Tips to be a Top Saver

As you may or may not know, I’m now trying to be really really good at saving money. I’d love to move out and the sooner that becomes possible the better. I’d say at the moment I’m an average saver. I save a lot more than some of my friends, but nowhere near as much as some others. Completely slap bang in the middle. So from this pay day onwards I’m going to try and seriously up my game, and I’ve come up with several ideas to try and make this happen.

I think working in the finance industry does make me more aware of saving and how much you do actually need to move out etc, so I really need to make a conscious effort to start saving as much as possible because man, life is expensive!

  1. Make a Spreadsheet

I’ve made myself a simple spreadsheet on Excel coz I’m a proper, boring adult. It’s nothing fancy as I literally only know the basics of Excel, so it’s something that anyone can make. Each month I’m gonna put in the exact amount I got paid, and then it’s going to take away from that balance whatever I spend. I’ve made categories such as petrol, insurance etc. Stuff you HAVE to spend your money on each month. Then for clothes/beauty, I’m giving myself an allowance. And then after all these things it tells me how much I have left completely free. So I should be able to budget much better. Hopefully.

2. Cut out the Crap

Basically, stop wasting money on shit. I don’t need a hot drink from Costa, we have a kettle at work. I’m not really starving so I don’t need extra food at lunch. If I pop to the pub on a week night I don’t always need one glass of wine. If I ain’t getting drunk I’ll be having a soft drink. These sound so little but all these things add up and over a month I reckon I can probably save myself a good £50.

3. Eat Out Less

This is defo gonna be the hardest for me. I LOVE a meal out. Since pay-day I’ve already eaten out once and had an afternoon tea. But from now on that’s it, I’m going to be strong. It is so hard as Pete and I love eating out, and so do all my friends. But unless there’s an actual reason I ‘m going to turn down any offers. Once a month should do just fine.

4. Everything in One Go

By  this I mean, try and get everything that HAS to come out of your account to come out on your actual pay day, or as close to it as possible. I move a certain amount of money straight into my savings as soon as I get paid. Give my parents their rent money. Fill up my car with petrol. The list goes on. I’m slowly arranging for bills to come out the day after my pay day now instead of random days in the month. You may have to do this as and when you renew things (such as when your phone contract runs out) to avoid any admin charges. It means what your left with is basically good to use.

5. Be Strict

I am getting a lot better at this, but I need to actually think things through before buying them. No impulsive clothes buys! I’m really going to try and not buy something when I first see it, and then if I still want it after around a week then I’ll get it.

6. Bring Back the Piggy Bank

I’m going to be chucking any loose change into my piggy back and every couple of months I’ll empty it and pay it straight into my savings. Again, this is a really small step but every little helps, and combined with everything else it should start making a huge difference!

7. Learn to Say No

I’m seriously terrible for getting FOMO. I hate the thought that everyone’s out doing something and I’m not. And I also really dislike having to say no to things. But I need to learn that if I don’t go to every trip to the pub, or every night out, or every meal out, that my friends aren’t going to stop being my friends or hate me for it. If other people say no it’s fine, so it’s fine for me to say no as well sometimes. A night in with  my colouring book is just as good sometimes. And also a major sign of getting old 😐 brill!

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My First Michelin Star Experience

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go for a meal at Michelin Star restaurant Alimentum, Cambridge, with work. For me, this was a bit of a big treat as I’ve never eaten in a Michelin Star before. I’ve been to a couple of places with rosettes, but never a star.

I have to say I was a tad apprehensive before going as I’d seen the menu and it was slightly out of my comfort zone. Eel? Oysters? Seriously?

I can be a bit of a fussy eater. I like my steak well done and don’t normally like fish much at all. So yeah. How am I gonna get though putting all that in my mouth? Can’t exactly sit at the table holding my nose now can I?

But I was very pleasantly surprised!

We had 7 courses plus a couple of appetisers and chocolates to finish. And I ate and enjoyed basically everything. You go girl!

First off we had squid ink crackers which were topped with something fishy but I can’t remember what… But yeah. So far so good. Can’t complain at all.

Our first proper course was the eel. When it arrived it looked so pretty on the plate and not anything like how I imagined it. The picture I’d painted in my head was similar to jellied eels and I was really worried about trying it. But it barely tasted fishy at all, and this ended up being my favourite savoury course of the evening.

Next up was quail. I have actually had quail before so I knew this one would be fine. And I wasn’t disappointed – very yummy.

We then had halibut and this was probably my least favourite course. I didn’t dislike anything but it just didn’t quite work for me. There was a fried oyster on the side which actually my favourite part of this dish. I’m being so surprised by my taste buds! I just wasn’t keen on the flavour of the sauce I think. It was still nice just quite as up there as the other courses.

Last of the savoury dishes, we had beef in red wine sauce. Beef tasted lovely and the sauce and mash were so good. Very strong flavours. There was, however, a snail with this one as well and I’m afraid I did chicken out here. My bad! I just couldn’t do it. I think I let my mind run away with me. But it was only small so didn’t ruin the rest of the dish at all!

Now… Desserts!

Apple crumble. This. Was. Unreal. So delicious, had a hint of cinnamon to it as well. I could have eaten this 100 times over.

BBQ Orange. I’m still not 100% what everything on this dish was, but it was all very tasty. There was a solid orange cream, licorice sorbet and some sprinkled oats/flapjack. Liked it all.

We then had a chocolate gateaux with passion fruit sorbet and my god. That sorbet. I’d like to buy it in bulk!

We finished off with a variety of chocolates and hot drinks.

All in all, was a lovely meal and very exciting to try lots of new things. The restaurant itself was very chic and well decorated, but without having too much of a pretentious feel which I half expected. We were in a room as opposed to the actual restaurant but we did walk through and stand around the bar area. In the room we were in you could watch what the chef’s were doing through a window which was a nice touch.

If someone would like to take me again… That’d be great!



My Perfect Valentine

Valentine’s Day. A day which some people hate and some people go crazy for. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. I think it’s lovely to celebrate your feelings for someone and is a great excuse to have a cute day spent together. But I really dislike all the pressure it can create and the people being all demanding over gifts. Like seriously, be grateful for what you have.

People who moan about other people celebrating also get on my nerves. You just sound jealous that you didn’t get flowers babes, not a good look!

Ha rant over! Back to what I got up to…

It was literally the cutest day ever. I was woken up to a bunch of a dozen red roses on the bed and a card. And inside the card were tickets to go and watch The Woman in Black at the West End. I’d mentioned I wanted to go see this aaages ago so boy did good! They do listen!

He then made us breakfast of eggs and bacon (he puts the ‘bae’ in bacon. lol) but this is usual tbh as I can’t cook and he loves a decent breakfast, ha I’m not housewife material.

We spent the middle of the day wandering around the local Centre Parcs at Elveden whilst drinking hot chocolates and taking selfies in front of lakes and stuff #weirdos

And it was finished off with a meal at Arbuckles late afternoon. Not the most romantic place to have your Valentines meal but IT WAS SO GOOD. Probably the biggest portions I’ve ever seen, and we left feeling so stuffed and happy and life is good. The only downside was we were too full for an Ice Cream Sundae for dessert 😦 😦 😦 heartbroken </3

Such a simple yet sweet day, the perfect kind of Valentines if you ask me.




 

Why Friends are the Most Important Thing in your Life. 

Life has taken a bit of weird turn for me recently. Something’s happened that I didn’t expect and it’s taking me a little bit of time to work out how to act and how to adjust life around it. It sort of feels like everything’s on hold and I need to get my head around a lot of things. More on the specifics another time, but for now it’s really made me value a lot of things, one being my friends.

There’s no denying that a good catch up with the girls can make you feel a million times better. Here’s my top reasons for why friends are literally everything.

  1. They can make you laugh until your belly hurts and you physically can’t laugh any more. Whether it’s talking about all the old times you used to drink Cherry Lambrini up the local park or OMG that super embarrassing thing one of you did recently, you can guarantee something will have you in stitches.
  2. If you want, they can ignore that there’s anything bad going on in your life and act completely normal. Keeps you proper pre-occupied.
  3. Who else would you be able to look through 4000 pictures of Zac Efron with? Feeling down and want to just stare at his amaze body? They be up for that!
  4. If you just need some company but don’t want to say anything at all, they’ll still happily come round and just sit. Or spoon. And be a shoulder to cry on if need be.
  5. They don’t care if you’re an ugly crier and your wet mascara rubs onto their top *even if it is brand new :|*, they’ll still sit there and let you sob until your hearts content.
  6. They listen and enthusiastically respond to your 25 reasons for why so-and-so’s a bitch, or why your job sucks right now, or just men in general. You *may* have repeated point number 4 three times already, but they’ll still nod, agree, and join you in the moaning.
  7. If they come over your house to comfort you, they’ll 9 times out of 10 bring either food or wine. Or both tbh. Screw the diet or the detox, it’s Ben and Jerries and a bottle Sauvignon Blanc that’s gonna save the day. No-one finds comfort from an apple.
  8. You can make crazy plans together which instantly lifts your mood. Fine, half of these may not actually happen in the end. But if it gets you excited about something for half an hour it’s helping. A week on a Greek Island, a festival, or OMG bungee jumping. It makes everyone happy to have plans.
  9. There’s always that one friend who you can convince into going out and getting completely rat-arsed with you. getting smashed probs doesn’t actually help, but if at the time all you want is rum and coke, jaeger bombs, tequila then so be it.
  10. Just knowing you have someone there who will do any of the above is the main thing. Not necessarily the same person for each thing.

Just remember that although being by yourself might be what you want right now, having some company will always make you feel better ❤

11 Stages of a Workday Hangover

We’ve all been there, and this is probably happening to quite a few people right now. It’s Thursday evening and you get invited to the pub for a casual drink. You say you’ll go for one but not stay late because you’ve got work tomorrow. But that’s fine as everyone else does too so you’re all in the same boat.

It’s all going well, then somehow you get tempted into 1 more drink, which soon turns in to 3, and it’s fiiiiine to stay out until 1am. You won’t have a hangover in the morning! You’ll still have 5 and a half hours sleep. You’re good!

But then… it’s the morning:

1. Alarm goes off. ‘It’s not that time already; I must have set my alarm for the wrong time’. *Checks alarm* OH. MY. GOD.

2. No wait, isn’t it Saturday today? It’s definitely Saturday. Crap no, it is Friday. Shit. Its fine I got this, I can do this.

3. Lay in bed for 3 alarm snoozes and try to work out if you are, in fact, dying.

4. Finally make it into the shower, stand there for far too long thinking of reasons you can call in sick. Remember you already told everyone you’re going to the pub after work. WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!?

5. When you eventually make it out of the shower and you look in mirror for the first time. Just *look* at those eye bags and that redness! Everyone will know!

6. The absolute struggle of making yourself look presentable, even though all the make up in the world wouldn’t be able to save you right now. Plus the wonky winged eyeliner caused by your alcohol shakes just isn’t doing you any favours.

7. After a pretty dodgy commute #vom you just need to sit yourself down with a nice cuppa and keep yourself to yourself…

8. But in comes the office chatterbox who just Will. Not. Shut. Up. ‘Oh you look rough, big night out!? On a school night!?’ Cue major headache.

9. You get to 11am successfully before you suddenly become more hungry than you have ever EVER been in your life before. ‘Just popping to Sainsbury’s, anyone want anything?’ Fresh air and food in one clever move. GENIUS.

10. After devouring some kind of chicken wrap, a peperarmi, 2 chocolate bars and a can of coke, you’re now finally starting to feel normal again.

11. The rest of the day goes by in a slightly painful blur until the question ‘anyone fancy a quick Friday drink after work?’ OH HERE WE GO…

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2 Weeks House Sitting

Right this second I’m laying back, relaxing in my friends snuggle chair in her living room. This has preeeetty much been my permanent position every evening for the last 2 weeks. I’ve been house sitting while my friend and her fiancé have been off on a Caribbean cruise. I know, I’m major jel too and I’m defo gonna look ridiculously pale when they’re back tomorrow.

The first couple of days took a bit of getting used to. I still live at home with my parents so am completely used to coming in after work with dinner almost ready, and mum still does all my washing etc. Love ya mum <3. They’ve obvs been on holiday and left me to fend for myself before but as I’m actually in someone else’s house I felt a little bit more of a responsibility.

The main reason being that they have a dog which I had to get up, let out and run around with first thing every morning. At 6am. IN THE FREEZING COLD. You know how cold it’s been the last week or so right? Yeah. Not fun. Also loved how he shredded a whole newspaper across their garden and basically ate the plastic lid to his food. Thanks Oscar.

I’ve also had to cook, clean up, wash all my clothes, hoover, the list goes on… But luckily I do have an amaze boyfriend who loves to cook so he helped me out, the babe, but he wasn’t round every night so I had to *shock* make myself dinner and food for work the next day once in a while. And I ain’t no chef.

But once I’d got myself into a routine I was fine. And totally felt like *bitch got this*. I was buying toilet rolls, making dinner, putting the bins out. I even had my parents over for breakfast one Sunday morning. I am an actual, civilized adult. Well apart from the fact I may have killed their house plant, totally a grown up. Awks.

But now I do really, really, really want to move out. I know it’s definitely not achievable right now because well, money. But it’s made me want to save even harder than I already am so that it wont be an eternity before it’s possible. Of course I can’t wait to go home and see my parents and my dog, but I loved the feeling of being completely independent and free. And no-one asking me how much longer I’m going to be in the shower or washing up a glass I’m still using. Like seriously, who does that!?

Here’s to hoping that this time next year I’ll be almost there.

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A Week in Pictures

Each week I intend on doing a round-up of what I’ve been up to over the previous week. Usually I’ll be doing this on a Monday, but this week I got majorly side-tracked. Soz. It’s just going to be a few snaps to show what I did, and it’ll probably end up being mainly food, cocktails and selfies *sorry not sorry*. There will also probs be lots of repeats from instagram (@charleebx) and also previous posts. But a girl can only do so many things in a week.

Enjoy!

First up, Wine Wednesday. Last week was stressful with a capital S. So nothing photo-worthy happened until Wednesday and that was just wine. But then again, wine is everything.

wine wednesday

Secondly, Millie’s Cookies. (See I told ya I’d repeat myself). What better way to compliment drinking wine the night before than to get Millie’s Cookies to recover with? Perf combo right there.

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Next was Saturday evening spent at an old work colleagues wedding reception. It was so nice to catch up with people I haven’t seen for ages. And what’s a wedding reception nowadays without selfie props!? We rocked it so much this point deserves 2 photos.

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Lastly, Sunday night waffles.  The pic doesn’t do justice to how amazeeee this was. The weekend definitely finished on a higher note than it started on. Eating waffles in a onesie? HELL YEAH.

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