• Beauty Bargains and Hidden Gems with Chemist 4 U

    I was really lucky to be asked to take on the challenge of finding some beauty bargains and hidden gems on the Chemist 4 U website.

    Prior to them contacting me I had seen the brand before when looking for online stockists of makeup with a limited budget but hadn’t purchased there before.

    I had £30 to spend so wanted to maximise the items I could buy.

    What did I buy?

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    I purchased the following:

    Amazingly this all came to under £30 with postage!

    For me, it’s always great to try new things and to find them at brilliantly low prices was good too.

    Initial Thoughts

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    I tried all the products and the lipsticks and the palette were my least favourite. I was pleased I hadn’t bought them at full price as they were not really for me.

    The Revlon palette had no pigment in any of the eyeshadows and the lipsticks were not protected so the powder mixed in with them. It’s a shame as it looks gorgeous.

    A couple of the lipsticks broke almost immediately, I couldn’t turn one of them up and another one snapped off. They also had a distinct kids makeup plastic scent which was a little off putting.

    I wasn’t mad on the colours too but that is what you get with a lucky dip.

    Hidden Gems

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    The O.P.I nail polish was outstanding. Such a gorgeous colour which isn’t done justice by the picture on the website. I actually researched the swatches prior to purchasing this.

    The By Invitation body cream was a standout. I have the perfume (it’s nearly finished) and I love the scent so to come across this beauty was fab. I can continue to using the scent without having to purchase a whole new bottle. The texture was lovely and light and sunk in to the skin really well. Definitely a great purchase.

    The other items were items I always buy anyway so it was great to see them at a good price.

    Have you shopped on line for budget beauty? Have you tried online chemists before?

    Let me know what you think?

    admin

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    Plus Size Sports Wear – Getting fit by 40 with JD Williams

    Over the Christmas break we bought a static bike to try and build up our fitness so when I was approached by JD Williams to try some of their Sports Wear I was super chuffed.

    I am turning 37 tomorrow and it means I have 3 years till I am 40 which is actually really on my mind. I think I want to make sure that by the time I am 40 I have done more to make sure I stay healthy.

    Let me make myself clear, exercising to get healthy does not equal weight loss. I believe you can be fat and fit. I always was when I was younger and it’s only now I am getting older I have noticed that I am starting to slow down.

    I struggle to walk at the moment as I have a bad foot and I find myself out of breath going up one flight of stairs. I want to avoid those things so half an hour on our new static bike will help to build up fitness and stamina.  Not only that, I truly believe that exercise is brilliant for mental health and for helping with sleep. At the moment I don’t sleep well and I can’t switch off. I have a very stressful and high octane job with deadline pressures all the time so I really want to exercise to wind down.

    I am by no mean sporty – I hated P.E. when I was a kid but I did it and it did do me good. I am also not a sports fan, apart from Ice Hockey (Let’s go Steelers!) so I never considered sports wear in my wardrobe.

    I chose 4 items.

    Pineapple jogging bottoms

    I haven’t taken photo’s of. The reason for this is they haven’t allowed for a booty and they are not suitable for exercise because of that. I can just get away with them as lounge wear.

    X Neck sports top

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    I LOVE this top – I love it. It’s a lovely sweatshirt material with long sleeves and thumb holes (don’t you just love these?) and a ruched detail on the shoulders.

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    There is a little zip on the bottom of the top at the back which is great for an inhaler (which I need) or your phone/ipod for music.

    I got this in a size 24 and it fits really nicely. I am a size 26 on my bottom and a 24 on top so it’s true to size.

    I paired it with the following.

    Sports High Waist Print Leggings

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    These are a size 20. I always size down in leggings as I have very slim ankles and they always have good stretch.

    The material is nice and light and like lycra leggings of old. The print I absolutely love, so much fun.

    My favourite thing about these are the hight waist. This makes them so comfortable and you know they are secure for cycling and potentially, yoga (I am definitely thinking about this now because of these).

    The final item I received was:

    Body Star Performance Full Zip Hood

    This doesn’t have a hood but I actually prefer that.

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    This I got in a 24 again, and it fits nicely.

    The thing I like about this is the back comes down a bit more than the front so if you are doing your exercise with too much enthusiasm you won’t bare your back and give yourself a chill or flash at anyone either.

    For me these have been a welcome addition to my wardrobe as I have certain goals (like I said at the beginning of the post) which I absolutely want to achieve and these will help me on my way for sure.

    Have you been wanting to do more exercise? Do you have any sports wear you love to wear? Have you checked out JD Williams Sports wear collection?

    If you wanted to see some other plus size sports wear blog posts check out the gorgeous Chloe in Curve .

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    admin

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    #BlogAtTheBeach Event with IceLolly – Round up

    It’s not often that events happen up north so when the lovely Hayley at IceLolly sent a tweet out asking if anyone was free to go to an event in Leeds I jumped at the chance.

    As you know I am a Hobby Blogger, I do this outside of my current permanent job so I don’t get to go to many events so having opportunities like this is rare and I was intrigued to learn more from a brand and other bloggers who aren’t too far from me.

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    IceLolly.com are a price comparison site for holidays. A post will be coming up soon on them in more detail and the event #BlogAtTheBeach has been running for five years.  They invite bloggers to network with other bloggers as well as listen to guest bloggers present on different blogging know how.

    When I arrived I was really chuffed to see that some of my favourite blogger pals were there and it was lovely to get to see them in real life. Since being part of the We Are Thirty Plus blogging movement I have made some lovely online blogging friends who I finally bumped in to including:

    I didn’t know they were going so it was such a lovely surprise and they were just as nice in real life as online.

    The day was split in to 3 parts and a speaker in each. These included:

    All 3 were able to offer advice from their success which, for me personally,  makes it really credible as they can evidence and back up what they’re presenting. They all did incredibly well and were all wonderfully lovely when I managed to catch up with them in the breaks.

    I thought I would summarise the useful tips I got from each of the talks.

    Pitching to brands

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    • Do your research – show your passion for their brand
    • Keep a spreadsheet of brands you are contacting
    • Don’t use a template email
    • Create and update your Media Kit
    • Tell them your ideas and show them evidence on how you have done it before
    • Think of 3 things your blog can offer (you don’t have to have a large following

    Taking your blog to the next level

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    • Use your skills from your 9-5 job to influence your blog
    • Re-invest in your blog – sponsorship or paid opportunities, use the money for something new, web host, domain, logo, camera, photo editing. Just keep it refreshed and updated.
    • Find your style, you have your own voice and style so highlight that difference rather than trying to do the same
    • Create community blogging hubs so you can take photo’s of each other on lunch breaks or weekends in your area

    Photography

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    • Try and find the photo from a different perspective
    • Use manual settings on a camera, YouTube has how to’s on the basics
    • Try and find someone who can take photo’s with you, especially when you’re travelling
    • If you are a lone traveller and want photos of yourself invest in a tripod
    • You don’t have to have an amazing camera but recommend one with basic manual settings

    (trying to utilise some of the tips below!)

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    We were also given feedback on each presentation from IceLolly representatives about how, as a brand, they would want a blogger to pitch and what they expect from someones blog. This really cemented what the speakers were already saying.

    All in all I felt that the event was really well planned and the speakers really delivered insightful and well needed advice.

    I 100% intend to put myself forward to the event for next year, if it is still in the North!

    Did you go to the event? What did you enjoy?

    If you didn’t go and you would like to go what would you like to see?

    Do you ever pitch to brands? Are you looking to take your blog to the next level? Have you wondered about how to improve your photography skills?

    Have you thought about working with Brands like IceLolly.com?

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    Top 5 budget tips for your household

    This year I am taking my blog in a new direction, still beauty, but I want to include the new interest, saving money including creating a budget, making money and general tips.

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    We are now, as a household, trying to give ourselves the opportunity to save for things we want to do, stay debt free and potentially pay our mortgage off early, without actually losing out on the stuff we love.

    So, alongside a new YouTube channel, I have decided to do a series on money that hopefully you will enjoy.

    This blog post is about my top 5 tips for creating a budget in your household.

    1. Being Honest about Income and Outgoings

    Write down everything, from that regular takeaway latte to your prescriptions and work out what it is you have outgoing from your income each month.

    Make sure you include all bills and any other regular payments that you either have to pay for. For example, I go to a choir each week which I pay subs to. I have to include that too even though it’s not essential spending.

    We created a spreadsheet which has our income and our outgoings and then other things we want to include.

    The spreadsheet is ‘live’ on google sheets so we can access it anywhere online and make amendments where necessary.

    Working this out this way has given us an accurate look at what we have left at the end of the month.

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    2. Stop Wasting / Get what you need not what you want

    I hate waste!

    The other day I hadn’t taken note of when all the fresh meat was going to be out of date and when I went to use some I realised everything was on a shorter date than expected so had to throw it all out. I might as well have taken a £20 note and thrown it away.

    We decided that we would be really careful about things like this and started using a whiteboard which has the days of the week on it and plan our meals for the week on that.

    We have a pantry full of stuff that needs using and a freezer too. By doing a meal plan we can use what we have and work out what we need. Not only does this ensure we don’t throw anything away but we can also budget for it.

    This leads me on to the next point.

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    3. Pay with cash – once it’s gone it’s gone

    We have budgeted for our shopping for each week so we have decided to put cash in separate envelopes. 1 envelope per week. The cash in the envelopes can only be spent on each week. This will definitely help us not to go for impulse purchases and if we under spend we can put it straight in to savings.

    4. Use Internet Banking to help you budget

    I recently changed banks and have found that my current internet banking is really simple to use and has some brilliant benefits.

    The biggest benefit is the eSavings accounts you can open. These accounts need to be opened with £1. The interest rate for saving isn’t that good anyway so it’s a brilliant way to move money around quickly.

    You can rename your accounts so I have named mine Emergency, Car, Gifts and Beauty. Each time I sell some makeup from my stash I put the money straight from paypal in to my current account and send the money over to the Beauty savings account. It’s quite like having money saving folders.

    This has been a great way to organise money. And, if I really need the money I can transfer it in seconds via the app to my current account and use it.

    Also it makes my card safe. If someone wanted to take money for whatever reason by cloning my card, it would be great to have a small amount rather than my whole salary after bills.

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    5. Check your bills and change where possible

    Regularly check your utilities and TV bills and make amendments where possible.

    We have Sky and noted we weren’t using the whole package we were paying for. a few phone calls later and we had £28 reduced of the monthly bill. We then sent a cancel my broadband and they reduced our bill by £10.

    A saving of £38 per month, which in a year saves us £456 in a year which would pay for our holiday rental for a week or for Christmas presents.

    There you have it.

    The 5 tips I can give you to budgeting in your household.

    Have you got any tips you would like to share?

    admin

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    Lola Rose Portabello Bracelet (GIVEAWAY)

    Lola Rose Jewellery has always been on my wishlist so when I was asked to feature the Portabello bracelet and to give one away I was so excited.

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    If you haven’t heard of Lola Rose they are stocked through Very and other stockists and are the brain child of Nikki Gewirtz who, at 30, received a piece of jewellery that invoked a sense of nostalgia and also helped her make a decision about what she wanted to do with her life.

    The idea behind this brand is that these pieces are timeless and have the ‘feel-good factor’ ensuring the wearer feels special.

    The bracelet I was sent was the Portabello bracelet, a delicate gem stoned bracelet which has little cubes of gold separating each gem. The bracelet expands and tightens with the adjustable love knot to fit most sized wrists which I love and has a blue string holding it all together.

    The first thing I noticed when it arrived was how pretty the pouch was that it arrived in. A lovely soft peach suede with a gold button on the front.

    The second thing, which really surprised me, when I took the bracelet out was the weight of it.  Although delicate the bracelet felt really luxurious and weighty. Something I wasn’t expecting.

    Each of the coloured gems are polished to a lovely round bead and the gold cubes inbetween each one really sets of the colours. (side note, when I was younger I used to collect crystals and gemstones so this was such a treat). You can get the Portabello in different colours, some all the same shade or some, like this one, in different colours. I love that the multicoloured bracelet as it means I can wear it with any outfit and it would compliment it well.

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    My thoughts

    When I received this and put it on I honestly couldn’t have been happier. I can honestly say that this is the start of a new obsession for me as it is my most favourite piece of jewellery I have ever owned.

    Nikki had a vision for how the wearer would feel and I believe she has got the balance right.

    For me, I would recommend this brand and bracelet to anyone looking for a lovely timeless gift for a friend, family member or partner. I know these will be on my wishlist forever more.

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    The giveaway

    You will win the same bracelet as I have reviewed above and the winner will be announced on the 12th Jan. Entried will close at 11:59 11th Jan 2018.

    You must be over 18 to enter or have permission from Parent / Guardian

    You must be a UK Resident.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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