Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Reasons to break the shopping ban

I am so being tested this week. I have come across two fabulous shopping websites and it's doing my head in.

First up, here is junk jewels:
This cute little website sells romantic pendants on necklaces and bracelets, including the infamous 'I Love You' envelope locket, now also available with 'Je t'aime.' Created by London based designer Zoe Jones, these retro, Parisian loving trinkets and charms have got me salivating like crazy. Not only does she supply to Urban Outfitters, she also sells her handmade designs at Portobello market and it's possible to pick up one off pieces there. I can honestly say it is taking every ounce of me not to get down to Portobello market this weekend. I want, I want, I want, I WANT!

Also, a twitter friend has tipped me off on this fantastic US site called Bettie Page Clothing:
Fantastic retro designs to flatter the fuller figured lady. I am particularly in love with their 'Curves' dress with the whole flight attendant feel and curved buttons. I LOVE it. Me n' this dress were quite simply made for each other! (My twitter friend who has recently purchased the dress is one lucky lady I must say!) The cheeky retro image T-shirts are pretty cute too. The dresses aren't cheap, costing approximately $155 each but they do come down by more than half price in the sale. It's only available online (or on and in three US stores but they do international shipping. Do you think my contingency fund could cover this?! Oh no, Dentist bills. Booo!

Current Overdraft total: £1,467.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Moving away from Oxford Circus - this can only be a positive thing.

Well, first I would like to apologise for the meloncholy nature of my last post. Usually I am a very chirpy, cheerful soul. But occasionally I get a little, well, bleugh. I am merely a human after all.
But today I have better news to broadcast... I will no longer be working on Oxford Street!
I admit I will miss being so close to the largest Top Shop in the country, not to mention the top class River Island, Miss Selfridge and Urban Outfitters.
In fact this is the first time in my working life I will not be a stones throw away from masses of shops. In fact I'm pretty certain this is why my shopping obsession first came about. Before I started working I loved clothes yes, but I was able to be quite disciplined about what I bought and stick to budget. Now I have about as much discipline as sex addict in a porn shop.
I feel for my wallet this move can only be a very positive thing. Now there will be no meanderings in my lunch hour, no popping into the shops as I head home. Now, for the first time in years, I will have to plan for (and thus save up for) any future shopping trips. Hurrah!

Or so I thought. Then I went to visit the new office today and discovered it's just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road... next to a big fuck off Dorothy Perkins.
I'm screwed.

Friday, 25 September 2009

ok, I cheated...

To be honest I didn't do to well this week. And some aspects of this post are rather meloncholy and well, not even particularly amusing like usual, so I'm sorry about that.
Anyway, the autumn/winter season is out and I'm rather in love with everything. I particularly want this animal print faux fur coat with rocking horse broach from River Island (£69.99) and a pair of lace up ankle boots from Dorothy Perkins (£45). And I'm feeling a little rebellious. I'm fed up of the whole trussed up fifties workie look. I want to be one of those women who can throw on a T-shirt, some jeans, fringed ankle boots and eyeliner and look really cool.
Anyway, I certainly had a couple of indisgretions this week. I went to New Look and bought these vibrant pink T-bar heels with a frill on the T-bar (very in right now and only £10 in the sale) and then I went to Primark and bought myself a pencil skirt with a spanish style frill down the side (yes, I'm feeling the frills right now) as well as a pair of super high black courts, which look very Victoria Beckham and totally kill my feet, but they will go with everything for years to come. I also bought this fantastic navy blue jumper dress in Dorothy Perkins for £35. It has a low back and embellishment on the shoulders. I don't think I can pull off the power shoulder look that is so very fashionable right now, as I think you need to be flat chested, but I figure this piece is my nod to it. I can't wait to wear it with tights, heels and a belt out tonight.
Now for the melencholy part. I have come to a realisation. I shop to fill emptiness. And this is more than boredom, although that certainly plays its part, this emptiness is more about a lack of anything, a lack of control, a lack of purpose, a lack of joy.
For example, I had a naff couple of days this week. So after work in my sadness I trailed listlessly around some shops (See the mini shopping spree above). It was only when I had bought some beautiful new shiny things did I feel more in control, did I feel I had purpose, did I feel joy.
The irony of this is that my shopping obsession is the one thing that actually gives me least control in my life. Because of my undying need to consume I can't control my finances and thus can't afford to buy a house or pay off any of my debts. Instead I merely accumelate more. (Of debts as well as stuff)
I mean this is no new realisation, we have all heard the term retail therapy, that going for a shop can really cheer us ladies up.
But I can't continue to fill up the hole of emptiness with new stuff. Because it doesn't fill up that hole for long. As a twitter friend quoted "The looking glass so shiny and new, how quickly the glamour fades." (I love a bit of Florence & the Machine!)
So in short, new stuff will never make me truly fulfilled but instead of hunting out something real to fulfil me that doesn't cost loads of money, I just keep buying to keep the ever depleting hole filled. However, a new coat will not make me better at my job, a new dress will not make someone love me and, believe it or not, new shoes will not make the emptiness go away. New clothes do not make me in control of anything. They just make me look nice.
I think I shall go back to the library and get out some more Jasper Fforde. He cheers me up without even going anywhere near a shop.

Current overdraft: £1,567.36 Oh fuck. Oh and another thing I'm fucked off about. Remember the pink cross bar heels I bought in my final splurge back in May for £55? Now in the sale for £15. Fuck sakes.

Friday, 18 September 2009

I have a financial guru

It's quite trendy to have a guru, and now I have one for the only aspect of my life where I *really* need help. My finances!
This lovely lady has revolutionised my spending and the way I view money.
With her help I shall pay off my overdraft in four itty bitty months. The answer? Have about a hundred accounts!
I'm kidding, but my financial guru is correct in that I need to move my spending away from my overdraft account. The way it's going up and down all the time makes it pretty difficult for me to see how much I'm paying off every month. And I may as well just put all my savings into the overdraft account, no point having them sitting there when I'm paying loads of interest on the overdraft.
So now I have four accounts:

Account One: The dreaded overdraft account, for the foreseeable future I am not allowed to take any money out of this account. But I must put in £200 every two weeks.

Account Two: My essential outgoings account. This is the account my salary will go into and the account my bills, rent and travel will come out of.

Account Three: My weekly spends account. This is the account I will use day to day. I will put a certain amount in every fortnight (I get paid fortnightly, yes, it makes the whole monthly spending thing quite confusing) and if I run out of money here? Well, then eating isn't an option.

Account Four: Contingency fund. Every month I will put a certain amount in here to cover costs that might crop up when I least expect it, i.e. a huge dentists bill, or if my coat falls apart and I'll freeze without a new one.

And when I'm debt free I can change the purpose of the accounts. So instead of a paying off debts account, my overdraft account can be a long term savings account (to save up for my own flat, you see) and the contingency fund can also be for the Bravissimo bras or that perfect pair of boots. (However, must be careful not to go too crazy, I will still have dentists bills when my overdraft is paid off.)
When I went into the bank and set up all these other accounts the bank manager did look at me as if I were crazy. And I admit, I do feel somewhat overwhelmed and confused with the whole process. It's like a blur of numbers. But it's ok because my financial guru is going to make me a spreadsheet to make everything clear.
It's just quite how I'm going to survive each week on my new weekly budget of £97 that is the small issue.
And that's where my new guru jumps in once again. She can revolutionize the way I buy food, instead of £40 a week on groceries it will be £20 a week, as well as substantially cheapen my nights out. Apparently it's about really enjoying the two nights out a week I can afford, rather than getting trashed all the time and giving all my money to a bartender. So it's the old adage once again: Shoes not booze! It seems to be shoes not posh food too.
But you know what, I feel really rather excited about this new plan. I am in control again. And four months is not that long really. I can really do this!

Current Overdraft total: £1,424.60 Well, I'm only at the start of the plan!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Wardrobe detoxing

Sometimes, I get the need to throw out the crap. A desire to scrap it all and start over, reinvent myself and become something new.
A hugely wanky way of saying chuck out all my old clothes and give me an excuse to buy new ones! I love a good old wardrobe detox, I really do. I'm just obsessed with organising to be honest, so organising my clothes gives me the greatest pleasure on earth.
And when Glamour did an article about the ultimate wardrobe detox this month, I knew now was the time to get in there and get chucking out.
Although I usually treat a wardrobe detox as a way to start over (i.e. create a space to fill with lots of new clothes), according to Glamour a good detox can make you rediscover your old favourites and give them a new season twist. I'm going to discover outfits I never knew I had!
It's all about the streamlining and wearing old clothes in new exciting ways. I'm sure this is all advice I already knew, but I'm happy to go through the steps.

Step 1: Wardrobe detoxing needs to be done twice a year. Already do that!

Step 2: Be ruthless, if you haven't worn it in the last year, if you have a newer, better version of it, if it looks obviously dated, if you only bought it because it was on sale, if it has any holes/bobbles, no longer fits or make you feel great: chuck it out. I have to admit, I'm pretty damn good at this too.

However, a mini tip just from me, some things can be repaired, so make a 'need to sew' pile. Sew back on any buttons, take any stained clothes to the dry cleaners, sew up any holes, and rejuvenate lots of old clothes. A very cute gray pencil skirt with pink pinstripes of mine that was too big has now been salvaged by just a little bit of darting at the waist.

Step 3: Get organised. Put tops with tops, skirts with skirts, dresses with dresses, etc. Well, I must say there is a lot to be said for organising. I never realised quite how much gym kit I had!

Step 4: Reinvent. So my uber cute summer floral poplin dress works well for winter teamed with tights, a white shirt underneath and a black cardigan belted over the top. Good tip!

Step 5: Recycle. Take all your old clothes to the charity shop. And also, that dress that worked better on your friend than you? Give it to her. Trust me, it will give you an overwhelming sense of generosity and make you feel like the best mate ever!

Ok, I didn't find *loads* of brand new outfits, but with all the recycling and mix and matching, it certainly has the ethos of my new budget lifestyle.
Just a shame I barely have any clothes for winter and desperately want to buy a new coat and three pairs of ankle boots in Dorothy Perkins. But it's ok because I've made a list of all the important pieces missing from my wardrobe to purchase once my overdraft is paid off. It's only three pages long.

Current overdraft limit: £1,374... Rubbish.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I <3 Bravissimo

Yesterday, I was bad. And for anyone who really isn't into posts with a serious case of TMI, please look away now. 
You see, none of my bras fit, to the point where I am in pain ladies and gents. My boobs have been sore for weeks! And the one that does fit is fairly moldy and gross. So I went to my local Bravissimo for a fitting and then gave them all my money in exchange for some much needed new scaffolding. 
I can tell you, it was very embarrasing at yesterdays London Bloggers Meetup telling people I write about giving up shopping and toddling about with a Bravissimo bag in my hand. Everyone could see my glaring failure.
My glaring failure was all the worse because, although I did buy one very useful black multiway plunge bra, which I can wear under pretty much everything, for a mere £24.50. I also, well, bought a basque. 
But it fits really well and is so pretty and is amazing under dresses where you need to be held in somewhat, and I have been in love with the Agent Provocateur ones for months but this one was a third of the price so really it's ok I bought it, it really is. It's a multiway too and has a lovely balconette bra that works beautifully under square necklines, so it really is very useful. For example, I was wearing a dress at the weekend which was strapless and very tight. So instead of wearing remarkably ugly Bridget Jones pants and having my bra straps on show I could have just worn the basque. Much more attractive. And it was only £54.  
And in fact, my new brassieres have given my wardrobe a whole new lease of life. Today I am wearing a gray forties style nurse dress, which I certainly couldn't have worn without the correct support. And I'm sure the new bras make me look thinner. Smiles all round. Expensive underwear is an investment worth making. 
And there are my garbled excuses. The way I reason these things to myself, I don't know. 
But I have made a decision to myself for the future.
I will never, ever, buy cheap underwear again. I'm sorry La Senza, you may do my sizes but your bras simply don't offer me the support I need, and whenever I buy cheap bras I always end up with double boob syndrome. No one likes double boob syndrome! It looks crap and is rather painful. So from now on, I have a new plan. 
Every six months I will make a trip to Bravissimo, get measured and buy beautiful but also erm, upstanding, bras. And I shall save up for this. Once I have this overdraft paid off and I'm officially allowed to shop again I will have a ladies nice things account. I will put a certain amount in every month and I will save up for my hearts desire. 
Instead of falling into the instant gratification trap, buying it there and then and getting myself into such fucking trouble... again.  

Current overdraft total: £1192.52 


Monday, 7 September 2009

Living on £100 a week is really hard. My answer? Shoes not booze.

It's currently Monday and for the rest of this week I have a grand total of... £20 to spend. 
Yep, I've spent £80 of my weekly budget already. 
£40 of this went on food for the week, £10 on toiletries and £30 on a night out. I'm also sure I owe someone money. And my Ipod headphones have packed up (again) so I really should get some new ones. But I may have to resist until next week. 
Last week I may have overspent by maybe £5 but I think I did pretty well for my first week of poverty. And that £5 overspend was buying birthday chocolates for a friend. But this week is another story,  I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday. That's this weeks budget screwed! I can't afford to have nice teeth. 
Once upon a time, when I was a lowly student, £100 a week seemed like loads of money! Now, it feels like absolute torture living on just £100 a week. Bleugh for pricey London town.
But seriously, I get the £100 out of the cashpoint every Friday evening, and it feels like such a small insignificant pile of cash. And then it disappears out of my fingers quicker than water runs down a plughole. 
On the plus side though I did spend half an hour in Urban Outfitters on Saturday (my good friend was buying a very retro coral front fastening bra with pink corset ribbons) and I didn't buy a thing. 
Also on the plus side I received my current student loan statement this weekend. I owe the government £9,638. Which is pretty scary, but compared to some other people I know, not that bad.  
I'm also going to start a new mini campaign, my housemate came up with the fantastic idea, it's called 'Shoes not Booze.' I've even twittered about it.
In short, alcohol costs money. If I drink less, I will spend less money, if I spend less money I will clear my overdraft faster and be allowed to by shoes sooner. And alcohol is full of fattening calories and makes you feel hungover and increases your risk of breast cancer. 
Shoes make your feet look nice.
Shoes not booze is a fantastic plan! I may have failed with the plan at a friends birthday party at the weekend, but today is a new dawn. I refuse to spend any money on alcohol until... well, at least next weekend. 

Current Overdraft total: £1,108.07