It is a month into my 3-month detox already.
In terms of alcohol it has been piss-easy. Rarely have I considered having a drink – I am comfortably managing afternoon visits to pubs with only soft drinks. Only when something has annoyed me and I’ve had a mini 5-minute rage-strop have I thought about alcohol. Though it would be nice to have a glass of red wine to write this with.
Avoiding red meat is another question. Sausage sandwiches and sausage rolls are out – but I do crave them quite often…very often at first! I’m not strictly avoiding red meat, I do allow myself it on a roast dinner (I cannot have chicken every week…and me eat a vegetarian roast…yeeeeeeaaaah), but otherwise I have avoided it.
I’ve just added chocolate and cake to my banned list…might as well for the hell of it.
Alas, my diet is pretty much super-healthy yet I am not losing my belly. Which is pretty annoying. Yeah I know what you are saying, “do some exercise you tosser”. Time, ladies and gentlemen.
I am occasionally a bit bored by all of the restrictions. This time of year is perfect to do a detox, as people are going out less and there are far fewer invites to events.
Unsurprisingly I have no money either. For January I had to pay for my flights for a holiday which I absolutely cannot afford, plus pay back my overspend in December. In February I am putting my holiday spending money aside so I’ll have a budget of just £300 which needs to pay for food too. In March I am going to buy a new phone outright, so again I’ll have a budget of around £300.
Which I can survive on – I’m not complaining about it – some have far less than I do, but means I have to limit my fun and my expenditure. So for example, this weekend I am going to treat myself to a piece of fish from the local fishmonger – hardly a peak of excitement. Dover Sole, perhaps? Don’t think I’ve ever had it.
I am also trying to work out ways to expand my earning potential. Clearly web development is the key to that. I need to upgrade my skills, and learn AngularJS to help with work – I have started and some of it is sinking in, but until I start using it on a day-to-day basis, I won’t fully understand it.
But upgrading my skills for work is one thing – whether it will increase my earnings from my actual job this year I cannot answer.
So the other side is to make sure that I have an active website advertising my skills in the hope of picking up the odd client – I have had some small pieces of work over the last year but they only paid enough for a handful of roast dinners. Then again, I don’t have much free time, so there is only so much that I can actually do.
I do already have audiences on, for example, my roast dinners blogs – I even had an enquiry the other day from Roast Dinners Around Reading, in regards to improving a website – though he’s disappeared since I mentioned a price. Maybe it was too high…I’m still struggling with the idea of pricing myself.
Some simple banner ads would surely at least get a few people across – though I need to build the website first for my imaginary web design agency.
Also I could make a website for my weather page – given that I have over 5,000 followers, there should surely be something I could do to monetise it – perhaps an individual paid-for weather forecast. Or maybe just host advertising for local businesses…I’m only talking small amounts. Hell, maybe even a donation button – a few people have in the past asked if there was a way to pay for my forecasts. Or a paid-for app…but that is another mission entirely.
I actually want to start two new blogs. Yes, I know I don’t have time to update most of my current ones. One is potentially going to be called Love, Life & Loathing of London – again with the aim of trying to have some minor kind of monetisation.
The other might just be an Instagram page, or maybe a small blog, called Moorgate Munching – helping to find good food in the specific area where I work. Not that I can often afford to eat out at lunch, and I don’t have the time to write-up any large reviews anyway. Maybe it won’t happen.
As always, the lack of time in my life matches the lack of money. I know I’m not unique in either of those senses.
And, of course, this weekend I will end up concentrating on cleaning the house. Instead of doing any of the web development projects that I have outlined above – as I feel spiritually much more positive in a clean house, and cannot yet afford a cleaner. If only I had some more time so I could do some web development to help increase my earning potential so I can afford a cleaner to give me more time to help increase my earning potential.
It is very much a heads-down period, trying to concentrate on various areas of self-improvement, so I can enjoy life more in the rest of the year, and future years. Sacrifices, my friend.
Yet I have also found some time to enjoy London recently. Last weekend I went to the British Museum…well actually that was really dull but it was just nice to wander around with my favourite. We had dinner in a really homely place in Soho called Claw – I had some awesome fish fingers with just delectable mayonnaise…I don’t actually like mayonnaise so for that to impress me was quite something.
I then had a second trip to Soho last weekend, this time to exchange a trinket for a chocolate bar from a Cadbury’s pop-up (sorry mum but I swapped that tacky Hull keyring that you gave me for Christmas that I was going to throw away…I’m sure you would have done the same). Free chocolate! Yeah I gave up chocolate on Monday.
Roast dinners have, of course, continued – I also went to some fairly random show at the Vault Festival last Sunday…a drag queen doing an hour of cabaret in the world’s dampest “theatre” perhaps wasn’t the best thing I’ve seen in my life…or at least the most suitable for my tastes.
I’m also starting to plan other holidays that I probably cannot afford without another month off the booze. I’m accepting the likelihood that if I am to achieve my goal of going to 4 new countries this year, then I’ll likely have to do at least some of it by myself. It isn’t always easy to find people to go on holiday with – especially given the low budget that I have. Though I haven’t really been trying. And if someone popped up now and said, “I’d love to go on holiday with you”, then I wouldn’t be able to commit either.
Anyway, I quite fancy a trip to Slovenia, staying around Triglav National Park and getting some mountains, lake and forest stuff in – the scenery just looks gorgeous (yeah I’m nearly 40). Just going for a walk, enjoying the surroundings, having a few chilled out beers, staying in a B&B or two. And perhaps a day in Ljubljana too – which I definitely do not pronounce correctly.
I also quite fancy trips to Vienna, Athens, Budapest and Belgrade – if I am being more adventurous then I also fancy Tbilisi and Tirana – capitals of Georgia and Albania, respectively, just in case you didn’t know.
Whether I’ll be able to afford any of them is, of course, the perennial question, but if I do increase my earnings and am careful with my spending in this country (ie no nightclubs and cut down on random boozy sessions) then I should be able to squeeze one or two in.
So, another two months of this detox to go.
I don’t feel inspiringly fantastic and I have barely lost any of the weight I have put on since last April. I still don’t have any money, I haven’t ticked much off my to-do list and I have barely touched any non-work coding projects. And still need to buy some new pants.
Yet I feel that I am going in the right direction. Broadly speaking, life is imperfectly good.
Roll on April.