Monthly Archives: September 2011

October – the month of buying nothing unnecessary

I haven’t even looked at my bank account, because although today is pay day, I know that the total is going to be massively depressing (once I’ve extracted my monthly rent & bills, my £400 train ticket and my credit card bill). There is a transfer to be made from savings to cover the credit card (because it’s the flights from the rally), but otherwise it is what it is. Obviously I’ll be using the overdraft as I do most months but the intention is to bring this usage down slowly over the next few months. (with Christmas and my car insurance due… hah, who am I kidding?! But worth a try, certainly).

 So… Buy Nothing Unnecessary, aka phase 2 of Project Thrifty Chic. I have an enormous amount of stuff in my flat, most of which I don’t even know that I still own. Quite a lot of which is makeup – cue some more beauty blog posts!

I have some lovely things planned this month for which I’ve already budgeted, but outside of those I am going to try, very hard, for just one month, to not buy any more stuff. (I also have a freezer full of food, which I’m going to use up before buying any more. Apart from vegetables, which I’m nearly out of.)

 Now just to test this theory, I am going into town tomorrow (1st of the month… whoops) and there are some things I need while I’m there… I have a small separate budget for the beginnings of Teasets to Typewriters, but aside from stock/packaging for that (and the packaging I really should buy in relative bulk, online), I’m going to be good. Well, I’m going to try!

(and in the evenings, I intend to skate, blog, work on the secret projects ready for launch… lots of things! Hopefully none of which will involve too much money… also intend copious use of the slow cooker for both convenience and thrift :D )

PS I would apologise for the continued thrifty posts… but I keep getting good reactions so I won’t :)


Filed under Life Plans and Goals, Projects, Recording, Thrifting, Writing

Catching up with myself…

(edit: just realised I’ve forgotten the cocktail pic… will add this weekend! Bad squishy…)

Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks! Any notion I had of life calming down when I returned from the rally and ‘settled down’ to real life again has been firmly squashed, if anything it’s got even busier!

Haven’t even had time to draft a Happy Thursdays post, but instead I thought I’d post a few photos of the rally as a) they’re nowhere else on the internet yet (this is because there are 2101 of them and I have no idea where to start editing that number down to put online. They’d also cost me over £100 to print), and b) it made me the happiest I’ve ever been. Ever :) I clearly have some adventure in my heart!

So… (warning, this doesn’t really even start to cover everything we did, but should give a glimpse.) Don’t forget full write up (well, of the rally – I’m still faffing with the two extra days) is at :)

The P-reg Laguna we bought, after a weekend of Nitro-Mors on the bonnet. See how pretty she was… but I think we made her prettier :P


Trusty Rusty McLusty (ok, that was terrible, but she was very trusty) in my aunt & uncle’s field:



Rusty & Allegro in Germany, camped near the Nurburgring:


The view we woke to in Switzerland (the coldest night of my entire life, I swear):


View from Rusty’s rear window in the Swiss mountains:


Some proper extreme ironing, not far from Stelvio pass:



Popping to Italy for lunch:


Trying to fix Rat Patrol’s car in Budapest:


Me on Rusty’s bonnet at the Romanian border:


A bunch of us parked at the Romanian border:


Scaring the bloke in the petrol station – I think he thought we were about to hijack him!


Some shots of us driving, just to prove we did:





Group shot in Sibiu, somewhere around 2am:



DONKEY! On the Transfaragasan Highway (as seen on Top Gear – the road, not the donkey):


Group shot at the foot of the south side of the Transfaragasan, left to right me, Andy (Rat Patrol), Graham (Rat Patrol), Rob (Rusty McLusty), Craig (Allegro), Jenny (Allegro), Pete (Allegro):



This was a single vodka and coke in Brasov, celebrating the end of the rally. I dread to think what a double looks like!



Me at the top of Brasov, breathtaking view but I did not like being that close to the edge!



Rob and I on the very last day at Peles Castle in Sinaia:



Yeah… there’s so much more I should put into this post but I don’t want to crash anyone’s computer or bore anyone out of reading my blog :P Will link to Flickr album when I’ve evntually got them all up there in some kind of order. But you get the idea. Best nine days of my entire life :)


Filed under Adventuring, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Laughing, Loving & Living, Photography, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Recording

Why I’m an Unmade Bed – and proud

Having found this article completely by chance (it’s from my pre-regular-blogging days), I thought it was worth sharing. I’m most definitely an Unmade Bed, and all the happier for it. Women, she says, are either Unmade Beds (UBs) or Pristine Pillows (PPs).

We all know a PP or two, those women who never have a hair out of place, whose houses are shrines to minimalism and white leather, and who always turn up early for everything, in high heels. They don’t eat much, turn their noses up at proper alcohol and keel over in shock if they catch you eating carbs. The rest of us live our lives… we eat pasta, we drink wine, we go barefoot, we play, and we’re liberated and happy. We also scrub up pretty well when the occasion calls for it!

To demonstrate, my flat only gets properly tidied (and indeed, the bed made properly) when my parents or a man are coming to visit. My friends love me for who I am and are quite used to the organised chaos I usually live in (some of them had the mis/good fortune to live with me for a year or two) and don’t object to it. I’m anal about cleaning my kitchen, but my tidying is very much of the shove-stuff-in-wardrobe-and-shut-door variety. Only I have rails, not wardrobes, so instead I shove in boxes, put boxes in the studio and shut that door instead.

In the article, Shane also mentions handbags as another dividing line between UBs and PPs. Ohh, handbags. From mine today (and this is very much the light version, as I’ve not been home from holiday long and haven’t had a chance to clutter it up properly), I extracted the following:

hand cream, deodorant, my purse, £4.10 in change, six euros fifty in change, 90 Romania Lei, various cards, my driving licence (these were all loose at the bottom, not in my purse), a ticket to colchester zoo, a notebook, six pens, one pencil, mobile phone, mum’s camera, usb lead for my phone, earrings, sunglasses, a box of plasters, sudocrem, chewing gum, keys for my flat, keys for julia’s flat, keys for work and keys to my parents’ house, my council tax bill, various bits of printed paper, a map, socks, ibuprofen, a bag full of makeup, a random red lipstick, pro plus, my hairbrush, a glasses cleaning cloth, tissues, four hairbands, spare floozies, spare tshirt, can of diet coke, a half eaten bar of chocolate, a novel, a Homes & Antiques magazine and eleven post it notes.

And I wonder why my shoulders hurt! I’m seriously considering doing a monthly post on what’s in my handbag… I might discover some long-forgotten treasures! However, I usually have everything I need with me (actually it’s missing cross stitch, knitting or crochet – I almost always have my current small project with me) and I’ve been the go-to girl in every office I’ve ever worked in for the random things you should have in your bag but just never do… painkillers, tissues, hairbands. After 25 years of trying to be tidy, I’ve accepted that I’m a chaotic but happy kind of a person… and that’s just fine by me. Us Unmade Beds live life to the full :)

So which are you? An unmade bed or a pristine pillow? And what’s really in your handbag?


Filed under Absorbing, Blogging, Handbag contents, Recording

It’s been a while…

Since I blogged properly. Life has been utterly mad in the last couple of weeks, and my feet don’t seem to have touched the ground!

I’ve managed a Happy Thursdays post, and that’s probably the best summary of my life at the moment… lots of small things that make me smile and one massive thing that made me the happiest I’ve ever been, which I’m still trying to adjust from. Got my camera back in the post from the other team on Friday evening, with all their photos – I’m still to look through them, can’t quite bear to look as they’re the last I’ll have (apart from when Justin posts his on the StreetSafari site I suppose).

Had an eventful weekend, we surprised a dear family friend in Surrey for her 60th birthday on Saturday, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone quite so taken aback, bless her! Was incredibly lovely to see her, and she took us to Hobbycraft too (well, we didn’t want to interrupt the plans she already had for the day, now did we?!) – so I stocked up on things for the Curiosity Project and a few bits for personal stuff I’d like to do soon.

Then headed off to see some more friends, had a late lunch, helped out with a website holding page and drove home again.

This morning we had a lovely leisurely breakfast, then drove over to get some oil and a filter, and lovely Dad did my oil change for me while I sorted out the rest of the website stuff I’d started for Gary yesterday… have had to leave my car at home this week so it can have an MOT, Mum brought me home but it feels ever so odd not to have her parked outside :(

On the plus side, I did get back to parcels from Rob and Chloe… Rob’s ensured my camera has a lens cap again!! :D and a rather lovely new card reader too, which is handy as my old one is totally knackered and a bit suspect (probably due to the abuse it’s received since I bought it five years ago, lol). Chloe is an angel and has sent me buttons (BUTTONS!! My favourite thing, well one of them) and the originals of the Rusty McLusty illustrations… squeee :D

But after making dinner this evening, blitzing my (ridiculously messy – how does it get that bad in just a week?!) flat and calling Anna for a chat and to help with her first ever blog post, my doorbell goes. No one EVER rings my doorbell, so I was somewhat confusled… turns out it was Laura, with a flat battery. But of course my car is at home with Mum and Dad, so we had to find a random neighbour to jumpstart her car. Sigh.

So now I’m finally settled down with a glass of wine and my laptop, catching up on all the stuff I haven’t had a chance to look at all weekend. I swear my weekends are busier than my weeks, sometimes.

Photos and normal blog service to resume soon, I promise.

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Filed under Blogging, Recording, Thinking

Things that make me happy Thursday – 22/9/11

Skating with Jess – and the first picture I have of me on wheels since I was about twelve :)

me in skates

Fizzing with excitement over a new project with Mimi from Little Sips of Tea… watch this space for details

Finally settling on my pin up name… to be revealed along with the new project launch :)

Having my gorgeous uni girlies over for the weekend, it was so lovely to see them… and then seeing Val & Matt on Monday on their way to the airport for an impromptu dinner and drinks – was exactly what I needed!

Reliving the rally through showing family & friends photos and videos… bittersweet as I still want to be there, but lovely to remember all the little details

Cake!! Bought by lovely Sophia to make work better this week



Speaking to lovely friends and knowing I’ll see some of them soon

Catching sight of my blackbird just as I was feeling a bit down – he always pops up when I need him :)

Completing my first bit of freelance design work in ages – gave me a real sense of achievement!

Booking a vintage hair & makeup workshops with LouMimi and Anna at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford- it’s going to be SO EXCITING!

Bunting in London, most unexpectedly


 The glow after the rally and the feeling of knowing I can do absolutely anything – it’s liberating and a little bit scary!

Wearing beautiful shoes to work

Finding this picture of Rusty online – taken by a complete random when we were on our way to Dover. Muchly exciting!

Talking business ideas with friends and being taken seriously, which is always a good thing

Seeing this lovely little Figaro parked in the smallest space ever – I’m fairly sure it wasn’t a space, but it made me smile. And there’s a Banksy/Robbo rat behind it, which made me think of the rally, which made me smile wistfully.

figaro in small space 

Two new ponies arriving… one that I’d ordered and one that I’d bought on impulse… whoops! Rather nice to have some new faces on my shelves, even if my shelves are ridiculously overstuffed now.

Janine being on my train entirely unexpectedly :)

Making a new friend at work via emails about the staff day – we’re going for lunch and drinks when she’s back from holiday, yay!


So many happy things this week… and it’s of course lovely to be back in the blogosphere! Still not used to not being on the rally, my adventuring spirit has well and truly taken hold, but I have plenty to keep me occupied and plenty to plan :) (edit – have updated with some bits I’d forgotten – apologies if you get this twice!)


Filed under Adventuring, Collecting, Friends, Happy Thursdays, Loving & Living, Model Horses, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Skating

My girlies at the weekend…

Because I haven’t blogged with photos for a silly amount of time, because the last post was highly uninteresting to anyone but me (and possibly Mimi from Little Sips of Tea), here is a photo of me with three of my gorgeous friends who came to visit at the weekend :)

Left to right – Holly, Val, me and Anna

(And look! My Sleek Pout Paint with added blue!)


Filed under Beauty, Friends, Loving & Living, Photography, Recording, Wearing

Project Thrifty Chic must start in earnest…

Whoops… have just checked my bank accounts on the way to work. One is overdrawn, one is down to its last £10, and I still have £206 I have to spend on train tickets this month, quite aside from anything else.

There has obviously been the rally, which is why the savings account is down to its last £10 – I shall be transferring some more to cover the flights which are due to be paid off my credit card on 9 October, and then I really shall be knuckling down to not spending so much and getting my finances back on track.

This month has been a bit daft – aside from the trip, I’ve bought a couple of ponies and a few bits for the house, and done my usual ridiculous spending on magazines, plus stocked up on cosmetics and toiletries, and my Asda shop replenished loads of storecupboard staples I’d run out of like sauces, marinades, oils, spices etc. October will be better :)

So parts of Project Thrifty Chic, which I touched on briefly a few weeks ago shall begin in earnest! I have already embarked on meal planning, sat down on my return from the rally and decided that as well as helping my budget, planning food would also help my health and enable me to experiment with new recipes – I love to cook but the constraints of my job and the lack of time I have in the evenings mean I often fall back on making the same old food time after time.

My fridge and freezer are full, my slow cooker is bubbling away at home as I speak (ragu sauce for lasagne tonight) and the dinner I was meant to go out for this evening has been put back to next month as we’re all busy and broke. So, you know, at least I’m in good company! Work lunches are what usually do my budget in, but I have cheese and butter in the fridge, so am going to buy myself some bread and crisps and make my sandwiches. From a health point of view I’m bringing cereal to work in the mornings, and I aim to stop buying so much chocolate too – they’re all small costs but they really add up.  I’m also not going shopping again till the end of the month – I have plenty to keep me occupied in the evenings and at the weekends.

There’s only one more weekend left between me and payday and it shouldn’t be too costly as I’m going down to see my godmother with my parents, the MR2 is due an oil change on Sunday, but Dad usually pays for the oil & filter. Worst case scenario I’ll put it on my credit card and sort it out in December. The intention is to have a really good October and a well planned November, then I’ll be out of overdraft and able to pay for my car insurance without too many issues in December. Christmas this year is going to be less about the gifts and cards and more about spending time with my family and making a donation to Woking Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care in memory of Nick, who they helped so much before he died.

I love the independence of adult life and living alone, but the financial side can be the teensiest bit stressful! But life is too short to get down about it – I’ll just tighten my belt a bit and sort it. I always think that good money management is not never going over your means, but knowing when you’ve exceeded them and taking measures to bring yourself back into the black.



Filed under Life Plans and Goals, Planning, Projects, Thrifting

still coming back down to earth

I’m very much back to reality with a bump, work is mad (it’s the middle of our grad week and there’s loads to catch up on from when I was away) but oh, I’m still struggling with the post-rally blues.

May attempt to relieve this with some skating at the weekend, it’s been much too long and I reckon flying round a rink at speed might lift my spirits somewhat.

I have a lovely friend staying with me till Friday, a big work event on Friday and my girlies coming up for the weekend, plus some freelance design work that has a deadline of Monday, so I might be a tad absent over the next few days but I’m sure they’ll help me deal with my blues.

I have had some lovely texts and fb messages which have made me smile muchly since I’ve been home and I know I’m very lucky to have such a lovely life filled with such fabulous people… But I still miss Rusty, and Rob, and the two teams we spent so much time with who are still touring Europe. Haha, maybe it’s just a touch of jealousy…

On the plus side, it’s given me a new lease of extremely sparkly life and I have many exciting things in store. Just trying to get some kind of routine back and then I will be blogging regularly again :)

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Filed under Adventuring, Friends, Learning, Loving & Living, Memories, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Travelling

r2r 2011

I haven’t dropped off the radar but I’m touring Europe in a banger this week – separate blog at and on twitter with hashtag #rustymclusty :) I’ll be posting here again September 12th :)

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Filed under Adventuring, Driving, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Rallies

Things that make me happy Thursday 1/9/11


A man stopping (not just slowing down) to let me get off the train in ridiculous shoes without hitting an unwary commuter

Watching a man walking through Broadgate in London with his nose buried in a really old-fashioned, proper leather bound book

Meeting my girlies for dinner and feeling human again :) (and pigging out on ribs and cocktails, hehe)

Sunshine on the first day of September

A beautiful mint green vintage-style bicycle spotted on my morning walk to work – what a way to commute that would be.

A girl in Tesco saying she was inspired to skate after seeing Jess & I carrying ours.

Our second weekly Hyde Park skate – it was fab!

Mum and Dad keeping roast dinner for me even though I nearly didn’t come home to get it and was a stroppy, overtired moo when I did go and see them. Blush.

Lots of people wearing polka dots – they’re my favourite thing, and I’m half hoping it’s some sort of key A/W11 trend so I can build up my collection of dotty clothes, and half hoping it’s not in fashion at all or the world and his dog will be wearing the.

Ellie and Lee, Sar and Sarah, Lou and Paul and Cate all moving house – I can’t wait to visit!

Caitlin and Sedge going to uni in September – two more exciting places to visit, yay!

Cadbury Twirl Bites

Successfully wearing red lipstick (actually Sleek Pout Paint, my new favourite thing, but more on that later) to work (phase 1 of Project Pinup)

Standing my ground when challenged by a colleague about my weird eating habits (it has taken me years to get to this stage, I’m actually rather proud)

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Filed under Blogging, Happy Thursdays, Recording