Friday, 31 July 2009

Happy Birthday.

It’s my birthday today, and I didn’t plan ahead right so! Friday finds will be up tomorrow or Sunday!

Have a good Friday and a wonderful weekend – I hope everyone’s well.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Review: Neutrogena Wave Duo Power Cleanser


Lucky me.
I do a lot of online surveys and polls to gain a little bit of extra pennies to spend on nice things. I usually don’t take part in product trials though. I was doing a survey on facial cleansing last week when I was lucky enough to be asked if I wanted to try out the newest Wave facial cleanser from Neutrogena. While I don’t get paid for it, I’m pretty sure I get to keep the product!

The second coming.
You’re probably still seeing the adverts on the television with Vanessa Hudgens using a foaming pink Wave. The original wave also came in green and blue, but it only ran at one speed. The new Duo Wave has two vibration speeds, with the second speed having the claim of cleaning your skin ten times deeper. The launch of the new Wave also brings about the launch of the exfoliating pads you can use, alongside the foaming pads.

How to use.
The Wave itself seems very easy to use – you pop off the back, stick in the AA battery (which is included) and then it’s ready to go. This was where my first problem arose; I had a lot of trouble getting the back compartment off. It had nothing to do with my lack of nails, it was just very still. Once I had it back on it seemed a bit out of place and there seemed to be a little gap, but I haven’t have any problems due to that so far.
To use it, you take one of the pads and stick it on top of the Wave, to a Velcro like material which keeps it in place. Then just wet the pad under a stream of water, hit the power button and rub in circular motions over your face, hitting the button to go to the second setting if you want a deeper clean. The unit is water proof, so it’s safe to use in the shower (where I use it), but I wouldn’t leave it floating in a bath or sink. I wait for the pad to dry before peeling it off and putting it in the bin, I’m scared it’ll rip otherwise.

I think.
I’ve been using the Wave for about a week now with the exfoliation pads. To be honest, they’re not excellent exfoliates. The pads smell nice and look like they have exfoliating beads in them, but on the first setting I can’t really feel them. The vibrations also feel very strange against my nose and upper cheeks.
It doesn’t really feel like I’m getting much of a clean on my face. Yes, it’s feels a bit softer, but at the moment I wouldn’t really recommend it. However I have only used it for a week, so I’ll be giving another quick review in a weeks time telling you how I get on with the second speed setting.


Monday, 27 July 2009

My new shoes.


Heel toe heel toe.
I went out for casual drinks in Edinburgh on Sunday night and I wanted a nice pair of new shoes to wear. Enter these chain link smart flats by New Look. They can be yours for only £16, or £14.40 with a student card. Alternatively, you can get them in heel form (and in white) for £20/£18 with a student card. They’ve got that beautiful gold chain detailing at the front, but the back of the shoe is quite high, so it’s going to take a bit of work to break them in. The picture above is also a bad representation, they’re much shinier and smooth.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Buying for university on a budget – the kitchen.

cottonblue See the full sized imagine by cottonblue@Flickr here.

It’s not easy.
With getting things for your kitchen, it can be very difficult to know what to buy and how much to spend on them. There’s one simple rule for this, and it’s becoming something of a mantra now – buy cheap, it’ll probably break or be stolen. It’s sad, but it’s true. Your flatmates will also use your stuff (without asking 80% of the time) and then not wash it (80% of the time), so it’s safer not to spend a lot of money.

Back to the lists.
If you can, find out what your kitchen will already have when you arrive. The standard is normally cookers/ovens, a fridge, maybe a freezer and maybe a microwave. My halls didn’t have a freezer or a microwave, but we picked a simple one up from Tesco for £30, which is only a few pounds each when split. For this post, I’m going to assume that your kitchen will have the four things I’ve listed above. This means that you’re without a kettle (which my uni provided, though we would have rather had the microwave), toaster, pots, plates, cutlery… everything!

Where to get everything?
This question has a pretty simple answer – supermarkets. You must all think that I don’t go anywhere else to buy things; you’d be half right. I’ve scoured the ASDA and Tesco websites, but that don’t have any of the items that you can get in store.

  • I bought a kettle, toaster and toasty makers and didn’t spend more than £6 or so on any of them – this was from ASDA.
  • Plates and bowls, I got from inStore for about £2 a piece – you’re gonna need at least two sets. I took three dinner plates, three side plates and three bowls. While my plates are mostly intact except for a chip or two, I only came home with one bowl in May. I’m not sure how that happened.
  • Glasses and cups. I don’t drink tea or coffee, but still took four mugs, which I got in a pack from ASDA for about £3. I came home with two, and we all must have raided our parents cupboards. We seemed to have a new set of mugs every week from the frequency they were broken. Glasses, I got in a box of 18 from ASDA Smartprice for about £5. I’ve came home with more glasses than I went with though…
  • Cutlery and utensils. You need everything, or at least everything you plan on using. There’s nothing worse than needing to flip a burger and finding you have no fish slice or tongs. Or you can home that someone else will have what you need. I took four sets of cutlery (forks, knives, dessert spoons and tea spoons), a wooden spoon or two, a serving spoon, a whisk, sharp knives and a grater.
  • Pots and pans were bought from ASDA for a couple of pounds each. I threw them all out. While I was perfecting my cooking skills and other people were using my pans they became burnt and unusable. For first year (or if you’re a bad cook) cheap pans are all you need. This year I’ll be buying better pans, knowing that I won’t burn things to the same frequency as last year. I took a large pan, a small pan and a frying pan. Try and avoid pans with metal handles – they burn you.
  • Baking tray. You’ll need one, but they can quickly become burned and ruined. I had a silver one which was not silver by the end of the year and just threw it out at the end of the year.

If possible, I would advise taking plastic items over china and glass, but I don’t want you too feel like you’re on a picnic all year. A few other useful little things to take would be a couple of plastic containers of various sizes, scissors, cling film and tin foil. I’ve probably missed things out, and it’s likely that you will too – but don’t panic! There’s a high chance someone else will have what you need and will be kind enough to let you borrow it.

You can buy everything above cheaply in ASDA, Tesco, IKEA and various other shops. But remember the mantra – buy cheap because you’re probably not going to have it in a year!

You can find the bedroom part of this post here.


Thursday, 23 July 2009

Samsung ES55 – I WANT


Snap Snap.
My last camera actually stopped working around about this time last. I never got around to replacing it then because I could just steal everyone else’s photos from nights out, or using my phone’s camera (a LG thing of about 2.2MP and a BlackBerry Curve 8900 3.2MP). Now though, I’m wanting to take the photos I want to take, and at a good quality, rather than rely on everyone getting good pictures of shenanigans.

So I’ve began shopping around for a camera to spend my birthday money on (it’s the 31st of July if anyone’s interested) and I’ve decided that I quite like this little fellow. It’s pink, which is a major plus. 10.2MP, 2.5 inch LCD screen and a few other nifty features – what more could you want in a camera? Especially in a camera which is under £100. You can get this little beauty here for only £84.99.

Part two of the “buying for university on a budget” will be up tomorrow.


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Buying for university on a budget – the bedroom.

bedroomMy actual room last year.

It will break.
When you move away from home for the first time, it will surprise you how much actual stuff you need to take with you. Everything that you take for granted at home; pots, spoons, mugs, etc.; will add up when you need to buy them to take with you, and since there’s a high chance that they’ll be stolen, broken or simply become unusable, you don’t want to spend extortionate amounts of money on them. This is where supermarkets come in – I managed to get almost everything I needed in a big Asda last year; kettle, cutlery, tea towels – the lot! In this two part post, bedroom and kitchen items will be covered.

Get a list.
That is, an inventory list, of what is already in the bedroom you’ll be moving into. Every university is different with what they will and will not provide, so it’s vitally important that you get a list. If you’re not sent one in any of the various welcome packs you get, then shoot off a quick email to the head of residential services for your uni.
My uni provided a desk, chair, bed, bedding, lamp, bookcase/shelving, wardrobe, mirror and sink in my room. I’ll be basing this post on that, but if you have any questions on where to get things on the cheap which I haven’t covered, please ask!

Make a list!
You must think this is all I do – and it is. Lists are useful and easy. A list of needs for the inventory list above for me was bedding (I prefer a double duvet), bed linen and hangers. This is obviously just a basic list, I expanded on it with laptop, speakers, printer, television and decorations, but everything on this second list is personal choice and discretion.

Where to get what?
As I already mentioned, you nearest supermarket/hypermarket probably has it all!

  • Duvet – I have no problems admitting I got my duvet in ASDA. I made sure to get a thick one, as I get cold at night and as I found out, my room was extremely cold in winter. There’s also no point spending a lot on your duvet as there’s a high chance you’re going to spill something on it at some point. As the review in the link points out, that duvet really isn’t anything nice to look at, but who cares – you’ll be covering it in…
  • Bed linen – This is another thing which I bought cheap, and I’m glad I did. I have two sets (though I will be getting a third for this year) and both have either had something spilt on them, drawn on them and so on and so forth. A fitted sheet is this best thing you can buy, and again, have two or three. A duvet set doesn’t have to cost the earth if you’re not all that fusses about what it looks like, I actually have this one in pink and it’s nice and simple, saying that though you can get something a little nicer cheap as well – look in your local inStore. I got an adorable pink tartan set for less than £10!
  • Hangers – While I can’t find any on the website, you can get packs of 20 clothes hangers for only a few pounds in Tesco.

And the second list? Well decorations are your own personal taste and could be anything! I had a little row of rubber ducks my boyfriend buys me up on a shelf, pictures on the walls and posters – it’s likely there will be a poster fair during fresher’s week as well, so don’t fret.

See the post for kitchen things here.


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Twitter me! – a slightly more personal post.

twitterImage courtesy of

And then he at replied me…
Hi everyone! This is a bit more of a personal post for once. I’ve now got a Twitter for this blog specifically, @notso_fab. If you follow me there, I’ll be sure to follow you back – you’ll get tweets about new posts and also just some of the more mundane things in my life.

And yesterday…
I actually went out into Edinburgh yesterday and bought some new Dior foundation (which I’ll review in a week or so), a book (The Historian) and a DVD. Not exactly the most exciting things, but I just couldn’t find anything to buy.

I do apologise for such a ridiculously boring post today, but I want to try and make this blog a mix of me, things I like and things which will interest anyone reading. There’s going to be a good post tomorrow and Thursday for those of you moving to university for the first time to make up for this though!


Monday, 20 July 2009

Cupcakes – pink and tasty!

Here’s one I made earlier.
Quite literally as well – the cakes in the photos were actually made in April or May, but I only just uploaded the photos this week. I used the recipe from here (which I adapted from another recipe and then adapted again with food colouring and slightly more milk than I probably should have put in!). These cakes really were so soft and moist – everyone loved them.

You can see the colour of the batter before it was cooked, it was a very similar colour to the cakes when they were baked. To get that colour I used a very little amount of red food colouring, not pink, but you have to be very careful or you will end up with cakes which are just far too dark. You can see I drink Diet Coke while I bake – keeps me caffeinated!

You can see the colour of the baked cakes in the above photo. I should have waited for the cakes to cool down fully before peeling the paper off – the heat caused the paper to stick a little bit. Wait for them to cool if you want to have a nice clean peel!

What has everyone else baked recently?


Friday, 17 July 2009

Start a collection.

stampsPicture courtesy of the Royal Mail. 

I have the original collection.
While I’m not specifically talking about stamps themselves, they’re an important part of my collecting. I collect, or I’m starting to, autographs. I also happen to live no where near where any celebrities are going to be – but this doesn’t present any problem at all! You’ll need supplies, addresses and patience! This all done through the post, so it really is as easy as one, two, three!

Your supplies.
If you’re going to be requesting an autograph you’ll need only a few things:
Photos/something to sign. Some celebrities will get dozens of requests a week and just can’t afford to keep a stack of photos readily available. You can buy photos from dealers online, or you can find your own and print them yourself (or for high quality print outs through a photo printing service like SnapFish). the best size for photos is about 8x10, but it is entirely up to you. I’m sending out DVD case covers as well so I’ll have a more personalised viewing experience. Of course don’t send anything you’d be upset about losing through the post.
Envelopes. Again, the size is up to you, as long as you cant fit everything in it well. Remember you’ll need two though – one to send everything in and another to receive your things back in! I use A4 envelopes and fold up my self-addressed envelope in half to fit it inside the other one.
Stamps.That’s right, plural. If you’re asking for an autograph you can pay to get it sent back to you. With my A4 envelopes, I can get away with “Large letter” stamps from Royal Mail. Make sure you stick one to your self-address envelope. That’s important. If you’re sending abroad for autographs you need to use international reply coupons.
Letter. It doesn’t have to be a tome – just half a page saying why you like them and asking them to sign what you’ve enclosed (and maybe even ask for a cheeky personalisation). Don’t forget to write your name on it.

I used the website to find the addresses I need. It’s just a quick simple search there and you can see other people’s replies!

This is the most boring part of all. You have to wait. Some celebrities might be quick and get back to you in less than a month – some might not even get back to you at all. It’s a game of luck really, but you’ll definitely get a surprise when a envelope drops through the door with your own hand writing on it.


  • Write “Please do not bend! – PHOTOS” or something similar on the envelope, it might help with making sure your photos don’t get damaged.
  • Always be polite in your letters, and if you get something extra back then write a thank you letter back; they probably won’t see it, but it’s still a nice gesture.
  • Brag. Once you have something back, brag to your friends for all it’s worth – they probably won’t have something signed by a celebrity.

Who would you write to for an autograph?


Thursday, 16 July 2009

Affordable Fashion #4

aftopshopPicture courtesy of TopShop.

Office to night.
What I like about this skirt is it’s versatility. During the day, it could be worn in the work place (if your place of work allows own dress, obviously), with a cute blouse tucked into the waist band to show off the top row of frills. During the night, this could be dressed up with a much slinkier top. And, for the summer months it’s perfect – the pleats mean it isn’t too figure hugging down the leg, allowing for a bit of a breeze during those long hot days.

Facts over fiction.
This skirt is from TopShop and can be found here for only £25 in light grey. There are no other colours on the website, but there may be in your local store – I found it in navy in my relatively small local earlier this week. Remember, if you get it in store and you’re a student you get 10% off with a valid student card!


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Glamour August.


This months freebie! 
Last month, the lovely people at Glamour magazine gave us a petite sized BADgal lash mascara. This month we’re getting a book – He’s Just Not That Into You to be exact. The book is not a novelisation, but a guide to the changing dating for ever. While I’m in a committed relationship, I couldn’t say no for just £2. Rush out and get yours before they’re sold out.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

PayPal – not your pal.


The internet villains.
It is likely that if you’re reading this you probably have a PayPal account, and use it for things like eBay, buying things privately online and sending money to friends. I know I use it for all of those things – but how often do you actually look at the amount being charged after you’ve chosen your items and then go off to check your bank statements when the amount is taken out? Like using a bank card on the internet, PayPal is not safe. While I know this isn’t related to much else on this blog I just wanted to get this message out and hopefully make some people think about their internet security.

The particulars.
While I don’t know the particulars of online fraud, and I’ve never had it happen to me, I know people who have had the problem. They had used their PayPal account on eBay, and the account was linked to their regular student account. Somehow, after the seller had received payment they had managed to drain the rest of the money in her account. While this was quickly sorted out for her (and I’m not sure of the exact details), I would like to give out a couple of safety tips for PayPal.

The rules.

  • If you have a bank account linked to your PayPal, make sure it is not your main account which you keep a lot of money in. What I usually do is buy my item then transfer the money over (rounding up to the nearest pound) to that specific account using online banking. This way, I never have more than £5 to lose should my PayPal account somehow become under attack.
  • Always check feedback of anyone you buy things off of. If it’s a private seller (e.g. on LiveJournal or a forum), ask for a link to some other feedback, whether it be on eBay or a post elsewhere with testimonials from other users.
  • If you have any doubt at all about using PayPal to buy something then don’t use it. Using PayPal confidently is the way to go, otherwise steer clear.

While these are really not excellent safety tips, they’re simple, especially the first one. Don’t let internet fraudsters get you!


Monday, 13 July 2009

Kidada for Disney Couture.


Tale as old as time.
I’ve admired the Disney Couture jewellery for quite a while now, and always seem to find something I want but at the end of the day its just a bit out of my price range. Enter this absolutely stunning necklace – Beauty and the Beast style. It’s the rose inside the dome from the film and it’s gold plated on a long chain (though I’d probably shorten the chain).

Song as old as rhyme.
The bad news about this necklace? It’s a whopping £55. If it had been about £30 I would have probably snapped it up, but I just couldn’t justify it this time. If you can justify it though, you can get it here on and have a look at the rest of their available Disney Couture items here.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

I would like to say.

I would like to apologise for lack of posting this week, I suddenly found I had a lot of other things to do that distracted me from writing posts. I do, however, have a few things planned out and will be writing a lot this weekend. Look out for 3 or 4 updates next week, maybe even one everyday if you’re lucky!


Monday, 6 July 2009

Affordable Fashion #3

veromoda Vero Moda Candy Strip Playsuit @ ASOS
Get it here for £24.99

We are from Denmark.
I first heard of this brand back in 2003 when I had friends over from Finland who wore a lot of the clothing from this Scandinavian brand. I got the shock of my life the other day when I was wandering around Dorothy Perkins with the mother and saw a rack full of this brand. I decided to do a bit of snooping online and found that ASOS also stock it.

But it’s a playsuit.
As a rule, I generally don’t wear playsuits – how you would manage to get the bathroom in them in a hurry has always confused me. However, I might just be tempted by this one – it’s labelled colour is Coral, but the colour looks a lot more baby pink and it has the cutest little band of ditsy flower print around the dropped waist. Plus, with the current weather we’re having, this looks ideal as a way to keep cool.

This playsuit is also available in “ashes” which is obviously grey and from UK sizes 8 to 14.


Friday, 3 July 2009

Friday Finds #2

friday finds

Two weeks in a row?
I must be on a roll. Or I just have far too much time on my hands being a lady of leisure. Sometimes I think I should have gotten a summer job…

Uncluttered and calm.ffstorage
I may seem to be on a home and interior kick with my links, and I am in a way. When I move back to my university town in September I want my new room to be a bit more personal than my room in halls was. I want it to be neat and clean and organised – enter this young house. While it’s not the entire blog I have an interest in showing you, I would like to show you this entry because I think some of the ideas in it are so simple and so inexpensive that it would be incredibly silly not to also carry them out. I’ve only had a quick browse around the rest of the blog and there are a few other entries that may interest anyone who’s interested in how to keep a home pleasant.

Handmade and vintage.rmlx
The next link is for an adorable little jewellery shop that I have actually bought a few things from myself. is affordable, reliable and quirky. There’s a lot of items on their that only one or two of them are actually made – you can be reassured that anything you buy is going to be fairly unique. A little tip though – if you have a LiveJournal account you can have a preview of what’s going to be going onto the website and get it before anyone else! How nifty is that!? You need to read the rules of the community before you can buy, but here’s where you can get those exclusive previews.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A beginner’s budget.

See the full sized image by cleebster@flickr here.

Are you sure there’s no way you can extend my overdraft?
Leaving home and going to university for the first time creates a lot of problems, mostly with money and it’s management. While some people would run to their parents every time they ran out of money, I didn’t – if I was supposed to be an adult then I would have to handle all problems like I was an adult – on my own. Money management is an essential skill and is better known as budgeting. While I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, I hope to try and do my best to create a basic grounding of how to survive on a student budget.

The key to having enough for a pint.
The best thing you can do for yourself really is make a budget, whether it be scribbled on a piece of paper, made up in a spreadsheet or just a solid idea in your head. I usually sat down a quickly scribbled out my numbers and then remembered the outcome, doing so every month as I received my student loan and my pay from work within about a week of each other.

Write the essentials.
The first step is to write down all the “solid” figures – things you know definitely will be coming in and out of your account. This includes loans, money from parents, wage from work and rent. As long as the figures are fairly constant (my work pay wasn’t the same every month, but I could guesstimate how much I would receive usually) they can be written down confidently.

The not-so-sure essentials.
The next step in your simple budget is to figure out your grocery cost. The grocery cost does not include any alcohol and really means what you buy at Tesco/Asda/supermarket of choice for your meals and snacks. After three or four weeks it’s quite east to figure out how much you spend on average each week, so you quickly come to a figure for the four weeks of the month and add on a little bit extra for the extra days.
The next cost to budget for is going out. Clubs, pubs, whatever. Give yourself a limit – a realistic one – for each week and then obviously times it by four. Once you know how much an average night costs (drinks before going out + travel to club + entry fee + drinks in club + travel home) you can usually make a fairly realistic guess at the cost. Plus, anything you don’t spend one week can be carried forward to the next!
General travel costs can also be guesstimated in this part of your budget; you might have a bus/train pass or you know exactly how much it costs to get you the places you need to be.

The everything else's.
This is the section of your budget that really can be the most uncertain and messy. Everything else can be a large majority of things – savings, magazines, clothes, DVDs, trips to the cinema. You decide. This all has to be paid for somehow. The money left over after you have paid for the essentials is money you can “play” with, so to speak, but as long as you know how much of that there actually is, you shouldn’t go over the amount there. Of course, it’s always a good idea to take savings out of any money you have left over for the future or for “just in case” situations, but to each their own.

In this spreadsheet example I’m about to show you, I’ve tried to keep the numbers close to actual spending from when I was at uni the past year. Green figures are income (the darker shades being the constants and the lighter being uncertain), the orange figures are essential spending (with the darker shades being constants, as before) and the red figures are unessential spending (with the same shade system as before).


As you can see, it’s very basic, but is also fairly concise, and best of all? After I knew my figures it only took a few minutes to put together. It’s a simple skill – but useful!