3
Apr

Be in the running for a new challenge

The London Marathon takes place this month, signifying one of the biggest challenges for recreational runners taking part. It’s a daunting and monumental experience for marathon newbies, and an inspirational time for anyone wondering “could I do that too?” With the right training and commitment to a healthy eating plan, you too could run 26 miles. This handy guide breaks down what you need to know to get yourself in the running for next year’s London Marathon, and for a fitter, healthier you in just 17 weeks.

BEGINNERS ESSENTIALS

Don’t even think about putting a step forward before investing in the best pair of trainers to suit your feet. You don’t need to go for the most expensive pair, as long as they support the shape of your foot.

Make sure you go to a specialist shoe or sports shop with experts that can appraise the way your feet move and have knowledge of specialist brands, such as Brooks, Asics, Reebok, Nike, New Balance and Adidas.

Shoes that don’t fit your feet properly can lead to muscular imbalances in the body and allow for foot, knee and hip injuries.

IMAGES: SPORTSDIRECT, JD SPORTS, SHOEZONE

Reebok YourFlex £39.99, Gola Active Ortholite £34.99, Nike Air VaporMax £150.00

IMAGES: SPORTSDIRECT, JD SPORTS, SHOEZONE

New Balance W 680v4 £54.99, Nike Air VaporMax FlyKnit £170.00, Gola Lightweight £34.99

SHAPE UP

As important as it is to practice running, it is just as important to get fit and strong. Whether you exercise alone in the gym or attend classes with friends, building strength and stamina is the key to success.  There are some great resources to help you get into shape, from specialist classes to training courses online and in apps.

The Virgin Money London Marathon website has a three-level 17-week training plan, one for beginners, an intermediate plan and an advanced plan. Pick the level you need and use this as a guide on your journey to the starting line.

Add several supplements to your healthy diet and fitness regime to help your body on its road to fitness. Talk to an expert at a health food shop where you’ll find a plethora of running and fitness supplements, as well as to your pharmacist about supplements and your doctor for your overall health.

  • BCAAs – Amino Acids that help to maximise muscle growth.
  • Creatine – Helps with muscles development and building strength.
  • Fish Oil – Omega 3 assists with cognitive function, fat burning and hormonal output.
  • Green powder – Can help make up for the shortfall of nutrients and minerals you don’t receive from eating enough leafy greens.
  • Vitamin D – In the UK many people can suffer from low vitamin D levels, which can affect bone density and energy production.
  • Whey Protein – Rich in BCAAs for repairing sore muscles and trigger growth.

IMAGES: BOOTS, SUPERDRUG, HOLLAND & BARRETT

Women’s Best BCAA Amino Ice Tea – Peach Flavour (200g) £18.00, Alexanders Omega 3 tablets £0.99 Precision Engineered Creatine 120 Capsules 700mg £14.99

IMAGES: BOOTS, SUPERDRUG, HOLLAND & BARRETT

Hion Green Powder Ultimate Blend 150g £20.99, PhD Natural Whey Protein Powder – Chocolate (500g) £19.99, Superdrug Vitamin D 12.5mcg Tablets £2.15

EAT WELL

What you eat is just as important as the exercise and training you undertake to train for a marathon. You should rely on supplements to give your body the nutrients that it needs. One of the most important aspects of any diet is to drink an adequate amount of water. While the amount you should drink differs for each individual, the general guideline is between 2-3 litres per day, and it is also important that you drink water during each training session to replenish the fluids you lose.

There are certain foods that can assist in different aspects of your training and nutritional needs. You can find a full break down of nutritional advice on the Virgin Money London Marathon website, but some of the tips include:

  • Marmite, apples and avocado to boost cardio.
  • Spinach, eggs and almonds to help maintain muscle.
  • Watermelon, coffee and bran flakes to help you run faster.
  • Blue berries, honey and smoked mackerel to help prevent injury.
  • Pine nuts, green tea and coconut oil to help you get lean.
  • Kale, walnuts and white button mushrooms to help you stay healthy.

1
Jan

Voyage vogue for 2018

Every New Year brings a lot to look forward to and 2018 could see you attending a Royal Wedding in London in May, and jetting off to St Petersburg for the FIFA World Cup in June. To make sure you don’t miss out on the top places to visit this year, we highlight the major destinations to visit in 2018, and what you should pack for your trip.

A PARTY IN VENICE

Your first trip in 2018 should be to Venice to experience their annual carnival. Masks, music and magic is what you can expect from this historic event. Thomas Cook has a range of holiday packages to this magical city.

If you’re going during the carnival and plan to partake in the festivities, top of your packing list should be a killer dress and shoes, as well as the obligatory mask to finish off the outfit. Don’t worry if you can’t find a mask before you leave, Venice has shops and stalls that sell masks in their hundreds.

Images: Quiz, Dorothy Perkins, New Look

Silver grey sequin Bardot fishtail dress £34.99 at Quiz
Showcase petite Lila maxi dress £70.00 at Dorothy Perkins
AX Paris pink crochet detail maxi dress £40.00 at New Look

A ROYAL WEDDING

May 2018 will see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry in St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle on the 19th. For those around London, this will be a day trip, but for anyone travelling to London for the big event you will need to book your accommodation soon. Previous Royal Weddings have seen people flock to London from around the globe to try and catch a glimpse of the bride and groom on their big day.

While you’re not likely to get an invitation to the wedding, there’s no reason you can’t dress up and have a party of your own. For the ladies this means decadent dresses and stylish hats.

Images: Bonmarché, Jane Norman,Peacocks, New Look, Quiz

Lace double layer pleated dress £20.00 at Bonmarché
Jane Norman floral multiway maxi dress £49.00 at Peacocks
Dark green lace sleeve wrap dress £11.99 at New Look
Nude and silver glitter bodycon dress £34.99 at Quiz

Images: Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Peacocks, Quiz

Nude bow fascinator £11.40 at Dorothy Perkins
Silver crystal embellished leaf headband £10.49 at New Look
Pink diamante occasion alice band £5.00 at Peacocks
Cream bow curl fascinator £4.99 at Quiz

SEE THE WORLD IN ST PETERSBURG

From June to July national soccer teams from around the world will participate in the FIFA World Cup in Russia, with a lot of the action taking place in St Petersburg. While soccer fans will love to watch the games live, there are a host of other sites to visit including landmarks and museums. While it will be summer, the weather can still be mild in St Petersburg at that time of year, so make sure to pack a jacket that you can throw on with any outfit.

Images: JDSports, Sports Direct

Reebok classic windbreaker jacket £55.00 at JD Sports
Karrimor urban weatherlite jacket £35.00 at Sports Direct

A CYCLE THROUGH PARIS

The Tour de France takes place in July, ending in Paris. This isn’t only a trip for cycling enthusiasts, and Thomas Cook can help plan your trip, with deals on travel and accommodation.

The most important things to pack for your trip to Paris, and to enjoy the end of the Tour de France, are sun tan lotion, a hat and good walking shoes. You will spend a lot of time wandering through the streets of Paris taking in all the sights, so make sure your feet are comfortable and you protect yourself from the sun.

Images: Superdrug, Boots

PIZ BUIN One Day Long – long lasting sun lotion SPF30 (200ml) £12.50 at Boots
Nivea Sun protect & moisture sun lotion SPF 30 (200ml) £10.49 at Superdrug

Images: JDSports, Sports Direct, New Look

Superdry Solo cap £15.00 at JD Sports
Lonsdale TT Cap Inf83 £4.99 at Sports Direct
Black Fedora hat £5.99 at New Look

Images: Clarks, Deichmann, Shoe Zone, New Look

Nature V. light grey nubuck £90.00 at Clarks
Reebok royal glide ladies’ trainers £44.99 at Deichmann
Lilley women’s jersey lightweight trainer in black £14.99 at Shoe Zone
Stone knit texture running trainers £13.99 at New Look

BRIGHT DAYS IN BERLIN

In August head to Berlin for your next sports fix, with the European Athletics Championship taking place from 7 to 12 August. This is a great trip for athletics enthusiasts, and while you’re there, add a few extra days to your trip and see the sights. Berlin is considered a cosmopolitan hub, featuring a mix of museums, shops and some great nightlife too.

For your days watching sport, a hat and sun tan lotion are musts, but when it comes to your nights on the town, you can have fun with your wardrobe. Pack a cute pair of shoes to dance in, and a party outfit you can throw on without too much fuss. After all, you’re there to enjoy yourself.

Images: New Look, Peacocks, Primark, Quiz

Blue sequin embellished swing dress £29.99 at New Look
Rose gold sequin dress £16.00 at Peacocks
Gold plisse playsuit £13.00 at Primark
Silver sequin diamante dress £36.99 at Quiz

Images: Deichmann, Clarks, New Look, Peacocks

Glitter sandal heel £24.99 at Deichmann
Mayra Ellie heel £29.00 at Clarks
Suedette cross strap block heels (available in multiple colours) £25.99 at New Look
Jane Norman black ankle strap heels £28.00 at Peacocks

1
Jan

Reign purple in 2018

It’s a new year, and as many often claim a new year means a new you. You make resolutions, many of which are broken within the first month of the year, all in the aim of being a better person. This year, being a new you does not have to mean trying to change who you are, but rather let it mean changing the things around you to make you the best ‘you’ you can be.

For 2018, Pantone has announced that Ultra Violet is the colour of the year. So why not infuse this colour into the different aspects of your life? Refreshing your wardrobe, beauty regime and even your diet may have surprising impacts on the various aspects of your life. This vibrant and energetic colour could be just the thing your 2018 needs to give it a boost and help you be the best.

THE POWER OF PURPLE

Purple is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and nerves, as well as encourage imagination and creativity. A colour often linked with authority, adding this colour to your wardrobe could give you the added confidence you need during a tough day, while also helping your mindset. However, be careful not to over do it with the purple, as too much of this glorious hue is thought to bring out some negative qualities, like irritability, impatience and arrogance.

There are a few ways you can add some purple to your wardrobe, without it becoming overbearing. Think accessories, a statement top with muted trousers or a skirt, or be a bit more daring and go for purple shoes to add pop to your outfit. The purple can simply be a small detail of the entire outfit, but this can still be powerful.

Images: New Look, Peacocks, Dorothy Perkins, Select, Bonmarché

Apricot purple lace scallop hem bell sleeve top £25.00 at New Look
Purple tie sleeve top £15.00 at Peacocks
Tie front short sleeve top £17.50 at Dorothy Perkins
Bardot lotus long sleeve blouse £12.99 at Select
Floral print bubble hem blouse £22.00 at Bonmarch
é

Images: New Look, Clarks, Shoe Zone, Deichmann, Quiz

Satin ribbon tie heels £17.99 at New Look
Vendra Bloom in aubergine suede £29.00 at Clarks
Marco Tozzi multi coloured brogue boot £49.99 at Shoe Zone
Puma Vikky trainers £44.99 at Deichmann
White and pink embroidered boots £19.99 at Quiz

Images: Claire’s, Peacocks, Bonmarché, New Look, Evans

18ct gold plated cubic zirconia purple studs £6.00 at Claire’s
Plum chunky knitted snood £10.00 at Peacocks
Pastel checked scarf £10.00 at Bonmarché
Purple zip side metal handle tote bag £24.49 at New Look
Purple twist bead collar necklace £7.50 at Evans

BE BOLD WITH BEAUTY

There’s no need to limit your use of purple to your wardrobe alone. There are fun ways you can incorporate this shade into your beauty look without looking like a little kid playing dress up. A touch of purple nail varnish, or a subtle touch of purple eyeshadow can be enough to update your beauty look for 2018 and give you that extra boost of confidence when you need it.

Images: Boots, Superdrug, Bodycare

Orly nail polish is Velvet Rope £5.00 at Boots
Rimmel nail polish 60 Second in Black Cherries £2.99 at Superdrug
Rimmel Glam Eyes Quad eyeshadow in State of Grace £5.99 at Bodycare
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette in Mermaids vs Unicorns £4.00 at Superdrug
L’Oréal Paris Color Riche mono eyeshadow in purple velour £5.99 at Boots

BERRY COLOURED EATS & TREATS

And why not extend the Ultra Violet trend into your eating habits too? According to research, the antioxidant that gives purple foods their colour (anthocyanin) is beneficial, having been linked to increased longevity, cardiovascular health and dementia.

Some of the foods that you can add to your diet that not only feature this beautiful and vibrant colour, but are good for you too, include red cabbage, berries like blackberries and cranberries, aubergines or eggplant, as well as purple or heritage carrots and red kale.

Next time you visit the grocery store keep an eye out for purple (healthy) foods you can buy. Sainsbury’s, Asda, Iceland and Tesco as sure to have a selection of in-season fruits and vegetables in this powerful (and healthy) colour.

In 2018, Ultra Violet is not only the colour of the year, but the colour that could change your year and you.

11
Dec

Fabulous festive entertaining

Hosting family and friends over the festive season can be intimidating and exhausting, but good planning can make the process smoother. There are a few steps you can follow to make the party planning process easier. We break down everything you’ll need to do in order to plan your perfect party this festive season, whether it’s a family Christmas function or a New Year’s Eve extravaganza.

PLANNING IS KEY

For little kids, there are several popular fun and interactive toys to choose from this Christmas. You can’t go wrong with Paw Patrol and this Christmas the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller Vehicle is one of this year’s must-have toys, so put it on your list along with the Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower.

No matter the event you are hosting, planning is the key to ensuring everything goes off without a hitch. These are the basic points to keep in mind:

  • The theme – A theme does not have to mean costumes, but having a universal colour palette for your party will help to create the perfect party atmosphere.
  • Who are you inviting? – If children will be coming, you need to accommodate for their tastes and entertainment. Have child appropriate movies on hand and maybe a separate table for the children to eat at.
  • The menu – Are you organising a sit-down meal or will it be canapes and finger foods? And don’t forget to include vegetarian and vegan options for those who don’t eat meat.
  • Buy everything in advance – If the food and décor you are planning to have can be bought ahead of time, this will ensure you don’t struggle to find what you need in a last-minute dash to the shops.

While everything you have to achieve could be overwhelming, creating a check list is a great way to keep on top of it all, and you will also enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you check things off the list.

GO FOR GOLD WITH DÉCOR

The colour of the season is gold, adding elegance and sparkle to your Christmas. There are great offers on Christmas décor, from baubles for the Christmas tree and garlands to adorn the house, to tableware and napkins. Pick a theme and let it run through all your décor to create maximum impact and wow your guests.


Home 100 piece Christmas decorations pack in gold £8.99 at Argos
12 pack of shaped baubles £2.00 at Poundworld
36 pack of mixed gold baubles £5.00 at Adsa
Rustic glow Christmas beadchain in gold (4m) £0.80 at Wilko
Gold glitter sparkly star Christmas tree topper £8.00 at Tesco

And don’t just keep the decorations for the tree. There are gorgeous lights and garlands on offer that will add extra pizazz to your festive decorating so your party will sparkle with style.


3D light up static reindeer £59.99 at Argos
Jute sack £3.00 at Poundworld
4 pack of glitter Christmas tree tealights £4.00 at Asda
Pre-lit snowy garland with cones and berries £16.99 at B&M
Nordic Country Christmas musical wooden village (battery operated) £12.00 at Wilko

A FEAST FOR THE EYES

When it comes to decorating your table, you don’t want to go overboard so people can’t see each other, and your food gets lost in the decorations. Keep it simple and elegant, with small decorations that will add festive spirit to your table without overshadowing the food, which should be the real star of your Christmas table.


Reindeer table decoration £4.00 at Poundworld
Glitter Noel table decoration £8.00 at Asda
Christmas metallic jacquard table runner – gold snowflakes on cream £4.99 at B&M
Cut out charger plates (4 pack) in gold £4.99 at B&M

And when dressing your table, don’t forget the Christmas crackers. There is a broad selection on offer in a range of stores, so you’ll certainly find beautiful festive Christmas crackers to match your colour scheme and your budget.


Christmas gold family crackers (12 pack) £4.00 at Sainsbury’s
Luxury gift crackers in gold (10 pack) £4.99 at B&M
Gold confetti spot dinner party Christmas crackers (12 pack) £10.00 at Tesco
George Home gold luxury crackers (6 pack) £8.00 at Asda

Another item not to forget when layout out your table and the food is napkins. There are different festive designs on offer, or go for something simple in plain colour to match your décor.


Christmas tree napkins (25 pack) £1.49 at Poundstretcher
Joyful snowman napkins (16 pack) £1.29 at Card Factory
Holly Christmas scalloped 33cm napkin (20 pack) £1.75 at Tesco

DON’T FORGET THE CHRISTMAS TREATS

And what Christmas or New Year’s Eve party would be complete without enduring seasonal favourites like mince pies, or toasting in the New Year with a glass of Prosecco?


Asda Extra Special 6 luxury all-butter mince pies £1.85 at Asda
Tesco Finest mince pies (6 pack) £2.00 at Tesco
Sainsbury’s deep filled mince pies (6 pack) £1.00 at Sainsbury’s


Prosecco Extra Dry £6.00 at Asda
Plaza Centro Prosecco £7.00 at Tesco
Sainsbury’s Conegliano Prosecco, Taste the Difference £7.50 at Sainsbury’s

11
Dec

Santa’s Top Toys for 2017

It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas… so get your Christmas shopping sorted! To help ease the burden of sifting through all the new toys on the market and the abundance of choice available to you, we have found the toys tipped to be the most popular this Christmas.

TOYS FOR THE VERY YOUNG

For little kids, there are several popular fun and interactive toys to choose from this Christmas. You can’t go wrong with Paw Patrol and this Christmas the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller Vehicle is one of this year’s must-have toys, so put it on your list along with the Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower.


Paw Patrol Sea Patroller available at Argos, Asda, Wilko, and Tesco
Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower available at Argos, Asda, and Tesco

If your kids aren’t into Paw Patrol, there are other playsets that are predicted to be popular this year and may prove more enticing to your children. There is the Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set, where your children’s imagines can run wild in the magical and enchanted world of Enchantimals. For those looking for more action and adventure fighting bad guys, look out for the PJ Masks Headquarters Playset.


Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set available at Tesco and Argos
PJ Masks Headquarters Playset available at Tesco, Argos, Asda and Wilko

READY, STEADY, GO

For active children, this year the Laser X and Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash are sure to be on the top of their Christmas wish list. Why not treat a little one to one of these? You’ll be encouraging excursions outdoors and away from the television, and help them release some of their energy too.

For the Star Wars lovers out there, the Star Wars: BB-8 for LEGO will not only be a firm favourite among their gifts, but will also encourage creativity and imagination as they build BB-8 with their own two hands. And it might tempt some of the adults to get involved in the fun too.


Laser X – 2 Player Pack available at Argos, Tesco, Asda and Wilko
Star Wars: BB-8 LEGO available at Argos, Tesco and Asda
Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash available at Argos and Tesco

FUN AND SURPRISES

Make this year’s gifts double surprises with the Hatchimals Surprise and LOL Surprise Series 2. Unwrap the gift, and enjoy the further surprise of hatching your own Hatchimal or discovering the surprise inside the LOL Surprise series 2 ball.

The fingerlings are another toy craze that kids are currently itching to get their hands on. There are several characters to choose from, as well as add-ons like playsets to hang them on.


Fingerlings available at Argos and Tesco
Hatchimals Surprise available at Argos, Tesco, Asda and Wilko
L.O.L. Surprise Series 2 available at Argos and Tesco

If your kids have been asking for a pet, but your budget or home situation won’t allow it, the FurReal Roarin’ Tyler could be their animal companion. An animated toy, it moves and makes animal noises, just make sure you have the batteries to power it on Christmas Day, or you may face some disappointed kids when their tiger won’t roar.

And for fun that the whole family can get involved in, Toilet Trouble and The Original Stretch Armstrong are tipped to be popular buys this festive season.


FurReal Roarin’ Tyler available at Argos and Asda
Toilet Trouble available at Argos and Tesco
The Original Stretch Armstrong available at Argos and Tesco

DON’T FORGET THE WRAPPING

You have the gifts, but don’t forget the wrapping! Give your presents a little extra flair with ribbons and bows. Card Factory, Ryman, The Works and WH Smith have wide selections of Christmas wrapping to choose from, and there are some great deals on offer on Christmas wrapping paper and giftbags.


Traditional Kraft Christmas gift wrap 5 metres £2.99 at Ryman
Luxury Christmas gift wrap assorted £2.00 at The Works
White Character Trail Christmas wrapping paper 3 metres (pack of 2 rolls) £3.99 at WHSmith


Gingerbread House Christmas gift bag large £1.99 at Ryman
Repeat Santa Giant Square Christmas gift bag £1.99 at Card Factory
Handmade Christmas gift bag £1.00 at The Works


Festive Ribbon gift set pack of four assorted £1.99 at Ryman
Red Christmas Gift Wrap accessory set £1.99 at Card Factory
Handcrafted Holly gift tags (pack of 8) £1.00 at The Works
Festive 30 piece Luxury Christmas accessories pack £4.49 at WHSmith

5
Dec

Style up for the party season

When it comes to festive season parties, it’s not only your outfit that takes centre stage, but your whole look. Your appearance will be judged, and while the saying goes ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, unfortunately we do. To help you sparkle this festive season, we have put together the top looks you need to take note of.

FIND THE FOCAL POINT

No matter how many parties you’re attending this festive season, you need to decide on the focal point of each of your party looks. There’s no need to buy a new outfit for each party, but mix it up with different accessories, and makeup and hair looks. If you want the focus to be on a stunning pair or shoes you just bought, go for a more understated dress, or play up the dress by wearing minimal jewellery.

And when it comes to your makeup, there are many trends at the moment, from crazy glitter looks to coloured eyeshadow. Or tone down your makeup completely and go with the nude makeup trend.

OUTFITS THAT WOW

For many women, an important aspect of any night out is their outfit. This season you’re in for a treat, as lace, sequins and velvet are hot trends that will add luxury and glamour to any look. But don’t limit your choice to dresses, there are gorgeous tops, trousers and jumpsuits that will look elegant and sophisticated at any Christmas or New Year’s Eve party.


Lace fit and flare dress in red £28.00 at Bonmarché
Teal velvet wrap front mini dress £9.99 at New Look
Women’s blue sequin frill sleeve dress £28.00 at Peacocks
Silver foil one shoulder bodycon dress £55.00 at Dorothy Perkins


Black glitter tie front jumpsuit £44.99 at Quiz
Wine D-Ring belted wrap jumpsuit £42.00 at Dorothy Perkins
Bardot skinny jumpsuit in black £19.99 at Select
Women’s black velvet jumpsuit £20.00 at Peacocks


Velour wide leg trousers in wine £20.00 at Bonmarché
Black tapered tie trousers £25.00 at Dorothy Perkins
Jersey pleat peg leg trouser in wine £12.99 at Select
Black glitter wide leg trousers £35.00 at Evans


Glitter long sleeve blouse in pale pink £22.00 at Bonmarché
Rose gold sequin T-shirt £19.99 at New Look
Grey velvet camisole top £25.00 at Evans
Curve bottle green velvet Bardot 3/4 sleeve top £24.99 at Quiz

SHOES TO LOVE

Good shoes are an important part of any night out. You can’t dance the night away in shoes you can hardly walk in. You might have a favourite pair of shoes already in mind, but if you’re looking for a new pair of dazzling heels for this party season, you are spoilt for choice with colour, style and accents this year. Fur detailing on your shoes is one of the trends of the moment, as well as glitter and suede and velvet finishes.


Lilley women’s silver platform diamante court shoe £17.99 at Shoe Zone
Catwalk grey platform heels £24.99 at Deichmann
Curtain shine black suede sandal £60.00 at Clarks
Gold glitter fluffy heel £16.00 at Primark

MAKE-UP HEROES

Glitter has also made its way into make-up this season, with a big trend being glitter eye make-up, together with bright and bold colours. As the saying goes, ‘Go big or go home’. This season don’t be afraid to experiment with your make-up looks and go crazy with your glitter. There are numerous eye palettes on the market that can give you the perfect festive season party sparkle without breaking the bank.


NYX Professional Makeup Pigments (available in multiple colours) £5.50 at Boots
Barry M Fine Glitter Bust (available in multiple colours) £4.59 at Boots
Freedom HD Pro Refills Eyeshadow Shimmer 10 £2.00 at Superdrug
Rimmel Mono Eyeshadow Gold Record £3.99 at Bodycare

And to bring a glow and shimmer to your complexion, there are Silver and Bronze Glow Drops from New Look for £6.99. You can use this alone or mix it with your foundation and apply them together. Use a little to highlight your cheek bones, or build it up to create an intense shimmery finish.


Silver and Bronze Glow Drops £6.99 each at New Look

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