So.. This Is Adulthood?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

So apparently I'm now 21. From what I've heard, adulthood begins now.

Last Saturday I turned 21. I know right, baby face me is all grown up. (Supposedly) I spent my birthday celebrations partaking in brunch, shopping, cocktails, pizza.. more cocktails. Did I say cocktails? And of course, stuffing my face with cake. There truly is nothing better than birthday cake for breakfast, amirite?! But continuing with the point of today’s post, we’re discussing life lessons and the pressure of ‘adulting’ too soon.

Aged 15 and the thought of turning ‘21’ seemed so old. Now finally reaching the golden age, the scary thought that ‘life begins now’ has fully kicked in. Growing up in the 21st century there’s so much pressure to have your life planned out by the age of 16. Should I be concerned that at age 21 I still don’t fully know where mine is headed? I’ve changed my mind about the career direction I see myself in more times than a monkey peels a banana. The continuing expectations of young people to grow up quicker and quicker.. well it’s no wonder that children don’t particularly act like children anymore.

Although a supposed fully fledged ‘adult’ right now, despite not feeling it; when reflecting on the past 21 years, there’s a thing or two I wish someone had told me along the way. If you’re reading this under the age of 21 and have no idea where your career/life is headed (Or like me, you’re still clueless), here’s 

21 little life lessons I wish I could tell my younger self:

1. Don’t be envious or concerned by those considered ‘popular’. None of that matters past high school.

2. You will spend a lot of time trying to fit in but ironically, being successful is all about making yourself stand out.

3. It’s okay to not have your life all planned out. I still don’t - You’ll (We’ll) figure it out in the end.

4. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t dwell on things you can’t change.

5. No dream is too big.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Step out of your comfort zone, you’ll find yourself becoming more confident.

7. Live with an open mind.

8. Embrace your mistakes, reflect on them positively; they are made to teach us a lesson.

9. Live by the three R's; Research, Reflect, Refresh. To progress you must learn, research within a job field/company is key. Back to point number eight, reflect on your mistakes to learn where you have gone wrong with things previously. Refresh; don't work yourself too hard. Always ensure you leave time aside for yourself, you need to refresh your mind.

10. Don't invest your time into toxic relationships.

11. Don't let the fear of looking 'stupid' hold you back from having fun.

12. Be open to trying new things, you never know where it might take you.

13. You're going to change a lot, and that's okay. Remember you're discovering yourself, not losing yourself.

14. It's a sad truth that most friendships aren't built to last forever. Those that are there for you during your darkest moments, value them.

15. Always have a plan B. And if that fails? Plan C.

16. Don't get yourself so worked up over exams. Despite what your teachers tell you, failing isn't the end of the world. Just try your best, you can't be good at everything.

17. Pursue your passions, no matter how unrealistic they seem. You don't know what the future holds until you try.

18. Never stop learning. To play an instrument, improve your photography or speak a new language; the more skills you have, the better.

19. They say your teenage years are the best years of your life. Make the most of being young before the 'adulting' actually begins.

20. Growing up is all about ballin' on a budget. You might want something but do you actually need it? Prioritise your spending.
Although sometimes...

21. Life's short, buy the t-shirt.

What do you wish you had known growing up? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,

Budgeting At The Most Expensive Time of Year

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas. Carols, cookies, cards, candy canes.
You know that other 'c' word that usually comes to mind? Cash.

Christmas. As delightful a time of the year as it can be, it's also the most expensive time of the year for many. When you've got shopping lists as long as a roll of wrapping paper, how can you possibly budget? If you're able to get on top of that list sooner rather than later, you'll be able to set yourself up for a more wallet friendly season. And with just three weeks to go, the countdown is officially on...

Workout your inevitable payouts. What bills do you have coming out of the bank each month? Then filter it down between those that are due out prior to Christmas and then those afterwards. It's important to remember not to leave yourself short for cash once the big day is over, depending on when your payday falls. This should help you to workout how much disposable income you have to 'play' with. Once you have this number, it's time to filter it down further.

The festive season isn't called 'festive' for no reason, it's of course filled with festivities. Got a friend's birthday coming up? (Mine is of course in 2 weeks, you know.. just incase you've forgotten my present but I'm sure you haven't) A trip to your local Christmas markets planned? Or of course the biggest Christmas party of them all; your works do. Whether you're old school or new school, get out your diary or the calendar on your phone and pencil in all of those important key dates. From this you can then plan a rough idea on how much 'social income' you are going to need. Take into consideration taxi fares, food, drinks and all that jazz.

Hopefully you should now have a rough outline on how much budget you have spare to purchase all of those presents. I'm a big believer in it truly is the thought that counts and usually buying (or even making) someone something a little more personal is more likely to spread that festive cheer rather than buying a gift just because it was expensive. Ever heard the phrase 'cheap and cheerful'?

And now for the old fashioned part, make a list. Whether it's your mum, auntie Jean or cousin Dave, create a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for. Stay organised and avoid the awkward death stare over the turkey from cousin Dave you forgot about. Oops.

What do you do to stay organised during the festive season? Share your tips in the comments below! And if your Christmas shopping is already complete *claps* for you - you're more prepared than Santa himself!

Until next time,

Call Me M.I.A

Monday, November 27, 2017

I've been M.I.A that long I may as well change my name to Mia.

Oh wow, it has been a loooooooong time no blog. So much so it's to the point that despite now working within the social media sector, sitting down and working on my own social platforms feels 'strange'. I've been M.I.A that long I may as well change my name to Mia.

So why did I take such a long break? I did think of returning, many times I have sat back at my desk and drafted a list of post ideas but nothing felt right. My inspiration just suddenly wasn't there anymore. A lot happened this year. A hell of a lot. And unfortunately my blog just became pushed to the back of my mind until it felt completely forgotten about. I haven't even tweeted in months, I was lucky to be posting on my Instagram twice a month. I didn't just drop my blog, my entire social media presence just became ghost like.

I've been through many big changes this year which has lead to me somewhat finding myself. I began this blog aged just seventeen with a completely different outlook on the world. Now nearing the age of twenty-one, I have inevitably changed. My style has changed. My opinions have changed. My writing style I like to think has remained mostly the same. I'm still me, I'm just a more solid version of myself. I feel a lot more sure of the way I want to portray myself online, the content I want to produce and the direction I want to take this blog towards as we move into 2018. (New Year's Resolution: Complete the year without a break!) 

For those of you new to Clarke Couture, I'm Toni. An aspiring fashion journalist, a self confessed shopaholic and if you put me into a room with cats, coffee and chocolate I will be eternally happy. Expect to see rants (aka my attempts on giving advice when fuelled by coffee), travel, style and much, much more! In terms a posting schedule, my aim is to typically begin with one post a week each Monday then potentially expand to two on either a Friday/Saturday. But for now, baby steps it is.

And so, until next time...

The Ultimate Holiday Check List

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer is FINALLY here (well, this British weather currently says otherwise) and that can only mean one thing... Holidays!! This weekend I fly off to the beautiful Canary Islands and so whilst I've been planning what to take away with me I thought I would share with you a guys a list of my ultimate summer holiday travel essentials. 

As I've a lot to get through, we'll split this up into categories shall we?! 

When I think of summer beauty, the goal is always to get that sun kissed glow whilst still keeping your makeup regime as minimal as possible. Nobody likes the feeling of three layers of sticky foundation melting off of your face on a hot day. 

And so my first summer makeup essential has to be a good primer. 
The Benefit That Gal with its tinted pink formula preps your skin for foundation due to its core ingredients soothing raspberry and camomile extract; providing a refreshed, brightened and moisturised finish to the skin. If you would rather not use a primer, an alternative I love to use is an illuminator. This can then also be doubled up as a highlighter on top of your foundation for an added glow up. My personal favourite is the NARS Copacabana. When it comes to foundation in the summer I'm more of a BB cream gal. I love a light base that still provides me with some coverage and glow but not too much to the point where my skin feels sticky in the heat. The Maybelline Dream range now comes in 2 types; Dream Bronze and Dream Fresh. Dream Bronze gives the illusion of the most amazing sun kissed tan to the skin (even for pale girls like me!), whereas the Dream Fresh adds a really natural dewy finish to the skin which when paired with the That Gal primer makes ya gal look lit! The Dream range also features an SPF of 25 which is definitely important if you are going to be laying around in the sun all day.

Continuing with the effortless look, as a gal with quite full looking brows naturally on holiday I love just going over them with a brow gel for a natural, feathered look. Benefit have the best brow range with a product to suit practically every possible brow need. For beginners and those looking to create a quick and easy brow look the Goof Poof brow pencil, and as the name suggests it really is 'goof' proof! Use the pencil to gently fill in any sparse areas of your brow following in the direction of your brow hairs for a natural yet fuller looking brow. Perfect for those lazy holiday days. And if a bold brow is more your thing, Ka-Brow is perfect for travelling with its built in brush feature. The formula itself is smooth and creamy, providing application with ease. To finish, use Gimme Brow to ensure those hairs stay in place throughout the entire day. 

Going back to sticky, melted makeup once again; false lashes are definitely not my thing in the heat. When you find a mascara that works for you it really does elevate your makeup to the next level for the day. To ensure that your lashes do not droop in the heat during the day make sure you pack a lash primer, these are the perfect holiday beauty essential as they can be worn alone on days when you aren't feeling in the mood for makeup but still want to look like you somewhat made an effort. 
When it comes to bronzer, as much as I love my matte powders; in the summer I'm actually all for more of a liquid formula to further enhance that dewy, glowy look that I'm aiming for. My favourite bronzing range is definitely the Benefit Hoola, I'm dying to get my hands on the quickie contour stick! Have you tried this? Or is there a cream contour that you just cannot live without? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below! Or you can message me on my social channels (@clarkecouture on both Instagram and Twitter) - Holla!

*Disclaimer: This is not sponsored by Benefit Cosmetics (I wish!), I just love everything that they do!

My final beauty essentials have got to be a setting spray; after spending all that time applying your makeup, you want to make sure that it lasts all day. The Urban Decay All Nighter is my personal favourite and it's available for just £10 in a travel friendly size, perfect your next summer holiday. Another must have to prevent your makeup sliding off in the heat are blotting sheets, these work wonders for my oily t-zone in the sun. Simply dab (not literally, please) onto your skin and voila - Shine be gone! And last but not certainly not least a good moisturising lip balm. My lips are extremely prone to dryness, not so bad in the summer as it is in the winter but nonetheless I cannot be anywhere without a lip balm in my pocket. My personal favourites are the Lush Honey Trap and Malin&Goetz, everyone raves about the Sugar Fresh lip treatments but I am still yet to try them - Are they worth the hype? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Cleanser/Face wash
  • Hand cream
  • Moisturiser - Face/Body
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorants
  • Female Hygiene
  • Sun screen/after sun
  • Blotting sheets
  • Shower gel
  • Razor
  • Tweezers
  • Hair products - Shampoo/Conditioner etc
  • Lip scrub/balm
  • Hair brush/ties
  • Makeup products = *TOP TIP - Go through your makeup routine step by step in order, this will help you to ensure you don't forget anything in a rush on the day. 
  • Plasters
  • Hair dryer (if you're apartment doesn't have one)
  • Hair straighteners 

Easy, breezy, comfy yet cute. That's how I would describe my holiday style in just 3 words. We British are quite funny when it comes to our holiday habits. We spend weeks prior to jetting off being ever so concerned about our diets, putting in that extra bit of exercise in an attempt to gain that 'beach ready' bikini body. But when we've finally landed we seem to spend most of our holiday consuming our weight in our both food and cocktails. And that's why my favourite holiday fashion essential hands down has to be the playsuit. It can be dressed both up or down making it the perfect transitional piece from day to night, from the lunch table to the dance floor. When it comes to playsuits I usually like to buy a size up for that added bit of comfort when I'm eating out; gotta make room for bloating right?! 

Easy outfit option number 2 - The dress. Just like the playsuit it's one and done and what makes this even better than the playsuit is the endless styles and choices that you have to browse from. There's the slip dress, the skater dress, the body con... The list is endless. I've been in love with the bardot/frill style recently and have just purchased the prettiest little number from H&M which I can't wait to share with you. Make sure you're following me on Instagram to check out the full extent of my holiday wardrobe @clarkecouture 

And if you aren't one for having your legs on display then the jogging trouser is the option for you. With a drawstring waistband for ensured comfort when eating out yet with a tailored fit, this is the fashionable 'sweatpant yet not quite a sweatpant' which you need in your life. Add sandals and a cute crop tee and you are good to go! I also do not know what it is but bikinis are 10x more comfortable than wearing a bra, so pack plenty! 

*TOP PACKING TIP! Roll your clothing rather than folding it to make more room in your suitcase!!

  • Swimwear
  • Nightwear
  • Underwear - Bring spare sets!
  • Socks - Bring spare!
  • Bras/bralettes
  • Bed socks/slippers
  • Playsuits
  • Trousers/Pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Shorts
  • Tops - Shirts/crop tees/vests
  • Sandals
  • Trainers
  • Small heels 
  • Cardigan/Light jacket
  • Day bag
  • Beach towel
  • Accessories = Watch/rings/necklaces/earrings etc

Plane Essentials
I have only ever been on a plane twice in my life. A trip to and from Barcelona in September last year, and you can read all about that experience here. In all honesty, as much as I love the end destination; I hate planes. I find the entire experience makes me feel both anxious and nauseous from the nerves. And so to make the experience as relaxing as possible for me, these are my ultimate must haves to help survive the journey:
  • Sweets. God damn I experience the most painful popping of the ears due to the cabin pressure. If you're like me then I'd definitely recommend having a bag of hard boiled sweets with you to suck on, yawning helps too. 
  • Snacks in general. Food is good, yanno. 
  • A travel pillow. If you're flying long haul or during the early hours and you're able to fall asleep on public transport (which will ultimately make the journey seem 10x faster) then I'd highly recommend a travel pillow, after all you don't want to be suffering with a neck strain!
  • Entertainment. Whether you're a book/magazine reader, a gamer or a music lover; make sure you have some form of entertainment with you to help the time pass by. I definitely need to get cracking on with my plane playlist. 
  • A portable charger is a MUST if you like to play apps/listen to music to pass the time.
  • Sunglasses.. Well all the celebs do it. If you land during the daytime these will help to protect your eyes from the sun upon arrival. What's your #airportstyle?! For me it has to be joggers, a crop tee, flat shoes and a baseball cap. Share your typical travel attire in the comments below! (Or tweet me @clarkecouture with #airportstyle) 

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass/flight tickets
  • Phone
  • Lip balm
  • Sweets/snacks
  • Chewing Gum
  • Water
  • Purse - Cash/credit cards etc
  • Portable charger
  • Compact camera - Incase you want to vlog!
  • Memory card for camera
  • Reading material
  • Earphones
  • Comfy hoody
  • Tissues
  • Prescribed medication

  • Camera charger
  • Camera batteries
  • Phone charger
  • Memory card
  • Polaroid camera (+film)
  • Pool drinks holder
  • Plug adaptors 
  • Umbrella - Because you just never know!
  • Keys for home 

And so I think that covers just about everything! Did I miss anything out? Let me know your holiday must haves in the comments below. Until next time,

The Reality Of Being A Fashion Marketing Student

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For those of you that don't already know, I have just completed the end of my second year as a fashion marketing student. As a bit of background on me, to begin with fashion was never actually the job I originally saw myself in. Growing up I always wanted to be an actress. Long story short, it's a very competitive and very expensive industry and I certainly didn't have the talent for that. One thing I always enjoyed however, was writing. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm some gifted writer; far from it. But as far as my 'talents' go, writing is something I've always felt somewhat 'good' at. Anyone that ever read a piece of my work would always tell me they could tell it was written by me, that my work always had that trademark 'Toni stamp' to it. 

When it came to applying for universities I was then encouraged by my english teacher to set up a blog. I loved to write (I still do!) and so this seemed like the next obvious step. But I was still lost with what my niche was. What did I want to write about? I began researching journalism courses but writing about the news/media or politics just wasn't something that really interested me. After having a sit down chat with my mum (mother's truly do know best right?!) she made me see just how much of an interest I had for fashion. 

From a young age I always enjoyed walking around a clothing store, admiring the beauty of each delicate piece of embroidery, examining each ruffled hem and also admittedly looking puzzled by the newest fad trend. As a naive 17 year old I certainly had an opinion on what I liked and what I didn't like. I looked forward each month to treating myself to the latest editions of Vogue and Elle and gazing through clothes which I could only ever dream of affording. And then that's when it hit me what I wanted to study. I wanted to be a fashion journalist. 

I explored various university courses undertaking fashion journalism but in the end decided to choose something slightly more broad in the name of 'International Fashion Promotion'. I've always enjoyed having more than one career path open to me and this course has allowed me to open doors into the worlds of not only journalism but marketing, merchandising and buying too. So for those of you thinking of studying a fashion marketing degree, this is the reality of what it's really like. 

Of course there are set stereotypes of fashion students. Just as there are with science and maths students. And not all stereotypes are proven to be true, these impressions are just things I have experienced throughout my personal time as a fashion student. It may be completely different on other courses. And so now that disclaimer is out of the way, what is it really like to be a fashion marketing student...

Outfit Details: - Top; Topshop (old - similar below), Jacket; Stradivarius (old - similar below), Jeans; George (old - similar below)

What you wear doesn't matter... yet you still feel judged
When people know I study fashion it makes me feel like they automatically instantly judge me for my sense of style. You feel like you are expected to be 'on trend' and to look 'stylish' at all times. During the first year of my course I always felt conscious each morning to present myself in a well dressed and stylish manner. I used to think to myself "I'm a fashion student, the whole point is to look fashionable. I can't possibly turn up to a lecture in leggings and a hoody." But by second year I finally realised that the only person who cares is me. Students work hard enough on their assignments, why should we work hard on our attire? A bit of coffee and concealer scrubs me up well enough. 

The fear of being an outfit repeater
"Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater!" Anyone else love this movie as a kid?! Hilary Duff alongside the Olsen twins were my childhood queens. Swiftly moving on... Although what you wear doesn't matter, (We're all stylish, creative and unique huns here) I can't help but still feel conscious that if I wore something a week ago, I can't wear it again this week as people might remember I wore it last week and think I don't have an extensive enough wardrobe. And when there's girls walking around with Vuitton bags and McQueen leather jackets the least I can do is have an extensive high street wardrobe.

 Trying to explain what exactly it is that you study and people just never understand...
"So what is it you study?" "Fashion promotion" "Fashion, oh so you design clothes? Cool" "No, I create campaigns for brands. It's more like fashion advertising" "Oh so you're in the media industry?" And that's the point when I just give up and pretend I design clothes. It isn't easy to explain exactly what it is I do when you're on a course as broad mine. One moment you're working on a project as a media industry producing a campaign for a brand and then the next you're studying cost sheets and how much it costs to purchase materials to make and import a garment. 

There are never enough hours in the day to be in the know of fashion news
I wasn't too sure what exactly it was that I expected that I would be studying. In all honesty I didn't really have a clue. I assumed it would be mainly learning about the goings on in the fashion industry each day. And the first couple months of my course did involve this. We were set individual research to discover an interesting piece of fashion news to share with the class each week. But gradually this dwindled and the research is left down to yourself. Which in the real job world makes sense, there won't be any lecturers to keep me in the loop of what's going on. But sometimes it can feel like for a fashion student, I'm not learning all too much about 'fashion'. 

The students that took fashion thinking it would be an 'easy' subject...
...Or simply because they 'like shopping'. The fashion industry is brutal, be prepared to put the work in and if you have the passion, you'll do well.

Marketing has opened so many doors for me, far more than I ever thought it would. Before I studied fashion promotion I never had considered another career in this industry besides journalism, whereas now I am about to begin a new job as a fashion social media executive. There are definitely many clichés and stereotypes when it comes to studying fashion. But this course has also brought with it many surprises as I've learnt things about myself that I never knew I would enjoy. I originally only wanted to write about campaigns but I've since discovered that actually creating them is so much fun. It's hard work but the end result is SO worth it. And who knew that learning about the laws of a fashion business would be so interesting?! 

So to those of you thinking of a career in fashion, it's tough. You're going to experience disappointment and knock backs. But if you have the 'passion for fashion' (cliché, I know...), a backbone and a creative flair then this could be the industry for you. With technology forever evolving and trends evolving even more I can't wait to see which jobs are available in this industry in the next 10 years which don't even exist now. 

And to conclude, this post was just a little bit of fun and isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Everyone has different experiences and these thoughts are purely based on my own observations as a fashion student. Every course is different, every university is different. Have you been able to relate to anything that I've listed above? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

What do you study at university?!
Until next time queens xo

Let's Talk Confidence | Job Interviews

Monday, June 5, 2017

Happy Monday and welcome to a new series on my blog, 'Let's Talk Confidence'. A monthly feature which will be shared on the first Monday of each month. Known as the dullest day of the week, often associated with the phrases 'Monday Blues', I wanted to boost your Monday vibes and your month by sharing with you some confidence tips surrounding different topics. And in today's very first instalment, it's all about job interviews. 

Job hunting has never been a fun or easy experience for me. In fact, I've only ever worked for free; being paid in experience rather than in cash. For the past seven months I've had the most incredible time interning for festival cosmetics company 'The Gypsy Shrine'. Those girls are some of the most down to earth, kind and caring people that you will ever meet, and the experience that the boss babe behind it all 'Jenna' has provided me with, I cannot even put into words how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity. Six months later and I've been feeling like it's time to take this experience to the next step, by trying to push myself into a paid career where I can challenge myself and develop my skill set even further. (FYI: I'm still studying at uni and therefore looking for a placement year role in the fashion/social media marketing community) 

And of course, the only thing standing in my way of this were job interviews. No matter what job it's for or how many interviews you have experienced in your time, interviews are a big deal. The thought of them can be intimidating and the lead up to the big day can be a very nerve-wracking experience. So what can you do to battle your nerves and show an employer that you are the right person for the job?

Research, research, research!
I cannot tell you enough how important it is to do your research. Read company reports, stalk their social media, be in the know of the latest events and news interest within that industry. You are going to feel 10000% more confident if you know your subject. A brand/company wants to hire someone that has a clear interest and passion for the company/role and the more you research, the more interested you will seem. And if you truly are interested in the role then the research will actually seem quite fun. 

Once you've done your research on the company itself, try and prepare some basic interview answers to show the interviewer how your previous experience relates to the role you are applying for. I suffer with a serious case of mind block when I'm nervous and I lose all confidence in myself if I have no idea what I'm saying so this tip is a huge one for me!

Dress comfortably
It can be nice to buy something new for an interview but I personally cannot relax unless I am comfortable in what I am wearing. For instance, I know that every time I buy a pair of new shoes they always seem to rip my feet to shreds until I've walked them in, therefore sitting through an interview in new shoes and bleeding feet is not going to make me feel relaxed nor confident. 

The above outfit is something I wore to one of my recent interviews. Trousers and flat shoes to make me appear more formal whilst paired with a bomber jacket and a cute quote tee to express a touch of my personality. This particular job also happened to be within the sportswear industry and so I felt the bomber jacket reflected this perfectly. Dress for you but try and dress towards the formality of the role too. 

So you've done your research and you look the part but how else can you actually feel confident?
Tell yourself you can do it. It seems so silly but it seriously works. On the morning of your interview look in the mirror and say.. "I'm a boss and I've got this." Because you have. If you have done your research and prepared your answers (plus a couple questions of your own for the interviewer!) then the chances are that you HAVE got this. You just need to believe it. 

A pre-pamper night also works wonders to get yourself into the right mindset. My favourite way to unwind is with candles, a face mask and a bubble bathIf my makeup is looking terrible on the day of my interview this will usually knock my confidence, so I like to keep my skin at its best with a face mask and deep moisturiser the night before. When you're not relaxed it's 90% usually down to stress, and if you're stressed; you're not confident. Relax and take a deep breath, you made it this far, you secured yourself an interview! I have a very bad habit of overthinking and therefore not sleeping the night prior to an interview, thus a pamper evening is the best way for me to radiate those positive vibes whilst keeping yourself calm and confident on that dreaded night before. 

On the morning of your interview make sure you wake up in plenty of time to ease yourself into your morning and try somewhat to get yourself into an upbeat mood. Listen to music, have your coffee (or tea, if that's more your thing) and put on your sassiest lipstick and prettiest highlight as it's time glow up!

And some last minute advice? Go in there, be yourself, walk with pride and the confidence will follow. And remember, you got this! And if you don't get the job, don't be disheartened. Sometimes an opportunity might not just be for you, but the right one may be just around the corner.

How do you prepare for an interview?!

The Importance Of Investing Time For Yourself

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Bank Holiday weekend! How are you spending your extra day off from the working week? Bank Holiday's are always the perfect time to treat ourselves with some much needed 'me time' as a reward for all of our hard work. 

If you are a regular reader of mine, then you may have probably noticed that I have recently been on a blogging hiatus. As guilty as I felt about missing upload days, missing the opportunity to post seasonal content; everything had just become a little bit too much and I needed to step back away from it all for a while. You can find out more about my recent break in my last post here. Having time management skills and the ability to balance everything all at once is great. But sometimes you really just need some time away from it all, whether that be an hour, a day, a month, or even more. You just need to invest time for yourself. And here's why...

'Hobbies' and activities which we take up in our spare time are meant to be enjoyable, not stressful. Blogging for me was once a hobby. An output for me to share my thoughts on fashion and beauty with likeminded individuals. But eventually, that stopped. Long story short, I was essentially blogging on 2 additional platforms to Clarke Couture alongside my other work and university studies. Writing just wasn't fun for me anymore. It was tedious and any attempts I made were simply 'dull'. I was too drained to add my personality into my writing anymore. And now I've finished university for the summer, I have too much time on my hands. It's all about finding the balance and I love to keep myself busy but once again, there's a fine line between being 'busy' and being 'overwhelmed' by the amount of work you are taking on. 

Traditionally, Sunday's have always been viewed as a day of rest. But in the modern world, many people are working seven days a week with early starts, some with late finishes and feeling too tired by the end of it all to fit anything into their day. And as exciting as it is to be living in the modern age of technology, it has its drawbacks. 'FOMO' or the 'fear of missing out' plagues us modern millennials with feeling the need to be constantly checking our social media pages due to the fear of missing out on the next celebrity conspiracy theory or juicy piece of Twitter drama. Endlessly scrolling through our feeds both morning and night, we never truly have time for ourselves to just step back away from the world and immerse ourselves in a good book or a pamper session. 

Once a week, find a day to treat yourself as a reward for all of the hard work that you put in. If not for yourself, at least do it for your own sense of sanity. Whether you love flicking through your favourite magazine, browsing through the shops in town, treating yourself to a manicure or going all out with a pamper session at home; face mask, hair mask, bath bomb.. the works! We all deserve a little treat every once in a while. You work hard, you do deserve it. 

There's nothing I love more than an at home pamper session, even if it is just relaxing with a bath bomb for a good half an hour. Cliché but I am an absolute Lushie and for me nothing beats my weekly dose of Oatifix and immersing myself into another world with the Intergalactic bath bomb. Then getting into my cosiest dressing gown with a hot chocolate and flicking through the pages of the latest edition of Elle magazine. Heaven.

What's your favourite way to wind down?
Until next time queens xo

British 'Summertime' Blues

Monday, May 22, 2017

What happened to the sunshine?! This past week in Manchester the weather has been 95% gloomy af with frequent rain showers making it difficult to find the opportunity to shoot some snazzy outfit shots for what is meant to be the 'summer'. Oh how I love British weather. Thankfully the weather Gods spared us from the rain this Sunday meaning I could share with you all this cute little blue number I'm currently loving. Featuring my newest pair of shoes from Zara... how beautiful are they?! 

Outfit details
Jacket - Zara (old - similar below)
Top - Dorothy Perkins (below)
Jeans - George (old - similar below)
Shoes - Zara
Sunglasses - Quay Australia
Bag - Missguided (old - similar below)

This time of year is the most difficult to dress. The days begin cloudy (usually raining) and then by 4pm it has brightened up and the sun is in the sky. This outfit is perfect for those unpredictable weather days. Jeans (black of course because I am so summery) and a leather jacket to keep you warm if it rains, but can easily be switched up with sunnies and look summery with last year's staple bardot tee. Featuring the prettiest tie sleeve detailing. Effortless British summer dressing at its finest. 

As you can probably tell, I live for simple, comfort dressing. But who says simple can't be hella stylish?! Every single pair of new shoes I ever buy ALWAYS cut the back of my ankles to shreds. Even trainers. The struggle is real. And so when I came across this pair in Zara I instantly fell in love. With an open back made for comfortable wearing and the prettiest subtle fringing detail; I just had to have them. 

I spent my Sunday indulging in a lush af pub lunch. Nothing better than that on a Sunday, am I right?! 
What have you been up to this weekend? Share your activities in the comments below!
Until next time, 


Monday, May 15, 2017

My oh my, has it been a looooooong time since I last sat down at my computer and wrote a blog post. 2017 has so far been one of the most hectic years of my life. With university, a job and more recently moving house - This year has been mental to say the least. Blogging has had to take a back seat in my life for quite some time now but as I've now officially finished my university studies for the summer I FINALLY have some free time to kickstart my blog again and I couldn't be happier.

Outfit Details
Top, watch: Topshop (old)
Necklace: Debenhams (old)
Sunglasses: Quay Australia 'My Girl'

I never thought I would say this but there came a time when I actually began to 'hate' blogging. For those of you that don't know I'm a fashion student, fashion promotion to be exact and my coursework this year involved a lot of portfolio showcases and research. Research to be outlined in a blog, every week. Alongside this, I am currently undergoing an internship for The Gypsy Shrine, a promotions internship whereby roles involve writing content for the brand's blog. At first, I thought great. I love writing, I have a blog of my own anyway - Why not take on two more? But when it came to producing content for Clarke Couture, I just couldn't. The motivation and spark I once had for this little space was just suddenly burnt out. All of my time and energy went into both my job and university work that I just simply couldn't even face the idea of producing content for my own blog. And it wasn't just my blog that became affected. It was everything. I've taken the largest step back from social media recently. Last year I felt so consumed with my online image and I was obsessed with having the 'perfect' Instagram theme; guys I downloaded VSCO cam purely for the square gallery feature to organise the order I wanted my next images to be published in. We've all been there, admit it.

But then I attended a blog event. My first blog event, except I didn't attend as a blogger but as a worker for the glitter queens at The Gypsy Shrine. You can read more about the event in my previous blog post here. It was an interesting experience to be on the other side, rather than in the mindset of a blogger. But then I got speaking to the bloggers at the event and hearing their reasons for blogging and seeing that spark and joy they had just from simply speaking about their blogs, it was that same and spark and joy I used to gain from taking part in weekly blog chats on Twitter, and I suddenly felt re-inspired to relaunch my blog once again. 

So here I am, giving this whole blogging thing another go. I've wrote a complete plan of potential post ideas right through until July and I am beyond excited to share them with you all!! As Clarke Couture will be turning 3 this summer I can't wait to hopefully create some highlights to look back on over the next coming months. 

Have you ever struggled with finding the motivation to blog? How did you become inspired again? Share your tips in the comments below!
Until next time,


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

photo credit: llinos peters

I have been so unbelievably out of touch with the blogosphere this year but in just four weeks time I'll be finishing university for the summer and will be ready and raring to go with the blog posts again! But until then, I was able to quench my thirst for the blogging world by being fortunate enough to attend the Corky's Schnapps glitter event in collaboration with Selfie Sisters UK and the best company in the world which I am so so lucky to work for; The Gypsy Shrine! When my boss announced we would be attending a blog event this month I was beyond excited! I haven't even attended a blogging event as a blogger before so to be attending my first event alongside such a fantastic company was the best feeling in the world. 

Our role on the night was to ensure all you lovely blogging babes were glittered to the nines and had truly the most sparkly evening. It was so lovely to FINALLY meet and chat to some fellow Manchester bloggers - Shoutout to 'hiitskirstyy' for being super lovely and sharing my love for fashion and journalism! I was also sharing snaps to The Gypsy Shrine Instagram page all night which was super fun, the team also just hit 100k on there recently woohoo! Make sure you're following to check out more behind the scenes sparkly fun! 

Throughout the night we were fortunate enough to be entitled to free cocktails thanks to Corky's Schnapps to help promote their new range of glitter shots. I opted for the raspberry option and then decided to be a little more adventurous and combine both the mango and blueberry options together - it was lush! Each cocktail was also garnished with either a doughnut or sweets to add an extra cute little touch. We each recieved a goody bag at the end of the night featuring a full bottle of mango flavoured glitter schnapps and matching straws to create our own cocktail concoctions. Make sure you are following me on Instagram where I'll be sharing mine! And if glitter makeovers and glitter cocktails weren't enough, Selfie Sisters UK provided a stunning interactive photo booth mirror frame to capture and print memories from the night right on the spot. And to top it off, you were able to digitally sign your message to add that extra personalised touch. Cool right? Me and the girls couldn't get enough of the booth, many attempts were made to achieve that perfect 'blowing glitter kisses' photograph. 

Overall it was a night truly filled with sparkle. From the glitter makeovers courtesy of my dream team to the glitter cocktails and an A* photo booth experience, as my first ever blogging event it is one that I will be sure to treasure and remember for many years to come. 

Are you a fan of Corky's Schnapps? What's your favourite flavour? If you have any cocktail recipe suggestions be sure to share them in the comments below. 
Until next time,

Stay sparkly! 

10 Everyday Reasons To Smile

Monday, February 20, 2017

Loooooong time, no blog! I cannot believe that this is my first official post of 2017!

January was a super busy month for me - I had two HUGE university deadlines to meet and complete, alongside being pretty snowed under with my internship - If you're ever missing out on the Clarke Couture touch, head over to The Gypsy Shrine blog; the face and body cosmetics company specialising in all things glitter! I've been contributing to the blog and so if I'm ever lacking in content here, there's always another read from me ready and waiting over there! On the whole, January for me has been a month for detoxing and refreshing both my mind and body for the year ahead. I've kickstarted myself back to the gym and I've even gave my wardrobe a much needed clear out. I just made a Depop account where I will be sharing some stuff for sale, if you're interested in grabbing yourself some bargains you can check my shop out here.

In today's post, I've partnered up with the team at Sensodyne to share with you 10 every day reasons for you to smile and with Sensodyne's wide range of oral care, you will be looking for any and every excuse to show off your pearly whites. Ranging from 'daily care' to 'pronamel' protection, as the number one dentist recommended brand for acid wear; Sensodyne has your teeth's best interests at heart, with a product available to solve any and all sensitive issues. 

I personally have suffered with sensitive teeth for around a year now and it actually took me the longest time to realise just what was causing the issue. My teeth suffer with hot and cold sensitivity, therefore when an item of food is too hot or too cold this causes a pain in the root of my tooth to flare up. It doesn't even have to be food, sometimes moving from a cold environment to a hot environment can affect this too. 

The enamel is the white, mineral rich protective layer of our teeth that protects the dentine underneath. Although the enamel is in fact the hardest substance in the human body, it can be weakened over time and erode. This is caused through acid erosion from eating and drinking acidic foods such as fruit juice, fizzy drinks and even salad dressings! I am probably one of the biggest Ketchup fiends you will ever meet. I have it on near enough everything, my teeth however, are not thanking me for it. Yellow and dull enamel can be a sign of acid erosion as when the weakened enamel is worn away, the more yellow dentine layer underneath becomes more visible. 84% of UK dentists are currently seeing enamel erosion in adults on a weekly basis! Therefore it is SO important that we begin to look after our pearly whites properly because when I last checked, having yellow teeth has never been a turn on! 

Flouride helps to protect teeth from decay whilst also strengthening and re-hardening your tooth's enamel. Sensodyne Pronamel features an optimised fluoride formulation, delivering an increased fluoride update at your tooth's surface. This actively helps to strengthen acid softened enamel, making your teeth healthier, stronger and better protected against further effects of acid erosion.

I have spent the past month trialling the Sensodyne Pronamel range and I couldn't be happier with the effects it has had upon my teeth. My teeth feel much cleaner and fresher for longer and my sensitivity has improved SO much! I find less often now, that I am having to root around in my bag for chewing gum to help cope with those painful sensitive flares which plagued me at least once almost each day. 

The Pronamel range consists of the Pronamel toothbrush*, with its flexible gel pad that holds the brush bristles, providing a far more effective clean. Sometimes, brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel but with the Pronamel brush you are able to effectively clean in all of the hard to reach places whilst feeling assured that the microfine bristle ends are gentle on your tooth's enamel. 
The toothpaste* itself has a unique formulation which helps minerals penetrate deep into the enamel surface, actively strengthening the enamel whilst providing additional cavity protection. With its cleansing mint flavour, my teeth feel refreshed with a feeling which lasts for a good hour of my morning! Since using Pronamel my teeth have additionally whitened which has given me so much more confidence to laugh and smile more. I have always felt quite conscious of my teeth, I don't particularly feel like I suit smiling with my teeth on show but since using Sensodyne I am showing off my pearly whites every chance I get! 

Lastly, for a full clean the Pronamel mouthwash* works just like the toothpaste by helping to protect your teeth against decay and re-hardening the tooth's enamel. Using both products will help to further reinforce this protection, providing you with extra clean and healthy teeth. With its fresh mint taste, your teeth will be left feeling as white as they now look!

And now thanks to Sensodyne, I am always smiling.. And here's why you should be to:

  • Morning coffee (Or tea, if that's more your thing! There's nothing greater a big cup of coffee on a Monday morning to get me fuelled ahead for the day. 
  • Your job. Although those early mornings don't always appeal to us, even on the best of days, not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have access to a job or an education. I currently work for free but it's the experience that counts, it's invaluable and for that I am very grateful.
  • Friends and family. It's super soppy but I don't know where I would be without my friends and family. My friends help my long days at uni seem so much more bearable whilst my family have always been there to support me through both thick and thin.
  • 'Me time.' Whether it's doing my makeup in the morning or taking half an hour out of my day to do a face mask and read a magazine, being able to switch off from social media and have time to myself each day keeps me sane.
  • Morning texts. My phone is my daily morning newspaper I swear.
  • Music. I genuinely could not cope with my morning commute to uni without my earphones in. What's on your playlists at the moment?! Leave me some recommendations in the comments below!
  • Fitness. Whether it's a walk in the morning or a gym session, I always feel so much more refreshed and positive towards my day after cleansing my body with a good workout! 
  • Your senses. Nature and the world truly is a beautiful thing. To be able to wake up, go outside and see, smell, hear and touch the world around you truly is something special.
  • Simply making it through each day.
  • My pearly whites. And thanks to Sensodyne I'm confident enough to show them off each and every day!

To discover whether you have any signs of sensitive teeth, you can take the Sensodyne online check up test here. It's quick and does not require you to sign up to anything! The test will help to outline the triggers causing your sensitivity whilst providing some information on what may be the best toothpaste for you to be using.
Until next time,

What makes you smile each day?

DISCLAIMER: This post has been sponsored by Sensodyne UK. Any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been sent to me for review. All opinions however, are my own.

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