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Self care, skin care, & nurturing Mother Nature.

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Trying to live a more minimal and conscious life in search of pure happiness and joy

October 29, 2015

Witch, Please


Halloween is right around the corner, so why not dress like a witch. Well, I didn't intentionally, but let's just go with it. Despite looking like a witch/Van Helsing hybrid, I do enjoy an all black outfit from time to time. It can help make an outfit look more put together and really suits this time of year.

Yes yes, I wore a coat when I left the house don't worry, but no one wants to see my coats. I own maybe 3 winter coats and use them in rotation and 90% of the time they ruin an outfit rather than add to it - but its getting cold so I don't care. I put my black/brown shearling jacket on so there really was no colour in this outfit except the cheeky pop of blue from the insoles of my Jeffrey's which I kind of like.

Boohoo Fedora | Primark Knitted Crop (similar) | Topshop Joni Jeans | Fringe Bag | Jeffrey Campbell Boots via Free People

- A.
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October 27, 2015

Leather & Suede


Okay okay so there is literally nothing new going on here, I know. But what can I say? I like the trend. Button down A-lines have been big this year and I've got to say I have fallen hook, line and sinker for them. My denims have taken a severe battering over the warmer months but now that there's a noticeable chill in the air, this suede baby has taken centre stage. There's just something about pairing this with a striped knit or ribbed long sleeve top that I just can't seem to get enough of. The tan suede also matches every shade of denim perfectly so you know, that's right up my street too. As a petite ladette, I often find skirts don't sit quite right for me, but these button-down A-line babes seem to tick all the right boxes (at least that's the reason I'm telling myself to justify the growing number of them in my wardrobe...)

Boohoo Striped Roll Neck | H&M Suede Skirt (similar) | Miss Selfridge Leather Jacket (old) | Topshop Bag |
ASOS Pointed Chelsea Boots

- A.
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October 26, 2015

Autumnal Berry Lips



Autumn is my favourite season for numerous reasons: the colour of the leaves, the fact that it is cold enough to start layering and for wearing scarves, hot chocolates are a daily occurrence, Halloween!, oh and all the berry/burgundy lipsticks can come back out of retirement.

I love dark lips and would happily wear them all year round, but with my dark hair it can often be a bit *too much* but everyone joins in in Autumn, right? Typically we all reach for those deep burgundy berry shades, but I see this season as a chance to rock all different purples on the lips and celebrating Halloween can help us get away with the more out-there shades, so here's a few of my favourites I turn to each Autumn/Winter:

My go-to lipliner is from the budget brand, Essence and is in the shade 05 Soft Berry. After only picking this up a couple of months ago, it has quickly become one of my favourite plumy shades. As it only cost around £3, it was an absolute bargain and its staying-power and creaminess is on par with much more expensive, high-end products. You do need to top it up throughout the day if you're eating, drinking etc. but it doesn't flake or dry out the lips so re-applications are a doddle and something I don't mind doing.

As for lipsticks, I have two very different colours but very similar formulas. My all-time favourite ever (did you read that? ever.) lipstick is a deep berry shade Shade 7 Infatuated from Accessorize. I bought this lipstick a long time ago, longer than I care to admit because really I should have thrown it out by now, but I just can't part with it. I love this shade and as its a matte finish, it stays on the lips really well. Due to the colour, it tends to stain the lips too meaning eating and drinking can be done confidently without worrying that you're going to have too much of a ninety's outlined lip going on. The other reason I love this lipstick is because of its packaging - the colour of it, the artwork of owls and plants on it - it just screams more dollar than it was. If I recall, I think this little beauty cost me no more than £5 therefore it was a steal. I do use it sparingly now though, because I cannot find another like it!

My other fave matte lippy is completely different. We all know by now Sleek give Mac a run for their money in the lipstick stakes, and this one is no different. In the shade "Mystic" this lipstick is an almost garish bright violet purple and is certainly not a one for the faint-hearted. It is extremely matte, stays put all day long, is slightly drying but the pay off makes up for it. This is a great shade for fancy dress and Halloween parties, but is also lovely for dabbing on for daytime wear to give a more subtle wash. Some other lovely autumnal Sleek lipsticks are the shades: Smother, Smoulder and Dare.

You may have noticed all my favourites are matte formulas and I guess that's just because they're easier to work with on long days and I think that's what you need when working with such deep shades. There's nothing worse than wearing a burgundy lip and it bleeding and staining around your mouth because there's no way of disguising it! Therefore my last favourite is my faithful Lime Crime Velvetine in the shade Wicked. This is the darkest of all my berry lippies and is the best for no-budge wear. Its very similar in colour to my Accessorize lipstick, only it provides a more stubborn-to-smudge finish and is great for evenings out as you don't need to worry about reapplying or flaking. I am a little cautious when using this one however as it can bleed around my lips for some reason, which I've put down to either my batch is just a bit *off* in terms of its formula, or its just because of the shade as my other Velvetines are fool-proof. All in all though, I recommend these lippies to anyone and everyone.

What berry tones do you recommend?


- A.
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October 23, 2015

Knit and Flares


Flares have quickly made a turn around from an "ugly item of mum clothing" to a fashion staple thanks to the big 70's trend we've seen this year, but they're something I've always loved and wanted to wear day in day out. This jersey pair from ASOS have been a godsend as they're comfy and stretchy just like a pair of leggings, but they've got a flattering cut that elongates my legs, and they can be dressed up in an instant. I may have to buy a few more pairs because they're becoming my everyday trousers for work... Plus, any pants that give me enough stretch to get a pair of tights underneath them for those freezing cold days are a winner winner with me!

H&M Knitted Vest (similar) | ASOS Petite Flares | Fringe Bag | Jeffrey Campbell Boots

- A.
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October 22, 2015

Estée Lauder Empties



I've recently used up some Estée Lauder skincare products which I was trialing, so let's see how I got on...

Estée Lauder is a brand I usually turn to for makeup. I love their high coverage foundations and concealers, but the only skincare item I've used and loved was the night repair recovery serum. After getting a few travel size goodies with my most recent purchase, I've finally finished them and can give a bit of a review of items which I probably wouldn't have even considered buying myself.

First up let's discuss the Take it Away Makeup Remover Lotion. I used this little tube whenever I was visiting friends or family and it was just what you'd expect - a quite thin white moisturiser-style lotion that you rubbed onto a dry face and then removed with the aid of a muslin/face cloth. As an avid user of the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, this one didn't compare, but it did do a pretty good job at getting off mascara and eye makeup. I wasn't too keen on the smell and I found that it irritated my sensitive eyes slightly whereas my usual Liz Earle does not, but it is a good alternative to cleansing balms and lotions if you need a travel size option. You do need to go in with another cleanser after using this though, so again, it does have its downsides. I don't think I'd repurchase this product again, but I can see why other users would like it.

I also used minis of the Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Line/Wrinkle Creme and Eye Creme and have nothing but good things to say about both. The face creme is silky smooth and quite thick so I used it in my evening routine and woke every morning with smooth plump skin. As for the anti-aging promises, I obviously can't comment too much, but the cream did aid in my skin looking smoother and soothed dry, broken skin areas around any acne. Although I used it exclusively in my evening skincare routine, you can by all means use it AM and PM and I suspect you would see greater results that way.

The eye creme was also really creamy and silky to apply, and again, was really thick. It was almost more of a gel than a cream in the pot and didn't irritate my overly sensitive eyes too much. It kept my dry skin patches I sometimes get under my eyebrows at bay and made my undereye area look a lot healthier so if you suffer from dark circles and get fine lines there, or dry sore skin, I would recommend this highly. Just be weary that it may make extremely sensitive eyes water!

I'm keen to try out more from Estée Lauder's skincare range, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


- A.
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October 20, 2015

Coat Weather


Ohhh yes, it's official - it's coat weather now! You have no idea how much this pleases me. I'm all about the layers and the colder weather because I love autumn and damn, I just overheat. As you can imagine for a pale girl with black hair, the summer just ain't *my thang* so I'm currently rejoicing over the whole actually needing a huge coat situation.

And I mean, we all know autumn/winter means all berry/wine/burgundy shade lipsticks and nail varnishes come out of retirement and oh lordy I love those too. Having dark hair and a ghostly face can sometimes look a little *too much* when sporting a dark plum lip, so on the days it's looking a little too goth for me, I like to try and balance it out with my clothes and knock up a more muted, pale palette for some balance.

H&M Shearling Coat (similar) | Miss Selfridge Bell Sleeve Dress (similar) | Topshop Barrel Bag (similar) | Missguided Western Boots (and similar)

- A.
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October 19, 2015

Autumn Nail Shades



Now we are all guilty of reaching for the wine red and plum purple makeup products throughout the autumn and winter months, but I admit, it gets a little boring day in day out - especially when it comes to nails. Over summer I tried to wear nail varnish as little as possible just to give my nails a bit of a break, but now that I'm back to uni and full-time teaching every day, I feel like naked nails just can't be on show. I need to have nice hands when I'm handing out that classroom work y'know.

So this also got me thinking about the same dark berry shades I wear religiously through autumn and I wanted to shake things up a bit and wear something a little different. That's when I realised my favourite Barry M shades are perfect for this time of year. I wear these colours all year round, but they're particularly good for the colder months as they're all darker and warmer tones - not a pastel shade in sight!



I love Barry M for nail varnishes. The formula is always spot on, the colour range is fantastic, and the longevity of the varnish both on the nails and in the actual bottle are both pretty damn good. That being said, besides the Speeky Quick branch of Barry M (which I've already raved about here,) I also really love the Gelly Hi Shine collection. I'm not one for matte nails, so the shinier and glossier the better and this range also seems to up the chip-free longevity by a couple of days which makes them the best.

These shades are some of my absolute favourites from the Gelly Hi Shine collection and they just scream autumn. The burnt orange "Paprika" and muted red "Chilli" shades are an almost 70's dash of colour and that's probably why I reach for them the most. But the forest green shade "Cardamon" and the mustard yellow called wait, you guessed it, "Mustard" are my go-to's for when I want a more vibrant and unique colour that still looks great against any outfit, even if it clashes. My *safe* colours or more "mature" and office suitable shades are the gorgeous "Chocolate" and "Mushroom" shades. These monochromatic shades give you a little somethin' somethin' that is a breath of fresh air from your classic black nails, and "Mushroom" is great for us ladies who just don't feel comfortable in a white nail polish (anyone else feel like they look like they're wearing tipex?). At only £3.99 a bottle and usually in some sort of offer at Boots and Superdrug, these polishes are perfect for if you want to test out a different autumnal shade without breaking the bank.


- A.
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October 16, 2015

Denim Flares


I'm excited about the weather changing and cooling down, it means an awful lot of my heavier jeans and trousers can come out of retirement and its already coat weather at least half of the days out of the week (yaaaasss). It seems to be struggling to transition fully into autumn this year though as some days its pretty cold and a jacket and boots are welcomed outfit choice, then the next day its over 20 degrees with hot sun and not a cloud in sight. On these days I'm trying to climatise myself somewhere in the middle to get some use out of my beloved denim which I can't wear as much as I'd like to right now due to work, but I'm also struggling to say goodbye to my summer clogs so... the tootsies are getting a little chilly.

Topshop Crochet Lace Kimono | H&M O-Ring Cami | ASOS Flares (similar) | Fringe Bag | Office Clogs (similar)

- A.
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October 15, 2015

Cream Eyeshadow Praisin'



If you had of asked teenage Amyleigh what she thought of cream eyeshadows, she would have pulled a grimacing face and said something along the lines of "ew, gross" because they were pretty grim. I remember the days cream eyeshadow was tacky, sticky metallic gel that felt like glue/lipgloss on the lids and seemed to come exclusively in baby blue or pink. Fast forward to 2015 Amyleigh and ask her the same question and she will reply with "I'm in love with them".

Times have changed when it comes to cream eyeshadows and its all for the better. No longer do they gather in the crease of your lid or make your eyes resemble glittery Christmas baubles, but instead they look great, are quick and easy to use, and are some of my staple makeup products that I use on a daily basis.



My absolute favourites are surprise surprise, some drugstore offerings: the Maybelline 24HR Color Tattoo range and the Max Factor Excess Shimmers. First off let's discuss the Maybelline offering in a little more detail. They have around 8 shades, all really pigmented and different, each pot will last you a lifetime, and they are a smidgen of the price of the likes of the Anastasia Beverlyhills and Charlotte Tillbury equivalents. My favourite go-to shade is And On Bronze which isn't actually all that bronzey in my opinion, but is more of a tarnished/antique gold shade which I often wear on its own, or as a primer base for my other shadows. If you're someone who suffers from oily lids like me, I promise hand on heart that these shadows will not budge until you actually want to wash them off - they're even "I forgot I was wearing makeup and just rubbed my tired eyes" proof. As I said, the colour range is quite small but there's something for everybody as I'm also a huge fan of Metallic Pomegranate, Eternal Gold and Turquoise Forever which I sometimes use as a liner to make the blue in my eyes *pop*.

The other pot of goodness I would highly recommend is the Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows. Off and on the same as the Color Tattoo shadows, these ones come in slightly different shades (around 6 more neutral, universal shades) and are much creamier in application. I find the Maybelline shadows to be quick drying and therefore great for those rushed makeup applications, but if you're in need of a little extra time to blend a shadow out, then Max Factor offering is the one for you. My favourite shade in the range is Bronze which is a true bronze shade which I love to use on an evening out as it gives me a smokey eye without a black shade in sight. These are the creamier of the two and a little really does go a long way so don't overload your brush or you will have an absolute mare! I find they don't have the staying power of the Maybelline version as it will start to gather in the crease if its worn for a few hours, but its nothing a quick sweep over the eyes with a finger can't handle.

What cream eyeshadows have you tried that you would recommend?


- A.
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October 13, 2015

Black and Gold


So, sparkles and sequins are a season staple for the Christmas/New Year period and seeing as it's right around the corner (well not really but shhh, who's going to deny themselves Christmas coming early) I pulled this baby out for a spin. This dress is one of my absolute faves but I'm always hesitant to wear it because: a) I'm clumsy and that beading work is asking for trouble and b) having black hair can often put me off wearing black stuff - especially if its long sleeved and relatively high in the neck line. It's not that I don't want to goth-it-up because 14 year old Amy was a pro in that department lemme tell you, but I just sometimes feel like whatever I'm wearing would look way nicer on a blondie. But I've just got to get on with it really, don't I?

P.S. don't worry, I totally wore an ugly jacket over this to keep warm.

Zara Dress (similar) | Primark Saddle Bag (similar) | Jeffrey Campbell Boots

- A.
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