I broke records last week for the amount of time I spent in London! I was there five days out of seven. Teh most I have been in London since I worked for EE, four years ago! By the end of the week I was done, shattered, exhausted. I always try to save money during my trips to London with my various tips and tricks. Here is what I got up too with my highlighting money saved!
Monday – Peggy Porschen & British Library
I started the week with a rush to school and caught the 8:58 train into London. Always annoying to get the early train as it means I cannot use my Network Rail card.
Do you know about this card? It costs £30 and for a year means that you save 1/3rd on all south east rail travel after 10am. If I can choose a meeting time I always say 11am or later so I can get the 10:04 train.
Anyways, I had to pay £19.50 for the ticket to London on Monday. I never get a travel card as I know I will walk between meetings rather than tube it, if I have time and inclination.
I met up with the team from Mark Warner at Peggy Porschen on the Kings Road and had a lovely morning drinking sparkles and eating cake with the cream of the blogging world. Lots of friends were there and people who I follow on Instagram, including scummy mummy! And the lovely Alice from More Than Toast. It was great to talk business, money saving and business development with these girls.
I had a five hour break until my next meeting so found a sushi place for a spot of sushi salmon via Sweaty Betty. Great timing as it was the last day of the Sweaty Betty sale, and there was a further 20% off everything. I got two new pairs of leggings (I have tried so many others and these are truly the best) for £70. When they normally cost £80-90 each this is a bargain.
I eventually made my way to the British Library for a talk on well being entrepreneurship. The stand-out speakers were Trinny Woodall talking about the launch and growth of Trinny London, there was Max from Hotpod Yoga and Shahroo Izadi author of the The Kindness Method. The talks were honest and inspiring. Everyone really shared their mistakes and successes with the aim to help the audience. I really enjoyed it and will be using the resources from the Business & IP Centre more often. This event cost £10. Complete bargain.
Tuesday Interviews and Networking
Tuesday is a radio show day and I have been trying to fit in pre-record interviews as often as possible so I have them in the bank for the summer holiday weeks where I wont be in the studio. At 9:30am I did a pre-recorded interview with Maya Traykova of Beyond.
This is an interview to look forward to, we spent much talking about some difficult subjects around death. The process of sorting out everything when someone dies is awful, time consuming and can be expensive. Beyond have resources to help, content you can read for free. They also offer a will service, and are my will provider. £90 for an online will is a great offer and something that MOST of us don’t have. I urge you to set up a will!
I then interviewed Simon Longfellow from Steps to Invest live in the studio. Its a whole different dynamic when a guest comes into the studio, makes for a much better interview! Listen to the interview here, its brilliant. We both have the innate ability to explain everything in simple terms, even if it complex financial talk.
I then disappeared into London at 5pm for a meeting with the Congress network. A wonderful group of professional women and talked careers, love lives, family, setting up a business, money. It was the best meeting. And I also got to go with my friend Fran, from boot camp and eating clean famedom.
Wednesday Virgin Media & Bubele Money Event
Hump day was mostly working from home during the day. I had new broadband turned on. I have switched my broadband over from Talk Talk, too slow to Virgin Media. Who promise to increase my upload and download speeds by 10 times. This does come at a price. My monthly bill goes from £22.50 to £35. This will now mean that I can upload videos to YouTube and have a skype conversation in the evening. Talk Talk did not allow me to do this, an essential for work to be honest.
I disappeared off into London again on Wednesday night for the Bubele Work Your Money Honey event. Getting the train at 5pm means £13 for a travel card. See much better than travelling before 10am. I met up with Emma and Faith fellow bloggers and listened to brilliant talks on the basics of personal finance through to investing and then a session on impact investing, an area that I am really interested in.
It was great to catch up with the girls on the All Bright roof terrace after the event and catch up on life!
Thursday Pension Gender Pay Gap
Thursday was the craziest day. Another early start where I was needed at a studio at 9am in the morning for around 10 radio/press interviews talking about the gender pensions gap for Now Pensions. They had commissioned a brilliant piece of research investigating the size and reasons for the gender pension gap. they found that women had an average pot of £51k and men had £156k. The main reasons were having babies, career gaps, reducing hours to care for children and the gender pay gap. As women we have so much against us.
After the radio interviews were over we headed to Westminster for a panel talk on the subject with an audience packed full of government, journalists and pensions industry experts. I was there to talk about my experience of the pension gender gap. I indeed have missed out on so much money into my pension from three maternity leaves, opting out of pensions at various times of life. In my pot at the moment I have £50k. And I need around £500k for a comfortable pension. A scarily long way to go.
I had a such a great day and loved sharing my thoughts on what the government should change. I suggested childcare reforms are very much needed. After spending around £100k of post tax salary on childcare, I am passionate about reducing this cost for future mums. There was also a suggestion of a tier two carer allowance being paid into a private pension. This used to happen many years ago so could be introduced and already has some momentum.
I will be doing more work on these institutional pension changes and will be involved in working parties to lobby the government for change. Gosh I love my job.
Friday Rest Day
Was rest day, where I mostly watched Netflix and slept. I am ill. My body is exhausted from over work and stress. It taken me nearly two weeks of being ill to get to the doctors and it turns out I have a full blown chest infection. As well as platelet issues, tiredness and high stress levels. There was so much to fix at the doctors that I need to go back later for another appointment and an examination. Not good. But at least I have faced up to it, first step to fixing things.
Saturday South Bank & Trafalgar Square
Could have been a day of rest with Jack instead we went on an adventure. And to be honest it was the fun I, we needed to connect and enjoy life. We got the train to Blackfriars, just £8 on a Saturday for the two of us. And wondered along the south bank, stopping when we found interesting things to do. We had paninis by the river side and then sat in deckchairs watching a Shubbak festival at the River stage of the national theatre. We watched a poet and then a hip hop act. Jack spent ages doing a giant jigsaw of the Arab state countries with staff from the national theatre. It was great.
We then wondered over Charing cross bridge to Trafalgar square and discovered a Cricket world cup fan zone. We then spent the next two hours playing and queuing for cricket games in order for Jack to win a cricket bat and ball. He loved it and it turns out is quite the talented bowler. He hit the wicket in five out of six bowls, he is 6! The staff recommended that I enrolled him into a cricket club, I think I will.
We eventually got home at about 7pm. It was such a fun day that cost really very little. Most of the activities we took part in were free. All I paid for were the panini’s and a bag of donuts for Jack. And a little gin, whilst sat on the deckchairs watching the incredible arab artists perform. I highly recommend listening to work by Samira Saleh. Beautiful, emotive and honest words. Here is a Youtube performance of the one of the poems she performed.
Sunday – West Brom for Football
My choice of plans for Sunday was potentially a health error. I havn’t seen Dylan play football for a while so I offered to take him to West Brom for his game. This meant a 7am starts and a 4pm return. West Brom is two hours away. We had to stop on the way back at the services for a 30 minute SAS nap as I was exhausted.
It was great to see Dylan play though. He is such a talented boy. I am beyond proud of each of my children.