- Friday, 29 August 2014 -

It's the Little Things

Hello you lovely lot! This post is kinda/not really but sort of the sequel to my previous blog entry. With life appearing to always be running in fast-forward mode, stopping to simply appreciate the little things can become trivial. We dedicate a copious amount of time into moulding that relationship or honing those work skills but where’s the time taken to consider ourselves? In such a vibrant, fast-paced society it’s sometimes too easy to forget that we’re a living, breathing human being and not just a blur in existence. 

So, I urge you dear readers to afford yourselves those little opportunities of relishing in delicious nothingness - go for a walk, read a book, binge on bad TV. I myself have recently given into life’s gratefulness and have been happily snapping away as a result - cue The Sound of Music’s “these are a few of my favourite thingggsss...”

A prettily printed dress

An adorable array of stickers

A beautiful teacup candle to brighten up even the dullest of decor

Enjoying a nice cup of tea in bed

Being completely besotted with an item you recently acquired (in this case my lovely dome necklace my mum bought me!)


What are the little things that you appreciate the most?

- Wednesday, 27 August 2014 -

A Lesson in Loving Yourself

Hello my lovelies! With the world seeming like it’s spinning out of control in a chaotic climate with wars and tragedy and death, it’s sometimes difficult to summon the inner fortitude required to realise your own happiness. Whether you know me personally or we’ve simply experienced a fleeting encounter, people forever perceive me as the quintessential “positive person”. There have been numerous incidences where I’ve wandered into an unfamiliar doctors appointment where upon routinely asking me if I’m on any medication they appear genuinely shocked to learn I’m on antidepressants. I simply shrug off their comments and utter a giggly and rather nonchalant “well it looks like they’re working, doesn’t it?” I’m a believer in the philosophy that when you smile, the whole world smiles with you so when I exude such happiness, I bring it. 

The world is a dangerously dark place, but a more sinister one is a person’s mind. True, there are soldiers out there in Gaza battling for their country, but there are also people sat in their own homes battling their demons, their financial instability, their self-image issues... It amazes me how often we as human beings have the tendency to immortalise one negative thing in an ocean of purely positive things - how when we have our family, our friends and our health, we can bleakly obsess over what an electronic device is telling us about our current weight. However, I too understand the plight of gaining perspective and the overwhelming inability to admit to loving yourself. Just like day and night, sometimes life can be draped in temporary shadow however it’s always imperative to remember that soon your sun will be shining brightly and with it, your chance to bask in it’s light and positivity. 

In truth, it’s easier to love ourselves when life is going well but the second you feel the impending urge to scream or cry or just generally curl up in the fetal position on the floor, give yourself time to let it all out. Sometimes society isn’t so supportive of our personal woes and tends to dictate that we pick ourselves up and move on because relationships, work and life impatiently await. So, dear readers, below I’ve composed a little list of tips and tricks towards nurturing self-love, nobody’s perfect and neither are these suggestions but I hope in some way, shape or form they help to inspire you to spread the love...

Treat yourself: Be it that devilish piece of chocolate cake that’s been eyeing you up or those pair of shoes that are your leathery solemates (see what I did there?), treat yourself to something because you deserve it.

Put things into perspective: Not happy with your weight? Well, guess what? It’s not like when you were born you’re destined to be set at a certain weight - this isn’t the weight you’ll always be and you can change that.

Cut the crap: Anything that you feel may be bringing you down - bad friends, bad food, bad work - attempt to rectify by readjusting, because you deserve so much better.

Happy Claireday: Give yourself a day to indulge in anything you desire. Build a duvet fort and binge on Disney films, grieve over that job you didn’t get, have yourself a well-deserved drink after a hard day - just let yourself breath. 

Make others happy: Honestly, paying people compliments, smiling at strangers and undergoing little acts of kindness will boost your positivity and have your faith in humanity restored - huzzah!

Play dress up: When you look good, you feel good. Even if you’ve got nowhere to go, get yourself out of bed and into that little black dress, sure why not even take a few selfies while you’re at it because you ARE beautiful!

Hugs, not drugs: Hugging others and being hugged is hands down one of the best feelings ever. Not a fan of hugs? Well, studies have proven that people who own pets have their loneliness eased and moods simultaneously boosted, so show your fuzzy friend some love!

Talktalktalk: Don’t bottle things up, get together with some old friends and reminisce, swallow your pride and book that appointment with a counsellor, buy yourself a journal and document your thoughts, hopes and dreams. Honestly, sharing is caring and don’t ever feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to - heck, talk to me! Maybe I can help :)

- Monday, 25 August 2014 -

DIY: Strawberry Lip Scrub!

Hello you lovely lot! So, the days have been getting steadily darker and the air a lot cooler which can only equate to one thing: dry, chapped lips. Now usually in this situation, I'd sprint to my local Boots or Superdrug in search of a suitable lipbalm which admittedly would have me forking over a lovely fiver. However, not only is this little DIY quick and easy, but the utensils used are also super affordable and accessible, so no waiting an age for something to arrive which you purchased a month ago online. 

In order to achieve this Lush inspired lip scrub, the following ingredients can be found in your local grocery store (Asda, Sainsburys). You can also obtain your storage pots from the likes of Boots or Superdrug. You will therefore require the following:

A Bowl
A Spoon
A Storage Pot
Olive Oil
Caster Sugar
Strawberry Flavouring
Pink Food Colouring

1/ Dispense about 5 teaspoonfuls of caster sugar into your bowl and add a dribble of olive oil to the mixture. 

2/ Mix well with your spoon until your concoction achieves a sand-like texture. Do NOT let your sugar achieve a runny consistency, however if this does happen simply resort to trial and error by adding more sugar.

3/ When you're satisfied with your scrub's texture, add a few drops of the strawberry extract and mix well. 

4/ By all means, have a taste of your scrub to see if it needs any more strawberry flavouring. Once you're happy with the result, depending on your preference, add only 2-3 drops of pink food colouring to the equation. The colouring is very vibrant, therefore the more you add, the darker it'll appear.

5/ Give your scrub a good mix, making sure that all the white pigments of sugar have now been thoroughly coated in pink!

6/ Carefully spoon your scrub into your storage pot and enjoy!

- Thursday, 14 August 2014 -

Paperchase Haul: Back to School!

Hello my lovelies! Well, it's that time of year again where school preparations are set in motion, whilst others are mentally preparing themselves for the alcoholic olympics during Fresher's Week, for me, it can only point to one thing: a good old fashioned stationery haul. Admittedly, I always experience a flourish of excitement whenever I walk into the likes of WHSmiths only to be greeted by a flurry of  buzzing students completely clouded in the task of gathering their school-time stationery essentials for the new year. However, as a designer it's sometimes hard to decipher between what's absolutely necessary and what's novelty. 

Generally, my course is composed of creative design work so 90% of the time, my head is stuck in a laptop either researching on the internet or experimenting in the Adobe suite, so it's very rare that I take physical pen to paper. However, when I attend design seminars where essays as opposed to coursework is the outcome, it's always nice to have some cute and quirky stationery in your bag to brighten up an otherwise boring lecture - and no other store says cute and quirky quite like Paperchase! 

I've been seeing the Paperchase panda highlighters everywhere recently and as my inner hipster screamed for me not to give into conformity, these adorable kitty highlighters caught my eye and won my heart instead. For as long as I can remember, I've always striven to have the coolest pencil case in the class - to me, a pencil case is the kid's equivalent of an adult's handbag, you want it to reflect your mood and personality. And let's be honest, you can't get much cooler than a banana pencil case!

I treated myself to a cactus patterned notebook for when I'm lacking inspiration, and can just brainstorm and jot down ideas and influences. Additionally, it's a lined notebook so it'll definitely keep me organised in any seminars I attend. Like any good artist, I also purchased a brown sketchbook where I can just let my imagination spill out and will hopefully be filling up a page a day to keep my creative juices forever flowing. Oh, and I may have bought some freakin' adorable dinosaur stickers to decorate the front cover as well. I've always been an avid sticker collector, layering them on my books and doors, giving everything a more whimsy appeal. Lastly, I picked up a few pens, both for writing and drawing, to keep my banana pencil case company (you can never go too wrong with a good Bic pen!).

Finally, I want to wish everyone who received their A Level results today a massive congratulations! And this proud praise isn't just for the people who got four A*s - this is for everyone who tried their very best and got through it. A few years ago I opened up my UCAS account to discover that I not only hadn't got the grades I'd desired but consequently hadn't got into the university I'd wanted either. A whirl of emotions attacked me as the dreadful prospect of going through Clearing dawned upon me. It turned out that Clearing was actually okay and I actually got into a course that I knew I'd adore more than my original choice. I additionally endeavoured to get my grades remarked and a mere 2 weeks later found out that I'd went up from a C to a B and could get into my original university choice. However, having made peace with my new Clearing course and excited to delve right in in September, I accepted that everything happens for a reason and that whatever pathway you choose to take, you WILL be okay :)

- Tuesday, 12 August 2014 -

Battling Blogger's Block: 50 Ideas

Hello you lovely lot! During my short time as a blogger, I've learned that there are a handful of inevitabilities that you and your new-found blogger status must be prepared to expect: like how much more aware you'll become of the upcoming Autumn/Winter collection or how every other blog giveaway is guaranteed to boast a MAC lipstick as a prize. What you may fail to realise however, is that your creative juices don't always flow according to plan; that there will be incidences where you'll be blankly sat at your computer screen with a glazed over look in your eye and nothing more in your head than the theme tune to Star Wars looping on repeat - oh, just me? 

When you're stuck in said slump, it's important to try and reap inspiration from wherever you see fit - from magazines, from fellow bloggers, books, television, the holy grail that is the internet - trust me, you'll get your mojo back.  However, for anyone out there that feels that their well has run slightly dry due to an epidemic I like to call "blogger's block," here are a few ideas to get you back on the horse! (Jesus, could that last sentence have had any more metaphors!?).

1/ Dedicate yourself to an hour-by-hour picture post

2/ Create a wishlist 

3/ An Instagram round-up post

4/ Write a colour-themed or rainbow-themed post

5/ Review something that you recently purchased

6/ Write a post about what book(s) you're reading

7/ A 'Tag' post, such as the '25 Things You Don't Know About Me' Tag

8/ Share a Q&A post

9/ Do a 30 Day Challenge, such as fitness, photography, DIY etc

10/ Give your readers a tour of your room/house

11/ Take the plunge and make a vlog!

12/ Share what's in your handbag or makeup bag

13/ Create a post of what's been making you happy

14/ Share a collection

15/ Write a post about your hobbies

16/ Create a list of your weekly/monthly/current goals

17/ Write up a DIY post

18/ Share the love! Write about what bloggers you're currently loving

19/ Share a simple beauty tutorial

20/ Write, document and photograph the 'simple little things' in life

21/ Recently visit a new cafe or restaurant? Why not review it!

22/ Share an Outfit of the Day post

23/ Discovered a new recipe you like? Write it up on your blog

24/ Conduct an interview of someone who inspires you

25/ Share your daily makeup and hair routine

26/ Write a letter to your younger self

27/ Is it Christmas or had a birthday recently? Write up a haul of all you received!

28/ If you've been on holidays, why not share photos/your experience

29/ Create a post dedicated to your pet

30/ A guide around the town you live in

31/ Write a 'Reality vs Expectations' post, about life, love etc

32/ Why not ask someone to guest post?

33/ Write a post about your pet peeves

34/ Have any tattoos or piercings? Let's hear about them!

35/ Create an 'A-Z of Me' post series

36/ Review your favourite apps

37/ Talk about why you started blogging and why you love it

38/ Compile a post of all your favourites: favourite person, food, film, book etc

39/ Reached a certain reader milestone? Why not hold a thank you giveaway!

40/ Write about how NOT to do something

41/ Create a '7 Deadly Sins' post

42/ Express your opinion about a recent news event or worldly occurrence

43/ Show your readers how you take and edit your photos - give tips!

44/ Create a weekly 'Top 5' series: Top 5 beauty products, perfumes, books etc

45/ Create a Frequently Asked Questions or 'FAQs' post

46/ Share some of your favourite quotes and how they relate to your life

47/ Why not share a personal experience of yours, and what you've learned from it

48/ Write about the pros and cons of something, like blogging for instance

49/  Found a bargain or a fantastic dupe recently? Sharing is caring!

50/ Write a post about your social media marketing skills and tips

- Saturday, 9 August 2014 -

Confessions of a girl gamer

Hello my lovelies and a very happy weekend to you all! My weekend plans primarily consist of me indulging my inner child and getting stuck into Spyro the Dragon. I'll admit, growing up an only child was tough, with the occasional fleeting pangs of loneliness, and desperate longing for a sibling I could mentor, adore and otherwise torture - there was a definitive void in my life. Gaming has always been an extraordinary form of escapism for me, emerging myself in the characters worlds, becoming completely engrossed in their lives. I honestly thought that by age 22 my Pokemon obsession would have faded by now and my World of Warcraft account diminished, yet here I am, forever nostalgic and still playing my favourite games. Gaming will always be a huge part of me and has become an irrevocable influence in my life, so here is my ten cents on how gaming has shaped me:

1) Any item of clothing printed with a gaming theme (Space Invaders, Pokemon, Zelda etc), it WILL be mine - I will hunt that bad boy down and forever worship it's novelty. The same actually goes for game-inspired toys and plushes. I'm a super nerd when it comes to Pokemon toys and am adamant that one day I will be the proud owner of an Eevee tattoo.

2) I am a super softie when it comes to character attachment - Seriously, if you've ever played any of the Assassin's Creed franchise, you'll feel my pain. Spending so many hours emotionally investing yourself in a character definitely has its repercussions, I personally like to curl up in the fetal position on the bed and roll around in denial for a few hours after a game has ended, pondering what the hell I'm meant to do with my life now. 

3) I mention to my guy friends that I'm an avid gamer, and they instantly see me in a different light - Ahh, the male species.

4) Gaming is therapy -  Ever have a really shitty day where it just feels like the entire universe is conspiring against you? Well, what if I told you that digitally killing things can remedy this funk. During counselling, people are taught to healthily and cathartically take out their emotions by screaming into a pillow or writing an angry letter. But trust me, imagining the bitch who bullied you as one of the enemy players on Call of Duty is a far more satisfying experience. 

5) I have a strong preference for female characters - Perhaps its the subliminal feeling of sisterhood, or the fact that I like the characters cute outfit, I will most definitely pick a sassy Princess Peach over a Mario Brother any day. 

6) The Xbox controller will forever elude me - I've always been a loyal Playstation fanatic, and have never strayed from Sony's superiority and simplicity. It's this reason alone, that every time an Xbox controller is thrust into my hands I feel like a fish out of water, staring blankly at the billions of extra buttons this new controller boasts. 

7) Learn the lingo and prepare yourself for gore and prolific obscenities - Like travelling to a new country, the odds are that you're probably going to have to pick up some of the native tongue whilst there. The same goes for various gaming platforms, for instance when I'm having a good 'ol rough game of Call of Duty I frequently hear the terms "noob" and "camper," conflictingly when I'm having some down time in World of Warcraft, players will persistently be spurting terms like "gz" and "ding". Learn to embrace these new experiences, sure you've always said you wanted to learn a new language! 

Do you play any video games?

- Thursday, 7 August 2014 -

Review: Kawaii Box (◕‿◕✿)

Hello my lovelies! I'm brimming with excitement over today's blogpost as I review the cute and quirky Kawaii Box. Subscription boxes are slowly but surely taking over the world right now, with hungry bloggers getting their fix every month with beauty, fashion and food packages, deliberately leaving me drooling over their display of goodies. 

As the new kid on the block and one of the first of it's kind, The Kawaii Box was conceived by Blippo, so you can be guaranteed delicious kawaii goodness. The subscription offers you a selection of 10-12 handpicked Japanese and Korean items, ranging from stunning stationery to adorable accessories and everything else in between! 

I managed to get my grubby little hands on the July Kawaii Box, and it honestly felt like Christmas morning when it finally arrived. Combing through the box's contents, I counted 11 cute items in total! In no particular order at all, I received:

Pink bear pouch
Panda sleeping mask
Strawberry plush phone charm
Strawberry barrettes/hair clips
Bow earphone jack charm
Animal stick markers
Cute stickers
Peach Hi-Chew sweets
Rilakkuma phone charm
Panda mechanical pencil
Macaroon eraser

Upon first opening my Kawaii Box, I was thoroughly impressed with the colourful variation of items included. The subscription itself totals at $18.90 per month, which is just a smidgen over £11 here in the UK, and with shipping included in the price it's an absolute steal! The Kawaii Box comes lovingly packaged with even the inclusion of a friendly handwritten note inside - an adorable personal touch that had me cooing "awww".

Everyone has their vices - clothes, food etc. I on the other hand, am a complete sucker for stationery, where I obsessively make wishlists composed of Paperchase purchases, you can just imagine how I felt when I opened my Kawaii Box to discover not only stickers (which let's face it, would be expected of a Japanese kawaii box) but a mechanical panda pencil, a macaroon eraser and these utterly charming animal stick markers! Additionally, you may not know this about me but I LOVE to pimp out my iPhone from time to time, so it's not only sporting a very fetching Pokemon case, but it also now dons the cutest Rilakkuma phone charm - which when squeezed, emits a sweet chocolatey aroma!

Overall, I fell head over heels in love with the Kawaii Box and all it has to offer, as the box not only contains novelty sweets and treats but it also encloses accessories which genuinely wowed and excited me, items that I definitely plan on utilising in the near future - animal stick markers, I'm looking at you! So, I guess I may as well finish this review with an obligatory panda face selfie: enjoy!

Oh, and I almost forgot, the kind people at Kawaii Box HQ have allowed me to run a little giveaway for all you cuties! Please enter via the Rafflecopter gadget below and all international entries are welcome!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- Tuesday, 5 August 2014 -

Snap Happy: My new Canon 700D!

Hello you lovely lot! Okay, so I realise that I've been slightly MIA recently and that my poor blog's been feeling quite neglected and thusly NOT so fine and dandy. However, that's all soon to change dear readers as I went out and did the unthinkable in such a harsh economical climate - yes, I invested in a new camera. Now, I know that it's primarily the content that shapes and allures a bloggers audience and the choosing of a DSLR can be somewhat arbitrary, unless you make your living from blogging of course. But seeing as I think I'm in this for the long haul (yes my lovelies, you're stuck with me!) I deemed it a worthy purchase. 

I want to point out however that this venture was my personal choice and being the perfectionist that I am, it was only a matter of time before I obtained a new camera to improve my posts and overall reader experience. That doesn't mean though that as a requirement of blogging, you're supposed to have a decent camera - I follow blogs who's sole method of photography is from their phone, yet it's their passion, style and creativity alone that keeps me coming back; the camera does not define the blogger. Though I purchased my previous camera, a Canon PowerShot SX500 IS chiefly for university projects, it's quite nice to have an upgrade and a chance to hone my photography skills. 

As a designer, taking photographs plays a big part in channeling my creativity and experimenting with colours, shapes and ideas - I've always been either sat behind a computer screen fiddling away on Photoshop or immersing myself in a piece of paper doodling to my hearts content, well now it seems that I'll be happily perched behind a camera, experiencing the world through a lens. So, this post showcases a small collection of photos I've taken on Day One of my new Canon 700D, I know I still have a lot to learn but so far, I couldn't be more excited!

What kind of camera do you use for blogging?