Monday, 6 April 2015

beauty products

Hey everyone, today I think I'll try something a bit different. This post is about beauty products I cannot live without. I highly recommend these products for everyone to try out - so much so that I've actually compiled a list. Enjoy!

Nails Inc
I know so people may disagree, but brand names are very important, especially with nail varnish. Quality is key to make sure the coat won't chip, smudge or dent - moments after it has fooled you into tricking you that it has dried. I've swore by Nails Inc for five years now. This UK based brand is so good that it spoils me from using any other brands. I've lost count how many times people have complimented my nail colour and some have even asked if they are gel because they are so vibrant and shiny. Although slightly more expensive than other brands, they are totally worth the money because they last for much longer.

Good: They are probably the best nail varnish brand on the UK market, with a variety of 'Special Effects' top coats too (crackle, metallic, beading etc).
Bad: More expensive, with some at £11-£14 a bottle! Yikes! Also beware, the glittery 3D special effects are very stubborn to remove.
Claudia's Tricks: Have no fear, the bargain hunter is here. Try stores such as TK Maxx, where they sell Nails Inc gift sets really cheap after Christmas. I once purchased a set with 8 bottles for £20, all with great block colours I would use. Also try Factory Shops, where I've seen (and purchased) bottles been sold separately for £4 each. 

The Body Shop: Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
I was recently introduced to this by a friend and I can assure you all, I will never use anything else ever again to remove my make-up. Here's the trick - you scoop a small amount (a little more if you wear a lot of foundation/eyeshadow) and blend it over your face. It feels quite oily and looks a bit messy when you go over the eyes at first (the winter soldier comes to mind), but don't be alarmed. Keep going and the makeup will DISAPPEAR. The oils soak it up, and both your hands and face have no evidence of makeup ever being there. Wash your face and you're left with bright and smooth wonderful skin. It's absolutely magical!

Good: A lot more efficient than wipes, which previously left my skin cold and raw after using. A tiny bit goes a long way so it definitely lasts longer!
Bad: It doesn't take makeup off as thoroughly as a wipe would, as I found when I used my towel to dry my face afterwards that there was foundation that the butter missed. Therefore, you need a facecloth when washing it off afterwards, especially you wear heavier foundation.
Claudia's Tricks: If you're big into using The Body Shop products, they often do 3 for 2 deals for face products, both online and in-store. So I highly recommend giving this a go when you're next buying the other essentials, at least you'd save a bit when you're buying them all at once! 

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Deep Treatment Mask 300ml
“Claudia, why is your hair so shiny” The answer is THIS!! Tresemmé is a fantastic brand whom I’ve used frequently for as long as I can remember. The Keratin Smooth range are all excellent, but I swear by the Deep Treatment mask. My hair would be quite frizzy and doesn’t sit right after washing. Since applying this mask (I use it every other hair wash) my thick hair is incredibly smooth, shiny and makes styling a whole lot easier. 

Good: The big tub lasts ages, smells nice and is the best (and most underrated) leave-in conditioner on the market. I don’t think I could live without it now.
Bad: Can cost up to £5.99 per tub but I still think it’s worth every penny because it lasts a long time.
Claudia’s Tricks: Superdrug offer great deals on their Tresemmé products so keep an eye out for them. I buy a couple of the 300ml tubs on the offer and keep well stocked up at home.

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment Pink 200ml
In 2008, I cut my hair into a bob - at the time I thought it was a fantastic idea, but growing it out was a complete disaster. A long 7 years later, it ceased growing, only getting thicker and thicker. I was recommended by friends to try this treatment, but I was skeptical. Miraculously though, it works. In a short 6 weeks, my hair grew from 20cm to 25cm after applying it in every wash. Now I use it every other wash (I take this treatment and the Tresemmé conditioner mask turn about now). If you need hair to grow fast, definitely try this out! It’s fantastic.

Good: IT WORKS! Fantastic stuff. Magic in a tub. Makes your hair feel and smell amazing too.
Bad: Make sure you apply this between your regular shampooing and conditioning. Strangely it left my hair really greasy otherwise.
Claudia’s Tricks: It’s expensive at £8.50 a pot, and wouldn’t be great value for money because it doesn’t last very long. I haven’t seen it on offer anywhere yet but found it was cheaper to buy online than in the shops (that’s if you can manage to find it not being sold out).

- Claudia

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

what's next?

Evening all,
I cannot sleep. I had class this evening and they were talking about dissertations and the mountains of work still left to hand in. It was all too much.
I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with my life when I eventually finish my Masters. Here is a list of things I could try at the end of September:

  • Join a baking class - I would love to learn how to make decorative cakes
  • Take up helping in Sunday School and G.B again to help out more in my church
  • Join the gym or start swimming again
  • Help out at a charity shop
  • Make a website to display my portfolio work online
  • Create more vector art - it's fun and looks good printed
  • Become more involved in the arts in my local area
  • More freelance work, if at all possible
  • Save up for a new car
  • Learn how to use Adobe Illustrator
  • Update my CV
  • Go out walking everyday and enjoy the beautiful area I live in
  • Get experience working in schools to fulfil that goal of teaching in the near future
  • Run a photoshop class locally - I’d love to do this but not quite sure how?
  • Get a job - *cries*
  • Read novels - I never have time to read so then I’ll have no excuse

What shall the future bring?

Friday, 9 January 2015


Best Moments of 2014
  • 21st Birthday - My birthday cake!!!!
  • Media, Film and Journalism formal - doing an Oscar selfie
  • I got a job!! A real job!!
  • Two concerts in a week: Panic at the Discoo and Rend Collective with Emma
  • End of Year Show
  • Comic Con in Belfast
  • Dublin
  • Graduation :) - practically perfect in every way...and James Nesbit was there!
  • NEW YORK and the glorious Caribbean cruise
  • Noelle and David’s Wedding - first school friend's wedding, potentially the first of many!
  • My home-made office shed, it’s great!
  • Starting my Masters degree Queens
  • Gregor and Sharon’s Wedding - the first family wedding like...ever.
  • Making a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve :D
Biggest Achievements:
First Class Honours with Dean’s List!! Ahhhhh (I’m still geeking out about it)

Biggest Failures:
Thankfully nothing really, except I discovered I’m definitely allergic to pure orange juice :( Fail.

Happiest Moments:
Finding out my results (I cried) and of graduation day
Taking photos in Times Square, New York
Jared singing in the school musical ‘Les Miserables’ as Javert

Saddest Moment:
My Mum’s best friend passed away at the start of the year :( It was really tough.

Biggest Shock:
Lots of different shocks throughout the year...
  • Joan Rivers death! No more Fashion Police. 
  • How I Met Your Mother finale! There are no words...
  • They cancelled Perception T_T 
  • Josh Groban and Kat Dennings - YAASSS

Best Purchase:
iPad Mini and a poncho!! 

Greatest Musical Discoveries:
Prince, Il Divo and The Avett Brothers

Best Film of the Year:

Best MV of the Year:
Greatest Discoveries of the Year:
  • My graphics tablet
  • Pinterest
  • I joined the Netflix bandwagon!
  • MBTI types (I’m an ISFJ)

Biggest Addiction:
FAR too much television...
Gossip Girl, Gogglebox, Pointless and Keeping Up With The Kardashians were the worst offenders..

Favourite Person Award:
Sebastian Stan - I’m sorry but really could there be anyone else worthy of this spot in 2014?

Thursday, 16 October 2014


So lately...

EMPLOYMENT! I’m working in a photography studio designing wedding albums and it’s awesome - weddings are fascinating. I feel a real sense of duty working on something so significant. It’s really rewarding when the couple come to collect it and are delighted with the album. So thankful for a job doing something I actually like!
I GRADUATED! First Class Honours. Three years at University of Ulster was worth it all in the end. I would do it alllll again, I loved it so much. Graduation day was probably one of my favourite days of my life. Thank you to my brilliant lecturers, tutors and wonderful classmates, I'll miss everyone so much.
NEW YORK! In July our family went to America, and it was incredible! New York is just like how it looked in the movies. We saw all the sights then went on a Caribbean cruise too! It was UNREAL, I really want to go on another cruise. Food...good. Sun...good. Best holiday ever.
WEDDING! Not me, ha, but one of my high school friends got married in August. She’s the same age as me! We are all getting so old. It was a brilliant day catching up with old friends. Congratulations to Noelle and David! 
CONTAINER! All my friends came home from their studies abroad so we had a big reunion party, in the almighty container of course. I didn’t realise how much I missed their faces until we were all together again.
QUEENS! I started a Masters in Msc Educational Multimedia at Queens University, Belfast. I’m only a few weeks in but I’m loving it already. The whole education theory is new to me (since I previously studied Media) but it’s interesting and definitely a worthwhile course. Our practical workshops focus on interactivity in design (like making apps and websites) so as you can imagine I’m super psyched for that already!


In other news...

NETFLIX! I watch far too much T.V normally but now that I’m subscribed and paying for it I feel obliged to watch even more. I heard others say about how Netflix was addictive but I didn’t believe them. I was wrong.

IPAD! I never buy myself anything expensive but Amazon had a sale on and how could I resist...sadly it increases the Netflix watching experience.

CRAPPY TV! Gossip Girl. Kardashians. Made in Chelsea. Anything on E! Devastated by the death of Joan Rivers - no more Fashion Police. :(

DIET! Lol I know I’m always dieting, but my cousin’s wedding is next week and I don’t want to feel like a whale beside my relatives.

AUTUMN! It’s getting colder and colder and I’M EXCITED FOR WINTER.

CAPTAIN AMERICCAAA! My enthusiasm for The Winter Soldier intensified after I watched it TWICE on the plane going to America. Then it escalated again when I showed it to Emboot...whoops. *cough* Sebastian Stan *cough*


GROBAN! Josh is dating KAT DENNINGS!! Two of my favourite celebrities are dating EACH OTHER. I cannot cope.

BOOKS! I’m terrible and don’t read, so I made it my new month’s resolution in August to read more books! And since I have eBooks on my iPad I don’t have an excuse. I’m still on my first one though I’m a really slow reader. (Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado - it’s great).

yoooooooo I’m sorry if you read all that crap but another resolution is to try and blog at least once a month...stay tuned kidos.

- Claudia XOXO (Gossip Girl)

Sunday, 3 August 2014


I had this post written but I forgot to post it. T_T

End of Year Show
So to explain the Harry Styles doll in my room...

I had to display my final University dissertation coursework as an installation piece in a gallery. This took place as a show called FIN. Family and friends were all invited for the opening night, which exhibited various work of all final year Media, Film and Journalism students. My dissertation was about Fan Culture (“The Transformation of Young People’s Identity through Popular Culture and Social Media” - to be exact) so I created an installation piece about how popular media texts can influence how a teenage girl can present themselves in offline spaces (their bedroom walls) and online spaces (their tumblr blog). I focused particularly on two popular fandoms of the present day - the Directioners and Wholock fans, and my goal was to compare and contrast how these fans behave through a case study and analyse the media's representation of the two groups. Basically my installation piece was the bedroom spaces of these two fans and the two computers represented their online presence, which demonstrated their behaviours (my findings) to others through visual arts practice.

I created two flash based mock-ups of Tumblr profiles for guests of FIN to interact with, shown above. There’s so, so much more I could talk about regarding the project, but that’s the basic outline so you have a general idea. I had a blast collecting objects to decorate my installation with, and it turned out sooo much better than I was expected. A lot of people complimented it, so I’m really happy! It was a great evening and worth every second of the hard work!

Comic-Con Belfast
Wayhey MCM Comic Con FINALLY made a stop in Belfast this year. And it was awesome. There was so much merchandise, but I’m afraid to say I bought very little - a Loki helmet shaped ring and a Thor keyring. I didn’t cosplay but I got quite a few photographs with others. All the cosplayers there were really nice, even when we felt so silly asking to get a photo taken with them! I spent the large majority of the afternoon hunting down a Doctor cosplayer who wasn’t 12 years old. (I found one, he was cute and from Australia!)  It was a super fun day out with Emma and Jared. Roll on next year!!

To celebrate our results, Emma, Rebecca, Paige and I headed down to Dublin on the train for a spot of retail therapy and sight-seeing! Well, mainly shopping. Dublin seems so cultured and it was marvellous going somewhere new that we weren’t familiar with. Emma’s friend Rosa took us to a delish pizza place and secret cocktail bar - both places we would never have found on our own. It was actually class. We had so much fun!

Sunday, 6 July 2014


OKAY IT’S BEEN TOO LONG, and I have no excuses.

The last few months have been hectic so here is a short summary since my last update. It started when I procrastinated writing a blog-post about P!ATD gig I attended in May, then it escalated. I'll probably break these posts up into different parts, so I give you all permission to shout at me if I don't write up June's post.

Panic! At The Disco
If you are ever offered the opportunity to see Panic! - take it. Brendon Urie live is so, so much better than what I was expecting. His vocal range is simply incredible, and he puts on one heck of a show: highlights included backflipping on stage, playing the drums and ripping off his shirt (cue many screaming girls). Surprisingly, Emma and I were some of the oldest in the audience. I just assumed our other 21 year old nostalgic ex-emo fangirls from 2007 would also be present at that show. However, recent releases (Miss Jackson (2011) onwards) have undeniably pushed Panic! back into the appreciation of teenagers today, which may suggest why the fans there were still 13-17 year olds in the Mandela hall. I felt old.
Regardless, he was fantastic, and I now love the album Too Weird To Live, To Rare To Die! after he opened with Vegas Lights. Give it a listen. He also performed the old favourites too - The Only Difference..., Lying is the Most Fun... and, of course, I Write Sins Not Tragedies. What a show. Oh! And the support act was King Charles - LISTEN TO HIM TOO, I’m now obsessed with Loveblood.

Rend Collective Experiment
We accidentally booked two concerts in the same week, so on the Thursday of that week, Emma and I were back at the Mandela Hall to see a completely different (probably the complete opposite of Panic) concert. Rend Collective is a Christian band from Northern Ireland but have found global fame within the worship music scene, with catchy folk rock tunes appealing to an even wider demographic. After Panic, honestly I felt a bit Meh about this gig, but man I was so wrong. Their support act was Tenth Avenue North and when I learnt of this, I was thrilled! They’re probably the only Christian band that I really, really like to listen to on Spotify, so I was super happy. They were fantastic!! The crowd went wild when Rend arrived, and their set-list was just wonderful. They interacted with the crowd and it was clear to see they felt very comfortable performing back in own city - ‘good craic’ as they called it. It’s smashing to see a band from Northern Ireland do well internationally, and create awesome God-centered music. It was so spiritually encouraging, just what I needed!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

ROOM (3)

Hello, I’m back!
Good news: After many long and tiresome weeks working, I finally handed in my dissertation and other final year work this week, woohoo! Bad news: It’s the end of my three years as a university undergraduate! I don’t think it has really hit me that I’m basically finished, even though most of my stuff for the flat has been brought back home. However, as tradition stands, I had to take a few photos of my flat before I moved out. I think it’s nice to have some photos to remember what it was like. As you may know, I lived in university accommodation this year (instead of a student house), and it was the best decision ever. The cosy heating, constant hot water and speedy BT internet was all part of the price and the only thing we needed to pay for was keeping the electric meter topped up (between the four of us, about £10 every other month or so) Absolutely fantastic. It was very quiet which was perfect because I was working 90% of the time and a 5 minute walk to class. Plus, my housemates were probably the nicest and coolest people ever (we spent one dinner having a in-depth conversation about Doctor Who, and another was spent watching hilarious Eurovision entries). So yeah, I was super happy living at Maple, and I’m going to miss it!

Photos beside my sink - we shared toilet/shower rooms but had our own sinks

Yes, that is a Harry Styles doll. More on that later.

My desk and shelves - never realised how handy shelves like this were before!

Close-up of shelf

My view from my window - free parking for residents, shame I didn't have my car up.

Cork board!! Very much decorated, as expected.
The final of three university bedroom posts, first year here and second year here.

- Claudia