travel musings

Clazz’s 2017 Challenges: March Update

Well guys, we’re suddenly a week into April and time is whizzing away from me, so it’s about time I did my March update!

March was a real up and down month for me. It started off on a high as I was in London, and ended on a high because I started a new job in a hostel, which I’m loving so far! But in between? We had stormy weather, my hard drive failed and I almost lost all my travel photos when it turned out my external hard drive was also malfunctioning (seriously – stressful night!), I broke a tooth and I got stressed out about money.

But I also had, between the stormy days, some really fun days out, as well as some really fun nights out. I finally got a new phone after almost four years. I took my mum out for a meal for Mother’s Day which was a lovely evening. And I’ve been exploring the west coast of Orkney more and more, which I’m loving.

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Anyway, let’s see how my challenges are going, shall we?

Make £50 on side hustles

To be honest, it’s hard to know where the line is here, as I started my new job! I’ll be keeping my hand in at the old job – even just a few hours here and there will take me over £50 pretty quickly.

I did my first market research job too (interviewing tourists!), which netted me £35, and my cleaning job brought in another £12. So all in all, I’ve done pretty well there without even touching on surveys, money-making apps or anything else!

Now that we’re living independently again, I’m using ReceiptHog more – an app that scans your receipts! You get coins every time you scan a food shop receipt, and for miscellaneous receipts (clothing, DIY etc) you get a spin on the “Hog Slots”, where you can win lots of coins. There are also bonus questions and surveys that pop up, which all reward you with coins. You can cash out as little as £5 for 1500 coins, but it’s much better value to save up 12,000 coins and redeem it for £50! Plus earn more with my code: prisp482.

I’ll be getting back into surveys soon – it’s been a bit difficult as I’ve been confined to using Ash’s laptop until I can justify buying a new hard drive for mine.

Total: definitely around the £50 mark

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Move into a house as cheaply as possible

Well following on from my summary, my new phone is costing just £7.50 per month which is ridiculous. I only spend £10 a month on phone costs anyway, but I usually buy my phone upfront too. So to have that included AND save £2.50 a month is crazy.

We really haven’t spent much on the house this month as I think we’re pretty much there with furniture and household bits. We are, however, averaging about £30 per week between us for food shopping, which I think is great! Our secret? Lidl! The first week we moved in, we did a food shop in Lidl and accidentally spent £50. It lasted us two weeks along with tiny top up shops of things like bread and fruit. In fact, we still have some meat in the freezer that we haven’t used yet.

I remember reading a promotional thing from Santander about how the average single person spends £60 a week on groceries. I posted about it, aghast that people could manage to spend that much. The reaction? A unanimous “well… I easily spend that, plus £5 every day for lunch. You must be really poor if you think that’s a lot.”

These are the same people who say they wish they could afford to travel, or who moan about having no money left at the end of the month. All those articles about how it’s possible if you prioritise your money? The proof is, quite literally, in the pudding.

(as an aside, I’m working on a huuuuuuuuuuge post about saving money to travel. I’m trying to make it a little different to the millions already out there!)

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Standing on the bridge between a cliff and a sea stack! Would you do this? It’s sloped downwards too, which was REALLY disorientating. My favourite part was when a wave crashed through underneath! Ummmm!

Get fitter

I know I could have worked on this so much more. I need to start using my blog as motivation, as I know I’ll have to post about my failures at the end of it! However, I’ve done a lot of walking. I am now able to walk to work, which I love (not so much in the past few days when rain flies into your face at 60mph), and my job is definitely going to keep me active! I’ve also done some fantastic coastal walks, and now Orkney is finally getting warmer, I’m going to try to get into running, too.

We’re still thinking of joining the gym, but at this point I feel like it would be an automatic money drain – when the hell are we going to have the time to go?!

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Write for other publications / read 50 books

I haven’t been writing much this month, but I have been featured on an Edinburgh Instagram page which is awesome (even more amazing? It’s the second most liked photo out of their latest 10 posts!)! I’m working on upping my Instagram game, as it’s something I haven’t really concentrated on enough. Should I make some challenges out of that?

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM
I’m highlighting some of my Orkney shots at the moment!

I’m currently reading Brother Odd from the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I’ve owned the book for a while, but never got around to reading it. At this point, I don’t really understand the constant bashing he receives, but we’ll see if that changes! I enjoy his descriptive narrative, which seems to be one of the main criticisms he receives, but I don’t know, maybe after another 100 pages I’ll wonder what the hell he’s playing at.

I’m also reading the prequel to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, called The Magician’s Nephew (yeah, who knew THAT’S the first book in the series?). It’s kind of funny because it’s about a kid whose uncle is basically a crazy scientist who sends him on a dangerous adventure, and it reminded me immediately of Rick & Morty! (P.S. best April Fool’s ever, right?)

I definitely need to get a move on with my reading if I want to reach my goal. Luckily, my job actually provides a great opportunity on the late shift because one of the ferries doesn’t get in until almost midnight, and there’s not much to do while waiting for the late check ins!

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Learn something new

Ich bin sechsunddreizig Prozent durch der Kurs! I have 40 lessons left of German on Duolingo, but at the moment I’m re-capping every module before I continue, as in the latest ones I’m getting rusty quick.

I’d say I’m pretty good at reading and understanding it quickly, but when I have to write a sentence, I get SO confused by the sentence structure (although I’m getting there, I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel) and also the der/die/das of nouns. Is there some special rule to remember which is which? I also don’t understand adding an -n or -r to the end of a word in certain cases or tenses. I am enjoying Duolingo, but it’s not good at explaining the reason behind structures or new case words, so I’m going to be doing a lot of homework to try to understand them. The comments are a hugely valuable source for that reason, but sometimes it just confuses me even more – at the moment, my head is a whirlwind of “nominative”, “dative”, “conjunctive”. I guess you can’t expect a free app to provide everything!

Honestly, any useful tips would be much appreciated!

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Other things?

We hosted another couchsurfer, although our requests have really slowed down for the moment. The calm before the storm, perhaps? Anyway I had a really fun day out with her; it was actually the first time I’d managed to get to the Brough Of Birsay as you can only access it for a couple of hours every day, and I fell over twice! Like flat on my back in standing water and mud. With someone I barely know. Excellent, Clazz.

We also went to see Beauty and the Beast this week! (I realise it’s a March update, but there’s not much point writing about it next month!) I LOVED it! I was worried about the hype, and I was worried about Emma’s singing. I needn’t have. The whole production was visually fantastic, I know there have been some opinions on the casting but I thought everyone was perfect, and yes, you can hear the autotune on Emma’s voice, but it doesn’t detract from her singing. At the end of the day, she’s not a singer, and it’s Disney – it’s supposed to sound “too” flawless.

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And finally – I’m formulating some travel plans for later this year! In August, we’ll be heading to the Isle Of Man for a wedding, and we’re leaning towards taking a car so we have more freedom. This has led to the idea of packing a west coast Scotland road trip into the mix, including the NC500 (North Coast 500) and the Isle of Skye! It’s a part of the country that’s (mostly) been seriously overlooked by me, purely because I’ve never really had the chance to go – I’ve only been able to drive since I moved to England! I always had it in the back of my mind that we’d do it this year now we’re back in Scotland, but because of the seasonal nature of my job, I wasn’t sure if it would have to be put on the backburner. Well backburn no more, we’re finally going to visit the most beautiful parts of my country!

Isn’t it funny that I only recently heard of the NC500 road trip? I’ve done the eastern part countless times all throughout my life, and I enjoy it every time! And now it’s the cool thing to do? Well, we’ll see how the west compares to the east.

I’m also planning more exploring in Orkney. I am constantly amazed recently by how much I don’t know about the place I grew up. I mean, I’ve been to most places and I know some real off-the-beaten-track coastal wonders. But did you know I’ve never been to Hoy? One of my aims is to get over to Rackwick and do the hike to the Old Man Of Hoy. Little did I know I’d actually see it the other day, from Marwick Head!! (the first photo in this post)

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Plus I found out just last week that there’s an abandoned hostel around two miles from the house I lived in for 18 fricking years. It’s all overgrown with leaves covering half the doorway, and the inside still has loads of furniture and appliances in; it actually looks kinda magical. I’m betting it would be a fun place to camp out for the night – maybe someone should run a tour and tell ghost stories!

It’s also rapidly coming up to puffin season, and I’ve never seen one! I’ve even eaten puffin (I know, I know! I still feel bad) in Iceland. Again, you can usually spot them at Marwick Head – another contributing factor to it probably being my favourite place in Orkney? You are also guaranteed to see them on one of the northern isles, which is another of my aims this year – I haven’t really been to any of them!

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Have you got any exciting plans coming up over the summer? I’d love to hear about them!

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2 thoughts on “Clazz’s 2017 Challenges: March Update

  1. I’m so jealous you’re in Orkney, it is so high up my bucket list! I was kind of disappointed in Beauty and the Beast, but it was still pretty cool seeing such a childhood favourite in live action. Loving your challenge of doing those side hustles, might have to start something like that myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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