Monday, 24 January 2011

Thrifting is a Girl's Best Friend

"You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well that's what it's like when I see a store. Only it's better"- Confessions of a Shopaholic
I'm a girl, and like many others like me, I LOVE TO SHOP. There really is nothing like that feeling of buying a new addition to your wardrobe and bringing it home and having it all to yourself. But for me, there's nothing like buying something for a bargain, which is why I love THRIFT STORES! My most recent purchase was a knee-length black draped evening gown for £4.99 (I'd say it was worth around £50). To make the dress more "me", I shortened the hemline (with a few snips of the scissors) and voila, the perfect dress for under five pounds. The same day I found a pair of cherry red penny loafers for £2, and although they pinch a little on my toes and give me a tiny blister on my left heel, they're well worth it. Thrifting is the perfect way to get your hands on affordable vintage and one-off pieces and even the occasional rare designer find! I know some people are kind of sceptical about buying second hand, but there's always the dry cleaners or even just a washing machine, so give it a try, you'd be surprised at what you find and how much you save.

Beauty Special: Nails

Today I'm looking at nails. For as long as I can remember, Chanel have lead the way when it comes to on-trend and iconic nail colours, but at £16.25 a bottle they're more wish-list than shopping basket. I've only ever bought one Chanel Le Vernis nail enamel (in 453 Magnolia Rose, left) and was extremely disappointed. The varnish was too thick and took almost an hour to fully dry and looked gloopy and heavy on the nails. I still don't understand what all the hype is about, the only quality of the nail varnish was the actual colour. Because of the popularity of Chanel's nail colours (they're often sell-outs) they are often imitated, step in Barry M nail paint (in 992 Baby Pink, right). This two-coat polish is thin enough to dry quickly but thick enough to give a strong, neat colour. Two thin coats can make nails look manicured to perfection, and at only £2.99 you can make like me and buy the whole collection...

Beauty Special: Self Tan

Today I'm looking at tanning on the cheap. St Tropez self-tan (left) costs over £20 a bottle. As a long-time devotee I have to admit that this stuff works, although it does leave a particularly unpleasant smell that must be put up with for 6-8 hours while the tan develops. Not good. One day while absent mindedly trawling the beauty aisle at Home Bargains, I came across the wonderful St Moriz (right). The £2.99 price tag drew me in immediately yet I was sceptical about the stuff and imagined it to leave me looking like a streaky mud-wrestler, but I bought it anyway just to trial, and a while later I gave the tan a test run. Like St Tropez, the tan comes out an extremely dark-coloured mousse that allows you to see where you have tanned and lets you avoid any streaks. Unlike St Tropez, however, the tan was dark within five minutes of application (and not the 4-6 hours stated on the bottle). The St Moriz bottle is shamelessly similar to St Tropez and when I looked at the ingredients they were almost identical. Although St Moriz is marketed as a gradual self-tanner, it could definitely be used as instant because it gives off an immediate colour and doesn't smell half as bad as St Tropez (although my boyfriend insists it smells like biscuits). The next morning when I came to rinse Moriz off, I looked in the mirror and was horrified to find myself darker than I'd ever been before, despite only two coats of the tan, but after a quick shower, I was left looking toned, sunkissed and like I'd just got home from two weeks in Barbados... and all for £2.99. Available at most Home Bargains stores