Style

2
Nov

Breeze through Black Friday with ease

Mark the date in your diary, Friday 24 November 2017 and don’t miss out on bagging yourself some brilliant Black Friday bargains on all sorts of products, and just in time for Christmas. But while it is easy to just snatch and grab, especially when fighting the hordes of people who will also be shopping for bargains, it might be wise to take a step back and plan for your Black Friday shopping spree, so you can breeze through Black Friday with ease.

Whilst bargains and discounts might not have been released yet, many retailers have already confirmed that they will be participating in Black Friday sales, including Argos, Boots, GAME, Maplin, Debenhams and New Look.

Whether you’re after this year’s hottest toys, latest tech, this season’s must-have fashions or homeware, the most important thing is to be prepared.

DO YOUR RESEARCH & BE REWARDED

It pays to be prepared on Black Friday and if you want to get the best deals then you have to be organised. Retailers last year started their Black Friday deals much earlier, and this year you will be lured by substantial discounts in a bid to persuade you to start your Christmas shopping early, so if you start to plan your spend a week in advance of the big day you are less likely to miss out.

  • Many retailers have Black Friday deals already online with more discounts coming in-store on the day itself. If you’re after big-ticket gadgets such as televisions, laptops, cameras, smartphones, smartwatches, games consoles and tablets, be assured it will probably be discounted.
  • Sign up to store newsletters and follow your selected retailers them on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you get information on great deals as soon as they are announced.
  • If you feel like you’re going to overspend set a budget and do your planning and price comparisons on-line first. If you do your research and pinpoint what products and models you want well in advance, it will save you time on the day when you’ll have to act fast in-store.
  • Boost your savings by planning in advance how you are going to pay for your goods. Choose which cards you may use, whether it’s a cashback credit card or you’re collecting Avios, make sure you maximise on your spending by using the right card, and don’t forget to take your store loyalty cards along with you too.

You may be overwhelmed by the discounts and items on offer, so don’t lose sight of the items you actually want. Our hot tips for this year’s Black Friday are toys and tech, and these are the hot ticket items to look out for.

TREAT THEM TO TOYS FOR LESS

Black Friday is probably the best time to get your toy shopping for Christmas out of the way, and save money too. For the kiddies ‘My Little Pony’ merchandise is huge this year as the new movie is released in time for Christmas, but there are many other toys inspired by movies and TV shows that are tipped to be as popular with kids of all ages this year.

PAW Patrol Sea Patroller Vehicle available at Argos, Wilko and Tesco
Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator available at Argos, Asda and Tesco
Hatchimals Surprise Giraven available at Argos

My Little Pony Cutie Mark Pack available at Argos
My Little Pony Magic of Everypony 10 Pony figure set available at Tesco
My Little Pony Fashion Runway Playset available at Wilko

Lego is also a firm favourite with new Lego building kits and themed LEGO kits entering the market regularly. Why not help develop your children’s creativity with the gift of Lego and see their imaginations grow as they build new and existing things from these well-loved little bricks?

LEGO Ninjago Movie Flying Jelly Sub available at Argos
LEGO Ninjago Movie Garma Mecha Man available at Tesco and Asda
LEGO Star Wars Resistance X-Wing Fighter available at Asda, Argos and Tesco

BARGAIN BASEMENT TECH

Some of the latest tech and devices can be found in the Black Friday sales at bargain basement prices, including the highly anticipated iPhone X, as well as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8.

When it comes to finding your smartphone on Black Friday, it is a good idea to go in with an idea of not only the phone that you want, but the data package you require as well. If you are someone who spends a lot of time on social media and messaging apps, you will want a contract that comes with a lot of data, so keep your eyes peeled for good data deals too.

iPhone X available at Three, Carphone Warehouse, O2, Vodafone and EE
iPhone 8 available at O2, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, EE, Sky and Three
Samsung Galaxy Note8 available at Three, Carphone Warehouse, Sky, EE, Vodafone and O2
Samsung Galaxy S8 available at Three, EE, Carphone Warehouse, Sky, Vodafone and O2

If you’re into gaming, the Nintendo Switch is a hot item this year, and you may find some great deals on this console once Black Friday comes around. The Xbox One X which launches in November is another game console that Xbox fans will have their eye on in the hopes of bagging a bargain.

Nintendo Switch Console available at Argos and GAME
Xbox One X available at GAME

2
Nov

Cosy & chic coats to covet

When winter rolls around, nothing beats cuddling and snuggling into a warm coat to keep out the cold. But as much as a coat needs to keep you warm, it is also the focal point of your wardrobe, as it is the last piece you’ll put on and the first piece you’ll take off. As such, while your coat should be practical allowing you to do everything you need to, it should also be a fashion statement, saying something about your style. While the saying goes ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, the truth is that people do.

To make sure you are not only warm and cosy this winter, but fashionable too, consider these major trends of the season when choosing the right coat for you. Look out for heritage checks, vibrant reds and faux fur accents. 

CHECKMATE

Whatever form your check takes, be it houndstooth or windowpane, Prince of Wales or tartan, this season heritage checks are everywhere, and a statement coat in a heritage check is the perfect way to incorporate this trend with elegance. For a classic chic style that won’t date, we promise that this is one style that will continue to be a wardrobe staple for winters to come.

If some combinations of check and multiple colours in the design may be too bold for you, there are plenty of muted checks in the shops, perfect for bringing your outfit on trend, but not being too overbearing for your style.

Checked Funnel Neck £50.00 Bonmarché
Black and Red Check Blazer £34.99 New Look
Check Double Breasted Coat £69.00 Dorothy Perkins
Lee Cooper Check Wool Coat £14.99 Sports Direct
 

DARE TO WEAR RED

Nothing draws the eye like a bright, stand-out colour, and this season that colour is red. Whether you incorporate this bright and bold hue in your accessories or are more daring, why not take this trend head-on with a statement coat in pillar box red, scarlet, crimson or burgundy?

Have fun and experiment with your red coat and team it with jeans and knitwear on the weekends, throw over your everyday workwear to brighten up your day and add a splash of colour to your little black dress on a night out. Match your coat with a luscious red lipstick and you’ll have a winning combination.

Red Single-Breasted Coat £45.00 Bonmarché
Red Double-Breasted Coat £65.00 Dorothy Perkins
Red Hooded Longline Puffer Jacket £58.00 New Look
Wine Dolly Coat £55.00 Evans

MAKE FAUX FUR YOUR FRIEND

A faux fur coat will always make a statement and is on trend again this season. Whether you opt for a bold print such as leopard spots or zebra stripes, a shag pile in pink or cream, or a classic grey, brown or black faux fur coat or jacket, be prepared to be stroked by all those you meet.

Grey Faux Fur Jacket £60.00 Bonmarché
Pink Short Faux Fur Coat £44.99 New Look
Petite Leopard Faux Fur Coat £69.00 Dorothy Perkins
Textured Faux Fur Coat £44.99 Select

However, if you’re too timid to take on this fashion trend, there are other ways to incorporate faux fur in a way that isn’t overpowering. Look out for details such as a faux fur collar or cuffs and you can style out this trend without being too overbearing.

Jacquard Coatigan with Faux Fur Collar £50.00 Bonmarché
Khaki Faux Fur Hooded Parka Coat £45.00 Peacocks
Pale Grey Faux Fur Trim Belted Midi Coat £54.99 New Look
Firetrap Blackseal Polly Parka £84.99 Sports Direct

10
Oct

Style up a scare this Halloween

October is the month of fear, fun, fantastic costumes and junk food, and with Halloween on 31 October looming, one of the biggest challenges can be to find the perfect outfit for your Halloween party, and indeed for the whole family. Choosing an outfit doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and you can find a good selection of costume ideas at a number of major fashion retailers, supermarkets, department stores and budget shops with prices to suit every pocket.

CHOOSE WISELY

Whilst having an idea about what you want to dress up in is a helpful starting point, don’t let this limit you from trying other costumes or characters. And it’s not just the kids who can dress up; there are numerous costume options available for the adults too.

Here are some steps you can follow to help make choosing your costume easier:

  1. Are you going in a group? If the answer is yes, pick a theme that everyone can stick to when choosing their costume. Some theme ideas may not be around Fright Night, you may ant to opt for superheroes or comic book characters, your favourite movie character, or anything else that tickles your fancy.
  2. How far are you planning to go? When it comes to dressing up, you get those who will put on a hat and glasses and call it quits, and those who go the extra mile and rent costumes with added props for authenticity. Before taking the plunge and buying or renting a costume, decide how involved you want your costume to be. Sometimes the simpler the costume, the better.
  3. Do your research. By researching your costume idea, you may find that you already have some accessories at home that could work well with your costume, allowing you to spend more on the props and items you still need to purchase.

COSTUMES FOR KIDS

With so many costumes on offer, there really is no limit as to what your kids can dress up as this Halloween. Whether your little one is a baby, a toddler a tween or a teen, the shops are full of fun and frightening gear that will make this Halloween one to remember. From witches and wizards to ghosts and ghouls that will bring the fear factor, and princesses and pirates for something a little less scary, kit them out from head to toe, invest in some face paint and don’t forget to arm them with a festive bucket for all their treats.


Halloween Frankenstein Suit, Silver Witch Costume and Mummy Costume from £6.99 at Home Bargains.


Glow in the Dark Skeleton All-in-One with Mask, Skeleton Dress with Mask, and Skeleton Tuxedo with hat and Mask, all from £12 at Sainsburys


Halloween Cauldron, Printed Loot Bucket and Witches’ Broom all £1 at Poundland

The right accessories can make or break any Halloween outfit. Claire’s has a range of Halloween accessories in stock that can take any outfit from drab to fab. Whether it’s a wig to finish off a look, or you’re looking for masks, make up and jewellery, the perfect accents to your outfit will make people notice you this Halloween.


Glow In The Dark Cat Costume Kit £10, Turquoise Tinsel Mermaid Wig £25 and Gore Galore Zombie Cosmetic Set £8 all at Claire’s

GEAR FOR GROWN UPS

Why not make this Halloween a family affair? With costumes and accessories for the adults too, there is no excuse for the dressing up to be left to the children.


Ladies Goddess Costume, Men’s Darth Vader Costume and Wonder Woman Costume from £22.99 at Argos

When it comes to Halloween make-up, there’s no need to go out of your way to purchase a bundle of products you won’t use again. Use your basics, and only buy the few special products you will need, like coloured eye shadows and flash lashes that you may not ordinarily wear.


Makeup Revolution Salvation Bright Eyeshadow Palette Chaos £4, NYX Professional Make Up Ultimate Shadow Palette in Brights £16, Superdrug LASH False Lashes Double Volume Edition #40 £3.43, Paperself Paper False Eyelashes – Deer and Butterfly £12.50 and True Volume Lashes by KISS – Spicy £5.99 at Boots & Superdrug

FUN FINISHING TOUCHES

Halloween isn’t just about the costumes. There’s décor and snacks and treats to consider too. From pumpkin lanterns to plastic spiders and cobwebs, creating the right atmosphere is everything. And don’t forget the treats, after all, that is what most of the kids will be after (and a few adults too).

At the end of the day, a little bit of planning, and knowing where to shop for bargains on décor and sweet treats can save you time and remove the stress when it comes to getting ready for Halloween.


Casper Marshmallows and Casper Candy Sticks £1 each at Poundland, Chocolate Pumpkins and Gummy Spiders £1 each at Poundworld


Black Pirate Party Paper Cups £1.29 at Card Factory, Giant Spider and Grim Reaper Hanging Ghoul £1 each at Poundland and Hanging Decorations £1 at Poundworld

10
Oct

Hair heroes to battle the winter

With the approach of winter it’s important to take stock of your beauty routine, as you will need to change or enhance it for the colder, harsher months, as the elements will take their toll not only on your skin, but on your hair too. But there are steps you can take to ensure that you continue to have glossy, healthy hair even as the thermostat drops.

SALON SERVICES

Nothing keeps hair in good condition like a regular trim. Daily styling with hairdryers, curling tongs and straightening irons can damage hair, as can hair colouring products. To keep your hair in good shape, it is recommended to have it trimmed every six weeks, or every nine weeks for longer hair. For an affordable hair cut look out for model nights in local salons or head into budget chains such as Regis and Supercuts where a basic cut starts at £14.95 and a cut and blow dry will set you back £22.45. Also look out for promotions on conditioning treatments; it’s amazing what a little bit of salon TLC can offer.

HOME SALON HEROES

You can’t leave all your haircare to the professionals; you need to take control at home too. Proper maintenance continues with your at home beauty regime, from using the right products, to how regularly you wash and style your hair. Look out for brilliant beauty buys in department stores, drugstores and budget stores, get hold of 3 for 2 offers and claim a ton of beauty gifts with purchase.

A good conditioner is essential to restore and maintain your hair’s natural moisture, glossiness and texture. If you’re unsure what products to use, speak to your stylist. But one of the popular ingredients that great for healthy hair is Argan oil. With shampoos, conditioners, hair oils and treatments containing this moisture rich ingredient, every step of your haircare regime can help boost your hair’s health.


Herbal Essences Bio: Renew Conditioner 400ml Argan Oil £6, Lee Stafford ARGANOIL from Morocco Nourishing Conditioner 250ml £10.99 at Boots, OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner 385ml £6.99 and OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Conditioner 385ml £7.99, Garnier Ultimate Blends Argan Oil Shine Conditioner 400ml £2.50 and Hask Argan Oil Repairing Conditioner 355ml £6.99 from Superdrug, Boots and Savers

If a good shampoo and conditioner doesn’t seem to be meeting your winter hair needs, a good treatment or deep nourishing conditioner may be required.


John Frieda Full Repair Deep Conditioner Mask 150ml £6.99, Shea Moisture Shea Masque 326ml £10.99, TRESemmé Oleo Radiance Creamy Moisturiser Mask 300ml £6.99 and Vatika Naturals Egg Protein Conditioning Hair Mask 500g £5.99 at Superdrug, Boots and Savers

On top of deep conditioning, there are plenty of options of oils and serums you can apply and leave on wet or dry hair that will help add and lock in moisture.


TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Colour Serum 125ml £6.05, Argan Oil Hair Treatment 100ml £12.99, Grow Gorgeous Shine Serum 60ml £22.00, Hask Argan Oil from Morocco Repairing Hair Shine Oil 18ml £2.49 and OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Weightless Dry Oil 118m £6.99 at Superdrug, Boots and Savers

PROTECT & PERFECT

When it comes to styling your hair in winter, it is important to thoroughly dry your hair before going outside to protect your hair from becoming brittle. If you are using heated styling tools like hairdryers, straightening irons or curling tongs, invest in a good heat protection spray to help minimise any damage to your hair and make sure that you use a wide tooth comb and not a brush if your hair is wet to avoid stretching and damaging your hair.


Boots Style Works Heat Protect Spray 185ml £2.59, TRESemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray £6.05 Mark Hill Styling Heat Protection 200ml and Style Expertise Straight Spray 100ml £2.99 at Superdrug & Boots

COVER UP

Aside from using the right products to wash, dry and style your hair, it is still important to take steps to protect it from the elements. Hats are super fashion forward, look fabulous, will protect your hair from the wind, rain and snow, and will also help cut down on how often you need to wash your hair as it won’t get dirty from the elements.


Grey Brushed Knit Beanie Hat £4.99, Burgundy Double Faux Fur Pom Pom Beanie £9.99, Black Baker Boy Hat £9.99 and Mink Cable Knit Faux Fur Bobble Beani £7.99 all at New Look


Firetrap Army Hat £8 at Sports Direct, Penguin Beanie £7 and Grey Baker Boy Hat £10 both at Peacocks

6
Sep

Your new 9-5 dress code

Waking up and dressing for work every single day can be overwhelming. To manage any morning mayhem you’ll need to acquire the basic pieces every working woman should have hanging in her closet—blazers, shirts, flats, heels, tailored trousers and a skirt. Just add a few key season trends such as monochrome, Prince of Wales check and berry hues, and you can go back to work this autumn in style.

EASY TAILORING

Make an effortless transition with easy tailoring and effortlessly elegant 2-pieces and dresses that work from morning meetings to evening dos. From classic shades of grey and black to tweeds and Prince of Wales checks, look out for chic A-line minis, pencil skirts, midi skirts, manlike trousers, fitted jackets and ladylike dresses that will take you into autumn and beyond.

THE DRESS

Flute sleeves, wrap styles are everywhere this season. Think of deep reds and purples, checks and stripes and you’ll be bang on trend. And don’t forget the LBD. A wardrobe staple, a chic little black dress will always be a 9 to 5 hero. Whether you are channelling Chanel, inspired by Hepburn or just a fan of the deepest shade there is, this is the one item that can be dressed up and down effortlessly.

  • Grey And Ivory Check Shift Dress £30.00 Dorothy Perkins
  • Berry Double Ruffle Shift Dress £24.00 Dorothy Perkins
  • Black Spot Print Asymmetric Wrap Front Dress £24.99 New Look
  • Rose Print Tunic Dress £20.00 Peacocks

BUY A BLAZER

Nothing screams girl boss like a crisp blazer and right now the blazer is having a massive moment. This time round, you can embrace colour and print. Look out for styles in statement red, Prince of Wales check and bold stripes that will take you from desk-to-dinner in no time at all.

  • Grey Check Contrast Cuff Blazer £29.99 New Look
  • Red Blazer £17.00 Primark
  • Red Double Breasted Blazer £34.99 H&M

STYLISH SHIRTS

In addition to the perfect white button-down shirt, shirting has also been reimagined for AW17, with asymmetric cuts, reworked silhouettes, and statement sleeves breathing new life into the work wear classic. For extra impact, look fro detailing in the form of peplum hems, pussy bow necklines and metal hardware. From frill front blouses in ditsy prints to shirts in bold block colours, stripe blouses with fluted sleeves, and wrap tops, if your shirt or blouse is full of detail then it’s a winner.

  • Black Star Print Wrap Top £36 Wallis
  • White tie-detail shirt £18 Peacocks
  • White Grandad Collar Peplum Hem Blouse £24 New Look

  • Yellow blouse £10 Primark
  • Pale Grey Crochet Trim Shirt £19.99 New Look
  • Black Floral Tie Neck Blouse £16 Peacocks

BOTTOMS UP

Trousers or skirts, whatever you choose you’ll be on trend as long as go for bold styles, bold prints and bold colour. Menswear-inspired trousers always look polished, especially in checks. Wide-legged and fluid cuts are the mood du jour and totally work wear appropriate.

A-line skirts of all lengths are holding it down in the skirt department, where zips and texture have been employed for a hit of newness. Skirts have been given a new season refresh with the new mini, maxi and midi hem lengths, while a pencil skirt will create a sexy silhouette. Go barelegged for now, while it’s still warm enough, and sport sock boots when it’s chilly out. On top, everything and anything goes from bodysuits to crisp white shirts and fluted sleeve tops. For extra points try for a co-ord two-pieces and the berrier the better.

 

  • Flannel Wide Leg Trousers £15.00 Primark
  • Burgundy Calf Length Skirt £29.99 H&M
  • Red Faux Leather Mini Skirt £22.00 Dorothy Perkins
  • Grey Checked Slim Leg Ankle Grazer Trousers £20.00 Dorothy Perkins

FOOLPROOF FOOTWEAR

Every working wardrobe needs a classic pair of black suede or patent heels, commuter flats and essential knee-high boots. These are all working girl essentials. This season reboot your foot locker with kitten heels or block heels on courts if you don’t like skyscraper stillettos, look for flat brogues, ballet pumps and loafers with tassel detailing and opt for luxurious boots in luscious berry colour leathers.

  • Floral Stud Ballerina Pump £8.00 Primark
  • Burgundy Ballerina Pump £14.99 Deichmann
  • Navy Tassel Slip On Loafer £31.99 Deichmann
  • Hamble Oak Brogue £60.00 Clarks
  • Leopard Print Velvet Metal Heel Pointed Pump £15.99 New Look

  • Black Patent High Heel Court Shoe £24.99 Shoe Zone
  • Orabella Fern Block Heel £59.00 Clarks
  • Black Suedette Kitten Heel Chelsea Boot £27.99 New Look
6
Sep

Your essential tech for Uni

With the new academic year upon us, now is the time to get all the gadgets you may need. The right computer or tablet can help make your studies and assignments so much easier. But new tech for Uni students can be expensive, especially for a student who doesn’t earn a lot, if anything at all. Starting your tech hunt early can help you find what you need, without blowing your budget.

KNOW YOUR NEEDS

The first step to saving money is knowing what your requirements are. If you’re not a graphic designer, a gamer or programmer you may not need the most expensive graphics card or the fastest processor which can hike up the price tag. When starting out, a basic laptop with internet connectivity, and basic word processing, like Microsoft Word, is all you will need.

Speak to an in-store expert who can help you find the best laptop, tablet and programmes to meet your needs. Many department stores, supermarkets, electronic specialists and phone shops sell an array of products from laptops to tablets, with offers to help reduce the price. Shopping specials and offers is a great way to make your money go further.

For many students, an entry-level laptop should meet your needs, and allow you the flexibility to work from home or on campus. A basic entry-level laptops can be bought for under £200. However, you may be required to purchase programmes such as Microsoft Word or any others that you will need. You can get an ASUS Vivobook E203NA with Office 365 for around £199.99 from most electronic stores.

If you are looking for something with more memory and faster speeds, there is the Acer Aspire ES 15.6 Inch laptop from around £249.99.

  • ASUS Vivobook E203NA 11.6 Celeron dual core processor with 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD storage with Office 365 for £199.99 from Argos
  • Acer Aspire ES 15.6 Inch AMD E1, 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD storage from Argos

GET THE MOST FOR YOUR MONEY

A laptop can be pricey, so hunt around for on-going offers. You might get lucky and find a laptop bundled with another gadget or software that you need. Also look out for sales, where you can save and maybe get a better computer or tablet at a lower price.

If you don’t need a laptop, you can also save money by getting a tablet. You can get an entry-level tablet starting at less than £50, with note capabilities. If you are looking for something with more features, you can spend anywhere up of £500. There really is something for everyone.

Many phone provider stores have a range of tablets on a pay monthly basis starting at £39 a month, with an upfront cost £49.99, for those with a monthly budget and looking for higher end tect, such as an iPad. If you are looking for a pay as you go option, look out for the Alcatel Pixi 3 (8) for an upfront cost of around £119.99.

If you are looking for something without a data plan, entry-level tablets can be purchased from around £48.99, such as the Acer Iconia One B1 770, 7 inch 16 GB tablet.

  • iPad 32GB Space Grey with an upfront cost of £49.99 and a month cost of £39 (over 24 months) from EE
  • Alcatel Pixi 3 (8) 16GB Ash Grey with an upfront cost of £119.99 from EE
  • Acer Iconia One B1 770 7 Inch 16GB Tablet for £48.99 from Argos

PROTECT YOURSELF

A reliable anti-virus and firewall is a must in today’s tech savvy world. Computers held to ransom, or viruses that wipe your data, are something you want to avoid. At university, you are likely plug USB drives into your computer and copy or download content, putting your device at risk.

Norton and Kaspersky Lab are two of the largest antivirus providers. But full protection can be costly. Both companies offer basic products at a more affordable price, and the best thing is, you pay once and you are covered for the whole year.

Ryman offers Kaspersky Total Security for three devices for a normal price of £49.99, and Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 for three devices at a normal price of £44.99.

  • Kaspersky Total Security for three devices at £24.99 on offer at Ryman
  • Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 for three devices at £19.99 on offer at Ryman
22
Aug

Love is a new lunchbox

As the new school year approaches at a slightly alarming rate, uniform and backpack-buying duty looms. If your kids’ lunchboxes have seen better days, or you’re giving into their demands for new kit, read on to discover our new-term favourites. These boxes and bags are suitable for pre-school, primary and secondary school students, combine clever, leak-free compartments, wipe-clean interiors and some serious insulation.

BEST FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES

Sistema Triple Split Lunchbox £10.95 Tesco

This multi compartmental BPA-free plastic lunch box is simple, durable and comes in a range of bold and bright colours. Split into three compartments, a large section for a sandwich or roll and two smaller compartments for snack or fruit and a 150ml screw top yoghurt pot that fits neatly into one of the smaller compartment, it is sealed tight with sturdy clips.

Images: Tesco

Polar Gear Lunch Bag and Bottle £11.99 Argos

The Polar Gear lunch set comes complete with a spacious 2 compartment cool bag and 650ml tritan bottle. It is great for everyday use at work, school or just out for the day and can be wiped clean easily.

My Little Lunch Urban Camouflage Lunch Bag and Bottle £17.99 Argos
This urban style rucksack lunchbag comes complete with a water bottle. The My Little Lunch fun camouflage style lunch bag is fully insulated with an easy wipe, food safe lining, keeping food fresh and cool and has a matching sports bottle. Well worth the price tag!

Images: Argos

 

Playpiece Lunch Bag £6.99 (reduced from £11.99) Trespass

The Playpiece kid’s lunch bag keeps food cool and safe. It’s also ideal for picnics at the park or a day out exploring. Designed with a clip on carry strap that can be easily removed and a carry handle on top, the Playpiece bag has a full zip and comes in a cool helicopter design or funky flower pattern to suit your kid’s tastes.

Images: Trespass

 

Smash Heart Bag & Bottle £7.00 George at Asda

Bring fashion and design to lunchtime with this bright and colourful heart bag from Smash! Smash Insulated Cases are made from durable Polyester with an extra thick foam insulation to keep contents colder longer. Food Safe and BPA, PVC with a lead free lining, the leak proof bottle is also included.

Images: George at Asda

 

BEST FOR OLDER KIDS

Polar Gear Bento Lunchbox £6 Wilko

Available in pink or black this versatile bento style lunch chiller helps keep your lunch cool and fresh. It comes with a fill at home ice pack and a fork and spoon included, and boasts 3 separate food compartments ideal for storing salads, sandwiches, sushi as well as snacks.

Images: Wilko

Bergner Black Cube Lunch Bag £22.99 Argos

The stylish and most compact of all lunchbags, this set includes two lunch boxes of different sizes, one all-purpose tray, two cotton napkins and one cooler bag. It has a wide padded shoulder strap and carrying handle and the case features an aluminium and foam layer for heat insulation.

Images: Argos

BEST FOR LITTLE ONES

Polar Gear Kids Insulated Lunch Bag 9.99 Shoe Zone

The fabulous Polar Gear Kids 3D Insulated Lunch Bags pack a healthy lunch. The 3D is insulated which will keep their food cool and fresh for longer and food safe, plus it also has a wipe clean PVC free lining, Choose from a colourful Owl, Cupcake or a Football design.

Images: Shoe Zone

Disney Frozen Elsa Lunch Bag £12.00 Claire’s

We love this pretty Disney Frozen lunch bag. With glitter detailing, a zip fastening all the way around and 2 grab handles, your little girl’s friends could mistake it for a super trendy handbag. Currently when you buy one item at Claire’s you’ll get a second free.

Paw Patrol ‘Chase’ 3D Lunch Bag £9.99 Deichmann

Entice your active little boy to sit still long enough to eat lunch with this 3D insulated lunch bag that feature’s Paw Patrol’s Chase. It’s a must-have for Paw Patrol fans.

Images: Claire’s and Deichmann

 

Sistema 1.5L Slimline Quaddie Pink £4.00 Asda

The Slimline Quaddie is part of the Sistema Lunch range and has been specifically designed for packed lunches – ideal for school, picnics and days out. There is a large lower section for sandwiches and other lunch items. In addition there are two smaller sections in the top for snacks and smaller items of fruit. A further top section contains a small water bottle.

Images: Asda

14
Aug

Store and restore for the new season

The last throw of summer is the prime time to de-clutter your home. For many, the end of the long summer holidays and the beginning of September marks the start of a new era and the perfect opportunity to restore your home to a calmer state. Not only is a clutter free environment less hazardous, it’s so much nicer to live in and will create a positive mind-set for every inhabitant. So when it comes to the shared spaces in your home, where should you begin?

HAZARD-FREE HALLWAYS

A clutter-free hallway makes life easier. Imagine walking in and out of your home without tripping over a pile of shoes and seeing coats thrown over the stair banister or a chair. How about having a designated place to put your mail, a spot to empty the contents of your pockets into, and a nominated place to drop your keys?

Say goodbye to an unruly mess of shoes at the front door and keep them stowed away neatly in a specialist shoe storage cupboard. You’ll have less dirt and dust trampled through your home, plus the top of the shoe cupboard can also be used to store keys, letters and loose change. If you have the space for a console table then invest now. Those small drawers will hold a bucket load of small objects you don’t want to be on view. Lastly invest in a coat rack, be it a freestanding one or a wall mounted one, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.


9 Drawer Wooden Chest £10 and Decorative Wooden Box £5 from The Works; Laura Ashley Grace Gold Floral Print Multi Drawer Unit £13.99 from WHSmith; Wicker Letter Holder £6.00 from Wilko; Hygena Lydiard Gloss Shoe Cabinet £134.99 from Argos

LIVING ROOM LOVE

Dual-purpose furniture is the way to optimise storage of your belongings and keep your living room tidy and clutter free. Make your coffee table work harder for you and invest in one with shelves or secret compartments.

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Alternatively a wooden chest or dresser with drawers where you can store bits and bobs, and ottomans and footstools used to store away your winter blankets, cushions, board games and magazines, are all great investments towards reclaiming your sanctuary. Also think about optimising your walls for storage. Floating shelves, cubes and hanging racks will help create more space and work brilliantly for books, plants, ornaments and photo albums.

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Clovelly Coffee Table Grey £150 from Wilko; Multi Compartment Shelf £9.99 from B&M Stores; Habitat Bumble Coffee Table £119 from Argos; Ladder Bookcase £70 from Wilko

A STRESS FREE WORKSPACE

The big challenge when de-cluttering your workspace or home office, whether you are working from home, or your kids are using it for homework, is managing all of your paper clutter. Paper clutter is a beast, so whether you decide to keep it or trash it, you’ll need to file it or shred it.

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To make your work area work for you, create filing storage either with drawer inserts, collapsible boxes or a separate filing cabinet, utilise drawers for stationary and equipment, desk tidies, cable ties and invest in a shredder to sit nicely underneath the desk on a specialist under desk storage stand.

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New York Collapsible Storage Box from The Works £6.99 or 2 for £10; London Underground Collapsible Storage Box from The Works £7.00 or 2 for £10; Safco Wire Under Desk Printer Stand Black £75 from WHSmith; Rexel Style Plus Shredder £69.99 from Argos; Bisley Cabinet 5 Drawer £51.99 from Ryman; Totally Tropical Pineapple Pen Pot £7.99 Ryman

CRAFTY KITCHEN TIPS

The most used and the most sociable room in the home can be a huge challenge to keep clutter free. Because the kitchen has so many different types of items stored in it from food to appliances to Ziploc bags and utensils, everything needs to be stored logically and in its correct zone. Begin the de-cluttering process by choosing either a zone or a type of item and then work on the list from there.

Why not organise your countertop with specialist racks for spices, mug trees, storage bottles and containers and free up your cupboards for food, crockery and pots and pans?

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Large Glass Storage Jar £1 from Poundland; Retro Tea, Coffee & Sugar £8.99 from B&M Stores; Vertex Copper Finish Fruit Basket and Mug Tree £28.99 from Argos; Hygena Tea, Coffee and Sugar Stacker £17.99 from Argos; 6-piece glass spice rack £6.00 from Wilko

Seek out clever solutions for creating tiers within your cupboards and products that can utilise the inside of doors, under the sink and the top of the fridge.

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Corner Plate Rack & Hanging Shelf Storage each £3.00, Telescopic Stand & Overdoor Pan Lid Rack each £2.50, 3-tier Kitchen Organiser £4.00, Overdoor 2-tier basket £5.00 and 2-tier Storage Rack £8.00 all from Wilko

KEEP A LID ON THE KIDS ZONE

Whilst we know it’s hard to get your little one to keep their play area tidy, you can always arrange toys and books into brightly coloured cubes and fun, colourful storage units. Look for ones with plenty of drawers for toys and arts and crafts so you’ll be able to keep clutter to a minimum.

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HOME 3 Tier Childrens Basket Storage Unit £29.99 and HOME Beech Effect Sling Bookcase £19.99 both from Argos

Stackable storage boxes are perfect for storing toys and games and will also save on floor space. Pop-up tidies are a great invention as they can hide a multitude of toys and they can be folded away as a flat pack when you’re not using them.

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The Hungry Caterpillar Storage Suitcases – Set Of 3 from The Works £6.99; Plastic Clippy Boxes £1 each from Poundland; 3-Pack Stackable Dinosaur Boxes £10.00 from Wilko

17
Jul

Beauty heroes with plant power

Celebrate summer by going back to nature and embracing plant power. Whilst products using the purest plant extracts were once exclusive and expensive, priced at between £70 and £200, you’ll now find a number of naturally derived and sustainably sourced facial serums and moisturisers at more affordable prices. From £5 to £40, we bring you the best tried and tested available in-stores now.

SUPER SERUMS

Botanics Radiant Youth Serum £4.00

At a purse friendly £4 for 30ml, Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Serum contains natural plant extract Gingko which is packed with anti-oxidants to help counteract free radicals and helps keep skin looking younger, protecting it from environmental stresses such as pollution, temperature and sun.

Sukin Super Greens Facial Recovery Serum £13.95

A refreshing daily facial serum with detoxifying green actives of kale, spirulina, chlorella and parsley providing antioxidants and vitamins to help encourage a healthy glow. At £13.95 for 30ml this super serum also contains grape seed oil, avocado and vitamin E, which lock in moisture for a dewy complexion, and added acai berry for youthful looking skin.

Superfacialist Neroli Intense Facial Serum £16.99

At £16.99 for 30ml maintain youthful and radiant skin with this silky textured wrinkle smoothing Intense Facial Serum. It contains a breakthrough apple derived stem cell ingredients proven to actively protect longevity of skin stem cells with a collagen stimulating peptide to help to firm the skin. Plus it has moisture boosting Hyaluronic Acid combined with Hibiscus extract to help restore your complexion’s natural radiance and healthiness.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth Concentrate £26.00

This certified organic miracle serum has a price tag of £26 but it is worth every penny. Just a couple of drops added to your daily moisturiser to combat the first signs of ageing and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum £40.00

This antioxidant-rich, replenishing serum is instantly absorbed by skin to give an instantly brighter, smoother complexion. It protects the skin’s barrier with nutrient rich botanicals, addresses the signs of dehydration and at the pricier end of £40 it smells gorgeous too.

CREAMS TO COVET

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream £5.25

Green tea’s antioxidant rich nutrients makes it a valuable asset in the fight against ageing and Simple has harnessed this skin-saving goodness for its Age Resisting Day Cream, plus has added SPF 15, to fight wrinkles and lines. At only £5.25 it’s a brilliant budget buy.

Botanics Hydration Burst Day Lotion SPF15 £8.99

The new Hydration Burst range from Boots Botanics is a nourishing formula, rich in Clary Sage extract, that comforts and soothes dehydrated and sensitive skin. At a purse friendly £8.99 for 50ml, the lightweight texture absorbs quickly, calming skin and leaving it feeling supple and smooth, and hydrated for up to 8 hours.

REN Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream £20.00

At £20 for 60ml this award winning moisturiser is an absolute necessity. Not only will it fit into your hand luggage it contains vitamins P and F to decongest skin and reduce sensitivity. Ideal if you’re going to be exposed to the sun.

Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream £23.00

Each 30ml tube of this rich day cream contains over 1075 organic rose petals, Beautifully scented and especially rejuvenating and regenerating for mature skin, it also has a calming effect on skin that has been over exposed to the sun. Snap it for £23.

Origins New Smarty Plants CC SPF20 Skin Complexion Corrector £29.00

This super-smart plant formula CC cream from Origins helps perfect the appearance of pores, minimises excess oiliness, and lightly hydrates to smooth away fine, dry lines. Priced at £29 for 40ml it also has SPF 20 to help you keep your youthful good looks longer.

17
Jul

Save on schoolwear & tear

Even though the summer term has only just come to an end, prep for the new school year has started and so has the high street’s hard sell on school uniform. With September a steadfast 6 to 8 weeks away it’s not to early to get your kids kitted out in their new threads, and it needn’t be costly, with stores like Aldi and Lidl promising an entire head-to-toe combo of four pieces for £3.75, and trusted uniform suppliers like Marks & Spencer and Debenhams having already run early bird promotions in June. There’s no need to suffer from fear of missing out, wherever you choose to shop you’ll find deals, but don’t leave it too late as great uniform at even greater prices sells out fast!

INNOVATION BUZZWORDS

From worn out patches to loss of shape, rips, tears and ink-stains, if you want a uniform that is durable, breathable, stain resistant and easy to care for, look out for these buzzwords when you’re considering where to buy and make sure the uniform you choose for your kids goes the extra mile.

ALL ROUND VALUE & QUALITY

Needless to say, the high street offers fantastic value for money when it comes to school uniform. Established suppliers like M&S, John Lewis, Next, Debenhams, Argos, Mothercare and Peacocks are all strengthening their offering, not only providing great value multi-buys and buy one get one half price offers, but pioneering enhanced fabrics, greater sizing options, and a variety of fits, whilst supermarkets like Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury are all in on the act offering even larger multi-packs at bargain-basement prices.

Supermarkets are not to be shunned for school uniform. The Tu range at Sainsbury and at Argos has over two hundred options with a wide range of colours. Polo shirts in packs of three are from £3.50 per pack, trousers and skirts are £7 for a pack of two and sweatshirts start at £4 for a pack of two.

BARGAINS ON BASICS

If your child will be sporting the basic uniform rules of either navy, grey or black trousers, skirts or pinafores, a white or blue collared shirt or a plain polo shirt, and a green, navy, grey or red knitted V-neck or cardigan, then the high street can accommodate your every need. And if your child has to wear school regulation shirts and jumpers embroidered with their school’s logo, you can still be savvy and stock up on basic trousers and skirts, PE shorts, plain tees, football shorts, vests and socks, offered by high street retailers at incredibly low prices.