Merry Christmas

December 22nd, 2021

Hi friends! I know it’s still three days away, but I wanted to wish you all a happy festive period now before things turn into a whirlwind. You know how it gets in the lead-up to Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not, people are everywhere rushing around, the shelves at the local supermarket start emptying out, I almost find it stressful seeing other people having their parties early because it reminds me of everything I have to do for the big day. Well, this wasn’t meant to be a rant… oh well! I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful time, and see you next year.

Word as good as gold?

December 16th, 2021

I have a question for all my lovely readers! When it comes time to do your Christmas present shopping, how much weight do you put behind what you read on the internet? For example, this year I bought all of my immediate family things advertised in this article on beauty crackers, because I was looking for something a little different and everyone loves to go on about stopping ageing in its tracks. Honestly, you’d think my family would jump on the chance of becoming vampires, just to stop ageing. I’m surprised no one has had Botox yet!

Sustainable Shopping: the eco-friendly guide to online Christmas shopping

But as all my gifts started arriving in the post, I had a thought. I really just took one person’s word on what was good and worth buying, and ran with it. Does that make me lazy? Does that make my gifting insincere? Did the author actually love them all, and try them all, or was just paid to hype them up? I think I’m just being overdramatic, but I wanted to know how other people (who aren’t the people receiving my presents) shop. Do you feel the need to do everything the hard way? You could do all your own research, browse through stores, or gain inspiration through word of mouth. When many of my friends were starting their own creative businesses, I tried my best to order presents from them so I could be supportive whilst also gaining something myself. That sounds horrible, but I don’t want to buy something from them just to put it in a cupboard and forget about it. Or worse, throw it out.

When I first got into the skincare sphere, I went research crazy. I knew all the beauty bloggers and who wrote for which magazine, which online publications used expert comments from dermatologists, and which didn’t. I had a list, a handwritten list, of who I trusted to give their honest and educated opinion. Whilst some of my friends thought I was going a little crazy, it turned out very well. My skin improved with my new routine, and I was suddenly a source for all those friends of what to buy for their own skin. Now I don’t have so much time and I haven’t looked at my list in a while, but I still have an inkling of where to get my information. This article, however, was someone new. Which is what caused me to have these thoughts, because I realised I didn’t do any research, I just had blind trust!

An eco-friendly guide to online Christmas shopping

Well, I guess we’ll see when I give all my gifts, whether or not it was worth the stress. I know I’ll get honest feedback when it comes time to try them. But perhaps you can let me know where you get your gifting inspiration? What do you read, where do you look? How can I do the least work with the most sincerity? I’m a busy person, with a big heart!

Skin Issues… Help!

June 18th, 2021

I’m going to make a confession to you, esteemed reader. I’ve been eating more than my fair share of takeaway and junk food recently. Honestly, I’m trying not to beat myself up for it too much, because I’ve been super busy. Work is going crazy, and I’ve picked up some freelance work which has just consumed my free time with no remorse. Social events are being shoehorned in to hour windows, and even last week I combined two catchups with friends into one dinner even though neither of these friends have ever met each other. Well, they have now. Honestly, it was about time they did anyway because they have a lot in common and it makes my life easier. But that wasn’t the point.

In between everything scheduled, I don’t really have the time to cook. I could do microwave meals, I suppose, or toast, but it’s not particularly inspiring, is it? I’ve started to find the idea of a warm meal delivered to my door each day more and more exciting. It practically gets me through that period between three and seven in the evening when you really start to lose motivation. The cost isn’t really even an issue, considering how much I’m working. My issue is, it’s not had the best effect on my skin. I’ve been breaking out more and more, feeling oily throughout the day, to the point my glasses start slipping down my nose about three hours after I wash my face in the morning. Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen the pores on my face so enlarged. Engorged, you might say.

Oily skin: 6 treatments, causes, and prevention

So this begs the question, can skincare outweigh diet, or do you have to balance the two? What I’m really asking is, can I get away with my currently lifestyle and improve my skin by simply having the best skincare routine I can get my hands on? I’ve heard of the zinc pca benefits for skin, helping to reduce oiliness and balance the complexion, and how deeply hydrating ingredients can actually help. I think it’s because these salty foods dry you out, so your body overproduces oil to compensate but it just makes you oily, rather than helping. So if you hydrate your skin with skincare, your sebum glands don’t need to do the work for you.

7 Worst Takeout and Delivery Food to Never Order — Eat This Not That

If you, or anyone you know, has had this issue, or seen a dermatologist for it, please comment your recommendations! Or, if it’s smarter, tell me to get my head together and start eating healthier. I might just need some accountability for cooking once in a while!

Affordable swaps

May 26th, 2021

 Let’s talk about a secret bank account drainer; beauty and cosmetics. Whilst individual products can seem affordable, cheap even, there are so many things we’re told that we need that the final bill can be astronomical! And then the trends come in, your ten step beauty routine, using ten different eyeshadow pallets, and a mask for every body type. I’m sure you’re well aware of this issue if you’ve ever taken the time to perfect your skincare or beauty routine.

So let’s focus on the savings! The obvious one is to spend less on each item, if you’re still going the entire ten miles. My mother always said never look for cheap, look for affordable. Because cheap can mean not enough research went into the design, or lower-quality materials were used to cut corners. Affordable lends itself more towards taking as much care as possible, whilst remaining effective and something you would buy again after it’s done. That could also be utter rubbish, it’s just how I was raised. My parents always valued finding the balance between price, and quality. The best quality item at the lowest price was set to last years, and would end up saving a lot more time and money in the long run. That went for clothes, because we needed them to last, whilst also being something we’d want to wear, and skincare, because we didn’t want a hoard of abandoned, half used products in the cabinet gathering dust.

I’ll never forget the day our kettle finally died (I feel like kitchen appliances can come under this rant, or skip it if you disagree!). I couldn’t remember a time before that kettle, and we had all taken our turn scouring the inside to remove limescale, rust, or any other nasties. You could tell that it was old, but it was finally coming around in fashion to have a kettle of that style. Friends started complimenting it when they came over, although the wonder did wear off a little when they found out that it wasn’t new, and was an actual reference of the product. Mother called us all down to the kitchen, and we gave the thing a proper send off. A funeral procession. We decorated the garbage bag it went in with paint pens, like a colourful gravestone. Then we piled into the car and went looking for a replacement. No bargain shops or charity stores, we went big. But they still use that kettle now, even as we all grew up and moved out. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

But if we’re getting back to the cosmetics category, a friend of mine who works in skincare suggested this product to help save some money, a green tea toner The ingredients weren’t the main selling point, but the price and versatility. I can use it to remove makeup, to refresh my skin throughout the day, rebalance after using a drying cleanser or mask, and be a mini quick cleanser in the mornings. I know some people will say a toner isn’t necessary, but I’ve always found that my skin looks its best when I do. And I think whilst having more money for bills, and entertainment, would be nice, this is just a little expense which helps me to be more confident day to day.

I’ll continue this series in the future, but I hope this was a good introduction!

Christmas Shopping

December 4th, 2020

It’s no surprise to anyone that the Christmas season is one that has us financially strained. Studies show that the richer you are, the more you cling onto your money, so the only logical take- home I see is that the poorest among us might be the most generous, which becomes a problem when you have so many people on your gift-list, and don’t want to skimp out on any of them. We’ve all budgeted gift allowances down to the cent, haven’t we? And it’s the worst when people start to get ranked…

So I want to help any of you out who struggle to make smart money choices when doing your shopping this year.

The first is to buy gift sets and kits. No, don’t wrap them as they are, take them apart for several gifts. If you have like minded friends, then you can save 10-30% on the RRP value on full sized products. Take this beard grooming kit for example, for your manlier friends and family. How premium!

The second is to shop small, and sustainably. I think we’re all over cheap tat for a present, so find a small local shop to buy from. It only has to be little, but filled with so much more meaning. And although they often get a bad wrap, second hand stores can have some absolute gems, if you have the time (and patience) to do some digging!

Finally, homemade vouchers. Hear me out on this one… You’re offering something far more personal, a coffee date or dinner just the two of you, which shows just how much you appreciate them!

Happy shopping!

How Are You?

September 4th, 2020

Hiya everyone! I haven’t checked in yet to see how we’re all coping with the financial rollercoaster that is 2020? From recessions, to hiked prices, but back to eating out schemes and charity… It’s been hard to keep on top of things that aren’t necessities.

I know I’ve struggled with food shopping, the budgeting at least, because the state of the world is just so exhausting that by 6pm I can’t bring myself to cook! I know it’s terrible, but sometimes it feels like I need the win…

What have been your lockdown wins, and lockdown fails this year financially?

Language is bizarre

August 11th, 2020

Balm is a strange word. It just feels weird in your mouth. Balm. Try saying it aloud.

There aren’t many words which sound quite as peculiar as balm. And don’t say palm, or calm, they don’t count. It’s that open mouthed ba sound which has to wriggle back to the lm. Balm. Sounds like you’re still learning to talk.

I’ll give you a little history. Βάλσαμον (or bársamon to us English speakers) is an Ancient Greek word which refers to the Arabian balsam tree, and the fragrant oil which it produced. They borrowed part of the word from Hebrew, בָּשָׂם‎‎ (bāśām, “sweet spice, sweet smell”). When you start down the rabbit hole of etymology, this becomes a very, very common trend. Always borrowing.

Once Latin entered the party, we ended up with balsamum, which in my opinions sounds like a little serving of salmon drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d eat it. The meaning was exactly the same, they just decided to complicate things. Then time passes blah blah the Old French get their grubby hands on the word and we arrive at basme. The Gaulish (I don’t know who they are either) arrive to their own conclusion and balma. The era for Middle French begins and the conversion of the two leads to baulme. I like that one. Baulme. Very soothing.

What would we do without the English, they enter the scene and decide things don’t need to make sense to be part of the language (Now that’s a running theme) and we get the oddity which is balm. By now the word doesn’t reference so much the tree, as just something soothing, or the aromatic product of a plant.

If you do a deep internet dive, there are links between balm, and resin. Lemon balm is a herb. And you can buy things like beard balm, or lip balm, or tiger balm. Some brands do eye balms, and flash balms, and general face and body balms.

No matter what anyone says, it’s a bizarre word, with many good uses!

What do you buy for the unbuyable man in your life??

March 3rd, 2020


This week I thought I’d talk about buying presents for men. I know, the dreaded birthday/Christmas season duty. My partner, Rob, is impossible to buy for. I usually like to stick to getting people something that relates to their hobbies, but Rob could not have more unhelpful interests. He likes cars, dogs, and alcohol. There are only so many things you can get with one of those three things on it, or some related joke, before it starts to get old. He’s got a shelf full of mixology books he never reads, and a taste for extremely expensive rums which he drinks at about a thimble a week. We’ve had to set up a cellar under the starts because unsurprisingly, everyone else in his life has the same gift-giving problem as me and have given up trying. I think he’s got so many bottles gathering dust I could become a rum-only alcoholic and he wouldn’t even notice the dwindling supply.

He’s also very no-frills. So I can’t buy more than one thing until it breaks. One keyring. One wallet. One special glass. One fancy shirt. One joke shirt. One patterned pair of socks. He even told me, when we first started dating, not to bother even trying with car-related accessories because chances are he wouldn’t like it and wasn’t afraid to say so. So that was that. I’m just holding out until we move somewhere pet-friendly and I’ll have one birthday covered by buying him a dog. That is, if he doesn’t buy himself one first, which has happened an uncanny amount of times over the years.

Image result for dog

I’ve tried the whole adventure gift route, but the last time he’d splurged a little on alcohol and gotten drunk he not so subtly told me not to do it again. I think he doesn’t like being told what to do. And don’t get me started on the whole ‘you don’t have to buy me anything’ argument. Obviously I have to get him something. He always buys me a gift!

I have to say, when Rob told me casually he was thinking of growing a beard I almost squealed in delight. A new avenue! I know it’s not much, but Rob doesn’t half-ass anything so I knew he would want to grow the perfect beard, so to speak. With his birthday right around the corner I was saved! I did some internet scouring and came across this men’s grooming brand, Percy Nobleman. It looked classy enough to adhere to his expensive taste, without any garish branding or fussy extras. I bought a few different bits, and when he opened the box he looked so surprised! And I kid you not, he turned to me and said ‘this is exactly what I wanted.’ I was over the moon!

I was worried about the dreaded pash rash, but his growth has been so soft I cannot complain! He looks refined, yet rugged, and I am all for it. AANNNDD let’s not forget, those products run out faster than a bottle of rum! Endless pressies from me, thank goodness. Thank you Percy! Have any tips on what to buy for the unbuyable man? Please let me know!! If he decides to shave again I’ll be stuck!

Saving With Your Grooming Products

January 12th, 2019

Saving on your grooming and personal hygiene is one of those things that people tell you not to skimp out on. I mostly agree with that. Don’t buy cheap products just because they’re cheap that’s just counter-productive. Aside from the multitude of things that might go wrong there’s also that whole cheap scummy feeling you get knowing that you didn’t do this because it was a good deal, you basically opted into bad service. This isn’t fast food where you order a cheap meal and you know it might not be fine dining but it’s still food and to you it tastes fine, heck sometimes fast food is amazing. With grooming and hygiene if you buy cheap for the sake of cheap one of the better results is that it just won’t work.

If you’re sitting there lamenting the money flying out of your wallet just hold on one second because although I said you shouldn’t skimp out on the products you buy that doesn’t mean you can’t save money. And before you say it no this time savings do not come in the form of sales, but if you thought of that already good you’ve been paying attention to my other posts.

We’ve all read the instructions to some of our products and some of them will say to use generous amounts when applying, I’m looking at you moisturizing lotion. The reality is you only really need to use a little bit in most cases. Now again don’t skimp out and use a drop of lotion for your whole face but you don’t need a shot glass of the stuff either to get the job done, in the case of face lotions and the like about a thimble should be enough and if you don’t know what a thimble is then use about half the size of your thumb maybe a little more than that if you’ve got small hands. Oh and this is also for those guys that use way too much product. Think of it as a PSA guys, when using stuff like matt clay or styling wax don’t use too much because that’s bad for your wallet, your hair and/or skin.

Things are looking great!

September 12th, 2018

The recent article seems to be getting pretty good traction as far as views goes. And the overall response has been good too so thanks a bunch for that! I’m going to be posting the next one soon and I hope that one does just as well since I think it might even be better than the last one. Thanks again for dropping by and reading everything!