The World According to She.

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Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute and just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the princess of a town called Bel-Air. In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and eatin’ some push-pops outside of the school when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood, I got in one little fight and my mum got scared she said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air”.

I have a super active imagination if you couldn’t already tell…But when I was a kid and even now if I watched a tv show or film religiously my brain would get it confused with my reality and the made up show. So much so one time I had a dream I was in Egypt then a few weeks later in a geography lesson at school the teacher asked if anyone had ever been to Egypt and for some weird-out-of-body-experience and reason my arm flung up into the air as if I was the one that discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb. OBVIOUSLY no one else in my class had been to Egypt in real life or in a dream as it turns out so I had to very quickly think about what I loved about the holiday. If in doubt say it was lovely weather and the Cornetto selection was much better. BUT UNLESS YOU COULDN’T ALREADY TELL and if you didn’t know well soz beauts but you’re in for a shocker, I am not Will Smith (sorry to disappoint) nor am I cool and my aunt and uncle live in a quiet village outside of the social hub of the south west of England otherwise known as Southampton. Sadly sarcasm doesn’t convert well in written word but unless you like skinny chavlads or girls that are more lip filler than woman and would start a fight with you for a tenner, spitfires or the Titanic then maybs just maybs Southampton isn’t the place for you. Soz Southampton normal people if you’re reading this.

I digress again. See, I’ve always had this problem in life, I get distracted and go off on tangents both in conversation and in my head. I’ll be doing something or talking to someone about something fairly serious and the next thing I know a random thought bubble has crash landed through my brain and we’re discussing the rising cost prices of sausage rolls in Greggs or why just WHY no one says croopy down north of the A303. For you educated folk the term “Croopy Down” is the act of squatting down but in the most ladylike fashion I believe. I remember my Nan used to say it to us when we were small little babes. Now we’re big babes we still croopy now and then. I’m hitting you up with a more thoughts and feelsy post again today, think of this like our virtual coffee date, so grab a cuppa, maybe a few biscuits, because what’s a tea without a few hobnobs and we can have a good old chinwag on here and in the comment section.

SO where do I start I hear you cry?! I think with work. Everyone always asks that question when you see a friend or neighbour it’s always “hey how are you? You look tired? how’s work?”. Since we last had a little chit chat I am now working two and a bit jobs. Which is tough. I start work at five in the morning and finish at two in the afternoon. I am suffering with all of the typical toddler symptoms of tiredness, constantly hungry just that if I throw myself on the floor in the middle of the biscuit aisle in Asda no one will pick me up and tell me it’ll be alright as they rub my back (maybs they know it won’t??? oh gosh let’s not open that can of worms.) The people I work with all tend to be really nice (there’s always one though and you get that anywhere I guess) In the daytime officey role I have, I work next to a gent from Indonesia with the thickest Indonesian accent so when he’s dictating an email or an invoice for me to send over to someone we can often get fairly lost in translation. He’s lovely but he must think I’m stupid or like a telly presenter on time delay as I have to really listen to what he’s saying. Equally doing telesales with an important client can be a bit of a challenge when he’s yelling down the phone to his wife in loud Indonesian (she’s Indonesian too I should, he’s not like a sociopath shouting at the poor love in a language she can’t even understand. Can you imagine tho?) Anyway. It’s not all bad, without sounding like a complete pretentious twonk. It’s character building and teaching me mad skillz and the more I work the less time I’m either out shopping or sat at home buying things online I don’t need (Insert frog shape jelly mould heeerrreee yeah I don’t know what I was thinking either tbh) But I am still looking and keeping my eye out for something that doesn’t have me up even before the crack of dawn and something that makes me happy. I shall keep ya updated babes.

I can’t remember if I’ve wrote on here since my birthday & day of birth but I turned 23 at the end of January. Yayhoo! I went to London for a fancy pants lunch at The Ritz with my mum and sister as my stepdad was struck down with the flu. I didn’t do anything young or fun like getting more smashed than your avo on toast this Saturday at brunch which was a bit of a bummer. I really wanted to go out and let my hair down and celebrate an important year but unfortunately my pals either didn’t want to or didn’t have the funds so I had a quiet family time instead. I’m hoping I’ll be able to plan something fun for my 24th next year and well hell if everyone bails I’m just going to head to ‘Spoons and cry into my fishbowls (yes plural, I plan on a maaaaad old night on my jack. Well as mad as you can get in Salisbury Wetherspoons…on your own as well.)

In more exciting news, I BECAME AN AMBASSADOR FOR SOMETHING SUPER COOL AND IMPORTANT!!! YES you read them caps locked letters correctly. So this fabulous, wonderful, brilliant (all the good and shiny adjectives ever) charity organisation want my face, alongside many beautiful others, representing them so to speak. It is for a wonderful mental health charity called Exhale, whom I am SUPER DUPER excited to be working with. Can ya tell by all the inappropriate big letters and excessive exclamation marks?!? Find out more info about them here as I’ll be posting on there, like things about my experiences with my mental health, stress and anxiety. How I’ve coped and tips and tricks on how I’ve learnt about managing my stresses and/or triggers. Mental health in general is a topic which is really important to me because of my experiences and also me suffering with it. A lot of those close to me do as well,  and I would love to be able to help share my experiences and if that helped someone else that would mean so much to me.

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I can’t remember if I wrote much about it on here but I went vegetarian back in November. As you may have seen in my last post I have a very gorgeous and adorable little pooch who I think the absolute world of and he basically inspired my decision. To cement all your thoughts that I’m easily swayed, I did fall victim to watching certain documentaries beforehand on Netflix and looked out of the corner of my eye to see my loyal little pal beaming up at me. The thought of anyone eating him or suchlike really broke my heart and I got a bit deep thinking about what the difference between him and a cow,fish,chicken, lamb was in my mind. Literally overnight I cut meat and fish out and have been living a vegetarian diet ever since. I’ve found it a lot easier and a lot tastier than I actually thought I would. I’ve dabbled with it in the past and only lasted a week or so but this was when I was about 13/14. I am now absolutely hooooooked on Linda McCartney sausages, other than I’ve Just Seen a Face I’d say it’s the second best thing to come out of The Beatles. I am also super impressed with how lush Quorn or any meat free meat style products actually taste. They don’t taste exactly the same but they are actually so delicious I can’t really believe I didn’t try some of it sooner.

I’ve also hit a bit of a slump in terms of the way I look and feel about myself at the moment. I’m a bit bigger than the size I wish to be and want to focus my body and my mind on healthy eating and more regular exercise (there is a blog post soon to come) This pic was a totally gorgeous and a totally healthy salad I had at the cool and quirky chain Bills in Salisbury on a summery day last year. Inevitably I do want to get back to the healthier size I was a few years ago where I felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin and in my body. Cos I can’t really change into someone elses?! Way to go Abfab making it weird. But you get what I mean? I want to be able to wear nice dresses, or skinny jeans without feeling like an overly stuffed sausage. That is my go-to feeling chub analogy at the minute.

I’ve been thinking about posting more regularly on here too. So little miss Downton Abbie can get herself into a routine with you all and vice versa. I’m thinking about posting a lifestyle/misc/random wordsy (thoughts and feelsy if you want) on Wednesdays and a more foodie related topic on a Sunday. I haven’t done anything in terms of cooking or baking that has been very exciting or pretty (unless you want to see my cheesey beans on toast on a weekday?) but I’m hoping to get back into it soon. But enough about me now, what about you babes? What have you all been up to?

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How to cope when you are LITERALLY skint.

How to cope when you are LITERALLY skint.

 

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Photo above is courtesy of Sandbanks, Poole,Dorset. UK. Super pretty and super expensive.

I have been rich, I have had a disposable income and thought nothing of grabbing a Costa every morning before work and going to Pret* (insert any other over priced chain here) everyday for lunch. See I was THAT bad with money. I would think nothing of doing an online clothes shop several times a week and I’ve been known to have actually forgotten about the things I’ve ordered and later on found still unopened in their original packaging at the bottom of my wardrobe from days gone by. I’ve frittered away small fortunes and what do I have to show for it other than my illustrious albeit pretentious Instagram feed.

On the other hand, I have also been poor. Poor indeed. Poor enough where I took on a godawful job just to see me through. Waking up at 4:30am to clean an office block toilets. THE GLAMOUR. I’ve been poor enough that I had to consider whether to buy petrol to get me back and forth to work everyday until my next payslip comes through or to have food to eat for the rest of the week instead. So very poor that Gwen Stefani’s Rich Girl is basically my anthem and haunts me a little at the accuracy of it all to be quite honest. For a lot of people things like money and personal finances are still quite a taboo subject, it takes a lot of guts and a lot of pride bashing for a number of people to admit what situation they are in. To have to ask people for cash and feel guilt sink to the pit of their stomach at having to even ask as well. I hate having to rely on other people for those reasons, I’ve been fairly independent and have earned my own dollar since the age of sixteen so having a significantly decreased income was something that took a little while to actually get my head around. Sadly it took a little too long for me to work out that life balance and had to sort my act out quiiiiickkk. After speaking out a little bit about it on my Twitter page (shameless plug seen herrrrrreeee) I’ve noticed a few people have actually gone through or are going through the same situation. It’s not an easy situation and can be incredibly difficult.

Money quite literally makes the world go round and as much as I’d like to believe it isn’t a necessity; it also completely ruddy is all at the same time. I’m not totally, 100% materialistic but having said that it is very nice having the nice, pretty, lusted after things. These are the types of things that no one teaches you in school, ask me anything you want about the Tudor period or how King Henry VIII killed his fourth wife but when it comes to real life adulty things and problems…well they didn’t have a special, very damp Portakabin classroom for that one did they?! I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve found helpful that either I’ve figured out for myself or I’ve had the help and support of some special people with their invaluable input. Please note I am no expert I am merely just sharing with you my tips on how I haven’t staged a heist/military coup/ full scale toddler style tantrum.

Budgeting.

I am the world’s most unorganised person, possibly ever. So when I had to actually, plan and budget my life it didn’t come about naturally. I had to plan what I was doing month by month, payday to payday. Working on a literal four weekly rota for both my working life and my social life. I learnt how to budget how much petrol my car needs to get me to and from work and to have enough in case of emergencies (emergency trips to McDonalds and the chinese are included). Splurging on food has become a thing of the past and spending out only when I deserve and or need a treat.

Making your own lunches for work. 

To be honest, with this one I’m a little embarrassed at how long it’s taken me to actually do. It’s easier to buy a lunch meal deal than it is to make the exact same sarnie at home that morning. But the money I’ve saved can speak for itself. When it comes to little treats like the odd skinny vanilla latte (not that I’m pretentious and fussy or anything…*ahem*) I used to have several a week and not only is that really unhealthy but they are hella expensive when you add them all up. If you think I’d get a double espresso which would be about £2 or a skinny vanilla latte which would be anywhere between £3-£4 I was probably spending the best part of £15 a week just on coffee. If I kept that up over a year I would have quite literally pee’d away roughly £780+. Considering I want a new laptop I could have bought one with that figurative money there.

Cutting down on non-essential expenses. 

Even if I was just meeting friends for dinner or a few drinks at our local I’d always want to look nice and make an effort whether that meant popping into New Look on my lunch break or making a last minute Missguided order the night before with next day delivery. Looking back my spending habits were poor and a wee bit ridiculous. I’m sure my friends wouldn’t have thrown a drink in my face at the sheer audacity of me rocking up to our local boozer in the same Primark shift dress I also wore a month before. I haven’t made an online order for myself in a long time, I do feel slight pangs of jealousy when I see friends showing off their online deliveries on social media, or when I get the usual 38,519 emails a day about last minute sales they have on. Even to cutting down on buying my usual glossies. Gone are the days of my stack of Cosmopolitans or Heat’s on my bedside table. I am quite happy browsing through Pinterest, BlogLovin’ or on WordPress finding some written word and inspiration to lose myself in, FOR FREE. Well apart from the WiFi if you want to dissect this with a fine tooth comb!

Lift sharing.

To save yourself a few pennies, car sharing is such a simple and easy way to split costs and also save yourself the dreaded commute on your own.

Asking for an advance or raise at work.

There is no harm in asking, I know several people who argued a fair and strong case in my old job and did actually get the results they wanted. One of them told their boss they were thinking of leaving to go somewhere that’d pay more and they got a pay increase. Another mentioned their struggle of how they were just scraping by considering they have a longer than normal commute to work.

Using a cash converters/ exchange shop. 

There are loads of different types of retailers both on the High Street and online if you have a load of stuff around the house you want to get rid of. From Music Magpie, to Cash Converters to popping into your local CeX. You can flog nearly anything these days from books, dvds, consoles, old tech and cds. It may take a bit longer if you do it yourself at home as you’ll have to type in every barcode and waiting for it to register. I took all the cd’s and dvd’s I wanted to get rid of into CeX and they took care of it all and said to come back in about 45 minutes and it’ll be all sorted and I walked out with a pocketful of cash. Banging!

Depop/ebay.

Another good option if you are a complete clothes hoarder like myself is to take a quick pic of the items you want to get rid of and have a go at selling them online.

Car boot sales.

I don’t think it’s really the season for it at the moment as it’s still freezing and you don’t really want to be hanging about in a muddy field in your mum’s hatchback trying to do a Del Boy with all your Monopoly games and vintage Jane Norman. Spring time is a popular time for people to quite literally spring clean and get rid of items so keep an ear and an eye out for any local boot sales in your area.

Thrift shopping.

Macklemore made it more popular but I blimmin’ love scouring the charity shops on my high street, or any high street really seeing what I could find. Even if it works out as a cheaper way of getting new clobber or as an investment going on the hunt for higher priced goods to upcycle and then proceed to sell on for a higher price. My mum snapped up a Mulberry and Louis Vuitton bags just last week! Bargain!

Socialising. 

If you were quite a social butterfly and are finding it hard to accustom, becoming the designated driver and getting your pals to fling some cash your way is always a winner. You’ll be doing them a favour and you can put it towards the soft drinks you’ll be sipping on all night too.

Comping.

This one is probably my not so secret favourite. If you have the time and or patience you could quite easily spend a whole day entering various competitions online or as it’s so delightfully coined as ‘Comping’. So far by doing this I’ve won a beautiful Chanel handbag, tickets to London Fashion Week Festival, a Love 2 Shop voucher and an Amazon giftcard. I’ve made a separate Twitter account so I don’t spam my poor friends with my boring RT to win tweets. A good way I’ve found to keep up to date with lots of comps going on is checking the Money Saving Expert forum seen here. It’s really easy to navigate around and the other users are all really friendly and helpful.

Voucher hunting.

If you’re thinking of going out for dinner or ordering something online from a takeaway to an ASOS haul I always check on Voucher Codes website in case there are any extra offers to be had or monies to be saved.

 

Online Surveys.

Similar to comping, if you have the time and patience you could quite easily earn a few hundred pounds extra every month by answering questions in surveys. How easy does that sound?! There are quite a lot out there on the internet and it can be hard to know which ones are legit, are they too good to be true and do the people actually doing the surveys ever get the money. In short, yes. My internet pal Harley, reached out to me about these and linked me to SwagBucks. He earned some extra pocket money and has cashed it in through PayPal. Snaps for Harley!

Matched betting. 

A fellow blogger mentioned this one to me and my first thought was Oh My Gawwwwd I don’t know the first thing about football. BUT apparently it is so much more than that. Sites like Profit Accumulator  offer a free trial which is known as risk free, completely legal and tax free!

Part time work. 

I don’t know about you but part time work is very few and far between in my area. So in order to earn a crust I’ve taken on an extra part time cleaning job first thing in the morning. The early starts are a little bit brutal but it’s extra pennies and I know it’s not a forever role. Even if you nip round your local cafes, bars and pubs seeing if they need any waiting staff or pot washers.

Seeking work through an recruitment agency.

I can’t speak for every single recruitment agency but the one nearest to me I went to for an interview and got offered nearly all the dud, dead end jobs within a 28 mile radius. As much as I mock the dud jobs of actually putting a chocolate curl on top of a profiterole all day errday the pay came in at around £100 a day and you get paid weekly. If you were in need of some quick cash or wanted to save up for something huge this would be a quick way to go. Plus one of the benefits of seeking employment this way is that once you’re on their books they can look out for anything that might be more suited for you.

Applying for Government credit. 

If you are earning under a certain amount or out of work would mean you would be entitled to applying for Universal Credit. It’s relatively straight forward to do and you can find the application process just here. To finish your application you do have to have a short interview at your local job centre and you have to agree to look for more full time work in between or at least scrub up your CV.

Learning to live frugally. 

Adjusting the life you lead can be something that can be the hardest and I’ve found quite difficult. Adapting to the life of Fagin and Oliver can be quite hard. Searching for good offers or even free things to do in your local area so you don’t feel too downbeat or like a complete hermit. Getting out and about more even just going for a walk or taking the dog out, the light exercise will release endorphins giving you happier feels and happier thoughts.

Learning to sell your skills.

I am 189% certain you, yes YOU reading this right here, right now are something very special and I’m more than certain you’ll have invaluable skills you could pass on to someone else for a price (or for all the warm gooey feels you’d get by doing something good and altruistic y’know whatever you’re into…) Whether you were particularly gifted at History at GCSE you could offer to do some tutoring or selling off your old revision notes. OR if you happen to be a computer whizzkid how about put a flyer in your local newsagents offering to teach basic PC skillz.

Maximising the use out of loyalty cards.

Other than taking up precious space in your ultra fancy nancy purse, loyalty cards do actually have some uses and can be quite handy depending you’ve acquired the ones you want and need and not just every single one a la Moi just cos you wanted to look boujee with a River Island purse full of M&S Sparks cards. Loyalty cards such as Boots and Tesco’s Clubcard have always rated quite highly in my eyes. Whether that’s just because I’ve secured nearly £100 on my Boots card over the years so if I’m feeling the purse strings tighten it’s like I’ve got a hidden stash of cash. Places like Paperchase if you sign up for a card with that transaction it will give you a percentage off of your end bill. Aaaaand I’m not gonna tell anyone and will keep it a secret if you sign up for a new card every single shop. Your secret is safe with me.

Selling unwanted giftcards on Zeek.

I didn’t hear about Zeek until very recently but I’m sure we’ve all received a gift card at Christmas or for birthdays we didn’t *reaaaaaally* want and didn’t know what to do with a B&Q gift voucher when you don’t even know the difference between a Phillips and a Flathead screwdriver. Zeek offers to buy the voucher off of you for a lower price but you get it as a cash payment and it’s off of your hands rather than taking up space in your wall unit.

Utilising your spare time. 

Please do not worry or panic or feel alone. Because you are far from alone in situations like this. Money at the end of the day is also just waxy paper we put a price and a meaning to. There are ways and means around everything and people to support you and care for you more than you probably even realise. Even if you have to have a bit of a pride bruising and reach out to a friend or a relative for a bit of help and support.

It can be hard to try and not fall into a trap of getting money from places that offer you short term loans. It can seem like a quick fix to get you out of hole but sites like Wonga offer an annual interest rate of anywhere up to 1509% on top of that. Once in these types of cycles it can be seen as harder to break out of.

Lowering bills where you can. 

If your outgoings are becoming slowly higher than what’s coming in, it could encourage you to take some time to evaluate the costs of say your phone bill or that ever so necessary Netflix account.

Saving where you can.

Even if you just open a bank account and put a pound in one week and a couple of pounds the next, over the space of a year it’ll all add up. Or if you get an old coffee jar and fill it with 50p pieces before you know it the jar will be bustling full.

These are my ideas and tips on how to get through a rough financial patch, I am lucky that my outgoings aren’t as high as others might be,  seeing as I still live at home but these are just my ideas and tricks on how to save a little extra where necessary. If you have any please do let me know!

What I have planned for 2018.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas time and banging New Year celebrations whatever you all got up too! I am not usually the type of person to make New Years Resolutions, simply because I tend to completely forget all about them and then I end up feeling bad about those people who have a long old memory that may remember the silly little idea or ditty I may have had about losing weight or learning another language or skill and me giving up 2 weeks into January with the fat tummy podge still very much there and very much comfy.  But for the first time in a long time I’ve decided I want to set myself a few of my own little personal goals, nothing major and nothing huge but to add to my year ahead and make me feel like the best me I can be. These are all things that I actually really want to do and achieve so I’m feeling like they’ll be a lot more attainable right? Plus I’m thinking if I share it with you all i’ll be more likely to keep up with it all cos you lovely lot can pester me if they aren’t being completed!?

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Shape up.

I want or need to lose a few extra pounds here and there. I am not completely happy in the way I look at all and want to be able to exercise more, eat healthier and be happier with the Abbie I see looking back in the mirror.

Improve my blogging life.

I am terrible for being organised with my blog. I’m terrible at being organised in general if I’m completely honest. I’m always at least ten minutes late for everything. But I want to be able to post a lot more consistently on here whether that be every week on a set day or the same time on a set day. I would also really love to be able to grow my blog a lot more this year with a wider readership and improve my content and photography.

Job life. 

I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I struggled in my last job role and my goal for the end of 2018 is that i’d have either found or be in a job that I really enjoy. It can be a bit of a challenge where I live (the backend of the middle of nowhere, if you know it???) opportunities aren’t exactly rife in the countryside.

Become a better cook.

I turned vegetarian in November which was actually a lot easier than I would have first anticipated. I love animals and my dog is my best friend and one day it really hurt me in the feels the thought of someone harming him that it dawned on me there isn’t any difference between him, a cow, or a pig. They are all animals and have feelings and from that day forward I haven’t eaten any meat. I chose to give it up so I don’t lecture those that still eat meat. But this year I want to be able to cook more vegetarian dishes as they are just as wholesome and delicious as any others. Plus I’m not the world’s best chef by any stretch so if I hope to move out of my parent’s home I’ve kinda got to be able to fend for myself and not just live off of Linda McCartney sausages. Even though they are incredible.

Read more. 

Social media is taking over my brain ever so slowly and surely. If I like what someone says or what they’re wearing I don’t tell them I just shout FAVOURITED in their face and I’ve started actually following people in real life too to see what they’re ordering in Starbucks or Pret. HA ok i’m totally kidding please don’t arrest me but you get my drift! Social media can be a very negative environment at times and I want to be able to be able to switch off quite literally and read the fifty ish books I’ve got stacked up in my room.

Do more charity work.

I want to be able to do a lot more this year. Whether that be actually working for a charity, donating a lot more to good causes or doing a charitable event of any sort. I want to be able to do more good things this year that’ll make feel good and that I’m proud of.

Live more positively.

I feel this one maybe slightly more self explanatory buuuuut I want to live more for me this year, do things that make me happy or do things outside of my comfort zone. Life is life and should be the best thing you do. For instance I’ve been thinking for ages about trying to work on my funnybone and get into stand up and even my sister said she’d help me or support me if I tried out a comedy gig.

Experiment with my looks more.

I’ve dyed my hair a lot the last 12 months from brown to pink to red to blonde again and I really fancy getting a tattoo or my nose pierced too. I fancy doing a Sinead O’Connor (the singer not the roughen from Hollyoaks a few years back) and shaving my head and starting again. Cos Nothing Compares to U or a brand new ‘do?!

BE THE COOLEST ABFAB EVER.

2018 will no doubt be better than 2017 mainly because 2017 was pure poop. So I’m planning on making this year as jam packed as a double stuffed Oreo would be if they were filled with jam (???) and make it the coolest time for me yet. I am really hoping this will be my year. I will no doubt keep you all updated as well. Much loves as always pups x