I started quite simply this week with my DVD and book collection. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a before picture but this is what my stash currently looks like. Now I don’t have a lot of these items in London to begin with. The vast majority of my books are still at home in Aberdeen and something I’ll need to tackle when I’m next at home but I have added vastly to the handful of books that I took with me when I moved.
I currently have a pile of five books that I need to get round to selling or donating and four DVD boxsets that I’ve finished watching so need to get rid of. I’m planning on taking these to CEX on Monday and getting a little bit of cash for them.
I also plan on reducing the number of books that I have on that shelf this year and to help achieve this am taking part in #TBR20. #TBR20 is a challenge to read at least 20 books that you already own before buying any new ones in 2015. I buy a lot of books on Kindle these days as I love being able to finish one and start another but that does mean that the number of physical books I own doesn’t seem to go down. Once I’ve read them I’ll either sell them or take them to book club (if I ever make it back to another meeting) where they can find a new home.
The books on the left hand side of the shelf are those that I need to get read ASAP, if I’ve counted correctly there are 14 books there that I have to get through (not counting the London guidebooks). The books to the right of the shelf are books which I’ve read but are keepers either because I’ll read them again or they mean something to me but if I get can through my to read pile I’ll be cutting the total number of books I own by at least half!
The two DVDs in the middle I will never be parting with because the copy of Serenity is the one I got signed by Joss Whedon and the Trek DVD was signed by a few of the cast members at the Into Darkness Premiere. Other than that the only box sets I have opted to keep are my Star Trek DVDs which will be watched over and over again so are worth keeping. I’m not massively into buying DVDs these days what with catchup TV and Netflix so keeping this number as it now is shouldn’t be an issue, it’s definitely the books that will be more difficult to keep in check.
What’s your weakness? Books or DVDs?
A new year always makes me feel ready to make changes. Last year when my friend Cait wrote about her decluttering challenge I knew this was something I wanted, no needed, to do myself but I just wasn’t ready at that time. Roll on the start of 2015 and that fresh new feeling of a new year finally gave me the kick up the bum I needed to get my own “stuff” in check.
Now I’m not a hugely material person, well I don’t think I am, and when I moved to London I took just two large suitcases and two rucksacks of belongings which I thought was quite reasonable but over the past year and a half I have of course accumulated more stuff and the thought of ever having to move with all of my belongings fills me with fear. And I will have to move again, that is for certain. Even if I decide to live in London for the rest of my life I know it won’t be in the flat that I’m currently renting.
Over the next few of weeks I’ll be decluttering a different set of belongings until I’m happy with whats left and hopefully everything fits back into those two large cases – or even better, even less.
Do you need to give your life a bit of a declutter?
The first weekend of 2015 was not spent in London. Instead I was staying with my best frex Matt in Ipswich and after an uneventful New Year we decided to get out and about at the weekend and visit Framlingham Castle in Suffolk.
Sadly the weather had other ideas so after a quick bite to eat at the cute little Pickwicks in town we headed to Colchester to see their castle instead as it had held up to the elements a little better than the former.
From the outside the castle looked pretty impressive and I was really excited about it. I bloody love castles. Crossing over the “moat” and into the entranceway was all very good and I was a happy bunny. Then we got to the entrance which was… well… a bit modern! Basically the original Colchester castle is just a shell which houses a very modern, interactive museum which while very engaging for the young ones I found to be a bit of a disappointment.
The interactive chariot racing was good fun though!
Sunday morning we popped along to Frankie & Bennys for breakfast before heading to the cinema to see the latest Tinkerbell movie; Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast. Seeing Tink movies at New Year has become a bit of a tradition for Matt and I but I was less enamoured with this compared to the Pirate Fairy that I saw in February.
Straight afterwards I caught the train home so that I could actually spend a bit of time in my flat getting organised for the return to work and routine! I was inspired after seeing my friend Cait from Blonde on a Budget declutter her home and get rid of over 50% of her belongings to have a bit of a clear out myself – but more on that tomorrow.
How was your weekend? Any exciting plans for this one?
On Tuesday evening my friend Roxy and I headed to the Palladium Theatre to see the latest incarnation of the musical Cats.
After a quick bite to eat at the Garfunkel’s on the same street we headed to the theatre with plenty of time to spare and I’m so glad that we did because there is an amazing array of drawings, costumes and other pieces of theatrical Cats history from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal collection set up in the Val Parnell bar that is well worth a look so if you’re going to see the show do leave some extra time to see this! It’s open for 2 hours prior to each show and there are also family friendly activities happening such as face painting and poetry readings.
As for the show itself I had no idea what to expect having never seen it before. I’ve seen a lot of Cats cosplayers at conventions and the attention to detail is awesome, something I hadn’t really appreciated until I saw the show. Based on the poems in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, Cats doesn’t have much of a plot but instead introduces you to the weird and wonderful cats of the Jellicle tribe each with their own song. Pretty much all musical genres are catered for including rap in this latest incarnation – which I believe has been quite a controversial addition – but was actually one of my favourites along with the Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer duet.
But what really blew me away (as often does with theatre) was the set. Wow it was incredible. Much larger than a normal stage (almost as though they’d gotten rid of the wings) and such beautiful attention to detail, cats seem to appear from nowhere for the duration and some of the special effects are magnificent. I guarantee you you’ll be dancing along and tapping your toes by the time you leave!
Cats has been extended until the 25th April due to demand and I thoroughly recommend it. Get aisle seats if you can as those mischievous cats don’t always stick to the confines of the stage ;)
BitBS Rating – £££
Remember these posts? I don’t blame you if you don’t because it was so bloody long ago so I figured it was about time to give you guys an update and what better way then posting reviews of the products I’ve been trying out! Don’t worry I’m not about to become another hum drum beauty blogger but I do want to discuss beauty in a budget conscious way as I really don’t understand people who spend so much money on beauty products every month.
First up the tube of the Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream that I featured on my skincare post which has an RRP of £4.45.
This day cream is medium in consistency which absorbs into the skin easily and quickly (a big plus from my perspective). It actually smells pretty good too and leaves me feeling fresh-faced rather than sticky.
While I was using it my skin was definitely clearer (but maybe that’s just because I had a bit of a skincare routine going on haha) and a great positive of this product is that it’s SPF 15 so doubles as skin protector when it’s not sunny enough to warrant wearing my usual 30+ sunscreen..
The major supermarkets have this on promotion for about £2 quite often which is the reason I picked this up. At this price it’s great value for money but for the RRP I would expect a bigger bottle!
The night before I flew home for Christmas my friend Jen and I popped to Stratford for a trip up to the top of the Arcelomittal Orbit structure. Or as I like to call it, that red wiggly thing near Stratford.
A deal had popped up on Groupon for discounted entry with a glass of prosecco and neither of us had actually made the time to go up it despite it being so close to where we live.
Created by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and designer Cecil Balmond from 2000 tonnes of steel it weighs as much as 265 double-decker buses. The Orbit is the UK’s tallest art sculpture at 80m and was a brilliant symbol for the 2012 olympic games.
As we waited underneath the canopy for the next lift we were told that in daylight you can see right up through the centre to the sky towards which you are whisked by the very fast elevators which deposit you at the top viewing platform where we collected our prosecco.
Being Winter it was dark before we even got there which meant that we wouldn’t be able to see as far as you would in the daytime but that didn’t make the views any less spectacular.
Unfortunately, despite having never had a fear of heights before in my life, my legs went to jelly any time I went near the fenced areas so I didn’t get very many non-blurry pics. It was honestly the strangest sensation that I’ve only ever had crossing bridges with no solid sides. Yes, my fears are as weird as I am!
Nonetheless I really loved it up there! What was extra cool was the giant iPad type things they had on the lower observation deck which allowed you to see the 360° view in both daylight and darkness to help you match up some of your favourite landmarks like the O2!
I really don’t think the views that you get in London can be rivalled by any other city in the world with the exception perhaps on New York! Although believe it or not this bad boy is actually 22 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty.
We finished supping our prosecco and decided to brave the 455 stairs it takes to walk down to the bottom rather than take the life. Be warned, once you start to descend there’s no changing your mind unless you want to head all the way back up again!
My legs were a bit wobbly by the time my feet touched solid ground once more. Like after a particularly hard workout at the gym (ha!) and I had to have a sit down in the gift shop before heading home to finish packing. Those views were the perfect way to end 2014 and reminded me just some of the reasons why I still love London so much.
BitBS Rating – ££
Another weekend spent at home, another post with very little pictures I’m afraid. I was just having too much fun.
On Saturday we braved the city centre of Aberdeen to hit up the sales. Really we were only there to pick up a leaving gift for my cousin who was flying back to Singapore on the Monday to start his first proper job after graduating earlier in the year. It was nice just to get out of the house though and we had a lovely lunch in Wetherspoons even if the waitress was a grumpy sod who dropped my poppadoms then glared at me as though it was my fault.
I also picked up some lovely new perfume, Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift which is so cute in its sparkly bottle and smells divine. I’d already been given so many gifts for Christmas (despite specifically asking for none!) that I had to pay for a hold suitcase for the flight home and even with that I was struggling for space as I packed up ready to fly back to London on the Sunday.
But not before we had another family gathering at my cousin’s house with them, my mum, dad, nephew, niece and great-nephews as well as my cousins gorgeous bulldog, Buddy. Give me a dog over children any day! We were only there for a few hours before I had to head to the airport and many tears were shed as I said goodbye. With so many travel plans this year I have no idea when I’ll next make it back.
The flight back was pretty uneventful, although delayed, and by the time I got back to the flat I was very grateful I’d had the foresight to pack my pyjamas in my hand luggage and crawled straight into bed!
How was your weekend? Any exciting plans for this one?
Cash – £42.01
Santander 123 C/A – £43.40
Co-operative C/A – £2,173.92
PayPal – £34.02
EasyCash – £1.00
Credit total – £2,294.35
Capital One C/C – £94.80
Creation C/C – £650.79
MBNA C/C – £3,877.41
Santander C/C – £2,812.90
Debt total – (£7,435.90)
£2,294.35 – £7,435.90 = -£5,141.55
Happy New Year Broke in the Big Smoke readers!
I’m starting off 2015 with a bang by launching a new blog where I’ll be sharing with you my love for travel, food and all those little things in life that make you go oooooh.
Don’t worry though, I’ll still be blogging my London adventures right here but I’d love it if you’d pop over and give me a follow over there as well. I have so many ideas in the works.
Here’s to an amazing, crazy, beautiful year!
Only one book read this month which considering I finished it on December 12th is completely ridiculous. I don’t even have a valid reason for not starting anything new I just never got round to it. It was however, the next in the Nikki Heat series; Deadly Heat.
Nikki finds herself the target of a serial killer and the twists and turns probably made this my favourite of the series. As I’ve mentioned before these aren’t the best written of novels but they are a fun addition to the show and you can never have too much Richard Castle in your life if you ask me! ;)
I still have one more book that I was sent to review which is next on the to read list then after that I’m making it my mission to read all of the physical books I have in London so I can get rid of them and slowly reduce the number I have. Minimising my belongings and living a more frugal lifestyle will be top of my priorities for 2015.
BOOKS READ THIS MONTH: 1
BOOKS READ SO FAR THIS YEAR: 31.5
BOOKS READ FOR 30 BY 30: 16