Sunday, 15 July 2018

Aaliyah For MAC Try Again Lipstick Review

Hi everyone!

As you'll probably know if you've been a reader of my blog for a while, I've been a huge fan of Aaliyah for a number of years now. Entering my teen years, I became a lot more into the R&B genre and her music was one of my favourites. One In A Million is one of my favourite albums of all time and I really wish we could have heard more from her. Her style was very classic and she always managed to look incredible and she 100% had a massive influence on R&B music.

When the petition came round of fans wishing for an Aaliyah for MAC collection, I had hopes that it would someday happen, but the fact that it did is amazing. What I also think is amazing about the collection is that Aaliyah's brother Rashad and her family worked alongside MAC to create the collection and make sure it was keeping true to Aaliyah and her style and how she would have wanted it, while still keeping her memory alive and keeping her legacy. Rashad discussed that they had been involved since Day 1 which I think is absolutely incredible and shows that there was so much love and thought in the collection.

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the whole range, but I picked up the Try Again lipstick (£17.50) from the collection, which coincidentally also happens to be my favourite Aaliyah song!
From pictures I'd seen, I noticed the lipstick was a muted beige nude and it really intrigued me to see what it was like!

Firstly, I think the packaging is absolutely beautiful, I've never owned a special edition MAC lipstick before but I really do think that it looks very pretty and Aaliyah's signature on the side of the box is a nice touch.

The lipstick itself is a very lovely muted beige and I think I'm going to get loads of wear out of it, the shade reminds me of some of the brown toned shades from the NYX lip lingerie collection. I wasn't sure how it would look on my skin tone as I have extremely pale skin, but it doesn't wash me out too much thankfully! It has a matte finish which I found to be very long-lasting and also wasn't too drying either!

I've worn it a handful of times so far and I've been impressed with it each time, I have a feeling it's going to be a very popular lipstick in my collection! I'm so, so tempted to buy one of the lipglasses as well and the Hot Like.. lipstick looks absolutely dreamy which has also caught my eye!!

Here is a small swatch of the colour, I compared it to MAC's Honeylove as I wasn't sure if they would be similar or not, but Try Again is the above shade and the bottom one is Honeylove, which is more of a peach toned nude. Try Again is definitely on the brown/beige side!!

I know a few people have been disappointed by the collection and some people think it doesn't represent Aaliyah well, to a certain extent, I think the collection could have included a few more bits to make it easier to recreate some of her music video looks, but I do think the collection is still good! I think the only issue with the UK's collection is we didn't get the lip liners on the website, which is strange as lip liner was a huge part of 90s makeup and definitely Aaliyah's too. Not sure why they aren't available here?
But as I only own the lipstick, I proper love it and I can't wait to get some wear out of it! It's also obviously a very special lipstick as it's from the Aaliyah collection as well.

If you fancy shopping the collection yourself, you can do here!

Do you own any of Aaliyah for MAC? Let me know what you think!!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Life Update: Why I've Not Been Open Recently

Hi everyone!

Generally on this blog, over the years, I've consistently updated and talked about what I've been up to and written reasonably regular mental health subjected posts. I feel like it's hugely important to discuss these things and it's something I've slowly grown into doing.
It's plain to see that I've actually not done many of these recently and I'm actually going to go discuss some of the reasons and what I've been up to in this post!

I was actually umming and ahhing for a bit of time before finally hitting publish on this, so bear with me!!
First and foremost, the reason why I've not been open recently and I haven't done many of these kinds of posts, is because I've just not felt like it. Don't get me wrong, I've written them up as drafts and edited them and all that goes with that, but I've not quite hit the publish button. I touched upon it in my Let's Reflect: Second Year of University post, but I've been struggling with my mental health recently.
There was so much emotion and so much confusion and I just felt like I wasn't confident enough to talk about it or even accept some of it. Even though 4 out of 5 of my most popular blog posts are on the topic of mental health!

It was only really when it peaked during the Easter holidays and upon my return from them, where I finally snapped and realised I wanted and had to, make a change.  Truth is, I was struggling to do things and avoiding situations left right and centre. A lot of the time I've been open about anxiety, which has been hard but I'd managed it. I've dealt with other aspects of mental health before, but I had this very, very, ugly rut of what I'd say was depression, as it was nothing I'd experienced before. I was feeling negative about everything, doubting myself, doubting my future, being unsatisfied, disappointed in things, generally feeling really down and negative about a lot of aspects of life. Alongside my anxiety and to be honest probably OCD, it's not a great recipe.

There were times when I'd really have to prep talk myself out of the house. As much as I'd want to go, it would just be a wave over me. It was like going backwards, taking steps back instead of going forwards. For example, my travel anxiety started getting worse randomly and any form of transport was making me uncomfortable.

I'd talked briefly with one of the girls on my course about the possibility of therapy and she suggested a couple of ones she knew and I actually found myself contacting Mind but it's still very, very early days. I really hope that I can try and manage my mental health and that this can be a step in getting better, to at least be able to manage life again. I've finally managed to admit to feeling and doing things I'd been pushing to the back of my head for a while. It wasn't easy to do either but in one of Zoella's recent videos about Travel Anxiety, she makes a very powerful speech at the end which really hit me and spurred me on to do it. Zoe is a hugely positive influence on mental health and she's definitely been a public figure who's helped me understand a lot about myself.

It's really scary how powerful these illnesses can just take over you and control you. You can feel utterly powerless in your own body and that's not how it should be.

Generally, I've always been a bit of an emotional person, I have a big heart and those I care about, I care about a lot. I get emotional easily and it's not a trait I enjoy about myself. My emotions get very intense sometimes and it can be hard to deal with.

I can definitely say I closed up and hid everything which was happening to me away, which probably was not the best way to go about it. It was scary how fast the depressive feelings took a hold of me and it felt like a headache I was waking up with day after day. I wasn't taking care of myself and everything became too much. I think sometimes when I've opened up and talked about something it can get thrown back in my face at some point, so I feel like I've held back sometimes to protect myself.

Obviously opening up is still difficult and as my anxiety revolves a lot about both being ill/unwell/sick in a public place or away from home and really bad overthinking, it can creep up on me either out or at home. Recently, travelling has been so difficult, I've been struggling getting into vehicles which is a bit of a backward step for me. A lot of my depressive feelings come from frustration with myself and being restricted. And my somewhat feelings of OCD symptoms stems from trying to prevent the above from happening. For me, I've got very bad anxiety in certain situations physically but then I'll just be sat at home feeling restless because my mind will have found something else to worry about and persist with. It feels like two separate ones.

As much as I wanted to be as open as I've been previously, I just felt like I locked away a lot of how I was feeling away and dealt with it on my own, which I can see was probably not the best way to handle it. I've restricted how much I open up to those people, for my own protection. I can tell instantly when someone gets my situation when I'm explaining it to them and that instantly influences how much more or less I tell them. Even despite this, I know just how much you should try and educate others and get your own experiences and feelings across, because you matter, I matter, our mental health MATTERS!

Opening up is so, so, important, and the recent event highlighting that would be the tragic death of Love Island contestant Sophie Gradon and in recent days her boyfriend. Sophie was someone who I actually found to be relatable on multiple occasions when she was on the series. In an age where opening up is still really, really hard, I encourage us all to be open minded and kind.

In terms of me, I'm just making every effort to deal with how I'm feeling from day to day and hopefully receiving therapy in September. I'm doing this for me because I want a difference and I've accepted that I do need help with this. I'm scared because I know it won't be easy, but as one therapist did tell me, it's become a cycle from the number of years I've been dealing with it and at this point in my life, I know it's important to try and see if it will help me. I want to be on top of everything.

As expected, this post was a difficult one to write, I know I've not gone into loads of detail but as I mentioned, I wasn't even sure I was going to publish it! But I just want to repeat the fact that if you're struggling with anything I've mentioned, you are not alone! And you are an incredibly strong person and you might not believe that but it's true! And please allow yourself the chance to get better. My therapist has told me that because my symptoms have been going on a while, it's a vicious cycle and naturally I know it's going to take time for things to work, but it's 100% okay!

Here are some valuable websites linked below to offer guidance and help if you need it:

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Simple Kind To Skin Smoothing Facial Scrub Review


This post is centred on Simple's Smoothing Facial scrub, which I actually picked up a few months back and haven't actually discussed properly on my blog yet! Continue reading to see what I think of it...!

To begin with, I'm quite an avid Simple user, I used their face wash and one of their moisturisers and their face wipes are the ones I swear by, but when I saw this scrub reduced, I thought I'd pick it up and have a go, as the face wash I'm using by them isn't actually a scrub wash.

What drew me to it is it's got rice granules, so it's completely good for the environment as it doesn't have those beads which are environmentally unfriendly. Some scrubs include them but luckily Simple provides a friendlier alternative that doesn't break the bank!!

In addition, it also features 2 sources of vitamins, providing you with Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E.
Describing itself to "remove dead skin cells and keep your skin brighter and more evenly textured' I'd say it definitely does what it says on the tube.

I can assure you it feels great and incredibly kind to my skin, perfect for those like me with sensitive skin!

It honestly works a treat and I've really loved using it. I'd fully recommend this to anyone who wants to treat their face to being smoother and softer alongside their normal skincare routine. What I love about it is it does the job but is extremely gentle and not too harsh!

Simple have definitely not let me down here!

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and let me know what you think!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Sunday, 1 July 2018

June 2018 Favourites


Welcome back to my blog! As always here is my monthly favourites of everything I've been enjoying throughout the month of June! There's quite a lot of music Favourites this month actually, so much that I had to cut the list down a little.

Pro:Voke Liquid Blonde Colour Infusion Shampoo
Admittedly, I'm not sure if you'd call my hair Caramel Honey or Golden blonde, but I've certainly got a bit of blonde in my hair. I've been kinda wanting to have my hair a bit more blonde (or just change it up at least) and thought I'd just see and use this shampoo to see if it did lighten my hair at all. I've not noticed an immediate huge difference but the blonde bits in my hair are deffo visible! I have enjoyed testing it out like!

Beyoncé - Heat Perfume
This is probably my favourite perfume, but I recently opened my new bottle of it and I've just been enjoying it so much. It's such a gorgeous scent! I find perfumes sometimes hard to describe but I'd say it's a very sweet fragrance and it lasts so well!

Boots Soltan Aftersun Cooling Gel
This is a product I'm sure I'll be using throughout the entire summer, as I decided to try and sit out in the sun a bit towards the end of June and managed to get heat rash or possibly sun hives. This was so refreshing and cooling to put on when it was itching and I love the consistency, that it's not greasy, dries quickly and really soothes the skin and hydrates it when it's sunburnt! It smells really good too as it has Aloe Vera in it. Deffo a good grab for the summer!!

Dr. Organic Pomegranate Hair Conditioner
Look out for a full review of this coming soon, but I've actually been enjoying the condition of my hair recently and I'm thinking there's a good chance it's down to me starting to use this. My hair is a lot fluffier and just generally looking a lot nicer than it usually does.

Khalid ft Normani - Love Lies
Charli XCX - 5 In The Morning
Britney Spears - Circus
George Ezra - Paradise
Lily Allen ft Giggs - Trigger Bang
Lily Allen - Come On Then
Lily Allen - What You Waiting For
LMC & Mark McCabe - Time To Groove
Beyoncé & Jay Z - Apeshit
Bodybangers - Gimme More
Demi Lovato - Sober

World Cup 2018
I've actually really enjoyed watching the World Cup this year and have properly been getting into it!

Love Island S4 2018
I've become obsessed with this series of Love Island, while I'm not sure it's as good as last year's, I'm actually in love with Dani and Jack. Dani Dyer is such a natural treasure and she's so sweet. As I write this, this past week has COMPLETELY flipped things, so I'm interested to see how it goes from here!

Bubble Tea
Since coming back home from uni for the summer, I've been closer to Bubblecha, where I purchase Bubble Tea! I absolutely love it and it's so gorgeous. My favourite go-to is Blueberry with strawberry toppings, but I've also been loving the kiwi one and also the pomegranate one was beautiful too! If you'd like to find out more about bubble tea you can do here. Basically it's fruit flavoured green tea but you can't taste a lot of the tea which is just as well as I'm not the biggest fan of the taste of tea!

80s Mix Purse
I bought this for £3 in Primark because I wanted a little purse which I could fit in my handbag on a night out instead of bringing my big purse. It works so well and is so cute!

Thank you so much for reading this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

30 Beauty Questions Tag


I think we all love doing a tag post from time to time! I love reading them and answering them too! This particular tag '30 Beauty Questions' tag is one I don't think I've actually answered before.

1. Do you remember your first makeup item?

My first makeup item was Beige Glace, a lipstick from Maybelline. Aside from freebie lipglosses from TOTP magazine..! I think I remember there was 4 I used so much; Berry, Cherry, Watermelon and another flavour but I've forgotten the scent of the 4th one!

2. Describe your perfect mascara, have you found one that fits your specifications?

 I think generally Maybelline's Lash Sensational works the best for me. It's my absolute favourite.

3. What kind of coverage do you prefer from your foundation?

I like full coverage, but often it's medium coverage really.

4. Favourite high-end makeup brand?

 I don't own many high-end makeup, but I love the look of MAC and Urban Decay. Morphe do absolutely amazing eye palettes.

5. What cosmetics brands have you always wanted to try but still haven't?
Urban Decay and Colourpop. And Lime Crime!

6. Favourite drugstore brand?

 I used to say Rimmel, but now probably Maybelline or Sleek. And for drugstore eyeshadow palettes, Makeup Revolution.

7. Do you wear false eyelashes?

I do. I never used to because I thought I'd not be able to apply them or they'd feel too heavy, but now I absolutely love wearing falsies and honestly it feels weird going out on a night out without them.

8. What sort of makeup can't you leave the house without?

I can and will leave the house without makeup, but probably mascara. Sometimes I forget a lip product but I'd say that too.

 9. What is your most cherished beauty product?

 Probably my Morphe 360 Plum Palette. It's my baby. Whenever I open it, I'm still in awe of it and I got it at Christmas!

10. How often do you shop for makeup? Do you pick up an item here or there or like to pick up lots all at once?

I used to buy more than I do at the moment but I usually buy an item here or there, it's very rare I'll go makeup shopping and buy loads at once.

 11. Do you have a 'beauty budget' or do you spend freely?

 I don't have a budget set aside for beauty items, but I know roughly how much I want to spend.

12. Do you utilise coupons, reward system and sales when you shop for cosmetics?

 Oh definitely! My housemate has told me I'm always looking for bargains and she's right! My Boots reward card is definitely a big help! I'm always making sure I make the most of my reward system!!

13. What type of product do you buy the most of?

 Has to be lipstick. I just love trying out new brands and shades!

14. Is there a brand you absolutely can't stand?

 I don't think I can really think of a brand I can't stand in terms of makeup. I know there's brands I don't buy from anymore but that's not really because I can't stand them.

15. Do you avoid certain ingredients in cosmetics such as parabens or sulphates?

Not specifically, but I do tend to take care with what I buy as I do have very sensitive skin so things react sometimes!

 16. Do you have a favourite place to shop for makeup? 

 Boots or Beauty Bay. Or Superdrug.

17. Do you like to try different skincare products or stick to a routine?

I do like to try new skincare products but as mentioned, I do have to try and take care with what I buy because of my sensitive skin.

18. Favourite bath and body brand?

 I do love Soap and Glory ever such a lot! They consistently produce amazing smelling products that work so well! I'm also quite a big lover of Zoella Beauty.

19. If you could only buy from one brand, which would you choose?

 Oh gosh!! That's a tricky question!! I'd be tempted to say Sleek. They don't just have one particular product they're good at, they are amazing at everything.

20. Which brand do you think has the best packaging?

 I've never tried any of their stuff, but Too Faced do gorgeous looking product packaging!

21. Which celebrity always has great makeup?

 Any of the Little Mix girls always have perfect makeup!

22. Do you belong to any online makeup communities?

 I beauty/lifestyle blog so does that count?

 23. 5 Favourite Beauty Gurus?

Makeup gurus on YouTube, I'd say Zoella, Imogenation, SophDoesNails, I watch quite a mixture of beauty and vloggers.

24. Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?

Not really, I don't use them.

25. Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?

Oh definitely!!

26. Do you use a makeup base/primer for the eyes?

I used Maybelline's 24 Hour Colour Tattoo (cream eyeshadow) in Crème De Rose as my base for my eyes. It works so well.

 27. How many hair products do you use on a typical day?

 Literally dry shampoo some days but that's it.

28. What do you apply first, foundation or concealer?

 Foundation then concealer.

29. Have you ever considered taking makeup classes?

 I've never considered it personally, I just try to learn from practising or YouTube.

30. What do you love about makeup?

 Creating different looks and experimenting. I love trying new products.

So there we go! Comment below your favourite makeup product, and if you fancy doing this tag send me your links so I can have a read!!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Friday, 22 June 2018

Let's Reflect: Second Year of University


Today's post is a little reflection post on my Second Year of University! I did one after finishing First Year which you can read here if you fancy it!

Second Year has been a whole new adventure, a whirlwind of emotions (and water in my uni house's case). The main difference between First Year and Second Year is definitely the fact that I felt so much more settled this year than last year. During First Year, I realise I did feel very lost and disorientated in terms of where I belonged.

In my accommodation, the main person I connected with was my flatmate who was a Masters student and therefore I spent a lot of time socialising with her and the friends I made through her, but as they were masters students, majority of them did not return when I started Second Year in September. As I was a first year student and they were masters, I did feel a little out of place sometimes even though they were absolutely lovely and looked after me well. My anxiety was very bad and I was adjusting to everything, meaning I didn't socialise much with others and probably missed out on the friendship making part of first year. Looking back now, I can see that a lot of my first year was spent seeing everyone else's experiences going so well and fun (and the year before when I was on my gap year.

Therefore, prior to beginning my second year of university, I was extremely motivated and extremely ready to make the most of my time and do more.
And Second Year actually made me feel a little more comfortable in my surroundings. I made new friends and new housemates and even though living in our student house hasn't been the easiest, I can look back and cherish the memories. I think that's been the key and happiest part of Second Year and it's definitely something I'm grateful for. They say some people come into your life for a reason, and I feel like my housemate definitely did.

The first half of the year was probably the best part, as I do love that time of the year anyway, but I got to spend Halloween with my best friend who came to visit and my housemates as we had a Halloween party which was very enjoyable! Halloween was probably one of my best Halloweens I've ever had as I actually got to celebrate it not once but twice.
I also somehow managed to visit Chester to visit my best friend at uni and also met the SacconeJolys that weekend! I'm still really, really, proud of how I did that weekend as I've mentioned that travelling is not the easiest for me but I honestly had a fabulous time and managed well.

Futhermore, I also got to go to the Christmas markets and see the Christmas lights turned on with my boyfriend which was a lovely memory, as Christmas is probably my favourite time of year! It's something I'd like to do this year too!

Socialising can be a hit and miss for me generally but I'd say I managed better at the start of 2nd Year to be more sociable and did enjoy a fair few social events!

However, towards the end of the year I have definitely lost myself a little. I was full of enthusiasm and optimism in the first semester and gradually things did slide a little.
I'm not sure if it was losing my Gran around the Christmas season and attending her funeral in January, but I've mentioned losing her was very difficult but I believe there's more than one reason.
Generally, I've always put a  lot of pressure on myself to socialise more and do more and make myself happy, but the pressure didn't always pay off and it just came to me feeling unsatisfied.
I attempted to blog about it but couldn't quite get the confidence to publish it.
Dealing with different things at one time can be overwhelming.
I'm a very emotional person and it just overtakes me sometimes which I need to work on. I also worry so much about other people which can further exhaust me!

February did have more events though, me spending my first ever Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and also my best friend visiting and staying the night in my uni house. It was a very busy yet fun week for me!
Another thing which hindered my actual socialising for roughly about a month, was I was struck down with scarlet fever during February/March. This was hard for me as I'd had loads of plans which I'd been excited for and one by one they disappeared and it was pretty disheartening. I was ill for a couple of weeks before getting my antibiotics but I couldn't drink on them so it was pretty annoying!

In terms of grades, mine have slipped a little this year, but my main aim was to get a First in at least one module per year as I got a First last year in one of my projects, luckily I managed to get a First in one of my modules which I was grateful for. Fingers crossed I can get a First somewhere in 3rd year too! In two of my essays, I felt like I had a lot more points to talk about which I need to remember for 3rd year, to have a good think about multiple points before choosing an essay topic!

I even managed to survive a flooding!

Despite all that, I managed to attend a second Final Fling, which is my university's end of year celebration event, which although wasn't as warm as last year, was pretty epic! I decided to go all out with the sequins and glitter this year and wore a blue sequin crop top from Pretty Little Thing. I also wore glitter on my face and eyeshadow. I loved how it looked and I literally am so glad I finally found that top from PLT, as I'd been looking for a while to find something I'd want to wear! I really enjoyed the day and got to see the Vengaboys, Tinchy Stryder, Kelli-Leigh, Sigala.

Moving onwards, I really don't want the uni experience to end as I have definitely grown so, so, much since I started in September 2016. Knowing in September I'll be going into 3rd year, genuinely terrifies me, but I hope that I can keep my life under control and make more positive memories! I recently got in contact with Mind and am in touch and hopefully working on my mental health so hopefully this helps me achieve this! Definitely need to try and get the stressful situations out of my way as it's definitely had a negative effect on my health, hopefully I can learn ways to help myself!

I'd love more than anything to get on top of things, make the most of everything and have loads more happy memories.

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Sunday, 10 June 2018

My Fave Places To Buy Clothing!

Hi everyone!

Today I thought I'd share with you my favourite places to buy clothing! Over the past couple of years I've definitely got more into fashion and been a bit more experimental with my clothes buying and my outfits. Time to discuss my favourite shops, carry on reading to find out...

Dress from Boohoo, Shoes from New Look

Boohoo has literally become a staple place for me to look for clothes. They have such amazing clothes and so many choices and the prices are extremely good too! My wishlist fills up so quickly and I'm always impressed with what I buy!

Primark (no website unfortunately!)
Primark is pretty much a shop I'm ALWAYS in and always buying things from. I've bought so many amazing things from Primark, to playsuits, lingerie, onesies, pyjamas and more! They have everything and the prices are fab as well.

Pretty Little Thing
I haven't bought too much from PLT, but they have some absolutely beautiful clothes and the ones I have bought are amazing and I don't regret buying from! I've also never had any delivery problems (touchwood) so far either despite what I've heard from others! They serve some amazing looks.

New Look
New Look's clothes are always very stunning and they are a high street shop which I'll always dip into whenever I'm in town! New Look don't disappoint with the styles they offer and I've also recently got into their shoes too! Definitely one of my favourite shops!

Even though I've actually never bought from Missguided, I absolutely love some of the clothes I've found on there! There's a huge selection of dressier clothes which I love and I'm sure one day I'll end up buying something from them!

George @ Asda
George at Asda may not be some people's first thoughts for clothes, but their clothes are such good quality! I've bought my black jeans from there a few years ago and they've stayed black and stayed in excellent quality!

I love Amazon for clothes, the reason being you can find loads of clothes that you might not find in regular shops, more quirkier and less conventional. I bought my Lemonade jumper from Amazon and I wasn't let down, I think they are a great place to invest in something a little out of the ordinary.

LOTD is a website I've only just become aware of, so I've not bought there yet but they have so many amazing clothes and for super, super cheap prices! I'm really tempted to invest and have a try of their clothes as some of their prices are as little as £5!

So there are my favourite places to shop clothes! What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx