Tutorial – Chocolate Fudge Lotion Bars With A Hint Of Shimmer

For sometime now I’ve been wanting to make some hard lotion bars and yesterday I finally found the opportunity to do so.

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Are you all familiar with the term lotion bars?

For those of you who are not, lotion bars are basically the same as body butters and lotions, only these come in a solid form. Lotion bars are basically solid at room temperature but melt at near skin temperature. When you finish in the bath/shower you simply rub the bar over your body allowing your skin to absorb its moisture.

By making my own lotion bars I know exactly what it is I’m applying to my skin, therefore avoiding anything that may irritate me! My skin is very sensitive, making me prone to outbreaks of eczema and other flare ups. However, this isn’t the only benefit to making your own lotion bars. Its also a much cheaper alternative to expensive shop brought brands. Though the ingredients used are rather expensive, the quantity of what you have purchased will last some time, allowing you to make a good number of homemade skin products, therefore making the ingredients great value for money.

So, not only did I want a lotion bar that combats dry skin, I also wanted something a little sweet smelling and girly. With this I decided to make a batch of ‘Chocolate Fudge Shimmer Lotion Bars’

For this simple lotion bar recipe you will need to first buy these ingredients

Yellow Bees Wax Pellets
Almond Oil (Carrier Oil)
Unrefined Coca Butter
Raw Shea Butter
Witch Hazel
Pure Vitamin E Oil
Chocolate Fudge (Fragrance)
Cosmetic Glitter (Silvery White)

Tools…

Double boiler
Silicone Moulds (hearts)
Metal Spoon
Grater
Bowls
Scales or measuring cups
Spoons for mixing

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Warning: This recipe does contain nut extract so those allergic to nuts should avoid!

So, before I get started on the tutorial, let me explain a little, my reasons for choosing the above ingredients.

For the lotion bar to work a carrier oil must be used. I chose almond oil as its known to be a great natural oil for people who suffer with dry skin. Almond oil moisturises and keeps the skin at a normal PH level during the colder months avoiding cracked dry patches like I sometimes get on my hands as a result of my eczema.

Secondly almond oil provides its user with a natural way to fight them frightening signs of ageing with its use of antioxidants and anti-aging properties.

Unrefined Cocoa butter is the best option for this recipe as it still retains all of its natural goodness and is completely pure and untouched. Its brought in large hard blocks that can be melted down into a liquid. It has a long shelf life of anything from 2-5 years dependent on its stored environment. It has a great buttery texture as it begins to melt and a pleasant natural fragrance. Cocoa butter is a great stable fat that is naturally packed full of antioxidants. Its great used as a lotion as like that of almond oil it helps to prevent dry and itchy skin. What’s more its perfect for a lotion bar as its solid form melts easily when it comes into contact with the skin which is then easily absorbed leaving your skin smelling delicious and feeling silky smooth.

Shea butter is extracted from the nut of African Shea trees. Its packed full of natural fatty acids that are again great to use on the skin. Shea butter is again a great option as like cocoa butter it has a reasonably low melting point. saying that, Shea butter isn’t the easiest butter to work with as it can often become grainy if not heated and cooled in the right way.

The benefits of Shea butter for your skin is that it is both moisturising and rejuvenating. It acts as a great skin toner too, helping beat cellulite and uneven skin texture. Like the above ingredients it fab as an anti ageing treatment and helps to combat dry skin such as eczema. This butter is packed with vitamins and therapeutic properties to protect skin from elements such as the sun and the wind making it a great addition to lip balms.

Yellow BeesWax has a higher melting point range of 62 to 64 °C compared to that of cocoa and Shea butters that normally have a melting range of below 40 °C. The beeswax therefore keeps the product solid for longer. For those living in hotter climates than the UK, a higher ratio of beeswax can be used if desired. Lastly, pure yellow beeswax has a nicer texture and naturally sweeter aroma then that of refined white wax pellets.

Added extras are both the witch hazel and the vitamin E oil. Only a small amount of both is needed but both have great benefits to the skin making these lotion bars even more beneficial.

So Lets Get Started….

Measures

to get the measurements needed for my batch of 6 large heart shaped lotion bars I used the following…

Equal measures of your main ingredients, which for this bar are cocoa butter, almond oil and wax pellets…

Unrefined Cocoa Butter 4 oz
Almond Oil (Carrier Oil) 4 oz
Natural Yellow Beeswax Pellets 4 oz

Other ingredients…

Shear Butter (1.5 oz)

Witch Hazel 1 1/2 Table Spoons

Vitamin E Oil 2 drops

Chocolate Fudge Fragrance Oil 30 drops

Cosmetic Glitter (Shimmer) 2 Tiny Pinches

First, take the cocoa butter and weigh out 4 oz. Then grate it into a large bowl. Note… This is time consuming and hard work so if you have an electric grater then go for it! As to avoid waste cut the last small pieces that are too small to grate into tiny pieces with a knife. Once done leave it to one side.

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Next weigh out your wax pellets (4 oz) and then your Shea butter 1.5 oz.

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Boil a pan of water and once its bubbling turn down the heat and place a smaller pan or glass jug (if you don’t have a double boiler like me) into the boiling pan of water.

Keep the heat low and add your wax pellets. Remember these have a higher melting point so should go on first.

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Once the wax is almost liquidated, add the grated cocoa butter, stir a little and within a few seconds it should have began melting. At this point you should now add the Shea butter to your mixture. Give this a stir and then leave on the low heat while you prepare your carrier oil.

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For this measure out 4 oz of almond oil adding 1 1/2 table spoons of witch hazel to the oil followed by two drops of vitamin E. Give this a good mix before pouring into the mixture.

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At this point something very strange will happen. The addition of the cold oils to the hot wax makes the oil suddenly turn white with almost a solid appearance. Don’t panic just stir to blend all the ingredients together till the whole mixture has become a liquid.

Now remove from the heat and allow to let for 30-60 seconds before adding 30 drops of Chocolate Fudge Fragrance mix well and don’t take to long to avoid solidification.

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Lastly sprinkle in a few pinches of cosmetic glitter, mix and pour into your silicone moulds.

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Let sit in till the liquid has solidified enough for you to more them into the fridge where you will leave them be for a good few hours (2 should be enough but 3 is even better).

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Once these have set, they should pop out the silicone moulds with ease. Let them stand for 20 minutes and then decided how you want to store them. If keeping for yourself, store in an old tin or some air tight containers, placing them in a cool dark place away from sunlight and other heat sources in-till your ready to use them.

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20130502-123715.jpgabove image I’ve tried to capture the sparkle

If you want to dress these up for a gift you can simply wrap them in some greaseproof paper, pop them into gift bags, tie with twine and write the name of the gift on a cute matching gift tag. Another idea, which I like best, is to line a glass jar with a pretty cellophane bag, piling your lotion bars inside before securing the lid and again adding a gift tag or naming label.

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These lotion bars really do smell gorgeously chocolatey. The shimmer is so pretty and subtle too.

My skin feels smooth and soft and the smell last for hours as would a perfume.

Am I proud of my homemade lotion bars? Hell yes!

Reference Section

I’m a UK girl living in London. All the ingredients were attainable, but health food stores are charging the earth for this stuff. With this I opted for eBay when buying the majority of my ingredients. Below is a list of stockiest accompanied by links to the places I brought my ingredients…

250g Raw Shea Butter, 500g Unrefined Cocoa Butter, 10ml Vitamin E Oil

All the above brought from … ‘Aina’s Bargains (eBay Shop)’

Witch Hazel & Almond Oil purchased from Sainsburys

Heart Mould Tray purchased from Lidl

Chocolate Fudge Fragrance purchased from J’s Natural Soaps (eBay Store)

How to organise A slumber Party On A Budget (Part 1)

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My daughter turned 10 yesterday and because her birthday fell on a Tuesday we decided she could do something special last weekend.

I guess I thought she’d just want to have a party… Ok its a load of tidying up and a little preparation but I didn’t mind… Honest!

She did opt for a party but one of a different kind… Sleepover AKA… slumber party. I had a little think about it and decided that yes she could, but she was only having a maximum of 5 friends stay over the night.

In the end she opted for just 4 of her friends and as one couldn’t make it just 3 came! Nonetheless, 4 girls in total was actually more than enough… Girls can be bitchy to one another, even sweet little ten year olds ( or so I discovered).

So, they received an invite that stated “Please bring Your Sleeping Bags” and Alice excitedly awaited the weekend.

Me, I wanted my “Not” so little girl to enjoy herself but I still wanted to stay sane during the process, especially given I’d be parenting a demanding 3 year old toddler and a melt down prone almost teenage boy with Aspergers Syndrome on the side. With this I sat down with Alice and we brainstormed on things they could do to make the sleep over exciting and fun but also in a cost efficient way (its January not one of my best months for money).

Here’s a few ideas we came up with…

Home made girly bunting & other decorations for the bedroom
Tattoo bar (temporary of cause)
Nail bar (again temporary)
Hair Bar
Face Painting
Girly chick flicks accompanied by a hot chocolate bar and popcorn cups
Monster High Cupcakes
Few little gifts on the night
Personalised girly gift bags (for when they leave)
Board Games
Karaoke
And more besides… She made a reasonable size list!

We came up with an agreement that was …

Alice could have the sleep over, mum (that’s me) would make the decorations and cakes and bags with Alice’s help. On the night Alice would be provided with all the supplies to have an awesome time but she would then need to use them as she wished… example being that she would not once tell me she was bored! She would organise her hair and nail bar and create her own schedule for the nights event. The only rule being was that all these things were done by 10 pm and then it was time to settle down with hot chocolate and watch the movies provided. I would also be making dinner at a set time so she would need to organise her fun around this time too.

The party Shop…

I decided a trip to PoundLand was in order. It was the perfect place to grab some materials for the nights events.
It was here that I stocked up on treats like crisps, marshmallows, sweets etc. I also grabbed a 20 flag bunting in all different colours as well as balloons, pretty cupcake cases and cake toppers, cupcake stand and decorative tags. Plus I found some pretty little wire butterflies and flowers that I felt would be perfect decorations for the bags. I think I spent around £15, so not to bad at all.

Next stop was Primark… Yes seriously! I was there buying myself some PJs when I noticed the big discount basket that was full off stick on nails. They had these great sparkly metallic gold leopard print design and were reduced to a fab-Tastic 50p each. That was another £2 spent.

Next up was eBay… No queues or heavy bags here. This time I was shopping from the sofa. Here I did very well. I won a bid for a bulk load of 30 girly party bag items. There was 6 different items 5 of each. These include… Temporary tattoo packs, wooden bangles, friendship bands, sticker sheets, packs of 4 hair accessories and mascaras (that they didn’t get). I won the bid at £2.20 with £1.50 postage. The stuff is of excellent quality so I was super happy.

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I also brought a bag of 100 acrylic Alphabet beads (£1.40 free postage) 20 funky plastic rings £1 with 85p postage and 10 heart mobile phone charms (that can also be used on iPods, hand gaming consoles and more) these were 99p with £1.99 postage.

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The last two items I got from eBay were a pack of pretty girly cellophane flower design bags and a pack of 20 monster high rice paper cupcake toppers both items were £2 each with free postage.

Prep…

Given the bunting was rather plain (just brightly coloured flags on a string, we decided to cheer them up with stuff from the craft cupboard.

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We used…

Different size decorative tapes in 5 different designs (pink lace, stripy, Love, skull and cupcake)
Self adhesive buttons
Self adhesive hearts
Mod podge gloss

We cut the 20 flag strip in two halfs of 10.

We used the different tapes in various ways to decorate each flag. Some had multiple strips where others just received a boarder along the top.

We used the different embellishments to decorate. Buttons were applied directly to the tape or in the middle or bottom of our flags. The hearts were sometimes gathered in groups of 2 or 3 giving a bold and girly design.

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The skull tap did look a little pirate theme but we then added a strip of Pink Love tape along with a heart to make it stand out in a girly fashion.

The last step was to apply one coat of mod podge to each flag. Now although the flags and some of the tapes were already ultra glossy due to the material they were made from, I decided to do this as to make the bunting stronger and to give the embellishments and other bits that same glossy look.

Mod Podge applied to this material dries in minutes. Our bunting took less then 20 minutes to make which does include drying time. It was therefore up on the wall in no time.

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Other decorations we made together, were some very pretty hanging butterflies that would not only be fab decorations for a slumber party but a great addition to her bedrooms decor like that of the butterfly canvas we recently created and showed you here on the blog. With this I’ve decided to show you these in a later post (that will include a little tutorial). We also made paper chains from decorative papers and pompom garlands. All items apart from the flag bunting were already housed in our crafts cupboard, so the costs were kept very low

As for the party bags (for when they leave to go home) we created these with the following items…

Clear cellophane bags with flower design.
Wire ties (came with bags)
Self adhesive wire flowers and butterflies
Ribbon (different colours)
Decorative tags
Decorative paper and a balloon and heart craft punch (to make sequins)
Party Bag Contents (the items from eBay, including the rings and mobile charms)

These, were simple to create but the end results were very pretty, much better than your bog standard party bag that normally involves little themed bags that kids tip all over the floor just so they can find what it is they are looking for.

I wanted the bags to be see-through hence the cellophane bags. This allows kids to see whats inside without even opening them. Nonetheless, I still wanted them to be really pretty and girly so opted for the flower design I’ve mentioned above.

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Each bag was filled with the treats mentioned and there was no inclusion of any sweets. I hate it when my kids bring home bags of sticky sweets following a party. 1- They may have siblings (and we all know how kids like to share their sweets) and 2- Sugar highs are not welcomed by all parents. I also decided to hold back the mascaras. I didn’t fancy parents calling me up asking why the hell their 10 year olds were stood in front of the mirror poking themselves in the eye as they stood applying mascara! The contents were however really fun and girlie and included all the other little bits I mentioned earlier within this post.

To add sparkle and that something extra, myself and daughter sat for what felt like ages punching out balloon and heart shapes from decorative papers with the craft punches. We then added a handful of these shapes to each bag before finally tying them shut with the plastic wire ties followed by pretty ribbon tied into a bow.

The last few steps were to apply the self adhesive wire flower and butterfly shapes to the centre of each tied bag (one for each). Finally we used a small piece of our pretty “Love” print tape to attach the pretty decorative tags that we hand wrote the names of each child attending.

Stunning don’t you think…

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So… to find out what food we created, cakes we made and special little gifts we gave, be sure to return to read our second instalment of “How to organise A slumber Party On A Budget” I’ll be sharing tips on how to create fun party food on little money, cocktails appropriate for 10 year old little ladies and an update on just how well Alice’s slumber party played out… Warning Paracetamol intake involved.

From The Jumble To eBay – How To Buy To Sell

Firstly, I’m not one of those mad nutty spammers talking about how to make money online… But I do have some tips on how to make money via eBay and it all starts at your local jumble sales, bootfairs and the odd charity shop.

Its all about shopping to sell, not on the high street (well that is unless there is a great little charity shop there). Jumble sales are your best bet though, whether held at the local church hall or in the school playground, these babies house a treasure trove of bargains. Every jumble sale i’ve ever been to, I’ve never left with no less than a few black bags that are normally bursting at the seams. You can bet your life on it that I’ve also spent no more than a fiver. I recently filled a huge black bag for £3 and I’ve almost ebayed the lot. Items from this bag that instantly spring to mind that sold well on eBay are that of a Boden dress (women’s) £16, river island jeans £12, tweed girls coat from monsoon £22, Jane Norman jeans £10 and a pair of infant converse that sold for £18. Look at the statistics here… This is all from my £3 bag of jumble sale finds.

Of course you have to know what your looking for. I suggest you scan eBay to find whats selling well at the time. But there are always certain items and brands that never seem to let you down. Here’s some I suggest…

Children’s Clothing…
Next (I’ve found that girls items do particularly well as do boys coats and knits).
Mini Boden (kids jeans are a winner as are girls dresses)
Brand Tracksuits (Nike and Adidas, especially in baby and toddler sizes)
Monsoon dresses & coats
Ralph Lauren (especially baby and toddler sizes)
Converse ( mainly high tops and rare pairs).
John Rocha and other designers for Debenhams
Popular Character wear (whatever is big at the time, example… Peppa pig, bob the builder, Thomas the tank engine, mike the knight).

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Women’s clothing…
Boden (again especially jeans)
Donna Karen
Zara
Jane Norman (I’ve done well with coats and jeans)
River island (jeans do well)
Coast (dresses)
Lipsy (dresses)
Onesies are currently selling well (even those from Primark)
Levi’s (vintage, cut offs)
Vintage & Retro items of clothing (examples… denim, retro printed tees, Sequinned tops)
Festive wear in the summer time (includes vintage finds, floor sweeping dresses, boohoo inspired fashion)

Men’s clothing…
Levi’s (Vintage Red label 501 are a winner)
Ralph Lauren (especially the tops with the big logo)
Vintage leather beats
Rare converse

Accessories…
Vintage leather bags
Oversized vintage weekend bags
Cath Kidston bags and purses
Vintage costume jewellery
Shoes (Dune and Office do great)
Ralph Lauren Green Holdall (the one I’m actually referring to was given away with aftershave from the fragrance store back in June. It can fetch between £70-£100 on eBay)

20130110-223653.jpgRalph Lauren Bag given away free with fragrance.

Toys…

Vintage toys… Old matchbox car, Barbie, Sindy, Lego sets (rare) Play Mobile, Dr Who, He Man, Thunder Cats, My Little Pony, Care Bears, Lucky Trolls, Toy Dummies on necklace… 80’s toys (All boxed and unboxed)

Current Toys…
Whatever is Highly popular at the time of selling… Currently I’ve found these toys to bring in good money… First edition monster high dolls especially that of Holt Hyde. Others include… Gillington Gil Webber (Skull Shores) Torelei (first edition) Jinafire Long (hard to find new character) Jackson Jekyll and Deuce (Scaris). I have witnessed all make a good amount of money on eBay, Holt Hyde more so than any.

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I’ve not personally sold any monster high dolls, my daughter is a huge fan and I just seem to be buying them hence the reason I know.

The differences when buying items to sell on eBay at Jumble Sales, Bootfairs and Charity Shops

Jumble Sales… Its in my opinion that Jumbles are the best places to find great selling items at very little spendage (yes, I’m aware that isn’t a real word). Vintage clothing and accessories are relatively easy to find at car boots and jumbles as are well known high street and even designer brands. Jumble sales normally sell items of clothing for around 20p-50p an item with a lot of the time that sum often being less. This is regardless of the brand name or condition. You will often find that sellers at the jumble sale will do you a great deal on filling a bag or two (example £1 a large bag of clothes). Most jumble sales are made up of donations, often given by those wishing to get rid of items quickly for lack of storage or those who have more money than sense (I only say this as I’ve picked up newly tagged expensive items that eBayers have snapped off me in a heartbeat). Its not just clothing that jumble sales are great for but toys, brick a brac and pretty bone china.

Bootfairs… These are also great places to visit and bargains can be easily obtained. However, sellers normally sell their own personal items rather than donations and therefore ask for more money as a result. I find that by visiting stalls on a cold wet day when sellers are just itching to get in the car and leave (round about packing up time) is the best time to grab bargains. Sealed makeup, good handbags and collectable toys have been some of my greatest finds.

Charity Shops… These can offer great little finds but are likely to offer the least selling profit of all. Charity shop workers are much more on the ball these days when it comes to brands and what people are looking for. However, this does tend to be seen more across the big store chains such as Cancer research or Mind. There are still some great little charity shops out there that are selling children’s clothes for a quid and adults £2 an item…. You just have to find them. Villages and slightly remote places have fabulous little charity shops. Those outside of the big town centres will always offer more for your pennies. My best charity shop buy recently, was infant converse (2 pairs) for my 3 year old. These looked almost new yet I paid only £1 for each pair. I plan to sell these on eBay once Harley has grown out of them and although they will likely sell for less, these will probably fetch more than a quid a pair.

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So… Have you ever spotted anything for a bargain at any of these places and then gone on to sell them on eBay making a tidy profit as a result? If so I’d love to hear what! It might sound crazy but some people are actually making a good income this way.

Would you buy to sell?

Big Brand Makeup On A Budget (Bootfair Finds)

Just before Christmas on the Sunday I visited a car boot sale that took place in a Multistorey carpark in South Croydon.

We got there rather late, So late in fact that people were actually packing up to leave. However, this did mean that we got to grab a few bargains.

This was mainly in the way of cosmetics And I got to grab a whole bunch of new branded make up that hadn’t ever been open. This was expensive stuff, however I grabbed the whole lot for just £2.

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Here’s what I got…

Leighton Denny full size nail polish (12ml) in Pure White

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Leighton Denny full size nail polish (12ml) in Amazing Grey

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Laura Geller Invisible Oil Blotting Powder (Translucent Compact) full size (12m)

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Laura Geller Baked Cake Eyeliner in Plum Pudding/Black Forest (full size)

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Laura Geller Wonder Wand Eye Brightener (full size)

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Models Prefer Brush On Brilliance Aquavit Concealer (full size)

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I.D by Bare Escentuals Peal Lip Gloss (full size)

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Can you believe it? All this… Sealed and new for just a few quid. Anybody who likes their makeup will know these are not cheap brands. I normally buy my Leighton Denny Vanishes for at least £11 each and I’ve had Laura Geller makeup which I’ve brought from QVC and its never been really cheap. Given I’ve not had the luxury of buying good quality makeup in sometime, I was dead pleased with my bootfair finds.

The seller was a really lovely women who had some fantastic bits and bobs from makeup to shoes… I just wished I’d had both more money and more time.

So… Me being me, I got home and searched the Internet to try and discover just how much of a saving I actually made.

Most of my new Laura Geller Products are not currently on the QVC site but I found the blotting powder going on eBay for no less than £30 and that wasn’t even sealed (even though it states unused). The Laura Geller collection is highly available in the states but QVC UK does have quiet an extensive range on their site. There are some beautiful products listed and although being QVC you can spot a good deal or two, the prices are of course considerable more than I paid! Check it out for yourself Here.

As for my two Leighton Denny nail polishes I found these both listed on the official Leighton Denny Signature UK site. Both Amazing Grey and Pure White are listed at £11 each. I should mention I also discovered the most gorgeous blue vanish while I was searching and its seriously calling my name (I just might have to pay full price and order that one)! Naughty I know!

My Models Prefer Concealer pen maybe discontinued as this was hard to find. However I did unearth it on eBay at a buy it now price of £9.99 without postage. The Bare Escentuals Lip Gloss will normally set you back £11.99 as sold by Martyn Maxey UK.

Well… Looking at the evidence it would seem that I had a brilliant result. I’m keeping all the products as I like them all. However, seeing the prices some of these items and brands fetch on eBay it may be worth baring this in mind and keeping your eyes wide open next time you hit your local bootfair. I know I will be!

This Weeks Charity Shop Finds

I love it when the charity shop is housing some little gems for me to purchase and then shout about!

Charity shops have become pretty clever places when it comes to pricing. What I mean is what you used to be able to pick up for 10p is now £10. I’m not stating its wrong that they’ve done their research I’m just stating that for us it tends to be a tad harder to find them hidden gems.

Nonetheless, they do still exist and I have evidence within my latest buy…

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Your eyes do not deceive you, this is two pairs of converse in a child’s size 9. One blue and one white pair of ‘Converse All Stars’ priced at the remarkably low price of just £1 each… Yes, thats… One serious bargain!

I’m yet to wash these, but anyone who own a pair of converse will know how amazingly well they wash up. I recently washed the toddlers and my daughters ‘High Tops’ that as a result look brand new again. I actually brought the toddlers lime green high tops from eBay for 99p. They had been worn just the once but I guess the fact the listing title contained a typo as well as it ridiculous ending time of the very small hours meant luck was on my side! Oh, and if your wondering how on earth I managed to find it then check out the fat fingers app which is simply genius.

Well, the toddler is currently wearing a comfy size 7 so I can even make a profit on eBay or keep them for the toddler. I could even spilt them keeping one for Harley and selling the other. I think he will most definitely keep one pair and given his a boy the second is a big possibility.

Did I find anything else? Well I did get a new pretty saucer which I’ve added to the collection. I’m planing on making a pretty vintage inspired jewellery holder with these and some pretty miniature vintage style sherry and shoot glasses. This was a steal at 20p especially given its bone china too. I won’t show you all as I’m planning to crack on with the jewellery stand In the coming days so I’ll just show you then.

Would love to hear of any readers charity shop finds…. Have you found any hidden gems lately?

This Week I’m In Shoe Heaven

Admittedly I’m a lady who likes her shoes… I wont lie! I have many pairs!

Some may argue… Then Why buy more!

I’m entitle to treat myself every now and then especially when I’m treating myself to something for a fraction of its original cost!

I got my hands on two beautiful pairs of shoes this week. Both platforms, both beautiful, both an absolute bargain!

The first pair of shoes were actually delivered to me last Saturday but I was in Bristol. I therefore collected my parcel from the local sorting office on Wednesday and was delighted to discover that the parcel was in fact one of my latest eBay finds…

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They are amazing, I just had to have them! So I added the shoes to my watch list and set an alarm on my iPhone with a reminder of the auctions closing time. I was surprised to discover that this was actually due to end at a funny hour. Despite this being a UK long time eBay seller it was due to end at the Ghastly hour of 3am. Anyone who uses eBay will get where I’m coming from when stating how foolish such a move is! Its one that could have actually cost the seller a great eBay sale! I mean who is awake at 3am? I swear its only me who’s unlucky enough to be kept awake so late. Many people don’t bid till the last hour of auction… Fact! This would have almost definitely affected its final selling price.

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As a result, I snapped up these beauties for the remarkable price of £2 plus a very reasonable £2.50 P&P. Not bad for a beautiful pair of shoes that have only been worn just once.

The second pair of shoes I brought was in london following my Savoo interview. These were from the new Primark flagship store located on Tottenham Court road on the corner of Oxford Street.

The new store that opened late last month (september) is massive and host 4 floors of treasure. There is a great selection in all departments whether women’s, men’s, children’s and even that of homeware.

On this particular day they had many items reduced in price and as a result I snapped these up for just £6 saving £10 from the £16 they were originally.

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To be completely honest, I’ve never really liked the selection of heels stocked by Primark but in the last year I’ve noticed some stunning new lines that tick all the boxes in style and price. I don’t know how well made these are but at £6 it won’t be so heartbreaking if they don’t get through too many nights out (not that I have many but that irrelevant).

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They do seem sturdy with a heel that’s reasonable strong. At £6 I can’t help but to shout about them.

I only got these this past Saturday and hear they are still currently on sale in many Primark stores. If these are not your thing its still worth checking out your nearest store this week as the number of shoes amongst other items on sale, is most definitely worth a look.

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Check out the Fashion Foie Gras blog for an in depth informative review on the Primarks newest London flagship store

A Look Back On 2012 Festival Fashion

Anyone who knows me will know I’m passionate about festivals. Whether local or further a field, I’ll be their if I can.

This year I visited a handful of festivals and if expenses would have allowed it, I would have quite happily visited more.

It’s not just the music side of a festival that draws me to it, there are so many more elements that combine, make a festival worth experiencing. This year for me the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park was the perfect example of this and was therefore one of my summer highlights. You can read my recent Wilderness Festival review over on my other site HERE

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Festivals are a great way to unwind and set yourself free from the stresses that are part of everyday life. It’s also a great way to express your inner boohoo chick.

The Wilderness Festival in particular, was a vintage catwalk this year. As I sat in front of my tent absorbing the summers rays, the path that lead from the campsite to the main festival gate acted as a runway to some pretty well dressed festival folk. I had front row tickets so enjoyed a bit of style spotting.

So, here’s a quick style roundup of what was 2012 key festival looks.

Floor Sweeping Maxi Dress: Ok, I know the maxi dress has always been a much loved festival trend but this year there were some spectacular floor sweeping Maxi dresses on the festival scene. These were easily dressed from day to night with the addition of one or two accessories. I love the Aztec Paige Mish Mash Artec Print Maxi Dress from Boohoo.com at just £20

20120907-125110.jpgPhoto from Boohoo

Hunter Wellie’s: This year Hunter had some stylish Wellies working their way round the festival circuit… The Hunter team even had a style den at the Wilderness. We all know that Hunter Wellies don’t offer the cheapest price tag, however, as the festival season begins to slow… Now’s the time to check eBay and snap yourself up a bargain! You can find Hunter Boots online by Clicking Here

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Denim Cut Off- When it came to cut offs, For many it was the shorter the better. I spotted everything from shop brought cut off, to those do it yourself types. Vintage customised pairs of Levis and Wanglers were everywhere. Yet no two pairs were the same as each customised cut off displayed its own unique stamp. I love this pastel pink pair below, just £22 from the high street store TOPSHOP

20120907-145020.jpgImage: TOPSHOP

Sparkly Sequinned Leggings: Bling could be seen sparkling all over the place! There were super sequinned scarves, bags, waistcoats and more. However, it was the Sequinned Legging that truly rocked it this year. I saw these worn on women, children and even men. I’m actually surprised how little of a mention the sequinned legging has received in other popular festival style guides. These were worn during the day and could be seen twinkling in the the sun rays, while at night these rocked when paired with some awesome accessories. I checked these out online and I kept being directed back to the same site “Rosa Bloom” who does the most stunning clothing and accessories. Her Leggings have been so popular this season that she’s still completely sold out on these my favourite pair.

20120907-125939.jpgphoto Rosa Bloom

Flowers: A classic festival trend is the floral hippy chick look. Whether its a vintage floral playsuit, floor sweeping maxi, or a headdress, flowers are a key trend for the boohoo loving festival babe. It’s also a pretty look for the little ones. Girls look pretty in floral dresses, headbands and sandals, while the little boys look great in a floral shirt. Below is a picture of my daughter sporting a flower headdress.

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Festival Tails: Yes… I do mean tails, cute animal tails that attach to your clothing.This wasn’t a festival trend just for the ladies, but it was most definitely one for the guys (both big and small) I really can’t decide who they looked cuter on. Even the tiniest festival goer wore a festival tail and some even matched them with ears. It took me a while to uncover an online site that dedicates itself to the selling of festival tails! Given I’m very persistent, I eventually discovered festivaltails.com I know what your thinking! With a name like that, how could it possibly be hard to find? I assure you… It really was.

20120907-140217.jpgimage: Festival Tails

Vintage lace: Pretty lace embellishments to full lace dresses and skirts.This was a pretty girly festival look this 2012. The beautiful piece below is from the wonderful Fashion Bible

20120907-161750.jpgImage: Fashion Bible

Doctor Martians: The more funky the better. I loved the bright pink Docs and the super floral designs.These look fantastic with denim cut offs and leggings, but also give playsuits and short floaty dress a great funky edge.

20120907-141942.jpgImage: DR Martians

Palazzo trousers: Sometimes referred to the pyjama bottom, palazzo pants were a chic festival must have. One of my favourite summer styles, I’ve shamefully acquired a least 5 pairs (I swear I’ll kick the shopping addiction next week). These can be brought in various designs and patterns but one must be careful not to end up looking like they are out in PJs. Pattern Palazzo’s teamed with a simple vest top or plain tee looked best. House of Fraser currently have some plain black ones with a massive reduction attached. The pair below are currently on sale for £35 (reduced from £120).

20120907-144032.jpgImage: House of Fraser

Harem Pants: This year the boohoo, hippy look was easy to achieve. The cropped leg extra baggy Harem pants were everywhere! I love the look and If we were a country who experienced all year round sunshine, I do worry I may just end up living in these extremely comfortable pants. These come in all sorts of style, whether patterned or plain these baggy pants remain super sexy.These Harem pants from Bang on Trend are exactly that and for the fab prize of £6.99

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Ray bands: Lots of festival goers were sporting retro style Ray bands in block bold colours or funky rare prints.Those who couldn’t bear to part with their hard earned penny’s for expensive sunnies, still sported some pretty awesome look-alike’s. I love the glasses below with their really funky print. You can grab these online from the Ray Ban online UK store

20120907-142404.jpgImage: Ray Ban

Woven Jewellery: Dangly earrings were a must. Statement woven designs made a big statement in a indie chic kinda way. Below are a beautiful handmade pair of woven earrings I purchased from eBay.

20120907-130446.jpgMy eBay buy

Hats: Both Trilby and floppy sun hats were big winners on the festival scene this year! Quite a number of these were also customised with its owners unique stamp. Check out the stunning red sequin Trilby from Amazon

20120907-162143.jpgImage: Amazon

Parka: This festival favourite is still high up there on the festival trend list. If you haven’t got a parka don’t wear a coat at all! I love this multi tone parka from ASOS

20120907-161058.jpgImage: ASOS

This years key prints seemed to be Ethnic, Aztec, African tribal and Retro style prints!

Another big trend was and still is skull inspired designs. Whether this is worn as a print on a t-shirt, bag, jacket or even a key feature of an accessory, such as necklaces, bracelets or belt buckles, this funky trend looks awesome. For me the best of the best can be found over at Spoiled Brat! I’ve not long discovered this online store but already I love it! Checkout the stunning necklace and T-shirt below.

20120907-132845.jpgPhoto: Spoiled Brat

This is not a review post and I haven’t received any payment or review items for writing this post.

Self diagnosed eBay addict

I wake up in the morning reach out for my iPhone and here’s what I do…

1) Check my email
2) Check my twitter
3) Check my blog
4) Check my eBay
5) Check my Facebook

For goodness sakes I’m not even joking! I often sit and try to cast my mind back to those days before social networking and online auctions such as eBay bloody existed, I know my life wasn’t boring so why do I now consider it to be just that if I’m unable to check-in to my 5 online hotspots throughout the day?

Yes, Social media is taking over the world and i’m happily clinging on and going for the ride!

Seriously though, I don’t sit for hours tweeting and liking, life won’t allow me. Yes, I’m a mother, I have a family to contend with! Yet I do find myself frequently popping in and out to my online life, modern technology such as the iPhone makes this an easy task to achieve.

Now, if you noticed number four on my list is to check my eBay. Now this much loved online auction site has griped many including myself, only I’m surprised just how long that actually took to happen.

As a lover of shopping its rather strange that I’ve only actively been buying and selling through eBay this year. My friends and everybody else I know seem to have been at it forever and although I’ve always been completely aware of such happenings I had never found myself needing, nor wanting to use it… Well till now!

I think that maybe the sensible side of my brain made sure I stayed away. I’m the kind of person whom is quiet easily drawn in and rather hard to suck back out!

Hands up… I absolutely love that land called eBay!

Now although I have recently sold items on eBay I’ve actually brought a considerable amount more. So, what is it about buying on eBay that I just can’t seem to get enough off?

The fonder of eBay in my opinion is one very clever so & so. It’s simple, we’re not just get the frill associated with shopping we are also getting the buzz of winning! Then there is that aspect of getting a bargain and who in gods name doesn’t like getting one of those.

I have had my fair share but a bargain can only be that if we really need such items in the first place. I’m currently hooked on bidding for dresses and pretty vintage style clothing for my daughter. I’m also always on the hunt for trendy boys wear for little man and the toddler as well as indulging my shoe habit a fair bit of late. But although you’ll often hear me state “You can never have to many pairs of shoes” in all honestly one can and I probably have!

So, what is it I’m checking when I’m reaching for my iPhone at 7am. First thing I need to check is that of my buying list… You know, items i’ve won and items I’m winning! Then I’ll check my watch list and make the early morning decision on wether I want to bid on any of them items. Next up its of to my Selling list, where I’ll check to see how any of my listings are proceeding and maybe share them via my connected social networks.

Now although I’m holding my hands up here and admitting that yes maybe I am a little bit of an eBay addict, I can still say with confidence that items I’m bidding on get a max bid which I stick to. There has been the odd item I’ve battled for but now I use a special technique “Would I buy it right now in a shop for the same price?” this normally does the trick.

As for selling, this is a buzz in itself. It’s great to list a desirable item then kick back and watch the interest and watchers grow. It’s also rather lovely to watch your item ending especially when the price rises beyond what was expected.

With three growing children and my own over flowing wardrobes caused by obsessive shopping trips and hoarding items for donkeys years I have a fair bit of stuff to sell. Unfortunately eBay are only allowing me to list 10 items per month and despite my continuous request for a higher selling allowance and ebays promise to send me a letter as verification of my address they still have failed to send it so I’m stuck. Another problem with selling on ebay is the fact that I never seem to transfer the funds made from my listings back into my bank account via PayPal to withdraw! Why not… Because I use it to buy more!

I’ve been reasonably lucky with my listings and this is mainly due to some great sellers tips passed around by friends here on the net. Here’s a few I’ve been introduced to which have worked well for me!

1) In most cases list items as singles (especially when selling branded clothing and lovely children’s pieces) this also cuts down your postage costs.

2) Don’t start your listing to high as it puts people off.

3) Add photo packs (great for free and reduced insertion days)

4) Be reasonable with P&P and offer a combined postage.

5) Recheck spellings before confirming a listing as you don’t want to be coming up on the listings over at “Fat Fingers”

6) Add pictures from varying angles

7) Don’t list for no less than 10 days ( this means your item gets seen more and end up in many a persons watch list)

8) schedule listings to finish at around 9pm as this is normally a child free time (unless your living in my house)! It’s true though it’s the most least busy hour of a person’s day, unless you work nights or are tucked up in bed.

9) List brand names and picture the labels

10) Reframe from listing a “Buy it now” price (this often makes people reluctant to bid more in the end if the item doesn’t sell before the end time)

11) It does no harm to hit the share button and blast out to your followers on social networks.

I do follow the above and for me it’s been beneficial.

But what about buying on eBay?
I’ve got some awesome buys for a steal, example… TOPSHOP woman’s coat (brand new with tags) original price £75.00 won bid at 99p and the P&P was £3.00, Infant Red LEGO Kickers won bid at £1.04 and the P&P was £2.70 and another great one was a bundle of girls clothing consisting mainly of dresses from next, monsoon and Zara, number of items 13 won bid at £6.00 and p&p 4.00

So… Is there a trick in getting things for monkey nuts?

The TOPSHOP Coat and the Lego Kickers both had typos within the listings title which I found using the “Fat Fingers” app available on iTunes. The clothing bundle consisting of 13 pretty dresses made the mistake of listing within the wrong category as well as having an early hours ending time.

I have found in the short time I have actively been using email that feedback is of great importance. I now read this before biding (unless the item is ending within seconds when I’ve discovered it and I really want it that is). I brought a pair of Adidas women’s trainers for a steal at 99p but the seller took my PayPal and seemingly never sent the item. I’m all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, but when you state, “I’ve sent so out of my hands” when I inform you it hasn’t been delivered. Then tell me on a second occasion, “I don’t care it’s your problem” then I get the sneaky suspicion you never sent it anyway. Yes it’s just 99p with a fivers P&P but it’s beside the point and after several attempts to reason with the seller and opening a case with email I gave her bad feedback.

Feedback helps buyers feel more confident in bidding on your items making you more money. As a stay at home mum and full time carer I just sell the odd item and then use the funds to bid on items I need for the children. But I can sell the money that can be made easily with the help of eBay and it’s something I’d consider come Christmas. If my sellers allowance is increased that is!

I’d love to hear from any eBay pros, please feel free to leave your comments and any useful tips or wise advice within the comment section below.

Below is a picture of a few items I’ve brought and what I’ve paid (yes there are plenty more from where they came from)!

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