Along with my dear friends, Sharon Rose and Jem and Franca I was honoured to be mentioned in Kate's fantastic Make Do Style blog as a someone who ignored the trappings of luxury marketing and leads a simple but fairly glam lifestyle.
People often wonder how I manage to live the life I do with more dash than cash. I spend a couple of months a year living the hedonistic dream in Goa, hanging out at music festivals over the summer and residing in a rather beautiful Georgian home with no debts.
|Patchwork curtains (handmade by me utilising my huge fabric stash), G-Plan table (£1 jumble sale), Lloyd Loom chair (£3 car boot sale), Mannequin (Rescued from the jaws of a friend's skip), Radiator (Found in a school skip)|
How? Well, firstly I've NEVER had a credit card, nearly every item I buy is bought the old-fashioned way with cold, hard cash so I feel real pain in parting with money rather than the unreality of dealing in plastic.
Almost everything I wear is second-hand. I very rarely spend more than £10 on an item of clothing. I buy undies once a year when our local Marks and Spencer reduce their leftover sale goods to under £1. Wearing maxi dresses lessen my need for hoisery, I wear long socks from the pound shop or leggings underneath them. I stock up on 99p coloured opaques from my local market stall and wear several pairs together if they ladder. Our local cobbler reheels my shoes for £2.50. I sell my unwanted clothes on eBay, buying them so cheaply means I almost always make a profit.
One night a fortnight is put aside for running repairs, rehemming, new zips and replacing buttons. Since I started blogging I've met some amazingly generous women who send me things they think I'll like and I do the same in return. Whenever I spot an item of pretty second-hand clothing I always consider the resale price. Shop-bought clothes are like new cars, they tend to loose their value the minute they leave the sale room.
I'm never swayed by advertising. I only buy the toiletries I need, no stockpiling. Baby oil from Poundland is my must-have moisturiser, eye makeup remover and bath product. Lush Jungle conditioner and Karma shampoo are the only products I use on my hair other than Boot's own Natural Black hair dye. A good friend cuts my hair when I need it and I'll sell her clothes on eBay in return.
My beauty products are often found at car boot sales, you'd be amazed how many people sell unused high end cosmetics. I buy kohl pencils in India and dye my eyelashes so I don't need mascara. I've never used foundation. Friends who are cosmetic junkies often pass their bad buys on to me in exchange for something they covert from my wardrobe. My good old Boots Clubcard points pay for the occasional splurge on Barry M. I've only received perfume as a gift.
Our house is our biggest expense. We worked like nutters in our thirties to pay the mortgage off in full as we were determined to be totally debt-free by forty. Jon and I don't waste money on unnecessarily expensive gestures for Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays, instead buying something for the house like a fabulous chandelier, energy efficient fridge or a wood burner. The entire house is furnished with stuff salvaged from skips, bought off eBay or found at car boot sales.
|Revamping a stool found in a skip|
Over the five years we've lived in our house Jon's taught himself to do plumbing, wiring, building, tiling and plastering. In fact we'll try to fix most things ourselves before calling in an expert. The local antique dealer will take some of our huge stockpile of retro tat in exchange for a big piece of furniture.
|The antique cupboard was a trade off from our friendly antique dealer|
We always do the boring "shopping around" thingy for cheap deals on insurance and energy suppliers. Finding a cheap flight to India takes an age but I've never paid more than £500 a head from being cheeky and pitting the local travel agents against each other.
|Vintage 1960's mini (Worcester, yesterday), Shoes (British Heart Foundation), Tights Xmas present 3 years ago), Hair fascinator (Hand-made by Jem)|
I'm not off until 3rd December, so we'll have plenty of time to hang out together before I fly away.