Tips and Tutorials

The Blogging Process: Stationery


For me, blogging is so much more than just sitting down with my laptop and reeling something off in a few minutes.  It involves planning, making notes when the moment strikes, drafting, taking and editing photos, organising my time, and of course, writing and publishing the final post!  Over time I’ve noticed that I’ve hoarded quite a lot of stationery to aid these stages, so I thought I’d share with you my stationery essentials for the process of blogging.

Notebooks and Pens

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As a writer, and an Academic Support Worker, I always carry notebooks and copious amounts of pens with me at all times, as I need them for my work. But I have special notebooks that are dedicated to just blogging. I carry a little one with me in my handbag so I can make notes when I’m inspired whilst out and about, and I use a bigger one at home to roughly draft post ideas, make lists of upcoming posts, and doodle nail art designs etc.

Sticky Notes

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I use sticky notes a lot when I need to remind myself of something, such as sending invoices or replying to PR emails. My notebooks and bedside table are covered in them!


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I love to have a highlighter or two handy so I can highlight important points in press releases. It just makes getting all the relevant information into a post that little bit easier!

USB Stick

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After 3 years my laptop is well and truly on its way out, so just to be safe I like to back up my blog posts and photos on a USB stick. That way they’re portable too, so I can organise posts on someone else’s computer or laptop if needs be.

Paper Clips and Rubber Bands

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Not an essential, but I like to be organised, so I use these to keep press releases neatly together!

After all this planning and prepping, I like to settle down on the sofa with my laptop and a cheeky chocolate treat, and type away whilst I have something good on TV in the background.

What are your stationery must haves for blogging?

Naomi x

*This stationery was sent to me on behalf of Viking Direct for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

How to Make Money on eBay


I’ve been selling on eBay for years and I’ve noticed that, over time, it has become increasingly more difficult to actually make any money from the things you sell.  With postage costs rising, PayPal and eBay both taking fees, and the sheer volume of items for sale, if you’re not a savvy seller, selling on eBay can take a lot of effort with very little pay-off.

So, today I thought I’d share with you all my tried and tested tips and tricks for making money on eBay, with a few of my own success stories thrown in too.  I can’t promise you’re going to make a fortune if you take my advice, but you can at least earn a few extra pounds!

1. Use Keywords

The words you use in your titles can really influence how many people are finding your item when browsing eBay, and therefore how many people are bidding.  Say you’re selling a black dress…  Calling it ‘Black Dress’ will probably mean it gets lost amongst a whole host of generic black dresses, but if you add detail with fashion keywords you can really tailor your items, especially if you know what’s on trend at the moment, and what people will likely be looking for.  In my experience, popular terms include ‘Boho’, ‘Gothic’, and ‘Biker’.  Just make sure your item actually suits the trend you are advertising it as!

My Success Story: I recently purchased a faux leather jacket on eBay that, though it was nice and very on trend, really didn’t suit me.  I only paid £2 for it, so I put it back on eBay at a similar price and would have been happy just to make my money back.  However, I listed the jacket using a few keywords in the title that related to its style (such as ‘biker’, ‘punk’ and ‘goth’), and in the end the jacket sold for more than £16!

2. Go Charity Shopping

One of my favourite ways to make money on eBay is to go shopping myself first…  If you’re willing to spend time hunting, you can come across some real designer gems in charity shops at low prices, that you can then sell on when you’re done with them.  You won’t find something every time you look, but when you’re lucky it’ll be worth it.

My Success Story: A couple of months ago, whilst browsing a local charity shop, I came across a men’s t-shirt from Liam Gallagher’s ‘Pretty Green’ range of clothing.  It looked brand new, and at £2.99 it felt too good to be true, but I checked the labels over and discovered that it was 100% genuine.  I snapped it up with the intention of giving it to my partner but he didn’t want it, so again, I put it on eBay at a low price in the hope of making my money back.  Within hours the t-shirt had gained lots of watchers, and by the end of the seven-day listing it sold for a whopping £23.

3. Take Advantage of Free Listing

If you list an item for under 99p, eBay allow you to list 100 single-quantity items per month for free!  But if you want to charge more (as I suggest in tip 4) it costs, and the higher your starting price, the more it costs.  For clothing it’s usually around 15p per item, which doesn’t seem that much, but if you’re listing several items at once it soon adds up!  Paying to list items just eats into your profits, so take advantage of free listing days whenever you can.  eBay tend to run a free listing weekend every other week, so I tend to prepare everything during the week (gather items, take photos, plan my listings etc), then list everything during a free listing weekend.

4. Factor in Fees

Unfortunately for us sellers, both eBay and PayPal take a percentage of the sale price of your items, including from what you charge for postage.  PayPal take between 1.4% and 3.4%, plus an extra 20p, and eBay take 10% of the final value.  So, if you actually want to come out of a sale with something other than a few pence, it’s a good idea to factor these fees into your pricing.  I personally never list anything for 99p, because once all the fees have been taken away you’re left with next to nothing, so I tend to start items a little higher.  Perhaps £1.49 for small items, or for labelled brands a bit more.

It might also be an idea to up your postage costs too.  It costs £2.60 to post a small parcel in the UK, but if you charge £2.60 you’ll end up paying some of the postage out of your own pocket, as some will be taken in fees.  I usually put mine up to around £3.00 as P&P does also include packaging!

5. Take Good Photographs

Ever found something interesting on eBay, only to find there’s one small, low quality image of the thing, probably taken on a mobile phone in a badly lit room?  Chances are you’re not going to want to bid on something if you can’t see what it looks like, so good photographs are always important in making a sale!  I like to take mine with a digital camera rather than a phone, in natural light, and I always include a few close up photographs too so buyers can really see what they’re getting.

Do you have any tips for selling on eBay?  Please comment if you do as I’d love to hear them!

Happy selling,

Naomi x

5 Ways to Save on Fashion Online


Let’s face it, we all like to look good, and new clothes, shoes and accessories really help with this, but when you shell out a lot of money for the pleasure the mood can be soured somewhat.  So, what if I told you I’d found five websites that will not only help you look fantastic, but will save you money in the process, making you feel good too?  Read on to find out how to get fashion with big discounts, for £5, or even for FREE…

1. Everything 5 Pounds

For unique fashion at a low price, is the place to be.  As it says in the name, absolutely EVERYTHING they sell costs just £5 each, meaning you can get yourself a full outfit for around £20.  I’ll admit not everything on the site is the most stylish, but if you spend a little while browsing there are some real gems to be found.  Everything 5 Pounds’ bags and shoes really stand out for me, but in my experience you have to get in there quickly as they’re so popular they can sell out in minutes (it pays to join their mailing list/follow them on Facebook, believe me).  Check out this bag I ordered from them a few months ago – the quality is amazing and people are always asking me where I got it!


2. Fashion Vouchers

My go-to website for all the latest sale news and voucher codes in the world of fashion is  With categories including  womenswear, footwear, accessories and beauty covering the most extensive list of fashion stores I’ve seen on any voucher website, Fashion Vouchers has a bargain for everyone – you just have to hunt it out!  It really is an internet treasure trove of discount gold, and you can be savings savvy at just the click of a mouse.  Any time I want to order something online from one of the popular fashion sites, I always check Fashion Vouchers first and more often than not I’ll find a code for money off or free delivery.  Current offers include up to 50% off at Clarks, £20 off when you spend £100 at Lipsy and 10% off at Missguided.

Fashion Vouchers

3. Big Wardrobe

A few years ago I came across a website called Big Wardrobe, ‘The Worldwide Fashion Exchange’, and it has become a firm favourite of mine.  Big Wardrobe is a cross between eBay and Facebook, in that you make yourself a profile, list the fashion items that you want to get rid of, and communicate with other users to negotiate swaps and sales on your things.  The whole concept is a brilliant way to get new clothes for practically nothing, and you can even make yourself a bit of money too.  After losing weight, I swapped items that were too big for me for some beautiful new clothes that fit perfectly.  The swapping process is just so much fun and I highly recommend you try it!

Big Wardrobe

4. eBay

The old classic for saving on fashion is eBay.  When I was teenager I probably saved hundreds of pounds on clothes and accessories by buying from eBay, and I’m still fond of spending evenings scrolling through pages of dresses and shoes to see if I can bag myself a bargain.  eBay is great for picking up unique pieces that can’t be found in stores, or even for finding highly sought after items that have sold out everywhere else.  They often run special offers too, such as the current Summer Holiday Shop where you can get up to 50% off women’s fashion.  I’m currently lusting after this Animal Swimsuit, down from £35.00 to just £13.00!

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5. Fragrance Direct

No outfit is completely without make up, nails and perfume to match, and Fragrance Direct has it all.  The website boasts hundreds of top brands at just a fraction of the RRP, and the icing on the cake is postage is cheap too!  As a nail varnish fanatic, Fragrance Direct helps me feed my obsession whilst saving me some hard-earned pennies, as you can get brands such as Essie for just £1.99, and even OPI for £3.99, which is almost £10.00 off.  Of course, they sell loads of designer fragrances too, with everything a lot cheaper than you’d find it on the high street.  For instance, you can currently get the Vera Wang Princess Gift Set for £24.90, instead £45.00.  Impressive, right?  Here’s one of my recent Fragrance Direct hauls…


Which websites do you use to save money on fashion?

Naomi x

Chocolate Treat Week: Makeup


My third Chocolate Treat Week post is all about make up.  Believe it or not, I had to search high and low for chocolate scented and coloured make up products, but I found a couple of great ones in the end.  I’ve also created a yummy eyeshadow look to share with you, which uses three different shades of chocolate brown.  Enjoy!

For Lips… Palmer’s Dark Chocolate & Peppermint Lip Butter

In my high and low search for chocolate lip products I discovered a myriad of chocolate lip balms, but none of them seemed to cut the mustard as a gloss, rather than just a protective balm.  In all honesty I was close to giving up, but then I found this…  Palmer’s Dark Chocolate & Peppermint Lip Butter.

The Lip Butter has a lovely creamy formula which feels amazing on the lips.  You can tell from how it feels that it is intensely enriching, and because it’s a butter and not a gloss it feels smooth and moisturising rather than sticky.  It  is also light in colour so doesn’t leave a tint on the lips, but as the packaging states it adds a ‘subtle gloss’, which is what makes it makeup in my eyes.  The glossy shine it adds lasts for a long time, and can be worn over lipstick as well as directly on the lips.

The minty chocolate scent of the Lip Butter is absolutely divine.  The fact that it is dark chocolate means that it isn’t too sickly sweet, and the freshness of the peppermint gives it a sharp edge.  The mint also feels wonderful on the lips as it gives the lip butter a pleasant tingle.  Though it doesn’t claim to be a plumping product I think it does have a slight, natural-looking plumping effect, but without the pain that some plumping glosses can cause!

Palmer’s Dark Chocolate & Peppermint Lip Butter definitely does what it says on the tin.  It ‘softens & soothes lips’ almost instantly and leaves them feeling protected, but it has a big advantage over most lip balms by adding that ‘subtle gloss’.  The Lip Butter is available in lots of high street shops (there’s a list here), and usually retails for about £2.75, which is an excellent price considering it is a gloss AND a protective balm in one.

For Eyes… MUA Malt Chocolate Intense Glitter Eyeliner

MUA’s Malt Chocolate Intense Glitter Eyeliner is another quality MUA product.  Like all of their glitter liners it costs just £1, which is outstanding value as there’s even a pencil sharpener incorporated into the lid!  The eyeliner is very creamy so it applies like a dream to both your waterlines and your upper and lower lash lines without pulling the skin at all.  The glitter is very fine too, so it adds a lovely shimmer without causing any irritation or heaviness on the eye.

Malt Chocolate is a pretty, highly pigmented shade with a bronze tinge to it, which gives it that ‘intense colour finish’ – far from the dull, uninspiring look of most brown eyeliners!  What I like about this liner is that, once it dries, it doesn’t smudge and it lasts a good long while before it comes off, keeping its bold colour for the duration of wear.

The eyeliner is also impressively versatile.  MUA state that it can be worn all over the eyelid, as a lip liner or as an all-over lip colour as well as an eyeliner, and due to its creaminess I think it would make a great lip product as it wouldn’t be drying at all.  What a fab thing to throw into your suitcase for a holiday or into your clutch on a night out!

If you’d like to try any of MUA’s Glitter Intense Eyeliners they are available in Superdrug stores or online here.

Create the Look… Triple Chocolate Eyes

The above look was created using three different shades of chocolate coloured eyeshadow.  MUA’s Chocolate Box Trio Eyeshadow would be perfect for this, but I actually used their Immaculate Collection Palette.  All you need to use to copy this look is a white chocolate shade as a highlighter, a milk chocolate shade as your main colour, and a dark chocolate shade for shadows and creases.  The shades I used from the Immaculate Collection were these…

  • White Chocolate: Shade 12
  • Milk Chocolate: Shade 23
  • Dark Chocolate: Shade 21

And here’s how you get the look:

  • Prepare your eyelids right up to the brow bone with your preferred eye primer.
  • Apply your milk chocolate shade to your eyelid using a flat eyeshadow brush, from corner to corner and up to the crease.
  • Using another flat eyeshadow brush sweep your white chocolate shade above the milk chocolate shade, up to the brown bone.
  • Using a shading brush, apply the dark chocolate shade along the crease of your eye, thickening the line at the outer corner and taking it down to the corner of your lashes.
  • Blend the dark chocolate shade into the edge of the milk chocolate shade with a clean eyeshadow brush.
  • Using a fine brush, apply a small amount of the white chocolate shade to the inside corner of your eye and a third of the way under your lower lash line.  Fill in the rest of your lower lash line with the dark chocolate shade.
  • Brush any loose eyeshadow from your face using a clean brush and finish with a generous coat of your favourite mascara, preferably brown.

The Last Rolo…

The Last Rolo is where I hand over the last few words of each Chocolate Treat Week blog post to another blogger.  In the run up to Chocolate Treat Week I asked five of my favourite bloggers a couple of questions about their favourite chocolate treats, and today’s answers come from Claire of Nocturnal Beauty.

Can you recommend any chocolate scented, flavoured or themed beauty/fashion products?

I can definitely recommend the Whipstick lip balm from Lush. It’s my by far my favourite chocolate scented product that I’ve tried. It smells just like chocolate orange, and it isn’t overly sickly or too sweet, it smells absolutely divine. I do catch myself smelling the tin quite a lot! It feels lovely too and leaves a bit of a brown tint to the lips. It’s perfect for anybody who loves chocolate!

What is your favourite chocolate treat to eat, and why?

My favourite chocolate treat to eat is probably chocolate cake. I eat far too much cake and it’s a wonder I have any teeth left. I also make some seriously good chocolate fudge!

Thanks for reading today’s Chocolate Treat Week installment!  Please check back tomorrow for a post all about chocolate themed nails, featuring some new nail art!

Naomi x

How to Find an eBay Bargain


I have been buying things from eBay since I was 13, firstly through my mum’s account, and then when I was old enough to have one, through my own account.  That’s 9 years of bargain hunting, which I think makes me a seasoned eBay user.  Everybody loves finding a hidden gem on eBay, but over the years I have noticed that it has become increasingly difficult to find nice things selling cheap.  I used to be able to nab gorgeous items of clothing for just pennies, but sellers are more savvy now, bidders more abundant, and resultantly prices are on the rise.  Of course, high postage costs don’t help either, and neither does the sheer volume of items you have to sift through!  Despite all the issues that you may come up against on eBay, my hours of browsing have taught me that there are still ways to find a bargain.  As such, I thought I would share with you all my guide on how to find an eBay bargain, so read on if you want to know my tried and tested tips!

1. Shop Abroad

Have you ever seen a quirky piece of costume jewellery or clothing in a fashion boutique or on a trendy market and fallen in love, only to be disappointed that you can’t afford the stupidly high price tag?  Well, chances are you could find those very same items (or at least similar ones) on eBay for just a fraction of the cost.  How?  By shopping abroad!  I have found that there are a lot of sellers on eBay from countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and China, all selling unusual pieces of costume jewellery and clothing for very low prices, and often with free postage.  They are easy to find too…  With a simple search such as ‘skull necklace’ or ‘flower ring’ you will get hundreds of results from overseas sellers, with bids sometimes starting at just a penny, or ‘Buy It Now’ items for a pound or two.  They might take a bit longer to arrive than if you order something closer to home, but it’s well worth the wait.  I’ve collected lots of amazing necklaces this way, and have never paid more than about £2.50 for an item, and most of them have only cost around £1 each.  This Bird pendant is a recent favourite of mine.

2. Spell Things Wrong

We all make accidental spelling mistakes and typos every now and then, and eBay sellers are no different, which is a good thing to remember when searching eBay for specific items, especially branded ones!  Incorrect spellings mean that items won’t always show up in the right place, which obviously means fewer people will see them.  So, next time you’re searching for something, purposefully spell it wrong – you never know what you might find.  Earlier this year I won a brand new Lipsy dress on eBay for 99p because the seller had spelt it with an added ‘e’, as ‘Lipsey’.  You won’t always find something, but every now and then you will stumble upon something great.

3. Include Postage in the Price

When making a bid on an item always decide how much you would be willing to pay for it, and STICK TO THE PRICE.  Easier said than done I know, but shrewd bidders must have willpower.  Don’t just think about the bid price though, think about the postage too.  Some sellers list their items with low starting bids, but will really sting you on postage.  Second class Royal Mail postage for a standard packet is £2.20 but I’ve seen sellers charging close to £5, which just isn’t on!  So, if you decide you’d be willing to pay £10 in total for an item and postage is £3, only bid up to £7.  If it goes above your upper limit, learn to let it go and move on.

4. Always Make an Offer

Sellers who list items as ‘Buy It Now’ sometimes give you the option to make an offer on their items too.  If a seller allows this, you will see a ‘Make Offer’ button on the item.  Wherever you see this option on an item that you want to buy, use it, as it gives you the opportunity to negotiate a price with the seller.  Often this price is pre-set and your offer will be accepted or rejected straight away, but some sellers consider offers on an individual basis.  Either way, be reasonable with your price as you only have three chances to make an offer on any one item, but buying an item this way will always save you money from the set ‘Buy It Now’ price.

5. Use the ‘Sort By’ Option

eBay automatically organises your searches into what they consider to be the ‘Best Match’ to your search term.  Best matches aren’t necessarily the best items though, as they can already have lots of bids on with several days to go.  To get the best offers, take advantage of the ability to sort the items by using the ‘Sort By’ drop down box, which can be found at the top of your search.  Organising the search items into ‘Time: Ending Soonest’ will bring up everything ending soonest, enabling you to discover items which finish soon which may have slipped through the net with no bids, meaning you can snipe an item last second and win it at a very low price.  Choosing the ‘Price + P&P: Lowest First’ option is another great one, as it shows you the items with the lowest combined prices.

6. Choose your Times Carefully

The best times to browse eBay items which are ‘Ending Soonest’ is at times when more people are likely to have listed items.  This is usually in the evenings, when people are home from work and have had their dinner, or at weekends when they have nothing else to do.  You’re bound to have more to choose from if you browse at busy listing times, as items listed a week earlier will be coming to an end, so you might be able to snipe a cheeky bargain.  Weekends, especially Saturday afternoons, are especially good for finding items ending soon with no bids as this is when most people are out and about doing things, so fewer people are at home, online, browsing eBay!

7. Keep ‘Watching’

Last but not least, keep ‘Watching’!  A lot of high street shops have started selling their stock on eBay, as well as on their own website and in-store.  Their items are mostly sold at full price, but it’s a good idea to ‘Watch’ your favourite items as you may find that they gradually reduce in price, during sales or if they are end of line items.  Off the top of my head, the example I will use is Schuh…  Earlier this year Schuh were selling a pair of Dr Marten boots that I LOVED, but couldn’t afford.  I decided to ‘Watch’ them anyway just in case, and it paid off as after a few weeks I noticed that the price of the boots had been reduced by around £30 because they only had one pair left, and the style had been discontinued.  This is a risky strategy as you could miss out, but if you’re willing to take the risk then it may pay off.  Oh, and it’s not just high street shops that do this, independent sellers will often do it too if they’re struggling to get rid of something, so keep an eye out!

And there you have it, my seven tips for bagging yourself an eBay bargain!  Will you be trying any of these methods yourself, or do you already use them?  Please feel free to share your bargain hunting tips too!

Naomi x

What To Take On Your Mini Break


Summer is slowly coming to an end, but there’s still time to dash off into the sun for a last-minute relaxing mini break.  You’ve got your clothes sorted…  Bikini?  Check.  Sun dresses?  Check.  Something gorgeous for the evening?  Check, and you’re almost good to go, but there’s always the question of what toiletries and cosmetics to take, and what to leave behind.  If you packed all the big bottles and endless tubes of lotions and potions that you usually use then you’d need another suitcase, am I right?  So, in the name of making life easier for us all, I thought I’d take the opportunity to narrow everything down and come up with ten little solutions to this bulky problem, which will leave plenty of room in your case for your beach reads and novelty souvenirs – you can thank me later!

1: Basic Make Up

Vanity cases and make up bags stuffed full of make up are impractical and unnecessary when travelling.  This might sound ridiculous, but all you need to take with you for a fresh-faced summer make up look are five basic items – foundation, eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and blush.  That’s it!  Don’t believe me?  Check out my Top 5 Summer Make Up Essentials post for proof that that’s all you need.

2: Nail Varnish

If you can’t afford or don’t want an expensive salon manicure before you go away then it’s a good idea to pack a bottle of nail varnish.  You never know when you might be invited out last-minute for a romantic meal or an evening at a bar, so choose a quick drying varnish that you can slick on in seconds before you leave.

I highly recommend Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Nail Colour in ‘Ruby Rush’.  It’s a deep, classic shade that will go well with any outfit, it has a wide brush for quick, even coverage and it is dry to the touch in just minutes.  It’s wonderfully chip resistant too, and a new favourite of mine.

3: Make Up Remover

If you’re like me, you probably have a bottle of make up remover for your eyes, one for your face, and a big bag of cotton wool balls and cotton buds that you use them with.  That’s a lot of bottles and bags to take on one little trip!  A great substitute to use for the few days you’re away are make up remover wipes, as they save space, are quick to use and can be thrown away once you’re done with them.

Kleenex recently brought out a range of make up remover wipes which are made of natural fibres and are gentle on the skin, yet very effective.  The ones pictured are specifically for eye make up, but they also make facial cleansing wipes.

4: Sun Lotion

Ever noticed that sun lotion tends to come in huge bottles that you’ll never get through during a two-week holiday, let alone whilst on a mini break?  Well, Hawaiian Tropic have solved that problem with their handy 100ml bottles of sun lotion!  They still contain the gorgeously scented, high quality lotion that the big bottles do – they’re just lighter and more compact, and the perfect size to carry in even the smallest of bags.

I’ve been using the Hawaiian Tropic Protective Sun Lotion SPF30 and I adore it.  The lotion not only protects your skin but softens it too, as it contains vitamins C and E, and is gorgeously light and silky.  It’s also ‘very water resistant’, which is great if you fancy a swim in the sea, but it’s still a good idea to apply it regularly to stay as safe as possible.  At £5.49 these mini bottles are a real steal.

5, 6 and 7: Moisturiser, Shampoo and Shower Gel

Now is a good time to raid your old beauty boxes, gift sets and collections of product samples.  All those little bottles and sachets of moisturiser, shampoo and shower gel that you never thought you’d use are actually the perfect size for taking on mini breaks!  Not only do they save space, but you might also discover a hidden gem amongst them which you can repurchase and carry on using when you get home.

8: Deodorant

Rather than packing chunky spray deodorants, why not take a roll-on deodorant instead?  They’re much kinder on the skin, and compact enough to carry with you.

A particular favourite of mine is Vaseline Aloe Fresh 24h Protection Deodorant, as it is long-lasting, the aloe makes it extremely moisturising and refreshing, and it doesn’t leave white marks on your dark clothes!

9: Disposable Razor

You never know when you might need to neaten up whilst on holiday, but taking a bulky epilator or home waxing kit with you is far too much trouble!  The solution?  Take a disposable razor!  Just because it’s disposable doesn’t mean it won’t do a good job, especially if you use Wilkinson Sword Extreme 3 Beauty Razors.  

I’ve been using these myself and they give an amazingly smooth result at a fraction of the usual hair removal cost (you get four for £3.99).  The three blade razor head is flexible so moves with the curves of your body for a close shave, and it even features a moisturising strip of aloe and jojoba to leave your skin feeling soft – not what you’d expect from a disposable razor at all!  They look and feel more like luxury razors, but once you’re done with them you can just throw them away so they’re far more convenient for travelling with.

10: Perfume

A great way to make the transition from a lazy day on the beach to a lively evening at a bar is with a beautiful fragrance, but who wants to be carrying a big glass bottle of perfume around with them?  That’s where Avon’s mini fragrances come in.  Avon now sell miniature versions of their best selling perfumes which are great for top ups throughout the day or, in this case, to take with you on a short trip.  You will find the full range on page 206 of Brochure 16, including 15ml Purse Sprays and 30ml Travel Sprays (how apt!), ranging from £5 to £7.50 each.

Wherever you’re going this summer, I hope these tips will help you know what to pack, and I hope you will Be Spontaneous whilst on your travels!  Why not do something you’ve never done before, and then share it with the Be Spontaneous crew on Facebook?  You could even win some amazing prizes in the process!

Thanks for reading,

Naomi x

*The Hawaiian Tropic Protective Sun Lotion SPF30 and Wilkinson Sword Xtreme3 Beauty Razors featured in the post were given to me by Wilkinson Sword for review purposes.  Everything else was purchased using my own money.  All opinions are honest and my own.  Some affiliate links have been used*

A Simple Way to Create the Illusion of Longer, Fuller Lashes


I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of false lashes.  The glue really puts me off using them and I really don’t think they suit me.  I much prefer more natural looking lashes, but I have no problem with adding a bit of length or volume using make up.  As well as the obvious choice of mascara, there’s also another simple way to create the illusion of longer, fuller lashes, and that’s with a thin line of eyeliner.  Personally I like to use gel liner as it’s easier to draw a fine, smooth line with, but any eyeliner will do.

To create this basic look I used two gel eyeliners – a black one and a purple one. With a fine brush I applied a thin line of the black liner across my top lash line, as close to the lashes as possible. This is what creates the illusion of longer, fuller lashes, as the black looks like an extension of the lashes, and the solid line makes the lashes appear fuller. If you have paler lashes or use a different colour mascara, then use an eyeliner shade at this stage which is more suited to your colouring.

Using the purple liner I then drew a thicker line above the black line, with a slight flick at the outer corners.  Adding this thicker line of colour adds to the long lash illusion as it gives the impression that the lashline starts where the colour begins, thus making the black look more like an extension of your lashes.  It’s up to you what colour you use – I just wanted my eyes to match my outfit.  Add a layer or two of your favourite mascara and you’re good to go!

I hope you’ve all had a good weekend!

Naomi x

DIY Simple Cord Bead Bracelets


I was recently browsing the summer sales and noticed that there were a lot of fine cord beaded bracelets around.  I thought they were very cute and subtle, but I couldn’t justify spending money on what was essentially just a piece of string and a single bead.  So, being the thrifty girl that I am, I decided to make my own!  Under my bed I have a big box of craft stuff, so today I dug out some cord and a few beads and got making.  As I went along, I took some photos so I could put together this little tutorial for you all :)  Each one only takes a few minutes to make so you really don’t need to set aside much time to try this out.

All you will need to make your simple cord bead bracelet is:

Leather Cord


A Pretty Bead

And this is how you do it!

1.  Cut a length of cord which is a few inches longer than the circumference of your wrist.  It needs to be quite long so you can tie knots later on!  Any excess can be snipped off if needs be, so try not to make it too short.

2.  Thread your bead onto the cord, making sure that it’s in the centre.

3.  Tie a tight knot either side of the bead to keep it in place.

4.  This is probably the most fiddly bit… Tie one side of the cord around the other side of the cord to create a sliding knot.  It’s difficult to explain how to tie a sliding knot so if you don’t know how to do it, there’s a simple guide here.

5.  Do the same on the other side.  The sliding knots will make it easy to make the bracelet tighter or looser.

And that’s it – once you’ve trimmed it down you’re finished!  I made several bracelets using different glass coloured beads so I can wear them stacked together.  And here they are…

What do you think?  I hope you like them!  I’d love to see a photo if you decide to try this out.

Happy crafting :)

Naomi x

Nail Art Tutorial: Rainbow Stripes


A little while ago I bought some striping tape from eBay and I created a sporty look to celebrate my favourite rugby team reaching the premiership final.  I promised that I would put together some tips on how to use striping tape, so today I thought I’d do my first tape tutorial!  These rainbow stripes don’t use striping tape in the most conventional way, but it still looks really great.  The white pattern on my nail in the photo below is just a reflection, in case you were wondering :)

To create this look, you will need the following…

  • A nail file.
  • A base coat and a top coat.
  • Plain striping tape.
  • 3 or 4 bright coloured varnishes.
  • Black nail varnish.

And this is how you do it…


As with any manicure, the first step is to moisturise your hands, clean and shape your nails (and buff if you like) and apply a base coat, just to make sure your nails stay healthy and don’t stain!


Prepare your striping tape!  Some people like to cut the striping tape when they need it by placing it on their nails whilst still on the roll and then snipping it, but I find that too bulky so I always cut it first.  Decide how many stripes you want on each nail and then cut enough strips.  I went for four on each.  Make sure you cut them longer than the width of your nail so you can peel them off easily.  Also, it’s best not to pull the tape too hard or it will stretch/curl.


To create the rainbow base, you need to paint blobs of the different coloured varnishes onto your feature nails.  I chose orange, yellow, pink and blue, as layering the blue and yellow gives green and layering the pink and blue gives purple.  Extra colours without the effort!  Ensure that every bit of your  nail is covered so there will be no bare bits in the finished look.


When your nails are dry, place the striping tape over your coloured nails, evenly spaced, and press it down edge to edge so there are no gaps underneath.  Make sure the varnish is completely dry, and not tacky, or the tape will pull the colour off when you peel it back.  Also, it is best to press the excess onto your skin to keep it out of the way.


Paint all of your nails black – simple as that!  Just be careful when painting the taped nails so you don’t accidentally lift the tape up :)  Try to apply one opaque layer of black, rather than a few thinner ones, or it will be too thick and ridged when you peel the tape off.


This is the final step!  When the black varnish is completely dry and not tacky, peel the tape off very carefully to reveal the rainbow stripes underneath, then apply a top coat.  Again, the wobbly bits on my nails in the picture are reflections, not mistakes :)

And there you have it – pretty rainbow stripes in minutes.  What do you think?

Naomi x

Nail Stains – Help Me!


Hi everyone,

Once again I have been very busy lately.  I have my final postgraduate assignment for this year due in on Wednesday so I have been working really hard on that over the last few weeks.  On top of that, there have been birthdays and family emergencies galore this week, leaving very little time for anything else!  So, this is just a quick plea for help from me today, and I hope one or some of you can help me!

Earlier this week I applied nail varnish without putting on a base coat.  I’ve done this before and my nails were fine, but the nail varnish I used was given to me by somebody who had purchased it whilst on holiday abroad, so it may have had some funny stuff in.  For the first time EVER I have very stained nails :(  They’re all yellow and the stains cover pretty much all of every nail – it looks horrible!  I was just wondering whether any of you have any hints or tips on how to remove, or at least minimise, stains on nails?  I have looked online and there all sorts of ideas out there, but I want to try something that works!

So, if you’ve got any tried and tested methods, please leave a comment below.  Thanks so much in advance!  I’ll see you all tomorrow with another Montagne Jeunesse review.

Naomi x

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