Showing posts with label Random ramblings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Random ramblings. Show all posts

Monday, 20 August 2012

Where has August gone?

I'm not sure where to even begin...the last time I blogged was exactly a month ago. The break wasn't intentional but I just felt I couldn't continue documenting every tiny thing as I was getting frustrated with things not happening quicker, so I'll try to start at the beginning where I left off what's been happening. 

My new toy :)
First of all I handed my notice in at my last job, and despite the team dropping down from three to one they were prepared to let both myself and my manager walk away. Fine. The worst bit, they hardly even bothered to speak to us before our last days, which coincidentally were just one day apart. Then a few days before he was about to leave they said he could come back. 

Needless to say I wasn't very happy about the situation with the management, but the rest of the teams I had worked with over the last eleven months were lovely.  The people I worked with have a collection whenever someone leaves, and they bought me this Kindle case as well as a £10 amazon voucher so I could get downloading and reading straight away which I thought was pretty nice.

So, prior to handing my notice in myself and some of the other 'grads' spent about six weeks orgainising an office Olympics, which unveiled the bossiness in some. Anyways, at the final event we were all given £75 worth of vouchers to spend as a thank you which I thought was pretty nice. I was going to spend it on new work clothes as mine were looking worse for wear and wanted to look presentable when I started my new job. Then I thought, why not spend it on something I wouldn't buy myself... like a Kindle? 

I voiced my thoughts to the BF, to his horror as he was planning to buy me one as a present with the extra money from his new paycheck. I was never keen on the idea of the Kindle, thinking what's wrong with a good old book. But I didn't expect to love it as much as I do, haha. I find I can hold it one handed so read much quicker and I think its actually more enjoyable to read on. So much so I whizzed through the Hunger Games trilogy in just a few weeks. I read the majority during my week and a half off, and whilst we went to Bournemouth for a long weekend. (I'm now saving the vouchers to use as presents instead). 

Beautiful Bournemouth
The weekend away was part of my birthday present to my BF, along with some Lyle and Scott t-shirts and socks- they had a 50% off sale on their existing sale if that makes sense so I bagged some pretty good bargains there. Secondly, the weekend away was purchased through one of those gift websites, but luckily I have a friend that works there who was willing to give me his 30% discount code. 

One day at work the deal popped into my inbox, £100 for two nights stay in a three star spa hotel with breakfast too, which after the discount came to £70. I also made use of the free tickets for SW trains that they gave me when I bought my season ticket so our travel there and back cost absolutely nothing. It was so nice to get away, have some time together, the rain held off all weekend and we even managed a swim in the heated outdoor pool! 

BT Live- London 2012 

We spent the rest of our week off together cycling about, pottering around and generally enjoying each others company. One day though I did venture into central London to meet an old uni friend. We went to BT Live to watch the Olympics on the big screens. She had just got back from holiday and constantly is at her overdraft limit so we thought it would be a nice, cheap day out. 

I packed a picnic but when we got there we were told that we weren't allowed to bring food or drink in. We sat outside along with all the other people cramming ourselves with food to avoid wasting it before heading through security to watch the games and to see some cheesy boy band and Alexander Burke. Once again, despite threatening to rain the sun came out- yay! 
Practicing my portraits 
Hmm, what else.. ok. So the BF got his first paycheck, and enjoyed his first month as the breadwinner, a feeling I think we both enjoyed. He then got £300 a few days ago for the scrap copper they pulled out the air con units, so this month has doubled his old salary. 

He's so excited, has opened his ISA, put £1000 away so far and has paid me back a chunk of the money he owed me for paying his credit card off earlier in the year. He's going to give me the last £135 on Friday when he gets paid and he'll be debt free :) I had to 'borrow' the money from him this month because I had to pay back my season ticket loan, meaning I had to pay for six months worth of travel all in one paycheck. Needless to say, I havn't been able to put any money into my ISA this month, but will be putting my 'travel' money in whenever I get paid to make it up. 

Sunday afternoon photo session x

I think now he's earning more (for now anyways due to getting paid more to work nights) meaning he can contribute towards our deposit a bit he's getting used to the idea of buying a property and that it might actually happen, and he was even looking online the other day too at a property website whereas before it was always me getting excited and planning. 

Finally it was time to go back to work- I've been at my new place for nine days now and I didn't realise it would be so surreal and hard trying to learn all the new processes, finding out where all our log ins etc are kept on the shared computer drive, even the new journey has thrown me. 

I can't get the tube anymore so have been getting the bus, which has been kind of annoying. The queues are rediculously long in the morning, and there is so much traffic. However, today I managed to walk without getting lost which took me half an hour and is quite a good work out too. I tried walking home, but bumped into someone I used to work with and got all confused and lost my bearings :S. 

Coupled with the fact its been horrendously busy due to about ten different university clearing campaigns going live on the same day I've been pretty tired when I get home, especically as I hardly ever leave on time anymore. But the time flies by, unlike my last job which is always a good thing right?

Ok so I hope I havn't bored you too much, I think I'll be posting more regularly again now I'm hoping to get back into my old routine.  

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

July's happiness revolution

Happy 4th July everyone- if you can believe it's July with all the rain we've been having. Anyway, moving swiftly onto this month's good stuff... here goes!

1. Looking forward to a birthday surprise weekend away in Bournemouth I booked for the beginning of August with the BF. I planned it so we can make use of the free south-west train tickets I got through buying my annual season ticket, and so that it is in the middle of my two weeks off work.

2. My mum confirming my parents will be able to give us at least £5,000 towards buying a property next year.

3. A girlie university reunion taking place on Saturday night- we haven't been all together in about three years so should be super exciting!

4. Reading the 50 shades of grey trilogy; I treated myself to these as well as the first hunger games book from Waterstones last week when I got paid. At £23 they were kind of a treat for me and my bookshelf. It's been so good to get into a book again that holds my attention.

5. Quality time at the weekend with the BF, never before in our four and a half years of being together have we had this. Last weekend was so nice.

6. Two weeks off work at the end of the month.

7. A surprise job opportunity presenting itself to me last week, fingers crossed it pans out as I hope.

8. Making more progress using my DSLR camera manually. I need to keep practicing as my Aunt has roped me into taking photos of her wedding in November, where I'm also a bridesmaid :S

9. Completing another shoestring month within my allocated budget, and being one month closer to our/my? goal.

10. Listening to the sound of morning rain while dozing in the morning. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

I haven't posted in a little while, it seems my creative efforts are being poured into my photography at the moment; as I seem determined to overcome my fear of using the manual settings on my SLR camera. I mean I was given my camera after bugging my Mum & Dad for a proper camera just over a year and a half ago which they bought me as a combined birthday/Christmas present. Its time to move on from the auto function.

I've been researching settings on the net and trying new things; I've posted some of my personal favourites for you to see. Anyways, I've also been getting these horrible migraine type headaches, I'm not sure whether its the weather or related to the contraceptive pill I'm on but whatever it is I've not been feeling myself for the last few weeks.

On the finance front I picked up about ten extra hours of bar work over the jubilee weekend, which always comes in handy and will cover expenses such as Father's day presents etc and my sister's birthday present. I also did a mystery shop in the week, and my Quidco has updated to confirmed, now I just need the payment run to run smoothly and for the money to actually materialise into my bank account.

I also went to another media music quiz, this time we came second taking home with us a bottle of champagne each which will be saved for possibly my Mum & Dad's wedding anniversary. My name was also pulled out of the hat to win a spot prize- I won a three month subscription to premium Spotify (an online music streaming service) worth £30.

Not much else to say; there's another two weekends left before payday; one will be spent bridesmaid shopping with the family and at my sister's birthday BBQ and one will be spent with an old friend in Kingston. I think I should make it through as I have about £140.00 left.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The beauty of the humble voucher

These were taken Sunday morning waiting for the parentals to arrive x

So the music quiz came and went, I enjoyed a good night with good food, drink and company and as a bonus our team won so we took home a bottle of champagne to share, a vintage radio and £25.00's worth of 'Love to shop' vouchers each. Not bad for an evenings work, and Radio Works (the media hosting) are thinking of holding a quiz ever month too. I'm thinking of using £20 of vouchers to pay for a present for my Dad's birthday which is at the beginning of May, and save £5 to put towards something for my sister's birthday present which is in June.

Thursday I was off work so enjoyed a bit of a lazy day as it was raining for most of the day. In the evening I went to see a free screening of the teen thriller 'Elfie Hopkins' which was pretty scary, and some parts I was hiding behind my coat. The film was ok watching, but I wouldn't have bothered paying the £10.00 for a ticket to watch it.
Literally, sunshine through the window...

Then afterwards myself and my housemate did a food shop at Asda; I allowed myself one basket only and managed to squeeze a weekly shop in, which came to £30- it's definatley the way forward. I've had a quick meal pre-plan and I reckon it will be enough food to see us through until next Thursday evening.

Then Friday evening, I was meant to be going out for dinner with a friend but she ended up in A&E so after a fleeting visit to make sure she was ok while she was waiting I went to the pub for something to eat and a few drinks. I had set aside £20.00 for the eve, but only spent £16.00 including my food so had £4.00 left over.

Then saturday I went to have my hair cut, I had allowed myself £35.00 from  the money I picked up the week before working at the pub and it came in at £32.00, so I have a whole £7.00 to last until payday in two days time, then I'll have hit my £10k mini target.

Today my family came up as my sister had one of those photo shoot make over things in Richmond so I went with her while my Mum and Dad visited Ham House. The shoot was pretty cringy and I was glad it wasn't me the photographer was prodding about and telling me to look sexy. I was also dreading the viewing, which the M&D came in for as I have experienced the aggressive selling techniques these places employ before as they to try and get you to buy their photos.

Needless to say it came, the photographer was really trying to sell his images, saying how lovley the shots were etc, then the prices came and my Dad nearly fainted- £85.00 for one A4 image or £400+ for about five- what a rip off!

They declined the images you had to pay for, selected their one favourite which was free and we were hurried out the studio as the photographer slammed the keyboard on the 'don't save' icon after they wouldn't part with their cash, and I for one don't blame them! Above is a few pics I took of the shoot behind the scenes.

Has anyone else had one of these shoots and been completely taken aback by the ridiculous prices??!

Friday, 13 April 2012

I've been a bad blogger...

I got home last night and my adsense account had been disabled due to invalid clicks... I guess that's what happens then lol. Never mind, was worth a go...back to the saving grindstone.

Happy frugal Friday 13th (eek!) x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Food glorious foooddd.....

Over the last few days we have been using up whatever food has been lurking in the fridge, freezer and my desk draws before going shopping tonight.

Last night I didn't bother making a packed lunch as I still had half a portion of the pasta I made the other week still at work, some olives, some water biscuits, hot cross buns and some apples at work.  Slowly over the day I intend to eat most of this list, despite the randomness of different tastes.

This week I have had to throw out a little less food wastage, I think only a carton of left over chocolate milk bought on impulse from the Co-Op downstairs. And I think from now on I'll start using my credit card to pay for the food shop and transfer the money from the joint account to pay for it as this benefits us in three ways; it shows that I am able of borrowing more money and repaying it, it will show how much we spend on food over the course of a month and I don't have to use my credit card for things that aren't really essential.

As the 10k target gets closer I'm itching for payday to come which is in two weeks so I can say I have achieved it (even though we still have a way to go on the saving front, the majority is probably done :)).

I'm finding that I'm getting a bit bored in the evenings at the moment, where I'm cutting back on my spending whereas before I never got bored and always felt like I had lots to do, so I think that's why I'm getting more impatient. But I keep reminding myself, in a few weeks we are already four months through the year and there's only eight more to go.

Does anyone else have a relatively short saving target they are itching to reach? and the more impatient I'm getting the more I want to cut back to reach it quicker, but there's only so much you can cut back on. Patience is a virtue after all, and the good things in life are worth waiting for.

Luckily over the next few weeks I can make use of free tickets I've accumulated; two free VIP tickets for the funfair (we plan to go Friday night should the weather hold up), two free cinema tickets courtesy of a work colleague who got them from Sky and a free pub quiz, with free food and drink which is being held by a media company next Wednesday which I plan to take full advantage of- I've even booked the next day off of work!

Here's to the next two weeks xx

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has arrived in London!

I love it when the sun shines and all the cherry blossoms bloom! I took these pics before meeting a friend in Putney yesterday. We had a few drinks whilst enjoying the sun walking next to the river which was lovely. I love these colours and think it would possibly make quite a nice bedroom colour scheme one day....

I love it when the sun shines and all the cherry blossoms bloom! I took these pics before meeting a friend in Putney yesterday. We had a few drinks whilst enjoying the sun walking next to the river which was lovely. I love these colours and think it would possibly make quite a nice bedroom colour scheme one day....

Anyways, payday came around on Friday and with that the ticker gets updated. So if my calculations are correct this is how much I've saved so far (including the BF's credit card repayments which will end next January)

Things on the money front are coming along fairly well I think, besides having to throw some food out earlier on in the week; a new tub of Heinz 'fridge' beans that I forgot were ours which were growing mould, some out of date eggs which were put on someone elses shelf and forgotten about after doing a big shop, a carton of gone off pomegranete juice, blood orange juice and chocolate milkshake.

Things I'll take from this is to keep control of the shopping by not buying such big shops as we don't get round to eating it, not buying items to try which may end up being wasted and keeping all our items on the bottom shelves so I can actually see what we have.

Friday was our two housemates birthday drinks, I managed to dodge the offers of shots with the urges to 'live a little'...hmmphh! and only had two bottle of cider (I don't know how it lasted for the few hours we were there-I guess you get quite a lot in each bottle). I had budgeted £30 for the night, but only spent a fiver- result!

Today I have put this dress on Gumtree to try and sell for £50, like the other dress it came from New York's Greenwich Village and unlike eBay Gumtree doesn't charge you to advertise. I also took advantage of this websites offer of 50 free prints when you sign up, I've signed up with a new email address about four times now.

 I plan on making a border of photos around our room seeing as we're going to be here for another year. Other than that I've sorted out our room for the week, done two loads of washing and may head to the park to start reading 'The time travellers wife' in the sun before cycling up to meet the BF from work. Hope you're all enjoying the sunny weather, Happy Sunday! x

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The 2012 budget changes,,, what it means for me

If what I can make of the reports is true I think due to the increase in the amount you can earn before tax I should be approximately £12 better off per month as of next month, I think. That's a whole £144 per year each and £288 between me and the BF which isn't too bad.

Although the price of cigarettes is going up by 37p hitting BF in the pocket. I want him to give up, but he doesn't want to even though on some days he forgets to smoke lol.

In other news our council tax has also dropped from £164 per month to £135 so we should be slightly better off there too. It all adds up, and as everyone here and at Tesco knows 'every little helps'. I'm hoping the BF doesn't notice the decrease in the council tax so I can squirrel away the excess into the holiday fund without hurting our pockets too much.

The weather is getting much nicer so this morning I caught the early train and walked from Waterloo to Tottenham Court Road. I'm considering refunding my tube train and bus travel card and getting an overground only rail pass as its almost £400 cheaper a year, money I could use for a holiday or car insurance. I also know my walking routes to and from work now so it doesn't seem as daunting as when I first started working in the city last October.

I think I may inquire at the train station at the weekend to see if its worth getting it changed over and I'll have to check with HR too to see if my monthly re- payments can be altered, as I know that they can be difficult in accommodating admin changes outside of the 'allocated window'.

Anyways, its been a fairly good month money wise, I think I've put almost £800 into various saving pots thanks to my interest payment. So here's to limping through to payday, eating carrot soup lunches (only the one jar remains of the batch I made the other week) I think I'm going to have a lovely golden glow come the end of the year from all the carrots I've eaten hehe- who needs a pricy spray tan?! 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunny Sundays

I woke up this morning after a lovely lay in around 10am. The sun was shining through the window and from inside it looked like perfect picnic weather, except my BF had been at work since 7am and still isn't home :( I really hate the lack of weekend time we have together. Yesterday he had the whole day off, so in the week we started to plan our first Saturday together in ages....then I remembered I said I would work behind the bar at the rugby match.

Any hows, the sunlight looked perfect for a spot of early spring photography except I felt like I couldn't really move from my cosy bedroom. So I thought I would try to get some of my iPhone photos printed here there's a deal where you can get 50 free prints when you sign up...I've signed up about three times now lol with different email addresses.

Not being very technically minded I struggled to import my pics from the phone to the comp so uploaded them to the blogger phone app and saved them to the desktop. I thought I'd get the pics printed off and stick them on the top sticky out bit of the wall of our room now as we are almost certain we'll be staying here for the next year. So that's the reason for the last post consisting of my images.

As the clock neared almost three thirty I thought to myself I have to get motivated and sort stuff out for the upcoming week. Usually I get all that stuff out the way in the morning leaving the rest of the day to relax, so I started by putting a loaf on to bake, changing the bed sheets, sticking a washing load on, folding the dry washing, wiping the dust off the surfaces and finally hoovering the hall and the bedroom.

I also made use of some bread crumbs I made the other week out of a stale garlic and coriander naan bread left in the cupboard. I defrosted some white fish, pressed it in flower, dipped into beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs. I then made sweet potato wedges and put both in the oven, which was accompanied with beans.

Though productive I wanted to go swimming to make the most of my gym membership, or cycle up to meet BF from work and make the most of the daylight. Both haven't happened, but I think sometimes I put a little too much pressure on myself to achieve everything on my lists, so enjoying the rest of my day off with the BF before stepping back on the hamster wheel again is my priority.

In other news, last week I walked past an electronic store on Tottenham Court Road that buys old and broken laptops. I'm going to wipe everything off mine (with help from BF) and take it in tomorrow to try and pick up some extra pennies for it as its just sitting under the bed collecting dust at the moment.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blog layouts

I can't decide on which layout I like most- does anyone have any ideas? Please share your thoughts x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Financial update

Last night I asked my BF to put some body lotion on this very small patch of dry skin at the bottom of my back. I handed him a tube of body lotion which I had cut the top off to get to the lotion which just will not squeeze out the tube no matter how hard you try. And he says to me 'Are you on some kind of super-saving spree?' So I replied, 'I just don't like waste' hehe. He's only just noticed.

On another note at the weekend my mum gave me cash for my Bluewater Christmas vouchers, despite protesting slightly. I have also re-ordered a new card and pin number for my personal Barclays account which I haven't used in years. When it arrives, and payday is finally here I plan to work out my disposable income for the month after putting any money into my ISA and putting the spare money into the account so I know exactly how much I have to play with. I have been having to account for the weekly direct debits which leave and go into our joint account as well as taking into account the regular standing orders which are going out such as rent and mobile phone bill. This way should be much easier. I am also intending to start my pension plan through work but am a little concerned that people have lost thier money when companies go bust...what to doo? I have to decide by the end of the week.

I have also set up a saving account which £20 per month goes into from our joint account. Its flexible so if there is more fundage available I/we? can just transfer this in as and when to put some money aside for our holiday towards the end of the year (hopefully!).

Finally, I was reading a blog earlier and saw that one blogger recommended placing a dishwasher tablet into the toilet cistern so that every time you flush it cleans the loo. Does anyone else do this? After sitting on our downstairs loo seat and cracking it in half (eek! didn't realise they were sooo flimsy and yet so expensive to replace!) I don't want to break anything else in the house that I would have to replace if I were to damage it. We have a whole bag of dishwasher tablets sitting underneath our sink not doing anything as our last flat had a dishwasher, and this one sadly doesn't.

Oh, while we are on the subject I have been reading everywhere that landlords are not renewing rental contracts in the months running up to the Olympics and are planning on doubling rents in some parts to cash in on the games. Our contract is up for renewal at the end of May, and so the seed of worry has started growing in my mind that we may have to move yet again....*sign*.

Besides the financial cost of having to cough up yet more money to cover estate agent fees our furniture has tripled in the space of a year and the location is so good for me, just a three minute walk from the station with a direct link taking 35 minutes into London Waterloo. I'm seriously hoping we can stay put, even if the rent does go up just a little bit.

 In an ideal world myself and my BF would just move back to my parents to save for our own place, but this would involve some major disruption to our lives as he would have to transfer his place of work and I have no idea where all our furniture would go as I have fitted wardrobes in my bedroom and no place for a double bed. I seriously hope it doesn't come to that. Watch this space folks.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Slowly but surely the tortoise wins the race....

The season ticket loan has finally come through, a few weeks late damn the finance department. It was a good job I had some funds saved to fall back on. Anyways, I've put the whole amount back into the ISA making up an extra £240, meaning the little turtle that lives on my ticker has inched along a little further.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

January blues

I think I, like most people am experiencing the post-Christmas January blues. You know the feeling when payday seems sooo far away, and there's less going into your savings at the end of the month because of the festive period.

Rather than getting on with it like I have been doing for the last year and enjoying the little things I keep getting preoccupied with buying stuff, stuff I don't really need and that I know won't make me happy. Stuff like Kindles and touch screen e-readers, iPads and getting my hair cut and coloured even though I only had it cut in late December. It's not that I'm feeling particularly unhappy as such, it just seems that because of buying the computer which ate up £440.00 and having to pay out for some of my annual season ticket (just over a couple of hundred) and the BF still owes me £200 it kind of seems at the back of my mind its like to hell with it this month, in for a dollar in for a pound.

Then Miss Sensible comes along and explains that its silly to think like that, and once the £200 is repaid to me, I get my season ticket loan from work and my sister gives me cash for my vouchers things will probably be ok and I can stash away a couple of hundred into the ISA at the end of the month- eeking me nearer to a total of £7,000. Not a huge sum of money but I'm kind of pleased that its making progress, slowly but surely.

Whats making me feel a bit better is that most people seem to be in the same boat with many of my co-workers discussing plans for the weekend involving nothing too exciting, complaining that they're broke. Last night one of my best friends came over and I cooked home made nachos with cheese and salsa to start and then home made, from scratch chicken and sweetcorn pizza. We chatted on the sofa eating away, and even though my dough didn't rise for some reason, making the pizza extra thin and crispy we ended up feeling sleepy, stuffed and happy.

Today I had plans to get up bright and early to go to a Zumba class at my gym, but yesterday I forgot to book and it was full at 8am this morning. Instead, I started a lethally addictive game of Simms 3 (borrowed) which I sat glued to for the whole morning. I forced myself to switch it off as the bedroom needed sorting out, and other house bits needed doing.

When everything was done I made another big batch of soup, which made five portions. Considering the whole bag of carrots cost 75p I think that's pretty good going.  All I needed extra was a couple of sweet potatoes, a stock cube, half an onion and one roasted pepper (from the jars). So that's lunch sorted for the next week. I also picked up some pretty good bargains (I think anyways) in the Sainsburys local opposite my work. The big Christmas boxes of Jacobs crackers were reduced to £1.20 so I bought two, the carrots, four or five apples which were pretty nice for £1 and a six pack of McCoys crisps a snip at 94p.

At the moment I feel a bit like that fish from the Disney film Finding Nemo who is told 'just keep swimming... just keep swimming..just keep swimming...'

If anyone else feels the same feel free to let me know.....xx

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I've just shifted some money around in my accounts so that I wouldn't be tempted to spend it anymore and now have the grand total of £6,662.00in my savings account so the little turtle has made some progress. This last few days I've been itching to shop for myself as I recently cleared out my wardrobe and draws of items which had seen better days and think I needed to replace a few bits.

I managed to resist popping down Oxford Street at lunch (mainly due to it being so cold) but last night after having my hair cut in Wimbledon I was left waiting for the BF, so naturally headed to the shopping centre to keep warm. I caught the last 15 minutes of H&M being open, hit their sale section and found a set of black fur trimmed mittens and black bobble hat for a fiver. This purchase I do feel was actually pretty necessary as my one pair of mittens were beige and falling apart (they'll go in the bin today) and my one bobble hat was a cream bear hat with pom-pom ears which were starting to come off- neither of which went with my new elegant black coat. My hands were also getting really chapped from the cold spell we are experiencing at  the moment, and the hat will help to keep my body heat in.

However, I also spotted a sparkly silver jumper I had eyed on a colleague at work that had caught my eye (the human-magpie effect!) which was priced £15.00 so I gave in and took it to the till- I thought it would be nice to wear on Christmas day.

Then, I was really hungry by this point and needed something to eat. All the available options didn't seem to appealing; the usual fast food outlets, supermarket pre-packaged sandwiches etc. so I opted for quite a bad choice on reflection- a Gregs steak bake. However, you had to spend a minimum of £3.00 to pay by card so I wound up walking away with a steak bake, festive bake and a mince pie...hmmm. Fairly annoying as I had already preprepared my dinner of steamed fish and green veg which was at sitting at home in the fridge-but such is life.

Myself and the BF went for a few drinks, but the pubs were crowded there was nowhere to sit/stand without being in someones way so around eleven made our way home. I thought that as our joint account is back in the black this week we would use that but we shared the cost between our personal accounts, so that was another £9.00 I hadn't planned on spending- think it might have been nicer to share a bottle of wine at home!

So the excess money is in my savings account, there is £100 left in there at the moment and half of my recent purchases haven't yet come out. I've also just remembered I need to buy another weekly travel card at £47.00 for the week- eek.

Left to pay
47.00-travel card
£25.00-hair cut
£20.00- H&M clothes (jumper is going back as looks awful on!)
£20.00- National Geographic subscription
£9.00- drinks out
£10.00- dinner out today
£3.00- Gregs

That's £15.00 (well it was if I was keeping the jumper!) over my budget which is what I originally anticipated so that's fine. I've also got a few shifts lined up at the pub over the week I'm off including New Year's Eve which I was umming and ahhing what to do, whether to work or go out. However, tickets to where I was meant to be going was about £20-£25, plus all the travel and drinks on top, plus I didn't fancy having to wait for two night buses in the cold. So I should have a little extra in January to cover these little overdraft inducing treats.

Right that's enough of me going on, does anyone have anything nice planned for this weekend? x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Happy Hump day folks

Santander finally came through and managed to send both my debit card and pin number to the right address- it took almost two months needless to say I have been less than impressed with their 'services'. It's been so long since I could just pop across the road to Sainsburys for food at work it was quite a luxury to scour the shelves today.

I've given myself £75.00 to last until payday next Wednesday, and so far this week I have spent almost £25.00. Yesterday I ordered my Dad a 'National Geographic' subscription for the year which was a reasonable price of £19.00, included in this price is a fleece, ideal for wearing to work on cold days and out walking/cycling at the weekends as well as a world map. I thought it was an unusual and much more thoughtful present than the standard Next jumper I usually buy him, although I'm not sure if he'll actually have anything to open on Christmas day- I think I'll probably have to print something out to put in his card.

Today I spent almost £5.00 in Sainsburys on, well snacks..... I felt like I needed some nourishment to fend off the winter snuffles and general 'urgh' feeling as was pretty sleepy this morning- more so than normal! So I bought some peppermint and nettle tea which is meant to be cleansing etc. some mixed unsalted nuts with raisins for some good fats, vitamin e, a small bar of Green and Blacks organic dark chocolate (it has antioxidants right?) a bag of cherry tomatoes to go with the cheese and crackers in my packed lunch and a jar of very mini gherkins to also go with the cheese (a bit of an odd craving). I thought I would be needing to keep my strength up over the holiday period and really want my skin to clear up and improve as much as possible before the work Christmas party. Therefore, as well as the unsalted nuts I've also been guzzling water at my desk, eating avacado and peanut butter wholemeal sandwiches and making an effort to eat my fruit. Does anyone have any blemish fighting tips om foods to avoid? I've heard dairy is bad but I'm not sure.

So left in the budget I have £50.00 left, out of which I need to get my hair cut (again before the said office party) as my bob has completley lost its shape. I'm hoping I can get a stand by appointment after work on Friday which is £25.00. I also need to buy a small present for the BF around £20.00 approx. I'm also meant to be going to Richmond on Saturday and will probably end up having lunch or dinner out.... I doubt it will come to a fiver so may eat just a little into the overdraft once I've put the £400.00 into my savings account.

Overall I don't think that's too bad considering I've also completely paid off the car repairs too. Fingers crossed no disasters strike before the 21st like last month!

Image courtesy of  'We heart it'
Hope you're all having a good week so far- Happy Humpday x

PS. do you remember this time last year when there was non-stop snowfall? I'm quite happy its bright and nippy outside today!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dealing with 'The urge to shop'...

This week, sans payday and with most of my Christmas shopping done (go me!) - which never usually happens The urge to shop came over me. On my morning commute a girl stood in front of me who seemed to be wearing the exact same blazer I had lost last week (sob!) and after logging onto the H&M website I realised that a) my bank card STILL isn't working as it should, and b) I had left the joint account card at home, preventing it from taking another battering (which it really doesn't need!). I had a few quid in my purse to buy food shopping at lunchtime, so said clothes shopping was put on hold (phew!). However, after a turn of events in the office someone piped up that they had my little black blazer at home, after picking it up at the end of the night, and this morning I was reunited with one of my wardrobe staples- happy days!

This week, so far has been fairly frugal (didn't really have much of a choice!) I have only spent money on food for lunch supplies from Sainsburys across the road including;

  1. A mini loaf of bread (will keep in the freezer and take out as and when) 
  2. Six pack of McCoys crisps (on special offer £1, two down, four to go- around 16p per bag!)
  3. A packet of crackers (nom..nom)
  4. A punnet of plums (loads left- will take to Centre Parcs this weekend)
  5. A packet of cherry tomatoes (again, loads left but should last in the fridge until next week)
  6. A bag of satsumas (two left, which will be eaten today)
  7. A bag of spinach (last handfuls will be wilted in pasta tonight)
  8. A budget ball of mozzarella (finished; made four sandwiches 11p per sarnie)
  9. Six pack of diet coke (also on special offer £2.50, 41p per can opposed to 65p two left for the picnic) 
  10. Two sausage rolls (52p) 
  11. One mini french stick baguette (50p)
All of this came to around £11.00, which really is the equivalent to a couple of lunches from a posh coffee shop, and this should do me for lunches for the rest of the week.

 Last night we were also taken out on another media night, this time to Byron a very posh burger chain which has just opened up around the corner from the office near Centre Point- all expenses paid of course. I tend to be like a kid in a candy shop at these events, and last night was no exception. I ordered the Byron burger with blue cheese and bacon, accompanied by courgette fries (yummy!) and a HUGE Oreo ice cream milkshake- delicious, but somewhat of a bad idea, followed by a full fat coke. I had been sooo hungry all day I had eaten loads, and by the time I had made it to the tube station I was feeling more than a little sick.....

Anyways, enough of that, this weekend I'm off to Centre Parcs for four days with the BF and the family which should be nice, and relatively low cost too (M&D paid as a VERY late part 21st present for me, and part 21st present for my sister) We've both always wanted to go since we were little, I think mainly due to their clever advertising campaigns, so looking forward to it. M&D want to keep the cost down as I think it set them back a fair bit, so it will be a weekend of relaxing in the spa, being forced to do Zumba and cycling about, spending the evenings having a few drinks (probably non-alcoholic as I think alcohol makes my skin worse!)......

Is anyone up to anything nice this weekend? .. x

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A brief update

I just want to say another big thank you to my most recent follower 'Butterfly'; it still fills me with excitement to see the number of people interested in reading my tiny contribution to the blog-o-sphere creep up slowly one by one.

I seem to have fallen slightly off the frugal path at the moment due to the prolonged birthday celebrations, as well as spending a bit too much on grabbing food whilst gadding about London Town. This is despite me being slightly in the minus in the old current account (luckily its interest free still, a nice remnant from my student days!) But I have put about £70 into the savings account this month- I promise I'll be back to my usual careful self once this weekend has passed.

How is everyone's week going so far? well I hope. TTFN x

Monday, 14 November 2011

I turned 25 yesterday.....and Christmas shopping

So this weekend myself and the BF had a little trip up North, staying overnight in Leeds and going on a little jaunt over to York on my actual birthday. On Saturday we traveled for four hours on a freezing mega bus and then explored the city, having a spot of lunch and stocking up on snacks before hitting the town for a few drinks together. After a few too many sherbets we stumbled  back to our hotel room and I awoke to an all day hangover the next day I'm afraid to say.

Now this sound a little weird but there's something about birthdays I just don't really like, and what makes me uncomfortable. Ever since I was little I hated the day where the attention would be on me, and I would be expected have to have an extraordinary amount of fun, I just don't like that pressure- maybe it is just me being strange as my Mum always says?

Anyway we took in the sights or beautiful, historic York had lunch (except I couldn't face food) in a lovely little country pub in front of the big old fireplace on a huge squishy leather sofa and shopped a little more. We walked up along the city wall, marveled at the beautiful cathedral, had a look around the transport museum and made our way back to Leeds by train.

After a four hour trip back to London, I was finally starting to feel back to normal again and we had a lovely birthday meal out- at McDonalds lol where I had my first lot of food of the day- A kids chicken nugget happy meal. My tummy was much happier after eating it that's for sure. And I finished the day with a nice relaxing bubble bath, to soothe my aching feet and muscles after all the walking we done over the last few days.

It's fair to say that my hangover did take the shine off of my special day a bit, which was a bit of a shame and not what I wanted and my phone died too literally just as we were leaving the hotel room, so I returned home to my texts and Facebook messages after charging my phone.

This weekend I also made a start on my Christmas shopping in an attempt to spread the cost out a bit. I bought my Mum a Yankee candle in Chrismas Eve scent along with a Pandora charm for her bracelet and a little handmade heart thing from the craft market in York, my sister a black and silver jewellry box which will look really nice in her room as well as a Marmite sandwich box for her Marmite breakfast sarnies she eats on the train every day on the way to work and my Nan one of those little handmade heart things too. I think I'm going to get my Dad the DAB digital alarm clock that he wants, my Nan the Steps greatest hits CD and maybe the book and I'm not sure what to buy my Grandad- socks and slippers?! hehe. BF and I are not giving each other Christmas presents this year, putting our money together instead to hopefully buy a computer in the new year as my laptop has a huge crack in the screen and his lappy is super slow.

I'm aiming to have my presents all wrapped up by mid December to avoid the last minute present buying panic, and instead focus on making the flat feel all nice and Christmassy. Have you started your Chirstmas shopping yet?


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Mid-week update

Happy hump-day readers! How are we all feeling mid-week? Looking forward to the weekend?

Anyways, this week I have been frugally feeding myself with lots of fresh vegetable soup. On Saturday I made four servings of carrot soup and poured it into jars I had recycled (I found these are the best way to transport soup- no leaks! and are free too!) and I popped them in the fridge ready to grab bleary eyed before rushing to the train station.

I read somewhere that cookery is not a precise science, but a creative art and this is the advice that I subscribe to. While  my BF scrumptiously cooks according to the recipe down to the last grain I guesstimate, throwing in approximate amounts of ingredients and hoping for the best. So here's my improvised fresh carrot soup recipe;


  • Three quarters of a bag of smart price carrots, priced a reasonable 76p from Asda 
  • Some garlic
  • Half a red onion found lurking in the fridge
  • One sweet potato 
  • Some flaked almonds (gives a nice crunchy texture) 
  • One roasted red pepper in vinegar from a jar 
  • Some chilli flakes (optional)
  • One low salt vegetable stock cube 

  1. Chop up all ingredients and place into a slowcooker/large saucepan 
  2. Pour in an approximate amount of hot vegetable stock
  3. Leave to cook 
  4. Once the ingredients have gone soft use a hand blender to blitz into soup
  5. Add some more hot water if needed 
  6. Pour into clean, recycled jars and leave to cool before placing into the fridge 
I spotted some reduced crusty onion french bread rolls in the Co-Op on Sunday evening (they reduce all baked goods towards the end of the day) four for 25p which made a meal of my pre-prepared soup. I've eaten two already this week, and the other two are in the freezer to defrost. 

The price of travel 

Tomorrow is also the date on which I will need to buy a new monthly train ticket, this week I've been walking from the West End to either Waterloo or Charing Cross train stations because it seems the tube is becoming increasingly packed (Christmas shoppers already?!). I'm debating whether to go for the all out travel card option priced £180.00 or a cheaper over-rail only. I'm thinking that there's some x-mas drinks coming up, and we're going away this weekend and our coach goes from Victoria that the travel card will probably be the best choice- at least I won't have to worry about topping up. Are there any other commuters out there? What are your thoughts? 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Welcome to Swings and Roundabouts

So just three weeks after leaving my job doing a stint as an online writer in the depths of the Surrey countryside, choosing to leave the greenery for the big city smoke I decided to create this blog to a) keep me practicing my writing and b) track my personal finance goals.

I started my first blog around eighteen months ago but after a few posts I hit the famous writers block, and working as a copywriter I found my creativity would usually run dry after a day spent trying to re-write product copy for condoms and fruit flavoured lube for what felt like the hundredth time. However since this time I've realised that every blog post doesn't have to be a literary work of art and that documenting my uber-exciting life (not) would probably give me enough material to blog on a regular basis.

After spending the last year and a half closely following three our four of my favourite blogs on a weekly basis and seeming to spend more and more time stumbling around cyberspace looking for more blogs to read I thought it was high time to start my own. Sitting on the train on the commute home from work I thought that January would be a good time to start- a new year and all that. But as tomorrow is payday, and I'm only getting paid for two weeks work which somehow needs to stretch over the next four weeks I thought there was no time like the present to get started.

I then began pondering my financial goals, and want to set aside another £4,000 by the end of 2012 to give me a total of £10,000- a good sum of money I feel to help me get on my way out of the house share by the time I hit the very big and very scary big 3-0. As this months paycheck will be disappointingly thin and with Christmas shopping needing to be bought from the following one I can't really start saving properly until I've received January's pay. But hey ho, life is all Swings and Roundabouts after all so here goes... wish me luck on my journey..!