• Update: The past 12 months – Where have I been?

    If you’re reading this, thank you. I don’t know if I need to explain but I feel like I have to.

    I’ve not been around for around 12 months, away from the blog, YouTube, Social media and I feel quite liberated having given myself a break.

    I have had Leah XL as a blog (in various guises) since 2010 and have enjoyed the process of either reviewing something and giving my opinion or sharing how I feel to people who enjoy what I have to say.

    update 1

    You may have noticed that I have been on hiatus and I wanted to update you on what’s been happening.

    October 2017

    • I started a new job. A job that I have done before but in a different sector and an hour away from home. The job is high pressured (which I really enjoy) and is deadline driven. I needed to focus my energy in this job to get to know the business and get settled in.
    • Claire, my wife, had a serious change in her health. One morning she woke up and fell to the floor. She was signed off for two months and the final diagnosis was prolapsed discs in her back, one of which is pushing on to the sciatic nerve causing not only pain but debilitating numbness.
    • Rupert (our dog) diagnosed with early stage kidney failure (don’t worry – it’s controlled very well by diet and he will live forever)

    December 2018

    • A very busy time at work, many late nights and time away from home

    March 2018

    • Due to the health issues Claire changes jobs from an industry she has been in since leaving university. An easier job but with less money

    April 2018

    • Claire and I start an online retail business to help subsidise the gap in earnings.

    May 2018

    • My mum, who is on dialysis because of Kidney failure, has been taken off the donor list due to some other issues. Lots of worry and stress

    July 2018

    • Mum given diagnosis that heart isn’t working well and will need an operation

    August 2018

    • No operation date yet, many delays in the pre-op prepping and procedures.
    • Claire and I decide to join Weight Watchers to help with taking the pressure off her back.

    And here we are in September.

    These aren’t excuses but I am in a good place (although there is still stuff happening with mum) but I needed the break. Not only from my blog but also from social media and YouTube.

    I thought I could maybe turn my blog in to a full time business but I actually think there is warrant in me doing this as a release, as a hobby, as a place for me to take to when I need to. Mainly as I already work in a high pressured environment, why make my blog somewhere high pressure too?

    I also fell out of love with Makeup. I have sold so much and decluttered it out of my life (don’t get me wrong there is still so much) but I needed to reevaluate the balance of buying makeup that wasn’t being used for review purposes and saving money as a family. Of course my family comes first.

    So what’s next?

    LeahXL Blog:

    I am coming back. I am coming back with a blog that is more personal. Less review focused and is thoughtful and eclectic.

    I want to talk about married life, owning a gorgeous pup, making lifestyle changes, health in general, family, work and all the things inbetween.

    Leah XL Youtube:

    This is being shut down. I know, I know. It’s got a good following but it’s no longer who I am. Fear not though – I still do some live videos on a new channel to do with Ebay (not massively regular but some times) so if you want to find it and learn more about our business then please check it out here.

    Social Media:

    • Instagram – I have changed this back to a personal account. I don’t need it to be business and I am just not great at a stylised, perfectly lit feed. I can’t do it. It’s not natural to me. Instead it will be filled with fun things and life.
    • Twitter – Used for interactions but not as frequently as I used to and not promoting every single post constantly. I want it to be organic not mechanic.
    • Facebook – I know it seems outdated but I still use facebook and I will continue to post my posts to there. It’s a great place that people still use so I will carry on.
    • Snapchat – Not happening – It just drains my battery. I just can’t. (ANYONE ELSE?)
    • Others – Any others that have surpassed my 37 year old brain will just fall in to the metaphoric Social Media bin.

    I see this post as a new start. A turning point in my life and there will definitely be some changes happening (good and bad) during the course of my time writing.

    If you have any questions please comment below. If you want to know more and want me to do future posts about general life updates then again, comment below.

    My email, twitter inbox and facebook messenger is always open so please get in touch if you want to chat.

    Leah

     

    admin

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    Top 5 budget tips for your household

    This year I am taking my blog in a new direction, still beauty, but I want to include the new interest, saving money including creating a budget, making money and general tips.

    budget 1

    We are now, as a household, trying to give ourselves the opportunity to save for things we want to do, stay debt free and potentially pay our mortgage off early, without actually losing out on the stuff we love.

    So, alongside a new YouTube channel, I have decided to do a series on money that hopefully you will enjoy.

    This blog post is about my top 5 tips for creating a budget in your household.

    1. Being Honest about Income and Outgoings

    Write down everything, from that regular takeaway latte to your prescriptions and work out what it is you have outgoing from your income each month.

    Make sure you include all bills and any other regular payments that you either have to pay for. For example, I go to a choir each week which I pay subs to. I have to include that too even though it’s not essential spending.

    We created a spreadsheet which has our income and our outgoings and then other things we want to include.

    The spreadsheet is ‘live’ on google sheets so we can access it anywhere online and make amendments where necessary.

    Working this out this way has given us an accurate look at what we have left at the end of the month.

    budget 2

    2. Stop Wasting / Get what you need not what you want

    I hate waste!

    The other day I hadn’t taken note of when all the fresh meat was going to be out of date and when I went to use some I realised everything was on a shorter date than expected so had to throw it all out. I might as well have taken a £20 note and thrown it away.

    We decided that we would be really careful about things like this and started using a whiteboard which has the days of the week on it and plan our meals for the week on that.

    We have a pantry full of stuff that needs using and a freezer too. By doing a meal plan we can use what we have and work out what we need. Not only does this ensure we don’t throw anything away but we can also budget for it.

    This leads me on to the next point.

    budget 3

    3. Pay with cash – once it’s gone it’s gone

    We have budgeted for our shopping for each week so we have decided to put cash in separate envelopes. 1 envelope per week. The cash in the envelopes can only be spent on each week. This will definitely help us not to go for impulse purchases and if we under spend we can put it straight in to savings.

    4. Use Internet Banking to help you budget

    I recently changed banks and have found that my current internet banking is really simple to use and has some brilliant benefits.

    The biggest benefit is the eSavings accounts you can open. These accounts need to be opened with £1. The interest rate for saving isn’t that good anyway so it’s a brilliant way to move money around quickly.

    You can rename your accounts so I have named mine Emergency, Car, Gifts and Beauty. Each time I sell some makeup from my stash I put the money straight from paypal in to my current account and send the money over to the Beauty savings account. It’s quite like having money saving folders.

    This has been a great way to organise money. And, if I really need the money I can transfer it in seconds via the app to my current account and use it.

    Also it makes my card safe. If someone wanted to take money for whatever reason by cloning my card, it would be great to have a small amount rather than my whole salary after bills.

    budget 4

    5. Check your bills and change where possible

    Regularly check your utilities and TV bills and make amendments where possible.

    We have Sky and noted we weren’t using the whole package we were paying for. a few phone calls later and we had £28 reduced of the monthly bill. We then sent a cancel my broadband and they reduced our bill by £10.

    A saving of £38 per month, which in a year saves us £456 in a year which would pay for our holiday rental for a week or for Christmas presents.

    There you have it.

    The 5 tips I can give you to budgeting in your household.

    Have you got any tips you would like to share?

    admin

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