Monthly Archives: January 2014

One Month In…Reflections

Mug 1It only seems like five minutes ago I was scouring the Interweb for a polkadot background that was ‘just right’ and racking my brainage to come up with exciting posts for the first month.  Suddenly, we have arrived at the end of the month, February is upon us and I have spent a total of £9.99 (from my Christmas money) on myself ALL MONTH.  I managed to kit out the rest of Daisy’s wardrobe with some lovely, hardly worn pieces from eBay.  I bought a gorgeous coat, 6 vests, 2 dresses and a pair of pyjamas all totalling under £28.00 inclusive of postage.  BARGAIN!  Not only that – I’ve spent a total of £5 on new socks for D from Next; I’m beginning to think this whole Frugally Fabulous Year may well encompass the WHOLE family, after all!

January has been easy – though it’s always the money-saving month for everyone isn’t it; paying things off after Christmas, changing our ways.  I haven’t had a single urge to go shopping, I’ve managed to keep cosmetic purchases to a minimum and my projects have, thus far, used materials and yarns I have at home.  I did spy some rather incredible Elvis fabric on eBay though – which gave me some great, kitsch ideas for my new Frugally Fabulous Wardrobe!

At the beginning of the month, me and Mr J (we got a thiiinnng….going oooo-ooonn), took a rare trip to town to spend our Christmas vouchers and money.  Being that most of our vouchers were for good old John Lewis, we headed there to decide which towel bale held the best value (2 bath towels, 2 hands towels AND 2 flannels for £20) and what we would put the rest of the money towards.  No sooner were we 5 steps and several slow-walking people away from the front doors of the homeware MECCA, Mr J helpfully turned to me and stated that, by purchasing from this shop – I had already failed my challenge.

It really got me thinking about the self-imposed rules and regulations of The Frugally Fabulous Year.  Was I really cherry-picking to make the challenge work for me?  No, I wasn’t.  And, NO I’m not.

Parts of this challenge feel easier than I thought they would, though I’ve yet to look at a dress pattern and I’ve cautiously stuck to little knitting projects that will keep me fulfilled (and not crazy).  The High Street hoarder of the dim, distant past feels a million miles away from who I’ve become. I can’t say I’m missing the atmosphere of a High Street store, nor the rails of (what I now deem to be) age-inappropriate cropped shit that I can’t say I’d even be keen to fit into.  Yet, when people question what I’m doing – I do realise I’ve given up the freedom of shopping as and when I want, with no scrutiny as to what I’ve bought and where I’ve been (on the basis that the Frugal Police are in operation).  I now realise that, if I was in sudden need of a black layering vest, I’d be pretty pushed to grab some fabric and try and make one.  That’s a scary thought.  Yet, a bigger part of me can only see the results of what I’ve been slowly giving up, cutting down and turning my back on over the last three or four years.

The thing is, we all HAVE to do it.  If you have a baby, you want to buy a house, you want to plan a wedding; there are no money trees from which we can pick.  Anymore.  This is what I’ve spent the last 10 years slowly realising!

January...it's been fun!

January…it’s been fun!

Picture an ever-so-slightly more youthful me, gallavanting through the sites of That London; I would indulge in at least 4 Starbucks a week from the top of the High Street, where I worked.  I hated my job.  I would spend about £70-£100 a month on clothing, not to mention fashion mags and books, partially due to the perks demands of the job.  The job I hated.  My housemate and I would regularly eat out locally or head to trendy Spitalfields where we could vent our rage over a ‘cheap’ Wagamamas.  We hated our flat, we had no living room.  I would easily spend £40 on gin-fuelled nights out.  I had no boyfriend or, sadly, decent taste in men until late 2011. That, right there, was an emotional shopper.

In late September, I took a trip to Camden to see a gig by a bloke I barely knew and, four and a half months later, I moved to The Midlands to live with him.  I started to find a new way of living.  I got creative with my work and my writing again.  I frequented Starbucks less and started to pull out and dust off all those beautiful dresses I had so taken for granted.  I started enjoying cooking and cococting recipes in MY OWN kitchen again.  We didn’t go out so much.  Then, along came Daisy and now, a trip to a restaurant with Mr J really is a treat, a snippet of time to ourselves.  A homemade chai latte is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon, watching Daisy taking all the jigsaw pieces out that I just put back.  My morning make-up routine is one of my favourite times of the day – because it’s just for me and usually its soundtrack is the quietest birdsong, while all about the house, my family are snoozing away.  All those things have changed, I’ve changed.

So, no, I don’t think I’m cherry-picking a thing because, despite being a little scared of the task I’ve set myself,  I know that I’ve started my Frugally Fabulous Year, having already learnt the most important lesson of all.  Things do not replace people, emotions or experiences.  And that is the most valuable lesson I could have learnt so far.  All that remains, is to own it.

Stay Peachy x

Frugally Peachy Handmade Giveaway: Oscar The Owl!

oscar 3

Just before Christmas last year, my friend and I set each other a challenge of handmaking a present for each other.  I love giving and receiving handmade items, but wanted to try something a little different for my friend who was both, a proud new rent-er of her own place AND a huge fan of owls!  So, after trawling Pinterest, I thought I would try my hand at making a little owl mug-warmer…meet Oscar the Owl!  He may not be cutesy, but he’s lovely, moderately creepy and snuggly for your afternoon cuppa!

Made from brown and cream double knit yarn; I’ve taken a lot of inspiration for Oscar from some of the china owls my Nan used to collect.  My Nan was too cool for school – she had an owl obsession waaaaay before woodland animal interior themes became cool!  I knitted the main body using woven stitch, which really worked on some red cafetiere cosies I did the year before and I fixed two press studs to fasten the holder.  The eyes were made from a traditional flower knitting pattern and I had these wooden buttons lying around too.  The result was weirdly sweet, quirky and looks LOVELY in my friend’s home!

oscar 2

So…do you fancy making an Oscar the Owl yourself?  Why not follow this simple tutorial to make your own!  Now, be kind, this is the first knitting pattern I’ve technically written, I hope it makes enough sense!  I have designed the mug warmer to fit around a large round mug, so you may need to adjust stitches if you want to make a smaller one.

If, of course, you don’t fancy making your own Oscar, why not scroll to the bottom of the post – where there is a little surprise waiting!!

YOU WILL NEED

1 x ball of brown yarn – I used an old DK one.

1x ball of cream yarn – I used a Sirdar Aran Knit I had – but a cotton would also look really effective

2 large round buttons – wooden ones really work with the texture of the woven stitch

2 Press-Studs (you can also choose buttons).

1 Pair of 3mm Needles

1 Tapestry needle and 1 small sewing needle as well as matching thread for the yarn,

METHOD

Using 3mm needles, cast on 62 stitches and, beginning with a K row, work regular stocking stitch for 10 rows.

With the knitting facing the ‘right side’, complete the next row as follows;

k1, sl1 wyf, k1, sl1 wyf, repeat until last stitch, ending with a k1 (this seals the row)oscar 1

Next row: Purl

Repeat the last two rows for a further 14 rows, ending with a purl row.

Next 2 rows: Knit

Next row: Purl

Starting with a Knit row, stocking stitch a further 6 rows, ending with a purl.  Cast off.

FOR THE EYES (make two):

Using your cream yarn and 3 mm needles, Cast on 57 stitches

First row: Purl

Second Row: K2, *k1, Slip stitch back onto the left needle and carry over the next 8 stitches, of the needle, YON twice, knit the original stitch again, K2*. Repeat the starred section until end of row.

Third Row: K1, *p2 together, drop loop of 2 YON stitches and k1, p1*. Repeat until the last stitch, k1.

Cut a length of the working yarn and, using a tapestry needle, thread it back through the stitches and release.  Tie two yarn ends together to make a ‘flower’ shape and secure.

FOR THE BEAK:

Using your cream yarn again, cast on 12 stitches.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Purl

Row 3, Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning and end of the row

Row 4 Purl

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have 2 stitches remaining – thread yarn through stitches, break yarn and sew in end.

TO MAKE UP:

Sew all the ends of your main warmer-body in and, place two little brown yarn loops about 2 cm from an end.  Sew securely into place, using yarn.  Match up the two sides of your press studs and sew on each end of your main body.  I always find measuring by hand and eye much easier than using ACTUAL measurements! But then again I am a crafting renegade….

For the eyes, place your cream knitted shapes and large buttons in the middle of the body.  Using thread and needle  that will fit through your button holes, sew securely into place.  You can also tack a few discreet stitches through the cream shape too, to hold in place, before you attach the buttons.

Finally, place the large end of your cream beak in between and slightly underneath the eyes, stitch into place along the top line.

BUT WAIT! There is, in fact, more.  As a special thank you for tuning into my new venture and for the support my lovely readers have shown me since I started my new blog, I’ve handmade another Oscar The Owl to GIVE AWAY to one lucky Frugally Peachy reader!  So what are you waiting for?  Your tea is getting cold…..

How to enter….

There are a number of ways you can enter the giveaway – each way that you choose to enter will be counted as 1 entry, in other words, you do all three? You get three entries in the bag! The giveaway will run until Sunday 2nd February – and I will pick a winner using the age-old tradition of names in a hat! The winner will be announced on Monday 3rd February – so make sure you tune into my blog! Good Luck!

1. Please leave me a comment at the end of this post and your name will be entered into the giveaway.

2. Share this post on Twitter, tagging @LivePeachy and using the hashtag #OscarOwlGiveaway and your name will be entered into the giveaway.

3. Give my Facebook page a like and leave me a comment on my Oscar The Owl Picture and your name will be entered into the giveaway!

Good Luck everyone – Oscar’s waiting to meet you!

IMG_20140129_152618

Frugally Beautiful: The Body Shop’s Satsuma Beautifying Oil

satsuma 1Before I start, I should probably say I’m not really much of a beauty blogger.  I’ll leave that to the lovely professionals who tirelessly blog their hauls and their product trials.  I’m not one.  Because I’m boring and have had more or less the same make-up routine for the last 13 years.  My eye-liner flicks change depending on my mood, or if I’ve listened to much metal that week.  I wear red lipstick.  When I don’t wear red I wear a shade of purple.  I use a hot-cloth cleanser, I’m not brand-loyal but I love Benefit packaging.  There you have it.  But…on the hunt for frugal and beautiful bargains, I couldn’t not write about my latest frugal find!

Well over a year ago, a customer of mine in my old job and old life, very kindly gave me a £10 voucher for The Body Shop, as I had retrieved a lost phone for her.  So here I am, a whole probable 400 days later, willing and eager to spend that cash!

When I think of The Body Shop, I think of school.  I think of the Vanilla and White Musk miniatures you were always given at Christmas (nobody liked White Musk very much), not to mention the most pointless product of all time;  Clear Mascara.  I can almost hear it now, ‘I hope I don’t get told off for wearing make-up, I’ve got my clear mascara on’.  Chances are, young Emma of the past, you’ll not get found out!

In all honesty, it had been a while since I stepped inside a Body Shop branch, I’ve kept their body butters in business most Christmasses through my twenties, but it had been a while since I’d peroused their ever-growing collection.  I do, however, rate their dedication to not testing their products on animals and I do, now, rate their customer service.

satsuma 3I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for, when I found this Beautifying Oil, which comes in a range of light and lovely fragrances.  I went with Satsuma – always wanting to hold on to the Winter by hook or by crook.  Or by conjuring fragrant memories of seasonal fruits, it seems.  For £9 (or a voucher – for me), you get 100ml of a lovely scent, a non-greasy dry oil that can be used as a hair conditioner or a face and body moisturiser, applied to either wet or dry skin.

The versatility of the product really grabbed me, first off – I’m not one for shelves of potions and lotions but could this oil really cancel out the need for conditioner AND moisturiser?  The best was yet to come…

Not only can you apply this to every part of your fabulous self, the very helpful assistant suggested mixing a tiny bit of the oil with some soft brown sugar, to create your own body scrub.  In effect, for £9 – you get 3 for the price of one.

As a product, I really enjoyed using this oil, it is both softening and illuminating, which disappears within minutes, leaving your skin feeling supple and light.  I use it more at night than day – as daytime doesn’t always agree with the amount of time I have, from shower to leaving the house, for it to not mess up my make-up.  Nearly 4 weeks into owning it, the bottle is still 95% full – you really only need a tiny amount as it is so pliable and soft on your skin.  As a hair conditioner, I use it on the ends to cover up the splits  moisten the dryness and it really works for me.  I’m not one to over-condition (thankfully) so again, just a little pea sized amount covers the areas I need it to and I tend to use it about every three or four days

satsuma 2

As a scrub, I loved mixing up a mini pot of this and keeping it handy for any pesky dry patches that oft appear in the harsh winter months.  I love the fragrance and the lightness of the oil itself, but especially LOVE the weight of it on my wallet!

If you’re looking for an easy, non-irritating product that leaves you feeling naturally moisturised and illuminated, I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a bargain – £9 for this bottle goes a long way!  Looking at savings – I’ve saved a further £4.50 (approx) on conditioner, £7 on a (decent) facial scrub and £6.50 on a moisturising night cream.  With all that gumph totalling £18, that’s a tremendous saving of £9 on an item.  Looks like The Body Shop have moved on from the days of White Musk Miniatures…they are topping my Frugally Beautiful list!  Do you have any frugal beauty tips?  Or any brands you are loyal to?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay Peachy x

 

The Frugal Kitchen: Apple Pie…In A Jar

make it in a jarQuite a while ago, the lovely folk at Parragon Publishing sent me a fabulous book to review, called ‘Make It In a Jar’.  Recently, there has been something of a trend in concocting both sweet and savoury recipes in jars – I’ve been ogling some of the jar-based creations, from the cake businesses I follow on Instagram and I have been quite eager to try something for myself. 

The book itself is a gem – loads of gorgeous recipes, from pizzas to cookies, sponges to salads and cakes to themed-food inspiration for all year round.  Just flicking through the lovely images, I was inspired to immediately plan a dinner party – with Jarred starters, mains and desserts, tipped off with cocktails in Jars and embellished with Jar chandeliers.  Go hard or go home, I say.

Failing that dream, I opted to make a simple Apple Pie in a Jar – only substituting the shop-bought short-crust pastry for home-made, I’ve popped the recipe below for you.  Apple Pie is a such a delicious, warming antidote to the cold winter storms we are dealing with right now – what a perfect way to start my baking year!

I didn’t possess the right tempered jar, as featured in the book, but I have become a hoarder of regular jam jars, which are heat treated, so decided to use these for my creation; rather than purchasing new ones – which worked perfectly though (alongside the owning the fastest oven of all time) sped cooking time up by about 20 mins.

apple pie collageI started by making my shortcrust pastry – just like mum makes!

Ingredients:

125 g Plain Flour

30g Salted Butter (room temperature)

30g Lard (cubed)

Approximately 4 tbsps Cold Water

Method: Simply place the flour in a bowl with the butter and lard and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs – all lumps of butter and lard should be rubbed through.  Then slowly add the cold water by tablespoon, to the mixture and mix to bind the mixture together.  In a ball, place the pastry dough in some clingfilm and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before using.

After the pastry was prepared, the apple mixture was easy enough to mix together – simply using 2 large cooking apples that I had lying around, a pinch of brown sugar, a little granulated sugar, some nutmeg, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon juice, I followed the recipe to create a wintry, fragrant apple mix.  I then used cutters to make pastry bases and tops for each jar, filled the jars with mix (being careful to seal the pastry bases in place), put the tops on and placed in a loaf tin on the middle shelf for 15 minutes on 220C.  I then switched the oven down to 190C for a further recommended 35-40 minutes – though my jars were done in about 20 minutes more on the lower temperature.

I really enjoyed making these little apple pies, the filling was a deliciously, spicy take on a classic apple pie recipe, whilst the frugal nature of the dessert really worked too – it was made entirely from ingredients I had lying around the kitchen cupboards.  Not only that, the book itself has given me lots of ideas for gifts – gorgeous food, beautifully presented in jars, who could ask for anything more?  Even the use of non-regulation jars didn’t seem to matter too much – I think if I was to pick another recipe from ‘Make It In a Jar’, I would want to try something aesthetically challenging – the Rainbow Cake for example!  Overall though, the recipe gets a thumbs up from me, and I suggest my friends and family make way for some jar-shaped goodness coming their way in the future!

apple pie 2

Everyone’s Talking About #CraftBlogClub

Knitting1If you’ve had a little snoop around my blog, you’ll be aware that I run a Twitter networking chat on Tuesday evenings called #CraftBlogClub.  I launched the chat back in September 2013.  I wanted to start branching out and learning new creative skills and I felt a lot of other craft bloggers wanted to be part of the same support network.  Craft Bloggers are a particularly special bunch of bloggers – we never stop dreaming up new ideas and we want to be continually challenged.  We already havethe delights of Lifestyle Blogging chats, that we can join in and the wonderful #HandmadeHour, for promoting your handmade businesses; but I was struggling to find a networking hour for us crafty blogger types.  So, with a little cajoling from the lovely Amanda over at Gift Frippery, I decided to launch #CraftBlogClub on a Tuesday evening, with no idea who, if anyone, would join in.  To my surprise, we had about twenty bloggers join in our initial chat and most of them are still going strong with us today!

Fast forward to January 2014, #CraftBlogClub has come such a long way – I’ve set up its own Twitter page, to help with the busy-ness of each week’s chat (I often suffer from RSI with the amount of Favouriting and RT-ing) and we seem to be a lovely, growing community, with new members joining each week.  We had some great successes with the challenges we set last year – over 20 people took part in our Secret Santa challenge.  We are launching our next challenge at the beginning of February and I have a great ‘Spring-Clean’ themed challenge in mind as we head to warmer weather – I love people joining in the challenge and it’s a great way of trying new craft methods too – if you fancy it!

A while back I set up a Pinterest page for #CraftBlogClub also, if you want to join in and start pinning some inspiration, I would love to invite you – just give me a follow!  As if that’s not enough social media platforms for you, we now have a Facebook group!  I primarily use this to keep in contact when we aren’t running the hour, it’s great for swapshops, asking questions and promoting your blog posts and crafty WIPs…why not come and join us?

I still run between 1 and 2 chats a month, but have enlisted the help of three lovely co-hosts will be helping each month too!  We aim to make each week’s chat different and interesting – last night the lovely Hayley from Showered With Love hosted a really interesting chat about the pros and cons of WordPress vs Blogger, whilst we kicked off the year TRENDING on Twitter, chatting about craft catch ups and resolutions and last week we talked tips for crafting on a budget – what with the January blues and all that!  I no longer do a weekly write up, but I am still aiming to do a monthly post detailing our challenge and some of the highlights of the month’s chat!

If you have a craft blog, enjoy reading craft blogs or are just plain crafty, why not come and join in our chats on Twitter every Tuesday?  We run the chats between 7-8.30pm, just give @CraftBlogClub a follow on Twitter and use the #CraftBlogClub hashtag to join in.  If you’re really keen – Pinterest and Facebook are also waiting for you!! We’re a very friendly, inspiring bunch and we love nothing more than talking all things CRAFT!  I look forward to meeting you soon…..

Stay Peachy x

How To Be….A Low-Key, Gin-Guzzling Fabulous Host

gin 1gin 3

I know we are all sick and tired of Happy New Year’s BUT, today I thought I would share a little recipe and a bit of my Frugal New Year with you!

It is my strong belief that New Year tends to be something of an anti-climax for anything that’s overplanned.  I’ve done the pub crawls, house parties and over-priced nights out; this year we wanted low-key and channel flicking with Jools Holland.  This sort of half-nod to celebrating any kind of event cannot be argued with; good food, good drink, good company, good…God is it really 2014???

The key to a Frugally Fabulous celebration is, really, the company.  A fancy bar or club is only as good as the people in it and, trust me, I’ve had some great nights and some really awful ones.  Luckily for me, my best chum BFA, lives about four minutes away from us, so the three of us traipsed over for an American Diner-inspired evening with sparkling cocktails, homemade burgers and a homemade sign – my little ode to the sexiest best programme on TV; True Blood.

new year collage

Using authentic sesame-seeded baps (6 for 99p), lean mince and ‘plastic cheese'; we made gorgeous farm-assured lean beef burgers served with a little salad, a little relish AND traditional curly fries (£1.50 for 2KG bag).  Mr J had his with some of the leftover Christmas wine, BFA knocked back a few ciders and Daisy, bless her, slept through the entire evening!  I chose to try some gin cocktails – it had been a while since I’d indulged in a gin and tonic and I wanted to make something tasty, but not so tasty I would forget my parental duties and wobble off to the nearest nightclub, demanding Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Might Real) on loop.  The result was sweet, tasty and trickled down the throat just nicely, smooth as Jools’ Jazz jams themselves!  Topped off by serving in old, recycled jam jars with a little zesty orange and sugar frosting decoration, they are bound to please the cocktail-drinkers among your guests.  So, if you’re thinking of hosting a little something similar, here’s the recipe…

Ingredients (To make 4 Tall Jam Jars)

Approximately 4-8 shots of Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire – on offer at the time for £20 – and believe me, as a mother of a young child in practical hibernation, this is a going to go a looooonnnggg way)!

2 Litres of Tonic OR Basics Sparkling Water (approximately 39p for 2 Litre bottle)

4 Oranges

2 long Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (plus extra for stirrers – any extras are great for flavouring that Hangover Roast)

4 tbsps Sugar

Method: In a saucepan, over a medium heat, bring about 500ml of water to simmering with the sugar – this creates the syrup.  Once the sugar has completely dissolved into the water, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, using a squeezer, squeeze the juice of the oranges into the saucepan and add the skin to infuse with the syrup.  Add your sprigs of rosemary and leave until the mixture has cooled.  Strain orange peel and rosemary before adding to the serving jars.

Once the syrup is cooled completely, fill 4 jam jars or glasses with ice to about a third full and pop your shots of gin in each jar.  Equally add your syrup and top up with sparkling water/tonic water accordingly.

Et Voila! Serve with Rosemary Sprig Stirrers and Orange Peel decoration, smudge a little bit of sugar around the top of each jar for a sweet hit.  Do kick back, do do a little bit of stupid dancing to Lady Gaga’s Telephone, do enjoy watching other, more drunk people failing at Guitar Hero and do enjoy your Low-Key, Sparkly, American-Diner-Shoehorned-Themed Low-Key celebration!

gin 2

Stay Peachy x

 

De-Fusing The Yarn Bomb!

bootees 2At the start of the year, Mr J and I decided to have a huge clearout of our house, top to bottom.  New Year certainly has that effect on you – we are both so busy with work and projects, not to mention lovely Little D thrown into the mix; our home can sometimes become a whirlwind of clutter, paper and all sorts.

It was the most therapeutic thing I had done in a long time, I felt cleansed and ready to hit 2014 with a bang.  But, mostly, I was shocked at how much of a fabric and yarn hoarder I had secretly become.  My craft space – which doubles up as the front dining room, was overrun with colours and patterns, some of which I couldn’t even remember buying.

So I made it one of my ‘Frugal Resolutions’, to try use up the remnants of my yarn and fabric stash, where possible, before purchasing new bits and pieces to work with.  And what better way to welcome in a new year, than with welcoming in a new little person?

I have used knitting patterns from Val Pierce before, they are great for quick knitting projects and her book of Baby Knits, which a good friend sent me when I was pregnant, is full of gorgeous projects for little ones.  Knitting is my absolute favourite craft; my Nan taught me the basics when I was very young and, in the past few years, I’ve tried new stitches and patterns and actually managed to create some lovely little pieces.  So when the aforementioned friend gave birth herself in December, I couldn’t resist making these little keepsake bootees to celebrate the arrival of her son.

bootees 3bootees 1Having not knitted a bootee shape before – I was surprised at how easy the pattern was, working mostly with garter stitch and needle turns, to create a really sweet keepsake for my friend’s baby.  When I was expecting D, I didn’t have a lot of time to knit everything I wanted to for her, but I was so grateful for all the lovely handknitted cardigans and bootees we were given and I’ve kept them all!  These make great memories as anyone who has had a child will know, they really do grow up so fast!  And best of all……I used materials that I ALREADY HAD!  The Cream yarn was a lovely baby-soft knit I used to knit a blanket for Daisy, when she was born.  The ribbon was from a reel I found lurking at the bottom of one of my many bags and the little cat buttons were an impulse eBay purchase from several months ago. 

I packaged these up in a lovely box we were given, when I gave birth to D, made a little card for the recipients and sent them on their way to their new home.  Living in Nottingham now, and hailing from the South West – migrating through a little bit of mad London for a time – I have a whole heap of far-away friends who mean the world to me.  I just wish I could see them more.  Hopefully my little gift will be one that my friend will treasure and will remind her that she’s not far from my mind, but I can’t wait to meet the little man himself soon!

Stay Peachy x

Inspiration….Frugal Resolutions

Daisy Park autumn leaves

The Frugally Fabulous Year, despite the appearance of the ‘F’ Word, is not just about saving money.  I’ll be popping my budgeting malarkey advice, frugally fabulous recipes and ‘wardrobe versus wants’ comparisons in, for good measure, but my decision to take on this challenge comes from a place of questioning ethics and psychology in our consumerist nature and the companies from which we consume.  What was once a challenge about clothing, has become a whole heap of politics about whether or not I can spend a voucher in John Lewis in 2014.  Which got me to thinking…how am I going to go about making 2014 The Frugally Fabulous Year?  It’s an exciting yet difficult task in hand and I want to make sure I complete it to the best of my ability…here’s how I plan to do it!

Mirror 2THE BIG FRUGALLY FABULOUS RULES

1. My challenge involves buying for JUST ME and not other members of my family!  As much as I dream of the day I possess the skills to make a whole miniature wardrobe for Daisy, the truth is, she grows and needs things all the time – the Frugally Fabulous Year is about me and my attitude to my wardrobe!  I will however, be attempting some tiny-person sized crafting projects and I will be looking to source her wardrobe from ethically sound companies too.

2. Aside from the making projects I am setting myself; I aim to purchase 100% of clothing in 2014 from second-hand sources such as vintage and charity shops as well as good old eBay.  I am NOT ALLOWED to buy new clothing from high street stores.

3. The above does, however, not apply to underwear and tights – two absolute staples in any fabulous lady’s wardrobe.  I will, however, aim to purchase with a frugal mindset and from a responsible and ethical source.

4. Whilst I am not specifically not spending on beauty and cosmetic products, I aim to research and explore ethically-sound beauty companies that work for my skin and work for my wallet – where they can.  By the end of 2014 I would like at least 70% of my cosmetic products to be organic and ethical (which may well be the case now)!  The same applies to homeware.

5. Throughout my year, I aim to bring exciting and creative projects to brighten up my wardrobe, home, garden, kitchen and general lifestyle; that are easy on the pocket, reflect my taste and personality and are challenging in the craft department.  I aim to resource frugally fabulous, if not free, materials where I can and learn also to work with what I’ve got.

6. The biggest mountain to overcome is learning to use the sewing machine PROPERLY.  Not to mention using up my Yarn and Fabric Stashes – of which I solemnly promise to use PRIOR to buying new bits and pieces.  Where I can.  Honest.

7. Gifts do not count.

8. Wardrobes vs Wants will be a huge part of my blog – once I am able to fit into most of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe that is.  As an ex-employee of the fashion industry, I have a vested interest in trends, clothing and beautiful things.  The challenge is to try and emulate this through my existing wardrobe (I’m lucky enough to have a lot of clothes I wouldn’t be able to afford now) and my botched creations.

And what do I get if I manage to complete my challenge? Well…one or two of the following will occur, I’m sure

1. I will be immediately whisked off and awarded a Nobel Prize for services to being both Frugal AND undeniably Fabulous.

2. I will be able to treat myself to one, expensive, lovely thing that has been on my wishlist all year.

3. I will have learnt how to be even more creative in my lifestyle, will want to continue learning and so Frugally Peachy will live on.

4. We will put the money we have saved into the ‘Sweden’ pot, to fulfil our dream of a family roadtrip around Sweden.

5. On aforementioned trip, I will meet Alexander Skarsgard, will refuse to return to the UK and will, instead, set up home in Sweden running a hand-knitted gnome shop.

One of them…definitely.

I think that’s about all I can do to pick apart my challenge, so it really is all GO!  Are you planning to follow The Frugally Fabulous Year?  What rules are you setting for yourself?  What do you think you’ll struggle with the most?  As ever, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Stay Peachy x

Hello January: New Year, Frugal You??

heart pieWelcome!  You made it here!  I know, I know, I’ve been talking about this little project for quite some time and, well, HERE IT IS!  Frugally Peachy, ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Life is Peachy’ is live, up and running and eager to get started!

I hope you enjoyed waving a fond farewell to 2013, the year that was and that you are nestling in well to 2014.  The question is; will you accept my challenge?  Why not make 2014 a Frugally Fabulous Year!

I suppose, for those who aren’t familiar with my previous blog, I should give a little introduction.  I’m Emma ‘Peachy’ Berry, a Freelance Writer, Avid Crafter, Vintage Hoarder, Undiscovered Author, Not-So-Secret Goth, Practically Professional Mixer of Genres, Barbara Good Wannabe and Rock and Roll Mama to Daisy May – who is almost One Year Old.  I currently reside in Nottingham, though I’m a Southerner at heart, with my beau Mr Jeffery.  Last year, I started to chart my search to find the ‘you’ in ‘Mummy’, on my blog Life is Peachy.  I wrote about pretty much anything that I was passionate about – from fashion to recipes, crafts to promoting the work of some wonderful small businesses.  I maintain a strong belief in not losing your identity once you have a little one to chase after and, for the most part, I think I remained true to my word.  Nearly one year on and you will still find me freshly eye-linered, shoehorning listens of inappropriate metal at any given opportunity and generally doing all the things I was vehemently told I wouldn’t do anymore!

Wardrobe 2

A Frugally Fabulous Year…

In October 2013, I launched my idea of a year-long challenge, The Frugally Fabulous Year.  The challenge was to go a whole 365 days without shopping for clothes in a high street store.  Why?  Well, aside from undertaking a huge lifestyle change in the form of becoming a ‘work-at-home mum’, not to mention my own acquired vintage-inspired taste in clothes; the way in which we shop as a society had really begun to bother me.  It still bothers me.  It bothers me that mass global conglomerates still use sweatshops to produce second-rate, fast fashion and that employees are forced to work in terrible, often dangerous conditions for little more than a few pence per item.  It bothers me that landfills are gradually overflowing with the aforementioned, discarded fast-fashion (easily bought, even more easily discarded) and that we, in the UK continue to spend like there is no tomorrow with little or no thought to where our clothes come from, how they are made and how sustainable our way of life really is.  Call me crazy, but I decided to opt out of the mass market.  Not wanting to relinquish my sense of style though (I once had a pile of Vogues nearly as tall as me), I decided I wanted to find my own way to keep it that way.  The response was wonderful, I was overwhelmed by how many people were encouraged to try the same thing, I was eager to start advancing my own craftiness by learning to dress-make and dreaming up wonderful tutorials.

Setting the challenge made me feel really great – until the stench of mass-consumerism began to rear its ugly head in every crevice of my life – my kitchen, my bathroom, my child and more.  So I got to thinking, if I was going to sack off consumerism in my wardrobe, why not try depleting it altogether?  I didn’t think the concept was hard; I hate shopping, I hate looking like anyone else, I bargain-hunt as much as I can, I have a passion for learning new crafts, I pretty much cook all our meals from scratch and I refuse to be sucked in by the explosion of the ‘kiddy-food’ industry – parenting is hard enough, without feeling chastised for feeding your child fresh, carefully-prepped ‘normal’ food, that doesn’t ooze out of bright packaging, labelled with gawking animated characters.  So, somewhere between knitting my butt off for Christmas and welcoming 2014; the seedlings of Frugally Peachy began to sprout.

Here’s the cold, hard truth; we have become a society of emotional shoppers, who place sole value on what we have and not who we are.  Here’s my cold, hard response; FUCK THAT.  Not that I’m planning to get all carbon-footprinted, eco warrior over this; but I know I’m not alone in my thinking.  My blogging path has crossed with like-minded others, who are interested in this project, whether it’s environmental, ethical, financial, sociological or otherwise.  I figured other people would want to read about my journey, so I decided it was time to migrate my blog over to something shiny, new and exciting.

So here it is, Frugally Peachy; the blog that charts my journey into the world of all things frugally fabulous.  Expect Crafting (lots), Lifestyle, Home-making and Upcycling Projects (more than you can shake a stick at), Recipes (lots), Tutorials and a little bit of the psycho-analysis stuff along the way.  I hope to provide a little bit of inspiration and a whole heap of handmade goodness.  I hope not to throw my sewing machine out the window and, most of all, I hope you’ll join me in finding your own frugally fabulous feet!  Here’s to creating a fabulous life, with a handmade pricetag!

Stay Peachy x