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& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

August 31, 2016

Seventeen Mega Matte Lipsticks

You're probably up to the eyeballs in lipstick posts from NB in the last few weeks so I promise this will be the last of them for a while, but when I saw that Seventeen had brought a new lipstick range out I just knew I had to give it a try. The new Mega Matte line is exactly what it says on the tin and is supposed to be a formula which will last for up to 13 hours(!!!). As a matte lippy lover I wanted to put these guys to the test but I especially wanted to test them out when I saw the ridiculously good colour range. There are 12 colours in the line, ranging from your wearable everyday nudes to bright violet purples but the best part? If you check them out on the Boots website for example, there is a colour wheel chart which indicates what shades you *should* be wearing for your skin tone. Now, I completely ignored the colour wheel because I'm a big believer in wearing whatever you want, but I picked up just two shades to try out which are: Looking Buff (a deep dusty/vintage rose nude shade considered a 'universal' lip shade) and Lava You A Lot (a bright hot orange/red which is perfect for summer and listed as a colour ideal for 'medium/dark' skin tones).

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Amyleigh, why on earth did you pick up a shade for dark skin tones?!" and the simple answer is I love orange and orangey red lipsticks. It's that simple. Whilst those sorts of shade definitely pop on darker lips, I think they really help lift and brighten my complexion and look great during the summer months. I thought I'd try out two shades which are the "typical" choices for me so I could really scrutinise the formula and wear of the lipsticks as well as see how they compare to some of my current faves which are similar in colour. The Mega Mattes retail for £4.49 - currently only £3.49 in Boots - which I think is an absolute steal but let's get onto how they swatch, look, and wear.

Seventeen Mega MattesSeventeen Mega Matte Lipstick 'Looking Buff'

Looking Buff
'Looking Buff' is definitely a wearable shade and is just a pinch darker than my normal lip colour. I think this is a really lovely shade that I do think would suit most skin tones as its got a good balance of blue/brown/nude hues to it. My one 'silly' gripe with these products is that the shape of the lipstick bullet is a nightmare for me to apply. I don't know if you can tell in the top picture of Looking Buff on the lips, but it's very easy to end up with the product overdrawn on your lips (my cupids bow isn't as defined as it naturally is because the bullet of the product is more rounded). Now obviously this is something that will be solved over time as the lipstick moulds to my lip shape and application method, but if you have thin lips or if your lips have a naturally distinct cupid bow for example, you might want to take your time with the application. The formula itself is very creamy when applying despite it's matte texture and I found that it didn't drag on the lips too much. This shade is really pigmented and after just a couple of swipes on the top and bottom lip, I was good to go!

Seventeen Mega Matte LipsticksSeventeen Mega Matte Lipstick: Lava You A Lot

Lava You A Lot
Okay so I really really like this shade. It's so bright and vibrant and perfect for those sunny days or holidays abroad. Just like the more wearable Looking Buff shade, I found the formula to be creamy and easy to apply but again, I still needed to be careful about the shape of my lips. Lava You A Lot was a little trickier to apply though in the sense that one or two swipes across each lip was not enough. Don't get me wrong, this shade is highly pigmented, but to get the colour completely opaque, I did need to make sure to apply and apply again in order to get one solid colour across the lip. From a few reviews I've seen of other colours, this also seems to be a wee issue with the deep bright purple shade, Violet Summer, which seems to be the patchiest of the bunch. These lippies are really buildable though so as long as you don't mind spending an extra minute on your application, you can build up the colour to completely mask your natural lip colour without the product building up and looking cakey. A *big test* I wanted to do with this shade in particular was to see how well it would wear throughout the day and I can honestly say, I was not disappointed. I wore this shade for around 8 hours and drank copious amounts of tea and ate numerous things and the lipstick barely budged. For £4.49, that is uh-mazing.

Seventeen Mega Matte Lipstick Swatches
From left to right: "Looking Buff" and "Lava You A Lot"

Overall these Mega Mattes are well worth the small price tag. They're creamy to apply, I don't find them drying despite the matte appearance (although they do sit in the natural creases of your lips even if you balm up/moisturise beforehand so if you don't like that, it's something to bear in mind), and they're not tacky to the touch like liquid matte lipsticks can be. The feel incredibly light on the lips and don't give you that 'matte' lip feeling if you smack your lips together (you know the feeling I'm talking about right? That powdery, 'it feels like I'm lifting up and removing flakes of the product if I'm squeeze my lips together' feeling? Yeah you don't get that at all. Huzzah). Hopefully you can see from the swatches, the look of these lipsticks is exactly what it promises as they have zero shine or satin-look to them so they're great for bold lip or matte lippie lovers alike.

I don't know if they'd last the 13 hour wear time as I haven't been brave enough to keep a lippie on for that length of time, but considering Lava You A Lot lasted around 8 hours with no touch-ups, I'd say they're pretty damn good. When eating and drinking, I found they didn't really transfer that much (maybe a tiny bit around the corners of my mouth) but that was it. I also found when removing the lipstick my lips were much darker in colour to normal so I guess they stain the lips slightly too?! If they do then I'm an even bigger fan of them because it all helps with the longevity of them and prevents the dreaded "ring around the outer lip" look. For under 5 quid, I don't think you can grumble and I'll definitely be picking up some other shades ASAP - Roses Are Red and Rioja Your World, I've got my eye on you guys for autumn/winter!

Have you tried the new Seventeen Mega Mattes? What are your thoughts?

- A.
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August 30, 2016

St. Peter's Basilica & Square

Believe it or not, we're still ploughing our way through my recent trip to Rome (I know hang in there guys, the end of these posts are on the horizon I assure you!) and today I thought it was high-time I shared with you one of my favourite spots: St. Peter's Basilica. This place is amazing and it will be no surprise that it is full to the brim with tourists at every moment of everyday because it's just a stunning space to stand in. Because Matt & I visited the basilica during the afternoon of a busy day, we didn't spend an awful lot of time in it due to being extremely tired and irritable from the heat and bustle of the place. It is a popular tourist destination and it's obvious why but it is worth bearing in mind *just* how packed this place can be if you are considering scoping it out.

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter was constructed in the 1500s (finally completed in 1626) and is considered the burial place of St.Peter who was one of Christ's disciples and the very first Pope. It's situated in the Vatican City, Italy and let me tell you, walking past it every morning whilst on holiday in Rome was amazing and I never once got bored of the beautiful architecture. The first full day we were in Rome was a Sunday and us silly sausages kind of forgot we were in a Roman Catholic (Roman would have been the giveaway word) city and couldn't understand why there was a huge crowd, complete with gunned police guards, gathering in St. Peter's Square. Until we rounded it and saw the Pope on a big TV screen. He was addressing his people, giving his Sunday sermon he gives every Sunday if he happens to be "home". It was such a strange experience to see someone I so frequently see on the news and in the papers actually there - in front of me - and hear him speak. We didn't stay for long because I speak zero Italian so I can't even guess what he was talking about, but it was a fantastic experience nevertheless! Because the square was so busy, we decided to check out St. Peter's later in the week.

When we eventually checked it out, we had had a busy long morning in the Vatican Museums (which you can read all about here) and so in the baking midday sun, we waited in line to go into St. Peter's feeling a little tired. St. Peter's is completely free to enter which is one reason it is so busy with tourists, but it is also a pilgrimage site for many Catholics. Security is tight here and we went through different scanner checks to enter the building. Something worth bearing in mind if you're planning to visit the basilica is it is a place of worship so make sure you're dressed appropriately. It might get ridiculously hot in Rome and Vatican City, but booty shorts and crop tops are not needed in a holy place. Signs at the security checks explain that huge bags will not be allowed into the basilica (a normal backpack is fine) and that shorts are not okay and your shoulders should be covered. I wore a midi dress with capped sleeves and that was fine - just be mindful when you're getting dressed before your visit and you'll be fine! A lot of women took lightweight scarves with them to cover their shoulders too. But now, let's take a look at just how beautiful this place is.

St. Peter's Basilica CeilingsSt. Peter's DetailSt. Peter's BasilicaSt. Peter's Basilica CeilingSt Peter'sThe Papal Basilica of St PeterSt. Peter's Floor ArtSt. Peter's InteriorSt Peter's Ceiling DetailSt. Peter's CeilingSt. Peter's

Gorgeous isn't it? Like I mentioned earlier, it will be busy in there no matter when you visit, so bear it in mind that you can't always spend a long time looking at the artwork of Michelangelo and Bernini etc. if you don't want to be pushed around by thousands of others trying to look at it all too. It's also important to remember to take a proper good look at the Piazza outside! So many people forget to pay close attention to St. Peter's Square because it isn't the main attraction, but it's a gorgeous spot to spend some time whether it's sitting on the steps to catch a break from the hot sun or sitting by one of the fountains to watch all the passerbys. The most noteworthy part of the plaza is the Tuscan colonnades surrounding the perimeter of the square which were constructed by the artist Bernini and are supposed to represent the maternal arms of the church embracing all who visit her. On top of these famous colonnades are a variety of Saint statues - each one a specific saint and therefore different in their stance and appearance. I'd highly recommend just taking some time to look at them because it's so impressive that each of them have their own personality and look - not to mention the square is a sun trap and perfect for taking a minute or 30 to just sit and have a rest in the glorious sunshine!

The Papal Basilica of St. PeterSt. Peter'sSt Peter'sSt. Peter's DetailSt. Peter's BasilicaSt. Peter's Square

- A.
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August 29, 2016

Blue Florals

Just as I complain that we've seen the best of the British summer weather, it gets out sunny and hot again and this little goth doesn't know what to do with herself. Maxi dresses are something I love but always struggle to find as I'm a petite girl but have a really short torso and longgg legs despite my tiny height. This maxi was a beauty in the latest ASOS sale (still on sale now!) as it was a lovely print, a gorgeous cut, the material is lightweight so it's breathable in the heat despite it's long sleever and it's not see through! Huzzah! Someone needs to have a word with whoever makes white dresses/skirts and explain that we don't in fact want our knickers showing through them, ta. The only downside to this dress is despite being someone who definitely fits into the petite section, the inner lining that is supposed to hide your hoo-hah is sooo short it only *just* covers my bum. I actually love to wear this maxi as a shirt though with skinny jeans so all is not lost!

Asos Petite Maxi Dress | Glamorous Fringe Bag (similar) | Asos Bow Tie Choker | Lotta From Stockholm Clogs

- A.
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August 26, 2016

Riverside Walk

One of my favourite spots in Winchester is the river side of the River Itchen. It's a lovely peaceful walk - especially early in the morning - and always gets a lot of sun (plus, there's often a lot of dogs!). Recently Matt & I took advantage of a rare sunny, rain free Sunday morning and took a wander down by the river and up to St Catherine's Hill hilltop (which you can catch in last week's lifestyle post). Although I've already featured photographs of the River Itchen and this area of Winchester on Northern Blood before, I think it's a such a picturesque beautiful area that I never get bored of taking snaps here. I can only hope you're not bored of seeing the results too; enjoy!

Blossom TreesCows GrazingClear River WaterParish of St FaithSt Cross ChurchHospital of St CrossCowsCow ClubSpeckled CowSummer SlumberCowCowsRiversideMorning Walks

This time the cows were in the main field along the walkway so I got a chance to photograph them properly. It was really hot and sunny considering it was only 7am, so they all looked tuckered out and were snoozing in pretty much a pile in the middle of the field. I love walking past these cuties because they're so used to people passing through their fields, they're really placid and not skittish. Also I can't lie, I really love cows - aren't they really cute?!

- A.
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