Do you save for the sales, or experiences?

I’ve previously posted about saving £10 a week, in order to enjoy guilt-free sale shopping, and to never miss a bargain that has you inner-twirling.  I mean, we do work ridiculously hard all year.   

You could have fun trying out some of the amazing budget makeup out there, instead of the higher-end products, and follow London Beauty Queen’s savvy advice to Do it like a Dupe or read how she secures samples. Or check out the budget-friendly tips from Penny Golightly.

Or, like me, you could swap a Venti caramel latte for a Tall tea (you’re welcome, waistline) and pop the change in a recycled coffee (or jam) jar, and surround it by inspiration.

And yes, the season of summer-sales is almost upon us (I have it on good word that the Next sale will start on the 18th July; check with your local staff for exact timings: Plymouth doors will be wide open at 6 am 5am is the latest rumour).

So, where are we at with our sale savings? 

Yeah, I don’t quite have the £250 that I perhaps should have – but I was able to buy a three-day festival ticket for C2C2016 in March, when I wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to, so saving doesn’t have to be about the act of stuffocation and simply buying more things – I definitely enjoy an experience as much as a DKNY sale. But I do like buying.

I’ve also discovered eBay selling in the last six months, and the fabulous tingles when your pre-loved items find a new home.  I would love to say that my home is a lot more decluttered, but then I’m also an eBay buyer (shopping from the sofa at 11pm?  Yes, please!) However, I have posted more than I’ve received, just.

Marie Kondo’s approach to organization (Red, Psychologies, Wikipedia, Amazon) reminds me that if an item doesn’t ‘spark joy’ (release my inner twirl) then it’s time to let go.  Which means this weekend I’ll be sorting out my wardrobes to top up my sales reserves with a few eBay listings.

Do you save for the sales, or experiences?  Share your best tips, purchases and events with other readers here!

How to buy makeup as a 30s (almost 40s) -something Mum

With a three and a half year old, I think I'm finally a Mum, instead of the Mummy I've always been.  I'll always be my little girl's Mummy, at least until that day when I'm 'Mother', but I no longer feel like a you know what I mean?

We've probably had the majority of the cuteness and exhaustion and tears.  My daughter is no longer a toddler, but a little being trying to understand concepts (Why has appeared in her vocabulary; why?) and she almost dresses herself into leggings and tops.  Gone are the cute outfits prolific on the racks for Under 2s.  She's finding her identity and I'm rediscovering mine.

Towards the end of my pregnancy all those years ago, I was waddling around Boots one afternoon, when I happened upon a Benefit makeover.  I was glad of the chance of a free sit down and the Assistant wasn't salesy, nor was she orange-faced.  I think she had a six-month old, so she knew. She knew that would probably be the last time I'd really think about make-up.
I came away from that session with an obsession with Benefit's Porefessional (it really does reduce my humongous nose pores), and I still use the Dandelion blusher. In the first few months of a baby's life everyone is so generous with gifts that I could use my money to spend on myself, so at some point I picked up other items on the Benefit list, probably before my little girl arrived.

But recently I've realised that I need to wear make-up more than I ever have done.  You know what I mean?  It’s not just my eyes, but my skin looks shattered, as well as lifeless.

I’ve always had a great skincare routine, since my late teens, but I never wore a made-up face for work, unless I had a big presentation, or needed a bit of a confidence boost.  I'd been in a relationship for four years ... well, I abandoned yucky foundations and eye-shadows the first time Mr S15S told me I was beautiful without muck on my face (yes, he’s a keeper).  I probably wore make-up in work after maternity leave, for a few weeks, until I realised that more sleep was preferable to spending additional time in the bathroom.

I'm now a couple of years away from 40, and whether or not I'm reliving my teenage years again, I can't quite tell, but I have become absolutely frigging distracted by accumulating make-up products. 

I've a particular fondness for minis - they look fabulous, and don't cost too much (especially if people are having a declutter on eBay), and fit in a little bag.  A couple of years ago I fell in love with BB Cream, which I know keeps me looking good (for an actual 12 hours!).  I use No 7, but during leaner months I've bought a BB from George and one from Tesco (My Sister swears by Rimmel, and my Mum uses Avon). 

I know what I like (to look flawless, obvs) and what doesn't suit me (the lilac eyeshadow of my youth), and I literally have a four-minute window to pop on my new face, before my daughter appears to open my treasured mini products (!)  I also have far less money than I did as a full-time employee.

In the last year there's been a lot of chat on the Twitter and YouTube about a couple of budget brands, which, as a Mum or a Mummy, on part-time hours I am definitely interested in.  You may have heard the talk, too, about: 

Make-up Academy (MUA)

and Revolution

Both brands are available from Superdrug (in store and online), and stock goodies from £1.  I don’t think I’ve seen an item over £10.00.  Now, not only are they fabulously well-priced, but their real secret is in their quality, and their resemblance to high-end products (Revolution's The One Concealer for Benefit's Fake Up; both have eye palettes inspired by Urban Decay or Too Faced; the MUA lip glosses do the same job as Rimmel's Apocoliptic range).  Both budget brands offer simple, and therefore stylish (obvs.) packaging ~ so, if you put your make-up on while commuting, or at your desk, the products don’t look cheap in front of others.    

Perhaps it’s the range of affordable choice that I’m attracted to, with MUA, which I’ve been using for around six months, and now with Revolution which I’ve just added to my little bag (I stock the palettes in a larger bag; they’re for playtimes).  I can try out all these eyeshadow primers, and bases and lip lacquers and wotnot that promise to highlight and sculpt and wotnot, and not have to spend my daughter’s university tuition fees. 

My four minute face-on goes a little like this:

  1.  Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which I apply as a primer (you wouldn’t start cooking dinner on a surface littered with crumbs, would you?) – they advise to apply make-up right away; fine with me!
  2. Squeeze out the Porefessional and blot (rub) into my nose.  Sigh of relief at instant effect.
  3. BB cream application, well-blended. I only need a little, and if I don’t rub in straight away it seems to dry and leave patches.  Rub like hell to avoid streaks.
  4. Add concealer to eyes (a copy of Touche Eclat) either from No 7 or Asda, depending on pay day proximity/desperation). 
  5. Wash hands of product.
  6. Apply pale eyeshadow (Clinique quartets are great) (use a primer beforehand if I remember, no worries if I don’t) with blending brush
  7. Apply Benefit Dandelion blusher to cheeks (and nose/forehead/cheeks) with travel brush.
  8. Apply MUA mosaic blusher to add definition to cheeks. (Don’t forget nose/forehead/chin), again with travel brush.
  9. I periodically apply Vaseline to my lips, then concealer and finally an MUA lipstick (or a Benefit lip  tint depending on the occasion/time of day).
I am fortunate that I don’t need to wear mascara or eyeliner, as I have great follicles, in case you were wondering where my eye work was (I do sometimes apply a darker colour to my eyes, but as a frequent eye-rubber I can end up looking like a Panda if I don’t check myself).

There you go, that’s make-up for me as a Mum approaching 40.  If you have teenagers they probably already have MUA or Revolution in their bedroom, so you may need to double-up on products. But at £20 for a decent haul you can afford to! 

Have you found that you’ve started to wear more make-up as you charge through parenting?  How long do you give yourself to put on your face for the day? Share your tips, dupe discoveries and thoughts with other readers in the comments section below!

Book Review: The Little Black Dress, Amy Holman Edelman

I picked up a great book last month, which I simply couldn't stop reading until I reached the end (daughter may have watched a lot more Paw Patrol that day than she anticipated). 

The Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress, by Amy Holman Edelman quite beautifully tells the story of the little black dress over the last 90 years, since it was first introduced by Coco Chanel in 1926. 

Full of gorgeous images, fashion history and thoughtful theory, this book is a delight to read for Every woman (and any man).  Perhaps the greatest visual impact of the LDB, even fifty years after it's filmic entrance, is Holly Golightly's Givenchy dress, as worn so fabulously by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Truman Capote describes the look (which, along with Hepburn's frame, presumably inspired Givenchy) at the end of Chapter Two:

Now, after a little hiatus, I rediscovered the power of black in my wardrobe last summer, on my post Back to really does make travel (and the ensuing laundry) a lot easier when you're wearing the same colour palette, and black is amazing for highlighting a gorgeous bag, perhaps this little DKNY beauty I treated myself to last year: 

I prefer my black dresses (or outfits; I can occasionally be found in 3/4 length black trousers and a black tunic) to be of the skater/relaxed style, skimming my hips, and generally spinning my inner twirl into oblivion.  For party nights I do have a Great Gatsby-inspired tiered jersey black dress that looks fabulous with pearls, too, and an obligatory sparkly clutch bag.  

See, Amy's book has been delightfully inspirational for this blog post. And in a few weeks I hope to be inspired again, when I attend the Marie Claire @Worklive Event.  I'm planning on wearing my black maxi, and sunnies, obviously (weather, be ware!)

How many little black dresses do you live by? 

Disclaimer: This review is entirely my own, non-paid, voluntary contribution to an amazing book.  If you click on the in-text title or photo link and buy the book from Amazon, then as an Amazon Associate I will receive a few pennies in return, but that's entirely your choice. 

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