Brian Griffiths: Bill Murray



If you ain't a fan of contemporary art and if you definitely ain't a fan of Bill Murray I'm sorry to inform you, but you may have come to the wrong place. A few weeks ago I headed home to the beautiful, glorious north east of England for good ol' Christmas/family time but whilst I was there, there was one place I needed to go - The Baltic. The Baltic is an old flour mill which was converted into an art gallery in the early 2000's and I like to check out what exhibitions are on each time I'm home. But this time... This time wasn't just a "oh let's have a ganders around the gallery" no this time there was a need to ganders around the gallery because: Bill Murray.

I'm your typical Wes Anderson fan. I like the unique slightly fruity films he directs and he always uses one of my favourite actors - Mr Murray. He's a cool dude, the most attractive GILF, and would you believe it - he looks great plastered on the side of various sized buildings. Don't believe me? See for yourself. (Warning: images of Bill Murray looking happy, sad, perplexed and more make up 90% of this post. Proceed with caution).



As you can see, Griffiths has a slight Wes Anderson vibe to the space and content he's created which was really nice to walk around. When I ventured there it was pretty quiet which made the space quite relaxing and I'd definitely recommend having a look if you haven't already! If you're interested in checking out Griffith's fantastic exhibition at The Baltic, its still being shown until the 28th February and more information can be found, here.


- A.
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Updated Nighttime Skincare Routine



A few weeks ago now, I shared my updated morning skin care routine with you all so it's only right that I share my nighttime routine too! I've been using a few different products which are new to me and have tried them out since around September time so I feel like I can give you guys a thorough review of pos and negs.

I always use a micellar cleansing water to take off the bulk of my makeup every evening as long gone are the days of using baby wipes as they can be quite damaging for your skin. As a huge fan of the original Garnier water, I decided to switch things up with there more recent release of the micellar water for combination, oily and sensitive skin. This one is exactly the same price as the original except it is targeted specifically at my problem skin. I found it lifts away makeup just as well as the original however, I would actuallly dispute the "suitable for sensitive skin" claim. Although it didn't aggravate my sensitive skin, I found sometimes it did slightly sting the skin around my eyes when removing eye makeup unlike the original one which I had no issues with. My eyes are stupidly sensitive so it might just be a problem specific to me, but it might be one to bear in mind! I apply this to some cotton pads to lift off the majority of my makeup before moving onto my next step (never just use a micellar water if you wear a full face of makeup - despite its promises, it will never remove all of your makeup!).

Next I wash my face in the same way as I do every morning: firstly using the Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser followed by a second cleanse with the Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. This combo helps get rid of any leftover makeup traces my micellar cleanse may have missed, controls my oils and lastly brightens and hydrates my skin for the evening. If my pores are looking particularly large or I am having troublesome, red blemish-filled skin, I will then spritz a little of the Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz to a cotton pad and lightly sweep it over my whole face and neck or simply spritz it directly - depending on how bothered I can be!

I also like to spritz the Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Body Back Spray to my back, chest and shoulders before bed. This spray is cheap as cheaps and whilst not necessarily curing my t-shirt acne, it does help soothe broken skin from my t-shirt acne and helps prevent further breakouts. As someone who sweats quite a bit when sleeping (beautiful I know,) this helps create a barrier between me and my sheets - less bacteria = less spots so thank you, Boots! Lastly I also apply my Boots Botanics Hydrating Eye Cream and the Vichy Normaderm Night Detox Cream. This detox cream is designed to help resurface and purify problem skin and always keeps my skin hydrated and fresh throughout the night without making it greasy. It's also paraben free so it is a goodie for the face!


- A.
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Dressed Down Days



Sometimes it's important to have a comfortable day. A day when you don't put too much effort into what you're wearing and you just feel comfy and safe in what you're wearing. The problem with blogging is that its usually those sorts of outfits which aren't featured or used because well, who wants to see boring, right? Wrong. Sometimes I feel the most confidence about my appearance when I'm just wearing a pair of jeans and a bog-standard t-shirt and that is okay. Its only of those "looks" everyone, no matter your shape or size, can pull off. A t-shirt works for everyone: wearing it baggy, wear it oversized, where it tight & fitted. And jeans? Rock the bootcut, look slick and put-together in those skinny high-risers, and look casual and laid back in those mom jeans. I'm just a huge fan of a "I didn't really try today" days and I think you should be, too.

H&M cardigan | H&M tee | Asos Ridley Jeans | Asos Embroidered Tibetan Barrel Bag (similar) | Lotta from Stockholm Clogs

- A.
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Holland Park



A few weeks ago now, I spent a long weekend in London visiting my best friend (blonde sister) and we spent a lot of time drinking cocktails and eating good food. But during the daytime and in between potential "let's get bladdered" opportunities we took the chance to see some sights in London that most people don't think to visit when you consider the huge capital city. As both avid walkers and nature explorers, we hot-footed over to Holland Park as Charl promised me there was an abundance of squirrels there.

The park is in the grounds of what used to be Cope Castle (now known as Holland House) and has a mix of woodland/general park areas as well as manicured House gardens and a beautiful Japanese Kyoto garden all sprawling over 20 hectares of land. We spent hours in there despite it being December and extremely windy! There were a huge amount of chubby squirrels who were more than happy for us to feed them nuts and an astonishing amount of peacocks roaming around.



There's a lovely café situated near what remains of Holland House (which I believe is a youth hostel now? What a great place to stay that would be if you're travelling!) with both indoor and outdoor seating. We perched outside with some hot chocolates and took in the serene quiet of the place despite the park being relatively busy considering the time of year. I fully recommend giving the place a visit if you're ever in the area - especially in the summer or autumn months because I imagine it looks even more beautiful.

- A.
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Prep & Prime



When it comes to primers and products which promise to prolong your makeup, I used to be dead set against them. "They want me to put another liquid product on my oliy skin? And it's supposed to help my makeup not get greasy and creased up?!" was my general thought process but after some time I eventually caved and have now tried and tested what feels like thousands of products. Setting sprays, powder primers, anti-blemish/medicated primers, you name it, I've probably gave it a go. The struggle has been finding ones I actually like and work for me, but I think I've finally found them...

Let me start with the L'Oréal Lumi Magique Base Primer. This is a great one for all skin types as its not drying. It is very pearlescent in an aim to give you a glowing complexion which is great for those seeking a dewy look to their makeup. Now, I'm not someone who likes a dewy look as there's a fine line between dewy and oily for my skin, so I tend to use this product sparingly. Rather than apply it as an all-over base, I simply use it on the highest points of my face (my nose, cheekbones etc.) and use it almost like a base highlight. This is great for subtly highlighting or giving your face some dimension without the aid of a highlight on top of your foundation. As it is quite light reflecting and hydrating, I also like to use it under my eyes as a good base for my concealer. This is a great way to use this products as it makes tired dull eyes look a little more awake and alive!

One of my absolute favourite primers but again, not for everyone, is The Body Shop's All-in-One Instablur Universal. This first came on my radar about a year ago when I saw a few blog posts raving about how great this was for oily skin. Obviously that was a selling point for me and I've never looked back. The primer is quite thick and silicone in texture so if you are not a fan of those type of primers, the Lumi Magique's consistency may be more your thing, but I find the Instablur melts beautifully onto the face and creates a poreless base. It doesn't fill or hide your pores completely, but it does create a smooth finish over them which is perfect for applying foundation. Its also a great one for those good skin days when you want to be makeup free but also stay oil-free as it gives a more balanced appearance to your skin. The tube I've had has lasted me around 6 months so far and I would say I have maybe half of it left and that's from using it daily - at £14 a tube, that's pretty good value, no?

My other favourite - which is a new one for me - is the Nivea Men's Post Shave Balm. Yep, you read that right. Watching Kathleen Lights on YouTube one day she mentioned this product being raved about in the cosmetics world and put it to the test. She was impressed with it and as I've used it as an actual post shave balm before, I figured buying another bottle wouldn't go to waste if I didn't like having it on my face. A big 100ml will only set you back around £5 which is an absolute steal! Buying the sensitive version also means that it is alcohol and fragrance free so should be suitable for most skin types and shouldn't cause any skin issues. As its a post shave balm, it should help hydrate drier skin but also help mattify the shinier skin. I've personally fallen head over heels for the stuff. A little goes a long way but the finish of it makes applying foundation a dream and it really does prolong my makeup more than any other primer I've tried, ever. Honestly give this crazy phenomenon a go - I'll be surprised if you don't like it!

My last fave product is the Nyx Matte Finish Setting Spray. I've tried a few setting sprays and have found some of them to make me feel like if I smile my face will crack and others that have a spray nozzle so bad that it just soaks the creation you've spent the last half an hour perfecting. Although I'm a huge fan of Nyx, I was hesitant about trying this because of my experience of setting sprays in general and also the cheap price tag (£7). How silly I was to doubt it. It really does keep you matte, it doesn't make your skin feel crispy, and helps achieve a natural healthy look. As I've always used it alongside a primer, I can't say how good it is as a stand-alone product, but combined with the Nivea Post Shave Balm or Instablur it keeps my face oil-free from 7am til 4pm! And if you're more of a dewy finish girl, they have one for you too!

What are your favourite priming and setting products that you would recommend?


- A.
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Denim Dungarees


You may recognise these dungarees/jumpsuit from a previous OOTD post way back in the summer, but that's because it's one of my favourite items of clothing. Although the cut-out back detail and short culotte-style leg length makes it a perfect outfit for the warmer months, I love sticking a long sleeve top or thin jumper on underneath and it makes it more than suitable for the cold weather. The denim is really top quality so its pretty heavy - making it actually ideal for bracing the cold and great for layering. The latest trend of wearing those awkward length flares with a beaut pair of boots means this outfit could truly be winter-ready if you paired it with some slick heeled booties.

I went for my clogs as as a petite gal, the awkward length trousers can sometimes make me look an odd shape so these ol' clogs help elongate my legs and keep me looking in proportion. I still desperately need this jumpsuit in every shade of denim, please.

Asos Denim Culotte Jumpsuit | New Look Ribbed Crop Top | Primark Saddle Bag | Topshop Clogs (similar)

- A.
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