Monday, 2 December 2013

Affordable Home Made Christmas Presents: Cinnamon Candle

Here is my second post on easy peasy Christmas presents which wont break your budget and actually look pretty good.

For this gift the requirements are minimum.

What You Will Need
(this made one candle approx 9cm high and 7cm across)

1 Candle, I chose a festive red (Butlers £1.99)
3 x Jars Cinnamon Sticks, (they came in jars of 4 in Sainsbury)
Sharp Knife
PVA Glue
Elastic Bands

Please take caution whilst using the sharp knife

Never leave a burning candle unattended

I started by cutting the cinnamon sticks in half, obviously as accurately as you can, but a slight un-evenness would give it a rustic home made feel.

I then poured a blob of PVA glue onto a scrap piece of paper, then slid the flattest side of the cinnamon sicks through the glue (or if you want to be neat, use a old paint brush)

Position the cinnamon sticks around the bottom half of the candle.
I'd advice you place the candle on some scrap paper too, so if excess glue seeps through if will stick to the paper and not your work top.

Once you have gone round the entire candle, I held them in place with a couple of elastic bands.

Leave over night for the glue to completely dry (12 hours)

To finish, I glued some festive ribbon around the cinnamon sticks
(I also held this in place with an elastic band until the glue had dried)

Would you like to receive a home made Christmas gift?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Affordable Home made Christmas Presents: Cranberry and Lime Vodka

This isn't really a post I would normally do on my blog, but with that time of year coming up, who isn't up for a penny saving present idea?

This is an excellent, and inexpensive gift to give to friends as a festive little treat. And 'cause you've made it yourself it gives it a special touch, full of Christmas spirit and love.

What You Will Need
(My recipe if for 3 bottles at 500ml each)

3 Sterilised Bottles/ Containers which wont leak (£2.99 each Butlers)
3 Limes (30p each Sainsbury)
2 x 300g bag Cranberries (£2 each Sainsbury)
1l Bottle Vodka (£10 (on offer) Sainsbury)
3tbsp Sugar (from cupboard)
Ribbon to tie around top (£1.99 for 3m Butlers)

A word of warning, this process requires the use of a sharp knife, so please take care whilst using it.

(also, don't buy alcohol, if you are not of age in the Country you are in, 18 in the UK)

First, prick holes in the cranberries, with the tip of a knife, which is a little tedious, but it will get a better flavour in the end. I did it whilst listening to some Christmas songs to get me in the festive mood.

Next fill 1/3 of each bottle with the cranberries, then with a sharp knife slice the peel off the limes.


Then put a limes-worth of lime peel in each bottle or container.

And you've guessed it, fill the rest of the container up with the remaining cranberries...

Carefully pour 1tbsp of sugar into each container, you may have to do a little at a time, and bang the bottle on a firm surface to get it to fall down so it doesn't overflow at the top.

Then pour in the vodka. I would highly recommend doing it with a funnel, or from a measuring jug if you have a steady hand.

Each 500ml bottle took about 300ml of vodka once full of cranberries, lime and sugar.

Seal securely, and shake very well to disperse the sugar.

Don't they look yummy. Mmm, alcohol...

Let them ferment for a minimum of two weeks (and up to 2 months) shaking every couple of days to ensure the sugar dissolves.

I plan to use these to decorate them nearer Christmas, (£1.99 for two sheets from Butlers) and a big ol' bow.

What money saving tips do you have for Christmas?

What do you think of home made Christmas gifts?

...Would you like to see other Affordable Home Made Christmas Presents I am planning on making?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Products I wont be buying again...

This is an exfoliating cleanser, which comes in a powder form, when added with water creates a 'light froth' which you then use to cleanse your face.

It promises to "reveal brighter, smoother, younger-looking skin, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and remarkably smaller-looking pores". I wasn't exactly concerned about the anti-aging properties of the product, but I'm always sold on pore reducing products as I feel that an issue with my skin.

I also was intrigued by how it could be used as an exfoliating mask without the use of a scrub, as some times the granules can make my skin very sensitive.

After prolonged use, I have to admit, I felt this product lived up to none of it's promises, and has been sat on the shelf in my bathroom for quite some time now...

I was unsure how much of the product to use, and as it was nearly £20, I didn't want to be using excessive amounts, although small quantities didn't feel as though it was cleaning my face thoroughly.

I also prefer a cleanser which can remove my make up as well, and this didn't seem to be very successful at doing so, adding to my doubts as to what this product was actually doing for my skin.

Next up is a high coverage foundation. I bought this as a cheaper alternative to my usual Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation.

People seem to rave about this online being good for cover up, which appealed to me as I have problem skin. 

The range of colours is very limited (unlike the double wear) and I opted for the lightest shade (Opal 15), and even this was hardly a great match for my skin. I was slightly disappointed with the limited choice as it seems like a specialist product for camouflage makeup.

It blended ok with a real techniques stippling brush, but it promised to not be 'mask-like' and have a natural finish, which I didn't really feel it had.

It also promised a "flawless 16-hour coverage" which is certainly didn't have! I do suffer from a oily t-zone, but as this is a cover-up product, surely it should know its consumers would have this type of skin?

After only a few hours the product on my t-zone had melted away and gone patchy and slimey, and I had to make an emergency trip to a department store to use some Double Wear for the rest of the day.

Not cool Vichy.

Having said that, some of their products I really do like, the Ultra corrective cream stick is good for cover up on my cheeks and their Normaderm Night cream is great at reducing redness from spots.

Last but not least, collection 2000 mascara.

I'm not sure whether to blame myself for this purchase or not. My mascara ran out, and it wasn't quite pay-day, so I thought I could last a week or so on some cheaper mascara. Without doing any research picked up this from Boots.

My lashes are already kinda long and curly, so don't need an awful lot of support, so my expectations are pretty low when it comes to mascara. But this isn't really about the effects of the mascara, its about the product before I'd even used it.

Far too much product came out on the brush, and it was hard to scrape it off on the edge on the tube, which created a gloopy mess (and if I'd continued to use it would probably have prevented it closing properly and dried up the remaining product).

Next, the brush is unnecessarily big, I know big brushes are everywhere, but surely its size can only improve the application so much, then it's just excessive?

For under a fiver, it is what I'd expect, and maybe I should have dipped into my overdraft to buy a decent mascara after all...

What beauty buys have you been disappointed with?
Which ones have unexpectedly surprised you?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Winter Warmers Haul

The weather is getting chillier, the evenings are dark, and my consumption of tea has greatly increased. Winter is on it's way, and I hardly need an excuse to buy some cosy new clothes, but this is a reason if I ever did need one...

Everything is from Primark, as I'm trying to save my pennies, and it makes retail therapy a bit less guilt inducing. 

I hate taking photos of my face. So a thanks to my boy for being patient whilst I repeatedly deleted all the photos he took.

Please excuse my state of a barnet, I'm growing out my fringe

Beanie (the boys, River Island, old)

Embellished top £8
(Skirt, Missguided, Old)

I think this is a real bargin for all the detailing. 

Socks £1.50

Pack of 8 Midi rings £1.50
I bought these in small, and they still seem really big for my digits.

Fleecy Shirt £14.00

This is BY FAR my favourite purchase, its super cosy as it's fleecy inside, and has cute corduroy elbow patches and collar. I think I'm going to be living in this shirt during winter.

Ear Muffs £3.00

I couldn't face doing a a close up, so here is the boy modelling them far to willingly

*Please note, his (slightly premature) christmas-reindeer jumper)*

It hasn't shown up in the picture, but there are strands of glitter thread in the band.

oh, and in a very close second place are these super cute bed sheets
(duvet cover and two pillow cases £11)

What winter items are you investing in this year?
How do you stay cosy in the cold?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Liebster Award

Thank you Ivy from StyleLifeLovely for nominating me

The Award:

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. 
So, what is a Liebster?  
The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. 
Isn't that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. You must link back to the person that nominated you.
2. You must answer the 11 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must pick bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers.
4. You must come up with 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

  1. What is your favorite mascara?
    At the moment my favourite mascara is Flawless Definition by Bare Minerals, it gives a very full effect with out looking unnatural or clumpy.

  2. When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
    I think I wanted to be a fashion designer or cosmetics producer (I didn't know it at the time, but I used to make concoctions of bubble baths and moisturisers and pour them into empty bottles).
  3. What is an item on your beauty wish list?
    I really want to try the Rad Nails cuticle tattoos but can't bring myself to pay $5 p&p.
  4. Do you have any special talents? If so, what are they?
    Umm, I'm pretty sure I don't have any special talents... I can roll my tongue and make a mean marble cake :)
  5. What is your favourite type of vacation (mountains, beach, city, etc.) or what is a favourite vacation you've ever been on?
    I like a bit of everything, some relaxing beach-time, and touristy city stuff, but nothing which will cause to much exhaustion.
  6. What season do you prefer for fashion?
    I prefer Summer as a season, as I love the sun, but fashion-wise I do prefer winter. I love a jumper, me.
  7. How many different countries have you visited and name one you'd like to visit but haven't yet?
    I'm pretty boring when it comes to travelling, earlier this year was the first time I'd left Europe! I've visited England (obviously), Wales, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Greece and America (New York), so eight countries! and I'd love to visit Rio in South America.
  8. What is your favourite brand of nail polish?
    I'm a BIG fan of Nails Inc, I think about 95% of my collection is theirs, but I also love a Barry M colours and OPI.
  9. What is your favourite makeup tool or brush?
    I love my Real Techniques stipple brush for applying foundation. Every girl needs those brushes in her life!
  10. How would you describe your personality?
    Since recently starting college, I think I'm going to describe my personality as deceiving, as many people comment to me how they thought I was shy and innocent, whereas all the people who know me, know full well that's not the case!
  11. What is your all time favourite accessory?
    Up until recently I think it was probably my Pandora charm bracelet, as it's always a topic of conversation, explaining who/where/why/what each charm represented, but my boyfriend proposed to me two weeks ago, so I would have to say my new shiny engagement ring!
I Nominate:

My Questions:
  1. Whats your current favourite nail colour?
  2. Clothes or make up?
  3. Do you have any past make up regrets?
  4. Who is your favourite blogger?
  5. What was the last film you saw in the cinema?
  6. What non-beauty item could you not live with out?
  7. Starter or dessert?
  8. Do you prefer a bold eye or lip?
  9. What is your favourite lip balm?
  10. Would you rather have eyebrows for finger nails or finger nails as eyebrows?
  11. What colour socks are you currently wearing?
Don't forget to tag me in your response posts!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

NOTD: Elegant Touch Envy Wraps in Deckchair Brights

I was having a mini dilemma deciding on a which nail colour to wear with a coral dress, so I took it as an excuse to try out a new product.

I've never used nail wraps (myself) before so please pardon the slightly shoddy application, although they were simple enough to apply, literally stick them on like stickers, I struggled a bit with getting all the creases out. 

But I guess practice makes perfect, and a reason to justify buying another pack! 

They were only £5 from Boots which I don't think is too extravagant for a special occasion, and they are said to last up to five days.

They come with several sizes and colours, including some blue shades which I didn't use.      

The colours in the pack really reflect sea-side summer days, I can just picture the little beach huts and deck chairs on the sand from the bright shades and stripes. I'm trying to make the most of the few summer days we have left before the evenings get dark again...                

 Have you used nail wraps before, how easy did you find they were to use?

Are you sad summer is coming to an end, or looking forward to cosy winter nights?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Back to Basics: The not-quite-a-review review

A few months ago when I started blogging I realised I really had to up my game when came to skin care.

I invested in the legendary Emma Hardy cleansing balm, but when it came to the add ons I felt a bit lost as to what actually was best for my troubled skin.

I had read reviews and recommendations of various products on other blogs, but no one seemed to to have skin as bad as mine so when they claimed their time-of-the-month blemishes cleared up quickly, I couldn't help but feel they would have disappeared in due course regardless of their skin care routine.

I went into a Space NK branch down the road from my college and expressed how frustrated I was still suffering from teenage skin.

I ruled out anything that could be aggravating my skin such as diet (I had cut out dairy, which is renowned for upsetting skin, and no improvement) products such as makeup; but I had been suffering from troubled skin before I'd started wearing makeup, let alone decent makeup, plus I don't wear it everyday, or anything else which may irritate my skin like hair or excessively touching it. I do have a fringe, but I don't suffer at all from blemishes on my forehead it is mainly along my jawline, cheeks and neck, so I don't believe any of these things contribute to the state of my skin.

(Oh and I also drink lots of water and not that much alcohol)

Once those factors had been ruled out I was told to try two products (along side my cleanser) to calm my skin down and help improve renewal and healing of skin, as well as keeping it hydrated and nourished.

Both products are from the Zelens range (pricey, but I was willing to forgo the expenditure for better skin).

The first product was the Resurfacing Facial Pads, which are designed to gently exfoliate sensitive skin, avoiding harsh grains which can aggravate the skin, as well as having anti-bacterial properties, help cell renewal for faster healing.

These were to be used after a night time cleanse, followed by no night cream.

The other product was Z Matrix Moisture Infusion which is a gel-moisturiser, and supposedly helps draw water to the surface of the skin so it stays hydrated and receives the nourishment it needs.
It is actually a lovely product to use because of the gel texture, and it is cooling for sensitive skin, but I don't think it is worth it's price-tag.

I was told to splash my face with water in the morning (to retain all the goodness from the resurfacing facial pad the night before) then apply the z matrix moisture infusion as a moisturiser afterward.

I was told to use the product for around three months to begin to see any improvement, and I accept that these things take time. So far i've been using it for eight weeks...

I'm a bit stuck on what I have to say about my new skin care routine. My skin definately hasn't worsened, nor has the appearance improved. I would say it is smoother, and much less bumpy, and it doesn't feel as itchy or sore like it was before.

I think what bothers me is the redness, as I've found that so difficult to disguise. Even with a great concealer, it still looks pinky, and Estee Lauder have just discontinued my shade in their camouflage makeup range, but are apparently bringing out a new concealer, so that better be good!

So maybe this is a 'to be continued' post as I'm determined to find something that works for me. In the mean time I will continue to pursue my current routine in the hope I will get some results. Watch this space! 

If any one has any tips or products they would like to recommend I would be open to options.

Has anyone found any 'holy grail' skin care products?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Back home for a BBQ

A few weekends ago we visited home home, and although the weather wasn't perfect we endeavoured to have a BBQ and eat outside!

*picture heavy post*

There was so much food, and we all felt stuffed after eating our body weight in yumminess.

One thing I really miss about living at my Mum's in having a garden, so I took the liberty of taking some pictures of the lovely green-ness to share with you lot!

Garden Herbs!

There are these cute little fairy lights in the garden too...

We stayed quite late, playing silly games and had to move inside as it was very windy, but we lit some candles and it was very cute and cosy

I really enjoyed our day at my Mum's, and I'm certain we spend more quality time together now I've moved out, rather than stepping on each other's toes all the time.

How do you like to spend time with your family?
Do you brave the british weather in order to have a BBQ?

NOTD: Purple and Yellow Ombré Nails

I decided to give the ombré nails another go, this time with much more contrasting colours, and I really LOVE how they turned out!

I even got a compliment from a waitress when I was out one evening, and she couldn't believe I had done them myself.

Products I used:
Base coat: Nails Inc in Harley Street
Yellow: Miss Guided (I think this was free in a magazine)
Purple: Bloom in Charlie
Top coat: Nails Inc in Kensington Caviar

Have you ever tried a nail art technique which turned out better after experimenting?
Which nail art to you love at the moment?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Haul: Kukee

The other day I was browsing jewellery sites on the look out for some above the knuckle rings, when I stumbled across a beaut of a site called .

They have some really wonderful pieces, which are bang on trend, so cute and so affordable, it's impossible not to add a few things to your virtual shopping bag!

I ended up buying quite a few things, but for the amount I spent, it counts as an absolute bargin :)

It came is cute magenta-pink tissue paper with a little thank you sticker, and manners go a long way with me, so kudos for that!

Two of the necklaces I'd ordered were handmade, and that was also stated on the kitch stickers placed on the otherwise mundane plastic wrappers. They definitely perked up an everyday packaging!

They also included two gifts (which you can just about make out on one of the stickers). One being a plain band above the knuckle ring, and the other a multi-colours friendship band. I do love a free gift.

rings from left to right
Infinity above knuckle ring (it was too big for me to wear 'above knuckle')

I have yet to wear them out as I was too excited to do this post, but I'm very pleased with my little haul and will most certainly be visiting Kukee again for more items!

Have you stumbled across a website and made a great find?
Where do you buy your bargin jewellery?