Minimalist February | Shoe collection.

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Following on from my previous post on my simplified wardrobe, here’s the last piece of the puzzle: shoes! I know I only have 6 pairs of shoes so I probably should’ve realised this earlier, but getting them all together to take pictures was the first time I realised that they’re all monochrome/grey except for the wellies! I remember as a teenager, my shoes were almost exclusively grey. I had an aversion to black (look at me now, teenage me!) and white poses the problem of always looking dirty, (which I’ve now largely embraced) whereas grey was the perfect balance. It goes with everything, which is probably why I subconsciously decided it would be my colour scheme for shoes. I know many minimalists apply this to their entire wardrobe, but I couldn’t do that myself. I need a bit more variety than that. But for shoes it works perfectly.

I will point out that while these shoes are perfect for 99% percent of my activities, I do borrow the odd pair of my mum’s for certain occasions such as weddings, interviews, or random days when I just feel like a change. Like I said, it is quite rare, and if we weren’t similar sizes I’d just make do with mine, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with sharing it around sometimes!

Similarly to the wardrobe this is my winter collection, but it’s almost identical to the summer one, except that I wear the boots a lot less and add a pair of sandals and flip flops into the mix.

key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan

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BOOTS:

  1. HUNTER wellies in red (e)(v)– new (1+ year ago)
  2. TOPSHOP suede heeled boots in black – new (4+ years ago) (similar)
  3. Wills Vegan Shoes dock boots in grey (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)

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SHOES:

  1. Dr. Martens 3-eyelet shoe in black (e)– new (8+ years ago!)
  2. Superga classic shoe in white (v)– new (<1 year ago)
  3. Vivo Barefoot running shoe in black (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)
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Minimalist February | Simplified wardrobe pt 2.

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If you thought the stuff on my rail was literally all I wore, then you’re either as gullible as me (read: very) or optimistic. Those are what I wear on a daily basis, but there is a vital part of the picture missing.

Say hello to the cheeky chest of drawers. It homes all the things that can’t be or shouldn’t be hung up! Let me take you through it all…

  1. Underwear + swimwear: 4x bras, 1x sports bra, 3x vests, 3x tights, 10x socks, 5x various sports socks, 2x slipper socks, 7x knickers, 1x bikini, 1x swimming costume
  2. packing cubes + smart stuff: 6x packing cubes, 1x formal dress, 1x formal shirt, 1x formal trousers
  3. Sportswear: 3x shorts, 3x joggers/leggings, 1x jumper, 1x softshell jacket, 6x quidditch jerseys, 2x running tops, 2x base layers
  4. 1x spare set of bedding, 1x spare towel, 1x spare set of pyjamas
  5. Seasonal stuff: summer clothes (to be revealed later on this year), Christmas jumper

That’s it, not super interesting, but I know it’s always intriguing for me to see other people’s set ups (partly out of nosiness, partly because it’s useful to compare their approaches in order to work out your own). As always, numbers don’t matter, and it’s useless to strive for a number or hold yourself to someone else’s standards; I just put the quantities of everything for transparency’s sake πŸ™‚ Have a good day!

Minimalist February | Every day make-up

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Hello friends! This is gonna be a smug post (sorry not sorry) because I’m so happy with my teeny weeny make up collection! Disclaimer: I’m not a big make up person anymore. Some days I go completely without, some days I just whack a bit of lippie or eyeliner on; I rarely use all of it at the same time. So that helps massively.

It suits where I’m at right now, basically. When my last mascara ran out, I thought maybe I wouldn’t replace it; it’s my least-used product, and seems a waste to spend money and resources on something I don’t use very much. But I have found that on the odd day when I do want it, I really want it, and nothing else really does the job. Maybe one day I’ll stop using it, but for now it’s there. At least the little LUSH bottle means it matches all my other mini things, and comes in glass πŸ™‚

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In a soap dish for perspective πŸ™‚

Let me take you through my collection…

  1. LUSH ‘The Kiss’ lip balm – My brother gave me this for my birthday 2 years ago actually! Initially I wasn’t too keen on it; being quite militantly anti-plastic at the time, and not thinking I suited bright lips, I used it rarely- if at all- until a few months ago. For whatever reason, it has now become an essential! It’s really nice and moisturising, and adds a subtle but noticeable colour to my lips, I’m sold πŸ™‚ When this runs out I reckon I’ll buy a lip tint that comes in a tin or see if I can refill this container with a homemade concoction.
  2. LUSH ‘Eyes Right’ mascara – This is my second bottle of this particular mascara. My first lasted about a year, (see my review here) then I tried my hand at making my own out of activated charcoal and other ingredients to reuse the bottle (see here). In the end, it irritated my eyes, and didn’t last nearly as long as the LUSH one, so for now it’s the best option for me. It took me a while to get used to the consistency and short brush, but I’m not into heavy mascara anyway, so this one is perfect πŸ™‚
  3. Eyebrow powder and brush – In order to whittle my collection down, I removed one shade of a cheap eyeshadow palette into a tin to use as eyebrow powder. It was pretty much all I was using that palette for, so it makes so much more sense to now only have to use this tiny tin. When it runs out, (which will likely be in a few months) I can either refill the tin with bulk cacao powder which is basically the same colour, or purchase this eyeshadow refill pan which has the benefit of being compacted so that it’s not so easily wasted by putting too much on my brush. By the way, the brush is from Eco tools, gifted to me by my mum and cut in half by me πŸ™‚ (similiar here)
  4. LUSH ‘Lust’ solid perfume – I think I bought this perfume about a year and a half ago and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It’s the perfect scent for me: heady, a bit like incense; sweet, but not sickly. Some days I just rub a bit on my neck, others I go a bit nuts a rub it behind each ear, on my wrists, behind my knees, in the crooks if my elbows- What can I say, I’m obsessed! Despite my ridiculous usage, it’s still only about a quarter depleted! The only annoying thing is that for some reason LUSH have decided to change their packaging for this and gone for a smaller glass jar with a plastic lid. Literally have no idea what was wrong with the tin…
  5. Eyeliner pencil – I got this eyeliner pencil in a chemist a long while ago. Like years ago. I used to be more of a liquid eyeliner fan because it’s more precise, but I used to keep a pencil for smudging purposes (priorities haha). Since trying to be more eco-friendly, I’ve ditched the plastic liquid eyeliner pens and made do with just a pencil. But I’ve learned that if you keep it sharp and practise, you can get a neat, thin line. Also when I occasionally want it to look more gel or liquid-like, I only need to hold a lighter a few centimetres away from the end and it softens enough to get a bolder look! (see the ‘2-in-1 eyeliner’ section of this post) Boom. Multifunctional.

Thanks for reading!

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My make up in its natural habitat (the pink candy stripe bag)

5 Things this Monday.

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As it’s Minimalist February on my blog, why not have a themed 5 Things this Monday! Here are 5 things I’ve read recently on the topic of having less…

  1. I myself have an attachment to books. But I recently had a purge of my personal collection, only keeping a select few, as well as ones I haven’t read yet (which is waaay too many!) I love this post though, because it explains so simply and perfectly, that the joy of books isn’t in their ownership. Give it a read, I know you want to!
  2. The Ethical Unicorn’s first post on materialism and her discovery of the impact of having so much stuff. It’s so refreshing and relateable to hear someone who’s just unpacking the ‘unwritten rules’ that life throws at us.
  3. The writer of Near-O Waste shares the ways her life has been simplified since minimalism. Yeah it means that she makes little changes that move her away from the zero waste ideal, but it’s all about having perspective, and not beating yourself up. Striving for zero waste can be a faff, and stressful. But if you can minimise that with a compromise, then that’s great.
  4. Next up, is a Youtube channel I discovered recently. Ashlynne Eaton has a really sweet personality and I love her humble style. The focus of her channel is minimalism and intentional living, which is a nice term that encompasses all sorts of causes such as environmentalism and ethical shopping. Her videos are not too heavy, but still inspiring and entertaining- I’m obsessed πŸ™‚
  5. Finally, why not another Youtube channel! The Minimalist Ninja is quite a different channel. She has been a minimalist for 4+ years, and so she has an awful lot of experience and advice. She breaks things down into bitesize topics and is very sincere and considered when it comes to why she decides to do things which I like.

Hopefully that’ll keep you going until my next post πŸ˜‰ See you soon!

Minimalist February | Simplified wardrobe pt 1.

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When bored of the word ‘minimalist’ or sick of the clichΓ© connotations, I’ve noticed bloggers like to go for ‘simple’ or ‘simplified’. Today I am all of those bloggers (fight me!) I’m at once grateful and resentful of labels like ‘zero waster’ and ‘minimalist’ and ‘vegan’. They obviously represent decisions and lifestyles that I am proud of, and it means you can search these terms and find like-minded people to inspire you. On the other side of the coin, labels come with stereotypes, expectations and criticisms. Sometimes you also get caught up in being that stereotype or label, rather than caring about the root issues. But anyway..

The point I was trying to make before I got sidetracked, was that it makes a lot more sense to me to use ‘simplified’ in this case. Because that’s what minimalism means to me. Having less clothes makes everything simpler. It has never been easier to choose what to wear, I have never loved my clothes more, and this is also probably my comfiest wardrobe to date! I used to have clothes I loved, was indifferent to and hated- all in the same place! I had items that I bought cos they looked great on other people, items that would’ve been great in another colour, or a teeny bit longer, or looser (so basically exactly what they weren’t). It’s taken over 2 years of mistakes and learning to realise what I value in a wardrobe and stick to it. And I know the journey is not over, but I like to think I’ll only be making small changes a few times a year from now on.

Here’s a run down of what’s in my winter wardrobe. This is what simple looks like to me:

key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan (n)= natural fibres

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TOPS:

  1. GAP Stripy breton (v)(n)– secondhand
  2. The White T-shirt Co. body top in black (e)(v)(n)– new
  3. The White T-shirt Co. body top in grey (e)(v)(n)– new
  4. Uniqlo linen shirt in black (v)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  5. WHISTLES blouse in yellow/orange (v)– secondhand
  6. Levi’s sweatshirt in grey (e)(v)– secondhand
  7. Vintage cardigan in cream (e)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  8. HOBBS cardigan in red (e)(n)– secondhand

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BOTTOMS:

  1. Levi’s 505c jeans (e)(n)– new (from an outlet store) (similar)
  2. COS wool skirt in plum (n)– secondhand (similar)
  3. Vintage tartan shorts in green (n)– secondhand, shortened by me (similar- before alteration, after alteration)

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ALL-IN-ONES:

  1. Urban Outfitters floaty dress in dark grey/multicoloured (v)– new (5 years ago)
  2. Ralph Lauren shirt dress in light blue (v)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  3. Lucy & Yak corduroy dungarees in moss green (e)(v)(n)– new
  4. Finisterre jumper dress in grey (e)(v)(n)– new
  5. Thought denim pinafore in dark blue (e)(v)– new

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COATS/JACKETS:

  1. TOPMAN overcoat in navy blue – secondhand (similar)
  2. RAINS rubber raincoat in green (e)(v)– secondhand

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ACCESSORIES:

  1. Matt & Nat Elle bag in chili (e)(v)– new
  2. LUSH fighting animal testing tote bag in black (e)(v)(n)– new
  3. RAINS msn bag in black (e)(v)– secondhand
  4. Patagonia gloves in blue (e)(v)– new
  5. Jack Wills tartan scarf in blue (n)– new
  6. Local artisan blanket scarf (e)(n)– new
  7. knitted headband in blue (e)(v)(n)– handmade by me (similar)

Minimalist February | Pitfalls and misconceptions about minimalism.

If you haven’t guessed from the title of this post, I’m going to be posting with a focus on minimalism this month. And where better to start than by defining the term! (can you tell I’ve been a student for too long? Killer essay starter right there..) You probably have an idea about what minimalism is by now. I don’t blame you, it gets bandied about a fair bit these days. Here are 3 misconceptions about minimalism and 3 pitfalls that people can fall into when trying to achieve it.

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Misconceptions:

  1. You’re not allowed to have a lot of stuff– minimalism means different things to different people. Yes, it generally means having less items overall than the average person, but if you really like shoes and all of your pairs make you happy- keep them! Ditto books or Star Wars memorabilia (I don’t know what you’re into!)
  2. You have to like white EVERYTHING– it seems that when you search online for minimalist interiors, the vast majority look very similar: white walls, neutral/white furniture etc. I think the reason is that it attracts light, and highlights the lack of objects which is enjoyable for a lot of people. However, this is just a general preference, and by no means is the right or the only way to do things.
  3. Minimalism relates only to possessions- I have to admit I’m finding the slightly less tangible side of minimalism quite tricky, so you lucky people get to watch me struggle with that this month! But you can apply minimalism to technology, your diary, cooking… Practically anything. It’s about paring it down to only what you need, only what makes you happy. More on this later πŸ˜‰

Pitfalls:

  1. Racing to the finish line– by this I mean trying to clear out your belongings in one fell swoop. Yes, some people find that this is the way to go, and prefer to just have it over with, but I am of the opinion that it can’t hurt to take a little time. This is because sometimes when you’re too hasty to chuck things away, you might find you’re making way harsher decisions than you need to in order to achieve your desired amount of belongings. This could lead to disposing of an item you actually cherish, or the dramatic increase in space in your home- both of which can cause you to want to buy more to fill the emotional or physical void. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t hurt to take your time. If you declutter a space, then a week later you’re still not satisfied with it then by all means work on it again.
  2. Focusing on numbers– you’ll find a lot of blog posts and videos out there entitled ‘my 30 item closet’ or ‘this man lives with only 102 belongings!’ and it’s easy to get fixated on the numbers, thinking they are obviously doing it better than you. But you know what? Fore some people it works, and that is their ideal amount. Others need more and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would recommend focusing on how much is ideal for you, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
  3. Not addressing your emotions- Items are inevitably going to make us sentimental, and thinking we can plough through regardless is unrealistic. For me at least, shopping is emotional. I do it when I’m bored or feeling low. Keeping things makes me feel safe, and sometimes it represents a time or person in my life I care about. It’s not as simple as getting rid of things. Sometimes you need to deal with some baggage first (yay.) But it all leads to a place of being more in touch and in control of your emotions (genuine yay!)

Stay tuned for more minimalism this month. Thanks for reading!

1 Year on: Hunter Wellies

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This one’s going to be short and sweet, but it’s been a year so I thought I’d share my opinion of my Hunter wellington boots πŸ™‚

Price:

RRP is Β£80 but I shopped around in the sales and got mine for approximately Β£60. I think this is definitely at the higher end of the price range for wellies, but the return you get in terms of quality, comfort and looks pays off, honestly.

Durability:

In the year I’ve had my boots, I’ve been to a handful of muddy sports fields on weekends, on a camping trip in Devon for a week (it rained a decent amount, and even when it was dry I wore them basically the whole time!) and on walks around London in the rain. They are just as comfortable as the day I got them, there are no signs of wear apart from some faint mud marks that won’t wash off. I think the boots have dulled a little in colour due to being covered in mud so often, but that’s to be expected- that’s what I got them for! These boots feel like they’ll last and last.

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Verdict:

Before I invested in a rain coat and wellies, rain was an inconvenience to say the least. I didn’t enjoy it, and I certainly didn’t go out in it unless I had to. But now I actually love having the chance to put on my gear and head out into a shower! It’s a good investment if you live in a place as rainy as the UK… And spending more time in the outdoors is always something I’ll welcome. I’m satisfied in all areas basically: quality, comfort, looks. Nothing more to say.

No Spend January | My ‘I do not need’ list.

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As it’s the last day of my No Spend January, I thought I’d do a little exercise to help me keep on top of my spending in the future. A little while ago, I listened to Tara from Buy Me Once speaking on this podcast. It is really inspiring to hear how she turned her back on a stable ‘high-flying’ job in advertising and the more, more, more way of life, and turned towards helping people to live more ethically and simply.

The Buy Me Once site is a really great resource for finding products that are designed to last a lifetime and often have lifetime warranties. Whenever I’m in need of something, I always check if BMO has any brand recommendations because they’ve done the research! Personally, buying less but better quality products has taught me to value what I do own, and I’m trying to buy in the knowledge (or at least hope) that it will serve me my whole life.

One of the main tips Tara has for kicking the compulsive buying habit, is to make an ‘I Don’t Need List’. You guessed it, it’s just a list of things (be as specific as you like) that you don’t need any more of; a promise to yourself not to fall for it again. We all have our weaknesses when shopping, and this is just a way of remaining accountable.

I thought I’d have a go at writing mine below… I stole quite a few off Tara’s list that were relevant to me, and then added any more I could think of. I also wrote it up nicely and keep it on my wall for future reference πŸ™‚

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MY ‘I DON’T NEED’ LIST!

Clothes/Accessories/Beauty:

I do not need more than a capsule wardrobe

I do not need more than 1 coat

I do not need more than 1 hat, scarf and gloves set.

I do not need more than 5 bags (tote, handbag, rucksack, sports bag, carry on holdall)

I do not need jewellry (excluding earrings and nose rings)

I do not need more than 5 pairs of earrings

I do not need more than 5 nose rings

I do not need more than 1 pair of sunglasses

I do not need more than eight pairs of shoes (wellies, heels, boots, shoes, pumps, trainers, flip flops, sandals)

I do not need more every day makeup than these 5 items: lip balm/stain, mascara, eyeliner pencil, solid perfume, eyebrow powder

I do not need any toiletries that come in plastic

I do not need to partake in beauty trends that require new gadgets and tools

Technology:

I do not need a tablet (there’s nothing it can do that a phone + laptop can’t)

I do not need to upgrade my phone if it’s not broken

I do not need DVDs

I do not need a fitness watch

Leisure/Furniture:

I do not need decorative nick nacks

I do not need any freebies that I don’t find useful or add to my home in a valuable way

I do not need to pick up ANY pens from ANYWHERE

I do not need any more fabric (unless I need something specific for a project I’ve ALREADY planned. Basically don’t buy it just cos it would be nice to use one day)

I do not need to buy greetings cards

I do not need any more jars or tins (only buy if you don’t have any at home already that fit the purpose. Not allowed to buy just because they’re cute or pretty!)

That’s about it for me at the moment! I live with my parents at the moment, so the kitchen bit isn’t really applicable. I think I’ll take a leaf out of Tara’s book and update my list this time next year, adding and amending as appropriate- it’ll be interesting!

No Spend January | Week 4 round up.

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Yeah! We’re almost there!

At this point, I’m resigned to the fact that I can’t buy anything on the whole. I honestly couldn’t be more content with my wardrobe, I don’t want any more clothes. And as for stuff, I’m making better distinctions between what I need and want. There are a handful of things I’ve had on a list for weeks, which I’m probably gonna buy in the first few days of Feb, but I’m feeling confident that I’m not going to go on a crazy freedom spree.

Isn’t it mad that I’m unemployed (and therefore have soo little money) and yet it was still so hard to stop spending! Anyway, this challenge was well-timed in that sense: good for my long-term well-being and wallet πŸ˜›

Going forward, I still want to operate a low-spend lifestyle when it comes to possessions, focusing more on experiences. Thanks for coming on this journey with me, let me know your thoughts and experiences with spending less!

 

No Spend January | Things to do.

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I’m getting so into this photography lark. So proud of this picture πŸ™‚

So, I think we can all agree I’ve now become an expert in not spending money and I’m perfect… I wish!

But I have been thinking- as much for my own sanity as for this blog post- about things you can do with no money. Even when this challenge is over, I don’t think it would hurt me financially or emotionally to spend more time doing things that don’t cost money!

So here’s a list I compiled of things I could think of. It is a bit London specific in places, because that’s where I live, but it might prompt ideas of places near you too (if you’re not London based).

  1. Visit a museum – all the museums and a great deal of galleries in London are free to enter, it’s pretty cool actually. I just finished a Christmas temp job at the Natural History Museum which was the first time I’d been to a museum in years (boo!). It reminded me how great they are, and I realised I’ve been missing out! I paid a visit to the Science Museum this week too, that’s always a fun one.
  2. Go for a walk – I know, anyone could’ve thought of this one! But you know, it’s an easily forgotten activity (at least for me). Some days I do plenty of walking from a to b, but it’s a completely different feeling walking just for the sake of it. Some of my happiest and most mindful times have been walking in the rain, kitted out in my raincoat and wellies, sometimes with an audiobook in my ears, or just listening to the sounds around me. And you don’t even have to be in nice surroundings for it to have a significant effect on your wellbeing. Trust me, I’ve been through some grotty, concrete covered places on walks! Or you could go to a park if concrete’s not your thing πŸ˜‰
  3. Take pictures – Whether it be a flower in the park, your wellies next to the door, or your friends laughing on a day out. Whipping out your phone or camera is a really nice pastime. I had no idea I would get so into it, but I now spend hours every week taking + editing my pictures for this blog, as well as for personal enjoyment. I can thank my sister for teaching me to appreciate the process- thanks Naomi!
  4. Make something – Be it sewing, drawing, colouring in, crafting is really good for getting you really immersed in what you’re doing. It’s a personal goal of mine to have at least one craft always on the go, it’s so good for my mental health. If you get creative with things you have around the house, you won’t have to spend a dime!
  5. See the sights – It’s easy to live and work in London and become desensitised to the view. It’s not all pretty, like I said, but when you pause for a second you can find beauty. I often like to walk along the Southbank next to the river Thames. There’s such a variety of magnificent buildings. You can go the 10th floor of the Tate Modern and look out over the whole city, or cross over the river to St. Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. My favourite is standing on Waterloo or London Bridge at night, looking over the river with all the lights shining πŸ™‚
  6. Write a letter – I suppose this doesn’t count as strictly free, if you consider stamps. But paper and pens can definitely be scavenged from around the house. I wanna make more time to write letters and make my own birthday cards, I think people appreciate the effort.
  7. Declutter – If you haven’t tried it, I swear once you get into it it’s the most therapeutic, addictive thing! Taking an afternoon/day to get a room in order can make a huge difference to how you feel, plus you’ll be one step closer to a simpler, more eco-friendly life.
  8. Exercise – Go for a run! Do some press-ups! Follow a Youtube workout! Yoga! I have a very love/hate relationship with the gym, I’m about to cancel my membership for the second time in 6 months. There’s something about being in a stuffy building with other people working out that makes me hate it in the end! Then I get all guilty that I’m paying money and not using it.. I much prefer being out in the open, or at home. But whatever your thing is, do it.
  9. Journal – When you challenge yourself not to spend money, you find you’re freeing up a whole load of time. If you’ve ever wanted to start or keep up a diary, spending less money is a good way to do it! Sometimes these days, I find myself with so many thoughts and feelings in my head that I can’t not write in my diary- it’s the dream! I really want to start a bullet journal too. Just need to find the right notebook (Google it, they’re super cool!)
  10. Cook – Cooking seems to be one of the first things to suffer when we get busier. But if you’re not spending money on much else other than food, why not learn to enjoy it? Look up some new, exciting recipes on the internet, and try them out! There is nothing more satisfying than making an awesome meal from scratch (especially when you present it really nicely too).

 

I’m sure you guys have some much better ideas- if so, share them in the comments, I’d love to hear them πŸ™‚