Friday, 27 March 2015

♫ March Playlist ♫

Hello everyone!

It's time to share what I've been listening to in March! I mostly revisted some old favourites this month but there are some new discoveries in the playlist too so press play & enjoy!

music recommendations playlist tinie tempah the japanese house kanye west childish gambino jay z florence and the machine

Tinie Tempah
Believe it or not, Tinie's album Disc-overy was one of the first albums that really got me into rap. I used to listen to it religiously and 5 years on, it stands the test of time proving it's still a great record. I don't know why I decided to give a listen again this month in particular but I'm very glad I did! Obsession is still my favourite, closely followed by Illusion. Don't you just love how an album can almost take you back in time?

The Japanese House
Being a massive fan of The 1975, I discovered The Japanese House after hearing George & Matty produced their EP! Still is one of those songs that somehow just makes you feel calm instantly - you'll know what I mean when you hear it. It's giving me some serious The 1975 vibes which I need while I'm waiting for their second album!

Kanye West
I've always liked Kanye but for some reason recently I haven't been able to stop listening to him! I think it's a combination watching his interview with Zane Lowe and the new music he's released lately. All Day took a while to grow on me what the pretty disappointing Brit Awards performance (Oh Kanye, why didn't you just do Only One?) but now it has, it's been on repeat a lot, alongside old favourites like Spaceship & Hell Of A Life.

Childish Gambino
When it comes to rap, I appreciate clever metaphors & rhymes and Childish Gambino is one of those rappers that certainly delivers them! Listen to Sweatpants and you'll have a new badass motto - 'Don't be mad cus I'm doing me better than you're doing you'. Burn. I also really like 3005 and can't wait to hear his next album.

Listening to Kanye a lot also made me want to listen to Jay Z so I had The Black Album on repeat a lot in March. I quite enjoyed Iggy Azalea's song Trouble although I'm not really her biggest fan. It's a good tune! Last but not least, I was really excited by Florence + The Machine's new track What Kind Of Man! I wasn't sure about it initially but now I love it and can't wait for Florence will be pulling out of the bag next! (Unrelated side note: Florence is one of my favourite names.)

So that's what my March playlist consisted of! I've also been listening to a lot of Nicki Minaj as I'll be seeing her live in Belfast on the 1st of April - excited doesn't even come close!

P.S. Apologies there's no easy to click playlist widget like usual, I can't for the life of me figure out how to embed one now Spotify has updated! If you know, it would be greatly appreciated if you'd share how.

What have you been listening to this month?

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

HOW TO: Save Money on Makeup, Hair & Clothes! // Guest Post

Hello everyone!

Today I have a guest post for you written by Natalie who's a member of The Money Shed! The Money Shed is the UK's largest community website dedicated to earning money online in the comfort of your own home. It has thousands of posts and over a thousand members all sharing their fabulous money saving/earning tips.

Natalie will be sharing an abundance of tips on how you can save money on makeup, hair & clothes - over to Natalie!

how to save money on makeup hair clothes money saving tips thrifty the money shed

Everybody wants to look nice, but regular shopping trips to update your wardrobe and top up your make-up cabinet with the latest ‘must haves’ can really start to add up, and undo all of your money-saving hard work. Here’s the secret that make-up, beauty and clothing brands don’t want you to know: you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay on trend and looking good. Here are a few top tips on making sure your fashion and beauty budget doesn’t break the bank.

1. Make your make-up and beauty products go further.

With the average woman reportedly spending around £100,000 in a lifetime on cosmetics, and the average make up collection including a whopping 54 items, it’s obvious that beauty products are a naughty splurge for many women. However, you can make it all go further with some simple money-saving techniques.

how to save money on makeup hair clothes money saving tips thrifty the money shed

  • To make a shimmer lotion or highlighter for your face and body for a night out, stay away from expensive brands and simply mix the remains of any bronzer with any moisturiser.
  • If you’ve dropped your blush or eyeshadow and smashed it – don’t be tempted to throw it away and replace it. Adding a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol will help it to reset. Alternatively, transfer them to a small pot and use a brush to apply them – they’ll work just as well.
  • Bought a hair conditioner that you don’t like? It’ll work just fine as shaving gel for your legs, so step away from the bin.
  • Not sure what to do with the remains of an old lipstick? If you can’t get anything more out of it (try using a cotton bud!) then use a clean finger to apply it to the fullest part of your cheek and along your cheekbone as a cream blush.
  • You don’t need to apply powder all over your face. Just sweep a brush over your T-zone, and anywhere else that’s shiny, and make it last longer.
  • Add a few drops of nail polish remover to old nail polish that’s gone gloopy. Give it a good shake, and after a few moments it’ll be as good as new.
  • If you find you’re getting through your cream foundation quickly, dilute it with moisturiser. Not only will it last longer, but it will be smooth to apply and the colour will be light and even. Speaking of moisturiser – always use the testers in department stores before buying a full-size product. The back of your hand is a better testing spot than nothing, but to be absolutely sure that you’re buying the right shade, (opened make-up can’t be returned, remember!) test it out on your face.
  • Your fridge is for more than just food! Keeping eyebrow and eyeliner pencils in the fridge keeps them from softening, which stops you from using too much of them. Nail polish can also benefit from being kept in the fridge, as letting them get too warm can contribute to them getting clumpy and thick.
  • Lipstick is usually one of the more expensive items of lipstick in a woman’s purse. Save money by skipping lipstick in your everyday routine. Save it for special occasions, and go for a more natural look: use a little Vaseline to keep your lips looking healthy and shiny instead. If you can’t dare to be bare, Vaseline and Nivea do tinted lip balms for a hint of colour at a much lower price than lipstick.

2. Snip the price of your haircut.

Hair can be another huge expense, as women reportedly spend an average of over £28,000 in a lifetime on cutting and colouring their hair. It’s a great place to make savings, and you don’t have to resort to home dyes to scrape back a few pennies.

how to save money on makeup hair clothes money saving tips thrifty the money shed

  • Don’t fall into the trap of failing to think about the upkeep of a cut before you go for it. A short, layered bob sounds lovely, but are you prepared for the regular cuts to keep it in shape? (Cuts that look best in a particular style also take a lot of time – do you really want to straighten your hair every morning?) Save time and money by asking your stylist for a style that doesn’t require regular trims.
  • Likewise, think carefully about the maintenance of highlights before you have them done – they’re more of a commitment than you might think. If you aren’t brave enough to try it yourself with home kits, but don’t want to be heading back to the salon every few weeks to top up regrowth, try looking into the balayage, ombré and dip-dye trends. Balayage is especially hot right now, (think Khloe Kardashian style sun-kissed waves) but none of these trends need regular up-keep as the dye doesn’t start at your parting, but half-way down your hair or even lower. As an added bonus, these fashions are very easy to grow out if you get sick of them, so you won’t need to pay for expensive dye cover-ups.
  • Most salons offer a free trim for your fringe, so never hand over any cash for this.
  • It may sound scary, but getting your hair cut or dyed by a hairdressing student isn’t as risky as it sounds, because they are very closely supervised in the process. You can bag yourself an amazing discount by heading to your local hairdressing school (or training salons – look up your local SAKS) to be one of their ‘models’, and if you’re not fussy on style or colour, you can even get a freebie from time to time. (The same goes for your nails, by the way – local beauty colleges will often charge as little as £3 for a manicure!)
  • If you’re not convinced by letting a student loose on your hair, save a few pounds by requesting a junior stylist at your regular salon instead. You could save up to £30 depending on which ‘tier’ your regular stylist is on, and will be dealt with by someone who is fully qualified, although newer to the profession or the salon.
  • Finally, if you’re not happy with the cut or colour you’ve had done at a salon, tell them about it. If you discuss it before you leave, something can probably be done about it. If you only realise after you’ve left, head back as soon as possible and explain. Don’t be embarrassed – stylists will want to please you to keep your custom, and it’ll save you money in the long run as you won’t need to fork out for expensive ‘fixes’ at another salon.
  • Always keep an eye out for deals on voucher sites like Wowcher and Groupon – there’s often a hairdressing bargain to be had.
  • Lastly, try looking up a local mobile hairdresser instead of heading out to a salon. Their lower overheads can often lead to a hefty saving for you.

3. Don’t let your wardrobe become a money pit. 

Most women are guilty of having a wardrobe stuffed with clothes that they never actually wear. At nearly £85,000 for the average lifetime spend on clothing, there are definitely savings to be had here, but you don’t need to cramp your style to save some cash.

how to save money on makeup hair clothes money saving tips thrifty the money shed

  • ‘Capsule wardrobe’ is a term most of us have heard, but have you actually sorted yours? As a general rule, don’t buy an item that can’t be worn with at least three other things in your wardrobe, and don’t have more than three of any item (three jumpers are enough – step away from the sale!) Many classic pieces can be switched around to create a whole new look – make sure you have a good pair of jeans, some leggings, a little black dress and some simple block colour cardigans. Adding accessories – particularly statement necklaces, large scarves or handbags – can make the outfit look entirely different. Primark have a huge range of handbags and printed scarves that will only cost a few quid.
  • Ditch the stuff you don’t wear. Go through your wardrobe and think honestly about the last time you wore a piece of clothing. If it wasn’t in the last year, then it needs to go. Ebay is a great place to sell clothes – especially on a free listing day – but there are many other dedicated sites. Another alternative is clothes swapping among friends – it’ll give both of your wardrobes an update and cost you nothing.
  • Charity shops are always worth a rummage. If you love designer or vintage clothes, then this is a great way of getting the look for less.
  • The same goes for Ebay – if you’ve found something you really want to buy but aren’t keen on the price tag, check it isn’t on Ebay before you hand over any money. Search for the brand, size and name of the item, but also try a general description if that doesn’t work, (for example, ‘grey skater dress’) as people often don’t list the brand or name. If you can wait, set up an Ebay alert to be emailed when someone starts to sell one.
  • Buy clothes at the ‘wrong’ time of year. Winter coats are cheapest at the start of spring, and summer dresses are heavily discounted at the end of autumn. Shop the sales this way and you’ll save lots. Just avoid buying clothes that are smaller than you currently are, thinking you’ll look fabulous when you diet into them – it might never happen!
  • Care for the clothes that you already have. Read the label, follow washing instructions carefully and avoid the dryer unless absolutely necessary to make your clothes last as long as possible.
  • Stick to cheap shops for generic basics – don’t pay over the odds for a plain t-shirt from a designer store, as nobody will ever know. Even high street stores like Topshop and H&M can be much more expensive than Tesco or Primark for basics.
  • Get shoes repaired rather than replacing them – it won’t be free but it’ll cost a lot less than buying a whole new pair.
  • Supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s or ASDA are a great place to pick up fashion bargains. Give them a go if you don’t shop there already – you’ll be surprised. If you’re looking online, click and collect is a great option to avoid postage fees.
  • There are some simple general rules to follow when trying to save money on fashion and beauty. Firstly, try to avoid ‘trends’, as clothes and shoes can become dated easily and constantly replacing items for the latest fashions can be expensive. You can also fall foul of this in beauty and make-up – the latest mascara is not always the best one! Before you buy beauty items, check out blog reviews with honest photographs attached, and always keep in mind that you might have a slightly different result on your own skin/face. If you absolutely must have an expensive beauty item, look for a sample size or request a sample at a beauty counter to make sure that it’s everything that you want.
  • Lastly, it’s all about control. You don’t have to deny yourself your favourite moisturiser or a dress you’ve absolutely fallen in love with, as long as you can make savings elsewhere. Choose which things are most important to you, and don’t make any hasty buying decisions. If in doubt – walk away. If you’re still thinking about ‘that’ pair of shoes/handbag/coat/nail polish 3 days later, then go back and get it (as long as you’ve already checked Ebay and Gumtree, of course!).

Well I don't about you but I think I've learnt a lot from Natalie! If you want more tips about money saving & earning, head on over to The Money Shed!

What's your top money saving tip?

Thanks for reading,

Monday, 23 March 2015

Starting a Haircare Routine

Hello everyone!

Confession. I'm rubbish with hair.

I've never really strayed from the same few styles and I've never paid a whole lot of attention to looking after it. 

That's all changed recently as I've decided to put in the effort and start a haircare routine. Wanna know what it involves?

haircare routine healthy fine thick hair curly wavy how to aussie l'oreal kms california

For reference, my hair is fine & naturally wavy/curly. Oh, and fly aways are a pain in the butt.

Shampoo & Conditioner
Aussie Miracle Shine Shampoo // L'Oreal Ever Riche Conditioner
I never really thought the shampoo & conditioner I used would be all that important but since trying this combination, I'm sold! I've definitely noticed more shine in my hair since bringing the Aussie shampoo into my routine & this conditioner is such a gift. It's texture feels more like a lotion than a regular conditioner which is why it feels so nourishing and really makes a difference. My hair has never felt so healthy and I'm putting it down to using this, plus it has a really nice apricot scent!

aussie l'oreal haircare routine healthy fine thick hair curly wavy how to

Knowing I was trying to whip my haircare routine into shape, The Hut kindly sent over two goodies from KMS California - I wasn't previously familar with them but I love discovering new brands!

Leave-in Conditioner
KMS California Moist Repair Revival Creme
After I've showered, I've been working this leave-in conditioner through my towel dried hair as instructed and leaving it to dry naturally. This claims to moisturise hair and help with manageability which are two things I'm definitely on board for! Having a natural curl in my hair means the tendency for knots is high but since using this I've noticed a massive improvement. Once my hair is dry I'll brush it and I won't say there are no knots, but it's a lot easier and less painful! Looking at the ingredients I'm quite pleased to see aloe & vanilla extracts as well as avocado oil - it's not a scent combination I'd ever think to put together but it's surprising lovely. Revival creme is a very apt name as this really has brought life back into my hair!

Heat Protection/Styling Spray
KMS California Free Shape 2 in 1 Styling + Finishing
Now, I've been really trying to cut back on using heat on my hair (as you'll read in the etc. paragraph below) but for those days I'm wanting sleek, no frizz hair I'll go for the straighteners. Trapping your hair between two super heated plates isn't gonna do it any good so a heat protection spray is an essential. This KMS California spray has become an essential because not only does is protect, it holds my hair in shape. My natural curls are notorious for trying to unravel themselves so anything that can keep my straightened hair straight instantly goes in my good books. Even when I haven't applied heat, I like to spray some through my hair - I'm not sure how but it just adds some kind of magic that makes my fine hair able to do what thick hair can - i.e. get some volume and shape in it. It has a strong cucumber scent which might not be up everyone's street but I really like the freshness of it. 

kms california haircare routine healthy fine thick hair curly wavy how to

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Extreme Double Serum
These days if I'm leaving my hair natural, I struggle to go without a serum. My one of choice is this from L'Oreal which actually went into my January Favourites but it's still going strong - impressive for such a little bottle! You really only need one pumps worth rubbed between your palms then you comb your hands through and your hair is left looking like you've made an effort (when you really haven't).

l'oreal elvive serum haircare routine healthy fine thick hair curly wavy how to


Limit the amount of heat used
Like I mentioned, I barely use heat on my hair anymore in an attempt to stop breakage, split ends and all that jazz. I'll only straighten or curl once in a blue moon and if I'm in a rush and my hair needs drying quickly, I'll use the hairdryer on the coldest setting.

Don't wash everyday
When it comes to washing my hair, I used to struggle to go a day without doing so. However, that's really not a good thing to do so I'm in the process of training my hair to go a few days before it needs shampooed again. It's not easy when you're used to fresh, clean hair everyday but it's important to let the natural oils work their magic!

Brush gently
This may sound a bit odd but it's something my hairdresser mentioned last time I saw her and it stuck. If you're brushing too vigorously you might be breaking your hair and that's obviously not ideal if you want it to grow healthily! I was definitely guilty of this and it's something that I'm very conscious of now and try my best not to do.

Coconut oil
Since I first discovered coconut oil I've tried using it in lots of different ways, but for hair my favourite way to use it is as a pre-wash hair mask. A few times a week, I let it work it's benefits for about 10 minutes on my hair before I wash & condition to lock in and secure moisture & softness which is exactly what I need! 

So there you have it, my current haircare routine! It's nothing too extensive but it's a definite step up and in the right direction from what I was doing before. Using this combination of products & techniques, my hair feels much more healthy which makes me happy!

What are your favourite haircare products?

Thanks for reading,

♫ Would I lie to you baby, would I lie to you? 
No, I wouldn't.
The KMS California products were sent to me for reviewing but all opinions are honest and my own.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Weekly Reflect // #28

Hello everyone!

This week was a quiet one for me which was lovely as the next week and a bit will be the opposite! But of course, there were some significant parts of the week, so let's reflect . . .

weekly reflect knitted patchwork throw

This week:

  • . . . the solar eclipse happened! We managed to see it because the clouds were covering it enough to act as a filter but after a few minutes the clouds took over and that was that. I have to be honest, it was a bit underwhelming after all the hype that was stirred up - I was hoping it might get a bit darker but it was just a little dusky here!

    • . . . it was finalised that I won't be doing my A Levels this year because of my health. It's quite annoying because it leaves me in a bit of an awkward position of perhaps having to repeat but I guess it's just one of those things that can't be controlled!

    • . . . my friend who is a fantastic knitter made me the amazing patchwork throw in the photo above! It's so beautiful and it was so kind of her to make it for me - I had no idea she was so it was a lovely surprise!

    So that was my week! 
    How was yours?

    Thanks for reading,

    Friday, 20 March 2015

    Battle of the Cleansing Waters

    Hello everyone!

    I've somehow managed to accumulate 3 different cleansing waters at the same time - two micellar & one witch hazel - so I thought I'd share my thoughts and do a little comparison post for you today!

    cleansing water micellar garnier simple witch hazel review skincare

    Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
    £4.49 for 200ml
    First up is the new kid on the block, Simple's version of the micellar water.
    I've always used Simple skincare so I had high hopes for this but sadly it just didn't live up to them. Doesn't get me wrong, it does remove makeup, it just takes quite a lot of effort while Simple claim there'll be no need to rub the skin. That coupled with the fact it's quite expensive for only 200ml and I feel like I need to use quite a lot of it, I just don't rate it.

    Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
    £4.99 for 400ml
    I've talked about this before on the blog a few times but that's because I think it deserves the credit.
    It only costs a few pennies more than Simple's option but contains double the amount - hat speaks for itself really. To sum it up, it makes for easy & effective makeup removal and is well worth what is costs. I've repurchased this before and definitely will again when it runs out! This is clean skin in a bottle.

    Witch Cleansing Lotion
    £2.99 for 200ml
    So this one is called a lotion but trust me, it's a water!
    When I got it I was expecting a creamy makeup remover but it's neither of those, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! It doesn't claim to remove makeup but it does say it will cleanse, tone & soothe which I can confirm it does! I like to use this at the end of the day after I've taken my makeup off to really refresh my skin as well as in the mornings to give my skin a quick boost. It seems to be aimed at oily skin but my dry skin loves it! Everything I've tried from Witch seems to have a gorgeous scent - it's hard to put my finger on what exactly but if you can imagine what super clean, fresh skin smells like you're probably somewhere close!

    cleansing water micellar garnier simple witch hazel review skincare

    So in the battle of the cleansing waters, which wins?

    Well I think it's fair to say Garnier and Witch come out on as winners as they both do different things very well!

    Unfortunately it's a miss from Simple this time.
    It's such a shame to give such a negative review on a product from I brand I love so much but at least you know it's always my aim to be honest with you. I also try to share with you the products are worth spending your money on and on that front, it's Garnier all the way.

    Well, those are my thoughts on three different cleansing waters I've tried! Let me know which of them you'd like to try most in the comments below!

    Do you like cleansing waters?

    Thanks for reading,
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