28 February 2015

February At A Glance + A Few Of My Favourite Things

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February was a good month; I can't complain. We spent almost half of it up in Scotland, visiting my family, which was really lovely. The time always flies by too quickly, though, doesn't it? My three beautiful nieces are growing up so fast! It was lovely to see a bit of snow at Fyvie Castle and go for lots of walks in the local area. Soon after returning from our trip, I began Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred fitness regime! Wow, it's tough! The very first workout was hell; I had to stop about half way through as I felt really light-headed. The second day was exceptionally easier than the first! Then came the aching legs and just about everything else... ouch! Still, I am persevering and hoping it will get me toned and motivate me into a regular fitness schedule. I'm currently on day 4 of level 2. After the shred, I plan to try yoga, while increasing my walking and spinning. What's your favourite form of exercise?
We didn't really celebrate Valentine's Day in any big way, as I was working anyway. But we did go out for a meal at The Wagtail in Wincanton, Somerset, to celebrate Dean's recent birthday!
And I really must give myself a pat on the back for completing two very boring tasks this month; defrosting the freezer and washing the car - both of which were long overdue!

And on to this month's favourites!

We discovered and binge-watched Fargo, the TV series. We were already fans of the film, and this TV series was great! A dark comedy with a great cast! Gotta love that accent, don't cha think?!
I purchased Lily Lolo's Mineral Finishing Powder in flawless matte and also bought the Powder Brush to go with it, as I was looking to replace my kabuki brush anyway. I love this powder! It's much longer-lasting than TheBalm's Sexy Mama Anti-Shine Transulcent Powder and gives a lovely, smooth and matte finish. The powder brush is super soft and a pleasure to use.
These new Lindt chocolate bars have been our main treats this month! There's still a couple to try... I thought the strawberry cheesecake one was quite sickly, but I absolutely loved the caramel brownie one!

How was your February?

25 February 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. True Naturals Raspberry Ripple Handmade Body Soap, £3.50/100g
I love a good raspberry scent, and this handmade soap sounds great! It's free from the usual nasties and contains lots of moisturising oils.
2. Pampeano Leopard Print Skinny Belt, RRP £49 £19.99
I need to get myself some belts! A leopard print one would be a great start.
3. F&F @ Tesco Boat Neck Jumper, £10
I'm loving the spring pastel pieces again, and this jumper is such a bargain!
4. Cooksmart Set Of Three Floral Printed Cake Storage Tins, RRP £16 £9.99
Aren't these just so pretty? These would look great in the kitchen. Oh, and also come in handy for storing cakes and such like!
5. Rocky Top Soap Shop Coffee Scrub Soap, £4.32/5oz.
I've heard good things about this brand, although due to the excessive shipping fees, I'll probably never get to try anything. This exfoliating coffee soap with shea butter and avocado oil sounds lovely! I'm always on the lookout for new coffee or chocolate beauty products.

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

24 February 2015

Outfit: Navy & Mint At The Wagtail

We went out for a meal at The Wagtail pub in Wincanton, Somerset on Sunday night to celebrate Dean's recent birthday. After spending an extra half hour trying to locate the damn entrance to the car park, we finally sat down to order our food! The food, in general, was good, although I thought my chicken tasted a little off in the main course. The atmosphere wasn't the best; it was super noisy at first with screaming children, then ending with a huge group of foreign guys who were really loud. I'm not jumping at the chance to go there again any time soon! Anyway, I wore a dress but dressed it down with a comfy cardigan and flats.
Boohoo Navy Skater Dress (similar)
George @ Asda Grey Waterfall Cardigan (similar)
Red Herring Tartan Flats (similar)
Dune Structured Handbag
eBay Mint Statement Necklace

What did you get up to at the weekend?

23 February 2015

My 500th Post: Top 5 Beauty Favourites

Today's post is the 500th post on Just Emma! So, for this joyous occasion, I thought I'd share with you my current top five favourite beauty products!
Dr. Bronner's Organic Peppermint Lip Balm, £2.69/4g
I'm sure you're probably sick of seeing this product featured on the blog, but I love it! It's super hydrating, lasts for hours, has a lovely mint scent, and is purse-friendly, too. I have re-purchased this lip balm many times and will continue to do so, unless there is an even better one out there!?
Amie Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser, £4.95/100ml
The scent of this lovely moisturiser is just beautiful. It's really nourishing and hydrating on my skin, and while it doesn't leave me with shine-free skin, it doesn't increase the oiliness, either! I like to use this throughout autumn and winter, as it is a little heavy for me in summer.
Montagne Jeunesse Self-Warming Vanilla Fudge Sauna Face Masque, £1/each
This face mask smells so gorgeously delicious! The self-warming element is so soothing and relaxing, and this mask really does a great job at cleansing and softening my skin, plus it visibly reduces and clears my pores.
NATIO Wellness Body Scrub, £12/450g
This gel-like goodness is the most effective body scrub I have used, as yet. It has a lovely, slightly masculine, scent and is abrasive enough to give your body a deep exfoliation without completely stripping your skin. This makes my skin so smooth and soft, I just love it!
Lily Lolo Mineral Finishing Powder in Flawless Matte, £13.49/4.5g
Perhaps I'm being a little premature with declaring this as one of my favourites at the moment, but it really is! I've had it about a week and am really impressed with it. This powder helps to control the dreaded shine and oiliness on my skin, and it gives a smooth, matte finish to my make-up looks. I will be writing more on this product soon.

Did you enjoy my 500th post?! If you've tried any of the above, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

21 February 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. George @ Asda Embellished Heart Tunic Dress, £16
This heart print jumper dress looks super cosy and comfortable, plus it's sparkly!
2. ALDO Izzard Collar Necklace, £20
Ooh, how gorgeous is this statement necklace?! Always looking to add to my collection.
3. Cacharel Noa Summer Eau de Toilette, £19.99/50ml
I love the original Noa fragrance, and this summer version with delicate peony and sweet fruits sounds lovely! And the price won't break the bank.
4. Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward, RRP £20 £7.99
I found out about this book via Instagram and it sounds great! I'm always after discovering yummy yet healthy recipes!
5. Salt Of The Earth Pure Aura Natural Deodorant, £5.99/100ml
Still on the search for the perfect natural deodorant, this one caught my eye purely down to the scent; lavender and vanilla! I think the scent is where many natural deodorants go wrong; pairing lots of different essential oils together doesn't always work, people! I'm planning on purchasing this soon, so fingers crossed this will be the one!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

20 February 2015

Updating Your Home On A Budget: The Living Room

This is a series showing how you can update the rooms in your home without breaking the bank! It's amazing what a few new accessories can do! I think starting with a blank canvas and a neutral base is the way to go; this allows you to add and remove colours and textures in the form of accessories, with ease. Check out how to update your kitchen here.

The living room should be a place of pure comfort and style! Free from clutter, with a few pretty centerpieces taking pride of place. Cosy throws and eye-catching cushions will liven up your sofa, while a yummy, scented candle will brighten up your coffee table and set the mood!
1. Matalan Multi Aperture Photo Frame, £12
Showcase your most treasured photographs in this collagestyle frame in sleek black.
2. BHS Lily, Rose & Peony In Bowl, £10
Freshen up the room with a pretty, neutral floral arrangement such as this pretty vase.
3. Dunelm Mill Cosy Skandi Collection Retro Desk Lamp, £17.99
Add a touch of retro-chic with a fun lamp! The yellow will instantly brighten up the room.
4. Style Furnishings Blue Lagoon Floral Cushion, £39.99
This pretty cushion would look great on a grey armchair.
5. Matalan Mongolian Faux Fur Cushion, £8
A faux fur cushion adds texture and warmth to your sofa.
6. Wilko Cara Coffee Table, £48
Coffee tables are a must! Display pretty candles, coasters, and sweetie-filled dishes with this frosted glass option. I have the black version of this coffee table and find the shelving underneath very handy!
7. Bomb Cosmetics Rhubarb Rave Piped Glass Candle, £8.99
A gorgeous candle adds that finishing touch and welcoming scent. This  rhubarb one sounds lovely!

Have you bagged yourself any homeware bargains recently?

17 February 2015

10 Money-Saving Tips

Over the last couple of years, we have found many ways to help save those pennies. All of the following tips are things that I have personally done, and these have all helped towards increasing our savings.

1. Open a savings account. Or even better, an ISA account! We currently have one ISA account, with Lloyds Bank which we both put money into. This is currently our only savings account. It's easily accessible and currently offers 0.55% tax-free gross interest (which increases with larger sums).
2. Set a monthly allowance. Decide on an agreeable amount that you will keep back from any income, each month. We are pretty new to this, but it's a really good idea, and I know that we will think twice before making any purchases.
3. Set a spending limit for birthdays and Christmas. Know how much you are willing to spend on each recipient before you start buying any gifts. This will help you from over-spending on people. Just remember, it's the thought that counts!
4. Use a pay-as-you-go sim card. For the last few years, I have purchased second-hand handsets and used a PAYG sim card. I've never had a contract phone in my life, and I'd like to keep it that way! I currently have an O2 sim card where I top-up £10 per month (optional) and receive more than enough texts and web allowance. This works really well for me. If you're adamant you want a contract phone, make sure you do your research and get yourself a good deal!
5. Cancel your TV licence. Don't be too alarmed; this is a smart move. We didn't renew our TV licence in 2013, and we haven't looked back since. We used to have Sky+ HD, then we switched to Freesat, then we switched to BT Vision, but then realised we couldn't get our TV aerial to work to receive Freeview channels. So, we cancelled our BT Vision subscription and kept the Youview box. This box allows us to access many on-demand services, free of charge. Since you only have to pay for a TV licence if you watch live TV, we cancelled ours and now save £145.50 per year! Just think about it, when do you actually watch live TV nowadays? You can get so many online on-demand services free of charge!
6. Do your research before making a purchase. And I mean any purchase. Check for discount codes, check where you can buy the product for the lowest price. Make sure you are signed up to QuidCo; this is a pretty awesome cashback service which you can easily link up to your PayPal account. I'm pretty new to this service, but I wish I'd signed up sooner! Make sure you shop via QuidCo's website where applicable.
7. Well-planned weekly grocery shops. Now, although I can drive, I always opt for the online grocery shopping. I find this much more productive. You can take a few days, if you like, to finish the shop, and can edit and add until the day before your order arrives. Also, supermarkets are often sending out money-off vouchers you can use, which is always a bonus. I find weekly shops make for much less food waste. There are only the two of us, after all, so fresh fruit and veg doesn't get eaten as quickly as in a family home, and if there is too much, it will spoil and have to be thrown away. If you ever find you have some leftover veg that needs to be used up, make some soup! Homemade soup is the best. Pop it all in the slow-cooker if you are going to be out most of the day.
8. Sell items on eBay. Yes, it's good to donate to the charity shops as well, but you should try to sell some of your best, newer items on eBay, as you can put the money you make towards a replacement or pop it in the savings account.
9. Get fit at home. Unless you really need the equipment at the gym, just check out all the great work-out videos available for free on YouTube! Or if you're after a new DVD work-out, why not split the cost with a friend and do the work-outs together? You'll save a lot of money this way, rather than signing up at a gym.
10. Loyalty cards. Use loyalty cards wherever possible. There are so many available and each of them offer different beneficial schemes. I currently use a Nectar card, Superdrug's beauty card, Boots' advantage card, Tesco's clubcard, and a few others.

Please share your money-saving tips below!

13 February 2015

The Weekly Wish List

Well, that's us back home now. We had a lovely time seeing all the family in Scotland! Here's a little wish list for this week:
1. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, £22
Apparently, this is the most concentrated rosehip oil on the market and it's meant to do wonders for your skin! This is very high on my to-buy list.
2. Lily Lolo Super Kabuki Buffer Brush, £14.99
I only have an e.l.f. kabuki brush at the moment, and since I pretty much use an anti-shine powder every day, I'm thinking I need to upgrade to a higher quality brush. This one from Lily Lolo  looks super soft and luxurious!
3. BHS Miriam Smoke Table Lamp, £35
I'm really loving alternative lighting ideas at the moment, and this glass table lamp looks great!
4. George @ Asda Double Silicone Oven Glove, £12
These pink oven gloves look cute and practical!
5. Accessorize Chain Wrapped Cotton Torq Necklace, £10
I love the colour of this necklace and the plaited design. One can never have enough statement necklaces!
6. Living Nature Foundation, £28
I'm after a new, more natural foundation and I've heard good things about this one. My only issue is picking a shade online. I'm thinking Pure Taupe would be for me as I've got pretty pale skin. Anyone tried this foundation?

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

09 February 2015

Updating Your Home On A Budget: The Kitchen

This is a series showing how you can update the rooms in your home without breaking the bank! It's amazing what a few new accessories can do! I think starting with a blank canvas and a neutral base is the way to go; this allows you to add and remove colours and textures in the form of accessories, with ease. Check out how to update your bedroom here.

Kitchens are often the heart of a home, so you need to inject style and fun into this room! Kitchens are the best rooms to choose a "theme" for; I, for instance, have a cupcake-themed kitchen!
1. Matalan Bone China Floral Mug, £5
This pretty floral mug would make a lovely addition to a vintage-style kitchen, although I'd quite like a couple for my own!
2. George @ Asda Cake Stand, £10
Ooh, isn't this just so girly and pretty?! A great way to display any home-baked goodies.
3. At Home With Ashley Thomas Cotton Double Oven Gloves, £14 £7
Practical accessories don't have to be boring; check out this cute, cupcake oven glove!
4. George @ Asda 2 Pack Velour Tea Towels, £3
These totally belong in my kitchen. A great way to add a dash of fun a chicness.
5. Next Set Of 3 Clip Top Storage Jars, £15
 If you're into the shabby chic style, these rustic storage jars will be great for holding you tea, coffee and sugar!
6. Paperchase Let's Canoodle Snack Boxes, £8
 Just in time for Valentine's Day, these super cute lunch boxes will add some humour into your kitchen!
7. The Range Chrome Round Pendant, £14.99
Add the perfect finish to a modern kitchen with this shiny pendant lampshade.
8. Wilko Chopping Board Set, £12
Get organised with this neat set of space-saving, hygienic chopping boards.
9. Dunelm Mill Pair Of Dip Dishes On Wooden Plinth, £5.99
Aren't these just great? These cute dishes are super stylish and would suit a range of kitchens. They're perfect for entertaining purposes or just a cosy night in with your significant other; just add some yummy snacks!

Have you bagged yourself any homeware bargains recently?

06 February 2015

Review: Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Shaving Gel

About the brand:
Dr. Bronner's is a quirky, family-owned brand of five generations, and they have over 150 years of soap-making experience. They pride themselves on being natural product pioneers, and only use high quality, organic ingredients, producing ethical, environmentally-friendly products.

"Dr. Bronner’s essential vision and philosophy were born out of the tragic fate of his parents and extended family who were murdered in the Holocaust. He believed emphatically that we are all children of the same divine source, and that we must all realise we are “All-One!” or we will otherwise destroy ourselves. His “All-One!” philosophy is based on the insights of the prophets and spiritual giants of the world’s various faith traditions. Dr. Bronner was also grounded in a powerful ecological consciousness, and our soaps are an extension of this simple, natural and 100% environmentally-friendly ideal. Emanuel Bronner wrote his own peace plan, with 30,000+ words typeset in all directions on his labels, to communicate his “All-One!” vision that unites humanity here on “Spaceship Earth.”"
Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Shaving Gel (unscented), £7.29/207ml

"Organic Shikakai comes from the seed pods of the small South Asian tree Acacia Concinna, and has been used for over 1000 years in India as a gentle conditioning cleanser for both skin and hair. We extract the Shikakai in organic sugar and grape juice which have excellent humectant (moisturising) qualities, and combine with Dr. Bronner's castile soap base for rich emollient lather. Our shaving gels ensure excellent hair lift and smooth moisturising glide, leaving skin super-soft and smooth."

This organic shaving gel has quite an unusual scent; I can't quite place it, but it reminds me of something... Some oat-like food smell? I don't know, but it's quite mild and although it's not a wonderful scent, it's not awful. Visually, it's quite strange, compared to your usual shaving gels and foams, and it kind of reminds me of coffee (a much nicer comparison than others have used!).
The consistency is a thin, smooth gel which, upon application of damp skin, works into a light lather and gives an even coverage. A little goes such a long way! It gives a really good, close shave and leaves your skin feeling smooth. It doesn't dry out my skin, but I still like to apply a moisturiser after use.
I think the price for the volume of product, and considering how little you need per application, is very good value. This tube will last months and months!
Some of the other reviews (all scented versions) I've read on this product have said that the formula's consistency can be lumpy and difficult to dispense from the tube; I have not experienced this at all. The tube has a foil flow restrictor that must not be removed, otherwise this will result in product wastage. As the product has such a thin consistency, I find a very light squeeze of the tube works well to dispense the product.
As this is "unscented", it is perfect for sensitive-skinned people and has caused me absolutely no irritation at all. I'd love to try some of the scented versions, for comparison.

Organic Sucrose*, Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
*certified Fair Trade ingredients
**none remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin

Have you tried any products from Dr. Bronner? I also use their hand sanitiser and peppermint lip balm, which is a firm favourite of mine!

04 February 2015

The Weekly Wish List: ZARA SS15 Edition

For this week's wish list, I have picked out my favourite items from the lovely ZARA SS15 collection.
1. Flared Dress, £17.99
Gotta love a bit of leopard print! The long sleeves make it wearable during these colder months and I like the idea of adding a belt to break up the pattern. I think this would work well both day and night.
2. Knit Dress, £29.99
This simple yet stylish black knitted dress looks like a really versatile item and could be a great piece for layering.
3. Supersoft 5 Pocket Jeans, £29.99
I'd like to build up a decent, good quality jeans collection and these skinny ones look like a classic, staple pair. Are ZARA jeans any good? I've not tried them before.
4. Blazer with Elbow Patches, £49.99
This heritage-style blazer would instantly smarten up a casual look and I really love the sleek cut.
5. Organic Cotton T-Shirt, £12.99
I need some classic, staple items in my wardrobe, and this t-shirt would be a great basic piece for layering.
6. Furry City Bag, £39.99
Isn't this just so cute?! This would be a great statement piece for an evening outfit.

What are your thoughts on ZARA's SS15 collection? Anything made it to your wish list?

02 February 2015

Outfit: Spotted In A Denim Dress

As you're reading this, we should be on our way to Southampton airport for our trip to Scotland!

Who wears summery dresses in winter? I do, that's who! Yes, I had a desire to wear this spotted denim dress the other day, and work it into my winter wardrobe. I wasn't actually going out that day, so I didn't need any extra layers, but I opted for cosy leggings and ankle boots, and my lovely new bag!
If I had been going out, I'd have been wrapped up in a scarf and coat. I think the cardigan I showed you on Saturday is the missing piece from this look, but unfortunately, I'm still waiting on the replacement so that will have to wait for another day.
Primark Polka Dot Denim Dress (similar)
Next Leggings (similar)
New Look Pointed Ankle Boots (similar)
Dune Handbag (similar)
Forage & Find Vintage Moonstone Necklace