Wednesday, 13 February 2013

New Year Spending Ban - Update

It's now been over a month since I stopped spending money I could ill afford on needless items and started to focus on saving instead. I'm overjoyed to say that since this time, I've made over £700 in sales both on ebay and via facebook. In addition, I've saved ££££s through avoiding offers on products I may well want, but definitely don't currently need.
Popping £1 in a jar each time I used up a product seemed (in theory) an excellent idea. However it was far too easy to dip into it for bread/milk/petrol/postage so I've opted for a longer term solution and popped the cash into my ceramic saving pot instead. As a result, I've no idea how much has gone in there but will keep on dropping the coins in - It'll come in as a nice treat next year. Who knows, maybe even my third trip to Paris!
I've spent just a small amount on products I genuinely needed to replace - mascara (my Clarins Wonderperfect had seen it's best days long ago) and skincare and thought I'd include these in this post, after all, I've nothing to hide and a whole lot to be proud of since making what at the time seemed to be a hard decision.
I'd had an email from Lancome  (it's worth signing up to them as now and again you get some great offers - only to be used when needed though) whereby for 24 hrs only, you could get a fab free trio with any order made.
This same trio is available free with orders over £50 using code FEBTREAT until 28.02 while stocks last.
After a little browsing, I opted for the Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara set (RRP £21) which contains a full size mascara (sold seperately for £22!) and deluxe sample sized Bi-Facial and Khol Pencil.
I'd also added the Baume In Love lip balm (RRP £20) to the order - it sounds so similar to the Clinique Chubby Sticks which I love (read my review on those here). This meant I'd get free postage and a choice of a further two sample products. I chose a La Vie Est Belle EDP mini and 2ml Hypnose Mascara.
Unfortunately the Baume in Love was out of stock. Fortunately, I still got free delivery and all my samples! A great deal for just £21.
My skincare bargain came courtesy of Ebay. For just £1.25 and postage I got this lovely selection of skincare minis: Clarins Day Cream x2, Exfoliating Refiner and Bi-Serum, Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme sachets x2 and L'Oreal Visible Lift Foundation.
I'm hoping to continue the current trend as long as I have products to use up. For the things I need to replace I'll carry on searching out the best deal and to keep my thirst for trying new things sustained, I'm entering competitions and giveaways whenever I stumble across them.
I hope all the other ladies and gents who are also on a spending ban/restriction are doing as well too, and that those that aren't still enjoy sharing my journey.
UPDATE - I've literally just finished a blog sale page (UK only I'm afraid). Here's a link for those interested....  

Meanwhile blog-lovers ....I do my best to reply wherever possible so if you like a post, please comment, and if you love one, please follow.
x Gem

Sunday, 3 February 2013

DIY - Home Made Candles

Some months ago now having done some research on the internet, I ventured into attempting to make my own teacup candles. You see these retailing for around £8 upwards each so I thought I'd see how expensive, and difficult it would be to make my own.
You'll need some essential items:
Double boiler (1 saucepan on top of another)
Paraffin / Soy Wax
Beeswax (optional but gives a more even lengthy burn time)
Wick Pins (keep the wick central and straight whilst cooling)
Dye Discs (if you want coloured candles)
Essential Oils (if you want fragrant candles)
Tea cups / appropriate vessels
Being my first attempt, I decided to opt for an ordinary, unfragranced candle. I purchased the paraffin wax, beeswax, wicks, wick pins and dye discs in a set from Ebay for around £12. Although you can also re-use the left over wax from other candles - just be mindful of the scents if using scented ones - you may not like the end result if mixing too many together!
Next, I headed to the charity shops to search out some suitable cups and saucers. I picked up a set of six for just £2.99.
I won't bore you with the details, but you can get an easy step-by-step guide on the process from this page (gotta love Kirstie!) and loads of other sites.
Here are a few quick pics of the process....
 I'd chosen 'Antique White' as the shade - as you can see, whilst in liquid form it looks more 'black tea' than white. Don't worry though, it transforms when cool. The wick will also need trimming once cool to ensure the flame isn't too high .....
When the wax cools, it creates a 'well' around the wick - make sure to keep some spare wax to one side so you can top it up and get a smooth, level finish. You don't have to do this but if intending as a gift, it'll look that much better.
And, here's the finished product.....
Pretty impressive for my first attempt if I do say so myself. What's more, it works out at less than £3 per candle too! The burn time on the candles was around 8hrs each making them excellent value.
 I've been meaning to do some more and experiment with oils this time too. If/when I get around to it, I'll be sure to update you all.
If you've been thinking about giving it a go, do it! So easy and effective and they'd make great little gifts too - just wrap some cellophane around and tie with a ribbon/bow or get a pretty box to put it in.

Now... I'm off to have a soak in a candle-lit bath....