And So, To Sleep.

Hello, I'm Alex and I'm an Olympic standard sleeper. I don't mean that lightly; this girl can sleep.

IT ME (source)

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My Money Diaries: February

Hello readers, I'm here again to shame my spending and work out where the hell all my money has gone this month with another installment of My Money Diaries.

The ting goes skrrrraaaaa!
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My Money Diaries: January

Welcome to the first in My Money Diaries series. If you're new to my blog you might want to read this post first to see where this idea was born and give the original series on Refinery29 a read (it's brilliant, I highly recommend it).

As it's my first one, I'm giving a basic introduction to how I organise my finances each month and then will document a week of my spending.


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My Money Diaries

As a dedicated reader of Refinery29, there's one email I love dropping into my inbox every week: The Money Diaries


This series is touted as:

We're tacking what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period - and we're tracking every last penny. 

Not only is this a brilliantly voyeuristic thing to read, some of them are fantastically written (the Drag Queen on £16k one was last years highlight) but this is also one of the best budgeting tools I know: write down every damn thing you spend. 

Each January I put myself on a budget, usually to kick off my year to a good start and get me in the right mindset regarding spending, saving and generally behaving myself financially. This January I'm even more broke than usual as I've just paid for a trip to Belgium next month (#BeerTours) which means I've had to be even more mindful with my money. When this is necessary I do my favourite trick of allocate myself a budget, withdraw that exact amount of money from my bank and use nothing else for the rest of the month. As long as you can leave your contactless cards firmly in your purse, then this works a treat.

However, I thought starting a Money Diaries series on my blog might be interesting and if I do this sporadically throughout the year it might keep me accountable. 

It's going to mean disclosing some financials - not my salary, that's no one else's business - and my rent is scary, but I do pride myself on being a relatively good spender AND saver (or so I think), so it might be useful to someone reading who is looking for some good financial behavioural tips. 

And so My Money Diaries is born, with full credit to Refinery29 for this idea. Stay tuned. 

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Pretty Good Year

I came into 2017 hopeful for a good year. 2016 had been such a shitshow on many levels so all I could ever hope for was that the next year would be a better one. 

Life is short and opportunities can pass you by so fast, so in 2017 I decided I would try to do everything that I possibly wanted to do. Nothing changes until you try! 

No one has the time or bandwidth for me to run through all the amazing things I did in 2017, so here are my personal highlights. 

I met some of the most amazing women on earth: and even if I didn't get to speak to them face to face, I got to sit in a room and absorb their wisdom. Highlights for me this year include Gillian Anderson, Margaret Atwood and Jodie Foster. I can't believe I was in the presence of three of my heroes this year.

I ran with my favourite hobby, science, and grasped every opportunity that came my way with both hands. I met 2 astronauts (Scott Kelly and Jim Reilly), I laid under a rocket at Kennedy Space Centre and a Space Shuttle in Washington, I sat in Mission Control for the International Space Station at NASA Houston, I went on the Science March and laughed so hard at the brilliant signs that people were carrying, I went to Blue Dot Festival and danced to Orbital in a field looking at the beautiful Lovell Telescope, I celebrated Yuri's Night in Edinburgh, I touched 3 pieces of the moon and saw 4 pairs of boots that have actually walked on the moon.

I revived my love of cult tv and spent time in my beautiful nerd community when Twin Peaks S3 aired and talked about it to everyone I met, I cosplayed as Shelly Briggs to LFCC, I took my friend from Melbourne to Cardiff to the Doctor Who Experience for one last time before it closed and I cried when I discovered we were finally getting a female Doctor. 

I experienced so much live theatre, comedy and music at the Edinburgh Fringe, I had my mind blown when I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I saw Public Service Broadcasting more times than I've seen any band in my 38 years on this earth, I finally got to dance to Bananarama as they sang their hits on stage in Hammersmith, I experienced first hand how lucky you can get in theatres in the West End when I got my seat upgraded for free at Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Venus in Fur. I discovered Kisstory and Ultimate Power nights out and danced myself into several sunrises.

I embraced and experienced new lifestyle choices; I stayed in a Tiny House when I was travelling around the US, I bought a bike and began cycling all over West London and Surrey, I improved my minimalism and moved into a beautiful brand new home, I learned that spending you money on the best bed you can afford makes your life even better than you could imagine, I steered clear of romantic relationships, invested in my friendships and focussed on my own happiness; all of which were the best emotional decisions I've ever made. I stopped wearing make-up as often, I gave up wearing heels, I spent more time outdoors, I have run out of  money at the end of the month more times than I ever have in my life, but it was so worth it. 

It's been one of the best years of my tiny life. It's been so good that I'm even going out to celebrate New Years Eve this year (something I've not done since 2004) as I want to go out of this year on the absolute high that it's given me.

Life, you are full of surprises. I can't wait to see what happens next :)

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In case you're new, or have never interacted with me on social media, I BLOODY LOVE SPACE, ME. 

Introvert designs FTW, NASA. 

Space is not only fascinating, beautiful and educational;  it gives you great perspective about life, who you are on this planet, and the size of this planet. It makes me think we really should all be pulling together, not forcing ourselves apart. There are people orbiting the earth every 90 minutes in a science lab RIGHT NOW ABOVE YOUR HEAD and we're pissing about whinging about boys or twitter likes, or dress sizes. 

Fuck that noise, get some perspective. Get some space. 

Sit under a Saturn V or lay under the butt of a Space Shuttle, you quickly realise how tiny you really are. 

Saturn V @ Kennedy Space Center, FL

Space Shuttle Discovery @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, VA 

(Photo credit to my official #spacetours photographer: Martin Greaves)
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