If you guys didn’t know, I’m a student, just about to start my sixth year. Whilst in freshers the concept of the government handing you ~£5k to live on sounds amazing, after five years (oh, and the point where it becomes significantly less than that figure, thanks so much NHS bursaries for making me worse off) it really doesn’t. And the bank account has forgotten what being in the black even looked like.
So in order to actually get to graduation, I need to have a super-saver year, and the posts over at A Thrifty Mrs have been really inspiring me to find new ways to save money. The ATM (just realised how ironic an acronym that is for a thrifty blog!) challenge is to only spend £100 on beauty products in an entire year. My budget originally allowed for £200 – if you think that’s a lot, count up how many bottles of shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste etc you get through before even considering make up useage – but every penny really counts this year, so I’m gonna have a go at bringing it down to just a hundred.
I start work a year this week, so it seems the perfect time to give this a go! The rules are over on A Thrifty Mrs in full, but as a reminder mainly to me, this challenge means I have £100 to spend on all make up and toiletries (excluding sanitary stuff). But I can accept gifts of this nature! So this year’s Christmas list is going to be pretty skincare-heavy… Thankfully I have an adorable sibling who treated me to MAC eyeliner for my birthday, so I think I’m gonna do ok for Christmas gifts from them! I would say freebies on magazines are acceptable, but in the nature of saving the pennies I’m banning myself from buying magazines too.
The key to getting through this challenge, I think, is to be less fussy about what I use and finish off all the products currently loitering in my bathroom cupboard. I’ve stocked up recently (before I decided to do this challenge!) on things like shower gel, hand soap and cleansers, so I should be fine for those for a few months at least; in fact I’m predicting my Body Shop shower gels will get me through the whole year!
Looking at that pic above I think I might just cope 😉 Are you joining in with the £100 challenge?
Somehow I came home for summer with no notebooks. This is totally out of character for me as I usually have at least a couple of spares to hand! It meant a quick trip to the stationery aisle of Sainsburys during the weekly shop, and I came away with these lovely A4 Oxford Campus notebooks – and they were on BOGOF!
I was in a bit of a rush, so I just grabbed the first two notebooks off the shelf, and am pretty pleased with the ones I got – a vibrant but not fluorescent pink, and a deep black. Both have glossy card covers that mean the notebooks bend a little but not excessively. They have identical designs on the front, with a line about the paper quality blah blah blah, but I love the lion crest! Especially on the pink one, it looks really cute but smart.
Inside is a personal page for your contact details. Fairly standard, but there’s also a space for little doodles or notes – such a nice idea! Just having a separate page at the start for details really sets these Oxford notebooks above others that simply give you a wirebound pad of paper. These would be perfect for school or college.
A slight hint that these might actually be designed for students is the space to fill in your timetable, on the back of the personal details page. As an aside – I totally envy people who actually have a fixed timetable; mine varies every week! I’m using these notebooks to study a little over summer though, so I’m going to use the six rows to plan my study schedule for the holiday weeks. It’s nice that it includes weekends in the timetable too.
Above you can see the seriously awesome paper that everyone raves about – this is quality paper! Crisp, white, already perforated and punched to pull out and file away, with a pink margin (this isn’t exclusive to the pink notebook, they’ve all got it) for neatness. You get 140 sheets per notebook, which makes them around a centimetre thick – not too bulky, but enough paper to keep going for a while.
The reason people adore this paper? 90gsm, thick enough to write on in proper ink without show-through, bleeding or feathering. The notes above are in gel ink (I don’t own a fountain pen to test this stuff out with!) that usually has pretty bad issues with show through on normal paper. I’ve written on both sides of that sheet, and you can barely see a hint of a shadow of the text on the other side. Brilliant.
And a little bonus… Buy any three A4 or A5 promo Oxford Campus notebooks before October, and you can send off for a free superhero/stuntwoman t-shirt! I’m definitely doing this – bagsy that superhero shirt!
I seriously love these notebooks, think you could officially call me an Oxford Campus convert! It’s been pointed out to me that while the Sainsbury’s BOGOF deal is good (I got these two for around £3), Amazon tend to have multipacks of 5 or so of these notebooks for even less money per notebook (though not right now, rather inconveniently).
Are these notebooks your stationery superhero? Or is there something even better out there in the paper stakes? Let me know in the comments!
I love reading the Plannerisms blog, especially the posts on setting goals and planning to achieve them. My problem is figuring out how to actually fit them into my life. Being at university means living life on an academic year schedule, where my free time is somewhere around summer (I’d be more specific, but I have now been at uni for every single month of the year at some stage in the past few years!), and the rest of the year is a rollercoaster of placements and assignments and other things that mean “I want to achieve X by time Y” is a little bit harder to plan for than in a year-round job.
The general consensus is that a goal isn’t a goal without being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I say so long as it’s attainable and you can put a tick in a box when it’s recognisably done, it’s a goal. I often have goals that have very flexible end points, or no set time frame at all. If you have to put a goal to one side because uni has put you in a position where you can’t work on it, that’s fine, just come back to it when you can, if it’s still relevant then. Taking time out from that goal doesn’t mean failing to achieve it, it’s just refocusing your life on what’s important right now. And things like exams generally mean that everything else goes out the window – that diet you were on, that project you wanted to complete, that skincare routine you were gonna stick to; it just turns into days of eating cereal for dinner and leftover pasta for breakfast, doing nothing but laying in bed holding a textbook (revision by osmosis, honest) and occasionally swiping at your face with wipes and putting on sunnies to leave the house because your eyebrows have taken over your face. Or that might just be me…
I think people get hung up on meeting their goals and forget that they’re kind of arbitrary things that you set yourself, so if you want to change your mind and discard a goal then that’s fine. Just remember why you set it in the first place – if that’s still relevant to you, figure out where you can fit it into your life. Things like reading more books come a lot easier when you’re not tackling a uni reading list at the same time (and are so much more enjoyable on a sunbed with a jug of Pimms to hand), so save it for summer. If it’s not relevant any more, why continue?
It’s a good idea to reassess your long term goals and your progress towards them on a regular basis, and this is the one thing an academic calendar is good for – the end of term is perfect for looking at what you achieved, thinking over what went well and what didn’t, and how to improve on it next term or next year. It’s my end of term this week, so I’ll be looking over what I achieved this year and what I didn’t get round to, and drawing up my goals for next year and the rest of this ‘normal’ year (by which I mean 2013!). I’m definitely going to avoid scheduling other projects in exam season next year, and work on building up one of the weaker areas of my CV, and this time I do have a very fixed deadline because it’s out of my hands: job applications are coming up!
Did you have goals for the last academic year? How are you gonna change them for the next year?