Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A look back at 2013 part 2...

And on to the second half of 2013!


We flew to Sweden early one Sunday morning for The Beard's father's funeral.

Where I drove a WWII jeep and hung out with a 1927 Model T Ford.

It was hot and I went to an outdoor concert.

For much of the month swimming was the only thing to do to stay cool.

I went to see Rapid Wien

It was a bit different to Exeter City!
After nearly 2 months of near constant 30+ degree heat, it finally cooled down a little bit, enough to wear leggings and boots.


This grainy photo was taken on a warm evening at the beginning of September while we sat out by the canal drinking beer.

We bought some cool tshirts in the Threadless $10 shirt sale. This one is called "Hello Mr Blue Sky".

I graduated with a MSc in Development Management from the Open University, at a ceremony in Versailles.

And there were awesome fireworks above the Palace!

We spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the gardens of the Palace.

A week later my Mum and Aunt came to visit.

We took part in the annual Wiener Weinwandertag, which involved some epic walking and wine.


I went to Innsbruck on business again, this time staying at a beautiful place in the moutains.

We went on holiday to Tunisia, for a well earned rest.
I discovered that I have a dairy intolerance, which causes my acne to flare up.

I went to see Lacuna Coil and Paradise Lost

I discovered the secret to amazing skin after Mueller started selling balanceMe products

I went to see Volbeat

The Beard and I went to the Vienna Rock Ball, which was a lot of fun!

I started my new job, and The Beard made mince pies.

We went to see Lordi....

I fixed my skin!

Christmas Tree!

Christmas present from The Beard!

One of my intentions for 2014 is to get better at documenting the little things that happen in life. I tried to do Project 365 a few years ago without much success, but now technology has made photo sharing that much easier, I think I have no excuse. Especially as The Beard bought me the most awesome Christmas present ever - a Canon DSLR! 

See you in 2014!!

A look back at 2013 part 1

2013 has been quite a year!! While I wouldn't go as far as to say it has been a terrible year, it certainly couldn't be described as good either. Not across the board anyway.

I was going to write loads, but looking back over my photos I'll just leave it to them to tell the story....

It snowed a lot in January, and was very very cold.
I went to an outdoor concert in -13 degree weather!

I turned 30 and celebrated by having the flu.

Amongst all the cool things I got for my birthday, this was possibly the most awesome!

We adopted this little monster and named her Zelda. As you do.

I started my first job in Vienna - the view outside the office on my first day.

 It appears nothing noteworthy happened in March.

My hair went from this....
to this.....
And then to this!

It snowed some more in April

The Beard and I went to see Eels...

And I saw Killswitch Engage

I also handed in my thesis (3 days early for the first time in my life), and unfortunately the Beard's father died. 


Mum came to visit for a weekend and we drank Pimms and gin in the park

We had to go to Sweden to cremate The Beard's father, but the weather there was stunning.

Look what I found in the Systembolaget!

I went to Innsbruck for the conference I organised for over 100 people from 50 countries....

The meeting was a roaring success!

We took some time off after the meeting to spend with friends from Sweden...
Which of course meant breakfast at Schwarzenburg.


I went to the UK and drank Swedish Cider.

And went to the Speedway GP in Cardiff with my family.

We went to a really nice proper pub in the English countryside for a nice roast dinner of Cornish lamb (we weren't in Cornwall)

Back in Vienna, we watched the Sweden football team fan club march from Schwedenplatz to the stadium for the first leg of their World Cup qualifier. We watched it at a friend's house. Sweden lost..

So that was the first 6 months of my 2013. Stay tuned for part 2!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sale Shopping Strategy

Image via bigstockphoto
First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday season! Only a few more days left of 2013, but more on that later.

Now that my family have returned to the UK, and we have started eating up the turkey leftovers (despite me telling my mum there wasn't that much turkey left, on closer examination there does in fact appear to be a lot left. Turkey soup for us all week then...), it is time to turn my attention to the sales.

This is the first year in a while I've actually been excited about the sales. Maybe because I now have a good income again, or maybe because I've had a bit of an 'aha' moment about the clothes I want to wear, and that makes sales shopping a perfect activity post Christmas!

This year I'll be heading to Shopping-City-Süd. which is one of the largest shopping malls in Europe, and is just outside of Vienna. I don't go out there often, but the mall has recently been refurbished and now includes Primark in its roster of shops. While I don't miss Primark per se, it will be nice to have a nose around!

The key to sales shopping is to have a strategy, which will help guide you through the myriad of so called bargains, and the thousands of other shoppers that will be fighting you for them.

1. Make a plan
I am all for spontaneous shopping, and it is true that some of the best things you find are the ones you aren't specifically looking for, but when tackling a large mall for a day of shopping, a plan is the best option. I find I'm a grumpy shopper if I haven't eaten or drunk enough, particularly the latter. I get cranky and despondent, and I find it really difficult to enjoy myself (I am not a big fan of shopping with others either). So for me, making a plan of my route through the mall and what time and where I will eat and drink will help me survive the day without wanting to give up and go home.

Know when and where your coffee breaks will be!

2. Know what you are after, but don't be too prescriptive
Think categories of clothes more than specific items. Chances are you won't find that super specific thing that you are looking for, but you just might. However searching for just that one thing means you might miss other fab bargains, or leave you disappointed and unhappy. And this is supposed to be fun right! Knowing your style aesthetic is key to successful sale shopping, allowing you to make quick decisions about items and move on.

Does the shop look like somewhere you'd normally shop?

3. Target your energy wisely
Don't dismiss stores you wouldn't normally visit, but only if they fit with your overall aesthetic. Often in sale time it is hard to judge the interior of a store from the exterior, as the usual merchandising is replaced by sale hoardings. Go in, scan the rails and make an assessment as to whether further investigation could yield results. For example, if your style aesthetic is like mine and largely involved neutrals, a room full of bright colours is unlikely to be that fruitful. Do a little research if you can (I often find it difficult due to Austrian shops not really having that much of an online presence), which will help those decisions come more easily.

4. Make sure you have your own music
I hate shop music. I hate dealing with the noise and chaos of stores. Sure, listening to my own music might be a little antisocial, but I'll be on my own and I'm pretty good at keeping an eye out for those around me. I shall be finding my good phone headphones and making sure my phone battery is full charged before heading tomorrow, and packing my MP3 player as back up. Music helps create my shopping mood and without it I am likely to get cranky!

Music helps alleviate that moodiness...
5. Make a list
If there are any specific items you want, from specific stores, make a list and stash it in your purse. That way you won't forget to buy them (like I did when I went to IKEA the other week), which is super frustrating! Keeping a list of the types of items you are after as well is useful, as it will help you keep on track.

As most stores sales return policies are usually different to their regular returns policies, it is worth it to take the extra time to try stuff on, no matter how long the line for the changing room is. It is also worth considering whether you would have paid full price for the item, and always keep in mind the quality.

There you go, my tips for successful sale shopping. Happy Bargain Hunting!


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