How I Managed to Spend No Money for Seven Days

My Post
As I’m preparing to go into July’s no-spend week, I thought it might be interesting to some people to get a little insight into how I make it work! These weeks, as well as stretching my money a little further, have really opened my eyes about my relationship with money (namely the number of times a week I think about spending it on things I really don’t need).

So, if you’d like to get some similar insights or make similar savings, but don’t know where to start, keep on reading.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Catching Up with My 2017 Goals

Where has 2017 gone? I can’t believe it’s December already! As everyone gears up for the holidays, I’m looking back on my 2017 goals. So, let’s dive in!

Adobe Spark (1)

1. Finish my Master’s Degree

This one was always a dead cert unless something went drastically wrong. There were a few weeks in August when I began to think about deferring my final essay until 2019 (this has been the year of continuous fatigue) but I manage to stick with it and get everything in. This was despite that fact that by that time I was basically working full-time! (More on that later). I knew that I probably hadn’t done enough at that point to get a distinction, but was happy with what I had achieved. I finally got my results back a couple of weeks ago, and not only passed by got a mark high enough for a merit – except my university doesn’t do them! Boo! Regardless, I am proud to have gone from a lower-second Bachelor’s degree to a Master’s degree, whilst also working crazy hours. I will be officially graduating on the 11th, and have basically been told I have to go because my family wants to come! I don’t particularly feel the need to spend a whole afternoon socialising and waiting for my name to be called, but there we are!

2. Fit in More Crafting

This goal has been a little bit up and down! I have added ten minutes knitting to my daily to-do list (although don’t really time it, I just finish one row of whatever I’m working on!). This has definitely helped, as it’s one of the easiest things I set myself to do. But, I’m still not managing to do it every single day, and non-knitting crafts have really fallen by the wayside. I’d love to be able to do some more papercraft and cross stitch, so think when my current knitting project is done I’ll have to mix it up again!

3. Develop My Career

This one has been a little bit of a rollercoaster this year! Way back in January, I was working as a stage manager for a brilliant new show. This was a fantastic opportunity to return to my first love, theatre. Shortly afterwards, I stage managed another show, this time a devised ‘dramatised tour’. Both experiences were great, I loved them – but they were so stressful. My anxiety and depression were all over the place, making it difficult to get anything done that wasn’t work. Not what you need when you’re also trying to finish a Master’s! I began to see that even though I loved the career, it wasn’t working for me. On top of my mental health, I’ve had more physical health problems during the year that, as of yet, the doctors have refused to diagnose. A job that requires lots of running around and late nights just isn’t healthy for me. I think I knew this four years ago when I first left, but because I had never loved anything the same way, I didn’t know where to turn.

I got lucky though. On a whim, back in February, I applied to do a marketing administration work placement for an arts organisation. I figured it would be good experience whatever I ended up doing. Well, soon after that placement started, their Student Recruiter left, and I was offered the position until that contract ended. Then, their Marketing Assistant left, and I was asked if I wanted to take on that role for an additional two days a week. Meanwhile, my previous experience working with adults with learning disabilities and driving minibuses meant I was asked if I would like to work with our after school disability programme, with the occasional Saturdays. ‘Why not?’ I said, suddenly working five and sometimes six days a week. By this point, I’d fallen in love with the organisation, and had found a new passion in marketing – something I never thought I would enjoy! But all of this was only until the end of 2017, when they were recruiting a full-time Marketing and Communications Officer.

Of course, I applied for the full-time role, really not expecting to get it but not wanting to let go of the job I’d fallen in love with. Much to my surprise, I found out last week that my application was successful! Plus, my manager wants me to continue my work with the disabilities programme, allowing me to be flexible with my hours to make that happen. I really couldn’t be happier, and am still riding on the high from the news!

Safe to say, I have achieved this goal for 2017!

4. Make Some Friends

This was always going to be a hard one. I did start off the year really trying, but as socialising isn’t always something I enjoy, it’s pretty easy to talk myself out of it. Now I’m starting to get a more regular timetable, I will continue to try to do this. I have been talking to people at work, and going out on our work socials. I just always struggle to trust people! But all I can do is keep working on it. I have been trying to at least maintain current friendships, which I guess is something?

This will have to be a goal that comes with me into 2018!

2017 Achievements

  1. I passed my Master’s degree, and didn’t just scrape through like I expected!
  2. I applied for and gained a full-time job at an organisation that I love.
  3. I’ve nearly finished another large craft project – this time, crochet, which I’m really not good at but determined to try!

Tune back in at the end of the year, when I’ll be outlining my goals for 2018 – and let me know if you have any suggestions or goals of your own!

2017 Achievements and Goals Revisited

 

Adobe Spark (1)

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2017, so now seems as good a time as any to review the goals I set myself for this year. This is also a chance to share my 2017 Achievements so far with you all, and for you to let me know how you’re getting on with you own in the comments  below.

1. Finish My Master’s Degree

Back in January, I submitted my first essays for my Master’s degree. I’m not going to lie, it was terrifying. I barely scrapped through my Undergraduate degree, so have been going through some serious imposter syndrome since I got accepted onto the course.

All of this taken into consideration, imagine my surprise when I more than passed my first two modules. My university doesn’t do merit grades for Master’s degrees, but if they did I would be well on my way to getting one. I honestly couldn’t be happier! I’m holding onto my achievements so far as I head into the Easter break – the time to get my next two assessments done and dusted. A distinction isn’t completely out of the question if I score well on these, so I’m going to be throwing myself into the work to make it the best that it can be!

2. Fit in More Crafting

I’ve been a little up and down with this goal. Some weeks I’ve been doing loads (generally when I have something to procrastinate from),and others I haven’t gone near anything craft related. I’m slowly improving though, remembering to make time for myself. I’ve also been reminded that I always feel better when my downtime still seems productive. With this in mind, I’ve taken to adding craft projects to my to do list, so that I feel like I’m getting stuff done whilst still making time for myself to relax. I currently have a couple of projects on the go, which I hope to share with you all soon. I’ve also just finished a huge cross stitch project that I’ve been working on for over a year. I’m hoping to post about it soon – it just needs to get to it’s recipient first!

3. Develop My Career

I started the year by returning to a career I thought I had left behind me long ago. In hindsight, adding a full time job on top of full time studies probably wasn’t the wisest of choices. Regardless of this, it went really well, and I began to question why I had ever left it in the first place.

So, since then I have been seeking out stage management work again. It’s been a little difficult, as I’m restricted by my contact hours at university, but I’ve been making a couple of applications a month. I even have a job interview this week for a perfect sounding job that would combine my stage management experience with my growing applied theatre knowledge. So, fingers crossed for that.

In the meantime, I’ve been continuing with my work placements for university. On top of my pre-existing one from last term, I have a new placement each Wednesday. This one focuses on Marketing and Administration; Two areas I have very little experience in but which will be essential in my future involving an amount of freelance work. On top of my work placement, I’ve started doing some paid reception work with them, which should help make ends meet!

I’m still not sure where all this is leading me. I suspect though that I might be heading towards a series of odd jobs to make ends meet, interspersed with the work I want to do. When I work out what that is, exactly.

4. Make New Friends

I kind of hate myself for putting this on my list of goals for the year. It’s not that I don’t want friends – it wouldn’t be on my list if that was the case. It’s just so difficult! I hate having to put myself out there. Years of social anxiety and trust issues have built a massive wall I have to climb over whenever anything remotely friendship like comes my way.

That being said, I have been making baby steps in the right direction (mainly with help from my lovely ‘Mental Health Specialist Mentor,’ courtesy of the university.) I met up with an old work colleague. I’ve been pushing myself to join more conversations between classes at university. Most scarily of all (for me, at least) I went along to a London Craft Club meetup earlier in the month. The bonus of this is that there was very little pressure to socialise, as everyone was engaged in their own crafts. Plus, it helped me towards my second goal of making more time for my crafts. I haven’t managed to go back since then, but I’m hoping I will some time soon.

So basically, no huge leaps of progress towards any of my goals as of yet, but a couple of little achievements worth mentioning. I’ve listed them below, mainly for personal bragging reasons. It also helps boost my mood when I’m feeling rubbish to remember everything I’ve achieved. Don’t forget to add your own achievements and goals in the comments!

 

2017 Achievements

  1. I have received good marks for my Master’s degree assessments so far.
  2. I worked on a show as a Stage Manager for the first time in three years. The show got great reviews, and I received high praise for my part on the show.
  3. Pushing myself to the edges of my comfort zone, I went to a craft group meetup.
  4. I completed a super secret craft project that I’ve been working on for over a year. Hopefully you’ll hear more about this really soon!

Ch-Ch-Changes

Way back in 2013, I was just starting my career in stage management. It had been my life since 2008, when I undertook my first Assistant Stage Manager role on a production of ‘His Dark Materials.’ I immediately fell in love with the craft, and for the next two years, most evenings after school were spent at my local theatre, working on productions as part of the Young People’s Theatre. (At one point, my English teacher pulled me aside and told me I needed to stop wasting time at the theatre if I wanted to get a decent A-Level grade – I got a B, and the highest exam result of my class.) When it came to applying for university, there was no question as to what I wanted to do, and I was accepted onto the stage management course at the (now-Royal) Central School of Speech and Drama.

Shortly after starting my career however, my mental health problems reared their ugly head again. By the time graduation rolled around in December, I had moved home and was unemployed. There was little chance of getting a stage management job locally, but even if there was, I couldn’t see myself doing it. I’d fallen out of love with it and, more importantly, I wasn’t mentally in a position to cope with it.

Looking for a new job, I re-examined my core values and came to one conclusion; I wanted to be helping people. After a brief time driving a van for a local supermarket, I found my dream job as a Support Worker for Adults with Learning Disabilities.

After a year though, I started to feel restless in the job I loved. I was starting to reach my peak, with no opportunities to grow becoming evident. I took on a part time role with a youth organisation, working in the development team to set up new provision in deprived areas. Like with my full time position, I fell in love immediately. But it was only so long before I became restless again.

I guess you could say I was bored. Whilst my part time job was providing the opportunities I craved, a majority of my week was the same thing, day in, day out. Part of the reason I loved theatre was that no two days were the same. And I wasn’t ready to give up my past. I wanted theatre back in my life, one way or another.

So here we are. September 2016 – time for a change.

Change One 

As of the 23rd September, I will once again be unemployed. I’m in the process of wrapping up loose ends at the moment.

Change Two 

I am moving back out of the family home, and returning to the frighteningly expensive capital city of London. Five bedroom house to a tiny bedsit.

Change Three 

And this should explain some things. I’m heading back to my alma mater as a postgraduate student, studying a Master’s in Applied Theatre. Applied theatre is “the use of drama in an educational, community or therapeutic context” (Wikipedia) – in other words, the perfect combination of my two passions.

It’s a lot of change in a short amount of time, and I’m constantly shifting between excited and “Oh my god, what have I done?”. But I’m mostly looking forward to the challenge and the change of scenery. And I’ll be sure to share my insights along the way!

When Zoe Met Roxy

I have wanted a cat of my own for years. My family has always had cats, but they were never properly mine, you know? And when I moved into student halls I faced my first catless years. It was horrendous. I’d taken for granted the puke on your pillow, the constant stench of kitty litter, the ‘playful’ bat to the nose.

Third year of university, and I finally moved out of halls. This meant only one thing to me: I could get a cat. Sure, I didn’t actually ask my landlord, but my uncle was his handyman and had assured me it would be fine.
So, to the internet I went (with my more experienced cat-buyer mum.) Within days, I’d found The One. A beautiful three year old, blue colour pointed Ragdoll, who was retiring from breeding and looking for a furever home. It was love at first sight.
My mum contacted her owner, who on paper said I was the perfect candidate but she wanted to meet me and see if Roxy likes me first. It’ll sound pathetic, but I was nervous the whole drive down. I’d joked to my mum that I should line my pockets with catnip, but didn’t want to end up with a whole lap of cats.
My nerves were still there when I sat down, waiting for her to bring Roxy in. And then there she was. And she came running over, and jumped into my lap.
Day We Met
 The day we met.
All she wanted was explore. All I wanted was a photo.
Three years later, I still couldn’t be happier that I found such a good furry friend. People say that cats are uncaring and aloof, but that’s never been the case with me and Roxy. We both fell in love at first sight.
Roxy is more than a pet to me; she’s a best friend, a confidante, a therapist (which I’ll talk about more later.)
Roxy Poser
Our most recent selfie – ever the poser
This whole post may sound sappy, but we really did pick each other, and she makes me happy everyday.

Z&R
X

Welcome to the Crafty Cat Mum!

All About Zoe

My name’s Zoe, and I live with my beautiful ragdoll Roxy in North London. Welcome to our little corner of the internet! I’m a full time student, whose free time is filled with all things crafty. The local craft store staff know me by name and my credit card wilts whenever I go too close. So, I figured it’s time to stop spending money on crafts and time to start writing about it instead (swap one addiction for another, so to speak!)

All About Roxy

Roxy is a blue colour point ragdoll, who will soon be reaching her tenth birthday. She once belonged to a breeder, but came to me when she was searching for a fur-ever home. Five years later and I couldn’t be happier with my constant companion.

Roxy Intro
My gorgeous kitty, Roxy

Find out more about us on our About Page! Until then, we hope you enjoy what we have to say!