Welcome to Simple Lizzie, (previously Fluffy Little Idiot). I blog my goals, especially my reading and studies, and my ongoing downscaling and using up of material stuff and working towards a more minimalist lifestyle.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Make-up Inventory and Project Pan 2017

It's that time of year again, albeit a week late.  What's a week in the aeons of time it takes me to use up any cosmetic item?!

Inventory up first:

* Eyeshadows - 61.  I've bought none, used none up, sold 3 on eBay and have still got one on one side to give away, so I'm assuming that I had 5 on one side for the last count of 60 and took one back.  Actually, I need to use shadow more, I rarely bother these days.  I could cut down to 40-45 without much bother.

* Lipsticks - 8, with 3 on one side to give away.  I also sold my Chanel one and used one up over the year.

* Liquid lipsticks and palette colours (with more pigment than gloss has) - 13.  I've used 4 up over the year, sold none and bought none, but seem to be having recurring counting and classification problems!!

* Lip glosses - 18.  2 used up during the year and 2 very close to being finished (although one's vanished, so that may come off the list soon).  Bought, sold and gave away none.

* Blusher - 8.  I sold one and am still  plugging away at the two seen below.  I can't seem to use them up to save my life.  Perhaps it's good that my life doesn't depend on it, huh?  At least I've bought none and not got any old ones back as I had by last January's inventory.

* Foundations - 1. I've used 2 up since the beginning of last year and just have one all-in-one compact left now.

* Powder - 1.  I sold the loose powder I had in stock as it was unopened and I realised that I wasn't going to use it.  I'm now working away at one I bought when I was about 16!!

* CC products - 3.  A new  category.  I realised that I don't really need foundation, concealer, powder etc that much anymore, but just a tiny bit of CC cream mixed with some moisturiser and that's it.  I have quite a bit left in my original Bourjois one, but as it's not cruelty-free. I won't be buying it again, so I found a GOSH product (which is now discontinued) on-line and got a sample of No7's version.  I'm using this latter up and won't be buying it as it's far too dark for me.  Fake tan look, yack!

Primers - 2. I'm using up the e.l.f. one (which is hopeless as an eyeshadow primer for me) as an around the eye concealer - which I don't really need much, but it uses it up.  I got a small sized Shadow Insurance as that's the only product that ever worked much for me.  Generally, I find primers a waste of time.  If you have very oily eyelids, nothing, but nothing will make your shadow last all day.  You'll always have to re-touch and keep a watch out for creasing, but a decent primer will help a bit at least.  Most are rubbish though....

Perfumes - 18.  I actually sold 3 on eBay then found out that I can't post them as they're no longer in their original packaging and had to cancel the order.  Well, I can send one of them, we'll see what the buyer thinks.  I bought 6 earlier this year as the product was going off the market and mum gave me 5 - including the 3 I tried to sell.  I've used 4 altogether this year and put 1 more in a charity bag.  I gave up on it, not being that excited by the scent and also the fact that I've become rather sensitive to perfume of late - hormone wackiness.

So totals are:  6 items sold, 1 given away, 12 used up, 6 given to me (inc one sample), 11 bought - including 3 mascaras which aren't on this list as I finished the downscale on those.

So, that's it for that section.  Now then, the results of last year's project pan coming up.

This is the photo I took a year ago.


There were 3 'columns' here.  The stuff on the left I expected to finish up, that in the middle to make serious inroads into with a view to finishing up and the lot on the right was to be worked on.

Here's the result:


Not tremendously inspiring!  I still have that old mascara (even wearing it now to try and finish it off), and 2 lippies are still on the go - hardly touched them in fact.  4 palette lippies are gone and 7 more substantially decreased, and I sold the powder.  There's been good progress on base products, but the most 'progress' on the pink blusher was parts of it breaking off!

This year's Project Pan spread actually looks much the same:


5 of these I expect to finish this month, so let's hope 2017 sees me clearing more make-up out than 2016 did.  I saw one Project Panner Instagram quite a row of lipsticks to use up this year.  I'm less optimistic, but I'll be doing my best.

To be honest, it's books and craft things that are a bigger problem for me in terms of amounts of stuff, so I'd better get away from the screen and back to my science and language books. ☺

In the meantime, having just finished watching this weekend's episode of Sherlock, anyone else think the sister may be the central part of Moriarty's big posthumous game??

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Blog Make-Over Complete



I'm happy to announce that I've finalised the re-vamp on this blog - yay!  It's not a deep make-over as I'm still using the same basic layout, template and features, but I've changed the name, font, text colour scheme and the header photo, and also done some work on the pages, so it does look somewhat different these days.

Here's the why of the changes:

Name:  I wanted something shorter and that I could use across all the platforms that are linked to this blog, such as the Google+ page, my YouTube channel (which I haven't put any videos on yet and may never do) and the Instagram account.  I've changed it on all of those too, so it's now standardized.  I'm considering changing the URL to match too, but there is already a 'simplelizzie' on Blogger (albeit never really used), so I need to be careful about decisions there.  Think I'll leave that one for a while yet.

The name has two meanings:  1) I want to simplify my life, especially materially, so having the concept of simplicity being in the name was appealing, and 2) carrying on the old idea of people often thinking I'm rather less than I am, appearing to be 'simple'!!!  (Very few people actually call me Lizzie, BTW.)

Font and text colour:  It's nice to have a change and I felt the pinks and pinky purples went well with the girlie airhead idea.  I do actually wear a lot of both these colours too. ☺

Header photo:  The old one was massively out of date.  I'd taken it over in Taiwan back in May 2010 and I don't even own a lot of the stuff in that old shot anymore!  The current photo is a collection of selected items from my '2017 Goals' list and I plan on updating it annually to reflect what I hope to accomplish during the year ahead.  This year's has a lot of books to read and study up, a fair few needlecraft projects to complete - including a Show trophy/plate that I want to win more of and a miniature chaise longue representing trying to get an Etsy store going - and even some of the make up I want to use up.

Pages:  Again, some were horribly out of date and/or irrelevant now.  I also finally bit the bullet and deleted all the older ones that I'd had not showing on blog, but were still on my dashboard.  I don't need goals lists from 5 or 6 years ago, even though it was fun to see how much I'd done of them since.  I thought of making a Word file of them and keeping them to refer back to, but, really, what IS the point? I also dumped old general goals lists and my big, old use-up list and replaced them with relevant ones.

Now, all but one of the pages are showing (just not the book inventory one, which is also out of date and can't be updated until I unpack the 3 remaining boxes, but still helpful), and they're all about this year and current interests.  New additions are a 'Current Month' one for keeping tabs on my monthly goals progress and a shopping/decluttering page called 'Ins and Outs 2017', which will be a merged version of the annual shopping inventory and clear out posts, complete with a balance (up or down) for each section.  I'm going to be putting everything except kitchen and toilet consumables on there - food, toilet paper, kitchen foil, bin bags, tissues etc.  I'm interested to see how much I actually use in a year as well as trying to keep cutting personal items down.

The next digital projects are for Sew In Love, which has got shamefully neglected of late.  I have 6 projects to write post series about, plus a revamp to consider there too.  I'm not sure what to change beyond maybe a colour change and a new header image when I find either something I can make a suitable photo collage with, or enough projects to photograph together.  I've spent a lot of time on that blog before, so there's not much more I can do without seriously over-hauling the whole layout and I'm not sure I'm up for that.  We'll see.  It's not exactly as if I'm stuck for things to do.

Having said which, I'm going to go and get on with some of those things, starting with a list of stuff to do this week.  Lists keep me on track and stop me a) wasting all my time (I just waste some of it instead), and b) completely forgetting what I wanted/needed to do.  Hormones.  Seriously, The Change has made me closer to being an airhead than I'm comfortable being! Thankfully, it's temporary.

And now, to work!  Or maybe a short nap???!! ☺

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Why am I bothering to clean up the code?

On my January goals list is the task (which I'm working through quite quickly) to clean up the HTML code on my 'By Age 50' list.  Why am I doing this?  Seems a waste of time if it looks the same, right?

Well, it sometimes does and sometimes doesn't.  I seem to have made the mistake of copying and pasting the stuff from a former page from the front end, rather than the Compose/HTML screen.  Or something.  Anyway, it carried through a tremendous amount of extra formatting code as I'd chosen the Verdana font for the original page and the coding for this appeared on literally every single line - even the blank ones!

The other problem is that with the current version of Blogger, there's an issue with changing text colours once you've selected something different.  So, this sentence appears in green.  If I wanted to change the green before, I used to just select a different colour and that was the end of it. For a while it hasn't worked once the post/page was published and I'd have to go in and delete the green code first (although it seems better now - not sure how much redundant code it leaves, though).  Then, and only then could I get my sentence to appear in red instead.  It's a lot easier to do that on this:


than this:


Before and after clean up shots!!

Now I do a lot of colour and format changing on these lists as the tasks go into active progress, get stalled, go active again and then go back to black and get crossed out as they're either finished or dumped.  So, if I'm going to have to keep on changing colours manually through the HTML screen (thankfully, I did a basic web page creation course in Uni), I'm going to want it as clean as possible to work on.  Makes it that much easier to see.

Also, of course, is the fact that I've changed the whole blog font to one called 'Coming Soon', which reminds me a lot of my old favourite, 'Comic Sans', so I need to get rid of the Verdana font coding as I fear trying to change it to 'default font' will just result in another span code for each line.  I'm also getting rid of all the italics for book titles.

So, yes, it's a bit boring and maybe there's a better way of doing it - perhaps I should have copied the whole lot into Notepad and then re-entered it into the Compose page, but at least this is thorough and I can leave whatever formatting I do want in place.

Hasn't that enriched your day??? ☺

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2017 Goals

Wow! Another year beginning and time for a whole new annual goals list and a month-long one taken partly from the whole year one and partly other stuff that I want/need to get done soon.  I'm also including health (and even beauty!) related stuff this time.

Here we go:

Digital
* Overhaul Sew in Love blog - new colour scheme etc and a new header and 'logo' photo/banners
* Ditto this blog, complete with name change across all linked social media
* Remove all the junk code from the 'By Age 50' page
* Blog all recent textile projects for scheduled posting

Domestic
* Take care of neglected recycling - boxes at mum's and water filter cartridges - end month with no extra recycling on hand
* Clean the oven

Physical
* Renew medical card
* Go to GP re podiatry referral etc
* Finish organising the Go bag
* Morning exercises on 25 days
* Evening exercises on 25 days
* Go to bed at 9pm 22 days
* Wear eye-shadow on at least 15 days.
* Don't buy any sweets. (This is a little bit of a cheat as I'll be eating some at mum's, but if I don't buy any for myself, it keeps it down a bit!!)

Reading and Study
* Study 'Imitate' book ch 12
* NRSV Bible to end of 2 Chronicles (from 1 Chron 6)
* Finish reading 'Color'
* Finish reading/working 'Language Change'
* Finish final re-reading of 'Learn Any Language'
* Study Discovering Science book 3 to section 10
* Work corresponding sections of GCSE revision guides (and matching workbooks) as I meet the topics:
Physics p20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25a, 26, 27, 58, 59
Chemistry p41, 42, 43, 44, 46
(Because a lot of this is new and I'm finding it rather hard going...)
* Read through 'Modern Chinese Beginners Course' vols 1&2
* Start 'Modern Chinese Beginners Course' vol 3
* Chinese vocab transfer from pile of mags
* Finally finish 'Teach Yourself German'

Creative
* Finish violet thread painting
* Work on 'Paradise Island cross stitch - finish trees and sky areas
* Get pink skirt altered and make a piece of decorated textile with the off- cut to make book covers etc from.
* Start winter design project.

Progress is being recorded on the 'Current Month' page and I'll post a summary at the end of the month as usual.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

December Round-Up

How did my push to get productive during the last fortnight of the year go?  Have a look and see:

* Make up Xiaoqin's sampler hanging - Done!
* Finish the violets thread painting - Got back out of box ready to re-start and re-sorted the greens in preparation to complete the leaf. 
* Mount cat-a-cello - Done!
* Finish 'oriental dress' card - Done!
* Finish blue premature baby cardy knit - Done!
* Trial double stocking stitch - Done!  Even started knitting a scarf with it.
* List old winter tyres on EBay - Done!
* Take charity shop bags to Oxfam - Done!
* Deal with box recycling here and at mum's - Ours done, boxes at Mum's broken down and waiting to be cut up and put in the green bin(s).
* Finish "Rapid Literacy in Chinese" - Done! 
* Finish all reading mags in my drawer - Done! 
* DS book 3 - finish chapters 3 & 4 - Reviewed ch 2 in preparation and re-studied ch 3. Did about three quarters of chapter 4, but it's harder than I expected (physics - new to me), and I need some supplementary material. 
* Finish Part 2 of 'The China Dream' - Done! 
* Finish chapter 4 of 'In Other Words' and start chapter 5 - Done!  
Actually decided not to complete the above 2 books as I'm really not that interested. I have too many other books that I actually want to read to waste time on those that have gone off the boil for me.
* Read chapters 5, 6 & 7 of 'Color' - Done!  Got to ch 10 too!
* Finish NRSV 2 Kings and crack on with 1 Chronicles - Done!

Somehow or other, the German textbook got lost in copying over the initial list, which was one reason that I didn't get to that one after all.  Other than that, I'm really pleased with progress this month.  I didn't get back on with the violet embroidery over much, but pretty much everything else got either finished (13 out of 17) or substantially progressed (2 out of the remaining 4 - including the elusive German textbook).

Now to create January's list. How's yours looking?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Use-Up and Clear Out Inventory 2016

Here's the other part of the annual inventory - I decided to do a separate post for this section this year.  The headings are the same, but this one is for what went out, not what came in. 

* Books  Several boxes given to charity, friends and the local library before moving in February and others throughout the year.
Finished reading/studying about 10, 7 given away or sold (I lost count on both of these, so I need to keep closer track next year)
Collection reduced by about 55%! ☺☺

* Cosmetic Items
Finished: 1 foundation (another has 1 or 2 goes left in it), 2 mascaras, 1 lipstick, 4 lip colours, 1 lip gloss, 2 lip balms and 3 perfumes.
Sold or given away: 4 lipsticks and 4 eye shadows (3/1 still to go out) and 1 eye primer.  3 perfumes currently on eBay.

* Art & Craft Materials
7 card blanks with envelopes, although 5 of these cards haven't yet been sent to anyone.
1 piece of purple A4 card and 1 piece of extra thick white
Bag of stickers almost completely used up on eBay sales packaging etc (sold or gave away most of them before this year started)

* Needlework Supplies
Yarn:
Almost 1 whole 100g ball
4 remnants of DK plus one more run down to a tiny bit left for stitch samples.
Most of the ball of 6 ply red.
Fabric:
5 x patchwork pieces (about 1/3 of a fat quarter in size??)
Completed using up light cream cotton
Several other parts of fat quarters and remnants.
15"x15" white Oslo
6½" square white hardanger
12"x4" lilac Jobelan.
Sold: 80%+ of Oriental fabrics, all 5 fancy fabrics, several pieces of linen/evenweave (including a bundle of 7 currently on eBay and with bids).
Collection approximately halved! ☺☺
Thread:
1 x Pearl Cotton #5 (1 - Bright White)
Finished up ±3 small spools of sewing thread
Sold: 115 threads (about 7% of collection), 6 packs of beads, large bag of ribbons
Sundries:
Most of my supplies of lightweight quilt batting and Bondaweb
All newly bought buttons, and 3 of 4 zips
3 bellpull ends/hangers

* Clothes etc
A few large bags (between the 2 of us) given to charity just before moving in February and another bag gone just yesterday.
A number of novelty bags and other personal items also went in the latest charity drop off.

* Miscellaneous
6 bottles/tubs of nutrient/herbal supplements used up, not likely to be replaced.
2 large boxes of cassette tapes thrown away on moving (also contained some videos)
1 box of possible-to-sell cassettes, CDs and DVDs donated to charity on moving.

* Domestic Items
2 large bookcases (one with glass doors), sofabed & matching armchair, fireplace and wood effect bathroom fittings given away via Freecycle on moving
Boxful of household items and ornaments donated to charity on moving.
1 bag of bedding and fabric scraps donated yesterday.

During 2017 I hope to get through a whole lot more books as 10 really isn't that many for me.  After the initial push to get stuff read in preparation to move, I lost momentum with my reading projects and really only re-gained it in the last fortnight of the year.  I need to keep this up and try and get the 460-ish books that I'm beginning the new year with down to under 400 if I can.  Onwards and downwards....

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

December's To Do list

I seriously *need* to get back into making regular goals lists and having them to hand. I haven't done that at all since I've been back in my hometown and I really haven't been productive in most areas of life. Needlework has been good, but book work? Terrible!  Except the creative section, I've had to copy almost the whole of my 2016 goal list into the new one for next year....

So, here goes with all I want to do over the next 2 weeks:

* Make up Xiaoqin's sampler hanging
* Mount cat-a-cello
* Finish 'oriental dress' card
* Finish blue premature baby cardy knit
* Trial double stocking stitch
* Finish the violets thread painting
* List old winter tyres on EBay
* Take charity shop bags to Oxfam etc
* Deal with box recycling here and at mum's
* Finish "Rapid Literacy in Chinese"
* Finish 'Teach Yourself German'
* Finish all reading mags in my drawer
* DS book 3 - finish chapters 3 & 4
* Finish Part 2 of 'The China Dream'
* Finish chapter 4 of 'In Other Words' and start chapter 5
* Read chapters 5, 6 & 7 of 'Color'
* Finish NRSV 2 Kings and crack on with 1 Chronicles

And I think that will do. Starting tomorrow!

Actually, no. Starting tonight! :)

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Shopping Inventory 2016

Here it is, everything I bought over the last year that wasn't a regular need, so no food and basic personal care stuff. This post was accidentally published 7 weeks too early, but is complete for the year now.

* Books
Physical, print books: zero bought, but 1 obtained for free
Kindle books: 14 (including one collection).
As the object is always primarily to reduce stuff, Kindle books don't really count. ;)
Made good use of the local library system.
Second year of book no buy successfully completed - yay! ☺☺☺

* Cosmetic Items
3 mascaras when old ones ran out/went yacky - one black, two clear (one used up, one in use).
2 eyeshadow primers, one of which I then resold on eBay.
1 CC cream/foundation
I also bought 6 perfumery items which were going off the market, and was given 5 by my mum, 3 of which are currently on eBay!

* Art Materials
Zero, (unless you count the cheap pair of compasses I got to help me draw circles for a design).

* Needlework Supplies  (changed from 'Embroidery Supplies' to include other types of work)
Broken down into categories as follow:
Yarn:
1 x 100g ball of white DK to complete a project (and plan to use more of in others, probably next year now), 1 x 50g ball of white, 2 x 50g balls of cream and 1 x 50g of light apple green Snuggly DK. 1 x 100g ball lavender blue cotton DK for imminent baby knits (one blue cardy already knit up)
1 x 100g ball of bright pink bamboo soft yarn to make a scarf for me (in progress).
Fabric:
1 x bargain fat quarter of white 55ct Edinburgh linen for use for miniatures.
1m white polycotton and 1m narrow elastic to make an underskirt (done)
2 x silk theme packs (5 pieces of 10"x10" in each) from the Silk Route and one piece of pewter silk jacquard
2 x pieces of metal organza in aqua blue and light jade green
1m x 45cm piece of bondaweb/vliesofix as I'd used all but a 4"x5" piece of my supply up
6 4" squares of goldwork leather in various colours
Thread:
2 reels of sewing cotton: cream for use as a thin embroidery thread for miniature and bright pink to alter a skirt.
1 reel of Madeira silver machine thread
1 reel of bright pink machine rayon thread
Sundries:
14 buttons for immediate use on 3 baby cardigans
4 zips used for scatter cushion covers, 3 used so far
3 packs of decorative buttons
5 packs of small sequins
1 hanger for a bellpull type project (used)
1 large wheelbarrow button
5 packs of specialist needles
4 yellow flower trims and one snowflake
1 small bottle of craft glue

(I went shopping a bit at the Harrogate Show this year!! ♥☺)

* Clothes etc:
2 pairs of pyjamas
3 x 5 packs of cotton knickers
2 x pairs of specialist 'problem foot' shoes - ooouch, pricey! (And terribly uncomfy too, waaah, pain!)

* Miscellaneous  8" Acer tablet computer, which I use a lot.
Miniatures: a single bed, a chaise longue, a carver chair, a sideboard, a bedside cabinet, 3 small tables, 2 pieces of carpet and some trimmings (a lamp, set of 2 candlesticks, clock and pewter platter) - all to be used as models for future miniature embroideries sales and many serving as ornaments in the meantime.

What about the year coming up?  Well, I think I'm going to continue inventorizing what I buy, maybe even extending it to all personal care stuff out of a curiosity to see how much I use in a year.  I still need some new clothes and my poor feet need help, fast!  Also, I want to carry on clearing out a lot more than I take in.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016

Friday, 1 July 2016

Make Up Inventory - mid year count 2016

I thought I'd start doing counts every 6 months, not just annually, to help keep me focused and have more of an interim goal to work towards.  May not be terribly interesting to anyone other than me!!!

Here are the figures from the last count on 1 Jan this year, the current numbers and the current goal.

* Eye shadows (individual shades, not palettes/trios etc): Last count 64, now 60.  Haven't used any up, but put 4 more singles on one side to give away.  Unsure of goal on this one at the mo.  Originally it was 75, which I passed a while ago, but my current piece of paper says 50, a number I no longer really care about.

* Lipsticks: Last count 13, now 10. I used one up and there are 2 with the 4 single eye colours ready to be offered to a friend.  They're warm colours that no longer suit me.  Goal: 6

After a bit of working out which fell into which category:

* Lip colours (mostly liquid lipsticks or well pigmented colours in palettes): Last count 14, now 14.  Odd thing is, I used 2 up and have bought none.  Must have miscounted at some point.  Ditto with the next line!  Goal: 6-8, although my current list says 10-12.  I think that's probably too many at one go.

* Lip glosses (low pigmented colours): Last count 20, now 19, but have finished up 2 and bought none, so must have gaffed it at some point.  That's not like me as I'm normally so precise.  Hmmmmm! =(  Goal: 3 or 4 - just a clear, a clear sparkle, a golden sparkle and maybe one more.

Moving on....

* Blusher: Last count 9, now 9.  I'm plugging away day in day out at the bright pink one, with occasional use of the lilac-pink and even more sparing use of the red (all from my school days in the 80s), but no discernible progress.  This one's going to take literally decades to go all the way down!!!  Goal: 3 or 4

* Foundation: Last count 4, moved 1 to the 'Primer' category (a CC cream) and used 1 up, so now 2.  Goal: 1 or 2 I'll get a Lush Colour Supplement one day, but not until the CC primer has gone.  May also keep an all in one in stock.  We'll see.

* Powder: Last count 2, and still now 2.  Again, working away on one I remember having in high school (yes, it's still fine, although the mirror is broken), but although the dip seems to have deepened a bit, it's going to be a long job.  Goal: 1, but I'm not expecting to reach this for a few years yet.....

* Primer: Last count 1, now 2 following the re-classification of my Bourjois CC cream as a primer and not a foundation.  I'm working on this one daily one way or another.  I either mix it with the foundation I'm using up, or just with some moisturiser and use as a CC tinted moisturiser.  I like the effect of a little of this product, but it's not cruelty free, so I won't be replacing it when it's finally finished, which I estimate to happen in 2/3 more years' time.  Goal: 1 - just an eye primer, when I find one that's any good.  The E.L.F. one was a total disappointment.  I was told it was great by more than one source, but it's exactly the same as using none - I trialled it by priming one eye and not the other.  =(

* Perfumes: Last count 12, now 19.  Yes, I've bought some.  Actually, the reason for that was that I genuinely thought that Soap and Glory's Orangeasm was going off the market, but later on I found out that they were just dumping the whole tonic spray range and that the body sprays appear to be staying.  Not before I'd sourced 3 body sprays on e-bay and 1 in Boots, plus 2 tonic sprays on e-bay.  I was also given 5 old Yves Rocher perfumes by my mum in 2 different scents, so that made 11 items in. That means that I've used up 3 so far this year and I'm working on 2 more at the mo.  Goal: 6-ish

So, that's it for the last half year.  I've used up 8 things, (more if you count mascara, which I've dropped as a counting category as I reached goal) and worked intensively on another 11 so far, but with little impact, except on perfumes.  I've also been using eye shadow more often and getting a feel for what suits me better these days and what colours, combos and 'sparkliness' level I like.  That means that I may lift the No Buy on this category and get one or two carefully considered products to supplement what I have left.  Only eye shadow though and even then, only a few!

Hope to finish up my current foundation and another 5 or 6 lippies of varying types and 2 or 3 perfumes by the end of this year.  I'll still be working on the powder things too, but am not expecting anything to be finished off.

Next update: 1 Jan 2017, complete with photos.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016

How to succeed on a No Buy

Whilst I've been watching some YouTube videos, looking at some Instagram posts and reading some forum discussions on not buying any more make up or toiletries or craft supplies etc over recent months, I've noticed that many people are experiencing something noteworthy: It's not working.  They're still buying the things they pledged not to and their collections are not only not decreasing much, they are often actually increasing.  If you're on a No Buy of something and having some trouble or are afraid the same will happen to you if you embark on a No Buy, then I hope the following will be of help to you.

To be honest, I'm quite lucky in that, once I've decided I'm not buying something, I'm just not buying it - period.  I have pretty decent spending willpower and can resist the temptation to get something quite well.  However, I'm still human and find that these tips help me along my way.

First of all you need to be very clear about what you're hoping to achieve and why.

What is meant by a No Buy?  It's a no brainer really.  Being on a No Buy, means you're plain and simply not to buy that thing.  If you're on a make up No Buy, then you don't buy make up.  If yours is a book No Buy, you buy zero books.  It's that simple.

Problems can start when 'No Buy' gets confused with the following

- Low Buy - where you're trying to buy less, but are still shopping

- Being 'aware of what one is spending' - which could mean anything from just keeping a note of how much is spent on a certain type of thing to consciously challenging oneself when on the point of purchase, 'Do I need this?  Should I get it?'

- Saving up for a splurge at some forthcoming special event or sale when people who've declared themselves on a No Buy for a set period of time until the next VIP sale or some show where they will, basically, go and spend all the money they've not spent on their No Buy category items and stock up as much, or even more than they would have done had they been shopping as usual.  This is also one to watch out for when specifying exceptions to a genuine No Buy (more on that later).

Can you see the traps here?  All these fake No Buys still equate to adding to the stuff you already have and may even want to reduce.

You also want to be very clear on just why you're wanting to be on a No Buy.  Some common reasons are:

- Overstock - you already have way, WAY too much stuff, be it make-up, craft stuff, whatever.  You have enough for years and years and your collection is getting embarrassing.  Even though some people may congratulate you (as one lady did on hearing I had over 1600 items of embroidery thread) and envy your hoard, you know you have enough already.  Far more than enough really!

- Financial reasons - you want to save money for something special, such as a trip somewhere or a wedding.  Maybe you need to spend less in order to get out of debt or to make ends meet.

- Interest in a more minimalist way of life - simplicity has begun to appeal to you.

- Pressure from family/partner to stop buying a certain thing which they see as unbalanced and maybe your storage is driving them mad or taking up space needed for other things etc.

It may be a combination of all of the above.  For me embarking on my make up, book and art & crafts supplies No Buy it was a combination of already having more than enough, being attracted to a minimalist lifestyle and an impending home move.  What are your reasons?  Sit down and really think about them.  Let the reason(s) really resonate with you and make a list of why the reason(s) are important.

Once you've clarified your reasons and your definitions, it's time to think about taking practical steps to avoid failure.  Here are some ideas:

- Avoid temptation.  Do you really need to go around the shops in your lunch break?  Or do you need to surf tempting websites?  What and where do you need to physically avoid in order to make it harder to spend money?  Where were you and what were you doing the last five times you bought something you shouldn't have?  Analyse the answers and take evasive action.  Go somewhere else for lunch. Find something else to do.

- Unsubscribe, unfollow.  If you're like most people, you're on e-mail mailing lists and/or follow Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers who buy and review the kind of products you like, but are trying not to buy.  Unsub.  It's that simple.  Unsub from all the mailing lists that send you tempting offers, unfollow all the companies who promote their products on social networks in order to make you buy them.  Just go cold turkey on any and all enablers.  That can also include people you might go shopping with and who persuade you to buy.  See them in other situations, but don't let them influence your shopping habits!

- Boycott all special sales events at tempting shops.  Is it the Sephora or Ulta VIP sale event?  A retail craft show?  A massive sale at the bookshop?  Plan something else instead - preferably somewhere right out of the way.  If the Sew and So Bank Holiday 15% off event is coming up, organise a distraction.

- Plan in advance how to treat youself and what you're going to do if you ever feel the need to indulge in retail therapy.  It happens to us all.  We need a treat and, before we know it, we've bought something and blotted our copybook badly.  So, make up a list of treats that you can indulge in without breaking your No Buy.

- Take great care when specifying exceptions.  The most common pitfall I've seen here is to specify the special sale/event as an exception.  You're doing so well on your No Buy and then up comes the event you've given yourself permish to splash out at and - BANG - up goes all your hard work and self control in smoke.  Not only have you splurged badly and bought all the things you wanted all through your No Buy (thus nullifying the whole thing), but you've very possibly also bought even more as 'a treat for having done so well for 3 months' or as a release for all the pent up frustration of not being able to buy.  Your collection and/or finances are then in the exact same state as they would have been had you never been on the No Buy, or maybe worse!  Again, don't confuse a No Buy with saving up to spend at a special event or sale.

Allowing a certain amount/quantity at a special event is a possibility.  Only you know how reasonable or feasible this is in your case.  I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show in November last year having already decided that I was only going to buy the specialist goldwork thread I needed for a Craftsy class I'd bought access to and that I would join in a certain 'make and take' activity with one designer I like very much.  I stuck to that 100%, although I did deliberate for quite some time over some metal organza fabric at the Stef Francis stand.  In the end, what clinched it was, not only would it almost certainly be available again next year, but I knew I wasn't planning to do projects that needed it in the meantime.  I walked away without the fabric.

My only exceptions are: 1) When I genuinely run out of a product as I did last year with the one make up item I bought - an eye primer. 2) When I really have nothing that will do, then I can buy it.  Recently I've made a couple of baby knits which needed buttons.  I don't stock buttons, so I always need to buy those specially for each completion.  Something similar may happen with a zip or something like that,

- Plan rewards in advance for succeeding, but DON'T make them a violation of your No Buy!  If you're on a make up No Buy, don't make your reward the latest Too Faced palette.  Make it something else that you'll enjoy.

- Pal up with genuinely supportive people.  We all have a friend who says, 'Why don't you buy it, Elizabeth??' and they are best seen away from the shops or computer.  It's like being on a diet.  Some people will kindly help you to avoid temptation and support you and others will, in mistaken kindness, encourage you to 'treat yourself'.  Well, if you're needing to be on a No Buy, you've been treating yourself to quite a degree already and now it's time to stop.  So, enlist the help of people who are reliably able to help you and to give you some accountability.

- Make a really unpleasant forfeit for failure and hold yourself to it.  The supportive friend is useful here too as they can be someone who can keep an eye on you.  Don't make your forfeit something that you really don't mind so very much or that you will feel good about, such as making a donation to a good cause.  Make it something you really, really don't want to do and do NOT make excuses or let yourself off 'this once'.  One easy failure leads to another and another and another.  It gets easier to excuse yourself every time, so start in right from the start on being tough about it.  You may even want to consider passing this task to someone else to punish you when needed!!!

- Keep a note of what you're trying to achieve and why with you.  It could be a photo on your phone of your massive lipstick collection that you can get out and look at when you find yourself wandering into unsafe areas and facing temptation to buy.  Maybe it's a list of reasons to resist, an inventory of what you already own in bald figures, a photo of a person you want to please (or even a nay-sayer you want to prove wrong - that can be quite a strong impetus!), or a monetary figure you want to save up for that special trip.  Keep motivation to hand.  The last few years, I've spent some time looking through my needlework stash the night before the Knitting and Stitching Show just to remind myself what and how much I already own.  It really helped.

Well, I hope that's been helpful to some who are struggling out there.  Remember, if you're on a No Buy then DON'T BUY ANY and get tough with yourself to keep yourself on track.  Recently I saw a make up No Buy-er post on Instagram that she was packing for her trip to Paris and asking what products should she bring back?  My suggestion was perhaps predictable: "None. You're on a No Buy."

What do you think?  Will these suggestions help you?  Can you add anything to them?

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2016