Monday, 23 October 2017

Beauty Under A Fiver: Superdrug nourishing sock pack




I have long been passionate about budget beauty and skincare. For a long time I used to read blogs solely for the fact that they would tell you what products were worth spending your hard earned pennies on. Unfortunately I feel a lot of bloggers have been won over by brands and lost a little bit of touch with reality. I saw a post recently that said that they classed a budget cleanser as anything under £50. I understand that people have different budgets, but to me that is ridiculous! I work full time in the NHS and while I love my job, the pay is horrendous. I want my skincare to be cheap and effective. So every Monday I will be bringing you a budget beauty post. Luckily I have a huge stash to shop (I am a hoarder) and so I will be reviewing all of the products I already own, along with the off purchase along the way.

Firstly I want to bring to you the Superdrug foot nourishing sock pack. I was sent these a few weeks ago as part of my self care September but due to cutting my foot open on a broken plate (blame my cat) I was delayed in using them. Anyway, I finally decided to use them as part of a pamper evening and I was so glad that I did! They feel a bit weird when you put them on ... imagine one of those gloves you get at the petrol station in a sock shape and filled with moisturiser! However, I put both my feet in and secured them with the tab and put my feet up for 20 minutes while watching TV. I washed and dried my feet as per the instructions so they were ready for the mask

I used the peppermint ones and they felt lovely and cooling on my feet. I did need the toilet at around the ten minute mark and had to walk very carefully to the bathroom as they were rather slippy however I managed! When I took them off I massaged the excess moisturiser into my feet. They felt so soft and definitely a treat for my tired feet! I think I am going to use them weekly from now on! 

They are usually priced at £1.99 but at the time of writing these are currently on offer here for £1.49 AND you get a free tote bag when you purchase them! They will more than likely be featuring in my empties regularly at this rate! Although I am going to try out a cheaper brand to compare so watch this space ...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

What I thought of the Curve Fashion Festival


Outfit Details:
Top New Look
Skirt Boohoo but bought second hand
Converse vintage Vintage Scene Leicester 

On Saturday I made my way up to the Curve Fashion Festival at the Liverpool exhibition centre. Ive wanted to write a post for ages about how fashion is so much more important to me since embracing my body, but thats for another day.

Walking into the hall with anxiety was a huge deal for me. I spent most of the morning on the toilet, hyperventaliting thinking about whether to just get back into bed, but I am so glad that I didn't. I put on my tulle skirt, my cats are forever tee and my favourite vintage converse , pulled up my big girl pants and off I went.

I arrived just in time for the how to be an influencer chat with Body Posi Panda and Grace Victory, and I will admit I was completely star struck. Megan was exactly as warm in real life as she appears on her instagram and blog. They talked about the blogging industry and actually spurred me on to keep going with both my blogs (I also run Discovering Charlotte which is focused on health, food and lifestyle) as I am not here to make money. I am here to spread my message and hopefully help other people.

I then followed them to the meet and greet and honestly thought I was going to be sick in the que! They say never meet your Idols but I had a really long chat with Megan about body positivity and thin privilige. I honestly thought I could have stood there and chatted all day!

I then made my way to the VIP lounge which was my biggest dissapointment of the day. Let me tell you know the vip ticket is not worth it in the slightest for three reasons.

1. The Goody Bag. I don't like to complain about goody bags when they are freebies but when they are a perk of the upsell on a ticket I feel it is fair game. A tote bag, some low priced make up and some yours pierced earrings I could have done without. In fact the goody bags that very were giving out to everyone were much better.

2. The VIP catwalk seating. There was plenty of seating at the catwalk and so having reserved seats was neither here nor there. Also they were in blocks at the side, when I have been to other similar events they have had the front row reserved for VIP which personally I prefer.

3. The VIP Lounge. Well this was totally pants. After being sold as being decorated by debenhams there was a lot of plastic seating and again not worth the money as there was plenty of seating around the venue.

After that it was on to the shopping! I am lucky as a size 16/18 that most high street stores still cater to me (and you all know I mostly charity shop anyway) but I was really excited by a few of the brands there! Firstly I bought a gym top from OBD Clothing which I am waiting to arrive (and will feature in a post when it arrives)

I also discovered two new to me brands Apples and Pears Clothing and Plus Equals. Apples and Pears were having a sale but I just felt too hot and sweaty to try anything on even though most brands had changing rooms. Plus Equals are the brand of my dreams which sequins, feathers and all the bright colours. However they are a little out of my price range so I will be keeping an eye on them for special occasions and when I want to spend a little more.

It was also really nice to see online retailers such as Lindy Bop, Very and Navabi as I could really feel the quality in their pieces. Again i didnt have the budget to purchase anything but I know now that in the future I would be happy to purchase from these brands online.

I didn't hang around after this, I was too hot and I just needed to get out. I am sad that I missed Megans book signing (I did buy her book though!) but I just couldnt stay any longer. All in all I am hoping to go again next year, but next time I will stick with a standard ticket, VIP was not worth it.

Did you go to the Curve Fashion Festival? I would love to know what you thought!

Charlotte Lucy

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Spending Diaries: What Happened.

Hello!

So I wanted to come back today and tell you why I stopped my spending diaries. I am really struggling to write this today because I don't want it to sound like excuses, but I have been spending a lot more than I should have been recently and I have been almost embarrassed to post it.

I was working 50 hour weeks to pay money off my credit card which was fantastic, only as someone with chronic health issues I was basically just running on empty to get my credit card paid off. I was trying to spend less and less and I just wound myself tighter and tighter like a spring and then ricocheted into a massive spending spree. Well, I say that actually it's not as bad as it had once been but I started buying rubbish online I didn't need. Convincing myself that eating out every day was fine because I was working hard. My mental health plummeted and then I just felt awful. Then when I thought it couldn't get worse I was hospitalized in immense pain.

You may or may not know, but I have IBS and I have also had problems with ovarian cysts. I had this sudden onset of pain in my left side and coupled with low blood pressure and a very fast heart rate I ended up being admitted to the Gynae unit on a lot of painkillers. I had a scan and they found cysts again, but not as large as last time, so the consultant said hes pretty sure I have endometriosis. The only way to confirm this is having another laparoscopy which he isnt keen to do because I already have so much scar tissue that could be contributing to the pain. So for now I am going to start back on the pill and treat it as endometriosis with follow up scans in 4 months and possibly more surgery in the not so distant future.

ANYWAY  

I have got to put my health first. This has meant having a couple of weeks off sick (and therefore on no pay) and also I have had to reduce my hours so I am going to be on a reduced income. As my interest free period ends on my credit card next month I have used some of my house savings to pay it off. So my current goals are:

1. Rebuild up my house savings

2. Pay off my anniversary holiday

3. Reduce my food spend.

4. Make some more money from home!

So there you go if you have made it to the end of this post well done I  know it has been a bit of a ramble but I wanted you to know where I am at. Leave me links to your favourite money savings and money making blogs because this girl needs serious help!

Charlotte Lucy.  


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Thrift List - July


 OK, so we all know by now that I failed my spending ban right?

I am someone who doesn't have expensive taste, but I LOVE fashion. I have considered and considered and considered a capsule wardrobe but it just isn't for me. However I realised my way of shopping was frantic and haphazard (like most of my life really). I started the Buyers Archive to track my spending and then forgot at the end of each month what I had bought, I have tried giving myself a budget which never works before I feel I have to spend it all and get as many pieces as I can for that price.

So I am trying a new approach. Each month I am going to put together a thrift list. Items I am actually looking for, probably inspired by bloggers I am not going to lie! At the end of each month I will decide if the piece moves onto a master list if I still want it and haven't managed to get it!

This first list may be a little longer as I have been saving fashion posts since May!

So what I am I looking for in July?

Yellow Dress.

I think that La La Land started this obsession but even before that I used to have this yellow dress that I paid 99p for and took every time I went on holiday, however after a good few years the colour had faded and sadly it had to go. So after falling in love with Emma Stones dress, I then spotted the lovely Hayley in a beautiful yellow dress and it ignited a fire within me! I am torn between buying this ASOS number or this New Look one, but I need to shop around.

Colourful biker jacket.

I fell in love with my biker jacket that I managed to get for £4 at the beginning of the year but it just doesn't seem summer appropriate. I saw this gorgeous red one on Lolly and then my gorgeous friend Sophie sporting this pink one and I have been on the hunt ever since. I know a lot of them have been around on the high street (New Look had a fabulous range as did Quiz) but so far I haven't found the perfect style and fit for me.  

Knee length denim skirt.

Preferably button down the middle and has to have some elastic in the waist. I am not fussy right? I used to have quite the collection of skater skirts but since I have gained weight they still fit round the waist but are pretty much obscenely short. I can't even find an image of what I have in my head! But that said I will know it when I see it *makes a little wish to the charity shop fairies.*

Fitted Denim Jacket.

Over the last year or so I have picked up two really perfect denim jackets but they are both over sized and I just can't make them work with maxi dresses. So I am looking for a denim jacket that fits well. I also have a really great patch that I want to iron onto it so it has to be good to make that commitment!

Vintage Converse.

This is something I have always been on the look out for! Either converse or converse style shoes, I bought some rocket dog ones at the beginning of the year with beautiful daisies size 6 though and they are too small so I will be selling them if anyone is interested. I have a pair of white ones from new look that I am wearing to death at the moment so I would like a bit more variety. 

So that's what I am looking out for this month. Do you have things in mind you want to buy? 

Charlotte Lucy

 



 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

June Competition Wins!

You may or may not know that comping is one of my latest favourite hobbies! Inspired by the likes of SuperLucky Di and Victorias Vintage I have started entering lots of competitions! I think one of the misconceptions about compers is that the win loads of prizes without much effort! I tend to enter competitions on twitter mostly and others during my commute but I would say on average I enter about 50 a day at the moment. I don't enter everyday and I only enter things I REALLY want to win (this might sound obvious but when I first started I entered every single one! So I thought each month I would show you what I have won this month ... so here goes!


Pizza party for two at The Exchange 

Local competitions are always good to enter, they dont tend to get hundreds of entries because I suppose by the time people have factored in travel expenses etc it just isn't worth it. However I was really happy for the prize! I took my friend Kirstie and ever since we have been saying we need to go back for pizza! It was even in my foodies favourites!



A Brothers Cider festival pack 

Well ... I was supposed to be going to a couple of festivals this summer but now I am not sure I am going due to time and money restraints but still this kit contains a lot of useful things (I mean hello litre of cider, toiler covers and a torch!) 



I have been looking for a nice rug for my bedroom Yoga area for ages but they were all so expensive! So I was over the moon to win this wonderful soft one from Wilsons floor on twitter. It arrived so quickly and I have already had a couple of yoga sessions on it!

I am still waiting for two prizes so hopefully I will include them in Julys round up!

So thats it for this month! I didnt comp every day, and my July goal is to enter at least 25 competitions everyday maybe more! I enter all the twitter competitions on my normal twitter account (Charlotte_LucyG) and I know some people have seperate accounts, so if you are interested in some twitter retweet competitions feel free to follow me over there!



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Fast Fashion Fast: Part 2.



If you haven't read my last post, you may not know that I am following Verena Erin's fast fashion fast and today I wanted to talk about why I shop. If nothing else my no spend challenge which I have had to dramatically alter has shown me that shopping has just become something I do for the sake of it. To kill time but also because when I feel mentally drained its like a sugar fix. I used to binge eat and while I am not completely cured from these habits I have found that shopping has almost replaced it as my crutch.
As a result I have a wardrobe full of clothes that don't get as much love as they should, a pile of books to be read and boxes full of the latest skincare that, realistically could probably last me a lifetime if they wouldn't expire. Like I said in the other post I don't really shop fast fashion much anyway, but fashion in general I love. One of the things I really regret buying was a two sizes too small Cath Kidston tee from a charity shop. I think when I bought it it was to slim into, and now I have embraced my body this is no longer even part of my life plan. So why is it still hanging in my wardrobe? I can't seem to let go of it! So actually if any of you reading this want a size 10 blue teapot print Cath Kidston tee let me know, It could do with a good home!
I went out for lunch last week with my friend and minimalist Rebecca and I was telling her about how I have this all or nothing kind of mentality when it comes to practically everything in my life. So my instinct was to take a black bag and just empty my whole wardrobe. However I know that purge would lead to inevitably me three months down the line realising that I had discarded all my autumn winter clothes and then needed more.
So instead I am taking a slow but sure approach. I am going to keep a list in my bedroom of clothes that I want to add to my wardrobe. I am then going to go hunting only for these items, I realise I love the hunt. I love rooting through charity shops looking for items, but at the moment my mindset seems to be that I see the day wasted if I don't buy anything and that's what I need to change!


Are you taking part in the fast fashion fast? I would love to see your posts below!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Spending Diaries: Three

Last week went really well but because I had to buy my glasses etc it still feels like I spent a lot! I am thinking about setting myself a challenge this week (along with my frugal food week) to spend no more than £30. Let see how it goes ...

Thursday

00:15 - Money goes in. This is always the danger zone for me as I end up on amazon and there are a lot of books I want out at the moment. I have a browse but dont even log in as I know I won't be buying anything. My mind goes into overdrive trying to see if I can buy anything that I can justify as an essential.


08:00 - Finish my four nights! Im really really tired but it will be worth it when I get paid next week. I transfer money into my holiday and house savings and pne of the girls I was working with gives me a lift home which saves me waiting for the bus!

08:45 - Theres a knock on the door and its a parcel of bone broth from Ossa Organic that I won in a competition! Can't wait to try them this week. I decide to get into bed and watch youtube!

16:05 - Forgot to set an alarm and just wake up. Oops. Start thinking about dinner. I REALLY want a takeaway but thats not going to happen. I might have burgers.

17:00 - Tom got home and decided that he wanted a carvery for dinner and said he would buy mine too. I know this really defeats the point of the spending ban, but hes not on a ban and I really wanted carvery so I accepted the invite so we went after voting.

20:45 - Back home and in bed watching telly. I genuinely spend so much time in bed, I love it.

Total: £0.
I can't believe how many non spend days I am having. I only worked 20 hours last week and usually I would use that as ana excuse not to put money in the savings as I would tell myself I couldn't afford it.

Friday

08:15 - Wake up with mixed feelings about the election results.  Try not to think about and carry on regardless.

11:15 - I meet my friend Kirstie in Leicester  I go round primark and the pound shop with her and I am suprised really at how little I want to buy. I am tempted by baragin toiletries but knowing I cant buy them keeps me going. We pick up my glasses which I paid for last week and I am really happy that they come with a hard case! Small things ey?

12:30 - We head over to The Exchange because I won a Pizza Party for two on one of their social media which honestly couldn't have come at a better time. I know I am only on week 2 but I am missing lunches out. The pizza was delicious and I will be going back again as soon as the spending ban is over!

13:30 - After lunch we have a walk around the shops and Boots is my weakness. I leave behind the sleek matte me lipgloss thats reduced to £2 and also the half price batiste dry conditioner I have been dying to try but I resist. One of the things, we have both been decluttering and have done a little product swap (which will be on the blog soon) so without spending a penny I have some new goodies to try and so does kirstie! We also make a stop at the library and I pick up a Joe Wicks recipe book as I love the idea of 15 minute meals - though having a flick through it there doesn't seem to be many budget options!

15:30 - I have noticed that using my highcross plus app I can get a free smoothie and so thats what I do! I order the fruit salad and it is sooo good!

16:30 - I get the bus back home! After having a look in the fridge we have some cheese burger melts that need eating so for dinner I defrost some burger buns and find myself a veggie burger and tom a normal burger and topped with a few gherkins thats dinner sorted.

19:30 - After a bit more decluttering (I am on a mission here) we get into bed and make use of our netflix subscription, watch movies and eat cheese and chutney in bed.

Total: £0.
I know I wont be able to win lunch every week but this was fun!

Saturday

12:48 -  I didn't set an alarm this morning and I have just woken up. I feel really groggy like I have had too much sleep but carry on regardless.

13:30 - We take a load of cardboard and metal to the tip that we have been hoarding in our garden for ages! Usually we would have to motivate ourselves to go somewhere like that with the promise of breakfast out or something but actually the thought of getting our house into some kind of order is spurring me on. I really let my house slip into chaos when my depression was spiralling downwards and now I feel much better getting it into order.

14:00 - We go to morrisons to do the food shop this week because I need to stock up on cat food and their 48 pack seems to be the cheapest I can find at £8.75. We also buy gardening shears £4.99 and 24 cans of coca cola £6 (I want to curb this addiction but slowly does it.) The rest of the food shop comes in at £29.42 and includes some reduced fish pie mix for lunch tomorrow and a bottle of red wine so I am pretty happy with that!

17:00 - For dinner we have a coupld of whoops pizzas from the back of the freezer and to be honest the co-ops own one hasnt frozen well and goes a bit hard when cooked. Well you live and learn.

19:00 - We leave the house for the cinema (We already have cineworld unlimited cards which cost £17.40 a month) and for the first time since I was on Slimming World I take my own snacks from home so don't spend a single penny! We chose to see my Cousin Rachel and it was the most boring film I have seen in a while. Although I think it would win an award for the most awkward sex scene in a movie ...

22:30 - Get into bed to watch telly. Drink the bottle of red wine and eat cheese and chutney ... we really know how to spend a saturday night!

Total: £49.16
I have set myself a budget of £50 a week for food and groceries and this includes the cat food which will last more than the week and so I am happy with that!

Sunday

10:30 - Slightly earlier to rise this morning! Tom makes my favourite breakfast of eggy bread using the eggs that need using up and bread from the freezer. Sit in bed for a while watching the news and entering competitions (trying to win myself a free holiday ... a girl can dream right?

12:30 - Put the reduced fish pie mix, reduced can of sweetcorn (It had a dent in it), baby new potatoes and Ossa Organic fish bone broth (that I won in a competition) into the slow cooker to make a fish chowder for dinner. I cant wait!

14:30 - Ive been doing loads of laundry when I realise we have pretty much run out of washing powder, bleach and you know cleaning supplies in general! We also need a saw to cut down so wood in the garden. We got to B&M and come home £19.52 lighter.

And then I stopped writing.

I wanted to be completely open and honest but i genuinely think I have taken on much more than I can cope with at the moment. Coming off my antidepressants, increasing my hours at work, the spending ban, the declutter. It has all been too much and quite honestly I am not sure what to do with myself right now.






Monday, 12 June 2017

The Fast Fashion Fast


A week ago I signed up for The Fast Fashion Fast.  

I feel like as a blogger who champions charity shopping you might think that this is a waste of time for me, and that I have already got this thing down but you would be wrong. There are two things that I need to tackle fully when it comes to fashion.

1. I need to fully stop supporting fast fashion.

Although I buy the majority of my clothes from charity shops I am guilty of popping into primark, new look, h&m etc and buying bargains. Recently when I was in Ibiza I bought a hell of a lot of statement t-shirts from bershka, mango and pimkie and I did it on impulse. I tend to buy my shoes from New Look and I buy lots of pairs I don't need. 

2. I need to minimalise my wardrobe.

Despite the fact that I have been taking bags and bags to charity shops my wardrobe is still full of things I don't wear! I am starting to put outfits together I want to wear but I need to stop buying things until I have a streamlined version of what I actually want to add to my wardrobe and shop JUST for that.
So that said I am taking this challenge further. For the months of June, July and August I will be participating in a fashion fast. Thats right, no clothes, shoes or accessories for the whole three months. The only exception to the rule is when I am in London at the end of July I am hunting for a really cool pair of vintage converse. 

Are you taking part in the fast fashion fast? I would love to know how you are getting on!

Charlotte Lucy


Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Spending Diaries: Two

After the shock of how much I spent last week I was REALLY looking forward to starting a no spend 6 weeks! I thought it would be such a good idea to have a 6 week no spend to kick start my journey into spending less on things. I think the thing I am going to miss the most is my eating out. So many times I finish at the gym or the library and think I will treat myself to lunch when going home to eat would just make so much more financial sense!

I am not very good at planning and so this will be something that I really need to work at!



Thursday

09:30 - Let myself have a little lie in this morning after I felt so rubbish last night after my opthamology appointment (I went to bed at around 9 and usually watch telly in bed but because of the pain in my head I needed silence and darkness.)


10:22 - Get the bus into town equipped with snacks (Including blueberry muffins I got from the co op a couple of days ago for 22p for four.) I have my library books to take back so I dont get a fine and I hope to go and sort my glasses out.

10:45 - I realise I have left my debit card at home, so I have no money. Although I know that I am on a no spend it sends me into a complete panic. What if I NEED money? I rationalise with myself that there will be no need for money. The library is free, I have snacks and water, My gym is paid for and I have my bus pass. Its going to be fine.

11:45 - Arrive at the gym and sit in the jacuzzi for a little bit before aqua yoga. Once again my right breast spends the whole time trying to escape from my swimming costume. I think about buying a new one on the way home. Remember I can't. Wonder if it counts as an essential ... it probably doesn't so I stop thinking about it. Fill up my water bottle before leaving the gym and get the bus home! Eat some aldi cheese curls on the way.

14:00 - Get home and have dinner. Avocado (again a yellow label bargain, 68p for two) that needs eating with cream cheese on chia and seed crisp things from aldi. So far I'm enjoying eating at home etc, but my mind is on overdrive. I dont think we think much about the psychological side of spending but I might have to write a post about it.

15:22 - I'm back on the bus into town to get my glasses sorted, £25. I also pop into marks and spencers and then tesco to pick up some yellow label bargains £7.48

19:00 - Go to aldi and morrisions with Tom and spend £38 It seems like a lot of money but actually ive stocked up on a lot of cupboard essentials and things and at the moment food isn't one of the things I want to scrimp on. I am trying to sort out my diet and find out what foods are triggering my IBS.


20:00 - Make dinner at home which consists of a reduced price chicken katsu curry, stuffed peppers and reduced price steamed buns! The meal comes in at around £4 ... much cheaper than a meal out that we would usually have had! While its cooking I also attempt overnight oats for the first time too ...

21:30 - Bed with a headache again!

Todays total: £70.48
Ouch that seems like a lot. I wont spend as much on shopping each week and also I wont need to buy glasses every week!


Friday

08:00 - Up early for a doctors appointment! I have a slight panic when I look at my bank account and see I haven't been paid. Its ACTUALLY because I opened and switched to a new tsb account (because Martin Lewis told me too) and its actually in my new account. Panic over.

08:57 - I am home! Change of medication again. I feel a bit pants, mentally and physically which I think I have let the stress of the week get to me. Usually I would take this as a sign to go all "treat yo self" with lunch out and shopping but instead I climb into bed with my overnight oats (which are delicious by the way and from Madeleine Shaws a year of beautiful eating I borrowed from the library) 

10:00 - I have been listening to the budget and cents podcast and its inspired me to start decluttering! 

12:19 - Two rubbish bags and two charity shop bags later I take a break for a snack (shapers bar, apple and a bottle of water all from my fridge!) and turn on youtube for a bit of light relief. End up signing up to My Green Closet's summer fast fashion fast as lord knows I have too many clothes anyway and also I want to move away completely from fast fashion.

15:00 - Still decluttering but really should be getting ready to go out! I am going to the Curve tonight to review the boy in the striped Pyjamas.

16:22 - Just about make it onto the bus! Nana is coming with me and she treats me to a wetherspoons dinner! Then we head off to the theatre.

18:30 - Arrive and get our tickets. These are given to me in exchange for a review on my blog which you can read here 

21:30 - After a few tears Tom picks us up. Im really hungry and would normally have a mcdonalds stop as I didnt bring any snacks with me ... I am really good though and wait and have toast when I get home! I get into bed to write my review and although there are some sale emails in my inbox I click off and watch telly before going to sleep.

Total: £0.
I spent nothing today! I can't believe it! I was lucky to have nana take me to dinner and press tickets to a show, I think its going to be harder on days when I am not actually busy. However I still have a lot of decluttering to do so hopefully I can keep myself busy. 



Saturday

09:00 - Wake up and watch a few vlogs in bed. Normally on a weekend we like to go out for brunch but we aren't today and so tom makes us eggy bread and crispy bacon ... much cheaper than we would have paid for it if we had gone out! I am at work this afternoon so I need to get my lunch packed and sorted. 

11:00 - Head out to work with a packed lunch, snacks and drinks in my bag! There's a fiver burning a whole in my purse and I am determined not to spend it. Not to let it tempt me.

20:00 - Finish work, straight home to cook tea. Normally I would grab a take away but no, I have food at home (aldi pulled pork, cheese coleslaw, corn on the cob and brioche buns) It tastes BEAUTIFUL.

21:00 - In bed watching legend. Chatting to a couple of my best friends and more importantly ... not shopping.

22:15 - I feel like I can't not mention the horrendous events unfolding in London. I want to instead commend the police for containing the situation within 8 minutes. Our emergency services are world class.

Total: £0.
I couldn't tell you the last time I had two no spend days in a row! Being at work certainly helped.


Sunday

09:58 - Wake up naturally which feels really good to do! Pop to the co-op to get milk and potatoes £2.89 then sit at home and eat a vanilla danish (my favourite) with a coffee from my dolce gusto machine while catching up on youtube, reading blogs and planning this weeks content.

13:00 - Do a bit more decluttering and then try and get the dinner in! We're having roast chicken and some reduced veg I picked up at morrisons on Thursday for 9p

15:00 - get into bed to watch YouTube and fail at having a nap! 

19:00 - go off to work packed full of goodies and with no cash! Let's do this! 


Total: £2.89
This could have been slightly less if we didn't get the danish. BUT it was bought out shopping to consume at home so I don't think it breaks the rules.



Monday

08:00 - Finish my night shift and head straight home. Do not pass go, do not collect £200. I get in and get straight into bed with the hubby for 10 minutes before he leaves for work.

13:00 - Wake up in a panic that I haven't set an alarm. Set one and go back to sleep.

16:00 - Get up properly,. take all my supplements and then throw some quorn nuggets and potato wedges into the halo fryer. Also get a toad in the hole out of the freezer (57p Bargain from weeks ago) to defrost for tomorrow night.

18:00 - Buy a can of cherry coke on my way to work 99p which is breaking the ban but I have been craving it so badly and that's my excuse! Come to work armed with naked noodles, overnight oats and plenty of snacks all from my own kitchen!

Total: 99p
A small price to pay for the sweet sweet nectar.

Tuesday 

08:00 - Finish work at the hospital much further away from my house. I have to go through town and I am tempted by marks and spencers but I don't! I go straight to the bus station and home to bed!

16:00 - Wake up, cook dinner, make overnight oats. Get the bus to work!

Total: £0
 Today was really really easy.

Wednesday

08:00 - I want a McDonald's breakfast so badly I have to get the bus instead of walking through town because I know that if I smell a sausage mcmuffin I wont be able to resist.

09:00 - Get home and have a bacon sandwich. Worth it.

17:30 - I had a lie in today and get up and have a £1 whoops pizza out of the freezer. Forget to make overnight oats for work but just fill my bag with snacks and drinks from the fridge and cupboards!

19:00 - Go off to work!  

Total: £0
I think I am getting the hang of this!

Weekly total spend: £74.36

Groceries: £48.37
New Glasses: £25
Food and Drink Out: 99p

I am really proud of this! Yes I slipped up on that can of coke but compared to what I spent last week this is worlds apart. I didn't just mindlessly spend money either! I managed to pay money into my house and holiday savings as well as paying £100 off my credit card! I am really excited to get going on week 2, which is going to be frugal food week (check back tomorrow for more details!) LETS DO THIS

Charlotte Lucy   


 
 

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Shoestring Chic Spending Ban.


I am a shopaholic. I have said it before. I think I am being frugal, and thank god really that I don't have more expensive taste. I will see that there is something on offer, say body lotion, and buy it thinking that is really a good offer. When I get it home though and add it to my collection of the other unused, bargain body lotions I see how cluttered my life is. I have always been a shopper, right from children there was a difference between me and my brother. If he had £5 pocket money he would save up for something. I on the other hand would want to spend it straight away and get as much for my money as possible.

I'm a bit like a magpie I suppose. I go wondering round the charity shops and things catch my eye. I went through a stage of buying clothes to slim into, which ended up with my having a wardrobe full of clothes that just didnt fit and leaving me feeling more and more miserable with how I looked. When I decided to embrace my body I then started going out and replacing these things with clothes I loved and fit my body, but I didnt really think about what I needed, instead buying beautiful dresses at bargain prices that weren't totally practical for every day wear.

I know something has to change and it starts now.

From right now I am on a 6 week spending ban. I am an all or nothing person by nature and I know the risk of this is that at the end of the 6 weeks I will boomarang back to spending like its going out of fashion. However, during this 6 weeks I have goals and I am also going to be reading a lot of financial blogs etc to see how other people manage there money (feel free to leave me your favourites below!)

My Goals:

1. Pay off as much of my credit card as I can.
2. Declutter my house and only keep things I love and/or are useful.

3. Research some ways to increase my income.

4. Look into cutting down my food bills!

What Is Allowed To Be Spent

  • Food. But no eating out, takeaway coffees, bottles of water ... Everything I eat or drink must be purchased to be made at home. 
  • Toiletries. But only if I run out of something completely (which trust me is not likely to happen.
  • Bills etc. I have cancelled any unneccasary direct debits (my latest in beauty box for example) but things such as my pet insurance, prescription costs, rent etc still must be paid!
And thats it! 

I am not doing this alone either. I have three bloggers who are also joining me on this challenge! and they are. I asked them for there motivation behind doing this challenge and these were their replies: 

Beth (Twitter: @toastywrites)
I recently watched the Minimalism documentary and the idea of everything you own having purpose and value really struck a chord with me, so I'm trying to be more picky about everything I spend my money on. I'm getting much better at not impulse buying extra beauty products - although it still happens more than I'd care to admit - and my real downfall is food. I cook from scratch as much as I can, but the temptation to order in or buy extra snacks often gets the better of me and I'd like to be less wasteful.

Bronagh  (Twitter: @BronaghLoves)

My main motivation for doing it is; I've just moved in with my partner to our first flat. We don't know what money will be like, so doing a challenge like this will encourage me to stop spending randomly & ensure I learn to save properly. 

Nikki (Twitter: @MissSparkles81)

I am really looking forward to taking part in this challenge. I am in the process of selling my house so trying to save as much money as I can for a deposit.

If you would like to take part please feel free! From next week I am going to be setting a challenge each week so even if you arent taking part in the total spending ban but would like to challenge yourself each week again feel free! I am going to be keeping a weekly spending diary which will go up every thursday and if you would like to share anything on twitter or instagram i will be using the #Shoestringspendingban 

Charlotte Lucy



Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Spending Diaries One.

I have thought for a while that I am good with money. I pay my bills, I put money into savings, I am a fabulous bargain hunter. However I feel that I am not getting anywhere. I feel like my house savings aren't growing how I would like them to, I don't feel I can travel as much as Id like to and I know that I don't cook at home as often as Id like to.

So, inspired by the refinery29 money diaries for one week I decided to write EVERYTHING down. Here's what happened ...



Thursday

00:37 - Just been paid! Sent £100 off my credit card straight away, put £40 towards my one holiday and £50 into my other holiday fund. (I know two holidays!) Then paid £50 into the house savings. I want to up this and as soon as I've paid off my credit card I will do!

04:06 - I find myself on Amazon looking at something that I could really do with (hint it's for a future career progression plan that I don't want to jinx by telling too many people yet!) but £18.87 later!

10:03 - find myself missing my body balance class because of the stupid bus! But decide I'll go to Aqua yoga instead but hat leaves me two hours to kill, so decide to go to 200 degrees coffee house and get a latte and a goats cheese and roasted vegetable croissant which comes to £6.40.

12:00 - Aqua yoga, swim and sauna time ... included in my monthly gym costs (£35)

13:15 - Trip and fall into some charity shops and come out with a shirt and a book for Tom £3 and then take myself to Mrs Bridges for lunch. I don't usually have two meals out in one day and preparing my meals for gym days is something I really need to work on! £6.90

16:00 - Get home and fall asleep watching telly! Well I have been awake since 5pm yesterday!

18:00 - Tom gets home and comes and wakes me up and asks if we want to go out for dinner, his treat, of course I am not going to turn this down am I? We are both embarking on the no spend challenge together from next Friday and so this won't be happening for much longer! Also pop to tesco while we are out and come out with 2 cartons of Orange juice, 2 packs of Oreo thins which were on offer and a jar of gherkins which we had run out of! £3.90

20:00 - I'm in bed watching trolls and find myself browsing the Cath Kidston Dalmatians range. I really want a cardigan and a dress but cant definitely not justify the £130! Try to justify spending £10 on a mug but decide I can't so shut the page down and snuggle down!

Total: £39.07.
It did not feel that much as I was going along!




Friday 

08:15 - wake up and REALLY don't want to get out of bed! I'm not a lover of the hot weather but I'm supposed to be going to yoga and meeting My friend for lunch 

09:00 - should already be on the bus but I'm still not ready so I won't be going to yoga.

10:00 - Get the bus into town. I don't drive and kindly my husband buys my monthly bus pass (he earns a lot more than me) I buy two books from the age UK shop £5 only one is fully justified and then pop into Bru for an iced coconut latte £3.70

12:00 - Head down to The Exchange where to support a charity in Gambia they are giving you a free drink for donating a bra (A cup for a cup) So I drop some off and stay for my free cup of tea. I head to where I am meeting Kirstie for lunch via superdrug and buy some talc 99p as I am getting the chub rub only to leave it on the till in there! I am not sure how I did that!

13:00 - After a browse around the British heart foundation we head to Prezzo for lunch. We have a voucher for 30% off and so I treated myself to the lobster tortellini and a gin and elderflower drink. Mine came to £15.49

14:00 - This is where things start adding up, and actually writing this has really shocked me because we went charity shopping, and no individual item was over £3. However I spent £12 in Age Uk, £6 in the other age uk, £5.50 in the British Heart Foundation and £5 in cancer research. Without really putting much thought to it I had just spent £28.50 I then went to boots and bought a wet brush and a couple of shapers bars because they are sooo tasty. £13.99

17:00 - After all the shopping we decided to go to Gelato Village which was sooooo worth it! £4.10

17:45 - On my way to the bus station I popped into TK Maxx to get my husband some mustard he likes (Its cheapest in there) and came away with that, another jar of mustard a fridge organiser and a pack of sheet masks. £15.95

21:00 - After a long drive to my parents house we decide to get a Papa Johns for dinner. We order an XXL to share and some sides and it comes to £24.65

Total: £112.37
I actually feel sick writing that. I had no idea I was spending that much. Like I would really like to kid myself into thinking this is a one off, it doesn't happen that often, but in reality it does. Not every week, but far too often



Saturday

05:33 - I wake up to the sound of the biggest wasp I have ever seen banging against the window and my husband saying to me sternly "do not scream, its early."

09:50 -  I have needed an eye test for a while and kept putting it off, so when I saw on the Money Saving Expert website that they are free at tesco I booked one straight away! there is no obligation to buy your glasses from there and you can book your own here. Found out that I do need glasses and also a trip to the eye hospital and maybe laser surgery this week ...

10:30 - I had to have eye drops that take half an hour to work and so wondered around tesco and the Holland and Barret that's inside. Ended up buying healthy magazine and some B vitamin complex that was on half price £10.48

12:00 - Finally finished with my eye test and I am starving so grab a meal deal and an extra big bottle of water £3.90

13:00 - Feel awful and still cant see as the drops had blurred my eyes so much so went for a lie down!

18:30 - Go out for a meal to celebrate my husband getting his PHD with my parents, and they pay.

21:00 - Home and bed as I still don't feel very well.

Total: £14.38
This is better!  


Sunday

11:00 - Wake up after a lie in always feels so good to wake up naturally without any alarms. My mom has made us pancakes with bacon and maple syrup which was delicious!

14:00 - Go out for lunch with a friend I haven't seen for absolutely ages, end up sitting for hours chatting and I had a sunset burger and a coke, with my NHS discount it came to £17.83. I also popped to tesco as we are having family over tonight and putting together a little tapas style dinner. I get a bottle of wine and some coca cola £6.70

17:00 - Dinner at mom and dads house and then a bit of chilling in the sun reading my new book.

19:00 - My aunt comes over and this is where it gets a bit messy ....

23:55 - Crawl into bed after getting my mom to bed, after far too much prosecco!

Total: £24.53
I don't normally spend this much money on eating out! 




Monday

10:22 - Wake up to the smell of bacon cooking with a bit of a fuzzy head! One of the perks of staying at my parents is that my mom always makes us breakfast! I don't intend to do much today apart from writing a few blog posts.


12:00 - End up watching location, location, location on channel 4 and it really gives me some motivation to start putting more money into the house savings, but also to get my current home more manageable without spending any money!

16:00 - Leave Dudley and head back to Leicester! Yo sushi for dinner which is my absolute favourite! We always go on a bank holiday Monday, Tom paid and I paid for the parking £2.50

18:00 - Pop to Aldi and the co-op to stock up on some bits we need for the week £12.48

19:00 - Crawl into bed and watch Tv!

Total: £14.98 

Tuesday

08:00 - Drag myself out of bed with the worst period pain I have ever had. Its getting worse every month. Took myself off to the hospital (not for the period pain, for my opthamology appointment.) told they couldn't see me and to come back tomorrow.

11:00 - Took my nana to Mrs Bridges for lunch. She wasn't happy with me for paying but I like to treat her sometimes! £14.30

13:00 - We popped into M&S and I have needed some new crop tops (I don't wear a bra but wear these under my uniform for work) they were on offer for buy one get one half price so I got two for £9. I then made the mistake of going to the food hall while struggling with cramps and treated myself to chutney, sea salt chocolates and a beer for tom ... £7.20 

19:00 - We bought a takeaway for dinner £15.79 


Total:£37.29

I ended this a day early this week because tomorrow (Wednesday) I have to the hospital for an opthamology appointment and i know this will leave me not wanting to look at bright lights afterwards, so I wanted to get this post scheduled before then!

Weekly Total: £242.62

I actually feel sick looking at that total. I don't feel like I am spending loads as I go along and then when you sit and add it up, you feel ill. All the things I could have spent that money on, that's a huge chunk off my credit card, savings, travel. I need to change and I need to change now. I'm almost embarrassed to post this but there it is out in the open, what I spent this week.

Tomorrows post will be all about my six week spending ban and what I hope to achieve!

Charlotte Lucy

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

#FoundInOxfam Henry Holland Dresses


You may or may not know but my favourite clothing collection (apart from anything Cath Kidston) has always Henry Holland. His collections at Debenhams have always caught my eye, but have aways been on the pricier side. So apart from sales and eBay I haven't added as many that I would have liked to my collection.

When I walked into Oxfam in Leicester a few weeks before my holiday I spotted a midnight blue velvet Henry Holland dress but unfortunately it was too small. However, I then found no less than SEVEN dresses scattered around the store! I may or may not have tried them all on, and came away with three for around £6 each!



The first one is this shirt dress covered all over in little pandas! I knew that I would be able to wear this all year round layered with leggings and long tops. When I was in Ibiza though I simply paired it with my white pumps from new look and I was on my way. It was so comfy, but I had to wear it with a good handful of talc on the thighs to prevent the chub rub!



The second dress is this pale yellow cross strap number. I was told for so many years that as a girl with pale skin I shouldn't wear pale colours, the colour wouldn't flatter me blah blah blah. I found that this dress had such a gorgeous print. I also wasn't at all concerned about the fact that this dress accentuated my broad shoulders (I told you this was the best holiday I have ever been on.) I paired these with my tan wedges, again from New Look ... not sponsored I wish it was! They do the best shoes ever!




Lastly is this lemons and limes dress! I have to admit, that sadly I think I will be selling this one as it is slightly too big on the boobs and the straps kept slipping down BUT I wore it on our last night when we went for a 7 course tasting menu and it looked and felt lovely and dressy! It is fully lined and the 50s style is exactly what I go for in dresses!

I hope this post may inspire you to have a look in charity shops as you never know what you will find!

Charlotte Lucy




Friday, 19 May 2017

Why my holiday to Ibiza was the best I have ever been on ... #FatPositive


I got back from Ibiza last Friday and all I have been able to think about is how happy I was. The photo above sums it up. Natural hair, nipples on show, tinkerbell dress and just being unapologetic me. If you follow me on instagram (shoestringchicblog) you will have seen no end of bikini and outfit photos but lets go right back to the beginning on why this holiday was better than any others ....

The Count Down.

Within a week of booking this holiday I was back at Slimming World. I know, diet culture had me firmly in its grip. I was determined that THIS holiday would be the one where I would look amazing in a bikini because I had worked it all out. I had x amount of weeks. If I lost x amount of weight per week I could be at x weight by the time the holiday came. ALL I NEEDED WAS WILLPOWER DAMNIT. I could do this.
However, spur of the moment in January I saw tickets were on sale for Taryn Brumfits documentary embrace, for the premiere and I thought why not? I had never been to a Premiere and I might like the film. Little did I know how much it would change my life! I had started my journey into body positivity last year, but it was always a kind of "I'll learn to love my body DURING my weight loss journey" kind of thing, rather than how I am now, loving my body exactly as it is. No intention to change it. 
From the moment I got home I decided to Embrace my body. I threw away my scales and I started really embracing my body. I spent a lot of time studying my body in the mirror, taking photos of it from different angles, reading lots of body positive blogs, deleting anyone from my social media that dragged me down.

My countdown changed there and then. I started to think in terms of how excited I was for my holiday and not in terms of what I needed to do to change my body before then.


The Shopping.

Swimwear shopping is stressful! I used to stress because I was worried about flashing my flesh on the beach! This time I was so excited to get shopping and tried on a fair amount of swimwear. The problem that I had was the sizing is so strange! Also people think that once you are past a size 12 you want shape wear! One of the problems I have with my IBS is that I often have a really sore tummy and honestly what I didn't want was something sucking me in!

So the very first success I had was this nautical swimming costume from tesco, but honestly the sizing is so messed up! I'm a size 16 but all belly and no boobs and I had to get it in a size 20, but anyone with boobs would struggle! Fun fact too, I accidentally washed it with my work trousers the week before my holiday and dyed it blue ...

In the end my favourite bikinis actually ended up being from primark and around £5 a set (Including the one above)

The second thing I loved was going to my favourite charity shops and looking for things that made me look fabulous, rather than my usual of buying lots of things to slim in to and then beating myself up when I didn't actually fit in them! I'm going to be sharing some of my best buys over the next few weeks (Including three Henry Holland dresses ...)


 The Holiday

Once I was there I 100% relaxed. I wasn't spending my time comparing myself to everyone else round the pool which I usually do. I just got comfy on a sunbed in my bikini, belly hanging out, reading (I read 4 books that week). I even stood in the pool up to my knees and stood reading. Normally I wouldn't have been comfortable unless my belly was under the water.

I didn't set myself any silly food rules. Before I had told myself I could only drink diet drinks. Could only have dessert every other day. I could only do ... blah blah blah. I ate when I was hungry, drank whatever I wanted (mostly Nestea. Which is bloody amazing.)

I just wanted to share this with you all, because before this holiday I would have never thought that I could be this happy without losing a single pound. Accepting my body hasn't been the easiest journey, but it has helped so much surrounding myself with positive people on all of my social media accounts. I will be doing a post soon about the wonderful people that have really helped me in my journey. I am still fighting some days and I don't think this will change any time soon. I find myself fighting a culture that tries to tell me that I am not healthy, because of my weight when I know the contrary is true!

Charlotte Lucy

Monday, 10 April 2017

Beauty Under A Fiver: Good Things Coconut Oil Hydrating Hand Cream


I remember sometime last year reading a budget skincare post on one of the bigger blogs that I followed. I immediately thought thank goodness someone is finally talking about how you don't have to spend a fortune to keep yourself looking and feeling good! My elation soon turned to despair when among these budget favourites was a £50 face oil. Now, if that's something you have the budget for that's fantastic go ahead, I am not judging! But £50 to me could feed me and my husband for a good couple of weeks, go towards a holiday or buy me at least 10 items of clothing from a charity shop! I can't justify £50 on any kind of make-up or skincare. 

That is when my idea for this series came along. Every week I will be sharing with you a product that I am loving that has cost me under £5. I will also be collecting products that disappoint me and when I have a few gathered I will be sharing these too! All in the name of balance! Even if something is under a fiver I don't want you to be wasting your precious pennies!!

First up is this Good Things coconut oil hydrating hand cream which I picked up recently in TK Maxx for £2.99. The RRP is £3.99 and therefore it still comes in under £5! I have also found it online here for £4.99.

You may or may not know that in my night job (I would say day job but I work nights so ...) I am a health care assistant. I deal with all kinds of bodily fluids and this in turn leads to a lot of hand washing! Last year I suffered a nasty bout of dermatitis which left my poor hands cracked and bleeding and me unable to work while it cleared up. At the time I was prescribed a short term steroid cream and Hydromol to wash my hands with and I have had to be careful with hand creams ever since.

Anything heavily scented is a no go and this cream is fantastic. A little bit goes a long way and it sinks into your skin easily. It doesn't take long to dry which is fantastic if you are busy like I am and it doesn't leave a residue! I would definitely recommend it!

Charlotte Lucy
xx

Monday, 27 March 2017

#IntuSpringStyle event

After turning down numerous invites to events at Intu, last Saturday I was FINALLY able to attend one! Unfortunately with my job I tend to book shifts weeks in advance (but hopefully this will be changing in a few weeks time!) When I got the invite I practically jumped at the chance (cliche blogger phrase, I am aware!) and emailed back straight away!


Before meeting the girls at Cafe Rizzoli I had a look around the centre as it has been a while since I visited. For a while my IBS and Anxiety have been keeping me sticking to places I know (something I havent really mentioned on this blog) and I was worried to be out of my comfort zone. However, with a lot of breathing exercises my fears melted away when I met the other lovely bloggers! I found a beautiful shop, Sostrene Greene, and bought a few little pieces! The store in Nottingham is the first in the UK and it is a bloggers dream! Everything is very Hygge, Instagrammable and won't break the bank!

Anyway, we started off like I say in Cafe Rizzoli by meeting the owner of the family business, and drinking some Bellini's! I had a quick glance around at the other diners (you know I'm a foodie at heart) and it is somewhere that I will be taking Tom on our next visit to Nottingham!


We then headed to see the spring summer fashion ideas and I totally fell in love with this jumpsuit! I don't know if I shared with you that I have actually bought a really bright jumpsuit and as of yet I haven't been brave enough to wear it but the show really inspired me to get it out now we are heading into Spring and Summer!


I was impressed to see that they had included a plus size model, however I have to say I think they could improve on this next time! While the regular sized male and female models showed three or four outfits in the current trends, the plus size model only showed one that seemed to focus more on covering her all up rather than showing off how fabulous plus size fashion can be. As a size 16 myself I recognise I am an Inbetweenie and on the smaller side of plus size but I would have loved to see her in different outfits and showing off the trends! The other models also took their outfits from day to night and this would have been a lovely touch too.


We were then set a challenge. Armed with a £20 gift card kindly given to us by Intu Victoria Centre and a card with the name of one of the trends. When I picked mine I was a little unsure. The head to toe florals or nautical would have been fitting right into my comfort zone, but part of learning to live and be happy with my body is pushing the limits of that comfort zone and actually I really enjoyed the outfit I came out (there will be a full outfit post when its a bit warmer!)

I would never have thought of looking in Topshop but Ellie new exactly what would fit the theme but I was sceptical about budget! After finding a grey strappy dress with a mesh overlay and a white dress with sheer panelling (both £15, both too small!) I came across THIS one and it fit perfectly! I cant wait to wear it all summer long with different cami dresses underneath!

Sarah and I then headed to quiz and managed to find her perfect top too, again for £15. 

With £5 of my budget remaining I set my heart on finding a necklace of some kind to wear with it but thought I was pushing it a little bit. With 5 minutes left of the 30 minute challenge the girls wanted to head to river island, where I picked up this love necklace for just £3. I decided to make one last run to Superdrug next door and pick up this MUA Lipstick for just £1 to complete the look which Molly informs me is really good!


We then all met at Handmade Burger Co to regroup and share our purchases! I ordered the peanut butter and bacon burger which mostly people find weird but the combination of sweet and savoury is just my cup of tea! Despite a bit of a hiccup with the drinks (my coke had a big slosh of vodka in it which I gulped down because I was so thirsty!) the food was great and the company even better!

Thank you so much to the team at Intu for inviting me, I had such a fantastic time and can't wait to put together some outfits with all of the ideas that you gave me! If you are quick share your own #intuspringstyle on twitter or instagram to win a £50 intu giftcard! Competition ends the 30th April and you can see the full details here

Charlotte Lucy