Monday, 29 April 2013

Polished Pricetags

Over the last year nail art has rocketed sky high with new ideas and styles being launched every couple of weeks. As I’ve always been a fan of doing my nails myself I have never been tempted to look elsewhere however, this week I decided to have them done professionally.  

Having not had a manicure since a Little Lady Mani when I was around 11 I didn't really know where to start looking. I knew I wanted Shellac after hearing such good reviews from friends and family but unlike many I refuse to pay double figures for something I’m quite happy to get from a pot. Despite my endless search for a salon that wasn’t going to break the bank, the odds were clearly stacked against me as I struggled to find anyone offering less than £20. Luckily for me over the past year I have been following a local salon on Facebook who offer a number of treatments from facials to spray tanning along with a range of deals that were more than generous. 

Having seen that they were running a weekend deal on Shellac nails I decided to bite the bullet and pamper myself. Naturally, I wanted to bring a friend as being a salon virgin I wasn’t to sure what to expect but unsurprisingly I absolutely loved it! The ‘Pretty’ Salon, located in Horsforth just outside of Leeds was only a short walk away from the local station which is ideal for those using public transport. Having arrived at the salon we were greeted by very friendly staff who were intent on making our experience a pleasant one. The salons intimate size was ideal, allowing my friend and I to interact with the other clients and initiate typical girl talk about nails, handbags and fashion which was great. We were also able to choose from a range of colours and styles after being advised by the experienced staff who were more than happy to help. 

We both chose to have a Shellac manicure which was so relaxing and cost a thrifty £6.00! I was amazed when I heard the price as having researched several local salons this was by far the best deal, other salons take note! The end result is fantastic. I love the colour and it has made my nails feel so much stronger. The overall treatment was wonderful along with the idyllic atmosphere of the salon, it made the whole experience great. This is definitely something I would do again and recommend to anyone in the Leeds area as you will not regret it! 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Discount Decor

After being a student for three years of my life and having moved each year, I came across the same problem each and every time I changed address. Although I’m a huge fan of the student lifestyle which allows you to live in your pyjamas all day while watching Jeremy Kyle with your head held high, I’m not so crazy on student living conditions. Having lived at four different addresses I’ve learnt that despite the advert stating the property is ‘furnished’, this usually means no more than you have somewhere to sit. There is nothing worse than the excitement of moving into a new home being ruined in the knowledge that you are going to have to spend an arm and a leg on making the place liveable let alone reasonably presentable. 

Naturally this want to create a homely feel to any living space usually requires a woman’s touch and in many cases consists of multiple candles, a ton of cushions and fairy light...EVERYWHERE. 

Obviously, being a thrifter I am always on the search for a bargain and I love making a room feel homely on a budget however, this becomes slightly harder when you have a large wall to fill. Despite shops such as Ikea and Asda now producing wall size canvas’s I beg to differ that £80 is a bargain let alone cause myself the embarrassment of carrying it home. Lucky having moved up North I discovered Wilkinson’s which allows you to revamp any room on a shoe string although, like Ikea they are convinced their canvas’s are picassos and refuse to sell them for less than £30. But, while I was in my second year at University I came across quite possibly the most exciting thrift of all time.

While in Wilkos I found three canvas’s, one of the Noisettes, another of Bombay Bicycle Club and the third of the band Grammatic Go Up in Smoke. They were all part of the Reggie Yates photography collection and as soon as I saw them I was in love but obviously because I picked them up they did not have a price tag on. Terrified to leave them as they were the last ones I reluctantly carried them to the till which, (because of their size) was harder than I first imaged. As the lady scanned them in she seemed slightly confused so asked a colleague before turning back to me and saying, £1.50 each! I was so amazed as they were such a bargain and were originally £14 for one! 

Despite having no where to put them at the time I bought them immediately and now having moved into a more permanent residence this year they have taken pride of place and look great together. These were definitely one of my favorite finds and one that I will continue to brag about in the future. 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Price Drop on Prints...

Recently the high streets have been bombarded by American style clothing with bomber jackets and slogan t-shirts becoming fashion must haves. Although I’ve never been a fan of having any sort of illustration slapped across my chest, least of all ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ my opinion has changed. Obviously not in regards to both these t-shirts as they continue to provoke an annoyance every time I see one however, my opinion on illustrated tees has altered slightly. 

With a large amount of designers having huge success after celebrity interest in their brand merchandise, designers have made advertising dramatically more effective for themselves simply by slapping brand logos on t-shirts. This has been particularly successful for designers such as Hermès and Céline with several celebrities showing their affection for the brands. After Rihanna was pictured in her Céline paris t-shirt it became very popular and like most people I absolutely loved it and wanted one myself. Having looked online I discovered that unsurprisingly it came with a three digit price tag and despite Vogue describing the price as ‘not bad at all’ I take pity on anyone willing to spend $405 on a t-shirt! 

Having searched both eBay and etsy I found that replicas are widely available from £8, which cannot be sniffed at by anyone looking to save pennies! Despite replicas not being the real thing I cannot help but presume that no one wearing the t-shirt bought the real thing, so why bother? Naturally, having found a Céline tee I jumped at the chance and bought mine from ebay for £10, including postage and packaging. I absolutely love this t-shirt as it goes great with a pair of jeans or a skirt. You can also wear this as part of a casual day look or dress it up for an evening out. With this t-shirt readily availability online at a reduced price theres no excuse not to have this in your wardrobe ready for summer. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Need for Tweed...

Having now lived in Leeds for four years and been cursed from a young age with little or no blood circulation, I’m a strong believer in layers. Despite many people in this city sporting shorts and crop tops as soon as theres a glimpse of sun, I enjoy living in jeans and jumpers until I see fit, which can naturally differ from year to year. As a result of my daily plummeting temperature, I’m a huge fan of coats and particularly jackets which can be adapted for both cold and warmer weather. 

Several months ago saw the cropped tweed jacket rise to fame with several celebrities including Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham promoting its versatility in its ability to smarten up any outfit. Soon enough the craze began to reach our high streets and Zara quickly launched upon the trend with a number of different variations. Instantly I fell in love and searched everywhere for a tweed jacket which was simple and affordable. As a big fan of eBay I began my search there, which proved to be completely useless, as being inpatient I refused to buy from China and instead ended up watching hundreds of jackets I had no intention of buying. I soon gave up hope and was forced to search the high streets. Although I’m a big fan of shops like Topshop who are able to offer a more affordable and believable price for us little guys I still struggle to spend more than £20 on any item, not that I’m a cheap skate but thrifting has become somewhat of an obsession. With my obsession in full flow I was determined to grab myself a bargain however, with the style having just come off the catwalk I wasn't getting very far. Having used my thrifting skills to the best of my ability I continued to keep my eyes peeled and finally it paid off, as a few weeks later I found the perfect jacket in Primark. Now, I know Primark isn’t most peoples cup of tea and boarders on manual labour which invites you to organise and tidy the shop as you go but you can find some gems! This jacket was shoved on a reduced rail all on its own waiting for me to save it and at the reduced price of £6, I couldn’t buy it quick enough. I love this jacket as you can literally wear it with anything and make people believe it cost you a lot more than it did. It also works really well for both hot and cold weather as you are able to add layers depending on how your feeling. 

This is definitely one of my most satisfying thrifts and one that has so far lasted a long time considering it cost just £6. Beat that Beyoncé! 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Woman on a mission

Granted that men naturally have the ability to over exaggerate a vast amount, one thing that they have always been correct by is that woman are obsessed with shoes. Woman are a strange species who are obsessed by objects such as diamonds, handbags and shoes which baffles many men as they continue to point out we as a species only have two feet. However, I’m a woman and that is completely irrelevant as despite being the happy owner of only two feet I have an obsession with shoes. The fact is that shoes can completely change an outfit and the way you feel. There is nothing better than leaving the normal 9-5 job and slipping on your favourite heels before going for evening drinks. Not only does this, along with an application of lip gloss change your outfit from officer worker to business woman who parties, but it also has the ability to change the way you stand and walk resulting in a boost of confidence. Naturally after several hours in heels you regret having put them on as the thought of removing them brings upon a fear that you may never be able to walk again, as you convince yourself, you’ve done it this time, you’ve caused long term damage. Despite the hours of agony we go through to add six inches to our height, not to mention the time we spend complaining, woman all over the UK will continue to spend money every day on yet another pair of heels.

Just like diamonds the price of heels are going sky high with designers like Louboutin and Jeffrey Campbell cashing in. With woman spending hundreds on a pair of heels being a thrifter has turned me into a tough cookie when it comes to shoe shopping and unless it’s a bargain all I can afford to do is look. Although I prefer boots to heels I still have my fair share having built up a collect over the years and despite not owning hundreds of pairs, I know what I like. In 2012 many celebrities were seen at parties and red carpet events wearing steel cap toe stilettos and like most woman as soon as I saw them, I needed a pair of my own. However, with price tags which could cover my rent for a couple of months I thought it would be best to forget about them and put a roof over my head. 

Having almost completely forgotten about them I spotted a pair of heels in Republic. They were completely gorgeous with a steel cap toe and metal heel and being an employee of Republic at the time came with a pretty good discount and would set me back £35. In spite of this being a thrifter and not the biggest wearer of heels £35 was slightly pushing it and I resisted. This ironically made me think about them more and obsess about why I didn’t buy them. As the Christmas sales beckoned I decided to see if my shoes were reduced and to my amazement there they were with the most beautiful red sign hanging above them….£5!  I bought them straight away knowing that even if they cause me agonising pain and I never wear them more than once, they cost £5.

I absolutely love these shoes and I've had so many compliments on them, which naturally results in me telling people the price before they can ask. Unsurprisingly they absolutely kill my feet and I end up regretting dancing in them for four hours but I’m reassured knowing that they look beautiful and a lot more expensive than they were! 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Liquid Gold

In the last year or two nail art has become more popular than ever and has even turned into an interesting Science. With the introduction of magnetic filings and ethanol into our polish pots nail varnish now has a clear niche in the market, with companies such as Nails Inc. and Essie leading the way in offering a new and vibrant way for woman to transform an outfit. These designs also have become very popular with celebrities such as Rihanna and prompted companies like Chanel and OPI to get in on the act of a midday manicure. 

However, like every celebrity craze, it comes with a price tag and although you may not have to re-mortgage your home to buy these little pots of gold you may feel slightly guilty. As I'm a strong believer in every nail varnish will end up gloopy and unwearable no matter the price so I refuse to spend more than £4 on a pot! Yes, you can spend time adding nail varnish remover to loosen the polish but you lose the shine and create a thinned out version of what was once your favourite colour. Thankfully because of companies such as Barry M and NYC with their bright colours and affordable price tag, there's no reason why you can't get super create with your nails. 

Having never really been a colour person I wasn't massively excited about Science effecting how we apply our nail varnish however, on a trip to Primark just before Christmas I decided to treat myself to their magnetic nail polish. Buying it mostly out of curiosity and thinking it would end up in a bag with all the other colours I'd neglected, I was reassured by the £1 sticker on the side of the bottle. Having got home I completely forgot about the nail varnish and it laid dormant in my bag for several days until I remembered I had bought it and plucked up the courage to give it a go. To my surprise, I loved it. It wasn't as harsh and extreme as I thought it might have been and was actually quite rocky, which I liked. I was completely shocked as I was expecting it to be horrendous, mainly because it was £1 from Primark! The quality was actually really good and didn't chip, it also dried really quickly. With this available in several different colours at a fraction of the price I am sold on this nail varnish! 

Despite this, I know the varnish will soon come to its end the same way as every other one but I can sleep well knowing it cost me £1!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Wacky Wardrobe...

Living in a one bedroom flat in Leeds doesn’t offer a vast amount of space and being a hoarder as well as a bargain hunter does create some obvious problems. Recently I decided to tackle the flat and organise the junk I’ve hoarded over the years and revive the gems that were once forgotten. Having moved into the flat last summer and being welcomed by what was quite frankly the largest wardrobe I had ever seen I had never been happier. Yet, 6 months down the line I had noticed that it had become a place for storing items I didn’t have the heart to throw away. Having realised that my wardrobe was clearly not made for my 5ft 5 figure and was only space wasting I wanted it gone. I spent several hours sorting clothes into separate piles keep, eBay, charity shop the list was endless but after having taken several bags to the charity shop and putting half my wardrobe on eBay I was left with my new wardrobe. Ironically, I didn’t have anywhere to put my wardrobe and started to research thrifty ways to store clothes. 

Having visited several design websites I had seen a number of bedroom layouts which used clothing rails as a storage solution. Although this may have seemed obvious it was not something I had come across before. I decided to buy a clothes rail from Ikea and being a thrifter this was ideal as I definitely wasn’t going to spend an arm and a leg on something I wasn’t sure was going to work. Having bought the cheapest rail in the shop, for the first time in a while I found myself debating whether budget was best however, after putting it together and hanging up my new wardrobe it looked great! The rail had given the bedroom a lot more space as well as opening up the window area which allowed more light into the room. It also created a European feel to the room and allowed me to see the clothes I had. 

This idea was inexpensive and very effective. It has completely transformed the bedroom and revived the space to create an organised and up to date wardrobe. 

Ikea Rack - MULIG white £6.00

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Fashionista Fake

Like most people I enjoy reading celebrity magazines and every so often I see something I love but due to the hefty price tag would never be able to buy with a clear conscience. However, with sites such as eBay and Etsy it has made it easy to find look alike items that will fool people into believing you were actually able to buy the real thing. With the use of websites like this although the real deal may be a four figure sum most of the time you are able to find similar items between £8.00-£15.00. Yes, you usually have to wait until they arrive from the other side of the world however, you’ve saved yourself enough money to overlook the time difference. For someone like me who lives in jeans the Hermes belt is a great way to create a fashionista look to what is usually considered as a casual item of clothing. In my experience I have also received a large amount of compliments for the look alike item. 

Despite my love for fashion on a budget, the saying ‘less is more’ has never been more appropriate as its important to keep budget items to a minimum in one outfit as nothing shouts ‘FAKE’ more than a someone wearing a pair of Louboutins while carrying a Celine handbag and having Chanel printed along there chest while clearly using public transport. Instead you should minimise the use of budget items to keep them chic and modest and remember the reason for the cheap price tag is because the item is fake so the last thing you want is for people to examine it. As long as you remember to keep your budget items to a minimum the internet can offer a vast amount for those looking for a chic and cheerful way to create a designer wardrobe. 

Welcome to my Blog...

So, after finishing my degree and being told by several potential employers that I need to get ‘more social’ in my online life, I have decided to write a blog. Having read a number of blogs I found that people appreciate those who write about something they know about and are generally very good at. For me I struggled to find something to blog about. Fashion has always interest me but as I’m clearly a follower and not a setter and I would be only repeating what I had learnt from others or read online. I also thought about cooking however, despite my love for food and passion for cooking I still have the ability to make all my meals taste the same, which I believe shouldn’t be encouraged. After having a big clear out of my flat this week I realised that I am very good at something. Bargain hunting!

There is a clear line between penny pinching and bargain hunting and naturally I don’t thrift with items you shouldn’t such as Helman’s Mayonnaise and Fairy liquid. Having been taught from a young age how to rummage through sales effectively and the importance of knowing the best ‘cheapo’ shops around certainly helped me through University. However, hunting for a bargain has now become something I love doing on a daily basis. There is nothing better than replying to a compliment ‘thanks £5 in a sale’ and most of the time people don’t have to ask me, as I’m a strong believer in sharing with others my most recent half priced purchases. 

This blog is going to be shop thrifting at its best I’m going to tell all about both my recent and best loved bargains I have made and give you an insight in to how to dress, modernise and live on a chic and cheap budget.