Thursday, 31 October 2013

Feeling Thrifty

So times are hard, money is tight, what’s a girl to do?
I’d like to think I’m pretty good with money.  I’m no expert by any means but I know how to save and I know how to get the most for my pennies.  A lovely set of skills if I do say so myself.

I've wanted to do a post like this for quite a while but with Christmas fast approaching this seems like the perfect opportunity.

So with this in mind, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Feeling Thrifty Guide Post.

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh God, this is likely to bore me to death”, and yes maybe it will, but if one of you learns just something then it would be worth the effort of all the typing my little fingers have done.

Ok, so whilst training to be a maths teacher (don’t ask, it didn’t last), I tried to use my short time in school to teach kids some useful life skills, which included savings, loans etc.  You will be surprised how many people just don’t know or understand anything about these topics.  With this in mind, I’ll just run over my bit of advice for saving.

Now whether you are savings for a new pair of shoes, a holiday or a house, the principle is the same, put it away and don’t touch it until you really, really need it.  I find the best thing to do is open a savings account, preferably an ISA (this will mean you will not pay tax on it), and on every pay day set aside an amount you want to save and then put this in your savings account.  Whatever is left in your bank account is yours to spend how you wish, guilt free knowing you’ve put away that money for the month.

For me, this method works, in my little brain, once that money has gone into savings it’s no longer mine to touch.  If you find you can’t resist temptation then give it to someone else to look after.

However you do it, savings are important, in life you need to be prepared, you never know when you will need that money.  It's easy to think 'I'll do it next month', but next month you may find yourself in a position where you really need that few quid, think it through my friends, be prepared.

(p.s. choose the highest interest rate for your savings account, that way your money can actually earn you more money, I know, it’s amazing!)

Right, lecture over on that front.

Shop around.  No matter what you want to buy always have a look to see if you can get it somewhere else cheaper, even clothing, most styles tend to be the same, and what you could pay for one jumper in say TOPSHOP, you could get much cheaper in Matalan for pretty much the exact same thing.
Every now and again you should have a little look for voucher codes, especially before going shopping.  More often than not you will find a nice little code or voucher tucked away somewhere entitling you to get x percentage off your purchase.

I like to use Money Saving Expert to look for deals, there are usually good offers on restaurants and such but quite often there will be a code for a shop that I was planning on getting something in anyway.

Other voucher code websites include:

Everyone loves a bargain, but better yet, everyone loves a freebie.  There are many websites out there offering free samples, CloudFreebies is one of these websites.  I’ve been having a browse and there are quite a few good samples and freebies, and unlike other freebie websites I have visited before now, they are for stuff that I would actually want!  I know, it’s amazing! Naturally you will have to fill out a few details but if it's something you would genuinely like or want to sample then it's worth the time.

Then there’s the whole competition avenue. Now I’ve never bought into the whole competitions thing, but I work with a few people who have entered and actually won, they have been on holiday’s, won tickets, been given the wedding of their dreams etc, so as you can see, if you have the patience and time it’s well worth taking a gamble and signing up.

Additionally, sometimes it’s worth taking a chance and asking a company for a sample, I work on the basis of you never know unless you ask.


There have been times when I have bought something in store and gone home to find offers on that product only available online.  I am always being sent emails from stores giving details about todays special offers purely because I signed up to their newsletter.  The moral of the story is, sign up to newsletters, easy peasy.

So there you go, my little bit (?!?) of advice on being thrifty, let me know if you have any more tips or tricks.

And don't forget, every time you go to buy something, stop and think, Do I need it? Will I use it? If the answer is yes then your good to go.  
If however the answer is no, but it's an item of clothing and you have fallen in love with it, then bugger it, spend spend spend :)  Sometimes it's ok to bend the rules!

Stay Cool,

Monday, 28 October 2013

How to be a Woman: A Review

"It's a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven't been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain...
Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you're going to have a baby?
Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin answers the questions that every modern woman is asking."
Literally seconds after putting this book down I picked up my laptop and started writing.  I want to get everything that is in my head down somewhere using the keys of my laptop.  I hope this gives you a good measure of how much I love this book.

I saw this book on Inspired by the Retired and having seen the cover and read the title I knew I had to have his this book.  Yes, it's a very shallow basis on which to pick a book, but I'm a firm believer in 'always judge a book by it's cover', and it's never steered me wrong.  So yes, it may be against the age old adage but the way I see it is, the cover of a book is it's selling point, it's got to have something about it that makes you pick it up off the shelf in the first place, a boring cover is not inviting.

I digress..

So where was I, oh yes, I love and adore this book.  When I first started reading it, I wasn't overly convinced.  It's fair to say that I guess this book wouldn't ordinarily be something I would read, and on starting the book I was questioning if this was something I would really be interested in.  However, as I continued I found I couldn't put it down, well maybe not literally, it's not appropriate nor actually viable to take a book into a shower with you, but you get the jist.

I certainly wouldn't regard myself as a feminist, I guess, and I feel ashamed to say it now, that my idea of a feminist is this man hating nutcase who seems hell bent on going at everything to get female justice and letting us be equal to men.  Caitlin Moran however is my kind of feminist, a realistic one, not set out with the intention of women taking over the world, but just to accept who we are and not feel held back by our sex. 

In this book Caitlin covers more issues than I could ever possibly attempt to get through here without writing a massive essay, which I honestly feel like I could about the book.  Issues such as marraige, children, fashion, abortion and growing up to name a few.

I won't go into detail about all of these topics, but as this is somewhat of a fashion blog I will talk a little bit about this aspect of the book.  Very rightly so Caitlin describes how fashion is pretty much there to be admired on the pages of a glossy magazine, where the look is perfect for just those 2 seconds at that particular angle.

More often than not this seems to ring true on some blogs.  Blogging should be realistic fashion for us everyday ladies, fashion that we can actually walk down the street and be (most importantly) comfy and warm in.  Not there looking good for that particular photo, come on, lets be realistic, we are not going to walk around town all day in a pair of heels and a short skirt on a winters day are we?  Or am I just slowly slipping into old age here... erm....

Ok, rant over.

Anywho, the likelyhood of you having read all that is very slim, and you will most probably have skipped to just here right now, therefore I will leave you with this:

Please go and read this book, it is beyond amazing!  You can buy the book on Amazon here and have a look at the website here.

I give this book a great big:

p.s. I edit all my pics with PicMonkey.
Stay Cool,

Monday, 21 October 2013

I survived the rain

 Wow, what a post title, it sounds so epic; unfortunately it doesn't have any deep or hidden meaning, it can be taken quite literally, we went out walking, it started raining, we survived.  God what a rubbish story.

Anywho, this weekend was set to be a washout, with our plans of going to Longleat going quite literally down the drain we tried to make the most of our time none the less.  Now, knowing that it was due to rain common sense would have told the average sane person not to venture outside, fortunately, I have no common sense and am clearly far from sane.  Good to know.

So yup, me, my boyfriend and my pet camera went for a wee walk round a nearby park, dodging rain puddles and trying our very best to stay under the umbrella as much as we could.  Ahh, the umbrella, clearly not that mental then.

I think at some point someone up there (I'm not religious, I just wanted to make this sound more dramatic) took pity on us and suddenly the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Then we held hands and danced and skipped merrily round the fields... No wait, I made that last bit up!

So as you can see from my pictures, my photography is not improving, just staying somewhat stagnent at 'enthusiastic amateur at best', a title I have given myself.  Never mind, I'll keep plugging away at it, who knows what you may see next on one of my outings, but you can be damn well sure it will have a picture of my shoes in there.

Oh, I just have to say that the highlight of my day was seeing some lovely little farm animals, especially the wee little piglets!  This has made me even more determined to have my own little small holding, although I had to remember, as my boyfriend kindly reminded me, 'this is not a pet shop', this being said after the millionth, 'oooh, we have to have some of these..'.

This ram looks utterly mental - sorry, I just love this picture way too much to leave it out!
Just to bring some normality back, here is what I wore:

Coat: Matalan
Boots: Topshop
Jeans: New Look
Socks: Matalan
Shirt: Ebay
Glasses: Firmoo
Jumper: Primark

Damn, just as I was finishing that list I was genuinely thinking, 'oh my god, no Primark', but I've gone and got some in there anyway, the world can be at peace again. 

Hope you've enjoyed my pictures and rubbish story, what did you get up to on the weekend?

All my pics are edited using Picmonkey.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Avon Eye Shadow Primer: A Review

I will start this review by stating I am not an Avon kind of person.  I don't really like the idea of buying anything out of a catalogue, never mind makeup.  I can't imagine how the colours on a 2d bit of paper can ever properly convey the colour of that product when it's there in front of you, or in my case, usually smudged all over my hands in the makeup isle in boots while I desperately search for a tissue or makeup wipe to get rid of said colours... Surely this can't be just me?!?

Anywho, that being said I am not adverse to trying something new, and this my friends is my first time for delving into the vast underworld of avon.  

Now, as I said, I don't like buying something out of a catalogue, however, it appears I do like buying stuff off the internet, and this is something I picked up just there, on good old Ebay to be precise.  Who knew that you could buy Avon off of t'internet, not me anyway!  But lo and behold, there it was flaunting itself over the pages of ebay.

I wasn't looking for a specific brand but I really wanted to try an eye shadow primer with the hope of getting rid of that annoying crease of my eyelid that my eye shadow seems to disappear into by the end of the day.  Having spent very little time looking I stumbled across this little gem here, for the bargain price of £3.99 with free p&p!

I've used this product a few times now, and I find it really does do the job nicely.  As the primer is light beige it acts as both a primer and a concealer, so you don't have to use any extra makeup than necessary, which helps with the whole makeup sliding into the crease business. 

The texture is smooth and silky but thick enough to feel like it is giving a proper base and good coverage and you don't need to use alot to create the perfect look.

I've found that my eye makeup has stayed in much better condition throughout the day, and although I may get a bit of a crease at towards the end of wear, it does seem to leave everything looking alot better for longer.

The product is presented nice and neatly in a small round glass tub so perfect for fitting snugly into my makeup bag.  You can't really go wrong with a little tub, plus once it's all finished I like to keep such things for putting in my own little concoctions like coloured lipbalm.

Overall I like this product, I'm somewhat swayed by Avon and would be tempted to buy something from their range again, although I would be more than likely to buy it off Ebay instead, I guess I'm just stuck in my ways.

Have a pleasant eve,

Monday, 14 October 2013

Oh I do like to be Beside the Seaside

So today I took the afternoon off work and took myself, my sister and my camera to the beach.
This may or may not have been one of my brightest ideas as the weather forecast spelt doom and gloom all day. 

Fortunately, and as is often the case, the weather man was wrong.  Well he wasn't completely wrong, it did rain a little bit, but it wasn't enough to deter me or my sister from trekking along the beach and letting me practice my photography skills which are still pretty rusty to say the least.

It wasn't exactly a notable afternoon, what with everything being closed up for winter and it having turned pretty darn cold; but any time spent out walking and helping brush up on my photography skills is definitely not a bad afternoon.

Hope you've all had a good Monday and an even better weekend.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Book Review: Lone Wolf

"A Compelling emotional drama of love and guilt that grips from the very first moments.

Luke Warren would sleep in the dirt if it meant he could be under the stars. 
He lives by the laws of nature, and would surely want to die that way. 
But Luke is in a coma, and his family must make an unbearable decision.
As tensions and secrets rise to the surface, the tragic accident which brought them back together against the odds could well tear Luke’s family apart forever.
They know Luke would not want to live like this.  But how can they choose to let him die?

Just from looking at my pictures you can see this book hasn’t been treated the best.  I started it a while back and since then it has been thrown into my bag, taken around with me but never really given the proper attention it deserved.  This cannot be blamed on the book, just purely on myself for getting so out of touch with something I love doing.  I’ve missed reading, for some reason since moving into my home with my new found sense of responsibility and a million things to do it was put on the back burner, but no more, I want to get back into my 'head stuck in a book' days... happy days.
Anywho, that has absolutely nothing to do with this book; so let’s get down to it.

It’s fair to say my views may be somewhat biased here as I am a huge Jodi Picoult fan.  In my eyes the woman can do no wrong.  However, to be fair here, this opinion has been formed based upon reading pretty much all of her books after purchasing one many years ago and finding myself unable to put it down.  I find all her stories completely compelling and so unlike any other author I have found so far. 

This book, along with pretty much all her other stories, centres around a legal case.  Please don’t be put off by this, it’s not something I thought I would ever find particularly engrossing, but my goodness, it is!  The story begins at the incident from which everything is centred around, the crash which leads to Luke Warren  being hospitalised and in a coma.  From here the story is told from the perspective of each member of the family and those directly affected by the case.  It is these perspectives that really draw you into the story and help you understand and sympathise with each and every individual person.  This is the beauty of Jodi Picoult books, she can make you feel and empathise with almost anyone.

After discovering that Luke Warren has suffered severe brain damage both son and daughter begin the steps to have the legal right to make the decision to either leave their father on life support indefinitely with little to no hope of him ever regaining consciousness or turn the machine off.  Despite whatever your initial view may be of what you think the outcome should be you are torn every time the perspective changes from one child to another with their contrasting views and opinions.

As the case progresses we learn so much more about each of the characters and the back story behind each different element and person.

Overall I can honestly say I loved this book and lived up to my very high expectations that I have built up of all Jodi Picoult stories.  It’s a definite read.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here, and have a look at Jodi Picoult’s website here.

 I had to slip in this picture of my beautiful Peggy

I’d give this book a big: