Manic Monday…

No more!

I went back to work part time a few weeks ago and even on reduced hours I was really struggling.

I work 20 miles from home, my daughters nursery is near home and opens at 7:30 so the absolute earliest I can hit the motorway is 7:45. It takes me at least an hour to get to work and I can’t leave the office any later than 4pm so I can pick up from nursery. Assuming I don’t get stuck in traffic I’m already 30 minutes short per day! To try and alleviate the stress I’m now working from home on Mondays and it’s made such a huge difference.

It makes no difference to my work as I’m just doing what I’d do in the office but I’m not starting the week stressed about making my hours or rushed. The day I’m at home I get so much more done. The time I would normally spend in the coffee queue is now just waiting for my own kettle to boil and while I’m waiting I can get a load of washing in the machine. The 2 hours I would spend in the car I can spend studying so I don’t fall behind at uni and I’m still managing to collect the baby at the right time.

A better work/life balance is one of the great benefits of ditching your extra stuff and that apparently extends to ditching your extra travel time!

Little things…

I thought I’d be able to tick something off my list this week but instead I’ve just done a load of little half jobs.

Laundry – half done

Scan/shred paperwork – half done

List things on eBay – not even started

Catch up with uni – hahahaha….

So that I have actually done something this week (besides take my 1 year old for an MRI) I decided to clean up my Pinterest. I deleted my wish list boards and rearranged what was left after thinking about what I wanted to get from Pinterest. I’m using it as a scrapbook now instead of a shopping list. I’ve grabbed some recipes to try on a cook board, a few interiors pictures I like because my own house isn’t quite done yet and a wardrobe board to help me when I finally do the dreaded wardrobe cull.

I started with over 1000 pins, I don’t know how many boards. I’m now under 400 pins across 8 boards and its had the same affect as ripping up a to do list!

Bathroom cabinet clear out

Somehow, I’ve managed to completely ignore the PAO symbol on all my makeup and toiletries

I spent a bit of time at the weekend going through my bathroom cabinet and make up bag and well, here’s all the stuff I have to throw out

I’m not going to price up the wastage, that would make me cry. I now have no eyeshadow, no foundation (to be fair I didn’t use it anyway) and a very tidy bathroom cabinet!

I’ve decided to look on the bright side and run with the products I have left as long as I can. I’m not going to replace my eyeshadow or foundation. Not going to buy a new body scrub or bath oil.

So here’s my toiletries now:img_2676

And organised into containers:


The box holds my everyday stuff, dry shampoo, mythic oil, face & body moisturisers, eye cream, deodorant, cleansers and 2 night creams (one is a weekly treatment) and the rest is neatly organised. Now that I’ve cleaned it out I think I’ll reduce even further because there are some things I don’t intend to replace when they run out.
My make up:


BB cream, under eye concealer and mascara is everyday. The powder used to be everyday but my skin is so dry right now I haven’t needed it. There are 2 NARS blushers there, one open and one sample size I’m keeping for when the big one runs out.

Everything else is infrequent use. The lipsticks especially but I wouldn’t be without them. Much prefer lipstick to eyeshadow!

January shopping round up

Bad minimalist!!!

Not sure how but I managed to spend quite a bit this month despite not being paid since September…

Clothes – £456.68

2 pairs of Richmond 7/8 trousers. Black & navy. Needed work clothes! £58.50 and £52

Christmas jumper £39.75

Grey jumper £45

Black & white Breton £15.90 – All Boden

Black dungarees £34.99

Baby slippers £7.99 – both H&M

Unicorn pyjamas £24

Green leopard print midi dress £26.50 – both ASOS

Mama gang t shirt £22 – Mere Soeur

Underwear £130.05 – Bravissimo

Books – £10.49

How to grow a baby £10.49

Other – £236.89

Runner from habitat £50

6 month Sisley sample subscription £35

Personalised cake topper and birthday banner NOTHS £65.50

Party supplies £66.89

Mascara £19.50


HOW? I don’t even understand how I managed to find £700! Jesus Christ.

Lets just see what I actually needed then…


Work trousers. To be fair I did need work clothes as I don’t have any but the black trousers would have done. I only bought the navy because the black were back ordered and I figured I’d need a second pair eventually anyhow…

Christmas jumper was in the sale, grey jumper was another for work. Don’t have many work appropriate tops and none of them went with the navy trousers. The black & white breton is a sale purchase replacement for my existing black & white breton which snuck into the tumble dryer and shrunk in the sleeves.

I know no one needs black dungarees but I can’t really bring myself to regret buying them. I love them! The baby slippers are the only shoes she owns as she’s not walking so it’s soft shoes only for now. It’s too cold for just socks.


Erm… ever tried to justify unicorn pyjamas? No? I love them. The green leopard print midi dress was a sale draw too. It had been on my wishlist for ages, sold out in my size then popped back in stock on sale so I grabbed it. No where to wear it but its time shall come.


Mama gang t-shirt is made by someone I follow on instagram, I’m trying to support small businesses more and I liked the t shirt.

Underwear was required, none of my bras fit as I’ve gone from a 38GG to a 36HH since being pregnant so bought 3 new ones. Didn’t need to buy the matching pants though.. or the bright yellow lace set. Oh well.


This is a book by someone I follow on instagram. I found her blog while pregnant (she’s a midwife and collects birth stories) and it was basically my entire pregnancy guide. I don’t plan on another baby just yet but she’s lovely so I bought her book.


Oy. I didn’t need a new runner, I just found the one we had boring (Ikea stop gap purchase years ago). The sisley subscription? Don’t need that either. The cake topper and party supplies were for Tabi’s first birthday.


The cake topper is amazing and can be reused every year. The party supplies were lovely but I found a box in the garage that was full of supplies we could have used, still in cellophane so that was a waste of money. The mascara was bought the same day the rubber seal on my old one failed! Was completely unusable after that!

Feel a bit shit seeing how much I’ve spent. It’s so easy to do in a trickle. I’d never have blown £700 in one go. Not really sure how to stop myself doing the same next month either.

Anyone else done a spending review and nearly died?

Simplifying the non-stuff stuff

A lot of the time minimalism focusses on ‘stuff’, actual physical things. Declutter your wardrobe, Konmari your komono… but I think, for me anyway, one of the main goals is to have a simpler life. Less time cleaning, less time fighting with your clothes to get dressed in the morning, less time wondering where in the actual fuck have I left my car keys this time?

So while my own ‘stuff’ is still in the excess pile, I thought I’d try letting something else go for while.

I’m working part time, studying part time, have a 1 year old and I really need to get fitter and lose quite a bit of weight. I can’t do it all while also seeing friends and family and actually having some chill time, it’s too much.

I can’t reduce any baby commitments, she, quite rightly, comes first. Work is already dramatically reduced. I used to do 70 hour weeks, I’ve now dropped to 21 hours. Which leaves Uni or fitness.

5 years ago I injured myself (exercising, oh the irony…) and in the 3 months that followed I piled on almost 4 stone because I stopped exercising completely and didn’t adjust my eating habits to compensate, plus all my muscle which I’d been working on turned to fat…

I’m currently in a size 18/20 (UK) and I’m not happy with that. I’m all out of proportion, unfit and I just don’t ‘look’ like myself. You know how body dysmorphia usually relates to a perfectly healthy person looking in the mirror and seeing themselves as bigger than they are? I have the opposite of that. I still picture myself as a size 12/14 and it’s jarring every time I see myself in pictures or catch myself in the mirror That’s not what I really look like! Is it?

I’d like to get some of ‘me’ back and I really, more than anything, have to get fitter. I’d like another child at some point and it took 2 years to conceive Tabi, we’d actually decided to adopt and had started the social worker meetings when I fell pregnant, and one of the possible reasons the Doctor suggested was my weight. Fat contains oestrogen which can muck up the hormone balance required in order to conceive and to progress with a pregnancy, thats not fat shaming or anything, thats biology pure and simple.

Anyway, fitness, obviously incredibly important and it is a priority, HOWEVER, I’m almost half way through my degree, I finish this module in June and then I have 4 months until my next module begins. So I’ve decided to drop any intention of going to the gym, sticking to a diet, completing 30 day shred… I’m not thinking about it. Not at all. I’m just getting through this module and then in the 4 month break, I’ll spend the uni time on exercise instead.

It’s good to let go of goals once in a while. Even if you’re only letting go temporarily. Now instead of thinking I should really be at the gym and all the guilt that goes with that, I have more flexibility and less stress/guilt!

Yay to ditching the non-stuff stuff.

30 minutes declutter

I’m not at the konmari stage yet because I have so much stuff piled up that I already know I don’t need/want that I really need to get rid of that first before getting right down to the serious stuff shedding.

I did go into our junk room (the room I place all non rubbish from previous declutters with intent to sell on eBay or gumtree) and do a very quick blitz ahead of Tabitha’s first birthday party tomorrow. 



The blue Ikea bag holds things friends have said they would like to take off our hands, the white basket is things that are rubbish or belong elsewhere in the house and the little pile on the right is things that I’m taking to the charity shop tomorrow. 

The things that are left are things I’m going to offer to friends first via Facebook, things I’m selling on vestiaire collective or things I’m not ready to part with yet so need to come back to when I have more time.

At least I have access to the sofa again!

The money talk

I’m not sure how to go about this… I want to be honest but if I start discussing specifics I have 2 worries.

1.) That I give away so much I wind up the victim of fraud

2.) That specifying income might cause some people to ignore what I’m saying because they’re focussing on what they could do with those wages. I’m aware my wages have been very good (I’m not talking 6 figures on anything, but higher than the national average and triple the average for my home town) but you tend to spend according to your income, if that goes up so does your spending, your lifestyle choices adapt. So when your wages go down it’s a squeeze.

I have decided to land somewhere in the middle and discuss actualmonetary amounts where needed and just talk in percentages everywhere else.

So, lets start with my glorious 2013 wages. That was the most money I had ever earned. I almost doubled my income through overtime because we wanted to buy a new house and we couldn’t really afford it so I had to work as much as they would let me to afford the deposit (our last house got hit by the recession and we lost money on it so not much equity) and then because we doubled our house size, we had to spend on furniture to fill it.

In 2014 I cooled it a bit and started a part time degree so I couldn’t keep up the overtime. 2015 I got promoted so my base wage went up but I reduced the overtime even further because I was pregnant and couldn’t be arsed, 2016 I went on maternity leave (and maternity pay) and this year, I’ve decided to go part time.

I’ve cut my hours from average of 70+ per week down to 21. That means that I’m earning less than 40% of my 2013 wages. But with an extra person to feed and clothe. Oh and HAVE YOU SEEN THE COST OF CHILDCARE???

Literally the only part of my life I’ve managed to minimise is my income.

Which brings me to today. When I got my first part time payslip and realised I was £300 short of paying my bills. I mean before paying for diesel or food or clothes, social stuff anything like that, I actually could not pay my bills.

Between my husband and I we’re around £35k in debt. Which didn’t sound so bad a year ago. I mean 2 cars, some home improvements, couple of Apple upgrades… It didn’t even seem extravagant. Until now, when I can’t meet the monthly payment. Which, after having months where I could meet those payments and have upwards of £2k left to spend on whatever I fancied (Valentino shoes, Alexander Wang bags, last minute long weekends in Athens or Stockholm) is quite the shock.

I want to reduce the number of companies and credit providers I deal with. Reduce paperwork, reduce direct debits. I want to have savings. We’ve been very good about adding to the baby’s savings account (her savings account balance is more than I will earn in the next 3 months!) but we used up all of our own savings last year on maternity leave.

Really what I want is to get my finances into a state where we have money for emergencies, can go on 2 holidays a year (long weekends within Europe using air b&b, not big fancy holidays) and not be stressed about money. I don’t want to rely on credit, I don’t want Christmas to be a huge financial catastrophe, I don’t want to be pushed into increasing my hours at work because we need the money.

I’ve always thought one of the core principles of minimalism is that you shed what you don’t need in order to work less and live more but its taken dropping to the lowest wages in years for me to be motivated enough to actually sort our finances out.

I’m booked in for a financial overhaul with the bank this week to switch us from perpetually skint high earners to mid earners with savings (hopefully).

Which brings me to the serious part of this post. If you’re in debt, go to the bank. Don’t bury your head in the sand, don’t ignore it. Write down everything, and I mean every last penny owed, even to family and go to the bank. If they can’t help (if some debts aren’t with them or your credit rating is already goosed), go to citizens advice. It’ll be far less stressful in the long run.