Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based blogger, mama, creative, coffee-only with my oxygen, vegan, plus-size fashion lover and feminist.


Life check-in and goal setting for Autumn.

September is here, I don't know why but September always feels a bit more of a new beginning that January to me. Perhaps its the change in season, or the years spent in school and now working in higher education but I really love this time of year.

A chance for a fresh start.

Things have been busy since I went back to full time work, it has been 7 months now and I feel like I have an OK rhythm going, but it still feels like there aren't enough hours in the day sometimes. I mean we all get where we need to be, we all are fed and watered and clothed etc... All the essentials are getting done. I just struggle with the juggle sometimes.

So with the change in seasons I am reflecting and setting myself some goals. My main issues right now are around fitting in housework and spending too much money.

I feel pretty happy with how life is going in the most part but housework always seems to drop off the bottom of my list, I very much get to 8pm having put Zoe to bed and feel like I have earned a rest and the idea of starting to tidy fills me with dread. I am lucky that my husband is a tidy person so I avoid living in complete squalor, but I want to get some control back and feel a bit house proud - instead of doing those 10 minute blitz cleans where everything gets shoved out of sight before someone pops round.

I recently started following The Organised Mum and Mrs Hinch on Instagram and they have got me feeling a little more motivated. I find the Organised Mum method a bit restrictive and very much geared towards a certain type of person and home, which doesn't always suit me - but I do like the general idea of 30 minute timers, fitting things around life and doing little bits throughout the day. I also love Mrs Hinch for the little tips and tricks, product recommendations and also just her enthusiasm for it all - it reminds me that its not all just a chore and it can be fun! I am planning on setting my own little daily tasks and ticking them off to keep on top of things better, I am tempted to share some things on IG stories BUT everyone else out there cleaning seems to live in immaculate homes so I am not sure I should really be sharing my shame.

The second focus right now is money, we have lots of plans and things we want to do this year, including taking Zoe on her first holiday abroad. She starts school in September 2019 so we want to get away while we can still do it in term time. Similarly with the housework, the food planning and prepping has taken a back seat. I am doing more little trips to the supermarket, little stops at Pret or Greggs for breakfast/lunch at work. It is all adding up and chipping away at any savings we manage to tuck away. I attended a GiffGaff Gameplan event a couple of weeks ago to learn more about managing money. The Giffgaff gameplan app is launching in January, but they have some info on their website, as well as a free credit report tool.

I attended talks on Mortgages and Savings and picked up some great tips. The mortgage talk wasn't great as it pretty much cemented for me that we are so far away from being able to get on the property ladder, which is a hard pill to swallow. However, the savings talk by Eileen from Your Money Sorted was fantastic. She gave us some great tips and advice so I thought I would share what I found useful with you;

1. Meal Planning - I mean I know meal planning is great, you know I love a bit of meal planning around here, but I have lost my mojo for sure. She reminded me how much you can save by meal planning and being that bit more organised. I am determined to get back into it, so lookout for those posts coming back as well as some midweek meal recipes.

2. Haggle and switch - Switching utilities, or haggling a better broadband deal can reap huge rewards. We do already do this as my husband is a big fan of a haggle, but I hadn't realised just how much could be saved.

3. Apps and tech - There are literally loads of apps and pieces of technology that can help you gain control of spending and save. Based on recommendations from friends and Eileen, I have started using Cleo and Chip. Cleo is a spending analysis tool which utilises facebook messenger. It presents you with all sorts of information and you can ask it questions like "how much have I spent on eating out this week" and it can really hone in on problem areas and give that reality check when needed. Chip is an automatic savings app, it analyses your spending habits and squirrels small sums of money away for you without you really noticing, this is ideal for me as I am very much a 'if I see it I spend it' kind of person. I am hoping to use this to save for holiday spends.

4. Talk about money - Actually one of the biggest take homes for me was that its OK to talk about money, its healthy, its normal. I tend to shy away from money talk and have always felt like a total novice, but after talking to people in the workshop I realised I knew more than others and I felt better knowing others had debt or couldn't even consider mortgages etc... It was really freeing to talk so openly. As a result I went away and checked my credit rating (something I have always hidden from out of fear of it being awful) but actually I have an excellent credit rating and my financial situation is much brighter than I thought! Its easy to look around at others buying homes and shiny things and assume that they must have their shit together, when they just have a different approach to their finances.

So, down to some goal setting. I really want these to be more than just empty promises, I want to set SMART objectives for myself and check in on progress and document when I achieve them.

Goal 1: Set a daily task list for housework, put it up somewhere in the house and tick it off when completed. I will share this more on Instagram for those interested.

Goal 2: Meal plan weekly, blog it, put it on the fridge and get excited about cooking again. I want to start sharing recipes here again too.

Goal 3: Set a savings target, stick to it and try to curb unnecessary spending. I might do semi-regular check-ins on this here, Follow up on how the apps are working for me and any lessons learned along the way. I am also determined to do Christmas frugally this year, so lookout for some content on that!

Anyone else feeling a fresh start at this time of year?

Sidenote; if anyone has any holiday recommendations for a family who have zero clue please let me know, we want a cheap and cheerful all inclusive type sun holiday, somewhere central where you don't need a car, good pool, chilled vibes... Help!