowed by how spot on the choices for each character are. As you can see, the artwork is as good as I had hoped and truly makes the novel as the story is great, but not amazing. I'm used to reading graphic novels which have more *reading* and dialogue involved, but I'm still really interested in reading the rest of the Blacksad series that has been released thus far. Buy it here

Anyone who knows me knows I am a big big Morrissey fan. My lovely good friend Izzy (who's blog you can find here) and the boys from uni got me his Autobiography back in March for my birthday, which I have been reading sporadically since. I always sway more towards fiction when it comes to reading - the only things I like to read which isn't is books about serial killers (I'm full of joy, I know!) - but I mean, its Morrissey, I had to read it. As you could guess, its a must for Morrissey fans. Not just because its his autobiography so therefore about him and his life and history, but because it reads like Morrissey. It has the flowery language fans are used to from his interviews and common throughout his lyrics, so for me it was a nice read because of that. I'd also recommend it to anyone who is a big autobiography/biography reader because due to the style of writing, it is a little different from what you might be used to. Snap a copy up here

- A.
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September 17, 2015

Product Empties

As a lot of products I've been using lately have come to an end, I thought it would be fitting to do an empties post and share my thoughts on products that I've loved and loathed but battled through using regardless.

Possibility Raspberry Pavlova Hand & Nail Cream - I'm not a fan of hand cream regardless of how good it is, so I was never going to fully *love* this product but as a cheaper hand cream option, this stuff is great. The smell is sickly so if you're not a fan of the sweet scents, maybe take a look at other scents in their range, but I don't have anything bad to say about this cream. It was hydrating, great value for money, and as always, I have to say how much I love Possibility's packaging for including an actual recipe for making Raspberry Pavlova on the tube - such a good idea.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - My favourite concealer so of course, I loved it. I go through this stuff like no one's business and use it under my eyes and sometimes around my nose if it needs a bit of extra help against possible oils coming through my makeup. I unashamedly bulk order this online as it tends to forever be out of stock in stores, but it has been a go-to for my since around the age of 16 and nothing has changed. Its also good for covering spots if you're looking for an all-rounder concealer.

Botanics All Bright Brightening Serum - Serum is a step I can take or leave in my skincare routine, but I gave this one a go and have mixed feelings. I do think it is brightening as I used it nightly in my skincare regime and genuinely do think my skin looked brighter and healthier through prolonged use, but I also found it dried out my skin in random patches. Overall, my skin looked better, but certain areas became dry and sensitive and I still haven't worked out why yet. The drying-out aspect of this serum was actually great from helping lingering spots disappear, but I don't think I'll be buying it again as it provided such a mix bag of effects on my skin.

MAC Studio Fix Pressed Powder Plus - Another product I've used for years, this is obviously a product I go back to now and again. When I was younger and wanted to look more porcelain than a China doll, I would use this on top of my heavy duty liquid foundation for a perfect finish, but now I use this as a stand-alone foundation. Its great using as a foundation if you're oilier skinned, but if you have any dry patches it will cling to those like crazy. I tend to take this with me if I'm going away for a few days and need to take the absolute minimum with me in terms of products. Its not my favourite powder by any means, but its a good all in one when I need one.

Maybelline Rocket Volum Express Mascara - As I featured this in a post about my current favourite mascaras, it'll be no surprise that I liked this stuff. Good formula, good value for money, and good application. The wand I guess could be smaller as it was so bulky I often ended up with mascara on my nose and in my eyebrows, but overall I liked the bristles on said wand and the mascara itself didn't flake or break up throughout the day. Just like most Maybelline mascaras, I would recommend them all to anyone and everyone.

Simple Kind to Skin Pore Minimising Toning Cleanser - Another product for the lazy girls, this stuff is good if you want to cleanse and tone all at once. I wouldn't say this was my favourite Simple product, but it does what it says on the bottle although anything that says it is "pore minimising" seems to miss the memo when it comes to my skin!). This bottle lasted me quite some time too despite using it daily, so I would also say it is great value for money although I do still prefer the cleansing lotion from Simple.

Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser - As an oily-skinned girl, I actually tend to steer clear of "oil reducing/balancing" products as they tend to do more harm than good. That being said, I did pick this product up and had no troubles with it. Simple pride themselves on being *kind to skin* and this moisturiser follows that philosophy. It doesn't strip away the oils but instead ever so slightly mattifys the face, making it a perfect moisturiser for makeup to be applied over. I didn't use this every morning in my routine as I did find it does start to dry out the skin if used exclusively every day, but its good for controlling those oils so I would rotate it with a more hydrating moisturiser and it seemed to work beautifully for me.

- A.
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September 15, 2015

Flintstone's Cast Member

This outfit is basically all of my latest favourite fashion buys. You may remember I mentioned getting a steal of a dress in the sale at Topshop, and this is it - it's very *not me* but for some reason I fell in love with it? I feel like the colour actually goes really well with my hair and skin tone which is saying something considering its bright orange! The bright navy blue leopard spots match my new H&M hat perfectly (which is a style of hat I've been searching for for literally years) and the fit of the dress is just bang on complimentary to my figure. I'm also a sucker for it because it has a roll neck - 60's heaven.

I also love teaming this with a good autumn/winter coat, some thick tights and a good ol' pair of chelsea boots to make it more suitable for the daytime, but I just want to wear it all the gosh-darn time.

H&M Hat | Topshop Dress (similar) | ASOS Heels

- A.
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September 14, 2015

365 Days | 050 : 056

050.| 365
Monday was a day of blog work and housework. It wasn't exactly exciting and so there's no exciting photos as a result of it!

051.| 365
I've been in a bit of a funk with makeup lately - I haven't been wearing lipsticks and the thought of doing anything with eyeshadow has repulsed me. So I'm trying to break out of that by making sure I do a different shadow look and different lip every day. I completely forgot about this beaut Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in the shade 07 Nude-ist - the perfect pinky nude transition shade from summer to autumn for me!

052.| 365
I recently finished a couple of different things I was reading and decided to pick up a classic I always go back to. This is one of my fave books for a quick read as after only a couple of hours, you're nearly finished it. Its perfect for trying to fit in as much reading as I can before I go back to uni and get bogged down with work!

053.| 365
So Matt & I have been having polenta lately as a substitute for potatoes and we've been loving it so much so, that we just had a literal shit tonne of polenta fries for dinner.

054.| 365
A morning spent listening to a favourite band whilst coincidentally wearing their hand-me-down merch and an afternoon spent wandering around my beautiful city in the glorious sunshine.

055.| 365
Like clockwork, my skin realised I would be going back to university and starting my teacher training next week so it broke out. Face mask SOS treatments everywhere.

056.| 365
Ahhh my tickets for graduation arrived! Being an archaeology student means that I'm used to seeing everyone in my lectures in laid back comfy clothes that they don't mind digging in, so I can't wait to see everyone suited, booted and dolled up.
It's also exciting because this will be the first time my parents have had a chance to check out the city I have called home for the last three years.

- A.
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September 11, 2015

Feelgood Flapjacks

You might have seen me mention in my latest 365 Days post that Matt spontaneously decided to make flapjacks as some of our bananas were going bad and he didn't want them to go to waste. As it was spontaneous, I haven't got a lot of *going through the process* photos for you, but I do have the recipe and some photos which will undoubtedly make you hungry (just a trigger warning for you there).

The original recipe can be found on BBC Good Food and I will list it below too! Although this is the recipe, feel free to add and subtract ingredients as you see fit - Matt isn't one for sticking to a recipe in the kitchen and as we have the smallest kitchen on the planet (that's right, we have one solitary cupboard for everything) we try to add a lot into meals to free up storage space. He substituted the raisins for dried cranberries as let's face it, cranberries are so much better.

50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 apple, peeled and grated
250g rolled oats
85g apricots, chopped
100g raisins or cranberries
85g mixed seeds

Prep and Baking:
First, heat your oven to 160C (140C for fan assisted, gas mark 3 for gas) and whilst its warming up, pop all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and heat the butter, peanut butter, and honey/maple syrup in pan on the hob until they've melted. Add your mashed narnas, grated apple, and 100ml of hot water to the pan and mix until all the ingredients have combined.

Next simply pour the contents of the pan into your bowl of dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated. Then tip the mix into your greased baking tin/cake tin and pop them in the oven for 55 minutes. If like us you don't have a 20cm cake tin, just use a regular shallow baking tray but keep an eye on the baking time - as the flapjacks will be much thinner using a tray, they will take a lot less time to cook. We took ours out 20 minutes early of the recommended time before they began to brown too much!

The recipe should make 12 flapjacks, each one coming in at around 220 calories so they're a pretty good little treat that won't leave you feeling guilty. But of course if you're the chef and have made a slightly more messy, rustic version like Matt did, you're kind of entitled to the off-cuts you have to remove from the edges to make the flapjacks look more uniform... Chef's rights and all that...

Comment below if you give these easy flapjacks a go!

- A.
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