- Monday, 30 March 2015 -

Review: Mr Candle Jnr*

Hello you lovely lot! So this week I received a delightful email from the folks at Mr Candle, who are a company that specialise in, surprisingly enough - candles! When browsing through blogs, along with our mutual love for Netflix, we also harbour a deep appreciation for candles, be they burning brightly for a much needed pamper session, or simply used as a subtle background accessory for blog photographs, we looooveeee our candles! 

I can't emphasise enough how much of a candle fiend I actually am, from collecting Yankee candles to peppering the place with tealights, my house is a bona fide fire hazard. So naturally when Mr Candle contacted me, I hopped, skipped and jumped at the chance! But ah, it gets better dear readers, because as you burn down your pretty soy candle, a dazzling ring ranged between £10-£500 is revealed! 

I was kindly sent a 'Strawberries and Fizz' scented candle from their Jnr collection, which is the smallest of the sizes in their range. As you can just about detect from the image above, each ring is lovingly concealed so that no damage occurs to it when you're ready to fish it out. A strict set of helpful instructions arrived with my candle directing you to burn it down for 2 and a half hours or more, melting the wax and thus making your hidden treasure more accessible!

I swear, never in my life have I stared so hard at a candle, WILLING it to burn itself out. I'll admit, I was actually half expecting the ring to resemble those metal rings you used to get out of gumball machines as a kid, so I was absolutely gobsmacked when I unearthed this beautiful sterling silver ring from its waxy residue. After twiddling away with my tweezers to get it out, it turns out that the ring was perfectly preserved in a plastic bag, completely untarnished. This would make a wonderful gift for a friend or family member (can you imagine them getting it appraised and it turns out to be worth £500? Yes, I'll have my Best Friend Ever award now, thank you). With a stunning selection of candles to choose from and the added excitement of a bit of bling inside, I will definitely be ordering from Mr Candle in the future!

- Sunday, 29 March 2015 -

Unicorn Wishlist

Hello my lovelies! What better way to spend a Sunday than perusing the realms of the internet in search of some magical unicorn treasures. There are some days where I just feel like channelling my inner Wednesday Addams - embracing my heavy eyeliner, cloaking myself in black and having a very angsty playlist loop on repeat. I guess the winter months can do that to you. I'm always excited for the subtle transition of the seasons, I love how spring breathes life back into society, and once again colour envelopes us, we don our pastel jumpers with pride and finally that lonely vase can achieve its purpose as we fill it to the brim with flowers. 

Recently, I've been going a bit bonkers collecting all kinds of adorable accessories - a Tsum Tsum here, a Moomin there, I just can't get enough! Unicorns have always played a prominent part in my life, which may sound strange but as I grew up an only child, if I didn't have my imagination, I didn't have anything. Days I'd spend watching The Last Unicorn in equal amounts horror and awe, begging my mum to rewind the video one more time; never did I think that 20 years down the line I'd harbour the same fascination with them as I did then.


Sophia Webster Bag: A while ago there was an iridescent clutch weaving its way through the web, the shape was blocky and it possessed no finer detailing to signify whether it was actually a horse or a unicorn. And that's where this beauty comes in! Unless you're out on the town, I find clutches impractical but this magical marvel actually has an included metal strap, making it the most enchanting across body bag I've ever seen.

Necklace: Why oh why isn't this necklace in my life? I love the mirrored horn and stars against the plain acrylic colouring. I'd probably wear this against a plain shirt or jumper so that the colours really pop!

Phone Case: I feel such a huge pang of despair as I include this phone case in my wishlist, because only recently I made the monumental mistake of converting to Android! Ever since Katy Perry released her phone cover range for Claire's Accessories, I've been tempted to just chuck my phone out a window and go crawling back to (our technological overlords) Apple.

Jumper: I recently unearthed this gem of a jumper in my local H&M, it was on the sale rack and going for a fiver and it was just as though for that one split second, the universe was on my side and all the angels in heaven were singing a glorious chorus in my honour.

Jewellery Dish: Everyone wants a majestic unicorn guarding their most precious treasures, right? I love that the little horn also doubles as a ring or earring holder!

Slippers: Leaving the best for last, I discovered these adorable slippers a while ago and haven't been able to get them out of my mind since. I probably wouldn't even wear them, their faces are way too cute to be trudging all around a dirty floor. The slippers look super plush so I can imagine that they'd be incredibly comfortable to wear as well, definitely a cute and quirky gift to invest in!

What's been on your wishlist recently?

- Sunday, 22 March 2015 -

Recipe: Rainbow Jar Cake!

Hello my lovelies! As I type this, I'm sat on my bed staring out at the baby blue skies and glowing sun, because for a while there, it felt like spring was never going to make an appearance. With Easter creeping ever nearer, I thought it appropriate to share a colourful recipe on the blog! When you think of Easter, usually visions of mini eggs, chocolate nests and creme eggs dance through your mind, however this year I thought it'd be fun to do something a little different. As spring is also a time for fashion trends to shed their winter skin, making room for soft pastels and bright tones, I suppose this recipe is also a great way to inject a bit of colour back into your life after what seems like an eternity of mass layering and mornings that nip at your nose! 

You will need:

Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix
Food Colouring (of your choice) 
3 Fresh Eggs (large preferably)
60ml of Vegetable Oil
180ml of Water
A Kilner Half Pint Jar
Bowls (5 or 6 depending on how many colours you use)

One of the best things about this recipe is that it's fast and fun; I can imagine that it'd be a great novelty for parties or even just as a quirky treat if you're feeling like being a domestic goddess without having the hassle of actually making the mix from scratch. 

Step 1/ So, after preheating the oven to 170 degrees (160 degrees for fan), empty your Betty Crocker mixture into a large-sized bowl. With the help of a measuring jug, also pour in 60ml of vegetable oil and 180ml of water. 

Step 2/ Using a cup, crack your three eggs into it and stir well until they're completely combined, then pour your eggy mess in with your main mixture and stir until everything's entirely blended.

Step 3/ Seeing as I'd planned to make a rainbow comprised of six colours, I'm going to use six bowls for this next part, however depending on how many colours you wish to have in your rainbow, you can use more or less bowls for this step. So, I scooped out my cake mixture evenly into six separate bowls.

Step 4/ Each bowl represents each colour, so carefully add in your chosen food colouring to each and mix well - I used gels as opposed to liquid food colouring, as gels are easier to work with and the colour blends that bit better. 

Step 5/ When you're content with your colours, you can begin emptying the mix of each bowl into your jar. I basically just layered my mix's on top of one and other, so that the colours blended like an actual rainbow - keeping in mind my secondary school science rhyme "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain".

Step 6/ Only fill your jar about half way full, as you have to remember that your cake will rise, so make sure you're giving it enough room to breath. After you're fully satisfied with your colourful concoction, you can then pop them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Step 7/ As soon as the time's up, take your rainbow cake out of the over and leave it to cool for a generous amount of time, and be careful because the jar's will be HOT! After a while has pasted, I stuck a skewer in mine to check that there was no rawness present, and if not, you're good to go!

- Sunday, 15 March 2015 -

Korean Makeup Haul (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Hello my lovelies! Firstly, I want to wish all the wonderful mamas out there a very happy Mother's Day and I hope your day is just as beautiful as you are! If I could insert a hundred heart eye emojis into this post I would, because I can't stop drooling over the cuteness that is Korean cosmetics: their packaging, their presentation - everything about Korean makeup screams kawaii. I've always been mesmerised by novelty makeup, ever since I was a teenager and got my grubby hands on my first Lip Smackers cola lip balm, a frenzy began, and I needed to feed this newfound addiction. 

I've read reviews stating that Asian makeup is lightyears ahead of its time, whereas Western makeup is formed for function, Asain makeup injects fun and quirkiness into their products as well as fulfilling their purpose. A tad jaded by UK cosmetics and wanting to experiment and experience something fresh and new, I placed a mass order on Amazon, ranging from snail gel to heart shaped lipstick; I had to have it all. I played it safe and strayed away from any unknown brands, purchasing from the likes of Etude House, Holika Holika and Tonymoly - all of which provide super cute products, that really put the 'fun' into functional.  

Wanting to branch out from my usual allegiance to MAC, Illamasqua and the likes, I purchased the two most beautiful lipsticks I've ever laid eyes on. To the left stands Etude House Dear My Blooming Lips in a ravishing deep red. With application proving unbelievably smooth, it glides on the lips leaving them vivid and glossy. The colour is also quite malleable, only really needing topping up after hours of use. On the right is Holika Holika Heartful Silky Lipstick and of course the first thing that catches your eye is its charmingly cute shape. The lipstick itself is richly pigmented and applies silky smooth and creamy with a lovely matte finish. 

There's no way around it; the mere thought of this next product makes me squirm. With its key ingredient being mucus, otherwise known as snail slime, this gel has amazing regenerative properties, keeping your skin even, banishing blemishes, smoothing scars and acting as a great moisturiser. The gel itself boasts no aroma (thank GOD) and after a fortnight of applying it before bed, my skin has definitely perked up, appearing brighter and smoother. This product has been described as "miracle gel" as it acts as an all rounder solution for just about anything.

 This Minnie Mouse compact from Etude House is the epitome of cuteness. I love how it's divided into an assortment of pearly colours: pink, peach and lavender, giving your face gorgeously glowing definition. The Minnie Mouse range is exclusive to Etude House and I absolutely adore its polka dot packaging. The only qualm I have with the compact is that I so wish it came with an accompanying mirror, however I won't let something so trivial take away from its cuteness!

Shaped like a cupcake and smelling of strawberries, this next product is good enough to eat! Another Etude House creation, the Sweet Recipe Cupcake All Over Colour is a cream textured colour for lips, cheeks and even eyes! The smell is scrumptious and although I've only experimented with it on my lips and cheeks, I'm happy to report that the colour is creamy, pigmented and oh so delicious!

I'm always on the hunt for a good highlighter. I love how that with a simple stroke, highlighter can transform a dull appearance to a shimmering elegance. Having experimented with mostly creams in the past, most highlighters I've tried tend to either sit awkwardly on the face or wipe away any traces of foundation altogether (No7 Highlighter Stick, I'm looking at you). I applied Etude House's Secret Beam highlighter across my cheekbones and on the bridge on my nose, giving my face a dewy look. I've fallen head over heels in love with this powder as it brightens up my complexion, definitely making it my new go-to highlighter.

This next product is a new discovery of mine: the Tonymoly Hello Bunny Perfume Bar. Usually when I'm out and about, I like to carry with me a small sample of perfume or body spray in my bag, just to keep me feeling fresh throughout the day. However, sometimes these fragrances can be quite overpowering, usually to the point where I start sneezing my head off because I've applied too much. If this is sounding way too familiar to you, well, I think I've found the perfect solution! The Hello Bunny Perfume Bar is essentially a creamy stick of perfume that you can apply on your wrist, neck etc for a subtle scent. Available in a range of aromas, I opted for Baby Powder. The bunny bar is small enough to fit in your purse and I can't help but find myself smiling as I'm greeted with the adorable kawaii packaging. 

What I haven't photographed individually but is displayed above, are the Tonymoly Fruit Princess Lip Gloss and the Holika Holika Honey Sleeping Pack. The lipgloss is fresh and fruity, formulated with shea butter, it leaves your lips hydrated and smelling lush for hours. The Holika Holika sleeping pack has three options: blueberry, acerola and canola, all different for different purposes. I chose the blueberry sleeping pack, as blueberries are rich in anthocyanins and vitamins that help skin to look supple and youthful. Smelling just like honey, the consistency is think but applies smoothly. Even though I've only tried it a handful of times, it leaves my skin feeling bouncier - definitely a routine to invest in.

Have you ever tried any Asian products before?

- Monday, 9 March 2015 -

Tips and Tricks: Better Blogging

Hello my lovelies! We all had to start somewhere, right? Whether you have 10 followers or 10,000, each and every blogger started at point zero and worked their way up. Many blog for escapism or use it as a platform to exercise their writing skills, whilst some may see it as a mere hobby, others want to pursue blogging professionally - whatever your reason, blogging serves as a great creative outlet and highly (addictive) productive pastime. I've been blogging for little over a year now and am always striving to up my blogging game, be it with improving my photography, engaging more in the community or just blogging more regularly; there's always room for improvement...

Consistency is key: One sure way of reeling in the readers in keeping your blog consistent with content. Aim to stray away from sporadic posts as this upset in routine will lose you followers; if you've posted regularly throughout the year and only a few times this month, readers will start to think that you're losing interest in your blog and will thusly lose interest in you. However, NEVER feel like you have to force a post, it's quality not quantity at the end of the day and your readers will know the difference. If you ask any blogger their secret to optimum organisation, it's scheduling, so keep on top of your posts and keep your readers happy!

Mix it up: A photo reels the reader in, but the content keeps them coming back - always try to remember this when writing a blogpost. No one wants to visit a blog and be hit with a big block of text, and equally no one wants to have the heinous task of scrolling through a hundred photos of a Naked Palette photographed from various different angles; you have to find the right balance. Try to break up your text in more digestible paragraphs, perhaps throwing in an image or two to assist the content and maintain the readers attention. I always align all my text and images together to make the post look more refined as a whole so that it flows better, because there's nothing worse than images scattered all over the place without a purpose. 

Stay social: Not only is the blogging community a great source of inspiration but it's also a great source of support. Needing advice on HMTL help or topic suggestions? The blogging community has got your back. Try to involve yourself in the blogger Twitter chats, as you want to be seen making friends, not followers. The Twitter chats are a tremendous source of traffic for your blog as you get involved and interact with the community. Additionally, don't forget to share the love and show appreciation for your favourite bloggers by perhaps producing a post about them or even just including them in a #FridayFollow tweet - with blogging, you definitely get back what you put in.

Make your mark: Wading through all the MAC reviews and outfit posts in an endless sea of blogs, it's sometimes hard to stand out. A lot of bloggers tend to hold back as they're afraid of being judged for their individuality/opinions/style, yielding to what's comfortable instead of what's different, prohibiting their colourful personalities from shining through on their blog. It's even the little things that make all the difference: like taking your own blog photos, having your own handwritten signature at the end of posts or even just something simple like taking the time to write back to someone that's left you a kind comment - don't be a carbon copy, be different and make a difference :)

- Saturday, 7 March 2015 -

There's Still Time

Hello my lovelies! Having not quite grasped the concept yet that it's actually March, time has formed the habit of floating on by. Finding myself caught up in a flurry of university work, this little blog has been facing neglect as life gets in the way. However, without going out there and experiencing life itself, there'd be nothing to blog about, right?  Recently, I've been reflecting over time and what it affords us all, nothing exceeds our reach: finally curling up with that book, dabbling in a new language, learning an instrument - all is possible because we have time on our side. Sometimes, the lack of time forbids us from fulfilling our truest desires - be it age or work or whatever, we spin these excuses, and find ourselves lamenting over missed opportunities, wishing we had have taken the time and taken the chance. 

I woke up one day and found myself in my 20s, with time ticking on, I felt that the possibility of university had slipped though my fingers, because mature students are obviously a thing of myth. I felt frozen, stuck in a rut that wasn't moving my life backwards or forwards. I harboured this crazy theory that I'd somehow missed my chance, that if university was to happen, it would have transpired already, so still I remained stagnant. But then I began to think, and the cogs in my head started turning, and I logged onto UCAS and began making lists of courses that interested me, like genuinely interested me. Sure, there were courses that caught my eye that teenage Claire would have loved to pursue, but with my age and extra time of experience, I actually managed to make informed decisions; because at 18, God knows what I would have went on to study. 

So, today I thought I'd compile a little list, inspiring and informing you all that there is ALWAYS still time to achieve your dreams, whether big or small...

Why not bite the bullet and get that tattoo you've always lusted after? Instead of just being plain, old and wrinkly in years to come, you'll be a canvas of colourful memories!

You've been eyeing up that dress for an eternity, but it's not in your size. Buy it anyway because guess what? You won't be that size forever and you can lose weight, so why not treat yourself with a little motivation?

There's always time to do something crazy. Whether it's auditioning for X Factor on a whim or deciding to finally take the plunge and go bungee jumping (aha, see what I did there?), it's the crazy choices in life that make us who we are

After setting foot in Cath Kidston, you've discovered a new appreciation for the lost art of crochet. So instead of remortgaging the house to buy a quilt, why not learn to crochet your own?

Wanting to take your life in a different direction? Apply for a new course at uni, leave your dead-end job, start your own small business - don't be afraid of what the future holds for you

Your awe is peppered ever so slightly with envy as your french friend switches so easily between languages. Log onto Duolingo and become the savvy linguist you've always dreamed you'd be

 You know that jar sat atop the cupboard? Start filling that with loose change, because one day you WILL travel the world and ride a camel and see the northern lights and dance like a hula girl

Build a pillow fort where you binge on nothing but Netflix and chocolate. Don't let time take your inner child away, eat a gallon of ice cream, watch Scooby Doo reruns, be the oldest (and the coolest) kid on the roller coaster

So you may not have the perfect relationship with your parents or siblings or even just friends you've lost contact with. But with time, these relationships can be remedied

Your hairdresser shakes their head and clucks in disapproval as they're is convinced you wouldn't suit being a blonde, but it's your hair and your life so YOLO, right? 

- Sunday, 1 March 2015 -

Recent Purchases: Cute and Colourful

Hello my lovelies! With the fervent chirping of the birds and the new buds blooming amongst the grass, it can only mean one thing - it's March and spring has finally sprung! It's so refreshing to finally be shedding my winter skin i.e. the copious amount of layers I've taken to wearing on a daily basis for surviving the whipping winds and frosty mornings. With the sun finally peaking its head through the clouds, I've decided to infuse my wardrobe with a few new spring bits and pieces. I love that the instant spring comes around, the darker tones we've become so accustomed to wearing, melt away and make way for prettier pastel colours. 

This mouth watering bag caught my eye a while ago as I was perusing through the magical Modcloth. Having always adored the novelty bag craze, it was love at first sight. I can just about imagine myself come summer walking the beach with this bag by my side, slurping on a Mr Whippy ice cream cone. If you're the kind of person who likes to store everything but the kitchen sink in your bag, then this cute cone probably isn't for you, fitting no more than my phone and my purse inside. But don't let that deter you, this delicious bag is perfect for spring and summer, adding a bit of oomph to any outfit.

Say hello to my new favourite item of clothing. This one of a kind rainbow cardigan is what dreams are made of, I honestly can't stop staring at it *insert heart eyes emoji here*. I dug out this beauty from the vintage treasure trove Waiste, and snapped it up before anyone else could get their grubby paws on it. It boasts an oversize fit but is so comfy and cosy I envisage that I'll be wearing it all throughout spring, you should probably just rename me 'Claire and her Amazing Technicolour Dream Cardigan'. Owned and operated by beautiful fellow blogger Sara of waiste.blogspot.co.uk, I've been buying off Waiste for quite some time, with so many unique items, you're guaranteed to bag yourself something magical.

And last but certainly not least, I picked up this delicious doughnut necklace from I Love Crafty. With its unbearably cute sprinkles, and glorious glaze, it's been hard not to nibble away at it! Ever since spying those stunning shell necklaces that say 'I'm Really A Mermaid' I've been dying to get my hands on a laser cut piece of jewellery. Opting for something sweet from I Love Crafty's doughnut range, I just love how kitsch they look and how they can add that extra bit of quirkiness to even the drabbest of outfits. This little necklace will go perfectly with my ice cream bag, together making one hell of a yummy combination!