Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Christmas Charity Shopping

I haven't blogged in awhile and that is mainly because of the amount of work I have had this term! As a break last week I decided to treat myself to some charity shopping and ended up buying nothing for myself but presents for everyone else instead! 
Some of the things I got are: 

- After dinner trivia : £2.50
- Radox bath soak : £1
- Family Frame : 2
- Card Games Book: 50p
Body shop set : £2 
- Friends Mug : £1
- Topman top : £3.50
- Star lip balms : £1 each
- Tartan scarf : 99p
- Wellie Soaps : 49p 
- Tags : 20p 
- Nail Varnish : Free

My Christmas shopping is almost done now and its only 6 weeks away! 

Monday, 30 September 2013


Its the dreaded word that no one wants to wants to hear at the end of September but with just 85 days to go its catching up with us- and fast! Christmas can be expensive and stressful but with a little preparation and starting earlier than usual it can be fun to hunt out the right gift for someone. There is lots of advice on the internet for getting through Christmas but it is mainly aimed at those organising for a whole family (I luckily wont be buying or cooking the food!) so this is a little bit of advice from a student to help you spend as little as possible!

Make a list 
Not just for yourself but for the people you want to buy gifts for. Look at the list and then think about who you really need to spend money on. Grandparents and aunties and uncles might be just as happy with a gift that you have handmade rather than something you've spent a lot of money on. Once you've cut the list down instead of thinking about how much you would like to spend on each person think about the limit. This stop you having a target to spend and you focus more on how much the present is actually worth.

Make the most of freebies
Freebies are everywhere if you look hard enough and although you know you haven't paid a penny for them no one else needs to! If you are a student freshers fair can give you lots of bits that someone else might like. This year ours gave out boxed Gillette razors which I wont be using but the males in my family might.

Charity shops
I can't talk about charity shops enough, they are the best for getting presents through out the year but especially at Christmas. Most shops have a section at the back of non clothing items where you can find some great things. I picked up a brand new guitar hero DS game for £2.50 for my cousin and lots of small things that can be added to other gifts. Also look for containers for other gifts such as flowers or biscuits you can make yourself. Its worth having a quick look at the clothes to see if you can spot anything someone would like!

Christmas is an amazing time of year and with a little bit of planning presents don't need to be stressful!

Monday, 16 September 2013


My new obsessions are Freegle and Freecyle and anything free! Its a great way to get rid of old things without hiring a skip or travelling down to the dump which helps in the environment too. We have got rid of all sorts of things such as cake making bits, wicker baskets, rugs, suitcases and even a roll of lino ripped up from the kitchen!

As well as giving stuff away you can also collect items that other people offer. If there is something in particular you are looking for you can request a 'wanted' and if someone has that item they can message you. I have picked up a few bits from Freegle including a DVD players, toe rings, craft books, a new pack of nappies and this sauce pump which will be a present for my friend for Christmas. I have told them they will all be getting something free!

To get the most from websites like these I have a few tips:
  • Check them regularly. When you sign up you will get lot of emails which you can opt out of but check them as often as you can, especially when you want something in particular. 
  • Ask for what you want! If you really want it then ask, there have been occasions when we have gone to throw away things because we thought no one wants them but then someone posts a wanted for that exact item!
  • Give and Take. On freegle you can see how many 'Offers' and how many 'Wanteds' someone has given. I am much more likely to make the effort to give someone something if they have made offers. You also might find you have something to give each other on collection!
  • Have a way to collect. It really helps if you have a car or someone who will take you to get things. If you are looking for something large like a sofa then make sure you have a van to pick it up in!
  • Be personal. When replying to someone be nice and explain why you would like the item. If I get more than one reply on something I am far more likely to give it to the person who started a conversation and showed they are going to put the item to good use.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

eBay advice

Although I haven't been blogging recently I have still been online using eBay to buy and sell different things. I've seen a few blogger posts about how to use eBay but they often have the same advice. A few people have asked me how I make money on eBay so I've decided to give a few tips as it has been so useful for me. When I have been really unwell and not able to work its good to be able to sell things and get a little bit of money to keep me going. Here is my advice!

Sell in season. Buy out of season
When it comes to selling try and think what people will be searching for on eBay. In summer most people want bikini's and shorts but in winter they want jeans and jumpers. If you have things to sell but it isn't the right season consider storing them for a few months so that when you do sell they do better. When it comes to buying the opposite applies, if you know exactly what you are looking for it can be better to look out of season. Look for jumpers in summer and you will find they are at a lower price and have less bidding competition.

Think beyond clothes
Many people only sell clothes on eBay but often other items do much better. Men's shoes sell much better than men's clothes and other items such as furniture and board games can do well too. If you are having a clear out it only takes a minute to have a quick search on eBay and find out if what you wan to sell is going to make you a profit.

Look out for things to sell
My own wardrobe ran out of things for me to sell a long time ago so now I have to find things that will make me some money. When people know that you sell on eBay often they give you things they are getting rid of for you to sell. Ask your parents/friends if they don't want anything that they cant be bothered to get rid of and try and a sell it. Anything that doesn't sell you can give to charity and see if they have better luck! I also look in charity shops and car boot sales for items that I think will be worth something. Car boot sales are better for this as often you can get clothes for 50p which means if you sell them for 99p you have at least made some profit.

Stock up on postage
Its good to always have a stockpile of envelopes and brown paper ready for if you need to post something quickly. If you buy these from the post office you will end up paying over the odds for the convenience. I usually get envelopes from Wilkinson which are around 50p for 10 and come in the right size to post as a large letter. Brown paper is also much cheaper out of the post office and is usual for wrapping big items like shoes.

Check post office prices
When I first started on eBay I used to make the mistake of packing everything up really small and into a square shape but after a few weeks of posting like this the lady at the post office told me they should be flat not small. I went home and looked into the prices and dimensions and learnt how to save money on postage. If you go into the post office now you can pick up a leaflet which explains it all. It's useful to know and understand postage so you can offer the right prices.

Right picture, right time
Getting the picture right on eBay is important as most people are very visual, let them know of any marks or stains and make sure the picture is accurate. Selling at the right time is important and most people know that selling on a Sunday evening is the best time. However if it isn't possible to sell on a Sunday most evenings are a good time to sell especially in winter. You can also plan a time for it to end for a small fee.

Make eBay work for you
For a lot of people eBay is long and boring but if you start to enjoy it then it can really work for you. Use the iPhone app to make it easy and convenient to list items and write interesting descriptions to capture peoples attention. The more you like listing the more you'll want to carry on!

I hope these tips help! Let me know of any others you have!

Saturday, 17 August 2013


If anyone was watching Kirstie Allsopps new series I'm sure you will have caught the upcycling bug! Its something I've always been curious about but never really had the chance to get stuck into. Over summer I had a couple of projects (that explains the sunshine in the pictures!) so I thought I would share what I've been up to.

This wooden table on wheels originally held my towels and books on it but I needed something in my room for the TV. I hated the colour and it didn't go in the room but instead of throwing it away and spending money I thought I would have a go at updating it.

We had a tub of white paint in the shed and some sandpaper so I gave it a sand down and a few coats of the paint. As the weather was warm it dried quickly and by the end of the day it went back in the room! It now fits in much better with the room and I didn't have to spend any money on new furniture!

This table was a find from a skip that I spotted walking to my friends house. We could see the chairs and I ended up knocking on the door and squeezing it all into the car! It was a horrible brown colour similar to the table above! We sanded it all down and gave it a couple of coats of 'Milky Coffee' paint from Wilkinsons durable range. Mum did originally have a table in the dining room but it was big and took up alot of the room so we sold it on eBay and replaced it with this. So not only did we make money we got a new table for the cost of a few hours and a tin of paint!

Baby Shower present for around £20!

This October my lovely cousin is due to give birth to a beautiful baby boy named Logan. We are planning a baby shower at the end of August which is a great excuse to spoil her with presents! This is what I have come up with, all for around £20!

This is the box I have used, It was a wooden box that came from a crate of wine my Dad received for Christmas. Its a good idea to keep things like this they can be very useful! I bought two tester pots of paint from Homebase in different colour blues and gave the box a couple of coats. I then printed off some stencils and used these to write Logan on the front in the darker blue. 

The baby journal was the first thing I bought and the most expensive, this was £5. The frame was in a box of items for 10p from the car boot sale. Its new and goes well with the blue theme!

The two bottles of little angels wash were from Asda for £1.50 for the two. The rest of the bits were from poundland. They had a big range of baby items and they were all lovely and well worth a look!

These leather frog shoes were new from the car boot sale for £2, the M&Co socks and bear slippers were 50p each also from the car boot sale and the blue tractor socks were £1 from Poundland. 

All these clothes were picked up at either the car boot sale or a charity shop. The whole lot came to £8.80 which is less than the original cost of the cord trousers from next which I picked up for £1 with the tags still on! Car boot sales are brilliant for picking up baby items as most babies will only wear them once and then grow out of them. Many mums get given so many gifts the baby never wears them which means they will be selling items that are brand new! Car boot sales are better for clothing presents than eBay as you can pick up the item you want to buy and check it before you make a decision. There is also no postage few and most of the time the prices are much lower! 

These bits were made from an old top and dress that I was planning to throw away. The snake has bubble wrap inside to make it rustle when it moves! Its important when you are making things like this for a baby to make sure there are no loose bits for the baby to choke on. The frames were 10p for the three from the car boot sale which I painted in the same colours as the box and plan to put in pictures of my cousin, her finance and son (Logans big brother!) 

These two came from ideas I saw on pinterest! The scrabble pieces were from an old game of scrabble and the other one I used some blue buttons to make the letter L. 

This final present was £1 from the car boot sale. It needed alot of love, lots of washing and I even shaved part of it to remove the bobbly bits! I am really happy with how it has come out! 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


This month has been an incredible month for me and I haven't really taken the chance to write about it as I've been so busy! The first thing to happen (and I've cheated abit as it wasn't in June!) was the Bupa 10K my dad and I completed for Crohns and Colitis UK. I booked this run in January only a couple of months after I came out of hospital as a challenge for me to get better by and it definitely worked! Although my time wasn't great I didn't realise how long the race would actually feel and how tired it would make me. Coming past the finish line and seeing my friends waiting there was amazing and I'm so happy they wanted to come and support us. We managed to raise around £300, with £100 coming from my lovely grandparents and their friends. I'm so proud to have achieved this and surprised at how much my body can still actually do! 


Before my trip I decided to hold a party to say bye to everyone and also just because its a great excuse to have a party! We had a 90's theme as I love the music from the 90's and wanted a chance to make a playlist of all my favourite songs. My friend Izz made a quiz which was so much fun and we had a brilliant night. I also found out just before going away that my Crohn's is finally in remission! I'm so happy that my nurse has managed to find the right medication for me and I think that all the exercise and keeping healthy has played a big part in getting back to normal again!


The next and main thing from this month was travelling Europe with Lisa for 3 weeks! As you might have seen from my last posts we have been to 11 cities in 22 days and it was amazing! It went past so quickly but we had the best time, my favourite country was Vienna where we went on the worlds tallest swing ride and then into a music festival where Maximo Park were playing the next day! I've never had so much fun and I'm so glad I got to spend it with Lisa. Its encouraged both of us to keep going and do so many more things now we know we can do anything! 


Just a few days after getting back I had my driving test! This was my third test, but 1st with my new instructor (who happens to be one of my dads friends which helped!) and I passed! It was the best I have ever driven and I only got 2 minors! This week I will be getting mums car as shes getting a new one and I cant wait to be driving around and not relying on everyone else! 

The final part of my big month happened a few hours after my driving test, I had an interview for a job with the NHS and I got it! This will be so handy as I already spend enough time at the hospital so now I might even work there. This is a picture of my outfit and also the first time I have worn a pencil skirt, I think I might be converted!