The L'Oreal Extraordinary Facial Cleansing Oil has been staring at me from the shelves of Superdrug for months. And I always put off buying it under the pretence that I have too many cleansers already. Well, maybe I do. But maybe I don't have any oil cleansers. So in the end, it came on an offer and I bought it.
For one, this didn't feel tacky on my skin. It didn't linger on my hands. I didn't make me feel greasy. Number one win. For seconds, it smells surprisingly neutral. I thought it might smell like a cooking oil, or overcompensate with a super floral scent, but it's just neutral and clean. Number two win.
Effectiveness wise, I'm incredibly happy with this. It dissolves all my eyeliner and mascara in literally seconds, and with the use of a muslin cloth, lifts all the dirt, makeup and day-to-day shit from my face easily. Number three win.
For just over a fiver, I'm glad I persuaded myself to get this. I use it every evening and my skin absolutely loves it.
July has been awesome. So, so awesome. And I didn't expect it to be so it was a lovely surprise.
I travelled from Scarborough to Workington in Cumbria and within 24 hours dipped my toes in each respective coast's sea. I redecorated. We visited Yorkshire Sculpture park. I went to Driffield Show. I bought some Nike SB's. We ate our weight in ombre cake. I got our central heating fixed. My mum went into and came out of hospital. We found some riiiiight bargains whilst clothes shopping. We spent a lot of time just sitting.
I always thought I was good at saving money until the mortgage man told us we failed on the 'affordability' part of getting a mortgage (see my last post on this subject here). Cue me introducing strict austerity guidelines into our home - and our spending.
Since really looking into our spending on the whole, I've seen a trend in the pits that our money falls into.
1. Take a packed lunch. Every. Day.
I always take a packed lunch, but the Lad did not. He was spending about £5 per day on a McDonalds sandwich and a coke. And although I was taking lunch, it wasn't filling so I'd come home and eat half the food cupboard snack. So, we now make a conscious effort to buy bread buns (usually 2 six-packs for £1) and some cheese or ham (we shop about for deals) and remember to make and take them to work. I make cookies or banana bread with food cupboard staples for a nice sweet treat. This is where we save the majority of our daily spending money.
2. Shop online.
It's all too easy to do a weekly shop just by walking down the deal section of the store and come out with a three packs of 24 penguin bars, some shaving foam, a bag of Haribo and a few packs of cider. It happens. But online, you really need to be focused and know what you need - otherwise you'd be grocery shopping for hours and hours, scrolling through the different types of products that have 'pasta' in the name. Write a list of all the meals you want to eat, break it down into what you need to make those meals, see what you already have and cross those bits off; then and only then sit down and start clicking. You'll find that it's hard to reach the £40 minimum order value if you do it properly.
3. Use loyalty schemes.
I get my groceries from Tesco usually. We get extras (only if we need to) from Sainsbury's (only because it's our closest shop). I walk into town and get all our home and health items from either Superdrug or Savers. I have a Tesco clubcard which I collect points on. I have a Superdrug card that I collect points on. I'm also signed up to their newsletters.
This month I'm featuring a lot of 'review:' posts, and all of the items I got were either majorly reduced or bought with points.
I also got sent a email voucher code from Tesco for £12 off when I spent £60. on our last online shop, we bought monthly essentials - cat litter, cat food, toilet roll, washing powder - and only reached £50. But with the code, I got a few sweet treats and managed to save £2 on our original spend.
I know Morrison's have introduced a loyalty card and other stores such as Waterstones have also jumped on the loyalty inducing bandwagon. It's becoming ever popular from a company point of view to get the consumer in - you just need to be picky with what you buy, which leads me neatly onto...
4. Do I Need This?
I'm a stickler for touching loads of clothes in a shop, trying them all on and then putting them all back. I do not spend for the sake of spending. The Lad does. Or did. He now uses the WWJD (what would Jo do?) tactics and it seems to be working. Touching, seeing and not spending on impulse means a) I don't spend as much when I don't need to b) If I actually do really like the item, its probably reduced before I get round to buying it c) I can think about the item and probably find it cheaper elsewhere, like on eBay/Amazon.
5. Plan for major outgoings.
My car needed it's MOT in April and to be taxed in May. Our home insurance was due in June. June also had two close relatives birthdays in it. Thankfully, July, August and September are clear of any major outgoings, but after that it's car insurance renewal, birthday central, then Christmas. Yupp, I mentioned it. In July. Sorrynotsorry. Christmas is really soon. It's only five paydays away. I'm normally a Christmas Eve shopper and will drop a huge amount of money, try to recoup, and then cry when my car MOT is due. Even if you don't have the outgoings that I do, it's always best to plan. I'm starting with the people I know what to get - so my Ma, Pa, brother and Grandma. I know what I want to get them (it's helpful all of them have major events going on this/next year, so I can get useful items), and then I can concentrate my efforts on the people not in my close family circle who might like a £20 iTunes voucher or something along those lines. Focus on the people who matter. Then focus on where to find the items you want for the best price. If you can't afford to get people outside of your close circle any presents, be honest and frank with them. Honesty is always the best policy, especially where money is concerned.
I really hope these help some of you. I've seen plenty of 'self help' posts around, but these five tips have really helped us save a lot of money in a short space of time and proved that we can afford to add another outgoing to our collection.
Fingers crossed we get to where we want to be, and fingers crossed for you too.
One of my most favourite makeup products is concealer.
It's also the bane of my life.
Finding the right shade is a minefield. But, I think I've got it down now.
Just buy two. So, for months and months and months, everyone and their Nan has raved about how good the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer is amazing. I picked it up, without looking, and bought a shade too dark. Clever. I finally got round to getting the right shade - light - and now it's summertime, it's a tad too light. Mixed together, they're perfect for battling against my dark circles at 5.30am.
The same goes for the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer - a super product, but just not the right shade, unless I mix two. Even in winter, the lighter shade is too fair so I mix away all year long. Together they cover all my red blotches/spots/blemishes and blend into my skin really nicely.
My usual brightening concealer is the only one I use singularly currently, but I put that down to my summer skin. If only I could be this colour in every season!
Helmsley is just one of the beautiful market towns of North Yorkshire. I've been to The Black Swan for afternoon tea a fair few times and it's definately worth the trek up there.
I had never been to the Walled Garden before though. I was pleasantly surprised.
For starters it was only £6, and the ticket can be used over and over for the next twelve months so there's no missing out of seasonal changes or events.
For seconds, although it's quite a small garden all in all, it has so much crammed in there - the herbaceous border, the orchard, a meadow, a chicken 'field', the allotment. The planting is beautiful, we saw it during the June Slump (a time where the Spring flowers have turned and the summer buds are just beginning to show) so everything was just a mass of green. On our second visit though, summer had definately hit.
Helmsley sits on the Cleveland Way, so it's perfect for a little mooch around and a stop in the café before heading off on a walking adventure.
The garden is sat right next to the Castle - can you tell why there's a garden there then? - and next time I'd like to explore that part of Helmsleys heritage as well.
Helmsley is definately worth a visit, any time of the year!
The final book in the Earthsea quartet. I actually read this quite a while ago, before the Tales. It's one of my favourites because it's about dragons. Can't beat a book about dragons. It encompasses a lot of topics along the way - gypsies, women, farming, poverty, wealth, sexism, pride and respect. Tehanu is the name of a little girl who gets raped, beaten and thrown in a fire by her gypsy parents before being found and taken in by Tenar. The story follows the hardships they endure by being (and being associated with) disfigurement. I really enjoyed the story and my heart lifts at the end.
I haven't pictured this one because I devoured it in a day and gave it back to the friend I borrowed it from. It's the second book of a twosome following a girl named Mary. At the end of the last one, she's outcast from the colony town. This one picks up straight from that point. It's an entirely different story from the first; I'm not sure whether I like them as a pair. Singularly, they're both great stories, though they don't link together all that well.
Only since re-reading this have I found out there's two more books in this series! I loved this book. So simple, but it's got everything - excitement, wonder, heartbreak, love - everything a girl needs in a book. Miri isn't allowed to go down into the mine, she doesn't know why, but her father refuses to let her go. Everyone else goes - the linder they mine is the currency of the mountain. When a herald comes from the King and states that the new Princess will be one of the girls from the mountain, Miri tries extra hard to be the Academy Princess and this story follows her efforts, and the ups and downs of living on a mountain. It's a great story, I'm looking forward to reading the next two!
This starts of pretty slow. Part one is set in a tower, there's not much going on but frequent visits from rats, a lack of fresh milk and a moaning maid. The second part ups the pace a bit, but only a bit - *spoiler* they leave the tower. I still struggled to keep interested. Until about two thirds of the way through when more action starts. I love the concept and it's based on an old fairy tale (I love that) so it's a well written adaptation.
I will never ever spend over £10 on a hairspray. Not even a texturising one, so the Oribe and Bumble & Bumble products will sadly never take centre stage on my bathroom shelf. Unless I won big on the lottery. When they most definately would.
So in the search for a good, but still reasonably priced version, I've come across these.
The pro's of this product are that: it sprays a good amount out of the bottle in one go so it's very thorough at coating all of my roots, it holds a good amount of product, it smells good. The con's are that it doesn't actually, really do anything. Within 30 minutes my hair is back to it's lank self. Not to say that I didn't spray it all over and scrunch like mad. Disappointing.
I'm on my second bottle of this. That says something. It's great to spritz into newly straightened hair to give a bit of movement, or on waves to give that little somethin' somethin'. I like the packaging, the amount of product you get and the feel of it in my hair. The only downside is that it doesn't last all day, probably only a few hours or so before my hair looks like I did nothing to it.
I'm also on the second bottle of this. I see this as a lighter version of the L'Oreal spray. It's much nicer used as a product for giving volume to the lower ends of my hair when I've waved it, rather than at the roots. Compared to the L'Oreal, it's a close second, but a second place all the same.
I ended up being burnt to a crisp by the sun last week. It was not a good move. Especially with a ten hour shift in steel toe capped boots that rub around my calves. Not a good move at all.
The day after my incessant moaning about how raw my legs were and then about how my shirt chaffed my raw arms, my work colleague kindly brought me this Vaseline Lotion in to try.
It works. It's a godsend. I love my colleague in so many ways right now.
Vaseline products and I don't usually get on well. I find them greasy, lay thick on the skin and smell nasty after a few hours, but this doesn't do any of that. It sinks in quickly, soothes my red skin and smells divine. And, unlike other moisturisers, it's also okay to use on sunburnt/irritated skin.
I've been using it twice daily - once after my morning shower and again just before getting into bed. It seems to be helping. I did an awesome job of destroying my skin, but it hasn't peeled (something that I seem to do every time the sun even so much as peeks out from behind a cloud), and that's a good sign.
Me and Vaseline might become good mates soon. It certainly looks that way.
One of the things I've never been good at is making friends.
I know a lot of people, but I wouldn't class them as in the 'friend' category. I have maybe two people, girls, that I class as 'friends', and I don't see either of them very much. If I did, I probably wouldn't be friends with them.
That's just how I roll.
In the past couple of months I've been trying to get myself out there and make friends - get over the boundary and actually make friends with people. It's been an eye opener.
I don't think I'll try again for a while.
Bitches. I always knew that people did bitch, but not as brutally as they actually do. I met with a few lasses I know and I always thought that one of them did't really like the other as much as it seemed when I got them face-to-face, but alright, whatever. And then they started talking about another lass I know and jeez, all hell broke loose! You'd never have thought how nasty someone could be about another person. Especially after all the selfies they post on Facebook with them, all the lovely status', all the smileysmiles.
Made me wonder just what they say about me. So, I thought, nah, I don't want to be a part of this. If friendship is about bitching and being friendly to their faces before slaughtering them behind their backs, I'm not going to be one of them. If I have an issue with someone, I've always just said it and sorted it out with them there and then.
So I'll still say hello, maybe see them out and about, be friendly, but I'll never forget how nasty people can be once I leave the room.
Just goes to show how we never leave the playground, even as supposed adults.
I've mentioned MUA nail polishes in the past. Some have been okay, some have been good, but recently the formula has been excellent. I picked this one, Ocean Blue, up the other day. For a whole English Pound, you cannot beat it it. The formula reminds me a lot of Essie, a thin, but still pigmented colour that needs two coats, tops. The only problem is that the MUA stand gets picked over so fast!