Sunday, 28 February 2016

Lifestyle | XCLAIREABELLA TURNS TWO


I've been so busy recently, getting myself caught up in the eat, sleep, work, blog, repeat cycle that I almost forgot that my blog turned two this month! Tell a lie!... I completely forgot. Ooops! On Monday 10th February 2013 I began my life as a fashion and beauty blogger with xclaireabella & quite frankly, I've never looked back!!

When I started blogging I had absolutely no idea on what I was getting myself into. If you know me, you'll know I randomly thought up the idea of starting a blog whilst in the shower - As you do!! I'm not entirely sure where it came from, but I can whole heartedly say that it's got to be one of my best ideas yet!! Since starting blogging I've gained so much more than a social platform. I've gained a hobby, an outlet to be proud of & commitment I want to grow until the end of time. Over the last couple of years I've achieved various things, both in front & behind the camera and without blowing my own trumpet I'm chuffed with how far this little Boro lass has come! Here are my top five moments.

1. Becoming a homeowner! In this day & age owning your own home under the age of 25 is a pretty amazing thing & something I'm incredibly proud of!
2. Attending #TheCityGirls event & receiving the most amazing feedback from my blog posts referencing the event & products.
3. Moving to Leeds! Although I am still a Northern bird at heart, I've settled surprisingly well in this vibrant City & love what Leeds has to offer a gal like me. (Ps. Leeds isn't north - I don't care what you say.)
4. Working with amazing brands! Fat face, House of Fraser, Dr Paw Paw, even Luxemme! I'm an incredibly lucky girl & appreciate all opportunities thrown my way. Who'd have thought it?!?
5. Becoming a mummy to the fluffiest, cutest, most amazing Lemon Beagle puppy. Maybe I'm biased, but she is adorable & she's brought so much to our lives, I can't imagine it any other way now.

Thank you so much for your continuous support! I'm eternally gratfeul and hope that you continue to read and enjoy my ramblings at xclaireabella! As this post goes live, Dan & I will actually be making my way to the airport to head off to Berlin so things may be a little quiet on the blog/social media front for the next couple of days, but believe me, I will be back with vengeance!!.. And hopefully (fingers crossed) some amazing photography!!

Love always | Claire.x
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Beauty | Sleek Matte Me Lips.





I hoard lipsticks! It's just the kinda thing that I'm in to & I'm not ready to give up my addiction any time soon. Sorrynotsorry! Something new to my ever expanding collection is the Sleek Matte Me Liquid Lipstick & Sleek Eau La La Liner.

Now if you're after a girlie, 90's esque bubblegum shade of pink lip, then this combination is going to be the one for you! I was kindly gifted these two products by a friend who was giving them away (who doesn't love free makeup right?) due to not liking the colour shade on her skin tone. Her thoughts are totally understandable as this bold, daring colour shade is pretty out there & one I believe needs pretty careful consideration. I originally trialed this colour paring with barely there makeup, my logic being to let the lips do the talking however it didn't sit right with me at all. This daring punchy pink needed so much more! I ended up popping on a few extra coats of mascara and dark black eyeliner & I was away.

The Eau La La Liner in the shade Red skynight is ridiculously soft & feels amazing on the lips. It's super creamy with a highly pigmented formula meaning the application process pretty much couldn't be any easier. It's often a worry with liners that they'll be scratchy & awkward to apply but this one from Sleek is far from it! I find Liquid Lipsticks can be a bit hit and miss too, but this one in the shade Petal is lovely. It takes a little longer to set than others I've used however once it's on, it ON & it looks amazing! Both products together leave my lips super duper matte looking & with a very luxe feel to them. I'm loving this combination from Sleek & would love to try some more colour combinations in the future. Maybe something a little less risque!

Thank you for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

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Monday, 22 February 2016

Fashion | Embracing The Wide Leg Trouser.






Do you have that one item of clothing that makes you feel like a total sass queen? Well for me it's the wide leg trouser. There's something about portraying an hourglass figure with a cinched in waist & the illusion of long slender legs that I really dig & It's a look that will never go out of fashion!

I treated myself to these Khaki pants in the Black Friday sales just before Christmas last year & I'm so glad I did as they go with just about everything. I've worn these on the blog previously with a crop top & sandals but today I'm bringing a much more wearable look... Especially for this time of year anyway! I've cosied up with my
my trusty (honestly it must be at least 6 years old - Gah!) over sized Topshop sweater which I think looks brill tucked into these high waisted trews. It's such an easy look to recreate and one I believe looks quite well put together, due to the contrasting fabrics & silhouette. To elongate the legs I'm wearing the comfiest boots of all time! No lie, I could walk around in these babies all day and be absolutely fine. No complaining, no blisters, no nothing! They're amazing! Tying in the black boots & again to accentuate the waist I'm wearing a slightly cropped black leather jacket. I love the cut of this as it's super flattering and really surprisingly warm, the fact that is has a faux fur collar, well that's just a bonus now isn't it! 
Each year I find myself digging the sunglasses out earlier and earlier and these babies are my newest pair. I've been after a pair of Ray Ban Clubmasters for a little while now, but when I saw these in Primark for an iddy biddy £1 I thought, why the hell not. Obviously the quality isn't half as close, but you can't beat the price. No way!

What do you guys this of todays' look? What clothing items make you feel like a complete sass queen?

Lots of love | Claire.x

Trousers - Missguided.
Sweater - Topshop.
Jacket - Dorothy Perkins.
Boots - New Look.
Necklace - Accessorize.
Sunglasses - Primark.
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Lifestyle | 15 Things That Annoy The Heck Outta Me


I'm not a negative Neillie, far from it in fact, but there's some things that really pee the heck out of me. Little things! But things none the less & I thought what better way to unload than with a casual Sunday whinge.

1. Having annoying songs stuck in your head.
2. Emo/Chav throwback photos. Those things need to be burned forever! Seriously!
3. Slow walkers in shopping centres. I work in the White Rose & have slalomed my fair share of slow pokes. 
4. Toilets you have to pay for? Come on, are you freaking kidding me.
5. Really repetitive repeats on TV. 50 of the same Big Bang Theory episodes each week. No thanks!
6. Saying 'Eh' instead of pardon or excuse me.... Is that my inner snob showing?
7. Watching the bus drive past you. Is it worth running for? Really?
8. Pusher inners! Just join the back of the queue like the rest of us!
9. Unexpected item in the bagging area! Frigging story of my life.
10. Slow internet!! Need I say anymore?
11. People being surprised when I say I have tattoos & piercings. Get over it!
12. Working late! Surely nobody enjoys that?
13. Non scary, horror films. I want something to seriously put the shits up me!
14. Missing Twitter chats. Or catching the last 5 minutes. I don't know what's more annoying.
15. Double negatives, triple negatives, quadruple negatives. It's too much - My brain hurts!

What stupid stuff annoys you guys? How are you enjoying my Sunday lifestyle posts? I'm really enjoying writing them, so I'm hoping you enjoy reading them.

Lots of love | Claire.x
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Beauty | Neals Yard Remedies Rosemary & Cedarwood Hair Treatment.




A few weeks ago I attended the Neals Yard Remedies event in the very Lah-Di-Dah Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Considering I hadn't previously tried any products I had a fab time at the event & decided to pop my NYR cherry with the Rosemary & Cedarwood Hair Treatment.

I was especially attracted to the hair care ranges as it's an area of beauty that I tend to forget about. Since chopping my tresses all those months ago I vowed to take good care of my locks & quite frankly it hasn't happened - I've gotten lazy & my hair has quickly become dry & lifeless again. In order to change this, I opted for the rosemary & cedarwood hair treatment... A, because it smells deliciously divine, and B, because it claims to restore vitality, which is very much needed in my hair care life.
As the name suggests, the scent is predominantly rosemary based with a slight woody aroma. It's a captivating scent & one that I haven't whiffed before, but I absolutely love it! I can feel myself getting all giddy just thinking about it. The waxy balm melts almost instantly on warm palms and massages into the scalp like a beauty bloggers' dream! Being a deep conditioning treatment you can use this product two ways, either popping it on for half an hour before shampooing or leaving it on overnight for a more intense treatment. Although I prefer leaving the product on overnight, the results of using the rosemary & cedarwood hair treatment can be seen really quickly! My tresses feel soft but strong and shine like never before. The effect this product has had on my hair is amazing & I'll most definitely be repurchasing this little pot of goodness!

Have you tried any Neals Yard Remedies products before? I'd love to start exploring hair care products too, so what's your number one hair product? I'd love to have a nosey at them, so leave your answers in the comments below.

Thank you so much for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x


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Monday, 15 February 2016

Fashion | Ark Side Split Top








As soon as I heard that Ark were closing down and were offering their pieces at massively discounted prices, I knew I had to get myself there. I haven't actually shopped in Ark for a little while, but decided I needed to pop along to make the most of the bargains.... And that I did!

I picked up this dark grey side split casual tee which for the bargain price of £7.00 - A massive saving from the original price tag of £23.00. Woohoo! Three cheers for Claire!
I can feel my style transitioning from quite smart & tailored look to something more casual cool, which is why this piece really appealed to me. Even though on it's own it's a pretty casual tee, I thought this would look great dressed up, which is why I've chosen to wear it with these leather look trousers and black wedges. Perfect for an easily put together evening look.
I bought these trousers recently because I wanted some new clothes to take on holiday to Berlin with me (as you do) & these beauts are perfect with their fury felt lining which feels gorgeously warm and cosy. Perfect for the freezing temperatures of Berlin!... On a side note, if you've been to Berlin & have any blog posts I'd love to have a nosey so pop your links in the comments below and I'll check them out. 
I've popped on these recently rediscovered pair of cut out black wedges, and quite frankly I've barely had them off my feet. I've had these for years, in fact I think they were one of the first pair of heels I ever bought. I remember seeing them on the shelves in River Island when I was a young'un and becoming absolutely smitten with them! I pretty sure this is where my shoe addiction began!

What do you think of todays' outfit? It's a little different to what I would usually wear so I'd love to know how you would style this side split tee.

Lots of love | Claire.x

Top - Ark

Trousers - H&M
Wedges - River Island
Bag - Primark
Necklace - Primark
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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Lifestyle | Tips For Saving Money


There's nothing fun about saving money! It's a bore & a complete chore, but something we all need to do eventually. Since changing jobs & buying a house it's safe to say my spending habits as a 25 year old are a hell of a lot different to when I was 18... It's not easy & I feel it's a lifestyle change, but here are a few tips on how I've managed to save a bit of wonga.

1. Stop hoarding & get selling. Make ebay your best friend!
2. Become bank savy! Setting up a direct debit to an ISA is a brilliant way to save money.
3. Questioning do you really need to buy that?
4. Creating a visual reminder of why you're saving money acts as great inspiration. 
5. Don't be ashamed to become a coupon lady.
6. Put that credit card down! Like seriously! Now!
7. Girls night in over a night out any day! Save pennies and have a fab night from the comfort of your own home.
8. Bulk buy the regular stuff if they're on offer.
9. Cancel that gym membership... You know the one you never went to? You obviously don't need it.
10. Avoiding takeaway & fast food doesn't just have financial benefits.
11. Try charity shop shopping.
12. Don't tease yourself with products you shouldn't be buying. Step away from that makeup counter.
13. Try shopping at your local market. The price differences are remarkable.
14. Make presents instead of buying them - It's the thought that counts right?
15. Don't give up!!

Although I've had a few relapses along the way, I feel these tips and tricks have massively helped me save some much needed pennies. Instead of saving for a mortgage, this year I'm saving for holidays which is soo much more exciting!! If you have any other tips or tricks I'd love to hear them.

Thank you so much for reading. Claire.x
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Beauty | My Travel Beauty Bits


I'm a massive buzz of excitement right now! If you hadn't guessed by the title of todays' blog post, I'm actually going on holiday at the end of the month - Wahoo! Dan & I have booked a 5 night stay in Berlin & I for one, am ridiculously excited right now! With holidays obviosuly comes the fun part of packing, so today I'm going to be talking through what beauty bits I'll be taking with me.

We're traveling to Germany where temperatures are predicted to range between -2˚ and 1˚... So a tad (understatement) chilly & I'd much rather cram my suitcase with hats, scarves, gloves, basically anything that's going to keep my little bod warm rather than cosmetics. Because my suitcase space is going to be predominantly knitwear I'm packing sensible with beauty bits, only taking items I feel are going to be 100% necessary. Let's take a look!




Unfortunately my suitcase wont accommodate my rigorously lengthy skincare routine so I will be resorting mainly to skincare wipes, which I know isn't the best for my skin, but in situations like this I feel needs must. I use the Skin System wipes from ASDA mainly out of convenience, but I find them really soft, gentle and not overly drying to the skin. I'll be using the wipes to get rid of any leftover makeup the Body Shops' Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash hasn't reached. To remoisturise my skin I'll be taking the Derma V10 Radiance Face Cream which is highly brightening so will work brilliantly with the almost freezing temperatures in Berlin. Seems like I'm going Body Shop  crazy but over winter I've really enjoyed using Almond Hand & Nail Cream so I'll be popping this in my makeup bag too, because no doubt my hands are really going to take a battering with the temperatures over there. Hairwise, I couldn't not take my Pro:Voke Touch Of Silver Shampoo & Conditioner... Since I had my hair dyed I've not used anything else because I adore how ashy it keeps my blonde ends. Finally to indulge I'll be taking my small bottle of Snow Fairy, because who doesn't love that gorgeously, sickly sweet scent!




Makeup wise I'm being uber conservative with the bits I'm taking - I'm really on a needs must, type of basis with the products that I'm packing. I can't not take my Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, it's one of the best products & the best £10 I've ever spent. If you're after a dewy medium coverage foundation I couldn't recommend this enough. To add definition to my face I'll be taking the Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro Blush, Bronze & Brighten palette as it's an amazing, multitasking little product. Of course I'll be taking the Benefit Browzings along with a fab new find in the Essence Plump No Clump Volume Mascara. (I'm sure I'll have a blog post coming up about this soon.) Lip wise I'm going to be taking my new fave matte shade which is Mac's Mocha along with The Body Shops' Lip Scuff to exfoliate.

As I'm sure you can tell, packing two weeks before we fly, that I'm very very very excited to go to Berlin. If you have any travel posts or tips on attractions to see I'd love to know.

Thank you once again for reading. Claire.x  
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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Lifestyle | Going #SocialMediaFree


There is absolutely no doubt about it... I always have my phone in my hand! I hate how much I rely on my phone & how much time I spend on social media so I wanted to challenge myself to go #SocialMediaFree over the weekend & prove to myself that I could do it!

My first dilemma happened at 7.30am didn't it! The first thing I usually do before getting out of bed is to check my phone and social media accounts. To remind myself of the challenge I'd even set an alarm named '#SocialMediaFree' because I know I would have forgotten otherwise - I'm waaay to used to grabbing my phone first thing. It felt really bizzare getting straight out of bed, but it was exciting not to reach straight for my phone & as sad as it sounds it felt like I was doing something exciting and proactive with my day. By not reaching for my phone I'd managed to get myself ready for work in record time meaning I could have either had the extra half hour in bed (favourable) or gotten on with my day that but quicker.
Generally on my lunch at work I'll be multitasking... And by multitasking I mean eating and scrolling! That's just the way I, along with pretty much everyone else I know rolls. Instead of getting square eyes in front of my phone screen, I'd decided to pack a book & bury my head in How To Be Parisian, an amazing book written by four sassy a.f Parisian ladies. It was refreshing to pick up a book & it actually inspired me to change up my outfit game. If you haven't read it, then I seriously recommend that you do! It's an amazingly witty, inspiring book! I actually managed to finish the book during that weekend, so it just goes to show how much I enjoyed it!
Coming home from work I'll usually busy myself with jobs to do around the house usually up to around 7.00pm which is when it becomes optimum phone scrolling time. It's so easy to curl up on the sofa, brew in hand and then switch off to enter the captivating world of social media. Rather sadly, I'm usually on and off of my phone for the rest of the night, right up until it's time to go to bed. Even writing this, makes me realise how much of a problem I have! Eeek! To fill time I read some more, took the dog for a walk, finished painting the spare room (that's needed doing for the last three weeks now) and caught up with my boyfriend... Turns out I can be so much more productive with my day when I don't constantly have my phone glued to my hand!

As much as I found it bizzare not having my phone constantly to hand, I really enjoyed the freedom it brought & as weird as it sounds I felt like I'd accomplished something going #SocialMediaFree. I (along with my boyfriend probably) hate how much time I spend on my phone, so I'm really glad I actively completed my mission & I challenge you to do the same. If you're up for the challenege, please let me know & use the hashtag #SocialMediaFree - I'd love to see how you get on.

Lots of love. Claire.x
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Beauty | 3 Of My Favourite Face Masks.



You know that I love a good pamper sesh! I must bath around four times a week (maybe even five if I'm feeling sorry for myself) and on half of those occasions, if not more, I use a face mask. I love a bit of me time & my perfect night in consists of relaxing in an indulging bath with a couple of candles and a glass of wine. Today I'm going to be showing you a few of my favorite face masks that I like to use on my many pamper nights.

A newie to my collection is a sample size version of the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewall Mask. I was given this by my sister, who was given it by my mum (talk about hand me down) and I'm so glad it made its' way into my hands. I've heard amazing things about Ren products, but I'm very much a drugstore gal & admittedly do get quite cautious about spending money on higher end products, but with this one I'll definitely be going back. The citrus smelling mask removes dead skin cells revealing a brighter, healthier complexion that's instantly visible. If you're looking for a quick fix then this one is amazing! 

A product I'm forever banging on about is the Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask from The Body Shop. I love everything about it! The bouncy textured mask contains Edelweiss stem cells & babassu oil and is designed to be worn overnight to let the product work its' magic. The sleeping mask feels so moisturising and nourishing to the skin, but what's amazing is when you remove the mask the following morning... I use a microfibre cloth and hot water to remove the product leaving me with a massively radiant glowing complexion!! My skin always looks it's healthiest when I use this beauty!

Another fave from The Body Shop is their Honey & Oat 3 In 1 Scrub Mask. I try & use this a couple of times a week, because as well as nourishing the skin, this one gently exfoliates too. Even though it has oaty chunks to it, the product is gorgeously smooth and feels super duper nourishing, not to mention it smells amazing. This one is the perfect face mask for a selfie too! Even if it does look like you've covered yourself in porridge!

Have you got any face masks you'd recommend? I'd like to explore charcoal and clay masks a bit more, so if you've tried any that you love, I'd love to know.

Thank you for reading.  
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