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Phone a friend

The work I do as a conference administrator for local government is on a freelance basis, so I find out week to week how much work I’ll be doing. Generally the work is fairly steady, but there are some weeks where there are a ton of conferences booked and I’m working like a mad woman, and there are weeks where there are hardly any conferences, so by the time the ones available are shared around the team, there might be little or no work for me for the week. All of this means that my pay can vary a lot from month to month.

I was recently talking to a colleague, working in a different role, who said that she could never work freelance because it required too much budgeting and organisation compared to being a permanent member of staff. You had to be prepared for those times when there was no work, or when you were taking annual leave or sick leave and would not get paid. Yes, so true, I nodded in agreement, but in my head alarm bells were starting to ring. I was a freelance worker, and my ‘budgeting’ consisted of spending what I earned and throwing my bank statements in a shoe box to deal with later. Of course, these alarm bells were not enough to actually spur me into action to start budgeting.

I’ve never really done a budget. They were one of those things that seemed like a good idea in theory, but that is exactly what they remained to me – a theory, not something I put into practice. I remember when I got my first job out of university, and the transition to getting fortnightly pay checks compared to the weekly payments I got from my student loan was a bit of a shock to the system. I would always manage, but that last weekend before the next pay always seemed like a fairly lean time. I remember being relieved that I was not getting paid monthly like a lot of my friends. The idea of only being paid 12 times a year was too depressing.

Now being freelance, I always knew that some budgeting and balancing would be required, but for some reason I never got around to actually doing anything specific. I would make attempts at it, such as downloading a budget spreadsheet and fillings bits of it in, but I never really knew how much to allow myself for all those extracurricular activities. It was also difficult to know how much I was earning as well, as it varied from month to month. It all seemed like too much work and I just never liked the idea of going back over my monthly bank statements to see where I spent my money. I’ve now realised that really it was just another way I was living unconsciously. I didn’t want to know too much. It was much nicer living in my little bubble where I just spent what I earn.

I don’t want to paint a picture of myself as being completely financially irresponsible. I have always paid my rent and my bills, I have always paid my credit card off in full every month, I joined the superannuation scheme at my old work and managed to save quite a bit to put towards my student loan. Despite this, I still feel like there was a lack of awareness about my spending sometimes. Just like with my eating, there were times when I would go on a bit of a spending binge. I would try to hide the evidence of a binge on food, throwing out the leftovers, stuffing the packaging deep in the trash, and I would do the same with my spending. I would ignore the bank statements and would try to think of something else whenever the thought flashed in my mind that I really should be saving. I would sometimes conceal the telltale shopping bags and would always mark down the price of items when someone asked me how much I had spent.

Yesterday I found out that there might not be much work available at the end of August. While I know I’ll work things out and will be able to pay my rent and bills and will have enough to eat, it gave me the push I needed to take responsibility for my spending. I need to be conscious of how much I spend and what I spend it on. And I need to make better choices.

I phoned a friend today who I think of as a bit of a budgeting guru. When we were flatting together she had a detailed spreadsheet of her spending, and when I moved to London and asked her to give me a rough idea of how much her living costs were, she sent me an itemised breakdown of all her costs per month. This was a woman who was conscious of what she spent. My friend gave me some good advice, but most of it boiled down to being more aware of how much you spend, what you spend it on and to a certain extent forecasting what you will spend in the future. She also said that I should develop an ‘emergency fund’, which for me could come in handy when work thins out, but could also be used if I needed to go to the dentist urgently or some such. My friend also told me that despite having this elaborate budget, it did not mean that she always stuck to it, but at least she knew what she was spending.

All of this is pretty sensible and pretty obvious in a way, but it’s been easy for me to ignore it or not priortise it, until I really had to. While I’ve done a lot of work this year about living more consciously in relation to being aware of my feelings, being aware of my body and being aware of what I’m eating, I have neglected being aware of my spending. My plan for the next week is to start looking over those bank statements in the shoe box and then try and work out a realistic budget for the future, prioritising developing an emergency fund. Second priority will be developing my discretionary savings account aka the Ibiza fund, as  I hope to go somewhere more exciting than the dentist this year.

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Best of Melbourne

I went to Melbourne for five days recently. I’ve been to Melbourne a few times before and always enjoy it. It’s the type of city that’s fun to visit, but also has a feeling of liveability. There’s some places I love to visit, but I can’t envisage myself living there, or I don’t think living there would be all that great.

Funnily enough, while I still think that, this time that I visited Melbourne, while I still think it would be a fantastic city to live in, I can’t see myself living there right now. I thought that maybe on this trip I would feel that I’d ‘found my place in the world’, but I think my place must be a bit further a field at the moment. I’m definitely keeping Melbourne on my futures list, though.

Anyway, in no particular order, here’s some things I enjoyed when I was there and think you should check out if you get the chance.

Degraves Espresso. I can’t speak about the food at this cafe, as I just went for a pre-breakfast coffee (we got breakfast free at our hotel and I was being cheap), but the coffee was definitely good. So good that when I finished my first soy latte, I felt compelled to order another. Sitting there sipping your coffee and people-watching is one of those quintessentially Melbourne experiences, I think.

Retrostar Vintage. There’s a lot of good vintage shopping in Melbourne, but I found a lot of it quite expensive compared to K Rd prices in Auckland and it wasn’t that much better to warrant the prices. Retrostar definitely has a lot of stuff to choose from and it’s prices are pretty good. It’s a large warehouse-style building that has a huge amount of stock that’s worth a rummage through. I found a fabulous 1960s champagne lace-overlay dress for A$65.

Circa Vintage. I actually didn’t buy anything here, but I think it’s worth the trip out to Fitzroy. It has a small selection of clothes, but all well selected. This is somewhere if you’re lucky, and if you have the budget, you could pick up something truly special. And the shop itself just has a nice 1940s kind of vibe to it, old-fashioned music playing and the shop girl dressed in vintage attire while ironing some new acquisitions.

Little Cupcakes. This is in Degraves St (so goes perfectly with a coffee from Degraves Espresso). I had a mini mocha cupcake and my mum had a lamington cupcake. Both were devine. There are numerous other flavours, and you can get mini or regular-size versions. If I lived in Melbourne, this would be a weekly treat. Mmm.

AIX Cafe Crepierie Salon. This is in Centre Place, which is another little iconic piece of Melbourne. Surrounded by the tables and graffiti and shops and people walking past, this is tucked away, a little hole-in-the-wall kind of place. I went there in the afternoon after the lunch rush so I could get a table (there’s only about three), but it’s well worth finding the time. I had a sticky date crepe with caramel sauce and double cream. It’s as rich as it sounds, and was amazing for about three-quarters of it before I fell into a food-induced coma. There’s a large variety of options for those not as brave or stupid as I. The berries with yoghurt and rosewater sounded nice to me for next time. And there’s also a lot of savoury ones as well. Good value, delicious and filling.

Scarlette & Sly. This is also in Centre Place. It may be best to come here before eating a large crepe, as trying on clothes with a full stomach is never much fun, and I’m sure you’ll want to try something on. From what I understand, this shop stocks local Melbourne designers. I bought a great navy blazer here, something I’d been looking for for a long time, but hadn’t managed to find the right combination of relaxed and tailored, smart and casual. It was half price as well, so only $75, but it’s original price of $150 was pretty reasonable, I thought, for a well-made classic piece. It’s chain store prices, but not everyone is going to have it.

Finally, I didn’t get to do this, but I guess you have to leave something for next time – Rooftop Cinema at the top of Curtin House. And Cookie Bar & Restaurant downstairs is meant to have excellent cocktails, so I’m told.

And just because this is a Melbourne-themed post, this is one of my favourite blogs at the moment, Lady Melbourne.

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Dress like Dita: lady in red

Well, the final day of dress like Dita, and I have to say that the night before, I was glad it was ending. I was having such a stressful time working out what to wear for the final day! I felt like I’d run out of options. I’d had my outfits sketchily planned in my head for most of the other days, but the final day, I didn’t have anything planned, and when I was trying some options on the night before, nothing felt right, and I didn’t want to end on something that felt like a token effort.

Finally I settled on an Anne Mardell dress that I wore to a friend’s wedding this year.

I had already decided that I’d do pin curls for the final day, so the night before I washed my hair and pinned them up. It was easier this time than the first time, and I felt more confident in knowing what way to pin them for the right effect. I just used a serum and some anti-frizz milk on my hair beforehand, which I think made them look nicer for just wearing them down.

Here’s how they turned out first thing when I took the pins out.

I wasn’t sure if I should brush them out or just loosen them with fingers a bit or just leave them. I guess the more I do them, the more I’ll become confident with how these various options turn out. I ended up just loosening the curl with my fingers a bit, which, looked like this.

When I got to work, I took the pin on my forehead out and also tucked the left side behind my ear, so it became more like a Veronica Lake style, which I really liked.

The morning yesterday was really stormy, so I decided against wearing the dress I had planned on, as it didn’t really work with a coat or tights. I then remembered a shirt that I had bought from the wardrobe sale at the television station I work for. I wanted something that would go with bold red lips, as I knew I wanted to try those today, and I figured the black would look good.

So I ended up wearing the pussybow blouse, which I think is maybe a TopShop one, or some sort of imitation of something Kate Moss has worn. It doesn’t have a label in it, so I’m not sure. I wore that with the charcoal denim Kingan Jones pencil skirt that I wore on Monday. The gold patterned belt is off a vintage dress I have since gotten rid of.

In these photos I’m wearing stockings with a suspender belt – so very Dita – with my peep-toes, but I ended up changing out of both of these before I left for work, as I was unsure if the suspender belt would be that comfortable for all day at work, and so I just wore my opaque tights instead. I paired them with the black patent Mary Janes from yesterday, as they were a more sensible option in the rain.

The rain and wind also had me concerned about how my hair would survive the walk to the bus stop, so I used the scarf that I had wrapped around my head at night to cover the pin curls. It was spur of the moment, but I actually really liked this. It felt very glamorous, and it really did the trick as well – the curls were fine when I arrived at work.

For my make-up I used MAC Studio Fix foundation in NW20, which is a pressed powder foundation. I think this really photographs the best out of all of them, and the more matte look was very Dita.

I had my eyes lined with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Graphite Shimmer. I used a cotton bud with make-up remover to remove some of it so that it was just a really thin line all around the eye.

On my lids I again have the LM eye basics in Linen and just a little of MAC Trax.

My blush is MAC matte in Mocha.

I curled my lashes with my Shu Uemura curler, put on Origins Underwear for Lashes primer and then the LM waterproof mascara.

I again filled in my brows with Benefit’s Brow Zings.

I also painted my nails in OPI Red after the photos were taken.

Finally, for the red lips, I first blended my foundation over my lip line, then lined my lips with a red pencil, trying to accentuate the cupid’s bow. With a lip brush, I painted MAC Lady Bug on and blotted with a tissue and then applied again a couple of times, touching up the edges with the pencil.

It surprised me how well the lips lasted. I was a bit worried the lipstick might bleed or feather, or that it would wear off really quickly, but it lasted all day. I only  reapplied once, after lunch, and even then it would have been fine if I didn’t.

And so that was the end! I was glad I could finish on a high note, after being stressed out the night before that I wouldn’t have anything to wear, I actually really like this outfit and the whole look. It’s one I would wear again. And I’m excited to have done the red lipstick – I would definitely wear that again.

Tomorrow I’ll sum up my thoughts about the whole project, and whether I’l be back to wearing my trainers and jeans next week…


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Dress like Dita: that’s right – I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s!

So, day four of dress like Dita and I decided to go for the classic little black dress, and used Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as my inspiration.

My hair was still really big and had lots of product in it from doing the victory rolls. I had a quick trial run of the french roll beehive style above, and it seemed to go pretty well and was even relatively easy!

So of course when I got up in the morning to do it properly, it totally didn’t work. I had major trouble getting the french roll happening, as I obviously couldn’t see what I was doing. So my mum ended up helping me with that, but then I didn’t end up having enough hair left coming out of the French roll on the top to create a beehive out of.

But looking at this picture of Audrey, I realised her hair is actually a bit longer than mine.

So I ended up giving up on achieving the French roll beehive and figured I’d just got for a regular beehive instead, which was far easier. I tied my hair in a pony tail on the top of my head and teased the pony a bit and then pinned the front part of my hair over the top of the backcombing to make it look smooth. I then pinned my little tiara into the beehive and all done!

The dress I’m wearing is another LynnMall purchase from the random shop I got the blue dress from. I love the little crochet collar and puff sleeves. It’s a nice detail that stops the dress from being too boring, but it doesn’t make it too busy or overdone.

The black patent Mary Janes were 9 bucks from The Warehouse. I’d been looking around everywhere for a pair of plain black Mary Janes after the heel broke off a great vintage pair I had while out in town one night, resulting in me limping around town like a pirate and the boys I was with attempting to break the other heel off by smacking it on the bar. They were unsuccessful and my night ended soon after.

The handbag is Kate Spade, which along with a Kate Spade wallet was a 25th birthday present I bought for myself while visiting a friend in Hong Kong.

The tiara was bought in Big Bear Lake, California a few years ago, because one never knows when you might need to look like a princess.

The coat was bought from Max years ago.

Here’s a side profile of the beehive. I managed to get a bit of height going on. I actually really like the beehive as a hairstyle, but I do want to try it with a rat and see if it still looks good and is easy enough to do.

My make up was the same base as yesterday (the Prescriptives and LM mixed)

I tried to do a cat’s eye with Bobbi Brown gel liner in Graphite Shimmer.

My blush is Nars Orgasm. I lined the bottom of my eyes with MAC Beauty Marked eye shadow on an angle brush.

The eye shadow was LM eye basics again with MAC Seedy Pearl.

Lipstick is Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in BG938 with MAC All Woman lipglass over top.

Sorry, I’ve got a bit of crazy eye syndrome happening in this photo, but it’s probably accurate! This dressing like Dita stuff is pretty hard. I was ready to chuck in the towel after today, as I couldn’t really work out anything to wear for day five that I was happy with.

Nothing seemed to fit right or feel right or felt like it was missing some important element. I think I’ve got something sorted for tomorrow, but am not entirely happy with it, but hopefully it will come together with hair (pin curls, if I ever get around washing my hair and setting them) and make up (I’m going to try a bold red lip. Eek!)

The whole experience has been helpful, though. I think it will be useful for rebuilding my wardrobe. It’s given me an idea of what I like to wear and what I don’t and where my wardrobe is lacking. And it’s also opened my eyes to the importance of accessories in building an outfit. While Coco Chanel may have said that you should take one thing off before you leave the house, and I agree that less is often more, the accessories that you do wear with an outfit can make or break it.


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Dress like Dita: V is for Victory

Well, day three of dress like Dita. I wanted to attempt victory rolls for my hairstyle, which I was a bit concerned about. Victory rolls were a really popular style in the 1940s. They were apparently given this name to celebrate the end of WWII.

The photo above (taken in Times Square at the V Day parade) has just reminded me that I really want to buy some seemed stockings, although not in white.

Anyway, I had watched this great YouTube tutorial on how to do victory rolls, which made it all seem very simple.

But the couple of times I’d attempted to do it, I found it quite tricky making the barrel curl so that you can see through it.

I had successfully washed my beehive out from yesterday, which proved easier than I thought to get rid of all the backcombing, and so decided to try doing pin curls so that I’d hopefully have a fallback option if the victory rolls didn’t work out.

This is my hair in pin curls. It was a first attempt, and I haven’t done them that neatly. I sprayed a bit of Redken curl enhancer on my wet hair and also put some hair putty on one side as well.

I then wrapped my hair in a scarf to sleep in, as apparently that keeps the curls neater and it’s also meant to make it more comfortable. I guess it worked, as I didn’t find it uncomfortable at all, but maybe that was because I’d stayed up so late watching Gossip Girl, so was pretty tired!

In the morning, after removing all the pins, the curl looked like this:

I was pretty pleased with how they turned out for a first-time effort. Although they felt a bit gross, I think because of the hair putty, and the curl spray had made some of them go a bit hard. I guess it’s just trial and error as to what product to use. I think you’re meant to use something called a setting lotion, but I don’t have any of that, so I guess I’ll just play around with various other products I have.

I tried brushing the curl out a bit as well, to soften it a bit, and it got so much volume!

The hair had gone a bit fluffy though, and because there was already so much product in it, I didn’t want to add anything else to make it less frizzy, so just decided it was a good chance to try the victory rolls, as my hair felt quite thick and like it would stay in an up do quite well.

I’d like to try the pin curls again, though. They seem like they’d be quite a nice easy option once you got the hang of how to do them. I found it hard to remember which way I was pinning them against my head, as they’re all meant to be facing the same direction, and if you do a row of one way and then a row of the other, that’s finger waves apparently. I’m learning so much!

Ideally I’d like to have Rita Hayworth curls like this.

But that might be a slightly unrealistic goal, given hairstyling is not my natural forte.

Because my hair was so thick and full of product, the victory rolls were actually not that difficult.

The style in the YouTube video was to have half of your hair down, but  after all the brushing out of the curls, it was looking a bit frazzled, so I decided to roll the back up.

This wasn’t that neatly done, but looked all right. It would be better if I had a hair sponge that you roll the hair around, but I guess that’s something I can invest in if I decide I want to continue this in any meaningful way.

My dress today was a floral 50s style sundress that I got from what I refer to as a $2 shop on K Road. The dress wasn’t $2 (it was $40) but the store just totally has a $2 shop vibe to it and has such a random assortment of stuff, most of it pretty fugly, but I saw this dress on the model in the window and ended up buying it.

I’d really like to get a crinoline petticoat to wear under it to poof it out. I found a cool one at Victorian Gilt, but I’m not sure whether I can really afford it at the moment. I’d like to just make one, but I have absolutely no sewing talent whatsoever.

I wore a purple cardigan that I got from Recycle Boutique with it, and purple slingbacks I got for the bargain price of $25 when in Singapore last year. The purple clutch is from my favourite vintage store in Christchurch, Tete a Tete. The woman who runs it (or did when I was there a couple of years ago now) is such a sweetie. And she would give you an old penny for luck when you bought a bag there. I ended up giving the penny to a friend for luck when he went travelling overseas.

Again I used the new green trench coat, as the weather is still not summery in Auckland. The diamante earrings from a vintage store from Kumeu that I got once on a trip to Muriwai Beach and the necklace was a birthday gift from a friend a few years ago.

For my make-up, I used the Laura Mercier foundation primer with Prescriptives Virtual Skin foundation (so sad this brand is being discontinued) in Real Cream mixed with a bit of Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser in Bare Radiance.

My blush is Shu Uemura in Pink.

I used some Nars bronzer in Laguna.

On my eyes I’ve used LM eye basics in Linen, MAC eyeshadow in Crystal and Trax and LM metallic cream eyeshadow in Platinum. I lined my eyes with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in metallic brown.

My lipstick is MAC Sweet & Single (from their Barbie collection) with MAC lipglass in Oh Baby over top.

Oh, and I’ve also been filling my eyebrows in with Benefit’s Brow Zings in light.

I’m really pleased I managed to do the victory rolls, as it was the hairstyle I was most unsure that I could do, but I don’t know whether I’d wear it that often again, as it definitely felt the most costumey of my hairstyles this week, but it’s fun to play dress-up once in a while I guess.

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Delayed gratification: marshmallows and mind control


One such morning last week I listened to a podcast of Kim Hill’s interview with psychologist Professor Walter Mischel of Columbia University on Radio New Zealand National.

Mischel is a distinguished researcher in the area of personality. In the 1960s he was one of the originators of what is often referred to as ‘the marshmallow test’. Children aged about four years old had one marshmallow (or some similarly delectable confection of their choice) placed in front of them and were told that they could either eat that one marshmallow straight away or they could wait to eat it, usually about 15 minutes, in which case they would be given another marshmallow.

The point of all this was to examine the children’s ability to delay gratification for a bigger reward. Mischel continued to study the children into adulthood, and discovered that those children who could delay gratification, waiting the 15 minutes so they could have two marshmallows, instead of immediately having one, have generally become more successful than those who couldn’t.

Now, Generation Y tends to be all about instant gratification. We don’t expect to have to wait for anything, be it a reply to an email, a promotion at work, or a new dress. We want it all and we want it now.


So this idea of waiting for something, of not taking that instant gratification that is right in front of you, is something that is quite foreign for many of us.

It’s a skill I think that I was never particularly good at. I always remember as a child being given I would eat all my Easter eggs in one day. It would often shock me when I would go to a friend’s house and in, say, June, she would still have a half-eaten Easter egg in the fridge.

Or when I was flatting at university, one of my flatmates would buy a packet of Toffee Pops and it would last her weeks. She would just have one occasionally. I would sometimes try to imitate her, and it would go well for maybe a day, or maybe an hour, and then I would mow through half the packet.

That these examples are to do with food is pertinent, but it’s certainly not the only area in which I have sometimes showed a lack of self-control. Some things I like to chalk up to experience, such as with my student loan – you could get a maximum of $1000 to spend on books or study accessories, and I would always get the maximum as a boost to my spending money, as $1000 right now was far more appealing than that delayed gratification of smaller loan in a few years’ time.


Self-control, will power, self-discipline, delayed gratification, whatever moniker you like to give it, is something I have been working hard at trying to develop, and over the past year I have definitely managed to become better in regard to both money and food.

In August last year, around the time of my uncle’s funeral, I had something of a watershed moment and realised that I really needed to get serious about losing weight. I have struggled with my weight my entire life, and I’m only now fully comprehending that I always will – it’s a lifelong battle for me in the way that sobriety is for an alcoholic. I had spent many months indulging in home baking and pastries from the caff at work, and this, combined with a very sedentary job, resulted in me packing even more kilos on to my already well-endowed frame.

It is now over a year since that time, and I have lost 16 kilos (it was 17, but through a lack of that much vaunted self-control, I’m now back up one kilo). While there are many elements that go into weight loss – just as there are many for weight gain – there is a necessarily strong emphasis on delayed gratification.

I always think of my auntie’s mantra of ‘minutes on the lips, months on the hips’. You can either have that instant gratification of eating that brownie, or those hot chips or that Danish pastry, or you can resist it for the bigger reward, some time in the future, of losing weight, fitting into your skinny jeans, being healthier, living longer, feeling better about yourself.


I’ve also managed to develop some self-control with regard to my spending. I’ve always been someone who loves shopping, loves spending, loves the finer things in life. Saving was something I only did for a very specific, short-term goal, like going on holiday

When I decided to move to London, I knew I would need to save for a considerable length of time, and that required further developing of that self-control. In the end, I didn’t end up moving to London, but I have continued saving. The original reason for saving may have disappeared or changed, but that self-control I developed hasn’t.

In the National Radio interview, Prof Mischel explains that delayed gratification is something that can be learned or developed with the right strategies and help.

Mischel used the example of retesting some children who had initially been bad at delayed gratification, but that if those same children were given a strategy to help them – such as the researcher suggesting that they visualise the marshmallow inside a picture frame – they would often be far better at delaying. When asked why they didn’t eat the marshmallow in the retest, the children would say, ‘Well, you can’t eat a picture.’ Mischel explains that those people who manage to delay gratification in the marshmallow test did so by the simple art of distraction.

I think there’s a lot to take from this for my own struggles with self-control. So much of it is about trying to strategise, to visualise, to keep yourself distracted from temptation.

And it’s also something that, like most things, the more you do it, the better you get. It’s like with saving – when you first start, it’s so difficult, because you’re used to getting that instant gratification. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes. In fact, it can even get to the point where it becomes difficult to spend money, even when you need to. I now weigh-up decisions a lot more carefully before I spend money or before I eat something indulgent, this has benefits, but it can become mentally taxing.


There are some days when I decide that I’m going to get a piece of cake or something from the caff, but when I get there, I think about it so long that the desire passes – the moment for instant gratification has been and gone. Although I think the caff ladies must thing I’m slightly nutty, standing in front of the food cabinet silently deliberating the merits of a chocolate croissant.

I think developing my ability to delay gratification is definitely something that will help me with all aspects of my life. It just makes me slightly more contemplative about what my reasons are for doing something, for indulging, in whatever it may be. And that’s not to say I don’t indulge when it’s right (and sometimes when it’s wrong) like today I bought a $200 swimsuit. Gosh, writing that does make it seem indulgent. But I figured I deserved it. And I resisted buying a whole lot of other stuff, so we’ll call it even.

While I think the difference between how my weight loss in particular has gone is that other times I’ve tried to lose weight, it’s always been something that I’ve thought about being done over a short period of time – I just need an iron will for a few weeks or months and then I would get to where I want to be.

But that’s not really effecting change within my personality as I have done now. By doing it over a long period of time, I have actually changed my desires, changed my essential make-up, I think. So today when I decided that I should buy a chocolate bar, I ended up going into the dairy and looking at them, but really thought about whether I needed it, how I would feel without it, and I realised that I was fine without it. And so I walked home and tried on my bathing suit instead.

I’ve still got five kilos to lose to get to my goal weight, and still I think, ‘If I’m just really disciplined for the next few weeks or months, it will happen’ but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if I’ll find that discipline to really make it, as the last few kilos are the hardest, but I do feel like I have changed my relationship with food, and with money, and that I have more faith in my ability to ensure a better future for myself, because being able to practise delayed gratification has wide ramifications.

In fact, in an article on the marshmallow test in the New Yorker, Mischel explains, “What we’re really measuring with the marshmallows isn’t will power or self-control. It’s much more important than that. This task forces kids to find a way to make the situation work for them. They want the second marshmallow, but how can they get it? We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.”

The value of that goes beyond the ability to lose weight, to save money – it’s really about giving you control over your own reality.


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