University Edition: What's In My Uni Bag





First of all, it's probably best to talk about the bag itself! I used this black H&M shopper bag all the way through first year and it's so good and worn so well that I'm just going to use it again this year.

I think the 'shopper' style bag is perfect for university because it is a decent size, good straps/handles and is a good shape for you to fit everything into it!

Notepad. This one is a bit of an obvious one, but I'm going to mention it anyways. ALWAYS have a notepad with you because even if you print off your lecture notes, which I tended to do, you can write down points that the lecturer gives you, instructions for assignments and important information.

Pens and pencils. Again, this is another obvious one, but I definitely saw some people, including my friend Yasmin on some days, turning up to a lecture without something to write with. This is a no go and lecturers and tutors probably won't be too happy with you asking around five minutes into their lecture looking for a pen.

Map of your university. All of the first years at my university were given a print out map on our induction day and can also be found on the uni's website. These little maps are so handy when trying to locate a room you need to be in when there isn't too much information given on finding them!

List of your classes, times, rooms and your lecturers. I keep a note of my week's classes etc. as a paper copy and on my phone. The 'notes' section of your phone is always handy for this and putting your classes in your phone's calendar should, hopefully, keep you right!

Purse/wallet. Okay, I'm feeling like these are sounding obvious, but always remember your wallet and to have change in it along with your student card because you will probably need this at some point in your university day, especially in the library.

Umbrella. Especially if you live in the UK. I live in Scotland and it rains most days here so this is a must.

Pouch. I didn't know what else to call this so we're just going to go with 'pouch'. Inside this pouch, I keep pain killers, earbuds, lady week essentials and some pens. It's pretty good to keep things you may need throughout the day in one place for easy access. This pouch came with the H&M bag and can be attached or detached from the bag. It's so handy that I actually just move this pouch about all of my different bags for different occasions.

Bottle of water and healthy snacks. Lectures, seminars, tutorials. Ah, the joy of a uni day.. Some days at university are two hours long and some can be six hours long. So it's likely you'll be needing hydrated and fed throughout this time. A little sugar burst always goes down well to keep the energy up on a long day.

Hand sanitizer. I feel a little bit like Sheldon from 'The Big Bang Theory' with this one, but I need to have some good ol' hand sanitizer in my bag with me at all times. You're going to be eating throughout your day and you'll definitely need this for when the colder months roll in when everyone is sneezing and got a cold.

I hope this has helped, even if a little bit, to give you an idea of what you might want to bring with you to university! Just remember, everyone around you is in the same position. So, just relax, take a deep breath and walk through those doors.

LIFE OF RILEY

The Clinique Chubby Stick Review






Okay, so a couple of years ago, I went on holiday with my family and my friend Kaitlin. We were in the airport going through duty free and we were browsing, as you do, in the beauty section. I love Clinique products so I navigated my way there to see what delights they had to offer me. 

My friend also really likes Clinique as a brand and had a great recommendation for me in the form of the infamous 'Chubby Stick'. As soon as she told me how trustworthy the chubby stick was and how beautifully it applied, I was sold. 

I picked up the colour 'Two Ton Tomato' because I love a good red lip and wanted to test out the formula. Also, if that name doesn't sell it to you, I'm not sure what will :)

This really is a great product. Not too thick but not too sheeny/shiny and the staying power is incredible! It stayed on while I ate toast, I feel like that's the point proved. Case and point! 

I really would recommend this product, as my friend did to me, to anyone and everyone! It has lasted so well, I haven't repurchased and it is still going strong after two years! 

It's perfect for any occasion. Whether it's a day out with the girls or a night out in town, this'll add a burst of moisture and stunningly elegant colour to your lips. 

LIFE OF RILEY

How To: A Simple, Chic Night Out Outfit





Today, I'm spending my day preparing to go out with my friends on a night out.

I like documenting what I wear and sharing it in a post to hopefully provide some inspiration and showing that you don't need to spend a lot of money on loads of different outfits. Rather, that you can buy separate pieces and put them together differently every time to give a different look. 

Tonight, I'm opting for a black midi skirt from Boohoo and a black off the shoulder top, also from Boohoo. Pairing this with my trusted H&M navy, blue and pale pink heels. 

This outfit is a great way to accentuate the idea that wearing an all black outfit is FAR from boring. The off the shoulder cut of the top brings an interesting element to the outfit. Also, the heels provide an exciting blurt of colour. 

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My Go-To Hand Jewellery








Whenever I go out anywhere, I NEED to be wearing some kind of hand jewellery. 

I don't really wear big or bold pieces of jewellery and the only jewellery that I really wear are rings. 

For the last few months, my go-to choice for hand jewellery has consisted of two plain silver bands. One for my right thumb and middle finger. They are subtle yet elegant and easily enhance an outfit. 

On my right ring finger, I wear a ring I got for my 18th birthday that is from one of my favourite book series, 'The Mortal Instruments' by Cassandra Clare. It is a silver ring with some stars and the letter 'M', or is it 'W'? (Those who have read this book series will understand that reference). This ring means a lot to me and so I make sure I wear it as much as I can. The detail is beautiful. 

On my left middle finger, I've been wearing a ring my mum bought for me from our visit to Rossyln Chapel in July this year. It is a beautiful and intricately designed ring that, again, means something to me as my mum bought the same ring for my sister. Also, there is a pattern on the ring that almost resembles the letter 'P' and I see this as a nod to my middle name, Patricia, which is my gran's name. 

I've been loving wearing these rings because they each have their own story behind them and look very interesting, yet aren't too 'in your face'. I've never really been a fan of that look :) 

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Photo Diary: A Family Coffee Morning








Today, my mum, sister, gran and I went for a coffee and a walk about our local garden centre. These are, pretty much, two of my favourite things to do. I love being around nature and plants, and, I do love a good coffee. 

We had a lovely little morning which consisted of yummy food, clothes shopping for my gran, plant browsing and getting lost among the greenery. 

Oh! And finding a beautiful Sherlock Holmes game! I was so tempted to buy it. It looked incredible and I am a huge Sherlock fan!

I thought I'd take a couple of snaps to share in a post. So, enjoy!

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University Edition: Introduction & My First Year Experience

It's coming up to THAT time of the year where most of us are getting ready to move on to a new stage in their life. Whether it's starting high school; moving up a year in high school; starting university; or, like me, entering second year of university. I still can't quite believe I'm already going into my second year. The first year has just flew by. I know, that sounds unbelievably cliche. But it is 100% truth. I remember teachers telling me as a little first year in high school that the years you are in education go incredibly fast. They were right. 

This time last year I was getting nervous about every little detail regarding university from meeting new people to what I should be wearing. I must admit that I was very lucky to have one of my best friends by my side because we, luckily, both got into the same university doing the same course! 

So, I suppose that was one less thing to worry about than most people. 

I decided to dedicate a few posts to different aspects of university that I reckon some people will definitely relate to in some way. 

So here is some basic information about my first year university experience.

The university that I go to is a five minute drive away from where I live which is brilliant because I don't need to take travel time into consideration too much. Because of how near it is, I stay at home and so I am not in halls or flat sharing or anything like that. 

I'm studying social sciences and as I mentioned above, I've just completed my first year and I'll be returning next month to start my second year. I absolutely LOVE my course and I am still really interested in every part of it. This is something I feel really lucky about because I know a lot of people who are not happy with their course- or just simply don't like it. My social sciences course is split into four subjects which are politics, social policy, psychology and sociology. First and second year are 'taster' years meaning that I get to study all four of these topics. In third and fourth year I will be asked to choose which of these subjects I would like to drop so that by the time I finish my degree I will major in one subject.

The reason I chose my course was because I was really into modern studies and politics in high school and so I thought this would be an appropriate avenue to tread down.

As of right now, I would say that my interests are headed more towards politics and social policy and I'm hoping to major in politics by the end of my time at university. 

This post is the first of a mini series (probably about four posts in total) that I will be writing and posting for the next few Mondays. They'll each be regarding a different aspect of university from what to bring with you to uni, exams experience and also some inspiration for outfits. 

LIFE OF RILEY

Another Day, Another Nail Colour






I love switching up my nail colour about three times a week. In doing this I end up playing about with the colours and layering them on to create a completely different colour or look. 

Today I thought I'd share this new combo I'm loving. Think burgundy, subtle gold with a glossy finish. 

I start off using the Max Factor black nail polish in the colour 'onyx'. Then, I layer this Maybelline deep red polish to create an even deeper, burgundy red. This polish is the colour 'Downtown Red'. 

I like this combination on its own so sometimes I leave it there. But I recently started adding this very subtle gold shimmer on top of these two colours, recreating my nail colour from my prom. 

To finish that off, I sweep on a layer of Glossy Tech Finish polish to give a beautiful smooth surface. 

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Easy Ham & Cheese Caesar Salad








I am by no means a chef or a cook in any way, but I do like having nice, easy dishes that I can prepare fast when I'm hungry for either lunch or dinner. This is my take on the classic Caesar salad, but instead of using chicken pieces, I use ham instead. I like changing this up from time to time!


Start off with your base of lettuce. 

Then, add in your cheese, in this case I'm using Parmesan. 

Next you'll want to chuck in some ham. I like using already cut ham slices and rolling them up and then cutting them into little slices to add onto the plate. 

Pour on your Caesar salad dressing and finish it off with some croutons!

You are ready to go!

LIFE OF RILEY

Lip Care 101








I think it's a common misconception that lips can only look chapped and cracked in the winter months, however I think it is so easy to fall into this trap and neglect your lips in the warm months. 

They need TLC all year round. But don't worry, I think I've got you covered. 

To get rid of the roughness and flakiness of chapped lips, I use this Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub. I don't particularly like bubblegum scents, but this smells so good I just want to eat it straight from the tub (I wouldn't recommend that however haha). This leaves your lips feelings gorgeously soft and even. 

My all time favourite lip product however has got to be the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Nourishing Lip Cream. I bought this in an airport in Greece last year and has become an ultimate favourite for me. It really does do what it says on the tin. It protects, shines and soothes. Add in the fact it has an SPF 20 and it becomes holy grail. 

This product is however on the pricier side for a lip care product. But a good dupe for this is the Nivea Hydro Care with SPF 15 which isn't as greasy or tacky as the Elizabeth Arden one. I always apply this when putting on my makeup to give my lips a bit of moisture before I put on a matte lip. 

Before I go to bed at night, I use the Vaseline Lip Therapy with Rose and Almond Oil. This is a good switch up from the good old original Vaseline. It smells gorgeous and gives a slight rosey tint. It pretty much lasts the full night, giving you luscious lips when you waken up in the morning. 

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How To: Adding Pattern, Print & Colour To An Outfit






Tonight is one of my best friend's 21st birthday and I am so excited to be going out to an event with all of my friends and having a wonderful night drinking bubbly. 

I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you how I incorporate a rather bold pattern and colour to my outfits. Tonight I'm wearing this gorgeous off the shoulder mustard, black and white crop top. I really like the look of this with the overlapping effect and I love the clean lines an off the shoulder top creates.

I've paired this with a pair of black culottes, click here to see other ways I style my culottesand my trusted New Look Mules. 

This is an example of how easy it is to have a bold print in your wardrobe, all the while remaining chic and sophisticated. DON'T be afraid of the pattern, print and colour! 

LIFE OF RILEY


Photo Diary: A Relaxed Week







This past week has been quite uneventful in terms of visiting new places. I've been working and enjoying my time off of university by reading, writing blog posts, watching movies and spending time with family and friends. 

I'm currently reading 'A Court Of Thorns and Roses' by Sarah J. Maas. It is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast, which is my all time favourite Disney movies, and I really am loving it so far. I've only got a hundred or so pages left and can't wait to see how this one turns out. It is going to be a series of books and if the rest follow in the steps of this first installment, I'll be happy. 

I also made a few additions to my little photo wall in my bedroom. I love cutting out some pictures and placing them up on my wall in a collage.

I was in Zara recently and picked up this fragrance Amber Rose & Jasmine Body Mist. It is such a refreshing and clean scent. I thought it might be a little over-powering because I love the smells individually but I was wary they might not go well together, but it is really lovely and I was pleasantly surprised!

The most exciting thing about this week though, and something that I was really happy about was to receive a 'Pupdate' from the Guide Dogs charity which I support. I'm planning on doing a blog post about this very soon :) 

LIFE OF RILEY

My Current, Simple Hair Care Routine









Last year, my hair was really long but in really bad condition. So for my 18th birthday last summer, I decided I was going to cut it off and donate it to The Little Princess Foundation Charity. It ended up being about 17 inches of hair and is something that I am really proud of myself for doing. 

After doing that and having shoulder length hair, that has actually grew a lot since, I vowed to take really good care of my hair and not allow it to get into that condition again. 

So I developed a little hair care routine that is really quick and simple that would be perfect for all hair types. 

First of all, when in the shower, condition  your hair before you shampoo your hair. I learned this little tip very recently and it really does work. The idea behind this is that by conditioning your hair first and shampooing after, the shampoo leaves just the right amount of conditioner for your hair type. I don't know how this works, but it definitely does! 

After coming out of the shower, I towel dry my hair quickly and then add some John Frieda Frizz Ease on to the mid lengths and ends of my hair. My mum has used this for years and swears by it and now, so do I! 

Then, I add one pump of Argan oil to the mid lengths and ends of my hair as well to ensure the ends of my hair remain glossy and far away from being dry again. 

After the Argan oil comes the heat protection spray. I'm not fussy when it comes to heat protection sprays and I just use this one from Avon that seems to do its job very well! 

I use my Tangle Teaser to comb all of this through my hair and make sure the products are evenly distributed. 

Ta-dah! You're all done. Now just blow dry your hair and you are good to go! 

LIFE OF RILEY

My Thoughts On The Soap & Glory 'Supercat' Eyeliner





Very recently, while I took a trip with my family to Oban, I purchased the Soap & Glory 'Supercat' Eyeliner and I've been using it for the past week NON STOP. 

I just can't get enough of this eyeliner! I've always struggled so much to get the perfect winged look, but always end up needing the makeup wipes at hand to take off several of my failed attempts to look like Alexa Chung. 

I'm pretty sure it's all down to the actual nib of the eyeliner pen. I remember my cousin telling me once that it isn't much down to the formula of an eyeliner and more to do with the tip of it that enables you to create a masterpiece. She was definitely right with this one. 

The staying-power of the liner is incredible as well. None of this turning grey as the day goes on malarkey. It stays jet black and does what it says on the tin, or pen. It makes your eyes look feline and super

LIFE OF RILEY

Why You Should Be Using Coconut Oil






Coconut oil really is an amazing product to have lying around your house that can be used for so many different things. 

For cooking. Coconut oil is a perfect, not to mention healthier, option as a cooking oil. It gives a beautiful taste and is so much better for you in the long run than the olive oil you have sitting in your cupboard! Using coconut oil for pancakes adds a unique touch to a beautiful breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Another favourite in my house is using it along with French Toast, or as we Scots like to call it, Eggy Pancake. I know, I know. It can sound like a weird combination with other foods that aren't pancakes and French Toast but if you give it a try, I promise you will be pleasantly surprised! 

For your body. This really is something that I swear by. I keep a big jar of coconut oil in my bathroom because it is an essential as an in-shower and after-shower moisturiser. This helps to smooth and soothe dry skin to ensure that it stays baby soft. Also, I've been told it is fantastic for stretch marks! 

Where you can get it. I get my coconut oil from Holland & Barrett stores just because they offer different size jars for different needs and also have really good deals going on in their stores throughout the year. I'd recommend you get a jar from here but there are loads of places where you can purchase some good ol' coconut oil. 

LIFE OF RILEY

Photo Diary: A Day In Oban










This week, my mum, sister and I travelled to our caravan in Inveraray which we have had since I was six years old and decided to go to Oban which is a forty minute drive from Inveraray town centre.

First of all, we went to The Cafe On The Corner for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Then we travelled along the main road going into all of the little sweet shops and came to a Waterstones, I was in heaven of course, where I bought a couple of books. 

We then went to Boots and I picked up a couple of makeup bits and pieces. After we did this, we travelled along the waterfront which was absolutely beautiful. So many stunning buildings, boats and colours. 

We trekked along the pier and saw that there was a seal sight seeing tour we could go on, but unfortunately the next tour was 10am the next morning! So we'll need took back and do that another time. It's always good having a reason to go back to a beautiful place! At the far end of the pier, there was a little local seafood hut where we got whelks which didn't look how I remembered- more like Davy Jones' tentacles in The Pirates of the Caribbean movies! But, at least I tried them! 

It was a great day with family and there are many things we've still to do so it gives us a great excuse to go back. 

LIFE OF RILEY
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