Hello 2017! Happy year year everyone and thank you for tuning in once again. So here’s my current obsession that I’ve been getting a little crazy about this month: Saving money by shopping savvy on your grocery shop!
Whilst everyone is getting on the ‘new year new me’ gym wagon. I’ve been there and got the tshirt, you can check out my fun gym post here. Instead I have been thinking of ways I can be more savvy with my savings and knuckle down on my finances by saving a few pennies on my grocery shop. If you’re anything like me and find yourself without a penny at the end of the month, saving a few pounds a month on your grocery shop will add up. These few top tips might help!
1. Brands brands brands!
I’m a self confessed brand snob and I will prefer a bag of Birds Eye petite pois over the supermarkets own. Which is fair enough because their grades are a lot higher (if you know how they’re picked, they are in fact, a lot fresher! Which means tastier!) So to counteract that I tend to buy them when they have a special offer on. Afterall peas are handy to have in the freezer for any burns and scalds that can happen in the house as well as on the plate!
Sometimes even the supermarkets own brands are super tasty! I’ve found Tesco cheese are the best!
2. It’s still fresh!
‘Best before’ and ‘sell by’ dates are general guidelines that the supermarket has to adhere to as a regulation of their stock. That doesn’t meant it’s necessarily inedible! Sure some stuff can go off a little faster due to faults in the packaging etc, but some things are still good for a few more days. My general rule is: if it smells funny, don’t chance it! (Especially when it comes to chicken!) And if it’s fruit or a fresh produce but the package has expanded, it’s probably gone foul and I’d avoid it.
3. Supermarket crazy reduction hours
Each supermarket will have a time when they have to put a final reduction price onto produce that they have to quickly get rid of before they have to officially remove them from their shelves. Asda even price everything at a measly 10p! I’ve managed to bag a steak and fries meal for two for less than £3 each with this crazy offer. That’s saving almost over £40 compared to eating out!
Here are some of my favourite supermarkets and their final reduction times:
Asda – 7pm Everything 10p!
Tesco – 8pm Final reductions up to 75%+ off
M&S – 9pm get in there fast!
Co-op – 7pm for the cheapest before it’s removed from the shelves!
4. Reduce food waste
I’ve touched on the subject in my post about being more sustainable here. It’s not only great for your purse but also better for the planet if you plan your meals properly and only buy what you need. You’ll literally be throwing money away if you bin food!
5. Ask for a doggie bag
When you’ve finished your meal at a restaurant and still have enough on your table for another meal, don’t be afraid to ask for it to be packed up so you can take it home with you! The chef with appreciate not having his hard work go to waste and you’ll have another great meal to enjoy again without you having to cook as much! Just pop it in the oven, heat it in a pan or shove it in the microwave.
Struggle with the grocery shop? Do not fear! You can get recipes and the exact amounts of food needed to make them from Hello Fresh. It seems like an ingenious idea for the days when you can’t decide what to eat, so I was thinking of trying it out. Have you tried it before? Let me know how you found it! Get 28.75% off your online purchases there with TopCashback anytime, and I know they give out some vouchers here and there with selected retailers.
What do you think of my top tips on saving money when doing your grocery shop? Do you have any great ones to add to the list? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the box below!
I love a little (or a lot!) of sparkles for the holiday season! After browsing through the new Selfridges app in hope of being on the list to be notified of the pre Christmas sales, I found Jenny Peckham that does a few amazing sparkle dresses for all body types! Check these out and chose the one that suits you.
For the Daring Sparkle
It’s possibly going to be in minus degrees outside, but you love the sheer trend and if Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé and rock it. So can you! Wear with a bit of sass and turn the heat up in this tulle beauty.
For the Classy sparkle
Do you have a fancy Christmas gala or theatre to attend? Be the belle of the ball in this beautiful silk gown! All eyes will be on you in this masterpiece.
For the Sassy Sparkle
This dress seems quite understated compared to the previous, but this can be versatile with the length! Style under a skirt to change it up, and it’s the perfect length if you’re petite like me!
Pair all outfits with some plain shoes and minimal accessories to keep you from looking like a walking party! (Or go all out.. you wild thing, you!)
Let us know which dress is your favourite and which sparkle are you??
Too much glitz for your taste? Don’t worry, you can always jazz up a plain outfit with a sparkle in our next blog post ‘Holiday glitz shoes that you need right now!’
It’s Black Friday tomorrow and some retailers have already started and are stretching out over this weekend up to Cyber Monday! Here’s some tips, tricks and discount codes that you NEED to take advantage of!
Selfridges Christmas Comes Early
Selfridges annual crazy sale has started today! Aside from Boxing day, this is something you NEED to take advantage of. Use the discount code ‘SELFCCE‘ for 20% off online or screen grab the barcode here to use it in store. Valid from 24th Nov – 27th. Unfortunately, not all brands are covered and it’s only 10% off beauty. Check out the excluded list here. It’s mostly the luxury brands that aren’t included e.g. Chanel, LV, Gucci etc.
VIPs get a notification a day early. But if you download the Selfridges app or follow them on social media you’ll be the first of the masses to know!
Here’s some great gift ideas for her, him, and me:
If you are looking for discounts on luxury designer brands then you need…
Black Friday at Flannels.com
Flannels is known as the shop on the high street that stocks only luxury designers, but online you can get 20% off everything with the discount code ‘BF20‘ and get an extra £40 off when you spend over £200! Here you can snap up a pair of classic coloured Jimmy Choos, or the latest Gucci wear.
Gift ideas for yourself (Classic investment piece), for her, and for me:
The best for beauty…
Rewards member exclusive preview finished at 8pm today but the offer of 25% off extends to this weekend for everyone! You can get 10% off beauty and free shipping off everything on their website. Their loyalty card is a great way to earn points and get seasonal rewards if you love their exclusive brands.
Gift ideas for you (a lust purchase… party shoes?!), for her and him:
Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
What’s better than Black Friday sales? Black Friday sales ON TOP of outlet prices! I signed up for the VIP card and also the invitation for the Black Friday offers pre sales, and one hour I was there was NOT enough! Unfortunately, there wasn’t any Black Friday offers that I was interested in but the sales they already had there already was amazing! 50% off everything on top of outlet prices at All Saints Outlet and 25% off everything at Radley Outlet, I couldn’t pass up some leather cleaning products that keep your leather in tip top condition! The Kooples outlet has just opened last Friday, and the cuts are just the prefect shape for my body.
Why don’t you ever see prestigious brands on sale like Chanel and Christian Louboutin?
Because their in such demand that they tend to sell out before much of it can make it to a sale. Also, their brand is so well known and their clientele is the rich, so they wouldn’t ever put a sale price on any items. Chanel tend to put everything away in the back, so if a customer requests anything they can bring it out right away.
Get cash back during your online shop
Save more shopping the sales from the comfort of your own home with TopCashBack. You shop through their website and receive cash back straight to your account! Unfortunately, it can take up to a month to receive the money and the majority of the time you cannot use it in conjunction with any other offers. It’s great if you’re renewing your insurance anytime soon or buying a new phone/Sky/broadband line.
Use this referral link here and receive a £5 amazon gift card!
Hello! Long time no post, I’ve been busy inspiration searching and that involved travelling! In my usual ‘two-birds-with-one-stone’ fashion, it was also a birthday trip curtesy of ma madré (big thank you mum!) But Italy was also on her bucket list!! So let get stuck right into it!
So I like to squeeze in as much as I can when I go on holiday to a new destination, check out the Singapore in a weekend blog here. So when we went to stay in Milan for 6 nights we squeezed in day trips all around the north of Italy to experience lots of snippets from each place.
Always check the airline that you’re flying with for luggage restrictions. We flew with Easy Jet so they have a policy for one small hand luggage and an option to add one checked 20kg luggage bag. We originally were not going to even add a suitcase! But we ended up sharing one, thank god because we forgot to factor in shopping and souvenirs! I always pack heavier and bulkier things when the weather is cooler, so it helps to check the weather at the destination before you pack.
I tried to plan for a few outfit photos so I packed a heel boot… that I didn’t even wear! So I recommend just packing flats and comfortable shoes if you plan on doing a lot of walking like we did.
I also found that I could contact the hotel before hand and check what amenities they already had there so I could probably pack less i.e. shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, cotton pads, slippers etc. So it would’ve been handy if I didn’t need to carry a bottle of body wash, but anything that I’m picky about I just took a travel size version.
We chose a hotel and flight package on lastminute.com but we booked at like 1am in the morning (never do that!) so we only had photographs of the hotel to go on. Thankfully it was the most beautiful hotel, Starhotel E.C.H.O. It’s super eco friendly with all the heating sourced etc. They even had sustainable tips on a card in each room to help. Even their restaurant locally sources their ingredients! You can check out their video explaining the E.C.H.O here.
Getting around Milan
I got the heads up that public transport will go on strike with little notice before hand, and with my luck they really did whilst we were there! But we still managed to suss out how to use the Metro which is the public underground train. It’s a lot less complicated than the London tube as you only need to know the two stops at either end of the three lines, and you could probably work it all out from there. We mostly used the green line which went through the main Centerale FS station which had an abundance of newsagents. All sold the majority of the tickets for bus, Metro and tram, along with all of the different ticket machines.
Most people spoke english being the big city centre that it is, and you could even chose the preferred language on the ticket machines once you located the right one! The most popular Metro lines tend to run from 6am – midnight, so outside of these times I would recommend taking a local taxi. Bare in mind a taxi can take around 10mins to arrive or you can find a taxi rank nearby any main station or just outside the famous Duomo cathedral.
I did find having a tube map helped, but I also love these apps whenever I travel anywhere:
City Mapper – although it’s not the best for Italy, you can see routes from A to B!
SpeakEasy Italian – Unfortunately I didn’t get to exercise my Italian much (or lack of) but it was handy if you ever need help as it does not need internet connection to work.
If you can arrange for internet roaming abroad with your network provider it will help if you get lost in this digital age.
On the first day we needed to know our surroundings so we booked in at our hotel recommended travel agent Zani Viaggi for the Grande Tour de Milano, which was a great morning trip to the most famous landmarks.
Day 2 was the public transport strike so we had to hop on a taxi to the meeting point to catch the coach. Being in the capital city of fashion you HAVE to go to a shopping outlet! Unfortunately, Serravalle shopping outlet seemed too similar to the Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet (they’re owned by the same company) that’s local to me back in the UK so I decided on FoxTown.
Little did I know it was in Switzerland! It was a great experience having found a YSL and Versace outlet that had prices up to 70% off! But even then most items were still around £500+! I did manage to find a leather skirt I liked but they only had one faulty one left! I would like to go back to Switzerland for a romantic cliché ski holiday with a cheese fondue in front of a fire (and shopping!)
A visit to lake Como was planned for day 3 as all of the tickets for Florence was sold out for that morning, however both places are exceptionally beautiful! I took a good 70% of my 1000+ photos around the lake because it was just that picturesque! We did find the famous Seta (silk) shop in Como, but I only managed to check out half of the shop before we were rushed onto the boat to Bellagio! But that just means I will have to go back again to see the other half of the shop!
For the last full day in Italy we had pre-booked a Venice day trip because it was only available on the Sunday during the 6 days we went for, and it was the one place that I really wanted to visit! Venice is such a different city, which was made apparent when we had to get off the coach at a manmade island (built mostly for all of the tourists parking!) to then take a boat over to the district.
Unfortunately, most shops are closed on Sunday but all of the tourist places were open. This meant that it was HEAVING with tourists, and it didn’t help that there was a marathon going on at the same time! The trip was a great quick overview of Venice, as I would recommend a little educational show around by a local guide for the first time there. You learn a lot from locals, but I think the beauty of visiting Venice is getting lost in the labyrinth of streets and leisurely discovering new ‘calle’ (street/s)! As my mum experienced (she got confused with all of the guides having the same flags and got lost for a few minutes!) This is definitely on my list of places to revisit as the 6 hours we spent there was not nearly enough!
Eating Out and About
I love to try all of the local food wherever I go, but having been on mostly tourist trips to the usual tourist places we paid the inflated prices! I always like to wonder around for a few minutes to compare the prices, since most of the restaurants have the same popular Italian dishes. I tried to visit the recommended restaurants, but when you’re doing so much exploring you get tired and just want to eat anything that’s close by! I did thankfully try local risotto, fish & meats, traditional stone baked pizza and gelato! It’s true that the gelato tastes amazing in Italy because they make it fresh and the flavour is mind blowing!
Can you do north Italy in a week?
You definitely can if you are fit and able to zip from place to place to get a quick taste of each city/country (mum got tried very easily). I definitely recommend going for longer so you can really savour and enjoy each place. I like leaving something to do and explore in places I would like to revisit. I definitely learnt a lot on this trip, especially about the Duomo and Last Supper painting. I didn’t know the colour of the Duomo varies because it’s made of pink marble, and that the Last Supper was painted on a kitchen wall! Although, the staple food in Italy isn’t my favourite (pizza and pasta isn’t my first choice) as I prefer a lighter meals i.e. veggies and fruit. I absolutely LOVE the pastries and antipasti options there! Everything Italian always tastes better in Italy!
Nothing gets me more into the mood of summer than a beautiful floral print! Here’s one that I stitched together recently….
I can be a right good procrastinator when it comes to completing tasks with no deadlines! So I picked out this beautiful floral print fabric that I really liked from Abakhan, and went straight back home to get cutting and sewing.
DIY Floral Skirt
Coming from a surface design background I’m quite picky with my prints, but this had the right sized florals and a beautiful selection of colours. It even had a beautiful brushed cotton texture to it!
So I googled a simple box pleat skirt pattern, eyeballed the right size and started cutting (I recommend using a pattern or taking some time to really work out the right size to include the extra width for the pleats!) Here’s a great tutorial I found later that includes a pocket!
I’ve had this drape back top from Topshop for a while now, but now there’s all sorts of drape tops available! Keeping the rest of the outfit simple by styling the skirt with plain tops is a fool proof way of working floral print into any outfit.
I also found these super comfy nude heels from M&S. Unfortunately, they were part of a limited edition range of real leather classics, but I have found a similar pair at Aldo Shoes. I always go to M&S for comfortable shoes as their shapes are perfect for my feet, and most shoes have a soft padding inside to give you that ‘walking on cushions’ feeling. I fell in love with the shape of the heels as they not only give your feet the most appealing angle of heel height, but they look really similar to Louboutins!
Check out how I made this simple skirt in my vlog here:
Start from 2:16! Source – https://youtu.be/nCRzinbRej0?t=2m16s
This outfit revolves around one of my most chic investment jacket! I think everyone needs that one jacket that they love and will wear to death. So not only will you get your moneys worth, but you’ll look so chic doing it!
Throwing in some texture to an outfit will bring plainer pieces to life and style it up. You can make a super casual outfit instantly chic and sophisticated by adding a structured jacket.
Doesn’t this Ted Baker jacket give you the Coco Chanel vibes??
To stand out from the crowd I’ve team it with some faux snake River Island strappy sandals. These are super comfy with padded soles and support your feet in all of the right places!
This is style with my £30 ‘Hermes’ Bag, we’ve now donned names for replica/inspired pieces that have come from unfortunate fumbles of online shopping. So this bag will now be called ‘Hermit’ Check out the full list of donned names here, and add your own!
Now I’m not talking about the creepy Catfish online stalking type! You’ve probably realised after doing a little browse around the online retail shops, that even when you close the tabs you’ll get targeted adverts about the products that you last viewed. This is the clever marketing tricks that big retailers such as ASOS and Topshop use to digitally stalk their customers to keep them engaged and hopefully persuade them to come back and purchase from them.
Their tactics include reminders in the form of; adverts from saving cookies, emailing you after you’ve signed up, and again after you’ve made a purchase.
So how do you use this to your advantage?
Sign up with them
By signing up to the newsletters you could receive a new sign up code to get a discount off your first purchase, this sometimes comes with some conditions and a validity restriction. So remember to know what you want to buy before you hand over your email, and read the small print!
Don’t pay at the checkout
Want to be a real tease to the online retailer? Go through the usual purchasing process; put what you need in your basket and go to the check out; Once you have entered in your email to create an account with them, you tend to go straight onto the payment page next. Enter your card details but BEFORE you click to pay. Close the page. Make sure you DO NOT complete the payment process for this next trick to work. The retailer will have saved the email address you gave them. Leave it for a few hours and there’s a chance that you might get an email reminder about the items you have in your basket. Some retailers will even give you a discount to use to tempt you back. Bingo! Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when the products you want are quite popular, because in most shops your basket items will not be reserved. So you risk losing out!
Be a loyal customer
Sometimes it pays to be a loyal returning customer. The retailer may reward you with discounts and offers that only existing customers may get. So get savvy and dig around for any clues by asking the shop assistants in store or other friends that you know that shop there. Some online retailers offer an increasing discount for the amount of times you go back to shop with them!
How do I stop the creepy ads?
So how do you stop the creepy unwanted online stalker-ish ads? Clear your cookies! These marketing methods do not work on the digital savvy that don’t like to be tracked. However the cons of not using cookies is that it may make loading pages a lot longer and some scripts cannot play without having permission.
Have you used any of these clever online shopping tips before? Let us know in the comments below!
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