Money Diary: Travel + Home

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. Since I’m desperately nosey I love reading them, so hopefully you will too! This week was hectic and kind of all over the place, but I think these ones make for more interesting reads!

money diaries jaye rockett

MONDAY.

7.00am My alarm goes off and I wake up confused. I drove to Dover last night with my friend Kelly, we’re heading off on a press trip with Mini this morning! Our hotel was payed for by the brand, so that makes the bed seem extra comfy, and we’ve got breakfast included too, so I get showered, dressed, and head down to meet Kelly at the restaurant.

8.00am After a cup of strong coffee, a slice of toast and some eggs, I feel more human. I try and pack my bags back up as organised as possible (how have I made so much mess in less than twelve hours) and we head downstairs for our briefing, and to pick up our Mini for the trip!

money diaries jaye rockett

10.10am We arrive at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone. Mini have booked us Flexiplus tickets for the tunnel which includes free access to the lounge. We nip in and I grab a peppermint tea, a cinnamon roll, and fill up my Chilly’s Water bottle for later. It’s all free in the lounge, so I’ve probably saved myself £6.

1.30pm The tunnel crossing is so fast, before we know it we’re in Bruges! I enjoy driving the Mini, it’s nippy and so comfortable for a little hatchback. We pull up at our hotel, the Hotel Duke’s Palace, check into our rooms. Mini have put on a lunch for us while we hear about the new cars, so we eat hot soup and fresh sausage rolls whilst learning about the brand.

money diaries jaye rockett

3.00pm That’s pretty much the end of our obligations with the brand, all we need to do now is get photos! Firstly though, I’m dying for a coffee, and typically all the independent coffee shops in Bruges shut at 2.30/3pm, so we’ve missed it. The only coffee place open is the Starbucks in the train station, so I drag Kelly there. It takes us 40 minutes to do the 15 minute walk because we keep stopping to take photos. On the way there, we also pass House Of Waffles, which the PR for Mini told us was the best spot for a waffle in Belgium. I buy a caramel waffle and it was worth every penny of 3.50€. £3.12.

money diaries jaye rockett

3.45pm I buy a Grande Caramel Macchiatto with oat milk, and pick up a Starbucks Belgium mug to add to my collection, and a bottle of water for Kelly. Starbucks is WAY more expensive in Europe, so I pay a whopping 5.50€ for my drink, and 17.50€ for my mug. After an early wake up and 3 hours driving though it’s worth every penny. £22.92.

5.30pm We get caught in the rain so we head back to the hotel to change out of our summery skirts. We’re desperate for a beer at this point – when in Belgium and all! I pick out a belgian blonde beer from this awesome pub that Kelly had visited before. We have two beers, it comes to 8€ and Kelly kindly picks up the tab.

money diaries jaye rockett

6.10pm We make a mad dash to the beer and chocolate shops before they close at 6.30. I pick up some belgian chocolate for Connor and I, as well as a bag of vegan friendly dark chocolate for my friend Lauren. It’s not cheap, the total comes to 39.85€, but it’s bloody delicious. I pick up a mix of seven belgian beers in The Bottle Shop next door, for 20.25€ – Con will be pleased when I get home! £53.50.

6.40pm On the way back to the hotel we pass a food truck selling authentic belgian fries. It would be rude not to, right? I don’t have any euros on me, I pretty much only use my Monzo when I’m travelling, as there are no fees and you get the best exchange rate. Kelly and I split a portion of fries, and she pays with her cash.

money diaries jaye rockett

7.30pm Mini are hosting a champagne reception in the lounge before dinner in the restaurant. I don’t feel bad about the amount I’ve spent on chocolate and beer, because the rest of the trip has been completely taken care of by Mini, in the scheme of things it’s been a very cheap trip! They put on the most incredible three course meal in the restaurant, and we sit about in the lounge having drinks after until around 1am. I go to bed full, sleepy and happy.

money diaries jaye rockett

TUESDAY

7.00am We’re up early to get a few more shots in the city before we head home. Breakfast in the hotel is a decadent affair, fresh waffles, a pastry wall, and a belgian chocolate carving station. I get a sugar rush before 7.30am.

8.00am We’ve loaded up our bags into the Mini, have checked out, and are running around the city cameras in hand to get our last few shots. We get what we need, then drive the Mini into the centre of town to shoot that too. By 10am we’re on the road back to Calais.

money diaries jaye rockett

11.30am We have time before our tunnel back, and we’re both jonesing for a coffee, so we stop at Cite Europe by the Eurotunnel. My eyes are really dry and itchy, hayfever and lack of sleep is a terrible combo, so we head into a pharmacy in the shopping centre. We spend ages trying to figure out what are eye drops and what is contact solution, but manage it eventually. I also stock up on Bioderma micellar water, Bioderma wipes, La Roche Posay Effeclar Duo and Klorane dry shampoo – it’s all at least a third cheaper than it would have been in the UK. £37.82.

11.40am This shopping centre has a Sephora, which would have been bad enough, but Sephora France has just started stocking Tarte, which is bad news for my bank balance. I pick up a blush I’ve been eyeballing, as well as a big chunk of their travel minis. I restock my Sephora face mask collection, pick up a mini Marc Jacobs set to try out their primer and powder. I feel like I’ve been restrained, but it still comes to 129.00€. £114.66.

money diaries jaye rockett

12.10pm Google maps told us there was a Starbucks outside the mall, and we waste 20 minutes driving around looking for it before realising that it’s actually in the Eurotunnel terminal. We’ve now missed the tunnel we were supposed to get (thank god for flexiplus tickets) so we have time to dart into there before we go to the lounge. I buy Kelly and I the most eyewateringly expensive iced caramel lattes that taste more like milkshakes than coffee, and pick up a France Starbucks mug to replace the one I broke earlier in the year. £25.38.

12.20pm We nip into the lounge to be told we can catch a tunnel in five minutes, so we do a supermarket sweep of the food and drink. I grab a sandwich, chicken caesar salad pot, sparkling water, and a bag of crisps and a coke for when I inevitably get sleepy driving home later.

3.30pm Back in the UK, we’ve said goodbye to our Mini and are halfway home. We stop at Cobham services on the M25 because I am EXHAUSTED, lack of sleep and all the driving is catching up with me. We stretch our legs, have a wee, and Kelly buys us some Mcdonalds fries and a cheeseburger to keep us going.

6.30pm FINALLY home. I dump all my stuff in the spare bedroom, Con’s in London but he picked me up a Tesco Finest Cottage Pie so I wouldn’t have to cook. I chuck that in the oven, shower, eat dinner and then clamber into bed by quarter past seven. I’m fast asleep before 8pm.

money diaries jaye rockett

WEDNESDAY

7.30am Wake up feeling exhausted to my bones, but I’ve slept for nearly twelve hours so can’t complain. I’ve got a blood test at my doctors surgery at 9am this morning, and my pal Laura is coming with me since I need someone to hold my hand! It’s back to reality with a bump this morning.

9.15am Blood test went smoothly, and I’ve taken Laura for breakfast at one of my favourite spots Boscanova as a thank you for holding my hand. She’s just come back from vacation in the States, so we talk post holiday blues, and Sephora hauling. I have a veggie East Ender, fried potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, egg, avocado, sourdough toast and halloumi, with an oat milk dirty chai and a fresh orange juice. Laura has a London Fog, a citrus fizz and the breakfast special, a dirty looking combination of sourdough toast, pulled pork, melted cheese, eggs and sour cream. I pick up the bill because not many friends would get up at 7.30am on their day off to hold your hand at the doctors! £34.85.

money diaries jaye rockett

1.30pm Working from home today as I’m feeling rough. My sister has come over to clean the flat for us (we have neither the time or the inclination to do it, so I’d rather help her out!). I normally pay her an hourly rate but I picked up some bits in Sephora for her yesterday, so we call it even.

3.30pm Laura pops back over in the afternoon, and we take her dog for a little walk into town to get some fresh air. We pick up lunch from Pret (a tomato soup, bread roll and can of grape and elderflower fizz) but I struggle to eat it as I’m just feeling rubbish. After she leaves I go back to bed with my book for a few hours, because I feel rotten. £6.60.

6.45pm I pick Con up from the train station. I’ve not seen him since Sunday which is the longest we’ve been apart in a while. We’re both exhausted from a busy few days, so we order a naughty KFC on Deliveroo, and eat it on the sofa while catching up with bake off. Con pays, and gets a discount because they forgot our popcorn chicken.

money diaries jaye rockett

THURSDAY

8.30am Back in the office, I haven’t done a food shop yet this week so I don’t have anything for breakfast. I swing through the Starbucks drive thru on my way to work and grab my usual, a grande caramel macchiato with oat milk, and a cheese and marmite toastie. I pay with my Starbucks card, which I top up by £10 in the queue. £10.

12.30pm One of my colleagues picks up lunch for me today, what a sweetheart. We usually trade off buying lunches for each other on Fridays, but we both didn’t bring lunch today, so she nips out to M&S. Very grateful for some comfort food as I’m still feeling sorry for myself.

2.45pm I’m at the dentist for a filling, lucky me. After years of being terrified of the dentist and not going, as well as my terrible vitamin/mineral levels, I’ve had to have a few restorations recently. I’ve had bad experiences with dentists in the past, but this new dentist is amazing, so kind. They explain everything as they go, hold my hands for the injections, and the kind nurse keeps rubbing my arm and checking in with me. They’re working on two fillings in one tooth, and it takes a while, I have to have extra anaesthetic, and I leave with an incredibly swollen face, and feeling a little out of it from the drugs. They’re great but they’re not cheap, and the cost of the work is just under £400. I’m very lucky that my parents have offered to pay for the restoration, as I definitely haven’t budgeted for that. I have recently signed up for a payment plan to cover the cost of my future check ups, xrays and hygienist appointments though, which means I’ll never put off going back because I don’t want to spend the money!

7.00pm I’ve spent most of the evening feeling sorry for myself in bed, watching Netflix. The drugs have knackered me out and as the anaesthetic wears off I start to feel quite sore. Con orders me a shirodashi ramen from Wagamama – my favourite – as we’ve still not done a food shop. I dribble most of it down my face as the whole left side of my mouth, tongue and cheek is numb. I’m fast asleep again by 9am.

money diaries jaye rockett

FRIDAY

9.00am Feeling slightly more human today. I make an oat milk maple latte at home, and find a forgotten bagel in the fridge for breakfast. We placed an Ocado order last night so my meals will get more exciting and nutritious after this evening. I’m in the office early to get ahead on some work.

2.00pm: It was a busy day at work, and my brain is fried. I get home and crawl into bed with a cup of tea, and I’m out cold in minutes. Con wakes me up at half five reluctantly, by thrusting a glass of water in my face, and telling me to get up and he’ll buy me a coffee. Pretty much the only thing that will get me out of bed.

money diaries jaye rockett

5.45pm: We walk from the flat into town slowly, admiring the turning leaves in the last of the summer sun. I buy us coffees (caramel macchiato with oat milk for me, flat white for Con), and we drink them in the sun. We pop into Tesco Metro because the food shop isn’t coming til between 8-9, and we’re already hungry. We grab butter, watermelon wedges, fresh soup and a loaf of seeded bread. Con pays for this. £6.10.

8.30pm: The Ocado delivery arrives and there are no substitutions which I’m thrilled about. We’ve stocked up on enough cupboard staples for the next few weeks, as well as meat and veg to see us through for a week or so. We tend to split most of the bills pretty evenly, but since Con earns significantly more than me, he pays our council tax bills (exorbitant, the price to live so close to town) and for most of our food shops. This one came to around £60 which is pretty indicative of what we normally spend week to week, but I’m pretty chuffed since we stocked up on quite a few non perishables. Ocado is my favourite place to shop, they have great choice, lots of plastic free options and they always have good deals on. I love the feeling of a full fridge!

money diaries jaye rockett

SATURDAY

9.00am Still sleeping like the dead because all the travel and driving this week has near killed me. I’m used to getting 9 hours a night plus a two hour nap (chronic illness fun), and I’ve definitely not been getting that this week. Con brings me a coffee in bed, which I drink whilst reading my book, and he makes breakfast.

11.30am After eating the biggest breakfast ever, we hop in the car. I need to pick my car up from the office, my sister borrowed it yesterday, and we need to pick up soil from the garden centre. We drive past a pub I like and make an impromptu decision to stop and sit in the garden for a drink because the weather is fab. Con goes in to order, I don’t know what I want, but he comes back with a pink gin and lemonade, which turned out to be exactly what I wanted. He has a beer and we enjoy the last gasp of summer.

money diaries jaye rockett

2.00pm We need to pick a few bits up and end up popping into Southampton, because we fancy a drive and the shops are better there. I had an incident last week where the washing machine ripped a few of my favourite pairs of paints (the Victoria’s Secret seamless thongs) so I nip in to pick up some more. Con keeps throwing novelty pants at me that say things like ‘more sleep please’ and ‘lazy sundays’, and saying they ‘fit my brand’. Jokes on him though because I convince him to pay for my haul (£25.99) since he was the one who forgot to put my delicates in the delicates bag.

3.00pm We’ve refueled in Pret and grabbed a coffee, picked up a few bits for Connor, and then we nip into Waterstones. I’m looking for two books, only find one, but somehow end up with three. I need more books like I need a hole in the head, but at least I get student discount. £27.52.

6.00pm I casually mention to Con that I’ve been looking for a new black crossbody bag that’s a little bigger than my Rebecca Minkhoff one, and all of a sudden we’re in Portsmouth at the Outlet. He treats me to a Kate Spade camera style bag that I adore, it’s our nine year anniversary this week so he says this is my gift for putting up with him. He really has been too nice this week.

8.00pm Home safe and sound. Today’s been one of those days where I’ve really appreciated having an electric car. We’ve done about a hundred and twenty miles but not payed a penny for fuel, in Con’s car that would have easily cost us £25. We have a fast charger at work so I try to charge there most of the time, and I utilised the free chargers in Southampton while we were there too. It’s made a massive difference to my monthly outgoings!

11.00pm A few of Con’s friends popped in for a drink unexpectedly (I was definitely already in my PJs). I have a couple of glasses of wine with them, it’s nice to catch up, but I’m so ready for bed. I make my excuses, and I’m out cold as soon as my head hits the pillow.

money diaries jaye rockett

SUNDAY

8.00am It’s Sunday, it’s raining, and I have no plans, which is my favourite way to wake up. I potter about turning lamps on, lighting candles, making coffee, and we set up on the sofa for a proper duvet day.

5.00pm We’ve spent the whole day doing a glorious amount of nothing. We’ve watched a movie, read books, chucked food in the slow cooker, and drunk a lot of coffee and tea. We sit down to finally book our flights for a big upcoming trip, the BA sale ends soon and we want to make the most of it. We will be flying for over eight hours, and since we’re both pretty tall, we’d already made the decision to spring for premium economy, but it turns out business class flights are too good to pass up in the sale, so we bite the bullet and splurge. We’ve not travelled together at all this year, Con’s work has been too busy, so this feels like a reward. It also means we will have two checked bags each, which is good since we’ll need cold weather gear (and more room for shopping), and lounge access too. We’re flying on Boxing Day, so it’ll be nice to be able to turn up at the airport and just chill. The flights aren’t cheap, but we’ve been putting money aside for them for a while. Still annoyed that BA make you pay to pick your seat though, that’s an extra £300 I really begrudge paying, but we want to make sure we’re sat together, and I definitely don’t want to be sat facing backwards. We celebrate/commiserate the big chunk of money going out with a whisky and coke, and I immediately start planning the trip.

9.00pm I get out of the tub after spending far too long soaking in it. On a Sunday I like to transfer a little chunk of money into my savings pots on Monzo, I find it easier to do it weekly than monthly – I just end up taking it back out otherwise. It’s been a spendy week so I don’t transfer as much as usual. I don’t put anything in my ’emergency fund’ or my ‘Car pot’, but I put £50 in the pot I have to save for Con’s birthday treats, and £50 in a pot for our trip. I find moving smaller amounts more frequently gives me the gratification of saving and I’m less likely to take money out!

THE VERDICT

Total Spent: £342.47

Total Transferred to savings: £100

Honestly, I would NEVER spend this much on an average week, but I tend to lose my sense of restraint when I’ve been travelling or when I’m feeling rough. I’m very aware of spending a lot on food this week, but again that’s something I definitely do more of if I’m travelling, or when I’m feeling crap and can’t be bothered to cook. By contrast, I totted up my spending for the week before and it came to a measly £43.50 so you know, swings and roundabouts. We tend to prioritise a lot of our money towards travel and food, but this week I’ve done a fair bit of shopping, which isn’t typical. What can I say, proximity to a Sephora did me in!

I hope you found this interesting, especially if you’re nosy like me! Let me know how you