Wednesday, 30 April 2014

♥ Why I Love Free Samples

I love the occasional free sample and due to being an avid reader of both Glamour and Cosmo, I always have something to try out without splashing out on a product that might not do all that you require it to. Samples are always a handy little treat and although conditioner packets might not have enough product in them to give you a clear idea of the product companies are trying to sell you, they are still a great little addition to the bathroom cabinet.

I believe the most popular samples are face washes, foundations and shampoo/conditioners. These three items are something a girl always needs and testing out new ones is always a good thing to do - hair and skin are always changing so changing up your products is an excellent idea. I've never had an issue with a foundation sample. There always seems to be enough in the packet and it gives you the opportunity to try out a new brand or product for a day and get an idea of how the product will sit all day. I find foundation samples are much better than going into Boots and trying out the testers that have always been tampered with (who knows what germs are congregating on them)!

Many brands will give the option of adding free samples to your purchase and two I know of are Clarins and Bumble and Bumble. I believe this is a really good step for companies to make as it gives us, the customers, to choose what products we'd like to try out and then potentially purchase. It may mean splashing out on a few items, but samples like this are always of a decent size.

Another really good way to get hold of products to try out without excessive price tags is to invest in a beauty box. There are a few of these available such as Glossybox and Love Me Beauty.

Em x

Monday, 28 April 2014

♥ The Perks of Being a Student

As a student, I am constantly looking for special offers or a good bargain online. Free shipping, student discounts and half price sales all help. So I gathered I could frequently share online offers I'm aware of with you all just in case there's a chance you can get money off the product (or pair of jeans) you've been lusting after for weeks! This post will highlight the two main ways I manage to get a little bit of money off in my favourite stores, but keep an eye out for other posts that will keep you up to date and help you take advantage of online offers!

Unidays is a fabulous little website. You sign up with an academic email and let them know your education institution and then you can get 10%-25% off in various online stores. Companies such as Topshop, Burtons, Schuh, Cath Kidston and H&M all give student discount online with Unidays.
At the moment they're doubling student discount for Topshop/Miss Selfridge/Boohoo and a whole range of other stores - meaning a whopping 20% or more off - any online purchase! It's one to definitely watch because they change up their offers and do events like this all the time.

These handy little national union of students cards are a godsend. They can get you student discount on Amazon, in restaurants like Ask Italian and Pizza Express, and all the usuals like Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Missguided.

Here is a link to the NUS website and what discounts they have on offer - a card costs £12 or is FREE with certain student bank accounts. You can also get hold of one of these as long as you are aged 16 or over and in higher education - meaning six form, college or university! I also believe they do the same sort of card for apprentice's. Check out my friend Danielle's blog here to find out more.

This is a link to Unidays. The sign up process is simple and free to do - though they don't offer as many discounts as NUS do and it does not supply discounts on eating out. Still worth while to have both though!

Em x

Saturday, 26 April 2014

♥ My Recent Purchases

I don't know about you, but to me it seems as though Boots have never ending offers on. Now, that is not a bad thing at all, as beauty products are something us girls are constantly buying and trying out so on a recent trip to Truro I managed to pick up some products I've never tried before on the 3 for 2 deal!

L'Oreal Micellar Solution - Boots, £4.99
This little treat is something I've learnt to use every day. It acts as a make up remover, cleanser and toner all in one. Meaning you can cut three products down to one. It's even on offer at the moment with £1.25 off the advertised price, so it's definitely time to purchase if you haven't before.

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer - Boots, £5.99
Not the cheapest high street concealer on offer but after being a true fan of Rimmel's Wake Me Up Concealer I thought I'd give this one a try. Yet to use but I do have high hopes for this product.

Rimmel Eye Shadow Quad in "Beauty Spells" - Boots, £6.99
This is my first eye shadow purchase. Ever. I've never been a fan of coloured lids but I'm growing really bored of just having eye liner to emphasise my eyes. This comes with a light silver colour, two shades of purple and a smokey grey colour and I'm really excited to try this out!

Soap And Glory Hocus Focus - Boots, £11
This product from the much loved skin care range promises to be an illuminating 'flaw softening' cream. The formula is quite runny but does do the trick when used to highlight around the eyes or brow bone. The smell, as always from a S+G product, is amazing and I feel as though this product really does help highlight the face. Brilliant for the up and coming summer months.

Keep your eyes open for my reviews of some of these products in the coming weeks, especially the Micellar Solution and the Match Perfection Concealer! Going to up my blogging game and get back into it before my second semester assignments take over. If you've used any of these products let me know what you think of them. I'd love to hear from you!

Em x

Sunday, 20 April 2014

♥ The Easter Sunday Post

Easter Sunday is always brilliant. Chocolate for breakfast, Sunday roasts and some cracking films on the television. You don't really experience this when you're away from home though. My mom sent me packing back to Cornwall last weekend with a Creme Egg Easter Egg, so I'll be sure to munch on that a little bit later! But for now, I have all four of my second semester deadlines in just over a month so I better get cracking on my schedule and essay plans!

Sundays in Cornwall are definitely just for chilling out with a good film and girls magazine and the rain we have right now is making my lazy day just that little bit more acceptable!

I've also got some lovely posts on the way, as I've been so absent this week. Also, a trip into Truro with the girls tomorrow will be sure to leave my purse a little worse for wear. I'll hopefully have some nice products to share with you all!

Happy Easter Girls!

Em x

Sunday, 13 April 2014

♥ The Sunday Post

Moving back into halls this weekend has been a lot more chilled than I thought it would be! With Falmouth being home to three schools - Falmouth, Exeter and Camborne school of mines - and the timetables being different, campus is like a ghost town at the minute. I could not wait to be back after a month away and my lovely dad managed to drive me back down on Thursday. To my dismay he stayed for two nights and while there isn't anyone else in my flat who has come back yet, it was really annoying to have him wondering around my little home. I miss him terribly while I'm away but I found it impossible to entertain him during his stay here!! 

Although being back has made this weekend much more relaxing than most others. It means my part time job is no more until July, I have to start cooking and cleaning for myself again, but most importantly - doing my own food shopping! This brings me the weirdest sense of joy, just because I feel like my parents do such a terrible job with their weekly food shop!

The foods I buy the most are fresh fruit and vegetables. I try to have a very healthy and strict diet while I'm here, just because my diet back in Birmingham is so awful (I really love Nandos)!

Today I've done nothing but hang out with a few friends who have arrived back, watch Homeland, plan out a few blog posts and eat this really yummy breakfast of grapes, low fat strawberry yogurt and a banana! 

I can already feel my emotions getting better and it's only been two days!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

♥ Spring Nails

Spring time means that pastel colours are everywhere. They'll be everywhere you look on the high street, they'll be woven into the hair of models and celebrities and it's very likely they'll be on your nails. The warmer months and brighter days are definitely a chance for everyone to get girly when it comes to make up and nails. The dark, vampy colours can go and the pinks, greens and blue's can take over. This is a bit of my nail paint collection that offer some brilliant shades for the spring time.

Barry M Textured in Ridley Road -, £3.99
Textured nails are something I really really adore. The finish is so different! I chose this colour because after being in the sun my skin goes a lovely gold and in my opinion greens work really well with darker colours and skin tones. This stays put for a long time and only takes a coat or two to look great.

Rita Ora for Rimmel in Lose Your Lingerie - Superdrug, £3.69
I want every colour in the new Rita Ora range that Rimmel have released. The colours are absolutely beautiful and this one caught my eye because it's such a soft pink. The two shades from the range that I picked up have a slight shimmer to them that make them shine when light catches them but the glitter isn't that noticeable. Again, this range stays put and when you put the coats on thin they dry in no time.

2 in 1 Top Coat and Nail Hardener - Superdrug, £1
I purchased this what seems like forever ago, while Superdrug had a beauty card offer on own-brand nail care items. I forgot I owned it and it's never really gotten much use. I would usually use a Rimmel 60 Seconds clear top coat (this one has a purpley tinge to it) but as I've been trying my hardest to grow my nails out I've noticed them cracking a lot. I thought if i am persistent with putting this hardener on maybe the condition of my nails will improve - it's early days yet but i will certainly keep you updated!

Barry M Gelly in Prickly Pear -, £3.99
It's been really hard for me to enjoy the Gelly range from Barry M. A friend got me this for Christmas and while I have used it a bunch of times I just do not like the look of it. It takes three coats to get the colour to look good and while that may be down to the shade being so light I just didn't like the effort it took to get a good finish! The colour is beautiful though with persistence!

Rita Ora for Rimmel in Pillow Talk - Superdrug, £3.69
Pillow Talk is my favourite of this bunch. The names are cute and the colours even cuter. This pale blue has the slightest shimmer but it still looks solid and really nice on! The colour is hard wearing and really really nice for spring.

Em x

Thursday, 10 April 2014

♥ April Wishlist

This is probably not the wisest thing to do with the money I get given for being a student, but it sure as hell makes it worthwhile. Loan day is awful. £2000 arrives in your account and then you have to pay a whopping £1200 in rent. This leaves you with £800 to last the five months until Septembers loan and it can be daunting if you haven't got a job or any other income. Loan day is around the time I decide to treat myself to 'essentials' (they are in no way essentials, I'm just excusing myself!) I need at that given point in time... After all, I've just spent four weeks working my ass off to make a dent in my gaping overdraft, so losing the minus - FINALLY!! - means a little splurge isn't too harmful. Besides, I still have a payday coming up!

Anyway, I've composed a list of five things I intend to buy in April when my loan comes through and all my finances are sorted, so here they all are:

Real Techniques Core Collection Kit - Amazon, £14.65
Because I really, really want to get into the habit of applying my makeup in the professional way. These brushes are ones that are essential to an everyday look. I believe this kit normally retails at around the £20 mark on the high street and it IS on offer, so if that's not a good enough excuse i don't know what is! The link above is direct to Real Techniques on Amazon and it also offers free delivery, so if you're after these brushes too it's a great place to buy them.

W7 In The Buff Natural Nude Eye Palette - Amazon, £4.97
This looks like a dupe of the very sought after Urban Decay Naked palettes. A very, very cheap dupe! I'm not expecting this to be incredible but I've never been a massive eye shadow fan so I feel it may be a good starting point. If I get on with this item (and get better at eye shadow and what not) I can see myself going for an Urban Decay palette. After all, the hundreds of bloggers that are loving them can't be wrong! Again, this product has free delivery is purchased through Amazon.

Clinique Airbrush Concealer - Boots, £18
I believe this may be my first high end makeup purchase. I've heard fabulous things about Clinique and their skincare range so I thought a good concealer may be the right place to start my more expensive make up collection. This is going to replace my Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer which I adore. Hopefully, this works as well on dark circles around the eyes as my high street favourite does!

Vans Cat Eye Sunglasses - Asos, £15
It's a given that living in Cornwall will mean many trips to the beach as the weather gets warmer. These sunglasses area classic shape and with a standard, thick, black frame you can't go wrong. Asos also offers free delivery and returns!

Nike Pro Core Sports Bra - Nike, £26
As I only have nine hours timetabled at uni each week I go to the gym every day. This acts as stress relief, getting fit and socialising all in one. I've just bought some beautiful Roshe Run training shoes by Nike and this is the next piece of gym wear I intend to buy.

Hopefully I do actually get the chance to buy these products before April is up! Have you tried anything on this list? Let me know!

Em x

Monday, 7 April 2014

♥ Organisation Skills

Something I really can not stand is not planning for the future. Even if it's just a list of things to get done on my day off, I need to have a clear plan of what I need to do and by when, and I certainly think that this has improved since I took the massive leap of moving 250 miles away from home to university.

I've always been sensible. In terms of planning, education, work, home life and money. I got my first job when I'd just turned sixteen, I was in Executive Hospitality at Birmingham City Football Club and I absolutely adored it. I stayed in this job for just over a year and because it was one shift a week and paid monthly, I soon learnt how to budget and plan how I would make my money last over the month. I then got a job at McDonalds (classy, I know) which was completely different and I've been there for over two years now. I started off part-time while I was at college and went full time over holidays and now I'm seasonal - meaning I have a job when I come home in the holidays from university. I'm extremely lucky with this job. It's very flexible and I get payed every other week. This means when I am working it's a few hundred pounds fortnightly. Which is very helpful, given my shopping addiction and social life have eaten away at my overdraft!

Money Organisation.
Before I moved to Cornwall I made sure I had money tucked away to fall back on if I needed it. This meant I didn't have to touch an overdraft until I came home at Christmas, and even then I set my limit to £300. It was very tempting to look at the option of the whole £1500 but the sheer knowledge of having to pay off that much debt scared me and it was a commitment i wasn't prepared to take up. Second term was a little bit tougher to get through - house deposits, rent and my birthday all meant I was worse off and I had to double my overdraft limit and I've now lived in a £600 overdraft for quite some time.

While at university it may seem easy to think that your overdraft will save you. This isn't true. I'd say to only get the overdraft you can afford. If you are certain you can pay it off - and stay out of it for a few months when your next loan is due - then use it. If the incoming from your loan isn't enough to cover the debt and rent and money to live off for the next two months at least I would advise to not use an overdraft up. Find part time work and have an income to cover an overdraft if you absolutely need to.

Money Tips
  • Keep a piggy bank for spare change. I put away anything smaller than a pound and then put it all up into money bags and put it back into my account at the end of term. I keep enough for bus fair and printing credit - put small change that gets in the way can be saved and it really does add up quickly.
  • Budget for the week, month and term. If you give yourself an amount to live off each week and be strict with it, you'll be less likely to over spend. I keep an envelope in my safe with each weeks money. £20 is more than enough to live off if you only go out once a week and have basics like beans, pasta and frozen meat and vegetables. 
  • Don't be scared to ask for help. My parents have never been well off. With a disabled mother and therefore only one parent with an income it may be daunting to have to ask for money. However, at the end of the day, if you're not at your family home, using up electricity and eating there, your parents may be able to spend the extra money they'd spend on the food shop if you were there.
  • Spending bans. Come the end of term, I stop myself using money at all - apart from the bare basics. This is a last resort, but if you don't need that bar of chocolate or you already have seven mascara's, you don't need another. 
  • Keep a bottle of water and a cereal bar in your bag. This will stop you spending spare change on bottled drinks and snacks which can get expensive if you tend to do it every other day. 

Keep a diary!
I'm so much of a fan of writing things down and making sure I know when I have assignments due and money coming into my account that I have two diaries (I also have a few notebooks that serve the same purpose but that's me being anal about it!). It's really good to highlight payday, to keep track of what hours you have worked or are working and the amount you should get paid. That way, if you get underpaid you will notice. It also ensures you know exactly what date you have plans. Include things like contraception - I have the injection so I have notes on when to get it topped up in my diary - and any important meetings that you shouldn't miss. Timetables are a really good feature of some diaries. Mine are both from paperchase and have everything you could need in them, including conversion charts, international dialling codes, website logs and a deadlines and exams section!

Weekly Tasks
If you're at college or university it's likely you'll have homework or coursework or revision. Set out specific days to do different things. Luckily, I only have nine hours of timetabled lectures and seminars each week so that gives me a lot of time to plan out all my work and readings. If you can, find out what you're going to be focusing on each week and read up and make notes on things that you might struggle with. It's easy to then go back to the things you've not understood with teachers or tutors. Keep up to date with any reading you may have to do through doing one section each evening. If you have exams coming up don't revise each topic every night. Chose a subject or topic for each day of the week and write out key points on revision cards to go through two days later. If the key points make sense you should just keep on top of these. If they don't, take five minutes to go back and re-revise the parts you've forgotten or don't understand fully. This will give you time to absorb the information and actually take it in, rather than just re reading and familiarising yourself with something each day. 

Revision/Workload Tips
  • Keep revision cards and highlighters to write down key points or information
  • Colour code each subject or topic
  • Have a different notebook for each subject or module. This way things won't get jumbled into one!
  • Have days off and reward yourself for your hard work. Treat yourself to a cup of tea and a fag after sitting down and learning that one piece of information that didn't want to go in!
  • Don't stress out if you don't understand. Tutors and teachers are there to help
  • Do not leave assignments or revision until the night before. This will effect sleep and performance.
Enjoy Life!
Whatever it is you are up to, be it work, college, school or university - enjoy it. I chose a degree I knew was perfect for me, in a place I knew I loved and created a good life for myself. If you have a plan for the future make it happen. Do things that will help you get what you deserve. I'd also say to always have fun. Being at school and college or university can be stressful and it can be boring doing the same old if you're in a nine to five job or school routine - but leave time to socialise and go out. If you end up in halls, don't shut yourself off and make friends. You're all experiencing the same thing so embrace it! My main goal in life is to do things that make me happy and I hope you all feel the same way. Hard work is needed, but if the end result is going to be worth it you'll breeze through!

Basic Organisation Tips
  • Keep a notebook and pen on you at all times. You never know when you might get an idea for a character or topic for an essay! 
  • Have a tidy desk space. It'll save you sifting through every piece of paper to find that assignment sheet you were given three weeks ago.
  • Keep on top of library books. Fines can creep up quickly, so always renew or take them back!
  • Have a pen pot and pencil case to keep all your pens and highlighters in one place!
  • Be prepared. Have notebooks on standby and little things like sellotape, hole punches and staplers.

This post was really long but hopefully you read something that may make you change your daily routine or your own organisation of your life. There are different types of learners and we all have our own ways of doing things, so embrace the way you do things. I, for one, am a kinesthetic learner, so I find it easier to write down or do things I need to learn. This means lots of stationary is needed. Paperchase is my favourite place or buy diaries or organisers, pens and pencils and everything featured in the photos (apart from my glasses) is from this store. They're all super cute, long lasting and reasonably priced. Ikea have excellent pen pots and I usually pick up printer paper or bits and pieces like staplers and pritt sticks from Wilkinsons or pound shops! If you're planning on going to university - or back into education - in September, stock up on the little things and if you have any questions let me know!

How do you keep organised? Do you keep a diary or are you rubbish with money? Let me know! 

Em x

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