Tuesday, 3 January 2012

You can do it!

Last year in January I set myself some goals. The main one was to stop the rot. The rot being the obvious health and wealth of course. It is true that living in a capitalist country produces anxiety around these two matters. They are interlinked. Wealth is the driver and wealth denotes status and then the important factor of health. If you are wealthy then you can afford to be healthy. This doesn't mean having a beautiful functioning colon or other such matters. No, this means looking healthy. Well groomed, preferably thin, a good handbag and pearly white teeth are par for the course.

My wealth and health goals were of a different nature. On the wealth side it was to lose the trappings of capitalism and the acquisition of goods. This was a hard step change to make. I am nothing but a magpie when it comes to clothes. I adore fashion and trends but I have come to a point in my life when I need to grow up over this. I substantially cut and decreased my clothing spend last year. I became happy with keeping costs low and shopping at H&M. This year I start with a new perspective and will happily avoid the shops and all manner of trappings. I will still be an avid voyeur and follower of fashion but I have more important things to attend to and will have to reuse, reuse and reuse my clothes like never before.

Health wise I still remain obsessed by what we eat. I have spent a year researching food and weight for my forthcoming book (more on this later) and feel even stronger about the need for proper eating and the ditching of processed foods. If you only buy real food you cut your overall spend and the pounds on your body. I write this post just before I tackle our January meal planner and boy is it going to be a frugal month. In fact the frugality is not just due to cash flow but a natural urge to purge and cleanse. Our excess has mainly been alcohol and yummy cheeses over the festive season.

But the best goal I set myself last year was to going skiing at Christmas en famille. Mr MDS and I had enjoed a few skiing trips before the petit garcon and as I'm a late learner and somewhat of a ski scardy cat I wanted petit garcon to be confident and an experience which wasn't all about opening presents on Christmas day. I booked it feeling foolish and excessive in lots of ways, after all we were going to Italy in the summer but as usual I worked out all the costs in advance and began saving. I took on extra work and even did a few hours lunchtime supervision at petit garcon's school to earn more but not incur costs. When you are a zone 6 commuter the cost of travel eats into freelance work! I tried selling skincare, I was truly rubbish at that and now I sell jewellery as an aside and this I am loving.

I had a weekly goal and I did it all by the end of September. I realise there are more important matters to attend to like my credit card bill but that is this years task and it won't take long as it is cheaper than a ski holiday! The importance of this post it to think big and think different in order to motivate yourself. I cannot explain the benefits of having gone away over the Christmas period or convey the pride or rather joy I felt when petit garcon won his beginners slalom race. Being outdoors every day and in the mountains was an injection of something I would never have got in any other way.

View from the top of the mountain across to Italy

Me at the top of the mountain in my gear - 10 year old salopettes from M&S and ditto Helly Hensen ski jacket bought in their discount shop at Bicester Village before it became all designer focus. Always keep ski stuff as it is all about warmth not fashion. Also everyone used to laugh at me with my ski helmet all those years ago but now almost everyone wears them. They keep your head warm and safe (er).

This woman was all about the look! I couldn't resist a sneaky snap and she didn't notice. It was some get up.

 The petit garcon getting some pre race practice in!

If anyone had told me I was a spare ribs and frites kind of gal I would have laughed. Not anymore.

My next post will be how I did it in detail as I want to show how achievable anything is regardless of your circumstances. Then of course there will be lots of fashion posts to come to achieve a new season look on a very very tight budget!

Two tweets this week stuck in my mind. One by Penny Golightly about her Jump Start January focus, which you can read about on her blog as linked. The other was by Couturecoco which was simple less is more.


  1. I know exactly what you mean, that is a great resolution. I am certainly sick of all the trappings that come with living in a developed country. No one NEEDS the sorts of things we see these so called celebrities chucking about. Throw away fashion? Pah...okay I am going to go now before I get really annoyed. Happy New Year!

  2. Happy 2012. What a great and positive way to spend the festive season. I like to get away whenever I can over Christmas too. Well done to the petite garcon. Xxxx

  3. Fantastic post and I really look forward to the juicy details of how you did it. The outdoors and travel experience resonates most with me and is the thing I deeply regret not doing nearly enough of most with my own kids.
    Thank you so very much for the mention! Very much appreciated!
    I know 2012 will be able about positive change!
    All the best wishes to you and yours!

  4. Happy New Year! The ski-ing and the frites look fab.

  5. great post. i wish you also a wunderful new year! and i love the classic icons

  6. What an interesting thought. Been trying to think of a way to make Christmas on our own more special. I bet the atmosphere up there is amazing? xx

  7. Hi my dear-a very inspiring post for getting everything in order for 2012-hope you have a good year too! Look forward to seeing you sometime this year and look forward to reading more frugal posts xx

  8. Happy New Year!
    There's nothing like a trip away to help you re-evaluate your lifestyle.
    That lady in red looks incredible. x

  9. LOVED this post 11million/10! Go Kate!!

  10. This post was inspirational in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing. And the photos are lovely!


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