15 March 2017

It's a bit of a weird thing to say, "products I hate but can't get rid of." Why if you dislike them so much, can you not bear to part with them? It's slightly ridiculous. Well, that's the moral of this sorry story, 4 products I never use and don't particularly like, but I absolutely cannot get rid of them...


A couple of weeks ago I talked about beauty products I love dearly but practically never use. I'm talking, I've used them once but not in years. Which got me thinking about the state of my makeup collection and how much of it I actually value.


At the moment I'm preparing to go traveling for 4 months and my main goal is to create a minimalistic lifestyle. A wardrobe that is versatile but small to fit in my carry-on bag, personal items that bring me joy and a joyfully minimal makeup bag. Fighting my way through my ridiculously sized makeup collection was a feat and getting rid of products that don't fit my minimal goal set was even harder. Especially where these 4 products come into things.


MAC // Retro Matte Lipstick, Ruby Woo


My heart is soft for this lipstick. I picked it up on my 22nd birthday, to wear to my Taylor Swift themed party later that day. What screams "I'm feeling twenty-two" more than a red lip straight out of Taylor's '22' music video! Honestly not much, but since then I haven't worn it much. The retro matte formula makes it almost impossible to apply without snapping the bullet into two pieces or purchasing the 'pre-treatment lip balm' that accompanies the range. And me being a poor student when I bought the lipstick didn't quite have the funds to buy a glorified tube of vaseline. Which means I don't ever wear the lipstick.

I can't get rid of it because it's the perfect keepsake from my 22nd Birthday and my favourite age I've been. Plus who doesn't want a rather voluptuous MAC lipstick collection, even if there is a bullet I never use.


Urban Decay // Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette


I talked about my love for the Naked 2 palette in my previous post, but the Naked 3 and I just don't get along. I have olive-ish toned skin, which disappointingly doesn't wear well with the rose, pink shades in this palette. It's a shame because I love the shades, and I'm a big fan of Urban Decay, especially their eyeshadows! Pigmentation is incredible and the range of matte to shimmers is great too. It's just these shades really don't look good on me.

But I can't get rid of it. I love being able to open my makeup drawer and seeing Naked 2 and 3 sitting side by side. I just need Naked 1 to complete my collection, how satisfying will that be. I can't be getting rid of my Naked 3 now, otherwise, I'll never have my beloved collection! Am I vain or what!



Tarte // Amazonian Clay Blush, Fearless


I got this Blush from Rhaea when she went to NYC a couple years ago. I sent her with $100 of my money and a list of things I needed from Sephora. This blush from Tarte being one of them. I picked the shade from the online swatches, which needless to say is a bad idea on any level. The shade is much, much too cold-toned for my warm skin tone and just doesn't live up to the coral pink it looked online.

And, I can't seem to part ways with it, purely for its name. Fearless. I have Fearless tattooed on my wrist and an eternal attachment to Taylor's description of the word. Therefore anything with Fearless written on is mine, til death do us part.

NYX // Matte Lip Cream, Abu Dhabi


I absolutely love the NYX matte lip creams. They can occasionally be a little bit streaky, but when applied right, they add a beautiful pop of colour to your makeup and have pretty good stay power too. The main reason I love them though, is for their soft texture and moisturising qualities. I picked this shade up when I was trying to branch out, try something new I told myself. Evidently, this shade was not for me. It's much too light and if it was slightly less orange-toned it would almost blend perfectly with my skintone itself. It's not a good look but I can't get rid of it for the satisfying way it looks in my also veluptuous NYX collection. I'm so vain it's a little ridiculous. 
It still sounds silly when I say it out loud, but do you own any products that you hate but can't get rid of? I've done pretty well at shifting the majority of my collection, but here still stands these four products that I can't bear to part with! How materialistic of me. Not that I care anyway! 

Love always,
Melissa

8 March 2017

We're three months into 2017 and regardless of the state of your resolutions, it's never too late to start working towards a new goal. Whether it's a resolution, something you've given up for lent or just something you'd like to achieve this year, I've got 5 ways you can smash your goals this year!


It's got to that point in the year now where you're either a) truly smashing your New Years resolutions already, b) off to a slow start but still dedicated to make it work (possibly using Lent to try and get the ball rolling again) or c) have completely given up altogether. If you fall into category a, then go you, I think I've got some tips to help you keep up the amazing work. If it's c, then I'm not sure how much I can help you, but you must have come here for a reason, right? And if it's b, then this is the post for you!



Be Realistic!


I get that you want to run a marathon in your lifetime or reach 250,000 subs on YouTube but you have to be realistic with your goals. Chances are you probably won't be participating in the London Marathon if you haven't excercised since your last P.E. lesson 6 years ago! 

Make goals that are possible, but maybe slightly out of reach. Something that could happen but needs motivation and dedication to make it work. Maybe to run 10K in the next year or reach your first 1000 subs on YouTube instead. It's all about pushing yourself but not killing yourself in the process.

Write them down, and pin it in plain sight


If you've got something you really want to achieve this year but think laziness will get in your way, then make sure you've written down your goal and pinned it somewhere you'll look daily. Something as small as a sticky note on your bedroom door will work. Even if you don't read it physically, you'll know what it says and start to associate your goal with it everytime you see it. If that doesn't motivate you to start working on your goals, then the guilt of not achieving will have you working harder next time!

Give yourself a deadline


There's one thing saying "my new years resolution is to eat healthy", that's great, the intention is there. But with a deadline of 12 months time, it's likely you'll find yourself saying "I'll start next moneth" then "oh the diet starts Monday" before forgetting altogether. Setting deadlines will help you achieve your goals by motivating you to work faster. Tell yourself that by the end of each month you must cut out 2 unhealthy things from your diet, this will make the transition easier but more rewarding at the same time!




Stay Focused


I love that you have 10 goals and multiple things you want to achieve this year. But unless you have no friend, sleep little and have all the time in the day, it just won't work! Consider you want to run 10K for Comic Relief and reach 1,000 subs on YouTube. Once you consider how much time, effort and dedication it needs to achieve these two things alone, then factor in your Career/School, social engagements and general obsticles life throws your way, it's just not feasible.

Stay focused, pick big goal or a couple of smaller goals that you know you can work at without restricting other assets in your life. It's better to succeed at one goal than to fail at many!

Believe in Yourself


I guess this goes back to being realistic and focused, but if you don't have faith in your ability, motivation and dedication to work hard and achieve then what's the point? Blunt, I know. But you need to truly believe that you CAN and you WILL smash your goals! Picking something you know is achievable with the hard work that you know you can give will be the most rewarding in the long run! Believe that you can do what you've set out to do!


You know, these tips are super simple and really quite obvious when you think about it! But I'd put money on the fact you disregarded most of them when you chose your New Years Resolution this year! In 2016 that's exactly what I did and got to about June before I quit my losses.


Let me know in the comments below if you have any more tips or tricks that you have been using to help smash your goals this year. I'm always up for learning new ways to kick ass!

Love always,
Melissa

15 February 2017

Travelling, even just for a couple days in another city can be so expensive. I know how it feels when you get that compelling sense of wanderlust to travel and experience somewhere new but money is short and you just can't afford it. Or so you thought. What if I told you how you could save money when buying airline tickets to make that dream trip more of a reality?


In the last couple of years, I've been lucky enough to travel a lot. Bali, Thailand (on multiple occasions), Singapore, Portugal, Rome, New York. I'm not trying to brag but thanks to these trips, I've built up quite the repertoire of tips and tricks to saving money to travel. Particularly where expensive flights are concerned.

I don't have rich parents. I don't have a well-paid job (which I'm leaving in March to travel). And up until September, I was pretty damn poo at saving money. So in the past few years, I've learnt a thing or two about buying plane tickets on a budget!



Make a habit of searching using only private browsers


When you visit a website, your browser stores cookies of information based on websites you've visited previously. New websites can access this information to learn about your browsing patterns.

In short, if you're searching for hotels in Prague and then head to the British Airways website, BA can/will use the information stored in your cookies as an indicator that you're interested in flights to Prague. It is possible for them to increase the price of flights in an attempt to improve their profits. It's unlikely that this will happen from just your search alone, however if multiple people are doing the same thing, BA would be silly not to act on this.

Using a Private Browser on Safari or going Incognito on Chrome, stops your browser from storing your search information, meaning you can guarantee the the prices you see on screen are true examples of prices for everyone!

It's all about when you travel!

Flying at times that would be inconvenient to the less flexible traveller will save you money.

Parents with children going on holiday are more likely to fly at the weekends, outside of work and school obligations. Whereas, Business men and women are likely to fly earlier in the week and in the mornings. Flight tickets for days and times less desirable to family's and business' tend to have smaller price tags.




Hand Luggage


This goes without saying, but unless you're flying halfway across the world, chances are your airline, especially budget airlines like Easyjet, will charge you more for hold luggage. On some airlines, you can save up to £50 for flying with just hand luggage!

Don't book seats!


Budget airlines make their money from looking cheap on the outside but adding additional fee's as you proceed with your booking. Such as charging up to £20 per person to pre-book seats.

If you can, consider not securing your seats until you check in. Most airlines allow you to check-in 24 hours in advance and if you're quick on the mark, you shouldn't have a problem getting seats with at least one of your travel partners if you check-in online!

Fly Standby?


I've never done this before, my anxiety would never allow for such a thing. But I know people who have, and for some, this is the only way they fly! You turn up at the airport, purchase a ticket for some of the cheapest prices and get to board on the next available plane to your destination! It couldn't be easier.

Standby fairs are based on no-show's. So when someone doesn't show up for their flight, their seat is auctioned off at a fraction of the price. It sounds like a great deal and is a great deal, as long as you don't mind waiting around. It's definitely an option for the more easy going, budget traveller.

Buying in advance


There's a lot of myth that buying flight tickets years and months in advance will get you the best deals. But in actual fact, prices tend to be higher in advance because airlines still have a lot of time to shift their empty seats! In contrary to that however, buying flights last minute won't save you much buck either because even though flight companies want to fill their seats, they'll most likely have already made enough money to profit on that flight. So last minute fairs are just brucy bonus'.

The best time to book is actually 6 weeks before departure.



Know when the sales are


Just like the best deals and bargains in your local Mall are found around Boxing Day, there are particular times of the year to search for flights too. January will see to a whole host of travel deals, especially because they know people want something warm to look forward to once Christmas is over. Another great time to book flights and holidays is in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Even though they are 'events' unique to the United States, British companies have capitalised on the benefit of sales and some of the best one's I've seen have been around Thanks Giving. We're talking £99 for four nights in Italy, flights and 3* hotel included!

Shop Around


Another no brainer. Obviously, the first search you do isn't going to be the best. Using websites like Sky Scanner and Kayak (two of my absolute favourites) are great ways to compare lots of flights from different sources all at once. STA is another good one too, particularly if you're under the age of 25.

Once I've found a good price, I tend to shop the airline website too. So if I've found a Virgin flight to New York for £310, i'll check if there is a similar price direct with Virgin. If not, giving them a ring and explaining that you've found a good deal but would prefer to shop direct normally works to secure a good deal!

Buy a Gift? Groupon?


Whilst discount websites seem like you're falling into a trap of no return, reputable ones such as Buy A Gift and Groupon are great for finding Black Friday-like prices all year round! However, always be sure to read the T&C's and be comfortable with the company your buying through.

Know your destination


This sounds silly, but knowing when the low and high seasons are at your destination could save you a lot of buck too. As much as not travelling in the School holidays will save you money for places like Europe. Destinations further afield might be your go to at this time of year. Countries in the East suffer from typhoons and monsoons, south Asia's rainy season runs from June - September so travelling at this time will be much cheaper. Monsoon season doesn't mean it's going to be raining 24/7 far from it infact!


So, still awake? This was a long one, but I really wanted to get in as much information as possible. These tips and tricks have kept me travelling around the world on a budget for the past 3 years and hopefully continue to do so this year! If you have any tips I haven't mentioned, I'd be very intrigued to hear all about them in the comments below.

Happy travelling!

Love always,
Melissa

8 February 2017

It's that time of year again where the world divides in half. Valentines Day lovers vs. those who think it's a waste of time. I for one think it's lovely and why not have a special day dedicated to those you love. Whether it be your friends, family or your significant other. This year the festivities are a little more low-key, a little less fancy and I'll be heading out straight from work, ripped jeans and all!



If there is a reason to get dressed up, you can bet I'm all game. Especially when there is time to really make an event of it it. Pop some music on, have a bubble bath and a face mask, before getting lost in the world of hair straighteners and highlight. I love it. And Valentines Day is as good, if not better reason as any! However this year, Valentines falls on a weeknight and there's nothing I quite hate than having to get ready in a hurry after a long day at work. So this year, I'm opting for an effortlessly chic date night outfit that I could totally wear to work too.

(I know ripped jeans at work! But I spend my week throwing paint at walls and climbing ladders so ripped jeans makes sense. Just work with me on this one!)

I have a love-hate relationship with ripped jeans, I love the way they look on other people but on me I feel like they look too masculine. However, with the right coordinates and accessories, they can be the perfect way to make you look cool, feminine and completely on trend.





These jeans are the Ripped Joni's from Topshop which have faded disastrously but (as much as I hate to admit) totally add to the edgy "I just threw these on" vibe we're going for. The effortlessly beautiful kind of vibe. I paired them with this satin, pink cami top from H&M which add's a beautifully romantic touch to the look. It breaks dresses up the "I just rolled out of bed" vibe so it's more shabby chic than just plain shabby. Then the chunky heeled boots say natural, approachable elegance.

It's all about the way you dress up this look. The satin top is a statement in itself, so light jewellery like this star choker subtly add's dimension to this outfit. The choker works with the ripped jeans, keeping to the edgy vibe but in a more feminine way.

For my makeup, I kept it super simple. Something that would effortlessly transform from day to night. I used the Stila Eyes are the Window to the Soul Palette to create a matte smokey eye. It's subtle enough not to be too bold for daytime but bounces well with the edgy elegant look we're going for.

WHAT I'M WEARING


This outfit is all about the ripped jeans, these are from Topshop but I recommend shopping around a little. Like Topshop prices are, these jeans were pretty pricey and believe it or not jet black when I bought them! On a more positive note, the satin pink cami top was an absolute bargain in the H&M sale for £5 but there are similar ones dotted around everywhere. Check out this one from New Look or this one from SheIn.

Like I mentioned this look isn't anything without the accessories. The bag is my staple, everyday go to Rebecca Minkoff 'Mini Moto'. It's a great day bag but looks posh enough for the evening too. The star choker is from ASOS and comes with a longer, moon pendant necklace too which you can switch in and out as you feel like it. A great addition to the outfit.

What do you think about this outfit. I love the convergence between edgy and elegance, cool but feminine! The way they work seamlessly together to create a classic, effortless date night outfit for Valentines Day. What are your plans this year? Are you spending it with someone special? Or with your best buds? I'd love to know what Valentines means to you!

Love always,
Melissa

1 February 2017

This year is traveling weird. It's only January, and I say that in an, it's only January type of way. It feels like it could be Spring already, time is traveling so slowly. But at the same time, it's not. When I think about it, it's January! I leave to go traveling in March and I still have so much to do beforehand. It feels like time is traveling slowly but there's not enough time to get things straightened out! Does that make sense?



I haven't spent much time experimenting or trying new things where make-up is concerned this month. I haven't had the time to read any new books, unless you count the Lonely Planet's guide to Iceland. I've been pretty held up juggling dates, car hire and exchange rates, that my brain has slightly turned to mush. So when I sat down to think about the products that I'd been loving this month, it didn't go quite so swimmingly as usual.

But in the midst of stress, sweat and tears, I have a few things I've been loving quite passionately this month.

Charlotte Tilbury, Matte Revolution Lipstick // Glastonberry


I have been dying, literally, to get my hands on this lipstick for about 18 months and the time finally came on Christmas morning! And it's everything I imagined and dreamed it would be. Cliche?

I'm such a dark, berry lip kind of person and at this time of year, I live in them. I have quite the collection of berry tones lipsticks and I rotate them out on a daily basis. But this lippy is just the cherry on the lipstick cake! The colour is beautiful, a light wine shade. It's matte too (my favourite) which means it goes on like a dream, stays all day and doesn't budge when you eat or drink! My kind of lip product down to a T!




Instagram


I fell in love with Instagram when I first got an iPhone when I was 17. That's back when it was only available on IOS and putting filters on your summer vacay shots was a relatively new thing. Fast forward, 6 years, I'm 24 and Instagram is being used for marketing, advertising and it's purpose for fun, photo sharing platform is long but gone.

Last year I was not into the Instagram hype. I hated the idea of theme's and being Instagram famous. I hated the stigma of having to post a certain way and at certain times of the day to get likes and follows. That's not what it was about and most certainly not why it was created. However, in the last month, I've really grown to love Instagram again. I'm not posting because I feel like I have to, I'm doing it because I took a cool shot and I want to share it. Yes, I'm encapsulating on the whole 'micro-blogging' idea, I am using Instagram as an extension of my blog, but I'm not treating it like a business. I want to love what I'm doing and last year, I was not!


Harry Potter


In December, the beauty that is Katie from Essentially English took me to London to see the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I've always loved the Harry Potter franchise, albeit I was a little late to the party and I've only seen the movies. None-the-less, I've never loved a film series quite like I love the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry! However since seeing the play, which is incredible and so magical by the way, if you haven't already, sign yourself up for the mailing list because getting tickets should be your next most important venture. Anyway, since seeing the play, I've fallen even more in love with Harry and his story than before. I've watched the entire movie series probably three times through in January alone. I know I said I was tied down with traveling research but who can say no to a daily dose of magic?

I guess I'm going to leave it there. Three things I have been truly besotted with this month, despite all the tears, sweat and heartache to finally have all my travel plans finalised. I have found solace in these three things. How has January been for you? Have you anything that has saved you from insanity this month?

Love always,
Melissa

25 January 2017

I can quite openly admit that I am a beauty product hoarder, of which is quite possibly a big problem. And being a blogger has definitely got a lot to do with it. I use the “oh, I can buy that, it's market research” excuse far too often than I'd like to admit. So much so, that I have quite the stash of beauty products that I love but never use because they swiftly got replaced by something else!


I swear, I didn't even know it was an issue until I started to clear out my stuff a couple weeks ago. I can't take it all travelling with me in March, and how unfair to leave it here, sad, alone and unused for however long I'm gone for. Half of it, I'd completely forgotten I even owned. You know you have too much makeup and it's time to shift some, when you can't remember the extent of it!

What's worse, is I've gotten into a routine of using the same makeup every day. Whilst that was a strategy I started just before Christmas to wean myself off of some of the unnecessary products that I won't have room for in my suitcase when I leave. It doesn't help admitting to my obsession. But, in going through my stash, I've discovered all of these products, I absolutely loved in the past and can't bear to get rid of, even though I never use them now!


Urban Decay – Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette


The Urban Decay 'Naked 2' was the first eyeshadow palette I ever bought. The first eyeshadow palette I ever talked about on my blog. In fact, it might have even been the first ever product I talked about (Update: It wasn't but the nostalgia is still there). It quite possibly was the product that kicked off this obsession with makeup, and there I found it gathering dust in the back of my drawer like Woody from Toy Story.

What a sad, sad story.

The pigmentation is amazing, the warm toned neutral shades work with my colourings better than any of the other Naked palettes (particularly the Naked 3 which I also found hidden in a dark corner. It's a great palette for beginners and I'm not just saying that because it was my first ever palette. There is a great variation of shimmer to matte's, granted there are slightly more shimmery shades but it's nothing overly glittery or worthy of being afraid of!

But alas, I can't be falling in love all over again because it's much too big to be taking away with me. But no way in hell am I getting rid of it either!

NARS – Palais Royal Satin Lip Pencil


This lip product I bought at the same time as buying the same pencil, different colour for someone else. I knew I'd love it from the moment I swatched it and didn't want to leave the counter with something for someone else and nothing for me. Selfish, I know.

Here's to, maybe two years later, and it's still almost as new as when I bought it. I guess I don't love the product, not really. The pencil itself is much too soft and run's down very fast. And who own's a pencil sharpener that's that big! And Palais Royal is beautiful colour but the finish is much too dewy for my liking. I'm much more of a matte kind of girl. But again, I absolutely love the colour, there's no doubt about that!

I don't think it can stay in my collection though!



Maybelline – Colour Tattoo Cream Eyeshadow


I remember a day when all of my blog posts consisted of one of these pots of pure joy. There was no beauty product I loved more than these. Back in the days when I wasn't so confident in my smokey eye abilities, came these miracle makers. Just a swipe on your eyelids and a gentle blend with a brush and you have pretty stellar eyeshadow. Somehow (and I'm not entirely sure how) they ended up with the other castaways in the back of my makeup drawer. I probably haven't touched them in almost a year!

I have 3 shades; Metallic Pomegranate, On and On Bronze & Pink Gold. They're all bold, metallic/shimmery shades so definitely won't work too well in the climates that I'm, heading too. However, I'm not letting go of them just yet. I am thinking about popping to Boots and picking up a lighter, matte shade, however, something that will fit quite nicely in my travel makeup bag.

BECCA – Shimmering Skin Perfector // Champagne Pop


There's no disguising how much I love the BECCA highlighters! I have been obsessed since I first discovered them on YouTube a couple of years ago. Back when they weren't so easily found on this side of the pond. I have two shades from the range; Champagne Pop and (my favourite of the two) Opal.

I was gifted Opal for my birthday a couple of years ago, the travel/tester version, which came with a mini pressed powder pigment, plus a mini liquid highlighter in the same shade. Whilst the colour payoff is 10 times better on the pressed pigment, the liquid version is the one that sticks around longer and is easier to apply.

I picked up Champagne Pop in New York last year because of how much I loved and used it's sister. It has much stronger, golden tones and works beautiful with a tan, but I just have so much more appreciation for Opal. It was the one I dreamt of owning for the longest time, I was gifted it by a friend and it was the first I owned of what I imagine will be many! Nostalgia has me won with this one too!

MAC – Gel Liner // Blacktrack


Gel liner is amazing, it's so much more pigmented than traditional Kohl or liquid liners and its stay power is like no other. In fact, I have had trouble getting it off in the past. However, it didn't stick around in my Makeup bag for long. You need to really dedicate time to apply this product as it's much harder to use which just doesn't cut it for day to day use. I only tend to reach for my MAC 'Gel Liner' now if I'm doing something fancy or special and really want and have time to make an effort beforehand! Which evidently, was so long ago I can't even remember!


I'm so, so shocked at how many products I have in my drawer that I value this much, particularly so much that I can't get rid of them, even though I never use them! It seems so silly to keep them here, makeup does go off after all. I'm almost positive that won't sway my decision to keep them permanently planted in my makeup drawer, just in case.

When was the last time you had a root around your makeup stash? Are there any products like mine which you love but never use?

Love always,
Melissa

18 January 2017

I love travelling, the excitement of going somewhere new, learning incredible things, seeing incredible things. What I don't love about travelling is sourcing the money to make it happen! I work in a minimum wage job, so spare money for savings is hard to come by. But after 6 months of making it work, I thought I'd share my tips on how I saved £5,000 in 6 months to go travelling. 


I've never been great at saving, I'm not one to want to skimp on gig tickets or going out to see my friends in order to put that little extra ££ away in the bank. But, when you want something badly enough, you'll do whatever it takes to make it happen! £5,000 in travel the world senses, isn't enough to be gone for particularly long, I'm predicting i'll only be away for 3 months and get to visit 3-5 countries. But I've only gone and picked 3 of the most expensive places to travel. Maybe, if in the long run, you're more sensible with your money, think visiting Asia (Thailand and Bali are the two cheapest places I've ever been) then you could definitely make your money last longer and strecth further. 

But I'm not here to tell you what to spend your money on, just how to get it...


Think Logically & Don't Go Crazy


It's easy to say "right, if I put £900 out of my £1,000 pay check into savings, then i'll make my target in no time!" I did! But you need to be realistic, how much money do you need to live, until your next paycheck hits your bank? What other commitments do you have? I'm very, very fortunate that my boyfriends parents only ask me to pay the bare minimum for rent but I also had to factor in phone bills, car expenses, lunch money etc. Then there's your social life to consider too. You'd be surprised how drastically that falls apart as soon as money is off the board.

"You will always live within your means"

Don't go bonkers, think logically about what you have and what realistically you can do with it! You will always live within your means, so if monthly expenses are accounted for, you can live on £100, then you will do it! You've just got to know your limits.

Where is your money going?


Do you know exactly where your money is going throughout the month? What about when? And specifically how much? Probably not, there's no way any normal brain can hold and access all of that information. Now, I'm sure if your serious about saving money, then this isn't the first "how to save" post you've read. And it isn't the first time someone has said "make yourself a spreadsheet." Dude, stop reading this right now and create one! Because my God does it change your life.

A spreadsheet will allow you to harness your inner organistational freak that is just waiting to be unleashed. Honestly. Firstly, write down your income. This could be the pay check from your full time job, any educational benefits you recieve, maybe you could even anticipate birthday money? Then start listing all of your outgoings; rent, phone bill, car insurance, road tax, life insurance, social engagements etc. I recommend organising these into monthly segments, especially if you have your life together enough that you can front your car insurance in one yearly sum. Then, decide if you can wittle any of it down, do you really need to go to the cinema every week? If so, is there a cheaper day you could go. My local cinema does discounts on Mondays and student discount for the rest of the week. Or if you bought your insurance through Compare the Market, there's always Meerkat Movies to think about!



Walk to Work and Take Lunch with you


It seems so simple, but I guarantee it'll make such a difference to your savings. Walking to work will save you money on petrol and parking. Taking lunch with you will stop the guilty trips to McDonalds on your breaks. This goes for eating out for dinner and even all those sneaky trips to Starbucks too.

If you're still unsure, try calculating how much you spend on these things in just one month. I'll bet you'll be shocked enough to stop altogther!

Open a Savings Account


I know, boring right! But I can't tell you how much easier it is to save when there's less money hanging around in your bank account. Sounds illogical, right? It's not though, at the beginning of each month, take that money you dedicated to save and pop it in your Savings account. Then your current account shows you only what you have left to spend. That way, halfway through the month when you're trying to decide whether you can squeeze a new eyeshadow palette purchase before payday, you don't get blind sighted by how much money you think you have. 

Don't forget about the 'Feel Good' Fund!


The 'Feel Good' fund is something I didn't think necessary in the first few months of saving. That's right, I went completely cold turkey; no cinema, no shopping, not even any new makeup. Did it work, not at all. I got half way through the second month of saving and felt so awful for neglecting 'me', that I went full shopping spectacular and blew most of the money I had saved so far! 

The 'Feel Good' fund is there to stop that from happening. When sorting out your money on your brand spanking new spreadsheet, put a little aside for down days. It doesn't have to be a lot, but factoring in for that tough week at work where you need a Friday takeaway to recharge or just a little 'well done' treat at the end of the month will have you feeling so much better. If you get to the end of the month and you haven't spent it, then amazing, that's £20 extra for your savings pot.

You know that jumper you haven't worn since 2 Christmas' ago, sell it!


I have been selling as much of my belongings as possible since I decided to go travelling. I have so much stuff that I havent used since I was about 15. Chances are your the same. What's the point in owning something that's not going to be of use to you when your away? Or something that you haven't worn/used since last Summer? It sounds dramatic, but what do you want more? Selling your car could get you to a new country, or an excursion somewhere tropical.

I have been pretty tight and stingy for the last 6 months, but I've got a nice sum of money to show for it and tickets out of London in less that 2 months time. And I don't think I'd have done it without these steps. 

Love always,
Melissa

11 January 2017

Keeping warm at this time of year can be a tough task. Especially when looking good and staying warm don't always seem to meet as one so seamlessly. But from me, the girl who is always cold, to you, I have some tips to staying warm but look great whilst doing it. My favourite, layering all the pretty knits...


As must as I love Elephants, ending up the size of one whilst trying to keep warm in the winter, is absolutely not the one. There's looking good but being bloody cold. Then there's looking, well, ok but kind of like an elephant with the amount of layers your sporting.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a layers person, as much as not looking good affects my ego and my confidence. It's not as damaging as when I'm cold and damn grumpy because of it.


Staying Warm


That's the main aim of the game, right? The hard bit.

Two layers will always be better than one when temperatures are sub-zero, or even close to. In fact, you'll be short to find me with less than three layers when it gets the height of winter. I'm almost always wearing a long sleeved top, yes not a knit but technically it counts. Followed by a thin knit, topped off with something super thick, chunky and with the highest neck I can find! And then don't even get me started on scarves, I'll layer 2 scarves in one outfit. Anything to keep that cold breeze out!

However, layers are great, they really, really are. But you could be wearing 50 layers and still be freezing if your layers aren't the right fabrics.

Cotton is off limits in the winter, it sucks hard at keeping you warm, especially when damp or wet, which, in England, isn't particularly a far stretch. Cotton is actually one of the best, if not the best fabric to keep you cool in the Summer. So definitely not an option for this time of year! Wool, on the other hand, will keep you super toasty and should be your next best friend this winter. Although it can be kind of annoying to wash, a little expensive and 100% wool blends are hard to get hold of. But if you can, investing in some key, capsule, wool pieces this year, will last the test of time.

If however, luxury knit isn't quite on you bargain buster wishlist this year, then you should have a look at Polyester blends. They're much easier to find, and great windshields too. Meaning that a big knit under a leather jacket isn't going to leave you with pneumonia when out and about this winter!




Looking Good


And I don't mean that in a sleazy, trying to hit on you kind of way. Like I mentioned before, keeping warm whilst channelling the fashionista that you are, isn't the easiest of things to do. It always ends up being; what's more of a priority. Wrapping up warm but looking like an elephant, or look amazing but freeze your nipples off in the process? Decisions.

Layering knits isn't something I see a lot of anywhere. Not on Pinterest (believe me I've scoured for it), not on YouTube and not in Magazines. Yet, it's possibly my favourite fashion styling in the Winter. And is something I pretty much live in for 4/5 months of the year! There are so many ways you can layer different styles of knits to keep yourself warm but look pretty damn good too.

At this time of year, there is a plethora of knitwear to choose from. Thin knits, thick knits, wide knits. High necks, round necks, roll necks, just to name a few. And layering them is so easy. I have two ribbed knits from Primark, nothing chunky, just simple knitted tops. Both are long sleeved with turtle-necks. One's white with frills on the neck and the other is plain beige/pink. I love wearing the pink one under the white, it hides any awkward bra showing that happens with white tops and for the most part is relatively unseen. There is just a sneak of pink showing through from behind the frills. It's very simple, very cute and can be worn with jeans or a cord pinafore!

Another favourite is wearing the same Primark, white, knit top underneath, big oversized jumpers, like the one in the picture. It's super subtle and hardly noticeable but just adds a little something to an otherwise boring jumper.

V-necked jumpers, up until this year were a big no-no for me. Why would you want a jumper that would expose your chest. No thank-you, I'm a 'wrap up warm but look like an elephant' sort of person. However this year, I totally came around to the idea of wearing thin knits underneath the v-necks. It's much more of a statement than the other style's I love. But looks very chic, very cool.

WHAT I'M WEARING


The over-sized, elephant grey jumper is from the Jasper Conran range at Debenhams, it was £45 full price but I managed to grab it for £22.50 in the sale! It's super warm with the stretched turtle neck and rolled sleeves. I paired it with a ribbed knitted turtleneck from Primark, £6 what a bargain! The cute frills on the neck just poke above the jumper above, adding for a cute touch. I have some simple leggings, also from Primark (the ones with the fleece on the inside because they're super cosy!) And some thigh high boots from New Look.

My watch was a birthday present back in 2015 and is from Olivia Burton. It has a beautiful rose gold face and Navy leather strap! My bag is from Rebecca Minkoff, which I sneakily bought on Ebay because I don't have the money to be buying full price designer handbags. I wish!

Layering knitwear is a style I covet in the Winter. It's so easy to do and so utterly underrated! How do you style your clothes in the winter to keep yourself warm? If you have any more tips, I'd gladly read all about them because the girl who is eternally cold is heading to Iceland in March. Iceland of all places and I'm determined not to let the nippy weather ruin my trip!

Love always,
Melissa