Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Skincare


So, skincare...we all have our favourite "go-to" products for wiping the day away, making sure our pins are summer ready (even if the weather isn't) or taking extra care when things are feelin' a little parched.

Here is a quick jump through a few things that I have been reaching for to ensure that my skin is squeaky clean and feelin' comfortable...

1. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel*


Hopefully this bottle is instantly recognisable on bathroom counters across the globe, certainly to any beauty blogger who is worth their weight in cleanser. Step aside all other products. At top billing is this cleansing gel from new brand, Oskia.

Ok, so I will reserve this option for when I am feelin' spendy, but if you crave a spa experience in a bottle, then you need Oskia in your life. I prefer to remove make-up with a wipe or cotton pad soaked in my current micellar fave first and then pump a little of this out onto my hands to take things up a gear. Rub the product between your palms and then enjoy the beautiful fragrance whilst treating yourself to a mini face massage to ooze away those daily stresses. The consistency is pretty interesting to the touch. While classed as a "gel", this is really a balm cleanser in bottle form. Much more preferable to those who refuse to dip their paws in a giant pot. Once it has been suitably worked in, dampen a cloth in hot water and place it on your face and shut out the world for a few seconds. Is there a better feeling?

This cult product has risen through the stratosphere in blogging circles and I am startin' to see why. My only niggle, and it is a small one, is that whilst I enjoy the sturdy feel of the packaging it could benefit from a clear strip down the side of the bottle so that you can tell when you need to re-purchase. I mean, I don't want to be standing at the sink only to find that there isn't a drop left, do I? Sad times.

Keep your eyes peeled, a more in depth review will be making its way to the blog, and SOON.

2. Avène Skin Recovery Cream*


Most of the time, my skin is pretty well behaved (touch wood), apart from the occasional breakout that usually lets me know when I've had too much Cadbury's dairy milk. Oops.

If you want to keep things on the "down low" you are best to source something created for fair maidens and sensitive souls. Bonjour Avène. You don't need me to tell you that no-one does skincare quite like the French. If you want products that are cooling, calming, hydrating and will settle any irritations you may encounter, be sure to take a look. Your best bet is to head down to their aisle in Boots and investigate the range with a closer eye. You can usually find me snapping up their Soothing Moisture Mask when planning a last minute pamper or decanting some into a little bottle to take on a long haul flight. I am also a huge fan of their miniature Thermal Water Spray which is the perfect companion for when things get hot "n" heavy on the tube.

I have been using the Skin Recovery Cream as my day and night moisturiser, unless I want to opt for a mask or thicker night cream. It leaves the skin smooth, supple and perfectly hydrated. Heads up, they also do this cream in a rich formula if you need a little somethin' more. They were lovely enough to send me a selection from their range so stay tuned for more of my thoughts...

3. Palmer's Rapid Moisture Spray


Hands up anyone out there that gets lazy with moisturising after a shower? Guilty as charged, however I promise I am getting better. Products like a moisturising spray make it much less of a chore. All I want is something that smells pleasant and gets the job done. I have always been a fan of Palmers and tend to associate it with that summer holiday feelin'. Whether you want a formula with a little more of a moisture boost, a scent free option or even one with a hint of tan in, Palmers seems to have all bases covered. This spray has the signature coconut scent but is a lot faster drying so you won't be standing in a towel flappin' your arms around. Awkward...

4. Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Eye Cream


Sadly I battle with tired peepers and dark circles, so I will welcome any product that can brighten my day and make me look like I got a few extra hours kip. I have enjoyed this eye cream from Superdrug's own range and have used it as part of my daily routine for quite a while. Some people skip eye cream altogether, but it is a vital step. I found this out around 25/26 when my friend insisted (with a serious face) that "we should be doing this now". A little goes a long way, just dab it on your fingertips and pat gently under your eyes and around the orbital bone. Be careful not to rub or stretch too much, the skin is thin and delicate under our eyes, so easy does it.

If you aren't already using an eye cream, then shame on you. There are a tonne of choices out there so whether you need brightening, de-puffing or want to lose a few of those tell-tale lines and creases...do what works for you.

5. Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes


Ok, so make-up removing wipes are something of a "marmite" product. They could be your daily saviour or festival friend while others recoil in horror at the very thought (I'm looking at your Caroline Hirons).

Let me make things clear: I don't promote frequent use of wipes as your sole cleansing option, but when you just want to take the day off your face and relax, or keep a few wipes handy on that flight, then I am not going to tell you otherwise. There are definitely varieties out there that straight-up don't agree with my skin type, so it pays to box clever. I have found myself going back to the Simple wipes time after time as they are quite plain, moisturising and free from any nasties that could risk a break out or leave a little sting in the tail.

6. Olay Anti-wrinkle night cream


Prevention is better than cure, isn't that what they say? I am sad to announce that I have reached that time of life where I am lifting products in the aisles with anti-wrinkle in the title and considering them all viable options. Are we here already?

Opinions vary greatly across the board about exactly how soon is too soon to be worrying about your "worry lines", but I say it is never too early to take care of your skin. Just don't get carried away fretting too hard abound the ageing process. Apparently our skin does its mend and repair during those precious hours of slumber so I always put on a generous layer after I have my night routine down to keep everything hydrated and happy til' morning. If you are reading this and are still in your early 20s then you probably can afford to hang fire for a little while... Don't sweat it.

So, do you have any current skin care favourites or brands of the moment? Who are you lovin'? Share you secrets...

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
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Friday, 24 July 2015

Bloom & Wild


Bloom and Wild* are a young, vibrant company that are taking the local scene by storm. Established in 2013, they claim to remove all hassle from securing yourself some nice blooms for your bedside table or treating a friend or loved one to a lil' something special.

OK, you have my attention...

With ever increasing orders and the launch of their brand new sparkly app, this budding company clearly pride themselves on a great product, incredible customer service and will ensure that beautiful flowers are winging their way to your doorstep in a flash. What a great bunch they are.

Some of us aren't aware that in reality most of our flowers sit in warehouses or with suppliers for days before finding their way to local retailers, so what better than a fresh company that deals directly with the source and cuts out the middle man.

Sounds promising, right?

At Bloom and Wild, flowers are cut to match the current order demand and not a second before. You can be arranging a stunning bouquet on your mantelpiece as little as three days after they have been chopped. Once they are received back at Bloom and Wild HQ, they are sent to the recipients within hours. They like number crunchin' back at base so work to exact customer orders to minimise or fully eliminate wastage of perfectly good flowers.

There goes Claire is a new blog that enjoys nothing better than connecting with young companies with interesting ideas so we were delighted when Bloom and Wild wanted to collaborate with us on a feature to help further explain a little more about what they do best.

Let me talk you through everything from delivery, packaging, arranging, ordering and enjoyment...

1. Delivery

First things first, they want to ensure that your flowers reach you in tip top condition. By streamlining and flat packing their flowers they are pretty postie friendly and can fit through most household letterboxes. So even if you are out running errands, they will be waiting for you when you get home. Clever thinking.

The delivery charge is included in the total price of the order so there are no nasty surprises when you come to check out. If you want a little extra assurance they can arrange tracking on your order for a small additional fee. I was delighted when these dropped on the doorstep of my castle. Ok, slight disclaimer: I don't actually live in a castle, but I do live in Scotland and wanted to create the right effect, so please forgive me. Whilst we are being honest, the flowers aren't from Ryan Gosling either, but a little of what we fancy does us good. A girl can dream, right?


2. Packaging

I am a detail oriented kinda gal and I was completely won over by the clear care and attention that Bloom and Wild pay when prepping and packing their product. On opening the box, each head was delicately wrapped in netting to protect it during the journey. There are clear instructions on the box itself on how to cut the stems and add the food that they supply. So grab yourself a Pinterest-y vase and get crackin'.

They also think ahead and include a handy card with tips and tricks on how to perfectly place your blooms in the vase for maximum enjoyment. I selected "The Gloria" bouquet, which was bold, decadent and bursting with colour. A mix of lilies, berries, eucalyptus leaves and pops of pretty purple petals throughout the entire arrangement make for a visual treat.

As the flowers are so fresh when they arrive, many of the heads remain closed for a couple of days so you aren't against the clock and definitely won't be binning them by dinnertime, don't panic. You can take time to make one beautiful arrangement as a talking point or alternatively split the flowers down to add a few accents of colour in your lounge room or bedroom. Once you have tweaked to your heart is content, just sit back, relax and rapture in the beauty as it unfolds before your eyes.





3. Ok, I'm in. Order me up

Ordering with Bloom and Wild couldn't be easier. A few clicks of their intuitive website will mean that you can purchase delightful flowers by the bunch but if you would like it to be more of frequent affair (and can't always rely on the hubby/boyfriend to deliver) feel free to take advantage of their 3 month subscription service so that you can enjoy them as a regular treat.

Personally, I have used the site on multiple occasions for that birthday, mother's day or just to say hello, but it is just as wonderful to experience it for yourself. I think there is something to be said for having fresh flowers dotted around the place that is all kinds of happy. It adds life and colour to your living space that can lift your mood after a hard day at the office.





What's the verdict, how are they faring?

Over a week later and "the Gloria" is still glor-ious. I expect to get another full week out of these babies and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be back to Bloom and Wild before you know it, after all they are only ever a click away. Moving with the times, Bloom and Wild are smack bang in the middle of the digital age and have launched a new app for IOS and Android. Hurrah. This makes things even easier for you to grab that bunch on the move. Easy posy.

An additional quirk of the company is that they create themed bouquets around characters from literature or popular events, so your flowers will always have a unique feel whilst still reflecting current trend. Bloomin' marvellous...




How can I get involved?
www.bloomandwild.com
Apple Store
Google Play



*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
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Monday, 20 July 2015

Weekend edit


The weekend has been and gone once again. Noooo. Whether you like to strip things back and rock that nude, no-makeup face or you want to spend a little more time on your morning routine because you aren't tryin' to beat the clock. The world is your oyster. Do what you wanna do.

So, without further ado let me talk you through a few bits "n" pieces that I have been reaching for this weekend as part of my own "get ready with me"...

Skin


Clarins liquid bronze tanning or face and décolleté- There is something about those warmer, sunshiny days that instantly make want to bust out a bit of faux glow. Truth be told, I am still something of a tanning novice and always err on the side of caution when attempting to give myself that healthy glow. For nervous nellies like me this product is perfect. Thanks to Anna aka Vivivanna Does Makeup, this purchase was ideal to prop on my shelf for when the sunshine rolls around. The added plus is that this 125ml bottle will last you forever. I'm serious. Two summers in and my original bottle is still goin'...

How do you use it? It's easy... just add a little of the liquid to a cotton pad and sweep it across your entire face after you have cleansed, moisturised and all that other good stuff. Pop the pad in the bin and you are good to go with your simple summer base, or if you are feelin' brave just add a touch of concealer in all the right places. This gives an added boost to those weary days when you could do with a little more pep in your step. Followed up with a dash of the Soap and Glory Solar Powder and you can cheat your way to a mini beach break. Ssshhh, we won't tell if you don't...

Embryolisse Hydra Masque- Weekends are ideal for a mini pamper sesh. It's best to get into a little routine to ensure you take those extra few minutes to take care of yourself. Masks come in all shapes and sizes- peels, creams, self-heating, cloth, clay...there are plenty of options out there. This mask is clear and has the consistency of a thick cream, so you won't be walking around your flat looking like an extra from Scream. Slick on a thick layer just before bed so you can beautify yourself as you sleep win or sling it in your carry on for a long haul flight. Love the distraction of a mini-plane pamper routine whilst you are jet-settin' to foreign lands. Aeroplane air can suck the moisture out of your skin, so remove your daily makeup as soon as you board, get comfy, and you won't need to worry about scaring the person sitting next to you.


Hair

Ion Hot Oil treatment- Girls, we need to be better about looking after our barnets. Brushing, snagging, heat styling, weather, pollution... everything takes its toll and our dos can be left a little less than perky. I picked up a couple of these handy hot oil treatments on an impromptu trip to Sally's. Ideal for a day when you are moochin' around your flat or enjoying a weekend pamper ritual. Easy peasy. This little bottle is a one-time use, so pop it under the tap or in a cup of hot water for 1 minute and then massage onto wet hair. Continue with the rest of your usual routine, you know..latherin' up, shavin' etc.. and rinse it clean, shampoo and condition etc. This adds life and shine to dull locks, and things will certainly not be lack lustre.. Swish, swish...


Make-up

Kiko Rock Attraction blush (02 Guitar Rose)- I have already mentioned my relatively new love affair with Kiko. I snatched up this blush in an on-line order during one of their sales. First up, if you adore cute detail and fun packaging, Kiko score full marks with this little offering. A vibrant pink colour, the blush is in the shape of a denim jean pocket that ties in well with the corresponding blue front. You'll want to go in with a light hand with this one. Careful now. Just dip your brush in the blush, swirl a couple of times and pop a little of the colour onto the apples of your cheeks. For a softer finish take some of the excess product off on the back of your hand first. Should you have a light base or naked face, blush is the perfect addition to wake up your complexion and will leave you feeling pinky and perky.

Rimmel Lasting Finish foundation (100 ivory)- I was quick to snatch up this foundation for my collection. Anna(VDM) deserves the credit for this recommendation, once again. This is a top drug store option and if you are lucky you can pick it up on offer during the usual Boots/Superdrug promotions, so keep your eyes peeled. If you want a couple of steps above a tinted moisturised or BB cream and need a longer lasting base to see you through the work day until bed time, this is it. The trick in applying this foundation? Work with thin layers. You can always build things up, but it is much harder to take away when you have slapped it on without thinking. The product claims to last for 25 hours, but I am never quite sure why you would need it to (I don't tend to wear makeup in bed, do you?) What I will say is that it is moisturising and hydrating, which are huge in my book. It also contains SPF 20, so you can pat yourself on the back for taking extra care against those harmful rays.

Mac eyeshadow (Soba)- This soft taupe/goldy shadow proves that less really can be more. Mac shadows usually have great colour pay off and their finely milled texture makes them smooth and a dream to blend out. An Amazing choice for your everyday make-up and helps accentuate your peepers for those blue-eyed girls. As a satin finish, this is a great lid colour or you can just pop a little in your crease. You can also take a little on a pencil brush to warm things up under your lower lash line. I love this shade of brown with it's subtle golden shimmer and have found myself reaching for it most days. It adds a little interest without falling entirely into either matte or shimmer. For the more daring amongst you, try a touch of this to define your brows (don't freak out because of the shimmer) or as a contour. Super versatile, right? You could be forgiven for giving this a miss at your local counter as it doesn't really "wow" in the pan, but do me a favour and try it out. It may be somewhat of an unsung hero, but it is likely to be love at first swipe...

Maybelline Color Sensational Shine Gloss-(Stellar Berry)- These high shine, luxurious glosses are great to add to your kit or pop in your handbag to perk up your look during the day. I don't frequently reach for a gloss, as many brands miss the mark.. Sticky, gloopy and a nightmare if you have long hair and are running for that bus. These glide on and feel nourishing without leaving you in a sticky sitch. Available in 12 different shades, you can add a pop of colour in Spring or Summer or keep things neutral and quite understated. Beautiful pigmentation, simple packaging, lovely feel, opaque, long-lasting and a nice little applicator. I'm sold.


Perfume

Korres fragrance White Tea, Bergamot and Fressia- I had never tried any of the Korres fragrances before, but this was a happy little find at Feel Unique. A great choice for tapping into that summer vibe, I find myself allured by citrus and floral notes with bursts of white tea, fressia, bergamot, tangerine and neroli. I love how fresh and inviting this delicate and sweet-toned scent smells. With 90% natural ingredients it could be a good option for sensitive souls that find it tricky to select a scent that doesn't react. The packaging looks clean and is a fine addition to any dresser. It is 100% recyclable so you can do your bit for the environment. Bonus. If you love the fragrance you can pick up the shower gel and other pieces from the collection. This is quite simply an evening on the Med, in a bottle.

So, what was in your weekend edit? What are you reachin' for time after time?...Enquiring minds, and all that...

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Edinbraw

Edinburgh possesses some of the most iconic landscapes and skylines that are instantly recognisable the world over. Thousands flock to our city every year for school trips, family holidays; to participate in a spot of the annual "cultural force" that is the Fringe Festival or simply to retrace Scottish roots. Och aye! Irrespective of how long you have actually lived in Edinburgh, some days may feel like your first few moments of swooning over bella vistas or being seduced by sunsets over the city scape. Other times, it can feel like you have always been a part of what goes on here and couldn't quite imagine living anywhere else.

Life before Edinburgh, did it ever exist? I'm not sure.

I have crept through closes, balanced on benches, perched on walls and enjoyed breathers on bridges grammin' the length and breadth of this city, and here are a few moments that highlight what makes it so flippin' special.

1. The castle

Even if you just know the basics (Princes Street/Royal Mile), visitors to Edinburgh are sure to identify with this medieval home on a hillside. I can barely recount the numerous times I have "captured the castle" and it makes for an incredibly sweet backdrop to this popular Scottish retreat. Visible from many arts and parts of the town, it acts more like a homing beacon that will assist you in finding your bearings as you navigate the cobbles and twisty lanes of "Auld Reekie".


2. Lens Flare


I love me some glare.

Usually expected as a prefix to a sunset, I can be found seizing those moments where the sun catches at just the right angle. These pretty sunbeams can bounce off buildings, warm the face or split trees.

The key is to always be ready, because you are never quite sure when they may strike. I am sure to sneak my Iphone in my pocket to ensure that I never miss a thing.

Flare is at the fingertips of every budding shutterbug, therefore composition is key. The cautious photographer will always be keen to prevent excess glare on any given shoot as it is commonly undesired, however, (flying in the face of convention) I am keen to embrace this wonderful, angelic effect. When you work it to your advantage it can bring a completely new quality and beauty to your imagery. 

I enjoy the delicacy and precision of capturing glare on camera, as literally a centimetre here and here or a quick side-shuffle are likely to produce the shot you crave. 


3. Skies/Golden Hour

Typically defined as that window shortly after sunrise or before sunset where the sun is low, light is much softer and often channels red, orange or purple hues that are just all kinds of wonderful.

They don't call it the magic hour for nothing...

Most popularly reserved for outdoor landscape shots and city scenes, this warm diffused lighting effect is incredibly flattering and will leave you all a-glow. The key to maximising your own personal golden hour is to shoot in frequent bursts and dedicate yourself to the entire time. At this time of day light falls away quickly and can dramatically alter your shot in seconds. So commit to the moment, take a flask if you need and simply hang out. Click..Click..Click...

Whether you are hopping out of bed early doors, or soaking up the final rays as the sun sets on another day, remember that any sacrifice you have made will ultimately be worth it.

The Golden hour is free, and happens twice every single day providing a whole range of effects. So be sure to stop in your tracks if you dream of adding texture, dimension and a magical quality to all future snaps.

Don't be afraid of multi-tasking either, plan something fun for this "prime time," like a catch up with friends or family walk and snap yourself happy.


So, there you have it. Edinburgh, to know you, is to love you.

If you know her already, make sure to take the time to appreciate her. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, we look forward to seeing you soon...


Fancy more pics?
Catch me @ instagram.com/irishclairy
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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cuckoo's Bakery


So, I've lived in Edinburgh for many a year now and I can tell you a few things about our fair city...

I can share the best places to enjoy lunch with friends. Or perhaps advise you on some hot spots to savour a glass of wine in the sunshine as the sun sets over countless beautiful locations in our favourite Scottish home. However, if you are interested in kickin' off your weekend with a coffee and the best cupcakes in town, then listen very carefully, I shall say this only once...

CUCKOO'S...Go to Cuckoo's.


Cupcakes are a tricky business, and you want to be sure you don't mess around. I am delighted to announce that for me, Cuckoo's have the winning recipe. On too many occasions I have felt lured in by a perfectly executed window display of brightly decorated cupcakes, overflowing with decorations, glitter and icing. They promise so much but often leave us wanting. Sadly one bite confirms that they are nothing more than a work of art. If you want to satisfy your sweet craving the valiant quest for the perfect cake must continue...

Cuckoo's Bakery are renowned all over Edinburgh for the cutest treats in town and you will count yourself fortunate if they can squeeze you onto a table in their happy little bakery on Dundas Street. If they have room, my reaction is much akin to a lottery win.

JACKPOT.

Due to their growing popularity and desire to expand their delicious empire, in April Cuckoo's secured a sweet spot in Edinburgh's iconinc "Brunchfield" to open a second sugar haven in easy reach of the city centre. Believe me, the people of Bruntsfield/Morningside are no stranger to coffee with friends and general milling amongst the generous assortment of cafes, delis, green grocers and hairdressers that dwell in the affluent south side of the city. Their positioning is ideal. Well played, Cuckoo's.


Intrigued by the ongoing adventures of "There Goes Claire", they kindly asked me to call by on the weekend to swoon over their sparkly new spot and grab a coffee and cake. It would be rude to say no, right? Quality coffee and bonnie cakes are speciality at the blog. We love what we do.


Choosing a cupcake at Cuckoo's is both an impossible task and happy dilemma. They do offer other traybakes, scones, brownies or cake by the slice if cupcakes aren't your bag, but personally if I visit cuckoo's, I am not leaving without one.


Their unique haberdashery counter is brimming with creatively decorated, tasty little masterpieces. Blackbottom? Red Velvet?? No?...what about Sticky Toffee? Hold on a second, how about a bite of their Raspberry and White Chocolate? As their signature cupcake, it has won all sorts of awards don't you know. Cuckoo's are also delighted to create themed cupcakes for special occasions and events. Halloween? Christmas? Wimbledon? You betcha. Perhaps Murray would have faired better in battle if he had been served a strawberry/champagne cupcake as a sneaky sugar hit before his duel with Federer.

I tease.



They even had their own "mini referendum" to bring cake into the equation when getting a flavour for how people were feeling about the future of our glorious country. An edible vote you say?...Yum.

We like how you think.


My choice? A pretty and delicate vanilla cupcake. Vanilla doesn't have to boring, you know? The proof is in the pudding. And I'm going to put that theory to the test.

The vanilla cupcake is topped with cream cheese frosting with a pretty purple butterfly perched on the top. A fine sprinkling of glitter-like fairy dust keeps things simple, elegant and oh so sweet. To keep my cake company? A latte of course. Extra hot, and a tall glass of water as a chaser. Never too hot for coffee, even in this strange Scottish humidity we've been enduring lately.

The sponge is light and fluffy, and the cream cheese icing is to die for. Never a firm fan of regular icing, the kind that cuckoo's create is finger-lickingly good.


The latte is more a soup bowl than caffeine drip and I feel my cares drift away with every sip. Side note, kudos is awarded to any café that can make a beverage hot enough for my usual standards. I want to enjoy a latte all the way from first froth to the last dregs, with enough space for chat in between. This is both talent and skill and I am pleased to tell you that Cuckoo's pass the test, with flying colours.


Whiling away the afternoon I glance as couples, families and friends enter the new store to select a cake to feast upon there and then or take some for the road.

Their faces beam with delight. Nothing illuminates a person more than choosing cake.

If you need a cake crafted for that party, special birthday or event, Cuckoo's take bespoke orders. Is there anything they can't do??

Whether you are hangin' loose and bein' cool down in the New Town, or mingling with your posh posse in Bruntsfield, make sure you don't fly over the Cuckoo's nest.


Looks like they are bound for even greater success, and we fully expect to see more stores popping up across the capital, and beyond.

Looks like you really can have your cake, and eat it...


Where are they?
116 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh
EH10 4ES
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