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& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

November 23, 2015

Another Walk

If the title of this post wasn't enough of a giveaway, I am indeed writing another "photography" post. As I mentioned in my last nature filled post, I'm making a conscious effort to share my lifestyle, candid photos on here because its one of my favourite ways to spend my time.

You guys seemed to enjoy the different style of post breaking up the beauty and fashion, so it makes sense to continue the trend! This time around, I just took some snaps on my typical Sunday morning. I usually head into the city centre if there's anything I need to buy and then head up to university to do a bit of uni work/prep for my job placement for the rest of the week. Its been quite grey and overcast all of the damn time lately, but the weather was rain-free and quite chilly this particular Sunday which I really kind of like. As the weather wasn't in a phase of constant downpour, I thought I'd take some shots of the military museum grounds and the graveyard (more on that in another post) that I have the joy to walk through to get to my destination.

Museum GroundsMilitary Museum GroundsClock HouseArchitecturePillarsArchway ViewFountainWater Fountation

Can you believe people live here?! I feel like a filthy commoner trudging through here, awe-faced, taking photos when these are some lucky duckies' homes. Its such a lovely spot of Winchester because its so calm and tranquil. Despite being close to the hustle and bustle of both the city centre and the university, it is always so quiet except for the roar of the water fountain so I like to take stock there now and again when I need just some quiet fresh air thinking.

- A.
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November 19, 2015

Current Fave Pinky Nudes

Nudes are something that are hit and miss for everyone. Some can wash you out and make you look a little alien, some can be too dark, and some just look like you may as well as have worn a bold bright lip. Its particularly been a problem for me as a wee pale-skinned lassie as I desperately want to rock the brown, circa 1993 lip but it just does not suit my skin tone and dark hair combo. Boo hiss.

What does seem to work on me is the pinky nudes. I'm not actually a fan of a pink lip. I don't particularly like wearing pink unless its in blush form, so although I don't tend to necessarily *like* a lot of these lipsticks, they do suit me and therefore are my favourite to reach for at the moment if I want a more subtle lip. So here's the run down:

For a sheer wash of colour that is simply "your lips but better", I turn to L'Oréal and Estée Lauder. As a big fan of the L'Oréal Color Riche Julianne Red, I of course had to pick up the Julianne Barely Peach Nude when the line dropped. It's a lovely creamy pinky nude rather than a peach, which is an almost exact colour match for my natural lip colour. I like wearing this on days when I don't feel like having anything on my lips but still want to help define the shape of them and still look *put together*. I really need to pick up the J.Lo Barely Greige shade too because it looks beautiful. My other sheer shade is the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy lippy in *INSERT NAME*. This is a more lustre, pearly finish which isn't usually my thing, but again its so similar to my natural lip colour, its stupidly easy to wear. Both these lippies tend to need to be topped up throughout the day, but its a breeze as they're so natural looking, you can't really tell when they begin to fade.

Another couple of creamy bullets lipsticks are from Barry M and Collection. Barry M are great for cheap lipsticks that despite the bargain price, have great pigmentation and pretty good longevity so I own quite a few. One of my favourite more *girly* ones is the shade 153 which is a light peachy pink but not too Barbie pink. It's a creamy lipstick that despite transferring onto everything, lasts quite well in its colour and is extremely comfortable and not drying. I mentioned in my Current Fave Reds post that Collection knock it out of the park when it comes to their lipsticks as at only around £3 for one, they're insanely good bargain products. Therefore it'll be no surprise to see a nudey shade from them is also in another favourites post. China Rose (originally Vintage Rose) is your typically darker dusty rose nude shade and its perfect for when I want to inject a little bit more nudey opaqueness without it washing me out. Again, just like the red shade I love, it does transfer like crazy, but it is moisturising, comfortable to wear and only £2.99 - so you can't possibly complain!

My favourite lip formula is always matte and I don't mind if it comes in lipstick or liner form, but the definite winners are liquid lipsticks. These velvety matte beauties are the best for long lasting, no budging lip and are therefore great for dates or nights out. Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet in 07 Nude-ist is a dusty rose, brown/pink nude and is considerably darker than most of my other nude faves. Because of this, it tends to look a lot more opaque and pink against my pale skin, but there's no complaints from me. I do find if you try to wear this product all day it will begin to flake, but for a few hours it is an extremely easy to wear matte. The only major downside to this baby is it takes an age to dry on my lips and I just don't know why!

For those quick drying super mattes, I turn to the MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Laquers. Again, I love my nude shades just as much as my reds from this range and again, they're an absolute steal at only £3 each. I particularly like Tranquility - a browny *true nude* shade and Halcyon - a more peachy brown nude as they both suit me pretty well and aren't too nude. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative or reasonably good dupe for the Lime Crime Velvetines, these are the velvets you're looking for. Two liners I like that are similar to these two MUA offerings are from Rimmel. Their Exaggerate Liner in Eastend Snob is a colour everyone and their mother has raved about and I am no exception. Similar to Bourjois' Nude-ist, this pinky dusty rose nude is a just a great liner on its own or as an added step to applying something like the Bourjois liquid lippy. My other fave is my only true brown nude that I've liked so far and its the 1000 Kisses Lipliner in Tiramisu. A kind of caramel shade, this one can run the risk of making me look washed out, but teamed with a smokey eye for an evening out, it looks really nice and again, gives a great matte, long-lasting finish.

Which nudes are your favourites?

- A.
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November 16, 2015

Winchester Walks

My blog can get a little fashion and beauty heavy which it has done of late, but its purely down to it being the most convenient content to create and post. Don't get me wrong, I love makeup & skincare, and my weekly spending definitely illustrates my unnecessary need for new clothes every other day, but the one thing I really love more than those two "hobbies" combined is nature.

People always seem surprised by that statement - as if because I spend 1 hour every morning curly my hair and filling in my non-existent eyebrows automatically makes me incapable of appreciating the great outdoors. Well let me tell you it doesn't. I'd take a trip camping or staying in a national park/nature reserve/retreat over any luxury typically "girly" holiday any day. But enough of my rambling, I just wanted to show you my latest nature snaps from a recent walk.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the week off work and after spending some much needed few days vegetating indoors and being lazy, I decided getting up early and going for a stroll was something I really needed. Matthew & I often go for long leisurely walks in the early hours and with us both working insane amounts lately, these glorious walks hadn't happened for some time. We broke this cycle and hiked our way up St Giles Hill/Viewpoint in Winchester city centre, armed with coffees and hot chocolates in hand. It's a spot I'd somehow never ventured in my 3+ years of living in Winchester, despite it being right on my doorstep. I'm kind of pleased I waited though because those autumn colours just made the view all the better.

Autumn WalkAutumnal GraveyardWinchesterWinchester High StreetWolvesley CastleWinchester CathedralSt Giles View Point

In the coming weeks, I'll be wrapping up university/work for this semester and will be basking in the good things in life such as guilt-free walks not worrying about work or assignments and the Winchester Christmas market (highlight every December!). I'll also be heading home to the north east of England so I want to take these opportunities to get more lifestyle posts into this space. I love all the beauty blogging and fashion blogging have to offer, but I also love being able to document the beautiful things I might take for granted in day to day life. It's hard when you're a trainee teacher to get any time to do this sort of thing never mind trying to document it, so I'm going to up my game as much as I can over the Christmas break.

I hope you've enjoyed this literal breath of fresh air on this ol' blog! And if you want to keep up to date with all of my very candid, in no way professional, photography, you can check out my Flickr account here.

- A.
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September 18, 2015

Book Club

Reading has always been a big part of my life from a young age when my dad was a fun sucker and would only let me read before bed (no videos, no playtime for me - I know, shocking). In hindsight I thank him for forcing me to read because I really enjoy it and its not an aspect of my hobbies/pass times that I've shared on here, yet. So I thought it was high-time that I changed that and thought I would start sharing, now and again, what I've recently finished reading and give loose reviews on each book/comic/etc. that won't ruin it for anyone that is hoping to read any of the titles mentioned, but will give you guys a little insight or a chance for you to agree or disagree with what I thought! So let's kick things off with Dan Brown.

Whether you like his work or not, I've always kind of been a little bit in love with it. Its your classic thriller sort of story, almost James Bond-esque in the whole "boy meets girl" side vibes and each story never really disappoints. I'd been meaning to read Inferno for a while, but finally remembered back in July. Inferno takes place in Venice, with your classic main character, Robert Langdon, trying to work out what Dante's Inferno has to do with some big cataclysmic event which is about to take place. It is very much the same spiel Dan Brown readers are used to, but I particularly enjoyed this one. The thing I like about the series focusing on Robert Langdon is the facts. I love that Dan Brown works a butt-tone of facts into his fiction which always seems to fascinate me I mean, there's been countless times I've read something in a chapter and then had to google it and have a further read-up on the truth of it. Fascinating stuff. This may be why I've particularly enjoyed Inferno as I'm already a Dante fan and love art history, so I may be biased. Buy a copy here

Now let's talk comics (well, graphic novels if we're splitting hairs). Comics/graphic novels are a big favourite of mine and Blacksad has been on my radar for well over a year but again, I only recently took the dive to get it. What drew me in to Blacksad was the artwork. I'd seen a mini-review of it online and the artwork instantly struck me. Half of the fun of a graphic novel is the artwork and I've got to like the artwork to like the novel, so I knew only the story could let me down from this novel - but it didn't.

Blacksad essentially centres around a detective (Blacksad, if you hadn't of guessed) who you see work on several investigations. Nothing new or exciting or different except that he's a cat. His boss that he doesn't like? He's a dog. The slime ball guy in one of the stories? A frog. You see where I'm going with this right? These animal hybrid people might seem silly to some, but they work so well in the stories. You kind of switch off from the fact that they're animal people but at the same time, you'll be wowed by how spot on the choices for each character are. As you can see, the artwork is as good as I had hoped and truly makes the novel as the story is great, but not amazing. I'm used to reading graphic novels which have more *reading* and dialogue involved, but I'm still really interested in reading the rest of the Blacksad series that has been released thus far. Buy it here

Anyone who knows me knows I am a big big Morrissey fan. My lovely good friend Izzy (who's blog you can find here) and the boys from uni got me his Autobiography back in March for my birthday, which I have been reading sporadically since. I always sway more towards fiction when it comes to reading - the only things I like to read which isn't is books about serial killers (I'm full of joy, I know!) - but I mean, its Morrissey, I had to read it. As you could guess, its a must for Morrissey fans. Not just because its his autobiography so therefore about him and his life and history, but because it reads like Morrissey. It has the flowery language fans are used to from his interviews and common throughout his lyrics, so for me it was a nice read because of that. I'd also recommend it to anyone who is a big autobiography/biography reader because due to the style of writing, it is a little different from what you might be used to. Snap a copy up here

- A.
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September 11, 2015

Feelgood Flapjacks

You might have seen me mention in my latest 365 Days post that Matt spontaneously decided to make flapjacks as some of our bananas were going bad and he didn't want them to go to waste. As it was spontaneous, I haven't got a lot of *going through the process* photos for you, but I do have the recipe and some photos which will undoubtedly make you hungry (just a trigger warning for you there).

The original recipe can be found on BBC Good Food and I will list it below too! Although this is the recipe, feel free to add and subtract ingredients as you see fit - Matt isn't one for sticking to a recipe in the kitchen and as we have the smallest kitchen on the planet (that's right, we have one solitary cupboard for everything) we try to add a lot into meals to free up storage space. He substituted the raisins for dried cranberries as let's face it, cranberries are so much better.

50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 apple, peeled and grated
250g rolled oats
85g apricots, chopped
100g raisins or cranberries
85g mixed seeds

Prep and Baking:
First, heat your oven to 160C (140C for fan assisted, gas mark 3 for gas) and whilst its warming up, pop all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and heat the butter, peanut butter, and honey/maple syrup in pan on the hob until they've melted. Add your mashed narnas, grated apple, and 100ml of hot water to the pan and mix until all the ingredients have combined.

Next simply pour the contents of the pan into your bowl of dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated. Then tip the mix into your greased baking tin/cake tin and pop them in the oven for 55 minutes. If like us you don't have a 20cm cake tin, just use a regular shallow baking tray but keep an eye on the baking time - as the flapjacks will be much thinner using a tray, they will take a lot less time to cook. We took ours out 20 minutes early of the recommended time before they began to brown too much!

The recipe should make 12 flapjacks, each one coming in at around 220 calories so they're a pretty good little treat that won't leave you feeling guilty. But of course if you're the chef and have made a slightly more messy, rustic version like Matt did, you're kind of entitled to the off-cuts you have to remove from the edges to make the flapjacks look more uniform... Chef's rights and all that...

Comment below if you give these easy flapjacks a go!

- A.
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September 10, 2015

Makeup Brush Cleaning Regime

Every one of us who loves beauty and makeup talk a great deal about our favourite products and review what makeup we've been testing and wearing, but we don't talk about the other side - the cleaning side. I prefer to use brushes/sponges for makeup application and as I wear makeup almost everyday, it has been important for me to develop a quick, easy and effective makeup brush cleaning regime so I thought I'd share my holy grail products that do the job in no time.

This won't be a long post, because there's just two things I swear by: Dr Bronner's Castile Soap and the Soap & Glory Face Massage Mini Mitt. I've already sang the Mini Mitt's praises in a previous post as its a great tool for regular gentle exfoliation, but my true love for it lies in how great it is for cleaning makeup brushes. As someone who uses dense buffing brushes for applying foundation, I've found it can be an absolute nightmare cleaning those brushes until I started to use the mitt. I simply pour a couple of drops of the Soap onto the mini mitt and swirl wet brushes over it and within a matter of seconds they're as clean as the day I bought them. It has made the laborious task of cleaning my makeup utensils so quick and easy, perfect for the days when I really need to clean my brushes but need to be able to use them ASAP again the next day. It's also great for cleaning beauty blenders and sponges - its just all-round a fab product.

Going back to my cleaning product of choice, the Dr Bronner Castile Soap, its a favourite as it cleans brushes in next to no time at all. The Dr Bronnen soap range is great and I don't have a particular favourite scent, but I'm currently using the Green Tea soap and its okay. I only picked up the Green Tea as it was supposed to be helpful for those who suffer from acne so I thought it would be best for my makeup brushes but honestly, unless you're using the soap as an actual soap, it won't make a difference. My favourite scent is the Peppermint and I'd recommend just using whichever scent you think you prefer as it will linger on your brushes. For an almost 500ml bottle, you're looking around an £9 price tag which is great value for money when you will only use a couple of drops per brush.

Using the soap with the mitt is a match-made in heaven and will draw out all dirt and makeup residue, just make sure to thoroughly wash each brush with warmish water to prevent the soap from layering up on your brushes as it contains various oils! And also remember the golden rules:
- wash your brushes with the bristles pointing downwards. Washing them with them pointing up towards the running water will loosen the glue inside the brush handle and cause bristle fall-out!
- Make sure the the water isn't too hot - think of your brush bristles like hair or hair extensions, the hotter the water, the more you're going to dry those bristles out and make them quite rough-to-the-skin. Keep that water luke warm.
- Let them dry naturally. I used to be guilty of unleashing the hairdryer on every brush I owned, but all it will do is shorten the lifespan of your brushes and again, make the bristles dry and no longer soft to use. Leave them to dry on a towel maybe on a radiator or in an airing cupboard, and leave them overnight so they're fully dry to use the next morning.

- A.
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August 21, 2015

We're Going to the Zoo Zoo

**Warning, this post is picture-heavy and full of adorable beasts**

You may recall a couple of weeks back that I mentioned Matt and I went to the zoo for belated anniversary celebrations and let's just say, I had the best time. We headed to Marwell Zoo as early as physically possible, and spent a good 4/5 hours there making sure to explore the whole park.

The zoo itself was great, and was kind of a breath of fresh air as the majority of the animals were ones I'd not ever seen before in zoos and appeared to be well looked after, in enclosures which were more than spacious. I tried to take a disgusting amount of photos, but as the weather was quite overcast, a lot of them came out rather dark and couldn't be saved. But here's a few of my favourites which came out a treat:

GiraffesZebraMarwell ZooMeerkatMeerkat GrinZooMother and Baby

If you couldn't tell, I really loved the meerkats during this trip. They're not an animal I usually get excited about at the zoo, but they're just so charismatic - they're great for photographing! I also fell in love with the modelling contract-worthy shy lemurs as you will see...

LemurMadagascarKing JulianAntlersExotic BirdsBird NestWallabyBirdMonkeys

The park is great for families, couples or groups of friends as the manor house grounds provide a gorgeous place to sit in relative quietness and have a picnic away from the busy crowds. The gardens are great for those who are interested in gardening and landscaping too as they have everything from cucumbers to strawberries to lavender growing in a deadly quiet fountain area. They also have a fantastic botanical/tropical centre full to the brim with bugs, the biggest fish I've ever seen, and some pretty crazy plants.

Marwelll ManorWater FountainBotanicalCrocodileFoliageTropical PlantsPlants

And if you haven't had enough yet, head over to my Flickr for yep you guessed it, even more photos!

- A.
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