Hello Charlotte Speaking

I dance to the music that plays in my head.

Things I’m Loving Right Now: Part Three

This is the third part of my first ever Weekly Series. A five part series where this week I’m looking at Things I’m Loving Right Now. Little things that are making my day to day life that little bit better.

Receipt Hog

This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are my own.

I’m starting to see a theme here with things I’m loving right now and that theme is money. I’m really trying to get a good grip on my money, not because I’m bad with it it but just because knowing exactly what is going on with it just makes me feel much calmer.

Monday and Tuesday focused on ways I’m keeping track of my spending, today is a very small contribution to possibly making a bit of the green stuff!

I’ve always been a big fan of loyalty cards. If I’m going to buy something from that retailer anyway (my prime example is the occasional Subway Sandwich) then I might as well get some points and eventually get a bonus freebie down the line. I’m not buying anything specially to get the bonus, it’s just a nice added extra.

So when I found out about Receipt Hog, an app that lets you earn points on almost anything you buy just by submitting a photo of the receipt it sounded great. From my investigations it is a market research app seeing what people buy at certain retailers.

It’s not a big bucks thing. You only get a points on certain receipts and you can’t get a payout until you have 1000 points minimum (this gets you £3 amazon credit although there are PayPal options for more points too).

I’ve had it about 2 months and have got about 400 points so far. I have missed some receipts but it is evident I won’t be cashing in loads but even if I get a few quid towards Christmas it’ll help and it’s a bit of a game.

It’s a little bit of free money at the end of the day for very little effort. I was going to buy those tissues and broccoli at Sainsbury’s anyway right? So why not earn those points (on top of the nectar card too!).

If you are interested in it, my referral code is drak5301. You’ll get some free points, I’ll get some free points. Everyone is happy. I know it’s a bit cheeky but if you don’t ask…

Pop back tomorrow when, very excitingly I’m moving on from budgets and money to health!

See you then!
Charlotte x

Day 1: How I manage my spending on presents.
Day 2: How I manage my day to day spending.


Things I’m Loving Right Now: Part Two

This is the second part of my first ever Weekly Series. A five part series where this week I’m looking at Things I’m Loving Right Now. Little things that are making my day to day life that little bit better.

Daily Budget App

This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are my own.

Following on from yesterday, also on the point of budgeting, I’m really enjoying using the Daily Budget App for iPhone. There’s something about seeing my monthly spend broken down into a daily spending allowance that really helps me.

The way it works is you punch in your total monthly income, all your outgoings and then it breaks that down per day over the month. You can also set a ‘Savings Goal’, an amount you would like to have by a certain date. Again, it calculates how much you need to save per day to achieve this and adjusts your daily budget accordingly.

I like seeing the total I’m allowed to spend go up if I have a spend free day, and it also helps me to avoid impulse purchases.

I am currently under budget which is great but I can see that a few biggish purchases that I need to make in he next week or so is going to put me back over. Ideally, I would watch and wait and see when my daily budget has reached the amount I need to spend and then make the purchase.

If I do that though, the occasion I’m purchasing for will have passed! So instead I’ll have to wait for the total to build back up into positive figures. It’s almost like an overdraft with myself!

There is additional functionality that can be purchased where it shows you what areas you spend most on and I am considering this because I find graphs to be really helpful for me to understand what’s going on.

I’ve tried quite a few budgeting / spending tracking apps and this is one is extremely straight forward and user friendly which is what I need to incentivise me to use it.

How do you keep track of your spending? I’m also trying only spending with cash where possible at the moment to see if that helps. If the money isn’t in my purse I can’t spend it.

Call back tomorrow to find out what else I’m enjoying at the moment! In the meantime, why not read yesterday’s post about how I keep track of buying and budgeting for presents. See you then!

Charlotte x

Things I’m loving right now: Part One

This is the first part of my first ever Weekly Series. A five part series where this week I’m looking at Things I’m Loving Right Now. Little things that are making my day to day life that little bit better.

My Present Spreadsheet
I am not a naturally organised person but I function so much better when I am organised. I am terrible for remembering to check my diary/calendar for what events are coming up. I’m also not the best at sticking to budget when I want to treat someone else.

I am currently using a spreadsheet I made to keep track of what present I need to buy and my budget for them.

I have also integrated a way for me to record what I have bought and ideas I have had for future presents (means I don’t have to panic so much near an event if I’ve already logged an idea).

It keeps a running total of what I’ve spent and whether or not I’m over or under budget. I don’t know why I find this more helpful that a calendar or notebook but I have a suspicion that it is because it is easy to use, easy to access (it’s on my phone) and everything is one place. Simple and Functional.

It might sound daft to you, or even sad, or maybe you love the idea but whatever you think, this works for me and not having to stress about it all as much really makes me happy.

How do you organise buying presents? Let me know!

Come back tomorrow to find out about another little thing that is making a big difference for me right now.

Charlotte x

Feel Good Friday #14

Friday 17th February

Pokémon Generation 2 being released. Here are a few highlights.

Getting my to do list crossed off at work fairly quickly.

Going for the with my friends to celebrate belated birthdays and catch up. Haven’t seen these guys for ages and it was lovely to be back in that group.

Saturday 18th February
Having a lie in.

Helping a friend with some podcast practical work and having my first experience of talking into a mic and how it works. I would like to start a podcast one day, just got to come up with the ideas!

This giant pizza for tea!

Sunday 19th February
Going for a walk with The Boy. It was great just to get out of the house.

Finding these daffodils in my back garden. I’m planning to dig them up and pot them on so I can save them when we start working on the garden properly this summer.


Monday 20th February
Going on a lunchtime hunt for sushi mats.

Going up the fire escape at work to rescue the milk. Just bizarre.

Having some tasty hot water and honey. Yum yum yum.

Tuesday 21st February
Going stationery shopping. Even though it wasn’t for me, it was still fun.

Fixing the photocopier at work that everyone was moaning about.

Walking home even though it was a bit miserable. I miss walking home.

Wednesday 22nd February
Having supportive colleagues.

Giving a colleague his leaving present and he loved it.

Going to bed early and having a good sleep.

Thursday 23rd February
Going to the hygienist. My teeth feel so clean now!

Listening to old songs I found on my iTunes. I’d forgotten how much I liked some of these songs.

Trying the google cardboard thing for the first time. Super good fun.
It’s been a tough week this week. Some of the days I found it hard to think of good things but I’ve managed it and that has definitely made me feel better. 

Charlotte x

You can have anything you want… but you can’t have everything you want. 

As I write this I am on the train to work. Doing the commute to the 9-5. And some days when I do this I find myself thinking there must be more. Surely there’s more to life than this? And there is.
There’s so much going on in the world that I could try and be a part of, or get a piece of. But by choosing one thing, it rules out another and so on and so forth.

I was part of a conversation at the weekend which was related to this. It was essentially about work life balance and the analogy that was quoted by one of the guys goes like this:

You have three plates spinning.
The Work plate.
The Family plate.
The Friend plate.

You try to keep all three spinning away but you’ve only got a finite amount of time and energy to share amongst them. If you want to make some progress at work, more effort goes into that and less into the others. If you want to spend more time with your friends you either spend less time with your family or less time at work.

I think there’s a forth plate.

The Me plate.

This is the plate I drop first, putting all other plates as priority above it. This isn’t a blog about self care, but it is important for me to note as maybe I should prioritise it more often.

My mum sums this analogy up well. So well I’ve made it the title. You can’t have everything. It isn’t possible to keep all those plates spinning without burning yourself out. You’ll drop a plate eventually so it’s up to you to decide which plate you want to spin the hardest and which you don’t mind spending less time on.

The final way I have to explain this, comes from one of my all time favourite SitComs, Dinnerladies.
I forget the context but someoen needs to make a decision and one of the characters, Stan, comes out with the gem of a phrase:

‘Pick your potato’

Pick. Decide. Prioritise. And make that thing great.

I’m not suggesting if you value your career and want to climb the ladder to the top that you should never see your friends and family again. Or that if your friends and / or family are the most important to you that you quit your job because that’s unrealistic. You still need an income.

But for me, when I’m faced with a big decision I think to myself, Pick Your Potato. What’s most important to me and will this help me to achieve that thing? Sometimes I don’t make the choice that will help, either because I’m not brace enough or because it’s not practical but it’s something I try to do anyway.

Charlotte x

Feel Good Friday #13

Now that’s what I call I good week. If only all the weeks were this good! Got to keep it up. 

Friday 10th February

  1. Steady day at work. Redeveloped a spreadsheet to hopefully make it more functional which is always a nice task.
  2. Saw an old colleague and friend who popped into our new office to say hello. It was really nice to catch up and we’re planning to meet up or a coffee (tea!) soon.
  3. Getting home to find that my dad has sorted out the shower part of the bathroom and how to connect it to the mixer tap (They didn’t come together and weren’t that straight forward to join up). Yay! It’s all coming together!

Saturday 11th February

  1. Waking up feeling like I’d had such a brilliant sleep.
  2. Going to see my AWESOME friend Laura hold her first craft stall. You should totally check her out if you need some attractive lettering.
  3. Seeing my other AWESOME friends The Clarksonettes for tea where we made plans, caught up and had a general good time.
  4. Giving a handmade birthday present (a pen roll) away and being told they thought I’d bought it! Woo. Quality work. 

Sunday 12th February

  1. Feeling so inspired by Laura from yesterday to start looking at all my projects to see if I can make anything more of those.
  2. Sorting out a box of random bits. Every little helps when it comes to decluttering.
  3. Watching MissPeregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was REALLY good. 

Monday 13th February

  1. Getting so much work done I hardly feel behind anymore.
  2. Catching up on loads of podcasts. My unplayed list was starting to make me feel anxious! Ridiculous I know but I feel more on top of it now.
  3. Stopping by to see my friends on the way home and paying for some tickets.

Tuesday 14th February

  1. Having a laugh at work.
  2. Swapping Valentines with The Boy.
  3. The heating being broken at work. This isn’t good, but it meant we had a lot of hot drinks and when it was fixed it was BRILLIANT.

Wednesday 15th February

  1. Day off work! 
  2. Sorting out all my notes books, DVDs and other bits of junk.
  3. Going to the dentist and finally getting this tooth fixed. There was a work experience girl in which meant the Dentist and nurse explained everything which was super interesting for me too!
  4. Jacket sweet potato for tea. Yum yum yum.

Thursday 16th Feb

  1. Finishing my own sushi pen roll!
  2. Measuring up for curtains at the bungalow.
  3. Baking snickerdoodles
  4. Watching a Call The Midwife with my mum
  5. Going for a colleagues leaving drinks.

I’ve already got high hopes for today and for the weekend and that’s practically half a week a sorted. 

Charlotte x

Valentines – where does the apostrophe go and other thoughts


It’s February 14th. That day when traditionally couples go out to over crowded restaurants and kids send cards to their crush sighed ‘your secret admirer’. Or they probably just send them a Snapchat with some dodgy emojis. I don’t know what the kids do these days.

It’s a day where you’re supposed to express your love for your Significant Other. And while I am all for that I also acknowledge that it is just a money making scheme. I know this, especially this year, because of this sign I spotted yesterday in M&S.

£60??? Who in their right mind is spending £60 on flowers? Flowers that will die. Buy a plant, buy a tree! Heck you could get 3 fruit trees on one of the shopping channels yesterday for £20. Much better value for money, less likely to shrivel up after a week and you get fruit. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Please, don’t spend £60 on flowers. Just give me the £60. I can use that for something much more useful. Thanks.

Another reoccurring thought I have every year on this day is where should I put the apostrophe?

Valentine = singular
Valentines = plural
Valentine’s = belonging to a single valentine
Valentines’ = belonging to all the valentines.

So, Theory One says today is a day for all Valentines. So it would go after the ‘s’.

But Theory Two says it’s a day for people to celebrate that one special person in their life (unless they are in a polygamist relationship?) so that it would go before the ‘s’. Because it’s just for that person.

Grammar chats. That’s what you wanted for Valentine’s/Valentines’ day right?

What do you think? Where would you put the apostrophe? And would you prefer £60 worth of flowers, trees or cash?

Charlotte x

Feel Good Friday #12

Another week done. This week has felt a lot more settled and I’ve been feeling much more on top of things. Still not sleeping well but there’s a whole load of good stuff that’s been going on too. 

Friday 3rd February
First day in the new office where I started to feel settled. It was because for the first time I knew exactly where I had to sit and what I could realistically achieve that day.

Super amazing lunchbox salad!

Going out for tea with the best Boy ever who understands when I rant at him.

Saturday 4th February
Finishing another craft project! A secret one.

Going for a walk around the trim trail. It’s such a nice steady walk that’s easy to do but I feel like I’ve done something when I do it.

Home made Sweet Potato Jackets with cheese and beans for tea. We estimated it came to about £1.50 for two of us which is great budgeting in our book.

Sunday 5th February
Doing plastering for the first time ever.

Having treacle sponge for lunch.

Playing wii fit games and realising how unfit I actually am.

Monday 6th February
Managing to get the rest of my sister’s birthday present.

Really reducing my inbox at work. It really helps me to feel less overwhelmed to have a managing email list.

Tasty coconut yoghurt and fruit for pudding.

Tuesday 7th February
Waking up having feeling like I’d had a good night’s sleep.

My sister’s birthday!

A friend at work getting me a creme egg to cheer me up (I’ve been a bit grumpy).


Wednesday 8th February
The office being so super quiet. It was lovely.

Finishing off a big pile of work. Now I feel more able to to start the rest of the stuff!

Fajitas for tea. Yum yum yum.

Thursday 9th Feb

Working on the bathroom in the bungalow.

Tidying all the cupboards and organising supplies in the bungalow.

Great episode of Death In Paradise. Goodbye Humphrey. We’ll miss you.
Next week should be a good one. I’ve got plenty of stuff planned that I’m really looking forward to. 

Charlotte x

Feel Good Friday #11

Friday 27th January

  1. Jacket Potato for lunch.
  2. Going to Filey with The Boy.
  3. Getting a pretty good night’s sleep.

Saturday 28th January

  1. Going for a lovely walk by the sea.
  2. Catching up on YouTube and podcasts and reading.
  3. Having a nice bath.
  4. Going to the pub for tea.

Sunday 29th January

  1. Singing along to the radio.
  2. Seeing my friend Alice.
  3. Trying a new place for food. Vietnamese noodles!

Monday 30th January

  1. Finding the new office.
  2. Buying a nice new storage box for my new desk.
  3. Getting to train and getting a seat!

Tuesday 31st January

  1. Having lunch in the new office kitchen. Finally we have a place to go and eat away from our desks!
  2. Actually getting some work done as the office slowly gets set up.
  3. Updating the teambungalow Instagram account with our renovation progress!

Wednesday 1st February

  1. February! The month I think 2017 will kick off properly!
  2. Having the kitchen electrics sorted! I think the rewire is finished!
  3. Getting a new high score on High Risers! Such an addictive game.

Thursday 2nd February

  1. Working on three different craft projects. Including a handmade present!
  2. Singing along. I love singing along.
  3. The return of The Great Pottery Throw Down.
  4. Death in Paradise. I just love this show.

It’s been a pretty crazy week. Lots going on and frankly I’m pooped! I can’t wait for the weekend! 

See you next week. 

Charlotte x

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