5 Birthday Freebies you too can enjoy. 

I turned 36 last week, yikes! It feels weird just writing that. Anyway…growing old bleat over, I do like to see my Birthday as an excuse to be a little bit indulgent. Thanks to my love of loyalty cards I’ve been able to do just that without damaging my pocket. 

I thought it would be great idea to show my readers what Birthday freebies I picked up, just in case you didn’t know that these offers were available. FYI, I didn’t know about free booze from Miller & Carter,  until my brow waxer told me about it. 

The Body Shop – 

If you are a member of their Love Your Body reward card you will receive a £5 gift voucher on your birthday. 

I traded mine in for a mini of my favourite Hemp Hand Cream. 

Benefit Cosmetics – 

If you have a Benefit brow bar near you then make sure you book an appointment for a free brow wax. This has to be scheduled within two weeks either side of your birthday. You don’t need to sign up to a loyalty program just bring along proof of your birthday date to your appointment. 

Paperchase – 

If you hold a Paperchase treat me card then you will receive a £5 voucher on your birthday. The voucher is valid for two weeks from that date and is automatically loaded onto your points card. 

I traded mine in for a notebook and cute avocado stickers. 

Miller & Carter 

So this I eluded to earlier. If you sign up to Steak Club you can get a free glass of prosecco for yourself and guests on your birthday. At least four of you need to be ordering a main course to qualify. 

Now I know this isn’t a cheap please to eat but I was heading there anyway for my birthday meal anyway so of course I wasn’t going to miss out on my free bubbles! 
Hobby Craft 

I haven’t actually claimed this one yet, but I have a few days left to do so. 

If you are a member of the Hobbycraft Club you will get a £5 voucher on your birthday. Unlike other vouchers of this type you can use it not just on full price items but also sale and clearance items. 

Mine will be going towards a knitting needle case. I have so many needles that all sit loosely in a mess. Finding the correct matching pair can be a nightmare. 

I hope you found this post helpful. 

3 New Lip products from Phase Zero

Beauty subscription service Love Me Beauty has recently gone through a big change. In February it launched new make-up brand Phase Zero, doing away with its previous points system and menu of popular beauty brands. As a 3 month gift membership holder I would be lying If I claimed I was over the moon about this, it wasn’t what I had signed up for. However already committed to at least one month I had nothing to lose by placing an order from the brands first offerings. I ordered 1 shade from the 3 available formulas of  lip products. These are a liquid lipstick, a lip gloss and a lip topper.

Now that I have had a chance to try them out it is time to give you my verdict. Happily I can say I’m pleasantly surprised.

The brand has been developed with the feedback of Love Me Beauty customers and  industry experts to offer a colour make-up brand that fulfils beauty lovers wants and needs. This has clearly paid off.

The Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipsticks are known for often being drying and uncomfortable to wear. This really isn’t the case with this formula, I have been reaching for it on a daily basis. I do feel your lips need to be in good condition as any dryness or flakiness will be magnified, particularly with this shade Pink Suede. It’s a gorgeous ‘my lips but better shade’ and using a lip scrub before application corrects this.

The Lip gloss

I’m not one to wear lip gloss very often. The glossy look appeals to me but I hate sticky formulas. I was really pleased to find that the formula of this is not at all sticky. This shade Goth Gloss is strongly pigmented and wears longer than a lot of other lip glosses I have tried.

The Lip Topper

I was expecting this product to be a glitter suspended in a gloss. It actually has more of a liquid lipstick consistancy and dries down in the similar way. Again it feels very comfortable to wear. I think this will be a great product to have on hand for quickly switching a look from day to evening. The shade Pink Prosseco pairs perfectly with the liquid lipstick in Pink Suede.

Best of all it doesn’t budge. This picture below is after I have dragged my finger across the dry swatches. 

The lip products are all priced at £3.50 for Love Me Beauty Members, or £12 for non-members. Membership is £5 a month to new sign ups. This gives you access to products discounted by 77% and member exclusive free product samples.

It is a very limited range at the moment but will see further launches in the future. I hope that more shades are released soon. This month will see eyeshadow become available.




The One We Fell In Love With – Book review


The Blurb

PHOEBE  is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

ELIZA is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was…And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

ROSE is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. to make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. ANGUS. The one they fell in love with…

This is probably my favourite story that Paige Toon has written. From the very begining the plot is intelligent, its gets very messy and complicated. I found I didn’t always fully like the main characters as I didn’t agree with their reasoning behind certain actions and behaviours. There is a lot of secretiveness and sneakyness. Having said that It does have me questioning how I would behave in a similar situation. For example, given the chance, would I give in to the temptation of reading someone elses diary. Would I continue with a relationship that I knew was making my sister unhappy?

Mid way through the story there is a very major plot twist that completely changes the tone and direction of the story. It is definately a bit of an ‘Oh shit!’ moment which I didnt see coming. It actually does make me sympathise with and grow to like the characters more. I want everyone to have a happy ending.

I do feel that the way the last chapter has been written that individual characters stories are not finished. I would like to hear more from them in the future. This is actually something Paige does regularly. In this story we briefly catch up with Lucy and Nathan from her first book Lucy in the Sky. Im pleased to report they are doing well.

I don’t want to give too much away so am going to leave my review there. If you have never read a Paige Toon book before this is  good place to start. It is classic Paige writing at he best!

Let me know whether you have read this book and what you thought of it .



Benefit BADgal Bang Mascara – First Impressions? 

I’m not really one to get myself caught up in  the hype around new Mascara launches. In fact I never buy mascara as it’s one of those items that is so frequently given away as a gift with purchase, or included as part of gift set. I wasn’t in a hurry then to buy Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Bang volumising mascara. That was until I was able to get a free travel size (worth £10.50) as a new user of TopCashback. Not one to miss out on I deal I jumped at the chance, so here I am then sharing my first impressions. 

Marketed as a gravity defying mascara the formula contains space technology aero-particles, (mouthful), BADgal Bang promises to deliver massive weightless volume. The brush has been custom designed to provide 360 degree reach providing maximum impact. It also contains Pro-Vitamin B5 which with prolonged use helps to improve lash thickness. 

So is it any good…

I really like the brush. It has a conical shaped soft plastic flexible brush making it comfortable and easy to work with. 

I did find the formula quite wet though however because the brush is so easy to work with this isn’t a problem for me.

As you can see from the pictures below the difference this mascara makes to lashes upon application is dramatic, even with just one coat. I really liked how this looked. It was when I applied a second coat that I wasn’t so keen. I felt that my lashes now appeared clumpy. Not a look I personally appreciate! 

I didn’t have any problems with flaking, smudges or running throughout the day, even in the snow. However I did find that if you rub your eyes it will transfer to your fingertips. If you are habitual eye rubber this will have an impact on wear time. 

The mascara is easy enough to remove. I used a duel phase eye makeup remover on a cotton pad. I did find that I needed to hold the pad over my eye for about 10 seconds to allow it to dissolve the mascara before wiping it away. 

This isn’t a bad mascara. I do think it is a comparable to marmite though. If you don’t like that clumped lash effect you aren’t going to love it. 

Have you had tried out BADgal Bang Mascara yet? What did you think of it? 

An evening at the #MegaMysteryBus Event

On the 8th of February I had the opportunity to attend the #MegaMysteryBus blogger event in London. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the evening having not taken part in anything like this before. I was looking forward to it though as I knew we would be taking part in a bus tour around some of London’s most iconic places and that it would also involve a bit of sleuthing.

We met at the Radisson Blu hotel on Portman Square.  Here we were welcomed with drinks and nibbles and given a team number.  This provided us with the opportunity to break the ice and find our fellow team members before boarding the bus.

Each team was given a Sherlock adventure bag that contained clue cards, evidence bags and a computer tablet. We had to follow the instructions to solve the clues, find some mystery characters including Sherlock Holmes himself and gather evidence along the way. The bus took us to two different locations, Westminster Abbey and Trafalger Square. We also had to find our own way from Trafalger Square to Convent garden. No easy feat as I’m clueless when it comes to London. Yay for google maps then!

This was such a fun evening and I met some great girls, even if our team didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. Sleuthing definitely isn’t my fortay. It is no surprise our team placed in last HA HA!

This was definitely one of those evenings were it was about living in the moment, I think I took about two viable pictures the whole evening, we were just having too much fun.  I felt like I was living out my childhood dream of going on Treasure Hunt. Yep showing my age there.

Fortunately the organisers of the evening  SEO experts Search Laboratory had brought along a professional photographer Matt Chappell. The photos in this post are all his work. Well done for keeping up with four teams of crazy bloggers running around London.

Our Teams Evidence of The Hound – A Poo emoji key ring
Sid turned up for a surprise visit.
If you are looking for a budget Intercity coach operator do check out Mega Bus.  They offer fares from as little as £1 including a 20kg luggage allowance. The coaches are clean and comfortable, have free WiFi and toilet facilities. I have used them in the past to travel from London to Birmingham and found the whole experience very positive.



What’s in my Makeup Bag? 

As a self labeled connoisseur of all things make-up related and a great big fat nosy Parker I am very interested in checking out the contents of other people’s makeup bags. You never know were you are going to come across the next holy grail product right? So when I saw Joanne Mallon author of Opposable Thumbs  looking to set up a blogger challenge doing just that I jumped at it.

My day-to-day make-up isn’t actually stored in a make-up bag. It sits in a set of acrylic organizers on my dressing table. Yes blogger cliché I know, but it works for me. I’m the type of person that likes to see everything sitting neatly in its place. There’s a reason why visual merchandising is one of my favourite tasks at work.

So enough waffle, what are my much loved day-to-day makeup items?

The Ordinary Full Coverage Foundation rrp £5.95. 

Cult Beauty seems to have the best availability across all shades at the moment.

This has been quite a hyped up product so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. To be honest I had read some very mixed reviews. I wanted to try it out for myself though as it has such a budget price tag.

The negative reviews from other users complained about having problems with oxidising and caking, fortunately I have experienced neither.

I have the shade 1.1 Fair Neutral which is the perfect match for my skin tone during the current winter months. Crucially it doesn’t oxidize on me and stays the correct shade throughout the day.

It might be worth noting that I use a primer, topped with a light dusting of powder followed my a spritz of setting spray.

To apply I use my Real Techniques Miracle Sponge £4.49 currently on offer at Boots. I do have to go back in with my Real Techniques Expert face brush to buff around my nose otherwise it will shift. Using this method though It’s lasts well enough through an 8 hour shift at work so at this budget price this is my daily go to foundation.

Maybelline Age rewind Eye Concealer £8.99 (or 2 for £12) at Superdrug.

I have lost count of how many tubes of this concealer I have used. I love the application method, however I do admit the sponge can get messy. I love that the formula covers well, yet feels light and most importantly doesn’t settle into any of those tell-tale eye creases. Fellow 30 plus ladies will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Maybelline Brow define + fill duo rrp £6.99 best price £4.85 Feel Unique. 

This is such a handy product for those mornings when you are in a hurry. I’m that girl who will happily leave the house without foundation but just can’t be seen without groomed brows. It has a fine gel pencil for defining the brows at one end then a powder with a sponge applicator to fill the sparse areas.

This is actually a bit too dark for me so I won’t be repurchasing. Maybelline could do with bringing out a wider shade range as there are only four available.

E.L.F Expert liquid eyeliner £3 Superdrug. 

I have been using this product for years. It is really easy to use, stays in place all day and is ridiculously cheap. I’d be mad to buy another eyeliner.

NYX Proof it! waterproof mascara top coat £6.00

I get terrible hay fever during the summer months, during the winter the wind gives me watery eyes. You can imagine the mess my face can get in then. This top coat works with any mascara to make it waterproof meaning I can still experiment with different mascaras. It’s a must have for anyone who has similar issues.
Maybelline Color Tatoo’s £5.99 

I have an entire drawer in my set up dedicated to these. I use them either on their own for a super quick eye look or as a priming base.  I love them and will more than likely purchase again in the future.

MAC mineralize Skin finish in Stereo Rose

I went to great lengths to get my hands on this when it was released as a limited edition back in 2014. I had to take a trip to Selfridges in London to purchase it as this was the only place that had it left in stock. I have’nt linked it for that reason but felt it deserved a mention as it sits pride of place on my dressing table.

Originally I only used this when I was going out because I was worried about it running out. Daft I know! Common sense has since prevailed as I do not want it to expire before I have used it up. I am actually reaching for it most days now. I consider this to be a bit of a bronzing blush hybrid and is perfect for days I want some colour but am in a hurry.

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Palm Beach £26.50  John Lewis 

I treated myself to this when I got my promotion at work last year. (that and a BMW 5 series). It is has a gorgeous moisturising formula so I have been opting to wear this most days as it has been such a cold winter.

I have just been promoted again at work so I definitely deserve to purchase this in a different shade don’t I? 

I’m passing the baton on these these ladies. I’m sure they will be up for the challenge of sharing ‘What’s in their Makeup Bags’

Don’t forget to check out Joanne’s blog Opposable Thumbs

Fashion Mini Haul – Trying out a new Budget Clothing Website 

Regular readers of Schoolrunbeauty.com will know how much I love a bargain. That’s why after seeing an advert pop up in my Facebook feed I was suckered into clicking through to discover what offerings the website Lessthan10pounds.com had.

The premise is ex branded fashion mostly on sale for less than £10. Some items are actually priced higher than this, and sold under their label rather than as ex-label. 

As per usual with this is type of website not all the items will be to everyone’s taste. In my opinion though it has some absolute Gems so it definitely worth a look. 

I ordered three items that came to £23.24 including postage. They arrived within 2 days of ordering, well packaged and via Royal Mail. 

I’m so pleased with everything I ordered that I had to share them with you straight away. So excuse the messy hair and lack of Makeup…

Ex New Look Wide Leg Burgandy Jump Suit – £7.75

I love a Playsuit. I always feel a bit more sophisticated when I wear one. This one was originally from High Street retailer New Look. The quality is good though as the fabric is so fine you will need to be careful with underwear choice. A VPL is definitely not sophisticated! 

It comes up long, which for me is great, it may though be a problem for shorter people. 

High Neck Textured Jumper – £5.95 

This is so warm and cosy. Most importantly it isn’t scratchy. I ordered this a couple of sizes bigger than my dress size as I wanted an oversized fit. 

Blush Sequin Dress – £7.95

The quality of this dress is amazing! I love it and need and excuse to wear it out. 

The top is made from a thick stretchy scuba material so is very flattering. I feel I could get away with eating a hearty meal wearing it. It feels quite heavy due to the sequinned skirt and hangs beautifully. 

As the label has been cut I can’t see which shop this originally came from. Size wise though I would say it is true to size. I’m typically a U.K. Size 6, which is the size ordered. It does come up very short on my 5ft 7 frame, but I have very long waist to leg ratio so everything comes up short on me. 

At the moment there is a coupon code that gives you an extra 15% of ex branded items.  This is 15EXBRAND  

Have you bought anything from lessthan10pounds.com before? If you have let me know what your experience was like. 

February’s Reading List 

At the start of the year I set myself a few personal goals. One of those goals is to get back into reading by finishing up 26 books throughout 2018. 

So far I’ve finished two books;

Helen Forrester Lime Street at Two 

Paige Toon All about the hype 

Both of these books are part of mini series’ that I have now finished. They are very different but both equally great reads. Let me know if you would be interested in a book review on either of these. 

In order to stay on track and keep myself accountable I have decided to share my monthly reading list here on the blog. 

These are the books I plan to read in February; 

Paige ToonThe one we fell in love with 

Paige Toon is my favourite author. I received this book from my husband for Christmas… I just haven’t got round to reading it yet 

Jo-Jo MoyesAfter You 

I read Me Before You last year and really enjoyed it. It’s about time I read the sequel then. I also have the book on loan from my little sister so need to hurry up and give it back to her. 

I’m open to pushing my reading comfort zone so if you have any suggestions for books that you think I should be adding to my reading list please leave them in the comment section.

5 things that happened when I stopped eating refined sugar 

For the past 30 days I have been taking part in a challenge to remove junk from my diet including things like crisps, cakes and anything that contains added or refined sugar. 

People that know me well will appreciate how much of a challenge this has been for me. The first few days of this were tough. I had a withdrawal headache and was cranky because I couldn’t eat what I wanted. 

Fortunately I am part of a 30 day challenge group on Facebook, and my husband has also been on this challenge so there has been plenty of support. 

Now  at the end of this challenge I thought I would share the five things that I have discovered since giving up the sugar. 

  1. At the beginning of my sugar detox I felt really hungry. I started having to look at food in a different way. I am now looking at food for its nutritional benefits and its ability to keep me full.    For example at breakfast I am now eating overnight oats made with natural greek yogurt and berries rather than a cereal bar. My sugar levels are no longer spiking and then slumping. I have so much more energy and no longer have a dreadful late afternoon slump. 
  2. My skin is looking clearer. I can’t give you a scientific reason for this, it just does. I am definitely a vain person so this is enough for me to make a go of sticking to a sugar free diet. 
  3. Now that the natural flavours of food are no longer masked with sugar it tastes so much better. I’m really beginning to appreciate food again. Fruit like grapes and strawberries taste amazing and are enough to satisfy my usual post meal need for a sweet fix. Home made sweet potato crisps are heaven! 
  4. I have got used to the taste of food without added sugar. I can really taste hidden sugars in food. Simple things like a tin of baked beans taste really sweet. Too sweet In fact. I’ve now switched to Heinz No added sugar beans, which I hated before. 
  5. In a bid to avoid those hidden sugars I have made an effort to take a packed lunch to work. This has saved me money. Win Win! 

I know I will struggle to stick to a completely sugar free diet on long a term basis. There will always be the temptation to indulge In the odd bit of chocolate, particularly around my time of the month. Going forward though it is about making sensible choices. 

A budget alternative to Megan McKenna’s NTA dress. 

Yesterday was the date for the 2018 NTA’s. To be honest I’m never really that interested in the awards themselves. I am very interested in what everyone is wearing on the red carpet though! Who was the best dressed! Who got it wrong! 

For me Megan McKenna completely stole the show in a rose printed dip hemmed dress. 

Image credit – PA Images

In all my dreams I could never afford this dress. It is from American designer Sherri Hill for a rather eye watering £720. If you can afford it though here is where you can get in in the UK. dress2party.net 

I have found a much more affordable retailer that offers dresses of a very similar feel. 

Chi Chi London offers a huge selection of dipped hem dresses. The closest to Megan’s dress I found was the Kalini dress. Amazingly this is actually on sale at the moment for just £34

Image Credit – Chi Chi London 

I soooo want this dress. I’m just trying to justify whether or not I would actually have anywhere to wear it though? 

My life is not that glamorous! Still if you have a wedding or a prom this year Chi Chi London is a website worth checking out.