January 29, 2015

Thrifty books: Living a more financially frugal way of life

Isn't the Yoga Cat calendar just the best? I found it in a charity shop for a quid! I just couldn't leave it behind.

During the past few weeks I've probably read more books recently than since my university days in a bid to live an ever thrifty and frugal life.

I noticed a few people, part of an online Facebook group (Frugal Homemaking and Living), discussing the Super Scrimpers book which is based on the channel 4 programme which aims to educate the nation in leading a money-wise way of life.

One evening, I thought, I'd quite like to read that book so I searched on my county's online library records to see what they had.

I was surprised to see a whole host of great titles including the semi recent cookery book called A girl called Jack which was made famous by Jack Monroe's blog which documented her survival of life living on the breadline of society.

I quickly, requested quite a few of these titles and thought what a better and certainly frugal way of gaining some new literature.

Some I've found better than others and some aren't saying anything particularly new but I certainly implore you to visit your local library or check out cheap book retailers such as The Works and even charity shops.

I enjoyed some of Mrs Moneypenny's ideas but I didn't connect with many of her experiences or examples. You will recognise her from the Super Scrimpers programme and may be familiar with her journalistic work. For example in the book, it refers to private school and other areas of life which I feel many cannot relate to although her 'getting your finances in order' section was superb.

Lucy Tobin's book was very different to that of Mrs Moneypenny's and I very much enjoyed her humorous take on life and advice. I would recommend this to pretty much anymore who is interested in frugal or thrifty living as it was very relatable. I wrote down quite a few tips and ideas from this book and even the librarian commented on how good they found it when I returned it.

Then as a result of me requesting some other titles, many of them were ready for collection really quickly and at once. Meaning, I collected all the above books and set about reading through them.

My partner and I absolutely love the Save book by Jamie Oliver but I felt I needed to extend our 
thrifty meal variety.

I was interested to read A girl called Jack by Jack Monroe, as it is written by a blogger and single mother who lived on a very small income.

I earmarked some of the recipes and off we trotted, well drove to Aldi. We've made one of the recipes so far called Spring Piggy. I probably chose that because I love bacon!

 Please excuse my mess! I'm a messy cook oops.

It was pretty delicious and certainly easy. Many of the recipes lend themselves to one another so there's no waste which is a big aim in our household. I won't ruin it  but the extracts are tear-jerking and the photography and recipes inviting. We have a few more to make but I may even actually buy this book to add to our bulging recipe book shelf.

We've also been reading the Thrifty cookbook which holds some great family favourites. We enjoyed the beef and carrot casserole with cheesy dumplings yesterday and are looking forward to making some savoy cabbage patties. I wouldn't say this book is rocket science or as inspiring as Jamie's Save, but it certainly contains some easy home made favourites and some interesting lunch ideas.

I also chose the Martin Lewis Thrifty Ways for Modern Days (2006) book which was inspired by the Moneysavingexpert website. I found it was a little dated in parts but still held terrific tips from the money saving legend that Mr Lewis is. It contained lots of ideas from the forums on the website, old style ideas and even recipes. It's good for those who need somewhere to start reading about money saving. It was a quick read though and gave us food for thought as I wrote down some of the simple rescipes such as a traditional banana loaf pudding. Although, the last one I made was as dry as the Sahara Desert lol.

The final two I'm still reading are The Frugal Life and Perfect Money Saving. I can't really comment too much on these but they're quite similar in terms of subject mater.

I've really enjoyed reading all of these texts and haven't spent a penny in doing so, well apart from the food we bought to actually make some of the meals. I wouldn't say I've learned loads of new stuff but it has given me some inspiration.

One other cookery book we both enjoy and I've owned for ages is called Mince which gives the reader lots of delicious recipes which of course involve the use of mince. I would recommend the enchiladas mmm just sayin'.

I'd like to embrace a more minimalist life going forward, so I've been clearing out clutter this month, chucking out make-up and making sure I'm not tempted in Boots or Superdrug or TKmaxx as these are the danger zones.

I've already made quite a bit of progress towards saving towards our future, be that a holiday to The Shetlands, an unplanned emergency or a general future pot. But I'd like to take it even further and see what things we can both achieve this year.

I'm feeling inspired- lets go with it.

There's plenty of other thrifty and frugal texts; just have a look on Amazon or Google.

Thanks for reading,


January 09, 2015

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and January Sales haul 2014 - 2015 ♥

I bought the Real Techniques Core Collection of brushes for the bargain price of £10.60 posted on Black Friday from Amazon because I didn't own this set and I really wanted to try them. I haven't used them yet but they feel wonderful and soft. They usually cost around £21 for the set.
I  also picked up an Origins order on Cyber Monday for £8 posted. You bought anything skin care related and you received the out of trouble mask 75ml and two samples for free. I chose the clay masks to go set because I've read rave reviews and I also picked the  ginzing eye cream as one of the samples in the cute bag. The box smelled amazing when it arrived too.

My wonderful boyfriend, a work secret Santa and family bought me all these fabulous presents for Christmas plus a few edible or alcoholic bits which have now been consumed (not bragging). My boyfriend's mum also made us some lovely cushions which are in the living room and aren't pictured.

My boyfriend bought me this No7 box set as one of my presents and here's a sneak peek inside. Wow it's amazing...can't wait to get started on some of those lovely items.

He also bought me this drinking chocolate in this fancy tin which I forgot to photograph in the main photo. It's double chocolate, you just add hot milk to mmmmm.

My Nana and Granddad gave me £20 as well as a few presents so I used it to pay towards this Tarte set someone was selling new online. They sold it for £21 plus postage which I know is a bit more than the Sephora site would have done on Black Friday but it was sold out and would have cost them a bit to get hold of. I have never tried Tarte so I am thoroughly looking forward to using the products particularly the blush.

Last Friday in Nottingham while visiting family, I spotted this bag. It was just a tenner on an indoor market stall. I thought it looked and felt pretty decent for that. I was also in dire need of a new handbag.
 I bought these NO7 lip pencils on Boxing Day for £4 instead of £8 plus these Soap and Glory ones for £8 instead of £16 at Boots.

I also picked up this cropped kimono and shoes for £6 and £7 from Peacocks on New Year's Eve.

So that's about it. I really have spent my quota this month on beauty and fashion items, as I have  a Mac lipstick in creme cup coming shortly I bought from an online seller, plus a Mally QVC installment  coming out soon for the TSV I bought last month.

I spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day working, Boxing Day we spent with my boyfriend's family here in Suffolk. I also worked New Year's Eve but travelled to Nottingham on New Year's Day to see my family. I stayed until Saturday 3rd and then I travelled back to celebrate my boyfriend's dad's birthday. It was pretty busy but I've had a few days since to catch up with things and take the decorations down which tend to do my head in after a while because of all the little bits they shed which then need hoovering all of the time.

Thanks for reading and I do hope you all had a wonderful festive time.



January 06, 2015

End of 2014 collective haul: Avon, L'Occitane, Primark, TKMaxx & thrift

During the last few months of 2014 as always, I picked up a few bits and pieces here and there from various places which I thought I would share with you all. All of these bits have been purchased at different times, from late September to December, although many of the photos have been taken recently and sorry - in poor lighting.

I managed to get hold of a whole load of L'Occitane products using a couple of really good offers.
Firstly, I used a voucher to obtain the yellow box-full of goodies for free which also had a £10 off voucher inside.

I used that against the products I bought which included the cherry blossom shower gel and the cherry blossom perfume. I then bought Marie Claire magazine which had the green hand cream as a free gift and a voucher inside which gave you the chance to pick up the hugs and kisses hands and lips set worth £16 for free with any purchase. I bought the little almond soap I think for £4. 
I don't have a store in my town so I travelled to Bury St Edmunds to get all these offers which I thought was worth it. 

I have a regular Avon lady who drops a book through the door, so I do pick up a few bits here and there. I've really enjoyed the complete balance face cream (sale £2.50)  but haven't tried the mask. I used the setting spray for a wedding in late September to set my makeup and I found it to be a bit odd, I'm not sure about it. I also picked up an eyebrow pencil and three lipsticks.

Jungle fever, lucky kiss and deluxe.

More recently, there was an offer on Avon perfume and the chance to pick up little black dress and the sprays for free when you spent so much. (photo below).
These three scents are always my favourite.

I love the dry oil spray and have a bottle on the go already.

I picked up the big powder brush for £4 (usually always out of stock), the wipes for 50p and the Essence makeup from Wilkinsons. And in the same day, still in Bury St Edmunds, I bought the Buxom gloss in shabang which I love for £5.99 and the Balance Me body wash for £3 from TKmaxx.

I also found this coat in a charity shop, in Bury for £12.

*QUICK* Reese's Pieces are being sold at Poundland so I'd urge you to get down there. I've bought a few boxes of these while in town because they're delicious, a bit like peanut butter Smarties.

I  also picked up a few bits at Primark, Poundland and the concealer and liner sample from Boots in Ipswich on another day. You traded in an old liner and they gave you a They're Real liner sample for free. I still haven't tried it yet though.

I bought this skirt at TKmaxx for £5.99 and wore it on holiday in November.

I also found this skater dress for £3 in the sale as well as a cardigan and pair of black Chelsea boots for £3 and £12 on another day, again at Primark but I haven't included a photo of those because they're just so basic really.

I found some great Kroma products designed by the Kardashian sisters in TKmaxx at the end of Novemeber. I found a set, three palettes and two lipsticks all at good prices.

The set I bought as a gift for Christmas for my sister but the palettes I chose (Kourtney, Kim, Khloe) seem pigmented from quick swatches I've made so far.

I bought the cat phone cover from Primark for £3, The Peter Rabbit calendar
and tea light holder both for a £1 from Poundland.

I found the Rimmel Apocolips in a set from Tkmaxx for £5.99, The two Nails Inc polishes came free with the December issue of Glamour magazine and the duo shadow is by Essence at Wilkinsons which I think was in the sale.
 I picked up the Make-up Gallery lipstick and lipgloss from Poundland recently after reading some online reports about the brand's release. The lipstick is in plum pout and it's terrible! I was hoping to write a post about it but I really can't stand to get it out again. The colour is so off, the scent is waxy and not for me. I haven't bothered to open the gloss yet but I'm not sure I'm excited after the lipstick.

I also bought the MUA  lip switch duos in two shades to try and the clear lip liner for £1 in a 3 for 2 offer at Superdrug. I will have to update when I have tried them. I've heard rave reviews about them on YouTube.

The other two duo lipstick and gloss products are the two from Kroma beauty I picked up, I think for £2.99 each. I haven't tried either of them yet though.

I also picked up the W7 butter lipstick in he shade Bordeaux hoping it might be like the NYX butter range. It's quite creamy but I don't know if it's similar as I haven't tried any NYX ones. It was only £1 from Peacocks in the sale. I quite like it  but it does smudge a little bit.

I managed to get one of my most desired wish list palettes a couple of months ago for just the cost of postage. I had always been interested to buy the Stila in the Light palette, so when I saw the range was introduced to the Birchbox shop, I knew that's where my points I'd saved up were going to be spent. I also used a 20% code off the total which meant that all I had to pay was £2.95 in postage.
It's pictured here with the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, I bought in September for my birthday which I am struggling to get along with some of the shades.

Finally, I subbed to Birchbox in November and received this Wild About Beauty palette in Divine Nights for free worth £29 which I mentioned in my beauty box catch up post. I also subbed to Glamour magazine for £3 for three issues and received this Body Shop vitamin e set for free. 

I also picked up the Essence matte lip cream from Wilkinsons one day and the Maybelline Colour drama pencil in Berry much on another occasion. The lip cream is okay, a bit patchy on the lips and I haven't had chance to try pencil yet.

This post is a little bit all over the place, but that's how I tend to shop.

I will show you all what I received for Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday plus the January sales in the next post.

Thanks for reading.


December 23, 2014

Mally 'Flawless in Five Minutes' collection at QVC: TSV Dec 2014 UK

I absolutely love the cosmetics range by American makeup artist Mally Roncal and I have amassed quite a collection of her products so far.

So when I saw that QVC was holding a  today's special value featuring Mally and her range on December 14, I couldn't pass up the bundle that was on offer.

For £47.67 including p+p, I received five full size products, a sharpener, a sponge, a pink clutch/makeup bag and a booklet outlining how to use each product.

I also opted to pay via QVC's easy pay option which allowed me to pay just £10.68 plus the one off £4.95 postage to start with and the remainder in three additional equal chunks in the subsequent months coming which makes it a really affordable way of buying this bundle of makeup.

It arrived really quickly within a few days via My Hermes courier and I was impressed with the minimal packaging on the outside and the neat boxes inside.

Included in the set:
Volumising mascara in black: I've just started using one of these I already had in my stash and I am pleased to report that I find it to be really good. It's a bristle brush which layers on product easily but without making your lashes clumpy. It's a deep black which builds and lasts all day. I find it works well for both my top and bottom lashes and doesn't flake or smudge. I would say it's one of the better mascaras I've used in my lifetime and would certainly put it up there with my love for Benefit's They're Real although it reminds me of Clinique's dramatically different. RRP £17.50.

Age rebel eyesadow stick in chocolate diamond: This is a lovely, shadow stick which is long-lasting and is housed in a metal container which twists up. The colour is a warm, shimmery brown shade which holds small little glitter fragments in. I was expecting another shade as stated on the actual programe however, I received this shade which is also thankfully pretty. RRP $28 around £18.

Evercolour starlight eyeliner espresso: I already own both the simmering black and dark chocolate shade and I love them. They're intensely pigmented and creamy. I was certainly happy to try another shade.  RRP $15 around £9.60.

Nourishing lipstick in French kiss: This is a creamy, balm-like lipstick in a neutral pink shade which is housed in a pink metal case. Again, I was expecting a different shade, one that was called kimono pink. however, this is a pretty everyday shade which I am pleased to report suits me and would pretty much suit most people. I can't find a price for it individually but it seems quite nice and balmy, rather than long-lasting or matte.

Face defender and sponge: I was really intrigued by this product. It's meant to minimise pores and help revive powdery or tired skin. It retails on QVC's site for £34.56 alone! It's unusual in its texture. Like a clear gel which is smooth and colour-less. I hope it works! RRP 34.56.

Vaca day blush in bashful: I can't find an individual price for this as I believe it's a brand new product. It's a cream blush housed in a compact with a mirror. It  provides a creamy, healthy pink glow which isn't sticky and builds. I have yet to try this on my face but it seems pretty and a perfect shade for everyday.

I also received the sharpener and the pink clutch bag which folds over and can store lots of items. It's not my usual taste in shades and I'm certain it will get passed on. I wish it was in a neutral shade. 

Top: blush, lipstick, eyeliner, eye rebel shadow stick.

Overall, I'm really pleased wit the Mally TSV from QVC and I'm glad I ordered it as I feel I will get good use out of the products.

I also bought a collection of Mally products online before I went to Turkey and I have been impressed with the quality and shades (see below).

Mally professional blush in pink satin (cream) and lighter (powder), Mally brightening eye shadow in coffee and mocha. Mally trio of glosses in blossom, Mally's look and peach sorbet.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest Mally purchases and my first ever QVC haul. 
My boyfriend and I also upgraded our Sky package recently, so I'm now able to watch and record upcoming beauty features which is both amazing and probably dangerous for my bank balance,

Thanks for reading and I do hope you are looking forward to Christmas,



November 29, 2014

Beauty box catch - up: Birchbox, glossybox & You Beauty: August - November 2014 ♥

I purchased the August Birchbox right before the September one was due for payment because the folk at the brand were giving new subscribers the chance to pop a voucher code in to receive a free Wild About Beauty palette in Safari Nights worth £29 for free.

I wasn't too fussed about the box to be honest but I thought it was worth paying £12.95 for the box to receive the palette for free.

In the box I received the following which were okay, I'd hoped for the Wild About Beauty eyeshadow some people had received in their box but I sadly didn't get it. However, I've been enjoying the Chella highlighting pencil. It's very creamy and works really well for brightening the brow area. I've swapped the Tommy Guns because it's just not a type of product I would use but saying that, the sample was a fantastic size. 
I will at some point get around to using the Supergoop cc creams and thankfully they arrived in light to medium shades. Plus, the clear bag was used during  my trip to Turkey.

I've used Dead Sea Minerals before and some of the products are a bit hit and miss for me. It's a good size to travel with and smells very fresh. I also received the microderabrasion
which sounds really interesting which at some point I may try.

But here's the free palette. Oh be still my beating heart.. isn't it gorgeous? 

I've not had the chance to create a look yet but I've had a swatch around when I took this photo a long with several others all at once, to catch up on my belated blogging, it seemed very nice anyway.

The range is created with Louise Redknapp and her makeup artist and focuses on natural beauty and wildlife. The packaging is pretty and I'm so chuffed to own this as I've flirted with the idea of owning it before.

On to You Beauty, which is a monthly subscription charged at £6.95, with the difference being you choose two products from a list at the start of each month and then received a few extra treats for free.

I signed up for the very first box over a year ago and enjoyed it but unsubbed then the September box seemed too good to pass up, particularly when I saw that you had the chance to obtain products from exciting brands such as Pixi and Wild about Beauty again.

I managed to receive the Pixi endless silky pencil in black cocoa which is gorgeous and such a me colour. It's very creamy and worth buying a full size as this is a rather generous mini.

Thankfully, I also received a half decent Wild about Beauty lipstick in the shade Maddy which is kinder a brown nude colour. I've been pairing it with a Benefit pinky, apricot gloss to perk it up a bit. The texture of the lipstick is beautiful and I was really interested to get hold of another shade I saw others receiving in Eve which was a coral shade. (I own eve now).

At the start of that October, I joined the scramble to select the best products for that month before they were sold at 7am and was met with no end of website crashes and confusion. However, that point aside..,. If I tell you that full size Illamasqua lipsticks, a pricey serum and Wild about Beauty eye shadows were up for grabs to name but a few, then you'll know why there was such a frenzy.

I received my two boxes as cheekily I ordered two and I was really pleased with my selection.
I received the Illamasqua Glamore shades in Tease - creamy peach nude and Minx a pink, berry brown tone both worth £18.50!

Minx is a very beautiful colour, perfect for the autumn season. I was originally hopeful for the rosepout shade but this shade has taken me by surprise and I'm so happy to own it.
Tease is a little harder to pull off. It's a very light nude which leans peachy. I have tried it and well it isn't the worst. I again added some gloss and dabbed it down to less opacity and it's wearable, perhaps with a smoky or more done up makeup look. I'm pleased to report I didn't find it made my teeth look too yellow looking as some have reported.

The two eye shadow shades I received were Eva and Alana both browns but equally wearable and stunning. One is slightly lighter and cooler whereas the other is darker. I've not yet touched these but the packaging is stunning. I'm starting to fall for Wild about Beauty I must admit.

I wasn't as impressed with the  product selection for November and the current choices for December, so I left it but I did order the November Birchbox. New subs could use a coupon code to receive a free Wild about Beauty palette in DIVINE NIGHTS  rrp £29.

A very quick picture, please excuse the  background, I only received it yesterday and may go into details about some of the  products at a later date. I was really impressed to receive 3 full size products.
I'm excited about the  Dr Jart primer and the pixi balm is stunning; I love it!
My free palette is yet to arrive but I cant wait 

I also ordered the special edition Harvey Nichols  glossybox  for £38.25 on November 17 filled with all those amazing products (below). Unfortunately, it isn't available anymore as it sold out really quickly but I may do a further post. Its contents are worth £150 including brands such as Laura Mercier, Nars, Dermalogica, Benefit and Elemis. 

Just a quick round-up of all the beauty boxes recently, sorry about the picture quality I'm just doing what I can at the moment technology wise lol.

Thanks for reading, I only ever sub for really good value boxes or ones that come with freebies.


Missing in action update ♥

Gosh it feels like forever since I've written a post... I'm sorry about that but my laptop decided to do all funny things and now the keyboard has broken which means some of the key letters and functions no longer work - annoying. I'm currently using my boyfriend's laptop which is also barely working but at least the keyboard types albeit with a massive lag :|

Since my last post, I celebrated my 21st...ahem nah 28th birthday in September by not doing too much really but I received a few treats, cash, cards and I bought the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette for myself as well as a few bargains in town.  Later that month, my boyfriend and I travelled up north for a wedding and also break beside the coast (see picture above).

We spent from Saturday to Wednesday enjoying Tynemouth, Cullercotes and we also visited other nearby spots, including, Alnwick Castle which was the location used for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately, we didn't go inside because it was far to expensive but it was interesting to see.

On the way home, which was an over five hour journey, we managed to stop at The Metro shopping centre in Gateshead near Newcastle so I could do a really quick spot of shopping.

Here's what I managed to scoop as well as a couple of house bits in just under an hour.

I bought the Flawless palette from te Makeup Revolution stand for £8 for from Superdrug as it's one I've been most tempted by from the reviews and photos.
I also picked up the vamp lipstick in Rebel for £1 by the same brand as it is supposed to be dupe for Mac's Rebel. I've tried this on and yes I do indeed love it already.

I also bought a couple of essentials from Poundworld including the Manhatten pressed powder which is actually really good and the cheap brow pencil from Bodycare which I've used in the past and it's surprisingly good for £1.19.

In October and early November, the main highlight of the month was travelling to Side near Turkey for a holiday with my mum and sister. It was fantastic and completely bizarre to be spending Halloween and Bonfire Night abroad. I'm still enjoying my slightly out-of-season bronzed glow and smooth skin post-Turkish bath treatment.

I also took part in an mystery Halloween swap box event and was sent a wonderful box of goodies complete with two furry spiders (below).

Since it's been officially cold in the UK, my boyfriend and I have been enjoying Netflix, NowTV and online films at home. We've been addicted to Homeland and catching up on all the episodes of The Walking Dead.

In terms of shopping, I've picked up a few bits here and there, plus a few beauty boxes from You Beauty and the recent Glossybox collaboration with Harvey Nichols which is incredible.

I also did a spot of Christmas shopping on Monday and I was very tempted by all the wonderful beauty gifts. I did treat myself to one or two bits but I can only justify this to myself with the present buying I did for others ha!

Thanks for continuing to follow and hopefully I can regain my blogging mojo plus tackle this technology headache.

Thanks for reading,




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