A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

Beauty | New Cid Cosmetics First Impressions.

Well isn't this packaging a bloggers dream!? Super crisp white angled packaging mixed with reflective silver accents... If only all beauty packaging could be so beautiful!.. My Instagram would be insane!

If you caught my last couple of blog posts you'll know that I recently attended a press dinner held by Salon Success at Malmaison in Leeds. At the dinner Kim & Amy ever so kindly showed us some new releases from hair care supremacist Paul Mitchell as well as products from the award winning cosmetics brand New Cid Cosmetics. After the event had finished, and we all had full tums from the most delicious three course meal, all us bloggers were handed two goodie bags, one of which was filled with all these amazing New Cid Cosmetics products.

I-Pout (shades ruby red & dusk).*
If these aren't the lipsticks of choice than I don't know what is? What instantly appeals to me about these lip products, is their genius packaging, which consists of a long length reflective mirror on the lid and an LED light at the base of the bullet. For me these lipsticks are amazing all rounders, the shades are perfect for daytime use, however the creative packaging means you can take these beauties on a night out & they'd see you right through the night... Even if your heels don't! I have the shades ruby red which is a bright pink toned red and dusk which is a nude peach colour. I'm actually hoping to give these away in a little blog giveaway seen as though I reached 1000 twitter followers this week, so watch this space, because they'd make amazing additions to your lipstick collection.

I-Gloss (shade blondie).*
I already have two of these in my collection & I actually mentioned the shade 'coral candy' in a recent blog post where I discussed my favourite lip glosses... So I know this is going to be a goodie! The gloss applies with a little paintbrush style applicator meaning it's super duper easy to apply and also comes with the New Cid Cosmetics LED light & reflective mirror. The shade blondie is a light rose toned pink with a reflective brighter pink shimmer, which looks so so pretty. I use my I-Glosses mainly over other lipsticks and lip liners however they work perfectly well on their own for a less put together, more natural makeup look.

I-Prime Foundation Primer.*
I very rarely use primers. Bad blogger I know! I understand they prolong the effect of your makeup, but for me, especially when I'm getting ready for work first thing on a morning, it's a stage that I quite frankly can't be arsed to go through. I've not tried this primer before, but I have sampled it at previous events, it's lightweight, smoothing & I think it's going to work brilliantly well. I love the packaging with this primer, it contained in a tube with a clear strip where you can see how much of the product has been used and has a silver pump style dispenser.

I-Glow Compct Shimmer (shade sirocco).*
Doesn't this blush look like the dreamiest thing ever, On a first impressions basis, I love absolutely everything about this product, I almost don't want to use it as I don't want to ruin the products appearance. The brown toned blush contains reflective pigments meaning it's going to be absolutely perfect for this time of year & all being well, I'm pretty sure this is going to be my holiday blush.

I-Groom Eyebrow Pencil (shade neutral).*
The I-Groom was my very first brow pencil I bought, way back when I was a teen. I'd gone to get my brows waxed and threaded and was recommend the product by the salon owner & by golly was she right. The I-Groom has an angled wax pencil which is shaped perfectly to define the arches of the brows as well as a spoolie on the other side to groom any stray hairs. When I first purchased this product there was only one shade, however as times have changed & as brows have seemingly taken over the world, New Cid Cosmetics now have three shades, light, neural & dark. I'm pretty sure I'd be better off with the darker shade, but I'm going to see how things go, the neutral colour looks quite dark and ashy toned, so it might surprise me!

I-Smoulder Smokey Eye Pencil and Shadow (shade ember).*
I love the look of this two in one product!.. We all love a multi functional product don't we gals! One side is a twist up shimmery brown eyeliner and the other is a little pot of shimmery taupe eye shadow with a sponge applicator. Even though I don't wear a massive amount of eyeshadow, I'm really excited to use the I-Smoulder purely because it's like nothing else I've tried before... And the shade is completely up my street!

Again a massive thank you to Amy & Kim who invited me to the Salon Success dinner and thank you for kindly gifting me with these amazing products, I can't wait to try them!

Have you tried any of these New Cid Cosmetics products before? I'd love to hear what you think.


Event | Salon Success at Malmaison Leeds, UK

A month or so ago I had a very prestigious looking 'save the date' email land in my inbox inviting me to the Salon Success press dinner, that's right, little old me being invited to a press dinner! And let me tell you, I was sure excited! 

I'd never have thought, when I started my blog 2 years ago that I'd be getting invites to lah-di-dah dinners like this - Not a chance! God knows, I barely knew what a blog was when I started writing xclaireabella.com let alone knowing I'd get invites to press dinners & product launches like this. It's times like this when I realise that running a blog has been one of the best decisions I've ever made & I'm so so grateful for the opportunities it brings. I love this little slice of internet! Anywho, lets get back to the night, rather than listen to me being all mushy...

Salon success are 'the distributor of choice' when it comes to the professional beauty and hair care market. They offer support to their salon partners by providing further education & by helping them grow stronger. The company works closely with their salon partners to offer luxurious brands such as Paul Mitchell and New CID Cosmetics, both of which we got to preview during the press dinner.

Amy & Kim from salon success held the dinner at the Leeds Malmaison in the private 'Ticket Office' dining room, a stunningly decorated quaint, cosy room. I was immediately impressed upon entering the space, purely down to the amount of work the girls had put in to transform the space. The table was laid immaculately with a whole array of Paul Mitchell products surrounding our place mats and wine glasses (yaaas wine), There was also a white gift bag sat on our seats embellished with the New Cid Cosmetics logo, along with our very own personalised thank you letter, which was an amazing touch & one I'm sure all of us bloggers very much appreciated.

We were treated to an amazing three course meal which consisted of a creamy mozzarella starter, followed by the most delicious tender piece of lamb which was served with a mint and basil pesto, miniature roast potatoes and steamed greens. And as if I wasn't full already I then had, not one, not two, but three desserts popped down in front of me. All of which were amazing - I'm definitely a dessert type of gal!

I'm going to go more in depth about the products we were shown at the Salon Success at a later date, purely because there's just so many of them & I'm not here to bore the socks off you... I hope I'm not boring the socks off you anyway!

Thank you so so  much to Amy & Kim for inviting me down to the wonderful Malmaison, I had an amazing time and I can't wait to start trying out my new goodies.

Lots of love. Claire.x

Beauty | NYX Butter Glosses

I found the NYX counter in the Birstall Boots store on a complete whim! I'd gone in for a bit of a boring shop, to b fair - Shampoo, deodorant, tampons, that sort of shop (Zzzz!) and spotted the super sleek black display counter out of the corner of my eye & I darted over as if my life depended on it.

After an in depth browse of what was available, I plunged for a couple of Butter Glosses, in the shades Eclair which is a 90's pink and Ginger Snap, a deep rich brown.

The Butter Glosses, as the name suggests have a rich, luxury, velvet formula which apply with one quick swish of the fluffy applicator. The glosses have a very sheer consistency so it's recommended to wear these over a lipstick or lip liner unless you prefer a more subtle, transparent look. If the Butter Glosses are worn without a liner or lipstick the colour that's transferred onto the lips, doesn't look half as bright as that in the tube, it's a much more subtle look. I've worn the shades a couple of times on their own, but the majority of times I've layered them over a lip liner as I prefer the appearance of a bolder lip. Admittedly the Butter Glosses apply with a slight stickiness to them however this quickly disappears as the product dries leaving a beautiful glossy sheen. It's a look that makes a change from my usual matte lip look, but one I love & it'll be perfect for Spring/Summer. Something that sticks out to me however with these products however, is the scent! If you've never smelt these before, then I really strongly urge you to do so! The products have a gorgeously sweet strawberry infused candyfloss scent to them, which makes applying & wearing them that bit more enjoyable.

I currently only have two of the shades in the collection & I'll definitely be going back for more, as well as sampling more NYX products, because from what I've tried so far, I'm in love!

What NYX products should I be trying? Have you got any favourites?

Lots of love | Claire.x

Beauty | Perfect Pastel Polishes From Tanya Burr Cosmetics.

As the new month came around I watched my Youtube subscription box flood with April favourites videos, however one that really stuck out for me (as you can probably tell by the title of this post) is that from Tanya Burr. I love watching favourites videos, in fact, along with hauls they're probably my favourite videos to watch, A, because I'm nosey as hell & B, because I'm a lazy shopper & need the inspiration.

In the video Tanya was wearing one of her nail polishes in the shade 'Frosting Cupcakes' which is a becautiful really really pale pastel pink. I loved the look of the colour on Tanyas' nails as & I thought it'd work perfectly with my engagement party outfit as the skirt I wore was a pale pearlescent pink. Tanya also claimed that she had had the polish on for a week and only had 3 chips, which as far as nail polishes go is pretty impressive right? After watching the video I did as any impulse buyer would do & took the long way to work, detouring past my local Superdrug.

I spent more than I would have done (shock) as I saw the nail polishes were on a 3 for 2 offer so I actually walked away with Frosting Cupcakes, a pale pastel pink, Duvet Day, a pale pastel grey and Fairy Godmother, a pale pastel blue.

Since buying the polishes I've worn Frosting Cupcakes & Duvet Day & even though I wouldn't go as far as Tanya has complimenting the products, I do quite like them. The packaging is totally up my street, I love the rectangular glass bottle and the hidden ribbed brush under the shiny gold lid. The brush is really easy to control and the product applied like a dream. With the shades being quite pale I assumed I'd need two coats of the product if not more - I only needed two coats, which gave my nails a super opaque look. Finding a pastel shade that applies with only two coats is pretty much a big deal, so I applaud Tanya on her products formula - There's nothing worse than having to apply three or even four coats of nail polish - Aint no girl got time for that! What I did find however is that the polish chips quite easily & doesn't cope well in water - Basially if you're wearing these nail polishes get your boyfriend/mum/dad/whoever to do the washing up for you.

The only thing I can complain about with these polishes is the longevity, but everything else I absolutely adore. Maybe it's because I'm constantly using my hands that the polish didn't stick, but like I said, everything else I love, most importantly the colour! I'm digging pastel nails at the moment and I'll definitely be on the lookout for more as we get further into Summer.

Have you tried any of Tanyas' nail polishes before? What's your favourite nail polish brand?

Thank you for reading as always! Claire.x

Frosting Cupcakes
Duvet Day
Fairy Godmother

Beauty | Going Makeup Free.

Something disastrous happened this week. And by saying disastrous, I'm totally making a big deal out of nothing. But this week I got spots! Not one, not two, not even three... But four huge angry spots right in the middle of my chin & it's safe to say I wasn't best pleased.

People get spots. I get it. It's not a massive deal, but for someone who has been ridiculously lucky with her skin, to wake up with four angry red monsters on my face, I was a little shocked, to say the least!

I knew a little bit about face mapping (look into it if you don't know anything about it, it's quite interesting) & if I'm honest I'm still not 100% convinced that it's right but from looking into it, I deemed it to be my hormones & poor diet that was causing my breakouts. At the time of gaining what felt like mount Vesuvius (I'm exaggerating again ofc) on my chin I actually had a week off work, so I thought what better time to go completely makeup free & enjoy a bit of time going back to basics with my skincare regime.

Going out without makeup doesn't scare me, in fact I love it - I love the feeling of what going out without a scrap of makeup on, does to my skin. It always makes me feel super duper healthy and my skin feels much more plumped and nourished. I think being out in the sunshine helped massively decrease my breakouts too, there's something about being outside enjoying the sun which takes all your cares away... And being less stressed about your spots definitely helps get rid of them.
I've been wanting to increase my daily water intake for a little while now too, however previous to this experience I've found it really difficult to get into the habit. I think though because of how warm it's been, I've been much more inclined to drink water & I've quite happily got through three or four glasses a day, which has not only affected my skin, it's boosted my energy levels.
Finally I downsized with my skincare routine! Because I wasn't wearing makeup, I didn't feel the need to go through my usual rigorous routine & sometimes I think putting so many products on your face doesn't always help the problem. I've totally gone back to basics & literally the only things I've been putting on my face is a cleanser, exfoliator & moisturiser. In fact, after experimenting with my skincare routine, it's probably one that I'm going to stick with. Short & sweet as they say!

After five days of sticking to my no makeup, drinking lots of water & downsizing my skincare regime my skin looks so much better. I still have two spots on my chiny chin chin, but they are no where near as angry as they were at the beginning of the week & I can 100% see the difference in my skin already.

How do you deal with breakouts? I'm a bit of a skincare noob when it comes to tackling breakouts so any advice would be massively appreciated.

Thank you so much for reading. Claire.x

Lifestyle | My first experience hosting the #BDIB twitter chat.

Who'd have thought it? Little old me, hosting a twitter chat, rounding up a gang of bloggers to discuss something we're all so passionate about. 

Last Friday I hosted my first #BDIB chat where I lead the discussion, asking if we were addicted to our smart phones. The topic went down amazingly well and definitely got us all talking (and confessing) and getting to know each other. It's a fantastic feeling knowing that I was the person maintaining the conversation and getting all us bloggers together to discuss different points of view. I had a fab/busy night and am looking forward to hosting many more #BDIB chats but with todays' blog post I wanted to talk you through some tips & how I got to host my first twitter chat.

1. Network.
I've always enjoyed the networking side of blogging ever since I started way back in 2014, I love conversing with like minded people as well as attending events and maintaining relationships with pr companies. Something I thought I was missing however was hosting a twitter chat - I love taking part in them and getting to know other bloggers, but leading the chat was definitely where I wanted to be. I'd thought of making my own twitter chat, but in this day & age there are so many it'd be so difficult to branch out and make mine different to the rest. This is when I branched out to #BDIB

2. Show Passion.
I'd gotten in touch with the #BDIB chats' founder Gemma (@touchofbelle) via email, expressing my passion for joining the #BDIB team. I'm very much a believer in 'if you don't ask, you don't get' so there I was outright asking politely and passionately to jump on board... And to my surprise, I received an amazing reply back saying yes and asking when I could host. My inner organisation Queen loves Gemmas' format for planning the chats, everything is planned very much in advance and I love knowing what I'm doing & exactly when I'm doing it.

3. Brainstorm.
So you've got a twitter chat, but you've got nothing to talk about? This is where brain storming (or mind mapping whatever you want to call it) comes to play its' part. I wanted to think of discussions that weren't totally typical and weren't topics where bloggers would reel and say 'not this again'. I think there's quite a bit of pressure on a host to think up an amazing topic as well as questions to keep everybody entertained - It's definitely something I didn't want to take with a pinch of salt!

4. Be Prepared.  
It's the morning of the chat and I'm counting down the hours to hosting.,, Basically wishing the day away, which is something I never do! Never in a million years did I think I could have kept up with all the tweets and notifications so I decided to schedule my questions in advance. I'm so so glad I did, because I would have had no chance in keeping up! I scheduled a question as well as my answer withing five minute intervals, which I found worked really well and definitely kept the conversation flowing.

5. Enjoy It!
Probably the most important fact to remember. I didn't feel stressed at all during my stint as a twitter chat host, however I can imagine how some people may feel that way & under pressure. To me it was more of an excitement, that feeling of butterflies half an hour before the chat was due to begin, yeah that was me! I'm a bit of a geek, if you didn't know. You have to be quite quick on your toes in order to keep up with all the notifications and hashtags, but this was something I completely reveled in. I loved it!!

I have future #BDIB chats planned in for 23rd & 27th May as well as 12th August (plug plug plug) and would absolutely love it if you joined me.

Have you hosted a twitter chat before? Have you got any awesome out of the box topics to discuss?

Lots of love. Claire.x

Beauty | Revlon Lip Products.

I wouldn't say my makeup collection is the biggest in the world, however it is ever so slightly larger than the average... Something that excites me greatly! Looking through my stash it's my lipstick collection that makes up the (very) vast majority of my makeup collection... You guys know I'm a lip product hoarder and a brand I seem to love more than others is Revlon.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick (Shade 750 Kiss Me Coral & 383 Rich Raisin Frost)
Possibly my favourite lipstick of all time! I really need to get myself more shades, but I absolutely adore these lipsticks. The formula works amazingly well, they're so creamy and feel really nourishing & non drying to the lips. The colour is really buildable which I think is amazing with the two bold shades that I have. Kiss Me Coral is a really bright punchy coral shade which I'm looking forward to wearing as the weather gets a bit warmer as for me, it's the perfect Summer shade. Completely contrasting from that is Rich Raisin Frost, which is a deep brown toned red, a shade I've been trying to get into recently.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm (Shade Sultry & Standout)
The formula of the matte balms are one of the creamiest I've used, they're super duper nourishing & feel lovely on the lips upon application. The chubby stick style product applies really easily which surprised me originally as the nib is really quite quite chunky, but I needn't have worried as the product applies amazingly well with one quick swish. Sultry is a deep rosy toned lip colour whereas standout is more red, both of which are beautiful colours and shades I get a lot of wear out of.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour (Shade Devotion)
This beautiful specimen of a liquid lipstick is the newest lip product to my collection & let me tell you, I already know that I need all the shades in the range. The formula is really light for a liquid lipstick & applies really evenly. What stands out most for me with this range however is the scent! Oh my goodness, if you love strawberry laces (and who doesn't) you'll absolutely adore these, Devotion is a really wearable shade & one I'll probably end up repurchasing

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter (Shade 025 Peach Parfait)
I only have one of these babies left, which is really annoying as my flipping dog ate the other ones I had. Damn you cute puppy! As the name suggests the lip butters are more of a balm like buttery product, with a sheen of colour rather than flat colour, so this shade is going to be perfect for Summer & more natural makeup looks. The shade has a slight shimmer to it as well which is always a bonus when you're looking for the perfect Summer shade.

I really want to pick up some new shades as we aproach Summer, especially in the HD Matte & Lustrous Lipstick ranges because they're such beautiful products, but mainly because I feel like I'm missing more beachy bright shades in my collection. So watch this space!

Revlon is the brand I always go to first when looking for new lip products but do you have one brand of lip products that outweigh the rest for you?

Thank you so much for reading. Claire.x

Lifestyle | How I Bought A House at 24.

I haven't really spoken too much about it on the blog, but I'm incredibly proud of being a home owner & the fact I had  mortgage at 24, I think is pretty amazing, especially in this day & age! We've lived in our home almost a year now & I wanted to talk to you guys about how we did it, and any hints & tips we can pass on.

1. Money.
The big one! Even though you can get away with a 5% deposit, we wanted to save at least 10% of the house prices we were starting to look at. That way our monthly repayments would be slightly less and it would also be a bigger chunk taken off of our house price. It's also worth taking into consideration solicitor fees... Because you don't want them to bite you on the bum! As we were first time buyers, we also paid for a mortgage adviser who basically helped us with everything & it's something I'd 100% recommend doing if you're a first time buyer too. She was amazing, especially with regards to contracts & all the technical jargon that comes with it, sometimes you need somebody to dumb things down & tell you exactly how it is.

2. Finding THE house.
Whether it's the first house you see or the fiftieth, I think when you know, you know! Ours was actually only the second house we visited but as soon as pulling into the estate and then onto the driveway, I just knew! I remember saying to Dan before we'd even got into the house that I had an amazing feeling about it & that the house was very 'us'. I found it so easy to visualise us living our life in there and how we could improve the house to not only enhance its' value, but to make it even more suitable for us & to our taste.

3. Never offer the asking price.
Come on... This one's a given. We offered a ridiculous £12k under the asking price for our house, which we knew would never get accepted, but it certainly showed that we were interested. This was of course rejected and we offered another two prices for it to get accepted... Still £5k under the asking price, which doesn't seem like a massive amount in the grand scheme of things, but it made a huge difference with our deposit & monthly repayments.

4. Be prepared for it to take a while.
So you've found the house, next comes the waiting. We were advised that since having our offer accepted it would take between 6-8 weeks for us to receive the keys. For us it took a little bit longer, which at the time was the most annoying thing in the world. But now we're moved in and settled I realise that we were making a huge deal out of nothing. It takes as long as it needs and when you're set up with a mortgage for 25 years an extra month or so before moving in is nothing.

5. Don't stress.
I know it's really difficult not to stress while buying a house, it's probably the most expensive thing you're ever going to buy, so I totally get it. But please if you're feeling the pressure, take a step back, have a brew & look at things again with a fresh pair of eyes. We had a pretty stressless move, and I really think that's down to buying a house with the right person, at the right time. Granted we did come across a few hiccups along the way with timescales and moving out of our rented house, but overall everything went really smoothly.

Are you a home owner? Did you find the buying process stressful at all? What tips have you got to de-stress?

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