Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

December 31, 2015

Updated Morning Skincare Routine

It has been a few months since I last shared my morning skincare routine with you guys so unsurprisingly, it has changed recently and I thought it was time to give you the low down. I've been using these products for a couple of months now so I've got a fair opinion on them, so let's see what we've got:

I start my routine every day with the Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel. There's a huge hint in the name that its a gel texture face wash and its designed for problematic, blemish prone skin. It is surprisingly gentle on the skin as most gel washes I've used foam up too much due to chemicals in them which makes you think its working great with your skin but its usually doing more harm than good. This wash however is gentle and doesn't really foam up which meant I was instantly pleased with it. If you get it in your eyes, it will burn like a b* but other than that, its a great wash. The pump dispenser means you don't waste any product and if you have oily skin, it will help control those oils a little which is always a bonus!

Next, I've been second cleansing with Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. Lengthy name I know, but this stuff is amazing. It smells delicious and helps wake you up on dark mornings and really does what it says on the tin - it really does brighten your skin! Its an excellent gentle second cleanse which puts moisture into your skin without making it greasy or oily. It makes my skin ridiculously soft and the perfect condition to further moisturise and apply makeup. If you're looking for a cleansing oil which won't break the bank, this is definitely the best I've tried. Before I moisturize further though, I quickly spritz my face with the Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz, not as toner, but purely because it wakes my skin up!

If my eyes are feeling particularly tired, I whack some of Liz Earle's Eye Bright Soothing Eye Lotion on two cotton pads and hold them over my eyelids for 30 seconds/1 minute. Its such a great product for instantly revitalising the skin. Next, I add my eye cream and previously I didn't wear eye cream during the day as it made my concealer slip and slide but this one from Botanics is so light, my skin instantly drinks it up. It creates a lovely base for concealer too so it's an absolute winner for me! I then finish my routine off with the Vichy Normaderm Anti-aging moisturiser. This moisturiser is super light but nourishing and is great for fellow oily-skinned gals. Its got a slight green tone to it too so if you're not a fan of primer but have red irritated or blemish prone skin, its a great base for makeup. This has quickly become the best moisturiser I have used in a long time and it actually lasts a long time - my first tube is still going strong 3+ months on despite daily use!

So there you have it, these are some new favourites that are helping me wake up every morning. What are some products in your skin care that you couldn't live without? And P.S... Happy New Year's Eve! I hope you all have some lovely plans to see you into 2016. I'm currently getting merry but keeping cosy in north Devon with some great friends, great food, in a great cottage. See you in the new year guys!

- A.
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December 29, 2015

Tan & Black Suede

Okay, so I definitely have a thing with the [over the]knee boot trend going around again this A/W. This pair from Public Desire are super 60's with the chunky platform and are great for dressing up an outfit as they're more thigh-high on my pint-sized legs, making them a little more sassy and perfect for evening styling. I also love that they're suede and surprisingly, suit my tan colour suede button-down perfectly. I teamed this new fave skirt with a vintage ringer tee and love the nod to the 70's it creates. Someone please buy me all of the ringer tees - they're also a new favourite.

Vintage Ringer Tee | H&M Suede Button Skirt (similar and similar in the sale!) |
Topshop Barrel Bag | Public Desire Platform Boots

- A.
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December 24, 2015

The Foundation for Blemish Skin

Before I get into this foundation review - Merry Christmas Eve! I'm currently curled up on the sofa watching Christmas movies with my mam and little brother and pretending I don't need to write two Masters' assignments for university... Ha - enough of the boring stuff.

Now, onto this foundation. Vichy is a brand that I've really been enjoying recently. I've swapped a few of their skincare products into my daily routine (more on that in a future blog post) and enjoyed them so much I thought I'd give this foundation a go. Its from Vichy's Dermablend range which is targeted at blemish prone skin that might need a little more coverage than others and let me straight up say, I've been really impressed with it.

The packaging promises 16 hours of wear, SPF 35, and high coverage without a masking effect. Although its aimed at those who might need a higher dose of coverage, it would certainly be suitable for all skin types - especially those who are oily as it settles relatively matte and stays that way. I picked it up in boots in the shade 05 porcelain and was pleasantly surprised - it is the perfect shade match for me and that never happens. On first application, I was a little worried by how yellow it was and instantly decided it would inevitably be too dark as the dermablend compact foundation I have tried in the past was but I was so wrong. If you are incredibly pink toned, I probably wouldn't recommend this, but if you are a yellow tone girl and suffer the struggle of drugstore foundations being a bit too pink every time like me, grab this one quick.

Okay now lets talk formula. It definitely lives up to its high coverage claim as I would compare it to Estée Lauder's Double Wear but it is not as easy to work with. That isn't actually a complaint, just a realisation after trying to use it with a damp beautyblender, a dry beautyblender, and a brush, it is a product best suited to your own trusty tools - your fingers. The foundation, although quite liquid and runny when you squeeze it out of the tube, dries quite quickly so you need to work with it fast. I tend to dab it on one area of my face and instantly blend it in and then work on the next so it hasn't got time to set before you've blended it out. Although its incredibly high coverage, it does give you a natural finish - it is far from cakey but still manages to really mask those pesky spots of all types and shades which is a bonus as it means you haven't got to pile on the corrector or concealer.

As I said earlier, it dries on more of the matte side but it is in no way drying and I would 100% agree with the 24 hour hydration claim that the packaging makes. I would actually say its one of the comfiest foundations I've ever tried and owned especially if you're wearing it for a significant chunk of your day. As for the 16 hours of wear claim, I'm always going to dispute something so promising. My only experience of this foundation has been with a primer but even with that extra help, it has lasted around 7 or 8 hours. This is still pretty good, but as an extremely oily girl, it does need touching up throughout the day. Of course the high SPF protection is fantastic for hot holidays and as the foundation successfully creates the thin veil over your face, it wouldn't get too creased or sweaty looking which makes it an incredibly versatile foundation for every season.

For me, this foundation has been an absolute winner. At around the £15 marker, its a thousand times better than some of my high end ones and I will definitely be repurchasing when I eventually run out of it. The range has only 8 shades however and as this is the palest shade and is quite yellow, I imagine the other shades won't be universal for everyone, but I would recommend giving it a go if you think it might match up. It has been my travel favourite over the festive period as I don't need to take any brushes etc for its application. I think you can guess that I recommend this, so here's where you can buy it.

- A.
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December 22, 2015

Denim Surprise Surprise

Surprise Surprise, another denim number. I just can't help it! I feel so comfortable in denim and find the various blue hues suit my skin tone, hair etc etc. Look at me trying to justify why 60/70% of my wardrobe is denim when really I just bloody like it. Loads. (Also, this dress is currently in the sale - you're welcome!). I also finally caved and got a pair of knee high boots - well, 2 pairs. This pair of my favourite though. They were only £9.99 in La Moda's latest sale and they're so unbelievably comfy and warm - great for outfits I don't want to wear tights with!

Also, who's excited for Christmas?! It's came around so quickly - I can't wait for a big family Christmas lunch and too much chocolate/wine/cheese/everything.

Asos Denim Lace-up T-Dress (and similar) | Topshop Bag | La Moda Over Knee Boots

- A.
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December 21, 2015

Winter Wonderland

A couple of weeks ago I went to London to visit my best friend for a few days. Now, controversial opinion here, I'm not a huge fan of London. It's too busy, too congested and just generally stresses me out too much but I did have a brilliant time during the 4 days I spent there. The night before I headed back home, we headed to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This is an annual Christmas event and every year I've drove past it on my way to see my family for Christmas so I was stupidly excited to actually go to it this year.

First up, this place is huge. I know Hyde Park is fantastically big itself, but I didn't realise just how much of the park Winter Wonderland actually takes up. For those who might not know about Winter Wonderland, it is basically a huge German Christmas market complete with Bavarian beer stalls, crepes, bratwurst, churros and everything else fatty and delightful. There's also your typical carnival stalls for winning cuddly toys etc. and the best thing - rides. After going on 3 rides, we decided to not spend any more money because if I didn't restrain myself then, I would have spent my very last pound on them. Here are some snaps from my visit.

So Christmassy, right? There were 3 three haunted houses/ghost train rides at the market - I couldn't believe it!

We spent a good 4/5 hours here which just goes to show how much the place has to offer. You could go ice skating, sit in sweet little heated huts with fluffy throws to consume beer or you could even squeeze onto the incredibly popular carousel bar (pictured above - how great is that?!). I'd definitely recommend going as its free entry, you can literally spend nothing if you were stuck for cash, but it is perfect for families, for friends, and especially for dates. Very romantic and a nice change of pace from the traffic jams of central London!

- A.
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December 18, 2015

Some Travel Essentials

Its the season of festivity, parties, and trave and every Christmas I travel home to see my family which is something I always look forward to but my beauty regime does not. If I was to lug all of my hair care, skin care and makeup products with me, my suitcase would probably be condemned so I try my best to pack light and rigorous with what products I choose to take along for the ride.

Although there's some products I can't leave out (like my moisturisers and cleansers) there's some other products I tend to swap in just for the holiday season. For instance, the Batiste Dry Shampoo Plus in the shade Divine Dark is a must. I tend to wash my hair everyday as its too thin and fine not to, but on those lazy days when I'm happy to scrape it all up into a bun, this little lifesaver comes in handy. Back in my bright orange/ginger hair days, the Batiste red shade was something I used almost daily as it actually gave my tired roots a bit of a facelift, but since having dark hair again, I've struggled to find a dry shampoo that works as well. A little goes a long way with this as I find overuse makes my hair go a dark grey/brown as its too light for my dark tresses, but all in all its a must have for my holiday bag.

Keeping with the theme of hair, some other important products for me is shampoo and conditioner. I regularly made the mistake of going home and just using whatever my mam has been using but the problem with that is the shampoos often don't agree with my hair and make it greasy. These two minis from Soap and Glory are great. At the price of £2.50 each, they're extremely reasonably priced and smell beautiful. I recently took them to London for a few days visiting friends and I was surprised to see how shiny and clean they made my hair look. High five on the minis front, Soap and Glory! (That body wash is also a winner - it smells delicious!)

I have no shame in saying I have hair problems - if mens' 5 o'clock stubble shadows existed in the land of ladies legs then I'd be a main victim of it therefore a razor is mega important in my travel bag. This little travel-friendly Gilette Venus Snap is so handy as it is very small but still has a full 5 blade head and nestles nicely in a small plastic carry case. This makes it perfect for travelling as it can be kept clean and separate from your other shower bits and pieces and won't make your bag wet - winner!

My last main essential is lip balm. Over the festive season I like to rock the dark and red lips more than normal so my lips can become quite delicate and sore. This Palmer's Dark Chocolate and Mint Cocoa Butter balm is new to me but I can already honestly say it has made the world of difference to the condition of my lips. No one wants dry chapped lips in all the Christmas and New Year snaps so always make sure to pack a moisturising lip option.

- A.
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December 17, 2015

Irresistible Me

When it comes to hair and hair extensions, I am certainly worthy of a "been there done that" award and t-shirt. Long gone are the days I had to use washing up liquid on my broken scalp, trying to dissolve cheap hair glue which had knotted up my hair (pro tip: never wear cheap glue-in extensions!) but I am still a sucker for some clip ins now and again.

As someone who has been a fan of the Dirty Looks and Luxy Hair sites for extensions over the last few years, I haven't really ever looked elsewhere until now. Irresistible Me are a brand who specialise in hair extensions, full lace wigs, and hair accessories/care which range in price and quality. They recently contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in giving a review and as someone who has worn extensions off and on for the past 10 years, I figured I could give a pretty honest review, so here we go!

First off: what I ordered. I ordered a set of the 18 inch, 200G, Silky Touch clip in extensions in the shade Jet Black*. As I dye my hair black, I knew the shade would match perfectly however, talking to Blair James from the brand, I knew that if I was struggling they would be very helpful and eager to answer any questions I may have. This range is the *second to best* extensions the site offers (for lack of a better phrase) and are made with 100% Remy Human Hair. This means that the extensions - if given some occasional TLC - should last for at least a few months if not a couple of years if they're not used daily/heat styled often etc. They are the site's best sellers and can be washed, heat styled and even dyed just like your natural hair.

They were shipped off via FEDEX pretty quickly and I received them after a matter of days - brownie points for a company that were having to send them from overseas! I also had a tracking code to check they were en route and they arrived in perfect condition. Irresistible Me have simple, minimalist but cute/chic packaging. They have a 2 clip extension weft in a separate pouch to the full set, making it possible to check the length and shade is correct before opening the rest of the pack and therefore making them nonreturnable. Many extension suppliers do this nowadays, but Irresistible Me also included 3 spare clips which I thought was a nice added bonus!

The set included:
1 x 4 clip/inch quad weft
2 x 3 clip/inch wefts
5 x 2 clip/inch wefts
2 x 1 clip/inch wefts

In hindsight, I could have made do with the lighter weight set as I can't physically wear the whole set all at once. That's not a complaint in the slightest as it means you get a lot of hair for your buck which is a seriously nice surprise. This is mainly down to the quad weft. The quad weft has four 4 inch wefts sewn together and therefore is a great piece for adding thickness to your tresses. As it is so thick, it means I technically have two sets as I can keep the majority of the other wefts to wear when *these ones* get old and tired looking. The 18 inch set were also too long for me. I know most people wear extensions for the princess length and I certainly used to, but now I'm happier for them to give my actual hair a bit of volume and thickness so I had to shave off a couple of inches. Again, this shows how great quality this company are as far too often I've bought "18 inch" extensions and they've been too short, hence the order length this time around.

As for styling, they are really easy to work with. A curl will last in them for up to 3 days with only the use of a heat protect spray and a hot styler. The wefts sit comfortably on the scalp as they are sewn nicely and the quad weft has lace netting similar to that you will find in good quality wigs. The extensions get thinner towards the tips of the hair - just like natural hair - making them easy to blend whether they're kept straight or styled with a curl. As with most fake hair pieces, these extensions shouldn't be brushed all of the time - minimal brushing will help their longevity - but I found even in the hustle and bustle of a windy day in London, they only needed brushing once whilst I was out - result.

The range is fantastic and will suit most hair types - you can choose your length and your weight of the extensions (ranging from 100G - 200G) from a starting price of $59. Although I was sent my set for review, I would happily pay the bargain price they're sold at again in future. I think I just found a new favourite brand. Check out the Irresistible Me website here

- A.
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December 15, 2015

Sequin Season

As much as I love Christmas and the festive season, I have to be honest - I never really know what to wear. I'm not someone who has a lot of *going out out* clothes so dressing up fancy because you need to get drunk and be merry isn't something I execute very well. However, I do know sequins are suitable and therefore one of my favourite shirts is suitable. This gem is something I sought after for what felt like an eternity and then when I finally got my mits on it I was too scared to wear it. I've already lost what feels like a million sequins from it, but I love wearing it - it dresses up any outfit making it great for both daytime and evening wear as it looks great dressed up or down. Paired with my leather skinnies and my To Be Announced silver glitter cowboy boots, I feel suitably festive in my own way.

P.S. Sorry if the quality of these images are a little off. Outfit of the day photos and cloudy/rainy grey skies do not play nice together.

Kate Moss x Topshop Smock Top (similar) | New Look Leather Trousers | TBA Booties (similar and similar)

- A.
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