A break from austerity

October 11, 2010

I’ve been meaning to update you all about my September goals (and, in particular, those which related to austerity) for the past week, but things have been quite busy. 

I did really well with the no spending days/breakfast at home/packed lunch plan in the first half of the month, but it all fell apart in the second half of the month.  I realised that things like packed lunch preparation are possible only if you’re organised enough to buy good food and prepare it: I have been too busy rushing around to be organised (and yes, I know that being more organised would probably help me to be less busy – it’s an eternal conundrum, party people).

I lost track of how many no spending days were racked up: not many, given that I was buying lunch every day towards the end of the month.  Oh well.

In a real ‘bugger austerity for a while’ move, I’ve bought a few things recently.  I picked up the new Nigella cook book last week (and who knows?  Maybe I’ll actually cook from it and not just read it like a novel and then put it on the shelf and never open it again).  I also bought some new el-cheapo moisturiser yesterday.  And as I type this I’m reminded that I need to visit the Bobbi Brown website and buy more foundation.

On Tuesday I visited Phase Eight while walking back from the office and came out with two new dresses, both irresistible with their shiny ‘sale’ tags on them.  And then during the weekend I bought two more dresses, both from Laura Ashley: one to wear to a wedding this weekend and the other because it was cute.  I would post some photos, but I’m updating from work and it seems that our outdated version of Browser is affecting the functionality of wordpress.  I’ll see what I can manage when I get home this evening.

And I bought some skinny jeans last week as well.  But enough is enough!  I shall rein in my spending once again.

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Progress: 20 September

September 20, 2010

Well, I’ve fallen off the ‘eat breakfast at home and bring lunch to work’ bandwagon: I didn’t have any breakfast and I bought lunch – leek and potato soup and jelly and custard (I really love jelly and custard). 

I did a lot of what I wanted to do this weekend: or, a lot of what I wanted to happen, happened.  I didn’t have any afternoon naps, but I had good sleep on both Friday night and Saturday night (and Tristan and I slept until nearly 10am on Saturday morning, which is almost unheard-of).  I ate some sweets and they were good and sugary.  We didn’t make it to the cinema because there wasn’t anything we wanted to see.  I did a lot of work on Charlie’s embroidery and it’s coming along very nicely.  I did pretty much no reading and absolutely no writing.  I walked Tui on both Saturday and Sunday.  I hung out with Tristan on Friday night and all day on Saturday, but he was in Wales, working, all day on Sunday.

I used the magic Colour B4 stuff and it did sort out my hair colour a bit: I think I’m back to my natural colour again.  The reddish tinge from Saturday seems to have calmed down a bit (either that or I’ve got used to it already and don’t notice it anymore).  I cleaned the bath and the loo, but Tristan did most of the housework because he’s awesome.  I made pasta for dinner last night, but didn’t do any other cooking.  I didn’t post my nieces’ birthday presents because I couldn’t be bothered heading downtown and standing in a queue for eons (sorry, nieces).  I had a splendid and long-overdue chat with Anna and really wish that I could live down the road from her and see her all the time, because doing so would undoubtedly enhance my life quite substantially.  I had a nice chat with my mother and even caught up with my father.

I didn’t make it into the loft for warmer clothes, but I may have to do so at some stage this week.  I think I spent money on both days.

I am taking this Friday off and Tristan’s proposed that we should go away for the weekend; but only if I promise to leave my Blackberry at home and relax.  It sounds like a good deal to me.  We’ve found a fantastic hotel in Norfolk and we’ll even be able to take Tui with us, which should be great fun.

And really, this recap is pretty much all I can tell you at the moment.


Progress: 17 September

September 17, 2010

First things first: don’t worry about me.  I’m fine and yesterday was just a bit of a bad day.  Today is much better.  I still have shedloads of work to tackle, but I’m not feeling as freaked out about it today.  And that’s quite remarkable when you consider that a certain Wonder Husband of my acquaintance accidentally woke me up before 5am today and I didn’t manage to get back to sleep…

Anyway, progress:

Breakfast at home: I was nine for nine on the 13th.  Now I’m 11 for 13: on Tuesday I had breakfast at a meeting and today I bought porridge at work.  I needed that porridge very badly.

Packed lunch: again, I’m now 11 for 13: on Tuesday I had lunch at an event (Tuesday was a busy day) and on Wednesday I had to be sociable and buy lunch in the restaurant because it was Emma’s first day.  And I’m going to have to buy lunch again today because I simply couldn’t be bothered foraging in the kitchen this morning.

No-spending days:  On the 13th I was up to six no spending days this month.  As of today I’ve managed eight.  My target for the entire month was for three no spending days each week: 12 in total for September.  I should be able to manage it, I think.

Weekend plans:

  • Lots of sleep, including one or two afternoon naps
  • Some quality sweet eating
  • Possibly a film
  • More work on Charlie’s embroidery (it’s so cute!)
  • Reading and – possibly – some writing
  • Walks with Tui and lots of hanging out with Tristan
  • Using that magic Colour B4 stuff to see if I can sort out my current hair colour issues
  • Cleaning the house
  • A bit of cooking, probably
  • Posting birthday presents to two nieces
  • Hopefully a chat with Anna
  • Hopefully a chat with my mother
  • An expedition into the loft to retrieve some warmer clothes (boo)

And that’s it!


Progress: 13 September

September 13, 2010

Blimey, I’m tired. This morning Tristan was up before 5 because he had to fly to Scotland for a couple of days, to begin his MSc.  So I was up early as well:  I took Tui the Wonder Dog to the dog sitter’s house for the next two days and then caught a train just before 7am.  As I parked at the station (because I’m still not supposed to walk much and I did quite a lot of walking over the weekend, as it turns out), I realised that my front right-hand tyre is almost completely flat.  I didn’t notice anything weird when I was driving, so either it happened as I got to the station or I’m a really bad and unobservant driver.  Anyway, that will be fun to sort out when I get home this evening.  I’ve already programmed the telephone number of our emergency breakdown cover service into my phone, because I have more chance of making a car from scratch than I do of changing a tyre myself.

This weekend I achieved some of my goals, but not all of them.

Things I did do:

  • Watched the rugby (and the All Blacks beat the Wallabies at the last minute, which was awesome)
  • Went to Tamara Drewe (which was pretty entertaining, albeit fairly ‘slight’)
  • Ate sweets
  • Did lots of embroidery while watching Sky Plussed episodes of Masterchef Australia (and Tristan has decided to bow to the inevitable and watch this series with me, which is the path of least resistance given that this programme is on TV six nights a week for the next fourteen weeks)
  • Bought birthday presents for two nieces: Gabriella (who turns ten at the end of the month) and Claire (who turned fifteen last week and who had the three-week trip to Europe at our expense earlier this year)
  • Walked Tui the Wonder Dog twice
  • Spent the whole weekend with Tristan

I also:

  • Went to London with Tristan, to help him as he bought new trousers and jumpers
  • Bought a new jumper and a new cardigan, both from the Uniqlo mensware concession in Selfridges
  • Drank a good vanilla milkshake at Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Soho and ate a fairly rubbish burger there as well
  • Baked a damned fine-looking banana, coconut and mixed berry loaf (which I will ice this evening)

However, I didn’t:

  • Write anything
  • Clean the house
  • Colour my hair (although I did order that Colour B4 stuff that I mentioned the other day, so I should have regained my natural hair colour by the end of the week)
  • Obey my own rule about not buying clothes (obviously)

Also, please note:

  • I’m nine for nine when it comes to breakfasting at home on work days
  • I’m also nine for nine in the ‘take lunch to work’ stakes (although it was easier today: I had a lunchtime training session and sandwiches were provided)
  • Friday was a no spending day and today will be one as well, so that’s six days so far this month

Right, it’s time to tackle the vast number of unanswered emails in my work in-box.  I have been run absolutely ragged since Alice departed, so thank goodness that Emma, her replacement, is starting this Wednesday.


Progress: 10 September

September 10, 2010

Breakfasts eaten at home on working days:  eight out of eight

Lunches brought to work from home:  eight out of eight

No spending days:  four so far – today might be the fifth

Mental state:  frazzled

Weekend plans: sleep; watching the rugby; eating sweets; a cinema trip (I want to watch Tamara Drewe and as all of our recent cinema visits have involved shooty-killy-die action films, I think that it’s time for a change of pace); writing; embroidery; buying a birthday present for my niece Gabriella; possibly colouring my hair; cleaning the house; walking Tui the Wonder Dog; spending lots of time with Tristan the Wonder Husband.


Late train home

September 8, 2010

I’m on the train, waiting for it to leave at 2252. This evening I’ve been hosting a charity dinner at work and it turned into one of those events where people don’t seem to want to leave. This would be OK if:

a) it wasn’t Wednesday night;
b) I didn’t live 40 miles out of London;
c) my train company provided more than three or four journeys each hour at this time of night;
d) my fellow passengers weren’t so loud/smelly/fond of eating Burger King takeaways; and
e) the people at the dinner were more of my favourite charity contacts – tonight’s guests were drawn from other firms for the most part and it isn’t a charity with which we do much, so all in all it was a tiring evening.

And I caught a train to the City at 7.04 this morning. And I was flipping busy all day. I’m worn out.

On the brighter side, I had breakfast at home and took my lunch to work again today. And I was about to claim this as a no spending day, but then I remembered that I will need to catch a taxi home when my train arrives. Bugger.


Progress: 7 September

September 7, 2010

Guys, this whole ‘eat breakfast at home and bring a packed lunch’ goal is too easy!  Another day down: I’m five for five so far.  And today was another no spending day – I’ve managed four of these so far this month (1st, 3rd, 5th and today).  It’s all good.

I’m finding that I need to be a little more organised in the morning if I want to both eat breakfast and make lunch.  I could make lunch the night before and have it all ready to go, but I seem to struggle to do anything constructive in the evenings these days.  I get home, I get changed out of my ‘school’ clothes, I wash my face, I take out my contact lenses.  And then I flake out for the rest of the evening.  And that’s exactly what I’ve got lined up for tonight!