Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sanctuary Spa Hot Cloth Cleanser

Wednesday Beauty Buys

As promised here is another review of a hot cloth cleanser. I am trying to cut my budget on beauty products by finding drugstore alternatives to some of the spa products I have been using that cost far too much to be justified. As with any area of spending it is best to set yourself a budget to stick to as it can so easily spiral out of control. 

There are so many fantastic alternatives available now starting from as little as a couple of pounds. Collecting your points on Boots and Superdrug cards and looking out for their many offers will mean you can often pick your chosen product up for next to nothing. I got this Sanctuary Spa Hot Cloth Cleanser as part of a 3 for 2 offer at Boots. I also got a toner paid for with my Boots points and a Dr. Jarts BB. So in reality I paid £24 for products worth £42. You can purchase it from Boots here as part of their 3 for 2 offer.

If you are interested in trying out some hot cloth cleansers but don't want to commit to buying a full sized product, Red magazine have a good size Liz Earle sample with muslin cloth included as a freebie this month. Here also is my previous review on SuperDrugs Hot Cloth Cleanser. 

So, onto the Bath Sanctuary Spa Hot Cloth Cleanser. This is a good sized product for £10.20  with a muslin cloth included. As with all Sanctuary Spa products it has quite a strong , almost lemony smell. Whilst I love this fragrance in their other products I was uncertain whether I would cope with such a strong fragrance on my face. However, after a few uses I find it invigorating rather than annoying.

I have used this for a couple of weeks now and it has not irritated my skin which is great. I do still use my precleanse to break down stubborn make up first and to allow the cleanser to do it's job.The instructions recommend that you do two cleanses. The first one removes dirt and dust and the second goes deeper and allows the rich oils to penetrate the skin. I did try it without using my pre cleanse, but found it did not remove stubborn eye make up . However, I would always double cleanse to ensure clean skin. The test is to wipe a cotton bud with toner over your skin and see how clean it really is. 

This cleanser is thick and creamy . It feels lovely on your skin and wipes away easily with the muslin cloth. You soak the cloth in hot water and lay it over the face to start with to open the pores. You then gently massage the cream into the skin and  take it off with the warm cloth. My skin feels tight and clean afterwards and my make up applies well which is always a sign of well cleansed and prepared skin.

 At the moment I am using it in my daily regime and it has halved what I am spending on my cleanser bill. It is certainly worth a try if you are looking for a drugstore hot cloth cleanser that retails for around £10.

What is your favourite Hot Cloth Cleanser at the moment?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

No talk of Christmas before November.

Thats the rule in our house!

For quite a while no sooner did the summer holidays end than the talk of Christmas would start amongst the kids, with hastily written Christmas lists being thrust under my nose at every opportunity. So we implemented the rule of, "No talk of Christmas before November." Unfortunately, as is typical of children, we now have a count down to the beginning of November and they get more excited as the day arrives with whispered plans of what they might talk about!

I am a planner and an organiser. I don't like to leave things to the last minute when I am then presented with the only option of smash and grab at the supermarket and panic buying presents for relations. However, I refuse to let Christmas take over my whole year by snaffling presents away at every opportunity and spending too many months excessively plotting and planning what is in effect, one day. Christmas is in December, planning a reasonable budget and being strategic about what and when to buy means Christmas does not need to dominate any more time than it is meant to! 

So, starting in November ( as I am allowed to talk about Christmas then) I am doing a series of posts from budgeting to present buying to budget Christmas dinners. I shall call these posts Christmas Crackers so watch out for them!!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Adele's Skyfall

Music Monday - What's on your ipod this week?

On mine it is Adele and the very topical, Skyfall

Today I'm linking up with Leslyns Lovely Life's Tuesdays Tunes

Leslyn's Lovely Life

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Savoos Uks Smartest Shopper Finalist

The final 10 - wish me luck!

I am off today for an interview having got to the final 10 in the competition run by Savoo to find the UK's Smartest Shopper! I am excited beyond belief and a bundle of ole nerves as you would expect. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get this far when I entered. 

So , wish me luck and I'll let you all know how I fare on my return from my family hols in Cornwall this week. If you are interested here is part of my entry . We had to write a series of 150 word answers to various savvy shopping questions, a 1000 word blog post on how being a savvy shopper has changed you and a you tube video.

My children are 5,9,and 11. I naively thought that when they grew up I would have more time, energy and money. When reality dawned a few years ago I began to try and change what I could and cut our cloth according to our means. Rather than being daunted and weighed down by this prospect, I viewed it as a challenge and had a sense of relief that I didn’t have to bow to the pressure of the marketplace anymore to buy, buy, buy. I felt that I was taking the control back, instead of being swept along by the great tide of consumerism and being one of the crowd.
As a parent there are many pressures thrown at you, the undercurrents of which are to spend. You are expected to feed your children well and dress them beautifully. You are expected to educate them well and buy them the latest toys and gadgets. You are expected to house them in an immaculate abode and whilst doing this you must be presentable and fashionably attired at all times. Cost, cost, cost. The pressure to spend can be utterly relentless.
Not once when my children were very young, did I see a programme or article on how to make a meal last two days or how to make soup from leftovers. Not once did I see a programme about toy swaps, or stylish charity clothes finds. All the programmes we have seen emerging like this have been within the last few years.
Once I started on this path I realised that the possibilities were endless and I became intrigued with finding ways to live well on a budget.
We are in a stage of our lives where money is not particularly tight, but children are expensive and our money is earned by long hours of hard graft. It would be foolish to fritter this away. Being thrifty becomes a way of thinking, almost second nature after a while. What it doesn’t mean is being tight or measly. It is about being wise with your money and being in control. That is a good feeling I can tell you! Even my children have noticed and say ” You only buy things when they are on offer Mum”. I take that as the highest form of praise. What we save on our grocery shopping can go towards a nice holiday in the summer, or the new car we might need.
One of the biggest changes I have seen in the last couple of years is the rise of the charity shop. I must admit to not being the biggest fan of shops like Primark. I question the quality and sustainability of it. Although, the financial attractions of it I do understand and that is a big draw for us all. However, I would say give the charity shops a go. Style is not about buying the most expensive designer item or what everyone else has. It is about being unique and comfortable in what you wear. There is something relaxing about a day rummaging in the charity shops. There is a seaside town near us that has so many charity shops they run annual coach trips to the town from up country for people to come and trawl through them! I have found Darcy Brown clothing for my little girl, lego wear for my boys, jewellery and jackets for myself, homeware, cut glass, the list goes on. I go to jumble sales and car boots. I give my children £1 each and they love to find a treasure to buy.
The other change I have made is I do more of my shopping online. For clothing I will go and look in stores, decide what I need, price it up and then source it cheaper nine times out of ten online. This may be through vouchers or codes or from discounts being offered that are exclusive to the online site. I keep an eye on the online discount outlets and sites. If there is something I want coming up I am one of the first on it when it goes live! The early bird and all that! Grocery shopping online is my next big drive. I am intrigued by MySupermarket as this sources out the cheapest prices for you as well as highlighting the poor deals, saving you pennies yet again!
I have begun to take on board the environmental issues of our spending too. It is easy for me to buy myself a cheap top for a couple of pounds, discard it after a few wears because ”well it doesn’t matter as I only spent a couple of pounds on it and I can buy another." So the cycle goes on. I am trying now to look more at how I can recycle what I have finished with by selling items on E.Bay or donating them. I have learnt that cheapest doesn’t always equate to best buy. Look for quality and sustainability. It often works out cheaper in the long run and better for the environment. My last sale of items this year on E.Bay resulted in enough money to purchase an ipad. What a result!
The whole “being wise with your money” has become a necessity for a lot of us with the current climate and it is easier to talk openly now about our thrifty finds and ways. This is a way of us taking back the control and feeling like we can do something about getting the style of life we want on the budget we have. It is just being in the know. Finding the places and ways to shop. Learning how to set and stick to a budget. Becoming savvy about the savings that there are to be had.

I don’t think I am there yet. Like any self respecting woman, I am suspect to the odd impulse buy and temptation in the form of beauty products needed yesterday!
However, I would say, and hope, I am well on my way to becoming a savvy shopper and a Thrifty Mum!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Thank You.

Choosing thankfulness.

Sometimes life crowds in on us and it is easy to overlook the things that are good in our lives. My 100th follower ran a post saying just that. Sometimes we need to  choose to be thankful. It reminds us of the good things that are in our lives.

Here are 10 things I am thankful for today:

  • Today I am thankful for my gorgeous children.

  • I am thankful it is half term and we can draw breath.

  • I am thankful for a country cottage getaway.

  • I am thankful for new challenges, even though they scare me!

  • I am thankful that my sisters biopsy results were clear ( so thankful).

  • I am thankful for my mum and my friend for  doing my washing this week when my machine broke.

  • I am thankful for the perfect little belt I picked up for next to nothing from Whistles.

  • I am thankful that my little girl still kisses me goodbye in the morning.

  • I am thankful that my big boy is happy and doing well at his new school .

  • I am thankful for the support and love of my family.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

October Joliebox

What's in the box?

Two beauty boxes in one week - what more could a girl want? Actually, don't answer that we might be here a long time! 

I do like the way JolieBox packs their boxes. There is always a small drawstring bag which is reusable for anything from toiletries to snacks for the kids. Waste not want not. 

The contents are certainly an improvement on last months with a proper full size product included.

There are two Iroisie Ultimate BB cream samples. I am glad this is not a full size product as I have found my BB truelove at the moment. As my french is no good I looked it up on the website here. It looks a lovely product and is almost completely natural so I shall enjoy trying this . A 15ml tube is £29.90 compared to the DR. Jart that is £24 for 40ml so a little more expensive.

Ritessens Velvet Cleansing Milk. This is a full size product, but I can't find a convenient stockist in the UK so wouldn't repurchase . I also could not find a price for it in the Uk. The price in Euros is €23. It is a natural product again, quite bland in it's fragrance, but I like that in a facial product and feels creamy to touch. I am reluctant to try this at the moment as my poor face has had enough of trying different cleansers. JoileBox - please include products we can easily repurchase if we love them!

Jason Bee Healthier Lip Balm Stick . This is a lip balm - what more can I say?  It looks and feels a lovely little balm, but I have given it away as I have rather a lot already.

Moa Green Balm. This is an intensive multi purpose balm that gives moisture to chapped and dehydrated skin. It is suitable for sensitive skin. 20% off when you enter Jolie20 at the checkout. I am interested to try this , especially with winter approaching, but it is a teeny tiny sample! Again I quite like the smell - a little bit like faint menthol. Not everyones cup of tea.

Talking about tea - tea bags. Lov is beautiful White and Green tea. This has antioxidants and zinc that have proven skincare benefits. I love green tea so am happy with this.

This is certainly a much better box than last months and I do love getting different samples to try out. Any samples I don't use I have saved and put towards a box that I made up for a friend . I can't say I have changed any of my skin care because of the samples I have received yet, but I have had a lot of enjoyment out of receiving and reviewing them . With Christmas coming up a 6 or 12 month subscription would be a lovely gift to purchase someone who loves beauty products. 

You can subscribe to Joliebox here. A years subscription gets you two free boxes.

You can subscribe to Glossybox for 6 months and get one box free here

You can subscribe to Glossybox  for 12 months and 2 boxes free here

You can get 20% off your first Glossybox here

Hope you have a lovely weekend and Half Term. We are holing up in a country cottage for the week in West Cornwall. Lots of log fires and beach walks. Just what is needed after a frantic start to the term! Xx

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

DR Jart + Premium Beauty Balm

  Wednesday Beauty Buys - Multi Action Skin Care and Make Up.

If you have been reading my blog over the past week or so you will have noticed that I have been raving about this Beauty Balm. It has taken me a while to find a BB cream that I loved enough to move from using a tinted moisturiser. The products that I tried just didn't seem to be any different to me. The promise of an amazing all in one product that left your skin dewy and flawless didn't happen. The most I got was my skin reacting to the different products that I tried.

Some of the BB s I have looked at had a lot of promises "on the tin". I do find it hard to believe the claims that some of these products make. Moisturising, priming, coverage, concealing, making flawless, brightening, anti ageing, correcting, firming, rejuvenating, anti inflammatory, oil control - I could go on. Your skin is your skin. If it isn't perfect , a BB cream can improve it, but it can't make it flawless in one go. I think we have to be careful of over expecting because of what some of these products are promising. These BBs are amazing if you find the right one, but they will not make your skin perfect if you have pre existing problems.

When looking for a BB be clear about what you want. A BB cream should be moisturising and be an all in one - prime, foundation and concealer. It should give a medium sheer coverage with an even finish. There are some products that offer added benefits such as oil control so look for one that states what you require. However, be cautious of those that promise everything. Try some out. I tend not to buy unless I can test it first in a store somewhere. There are so many variations on this it is difficult to know what to expect anymore so I decided to go back to where it all started. Asia.

The Dr. Jart BB includes a factor 40 spf which is excellent. It only comes in one shade as it is one of the original types of BB cream from Asia. I found it looked quite dark initially for my skin tone , but it adjusted immediately and tones in beautifully. It moisturises without being greasy and gives a light dewy finish. It does cover uneven skin tone, but if you have any deeper pigmentation or blemishes you may need concealer as well. It gives a lovely soft finish with that dewy look that is so sought after. The thing I like most about this is that it lasts the day too. I still feel my skin looks good later in the day!

Beauty Balms are the sort of thing you have to try and find one that suits you. Everyone has different skin and what one raves about may not suit another. However I do think these Dr.Jart Beauty Balms are worth looking at. I went straight for the premium one which retails at £24 and is advised for antiaging properties and slightly older skin. They give a rough guide of up to 35 years this is best for, but I would recommend trying it out whether you are younger or older than this. I love it , it suits my skin perfectly and I am older than 35! Don't be put off by the dark colour as it adjusts when applied ( see below). They have a range of other BBs which currently aren't available in the UK as far as I can see, but if you want if you want to investigate further and want something more targeted you can check these out here. I do hope we get this choice in the UK soon ! These are the ones that Boots stock and they generally have samples out to try. I do now get the difference between this and my tinted moisturiser - and I'm hooked! 

You can see here it is a couple of tones darker than my skin.

However, once blended it has adjusted to the colour required.

 If you are having a splurge at Boots and spending £100+ on selected premium beauty products . Here is a code for £20 off.

Have you tried any Beauty Balms?

What Beauty Balm have you found suits you?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

SuperDrugs Essie Polishes

A Great Choice!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. We are a little bit behind the times down 'ere, so you'll have to forgive my excitement for having at last got the range of Essie polishes on my doorstep (almost) at Superdrug. 

I find these polishes are worth the extra few pounds as they last and last. Sometimes spending that extra bit makes sense in the long run as you have a polish that lasts longer on your nails and longer in the bottle.

My Autumn picks this month are:

What I am wearing today!

What are you wearing on your nails today?

If you are interested in Glossybox after my post last week they have a "20% off your first box" offer on at the moment here

Monday, 22 October 2012

Goo Goo Dolls

Music Monday - What's Playing On Your Ipod This Week?

On my ipod this week it is The Goo Goo Dolls and Iris

 Linking up with Tuesday Tunes at Leslyn's Lovely Life.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

October Glossy Box

My First Ever!

I have been sent the October Glossy Box to review - what an absolute treat. Thank you Glossy Box!

The first thing I like to do when considering a product is to check out their website to find a little bit about what is behind the company. Glossy Box has a particularly clear and concise website that is easy to follow and it's values and aims are clearly described.

I do already subscribe to a monthly beauty box so this was a good chance for me to see what other boxes have to offer. 

So on to the contents. I was really impressed with the pretty pink box and wrapping. The fact that it is to support Breast Cancer this month brought tears to my eyes. A dear friend, who was a mum to a beautiful 4 year old girl, passed away after a brave and traumatic journey with breast cancer last year. I also have another lovely friend who had some horrid treatment and operations to combat this terrible disease, but is now a year and counting clear of cancer. It just seems too young to me.........

The box was even contained in an attractive brown and pink box!

There is a card with a clear explanation of each product. Very helpful.

The contents are well packaged. Wrapped in black tissue paper, tied with a pink ribbon with shredded black tissue paper to protect the products.

There are five products. Although they say there will be 5 miniatures , there are two larger size products included here. A full size lipstick and a good 75ml body scrub.

Anatomicals body scrub. Original product £3.49 200ml. A nice citrus smell with small particles that give your skin a nice smooth finish.

Yves Rocher France Moisturising Cream Lipstick - coleurs Nature . A beautiful creamy lipstick in a gorgeous deep plum red . Love this product! £14.50 for 3.7g product. A voucher is also included for £5 off any order over £30.

Olay Regenerist 3 point Treatment Cream Fragrance Free. A lovely moisturiser. This is a miniature. A full size product is £29.99 for 50ml.

Skinetica Anti Blemish - this is stated as kind to skin with no side effects so I am delighted to have this. My eldest son has just stated to get a few spots on his forehead ( much to his horror) so I will try this out on him! £6.99 for 100ml.

Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm - Love Love LOVE. Need I say any more. I have a review coming out on my Wednesday beauty buys next week and featured this on my top 5 products for October here. I am delighted Glossy Box has included this. It is an amazing BB - doesn't overclaim and does all it is meant to do - in my experience! Ok - I will calm down now. £24.00 for 40ml.

I am very impressed with the contents of this box. They are all of a good quality , presented well and explained clearly. I am very tempted to switch my monthly order over to GlossyBox from my regular Beauty Box based on this months box.

If you wish to subscribe to Glossy Box you can do here

They have two offers on at the moment. 

One free box with a 6 month subscription.

Two free boxes with a 12 month subscription.

Have you had a GlossyBox this month?

What did you think?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Getting the Best Out of Your Charity Shop

Hints and Tips

Back in the day we wouldn't have been seen dead in an item that had been brought from a charity shop, however 'vintage' or 'retro' it may have been. It just wasn't the done thing then! I think the ground would have swallowed me up if my mum would have wandered in through the front door with a " You'll never guess what I found you at the Hospicare Shop" shriek ! 
Today it is a whole different story. It has been made more acceptable to be seen rummaging amongst the purple rinses looking for gems and bargains. Recycling vintage items of unique clothing or bringing old pieces of furniture back to life with a lick of paint. Being thrifty has become a necessity for many of us in the current climate and I know for me I hate to part with money unnecessarily that has been earned through hours of hard graft. I do think there is a bit of a knack to charity shopping and you do have to persevere to get a bargain or two. We don't have any charity shops in the village where I live so I travel to the nearest town or city and make an outing of it. I take a bag of clothes and items to donate too. One mans junk is another mans treasure you know! 

These are my tips and hints for a trip out Charity Shopping:

  • Have a rough plan. Know where the shops are and which ones you are going to visit.
  •  Have an idea in your mind of the sort of things you are after, although be prepared to look for other things if you've time.
  • Shop early in the week. People usually clear out at the weekend and drop off their goods then. They will be on the shop floor by Monday or Tuesday.
  • Take cash and set a budget. You can overspend in a charity shop! I have known some shops not accept cards under £10 on the rare occasion.
  • Check labels for brand names and fabrics. Check for genuine designer items. Take your phone so you can check and validate things online.
  • Check for rips, tears, stains, missing buttons etc.
  • Check the size, not just the size label. Be open to altering something or dyeing a white item another colour if it is a good buy. I am a size uk 8 - 10 , but I look for items up to a size 14 sometimes.
  • Think outfits when you buy, the same as you do when you buy from new. Don't buy random items you will never wear.
  • Look for items you may sell on E.Bay. Designer names. 
  • Good finds are usually - leather belts, scarves, unique jewellery, jackets .
  • Take a bag of your own unwanted items to donate. Recycing clothes in this way helps reduce textile landfill.
  • Take some antibacterial handgel , just in case you feel a bit grubby after rummaging!
It really is worth it and to encourage you further just look at these bargains I have picked up this week!

  • H and M  lined skirt. This looked new to me. £4.00

  • Michael Morpurgo Kensuke's Kingdom 70p ( usually £5 new)

  •  Toast fine cord lined skirt. Perfect condition. Beautiful detail. £4.00

  • Fat face girl's age 5 skirt £.2.50

  •  Topshop wool blend sleeveless wrap around top. £3.00

  • Kookai blouse size 40 , but they come up small so I risked this and it fits ! Looks new. £2.25

  • Topshop fine pinstripe blouse - lovely pink buttons. £3.50

  • Faith leather boots with buckle detail £4.50 

  • River Island leather belt with statement buckle £1.50

  • Necklace with the word love. £1.00

  •  Coral necklace - this was brought by a friend from a charity shop for me because she knows I love coral from reading my blog! Thank you Hayley! X

  • Human Nature wool mix cropped cardigan £4.00

I don't usually buy all this in one go, but needed some props for a competition entry that I had to submit a you tube video for. I decided to talk about how you can save money by shopping at charity shops for your clothes, but you don't have to forgo style. The benefit is I get to keep and wear all these lovely items! I will post some outfit photos as I wear and style them.

I saw these definitions online and found them helpful so thought I would share with you. People do bandy the word Vintage around fairly freely nowadays to describe anything from a second hand modern cardigan to a genuine 1950s tea dress. So, as I understand it these are the loose definitions and boundaries:

Vintage - this is roughly the period from 1920's to about the 1970's. Look for labels, zippers, tell tale signs that your item comes from this period. Here is a good link to explain how to date vintage clothing.

Retro - This is the 1960 - 1970's period.

Antique - This is really the period pre 1920's

Charity or Thrifted - Pre used clothes that may include any of the above!

Are you a Charity Shopper or do you avoid them at all costs?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Favourite Products this Month

Top 5!

One thing I have been attempting to do lately is find some good alternatives to expensive salon or  spa products to reduce my monthly outlay on beauty products. However,there are some products I don't think I will ever change, but I always research where I can find them at the best possible price. As a family of 5 we are constantly looking at ways to reduce our monthly outgoings.
I'm adding a short post each month with a low down on my top 5 products. These will be 5 products that I am really loving using. They may be a new product I have just found ( often from another blog in which case I will link to the blog I found it on) or an old favourite. I will link where you can purchase these from too.

 My October top 5

1. DR. Jarts BB . At last I have found a BB that I love and my skin loves. This has a SPF of 40 . I am going to do a full review of this on my Wednesday Beauty Buys next week, so do pop back then. Love, love, love. I checked out e.bay and there are some private sellers selling some of these for good prices. Otherwise Boots stock it. They have a 3 for 2 offer on at the moment.

2. Eau Thermale Toner. This is for oily or blemish prone skin, which mine is not particularly, but I do have an oily zone . It certainly has helped minimise some pores too. I got mine through Boots on the 3 for 2 offer.

3. L'oreal Extraordinary oil. I have been using this for about a week and it is fabulous. I went straight out and got it after Beauty and the Biryani did a review on it. I have thick hair that doubles in size the minute there is any moisture in the air. But not if I use this. Check out her review for full details. I use it on my little girl too.

4. Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream. Just the best moisturiser ever. I get mine from Look Fantastic. The link is in my side panel.

5. Essie Chocolate cakes - see the colour here. Gorgeous . Am wearing this all the time at the moment. I think the best buy is from Superdrug on the High Street.

What are your favourite products this October?