17 articles Articles posted in Shopping

Mainline Menswear – Top Brands and Great Prices

Recently, Mainline Menswear got in touch to see if we’d like to write about them in exchange for some new duds for Husband and being the lovely wife that I am, of course I agreed! Husband and I tend to vary when it comes to clothing. While I tend to buy cheap stuff which invariably ends up worn to death or covered in bleach stains, he goes for much higher quality items which he looks after and last a long time. It’s a running joke that he’s got clothes which are older than me (not literally…but not FAR off!) and he firmly believes that you get what you pay for, which means it’s worth paying a bit more for stuff which lasts.

The site itself is packed full of brands that Husband loves, such as Ralph Lauren, Levis, Armani and more, so after a little while spent browsing the site, this is what he chose:

Mainline Menswear

Paul and Shark polo – £80

Ralph Lauren Sullivan Slim Fit Jeans – £53

Adidas Originals California t-shirt – £23

The package arrived the day after we ordered the stuff, which is really good to know if you’re needing something to wear for the weekend and it’s already Wednesday! The items themselves were really good value and the usual high quality you’d expect for designer clothing. The site was really easy to navigate and each listing shows all of the available sizes at a glance, letting you know whether they’re in stock or not – I don’t know about you, but I HATE it when I’m shopping online, finally choose something only to discover it’s not in stock, but that wasn’t an issue here.

Originally, Husband actually chose a pair of trainers but because he’s a slightly awkward half-size, they were too small and needed to be returned. The return process with some online stores is really complicated but at Mainline it’s simple. All you do is use their online return form, enter your order number and it produces a pre-paid returns label which is deducted from your refund, meaning you just need to drop it off at the post office – simple!

All in all, we’ve been really impressed by our Mainline Menswear experience. Delivery was super speedy, the clothes were great quality, the prices were good and the customer service second-to-none. I highly recommend using Mainline Menswear if you’re looking to buy something for a Husband, boyfriend, male relative or anyone else who loves a label and I’ll definitely be shopping there for gifts for Husband in the future.

Kids Autumn/Winter with Petit Bateau

Something that I love about shopping online is that I can source things which are a little bit different to what you’d normally find on the High Street. This is especially great for finding clothes for Sausage and Burrito Baby as I do love dressing them to accentuate their unique personalities, which is why I was happy when Petit Bateau asked me to put together an outfit for each of them from their new Autumn/Winter range.

Sausage is pushing boundaries with her fashion choices at the moment. She loves to be a little bit different (hence the pink hair during the holidays!) and relishes bucking against what girls in her class would be wearing. BB likes to wear things that look “pweety” (yep, that’s how she says it!) but which also allow her to charge around and don’t impede her running/climbing/dog riding. Here’s what I chose for them:

 

Petit Bateau

 

Petit Bateau by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

Grey is one of my favourite colours for clothing at the moment and I think the grey jeans make such a nice alternative to blue or black, which is what you see on most people. Sausage and BB both look amazing in most colours, but Sausage looks especially fantastic in autumn/winter palates because of her wild red hair, while BB looks great in more neautral shades because of her blond locks and pink cheeks.

I actually wnjoy shopping for the girls SO much more than shopping for myself, so spending an afternoon scouring a site and choosing things for them is a real treat! Have you shopped with Petit Bateau before? Do you enjoy shopping for your kids? What would you choose from the Petit Bateau ranges? Leave me a comment below!

Start Your Christmas Shopping Early

Okay, I realise that I’m being a MASSIVE hypocrite here, by mentioning Christmas during the summer holidays, after moaning on more than one occasion about various press releases mentioning the festive period already. However, I’ve realised that this is actually a great time to start Christmas shopping with so many summer sales on at the moment.

I always have great intentions of starting early with my Christmas shopping and then it gets to the last week of November and I realise I’ve completely missed the boat. The main reason I manage to talk myself out of starting early is that I always think I’m going to end up buying things for people which they’ll already have by Christmas, so I thought I’d do some brainstorming about the sort of gifts you can buy early which will either be pretty unique or won’t matter if they’re doubles…read on to see my ideas!

Pyjamas

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Nobody ever has too many pairs of pyjamas and you’ll often find that they’re really cheap at this time of year, because it’s so warm and no-one wears snuggly PJ’s in this heat! There are some great loungepants in the Ralph Lauren sale for the man in your life and they’ll make a great gift as the Ralph Lauren label makes them that extra little bit special.

Underwear

Underwear is another thing which people always need; don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you buy lingerie for your mother in law or colleague, but buying some nice undies for your nearest and dearest is a great way to fill a stocking (if you’ll pardon the pun!).

Candles

Candles and other ornaments are a great thing to buy and put away as they won’t spoil and they’re easy to store. If you shop around, you can often find ‘wintery’ scents at their cheapest at this time of year. purely because nobody wants to smell mulled wine and gingerbread in August, but this makes them perfect to buy now and save for Christmas.

Slippers

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Another classic Christmas gift is slippers and if you opt for a premium brand, they’re a great gift to buy now and put away. The Tommy Hilfiger sale has some great offerings at the moment, which would be perfect for the colder months and will make a great gift for that Uncle who you can never seem to find a decent gift for!

Homewares

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Anything home related such as throws, framed photos, accessories and cushions all make great gifts, especially if someone you know if moving house or getting married. There are so many premium brands such as Calvin Klein which offer super smart homewares which people would love to receive as gifts and which can be put away until Christmas, saving you a fortune when it comes to December.

 

Irresistible Shop Windows. How do they Do That?

3223433918_a4dbc0af4b_bSource – Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/herry/3223433918/in/photolist-5UQWAS-5ULyDk-5ULxeZ-5UQXhs-6sMYG5 License – CC BY 2.0

The importance of effective visual merchandising is never underestimated in the fashion retail shop business. Window shoppers love to be captivated by shop window displays – including entertaining store -front set-ups – because of the creative genius that lies behind these creations, and of course it is a job that requires artistic skills, an eye for fashion and a passion for the job overall.

For those passionate about fashion and desirous to learn about interior decor/design, visual merchandising courses are held in London as well as in other major fashion cities around the world. In fact, professional visual merchandisers need different qualities and use different techniques. And that is exactly what these courses can teach.

Having a good sense of aesthetics and organizational layout, and knowing how to utilize store space (both inside and outside) effectively are only some of the requirements needed to become an expert visual merchandiser. The visual aspect also considers the use of effective means of communication to orientate potential customers via visual signals (advertising posters, dress mannequins, and other important tools such as the use of colour in the decor which is all important) so that they can easily find their way around the store and discover as much as possible that the retailer can provide for their tastes. In short, the strategic positioning of the displays must be pleasing to the eye and eye-catching at every location, from the store front to the interior.

Other vital techniques taught by courses focus on the merchandising aspect: these include learning the distinction between the demands of the commercial versus the luxury markets, and acquiring the experience to design diverse and demographically-targeted, distinct genres to satisfy different audiences.

Understanding the essentials of product grouping is an important point. This includes knowing where to position the products around the store in relation to the space assignment to be allotted according to sales objectives. The various levels of display, from vertical to horizontal shelves and equipment, use of walls and floor space must also be applied to the strategic use of a harmonizing element to enhance the ambient and customer experience – Feng Shui-oriented decor is a perfect example of this practice.

Furthermore, the synergistic bond between ‘offshore’ and ‘online’ store options is a primary consideration in order to make the most out of customer satisfaction and sales objectives for retailers. Customer relations are necessarily tied to customer loyalty and this means that you must know how to deal with clients first-hand. In this respect, after-sales experience is naturally another prerequisite in customer relations. Visual merchandising courses teach excellent guidelines to learn about consumer behaviour which is of course one of the main foundations that will ensure customer loyalty and enduring satisfaction that will lead to growing a solid loyal customer base. Do not forget also that a perfect balance is needed in the layout, use of space, decor, colour and product placement/grouping. Too much or too little makes all the difference, so cluttering the store may not be an advantage. Rather, leaving it simple and providing ample space for the customers to walk around will certainly prove to be a more successful methodology.

Shopping Guide: Watch Features You Should Look Out For

wrist-watch-205837_1280Although smart phones that have timers, clocks and other features that are traditionally found in watches have started to replace watches, digital & classic watches found in Tesco and other retail stores still have a place in the world. The  classic mens watches out on the market are generally fairly priced and come with exceptional features that make them good investments. This makes watches great feature rich accessories that can add a touch of class and great functionality to any ensemble.

Digital Watches

Digital watches are making a comeback. Even excluding smart watches, digital watches come packed with useful features. Timers, alarms and tracking multiple time zones are fairly standard features. Advanced features may include barometers and weather alarms, altimeter to measure how high above sea level you are and heartbeat monitors. Modern smart watches are small computers strapped to your wrist, boasting music, Bluetooth support, health monitors and so much more. Prices can range quite high, but standard functionality exists in base models as well.

Power requirements for digital watches are something to consider as well. Most take batteries, either replaceable or rechargeable. Smart watches, with their increased functionality, have higher power requirements and most models need recharging daily or more often when being used heavily. Older model digital watches can expect their battery to last for months or years with normal use.

Traditional watches

Traditional watches are a mainstay of style and as such, the aesthetics and brand name are as important as their functions. At the core, the watch must keep accurate time and these types of mechanical watches use either a mechanical spring that needs to be wound periodically, or quartz crystal that uses electronic movements. Features of these mechanical watches might include multiple faces that track time zones, built in stop watches and other meters that can be used reliably from mechanical power.

Some very key features of traditional watches are their power source. Some use a main spring that must be wound daily or sometimes weekly. The slow release of tension from this spring is what powers the watch. A variation on this power source is the automatic watch that uses the motion of the wearer to automatically wind the main spring. If the watch lays stationary then the watch will wind down. Quartz watches use an electrical system to keep time and as such can be built as solar powered, using A photovoltaic cell to power the watch. mechanical watches can also rely on battery power, similar to a digital watch. With analog watches, there are many options.

Whether looking for a functional and elegant traditional watch or a feature rich digital watch, there is something for every need and want when you go watch shopping. Timekeeping coupled with things like time zone and weather tracking powered by batteries, the sun or something as ingenious as the motion of your body are all available. Watches have come a long way since their humble beginnings and its safe to say they will continue progressing far into the future.

How to Save Time and Money at the Supermarket

SupermarketSupermarkets are experts at persuading shoppers to buy things that they don’t really need. This cycle often leads to stocked cupboards filled with food that nobody in the family will ever eat and which eventually ends up as waste. According to the BBC, the UK wastes over £12bn worth of food each year which could have been avoided if shoppers knew exactly how to save both time and money while at the supermarket.

Shop Online

You can buy almost anything online and for a great deal cheaper too. Shopping for food is a lot less time consuming if you’re organised and thanks to online shopping and fast delivery services, people no longer need to wait in long queues at the store. It is also easier to compare prices on the web to ensure that you get the best deal possible, so make sure to shop around before making any big purchases.

Plan Ahead

Before you hit the shops it may be worth sitting down for a few minutes to write out a budget and shopping list. If you have a budget set for each shopping trip then you are less likely to overspend in the store. Only withdraw the amount that you have set yourself for the week and try your best to avoid making any unnecessary purchases. Planning ahead will save you a lot of time as you will go into the store knowing exactly what you need and where to find it.

Don’t Waste Food

Try your best not to waste the food that you already have in your home. Many people tend to forget about the things hidden in the back of the cupboard and end up re-buying them again. Have a look through your cupboards in the kitchen before you go out shopping. Buy only what you need and remember to never shop whilst hungry as this will end up making you buy more things that will probably just end up in the back of your cupboard. Make sure anything you buy that you won’t eat is safely frozen for use later on – if you need more fridge freezer capacity, view appliances online.

Coupons and Vouchers

If you have a look online, or through a newspaper or magazine,  you are bound to come across a coupon sooner or later. Many supermarkets release vouchers and coupons to use on selected store products. Collect as many of these as possible and use them at the till to benefit from discounts and special offers.

Cheaper Brands

Just because some brands are more expensive than others does not necessarily mean that they are any better. According to www.moneysavingexpert.com, if you can’t tell the difference between the lower brand level goods, then why pay more for it? This is a good point and it shows how dropping a brand level or two will not only save you money but you may find even better products. Try to opt for the cheaper branded goods such as a supermarket’s own labels to help you to save money on your weekly shopping costs.

How to Bag the Best Deal When Buying a New or Used Car

Buying a New or Used CarWhether you plan on buying a new or used car, there are various things you need to consider before you head out on your search. It is easy to get ripped off and you will often struggle to get a good deal unless you know exactly what to look out for. Below you’ll discover some of the best tips for bagging the best deals on both new and used vehicles.

Buying a new car – what you need to know

If you’ve made up your mind to buy a new car, you’ll likely be starting your search at a car dealership. Car salesmen are notoriously known for trying to get the highest price out of their customers. They use a number of tactics, especially on women, to try and secure a good sell. This means if you want to get the best price, you need to know how to negotiate.

As featured on WhatCar, the very first thing you need to do is know the market. Do as much research as possible into your chosen model to see the kinds of prices it usually goes for. If you have a good idea of its average market value, you’ll be able to see whether you are getting offered a good deal.

To improve your chances of not being ripped off, it helps to find a reliable dealership. Look into a company’s reputation before deciding whether or not to buy from them. For example, you’ll find there are some great deals from Jennings Motor Group as well as finding parts at www.national.co.uk.

Buying a used car

Used cars are generally a lot more affordable than new ones. However, they are also a lot riskier to buy. This is because a lot of private sellers often lie about the condition of the car. There is also the added risk that the car could be stolen, or that it could be the subject of a logbook loan. So when you find a car that seems to feature a really low cost, it might not be as great as it seems. You can also go to Tyre Shopper for new parts.

You need to be incredibly careful when buying a used car, which is why it is always better to opt for a dealership. However, if you do want to buy privately, there are ways to secure a good deal. Take along a mechanic if you can, to give the car a check over before you agree to buy. They will be able to tell you whether there are any faults you need to be aware of. As featured by This is Money, it definitely pays to have the bodywork checked over.

Also, don’t forget that you don’t need to buy straight away. Go away and think about it for a while – just the threat of going away without purchasing might convince the dealer to slice the costs.

Overall buying a used or new car does come with quite a few risks. The main thing you can do to avoid being ripped off is arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. The more research you can do about both the car and the dealership/seller, the better your chances will be of getting a good deal. Follow the advice above and you’ll stand a better chance of getting the most affordable car to fit your needs.

Find a Bargain with VoucherBin

VoucherBinclick the logo above to be taken to the site

We’re now pretty much at the halfway point of the summer holidays and I think most parents will agree that it’s been a pretty expensive month! We’ve managed to keep costs down as much as possible by using vouchers and deals, many of which we’ve found on VoucherBin.

Husband and I are pretty savvy shoppers and will always shop around before committing to buy anything. They way we see it, finding a good deal means more money in our pockets to spend on the girls, so we scour the internet for the best prices on things before we invest and VoucherBin is a great place to start looking for bargains.

There are some great offers available through their travel section, such as a voucher for a free second day at Paultons Park, which could be hugely beneficial if you plan to visit the park before the end of the holidays. There’s also a ‘pay for one, get one free’ deal for Legoland Windsor, which could really save you a lot of money as tickets for Legoland aren’t cheap.

If you’ve already got a holiday booked, you could really benefit from some of the other vouchers on VoucherBin, such as 80% off of airprot parking – a saving like that could really get your holiday off to an amazing start and will mean that you can drive yourselves and park in a safe place with no worries, rather than having to pay for transport to and from the airport.

The baby and child section is also full of deals which could make the back-to-school period a whole lot cheaper, like the deal which offers 40% off on shoes at Kids Factory Shoes – if you’ve got more than one child to clothe and shod before the start of term in September, a 40% saving could be a real bonus.

I highly recommend that you go and take a look at all of the vouchers available on the VoucherBin site. There seems to be a deal for just about anything you can think of and I’m certain that you’ll be hugely surprised by just how much money you could save for the rest of the school summer holidays and beyond. I know it’s practically illegal to mention the ‘C’ word this early in the year, but having seen some of the deals available, I’m genuinely considering starting my Christmas shopping already!

Do pop back and leave me a comment letting me know what bargains you’ve found!

Birthday Ideas for the Man in Your Life

I don’t know about you, but I find the men in my life really hard to buy for. Husband, my Dads, my FIL (whose birthday it is today, actually – Happy Birthday if you’re reading this, Rick!) – all of them leave me scratching my head when it comes to birthdays, Christmas and Father’s Day. Husband, I can sometimes work out as he has an Amazon Wishlist; something which has saved my skin on more than one occasion, but the rest of them leave me befuddled!

Just recently, the people at The Watch Hut asked me to take a look at their ranges, and in particular the mens watches really caught my eye; I’d imagined that they would all be mega expensive, especially when I saw brands like Armani and TAG Heuer, but there are actually some really nice, reasonably priced mens watches on the site. Here are a few of my favourites across the varying price ranges:

The Watch Hut
The Watch Hut by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

The Citizen watch (top left) is one that I can imagine giving as a Fathers’ Day present or even a retirement gift, with the classic style being perfect for these occasions. The Swatch watch in the middle of the top row would be perfect for the gym buff in your life as the pared-down style would go well with gym wear and it wouldn’t be too bulky to wear during exercise. Top right is the Oris watch – my choice if I were in a ‘money is no object’ situation!
The bottom row starts with the Casio G-Shock watch, a hard-wearing watch which would be perfect for the man with a manual job – G-Shocks are renowned for their toughness and wouldn’t be bothered by a bit of brick dust or engine oil! The middle of the bottom row is the PERFECT watch for the retro geek boy in your life – the Casio Calculator Watch will go down in history as one of the most memorable watches of all time! Finally, I chose the Armani watch – Husband has a blue suit in which he makes me go weak at the knees and this watch with its dark navy strap and low-key face would look perfect on his wrist.
So, there you have it – my guide to men’s watches. What do you think of my choices? What would you buy if money were no object?

Get £5 to spend at borntobeyoung.com!

Sausage is getting to an age now where clothes and fashion are of upmost importance. She loves nothing more than shopping for a new outfit and is never happier than when she’s allowed to choose her own clothes at the beginning of the day. In fact, fashion has seeped into other areas of her life too; she has her own laptop and can often be found playing various ‘dress-up’ games that she finds online, and is always asking me to tie or button something she’s dressed her dollies in.

She’s recently started taking an interest in Mummy’s work, and when I get the chance to do anything fashion related, she’s almost as enthusiastic as when she gets toys to review, so being asked to write about a new kids fashion site seems very appropriate for us at the moment!

Sometimes, being a blogger means that we get cool opportunities to have a sneak peek at new and exciting things, and today I’m able to pass that opportunity on to Mum’s the Word’s readers. The lovely people over at Born to be Young, the newest online retailer of kids clothing, is offering all lucky Mum’s the Word readers £5 to spend on their site, with no minimum spend, just because they’re feeling generous! Here’s what they told me about the site:

We are building something completely new in the children’s e-commerce sector as with Born to be Young mums (and dads ) can:

– save and endorse products they like through the lollipop button (when someone clicks on the lollipop, the product gets more “credit” and is saved in the mum’s profile)

– create a profile : see example here: https://www.borntobeyoung.com/profile/1

–  follow (designers and peers) and get followed

They’ve got some absolutely stunning outfits for girls and boys, plus a whole bunch of baby items, gifts, toys, decorations and so much more. Here’s a few of our favourites:

Born to be Young

There’s lots more to come on the site before its official launch but there’s items still plenty to see between now and then, and what’s already there gives you a really great example of the quality of the items that Born to be Young will offer.

To take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is head over to Born to be Young, register on the site and they’ll send you a code to the value of £5 for you to spend on anything you want on the site. Their kids clothes are absolutely to-die-for, but I’ve also got my eye on a few of their gorgeous ornaments, for when we move next month, too.

Once you’ve been over there for a look, do come back and tell me  what you thought of the site and what you bought (or are planning to buy!). I’d love to know what you all thought.

Happy shopping, dear readers!