28 May 2014

The Summer To Do List

My summer has finally arrived and oh boy am I ready for it. I thought I'd do a little half year (almost) new year's goals update (half a year, how did that happen!) and share some goals of mine for over the summer. In terms of those goals I made back on the 1st of January (who remembers those?) I feel like I've achieved a lot more than expected in half a year; driving test passed, job found, volunteering began and with these things, my comfort zone was definitely stepped out of. Those are some major goals which I've had for a good while, they're like little life steps I suppose, although I don't agree with living your life to a strict plan, it does feel good knowing that I can tick those off my list. As always, this summer I want to try and make the most of it, similar to last year I want to visit lots of places, do fun things, have BBQs, late nights spent chatting in the garden and walks on the beach, spending some quality time with Lee, my friends and family. Being the avid list maker that I am, I've put together some small, achievable goals to keep me busy when I'm not working;

♦ Give blood - right now I have no idea how to go about this, but I'll find out. 

♦ Do the Race for Life in decent time - I'm annoyed at myself for not recording my time when I completed the race for life back in 2011 but I do know that I did some sort of speed walk/casual walk/slight jog rather than running and I think I recall my time being 40 something minutes so hopefully, with my fitness improving, I should be able to run it this time. If you'd like to sponsor me (please don't feel like you have too) you can do that here

Update iTunes - it's in dire need of an update, I've taken to listening to my radio app rather than the actual music on my phone as I've definitely over played every song, even Westlife (not even joking).

♦ Read books - It's been a very long time since I was in to reading and since then it's been a case of only reading a few books when abroad but due to the psychology undergraduate in me, I'm interested in reading a few books centred around mental health (The Psychopath Test and Girl, Interrupted are on my list). Let me know if you know of any others you think I may like, I'm also prone to enjoying a typical romance/girly book so will try to make time for some of those too.

♦ Learn to cook healthy meals - since exercising more and actually thinking about what I'm putting into my body I've been quite enjoying trying new foods and throwing together salads. I'm still an awful cook though, the omelette and scrambled egg were a total fail. I still get awful cravings for chocolate/biscuits/cake but I'm looking forward to putting more time into cooking and hopefully I'll be able to muster up some tasty snacks that will own those cravings, any suggestions are happily welcome!

Update / organise / spring clean my bedroom - something I've wanted to do for ages; my bedroom is always pretty tidy and organised but I want to rearrange some things, give everything a super deep clean, sort out my wardrobe, get rid of everything I don't use and then add some finishing touches and updates to the decor. Flowery fairy lights and new storage is calling my name. I can see this being something I'm going to completely enjoy.

♦ eBay lots - consequently, I'm hopefully going to have a lot of stuff that I want to get rid of so it'll all be thrown on my eBay, I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder as I don't buy a lot but I do find it hard to let go of some things; 'what if I start liking it again', 'what if I need it in the future', 'what if I just want to keep it', no Rachael, be diligent.

♦ Find a new car - a bit of an exciting one, my beloved Corsa is coming to the end of it's life. I figured instead of forking out to repair the current issues, only for more issues to quickly follow I'm sure and because the interior is looking dirty and worn, it's time to say goodbye and say hello to a new little run about. The aim is to find something that's cheap to buy, cheap to insure and cheap to run but in good condition, good luck to me.

♦ Pamper/shopping - have some ME time basically, selfish but amazing and definitely necessary. I spend too much time slobbing around on my laptop refusing to move when really I could be looking after myself and having an nice pamper night instead. I also want to try and worry less about money (t
his = more successful shopping trips), which may seem strange to some, but I hate spending. Although this means I'm good with money, I'm sure giving in and purchasing some things I really love will make me happy, why not. 

What are your summer plans?
Rachael x

18 May 2014

A Wednesday Walk in the Woods

On Wednesday, me and Lee not only had a day off together, but also a day off together which brought glorious sun, bright blue skies and some actual warmth. We decided on an afternoon walk to our local country park. Although it turned out to be rather muddy and wet from the previous day's downpours everything looked lovely as the sun shone brightly through the branches of the surrounding trees. I love it there, it's not far from us at all but it feels like you're miles away, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a smile and a "hello" from the older passers by and this time, an elderly man equipped with his binoculars and big Cannon DSLR spotted us as we noticed a birds nest inside a vast tree trunk, he went on to tell us that they're great tits and they've been nesting there for the past 12 years at least, he seemed so content watching the little birds fly in and out of their nest and he was eager to tell us all about the birds and their habits. I realise I probably sound like I'm old before my time haha but any ways, after a good hour of walking, dog-admiring (it's times like this that we wish we could have a little furry friend of our own so much more), chatting and our usual silliness we headed home. 

Rachael x

14 May 2014

Ebay Tips & Tricks Part II

eBay packaging essentials and ideas
Oh I do not miss how much the teachers loved throwing that word around in high school. Of course the whole aim is minimising your selling costs in order to make profit therefore finding ways you can get your packaging supplies for free is a real bonus. Remember to always keep stocked up on things such as sellotape, various sized envelopes, postage paper, sticky labels etc. I'm lucky enough to have a mam who works in an office therefore she can usually get me the majority of my materials for free, have a think about whether you know anyone who works in a similar environment. It's also a great idea to reuse packaging from things you've received, things like padded envelopes, boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper can definitely come in handy. If something you'd like to keep already has a label on it, just cover it with sticky labels.

If you have a 100% feedback score and a high feedback number then a buyer is way more likely to choose you over someone else with say a 75% feedback score but a lower priced item. A high feedback score all comes down to being a good human; do everything as soon as possible (replying to questions, sending payment details, leaving feedback and of course, post the item within the time stated). A nice little touch can also set your items aside from others, such as including a little note in the package saying 'thanks for buying' or 'have a nice day'. If you have the materials on hand, you may want to use some nice tissue paper to wrap nicer pieces of jewellery etc. Also, be honest. Don't try to hide any defects, even if they seem minor, as it won't look good on you when you're feedback mentions this defect that the buyer had no idea about. 

eBay has changed a lot recently in terms of what they charge for and what they don't charge for. They are now offering no insertion fees for the first 20 listings of the month and free scheduler for 20 listings every month. After that you will pay 35p per listing and 6p per schedule. You can also opt for other listing upgrades such as larger images, subtitles, adding a design theme to listing and adding a buy it now option, however these also come at a cost. Although these costs may seem small, I will never choose to go for them as although I can see how it may encourage buyers, they're just little changes that are probably going to just decrease your profit. It's not very often I'll list an item when it's going to cost me either, can you tell I'm all about saving money?

Another little quick tip; put together a table in a word document and keep everything recorded so you can keep track of how much money you're actually making. Mine includes the item, date sold, price sold for, postage charged, total, the total after Paypal fee which will be shown on the details page in Paypal after a person has paid and the actual postage cost (like I said in my previous post, I don't always get it right). Then I will subtract the actual postage from the total after Paypal fee to give me a figure for the total I have made from that sale. You may also want to include the 10% that eBay will take from you automatically every month. This page explains those annoying fees more clearly. 

My biggest piece of advice. Don't worry if there's no interest on your items first time round, or even second time round. eBay will now re-list your items three times for free if they're unsuccessful the first time which is great, it may take months for some of your items to sell as people just aren't interested and that's fine, you will get someone who is one day. 

There we have it, I've hope you've enjoyed my two eBay tips and tricks posts! P.S. you can view my eBay here.

11 May 2014

Ebay Tips & Tricks

eBay is  a great option nowadays for making a bit of extra cash and getting rid of whatever it may be, you know how it goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. I've been using eBay pretty constantly over the past few years, it was perfect for when I wasn't working as along with eBay I would participate in on line surveys to gain some pocket money. I'm definitely not saying I'm the best seller, it still often takes a while for things to sell but I have learnt some tips and tricks along the way which I'm going to share with you. 

First things first, ensure you have a PayPal account as it's the first port of call for buyers to pay you through and make sure to offer this as your payment method. If you're wondering what on earth to sell, my answer = everything you no longer want. Don't put off listing an item because you think it won't sell, you'd be surprised! As long as your items are in good, clean, usable condition (or you state any faults) you may as well give it a go, some of the things I have sold include: jewellery, clothing, unused notebooks, key rings, revision guides, childhood toys (I said goodbye to my Baby Born doll and her accessories; high chair, sledge and all) and my collection of retro Playstation one and Gameboy games sold pretty well. 

Use very clear titles which give away as much product information as possible, e.g. brand, size, colour, condition, material etc as this will increase the chance of your item appearing in searches. Also, photos make a huge difference and eBay now offers you the chance to add up to 12 photos for free. Make sure you're products are clean/freshly ironed and use natural light to your advantage to show the true colour of the product. Capture every angle (front, back, sides, bottom etc) and every detail including any defects, the size/brand label, any detail such as embellishment and a close up of the pattern or material. Finally, in your written item description, be as specific as possible so the buyer knows exactly what they're getting. Say what's included, why you're selling, restate the size (make sure to include if it's petite, maternity or plus size), colour, condition and brand, include the exact materials from the label and say how long it will take you to post the item. For some items, specific measurements may be useful, e.g. for a belt or necklace.

I think this is a personal choice as some will agree with one option over the other. A lot of listings on eBay have a starting price of 99p and even eBay recommends this, however, I will only do this if the item is actually worth 99p. Although an item with a starting price of 99p may attract more buyers and gain more bids, what if it doesn't? I couldn't justify selling an item for only 99p when I believe it's worth more, and remember, you're going to get a percentage of your sale taken away from you by PayPal and eBay so you want to make a profit. That being said, be realistic. Most of the time, buyers are buying second hand items so will expect a pretty low price, go as low as you feel comfortable with. eBay now offers 20 free listings per month at any starting price, when these have been used up you will be charged for listing an item therefore I don't usually list outside of free listings.

In my opinion, shipping cost is all about trial and error. Don't worry if you charge too much or too little at first, you will become more familiar with the costs. 
In the meantime, keep some scales nearby and use this postage calculator to give you a good idea of what to charge. Don't get me wrong, I do still over or under charge occasionally but we can't be perfect. I post everything through the Post Office and have never had a problem, although do be aware of them sneakily upping the prices! I have always opted for second class to lower the price, you can always ask for a little extra money from the buyer if they would prefer it posted first class and don't forget to ask for proof of postage in case your parcel goes walkabouts. Keep packaging as slimline and light as possible whilst still protecting your item to lower the cost and be realistic when stating the amount of time it will take you to dispatch the item, if there's a problem, inform the buyer immediately.

So this turned into a rather long post didn't it, if you've gotten all the way through then thank you and congrats. I think I'll continue this onto part II as there's a little more I'd like to say so please let me know if you'd like me to talk about anything specific in the next instalment. P.S. you can view my eBay here
Rachael x

5 May 2014


One thing I was in need of during these past few months was a good bit of retail therapy, it had been so long and my wishlist was growing by the day therefore as soon as pay day rolled around I hit the shops. I didn't go too crazy as I'm definitely not someone who can spend a lot in one go but I'm pleased with my finds.

 I never thought I would be one to opt for ripped jeans but after seeing them on line I walked into Topshop and there they were on display, it was love. They fit so well too which is a huge bonus. I bought myself some new plain Topshop Leighs too as my older ones were looking way over worn and had become so unfitted! The Berlin top was a bit of an impulse purchase from Topshop, I was wearing a denim shirt on the day so needed something to try on with the jeans to avoid the clashing double denim look (I love the double denim thing when it's done properly, but this just wasn't looking good). So, my mam brought in this loose, thin t-shirt. I tried it on with the ripped jeans and loved how the two looked together so that ended up coming with me to the checkout, it's the perfect length and fit for me. 

Moving on, Dorothy Perkins had a pretty good sale going on so I picked up the long sleeved check shirt (similar). Believe it or not this is the first check shirt I have owned as basically, I had tried a few on a while ago and decided that they didn't suit me at all so I stayed well away, until now that is and I don't think it looks too bad at all. During one of ASOS's crazy sales I managed to get the stripe top from New Look for as little as £7.22. I love this top, it doesn't look like anything special but I was aiming to find something which was basic but a little more formal than my usual super casual style. It's a lovely, thicker material compared to your average t-shirt and it fits so nicely, in the words of my best friend; it makes me look a little more sophisticated. The Nikes were definitely inspired by Sammi and Chelsea, I love them so much, I'm determined to keep them bright white! 

Have you bought anything nice lately?
Rachael x
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