Proving To Myself That The Little Things Make A Big Difference

Hi loves, happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.

I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…

M O N D A Y

-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting
-It was super sunny and warm
-Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them)
-I got the cutest phone call from Matthew
-We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner
-I was having a good skin day
-Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle
-I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on
-Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said
-Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie

T U E S D A Y

-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried
-One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker
-I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love
-I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED)
-The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle
-I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile
-I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door
-We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer

W E D N E S D A Y

-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is
-I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years
-I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better
-My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet)
-I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages
-Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL
-We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed

He makes me so happy 🙂

T H U R S D A Y

-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together
-I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~
-I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever
-I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA
-I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever
-Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited
-We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW

F R I D A Y

-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping
-The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday
-I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours
-It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job
-Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel
-Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long
-At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day
-Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade
-Cry laughing with bae

S A T U R D A Y

-We got to have a lie in (!!!)
-The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready
-We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good
-I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA
-I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air
-The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s
-I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!)
-We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect

S U N D A Y

-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute)
-He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol
-I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much
-I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because
-Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs
-After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things
-I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!)
-My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush
-It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels

I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?

-G x

How I’m Changing The Way I Spend Money

Happy Sunday, loves!

Today I’m sharing with you a few of the little changes I’ve made to my spending habits, mostly since the beginning of 2019. We’re only halfway through the second month of the year, but I already feel so much better since implementing a few simple changes. I thought I’d share with you the changes I’ve made, in the hope it may help or inspire you if you’re looking to hold tighter on the reigns of your finances. Aren’t we all…

Matt and I are currently saving for our future home (we’re going to start looking by the end of the year and I’m SO excited at the prospect of this I can barely stand it)! As we’re buckling down on saving more and spending less, whilst still trying to have a life, we’ve been looking at all the things we can do to improve our ability to save.

Budget by category, and track your spending
In my opinion, it’s so important to know how much you get paid, and to categorise your spending in categories at the beginning of the month. I can’t believe some people don’t know their take home pay each month! If that is you, this is a no judgement zone. BUT, please make a budget! I’m begging you! I track my spending loosely on a spreadsheet I made a few years back (it’s colour coded and very pleasing to the eye LOL. I’m so Type A), but as a result I always know how much I have to set aside for bills and fixed monthly expenses. My fixed monthly expenses include things like my phone contract, house fund savings, my car payment and insurance, then my variable monthly expenses include things like holiday savings (to pay off our Summer holiday to Croatia and begin savings for a mini-break to Budapest, I’m so excited!), ‘fun money’, petrol and groceries. I split my money into twelve categories overall, but it’s all down to what works best for you. I personally think it’s really important to have a ‘fun money’ category; whatever amount works for you in your budget; for treating yourself to a few new beauty bits during the month or spending a little extra on date night.

Spending with cash only in shops/supermarkets
I literally never used cash. Ever. I tapped my contactless debit card or Apple pay like it was my job, and rarely carried a full sized purse as I just didn’t need it. My card holder is now strictly reserved for when I carry a small crossbody bag (usually just on the weekend), and day-to-day I now carry my purse with me. Using cash at first felt so strange, it was like being on holiday and trying to work out which coin was which. Yes, really. I felt so awkward the first few times I didn’t pay using just notes as I was scrabbling through my coins, mortified I was holding up the queue. How British of me. Spending with physical cash keeps me accountable in a whole different way, as I think when I use a debit card it often doesn’t feel like real money. I’m not sure if it’s mind over matter, but whenever Matt and I go out for date night and pay in cash rather than on our debit cards we always spend less. If you find yourself overspending on your budget, or just are generally confused where your money is going, I’d highly recommend trying to use just cash only, it puts things into a whole new perspective!

Meal planning
Matt and I started to do this during the last few months of 2018, and by now we nail it every week. Our evening routines vary due to Matt’s shift pattern, but we know what that will be at least a few weeks in advance. As a result, we plan which nights we’re going to cook with fresh ingredients, and which nights we might grab a Sainsbury’s flat bread pizza (the BEST – you need to try the chorizo one!) or an M&S ‘throw it in the oven and wait thirty minutes’ meal. This all depends on what time Matt finishes work, for example on the nights he comes home between 9pm and 9.30pm we quite honestly can’t be bothered to cook and we want something quick and easy so we can catch up on our days and fall into bed! I’d love to write a whole post, detailing our meals for a week – including recipes – if that’s something you’d like to see?

Limiting online shopping
I’m not completely opposed to online shopping, but I no longer feel the need to mindlessly scroll through websites and buy things just for the buzz of buying. Before re-training the way I think about money, I shopped online way more than I’d like to admit, and often once I’d opened the package, at least half of the novelty had already worn off. I prefer to shop in stores anyway; to feel, smell and look at things properly. I have a few online loves – such as Feel Unique – that I know I’ll purchase from for years to come, but I feel less of an obligation to purchase online. I’d also really recommend taking twenty minutes out of your day to unsubscribe from all of the mailing lists you’ve signed up to over the years, this will definitley ease any extra temptation! One thing I will never get tired of buying online is books; as much as I love browsing Waterstone’s, I can’t justify paying full price when I know (usually) Amazon will be way cheaper! My Amazon ‘Save For Later’ list is brimming with books to order over the coming months.

Opening separate savings accounts
This is one of the best things I’ve done to get into a better habit of saving money! I have a regular old ‘Emergency Fund’ then I also have a ‘House Fund’ and a ‘Holiday Fund’. Matt and I are so excited to buy our first home together and it’s something we talk about all the time, but it’s also something that we don’t need to put added pressure onto ourselves for. We are so blessed to spend every day/night together and we have two houses right now – so we feel very lucky and grateful for that. Having a holiday fund allows me to set aside money each money to pay off our upcoming holidays – I’m so excited! – then when that’s paid off, I can carry on adding money to it as we’re planning a city break to Budapest later in the year. My ‘Emergency Fund’ is a personal fund, which is to take money from as/when needed for genuine emergencies. Sadly, a Mulberry purse doesn’t count as an emergency. I have direct debits set up which automatically add money into these accounts throughout the month, then if I have anything left over at the end of the month I’ll add extra into a specific account (right now any extra pennies are reserved for our holiday fund).

Implement the thirty day rule on any splurge/impulse purchases
This is SUCH a great tip that I read/heard somewhere ages ago, and it works so well for me. I really struggled with this at the beginning of January, but I’m now set in a new habit and it’s begining to feel second nature. I use space in my planner, or sometimes in the Notes app on my phone, to write down any of the things I’m lusting over, whether it’s a new beauty product or a clothing item. In the past, if I saw something I’d quite like to buy, I’d open up my laptop and purchase without thinking about it. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid, so writing things down as a decoy to not buy them was a totally different concept to me. The whole point is to then wait (at least) thirty days before purchasing, as if after the thirty days you still want that item it’s not a silly purchase. I was making so many frivolous purchases in 2018, and I’m quite shocked that I haven’t bought one thing on my list that has passed the thirty day term. So, it really was something I lusted after in the moment, and I don’t regret not buying at all!

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of my points helpful, or did they reasonate with you as something you’d like to introduce into your life? What is your best tip for managing your money better?

-G x