- Tuesday, 24 February 2015 -

Review: Tyneside Bar Café

Hello my lovelies! On Sunday, Martin and I were kindly invited to the Tyneside Bar Café for some fine wining and dining. I feel like I've been piling on the pounds of late, with the mandatory meals for Valentine's and Martin's birthday on the 19th, I can't recall a time where we didn't eat out (not that I'm complaining). Situated in the city centre, the Tyneside Bar Café is a hub of buzzing activity, serving a selection of food and drink, there's something to tickle everyone's fancy. But I haven't even gotten to the best bit yet - on selected evenings, the lights are dimmed and music roars out of nowhere, as the café transforms into a sit-in cinema.

The atmosphere is relaxed and chirpy, I use the word "chirpy" because I was practically vibrating in my seat with excitement over the delicious novelty of having my dinner whilst watching the big screen. Now, I know what you're thinking dear readers - no cinema experience is complete without a big bucket of popcorn, however the menu kindly caters to your cravings by offering an unconventional sweet AND savoury option, coming in the form of popcorn panna cotta and the house made savoury popcorn, either smothered in truffle butter or duck fat and rosemary.

The menu plays host to a plethora of food, with a wide variety of vegetarian options, you definitely won't find yourself running short of choice. My only qualm with the menu would be the shortage of chicken dishes, it's probably the primary meat in my diet and I was a little disappointed as I desperately skimmed the menu only to discover it lacking. However, I won't hold that against them, as it's refreshing to see a bit of diversity in a menu as it pushes me to try something new. I eventually opted for the fragrant thai prawn curry and rice whilst Martin went a bit more traditional with the burger and fries, arriving pink in the middle and oh so juicy.

There's just something so pleasurable about eating a good, hearty meal whilst sat in front of a film. Musicals are on the movie agenda for Sunday nights, where you can eat, drink and be merry with a belly full of laughs as well as a belly full of food. We were lucky enough catch a viewing of The Pirates of Penzance, who knew that dancing pirates could provide such an exciting dining experience? With the both of us practically licking our plates when finished, I'm happy to report that Martin's burger went down a treat, as did my fish curry.

Of course no dinner would be complete without the obligatory order of dessert! I had homemade cookies and milk whilst Martin went for the mouthwatering sticky toffee pudding. My cookies arrived warm and gooey and the milk was actually frothy vanilla milk, ideal for dipping! We washed all this down with a complimentary glass of white wine as we got comfy in our corner and watched the rest of the film. Overall, we had a thoroughly enjoyable experience at the Tyneside Bar Café and will now probably (to the misfortune of the staff) make it our regular haunt, popping in for a pint or two with a cheeky film on the side.


- Saturday, 21 February 2015 -

Mini Mac Lipstick Haul

Hello my lovelies! As the days grow that bit brighter, I can feel myself shedding my winter skin, purging my makeup bag of darkened, berry tones and instead introducing an injection of some much needed spring freshness. I've always been a huge fan of matte lipstick, as my lips are quite a perky, prominent pink, I require a heavy texture to hide my natural hue. Mac matte lipsticks boast a creamy consistency making their tendency to dry out minimal. From left to right, I opted for Mac's Please Me, Pink Pigeon and Ruby Woo, because every gal needs a classic red lipstick. 

Let's start with Macs Please Me, which can only be described as a beautiful blushing nude. This colour appears very natural when applied, with a subtle pop of blushing pink in its undertones. As I have quite a pale complexion, it looks nice and rosy against my skintone. As with all of the Mac lipsticks, the matte variety is resistant even after a long day of wear and tear - I've caught myself draining countless drinks and then anxiously checking in a mirror to see the damage done, only to discover that my lipstick hasn't strayed one bit. 

Pink Pigeon is a vibrant, playful pink that adds that extra oomph to any outfit. The colour is a vivid fuchsia and acts as a great accessory, adding a bit of life to your ensemble, although if I'm honest, this colour just makes me want to go out and party. The colour is so different to any I've seen before, like a jewel in the sun it seems to glisten in the light and even in the dark of night, it displays a touch of purply tones.

And lastly, I added a classic red to my collection in the form of Macs Ruby Woo. This may sound crazy, but for a while now I've been on the hunt for my perfect red lipstick, a red so suiting that it can be only described as my cosmetic soul mat(t)e. As winter drew in and the darker tones reigned supreme, I was tempted by many deep reds, but it was only after much searching - which of course meant swatching every red lipstick that the Mac store had to offer - I found the ravishing Ruby Woo. Brighter than most reds I came across, Ruby Woo is your quintessential ruby red.

What lipsticks are you loving at the moment?

- Sunday, 15 February 2015 -

Valentine's Day

Hello you lovely lot! So, Valentine's Day has came and gone and left in it's wake a deluge of discount chocolates and many an engagement echoing loudly on Facebook. Martin and I spent the day giggling away at nothing in particular, so blissfully happy to have each other another year, accomplishing all on our clichéd checklist: exchanging grotesquely gooey Valentine's cards in the morning, being presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the afternoon and overindulging in some rich food and drinks (and sex) in the evening. Dare I say - it was a lovely day. 

As ironic as it sounds, I've always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day, not fully comprehending how people can be so in love with love, showering their significant other with flowers and surprises and spontaneous trips to Paris. To me, Valentine's is a day dedicated to the other person: work stops and all other responsibility is put on hold, it's almost as if time freezes and you're caught in a blissful bubble for just one day with this other person. You both laugh a little harder and hold hands a little tighter, all because of this glorious given day. 


- Monday, 9 February 2015 -

One Year On

Hello my lovelies! In all my life, I don't think I've ever stretched my dedication enough to stick to anything. I've floated in and out of instrument lessons, had a brief fling with many a sport and dabbled in just about every language imaginable, all of which ended in tears of frustration, leaving my mother scorned and bewildered as to why she wasted good money on fleeting obsessions. During secondary school, I recall the bubbling envy I harboured toward everyone who'd slotted so simply into place - my group of friends was comprised of such colourful talent, there was the musical one, the sporty one, the artsy one... Whilst I merely drifted along devoid of an identity.

As far as hobbies go, I combed the realms in a deep desperation to discover my calling (let's not talk about that one time I actually took up professional trampolining), however all to no avail. It wasn't until a few years ago whilst aimlessly scouring the internet I stumbled upon a little thing we like to call a 'blog'. Completely captivated by the diary-esque entries and sprinkles of personality peppered here and there, it was like reading a magazine written by a long lost friend. I fell head over heels in love with how you could call this little corner of the web your own, where you could channel your creativity whilst imbuing it with ideas, inspirations and general life musings.

I'll admit, it took me quite a while to muster up the courage to finally create a blog, with doubt viciously whispering in my ear, my mind was a flurry of negativity. I've never been able to keep a diary so why should an online version be any different? Because blogging is the best thing ever. In a year alone I've bore my soul to you all, you've seen the good, the bad and the ugly and still stick by me. My blog isn't just a hobby, it's a way to capture and preserve memories and make friends. It's a door that suddenly swings open, where a whole mess of new opportunities and experiences lie. It's the escapism I so sorely need whenever life hits you hard, it's not just a blog, it's a lifestyle.

No longer are you categorised a 'student' or a 'sales assistant', you somehow ascend an astral plane, because you are now known as a blogger, and it's the best thing ever.  Blogging isn't merely an opportunity to probe PR companies, sniffing after free samples, nor is it instant access to a book deal. It's a chance to grow as a writer, a creative, a person - looking back, it's hard not to wince with embarrassment over my past posts, but it's also hard not to beam with pride when you realise how far you've managed to come.


- Sunday, 8 February 2015 -

DIY: Heart Tip Nails ♥

Hello my lovelies! Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine's Day is just around the corner and what better way to spread the love than showing those talons some TLC! Not one to yield to seasonal trends - you'd never see me sporting a heart-print jumper around Valentine's -  there's just something so cute and charming about heart tip nails. In order to optimally achieve this look, there does need to be a bit of length to your nails, just enough that you can round or point off the edges.

Step 1/ As soon as you think your nails are long enough for that look (or you've made a quick dash to the shops for some falsies), the painting process can commence! A lovely, pastel pink will act as your basis, I chose Rimmel London's 60 Seconds Nail Polish in 'Ring A Ring O'Roses', as the sooner it dries, the sooner we can start painting our hearts. Additionally, I opted for a bright red, to really stand out against the lighter pinky hues. Although not necessary, I also used a simple thin nail brush to make the strokes more manageable.

Step 2/ After painting my nails pink - with a few generous coats, allowing the polish to go completely opaque - it was time to let them dry completely. Don't attempt the next step unless your nails are thoroughly dried, as some smudging may occur and we don't want that do we? 

Step 3/ The most difficult step - painting your hearts. A good rule of thumb to stick by is not to worry about producing messy shapes, as these can be remedied by simply being painted over. You can paint your hearts one of two ways: 1) using either your specialised nail brush or your standard nail polish brush, blob two dots onto your pink basis and proceed to fill them in, or 2) the method I use is to draw a curved 'M' shape and then simply fill in the space (as shown above). As previously stated, don't worry too much about smudgy or imperfect 'M's as this can be easily fixed by just painting over. Repeat this process for all of your nails, and you're done!

- Wednesday, 4 February 2015 -

Love Is...

Hello you lovely lot! You're probably wondering where I've been hiding this past while as things have been a little quiet over here in Claireland. Haunted by foreboding university deadlines, my brain's been humming a constant tune of eat, sleep, work, repeat. However, this week I finally bid farewell to my finalised assignments and warmly welcomed sweet, sweet freedom, with my fingers poised over the keyboard, eager to flex my blogging muscles once again. With January buzzing past in a blur of post-Christmas blues, it's hard to believe that it's February already - and February can only mean one thing: lovey dovey Valentine's Day.

Some of you singletons may moan at the thought of the stores painted red and the streets strewn with gushy couples, practically rubbing your face in it. But to me, Valentine's Day is more than a capitalist conspiracy concocted by the card companies, it's not just a day of worship to your significant other, but a day brimming with love. Love is...

The warmth that fills you when brought a cup of tea without having asked for it in the first place

Arriving home from a long day's work to a very excited pet, who you'd think hadn't seen you in years

The mutual understanding of friends who haven't seen each other in ages, yet can pick up right where they left off when reunited

When people know you so well, they can identify when you're upset and having a bad day before even you do - and remedying it with a hug

Becoming so immersed in a book, and loving the characters like you would real people, that you feel an emotional emptiness when it's over

The silent promise of being cared for unconditionally when you're ill, and being ready, that at the drop of a hat you'd do the exact same (and yes, I am taking about my girls holding my hair back for me when I'm drunk)

The unexplainable glow that grows inside you when you're surrounded by friends and family on Christmas Day, feeling like you'd bottle this moment if you could

Spooning - enough said

Reflecting on a good day right before you go to sleep, and feeling yourself smile right before sleep carries you off

When you're having a really ugly day and feeling completely off your game, until someone kindly compliments you and your faith in humanity is restored

What is love to you?