Welcome To My Second-Year Room

This post is about two months late, but something I’ve been meaning to do. My landlady paid a visit recently and my room had to be tidied and cleaned (it isn’t usually THAT bad, but I generally have a floor-drobe going on!) and I took advantage of that to take some photos and write this post. Sorry that it’s so picture heavy, but I really feel this gets some of my personality across.

I also hope this will give you tips on how to make a home on the budget; check out my first year post about home-ifying student halls too! Here we go…

Welcome to my room!

2013-11-20 15.57.00I got the ‘big’ room of the house this year (paying the premium for it too!) and I’m very glad as I really enjoy having space.

Here you can see one of my favourite bargain buys for this year – the three canvases on the wall look great, are a neutral colour so can move with me from house-to-house in the future, and were ridiculously cheap at £6.99 from Argos. Most importantly – they are really lightweight so blue-tac onto the wall, with no need for damage! There’s a great cheap selection online, so it’s really worth having a look.

2013-11-20 15.35.32The price for having a bigger room is the fact that I have to share with the boiler. Luckily it’s in its own cupboard, but its slightly noisy, and also has various lights which glow out through the door. And it doesn’t mean my room is warm either, far from it! I have, however, accessorised the boiled with the addition of a five-hook over-door hanger (from Wilkinsons) where I place my coats, belts and bags.

2013-11-20 15.36.36My lovely Leather Satchel resides here too! I am still totally loving my bag, it gets so many comments, fits everything in, and is just perfect. I’m so lucky to have it!

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Now onto my bookcase – I have a LOT of books and folders, and really that’s for another post! Put it this way – the shelves are actually being supported by the folders as they don’t hold up themselves anymore (they were broken when I moved it!).

Now over to my bed…

2013-11-20 15.51.02I love love love cushions, and really think they give my room a home-y feel. I have six, which is probably overkill, but it means I’m nice and warm and cosy when I snuggle in! I also love my sentimental soft toys – the penguins above were one of the first presents my boy bought me, back when we’d been together for about a fortnight. He did well!

2013-11-20 15.51.28Speaking of cuddly toys, this is the adorable Highland Cow my parents bought as an early Christmas present – so cute!

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Now to the realllyyyyy girly part of my room – the dressing table! Here I have the makeup mirror that formed part of my 18th ‘Prep for Uni’ birthday present bundle, and is probably one of the best things you could buy a female prospective student as it ensures a good light to apply makeup. No idea where mine is from, but I’m sure I’ve seen them in Boots.

I also have lots of lovely photos, my make-up bag, my vintage-style alarm clock, my Cath Kidston Salt & Pepper Pots Ornaments (I have a terrier cross, hence the terrier theme with my cushion and ornaments), my bargain wide bowl (£1 in the sale in Marks & Spencer), my key pot (the really lovely butterfly box – a leaving present from work) and various other pretty bits. This is the one area I try to keep work/uni free!
I have also built a ‘bedside table’ out of two plastic storage boxes (storing dried foods I buy in bulk) and a prettier fabric box. In the pretty box go my cooking books, kindle and emergency chocolate supply. Oh, I always recommend a little lamp too – I love mine for giving a soft glow to the room before bed, instead of using the harsh main light.

2013-11-20 15.55.39Here’s my desk. Its a little battered, and rather on the small side, but it isn’t too bad (one of my housemates doesn’t have a proper desk at all!) and now I have another extension lead I can finally charge and use my laptop at the same time!

The academic in me really recommends a wall planner for students – mine really does help me keep track of deadlines, and how long it is until I can go home to a really decent (i.e. expensive) meal.

2013-11-20 15.55.54To hide a really bashed part of my desk, I’ve made an arrangement of my biscuit tins (bought separately, from TK Maxx) and my memory box (filled with letters/card from my boy, birthday cards from my parents, pictures my sister drew me when she was younger, etc – I really recommend that everyone has a box like this!).

And that rounds up the room I’m living in for my second year of university. Of course, I spend less time in it than my room in halls, because I’m living with lovely friends, we have a lovely lounge area, and it’s just a whole lot nicer than my experience of university accomodation (which really wasn’t great for me!).

What’s your way of adding home-y touches to a rented place?

Fun Friday Finds

Welcome to a new series, which I hope will become weekly (although bear with me on that one!). Basically here I’m going to be going over what I’m loving at the moment, new blog posts I’ve read this week, things I’m adding to my wishlist – loads of things really! Hope you enjoy it – and bloggers if you want to be removed then please let me know!

Homemade Shortbread

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I received a lovely parcel from my lovely boyfriend last week – some homemade shortbread (he is also a very keen baker) and four bars of dairy milk. Not only was this a great surprise, and a much needed pick-me-up, but the shortbread was amazingly good!

Tony Moly Lip Balm/Tint

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As you know from my previous post, I’ve fallen in love with the strong colour payoff and unbelievable staying power of this product! If you like a berry lip, but aren’t a fan of reapplying all the time, I couldn’t recommend this enough. Thank you to Makeup Savvy for the recommendation!

My Filofax

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Life is a little busy with a few deadlines, and a lot of mid-term assessments, and this is vital for keeping me on track and organised! I literally couldn’t live without my Filofax, and I really do believe every student should have some form of diary or organiser that works for them. I’m planning a post about my university set up very soon, so please keep an eye out for it!

 

Blogroll – Best Posts of the Week! (or last few weeks…)

  • As you probably know, I love the Londoner’s Banana & Nutella Swirl Muffins, and I can’t wait to try these ‘healthy’ cookies.
  • I’m trying to get into eating soups for lunch (especially as they are a great way of using going off vegetables) and as soon as I receive a new blender I’ll be trying Mama Cook’s Borlotti Bean, Bacon & Vegetable Soup.
  • I love A Thrifty Mrs blog for the vast array of tips – our kettle is looking decidedly grubby inside so this weekend I’ll definitely follow her tips for descaling.
  • I’m a huge fan of neutral but smokey and defined eyes, and I desperately would love to try Naked  3, which has just been announced. Check out Sunday Girl’s post for more information!

Has this week introduced you to anything new you now love?

Budget Beauty Buys: Lips

I’m a huge fan of a statement lip colour against other natural (i.e. none) makeup for general day to day wear. It is very quick and easy, looks great, and as long as you get the shade right, extremely wearable for everyone. I can’t help you find the right shade for your colouring, but I can recommend the products I love.

First up, you need to take care of your lips. I recommend a good scrub of them a couple of times a week to get rid of dead skin. My preferred method is a toothbrush, but Libby has a recipe for a wonderful homemade scrub. I’d love a scrub in a tube format (run on and wipe off without getting messy) so would welcome any suggestions! Then you should layer up with a decent balm at least once a day. I like to put on an extra thick coat before bed (and before I shower/bath) and also a light coat as soon as I wake up. In the past I have been a big fan of Vaseline, but since reading a little more into ingredients, I’ve tried to go for something natural, which allows moisture in and out rather than acting as a barrier. I also prefer tube applications, and so my current favourite is Dr Organic’s Pomegranate offering;

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I find this lip balm to be lovely and moisturising – it does have a bit of a wiff of ‘lip balm’ about it but not as obvious as some of the ones I have previously tried (I’m looking at you, Nivea!). One thing I love about it is that is it ever so slightly tinted, without being too glossy, so it gives a lovely sheen to the lips. You can buy this for £3.25 in Holland & Barratt, but they quite often have excellent sales and deals.

Now onto the far more important and interesting bit – colour time!

I have been a long time user of The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain in Rose Pink. I find it is a really good shade on my skin, is easy to blend out on the cheeks, and gives the lips a nice hint of colour that doesn’t come off easily. It lasts a long time too – I have had a tube for two years, and it is still going strong (I did, however, repurchase over summer, leaving the emptier one at home). There is only one problem, and that is leakage. It really isn’t a bag friendly option!

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As you can see, the colour looks extremely bright in the tube and on the applicator. It IS bright, but it looks natural on my pale skin when blended well, and it definitely suits my lips. I don’t find this formula drying either, though I wish it would last everso slightly longer seeing as I can’t carry it around. This stain is £10, but it lasts such a long time that I personally see it as a massive bargain!

Because of the lack of portability of the lip stain, I spent summer trying to locate a slightly neater version, perhaps a highly pigmented balm. I failed on the balm front, but I’ve definitely found something that (kind of) means I can carry a favourite lip colour around. Tony Moly is a makeup company that ships from Korea, and from what I have read sells some pretty good quality products at some pretty amazing prices. When I found that they sold a product that seemed perfect for me, I couldn’t help but ordering. I first read about it on Makeup Savvy, and ordered pretty much immediately. At roughly £3.70 from Ebay, it would have been a crime not too, right?!

My package too FOREVER to get here. Well about 3-4 weeks, definitely within the time stated, but bear the long time in mind if you are ordering for Christmas. Like, order now! When it did arrive it was ridiculously well packaged in lots of bubble wrap (huge bonus points – I doubt anything will ever arrive damaged!) and included a cute note.

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And some free samples – a fragrence and a BB cream. I’m on a bit of a foundation ban due to some pesky spots, but I will definitely be trying this soon!

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Now onto the actual product! The packaging is really, really impressive. It looks stylish, feels well made, and in general I was just really surprised at the quality for the price. I am definitely not a snob when it comes to makeup, but I know too well that cheaper makeup packaging often means cheap and (to put it bluntly) shoddy packaging.

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The colour is a huge pop – very similar (virtually identical in fact) to my favourite Body Shop stain.

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The texture inside is quite hard and gel-like (reminds me of Vaseline on a cold day), but easy to apply to the lips. It is quite sticky, and definitely more of a gloss than a stain. And the colour pay-off is pretty damn impressive – far more pigmented that Body Shop!

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In fact, the pigmentation is a teeny bit of a problem. It stays on the lips for hours, to the point where last night I had to remove it before bed. But it also stays on your finger. It doesn’t budge with soap, leading to a bright pink finger…so definitely not as portable as I hoped. I’m planning on purchasing a mini lip brush for carrying around, but I reckon this is definitely going to become a staple in my makeup bag – its perfect for travelling too!

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This product has definitely opened up my eyes to buying ‘new’ and ‘different’ foreign makeup brands – it’s definitely something I’ll be doing again!

Whilst I highly recommend all of the products discussed on this page, and I truly believe they will be favourites of mine for a long time, I also have put this little treat on my Christmas list. I’d definitely not a 1D fan, but the shade just seems so perfect for Christmas. As a little hint, my birthday is at the beginning of December…

 

Does anyone have any recommended lip products? Do you buy foreign make-up brands?

Budget Beauty Buys: Skincare

This is a post for the girlies out there! Over the last few months I’ve realised I’ve never taken care of my skin properly. Sure I’ve cleansed reasonably often, but definitely not morning and night, and even more naughtily I’ve often forgotten to take makeup off. Not only has this left me with blocked tearducts, but I feel it has had a drastic effect on my skin. Dry patches, oily patches, a few lots spots. This has been made worse over the past summer by bruising and swelling from my operation leading to me wearing more foundation, not taking it off, and then really clogging up my skin. So I’ve recently began to revamp my skincare items, on my tight student budget, and here are my favourite products so far.

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Firstly, I’ll mention the ‘stand out’ item in that photo – the multi-vitamins! Now we all know students may not have the best diets, and although I still manage to eat well I always recommend a multivitamin supplement, particularly in the months leading up to exams. I use one with extra iron and Vit C, as I find it works well for me. Now onto the more exciting things!

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First up is something I have used for many years, and despite occasionally venturing to other newer products (cleansing balms and oils currently have my attention – does anyone recommend any?) I always come back to it. It is cheap and cheerful, probably around £2-£4 depending on offers, lasts a long time, and is simple to use. None of these complicated instructions, I feel some beauty products these days require a degree to use! It has a light floral fragrance which doesn’t last when applied, is gentle on the skin, easy of the eyes (although I don’t recommend you use it directly on the eye area!), and is reasonably moisturising for a cleanser. It removes just about all traces of my makeup, and whilst it struggles a little with mascara it is my go-to cleanser when I need a simple one-step can’t-be-bothered refresh.

I also occasionally use the toner of this range, but it tends to dry my skin out and so for that reason I don’t thoroughly recommend it (although it sorts out caked foundation when gently pressed on, so possibly worth having for emergencies!). The moisturiser is also very good, but being in a pot lets it down big time for me – I can just imagine a lot of germs!

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This is a product you won’t see on most student’s dressing tables! Due to my operation I have had increasingly puffy eyes and dark circles, which I’m desperately trying to do something about – so recommendations of a decent concealer would be gratefully received! This moisturiser is light enough for my young skin, but seems to be slowly solving my problems. It stings a little if it goes in your actual eye, but is nice and refreshing, lasts for ages and is a great budget buy. I shall definitely repurchasing, as for an eye cream it is spectacular value for money.

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Recently I have developed a liking for good old traditional soap used to wash and cleanse. Granted this can be a little drying, but it seems the most natural thing to do (especially with my favourite range at the moment – Dr Organics) and is proving a lot cheaper. I buy these soaps at Holland & Barratt, and their full price is roughly £2.50, with offers pretty much constantly appearing. They last for maybe 6 weeks, depending on the storage you use (I definitely suggest a soap dish!) and obviously are easy to transport as they don’t have to be packed into a suitcase for flying. To use, I splash my face with warm water, lather the soap in my hands, and then massage in. I either wash off straight away using a flannel (rubbing for a bit of exfoliation) or leave it to dry (ala a face mask) before rinsing away. I also use this all over body in the shower, and find it wonderfully cleansing without feeling sticky or smelling sickly – and it doesn’t make the shower slippy which is a massive bonus for someone as accident prone as me!

My usual buy is the pictured pomegranate soap, which I love as the ingredients seem to combat a genetic skin condition that I have been lucky enough to inherit. I have however recently purchased the Vit E version, which I look forward to trialling soon.

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As mentioned above, washing with soap can be a littleeee drying on the skin, so I’ve been on the hunt for my perfect moisturiser. The hunt has been unsuccessful, but I have found four which I like to keep on hand, and then alternate depending on how my skin is feeling. The Garnier Moisture Match range has been around for a few months now, but for me is a revelation, particularly as a few formulas are oil-free. It isn’t exactly the cheapest option, with full price tubes being £5.99. However a limited range of the selection can often be found in Wilkinsons or Savers for £3, and they are regularly on offer in Boots, Superdrug (which they are at the time of posting, plus remember your 10% NUS discount students!), and various supermarkets. As with all things, it pays to shop around! I’ll give a brief overview of the moisturisers I love (keen eyes will note one is missing, as the formula was definitely not for me!) and you can choose the ones you’d like from there! Going from left to right…

We have the blue one! This is a pretty simple and generic moisturiser, for normal to dry skin, generic fragrance-free smell (doesn’t there always seem to be a smell?!), and I tend to use this after my nightly cleanse if my skin isn’t too dry, or if I used the Garnier cleanser above.

Then there’s the yellow one! This is probably my current favourite. It’s been an absolute revelation to find an oil-free moisturiser with SPF and illuminator. I have been using this both with (mixed in) foundation, and instead of foundation, and it really does give a lovely finish and glow to my skin. I wouldn’t recommend this for bedtime use due to the SPF, and it feels a little sticky, but I definitely can’t complain!

To the orange tube! This is a gel based formula, very light and non-greasy, and lovely and refreshing on hot days. It also gives a good glow to the face, although at the same time manages to be matte (nope, I don’t understand either!). It mixes well with foundation, and spreads out evenly (probably better than the other types) but I definitely wouldn’t say this should be the only one you should buy as it definitely isn’t very moisturising, although I do have drier skin. Oily types, this is definitely one to try! One thing I will say is that I’m not a huge fan of the smell, it reminds me of the bright yellow antibiotic medicine I used to force down as a child…

And now to the pink corner! This is the richest moisturiser of the bunch, for dry to very dry skin. I have to say this is true – I wouldn’t use this except at night, and definitely not every night. But it is wonderfully softening and soothing, and gets rid of all my dry patches. I’ve found to excellent for the dry places on my body too, particularly the elbows. I believe that for dry skin this moisturiser could be a godsend!

 

And that is my best budget skincare (so far!). Does anyone have any recommendations?