Monday, 29 April 2013

April Favourites - Non Beauty Edition

Is it that time of the month again already?! The only thing that seems likes its taken a long time coming is payday - and there is still another day to go!

Today i'm sharing my non beauty favourites with you, a bit of a random mix but i'll explain why each one has made it this month.

The Following on Sky Atlantic- I can't believe I have been watching this show for the last few months and this week it's the final episode - it's been amazing! I have no idea what i'm going to do with myself on Tuesday evenings at 10pm now!

Gossip Girl - my love for GG is being completely rekindled. I have seasons one and two on DVD boxset but have been keeping my eye on Amazon prices so I can buy the rest. This is my Saturday morning guilty pleasure as hubby is at work until the afternoon and I have the house to myself. I tend to watch two or three episodes every Saturday so hopefully it won't take me long to get through the rest of the series (BTW if you have any of these series and would be willing to sell or donate them to me, please get in touch. I don't think I can wait until the end of the ban to buy them!)

National Express - I've been keeping an eye on the trains for my upcoming trip to London with the lovely Jaye from Bed in the Kitchen and thought i'd be able to get a cheap early deal, well when I checked the other day, it was going to cost me £79 for a return trip from Bournemouth to London!! I swiftly moved onto the National Express Coach website and managed to get a return trip from Bournemouth to London Victoria for just £19!

5 Finger Kit Kats - need I say more?!

I've been completely lusting over this bag from Accessorize for weeks. It's the perfect size as an overnight bag for my trip to Wembley in September but for £39 it has to stay in my wishlist for now (I can always dream though)

Douwe Egberts Coffee - I LOVE my morning coffee but this stuff is more of a splurge product and I only tend to buy it when it's on offer. I tried all my local supermarkets but none had any offers on! So I had to settle for some cheaper Gold Blend coffee - it was NOT nice! Sooo happy that Tesco's finally came up trumps and I got this large jar for £5 instead of the usual £6.59.

What are your non beauty favourites this month? Are any of them the same as mine?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

I've written a guest post!

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a lovely weekend. I just thought i'd let you know that the lovely Alice from Bright Town Girl has invited me to guest post on her blog! It's my very first guest post so please head on over to her blog and check it out and let me know what you think.

You can read the post here.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Nails Inc Nail Polish Offer - Today ONLY!

For today only (Friday 26th April) until Midnight tonight (or until stocks last) Nails Inc are offering a special offer of 7 (YES 7!) of their full sized polishes (10ml) in a lucky dip for just £18! (RRP over £75)

Unfortunately you don't get to choose the shades but you're guaranteed to get something you like! It's a fantastic deal considering their regular Pick & Mix deal is 3 polishes for £22.

P&P is standard at £3.95 but if you add that on you're still getting a bargain considering these polishes start at £9 each.

Make sure you check out the offer here.

Let me know if you buy any!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Rabbitheart Nails

 If you're anything like me and love nail art but don't have the time or patience to practice designs then this post is for you! 

I recently came across Rabbitheart Nails on Facebook and knew that I had to try some. Rabbitheart Nails combine their love of vintage design and nail art to produce home made nail wraps. From kitsch florals to cute animals, you won't find these styles anywhere else!

The nail designs are separated into different categories, the Floral Collection, the Animal Collection and the Fashion Collection. I was sent two different designs to try, the Green & Pink Vintage Floral and the Fancy Moustache. Today i'm going to show you the Green & Pink Vintage Floral design.

The wraps themselves are really easy to use. They are printed onto high quality water transfer decal paper which means that when water is applied to the back of the paper, the wraps simply slide off and attach to your nail.

There are ten wraps to a sheet and you cut them to your nail size using your nail as a guide. You then paint your nail your desired colour. I chose white as my background colour so that the design would show up clearly. The website recommends white for heavily coloured and floral designs. With the white side of the transfer up, you place a small amount of water onto it after 30 seconds the transfer slides straight off the backing paper and you can place in on your nail. I trimmed the excess off the top using nail scissors and then applied a few coats of clear top coat to seal the design.

The wraps were really easy to use and I got a lot of comments at work the next day from people asking how I had done it and where they could get some from. The cost of each set is £5.50 and you get two sets of 10 transfers which can last up to two weeks. Rabbitheart also make custom designs, so if you have a design you would like on your nails, you can email a high quality jpeg image to and they can make up some decal transfers for you for £5.50 or the design on a set of false nails for £9.00. 

New designs are being added to the Rabbitheart Nails Facebook page regularly so make sure you stop by here.

What do you think to my nails? Have you checked out Rabbitheart Nails yet?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Spending Ban Update - Week 2 & 3

Hi lovelies, hope you're all well. I don't really want to bore you too much with these spending ban updates because hopefully there won't be too much on here that I have ended up buying!

I can honestly say that I've been really good these last two weeks. I haven't bought anything unecessary. The only things I have bought are some make up remover pads (as my previous lot ran out) some deoderant (definitely an essential) and some new trainers (okay...I know what you're thinking...) I see trainers as a necessity as I walk to and from work every day. My last pair lasted a very long time but it got to the point where when it rained, water was leaking into the inside making my feet completely soaked - that combined with smelly feet did not make a good combination! I managed to pick up a cheap pair of Nike trainers from my local Sports Direct shop for £22.99.

Hubby has been really supportive (I think its because I've not been dragging him to the shops!) and even bought me four new nail varnishes! Don't start thinking aww just yet as there was an ulterior motive (although i'm not complaining!) we have tickets to Wembley in September to see an American Football match and the colours he bought me are the team we are going to be supporting. He wants me to paint my nails in the design of their team logo - we'll see how that works out!

Sainsburys Double Faced Cotton Pads £1.85//Sainsbury's deoderant 95p//Nail Varnishes £0 (thanks to hubby)//Nike Trainers £22.99

So my total spend for weeks two and three came to a grand total of £0!

What do you think to my progress so far?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

My Money Saving Tips

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will have seen that I've posted several money saving posts. I love a bargain - who doesn't? It's always great getting something you've wanted for less or being able to put a few pennies aside so that you can afford that one special thing. These are some things that we do in our household to save a few pennies and I thought I would share them with you.

1) Sign up for reward cards, whether its Boots, Superdrug or Holland & Barrett, if you shop there regularly, collect the points. You never know just how quickly they mount up and you'll soon be able to get something for free.

2) Switch expensive brands for cheaper alternatives, whether its make up or baked beans sometimes you find that the next brand down is just as good or sometimes better.

 3) Start a "penny jar" we have an old coffee jar we use to save up any change that is less than 50p. Separate the change into the right coins, bag it up and take it to a bank and they'll pay it into the account of your choice (don't use one of the coin machines you see in the supermarket as they charge a commission).

4) Sell your unwanted items on eBay or Gumtree. It's free to set up both accounts but use Gumtree if you don't want to be charged for your listing.

5) Search for local deals on eBay. Change your search settings to list items in distance order. You'll find that items that have a local pickup sell for less, enabling you to get a great bargain!

6) Use the Amazon Discount Finder to find the best deals on Amazon. Amazon have special pages which have major discounts these include Beauty & Fragrance and electrical items. Some have discounts of up to 90%!

7) Buy second hand items from charity shops and car boots sales. I have at least 5 charity shops on my local high street full of donated items (including mine!) Obviously these aren't great if you're looking for something specific but they're great for books, CD's and DVD's.

8) See if your workplace has a forum or area where you can buy items. My place of work has an online "swap shop" where our two sites list all sorts of things they want to sell or sometimes even give away for free! You never know what is going to pop up on there, I've seen cars, pet accessories, furniture and childrens toys so there is definitely money to be saved!

9) Rent out your parking space - if you're not using it why not rent it out to someone who needs it. Sites likpark at my house allow you to advertise your car parking space or driveway for someone to use. It's a great way of getting those extra pennies.

10) Blag a discount - if you have to purchase an item which is a little on the expensive side why not ask if the store can throw in a few extra "freebies" as well. When we purchased our new TV last year they threw in an expensive extension cable and tv cleaner as well! You never know your luck and you don't know what they'll say unless you ask.

11)  Don't buy an item from the first place you see it, shop around. You never know if the next shop you go to will have an offer or sale on. I always check out a few shops first before I buy anything to check i'm saving the most.

12) Check online for discount codes or vouchers. There are lots of sites now that offer discounts or codes for free delivery. A quick search on Google will help you find them. I don't think I have ever bought anything online full price as I always look for a discount code first.

13) Use search websites such as Find DVD or Find Book before buying these types of items online. The websites search hundreds of retailers and are updated daily so you can always be sure you are finding the best deal.

14) Join your local Facebook selling group. You can post photos of items you wish to sell and people comment underneath the photo to say if they wish to buy it. You can arrange for them to collect it easily because they should be close by. Lots of areas now have these and I belong to both the Bournemouth and Christchurch pages.

15) Check the price tickets in shops for weights or price per item as things that look like deals may not necessarily be the best price.

16) Think - do I really need the extra item in an offer. Will I use it? If it's something you use regularly then thats great but do you really need that 2 for £2 offer on shoe polish or would you just be better off buying one for £1.50 and saving the 50p?

17) Visit shops after seasonal periods. My husband and I bought our Easter eggs the day after Easter as they were all half price! Stock up on suncream when it begins to turn to winter and buy Christmas crackers for the next year in the Christmas sales.

18) Use local shops within walking distance rather than visiting the larger supermarket. You can support your local high street and not waste money on petrol.

19) Make meals from scratch instead of buying ready made meals or takeaways. They are a lot better for you and sometimes you can make a meal such as a lasagne, eat half and freeze the other half to have another time.

20) A lot of supermarkets are jumping on the dine in bandwagon which means that you can get a meal for two for £10 or similar. Most of the shops that offer this are in competition with one another so there are lots of great dine in deals to be had. M&S have a great one and I've also seen one in Tescos and CO-OP.

21) Collect clubcard points in Tesco. If this is where you normally shop you can collect clubcard points which you can convert into vouchers (for sometimes three times the actual value) my family enjoyed a day out at Chessington for free because of the vouchers and we even used some in Goldsmiths to go towards my engagement ring!

22) Use freebie sites like Magic Freebies UK to try items before you buy. I get all my freebies from this site. Sometimes you can build up quite a collection, I use my shampoo freebies when I go on holiday instead of carrying around my large bottles of toiletries or buying expensive miniature bottles.

23) Take a look at Books for Free. We have a space in our local shopping centre where you can donate your old books and also pick up new books for free! You never know what you might find and you can save a few pennies not buying new but recycling old.

24) Utilise your families skills. My Mother in Law made our Wedding cake! You can see a photo of it here. I made all our Wedding invitations and i'm currently making some for another couple.

25) If you fancy a trip to the cinema, go on a Tuesday or Wednesday. My local Empire cinema does a saver Tuesday night where tickets are £4.95 each or even better my local Odeon cinema does Orange Wednesdays so tickets are buy one get one free. If you take a friend and halve the cost of one ticket between you it's even cheaper!

26) If you're travelling somewhere by coach or train and definitely know the date you are travelling on, you can use The Trainline or National Express Coaches cheap fare finder to find the cheapest fares to your destination. You can book from three months in advance. I've travelled from Bournemouth to London on the coach before for just £5!

27) Walk or cycle instead of drive. I walk to and from work everyday which is a total of 4 miles. It's great exercise and I save myself £60 a month in bus fare!

28) If you do need to drive find someone you could car share with. It helps protect the environment and can save you money as you take it in turns to drive and therefore save money on fuel.

29) Have a night in instead of going out. We all know its much cheaper to stay in and have a few drinks rather than go to an expensive bar, especially if you're the designated driver. I recently heard that the mark up on soft drinks is as much as four times the original price! Avoid going out on nights such as New Years Eve as well as sometimes places that are usually free to get in charge you just because its a known busy period.

30) If you're staying in a hotel, try booking a secret hotels deal. Sites such as Expedia have these deals. You don't find out the name of the hotel until after you have booked but there are only hotels of a certain standard available. If you don't mind not knowing where you're staying until you've booked then its a great way to get a great hotel at a great price.

So these are my money saving tips. I hope you find them useful. This also counts as my entry into the Money Supermarket 30 Ways to Save £1 blogger challenge which you can also enter here.

MUA Make Up Dupes

There has been a lot of talk on the Twittersphere lately about Make Up Academy's latest offering of nail varnishes which look somewhat reminiscent of another well known brand *ahem*

Whether you love or hate what they have done I have found several similar high end make up dupes that i'm going to share with you. Honestly, I haven't tried all of these products yet so I can't comment on the quality i'm just going to be focusing on the packaging and the price.

Essie vs MUA
 Essie Polishes £7.99 each/MUA Polishes £1
As you can see, the bottles of both brands are almost completely identical, even down to the ridge underneath the cap of the bottle. I can't find any information about the volume of the bottle on the MUA website but the polishes I have previously bought from them have been smaller than high end brand polishes. I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of their nail varnish last time I purchased so I think i'll be buying Essie over MUA.

Benefit vs MUA
Benefit The Porefessional £23.50/MUA Matte Perfect Primer £4
 I own both of these products and I use my Porefessional every day. The MUA dupe is the same size and consistency although it doesn't have the same nice smell as the Benefit one. The packaging is also a lot nicer on the Benefit. I will be using the MUA once my latest Porefessional runs out purely because of the cost but Benefit will always be my number one.

Urban Decay vs MUA
Naked 2 Palette £32/MUA Undress Me Too Palette £4
 I also own both of these items and out of the two I prefer the Urban Decay Palette. The shadows are of a much better quality although I did expect this because of the price difference. If I had one of the same shade from each palette on each eye, I doubt anyone would notice the difference. I also love the packaging on the Naked 2 even though it's a bit bulky. The Undress Me Too palette is much easier to carry round if you are on the go.

Clinique vs MUA
Clinique Chubby Stick £16/MUA Power Pout £3
I haven't tried either of these products yet as I am not a big fan of lip products however I can comment on the packaging of each and if you were to take off the branding and writing, I doubt anyone would be able to tell the two apart. The Clinique range is available in a lot more colours than the Power Pout but this is one of MUA's latest products so I am sure that there will be shades available soon.

MAC Extra Dimension Skin Finish £20/MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder £3
 Obviously the colours of the two palettes are different but the swirls are very similar. On first look, I would say that the MAC looks better quality but I am yet to try this. You get a good colour payoff with the MUA.

 Total spend for high end products = £99.49

Total spend for MUA products =£15

Now you know I love a bargain but from what i've been reading some people feel like they are being led to believe that because the packaging is similar the product inside is of a similar quality to a high end brand.

Not everyone, including myself, can afford to buy high end make up so have MUA made a smart move in trying to make these dupes more accessible to a wider audience? My motto has always been "you get what you pay for" and out of the products I have in this list I can honestly say that the high end products are better but Mr bank man doesn't always let me have my way so it's great to know that there is a cheaper alternative available. 

Would you rather buy high end or high street? Do you think it is right or clever what MUA have done?