[HOW TO] Top ten tips for some savvy sales shopping

shopping

It might be just one more sleep until Christmas Day but it’s only two sleeps till the Boxing Day sales. In some cases, they’ll be starting tomorrow, or even today. Looking forward to snagging a few bargains? Don’t do anything until you’ve checked out these ten top tips for the sales.

1. Know your budget.

Make sure you know how much you have to spend. You shouldn’t be bankrupting yourself at sales time.

2. Is it really a bargain?

Just cos it’s reduced, doesn’t necessarily make it a bargain. Ask yourself, is it within budget? Even with 90% off, it might still be out of budget (see tip below from Sunday Times’ journalist, Shane Watson!). Likewise, it might be cheap as chips but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

3. Shop your size.

Don’t be tempted to buy something a size or two too big, just because it’s in the sale. Chances are, you won’t get it altered and it’ll never fit! Similarly, don’t buy smaller. You might be dieting or getting fit but you don’t really know what you’ll want when that happens.

4. Assess your wardrobe.

Check off what you already have. If you have five white shirts in your wardrobe already, you probably don’t need another. Even if it is 60% off! If you’ve been searching for the perfect black trousers all year but still yet to find them, the sales might be the ideal to get your hands on an even better pair than you’d normally be able to afford. Check the gaps in what you already have.

5. Make a list.

Once you’ve found those gaps in your wardrobe, make a list. I’m not saying you have to religiously stick to the list but it will help to keep you focussed and not go too far off what you actually need.

6. The three outfit rule.

You’ll have heard this so many times but it works. When you find something you love, have a quick mental recap of what you already own and how it will work with your wardrobe. It’s no good buying a new midi leather skirt, knowing that to wear it, you’ll also need a new pair of shoes and a top that will go with the skirt. Again, it’s not a bargain if you have to buy a whole new outfit to make it work!

7. Invest now.

Sales are the time to get your hands on a few slightly more expensive pieces that you wouldn’t be able to afford at other times. Maybe a leather jacket you’ve wanted for years? Or a pair of knee high leather boots? Or maybe a designer piece that you’ve been lusting after.

8. Check out #sssavings for additional money off codes and discounts.

We’ll be keeping out Twitter hashtag up-to-date with all the latest sales news and discount codes as we get them! Follow us @sugarandspiceSG

9. Return anything that doesn’t work.

If, in the unlikely event, after following these tips, you come home with something that doesn’t fit/suit/go with anything else in your wardrobe, make sure to return it. It stops being a bargain and becomes a drain on your bank balance if it just sits in a bag at the back of your drawer until you discover it in a year’s time and it ends up going to the local charity shop.

10. Shop sober. Wear flats.

Think about when you’re going to be shopping and where. If it’s online, try not to be doing it after Christmas drinks as you might end up with  a few extra bits you’d not bargained for! If you’re hitting the high street, think about your attire. Choose an outfit which is pretty neutral so that anything you try on should look ok. Choose an outfit without too many layers for trying things on. Wear flats to keep comfortable!

And finally, a few from the experts around the web!

Laura, of Wearing It Today, says:

“I have a little technique I’ve been using for a few years since I absolutely hate sale shopping, in shops and on line. A few weeks before sales time start I adding (quite indiscriminately) to my basket all items that I’ve been wanting that season, I get them ready in my chosen colour and size so the day that the sale hits I am (potentially) one click away from securing it at a better price.

“I keep them in there waiting till the price goes down to what I’m mentally prepared to pay for them and if they go.. oh well, it wasn’t meant to be!”

Shane Watson, at The Sunday Times’ Style magazine, says:

“Just because something is a fraction of its original price, it doesn’t mean you can afford it. The Louis Vuitton ankle boots that I’ve been lusting after all autumn, if reduced by 90%, would still be a cool £1,250. So, establish your price limit and focus on bargains, not whopping discounts.”

What are your top tips for shopping the sales like a pro?

Image via

[HOW TO] Wear Red Lipstick

how to wear red lipstick

mac matte lipstick in lady danger

Wearing lipstick requires careful preparation. Cracked lipstick on chapped lips does not look cool, or sexy.

Having recently discovered red lipstick (see here), I have also discovered that my lips are dry (turns out this is a theme – at a recent beauty consultation I was also told my skin was dehydrated – this might all have something to do with my rather laisez-faire attitude to skin care! Oops!). But red lisptick really shows up your lip issues!

As per The Online Stylist’s advice in my post about finding the right red lipstick, exfoliation and moisturisation it turns out are key to ensuring it looks good. It’s a bit like fake tanning – the key is in the preparation.

bliss fabulips sugar lip scrub

I’ve been using Bliss’s Fabulips Sugar Lip Scrub (when I remember!) to get rid of flaky skin. It is so easy, tastes and smells delicious (I realise I probably shouldn’t be eating it!) and leaves lips incredibly smooth. Palmer’s lip balm keeps my lips moisturised and smooth on a daily basis.

Of course, if you’re not wearing bright lipsticks, this method also works well to keep lips looking lush this winter!

How do you keep your lips in tip top condition?

[HOW TO] Protect Your Skin This Winter

winter hands

cold hands

The cold British winter weather can be disastrous for our skin. Harsh and rapid temperature changes, from the freezing outdoors to centrally heated homes and offices can leave skin looking flushed, red and weather beaten. We all make promises and resolutions to look after our skin but many don’t manage to keep them.

In the summer I find it far easier to add lotion into my skincare regime but in the cold winter months, I find it increasingly difficult to keep up the good work.

We’ve been chatting with Dr Bav Shergill, consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation Trustee, who has some top tips for keeping skin in good shape this winter:

  • Make sure you’re moisturising regularly and using an emollient that’s right for you – keeping skin moist is imperative to avoid it getting cracked and infected.
  • Be careful with the kinds of clothes you wear. Some materials, for example, lamb’s wool may irritate skin and cause flare-ups.
  • One of the best and simplest ways to combat the winter effects on skin is to regularly apply moisturisers and lip salves. This will help replenish the lost moisture from the skin. All skin types benefit from a moisturiser.
  • Avoid harsh, alcohol-based cleansers and soaps. Stay away from cleaning products that contain alcohol and go easy on the exfoliation.
  • Protect skin with warm clothing (a scarf, hat and gloves) whilst outside. If the rain makes your clothes damp, ensure that you change into something dry as soon as possible and don’t leave wet clothes in contact with your skin which may cause further irritation or chaffing.
  • Whilst it’s natural to want to stay warm indoors, even the central heating can affect our skin. The drier air in centrally heated buildings means the skin can dry out, so try not to turn the thermostat up to maximum.
  • Avoid the temptation to have a long hot bath, as this can strip away much needed natural oil from the skin. Try and shorten the length of time and remember to keep the water temperature warm not hot.
  • Apply a moisturiser to skin straight after a bath or shower while the skin is still slightly damp. Drying your skin vigorously with a towel can damage it, so pat dry and don’t rub.

If you’re looking for some products to use this winter, we’ve put together a few of our favourites:

body lotions

Nivea Soft moisturiser is the perfect winter all-rounder. The thick cream is luxurious on your skin and doesn’t irritate. My legs are dry and chapped in the winter, particularly after shaving and many products sting my legs. This cream works to keep my legs moisturised throughout the day. It also works for dry and sore hands, as well as your face if you’re caught short. I always have a mini tub of this in my handbag.

Soap & Glory’s The Righteous Butter is a similarly thick and luxurious cream. This lotion smells delicious too!

How do you protect your skin in the cold winter?

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[HOW TO] Style A Cable Knit Sweater

celtic & co cable knit jumper

Cable knit sweaters are the winter wear staple that never go out of style. I’ve been wearing my Celtic & Co cable knit jumper pretty much constantly since I got it and the cold weather hit. As I was searching my Pinterest boards for ideas to style my cable knit, I decided it might be nice to share my findings with you, so here are my 5 ways to style a cable knit jumper:

5 ways to wear a cable knit jumper

1. Over a dress:

Chuck an over-sized cable knit sweater over your favourite floaty summer dress to take it through the winter season with you.

2. Layered over a flannel shirt:

A flannel shirt is so easy to throw on for a casual weekend look. A cable knit looks great layered over for extra warmth.

3. With jeans:

Simple and sweet – wear an over-sized cable knit jumper with jeans for the ultimate in dressed down winter chic.

4. Tucked in:

Whether into a skirt or trousers, a cable knit tucked in makes for a different look.

5. At the office:

Wear with print cigarette style pants for a workwear look that will keep you warm.

How will you be wearing your cable knit jumper this winter season?

[HOW TO] Find The Perfect Red Lipstick

no7 moisture drench lipstick in flame

Red lipstick is like the Little Black Dress of make-up. It is always in style. And you never look under- or over-dressed in an LBD, or red lipstick.

But finding the right red lipstick can feel like a minefield. The first time you put red lipstick on it can be quite a shock.

Red lipstick is a statement.

no7 mositure drench lipstick in flame red

There are lots of tips and tricks on websites and blogs for finding your perfect red lipstick but I think the best advice I received from Rachael, No7 Business Manager, recently was:

“have fun and play around with some different shades”

I’ve tried plenty of “true” reds, the pillarbox shades, but have never felt very sure or happy with the results.

Rachael suggested that I try something a little more orangey as a way to “break-in” to reds. She suggested No7’s Flame shade (above), or even Hot Paprika. Turns out she was right! I tried both and loved Flame. More of a coral in some senses but with definite red undertones, I now have a red in my make-up bag that I will wear and be happy wearing!

I asked two of my favourite bloggers who wear red lipstick well what their top tips are:

the online stylist

Amanda, aka The Online Stylist, told me:

“Exfoliate, apply balm and then apply MAC Lady Danger. Blot and repeat”

wearing it today

Laura, of Wearing It Today and new must-read site Wardrobe Icons, advises:

“opt for “orange-reds” rather than “blue-reds” which are much more modern”

I’ve been wearing my new No7 Moisture Drench lippy in Flame ever since I bought it last week and I have had so many lovely comments about it.

Do you wear red lipstick? What are your top tips for finding the perfect red lipstick? Or are you still looking for the right red?

[HOW TO] Choose The Right Winter Coat

With winter well and truly here, it’s time to hunt out a new coat for your wardrobe. We’ve done the leg work for you and picked out the four coats every wardrobe needs to see you from season to season:

the winter coat edit

  1. The camel coat has had something of a fashion revival in recent years. It is the ultimate in chic and elegance. For special occasions when you really want to dress up. Alternatively works as a juxtaposition against a more relaxed casual look. Try wearing it with leggings and trainers at the weekend for a sports look.
  2. The parka is the perfect winter coat for adding warmth. The faux fur hood on this parka makes it über cosy. I’ll be wearing my parka for weekend walks in the country.
  3. The pea coat is a classic. Choose navy for a go-with-everything option. The style and fit will suit everyone. It’s smart enough to be worn to work, as well as being a more casual option for the weekend too.
  4. The leather jacket is a must-have. I’ve been lusting after a leather jacket for years and years. I have made it my mission this season to invest and add one to my wardrobe. This one by Mango is currently on offer at a silly-to-miss-it price!

Which is your go-to style of winter coat? Do you have more than one option in your wardrobe or do you just have the one each season?

[HOW TO] Five ways to save money

five ways to save money

five ways to save money

We could all do with making sure we have some savings in the bank for lean times – and also so we have more to spend on new shoes/clothes/pretty things! Here at Sugar & Spice HQ we’re forever trying to find ways to buy more of the things we love. In fact recently, we’ve been bitten by the travel bug again and so all of our pennies are being put towards trips away. We’ve put together our top five tips for saving money:

1. Make your own lunch for work

I recently started doing this and have started to see the savings. Plus you can have it exactly as you want it! Watch out for some lunchtime recipes coming soon – that’ll keep things interesting and save the pennies!

2. Get a pennies jar

I have this cute little moneybox that I put all my loose change it every few days. This doesn’t mean necessarily that everything goes in but whenever my purse starts to feel full I empty the coins into the box.

3. Walk or cycle

Don’t take the car everywhere. If you can walk or cycle to work, do that. If not, look for other occasions when you use the car but needn’t. I’ve started walking to the gym now since switching to one in town.

4. Sell your stuff

Bathroom full of unused make-up and toiletries? Wardrobe full of unworn clothes? Get selling. On eBay or Gumtree or wherever you prefer. It’ll make you a few pennies and also free up space for more new clothes and make-up!

5. Look for vouchers

Here at Sugar & Spice we get tonnes of emails every day with voucher codes and offers. We’re going to start posting these on our Twitter account whenever we get them/have a chance. To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to follow us @sugarandspiceSG or the hashtag #sssavings

How do you ensure you save the pennies?

Images via Pinterest: #1; #2; #3; #4; #5