The Great British Budget

Join the Great British Budget Challenge

It's time to take charge of your money and join me
during February for the Great British Budget Campaign. 
I have taken part in the campaign aimed to get people like you
and me to start budgeting! 

A recent study has shown that two thirds of people in the UK fail to budget.
So if your struggling to make ends meet in the run up to pay day or if you have something
special you want to save up for,than sorting out a budget can make sure that 
your money goes more further.

I decided to get involved as although me and the hubby do budget I know there
are further ways to make our money last longer. 
I mean do we really need to go to the supermarket every evening? 
Do we really need that magazine or that bar of Chocolate? 
Nope, so for February my aim is to cut down on
unnecessary spending and as our anniversary is coming up
next week to enjoy budget celebrations. 

By signing up to the Great British Budget challenge you’ll be sent tips, updates and stories
to keep you motivated. 
 You can even join in with the twitter photo challenge  (see below) which gives you a chance to win £50 high street vouchers. 

Ozeri Duo Ultra Salt and Pepper Grinder

Ozeri is a digital lifestyle products manufacturer for the modern home. 

I was recently sent the Duo Ultra Salt and Pepper Grinder RRP: £29.99
and selling on Amazon for £9.95. 

The Duo Ultra Salt and Pepper Grinder is made of high quality stainless steel and has a  non-slip grip for easy use.
 There is a  removable lid which  includes a slider so you have  easy access to the salt and pepper compartments while minimizing spillage. 
 The Salt and Pepper grinder  also features two adjustable dials that adjust the grind to your liking.

The Duo Ultra's high quality stainless steel makes it a simple but stylish 
item to have on your table and makes it look more expensive than it is. 
The clear compartments make it easy to see how much salt and pepper 
you have left so no guessing. 

The non slip grip makes easy to use and is very simple to use too  by turning left for salt and right for pepper
it's clearly marked at the top too so you can't get confused.

It grinds the corns/granules into small flecks ideal size for adding to your meals 
it also when dispenses spreads evenly. 

Overall the Duo Ultra turns smoothly, spreads the condiment/s evenly over 
your food and is a stylish and high quality item. 

Perfect Anniversary/Valentines Make up with Frontcover Cosmetics

Every women likes to dress up once in a while and now that Valentines is fast approaching.
Why not buy a make up set from Frontcover Cosmetics to give you a glam new look.

I was sent the Metallics Colours of the Catwalk collection just in time for
both my anniversary and valentines day so that on both occasions I can 
feel and look fab.

The set is currently £13.95 and can be brought here.
The collection runs a theme with a warm metallic colour for eyes, cheeks and lips. 
Nails complete the look in a cool metallic colour gunmetal.   

The set contains: 
X3 Domed Baked Powder Eyeshadows
1 Double Ended Applicator
Pewter Eye Pencil and Smudger
Flat Cheek Brush
NEW Springy Cream Blusher
Nail Polish
X2 Mini Lipsticks

The instructions make it pretty easy to follow and below is a photo of me
taken a week or so ago when I first tried out the make up look. 

I really loved the smoky eye affect which you can't see that well in the photo unfortunately. 
I also chose to use mascara as its one of my make up must haves. 
The lipsticks are fab colours as you can see below my lips stand out a little more than
usual thanks to the hint of colour. 
 I wasn't too keen on the blusher as I found due to being really pale
my skin looked really flushed with it on so if your really pale
probably best to leave the blush. 
I didn't use the nail polish as I've never really liked wearing nail polish 
but it does look a fab colour 

Martha Hill Products

I was recently sent some products by Beauty Naturals which are brand new to the 
range of products that they sell.

The two products I was sent were from the Martha Hill range.

First up is the Martha Hill Soothing Skin Relief, £11.50 for a 50ml jar. 
The product is an ultra light and absorbent cream with meadowsweet and tarvine   
which is clinically proven to relive redness, refine pores, soothe and clam. 

Then we have the Martha Hill Intensive nail and cuticle cream, £5.60 for a 30ml jar. 
A rich cocktail of nourishing and moisturising oils combined to create an ultimate nail treatment. 
The cream contains oils which help to prevent cracking and splitting of the nails and oils to
help moisturise and promote nail growth. 

The products are a fab addition to the Martha Hill range. 

The Dogs doodahs Anniversary Card

 As I've said before near the beginning of February is mine and Stuart's second wedding anniversary.
Now The Dogs Doodahs kindly offered to let me have a card to show you.

The Dogs Doodahs is a company that let you personalise cards
for all occasions. 
They also do personalised mugs, notebooks, aprons and balloons.

I'm sure most people love giving/receiving personalised gifts and cards
as it makes it feel more personal and that effort has been put in. 

I really did struggle with choosing which card to get Stuart for our anniversary as you 
are spoilt for choice. 
There were romantic ones and humorous one's  and I love a bit of romance
and my husband is our family's comedian as he is always cracking jokes. 
In the end I settled for the sentimental poem for my wonderful husband.
The standard card is £3.50 and the large card is £5.95. 
I was given a voucher for the standard one which I was more than happy with. 
When it comes to personalising the card I was able to put Stuart's name on the front.
With most cards you can do this and some cards allow you to add photo's to the front too. 

When you go on to choose what you would like in side the card on the left
you have an option of choosing photo's or text so I chose to use two
of our wedding photos and then wrote my own little poem on the right hand

Have you used The Dogs Doodahs before? They have such lovely designs. 

Stationary with Viking

 Viking is a global company, established in 1960 and now present in over 
11 countries worldwide. 
Viking are one of the largest suppliers of office stationary and office
products in the world. 

I was sent a wide range of products: 
- 500g of rubber bands
- Ball point pens
 - a pack of 4 highlighters 
- x3 Pukka Pads A5
- A little black notebook
- A pot of paperclips 
- Neon sticky note cube
- Flash Drive 16GB Stick 
- 1kg of Cadbury Hot Chocolate 
- A Pack of Cadbury Variety Treats

The stationary pack is going to come in very handy
as this is the year I plan to be more organised. 
The range of products are going to help me stick at that goal 
for 2014. 
Plus I am thinking of going back to college in September 
though it depends on whether I get a job soon or not. 

I have heard of Viking before and my Dad use to order printer paper
from them as we use to go through loads when I was in high school
and then two years at college. 

 I only have good things to say about the company 
as all their products are good quality and great prices too. 
The chocolates and Hot Chocolate certainly are bonus too :) 

So  if you own your own company, are a student or just like me at  the moment 
 and like to keep organised and Stationary helps you do so.
Then you have to check out Viking here.

p.s the chocolates kind of got eaten up speedy fast by
me and the hubby hence they not in the photo

Comparing and Buying Dishwashers

I love having a nice and tidy home however when it comes to chores
my least favourite of the lot is washing up. 

I've always wanted us to get our own dishwasher and I think
its something worth saving up for.

One of the main things when looking to get a dishwasher is to 
Compare dishwashers but what I didn't know is there are four different types. 

-  Full Size
- Slimline
- Integrated
- counter top

We currently live in a small one bed flat and our kitchen is tiny.
 If we were to buy one we would have to decide which dishwasher would best suit us. 
 At the moment that would be a counter top one since there is only the two of us at current
and lack of space would mean it would be ideal for us. 

There is one thing however that will affect us with regards to a 
dishwasher and that is because we happen to live in a hard water area. 
As we live in a hard water area we should also use Rinse Aid and Dishwasher Salt.
This would improve the performance of the dishwasher and get rid of any unwanted
lime deposits.

Another thing for us would be that we would make the most of any dishwasher we
have by making sure we know ways of making sure we save energy, water and money. 

On behalf of Dishwashing Expert. 

FitFlop Canvas Shoes Giveaway

I have another competition this month for you all so three on the go 
at the moment being held for two weeks from the start date. 

So what have you got a chance of winning: 
These gorgeous Canvas Shoes from FitFlop.
All of Fitflop's shoes have 'Microwobbleboard midsoles' to help diffuse underfoot pressure so they are super comfortable to wear , as well as being super cute.

The Canvas shoes currently retail at £75 and come in 2 other fab colours 
which can be brought here.

Cornwall Spring Flower Show Giveaway

If you love flowers and are going to be in Cornwall during April 
then you are going to love this prize.

I have 2 tickets to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show which is being held on
the 5th and 6th of April. 
Held at the stunning Boconnoc estate, near Lostwithiel, the show is going 
to have stunning displays and Gardener’s World Chris Beardshaw will be opening it for 2014!

The show is suitable for families as they also have a range of children's activities available. 

W7 In The Buff Palette

 I've wanted one each of the Urban Decay's Naked Palette's for quite a while now.
But they are over my price budget but when I saw on a couple of blogs
the W7 Dupe called In The Buff I decided I just had to get it! 
 I was in the need of a new eye shadow palette anyway as
part of being organised this year meant chucking a few of my 
unwanted, well used or old make up. 

So I popped onto lovely amazon and got this for £4.80. 

I love the tin and the fact it contains 12 neutral eye shadows.
Being on the pale side I did worry a little at what the colours would look like on me.
However I love the palette as all of the colours are fab and look great on me 
and they give me a little bit of colour to me without being
too noticeable. 

Colours left to right: 
- Buff
- Camel 
- Sand
- Dust 
- Chocolate
- Topaz
- Earth
- Storm
- Wave
- Thunder

What do you think of this dupe? Will you buy it?

Impact of Sound On Your Brain

Our Brain is one of the most complex parts of our body and sound is capable of producing powerful reactions in the listener. Sounds can impact the part of the brain which controls the link between sound, memories and emotions. 

Your Brain and Sound

Modern neuroscience has led to many fascinating advances in understanding why our ears and emotions have a strong link. The brain has seven  regions that  neuroscientists have linked with our emotional responses to sound. 
They are as follows: 
    -  Thalamus 
      - Cerebellum 
    - Amygdala  
            - Prefrontal cortex 
        -  Insular cortex 
       -  Broca's area 

It is reported that there are six psychological   mechanisms which emotions maybe produced through. 
-Brain stem reflex
-Evaluative conditioning
-Emotional contagion
-Visual imagery
-Episodic memory
- Music expectancy

Sound is converted via an electrical signal when it enters the ear the sound then travels up to the part of the brain that processes sound. This signal then travels throughout your brain hence a range of responses such as fear, stress and happiness. Music is one of the most capable of producing some of the strongest emotional reactions in humans.

You can read more detail on this topic via Amplifon 

*On behalf of Amplifon

Jasper Jewellery an ideal Valentines Gift and Giveaway

Jasper Jewellery have a passion for fine  Swarovski Crystal Jewellery and
bringing you unique and  beautiful pieces at everyday prices. 
They offer free delivery world wide too! 
In addition they offer free presentation and gift wrapping on all orders
free of charge. 

The service was fantastic and the item of  jewellery arrived 
within 4 days of making my order. 
The website is easy to use and navigate and you don't have to sign up
in order to make a purchase. 
As you can see in the above photo the box was wrapped in lovely
and bright eye-catching wrapping paper with a bow.
I also received a small pack of love hearts which I know the
hubby will love. 

 I chose to go for the beautiful  Silver Butterfly pendant from
a wide selection of their necklaces and pendants. 
The pendant is a delicate and demure piece that can be worn 
all day every day. 
The necklace costs a snip at €30.

As you can see it's such a lovely necklace and I love that you
can wear it when you are dressed up or down. 

On Sunday I chose to dress up and  wear it with a black skater dress, tights and pumps
when I was over at my mum's for her birthday.

On Monday I dressed down wearing it with a white top, navy cardigan and leggings whilst
around the home. 

Jasper Jewellery are offering my readers a €5 discount using the code joannavictoria5
valid until 28th February 2014. 

Jasper Jewellery are also offering you a chance to win a  €30 voucher
Terms and conditions apply.


Bakers Toolkit Food Colouring Pastes

 Bakers Toolkit  is founded by apprentice 2013 runner up Luisa Zissman.
Not letting becoming a runner up get her down, Luisa tried again and gained
investment for Bakers Toolkit and started working day and night with her team
to get the business up and running. 

Bakers Toolkit was born on passion for baking and cake decorating 
They want everyone out there who loves caking to be able to create
professional looking cakes in their kitchen. 

Bakers Toolkits aim is to get their products stocked in all 

reputable cake shops, kitchen shops, craft shops, supermarkets and more
to make sure that amateur and professional bakers  are using their products.

I was sent sent some of their professional Food colouring pastes 
which are pretty awesome. 
I got a pack of 5 different coloured pastes to try out. 
The five colours are : 
- Poppy Red
- Yellow
- Grass Green
- Blue
- Pink 

The paste is like no other food colouring as it comes in a handy squeezable bottle
for no mess application. 
You can add any amount to create soft pastel shades up to a bold and vibrant colour.
The pastes are ideal for icing, butter creams and sponge. 

So I am going to have loads of fun baking this year so keep an eye
out for more posts on what I make with this fab product! 

Ways to celebrate your Anniversary

On February 4th 2014 me and Stuart will have been married for two wonderful years. 
We married in a local church and then had a reception at a hall not too far away. 
We had a 4 o clock wedding, with approx 50 friends and family members and 
then a lovely meal and then the snow decided to come making
people leave before the evening had really begun. 
Still we had a wonderful day as it was about us making our vows and
spending the rest of our life together. 

I have decided to compile a list of ideas for celebrating your anniversary 
whether you have been together 1 year or for 50 years. 

1. Write an anniversary letter 
this year I am going to give my hubby a personal letter 

2. Bake an anniversary cake together
I love this idea we can have this as dessert instead of having one when we have a meal out

3. Have a meal out at your favourite restaurant and dress up 
of course the frugal bit of this would be that you order a starter and a main
or just a main to save you £'s and still have a good time. 

4. Have a 2 meals for £x meal deal thing
We will most likely do this for valentines this year however it's a fab
idea if you want to save more £'s instead of going out. 
Most supermarkets do these deals in the past we have got them 
from Tesco, Morrison, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose.

5. Do joint gifts
This year for cotton we are doing a joint gift which after
our anniversary I'll show you.

6. Enjoy a lovely breakfast together 
Make something that you don't normally have that often 
such as scrambled eggs and salmon or pancakes. 

7. Go out for coffee and cake
If your a fan of Costa or Starbucks why not enjoy a mid morning or afternoon
coffee and cake. 

8. Go for an evening walk and watch the sunset
I love the idea of going to a lake we have in our area for a walk and seeing the sun setting.

9. Recreate your first date

10. Play your first dance song

11. Go through your wedding album together

12. Have an annual wedding anniversary photo of you both 

13. If you can afford to go away for the week/weekend or evening just for the night

14. Go and see a show at the theatre 

I hope you like my ideas if you can think of anymore I would love to know :)

Baking with Sugar and Crumbs

If you read my 2014 goals post last week you would know that one of 
my goals is to bake more this year. 

I recently received some lovely range of natural icing sugar and cocoa powders 
from the company Sugar and Crumbs

I was sent the following: 
- Chocolate Cherry Coca Powder
- Coconut icing 
- White Chocolate icing
- White Chocolate and Raspberry icing.  

The pack I was sent also contained tried and tested recipes including how to use
the icing to make butter-cream. 

As you can see the packaging is very pink and although pink is one of my favourite colours
I feel that it made the whole range of Sugar and Crumbs packaging look as if it was
aimed mainly at women. 
Which I'm not a fan of.

So I decided to whip up a cake yesterday evening using a traditional sponge cake recipe. 
I then went on to trying out the White Chocolate and Raspberry flavoured icing to make 
up butter-cream as directed. 
As recommended if you don't like a strong flavour use half of the flavoured icing sugar 
and half of your usual plain icing sugar. 
I was rather excited as I do love White Chocolate and Raspberry in general
and I also decided to add some red colouring to make it a lovely pale pink colour
since we had some in. 

Once my cake was completed and ready for eating me and Stuart tucked into a slice.
We both thought the same thing with this that it was just too sweet and overpowering
even though we used half of the recommend amount of flavoured icing. 
So if you are to choose the White Chocolate and Raspberry flavoured icing you
may want to change the quantity slightly and use less of the flavoured icing 
so that its not too sweet and sickly tasting.

2014 Goals

Happy New Year! 
Now you may have noticed a few days ago that I have tweaked and changed my 
blog design a bit. 
I hope you like it, it's not too much of a change but I do like how fresh and clean it looks. 

So here are my 2014 goals that I wanted to share with you. 

- Find a Job 
- Get to my target weight by April if possible
- Be more organised
- Read more often like I use to
- Bake more 
- Keep Comping
- Be more positive 
- Continue to blog 

I don't want to have a long list this year and feel that is sufficient enough for me
and I feel that I can commit to these goals. 

Have you made any goals/resolutions for 2014?