July ’20 – Freebie Haul

July is my birthday month so usually a better haul than most months. I know lockdown is starting to lift as we adapt to a “new normal” but in London we are still advised not to take public transport unless necessary so with this in mind as local shop closures I definitely haven’t been out to visit as many shops as I typically would to collect my birthday haul! However; having more free time on my hands did allow me to discover a few extra birthday gifts with small spend which I’ve included in another post here. Below are all the freebies I got in July!

Byredo Lil Fleur Perfume – from a sponsored Facebook advert

Nars 12 Lipstick Samples – from Send Me A Sample. I downloaded Google Assistant on my phone, signed up to SMAS and asked for a Nars sample that was available at the time. There were options to try their blusher, lipstick or mascara.

Becca Ignite Highlighter – 3 samples – from Boots sampling online

Shiseido – Lipstick and Mascara – from a sponsored Facebook post. This one is so generous and well timed as I needed a new mascara.

Just Hype – Face Mask – from filling in an online sponsored form a few weeks back

The Body Shop Products – free thanks to getting a £5 voucher for my birthday month for belonging to their Love Your Body Club. I was lucky their sale was still on in store, the two bottles were reduced from £3 each originally and I chose a bar soap as I want to make some eco friendly beauty swaps on a budget and plan to use this instead of shower gel.

Estee Lauder – Advanced Night Repair Serum from a sponsored social media advert on Facebook

Aerin Perfume – from a sponsored Facebook advert

6 Perfume Samples – Superdrug – I literally asked at their fragrance counter on the day of my birthday if they had any samples I could have – I did purchase a generic toiletry I needed at the same time as asking.

Drops of Light Serum – The Body Shop – I literally asked in store for a product recommendation and was given this to try.

Herbal Essentials skin care samples

La Espinola Olive Oil sample via Send Me A Sample in a similar way to how I claimed the Nars lipsticks

Angel Nova perfume sample via filling out a form on Mugler’s website

Loewe perfume sample from a sponsored Facebook advert

Jo Malone Perfume samples from a sponsored Facebook advert. When I filled this in I was asked to choose which fragrance I’d like to try out of two options but was sent both in the post which was a nice surprise.

All told I am thrilled with my July freebies. I managed to get 12 perfume samples which will keep me going for quite a while but most of all I was over the moon with the freebie haul I got after signing up to some loyalty clubs with 2 minimal spends which I dedicated a whole other post to here.

Comments Welcome

Part 1: How To Get Free Make Up And Beauty Samples

I’ve been an avid beauty freebie collector now for nearly 2 years. It’s saved me a small fortune and I’ve been able to use some brilliant brands like Chanel, Givenchy etc all without paying a penny. Below are some of the ways I collect beauty freebies: Sign up to Glamour Beauty Club to receive free… More

How To Get Beauty Freebies For Your Birthday

July is my birthday month and usually when I have the biggest haul of freebies. Given the recent lockdown I’ve had more spare time on my hands than usual which has led me to joining some extra loyalty schemes for birthday perks that I was previously unaware of. Some are gifts with purchase but if… More

June ’20 Freebie Haul

A post summarising all the freebies I claimed that arrived in June. Considering all these were claimed online I’m pretty surprised and impressed with what I got. Having more time on my hands in lockdown definitely meant I was able to fill out new freebie forms faster so missed out on less though! Lenor Unstoppables… More

Part 1: How To Get Free Make Up And Beauty Samples

I’ve been an avid beauty freebie collector now for nearly 2 years. It’s saved me a small fortune and I’ve been able to use some brilliant brands like Chanel, Givenchy etc all without paying a penny. Below are some of the ways I collect beauty freebies:

Sign up to Glamour Beauty Club to receive free samples tailored to a questionnaire you fill out posted to your house

Join Debenhams Beauty Club to collect their in-store free deluxe samples on certain Fridays. I wrote a previous post on the pros and cons of both of these clubs which can be found here (no longer available)

Sponsored social media adverts often offer free samples. Simply “like” any beauty companies whose products you would like to use and look out for any sponsored ads in collaboration with SoPost to sign up for free samples. Over the past 2 years I’ve collected a lot of fragrance samples this way from brands like Michael Kors, Jo Malone and Dior as well as primers from Smashbox.

Follow brands on social media as they typically offer free in store samples when launching new products. The Body Shop regularly have vouchers for free samples that you can sign up for via Facebook posts etc and then visit the store to redeem.

Ask beauty counters nicely for freebies and express genuine interest in the products. If you’re polite, know a little about the brand or its products or have a real skin care concern,you can have quite a lot of success with this. I’ve been able to trial at least 10 different foundations this way to find one suitable for my blemish prone skin. Clarins and The Body Shop are known for being very generous with their skin care product samples.

Look out for magazine adverts I often see adverts in magazines (even free magazines!) inviting customers to claim free foundation trials or moisturiser matches for their skin type.

Check big beauty brands’ websites as some will have vouchers you can download and take to counters for specific products such as Estee Lauder.

Check any free samples you get as some will come with further sample vouchers

Join beauty clubs and mailing lists for free birthday samples – a full post on this can be found here

Sign up to be a product tester, brands like Elemis have this option but sadly I’ve never managed to get in! Boots also have a review panel and send out free products to test if you qualify.

Check O2 Priority Moments as they sometimes offer samples. I’ve previously collected a Benefit primer, full size Smasbox liquid lipsticks and Kat Von D eyeliner for free.

It can be helpful to create a new email address just for redeeming freebies as it saves your regular account being clogged up with promotional emails.

Comments Welcome

My Recent Pre-Loved Additions To My Wardrobe & Why I Reject Fast Fashion Favouring Second Hand.

I recently visited a shopping centre for the first time since lockdown and ended up browsing a few clothes shops which I’d hadn’t done in at least 6 months. I honestly felt like I’d become a bit of a fast fashion snob somewhat by accident. Yes, there were lots of sales on reducing items but nothing at all wowed me. I was largely unimpressed with the fabrics or quality of how things were made such as trailing threads etc. It made me realise that my go-to has well and truly become buying brands previously out of my price range preloved as opposed to relying on the high street. I made this switch a couple of years back but still purchased fast fashion items but not any more. I’m happier spending £20 on a preloved dress with an RRP of £60 in good condition than buying a new RRP £20 dress from stores like New Look, Top Shop or H&M. I truly believe I am getting better quality for my money as clothes are better made, often with 100% cotton fabrics and my purchases have more longevity as a result. I’ve recently also felt uncomfortable with the idea of buying in stores that have made the headlines for refusing to pay for orders leaving workers overseas jobless. Pre-loved is the way forward for me – better clothes, better value, saving money and saving the planet.

My Recent Wardrobe Additions

First up is a Fat Face long chunky knit cardigan which I already own in 2 others colours and completely love. They’re both go-to staples for me as I’ve always struggled with knitwear for cooler weather often finding it itchy but these cardigans are perfect. I bought my first one prior to making the second hand switch for £45 after spending a year looking for everything that this dusky pale pink cardigan was. After owning it for 18 months and realising just how well they held up I bought a second preloved in dark grey for around £12 which showed up in great condition and had my eye on the mustard version from thereon as yellow is my favourite colour. Fat Face no longer sell them which I noticed definitely boosted their popularity on second hand sites! I watched one yellow cardi sell in used condition for close to £30 on eBay which was too much for me and then last week found a seller with one on auction starting at £3. I asked for further photos to confirm it hadn’t bobbled and it looked great so I made an initial low ball offer of £10 which was much to my surprise and joy was accepted. It arrived in the post in great condition with no bobbling what-so-ever as promised so I couldn’t be happier. The colour is everything I wanted it to be and matches all the items I’d lined it up for too.

Secondly is a Seasalt printed cotton beach dress which typically retail for around £60 new. I have a real weakness for quirky patterned cotton summer dresses that border on vintage styles as I find they’re so easy to wear and are really comfy. I first found this style, the Boskerris dress, about 2 years ago in a fair ground print but couldn’t justify it’s high price tag new. Unfortunately for me I began digging online for it and then fell in love with their 2016 print of the same dress which made coming by this particular one even harder. I’ve probably been hunting this exact dress on and off now for around 18 months. From experience cotton dresses from brands like Seasalt or Cath Kidston typically sell in my size for around £25 on eBay but I managed to exchange offers / counter offers with a seller to secure this dress for £19 including delivery.

So my “new” cardigan saved me £35 compared to the RRP and my “new” dress saved me £41 compared to its £60 new price tag adding up to a grand total of a £76 saving whilst being better for the planet.

But it doesn’t stop there! I recently sold a couple of items on eBay after having a clear out, like many people during lockdown, and made myself £17.50 which sat in my PayPal and was used against my purchases making my spend total £11.50 for the 2 items. I always leave any eBay sales money in PayPal and then use this to offset preloved clothing purchases to ensure I treat myself from time to time.

Comments welcome

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ VS Avene Cleanance Comedomed – Review Of Moisturisers For Acne Prone Sensitive Skin

Having had adult acne for nearly 6 years I’m always keen to find products that are effective without stripping my skin so tend to lean towards formulas designed for those who have sensitivity whilst being acne prone. As a reference my acne is described as moderate on the scale of mild to severe and requires prescriptions to manage it so no skin care product alone was ever going to transform my skin.

Here’s a comparison breakdown of the two products followed by my reviews

La Roche Posay – Effaclar Duo+Avene Cleanance Comedomed
Price£17 for 40ml£18.50 for 30ml
Product Claims
(as per their websites)
Formulated for oily acne prone sensitive skin in teens and adults
Minimises the appearance of blackheads and spots
Noticeably reduces spots
Controls shine
Hydrates for 24 hours
Helps reduce pigmentation from blemishes
Suitable for teens and adults with acne prone skin
Hydrates / mattifies
Helps reduce blemishes and their reappearance
For sensitive skin
Results Within
(as per their websites)
Clearer skin within 4 weeks Proven efficacy in 7 days
Any Extra NotesStrong smell that fades quickly

I never pay full price for my skincare, check out: My Ultimate Saving Money On Skincare Guide From Claiming Freebies To Deal Stacks & More

Avene Cleanance Comedomed Review

I paid £14.40 and have bought it once. I noticed it had a strong smell as warned online, it dissipated quickly but if you’re fussy about smells this may put you off. It reminds me of something quite medicinal or like a cleaning product scent. Personally this didn’t bother me and had it lived up to its other claims I wouldn’t have cared. Did I notice less spots in 7 days? Not particularly no but to be honest I would have been incredibly surprised if this had been the case as I have particularly troublesome skin with a long history of things I’ve tried. It did help reduce the amount of time under the skin spots typically lasted though. I’m very pale so find that marks left behind from spots often make my skin look a lot worse than it is and this product did nothing to help with hyper pigmentation. I don’t think it mattified my skin for very long at all – I noticed a shiny forehead at 11am after applying it around 8.00am which surprised me as this isn’t usually the case for my skin. It did a fine job at moisturising and didn’t cause breakouts at all but I did notice it occasionally stung or tingled which I wasn’t a huge fan of. The formula is light and soaks in quickly. The pump bottle is nice but makes it really hard to know how much product is left, in fact it ran out on me so suddenly I wasn’t prepared at all!

Re-buy Yes or No? For me this is a no. Purely because it does nothing for scarring, it’s more expensive and doesn’t provide enough benefits for me personally to warrant the price.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ Review

I love this product and in the last 5 years or so since discovering it it’s been my go to moisturiser. I’ve bought countless bottles of this and after venturing into the Avene product recently I’ll be returning to this moisturiser as soon as it runs out. It doesn’t have a funky smell and the massive plus on this product for me over Avene is that it really helps fade marks left behind from blemishes far quicker than if I don’t use it. One bottle lasts me about 3-4 months when used mostly twice a day and when I’ve paid around £13.60 for it I don’t mind this at all. Again it doesn’t clear up my skin in the time frame they suggest or do anything at all really for blackheads but I know my skin is particularly fussy having tried countless things including antibiotics detailed in this post. I don’t notice a shiny forehead by 11am when using it either, this would typically happen mid afternoon. It works fine for moisturisation for me and I like that the packaging can easily be cut open to scoop all the product out to make the most of it before recycling. La Roche Posay also make a tinted version, which if this colour matched me, I’d also use.

Re-buy Yes or No? Yes. So many times yes. It’s the best multitasking product I’ve found for my skin in years. It moisturises well, does a decent job of controlling oil levels but it’s major win for me is its ability to diminish scars quickly.

I have since tried the Avene Cleanance Expert moisturiser and written a comparison review of all 3 products which may be of interest.

Comments Welcome.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel VS Micro Peeling Gel – Review Of Cleansers For Acne Prone Sensitive Skin

I was inspired to write this post as my first product comparison post of La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo+ and Avene Cleanance Comedoned moisturisers is one of my most visited blog posts. I hope my comparison of reviews has been helpful to someone, it was content that I was unable to find when researching both… More

Rate or Hate? Reviews Of Moisturisers I Tried In 2020 For Acne Prone Skin – La Roche Posay Effaclar, Avene Cleanance Comedomed, Cerave SA, Cetaphil, Bioderma.

In the mini series of posts rounding up all the products I tried this year we have moisturisers next! I have to be honest this one was a pretty easy one for me as I’ve been using and loving the same daily moisturiser for about 4 years and am really impressed with it. This review… More

Rate or Hate? Reviews Of Toners / Exfoliants I Tried In 2020 For My Acne Prone Skin – Pixi Glow, REN Ready Steady Glow, Caudalie Vinopure.

This post is a follow on from my Cleansers Used In 2020 post reviewing all the toners and exfoliants I tried for my acne prone skin this year. The reason I titled this collection of posts “rate or hate” is because of one of these toners I tried which I absolutely despised! Mario Badescu Special… More

How To Get Beauty Freebies For Your Birthday

July is my birthday month and usually when I have the biggest haul of freebies. Given the recent lockdown I’ve had more spare time on my hands than usual which has led me to joining some extra loyalty schemes for birthday perks that I was previously unaware of. Some are gifts with purchase but if I’m lucky the timing often coincides with sales meaning the spend can be low. Below are the beauty birthday freebies I claimed this year from 3 loyalty schemes.

Image from my Space NK birthday email

Space NK Ndulge Programme

Its free to join and if its your first online order you can get free delivery too by googling a discount code – at time of writing “welcome3” worked for me. I received an email at the start of the month with the 3 deluxe mini samples that I could get as part of my gift. Normally you’d be able to pick these up in store without a purchase but due to Covid-19 that isn’t an option. I can’t lie I scoured the website for the cheapest option available that I’d actually use to avoid wasting my money and settled on a 50ml REN Ready Steady Glow Toner with ingredients said to be good for acne prone skin for £6. So all told I paid £6 for a 50ml toner, 15ml Drunk Elephant Miceller Water, 15ml Emma Hardie 30 SPF Moisturiser and 7ml By Terry CC Cream with shipping. I decided to place this order as for £6 I was keen to try the toner and would receive some perks. Any products I won’t use I’ve realised would be great additions to put towards gifts for friends so I feel this is good value for money especially considering the free gifts are worth £29.50! I was a little disappointed that the month before included a mini Nars liquid lipstick as I’d have loved this.

The Body Shop – £5 Voucher

For any Love Your Body Club members The Body Shop give a free £5 voucher on your birthday which I believe is valid for a month. Usually I pick up 3 for 2 travel minis in stores as this means you can get 3 products without having to pay any extra. They have quite a few products even when full price which are under £5 including bar soaps, hand creams, minis and sheet masks so worth joining especially as its free to sign up. This year I got a bar soap as I want to try and make more eco friendly beauty swaps mentioned in an earlier post here and 2 travel minis that were reduced in their in store sale. I was gifted the sachet after asking for product advice / samples.


I signed up to their loyalty club in June. At time of writing you get a free 50ml foaming shower gel worth £4.90 with your first online order. So I waited until I received their birthday promo email to get 2 free products in one go and the deal stack worked. My birthday code gave me a free full size shower oil worth £8.50. Their sale was still on so I bought their cheapest option that I’d use which was a 70ml shampoo reduced to £2.73. I had to pay £2.99 for delivery. My items should have cost me £17.30 but I saved £14.57 and in the end this spend cost me £5.72 with postage. I realise these items are pricier than my usual basic toiletries but these make great gifts if I decide I won’t use them or some bargain treats for me as a small luxury.

So all told I got 11 things for £11.72 (purchases in italics):

  • 50ml REN Ready Steady Glow Toner (worth £6)
  • 15ml Drunk Elephant Miceller Water (worth £1.50)
  • 15ml Emma Hardie 30 SPF Moisturiser (worth £13.80
  • 7ml By Terry CC Cream (worth £14.23)
  • 50ml Rituals Foaming Shower Gel (worth 4.90)
  • 200ml Rituals Shower Oil (worth £8.50)
  • 70ml Rituals Shampoo (worth £3.90 – paid £2.72)
  • 100g Mango Soap – TBS (worth £2.50)
  • 60ml Wild Argan Oil Lotion – TBS (worth £3 – on sale for £1)
  • 60ml Spa Of The World Shower Gel – TBS (worth £3 – on sale for £1.50)
  • 1ml Sachet – Drops of Light Serum – TBS

So if I ignore the sachet for a second that’s 10 products, either travel minis, full size or deluxe samples averaging at a cost of £1.17 each considering I paid £11.72 to get this haul. Adding up their RRPs this lot should have cost me a whopping £62.83 so I’m very impressed!

Also – not freebie related but related to birthday perks from beauty loyalty schemes – for Boots Advantage Card holders they offer double points on every spend during your birthday month and Superdrug offer triple points on anything you buy on the day of your birthday for Beauty Card holders.

Comments welcome.