Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, searching for pure happiness & joy

November 26, 2015

Backcomb in a Bottle

If you caught my last hair care post, you will have saw the struggles this wee lady has when it comes to trying to get a bit of lift in her thin limp hair. I listed a few of my fave products for helping give me bigger and better locks, but that was before I tested this diamons.

Umberto Giannini is a hair care/styling range I've never paid much attention to, but when I saw the title of this can, my curiosity took over. As I've said before, I'm seriously lacking in the thick voluminous hair department. As a result of this I backcomb my hair on a daily basis if I'm wearing it down so as you can imagine, I'm probably doing my hair no favours. So when I saw "backcomb in a bottle" I hoped and prayed that I would never have to backcomb my barnet ever again... And that's kind of true...

Basically, I like this product. First off, it smells beautiful. It has a nice sweet smell but nothing overpowering - it smells like a sweeter version of every hair salon product. Now down to what it does. I spray this into my roots and give it a bit of a rub with my finger tips and it does give to lift and height to your roots. It's quite similar to the Schwarzkopf Got2B Powder'ful styling powder but doesn't have as much uncomfortable texture to it. It does have a bit of a texture though, but just like a texturising spray so nothing as harsh as a dry shampoo or hairspray. If you have manageable hair and don't have to use hairspray to hold it in place that often, this would be a great alternative to those days you do opt for hairspray as it gives you a bit of hold but with movement.

It is a really good product, but I found I did have to still backcomb a little if I was styling my hair down. One bonus though is that using the product in conjunction with backcombing works stupidly well and means you get great volume with less backcombing, ultimately benefiting your hair. For that reason, its perfect to use for up-dos and beehives as it will give you intense height without the aid of shed-loads of hairspray so its less damaging when it comes to brushing it out at the end of the day/night. If you want Amy Winehouse wiggy madness, pick up some of this.

- A.
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November 24, 2015

Coat Weather 2.0

It's finally "proper" coat weather! When I say "proper" what I really mean is you can't leave the house without one or else you'll die and it's more than beneficial to pack a scarf and gloves too. I'm so extremely happy about this you have no idea. Out comes the shearling jackets, the fux fur coats, the scarves, bobble hats and layers upon layers of knitwear. Fur-lined boots to keep my tootsies toasty also come out of the suitcase they've been hiding in for months and rejoice that its winter. I just really like this cold weather, okay?

There's some absolutely gorgeous shearling coats hanging around some sites this winter, and I can feel them tugging at my heartstrings and my bank balance... Yeah, I'm blatantly going to end up with another aren't I?

Missguided Coat | H&M Gypsy Top (similar) | Topshop Joni Jeans | Primark Bag | Asos Rings | Boohoo Boots (similar)

- A.
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November 23, 2015

Another Walk

If the title of this post wasn't enough of a giveaway, I am indeed writing another "photography" post. As I mentioned in my last nature filled post, I'm making a conscious effort to share my lifestyle, candid photos on here because its one of my favourite ways to spend my time.

You guys seemed to enjoy the different style of post breaking up the beauty and fashion, so it makes sense to continue the trend! This time around, I just took some snaps on my typical Sunday morning. I usually head into the city centre if there's anything I need to buy and then head up to university to do a bit of uni work/prep for my job placement for the rest of the week. Its been quite grey and overcast all of the damn time lately, but the weather was rain-free and quite chilly this particular Sunday which I really kind of like. As the weather wasn't in a phase of constant downpour, I thought I'd take some shots of the military museum grounds and the graveyard (more on that in another post) that I have the joy to walk through to get to my destination.

Museum GroundsMilitary Museum GroundsClock HouseArchitecturePillarsArchway ViewFountainWater Fountation

Can you believe people live here?! I feel like a filthy commoner trudging through here, awe-faced, taking photos when these are some lucky duckies' homes. Its such a lovely spot of Winchester because its so calm and tranquil. Despite being close to the hustle and bustle of both the city centre and the university, it is always so quiet except for the roar of the water fountain so I like to take stock there now and again when I need just some quiet fresh air thinking.

- A.
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November 20, 2015

Clueless Addams

Okay, so its getting pretty dreadful right now right? The weather I mean. I wore this ensemble when it wasn't so miserable outside so please don't have a heart attack - I have much chunkier, warmer clothes on this week! It seems like winter has come out of nowhere and whilst I'm pretty pleased with that because I love colder weather, I am not enjoying the wind and rain (but then again, does anyone?).

My last post featuring my fave over the knee socks saw me rave about the thought of getting some over the knee boots and yep, you guessed it, I totally caved and snapped up a pair. They're a great alternative to the socks as I can wear them over jeans too - winner winner. I do love the socks with this skirt thought. Slightly St Trinians, slightly Clueless, the vibes of this outfit are a little out of my comfort zone but I really like it. Plus, who doesn't like a bargain skirt (£5 in Primark HA go on then you twisted my arm).

Boohoo Fedora | Forever21 Jean Jacket | New Look Crop Top | Primark Tartan Skirt (similar | Primark Socks | Topshop Bag | Deena & Ozzy via Urban Outfitters Shoes (similar & similar)

- A.
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November 19, 2015

Current Fave Pinky Nudes

Nudes are something that are hit and miss for everyone. Some can wash you out and make you look a little alien, some can be too dark, and some just look like you may as well as have worn a bold bright lip. Its particularly been a problem for me as a wee pale-skinned lassie as I desperately want to rock the brown, circa 1993 lip but it just does not suit my skin tone and dark hair combo. Boo hiss.

What does seem to work on me is the pinky nudes. I'm not actually a fan of a pink lip. I don't particularly like wearing pink unless its in blush form, so although I don't tend to necessarily *like* a lot of these lipsticks, they do suit me and therefore are my favourite to reach for at the moment if I want a more subtle lip. So here's the run down:

For a sheer wash of colour that is simply "your lips but better", I turn to L'Oréal and Estée Lauder. As a big fan of the L'Oréal Color Riche Julianne Red, I of course had to pick up the Julianne Barely Peach Nude when the line dropped. It's a lovely creamy pinky nude rather than a peach, which is an almost exact colour match for my natural lip colour. I like wearing this on days when I don't feel like having anything on my lips but still want to help define the shape of them and still look *put together*. I really need to pick up the J.Lo Barely Greige shade too because it looks beautiful. My other sheer shade is the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy lippy in *INSERT NAME*. This is a more lustre, pearly finish which isn't usually my thing, but again its so similar to my natural lip colour, its stupidly easy to wear. Both these lippies tend to need to be topped up throughout the day, but its a breeze as they're so natural looking, you can't really tell when they begin to fade.

Another couple of creamy bullets lipsticks are from Barry M and Collection. Barry M are great for cheap lipsticks that despite the bargain price, have great pigmentation and pretty good longevity so I own quite a few. One of my favourite more *girly* ones is the shade 153 which is a light peachy pink but not too Barbie pink. It's a creamy lipstick that despite transferring onto everything, lasts quite well in its colour and is extremely comfortable and not drying. I mentioned in my Current Fave Reds post that Collection knock it out of the park when it comes to their lipsticks as at only around £3 for one, they're insanely good bargain products. Therefore it'll be no surprise to see a nudey shade from them is also in another favourites post. China Rose (originally Vintage Rose) is your typically darker dusty rose nude shade and its perfect for when I want to inject a little bit more nudey opaqueness without it washing me out. Again, just like the red shade I love, it does transfer like crazy, but it is moisturising, comfortable to wear and only £2.99 - so you can't possibly complain!

My favourite lip formula is always matte and I don't mind if it comes in lipstick or liner form, but the definite winners are liquid lipsticks. These velvety matte beauties are the best for long lasting, no budging lip and are therefore great for dates or nights out. Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet in 07 Nude-ist is a dusty rose, brown/pink nude and is considerably darker than most of my other nude faves. Because of this, it tends to look a lot more opaque and pink against my pale skin, but there's no complaints from me. I do find if you try to wear this product all day it will begin to flake, but for a few hours it is an extremely easy to wear matte. The only major downside to this baby is it takes an age to dry on my lips and I just don't know why!

For those quick drying super mattes, I turn to the MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Laquers. Again, I love my nude shades just as much as my reds from this range and again, they're an absolute steal at only £3 each. I particularly like Tranquility - a browny *true nude* shade and Halcyon - a more peachy brown nude as they both suit me pretty well and aren't too nude. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative or reasonably good dupe for the Lime Crime Velvetines, these are the velvets you're looking for. Two liners I like that are similar to these two MUA offerings are from Rimmel. Their Exaggerate Liner in Eastend Snob is a colour everyone and their mother has raved about and I am no exception. Similar to Bourjois' Nude-ist, this pinky dusty rose nude is a just a great liner on its own or as an added step to applying something like the Bourjois liquid lippy. My other fave is my only true brown nude that I've liked so far and its the 1000 Kisses Lipliner in Tiramisu. A kind of caramel shade, this one can run the risk of making me look washed out, but teamed with a smokey eye for an evening out, it looks really nice and again, gives a great matte, long-lasting finish.

Which nudes are your favourites?

- A.
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November 17, 2015

Clinging on to Crochet

Crochet was such a big staple this summer and its an item that I like every year because it suits what kind of clothing I'm into - stick a crochet top on with some jeans or a denim skirt and you're good to go. Slip a crochet dress on with a denim jacket or denim shirt and again, you're good to go (you see why I like it? That's right, it suits my fave items down to a T). That being said though, it seems to be a piece that's deemed exclusive for the warmer months but y'know, I just don't like that. I think layered up with warmer pieces can make crochet a winter staple too and I mean, it's wool. It makes total sense to have it on in winter!

Obviously I didn't go out the house in just this, I teamed it with a chunky knit cardigan, my leather jacket, and an oversized scarf. Having the different gauges of various knitwear actually works beautifully so if you have any crochet pieces you want to give a new lease of life to in a new season, try making them winter worthy.

Primark Crochet & Suede Patchwork Top (old) | Primark High Waisted Jeans |
River Island Bag (similar but nicer!) | Topshop Clogs

- A.
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November 16, 2015

Winchester Walks

My blog can get a little fashion and beauty heavy which it has done of late, but its purely down to it being the most convenient content to create and post. Don't get me wrong, I love makeup & skincare, and my weekly spending definitely illustrates my unnecessary need for new clothes every other day, but the one thing I really love more than those two "hobbies" combined is nature.

People always seem surprised by that statement - as if because I spend 1 hour every morning curly my hair and filling in my non-existent eyebrows automatically makes me incapable of appreciating the great outdoors. Well let me tell you it doesn't. I'd take a trip camping or staying in a national park/nature reserve/retreat over any luxury typically "girly" holiday any day. But enough of my rambling, I just wanted to show you my latest nature snaps from a recent walk.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the week off work and after spending some much needed few days vegetating indoors and being lazy, I decided getting up early and going for a stroll was something I really needed. Matthew & I often go for long leisurely walks in the early hours and with us both working insane amounts lately, these glorious walks hadn't happened for some time. We broke this cycle and hiked our way up St Giles Hill/Viewpoint in Winchester city centre, armed with coffees and hot chocolates in hand. It's a spot I'd somehow never ventured in my 3+ years of living in Winchester, despite it being right on my doorstep. I'm kind of pleased I waited though because those autumn colours just made the view all the better.

Autumn WalkAutumnal GraveyardWinchesterWinchester High StreetWolvesley CastleWinchester CathedralSt Giles View Point

In the coming weeks, I'll be wrapping up university/work for this semester and will be basking in the good things in life such as guilt-free walks not worrying about work or assignments and the Winchester Christmas market (highlight every December!). I'll also be heading home to the north east of England so I want to take these opportunities to get more lifestyle posts into this space. I love all the beauty blogging and fashion blogging have to offer, but I also love being able to document the beautiful things I might take for granted in day to day life. It's hard when you're a trainee teacher to get any time to do this sort of thing never mind trying to document it, so I'm going to up my game as much as I can over the Christmas break.

I hope you've enjoyed this literal breath of fresh air on this ol' blog! And if you want to keep up to date with all of my very candid, in no way professional, photography, you can check out my Flickr account here.

- A.
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November 13, 2015


Some of you may or may not know that I've been teaching full time in a secondary school for just over a month now and its meant I've had to reevaluate a lot of things. How much I swear on a daily basis and how difficult it is for many people to understand my northern accent because I speak at a the leisurely speed of 100mph have been some of the main things up for scrutiny for myself. But another big dilemma I've face is my personal style. I've always been a "I'll wear whatever the hell I want" sort of girl and I'm very much still in that mindset although, you can't have that freedom in a school.

As a girl who's wardrobe is 50% denim and another 30% baggy t-shirts with no shape to them, I've hardly been ready to suit-up every day to look smart and to dominate a classroom. So I've been working out how to smarten up a little for the daily grind, but also incorporate my style into each outfit so I feel comfortable. Working essentially a 9-5 job with a tough crowd who you have to speak in front of all day can be a tough gig, so I at least want to feel 100% myself and comfortable whilst I do it, so outfits like this one have been a current go-to. (Well, minus the very sparkly clutch... That's been an added accessory every weekend when I've had to fulfill my teachery-role of drowning many sorrows in many plates of food and many glasses of alcohol I paid someone else to prepare for me, ahem).

H&M Top | Primark Knitted Skirt (similar) | Hello Kitty Clutch (similar) | Topshop Clogs | ASOS Choker

- A.
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November 12, 2015

Product Empties

I seem to have worked my way through a lot of products at the same time, so its high-time I do a little product empties round-up again!

Lee Stafford Dry Shampoo Dark - I've spoke about this product briefly before on this blog, and to be blunt, its just a good product. Having black hair can be a nightmare when it comes to days when you just don't have the time or energy to wash your hair as dry shampoos will unavoidably leave white residue, but this one is the best I've found so far for not doing that. It's for dark hair so the spray is more of a dark brown than a typical white shade, so that's a real benefit. Other than that, its just your standard dry shampoo. It feels like dry shampoo, smells like dry shampoo, but costs a little more than Batiste.

Quick Fix Facial Anti-Blemish Mud Mask - I 100% like this product as a cheap alternative mask. It is very comfortable yet heating to wear, a very reasonable price and you get quite a lot of use out of one tube. It claims you can get 10 applications from it but I would say I've had over 15 and each of those applications has used a liberal amount. I don't know if it honestly does anything super beneficial for acne, but it certainly mattified my oily skin without stripping it and minimised the pores on and around my nose so for those reasons, I would definitely repurchase this.

Burt's Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm - I bought this balm thinking it would have a nice scent and taste but surprisingly, I could never get used to it. As a big fan of Chapstick's Strawberry and Cherry flavours, I assumed I would love this but it just didn't sit right with me. That being said however, the product itself is lovely as you would expect from Burt's Bees and moisturises the lips beautifully whilst also giving them a bit of a shine. Having used this a lot every day, it certainly lasted a long time so I'll certainly be repurchasing, just maybe making sure I pick up a different scent!

Lee Stafford Hair Treatment - I go through this product like no one's business. I usually use it at least twice a week, sometimes more if my hair is feeling particularly dry or damaged, and I swear by it. It really keeps my hair is great condition which considering I wash, blow dry, heat style, backcomb and hairspray it everyday, is pretty impressive. Each 200ml tub costs around £10 but it lasts me a good while despite using it so frequently. Its cheaph hair investment and I won't be stopping any time soon.

Yes To Tomatoes Face Mask - Another face mask I've claimed as a fave, this one is great for just doing a little bit of everything. I find this one stings my face a little more than the Quick Fix Facial one, but it still does a grand job. At around £9/£10, it is a little more pricey for the buddget drugstore mask options, but as you only need to apply the product thinly, these little pots actually last quite a while. Right now I wouldn't repurchase it as I like trialling different masks whenever I can because there's so many great ones, but its definitely a one I would recommend to anyone combination or slightly oily.

Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser - I really enjoyed using this moisturiser every evening as as it is quite a natural and organic product, it wasn't too harsh to use and was extremely moisturising. Definitely better suited to dry skin or really mature skin, I still liked to use it as it seemed to really help calm my acne down and not make my spots so sore to the touch (huge plus for putting makeup on the next day!). I don't think I'd buy it again though just because I get really oily hair as well as oily skin and I just found that slapping on such a rich moisturising product on an evening was making my hair line around my face worse.

- A.
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November 10, 2015

Denim Shearling

So, it's getting pretty cold now. It's fair to say I think the majority of my clogs are having to retire after I made the mistake of wearing them last week and my wee toes felt like they were about to fall off. I'm stupidly pleased about this however, as I love the colder months as it means my makeup and hair stay sweat free - that's the best. As I've mentioned before, teaching has meant my beloved denim has had to take a backseat when it comes to outfit choices, but I have been sneaking my denim jacket in here and there. Although the denim is taking a timeout, I've been inspired by the cut of some of my fave denim pieces still and have just opted for more office-worthy materials. This Miss Selfridge dunagree jumpsuit has perfectly filled the void as its a comfy nice cut but looks smart even with just a tatty old tee underneath. Teamed with a white crisp shirt and black heels makes it the ultimate though. I might reserve such an outfit for parents evening.

Forever21 Jean Jacket | George @ ASDA tee (similar) | Miss Selfridge Dungaree Jumpsuit (similar) |
Fringe Bag | Office Clogs (similar)

- A.
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