Showing posts with label Thrifty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thrifty. Show all posts

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Weekending in Kent (and some gratuitious TKMAXXtion)

I've spent the weekend at home in Kent as it was my mum's birthday today. The weekend started with a quix night at my old school, with my parents and their friends. Rock'n'roll me, huh? My parents were going anyway so I just took the train straight from London and met them at the school. The quiz was run by my old deputy head, and I did a double take when I saw him and exclaimed, "bloody hell", to which he replied, "yeah alright, you look old too". Thanks a lot Mr Smith! It was a fun night, though we didn't win, boo hoo!

On Saturday, ma and I hauled out all of the blue glassware she's collected from charity shops for our impending wedding and arranged them in lots per table, and boxed them up - super organised given it's five months away! This meant we could see whether we needed any more and act accordingly.

'Nuff glass?
 We called in at Majestic Wine Warehouse to enquire about booze for the wedding, and a local florist to enquire about flowers for the same, and then went off to Hythe to scour the charity shops for the last 4 or 5 bits of blue glass we need. We didn't have much success, but I managed to pick up an old Lonely Planet guide to California for the honeymoon that dreams were made of.

I treated mum to lunch and a coffee at the Nutmeg Cafe, where we dined on a lovely Mediterranean platter for two. This was a gorgeous little cafe, very cosy, with good coffee and lovely decor, including the tag-adorned map above, I assume the tags relate to visitors to the cafe from around the world. We didn't add a tag as being from the down the road wasn't nearly as interesting as some of other tags!

We called in at the Malthouse Arcade indoor vintage market, but at this point we only had a few minutes parking left so we had to make it a quick one, but I'll definitely go back for a good poke around, it was a treasure trove. We also stopped at Station Antiques at Appledore on the way home for a ganders, where I fell in love with several gorgeous pieces of lovingly reupholstered furniture.
A quick snap of the seafront, St Mary's Bay
On Saturday evening, I came across all of the family photo albums in my old room, and went through every last one of them
Me at 14 weeks, little chubber
My parents at a dinner dance, pre-me, a handsome pair
This morning I woke up with a sore neck. I ignored it and proceeded to raid my younger, cooler sister's wardrobe for all the clothes she left behind - if she's at uni in Newcastle, then she definitely ain't wearing the clothes she left behind in Kent, it's not geographically possible. I pinched thisemboridered jacket and a gorgeous dress from Warehouse, which of course she can have back if she wants them. But I won't be reminding her of them.

After this, I had high hopes for a trip up to the loft to find some of my old junk, but my neck pain was bothering me. I hoped a quick rest in downward dog was set me right, but this was a big mistake. Huge. I ended up pulling something really badly, and was unable to move my head without intense pain for a good hour. 

I eventually got a little range of motion back and we trundled onto Boots to pick up some pain relief, where I also picked up some of my old trusty No7 wipes with the £5 off voucher, some nail varnishes for mum, and some Soap and Glory The Fab Pore, which was reduced to clear at just £1.99. No idea why as it's still sold for £8 on the their website, but I am looking forward to this transforming my skin. We headed onto TK Maxx, where I devoured the homeware range.

Love these cushions 
Amazing jewellery box, £24.99. Major birthday hints dropped to mum
Gorgeous storage box, £14.99
Phwoar at this Designers Guild chair, £399.99
We finished up at the McArthur Glen outlet where I hobbled around trying not to move my head too much, and saw many treasures I am too poor for, before I took the train back to London, armed with my goodies in a wheelie suitcase that my parents lent me so I wouldn't have to carry a heavy bag. Waiter, more Voltarol!!!
Stormy skies over the outlet
Happy Sunday night everyone, I hope I sleep this neck pain off!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Weekending in Sheffield

I've just returned from a weekend seeing my beau in Sheffield, and what a wonderful weekend it was! We kicked off Friday evening with a homemade chilli and Casino, a film we've owned for about 5 years and always been put off watching on the basis that it's 3 hours long, but this time we were ready for it.

A few nights before I went to visit, my mister uttered over Skype these words, " know my suit we bought for the wedding? I think I want something different now...." before showing me this board he'd made on Pinterest. Up for a challenge we spent all of Saturday trawling Sheffield city centre charity, vintage and high street shops for a good alternative. We didn't find one this time but he did pick up a spectacularly bargain jacket at just £28.99 in M&S (one shade darker than this one, I can't find his on the website). Unfortunately there are no matching trousers, but the mister has a real thing for jackets so he'll be wearing it all the time in a non wedding capacity, in rotation with the fantastical tweed one I got him for Christmas (another charity shop find).

During my trawling of Sheffield charity shops, I came across this beautiful book for just £1, a stellar additional to my addiction to food books. It's a fantastic book highlighting the very best places for the very best foods in the UK.

I also picked up some Lanocreme Manuka Honey eye cream in TK Maxx for £5.99. I've just idly started looking for an eye cream to reduce the dark circles under my eyes, so thought I'd give this one a whirl, it's worth a punt at that price - let's banish those circles for good!

We took a drink in the Great Gatsby on Division Street after exploring all of the lovely shops - so many have popped up since I've moved away, and I always love a good poke around Within Reason especially.
Winter Gardens
Oozing Peanut Butter
We wandered through the Winter Gardens before heading on to Mudcrab. We'd been talking about going to Mudcrab for at least a week before my visit so this was hotly anticipated, I love it there. We shared cheesy garlic bread and fried chicken (amazing) then went on to our burger mains. I had the Geek USA burger which is a THREE patty burger with peanut butter and a fried egg. Astonishing. We couldn't even finish our chips, and I never leave food on my plate! The staff were all really friendly and attentive, and the bill came to only about £51 for two starters, two burgers and two cocktails each (it was happy hour til 7).

After a full day of fun, we walked back to the Boy's house, where I changed into his pyjamas, drank wine from a mug and we watched Inglourious Basterds again, because it's amazing.

This morning, we overdosed on coffee whilst booking our honeymoon flights - We are off to San Francisco 3 days after our wedding! We're planning to do a bit of a road trip, based on this little itinerary we pilfered from STA Travel. We booked our flights through Opodo, flying from Belfast as its £300 cheaper each than flying from London (even though we have to pass back through London!?). We'll marry on the Saturday, tidy up our venue and make our way home to London on the Sunday, make our way to Belfast on Monday and fly to California on Tuesday for 3 whole weeks. I'm collecting tips and tricks so if anyone has been on a similar adventure please feel free to share, we'd be very grateful.

Making my way home to London was boring, saying goodbye is always hard but after such a lovely weekend, I left with a smile on my face and the reminder that being apart isn't forever. Thank you Sheffield, and thank you Dave for another incredible weekend, I can't wait for more.
Bye bye Sheffield

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

TK Maxxing it for xxMas

The new TK Maxx store opened on Long Acre last week, and I was very excited about this - I love a good tkrummage. Here's the great unveil (excuse the dreadful pictures, I didn't have my fancy new camera with me).

I had a chance to have a good peek around the shop before it opened at the launch party, and was pleased with what I found -  boo to no homeware section - but thankfully there's the Charing Cross Road branch only 5 minutes walk away.

I took a few snaps of things that caught my eye, so here's a very quick gift guide for you all.

Scarves for mum

PJs for the baby sis, perhaps? I love those blue ones!
Gorgeous Patagonia exercise top for the yogini
Pepsi Tshirt for yourself - and why not? Christmas shopping is hard work
Christmas jumper for the day itself
Prada shoes from the Gold Label section for the fashionista
Gooey frosting for the foodie.
I popped back and got a couple of bits for the Boy yesterday, but those are a secret. The new store overall is impressive, spread over 3 floors, the Gold Label section is pretty big, and despite no proper homeware section there are still candles, books, stationery and food items and a great selection of toiletries and bags.

The website itself has some great gifts available to order online, something I didn't realise before that TK Maxx did....voila.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

V&Oak Magazine

My beautiful, clever and very talented friend Ana has created a magazine, and it is amazing. She launched V&Oak (Vintage and One of A Kind) a couple of years ago, an online lifestyle magazine devoted to the vintage and handmade lifestyle, for those of us who are bored of the mainstream and want to adorn ourselves, and our lives with something a bit more unique.

The first bi-annual print edition is now out, and after pre-ordering mine a month ago and eagerly awaiting its arrival, it's finally here in all it's glory, and just as I anticipated, it's fantastic. There's articles on vintage fashion and beauty, vintage shopping tips, quirky home and gift ideas, with beautiful photography throughout, and none of the usual drivel about half-naked celebrities and fake tan.

You can buy V&Oak Issue 1 here for £10 + £2.60 p&p (In the UK). I recommend that you do. 

*Disclaimer: I love my friend, she's uber-talented. Thus I bought the magazine out of my own money and wrote about it of my own accord.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Good Morrow, Miss Magpie

They call me the crap magpie. Well, they don't, but my flatmate does. Although we are very shortly moving from North to South London (eek, panic attack, so much to do, so much to do), I can't stop accumulating stuff. A couple of weeks ago I was walking home and I found this amazing wooden box sitting on the street outside some house. So I took it. It's now filled with makeup supplies.

We live in a block of flats at the moment, so there's always someone moving in or out, and soon that'll be us. The other morning I was leaving for work and by the bins I found these linen-lined wicker baskets, perfect for my larger toiletries and things that I just need a home for. I was planning to buy some anyway but have this aversion to spending money on boring stuff so it was great to find these, crying out for a new home.

Then on Friday night, I got lucky again outside our flats when I found a big Nikon camera case in perfect condition lying by the rubbish. As I'm planning to buy a new fancy camera, this saves me the trouble of buying a case for £40+, brilliant luck! I better make it a Nikon then...

I am returning the favour though, I've been freecycling our old possessions like crazy. Freecycle is the actual best. Over the years so many of my things, from kitchenware to old pc monitors has gone to good homes, and I've acquired a dining table and chairs and other useful things I needed at that time and couldn't afford to buy, and stopped those things from going into landfill.

O2 Priority Moments currently has a deal with Office where you can get a free pair of espadrilles just buy showing them a code on the app. The offer is on for another 4 days only, so get in quick. I grabbed mine the other day, great lightweight summer shoes, for zero pence, I got some men's ones because of my big old feet! I know I don't need more shoes, but hell, free ones are not to be sniffed at! There are loads of great offers on the app, from 20% of at Coast to free Molton Brown shower gel (with spend).

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Savvy Spending (or How to Have a Life When You're on a Budget)

Amongst my friends and colleagues I am regarded as the Money Saving Expert.One friend even told me that recently when she was considering whether something was a bargain or not, she asked herself whether I would approve....maybe we need 'What Would Kati Do' bracelets?! The truth is, at university I was terrible with money and lived in my overdraft at all times. After finishing, things didn't pan out all that well on the job front and I often worked three jobs at once. Around 2008 I started keeping track of all my finances on a spreadsheet on a memory stick. Fast forward 5 years and that spreadsheet rules my life, although now I keep it on Google Drive. I haven't been overdrawn at all for at least two years. I never miss payments or completely run out of money, and I've even managed to save a little.

My income isn't amazing although I am pleased that I only have to keep one job now to make ends meet, that feels so much better, working 9-5 plus weekends and evenings really takes it's toll! My fiance is on an internship therefore minimum wage (yes, in London!), and I think we have pretty good lives despite the low income! I just wanted to share with you some basic tips to make my money stretch further, none of it is rocket science but you might pick up something new.

Quidco is an online cashback site and I think it's one of the best out there. I have told friends about it in the past and they've surmised that it sounds like too much effort, but I have received nearly £800 in cashback over the last 5 years for little effort at all. A lot of the bigger earnings on the site are from bigger deals such as signing up with Sky, switching your gas and electricity suppliers or signing up for a new credit card so it's worth joining if you're about to set up a new home and need to set up up all your utilities. You can earn cashback on everyday things if you remember to go via the Quidco site, such as train tickets, clothes, and deals on Wowcher and other group buying sites. You can register your cards to the site then when you spend in certain physical stores you can get cashback too, such as Debenhams and Cineworld. You can see the fashion stores you can earn with here.  You can even check into physical stores using the Android or iPhone App and earn 5p-25p for doing so. Cashback is paid into your bank approximately on a monthly basis by BACS and some transactions do take longer than others, so you need to be patient. Please also remember it doesn't make sense to buy things you wouldn't have bought in the first place, just for the cashback - that just isn't money saving.

Lucky enough to be a student? Good, remember to USE your discount card! You can get 10% in a lot of high street shops, and at some special student events up to 20% off. If your student days are over or you never went down the further education route, check amongst your friends if anyone's doing an evening course for their job which qualifies them to get an NUS card., I am sure they wouldn't begrudge your for wanting to shop with them. If you buy a pair of shoes in Topshop for £60, standard student discount reduces this to £54, meaning you've got £6 left over. Win!...spend it on a cocktail, some earrings a coffee for the friend who shared their discount with you, whatever, just enjoy making your money go slightly further, this is maths that makes sense!

I mentioned in a previous post the Seven Dials Christmas shopping event, where stores were offering 20% off everything in store with their flyer...these things aren't to be sniffed at, we did so much of our Christmas shopping that night and managed to get everyone more than we might have otherwise been able to. Keep your ears sharp and eyes peeled, it's all about opportunity! And speaking of grabbing every opportunity, I've just been checking out the Seven Dials site and came across their privilege card scheme, which entitles you to 10% off in shops and restaurants if you live or work in the area, so I've signed up seeing as my office is right in Covent Garden.

Whilst perusing the Metro this lunch time I also came across an advert for the Orla Kiely Sample sale this weekend - I will definitely be popping down to Clapham for it to see if I can find this little number from my previous post!

February 2013
Thursday 21st -11am - 7pm
Friday 22nd -11am - 7pm
Saturday 23rd -11am - 6pm

Studio Voltaire
1a Nelsons Row

*Cash and cards only (regrettably we are unable to accept Amex)
*No refunds/return
*All items sold as seen

*£1 entrance fee - all proceeds go to Maggie's Centre*

On the subject of charity, never underestimate charity shops. If you saw my previous post you'd have spotted the gorgeous brand new tagged M&S top I got last weekend. My shopping buddy also got a set of gorgeous, brand new LHA wine glasses for £14.99, which is at least half price. And it's a good way to actually give some money to charity without even realising you're doing it.

I love eating out, but the cost definitely rack up when you do it all the time. When I know I am going to be eating out, I trawl for discount vouchers. The best places for them is Money Saving Expert but you can often stumble across them in other places. I also trade in my Tesco points for restaurant vouchers, where they are worth 4x their values, so £5 of Tesco vouchers is worth £20 in Strada, Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge and other such restaurants. On a trip to Bristol, my mum and I saved tonnes on eating out with the vouchers she'd amassed! While the food in these places is always good - I especially like Strada - it is nice to go somewhere different sometimes, so I am always on the lookout for deals elsewhere. I got an email at work the other day from Henry's, as we do a lot of client entertaining there. The email contained a voucher offering 50% off food which suited me well as I was meeting a friend for dinner in Covent Garden. We really enjoyed our meals, and it's a really nice atmosphere, so it was a bonus to be paying Wetherspoon prices!

When it comes to entertainment I find cinema and show tickets can be so expensive at times, and I rarely used to go to the cinema because it just ends up being so costly. One day though I caught onto free screenings, and now many of my cinema trips are free! On the Money Saving Expert forum, there is a thread for free cinema tickets and another for free theatre and concert tickets (mostly in London) where people list free screening codes from websites like ShowFilmFirst. I am subscribed to both threads, so every time somebody posts something, I get an email and I am straight it! This is how I recently got to see Let It Be at the Savoy Theatre for nothing, and how I am getting to check out Safe Haven next week. I have however been turned away from a screening, this has only happened once but was quite annoying so if you manage to get tickets, make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment. Do also join the Show Film First Mailing list as occasionally they might invite you to events specifically.

I love my loyalty cards and am partial to a bit of extreme couponing in Boots when I have a big shop to do, I always use the "x extra points when you spend £x" vouchers you get through the mail, coupled with checking out that instore machine to see if there are any extra deals on things I was planning to buy anyway. You can save your points up for something special or spend them on everyday things, but £10 of points is 3 free lunches or a nice eyeshadow, so not to be sniffed at in my book.

I enter a lot of competitions on lazy Sundays when I haven't got much else on, and have had some good wins. You might not want to enter hundreds at a time, but if you spot one while surfing there's no harm in entering (as long as you tick/untick the appropriate boxes to avoid spam), somebody has to win, and it could be you. I've won £1000 and a car for a weekend, £500, vouchers, shampoo and shower gel, perfume, and Xbox, a phone. It can pay off! You can win major life-enhancing things, like cash or holidays, or even day-to-day stuff like shampoo which saves you having to buy it yourself!

Finally, even if something is super-discounted, it's not a bargain if you didn't need it in the first place. When you spot an amazing item at a ridiculous price, ask yourself if you actually love it. Are you going to wear it? What with? Is it dry-clean only? Is it really worth it? Is it just going to hang in your wardrobe and look nice? I've saved myself fortunes by questioning myself on this.

Some people might think it sounds like a lot of effort trawling for bargains, and can it really be worth it? The answer is YES! If you're in the same boat as me with a modest income, living in the most expensive city in the UK, then every penny counts. You can either lock yourself up and have no fun at all, or go wild and get into loads of debt. Or you can start spending a bit more wisely.