Can You Really Save For a House Deposit in Four Years?

The post office has released a new tool that can tell you how much you’ll need to be saving per month to be able to afford a deposit for a home along with some research they’ve done about first time buyers.

Now I have questions. They claim that the average first time buyer will spend four years saving towards their deposit. This seems incredibly optimistic…could YOU save for a deposit in just four years? How much would you need to save? Is just being frugal and switching to supermarket own brands really going to help?

 

The deposit savings journey

The average deposit for first homes in the UK last year was £51,500, according to the Office for National Statistics. This varied from £21,571 in Blackpool to £173,431 in London

According to the subjects of the study, “Approximately 70% of this deposit is reached through saving, with recent FTB (First Time Buyer) households setting themselves an average savings target of £815 a month – ranging from £565 in Scotland to over £1,000 for prospective FTB households in London. To achieve their deposit goal this means putting aside 20% of the monthly joint income of first-time buyer households (£4,105 a month) – which is often split between two partners contributing. These monthly targets – often coupled with additional monetary support from loved ones averaging £15,489 (30% of the average deposit), allow the average FTB to reach their deposit goal in less than five years.”

So how have they done this?

“FTBs  commonly sacrifice luxuries such as going on holiday (31%), nights out (30%) or takeaways (26%)”

So what if you don’t have holidays, nights out or takeaways?

“One in five (22%) move out of their home to save more money, either moving back in with their parents (13%) or downgrading their rental property to something more affordable (9%). Recent FTBs also looked for ways to boost their income in order to keep up with their deposit goal (84%). This includes taking on overtime as part of their existing job (30%), looking for a higher paying role (21%) or taking on additional paid work to boost their income (17%).”

They make is sound so easy, right? Sorry Post Office, I think I need some tips…

 

The Post Office’s Top tips for people saving towards their first home

1. Cut back on the essentials – the easiest (and most common) way people manage to set more money aside when saving for their first home is finding ways to cut down on their day-to-day spending. This could be as simple as switching to supermarket basic brands, comparing energy and mobile providers to see if you could reduce your bill or even seeing if it’s possible to reduce your rent by moving to a less expensive property.

2. Map out a deposit goal and stick to it; particularly if putting aside money with a partner – very few people save without assistance from their loved ones and first-time buyers will often be planning to purchase their home with a partner. Be sure to agree how much you can both commit to save realistically on a monthly basis and hold each other accountable, so it’s more difficult to splurge. Look for tools that may help you, there are a range of apps and calculators freely available to help you plan your savings journey, such as the Post Office online tool: www.postoffice.co.uk/mortgages/this-is-my-home.

3. Can you reduce how much you need to save? – If your goal seems out of reach you could always consider how you might reduce the pot you need to save, such as buying a smaller property, looking at a different location or considering no-deposit mortgages.

4. Have an honest conversation with loved ones about financial support – it’s common for FTBs to get some degree of financial support from their families as they attempt to get on the ladder – more than half will do so as they attempt to pull the money together for their first home. Be sure that when doing so you have an open and honest conversation about the terms of the agreement. If they are providing you with a gift or a loan and if it’s a loan, being clear on what they expect in terms of regular repayments.

5. Keep an eye on how affordability shifts and incorporate that into your plan – four years is a long time in our uncertain housing market and you want to make sure you’re aware of how things shift while you save. Be sure to keep an eye on how local property prices change so you can make the most informed purchase possible.

6. When looking to buy, seek out up-and-coming areas – young buyers often need to adjust their expectations when it comes to location but you can often sniff out which areas are likely to increase in value by looking out for new developments, new businesses setting up shop in the area or improvements in local schools and crime rates.

7. Don’t be disheartened if you have a set-back – 13% of FTB savers feel like a failure for not reaching their savings goal in the time they initially intended and it’s very common for savers to end up dipping into their deposit fund to pay for other expenses. While it’s obviously best not to make a habit of this, prospective homebuyers shouldn’t let a small slip-up deter them as they continue to save towards their goal.

 

Time to run a few numbers…

I decided to dig a little further and look into exactly how much I would need to put away in order to be able to afford a deposit for a home and the numbers aren’t pretty.

After trying out the tool, I discovered that If I were to be able to save enough for a deposit in 4 years in the area I live in now, I would have to save £1104 a month! That’s £255 a week!

How much would I need to save in order to be a homeowner before I die?

To work out how much I should be saving if I want to be able to afford my own home before I dropped dead (that’s if the second and third jobs don’t get me), I worked backwards. Usually, the oldest age you can be at the end of your mortgage is 70 and the average mortgage is 25 years. So ideally I’d want to have your deposit by the time I’m 55.

Is this depressing you yet? No? Minus your age from that number because that’s the maximum number of years you have to save for your mortgage.

Then I the Post Office’s new This Is My Home tool and selected the borough (or area) I call home…

My figure came out as £220 a month (£51 a week) every month until I hit 55. While that might sound like nothing to a some people reading this, it is a lot of money to a lot of people. One in 5 of the population of the UK are in poverty.

With house prices and demand increasing, the cost of living surging and real wages decreasing, the amount I’d need to save in order to be able to afford my own home before I die is only going to increase. And there’s only so much that switching to supermarket own brands can do.

I guess the takeaway here is that, a lot of us are in the same boat and it’s sinking. Don’t let people tell you that tightening your purse (even more than you already do) is the way into home ownership.

TLDR; Probably not.

Is quitting your job and moving to a cheaper area away from everyone you know really realistic? Have you found ways of sacrificing in your life further in order to save? Let me know in the comments…

 

Easiest hollandaise sauce

Guys guys!! I made a hollandaise sauce and I genuinely can’t believe how easy it was.

So I’ve been guilty of buying pre-made hollandaise sauces in jars or from the fresh fridges in supermarkets and now I know how to make it, and how easy it is, I don’t know what I’ve been doing all my culinary life!

So I’ve been thinking about the possible reasons I’ve not tried making hollandaise sauce before and I came up with the usual excuses. I didn’t know how to make it. I didn’t have the right equipment. I didn’t gave the time. I didn’t have the skill.

I don’t know what possessed me to try and make it the other night but luckily I just happened to have ingredients in my fridge to make a hollandaise sauce. So I gave it a shot!

So it turns out, there are lots of myths surrounding this mysterious creamy sauce of the gods…

Myth 1 : The recipe is complicated

I looked at a lot of recipes online and everything seemed very over complicated. You had to have specific equipment, made of specific materials or a blender or you had to weigh your ingredients. I chose the easiest recipe I could find, a 1:1:1 ratio.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

You can substitute the butter for olive oil if that’s what you have. I had olive based spread in my fridge so I used that instead.

Myth 2: You need to be skilled to separate yolks from egg whites

Separating egg yolks is easier than people would like you to believe.

There’s so many gimmicks and gadgets available for separating egg yolks from egg whites and but it’s actually really easy. You don’t need a special shaped plastic bottle, you don’t need a special spoon. All you need to do is crack the egg cleanly, ether using the back of a knife blade or on the rim of a pan and either use the two halves of the shell or your fingers as a sieve.

Myth 3: You need a double boiler

You don’t need to get a special type of pan set to make hollandaise sauce. I’ve seen a lot of variations on the internet where people have even made their hollandaise sauce in a blender. In theory, the eggs need to be able to very gently cook really slowly so that you don’t get a greasy lemony scrambled egg. If you’re making it in a blender, the blades heat the mixture very slightly so they’ll do the cooking for you.

I don’t own a double boiler because studio flats have zero cupboard space. I also don’t own a stainless steel mixing bowl because I refuse to spend £7 on a bowl that I’ll only use for very specific recipes. Instead, I opted for a bain marie consisting of a stainless steel milk heating jug in a pan of water which I held by the handle so it didn’t touch the bottom. Feel free to use any receptacle you have in your kitchen though. Glass or stainless steel bowls over a pan of water are ideal as they give you a big whisking area.

I cheated with the whisking and used a £1 milk frother, mainly because of the size of the jug but also because I didn’t want to stand there whisking. I’m always reading decluttering articles telling me to bin it…but I refuse. Don’t do what one article advised and make a hollandaise sauce in your office’s aeroccino on when you’re working on the weekend though.

Myth 4: it’s complicated

Here are the steps…

Melt the butter

(gradually, don’t let it boil)

Separate the egg yolks from the whites

(you can keep the egg whites in the freezer for up to 12 months. So do that…then you can have egg white omelettes or meringues at a later date)

Add the butter to the egg yolks (not the other way around) gradually while whisking over a bain marie (ie, gently heating it but not directly touching the heat source)

Add the lemon juice at the end to lighten the flavour

That’s it! Then it’s ready to eat!

Well you can season it if you like. Black pepper, cayenne pepper or whatever crazy seasonings you’re into.

Have you tried to make hollandaise sauce? How did yours turn out?

I tried the Citymapper Smart Ride – Here’s what I thought plus £5 free credit

Like a lot of people who take public transport in major cities, I have the Citymapper app installed on my phone. And like a lot of people, I have often opened the app, saw the Smart Ride option and though “huh, wonder what that’s all about” and never tried it. Well recently I gave it a go, all in the name of research.

I’d had a day where I was feeling really unwell, 8hrs of non stop looking at a screen on a wobbly chair and I had motion sickness that I have not experienced since I saw The Blair Witch Project in the cinema. I also received an email to go pick up my shoes that I ordered online. So my dilemma was…go pick up the shoes and track back to the station for my journey home? Or go straight home and get the shoes another day? You know the answer to this one, the shoes always take priority.

After picking up the shoes I opened the City Mapper app to see if there was a quicker route home and I saw the Smart Ride option picking up from exactly where I was standing!

 

Now, the City Mapper smart ride is a sort of car pool that travels along set routes (that Citymapper are revising all the time) and excitingly, the route goes to the end of my road. For £3 from the City to my road, it’s a bargain. Especially considering the tube would cost £2.90.

I pressed the “book now” button and a ride was immediately assigned to me. The driver’s name and photo and the vehicle registration number were provided so that I didn’t accidentally get into a strange van.

The Citymapper Smart Ride is an eight seat Uber style taxi. The ride arrived within minutes and thankfully doesn’t have the branding on the side. Inside has both front and backwards facing seats. Luckily I was the only one there at the time so I got my pick of the seats, I’m not sure how I would have coped if I were facing backwards. Also inside the thankfully air-conditioned vehicle is charging ports! These definitely come in handy after you’ve been running the app watching where your driver is on their way to pick you up.

I had the ride to myself almost the entire time, the only other passengers that got in were a couple of tech workers near the Silicon Roundabout.

The Citymapper Smart Ride is sold as half way between a bus and a taxi, which it sort of is. There’s also a Smart Bus that travels at night which is really handy if you really dislike the night bus.

I wish there were a way to see the routes that the Smart Ride and Bus travels but I don’t think there is unless you’re in the area and using the app. The route only seems to go from the Hackney / Stoke Newington area down to the City and across the West End to Paddington and Chelsea.

For £3, I think it’s a real bargain but I don’t see how they can be making a profit. Really what this means is the Smart Ride and the Smart Bus are a nice idea but they might not last very long. So if you live and work along the route make the most of it now while the heatwave makes the tube and the buses unbearable and pay an extra 10p for a taxi-bus-thing home.

You can get £5 free credit by using my code: genevieve0yt

Download the app at https://citymapper.com/invite

and head to the Citymapper app and go to Settings > Payments and enter your code

Things I Learned During Frugal February

I wanted to call this post…

Things that I learned doing frugal February and failing but also all things I should have known anyway

…but it was too long.

At the beginning of February I decided to challenge myself to spend as little as possible. A challenge that both succeeded and failed. I set myself rules of how much I could spend and what I couldn’t spend money on and it turns out, just because you’re on a spending freeze, you can’t just shut yourself in a room and hope life goes away.

Just because you’re on a spending freeze, you can’t just shut yourself in a room and hope life goes away

Hiding grasshopper
Actual picture of me hiding during Frugal February

During my month of frugality, I had Birthday parties I needed to attend, social events to go to and a job interview to prepare for. OK, this all sounds like an excuse but going to a party and ordering tap water made me feel so self pitying, so I cheated and bought a small wine. And then after that it felt a little easier to justify spending a couple of pounds here and there, until I needed to get a haircut to look professional for a job interview. I could have cut it myself, but every-time I do, I end up looking like I have a DIY haircut. So I wanted to trust a professional but more on that later.

Willpower doesn’t work

Maybe yours might, but MINE definitely doesn’t. Trying to will yourself to stick to a rule everyday over a long period of time seems like an easy thing to do in theory, but actually takes a lot of sustained energy over time and that’s no fun. It’s like trying to stick to a diet…it’s better to make small lifestyle changes than than torturing yourself for a set period of time.

You can’t use up the things you don’t actually use

Bath bombs, bars of soap, celery salt. I kept finding things around the flat that I have but never used. My motto became “Use it or throw it in the bin” which aside from being oh so original and something I should already know, was also very sensible advice. I put my bars of soap into action when my hand wash and face wash ran out and tried to make fabric refresher out of the bath bombs, to varying degrees of success. To this day, I have no idea why I had celery salt.

Buy cheap buy twice

Not exactly the frugaleers motto but something of a universal truth nevertheless. From vanishing toilet roll to cheap and risky hair cuts, trying to save money is an extreme sport and you need to have experience of the terrain if you’re going to avoid pitfalls. There are exceptions to the rule, but uncovering those ultra rare bargains is clearly a skill.

A lot of your meals will be supplemented by sugar

And it’s not healthy. I noticed I drank more tea and coffee to try and catch up on the energy I was loosing from not having enough to actually eat. I allowed myself to have more treats at the office, a cookie or two in the afternoon and a slice of birthday cake which I would normally avoid. Trying to stick to good habits went out the window.

You can live without some things

I had a rule that if something broke, I’d try to go as long as I could without replacing it and seeing how that went. Within the first week, my table lamp started fizzing and died. Great timing. So I spent a week using electric tea lights. These also died. Eventually I realised I didn’t even need additional light. The developers who built the building outside my window have pointed four flood lights right at us and these are on continuously when it gets dark. All I need to do is open the curtain just a little bit and “oh would you look at that! It’s practically daylight!” I’ve been trying to decide whether I should get a new lamp but I’m quite enjoying the additional space that it has left.

Spending very little money is almost impossible

While I managed to save quite a lot that I would have normally spent, if you’re trying to live on £1 a day or £10 a week, it’s almost impossible. Food shrinkage and inflation is a very real thing and not everyone has access to a market that sells fresh fruit and veg. While it was cathartic to be able to use up everything I had in my cupboards and even reach a point where I could turn my fridge off, it’s not a challenge that can be sustained over a long period of time and my heart breaks for those who have no choice.

I have mostly learned that I can live without a few things that I previously considered essential and that there are definitely areas I can cut back on to save money. I’ve also learned that sacrifices have to be made if you’re living extremely frugally and sometimes that sacrifice is your well being.

 

Frugal February: 28 Day Low/No Spend Challenge

Have you broken your new year’s resolution to spend less money already? Well February is here and it’s a fresh new month. I’m going to be telling myself this every day for the next 28 days as I take part in Frugal February.

The idea of Frugal February is to have a no spend month (well, a low spend one) where you set yourself rules on what you can buy whilst using up everything you can that you already own.

I have made a note of my bank balances somewhere secret, somewhere safe and I’ll check them again on the 1st March to find out how much I’ve managed to save.

Frugal February Rules

Don’t buy anything that isn’t necessary to live

You are allowed to buy medicine, but if you’re doing this challenge, it’s worth looking up what help for healthcare costs you’re entitled to if you’re in the UK. Maybe it’s something you haven’t had time to do, but add it to your to-do list for this month. You can also downshift brands if it’s over the counter medicine you need. Instead of buying (and then having to drink) Lemsip, have store branded paracetamol and a delicious hot lemon and honey. Paracetamol is usually the only active ingredient in Lemsip (sometimes there’s caffeine I think) and normal hot lemon and honey will taste much nicer.

You can buy food, but only if it’s to help make a meal from something you already have, or if you run out of food completely. Go through your cupboards, fridge, freezer and make a note (mental/photographic/actual) of what you already have and make meals from it. If you need to add ingredients then buy basic food items and shop at food markets. Use up everything you can, start with your fresh items that have the shortest use by date. Cook large batches to freeze, make packed lunches for work, get inventive with cooking.

Set yourself a budget

I’m going to set myself an extreme budget of £1 a day. This doesn’t include travel, rent and bills. For the first week I think I’ll find this limit fine, my cupboards have food in them so I won’t starve. Week 2 is when I’ll have to start getting a bit more creative with meals. The last two weeks, I’ll probably be making and eating vegetable soup for every meal.

Make do with things you have in your house

We’ve already discussed food, but what about all the other things like hand wash, make-up remover and fabric refresher spray? If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few bars of soap in the cupboard that you have never got around to using. When you run out of body wash, face wash or hand wash, give the soap a go. If, after 28 days, you’re not getting on with it, you can throw it away filled with the knowledge that you’ve given it a fair chance. You can try using coconut oil as makeup remover or discover diy fixes for every day household consumable items.

Do not start any new projects

Don’t start any new projects but do finish ones you have already started. I’ll be sewing buttons back on to my jacket, hemming dresses and finishing a lot of work projects. I’ll also continue to declutter and I may even get around to some light diy projects, if replacing the sealant around the bath counts as diy. I need to finish a short story that I started writing, finish my other website, edit an audiobook, edit my showreel…as you can tell, I’ve got a lot to try and do this Month. The hardest part will be saying no to new projects.

Before the fiscal fast, don’t stockpile

It’s the 1st February anyway so I’m not giving you any chance to stockpile. If you’re stocking up before a fiscal fast, it defeats the object. I do encourage you to plan ahead a few days in advance once you’ve accepted the challenge, but if you have created a safety net for yourself then you’ll be cheating yourself out of enjoying success.

Find ways to cut your travel spending

If you can, try and catch a cheaper mode of transport, walk or cycle if you do have a bike at your disposal. Sometimes it’s not possible depending on where you live but while you’re taking part in the challenge, it might be worth exploring other options to get around.

If it’s broken, don’t replace it

If something you own turns out to be broken during the challenge, try not to rush out and buy a replacement. Challenge yourself to see how long you can cope without it and if buy a replacement after the challenge if you still miss it.

Are you taking part in Frugal February? Let me know what crazy cupboard recipes you come up with in the comments below.

 

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Consumerism Gone Mad: Cauliflower Steak

Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of cauliflower steak. That was until a vegetarian friend of mine was excited about it being served at a lunch. “Isn’t it just sliced cauliflower though?” I asked…it turns out, that’s exactly what it was. Cauliflower Steak is sliced cauliflower with a fancy name. Now I’m not a vegetarian so I can’t really relate to the need to make your food more exciting but I can see that calling a slice of cauliflower “a steak” is stretching the definition of steak to its limits. The Cambridge dictionary describes steak as “a thick, flat piece of meat or fish, especially meat from a cow” whereas other dictionaries also say the term used to be used for anything that is roasted on a spit (also known as a steik).

This week, Cauliflower Steak hit the headlines when it was discovered that Marks & Spencers were selling the product for more than double the price of an actual cauliflower. The £2.50 cauliflower steaks, two slices of cauliflower packaged in plenty of environment damaging plastic, caused outrage on twitter and debates in comment sections and accusations against hipster for somehow allowing this to happen, alongside recipe articles on how to make your own cauliflower steaks.

This isn’t the first time that cauliflower steak has graced the supermarket shelves. In 2016, Tesco sold a lemon drizzled cauliflower steak but the product has since been discontinued, presumably due to the fact that consumers are not so easily deceived.

So I’m sure you’re all dying to know how to stick-it-to-the-man and make your own knock off version of cauliflower steak? Well here you go…

How to make your own cauliflower steak

  • Get a cauliflower and wash it
  • Chop it into slices
  • Rub it in oil and herbs of your choice
  • Cook it.

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions that are NOT Losing Weight

Happy New Year! (and a bit!)

I don’t mean to do a new year’s resolution every year but it’s difficult not to look back on the past year and re-evaluate where you are compared to the same time a year ago.

And I know that I’ll get cynical criticism from everyone I talk to. “Well why didn’t you start this new thing/hobby/lifestyle/diet/interest years ago? You can’t be that serious about it if you’re only starting it now as a new year’s resolution.”

Well, to all the Negative Nancies out there I say this. “The only bad time to start a new thing, is when you’re not inspired to do it.”

I actually had a great New Year’s Day this year, instead of feeling sorry for myself I decided to go and get inspired. I wanted to pick a New Year’s Resolution that wasn’t to do with loosing weight or getting healthy so I searched for ideas and here are a few…

Learn a language

Being half Filipino, people are always asking me if I speak any other languages and the only answer I can give them is “umm, GCSE French?” and actually I’ve forgotten most of that. I’m always jealous of people that can speak multiple languages and have always been made to feel like there are two sorts of people in this world, those that are good at languages, and those that are beyond hope. Well, boo to that. This year I’m going to try and become at least vaguely familiar with Tagalog. If you have any sure fire tips on learning a language, let me know what they are.

Be more social

I need to get out more. It’s so easy to get back home and relax and catch up Netflix. However there is a point where you (and by you I mean I) have to make a concerted effort to get out and socialise and explore the city (or town) you live in. I’m going to try and make it to at least one meetup or event a month outside my social circle. What have I got to lose?

Be more creative

I’ve been speaking to a few people recently about how they used to be really artistic but now they literally can’t put pencil to paper because of anxiety they feel about perfectionism or associated memories when drawing. I almost cried on their behalf, art shouldn’t be about being perfect or something to be afraid of. I love the #draw365 project. The idea is you sketch something every day for 365 days. Even if it’s a little doodle on a napkin, no one is going to judge you and it’s such a simple resolution to try. Even a photo every day for 365 days would count towards being creative and you’ll find yourself looking for beauty in your everyday routine.

If you’re more of a writer or an aspiring novelist, you could set yourself a word count to reach every day. Stephen King sets himself a 2,000 word count every day but you can start small if that feels daunting or if you feel like you have no time. If you don’t think you have a book in you or you don’t feel like you can make things up, then maybe have a go at blogging!

Learn a party trick

What’s your party trick? If you’ve ever been a contestant on a gameshow then you’ll know and either love or dread this question. I dread this question because I don’t have a party trick and like languages, I’ve always thought that these sorts of things were for The Blessed, a.k.a. The Talented. This year I might give something a go and with the internet at our fingertips, you can learn some pretty unique things. Beatboxing, finger tutting, juggling, croupier skills, magic tricks, cocktail flaring…so many ideas, the only problem is finding the time to to it all. Dedicate a small amount of time each day, break down the skill into elements to master and immerse yourself in it.

Set yourself a challenge for the year

Challenge yourself to read a book a week. If you don’t have time to sit down and read, then you can listen to audiobooks. It’s not cheating, it just makes sense. I’ve always got a few books on the go and audiobooks can be listened to when you’re walking, cleaning or cooking. It’s a brilliant incentive to breeze through your chores.

Save some money every day

I’m really bad at putting money aside to save, and I think I know why. When I do put money into an account to save, it’s always a relatively larger amount than I’m comfortable to put away and it makes me feel bad. So I avoid saving. I think I’m going to play a game this year and save a really small amount every day. On day 1, I’m going to put away 1p, on day 2 I’ll put away 2p, day 3…3p and so on and so on. I will try and do this every day for the year and by this time next year I’ll have saved £667.95 if I’ve done my maths right. At most I’ll have put away no more than £3.65 on any day. I think I can cope with that.

Be the sort of person you always wished you were

I always find myself saying “I wish I was the sort of person who drank water all the time” or “I wish I was the sort of person that could just go into a room and talk to people” and even my friends tell me they wish they could sew or cook or wear their hair long or be more feminine. Well you know what? You’re not born with all the skills, qualities or attributes you’ll ever have. You can be more feminine, be kinder, go eco-friendly, go vegan and yes, even drink more water. The wonderful think about a new year’s resolution is that you give yourself permission to do it. And that’s what being an adult is all about. Yes our upbringing shapes us into the adult we start off as but ultimately we get to decide our own form and shape. So you want to be the sort of person who wears bright coloured lipstick for fun? Do eeet.

 

Whatever you decide to do, pick something that inspires you, that you’ve always admired when you’ve seen the skill or quality in other people and that you genuinely wish you started years ago. If you do this, then there’s a higher likelihood that your New Year’s Resolution won’t be one of the ones to fail. Kick start the year with all those awesome positive aspirations but don’t beat yourself up if you loose the passion for it.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below…

New Year, New Blog

Hello and welcome! If you haven’t met me then… Hi! I’m Genevieve. Welcome to The Vive Edit, my new blog about living a more purposeful life.

 

I’ve run a few blogs over my blogging life; I co-founded a “thinkers blog”, an entertainment blogazine and also a (very) casual fitness and lifestyle blog. I uploaded thousands of posts about all sorts of things.

 

All of this has taught me one thing. Less is definitely more.

 

When you begin blogging, it’s like shouting into a vacuum; it’s great when you get a retweet or someone shares your post. You interview a celebrity or two, go to premieres, meet your heroes and possibly get a scoop. It’s lovely to start getting emails from strangers, PR professionals and brands marketing their latest products.

 

Then you get your details on a media database and you become swamped with press releases. You go to events created specifically for bloggers where you’re spoilt rotten, fed canapes and liberally doused with cava thanks to the free bar. You’re pampered and given freebies and somehow your content becomes more and more product focussed and you begin to find that the scoops become less frequent, everyone’s publishing the same content and you have a mountain of products that you feel obliged to review.

 

You end up with a mountain of things. so many things that you have to find inventive ways to give away promotional teddy bears, sweets, pens and pencils and pots of pesto that you’re given. I know what you’re thinking, “urgh, another blogger complaining about free things. There are bigger problems in the world.” And you’re right. And as I was trying to write about products when there were other bigger issues at stake in the world, that’s when it began to become difficult to write and remain enthusiastic.

 

Back to stuff.

 

Your dwelling becomes a chronological to do pile and your calendar and inbox has become a to do list. Somehow you have 7 inboxes and some of them have over 10,000 emails. You feel pressured to colour code your instagram and have rose gold and marble everything, you collect props for photos and you leave things you’ve bought in their wrapper because you haven’t get around to taking photos of them yet.

 

It becomes less about your flair for communicating your thoughts via writing and blogging gets boiled down to how pretty you are or how colour coordinated you can make your instagram. People start telling you that their blog is “a microblog on insta” and you later learn (through a process of them repeatedly following and unfollowing you) that their 200k followers is an artificially inflated amount. Suddenly the tabloids start to talk about bloggers or “influencers” as reality TV show contestants.

 

The more and more involved in the blogosphere I became, the crazier it got and the more hectic my life became. Trying to balance my career as an actress and voice over artist with my day job in an office is difficult enough, add a crazy blogging schedule on top of that and it’s a recipe for a burnout. And I think I had one.

 

So what is The Vive Edit?

 

The Vive Edit is about editing and curating your life. From objects, to things in your calendar and things that clutter your head, It’s a practical minimalism journey and if you’re still reading this then you’re truly amazing and I hope you stick with me on this journey.

 

For the past few years I’ve been telling my friends I am trying to go minimalist. I think I’ve actually not been describing it correctly as what I’ve really been trying to do is go minimalist, but in a way that suits me. I mean, I like stuff, stuff is great and sometimes it can enhance your life. However it can also be a burden and needlessly add physical and psychological pressure on you. Likewise, being busy is wonderful, being entertained even better, but when you’re so busy you mind is constantly working and it’s stopping you from sleeping or relaxing, then you know it’s time to simplify and make tough choices about what you’re filling your life with.

 

So The Vive Edit is about finding simplicity in your life without being too simplistic. It’s about minimising without being a “minimalist” and it’s about living deliberately without losing all the spontaneity and fun if life.

 

What to expect?

 

Learn from my mistakes, live vicariously from a walking typing disaster. Expect to find mildly self deprecating humour and an honest journey into finding the right philosophy.

 

Also expect exciting finds, tips I pick up along the way and the very occasional, very selective review.

 

If you have any tips, let me know at @theviveedit on twitter