Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

June 29, 2016

Makeup on the Go

I love wearing makeup. That statement won't be a surprise to anyone but I really do enjoy the whole process of wearing makeup and spending half an hour every morning applying it, getting those brows *just right*, and experimenting with lip colours and eyeshadows. Now although I would always choose getting up early to spend time doing my makeup over having extra time in bed and having to do it in a hurry, there are those dreaded days when you sleep in, you spontaneously make plans or you're travelling and it means you just haven't got the time to indulge in the process. When those horrible instances happen and you only have a few minutes to spare to get that face looking pristine, there's a few products I will always turn to to get the job done ASAP.

First off, let's talk base. When I fall for a foundation, I tend to stick to it, but a one I purposefully reserve for the hurried get ready moments is Dermablend from Vichy. This foundation is a spot-on colour match for me (their palest shade FYI) and it applies so easily with your best beauty utensils at your disposal - your fingertips. I've reviewed this foundation on NB before so I won't waffle, but I've found it perfect for blending in with your fingers as it is very quick setting and as it's aimed at problem skin so it's great at covering blemishes and dark circles. No need for concealer and no need for brushes/sponges - the best choice of foundation for speedy application on the go.

When I think of quick and easy application blush, I instantly think of Max Factor's Creme Puff Blushes. Often considered an affordable dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushers, the creme puff blushers are marbled shimmery goodness. As these blushers give you a lovely glow as they contain a little bit of shimmer, there's no need for a highlight on top making them a great quick makeup option. If you're a pale lady like myself, The shade Lavish Mauve has a great grey tone to it, making it perfect to use as a contour and Alluring Rose does a great job at bronzing up the face. As they make you look so alive and awake, you don't really need a bronzer too - this little golden nugget does a fine job on its lonesome.

Eyeshadow isn't usually something I worry about when I'm in a rush, but it can be the perfect product to help make you look a little more put together so it's worth the tiny bit of extra effort if you have a minute to spare. My ultimate choice for a quick on-the-go application would 100% be the Rimmel London HD 5 Pan Eyeshadow palette. The palette shade Brixton Brown will always be my first choice as it has the perfect neutral shades you need - a light shimmer, a mid and darker matte brown, and a gorgeous shimmery red/burgundy shade for if you want to do a bit more of a deep look. A simple wash all over the lid with the light shimmer (which as its a champagne shade, it could totally double up as a highlighter too) and the milk chocolate brown matte in the crease and you've instantly framed your eyes and look more put together. And the best thing? This palette fits into the palm of your hand - perfect for quickly throwing in your bag as you rush out the door! A step I could never skip is mascara - this also helps frame your eyes and tie your look together. My choice for quick application will always be the False Lash Effect Mascara from Max Factor as it lengthens and separates the lashes - no clumps, no flaking or smudging - it's practically fool-proof.

Another product that can disguise your rushed job of a face is lipstick. A bold lip would be a mare to try and apply in short time but a sheer wash of colour gives the illusion you made time and effort with your look and it also again, helps frame the face and tie everything together. My favourite for this job is without a doubt Essence's Longlasting Lipsticks. These super cheap lippies are great for sheer colour that doesn't need upkeep or precise application. The shades Barely There and Natural Beauty are perfect nude shades that are close to my natural lip colour. The wear-time on these lippies is far from long lasting (despite what the name suggests) but they're really moisturising and fade evenly and nicely and therefore act a little like a glorified lip balm. Just what you need when you can't check if you've got lipstick on your teeth every five minutes!

Lastly, I know nails are probably the last thing on anyone's mind when they're in a rush, but so many times I'm sat on the train/bus etc. going to my destination, look down at my nails, and grimace at the fact that there's no nail colour on them because I "didn't have time to do them". So in steps the Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paints and Seventeen's Quicker Slicker Nail Polish. I've raved about how quick drying and long lasting the Barry M Speedys are before so I won't bore you, but the brush tip is really wide and well fitted to the shape of your nails too which makes application a breeze. The Quicker Slickers from Seventeen aren't as great, but they're super handy when in a hurry. These polishes dry so fast it's unbelievable. They do need a lot of coats to show up opaque (I'm talking anywhere between five and eight) but they dry in next to no time so as long as you don't mind the layers of coats, they work pretty well.

What products would you recommend for busy gals on the go?

- A.
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June 27, 2016


I'm still not over the bardot neckline trend and I've bought so many bardot tops lately I'll hold my hands up and say I've went a little overboard, but they're just such a flattering top for all body types! New Look are currently my favourite place to look for the bardot style and this is one of the nicest ones I've picked up - the light cheesecloth fabric makes it a great option for those days when it's far too hot for clothes and the sleeves and slightly frill/peplum hem detail make it extra girly but effortless which I love. Teamed with some comfy flares and my most worn fedora, you've got an instant 70s outfit that is kept modern by its minimalist/monochromatic colour palette. Perfect to wear to the office (minus the hat) or for a day out in the sun.

New Look Bardot Top | Asos Jersey Flares (currently on sale!) | Topshop Barrel Bag (old) |
Boohoo Fedora | Jeffrey Campbell Boots (similar)

- A.
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June 24, 2016

Me & My Other Interests: Video Games

Last time I did one of these posts, I discussed all things to do with music and shed some light on things I love and how my taste in music manifested itself and has grown over the years. I thought my next post in this series should cover another great love of mine: video games. Gaming has been a central aspect to my life since a very young age. Having two parents who were keen gamers on old consoles (circa Atari and Megadrive in particular) its kind of no surprise I grew up to love them too.

My first memories of any sort of video games was the SNES and the arrival of the Playstation. I had my uncle's old Super Nintendo and my dad's old Sega Megadrive hooked up to my TV in my room at my gran's house. I can always remember playing The Lion King on the Megadrive and Donkey Kong and Street Fighter II on the SNES. Those were my first real instances of gaming that sparked an interest for me. I was always a creative kid - whether it was sitting painting or drawing, making videos with my camcorder and barbie dolls (move over Spielberg), or making up some new sports game outside which I subjected my grandma to, I was always doing something. Video games were interesting to me because they challenged you in a way that was different to all other things I liked to do. They were tough. They were frustrating. They were something that had the ability to calm and relax whilst also creating such a level of suspense and intrigue and from my first go, I was hooked.

My first game that I really loved was Broken Sword. I remember my dad letting me play this one (because he "checked" all of them first - read: played) and I've played it multiple times since. It even helped me write a couple of university assignments because it sparked my interest in the Aztecs (if I could have sourced it in my bibliography, I would have). The Sims was also something that stole my young life away and the day I got my own PC and then the expansion packs every time they came out was absolutely swell times for a young Amyleigh. But then the Playstation came out and I can remember how excited I got to go to my aunt and uncle's on the weekends. My uncle used to let me play Crash Bandicoot for hours and he had all the cheat codes scribbled down on a piece of paper so I could do any level, it was what dreams were made of. Then my dad got one and that meant life had stepped up a notch on the awesome scale because there was a Playstation. In my house.

Theme Park, Theme Hospital, Tomb Raider, and Theme Park World definitely stole most of my free time as a young kid. Suddenly games had stepped up a notch in their quality and even at my age, I knew things were getting better. I can vividly remember my dad playing a game called Final Fantasy VII and I used to watch him play it for hours. The story was fascinating. There were so many characters and monsters and weapons and amazing scenes during the battles - I knew I needed to play it. After what was probably a lot of pleading, my dad let me start playing it and he was my wing man for when the boss battles got a little too hard. Still to this day, playing through that game can bring back memories of sitting on my parents bed playing through the same scenes and still to this day, it is my absolute favourite game. I will also always revisit the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series' whenever I have that ol' faithful console plugged in. Those games were the stuff of nightmares and I swear no modern jump scare, horror genre games have a patch on them.

Then came the other consoles. I had the Game Boys and Game Boy Advance, I had the clip on light so I could play Pokémon Red in the car at night when we used to drive to pick up my mama from work (kids these days do not know the struggle of screens without backlighting), but then the Dreamcast and the Nintendo 64 came into my life. The Dreamcast will forever be one of, if not my most favourite, console ever. Controversial you say? Yeah I know, no one in their right mind would say the Dreamcast was *that* good, but the Dreamcast introduced me to Shenmue. Shenmue I and II are two games that will always be in my top favourites. They were the first RPG's I played that truly felt like you were playing through a movie and obviously I wasn't the only person to think this - when they released Shenmue II on Xbox, the game came with a DVD feature length film edition of the playable game - those guys knew what was up. Those games are responsible for that bold statement and I can't bloody wait for Shenmue III to finally happen.

My Nintendo 64 was something special too - I still have my special edition Pikachu version with the light up cheeks to let you know it's turned on. What a present that was. Pokémon Snap! and Banjo & Kazooie were my favourites on there, but I also spent many hours on Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time, and a dirt bike racing game that I can never remember the name of. Then the next big thing in my life was the PS2. Having played through FFVII, FFVIII, and FFIX, I suddenly had a shiny new console with a shiny new Final Fantasy to play. FFX stole my heart. I am currently playing through it for the 8th time now that it is a remastered HD game for the PS4, but this game blew every game out of the water. Suddenly I had my beloved Final Fantasy but with amazing graphics and movie-worthy cut scenes - it was heaven. I thought things couldn't get any better, but then along came Kingdom Hearts and I totally lost my shit. Disney? And Final Fantasy? In one game? As clear as day I can still remember sitting in my dad's swanky swivel/recliner/ultimate bachelor gaming chair with my feet up on the foot stool as the opening cut scene started on this game and I fell in love there and then.

Then the original Xbox came along and I played everything from Driver-style car chase/gangster games to Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball (I fully realise this game was intended for perverts now, but for a 13 year old girl, dressing up your own character in cute bikinis and making sure she got a tan was pretty great okay?). But it wasn't until the Xbox 360 came into my life that I properly fell in love with a few new games again. The Xbox 360 saw Bioware come into my life. The Dragon Age and Mass Effect series have stolen so so so many hours of my life and I'm not the least bit mad. They're games that I still routinely play through whenever I have the chance because I love them *that* much. Mass Effect 2 in particular is just one of my all-time favourites and I just can't contain my excitement for the new Mass Effect: Andromeda to finally drop. Another game I particularly enjoyed on this console was BioShock Infinite. This game just felt so nice to play despite the storyline of it. Is it possible for such a bizarre game to make you feel nostalgic? Because that is the effect it has on me. The Fable games were also winners for me, as were the Assassin Creeds.

Some of my favourites over the years include (in no particular order): Final Fantasy VII, Banjo-Kazooie, Broken Sword 1 & 2, Syberia, Grandia, Vagrant Story, Myst, Riven, American McGee's Alice, Lifesigns: Surgical Unit, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Rule of Rose, Black & White II, Skies of Arcadia, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy IX, Road Rash, Rayman, Battletoads, Diablo III, BioShock Infinite, Harvest Moon, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy, Jet Set Radio, Final Fantasy VIII, Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, Shenmue I & II, Dissida, Professor Layton, Okami, Lost Odyssey, Stunt Race FX, Tony Hawk's Underground 2, Kingdom Hearts I & II, SSX Tricky, Crazy Taxi, Animal Crossing, The Last Story, Driver, Persona 4, Dragon Age II, Fable I, II & III, Pokémon Snap!, The Wolf Among Us, Final Fantasy X, Silent Hill 2 & 3, Silent Hill: The Room, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Phantasy Star Online, Resident Evil 2 & 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Crash Team Racing, Valkyrie Profile, Cooking Mama, Borderlands, and so many more.

So what about now though? Well, now its PS4 domain in my household and the likes of Fallout 4, Dragon Age Inquisition, and King's Quest (shut up, it's actually a hilariously great game) have graced my playtime. The Wolf Among Us is another one worth a mention because that was just great for me. The graphic novel series it is based on, Fables, is my most favourite graphic novel series so having the opportunity to play and interact with some of my favourite characters well, there was just nothing to not love. But currently, as I haven't got a lot of free time, I'm slowly ploughing through a replay of Dragon Age Inquisition and my first trip through FFX in it's HD form. For me, gaming is such a fantastic escape. I can spend hours relaxing and exploring areas and storylines that even movies fail to tap into most of the time. I can educate myself, I can stretch my imagination, I can laugh, cry, lose my temper, and genuinely feel sorrowful all due to the brilliant array of stories and plotlines games have to offer. Sure, I'm a sucker for a really detailed RPG, but I will also play a range of other games... I just tend to like a good love story alongside my mythical creatures, magicka, and guns, that's all.

- A.
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June 22, 2016

New in From L'Oréal

L'Oréal have had a few new releases recently so on my latest trip to Superdrug, I picked up some of them that intrigued me. Naturally, I picked up the highly anticipated and reviewed Nude Magique Cushion Foundation (£14.99) because I mean, there was only one left in the lightest shade and I've got to be honest, I felt a little left out because everyone has been talking about it! But I also snapped up the Infallible Matte Max Lipstick (£6.99) and the Miss Hippie Mega Volume Mascara (£7.99) which I was excited to try out.

So let's start off with something I really like - the mascara. L'Oréal have some great mascaras and this is the latest in the style of the Miss Manga releases. As quite a fan of the Miss Manga version due to its thickening and but separating formula and wand, I was interested to see how this one faired (also I won't lie... the Miss Hippie name did speak volumes to me because I'll do anything for them 70s vibes). As you can see from the picture, the wand is well, kind of a mess. When I first opened it I didn't have high hopes as the brush head is so chunky and looked a little bit like an old mascara that should actually be thrown away. But once I started to apply it, I soon changed my tune. The bristles are your typical fibre bristles so they're great at catching all your lashes and not irritating the eyes like some rubber wands can do. As the bristles are all different lengths, you get more definition and coating on certain lashes rather than every single one or rather than a fanned out effect that many mascara wands create. This one gives you a look similar to the more "natural" looking falsh eyelashes or "feathery" look as L'Oréal describe it, as it will give you that long-short-long-short-long lash definition across the whole row of your lashes. As I suffer with sensitive eyes, I can say this one is lovely to wear - it didn't make my eyes water at any point on my first day of wear and it's an extremely light formula that you can't feel throughout the day despite it being a volumising product. I would say this one is a buildable mascara - I tend to wear only one coat of mascara but I felt like this one looked best with two or three coats. Saying that, building it up is fine as it doesn't clump or flake and the "fuzzy" wand will help coat every lash, so it's a good product all-round. If you need a new mascara and like thick but defined spidery lashes, maybe give this one a go.

Next up let's talk lips. When I first saw this product I thought it looked awful. The advertisement I saw for it was using one of the reds in the shade range and it was applied like an ombré - the colour was more intense in the centre of the lips and slowly faded out towards the lip lines. Now I bet you're thinking what I thought - why on earth would you want to make your lips appear thinner? Exactly, it's a stupid idea. However when I was in store I guess the gimmicky nature of the product drew me in so I picked up the lightest shade - 001 Silencio - and thought I'd give it a go anyway. The product for this lippie is actually in the lid and the sponge applicator is dipped into it. This is a little odd but one good thing about it is that you don't get too much product on the applicator, making it stupidly easy to get a nice easy coverage albeit a more time consuming one to apply. The formula is velvety soft and extremely comfortable on the lips. I think due to the application, it dries almost instantly and isn't at all tacky. It does transfer however but this shade in particular fades nicely to a *nothing* colour so you don't get that awful halo around the lips. It also reapplies really well and doesn't look cakey or flaky. There's a couple of gorgeous darker/more intense shades in the range (particularly the vibrant purple they have) but I don't think they will look as great as promised due to the muted shade pay-off you get on application. I really love this shade though; it's a lovely wearable peachy nude that would suit most skin tones, I just don't know how long the product is going to last due to it's crazy storage style.

Now let's get to the main act: the cushion foundation. Cushion foundations are a Korean trend that are taking the west by storm. I've been tempted to try the higher end brands' versions but the price point has put me off so when I found out L'Oréal had released one, I knew I had to try it. First up the packaging is okay - the plastic is sturdy, there's a big ol' mirror inside which is great, and it comes with a sponge applicator which I don't use to apply it, but it would be a great back-up for when you are on the go and need to touch up. I don't personally like the mirrored purple decor but it's in-keeping with the Nude Magique range. I'm a huge fan of the Nude Magique water-light foundation and the BB powder so I had high hopes for this foundation. I picked up the shade 01 Porcelain which is the lightest in the range of 7 shades and here comes my first warning - if you are extremely pale or pink toned, this will be much too dark/yellow for you. I'm quite pale (Buff from Revlon's Colorstay range is my perfect match) and I'm quite yellow in tone and I found this foundation to be like a more tan version of my usual foundation choices. The formula is very dewy and light - it applies and blends effortlessly (it took me less than a minute to do my whole face with my beauty blender) but it does remain quite tacky to the touch so if you're an oily girl, you will need to set it and blemishes will need an extra hand with concealer. I really like it though. It gives a great light to medium coverage which is easily buildable and it gives your skin a healthy look. It does get shiny/oily quite quickly I've found, but if you have dry skin or more normal/combination skin, you might have better luck with it compared to this super oily girl. That being said, the bad shade choices and the dewiness hasn't put me off using it - I think it's a gorgeous formula and I'll definitely be using every drop of it. My one concern? How much product am I really going to get out of a saturated sponge that cost me £15? That is the question. I think I'll be taking this one on holiday with me though in the hopes that if I catch some sun, the colour match will be better and its also super convenient for travel as there's no worries about leaking or bottles breaking. Super good.

Have you tried any of the products mentioned? What did you think of them?
P.S. Boots currently have a 3 for 2 offer on L'Oréal, so if you fancy trying any or all of these products, quickly go go go!

- A.
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June 20, 2016

That 70s Show

I couldn't be trying to channel my inner Mila Kunis more if I tried. Or maybe I'm trying my best attempt to be Rainbow Brite? Who even knows, I just love this jumper. It's garish, it shouldn't *work* but it's the right kind of 70s trend that I love. As it's super cropped, I prefer to wear it under a pinafore or with dungarees (either under of over it) so that pesky pot belly isn't on show. I teamed it with these beaut new mules from Mango because I mean a) they match the colours in the jumper perfectly, b) I love mules almost as much as I love clogs and c) duh, they're mustard yellow and hella comfy? I'm trying to get some wear out of them in-between the typically British rainy summer days because they're just too good to not have them permanently stuck to my tootsies.

Glamorous Chevron Cropped Jumper | Asos Raw Hem Denim Jumpsuit (in the sale! and similar) |
Glamorous Fringe Bag (similar) | Mango Mules

- A.
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June 17, 2016

Pi: Woodfired

So food is something I cover now and again on this little blog, but in all honesty, I don't remotely touch on *just* how much I love food. Being an extremely picky eater in my younger years and having a battle with food for most of my childhood, I'm so pleased now that I find joy in eating almost everything (not sprouts though because they're the devil,) and I'm especially pleased to see that I'm making positive steps to getting over my fear of eating out at restaurants. A lot of people will think it's a silly fear to have and you're absolutely right; it is. But as someone who suffers from anxiety, particularly in social or public situations, my thought process when going out to eat usually goes a little something like this: "I have to order my food. That's awful. I need to speak to someone I don't know? And my accent - they might not understand me? I don't want to pronounce something wrong they will think I'm really odd and an embarrassment for the people I am with. And what about everyone else? They will all be able to see me eating. It will be like a zoo." - Yeah, this is the lead up for every meal out and it gets tiring.

However! I've noticed in the past year or so that those niggling feelings and thoughts don't occur as much and a lot of it is down to my super chill and supportive boyfriend. Matt has the patience of a saint when I get *like this* about going out for dinner, which is great because it's obviously been having a great effect on me! Now that I've gave you some random insight that actually has nothing to do with the post really (sorry, this is what happens when I write late at night,) I thought I'd share with you a place I would highly recommend if you're ever in the Winchester area. And that place is Pi.

First off, look how happy Matt is. You see that sheer joy? Now we can move on. Pi Woodfired is my go-to destination for a bit of pizza pie. When it first opened, Matt & I booked in as soon as we could and have been going back ever since. It's a small restaurant and it can be tight squeeze during their busy times, but its very family friendly as well as being great for couples and lone diners. The most appealing thing about Pi for me (besides the pizza, we'll get to that in a minute) is that it is straight and simple. They have a small but perfect drinks menu, they offer the odd cocktail for if you're feeling fancy. They have a small classic antipasti and side salad menu as well as a seasonal dessert menu, and best off all, the pizza is great. Now, these pizzas. Guys, they're just somethin' else. You can get individual pizzas if you wish but if you do that, you're a fool because why would you choose individual when you can choose 20 inch. Yep, you read that right, you can get a 20 inch pizza, with up to three different toppings for £23. That is such good value. Now, when I say "three" toppings, I technically mean the choice of three "themes" if you like. The restaurant typically has 9 or 10 choices on the menu that range from veggie perfection toppings such as butternut squash with feta cheese and olives, to the ultimate meat feast of pork crackling on a pizza. I know. Amazing. These selections change seasonally, but they do keep some all-year round which are the popular picks.

Matt & I went for just two toppings on this particular trip - the spicy salami and fresh chilli which we always get and Turkish spiced lamb with sumac yoghurt and fresh parsley. We also paid £3 extra for that big ol' ball of cheese in the middle of the pizza (or as it's actually known, a burrata). This stuff is so. good. We always get it because it just melts in the mouth and tastes good with every single topping. The pizzas are all made to order so you may have to wait a little longer for your food to reach the table than you do in other larger restaurants, but it's worth it. You can tell it has been freshly made, with great, different, and sometimes unusual but super tasty ingredients, and who doesn't want to get a fresh wood-fired pizza for under £30??? Dominos can cost more than that and tastes like card in comparison. I was a big fan of the Turkish lamb topping but I've got my fingers and toes crossed that they bring back the pork crackling when the bring back the autumn menu. Pi are also available for takeaway but unfortunately don't deliver yet. But if you've got a car and live locally, I'd say trying to wrestle the 20 inch slab of heaven into your car is worth all your energy.

*This is not a sponsored post*

- A.
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June 15, 2016

Current Favourite Nails: Models Own Colour Chrome

These polishes have been around for a while now and initially, I wasn't that bothered about them. I had tried something similar Barry M had done as a limited polish a couple of years ago and found that the metallic gold and silver tended to chip easily and I guess it put me off similar polishes for a while. But then I saw these four shades in a set on Asos and before you know it, they were in amongst my gifts from my mam for Christmas 2015. Initially because I wasn't keen on the metallic formula of previous similar products, I didn't give these much of a go but oh lordy, how silly I was to put off trying these babies out properly.

I have four shades: Silver, Gold, Copper, and Indigo. There is a great full colour range available now which covers your typical metallics (i.e. what I have the majority of), but also pinks and greens for more unusual nail finishes. Although these polishes are metallic, the foil/chrome finish they give your nails is actually quite subtle, making them a great choice for those who might not want to make too much of a statement with their nails or if you have to tone those nails down for work. Even the shade Indigo - despite being quite a deep blue - is wearable as it has such a silver sheen to it in daylight.

When it comes to application, the best thing about this range is how quick they dry. I've done a whole post before about how I go through stints of being incredibly impatient and not invested in my nails and thus a polish that dries quickly is a must when I'm feeling like that. These are a great on-the-go polish as they take no time at all to dry so if you're in a rush or even need to do your nails on the move, these would be a good shout. Another good thing about the application is some of the colours seem to only need one coat. I say some because in my batch of four only gold and copper come under the one coat wonder category and I can only assume it might be the pigment or something that just doesn't work quite as well in the other two shades. However, this could be just two duds in the line - you might have better luck with applying one coat with the other colours than I have! The *needing more than one coat* thing usually doesn't bother me because I tend to do at least two or three coats to ensure longevity, but more than one coat of colour chrome can start to be a little tricky. I don't know if it's just me, but I've found upon second application, I have to apply the polish with such a light hand otherwise it causes the first coat below to strip and it means the application is patchy and not opaque. I thought this was just down to my impatience and not letting the first coat fully dry but after it happened for the third or fourth time, I knew there must be something not quite right. It's not the end of the world and as the polish dries so quickly, you can apply as many coats as you like to rectify the mess you might make, but it's just worth noting that I find the polishes work best with a light hand.

Now, my only bogey problem with them - they do chip. As my first fears and concerns suspected, these polishes do chip easier than other colours and brands I wear but I think a lot of that is down to it being a quick drying metallic polish. Used with a base coat and a top coat, you can get a good three or four days wear out of these colour chromes, but after that lucky four day marker, I need to take it all off and start fresh. This isn't *that bad* to deal with, just means I wouldn't jump to wear the range on holiday for instance when you don't have a lot of opportunities to top up or clean up. But right now? Right now I love them. They're subtle but interesting and different, they apply and dry super fast, and price point? At £4.99 a bottle, you can't complain! I'm also desperate to get my hands on the red shade - I've got a feeling it would be perfect for Christmas and the festive period - even more so than the gold!

Have you tried the Models Own Colour Chromes? If so, what do you think of them?

- A.
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June 13, 2016

How to Look 10 Yrs Younger

There is literally nothing new or different to see here - I'm wearing denim and I'm wearing clogs surprise, surprise - but I point-blank refuse to dress my age and this was my best attempt at dressing like a 5 year old. If I'd worn some white frilly ankle socks and pigtails, I feel like it would have actually have had some sort of time machine effect but I wasn't that keen to knock 20 years off of my age.

I'm super pleased that it's starting to be comfortable to wear no tights. I might have the palest, knobbliest legs in the whole of the south of England, but having no tights on instantly makes every outfit look better in my opinion!

Matalan Shirt (similar) | Primark Denim Pinafore (similar) | Topshop Barrel Bag (old) | Lotta from Stockholm Clogs

- A.
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June 10, 2016

7 Days of Nature Photography

After a recent scroll through Twitter, I realised I had a notification from the lovely Sarah from ItsSarahAnn, challenging me to a seven day photography challenge. Usually things like this don't appeal to me because I like to create my content from the idea up, but this sounded like a wonderful idea and also come on, Sarah is lovely and said the kindest things about my photography so I couldn't let her down. Then would you believe it but I received two more notifications from the equally fab Melberryy and JamieTSmyth informing me they had nominated me too, so I definitely had to take part!

So the idea of this post challenge/tag is to post nature photography from seven consecutive days and guess what? I'm going to cheat just a wee bit. Initially I thought "great! I have half term! I can go out every day and photograph different things!" but typical English weather made sure I remembered when I come from and shit from the heavens for the majority of the week. I still managed to get some new snaps, but as he skies were so grey, the conditions for photography just weren't that great. This didn't stop be though as I have some snaps from a couple of recent walks and wanders so this is a perfect opportunity to share those too. I've mentioned before on this blog that one of my most favourite things to photograph is all that nature has to offer and this post certainly just added fuel to that passionate fire. I really enjoyed getting the content for this post albeit tricky due to unpredictable weather so I hope you enjoy.

Wonderful Winchester
I've probably said it a thousand times, but Winchester is just so picturesque. Especially in the summer, I sometimes just like to take stock and truly *look* at how great it is to live in such a beautiful city and call it my home. The various walks down by the river are always somewhere I find myself pinching myself that I'm so lucky.

Sun Shine Bright
Okay, so I'm not going to say again how fantastic Winchester is, but surprise surprise, this is a shot from another wander around the lovely place but on a different route once again. This is a little road down by one of the churches that believe it or not, I didn't actually head down and never have - it just looked nice! Maybe I need to head that way next time and see what I find.

I Spy a Magnolia Tree
I love this time of year when all the cherry blossom blooms, but another bloom that is lovely to see line the streets are magnolias. There was a huge tree lining the path from university and although the lighting wasn't the best, I couldn't not take a photograph of how beautiful it looked.

The Temptation to Take a Dip
Matt & I took a huge walk recently which is something we like to do when the weather permits. As it was our first "big one" of the year, we decided to just take one of our usual routes. There's a particular patch of the river that always looks so lovely - it looks so cosy and secluded despite being on the main bike/hiking track. The trees and greenery surrounding it has grown so much since last summer and there were some ducks joyfully having a swim... But it's just how crystal clear the water is in this specific spot that fascinates me.

St. Catherine's Hill's Natural "Steps"
St. Catherine's Hill is a hotspot for nature lovers and history lovers alike but my god is a hike to get to the top. I always love the fact that one of the main routes up to the top have all these exposed tree roots that kind of act like a staircase. No matter how many times I try to snap a picture of them, they never look as impressive as they do to the naked eye, but this was the best I could do.

Silhouette Sunset
One good thing about terrible weather is that it often leads to a nice skyline if it clears up before sunset. Although this was shot from my bedroom window, the silhouette these trees create when the sky is multicoloured is one of my favourite views.

Duck(s) Below the Willow
The far side of Winchester city centre is not somewhere I usually go to, but I have clearly been missing out because - just look at how many ducks hang out here! This spot, although busy and bustling, seemed like a really sweet spot for an ice cream and a cold ice drink with good company.

And there we have it; my 7 days of nature photography. Apologies for slightly cheating and not shooting seven consecutive days but I would much rather include content that is nice to look at (I hope!) rather than just seven shots of the same grey sky and raindrops... I'm now supposed to nominate some fellow nature enthusiasts to take part in the challenge but to be honest, off the top of my head, I can only think of those who have already done it! So I nominate anyone and everyone - get out there, enjoy what this gorgeous green earth has to offer and enjoy being behind the camera.

- A.
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June 08, 2016

Real Talk: That Time of the Month

Okay ladies, listen up. I thought I'd do a slightly different post to my normal beauty themed ramblings today but I'm pretty sure it's something we can all relate to on a monthly basis. I'm talking periods. If you're anything like me, they're a hindrance, a monthly dread, a cataclysmic event that I'd rather not have to deal with... ever. But over time I've learned, you really need to take care of yourself and kind of embrace what you're going through. Now I know there's going to be some of you reading this like "wow, don't be so dramatic" and all I have to say is, you must be a lucky one who hasn't had periods that bad. Just to give you a little TMI, I used to pass out from the pain of mine as a teen, they were completely irregular and would happen up to every two weeks, and I just generally would have given anything to get rid of them. Nowadays they've kind of settled down, but they can still make me feel crippled with pain and thus anxiety for work and can still be a major annoyance. And this is why I'm going to share with you all the things I like to do pamper and care wise to make it all a little more smooth sailing.

So first of all let's talk about the whole process a little more. I'm sure we've all been on the receiving end of comments like "oh it must be your time of the month", "have you got the painters in?", "are you on the rag?", "is Aunt Flo visiting?" etc. all because we may have said something sassy or snapped because you know, you can't obviously do these things as a woman unless there's an underlying reason (I digress). But people who say that - do they really understand that if that is the case, and you are "on the rag", you've pretty much got every right to act out? Just to give you some facts: the average woman will spend around 10 years of her life menstruating. That's a total of well over 3,500 days spent "on the rag" - that's a lot of time when you think about it collectively. Your hormones also swing out of control. In the lead up to your period, your oestrogen levels can plummet making you cognitively think more like a man, or you know, you can blub your eyes out because you dropped your toast on the kitchen floor - there seems to be no in between. During your period you also can suffer from iron deficiency which will cause you to feel fatigued, aching, and just down right rough, and oh yeah, there's that little fact of your uterus swelling up up to three times its normal size which also might effect how you're feeling too. This isn't me giving you all the green light to punch your boyfriend in the face or to scream and shout at everyone who might irritate you, but next time someone makes a comment about your actions, you know those actions might be a little justified.

Now let's discuss how you can make this all a little more smooth sailing. First up: tampons and pads. Menstrual cups aren't something that appeals to me so I apologise for having no insight to those ladies, but tampons and pads are something I'm well experienced with. I've always been someone who is happy to just grab and go when I'm shopping for sanitary products but recently, the brilliant company Veeda contacted me and wanted to know if I'd be interested in trying some of their products. Their sanitary products have recently become available in the UK and are now also available in Boots. They are a brand who specialise in 100% natural cotton tampons and it got me thinking... I will read about the chemicals and contents in my hair dye, my skin care, my makeup... but tampons? It never even occurred to me to look at the ingredients. It might sound trivial, but using 100% natural cotton products is good for you - you need to know what you're putting into your body is 100% safe for you and Veeda's products certainly are.

I'm going to state the obvious parts now too - if you don't have a hot water bottle or microwaveable lavender popcorn bag thing, get one. And make sure your cupboards and fridge are stocked to the brim with comforting snacks. I am a notorious snacker anyway, but gorging on chocolate or other naughty but damn tasty treats can make you feel better. A lot of the symptoms you suffer on the lead up to and whilst on your period are the same as those during pregnancy (aches, pains, bloating, hunger/cravings, emotional distress, bad skin etc.) so I say why not make yourself feel better even if its just for those 10 minutes you spend sat on your kitchen floor, scooping nutella out of the jar whilst you mumble about how fat you're getting. If snacks aren't your jam, I'd recommend a bath. This is currently the worst thing for me as my flat doesn't have a bathtub and there's no greater feeling than having a piping hot bath when you're on. Grab a good book or magazine. Take your iPad or laptop in there and watch as many episodes of your fave TV show before the water goes cold. Load up the tub with soothing bath salts or essential oils or, of course, Lush bath products and let it all ease your pain and heightened stress/irritation levels. I find the best time to do this is either if you're having a slow morning and need an instant pick-me-up for the rest of the day, or late at night to calm your aches and pains before bedtime. My fave products for when I do have access to a bath are just a couple of drops of lavender essential oil (or some of the0 Dr. Bronner Lavender castile soap) or if I want to push the boat out, Milky Bath, A French Kiss, and Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment all from Lush strike a good cord with me. Fear not fellow bathtub-less ladies because the best thing about essential oils is that you can also use them in the shower. Just add them to the corner of your shower or the opposite end of your bathtub and the heat and steam of the shower will wake them up and carry the fragrance, making you feel much more at ease.

A good face mask is also a hit with me during this time of the month. Most of us suffer with bad skin during this time so a face mask either when soaking in the tub or relaxing in bed or on the sofa is a good indulgence. My current favourite is The Body Shop's Blue Corn 3 in 1 Mask. This mask is great as it helps draw out all the impurities in your skin so you can really start to tackle the mess your period has made. Whilst wearing this, I like to soak a couple of cotton pads in Liz Earle's Eye Bright Soothing Eye Lotion and whack them on my lids. Lying for 10 minutes with that mask on, those eye pads, and some good music playing can totally improve your mood. Another joy of using this mask is that it doubles up as a scrub so removing it really aids you in feeling like you're scrubbing away those pesky impurities and congested skin ready for your skin to improve once the painters have left.

My last skin care love to do whilst on your period is actually just taking some time out to properly care for it. We all seem to have an interest in skincare routines to some degree, but taking time out to really get to know your skin is so beneficial - particularly during this time when you think you look like a troll. Lisa Eldridge is like my go-to for skincare and makeup and after watching a video of hers a while ago, I picked up a technique she uses which really makes you feel pampered and like you've got a spa at home (I also totally copied her technique in the hopes that I look as hot as her when I'm in my 40s because I mean come on, have you seen her?! Heart eyes. Heart eyes everywhere). So back to this technique. Basically take a cleanser of your choice (I'd recommend something with a slippery or oily consistency as it works best) and you want to add a generous amount to your hands and begin to massage it into you clean, dry, makeup-less face. You can do all sorts of gentle patting, massaging, circular, angular motions you wish - there's no right or wrong ways to do this - but you want to try and do it for as long as you can stomach. I find it nice to do on a pamper evening when you're catching up with TV or watching a film as you don't want to concentrate on what you're doing too much. Just let your hands guide you and massage away for as long as you can or for as long as it doesn't bore you. I've found it really helps to plump up my skin, give it a bit of natural glow and goodness back, and it generally seems to help kickstart my skin healing after it's period breakouts.

If you think about how little time we usually spend cleansing our faces in our routines, can we really say we're getting the most out of our products and seeing the best results? Probably not, therefore this way gives your products a good fighting chance to show you what they're really made of. My all time favourite for this job is the Superfacialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Skin Renew oil cleanser as it is so silky soft and really brightens your skin and gives you some radiance and nourishment. You don't have to go out and buy any fancy or expensive oils for this though. If you're a fan of coconut oil or you are happy to use olive oil or castor oil (both are really good at balancing out the pH levels of your skin and thus improving your skin's condition) I would recommend those just as highly. This also doesn't have to be something you do solely on your period though. I try to do it once a week if not more if I remember/can be bothered to as it does improve the skin. But it's especially nice to do when you feel like shit and hey, if you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe you could convince them to do the massaging for you I mean, I don't want to plant ideas in your head, but if you want to have a full spa-at-home experience...

Periods can be a pain and 100% make us feel like shit 50%+ of the time, but try and take it all in your stride and take some comfort in the fact that you're not alone and like I've told you, you've kind of got scientific fact backing up the fact that you want to punch many people in the face during this dilemma of a time. The best advice I can give though is something my great gran used to say and that is to always make sure you're "put together" and radiate out what you want to soak in. So I say go for the big hair do, whack on that bold lip and cat flick liner if it's gonna make you feel good and even if you do want to moan and complain (which is totally fine, I do it constantly) try to keep it contained a little more or do it in isolation. If you act like a bad bitch who owns the fact that she feels like death but doesn't want anyone to know her uterus is trying to kill her, you will come across as a bad bitch with periods being 0% of her problems. And who doesn't want that confidence showing huh?

- A.
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June 06, 2016

Socially Acceptable Pyjamas

So, it seems we've have our 3 days of summer here in the UK as the weather plummeted back down in temperature and the skies are constantly grey once again. As the sun was making an appearance, I decided to break out this ultra-light jumpsuit (note: it is not pyjamas, honest!) but have had no choice but to team it with a jumper, but I absolutely love it so I can't resist breaking it out despite the lack of sunshine. The print is so summery and *not me* but I know I'm going to live in it when the weather gets too hot and on every hot holiday because it is so light and comfortable to wear. Because the fabric is so light, it creases like crazy, so if we could just ignore how creased to bits it is that would be swell. I'm also fully aware it makes me look about 16 at best though, which is fine, I think teamed with an ice cream I can rock that child look with little effort. Psst, if you also want to look like you're wearing pyjamas outside, this jumpsuit is currently in a massive reduction sale on Asos! You're welcome fellow jammies fashion lovers.
Somedays Lovin' Jumpsuit | Vero Moda Jumper (similar) | Topshop Barrel Bag (old) | Forever21 Flats

- A.
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