A REALLY handy tip to help make your products last longer

Trick Diagram

I learned this trick from a Sprinkle of Glitter vlog in mid-2014, and just realised that I’ve hardly ever passed it on.

But it’s GENIUS.

You know when you’re coming to the end of a tube of moisturiser, or a tube of foundation, or a tube of body lotion?

And you know how you squeeze it and squeeze it for weeks on end, trying to make the most of your money?

And you know how you eventually throw the bottle out, with that niggling feeling that there’s still loads of product still in there?

Well here’s the bad news: there is loads of product still in there.

And here’s the good news: it’s really easy to get it out.

  1. Just grab some scissors – strong kitchen scissors are probably best – and cut straight across the middle of your bottle.
  2. Enjoy the glorious product you’ve just released.
  3. If there’s still loads left (which there will be) shove one half of your bottle inside the other half until it’s vaguely airtight again. If that made zero sense, just look at the lovely diagram I drew for you.
  4. The remaining product shouldn’t dry out, and you can keep using it for weeks on end until it’s actually all gone.
  5. Like actually, all of it. Make the most of that dolla chicas.

I have successfully used this trick on so many products it makes my brain hurt. Estée Lauder Double Wear Light, Vichy Dermablend, La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, Factor 50 sun lotion (I was desperate on holiday), and about half a dozen different body moisturisers.

It works. And it saves you money. Do it.

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Decorating Inspiration – Le Jardin Majorelle

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Last year I went on holiday to Morocco with my family. It was a pretty amazing holiday – we stayed in a riad in Marrakech and one night rode camels through the Sahara desert. The camel was so uncomfortable I cried a little bit. I am officially too diva for deserts.

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Anyway, my favourite day of the trip was when we went to Le Jardin Majorelle – a beautiful garden which was once owned by none other than Yves Saint Laurent, and is now open to the public. It was originally designed by a French artist called Jacques Majorelle, who painted the garden walls, fountains, and features in a stunning cobalt blue – called Bleu Majorelle.

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Fast forward to 2015, and I’m standing in a B&Q store in Manchester, looking at a row of buckets containing Crown Matt Emulsion. And lo and behold, their shade ‘Opening Season’ looks like a more wearable version of Bleu Majorelle.

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So I bought the paint for my living room, and now I’ll be pouring over pictures of the Majorelle Garden for even more inspiration!

What inspires you when you’re decorating? I’d love to hear where you get your creative sparks from!

Effie xx

A Very Glittery, Citrusy Bath Time

Hello beauty chums. I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since I last posted! As is traditional with blogging, I’ve been struck down with the dreaded “busy” excuse. Well, that and all the vowels on my laptop keyboard have died. And p. And w. And h. But, when you’re desperately catching up at work after the Christmas break, there’s no better time to have a nice good bath. That’s what I thought, anyway.

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As my senses needed invigorating somewhat, I decided to go for a citrusy theme, so grabbed Lush’s Star Light Star Bright bath melt, which my sister bought me for Christmas (I think it’s limited edition?), and half of their massive Brightside bubble bar, which Mads got me as a thank you for letting her stay in my flat.

Thank you sissy.

Both of them smell very citrusy, which is always nice, and the scent gets even stronger once they come into contact with water.

I lobbed the bath melt in the bath first to give it a head start, and then crumbled the bubble bar under the tap to create some schweet-smelling foam. The bath water also turned bright orange. I wasn’t expecting this, but it was a nice treat. I’m afraid you can’t see it in the pictures because of all the bubbles!

I then put my laptop on the toilet seat, stuck on RuPaul’s Drag Race (if you haven’t seen this you MUST – it’s on Netflix) and lit my Mojito (lime and mint flavoured) candle, which my boyfriend got me for Christmas. Then finally, I kicked back into the water and settled into the zesty ambiance. I also sloshed water all over the floor in the process, but wouldn’t recommend that part.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the products:

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Star Light Star Bright Bath Melt
Pros:
– Smells delicious. I love me some lime oil.
– Takes its time to actually melt – at least 5 minutes – so you feel like you’re getting a bit more for your money
– Very moisturising both in the water and when rubbed on the skin. Although I’d only advise this after all the glitter has worn off! It’s all thanks to the cocoa and Shea butter under the glitter.
Cons:
– Do not handle this and then handle your phone. It will get glittery.
– Do not handle this and then handle your laptop. It will get glittery.
– Do not handle this and then handle anything you don’t want to get glittery.
– The glitter does stick to your skin, but to a bearable extent. If you’re intending on going out after your bath, just avoid putting your face under the water. Sparkly face is not great. Unless you’re on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
– The glitter also sticks to your bath tub. I’d say this was the worst negative, as I don’t really want to be rinsing the bath out when I’m all chilled and cosy. But needs must.

To sum up: smells great, feels great, but #glitterproblems.

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And here’s a look at the Brightside…

Pros:
– Smells deliciously citrusy – a mix of mandarin, bergamot, and tangerine oils. Mmm!
– You get a HUGE product for your money
– Half of it is more than enough to fill your tub with bubbles.
– Turns bath water orange. Nice surprise.

Cons:
– The bubbles disappeared long before my episode of RuPaul finished. I’d say within about 15-20 minutes.
– Contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate. This is an ingredient which makes things foamy and bubbly, but it can irritate sensitive skin when used regularly.

To sum up: good value, smells lovely, but disappointingly average bubble longevity.

What did you do to chill out this January?

Don’t hesitate to say hello with a comment!

A belated Happy New Year,

Effie xxx

The Under £5 Christmas Gift Guide / How to Make an Advent Calendar

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Step 1: If your name is Maddie and you’re my sister, stop reading this immediately. Have you gone? Ok cool.

This year, my sister and I decided to make each other advent calendars. Not the chocolate kind, or the paper kind – the kind where you get a little gift every day in the run up to Christmas.

It all came about after I bought her the Boots beauty advent calendar last year. By way of a return present, she decided to pick up as many gifts as she could for under £2 each, with a slightly nicer one for Christmas Eve. She wrapped them up like a pass-the-parcel, so for every day she opened a door on her Boots advent calendar, I’d unwrap a layer of paper from my Maddie-made one.

It was nice. So this year we’re doing it again. I bought a big box from Lakeland (slightly cheaper and much bigger than the Paperchase ones at £5.99), some wrapping paper, and off I went, bargain hunting.

I think the first stage to getting gifts for under £5 is to look out for the offers. I set myself a £2 limit for every present, only going over on about 3 of them. Here are a few of the bargains I took advantage of this year, to help bulk up my calendar:

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The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Hand Sanitiser, Shower Gel, and Body Purée. £2.00, free, and £3.50 respectively, thanks to a handy 3 for 2 offer.

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Thorntons’ everlasting 4 for £3 offer also went down a treat (pun intended).

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Still buying your Lucky Charms and Peanut Butter Cups in Selfridges? STOP! Tesco and Asda now do great American delicacies at a fraction of the price we used to find them at.

This Reece’s Peanut Butter Tree was 60p, and you can now get a decent sized pack of the cups for the same price. I also picked up these Pretzel M&Ms for £1.50 (thank you Brittany for fuelling my obsession with those after our box swap!) and the Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts (I haven’t seen that flavour before over here) for £1.

Maddie had asked for some BluTack (89p) and a Eyeliner Sharpener (£1.50), both of which I grabbed at half price in Sainsbury’s. On the same trip, I also found a lovely Christmas Spice scented candle for £2. Maddie isn’t into her candles so I got it for me, but it makes a lovely gift if you’re on the hunt! Either way, if you’re on a budget, supermarkets are your friend.

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Stationery shops are also a good place to find nice gifts. I got all this from a Paperchase outlet – the little turtle push pins were only £2, and the festive gold nail wraps were reduced from £4 to £1.20. Winner. And never underestimate the joy that 99p stickers bring to grown women – especially when they feature fairy princesses and cute woodland creatures, like these do.

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Here are a few random bits I picked up. No girl ever has enough nail varnish remover, and Maddie is no exception, so this mini bottle (£1.60 from Boots) makes a useful and cute gift. Likewise, no girl can resist childhood nostalgia, so this Strawberry Laces hand wash (£1.85 from Boots) and Gingerbread Man cookie cutter (£1.29 from Lakeland) will hopefully go down well.

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When I found out that two of Lush’s bath bombs come under the £2 budget (Ickle Baby Bot and Butterbear are both £1.95) I couldn’t resist making a trip there too. I’m going to put this free sample of Buche de Noel (the most Christmassy cleanser I’ve ever seen) in one of the earlier days of the calendar due to the (lack of) price, while the nice bath bombs will come nearer Christmas. Being only £1, Lush’s charity pot has also made an appearance. Handy and charitable. We better recognise.

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Finally, I found this in Sainsbury’s for Christmas Eve. Maddie loves cutesy Tim Burton movies, and this seemed like the perfect film for the night before Christmas.

So that’s it! I’ll be wrapping up the presents tonight and numbering them up nicely. I’m very excited!

What are your top tips for Christmas shopping on a budget? Have you ever made your own advent calendar? Do comment and tell me about it!

Christmas love,

Effie xx

Bath Bomb Fail: Lush ‘Twilight’ Bath Ballistic

Lush Twilight Bath Bomb

I decided to have some chill time this week to reward myself for getting back into work so soon after getting made redundant. A lot of it’s down to the daily phone calls my boyfriend gave me during his lunch break, which sometimes made me cry with frustration, but always gave me a massive kick up the arse when it came to finding work again. Cold calling and application regimens can feel hopeless and make you quite depressed very quickly, but sometimes, a bit of tough love is all we need to get back on our feet. Thanks baby.

Anyway, after a kick up the arse helped me get back to work, it was also time to kick back and relax a bit. So I finally dug out my Lush ‘Twilight’ bath ballistic. The “fail” element from the title of this post comes from the fact that I tried to cut it in half.

We’ve all done it – chopping up our Lush products to make them last a little bit longer, but not everybody decides to chop them up on the edge of the bath. Yeah. This happened:

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Never one to waste powdered Twilight, I scooped it all up and threw the lot in the bath. The intact half that hadn’t gone skidding off the edge of the bath bobbed about merrily for quite a while, which was a nice spectacle. If it had dissolved immediately I might have been disappointed. Because it’s pink on the outside and blue in the middle, it eventually turned the bath water a nice shade of purple.

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Where the scent’s concerned, it was nice, but I couldn’t really pinpoint anything specific. It just smelled like ‘Lush’ to me. You know, the smell of a thousand bath products that hits you as soon as you walk in. That smell. Apparently though, this product is meant to smell of lavender, tonka, benzoin, and ylang ylang, to aid sleepytime.

Of course, the scent being weaker could be because I’d been keeping this bath bomb in my bathroom for a couple of months, and when I got it out of the packet it felt like some moisture might have got into it. If you buy a new one it might smell different, but either way, this product is a great way to kick back and relax. Which given the month I’ve had, is definitely what I needed!