Low spend trip to London :)

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Long time, no post dear readers! That’s because Elliot and I have been very busy bees recently with starting our own allotment, going away for a city break in London, rekindling old hobbies and just plain old chilling out. Never fear, our lives still as cheap as ever!

So, the topic of todays post is how we kept down the cost of a 4 day trip to London.

First and foremost is the travel expenses. We live in Leeds which gives us three options for travel: Train, Car or Coach. We explored every option and found that we could get the two of us to London and back to Leeds for just £19.50 on the MegaBus. Absolute bargain. Yes, it is five hours each way on this service, but we just made it part of the relaxation time of the trip. Plus they have free wifi– result!

Secondly, where did we stay? Well the accommodation cost is usually the killer of a city break so we phoned in a favour from a friend who recently moved to London, who very kindly let us stay with her free of charge! Yes, kipping at a friends house isn’t the most glamorous option but we decided we’d rather save money and spend it on all the activities to do while we were there. The bonus of course is getting lots of time with a best friend we rarely see, thanks by the way Daisy!

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Thirdly, we found a package deal for some of the attractions we wanted to visit. As Madame Toussauds, the London Eye and the SeaLife Aquarium are all owned by the Merlin company, we got all three attractions for £55 each. As we had never been to any of these we thought it was a good offer, particularly taking into account the price of each attraction individually. Of course we did visit free touristy places including The National Portrait Gallery, Camden Market (No purchases made), Covent Garden, Nelson’s column and all that jazz. We could easily have spent nothing on entertainment though theres soon much free shizz to do in London!

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If you’re wondering, we travelled mainly by tube using Oyster cards, for which I was very excited to be an owner of, as they remind me of the scene in Harry Potter where Mr Weasley tries to copy the muggles on the tube who slap their Oyster cards on the scanner, by smacking it and trying to walk through the closed barrier. Hilarious.

Other than that, of course we bought meals out and even had a few not-really-necessary coffees but come on fellow money savers, it was a holiday!

Happy Holidaying !

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Low spend weekend- valentines edition!

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For those unfamiliar, my partner and I have set ourselves the challenge of having low-spend or preferably NO SPEND weekends as much as we can this year to help save the precious pennies. After many weeks of very un-blog-worthy weekends, basically revolving around lie ins and Netflix, heres a slightly more exciting little round up what we got up to this valentines weekend.

Saturday AM

Exchange of cards. We had agreed not to buy presents but Elliot cheekily broke that rule and got me Fleur de Forces new book, a single rose and my favourite treat; Malteasers. I did feel mildly guilty for not getting him a present but it was only his birthday last week in my defence!

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Next on the agenda, filter coffee and a homemade breakfast of toast and eggs. We did attempt a pinterest-like heart shape in the middle of the toast, with the idea that the egg filled in the gap, however it was a total disaster. It was still edible though so of course we did gobble it up.

My parents were popping round for lunch, so we quickly spring cleaned the flat and I made homemade breaded chicken burgers and sweet potato wedges. I’d been inspired by the BBC’s programme ‘Eat well for less’ (side track: this show makes me want to throttle everyone on it for their stupidity with money but thats a different story). It’s a simple case of dipping chicken in some egg, rolling in breadcrumbs and herbs and bunging in the oven for half an hour. Job done.

Saturday PM 

Parents came. THEY BROUGHT CREAM BUNS! also a bottle of wine. We felt very spoilt. Their visit took up several hours of the afternoon and it was really lovely to see them as usual.

Later, we got into our PJ’s and dragged the duvet into the living room for our Saturday night ritual of The Voice drinking game. To play: drink every time Tom Jones name drops or says YEAH, Rita Ora hugs someone who cries, Will.I.Am makes a metaphor or Ricky says something northern.

For snacks I made us homemade tortilla chips (cut up tortilla wrap, fry it and add salt) with peri peri drizzled hummus I made using some nando’s drizzle. For those who order the hummus at Nandos, we took home the tiny little bottle of drizzle you get on the side when we went last week as we only had half, and used the other half last night. 

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Sunday AM

Lovely coffee in bed made by Elliot’s fair hands, followed by dippy egg and soldiers! We realised we don’t own egg cups so we had to chop up the egg box and make do!

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Next stop, The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds (we literally live round the corner so its criminal not to have visited!). Admission is totally free (bonus) but the parking did cost £3.50 (our first actual spend of the weekend)

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The museum was great, my favourite thing was the elephant armour you can see pictured. On the way home we did stop for a cheeky coffee out costing us £.5.49.

Sunday PM

Played on the wii for half an hour. Elliot won as usual. Arsehole. JUST KIDDING 🙂

We’ve been meaning to cover a canvas we had for our bedroom so we decided to crack on with that. What actually happened was Elliot cracked on with it, while I started knitting with some spare wool I found. I managed to quickly knock up this cute little mug cosy! Not so bad if I do say so myself.

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As I type, it is Sunday 6pm and Elliot is currently sewing felt butterflies onto the canvas. I will insert a photo here later when it is done!

When I’m finished here, I’m going to make a “Fake-away” curry and poppadum for our dinner, and we are going to don PJ’s and watch ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘The Casual Vacancy’ on BBC.

Total spend for the weekend: £8.99. Not bad at all 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eyeshadow Nail Art

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Here’s a creative way to make your eyeshadow work harder. YES, EYESHADOW ON YOUR NAILS ! This look is super quick,and can be done with any colour combination of nail polish and eyeshadow that you like.

Step 1: Remove any old nail polish you have on.

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Step 2: Gather supplies, decide your preferred colour combination. I’m using Barry M’s Gelly nail polish in the shade ‘Cardamom’, and a gold coloured eyeshadow from the ‘Girlson Film’ palette by Revolution (which is only £6 from Superdrug if you’re interested which is a total bargain for 18 good quality eyeshadows!)  IMG_3834

Step 3: Apply hand cream if you have one and file your nails into your preferred shape.

Step 4:  Apply a base coat (I’m using OPI start to finish which is both a base and top coat but use whatever you have!), wait for it to dry and apply your colour polish.

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Sorry about my very imperfect nails, it comes with working in healthcare and not being allowed nail polish at work!

Step 5: The most important step. Wait until your nails have become just tacky and no longer wet. To test this press two nails very lightly together (for example, the thumb nail of each hand), if they very gently stick together but come apart without a mess then your ready. Lightly apply eyeshadow to the top 3/4 of the nail using either your finger or an old eyeshadow brush you no longer use on your face. Pat on more colour on the top 1/2, and very densely on the top 1/4. This will create a gradient effect.

Step 6: Seal with a top coat and leave to dry!

Ta Da !

Why I, an adult, have a colouring book

In light of my New Years Resolutions to save more money and do more arts and crafts I got thinking about what sort of things I could do to meet them. Now, my reasons for saving money are fairly obvious (I’m skint) but the reason I wanted to get back into arts and crafts is because I spent all of my free time as a child drawing, painting, colouring and generally making things. I found that when I did tasks like this I was always engrossed on the project alone, and the days seemed to last a little longer, whereas now I can’t even watch TV without checking Facebook-twitter-instagram at the same time. My mind buzzes along all day like a little bee, time whizzes by and I can’t deny this is the reason for a lot of my stress. Therefore I resolve to include more mind-quieting activities into my daily routine.

When wandering around Waterstone’s (A bookstore for any lovely readers not familiar) and happened upon this adult colouring book (pictured above) and thought this fit the bill perfectly. As a student, who also spends a lot of time on placements I don’t have the time or money to spend on fancy art supplies and creating something to rival Van Gogh on a daily basis. How simple (and mess free) is it to sit with a colouring book and just mindlessly colour ready-made gorgeous artwork? You can even leave off wherever and come back to it whenever you’re ready, without the hassle of cleaning up one day and setting back up again the next.

Below is an example of a page I’ve been working on this week. I’m not even thinking too much about making it match-matchy with the colours because I just want the book to feel free, no wrong or right.
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It’s already making a difference to my days in the short time I’ve had it and I recommend anyone doing the same!

TIP: For an even more frugal way to do this you could google free colouring pages and print them off! This would be good also to test whether you enjoy it before you dedicate spending money on a book. For me though, I think the price of the book is cheap in art-supplies terms and it will probably take me most of the year to fill up at the rate I’m going!

DIY: Birdcage Decoration

This birdcage started out life in the ASDA living store, dreaming of becoming a light-shade, when it was discovered by Elliot and I. We instantly fell in love, took it home to our apartment and I watched on as Elliot bravely stood upon a chair to adorn our living room light. Unfortunately it didn’t fit our unknown-to-us massive light fitting. Add the disappointment of that the fact we had foolishly cut the tag off in all our excitement. Not one to see it go to waste, I kept it aside for a fateful night of boredom, which struck me last night.

Bits and bobs you might need 
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An ornamental bird cage (Obvs)

Scissors

String

Scrapbook paper

A needle with a large eye

How it was made  

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Step 1: Choose your paper. If you don’t have scrapbook paper, you could use newspaper, magazines or old book pages.

Step 2: Choose your design. I went for butterfly shapes, mixed with cut outs of vintage typewriters from my scrapbook paper.

Step 3: Cut them out, and use string to sew them together in a line. If you want it to be permanent you could glue them directly to the cage but I wanted to be able to change the design if I felt like it and eventually use the light-shade for its actual purpose!

Step 4: Wrap it around however you like!

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I went super simple with this design but you could go mad! Add flowers, fairy lights, whatever you fancy.

I chose to put a simple tea light holder inside for now, but I think when I have a bit more disposable cash I will invest in some teeny tiny fairy lights to wrap around the cage instead. 
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Hope you enjoyed this DIY!

The Free-kend (1)

In our quest to save money, Elliot and I identified that the weekends are biggest money spending days. This makes sense because we both work/ go to uni during the week, as many people do. As its the only time we really spend together, we tend to go out and treat ourselves to whatever we want to do before the Monday blues kick in.

Its not JUST the fact we’re spending most on the weekends, its also the unfortunate fact we live in a city. This makes it hard to park wherever we go, and because everyone has the same idea, the places we go are usually jam packed with stressed out, occasionally rude people. This can really dampen down the fun, especially for me because I’m a self confessed home-bird and introvert and that noisy, busy atmosphere can be really draining.

So, Elliot and I have decided to rebrand our weekends as “Free-kends” and try and spend as close to zero as we can, while still enjoying ourselves 🙂 ***Note: anything in our apartment, or petrol in our car that we use counts as no spend as long as physical cash or debit card transactions don’t happen !***

What did we do last weekend? 

Saturday AM 

On Saturday we got up bright and early to drive to my parents house and pick up a computer we bought last year for our christmas present to each other. (We had it delivered to their house for security reasons, posting something like that to our block of flats can be a bit risky). As my parents are super generous, so we had coffee, biscuits and lunch at their house. Unexpectedly, my two little nieces were also there so we got to play with them for an hour too! We had more fun with the toys than they did

Saturday PM

Got back to our house and set up the wonderful computer! Ta-da !

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We are in love!

Naturally, there were a good few hours spent playing with the belated christmas present, it felt like a second christmas day! Elliot nipped out to see some friends in the evening, while I wrote a blog post, played on the iMac again and then spent the rest of the evening watching The Voice and Gossip Girl! I also had a great shower using all my lotions and potions so it felt a bit more like a pamper!

Sunday AM

Woke up to Elliot making me coffee using our coffee machine. Yum yum.

Elliot spent some time with the iMac, writing on his blog, while I did a bit of hilarious cross stitch using my craft supplies.

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Next, we did a whip-around clean up of the flat. As we went to take the rubbish out we noticed that someone had donated an ikea folding chair to the Freecycle room in our building. We had been to ikea a few weeks ago to pick up a similar chair, but they were out of stock so we jumped at the chance of a freebie! One problem though: it was red and didn’t match our colour scheme (mostly white, black and grey).

That’s when we had a brain wave and remembered we owned a can of grey spray paint that we hadn’t yet found a use for ( it was previously bought for a project we never got round to). So Elliot got on with spraying the chair in the car park, while I “helped” (drank a cup of tea and took this photo).

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The finished product!

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Next, we cooked a yummy dinner. As this was cooking, I upcycled some old yankee candle jars into cute storage containers! Read how here 

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Elliot then kindly used our LUSH massage bar (The Snow Fairy one if you’re interested) and massaged my back and feet! He’s such a keeper.

We then finished off the evening how most Sunday nights end for us: snuggled up with a cuppa watching Netflix!

We will update you next time we manage a free (ish) weekend!