Friday, 29 March 2013

Show some appreciation for your other half! (Wedding Gifts)

In the run up to your wedding day it's very easy to get lost in the last minute arrangements and appointments. It's easy to get stressed out, and panic that things won't turn out exactly as you have planned them. It's equally as easy to loose track of the most important part of your wedding - your husband/wife to be. After all your wedding day is about making a life long commitment to each other, acknowledging the love you have for each other and making a union in the eyes of the law and, if you are religious, in the eyes of your God.

I think it is very important to make sure you take some time out for each other in the run up. Go for a meal together, or have a quiet night in watch a DVD and just enjoy each others company. Remember why you are doing this. As lovely as your dress, make-up, flowers, cake, venue and so on may be, they aren't or at least shouldn't be your motivation for the day.

A mixture of forward planning and my husband kept me very grounded and relaxed in the run up to the wedding. I wanted to continue this laid back approach in the last few days when the final touches were being put in to place and it would have been easy to get very stressed. So my husband and I tried to spend as much time together before the wedding as we could. Nights curled up on the sofa watching DVD's, talking about the future and just generally enjoy each others company. Our budget couldn't afford nights out, but we managed a bottle of wine and some quality time. I think it's important to do this as it brings you back to earth & stops you getting too riled up and bridezilla-ish.

What we also did, that a lot of couples do, is bought each other a gift. I didn't know he was buying me anything & he didn't know I was buying him anything but on the day of our wedding we both received a lovely surprise!

My husband bought me a pearl neckace & earrings, which funnily enough I was going to borrow off my Mum so it worked out very nicely! You can just about see them in this lovely picture of me & my hubby. He also wrote a lovely card which just made my morning. Reading the card he wrote for me & receiving such a thoughtful gift meant the world to me. It left me buzzing with excitement all morning and I felt like a Queen wearing my pearls all day.

For my hubby I had a card made for him with pictures of our special place, first date, and other things that meant a lot to us, including the picture of us that we had put on our save the dates. Inside I wrote him a lovely message that was very long, but I knew would be appreciated. For his gift I selcted a pocket watch.

On the back I had it engraved saying "No more waiting, Love Rachel". The reason being that it is common knowledge amongst my family & friends that my hubby fell for me before I knew it, I kept him in the friend zone waiting for a long time and when we eventually got in a relationship he would remind me that he had been waiting a long time for me haha! I'm a lucky girl that he did wait for me, not many men would have the patience he had with me and I felt it appropriate to acknowledge how lucky I was with this little momento.  I also gave him cuff links the same as the rest of the groomsmen and he keeps both momentos in his little man cave - aka our spare room!

If your budget can't afford a big gift then get a card and write a personal message that will mean a lot to them while they are getting ready and the nerves are beginning to kick in. But if you can factor a gift in to your budget, such as cuff links for men, jewellery for women, flowers, or just something personal that your other half would appreciate then do it. When you can't see each other until you get to the aisle it's a big comfort to know your other half is thinking of you and went through the effort of getting something for you. 

Basically this little post is just to remind you that so long as your wedding is legal, and so long as your other half turns up then all the other stuff is just an added bonus. So if you can put the time in to arranging flowers, food, cakes, cars etc then don't forget to put some time and effort in to making sure your other half feels like a King/Queen on their big day. Spend time with them in the run up, because every moment counts.

The Wedding is a bonus, your marriage is what counts.

I hope you enjoyed reading & that you will enjoy picking out something special for your loved one. 

As always thanks for reading xox

Monday, 25 March 2013

Graze - Box 1 & first impressions

**Disclaimer** Although my first box from Graze was free, this was due to a code I was given by a friend. I have not been given anything by graze in return for a review. The opinions on this blog are my own and I have now paid for my second box. **

Having lost five stone in the 15months prior to my wedding, aiming to loose a few more stone and being a snack fiend, I am always on the look out for tasty but healthier snacks. I know everything is OK for you in moderation but I'm pretty sure if every time I wanted a snack I grabbed a Kit Kat Chunky or a cookie... well it wouldn't be considered "in moderation".

A colleague of mine recently introduced me to graze, showed me some of the snacks she had been sent and gave me a code that enabled me to have my 1st and 5th boxes free. I decided that as mean as the first box was was free I would give it a try and if after a few boxes I wasn't impressed I could always cancel my account with them.

Graze is a British company based in London which sends you four snacks selected at random on either a weekly or fortnightly basis through the mail. They are nutritional/healthy snacks, some are very nutritious & healthy, others may have a bit of a naughty twist but are still generally good for you. There are seeds, nuts, fruits, flapjacks, popcorn, olives, dips and alot more. If you aren't interested in the naughtiness you can select a "Nutrition Plan" which is a box full of their healthiest snacks. If you don't mind having some treats then select a nibble box and you will get a full variety of their snacks.

If you would like to try graze follow this link which will take you to graze with my personal code that will entitle you to try your first box for free. Alternatively you can just go to and input my code of M2KLRWY. Read on for information about graze & my opinions/impressions.

Important Information:
  • Graze will ask you have a nut allergy. If you have a nut allergy they advise you their items are all prepared and packed in the same area so they can't guarantee a nut free product. Best to avoid graze if you have a serious allergy. They state on their FAQ page that people with allergies can remove items containing the ingredient you are allergic to using the bin function, Graze can not however guarantee their products are suitable due to the fact everything is prepared in the same kitchen.
  • Once you sign up you can browse through the entire selection of products. You will notice they all have a default setting of Try. If you don't like certain things you have the option to Bin them which means graze won't ever send you these items. You can also rate everything you are sent so if you don't like it you can Bin it, if it's ok and you dont mind having it again you can Like it, and if you really enjoyed it and want it sent more often you can Love it. You also have the option of ticking a "Try soon" box for those items which tickle your fancy. The more you use the rating system the better and more customised your boxes will be.
  • Each box is £3.89, delivery is always free. Each box contains four items so that's £0.97 per item. Bargain!
  • You can choose weekly or fortnightly deliveries. You can change the frequency later on if you change your mind. You can order additional boxes if you need more, and you can push back deliveries if you want to leave it a bit longer. You can also "Book a Holiday". If you are going away you can make sure no graze boxes are delivered during that time.
  • If you aren't satisfied you can cancel your account at anytime. There's no strings attached, commitments or long term contracts.
  • Go to their FAQ page: for more information. There's lots of information on there from the fact they are a British, London based company, to how they are supported by the NHS as part of the 5-A-Day Campaign. Well worth a read.
My First Graze Box

I was impressed to find the box fitted through the letter box so even though I wasn't in my postie could still deliver it. It's a pain going down the sorting office to pick up parcels. Although I must mention here that Graze do offer delivery to your work place if this is more convenient for you.The packaging is 100% biodegradable & 100% recyclable. Not only are the snacks good for you but the packaging is good for the environment.

Inside was a book with all the nutritional information about my lovely hand picked box, some vouchers with my code to pass on to friends and a little book with more information about Graze.

As I chose nibble boxes I get a good variety of treats and box number one impressed me before I even tasted the treats. It just looked so good!

The treats I received were:-

Natural Vanilla Seeds - Vanilla Sunflower & Vanilla Pumpkin seeds - 172 calories. These were probably my least favourite item from the box, but I still enjoyed. There was quite a large portion which was filling so I ate half for my morning snack and finished it off for my afternoon snack. Quite nice. 7/10. Like

Toffee Apple - Granny Smith Apple Slices with a sticky toffee sauce - 68 calories. Wow! I worried the apple would be a bit dry or tasteless and get lost in the toffee, but not at all. The apple was still quite juicy, cut through and complimented the sweet sauce perfectly. I had this as my desert after dinner to take away that sweet craving and stop my evening snacking habits, which worked. I was more than satisfied with this. 10/10. Love

Healthy Popping Corn Twist of Black Pepper - 125 calories. The only item from this box that required a little preparation on my part. But no big deal, just follow the instructions & pop in the microwave until the popping noise starts to slow down. I LOVED THIS! This was my absolute favourite treat in this box. There was so much popcorn in this bag that I ate half in the morning & half in the afternoon. It was tasty, filling and kept me away from crisps. If I could give a score higher than 10 I would. 10/10. Love

Bonnie Wee Oatbakes - Cheese & Chive Oatbakes with Red Onion Marmalade - 114 calories. Delicious! The oatbakes were tasty in their own right but the marmalade did compliment the cheese & chive dippers. My only criticism would be that the marmalade was a little vinegary for me, it wasn't awful or impossible to eat but I felt it could have been a little less vinegar in there. I still really enjoyed though. 9/10. Love

I enjoyed my first box so much. The fact that all the snacks are really tasty & for the most part were quite filling too was amazing for me, it really helped keep me away from those less than healthy snacks I usually enjoy! I'm currently signed up for fortnightly boxes but may change to weekly soon as I have been missing those treats for the past week and have begun to slide back to old habits. My next box is due for delivery tomorrow (Tuesday) and I am so excited to see what Graze have selected for me this week. 

Have any of you tried graze? Leave your comments below or email me with your thoughts. I'd love to hear other peoples experiences and feed back. I will do a blog on my next box once I've received it and tried all my treats. Don't forget using my code  M2KLRWY you can get your first graze box absolutely free, and I think you also get your fifth box free too? Maybe? Don't forget to look through all the products and bin anything you definitely don't like or don't want to try.

As always thanks for reading xox

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Wedding Favours: Part 2 - Ideas for all budgets

For those of you who want to know what I did for my wedding favours go and read Part 1 first, for those of you who didn't go and read part 1, it has a little story about the tradition of how favours came about, so go read that!!

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My favours were perfect for my wedding day & I am very happy with them. But being totally in love with weddings I have since come across a few other ideas I would have loved to use. Please remember when shopping for your favours £4 may not sound like a lot but if you have 100 guests then it just became very expensive & you just lumped yourself with a pretty hefty thank you gift bill. Do not forget your budget! I will include a variety of items for all budgets here so hopefully I will cover something for every one!

1) Personalised Magnets - I love magnets, my fridge is covered in magnets with quotes on them, or from places me and my husband have visited. If relatives go away they often get us a magnet and it always ends up on my fridge! So I think something like this would be really cool and I know I would keep it pride of place on my fridge to remember the wedding I attended. This little gem was discovered on and is being sold by iLoveTrinkets. For 25 of these heart design wedding favour magnets it is $22.50 which works out at about £15.17. Postage to anywhere outside the US is £8.73 so that's a total of £23.90 which is less than £1 per magnet. Which I think is just fabulous! The shop owner states on the page that these can be made in any colour to suit your theme & obviously are customisable with names/dates. For the same price you can have these as buttons... which I think is what we call badges? Cute, I love these! Also worth mentioning iLoveTrinkets also sells Bridal party badges, customisable keyrings, pocket mirrors and more. The feedback on this shop is 98% which seems like a pretty good sign that these items are good quality & well liked.

2) Notepads - The practical girl in me loves a little notepad I can put in my purse or near the phone to write down important messages or things I shouldn't forget to do. Even better if that notepad was from a wedding and was personalised with the Bride & Grooms own message or their names? Maybe it's just me but the practical gifts seem so cool. This particular notepad is from which my big sister introduced me to when I was planning my wedding. They have so much information, hints & tips, as well as an awesome shop filled with wedding supplies. This notepad comes in Red, Purple, Saffron Yellow, Tangerine Orange, Watermelon (Pink), Caribbean Blue, Bright Green, Indigo Blue. They are customisable. The minimum you can order is 12 & they must be ordered in multiples of 12. If you order 12 they are £4.29 each, order 24-36 for £2.98 each, order 48-60 for £2.08 each and order 72+ for £1.69 each. Postage & packaging varies on how fast you want your item & how many you order. I do really like these and I like the fact it's cheaper for the higher quantities which may save you a bit of cash if your wedding is on the bigger side. 

3) Personalised Wine Glass - This isn't for the cheap budget although you may be able to shop around, the only way I imagine you could do this very cheaply would be if you could buy glasses from wholesale, or via ebay & engrave them yourself. Although to do this you will need a glass engraver which unless you already have one will cost you. If you have the budget that you can afford the expense of having them engraved or going online to purchase them then I think this is pretty cool. You could put sweets in them as an added extra but the glass would be more than enough as a momento. This glass is from It's £9.99 per glass and they are customisable. Even if you can't afford to do this as a favour for all your guests it's a nice touch for your bridal party/groomsmen to say thanks.

4) Sweets in a unique/cute container. Any sweets or chocolates will do, heart shaped chocolates, sugared almonds, smarties, mini eggs, marshmallows, what ever takes your fancy. Go to a wholesaler, check out you local market & don't forget to check and for some cheap deals. Be careful you don't get caught out with shipping costs though. Below are five containers for your sweets I think are adorable. The price & the link to where you can get them.
Metal Favour Basket - £1.99 each for 1-9, £1.49 each for 10+ -

Love Heart Filled Sweet Jar (approx 100g of sweets in each) - £2.99 each - from DreamFavours
100% positive feedback on this shop owner. Sells other colour & sweet variations, different favours, gift tags & stationary.

Personalised Heart Shaped Metal Favor Box - £21.29 for a set of 24 -

'Eat, Drink & Be Married" Bags - £10.00 for 12 - 

Laser Cut Rose Style Lantern - £0.50 each -

5) Practical Gifts. There are so many avenues you can go down with favours. One of the ideas I am really loving at the moment is the practical side. There are so many different things you can buy, like the notebook above. Or take a look at these three ideas I though were very cool.

These lips are toothpaste squeezers. You put them on your tube of toothpaste to help squeeze all the excess down the tube. I found these on They are usually £8.52 for six, but currently have 60% off so are £3.40 for six. I think this is so different that I just loved it, it's not something people would ordinarily think to buy and everyone wants their wedding to be unique.

These are Heart shaped purse hooks. You place them on the table & hang your handbag/purse from them instead of sticking them on the back of your chair or on the floor. Ok so this is obviously more of a gift of women, but once again quite a novel gift. I found these on and they are between £3.39 & £2.38 each depending on how many you purchase.

Keyrings are always useful, and everytime someone takes their keys out they will remember your day. What's not to like? I particularly love these as they are butterfly shaped, but look around. Personalise a keyring with the Bride & Grooms name & the date of your wedding. Or maybe a personal message to your guests? These particular keyrings are from and are £1.66 each.

6) Charity Donations - If there was one thing missing from my day it was a contribution to charity. If there is a charity you are particularly fond of, personally connected with then why not go to their website & see if they have an item you can purchase from them (such as a badge or keyring) where your guests will get a small gift & the charity will get your pennies. I won't post any links here as I think charity is a very personal thing & you should pick your own charity that means something to you.

7) Lottery tickets or Scratch cards - Go down the corner shop, or local supermarket & purchase one for everyone. Your guests might not win anything or they may win a few bob & be very happy with you! Either way it's a bit of fun & will cost you about £1 a person. Don't give these to children, if you go with this option buy an alternative for your under 16 year old guests. If you have the budget for it, why not present your tickets/scratch cards in a decorative envelope?

This ivory & gold envelope is from usually £0.50 each,but they are currently £0.35 each.

8) Bubbles - No matter how young or old you are bubbles are always fun. Why not give your guests bubbles in addition to your favours. The following are all from
£6.29 for 24

£6.99 for 24

£5.59 for 24

£6.29 for 24

Check out,,,, or any of the other websites I have mentioned above for other varieties in shape or colour. There are a good variety of bubbles on the market, but whatever you do, don't go to Poundland!! I was seriously disappointed with the £1 for 6 champagne bottles they did. 

There are plenty more ideas out there for you. Soaps, salt & pepper shakers, cuff links & compact mirrors. If you shop around it is likely you will find something that suits your budget, theme and is a gift you would be happy giving to others. I could quite happily sit here and post picture after picture of favours I love because there are so many traditional, unique, practical, edible & just plain cute gifts out there. So shop around and remember Google is your friend!

Follow me if you enjoy my blog. Comment below with any ideas you have seen & loved or any feedback on my blog. Or if you like Click Here to send me an email with any thoughts or questions. Don't forget to let me know if there is something you would like me to discuss on my blog, I would love to hear all your thoughts.

As always thanks for reading xox

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wedding Favours: Part 1 - Our Favours

Wedding Favours are a tradition started by European Aristocrats. Sugar used to be rather expensive, so the rich would put sugar, sugar cubes or other confectionery in side trinket boxes (usually covered in precious stones) and give it to the wedding guests. It was a bit like a peacock flashing it's colourful feathers, only think rich people waving their cash around saying look how rich I am! As sugar got less expensive more people started to take on the tradition of presenting their guests with a small gift to thank them for being a part of their special day - Interesting little background for you there! Hehe!

It can get expensive buying even a little gift for so many people, but if you shop around & get creative you can do this on a budget as I did.

Part one of my exploration in to wedding favours will be me sharing & discussing the wedding favours from my wedding:

As Butterflies were the running theme in my wedding, with red & gold being the main colours, I was very excited to find these little beauty's on my old friend E-bay. Butterfly Favour Boxes - I went with gold as I already had a lot of red decorations on the tables & ribbons on the chairs. I purchased them on E-bay for £2.40 (including p&p) for 10. I purchased 70 in total to make sure I had plenty, that if any were damaged I had replacements etc, and that came to £16.80 in total. The seller I purchased them from doesn't seem to have these in stock any more, but I have checked and these are readily available in other colours if you wanted to purchase them. The come flat but are very easy to assemble.

Inside I had a little scroll & a heart shaped chocolate. Next to my boxes I placed bubbles, because every one loves bubbles, especially me!

The bubble wands were another e-bay purchase. I paid £18 for 70 of them. This may sound a bit steep, but I first purchased little champagne bottles from Poundland & I couldn't open them. When I eventually managed to open one, the bubbles didn't work & the liquid went all gloopy on my hands. The budget bride was caught out going for too cheap an option so second time around I made sure I spent a little more, and it was worth it. Besides it works out at £0.26 per wand which is great!

The heart chocolates were actually a freebie. I used my nectar points to purchase a £20 amazon gift card. (I have linked the websites so you brides to be can go & get yourself a nectar card and check out amazon) It was £5 for 50 chocolates, so I purchased 100. I can't remember exactly how much postage & packaging was, but I think it was around £3 as I had £7 left that I used to purchase other wedding type things. I don't really use my nectar card a lot, but I get points if I provide my gas & electric supplier with readings every month. I made sure I did this every month & before I knew it I had over £30 of nectar points. Normally I would be lazy & forget to provide readings, or let the points sit there, forgetting to use them. But if you have a nectar card or similar points style reward card then use it. It's basically free items for you.

The scrolls were another e-bay gem. Now don't get me wrong, you could easily make these yourself if you bought some paper, ribbons & took the time to type them up, add some pretty pictures etc. But honestly I had already taken on a lot of DIY projects. This would have been one thing too many to add on my list. As mentioned in my 20 things to do once you say yes Blog Post you have to be honest with yourself and know your limits. So I cheated and had someone else make them for me! I purchased them from (Hessianback) I don't know if the exact variation I had are still available as they seem to have cute little flowers wrapped around them instead of bows now. Honestly though the flowers are probably better, as the ribbons were a bit fiddly to tie. I paid £5.98 and £1.70 p&p for 60 of these. I have kept one for me & hubby to put in our memento box & honestly I am just over the moon with them. I think they are just such a novel & cute way to say thank you, and for £7.68 you can't really go wrong. So that was my favours.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which I will put up on the weekend for you all. In Part 2 I have decided to compile a few little ideas for you, and being the lovely little helper I am I have taken things ranging in price range to suit all budgets. I may be a bargain bride, but I know not everyone enjoys scrimping & saving as much as I do! I will discuss some ideas I have seen, linking websites you can find these ideas & will discuss ways to save money for those of you on a tighter budget.

As always, thanks for reading! xxx

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Chewy Choc Chip Cookies - Baking with hubby!

It has been a long time since I have actually taken the time to bake something. So today I promised my hubby we would bake cookies together. Or rather I would bake while he stood around waiting for them to be ready to eat!! Cookies are pretty quick & easy to make, and very yummy to eat. I love cookies that are crispy on the outside & chewy on the inside, I don't like when they are hard like biscuits. So after trying a few recipes over the years, this is the one I love and use. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes approximately 18 cookies)
Each cookie is approximately 310 calories
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter (must be soft or melted)
  • 2 eggs - 1 whole egg & yolk only of second egg
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 360g of chocolate chips or chunks
Hubby & I chose dairy milk as it's our favourite. But by all means use galaxy, chocolate chips, smarties, mini eggs, fruit, what ever you want really! If using a bar break the chocolate in to individual squares.


  1. Preheat your oven to 170C/Gas mark 3 or 150C for a fan oven.
  2. Sift your flour, salt & Bicarbonate of soda
  3. In a seperate bowl cream the two types of sugar & butter together until thoroughly mixed & fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, 1 egg & 1 egg yolk and beat until light & fluffy.
  5. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until blended. You should have a creamy but quite stiff dough.
  6. Add the chocolate and stir until mixed thoroughly.
  7. Take a baking tray and either grease with margerine/butter or line with greaseproof/baking paper.
  8. Spoon the mixture on to the tray, about 1-2 tablespoons of mixture per cookie. Leave plenty of space between each dollop and do not flatten the mixture. As it cooks the mixture will flatten out.
  9. Leave in the oven for 15-20 minutes, the cookies should be golden brown (more so on the edges) soft but not runny. 
  10. Serve hot with a dollop of ice-cream, or leave to cool & eat later.

Middle two are a little bit too close!

Starting to go golden brown but still uncooked in the middle, back in they go!


Even if I say so myself these were absolutely delicious! Give them a go and let me know what you thought!

Or do you have a better recipe for me to try? Chris & I love the large dairy milk chunks in our cookies, but what is your favourite chocolate/sweet to add?

As always, thanks for reading! xox

Thursday, 14 March 2013

£5 Charity Shop Challenge

While enjoying a Starbucks with my bestie this afternoon and discussing all the lovely ideas she & her partner have for their lovely new home I had a bit of a brainwave. The £5 charity shop challenge! After all, being the budget bride and loving anything that saves me money it seemed time to pass on a few tricks to saving pennies to help out a friend... and maybe a little bit for my own amusement as well!

I challenged the lovely Donna to purchase something she needed or wanted for her house, totalling no more than £5, it couldn't be any old rubbish and it had to be something she would buy if she saw in a normal shop. You can't buy much for £5 these days, but being the good sport she is it was Challenge accepted! So off we set to the shops! We started off in a Barnados charity shop, they had lots of lovely glass vases, vintage tea sets, tea pots, trinket boxes, cake stands etc. Unfortunately a lot of it was either outside of the budget, slightly damaged or it was very pretty but not needed however, after a bit of digging around Donna found herself a little gem! 

There were four of these lovely crescent moon shaped, white side plates. Which I was assured would be lovely for the hors d'oeuvres she will be serving & for onion bahji's. £3.99 for the four.

Next we went to PDSA which had a lot of lovely signs for the kitchen, draft excluders etc. but I didn't hold up much hope that any of these would fit in to the remaining £1.01 of her budget. We looked at more crockery, trinkets etc. but nothing really grabbed her fancy. Until we found another little gem hiding behind glass vases.

A lovely vintage green glass bottle with a cork. She decided the cork will probably be binned and replaced with a wine stopper or a drizzle pouring top (which you can pick up for about £3 for a two pack online). As you may be able to see it was only £0.99. Which means Donna managed to buy 5 items (4 plates, 1 bottle) for £4.98 coming in at £0.02 under the budget!!

I was going to insert a picture of the receipts here but I seem to have lost them in pile of receipts in my handbag, I really need to sort my bag out. But I assure you she did stick to the budget!

Challenge Completed!

I have to say that this was great fun, and I recommend you try this with a friend. Along with racks of clothes, the glass, crockery, picture frames, toys etc I also noticed a lot of really cool vintage jewellery, some very pretty bangles & lots of scarfs (which would be good to make head bands with!)

There are so many things you can do with these items even if you don't use them for their original/intended purpose.

  • For example we came across old LP's being sold for £0.99. You could either frame them as they come, or spray paint them gold or silver & then frame them.
  • Tea sets, if you don't think you'd use them for tea no problem. You can put tea lights in them, or oasis & flowers. Use them in the house or for parties/weddings.
  • Necklaces/bracelets - the charms or beads can be used to make your own unique jewellery or some of the larger beads can be used in bowls, instead of pot pourri or expensive glass beads, as a decoration.
  • Picture Canvas' - these can be picked up for as little as £0.50. Even if you hate the design pick them up and transform them with left over wallpaper or decorative gift wrap.
  • Picture frames - once again you can pick them up cheap & fill them with post cards for a vintage decoration.
  • Large vases - I don't do flowers, but a big pillar candle in a large vase can be just as pretty in my opinion. 
Keep your eye out for a bargain & keep an open mind. If you or a friend has a party, a new house or are just looking for something new to decorate your home or bedroom then set yourself the £5 challenge and see what you can find in your local charity shop. 

We enjoyed this so much that we aim to do a few of these challenges and will both partake in the next £5 challenge when we have a good few hours to explore the charity shops in town. If anyone wants to set Donna & I a budget/shopping challenge please feel free to leave it in the comments below or email me at with your suggestions! 

I will leave you with a picture of the lovely Donna taking our shopping trip very seriously and As Always Thanks for Reading! xxx

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Avon SuperShock Gel Eyeliner - Blackened Metal

If you had a chance to read my previous Blog 'Elf Haul March 2013' you will know that the liner I bought was a bit of a disaster. It jogged my memory that about 6 months ago I purchased a Gel eye liner from Avon. So I hunted high & low, finally locating it and the brush I bought to go with it and thought I would try it out properly.

I LOVE this liner. I wouldn't normally extend my liner this far, but wanted to show you just how gorgeous it it. 

I purchased this in 'Blackened Metal' which is opaque black with flecks of glitter in it. I also purchased the brush as it doesn't come with a liner brush & I didn't own one. If I remember rightly the liner was £3 (roughly) and the brush was £2/3. I have checked the avon catalogue & it doesn't appear to be in there at the moment so let's hope it is in a campaign soon as I need to purchase some more! 

The product comes in a glass jar and it seems solid and not very 'gel like' but once the brush starts to pick up product you can see that it isn't solid. Application wise it goes on very easily although I did have to apply two applications to get the depth of colour I like from my liner.

Once on it doesn't want to shift too easily and takes a bit of elbow grease to get it off, so if you make any mistakes wipe it off quickly before it can dry. The gel can get a bit grainy/clumpy on the brush, the first line I drew left me with a bit of fallout, but I found that keeping a tissue to wipe the excess product on to avoided this problem. Once built up the black is a solid black liner, with flecks of glitter in and it was so easy to create a wing/flick with this product.

I would give this a 9/10. I have removed 0.5 for the fact that Avon sometimes sell it & sometimes don't. It's annoying when you need something & can't buy it. I have removed the other 0.5 for the need to build up the colour. Although it isn't really a problem, it would be better if one application gave the depth you want.

I highly recommend this product to anyone.

For anyone who was wondering what I used to do the eye shadow (it's not my best, I just put it on quick to do the liner for you) here's my product list:

Base: E.L.F. Jumbo Eye Shadow Stick in French Lace
Lid: E.L.F. Baked eye shadow in Pixie
Highlight: E.L.F. Baked Blush in Pinktastic
Crease/Outer Corner: E.L.F. Baked Eye Shadow in Dusk
Inner Corner: E.L.F. Butter Cream (Please don't use this as I realised after it made me look jaundice... this colour sucks!)
Liner: Avon SuperShock Gel Eyeliner in Blackened Metal
Mascara: E.L.F. Lengthening & Defining Mascara in Black

As Always Thank You For Reading xxx

Sunday, 10 March 2013

ELF Haul March 2013

**Warning - this is going to be a long one**

For some time I have been debating purchasing a few ELF products. Last Sunday I stumbled across an E.L.F sale, 50% off for St. David's Day. As I am Welsh I felt I couldn't say no. Had to be patriotic and celebrate Dewi Sant now didn't we? So I purchased myself a few things. Yesterday morning my items arrived so here's some pics, swatches & reviews.

A little disclaimer for you all to start with *** These are all my own opinions & no one elses. I purchased all of the following items from with my own money. ***

OK so let's crack on. Apologies my digital camera died on me & I couldn't find batteries any where so had to use my i-phone to take the pics. If there are any items you want an in depth review on let me know and I will do that for you but if I go too much in depth this blog will be 900 pages long. I will give Full prices because this is how much they would cost if you went to purchase the items now.

The 9 piece professional brush set. It comes in a handy roll up with two zipped sections to put some of your cosmetics in, good for on the go or an over night bag. The brushes included are:

Total Face Brush, Bronzing Brush, Foundation Brush, Brow Comb and Brush, Eye Liner Brush, Defining Eye Brush, Smudge Eye Sponge, Eye Shadow Brush, Lip Defining Brush. Price: £15

Comments - 8/10 Good set & the majority of the brushes do what they are supposed to. They are new so not sure how long the life on these will be. The only brush I hate is the lip defining brush, all the others are generally OK. A few loose hairs but do what they are supposed to. Over all I like this set and you get what you pay for.

ELF 32 piece eye shadow palette. I purchased mine in 'Brights'. You also have the option of 'Everyday' & 'Natural'. Price: £5

Comments - 9/10 for only £5 this palette is amazing. The mix of neutral, bright & dark shades is what caught my attention. The colour pay off is good on all shades but better on others. My only criticism there are too many shimmers. I think there are 4 mattes, the rest are shimmery. For £5 though this is a really good palette & a brilliant start-up item for make-up newbies, I'm tempted to purchase the every day one also.

Elf All Over Cover Stick. My cover stick is in Ivory (middle). Other colour options are available. Creamy stick of concealer. Smells a bit like orange sherbert, or cheap orangeade. Price £1.50

Comments - 7/10 It was a bit more yellow in tone than I would have liked, as normally Ivory is more pink in tone. Coverage was medium, it is very creamy and blends well. I tried to use it on my lid just to even the tone of my skin as I get dark circles but it creased quite badly. There's not a lot of product in these at all so once you find one you like the colour of I would definitely buy a couple to have them in stock. As a concealer though & for only £1.50 it's a good product.

Elf All Over Color Sticks - color sticks (it's how the brand spell it sorry!!) are in Toasted (left) & Persimmon (right). Sticks of creamy colour you can use on eyes lips and face. They have the same orange smell as the cover stick but not as strong. The two I bought are shimmery not sure what the others are like, but there are other colours available. Price: £1.50 each

Comments - Toasted 10/10 I actually love this product. Toasted makes a good bronze/contour. I found it creased a little with out a primer on my lids but with a primer there was no problem. Worked perfectly for a lip colour, mix between a lipstick & a balm. It's quite shimmery, but I like that, it gives a nice glow.
Persimmon 6/10 I was disappointed. The swatch above looks deep in colour but the photo is misleading, there's very little pigmentation to this, it is mainly shimmer. I bought it as it appeared pinkish on the website so I thought it would make a good blush, but the pink/colour isn't strong enough to be a blush. It's very full of shimmer, good as a shimmery eye-shadow for a night look, or a highlight on the cheek, but I'm not a fan of this colour. For £1.50 this is a gem of a product as it really does work all over your face. I would advise if you find a colour you like then stock up & stick to it! Expect shimmer too.

Elf Single Eyeshadow - (L-R) Charcoal, Totally Teal & Butter Cream. Powdered Eyeshadows. There are 12 other colours in the range. Price £3.75 each.

Comments - Charcoal & Totally Teal 8/10 WOW! the colour pay off with these two are amazing. They apply well, blend easily but don't fade too quickly. They feel silky, are shimmery but not too much. The colour is strong enough to hold its own. Downsides for £3.75 I think there should be more product, and although mainly silky there is a bit of chalkiness there. 
Butter Cream 5/10. Compared to the other two this was a huge disappointment. It was very chalky and dusty. The colour looked amazing when I swatched it but as soon as I applied it to my eyelid the pigmentation was lost. Due to the shimmer it works well as a highlight though. Over all their eye shadow appears good quality & I would repurchase the charcoal & teal, but something went wrong when they made butter cream. Bit pricey for the little amount you get.

ELF Baked Eyeshadow - (L-R) Pixie (Pink/gold), Enchanted (Peach/gold) & Dusk (Gunmetal grey/blue with silver shimmer). Eye shadows baked in the oven. They are silky shadows with shimmer. Price:£3.75 each.

Comments - 9/10 I have wanted a product like this in forever. Well since I saw MAC's Mineralize range. But at £16.50 per shadow I couldn't bring myself to try this. So when I realised ELF had these products I had to try them. I am not saying they are the same quality as MAC as I have never used a MAC product yet. (Always wanted to but breaks my heart to spend that much money on one item). Dusk was actually the one when I ordered I wasn't sure of and when it turned up I loved this more than the other two. It's pigmentation is intense, perfect for a smoky eye, a liner, crease colour or if you are brave an all over lid colour. I am in love with this colour. Enchanted & Pixie are both well pigmented, high in shimmer, very warm for an all over lid colour, but also possibly could be highlights too. These three shadows won me over big time & I am definitely going to purchase the other three colours. Well worth the money, a must try product I'd definitely advise you get DUSK as it is a little treasure pot of joy! 

Sorry I forgot to take a swatch on the next two products!! fail. Moving on.

ELF Baked Blush - In pinktastic (Shimmery beige with pink marble). There are three other colours & also some baked bronzers available in their range. These Blushes are marbled silk shimmery blushes baked in the oven. Price: £3.75

Comments - 6/10 The low score is 100% because this isn't a blush. Their Peachy Cheeky, Pink Passion & Rich Rose look like some lovely blush colours and since seeing some swatches a friend showed me they are pigmented blushes with a hint of shimmer. Pinktastic is a highlighter at best. The product quality is amazing. It's very silky, and the beige pigment has a really good pay off. A light amount of this will give you the full effect of the product. The pink however isn't strong enough to show up in the haze of shimmer, is washed out and so makes a useless blush. I will be purchasing one of the other colours as the product quality is good but I definitely don't recommend the Pinktastic unless you want a highlighter... blush wise it doesn't do what it's supposed to.

Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder - This was in Sun Kissed. They also have, Luminance, Warm Tan & Matte Bronze. Don't be fooled by that last name, they are all shimmers. Price: £1.50

Comments - 9/10 I love this bronzer. It is silky smooth, very light & not much product is needed to give you a glow. It is a bronzer but it is very gold in colour too. You can build it up to get a stronger bronze colour quite easily though. Definitely one for the repurchase list.

ELF Jumbo Shadow Sticks - (L-R) French Lace (Light pink/champagne with gold shimmer), Rock Out (Taupe/Brown with bronze shimmer) & Little Miss Thing (beige/gold with a gold shimmer). There are other colours available. These are creamy eye shadow sticks and all of the colours in the range, except for Like a Boss, are shimmery. Price: £2.50

Comments - 8/10 I really like these. They are very creamy, easy to apply. I've read people complaining they don't make a good eye liner. Well dear that would be because its not. Its a jumbo crayon of cream eye shadow. They do crease with out a primer, but with a primer they seem to work fine. FL & LMT are very good base colours but do fade after a few hours so if you want a long lasting look i.e. day through night then you will either need to touch up or use something else. For £2.50 the quality is quite good, once again you get what you pay for.

Elf Eyebrow Treat & Tame - in Dark. There are other colours (Light, Medium, Ash & Deep). One end is a clear vitamin enfused formula that promotes regrowth of brow hair & conditions the brows. The second end is a Brow mascara. Price: £3.75

Comments - 9/10 I seriously love this. The only reason I haven't given it a 10 is I haven't had long enough to try out the treatment side, I've only used it once. The Brow mascara is amazing. It coats the brows but doesn't look product heavy & you can't feel the product after application (which sometimes pencils make me feel cakey in the brow area). Definitely a re-purchase. Good quality.

ELF Flawless Finish Foundation - I purchased Porcelain. Semi Matte, Silky, Liquid foundation with SPF 15. Price: £6.75

Comments - 6/10 This isn't the worst foundation I've ever ordered and for me it did what I needed. I've marked it down as it was a little on the orange/yellow toned side when I first applied it. Usually Porcelain/Ivory are pink toned but ELF so far hasn't stuck with this. I had to really blend this in to get it to match, but it did blend well so it wasn't a major problem. It says oil free but if you have oily skin I wouldn't recommend this product. My skin is quite dry normally but it appeared dewy when wearing this. It looked good & healthy glowing compared to my usual dryness but on someone with oily skin I don't think this would work. It creases quite badly in the eyelid so I would recommend minimal product in this area or your shadow will crease with it. It's quite expensive for the small amount of product. The glass is thick & chunky and the product minimal. If I see a half price sale I will repurchase but for almost £7 there are much better products, less oily and with larger quantities of product.

Elf Lengthening & Defining Mascara - Black Mascara. (Brown also available) Price: £1.50.

Comments: 10/10 I've given this full marks because it's a £1.50 mascara. It has a brush (not a plastic wand) and because as an everyday mascara I'd be quite happy using this. It's a little product heavy, so I probably would invest in a better mascara for when the occasion calls for it. It's £1.50, don't expect miracles. I was happier with this mascara than I have been with plenty of more expensive products.

OK so until now ELF for a low priced cosmetics range has done OK. A few glitches, but mostly positive. These two items I REALLY hate. With a Passion. So much so I've had them less than 24 hours & I've binned them. I never bin anything, I always make it work even if I use it with another product but ELF, you really scraped the barrel with these products!!!!

ELF Waterproof Eyeliner Pen - I had Purple. There are other colours, but save yourselves the trouble & don't purchase this. Price: £1.50.

Comments: 0/10 Awful. Just awful. I took a swatch & was delighted at first with how vibrant the pigmentation was. Went to draw a second line & if you look closely you will see only half a line on my hand, as it seemed to have dried out. I attempted to use on my eye, it was very 'catchy' on my eyelid, it dragged at the skin and left little to no cover on my lash line. Next I looked at the nib. After drawing three lines (and I was careful with the nib) this had happened:

I'm sorry about the quality of the picture, but basically the nib has bent, it's gone flimsy and now won't draw a solid line... i.e. it doesn't fulfill it's purpose as a liner. It's just awful. On top of that this item claims to be waterproof. So as I put away my product, disappointed enough as it was and reached for a piece of tissue, dipped it in water, 1 wipe and the product was gone. So thats NOT A LINER, NOT A GOOD QUALITY PEN/NIB & NOT WATERPROOF. If you purchase this item you will be disappointed. No, just no ELF.

ELF Essentials Lipstick - I chose Seductive. Is a moisturising Lipstick full of colour. Price: £1.50

Comments - 1/10 This only just beat the eyeliner. It scored one point because it does actually still work. Seductive appears to be a dark pink with undertones of purple/brown on the website. I liked it a lot from the picture. It turned up & it is actually a vibrant Rosy pink, it almost looks red in some lighting. Check out sociable on the website & that is what seductive looks like. OK so I don't do Rosy colours on lips but I thought I could make it work. I swatched it and it is basically a gloss in stick form. It's a sheer rosy colour. It took about four back & forths to get the colour on my hand as deep as it was in the picture above, and it isn't brilliant there. Moisture wise, yes it works, but so does a gloss or a balm. Its very watery/glossy although thankfully not sticky. It creases on your lips the second you apply. It's a nightmare. I would probably use this as a balm or gloss with a proper lipstick. OK so yes it is a cheap product, but I've bought glosses for £0.99 that were better than this. So disappointed in this product, I wanted to love it but it just didn't work at all.

So overall how much did I spend: £74.75

                                With discount: £39.87
Overall ELF score: 8/10
Comments: Overall I was pretty impressed with ELF. For such low price items the quality was a good standard and pretty consistent. There are a few items I would never purchase again as they were dreadful and even at such a low price I'd expect better. There are a few products I will be reserving judgement until I try different colours (i.e. the blush). Equally, there are products I am in love with and will repurchase them at full price it I don't catch them on a sale. I am excited to try some items they didn't have in stock when I made my order such as the HD Powder in translucent, The eye primer and their studio range of lipsticks. 

I did notice that an awful lot of their products are shimmery, which is great for a night out but for the office I don't want to turn up sparkling like Edward. I'm very much alive & not trying to hunt down or marry a hormonal teenager. Sometimes a matt eye shadow & blush are needed and even if you can find a matt on ELF I'd be very surprised if it was in stock. I like ELF products and will continue to purchase them, but my main piece of advise to you all is You are getting what you pay for. It's cheap so don't expect the quality of NARS, MAC, Benefit or Urban Decay.