Being a vintage and cocktail aficionado can burn a hole in your pocket when you're on a shoestring budget. I'm having to learn to scrimp and save, with fond memories of student loans (which I honestly wonder if I'll ever be in a position to repay) a distant blur.
I'm not complaining; it's the life I chose, and working part time means I'm able to pursue my artistic endeavours and can get my work life balance just right, and, crucially, enjoy my job rather than resenting it.
Thankfully, despite my predilection for mid century frocks and old fashioneds, I'm pretty thrifty. And whilst shopping can make me feel guilty for a whole host of non-financial reasons (consumerism and privilege, hello), I firmly believe in "treat yo'self".
For those not in the know, "treat yo'self" is a phrase coined by Donna and Tom of perky sitcom Parks and Recreation. One day a year, Tom and Donna do just that; treat themselves to, amongst other things, mimosas, new clothes, and massages. It's a whole day dedicated to luxury self care, basically.
I don't have the self-restraint to keep my version of "treat yo'self" to one day. Neither would I want to. It's taken a long time for me to realise that I deserve to take good care of myself, and it's helped me survive. Many small rewards for getting over life's little daily obstacles seem much more effective in keeping well than setting myself (potentially impossible) large goals, only to be rewarded with a windfall once they have been achieved (if they ever are). It's about being realistic and keeping moving forward.
This week, despite having to mind my pennies a little, I decided to take a trip around the charity shops of the borough. I couldn't afford to splash out on a knockout piece of vintage or British made reproduction (though I have been eyeing these superb trousers lately), but I was able to pick up a pair of shoes, a cardigan, and a ballerina top which all fit seamlessly into my (curiously ever-expanding) wardrobe for a song.
This is my "treat yo'self"; small, inexpensive gift to myself which recycle unwanted items and do good. I've spoken to other mental health sufferers who, for example, take themselves on a date one day a month; it's the same principle. Any tenderness we can show ourselves has got to be a good thing when we have been dealt such a devastating and cruel hand in life. I really believe that you have to save yourself, and self care is part of that ongoing process; you are choosing to save yourself every day.
So here is my "Piggy Bank Potion", filled with some receipts from my charity shop "splurge", with an ingredients ribbon which reads " 'Treat yo'self' needn't cost a fortune." Good advice to keep in mind whenever I stumble across a particularly intoxicating frock on Etsy.
I am very much looking forward to the point with #secretsofselfpreservation / Apothéké when I have forgotten precisely what my ingredients were for every week. Then I can pull out a potion and find a custom-made self care tip which may be perfect for that very moment.
Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.