A Yorkshire based lifestyle & parenting blog written by Claire Chircop.

Food | Desserts At Kaspas Leeds

I make no secrets about it... I'm a huge dessert fan. I'm one of those gals that when we go out for tea I check the pudding menu before the main course. It's the way I've always been & the way I always be. And that's quite okay with me.

There seems to be new restaurants opening in Leeds every other day at the moment, but one that stuck out for me (for obvious reasons) is Kaspas - The Gelato & Dessert house. Dan & I were recently invited to join them for an afternoon of pancakey goodness and it's safe to say we jumped at the chance.
We've never really eaten out just for desserts before, in fact I don't think we've ever done it. We enjoy picking up a cake while we're in Starbsucks or Costa, but going out to a restaurant just for waffles seems like that little bit more extra doesn't it. We were right giddy kippers before setting off! Eeek!

We were instantly taken back by the super bright, super punchy interiors as they stand out from anything else nearby. I'm not sure it's my interior style of choice, but there's absolutely no question that it totally goes with everything Kaspas stands for.
We quickly took our seats, and were astounded by the extensive menu Kaspas has to offer! Honestly, let me tell you, whatever chocolatey concoction you want, you can get here. You will not be disappointed!
I opted for the bananaberry crepe, a light fluffy pancake topped with (not so light) chocolate sauce, strawberries and bananas. And Dan chose the M&M waffle, which is totally what you'd expect it to be... Super dense, super tasty & super colourful!
The desserts at Kaspas are all cooked fresh to order, which not only means the whole place smells amazing, but everything's mega tasty which is exactly what you're looking for in a new restaurant. Service was quick and really friendly too, which is always a massive bonus especially in this day & age when we're all so preoccupied.

Everything about our Kaspas experience was fab. I mean what's not to love, just look at that food! I don't think I could have had anymore chocolate on my crepe & like I said at the beginning, that's quite okay with me.

Have you been to Kaspas before? What's your favourite dessert?


We were provided with a gift voucher to spend at Kaspas. All opinions are 100% my own.

Beauty | My Winter Morning Skincare Routine.

The winter chill really doesn’t agree with my skin, so upping my skincare game both morning & night really helps combat the harsh weather effects. I’m usually pretty good at sticking to a routine but I find myself being a lot stricter & I’m dedicating more time to perfecting my winter skincare routine. Today I’m going to be talking through my morning skincare routine - It’s one that really works for me & I find really brightens my skin ready for the day!

I begin the day by lathering a pea sized amount of the Simple kind to skin refreshing facial wash gel upon my face. As the name suggests, the product is really refreshing & the perfect way to start the morning skincare routine. The gel is gentle on the skin and leaves the face feeling super duper fresh ready for the following products.
I exfoliate using The Body Shops’ Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator. This has been an amazing addition to my morning skincare routine as even though it does have the exfoliating beads in, the product itself is ridiculously soft & soothing which is brill for this time of year! I love using this one as it’s a cream formula so the exfoliating product is actually really moisturising at the same time as cleansing. I couldn’t rave about this enough!
Using a cotton pad I then swish a small amount of the Simple Kind to skin soothing facial toner across my full face. The toner evens out any moisture unbalance within my face & leaves the skin looking healthy & radiant.
The Moogoo full cream is designed to use on dry skin so at this time of year it’s especially useful. The moisturiser has been adapted from a product used to soften cows udders (hence the name) so if you can imagine how tough & hard wearing the product needs to be. I’m not overly sold on the creamy scent, but the product itself is amazing! It’s the most moisturising moisturiser I think I’ve ever used & it’s one that I’ll repurchase & repurchase again.
To finish my morning skincare routine, I pop a small amount of the Simple kind to eyes soothing balm, under my peepers to try eradicate any dark circles. And with this my morning skincare routine is complete!

A persons' skincare routine is very personal to them & although all five products work brilliantly well for me, it's not to say they'll work as well for everybody else. Have you tried any of these products before? What are your go to skincare products? I'd love to know, so pop your answers in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

Beauty | Five Festive Lip Favourites.

Along with Nail Polishes, Lipsticks are always a great & easy way to transport your makeup look into the festive season. The red lip is a huge biggie for me at Christmas time, paired with a golden metallic eye, I think it’s the perfect festive makeup look!

Lets start with the Iconic Rimmel 107. Part of the Kate Moss range, this matte lipstick has got to be one of my winter favourites! The deep, dark red shade applies really smoothly with next to no bleeding & lasts on the lips for a good three or four hours.
Next for more of a sheen, in the form on Tanya Burrs’ BerryPicking lip gloss. The product isn’t at all sticky & because it has a doe foot applicator, it’s ridiculously easy to apply. The berry shade has a slight glitter to it, meaning it’s absolutely perfect for the festive season.
Revlons’ colourburst matte balms have always been a firm favourite with me, but it’s the shade Standout that stands out (get it?) for me this Christmas. It’s a bold plum/red shade that’s super duper creamy to apply & lasts for a blooming long time.
The New Cid Cosmetics I-Crayon is actually a lip & cheek tint however it’s mainly my lips that I use it on. I have the shade Strawberry Soufle which gives a sheen of an orange toned red shade. The product doesn’t sit as boldly as the others so this would be a great one to try if you're new to a red lip.
Finally it’s the very first red lip colour that I ever bought, and that’s the Maybelline super stay 24 hour colour in Red Passion. I absolutely love everything about this lipstick range, I really need to write a post solely on them because they’re amazing & I think this bright bold red will see me through the festive season very well.

As you can see I’ll be wearing a red lip more or less every day this month, but what are your favourite festive shades? Do you have any standout lipstick choices?

Thanks for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

Beauty | The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Hand Cream.

I’m the first one to complain as soon as the colder weather arrives, so anything I can use to combat any dry or tired skin is always going to be a bonus for me. The Body Shops’ Wild Argan Oil Cream has been a staple product of mine over the last few weeks… Even so, that I’ve been out to repurchase a few more for stocking fillers.

The hand cream contains the goodness of Moroccan argan oil (duh) which sinks into the skin almost instantly. The formula is very rich & luxurious which I think is perfect for this time of year, when you’re needing that little bit more moisture injection to your skin. I can imagine the scent to be quite overpowering for some, but personally I absolutely love it. It’s very authentic & as bizarre as it sounds, it smells like it’s doing your skin the world of good! As with all Body Shop products, this hand cream works wonderfully & I wouldn’t be without it during the festive season. My hands are super duper smooth & nourished – The Wild Argan oil hand cream is a dream to use!

What’s your favourite Body Shop range? I can’t quite decide, but this scent has got to be up there for me.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

Event | Lush Leeds Spa. Leeds, UK.

It’s crazy to think of the amazing opportunities, this little old blog has given me! I’m a seriously lucky girl! One of the most hotly anticipated events of the festive season was that of the cult cosmetics brand, Lush! This has to be the fastest RSVP I’ve ever written – I didn’t care what my shifts were, I was going to this event! Luckily for me I’d already had the day off work… So no sickies were pulled in order to attend this event, I promise!

The event was to celebrate the reopening of the Lush Leeds Spa, which is downstairs in the city centre store for those (along with myself) who didn’t know it existed. I’ve visited the city centre store on a handful of occasions and for the life of me, have never noticed the huge sign saying ‘Spa downstairs’ – Doh! There are four treatment rooms downstairs, each specifically designed to suit four beautifully indulgent spa treatments. The first treatment room is Beatles based & very aptly named ‘A Hard Days Night’ which consists of a 75 minute massage of gentle & passive stretches aimed to elevate the body & mind, whilst listening to an album of the four pieces, classics. The second room contains the ‘Sound Bath’ session, a really unusual sensory spa treatment aimed at stimulating circulation and becoming more in tune with yourself. In the session, tuning forks are struck & then placed at the temples & then over the ears which reveal the most bizarrely intense whirring noise. Almost like a higher pitched electricity buzz, it’s a really difficult sound to describe, but it feels amazing, so if you’re after a treat, but something a bit different I’d highly recommend this one at £70. The third room was a double treatment room where you could indulge in treatments such as ‘The Comforter’ a super luxurious chocolatey treatment. Lush were clearly saving the best till last with their fourth & final treatment ‘Planets’ a 3 hour treatment perfect for a group of girlfriends or a hen party. The treatment consists of a 90 minute full body massage, 30 minute hand & arm massage and then a 60 minute facial… All after hopping in the bath with your favourite Lush bath bomb! The treatment looks amazing & it’d be a complete treat however at £285 per person it's very much so on the pricier side of treatments.

Along with the treatment rooms we also got to have a nosey around the store at their new Christmas ranges. I love the Peeping Santa bubble bars, they’re just the cutest things & would make brilliant stocking fillers, along with the Dashing Santas and one of my faves, the Luxury Lush Pud. I finally got my mitts on the Comforter shower gel, which unbelievably smells even better than the bubble bar! I really can’t decide whether I prefer this or Snow Fairy? Decisions decisions! It’s too tricky!

What are your favourite Lush products?

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

Beauty | Natural Collection Lip Liners

If you read my post a few days ago, you'll know that I recently discovered the purse friendly cosmetics brand, Natural Collection. I picked up a few bits & pieces on a recent Boots splurge (we've all been there right?) of which included these two brown toned lip liners.

I opted for brown toned liners, as they're shades I wouldn't have necessarily have tried, and because these products are so affordable I thought I'd jump in at the deep end & buy two! I chose the shades 'Plum' & 'Espresso' which as their names would suggest, Plum is a warm purple toned brown and Espresso is a burnt orange toned brown.
The liners are really waxy on application, which feel creamy & nourishing on the lips. It's always a worry that cheaper products like these can be quite scratchy and rough, however these liners are nothing of the sort. They're simple to use and I've been swapping between a natural shape & overdrawn style lip, both of which are really easy to create using these products, and seem to take no time at all to complete. The longevity of the liners is okay, they're not fantastic but for the price I've paid, I can barely complain can I? These products set me back £1.99 each, which is less than my morning latte!

Have you tried anything from the Natural Collection range? I'm really enjoying using their products at the moment, so if there's anything you think I need to try, I'd love to know.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

Beauty | My Winter Evening Skincare Routine.

Following on from 'My Winter Morning Skincare Routine' today I'm going to be chatting to you guys about how I take my makeup off on an evening & prepare my skin ready for the next day.

To begin with I remove the majority of my makeup with Garniers' micellar water. I take a few drops of the product onto a cotton pad, which I bring to my eyes first and leave the for a couple of seconds before swishing my makeup away. I only discovered micellar water about a year ago, but I have honestly never looked back - I wish I'd discovered it sooner, as it's makes my evening skincare routine soo much quicker!
To remove any excess makeup I then go over with Soap & Glory's Peaches & Clean. This is a product that I really didn't like to begin with, but after leaving it a little while & retrying, I've absolutely fallen in love with it. I've equally fallen in love with the double cleanse. My skin feels so refreshed & moisturised after using the two products together, for my skin they are a force to be reckoned with!
To replenish and soften my skin I use The Body Shops' Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil. This product works its' magic overnight & reveals a youthful glow to the face, the next morning. I find using even the tiniest amount of product goes a long way with this serum so I know I'm definitely going to get my moneys worth out of this one.
Just to add a bit more moisture to my face and neck area, I'll pop on a small amount of the Derma Q10 innovations night cream. You can pick this moisturiser up for a measly couple of quid & it works fantastically well. I've been using this in summer too, but I find it especially useful at this time of year because of the thicker, more nourishing formula.
Finally, if I'm feeling like my skin needs that extra pick me up (which is most days at the moment - damn you 5am gettyups) I'll use The Body Shops' Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask. If you were to only buy one product from The Body Shop, I'd be recommending this little beauty all day long! I flipping love the stuff. It's a total skin transformer! Each morning after using this overnight mask, my face looks amazing (not to blow my own trumpet or aything) but it looks so healthy & hydrated - Perfect for these cold ass days we're having.

Are there any products here that you'd like to try or have already incorporated into your skincare routine? I'd love to know in the comments below.

Once again, thank you for reading & following me on my #Blogmas journey. Lots of love | Claire.x

Beauty | Lush Yog Nog Bath Bomb

Yupp, You heard that right! Even more Lush on xclaireabella! Honestly, I flipping love the stuff... If you ever want to buy me a present, please let it be anything from Lush. Anywho, Whilst at the Lush Leeds Spa event earlier on in the month, I was kindly gifted with Yog Nog!

If I'm honest, I wasn't totally wowed by Yog Nog at first. In bath bomb form, the scent is very creamy & sickly (I'm not a lover of cream, in fact, I really hate it - Oops) however this was quickly diminished when I'd gotten into the bath, as it was only when I popped Yog Nog into the water & it started fizzing, that the sweet citrussy side of the product came through. Not only can you smell the citrus & sweet ylang ylang oil, but you can feel it too, the water feels super silky smooth (try saying that after a few vino's) and leaves the skin feeling all lovely & luxurious. Surprisingly you come out of the bath really glittery, like seriously glittery! But it's a fab shimmer... It's a 'look at me, I'm ready to party' type shimmer, perfect for the festive season. All in all, Yog Nog makes your skin look & feel amazing & it's got to be one of my favourite bath bombs, along with Space Girl, which I now believe is discontinued. Waaah!

Here's a toughie for you... What is your favourite Lush bath bomb? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to try out some more products.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love | Claire.x

**Shameless plug alert** I've designed my own Adam as part of Victoria at InTheFrow's Vauxhall competition - I'd love it if you could vote for me so I could win the car of my dreams, I'd be forever gateful :-) You can vote here.

Fashion | Polka Dot Hearts.

Happy 2016!! I hope you've all had an absolutely wonderful new years, celebrating with loved ones, making (& possibly breaking, already) resolutions & generally doing the whole 'new year, new me' thing. I'm not massively into new years resolutions, the only thing I've mentioned, is that I want to be more productive with my time! Life is way to short to be regretting things we didn't do.... Or to be wearing boring lipstick for that matter!

Primark are absolutely great for their basics tees' - I've got so many of them in my wardrobe *reminder that I need to have a clear out* at the moment & wear each and every one of them to their death. One I've been favouring at the moment is this polka dot heart printed tee. It's navy blue with the repetitive pattern in a contrasting white, which for me is one of the easiest colour pairings to wear. There's something about navy, that oozes luxury to me & even though this tee literally set me back a couple of quid, I've been loving it. In fairness, anything with heart prints on was always going to be a winner... I still dot my i's with little hearts. Ooops! I'm clearly 25 going on 12! 
Along with my cutesy tee, I'm wearing a leather look skirt, yes you saw right!... Claire is in a skirt! Maybe that should be my new years resolution, to become more adventurous with my wardrobe. Hmm. We'll see! Then I've thrown over my trusty sleeveless jacket for good measure - I absolutely love this jacket, It's just so easy to wear & I think it pulls the whole outfit together perfectly. 
Jewellery wise, I'm going for gold! I always go for gold! I blooming love the stuff. I've got my eye on a couple of gold watches at the moment, I just can't decide at the moment on what to go for... Working in a jewellers is such hard work! I'm pretty sure I look like the heart eyed emoji every time I see new stock come in. I obviously need a lottery win!

I'd love to hear what your new years resolutions are & what you think of mine? I'm really wanting to improve my blog this year so any hints or tips (be nice) would be massively appreciated.

Thank you for all your love in 2015!! Claire.x

Top - Primark
Skirt - Oasis
Jacket - New Look
Bag - Primark
Bracelet - Vivienne Westwood
Watch - DKNY
Ring - HSamuels

Beauty | Emma Hardie, Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm.

I've perfected my morning & evening routines over the years (Gah I'm so old!) so I'm always a little dubious when it comes to incorporating new products into my routine. Especially when they're the more pricier, higher end skincare products, like the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Morniga Cleansing Balm. Luckily for me, my very generous boyfriend picked this up for me as part of my Christmas box. Yay! 

I'll be honest, the main thing that put me off buying this product for myself, was the price. However that's just me being stingy, and if you think this is going to be a review to discourage you from indulging & treating yourself, then you are very much mistaken! This gorgeous tub of wonderfulness will set you back £38.00 however will last you an absolute age, as you only need to apply a pea sized amount of the product to reap its' benefits. I'm planning on using me a couple of times a week as a treat (This 'treat' could possibly turn into 7 days a week. Oops!) and I'm fully anticipating this to last me all year. Honestly!

To begin with, the balm texture felt really unusual as I've always relied on exfoliating face washes and gel consistencies to remove my makeup, so lathering my face in the waxy balm did feel quite strange at first. After getting over the initial alienness, I began to appreciate its' luxurious qualities, and rather quickly too for that matter. The Moringa Cleansing Balm is jam packed with Vitamin E, wild sea fennel & as the name suggests moringa seed extract making a really rejuvenating and hydrating cleanse. Because of its' waxy texture the question to whether the product leaves your face feeling sticky or greasy arrises... And in a two words, absolutely not! My face feels healthy, refined and baby soft - It's a dream to use this product & I wish I'd started using it sooner. The scent is both floral and citrussy, so the best of both worlds really. One doesn't over power the other, so I think it's a really lovely, unique scent - I can't stop sniffing it now, it's so gorgeous.
The product needs to be worked into the skin for a minute or so before wiping away with the Emma Hardie cleansing cloth. Rather than a rough muslin cloth, it's microfibre, which is really soft and gentle on the skin and leaves the face feeling smoothed and supple. The perfect way to end your cleanse & leave the skin feeling amazing.

Have you tried any Emma Hardie products before? I'd really like to venture out further with her brand, so if you have any recomendations, pop them in the comments below & I'll have a nosey.

Thanks for reading. Claire.x

Lifestyle | Living it & Loving it.

There's absolutely no question about it, I've been a really shit blogger recently. I've only posted once this month, and twice in June, but you know what, that's totally okay!
My life seems to have gone from 0-60 in a mater of seconds, it's crazy, it's hectic...But it's not all bad, everything that's going on is very exciting & I'm at an amazing point in my life, but unfortunately it means this little slice of internet has taken a back burner of recent weeks.

With that being said, I need a bit of time out in my life right now. Taking time for me & getting away from it all.
We recently spent a few days away in the Yorkshire Dales in a lovely little village called Malham, where we had amazing weather, amazing food & even more amazingly, no phone signal! And let me tell you, it was bliss! 

We life in such a fast paced millennial life that it's equally as difficult as it is beneficial taking a bit of time out. Having time to yourself away from your usual surroundings is really good for the soul and I found that spending a few days in the middle of nowhere. Enjoy nature. Enjoy that sunset. Enjoy the quiet life. Rediscover what you love out of life, and for me that's getting outdoors.
It's so easy to get bogged down in the usual 9-5 routine that you forget what life's for... And that's for living! Get out there. See that show you've been excited for. Buy that dress you've been lusting after. Swap your veg for french fries. Do whatever the heck you like with your life, just enjoy it!

When was the last time you went without phone signal? How did you cope?

Claire. X

If you like the look of this area, we stayed a twenty minute walk away at Beck Hall in Malham.

Travel | 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.