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Is The Ordinary Just Plain Ordinary?

20 May 2017
If I had to pick the most popular beauty brand of 2017 so far it would without a doubt be The Ordinary. With a waiting list of 25,000 people for their latest product, what is so special about a brand that claims to be so ordinary? Well I tried their High Adherence Silicone Primer to find out.

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I first heard about The Ordinary's High Adherence Silicone Primer when Wayne Goss mentioned it in a video. I love Wayne and his videos so when he was raving about these primers that were under £6, I had to try them! I'd also heard other bloggers mention The Ordinary's skincare which intrigued me but seeing as I was out of a primer I decided to try that first. 

As previously mentioned The Ordinary currently sell two primers with one being aimed at oily skin (The High Adherence Silicone Primer) and the other for dry skin (The High Spreadability Fluid Primer). I would describe my skin as combination leaving me to choose between the two, but seeing as my pores appear quite visible at times and with my skin getting oiler as the weather warms up I decided upon the High Adherence Silicone Primer costing me only £4 from ASOS.

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The High Adherence Silicone Primer is described as a "matte, hydrating and blurring primer, for make-up that looks higher in definition and lasts for longer. It can also be used alone as a non-greasy hydrator that reduces the looks of pores and imperfections". Unlike other brands, there are no wild claims saying that it will make me look 10 years younger or like a photoshopped version of myself, and this is key to the Ordinary as a brand. While their names may sound like the product has come straight out of the lab and it takes a bit of research to understand what some of the products do, they cut back on excessive branding to offer low cost simple products. 

Yet despite their understated claims my expectations were still high, admittedly this is not the brands fault and merely a side effect of the excessive hype surrounding their products, but unfortunately this led to my disappointment. In terms of living up to it's claims I'd say it did minimise the appearance of my pores but not noticeably, as for the appearance of my makeup I'd say it wasn't really improved, if anything my makeup looked a bit patchy around slightly drier and acne prone areas of my face. Therefore if like myself you have combination skin I would recommend only applying the primer to the very oiliest areas of your face or alternatively opting for their other primer. 

If you have incredibly oily skin and struggle to get makeup to stay in place then this primer will probably work well for you but if you have even the slightest bit of dryness this product probably isn't the one for you. 
It is important to remember that just as the name of the brand suggests, this is a simple product with simple claims and will not revolutionise your makeup routine. At the end of the day, it is a silicone based primer and not all that different to other silicone based products such as the Nivea Men's After Shave Balm. I think this is definitely something I will bear in mind when trying more products from The Ordinary in the future.

Have you tried any products from The Ordinary? What should I try next?

Eleanor xx

The Practicalities Of Fashion

4 May 2017
Why is it that all of the trends I like and want to wear are always so unpractical? Whether it be the flared sleeves that make the simplest of everyday tasks impossible or backless and strappy tops that make it impossible to wear a bra but going braless is impractical in itself especially if you often find yourself running for the bus *guilty*

But the fact that women's fashion is notoriously uncomfortable and impractical is nothing new, if you look back through the history of fashion you will notice that there are no jogging bottoms or comfortable clothes in sight. Instead we women have been putting ourselves through the pain of fashion in the form of corsets and dresses so big that you need help fitting through a door frame since the 1800's. 

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Bodysuit, Backless, Tie Back, Trousers, Pencil, Slim leg, New Look, Boohoo, Eleanor, The Lipstick, Girl, Her, Wardrobe

What I'm Wearing | Boohoo Bodysuit, New Look Trousers (Similar), Adidas Stan Smith Trainers (Similar)

But comfort and practicality isn't what fashion is about otherwise we'd all go round wearing leggings and waterproof coats. Fashion is a form of art, a way of showing the world the person you are and the person you want to be. When I wear a backless bodysuit I feel sexy without showing too much skin or when I wear a bell sleeve off bardot top I feel fun and flirty. So while I may have difficulty knowing which bra to wear or doing up the poppers of a bodysuit, when I'm in my clothes I feel good and that's what really matters.

Eleanor xx

Have Courage And Be Kind

25 April 2017
Now if you follow even just one blogger on Twitter I'm sure you will have heard about all of the drama within the community recently. With some announcing that they were going to 'out' those, or those who they suspected, had been using bots and buying followers to grow their accounts, Twitter turned into a virtual version of Mean Girls with Social Blade as their virtual burn book. Now I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of all of this drama (for my personal opinion on fake Instagram followings you can read this post that I wrote a few weeks back) but people got hurt. I saw new sides to girls that I thought were all sweetness and light. Friends were exposed as frenemies.

With challenges like this facing us, I still like to believe that there is still some heart left within the community and that the support and kindness that I first felt when I started blogging, never in fact left. But more importantly I want to do everything I can to make sure it stays.

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Tea, Dress, Spring, Trends, Frills, Black, White, Polka Dot, Girl, OOTD, Pinterest, Tumblr, Hat, Boots, New Look, Boohoo, Office, Shoes, Coach

It's a pretty well known fact that we brits are awful when it comes to taking and receiving compliments. We've nailed queuing, apologising and small talk about the weather but there is something about compliments that just gets us all in a fluster. It is this awkwardness around receiving compliments that I think also holds us back from giving them, not to mention we want to avoid coming across too keen. 

But the funny thing is, if I ever receive a compliment, I don't often think that the person giving the compliment is weird or a bit keen. In fact when someone goes out of their way to compliment me, especially in relation to my blog, it means so much more to me than I could ever describe. 

UK, Style, Fashion, Blogger, English, Birmingham, Brindley Place, Locations, Photography, Styling, Girl, The Lipstick, Her Wardrobe

Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, Blogger, Social Media, Instagram, Instafamous, Boohoo, Dress, UK,

What I'm Wearing | New Look Hat, Boohoo Dress, Coach Bag, Office Boots

Sometimes finding the motivation to blog can be hard and occasionally I find myself questioning why I do it. But every time I find myself questioning why I continue blogging, someone comes along and gives me that boost that I need. For example only a few weeks ago I was invited to a job interview and despite declining to attend, the recruiter for the company still messaged me saying that they thought my blog was excellent and they wished me all the best. Or even less than a week ago when a fellow blogger regrammed one of my Instagram posts saying that I inspired her and many others also commented similarly lovely things. 

These things and other acts of kindness I have received over the years may seem like small gestures but they mean the world to me. They make me feel proud, inspired and honestly a bit emotional in so many different ways. They remind me of the powerful impact that a simple act of kindness can have upon a person. So if I can make someone feel like that by giving them a compliment or by providing support, kindness and friendship, then I will strive to do so in anyway that I can. It may feel awkward at first but hopefully the more kindness we spread the more it will become a natural part of our generations culture.

Eleanor xx

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Guide

24 March 2017
As you may know on Sunday the 26th of March (this Sunday) it is Mother's Day! If you didn't know or completely forgot, and are now panicking about what to get your lovely Mum this weekend there is no need to worry. I've got four fail safe gift ideas that are not only easy to get your hands on but your mum is bound to love. What to know more? Then keep reading...

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Liz Earle, The, Power, of, three, gift, set, spring, cleanse, and, polish, hot, cloth, cleanser, mothers, day, guide, beauty, blogger, uk

Beauty Gift Set
Now I'd always recommend a beauty gift set for any lady in your life who loves to be pampered but one brand that has perfected the art of gifting this Mother's Day is Liz Earle. Luxury beauty brand Liz Earle is probably best known for their award winning Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, a product that forms the foundation of all three of their Spring gift sets: The Power of 3, The Glow Getter and The Wake Up Wonder Kit. Ranging in price from £19 - £45, they are great value (considering the Hot Cloth Cleanser on it's own costs £15.50), elegantly packaged and readily available from Boots and John Lewis.

Printed Photographs
With most photographs being taken on smart phones these days, it's easy to forget about the joy of receiving printed photographs as a present, so why not print out some of your mum's favourite photographs for her present this year. Whether it be of her, her friends, family, children or grandchildren she is sure to get emotional while flicking through these memories. This is something my boyfriend has done for his mum the past few years and the Mother's Day Box from Cheerz is always a winner (for a more in depth review of Cheerz check out this post). Alternatively most large supermarkets can print photographs at very affordable prices.

Spa Treatment
Now I don't know about your mum but mine is a very busy women. My mum is constantly on her feet, rushing about and often doesn't get the time to relax, so when it comes to presents we often pay for her to go and have a massage. A spa or beauty treatment gives your mum time to herself to properly relax, and while it may not be something that she thought she wanted, afterwards she will soon realise that it was something she needed. One place my mum enjoyed going for a massage was Neal's Yard, which before her friend recommended it, I didn't even realise did treatments. Check out their website or pop into your local store to see what treatments they offer near you.

Now of course it wouldn't be a Mother's Day Gift Guide without the suggesting flowers as a present. Flowers is a great present for any budget as you can spend anything from £2 to £50 for some flowers, for example the bunch of roses in the photo above were just over £2 from Lidl but still look beautiful once they've been put in a vase. If you're looking to spend a little bit more or are unlucky and are not able to see your mum on Mother's Day like myself, then flower delivery service Bloom & Wild may be the perfect solution. Ordered online and posted through your letter box, Bloom & Wild deliver beautiful bouquets that are a lot more modern, on trend and convenient than other flower delivery services, making this present a little bit different to your usual bunch of flowers.

Whatever you get your mum this mothers day whether it be flowers or photos, remember to tell her how much you love and appreciate her, because as cheesy as it is, hearing that will mean just as much, if not more, than anything you could ever buy her.

Eleanor xx

Living With Eczema

8 March 2017
Dermatitis or as it's more commonly known as Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects 1 in 12 adults in the UK*, including myself. 
While my mother had mentioned that I suffered from Eczema as a baby I didn't really think much of it until last September when I started suffering from the condition again for the first time in 18 years. Now before I go on, I must make it clear that I'm not trying to be dramatic. Eczema is not particularly life threatening and mine is a lot less severe in comparison with others also suffering from the condition but that does not mean that it hasn't had a significant impact on my confidence and life in general.

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I first started to notice the change in my skin when I found the skin on my right ring finger becoming increasingly red compared to the rest of the skin on my hand. Thinking I'd had an allergic reaction to something, I went about my day thinking that in its own time the redness would disappear but as time went on my skin only got worse. The skin on my finger became redder, dryer and itchier and no matter how much I moisturised my hands, the skin on that one finger was always flakey. The longer I left it, the more the eczema started to affect other parts of my body; the skin on my chest and around my eyes (including my eyelids). 

With the itchiness becoming unbearable and the dry skin around my eyes making my makeup hard to apply, I took a trip to the doctors where I was prescribed some 1% Hydrocortisone Cream and told to apply it in the morning and evening for up to a week, moisturising heavily in between. "Finally!" I thought "my eczema will disappear" and while it did get a lot better, it returned less than 2 weeks later. Hydrocortisone Cream is great if used for a short period of time but if it's used for long periods it can thin the skin or cause acne and rosacea among other issues. With the skin around your eyes being thin and very sensitive (and this being one of the areas I needed to use it) I was very cautious to not over use the cream or use it for long periods of time, but if my eczema does flare up really bad I will occasionally use it.

A few weeks after my failed trip to the doctors, my eczema spread even further to patches on my shoulders and in the crooks of my arms. The more it spread the more noticeable it became. I felt self conscious wearing tops that showed my arms and chest as if my skin wasn't bright red, my fake tan has stuck to the dry skin and gone patchy. I found myself covering up more but there were still patches that I couldn't hide. People would ask "what's wrong with your finger?" gesturing to my inflamed red ring finger, to which I'd have to explain my eczema and brush it off like it was nothing when in reality I'd wake up in the night itching.

As for triggers my main suspicion is that my eczema is caused by mould and damp in our university house. My eczema started when we moved in and if I go away for the weekend, my eczema significantly improves while I'm away from the house, which I don't think is a coincidence. Unfortunately despite all of our best efforts to get rid of the mould we still have mould growing in the living room. The cause of the mould is being investigated by our housing company but until we can get rid of the mould there is not much else I can do.

Through the use of lots of Oilatum moisturiser, antihistamines and occasionally hydrocortisone cream I can manage my eczema but still some days are worse than others. I sometimes still feel self conscious when my eczema is at it's worst but with gorgeous and courageous women like Winnie Harlow raising awareness of skin conditions, I feel less alone knowing that it's okay for your skin to not be conventionally 'perfect'.

While my story does not have a completely perfect ending yet, I wanted to share my story so far, to let people going through the same thing know that you are not alone. Eventually it will get better even if you cannot completely get rid of your eczema, you will find ways to live with it. I'd love to hear your stories and if you have any product recommendations then leave them down below in the comments!

Eleanor xx

The Frustration of Fakeness

1 March 2017
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that back in April of last year I faced the decision of whether to start a new instagram account, specifically dedicated to my blog. After a twitter poll and a list of positives and negatives, I started my new account but this meant starting from scratch. I had zero followers and wanted to grow quickly to catch up with similar bloggers whose accounts were 3 or 4 years old but at no point did it cross my mind to buy fake followers.

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Now nearly 10 months down the line and with 1370 loyal followers to my name, I am starting to realise that many others have chosen not to genuinely grow their account like myself, and I'm not the only one who has started to notice it. Most days I will see fellow bloggers complaining on Twitter about the frustration with high profile instagramers with large numbers of fake followers and low engagement. This is not out of jealously of their 'large' following but out of despair that PR's are sending working their way. 

Blogger Laurzrah shared on twitter her findings after she investigated how easy it really is to buy fake followers. According to her tweets, it costs about £10 for 1000 followers, to which another user responded with a screen shot of a website stating how safe and easy it was to buy followers with no repercussions. With figures like these it is no wonder many are tempted to buy the amount of followers that it's taken me nearly a year to build up, in just a matter of minutes. But just because it is tempting does not mean that it is right.

Now it is quite easy to spot an account with a large proportion of fake followers. Often I will see people with 10 times the number of 'followers' that I have but receiving similar amounts of engagement, with photos averaging around 350 likes. Yet because they have a lot of 'followers', they have brands left, right and centre wanting to work with them. Now this post is not about wanting more brands to work with me, as I understand that my account is very much in its infancy stages but instead my confusion as to why brands will work with bloggers often knowing that the majority of their following is fake?

Perhaps it's down to the fact that social media is still a relatively new concept in terms of marketing. A lot of people working higher up in marketing at brands may be of a slightly older generation and are hence may be still getting to grips with social media while to us millennials it comes naturally. Perhaps many do not realise that likes and comments are just as important as followers and instead ask their PR's to find bloggers who meet certain criteria in terms of followers but not engagement. With PR's being under huge amounts of pressure they may not have the time to check accounts for fake followers or perhaps simply do not care. 

pandora, bracelet, leather, silver, timex, black, watch, boohoo, sleeves, camel, jumper, layering, uk, fashion, blogger, instagram

layering, jumper, camel, shirt, sleeves, denim, jacket, coach, bag, nolita, styling, how to wear, outfit, ootd, celine, sunglasses, new audrey, uk, fashion, blogger

But at the end of the day, businesses are the one's who are losing out on their investment. They're paying and sending products to bloggers with a 20k following, hoping to get that following to engage with their brand. But when only 2000 of those 20,000 people are real, then only a third of those people are engaging with the account and even less than that will go on to engage with the brand, brands are not getting a very good return on investment.

Not to mention it seriously damages bloggers motivation. What's the point of me working hard to build a genuine following when Sally over there is buying followers and getting praise for doing nothing?

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What I Am Wearing | Missguided Jumper, Boohoo Shirt, Topshop Jacket (Similar), Topshop Jeans, Coach Nolita Bag, Adidas Superstars

All I hope is that Instagram does another big clear out of all of these fake accounts and these people are put back to square one. I also hope that PR's start to realise that fake followers do nothing for their business and start to work with bloggers based on levels of engagement. Until then I shall keep struggling on and being honest, knowing that I have never cheated my way to success.

Eleanor xx

My Fake Tanning Routine

8 February 2017
When I mention to people that I regularly fake tan I normally hear some comments along the line of "Why don't you just go out in the sun and get a natural tan?" or "But doesn't it make you really orange like the people in TOWIE?" When you have naturally pale skin like me, getting a real tan just never happens, instead I just get freckles or burnt. While this can be annoying I don't hate my naturally pale skin. In fact I think that pale skin can look beautiful. But I just think I look a little bit ill and washed out when I'm pale, and I find myself saying "this outfit will look so much better when I'm tanned". In general, I just feel more myself and more confident with a bit of fake tan on. 

So to maintain a glow I will typically tan every 5-7 days, letting my fake tan gradually fade but topping up it up sooner if I have an event to go to. Tanning this often I would say I have got my routine down to a T, so I thought that I would share it with you today.

Now I try not to over complicate my routine, as tanning on its own can be enough of a chore without hundreds of other steps. So there are only a few products I use over a few key steps. Depending on how much time I have, I start off by having either a shower or a bath. Personally I prefer having a bath as I find it not only relaxing but also easier to shave, exfoliate and moisturise. 
Even if I don't have any old tan left of my skin I will always start off by exfoliating my skin using a pair of exfoliating gloves. I have tried lots of different exfoliating products and while many are great at making my skin feel smooth, nothing gets rid of my old patchy tan like giving my skin a good scrub with my £1 Primark exfoliating gloves. 

The next step in my routine is to shave, now of course you can skip this step if you don't shave or use a different hair removal method instead, but not only do I find shaving the easiest hair removal method but it's also great for getting off any last stubborn patches of tan.

Now that my skin is all smooth and even I like to add moisture back into my skin using Ro's Argan Body Conditioner from Lush. While I know this is one of Lush's more expensive products at £16.50, it has honestly revolutionised my tanning routine. Basically you use it as you would a hair conditioner but instead on your body, by massaging it into wet skin and then simply rinsing it off. 
It leaves my skin feeling just as moisturised, if not more than a normal body lotion but without that awkward sticky period where you have to wait around for it to sink in before you can get on with your day. As Ro's Argan Body Conditioner doesn't leave any sort of tacky residue on your skin it makes it perfect to use on the day that you plan to fake tan because your fake tan isn't going to cling to any patches. Instead your skin will feel soft and smooth and your fake tan will just glide on like a dream.

As for what fake tan I actually use, my favourite brand at the moment has to be Bondi Sands. Bondi Sands is a mid range tanning brand priced around the £10-£15 mark but I regularly find it on offer for even cheaper. It is easily available in Boots and Superdrug and they have a good range of products from in various shades. The tan I always use is their Self Tanning Foam in Dark (though it now comes in ultra dark which I am really excited to try) as I find it easy to apply, it doesn't go streaky and fades evenly. The only issue I have with it is that it stains before you wash it off and takes a while to develop but this is typical with most fake tans. Usually I sleep with it on and wear either a onesie or change my bed to black sheets to counteract these minor issues. 

The rest of my routine is pretty self explanatory, I apply the tan all over my body using a tanning mitt, go to sleep and then quickly wash it off in the shower in the morning and then moisturise using a regular body lotion once I'm out of the shower, before repeating the whole process again in about a weeks time. As for tips one thing I suggest is to always brush your teeth and go to the toilet before you put on the tan and then go straight to bed, otherwise you risk water splashing on you and ruining your tan or staining the white toilet seat, though if you want more I've written a whole post about it.

Do you have any holy grail products or tips that make your tanning routine a lot easier?

Eleanor xx

Finding The Words

30 January 2017
Sometimes writing about fashion and beauty feels so wrong when arguably there are so many more important things going on in the world that we could be talking about. This has certainly been in the back of my mind these past few days as I've struggled to find the right words to accompany these photos that Karl shot of my outfit last Thursday. 

I could go into depth about how bitterly cold it was in Birmingham that day (hence why my hands are in my pockets in most photos) and they are slightly blurry in places from Karl shivering, or perhaps about how these boots rubbed my ankles causing them to bleed on the way to the bus stop, even though they're not new and they've never rubbed before.
I could tell you about how I wish this Pull & Bear belt was actually a Gucci belt or how I've been so obsessed with layering my summer camis with my winter polo necks but somehow it all seems irrelevant. 

Gucci, Dupe, Black, Coat, Blazer, Polo, Neck, Turtle, Cami, Missguided, Highstreet, Primark, M&S, Topshop, Office

What I'm Wearing | M&S Coat, Missguided Cami, Primark Polo Neck Jumper, Pull & Bear Belt (similar)Topshop Jeans, Office Boots (ON SALE)

But while talking about frivolous fashions feels wrong, I don't think we should stop. I like to think that my blog may provide at least one person a bit of light relief or a chance to escape (even if only for a minute) from the strange world in which we live, as I know that reading other blogs and watching Youtube videos brighten my day and inspire me. 
We can't let the tough times hold us back. Use the tough times to push you to do the best you can in anyway you can. Keep contributing positively and trust that together we can overcome injustice.

Eleanor xx

New Year Gym Essentials

1 January 2017
While I believe you can make a positive change at any time in your life, if there is something you've wanted to do but have been putting it off for a while, the New Year is the perfect opportunity to do it. Now is your time.
I know for many people their New Year's Resolution will be something along the lines of eating healthier and keeping fit. Personally my resolution is to not start but keep going to the gym (not only because I've paid for my membership) but because I've actually started enjoying it. 

Now in Secondary School P.E was not my favourite subject. While as a child I enjoyed various sports including ballet, badminton, swimming and horse riding, P.E often involved Netball, Hockey or Circuits, none of which I was particularly good at. My lack of passion for competitive sports plus my hatred for the compulsory P.E kit meant that through parts of my teenage years I avoided exercise at every possible cost. So when a few months ago Karl suggested that we both get gym memberships and start going each day after Uni, I was apprehensive to say the least. But after a bit of persuading I begrudgingly signed up and we started going for a 30-45 minute work out 5 days a week. A couple of weeks of hard work and sweat, I realised that Karl was no longer dragging me along with him but I was going because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing my stick insect arms become more toned and muscular and not having to struggle to get my skinny jeans over my thighs. I enjoyed how empowered I felt as I pushed myself a little harder each day. I enjoyed the energy boost of a great workout.

I'd become that girl. The gym girl.

But every gym girl has her essentials right? For me it starts off with some cute exercise clothes. If I buy myself nice clothes especially for the gym, then I'll want to wear them and I can only do that at the gym. My go to tends to be some 3/4 cropped leggings (I find that long leggings emphasise how skinny my ankles are in comparison to my chunky thighs), then a supportive razor back sports bra, a lightweight vest over the top and off course some comfortable trainers. While I'm not fussy about branded sportswear and will quite often buy my workout clothes from Primark, my trainers have to be proper sports trainers preferably from Nike.

Another thing I can't go to the gym without is a bottle of water. I don't like the taste of some tap water but bottled water can be quite expensive if you buy it all the time so I prefer to use my BRITA Fill and Go water bottle as it filters the water as you drink it. Not only does it make my water taste better but the straw makes it easy to drink out of, while I'm on the cross trainer, without spilling water all down myself.

While my gym does play music, I prefer to listen to my own Spotify workout playlist in the gym. Full of feel good, empowering, up beat songs it keeps me motivated throughout my workout so I can go a little longer and harder on the treadmill. But you cannot listen to music without headphones and that's why I always keep my Urbanz Sportz Headphones* in my gym bag. I don't like to spend too much money on headphones as when I've bought expensive headphones in the past I've lost them or broken them by accident, Urbanz are a nice in between, as they are good quality but not too expensive. The Sportz headphones also don't fall out of my ears when running like buds do but don't hurt my ears like on ear headphones, making them perfect for my workouts.

So is it New Year, new you? Or is your New Year's Resolution to simply keep doing the changes you made during 2016? I'd love to know whatever they are, or even perhaps what some of your workout essentials are, just let me know in the comments below!

Happy New Year! 

Eleanor xx

How To Never Pay Full Price Ever Again

26 December 2016
Having probably spent just a little bit too much over the Christmas period you may be thinking about having 'saving money' as one of your New Year's Resolutions. So today I'm sharing some tips on how to save money on the things you need to or want to buy, and with the boxing day sales starting today, what better time to start hunting out those bargains and put a few of these tips into practice.

Key Shopping Dates
While I'm not the biggest fan of conventional sales, bargain bins and last seasons stock, they can be great for getting a good deal. Personally I love key shopping dates such as Black Friday where many retailers will offer a percentage discount off the whole store. Websites like Missguided often run 50% off deals around holidays, and Office always offer 20% off at Halloween or on Black Friday, so if you're thinking of buying something try and hold out for a discount event.

Student Discount
Now I know not everyone reading this will be a student but if you are, or know someone who is, then organisations like NUS or websites like Unidays are an easy way to get money off. NUS cards cost £12(but this is soon made up for in the amount of money you save) and are available to those in college, sixth form and university. While Unidays is a free website and app available to those in university. Failing those a lot of places will give me student discount with just my uni ID card as long as it is dated.   
You may have heard of student discount but did you know that a lot of high-street stores also offer discount to those who work for the military or the NHS? So if you work in either of those professions it's worth googling what stores offer.

O2 Priority
One of the main reasons I like to renew my phone contract with O2 is because of O2 Priority. While many know of O2 priority's benefits when it comes to getting early access to concert tickets but did you know they regularly offer deals such as free hot drinks at Cafe Nero, £1 meal deals and money off at various high street retailers? To make bargain hunting easy I often check the O2 Priority app to see if there are any deals that take my fancy.

Mailing Lists and Brand Websites
Often while online shopping, a pop up may appear on the website you're shopping on saying something like "Sign up to our mailing list to receive 10% off on your first purchase" while my first instinct is often to click off this annoying little pop up, signing up can often lead to a great discount or deal. Then when you've taken advantage of the offer, simply unsubscribe from the mailing list to avoid your inbox being clogged up or tempting you to unnecessary spending. If there are no pop up deals, scroll to the bottom of the page and have a look for potential deals down there. Also chain restaurants like Pizza Express often have an 'Offers' section on their website where you can download vouchers of up to 25% off your meal, so if you know you're going out for a meal always check the restaurants website for deals before you go.

Cash Back Websites
Now cash back websites are something I'm quite new to but they have proven to be a great way to get money back on things I was planning on buying anyway. All you do is sign up to the cash back website, for example the one I use: Top Cash Back, and then shop online as you would normally but by going through the links on their website. Later a percentage of what you spent will be deposited into your account (this isn't always instant but can be a nice surprise a few months later) and then you can either have this transferred into your bank account or turn it into vouchers to use on other websites. I promise it isn't as complicated as it sounds and so far I've earned back £10 for just buying a couple of things.

This is probably my least favourite method but in the right place at the right time it can work really well. Just be warned that unless you are talking to a manager or supervisor, your average sales assistant is unlikely to be able to pull any strings. It also probably won't work on a busy day, this is because if the shop are doing well and meeting target they don't need to tempt you with discounts as they're not desperate for the sale. But if you've done your research and have the confidence to ask for a cheeky discount it can really pay off.

Don't Buy It
If all else fails and you simply cannot afford what you want, don't buy it! Unless it is an essential such as food, remind yourself you don't need it and save your pennies until you can afford it. Remember the rich stay rich by being careful in how they spend their hard earned cash, so don't get into debt or go hungry by buying luxuries, no matter how much discount you got. 

I hope you've found these tips helpful but just remember getting a good deal isn't an excuse to buy more because if you buy more than you need or were planning, you haven't saved any money at all. So set yourself a budget (don't know how to budget? Check out this post here) and stick to it.

Also I hope you're all enjoying the holidays!

Eleanor xx