Saving & Budgeting As A Stay-At-Home Parent.

Money has always been a very very touchy subject in many households. Whether to save or to spend? Or whether to save to spend, it has always been an issue.

When I was in Pakistan, living the single life, it was so much easier to earn money and then save. there were no major protocols to be carried out before you started earning. Here, in the UK, every little thing has to be taxed and before you start earning, there is a major protocol to be carried out. Which kind of takes the fun out of earning money, you see?

So, coming back to the married life and being a stay- at- home parent, depression kind of hit me hard. I had no savings, no disposable income to call my own that I can blow off without any care in the world. My husband is the sole earner of the house and pays the bills and other shenanigans ( I mustn't say that but it's a fun word). Which means I can not spend money like a 19 year old, thinking I own the sodding world. And add a child to that, I spend more on baby clothes than on myself! 

So how do I end up saving money as a stay-at-home parent? These are the very few tips (in no order) that I have applied heavily in my life and routine and mom, if you are reading, you should be proud: I have managed to save a bit (which I tend to actually spend on pointless things, but oh, the joy of retail therapy). 


We live in the world of internet and online shopping. You might think that by 2017 we should've been able to download the clothes and makeup but no. Anyway. If you are on Facebook,  there are quite a few hundred buying and selling groups. I have joined at least 50. If you have clothes, shoes, accessories in mint condition, then go ahead and sell them off. I have sold clothes that have been worn only for like an hour or maybe a day for occasions and I knew that I wouldn't be able to wear them again, so I've put them up on these selling sites and made quite a bit of money. If you have baby toys, put a job lot advert and sell them off. It's easy money. 

2. Loose change goes in a money counter jar.

I have this habit of putting loose change in a jar. I actually have two jars. One labeled charity and one labeled as saving. Putting loose change in a charity jar is a habit that I have learned from my mother. And I think it will be something that I see myself doing for the rest of my life. 
I have gone ahead and bought a coin counter jar from eBay and I swear it has made my life so so much easier. I know how much I am saving and how much I actually need to put in loose change in the jar. So if ever, I am feeling kind of disappointed with the savings in the jar, I literally rummage the entire house and put in whatever loose change I find. 

3. You saved £3.50 today receipt.

This little gem of a saving technique was found on a small lifestyle group that I belong to on Facebook. So every time you go shopping and when you exit the counter, you are always handed a small receipt that tells you how much you saved with your shopping (even with multi-buy savings). So whatever amount I have saved that day, whether it is just a few pennies or rupees, I make sure that I transfer that amount to my saving account or to my coin counter jar. So, for example, I saved £2.50 today with my weekly groceries, I put in the change in the coin counter jar. It has saved me quite a lot of money with this. I won't say hundreds but yes, a few pounds at least.

4. Saving committees.

Many of my Pakistani readers can relate to this. One of the BESTEST way to save money is creating a committee group. A few friends/relatives come together and transfer a set amount of money to a person(changes every month). So for example, I have a group of 11 friends. And we have decided to save up to £100 every month. So each month, we all transfer £100 to a friend (their saving). I usually choose the transfer at the end of the year so that I won't have the urge to spend all the money at once. So each month, a person from the group gets £1100 to spend or to save.

5. Impulsive shopping.

Now, don't worry, I am not going to ask to you completely stop spending money. Stay-at-home mothers usually find sanity in buying products. I know I do. Whether it is a new top, new makeup, even new crockery, we find pleasure in shopping. Because at the end of the day, with handling a family, chores, fighting post-natal depression, the small things that perk us up are packages being delivered to us and for us. But if you find something online, that you think you ought to have it immediately, put it in your shopping cart and finish doing your chores or whatever it is that you were doing previously and come back a couple of hours later to that shopping cart and see if you still want that item. You probably wouldn't. 
Also, when you go out for your weekly grocery shopping, make sure you go after having a meal. That way, you won't be tempted to buy things that you don't need (cough, junk food, cough). 
But girrrl, you gotta get that Starbucks frappe to cheer you up.

6. Cash-back websites.

If you shop online as much as I do, cash back websites are your best friends. These websites offer you a certain percentage of cash back from your online shopping. The percentage actually depends on the brand/store that you are shopping from and you get the cash back pretty much immediately in your account. I usually like to leave it in there for a couple of months before I withdraw it to my bank account. These are amazing for saving money. I have saved at least £300 with Top cash back.

7. Budgeting.

As boring as it sounds, it is probably the most easiest way to save money. With whatever money you get at the beginning of the month (my husband transfers a specific amount of money every month into my bank account for myself only) budget your money accordingly. If you think you need beauty products that particular month, jot down the products with their prices and take that money out. And then carry on with all the other things that you need to do or buy. This way, you will see what you spend on and you don't find necessary to spend on. It will save you quite a lot of money and impulsive decisions. 

8. Find a hobby that pays. 

Seriously. If you think you cook amazing food, you can start with charged catering for your family and friends. If you think that you write well, there are a lot of freelance websites that pay. Even though it's something very very small but hey, you're earning. 
If you think your second language is really good, you can start giving out summer tuitions. There are so many things that you can start doing from home. Crocheting, book keeping, cleaning jobs, ironing (pays immensely well) and so much more. If you find something that pays well, you can always start saving up for something big, like your own car, maybe a house, a holiday or anything branded that you have been eyeing. 

9. Frugal living. 

This is an idea that may or may not be feasible for a lot of people but I have seen so much change in my monthly grocery budget with frugal living. By no means am I implying that I am a master of this technique, but frugal living has made saving a bit easier. When you are grocery shopping, look for products that do the same job but at a lower price. for example, I find that the stores own products work the same way a big brand would in a fraction of a price. buying goods in bigger packs are also feasible since they save you the cost of per product. Couponing, not wasting food (leftovers), not buying expensive chocolate every month or maybe instead of buying expensive clothes, look for less expensive versions in other stores. And instead of buying cleaning products that do the same job as products you might find in the kitchen and DIY them, it might help you save a bit of money. Again, this might not float with a lot of people so you can always scratch that. 

Saving money isn't has hard and over bearing as a lot of people think it is. Look for bigger things to save for. Things that you think have a future investment and you won't blow all the saving on but by no means am I implying that you cant save to have little luxuries in your life. It is always nice to save for a pair of shoes that you have been eyeing, or maybe a dress that you think would look good on you. 

Always remember, if your family sees you saving money for the good things in life, they might incorporate in their own daily habits as well. And that is a good thing, right? Money might come and go, but good habits will always remain. 

Review - Love me beauty box.

I always tend to review beauty boxes near to the end of the month so that a lot of people can make their choices wisely. And even though, they cost between £12-15 for most boxes, a lot of people don't really want to spend that kind of money on a box that won't give them much.

Love me beauty box is another subscription box that has been making the rounds on social media and especially Instagram and definitely for all the right reasons. And you won't find just lots of samples in this box like many other subscription boxes (*cough* GlossyBox *cough*). This box features some really good brands and even if they add samples, they aren't just really small that you'd rather stash it in the drawer than use it.

So why this July box is a little different from the rest? Let's have a look.

1. Rodial Dragon Blood Eye Mask.

This is no joke. A LOT of celebrities have endorsed this eye mask and they swear by it! And how fancy is the name? Dragons Blood. There are a few brands that do Dragons Blood products and I love how they lift and firm your skin. The mask is supposed to lift, firm and reduce dark circles to an extent in just one go, so hallelujah! Retails for £6.

2. Nails Inc Gel Effect in Seven Dials.

I am not a fan of bright vivid nail colours. Heck, I am not even a nail colour person. But if you put in a Nails Inc brand in one of the boxes, I am sold.  Retails for £10.50

3. Nip and Fab glycolic gel pads.

If you have been following me, you know that I am a loyal consumer of the Nip and Fab range. Whether it is makeup or skin care, I am there. These come in a small sample size container, that contains about 5 pads. Glycolic is supposed to help you reduce texture on the skin, reduce blemishes and help give a glow to the skin. Sample size retails for £1.50

4. Eco Tools blending sponges duo.

Okay, now now. There has been quite a rage about Eco Tools blending sponges that are better than the Beauty Blender. For me, no one has come close to the original beauty blenders but who says that you have to compare, right? BUT, Damn Gina! These blending sponges are bomb AF!! Retails for £10.

5. Eco Tools Eye Enhancing brushes.

If you haven't previously used Eco tools brushes for blending, where ya at, mate? There are four brushes on 2 handles so you are getting way more for what you pay. And the bristles, OH MY GOD. Softest thing ever. Retails for £6.99

The box retails for: £13.95 INCLUDING subscription.
The total value of the box: £35!

Plus, it is not that you are getting products that no one has ever heard of. You are getting products that are well known in the makeup and beauty world. Plus you get this super mega cute makeup pouch, which by the way will be traveling with me next month. You can buy this beauty box here at Love Me Beauty.

Waxing at home with Smooth Appeal.

I have gotten so many questions about hair removal from so many of you. Moving away from Pakistan, which is the hub of salon business, London was a huge set back for me. The hiked up prices and the slow work was just not for me. So I moved onto an epilator but right after pregnancy, my pain threshold was no longer there. I used to scream at the slightest of a pinch of the epilator.

So three years back, I bought a Smooth Appeal's microwaveable wax and it was a disaster. But that's a story for another day. But when they approached me a few days back, even though I was skeptical, I thought, you know, why not give it another chance? What is the max that can go wrong? I might wax my eyebrow off, right?

I was sent two types of waxes. A microwavable and a stove heated wax. Both of these big enough to be used on small areas of the body. I decided to try them on my face since it was starting to resemble a grizzly bear. I used both the waxes on either side of my face.

I was particularly excited about the pan heated wax so I decided to try that out first. It comes with two wax melts so you can use them according to your need. I heated up the pan and once the wax had melted to a complete watery consistency, I let it air for a few minutes till it became a little sticky. Using the spatula provided, I applied it on my face. The first thought was that it applied very very thin for some reason. I had to layer it thrice to make it thick enough to peel without any pain. Turns out, I was being too smart and didn't read the instructions which clearly said that I had to layer it to achieve maximum results. So with the second try, I achieved the results that I was looking for and it was easy to wax out all the hair from my face.

Like I said before that I have used the microwavable one previously, I decided to be more careful this time. The wax is supposed to be heated for one minute and then at regular 10 seconds intervals to melt it to your liking. For me, I only had to heat it for one minute. Let it air for a few minutes till it reaches a thicker consistency and layer it on your face and wax it to remove the hair. Both the wax treatments can be used up to 10 times. But because like I previously stated that I was a grizzly bear, I needed more product. But again, the results were fantastic. And for a minute, I didn't miss Pakistan at all. The formula is based with tea tree and aloe-vera to calm your skin down.

My verdict?

It takes a bit of work and practice to get your technique to the right mojo, but you will get there. I am definitely repurchasing this product. Although, I will repurchase the microwaveable one because it is easier to heat and doesn't take a lot of time to reach the desired consistency. The panned wax was a bit of pain to heat again, but because I was away from the mirror area, maybe that's why?
Also, removing the panned wax residue with water was a bit difficult. You will need an oil based product to remove it. While the latter one was easy to remove with just water.

The best thing about both the waxes is that you don't need to use strips for these. So you are not using the strip again and again on one side and ruin your skin. They are available in Boots stores nationwide and are for nearly £6 which is an amazing price, to be honest.

The results lasted me a good two and a half weeks until I could see a little bit of growth coming out.

What do you guys do for at home waxing? I personally prefer this method rather than epilating. It's not exactly painless but you don't have the epilator tweezing out one hair at a time. PAINFUL, man. Painful.

5 Summer Drugstore Lipsticks That Suit South-Asian Skin Tone.

Being a South-Asian means that you have very few nude lip colours that will suit your skin tone. There are very few bold and bright shades that don't make you look like a rodeo clown. Over the years, brands have come up with lots of new lipstick shades that suit every skin tone. But many times we misjudge the shade and buy the wrong one that doesn't look good at all. And there are very few drugstore brands that don't over indulge in mauve and dark colours.

So here are my 5 top drugstore lipstick picks that suit any South-Asian skin tone.

1. Make up Revolution Fortify.

Fortify is a lovely shade of coral that has a hint of pink. This shade will instantly brighten up any outfit or any kind of makeup look. The shade is perfect for vacation get aways that doesn't make you look like that you have made a huge effort with your makeup while stepping the game up a bit.

The formula applies really nicely and sits well on the lips. It doesn't make the lips stiffen or crumble after a few hours.

2. Makeup Revolution Cliché.

Cliche is the perfect and exact dupe for Mac's heroin. Although at first glance when you see the Mac lipstick, you might feel its a bit deeper, but both apply the same and literally look exactly the same. Some people would think of cliche has an autumn/fall shade but with rising pastel colours in clothing, this shade will go perfectly with the entire summer vibe and it doesn't make you look like a middle aged South-Asian aunty wearing a dark purple colour ready to pull your cheeks out. Again, like Fortify, it applies really well on the lips.

3. Tanya Burr Sunday Walk.

This was a shade that was really hard to find and get right. There are VERY VERY few nude pink colours that will suit a South-Asian skin tone without making your face look washed out. Sunday Walk applies very very sheer but has a buildable consistency and look really great while you're on your day out about town.

4. Nip and Fab Cinnamon.

Nip and Fab have recently launched their make up line and since I am a huge fan of their skin care range, I decided to venture into their makeup range as well. They have some fab nude shades but unfortunately very few suit South-Asian skin tone. When you apply Cinnamon directly, you might feel like its a tad bit light for you. But the trick with liquid lipsticks is that you need to use a lip liner to make the colour pop. I used Mac's spice lip liner(Dupe: Barry M russet 5) on my lips first and then used Cinnamon and it made the PERFECT nude shade that I have always wanted! The formula is a bit drying on the lips. Something like Colourpop's but nothing that a bit of lip balm can't fix!

5. Nip and Fab Biscuit.

When you apply Biscuit on your lips, you will be like WOAH! Did I just apply concealer on my lips? But again, I used the same trick as Cinnamon and applied Mac's spice all over my lips and then used the shade. Its not exactly the same shade as Cinnamon but very very similar. So, if you have either of the shades, you are in for a perfect nude lip ride. Lol. Again, the formula is drying on the lips but I used a lip balm before applying so it didn't really bother me.

What are your favourite summer lipsticks? Let me know in the comments!

Proactive Parenting: Breaking A Shy Child's Shell

Humans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large; some are small. Some are confident; others aren’t. With children, we often make the mistake of expecting them all to have the confidence of youth. Hormones have yet to kick in, and for all intents and purposes, they should be at ease making friends. But, any parent of a shy child will tell you that things aren’t that clear cut. In many ways, shy kids have a tougher time than anyone. Adults and fellow children alike approach them like they’re another breed. They’ll find it hard to reach out and could become lonely fast if you don’t take action.

That’s right; as a parent, it’s your job to bring your shy child out of their shell. At this stage, they still rely on you. If you don’t act now, they could be in for a life of struggling to reach the world around them. And, many of us know how tough that can be. That’s why we’ve put together a list to help your shy child. It won’t work wonders, but it will go some way towards helping them break their barriers.

Build Their Confidence

Before you take proactive steps, build your child’s self-confidence. Often, this is at the root of shyness. We all fear rejection, and the chances are that your kid’s no different. Of course, building confidence in a child isn’t easy. They have yet to experience the issues which lead to low confidence in many of us. So, it can be harder to find a cure. For the most part, you should reaffirm their strengths. Tell them daily what you love about them, and tell them how much others would like those things too.

Take Them Out Of Their Comfort Zone

People with confidence issues build comfort zones as a defense mechanism. But, those zones only work to reaffirm their lack of belief. The chances are, your child has created a few of these, too. It’s up to you to break them before they become established. Taking your child to new environments is your best bet. You could take them to a new town, or for local family days out to trampoline parks, soft play areas and many more. The more they experience, the less afraid they’ll become. And, you’ll be there if they do start feeling uncertain.

Arrange Playdates

This last step is the most important; arrange playdates. This may not have been on your parenthood list, but it’s necessary. As they can’t reach out at the moment, you need to do it for them. Of course, if you go around asking children you don’t know back to play, it would look a little strange. Instead, get talking to parents when you go for those days out mentioned above. Ask them round for coffee, and get them to bring their child, too. If your little one panics about the date, convince them that the guests are coming to see you. That way, there'll be less pressure.

Cleaning hacks that no one told you about.

Cleaning has to be the strongest forte in my life. I am an emotional cleaner. Every time I feel low, I end up cleaning. But that doesn't mean that every speck and corner of my house is clean and organised. I am a messy person. My wardrobe is always in a mess and I always have laundry clothes lying in the house. My makeup organisation needs help BIG time. But, I am a clean person.

If you ask anyone in my family, they'd tell you to come to me if they need anything to be cleaned. My mother used to spring clean her house twice a year, up and down the entire house and guess who ended up cleaning? Me!

So, throughout the years, I have caught on to hacks and tips that have helped my cleaning a lot more easier. I have been gravitating more towards a healthier environment and a total BLEACH FREE cleaning routine. If you guys don't know how harmful bleach is for your house and for you, i'd suggest that you go ahead and read up.

So here are a few of my hacks and tips that will help you clean better and quicker.

1. Make a list.

I can not stress enough how important it is to make a list for cleaning. It will help you so so much to get your work done on time and you won't waste time doing other things around the house. I love this to-do-cleaning notebook from flying tiger. It has all the cleaning bits sorted according to the rooms so  that you aren't running all over the place doing everything together. Or else, you can download cleaning lists online for free.

2. Clockwise rotation.

This tip has made my cleaning so so much easier. What you do is, start from the door of the room and go clockwise till you end up at the door again. SERIOUSLY, this is my favourite tip! You are not all over the room and stuffing things in drawers and cupboards. Keep a bin with you so that you throw that isn't needed and dust from up to down as you move along. So all that will have to be done at the end is to hoover.

3. DIY toilet bombs.

Like, I said before that I have been moving away towards a bleach free routine, I have stopped using all toilet bleaches. The fumes that you inhale while cleaning are more harmful to you than the environment. These toilet bombs are JUST made up of THREE ingredients that you can find in your kitchen and are super easy to make. Check out the link here to make these toilet bombs. And they last ages (if you make a batch) and clean up better than any harmful toilet gels.

4. Make the bed.

As soon as you get off the bed, make it. You will thank me for the rest of your life. When you make the bed first thing in the morning, the room itself starts to look cleaner. There seems to be less mess around the room and it so much easier to clean.

5. DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner.

Vinegar is known as the best natural disinfectant around the house. And I totally love it! But the smell always puts me off. So, I have learned a new way to make a citrus scented vinegar cleaner thats bombdiggity! Check this link out on how to make a citrus scented vinegar cleaner.

6. DIY Scented Laundry Sponges.

When you are a clean freak like me, you end up buying so many cleaning products and the cabinet is ALWAYS full! Laundry is an essential part of your daily routine and you always want your clothes to keep smelling fresh and fabric softeners do a really good job. But instead of using too much fabric softener in your everyday wash cycle, make these scented laundry sponges that will help you save a lot of product. And they are so easy to make! Literally took me less than 3 minutes to make it! They last for AGES!

7. Spray your bedding.

It is crucial that you disinfect your bed. Your bed is probably the most infected place in the house and yet you don't even realise. Use a pillow mist or a bed mist to give your bedding a cleaner and a fresher look. I use this lavender scented pillow mist from Bath & Body works. And although it helps you sleep but I have found it to make my bedding smell great and feel much fresher.

8. Kitchen tongs for blinds.

Use your kitchen tongs to clean blinds. This is the easiest hack that has always been incorporated in my routine. Instead of individually selecting blinds and cleaning them from above and below, just wrap a micro fibre cloth on both the sides and secure them with a hair tie. Don't use an elastic band else they will cause friction between the blinds.

9. Cleaning products basket.

Put all your cleaning products in one basket to make cleaning easier. That way you don't have to run around the house finding the right product. Just carry the basket to the room you are cleaning and choose the product accordingly. The basket should include microfibre cloths, scorers, sponges, waste bags and all other things that you require.

10. Refresh your carpets using baking soda.

If you have kids, you know that your carpets don't look the same as they used to do before. And you'd rather have them look they way they do right now, rather than shampoo them regularly or send them in for dry cleaning. This DIY carpet refresher is the best thing ever that has made my life so so much easier. It just takes two ingredients. Baking Soda and essential oils. Mix them together and add them in a sprinkle jar. There you have it! Have a look here for all the other details. 

Thats that. These are my top cleaning tips and hacks that I have used over the past few years and I absolutely love them! Besides all the cleaning, make sure that you light up candles or switch on your diffuser while cleaning! It makes your day a whole lot better and obviously makes the house smelling great too!

What are your top cleaning tips?

DIY 3 ingredient toilet bombs!

I have to agree. Cleaning toilets is my least favourite thing to do while cleaning the house. And it has to be cleaned every single day which kinda sucks, right? Especially cleaning the toilet seat when you have two boys in the house. It just gets disgusting! 

So I have this little hack to clean the toilet within no time and its absolutely BLEACH FREE. So that means, non-toxic, chemical free cleaning! 

And the best part? After a MAJOR dump, you can always pop these in the toilet to clean it instantly!

You only need three ingredients to make these toilet bombs and the ingredients are from your kitchen so you don't have to go out and buy a trillion DIY products.

What you need: 
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup Citric Acid 
- 1 teaspoon of ANY liquid detergent 

What to do:
Mix all the ingredients together and put them into an ice cube tray. Leave it over night for the toilet bombs to mould properly and then use as required. 
Store them in an air tight jar.

These are so easy to make and last a lifetime if you make a huge batch! I always make a really big batch so I don't have to keep making them every month! Just make sure that you add less liquid detergent else these toilet bombs will not be able to frizz properly. These seriously have made my toilet cleaning so easy and efficient, I keep recommending it to every one! Already made sure that my mum has a huge batch of these in her toilet.

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner.

Are you actually tired of buying anti-bacterial sprays that claim to work like magic and remove all the specks of dirt and create a bacteria free environment? 
I have recently and slowly been converting to greener lifestyle. I don't know why the change is coming through, but the more I read about it, the more I want to move onto it. Using bleach as a cleaner is more harmful to you than the environment so imagine how terrible it must be. The fumes and the chemicals just make everything worse. 

Vinegar is known for its anti-bacterial properties. And its super effective to remove dirt and grime from surfaces. The real turnoff for me was the scent. I absolutely hate the scent of vinegar. But while browsing Pinterest (no surprise there, right?), I found a really effective way of reducing the scent and making it more bearable.

Citrus is also known for its grease cutting properties. Whether its lime or orange, it makes your house much cleaner and its great smelling too! 

And it only takes a few minutes to make it!

What you need:
- White Vinegar.
- Citrus peels (lemon/lime/Orange)
- A few Cloves 

How to:
Add the citrus peels and a few cloves to a glass bottle. Boil vinegar for a few minutes and pour it in the bottle. Leave the cleaner for 24 hours. Separate the peels and pour the liquid in a spray bottle. And there you have it, a natural cleaner that smells great and works like a charm around the house to keep it clean. 

Do you feel the need to move on to natural cleaners while cleaning the house? This is a HUGE step towards a healthy environment for your family!

P.s: This glass bottle was for ONLY £1!! WHAT A BARGAIN!