Monday, 17 August 2015

Spend Free Week- Update

It was a success! Spend free week works! I have found my secret formula to spending less and saving more!

So here's what happened. In this post I talked about a new idea I had come up with based on my spending habits. The basic principle being that I FREAK out and buy everything in the first week of each month because I suddenly have cash monies. To avoid this, I decided to have a 'spend free week' the first week in each month. Jeez has it worked.

I wondered if this was going to be an initially successful venture that then kind of faded off as I forgot. So I set the week in my calendar so that it's always there as a reminder- I'm still in the 'spend free' week. I stuck to it, and just under two months later, I feel much more in control. I have more cash in my account than I have had for months (not loads, just more I hasten to add!) and am able to set aside more too.

Here's to saving! It helps that we are saving for our next trip. I don't want to jinx it and say anything about it yet, but we are hoping to book it in September for next February...fingers crossed! I'll let you know!


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Spend-free week

Stuff I'm NOT buying

So, I'm doing a new thing... it's to do with spending less. I have decided to dedicate the first week of each month to being 'spend free'.

This is my first time doing it.

It was an idea I had when I was coming up with some spending goals last month. I realised, probably like most people, that most of my impulse spending (most of my spending in general) happens within the first few days of the month. I guess for obvious reasons. I wanted to come up with a way to spread my money more, and just make sure that my spending is meaningful.

So, I picked up a notebook and have it on me. Whilst surfing the internet or instagram or pinterest, whenever I have the urge, I just write it down.

This has led to a laughable list of stuff that range from the ridiculous to the 'actually I might buy that in a week'.

This list is by no means represents everything I would have bought - even I can refrain from some things (apart from the notebook thing, I have waaaaay too many notebooks). However, the idea is to notice my urges and hopefully in a weeks time I may have separated the wheat from the chaff and only go for those wholewheat grains....that metaphor was awful. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I will let you know how it goes in a week's time when I have endured. My list will no doubt speak for itself.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Taking control of my spending

Cafe Rouge in St Albans- somewhere I spent money and QT with a friend this month. TOTALLY worth it.

Once again, I logged into my online banking account and *sharp intake of breath* had spent least £100 more than I thought I had. I've always had a bit of a dodgy relationship with money, something I'm working on. Yet it forever frustrates me when I discover that by the 9th of the month I have already gone too far! This post isn't on how I'm planning to be frugal or any quick fixes, it's some ideas for me to prevent my spontaneous spending. This has just tipped me over onto the panic stations setting when it comes to my money situation. And it's only the 9th...

So I'm going to implement a number of strategies:

1. Forgive myself- I've had an expensive month- hen do and some meals out to catch up with friends. They don't happen every month.

2. Cut back for the rest of the month now that those big expenses are done. I have £25 left in my purse from the hen weekend, I'm going to see how long I can make it last.

3. Longer term. I'm going to place an 'impulse spending ban' on the first week of each month. If I want something I'm going to have to wait until next week, by then I will have either decided against it or figured it's worth the investment.

4. Log my spending in a spreadsheet which is labelled with categories so that I can work out where the majority of my money goes- I'm going with food as a guess on this.

5. Again, longer term I am going to implement a budget for each of my main expenses each month, so it should look something like this for July - NB another expensive month...I'm going to Italy. However, forewarned is forearmed, so I will still budget for this.

I should point out that my partner is exceptionally good with money. So we share expenses for mortgage, food, diesel and joint ventures in a separate joint account. That means that in my personal account I only have the money left over after the big main expenses which will either go into the save or spend category. I'm trying to even out the ratio a little bit and think that awareness of where my money goes each month will help me to make some more sensible choices.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Green smoothies actually do taste good!

I know, I was surprised too. Very surprised to find that I actually like these smoothies! Not in the same way that I like green tea (tolerate), I actually enjoy and look forward to drinking them. I don't know what has happened!

After some pretty dodgy experiences with green smoothies, adding unsuitable ingredients and finding that they just didn't taste as good as the cheese on toast I love and crave, I just didn't drink them. Until....

My sister made me this awesome concoction which I have tweaked a little and I did some research...

1 cup almond milk
1 banana
2 brazil nuts
small handful pumpkin seeds
a pinch of cinnamon
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder

Since then, I just kept going. After checking out the site of these wonderful ladies, I discovered a formula! Since the discovery of this I tried and loved:

2 cups almond milk
2 cups spinach
1 banana
a pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder (these guys recommend hemp- I've never tried it so can't advise on that).
I also added 2 tsp of coconut oil (makes it a bit lumpy but worth it for the benefits.) 


1/2 large avocado or 1 small avocado
3 strawberries
a pinch of cinnamon2 handfuls spinach
scoop of protein powder
I can't wait to try this one with added cocoa powder!

I'm making one for breakfast for a co-worker tomorrow, I'm excited for her to try it and LOVE it just as much as I do. Have a go! Just make sure if you are using them to replace a meal that you add protein and lots of healthy fats. Happy blending!

Create your own yummy green smoothie with this awesome chart that breaks it all down.    —

Monday, 1 June 2015

The Martian


This book is set on Mars. The main character- Mark Watney is left stranded on the planet when his team have to evacuate the surface. The last time they see him, he is impaled on a pole and blown away in those strong Mars winds. So naturally the assume him to be dead. He manages to survive and has to figure out a way to live long enough to be rescued and a way to communicate with Earth to let them know he's still out there.

It's not a difficult book to get into, you are thrown straight in, it was one of the recent World Book Night reads, so I knew it would have a great hook. I wasn't disappointed. I read this within a few hours over the course of about a week, but I could definitely have sat down with a wheelbarrow of tea and chocolate and finished in one sitting. Doesn't life get in the way of a good book sometimes?!

It's not a challenging literary read, very plot driven, full of nerdy and sarcastic humour. There are a few moments where you are reading and you kind of go "how convenient!" that managed to survive, or he managed to make this from these two seemingly unrelated objects! Also, I'm not sure I would manage to be quite so upbeat after 900 days on Mars, I think the madness would begin to creep in....However, you really do root for this guy from the start, he's a great character.  A good book if you need something to take on your holiday, or something to lend to a book-a-phobe- they'll be straight in and hooked.

Don't be afraid to be confused

“Don't be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”  George SaundersThe Braindead Megaphone

I think recently there have been a lot of reasons I feel confused. I have changed careers, bought a house and begun a more committed stage in my life with my partner. It is no wonder that I freaked out a little bit recently and began to run away from a lot of the good things that have been happening. Before my minor freak out, I always thought I was a pretty good communicator, quite good at living in the moment and being present. Turns out that I was bottling a whole lot more than I realised.

I am coming to terms more and more with the idea of the quote above. The idea that it is ok not to know, it's ok not to have a plan, it's ok to just enjoy yourself and see how things go.

Most of my unhappiness comes from thinking too far into the future, creating issues and problems that aren't really there. Or comparing my life and people in my life with others. More and more I'm learning to live in the moment, and more and more I'm learning what that really means. 

Now that we have a house!

We are now moving onto bigger and better things, the blog will remain very similar- I will still be reviewing books, but I'm going to give it a bit of an overhaul. I want a prettier, more picture focused blog! Time to dedicate more time to my online writings and musings, so watch this space!