Saturday, 30 December 2017

Let's Reflect: 2017

Hi everyone!!

It's the end of the year and therefore time for my annual 'Let's Reflect' post. Even though there was a lot of different things to discuss last year, I feel like there's still some big points I want to mention in this year's. 2017 has been a rollercoaster with many, many opportunities of growth for me and a selection of new friends along the way too.

As I mentioned last year, I started university. I managed to continue the rest of the year and was so shocked to have completed my first year of uni! It seems distant now but even though I'm currently in second year, there's a few aspects of first year that I miss.
I passed First Year and felt somewhat proud to have done that, seeing as I've not always got the best grades. I really want to get a couple more firsts in my assignments for second year, but we shall see how that goes...
In terms of uni, I'm a little more relaxed on attending lectures and seminars however I still try to push myself to go to as many as possible, as I do end up feeling guilty if I don't. I definitely feel more comfortable being away from home than I did towards the end of 2016 and proud that I managed to build a life in a completely new fresh environment.

One of my other big memories of 2017, would be Final Fling, an event our university held to celebrate the end of the academic year. The weather was so nice, even a little bit too boiling at times, and I was able to watch S Club, Pendulum, Fuse ODG and Rewire and Varski. It's actually probably one of my favourite days of 2017, I enjoyed it so much and it brings back good memories. I controlled my anxiety well that day too. 

Another big mention of 2017, would be that I got into my very first relationship. It wasn't something I really expected to happen to me, but I'm lucky enough to be with someone who tries to understand my anxiety and supports and cares for me and makes me laugh. He's supportive of my blog too which definitely helped me with my confidence towards it and another aspect I appreciate.

Speaking of my blog, I know I've not really given it the attention it deserves this year, but in September when I began my second year of uni, my module meant I had to keep a blog and because I didn't really want this one to be scrutinised, I adapted a lifestyle blog which is still online and you can read here. From carrying on this blog as part of uni and generally speaking a bit more about my blogs, I've found myself being a bit more confident with it, which is a complete turnaround from last year. I'm not the most confident in my writing and this blog in general as I'm fully aware there's bigger and prettier blogs out there, but I do really enjoy writing it and planning posts etc. Hopefully I can carry this on into 2018 and really push on with it.

Despite finishing 1st Year on a high, my summer did have a shaky start as my dad became very unwell just days before we were going on a family holiday. I still feel a little weird when I think about that day because it was one of the most scared I'd ever been but I'm so thankful to the NHS and in particular the doctors and the surgeon that, to be honest, saved his life.

One of my bigger achievements I'd say would be visiting my best friend in Chester. Ever since she went there for university in 2015, I've wanted to go and visit her but sadly my anxiety always held me back and I never went through with my plans. However, when she persuaded me to come to Chester as SacconeJolys were taking their book signing there, I simply knew I had to go.
I'm really proud of myself for going there as my anxiety can really suffer travelling/not being at home and even though I could feel myself triggering at some point, I managed to keep on top of it somehow and for that I'm proud of. Looking back I had a really amazing time, especially the night out and I know that I couldn't do that a year/2 years ago so that's definitely something good. I did a post about this on my uni blog, so if you'd like to have a read of that you can do here.

It brings me on to meeting The SacconeJolys. If you've read my blog for a while you will know I'm a huge fan of them and they got me through the dark patch I went through when I first joined uni in 2016. They are so entertaining to watch and I really like them. Meeting them was amazing, if a little nerve-wracking once the moment finally came. I've loved them for a few years now so it was so good to see them and it made that weekend even more special for me.

One of the other things which has changed for me during 2017, was moving out of student accommodation and into a house, I share with other students who are my housemates. I only knew one other person as she's one of my good friends from my uni course but I'm really glad to have met my 3 other housemates as they're very funny and canny. We had a Halloween party for Halloween and it was a really lovely night where we all got to socialise together and surprisingly I actually really liked my makeup for it still even from looking back at photos!

I also turned 21 this year, which I can't quite believe as I do not feel 21 but I had a fab night with one of my best friends and thankfully we did hear Destiny's Child (so a bit of Beyoncé didn't go amiss!)

Another change in me I'd say during 2017 has been my ambition to throw myself into life more. I've tried to do more and socialise more with the people I care about and try not to let anxiety stop me. I can't say it's been easy but it's been something I've definitely been more aware of and something I've done my best to do.

Unfortunately, my 2017 hasn't ended on a positive note, as sadly one of my favourite people, my gran, passed away just before Christmas. She was such a funny and brilliant person and I will miss her always, as I mentioned she was one of my favourite people in the whole world. It unfortunately also means I'm grandparentless now, which is a very sad thought to think about. If you still have your grandparents with you, please treasure them especially during 2018.

Despite all of the good and bad, 2017 has brought me a lot of new experiences and I can only hope and pray that 2018 allows me to continue growing as a person and is good to me and my loved ones. I hope to make amazing memories in 2018 too!

I hope you've enjoyed this very lengthy discussion about my 2017.
Happy New Year and I wish you all a very amazing 2018.

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxxxxxxx

Friday, 29 December 2017

My 2017 Favourites


So normally my 2017 Favourites post just ends up being a repetitive list of previous monthly favourites items, summed in one but seeing as I was slacking on the Favourites posts this year, I feel like this might actually be new to some people. So this post sums up a lot of my Favourites during 2017.

Sleek Metallic Roman Copper:
This is such a gorgeous metallic shade, definitely unlike anything I have in my makeup bag, gifted to me by my best friend for my birthday. I think it goes well against my hair shade and made me love Sleek even more as a makeup brand. I love how stunning it looks both in it's tube and on the lips.

NYX Transylvania Soft Matte Cream:
This is such a gorgeous dark purple colour which is absolutely perfect for the autumnal time of year! I wore it on Halloween at our Halloween house party and it completed my 'bad fairy' look.

NYX Lip Lingerie Beauty Mark:
I had nothing like this in my collection when purchasing it and I love how it's a dark toned brown shade, I find it so wearable and so gorgeous. I'm a massive fan!

NYX Lip Lingerie Embellishment:
I have no other colour like this and NYX's liquid lipsticks are stunning quality. Their lip lingeries are some of my favourite liquid lipsticks out there and I honestly adore this shade!

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara:
My holy grail mascara, I couldn't not include this in my Favourites as despite me trying other mascaras during 2017, this still remains my favourite. It is such good quality for the price and even better than some of the more expensive high end mascaras in my opinion.

Maybelline Master Strobing Stick:
This highlighter is so creamy and gives such a dreamy sparkle to the skin. I love the formula as it makes it so easy to apply and it's great value for money.

Makeup Revolution Palette Redemption Iconic Palette2:
This palette is amazing quality, the pigmentation is amazing and there's some stunning shades which can take you from a casual day look to a sparkling night time look. I was hugely impressed and as it was my first Makeup Revolution product it's made me look into the brand more.

Maybelline The Nudes Palette:
This palette was one I used countless times in 2017 and it's extremely purse-friendly and small enough to be carried around. Such good value.

Eylure False Eyelashes:
This is definitely the year I've been wearing false lashes more than ever and I love the Eylure ones, now that Tanya's ones are discontinued (sadly!) They are reasonably easy to apply and there's so many different types.

Zoella Snowella Body Spritz:
This is probably one of my favourite Zoella Beauty scents, it's definitely in my top 3. It's such a gorgeous scent and I'm gutted it's limited edition! I've been wearing it so much since I bought it.

Beyoncé Heat Kissed Perfume:
I got this for Christmas last year and it is such a gorgeous scent. It's slightly muskier in my opinion to the standard Heat, I find it extremely wearable both day and night. think everyone who knows me, knows how much I've been obsessed with Boohoo this year. Every time anyone asks what I'm doing I seem to be on there browsing their clothes and adding to my ever-growing wishlist. I love the variety of clothes on there and the prices are so good too, and they are always doing offers and they do student discount too which is a bonus for me.

Anna Saccone Star Sign Necklace:
I got this for my 21st birthday back in November and I love it so much. I'd wanted it for a couple of years so finally having it made me love it even more. I got the rose gold one as it looked so pretty. It's one of my favourite jewellery pieces and I love it.

Mickey Mouse Necklace:
My boyfriend brought me back this very cute little Mickey Mouse necklace from Disney and I love how small and discrete it is, it goes with pretty much everything because of it's size and I think it's so adorable.

Turtle Bracelet:
My best friend went to Greece during the summer to help turtles, and she brought me back this turtle bracelet which is so cute! I love it, it's so adorable.

I didn't manage to put out photos of the jewellery but if you check my Instagram @EclairsCares I'm sure you will see them there as I wear them so often!!

Music: (Naturally not all released in 2017)
Ed Sheeran - Galway Girl (My most played song on Spotify of 2017)
Drake - Passionfruit (My second most played song on Spotify of 2017)
Charli XCX - Babygirl
DJ Khaled, Beyoncé & Jay Z - Shinin'
Jason Derulo - Swalla
French Montana ft Swae Lae - Unforgettable
Lethal Bizzle - Pow
Charli XCX & Cupcakke - Lipgloss
Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You
Ciara - Speechless
Jennifer Lopez - Everybody's Girl
Camila Cabello - Havana
Marina & The Diamonds - Teen Idle
Little Mix ft Stormzy - Power
Kelis - Millionaire
Dua Lipa - New Rules
Jax Jones ft Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don - Instruction
Stefflon Don ft French Montana - Hurtin' Me
Charli XCX - Drugs
Ed Sheeran - Nancy Mulligan
Camila Cabello - Crying In The Club
DMX - Party Up
CNCO ft Little Mix - Reggaeton Lento

Love Island
Shameless (US)
Gossip Girl

Special shout out to Imogen, as she has been my biggest discovery of 2017! She's become one of my absolute favourite vloggers to watch as she's so upbeat and positive, so loving to her viewers and an extremely inspiring person! I love her so much and I'm so glad I discovered her channel. She's an absolute sweetheart.

The Saccone Jolys

I hope you've all had a fab 2017 and I'll be posting my Let's Reflect 2017 post this weekend so I hope you will all have a read of that too!!

Thank you so much for reading!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxxx

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Boohoo Wishlist


So I did a Boohoo Wishlist a couple of months back as part of the blog for my uni module, which you can have a read of here, but I do love Boohoo and my wishlist has grown since then and I've picked out a few more things I'd like to share with you!

Petite Jane Rib Cold Shoulder Neck Detail Top £10.00 (Black & Khaki)
I love both colour variations of this top and really want at least one of them I'm just waiting for them to come back in stock in my size. I love the detail and I'm a fan of cold shoulder tops.
Amelia Western Style Denim Mini Skirt £15.00
I am wondering about attempting to wear skirts and this denim one appeals to me not only because of the denim material but the length and design of it. It's a fairly simple piece but I feel like you could team it with a lot of different things.

Shama Strappy Neck Cold Shoulder Top Red £14.00
I love the top half of this, I think it looks really gorgeous and pretty. I chose the red one because I am trying to inject some colour into my dressier tops. I really love this.

Tegan Mesh & Lace Bralet £12.00
I love how chic this bralet is! The mesh makes it look sexier and I just love how it looks. I feel like it's also one you can get away with wearing with most outfits.

Lisa High Neck Slinky Midi Dress Black £10.00
I've had this dress in my wishlist for a while now but I love how simple this dress is but how nice it looks too. I feel like this would be a great LBD to have for any special occasions.

Violet Oversized Checked Shirt - £18.00
I hope this is back in stock soon! I love the colours of this shirt and feel like it could be worn in many ways such as on it's own or as an extra layer over a top or a vest. It reminds me of the red shirt Beyoncé wore in her **Flawless music video although hers was red and black. I feel like this shirt would be great in my wardrobe.

So I could properly go on much longer, but for now I'll stop here!
Do you like any of my choices?

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

My 2017 Unwrapped Spotify


So recently, Spotify gave us all the opportunity to look back on the top songs and artists we had been listening to in 2017. Here are mine:

Even though I was expecting a couple of them, I was a little surprised at a couple of the songs that it picked out for me! Especially Wobble by Lethal Bizzle and Chat Shit Get Banged by Tinchy Stryder. While I know I listened to them a lot over this year, I was expecting either Babygirl by Charli XCX or Blackstreet's No Diggity to feature.

Beyoncé, Little Mix, Lethal Bizzle, Girls Aloud and Jennifer Lopez are all artists I really appreciate. Girls Aloud were definitely listened to a lot more in my childhood but I clearly still listen to them a lot, their songs are classics to be honest so that shows that.

Have you all done your Spotify Unwrapped 2017? I'd love to know!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas Post Ideas


I thought today I'd write a list of Christmas Post Ideas! Feel free to use any of these if you are doing Blogmas!

* Christmas dessert recipes
* DIY Christmas decorations
* Gift wrapping ideas
* Christmas jumper hauls
* Christmas Party fashion lookbooks
* Your favourite Christmas traditions
* Christmas makeup ideas
* Gingerbread Designs
* Christmas films you love
* Gift ideas
* Party game ideas
* Christmas market photos
* Christmas lights photos
* Your favourite photos/memories from previous Christmases
* Christmas snack ideas
* Festive card ideas
* Budgeting
* Favourite Christmas songs
* Winter skincare tips
* Goals for 2018
* Secret Santa ideas
* Christmas character makeup
* Christmas wishlists
* Christmas ideas for kids
* Christmas charity campaigns
* Christmas TV adverts

Hope these have given you some ideas!!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Friday, 1 December 2017

Reindeer Makeup

Hey everyone!

Happy 1st December! The festive season is finally back around again and this time I thought I'd try something new which I've not done before. I decided to do Reindeer makeup.
I apologise for one of my eyes being overdone, it was a mistake on my part apart from that I was quite happy with it, as it had been my first try of doing it.

I know I'm not the best with makeup but I did enjoy experimenting for this look. I could have obviously done it better too but for a first try, I was quite proud! It's perfect for if you are having a Christmas themed party or event coming up! A good tip I'd use is to make sure you contour the nose as it made it look much more effective. The bronzer I used is more on the orange side but honestly that wasn't a bad thing for this particular look. You could also use a brown liquid lipstick, I was going to use Beauty Mark from NYX's Lip Lingerie range but I couldn't find it when I was doing the makeup so I went with Bustier instead but it still worked. You can also add some reindeer ears for the full look but I left mine at uni when I took these photos as I'd gone home for the weekend!

Makeup Used:
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation - Light Porcelain
Natural Collection Sun Tint Bronzing Powder - Sun Shine
Collection Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner
Maybelline Colour Tattoo Eyeshadow - Creme De Rose
NYX Lingerie Liquid Lipstick - Bustier
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Iconic 2
Barry M Kohl Pencil White Eyeliner
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
Millie Mackintosh Luxe Glow Face Illuminator

Also, I'm completing a blog for my uni work so if you could check it out and leave a comment it would be hugely appreciated!! You can read it here

Thank you for reading!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 29 October 2017

I Need Your Help - Blog For Uni

Hey everyone!!

So I thought I'd do a little post to let you know I've had to create another blog for uni purposes as I have a module on blogging, I'd love it if you guys could show it some love and maybe have a read and comment etc!!

It's lifestyle related but as I'm used to beauty blogging, I will write about beauty too. Please give it a little look as it would mean a lot to me!!

I've done some OOTD posts and wishlists so far if you are interested and there is plenty more coming! It's a little different to what I've done so far on this blog so do check it out!

Here is the link if you guys are interested!

Thank you so much for reading and it would be amazing if you gave it a read/comment!!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxx

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

World Mental Health Day 2017: What It Means To Me & My Tips

Hi everyone!

Today this post comes out specially for World Mental Health Day.

As someone who has dealt with a few aspects of mental health, I find this day particularly important. Mental Health problems are very common and it's important to consider the fact that you can't see who may be suffering from one. They are all around and can come in many different forms.

This day itself revolves around promoting the education and raising awareness for conditions which you may not be as familiar with. And knowing that there are so many different people out there facing struggles with their mental health. I feel like it's important to be because I want there to be education on mental health especially in schools and for the younger generation because these skills can be kept throughout life and hopefully reduce or even make others feel at ease knowing what they may be dealing with. If they learn about these things during their teenage years it can be beneficial for years to come. It may also make recovery easier because you have more of an understanding of what is happening to you. It took me a while to properly acknowledge I had anxiety as I'd not really been educated fully on mental health, I feel there's a huge amount of assumptions regarding mental health and stigmas which can hold you back from understanding yourself and also receiving treatment.
I feel like World Mental Health Day keeps a reminder that we have to consider others around us and their ways of life and the way their minds work.

Some tips I'd offer if you or someone you know is suffering would be:

* Don't be afraid to take some 'me time'. Sometimes being busy can be extremely stressful and tire you out, even social situations. By balancing out both work and social commitments it can mean you have a schedule which suits your needs better.

* Talk! It's hard to open up, but talking to those who care can really help. I know I'm being slightly hypocritical here because I bottle up a lot of things, but I know that there's people around me who do know some of my triggers and generally my own battles, although I've not shared everything. However talking your worries out with someone can be hugely helpful.

* Write down your achievements and be proud when you do something brave. One of my friends actually gave me a little notebook to write down some of my achievements and good things in and it was such a thoughtful and considerate gift. It's important to keep these in mind during a down day as it's easy to become engulfed by the negativity.

I hope this post for World Mental Health Day has done it justice. Thank you for reading!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxx


Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Fashion Tag

Hey everyone!

I was reading through Anna Saccone's blog recently and came across 'The Fashion Tag' which she had completed. I've never completed a tag based on fashion before so thought I'd go for it.

1. How would you describe your style?
My fashion style is quite casual yet comfortable. I'm girly but I'm not in your face girly. Some days you'll see me in a Disney top or something cartoony and other times you might see me in some sophisticated tops or darker clothes. I've got a mixture of styles, which I quite like.

2. What are your wardrobe staples?
A few of Primark's Basic tees, they are so useful to throw on for university lectures with a hoodie or sweatshirt. Some comfy pairs of jeans are a must. A nice dressy top for fail-safe last minute evening arrangements. Also a checked shirt will always look stylish.

3. Most expensive item in your closet?
Probably a faux leather jacket from Wallis. It's one of my favourite clothing items and it's great for evening occasions and day time too. I'd wanted a leather type jacket for a while and I was so happy to finally get one.

4. Most wanted item?
I really want more dressier pairs of shoes but I've got really picky feet!  

5. Favourite designer?
I'm not really bothered about designer clothes to be honest. I care about high end makeup, but in terms of clothes I'm not quite big on fashion designers and things. I can't afford to spend loads of money on just 1 handbag or something.

6. How much do you spend on clothes?
I've been more experimental with my style and clothes buying recently so probably about £20 - £50 in a couple of months. I just seem to be buying clothes a lot recently.

7. What are your favourite places to shop?
I love Primark, it really saves my life. Asda and Sainsbury's do great pairs of jeans and jeggings which are of really good quality. I also love Boohoo and New Look. Topshop's a bit more pricey but they have nice stuff in.

8. Favourite fragrance?
Probably Beyoncé's Heat perfume. It's just such a gorgeous scent and even without being a Beyoncé fan I'd still love it.

9. What's your favourite way to do your hair?
I have it natural really, I don't do a lot with it because I'm not a hair care expert. I have many different shampoos so I don't have to worry about product build up cos I don't use the same one each time.

10. What is your go-to outfit when you have no idea what to wear?
Depends if it's a day event or a night time event. If it's day time I'll just throw on my New Look skinny jeans, a Primark top and a hoodie and trainers. For an evening event I'll probably throw on my Asda black jeans, a black top and jacket and boots.
11. One fashion trend you wish would come back or stay?
I love 90s fashions so I'm glad that they've been in recently. I love chokers so I really hope they stay for a while! I also really like the mom jeans trend as I don't always opt for outright skinny jeans.

 12. Show us your most prized possession in your wardrobe.

As sad as it sounds probably my Yonce t shirt and my Lemonade sweatshirt. I love wearing Beyoncé related clothing and I ordered them off Amazon. I love them. Probably because they are harder to find.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this blog post and I tag you to complete it if you wish to!
If you complete the post please link me to it!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxx

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Update: New Uni Year/Autumn Days


One of my favourite ever sunset photos I've taken.

Let's ignore the fact there's another break here!

How have you all been? I've had a busy few weeks and I'll let you all know why..

So I've just started my second year of University, I've been here for just under 3 weeks so far after moving into my new flat on 17th September. Obviously it takes adjusting even when you've already studied for a year, I'm moved in with new people (minus my coursemate who's also here) so that was also different as I'd stayed in student accommodation previously.
Luckily, my housemates are really lovely and also funny!
It's not been the easiest of few weeks but I've handled it better than I would have thought I would have done. Living arrangements isn't the only thing that can be unsettling however, as receiving and dealing with a new timetable especially when you have anxiety can be hard, so far it hasn't been too bad. It's not been super easy, there's been a few tough bits naturally.

I'm still going by the same quote as I ended my last uni year with 'Make the most of everything you have' and I hope I have the confidence to do more and try and focus more on me (probably another post coming soon!)

It also happens to be my favourite part of the year. I really like Autumn as the good TV starts and October's quite an interesting month and then it's my 21st birthday next month and Christmas is just around the corner too. There's a lot of things happening. Which reminds me I still need to have my first Pumpkin Latte of the year (I tried one last year and loved it).

I can't remember if I did a blog post explaining that I'd lost confidence in my blog (and indeed myself) but I still love writing and I love the freedom I have to talk about the things I like. As there's a lot of exciting things coming up I'm going to try and give my blog a bit of a makeover. I have a blog to do as university work too, so I feel like there's a lot of content I'm going to have to produce.

I'd like to thank you all reading this for staying with me, I know my blog posts have been very scattered this year, I still care so much about you all and this blog. You are not forgotten!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxxx

Monday, 14 August 2017

Sunshine Blogger Award

*Edit I apologise for the layout of this post, it didn't seem to want to space out!

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my blog.
So this is the Sunshine Blogger Award which I was kindly nominated for by Britt from Alternatively Speaking, you can read her post here. I'd like to thank Britt for tagging me and you can find my answers to her questions below.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring. Once nominated the blogger is required to write a post in which they:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them.
  3. Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  4. Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.
  1. What do you like most about blogging?
    Having my own space to write my own things and publish my own content.
  2. How did you choose your blog’s name?
    I wanted a Claire related nickname and Éclair fitted and Cares just came because I write about things I care about.
  3. What does ‘friendship’ mean to you?
    Friendship is someone who cares for you, looks out for you, listens and makes effort with you.
  4. If money wasn’t an option, what one thing would you buy right now without hesitation?
    I'd probably buy loads of clothes and makeup and go for loads of Spoons visits with my best friend.
  5. What is your biggest fear?
    My anxiety, death and not being happy
  6. What is your current favourite song?
    My current favourite song is probably Chris Brown's Kiss Kiss or Charli XCX's Roll With Me.
  7. What is the most amazing thing you have experienced while traveling?
    I'm not sure actually.
  8. What is your fondest childhood memory?
    Probably visiting my grandparents. They would always be great weekends. And going on family holidays to Wales. They are really good memories of my childhood.
  9. If you had to leave right now and could only take 3 things with you to a mysterious, unknown destination, what would you bring and why?
    I'd take a friend, my phone and some clothes because I'd need someone with me, my phone goes everywhere with me and clothes is kind of obvious!!
  10. What is your favourite quote?
    One of my favourite quotes is from Beyoncé's Pretty Hurts music video, where Bey answers the a question 'My aspiration in life, is to be happy.' It really sits with me.
    I also love the quote 'You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think' from Winnie The Pooh.
  11. When you aren’t blogging, what are you doing?
    Either listening to music, watching YouTube videos. Or watching TV.

    I tag any of you that want to do this tag to do it and the questions I leave for you are:
    1. Who was your first concert?
    2. If you could befriend any celebrity, who would it be and why?
    3. Favourite snack?
    4. You have a day trip with your best friend. How do you spend it?
    5. What are two of your favourite movies?
    6. Where is the furthest you've travelled?
    7. What's your favourite mascara of all time?
    8. Favourite restaurant?
    9. Who was your first celebrity crush?
    10. Favourite fruit?
    11. Who's Instagram do you love to peep at?

    Thank you so much for reading! And once again thank you Britt for nominating me lovely!!

    Love & hugs,
    Claire xxxx

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Zoella Jelly & Gelato: Body Pudding & Shower Shake Review

Hey everyone!

I was very excited to hear of Zoe releasing a new range of products for Zoella Beauty, as their products have always impressed me and appealed to me in the past.

Her new range, Jelly and Gelato in cooperates the summery vibes of ice cream and all those tasty treats and scents you have in summer.

The actual scent is described as being 'Elderflower and Pomegranate' which I'd describe as being quite fruity and fresh, although different to that of her previous collection Tuity Fruity.
As soon as I smelled it, I knew I'd used something with a similar scent and I worked out it was a M&S Passionfruit body butter which shared a very similar scent. I'll have to see how it sits with me in terms of Zoella Beauty scents, as it tends to take a couple of months for me to be able to decide where it goes in the ranking, as Sweet Inspirations really grew on me a few months later than when I first bought the products. The scent itself is very lovely and I can definitely see myself wearing it a lot.

Body Pudding:
This cute little tub resembles a little ice cream tub, which I absolutely adore.
It is extremely moisturising and makes your skin feel so soft, I was actually surprised at how smooth my hands and body felt. It's probably the most smoothing product she's released so far I'd say.
I love how my skin feels after I've used it. It feels very luxurious and as if it would be more expensive than what it actually was, because of the amazing moisturising ability this has. It is a gorgeous product and the scent is very prominent in it. I was very impressed!

Shower Shake:
The Shower Shake Body Wash has the most adorable packaging, shaped like a little milkshake, it is SO adorable and captures those summer vibes perfectly!
Unfortunately, my bottle of Shower Shake is broken and doesn't shut properly, which is a problem I've never had with any of Zoe's products before, so I must have just got a faulty one!
It shares the same scent as Body Pudding, although I found it to not be as strong once I'd used it, as some of her other shower products have been stronger after use. The scent didn't sit on my skin as well as the body pudding did. Although I absolutely adore the packaging, it isn't my favourite of Zoe's shower products.

That being said, I'm excited for future Zoella Beauty releases, as Zoe always manages to produce the most eye-catching packaging and gorgeous products, so it's 100% okay if this isn't my favourite collection. We all have different scents we do and don't like or products that do better work on us than others do.

Have any of you bought any Jelly and Gelato products?

Love & hugs,
Claire xxx

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Don't Pink Of It Review

Hey everyone!

So recently I picked up my very first Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet liquid lipstick. I've actually never owned any of Bourjois' Rouge Edition lipsticks, but I know Chanelle from Chanelle Hayley has expressed her love for Frambourjois, one of Bourjois' other liquid lipsticks, so I was quite intrigued to try them out.

The shade I chose was Don't Pink Of It, which I thought was going to be a pale baby pink nude.

In shops, Bourjois' liquid lipsticks are actually more expensive than NYX's, which suggests ultimately, that the quality is that bit dearer, which was also intriguing as I own a fair few NYX liquid lipsticks and am very

The formula is definitely more on the luxurious side, it's very creamy and comfortable on the lips.
The matte effect looks very natural and you can see it's velvety effect.

It does feel slightly wet on the lips, only slightly, in comparison to Sleek's liquid lipsticks which dry completely, the Bourjois liquid lipsticks do feel a bit moisturising, but dabbing with a tissue could definitely sort this out. I tried this and it definitely helps.

I do love the colour, but I was definitely mistaken in thinking it's a baby pink nude. It's more of a mid pink shade, on the bolder side than the nude side. I absolutely love the colour it just isn't what I was intentionally looking for, but I know I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this!

Do you own any of the Bourjois Rouge lipsticks? Let me know!
Love & hugs,
Claire xxx

Monday, 31 July 2017

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash Review

Hey everyone!

Today's post is a review on Soap & Glory's Sugar Crush Body Wash. As you may know if you've been an avid reader here, I am a big Soap and Glory fan and love the products I've used by them so far, including the Sugar Crush body butter, so I got using the Body Wash version of the product.

As it was one of the minis, I had 75ml of the product, which is a nice travel size amount, also small enough to fit in my uni bathroom, when I was staying in accom.

I was eager to use it after smelling it, it's a gorgeous fresh citrusy scent, lime is the main fruit you can smell once opening. It smells extremely energising and fresh, which is perfect for this time of year.

You only need a small amount and it lathers up very well, which I've always found is a huge pro of Soap and Glory products, they lather up so easily and so smoothly. It's extremely smoothing to use.

However the scent didn't last or stay as strong as I expected to once out the shower. It smelled a little different and not as strong, not like Clean On Me did.

To conclude, despite it smelling very citrusy and fresh and smoothing, I'd probably stick to using the Sugar Crush body butter, as it would make the scent last longer. Clean on Me's scent appeals to me more and also lasts longer so I'd probably stick with that one.

Which are your favourite Soap and Glory products?

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxxxx

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Lipstick Tag 2017

Hey everyone!

Lipstick pictured is Rimmel's Pink Blush.

So I completed the Lip Product Tag back in 2015. Since it's over 2 years ago and my lip product game has grown since then, I thought I'd do a follow up 2017 version.
If you want to read my original post I've linked it here.

How many lipsticks do you own?
Honestly, too many to count! I need to do a clear out!

What was the first lipstick you ever owned?
Beige Glace by Maybelline, which I don't even think is still around these days! It was fairly shimmery.

What is your favourite lipstick brand?
I love NYX. They make absolutely great liquid lipsticks, which have really caught my eye. Obviously MAC do gorgeous lipsticks and Rimmel is great for high street.

What is your most worn lipstick?
Probably my NYX Stockholm liquid lipstick. I throw it on all the time. Alternatively, Sleek's Shabby Chic gets worn a lot too.

What is your favourite finish?
It used to be satin, but I'm loving matte finishes atm.

What is the last lip product you bought?
Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet in the shade 10 - Don't Pink Of It. It was the first of Bourjois' liquid lippies that I've tried.

How many lip products do you currently have in your handbag? Including balms
I've just checked and I had NYX's Lip Lingerie in Bustier, MUA's Velvet Lip Lacquer in Dash and Zoella Beauty's Sweet Mint lip balm from the 2015 Christmas range.

How do you store your lipsticks?
In my makeup bags, I don't particularly have any storage units for them.

What lipstick do you use to rock a red lip?
I use NYX's Liquid Suede in Kitten Heels. It's an absolutely stunning red. I also really like Rimmel Kate Moss' 01 shade. Clinique's Cherry Pop is also a big favourite.

What lipstick are you currently lusting over?
I'm looking for a baby pink nude liquid lipstick, but an actual lipstick I'm loving and lusting for is probably the Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Don't Pink Of It, because it's my newest lippy and I just love how matte it looks and how velvety it feels.

Thank you so much for reading this post and do let me know if you own any of these lippies and what you think of them!!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxx

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Let's Talk: Mental Health Update

This post is one I made which is quite raw, basically I needed to get a few things out of my system and update you I guess. I just thought I'd mention it at the start. I do write about mental health and promoting ending the stigma of mental health and at first I considered editing this a lot more thoroughly, but decided to keep it as it was, as I want to help.

Last time I did an update on my life, it was a very positive one. I was in a good place, I was proud of myself for everything I handled this past year and I was excited for the future.

A lot has changed since then and it's kind of knocked me back into a bit of shock.
I don't want to disclose too much but very suddenly, I dealt with family illness. My dad was taken ill about 3 weeks ago and I still feel sick thinking about it, as it was pretty serious. It was 2 days before we were due to go on holiday so a lot happened in a very short space of time.

It came at a time where I suddenly started feeling really ill and had quite a bad migraine for about a week which was pretty much a bad cold and then somewhere in the middle I had a bout of food poisoning and then a really bad throat. One thing after another right? I feel like if I'd been stronger physically, it might have helped mentally.
Unfortunately, my health anxiety has worsened and it's not been like this for a good few years. It's quite difficult to manage, it just means my mind runs away with itself. I frequently feel like I'm overthinking symptoms, panicking thinking I've got all kinds of things. And then it seems to extend to other people, people I care about. It's probably a reaction to what happened to my dad as it was such a shock and it hit me very hard, its meant that I've been worrying about my best friend and my boyfriend quite a lot.
I've not had this kind of behaviour to this extent for quite a few years as I mentioned, so it's quite a shock to the system for it to return.

In regards to my dad, he's making a recovery, which I'm so, so, relieved about. I can't explain the fear I faced that initial day. I'm just so thankful for the NHS who did everything they could and acted as fast as they could. My respect for them grew enormously.

However, I feel like it's triggered a lot of stuff, or at least it seems to have, coming home I've felt a lot more anxious and overthinking a lot of things.
My carefully grafted confidence has definitely shredded, I keep being reminded of the trust issues I have and overthinking things to the point where I just feel defeated and upset.

My point is, my anxiety is very bad at the moment and arguably depression and OCD are making their returns. I've never really spoken about the latter two much as it's not an official diagnosis, it's just something I'm aware of. I hope to one day be able to discuss my experiences in more depth when I'm ready.

The health anxiety was definitely a shock to the system though as some of the things I'd been feeling I'd not felt like for a good few years, to that extent. Worrying excessively about my health and being terrified that my own illness was going to make others ill. Just horrific obsessive, ugly thoughts which kept taking up my mind.

I've realised I do have a lot of issues within myself, I do worry excessively over being judged and other peoples thoughts, too often putting other peoples' feelings above my own.
My mind is a very hurtful place for me at times.

All I can really do is spend the rest of my summer trying to build up the confidence and joy that I thought I felt a few weeks prior to the incident and try and feel better! That's what I intend to try to do now.

I send all of my love and support to those fighting both mental and physical struggles right now 💖

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Additional Note: This has been written both in the last week and 2 weeks ago. Not literally the date it was published.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

This or That - Beauty Edition

 Hey everyone!

I don't believe I've done a This or That tag in a long time and this is the beauty edition! I've taken a few of the questions out as I'm from the UK and some of the questions referred to brands I haven't used as they aren't available here to buy in shops. I hope you enjoy!

Blush or Bronzer
To tell the truth I don't really use either but if I had to pick one it would be blusher because in some occasions I wear it!

Lipgloss or Lipstick
Lipstick definitely! I don't wear lipgloss much anymore but I used to wear it a lot when I was about 11 - 14.

Eyeliner or Mascara
Tricky one here but probably mascara as I'm better at applying it than eyeliner!

Foundation or Concealer
Foundation. I love concealer but I'm much more likely to use Foundation!

Neutral or Color Eyeshadow
Neutral eyeshadow suits me better than bright colour eyeshadow I feel.

Pressed or Loose eye shadows
I'd say pressed eyeshadow, as loose can be quite unnecessarily messy.

Brushes or Sponges
I use brushes more than sponges.
O.P.I or China Glaze
I don't personally use either brand but OPI do some gorgeous shades so probably OPI.

Long or Short
I don't like really long nails so I'd probably say medium length, I'd love to get my nails done sometime.

Acrylic or Natural
As I answered before, I have never had my nails done, I have natural ones but I'd love to get them done some day.

 Brights or Darks
I quite like dark shades, but I love wearing bright shades too. My favourites are dark reds/purples.

Flower or No Flower
I have some Hello Kitty stickers which I sometimes use, I don't have flowers. But I do like to switch it up!
Perfume or Body Splash
Definitely perfume, but also body spray too.

Lotion or Body Butter
Body butters are my favourite, they are always so soft and creamy!

Body wash or Soap
I'm more of a body wash person than a soap person!

LUSH or Other Bath Company
Has to be Lush!! Lush are just so good.
Jeans or Sweat pants
I wear jeans a lot more but definitely out, I don't really wear sweats/joggers out the house.

Long sleeve or Short
I own a lot of short sleeved tops so short sleeved.

Dresses or Skirts
Probably dresses over skirts but that's only cos I don't own any skirts at the moment! I have a black leather skirt in my New Look wishlist though!

Stripes or Plaid
Ooh, I wear both so its hard! Probably stripes!

Flip flops or Sandals
Probably sandals, but I do throw my flip flops on to go out in the garden.

Scarves or Hats
I find hats cuter but scarves are so so good at keeping you warm!

Studs or Dangly Earrings
I'd say studs but I don't actually have my ears pierced.

Necklaces or Bracelets
If you'd asked me a few years ago, I'd have said bracelets but these days I'm a huge necklace lover.

Heels or Flats
Definitely flats, I can't walk in heels! I'd love to be able to though!

 Cowboy Boots or Riding Boots
I'd say cowboy boots!

Jacket or Hoodie
I love wearing hoodies, I feel so cosy in them.

Curly or Straight
My hair is naturally curly/wavy so I'd say I'd prefer it like that but I do love my hair straight.

Bun or Ponytail
A ponytail I'd say.

Bobby pins or Butterfly clips
Probably bobby pins.

Hair spray or Gel
Hairspray definitely!

Long or Short
I prefer long hair but sometimes I feel like I'd like a little bob.

Light or Dark
I love both but on me I feel like I like lighter.

Side sweep bangs or Full bangs
A full fringe!

 Up or Down
I prefer my hair down!

Rain or Shine

Summer or Winter
Oooooh I like summer but I like winter a lot.

Fall or Spring

 Chocolate or Vanilla
Probably chocolate!

So that was my This or That Tag! I hope you all enjoyed the post and feel free to do this tag if you wish!

Love & hugs,

Claire xxx

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Let's Talk About: Why Did I Start Blogging?

Hey everyone!

I'm blogging after a bit of a bad week, but I thought I'd celebrate my blog to boost my mood and I thought I'd write a little bit about why I started blogging!

I remember around Spring 2009, discovering Michelle Phan's YouTube channel. The first video I ever watched of hers was her Poker Face Makeup Tutorial which I was completely hooked by.
I started watching YouTubers and beauty gurus not long afterwards but although occasionally filmed mock up videos, never did anything about it or posted them or anything like that. I had no confidence and didn't feel like I had anything to offer.

Nowadays, YouTube has blown up big time and it's incredible!

Although I still wish to make the transition to YouTube, I have always written and used my imagination through things like that. I remember my Year 3 class teacher was always very enthusiastic about my writing and my stories and had a lot of belief in me and support which was really lovely of her. I wish I knew if I still had those books, I'd love to read some of my past stories and see if they were really any good at all!! I studied English Language and English Literature at A Level (well Literature for AS), I always kept it with me. I'm now studying Media Studies at university, having just passed my first year, so it all relates quite a lot.

Why did I start blogging then? Simply because I wanted my own little space to talk about what I wanted to. From being constantly inspired by YouTubers, to wanting to do my bit and express my opinions, I felt like I wanted to write one. I actually wanted to begin my blog in early 2013, but I couldn't get Blogger to work on my laptop, so I didn't and ended up beginning my blog in early 2014 instead.

Blogging is really therapeutic to me, especially the mental health posts. I don't claim to be a makeup genius or a beauty genius, I just enjoy playing around with it and attempting to make it look good. I like reviewing products because it's hella useful when you're searching for a potential new purchase and can see photos of what they look like and if they're any good, from people who have actually used them and you can see it.
I like raving about Strictly or Beyonce or my favourite YouTubers, simply because they are what I like and what I want to talk about. It's like my baby, it's somewhere that I have where it's all my work and I can choose what to write about and when to post it.
I like just being able to be me and talk about things I want to talk about.

Sometimes I feel a little lost when it comes to this blog as I don't know what I'm doing sometimes or which direction to go in, but I suppose as long as I keep writing about things I want to then I'll keep at it.

Also sometimes I get concerned that because I do love a lot of YouTubers and Zoe Sugg inspires me a lot, that it can get mistaken for trying to be like her, when in fact I've actually been interested in the YouTube community before I discovered Zoe and I've been writing practically my whole life, just not in a blog style.

Just because I blog and because I have anxiety, doesn't mean I'm trying to be Zoe or trying to copy her, but sometimes that's what I get concerned about. It's really easy to just assume that because I'm a big fan of Zoe, that I'm copying her or trying to be her but it's so much more than that. It's giving me my own voice and sharing things I like. For some time, I held back from talking about how much Zoe has helped me with my anxiety because it sounds generic, but I can honestly hand on heart say she has. Blogging is definitely a great way to put your own voice out into the world, on whichever topic you wish, whether it be the latest lipstick you love, or your updates or advice on mental health.

Thank you so much for reading this blog post!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxx

Sunday, 25 June 2017

My Go To Makeup Products

Hey everyone!

Today I thought I'd take you through my 'go to' makeup products. A lot of these are affordable as I don't own much high end makeup so it's perfect for if you have a budget! These are basically some of the products which I love the most and reach for more than some of my other makeup items. A lot of these are for a regular makeup day, if you'd like to see my 'Go To Nightout' makeup items let me know in the comments below and I'll do a follow up!!

Maybelline - The Nudes Palette
This palette has been a go-to product for me a lot at the moment. This palette is filled with a gorgeous array of different nude shades with some which can be built into a smoky look. With both matte and shimmery finishes, I love what this palette offers. It's definitely a great palette to own.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo: Crème De Rose
This is my ideal eyeshadow base as it's a perfectly nude matte shade and is creamy and easy to apply, making it perfect as a base shade. It can also be worn on its own if you want to.

Collection - Liquid Eyeliner (Not in photo as I've misplaced it)
I've gone back to this eyeliner before and it gives a really bold look and is extremely affordable! It's great quality and it's probably my go-to liquid eyeliner.

Maybelline - Lash Sensational Mascara
I've tried many mascaras over the years but this one is definitely my favourite. It makes your lashes long and gives volume, the wand is perfect for getting every lash and it stays put for ages which is great. This is definitely one of the best mascaras out there.

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation - Light Porcelain
This foundation is one which comfortably fits me shade-wise (well it did fit me better before they slightly changed the colour after the packaging) but it has great coverage and doesn't cause problems for my skin. It's really affordable too.

Collection - Lasting Perfection Concealer (Also not in photo as I've misplaced it)
This concealer is raved about by pretty much ever blogger/vlogger out there as it's just brilliant. The coverage is amazing and it's so affordable too, the liquid formula is super easy to blend. It's a truly reliable concealer.

Maybelline Masterstrobing Highlighter
This highlight is beautiful. If I feel like using highlight I'll go for this one, it's stunning and gives a gorgeous shimmery glow. They've recently released a liquid formula and I am tempted to give it a try!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream - Stockholm
Stockholm is absolutely beautiful and one of my favourite nude shades. It's a beautiful creamy formula and such a wearable shade. It's gorgeous.
Sleek - Birthday Suit
Birthday Suit has been raved by me many times over the year I've owned it but it's one of my favourite nude shades of all time. The matte finish is gorgeous and I love it. I wear it so much.

Sleek - Shabby Chic
I love the pink shade of this liquid lipstick, it's gorgeous for both day and night and I'm forever reaching for it!

NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick - Embellishment
This is a gorgeous muted grey/purple tone and I find myself reaching for it a lot of the time. It's perfect for day or night and I don't own any other shade like it. You'll notice all of these lip products are matte, this is because I'm still loving a matte lip at the moment!

I hope you all enjoyed reading this post! Are any of your go-to makeup products listed here? Let me know in the comments!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Lilly Singh How To Be A Bawse Book Review


So the other month I ended up in Waterstone's and noticed IISuperWomanII aka Lilly Singh's book How To Be A Bawse, which I'd not looked at in person yet since the release. It also happened that this book was a signed copy by Lilly herself and as I love her videos and I'd wanted this book for a while, I couldn't leave it behind.

Picking up this book, I was intrigued as I know Lilly is a very wise person as well as comedic so I had a feeling it would be an amazing book and I was excited to read it upon the news she was putting a book out.

This book is like no other motivational book I've looked at or read before, I feel like Lilly's points are very refreshing and make you open your mind to new possibilities and new ways of looking at situations and scenarios. I actually found myself using the advice the very next week after purchasing the book. The way in which Lilly structures and writes her advice and tips, is in a very bluntly honest fashion which I think works well in articulating how to be a 'bawse'. Lilly's charm and humour comes across really well and makes you want to keep on reading and keep on learning about how events in her life have shaped the way she thinks and how she can reflect and work on things in retrospect.

This book highlights the ways in which you can be a 'Bawse' and basically suggesting ways to improve your life and make it more successful. I feel like seeing Lilly's success and the fact she mentions how at one point in her life she felt she wasn't destined for anything great, but she wanted to be known for something, can really motivate and set it straight that if you work hard continuously while following her tips and being appreciative of what you have, can lead you onto good things. It's really well organised and structured which makes it much more interesting as you feel like you can't put it down once you've started.

I really suggest this book to anyone who wants to try a new outlook on life, or just intrigued on bettering your mind and soul.

Lilly has a truly motivational and purposeful outlook on life and I really enjoyed reading her insights and advice on how to conquer life.

Have any of you read the book? Or maybe you're a fan of Lilly's YouTube channel?

Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxx

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Let's Reflect: First Year At University (Anxiety/Grades/Independence)

Hey everyone!

So today I thought I'd do a small Reflective post seeing as I'm actually at the end of my First Year as a university student! That feels absolutely CRAZY and surreal to write but here we are.

I'm going to be honest here and say the very first day I arrived at university, was the worst day of my life. My anxiety was playing up, I felt sick and my door wouldn't lock and my university took hours to come and fix it while I was stuck in my room feeling unable to leave. Once my parents left I had various panic attacks and had no appetite, watched SacconeJolys and just felt absolutely lost. Can I just add, The SacconeJolys were my absolute saviours during the first few weeks of uni, alongside a few of my closest friends who kept me going, I love you very much. You guys probably know who you are! There was a small period of my first part of uni life where all I genuinely cared about was The SacconeJolys and watching them. Their love for their little family and love for the friendliest friends community got me through.

One of the main things I worried about uni was obviously making friends and actually attending the lectures, as well as generally living alone and fending for myself.
I have a small group of friends, I'm not on my own, there's people who care, it may not be how I thought it would be, but I'm really, really, grateful for everyone I've met at uni so far. I made a huge effort to get involved in chatting to people, bearing in mind I'm EXTREMELY bad at talking to people on my own, my shyness takes over, I was proud of myself for generally pushing myself, my social anxiety is still very much there.
Also, in regards to attending lectures, I attended pretty much all of them and stayed through them all, I feared I'd be unable to go to them or stay in them for the full time, it is still something I fear for next year, like a small recurring worry, but the fact I did first year, makes me grateful that I managed it.

I've experienced a lot of different things at uni, one main one being living independently, which is something very new to me as my parents are quite on the overprotective side at times, so living by my own ways was weird but also a sense of relief. It was hard to adjust to at first especially as I have limited cooking skills and took a while to feel like I actually felt settled and wanted there, but I can tell you as I was leaving my little room for the last time, I was feeling very bittersweet and like I was going to miss it, which I will do. Living independently is a huge step if you suffer with any kind of mental illness.

What I can honestly say about uni is that it is quite fast paced, something which has taken me a while to get used to and indeed I'm not sure if I'm entirely used to. Sometimes I'd find myself thinking 'how random is this, I would have never expected this a year ago'. Uni managed to train me to be a little more spontaneous and in some ways enjoy the spontaneous, however, when it comes to new terms and lectures, they were always a bit of a trigger.
However looking back from a year ago, I can't believe some of the situations or scenarios I've had and many trigger ones.
I can't believe it and I am really proud of myself as if I'd not come to uni, I probably wouldn't have had those opportunities. Even though university wasn't my immediate plan, it's something which has definitely changed me and made me grow as a person especially in the last year. Everything definitely happens for a reason, taking a year out was a great idea as I needed some time to rest, got some experience and then threw myself back into the whole 'education' system. I did apply for an apprenticeship which got ignored which I used to be slightly disappointed over, now I realise it was meant to happen.

I was talking to 2 friends recently, about how different things were a year ago and one of them remembered how nervous I was about starting uni and how terrified I was that I wouldn't be able to do it.

My mental health is still not perfect, I still have bad anxiety episodes, my social anxiety has increased a bit, BUT the actual anxiety of me not being able to survive and attend lectures?
I've been more sociable and adaptive to unplanned socialising than I have in years. Being away from home has given me a breath of freedom and even though I am missing out on some things and don't feel like my university life has been perfect, it's been better than I could have imagined. I've been spontaneous. I managed to go on a night out when it was only supposed to be a couple of drinks and even they were last minute and I wasn't feeling 100% before and hadn't ate as much as I would have liked but guess what - the night was amazing and I enjoyed it so much. Also managed to be in a crowd for a couple of hours during my uni's Final Fling which involved quite a busy drum and bass set, which I was surprisingly okay during (I was at the very side of the crowd so there was a space/gap where I could go if I felt I needed to escape which I think was the main reason I coped) but the main part is I enjoyed it and was fine.

Also, yes I'm terrified for second year as a lot of my friends are leaving as my flatmate is a Masters Student and a lot of the friends I've developed through her are also leaving which leaves me pretty much more friendless, but the most important thing I must remember is I survived and built a life here, away from home, myself with nothing, on that very first day of university, which like I said was the worst day of my life.

However, the point of this post isn't to worry about next year, it is a celebration of the last year and the fact that my life is in a very different place than it was last year, my anxiety isn't cured it's still very much there, but compare me to who I was in March 2016, and one of the days where I felt like I had absolutely nothing, fast forward a year and 2 months on and I've grown so much, tackled so many situations I never thought I would have done and I'm here. I'm surviving.

I guess this is for all of the people not sure whether to move away for university or whether to even go to university, you may think your anxiety or mental health may stop you, but I can tell you from my own experience, my experience may not have been 100% what I wanted but it is progress and I've grown so much in the time I've been here. Putting myself into situations and finding quick coping methods got me through.

Towards the end of first year, my main thoughts were Zoe's 'Say Yes' and also generally knowing I wanted to make the most out of my time, so I found myself saying yes to sometimes last minute plans, knowing that I wanted to make memories and try and spend less time thinking 'why didn't I go to that' etc. This was something which was quite brave but something I consciously made an effort to do. It isn't easy and it takes time to do but if you take small steps, it's something to try.

The truth is I've built something here and at uni and got into scenarios and situations and done small little things I wouldn't have done a year ago, got through them with little anxiety or even no panic attacks. And if you take anything from this post, please honestly believe that a year ago or even 2 years ago some of the things that I've been able to do, I honestly wouldn't have believed you. My life isn't perfect and my mental health/anxiety isn't fixed, but I'm actually doing okay.
I'm sure I'll be tested at the start of next year, in regards to settling back into an education and timetabled routine with new lectures and rooms and stuff, but what I have is the proof that this little Newcastle girl who used to go home before some lessons in sixth form even started cos she couldn't even bring herself to go through the door, managed to attend majority of her lectures minus possibly one, and survived them all (some with a little anxiety but PUSHED ON)

In terms of my work I've done mostly 2:1's, however I did manage a First in a group project which I was very surprised about but very glad for, as especially towards the end of First Year I really wanted to get at least one First.

I thank all of you for being such a good support to me and I regret that this blog became a little lost amongst it all, I really hope that I can manage to properly get these posts back even when I'm back at university next year.

Please let me know any thoughts you have, especially if you've just finished First Year!

Love & hugs,
Claire xxxx