Thursday, 28 November 2013

New Bags from ASOS and Accessorize

I've only ever had bags that are practical for school/uni, and if I went somewhere else, I'd either just use the same ones, or shove my purse in my coat pocket. For the last two years of uni, I've been using Cath Kidston shopper bags, but wanted something with less print and more security. This was proving difficult, though, because I didn't want to leave my style completely and get a 'grown up' bag. I then decided on a satchel style, but finding ones that were able to fit A4 files in and weren't the colour tan was harder than I initially thought! I couldn't even find any I liked on eBay. The odds weren't in my favour, but I've somehow managed to become the owner of two new bags in the space of a week.

ASOS Large Satchel Bag with Scallop Trim and Front Buckles in Nude - £28

I came across this bag on ASOS while buying jeans, and knew straight away that it would be a squeeze to fit A4 things in, but it was too pretty to resist! The 20% off, free delivery, and free returns sealed the deal for me. It justtt about fits a display book and notebook in, as well a water bottle, pencil case, purse, and other bits and bobs. I do have to pop the sides out, though, and the display book slightly bends. Also, the colour isn't appropriate for hauling everywhere, so it's going to be my shopping and occasional uni bag. It took me a while to decide on that because I normally return something straight away if it isn't as practical as I'd like, but looks won this time. I'm tempted to buy the teal version of it, too. (It's more nude in real life; it's looking rather pink here)

Accessorize Hampstead Satchel in Chocolate Brown - £32

Even though this one isn't as pretty as the other, it's my favourite of the two. It's just more practical! The lock on the front is easier to open and close, it has a zip on the inside for extra security, there's a smaller compartment at the front, it's dark in colour, and it's slightly bigger, so it fits my A4 files in. It also has a zipped compartment and pockets on the inside, but the ASOS one has those, too. The main zip doesn't close with the A4 files in, but with the top over already, it's not an issue. It's just nice to have a zip if I use it for other things. Also, I must say, this fits my uni stuff in because I use display books (which fit loads of sheets in by the way; I'd recommend them over folders). If you use folders, you'll just be able to squeeze one in. My sister, who isn't as 'girly' as me, also really likes this bag, and within a few minutes of seeing it, ordered herself one! They also have it in navy and tan.

Are you a fan of satchels? Loads of them seem to be just that little bit too small for A4 files, and I wish they were made a few cm bigger! I may not need to carry around A4 files after uni, though, so it won't be a problem. Oh, man... the thought of life after uni is terrifying!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Recent Purchases from Boots, Superdrug, and Primark

I was ahead of schedule for one of my assignments last week, so decided to do a spot of shopping! 

From Boots, I picked up a couple tubes of Naked Conditioner because they were on offer for £2.79 each (normally £4.19). I highly rate their conditioners; they make my hair as soft as intensive ones do. 

I then bought the Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel for £2.99. In the last year, I've developed the habit of pulling out the hairs of my eyebrows when I'm stressed or in deep concentration, and this sometimes leads to the shape of my arch disappearing, so wanted a pencil to recreate this. I'll still be filling in most of my eyebrows with a powder, but wanted this for definition. Hazel looks like a light-mid brown in the pencil, but I've found that it transfers to a very warm tone. I have auburn hair so this isn't a problem for me, but I'm not sure if it will suit some brunettes (many seem to love it, though). The L'Oreal blonde one looks like a similar shade, but cooler in tone, so I may try that next.

I didn't own a silver glitter, and wanted one to apply over lilacs, so bought Barry M's Diamond Glitter Nail Polish for £2.99.

Because of the 3 for 2 offer, I then got Sinful Colours' Nail Polish in Easy Going for free! I've already swatched and talked about it here.

From Superdrug, I just had to buy 2True's Nail Polish in 17 for £1.99. I can't resist bright, peachy shades! I haven't used this yet, so am not sure what the quality is like, but I'll be testing and blogging about it next week.

I bought the Elegant Touch Kaleidoscope Nail Wraps last month, but they're still available in my local Superdrug, so thought I'd include them in this post. They were £2.50 down from £6, and I think they're so pretty. I'm going to use them for accent nails.

From Primark, my sister bought me this lamb dressing gown/nightie thing as an early Christmas present, and it cost £10. It's so soft and comfortable! I want to get the teddy one next.

I bought my sister the penguin throw for Christmas last month, and it was only £5! I thought I'd include it in this post as well because it's still available to buy.

I also ordered a knitted jumper from Boohoo for £15 last week, and it's okay, but nothing special. It's the kind of knitted jumper that goes fluffy straight away, and not in a good way.

Other purchases include two pairs of jeans and a satchel from ASOS, and a satchel from Accessorize. The jeans are standard, and I'll probably write a separate post on the satchels!

What have you been buying recently?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Sinful Colours Easy Going

I'd been wanting to get my hands on Easy Going for a while, but it was always out of stock in my local Boots. There were rows and rows of the shade on Sunday, though, so I picked one up. The 3 for 2 offer meant that I got this £1.99 polish for free, which is even better! I must admit, when I first laid eyes on it, I was a little disappointed. It didn't look anywhere near as pink as it did in the photos I'd seen. However, I now love it. This extremely pale, off-white pink is delicate and chic; aspects I've been prioritising recently. Three coats were applied to achieve opacity, which I can deal with. It's when we get to four that I have a problem. I'd say that it's a little more pink than the photo above is suggesting, but it varies in different lights. It can look more peach in some, and cream in others. I'll apply a glitter topcoat when it starts looking worse for wear; it's the perfect base for it!

What do you think of Sinful Colours Easy Going?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Christmas with Fragrance Direct

If you're a regular reader of Affordable Treats, you'll know I love Fragrance Direct. It's the place I go to get my nail polish fix! If you've not heard of Fragrance Direct before, it's a website where you can buy branded perfumes and cosmetics for a discounted, more affordable price, and P&P can be from as little as £1.99. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I'd show you my top picks from the site. I normally buy my Christmas presents throughout the year, but I know that now's the time when many start, or are in the process of, buying gifts for their loved ones.

I don't tend to buy makeup for people unless I know exactly what they like to wear (like my mum and sister, for example), but I like gifting nail polish, especially to my friends. I think a couple bottles of OPI or Essie in a mug or gift bag would make a great present. I, for one, would love to receive that as a gift because nail polish and mugs are two of my favourite things! If you're not sure what shades your friends like, ask them. Just don't say why you're asking them!

Perfume is very popular to give at Christmas, and if you're planning to buy a bottle for a family member or friend, I'd suggest checking Fragrance Direct first because you may be able to get it cheaper. For example, the bottle above is £14.05 less expensive than other places. In terms of the actual fragrance, Marc Jacobs Daisy is loved by many. Instead of me trying to describe what it smells like, here's a description: 'Daisy is the first of Marc Jacobs iconic fragrances for women; a fresh and floral fragrance, which is youthful and sweet, and perfect for summer. Marc Jacobs Daisy is light and easy to wear, and features a cool combination of Strawberry, Violet Leaf and Blood Grapefruit top notes, heart notes of Gardenia, Jasmine and Violet, and base notes of Musk, Vanilla and White Woods.' Even though it's described as a young, summery fragrance, it's one I'd wear all year round. They also have the Eau So Fresh version available in a range of sizes, but I already have it, so decided to try the original instead.

This retails for £60, so if you buy it from Fragrance Direct, you'll save yourself £31.01. The description for this is: 'The follow up to the hugely popular Be Delicious, Donna Karan DKNY Red Delicious Eau de Parfum Spray is sweet, fruity and feminine; a tasty perfume for the summer. With top notes of Lychee and Raspberry, heart notes of Bergamot, Patchouli and Rose, and base notes of Leather, Amber and Vanilla. DKNY Red Delicious is a modern and stylish fragrance.' I didn't expect this to be as fruity as it is, which is a good thing because I love fruity scents. To me, this smells like summer berries with hints of floral notes. There's also a little warmth there.

This is my new favourite scent. It's the lighter, fresher version of the original, and if there's the option of a lighter, fresher version of the original, I'll go for it. Here's the description: 'New for 2013, the Nina Ricci Nina L'Eau Eau Fraiche fragrance has made a great impression with its romantic, fresh fragrance, which can now be enjoyed in this fabulous ladies gift set. The Nina Ricci Nina L'Eau Eau Fraiche Gift Set features the stunning fragrance, which is a blend of Apple, Neroli, Grapefruit and Mandarin top notes, heart notes of Gardenia and Cherry, and base notes of Musk; a dreamy and feminine perfume.' There's a note in there that reminds me of my childhood or a sweet from my childhood, but I can pin point it! If you're looking at buying the 80ml bottle, I'd go for the gift set because you get the 80ml bottle and the lip gloss for the same price. Even if the lip gloss isn't used, it's essentially free! And looks pretty. 

Are you planning on buying any of your Christmas presents from Fragrance Direct? I know my sister's bought my mum Paco Rabanne's Lady Million from there for her birthday/Christmas (her birthday's on the 15th December). I'm tempted to buy my mum and sister more nail polishes, but I well and truly kitted them out earlier this year. You can never have too many nail polishes, though...

*PR samples

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Naked Brunette Radiance Shampoo & Conditioner

Although I don't have brunette hair, I do have dark auburn hair that I like to keep looking rich and radiant; two aspects most darker haired girls strive for. Not many brands cater for us redheads, so between products catered for brunettes and products catered for blondes, I'm going to choose the former! I've used a Naked conditioner before, which I really liked, but don't recall ever using one of their shampoos. I was intrigued to see how it compared to my usual ones (which are not 97% natural). I've been using the Naked Brunette Radiance Shampoo* & Conditioner* (£3.99/normally £4.19 in Boots, but they're currently on offer for £2.79!) for a couple of weeks now, and here are my thoughts: They both have a slight herbal scent, which I don't normally like, but this is pleasant. The shampoo cleanses my hair well, but I've found that it can be drying if I don't follow up with the conditioner. It also doesn't perform any better than my regular shampoo, which is less expensive, so I wouldn't rush out to buy it. The conditioner, however, is amazing, and I'll definitely be buying a few tubes while it's on offer. It leaves my hair feeling so soft! It performs much better than my regular conditioner, and is more like an intensive treatment, so I wouldn't mind paying more for it. I don't think my hair is looking any more radiant or shiny than it did before, though. Being the colour my hair is, it naturally reflects a lot of light anyway. Saying that, it hasn't hindered the radiance or shine.

The shampoo is okay, but it's the conditioner I'd recommend you try. Have you tried any products from the Naked hair range before?

*PR samples

Friday, 15 November 2013

Triple Chocolate Cookies

My Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cranberry and Raisin Oatmeal Cookies both had fruit in, and were nice alternatives to my usual Chocolate Chip Cookie Slabs. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and it drew me back. Back to the chocolate chips, and back even further. Let me introduce you to these Triple Chocolate Cookies. They are chocolate cookies with milk and white chocolate chips. I was going to add some chocolate chunks in there, too, but thought these were going to be chocolately enough!

With this recipe, I managed to make 33 cookies. I read recipes with double the ingredients saying they'd make from 14-24! Mine aren't particularly small, either. You wouldn't want them too big, though, because they are sweet.

You'll need:
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder 
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g white chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
2. Line your baking trays with baking paper.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar.
4. Combine the egg.
5. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. The baking powder makes the cookies fluffier, so if you'd prefer chewier ones, leave it out. I've made them both ways and love them equally!
6. Add in the chocolate chips, but make sure to leave some of the white ones.
7. Spoon walnut sized balls onto your baking trays, making sure you leave a couple of inches between each one.
8. Add the remaining white chocolate chips to the tops of each one. I also added some sprinkles and 'chocolate bean' decorations to some.
9. Bake in the oven for around 12 minutes, but make sure to check on them every few minutes.
10. Finally, take out the oven, leave to harden for a few minutes, and then transfer to wire cooling racks.

As you can probably tell, I love cookies. I much prefer them to cupcakes because they're not as filling, and they keep for a lot longer. I want to try making different flavours next, such as chocolate orange or walnut ones. Are you a fan of these sweet treats? If so, what's your favourite type?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish in 570 Vintage (99p at Fragrance Direct)

This is one of the nail polishes from my most recent Fragrance Direct order (haul post here), and my favourite! Vintage is a deep, berry shade, and varies between shades of red and purple, depending on the light. Two coats were needed, and I had no problems with the formula. These kinds of shades are known to stain more than others, though, so cleaning up was more difficult than usual. Surprisingly, I have nothing like this in my collection. The closest shade I have is Barry M's Raspberry, but this is more purple toned than that. For 99p (from here), I'm pretty pleased!

Have you bought any nail polishes from Fragrance Direct recently? Do you like these kinds of shades? I think they're perfect for autumn/winter.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Nail Polish Haul!

Every once in a while, my sister and I seem to find a load of nail polishes we like the look of on Fragrance Direct, and because they're so affordable, we buy them! This is our most recent order, with the most expensive polish being just £1.49. First up, we have the Rimmel Lycra Pro Nail Polishes in 312 Ultra Violet and 420 Aqua Cool, which were 99p each. I love the brushes of the Rimmel polishes! These two are my sister's, but I'll definitely be adding some to my next order. Then we have Sally Hansen's 848 Sgt Preppy and 843 Palm Treat, and these were £1.49 each. I also love the brushes of these. I then bought L'Oreal's 507 Riviera Lavender and 506 Exotic Grenade, which were £1.30 each. These are only 5ml, but I never finish a bottle of polish anyway, so don't mind. I wouldn't pay the full price of £4.99 for them, though! I also chose Revlon's 920 Make Mine Mango, 210 Jelly (Top Speed), and 570 Vintage (Top Speed), which were 99p each. These are the ones I like the most out of our haul! I love oranges/corals, so had to get Make Mine Mango. Jelly was another must have because I love deep, red toned pinks. Although it's called Jelly, it's not a jelly formula. Then we have Vintage, which is a berry shade, and perfect for this time of year.

Have you bought anything from Fragrance Direct recently? They're supposed to be getting some more Essie shades in this week, so I'll no doubt be placing another order!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Nail Supplies Haul

I was in need of nail supplies the other week, so went straight to eBay to stock up! 

The 4 in 1 nail buffer blocks were £1.76 for both, and can be found here. The more you buy, the more you save; you can buy 10 for £5.99, or even 50 for £25!

The nail wheels were £2.75 for 10, and can be found here. I've never had nail wheels before, but thought I'd buy some to compare shades in posts for you guys and practise nail art on. 

Lastly, and most importantly, we have the brushes. The first pack was £2.38 from here, the second pack was £2.49 from here, and the third pack was £1.95 from here. Nail art brushes are a crucial part of my routine because I use them to clean up the edges of my nails after painting them. I simply dip them in nail polish remover and go around the edges with a steady hand. I've bought the first pack before, but can only use a few of the brushes because the rest are too long (it's best to have short ones so you have more control). I bought the second pack on a whim, hoping that they'd do the job well (even though they're not flat like the brushes I'm used to). I used one the other week and was pleased to find that they work just fine! I haven't used the third pack yet, but they're short and flat, so should be fine as well!

What nail products are part of your routine? I also use the Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover and Superdrug Emery Boards, but that's about it! I don't use any cuticle oils or hand creams, even though I probably should. I also don't use base or top coats, and while this works for me, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cranberry & Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

I'm not one to choose fruit over chocolate chips when it comes to cookies, but decided to try something different the other day, and I'm glad I did! My family and I have been enjoying these over the last few days, and I'll definitely be baking them again.

What you'll need to make around 30 cookies:
125g butter, softened
125g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2tsp of vanilla paste)
225g self-raising flour
1/2tsp salt
100g raisins
60g cranberries
40g oats

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
2. Line your baking trays with baking paper.
3. Cream together the butter and sugars.
4. Combine the egg and vanilla.
5. Sift in the flour and salt, and then fold.
6. Add in the oats, raisins, and cranberries. I only used 40g of oats because it was my first time adding them to a cookie mix, but next time I'll probably add more. You can also add more cranberries, but I wanted some left over to eat on their own! 
7. Spoon walnut sized balls onto your baking trays, making sure you leave a good couple inches between each one.
8. I then added a couple of cranberries to the tops just to make sure each one had some.
9. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, but make sure you check them every few minutes or so.
10. Finally, take out the oven, leave to harden for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

These remind me of rock cakes; a childhood favourite! They taste delicious, and are a healthier alternative to the classic chocolate chip.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Barry M Matte Vanilla

I've worn neon nail polishes that dry to a satin finish before, but Barry M's Matte Vanilla is my first 'proper' matte. I'm surprised at how much I like the matte effect, actually, because I hate every other texture that's not shiny or glitter! Fluff and sand are the ones I really can't stand. I think Vanilla is a great nude for my skin tone. I'd describe it as a muted nude that looks grey in certain lights, and it even has some lilac tones in there at times. I'd heard a few people say that the first coat kind of separates and looks oily, but a second evens everything out. I didn't experience this at all, and could have left a few nails with just one coat on. I ended up applying two on all of them so they looked the same shade, though. It dried very quickly, and was one of the easiest polishes I've applied recently. Matte polishes are known to accentuate any flaws you have on your nails, so I gave them a good buff beforehand, and that seemed to do the job.

I'm surprised at how much I like this polish, and want to get Crush and Espresso next! What do you think? Are you a fan of matte nails? If not, you can always apply a topcoat over them!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Empties #03 - I finished a body butter!

As I've already mentioned it in the title, I'll start with The Body Shop's Mango Body Butter! It's the first one I've ever finished, and I feel like I've accomplished something! I normally alternate between my products, so instead of finishing one, they're all half empty. The actual product was good (or else I wouldn't have finished it!). It sank into my skin well and left it moisturised for days. Mango is one of my favourite scents, too.

Let's head back over to the left. I finished two more Alberto Balsam Shampoos in Strawberries & Cream and Sun Kissed Raspberry. The Strawberries & Cream scent is one of my favourites, and I've already stocked up on a few bottles of it! The Sun Kissed Raspberry is nice, but very subtle. They perform well in my hair, and I can't complain for 99p!

I also finished a bottle of the TRESemme Naturals Conditioner. Again, TRESemme is a brand I regularly use and have had no problems with, so I've already bought another bottle of this.

The Body Shop's Banana Conditioner was okay. I liked the scent, but the conditioner itself was average, and I wouldn't pay the full price of £4.50 for it. I was surprised, actually, because it's a product so many people love. The bottle also made it very difficult to get product out.

Aussie's Miracle Hair Insurance Leave In Conditioner has been part of my routine for years, and I've already repurchased. It leaves my hair feeling soft, and smells incredible.

I haven't been using them for the last couple of weeks, but you can see I used them a lot before then, and that's the Superdrug Colour Effects Wash In Wash Out Conditioning Colours. The shades I have here are Rich Warm Brown and True Chestnut. I love these, and have spoken of them many times before. I have three more bottles in my draw, and will purchase more in the future.

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Face Mist was a product I bought simply because I was trying to get to a certain amount to qualify for a code. I like how fine the mist is, and it is refreshing, but that's all. I don't feel like it helps improve my skin or the longevity of my makeup. I don't think I'll repurchase this - I'll just refill the bottle with water!

Superdrug's Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser is similar to their Vitamin E one. It removes all my makeup well, and leaves my skin feeling moisturised. I can't say my skin looked brighter, though. 

The MUA Cover & Conceal Concealer has been part of my makeup routine since the beginning of this year, and thought it was about time I ditched this one and bought another. For £1.50, why not?! It has a light to medium coverage and a dewy finish. I'm not the biggest fan of the dewy finish, but I apply powder over the top anyway, so don't find this a problem. It doesn't always cover blemishes well, so I use another concealer for this purpose.

I love Simple's Baby Moisturising Wipes, and have already stocked up because they're better than half price at the moment! 80 for £1.99 is good, but it's even better when they're 98p. They just do their job - They remove my makeup without stinging or drying my skin out, and they help keep my eye/eyebrow brushes fairly clean until I wash them. I don't see the point in buying more expensive wipes. Others may be more moisturising, but I don't buy them to moisturise because I have moisturisers for that!

I'm also finished with The Body Shop's Raspberry and Lemon Body Butters, but not because they're empty. They're actually almost full, but I've had them for too long and now they're smelling a bit off. This is why I need to stop buying new products and use what I have! I've learnt my lesson now. I even resisted buying more tubs of the Vineyard Peach one because I knew I wouldn't get round to using them. They were down to only £3, too, so it took a lot of strength to resist!

Have you used any of these products before?

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