Friday, 12 June 2015

10 Ways To Save On Beauty

Beauty can be an expensive interest. Do you ever look at your Boots Advantage Points and think 'how on Earth have I spend enough to earn £40 worth of points?' It's easily done, a nail polish here, a lipstick there, it adds up. I always like a bargain, especially when it comes to beauty as sometimes trying out something new can be risky, so here's some of my best tips to save money on beauty products.

Search For A Dupe
One of the best things that beauty blogs can offer is knowledge about the best 'dupes' - for anyone who doesn't know, that's short for 'duplicates', more affordable drugstore versions of high end products. If you're eyeing up a high end beauty product but can't afford the price tag, simply Googling "Product Name Dupe" can often help. Following accounts like '@ihaveadupeforthat' and '@makeupdupess' on Instagram is useful too.

Shop Online
Websites like Fragrance Direct and Feel Unique specialise in discounted beauty products and both stock a whole host of drugstore and high end brands, usually a good bit cheaper than on the high street. They're also a great way of getting your hands on limited edition collections that are no longer available in stores. Even places like ASOS are great for beauty, they often do discount codes and with free shipping, you can't loose.

Get A Sample
A lot of high end beauty counters will have samples of their latest launches, just waiting to be distributed to potential customers. Go for a browse, chat to the consultants, ask questions - if they have a big box of samples hidden under the counter, they're far more likely to give them to genuinely interested browsers than random by-passers.

There are also certain products that counters will be able to give you a tester of for you to try at home, foundation is a perfect example. Getting a sample and trying it out for a few days will give you a feel for it and can help if you're unsure whether or not to invest in a full bottle.

(Bonus tip - If you fake tan for special occasions like I do, getting a sample of a darker foundation will save you buying another bottle in a darker shade and the tiny size is handy for your handbag too!)

Know What Products Are Worth Investing In
There's a time and place for drugstore beauty. There's time and place for high end beauty. Get to know what you don't mind investing a little more in and stick to it. I don't grudge spending more on foundation, lipstick or skincare but I'll be damned if I spend any more than £5 on a nail polish or an eyeliner.

Try Before You Buy
Nothing's more gutting that buying a new beauty product and finding after one use that its just now for you. MAC's Creme D'Nude lipstick, I'm looking at you. £15 down the drain. If a friend has it, ask to borrow it and give it a try for yourself, even just for one day. It'll give you a chance to see if it's really for you. 

Loyalty Cards
Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams, Space NK and The Body Shop all have loyalty schemes that offer loads of great freebies like points to pounds, exclusive deals, events and special discounts. Get them, get them all!

Department Store Brand Events
Debenhams and House of Frasers both have regular (roughly 4 times a year) brand events with percentages off each department. Typically, 10% off beauty products and fragrance. Stocking up during these events if you have high end products in your everyday makeup routine or waiting til then to treat yourself can save a good bit. 

Travel Miniatures
If you fancy trying out a product but aren't sure if you'll love it, why not check out Boots or Superdrug's travel miniatures section? Buy a mini version, try it out and if you love it, go back for the full size. If you hate it, at least you've only spend £2 instead of £10. Boots travel mini's are usually 3 for 2 and include brands like Soap & Glory, Sanctuary Spa, Aussie, John Frieda, Tresemme and Nivea.

January Sales
It's kind of generally accepted that beauty products don't often go on sale. You either pay the price or you go without. Well, that isn't strictly true. While it's not often that single product goes on sale, gift sets often do. Be sure to out the Boots or Lush website on Boxing Day morning and grab yourself a bargain.

Return Your Empties
Did you know if you return 6 empty MAC products to a counter or store, you get a free lipstick of your choice? Or if you to return 5 empty black Lush pots, you get a free fresh face mask? These schemes are designed to encourage repeat custom and help the environment but are also a great way to try out something you're perhaps hesitant about parting with cash for.

What are your top tips for saving in beauty? I'd love to know!

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Blog/Life Balance

Hi all, it's been a while. Last week, I had big plans for my blog posts, I had photographed and edited the pictures and even started writing them up but then a little thing called life happened and blogging suddenly wasn't priority any more. That happens sometimes.

It was an eventful week, nothing inherently bad as such, just a lot happening. As my boss put it 'If we had a TV programme where all the characters had an episode each, this week would definitely me your episode.' A great analogy, I thought. I was, and still kind of am, finding life all a little hard to process at the moment, I'm feeling a bit lost and getting my head in a good place is a challenge. On top of that, I'm struggling with disassociation which, if you've ever experience that, you'll know is scary and tiring. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine, I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I just know wanted to share.

Anyway, the silver lining is that this leads nicely into a topic I've been thinking about for a while. I make no secret of the fact that my blog is my hobby. It is, nor do I want it to be, my job. When I started blogging 4 years ago, I was a bored student which set up a blog to post awkwardly posed and dimly lit photos of what I was wearing. It was a bit of fun. And it still is, because although I thought initially that being 'a blogger' would be good for my CV (which it is) I never wanted to be that above all else. 

I seem to be in the minority though, as most bloggers I follow and chat to dream of the day they can resign from their day jobs, scurry off into the sunset with their laptop and DSLR and start work on building their blogging empire. To me, that's so great. 10 years ago, blogging was virtually unheard of and now people are making small fortunes doing it. That's the incredible power of the Internet and the changing media. The fact that that's an achievable dream for many is incredible. Thing is, it's not my dream.

I love blogging and I love social media and I know I am skilled at both, so while the prospect of doing either (or both) for a brand or company is something I definitely aspire to do one day, I know for certain that I couldn't be an independent blogger as my job. Even if I wanted to, there's no way I could blog full time anyway. It's simply not an option at the moment, but my point is that I wouldn't want to anyway - I'd get lonely, bored and restless and worry about financial security. No matter how good your stats are, blogging doesn't come with a pension plan.

At the moment, I post twice a week, but I'm on Twitter and Instagram every day, so I guess you could say blogging is a part of my daily routine. Even on days where I don't actually publish a post, I'm photographing, writing, commented, editing, reading, sharing, liking, retweeting and hash-tagging. Don't get me wrong, I love it, I love blogging and I love being part of this amazing online community, sharing ideas and hopefully using this platform that us bloggers have to inspire and inform. I'm so happy that I've found a hobby that I enjoy and that I'm good at, but like anything in life, sometimes you need a break and that's absolutely fine. Although it was never my intention, I am, for all intents and purposes, 'a blogger', but I'm also a friend, a daughter, a sister and a colleague too and those titles are priority at the moment. 

It's hard though because when life is hectic and scary, I know that having a productive and creative hobby like blogging can really help. Writing focuses my mind which is great where I'm feeling weighed down and the online community is always supportive in times of need. Its for those reasons that I always feel so guilty that when life is getting me down, I shy away from something that makes me as happy as blogging does and retreat into my familiar but probably unhealthy hermit crab mentality. 

I'm not sure my purpose in writing this, I just want to writing something on this topic I think. I'm sorry for rambling, it wasn't intended to be depressing and I hope it's not been ridiculously difficult to follow my train of thought. Regularly scheduled blogging will commence later this week!