Another week in the life of Flo’s wallet.
I have got the urge to spend money. I do not have any money. This week might be tricky.
I woke up at 7am with the alarm and promptly turned it off and got back into bed. If you’re thinking ‘Flo, why don’t you put your phone on the other side of the room? That way you’ll have to get up to turn it off and you’ll wake up as a result of that’. Well, I already do that. I’m a deep sleeper. Even though it is me who set the alarm, when it goes off all I am thinking is that something is disturbing my sleep and I must stop it in order to go back to sleep. I have no recollection that the alarm is anything to do with getting up.
I decided this isn’t helping me though, so when the alarm went off at 7:10am I got out of bed (I set multiple ten-minute interval alarms because of the see above). I went downstairs and was successfully awake for about an hour, then I fell asleep on the sofa. I started work earlier than I normally do, but later than I wanted to today. Oh well.
Late last night I bought a kindle copy of ‘Glorious Rock Bottom’ by Bryony Gordon. I had been wanting to read it since it came out and it was the 99p kindle book deal of the day so I wanted to take advantage of that. The money actually came out of my account today though, which is good because I was having guilt about spending money after I posted my spending diary for the week yesterday.
My order of the reusable sanitary towels was coming today, even though I only bought it yesterday and didn’t select special delivery. Bonus!
Today I also had delivery of an order I placed last week from an independent coffee shop. I had previously ordered from them in the summer but then thought they had stopped delivering but I recently realised they still were. I had ordered ground coffee, 50% cacao chocolate chips, coffee filter papers, a six-pack crate of almond milk and a six-pack crate of oat milk. They were delivered to me before I had even paid for them, but I did later receive the invoice and promptly paid it. The order had come to £32.33 and will keep me going for most of the rest of the month. The food and household shopping budget is now at £319.50 spent out of the £400, so I only have £80.50 to last sixteen days. It should be doable, as long as I can keep my flat mate from buying lots of treats. I started devising a shopping list around a dinner plan for the rest of the week. I think I have unfairly accused my flat mate of buying treats as I probably could be doing better with what I have planned to buy for dinners versus what we already have in the cupboards.
I tidied up the kitchen and then settled down to Netflix. I plan to get a really good bedtime routine set up so I’m going to begin getting ready for bed at 9:30pm.
Today was much like yesterday. Got out of bed on the second alarm. Fell asleep on the sofa downstairs. Boo.
I felt tired in general all day. At lunch time the flat mate and I did a small run around some parks near us. I was hoping that would give me energy but it just made me more tired.
I got a mix of things achieved both at work and at home. After a catch up with my line manager I went to the shops as I needed to pick something up from a specific shop that would shut before the others. I also picked up my prescription from the pharmacy. I went to Home Bargains to pick up some handwash refills. They were 10p more than they would have been in Savers, which shuts even earlier, but at least at Home Bargains I don’t have to answer questions at the till about whether I would be interested in buying random fragrance, batteries or hand sanitizer. The handwash refills cost £2.97 for the three of them.
Then it was off to Tesco, where I bought all the things I devised on the list yesterday. As I feared I spent a lot of money. I bought some rather decadent pizzas for Friday which cost nearly a quarter of the total spend. The rest of the shopping was Actimel products, five multipacks of Cadbury’s chocolate bars, vegetarian meatballs and sausages and burgers, eggs, plum tomatoes, avocadoes, scampi, plain flour, tortilla chips, carrots, apples, two packets of cheese, bread rolls and salt. The shopping cost £42.41 and I had 80p off because of the club card prices deals. I could get used to that discount.
It took a long time to put all the food shopping away and to reorganise the fridge, freezer and cupboards with the new stock items. I then put the dishwasher on, did a small washing up turn of things that can’t go in the dishwasher, cleaned and wiped the surfaces and sorted out the recycling. It is rubbish night tonight. As in previous weeks one of my neighbours has been putting their rubbish in my bin. This is annoying. I don’t know who it is as a lot of houses nearby us have over flowing bins, so although I think it is one of the other flats in this building it could actually be another house on the street. I just don’t know. I guess I should get over it. It’s a bit annoying as I can’t put my rubbish in my bin now, that’s the only reason it gets to me. Plus, I can’t fathom how people can produce so much rubbish in the space of two weeks.
The flat mate and I made wedges and scampi for dinner and we watched Beyond the Mat on Netflix. I’m a big wrestling fan and I thought I had seen this before but I think it was actually another wrestling documentary as I don’t remember a lot of this.
I am still planning on going to bed early. I’ll begin the routine at 9:30pm today just like I did yesterday. I was still awake at least an hour later in bed last night when I turned off the light at 10:30pm. It is going to take some time to sort out my sleep.
I have realised from several weeks that I actually find my drinking alcohol is more sensible when I spread it over four nights over the course of the week and have three alcohol free days, instead of drinking on three nights in a week and having no alcohol on four nights. I just found I was drinking lots on a Saturday because it felt like my only chance to drink, and that is silly behaviour. I drink less than the 14 recommended units for a female each week anyway, so I don’t have a problem with drinking too much in general, but I noticed I was drinking more because of lockdown.
I’ve become very dissatisfied with my body. I kept my weight relatively constant throughout lockdown (or so I thought) but I have finally conceded that I have put on weight. I also feel that I have lost muscle and exchanged it for body fat. I haven’t put on a significant amount of weight at all, but I do look different to how I looked pre lock down. On the 14th of March, a couple of days before I was sent home to work, I ran a 20-mile race. It seems like a lifetime ago now. I haven’t even run 10 miles since that date. My running has slipped during lockdown and I need to bring it back because my 2020 marathon that has been postponed to next year might go ahead. So, I have to be prepared.
I had a bit of a mental health blip as the evening went on and my flat mate sent me off to have a shower and an early night. Both sorted me out and I felt much calmer. I turned out the light at 10:30pm and hoped for a good night’s sleep.
I woke up a couple of times in the night. At 3:15am and 4am. The old Flo would have got up at those times as I clearly felt awake, but I knew this wouldn’t be good for me, so I tried to go back to sleep. It worked. I woke up at 7am and had a restful morning. I watched a show on BBC iPlayer that I think was first broadcast in January called ‘Easy Ways to Live Well’ as it covered two things I wanted to work on, stress and gut bacteria. It seems that having cold showers for between 3-5 minutes reduces stress levels, so I started off with a warm shower then turned the temperature down all the way for three minutes. It did make me feel better.
The reason why I am keen to work on my stress levels is because a recent blood test has revealed that I have an abnormally high amount of a hormone called prolactin. Prolactin is commonly found due to stress, or an under active thyroid, or because there is something up with the pituitary gland. I am having the blood tests repeated on a day that would have been four weeks after the first tests to see if it has continued to rise. I don’t actually feel stressed in myself, but I am willing to try things to reduce these levels.
I made the mistake of being on my laptop too close to bedtime and as a result I was still awake two hours after turning off the light that just made me frustrated and stressed. So, all in all today wasn’t a success.
I woke up much later than I wanted to because of the lack of sleep last night. I decided to try and keep up my good habits, so I had another cold shower. It is definitely easier to have a cold shower in the morning than the evening.
I have recently reread a book I’ve had for years called ‘What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast’ by Laura Vanderkam and I found it really useful. I have decided to finally buy a book of hers I’ve been meaning to read for years, which is ‘168 Hours’. It cost £10.99 for a kindle copy – more expensive than the physical for some reason – and I look forward to reading it.
But first I read a book I bought for my kindle back in January and never finished reading. ‘This Book Will Make You Sleep’ by Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar. I have started trying to read this book at least four other times, but I knew I had to do something that would make me feel like I was being proactive towards my sleep problems. I did feel calmer and a lot more in control for having read it. The first thing I did was move a loud ticking clock out of my bedroom and onto the landing based on a suggestion in the book. I feel less stressed about going to bed tonight and getting shut eye, which should really help my prolactin levels.
Today was also the day that I do the meter readings for my energy company, in order to get accurate bills and to make sure we don’t run up a huge debt again. It looks like we might be in credit, but that will dramatically decrease over winter so I will keep it as it is for now. Also related to my energy company is that I have signed up for their carbon offsetting scheme, so I had £1.82 come out of my account today to offset the carbon I produce each month.
The flat mate went to the shops and came back with Thai crisps, milk, a milkshake and a cucumber from Tesco. That came to £3.02 and he got £1.29 off due to the club card price deal. He also went to Home Bargains and bought twiglets, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant and shower gel. The shower gel and deodorant won’t go on the household budget, so the amount to deduct from the household budget was £5.27.
I batch cooked a big portion of vegetarian chilli, did the washing up and tidied up the kitchen. I sat down at my laptop to do my Duolingo lesson for the day. My life just feels a bit hectic at the moment so I am temporarily aiming to only do one Duolingo lesson a day and try to pick it up again in November.
I think the flat mate and I are going to have to rethink the boiler settings. It is cold! Il fait froid!
I felt empowered after reading the sleep book yesterday and woke up with my 6am alarm feeling refreshed. Because it was a developing habit, I still slept in until the second alarm, but I was downstairs by 6:25am.
I also started keeping a time log. I haven’t started reading 168 Hours yet (because I am reading another book about sleep – Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker) but I know that the main instruction is to keep a time log, so I have opened up a spreadsheet and will be doing this as accurately as possible for the next week. I have discovered it takes me six minutes to make a cup of coffee. Something to keep in mind for if I only have four minutes before my next teams meeting one day. This does mean a lot more admin in my day, but I feel it will be worth it.
I had my most productive day at work. I nearly did three times as much work in this one day as I did in the rest of the week combined. It must have been the power of a good night’s sleep.
However, I later received some bad news in the day that affected me, and then I heard even worse bad news about a friend, and this sent me into a tailspin of anxiety and depression. I had made today one of my drinking nights and I’m beginning to wonder if there is a correlation between drinking alcohol and feeling anxious. I feel alcohol is an amplifier of your emotions, so I was already stressed and in shock before I had my alcohol, maybe that was it. To be clear, I am just talking about one (admittedly large) glass of wine and a can of beer, rather than anything heavy in terms of drinking. I noticed another day I drank recently that I began to feel anxious. I do have the high level of stress hormone going about my body at the moment so that probably isn’t helping. I am also about to go on my break from my pill, so that’s probably making things worse. I have to work on my stress levels for my health. High prolactin levels (the hormone I have too much of) can mean a few things, all of which can appear to be treated easily (the rare occasion where consulting Dr Google made me less anxious not more) but it would be good to work on my stress to see if that is the cause of it.
So, I am considering finishing the open bottle of white wine in the fridge tomorrow, and then maybe taking a drink from alcohol for a while. Just to monitor my anxiety levels to see if it is made worse by alcohol when I reintroduce it. I’m not drinking as much 0% alcohol beers as I used to because I’m trying to see if they’re affecting my IBS. I like data. I like quantifying things. I like knowing what works best for me in terms of ‘hashtag living my best life’. I really don’t feel like I am living my best life at the moment, but does anyone feel like they are in 2020?
I tried going to bed early, but I was just too het up. Twice in the two hours between first trying to sleep and then perhaps eventually falling asleep I got up to do something to tire me out. I cancelled a hair appointment I had booked for a date in November. I can’t afford the cost of it even though it is two pay days away. Not when winter and Christmas are coming. I now have a £20 credit on my online account from the deposit for the appointment being refunded. It is a pity I couldn’t have it refunded to my card but I assumed something that like would happen. I also watched some of ‘Master the Mess’ on YouTube. If you’re not aware, before Netflix the Home Edit had a series on YouTube. It’s quite good. I’m obsessed with the Home Edit. I keep looking at my cupboards and wondering if I can make my life better just by reorganising them.
Eventually I felt tired enough to try out sleep again.
I woke up at my 7am alarm, and of course got out of bed on the second one. I put on some Gossip Girl and pottered about drinking coffee, making breakfast, cleaning up the kitchen and playing around on my laptop. I kept a time log during it all of course. I also made croutons because we had a stale roll in the bread bin.
I had another cold shower. I think I am coming to like them. I haven’t noticed if they’ve actually had a positive effect on my mental health, but I certainly feel like they have a good placebo effect on me.
The flat mate and I made a food plan for the week ahead and then I went to the shops. My old faithful Mr Tesco. It wasn’t too busy, but still there was a wide selection of people doing what they wanted whether it was safe or not. I bought Pepsi Max, orange juice, mayonnaise, gravy granules, Flora, mustard, stir fry sauce, baby corn, bananas, two broccoli stems, mangetout, tofu, Quorn nuggets, oranges, bread and eggs. Clubcard prices took off £1.60 from the shopping meaning it came to £21.71. According to my time log it took thirty-three minutes to do the food shopping and twenty-two minutes to take off my shoes, wash my hands, put away the food shopping and make a cup of tea and sit down at my lap top. You may ask what the actual point of boring time admin is. Well, I can see that from start to finish it takes at least an hour to complete a shopping trip from start to finish. This is good to know in the case that one lunchtime I might be twenty minutes into it when I decide to maximise my day and do the food shopping before restarting work. It would result in me being late for work, not a good look at any point but particularly bad since I work from home and have no logical commute or time delay to explain it.
I went for a long run in the afternoon, in a time that was about two minutes faster than the last time I did this distance. I haven’t made any improvements in my running for a long time so I felt happy about this. Back at home I put the boiler on to heat up some water and then I did Duolingo lessons for nearly an hour (thanks to my time log I know how long it has taken). I then did my weekly pampering session and later in the evening the flat mate and I relaxed with a film. We watched Enola Holmes on Netflix. It was ok, not the best thing I had ever seen but enjoyable enough.
I then tried to go to bed at a sensible time as I had to get up early tomorrow for a run. Some anxious thoughts started creeping it. It is night that gets to me. I can be fine during the day and then as soon as I’m in bed I start mulling over all the bad things that didn’t bother me during the day. I think it is disrupting my sleep pattern. I am working hard to overcome it.
This morning was successful because I actually got out of bed on the first alarm. I put on Gossip Girl and sat down at my laptop with some coffee.
I had another cold shower. I don’t start off having a cold shower, I have a normal wash with a normal warm temperature and then I switch to cold for three minutes. I’m not sure what effect they are actually having, but they do seem to have a placebo effect and I do look forward to them. Then I brushed my teeth, washed my face and headed out to do my run with my friends.
We ran a 5km route that is usually the most popular park run in my home city, but there have obviously been no park runs due to lockdown. This is the first time I have been in that part of my home city since before lockdown, and the first time I have run 5km all the way since 11th September. So even though I was the slowest in the group, and I don’t even have the excuse of being injured like the second slowest, I still enjoyed the run and it has given me a confidence boost.
Because we are a running group who do good deeds we then went and did litter picking for forty-five minutes. When it was over, I walked back home with my friend in the group who lives near me talking about Gossip Girl. At home I put on the hot water for my second shower and did some Duolingo while I waited for it to heat up.
I had my shower, put on some warm and comfy clothes, and then snuggled up on the sofa with my Kindle. I read for about four hours, only pausing to get some teas and crisps during that time. The flat mate started making dinner and I caught up with some work. I was in charge of making the Yorkshire puddings and I went to check on them.
And after a successful dinner, I declare the week over!
FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £107.71 (MY HALF £53.85)
PERSONAL SHOPPING = £11.98
TOTAL SPENDING THIS WEEK = £65.83