Claire Mac


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Life | A Dog Friendly Stay At Beck Hall, Malham.

I've written about the struggles of finding dog friendly accommodation before. In short, finding somewhere that's A. affordable B. luxurious and C. dog friendly is an absolute nightmare. It takes a fair bit of time to find something that ticks all the boxes, but we always get there and last week booked to stay for a few nights at Beck Hall in Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.

Beck Hall sits right next to the picturesque Malham beck which runs right from Malham Cove and into the River Aire. The setting couldn't be any more perfect if it tried! We were instantly impressed as we crossed the beck by the beautiful flag-stoned bridge and looked onto the old stone building. If I had unlimited money, this would be exactly the type of place I'd want to live. The scene is instantly calming and we knew we were in for a treat!

Beck Hall boasts a total of 18 uniquely designed en-suite bedrooms. We were in the Ayre room which was a miss match of different interior styles, but bizarrely it all worked. One wall was dark and papered with wallpaper I could only describe as being of a selective taste. I don't think dark paper emblazoned with regal looking dogs wearing bowler hats is for everyone, but hey ho, it's a conversation starter isn't it. The other three walls were a turquoise blue and the furniture was a dark wood, with a four poster bed taking main stage in the room. Like I say, if you saw it written down you'd think what the heck, but it actually worked!

Now onto the food! Oh my goodness to food! There wasn't anything lah-di-dah about the food at  Beck Hall, it was just good old Yorkshire home cooked food, and it was exactly what the Doctor ordered. Throughout our stay I ate like a Queen, dining on mushroom wellington & fish pie for our evening meals. We'd take a packed lunch while we were out walking during the day & come back to a delicious home cooked meal sitting outside in the sun by the riverside, which was an absolute treat after we'd been out adventuring all day.
We had an awesome stay at Beck Hall, it literally ticked all the boxes for us. Perfect location. Brilliantly accommodating staff. Delicious food. Comfy beds. What's not to love!
I think it's easy to forget how to chill when you're working a 9-5 job, especially when there's so much pressure and tension, so our two night stay was SO needed!

Have you been to the Yorkshire Dales before? What's your ideal staycation?

Claire. X

We also stayed at Ox Pasture Hall recently which is another ace dog friendly hotel.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Life | To be laid back doesn't mean you are lazy.

I'll always remember the day... It was the Summer between leaving high school and starting college, we were enjoying yet another care free day, a ten strong group of friends with not a single care in the world. We were sat in a friends garden when one of the guys said to me in a belittling, almost degrading tone 'You're very laid back aren't you Claire?'
Picture the scene, Claire sat at the dinner table, a slight slouch to her posture, everyone else chatting, enjoying the summer sun & she's just sitting back, observing. It's not a particularly awkward scene, and she definitely didn't think about it at the time, Claire was just being her usual mellow, easy going self. That's when he muttered those seven little words. The words that seemed to have stuck with me.
But what does it mean to be laid back?... Well according to the Urban Dictionary it's to be repressive, passive, submissive, slow, with a lack of passion, a lack of guts and basically to be down right lazy. Words and phrases that I'm 100% saying hell to the no too! Don't get me wrong, I can understand why my personality would come across this way. I have a very bohemian type, go with the flow type attitude when it comes to most aspects of my life. I wing practically everything! That being said I'm a very positive, glass half full kind of gal, that even when times are tough am cool, calm and collected under pressure and believe that everything is going to be alright in the end... You'll quite often hear me say in my most northern of accents 'It'll be reet!' And you know what, it bloody well will be!

Us as bloggers, heck us as millenials live in a culture that emphasises productivity. We must be doing something at all times, documenting our lives at all hours of the day. It's a wonder we get a chance to sleep. So how do those of us with a laid back attitude to life get by?.. We just roll with it! I struggle to think of any other way of doing it. What other way can we approach it? We live in a day and age where there's too much pressure, we worry about the things that we could be doing, when in fact we're not taking the bull by the horns and living. Social media is a massive instigator for this too! We fall victim to thinking our lives aren't Insta-worthy enough because we're not going to coffee shops decorated with white washed walls and marble tables, or so on and so forth, we all know the stereotypes. How fucking sad is that!
Hence why I feel it helps to have a laid back approach to life. Laid back... not lazy!

There are many differences between being laid back and being lazy. The silly thing is, is I believe our laid backness (I know that's not a word, but I'm too laid back to care) can often be mistaken for laziness, especially from those on the outside looking in - And that is what I find so flipping frustrating. To be laid back, doesn't mean you are lazy, but you can be lazy and laid back. There's a difference.

* People that are lazy constantly need reminding of tasks they haven't completed yet, jobs that should probably have been done weeks ago. Laid back people keep a track of their to do lists, and complete their tasks one by one, in a methodical thought out way.
* People that are lazy don't care about peoples opinions, both of themselves and of others. Laid back people are concerned by peoples thoughts and feelings.
* People that are lazy don't earn the respect from their coworkers. Laid back people are often the teams confidante, the person to give comfort when times get tough, and the person who counterbalances craziness. This works especially good in retail. Cough, cough!

So let's not be lazy folks, lets be laid back. Lead a slower life and take absolutely everything in. Life is for learning!

Would you class yourself as a laid back person? What do you think it means to be laid back?


Jeans - New Look
Top - Missguided
Coat - H&M
Shoes - Primark
Bag - La Redoute

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Beauty | The Perfect Product To Contour With When You Don't Know How To Contour.

I'm not a makeup guru. I'm lucky if I transform myself into a six out of ten after applying a little bit of slap. Woe is me right? That being said, I love experimenting with different looks & different products, but something I've always struggled with is contouring! Darn, scary, contouring! 

Where did contouring even come from? That's what I keep asking myself. But rather than run away from it, I've jumped aboard & have found a corker of a product, that even a novice such as myself can use.

Thank goodness for the Rimmel Insta duo contour stick!

The dual ended, almost lightsaber looking product has a bullet style contour shade on one side and a highlight on the other and comes in three shade variations, light, medium and dark. Naturally I gravitated towards the light contour stick, but actually depending on what type of makeup look I am going for, I can get away with all three - Which is amazing & so very unexpected.
As you can see from the swatches below, there isn't a massive difference between the three contour shades, they're obviously different to suit varying skin tones, however I was expecting much more of a contrast. Thankfully however they all work perfectly for me. The highlight shades are utterly swoonworthy. Honestly, they're three of the most beautiful shades. Light has a champagne shimmer, medium is more of a natural sun kissed glow and dark is a heavenly golden glow. What's not to love?
To apply the product, it's as simple as drawing the contour and highlight lines to your face. I love this part of the process as it makes you look quite silly. I've taken many a selfie before blending the product in, much to my friends amusement. But as you can see, it really is such an easy process, even a novice such as myself can do it.
The formula of both the contour & the highlight shades are so creamy! They're buttery, a dream to blend and are the perfect products for this time of year, when you're looking for a bit more of a dewy finish. I really feel like I've turned a corner using these products, which sound ridiculous as I'm a 27 year old woman, but they've totally transformed my makeup routine. Gone are the matte effect product & liquid lipsticks, out comes dewy skin, a summertime glow & glossy lips. I'm loving it!
The longevity of this product is amazing too, even more so with the new Rimmel Insta Fix & Go Setting Spray - It's really great! I can pop it on on a morning and not have to worry about the product sliding off my face during the day, which I'm sure you'll agree, is always a brucie bonus!

What I love about the Rimmel Insta duo contour stick is how easy it is to use and how they've totally transformed my makeup routine! What are your favourite contour products to use? Do you find it easy?

Claire. X

*These products were very kindly sent to me, however as always, all opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Life | When Life Gives You Lemons... Make Lemonade!

Admitting that you're struggling is said to be one of the most difficult things. It's also something I thought I was good at, I'm quite open to admit my mistakes and my flaws, but when I'm struggling... It turns out that's a whole other ball game.

 I'm quite a cool, calm, collected individual. From the outside you'd think my life was rosy, and to the most extent it is, my personal life & home life is perfectly okay, well better than okay, but my work life is something I've been struggling with - In my opinion I work a full time job on part time hours, and by part time, I mean a 30 hour week. We're having staffing issues at the moment and over the last month or so I've found myself really struggling to keep on top of what I need to do. In simple terms, I'm doing my own job, as well as other peoples jobs, along with the added pressure of training new staff members; And it's all got a little bit too much.

Today is my first day off in 10 days & I think it's safe to say I need it!

The last ten days life has been giving me lemons, and today I'm finally going to be making lemonade!

What to do when you're struggling.

1. Admitting that you're struggling is huge! If you're anything like I am you'll keep things bottled up until you explode. I have this cool as a cucumber persona, but truth be told, that's not always how I feel. And that's totally okay! If you're struggling, no matter what you're struggling with, tell someone. Struggling at work? Seek your managers advice. Struggling in a shitty relationship? Confide in a friend & do something about it. Struggling with money? Put a basic finance plan together, something that's realistic yet effective.

2. Slow down & think of the bigger picture. Think about what you're worrying about now, will it really matter in 6 months time, will it even matter in 6 days time? Equally so, I bet you can't remember what you were getting anxious about this time last year, because I sure as hell can't. As much as you may feel under pressure right now, time goes by so quickly, that these negative thoughts will be out of your head in no time!

3. Tune into what your body needs. This is quite a simple one, but something admittedly that I'm not so great at. I've been struggling with tiredness, which sounds silly, but mixed in with the pressures at work, my body's definitely felt the strain! Sleep is so important! We need to give our bodies & more importantly our minds time to recharge.

4. Get moving. Being active and getting out and about may seem like the furthest thing away to what you want to do when you're feeling down in the dumps, but trust me, it really helps. I'm quite lucky because I have a dog, so when I'd come in from work I'd be able to get straight out with her & get away from it all. The good old Yorkshire air really does works wonders!

5. Treat yo'self! Treating yourself doesn't have to involve spending money. If you're struggling with money, or if you're saving money, treat yourself by having a pamper night, have a Harry Potter marathon, or treat yourself by dunking an extra biscuit or two in your tea. Equally so, if you want to treat yourself to the latest Gucci handbag, go ahead and bloody well do that, and don't let anybody make you feel bad for doing it!

Todays day off for me is going to be a super reflective one. Putting things into perspective & taking my own advice... This time next week I'll be totally cool again. It's okay to crack under pressure, it's knowing how to get back up that really matters.

What do you do when you're struggling? Do you find it easy to admit? Taking crazy selfies definitely helps me, I'd love for you to tweet me yours at @__ClaireMac

Thank you. Claire. X

Did you catch my latest post? It'll make you hungry!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Life | Sunday Roast At The Botanist Trinity Leeds.

A Sunday Roast has undoubtedly got to be one of my favoruite meals; I mean you only have to spend an evening at our house to realise Dan & I are the King and Queen of Sunday dinners, so when we do chose to eat out & indulge, it's fair to say that we're two pretty harsh critics! *Cue the pantomime boos*

Last Sunday we took some time out, ventured into Leeds for a bit of retail therapy & tootled our butts over to The Botanist for what Dan could only describe as a 'lit' Sunday dinner.

If you've been to The Botanist at Trinity Leeds, you'll know it has the cutest outside space and because it was such a nice day (where's the sun gone btw) we decided to make the most of it & park our backsides on the rustic wood & wrought iron benches.

There's something about eating outdoors that just feels so much better, even more so when it involves cocktails! Dan decided to go full throttle & have a raspberry Mojito whereas I was a little more sensible (it was 1.00pm after all) & had the raspberry, grape & elderflower cooler which was yummily refreshing.

The Botanist give you a choice of either chicken or beef when it comes to your Sunday roast, luckily for photo purposes we decided upon one of each. I opted for beef while Dan chose the chicken which was half a flipping roast hen! We thought we'd have a couple of thin slices of meat each so we were both absolutely buzzing with the portion size we received. Thumbs up to The Botanist! Popped on top was a home made Yorkshire pudding, but hidden under the meat was a shit tonne of stuffing, cabbage, carrots & crispy roast potatoes. What more could you possibly want? Cauliflower cheese? Oh wait, we got that on the side too! Best Sunday dinner ever!

... Apart from our own of course! Sorry The Botanist, but this King & Queen of Sunday dinners will not be beaten.

Have you been to The Botanist before? Where's the best place to go for a Sunday roast?


Friday, 12 May 2017

Beauty | Loreal Miss Baby Roll Mascara

Loreal can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes, I haven't met a product that I haven't fallen in love with yet, so I had huge hopes for the Baby Roll mascara... And thankfully it didn't disappoint! 

Baby Roll is available in four shades which I think is absolutely fabulous, and perfect for adding a splash of colour to your makeup look - In fact, they'd be amazing for Festivals!
I chose to go for the bog standard black, but you can also pick it up in teal, indigo & lilac *heart eye emoji* all of which I think would look totally beauts on the very tips of the top lashes. Writing this, I'm actually feeling the urge to pop down to Boots to pick up some extra shades. Eeek!

The packaging is really unique, a little cutesy if anything, but over all I think it works really well with Loreals' concept & it definitely stands out from the crowd, which is exactly what I'd want to achieve if I was a mascara packaging designer - I'm sure thats' not a job title, but hey ho!

I had high hopes for the Baby Roll mascara pretty much from the get go, even more so when I unscrewed the top to reveal a plastic wand, which I much prefer over a standard brush. The difference with the Baby Roll brush however, is that the plastic bristles wrap around the wand, a little bit like a helter-skelter which is not only fun, but has a very practical purpose in that it coats & curls every single little iddy biddy lash.
I give my peepers a little bit of help with curlers, but this mascara absolutely does its' fair share when it comes to curling the lashes & generally making tired old me look a little more awake. My lashes stay curled for such a long time, which admittedly is something I was a little dubious about, granted they drop towards the end of the day, but who's lashes don't? We can't be expecting miracles now can we ladies? 
There's minimal fall out for me, barely anything even after an 8 hour day shift. It's a fantastic little product & one I'll buy again from my favourite drugstore cosmetics brand. That being said, it's really easy to take off too, I've been loving the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleanser recently & that's had absolutely no trouble in removing the mascara.

I've really enjoyed using the Loreal Baby Roll, it's the mascara I'm reaching for day in day out and for the price I think it's absolutely brilliant! Have you tried Baby Roll before? Whats your favourite drugstore and high-end mascara?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Beauty | Affordable Skincare From Boots Botanics

Does affordable skincare really work? Is it really worth spending that extra money if you can find something more affordable that actually works? This is what I've been asking myself for the past few weeks as I've switched my skincare for something a little more purse friendly. Would you believe these four Boots Botanics products cost me a grand total of £5! Yupp, you heard me, five whole British pounds!

The packaging drew me in to purchase originally, but it's reading that the range uses the power of plants within it's products that really sealed the deal for me. After religiously using the 100% natural Antique Apothecary Athina moisturiser and falling hook line and sinker for it's plant based goodness, I certainly had high hopes for the Boots Botanics products.

To begin cleansing & to remove the vast majority of my makeup I've been using the Boots Botanics All Bright Purifying Face Scrub. The scrub contains tiny pieces of walnut shell and crushed apricot seeds which buffs away any flaky or dead skin, leaving the face feeling super smooth and refreshed. To keep the skin bright, Boots Botanics use natural AHA's & Hibiscus which not only leave the skin looking more radiant, but it also leaves a pretty fresh & floral scent too which is lovely.

A less abrasive option to cleanse is with the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash which has a gel like consistency that lathers up quickly providing a gentle foam. The product removes makeup really quickly and surprisingly provides the skin with so much added moisture. It's a really beautiful product to use both morning and night as it leaves the skin feeling so refreshed and nourished. Reading the back of the packaging Boots Botanics states that it's products are tested on people, which I think it bloody brilliant & the absolute right way to do it. Hallelujah!

To remove any excess eye makeup I like to go in with the Boots Botanics All Bright Gentle Cleansing Cream. To be honest I picked this up thinking it was a micellar water, so was a little surprised when the product came out as a cream, silly me didn't read the packaging properly and even though it wasn't what I thought it'd be, I've really enjoyed using it. Being a cream formula I find the cleanser to be really nourishing to the skin. It's an added bonus for me that it removes impurities.

I'm not so great at using serums, truth be told it's always something I forget about when it comes to my skincare routine. I've been doing well with this one though, and  I think it's purely because the Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum looks beautiful on my bathroom vanity. The frosted glass bottle is out on display loud and proud makning me want to reach for it, both for my morning & my evening skicare routine. The serum provides the skin with radiance & the lightweight formula helps leave my face looking more supple and glowy.

I picked these products up for £2.50 each while they were on a buy one get one free offer, so only paid £5 for the four & after trying them, it's got to be one of the best fivers I've spent. Whats your go to skincare brand? What would you recommend? 


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