Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money, Bargain Finds & More In March

Giving A Thoughtful Mothers’ Day Gift Without Breaking The Bank

Whilst not necessarily fitting into any of the categories listed I wanted to include a summary of the gift I put together for Mothers’ Day. I started with a handmade candle from Etsy as this was something I knew she’d love and I’m a huge believer in supporting small businesses where possible. As an added extra I also popped together a little goodie bag of designer skincare and perfume samples including a serum from Lancome, 6 perfumes from Jo Malone and 3 in a boxed set from Dior which came from Boots Sampling. These were worth over £20. If you read my February round up you’ll know I bought some brown-paper style blank cards to decorate myself so used these to make a personalised card which went down a treat.

2.75 Litres of Dairy Free Milk via Green Jinn and Checkout Smart

Much like last month! I managed to get 3-4 weeks worth of dairy-free milk for a grand total of 60p thanks to cash back apps. Whilst the Might Pea products aren’t my favourite they’re perfectly fine in hot drinks and on cereal so I didn’t mind picking them up again. 1 litre retails at £1.50, my favourite oat milk retails at £1.80 so based on this I saved £4.50 – £5.40 which is great. One thing I do like about the Mighty Pea products is they’re UHT long life so I don’t have to find space to squeeze them in my fridge to keep them fresh. They’d double up as a good emergency stand by if I decided I didn’t want to go through them all one after another. I got lucky that the Checkout Smart deal for the amazing Alpro chocolate mousses was still live so I was able to claim 2 packs of 2 for £1.80 instead of £4 which made a nice treat. Checkout Smart also meant I could get 3 boxes of plant based flapjacks for free this month.

Selling On Ebay & Facebook Marketplace

In March I made my first Facebook Marketplace sales. I loved how quick and easy this was as people just came to my door meaning no fees, no trips to the post office and no real contact with people. I had 4 eBay sales, again clearing out unwanted belongings and made approximately £41 after fees and posting. Via Facebook Marketplace I made £32 bringing my monthly total to a lovely £73. I sold primarily second hand clothing as well as some home knickknacks.

£20.13 Free Boots Haul

I’ve written so many posts which include my love for the Boots Advantage Card Scheme and their accompanying app. I’ve always saved my points for 6 months to a year with the view of treating myself to something extravagant like a designer make up item. I realised given all the recent lockdowns that I wouldn’t get much use at all out of a dream palette so decided to spend my points stocking up on some skincare favourites and a new budget eyeliner as my Kat Von D sample finally ran out. I purchased replacements of the two products shown below as well as a new budget eyeliner and didn’t pay delivery by meeting the Click and Collect threshold. Full details of this haul can be found here.

Farmologie Clearance Finds

Whilst in Boots I found 100ml Farmologie moisturisers which typically retail at £3.49 a bottle on clearance for 88p. The shelves were heavily stocked so I picked up 4 tubes. I got a further 10% student discount so paid 79p per tube. The total cost for 4 tubes was £3.16 instead of £13.96 and I paid using Boots points. I’m intending to use one myself as hand cream and the others will go in my stash for gifting.

Comments Welcome

March ’21 – A Round Up Of All The Samples I Got This Month And How I Got Them

Lancome Lash Idole Mascara – from a sponsored Facebook advert. This is my second sample of this and the brush looks amazing so I’m excited to try it once my current mascara is empty.

Valentino Voce Viva perfume – from a sponsored Facebook advert

Carolina Herrera Very Good Girl perfume – from a sponsored Social Media advert

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine perfume – this came beautifully wrapped in a paper bag with a printed postcard.

3 Dior Perfumes in a little gift box for Mothers’ Day – via Boots sampling. These were really beautifully presented.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume – via Boots’ sampling

Diptyque Perfume sample – via a sponsored social media advert

Lancome Genefique Serum sample – from a sponsored Facebook advert

YSL Black Opium perfume sample and foundation – from a sponsored advert. The foundation was an unexpected surprise addition to the envelope.

Si Giorgio Armani Perfume sample – via Boot’s sampling

Gifted Products

I’m hugely grateful to the companies mentioned in this post for sending me gifted products, it does feel like a bit of a pinch me I’m dreaming moment. Rest assured reviews for the 3 gifted packages I received will be appearing on my blog as soon as I’ve had a good amount of time to test run them. I’m under no obligation to share my views of using these but love reviewing beauty products so this will be happening in the near future.

Wild Refill – Sensitive Skin Zero Waste Deodorant – I was very generously gifted this product by Wild Refill. I’ve been keen to make more eco friendly swaps so am really grateful and excited to receive this product. A review will be on its way once I’ve had a chance to test run the deodorant!

Bolt Beauty Stackable – I was generously gifted this innovative skincare set from Bolt to try out and review. Their products all come in pretty single use biodegradable capsules and look like an absolute dream solution to compact skincare when travelling. Once again, I’ll be trying these out and posting a review of my experience.

Absorbzit Pimple Patches – I was approached by Absorbzit asking if I’d like to review their new product. I’m a huge fan of pimple patches, having previously written a comparison post about the brands I’ve tried so far, so I’m keen to give these a go.

Smacne Skincare Set – an account I follow on Instagram nominated me to receive this so I’m very grateful to Loving Laurel and Smacne for arranging for me to try the cleanser and acne treatment products. I’m particularly excited about the AHA / BHA Cleanser.

Eco Friendly Skincare – Bolt Beauty Stackable Review – Filthy Clean Cleanser, Glow Don’t Shine + Vitamin A Game Serums & Mad About Moisture Used On Acne Prone Skin

Honesty is very important to me when reviewing products so I want to mention that Bolt Beauty were incredibly generous in gifting me a Stackable to try with no obligation to post or review. I’m humbled to be able to try these. As you’ll know if you’ve read earlier posts of mine, I’m trying to make more eco conscious swaps throughout all aspects of my life. As I’ve had acne prone skin for 6+ years now skincare is one area I’ve struggled to find more environmentally swaps with formulas that I’d even be willing to try. Bolt’s range of products has been on my radar since last year and I’ve been really excited to give them a go. Whilst using these I used no other products apart from SPF. Read on to discover my experience with the products I tried.

Reasons I Like Bolt Beauty As A Company

They’re an eco conscious company in many ways. They make zero waste skincare products. The drops are biodegradable and made from seaweed. The products are refillable and the packaging for these is also biodegradable which makes a refreshing change to all the single use plastic typically found in high street beauty products. The company is carbon neutral.

It made me happy to see they’d gifted products to accounts which promoted acne positivity. I absolutely love it when beauty brands promote skin inclusivity. This is something I feel strongly about as representation can have such a positive effect. The fact that Bolt aren’t afraid to be connected to real people with acne and scarring made me want to try their products even more.

First Impressions

The beautifully wrapped package arrived through my letterbox and was labelled as “100% recyclable” – it was a small carboard box with paper information leaflets and branded tissue paper. I was a little surprised that the Stackable was plastic, I thought it would be glass, but it is wonderfully compact and I can easily see myself reusing this regardless of if I fall head over heels in love with Bolt’s products or not.

Price

The Stackable included enough skincare for 3 day’s worth of usage. It retails at £15. 100 capsules of their cleanser and moisturiser retail for £30.00 each in a glass jar or £25 in a biodegradable packet. Their two serums are £42 each for 100 capsules in a glass jar or £38 in a bag. The average price per product is more expensive than the items in my current skincare routine.

My Experience With The 6 Filthy Clean Cleanser Capsules

There were many positives I felt when using this cleanser. These included: my skin felt clean without being stripped, my skin didn’t feel tight or dry after use and there was no stinging. There was no notable fragrance and it was definitely gentle. I personally didn’t love the silicone feeling of the Filthy Clean capsules which didn’t foam, nor were they creamy but this was new to me as I’ve never used a product of this consistency before. Whilst using I straight away thought these might suit someone who likes the texture of a cleansing oil. The cleanser was my least favourite of all the 4 Bolt products I tried but this comes down to personal texture preference.

My Experience With The 6 Mad About Moisture Moisturiser Capsules

This lightweight product which reminded me of a gel moisturiser felt hydrating without leaving my skin feeling sticky or as though I hadn’t used a moisturiser which I’ve experienced before. There was a slight essential oil scent to it. It didn’t pill when I added SPF over the top. It eased some minor dryness I had by my lower lip within 2 or 3 uses.

My Experience With The 3 Glow Don’t Shine Serum Capsules

When I first popped one of these open the almost essential oil type scent did throw me a bit as my usual skincare has no real smell. The texture was thicker than expected but felt wonderfully silky to apply to my skin. I had worried the presence of oils would break me out but didn’t experience this during my short time using them. However; it would take using a product for a longer time period for me to assess this properly. As I hadn’t used my typical oil control products I expected to have a shiny forehead by mid afternoon but 3 days into using these this didn’t happen so for me the “don’t shine” lived up to it’s name during this short trial period. Even after breaking a sweat exercising I still didn’t look shiny in the afternoon.

My Experience With The 3 Vitamin A Game Serum Capsules

Again, a thicker consistency than expected but this serum didn’t have the same essential oil type scent so I preferred this. I’ve used high strength prescription retinoids over my chin and jawline on and off for 12 months. I hadn’t used retinol across my whole face before and had concerns this might irritate or cause dryness. This serum did neither of those things when I used it consecutively 3 nights in a row. I felt like my skin looked particularly plump and glowy the morning after using these. I went to bed one night with a new, sore spot brewing. I expected it to become a white head overnight but instead the pressure behind it dissipated and it never reared its head. I liked these the most.

The Final Word

The capsules were easy to tear open without being messy or too fiddly and had just the right amount of product for 1 use. I didn’t think there would be enough in them as they looked so small. None of the products caused irritation in the 3 days I used them, whilst this may seem a very short space of time to note this, I have previously experienced irritation with products after one or two uses such as exfoliants or retinoids. I did note my skin felt very soft and I really enjoyed having such a simple routine which didn’t involve 5-ish bottles for a change!

Likes: environmentally friendly credentials, the brand’s skin inclusivity, the biodegradable capsules which I composted are fun to use, a simple routine that’s nice to do, these would be perfect for travel – especially flying as they wouldn’t count as part of a liquid allowance, nor would you have to worry about leaking! My skin also felt softer and more velvet-y for using these than with my routine skincare. Entirely irrelevant to performance but I love the pearly look of the capsules!

Dislikes: texture of the cleanser – but then I’m wary of oil textures so this comes down to personal preference, lack of smaller size products to try – it’s either 3 days worth or 50-100 days worth.

Rebuy Yes or No? The cleanser – I don’t think so. I’m finding it tough to say with the other products as whilst I’m incredibly grateful to have been gifted these to try, 3 days is hard to make a judgement. I’m wary of the presence of the oils and the scent of the Glow Don’t Shine serum as my skin is very acne prone and I’m conscious that £38-42 is quite a high price to give this a go. I wish it was possible to try a small amount such as 30 capsules as this would last a month and cost approximately £12.60 for the serums. I normally buy trial size products if I can that last roughly 4-6 weeks to see how I get on with them. If that was possible with Bolt I’d be buying the Vitamin A Game straight away to start with. I’d equally love for these to be stocked in Boots so I could spend my points on them!

These products have definitely given me something to think about, they’re innovative and better for the planet whilst feeling luxurious to use. I think this is important to note as, whilst I’m happy to stick to bar soap as an eco swap, it doesn’t necessarily feel very indulgent! Bolt will remain on my radar for the future as I work through my current skincare stash. I’ve previously reviewed other skincare products I’ve used as “hate” because they’ve totally not worked for me either they haven’t delivered results or I’ve found the formulas unpleasant to use. I feel like I can’t label these products with a definitive “rate or hate” after 3 days of usage but I will say that I wouldn’t want anyone to feel discouraged from trying these products as a result of reading this.

Comments Welcome

How I Got Over £20 Worth Of Skincare & Make Up Completely Free – How To Save Money In Boots Using Deal Stacks, Promotions & Loyalty Points

My go-to store for skincare is Boots whenever they have promotions on. I recently found myself in need of a replacement Niacinamide serum from The Ordinary which isn’t stocked in my local Boots. This prompted me to write this post about how I made my money go as far as possible when placing this order which was entirely paid with using Boots Points.

For more details about the Boots Advantage Card scheme and why I love it please check out my other posts:

Below are the products I bought and how I saved money or made my money go as far as possible:

The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum – RRP 60ml £8.60

I’ve previously gone through almost 2 bottles of the 30ml serum and know my skin loves it. I was aware this double size bottle existed but didn’t realise it was stocked in Boots so I’m really glad I double checked. A 30ml bottles has an RRP of £5 so if I’d bought two of these to equate 60ml it would have cost me £10. The 60ml bottle sells for £8.60 meaning an immediate saving of £1.40 on a staple product in my skincare routine. Whilst not the biggest saving in the world it all adds up and means this product will last me a lot longer. As a consequence my next online order will be further away when I’m likely to need more products to dodge paying delivery fees!

Cetaphil Rich Night Cream – RRP £7.99 for 50g

This was the second trusted product of mine which was running low so I wanted to add this to my order to ensure I wasn’t caught short without it. There was a promotion on Cetaphil which knocked £2.00 off this wonderful product bringing the total to £5.99. Sadly a giant size of this doesn’t exist otherwise I’d be more than happy to buy it.

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Micro Eye Liner – RRP £5.99

Although I haven’t worn make up regularly in the last year I’m a big fan of a quick black liquid eyeliner flick. I’d previously been using a KVD Beauty liquid eyeliner which I got as a free sample via O2 Priority Moments some time ago but this was running out. I asked friends for recommendations and this was rated highly so I popped this in the basket. I considered buying the KVD mini that I’d received as a free sample which was £10 but decided as I don’t wear make up that often I was happier to go for a cheaper product. I’ve swatched this, the tip is very fine and highly pigmented. I’ve previously used a Rimmel liner and got on well with it so I’m happy with this purchase.

Boots Essentials Body Lotion Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E 390mlRRP £1.49

At this point I’d added the 3 things I particularly wanted or needed to my basket but was going to have to pay £1.50 to get it sent to the store as my basket was under £20. I begrudge paying for delivery so went through my inventory of beauty products and toiletries to see what I might need that I could cheaply buy which would tip me over into the free delivery threshold. I’m terrible at body care in comparison to skincare and until the last few weeks have probably bothered to moisturise my skin once a month if that. I was also out of hand cream and figured this could be used to moisturise my hands whilst being a giant bottle to multi task.

Student Discount

My Boots Advantage Card is twinned with my student card meaning when I log in I automatically save 10%.

Free Click and Collect

I opted for this as it was free, there was nothing else I needed to try and get free home delivery. I was able to walk to store within a couple of days to pick up my order.

Total Paid: £20.13 in Boots’ Points. 13p over the free click and collect threshold.

Total Saved:

  • 60ml of The Ordinary Niacinamide – instead of 2 x 30ml bottles = £1.40
  • Cetaphil Rich Night Cream store promotion = £2
  • Student Discount – 10% off the whole order = £2.24
  • Click and Collect – free by buying a £1.49 item otherwise I’d have paid = £1.50
  • Paid With Boots Points = £20.13

By buying bigger sizes, making the most of store promos, dodging delivery fees, using student discount and Boots Points I saved myself £27.27

Comments Welcome

Epoch Glacial Marine Mud Mask VS The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask – Clay Mask Review For Acne Prone Skin

Anyone familiar with my blog will know by now that I love a good direct comparison of two skincare products I’ve tried for spot prone skin which I like to pitch against each other in a VS post. I’ve previously covered day moisturisers, cleansers and pimple patches to name a few in this accidental series. Let’s kick this clay mask comparison off.

Here’s a comparison break down of the two products:

Epoch Glacial Marine Mud MaskThe Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask
Price£29.53 per 200ml£18.00 per 75ml (or £6 for 15ml trial mini size)
Product Claims (as per the brand websites)Natural, simple way to soften and smooth skin. Draws out dirt and impurities. Leaves skin fresh, renewed and healthy-looking. Absorbs dead skin cells and excess oil.
Suitable for all skin types.
Powerful purifying charcoal clay mask. Absorbs excess oil, dirt and impurities. Exfoliates. Gives a healthy glow. Tingly and refreshing. Helps unclog pores.
Eco / Charity benefitsNu Skin donates $0.25 per sale to the Nu Skin Force For Good Foundation Glass packaging. Community Fair Trade tea tree oil.
How To Use (as per the brand websites)Shake before use – apply to face and body2-3 times a week – leave on for 10-15 mins

Nu Skin – Epoch Glacial Marine Mud Mask Review

Firstly, I won this product in a giveaway so was fortunate to be able to try this for free. I love the really smooth feeling texture of this mask. It feels silky to apply and is incredibly easy to wash off and almost feels nourishing in the process. It is clean mask to use and doesn’t make a horrible mess. I’ve been using this twice a week for two and a half months and not experienced it drying my skin out at all. Even after using this frequently on my face I would estimate the bottle is at least half full still so the product lasts a really long time. However; unfortunately I haven’t really noticed any particular improvements in any congestion in my skin even after using this product for over 10 weeks. I generally use facemasks only to try and tackle my enlarged and often dark looking pores across my nose which spread onto my cheeks. This mask hasn’t made a difference to their appearance at all. I’m a little disappointed about this as the product feels so lovely to use.

Likes: smooth feel, easy to apply and remove, not drying

Dislikes: no real noticeable improvements in my skin

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask Review

I first tried this product a couple of years ago when The Body Shop offered samples of this mask via their social media sites. I remember liking it but for some reason didn’t purchase. I bought my first full jar of this about a year ago and I still recall the total shock I experienced when I used it the first time, rinsed and looked at my skin in the mirror. The dull congested pores I’m conscious of around my nose and surrounding area, to me, instantly looked better. I had one of those moments where you start doubting the “before” so lean in really close to the mirror in amazement wondering if it’s really your skin you’re looking at. It definitely tingles more than the Epoch mask. The texture also is very lumpy and not the easiest to spread across the face. The only thing I dislike about this mask is that it is a bit of a mission to wash off. I’ve discovered the best way is to dampen the mask and then really gently soak it off with a flannel and no scrubbing. It dries kind of like a shell on the face. For the impressive results I don’t care about the messy wash off faff. Of all the face masks I’ve tried to date this is my favourite. I use a clean plastic spoon to remove the product from the pot to try and reduce any possible bacteria and apply once or twice a week depending on how busy I am. Using it this way means 1 jar typically lasts me 6 months and The Body Shop regularly have offers which I time with purchasing a new jar. Another perk with this product is the glass jars are lovely to upcycle into bathroom storage or plant pots.

Likes: impressive results on my congested pore areas, glass jar packaging,

Dislikes: time consuming and slightly messy wash off process

Towards the end of last year when the La Roche Posay website had a huge deal which worked out at 40% off products I purchased their Effaclar clay mask which I’ll be trying once my Nu Skin product has run out. Whilst I do really love The Body Shop one’s results I’m not wild about the lumpy texture and do, on rare occasions, skip using it because I’m not in the mood for the messy wash off business. I’ve previously raved about The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal mask on my Instagram which prompted one of my favourite accounts, In My Piggy Bank Blog, to request a sample which led her to buying the product.

Comments Welcome.