Thursday, 26 November 2015

November Birchbox X SkinnyDip

 I’ve been so excited to do this month’s Birchbox post because of the amazing collaboration they've done! For anyone who doesn’t know Birchbox teamed up with Skinny Dip London for their November box which was beautifully decorated with one Skinny Dip’s beautiful designs – the super cute mermaid shells!

The first item in the box I want to talk about is the awesome shell print phone case, this was an option you could pay a little more for and as I’d just got my new phone I couldn’t resist! It’s made for the Iphone 6 but fits my rose gold 6s perfectly. I’m not actually sure how much this was meant to be originally but you can shop all of SD’s phone cases HERE.

The next item was the Lord & Berry Silhouette Neutral  Lip Liner. You apply it as you would a normal lip liner but because it’s nude it doesn’t matter too much if you mess it up! Then just apply your lippy as normal and you’ll be smudge free all day long! I’m a huge fan of this product and have ordered two to go in my make up bags! You can get your own HERE for just £9.

Another product in this months box that I loved was the Ren Wake Wonderful Night-time Facial, which is a blend of glycolic and lactic acids which help trigger cell renewal while you sleep! You use it 2-3 or three times a week just before you sleep (after you use any cleansing waters/wipes) and then you wake up feeling refreshed and radiant! I’ve used Ren products before and love them all so I can’t wait to buy the full size of this product – get yours for £32 HERE.

Next is the Birchbox exclusive Beauty Protector. This creamy body lotion is just £8 and is basically just a super sweet, soothing body moisturiser! You can use it daily on your hands and body and it comes in a pretty, pink patterned bottle. It’s a lovely product but I have my preferred moisturisers so probably won’t be purchasing the full size product. Try it for yourself HERE.

The Number 4 Lumière D’Hiver Super Comb Prep and Protect is, to put it bluntly, a glorified heat protection spray. Really good at what it does but is what it is, at £20 a bottle I feel like it’s a bit overpriced when you can get products that are just as good for a lot cheaper. But it was still a good product and you can try it out for yourself by clicking THIS link.

One of my absolute favourite products was the Delarom Crème Acquaconfort which is a rejuvenating cream to be used when your complexion is feeling a little sorry for yourself. It uses apricot oils and vitamin E to nourish and soothe your skin, you just rub a small amount into your skin and it helps to reduce red patches and relax any dry/sore skin. I really saw a difference in my skin after the first use, it looked brighter, younger and had a lovely dewy glow – 10/10 to Delarom! I’d strongly recommend splashing out on this product – shop it HERE for £34.

Last but not least is the stunning Thumbs Up Rosa Nail Wraps. These nail wraps are super easy to use, you just smooth them on over fresh, clean nails and you’re good to go! You can layer them on natural nails or over a bright polish for extra oomph – I’m saving mine for my Christmas party! At just £6.99 they’re a bargain and a huge time saver, get yours HERE.

As well as all these goodies we also got a £10 off voucher for Skinny Dip! I’m planning on getting another phone case with mine or a super cute shell clutch bag – I’ll keep you posted! So overall this month’s box was a winner and there’s still time to get yours – just click THIS link.

Have you ever tried any of the brands mentioned in this post? What did you think of my reviews? Let me know in a comment below! 

Monday, 23 November 2015

5 easy ways to budget your money

This time of year, as exciting as it is, comes with its own selection of anxiety inducing issues. The worst of which is money, how are we expected to stretch our normal wage over all the extra food, events and gifts!? At times it can seem impossible and can even make you start to resent a time of year you should be celebrating.

To help you get the much needed relaxation you all deserve this Christmas, I’ve come up with five simple steps that will keep you from falling into the big black pit of money despair! If you’re on a low income, on a student budget or are just looking to save a quid or two this Crimbo then these easy tips will help you get your finances on track!

Step one: Plan – Firstly you’ll a need a plan of action. The first thing I do when I see my payslip each month is sit down and write down all the things I need money for that month e.g. phone bill, travel, friends birthday. Then I order them from most important to least and work out places where I can make cut backs, such as car sharing instead of getting a train, or buying smart price goodies to lower my food budget.

By doing this you know exactly how much money you have left over to play with. After you’ve sorted out the most important parts of your list, pay for them first and then there’s a load off your mind straight away.

Step two: Paper money – What is paper money I hear you ask!? It’s those weird note things and bits of metal that no one uses anymore. Yep in this plastic card era it’s easy to forget that we have one really easy way of limiting our spending, taking out cash before we can blitz through it with our credit cards!

The first thing you should do after paying off all your bills and ensuring any direct debits are paid out of your account, is take out exactly the right amount of money you’ll need for the next month. For example: £30 for a girl’s night out, £150 for your daily commute, £20 for that friend you keep saying you’ll pay back and so on.

You can even separate each chunk of money into its own envelope and seal it so you’re not tempted to spend it before its time! Just remember to write on each envelope what the money is for, so you don’t end up spending your £150 commute money on your night out (we’ve all done it).

Step three: Bad habits – Something you need to rid yourself of if you ever want to save any money! Whether it’s smoking, drinking, junk food or Starbucks hazelnut hot chocolates (guilty) everyone has that naughty little habit that bites off a big chunk of budget each month!

Sorry to say but it’s time that you waved goodbye to bad habits! And what better time to do it than Christmas!? Get a head start on all the ‘New year, new me’ sheep and change yourself for the better starting now! Cut out those cigs, mochas and cheeky Nandos – it’s time to make a change! Cheaper replacements like a free quite smoking pack from the NHS, home made coffee in a flask and delicious packed lunches will all help save the pennies.

Step four: Recycle – this could technically be classed under bad habits as we are all guilty of refusing to wear an outfit because we were wearing it in our last tagged pictures on Facebook! It’s time to swallow that pride and start recycling your old outfits! Try adding a belt or statement necklace to an old dress to make it new again, you could even mix and match outfits with a friend if they’re on the budgeting hype!

We live in an age where thriftiness is chic so you would even have a go at making your own skirt, adding embellishments to an outdated dress or you could even give the good old charity shop a browse for a bargain – pennies saved for you and a donation to charity at the same time!

Step five: Be flexible – you could stick to every one of the steps I’ve given you and still have to fork out a tonne of money for some unexpected reason. You can’t account for everything in life: you could get a damp wall that needs fixing, or your phone could break and need repairing, or if you could get a fine for something – all of these things will take a chunk of money out of your budget that you hadn't anticipated.

But that’s okay! Try not to worry about it too much and work out a way around it, knock your £30 party budget down to ten and tell your friend you’ll give them their £20 next month. We can’t anticipate everything in life, we only do our best to deal with things when they do happen. Saving a spare £10 each month for ‘unforeseen’ circumstances could help you a lot – think of it as insurance for when something in your life goes t*ts up…..failing all this I hear the bank of mum and dad has really good interest rates.

I hope this post has helped you all a little bit and I hope that you’re all feeling a little more confident about the coming months! If you liked this post let me know in a comment below, also if you have any other budgeting tips then feel free to share them also!

New Look Homeware

Last month I was insanely excited to see a new tab on the New Look website, now I love my shoes, clothes and bags but this was something completely different and unexpected - but amazing and totally me! New Look have officially released their own home range for UK shoppers!

This couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’ve just started looking for my first house! I’ve lived in student halls and in my own flat for a while but I’ve decided it’s time for my first ‘grown up’ home, and what better way to kit out than with New Look’s super sassy home collection!

The collection is small but amazing and features beautiful pink colours, a whole lot of sparkle and....wait for it....unicorns! Okay so it’s not entirely ‘grown up’ but who even wants to grow up anyway!?

Even if you’re not looking to move out, the collection is perfecting for decorating your own room or even to give as gifts this Christmas! Check out the links below for my favourite picks from the new homeware range.

White LED Lights Star Plaque: £9.99
Pink Rose Fairy Lights: £8.99
Pink House Block Calendar: £6.99
Black Unicorn Chalkboard: £7.99
2 Pack White and Pink House Storage Boxes: £9.99
Silver Sequin Door Stop: £9.99
Black House Chalkboard: £7.99
White LED Lights Arrow Plaque: £9.99
Pink All You Need Is Love Light Up Canvas: £9.99
Copper Geo Tea Light Holder: £5.99
Pink Metallic Fairy Lights: £8.99

The home range is really affordable and for those of you who are still students, you can get 10% of full price purchases! Shop the full range HERE.

I’ll be doing a lot more home/first time buyer orientated posts in the future so let me know what you’d be interested in reading about! 

I’ve got to a point in my life where my money is going on dinner plates and duvets rather than makeup and hair products, so my blog posts will be changing along with my lifestyle.

I hope you’ll all still enjoy the new posts even though they'll be slightly different! 

Did you enjoy this post? What’s your favourite piece from New Look’s homeware range? Let me know in a comment below!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Primark Christmas Collection

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR – No I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about party dress season!!! This time of year brings endless parties, cocktail catch-ups and celebrations that require brand new sparkly outfits – more than one of course, lest we have to face the dreaded ‘same outfit – different event – next to each other on tagged Facebook pictures - situation’.

As wonderful as new glitzy outfit shopping is, it’s hard to do without breaking the bank. So do we risk wearing the same outfit twice? Or do we go to that one reliable place that cares for us when we’re poor, gives us festive fashion for next to naught and provides accessories to mix up those tired old LBDs? Yes of course I’m talking about Primark!

Primarni have just launched their Christmas party wear range – and some of it is already in-stores in the UK and Ireland! The range starts from just £3 and features sparkling dresses for New Year celebrations, sophisticated blouses for staff parties and classic LBDs to see you through the festive period.

Check out the pictures above for my top Primark picks! My personal favourites are the long sleeved sparkly dress, the sheer black tights and that super cute fluffy pink bag! I'd also like to say how much I adore the setting for this photo shoot! It's so glam and looks so wonderfully Christmas-y.

Which is your favourite part of the new collection? What’s your top style tip for festive celebrations? Let me know in a comment below!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Goodbye October

As we say goodbye to October and take one step closer to Christmas it’s time for a monthly catch up – via Instagram, naturally. This month has been pretty exciting with Halloween and various events so I haven’t been posting too much - hopefully I'll be back in my usual routine this month!

Top row, left to right: My lovely powder contour kit from Make up Revolution, the November Vogue issue, the sun set I see on my evening commute as I go over the Arnside viaduct, some Christmas scents for my new reed diffuser, lovely sunrise at Lancaster station, my little Peggy resting in the sun - she was quite unwell earlier on in the month, but is a lot better now!

Second row, left to right: Night time delays at the station, New trials vs Neutrals eye shadow palette from Make up Revolution, free water and biscuits on the train for National Customer Services week, pumpkins carved by me and Joshua, my new love - gingerbread green tea - and a blueberry muffin (a very healthy breakfast I know...), my lovely Halloween flowers from Joshua.

Third row, left to right: The kittens investigating the pumpkins (they tried eating a bit and hated it!), my skull make up for a Halloween party, my beautiful new Iphone 6S in 'Rose Gold', the 'beyond flawless' eye shadow palette - also from Make up Revolution, Lancaster castle looking lovely as the leaves started to fall earlier in the month, more train freebies for Customer Services week - two brews, water and more biscuits!

Bottom row, right to left: Léa Seydoux in November's Vogue - featuring Prudence's paw, lovely leaves in Lancaster, my base corrector kit from Make up Revs - I went on a make up spending spree last month, in case you haven't already guessed! Next is the collection of beauty products on my bedside cabinet (which you can read more about HERE), a picture showing my natural hair - it's grown a lot since it all fell out and I finally felt confident enough to show my hair without extensions and finally is the beautiful BOCA toothpastes, which I reviewed HERE.

If you want to see more of what I get up to day to day then you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter, just search 'alicelouisealk' and hit follow! 

What did you get up to in October? What did you think of this post? Let me know in a comment below!
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