13 August 2013

Meal Planning

Eating on a budget can be no fun, no mad dashes around Asda buying whatever the eff you want. It has taken a few years of training but I now go to the supermarket armed with a list and only deviate of it for offers (9p loaf of bread! £1 pack of quorn mince!). Sounds dull? Nope. Once a week I drag out the recipe books and have a look through the iPad for new recipes using things we mostly have already. My favourite app is The Photo Cookbook which was free a while ago, so many quick ideas. The stir frys are also really good, making the most out of a few ingredients! 

Charlene from Dainty Dresses has recently started posting some wonderfully simple recipes on her blog and instagram, I tend to find recipe inspiration all over rather than the same old thing every week. Rachel Phipps' blog makes me so hungry, combined with gorgeous photos. These vegetable fritters are next on my list to make. Over on Where Are My Knees  Sarah's wonderful Weight Watchers recipes all look amazing, the butternut squash lasagne is something else. 

I find the best method is to stand in front of my cupboards and fridge and write down everything we have left and then start from there. Lots of tins of chopped tomatoes? Spag bol! Coconut milk? Curry! I only plan for 6 meals a week, leaving one to either just make something from stuff we have or maybe a treat. We usually have a curry on payday for example, we could save the money and have a few extra bits each week. But to be honest to me living cheaply means we can afford the occasional treat! I write everything on a whiteboard in the kitchen however A Thrifty Mrs has a post with some wonderful meal planning print outs, she is my meal planning inspiration. We have cut our weekly shop down to half and have stopped throwing anything away.

Give it a go, go to the supermarket with a strict list and only buy what you need. 

Zoey xox

05 August 2013

Pass me a flannel!

Face wipes. Hands up who has a packet by the bed for those nights you just can't face properly cleansing. Or are you firmly in the use face wipes to remove everything camp. I used to be. I loved Simple wipes for removing my makeup, get in drunk, wipe my face. Sleep. That was my entire routine.

Then I discovered the cult Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. A lovely creamy cleanser and a cloth, it removed all my make up and made my face feel amazing. Beauty "experts" are in two camps about Liz Early C&P, but it worked for me. I even ordered some cheap muslin cloths from ebay to continue my cleansing quest.

As I started reading more and more on skin care, namely Caroline Hiron's blog, discovering there was so much more to cleansing. Rebecca introduced me to double cleansing! So within a year I had gone from just removing my makeup to double cleansing with a flannel. I started to barely ever get a spot, I'm sure leaving my skin with makeup on was having a detrimental effect on my skin. 

My favourite cleanser at the minute is Clarins Gel Cleanser, however I left it at a friends so am loving No 7s Gel Cleanser. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm was an extravagant purchase but it smells amazing, I don't use it every night but have it as a little treat for my skin.

But, use whatever cleanser you feel like. Just buy some flannels. They are dirt cheap in Primark, go in the wash and are perfect for removing EVERYTHING from your skin. I cover my skin in cleanser, brush my teeth and then wash it all off with a hot flannel. More effective than face wipes, trust me.

02 August 2013

A Make Up Counter Grumble

I have had a few unpleasant experiences at cosmetic counters in stores, as have most people. Being matched to the wrong shade foundation and told it looks amazing only to realise when you step outside you are as orange as the counter assistant. Dawn had a horrible experience in Boots when they applied foundation with an old, unwashed brush. Now I've worked in retail and sales, not saying they are the best jobs in the world but some basic customer service would help. There are only a few things I buy from higher end brands, foundation being one. I know what shade suits me, I know what shade I am. A lady on the YSL counter tried to convince me the foundation I was wearing made me look ill as it was too pale. She insisted on applying a new foundation that made me look I had fallen in the mud. 

Many people I know try to go to Boots first thing in the morning to grab things they need to avoid the awful sales pitch and pestering. Last week I went to pick up an eyeshadow from MAC, I picked up of the shelf and walked toward the counter. Like in a normal shop. As I walked across a staff member grabbed it out of my hand, no idea why. No eye contact and just asked for the money. In stark contrast to the service I had at the MAC in Harvey Nichols, a lovely woman helped me find the perfect red lipstick to give to my sister.

The growth in beauty blogs and endless swatching means you don't need to spend as long at a beauty counter, basically grab your shade and go. I like going to Boots, having a dabble with the testers and walk out with a few treats. I have a fairly small "high end" collection. I think many blushers and nail varnishes are just as good at the £5 price point as £20, with the growth in online retail maybe counters might change and become more accessible.