Spending Ban Update #2 | We're Going Back To Florida!!

I can't believe another fortnight has gone by! This is my final payday in January and, unfortunately for me, this is the payday that all of the bills come out of. Luckily I've managed to accumulate some holiday pay from these past two weeks otherwise I'd be left with about £2 to see me through to the 13th of Feb!

My total spend of the last 14 days = £350.00 (£175 of it will be given back to me).

Why? I put down the £350 deposit and booked a holiday to Florida!! J and I will be going back in September 2015 for a fortnight of fun and frivolity down International Drive, stopping by 11 theme parks and hopefully making it to the mall this time! I literally cannot wait…only 83 weeks to go…!

That said I'm on a mega ban now! I'm actually enjoying not spending (sorry, what, who said that?). It's nice knowing that I've actually got money in the bank to pay all of the bills all at once without having to scrape by. Granted I've not managed to get any actual savings together yet but once I've sorted myself out and got out of the cycle that I'm currently in financially I am sure I'll manage to start putting back the £££ to turn into $$$.

Aside from the excitement of Florida, I've managed to pay off one of my store cards completely this pay period and that makes me so happy. I want nothing more than to have a zero balance on my credit card and Topshop card and I'm now one step closer to achieving that. I will be cutting up said store card and removing my account in due course. Hurrah!

Here's to the next fortnight, and here's a pic of my last trip to Orlando to get me motivated :)


"Feeling Triumphant" | Slimming World 2014, January

If you're a regular reader of Confetti Letters you may remember that in the early part of 2013 I joined Slimming World (SW) in a bid to shed the excess stones and pounds that had lumped themselves onto my body like little parasites. I think I touched upon how they got there: meeting J and dating in restaurants, getting (and swiftly removing) the contraceptive implant, beginning a 'temporary' job at McDonald's (4 years later I'm now part of the management team!) and then moving up to Durham for uni and piling on a lot more than the 'Freshman Fifteen'. Back at the start of my SW journey I was so motivated, I wanted that summer body, I wanted to look my best at my graduation, I wanted to feel good about myself being someone's girlfriend, and I certainly wanted to fit into the multitude of 'target' clothes I had amassed in my wardrobe. To put it bluntly I slacked off eating well and being motivated with SW towards the end of April 2013, and by May I had stopped going all together. I put more weight on, became more inwardly unhappy and bought more 'target' clothes to try and motivate myself - only to find I was getting upset because I couldn't fit into them.
I carried on eating the wrong things and the wrong amounts of food until January 1st 2014, and, just like so many years before now, my main New Year's resolution was to reincarnate myself as a brand new me: to grow my hair past boob length, and to shed my excess weight. I began with fierce determination and a surprisingly welcome amount of willpower and forced myself not be that person, you know, the one who gives up by day 10. And I'm proud to put finger to key now and say that I made it, and I'm 1st and 9lbs lighter (23lbs or 10.5kg) in 28 days. I simply cannot believe it.
Pulled pork with sweet potato wedges and coleslaw / Spaghetti bolognaise / Homemade pizza using a tortilla, peppers, cheese, chicken, ham and spinach / Roast dinner with sweet potato mash, broccoli cheese, stuffing, yorkies, chicken, carrots and cabbage / Chicken breast with roasted garlic, butternut squash, sweet potato, peppers and onions.
I don't want to sit here and tap out the ins and outs of how SW works (because I truly do not know how(!) and you can research that for yourself) but all I can say is that I must be doing something right and if you're having any weight wobbles yourself and are looking for a bit of support please just go. It's been the best thing I've ever done. It's not a diet. I am never hungry (I can have unlimited amounts of fruit/veg/pasta/potatoes/meat and then 5-15 'syns' a day for naughty things like extra cheese/chocolate/crisps etc), nor do I ever go without. For example one day last week my food diary was thus:

Breakfast: 2 Weetabix with semi-skimmed milk, Muller Light Cherry, Apple, Pear
Snack: Banana, Cadbury's Highlight hot chocolate
Lunch: Penne pasta, one can of tuna in spring water, cheddar cheese
Dinner: Chicken & noodle stir fry with stir fry veg (one of the packets from Tesco)
Pudding: Creme Egg
(Total syns: 13.5)

What diet?!

I'm learning so much about food and my body, and it's actually really refreshing. I've eaten so many new vegetables I would never dare try before (butternut squash, carrots, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chilli, peppers, cabbage, radish, courgette to name but a few) and made so many meals from scratch I'm starting to feel like a proper little chef. I've learned that eggs in omelette, scrambled or quiche form do not agree with me, that you don't need flour and lots of fat and sugar to make brownies, that I don't need to be scared of chilli and spicy foods, and loads more.

I've started talking to some members of the group too, sharing recipe ideas and celebrating each other's weight loss. I love going and getting rewarded with certificates and stickers when I hit a milestone (and haven't had to buy fruit for 2 weeks now due to winning Slimmer of the Week twice and receiving the fruit basket!). I've finished off the month by being awarded Slimmer of the Month for January which has been a real boost to me, it's nice to put in hard work and reap rewards. I have noticed my clothes are looser around my middle already, I've also had to ask for a smaller work skirt for my uniform, and a couple of bras that couldn't do up round the back now fit comfortably.

And what's made all this work? I am finally doing it for me. No-one else but me. And that was just the little push that I needed. Onwards and downwards...!

Are you a Slimming World member?
Was weight loss one of your resolutions this year?

If you're on Instagram please come and follow me. I post a lot of my meals on there: louisekwilliams.


The Princess Tag | High End MakeUp Favourites

I've seen this tag floating around for a while now and thought that it looked right up my street. Now I'm no cosmetic snob, I'll use anything in any price bracket if it's suitable for me, but lately I've seen my collection of higher end makeup products grow as I explore new brands and new stores from which to buy them (I'm looking at you Space NK!). So here's my version of the Princess Tag...
I am torn at the moment between two amazing foundations, Nars Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc and YSL Forever Youth Liberator in B20. Both give me an amazing glowing complexion without a hint of shine or a caked on look. I'm going to be so sad when these run out!

Another amazing product from Nars, the Radient Creamy Concealer in Vanilla stands at the top of my concealer favourites. I usually dab this under my eyes (you don't need a lot - a little definitely goes a long way with this) and blend it in and voila, goodbye tired eyes! My second fave goes is YSL's Touche Eclat, every woman should own this in my opinion, it's one of those cult products that's achieved such a status for a reason. Again, this is lovely for a lighter coverage under my eyes.

When the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders were release last year I lusted after one for absolutely ages but couldn't decide which powder to buy, did I want a highlighter or a colour for all over? I decided to go for Dim Light for an all over colour and I'm so glad I did. This is such a silky smooth powder, it doesn't cake or look too fake on my skin. It's perfect!
I don't actually wear bronzer so I physically do not own any. I know it may sound odd but I'm a little afraid of bronzer because I'm so pale, if someone wants to teach me how to use it properly without turning orange, and lets me know of a really good bronzer then I'd be greatful!

My all time favourite blush has to be MAC's Dainty. This was my first MAC blush and I fell in love with the soft pink colour and the mineralised texture. It's perfect for daytime wear and it a subtle enough colour for me to wear to work. I love it :)

My most used highlighter has to be Benefit's Watt's Up but I recently finished mine and so it's being saved for my empties post. My second fave is Nars Albatross, another of those highly coveted Nars products. This is a lovely pale white / silver highlighter with teeny flecks of glitter that really adds a glow to the face. Highlighter has to be my all time favourite makeup product, I feel naked without it on.

I can't think of a single eyeshadow I love to use all the time so my most recent palette addition to my collection is Urban Decay's Naked 3 Palette which I adore. I thought I wouldn't get much use out of the pinky shades when I first swatched this in store but ended up falling in love. There are enough UD Naked 3 reviews out there in the blogosphere for me to harp on about this palette, so all I'll say is go and swatch it if you haven't already.
After highlighter mascara is definitely another of my most favourite makeup products. I'm such a mascara fiend that it was hard to pick just one and I ultimately decided to go with YSL's Babydoll mascara. It's no secret that I prefer mascara wands with plastic rather than fibre type bristles and this is just perfect for giving my lovely lashes without clumps.

Lip Liner
Another makeup item I just don't wear. I've never even tried lipliner, and I don't think I plan to either.

I found it hard to pick a single lipstick for this part of the tag because I love my MAC and YSL lippies all the same. So I decided to pop in my Chanel Glossimer Lipglosses here instead. I am obsessed with these, they are just so perfect, not drying on the lips, not too wet and sticky either, in shades of wearable colours - what more could you want? I am in love and had definitely got plans to add to my collection.

Lip Balm
I only own one high end lip balm and that's By Terry's Baume De Rose. This is a lovely little lip balm and if you want to know more of my thoughts then read this post :)
Brow Product
My HD Brows palette has to be the best thing to have come out of one of my Glossyboxes. I think I got it about 2 years ago and I've pretty much used it every day since. The shades are a great match for me and the powder is long lasting, I definitely do not want this to run out and I've already hit pan :(

A recent addition to my candle collection is Diptyque's Baies miniature candle. I have an abundance of Yankee Candle wax tarts and votives, but had never really splashed out on a 'grown up' candle before. I'm so glad I did for this little beaut, it smells divine in my room and I haven't even burned it yet!

Nail Polish
Due to the fact that I work in a restaurant I'm not allowed to have my nails painted, so I don't own that much nail polish in comparison to some amazing collections I've seen, but I do own two beauts that I adore, Illamasqua's Speckle nail polish (perfect for Easter time!) and Chanel's Fracas. I'd love to get my hands on Chanel Taboo at some point too.

That's my Princess Tag, what's yours?
Any of these products take your fancy or are ones that you use already?


What Did I Buy Today? An Obsessive Consumption Journal

As you may be aware I'm already 25 days into my 100 day spending ban for 2014. That's a 1/4 of a way through…already!! (My reasons for completing a spending ban are written in this blog post so go and check that out if you're interested.) I wanted to share with you a little tool I found on Amazon recently that has been really helping me look at where my income goes and how much I really do shell out on bills - a little journal by the name of What Did I Buy Today? An Obsessive Consumption Journal.

I adore journals and books like this one. It's so simple and easy to use and yet it has been invaluable to me over the last month, enabling me to track every single penny and pound that I spend, what I spent them on, and when. I think writing things down definitely helps you to see the bigger picture too, like I know that halfway through my pay period I tend to crave spending money and end up shopping online (not actually buying, mind! Just browsing!). I've learned a lot about my spending habits from filling in this book and it's only been 25 days so far - progress!

So what do you do? Put simply, you save receipts and each week you write down the date of when you spent, what the item was, and how much it cost in each relevant box on the table. At the end of each week you tot up your purchases and marvel at how well you've done or have a little cry. Lately it's been the former for me, but all shall be revealed in my Spending ban updates every fortnight! If you don't fancy writing, there's space to draw pictures too and make the task of logging your spends a little less dull. I'm not much of an artist, so I've stuck to writing for now!  I do keep flicking back to the 'Goals' section at the front of the book to give me some motivation of what I'm aiming for financially. As you can see from the pic above all of my goals are achievable in the long run, and contain the one thing I've been lusting after for a good 24 months now - a Mulberry Bayswater. I think it's an excellent idea to have something to work towards, and once I've finished writing this I shall be writing 'Save for Florida 2015' under the Big Goals because we're so, so close to booking the holiday *squeal*.

This little journal, and all of it's fabulous doodles, is available on Amazon for £7.99. You may find it off putting that the journal uses American $ instead of British £, but this hasn't bothered me because I've been changing the signs as I go along. As someone who's obsessed with planning and organising my life, this is an invaluable tool for me and I shall be using it for as long as I can!

Are you good at saving money?
What do you do to help you save?


Spending Ban Update #1 | 84 Days + 10 Hours To Go

Today is yet another payday for me as I get paid every other Thursday (which makes 3 paydays in January!), and time for my first instalment of my fortnightly spending ban updates.

My total spend on everything that's not bills this past fortnight = £10.00.

There's a reason for this, thus: last Monday I had to go to town to post some eBay parcels. I have to pass a massive Tesco megastore and seeing as it was raining I decided to pop in and hide for a bit. I was miserable that I had to wait 6 more hours before I could even get ready for work (working from 10pm until 7am the next day makes me miserable!) and caved and bought a selection of magazines to keep me company throughout the rest of the day and on my nightshift. I always squeal when they put any of the Kardashian sisters on the cover of magazines (Look had Kim on the front, Cosmopolitan has Khloe!) and couldn't help myself. What's weird is that I kind of feel like I regret making that purchase, something that I've not experienced before and I did um and ah about the magazines when I was in Tesco before I bought them. See, I'm learning :)

Although, I have been naughty :( But I've decided to add 10 more hours to the ban, 1 for every £1 I've spent that I didn't need to, to make up for it.

I've not managed to save any of my wages from this fortnight as due to my carelessness I am still paying utility bills from our old flat (yes, 1 month later, grrr.) but I'm happy to say that I've rid myself of them now as they're all paid off. To be honest, a month ago I'd have probably said 'just pay off 50 and do it in instalments' so that I'd have money to go shopping, but it's a much nicer feeling to know that they're all paid off!

A pretty successful fortnight I must say, considering I also managed to make £70 on eBay and pay off yet more bills!

Roll on the next 84 days…I CAN do this!


If I Only Buy One Thing This Year | 2014 Wish List

I'm currently 14 days into my 100 day spending ban (post about that on Thursday) but still cannot help myself and regularly go online window shopping! I don't think that there's anything wrong with this though, unless I actually cave and make a purchase. Which I won't, I'm so determined! If I do only buy one thing this year though and for some miracle I manage to not spend frivolously for an entire year (not likely, but let's dream, eh!) then I'd love it to be any of the above.

The UGGs and Mulberry Bayswater are two items I've been lusting after since what feels like the dawn of time so those two are top of the list! Close second comes the Louis Vuitton scarf that I spotted on Tumblr and then had to seek out, it's such a lovely colour. Then are the little bits and pieces I'd happily place on my birthday wish list or for Christmas, a full sized Baies candles because I've fallen in love with my mini one, Alexa Chung's book because I still hadn't got round to buying it before my ban, the Made in Chelsea box set because I love the show and need to catch up with the episodes I've missed, and finally a Tom Ford lipstick because they look beautiful and I've not tried one before.

What are you lusting after this year?


Blog Sale (Chanel, MAC, Benefit, By Terry, Essie + More!)

It's been a while since I did my last little blog sale. I've recently come to find some things in my collection that aren't getting the the love and use that they deserve so I wanted to offer them up to you to purchase.

Only 3 simple rules: 
1. First come, first served. Comment below with what you'd like and your PayPal email and I will invoice you. 
2. Postage is £2.50 for Second Class Royal Mail. I will not charge you more postage if you buy more than one thing, £2.50 for the lot no matter how much you purchase. I will be retaining proof of postage for everything. I'm open to posting internationally but you need to state where you live in your comment so that I can apply further postage charges. The same applies if you'd like your parcel 1st Class or signed for. 
3. I'm not willing to accept returns as these sales are final. Please make sure that you actually want the item before you commit to purchase. All payments must be made within 24 hours.

Happy Shopping :)

French inspired makeup bag with body butter and lip butter - Brand New - £3.00
Hot pink and gold stud makeup bag - Brand New - 50p
Models Own Artstix - Each used once - £3.50 each or all 3 for £10.00
Topshop Nails in Green Room - Used once - £1.00
Boujois 'Amande defile' - Used once - £1.50
Essie 'Naughty Nautical' mini - Used once - £2.00
Nicole by OPI Kardashian 'It's All About The Glam' - Used once - £2.00
Barry M Pink Confetti Nail Effects - Used twice - £1.00
Maybelline FitMe Stick '130 Buff Beige' - Used three times - £2.50
MAC Cosmetics BB Cream in 'Light Plus' - Over 85% left - £8.00
Revlon Photoready Primer - Over 90% left - £2.50
L'Oreal Eau De Teint Foundation '110 Warm Ivory' - Over 75% left - £2.50
L'Oreal BB Powder in 'Light Skin Tone' - Lightly used - £2.00
Bourjois BB Bronze - Used once - £2.00
The Body Shop Honey Bronze powder & brush - Used once - £2.00
St Tropex Tan - Brand New - £1.50
Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray - Brand New - £3.00 
Benefit Georgia Powder (without brush) - Lightly Used - £7.00
Benefit Peek-a-Bright-Eyes - Each shadow swatched once - £10.00
Benefit Creaseless cream shadow 'R.S.V.P' - Brand New in Box - £10.50
Benefit Fine One One - Used max 5 times - £8.50
Lancome Butterflies blush (without brush) - Used a couple of times - £10.50
Topshop Make-Up smokey eye palette - Brand New - £4.50
MAC Cosmetics 'Lovejoy' blush - Used max 5 times - £10.50
By Terry Brow Liner in Brown - Used twice - £10.50
Revlon 'Pinkissimo' - Used twice - £2.00
Maybelline Vivid Gloss '460 Electric Orange' - Used once - £1.50
Maybelline Vivd Gloss ' 150 Pink Shock' - Used once - £1.50
Lancome lip gloss shade '312' Fuscia Pink' - Used max 5 times - £5
Maxfactor lip pencil 'Vibrant Pink' - Used twice - £2.00
Topshop 3D Curve mascara - Brand New - £2.00

Maybelline ColorSensational '910 Shocking Coral' - Usage Shown - £1.50
Revlon ColourStay '020 Front Row' - Usage Shown - £1.50
Stila 'Chelsea' - Usage Shown - £2.50
Kate Moss for Rimmel '22' - Used once - £2.00
Iconic Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 'Boy'. Selling due to only wearing this once since I bought it! Comes in original packaging, lovely colour in need of a fab new home. £20 including delivery.
Thank-you for looking <3


A Scent Wardrobe

I remember the day I got my first ever perfume. I think I was about 14 or 15 and my Mum said I could have a £50 for Christmas. Me being me, I wanted something to open on Christmas day and decided I wanted to try a perfume instead of a £50 notes, and opted for Ralph by Ralph Lauren (the one in the blue bottle) in a gift set. Fast forward almost ten years and I've gone through countless perfumes trying to build my ultimate scent wardrobe, from Vera Wang's original Princess, to Prada Candy, Juicy Couture's Viva La Juicy and Armani Diamonds. I wanted to share my scent wardrobe with you in this post because I love reading about what perfumes people love and why they are special to them. I am a firm believer in that you can never have too many scents in your stash because wearing one perfume all of the time just won't do for me, I chop and change depending on my mood, my outfit and where I am going. For that reason I have come to own 6 perfumes, each gorgeous and beautiful in their own right (although I won't try and describe their notes, I'm shockingly terrible at that).

Mango Body Mist - The Body Shop
I am absolutely obsessed with anything Mango flavoured from the Body Shop. This love affair began a couple of years a go when my mum gave me their Mango shower gel and it is absolutely heavenly. I squealed in delight when I saw you could buy a body spray and did not waste a single moment before purchasing! I love spraying this in my room, on my duvet, to freshen up clothes or laundry. Yum!

Bronze Goddess - Estee Lauder
I wrote a post about this divine perfume back in the summer, it details my love for this perfume and how it brings about a wave of nostalgia for summer holidays past whenever I wear it. I admit that now that it is winter this has been slightly neglected, but come the warmer months and this will be spritzed all over me like there's no tomorrow.

Daisy Eau So Fresh - Marc Jacobs
Look how gloriously overstated the Daisy by Marc Jacobs bottle is. I absolutely adore the packaging on this perfume, so cute and feminine. This is my go to spring time scent, when the leaves are budding and it's still slightly chilly but not so much so that you need to wear a heavy coat. It's a vibrant scent, and one of those that everyone can immediately tell you have on, I love this one and it's a definite recommendation.

English Velvet - Jack Wills
This is a scent I'd been lusting after for a while after being offered a sample in a Jack Wills store in Durham. It's very girlie and very floral and is a delight to wear. I have a rollerball version of this too for my handbag, which goes to show that I love it lots. I'm a bit of a Jack Wills fan (I know some people either love or hate the brand!) so this is a nice addition to my collection of their products.

Coco Mademoiselle - Chanel
A very recent find and addition to my scent wardrobe, Coco Mademoiselle was something I thought I would ask for on my birthday list when, to my surprise, J had popped it under the Christmas tree for me! It's a gorgeous 'grown up' scent in an equally gorgeous bottle. And it's Chanel. Need I say more?

Si - Giorgio Armani
Si is a fragrance that I'd been lusting after for about a month after I smelled it for the first time. It's just so grown up, and it's just so me. Boots were offering 1000 points for the purchase of 3 luxury beauty items in December, so I ordered a Christmas present and this for myself. I can't stop spritzing this, and I've had more compliments when wearing it than I have with any other perfume that I own. If you need a new perfume, go and give this a sniff. Now.

So that's my 2014 scent wardrobe. What's your favourite perfume?


Philosophy 'The Cookie Exchange'

Before I commenced my spending ban on January 1st I went a bit mad on a final hurrah of spending. Not crazy mad, but I bought a few things that I had been lusting after for the majority of 2013 (Jack Wills duvet cover, Agent Provocateur underwear and UGG boots I'm looking at you). I thought I'd take the plunge and purchase some things that I'd been wanting for the longest time so that I could enjoy them while my ban is taking place.

Another of these things was a little gift set I spied online in Boots, Philosophy's The Cookie Exchange. I'm not too familiar with Philosophy products insofar as I have only ever tried a small amount of their shower gels but I love the scents they come up with, and, as someone who lives and breathes sweet smelling things I was bound to fall in love with this set! It contains a body lotion, lip gloss and shower gel, all of which smell sickly sweet and like they're full of sugar (perfect!). What I've come to love about Philosophy products are the recipes on the packaging of their products. This gift set has taught me a recipe for frosting, and for cookies which I think is a nice touch.

I bought this at half price for £11 in the Boots Christmas sale, so I'm not too sure if it's still available. All I do know is that it's cemented a firm love of Philosophy bath products in me, and I know that I'll be asking for some for my birthday in March!

Are you a fan of Philosophy? What's your favourite scent for bath time?


2014 Spending Ban - 100 Days

Found here.
So it's January 1st - which marks the beginning of 2014 and the beginning of my spending ban, and a kind of goal / resolution I will be adhering to. I recently took a trip to the bank to pay off some bills and came out feeling more relieved about having been able to consolidate all of my bank debt into one place and setting up a direct debit to begin paying it off at a much lower interest rate than I'd previously been paying. It's annoying to know that I'll be owing the bank money every month for the next 2 years but I guess I'm now (literally) paying the price of taking out every student money gimmick under the sun whilst I was at university. (Which in hindsight I shouldn't have done as I was working 3 days every week too.)

So that's why I'm going on my ban, to help me help myself. I'm fed up of living from payday to payday (and I get paid every other Thursday, so twice a month), want to fill up my ISA to save for Florida 2016, and be more comfortable with my finances. Truth be told I am rubbish with money, not rubbish in the sense that I'm ridiculously wasteful as I will always have money for bills like the council tax and the water, but money burns holes in my pocket, I feel like I have to spend it, and I'm fed up with that.

So this ban will last from January 1st - April 10th 2014. That's 100 days. 100 days of not spending a single frivolous penny on anything but bills and a calculated budget for food.
I can do this.

My rules:
  1. I may only buy something if something, or anything remotely similar, is completely gone, and I actually need it - i.e I will only buy shampoo once all the other shampoos in my stash have gone.  
  2. I will learn the difference between want and need.
  3. I may spend money on other people - i.e for birthdays, treating my Mum to dinner etc, but it has to be a set budget and I will not to go over it. 
  4. I will keep all receipts if I do buy something and add up how much I've spent every week and write and update post every fortnight (to coincide with payday). 
  5. I will put at least £50 a month into my ISA to start the Florida 2016 fund. 
  6. I will not buy any food outside of the weekly shop. 
  7. I can keep my subscription to Birchbox as my monthly makeup and skincare treat.
So those are my rules, let's do this!