I’ll be honest; when I was working I started to pile on the pounds a bit. What’s the point of bringing a healthy sarnie to work if there’s a chippy round the corner?
Being unemployed, while all my mates are at work or studying means I’ve shamed myself into going out for a jog every lunchtime. I haven’t stopped there, either. I’ve started playing football in a local five a side league and even had a go at tennis. I’m terrible at it, but my buddy takes pity on me and tries not to embarrass me when we play.
The only problem with all this activity is that my clothes have started to look stupid, because they’re all too big for me. Suddenly my porky belly is actually quite flat, even if I do say so myself.
I practically need to replace my entire wardrobe now, but there’s a slight issue here. Being unemployed my budget doesn’t really cover the cost of buying loads of new clothes at the moment, so I’m going to have to make do for now.
I’ve managed to scrape enough pennies together to buy a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts, but I can’t stretch to more than that right now.
It’s only excessive amounts of washing that is saving me from having to walk around the streets dressed like a clown. I’m also borrowing quite a few of my brother’s old clothes until I can afford some more; I definitely need to find a job soon.
I was feeling daring earlier, so I decided to go up to the attic to have a look for an old printer, because our new one’s given up the ghost.
While I was up there, I had a look in a few of the big boxes that are lying around and discovered that some were filled with bits and pieces from my childhood. I decided to get one down and have a proper look through it, which got me thinking about childhood crazes.
The box was full of random bits and pieces that were the must have items for about two weeks each; POGs, Pokémon cards and yo-yos. Looking at them now, I couldn’t help but wonder how I could ever have wanted those things so badly.
I can still remember the feeling of sheer joy when I realised I’d saved enough pocket money to buy a few new Pokémon cards. Looking at the faded old bits of cards now, it’s amazing that something so simple could have had such a hold on me.
There were loads of crazes when I was growing up, some I ignored, others completely brainwashed me. It started me thinking about who comes up with the ideas for these crazes; surely someone doesn’t stand up in a meeting and say we’re going to make our fortune bringing back the yo-yo?
Are the products designed specifically to create a craze, or does it just happen?
I’ve had a think about it and I’ve decided to try and make some money by thinking up the next big craze that will grip the kids of Britain.
From my admittedly limited amount of research, the key to a good craze seems to be to go for small items that can be made into collectible characters. It helps if they’re pretty much useless. So here are my best ideas; rocks with faces; spoons with faces and golf balls with faces. Well I never said I was particularly creative, did I?
As I’m sure you’re aware if you’re a regular reader, I’ve been out of work for some time now. I’m not going to go into detail, suffice to say it’s an incredibly frustrating situation.
I’ve been sending out CVs to anyone with an email address, but most of them don’t even have the courtesy to confirm they’ve received my messages, never mind offer me an interview.
I’m getting pretty sick of the whole process to be honest. So much so, that I’m thinking about going self-employed. Initially I thought about starting my own car repair business, but realistically that’s not going to happen. I don’t have anywhere near enough money for tools, premises, etc…
So what else could I do to earn money? The only other thing I’ve thought of is writing. I do a lot of blogging for fun, so why not try and get paid for it?
I had a look at a site called Marked by Teachers, which gives students essay help. I don’t have the qualifications for that kind of academic writing and I’m not a teacher, so that’s a bit of a dead-end for me. I don’t think anyone would really want help from me writing their essays anyway to be quite honest.
Instead, I’m looking at doing some blogs for any website that will take me. I’ve also seen adverts for people wanting fake reviews on Amazon, but that all sounds a little dodgy to be honest.
At the very least, I figure I can do a bit of writing as a stopgap until I find a full time job. The only thing that worries me is that I tend to be terrible at motivating myself. I think I might let things get out of hand and end up spending every minute of my life working or failing to.
It’ll certainly be an improvement on my current position, though. The only issue is I’m not really sure how on earth I go about getting started.
I haven’t done any research and don’t really fancy ending up in jail because I’ve not registered for tax or something like that. Looks like my afternoon’s going to be spent brushing up my knowledge on the finer details of HMRC’s website; oh joy.
My best mate was in the same position. He started a new job a couple of months ago and has been saving up for the one thing he’s always dreamed of, a white van.
What does that have to with me seeing the world you may ask? Well, he didn’t want it to help him carry his tools or anything like that; he bought it to convert into his own personal campervan.
The day he finally drove his precious vehicle home, he was on the phone to me, telling me to get packing because we were going travelling in it. After a brief discussion, we decided to head to Paris the next weekend.
On the Friday before we set off, we spent the evening kitting it out for the journey. We chucked an old mattress in the back, stocked it up with food and, well that was about it. OK, it wasn’t five star luxury but it would have to do.
The next morning we got up early and were on our way. It probably sounds stupid, but the feeling of freedom we had was great and we were both in a top mood.
We made it to France by way of the Channel Tunnel, but decided we were sick of driving after a while, so didn’t bother going all the way to Paris. Instead, we drank a few beers, wore as many clothes as we could to keep warm and had a great time messing around and acting like kids again in the back of a van in France, parked up in some random field.
The next day we drove back home and that was it. It certainly wasn’t your average holiday and I doubt it would be for everyone, but we had a brilliant time.
We’re already planning our next trip. Let me know if you have any destination suggestions by leaving a comment below.
In a fit of genius, I decided to try and make some money by selling an old piano that’s been gathering dust in our house for years. It was there when we moved in and I don’t think anyone’s touched it for a good decade.
I do remember thinking I’d try learning to play it when I was younger. I spent an entire day stabbing away at notes randomly until my mum was forced to take action and step in by offering me ice cream, chocolate and pizza, in fact anything to stop me from ‘playing’.
Anyway, I suddenly realised that this piano, upon which I stub my toe on an almost daily basis, might actually be worth some money. It was a full grand piano and, as my mum would attest to, it’s pretty loud.
So I popped it on eBay and promptly forgot about it. After a few days, I started to get emails as the bids came rolling in. To my delight, two people got into a bit of a bidding war, someone from a village about 30 miles from us and another person from the USA. I’m not going to say exactly how much it went for, but I was pretty pleased with the final figure.
It was only after I’d been downstairs and got a cup of coffee that I realised the bloke who’d won the piano was the American. It dawned on me that I was going to have to ship a grand piano across the Atlantic.
I spent the next day panicking about how I was going to do this without taking out a mortgage to cover the costs. By now I’d given up all hope of actually making any money out of my little venture.
Fortunately, I bumped into a friend who had recently moved house and he recommended that I try the company he’d used to shift his stuff.
I gave the shipping company a call and was amazed by the price they quoted. I was thinking it was going to cost thousands to ship something of that size and weight, but it looked like I was going to make a tidy profit after all.
And that’s it; shipping company handled everything for me and it was as easy as that. No messing around and a nice boost to my bank account. I think my mum was relieved to see the back of that dusty old piano as well.
I was scanning the news the other day when I saw an article about BT attempting to challenge Sky’s dominance over live sport in the UK.
The company have already won the rights to show 38 premier league matches and will be showing premiership rugby union and top flight Italian football as well.
I think it’ll be good to see some genuine competition for the rights to sports and an actual alternative to Sky. It’ll mean smaller sports get extra cash for their TV rights, because there will actually be someone else making realistic bids. Let’s hope BT’s channel doesn’t go the same way as ITV Sport and Setanta, though.
I think I’ll definitely give the new channel a shot, especially if it’s reasonably priced. I think it’ll see more sport being shown in pubs, because I read that BT are focussing on that market by pricing licences low.
While the idea of a feast of sport was what caught my attention, it was the fact that they’re advertising for a load of new jobs that really intrigued me. Apparently BT are creating 800 jobs across the country; 400 will be permanent and 400 temporary, to help with the launch of the new channel.
I’m not sure if you need qualifications for the jobs, but it sounds like it’s definitely worth me bunging off an application. I love talking about sport, so what could be better than doing it for a living?
I know it’ll probably be a bit more demanding than that, but I’m still keen.
I don’t think they’ve given a launch date yet, but it sounds like they’ll start broadcasting this summer. Wish me luck.
The truth is, even though I don’t have a proper job I’ve been making money doing various bits and bobs for different people and by playing a bit of poker online.
I know, I know, online gaming can be a bit of a risk, but I’m not playing with anything I can’t afford to lose, and I know when to quit. It’s worked out pretty well for me so far.
I don’t think poker can really be classed as gambling anyway, because I’m pretty good at it and it’s all about skill and strategy.
It’s also good fun and profitable, which is a nice combination. One of my friends is a professional poker player and he’s making a good living out of it. I like that idea, but my face is a massive giveaway when I play in live games. I can’t help grinning like an idiot when I know I’ve got a good hand.
My poker income has been complimented by various tasks, like washing cars, mowing lawns and cleaning windows. I’ve become a bit of a handyman for my neighbours.
I can’t wait to get a proper job, but I know that even the steadiest job can suddenly disappear. If you’ve got bills to pay, being unemployed is a lot more damaging than it currently is for me.
So I’m also using my extra spare time to learn about forex trading. My thinking is that I’ll be able to use this to supplement my income in the future or as a fall back if I’m ever unemployed again.
At the moment, I’m not risking any money, because it’s pretty complex and there’s a lot to learn. I’m using demo accounts and trying out different strategies.
I know it’s probably different investing with real money, but I’m getting pretty good at it. I’ve been practicing for a while now, but I’m not going to rush into using real money until I’m 100% sure I’m ready.
Anyway, enough writing; those windows don’t wash themselves…
Last month, my mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I honestly couldn’t think of anything. It’s always a bit dangerous saying “surprise me,” so I approached the small, neatly wrapped box she presented me with a week later with more than a little trepidation.
I pulled off the wrapping paper, prepared my best fake smile, and looked down; it was an e-reader. I didn’t know what to think really. The idea of an e-reader had never really appealed to me, but now I had one in my hands, I was quite intrigued. I knew I should read more and the more I thought about it, the more I realised how good a present it really was.
I thanked my mum, and then rushed off to get it up and running.
I’ve had it for about a month now and I can honestly say I’ve never read so much in my life. It seems pretty sad when I think about it, but having the books on a gadget just makes reading so much more appealing. I’ve also become a little addicted to downloading books. It’s so easy and you can start reading something new right away. It’s convenient, but my bank account’s taking a hit.
Initially, I thought my newfound lust for reading would fade as I got used to having the device. I suspected it would end up permanently discarded on my shelf after a while, but if anything, the opposite has happened. I had been having a few problems sleeping and they’ve all but disappeared since I started reading for an hour or so before bed. It’s really relaxing and a great way to unwind.
I never thought I’d become a book worm, but I’ve caught the bug for reading and it doesn’t look like disappearing anytime soon.
We’ve been doing the house up recently and I’m really starting to enjoy trying out various bits of DIY. I love finding a wonky shelf, fiddling with it for a while and then standing back and admiring my handy work.
I suppose my passion for fixing things is probably why I wanted to become a mechanic in the first place. I haven’t had too much time to practice working on cars just recently, however. Instead, I’m focusing my energies on improving our home, bit by bit.
It started when I persuaded my parents to get a nice new bathroom installed. Once it was finished, it looked so good it seemed daft to stop there. So I set about repainting the lounge and fixing up bits and bobs around the house that had been ignored for too long. In no time at all, our entire home had had something of a facelift. My parents were really grateful for my efforts and stopped asking me for rent for a couple of weeks.
Despite enjoying fixing and decorating most of the house, I’ve managed to completely avoid going into my own room. I like DIY, but I hate tidying. In all honesty, my room needs a full scale clear out before I can even think about redecorating. There’s mess all over the floor and my cupboards are jammed full of things I don’t need and never use.
Well, I’ve had enough; there’s no better time than now to have a proper sort out. I’m going to clear everything I own into a mate’s van and cart it off into storage for a couple of days.
A couple of people have told me to use self storage Nuneaton from extraroomselfstorage.co.uk and their service looks as though it’s exactly what I’m after.
By putting my stuff into storage, I’ll be able to get on with the job without having to worry about any mess. Once the paint’s dried and the decorating’s finished, I can go and retrieve my belongings. At that point I’ll clear through it and only keep what I really need. I think having a shiny new room will be good motivation to do some proper tidying and avoid letting it return to the state it was.
It’s going to be a big job, but it’s long overdue.
The time has come for me to start remodelling my parent’s home. This is a project that’s been in the back of my parents mind now for many years, but apparently now is the right time and they have asked me to help.
We decided to start with the bathroom. Installing a new bathroom can be more complicated than other parts of a home, but can provide a great starting point. Our bathroom is fairly small, so I figured it’ll be good practice. This way I won’t have to start off with one of the larger areas, such as the kitchen.
My parents and I decided to use a company called Aqata for our bathroom. Out of all of the companies that we checked out, we found Aqata to have the largest selection of quality materials on the market. One of the best things about them is that many of their designs are very unique and innovative. We managed to choose a new bathroom that we all like, which was a shock! It will be specific to our home and will be fitted around the contours of the room. We also decided to go for an easy clean glass on my shower, which means we – well, my mum – won’t need to wash it with any abrasive cleaning products. Everything will be fitted with chrome to ensure that it shines and gets a really polished look (that was my idea).
The whole process has been very easy and satisfying. We found the staff on hand very helpful. In fact, it’s been refreshing to find a company that can provide such a degree of information (my dad’s words).