Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bargain Body Lotion: The Beauty Parlour Soften It Up

If you read my blog you will know by now that I love a bargain. I really enjoy browsing Poundland and other discount stores and usually always come out with something. I came across this body lotion in Home Bargains for 99p and couldn't resist.

I like the packaging, although it could be seen as leaning slightly on the tacky side of things. I think that they may have 'taken some inspiration' from Soap and Glory with the design. They have also taken inspiration from Soap and Glory with the scent. It is very similar to the Original Pink scent that Soap and Glory use in most of their products, but not as strong. This is great for me as I do find the Soap and Glory smell to be a bit overpowering at times but maybe not for people who like a strong smelling body lotion. 

The lotion itself is OK, I think the best part about it is the smell and the pump design of the bottle which makes it so easy to use. It doesn't sink into the skin straight away so requires some work in order for it to be absorbed. Once it does though it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth, just like any good body lotion should. 

Overall, this is a good body lotion with a nice, pleasant smell. It is great for people like me who are on a budget and don't want to spend £10+ on more expensive lotions, and are fans of the Soap and Glory scent. 

Have you found any bargains recently?

My giveaway will be ending in two days time so enter now here!!

Gem x

Monday, 30 July 2012

Staying Fashionable On A Budget: Top 10 Websites (Fashion Vouchers Competition)

Staying fashionable can be very expensive. I don't consider myself to be at all fashionable, but I like to try. I love fashion and keeping up with the latest trends.

Over the years I have tried and tested many ways to save money on fashion. I went from being a poor Uni student straight into being a poor mother with all my money going on my financial drains lovely children.

 So I thought it would be great to share with you my favourite websites which help me stay fashionable on a budget. Perhaps they can help you too because seriously, who doesn't love a bargain?

1. eBay:

I love eBay. Its great for buying clothing and accessories Second hand. I have purchased many second hand dresses from eBay. Its also great that you are protected not only by eBay but by PayPal also, so you can buy with confidence.

eBay is also great for buying new clothing. There are some great sellers on eBay with great fashion shops, some of my personal favourites are:
  • GadgetcKing - Sells all sorts of things but on the fashion side, some lovely accessories at great prices including these fairisle printed leggings, £4.99 and this collar necklace (which I have bought myself, its great) £3.69. 
  • Funky Diva - Sells on trend fashion pieces for a fraction of the price. The prices are great but the postage cost is £1.99, so this seller is best if you want a few pieces from them as they combine postage. 
eBay is also great for buying craft pieces like rhinestones and studs to customise your clothes. A great way of revamping old clothing. 

I never purchase anything off the net before checking for a discount code, and I suggest you do the same. This site is a great one stop shop for discount codes relating to fashion and more. I love the layout of the website, it is so easy to find the code you are looking for and is such an easy site to use.

Facebook? I hear you ask. Well, let me explain. There are two ways I use Facebook for saving money on fashion.

  • Facebook selling and swapping groups - There are a lot of selling and swapping groups on Facebook, just type 'Selling' or 'Swap' into the search bar and they will pop up. Many are local which is great as you can save on postage buying or swapping locally. 
  • Brands Fan Pages - These brand pages frequently have promotional offers and discounts for their Facebook fans. They also offer VIP sale shopping, where you can shop the sale items before anyone else. A good example of a brand that does this is Newlook. You just need to like the page to get these offers. 

This website is a wealth of information for money saving tips on everything from fashion to flights. It has saved me a small fortune over the years and I really recommend you check it out. 

They have a whole section of the website dedicated to Beauty and Fashion, where they list the latest discount codes and sales going on. They often let you know a couple of days before hand if a sale is going to be on so you can be first in line or be on the website ready to get a bargain. 

They also have a great forum where you can discuss voucher codes and sales. Members often post about great fashion bargains they have found. It also has a great section on eBay tips for buyers and sellers to help you get the best price possible.

A cash back website where you can earn money back from shopping online. They pay you a certain percentage of the total amount you spend when you click through them to go to the website you are going to buy from.

I bought a dress of AX Paris the other day through top cashback and got 8% cash back and found a voucher code for free delivery. In total I saved about £5!

6. Blogs

Ok, blogs arent necesarily one website but they are great for finding a bargain when it comes to fashion. If there is a sale on, guarenteed a blogger will have blogged a haul post about it!

Blogs are also great for finding a second hand fashion bargain, with many bloggers selling their second hand clothes in blog sales.

7. Chiara Fashion:

A great website which sells fashionable clothes at bargain prices. I find them to be cheaper than boohoo.com, but the clothes and accessories they sell are very similar.

They almost always have a sale on with lots of bargains to be had.

a few of my favourite items at the moment are these Palazzo Pants for £11.99 and this gorgeous body con dress which is in the sale for a bargain £7.95.

8. OMG Fashion:

Another great fashion website with great prices.They also have free delivery on all orders at the moment for even more savings.

a few of my favourite pieces from this website are this cut out top body con dress £9.99 and these nude red soled shoes, very Louboutin-esque.

9. Amazon:

The online shopping Juggernaut, Amazon sell almost everything you can imagine, even clothing and accessories. They have a whole department dedicated to fashion and have over 600,000 pieces for sale.

They have all the big brand names and regularly have sales on. At Christmas time I managed to get a pair of EMU boots for £75 RRP  £195. They are currently selling for £98 still with a considerable amount off the recommended retail price.

10. Girl Meets Dress:

There are some occasions where only a designer dress will do. So what do you do when you cant afford designer prices? Look no further than Girl Meets Dress. Here you can 'borrow' a designer dress for a fixed price. Prices start from £29 for two nights, with the more expensive dresses costing more to rent.

I am in love with this Marc Jacobs dress and would love to wear this on a special night out. I can imagine the compliments you would get and you could pretty much guarantee that nobody else will be in the same dress. This particular dress costs £59 to rent out for 2 nights and is only available in a size 10. Just be careful not to spill your drink. (Although they do offer an insurance service which costs £7 to cover a zip split, minor tears and drink spillages that come out with dry cleaning).

My Top Tips for Fashion Shopping online

  • ALWAYS  check for voucher codes before making any online purchase. www.fashionvouchers.com is a great resource when shopping for fashion.
  • ALWAYS go check a cash back website to see whether there is any cash back available on your purchases.
  • If you have something in particular in mind or have seen something on a particular website, check eBay first. You may find the exact same dress you wanted from Top Shop for a fraction of the price, or you may find something very very similar. 
There are so many ways you can be a money saving fashionista online. I hope this article has been of some help to you, happy shopping.

Gem x


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Weigh loss update

I thought I would write a little update as I haven't been posting any for the past couple of weeks.

Basically I have fallen off the wagon a bit and have now gained 4lbs. I seem to have lost a bit of faith in the slimming world plan as I am not seeing the results I want. I know this is partly my fault as some weeks I have not been 100%, but on the weeks that I have I still am only either loosing 1lb or staying the same. Then I get disheartened and go on a binge and put on. So I'm just going round in circles and not getting anywhere.

I have decided to give the plan a break. I am seriously considering joining weight watchers as the plan seems more strict and portion controlled and this is what I need as I am a complete over eater. The group is on Tuesday, so I will update then.

Gem x

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Real Techniques Eye Starter Set Review

real techniques starter set review

I love Real Techniques brushes. I own the Core Collection and the Stippling Brush and they are a staple in my make-up bag and I couldn't be without them now. So as it was my birthday I decided to get the Eye Starter Set as a little present to myself. I have been using these for four weeks now, so they have had a good test run.

In the set you get five brushes presented in a brush holder. I really like the brush holder, I use it to keep all my Real Technique brushes together its so handy. 

The brushes you get are:

  • Base Shadow Brush:  I use it for all over lid colour. Its a nice size and really soft. Its great to pack on colour on the lid and actually does this better than my beloved Too Faced brush. 
  • Deluxe crease brush: Again another big brush. I personally use this to blend shadows, not to apply colour to the crease as I find it too big. I use my Too Faced crease brush to apply colour to the crease and then this brush to blend.
  • Accent Brush: This is very similar to my NYX Smudge brush. It can be used for "precision detailing, spotlighting, highlighting, and smudging." I use it for all of the uses described and find it a great little brush.
  • Pixel- Point Eyeliner Brush: I like this brush for using a powder eye shadow as an eyeliner. I wouldn't use it for gel liner as I already have a brush that I use for that, (the one that came with Maybelline Gel Eyeliner). 
  • Brow Brush: This brush is nice and soft and great for applying powder to the eyebrows. It does seem a little big but I find it still does the job well. 
Overall I love these brushes. They are great quality, wash easily and are a good price. They are also 100% cruelty free. You can buy Real Techniques Brushes at Boots, and this set retails at £21.99.

Do you own any Real Techniques brushes?

Gem x

Thursday, 26 July 2012

'Saran Wrap' Nails (Clingfilm)

I have been a bit into nail art recently. Only really easy nail art though because I am still crap at nails. I have seen these 'Saran Wrap' or Cling Film manicures popping up a lot recently so decided to give them a go. 

They are really easy to do. First make 10 little balls out of cling film. Then paint your nails in a base colour of your choice and let it dry completely. Then you paint another colour on top and while its still wet you get one of the little cling film balls and dab it onto the nail. It will leave a really cool marble-like effect on your nails.

I chose two similar colours for a subtle effect, but you could go for bright clashing colours for a more out-there look. 

Gem x 

Lauren Conrad Inspired Hair Using Silhouette (Competition Entry)

Imediate PR are holding a competition over on twitter, where a group of bloggers were sent three products from Schwarzkopfs new range of hair products designed for coloured hair. The range is called Sihouette and the products we were sent were the Colour Brilliance Strong Hold Hairspray, Mousse and Extreme Gloss Spray. With the products, we were challenged to recreate a celebrity hairstyle of our choice.

If I was given the choice to have any Celebrities hair, it would be Lauren Conrads. Her hair always looks amazing but still relaxed. So When I had to chose a celebrities hair to recreate, there was no doubt I would chose hers.

I chose this look in particular as it looks really glamorous with the volume at the top, but the loose curls make it look effortless. Although it does take a bit of effort, with the right tools it is quite an easy hairstyle to achieve.

Heres how I did it:

  1. Before drying, use a golf ball sized amount (for thick long hair) of Silhouette Colour Brilliance Mousse. Dry then curl hair. I used  my Babyliss Curling Wand. Concentrate on the underneath of the hair as the top section will be pulled back.
  2. To get a more relaxed curl, run fingers through hair, then spray with Silhouette Colour Brilliance strong Hold Hairspray.
  3. Take a triangle section of hair from the back and backcomb. Spray the hair that has been backcombed with Silhouette Colour Brilliance Hairspray. Clip into place.
  4. Smooth the top layer of hair over the backcombed section very gently, until you get somethibng like picture 4.Then take two sections of hair from either side and clip in place. Spray generously with Silhouette Hairspray. Then use Silhouette Colour Brilliance Extreme Gloss Spray to give a lovely finishing shine to the look.
It is really quite difficult to take pictures of your own hair. I think I may need to invest in a tripod. Here are a few more shots from different angles so you get more of an idea of the finished look: 

  • Silhouette Colour Brilliance Strong Hold Hairspray - This hairspray has been especially formulated for coloured hair. It has a UV filter and helps to prevent colour fading. This is great for me as I colour my hair regularly and always find that my colour fades quite quickly. It is not at all sticky and holds the curls really well.
  • Silhouette Colour Brilliance Mousse - I used this mousse after I had washed and towel dried my hair. I used a golf ball sized amount as I have very thick long hair.If you have thin shorter hair I would suggest using less than this. My hair was so much more under control after using this. I found it was much less frizzy and helped my hair curl nicely. The mousse also has a UV filter in it to help protect coloured hair.
  • Silhouette Colour Brilliance Extreme Gloss Spray - No self respecting Celebrity would be seen without glossy shiny hair. My hair is not very shiny at all, so this product helped give a bit of a shine to my hair. It doesn't make it greasy at all, just gives a nice shine to the hair. 
  • Babyliss Curling Wand - for the curls
  • Normal Hairbrush (mines from Primark)
  • Hair grips

I really love the way this hairstyle turned out. I wore it on a night out and it made me feel quite glamorous. My style lasted all night and the curls stayed put nicely, but brushed out easily at the end of the night. 

What do you think of my hairstyle? Have you entered the competition? If you have leave your link below, Id love to have a look.

Gem x

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Garnier Miracle Skin Daily All-in-One BBCream Oil Free Review

I had tried the original version of Garniers BB Cream and hated it, due to the fact that it left my face looking like an oil slick. I really wanted to love it as the coverage was great and the skin care properties really appealed to me. But alas it wasn't to be, my combination oily skin didn't like it and I just looked like a grease ball.

When I heard that Garnier had brought out an oil free version, I was so pleased. I hoped that it would be oily skin friendly and matte, but still with the great coverage of the original. I wasn't disappointed.

The consistency of the oil free version is a lot more watery than the original, so I wasn't expecting a lot of coverage but it does give great coverage. It dries to a matte finish on my skin, but didn't highlight my dry patches. I did make sure to moisturise before applying though.

It definitely blurred my imperfection as can be seen by the pictures below. The lasting power of this BB cream is great, I get about 6 hours wear before it fades, it doesn't go greasy at all on my skin even without powder. 

I love the matte finish of this BB cream. Its matte but not completely and still gives the skin a little glow. I tried it on my mum, who has good skin and it looked amazing on her. Her skin looked perfect, so I would recommend this to any skin type except maybe dry. 

Overall I am very pleased with this product. I love the fact that it is matte and has good coverage. I chose the light shade and the only thing that I am slightly disappointed with is the fact that it oxidises after about 5 minutes to a more orangey tone Its not full on orange but it the oxidation is noticeable. This is fine for me at the moment as I am still slightly tanned from my holidays ( and with a little help from St Tropez), but during the winter when I am extremely pale, I would find this a bit of a problem. For the time being though this has definitely taken the place of my foundation as the coverage is amazing.

So here are some before and after pictures, I had a nasty break out at the time of this picture so I apologize for the state of my skin in advance...

Rating 4/5

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain Review (Shade: Honey)

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain review swatches

I was in Boots the other day when I saw that these were on special offer for £5.99 (usually £7.99), so never being able to turn down an opportunity to save money, I picked one up.

I chose the shade 'Honey'. I swatched it and it looked a really pretty colour unlike any other lip products I have in my collection. Its a deep pink, sort of berry toned. I think it looks quite sophisticated .

On application they have a lovely minty smell and apply nicely. I always use a lip balm underneath any lip product as I tend to have dry lips. The 'balm' part of the product wears off on me in around 2/3 hours, but the stain lasts much longer. I dont find the product drying, but neither do I find it moisturising.

I would definitely recommend these, they are a great product, and the stain in them lasts ages. I plan to get a few more of these when I go to Boots next. I have my eyes on the coloulors 'Lovesick' and 'Darling'.

Have you tried these yet?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win an Essie nail polish plus lots more :) click here.

Gem x

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Weekly weigh in

I lost 1lb this week! I am happy with that. My weight loss has slowed down a lot and if I could loose a 1lb a week every week I would be happy. I am undecided on my target weight. To reach my 'ideal' weight according to BMI I need to loose another 2 stone. But I am thinking of loosing another stone and calling target there. I will see how I feel when I get there.

Gem x

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Two Ways to Wear: Ombre Nails

I apologise in advance for the state of my nails. I need to find a good cuticle oil which isn't too pricey, so If you have any suggestions let me know!

I have seen ombre nails popping up on lots of blogs and I wanted to try the trend out for myself. I googled 'ombre nails tutorial' and came across a tutorial which involved painting the two colours you are going to use on a piece of paper and dipping a sponge into it. Then dab it onto the nails and repeat until desired effect is achieved. I had planned on linking back to the tutorial but I cant for the life of me find it argh! But here's the end result and pictures of the process. I was so proud of how these turned out as I am so useless at painting my nails. From a distance they looked awesome haha.

I have also seen ombre nails in the form of a dark to light colour on every nail. I think it was on Blake Lively so I decided to try this out too. This type of ombre nails is definitely the least messy and easiest to achieve.

Have you tried the ombre nails trend yet?

Gem x

Monday, 9 July 2012

ASOS £100 Challenge

Here is my entry to the £100 ASOS blogger challenge, which is a competition being run over on Discountcoder.com. You needed to put together 'the hottest outfit you can' for £100 or less to be in with the chance to win a £100 voucher for ASOS.

I'm sure you are all aware of this challenge by now. It has been popping up on a few blogs I read and it looked like a lot of fun, so I thought id give it a go! 

Asos have a huge price range on their sight and luckily I came across this gorgeous dress for only £22. I absolutely love it. Its a statement dress so I kept the jewellery and accessories pretty simple. I chose the geometric shaped earrings and bag to tie in with the bold print on the dress. 

1. ASOS Bodycon Dress In Rocco Print £222ASOS Smooth Collar Necklace £103. ASOS Triangle Doorknockers £104.ASOS Metal Bar Detail Envelope Clutch £185. ASOS Awake Wedge Ankle Boots £35
Total - £95
What do you think of my outfit? Have you entered the competition yet?Gem x

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Benefit High Beam Dupe...From Poundland?

I am so broke at the moment. All my spare money is going on paying bills or saving for out trip to Disneyland Paris in November, so I have hardly been buying any new beauty products. I suppose this is a good thing really as I am rediscovering some old favourites. I have a plenty of things to blog about so that's not a problem either.

I do love a good bargain and I love to have a rummage around the 'beauty section' in Poundland. I have had some great finds in there, including a Lilac Sally Hanson Nail Polish which I love and retails for £6.99 in Boots next door.

 I usually steer clear of the brands I am not familiar with in there including this one. Its called 'Chit Chat'. The name just screams high class and good quality. I think it is aimed at the teenage market, and is a brand that is 'exclusive to Poundland'. I know many products that are in one branch of Poundland wont be in the next, but with this brand I think it is sold in all of them.

It looks such a rip off of High Beam, but as it was only £1 I thought I would give it a go. I have a mini High Beam which I love but couldn't justify buying the full priced one in my financial predicament.

I will get on with the review and compare both products...

    Top: Benefit Bottom: Chit Chat

Blended out. Left Benefit, Right ChitChat

The outer packaging is very similar, even down to the white lid. They are both the nail polish type packaging and have the little brush attached to the lid. The brush on High Beam is great, keeps its shape and applies the product nicely. 

The brush with the Chit Chat highlighter is useless. It has completely lost its shape and the product applies unevenly because of this. But I can look past this as I usually dot the product on and blend with my fingers, or use my Real Techniques stippling brush to apply it. I have never really come across a 'budget' brand that has great quality packaging anyway. 

When the products are heavily swatched there are some differences in the colour and amount of shimmer. I would say that the Chit Chat highlighter has more white in it and the Benefit more pink. The glitter in both products aren't that detectable in normal light, but under harsher light I can see it. Chit Chat it is slightly chunkier than Benefit, but not at all chunky if you get what I mean. When blended out, they look like the same product. Both are a pinky white colour and give a nice glow to the skin. 

The formulation of both is also slightly different. The Benefit is more of a creamy consistency where the Chit Chat is more watery. The Benefit is slightly easier to blend and get it to go where you want it to go, but the Chit Chat is by no means hard to apply. 

In the name of research, I wore both Highlighters on each cheek bone for a day, and found that they looked the same and lasted for the same amount of time. 

Overall I think that Benefit High Beam has a slight edge over the Chit Chat highlighter in terms of packaging and ease of use. The Chit Chat highlighter is a good product and I found that I ended up with basically the same results. It is definitely worth giving the Chit Chat a try, it is only a pound after all!

Have you bought any beauty products from Poundland? 

Gem x

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, to win an essie polish of your choice, plus other goodies.  ENTER HERE

Monday, 2 July 2012

Monthly Favourites: June

I know I say this every month, but I cant believe July is here already! Here are the five products that I have been loving in June...

  • Benefit That Gal Primer
  • Benefit Porefessional Primer
  • Benefit Eye Bright
  • Too Faced Natural Eye Palette
  • Revlon Lip Butter in Strawberry Shortcake

Three out of my five products are from Benefit! As you all probably know in the June issue of Glamour UK magazine there was a free gift, which were mini benefit products. I have been loving both the primers so much. I use That Gal when I am going for a more fresh faced natural look, and the Porefessional for when I am going out in the evening and I want shine free long lasting makeup. 

I have had eye bright for ages now, in fact I think I may have gotten this free with Glamour a few years ago! I hadn't really used it much but this month I have been using it in the water line and tear duct. It doesn't last forever in my waterline, but it does last a decent amount of time. If you are unfamiliar with eye bright, it is a very light pink coloured fat pencil, with quite a creamy formula. If used in the tear duct and water line it makes you appear more wide eyed and awake. 

I know I have included the Too Faced Natural Eye Palette in my May favourites but I really do love this palette and again have been wearing it pretty much every day. Its great to create a understated neutral eye look. 

Lastly, I have been loving my Revlon lip butter in Strawberry Shortcake. I love how it acts as a lipgloss and lipstick in one, and I think the colour is quite flattering for my pale skin tone. 

Gem x


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