Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Spending spree...

I've been on one lately and it's made me realise a few things...

The minute I try and deprive myself of something it all goes wrong! 
For various reasons I have cut my hours at one of my jobs so I told myself I'd have a spending freeze to see if I could manage on the lower income - cue the spending spree. I'm lucky that I have some savings and so I just convinced myself that it was OK to dip into them. Needless to say I did!

I have no willpower!
Once I'd started I sort of convinced myself that as I'd broken the rule I might as well do it in style - ooh shiny thing yes please! (I'm the same with dieting, if I have something a little bit naughty in the morning then I've blown it for the day so go mad!)

I don't mind spending more to get good quality!
I've never had a lot of money. I was always the almost kid at school. I could never quite afford the 'in' thing so had the almost substitute (shell suit from Folkestone market anyone!) I convinced myself that if my £10 could get me 4 cheap t-shirts that was a bargain. In fact J and I used to have the argument at school - she'd laugh if she knew I'd come round to her way of thinking (£10 for one nice t-shirt) I also know that expensive doesn't always mean better (I know some companies charge a lot because of their name but the quality doesn't always match up!)

I'm overly influenced by the emails that bounce into my inbox on a far too regular basis and by social media.
If I don't know about it then I don't want it but as soon as that email / instagram photo / tweet / facebook post brings it too my attention I can't live without it (OK slight exaggeration but you see what I'm getting at!)

I don't still want to be decluttering when I'm 50!
I want to fill my home, wardrobe etc with less but better and with things that I will actually use and wear. You know it's bad when you take another batch of parcels to the post offie and they ask if this is all your stuff or if you go shopping and sell things on. Nope, all mine. I've got better but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

When I do shop it needs to be for the life I am living and not the one I think I ought to be.
I have one job where I work in an office built into the corner of a warehouse. It's a jeans and hoodies kinda job, some of the time in branded clothing. I may bring out a skirt or dress in the summer but it's a day to day comfy clothes kinda place. I have another job where I have to wear the clothes we sell, end of. I also have a third job for a couple of months in the summer, partly in a laid back office and partly in a field where no one gives two hoots what you're wearing. So yes, that Cath Kidston Bambi shirt seemed like a great idea when I bought it in December but it's now April and it hasn't left my wardrobe - it doesn't fit my life.

What am I going to do about all of the above?

I'm going to unsubscribe from those tempting emails. I'm going to stop following those tempting accounts on social media. This is the age of instant information - when I do truly need/want something I can look it up at the touch of a few keys. I can research. I can ponder. I might even find a different option/solution. But it will be to my timetable and my resources.

I'm going to think about the life I have when something does tempt me. This may not be where I thought I would be or where I ultimately want to be but it's where I am right now and right now is what matters. I can make changes to move this life in a different direction but buying a new shirt, faddy something isn't going to make it happen.

I will continue to declutter, donating, selling etc but I'm going to try not to instantly fill any space I make or spend any money that comes in. Slow and steady, thoughtful and researched.

I'm not going to stop spending as I already know that's a slippery slope but I want to change the emphasis instead. Rather than this or that gimmick or that 'almost' item I'll save up for something better. I'll have that one pair of custom made boots and wear them til they fall apart. Maybe I'll invest in me, better food, less screen time, a class, a hobby.

One step at a time...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Nine Outfits

I follow BuyMeOnce on various forms of social media. They curate both a UK and USA website of items built to last.  Clothing, bags, jewellery, kitchen ware, furniture, electrical -  you get the idea. Some of the items have lifetime guarantees, some offer a free repair service, some are made from recycled materials and some manufactured in the UK. No, they aren't cheap options, but if you get a lifetime guarantee or free repairs meaning you probably don't have to buy that item again - surely that's worth it.

Tara Button, the founder of the site, posted an article back in December that got me thinking - here's a little excerpt...

The more I found out about long-lasting products, the more I had my eyes opened to the horror of how damaging our buying habits are today. Since the 1930s, our spending has become more and more short term. Back then, the average person had nine outfits, and they’d repair and reuse them until they finally became rags to clean the oven with. Now we buy 59 pieces of clothing a year, and half of it ends up in landfill within 12 months. The pace of consumerism has made us all perpetually dissatisfied, increasingly lonely, debt ridden and anxious—not to mention the impact on the planet. 

Just 9 outfits - and look at me putting just in front of that, like I can't believe you could manage on 9 outfits.working in a clothes shop I am aware of the excess in my wardrobe. We have to wear current stock so have a uniform and discount allowance, but as items become unavailable we can't wear them anymore so I end up with a stash of clothes, some of which I have paid towards that I can no longer wear. Yes, some of it I keep but it isn't always to my taste and there's only so much too i a wardrobe. I've given stuff to firmed, and sent bag loads to the charity shops but I think this season I need to rethink.

This season I plan to shop smarter!! I don't want to be staring at a whole load of stuff again. If I'm going to spend my hard earned cash on it then it's got to be something I will continue to wear outside of work. I know I have a habit of shopping for the 'me I want to be' rather than the 'me I am'. (See the gorgeous pair of velvet trousers I bought before Christmas and haven't worn as an example) Yes, one day I may reach that dream point, but for now I need to be sensible and practical! I want to stop with the 'special occasion' items - less of the wearing 20% of the clothes 80% of the time. If I own it I want to be wearing it. Not sure I'll ever be a 9 outfits kinda girl but who knows where it might lead.

And yes - I post this out into the world so that you can hold me accountable (especially if you work with me and I'm getting my bank card out!)

Maybe you'll spot me shopping in those velvet trousers soon...

Here's a pic of my recently Son Mari'd t-shirt/pj drawer (post was looking a bit dull without a piccie!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019 Word of Intent

I've noticed over the last few years that many people ditch the New Years Resolutions and come up with a word to shape their year instead. I've done it a couple of times. I hadn't even thought about it for 2019 until someone I follow posted theirs. Then I read Michelle Obama's book 'Becoming' and thought that would be a good one - but it didn't really fit. I didn't give it much thought to be honest, but as I was lying in bed last night after watching the London fireworks and waiting for the local ones to quieten down a few words floated through my head.
Now that one really struck a chord. TIME. 2018 was a hectic year. Three jobs over the summer. Extra hours at the shop covering for staff shortages. It just felt generally full on. And I know part of that is my own fault for offering to fill in when someone went sick, for saying yes when asked to do extra and that's OK. We're a team, we help each other out but I need to get better at balancing my time. Boss number two takes the mickey that if she gives me more than one day off I get sick - and it's generally true. If I stop, it all catches up. So I need to take time for me, not a lot, but a bit more often!
Time to do what I want to do, and if that is sit in bed all day and read my book, then not feel guilty about the hoovering or ironing I should be doing. Going for a walk by the water and not worrying about all the 'I should be doings'.
Maybe I'll find myself a hobby. Learn something new. Write on here a bit more often!
Maybe time will find me traveling, spending time with friends and family, getting outside more - whatever it ends up looking like I'm looking forward to carving out some of it for me!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Everything you asked for?

Yesterday I was asked if I got 'Everything you asked for for Christmas?'...and it led me to realise I hadn't asked for anything. With Mum's dementia and the distance she sent me some money. My siblings and I don't do 'real' asked for presents, just small tokens that we think the other will like. The same with friends that buy for me, it's not an 'asked for' kinda gift, more a 'saw this and thought of you'.
And it got me asked for gift will be 'right' and the giver will know the receiver will like it but isn't there something more personal in the gift that isn't asked for. That has been thought about, and the question asked - 'Will C like this?' - 'Would she get it for herself?' - 'Is this something C would use?'
I guess it feels more personal. 
The Unicorn spot the difference book and a book about being messy in a tidy minded world from my best Uni friend and her family - an escape from the everyday and a bit of silly. 
Unicorn themed shower gel, foam burst and a body puff, with a chocolate unicorn from my oldest friend - sounds like a nice relaxing bath and some me time. 
The home made Christmas pudding, marmalade and chutney, along with a box of posh chocolates and a book by a new to me author from my Landlords (whose library I regularly raid) - sounds like an afternoon on the sofa lost in another world.
The selection of beauty/chill out goodies (face mask, hand cream, tea light) a posh tea and some coffee syrups from a colleague who is now a friend - sounds like a nice evening in pampering myself.
A homemade Christmas tree shaped storage box full of chocolates from my great nieces - homemade and chocolate win win.
So no, I didn't get what I asked for, I got what I didn't know I wanted...

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Comings and goings...

I bumped into someone I hadn't seen for about 5 years at the weekend. Back then they were quite a big bit of my life but for various reasons we lost touch and left it that way. It was quite a shock to see them and after chatting for a few minutes we both went back to what we had been doing.
I realised that none of the people I was working with that day had any idea who this person was. My sister would probably recognise the name but I don't think she ever met the person. I could only think of one person in my life right now who knew them, and even they didn't know them that well, and it got me thinking how people come and go from our lives. The one person that I would have liked to chat to about the meeting no longer speaks to me as his wife doesn't like me (at least I think that's why)
It got me thinking about other people that have come and gone from my life. Some of them were my whole life, or so it seemed at the time, yet now they are just a chapter (albeit a long and important one) along the way.
Is there anyone you can depend on being in your life forever, except yourself? I don't mean that in any sort of morbid way but are there truly any constants? There I are people I would hope would be a part of my life all the time we're both here but disagreements happen, relationships change, people move away...
I don't know the answer I just know that it got me thinking!!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

2018 Reading

As you all know I love a good book and am happy to give pretty much anything a try. I can't go past the local charity shop without popping in to see what they've got and probably buy something on most occasions! I'm trying however to work my way through what I've got (although I know some will still sneak in!)
This will be a list of what I've read this year. I'll post it in sections - this is beginning of January to the end of April.

I've read quit a few Ken Follett books and have enjoyed them all - this one was no exception. I love the way he weaves actual factual historical events with fictional characters and their interactions with the big players (Churchill pops up frequently in this one).
I'd been wanting to read this and the sequel for ages and having managed to pick up the other one in a charity shop I bit the bullet and bought the eBook of this one so I could read them in the right order. I've liked Rob Lowe for a while and watching The West Wing a few years back made me intrigued again. It was an interesting read as he moved in interesting circles (he used to spend a lot of time as a kid hanging out with Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez and therefore their Dad Martin Sheen who he played alongside in The West Wing). The writing itself wasn't brilliant (in my humble opinion) but the subject matter and stories were enough to keep me hooked.

The follow up to the above. It did feel a bit like another bite at the money apple but there were new stories and having picked it up in the charity shop it was an interesting enough read!

Picked up in the charity shop. Never heard of the author but it was nice and cheap and as I said I'm always up for something new (and three books for £2!). Basically whodunnits set in the world of sports representation (a new one on me). Enjoyed the writing and didn't suss out who the killer was until the reveal which is always a bonus - will definitely keep an eye out for any more of his books.

Another charity shop bargain - 50p for a trilogy. The author's name rang a bell but the mention of witches and magic had me all in. I really enjoyed this trilogy and will definitely be on the lookout for more by Anne Bishop. She turns the norm on it's head here by having the women in charge and men drawn to serve. Of course that doesn't necessarily work out (bad apples and all that) but it makes for an interesting backdrop. The characters are great and there is a lot of humour that I find can be missing in some fantasy books. It's also very dark in places and keeps you on the edge of your seat - I really did have trouble putting it down (but had to as it's a big old book!)

This one I got for two reasons - the authors wife was pushing it on her Facebook group (as any good wife would) and it was 99p on Kindle! A fairly quick read it tells the story of the morning of events from the different perspectives of the four main characters involved in the story. The couples day starts as it normally would and then takes a dramatic twist when they answer the door. It's an easy read and did catch me out at the end, a bit dark in places with some dubious content in my opinion. I won't rush out to buy any more from him but if they come up cheap again I probably wouldn't pass it up either.

I was looking for a book to have on my phone for my cruise and the first in this series came up as free option when I was having a browse so I thought why not - got me hook line and sinker and now I've paid for the other 10! This is number 11 and I've just spotted that they are up to 13 so I'll have a couple more to buy when I finish this one!! The main character is a female FBI agent who, with help from colleagues, solves a crime (murder) in each book. They work as standalone stories but also have an ongoing background story that might confuse a little if you haven't read them in order. They are easy to read and a good bit of escapism with short chapters so it's easy to pick up and put down. I'll probably download the newest two for my break in London next week - so much lighter than 'real' books to pack!!
This is Sarah Millican's autobiography and I was looking forward to it - unfortunately I just couldn't get on with the writing style at all. I don't know what it was about it! Made it page 41 of 298 and had to admit defeat - shame!

See - told you I'd have to play catch up - another great, quick, read. The back story continues to pootle along underneath the solving of the current serial killer case. The next book is pre-ordered for July!
Pretty sure this was a cheapie on iBooks and that's a good thing. It was an ok chick lit story but kinda went the way you expected it to and the stopped - no real ending. Wouldn't recommend it!
Another cheapie - Kindle this time - this was quite a sad story, and just proves that you need to communicate with the important people in your life!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Come on Spring

It's always about this time of year that I start to dream of Spring, lighter evenings, warmer temperatures, just generally less ugh!! I know we're the right side of the Winter Solstice and the days are getting longer but I want them to hurry up already! 

In preparation - or to fake it for now - I've given my few plants some TLC

This is the before shot. The back row is a plant I picked up in Poundland, ages ago for 50p and somehow its still going! My miniature rose. A dead herb (can't even remember which one!) All are in charity shop pots and haven't be re-potted in an age - nor have they had new soil or any food!! The glass bulb at the front contains a succulent of some sort I got in Wilkos and the plant in the square pot was donated to me by N, again no idea what it is!

And here we have them re-potted - larger pots and new soil! The dead herb got binned! Unfortunately in the process of re-potting the little one I knock all it's leaves off so that may be heading in the same direction! All the plants then got new locations...

This little guy needs some friends (or maybe replacements!)

This one gets pride of place in my new planter from Leela on Magdalen Road

One on the photo shelf

Can you see the rose hiding on the bookcase? After doing all that I decided the planter out on the balcony fire escape needed some lovin' too so that got all the dead plants and live weeds pulled out, new soil put in and now it's ready for me to come up with a low level plant/bulb to put in it! No before pic but here it is after...

There is definitely something great about getting your hands dirty!