Buying clothes on a budget – what you need to remember

31 07 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from In this fleeting moment 

It might not always feel like it, but summer is finally upon us – and that means we’re all looking to dress to impress. However, you might have noticed that the contents of your wardrobe are looking a bit tired and tatty; so it might be time to get out there and buy some new clothes. It has to be said, though, that many of us are struggling a bit financially at the moment. You may think, therefore, that buying new maxi-dresses and clothes would be one extravagance too many. Luckily, this needn’t be the case.

You’ll no doubt be relieved to learn that it is possible to stay on trend even if you’re trying to operate to a relatively tight budget – as many of us are at the moment. If you’re prepared to do a bit of digging around, you may be surprised to find that there are some real bargains to be had. Sure it takes a bit of graft and perseverance, but you’ll soon notice the difference the next time you look at the state of your bank account. It can be easy to splurge once you get started with your clothes shopping, but a bit of self-restraint can really make a massive difference.

An article from eHow.com offers some useful tips in this regard. It suggests concentrating on buying clothes which are likely to work well with pieces you already own – so if some of last summer’s clothes are still in good condition, you can dig them out again and partner them with some of your new additions. It’s also worth thinking about how much wear you’re going to get out of a particular item before you go out and buy it. If you feel you’re likely to get plenty of mileage out of a certain item, then it should be a worthwhile purchase. However, if you’re not planning on wearing an individual piece of clothing much then it may be better to simply not buy it at all.

Furthermore, you might want to think carefully about what you’re actually looking to buy before you head out to the shops. It’s tempting, once you enter the store, to go a bit mad and buy on impulse – indeed, this is what the retailers themselves are banking on. However, if you draw up a list before you start shopping and stick to it, you should be better-equipped to avoid the temptation of impulse buying and overspending. This should also help you to narrow your search a bit, saving you effort.

An article from About.com, meanwhile, also offers a number of pointers. It notes that there are some real bargains online at sites like www.missguided.eu, so it’s well worth taking a look at what these online outlets have to offer. Many shoppers look for items in store and then search for similar items online to compare prices; you’d be surprised just how much money you can save this way. Shopping around can really help you save a lot of money, so it’s well worth doing.

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How To Keep Your Tummy Crop Top Ready

11 05 2013

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This image via Flickr creative commons from bloomingleopold

One of the biggest trends this season is the stomach bearing crop top. So if your tummy is more flab than fab, you may want to consider doing some toning exercises to ensure that your abs look as toned as they possibly can be. The trend for tummy flashing crop tops began with celebrities and as women are constantly bombarded with images of taut, lean stomachs, they assume that this is the way their bodies have to look if they want to be considered healthy and good looking. Of course, a little exercise never did anyone any harm and all of the endorphins you’ll release from getting sweaty exercising will leave you looking and feeling great. Here’s how to keep your tummy crop top ready during every season.

In order to maintain a flat stomach and rock hard abdominal muscles there are various workouts to try along with a healthy diet.

Workout for a tight stomach

The best way to embark on your tummy toning is to follow a workout that combines fat-burning cardio with exercises that target your entire core, rather than purely focusing on your abdominal muscles. This will mean you’ll burn more fat whilst toning up and leave you with a washboard stomach rather than large protruding tummy muscles, so you can wear your Missguided crop tops with pride.

Remember to work out three times a week on non-consecutive days to ensure better results faster. If you are planning to do the exercises as a circuit, do one set of each move and rest for 30 seconds in between each move. Once you’ve completed the circuit, rest for a minute before repeating from the beginning. Over time, you’ll be able to do more circuits in one session.

The Mountain Climber

This move works your abs, back, legs and arms.

  1. Begin in the press up position with your hands placed flat on the floor and your legs extended straight behind you, keeping your back straight.
  2. Bend one leg and pull it towards your chest before returning to the starting stance. Repeat with the other leg and continue slowly for one minute.

Arrow Arm Crunch

This move focuses on toning up your waist and your abs.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your upper body off the floor with the strength of your abdominal muscles and straighten your arms as you do so. Push your hands together in the shape of an arrow pointing to the centre of your legs.
  2. Reach to the left, and then back to the centre. Repeat but this time reach to the right and then back to the centre. Keep repeating this move for 30 seconds.

There are of course many different workouts you can find that focus on increasing the rate of your metabolism, burning fat and toning up your stomach. Many people mistakenly believe that in order to tone their stomach, they need to do hundreds of sit ups every day. This next workout proves otherwise.

Four steps to fab abs

Remember before you begin this four-step workout to get your heart pumping by jogging on the spot or marching to warm up your muscles and avoid the risk of getting cramp.

–          Kneel on the floor with your arms straight down and hands flat. Exhale while pulling your stomach in. Hold the pose for three seconds and relax. Repeat for a minute.

–          Lie on your front in the plank position and contract your stomach muscles for up to ten seconds. Gradually work up to holding your stomach in for a minute.

–          Sit up straight on a chair and raise your arms, bending your elbows at 90-degree angles. Bring together your left elbow and your right knee. Return to your starting position and repeat with your right elbow and left knee. Keep the cycle going for a minute.

–          Sit upright in a chair and hold onto the seat with your hands. Exhale and bring your knees towards your chest at the same time. Hold for three seconds, return to your original position and repeat for a minute.

Healthy diet

Of course, while exercise is important, it is also essential to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Here are the best foods to eat if you want a flat stomach.

Almonds – packed with vitamin E and protein to leave your skin clear and radiant, almonds also contain plenty of fibre which helps to stop you feeling hungry.

Dark green vegetables – think kale, spinach and romaine lettuce for a low calorie side dish that is packed with fibre and minerals but also helps to reduce the effects of bloating and minimises water retention.

Olive oil – olive oil contains poly unsaturated fats which are known for keeping hunger at bay, but it also contains the chemical oleic acid which contributes to the breakdown of excess fat in the body.





2013’s Signature Hair Styles

9 04 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Cour10e Fox

We’re a few months into the year now; winter has come and gone (finally), and we’re starting to see the opening credits of spring. With that, everything changes; the flowers start to grow, baby animals are born, fashions change and people start to overhaul their look for the new season. If you’re thinking about getting your hair cut this year, you may be considering a brand new style. Perhaps you’ve been worried in the past about changing your look but fear not, because we’re going to take a look at 2013s signature hair styles. So if you feel in the mood, you can be daring and go for the chop this year.

Let’s take a look at the various hairstyles that female celebrities are sporting right now:

Top-knot

Favoured by the likes of Beyonce, the top-knot is the perfect no nonsense do that’s perfect for busy ladies but still looks super stylish. And the best part is that it works just as well for a casual daytime look as it does for an elegant evening outfit. Here’s how to achieve the same look at home:

–          It’s vital that your hair is in good condition so apply a small amount of shine serum through your hair to give it a smoother and shinier appearance.

–          Tilt your head towards the floor and gather all of your hear into a ponytail at the top of your head, before securing with a hair tie.

–          Take the end of the ponytail and twist it around in order to create a bun. The firmer you twist, the sleeker the style will be. Use hair grips in the same shade as your hair colour to secure any wispy bits.

–          Spritz on some hairspray to control flyaways and smooth down any frizz with your hands.

Wild Ringlets

“Carrie Diaries” Star Anna Sophia Robb teaches us to love what we’re born with. So if your hair is naturally curly, embrace your style. Here’s how to get the most out of your curls:

–          Wash and condition your hair with a moisture intense, curl-enhancing formula, then gently squeeze the water out, rather than towel rubbing to prevent frizz.

–          Apply a small amount of curl cream whilst hair is still damp and twist sections of hair in your fingers to help define the ringlets.

–          It’s normal if you’re curly-haired to have some sections that aren’t as curly as others. If that’s the case for you, once your hair is totally dry, use a small barrel curling iron to create tight ringlets in straighter sections of your hair. You may also wish to curl the sections framing your face to add more definition.

–          Finally, spritz a little hairspray over your do to hold it in place all day long.

A newspaper article heralds the arrival of the ‘Karlie’, also known as the chop. Model Karlie Kloss decided to chop off around seven inches of her famous hairstyle in a bid to undergo a style overhaul. In a January issue of Vogue, it was declared the “cut of the moment” as the new hairstyle is sexy, swingy and really easy to wear. The great thing about this style is that it’s long enough to pull back if you’re having a bad hair day, and short enough to require very little maintenance on a daily basis. If you’re planning to go to the hairdressers anytime soon, this is the look to go for ladies.

Gentlemen, don’t think we’re leaving you out of the picture either, because we’ve got some great hairstyle tips for you too. You have to remember that your hairstyle has the ability to make or break your look, so it’s vital that you choose a great style to suit you.

The majority of men get stuck in a rut when it comes to their hair, always asking for the same “number two all over” that they’ve been requesting since they were teenagers. So do something different with your hair this year and see how many compliments you could get.

Long clipped sides with a textured top

If you’re used to having short hair but want something to play with, ask the barber for a style with long clipped sides that’s textured on top. It’ll give you loads more options when it comes to styling your hair and it doesn’t matter if you end up leaving it a week too long before you go back to the barbers as the style is supposed to look a bit more grown out.

Ask your barber to graduate the length on top from short to long from the crown to the fringe. This will make it easier for you to style at home. You can wear this style either pushed forward or slicked back off your face.

Be daring and try a new hair style this year – you’ll be surprised how different you’ll look.





How to clean delicate or expensive outfits

12 03 2013

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This image via Flickr Creative Commons from Ollie Crafoord

We all like to splash out on clothing from time to time – after all, the therapeutic benefits of a quick spot of retail therapy are well documented. But at a time when so many of us are feeling the financial pinch, it’s all the more important to ensure we get as much out of our clothing as we possibly can. There might be a great selection of ladies’ evening tops available, but you don’t want to have to keep replacing them all the time. It’s one thing to be a bit blasé about how you look after the less expensive items in your wardrobe, but when you really go to town and buy an item of clothing which you know is of genuine quality, it’s well worth making the effort to ensure it retains its charm and character for as long as possible. This is why you need to take great care when you clean expensive clothing.

An article from WikiHow.com makes the point that unless you know how to take good care of fragile or expensive designer items of clothing, you could find they soon start to lose their allure. Unless you make the effort to keep your clothes clean and store them properly and in the right place, then they’ll start to look washed out, tatty or creased. This will basically render them unwearable – and there’s really no point going to the effort of buying expensive gear if you aren’t going to look after it. You could end up wasting hundreds or even thousands of pounds or your hard-earned cash, so you really need to think carefully about this.

An article from Garmentcare.info has a number of tips for those looking for advice on how to store clothing. Firstly, you need to remember that there is such a thing as excessive washing – of course you want to keep your clothes looking good, but washing them too frequently could end up having the opposite effect, so you need to be careful. Make sure you check your clothes before you put them in the wash and then assess what sort of condition they’re in. If your clothes are still fresh, then you can hang them up and wear them again. You don’t need to wash clothing after each time you wear it, although this is a trap many people fall into.

Also, if you notice any problems with your clothes then you should try to repair them straight away. Don’t procrastinate and put it off, because that’ll probably just make matters worse – and you may find that you either have to pay more to repair your clothes or that you have to buy new garments altogether. Needless to say, this could soon prove to be a pretty expensive affair. You should also ensure that you treat stains as quickly as possible. The longer you leave them, the more ingrained they’re likely to become – so don’t waste time and make sure you get them seen to.

It’s also well worth just following the instructions on the label of your garment as to how your clothes should be cleaned. It might be a good idea to check the label before you buy so you have an idea of what you can expect to have to do in order to keep your clothing looking at its best. Make sure you keep your more highly-prized items of clothing separate from the rest, so you don’t just end up flinging them all in the wash together.





How to take care of your winter woollens

2 01 2013

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Image via Mary Hutchinson at Flickr creative commons

We all love a warm and snug winter woolly jumper, possibly more than any other item in our wardrobe. It’s like an old and reliable friend – offering plenty of warmth, and adapting itself perfectly to fit our bodies and keep us snug, as well as looking just right.

But because wool is not just renowned for its insulating properties, but is also a material whose longevity can depend on the level of care it is given, it’s vital to know how to wash, dry and look after them generally in order to ensure the maximum length of serviceable life.

Wool is naturally light in weight, but is knitted into a variety of thicknesses and gauges to ensure that garments can be produced for all weathers and all occasions. The best quality wool garments need little cleaning if it is taken off immediately after being worn, then neatly folded, or hung on a sturdy hanger.

Prince Charles is a noted lover of woollen wear, and his valet has the job of cleaning his extensive collection. He recommends immediately cleaning any small stain spots, and only undertaking a full clean whenever it is absolutely necessary.

A reputable dry cleaner is essential to help ensure that items of womens knitwear keep their look and shape over a long period. Doing this job properly depends on the cleaning fluid being changed regularly, and the woolly garments concerned being heated to the right temperature which stops just short of overheating them.

Regular changing of the dry cleaning fluid is essential if the natural smell of the wool is to be retained, so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask how often your dry cleaner does this.

Woollen garments marked as washable must be treated with a mild detergent, of which there are plenty available today. Any old washing powder or liquid just won’t do – it has to be one which states on the packaging that it is suitable for cleaning woollen items. Proprietary wool treatment products are also available, so look out for these, as these can be added to the drawer of your washing machine to help safeguard it against mis-shaping and shrinkage.

After washing, drying also needs some care. Hanging woollen clothing on a hanger with sharp ends will result in this leaving marks on the item concerned, so if you do this, you should use hangers covered with a soft material to help absorb these pressure points.

Alternatively, the garment can be laid flat, ideally on a surface which allows air to circulate all around it. A maiden, or clothes horse, is a good means of hanging a woolly to dry evenly, provided there is good air circulation all around it.

If you venture out in your woollens and they return home wet, you should resist the urge to hang them immediately over a radiator or in front of a fire, as this can cause shrinkage.

Should you need to iron your woollen clothes after washing them, use a steam setting, and carefully pass the iron just above the garment taking care to avoid touching it. Before doing this, though, turn the garment inside-out so that only the underside is ironed.

Items of womens knitwear become increasingly popular by the year, and so there is an increasing need for suitable advice on how to treat them. The guidelines in this article should provide some useful starting points.

SOURCES:

http://www.essortment.com/caring-wool-46057.html

http://www.garmentcare.info/fabrics_by_fiber/wool_garment_care.html





Ten things you shouldn’t do in platform heels

31 12 2012

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Image from -Benedikt- from Flickr creative commons

Over the past few years, the popularity of platform heels has skyrocketed thanks to the likes of Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian, who seem to spend their entire lives tottering around in six-inch heels. What’s more, they wear them while strutting confidently out of a meeting, carrying a huge designer handbag and – in the case of Mrs Beckham – clutching a very fashionably-dressed one-year-old toddler.

But even though these women seems to have super-human powers when it comes to walking in high heels, the rest of us find ourselves tripping over, stumbling up kerbs and massaging our aching feet at the end of the day.

So, if you’re planning to invest in a pair of platform heels, here’s a list of things you definitely shouldn’t try and do.

Go to the beach

Taking your new heels on holiday is fine, but they’re for bars only. Don’t try and strut along the beach in your fabulous heels because they elongate your legs, you’ll just sink into the sand and fall over – never a good look.

Bake a cake

Those pictures of 1950s housewives baking a cake in their heels are enough to make anyone think “I can do that!” But it’s not as easy as that – trying to balance in six-inch heels with a bag of flour in one hand and a box of eggs in the other won’t work.

Lounge around the house

Why does it seem like divas spend their entire days lying on chaise longs in beautiful satin robes and high-heeled slippers with feathers on the front? They don’t do this and neither should you, give your feet a rest at home and save your heels for partying.

Drop a killer dance routine

Britney Spears, Rihanna and Beyonce might be pros at performing killer dance routines on stage in high heels, but this takes a lot of practice. When you’re out with your friends remember you haven’t suddenly turned into an international pop star. Keep both feet on the ground and hopefully you won’t fall over if you do decide to have a bit of a boogie.

Fight off baddies

Why is it superheroes in films manage to round-kick bad guys and run through burning buildings? Catwoman did it and so did the Black Widow. Please remember these are fictional superheroes with otherworldly powers – you can’t do the same.

Carry your baby

Just because Victoria Beckham carries Harper in her arms while wearing platform heels it doesn’t mean you should to. You never know when you’re going to trip on a bit of uneven pavement or lose your balance. Plus, experiments show it’s not as easy as it looks. Use a pram – this will also give you something to lean on.

Take your dog for a walk

Controlling an excitable and boisterous canine is difficult at the best of times. Add a pair of killer heels into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, so make sure you wear sensible, flat shoes when you’re taking Fido for a walk.

Trampolining

Does this really need explaining? Sharp high heels and the bed of a trampoline just do not mix.

Change a light bulb

Changing a light bulb is a very simple task and you definitely don’t need your man to swoop in and save the day if a bulb blows in your house. But what you shouldn’t do is attempt DIY when you’re dressed up for a night out. If a bulb blows just as your friends arrive, take off your heels and put on sturdy, flat shoes, especially if you need to climb on something to reach the light fixture.

Model a Santa outfit

This Morning producer Ellie took part in a December episode of the popular ITV show and strutted her stuff on a mini catwalk to model a Santa outfit. She was holding her baby Poppy, who looked cute in a Christmas onesie. However, Ellie stumbled as she stepped off the catwalk – just goes to show even models aren’t perfect.