Monday, 31 August 2009

Weighty Issues

Now I’m all for gaining a few pounds on the bottom line when it comes to my bank balance, but when I’m just gaining them on my bottom, I’m not quite so thrilled.

I’m still not quite back to my previous level of exercise and I’m now locating more and more areas about my person with a higher-than-average wobble factor.

While Kevin’s new pet name for me is Lung Lung Wee (to be said in an accent usually only reserved for performances of the Mikado), I’m more inclined to think it should be Bum Bum Wide.

So, having been able to stick to my £5 a day rule without too much stress, I’m now looking for ways to curb my calories as well as my cash and salad seems to be the answer.

It’s cheap, it’s healthy and it’s going to be my main food source over the next week or so. I’ve already invested today’s £5 on a supply of fruit and veggies and can feel the temptation to make celery soup sneaking up on me.

Remind me of this post when you find me face down in a vat of melted chocolate…

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Hey Small Spender

One week on from my promise to control my cash flow and, so far, my £5 a day rule is working rather well.

The money from cashing in my Premium Bonds has been put towards a credit card debt and I even managed to sell something on Ebay for more than twenty pounds, which has to be a record for me.

During my year of not shopping I sold a jacket on Ebay and failed to take into account the fact that the buyer was overseas. She got a complete bargain at 99p and I ended up six pounds out of pocket to cover the postage.

Anyway, this week’s only weakness was forgetting I had committed to a work’s night out, but as the meal came to just £15 a head and I’d been carrying the same crisp fiver in my wallet for three days without breaking into it, the evening still fell within budget and I was able to enjoy my grub guilt free.

And it seems I’m not the only one to be curbing my cash withdrawals to a minimum.

HSBC and Barclays have said that their cash machines will soon be issuing £5 notes again to help credit crunch hit customers manage their money.

Let’s hope more banks follow suit and start listening to their customers’ needs again.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Dogs, Duvets & Debt

My blissful lie in this morning was shattered by Hobbs dashing into the bedroom, jumping onto the bed (and my rib cage) and vomiting on the quilt.

This appears to be a favourite, tried and tested technique of his and is certainly more effective than the alarm clock in getting me out from under the duvet. I had the entire bed stripped and in the washing machine before I even realised where I was and that it was my day off from work.

Anyway, the extra time out of bed and away from dreaming about how one day I’ll wake up and the entire Joules collection will have been delivered to my door as a gift, has been well spent.

Money - and the lack of it - is never far from my thoughts and I’ve decided that a few months of revisiting my days of not shopping wouldn’t go amiss right now.

Cash flow is fine when it’s two way but when it’s heading away from you faster than a rubber dinghy on the rapids, then it’s time to throw it a life line.

So, instead of an extra hour snoozing this morning, I used the time filling out the form to cash in my premiums bonds that have won me precisely nothing in the ten years I’ve had them and started listed unloved items on Ebay, and from tomorrow I’ll be back to my £5 a day rule until the end of November. After that, my scarily huge loan that swallows up over £350 of my salary each month will be cleared and I can re-assess how best to use the extra cash to clear my remaining debt.

Hobbs might still be feeling a little queasy but I’m feeling better already!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Fashionista Films

I know I mentioned this the other day and I promise never to bore you with it again, but I finally got to see ‘Coco Before Chanel’ - just three days before it closes at the GFT - and it was wonderful.

The cinematography was stunning, Audrey Tautou was glorious as Gabrielle and I’m sure even the hardest hearted fashionista would be struggling to suppress a sniffle during the last ten minutes.

Much to his surprise, even Kevin enjoyed it; despite trying to trade his ticket at the last minute for something a bit more ‘blokey’.

He has, however, insisted that he won’t be accompanying me on my next viewing at the GFT and no amount of begging or bribing will persuade him.

He may be a metrosexual man and tolerant of most of my indulgences, but it seems sitting through ‘The September Issue’ is just a step too far for him.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Devastating Jobs Blow!

That was the headline I dreaded the most when I was a broadcast journalist.

Partly because I was thinking of the people who were affected by it, but mainly because I was terrified that I was going to get it horribly wrong and say ‘Blow Jobs’ live on air. Thankfully I never did, but there were a few other choice comments that slipped out over the years.

The reason I mention this is that I’ve suffered a bit of a ‘jobs blow’ myself recently. Just when I was smugly congratulating myself on being in a job that seemed recession proof, I find that I’m not immune to a little salary slicing after all.

I am, however, in the extraordinarily lucky position that as well as being allowed to appeal the decision, I’ve been warned almost three years in advance before my wages wane.

Although I’m quite upset about it - as the leaner, meaner proposed pay packet wouldn’t enable me to cover my mortgage and bills - a little part of me is wondering if this could be the shove I need to look for something new and exciting.

Perhaps I’ve just been going with the flow for too long and somewhere out there my dream job is just waiting for me (and Hobbs, who would be allowed to accompany me to the dream office and snooze under my dream desk).

I wonder if Boris Johnson might be prepared to share his Telegraph column?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Life's Little Luxuries

I am desperate to go and see the new Chanel film, but so far, work hours have delayed my date with Gabrielle and her Gallic garb.

Chanel is one of my great loves, but as saving money clearly hasn’t been, I’ve never been able to afford anything more than their make-up, perfume and skin care.

A stroll round their shop in Rome a few years back sent my heartbeat soaring, not just at the glory of the goods but also at the complete lack of labels that might have given a hint at the price.

And we all know the saying that if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it! So, I have to satisfy myself with my little bottles and jars, topped with their signature black lid and interlocking Cs.

During our recent holiday, my skincare routine consisted of wet wipes and sunscreen - although why I felt the need to slather on so quite much when it rained constantly, I don’t know. Perhaps I thought I was waterproofing myself...

On the night we got back I locked myself in the loo with all of my lotions and potions and spent a blissful half hour cleansing, toning and moisturizing courtesy of Coco. I swear my skin was positively purring by the time I’d finished and that little but of luxury really lifted me.

Call me shallow and tell me that it’s the same ingredients that go into making Hobbs’ dinner if you wish, but there are some little pleasures in life that you should be allowed to indulge in and this one is mine.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

Well, I certainly needed my wellingtons and waterproofs for this year’s holiday!

After being lured into a ‘Staycation’ by the Met Office’s predictions of more sunshine than your average Brit can soak up in a lifetime, we ended up having to come home after nine days because we’d exhausted all of our wet weather activities and just couldn’t face any more rain.

All was not lost though...

Kevin transformed himself into an expert weather watcher and for the last six days of our break was able to find little pockets of sunshine across Scotland that we basked in until the clouds came over and it was time to head for the next hot (okay then, luke warm) spot.

Battering rain on brollies replaced sausages sizzling on the bar-b-q for nearly everyone who holidayed at home this year and I can’t help feeling a little suspicious about the Met Office, their glowing forecast and subsequent apology for getting it so wrong.

At a time when we are hit by recession and swine flu, wasn’t it rather convenient to persuade us to give up our flights to sunnier climates in favour of the ‘Staycation’ that the media were so keen to promote?

Maybe I’m just being an old pessimist. Maybe it was a genuine mistake on the part of the Met Office. Or maybe it was a rather clever way of confining our cash and contamination to the one country...