The Simple Life

I’ve done a lot this year to try and live a more simple life. I’ve cleaned my house of possessions that weren’t being used. I let go of books I kept around but never read, I uploaded all my cds to my laptop. I cleaned out my wardrobe and am currently undertaking Project 333.

I also want to start simplifying my hair care and skin care.

In April of this year I decided to stop using products to wash my hair. I hate washing my hair – I hate all those wet strands of hair that get stuck to you. So I stopped washing it with product and started to only wash it with water )which I had read up on here). I purchased a new wide-tooth comb and a new brush to compliment the brush I already had. The brush is a boar-bristle brush which is used to help distribute the oil from your scalp down to the ends of your hair on your non-washing days. It’s a long process which is why I don’t always do it daily but it makes a difference. I did notice that my scalp started flaking a bit and that is probably due to the temperature of the water I use. I made a mix of castille soap, lavender oil, olive oil, rosemary oil, teatree oil, vegetable glycerine (from a recipe I found here) and now use that to wash my hair. I’ve found that my hair is not falling out as much as it used to, the oiliness takes longer to appear, my scalp is better and my hair has more volume to it. Overall I’m pretty happy with the results and I think I’ll start alternating washing with water and washing with the concoction I’ve developed.

In terms of skin care I’ve had skin issues since I can remember. Over the years I’ve tried cleansers, different ingredients in cleansers, pills, prescription topical lotions, proactive, oil-cleansing method, natural products only and my most recent foray, accutane. I started accutane in September 2016 and my course lasted until December of the same year. My dermatologist was worried about my liver on the drug so I stopped taking it. In terms of clearing my skin it did help but after a few months the issues came back – not as obvious but still there.

My general skin care since accutane comprises of 3 cleaners, a mist toner and 3 moisturisers. Generally the combination of those products works quite well but I still have issues and at 31, I don’t want them anymore.

I had a bit of an epiphany one night when I thought “well, if I can wash my hair with only water, I wonder if I can do the same with my face” and that next morning I started researching it. It’s called the caveman regime and from what I’ve read the extreme is not using any sort of products at all, not even water on your face. That’s far too extreme for me because a) I wear sunscreen everyday, b) I want to be able to wash it off and c) I want to wear make up sometimes.

So I’ve done my own thing. For the first week I only cleansed my skin at night time. I used a natural sunscreen every day. It was a little bit uncomfortable at times because it feels dry and tight but I hadn’t noticed much difference other than my skin is much drier during the day.

This past week I’ve added more moisturiser to my routine as well as exfoliation. I discovered that I have dry skin and not oily as I’ve been told all my life and I do not like the dryness.  It was getting to the really uncomfortable stage and I didn’t like the dead skin hence the exfoliation. My skin looks better but I have broken out a little bit. The truth is these blemishes are lasting nowhere near as long as they did probably because I now leave them alone.

I’m going to keep at this, but tweak it as I see fit. Skin is so unique and changes so it’s important to change what you do to it.

Project 333 Update

I started Project 333 last week and have found it to be fairly easy during the work week. As mentioned in the previous post, I already have a work uniform that I adhere to, made up by me so I ensured that those items were part of my 33 items. The weekend was a little different. I longed to wear items that I haven’t worn in a long time. Items that I wouldn’t have even thought of wearing and only did because I’ve restricted myself. I think that’s the issue with these types of experiments – you don’t want things when they’re available but the second you can’t have them it’s all you want and all you think about.

I only went through a few items. I wore 3 different types of outerwear, 3 tops and one bottom. I wore 3 different types of shoes and no dresses. It’s been easy so far but one thing I realised is that I have to really be on top of washing my clothes as soon as I’m done wearing them. Being in Melbourne it rains every second day so I do tend to dry things on an indoor clothes horse and depending on the item it can take 2-3 days to completely dry but I’m sure as long as I keep on top of that, things should be fine.

I was thinking it will be interesting because when I decided to do this challenge, I don’t think I had planned to go on a holiday to the Sunshine State (QLD, Australia) where it’s usually quite warm. I don’t generally wear dresses without stockings and a jumper/jacket/cardigan but I think I’ll have to during this trip if I want to stick to the Project 333. I still have 2 items to choose so perhaps I’ll make that decision before my trip or alternatively, I may have to swap out some items for this specific trip. The problem with either of those options is that I only have one option for summer bottoms and they are the pair of shorts I already have included in my list so I’d have to go buy something else. But the point of this challenge for me was to help me work out whether I have a well rounded wardrobe so if I feel I’m missing a key summer piece or two then I’m more than happy to purchase something that fits my style.

Project 333

A few months ago I wrote a post about Project 333 where you wear 33 items for 3 months. I finally decided to take part from October – December. I will wear only 33 items (excluding underwear, socks/stockings and gym gear) for the 3 month duration. The exception being that I have an engagement party and a Christmas party to attend so I will wear items that are not part of the Project 333 and will come from my wider wardrobe. I’m looking forward to it. Initially I thought it’d be easy but October through to December in Melbourne, Australia encompasses such a wide range of temperatures and weather types that I’ll need to make sure that the items I’m choosing are practical and can be layered.

Here are the items I have chosen for the experiment.

Bottoms

  • Black Cotton On jeans
  • Stone Cotton On jeans
  • Black Asos skirt
  • Blue Jeans West shorts

Tops

  • Black Decjuba semi-sheer shirt
  • Black and white Katies short sleeve top
  • Black and white Portmans long sleeve top
  • Black and white Only long sleeve blouse
  • Black, grey and white Wayne Cooper short sleeve top
  • Cotton On black long sleeve top
  • Cotton On black singlet
  • Cotton On black t-shirt

Shoes

  • Burgundy Wittner ballet flats
  • Black Innovare heeled boots
  • Black Rollie flats
  • Tan Wittner boots
  • Berry Haviana thongs
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Wittner flats, Innovare heeled boots, Rollie flats, Wittner boots, Haviana thongs

Outerwear

  • Black Seed jumper
  • White Staff by Maff jumper
  • Blue H&M jumper
  • Black Cue jumper
  • Navy, blush and white Temp jumper
  • Grey Zara knit
  • Black and white Staff by Maff cardigan
  • Black Target faux leather jacket
  • Grey Cotton On cardigan

Dresses

  • Black ASOS long sleeve dress
  • Patterned Witchery dress
  • Black ASOS sleeveless dress
  • Black and white Kmart dress
  • Black Atmos&Here zip dress

I don’t quite have 33 items. I have 31. But I’m going to stick with the 31 to start with. I’m going to allow myself to add 2 more items during the time frame if I choose to. I don’t feel like I will need to but we will see.  I may add some other bottoms as the weather gets warmer but I’m very happy with my choices. I already have a self-appointed wardrobe for work so I’m actually giving myself a bit more to play with now.

I’m on day 3 so far and it’s been fairly easy. Day 1 was spent in pj’s as it was a Sunday and yesterday I wore my Rollies, black jeans, black long sleeve top and the Zara knit. Today I’m wearing Rollies, black jeans, Decjuba shirt and Seed jumper.

Only 89 days to go!

August Intentional Spending – Wrap Up

When I started writing this post, I thought I had massively overspent in August but looking at the numbers, my budgeted expenses weren’t too far off. I did overspend a lot on extra things but again, it wasn’t too bad considering some of it were bills that I didn’t know were due.

Here’s how I went for August.

  • Train ticket for surgeon appointment number 1 – $6.00
    Train ticket was exactly $6.00
  • Train ticket for surgeon appointment number 2 – $6.00
    Again, exactly $6.00
  • Rates Payment – $1432.00
    Paid off the rates in total which was $1432.00
  • Body Corporate bill – $350.00 (I’m not sure if this is actually coming but I haven’t paid one in a while so I’m anticipating it’s arrival)
    It arrived and it is due in October. I still paid it off this month because there is just no point waiting until next month – $345.75
  • Father’s Day gift – $50.00
    We got my dad a really nice bottle of whiskey which was $100 so my portion was $50.00
  • Nephew’s birthday present – $50.00
    I bought him another book which was $18.00
  • Beautiful You course repayment – $396.00
    Payment was exactly $396.00
  • Dinner out as a last hurrah – $150.00
    Dinner ended up being $220.00 between 4 of us. I ended up paying the whole bill with the other couple sending their half to my fiance. I let him keep it seeing as normally our friends send me their share when my fiance pays.

This is my list of additional purchases.

  • Black loafers/shoes for work – up to $150
  • A new water bottle that tallies how many bottles have been drunk, is BPA free and made of glass – $50
  • Single serve bowls that can be microwaved x 4 – up to $50
  • iPod – $219 (new item)

Again, I didn’t purchase anything off my additional purchases list but I did purchase a whole bunch of other stuff. I was very bored whilst at home and my recovery was so much better than I anticipated so buying things was a bit of a distraction. Here is how I overspent this month.

  • Credit Card Annual Fee – $100.00
    I didn’t even know I had an annual fee on my card so I’ve recorded it for next year
  • ASOS – $124.00
    I bought a few dresses on ASOS because I want to start wearing them more. They’re pretty plain but they do the job. I am returning one so I’ll get that money back shortly
  • Diffusers – $29.90
    My fiance and I decided that we wanted a couple more diffusers for our house. We have one in the laundry and one in the bathroom upstairs so we decided to add one in the lounge room and one in the kitchen
  • Zoo Trip – $72.00
    I wanted to go to the Zoo during my recovery period as I haven’t been in a couple of years so we went a couple of weeks ago
  • Vistaprint – $32.93
    My fiance and I realised that our wedding is now 12 months away and we hadn’t yet ordered any save the date cards so we ordered some to send out
  • Accor Discount Accommodation – $149.00
    I was given a discount for some accommodation to use at an Accor hotel so I took the opportunity and purchased it. This is good as we are planning to go to QLD in November so we’ll be able to use these two nights whilst we are there
  • Haircut – $25.00
    I was so overdue for a haircut. It’s been literally 2 years since my last haircut and it was so manky with it’s split ends
  • St Vinnies – $27.00
    I went op shopping as I was really bored at home and bought 3 tops, 2 books and 2 dvds. Overall I was really happy with my haul
  • RACV Roadside Assist fee – $99.75
    My bill came this month for my roadside assist. I haven’t used it in 8 years but I’m sure the second I don’t have it I will need it
  • Catch up lunch with friends – $70.00
    I paid for myself and for my fiance. For a meal that was just pancakes and a milkshake on my end, it was a really expensive lunch. Note to self – when splitting bills, order the same amount of food as everyone else!
  • iHerb order – $52.55
    I’ve decided I want to make my own hair care so I needed to buy a bunch of oils and ingredients in order to do it. I’ll be doing a post soon on how it all goes

I was able to claim back a fair bit of money from my surgery. I got back about $1300 from Medicare and another $400 from my private health insurance. I’m still waiting for my claim for the anesthetist to be processed so I can get some money back on that and then also claim it on my health insurance. With this money I actually made a voluntary repayment on my HECS debt but as would have it with government websites, I’m still waiting to see if it actually worked. I also did my tax refund which I was notified that I would be getting back shortly so that’s good news.

You’ll notice that I don’t include many items that other people would. I don’t include my phone bill, netflix payments, monthly donations, groceries or petrol expenses. This is because the bills and donations don’t vary from month to month and the groceries and petrol are things I don’t really have a budget for – if I need them I get them so I figured it’d be difficult to stick to a budgeted cost when I don’t actually have a budget for those things. I’m also going to stop including the Beautiful You course repayments because they will remain the same for the next 10 months.

Again, I know it looks like a lot of money and it is but as I’ve said previously, I still put away a portion of my pay to save for future bills and so if I can pay the whole lot out of my monthly pay without transferring the savings over, it means I’m actually saving a lot more than I planned. So I’m actually really quite happy with the amount I’ve spent.

Budget Spend – $2440.00
Actual Spend – $2526.30
Extra Spend – $729.58

 

 

Spring Clean Your Life

With Spring in season, it’s easy to get lost in cleaning the physical parts of your life. There’s lots of decluttering and changes to be made. But it’s also a good idea to spring clean your life. Clean your life of all the things that feel like a weight on your shoulders.

Toxic Relationships

We all have people in our lives that bring little value and little joy. Those people who no matter how much we give, are selfish and can’t seem to get out of their own heads. It’s ok that they’re like that but if they cause you stress and you feel it’s a duty to hang out with them, it’s ok to let them go. There’s nothing wrong with letting a friendship fade out. There’s no need for a big stand off, unless there are some deeper issues that you want to clarify. But what’s important is that most people who are toxic will very rarely admit they have any fault so whilst it might seem like a good idea to have a confrontation, most of the time it won’t achieve anything.

Baggage

Spring is a good time to deal with any of your emotional/mental issues. Whether it’s seeking out someone to speak to or working through it on your own, it’s a good time to deal with those issues head on and work out ways to either resolve them or come up with solutions to help you accept them and move on.

Debts

Time to get your debts under control. There are so many resources available for free to help you get debt under control. Whilst it’d be great to be able to make a grand gesture in ridding yourself of debt, even starting with an extra $20 a month of repayments will help you get there faster. Look at your budget and if you don’t have one create one. Track your expenses and see if/where you can skimp and put more money into your debts.

Finances

As with the above, start saving if you haven’t already. Again start with $20 a month if you need to. Most work places will have the capability to pay you into a couple of bank accounts so set yourself up to have x amount sent straight to a savings account, that way you won’t even miss it and you’ll be saving without really trying.

Digital Detox

Go through your social media and emails. Unsubscribe or unfollow anything that no longer interests you. These could be newsletter subscriptions, blogs you don’t read or even people. Go through your email inbox and delete anything you don’t need anymore or file away the important stuff. Then go through your folders and do the same. If you have multiple email accounts, think about whether you really need all of them.

Health

Focus on your health. Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you feeling lethargic? Do you need help to gain control over your health? Again, there are a number of free resources available to help you in any aspect. Use this time to find yourself a good doctor – I can’t begin to tell you how invaluable a good doctor is. Find yourself a dietitian or nutritionist if you need someone to help you wade through the multitude of information available. If you don’t already, start finding ways to practice self care however you see best.

It doesn’t actually matter when you start doing these things, it’s important that you start.

Wardrobe Clean Out

Part of my goals for September was to clean out my wardrobe. It was also something I’ve been putting off doing for a very long time because I didn’t want to admit to myself how much I was holding on to that I either didn’t use or didn’t fit me anymore. Whilst I’m now happy to admit that I’ve put on weight and no longer weigh what I did 5 years ago, somehow admitting that most of the clothing that I love didn’t fit me anymore was just too much. And to be honest, it still is. I haven’t gotten rid of much – what I did instead was store those items in tubs and put them in the storage space under the stairs. I’ve given myself until the end of the year to either fit into those clothes again and keep them, or to sell/donate them.

It’s really hard because most of the items I’ve put away have some sort of sentimental value to them. There’s the Dizingof coat that I bought when I got my very first full time job. There’s the Alannah Hill dress that I wore to every wedding I was invited to for about 2 years. There’s the leather jacket my parents bought me for my 17th birthday, a jacket that they knew I wanted but couldn’t afford and yet they bought it for me even though they themselves couldn’t really afford the splurge. It’s these things that keep me holding on. Plus the idea that I could potentially fit into them again!

Anyway over the weekend I gave myself the task of cleaning and organising my wardrobe and it took a lot less time than I expected. I imagine it’s because I cleaned it out only a few months ago and was pretty ruthless with it so it makes sense this time round it was a lot easier.

Here are some photos of my progress.

Before. The empty cube up the top held towels which were moved to the bathroom a couple of weeks ago.

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This is just the hanging stuff in my wardrobe. I own a lot of dresses and skirts for someone who doesn’t really wear them all that often

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The items that are going to be stored under the stairs for the time being

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The items that are being thrown out because they aren’t in a condition to be donated or sold

After. And I still have the spare cube!

Overall it only took me about an hour and a half. And it’s made a heap of difference. I can clearly see what I own and what I have which will make it easier to choose clothing quickly. The only thing I want to do now is buy a few more wooden hangers, for tops and to hang pants so I can hang my jeans up as well.

 

A New Season

With September starting tomorrow and with my surgery recovery being much quicker than anticipated, I want to get back into a routine with exercise. I lost it a bit during July and August but now I’m ready to start again.

Here are my September goals.

  • To exercise daily
    I am going to do the 30 day challenge on the 7 Minute App that I love so much
  • To do yoga 3 time a week
    Even if it is just 10 minutes at a time
  • To ensure the kitchen is tidy every night
    It makes my mornings so much better yet for some reason spending the 10 minutes tidying it up the night before just seems excruciating
  • To say no more
    To things I don’t want to do, with no explanation other than ‘no’
  • To make the ‘junk’ food that I crave rather than buying it
    I snack a lot when I’m bored but I have all the ingredients for most of the things I crave like peanut butter, chocolate and coconut things
  • To honour my hunger
    I want to stop eating for the sake of eating and eat nutritious, delicious food when my body needs it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t indulge from time to time but it does mean not eating something when I won’t enjoy it just because it is there
  • To organise my wardrobe
    I want to arrange it so that the things I wear everyday are more accessible than they are at the moment
  • To read more
    I have so many books that I haven’t read or have half read because it’s easier to watch TV or play on my phone than it is to read. I want to change that
  • To practice Spanish 10 minutes a day
    My Spanish isn’t great because I never learnt grammar. I want to improve it. I downloaded the Duolingo app ages ago but stopped using it because I felt I didn’t have time.

The main one I want to focus on is the wardrobe. I have a bunch of stuff in there that I’ve kept because I keep thinking I’ll fit into it again. I’m giving myself til the end of the year so I’m going to pack those items away, pop them in the garage and then in the new year I’m going to try them on again. If they still don’t fit then they go.  For some reason these few items have been really hard to let go of. There’s obviously an emotional/sentimental attachment to them but I just can’t quite let them go just yet.

These are pretty simple things but I feel like they’re going to make a huge difference and realistically, most of them will only take an hour out of my day in total.  The good thing is a few of them can become a bit of a night time routine if paired together.