Sunday, 16 October 2011

All Of A Flutter Over Flattery

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and this blog post has left me all of a flattered flutter.

Not only is it a lovely blog - and I strongly advise you to have a read - but it's inspired me too.

There really is only so long that any one person can stop shopping for (and people want to continue reading about) before serious cracks start to appear and items simply have to be replaced. So, instead of focusing on the impossible task of never shopping again, I'm going to start looking at other aspects of saving money and spending less, and if you have ideas or would like to guest blog on here, then let me know.

In the meantime, take a little trip to Tasmania via the link above. Take a good cup of coffee with you, relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Lot Of Money For Honey

Exactly three years ago I had a lobectomy after finding out I had carcinoid cancer, so today has been a bit of an emotional mixed bag.

Mainly elation that I'm alive, to be honest, but also a little disappointment that I still don't feel back to my bouncy old self.

I'm still not at my best in the morning, although those who know me well have never felt I was great first thing and have tended to steer clear until I've inhaled a few cups of coffee. I still seem to pick up whatever germ / virus / cold / lurgy is doing the rounds and at the start of the year even managed to get pleurisy, which sounds like something I picked up in the Debtor's Prison and hid under my petticoats. And, I'm still struggling to get my exercise programme up and running (just picking up my trainers and looking at them doesn't count).

So, in a bid to boost my health and get myself fit, fun and feeling fab I've started with the basics - vitamins and feel good supplements. This has, so far, meant the purchasing of Echinacea (to clear the latest lurgy), Cod Liver Oil (no creaky joints here), Berocca (if it's good enough for the dancers on Strictly) and Manuka Honey (how much?!).

I can appreciate how hard those little bees are working to provide me with a jar of antibacterial wonder-stuff but at just over £15 a jar, I'm expecting it to contain properties that will make me look like I've had a full face and body lift, and give me enough energy to leave Lance Armstrong trailing in my wake.

(P.S. - a big thank you to my other half for paying for the Manuka Honey after I fainted on seeing the price, although I felt that dragging me from Waitrose by the ankle back to the car was a little excessive)

Friday, 15 July 2011

I win a little, they win a lotto

Since Tuesday night, I have been hoping against all hope that a 'news about your ticket' email might appear in my inbox.

By Wednesday, I knew it wasn't going to happen and started scanning the pavements - there was always a miniscule chance that the winner of Europe's biggest every lottery win would have somehow carelessly dropped their ticket on the way to cash it in at the newsagent and I would find it while out walking Hobbs.

Today, we find out that the lucky recipients of enough cash to sustain even the most exgravagant of wish lists are a lovely couple from Largs, who somehow managed to hold their nerve and talk calmly about a win that makes them almost as wealthy as Posh & Becks (and look at how much posturing and pouting she had to do to rack up that fortune!).

Green with envy, my boss and I watched their televised press conference and found all feelings of 'it should have been me' fade away as they revealed themselves to be the kind of people who should win that kind of money - our biggest fear had been that some monumental waster was going to claim the cash, rather than a couple who say they will use that lovely lolly to help others.

So tonight I'm raising a toast to Colin and Chris Weir with not a jot of jealousy (okay just a teeny bit) that I could have cleared my debt - and that of a Third World country - had I been the winner. I hope they have the health and happiness to really enjoy the good things their one hundred and sixty-one million pounds (gulp!) can bring to them and those they choose to share it with.

Besides, I'm not stranger to winning.

Just last Friday I cleaned up on the Euromillions; although I have to admit, I had no idea they had prizes as small as £5.80.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

My moment with Mark

To be fair, that's a rather misleading title - it was more 'smooching with Mark' and it was Hobbs doing it, not me.

Glasgow has been going Take That-tastic over the last few nights and it got me thinking about the time I met Mark Owen.

Normal people would probably have met him in fairly normal circumstances; not me.

I had to meet him in the corridor of a disabled toilet (my radio station colleagues and I had temporarily converted it to a canine creche) and try to explain that the small puppy which he was cuddling and kissing (and which was kissing him back with great enthusiasm) was there because he had a throat infection and the vet had told me to keep an eye on him.

As Mark was in the station to promote a single for his solo career, this wasn't great news to have to impart, but rather than dropping Hobbs like a germ infested hot potato, he carried on with the cuddling and then signed a photograph for him, which Hobbs still has to remind him of the moment that most women dream of - kissed and cuddled by Mark Owen.

Admittedly, he was the cutest puppy ever but damn, that dog gets all the fun!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

My Eggstra-ordinary Mother

This has nothing whatsoever to do with spending, not spending or being a shopaholic; although I suppose it's an excellent example of what you can do with a little time and effort and very little expense.

It is, however, the perfect way to show just quite how fabulously bonkers my mother can be.

This is what she had prepared for us to roll down the hill at her house last Sunday and it seems selfish not to share it...

Eggstra Special Easter

PS - for those of you curious to know who hurtled down the hill into pole position, it was Isabella. Go Blow!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Tank-top Of Shame!

I have very little in the way of an excuse for my latest action, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Firstly, I was feeling sorry for myself having found out that I had pleurisy and was doing that whole 'Woe is me' lying on the couch thing; secondly, Charles Tyrwhitt had sent me a voucher for £10 off anything that took my fancy; thirdly - and most importantly - I'd spotted a tank-top in the brochure they'd sent.

I blame my tank-top addiction on my parents, who took every possible opportunity during my childhood to subject me to 1970s golf wear. Somewhere amidst all that retina searing clobber, I managed to single out the tank-top as my favourite piece of geek chic.

Now, I've been strong in the face of shopping this year - giving way only when (in the best interests of my work-mates) I felt that ripped, rump exposing linen was unacceptable for the office - but this tank-top was a temptation too far in my weakened state.

It was navy, a mix of merino and silk, and (did I mention this already) it was £10 off!

Anyway, those are my excuses and, quite frankly, none of them are good enough to justify keeping what is essentially half a jumper (delightful though it is), so having unwrapped it and gazed at it for the last 24 hours, I've decided it's going back from whence it came and I can sleep easy; guilt free in the knowledge that I haven't quite broken my shopping ban.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Well, that's torn it...

I have to apologise for the lack of blogging lately - especially to Anna who has been asking where I've been.

I'd love to say that I've been so busy planning my wedding to George Clooney / Ewan McGregor / anyone who'll have me that I haven't had a chance to update, but that would be a blatant lie; so I can only say sorry and blame my lengthy commute for stealing my time in the evenings when I should be writing.

On the plus side - apart from complete essentials - my shopping has been non-existent. Well, apart from the 'work trouser emergency' caused by over-enthusiastic leaping into the car at the end of the day and my lovely linen deciding that the strain was too much for its delicate weave.

Buttock exposure is all very well if you're Lady Gaga but in my line of work, it might be slightly frowned upon during a morning meeting, even if you are wearing rather lovely lingerie.

I had no choice but to replace my torn trews; however, instead of my usual hoovering up of Hobbs, Jaeger or Whistles for that perfect pair of black trousers, I headed for H & M.

The pair I picked up there may have had a zero less on the price tag but you know what? They're still black, they're still linen, they're still perfect for work and my rump isn't being revealed, so I'd say that was money well spent.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Barely a day has gone by this year when I haven't received an e-mail, text, letter or call from my lost love, desperate to see me and unable to understand why I've so abruptly called a halt to our union.

And while my heart leaps with every contact, I know that I can't give in.

E-mails and texts are deleted, letters are shredded and calls left unanswered, but the temptation is always there; the temptation to push my way through their door (leaving my fingerprints as the evidence of my faithlessness for all to see on the plate glass panels), throw my clothes to the floor and rush into the arms of my love for just one more dalliance, one more thrill...

But that's my weakness and I know it wouldn't be 'just one last time'. The memory of that moment of bliss would lead to more and more reckless behaviour and I can't take that risk, not just now anyway.

Apart from the obvious guilt of breaking my promise, I'm not feeling toned and trim enough for all that unzipping in front of floor to ceiling mirrors.
I can only hope that by the time I do return - leaner, meaner and without a shopping ban - that my beloved Jaeger will welcome me once more...

Friday, 28 January 2011

World Holocaust Week

It's World Holocaust Week and today I was privileged enough to meet Eva Schloss, the step-sister of Anne Frank.

It was both humbling and captivating listening to Eva today, so if you can, please take the time to find out more about the story of her life by clicking here.

We all have problems in our lives - some big and some small - but sometimes it just takes finding out about the courage of others and their struggle for survival to put it all into perspective.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Monte Carlo or bust!

I'm rather sad to report that after an absence of nearly 40 years, the Monte Carlo rally kicked off in my home town of Glasgow...

... and I missed it!!!!

The irony being that it was because I was stuck in a car on the motorway, which wasn't motoring in any way. My chequered flag will remain unfurled for another year.

But, during my time stuck in the car, ranting at no-one in particular about my stationary predicament, and after seeing a car in full rally regalia pass me in the other lane (I'd thought they would all have been transported on trailers), I realised that I hadn't set myself a target to achieve before 50, and suddenly I knew exactly what it was going to be.

Before 40, it was to write a book and a chart topping single - I certainly didn't achieve the latter and some people might cheekily suggest that I didn't achieve the former either - but it was good to have something to aim for that initially seemed so out of reach.

What I've decided on leaves me eight years to clear my debt, learn basic mechanics, find myself a 1968 MG BGT (I'm trying to be realistic but if I win the lottery between now and then, it'll be an Aston Martin or an E-type Jag) and gear up for a rally.

Now, which is more 'me' - Monte Carlo or the Mille Miglia?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

13 - Unlucky for some

Thirteen - my lucky number.

Well, it has to be really when it's my birth date; although having my 13th birthday on Friday 13th was a little freaky, but that's another story for another time.

Anyway, that's just waffling to get away from me having to make my confession. And here is it - on Day 13 of my Not Shopping, I bought something!

Now before you start shouting at me, I know it was bad but it wasn't something for me, and besides I've already been told off by my boss, Andrew, who spied the bag, looked at me over the top of his glasses (he means business when he does that) and tersely told me, "I've been reading your blog...".

Basically, I'd bought Kevin a book and his favourite little Leone sweets, which came to just a penny short of £13. I'd been a horrible grump to him and felt that more than just a mumbled "Sorry" was required*.

So, should I abandon 13 as my lucky number now that it signifies my teeny tumble from the wagon? I had thought so, until I realised that £10 of the money I had in my wallet was from a lottery ticket win, so really I'd only spent £3!!

Altogether now - "I should be so lucky; lucky, lucky, lucky!"

*If you ever find yourself in a situation where more than "Sorry" is required, I'd recommend a small peace offering - trust me, it's considerably cheaper than sulking overnight at a hotel

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Flushed with success!

Day 11 on my latest quest to curb consumerism and - without sounding too smug - I'm pretty pleased with how it's going.

Nothing other than food and travel costs have dared to cross my payment path and, on Wednesday, I even had a little article on debt and stopping shopping in the Daily Record. So, if I feel like forking out for something un-necessary, I can dig out the article and remind myself that the advice I'm so good at passing on to other people, applies to me too.

Even Kevin seems to be embracing the 'make do and mend' mentality I'd mentioned in the article.

A couple of days ago, the part he had ordered for the fridge arrived and after a slight struggle, quite a lot of swearing and a few stray screws, he emerged triumphant, shouting "Done!", like a DIY Gordon Ramsay.

This success has triggered a trip to his wee shed to drag out the tool box and as I type, he's in the loo tinkering with our temperamental flush. I daren't pop my head round the door but from behind it, I can hear him making confident, little whistling noises and so far, there hasn't been much swearing...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Canine or Kangaroo?

It's Day 3 of another year of not shopping and if you're anything like me (and are joining me on my venture), then you'll have had a day of mixed emotions:

1/ Elation - you've gone another day without spending anything
2/ Distress - you've realised you have another 362 days of not shopping to go

So, to cheer you - and me - up, here's a video of Hobbs at his crazy canine best. Apologies that it's sideways, but you can always pretend you're doing neck exercises while you're watching it.

Enjoy the Bouncy Bobtail...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Here We Go Again!

A promise is a promise and today seemed as good a day as any to give up shopping for another year.

Okay, so I knew I'd be back at work today and therefore have limited access to temptation - plus I had sated my shopping desire last week with a few purchases in the Hobbs sale -but it's still a start.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly in the House of Hall and last night the fridge broke. It sits sulking in the middle of the kitchen floor, while its matching freezer friend smugly purrs away in its allotted space, challenging us to find fault with its frosty fabulousness.

Kevin has come over all manly, pulled wires out and announced 'It's the thermostat', so one has been ordered and in the meantime we wait, trying to remember how different our lives were when we could 'chill' things...

Luckily, we have sub zero temperatures outside and a tiled floor in our teeny tiny porch, which is now packed with everything that needs to be kept cold until we can either get the fridge fixed or (damn, it'll involve spending) buy a new one.

Hobbs has never been happier - food at floor level meant this morning's walk was accompanied by a hefty chunk of pate which he'd managed to scoop up on his little terrier tongue on the way past.

Just don't tell Kevin. He was keeping that for his lunch...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Promises to keep - 2011

Happy 2011 and good wishes for the year ahead!

I apologise that they're belated good wishes, but the New Year signals the opportunity for fresh starts and with that comes promises and resolutions - except I've been so busy writing and re-writing the promises and resolutions, that the days have already flown by without a single good deed being done.

Rather rashly, I have now ditched the list and made just two simple promises:

1. See my friends more often.
2. Give the full-on 'Stopping Shopping' experience another go this year and clear the remainder of my debt.

Here we go again - back on the white-knuckle ride...