Manic Monday

The weekend comes and goes so fast and unless you are a teacher, most of us will be returning to work on Monday with distant memories of a great weekend!
But why does Monday have to be so bad? Forget the words of The Bangles for one moment and let’s make Monday our Fun day.
With the current deals from O2 Priority, you can have a great Monday on the cheap.

Morning

Getting public transport on a Monday morning is a real drag. Why not travel to work in luxury with a FREE journey up to £20 for new Uber customers in London, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Sheffield, Birmingham, Windsor, Maidenhead or Slough. You can get a quote for your journey here before you sign up.

If you need a pick me up mid morning, you can grab yourself a free hot drink from Caffe Nero between 10:00 and 11:59.

Lunch

I hate making my lunch on a Monday morning, it always feels like such as effort. However if you are like me, this is a much better option than forking out a fiver at the staff canteen or local food outlet. Cue the perfect solution – A £1 meal deal from boots which is valid on Mondays only from 10am to 3pm. This includes a main, a drink and a snack. Bargain! In the past few weeks these other retailers have been offering the same, however the deal doesn’t usually appear until Monday Morning:-

Upper crust – Meal deal
WH smiths – Meal Deal
Pumpkin – Meal Deal
Caffe Ritazza – Meal Deal
Domino’s – Personal Pizza

Snack

If you need an afternoon pick me up. Why not get yourself a free Millie’s Cookie. Everyone needs a sugar rush to get you through the rest of the day right?

Dinner

If you don’t feel like cooking and have enough energy to venture out, why not check out these restaurants:-

Café Rouge – 25% off all day (Mon – Sun)
Bella Italia – 25% off Food & Drink (Mon-Thurs)
Strada – 25% off Food & Drink (Mon-Fri & Sun)
Zizi – Free desert with main meal
Ask Italian – Kids eat Free (Sun – Fri)
Chino Latino – 25% off Evenings only (Mon-Fri)

Shopping

Not had time to do a “big shop” at the weekend? Don’t worry, you don’t have to move off the sofa for this deal. You can get your shopping with free delivery straight to your door with up to 25% off your order when you spend £60 online at Ocado. This is for new customers only.

For full Terms and Conditions including expiry dates for all the deals I have mentioned, please visit the 02 priority website.

I really hope that this will make your Monday a bit more enjoyable than usual.

Happy Shopping
Love Nic x

Festival Chic

It’s not too late to embrace some Festival Chic. I picked up these plain, lace, cream tops from New Look this weekend with 25% off. I think they look great teamed with some colourful accessories.

  

I hope you are enjoying the festival season? I would love to see some of your bargain outfits.

Happy shopping

Love Nic x

Two Together

  
I’m travelling back from London tonight on my lonesome after a short trip down for work. However I wanted to tell you about my latest money saving train journey which our friends told us about.

For the August bank holiday weekend me and the hubby are off to Edinburgh to catch a few comedy shows at the Fringe. We purchased our tickets early and have already booked the hotel as I’m sure you can imagine it’s a very busy time. We waited patiently for 12 weeks prior so we could take advantage of the cheaper train tickets but we were still a little disappointed with the price. 

Our friend told us about the Two Together travel card which is £30 and valid for 1 year. The card can save you a third off your ticket price if you travel with one particular person. I hadn’t given it much thought because usually me and my husband travel together by car and my train journeys are reserved for girly weekends away or work commitments. 

On this particular occasion as the ticket prices were quite high, I thought I’d get my Maths head on. 

I worked out how much we would save if we had the card and factored in the £30 cost to purchase it. To my surprise we realised it would save us £30 on just this one journey. Winner! Essentially we saved money on the ticket price and gained a travel card which we can use over the next year. It may even encourage us to use the train more often instead of taking he car. Especially if it saves us money.

So my advice is, even if you are making one journey with someone you don’t usually travel with, this could still save you money. It’s so quick and easy to do and took me 5 minutes using my phone, uploading photos straight from your camera. I even completed a sneaky promotion code search and saved myself an extra £5 on the cost of the railcard. 

Happy saving 

Love Nic x

Supermarket Savvy

Taking a trip to the supermarket or ordering your groceries online is something we can’t avoid. We all need food and other essential items in order to maintain a healthly lifestyle. The question is, how can we keep the costs to a minimum? At the beginning of the month the supermarket is a haven where you can splash out on those luxury items and treat yourself to a danish from the bakery to go with that cup of tea when you get home. Whereas at the end of the month you convince yourself that cereal for lunch is a good option. After all there is a diet which actively promotes this! Here are some useful hints and tips to keep you supermarket savvy all month long.

Bulk buying

Most people do their shopping on a weekly basis and research shows that 60% of people eat the same seven regular meals every week. If that’s the case then when payday comes around why not spend that little bit extra in the first week in order to save your pennies for later in the month. The key is to look for the price per unit. Here are two examples from Sainsburys

Toilet Roll – 4 Pack = £0.34 per Roll Vs 16 Pack = £0.24 per Roll

velvet

Pasta – 500g = £1.70 per Kg Vs 3Kg = £1.13 per Kg
penne

 Reduced Shelf

Everyone knows about the reduced shelf but the key is to make the most out of it. Supermarkets usually have specific times of the day when they reduce their items and these can vary from store to store. If you can find out what time your local store starts reducing, you could make yourself some great savings. The reason most items are reduced is because they have reached their ‘sell by date’. This is not to be confused with the ‘use by date’. The ‘sell by date’ is a date that the store recommends it stay on the shelf for, however if you check the ‘use by date’ it may still be good to eat for another couple of days. If it has already reached its use by date, not to worry. Don’t forget that you can freeze many items, preserving their goodness for an extra few months. I have found this great blog post which provides some excellent tips about foods you may not have known you can freeze.

 Meal Planning

It’s very easy to see what we have in our fridge as we generally open it on a daily basis. However we tend to forget about the stuff in the bottom drawer of the freezer or where we store our dried/tinned foods. So before you write your shopping list have a look at what you already have and plan a meal for each day of the week. Your shopping list should then consist of the ingredients that are missing. Hopefully this will cost you a lot less and encourage you to utilise the food you already have.

Couponing

You don’t have to make an appearance on ‘Extreme couponing’ to save money at the supermarket. There are lots of places you may already be looking but not paying any attention to. Do you read a newspaper or magazine? Instead of flicking through boring adverts, have a good look to see if they are offering any money off. Do you ever pick up the free, in house magazine offered by the supermarket? It may be full of self promotion but they often give out coupons to encourage you to try a new product or a monthly feature. And last but not least, do you ever look at your food packaging? They can often contain money off coupons to encourage you to keep using their products. Before you toss them in the bin be sure to have a good look.

I hope you have found my tips useful? Do you have any other tips for staying savvy at the supermarket? I would love to hear them.

Happy shopping.

Love Nic x


Bank Holiday Blues

If you’re anything like me, I’m suffering from some serious Bank Holiday blues and already counting down to the next one.

This weekend I attended Bolt Fest. A family friendly rock tribute festival with market stalls, food and drink stalls as well as a children’s play area. We took some camping chairs and a picnic blanket and soaked up the sunshine whilst listening to some great live music. Although my favourite part was obviously the cost. The event was free apart from a small booking fee of £2.50. We had a fantastic time and will certainly be returning next year.

  

This got me thinking about my plans for the next Bank Holiday. I’ve had a good look around to find some free events across the country

Edinburgh – Edinburgh Art Festival – 28 Aug – 31 Aug 2015

“The UK’s largest annual celebration of visual art, attracting over 250,000 visitors each year, Edinburgh Art Festival brings together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, alongside new public art commissions by established and emerging artists and an innovative programme of special events

Manchester – Manchester Pride Parade – 29th August 2015
“A carnival atmosphere will fill the streets of Manchester and is set to enthrall the thousands of spectators – young and old, gay and straight, friends and family – who come down to see the glamorous and the outrageously fabulous people who take part!”

Liverpool – Liverpool International Music Festival – 28 Aug – 31 Aug 2015

“The beating heart of the festival, Summer Jam will see Sefton Park transformed into a fun, free, and family-friendly alfresco party. The park’s acres of rolling meadows will play host to some of the biggest names in music including headliners such as Basement Jaxx, Labrinth and local heroes Echo & the Bunnymen performing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, sitting alongside hot talents such as Katy B, Naughty Boy, Laura Mvula, Becky Hill and more for an unforgettable end to the summer season

Birmingham – Summer Southside –  24th – 25th August ( Not BH but thought it was worth a mention)

“This extravaganza of dance, stunts, acrobatics, circus performances, interactive workshops and plenty more takes place on the streets and squares near the Birmingham Hippodrome”

London – London Mela – 31st August

“The London Mela – Europe’s largest outdoor South Asian festival – returns to Gunnersbury Park, Ealing, on Sunday 31 August for a spectacular line up of live music, dance, visual arts and food from South Asia. Over 80,000 people enjoyed last year’s creative triumph and this year the festival is set to be even bigger and better than ever with nine zones”

Cornwall – Newlyn Fish Festival – 31st August 2015

“Satisfy your appetite with the best seafood you can get whilst enjoying great cooking demos, live entertainment or bidding at the seafood auction. August Bank Holiday Monday sees the annual Cornish celebration of the sea, fishing and seafood at the 26th Newlyn Fish Festival, where you will find more fish than you can shake a mermaid’s tail at!”

I hope this has given you some inspiration for your next Bank Holiday and will banish those blues.

Let me know if you are aware of any other free events over the August Bank Holiday that you would like to share.

Love Nic x

Gorgeous George

Don’t you just hate it when all your make-up runs out at once? These days it feels like you have to take out a small loan to look and feel beautiful! As a former make-up artist, I would never have dreamed of ditching the department store for the local supermarket but desperate times lead to desperate measures. With a mortgage to pay and saving to start a family my budget is non existant.

Under Eye concealer (02 Medium) £2.75 – The idea of this concealer is based on YSLs Touche éclat. I found that the coverage isn’t fantastic, however it’s a great little product for highlighting and contouring.

Blush (05 Little Gem) £3.00 – Aside from the fact that I can’t help but think about a former U.S. President every time I apply this (George Blush), I’m actually really impressed. It’s got great pigment with a little bit of shimmer which is perfect for giving you a great spring/summer glow.

Queen Bee Bronzer (02 Nectar shimmer) £3.00 – I don’t have many positive things to say about this product I’m afraid. Firstly it has a strange smell that reminds me of using my mothers make up back in the late 80s and that’s not meant as a compliment. I chose shade 2 and although I haven’t yet perfected my tan, it’s quite dark/orange. It also can look quite patchy when I’ve applied it.


Curl ’em! Mascara (Black) £4.00 – Firstly I never apply mascara without curling my eyelashes first. If you invest in a good eyelash curler it will last you a few years. Shu Uemura do a great one which retails at £20. I’ve found it on Amazon for £13.08! Anyway back to the review.  I have to comment on the packaging as I just love the colour of the tube. It has certainly lengthened my lashes but I’m not sure about ‘curling’ and I am pleased to say there has been no clumping or flaking. I do feel that you have to add a couple of layers to get the desired effect but I think that’s just down to personal taste.

Precision eyeliner (Black) £2.75 – I love a liquid liner and once you’ve perfected how to use it, it gives a great dramatic look. This is really impressive for the price and just as good as other more expensive liners out there. It has a strong black colour in comparison to some other cheaper liners which I have found quite watery and had to apply several layers. The tip is firm but flexible and just like Goldilocks it’s ‘just right’

Soft eye pencil (Black) £2.75 –  As well as a precision eyeliner I like to line my inner lash line to give that extra dramatic look. This is a retractable liner and as a lover if all things gadgety, I was pleased to discover a little sharpener at the end (so cute), however I am not entirely sure this is completely necessary as it is retractable. In my opinion you can’t beat Kohl eye liner, however this comes pretty close. It’s easy to apply and gives great definition.

Lip liner ( 06 Pretty in Pink) £2.75  – What a great little find! It’s easy to use and like the eye pencil has a wind up function.  The colour is bound to add a smile to your face and perfect for those sunny days. I always use my lipliners to add a little colour to my lips which also helps to seal your lipstick or gloss.

Get Glossy Lip gloss ( 20 Idol) £3.75 – This adds a great sheen without being sticky and combined with the lip liner, you are onto a winner.

Total cost – £26.50

Overall I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the products and feel they are excellent value for money. The fact I have been able to create a whole new spring/summer look for the price of a department store Lipstick is fantastic.

Have you tried any low-cost Make-up brands that are worth shouting about? I would love to hear about them.

Love Nic x

 

 

 

 

Support cancer research

This week I would like to dedicate my blog to my wonderful Mother-in-law. She finally lost her battle with cancer yesterday when she died peacefully in her sleep with all her family around her. We are deeply saddened but relieved she is no longer suffering.

  

Please help support this wonderful charity by donating here. Your money will help fund research across the UK to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Rest in peace Dorothy a.k.a Len. 

May your memory live on. 

Love Nic x