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10 Things I’ve Stopped Buying

My general life rule is to not compare myself to others. I’m more keen to share information and delve into information others share and chose that which applies to me. Everyone is different. From a different set of parents, different country, financial chances and life opportunities.

So, don’t compare. To help you in your materialistic or minimalist journey, I’ve put together a long list of things I no longer buy, or buy a lot less off, in my effort to de-clutter my life and be a minimalist.

 

Here are the first 10 of those things:

  1. MAGAZINES. In my teens I indulged a lot on comics and magazines aimed at girls where celebrities are featured. Then I was a lot into fashion magazines and soon after I discovered that film journals existed. I used to subscribe to film magazines for years but I haven’t bought a single magazine for well over five years now.
  2. DVDs. I used to watch DVDs on my laptop but when the DVD player feature stopped working I stopped buying them too. I could no longer watch my movies again and again on repeat in private and I thought it only too embarrassing to do so in a flat-share living room. When I upgraded my laptop, the CD feed was so loud that became unpleasant to watch movies from a disc. I haven’t bought a single DVD for at least four years.
  3. HOME DÉCOR. I was never one for buying house decorations. As I’m a minimalist in nature and prefer to be surrounded by objects that have actually some purpose, I haven’t bought beatifying objects for a house for at least nine years.
  4. SEASONAL DÉCOR. As in Christmas, Easter decorations etc. I haven’t bought anything for at least seven years.
  5. SWIM GEAR. The last time I bought a bikini was two years ago. I wanted to be ready in case I went to the sea at last. I used to have a bikini for over a decade but as I have downsized and moved house a number of times, and haven’t been to the beach for a very long time, I have no idea where it went.
  6. FACE CREAM. I used to be obsessed with expensive creams to slather my face in the hope to look prettier and add some invisible, unexplained substance to my existence. Then I used a cream from a known big brand and started having acne. I haven’t used a face cream for at least four years.
  7. BODY LOTION. Even when I used to purchase body lotion I never really got into the habit of diligently massaging my body with it. When I did, on and off I had various skin reactions and so over time I stopped bothering altogether. I haven’t used a body lotion for at least four years.
  8. MUSIC ONLINE or CDs. I listen to trendy music on YouTube and to feel good and relax I listen to affirmations. I haven’t purchased music for at least four years.
  9. CLEANING PRODUCTS. They are included in our rent and so is the cleaner. I haven’t bought any cleaning products for at least a year.
  10. TOILET PAPER. It is included in our rent, so I haven’t bought toilet paper for at least a year as well.

There are many more products that I’ve stopped buying or that I don’t buy as often but because they are so many, they deserve to be divided into different subcategories and then presented to you in themes. I give you ten now because I’m always curious as to what others have stopped buying and I thought it was my turn and only fair to share with the world as well.

Remember, don’t compare to what others do. I share this list in case you think of cutting down some of the above and contemplate the normality of it. It’s normal to make your own choices, especially when it comes to your finances from monies you have earned. My personal experience with minimalism, has been long, gradual and everchanging. It also goes hand in hand with frugality. The only thing I can do for you, is to share my choices and encourage you to save monies where you can and where it applies in your life and personal circumstances.

Thank you for reading, and till next time, many happy thoughts with you!

Maria

 

The Expired Foods

Here I continue with my financial journey:

If you are not a poor Londoner, let me shock you a little. Do you see these products on the photos? The breads, the apple turnovers and the cherry pie? They were all heavily discounted. Do you know why? Because the day I bought them was the last day they were allowed to be sold.

If products with an expiry date don’t get sold the shop selling them will make a massive loss.

As it happens, most food products are heavily processed and have a high quantity of preservatives. This is due to the need for transportation time and return for profit among other things. Long story short, if you are worrying about the quality of what you are eating, let me tell you this: If you are eating these kind of foods, and unless you are growing your own food you most likely do, whether you buy them on their first day of shelf life or the last, you’ll get the same amount of preservatives in your system.

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This was something I didn’t know when I first moved to London. I saw people buying these expiring-on-the-day products in the supermarket and wasn’t comfortable with the idea. These people didn’t look like homeless. Sometimes I’d buy those things as well, enough to eat on that day or maybe the day after. But that was that.

Then I saw a friend who was an accountant buying ‘expired’ foods. He put them in the fridge or the freezer and ate them at a later date.

Then I saw an architect doing the same thing, and his girlfriend too. Years later I had a live-in landlord who knew a thing or two about saving money and had managed to retire with his wife at age 55. He was regularly on the hunt for such last minute discounts.

Expired foods Discounted Cherry pie

Over the months and years in London, I saw people from all walks of life and nationalities buy meat, vegetables, ready meals and so much more on the expiry day, at a fraction of the original cost, and save tons of money by doing just that. They froze the food and problem solved. I wouldn’t call it the healthiest, but it is definitely the city’s cheapest.

I remember my live in landlord even went to extra lengths and cut the butter in portions and put it in the freezer. Technically they had fresh butter for a very long time. In case you didn’t know, hotels and restaurants do just the same, with butter and other essentials. They find the cheapest of everything and find ways and tricks to present it as the best. They’ll never tell you and you’ll never know. It’s all about presentation, presentation, presentation. So why not do it yourself and profit from it?

As for me, I love saving my money when I can, but I don’t go out of my way to find discounted and about to expire food items. The other day I happened to be coming from the cinema and ventured into the supermarket hoping they would have sausage roll for a late hot snack before my walk home. There were no sausage rolls available and they were about to close when I found the breads and the apple turnovers.

As I’m honest with myself, and I know I’m going to eat something sweet at least twice a day, and if I’m stressed I’ll eat way more than just two pieces of cake daily, I thought I’d grab those great offers for the turnovers. Then a day or so later found the cherry pie. Why not? Since I’ll eat it, I might as well be kind to my pocket.

The Mediterranean bread, I was very lucky because it was delicious, full of olives, onion and sun dried tomatoes. I cut it in slices and had it just like that on its own for breakfast. As for the sourdough bread, I cut it in slices as well, and had it with sweet and savoury toppings. They last me for nearly two weeks.

Fruits for the week

April has been rather hectic. But don’t worry, I’ll be alright with my food intake. I had normal food with plenty of vegetables and plenty of fruit too. In case you are wondering about the bananas, and they look too brown and overripe to you, you are right. They are. But if you haven’t tried so far, try overripe banana with lemon. Mash one banana with a fork and mix the juice of half a lemon. I just squeeze it with my hand over the plate, I don’t bother for juicers and whatnot. Banana-lemon mash is my go to treat when I have leftover bananas.

That’s all for now. A little inside on cheap London, busy life, saving money and trying to balance crappy food habits.

Have a lovely week 😊

Pears And Links

For a smart girl like Olive Green, being in love for two years is a problem that needs to get fixed. To get Carl Spenser out of her mind, she plucks up the courage and asks him on a date. She is prepared for a no. Maybe for a yes. But never in a million years that he’d consider her anything less than his equal.Within an instant, insecurity and self-doubt begin. Sixteen-year-old Olive is not shy, she has an unusual secret.She is a Link.A Link can heal. A Link can kill. But Olive is in denial.Until eventually Carl takes notice of her and she is certain it is her determination that made him finally look her way. Her luck has turned around. She is happy and in love. Unaware that the tall, blue-eyed boy is only after one thing.The power in her blood.

Source: Pears And Links

A Week’s Meal Prep and Budgeting – Can You Do It?

Are you trying to prep meals for an entire week, especially for lunches at work, to save money and most importantly time? You manage to plan it but it doesn’t always work? In fact, it doesn’t most of the time despite you putting all this thought and effort into it? And you end up feeling guilty because you spend money buying lunch and on top of that end up binning the food at home because it’s gone off?

You are not the only one. This is just life happening. Like the unique individual that you are, you have an equally unique excuse for not achieving this modern life accomplishment as expected.

Last night you didn’t cook from scratch because you craved for that very well earned telly time by the couch. Now you have no leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and just your luck you forgot to buy bread to make that dreadful sandwich you don’t like anyway. Guess what horror you are facing tomorrow. You are going to spend money to get lunch and very probably dinner too.

The irony is, you had planned to prepare meals and were hyped to get organized but your healthy choices mock you from the fridge and you just don’t feel it.

Fret not, I have the exact very problem. But I’ve found the solution. I’ve stopped comparing my life to that of others and life is good. My motto is Don’t Compare. Just prepare, when you feel like doing so. Just do a little each day, and know that it’s enough. One week it might work but the next it might not.

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Let me tell you how I did this past week. Today is Sunday. I started last Saturday and I prepared breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the entire week and it all went as planned.

Today however, Sunday, I was meant to prepare for this coming second week. I went as far as planning and getting groceries, but I didn’t cook or prep. Instead I had a wonderful day where I did very little of practical and sensible nature. I spent my morning reading, then went for lunch and coffee with a friend, then browsed on Portobello Road and now I’m at home debating whether I should do what has to be done for a successful week in savings or sit down with my laptop and write an article that people from all around the world might enjoy and identify with.

I had a very successful first week of budgeting, meal prepping and scheduling. Now that I am to prepare for week two, I’m not too sure. I had peanut butter sandwich and chocolate muffin for breakfast, and at the restaurant I had chicken with bread, green peas and coleslaw. My nutrition for the day is covered and my stomach is filled but as I’m sitting on my bed with my laptop on my lap, my brain says forget the prepping, just sit comfortably and write instead. Eat crisps if you want to nibble. You have bread and peanut butter and cream cheese and fruit, pepper and olives to snack healthily. It won’t hurt you to buy lunch tomorrow. You exchange good mood and fun time with money, that’s perfectly fine.

Then I realised, this is what we all want, to enjoy life. Saving is great, but not the alpha or the omega.

My main obstacle when I’m ready with my prepped meals is that I know what I’m going to eat the entire week. It should be an achievement but unfortunately my appetite rebels and I feel like eating something different. Perhaps I want to see friends in the evening over a meal in a restaurant or perhaps just a coffee, to indulge on a friendly encouraging environment. Since I’m only human it’s only natural after work to be tired from work and the commute. In my case walking. It’s only understanding to want to relax and not want to eat the same thing that is faithfully waiting for me in the fridge.

I dread the day tomorrow. I don’t know what to eat, I don’t feel like cooking, I want to snack, I better start preparing for the week. I bought bread that is not in slices, because I cannot stand another slice of toast bread. No more. I’ve had it all last week. Sliced bread is low quality bread that costs very little and lasts longer because of its low quality and unhealthy additives. Last week I wanted to have a low budget week so I opted for that kind of bread. As you can see, this week I bought a good quality one that I still have to slice.

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To leave a comment, go back to the beginning of this article below the title on the left, and click where is says LEAVE A COMMENT. Many kisses, have a brilliant week!

*For a full detail of prep, what I had and how it went, keep reading below. 

From Sunday to Saturday it went like this:

*For fruit, and to make sure I took vital vitamins in, I had every day an apple, a pear and a mandarin.

*Every day at work I had at least two cups of tea and one of coffee. With milk and sugar of course.

Sunday: For dinner I had fusilli pasta with kale and leek veg. I don’t remember what I had for lunch or breakfast!

Monday breakfast: two slices of bread, with two slices of cheese and three slices of Milano salami.

Monday lunch: fusilli past with kale and leek veg.

Monday dinner: kale and leek veg on its own.

Tuesday breakfast: two slices of bread, with two slices of cheese and three slices of Milano salami.

Tuesday lunch: fusilli pasta with radishes, orange bell pepper, loads of parsley and olives.

Tuesday dinner: bread and peanut butter. I didn’t feel like eating anything else.

Wednesday breakfast: two slices of bread, with two slices of cheese and three slices of Milano salami.

Wednesday lunch: fusilli pasta with orange bell pepper, a lot of parsley, green olives and tuna steak from tin.

Wednesday dinner: I had no appetite but I ate the fruit that I didn’t eat at work. Then I had appetite for something sweet and had a slice of bread with chocolate spread.

Thursday breakfast: I wanted something sweet for breakfast so ignored my cheese sandwich I had prepared and had a Madelaine cake and bread with chocolate spread instead.

Thursday lunch: fusilli pasta with tuna from yesterday, radishes, orange bell pepper, plenty of parsley and green olives.

Thursday dinner: Other than a small bowl of tortilla chips, I honestly don’t remember.

On Friday I was lucky. I had half of the cheese sandwich that was meant for yesterday and a Madeleine cake. Lucky for me, we went with colleagues to a pizzeria for lunch. I binned the pasta I had prepared for Friday, it had been there for more than five days and I was not going to have it for later. Game over. After work we went to a pub and I had two half pints of Coca-Cola and I was sugar overload. I had the other half of that cheese sandwich for dinner when I went home later. Bring in the comments folks. It felt so good to go home and not think about food.

Saturday breakfast: I had the last slice of the bread loaf, with peanut butter. For lunch I had a coffee and left over pizza from yesterday. I snacked on small bowl of peanuts and a small bowl of tortilla chips. Also an orange juice and a chocolate waffle.

Saturday Dinner: Three chicken thighs from the supermarket and a chocolate muffin. A mandarin.

Sunday. Chocolate muffin for breakfast. A small bowl of tortilla chips for snack, water. I have water throughout the week, I can’t be bothered mentioning it on every paragraph, I believe it goes without saying for most people. Then I went to a restaurant and we had lunch. Chicken, with green peas, coleslaw and one slice of tomato. With water, no soft drinks or alcohol. I’m not a drinker. My coffee was terrible and didn’t finish it because it didn’t have enough milk in it. My friend bought a dessert and she gave me half of it to share the calories. I forgot to mention I’m not fazed by calories. I love my food!

Thank you for reading this far, let me know how you go about preparing your meals for work or for your family, I’d love to hear how different people do different things. Till next time, enjoy your food and keep smiling!

The Beauty of YouTube

As a rule I am not one for technology and social media. Around 2008 however, all accidentally I discovered a website called YouTube. It turned out I had used it before to watch various videos but at the time I thought them to be videos docked on random sites.

In 2008 I discovered YouTube properly. From the addiction of clicking video after video, to going for information, to searching for entertainment, to binge-watching things that are of no interest to me but for some magical reason I’m hooked on and keep watching. And keep clicking. Trying to stay away from the addiction but staying only in words and falling back into the habit.

This is not an article about how I stopped watching YouTube. There is no such thing, I’m thrilled with it and I’m not going to change it. This is an article where I’m going to tell you how I changed. I’ve just become very selective as a person and now I know how to manage my time wisely. If you are sucked into it that’s because your life needs fixing or because you are going through certain emotional needs. Or both. Don’t try to avoid it. It will only get worse if you do.

Let’s look again why I’m addicted to YouTube.

I use it for almost anything. For things I want to learn, clips from movies I love and have watched on repeat a thousand times, as if I’m on survival drip because at that moment there is nothing more important. The emotion generated from this behaviour, however pathetic, is pure indication as to what needs to be done and change in my life.

Over time, YouTube transformed into a worldwide community I am part of.

Even though my interests have changed it started as a place where I could check celebrities and movie clips. As a starving cinephile and no life of my own this is what I did, I will not hide it. Well done you if you have a clear mind and you are only purpose focused. I on the other hand sometimes still click on click-baits about the 10 things I’m Not Interested In Watching, yet I do, so please don’t judge me. Take the journey with me, you might find some of your weaknesses online to be same as mine.

If you have many years of YouTube watching under your belt, and happened to walk down the same video paths as me, you’ve been entertained, hooked, drawn, fascinated, disgusted and freaked. Most probably you’ve watched disturbing subjects that you’d be a lot happier without knowing they existed. This is what I call the Dark Site of YouTube. It’s like a ride. After years of experienced clicking, you know when it is time to stop clicking on things that do not serve you.

Now my appetite has changed. I have to be looking at beautiful things, such as happy stories, flowers and people who strive to better their lives and get creative on the way. YouTube is there to create a happy world for me thank you very much. The clicking power is in my hands. I chose my community members like I chose my friends and my neighbourhood. I still watch music video clips, music of new artists, and of course fan-videos. As my interests have shifted, my preference now gravitates towards more worthy content. For instance, affirmations’ videos have been my go-to for years now. The past few months I’ve become obsessed with minimalism, being frugal and keeping household. My personal life is following a certain curve and my video interests follow suit. Minimalism got my attention as my history of moving things and moving houses goes back decades and only last week I finally closed down a storage unit I had for 15 months.

YouTube is also the go to place for everything I’d like to learn. My visual encyclopaedia. Especially for Microsoft Office and things I need for work. A booty where I don’t have to be a pirate and lose an eye or a leg, nor hurt anyone for the treasure.

It is my corner for opinions. Whenever I’m watching a video I tend to first read the comments. Clever, silly, loving, hurtful. It is the place for reviews. Lifestyles. Points of views. How people around the globe think differently. And most surprisingly, how similar they think. The realization that people with the same way of thinking are out there, even though are not in the house next door, feels good.

For instance, I now am happy because I’ve found other people who think it OK to not have all the materialistic possessions in the world. I call them the community of minimalism. Now I know it is OK not to read every book in the world and even not finish one I started if it doesn’t take my fancy. I can let go and give it away because of the Book Tube community. From the YouTube communities I take only that which I can implement in my life and discard the rest. There is no need to stress for not fitting entirely my opinions to somebody else’s. I don’t compare myself to others. There is no pressure.

Because life is good and I’m surrounded by lovely people and there is hope every morning I wake up.

This article is not sponsored and doesn’t promote anything or anyone. It’s all about me and maybe, very possibly, about you too!

***Please leave a comment!!! You can do so by going to the very top of this post, to the left of the title, 3rd subject on the list. Do it! Let me know what you think!

Why I cut and dye my own hair

I cut and colour my own hair for three reasons. To save money, to save time and to save myself the hair related anguish I’ve had over the years.

Over my adult life I’ve had a mixed selection of hair salon experiences. I’ve had the skilled, lovely and friendly kind of hairdressers that took care of my hair for a sensible amount of money. With time, life took us to different places. I moved, they moved. I’ll miss them forever as for me hairdressing goes hand in hand with people you have a good chat with and are part of your social circle.

On the other hand, a ton of bad experiences in three different countries taught me to think differently. From being charged more than what was stated on the price menu, to having things done to my hair that I did not ask for, have made me very hesitant to venture into an establishment that might literally charge me a lot more than what I bargained for.

But let me be practical and explain. I live in London. There are places where I could have my hair cut for £10 but I’ll have to use the public transport to get there. That means at least £4.80 on top of the £10 haircut price. If you add to that the two hours needed for commuting back and forth, plus waiting time at the salon, plus the actual cutting, it’s better to stay at home and do the job myself.

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As I have long and thick hair, it also means that it takes at least eight minutes to dry them fully with a hairdryer, time hairdressers do not waste on me for a tenner. So cutting my own hair makes perfect sense.

Doing it yourself is not difficult. What it requires however, is a certain amount of confidence, courage and appetite for I-don’t-care-anymore-what-it-looks-like-and-what-others-think when I’m done.

This moulding of courage started when I was a child. My mum was cutting my hair and I was never conscious about what I looked like. The thing was, I thought that your mother cutting your hair was something that happened only to poor people. We were poor and everybody knew we were poor. I had this nagging insecurity that everyone had to know that I had been to the hairdresser and to which one at that, like the other kids would specify.

Together with so many other things my mum was keeping household, I was ashamed of her cutting my hair. It was, OMG! People know I’m poor! It’s the end of the world! Of course it was stupid of me, because it doesn’t matter what others think. But during that time, the need of belonging and status was so strong that I could not see the obvious.

Then in my early teens I cut it once myself and it looked good. Only there was something extremely addictive with those scissors and the following week I took it to the next level and it looked awful. I told my mother to fix it and make it nice. Poor woman didn’t know how to cut hair nicely so she literally chopped all of my hair off at irregular lines and I looked horrible. It didn’t dawn on me that my understanding with scissors was better to that of hers. Nor I understood what symmetry was, or even the necessity of a mirror. I had only bothered to use a window reflection.

Going to a professional to fix the horror was out of the question. Here we didn’t have money for food let alone a haircut. The problem was it was summer but the schools were still not out and I looked like a joke.

What I’m trying to say is whatever I decide to do now with my hair will never be as bad as back then. And I am no longer afraid to be hair-embarrassed.

Of course, after that horrendous experience, my hair grew back thick, strong and fearless. As an adult, the hair salon visits that followed over the years weren’t always successful. On no less than three occasions I swore to stay away from hairdressers.

Then in 2010, I watched a tutorial online and cut my hair in a straight line. I did it slowly and it looked fine. A few months later went back to a hair salon. It was fine. Then, just my luck, I had again a few professional hair hiccups. Finally, January 2015, was the last straw. Now I’m thinking, why ever go to a hairdresser’s again?

As for that silly notion that going to the hairdresser’s means I’m a worthy member of society it’s gone since long . I’m as much as valuable as before, only now I’m money and time wise. And I know what suits my head best.

In the future, if I make friends with a hairdresser again, I might go to have my hair cut. For the time being I’m treating my hair, my wallet and my sanity with kindness.

TIME SAVED on hair in 2016:

I’ve cut my hair only twice because I was lazy, and coloured my hair only twice because I contemplated to stop colouring my hair altogether. In total, 4 separate occasions.

That is 4 x 3 hours = 12 hours of my life. Plus the hours I would have worked to pay for the said services. (Commuting, waiting, having the job done. The shower goes towards my biweekly washing-hair time routine. I’d have spent more than 3.5hours for a professional cut. Minus the 0.5 hour it takes me to brush and cut my own hair and store away the scissors, that is 3 hours per occasion)

MONEY SAVED on hair in 2016:

2 X £14.80 = £29.60 (if I were lucky to go to the cheapest salon in London)

2 x €20 = €40 (if I were lucky to have the cheapest colouring service in Greece) That is £33.85 or $42.27 minus what I’ve spent £21 (2xbottles of dye in the total of £9 + 1xbottle of organic dye at £12 = £21

It means I saved £12.85 (£33.85-£21=£12.85), or €15.20 (€40-€24.80=€15.20) or $21.06 ($42.27-$21.21=$21.06)

My time is precious and I love life. Life is beautiful.

Everything is Awesome!

On a happier note, this week we had a rainy adventure after work and because we didn’t want to go to dinner like wet cats, while waiting for the rest of the group me and my friend decided to do a few impromptu touristic things.

We were standing under umbrellas in Leicester square and for a while did people watching but soon decided to pretend to do what tourists do. Shopping. We looked at products we are not interested in buying  but look very nice and we’d love to, but because we are very wise and sensible we decided to save our precious money for future wants and needs instead.

As you know, for me it is a case of not buying things that I cannot use right away, because I have limited space and it is already taken by things I absolutely need and use on frequent basis. I happened to be an accidental minimalist, a term I discovered only recently, for something I have been practising for years.

Me and my friend watched drenched cats walking by, sorry I meant tourists, and then walked a little off Leicester square in an area known as the Swiss Court. We still had a lot of time to kill, and it was raining, and I didn’t want to do any more mindless window shopping in the rain. But my friend had a better idea.

“Why don’t we go to the Lego store,” she asked. I was not in the mood to see more things that I knew I was not going to buy. She was persistent. “You are the one who likes The LEGO Movie,” she said, “you are the one who wants to see The LEGO Batman Movie.” I insisted that I didn’t need to go in yet another store to look at yet more things, but my friend won the argument and I was defeated by the weather already. I mean, I had to defend myself, because I love the Lego movie. I told her that I loved the movie because of the wicked humour and the love the creators have put into making it. She gave me a glance of ‘whatever’ and because curiosity killed the cat, we ran into the store.

Holding my folded umbrella at arm’s length and dripping water everywhere I was smitten. I was happy. They say a photo is a thousand words. See for yourselves.

The Lego store was full of things built out of Lego bricks. Works of art in themselves, whoever put them together deserves an award. And a very good salary. Because this artwork, these creations, make you want to buy the whole shop.

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This is not a small painting. This is two walls in a 90 degrees corner. You cannot even see it. Can you? Because even in the store it is deceiving.

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As a writer I should be leaning towards Shakespeare but as I’m in need of care and protection I’m actually more of soldier-toward-leaning type of girl in real life.

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A real size traditional British phone booth build with Lego bricks. In case you were unfortunate to walk into a real traditional London phone booth that happened to have previously been used as a toilet.

In the store, everything was awesome. No, I’m not advertising anything, not I am not being sponsored, no I didn’t buy anything on that day but when I finally have the house and space I want, I will be buying Lego bricks. That and board games.

PS Last weekend I got to see Lego Batman as well! It was fun!

Treat your partner kindly

 

Have you ever been in a supermarket and you took notice of other people’s behaviours? Especially the not-so-nice ones? I had this today. I was only looking to find tinned peaches in syrup and had to go a few times back and forth through the isles to find them.

When this happens I usually don’t mind because I like my local supermarket and I find grocery shopping therapeutic. But not this time. There was this couple with a boy toddler. The woman was pushing the trolley and the boy was sitting on the trolley-seat and both the child and the mother were quiet. But not the man. He was literally shouting at her as if she had done something wrong.

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Photo source: http://bit.ly/2ibXJ5i

‘Do you have rice, rice, do you have rice?’ Her answer was very quiet. But everybody heard his loud, disrespectful manner. He was walking ahead of her, barking orders, and she was pushing the trolley putting what was needed in the cart. What on earth. I could not avoid them. I looked at them and I was sad with what I saw. Why do people behave like this? It has happened before. As I live in London, the nationalities vary, but one thing is consistent. There are certain men, who treat their partners disrespectfully, for everyone around to notice. As if they take pride in behaving like this. The tone they use and the volume, is as if they want to show the world how good they are at being the boss in the family, advertising their brutality.

This man’s orders included milk, butter, yogurt and pasta. I was avoiding them and kept a truly wide berth but his idea of family shopping was chasing me and everyone else nearby. Finally I found the peaches and was ready for the till. But I could not shake this behaviour off. I went home but I could not just relax.

Why had I let something that was not directed at me, affect me so much? I go at great lengths at avoiding such people. Only the day before yesterday I read an article titled ‘The Uninvited Guests’ and I was upset about such things happening (the article tackled the subject of rape), and there is nothing I can think of that I can do to change the world for the better. I cannot interfere. I cannot alter the law, people or customs.

I only wanted to get a few ingredients from the supermarket, cook and prepare my lunch for tomorrow, but I could not switch off what I had witnessed. My mother taught me to be a thinker and a financially independent woman. She taught me that a family starts with two people who behave harmoniously in order to create, protect and educate their family. If one person behaves as if the other doesn’t matter, then it is time for the other person to find a partner who respects and appreciates them and understands the importance of mutual respect within family. Forever doesn’t exist, unless you and your partner work daily to treasure the mundane, everyday life.

We were meant to go through life in couples, loving each other. It hurts me to see that it isn’t so. And what affects me the most is that I don’t see people directly affected by such behaviours doing anything to change it. Of course, who am I to talk, it is none of my business. Only I wish I could do something, at least find a way to not be bothered when their problem touches my life. Is there a soap of sorts that I can use to wash it away?

Binge watching YouTube is not the answer. I know. I’ve tried it for an hour.

Are you affected by what you see around you? Or do you have the ability to simply walk away indifferent? And if you do, how do you do it?

Changes

Changes are everywhere. They happen on social, cultural and personal level. I don’t like them, and I don’t because they happen in my life way too frequently for my liking.

As an indie author I have to chase the changes because opportunities go with the changes. Have you heard the adage, with chaos comes chance? Well, that’s true. Only I don’t see it. The more I avoided changes the more they happened, but I’ve never got used to them and I never got to like them. At least they taught me one thing. To adjust.

In order to survive.

The more changes the more adjustment. But the more adjustment the more overwhelm. Every plan that I made, fell through. Others would progress ahead of me and I would have the permanent effect of stop and start, stop and start. Until I figured I’d have to adjust to that as well, and accept that this is how my life is going to be, forever more.

Why I’m telling you this?

Change is overwhelm, and produces a sense of instability if you every day is anchored on yet another change. People change. They say one thing but mean another, have an agenda, don’t keep their promises because something came up or because they think others will adjust around their comes and goings. People who have monotony want change, whereas people who have overwhelm of change want monotony. For a change. Just like me.

Right here, right now, I’ve had enough of changes. You know the problem when things have to change in your life for it to get better but they don’t, and the things that are just fine change instead? I had it all my life, but I have it a lot more lately. As in the entire year of 2016 lately.

That’s why I’m a reader. That’s why I’m a writer. If you are an author you probably understand. If you are an indie author you probably understand better. Because books offer a sense of welcome, a universe where you belong and no one has the power to remove you, no matter how hard they try.

I wish that 2017 will finally bring the stability I long for all my life. As for you, I wish it will bring you whatever it is you need in your life.

 

Tons of love,

Maria xxx

Day 37 -Excited! I’m working on something!

 

I’m so excited!

The most amazing time in my life is when I’m working on something. Be it a book, a cake, a surprise for a friend, a new skill. When I’m working on something then I’m full of euphoria and I look forward to the next second, minute, hour, day! Everything becomes so amazing.

That’s what I’m experiencing right now. Everything is covered with this brilliant tint of pink. Everyone is lovely and life is good.

I’ll let you know what I’m doing right now. I’m working on my self-publishing. I am a writer, but at this stage I cannot say that I’m working on my writing. Although I am doing work that will eventually benefit my writing, what I do right now isn’t exactly writing. Self-publishing involves aspects of business that are surprisingly irrelevant to writing. It involves business skills, people skills, technical skills, financial skills. Lately I spend my working days coordinating people and services that are related to publishing. It is hard work, but I love it. Up to now, it has only been about the digital aspect of publishing. Imagine how busy it’s going to be when I start to print hard copy books as well. The thought alone fills me with incredible excitement!

In due time I’ll get there too. But in the meantime, my digital world takes priority.

So yes, what I’m really trying to say, is that being excited with what you do, it really makes your day truly extraordinary.

Until next time, have brilliant happy days.

Lots of love,

Maria