Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Life Update!

It's been a minute hasn't it? But to be honest, in the words of Kourtney Kardashian, I have just been out here living life! I've been on two little staycations with my family, I've been to a festival,  my friends have started turning the big 3-0 and I've got a BOYFRIEND! (*screams internally*)

I feel like I've had a massive shift in my mindset over the last 18 months, which is due to a combo of lockdown making me take a huge step back and start appreciating little things a lot more, meds (I didn't wanna get these for ages cos I thought I hated the thought of depending on a tablet for happiness and that the day I forgot to take it then my life would crash and burn again, but it doesn't feel like that at all and I am reaping the benefits!) and therapy helping me to retrain my thought process from jumping to conclusions and blowing everything out of proportion all the time to realising thoughts are not fact, and processing them that way. 

I've taken a step back from social media, and together with my meds (come thru Sertraline!) I feel like I have actually been genuinely enjoying myself lately. I'm making new memories instead of clinging onto old ones, I love my new flat, I'm enjoying my job, I've been spending more time with my family, I'm fortunate to have such a good group of friends in both London and back home in Preston and I fancy the F out of my boyfriend. So life is pretty sweet!




Sunday, 25 July 2021

Tips for Online Dating from a VERY Single Girl

Spoiler alert, if you're expecting this blog post to be a Sex and the City, Carrie-esque style piece full of shagging and dating and men throwing themselves at me, it's not. My dating life is DIRE right now. Well, to be fair it's been pretty dire, well actually no dire is the wrong word, it's been pretty much non-existent since I split up with my ex bf last March.

My Hinge photo lol (what do we think?!)

It's VERY clear that I dealt with my break-up extremely badly (lol understatement), and to be fair I still think about it all the time still now. I've been on a handful of dates since, and non of those have passed the stage of there even being a third consecutive date. This is for a number of reasons, either I don't fancy them, they don't make me properly laugh (sense of humour is HUGE for me), they give me the ick (we all know there is absolutely no coming back from this once it's happened) or I just don't see it going anywhere. When I say I don't see it going anywhere it doesn't mean I expect us to be official after two dates because that scares the hell out of me, but time is so precious I don't wanna be spending it with someone who doesn't tick all my boxes.

From months of therapy, and months of getting RSI in my thumb from swiping (mostly left to everyone, but whatever) I've learnt not to chase ANYONE. 

If they take days to text back? Get rid. It takes two seconds to reply to a message and if they can't dedicate that time to you however 'busy' they are,  then it's a red flag. If they wanna speak on Hinge/Bumble/Tinder/whatever app you use for weeks on end and haven't actually suggested meeting up for a drink? Why the F not? Ask them! And if they swerve the question then unmatch. We ain't here for pen pals amirite??? Constantly updating their dating app profile is a bit of red flag too, especially if you've moved from the app to WhatsApp. Kind of screams desperation and that they aren't happy just pursuing things with just you at that moment. Which is fine if you're playing the field too, but if you're looking for something more stable, not so good.

Also, and this is something that happened to me recently!!! Shocking I know, with my breaktakingly good looks and untouchable personality. I was supposed to meet up with this guy to go for a drink tonight, we had already decided on a venue but not a time (was this purposefully?!?!) and then he messaged this morning saying he had a bad reaction to the vaccine so is feeling pretty shit. No mention to reschedule the date? Normally I would have bent over backwards with the whole 'no worries!!' and sent a list of dates and times to reschedule but I just thought you know what, bye. If you are 31 and can't say to someone that you're either not feeling it any more, you're back with your ex, you've stumbled across my blog in the last couple of days and think I'm a crazy bitch, ANYTHING to basically say this date is actually never gonna happen then it's weird and you're a baby and you need to delete your Hinge profile. When I read his text I just eyerolled and replied with 'ok no worries' and he was literally online for the hour that I sent it which was also weird but that was your opportunity to plan another time if you actually wanted to but ok. Not gonna lie it made me feel quite shit because I have never had anyone bail on me ever and it actually cut me deep (lol) and made me just wanna delete my apps for a bit because I feel like I made loads of progress in my personal growth over the last year and now I'm back to seeking validation from men I've never even met which is NOT what I wanna be depending my happiness on. 

Woah, this turned a bit deep and scathing didn't it! Maybe it's because I'm on my period and I'm sad and needy and want attention from someone who is 6ft3, ginger, works as a builder, is from nz and loves dnb and Grenade bars. (kidding...kinda...)

But basically, any single gals who are reading this, the takeaway from this men are trash. Kidding, the takeaway is to never give 90% to a guy who can't even give 10%. Especially someone you haven't met. Make plans with your friends and date when it feels right.

And on that note I'm gonna stop wallowing in self pity, delete Tinder and cycle to Borough Market for a pistachio croissant from Bread Ahead with my friend. Have a lovely Sunday!

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

The Best Boutique Boxing Classes in London

Now that I've waved a fond farewell to my beloved F45 (sob), I've been making my way through the local gym studios around me to find one that I like, and more importantly, one that I am willing to part with £150 a month to join (yep, the gyms down here really are that expenny!)

I don't know whether me saying 'oh it's worth it because I go X times a week!' is just me trying to trick my mind into thinking I've got a good deal so I don't cry myself to sleep at night, or because I feel that when it comes to exercising, you need to find something you really enjoy or you just loathe it and don't feel motivated to work out at all, so it's something I don't mind paying a little extra for. Especially when said boujee gym has a fridge full of cold flannels to cool down after my workout, lovely fluffy towels to wrap myself in post shower, Cowshed shampoo and conditioner (or something equally fancy) and GHD styling products in case I'm going somewhere nice straight after class.

I used to have a friend who worked for GHD (Hi Mel if you're reading!), who actually supply all the haircare at all the 1Rebel studios, so she used to take me for free all the time and it really was the best perk EVER! (It's not what you know... it's who you know!) Then she rudely got a job at Caudalie and I had to start actually paying again. Ugh. Nevertheless, I caught the boxing bug so I thought I would share my thoughts on the different boxing classes I've done around London in case anyone was looking to up their fitness game and try something new!


1Rebel (Rumble classes only available at Broadgate and Oxford Circus)


My favourite boxing class EVER! Every single studio is just epic. From the super cool industrial interior decor, to the state of the art equipment (no threadbare old punchbags here!) to the  fire playlists to the incredible trainers. Everything is just 10/10 and I can't fault a single thing. 

The classes are 45 minutes long and include short increments of bag work and HIIT moves, and everyone has their own punchbag, with the trainer in the middle demonstrating each move. The room is dark, the music is loud and the trainer is so motivating so it really does get you pumped! I've probably done about 15 Rumble classes at 1Rebel and I can't fault a single one. 

Ok I promise I will climb out 1Rebel's arse now. THE SCARY BIT... prices!

Monthly unlimited: £249 (if I win the lottery, this is the first thing I'm buying)

Single class: £23


Victus Soul


Kinda similar to 1Rebel in the way you can either do a Box/HIIT class, or a Run\HIIT class, which entails pretty much what it says on the tin, either half boxing half HIIT moves, or half HIIT half treadmill. I've done both classes, and I always leave feeling like I've been pushed to the absolute limit and always leave feeling absolutely amazing! Equipment is state-of-the-art, the gloves feel brand new every time (no sweaty dusty old hand-me-downs here!), the playlists are super high energy and the trainers and so motivating and really take time to explain the class to newbies (remember to arrive 10 mins early for the induction).

The only downside is the changing rooms are quite small, so the queue for the showers trails down the room. Not ideal when you're stood unnecessarily close to someone who's trying to discreetly get changed while you're waiting to wash your hair. One of the studios is 2 mins from my office too, so perfect place to let off some steam after a stressful morning!

Monthly unlimited: £149 

Single class: £21


Rumble Gym


Slightly different to those other gyms as this one isn't a chain, there's one in London and one in Paris, but luckily for me, the London branch is about an 8 minute cycle from my flat! I dragged my poor flatmate to a Re:Match class with me, and she absolutely loved it! Again, a mix of boxing and HIIT, which included plenty of freestyle on the bag which I lurrrrrrve to do! I kind of want to see a secret film of me boxing to see how I look, but then again I feel like it would be one of those scenarios where I feel like I look like Anthony Joshua but I actually look like a 2 year old trying to escape out of a wet paper bag.

Super fun class and really nice gym! (Dying to try one of the climbing walls sessions!) but the only downsides were the room was pretty small so I couldn't really see what the instructor was demo'ing, there didn't feel like there was as much energy in the room as the other studios, and the playlist was pretty dead (sorry Rumble, I love you!) I like a really upbeat, intense playlist with Hip Hop and House etc etc to get me pumped for the class, but this had Black Eyed Peas- Just Can't Get Enough and a random Maroon 5 song, so not really a vibe when you're imagining you're taking your ex-boyfriends head off with one right hook. (For legal reasons this is a joke)

Another thing that, call me petty, but this didn't sit right with me. The changing rooms are lovely, but the shampoo and conditioner are in one bottle?! As a gal with long, expensive hair (lol), I don't trust anything combined. Would you rub conditioner into your scalp? NO. Would you leave shampoo in the ends? NO. Combined haircare haunts my dreams, so this was a big fat no from me. Note to self, bring my own next time.

Regardless of the above, I really enjoyed the actual class, so I'm gonna book another class and give Rumble another chance. Or maybe see if I can plug my Spotify playlist in.

Monthly unlimited: £159 

Single class: £18


Want a month FREE of ClassPass? Use this code when you sign up: https://classpass.com/refer/29G6SUC62

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

29 and Feeling Fine

Bit of a delayed birthday post because I've now been 29 for 10 whole days(!!!) because the last few weeks have been so hectic. A chaotic mix of relocating my life back to London, moving into a brand new flat in a brand new area of London, having to buy EVERYTHING from new (we had beds and that was literally it), setting up bills, internet blah blah (aka adulting) and most importantly, finding out which pub is gonna be our new local. (For the record I still have no idea cos I keep meeting friends either in central or they come round to my flat so this one is still TBC.)

I felt like turning 29 was the start of proper adulthood for me because instead of getting clothes, makeup and endless bottles of prosecco, my main presents were the IKEA MALM drawers from the girls (lmao), a big ass mirror from one of my brothers and loads of surprise plants. Now that I have a bedroom with more than 1cm squared of extra space, I wanna make it really cute with loads of pastels and pinks and plants so whilst it may look a bit like a jail cell at present, it will be Pinterest soon I promise! I also got so many birthday cards with really nice messages inside this year which really made my day. I'm SO sentimental and keep every single card that I'm sent! Even the one from M in 2019 when he addressed it to 'To Mrs Claudia Livingston' even though we had only actually known each other for one month at that point. I probably need to throw it away but errrmmmmm... maybe next year!

Back to this year! Outdoor drinking with groups of up to 6 was allowed on the weekend of my birthday, so 3 of my best friends from home came down to London and I planned a little day sesh for us! Not gonna lie it was STRESSFUL because each place needed to be cool af cos I wanted to show Katie the ~sights~ but also less than 20 mins Uber ride from each other cos who wants to sober up in the taxi every time we move to the next place but ALSO less than 20 minutes from the Hoxton in Southwark where we were all staying. Oh yeah, and every man and his dog were on a booking frenzy too, so loads of places I tried to make a reservation at were full on Saturdays until JULY. 

Anyway, I managed to book Neverland in Fulham, the Hope & Anchor in Brixton and we finished on the rooftop at the Bussey Building in Peckham. If anyone is planning a little booze crawl south of the river then I would definitely recommend those 3 places! Hospitality was amazing, drinks arrived so quickly (all ordered via the app) and really cute decor if you wanna get kewl shots for the gram. I'm not gonna lie, I was having so much fun this day that I didn't really take any photos! Just woke up bankrupt in bed with my best mate with a very very sore head and a mouth dryer than the Sahara. Signs of a v.good night!








Monday, 3 May 2021

I'm Moving Back to London!

Can you believe it's been a whole year since I moved back to my mum and dad's house? I actually remember like it was yesterday when they made the TEN hour round trip to come and collect all my stuff and bring me home, crying literally all the way in the back seat surrounded by all my worldly belongings. Well, when I say 'worldly belongings' I mean my Yeezy's, my makeup collection and the medal I got when I ran a half marathon in 2018 because I will probably carry on telling anyone who will listen to me talk about it for the rest of my life.

Fast forward 14 months(!!!!) and although I thought the day would never come, I feel like I'm now at a point where I can look back at the year with happy and cherished memories and not want to block them out/inject myself with a tranquilliser dart and wake up in 2025 with amnesia. 

After a couple of very unsuccessful house viewings back in the City, I've finally found a place in East London that I'm going to be moving into next week! It's HUGE, has a gorge open plan kitchen with exposed brick and loads of natural light and a brand new kitchen and the bedrooms are on another floor level so it feels so much more like a home and less like a stale old flat. I mean, I loved my old flat but it gave off severe crack den vibes- the entire ceiling of the bathroom was mouldy and the shelf was hanging on by a thread, my bed was about as stable as a Nature Valley granola bar and the fireplace was cemented over so there was definitely a body behind there, but it was very loved and I have the best memories there! Now that I actually have a move in date, I haven't stopped browsing homeware online and I can't wait to actually get in and start furnishing it to make it all cute and homely and warm. Well, when I say start furnishing it, I'll probably let my housemates take the lead on that because my aesthetic is tacky af and I'm not sure its the right vibe for a communal lounge.

While I'm soooooo excited to get back to London, this is the longest I've lived back in Preston since I was about 22, and I've had so much time to spend with my amazing friends and fam and get involved with things I would usually have to miss out on (and get major #fomo.)

I've lived in the same house since I was a baby (fun fact: I was actually born upstairs in my mum and dad's bed!) so it feels so nostalgic to be back here in my old bedroom. I love coming downstairs every day to my dad sitting in the kitchen with a cup of albino tea cos he poured too much milk in and refuses to waste ANYTHING, taking a sneaky long lunch break so I can sunbathe in the garden, picking up my cats all the time for no reason and getting yelled at by my mum for harassing them, spending every evening throughout the week getting stuck into a new series of some form of crime drama with an excellent selection of snacks with my parents, being extra dramatic about my mum smuggling red lentils into absolutely any recipe she touches and being on the verge of calling Childline/999 when my dad jumps out from behind something and scared my so much my heart rate has literally doubled (big up the Apple Watch.)

Not to mention things like going for a long walk every Sunday with Sarah and Luna and putting the world to rights/ranting/crying/howling/chatting shit for 3 hours and buying a shit coffee from the same shit place in the park and complaining about it but doing it anyway without fail- all whilst getting our steps in because #health, being able to be there for birthdays and big announcements and not having to find out over WhatsApp e.g. when Liv broke the news about her being pregnant!!!! (Then crying for 2 hours because I was so happy for her/had been necking gin since 1pm), having drinks at mine and forcing Rach to play the 95th game of UNO, telling Hayley a story about my weekend that manages to be more outrageous than the last one (how it's even possible anymore idk), cycling to Suey's every Thursday to watch a horror film and not actually watching a single part cos we've just talked the whole way through, Friday drinks at Katies which always get waaaaay out of hand, belting out Tom Grennan/Celine Dion/Tinie Tempah/whatever else comes on Spotify shuffle in Sammy's kitchen.

Overall, I feel like the pandemic has really taught us to find the joy in little things- something I hate to admit I rarely did before! I thought I had to have actual plans to make the day felt like it counted, but after the countless hours I have spent on my friends couch just laughing at nothing, or just walking through the same park every week and still looking forward to it a whole year later, I've realised not everything has to be a grand gesture at all.

Very photo heavy and annoying that they aren't all there same size BUT I just wanted to share a snippet of the last year in photos. So grateful for the last 12 months and so excited to see what the next bring!


























Tuesday, 27 April 2021

~brief charity interlude~

My big brother and I are cycling 100km from Manchester to Blackpool because a) we're athletes and b) to raise money for Homeless Hounds- a dog charity our gorge and selfless mum has spent many hours fundraising and volunteering for.


Homeless Hounds is local charity to us, consisting of a group of dedicated people who believe that the unnecessary destruction of healthy dogs is both immoral and unacceptable. Their work is funded by peoples kind donations and their own fundraising events. Their trustees are unpaid and do not receive any expenses, so every penny goes towards saving dogs lives.

Basically, they rescue animals that have been dumped, abandoned or injured by families who have decided that they no longer want them now that they aren't cute little puppies. They have a 7 day period to get adopted or temporarily fostered by loving families who are wanting to give them a second chance to be loved. (omg as I'm writing this a sad song has just come on my Spotify and I'm welling up here)

Any donation is very much appreciated! And anyone who would like to loan me an ice bath/, 5* luxury spa facilities or new legs for the day after is very much appreciated also. Please bear in mind Callum is a literal Royal Marine and I am a potato so can do with all the motivation in the run up to July 4th.

My original target was £200 but thanks to my extremely generous friends and family we have smashed it in less than a week, so I have upped it to £500. Thank you so much for the support!

Donate here!

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

The Best Skincare Products for Clear, Glowy Skin

I am ashamed to admit after working on both the Cosmo beauty desk AND in beauty PR for almost 2 years that my skincare knowledge is absolutely abysmal. This is purely down to the fact I never get spots and my skin is mostly clear so I just put it down to good genetics/took advantage of the fact I didn't have to blow half my wage of expensive products every month/didn't even bother taking my makeup off for bed most nights never mind carry out an extensive skincare routine at 2am. Oh, and the fact I absolutely trowel my makeup so, so even if I had severe acne and bags the size of Russia under my eyes, you wouldn't be able to notice anyway.



NOW. I don't know whether it's because I'm currently the ripe old age of 28, or the fact I've been wearing a mask most times I leave the house or the fact I live in London where air pollution is absolutely rife, but I've started getting spots, extremely dull skin and larger pores (I wouldn't say large, but I've noticed them a hell of a lot more). I would describe my skin as combination, with an oily t-zone and dry patches around my mouth (shout out 2 the masks). I know there isn't a wonder product that targets all the problem areas, so I wanted to start by clearing up my skin and adding a bit of glow.

I know there is soooo much help out there for skincare products tailored to suit your skin, dermatologists, questionnaires to fill out to find out what will work for you, blogs and round-ups of the '5 best products for oily skin' but, being the lazy bitch I am, I just posted a Q&A on my Instagram stories for advice and the IG fam came through!

Vanese Maddix made me an ACTUAL SPREADSHEET of skincare consisting of 7 hero products that would help me achieve my glowy af skin goals, and even included how much to use, when to use, pricing and tips! Obviously I rushed straight to Cult Beauty and purchased e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g immediately. (I mean, we've been living in a 12 month long lockdown, what else have I got to spend my money on?!) It's been around a month now and I've already repurchased the products I would as travel sides to test them out as the full size babies because they are THAT good. 

I die inside when I see people online like 'what skincare products do I need?' without any indication of skin type, what they want from their skin, budget etc because there are a zillion things online, and what works for one person might give the other an unwanted chemical peel. So if you've got dull, oily, kinda spotty skin (wow I'm really selling myself here), then go get your Monzo and order these pronto!

Directly after applying the C15 booster. THE GLOW!


Morning

Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalising Cleanser- use every morning and every evening.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10%- use a couple of blobs (I would say drops but it's a bit thicker than a drop) of this every morning after the cleanser.

Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster- lil pricey but worth it! I noticed an instant different in the brightness of my skin when using this. Use a couple of drops after using the Niacinamide but WAIT a couple of minutes in between each step to let the product absorb into the skin.

Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Water Cream- this feels delicious! Also comes in travel (£12) and full size (£31) so perfect product to try out before you invest.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF- self explanatory people!

Evening

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil- I only double cleanse in the evening if I've worn makeup, if not cut this step out.

Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalising Cleanser- use every morning and every evening.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10%- use a couple of blobs (I would say drops but it's a bit thicker than a drop) of this every morning after the cleanser.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2& BHA Liquid Exfoliant- yes it really is as good as TikTok says! Use twice a week.

Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Water Cream- this feels delicious! Also comes in travel (£12) and full size (£31) so perfect product to try out before you invest.


Guru Vanese also told me not to cleanse in the shower as the water is too hot- who knew! And not to over-exfoliate, which is sooooo easy to do once you notice how smooth your skin is becoming! Honestly, my forehead feels like silk at the moment.

Now, what else are we ready to spend our money on people?! Share your latest splurge with me in the comments!

Monday, 18 January 2021

28 and Feeling Gr8...-er Than Last Year


What a fucking YEAR! I'm not gonna do resolutions because tbf I'm just impressed that I made it through this year alive. (For legal reasons that is a joke) I'm gonna be glad to see the back of it for a couple of pretty obvious reasons. I've never really been a superstitious person, and I don't think 'everything happens for a reason', but I've learnt a lot about myself this year through the mistakes that I've made and the other various things life has thrown at me. From the dreaded break-up, to having to move out of London and back in with my parents up north, to lots of changes at work to getting COVID-19 just after Christmas, I have felt depressed, exhausted and just generally not myself.

My therapist had a Christmas break (who knew they have lives outside of listening to us cry?! Shocking.) so I didn't see her for about 3 weeks. I wish I could tell you it flew, but by the third week I felt like I was having major withdrawals (not exactly rocking in the corner of a dark room with bloodshot eyeballs but I felt myself having more wobbles that usual). I don't want to feel like I depend on her, but I do! And last week's session was a bloody massive relief. I actually had a bit of a laugh with her! It felt so good to just brain-dump all my feelings on her and her to reassure me that I'm not a crazy bitch and that everything I'm feeling is normal and ok and allowed. 'Allowed' being the operative word here because it's so easy to feel like everything your doing is wrong or stupid or a failure.

I know I said in my last blog that I felt like I had turned a corner (lol had I balls), but now I feel like I genuinely have. I feel like I've progressed from speaking purely about the break-up to actually doing some digging into myself and getting to know who the real Claudia is. (My therapist calls it 'my authentic self' which sounds so professional and weird but it's basically just understanding myself better). I was so confused about what I was doing and who I was doing it for, for the tiniest of things e.g writing a tweet. Was I writing it because it was something funny and I wanted to share? Was I writing it because I hoped M would see it and get in touch? Was I writing it because I wanted it to go viral (aka get more than 3 likes off my mates) I was confused about EVERYTHING and I was massively overthinking the stupidest things.

I finished my session feeling like a HUGE weight had been lifted off and I actually felt progress. I felt good! I still had a little cry after but instead of being from stress and sadness it was of pure gratitude for my amazing family, friends and myself for getting me through the last 10 months. I fucking hated people telling me last summer that 'time is a healer' and 'everything will work out in the end' cos I absolutely hate all that cliche bollocks but looking back now I'm a completely different person, and time really has helped! So to anyone else in my position- keep going! I'm not saying I'm totally over it and I will definitely still have my bad days but it really is just a case of concentrating on one step at a time instead of the whole staircase (deffo saw that on one of those cringe manifestation Pinterest quote boards last week but it really resonated with me. Shortly after reading I went and hugged a tree and then lit some incense.)

At the moment of writing this blog (Well, I started it on 30th December but I'm finishing it on 18th Jan), I feel like I'm in a good space. I don't know whether it's because it's just been Christmas but I'm having so many more better days than bad days- I think I had about 10 last month and only 2 this month which is a record! I know me and M won't get back together, and I don't want to either. I'm ready to start 2021 with a fresh start and a clean slate when it comes to relationships. And I'm excited for that first date excited-nerves feeling again!

Now I'm on a roll with the positives, here are a couple other good things that happened this year:

  • I get to see my best friends every week (something that hasn't happened in forever cos usually I only come home a couple of times a year)
  • I paid off all my debts (you can read about that here)
  • I saved a WHOLE HOUSE DEPOSIT! This feels absolutely mental because back in March I was still racking everything up on my credit card and now I could buy a place if I wanna! I mean, I won't lol cos *responsibilities* and I would rather spend it on travelling and making memories, but at least I don't have to worry about money. Well, for the time being anyway.
  • I got a new MacBook! Well, my parents put some money towards it for my Christmas present AND it's only gonna arrive in fucking FEBRUARY but one cracked screen, a rapidly deteriorating battery, an alarming whirring noise if I watch too much Netflix and 6 years later I am finally upgrading my lil baby.
  • I'm moving in with one of my best friends! Move date TBC because the places we've viewed so far look less appealing than Josef Fritzel's cellar but we're optimistic about finding our dream (rental) home in the next few months.