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Autumn Fashion: Bonfire Night

2 Nov

Heading off to a fireworks display next weekend? Then be cosy and fashionable with these lovely, affordable Autumn pieces from some of my favourite online stores.

 

Missguided

Plus 20% off if you use code WARMERS20 at the checkout

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Boohoo

15% off everything (ends midnight tonight) – use code ENJOY at the checkout

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ASOS

25% off selected Winter items

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Disney Villain inspired fashion at George at ASDA

16 Oct

Perhaps it is because Halloween is almost upon us (the only time when it is socially acceptable for you to dress like a ghoul and act like a child), or it might be because according to the retail world, we are now technically in ‘pre-holiday season’, either way George at ASDA have decided to celebrate by collaborating with Graduate Fashion Week to bring customers a collection of Disney Villain inspired dresses.

 

Starting with the first one, which is clearly inspired by the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The floral design on the tulip-cut skirt balances out the masculine collar of the top, adding a touch of femininity to the dress.

Graduate Fashion Week Floral Bottom Disney Villains Dress – £28

Disney villain floral bottom

evil queen

 

 

Next we have a Dalmation dress inspired by Cruella De Vil. A mix of smart casual styling and structure makes this a versatile dress that can be worn with boots and a scarf to a coffee date with friends, or dressed up with statement accessories and heels for a glam night on the town.

Graduate Fashion Week Belted Disney Villains Dress – £30

Dalmation

Cruella_De_Vil

 

The final dress in the collection is inspired by the enigmatic Maleficent. This gothic, structured dress is perfect for a grown up Halloween party, and the high-neck and sheer sleeves are practical touch for those chilly Autumn nights.

Graduate Fashion Week Belted Disney Villains Dress – £28

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So whether you’re looking for that perfect Halloween costume or are simply looking for a stylish nod to your favourite childhood characters, give these a whirl. At these reasonably prices, they’re sure to sell out quickly.

If dresses aren’t your thing, you could always go for a Bambi onesie!

Disney Bambi Onesie – £14

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Top Fashion Buys This Winter: Splurge or Save?

7 Nov

With Christmas just 38 days away (is it too early to countdown?), it’s time to start saving for those presents. But just because you want to splurge on the family this year that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to suffer, or your shopping habits.

I have scoured the online shops for some of this winter’s top fashion buys, providing a ‘Splurge’ option if you have the cash to spend, and a ‘Save’ option if you’d prefer a cheaper alternative and save your pennies for other Christmas buys.

The Polka Dot Dress

SPLURGE:

Sheer panel polka dot shift dress, £190 @KarenMillen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Sasha Polka Dot Mesh Bodycon Dress, £25 @boohoofashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leopard Print Trousers:

SPLURGE:

Tripp NYC Leopard print skinny trouser, £85 @ASOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Rossa Leopard print leggings, £8.99 @missguided

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hooded Scarf

SPLURGE:

Mantaray Fairisle Knit Hooded Scarf, £28 @Debenhams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Taylor Sherpa Teddy Hooded Scarf, £12 @boohoofashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bondage tights

SPLURGE:

Wolford Bongage Tights, £32 @Selfridges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Black Strap Around Bondage Tights, £6.99 @girlynightout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape:

SPLURGE:

Jarlo London Brown/ Black Sandra Cape, £87 Lottie’s Attik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Grey Check Cape, £18 @Nextofficial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sparkly Dress:

SPLURGE:

Lipsy VIP Scallop Beaded Dress, £120 @LipsyLondon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Sequin Shift Dress in Blue, £25 @Matalan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in one pyjamas:

SPLURGE:

Leopard Print All in One, £36 @Topshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Sorbet Jersey All in One, £19 @Verynetwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Knits:

SPLURGE:

Stanley Jasmine Jumper, £65 @Cath_Kidston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

H! by Henry Holland Grey Leopard Print Jumper, £40 @Debenhams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Lace Dress:

SPLURGE:

Black Hi Neck Lace Dress, £75 @WallisFashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

John Zack Lace Dress, £39.99 @Newlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faux Fur Coat:

SPLURGE:

ASOS Patchwork Faux Fur Coat, £95 @ASOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE:

Chocolate Faux Fur Jacket, £68 @Nextofficial

The Real Price of Beauty

2 Aug

The beauty industry in the the UK alone is a multi-billion pound industry, and the simple fact that Britain is slowly crawling out of a major financial recession yet a record 3,500 jobs in the beauty sector have been posted this month across the leading job sites, suggests that despite the current dreary climate, people are making beauty and cosmetic preservation a priority; helping the industry thrive. But are we spending more money or just adopting a more ‘disposable’ attitude towards beauty (as we have been doing in recent years with fashion)? I would argue that the latter is perhaps more truthful, taking my recent article on Lidl’s cut price perfume beating Chanel’s new £61 perfume in a blind test as a prime example. If you take a trip to your local town centre or shopping mall, you will see that many high street stores and supermarkets are branching out into beauty products. Over recent months I have tried many of the ‘cheaper alternative’ products on offer, some have proven it to be a case of you get what you pay for, but some have provided pleasantly surprising results as well as saving a few pounds. The first product comes from Superdrug’s Sleek range. I tried all of the products pictured below, including Pout Polish lipgloss (£4.30), Ink Pot eyeliner gel (£4.29) and Divine Storm eyeshadow palette (£6.49), and was very pleased with the results of all three.

 

When I first came across the Sleek range I was looking to buy a gel eyeliner, and after being recommended Mac gel eyeliner by a friend (coming in at around £8 for a small pot), I decided to take a gamble and try Superdrug’s cheaper alternative. It comes complete with a handy eyeliner brush, which allows you to create a solid, sleek line or a more smudged effect if you prefer. I was very impressed with the eyeliner and the little pot goes a long way (even with regular use). I then decided to try out their eyeshadow palette. As a girl who likes her eyeshadow but never knows which colour to go for, this palette with 12 different shades is the perfect solution – it takes up minimal space in your makeup bag and the neatly arranged packaging means your colours stay separate with no mess. Finally I purchased Sleek’s Pout Polish, a light summer shimmer for lips perfect hybrid between a gloss and a lipstick. The texture is quite sticky to touch, yet when on it transforms to a light shimmery gloss that moisturizes and protects against the sun. Next up, Aldi’s Lacura makeup range, specifically their foundation (pictured below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having spent years investing (too much) money in sub-par foundations, I decided to give Aldi’s £2.39 foundation a try. Promising ‘perfect coverage and natural shine protection’, Lacura foundation is silky and light to the touch, and comes in 4 shades so you’re bound to find one that suits you. Best applied with fingers, this light foundation provides a dewy finish and contains aloe vera and shea butter which moisturize the skin while providing even coverage. I will never forget the saying ‘labels are on the inside for a reason’, and this is true not just for fashion, but for beauty products too. I can’t speak for everyone, but it pays (and saves) to leave your brand/ label snobbery at the door if trying to be moneysaving or lead a more green lifestyle. No-one knows what brand of makeup you are wearing (unless you tell everyone) so why pay over the odds for a more expensive brand when you could buy a cheaper brand that offers as high a quality product? So what is the real cost of beauty? Not as much as you might think, and with supermarket and high street competing with the Macs and Chanels of this world, the price could be even lower in future.

Money Saving: Cut Price Perfume vs Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

20 Jul

Two weeks ago, the tabloids reported that a new perfume for sale in German budget supermarket Lidl, beat Chanel’s new perfume in a blind test. 150 women participated in the test carried out by an independent expert, 90% of which preferred Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour perfume to Chanel’s Coco Madamoiselle (with TV and print ad campaigns fronted by Keira Knightley).

The real surprise is the difference in price between these barely distinguishable fragrances. While Suddenly Madame Glamour is a snip at £3.99 (50ml Eau de Parfum), Chanel Coco Mademoiselle is a little more pricey at £61 (50ml Eau de Parfum).

Despite Lidl’s cut-price perfume flying off the shelves faster than they can stock them up, I managed to get hold of one to see what all the fuss was about. I was very impressed by the branding and design of the bottle and box it came in; it certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the shelves of boots next to the likes of high end perfumes such as Chanel, Dior and Gucci.

The fragrance itself stays true to it’s description by John Bailey, founder of the perfumers guild, as having: “fresh citrus and floral notes merging to an alluring, exotic Oriental accord”… and that it is a “timeless, affordable and classic fragrance”.

Bearing in mind that you could buy 15 of Lidl’s perfumes for the price of 1 Chanel (and given that a whopping 135 out of 150 women preferred the £3.99 perfume), a spokesperson for Lidl hits the nail on the head by commenting “It shows a perfume doesn’t have to cost a bomb to make you feel instantly glamorous.”

Money Saving: Soap & Glory 2-Minute Rinse

13 Jul

Did you know that showers use on average 9 Litres of water per minute*? Or that leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth can waste up to 6 Litres of water**? Well there is something simple we can all do to ensure we use and waste less water.

Top budget-friendly beauty product range Soap & Glory, have launched a brand new money saving and eco-friendly campaign titled The 2-Minute Rinse; They have worked out that we can save water, energy and money simply by spending a little less time in the shower each morning, having a more positive impact on the environment and our wallets.

So why not take up the challenge and get your friends and family to do the same. Soap & Glory have some fab prizes on offer for people who log their 2-Minute Rinse on the Facebook page, so what are you waiting for?

Save Water. Come Clean. Do the 2-Minute Rinse. Log your rinse and you could win some amazing prizes.

http://on.fb.me/pW5CkE

*Waterwise

**Environmentagency.gov.uk

Money Saving: Cheaper Train Tickets

6 Jul

Today I managed to book tickets for a return journey from Newark Northgate to Manchester, for £6 cheaper than the standard price*. How did I do it? I split the journey. My ticket covers exactly the same route, times and changes, but because I paid for two separate return journeys (Newark – Doncaster, Doncaster – Manchester), I only paid £25 rather than £31.

It might not sound like much of a worthwhile saving but if, like me, you travel by train quite regularly (i.e. more than a couple of times a month), you could be looking at over £200 worth of savings.

Top tips for saving when booking train tickets:

  • Book online in advance – Although many short journeys promise the same price on the day when bought at the station, it is better to be prepared .Save having to queue at the ticket office and risk being late for your train and paying over the odds, and book online from the comfort of your sofa, and more to the point save £££s!
  • Use your railcard when booking your train tickets to get a discount – A young persons railcard is available to anyone aged between 16 and 25 and can save you upto 1/3 on ticket prices. More information (including other types of railcards and how to apply) can be found here: http://www.railcard.co.uk.
  • Take advantage of discount fares – Sign up to email alerts from the 4 main Train ticket sites (East Coast Trains, The Trainline, RailEasy, and National Rail) and they will email you with special discounted ticket fares for customers for popular routes.
  • Look at the different types of tickets on offer – Sometimes buying 2 single tickets can be cheaper than a return ticket, likewise an off-peak return ticket with specific times for travel is likely to be cheaper than an open return ticket. Split the journey if a saving can be made, like I did.
  • It pays to book train tickets at least one month before your travel date, ideally 12 weeks before (as this is the maximum time most ticket sites allow you to book in advance).
For more information on how to get cheap train tickets, check out this guide from Martin Lewis on Moneysavingexpert.com.

(*my journey included a young person’s railcard, so savings on a standard non-railcard ticket may be even greater)