Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A Rockstar Lifestyle On A Rockbottom Budget



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. 

Glastonbury, 2010

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.


62 comments:

  1. You,my gorgeous darling,are an absolute inspiration and role model on how to live a wonderfully glam/gree/inexpensive life!!
    I salute you!!!
    Plus,you look way hot.
    It just seems to me to be common sense and some minor effort & thought.I'm always inspired by you,even more so after this post!!
    LOVE YOU!! Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  2. o,that was supposed to be GREEN in between glam & inexpensive!! XXXXXXXXXXXX

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  3. I am so amazed a how well you have it all plan. I must say that apart from the lack of charity shops or car boot sales, we are quite on the same road.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  4. I forgot to "find" Goa yesterday! I love the way you "do" life! You're one savvy woman and deserve all the beauty you find at such great prices. The practical skills you and Jon have learned and practice are admirable and mean you can take advantage of some of the "bargains" out there b'cause you can do the repairs...

    Thanks for taking time to chronicle the ways you live A Rockstar Lifestyle on a Rockbottom Budget!

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  5. OMG you lead such a fantastic life,
    I wish I could do that.

    Your house is lovely BTW.

    The thing is you always look fantastic and yet you hardky spend a penny you could teach a lot of people a thing or two.

    xx

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  6. I good way to live Vix! We have not gone as far along the road as you have but we have a good start in the right direction. We never waste money and actively shop around for good deals and ways to save, I buy some vintage and secondhand, we do not have any debt other than our mortgage and we are proud of that. The world is getting too 'I must have it now and to hell with how I am going to pay for it, I shall worry about it later' and these debt management companies are only making this worse. I admire and respect you very much xxx

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  7. I just found out that you are a vegetarian, too.wowwwwwwwwww

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  8. Oh what a truly lovely and inspirational post. I'm trying hard to follow your second hand tips, with mixed success. We just don't seem to have as many jumble and car boot sales round here!

    You're so bloody lucky with that house. I was born too late, I really was. Owning a nice house on a single person's salary (well, on my crappy salary anyway) is just not ever going to be achievable now. I could work myself into the ground for the next 40 years and still not get anywhere. Ach, I genuinely don't mean that as a rant against you, I know you've worked incredibly hard to own such an amazing place and no-one deserves it more but it's something that just gets to me. Looking on the bright side though - if I don't have a mortgage I don't have any debt!

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  9. This is a very clever lifestyle, Vix! My other half is just like you - which allows me to splash out (occassionally). Instead of investing in a house I've spent most of my money moving around in the world. So the house thing is still an open question... xxx

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  10. What a great post...thanks you so much for letting us see a wonderful part of your life and how you live it:)

    Stop By and Say Hello♥
    Statements in Fashion Blog♥

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  11. What a lovely post!, you should do more of these. Congratulations on paying your mortgage off, well done. It is such a relief off your head and one major less thing to worry about. My mum paid her mortgage off, she was determined to do this by 50 and thanks to God,-she has.

    Have a blast in India and keep living frugally,! You seem to have an action packed life, and its very admiring.

    I also really admire the fact that you only buy the toiletries you need They are my downfall. I am trying though.

    Very very inspiring blog.

    G :)

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  12. Vix, you are an inspiration. I used to live quite a lot like this, but now that I have a stressful city job, and everything that goes with city life, I just find I don't have the time to DIY my own life as much as I used to. Especially since I hope the stressful job will once day go toward paying a big chunk toward my first house. Anyway, I think you are marvellous x

    ps Also, I want to dive into your wardrobe

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  13. Hi my dear-you are such an inspiration, a totally fabulous post and a big well done for having your mortgage paid up too!! Your finds never cease to amaze me and your house looks totally awesome from all the finds you've so successfully scored!! Love your mini dress from yesterdays shop too and well done on getting those flights booked!! xx

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  14. How did you acquire your cat Stephen?

    I find this an amazing story its very inspirational.

    Our cat Thomas was a stray that we took in, he now has lots of love and a nice home.

    Lisa
    x

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  15. What a lovely post Vix. You do seem lucky with the finds! Dx

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  16. @ Lisa Jayne (the beautiful brunette): When we first moved in we had some plastering done and the plasterer, Steve, asked if we'd like a 10 week old kitten as he was moving to Devon and couldn't take a pet with him. The result was our lovely Stephen, named in honour of his first daddy. Sadly Steve's move to Devon only lasted a few months, he died of an undetected heart problem at the age of 45:-( xxx

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  17. Vix, thank you for the inspirational post x
    I am a lover of 'tat' and would happily furnish our house this way - however, we do have a lot of Ikea (the shame) as hubby isn't quite on the same wavelength. Not sure how we'll pay off our mortgage with me being a stay at home mum for the forseeable future, I guess I'll just have to become a kitchen table entrepreneur!

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  18. What a FAB post. So inspirational, i am a nosey so and so and find it facinating how others live. I wish i had have read this post 10 years ago, the credit card company's would not have made so much money from me. Please more posts on Vix's lifestyle? I know your a vegetarian but what kind of food do you like? how do you clean, commercial cleaners or not?
    What paint do you use to paint your furniture?? OOOO so many questions, tell me to b*gger off if you like, but i would guess that other followers would love to know too. Just read all of that back, i know, i sound like a stalker, i'm not, i promise :-)

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  19. Dear Vix, this post has made my day. Thank you for reminding me that there is another way out there x

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  20. @Sharron: You are funny! Great ideas for future posts. I'm always open to suggestions as to future blog posts. I do worry that I come across as a mad woman who spends her life drinking and rummaging through skips so a lifestyle post may put some people's minds at rest! xxx

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  21. WHat a fascinating insight into your life. I've said it so, so many times but I am constantly inspired by you and the choices you make. Before we started chatting I was an eBay fiend and loved to sell my old/unwanted clothes, but I'd never have dreamed of BUYING anything on there.

    You definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world of second hand shopping. And now I'm inspired by your posts about your house - at the moment, most of our furniture is Ikea but I'm constantly on the look out for furniture and furnishings on my thrifty adventures.

    Love you and your style. So glad I found you! :) xxx

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  22. This is great and I love that you fly right in the face of the consumerist lifestyles that are so common now (and yes, I'm a guilty party on that front). Mind you, I'm credit card free now and on course to be mortgage free by 50 so it's a step in the right direction, eh?

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  23. Oh Vix, that is a truly wonderful post. In my youth I was fond of credit cards and designer goods, but I've since learned the error of my ways and now I live for the bargain. It's so much more fun, and more fulfilling than just waltzing into a shop and buying something at full price. I also get many more compliments on my cheaply sourced items than I ever did before. I'm not, alas, mortgage free... but you really are living the dream.

    xxx

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  24. I love this post Vix, as Jen says, it gives us insight into your brilliant life! I aim to be like you and have no debt! x

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  25. Great post Vix, always lovely to know more about you x

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  26. This was absolutely fascinating. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks and thrifty triumphs, and I'm swooning happily over that bright sunny image of your room with the chandelier and patchwork curtains.

    I look forward to seeing pictures of your next holiday in Goa! In the movie Outsourced, "holiday in Goa" is a code phrase the Indian heroine uses for a woman's last-minute fling before an arranged marriage. I thought of you!

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  27. your my icon Vix!
    you need to write a book, all about how not to spend and look gorge while doing it...cute dress and stockings..I find you so facinante amor.

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  28. Vix, this is a fantastically inspiring post. I really admire (and envy!) your lifestyle and think that you have your priorities right in every way. More money-saving tips would be great - for example, I never realised that baby oil would remove eye make-up. xx

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  29. Great post full of hints and tips!!

    Sal xXx

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  30. Its great to hear how you live. My Nanna instilled similar values in me, if you can't afford it you do without until you can. When my Ex husband and I split I furnished an entire house from skips/ charity shop/ kind donations and the local tip and I loved it. My hubbie calls me a skip rat :)
    Kandi x

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  31. Love this post! I saved so much by buying second hand and your were my biggest inspiration for starting it! So thank you, darling.
    Wow, Jem is really talanted! It looks wonderful <3

    x x x

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  32. wow, very impressed at ur lifestyle and I am so impressed that you paid ur mortgage off!! Truly inspirational post esp. in today's world where we are suffering from recession and job losses!! I also admire your self control - we has so many options for everything and it takes a lot of will power to buy only what is required..

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  33. Oh thats such a sad story, to die at such a young age. x

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  34. You are such an inspiration not only to me but evidently to all your followers too! I am intrigued by your lifestyle and the choices you make, it is something all of us should aspire to! I too have never used a credit card and I don't understand people who do. I like knowing I have worked for what I buy and even though we'll soon be getting a mortgage, we are going to work damn hard to pay it off quickly!
    Thank you for such a fab post, please share more of your tips in future posts! x

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  35. Vix - you really are an inspiration. You know what's important in life - The Guardian, veggie food and Jarvis Cocker! - and are not taken in by designer brands and consumer goods. Most importantly you have a lot of fun along the way. You have my deepest respect.

    TNMA
    x

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  36. I loved this, Vix! I've also been one of those who is curious about you, you do seem to have a most fabulous life. You are really an amazing woman, it is so wonderful to know you as a blog friend, you are the coolest! XX!

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  37. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful lifestyle secrets - The Good Life couple of the 21st century methinks! I'm going to have to revisit this post regularly - absolutely good on you for not getting sucked into the hideous traps of capitalism. Your lifestyle must be really paying off for you during the heinous financial situation Britain is facing. xoxo

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  38. You are an inspiration. I appreciate your lifestyle. It requires so much restrain and self control. I wish i could keep my finances in control like that. I am surely going to try!

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  39. Dear Vix, I love you!! You are a total inspiration. I love way you live and shop. More people should take a leaf out of your book.

    I used to earn a lot of money but I don't any longer. I choose to do exactly what I want now and freedom is much more important to me than money. I love to get a bargain and have massively cut back on unnecessary luxuries. I do somehow manage to live the life of Riley. My dad has always said I have Champagne taste on ginger beer money. I've had money in my time but I'm much happier now.

    Can't wait to meet up. Love Christina xx

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  40. Haha, I've said it last time but I shall say it again: I LOVE your curtain!!

    I'm just hooked on your outfits. I just LOVE the attitude you put into the first look, A++ !!
    Gorgeous colors as always.

    Such beautiful perfume bottles. I never buy second hand clothing because I prefer the fresh new smell and also because I'm scared of how the previous owner took care of it ><

    Paper butterflies,
    Berlin

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  41. You are such a goddess! The credit card was my biggest mistake, I really admire your old-fashioned attitude to money - it's the best. Also, your house is a DREAM! Beautiful!
    xx Comtesse xx

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  42. Vix you are such an inspiration. Honestly. I'm totally changing my ways because of you.
    We are working hard to get the mortgage down on our house (we've had it for 4 years) and the credit card is almost paid up. Then that's it. I love how the house is yours. All yours through sheer hard work and determination.

    I scout around for good deals on insurance and bills. Love a bargain.

    xxxx

    p.s great outfit as always.

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  43. Vix you are such an inspiration! I try so hard to save my money - I've worked hard for the past 4 years so save money for uni. I've got a loan, but I won't touch that until I really need it, as I want to have as little debt as possible when I leave!

    Cannot wait to hear all your stories from Goa!

    Lou x - craftyandquirky.blogspot.com

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  44. Lovely outfit. Well Done you and Jon for being mortgage free. We are too, but we don't own our own house lol! In all other aspects we are debt free and don't have credit cards. Cash is King!

    Shirl xxx

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  45. This is a great post, so inspiring. To be able to do your own work on your house saves a lot of money and is very rewarding. I have learned a lot of things from working on our house.

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  46. You are a rockstar Vix!
    A constant source of inspiration.
    x

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  47. I have said it before but I will say it again: YOU are such an inspiration. I worry about life so much, have far too many ups and downs and often get myself wondering what the future holds.

    If I could fast forward and see that I owned such a beautiful house and live such a wonderful life, I think I would feel pretty proud of myself.
    You inspire me, because you are older (not meant in an offensive way) and ultimately wiser. You have all these incredible things and of course an immaculate taste in second hand treasures. And above all this you seem like such a genuine and nice person.

    Thank-you for such an honest and insightful post xx

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  48. I adore this post Vix ! And I adore you !

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  49. You are the business Vix...never mind Kirstie Allsop...you are the secondhand style guru. I'm with you on all you've said. I too don't have a credit card...never owned one and can't get one even if I wanted one, due to non existant credit history! I don't run a car, grow as much of my food as poss, buy secondhand or make my clothes etc..oh, and I am as tight as a gnats chuff which helps!
    xxx

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  50. Oh Gosh I adore you Vix. You are TRULY someone to aspire to... you are an inspiration and a role model and perfect example of what an individual human, one that is not materialistically malleable is capable of being...

    You are amazing hon.

    Sorry I've been MIA. Have a lot of catching up to do!! xo

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  51. This is a brilliant post, Vix. Totally makes one sit up and think! (Hope it's ok if I link / mention it in a blog post?)
    It's so easy to get into debt these days, or at least it has been - I'm lucky in that i've always been too scared to apply for a credit card, i have nowhere near the self-control you do, i'm a total spendaholic, so at least without a credit card i can't spend more than i have..going to try and pay more attention to what / how much i spend over the next month or so tho, just as a little experiment..

    Your house is fabulous! xx

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  52. Vix, thanks for your comment, it cheered me up :)
    And have just scheduled my penny-saving post, with a link to this ;)

    ps. say thanks to Jon! Rly not feeling very pretty this week!

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  53. Ooh some fab tips there! Love your outfit today, one of my faves I think :)

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  54. You are one bloody amazing woman! The picture in which you are painting the stool is really beautiful - you look really gorgeous in it!

    The antique cupboard is a real find - fantastic!

    xxx

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  55. Once more I'd like you to know that you're an inspiration ;)
    Lovely post, great tips andI don't know if you meant it as advice, but I'll take every piece of it into consideration. My husband and I have just started our lives together and I think this post is something to keep in mind!
    Have a beautiful evening!

    Jungle World Citizen

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  56. Love this post Vix, I really learn a lot from other bloggers being so honest. Your home looks lovely and I especially like your curtains!

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  57. Thank you for the mention and expanding on what I think I already knew/guessed about you. Truly you are brilliant. If I didn't need a credit card for work I'd cut mine up but I'm not going to spend a penny unless it is cash in my hands.

    I've also started to think more along the lines of getting furniture in the way you have. You deserve every minute of Goa xx

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  58. Gosh I like you. What a life you live! You are indeed inspiring. You'd make a terrific character for a novel! It's fun to do with less, I think. I always figure if I was a millionaire I would still be shopping sales! (only sample sales...ahem...). Though I certainly would never give up thrifting. I see something in the store and think: I could get that for a dollar!

    You a brilliant.

    much love: Kimberellie

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  59. G'day from Oz lovely lady! I loved this post - like everyone else has said above, so inspirational! I'm bookmarking this post for constant future reference! I certainly learnt my lesson with credit cards and now only have one for emergencies and will only buy something is there is the cash to pay for it. It has made a huge difference to my savings but I could still do better and reading your blog is always a big inspirational reminder that glamour doesn't need to cost very much at all.

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  60. We are hear to Know a site for the life style points just click to watch and ready for the fun.

    Best Regarding by.
    Life Style

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  61. Great post, Vix, really enjoyed it. Just catching up on blog reading after my holiday - takes an age, doesn't it?! Bet you're looking forward to some sunshine when you head for Goa x

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  62. Dear Vix, I've just clicked on this post again and spotted the sign by your door... I love your sense of humour. That sign is brilliant! xx

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Love from Vix
xxx