Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Fun Weekend for a Fiver!

Good evening to you all. Hello to my new followers and thank you to Dan, Maysie and Amanda for the comments on my last blogging, it's always a pleasure to read people's responses and these were all lovely ones. Thanks again. (And Amanda, I am glad for you!)

Well I am back from a great night away at an old school friend's place. She invited me down and two of her other friends who I met for the first time. They were good fun and we had a real laugh. We stayed in and my school friend cooked some absolutely delicious food and I as left in charge of the ipad & Spotify to select good tunes to cook & chat to! They said I did well and there was some dancing in the kitchen at one point so that's got to be a good sign right??

We polished off the food, a fair amount of wine (I took a bottle for a fiver) and a home made dessert was also tucked into.

I think I made it into bed at 3.15am and was up again at about 10.15am. After a quick shower & breakfast I had to get back so hubby could have the car for work in the afternoon then I promptly fell asleep on the sofa for a couple of hours! I just can't do those sorts of late nights these days without writing off the next day, that's a oung woman's game! I doubt I will be later to bed tonight (my Lenor laundered bed!), I think "Being Human" will have to wait till later in the week.

But it was such a laugh and just what I needed before another Monday morning rolls around (urgh).

How about you? I hope you had some fun over the weekend, in whatever form that took!

Have as good a week as you can.

Bye for now. x

Friday, 22 February 2013

I May Be Onto Something....

Evening readers, I am hoping you are well today? Well hooray anyway for Friday finally getting here! Reminds me of this (excuse the rude word...hopefully you're not easily offended):

Well this week, work has had its ups & downs again but I have mostly managed to keep a lid on things and just get on with it. I also feel cheerier for a few reasons:

Firstly, with regards to my finances, I have had an(other) epiphany! I realised I have been trying in the past to pay off debts too fast. I have tried (and failed) to meet unrealistic budgets which have just led to frustration and misery.

So...my debt repayments are coming down and stretching out a bit longer. Luckily I have 0% on the outstanding debt till April 2014. I was trying to beat the debt down by October time until I just realised I don't have to put myself under this pressure. The card is cut up, I can't add to the debt. I'm going to ease up and make sure it's cleared before the interest kicks in.

But this can be me all over: impatient! I have learned to curb that impatience in other areas of life as I matured, finance is the next area to conquer. Slowly but very very surely is the way. Slow progress is better than no progress. And that realisation sinking in; it feels good!

Secondly - let's talk about luxury. What's your favourite luxury?

In recent times I have stopped just buying "stuff". If I don't need it or it won't be used regularly, or if there is any doubt as to whether it'll "suit" (me or the house) then it doesn't get bought. I don't like clutter and I am not an avid collector of anything. (Erm, except maybe clothes!)

But there are some things I positively enjoy spending my money on: my proper little luxuries! These little luxury things are over & above decent skincare & affordable professional haircare which I refuse to feel guilty about. I don't really class those as luxuries, though others might. I just class them as regular maintenance for a woman who wants to look as good as she can do for her age. I am not going to pay good money for my car to get looked after then ignore my own face & hair! Sod that.

So anyway, we've all got something we'll scrape the pennies together for haven't we? OK they aren't always classified as luxuries but money is quite often found for things that people enjoy.

For some it's alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. For some people it's nights out. For some it's craft goods, football game attendance, music downloading, SKY+ or the Movie Channel....the list goes on but you get the picture!

So what are these things I gleefully hand over my coins for? Mmmmmmmmmm....gorgeously fragranced things! I am such a sucker for them.

I discovered very very recently and am currently in love with, Lenor's Gold Orchid fabric conditioner and have stocked up whilst it is on special in Tesco! I have made do for a long time with Aldi or other supermarket own brand stuff which does a job, I am not saying it doesn't, but frankly, once I used this stuff, I thought there's no going back! I am really looking forward to washing my bedding in it this weekend - how sad is that?!?

I also adore gorgeously scented shower gels and body lotions and feel so good when wrapped in vanilla, coconut or some other subtle fragrance. Dove soap is also an indulgence. I don't always buy it but when I do, it's heavenly.

Incense cones for after dinner are also a must. I try and get them from an online retailer who happen to be based in my part of town so they deliver for free.

It's hardly a secret that I like shopping for clothes, I definitely have the clothes shopping gene, but I love bargain shopping. Getting a bargain in a charity shop is a real thrill and it's a bonus that my cash goes to a worthy cause. Getting that item home then putting it through the wash, coming out smelling fresh was always a little treat but now I can't wait to find another bargain and use my new Lenor!

I would also like to share one last thing which may be contributing to my better mood. I can't say for sure that it is this, but it may well be helping: I take Oil of Evening Primrose for prevention of breast cysts and also to ease PMT. I used to take one 1000mg capsule in the evening. Now I have changed to 1 x 500mg in the morning and 1 x 500mg in the evening. So I guess my bloodstream is being kept "topped up" with it.

I wonder if this is helping me just take things a bit easier and relaxing a bit more? If it is then what a wonderfully natural way to feel better. Cheaper than regular bottles of wine & boxes of chocolates too!

Thanks for sticking with me (if you've read this far) I will admit that this post was written from a very girly perspective which won't appeal to everyone.

Take care and bye for now. Here's hoping you all have a great weekend.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Feeling Happier Now

Evening all,

Thanks again to those of you who replied to my recent post - I appreciated it very much. And welcome to my new followers. Really great to have you along.

Rambler, thanks for your advice; you will be glad to know that I do try to incorporate a walk into every day even if it is around the inside of the building if it is too cold & rainy. Being stuck at my desk ALL DAY would drive me insane!

Well luckily things did get better. After Wednesday! It was a dire first half of the week though, it really was. By Wednesday I think I had gone through every range of emotions and ended up at slightly hysterical at all the things going wrong coupled with a resignation that if my best wasn't good enough then that was tough!

This weekend was beautiful weather wise where I am - was it for you? It's been a long time since I have seen such lovely sunshine and heard the birds singing so happily. I spotted some bulbs coming up in the garden whilst hanging out washing and felt so much more alive! Spring is around the corner (though I still get the feeling the tail end of Winter is going to have a sting in it....) and that makes me happy. I got out for a great walk at lunchtime today as well to make the best of today's sunlight and enjoyed that too.

Well, what a difference a week makes eh? Here's hoping it continues for a while!

Cheerio for now.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Let's Hope It Was Just a Bad Day

Evening all,

Well now. Some of you who have been with me for a while will remember how sick of my previous job I was. I used to feel sick driving to work and was thoroughly miserable pretty much from start to finish of every day there.

I had that feeling again today in my "new" job. As the title says, let's just hope it was a bad day, I really really don't want to feel like that again.

When I got this job at the hospital I was thrilled. I was sick of slogging my guts out just to line the pockets of directors and higher management (and shareholders on some occasions) in the private sector. Working in the public sector suits my mindset as ultimately it is the public that my best efforts serve. It is that belief that usually carries me through any bad days.

Today though, it didn't really help and I was sad about that.

I am trying to sort it out in my mind and hopefully you will be able to look at this from outside the circle and I would appreciate your opinion as well should you care to leave a constructive comment.

I had been off for a few days last week on annual leave. I'd had some lovely time out, seeing friends, celebrating hubby's birthday, spending time on the house....just blissful really. I go back today and now other people are off (as it's half term) so we were somewhat short staffed, everything that came in appeared to be "urgent" and even when I was dealing with something urgent I was being plagued by someone (who takes the calls) with a piece of paper in her hand saying there was someone else on the phone chasing up their urgent issue. It was non stop all day and I haven't even had enough time to catch up fully on the emails sent last week to me which is not like me, I am pretty organised and don't usually fall behind on correspondence.

We have two new people on our team who were looking to me all day for advice and assistance (not their fault of course) which is demanding when you're trying to deal with urgent issues and also you don't know everything as you're still learning things yourself!

Communication is a bit crap sometimes within the department which added to frustration today in a certain area (I won't go into details on this). I also found out that tomorrow even more people will be out of the department and I feel I will be pressed further tomorrow to try and cover two roles potentially which is nigh on impossible.

I know I can only do my best but I have been here before with the push push push, squeeze squeeze squeeze and with cuts all over the place, most employers just have the attitude "Well you are lucky to have a job at all so stop moaning!"

I feel somewhat stressed out but I am trying to compartmentalize my life mentally - funnily enough helped tonight at an exercise class held in a school hall! I was looking around and thinking how simple life was (looking back) when I was that age. You got up, you got ready for school. When at school you worked hard in your lesson then it was play time. Then you worked hard again and then it was lunchtime and more play time. Then you worked hard again then you went home.

At home you forgot all about school and played with your friends or enjoyed your toys, crayons, books etc until it was bed time. You just did your stuff in chunks of time and took it for what it was then moved on. Does that make sense? At least that is how it seemed to me or seems to be looking back.

I feel I need to apply this to my life again.

* I get up and get ready for work, taking care to look my best and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
* I arrive at work and in that period of time I am paid for, I do whatever task comes my way (obviously within reason I am not suggesting it is OK for me to start doing work I am not trained for or letting them take the absolute p*ss).
* During my lunch break I should enjoy fresh air and a walk outside and/or a catch up with a friend who I can meet or talking to my work buddy (preferably not about work).
* At my going home time, I need to switch off my work mind at the same time that I switch off my PC and walk out of the building.
* I then should go home and enjoy my free time in whatever way is appropriate i.e. exercise, film & time with hubby, seeing a friend, reading a book, using the Wii or laptop or spending time on my home.
* Get ready for bed at a decent time and sleep well until I arrive back at step 1 again!

It all seems so simple doesn't it?

I don't know why I get so worked up about the time at work...if it is busy and we're short staffed but I am working flat out, I can't clone myself to do more! If I am asked to concentrate on higher priorities and the day to day stuff falls behind (and Management are aware that I am being asked to concentrate on higher priorities) then really, is it not up to Management to step in and sort it out? It is and I have had this conversation with my boss before and he has literally agreed with me that it is not *my* job to worry about it, it is his job to keep an eye on things.

Well I will try not to get too spiky tomorrow (as I was today I confess) as I always work hard and will continue to do so, I can only do my best eh?

I really really hope this was just an off day though!

Goodnight, bye for now. x

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Good to Know I'm Not Alone!

Thank you so much to everyone who has replied to yesterday's post. As I was typing it I imagined lots of people 'tutting' and labelling me a failure (and perhaps some silent readers did) so I was so pleased to see your supportive responses last night and this morning. Thank you again as it is a relief to know others feel the same as myself. Today I am embarking on one of my home DIY pampering sessions. My nails & cuticles have been tidied and next up is facial scrub, face mask, deep hair conditioning, pedicure & a long hot shower followed by a perfumed body lotion and cuticle oil. So I am off to enjoy it!! Whatever you are up to today, I hope you enjoy your Sunday too. Ta-ta for now. x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Not Sure A Leopard Can Change It's Spots Completely...

Well hello there readers, once again a huge gap between posts!  I am hoping you are all keeping well though and thanks for stopping by today.

So, the last time I posted I was battling my way through snow and sub zero temperatures and watching my money burn away as the heating stayed on (and on and on...) which was rather depressing.  Apparently we have more snow due this weekend/Monday, oh hurrah.  Let's hope it doesn't hang around for long as we used around £75 worth of gas in three weeks! 

Well I am not doing so well on the spending front.  Actually no, I am doing brilliantly well on the spending front if you want to look at it from a different point of view!  I did have a brief spell of being very very good but then it all went out of the window but, meh. 

I am not sure I will ever change to be honest.  I can see that how I spend my money has changed though which is at least a big step in the right direction and I am really pleased with that progress.  I now refuse to buy something if I don't know 100% that it will be used or worn regularly.  I refuse to buy anything without researching it first to see if I can get it cheaper elsewhere or if I can get it through QuidCo.  I refuse to buy something unless it's absolutely perfect for me or the house.  I refuse to buy anything in any of the leading supermarkets if I can get it for less in Aldi.  Where I have to pay or can pay by credit card, I do so and get Avios points.  In about a year's time I will have two free airline tickets to Berlin (on my bucket list) or Eurostar tickets to France or Belgium (either fine by me).   The credit card is paid off in full every month and in over two years I haven't paid a penny in interest.

So, so far this year I have seen some of my friends socially and also been out for the day/seen a film with hubby for his birthday.  All occasions have meant I spent money.  Rooting around the bargain section of the M&S Outlet with one of my best friends for four great tops for £20.  Coffee & lunch and a well needed catch up with her as she's going through a bit of a crisis.  Petrol over to where we met up. 

Yesterday, more petrol then to see another friend 65 miles away who is going through a dreadful separation and also needs support.  What do you do, say no?  Not in my book.  I don't like the thought of my friends gathering at my funeral talking about how great I was at saving a few bob, rather I hope they remember me as a loyal & supportive friend who was there if needed (as they are for me).

Anyway we had a cheap Greggs lunch out and a trawl around 4 charity shops where we both picked up absolute bargains.  For me, a much needed second winter coat for £4 (just need to get it dry cleaned) and an immaculate trench coat for £6 which I have machine washed already.  Assorted other tops for work and weekends plus a fabulous practical but stylish tote bag.  I guess total spend yesterday including petrol, about £40.  Result:  bargains achieved, money saved in the long run and one very much cheered up friend which is priceless.

In other spends, I've flirted again with Ebay and purchased some winter woolies for around the house and also found some of the few personal items I insist on, for significantly less than in shops (sorry High Street) so I got them.  Tried cheaper; bought twice.  No more of that, it's a false economy.  I may as well fork out a bit more for what actually works for me.

Off to see another old school friend in a couple of weeks time but we're staying in and she's cooking Thai food.  I am taking a bottle of Aldi wine and it'll probably cost about £7 in petrol for the return journey.  We'll talk for hours and I am also taking her some clothes which no longer are for me but which I think will really suit her. 

As well as being careful about where the money goes, I also try and get maximum use out of whatever is bought so, old clothes are passed on to friends or family (or charity shop if they don't want them), no food is ever wasted, I do weekly cupboard/freezer inventories and make menus accordingly, all household/cleaning things are used up to the last drop before something else is bought or opened....you get the picture.

I know I could make the decision to stop spending money full stop but the truth is, I don't want to and it's not really achievable unless I never leave the house again.  Truth is I am massively unhappy not seeing my friends (especially when they need help or support) and staring at the same four walls, I am unhappy wearing clothes or shoes that have seen better days or just look crap on me, I feel sh*t using cheap products and make up that don't do anything for my crazy hair or temperamental skin.  Watching life pass me by drives me insane.

For now, I shall continue to make good & more sensible choices where my cash goes and my debts will continue to be paid down at a manageable rate.  I want to see more people and places in 2013 than I have done in the last couple of years.  If I can squirrel away some savings as well I will (one of my days out mentioned above was paid for by some savings I had saved especially by the way) I won't squander it all but I think I am done with self imposed austerity measures for the sake of another few quid saved in the month.  Life's too short frankly, I want to grab some happiness again while I can. 

Cheerio for now!  x