Category Archives: STYLE + BEAUTY

4 ways to save before Christmas

With tomorrow marking just 30 days before ‘the big day’ you may be starting to panic.

Whether it’s because you’re concerned that half the turkey may need to be lobbed off to be able to fit it in your at-any-other-time-of-the-year-perfectly-roomy-enough oven, the looming prospect of jaw-ache from having to grin and recount your year to every family member or due to the fact that you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to get everyone, an additional worry may be how you’re going to afford to go to all the festivities that you’ll be invited to/buy the seven different Secret Santa presents you’ve somehow agreed to purchase/drink all the drinks you will legitimately have to knock back just to get through your work Christmas party.

With that in mind, I wanted to share 4 simple tips as to how you can make a real difference to your finances in just 30 days.

1. Stop buying coffee on your way to work

At the risk of becoming a social outcast I have a confession to make here – I don’t drink coffee. There, I said it. However, the number of commuters I see nursing a hot beverage in a paper cup every morning is clear evidence that I am not amongst the majority in this regard.

Aside from the fact that I’m speaking as someone that had an entire cup of the stuff thrown over me by someone whose paper cup lid had gone rogue on a train the other day and therefore thinks that a sturdy and reusable receptacle is the way to go if you don’t want to create a hate storm around you before 9am (not to mention the environmental benefits), the cost of a daily caffeine fix racks up.

Spending ‘just’ £2.50 on your liquid energy amounts to £12.50 a week or, wait for it, £650.00 a year!I wouldn’t dream of telling you to forego the thing that may make you vaguely human in the morning but, rather than hitting [insert name of your favourite coffee chain here] and the inevitable queue that comes with it, make your coffee at home before you go to work and stick it in a reusable thermal mug.

2. Take advantage of voucher codes and discounts

In this day and age there is no excuse not to look for a way of paying less for the things you want to spend your money on.

2 for 1 deals on meals out, special offers and voucher codes can all be sought out online, but there are also websites and apps that alert you whenever items you have your eye on are put on sale. Shoptagr and Lyst are great options.

Other ways of saving are by paying a one off fee to get access to discounts. Tastecard and Gourmet Society have been around for a few years but it’s worth having a look around for the new breed of discount cards.

I recently joined Sheerluxe VIP. I spent £5 and, without even mentioning all the other pretty fabulous benefits, went to 2 Psycle classes that are usually £20 each. As a side note, if you’re struggling for present ideas Sheerluxe has curated a Christmas list of dreams (some of which are fairly pricey but definitely worth a look).

Another top tip is to look at what offers are already available to you. By way of example O2 Priority and some credit providers offer discounts and even some freebies (the coffee drinkers amongst you who have a contract with 02 and balk at the idea of point number 1 above will no doubt appreciate the free hot drink you can get from Café Nero every Tuesday after 12pm).

3. Learn to live without UBER

Love it or hate it, the word ‘taxi’ has now been replaced by ‘Uber’.

The convenience of ordering a cab at the click of a button/a swipe of your phone and your ride being outside in a matter of minutes (if it doesn’t get cancelled that is) makes it all too easy to spend with sheer abandon.

Never mind the eye-watering surges that Uber always seems to stick on at the exact moment that you try to use it, paying for any sort of taxi will eat into your Christmas budgeting and, if possible, you can avoid it.

Whilst sharing a journey (or, to use the new jargon, ‘pooling’) can save you some cash, public transport is by far a cheaper option (safety and time permitting). And, if you’re not going far, walking is free and allows you to add to your all important step count.

Just make sure that you have some comfortable shoes with you (speaking from experience).

4. Cancel your gym membership

This sounds like a completely crazy idea given the inevitable festive indulgences that December brings but hear me out.Gym memberships and the growing trend of pay as you go classes can be extortionately expensive. The idea of spending £20 a time can surely only be justified if you emerge from your sweaty state looking like an Amazonian goddess after just one session. I’m not sure about the rest of you but sadly this hasn’t been my experience.

Yes running is free, yes you can watch hours of youTube videos (not a brilliant one if you have neighbours underneath you though) but sometimes you need the instructor and peer pressure to provide you with the motivation you need to hold that plank for an extra minute despite your arms feeling a bit like someone has attempted to rip them from your body in the manner of a child of the 90s playing with a Stretch Armstrong.

Thankfully some fantastic brands have come to the rescue and are providing free, yes FREE, opportunities to exercise with some of the best in the business.I’ll be writing a dedicated post on ‘frugal fitness’ soon but here are some crackers to keep the turkey tummy at bay in the meantime:

  • Women’s Health Run Club – get taken on a route around London with ‘breaks’ to fit some HITT in.
  • Lululemon – instructors from different boutique gyms are brought into the brand’s shops to put you though your paces. These classes are announced on Eventbrite, just put ‘Lululemon’ in the searchbar. Definitely keep checking back if you can’t see anything near you right now.
  • Sweaty Betty – each Sweaty Betty shop puts on a huge variety of classes. I used to go to a class run by the gorgeous Chiara of 4FitnessSake (who is a Sweaty Betty ambassador and put together the Women’s Health 10 week transformation plan so you can see the calibre of instructors SB give you). Top tip: book as early as you possibly can!
  • Adidas 26rs – the key is in the name with this one and it was set up to help those training for the marathon but it also caters for all abilities.

H x



freebie friday

It may be Black Friday, but why not beat the discounts and get things for free!

ESTEE LAUDER Double Wear Foundation and The Mattifier Primer

Estee lauder doublewear

PHILOSOPHY Purity Facial Cleanser


CLINIQUE Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer

Clinique-Beyond-Perfecting-Foundation-Review YOURBEAUTY.IE

FRESH Sugar Lip Ritual

Fresh-Gift-Sets-5-1024x683 CANADIANFASHIONISTA.NET.jpg

DIOR Poison Girl


ORIGINS GinZing Facial and Face Mask

Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser Review THESUNDAYGIRL.COM

CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique-Take-The-Day-Off-Cleansing-Balm-2-740x493 MERRYMUSING.CO.UK

BURT’S BEES Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream


COLOR WOW Shampoo, Conditioner and Kale Cocktail


MURAD Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel Facial


CLINIQUE Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Foundation


GUERLAIN Aqua Nude Foundation


ESTEE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix

estee-lauder-anr-eye-concentrate-matrix-review-omgbart OMGBART.COM.jpg

RITUALS Yogi Flow Shower Foam


BENEFIT Boiing Concealer

Benefit-Boi-Ing-Airbrush-Concealer-Review-1-e1500907636102 HAMBURGUESINHA.CO.BR.jpg

SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer


MAC Foundation


AURELIA Discovery Kit

aureliaskincare NOUVELLEDAILY.COM

CLINIQUE Liquid Facial Soap, Clarifying Lotion and Dramatically Different Moisturiser Trial Kit


AVEDA 20 Minute Facial, Tulasara Renew Morning Creme and Wedding Masque Eye Overnight



Estée-Lauder-Modern-Muse-1000x667 BEAUTYANDTHECHIC.NET


umberto-gianni-7-days-7-ways-4 FITBEAULIFE.COM.jpg

CUVEE Shampoo


EVELOM Samples

EVE LOM Skincare Workshop 3.jpg

GIVENCHY Dahlia Divin Eau de Parfum


SUQQU Lipstick




and one that you’ll either love or hate…



H x

freebie friday

First of all – apologies for my absence over the past few weeks. Life admin has gone in the way somewhat but I’m back on track and ready to provide you with some fantastic freebies!

LUXE by SheerLuxe


BURBERRY My Burberry Blush

Burberry blush.jpg

LA MER Moisturising Matte Lotion


GIVENCHY Matissime Velvet Fluid or Compact Foundation



img1366_06102009145722.jpgST TROPEZ Express Face Sheet Mask


BENEFIT POREfessional Pore Minimising Make-up


ELEMIS samples



AVEDA invati trio sample




BURT’S BEES Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream


JOICO sample kit


BOBBI BROWN Full Cover Concealer


iGlow Long Lashes Serum


ESTEE LAUDER Nutritious Micro-Algae


MONU Skincare samples


VICHY Slow Age


CLARINS samples


QUEEN Eye Make-up Remover






GIVENCHY Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum Délicieuse


BAREMINERALS SkinLongevity Serum and Eye Duo


CLINIQUE appointment


SENSORA Night Cream, Facial Oil and Micellar Water


THE ECONOMIST print copy


Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend.

H x

freebie friday

Freebies galore this week – plus a few chances to become a product tester:

CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Radiance Serum


SOAP & GLORY surprise

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CHANEL Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow


NEUTROGENA Visibly Renew Hand Cream


GLAMOUR Beauty Club


VICHY Aqualia Thermal Serum


HOLLAND & BARRATT Chewable Vitamin C tablets




BOBBI BROWN Art Stick Liquid Lip


AUVA Lip Balm Sun Protection SPF20


AVENE skin diagnosis and samples


and; saving the best ’til last:



LOTUS Biscoff



H x

freebie friday

This week’s instalment contains some absolute crackers:

CLINIQUE Plump + Shine Liquid Lip Plumping Gloss


THE BODY SHOP Drops of Youth Concentrate and Liquid Peel


MURAD Facial and skin consultation


GIVENCHY Matissime Velvet foundation


AUVA Youth Booster


SIMPLY ARGAN Argan Oil, Argan Night Oil and Arbre d’or Perfume


CLINIQUE Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer


DORCO Eve 6 razor


LA MER Soft Fluid foundation


AERIS 2 Minute Miracle Gel


SISLEY Black Rose skin care collection


and finally; not quite a freebie but you can get the NAILS INC Festival Fever collection for £11.95 (incl. VAT) rather than £104.00 by using the promotional code FESTIVALNAILS. What a bargain!

H x

to buy or not to buy (and hire instead)

Last year I was invited to a ball which required me to wear a full length (formal) dress.

I do not own any full length dresses.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I am not the tallest girl in the world. Anything described as ‘full length’ will therefore eventually be covered in four inches of mud even if I stick high heels on (and, amazingly, even if I’m nowhere near mud).
  2. Due to the aforesaid height issue, and my ridiculous clumsiness, I will trip over anything which falls below my shins. I feel as though Jennifer Lawrence and I are kindred spirits in this sense.
  3. I have expensive taste and, if I were to buy a long dress, would want one that: fits like it had been made for me; goes perfectly with my favourite shoes (you’ll hear about those at some point); and would be so pretty that everyone who had seen it would comment on it for the next decade. Such a dress probably doesn’t exist in any event; and if it did, I wouldn’t be prepared to get the money needed to purchase it by selling an organ just to wear it for one night.

In short; my feeling was that there was absolutely no point in spending money on something which I would only ever wear once, would probably ruin and would leave me without the liver needed to clear my body of the alcohol I would drink whilst wearing it.

Instead, I hired a dress.

It was beautiful.

This Alice by Temperley dress retails for £420. I hired it – complete with delivery, pick up, dry cleaning and insurance – for not much more than a tenth of that cost from Chic by Choice (thanks to a first purchase offer).

I received so many compliments, felt great all evening (even whilst walking in the pouring rain with a semi-broken umbrella due to gale-force winds) and didn’t even have to worry about cleaning it afterwards! A winning combination.

If you’ve never contemplated hiring a dress before I would absolutely recommend it; particularly if you’re going to an event that requires you to wear something you probably won’t wear again, if you’re the sort of person that prefers not to be seen in the same outfit twice or if you just fancy wearing something pretty damn special. 

Saving money isn’t always about not spending money. Although never paying for anything would obviously enable your bank balance to grow very quickly it’s completely unrealistic not buy anything at all. Whilst I wouldn’t advocate hiring dresses on a regular basis we all get invited to special events that we want to look and feel great for. What I am suggesting is that, rather than potentially waste a large sum on a gorgeous dress that you may only wear once or twice, hiring an absolutely fabulous dress (possibly much more so than the one you could have bought instead) is a great alternative.

There are a huge range of designer dresses available in different sizes which are suitable for a variety of body types and occasions. You simply select the dates you want the dress for, find the dress and some websites even allow you to select an additional size (for free) to give you piece of mind that at least one will fit!

There are several online companies offering dresses for hire, including: Chic by Choice; Girl Meets Dress; Dream Wardrobe; My Celebrity Dress; Hire the Catwalk and The Frock Project. Each have slightly different services that they offer which are worth having a look at (special offers come up all the time too) but I just wanted to give you the chance to swoon over some of the stunning dresses you could get the chance to wear. The only problem is being able to choose between them!



H x

freebie friday

Any attempt to curb your spending will obviously be easier if you can get things you would usually buy for a discounted price. However, getting and doing things for free is even better!

Each week I’ll be curating, and providing some links to, the best deals, voucher codes and free samples that you can get your hands on.

This week’s offering:

ESTEE LAUDER lip effect service


ELEMIS bath oil


ST TROPEZ gradual tan


FITKIT shower gel

Fit kit1.jpg

AVEDA purifying scalp experience


JORDANS granola


ESTEE LAUDER foundation and primer


H x