Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

December 30, 2016

Favourite Lifestyle Posts 2016

Hello you lovely lot! On Wednesday I posted a review of my favourite beauty posts here on NB from 2016 so I thought it only seemed right to include my favourite lifestyle ones from the year today, too! Surprise surprise, I realised I had far too many to include in just one post so I've split my faves into two posts - this one is covering just general lifestyle posts and the next one will be covering my favourite photography-based lifestyle posts (which include the odd travel post too). So let's see what I've enjoyed writing about, photographing, and what you guys have enjoyed too:

A-Z of Amyleigh
This was one of the most fun and lighthearted posts I put together this year and I really enjoyed writing it. I like to keep my blog quite informal and chatty 98% of the time anyway, but this post let me truly be myself in the best way as it gave me a chance to talk about some more of my interests and parts of my personality that might not always be visible on NB becuse quite frankly - I can't squeeze it all in! It was a tricky post to write because I was stumped trying to think of things for some letters and other letters I had too many things to choose from to include, but I really recommend writing a post like this for your blog because it just gives your blog an extra personal touch and chance to be yourself. I loved it.

Me and My Other Interests: Music
Another great one to write was this post all about some of my favourite music and how my music taste has developed since a young age. I was a massive scene kid/emo when I was younger with the coon-tail hair extensions and too much eyeliner but now, I still have the black hair but I tend to dress to whatever style I want rather than dress the way my music taste would dictate. Because of that, people are sometimes surprised that I like the music I do and those who know I like "heavier" stuff are then surprised to learn I really love the likes of Amy Winehouse and Busted. So this was a nice chance for me to really waffle on for hours about my favourite music and as I consider music a major importance and passion in my life, it as nice to include it in NB as I don't get the opportunity to talk about it that often.

Man Time: Beer Review
Something I would like to do in 2017 is have Matt write more posts on NB. Matthew is such a talented writer and after he did a review on some beers for this post, I think you guys really enjoyed his writing style and what he had to say. It would be fantastic to have more "manly" themed posts as he's a fashionable guy who knows his food, beer, skincare, and male grooming so watch this space!

My Favourite Books - Part 1
The first instalment of a run-down of my favourite books obviously needed to be included in this favourites post. I love reading and I'm making it a target to read a hell of a lot more in 2017 because it has unfortunately taken a back seat this year, big time. I try to do book review posts as often as I can on NB but I realised I really needed to give you guys a clear idea of what sort of books I like the most so you know why I might have the view of a book I do. Of course I will be writing more instalments of my favourite reads in 2017, but for now definitely check out this post to get an idea of what I like to get lost in.

25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years
For whatever reason, I saw turning 25 this year as a milestone and a chance to reflect on what I've learned in this time. Writing this post was another chance to be lighthearted and informal but it also gave me the opportunity to say some more serious things and I guess be really honest with myself and you guys - 25 isn't old and you won't have your life sorted out like you thought you would when you were 16. It was a nice personal post to include on NB and I will be making an effort to include more personal posts in the new year.

When in Rome: Where to Eat
Although I created a lot of posts covering my time in Rome this summer, one post I particularly liked writing and collating was this one about my favourite topic: food. A big focus of our holiday in Rome was to eat as much good food as we could and we think we pretty much nailed it. This post ended up being a pretty lengthy one but if you're a fan of pizza, you will be amongst friends reading it.

Taxidermy for Beginners
It's no secret that I love taxidermy. I even mention it in my short blog bio because it's something I actively love buying and looking at but I had never made my own until this year. Matt & I took a beginners class and made our own little mice and it was such an interesting experience. It made me truly appreciate the effort that goes into each piece of taxidermy that is created and how good you have to be with your hands and patience. Although Matt said he would never do it ever again, I think if the opportunity came up again to do another animal I would definitely go for it. It was a unique experience and made me really admire those who create things I just take for granted to decorate my home.

Me and My Other Interests: Video Games
I feel like I'm cheating putting in two of my "Me and My Other Interests" posts in this favourites run-down but I have enjoyed writing them and look forward to doing a few more in 2017. My other big love in life is video games and again, it's a love of mine I don't mention all that often on the blog because I don't want it to get crowded with too many different topics as it would be difficult to follow what I'm posting about when. However I love video games probably as much (if not even more!) than makeup so writing this post was an utter joy and a trip down nostalgic memory lane.

Pork Banh Mi Recipe
Lastly, I thought I better mention a recipe and which better one to mention than this super tasty sandwich that Matt & I have quite often as it's one of our most favourite meals to have. This is such an amazing sandwich to have that leaves you feeling utterly stuffed but it's nice and light and relatively healthy for you so it's ace. I'm hoping to have many more recipes on NB in 2017 as Matt & I are making a conscious effort to try and eat a little bit better and to also make an effort with making our food interesting most meal times so if you like to get creative in the kitchen, keep an eye out for that!

- A.
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December 28, 2016

Favourite Beauty Posts 2016

Thankfully we're approaching the end of what seems to have been a universally miserable year by many accounts. Although 2016 may have been a rollercoaster of a year for most of us, 2016 also marks a full year of blogging for me that has been successful and I can see how far I have come in that short yet long time. At the start of this year, I did a little review post and included some of my favourite posts I'd created for NB in 2015 and I was about to do the same for 2016 then I realised... There was far too much to include in just one post. In 2015, I had only posted from July - December and I also had done a lot more outfit posts than say photography or mindfulness posts. So I figured the best thing to do would be to categorise them - just how I usually categorise what I post on specific days on NB anyway - and see what my top posts have been for each category so far.

So to kick things off I thought I'd start with beauty/skincare/haircare. I've been posting my beauty posts on NB every Wednesday and they are often some of my most popular posts every week and if I look my stats for this whole year, they've been some of my most visited and read posts of all which is crazy! I absolutely love experimenting with makeup and trying to find the skincare that is right for me so maybe my passion for this shines through in my blog posts and that's why you guys like them (or you're just massive makeup *addicts* like me and can never read too many reviews of the same products every seems to have been testing out!). So I've picked my favourite posts from 2016 and they include posts that I really enjoyed writing, posts where the photography came out better than expected and that I was super proud of, and posts that you guys seemed to love. So let's take a look at 2016 beauty from NB:

Lush: Bella Fruta Giftbox
Lush seems to be a staple beauty post/video favourite topic and it's because we all like some glitter and nice smelling luxurious baths now and again. Reviewing this giftset was great because it gave me the opportunity to try out some products that I would necessarily pick out for myself from Lush so I found some hidden gems that are now some firm favourites and also I was pretty damn happy with my photography on this post - despite being silly and not including any swatches/in-action shots of the products in use!

Why I Wear Makeup
This post was a lovely one to write just because it gave me a chance to be honest about why I actually wear makeup and it was great to see that my reasons have changed for the better over the years. Long gone are the days that I wore it as a mask to hide my imperfections behind and hello to the current days where I wear it because it's fun, experimental, and an art form. Writing this post gave me the opportunity to reflect on something I've done for the past 13 years and truly understand the value of it and why I enjoy it.

Vegan & Cruelty Free Skincare from Dr Botanicals
I had to include this post in my favourites because it was the first skincare review I was asked to do with a brand. It gave me the chance to work with a brand and also the opportunity to try out some skincare that otherwise I never would have tried due to not knowing a lot about it and also because of it's high-end price point. I've really fallen in love with this skincare brand through reviewing their products for NB so it's safe to say this was a successful post all-round (except for my bank balance).

Tokyo Milk / Dark Perfume
Another post that I was insanely happy with the photography on was this review of the minis set from Tokyo Milk. I love Tokyo Milk for their perfumes and this set was *everything* to get my hands on. Their scents are so unique and unusual that there's something for everyone whilst also being noticeably different from what you tend to see on the high street. This post was a real challenge to write because wow-wee, is it hard to write about fragrances! I adore wearing perfume and trying different scents and brands but writing about the notes and how it smelt to me was really tricky so I definitely want to try and write more fragrance-related posts in future to get some more practice at trying to describe scents!

Lime Crime Perlees Metallic Lipsticks Review
It should be no surprise to see at least one lipstick review post made its way into my favourites this year because everyone knows I love a good lipstick. Lime Crime have been a favourite brand of mine for years now when it comes to lipsticks and I really pushed myself out my comfort zone this year by experimenting with the metallic lip trend and the Lime Crime Perlees did not disappoint. I loved reviewing these lipsticks because they were so different to what I was used to but I also really enjoyed getting the photography done for this post too.

Real Talk: That Time of the Month
I've done a couple of "Real Talk" posts now and plan to do a lot more in the new year, but to kick them off I started with one thing I know a lot about and that's periods. I was hesitant to post this one at first but then I realised I'm confident and happy to talk about my body hang-ups and what I struggle with health and mental health-wise so this was a no brainer. It was actually really therapeutic to write about the struggles I've had with periods over the years and it was really encouraging and comforting to see so many of you lovely lot tell me all about your bloody woes on Twitter and in the comments in response. I got to test out some great natural products from Veeda too which led to me being more educated about period products on a whole so it was such a positive post to write.

Foundation Free & Happy
Quite possibly my most favourite post to write in my beauty category this year was a one that was strangely about not wearing makeup. I've been going out, sans foundation, for months now and it has been such a big step from my where I was this time last year, with a mask of thick foundation and powder just to hide my acne. I know lots of people love to wear a full face and good for you - do it. Do whatever the hell you want. But I've realised this past year I'm actually more comfortable and confident with no foundation. If I've got a spot that is the size of a small nation that I can't cover up properly I still get down about it but I just deal with the best way I can instead of letting it get to me so much. I am so proud of myself and my change in mentality so writing that down was such a pat on the back for me.

The Body Shop Matt Lip Liquid Range Review
Lastly, I had to give a shout out to this lip review post because although I've already included one lip review post in this favourites round-up, this particular one has been my most viewed and read post of the whole of 2016 nay the whole time I've been blogging on NB. Insane, right?! I couldn't believe it but this has been a big favourite. I was quite pleased with my swatches and I feel like I had written it very honestly, but it also seems to have been a big hit with you lot so thank you so much!

- A.
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December 26, 2016

The Style Slump

Ladies and gents... It's happening and it's happening hard. I'm in a massive style slump and I don't know what to do about it or how I go about getting out of it. Everything I put on lately doesn't feel like "me" but they're all my clothes - how can I not feel like me?! I had a pretty sizeable clear-out on eBay last month and sold a bunch of stuff but I'll be honest, I think I'm going to be selling *a lot* more of my belongings in 2017 because I just feel so "meh" about my wardrobe. I know this sounds like such a pathetic, privileged thing to be whining about but I just feel like I don't suit any of my clothes any more! So I don't know what direction that means for NB, buto please be prepared for possibly seeing a lot more minimal and capsule wardrobe outfit posts in the new year! The one thing I can confirm for sure though: there will be plenty of denim, this belt I never take off now, and plenty of fedoras - no matter how or what I might change.

Topshop Chevron Mini Dress (similar) | Asos Belt | Asos Jeans (DIY) | Asos Fedora (similar) |
Poor Boy Vintage Saddlebag via Asos Marketplace (similar) | Asos Loafers

- A.
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December 23, 2016

Gunther von Hagens' Animals Inside Out

Hello wonderful people! Earlier this week, I took myself out for a few hours on a solo date to go grab a hot beverage and to have a wander around Newcastle for something to do and a bit of self-care. I took myself along to the Life Science Centre because there was an exhibition on that I had been desperate to see since summer: Gunther von Hagens' Animals Inside Out. For those who may not know, Gunther von Hagens' is a German anatomist who has become universally famous after doing various anatomy/biology-based tv shows in front of live audiences. His latest breakthrough in field is being able to preserve tissue samples and specimens in a process he calls 'plastination'. Plastination is a method used to basically cast models of muscles, capillaries, and just general internal tissue of the human and animal bodies and is honestly extremely fascinating and has no doubt had a huge effect on the scientific world.

Last year I went to Life Science Centre to see the hugely successful Gunther von Hagens' Bodyworlds exhibition. This exhibition showcased donated human specimens which had gone through the process of plastination and was very insightful and educational. So you can imagine my reaction when I heard his next instalment - involving animals this time - was coming to the centre. I was supposed to go in August but was ill at the time so I jumped at the chance to have a wander around the exhibition on a chilly December afternoon. The exhibition was exactly the same as Bodyworlds but with animal specimens instead of humans. At first, I thought it was just going to be a bit mediocre as there were a lot of small animals such as fish and baby chicks on display but boy oh boy, was it worth the £11 ticket. I tried to get pictures of absolutely everything but I'll be honest - the pictures don't do the exhibition justice, the lighting was too bright in some cases so pictures aren't that clear, and I was so intrigued to really check out the specimens that I didn't spend long fiddling around with my camera to get shots just right. However, I did get some photos to show you why this exhibition is truly worth your time and money so let's take a look: (if you are remotely squeamish and don't like anatomy, please don't continue reading. The specimens are plastic copies however I understand that the sight of internal organs and blood vessels/arteries etc. may not sit well with some people!)

Ostrich WingsAnimals Inside Out: A Bodyworlds ProductionAnimals Inside Out ExhibitionShark at Animals Inside OutGunther Von Hagens' Animals Inside OutOstrich at Animals Inside Out

For me, the exhibition was laid out fantastically well and was tantalising for the majority of the senses. Lots of the larger animals which were on display (such as the ostrich, shark, and bear for example) had Nat Geo documentaries playing on huge screens behind their cabinets so if you had children with you for example, they would find it easier to relate each skeleton/muscle specimen to which animal it belongs to. They had wonderful calming music playing as you walked around too which just created a lovely yet surreal atmosphere that almost got to me emotionally (could have been because it was almost that time of the month but I like to think it was the ambience of the place). Hearing all the animal noises really added to the vibe and finish of the exhibition and each cabinet and display had brilliant informative plaques detailing information not only about the animals' muscles and how they move etc. but even just information on their diets, what sort of personality they generally have, and more. As I said earlier, they had some of the smaller species towards the entrance and obviously had the "grand finale" at the end of the walk, but there was a great range of the types of animals and how they were displayed on show. Skeletons, taxidermy, even thin cross-section slices framed on the walls... There was so much to look at and take in.

Gunther von Hagen: Animals Inside OutRabbit SkeletonSlice of Lamb at Animals Inside OutPlastination BearGorilla at Animals Inside OutGorilla Portrait

Seeing some of the larger animals that I've only ever seen alive in a zoo if at all was so surreal. To see just how big they are in comparison to humans really puts into perspective how amazing our planet is and how we should all consciously make an effort to look after our planet for the sake of these other majestic species. There were some brilliant installations that made you truly understand the anatomy and science behind how certain animals work. For example, the horse head installation was great - you had a head that showed the horse's muscle structure in one cabinet, a one showing the capillaries and blood flow in the head, and then the skull. They also did this on an even larger scale with an ostrich so you could see just how intricate the biology behind species structure is. They also had random instalments of human models to show the difference and similarities between things such as brain and heart sizes and muscle mass.

Ostrich Capillaries - Animals Inside OutOstrich FeathersAnimals Inside Out: A Bodyworlds Production ExhibitionSlices of a Giraffe's AnatomyPlastination of ElephantSlice of Cow - Animals Inside OutGiraffe Head SliceGirraffe at Animals Inside OutHorse Skull

I can't explain the feeling of awe I had looking at that elephant and two giraffes. I've seen both animals in zoo environments before but obviously you can only get so close to them. Seeing just how big they are and seeing things like an elephant's leg was pretty much the same size as me at 5ft 2 on a good day was a feeling that I just can't describe. If you have the opportunity to check out this exhibition, I could not recommend it enough. I experienced it in such a great way because the exhibition was empty for 80% of the time I was in there so I was super lucky, but even if it was jam-packed, it would still be worth it. This particular showing of it at the Life Science Centre is still showing until the 8th January 2017 so definitely check it out if you're local or close to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. If not, keep an eye on Bodyworlds' Exhibition Calendar to see where it's showing next - they're currently dotted around Germany and in Florida too! If you can't unfortunately see it in the flesh (no pun intended) or you think seeing it up close would be a little too much, check out a lot more of my photos on my Flickr account.

- A.
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