Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

February 29, 2016


Although the weather has still been mostly rainy and grey lately, it is slowly getting noticeably warmer which is super pleasing me. I love the colder months in Autumn, but the grey and dismal start to the year every January and February brings can have a huge neggy impact on my mood and motivation. The warmth creeping in also means the big winter coats can take a back seat on the odd day and make way for gilets and lighter knit jumpers which make me feel like I've got a bit of "oomph" back to my style. I love nothing more than throwing on a big chunky coat and getting wrapped up warm, but it sure does dim a girl's outfit efforts 99% of the time!

Vero Moda Jumper (similar) | Religion Leather Gilet (similar but cheaper!) | Asos Skinny Jeans | Boohoo Fedora |
Topshop Fringe Bag (similar) | TBA Booties

- A.
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February 26, 2016

Baltic Flour Mill

One thing I absolutely love about Newcastle/Gateshead is The Baltic. It's an old 1950's flour mill which has been used as a contemporary art gallery for the last 14 years and has been a favourite spot of mine since my teens. I'm really into my art and love exploring galleries, often alone, because there's just something nice about a solo date in a place so quiet and calm. Although contemporary art isn't *my thing* (I'm much more of a Christian Renaissance era Art type of gal... I realise I sound incredibly pretentious, but that really is my jam,) I like to keep up with the exhibitions at The Baltic as they're so creative and out of my comfort zone of what I tend to find visually appealing or stimulating.

This time around I was an eager beaver to check out the place - purely for Brian Griffiths Bill Murray installation (see previous post!) but I thought I'd share with you some snaps I got of the various other galleries and of course, the incredible view the viewing balcony provides of my wonderful home:

If you haven't heard of The Baltic before, it is a popular destination for tourists and visitors to the area as well as the locals but if you time it right, you can often end up with the galleries to yourself which is great. The mill also has a lovely minimalist café kitchen downstairs which serves some pretty tasty milkshakes and sharing baskets and a fantastic gift shop. The gift shop is perfect for not only arty gifts, but a great selection of books and presents that are spot on for the more unique people in your life. There's also a rooftop restaurant which gives you panoramic views over the whole quayside - its still somewhere I need to experience but I can't wait until I do. Check out what's going on over on The Baltic website, here.

- A.
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February 24, 2016

Current Fave Face Masks

Ah, face masks. You are my favourite indulgent beauty product and I'm forever searching for my soul mate amongst you. Face masks are products I tend to switch up frequently as different ones work in different ways and my skin often switches between what it needs to feel fresh and healthy. Lately I've been fighting a losing battle with my blemishes - my skin is never completely clear but lately its been particularly bad. So after my latest mask has ran out, I went on the hunt for bigger and better ones that could pack more of a blemish-defeating punch.

Super Facialist By Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti-Blemish Clay Mask - I'm a big fan of the Super Facialist by Una Brennan range but I had not tried this face mask before and I don't know why not because it is great. This is your typical heavy-duty clay mask which helps suck out impurities in the skin which cause blemishes and helps purify your clogged pores. This is a great one if you need to help bring spots and general badness to the surface of your skin, so I'd recommend using it regularly a couple of weeks before big events etc. As its heavy duty, your skin will feel quite tight after removing it so its best to lock in some goodness with a good moisturiser or serum/face oil. My one gripe with this product? The smell. This is the sort of mask that even hours after you've washed it away, you can smell it on your skin and I won't lie, the first couple of times I used it the smell actually gave me a headache. Not cool. But due to the salicylic acid fighting this mask provides, I guess I've come to terms with the hideous scent. For the £9.99 price tag, you get 125ml of product which lasts a a pretty long time - I've had my tube for a good couple of months and I've used maybe half and that's from weekly use.

Soap & Glory's No Clogs Allowed Super Self-Heating Detox Mask - Now this mask was a complete wildcard for me. After reading a couple of good reviews for this product, I thought I'd give it a shot, thinking I wouldn't be a mega fan but oh, how wrong I was. This mask is advertised as a deep pore detox mask and is the most pleasant mask I've ever used. Using an olive/grape sized amount, you smooth it over your skin then add some water to it. The water will change the colour of the formula to a blue hue making the product easier to spread over your whole face. Once you have the mask uniformly blue all over, you leave it to work its magic for 10 minutes before rinsing off. This mask is so great. As soon as you add the water into the mix, the mask self heats and feels like its really working. Whilst it gently heats up, sit with a good book or catch up on some blog posts and before you know it, it'll be time to rinse it off. This mask doesn't dry up to inform you its time to wash it off, but I kind of like that about it. It doesn't dry out the skin, it doesn't leave your face feeling tight and unpleasant, but it certainly works wonders on oily zones and blemishes. This mask is my favourite for helping blemishes which are healing have that extra push to disappear and it can leave skin feeling beautifully soft the next day. This is a definite repurchase for me now for as long as Soap & Glory create it - thanks for making an absolute winner, guys!

- A.
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February 22, 2016

Bonjourno Mon Ami

Have you ever had one of those outfits that when you actually look at what you chose to wear, you realise you looked like you were just missing your easel and paints? Yeah well, it happened to me with this get-up. Is French Painter a chíc style?

I'm not going to apologise for the almost fancy dress outfit though because boy do I love this beret. I couldn't believe it when they started to pop up on fashion blogs and sites as the "new thing" because they've always been a hat I really wanted to rock but thought they were too costume-y. It probably still is, but I'm just channeling my inner Goofy Movie vibes - you know the cool gal I mean.

H&M L.O.G.G. Top (similar) | Asos Skinny Jeans | Asos Beret | Asos Embroidered Bag (similar) | Topshop Booties (old)

- A.
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February 19, 2016

Book Club No.2

First up, let me just formally apologise for how long it has been since the last Book Club post - September 2015, are you insane?! That feels and certainly is, a long time ago and I'm kind of embarrassed by that. I absolutely love reading - particularly works of fantasy, crime/thriller fiction, and graphic novels - but I've found myself not reaching for books that much in my free time for the last few months. This is partly down to my uni course and job consuming all my energy so its much easier to just veg out in front of the TV when I have some free hours and its partly down to me using that previous point as an excuse. Well, that sh*t ends now.

Despite my lack of reading, I have finished a couple of things lately and wanted to give you my opinion on them - so here we go!

The Great Gatsby
Lets start with a classic. The Great Gatsby is a well-known story and if you ever study A Level English Literature, there's a good chance you'll get far too familiar with this gem (try having an hour and a half lecture focusing on the 2 lines made by a character in the garden party scene - I feel for you, fellow Eng Lit veterans, we made it out to the other side and lived to tell the tale). It's not a new read for me as this tatty, battered ol' book is something I've had since my teens and is something I reach for time and time again. The book is relatively short so it has been a great one for me as I've not had a lot of free time. Now, the story.

If you're unfamiliar with The Great Gatsby, it is essentially the story of Nick Carraway, a young aspiring writer who moves from the Midwest to the fictional town of West Egg in New York City. There, he meets a whole host of characters and the story follows the unravelings of their lives. I don't want to say much more than that because I don't want to spoil the story! But if you're looking for an engaging and poetic bit of literature to sink your teeth into, this is the one for you. A lot of people will have seen the brilliant cinematic adaptation starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maguire that plays out pretty true to the book, but one thing you don't get from the film? The gorgeous poetic literature. For that alone it is worth a read. You can pick up a copy for an insanely cheap price, here.

Hammer of God
Now, I know it is silly to include a book that is the third and last installment of a book trilogy because I can't say too much about the story, but I've read it so I need to vent my feelings. The Godspeaker trilogy by Karen Miller is a one I started a long time ago - back when I was maybe 18 or 19. The first book (Empress) was actually something that belonged to my ex and I pinched it after he said it was pretty good. And, I fell in love. Empress follows the story of a child called Hekat who is sold to a passing slave trader and who's life changes dramatically. It sounds like your typical Hollywood cheese, but the story is quite gripping if you're into your fantasies like the likes of Game of Thrones. The second installment, The Riven Kingdom, follows some different characters in a completely different story in a completely different land all together - you can see where Miller's going with this, right? As you might have guessed, the tail-end of book two and all of book three see the two stories collide and that's Godspeaker in a nutshell without any spoilers!

Now, for someone who wasn't a fan of Miller's other award-winning work, The Innocent Mage, this series is in stark contrast for me. The thing is though, I found myself liking each book less and less. Empress is *up there* for me but The Riven Kingdom and Hammer of God? I could take 'em or leave 'em. This might just be down to preference - I think Hekat as a character is new and different and the world she is part of is foreign and intriguing, but The Riven Kingdom sounds like good ol' England in a time of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Hammer of God does however blend the two nicely together but the lead up to finale of the story is a long, anti-climatic one. This trilogy is definitely a goodie if you like fantasy novels, just don't get too hooked on the idea of the ending being the fantastic climax it should be. After reading some other reviews about the trilogy, I'm not the only one who thinks that this lengthy final book in particular focuses too much on politics and catty character fights that rival the best bitchy Mean Girl-style arguments. If anything, I'd say read Empress as a stand-alone book and maybe forget the next two. I'm pleased to say I finished the series just because I've seen it to the end but the hours I spent ploughing through far too many pages repeating themselves are many hours of valuable reading time I can't get back. Me-ow. If you're still intrigued, or need to finish the trilogy, you can pick up Hammer of God, here.

Have you read anything good lately that you'd recommend?

- A.
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February 17, 2016

Micellar Water War

Would it be a bold statement to say micellar waters changed my life? Maybe, but it wouldn't make it any less true. I used to be a babywipe user all through my teen years and let me tell you, there's nothing worse for your face. I used to think I'd taken off all my makeup every evening and that was that. Oh how wrong I was. I would always wake up with panda eyes the next morning and surprise surprise, I'd still have traces of my foundation lurking in the sink when I washed my face. Babywipes can also be pretty bad for your skin too - they can strip a lot of your natural goodness and ladies with sensitive skin or eye areas? You're just asking for trouble using babywipes every evening - trust me, I'm one of said ladies!

That being said, I'll still use good facewipes when the going gets tough (e.g. when I'm travelling) as they're convenient and easy to pack and use. Simple do some fantastic natural ones that aren't too bad, but nothing beats a micellar water. I always use a micellar water and cotton pads to remove the bulk of my makeup every evening. They're great for removing not only your base makeup but stubborn eye makeup and mascaras, too. The first micellar water I ever tried was the Garnier water and I was sold. It worked so well as a first cleanse, didn't hurt or irritate my sensitive skin and the big bottle? Wow it lasted a lifetime. But once I eventually ran out I started exploring some other options and I think I've found three favourites I will always repurchase.

So as I said the original Garnier water was my first love. It removes makeup with no problem and doesn't sting my extremely sensitive eyes. As far as value for money goes, this has got to be one of the best micellars on the market. You get a huge 400ml bottle for a steal of a price which is usually even cheaper as it's often on offer in Boots and Superdrug. I've recently also tried the Garnier Pure Active cleansing water which is aimed at combination to oily & sensitive skin types. This one is also great - it has no issues pulling that makeup up and out of your pores but I would use it with caution. Products usually aimed at oily skin can sometimes remove too much of your natural oils from your skin and even though my skin is extremely oily, this one can sometimes leave my skin feeling a little dry and stripped. It also very occasionally stings my eyes but that might just be my eyes being the extra sensitive numpties that they are. I would still recommend this water to those of you who do suffer on the oilier end of the skin spectrum though, as it does help mattify and balance your skin, just make sure to inject some good moisture back into your skin once you've used it!

Now I don't know if I can say this last one is my absolute favourite micellar cleanser, but its certainly up their fighting for poll position. Nivea's Daily Essentials Sensitive 3 in 1 micellar offering is lovely to use. Although you don't get as much product for the price, the feeling of this water is much more luxurious and just generally nice on the skin. It breaks down makeup with ease just like the others but here's the difference - it leaves your skin so incredibly soft. I was genuinely surprised the first time I used this as it left my skin feeling similar to how it feels after I've finished my skin routine and that is impressive. I find the Nivea micellar the most hydrating to use and it leaves your skin soft and supple which great for the sensitive skin audience it is targeted at. If, heaven forbid, I was having a lazy evening and couldn't be bothered to do my second cleanse etc., I would 100% reach for this water to cleanse my skin as it feels like it gives your skin that little bit extra TLC compared to every other brand I've tried and that's what you want sometimes, right?

Micellar cleansing waters have definitely been a game-changer for me but remember to use them as part of your skin routine - They're great for getting rid of most of your makeup and the dirt and grime of the day, but always go a step deeper with an additional cleanser afterwards as micellars can only ever remove what is sitting on the surface. They're central to my skincare routine and I don't know where I'd be without them!

Do you have a favourite micellar water you would recommend?

- A.
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February 15, 2016

Sweet Valentine

Clogs are 110% my most favourite style of shoe. I find them extremely comfortable, cute, and they tie together every outfit effortlessly. These tan T-bars are probably my most worn pair and I just can't seem to help but pair them with socks lately. I know its such a fashion faux pas but try and tell me they don't look cute AF?! I won't listen to you if you disagree anyway!

It was Valentine's Day yesterday so Matt & I headed to our local pizza place for some pretty darn good you guessed it, pizza on Saturday evening. As a couple, we're not big on Valentine's Day. I'm not one of those people who scream "IT'S CONSUMER BULLSHIT" at those who do celebrate it because that is just ridiculous, but we stick to just getting each other a card and having a nice meal, whether that's in or out. We headed to Pi, the local woodfired pizza eaterie, and I wore this number and looked like a 1960's child.

We also got to see Deadpool yesterday. It was f*cking hilarious but definitely not a superhero movie for the under 15's. Perfect for the immature 21+ though!

Vintage Lace Mini Dress | Primark Saddle Bag (similar) | Asos Ribbed Socks (similar) | Lotta from Stockholm Clogs

- A.
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February 12, 2016

Newcastle: My Favourite City

If somehow you've not had enough hints and absolutely obvious city name drops (are those even a thing?) I'm from the north east of England with family living across County Durham and Tyne & Wear. I loved growing up where I did - both Newcastle and Durham are such vibrant unique cities that offer so much to suit every palette and personality... even the teenage "let's go get underage drunk in the park" types (ahem, me. 110% me. I'm not at all sorry.).

As they're such wonderful places of the world, I get such a rush of nostalgia and contentment the few times a year I manage to head home to visit friends and family. Over the Christmas break I had a lot of university work to do and missed out on doing a lot of things I wanted to. Despite this I made a big effort to have some alone time too and I couldn't think of a better way to spend that time than wandering around Newcastle and visiting the latest art exhibitions at The Baltic (more on that in a future post!).

I didn't head into Newcastle until mid-afternoon but I'm so pleased I held off going earlier in the day - just look at the sky. It was so blue, so sunny and such a lovely sunset that it made my whole day even better. The quayside is an area that most tourists flock to due to the Tyne bridges, the Sage, and The Baltic, but after becoming so familiar with it all over the years, it's nice to sometimes take in the other sights and sounds - the churches, the architecture and just the general view.

Newcastle, you're alright.

- A.
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