Real Talk: Please Date Yourself

This might seem like an odd suggestion from someone who is planning to go and look at a wedding venue in two days time, but I'm a firm believer in the best person to date is yourself. As we've just had Valentine's Day a couple of days ago it really got me thinking - how many of us have hang ups and issues with ourselves and therefore don't learn how to love ourselves yet we seek out others to do that exact thing we can bring ourselves to do?

I am 100% guilty of not loving myself in the past - I've always had an issue with my body, my appearance, my personality... It has all come under fire from my own negative mind and it has taken its toll on my confidence and self-assurance over the years. In the last couple of years though I've tried my absolute hardest to turn that around and I urge everyone who ever feels remotely similar to do the same. Don't get me wrong, it's extremely difficult and pretty much impossible to just turn around and think "right, I'm going to start loving myself tomorrow" because that's not how these things work, but gradually altering your mindset to be comfortable with who you are and being confident in at least some aspects that make you you is does work if you stick at it. So I'm going to suggest some ways in which you might be able to be a little more sassy in yourself and be happier with what you see in the mirror and deal with everyday in your own mind.

- Take yourself on a date or twenty. I can't stress enough how great I think solo dates are. The thought of doing something like going for a meal alone or going to the cinema alone would have sounded like the saddest idea to me as an eighteen year old but now I think they're so important. You may be a bundle of nerves to begin with (especially if you get bad anxiety having to eat in front of strangers like I do!) but it gets easier and most importantly, it becomes enjoyable. Sitting in a coffee shop with a good book for an hour, going shopping alone and trying lots of new clothes on, taking a look around the local art gallery or museum or simply going for a long walk or hike, it all makes me feel fantastic and makes me feel more comfortable with myself. Lots of people struggle with spending time alone but I personally thrive in those conditions. Even if you do struggle with it, doing it now and again can give you space to think with just "me myself and I" to consider which can be a breath of fresh air when you have stuff on your mind.

- Treat yo'self. Okay so this one will sound pretty obvious and it's something pretty much all of us do (some of us - I mean myself - do this a little too often) but treating yourself can be a great positive mood changer and can also make us feel sassy af when we do it. When you're in a relationship, you tend to want to show the other person you care about them and love them in numerous ways and sometimes that will involve extravagant gifts or small tokens of appreciation. Showing that level of care and consideration for yourself is vital. Often people put others first and put treating themselves on the back burner on the priority list but sometimes it should be top of that list. If you've worked your butt off all month, buy that book you've been desperate to read. If you've being feel really insecure about your body, buy that pair of shoes you saw in the sale. You don't always need an excuse to do it and it doesn't need to be so frequent that you don't treat it as a surprise thing any more, but treating yourself how you treat others will always be a sure-fire way to show yourself a bit of self love and appreciation.

- Get to know your body and love your body. If you're someone with low confidence and self esteem, the whole event of having sex with someone or being remotely romantically involved with another person can be daunting and become a huge big debacle. Learning to know what you like and what you don't like is not only a bonus for any sexual relationships you have in the future, but it can also make you feel a little bit more confident in yourself. You know what your limits are. You know what your kinks are. And mostly importantly, you will know yourself on the most intimate level. You need to be your own best friend and looking after yourself on an intimate level is a great way to start. Being sexually active should never be something anyone should be ashamed or embarrassed about and being happy with yourself in those instances can be very rewarding for the mind. Plus let's face it, orgasms are *great* for a mood boost and to get rid of those pesky headaches.

- Take all the selfies you want. I am an individual who is so pro-selfie it hurts. Seeing any one of you upload a photo on Instagram or Twitter when you're *feeling myself* makes me tap that heart icon quicker than I can say "work it, buddy". Of course we all have days when what we see in the mirror is just not floating our boats and unfortunately that feeling is more frequent for some of us more than others but the important thing is to document when we're not feeling like that. I vote you take all the selfies. You take them and you keep them somewhere on your phone or your iPad or your laptop... Just keep them so you can go back to them. Hell, print them out into hard paper copies and stick them around your mirror. Take photos of the parts of you you like. Your eyes, the shape of your nose, your hands; whatever it is, work it. Be proud of it. Spend time in the morning really looking at yourself. I know a lot of us plonk ourselves down every morning in front of the mirror for at least half an hour whilst we do our hair and paint our faces for the day but how often do you really pay attention to your face? To your body? I used to spend as little time as possible looking at my body/face in the mirror unless it was to apply my makeup but now I make a conscious effort to have a good hard look at what my mama gave me. Sure, because of it, I now know what I definitely see as my body hang ups but strangely it's made me feel kind of okay with them. It's like I'm in control of them and therefore they're no longer a worry. I don't worry so much about another person thinking "wow her tummy is looking bigger than normal" or "she really needs braces" because I've accepted those flaws and thought "yeah I'd like to change them over time but they're *my* hang ups and therefore *my* concern not yours". I no longer see them as setbacks I need to hide but I wear them all with pride because as cliché as it is to say, no one is perfect.

(Photos of me: Grime and Glamour)

I could carry on prattling on about self-love until the cows come home, but all I really wanted to say is that we should all have the capability and comfort to be independent and love ourselves and not rely on others to fill that void. Sure, it's an amazing feeling to know someone else finds you funny, intelligent, attractive, and wants to treat you well, but if you don't treat yourself well to begin with, you're not setting much of a bar for another person to meet and exceed. Toxic relationships, mental health, and the media amongst a million other things can make self-love a bit of a rollercoaster ride to try and tame, but I find if you get into a routine of dating yourself, you get into a routine of treating yourself how you'd like a potential someone else to treat you in your future, then you are setting yourself up for success no matter what. When I was a teenager, I had a best friend who once said to me "you need to love yourself. The person who will spend the rest of their life with you is you no matter what so you need to be happy with yourself and be your own best friend" and despite the fact that we had happily drank our way through a bottle of vodka and were lying in a field in the hot summer sun, I've held onto that piece of wisdom and will always vow to follow through with it in my day to day life.

So Amyleigh, here's to many more future dates full of humour, love, confidence building, and improving yourself, always.

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My Everyday Drugstore Makeup

Happy Wednesday you lovely lot! When it comes down to makeup posts, I realised there's a common one I seem to have forgotten to do over here on NB this whole time and that's the my everyday makeup post. Most of the time, my everyday makeup stays the same with the same products for years and years unless something new comes into my possession that I absolutely love. There's a few high-end products that I love to use but ultimately, my everyday favourites are drugstore because the drugstore, especially now, is pretty damn good. Although I do use some high-end products for things like contour and concealer, I also have drugstore alternatives that I like almost just as much so I thought I'd give you a drugstore and a high-end version of this post.

The Body Shop All-in-One Instablur Universal Primer | £15.OO: Surprise surprise, this primer is the one I use almost every day. I've raved about this primer so so much on here, but that's because I've never tried one that I like more than this. It smooths over my pores and any spots I might have really well and the best thing about it is that it keeps me quite matte almost all day. This primer keeps me oil-free but it also looks like my skin so it doesn't look like I have an artificial layer on my skin. Winner.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in "Ivory" | £5.49: I love this concealer and even over look the fact that it's a little too dark for me. It has small shimmer particles in it and because I wear no foundation, that can give a nice natural look to the undereye area but it also gives some coverage. I tend to apply my concealer in thin layers so I will buff in one thin layer under the eyes with a real techniques expert face brush, then another thin layer with a beauty blender.

Seventeen WOW! Skin Concealer in "Fair" | £4.99: Another concealer I absolutely love for it's brightening properties is the Seventeen Wow! Skin one. This drugstore dupe for the YSL Touche eclar concealer pen is a dream to use under the eyes as it's got quite a salmon pink tone to it so it hides dark circles well. I tend to apply a layer of this over the top of the Rimmel Wake Me Up with a beauty blender and it's fantastic at evening out the dark shade of the Rimmel concealer whilst making me look more awake and well slept!

Natural Collection Corrector Stick in "Green" | £1.99: I'm not a girl who is big on colour correcting because as I don't wear foundation, it means I don't really have anything to even out the colours after you've done colour correcting however I do like to occasionally use a green corrector to hide any redness or angry spots. Natural Collection have some great super budget products and this stick is definitely one of them. The stick is really creamy and easy to apply and I tend to use it on stubborn red spots and just around my nose as that's where my skin seems to be the most flushed. It does a great job of concealing some of the redness but it also acts as a fantastic base for additional products as it gives them something to stick to.

Rimmel Match Perfection Illuminating Concealer in "Ivory" | £5.99: Which brings me onto the third concealer in my arson. I know that sounds ridiculous to say you use three different ones, but as I have quite an animated face, having thinner concealers for the undereyes is a must and having a thicker, more heavy-duty option for spots and imperfections is needed too. I will always love the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer and the NYX HD Concealer for spot concealing, but a recent discovery and new love for me is the Rimmel Match Perfection. I tried the foundation of this years ago and absolutely hated it but for some reason I decided to try the concealer and it's a definite love affair. This is a great concealer for hiding pesky spots without going cakey and still keeping my skin looking natural and fresh.

Essence All About Matt! Powder in "Translucent" | £3.OO: I totally forgot to throw my setting powder into these photos, but I tend to be pretty happy with most cheap translucent loose powders or Laura Mercier's. My current favouite though has to be the All About Matt! powder from Essence. Essence are one of my top budget brands - I really love every product of theirs I've tried and this powder is no exception. It's a really finely milled powder despite being about £3 and is a great little compact to keep in your bag if you need to touch up. I tend to set only my undereye area and my nose/chin as that's where I get oily even without any makeup on, and this powder sets those areas really well and doesn't move around the face, oxidise, or look chalky/cakey.

MUA Luxe Bronze & Sculpt Contour Kit in "Light/Medium" | £5.OO: I'm not that into the whole contouring thing, but I do like to emphasise the fact that I have some pretty good cheekbones and I also love to give my face a bit of a bronze as I'm such a pale princess. Now I know contour should always be a more ashy, natural shadow sort of shade, but I do quite like this MUA luxe contour kit despite it being quite dark and terracotta in it's base tones. This powder is super blendable and really pigmented so it's fool-proof for contour novices like me. I like using this as a contour because despite it being the wrong shade for contouring, it's great for lazy contouring (i.e. bronzing at the same time). I apply this to the hollows of my cheeks and blend it upwards to give my cheeks some much needed colour and then take it up to my temples and apply a little to my forehead. This particular kit also has a very subtle but beautiful highlight powder which I often use for my daily makeup looks, too.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Mono Blush in "Santa Rose" | £3.99: Although I really love the matte blushers from Natural Collection for my everyday makeup, Rimmel and Essence always pull in at second and third place. I'm especially loving this blush at the moment as it has a tiny hint of shimmer to it which isn't glittery or like a highlight, but it gives my cheeks a nice natural flush of colour whilst also making my skin look really healthy and gives it a natural sheen. The sheen does fade throughout the day but the colour remains and it's a great little option for when you're travelling as it's small and compact and is also a universal colour for us pale ladies as it goes with every lipstick colour and eyeshadow option.

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighter in "Iridescent Gold" | £3.OO: Highlighter is the one thing I don't stay that loyal too because I like to try loads of different ones as there's so many out there on the market. The one I've been getting the most use out of lately though is this gold shade from MUA. I used to adore the Pink Shimmer shade of this range and wore it every day for years but I'm really loving champagne/pale gold shades of highlighter at the moment. These MUA highlighters are excellent value for money and last all day. I tend to wear some just on the high points of my cheekbones and bit down the centre of my nose. I'm not big on the shiny top lip look or wearing any on my oily chin, but I do love a good bit of sheen and glisten so a highlighter is a must in some areas!

Sleek MakeUp Brow Kit in "Extra Dark" | £8.49: My absolute favourite eyebrow product for the last almost 3 years now is the Sleek eyebrow kit. I love this stuff. I use the shade Extra Dark and find it a great dark brown shade to use that is not too ashy and not too warm/red in it's tones. I tend to apply the coloured wax first to the tails of my eyebrows and to get a clean arch, then I apply the powder to the middle of the brows. I leave the front of my brows free of colour and simply blend the product out with a spoolie - making sure to comb the product into the inner parts of the brows to give it that graduated effect. I think this kit is great and I even use the little brushes that come in it because for once, the freebies are actually good! This stuff lasts me well over a year each time I purchase it and it keeps my brows looking neat and put together all day every day. Sweat proof, rain proof, it's the full deal.

Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara in "Ultra Black" | £7.99: Just like highlighter, mascara is something I am happy to change up and experiment with all the time but one that I have been repurchasing again and again is this one from Bourjois. It manages to lengthen, thicken, and coat the lashes a deep dark black without looking clumpy or really fake. Waterproof mascara tends to irritate my eyes so I can never use them despite them holding a lash curl better than non-waterproof options however this one holds a curl really well. Whilst it's not waterproof, I can honestly say it has been pretty invincible in a fair few rain storms and doesn't end up smudged all over your face. It also doesn't flake off throughout the day and it's sweat proof too (which is why I think it has the name it does!).

Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipstick in "Clay Crush" | £6.99: When it comes to lips, my everyday makeup doesn't always include a lip product as I usually just wear balm as it's fuss-free but my favourite lipstick at the moment (and has been for the last couple of months) is this Maybelline matte option in this nude terracotta shade. Its a nude that's kind of peachy and suits my skin tone really well. These lipsticks from Maybelline are very matte but extremely comfortable to wear. They do transfer slightly but they're pretty invincible against food and drink. As they're not as fool-proof as a liquid lipstick, they don't dry the lips out but do give great colour pay off. I just *love* this shade.

Topshop Lip Bullet in "Motel" | £8.OO: And lastly, my alternative fave lipstick is this sheen one from Topshop in the shade Motel. It's another nude but this time much more mauvey brown and I really like it for days when I need a bit more moisture but want a bit of colour too. Topshop's lip products are great in general, but I find this lipstick particularly good because it wears so well - even after I've eaten and drank, yeah sure it transfers and wears off a little, but it fades equally around the lips so you don't get that horrible halo around the outer part of your lips. This colour goes with most blush shades and eye looks that I go for so it's a one I like to wear quite often.

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Stinky Valentine's Attitude

Okay okay so first off I've got to be honest and tell you all that I actually took these outfit photos months ago, felt cute and sassy af, loved the outfit for the day, then I took a look at the photos and refused to post them. I thought I looked chunky. I thought I looked frumpy, dumpy, all of the potato-like aesthetic descriptions. But when it came to deciding what to post for this week's outfit post, I thought "hey you know what? I felt great that day so what if the proportions of my outfit are all wrong because I'm Thumbelina sized on a good day?!" and come on, I needed an outfit that suits my attitude when it comes to Valentine's Day. Now, I don't hate Valentine's Day, I'm very much a *let people do what they want kind of gal* but when it comes to mine & Matthew's relationship, we like knowing that there's nothing better than doing the boring stuff. Reading books together in bed, watching films, shouting at bad TV show endings, making dinner together... That's the good stuff. So in homage to my boring life that I love, thanks for making Valentine's stress free and a piece of cake!

Stay Home Club Tee | Vintage Skirt (similar)| Asos Belt |
Glamorous Bag via Topshop (similar) | Converse Hi-Tops via Schuh

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