Friday 20 June 2014

Friday Frocks #160 - The devil's in the details.

Lately, I feel like I've been wearing the same things over and over which is partly why I haven't done an outfit post in a while. Instead, I've become a little more interested in the details that make an outfit - good old accessories. So I'm going to let them take centre stage in this post, for once.


Wednesday 18 June 2014

Money talks, money talks.

What with saving my house deposit this year, I’ve had a renewed focus on trying to save money and have actually picked up a few decent tips along the way. You know when you find out something useful and assume you’re the last person to know? That’s not always true – I’ve shared a fair few of these with friends and blown their minds, so I figured they were worth sharing here in the hope that I could impart some wisdom. After all, it’s always good to try and save a bit of money, or just make a little bit of extra pennies to spend.

I’m definitely late to the party on this one! In case you don’t know, Quidco is basically an affiliates site. You purchase things through their links, and make a bit of cash back. They have lots of brands signed up, and for some you might only get 1% back, but for others the reviews are much bigger. Friends of mine have made several hundred pounds in the last year.

I used Quidco to find the best mobile phone deal when I upgraded in January. It suggested going through Carphone Warehouse, rather than direct with o2, as the deals were better (even though I stayed with o2). I paid £100 upfront, got £60 cashback and am spending about £20 less a month than I was before – and that’s with an iPhone 5S. Sign up here!

I’ve been using RewardStyle for a couple of years now, and it’s a great tool for bloggers. It’s another affiliates site, so every time you link to something to buy, you can potentially get money back if people click your link and go on to purchase. The good thing with RS is that if someone clicks your ASOS link but purchases something different on the site, you’ll still get that payment back.

It takes quite a while to pay out as commission isn’t closed until people can no longer return the items they purchased, and there’s a $100 minimum payment. But if you regularly post wishlists or post about new clothes, it’s really useful. And even if you don’t, it’s worth using when you do – you’ll be surprised how quickly it can build up!


eBay / Depop
I use eBay a lot to sell unwanted items – I have a big session planned soon, in fact! But I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talk about Depop too. It’s basically a cross between Instagram and ebay, where you post photos of what you want to sell much like you would an Instagram sale, and then sort out payment through the app. It’s a set price system though, whereas I actually quite like the unpredictability of eBay, weirdly. I mean sure, you might only get £2 for that £20 Topshop skirt… but then you might get £40 for those £10 shoes from the Office sale!

Tesco Clubcards
I only found this one out recently from my sister and it blew my tiny mind. If you logon to the Tesco website, it’ll convert your points into vouchers – so right now, for instance, I have £16.50 worth of points. Not so great. However, you can then exchange these vouchers for rewards that are worth a lot more. There are a few different things on there like days out and holidays but now I’ve discovered it, I’ll be using it mostly for restaurant trips. You can swap £2.50 of points for a whopping £10 restaurant voucher for places like Prezzo, Pizza Express, Zizzi and CafĂ© Rouge. So my £16.50 can get me £60 worth of restaurant vouchers!

As much as this doesn’t make me money, I eat out a fair amount and it’s going to save me plenty. I used my Prezzo vouchers for the first time last week and there were no problems at all – it’s basically like a giftcard. It’s worth noting though that they don’t give change for vouchers, so you’re better to underestimate your spend than overestimate.

Go online
There are so so so so so many websites and blogs out there that will help you save money. I love VoucherCodes and Money Saving Expert, but I also regularly check blogs like A Thrifty Mrs and From Aldi to Harrods. I also regularly spot posts on Pinterest (this is a great board to follow) and even the likes of Buzzfeed has some handy hints.

If you have any extra hints though, I’d love to hear them – let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

FYI: This post isn’t sponsored, but I’ve used referral links in a couple of instances which means I’ll make a bit of money if you sign up and mention me!


Wednesday 11 June 2014

Teacup candles with Witch Skincare

The events that the Witch Skincare ladies hold are always amongst my favourites. They always do a great job of getting bloggers together, doing something interesting and chatting - I'm not going to lie, I've been to an awful lot of blogger events where everyone stands awkwardly with the bloggers they know best in a crowded room, talking to no one else. The Witch events aren't like that.

At the latest event, there was a special guest - Gail Porter, who was just incredibly lovely. We went to Drink, Shop, Do and learned how to make teacup candles by the I Made It Myself gang. Despite the fact that our teacher was a professional (he'd made candles for Game of Thrones!), it was surprisingly easy. I chose this pretty vintage teacup and attached the wick to the bottom:

Melted the wax...

Added some perfume...

And poured the wax into my cup and waited for it to set!

Ta da!

We then had a yummy afternoon tea and a couple of cheeky cocktails, and chatted to Gail. She talked a lot about her alopecia and the effect it had on her confidence and also her career. Without her hair, she was seen as less of a 'bimbo' and taken more seriously, but she also found that there was a bit of fear and stigma around her lack of hair too. She's done a lot of work with other young women suffering with alopecia and hair loss, and is clearly very family focused - she talked a lot about her daughter, Honey. I really enjoyed meeting Gail - I felt like I'd known her for ages and am hoping that she comes to more Witch events as she was a lot of fun.

Thanks for an awesome event, Witch - I haven't had the heart to burn the candle yet - it's just so pretty!

Me and the lovely Laura and Gail!

Saturday 7 June 2014

Chorizo Scrambled Eggs

Remember I mentioned a little while ago my recent obsession with breakfast food? Well, even though I'm trying to eat a little healthier these days, I'm still seriously into that first meal of the day. We made these eggs a few weeks ago, and then my friends repeated them last weekend when I was staying there. They're SO good. The thing about cooking with chorizo is that it's all oozy so the flavour seeps into the eggs, and it colours them a lovely orangey shade. I'm now thinking about how awesome they'd be with some strong cheese stirred through...

Thursday 5 June 2014

What's in my bag?

So I’m super nosy, so I super love these posts. I tend to use the same big bag every day for work (which I featured years ago!) but I mix and match at the weekends. This is my current favourite, and what can be found within…

Bag - I got this bag for Christmas from my sister from ASOS - I love it. The colour is so deep and sumptuous, and it's a really good size for all my essentials.

Makeup - I've never been one of those girls who takes a full makeup bag out with her, but I usually have my Stila powder and Benefit Posietint on me at the very least, just to make me look vaguely presentable.

Perfume Nina by Nina Ricci is one of my favourite perfumes, so I was happy to be sent this cute 30ml bottle by Click Fragrance – it’s the perfect handbag size!

Phone - Ah, my trusty iPhone. I recently bought a charger case which I swear by - now when I'm hitting the dreaded post 20% red zone, I just turn on my case and boost the power. There are tons on eBay - it's where I got mine!

Hairbrush - I got this free when I bought my travel hairdryer from Babyliss a few years ago. The hairdryer is falling to pieces, but the hairbrush is still going strong!

Lipbalm - I'm obsessed with Carmex clicksticks, and when I was in NYC last year I stocked up... only to find that they've changed the formula and now it tastes horrible! Luckily, you can now buy it in most shops, and it's not too expensive in Savers. The pomegranate is my favourite - it tastes like raspberries.

iPad – I don’t take my iPad everywhere with me, but when I’m travelling or visiting my boyfriend, it’s usually on my person somewhere. It’s full of books, movies and the precious internet so it’s always going to keep me entertained! I got sent this cute spotty iPad case recently from Three.

Mints - Ooooh, fascinating. These are actually my favourites though - whenever I spot them, I stock up so I always have a pack or two rattling around in my bag. And minty fresh breath, obvs.

Money - My wallet is monstrous so I often go out without it at the weekend - it does mean lots of coins at the bottom of my bag, but I can live with that.


Wednesday 4 June 2014

Cat lady life.

Since moving back home, I've found that the real star of my instagram isn't me, but my parents' cat, Lola. Lola - until recently - spent 90% of her time in my room, curled up on my bed. I'd wake up in the night to find her snuggled against me. She even had her own side of the bed... okay, that's rather a sad thing to admit, isn't it?

Lola's banned from my room now, I'm afraid - as gorgeous and cuddly as she is (she is literally the softest, fluffiest cat you will ever meet) her long hair also means she brings in a lot of dirt. It didn't bother me too much as she tended to sleep on an old blanket, until a couple of weeks ago when I stroked her and a slug fell off her coat. ONTO. MY. BED. Now guys, you may not know this about me, but slugs freak me the eff out. I'm fine with spiders and most other creepy crawlies - I don't LIKE them, but I can deal. But slugs? I just can't. THEY'RE SO DISGUSTING. So having one landing on my bed was pretty much the worst thing that could happen to me, and now this is a cat free zone.

We've had cats since I was 11 and I've always been very fond of them - I'm definitely much more of a cat person than a dog person - and I do think a lot about getting a cat of my own one day. The only thing putting me off was potential vet costs (although I would definitely follow my parents' lead and get pet insurance!) although now I'm a little unsure I want my own pet. Slug incidents aside, there's also the likes of dead mice and litter trays to consider, and suddenly I'm not so keen after all.

I don't know, though. I'm not sure anything can beat the affection you get from a pet. I'm sure in a few years, I'll have forgotten the downsides and will be desperate to bring my own fluffy little bundle of joy home again.

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