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Yes, yes, yes, I told you that while I was cutting back on my expenses and that I would never, never get rid of the cleaner. She is the hero of the hour and worth every penny and saved me nearly £200.

I’ve spent this week hunting high and low for my iPod – my days have been silent and sad without it. I was even planning a visit to the iPod shop today to buy a new one. To have to shell out for a another one is a bitter blow for the unemployed, and a lot of dosh, but it’s a handbag essential and I can’t live without it, so needs must.

I’ve spent many hours trying to work out where it could be. Hmmm, it must be somewhere. Back of the sofa? nope. Under the mattress? In a coat pocket? Check, check and recheck. I even rang around everywhere I have been over the last few days to beg and plead for the return of my 120GB friend.

So yesterday, I had a bright idea. My cleaner was coming to do her magic and I thought I would employ her organisational skills in my search.

‘I’ll give you £20 if you can find my iPod’
‘I’ll look for it, I’m very lucky you know. I found a passport for another client’
‘I’ve looked everywhere – I know I put it somewhere but I just can’t remember’
‘Ok, I will try.’
Oh yes, she’s going to find it I thought. While I busied myself shooing the plumber around the house and overseeing the instalment of my mock crock bar (yes it finally arrived!), I kept my fingers crossed.

I could hear the hoover, the taps going but no other sounds.
Finally, footsteps on the stairs, and she appeared brandishing my iPod like a prize.

‘Yippee! Thanks so much!’
‘It was in your room’
‘You’re kidding’
‘Yep, by your bed’
‘Never!’
‘The big wooden bowl?’
‘But I looked in there, it’s full of Miniminx’s stuff – I checked it twice’
‘Aha – it was under the big wooden bowl’
‘Thanks, I should have look underneath but I didn’t think of doing that’

ipod

Yes, I am undeniably superficial – I can only manage to look on the surface of things obviously – but who cares when £20 gets me back my beloved iPod and saves me shelling out for a new one.

So I happily hotfooted it to the cashpoint with Candi Staton as my soundtrack and felt euphoric. A very happy cleaner left my house too with a nice little bonus. And, reflecting on how much money I’d saved myself, I proceeded to download some must have albums from iTunes. And in my mind, they were all free!

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I always tell Miniminx that to get what you want, Rule Number One is to be nice and always smile – try it, it’s free and it works. And Rule Number Two; if you don’t ask, you don’t get. While I’ve since come to mildly regret passing on these wise learnings (I’ve been at the mercy of them on a daily basis ever since), I’d rather have a little charmer on my hands than a petulant pouter.

In this crazy world, it’s my firm belief that it still counts to live life by your own rule book and in times of trouble I tend to resort to what I call Freebie Alchemy. In the good old days, this would mean blagging my way into VIP areas, getting backstage passes and bagging designer clothes samples (when I was thin enought to squeeze into catwalk offcasts). Now, the parameters and priorites of my life have changed but, I still remain very committed to practising the Art of getting something for nothing.

So, here’s the thing. This week I’ve managed to get in a major haul of goodies without even going to the cash point. Not being much of an accountant, I’ve made my own little calculations and in my world, it all adds up to about £465!

It all started early this week. I’ve been awaiting the delivery of a mock crock leather drinks bar which I bought last July. I snapped it up at 30% off in the Summer sale. It’s something I’ve adored from the moment I set eyes on it a year ago, so the wait has seemed worth it as I know it will bring years of joy, admiration and tipsiness.

mock-croc-bar

I have diligently called the company weekly this year and kept my cool while the promised delivery date has continued to slip. I dutifully called the company on Monday to ask if it had been delivered to their warehouse yet but it was still ‘on it’s way’.

‘Hi, I’m calling about the delivery of my bar I bought in July’
‘Oh, let me just check’
‘Thanks’
‘It’s not in yet’
‘Hmmm, I was told it would be this week’ In despair, I gasped audibly ‘Can’t you offer me anything to say sorry? A voucher for the shop or something? It is nearly a year I’ve been waiting.’
‘Um, hang on a minute, let me check’. Ooh, I thought, there maybe a little gift on the way here.
‘Hi, are you still there?’
‘Yes I am, I’ll hold’
‘Let me just check something, thanks for your patience.’
‘Hello? Thanks for holding, I can offer you a £50 voucher – is that any good?’
‘Oh that’s so kind of you, thanks very much!’

And I got a call today to say the drinks bar is coming on Friday and even better the price has now gone up £300 since I bought it. (Value £350)

TodayI have a free luxury facial and massage which I won in Miniminx’s Christmas raffle. (Value £85)

I’m not counting the blow up sunbed session from the other day, it’s just too traumatic. (Value 0)

I am counting the free replacement gym card which they gave me without charging a fiver (I’m just too great a sideshow to not have around) (Value £5)

Now a girl’s gotta have shoes – especially with job interviews in the offing, so how about three pairs for free? Well, yesterday, after a gorgeous lunch at Dial, I wandered around Covent Garden, well that’s stretching the truth – I just made a beeline for Poste Mistress – the best shoe shop in the world – to buy my new ‘interview’ shoes.

dial

After a couple of hours of trying on the most magnificent shoes and boots, I left with 4 I-can’t-live-without-these pairs neatly packaged in very conspicuous bright pink bags; mock croc high heeled court shoes, knee length shiny black leather boots, green suede high heeled ankle boots and flat black suede mocassins.

The ladies in the shop were lovely, especially at the till.

‘So here they all are’
‘Oh great, thanks’ I beamed handing over my card
‘Well, the way I calculate it, with all the discounts, and I’ve given you an extra 10% off the non sale shoes’ Lucky me eh? ‘This whole lot is still £20 under the original full price of the knee length boots. So basically you’ve got three extra pairs of shoes for free!’
‘Wow’ I said, ‘That’s so clever!’
(Value £20 + three free pairs of shoes)

shoes

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ergonomic-backpack-grey_12371Yep, I left off last Friday’s post feeling all positive after having a major moan, and having decided exercise was the only answer, with my mind made up to sweat out my problems on the treadmill, I ran round madly grabbing lotions, potions, kit, towels and my trusty iPod…

With my bag stuffed to bursting, I headed off to pump, pose and pamper at my gym.  In true Nixdminx style, what sounds like the lap of luxury nevertheless turns out to be a dog’s dinner from start to finish, no matter which way you look at it.

On my merry little stroll to muscle mecca, my trusty Manhattan Portage back pack broke, leaving me walking lumpenly in my parka in the manner of Quasimodo.   Ho hum, it’s ancient, I’ll mend it I thought blythely.  As it was Friday, and I was looking forward to a night out with the Notting Hill fillies, I booked a sunbed for that instant glow and stood bathing in the UVA rays until kaboom – the blasted thing blew up on me!  Hastily donning a swimming costume and towel, I tiptoed into the reception area looking quite scared and very scary –  I still had thick white factor 50 sunscreen daubed across my face for all and sundry to gawp at. ‘Oops sorry, have a free one next time you’re in’ said the receptionist.

Slinking into the changing rooms, I was ready to get  running and work up a sweat until I realised I’d left my work out leggings at home – the thought of attempting a 3k run in my knickers did cross my mind, but I thought I’d scared everyone enough already.

Not one to give up without a fight, I headed to the pool. Oh dear. This credit crunch has left a lot of fat pants cats out of work, and it seems they’re all whaling whiling away the hours in ‘my’ Spa.  Best to leave it alone for a bit I thought and hit the pool for a few lengths.  I’d forgotten my swimming goggles, but by this time I couldn’t care less, so swam back and forth in the manner of a tottering drunk as I kept my eyes closed for most of it.  That done, it was time to relax, but not wanting to be the only female in the hot tub, I went into the sauna instead. 

After ten minutes, I emerged beetroot-like and the spa was still full so I jumped into the pool to swim a bit more until the hairy Walruses left, only to find my leg muscles spasmed in the extreme change of temperature and I was hopping around with cramp.   At least I could look forward to having a shower and getting out of there…just don’t ask how my hair got to look like a haystack when I left otherwise I’ll have to share another Nixdminx moment…

Needless to say I was back at the gym on Sunday to try all over again and claim my free sunbed. I stood bathing in the UVA rays until kaboom – the blasted thing blew up on me! Hastily donning a swimming costume and towel, I tiptoed into the reception area – and you know the rest

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I’ve been burying my head in the sand, and this week the snow, and it’s time to face facts. Staying at home with no income is a fool’s paradise.

I’m a bit lost without the social, intellectual and fiscal stimuli of working. Miniminx is bored of me being at home – she’s missing all the goodies I used to bring home from my travels and the general haphazard nature of our life which we’ve grown accustomed to.

Going to school is a bit of a grungefest these days, instead of arriving to drop her off in a cab with darkened windows and tottering in the playground fully made up, with glossy hair and crazy heels, it’s now a walk along the River clad in parka, jeans and biker boots (yes, of course I wear a top!) and lucky if I’ve managed to grab a shower yet.

She’s going to be in for a fright when she starts to notice that my purse strings are going to be much tighter, even though the heartstrings are still tuggable, Pester Power moments will be played out on deaf ears – you know the ones ‘But I really, REALLY need it, I reeeally do – it would make me so happy. You know you’re the best Mummy.’

Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had in this downtime but being at home hasn’t made me tidy the house more or start knitting – I still spend most of my day, mainly out of ‘Im-not-working-but-I-know-I-should-be’ guilt, sat at my computer in search of the main chance! I think I’ve lost my gall these last few weeks and I’m wondering if I will ever work again, it’s a crisis of professional confidence and it’s eating away at me day by day.

It was easy to keep busy in January as it was all very novel – fabulous in fact. But February? It’s time to take stock and hit the refresh button on my reality check page, I’ve got to take a sharp look at our expenses and start making cutbacks;

Newspapers & magazines (now get them online)
Lovefilm subscription is gone (£10 per month)
Virgin Wines Discovery Club cancelled (£80 per quarter)
£8 per hour baby sitters no more (£80 per month)
cut back on the food bill (cut back to £60 per week – difficult when there’s no Aldi or Lidl in walking distance)
designer clothes can wait until I get working (thousands!)
taxis only when necessary (hundreds)
no more cinema (£50 per month)
or eating out (a lot)
no holiday (a massive amount)
personal trainer (£400 per ten sessions)
beautician (back to doing my own pedicures etc)
turn off the heating in the day when I’m home and wear scarf and gloves (well, I’m not really going to do that)

And that amounts to my lifestyle down the drain. My gym membership could go but that’s my sanity, and the cleaner, well it’s a minor expense and there’s nothing better than a loyal cleaner. I’ve also got Miniminx’s afterschool lessons to pay for; Stagecoach £315, guitar lesson £45 and all the school trips, plus it’s her birthday soon which will have to be downsized this year. At least there are no school fees to pay.

So how will I make any cash without a job in the credit crunch? Blogging – I wish I could but why pay a blogger when they do it for free?! Selling stuff online? I’ve signed up to Music Magpie to ditch my CDs, and while I buy on ebay, I don’t tend to sell on it. Carboot sales?

I’ve hit The Wall – like Simon Pegg in Run Fat Boy Run – and I’m wondering if now’s the time to find a different way to make a living…answers on a postcard please!

I’m going to grab my iPod and hit the treadmill in hope of inspiration…

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Maybe I’ve just got this all wrong, wrong, wrong and it’s instant Karma – Jude Law is playing the Minx is in new film Rage…
41636d7f-9cb5-4868-bf7b614a39f342011

He even looks a bit like me – the shame!

mensbra011

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Ooh la la, Valentine’s Day gets us all hot under the collar and seemingly minxy on the blogs but it’s got me in trouble with a big T.

I very innocently signed up for Web Mums – a very well profiled ning site for Mums who want to work from home – WOWEE! I was accepted to join and as promised, I jumped straight in. Heading straight to the blogger network, I could not help but put my url in, but I was soon accosted by a lingerie seller. Checking out the blog I found they were advertising none other than MAN BRAs – I kid you not, MAN BRAs. So having been accosted, I could not help myself and we had quite a conversation, as follows, remember this flows upwards so don’t read down:

15 Comments

Comment by nixdminx 42 minutes ago
I’ve just texted my boyfriend to ask if he would like a man bra for valentine’s day – I consider myself chucked already!

Comment by Janey 43 minutes ago
I don’t think people would bother to scroll down. You see the horrible picture of mens bras and then go and look at another web site

Comment by nixdminx 43 minutes ago
thanks, please let me know when you stock the lake and stars, nice to meet you

Comment by Lingerie Lady 44 minutes ago
it is OK. There are lot of lingerie sellers out there
And we are all good . Some really spend a lot of effort to be the best. Lingerie is like your stylist. You get use to it
I have a lot of customers from WebMums and they are all happy
Good luck in your blog

Comment by nixdminx 53 minutes ago
I think I’ll stick to figleaves…

Comment by Lingerie lady 54 minutes ago
no honey, i you scroll down or read the archive
YOu ind me posted latest news
Advertising worse product which u dnt sell will let the people have curiosity to see what you sell
it is not advertising your product as I did not refer to my site in it
You have to have the good and the bad news

Comment by nixdminx 1 hour ago
oh I see, but you should not market yourself on the worst item, what is the best selling item, then I might be interested…if you are looking for the Delia effect on cooking you don’t sell meat past it’s sell by date – tell me, what is Angelina Jolie wearing in her latest film or what did Kate Winslet wear to get her Oscar nomination??

Comment by Lingerie lady 1 hour ago
dnt buy it
we are just announcing the latest lingerie news
we do not sell
The only items we sell in the blog is the one with hyperlink to the items
blog can be or advertising, can be for the latest product news, celebrity product news and so on.. to flavour it up

Comment by nixdminx 1 hour ago
So why would I buy it?

Comment by Lingerie lady 1 hour ago
It is not for valentine, anyhow it has been voted the worse lingerie or 200 and I agree 100%

Comment by nixdminx 1 hour ago
are you for real? why would I buy my boyfriend a bra for Valentine’s Day?

Comment by Lingerie lady 1 hour ago
One of our Designer Lingerie Blog http://jasdesignerlingerieworld.blogspot.com/

So following this little dalliance, which left me very cold under the collar, I texted my boyfriend to test drive this Man Bra phenomenon –

Q If you had underwear for Valentine’s Day, how would you feel?
A Depends what it looked like
Q A man bra?
A Ok weird
Q Your are kidding! You mean you would accept one or it’s just plain weird?
A I don’t have boobs
Q So are you still speaking to me??
A Why are you being weird?

Ho hum…

all names have been changed…

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winter-wonderland

Oh my oh my – how much fun we’ve been having the last two days – no school, lots of fun and lots and lots of snow. And the best bit (among many) – I think I’ve finally fallen in love with this area!

I’ve been a complete urban minx for most of my life, so living in Zone 3 has never cut the mustard. We’ve lived here for 2.5 years now and my friends and family have always said ‘It’s great for kids, you did the right thing.’ But when they’ve asked me, ‘Are you happy?’ I’ve always said ‘Yes’ through clenched teeth.

It’s hard to uproot yourself, even if it’s for the better. I love 24hr living – but everywhere shuts early here. I’ve looked for the secret underground bars, but there are none and you can’t get a pint of milk after 10pm. To me, it’s all been a bit on the twee side. It’s very well-to-do, there are lots of 4x4s, boutiques aimed at the over 50s plus very noisy air traffic and even worse, nowhere to work locally. I’ve downplayed this with the upside of good schools and low crime, but it’s never really played out to anything like the way I’ve felt about where I’ve lived before.

I’m pleased, no, delighted, to say that all changed for the better yesterday. I’ll be honest, after an action packed weekend, we overslept and I was tempted to sleep in, but my half Catholic side got the better of me, it was time to get up and face the world.

It was so peaceful, so bright, so wonderful, so snowy. ‘Mummy! It’s Winter Magic!’ cried Miniminx as she looked outside, we both felt like we’d woken up in Narnia! Sitting down to breakfast and I put the news on – Radio 4, lots of snow, England’s gone to the dogs, yada, yada, parents are selfish (see Children’s Society story) and my phone rang ‘School’s closed!’ ‘Thanks heavenly Mum-babe! – School’s out honey, get your cosy stuff on, we’re out there’ – we headed out the door to one of life’s wonders…ankle deep snow everywhere and all our friends having a ball. It was like a perfect dream.

snow-lady

We went down the river (just at the end of our road) and who couldn’t help but squeal with delight and run around – all of Miniminx’s school friends were out frolicking and so were the parents. Lovely rosy cheeks, snowballs and smiles. It’s been such an unexpected delight, two days of freedom for the kids – building snowmen, toboganing, snowballing, crunchy stepping in the frozen snow – and everything pushed aside for once. It feels like a big, huge, belated Christmas present and it looks so beautiful round here, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and I’m so happy that we’ve had these two days.

So, it’s time to put out the rubbish and the recycling, make sure we get up on time and find that lost homework, but I tell you, there’s a lot to be said for Winter magic, as cold as it is, just thinking about it makes me feel warm inside, and it’s not just the central heating on full blast!

And a big shout out here – thanks Jo for your lovely bloggers campfire – I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts and what a great collection of people.

Ciao for now…more snow forecast

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