Five battles you fight when you’re a Londoner

Ah London. The dream. The big city. The endless nightlife and mid-week cocktails with friends. The job opportunities, the music venues, the 24 hour fast food, the River Thames, Big Ben, The London Eye. What a place.

I choose to live and work and play in London and I will firmly stand by this choice. It is a GREAT city and we are lucky to have it. However, to be a Londoner, you have to be ready to deal with A LOT of crap. There are so many things that can bring on extreme rage but these five battles in particular are my biggest:

1) Money

Probably the most obvious thing to those that live in London, is that it is astronomically expensive to do so. You just have to accept it. If you want to live in the big city, you’ve got to be willing to pay the big bucks. Shelling out £650 a month plus bills for a small bedroom in a house that is probably in varying states of disrepair may not be the dream, but it is the reality. Fancy living alone in an actual flat with a separate kitchen and living area that isn’t actually in Kent or Essex? Er, good luck. Maybe start looking for a stockbroker to marry first. Also, it’s completely fine to pay around £100 a month to get to work on the tube, because they’re improving it every weekend! (LOL)

At the very least, become committed to Euromillions. You’ve gotta be in it to win it, and having the hope to cling to is almost comforting. Doing a reasonably healthy food shop in a supermarket should be done with little attention paid. Just put it in the basket and pay. If you take notice of the fact you are paying 70p for a single, soft, probably a bit gone-off red pepper, the tears may start to flow. It’s also good practice to become excited by any alcoholic drink that costs less than say, £7. Trying to find a pint for less than £4 is a nice goal, if you have enough time to research these things, which you probably don’t. Take notice of happy hours. Me and my flatmates recently discovered a good one less than a minute from our house and it was more like ecstatic hour.

For the times when you simply cannot happily ignore how expensive everything is, at least there are always SO MANY deals going on. There are bargains to be found in this city and they really should be used. Expect mass hysteria when anything is free.

2) The Tube

Oh my God, the struggle is real. It’s regular practice if commuting on the tube, especially in zones 1 and 2 and ESPECIALLY in rush hour, to be touched by a lot of strangers. Personal space doesn’t exist. Being able to move is not a thing. Smelling what someone had for breakfast as they breathe directly into your ear is to be expected. My personal battle zone is the District Line. Delays, signal failures, virtually cuddling the weird man who is sweating profusely next to you and constant destination changes. A test to the patience of even the most angelic saints that exist among us, the District line will crush your dreams and charge you £31 a month to do so. Of course it’s not all about me. Commuters on all lines and all modes of transport can regularly expect their mornings and evenings to descend into chaos, resulting in crying, crazed laughter and strongly worded tweets. It’s best not to even go into what happens when there is any kind of weather. As if that wasn’t enough, we now have card clash to consider. How will we go on?

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3)  Oxford Street

As a very happy shopaholic, it’s upsetting that the most central place with the best and biggest shops in London is basically a circle of Hell. I had to venture there last weekend to go to The Apple Store and when I offered my housemate to join she literally replied ‘I would rather die than go shopping on Oxford Street.’ Extreme, yes, but she is not alone in that opinion. The thing that makes my skin crawl the most is slow walking. It can take about ten minutes to walk a few meters unless you are extremely skilled and have sharpened elbows. Oxford Circus tube station is interesting isn’t it? By interesting, of course I mean terrifying and crushingly busy.

Just think about the queue in Primark. Just think about it. Ergh.

4) The Night Bus

Living close to Central London is amazing for nightlife. There are so many fun places to go, whatever you’re into, this simply cannot be denied. I still come across clubs now I haven’t heard of or been too and I’ve been going out in London regularly for 6 years.  One of biggest downfalls is your journey home. Cabs for a lot of people, especially young revelers or students, are an extravagance and avoided at all costs. The decision to take the night bus is a big one. This strange, offensively bright, devastatingly unpredictable service attracts a special breed of weirdo and often wanker. Drunk chanting, puddles of sick, fast food everywhere, strangers wanting a chat. It’s almost okay if you are hammered and in a good mood and up for some 4am high jinx, but in my experience it is usually not okay. The whispers of the tube running all night are getting louder, and it cannot come soon enough.

5) Tourists

Yes, tourists are important and I would recommend a trip to London to anyone, but let’s be honest…ANNOYING. Working in Paddington has definitely heightened this for me. The place is crawling with thrilled visitors at all times. You can’t take more than three steps without being wheeled over or walking into a suitcase. Firstly, where do they even get these suitcases? Some are so big I know humans of a certain size who could live in them. I am also often quite amazed at how many they manage to drag around and by where they choose to take them. Suitcases in the queue for the London Aquarium will always be a fond memory. I also enjoy it when tourists gather in packs to take a photo of drains, the front of a Holiday Inn or a dead pigeon. All of these have happened, because I have been there to watch in disbelief. I also recently witnessed a very excited Italian family try and use one oyster card to get through the barriers at Notting Hill Gate. It was both hilarious and infuriating, as is life in general in this insane city.

If you are reading this and you aren’t from London, please don’t be afraid. It is truly lovely and you should visit. (Just don’t run anyone over with your suitcase)

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Jealous of your friends? It can do wonders if you let it

The green-eyed monster is ugly. It rears its head and floods our emotions, opening the gates for lots of other horrible feelings like bitterness and anxiety. It’s perhaps at its worse when you’re jealous of those you want to be happiest and most supportive of but you’re literally blinded by negativity. WHY ISN’T THIS HAPPENING TO ME? Frenvy. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. Your friends achieve something amazing like weight loss, get a dream job, go off on a big adventure or just seem to have the life you’re trying and failing to live. Being jealous of your friends, even your best friends, is so easy I think it has to be forgiven. It would be completely wonderful if good things could happen to all of your friends at once and you could all go out on a big celebratory night and be on the same level, with the same things on the horizon, right? Probably not. I’m sure there would still be space to be jealous, we would just be jealous of other things, probably pettier, smaller, more insignificant things.

Jealousy can do all sorts of nasty work once it takes hold. The most important lesson jealousy has ever taught me though, is that you have to channel it into something better, bigger and a million times more positive. You basically have to grit your teeth and think more about yourself and what you can do to make you feel better. I bet Beyonce didn’t get where she is today worrying about what her mates are up to and if they’re earning more money (unlikely) or going on more holidays (unlikely) than she is.

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Our friends are our happy places. They’re shoulders to cry on, ears to confide in, partners to drink with, groups to go on ironic tequila fuelled holidays with and people we choose to share our lives with. They also set the bar when it comes to goals. If your friends are moving out or planning on going travelling or even starting to write books or taking up yoga, then we have to get a move on too. Who wants to be the mate that’s at home sulking and doing nothing proactive to improve life? Do whatever you have to do for you. Excuse the preaching.

Don’t let jealousy make you snappy or anxious and generally a grumpy pain to be around. Surely letting it fuel whatever you want to do can only make you more determined. I think most people would be lying if they said they’ve never been jealous of a friend. I have, like all the time. But actually, it’s being jealous and realising I’m slacking that’s helped me do things I would probably still be miserable about not doing. Who cares if it isn’t the same as your friend who just landed a high-paying dream job or your friend who’s getting more toned and model-esque by the week. Different experiences and different careers make friendship groups interesting. There’s nothing wrong with a little competitiveness if it helps you reach your goals faster.

Let frenvy fuel your fire, not put it out.

Don’t let the online world upset your offline world

A little while ago I got sucked up into a huge panic about having not sorted my life out to the point where I can put my slippers on and kick back for the next 50 years. I’m 24 and I haven’t bought a house, got married, made a fortune or had any kids yet. DISASTER. Of course this is ridiculous. I definitely shouldn’t be having a mental breakdown over things that friends much older than me are just sorting out or deciding to invest in. I know others the same age or younger who have done one or more of the above stress hit list, but everyone is different. I don’t need to hassle my boyfriend into fixing life immediately just to keep up with people I don’t speak to or who I knew because I worked with them for six months about four years ago. My life is going fine and I have a sort of plan, which is pretty much achievable, which for now is good enough. I enjoyed my weekend of sleeping, eating, resentfully doing washing and dancing a hole in the floor at a Groove Armada DJ far too much to start crying over mortgages I don’t have and puppies I don’t own.

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Of course the whole reason for thinking life is failing and the world as I know it will surely end soon is from looking at social media. Staring at Facebook and watching people planning weddings and posting updates about how their second child has just used a potty for the first time in the house they’ve just moved into started messing with my head. Not just my head in fact, as I know plenty of other stressed twenty-something people who fear being left out or are in a hurry to DO EVERYTHING NOW. I know a lot of people of all ages who feel the same actually. There are times when I look through Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and think, God, please stop distressing my friends and everyone my age and even people older or much younger. Just stop it. Of course that won’t happen. We love to share, post, Instagram, tweet, snapchat and whatsapp. We’re addicted. I mean, I will definitely be sharing this on all forms of social media because it’s 2014 and that’s life.

It’s not healthy to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to compare your life to everyone else’s and I think we are mostly aware of that, but still do it anyway. I will probably always do it. Some people do use social media to try and put across an image of an amazing life where everything is perfect and they’re living the absolute dream. I imagine they do post things because they want to impress their friends and followers and strangers they’ve never met, or maybe they’ve just become so used to sharing their life, they just do it on auto-pilot. It’s all good and well, and I do enjoy looking through other people’s business and what they did at the weekend and who with, but I sometimes worry about it too. I’m definitely not as stressed and worry less than others I know and am close to. I sometimes hope they aren’t getting too distressed by what they see and it doesn’t make things worse. It’s a culture of sharing and a culture of indulging in knowing everything about everyone that is just as much fear-inducing as it is fascinating.

Everyone is working towards a different goal. What you see filtered on Instagram or plastered all over Facebook is probably a much exaggerated version of what’s really happening. You have to take it with a pinch of salt. What’s the point of competing with your friends who you love and will happily curl up with or drink yourself into a dancing, shouting, night bus resenting stupor with?

Some people do use social media for work, or to advertise work or just as a general way to keep their friends and family up to speed with what’s going on. I do the same, I post stupid pictures that I think are funny, Instagram nice looking beaches or dogs, and tweet about hangovers or how much I hate the District Line. I travel quite a bit so I’m always spamming the internet with photos of views from planes or boats or nice looking buildings, so I’m just as bad as everyone else I expect. What would be really nice though, is if all this posting and sharing stopped causing people  to feel inadequate, behind, lost, fat, too skinny, anxious or left out. It’s probably a much bigger battle than just voicing it and urging people to put the claws away. We all love a good nose, and when everyone is in the room in a virtual sense, it’s just so easy to show everyone what you’re up to.

It is however, absolutely vital not to let it get on top of you. Life happens to everyone at a different speed and you get smacked in the face by different problems to your best friend or siblings, but let’s just remember that social media is an online, visual, over-sharing system made of wires and like, scientific technological stuff and lives in iPhones and on laptops, and real life is offline, where the people are real, emotions are real feelings are felt. It doesn’t matter if your friends are uploading photos of their amazing, life changing holiday or a new house, just enjoy being nosey and don’t worry that you’ll never have as much as them, because, at the end of the day, (or Facebook status) you aren’t them.

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5 favourite new discoveries

1- The Blackbird Tea Rooms, Brighton

Breakfast is my favourite meal. I like to eat it and I especially like going out to eat it. I love tea rooms and this one came highly recommended. The homemade blueberry yogurt is the nicest I have ever tasted and the granola was Delicious too, so massive points to the healthy option. They do loads of nice (and naughty) breakfast options, from a massive, head-sized bacon sandwich to smashed avocados. The cakes look absolutely dreamy too. It’s quite small so you do get quite cosy with other diners, but the charming decor and nice vibe makes up for that.

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2- Liz Earle beauty products

Friends and blogs have been raving about these products for ages. I received a set of them for my birthday and finally got round to using them last month. They are AMAZING. I have really problematic skin. It goes from being horribly oily, to dry and flaky with no rhyme or rhythm to it. I am also prone to breakouts so I spend quite a lot of time and money looking for products that work.The Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth cleanser leaves your skin feeling gorgeous, the skin tonic is gentle and the shampoo smells like it was crafted by angels. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s also not going to break the bank, which is always nice.

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3- Rimmel Space Dust Nail Polish in Eclipse

If you want something easy to apply, very chip resistant and a perfect autumn colour, go for this. It isn’t overly sparkly but it has a nice subtle glittery look and the Eclipse shade is really nice for autumn without being gothically dark. I’ve currently had it on for four days and not so much as a chip in sight. It does need two coats at least but it dries really quickly, which is good because waiting for nail varnish to dry is on my list of least favourite things.

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4- Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid foundation

I rarely ever find a foundation I like because my skin churns out so much oil most just slide off my face. I bought this on a whim in Boots when I was meant to be only buying plasters obviously, and it’s really good! it’s light enough to not make your face feel clogged up and it stayed in place all day. I didn’t find my face was resembling a frying pan by 5pm which is quite unusual for me. It’s also a really lovely texture, hence the name, and smells extremely good. If you have problematic skin, give it a try. Good coverage, nice colour, reasonable price.

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5- Hotel Chocolat Lemon Cheesecake Chocolates

Erm, these are incredible. Someone gifted a box to my boss and he kindly shared the love. If you like lemon, chocolate and cheesecake, seek these out. I don’t think you could eat more than two in one sitting, as they are richer than royalty. Ideal for a gift, or just for, you know, sitting at home in bed. My new favourite indulgence.

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Mini Autumn wardrobe update

Basically at the weekend I was in Brighton and it rained while I was in town. This inevitably led to an impromptu mini-shopping spree to shelter from the elements. It was essentially logic. It wasn’t particularly wild. I didn’t stroll home in new Louboutins or take out a bank loan, but it certainly wasn’t budgeted for. The word budget makes me sad. The fact I use it in real life sometimes makes me sadder but anyway…CLOTHES.

It’s been noticeably colder and very wet given that the world has successfully lived to another October. I have looked like I’ve come fresh from a swimming pool/the sea on more than one occasion this week and my smugness about buying a new umbrella was short lived when it turned out to be an umbrella for miniature people. I own a lot of clothes, don’t get me wrong, but I do massively lack in the winter clothes department. So behold new autumn/winter purchases (so far, let’s be honest, it’ll happen again):

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I have feelings for this jumper. It’s thick, warm and pink. It was also only £22 from Bershka. Which I also have feelings for.

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This is a result of my long love affair with anything floral. It’s very tapestry looking but if you chuck a jumper over it everything becomes less overwhelming. It’s hard not to buy dresses for £8. From Primark obviously.

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I currently have a thing for anything slouchy and I LOVE Vero Moda. This was definitely meant to be mine.

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So this wasn’t actually purchased from a shop. It’s Topshop and I love it. The whole loose smock thing is a winner for being bloated, eating everything and erm, being bloated. I got it on eBay for £4. BARGAIN.

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So I can’t wear this candle, but I would happily eat it. It smells absolutely DIVINE. If you pass by Primark and have a spare pound, invest. Worth all 100 pennies.

Why you shouldn’t be scared to cull bad friends

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Friends are a big part of life. We make them when we are very young, playing together, learning together, trying new things together. In time friends change from playmates to confidantes, they become a source of advice and we rely on them for support. Often when growing up we would rather talk to our friends instead of our families, playing out teenage dramas and sorting out problems that seem like the end of the world at the time. Your friends at primary school may not be your friends when you are a teenager, and we often drift apart and lose contact with people we were once so close to. This is a normal part of life. It happens every day.

We meet new people. We make new friends. We lose old friends. We fall out. We make up. We change.

I’ve found having friends in your 20s is extremely different to having friends when you are a teenager. Although your friendship circle may still contain the same people, things are different. Life changes when we start working and we mature. Our likes and dislikes often become very clear as we roll into our 20s and become (or try to become) adults. Usually, we move from studying to working, our habits change and we have more money to spend on going out and these hobbies. We move out, become responsible for bills and all the scary stuff that comes with adulthood like rent and not breaking the washing machine with coins and hairclips.

Something I have noticed that I have done in the last four years is consciously stop being friends with people. I’m not channelling Chris and Gwyneth  by ‘consciously uncoupling’ and it’s not in any way malicious. It’s basically deciding that if a ‘friend’ has continued negative impact on you, or causes you more stress and upset than happiness, they’re not worth having.

Of course we fight with our pals. Those we are closest with become like family and it can’t always be plain sailing. The likelihood is they do your head in at times. The key thing is, a friendship should have more good times and laughter than upset and anxiety. I am lucky in that I have a very close group of friends, who I love and rely on, and lots of others who I may not see as much, but who are friends all the same. I am very content with these people, but it’s taken a long time to be that way.

Growing up, particularly in my late teens, I fell out with and gained a whole new friendship group. I have a couple of friends who I have known and been close with for longer than I can remember, but very few.  I have also had friends that when I think back now, older and wiser, were never really friends at all. You shouldn’t have to worry about impressing them, or if they want to see you, or if you can tell them the truth. You shouldn’t be paranoid or anxious about sharing information with them and if you find yourself feeling like you don’t trust or like them all of the time, why are they in your life?

I’ve watched my friends have problems with their friends, and more recently I’ve found myself feeling so lucky that I have, if you like, ‘culled’ my circle. I have watched friends suffer and feel very down and anxious because they are on the receiving end of jealousy, bitterness, bitchiness, lies and general negativity. True friends can of course feel jealous of you sometimes, but ultimately they should tell you why they are behaving a certain way and then they should support you and give you the chance to do the sensitive thing and support them back. I have a few partners in crime who have jobs I would love, have had experiences I envy and look the way I wish I looked, but I see it as GOOD FOR THEM. I am proud of them. I have seen girlfriends through promotions, new boyfriends, bad breakups and massive fall outs this year. I know the friends I keep would be there if I needed them. I don’t keep company with those who wouldn’t anymore.

It’s not easy, cutting people out, but I haven’t noticed much of a fight or effort from people I have left behind to question why we don’t hang out anymore. If you find yourself dwelling on conversations, nights out or invitations and thinking ‘oh my God, are they angry? Will they bitch about it to someone? Can I talk to them about it?’ why don’t you address it? If it can’t be fixed and you can’t find peace with someone, do yourself a favour and turn your energy to someone who makes you feel good.

I have missed some aspects of people I no longer see or speak to, but my overall happiness is much better and I look forward to all social events. I don’t feel put down or left out, I feel comfortable, empowered and finally, after a long battle and many spats, Facebook speculation, worrying and getting horribly stressed out, I am happy and honoured to have a bloody good group of mates.

 

 

 

Three ways to sell more clothes on eBay

The first time I used eBay I got so confused. It took so long to upload my too-small H&M playsuit that I gave up in a huff. I think I spent about half an hour just trying to upload photos and give it a title. Ain’t nobody got time for that. My sister’s boyfriend, a seasoned eBay pro, then pointed out that I should a) download the app and b) just use my phone to take the photos. Helpful hints indeed. Duh.

I was pretty skeptical when I started selling. I only uploaded three things to start off with: the H&M playsuit, a polkadot blouse and some denim shorts that haven’t fitted since about 2006. After checking up on my views/watchers manically every ten minutes for a week, I was delighted when I sold all three, but disappointed at having only made £5.

After some research and about four months of practice, I went from selling a couple of ill-fitting things a week to raking in a grand total of over £700 in six months. By just selling clothes that collected dust and I actually probably never liked, I paid for flights to Thailand, expensive travel jabs, and lots of Christmas presents. I think I have well exceeded £800 of sales across the 10 months since I signed up. If you take out about 2 months of not being in the country to sell things, probably about 2 months of not listing due to a new job and stress, that isn’t bad going. Oh, and I’m still selling away, even today, as I write this, the bids are still coming.

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I sell a lot less now, as my initial mammoth clear-out eventually all got snapped up. I do now immediately sell clothes when I get bored of them. More room for new stuff and some funds to go towards them. Win win.

These are now my top three eBay rules:

1- PHOTOS

One of the most important things to remember is that images sell. Take nice photos. Try to do them all in the same location to make your sales look more uniform. Pick a nice, clean, plain background like a white door or wall, add a vase of flowers if you fancy, just make it look presentable and enticing. I hang my stuff on a big white shelving unit, with a few pretty little trinkets or candles in the background. Nothing too fancy, and certainly not time consuming.

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Take a picture of the label, if there is one, showing the brand and size. If you are selling shoes, photograph the sole, so people know the condition. It’s worth being honest so you don’t have to deal with complaints or buyers opening a case against you. If you don’t mind having a photo of you up on eBay, then take a photo in a mirror of you wearing the clothes, with jewelry and shoes if you can be bothered. Seeing how they fit can make a big difference, as most clothes obviously look better on a body than a hanger. I always use a wooden hanger, just to add to the uniform look of the photos. Little things like this can mean buyers who have purchased your bits before may recognize you as a seller and splash more cash.

2- TITLES

Writing a title may seem quick and easy but you need to put effort in. A colleague asked me for some tips once after I had mentioned my surge of selling success, saying she was making virtually nothing on really nice, in-style clothes. Turns out she was selling them under titles like ‘Dress Black Small’. Erm, not ideal. Try to put the brand, colour, size, style, and other relevant words. I hate seeing things for sale listed as ‘Topshop Urban Outfitters H&M’. WHERE IS IT REALLY FROM!? Oh, it’s from Primark. Don’t do that. By relevant words, I mean ‘casual’ ‘office’ ‘night out’ or even ‘urban’ ‘80s’ ‘indie’, whatever style you attribute them too. Clever buyers search using words a lot of the time, so it can get you a whole lot more views. If you’re selling vintage, mention it, and put a couple of sizes if it can be worn baggy or tight.

3- Listings: time and type

If you are selling only clothes, which is what this post mostly caters to, then try and sort them out into collections. Selling too much at once can be costly when you consider paying the fees that eBay charge, even if you get free listings. It can also mean a long, boring, usually frustrating trip to the post office. I once tried to post ten things and nearly left the post officer in tears. (It was Christmas. It was hectic. People were mean.) If you have loads of jumpers, then list them all together, and mention in the description that you have other similar items and will combine postage if people win more than one thing. Also try listing on a Sunday evening, as this is widely known to be the most productive time. If I have something that doesn’t sell a few times, I do try and list them on a weeknight and for unknown reasons it can do the trick. Don’t end things when people are at work or at 4am. It’s logical, right?

HAPPY SELLING

Summer Scrapbook: Travel for cheaper

Today is a good day because I finally have a shiny new iPhone. SO HAPPY. I started looking through all the photos on my current phone to see if I could get rid of any before I backed it up and realised it’s been a pretty amazing travel year. I have a definite case of wanderlust, probably quite a critical one actually. I have been on a holiday and travelling binge for the last three years, but it has allowed me to develop skills in travelling cheaply. It’s important to remind myself that I am not a millionaire and I have rent to pay.

As I have now started stringently saving money for future important things and facing up to being an adult, there will have to be less travelling. (Well, in theory there will) I was slightly alarmed when I calculated how many pounds I have spent on travels, but I don’t regret a single penny and this is why:

First stop: spring time Paris with my oldest friend.

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This three day trip was as budget as they come. We got flights on EasyJet for £65 return and stayed in a hostel that came highly recommended.The place had pretty much zero glamour but the atmosphere was fun, the facilities were good and the price was brilliant. All in all about £110. Le Regent hostel Montmatre is cheap, fun, colourful and in a good location if you are looking to do Paris on the cheap with friends: http://www.leregent.com/

Next stop: Southern Thailand

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Needless to say this wasn’t a particularly cheap trip, but still full of amazing deals. Flights were only £450 with Oman air, who were nothing short of delightful to travel with. I have family living in Thailand who sent me to various websites, the cheapest of which was www.ebookers.com. We booked some accommodation beforehand, but as is standard with Asia, you only generally pay for one night in advance. We did stay in a couple of hostels which we found when we arrived and were cheap as chips, but we did treat ourselves too. If you want a couple of nights of luxury in Southern Thailand without breaking the bank, I couldn’t recommend this place enough: http://www.railayvillageresort.net/ It’s absolutely stunning, on a breathtaking beach, has really good food and fantastic service. It’s also nowhere near as expensive as it looks like it should be.

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Railay Beach Resort and Spa

Railay beach is only accessible by boat, despite being part of the mainland, so boat transfers are worth booking in advance if you can, as it can be cheaper and cuts out long waits at piers. There is no such thing as rushing in Thailand.

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For a taste of untouched, undeveloped, authentic Thailand, take a trip a Koh Yao Yai. Hotels are definitely more pricey, but the experience is worth it. However, this is probably not for you if you like being out of your comfort zone and wouldn’t enjoy a cat-sized lizard as a room mate. You will however, if you visit http://www.kohyaoyaivillage.com/ get to experience the most incredible infinity pool, or swimming pool of DREAMS as I called it.

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Lastly, Bangkok.

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Truly crazy, very busy, very cheap, very noisy and very hot. I would recommend avoiding military coups, as we accidentally stumbled into one meaning we had a curfew and had to stay in the hotel at night. Not ideal. We did squeeze in one drunken night with a friend though, so not all bad. Stay in a hotel with a sky bar if possible, the views are 100% worth it. You can find them for around £50 a night on booking.com, or cheaper depending on the time of year.

Last on the travel list this year was Croatia. I got back three weeks ago from a little town called Rovinj. I went to Croatia last year for a few days too and it is absolutely beautiful. Flights on EasyJet are amazing, as little as £50 return if you are lucky. You can also travel to Slovenia using Wizz Air for £45 and get a transfer into Croatia, depending on which part you are visiting. As the Euro isn’t used, food and drink are still quite wonderfully cheap. The place is an absolute gem, even though they do have quite a few rainy days in summer. The festival scene there is massive now. I went to Unknown festival this year, which sadly turns a cheap trip into quite an expensive one, but worth the experience. I highly recommend Croatia as a summer break without needing to go to a festival though. It’s truly gorgeous and you can do it on a budget.

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Bargain shirt shopping

Saving money is HARD. I’ve started putting money into my savings immediately when I get paid, so I keep feeling like I have a lot less and getting momentarily sad. It works better though, as it’s finally starting to mount up. I had a massive urge to go shopping and buy everything at the weekend. I’m usually not good at resisting when I really get into the mood, but I got one thing I was pleased with and it filled the shopping void nicely. It’s officially October, so it’s officially time for jumpers
and other snuggly things. I love Vero Moda so was pretty elated to find this in TK Maxx for £9.99. I often forget how many bargains you can find in there if you are willing to go rummaging.

blogy

I was pretty happy with only spending £10 on Sunday’s shopping trip, but only buying one thing when you are morbidly addicted to shopping is never enough. I absently mindedly wondered into the insane charity shop next door on my way home a day later and ended up swanning out with 4 tops. I have had a bit of an issue with buying patterned shirts for a while and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Someone had obviously recently had a clear out. They may as well have cleared it directly into my bedroom.

£9 to charity, 4 shirts to me.

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I often go through phases with bright printed clothes, wearing them loads then completely forgetting about them. I recently sold loads on eBay so there was definitely room for a few new friends. For £9, even if I wear them once or twice it doesn’t matter.