Monday, June 29, 2009

More Sales Shopping Advice

There seems little point in updating you on what shops have gone onsale since my last "Sales" post, just to say that most shops are now on Summer Sale. If you are still unsure what to buy there is my "Hot Picks" post here and also this article from "The Times" gives its own version of what to buy. This previous post of mine covers my own version of what The Times is saying and it does differ from the professional fashion jurno point of view so is well worth a look so that you can pick your own list of wardrobe staples and best buys from both articles.

A great way to keep in control of your Sales Shopping, is to write a list of what you want to buy, but on the back of an envelope. That way you can use the envelope to put your receipts in as you make your purchases, this will help you to keep a track on your spending aswell as to be able to locate your receipt, should you need to exchange or return something. Before you pay for your purchases, always ask for the returns policy as they can change with sales merchandise, sometimes shops will not refund, only exchange or credit note. Always make sure you try on what you are buying as in the Recession, you don't want to be left with credit notes that won't go very far on full priced merchandise when the Sales are over.
Maybe make a list of say, 5 items that you really need to build a staple wardrobe and then underneath write another 5 as back up, just incase you can't get all of your first choices. That way you won't end up buying things that you really don't need and wasting your allocated budget!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Hair Cut & Blowdry or Facial at Saks Salons

Instead of Keep telling you about the latest Sales (although we all love a bargain) nothing beats a freebie! Get a Free Saks haircut or taster facial worth £35 with a
Newspaper-based offer. Beauty treatments often fall by the wayside in a Recession so if you haven't been able to afford a decent haircut lately, then all you need to do is buy this Sundays paper!

Pick up a copy of News of the World this Sun 28 June (£1) and in its glossy Fabulous magazine you'll find a voucher entitling you to a free haircut or taster facial at posh beauty salon Saks before 26 July.

To book, check if your local salon is participating in the list below and then contact it directly (find the number online at Saks). You must quote the offer '5 Steps To Fabulous' when you call to book as it's only valid with certain stylists on certain days.

The haircut is a normal, full cut and blow dry worth on avg. £35. The facial lasts 30-45 minutes and is worth around £30. Make sure you take the coupon with you on the day to get your discount.

Participating Salons: West Bridgeford, Chester-le-street, Whitley Bay, Basildon DLC, Milton Keynes, Warrington, Barnard Castle, Hull, Belfast, Guildford, Heston, Sheffield, Solihull Cranmore, Cheshire Oaks, Derby DLC, Nottingham DLC, Newark, Halifax H&B, Bristol DLC, Epsom DLC, Maidstone, Nottingham City, Lincoln, Kingshill, Southend High Street, Wimbledon, Guisborough, Redcar, Leeds DL H&B, Sunderland, Brighton H&B, Glasgow, Harrogate, Cheadle, Scunthorpe, Scotch Corner H&B, Skipton, South Shields, St Albans, St Neots, Stevenage H&B, Stokesley, Welwyn Garden City, Wetherby, Workington, Berwick, Bishop Auckland, Cardiff, Darlington, Derby, Durham, Fulham, Hammersmith, Hexham, Ilkley, Kingston Upon Thames, Liverpool - Speke, Morpeth, Newcastle, Newcastle Gosforth H&B, Newcastle South Gosforth - hair Beauty, Northallerton, Norwich, Chester, Great Yarmouth, Bolton DLC, Leeds HS, Necastle Jesmond, Portsmouth, Wothing HS, Worthing David Lloyd Club, Yarm, York, Ripon, Bolton , Scarborough, Ashton, Oldham, Southend DL, Manchester Trafford

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tomorrow only 50% off Eve Lom Gift sets

Yes its true! For tomorrow only, Eve Lom are offering 50% off selected gift sets, so if you are a fan of this cult brand or know someone who is and you want to give a great pressie, then click here, first thing in the morning - they won't last long!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot Sales Picks

Lots of great sales starting everyday! A few of my favourites are:-
All Saints - with up to 30% off.
I really like this Solid Kansas Silk Dress which comes in Scarlet (pictured) coral, purple and washed black, Was £120.00 / Now £84.00

French Connection currently have up to 50% off and this dress is also a favourite of mine which I saw in their s/s campaign and is now half price at only £70!

Don't forget to check out Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Dorothy Perkins etc and the Harvey Nichols sale starts this Thursday for the serious and slightly better off Fashionista and Browns Fashion will also suit those with longer purse strings as will Matches!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Free Make-up Bag at Superdrug with News of the World

If you haven't already bought a Sunday paper but are going to soon, check out Fabulous Magazine which comes with the News of the World, as there is a voucher inside to go instore at Superdrug and collect a free make-up bag! Ideal for holidays as I always take loads of make-up bags with all manner of things in them! Voucher valid till June 28.

Shopping the Sales in the Recession

The onset of the summer sales, may be the first chance many of you have had to treat yourself and your wardrobe to an injection of this seasons essentials. Many Personal Finance Bloggers have stopped buying clothes completely since the Recession took hold, but now they, along with you, may be in desperate need of a shopping spree either because they have a holiday coming up, a wedding to attend, or are just so fed up with not buying, may want to inject a few wardrobe staples into their closet, so here is the Recessionista (UK) guide to what to buy in the sales.

1. A dress - go for a classic style, that is not too cocktail but would work for a wedding with heels, or holiday evenings. Strapless with a tulip style skirt are all the rage for youngsters at the moment but depending on age, may not be suitable. Avoid Black, keep that for winter, although a black background with a bold floral print looks good for all seasons.

2. Basic t-shirts - Neutral colours are best, white, black, navy, taupe, khaki and beige go with everything and can be layered in winter. Go for short sleeves and vests.

3. A tulip shape skirt - either floral to wear with plain vests (pick out the colours and get a couple of vest tops to create a different look) or cami or a block colour with a tie belt or bow on the front.

4. Bottoms - look for classic styles that will last years. The sales are a good time for buying Premium Denim, go for dark skinny or straight leg styles for evening, boyfriend cuts for daytime and white for summer if you dare. Linen trousers and cropped styles are a summer essential, so if you don't already have any, then now is the time. City shorts are a smart option for either the workplace or evenings out with a pretty blouse.

5. A pretty blouse or coloured tunic - An item like this will work for evenings out or can be dressed down with casual bottoms and flip flops.

6. Cardigan - often needed on cloudy days and for chilly holiday evenings. If you can only afford one, go for black as it will do for the winter season aswell. If not, go for a brightly coloured one, pick out a colour from the lovely blouse or tunic you bought at No.5 above! Not only will it go with the lovely top you bought it will sit nicely over those black and white vests you bought at No.2! If you can afford Cashmere in the sale, then get it! If not try M&S and Gap.

7. Sandals - Flats for day, Gladiator or similar styles work well, go for black, white or any metallic colour as these go with everything. Styles with Stones/Diamante on, make a great alternative for evening wear when you don't want to wear heels.

8. Heels - Again go for the same colours as mentioned for Sandals, as this eliminates the need for lots of pairs.

9. Clutch Bag - A clutch is essential for evenings out, weddings etc. Match to your chosen shoe colours

10. Flip Flops - Havianas usually go onsale at Office either online or instore or grab a pair of classic Birkenstocks. Again consider colour so that you only have to take one pair on holiday.

11. Tote Bag - A large bag for everyday can double up as a travel/beach bag for holidays again to eliminate the need for more than one go neutral, black, tan or beige. Canvas styles will of course, be cheaper. Zara do great tote bags.

12. Hat - Not essential if you are not going on holiday (although still worn by the stylish), essential if you are. Straw trilbys are big news this season. Jigsaw do a great one, Accessorize is cheaper.

13. Swimwear - Whether you want Pucci poolside or Primark, don't waste money buying loads, I never travel with more than 3. A good black one, from a High End brand will last you more than one holiday. White looks fab on a great figure with a tan but can go off-white really quickly if you are constantly in the pool.

14. Sunglasses - can't afford high end? M:UK available at House of Fraser are reasonably priced (even better in the sales) or try Karen Millen or Jigsaw. Go for either big and black (aka Jackie O) or aviator styles as both are timeless classics. If going for aviators, if you wear white gold jewellery and have silver sandals, go for silver coloured arms/rims to give a real polished look to any outfit (apply the same rules for yellow gold).

15. Watch - If you need a new one, the sales is the time to grab a great timepiece. Match bracelet watches to the colour of your other jewellery.

Golden Rules for sale shopping.

1. Do check sale start dates at your favourite stores.
2. Make a list of what you feel is missing from your wardrobe, what needs replacing or what you actually need for your holiday etc
3. Visit stores in advance of sale starting to check out stock and to see who has the pieces you need.
4. Bear in mind some shops will bring out past seasons stock to clear if they still have any. This is fine if there is a classic piece you need but never be afraid to ask for a further reduction if you know a garment was from the stores s/s 08 season.
5. Remember that most stores will have a better sale range instore than online. I have recently been in to 2 Whistles shops who have had some lovely pieces in the Sale, but when I checked online, nothing I have seen was on the website. So to get the best stuff you may have to leave the armchair. This will save you having to pay delivery charges, traipsing to the post office for returns that don't fit and waiting ages for the refund to your card. I only recently got a refund for an item I returned to House of Fraser 6 weeks before!
6. If you shop at local, small, Independent Boutiques, ask about Sale preview evenings. At shops like these you may be able to put stock on hold at close of business the day before the sale starts to ensure you get the pieces you want.
7. Maxi Dresses can be shortened when the style is no longer fashionable - so their is no need to avoid if you see a great dress in the sale but don't like long billowing dresses.

Never forget that the Sales are a great time for buying gifts and presents in advance to save money in the long term. Is it your Mums birthday next month, would she love that great jumper currently at 1/2 price? Would those Champagne Flutes currently on sale in the Department store do for your cousins wedding present in September? Think ahead and outside of the box to utilise the Sales to your full advantage - they are not just about Fashion (believe it or not!).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

25% of Yumi Clothing as loved by Celebs!

A massive 25% off at Yumi Direct until Sunday! A fab and funky brand often seen on celebs such as Fearne Cotton and as pictured, Alesha Dixon. You can find this brand in Topshop Oxford Circus but why go shopping when you can avoid the Tube strike and buy from home here. Enter promotion code "CELEB" at checkout.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Prom Princess on a budget

Well Prom time is here again, with most taking place in late June, early July. It can be a really awful time for parents who have very little money but want to make their daughter feel like the "belle of the ball". Lots of parents spend a fortune on the dress, shoes, fake tan etc and hopefully a few handy hints from Recessionista(UK) will see you on your way to providing a wonderful evening for your daughter where she can look as good as her peers, but on a budget. Recessionista(UK) gives ideas on everything from getting the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the retail price to doing your nails, hair and lashes at home.

Dress: Usually the biggest spend and often there is the cost of alterations to contend with as well. Most Prom dresses are available from Bridal Shops and Boutiques that stock Ballgowns. Most stores will have a sale rail at this time of year where they might be trying to get rid of last years stock or are panicking, with the recession, that stock is not moving fast enough. To save hours trawling the High Street, set aside a few hours where you can ring around shops in your area to see if they have any dresses reduced in your required size. Once you have narrowed your search, you know exactly where you have to go and can set out with your daughter to make that special purchase. Most shops stocking these kind of garments will offer an alternations service, but this is not always cheap, so get a quote before committing or leaving your dress behind. Failing this, try local dressmakers, ask around for recommendations or try the local dry cleaners as lots of these also offer an alterations service.
If buying a new dress, for say, £300, never be afraid to ask "will you accept £275 as that is all I can afford". Haggling is all the trend these days and if you don't ask, you don't get. If the sales assistant won't budge, do ask to speak to the manager or owner as most shops selling these kind of garments are small independents who are struggling in the current economic climate. If you still get no joy but don't want to look a fool and lose the dress of your daughters dreams, leave a deposit and say you will have to come back to collect when you have been paid, your cheque in the bank clears etc or if you still have other shops to visit, just ask if they can hold without a deposit for a few hours whilst you try and find something within budget.
If money is really tight then check out Ebay. Either search by your preferred colour ie purple, yellow, mango prom dress or by designer i.e Mori Lee, Jora, Jovani, Alyce etc. You can get some beautiful dresses on Ebay at the moment with most costing between £75 and £100 for a used dress and from £100 upwards for brand new with tags. Never be afraid to ask questions before you bid and buy. If looking at a new dress they may be old stock from a bridal shop, so do ask if it is shop soiled, marked with make-up etc. If buying a used dress, ask if it has been cleaned, if not, is it dirty round the hem, is it marked inside with fake tan or make-up. Check dry cleaning costs locally, before buying a gown that is marked in any way. Remember that gowns with a lace up back can usually accommodate a size up or down, always ask the seller the dress size of the person who wore it and their height and what size heels they wore. Taking up a dress that is 9 layers of net and tulle can work out pretty costly but if you follow these guidelines there will be little room for error.

Shoes: Usual styles are strappy in gold, silver or bronze depending on any sequin or beading detail on the dress. Shoes in this style from shops like Faith and Dune will be somewhere in the region of £70. To cut this price in half try shops like Shoefayre, Barratts or New Look and even cheaper will be Matalan but if your budget is really tight, let good old ebay come to the rescue.

Tiara: For a good range of Tiara's check out your local bridal shop but these will be costly unless they have some on Sale. Brands such as Amanda Wyatt will cost a small fortune, as will Jon Richard which are available from Department Stores, but do check out ebay for these and other more specialised brands such as Halo. A cheaper option is to check out the High Street for diamante Alice Bands. Accessorize usually have a good range but Claires Asseccories will be cheaper. Has your daughter or any other teenager you know been a bridesmaid recently, if so can you borrow their tiara? Diamante pins or fascinators to match the colour of the dress, although not as popular, also work well.

Bag: Most girls will carry a Clutch to Prom and you can either choose a metallic colour to match the shoes or maybe a satin bag in a colour to match the dress. Check out Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and New Look if buying new or good old ebay. Ebay will bring up thousands, so narrow your search by typing in blue clutch or gold bag depending on what you are after.

Hair: Never use a new hairdresser if you can afford for your daughter to have her hair done on the day. Lots of hairdressers don't do "up do's" but do have colleagues in the same salon, that do.
Expect to pay upwards of £20 for hair up at a salon or £10 upwards just to be curled, depending on where you live.

DIY Treatment
If you can't afford a trip to the salon, hair can be curled at home using either a specialist curling tong or ghd hair straightners. Lots of teenagers are really good with their own hair and a few curls can make all the difference. If nobody at home can put hair up, use some kirby grips and just pull back the sides and pin up. A little backcombing on the crown will give some height and will sit nicely behind a small tiara. If you intend to do hair at home, do have a practice session and don't forget to use a good firm hairspray to hold in place. Check out You Tube for videos of how to do hair and also lessons in make-up. Google has thousands of images of Prom Hairstyles if you are lacking in inspiration.

Fake Tan

Nothing beats a salon tanning application and if you can afford this (from £20 depending on area) Fake Bake and St Tropez are the most popular. Check with local salons to see if they have any Prom packages available, tan, lashes, nails etc can often work out cheaper if booked together. If there are no special offers at your preferred salon, ask for a discount when booking multiple treatments.
DIY Treatment
If attempting to Fake Tan your daughter at home, the cheapest option will be a product such as Johnsons Holiday Skin which you can start using now and build up gradually to an acceptable colour. Fake Bake and St Tropez are more expensive but give a professional result and you can checkout their websites for application tips and to buy online, if not available to purchase locally. Fake Bake have just introduced a new wash off tanning product called Faux Glo, which costs £10.99, I have one daughter who loves this, but if new to using Fake Tan products - do try in advance.

False Nails

Lots of teenagers like the Acrylic or Gel False nail look which starts at around £25 for a basic set of pink and white, french manicure. Crushed Ice and nail art looks will be more expensive but again check with your salon for discounts and packages.

DIY treatment
You can buy false nails in a vast array of finishes from Boots or Superdrug below £5 which can be applied at home. Always follow instructions carefully to get the best results but don't expect them to last as long as Salon acrylic nails.
An at home manicure treatment can also give a great result for those teenagers who prefer not to wear false nails. The short, square, darkly painted look is sported by many celebs (the girls from "The Hills" etc) and always looks stylish. Short nails can be difficult to paint but any mistakes can be cleaned up with an orange stick with a small amount of cotton wool wrapped around each tip then dipped in nail varnish remover. If you are looking for a colour to match your dress then check out the Barry M range available at Superdrug or online, for a vast array of colours including blues, yellow, orange, purples etc. Make sure you daughters nails are neat with no rough edges to snag on her dress. Do toenails to match, or if you have a french manicure on your fingernails, go for a colour to match your dress on your toes. Always allow at least an hour for nail polish to harden before showering, doing up dresses etc otherwise your efforts could be ruined.

False Lashes

If opting for a false lash application at a salon always ask for a patch test or for a few lashes to be applied at least a week in advance. I once had an application of individual eyelashes and about 2 days after the application, suffered with bloodshot eyes which is not a good look for a Prom Queen!, it is not worth taking any risks by getting this done without a test, well in advance. Cost upwards of £30.
DIY Treatment
You can buy individual flared lashes (3 joined together rather than individual) at Boots for approx £5 or strip lashes for a similar price. This months Sugar magazine has false lashes as a freebie so if you buy this your daughter will have something to read aswell!


Lots of Teens will be travelling to their Prom in a Limousine which is becoming more and more popular. Limo hire usually costs hundreds, even if only travelling a fairly short distance. If this is your desired form of transport but not within your budget, speak to other parents to see if costs can be shared between other Prom Princesses. Most Limos carry upwards of 8 some holding as many as 14 depending on vehicle, so could carry just a group of girls or couples, if they intend to travel with their partners.

Getting Ready

Make it as special for your daughter as you can, buy a cheap bottle of Bucks Fizz or something similar with a low alcohol content from your local supermarket (approx £2) for the over 18's or for the Year 11's, make some alcohol free punch or cocktails. Make sure she is ready in time to take lots of photos and ensure her phone is fully charged and has credit, so she can contact you if necessary. Get the mobile phone number of her partner and best friends, just incase she is later home than expected and you are unable to get through to her mobile. If travelling by Limo, get the drivers mobile number when he picks your daughter up or if another parent is driving and collecting your daughter, make sure you have their number aswell.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Triple your mobile phone credit with Tesco Mobile

Tesco has introduced a "triple your credit" scheme for its pay as you go customers. For example, Top up with £15 credit and receive £30 free, giving you a total of £45 credit!
You also get triple clubcard points with every top-up.
For more information and for details about how to switch from your existing Tesco tarriff, click here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fantastic Magazine Freebies with July Issues

Just popped up to my local co-op to see if there was any crusty bread reduced but alas, I could only get a fab bunch of pink roses and lilys for 50p - what a bargain!
I also checked out this months magazines and there are a loads of freebies with magazines this month, on the new out, July issues.
Glamour - free benefit badgal lash mascara
instyle - free Elizabeth Hurley Beach bag
red - cowshed wash bag
sugar - false eyelashes

I also saw an eyeshadow and a book but can't now remember which mags they were on, but if you fancy a good read or are grabbing a magazine for the airport or your holiday then grab one with the free gift you need the most, i.e. a book to read or a bag for the beach etc

Thursday, June 4, 2009

20% off a gorgeous range of underwear at Figleaves

Get 20% off Passionata underwear at Figleaves. See the full, really pretty range here.

Free Shape and Paint from Butter London in town tonight

Butter London is a fairly new nail brand but sits alongside Opi and Nails Inc, pricewise. They have a lovely range of summer colours to choose from and if you live or work in London, you can get a free shape and paint by the founder of Butter or one of her team tonight. Get full details here. I would suggest you get there early if possible, this is bound to be a popular event.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A fantastic range of summer fruits at Aldi for 49p each

I have just seen the T.V. commercial for the latest fruit offers at Aldi. I often go to Aldi to buy their fruit and veg special offers as these items can really send your food shopping bill sky high and the kids always take fruit to school as well as what we eat at other times. This week they have Kiwi's, a pineapple, plums, peaches, cherries and a melon all at only 49p each - really amazing value!


Keeping food fresh to cut down on waste in the summer months

Bread - I have mentioned in previous posts about how I keep my bread in the freezer and just take out what I need the night before, to make pack-up for school the following morning. I personally don't think using bread in this way is a problem, as even if you forget the night before, so long as the slices are separated, it takes minimal time to defrost anyway and can always be defrosted in the microwave if you are really short of time. Another option if you don't want to do this, is to keep your bread in the fridge during the hot weather. Nobody wants to eat bread that has been sitting, sweating, in its plastic bag in the bread bin and it will go green really quickly if you continue to store it in this way during the summer.

Bananas - These don't last very well in the heat and go black quicker if placed in a fruit bowl alongside other fruits. A new tip I have learned is to keep your bananas wrapped in an old tea towel in the fridge, to keep them fresher for longer.

Food Containers - Food saver plastic boxes can be very expensive, so I have taken to using old Chinese Take Away containers for all manner of things I keep in the fridge (as well as using them to freeze leftovers). Packs of Ham or Cheese etc often go dry and end up with curling edges once you have opened them, but if once open, you store the packet in a sealed container all these pitfalls that may cause you to chuck food out, are avoided, meaning less waste of food and money.