HOW I SAVED £1000 IN TWO MONTHS

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I always feel like I go through “financial phases”. Sometimes I feel like setting a huge goal and heading straight for it, and other times I just want to treat myself… 7 times in a month. I’m in my third and final year of uni and the prospect of graduating and finding The Job at the end is looming over me and is quite frankly, a freaking scary thought.

Back in July I discovered SugarMamma.TV, a YouTube channel created by Australian financial advisor Canna Campbell, and in August, I decided to completely overhaul my whole outlook on my finances.

Canna is all about creating financial independence for yourself and not having to rely on anyone to provide for you. When I started watching SugarMamma.TV I was coming towards the end of my last loan from 2nd year and still over a month away from receiving my next loan through, and as I didn’t work over the summer I wasn’t in a position to put money into savings there and then like I would’ve loved to. Instead, I created a budget using the SugarMamma spreadsheet available here on Canna’s website, it’s so easy to use and really makes you think about how much you really spend on particularly frivolous everyday items.

This brings me on to my favourite tips that I learnt from Canna that have helped me to save £1000 in under 2 months…

  1. Set a Goal
    When I first started thinking seriously about my finances, I didn’t have a set goal, mainly because I didn’t really know how well I would do – whether or not that goal would even be a realistic one. But looking back, I would definitely say that if I had set a goal from the start, I would have probably underestimated just how much I could save in such a short space of time. £1000 in two months, for me, is a lot of money! Set a goal that is high but achievable if your mind is set. Make the goal realistic, but still a number high enough for you to be proud of when you reach it.
  2. Open a Savings Account
    This might seem like a bit of an obvious point, it certainly seems obvious to me now, but I’d never had a separate savings account before now. This is probably my favourite out of all the tips as it really allows you to see exactly how much money you aren’t spending! It also acts as a barrier if you are an impulse spender like me!
  3. Create a Budget
    When I first used the budget spreadsheet on the SugarMamma website, I tried to put in the truthful (and shameful) amount of money that I’ve been spending on things like extra data for my phone, Starbucks, magazines, and mid-week leisurely lunches. As an example, it worked out that I was spending almost £700 a year on Starbucks! Like I said, shameful. Whilst I’m particularly embarrassed about admitting that, I also am not committing to completely cut out those things altogether, I would like to have a life! However, it just really does make you more mindful about how much you spend on things that really add up, but don’t really count for anything. I’d much rather spend that money on something that is actually going to bring me joy than just a few Starbucks’ a week. So creating a budget is a HUGE lifesaver when you are saving, it also allows you to work out how much money you’ll have leftover at the end of the month so you can put that in your savings account.
  4. Download a Banking App
    Having a banking app on my phone has really helped me check my balance more often which, in turn, stops me from spending as much! It’s also a tool which makes it easier for you to transfer money from your everyday account over to your savings account.
  5. Put Money Into Your Savings Every Time You Check Your Balance
    I always, always do this and it makes so much difference. For example, if my balance is standing at £854.67, I would put £4.67 into my account. I call it “clearing down” my balance, but it’s basically just rounding it down to the nearest 10. If I’m in a particularly “rich” phase, I’ll round it down to the nearest 100, but every little helps, so even if you only put the £0.67 into your savings, it’s better than nothing! Get into this habit every time you check your balance and your saving will creep up so quickly!
  6. Sell Unwanted Items On eBay
    This is a tip that has killed two birds with one stone for me. Being a fashion obsessive I have accumulated A LOT of clothes. That is including stuff that I don’t wear, things that have never been worn and still has tags on (*sigh*), things that I no longer like and things that don’t fit! It can be a bit of a pain taking photos of everything, writing up descriptions and putting it all up, but it is so rewarding once you start getting bids. Watching people in the middle of a bidding war for your old crap is rather entertaining! The money I’ve earn on eBay has gone straight into my savings account, and this has greatly helped my goal. Plus, it’s given me breathing room in my crowded wardrobe…
  7. Ask Yourself If You Really Need it
    Like I said before, creating a budget has really helped me to be aware of how much I spend on things that I don’t really need. Do I really need a 56th lipstick? No. Do I really need an 8th pair of black skinny jeans? No. Etc. I’ve definitely become more aware when I’m shopping – even though I don’t deprive myself as such, I’m not out to completely change who I am, I’m merely trying to be more intelligent with my finances.

So there are my (well, really Canna’s) top tips for saving money! I’ve saved over £1000 since the end of August – the most amount of money I’ve ever saved before, and it wasn’t even hard. I feel like these are tips for life and I am so grateful that I found SugarMamma.TV to teach me these financial tips and tricks!

This post is in no way affiliated with SugarMamma.TV, I’m just so thankful and proud of myself for having saved as much as I have, and that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Canna!

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MY FAVOURITE WINTER FRAGRANCES

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First of all, I’ll start off by saying that describing fragrances is SO hard. I could get all technical and get the official press releases of these scents and give you a big spiel about the “notes” and “essences”, but I won’t bore you with all that. What I will say is that these are some SEXY ASS FRAGRANCES. Exactly what winter is about.

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Okay, now that’s out of the way, here’s why I love my two favourite winter perfumes. The first one is DIANE by Diane Von Furstenberg. Classy, feminine, powerful and elegant are all very appropriate adjectives for this scent. It’s more of a daytime fragrance that lingers for the whole day without being overly powerful – it’s one that I love to spray in my hair to make the scent last even longer. If you want to feel like a super-sexy, padded-shouldered, wall street business woman then make this your go-to fragrance.

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My other favourite winter fragrance, and probably my favourite fragrance in general is Tom Ford Noir Extreme. To paint an image for you it smells exactly like those rich Arab ladies stepping out of their chauffeur-driven Rolls’ straight into Harrods. It’s a super-rich smelling fragrance that smells EXACTLY like Selfridges beauty hall (does anyone know if this is the scent that they actually pump into the air-con?!) This is more of a evening or special occasion scent. It makes me feel so sophisticated, travelled, cultured, wealthy and basically anything that’s not exactly me – and I’m totally up for that. I feel like if I could be a fragrance, it would be this one.

Let me know which fragrances are your winter favourites!

A ‘GLOW’ PRODUCT THAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU OILY?!

Everyone always talks about ‘glowing’. How to get a ‘glow’. Foundations that make you ‘glow’. Get ‘glowing’ skin.

But if I’m honest, as a girl with really oily skin, I can’t think of anything worse that having an intentional ‘glow’. Until now. When I swatched the KIKO Glowing Potion Perfecting Serum in the shop, it seemed different to any other ‘glowy’ primer/serum/base that I’d tried before. It offers a glow, without being too dewy or slick. It really dries down quickly without leaving any feeling of tackiness or slip.

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I use it as a primer, on top of my skincare, but underneath my foundation, and I can honestly say I haven’t noticed any difference in the longevity of my matte complexion throughout the day. My skin stays matte with just a slight luminous sheen on my temples and on top of my cheekbones. I don’t tend to use it across my forehead or down my nose as I tend to get oily here pretty quickly anyway. It’s great for someone who might find certain matte foundations a bit too matte, it really does just lift the complexion.

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The packaging is cute, a slim frosted glass bottle with a really handy pump and rose gold lid – doesn’t that just sound dreamy? At £13.90 for 30ml of product I guess it’s not the cheapest, however it is a whole lot cheaper than some other products that I’ve tried and hated. Definitely a recommendation from me if you have skin that’s on the oilier side.

WHAT’S ON MY NAILS?

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I go through so many phases with my nails, from fire-engine red one minute, to bright white, pitch black, and alllll the neutrals the next. Boredom comes and goes really quickly when you paint your nails, it all depends on  the time of year, your outfit, whether or not you’re tanned, or even just your mood. On my talons right now I have a combination of Bourjois Paris La Laque polish in the shade 02 Chair et Tendre with Topshop’s glitter shade in Unicorn over the top.

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Goes with everything, pink makes me happy, sparkles make me happy, everything is happy. For the next 5 days, tops.

AUTUMNAL FEELS…


I’m starting to fully embrace the Autumn-Winter season this year with open arms. Hot chocolate, snuggling up to warm radiators, pyjama days, thick knitwear, boots, scarves and woolly hats. Makes me feel all warm inside.

Mention this blog post to me again by January though and I might be over it. But for now, here’s to cold weather and warm feelings.

HOW TO MAKE FOUNDATION LAST ALL DAY ( & VICHY FOUNDATION REVIEW!)

Having oily skin can be such a burden throughout the day. There are some days when I wish that I knew what it’s like to have NORMAL skin. If I’m honest, I don’t believe that ‘normal’ skin exists, but if it does and you have it, I hate you. Rather than curl up into a ball and rock back and forth forever and ever, I have been pro-active and found what I’m calling a ‘Power Quad’ (don’t shoot me for the slightly half-witted name) for keeping my foundation in tact for a long day.

I’m usually applying my makeup at around 6am, with a 3-hour commute to uni which includes a sweaty, sooty, smelly ride on the disgusting never-ending void that is the London underground, having a day at uni and then repeating the commute home again in the evening. Sometimes, this means I’m out of the house for a total of 14 hours, and my makeup has to last that length of time too. Most of the time I can’t be dealing with touch-ups, ain’t nobody got time for that.
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So here is my Power Quad: Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (fabulously snappy name there), Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation*, KIKO Soft Light Powder and Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray (mine is the travel-size version).

STEP 1 // PRIME
Primers have always been a love/hate thing for me, most of them don’t work on me, some are even a burden to wear as they don’t allow makeup to apply well over the top. The one that I’ve found that works the best is the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Perfecting Primer. There are quite a few negative reviews online for this product (although mostly great ones) and I genuinely think that the negative reviews are down to those who don’t know how to apply it properly. I take a pea-sized amount in my hands and warm it up before applying it to my t-zone area. It allows makeup to easily smooth onto the skin and looks flawless. It’s expensive, but definitely worth it.

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STEP 2 // FOUNDATION
I wanted to do a mini-review of the newly re-packaged Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation in this post. With an expanded range of shades, I can finally find this in the right shade for me (Yay! I’m shade 05 Porcelain). I have to admit, I was excited to try this foundation as I’ve never used Vichy foundations before, however I’d heard great things and I love their skincare. The thing that impressed me most was the pigmentation and coverage, I hardly have to use any of this product to get a full-face-full-coverage look with it, great for helping the product to last. The shade match on me is ever so slightly too yellow, but once I’ve got the rest of my makeup on (bronzer, contour, blush etc.) it’s not noticeable. One thing I have noticed with it though, is that it really does make my skin look FLAWLESS. It’s not cakey in the slightest and the high coverage means you don’t need a concealer – I even tried this when I had a major acne breakout on my chin and the foundation did all the work in covering it. And as for the lasting power? It stayed looking fresh for around 8 whole hours which is a miracle for me. Overall, a really fab foundation – one that definitely rivals my favourite Estée Lauder Double Wear.

STEP 3 // POWDER
I always powder my face, no matter what makeup look I’m doing, where I’m going or the weather. I tend not to re-purchase the same powder over-and-over as there are so so many different ones out there to try, and if I’m honest I don’t believe that I’ll ever find a miracle powder. The one that I’m currently using (and really liking) though, is the KIKO Soft Light Powder. It’s nice and light (as the name would suggest, duh) and does a good job of keeping my face shine-free for a few hours.

STEP 4 // SETTING SPRAY

If I want to give my face that extra chance of staying out for the day, I’ll use a setting spray. I’ve been using the Urban Decay De-Slick setting spray for a couple of months now and I’ve been really impressed with it. 

What are your favourite long-wearing products?

To see my favourite foundations for oily skin, click here.

*PR sample from Escentual.

AUTUMNAL WANT LIST

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Autumn is fast approaching, even though I’d desperately holding onto jackets-not-coats and bare legs-not-tights for dear life. Here is a selection of my favourite transitional pieces from the new arrivals for Autumn/Winter 2015.

1 // ASOS | 2 // Zara | 3 // Topshop | 4 // Self Portrait | 5 // Wood Wood | 6 // AllSaints | 7 // H&M | 8 // Warehouse | 9 // Topshop | 10 // Adidas

STARTING MY THIRD YEAR OF UNI… TIPS TO MYSELF

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Going into my third and final year of my degree is a daunting thought. Now I’m studying Fashion Journalism so I know it’s not as taxing as perhaps studying medicine or criminal psychology would be, however it does come with certain stresses. I still have no idea what kind of job I wish to have at the end of it – or if I’ll even go into paid employment at the end, I might have to intern for free until something paid comes up. There are no guarantees.
But before the employment (or unemployment) prospect comes to light, I wrote down a few tips for myself on dealing with the stresses that come along with my final year at university and I thought I’d share them here for anyone else who is a stress head like me.

  1. Keep a countdown app on your phone.
    Might seem strange to countdown the days until you are no longer reliant upon education, however it makes me feel good in the knowledge that I don’t have long left until I can be free and my life is finally mine.
  2. Make a conscious effort to stay on top of the workload.
    Every time I go back after a break I make a point of aiming to be better at keeping on top of work and not leaving it to the last minute, but I always procrastinate and it just ends up piling up. I’ve never handed anything in late and it’s always done to the best of my ability, but I always wish that I’d just done it EARLIER to save from panic-writing towards the end of a deadline. This year I’m making a real conscious effort to do work within a decent time frame. WORK DONE = LESS STRESS.
  3. Save money.
    Not exactly a fun topic, or one that I’m enjoying typing out now, but saving money really does save stress. With everyone around my making plans for this holiday, that day out, or even that lunch; all I’m thinking about is my dwindling bank account and increased sense of FOMO. Budget, budget, budget and selling unwanted crap on eBay has become my best friend over the summer and I’ve even got money in SAVINGS. Who knew I could be so proactive?
  4. Socialise. 
    I’ve never been much of a party-er. I like the getting ready process, and the drunk bit, but everything around that is just a bit bluh. But I feel that this year I’m going to need a social life in order to keep me sane. Making an effort to make time for friends over the next several months is high up on my list of priorities. We don’t know where we’ll all be by the time we graduate in terms of employment/location so we might as well make the most of the time that we do see each other every day. *sob*
  5. Use every opportunity.
    Every person you meet, every email you send, every Instagram comment – treat them as contacts. Get talking to people on Twitter, you don’t know who they know who could possibly set you up with someone who has a friend who needs an assistant. And that could be you. And if you don’t get a job, or at least an opportunity, then at leafs you made another friend, right?

Starting my third year isn’t exactly filling me with joy, however I can try and make the best it possibly can be. I may moan to my friends and family, but at the end of it, I’ll have a degree. A DEGREE! And that’s something I never thought would happen for me. And if i can make that happen, then I can make this year a decent one.