Honest Truths: I’m poor, not penurious.

Guess who had to google that word, penurious. I’m not even sure if I’m using it correctly.

I still feel like I need to preface this post by saying I believe I am by no means living in poverty, I just feel the crunch most days. This isn’t a plea for your money. I don’t want to be spammed with get rich quick schemes. I am grateful to be able to afford our weekly rent to have a roof over our heads and I have a very gracious workplace.

However, there are just some days when I log into my bank account and I wish there were just a few more dollars in there. I’m not talking millions either, literally a few more dollars would make me smile more often. They say money doesn’t bring you happiness but it makes life easier having it, it makes living a little less stressful. I’m sure you’re all thinking, we’ll get off your butt and do something about it.

So, What am I doing about it? To be honest, I know that what I am doing is not enough, but I’ve started making small changes to make it easier on the budget, and to start seriously paying off debt and get my life on track and towards saving to buy our first home.

I’m about making a few small changes in my life that are sustainable. For instance, I have  stopped buying mochas or hot drinks. They were a weekly guilty pleasure. I stopped drinking coffees while pregnant and limit myself now because I’m breastfeeding. For the price of a barista made coffee, I can buy a packet of instant granulated coffee and still have some change. I might get 20 cups of coffee for the price of one or two. Yes, it’s cheap but to be honest, it’s not nasty and I get my quick fix, quicker than waiting in line at a cafe.

Another small change is I don’t go shopping unless I need to. I unsubscribed from regular marketing emails from a bunch of retail stores. I’ve removed the temptation from my life and my inbox thanks me also.

Even my birthday this year I didn’t want to spend money on myself. Instead buying a treat, I volunteered to be a collector for the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation street appeal.

Adulting can be hard. Parenting is harder. I’m in my 30’s now and I feel these are the years to start making a difference for the family.

So my honest truth, I am poor. But if I can pay all my bills, reduce the debt and manage to squirrel a dollar or two away for my baby’s future, and put money towards my first home, then I know that I shouldn’t complain! I want to feel content with the things I have or I just need to try a little harder.


Thanks for sticking with me.

xoxo Love Shaz

Every little bit helps

Just because you spend one night on the street, doesn’t mean you know what its like to live like a homeless person.

This is just one of those things that really grinds my gears. I read on a friend’s Facebook recently that that would be leaving the warmth of their bed to sleep at a shelter to make a real impact towards ending youth homelessness. My initial reaction was ‘you are taking up a bed space that could be better used by someone who genuinely needs it?’. Is that too cynical? I’m sure that she will be there to work and be an ear to the needs of others…

This person lives in another country so maybe their context is a little different to my own. I live in a small city, and we have homeless people here, nowhere near the kind of scale that other cities in New Zealand has, nor that of other countries. I also know that I am not in any position to change the issue of homelessness here, but what I can do is try make their lives a little brighter. A few people at my workplace (including myself) signed up to help with a soup kitchen. Our small team are rostered on fortnightly and we make a basic dinner for around 30 people. I’ve also signed myself up for Good Bitches Bake, where I can bake for places like the local Women’s refuge. It’s certainly not a grand gesture like staying at a homeless shelter, but how does that help the homeless?

Imagine the sort of difference you could make if, for example, you took your laptop or sat down with a homeless person to help them with creating a CV; helped them write about their best self so they can gain employment?

I don’t think sleeping in a homeless shelter for one night gives you any real experience in what a homeless person deals with regularly. I will give my friend props though. They want to make a difference and this event she is joining is being offered by the city mission, so it must offer some good, so Kia Kaha.

I’m not in a financial position to do anything much. But I can see little things. Imagine how much money could be donated to charities if we all went without that store bought coffee for one day a week and donated it? or if instead we purchased a couple of extra tins of food to donate? The food banks could be a lot fuller than they are.

These are just some of my thoughts for today. If you are in a position to help, please give kindly to a local charity. Every little bit helps, and soon those little bits will add up to a lot.

xoxo Shaz

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s been 9 months since a little someone changed my world and about 6 months since my last post. I just don’t have the drive to “just write reviews” anymore so SharleneSays will undergo a few changes this year. I need a passion to write and share, and ‘writing reviews that sound like something you’ve read before’ just isn’t as exciting to me as it once was.

So here are my hopes for 2018:



  • To update my site – I want it to ‘ooze’ how I feel. I want people to know me better when the visit my website.
  • To write one post a week – talk about exceeding my expectations. It might not be about books. It could be about mama life or make-up tips (I don’t wear make-up, so don’t count on this). It could even be the start of a novel. But post I must.
  • To comment on another persons blog every week – I need to connect with other people who think, act, write like me.

  • To read more – As always, this is at the top of my list. 2017 wasn’t a good year for reading, but it was a good year for life. I’ve kept my 2018 Goodreads Challenge to 20. That’s a realistic goal if you compare it to last year. But I plan on smashing it out the box!
  • To be more present – I’m one of two moderators on a Goodreads group called Book Lovin’ Kiwis and I’ve been a little tumbleweedy.

If I can do these few things, stay sane, be an awesome mum and wife, and have fun – then I’ll be happy.

So, these are my resolutions. Have you got any? Share them with me here or leave a link to your resolutions, I would love to chat more.

xoxo Sharlene

My hiatus explained

Enough said? Well, no. So here goes…

I have read a total of 10 books so far this year. This is a new low for me since I got my groove of reading back in 2012-ish, or was it earlier than that? Who cares. The point is, it’s very over halfway through the year and I am not going to reach 100.

Once I got pregnant, I knew that reading would become difficult, so I tried to read more while I thought I had the time. Boy that idea failed. I tried reading on the bus to and from work but morning sickness reared its ugly head and got in the way for 6 months or so. I wore the sea-bands, drank lots of water, ate a little healthier, but reading time eluded me.

Post-birth, I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my baby in the Neonatal unit. She was unexpectedly 6 weeks early. I was expecting early, just not THAT early. It was mostly cuddles with baby, feeding, expressing, watching and waiting for her in between feeds. I could watch her for hours. I would sit in the comfy chair and read a chapter here and there. I managed to finish a book! I thought this was my turning point, and it would only get better from there, but things haven’t really changed.

My little bundle is not so tiny anymore, and while I feel that I have more moments to read, my attention span has shortened. I find myself starting books and never being able to finish them. Since leaving hospital, I have read 1 e-book, and 2 baby books which I haven’t added to GR yet. I started reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone e-book out loud to baby but it expired before Harry made it to Hogwarts. The reading rut has come back.

Life carries on… it turns out reading is not my priority anymore, work isn’t either and I am perfectly okay with that. Although our baby girl had a rough start to life, I wouldn’t change her for the world. She is my priority.

Hey, and if it takes 80 children’s books to complete the GR challenge, well so be it. Every book counts. If I have time to write a review, I will post it. It might seem like tumbleweeds are blowing past, but I will be back in full force in time. Will you stick this out with me? I’m not committing to a number of posts per week, month or year. I will be here when I can. No more, no less.

Just stick with me. Things might just get interesting around here.



I’m Okay With That

Long time, no hear from me. I know. It’s been awhile.

I took a little break from blogging as I needed the time and energy to focus on my work and studies. I took up full time distance studies when I started at my part time job. I didn’t know that life would also get in the way of my reading and blogging time. So many people can juggle with their hands full and I was one of those people for the first trimester, but it all came tumbling down for the second trimester. So my bookish life took a back seat, and I’m okay with that.

My workplace has started celebrating women by having these workshops to hear from our senior female leaders and highlighting the strengths of our fellow colleagues. I attended the first, and there was one saying that really stuck with me ‘I’m okay with that’. It’s about being in a good place, taking life as it comes your way and being able to accept the failures with all the good stuff and being good with it. It’s like, knowing that you have the worst dance moves, but living it up on the dance floor, or being The DUFF in your group of friends and still going out to parties, because you’re okay with that. Gosh, I hope you understand me.

What really threw a spanner in the works was my personal life. With work and studies, I could manage okay. Having health matters in the immediate family was another ballgame. It was emotionally draining. I’m happy to say we’ve come through the major hurdles and now it’s about management of lifestyle, and making healthy choices. I signed up to participate in a research study. It’s about being given the tools to help myself become a better me. I know that I’m not perfect. I eat takeaways and don’t exercise as much as I should. But I’ve got a new workout plan which I will do my best to complete. I may not lose weight, but I will be a healthier person at the end of the programme and once again, I’m okay with that.

I’m on a break this trimester (unintentionally missed the enrolment deadline) but it gives me some breathing room to focus on my family and it also allows me to get back into some reading. I’ve finished a couple of books over the last fortnight. I’ve soo missed jumping into someone else’s world and leaving my worries behind. I’m even running a low pressure Book Pool Challenge over on Goodreads, in the Book Lovin Kiwi’s group. I’m going to read as many books as I can. I’m like 36 books behind my Goodreads Challenge (I’m okay with that…) but also hoping to complete it for 2016. I might need your motivation!

I hope you’ve stuck me with. My hiatus is officially coming to an end. Please be okay with that.

See you again, much sooner than the last post.