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Saving Money

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I love saving money. I don’t know what it is; I’m like a squirrel with nuts when it comes to collecting coins and paper notes. I just like to accumulate money, know it’s there and put it away for a rainy day. Not even a rainy day – I just like to know I’ve got a float, a back up plan, a safe haven in case I ever need it. Savvy? (I’ve been binge-watching Pirates of the Caribbean lately).

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I guess I’m addicted to saving money. It makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together. It makes me feel more independent. It makes me feel secure. 

Admittedly, saving money isn’t easy. Not if you’re a student and you don’t have a permanent job; you’re just hustling and doing what you do best to make ends meet. But, it’s so rewarding to know that if you just make little sacrifices here and there, do some wheeling and dealing (selling on eBay, gumtree, sponsored posts on my blog here and there and collaborations etc.) then you can watch your money accumulate. And you did it all by yourself. It’s such a wonderful feeling.

The temptation is always there though. The money could be spent on so many other things, and you never know what tomorrow might bring, so shouldn’t you just spend what you’ve got and live in the moment? I don’t know. That attitude isn’t for me anyway. I like having a back up, a little stability and something that’s mine and mine alone. 

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I’ve always tried to keep track of my income, outgoings and spending habits by recording bits and pieces on my notes in my phone, in my diary, throughout various different notebooks… and it can get a little messy and indecipherable. So, when I found this little beauty on Busy B I knew it was just what I needed in my life. I can keep track of absolutely everything, all in the one place, and I can dedicate this one book to my saving habits. I can keep it all in the one place and check it regularly. It’s exactly what a girl like me has been needing in her life for a long time. I feel like I’m really on top of things now that I’ve started using this terrific wee treasure!

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I love that it has handy pockets for you to pop your receipts in and keep track of them too. I’m going to be using it to keep all of my travel, lunch, cinema and day out receipts so that I can see what I spent at the end of every month. It has different sections for what you’re spending for leisure, what’s coming in, what’s going out, what you’re left with at the end of the month; it’s got sections to plan your expenditure  at Christmas, on holidays, on birthdays and so on and so forth. It doesn’t miss out anything. I’m definitely going to start tracking everything in my life money-wise so that I can see where I can be cutting back and saving more monthly. There’s nothing better than having a dedicated budget book to help you stay on top of your finances.

In 2018, I aim to put by a lot of money and save as much as I possibly can whilst maintaining a comfortable lifestyle and not depriving myself too much. Having a budget book is just one way to keep on top of it all. There are other ways to save money too! Get yourself one of those ‘piggy banks’ that you can only open once you’ve smashed it. Pop notes and stuff in there, go crazy, it all mounts up! And the fact that you can’t see how much is in it until you’re ready to smash it helps to obliterate the temptation. Don’t leave all of your money in your bank account, it’s too easy to access (especially when it comes to online shopping), try to lift it out and put it away somewhere and forget about it. Or put it in a saving account that isn’t easy to access. Or join a money saving programme/group such as the Credit Union. Have a shimmy and see what is nearby you – and always ask around or do your research beforehand to make sure they’re reliable. 

Oh I could go on forever and a day talking about saving your pennies, I just get such a buzz out of it, and I’m definitely going to do a whole lot more of it in 2018. Get yourself a wee budget book, or make a bullet journal and start documenting your expenditure, it’ll really help you. Trust me. Oh, and it motivates you more too!

Charlene McElhinney

*The budget book featured in this blog post was sent out to me from Busy B in exchange for a review – all content, opinions & thoughts are my own*

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Goals for 2018

Hey darlings, it’s the end of an era, 2017 is being left behind & 2018 is upon us. I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a blog post sharing some of my 2018 goals with you. I’ve already written myself a letter rhyming off my goals (which I shall open this time next year to see if I’ve achieved) but I thought it’d be handy to write up this post so that I can try and stay on track and reflect on my goals regularly.

Of course some of my goals will be personal, so I won’t share them all with you, but here’s some of them anyway; I’m just going to do this post in the same layout as my previous two. When you’re doing a post like this I find it most accessible in list form…

  • Start a dance class, or attend some sort of dancing group, and reignite my love of dancing again that I had when I was a wee girl.
  • Read at least 25 books.
  • Add another £1,500 to my savings.
  • Sell at least another 50 copies of my book.
  • Start working on my second book(!)
  • Forget about diet culture and pressure to lose weight – instead focus on learning and embracing body positivity and body acceptance.
  • Hit 8k Twitter followers.
  • Hit 3k Instagram followers.
  • Hit 1k YouTube subscribers.
  • Start doing singing videos again on social media, perhaps do a gig or attend an open mic night.
  • Complete at least one sponsored post a month.
  • Wear clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear and embrace a new style; perhaps feature some more fashion-like posts on my blog.
  • Go on at least 4 trips away – breaks/holidays/getaways etc.
  • Blog regularly. At least once a week. Or once every 2 weeks.
  • Make more time for self-care!!

Ok these are just a handful… a large handful, I’ll give you that, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself (or you guys, for that matter). I have more goals I want to stick out in 2018 but I won’t share them all with you. Some are best kept to myself – just incase I don’t see them through hehe, I’m kidding! Happy new year when it comes sweethearts! Thank you for all of the love & support in 2017 ❤

CHARLENE MCELHINNEY

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Achievements in 2017

I’ve had a good year, despite my bad mental health & individual incidents that occurred from time to time, it’s been a fruitful, busy and momentous year. I wanted to share some of my achievements here on my blog for you guys – but also for me! I want to look back and reflect on the things I achieved and not let the moments slip away. I’m just going to rhyme off my achievements in list form, a bit like my last post, so it’s easy reading for you guys. Please feel free to pop me a message or request a longer post on anything I mention as this is going to be brief! 

  • I published my first book – Melancholy Mind
  • I featured on BBC Radio Scotland, twice!
  • I was a finalist in the Miss Glasgow beauty pageant  
  • I started my first year of university at the university of Strathclyde
  • I became the lifestyle editor of the Strathclyde Telegraph
  • I graduated college (and bagged myself an A in my graded unit)
  • I’ve worked with some fabulous brands through my blog
  • I featured in the newspaper 4 times throughout the year – various papers!
  • The community I created (#beechat) trended twice on twitter, worldwide
  • I organised my own 21st party and had a tremendous turn out
  • I saved a heck of a lot of money in 2017 & plan to do the same this year
  • I uploaded my first ever ‘dancing’ video and hope to pursue this in 2018
  • I gained lots of followers on Twitter & Instagram. I hadn’t actually set a goal but I know if I did I would have surpassed it because I’m overwhelmed at the numbers I’ve gained this year
  • I’ve had some good paid opportunities this year through my blog and hope to continue this in 2018
  • I’ve been invited to some great blogger events

& probably more!

It’s been such a weird and wonderful year; I just kept surprising myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone more and more and more… and look what I’ve achieved! I’m definitely giving myself a pat on the back upon this reflection because never, did I ever think, that I was capable of achieving so much. And I couldn’t have done it without the support & encouragement from you guys. So thank you all so so so so much.

Love

Charlene McElhinney

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What I got for Christmas (2017)

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I’ve seen a lot of ‘What I got for Christmas’ posts floating around and I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and write one too. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank my blogger friends who sent me out gifts: Zoe Jackson, Abbey Ellis, Sarah Dickinson, Kat Wilson, Helen and Holly. 

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One of my favourite gifts was a drawing of my beautiful fur baby, Milo, by the lovely Zoe Jackson. You should 100% check out her new etsy store and commission her for something like this in the future because this is otherworldly. When I opened this present I nearly burst in to tears. I couldn’t believe it – the raw talent from Zoe is exceptional and you should definitely go and visit her etsy store. Thank you so much chick! 

My other blogger friends spoiled me so much too, Sarah sent me out a huge box of goodies containing a glitter eyes highlight palette (which i’ve wanted for AGES) and Urban Decay eyeshadows, sweeties, blogger prints & bumble bee related things. Amazing! I was so overwhelmed at her generosity! My other friends all sent me out cat related things, and stationery bits and bobs, and all of the things I love. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

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I think what I’ll do now is just write up a list format of what I got for Christmas overall for you all to shimmy through and I’ll upload a few photos zoomed in a little so you can browse through my bundle of goodies. I just want to say, by the way, I am by no means bragging or trying to shove what I got in people’s faces. I like the idea of sharing what I got with you all, I’m extremely grateful for everything, and it’ll be good to look back next year and see what I got. So, without further ado…

  • I received a very generous amount of money from my boyfriend and my parents. They find it difficult to know what to get me so they tend to give me money – and they know how much I love saving!
  • x2 pairs of nike running trainers – purple & grey
  • Victoria Secrets body sprays & shower gels
  • Armani Diamonds (new edition) perfume
  • Estee lauder original perfume
  •  Estee Lauder huge haul of make up with beautiful red brief case
  • No7 make up brush set & eyeshadows
  • Glitter Eyes highlight (unicorn) palette
  • x3 books
  • bath bits and bobs – various brands.
  • Queen bee money saving tin
  • River Island handbag
  • St Tropez tanning kit
  • Lots of chocolate!
  • Blogger prints & badges
  • Heeled black boots
  • Notebooks, stickers & lots of stationery
  • Cosy socks
  • A letter storage thingy-ma-bobber (I love it SO much)

& so much more! 

I was well & truly spoiled this year and I am super appreciative of everything I received and every Christmas card that came through my door this year too. I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas day and got some nice things too. Let me know what your favourite items I received were in the comments below! 

Love

Charlene McElhinney

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#JoinIn on Christmas Day

 

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Christmas isn’t a joyful time for everyone. Many people feel alone and/or miserable during the festive season for a variety of reasons; even those surrounded by family and friends can feel totally bemused inside and yet put on a party hat and go along with the festivities for other people’s sake. I just wanted to write this post because over the past few years I have fell out of love with Christmas and I find it an extremely difficult time of the year. I can’t wait for it all to be over. And I’m not alone.

Many people feel like this on Christmas day and I just want you all to know that there’s a safe space for us all to come together. There are many safe spaces and I want you all to familiarize yourself with them in case you feel like you need them. They are available to anyone who feels lonely, vulnerable, miserable, deflated or just needs a little pick me up or chat. We’re all here for you.

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The hashtag #JoinIn was created by a woman called Sarah Millican who wanted to come up with something for us all to connect and come together when we are feeling alone on Christmas Day and I believe it is now used worldwide on other occasions too for the same reasons. It’s a great idea. Many of us find solace in strangers and it’s much easier to reach out to someone you don’t know than a bunch of family members sitting round a table judging you, scrutinizing you, waiting to pounce. Ok maybe not but that’s how it feels. Many of us find it easier to confide in others on the internet because there is no face-to-face communication and it’s easier to be open and honest when we aren’t intimidated. We have the ability to say what we want and the time and the space to say it. It’s a great thing. I love the twitter community for advice, encouragement and words of wisdom and the #JoinIn hashtag is definitely something I want to get involved in this year. I’ve never been involved in it before but for the past few Christmas’ I have felt completely and utterly alone. I will definitely be #JoiningIn this Christmas via Twitter. And you should too. Even just to pop by and say hello to others who are feeling aloof from all of the festivities and Christmas commotion.

Of course there are other outlets to reach out to if chatting on twitter isn’t your thing. There is always the Samaritans who are available to you 24/7 all year round. Yep, even on Christmas day, they are absolute angels. They are wonderful. You can call them on 116123 at any time and someone will be on the other end waiting to listen to you and talk to you and help you in whatever way they can. I have phoned the Samaritans before – not on Christmas day, right enough – but they were absolutely fantastic and it’s great to know they are always there. You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org and someone will be at the other end waiting for you this way too.

If you want to, you can reach out to me. You can hit me up on any of my social media platforms and I’ll have a chat with you. I promise you’re not alone. If you’re not enjoying Christmas, if you can’t wait for it to be over, that is perfectly OK. We’re here for you. I’m here for you. There are other people in the same boat. Let us in and let us help you. Don’t feel miserable alone; let us feel miserable with you.

I hope you all have a safe, content and enjoyable Christmas day and festive season in general. Always look after yourself. Put yourself first. Make time for self-care. If you need to go to your room for a bit, or have a bath, get away from it all – do it. If you want to sit on your phone in company, and #JoinIn or text your friends to take your mind away from it all, do it. And don’t feel bad. You’re perfectly entitled to. It’s your Christmas too.

All my love,

Charlene McElhinney

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If I were to do blogmas again – Blogmas Day 22

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If I were to do blogmas again, I’d probably do it all differently, in saying that I’m proud of the content I’ve created and I’m so glad I have stuck to the religious daily posting every day in December. I didn’t think I was capable. 

There are things I wish I had done beforehand before committing myself to posting every day on my blog. I wish I’d planned ahead. I didn’t actually know I was going to join in on  blogmas until very last minute so I guess the planning was out of the question by then. I do wish I knew – at least – what I was going to be posting on certain days. Some days I felt like I’d hit a brick wall and I didn’t know what to post at all.

Also, my content wasn’t particularly ‘Christmas related’ which is what blogmas is stereotypically all about. I guess I’m not a big fan of X-mas anymore and I found it hard to write posts celebrating the festive season because of this. I don’t know. So instead I kept it relevant to what was going through my head at the time of sitting down to actually write the post. I shared some poetry with you guys, quite a lot actually, and it was a good challenge for me. I opened up to you all a wee bit about why I don’t like Christmas (you can read that here if you want). I tried my best to rack my brains to come up with content even when my head was blank. The daily posting wasn’t easy. Especially at this time of year when I tend to fall in to a slump but I did it. Well, up until now anyway, let’s not jinx things.

Majority of bloggers that participate in blogmas always plan ahead, schedule content, promote the shit out of their blogmas posts and all of that jazz. Me? I just made sure I wrote something and got it out there. I just hoped people would read what I was writing. I just wanted to make sure I was posting daily and sticking to the rules of blogmas. And I did it. Woohoo. 

I salute each and every one of you who stuck out blogmas because it certainly ain’t a walk in the park. I take my hat off to those of you who daily blog on a regular basis! How do you do it? It’s been fun, eye-opening and challenging but it’s been good. I think good is as far as I’d go with it though. Will I do it again next year? I’m not so sure. Time will tell.

Anyway, 

until tomorrow,

Charlene McElhinney

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An open letter to the blogging community – Blogmas Day 21

An open letter to the blogging community,

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without being cheesy, you guys have saved me and perked me up on many occasions, genuinely. I don’t know where I’d be without you all.

I remember I had been blogging for nearly a year before I discovered the blogging community on twitter. Never did I ever think there was a huge community out there of like-minded individuals who would endlessly support and encourage me. Who would go out of their way to read my content, share it and even go as far as to buy copies of my book and review it. No words. There are no words to express my gratitude and appreciation for you all.

Whenever I am having a down day, all I have to do is tweet, and you’re all there for me. With great big virtual open arms. You’re all there. I’ve met some real life pals from blogging, from twitter, some bloody real friends who I cherish and appreciate so damn much. Friends who I’ve yet to meet; friends whom I’ve met. It’s all so wonderful.

Every day when I wake up the first thing I do is go on twitter. I can’t wait to check up on how my twitter friends are doing, see what they’ve been tagging me in and engage in some chat with them all. I love to see the small businesses I follow booming and flourishing. I love to see my friends promoting their blogs and gaining engagement, comments and likes. I love to see their new profile pictures, hear their good news, pick them up when they are down. It’s all part of the package. We celebrate one another’s success and we lift one another up in time of need. At all times really.

It’s such a supportive, encouraging, uplifting and admirable community. A strong one. It get’s a lot of stick for being bitchy and drama-provoking but honestly, there’s drama everywhere. Work? Always. In families? Of course. Facebook? I’d say is even worse. The twitter community, in particular the blogging community, is one of the safest spaces there is. I’d turn to twitter before I’d turn to someone in real life. I’d seek advice from my twitter pals before seeking advice elsewhere. I trust you all. I appreciate you all. I’m here for you all.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve got so much more to say but now isn’t the best time for me to say it so please keep an eye out for a part 2 of this little open letter. You’re all amazing. Don’t forget it. x

Love,

Charlene McElhinney

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