A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

Event | Neals Yard Remedies #NYRLeeds Leeds, UK.

Earlier on in the week I had the exciting opportunity to attend a blogger event at the Neal's Yard Remedies in the beautifully prestigious Victoria Quarter. It's not very often I pop along to Victoria Quarter as quite frankly, my bank balance would hate me if i did, so it was lovely to receive the invite & indulge in a little bit of luxury at Neal's Yard Remedies.

I'd heard of the brand & have always admired their iconic packaging, however unfortunately that's as far as my knowledge towards NYR went. NYR began its' life in Covent Garden in London, bringing a holistic approach to health and beauty & as a company they are hugely passionate about using natural ingredients throughout their products. I believe natural makeup & skincare is on the up however again it's not something I know a great deal about, so I was really excited to explore the concept some more.

Upon entering the store I was given a super warm welcome by Sunayah who offered the most delicious Vegan treats from Feel Good Union including a platter of absolutely ahhmaazing brownies! After general chit chat Sunayah then questioned my skin type, any issues I was having and what skincare products I was currently using. She instantly recommended the multitasking Wild Rose Beauty Balm, which claims to have ten uses for combating tired & dull looking skin. I have quite normal to dry skin so for me the rose scented balm would be perfect to add moisture and nourishment back into the skin. Knowing that it would work just as well as a lip balm or face mask is a bonus!

I was drawn to the hair care products from NYR in particular and even picked up the Rosemary & Cederwood Hair Treatment as a little treat to myself. Because I've been really well behaved recently!! I have countless cosmetics and skincare products, but hair care is a department I feel I'm lacking in. The deep conditioning product claims to help restore body & shine to the hair & I've got high hopes after hearing it's one of the most popular NYR products. Since having my hair chopped I said to myself that I was going to take much better care of my locks, so hopefully this product will come up trumps! Expect a blog post with my thoughts soon!

Because NYR isn't a brand I had previously explored, I wanted to make sure I had a good look at everything in store. God knows what I must have looked like, picking up each individual bottle, thoroughly examining its' ingredients and its' remedies. I must have been in there carefully inspecting the products for close to an hour. Sounds daft doesn't it now, seeing as though I only came out of there with a hair treatment, but there were a few other bits & bobs I wish I had my eye on. The aromatherapy candles looked amazing, however were a little on the pricey side considering they we're products that I didn't really need... I needed the hair treatment okay?! Don't judge me! The million and one aromatherapy oils looked fabulous too, they'd be perfect to de-stress and unwind during a pamper night & because there were so many, you're sure to find a scent that's perfect for you! My favourite had to be the lemongrass organic essential oil, as I love anything citrus & sickly sweet.

I have to say a massive thank you to Sunayah for inviting me to the event - I had a fabulous time & enjoyed spending time in a store I wouldn't usually venture into. Have any of you guys tried any Neals Yard Remedies products before? I'd love to try some more of their products.

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

Beauty | Primark Lip Liners.

You guys must know by now that I'm a massive fan of lip products. I have more lipsticks, balms & pencils than I care to admit but I still keep going back for more. I don't know what it is, I just love them & I always tell myself that there are for worse things in the world that I could be addicted to! There's justification right there for you!

I'd picked these two lip liners up on a whim whilst waiting in the queue in Primark, they were just sat there staring all puppy dog eyes at me & with their £1 price tag I couldn't resist! The two shades I picked up were 'Brown' & 'Dark Pink' - Two very originally named shades right? That did make me chuckle. Brands must spend ages thinking up imaginative shade names for their products, but not Primark. No siree, straight to the point!
The formula is not a £1 price tag formula. Oh my goodness, they're so waxy, creamy and soft, they feel like a complete dream to apply. The liners go on really easily and last fantastically well. I had to reapply after eating and drinking, however I can totally look past that as they feel so super nourishing. I've worn both shades on various occasions & have had some amazing compliments from friends who have always been really surprised when I told them they're from Primark. I only picked up two just in case the products weren't quite to my taste, but after trying thesr two I'm definitely going to go back for more. 

Have you tried any of Primarks' cosmetics range before? If you have I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much for reading. Lots of love. Claire.x

Fashion | Longline Camel Coat & Converse

Todays' outfit is one that shouldn't really have happened. I had all intentions of a smart & sophisticated outfit, until I saw my Converse sitting next to the pair of cream brogues I originally had planned on wearing. When I'd noticed my trusty six year old sneaks, todays' outfit flashed before my very eyes.

They may be tatty & looking a little worse for wear, but there's no denying the comfyness and the practicality of a pair of Converse. I've had mine for about six years now and they're still going (relatively) strong! I usually dress them down, but I love how the casual footwear choice looks with the more put together longline coat. It's safe to say that I was feeling like a right trendy wendy (clearly I've turned into my 76 year old grandma) but you know what I mean. I love it when an outfit just works, and for me this one does - Opposites definitely attract!!
Yet again I'm favouring my bargain H&M skinnies. I barely have them off my legs to be fair & at £7.99 a pair, I've more than got my moneys worth. If you're looking for a cheap pair of skinnies, or you're not used to wearing that particular cut of jean, definitely try H&M. They're beautiful quality & for the price, you literally can't go wrong. Covering a super cosy beige bobble sweater is the ridiculously oversized tartan scarf. I picked this up in Zara and after wearing it a handful of times I knew I would never look elsewhere for cosy winter wear. This scarf is honestly the cosiest thing ever, it's amazing!!

What do you think of todays' outfit? It's a little bit different for me, but I'm really enjoying a more casual look, especially at this time of year when all I want to do is wrap up warm!!

Hoping you've all had an amazing weekend! Claire.x

Coat - Missguided
Sweater - Matalan
Jeans - H&M
Converse - Shuh
Scarf - Zara
Hat - Topshop
Bag - Primark

Lifestyle | 5 Ways To Combat Being Ill.

It's no secret, that I am the absolute worst person at being poorly. I don't handle it well & basically look for sympathy from everybody and their nanas. I don't get ill very often but when I do get sick, I get really flipping porly. Unfortunately I had to take a few days off work last week, which is very unlike me as I hate admitting defeat to illness.

During my days off, in order to rest and recuperate I planned my days with precision in order to kick that colds butt! Here are my five ways to combat being poorly.

1. Use appropriate medication.
Stupidly I always leave taking any medication until last minute. I don't know why, I always have done & I probably always will do, I really don't like admitting that I'm poorly, but times like this I have to cut my losses & admit defeat. I can't bring myself to take tablets so I make sure my cupboards are fully stocked with medicines, cough sweets and vapour rubs. Those and chocolate... Chocolate counts as medication right?
2. Take a relaxing bath.
Or two! While I was sick I found myself having a bath on the morning as well as on an evening before bed. Granted, it'll do nothing for my water bills, but a good hot bath will always leave you feeling cleansed and refreshed. The steam opens the sinuses and gives a little bit of respite... Lush bath bombs are optional but preferred!
3. Do not get out of your pyjamas.
Whatever you do, do not get out of your pyjamas! That's an order! I couldn't think of anything worse than squirming my way into tight jeans and tshirts while I was poorly. I just want to be a slob in my pyjamas eating chocolate & feeling sorry for myself all day long!
4. Occupy yourself.
While I was poorly I immersed myself in boxsets & trashy tv. I watched The Inbetweeners boxset for about the millionth time and began the new half series of Pretty Little Liars - Which is amazing! I'm hooked already! I've also got myself back into playing The Sims, which as being a 25 year old woman, I'm not sure if it's something I should be admitting to. But what the heck! I speak the truth here on xclaireabella.
5. Puppy cuddles.
I don't mean to brag... But my puppy is literally the cutest thing ever. If you follow me on snapchat (xclaireabella) you'll have seen countless photos of her in all her glory. With her being quite young still, she's always snoozing, so we cuddled up on the sofa pretty much all day while I was poorly. I'm convinced it quickened the healing process.

What do you think to me introducing more lifestlye based posts on xclaireabella? It's something I'm wanting to d more of during 2016 as I believe it conveys my personality more & I want xclaireabella to be a friendly, chatty place for us to catch up.

Thank you for reading! Claire.x

Beauty | Combatting Weathered Hands With The Body Shop's Almond Hand & Nail Cream.

I'm not sure if its the harsh weather we've had, or whether I'm  just really not blessed in the hands department, but my hands are really suffering at the moment! And after having the sudden realisation that I had the hands of a pensioner, I knew I had to do something about them. Because of my poor little granny hands I thought I'd try a couple of products from The Body Shop - Together the almond oil hand & nail cream and the thirsty hands moisture gloves were surely destined to combat my weathered hands. 

I've used a few of The Body Shops' hand creams before which have always been beaut, however I haven't actually tried anything from the almond oil range, so I was really looking forward to giving this product a go. I don't really know what I was expecting almond oil to smell like, but when I gave it a whiff (because that's the first thing we all do, right?) I wasn't particularly blown away. It's pleasantly subtle with a slightly nutty aroma & perfect for those who don't like overly scented products. The lightly formulated almond hand & nail cream moisturises into the hands perfectly and it's sure to say that a  little goes a long way. I have the 100ml size & I'm sure it's going to last me ages! Weirdly I'm not sure what it is in the formula, but once it's applied, the cream feels exactly like a primer, the hands are left feeling matte, smoothed & protected! After using the product pretty much constantly for the last week or so, I've noticed how healthy looking & glowing my hands have become, which is  complete bonus for me right now. I've used the hand cream with the thirsty hands moisture gloves a couple of times overnight, but being honest I'm not overly sold on them. I totally understand how they protect your hands & I guess I could get used to them, but wearing gloves to bed just isn't for me.
I've enjoyed using the two products & will definitely carry on with the almond hand & nail creamI've also decided that I'm going to I'm going to start getting my nails done again. Woop! Kellie at Big Fashionista recommended Allertons in Leeds so I'll be making sure I get myself booked in to restart my shellac addiction. I'm fancying something nudey with a whole load of glitter!

Do you know of any other products that can combat my pensioner hands? I love trying different hand creams, but I'd love to try other products.

Thank you for reading. Claire.x

Lifestyle | 5 Things I Want To Achieve In 2016

I'm not massive on the whole 'new year, new me' kinda thing that's been circling the blogs over the last couple of weeks, however what I am keen on is setting goals! Having something to aim for and being able to track progress really appeals to me, so here are five things I am wanting to achieve this year.

1. Save money.
After buying a house last year my money situation has been a little lacking, so this year I'm wanting to build my saving account back up. I have set up a direct debit for £15 from my current account to go into a savings account each week. Obviously over seven days £15 isn't a massive amount of money, but over the year I will have saved £780 which I think is pretty good considering I won't notice the money moving. I can't wait to see my money building up, and who knows, I might start adding even more!
2. Go on holiday.
We didn't actually go on holiday last year, which (without sounding snobby) I really missed. There's a couple of places I'd love to tick off my list this year, with Berlin & Barcelona being at the forefront. If you've been I'd love any tips or blog posts about the cities. We've done a little bit of research so far & think we can get both holidays pretty cheaply so hopefully my point of saving money wont be disturbed.
3. Do more interior design.
Along with working in a jewellers I also do freelance Interior design work. This year I would love to extend my clientele and put together a portfolio to be proud of. I have the degree, but I'm still unsure as to whether I'd want to become a full time Interior Designer. I'm enjoying what I'm doing at the moment & want to continue doing so.
4.Create more lifestyle based blog posts.
I'd love to get more of my personality through in my blog with lifestyle, food and travel posts. I love the idea of having my own hashtag (#xclaireabellatravels) Don't ask me why, I think it just looks cool! And I want to be cool! Waaah! At the moment I'm struggling to think up ideas for lifestyle based blog posts, but I'm sure that'll change and improve as the year goes by. 
5. Do more stuff.
I'd mentioned a few blog posts ago that I wanted to become more productive with my time and part of this includes wanting to do things that scare me & that I wouldn't necessarily do. I'd like to perfect a sport, go camping, speak in front of a large group of people. I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I'm going to give it a bloody good go!

Funnily enough, this lifestyle based post is actually one of the easiest things I've written so long may the lifestyle posts continue. Have you guys got any personal goals you'd love to achieve this year? 

Thank you for reading. Claire.x

Beauty | Lush Luxury Bath Oils.

During December I had the amazing opportunity of attending the Lush Leeds Spa event - Obviously the spa was the main attraction, but something else that caught my eye were the Lush Luxury Bath Oils.

I've only actually used one bath oil before in a Birchbox I'd received a little while ago, so when I saw these I was really excited to try them. There's something a little more luxurious using an oil rather than a bubble bar or bath bomb. I can't quite put my finger on it, but to me bath oils just scream luxury  sophistication.

My favourite smelling oil has got to be the green coloured You've Been Mangoed which is packed full of tropically scented mango butter, avocado and lemongrass. The product is the most oily of the three and contains shea butter which feels really gentle & moisturising to the skin. The only downfall with You've Been Mangoed is that the oil clings to the bath leaving a bright green, and pretty unattractive ring, which can be a bit of a bitch to clean. Saying that, I have been three times now to repurchase this little beaut, so the cleaning process can't have been that bad.
Razzle Dazzle is the most moisturising of the three bath oils I picked up. The glittery bath oil turns your bath water the most fantastic hot pink shade whilst soothing your body with amazing shea & cocoa butters. Even though Razzle Dazzle is predominantly butter based, the scent that comes off the product is really fresh and fruity. It's quite a bizarre mix, however I really like the product & think it works exceedingly well at nourishing my skin.
My third and final bath oil, hiding at the back of the photos is Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment which smells absolutely divine! Scent wise, the product has real similarities to Snow Fairy, it's sweet and candy cane scented however isn't quite as strong as the Christmas classic. Weirdly this bath oil isn't particularly oily, don't get me wrong you can feel it once you're in the bath, but you can't see the blobs of oil in the bath, which you can with the other two. If you like the Lush massage bars then you'll love this, as the product leaves the skin feeling extremely silky, nourished and relaxed.

Have you tried any of the Lush Luxury Bath Oils before? I've been really impressed so far, so would love to try the whole collection.

Thank you for reading. Claire.x

Beauty | Mac Mocha Lipstick.

 A lipstick for true coffee lovers!! After sampling a few brown toned lipsticks over the festive season, I just so happened to fall into my local Mac store, picking up this satin lippie along the way... Well there's worse things that could happen, right? All jokes aside, I'd wanted to treat myself after working every hour under the sun over Christmas time, and I thought what better way than with a new Mac lipstick! Woop!

I've only just had my eyes opened really to brown toned lipsticks - I don't know why it's taken me 25 years to try them - Maybe I was a scaredypants, who knows, but i've found them and I bloody love them, there's no looking back for me now! Mocha seemed like the perfect shade for me to go for as it's predominantly brown toned, however it also has a slight hint of a peachy pink to it meaning it's a really wearable shade. I'm quite pale (wahh) and I think it suits my skin tone well, however I think this would look just as lovely on olive or darker skin, it's such a versatile shade.
As with all Mac lipsticks, this satin finish is a force to be reckoned with. The product is creamy & feels nourishing on the lips, and not in any way drying. Sometimes with more matte finished lip products they can be difficult and harsh to apply, but this one goes on with one quick swish. The pigmentation on Mocha is amazing, you get a really decent colour coverage with one swipe of the product. It is however buildable, if you're going for a more dramatic night time look. It's no secret that Mac lipsticks have an incredible staying power & this one is no exception, facing dinner & drinks with absolutely no problem whatsoever! I can't think of a bad word to say about this product! It's going to get some serious wear out of me this year.

I'm loving brown toned lipsticks at the moment & really want to extend my collection, so if you have any faves I'd love to hear them. Pop your answers in the comments below & I'll be sure to check them out.... Now, who's for coffee?

Thanks for reading. Claire.x