My Current Skin Care / Beauty Routine Integrated With Freebies…

When I first started this blog around a year ago I was keen to reduce my spending on beauty products and collect free samples to save having giant bottles cluttering up my bathroom shelf. Below is a break down of the products I am using at the moment and how I either picked them up for free or saved money on them.


La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel is my every day cleanser – I always buy the biggest bottle as the 400ml size is £15 and double the size of the 200ml bottle for £12. It’s a total no brainer. I usually buy this from Boots when its on offer and always double check their app to collect extra points on my purchase. Some offers include £2 worth of points on whatever you buy in your next transaction so they’re really great offers generally tailored to you spending habits.

I picked up a couple of Clarins samples of facial cleansers when they offered their recycling scheme for empty beauty packaging. I use these if going away for a weekend as the tiny bottles generally last about 6 uses. Clarins also recently offered samples via a Facebook post for people to trial their new scrubs, I picked up 5 of these and use one twice a week. They will last a really long time by using them as recommended!


I also use the La Roche Posay Effaclar Toner and make a point of purchasing whenever it is on offer and following the same tips as buying my cleanser.

I have a Clarins miniature toner that I picked up along with the cleansers when discussing my skin with a sales representative whilst trading in my empty beauty packaging for samples in May. Clarins are usually really generous with their samples which I hugely appreciate as its brilliant to test out products. When the miniature bottle is empty I intend to refill it to use for trips away.

Facial Moisturiser:

As I always try to avoid buying La Roche Posay products when they are full price I recently bought a new moisturiser from The Body Shop. I received a 25% off voucher for one of their face masks recently which a friend used and I earned the points from the purchase. This meant with my Love Your Body Card I gained a £5 off voucher thus my moisturiser cost me £4.50 instead of £9.50. I was also given a sample of an Oils Of Life night cream with my purchase.

Face Masks:

I use a face mask about once a week to once every ten days. I can honestly say I haven’t purchased any so far this year. I’ve kept an eye out on social media for The Body Shop’s samples which often include masks and filled in quick online forms to receive masks in the post. I currently have a Clarins small bottle which will last about 5 uses, an Origins serum / tissue mask, The Body Shop coffee / charcoal masks and an Origins Overnight Moisture mask tube which has so far lasted about 6 months. The last product saved me from needing to buy a richer moisturiser in the winter.

Shower Gels:

I am currently using a Love Your Body And Planet sample bottle that was given out free with a magazine at a tube station in London. By using this with a shower scrubbie it’s so far lasted me a month and the bottle is still half full. I also received a full size foaming Rituals shower gel through the Debenhams Beauty Club. I haven’t had to buy body washes at all so far this year. The Body Shop also give £5 vouchers in your birthday month if you’re a member of their loyalty club so I usually use my voucher to get 3 miniature shower gel bottles for free as they’re always on 3 for 2. The empty bottles are great to refill when going abroad and save me buying travel bottles.

Body Moisturisers:

I have a full size tube of Rituals nourishing body cream on the go at the moment which came from the Debenhams Beauty Club. My preference is The Body Shop’s body butters which I only ever buy from outlet stores, in the sale or with a discount voucher. I currently have a £5 off a £20 spend voucher valid for a month in July and hope to use this to stock up on sale items partly for me and partly for gifts.

Shampoo and Hair Products:

At the moment I am using a free sample from The Body Shop which I picked up after seeing an Instagram post from them. A really little amount lathers up a lot so I think the bottle will last a long time. I usually pick up whatever shampoos, conditioners and dry shampoos are on offer in Savers and recently picked up an £8 colour toning shampoo for £4 from TK Maxx.


I never buy perfume. This is partly because if I wear expensive perfumes more than 2 days in a row it irritates my skin. I wear it so rarely that I don’t think it’s worth buying a bottle so instead I just fill out as many online sample forms as possible and work through the tiny bottles. One lasts me about 3 or 4 uses and I currently have a supply that will last several months including Chanel, Givenchy, Juicy Couture and Dior.

Make Up:

I currently have a Smashbox and Clarins primer which I got for free either through an online form or by recycling empty products. My current foundation which I only really use as a targeted concealer came from Dior and YSL via samples from beauty counters. My mascara from Estee Lauder was free as I signed up to their reward system and they invite you to collect a free gift during your birthday month. My current lip products include Chanel lipstick swatches (which I store in tiny pots and use with a lip brush), Clarins Lip Oil and Dior Lip Gloss all of which were free through the Debenhams Beauty Club. My eye brow pencil was purchased using my Boots points after I vowed not to spend any money on make up this year. Everything in the image below I didn’t pay a penny for.

July ’19 Freebies

So July is my birthday month and I always enjoy collecting those few extra exciting freebies as a result. This year I didn’t spend my birthday in a big city so had a slightly smaller haul than normal but here’s what I picked up and how…

I’ve also come to realise that living in London makes it incredibly difficult to collect the Debenhams Beauty Club freebies as they all go so quickly so again missed out on a couple of those this month! If there’s a really good one I might run to the nearest store to my workplace next month…

  • The Body Shop travel miniatures

By being a Love Your Body Club member you get a £5 voucher for free during your birthday month. These miniatures were on 3 for 2 so cost me absolutely nothing! 2 shampoos and 1 body lotion.

I intend to recycle the empty minis and if you take 5 into a store you receive another £5 off voucher as a thank you for helping to reduce waste going to landfill.

  • Estee Lauder moisturiser

When you sign up to Estee Lauder online or buy anything in store they create you an account and offer a free sample for your birthday. I got this for free as my birthday was mid July.

  • Clinique Deluxe Samples

I got really lucky with my Clinique samples which I received after signing up several years ago when purchasing a product. I was given these as they offer a free sample / make over for your birthday. I got a deluxe sample of a blurring moisturiser, a deluxe liquid facial soap sample and 3 little sachets of foundation and another moisturiser!

  • The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Shampoo

I got this after filling in a quick online form after seeing a post from The Body Shop on instagram. I love these free sample offers and you can opt out of further emails in the process.

  • Strawberry Diet Coke

These were being handed out at a shopping centre early in the month… unsurprisingly it was very sweet!

  • Clarins Samples

I got these after filling in a really quick online form with SoPost via Facebook I believe.

  • Jean Paul Gaultier perfume

Again this came from filling in a quick form online.

  • Clarins New Scrub Samples

I received an email from Clarins inviting me to collect a free sample of their new exfoliator. As the first store didn’t take any of my details I visited a second which is how I accumulated this many products…… I am excited to try out all 3 of their new scrubs!

  • £5 free voucher for Paperchase

I received this as it was my birthday month and I signed up to their loyalty scheme. I’ll be honest I totally forgot I was even part of the scheme until prompted nd the sales assistant kindly told me I could take £5 off my £6 purchase!

  • Waso Shiseido skin care samples

Again these came from filling in a quick online form.

Super Frugal Ideas For Keeping Cool In The Hot Weather…

It has been incredibly hot this past week…so much so that I struggled to sleep and discovered that at 4am it was still 27 degrees! Phew… below are some of my quick cheap tips for the hot weather. I am well aware some are very obvious and others not so!


I always reuse and refill any plastic bottles I have to make sure there’s always one in my fridge full of cold water. Overnight I will put one in the freezer for the commute to work the next morning so I have a nice cold water supply!


Making ice cubes is a great easy free way to help keep you cool. I chop up discounted cucumbers and lemons into slices and freeze those too to add to drinks to keep them fresh and cool without diluting the drink.

Ice lollies

This summer I haven’t bought any ice creams or lollies. Instead I got a £2 ice lolly maker from Ikea and have been blending fruit and yoghurt into smoothies to then freeze. I love this idea as it’s a great way to reduce kitchen waste (for example by blending soft apples that aren’t great to eat as they are!) and the lollies are guilt free compared to sugar loaded shop bought ones! I tend to buy discounted fruit to make the lollies or tinned fruit as it can be cheaper but you could easily use juice, iced tea or squash too.

Make A Cold Hot Water Bottle

In desperation around midnight earlier this week I grabbed a hot water bottle and filled it with cold water from my fridge. It was surprisingly effective at cooling me down a little in the stuffy heat with no breeze!

Bulk cook or don’t cook at all!

I live in a small flat with old windows that cannot be locked partially open so the only chance to cool it down is when I am at home. I took to eating salads or cooking big batches of pasta to eat chilled once or twice during the week to save me having to turn the job and oven on in an already really warm space!


Picnics are a great way to save money whilst eating out. You can use an old plastic water bottle frozen as a cool block too.

Get outside!

Most evenings this week I went out to a park which is 15 mins walk from my house as it was cooler out than in! As it was so sunny it was a lovely break after work and dinner around 7pm with my book.

June ’19 Freebies

I managed to pick up quite a haul in the first week of June which was a nice treat after not scoring as many in previous months! Below is a breakdown of what I collected and where I got them from.

  • The Body Shop Ginger Shampoo Mini

This freebie came at the perfect time as I needed a new shampoo. It’s a generous 60ml travel size bottle which I collected after filling in a quick form to receive an e-voucher. I was able to opt out of marketing emails at the same time.

I was also really pleased to see The Body Shop have rolled out collection bins in their stores for you to recycle empty toiletry bottles when I popped in to get this freebie!

  • The Body Shop Drops of Youth skincare

Whilst collecting my free shampoo I asked about daily moisturisers as I was thinking of changing my current product. I have combination / oily skin which is blemish prone at certain times in the month. I was recommended a product which I’d not heard of with impressive product information and the sales assistant gave me some samples of it and the matching serum to try to see how I got on with it.

  • Bleach London Super Cool Smoky Rose Colour

I have balayaged light brown into blonde hair which I like to keep as cool as ashy as possible. A colleague recommended me this brand for ease of use and its hair care properties. I picked this bottle of pinky purple colour which will knock brassy tones out of my hair whilst leaving a subtle pink in the lightest sections for free using my Boots points. It sells for £6.

  • Opatra Moisturiser

I got handed this moisturiser sachet whilst walking through a shopping centre in London.

My Recent Beauty Savings

Toiletries are one area I am always keen to try and make savings. After vowing at the end of 2018 to not spend a penny on make up this year and easily keeping it up thanks to claiming online and in store freebies I’m even more on it to reduce my toiletry spending. When it comes to all hair products and shower gels I will pretty much use anything and tend to just buy the best offer available which ticks the boxes of what I am looking for. However; when it comes to skin care this is probably the only beauty area where I am fussy with my spending due to having a few years of on off problematic skin.

Where possible I always try to buy the La Roche Posay products that I get on well with when they are on offer in Boots or Superdrug. I’m a big fan of their Effaclar range which works on re-balancing oil levels, reducing blemishes, fading marks and is all for sensitive skin with no colours or fragrances. To keep costs as low as possible I buy their biggest bottle of cleanser as the price per ml is wildly cheaper and I worked out after writing the purchase date with Sharpie on the tube that one of their tubes of targeted blemish corrector lasts me roughly 12 months for £12 and it does a brilliant job. I’m a big fan of writing the opening date on a product to see how long it lasts to help me weigh up if it’s worth buying again.

This weekend I got caught short needing a moisturiser and blemish corrector. The Effaclar range wasn’t on offer in Boots, nor was it stocked in my local Superdrug, so to limit my purchase and make the most of spending my money I decided to buy from 2 shops. Firstly I got the blemish corrector from Boots after checking the app to discover I could receive 200 extra points on my purchase which was worth £2. I then visited The Body Shop for a moisturiser as I knew they had one suitable for my skin for £9.50 instead of LRP’s £16 product. After claiming the Love Your Body card points from my friend’s recent purchase in The Body Shop I had a £5 voucher to redeem so ended up paying £4.50 for the product.

All told my spend for the two came to £16.50 instead of £28. I gained £2 of Boots points in the process and a free sample pot of night cream from The Body Shop. I also was given a £5 off your next £20 spend in The Body Shop before the end of July. As my birthday is in July I automatically get a £5 voucher from them so intend to see if I can combine the offers to get £20 worth of (hopefully sale!) products for £10 and use them as gifts.

I also visited Savers to pick up some time of the month products for 89p instead of the RRP of £1.49 and £1 for a Colgate toothpaste – anything similar was around £3 in Boots.

If you have any beauty saving tips that you think I’d enjoy please share them with me!

May ’19 Freebies

Another month gone by and here’s the freebies I collected! Sadly I missed out on a couple of great ones from the Debenhams Beauty Club again but on the whole am pretty chuffed with my haul.

  • The Ritual of Sakura Body Cream

I got this through filling in a quick online form. I now have about 4 different sized samples of this, luckily I like the smell and feel of the product!

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

This generous 7ml sample came in the post after filling in sample form I think via Facebook

  • Origins Moisturiser and Mask

I honestly can’t remember how I came across these! It must have been via filling in an online form.

  • The Body Shop samples

I filled in a voucher online to pick up a free sample of SPF50 face sun cream but there were out of stock. To make up for it the sales assistant gave me 3 other skin care samples she had available.

Saving Money On Clothes Whilst Being Kind To The Planet

I’ve written a post in the past detailing how I’ve filled my wardrobe with quality clothes from well known labels for less over the years. It included tips such as browsing ex-high street clothing markets where labels are removed from garments but if you’re in the know with shops you can easily identify items or browsing eBay for stores which offer similar items. The post also touched upon buying second hand and that’s really the main focus of what I’m writing about now.

I recently discovered that the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders for waste being sent to landfill. A quick Google showed some scary statistics of £140 million of garments per year simply being dumped which I think is horrific. I discovered some people are turning their backs on the high street all together and vowing to only buy second hand in the future. I think this is admirable and after reading about this actually turned to second hand sources as my first port of call for a bit of a much needed shopping to replace holey and overworn items.

I’ve never been a big fan of having a huge quantity of cheap clothes and instead would rather have far less of better quality so have largely shunned Primark and other cheaper stores with their “fast fashion” attitude. I have absolutely no objection to shopping second hand and in fact over the years it’s saved me a lot of money and I’ve still ended up with the clothes I wanted as well as some lucky surprises and below details how it’s been done.


Using eBay to purchase second hand clothes has probably been my most successful way of adding to my wardrobe whilst saving a lot of money. It’s something that I’ve been doing for years, I took to eBay in my early teens when a Zara shirt I wanted was sold out in stores and found it for half the price worn once on eBay and never looked back. I’ve picked up items such as lightly worn dresses which RRP at £60+ for under £18 including postage. Earlier this evening I won myself a thoroughly photographed preloved cardigan of great quality which is currently selling for £49.95 in store and online for a total of £7.20 with delivery which inspired this post.

If you’re clever about your eBay shopping you can find exactly what you’re looking for and some great bargains by buying preloved. Here are some of my best tips:

  • Be really specific with your searches

For example when replacing a pair of jeans I liked I searched for exactly the same brand, waist measurement, leg length and style name thus ensuring my new purchase would fit and I’d get exactly what I was looking for. I paid £20.98 for my “new without tags” River Island jeans to be delivered to me instead of £40 in store. The previously mentioned cardigan was again a really focused search as I wanted another colour of a item I already owned.

  • Stick with brands you trust that fit you

If you know exactly what size dress you take from a certain shop and are seeking a new one this will clearly be a great place to start! This tip obviously makes your purchase less of a gamble of will it or won’t it fit if you already have 3 similar tops from a brand in your wardrobe you know you’re much guaranteed your new one will be fine.

  • Ask sellers for further photos or measurements

In some cases you may want to ask for more detailed photos to show the condition a bit better or measurements for you to check against existing items in your wardrobe.

Charity Shops

Charity shops are like the 2nd hand version of TK Maxx in that its a complete lottery of what you might find which isn’t for everyone but I really enjoy it. A couple of my favourite dresses are gems I found in charity shops, one a vintage Marks and Spencers shift dress for £9 and the other a Ted Baker little black dress for £16. The Ted dress was in fantastic condition and there’s no way I’d have had such a label in my wardrobe without second hand shopping.

In my opinion charity shops are always worth a rummage, some are better than others and you may find firm favourites to revisit. When in the mood I enjoy visiting the more expensive areas of London to browse their shops as a lot of the stock is designer which means that the price is higher than your average charity shop purchase but you’re still getting a great deal. There’s a triple bonus when buying from these shops that you’re reducing clothing waste, saving yourself money and raising money for charity all at the same time.

I often sell clothing, shoes and accessories I no longer wear on eBay, leave the money in my PayPal account and then use that to fund my new second hand clothing purchases. It keeps me on a budget and stops me spending the money I’ve earnt on normal purchases so I get a little treat for myself.

If you have any other tips on second hand shopping I’d love to hear them in the comments.