Exam Season | Relaxation Tips

Monday, May 23, 2016

As exam season is now well and truly underway, it is clear to see that there's an all around general feeling of stress lingering in the air. My cousin is currently sitting his GCSE's and the stress of it all keeps causing him to snap at pretty much anyone who talks to him. I've just completed my first year of university so I do have quite a few years of experience when it comes to revision! Exams can be a really stressful time indeed, as we all pile a lot of pressure upon ourselves to succeed and so if you're currently suffering from a case of the exam blues, today's post aims to help you make some small changes in preparation for the exam which will hopefully ease the pressure and leave you feeling much more relaxed.

Dress 'nice'
This might seem a little odd but if you're able to wear your own clothes to your exam then make sure you choose an outfit that you feel confident in. Although wearing your pyjamas may seem extremely comfortable and appealing, you're only bound to feel like a 'sloth' and if you dress down your mood and confidence levels are more likely to reach a downer too. If you have to wear a uniform to your exam why not put a bit of extra effort into your hair that day or wear your favourite lipstick?! 

Choose your environment carefully
As they say 'a messy workplace makes way for a messy mind.' Try to choose a working environment which is relatively neat and clean where you're able to access any revision tools you need with ease. If you're panicking about where you last placed your calculator in a mound of clothes on your bedroom floor that isn't going to do much good for your stress levels. For me, lighting a candle and having an organised desk space helps to make me feel so much more at ease when revising. 

Take regular breaks
I used to think that revising for more than four hours straight was a good idea. In fact, I would actually panic when I wasn't revising and start thinking about what I should be learning rather than relaxing. I eventually learnt that that was not a healthy way to be revising. Your brain needs regular breaks to process information in smaller chunks, try revising for half an hour then taking a 10 or 20 minute break. In that time why not treat yourself to a snack or watch a youtube video as a well done to yourself for what you have learnt so far. This makes revision so much more bearable if you have something to break it up with, therefore you'll feel less stressed. 

It's a well known fact that exercise helps to release the chemical 'endorphins' which make you happy, making exercise the perfect way to release any stress. It doesn't need to be anything heavy either. You could go for a walk or a light jog, just anything to get the blood pumping, increasing your concentration levels, releasing your stress and boosting your mood. 

Pamper session
You need time to yourself away from your work, seriously it's for your own sanity. I love to wind down after a long day of hard revision by either reading a book or my favourite magazine, taking a relaxing soak with a lush bath bomb and a face mask or sitting in bed watching YouTube videos with a mug of hot chocolate. Whatever it is you enjoy doing in your spare time, just ensure you give yourself a well deserved touch of relaxation in the evening. 

I hope that these tips helped you, you really do deserve a break after all that hard revision - try not to be so hard on yourself! If you're currently sitting your exams this month, I'm wishing you the best of luck - I'm sure you'll all smash it and get the grades that you deserve.  Just remember to stay focused, be confident in yourself, take some time to breathe and you'll be just be fine, I'm sure!
Until next time,

When does your summer break begin?!
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The Summer Dress Edit

Monday, May 16, 2016

In association with The Hut

The Hut offer a range of popular brands including Adidas, Hunter, Karl Lagerfeld and Michael Kors; offering everything you need from clothes to haircare to beauty. In today's post I've created a roundup of my favourite summer dresses from the site, dresses are simply perfect for all you lazy summer girls out there! Throw one on, adorn a few accessories and your outfit is complete, here are a few I am currently lusting after... 

1. MinkPink 'African Trance' swing dress £58.00 | here
Swing dresses can be so flattering and are definitely the most comfortable option if you plan to be spending your day eating a rather large meal. The African inspired print adds a tribal vibe to this piece, wear with a pair of brown ankle boots and if you're feeling extra daring layer with a leather jacket for a Western 'biker' edge. PS.. How pretty is the tassle detailing on the back?!

2. Vila strap dress £14.00 / here
In contrast with the previous dress, this simple piece can be dressed up or worn simply as it is for the perfect daytime or evening look. For some depth, add a belt around the waist or if there's a slight chill in the air pair with a cropped denim jacket for additional texture. Either way, you certainly won't run short of ideas on how to style and change up this beauty.

3. Vila spring strap dress £45.00 / here
Its pretty floral print makes this the perfect dress for the spring and summer season, the addition of the waist pleat flatters those with an hourglass figure; accentuating and drawing attention to the waistline. Pair with nude sandals and a waterfall cardigan for a relaxed yet feminine look.

4. Carhartt denim shirt dress £65.00 / here
This light wash cotton dress makes this the perfect lightweight dress for the summer. Channel your inner tomboy by pairing with Adidas superstars and a shirt tied around the waist. 

And because The Hut group are super generous, you can snag any of the above (or anything the site has to offer in fact!) with an extra 15% off your first order! Simply use the code NEWB15 at the checkout - happy spending!
Until next time,
Have you bought any new dresses recently?!

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Acne Busting Products

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Now nearing the age of 20, I had hoped that my acne would have faded. My mum would always tell me it was just a teenage thing. Naturally I was growing up, my hormones were rife and ultimately I just hoped that I would have 'grown out' of my acne by now. Since being around the age of 12, I cannot remember what it feels like to have clear skin. I've always envied those girls who had a smooth makeup application, no bumps across their chin or forehead. Although my acne has never completely disappeared there are some products which do help to soothe any redness and maintain my acne to a minimum. Over the years I've tried countless products but I've realised the less I use the better. More products leads to blocked up pores and therefore more spots. Never a good idea. 

A skincare brand which I've always been able to trust growing up is Simple. The kind to skin moisturising face wash does exactly what it says on the tin. Leaves my skin feeling super soft and refreshed and as the brand prides itself on using no nasty chemicals within its products, this face wash helps to soothe my acne without feeling harsh on my sensitive skin. On days when I'm in need of a pamper and some serious skin tlc, I always reach for a good 'ole Lush face mask and this one in Mask of Magnaminty is an absolute dream. Not only is this self preserving (aka it lasts longer and doesn't need to be kept in the fridge!) this mask can also be used on both face and body, helping to combat against both back and face acne. Although I typically have oily to combination skin it has been on the drier side recently which is what I love so much about Lush face masks. They leave my skin feeling super soft afterwards and I can almost instantly see my blemishes have reduced both in size and in terms of redness. For a quick pick me up once a week this mask is perfect, I also find its minty fragrance to be super refreshing too! An overnight mask favourite of mine has to be Sudocrem as not only does this add moisture to my skin but it works wonders with reducing any visible redness to my blemishes. Whenever I apply this I always see a clear reduction in blemishes the following morning. A recent addition to my skincare routine has been the Derma Group acne ultra clear moisturising cream*. I have been applying this twice a day each day for the past month as my current moisturiser and to see results in the fairest possible way I haven't been applying any spot treatments overnight in addition to this moisturiser. This blends seamlessly into my skin and unlike most spot treatments which contribute to dry patches across the skin whilst drying out the spots, the acne ultra clear features all natural, non-greasy ingredients for a smooth and soft finish. Featuring beeswax and coconut oil to unclog pores, maintain the skin's natural moisture and provide a silky soft finish. After using this for the past month, although my acne hasn't cleared up there has been definite improvements in the size of my blemishes. The product does contain a mild aroma so if you aren't too keen on scented moisturisers then this may not be for you, this is something you can usually seem to expect with all natural ingredient based products. The team have kindly offered my readers 10% off the acne ultra clear which you can claim here
Moving onto beauty, although most people will advise that make-up isn't the best thing to be wearing when you're suffering with acne, for me personally it helps to boost my confidence and additionally dries out blemishes which ultimately contributes to them reducing in both size and redness. There are some beauty products however which are designed to contribute to fighting acne. The Dusty Girls Earth Cream, featuring nigella sativa oil and manuka tree leaf oil both known for their healing and restoring abilities. To see how the product applies to the skin you can read my full review here. Lastly, the Lush Jackie Oates colour supplement contains shea butter, honey and aloe vera to help hydrate and even out the skin tone. For a lightweight yet glowing coverage these two bases are definitely needed in any girl's makeup collection. 

I'm always on the lookout for new skincare products so please leave any recommendations for holy grails or products you're currently loving in the comments below! I've heard a lot of good things about facial mists recently, if you've ever tried one - Are they worth it?
Until next time,

What are your favourite products for fighting acne?

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Don't forget you can claim your free 10% off the acne ultra clear moisturising cream here

A Day By Blackpool Pier

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

During my short break from blogging, I visited Blackpool pier for the day to take some photographs for a university assignment which I thought I'd share with you all today to see a little taste of what I have been up too this past month. I had the worst luck in the world on this day. Well, for the morning I did at least anyway. My train was delayed by an hour and then once we arrived it became overcast and began to rain. Thankfully, by the day end of the day it brightened up and I was able to produce the photos I needed for my assignment, it almost looks as though I went on two different days haha! 

I opted to wear a pair of navy harem trousers from ASOS which are seriously the most comfortable things ever. Honestly, it feels as though I'm wearing my pyjamas outside yet it's acceptable and even fashionable. I'd seriously recommend snapping a pair of these up or something similar for travelling because they are ridiculously comfortable. I'm definitely on the lookout for a black pair this summer! Accompanied with a simple Topshop crop top with the prettiest lace black trim, Topshop snake print sneakers and my current new obsession; the prettiest floral bomber jacket from Zara. These are all items I purchased a while ago and so unfortunately I'm unable to link any of the above products. I've left some alternative suggestions below however.

Of course, I spent the day stuffing my face with the usual British tradition of fish and chips and the biggest ice cream I think I have ever seen. It was genuinely bigger than my head hahahaha! 

I've never shared a lifestyle day trip styled post before and so if this is something you enjoy reading and would like to see more of on my blog then please let me know in the comments below! Photography is one of my biggest passions and featuring a photographic travel section on my blog from now on is definitely something I am considering starting up! 
Until next time,

Have you travelled anywhere recently? Share your 2016 travel stories in the comments below!
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The Vegan Friendly Cruelty Free Brand You NEED To Try

Monday, May 9, 2016

Founded by MooGoo Skincare Australia, Dusty Girls beauty uses only naturally derived ingredients to produce products which are both vegan friendly and cruelty free. The brand became inspired to create a cosmetics line driven by nature after analysing how our skin adapts and changes in the countryside. The result? Slightly dusty yet natural and glowing. Catering additionally for those with sensitive skin and acne prone skin, this range is a must have for all beauty lovers out there.

Earth Cream* - £11
Tired of using heavy based beauty products to conceal your acne? Tired of your pores becoming clogged with the oils and perfumes featured in most generic beauty products? Then look no further than the Dusty Girls Earth Cream. Priced at just £11 for 50ml, this provides the skin with a medium coverage, a natural looking glow. Think the 'your skin but better' look. To help fight against acne, this beauty features Nigella Sativa Oil and Manuka Tree Leaf Oil which are known for their healing and repairing abilities. Additionally, Magnolia Acuminata Extract and Chaulmoogra Tree Seed Oil help to soothe the skin, providing an additional layer of moisturising goodness. 

Natural Mineral Blush in 'Pink Ladies'* - £15
Featuring Natural Vitamin E for an increased staying power, this product further uses a blend of natural micas rather than the synthetic dyes used by other companies to create a flushing pigment which is also safe on the skin. Further moisturising ingredients include Jojoba and Macadamia Oil, therefore unlike other powder blushes pink ladies does not cling to or worsen any dry patches on the skin. The product also features gold, light reflecting pigments to further highlight the skin. For a pretty flush of colour the team reckons you won't be embarrassed about, this blush is one for you. 

Natural Mineral Eye Shadow* - £9.50 (Shades: 'Going Buff' / 'Paper Bark')
Opting for the two lighter shades in the collection of four, I created a golden burnt orange eye with a touch of brown on the lower lash line for a touch of added definition. The eyeshadows were surprisingly so much more pigmented than I ever imagined they would be, blending together seamlessly for a smooth and easy application. (I did apply the MAC paintpot in 'painterly' to prime my eyes before shadow application) Likewise with the blushes, the eyeshadows also include Jojoba and Macadamia Oil to moisturise and smoothen the skin, resulting in a much easier application.

Natural Vegan Lipstick* - £9.50 (Shades: 'Maca Nude' / 'Chia Seeds')
Dusty Girls promise:  

"To ensure that our Vegan Lipsticks are completely natural and edible, we steer clear of lead and coal tar derived colours along with parabens and synthetics dyes, which are commonly used in commercial lipsticks, and can be damaging to our bodies and also cause irritation."

The lipsticks additionally use Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to provide moisture and allows the product to glide smoothly across the lips. For the above look I opted to use the shade 'Maca Nude' a medium brown toned nude, creating the appearance of naturally fuller looking lips. This one has miss Kylie Jenner written all over it. For swatches of both shades please see below.

Argyle Pink Natural Mineral Lip Shine* - £9.50
I am unfortunately prone to very dry lips but I can honestly say this is the softest lip product I have ever used. It glides across the lips effortlessly for a pretty pink shine which lasts. My lips are quite medium pink toned naturally and so the soft pink shade to this product just helps to add a natural boost of colour to my lips. Unlike other commercial beauty branded lip products, Dusty Girls do not feature carmine (boiled beetle wings) within their lip shines, instead the brand use natural micas for a longer lasting finish as well as a clear conscience! 

Products featured within the above look:
- Benefit Stay Flawless 15 hour primer
- Smashbox Photofinish under eye primer
- MAC paintpot in Painterly
- Dusty Girls natural mineral eyeshadow (Going buff/Paper Bark)
- Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette (Shadows 1 and 4)
- Urban Decay eyeliner in 'Stag'
- Benefit They're Real tinted mascara primer
- NYX colour mascara in 'Brown'
- Dusty Girls Earth Cream
- Collection Lasting Perfection concealer
- NARS stick concealer in 'Chantilly'
- MAC brow gel creme in 'Deep Dark Brunette'
- Maybelline Brow Drama in 'Dark Brown'
- Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot powder
- Dusty Girls natural mineral blush in 'Pink Ladies'
- Dusty Girls vegan lipstick in 'Maca Nude'
- MAC Mineralise Skin Finish in 'Soft&Gentle' 

Have you ever tried anything from the Dusty Girls range before?! 
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DISCLAIMER: Products marked with an asterisk (*) have been sent to me for review. All opinions however are my own. 

Why It's Okay To Take A Break

Friday, May 6, 2016

Wow, well where shall I begin? It has been that long since I've been able to sit down and write up a blog post that it feels as though I've forgotten how! The past month has been crazy busy, with my first year of university coming to an end I've been overloaded with assignments and exam revision galore. But I buckled down, attempted to smile my way through it and now I'm out on the other side with an amazing five months of summer to look forward too. I am beyond excited to start sharing more content with you all, I've not decided how many times I'll be posting each week yet but hopefully at least three for definite. I have a lot of exciting things coming up with a few very special brands so I can't wait to start sharing some work in progress with you all. 

To begin my blogging journey again, I felt it only seemed fitting to share my thoughts on why it's okay to take a break. Whether that be from blogging, social media, revision, absolutely anything! We all deserve to savour a little me time each week and sometimes everything begins to pile on top of us and before we know it it's all too much to handle everything and something just needs to be dropped. For me, blogging is usually what needs to take a backseat when it comes to revision season and for such a long time I felt guilty. I felt as though I was letting my readers down, I was letting down any brands that I've had to delay posts for and I was letting myself down for not being able to stay on top of it all. But eventually I was able to come to the conclusion that it was and it is okay to take a break.

The return to blogging after a break is honestly the most refreshing and exciting feeling. Even if you're not struggling with your workload but are feeling a bit demotivated and uninspired to blog then I'd highly recommend taking a break. I can guarantee you that giving yourself space from the situation will help to reignite the reason behind why you started to blog in the first place; because you love writing and sharing your views with the world. I always feel 10x more inspired after a break and my head becomes filled with so many new post ideas. At first I felt guilty but now I've regained a new found motivation for my blog and over the course of the next five months I really want to try and take Clarke Couture to more of a professional level. My future ambition is to become a fashion and beauty journalist so I think you'll be seeing some changes with Clarke Couture in the upcoming months as I rediscover my voice and style again. My first year of university has really opened up my eyes to a lot of new areas of the fashion industry, (I'm studying International Fashion Promotion incase you were wondering!) having the chance to be an editor of a fashion magazine was also such an exciting eyeopener to the industry I hope to become a part of! I've been able to develop so many newfound skills which I cannot wait to start putting into practice with Clarke Couture. Shortly before my break I reached 50,000 page views which for me is simply mind-blowing in just 18 months. My blog shall reach 2 years old on July 7th so I cannot wait to see what is next in store until then. 

The moral of this post is that it's okay to take some time out for yourself and you really have nothing to feel guilty about. If anything a break should help you revisit your task with a clearer focus, mindset and therefore you will be able to produce content you're actually proud of. I told myself I could have carried on blogging during revision season but there's no way I would have been proud of the content I was uploading. I would not have been able to put 100% of my effort into my posts so I'd rather produce nothing than something which was only produced half heartedly. 

Thank you so much for understanding my reasons behind taking such a long break and if you've made it this far through reading this post then you deserve an even bigger well done haha! So here's to the next 50,000 page views, the next 2 years of Clarke Couture and here's to summer twenty sixteen. Watch this space.

Until next time,

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