Back for good – the #DunkirkMovie

So I’ve picked up the blogging bug. Again. I’ve been AWOL. But a good film brought me back to my blogging senses. A bloody good film. I’m talking about the #DunkirkMovie.

If you thought that there may be a gentle meandering into this movie – perhaps scenes of home – forget it. In a Bond-like way you are dragged in and immersed from the very start. So there was no chatter or mobile phone irritations at my cinema. Just people watching and unable to switch off.

Tired from a week of work often I can adopt a I simply cannot be asked approach when venturing out. I knew I had to see this film. Military blood, experience and being bombed out runs in my blood. As such I’m emotional at the mere mention of any heroics in war.

But the Dunkirk movie isn’t soft. Or drawn out. Or just about one character. It’s about several characters and what they each did during this battle – and that’s the greatest takeaway for me.

I never thought I’d experience anything close to the Blitz or Dunkirk spirit. But 2017 has been a cruel bitch. She has shown us what heartbreaking devastation can look like. And when I worried and dithered about travelling to a city for work that had been recently attacked… well a friend who survived the Blitz told me – but that’s what’s they want. We must continue our lives.

And so when the infamous Churchill speech was read out during the film it had new meaning. That in the grips of despair and humiliation we also see the true spirit of people coming together to do what they can.

The film is a magnifying mirror on Dunkirk. But step back and there were strong women also holding it together. Even in my family women worked in the factories. Under constant danger and at risk of being bombed as they were essential part of our infrastructure. A vital cog in the war machine. And the glorious Spitfires featured in the film. They were moved by magic? A brief video about the Air Transport Auxiliary…

Not everyone got to take a ceremonial bow when Victory in Europe was achieved. They had done their bit. Quietly. And I love this Argo film quote: “If we wanted applause we would have joined the circus.”

Seeing this film has also reminded me about how important it is to have balance in our lives. So let’s shop more for experiences such as movies and theatre – and less for unnecessary crap.

Don’t worry about seeing this movie at IMAX or at a tiny local cinema. Just see it. And tell your friends. Tell all your friends. Now we can begin to truly understand what Dunkirk spirit is all about.

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Kondo – Phase 3 paperwork

I love the ethos of Marie Kondo. Keep what you love and what brings you joy. While absent from the blog I tackled some paperwork. I reduced it down to just one ottoman and could let one go! I think I was inspired by this video:

Paperwork can be a bit boring but it is really cathartic to see this kind of stuff go. Working on the principle that papers should really only be in one place this week I will target stray unfiled papers in our home.

Don’t look at your hill. Climb it. 

 

 

Clearing through a consumerist fog

Hello. Somehow I’ve achieved the classic thing of neglecting my blog. No excuses. Just a busy old time.

Anyway a brief update. Back in January I realised my credit card spending was once again out of control. A habit is so easily created and normalised. But £400 a month on stuff is just a) wrong b) unsustainable and c) kinda embarrassing. Very embarrassing. Also, stupid. Ok enough with the self talk.

So during February I did a cleanse of consumerist spending. It felt like I was in a fog, with my spending out of control. I very quickly realised my weak points. Somehow the weekend was always a trigger. And those damn sales emails. I unsubscribed from so many and suddenly things were quieter. My emails were not filled with attention grabbing headlines. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Since February things have been calmer and more in control. If I need to calm a consumerist itch – I think about if I really need it. If I do buy – it’s either a much smaller scale purchase or very planned. Are there levels of plannedness? Is plannedness a word? I digress.

I’ve had some blips (even this week) but overall I’m in a much, much better place.

I’ve had a few aha moments along the way. That money used right can be spent on other things – not habitual, sleep walking purchases. I’ve been able to pursue things for garden and home projects. All desperately needed (hidden behind that bloody fog) and when I look at those much needed and now achieved projects – I feel more in control.

Ok. Lots more stuff to talk about but I’ve rambled on for nearly thirteen pages (front and back)…..

So tell me. Is your spending under control? What do you do to achieve this? If it isn’t – what can you do today to take a step towards addressing it?

Daunee be ‘fraid o it now.

Melanie

 

 

February 2016: 29 days of muting the power of consumerism

Hi all! A winter of illness brought a stillness to the blog. Despite feeling that a cold is trying to sneak up on me like an inappropriate Uncle at a wedding I am here and talking to you guys!

So with illness came a consumerist slip. I naively (arrogantly) thought my consumerist path was behind me. But no. She was there waiting. Like any addiction excessive anything can be unhealthy. For me it’s shopping.

I knew that when I recently got a pay rise that in my head I’d somehow calculated that I can afford this or that, ooh and that too. So I needed to work out how much I have veered off track. Are you ready? Sitting down? Strong beverage to hand?

So instead of looking at individual monthly spends I added up the last four months of credit card spend and divided by four to get an average. Yes Christmas, yes there’s a couple of days that end in a Y there… But enough with the excuses. How much has my average credit card spend crept up to?

Well £400 a month. I am shocked.

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Ah.. ah.. ah.. Stuffocation! Bless you!

Poor health has no doubt played a part. I need to stop the credit card spend – the only exceptions are repairs for health, home or car. My action plan for February is to get back on track. To spend more wisely. Particularly on experiences not stuff. I’ve decided to do some groundwork to support this:

  1. Unsubscribe from sales emails telling me I only have a few hours to save money or get a free gift.
  2. Unfollow consumerist stuff based blogs/vlogs. They use the most powerful form of marketing, word of mouth.
  3. Give myself permission to spend (real money) on experiences, not things. Stuffocation by James Wallman will be my inspiration for this.

So I’m back. I’m in a pickle but the ground rules are simple. No credit card spend. Instead spend real money on experiences not stuff.

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

What to do if you stall at Kondo phase 3 – paperwork – enjoy a slight detour

I have been in a bit of a pickle and although I sorted the vast storage facility that is my work bag and a few more bits I haven’t done much else in sorting my paperwork but I did do this:

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I sorted through my travel toiletries and filled three ziplock bags with stuff I’m not using, are duplicates or are getting in the bloody way… A friend mentioned that she collects toiletries to donate to a local women’s refuge. Isn’t it so much better to share what we own?

Enough is as good as a feast.

Melanie

Craft! Learn crochet for £1 and help a charity

What are you waiting for? Here’s a fab deal I found today:

http://www.lovecrochet.com/crochet-snowflake-kit

From their site:

“This kit has everything you need to learn to crochet a snowflake. Our fabulous kit contains 10g of delicate Three Bears Cotton yarn, a 4mm hook and an exclusive pattern written by blogger Bella Coco. This free kit has been created to support the Home-Start Snowflake Appeal. All items in the kit have been donated by LoveCrochet and Three Bears Yarn, we just ask for a £1 contribution towards postage. Once you have made your snowflake, don’t forget to donate it to a Home-Start family.”

Learn a craft for £1 – maybe add a small donation for the charity too?

Have a brilliant day.

Melanie

Kondo phase 3 – paperwork and doing more crafts

Lots of videos on YouTube but this is closest to my paperwork…

Burn baby burn

Each evening this week I’ve sorted some papers or have been burning papers. My first plan of attack was looking at the overfilled ottoman of papers. In particular at anything not filed. And there was a lot. There were also a range of things that shouldn’t have been in there. Clutter attracts clutter… After a week of tackling a bit each day I didn’t think I had made much of an impact. I opened the ottoman with the aim of completing emptying it and tackling the loose papers first. To my surprise I had made good progress. The satisfaction of burning the papers is so great.

Don’t sweat the really horrible stuff… Burn it

Reading all this so far.. The question is – is this an easy stage? Hell. No. I am frustrated at the age of some of the papers I’m finding. I’m really frustrated at the upsetting things I’ve kept. Horrible notes from an old boss being just one example. Give me joy? Hell no! So as they burnt in the fire I felt relieved and felt the pain of this time in my life go. Sorry if this seems a bit heavy but these letters were just awful.

Getting rid of storage, creating space

The more I use the Marie Kondo process the more I can see the rhyme and reason of it. You sort by category not by room. So no cleaning a room by heaving stuff from one room to another for ‘temporary storage’ and a false impression of progress. More than anything I can see a clear link between you sorting X category and then only when complete it do you find a home for the remaining X category that you will keep. I’m hopeful that I can get rid of this ottoman and instead file papers in a more compact area. This will free up a bit of floor space which is great.

Next up I need to declutter my work bag and then hunt out papers in sporadic areas of the house. They are everywhere but I have a list to hunt ’em down. I’m aiming to finish paperwork by the end of October. Wish me luck!

Don’t look at your hill. Climb it.

Melanie

PS: I’ve been SO inspired seeing the beautiful things other bloggers are making. Working on my stuff and reducing what I own I see as a stepping stone to doing more fun stuff. I’m definitely a work in progress but I’m going to commit here to doing some crafts and hobbies more but most importantly blogging about it too. Such fun ☺️