Category Archives: Frugally Mummy

Hello July, Hello 30!

neo 1So, July arrived in a haze of hot days, long nights and a whole load of Nazi research.  How’s it panning out for you so far?  It isn’t long until the stretch of Summer Holidays is upon excited school children.  Then again, neither is it long before I kiss my 20s goodbye.

It is today in fact!  Hello 30…my, you’re looking rather appealing and exciting!

The last ten years seem to have gone by in quite a blur.  Well, actually, not really.  I’ve lived in three cities, had several jobs, climbed my way up the corporate fashion ladder – only to jump off at the top, in a desperate attempt to escape!  I’ve had wonderful trips abroad, made some lifelong friendships with some amazing people, had some great experiences, loved, lost and learnt all about love, in the form of having my little lady!

meanddaisyI was lucky to spend last weekend with one of my closest friends, Lucy, who came to see me from London – we had some drinks out with other friends and a good old catch up, plus a lift in a VW Transporter – which was an entirely new experience for me.  Today, I’m sticking to the usual routine of singing group followed by a Birthday lunch with my extra special Mum Mafia.  Tonight it’s all about catching up at The Gladstone and TOMORROW, I’m getting my dancing (or indeed just ability-to-stand) heels on for the Most Ugly Child EP launch, with support from one of my favourite local musicians, Ryan Thomas.  30 ain’t looking too bad at all!

Birthdays always make you reflect on the last year, or ten years.  To think, this time, 10 years ago, I was finishing off a degree in Dance, bothering the DJs at Reflex for playing enough Duran Duran for my Birthday, not sure where I was headed and I was sporting an interesting choppy hairdo that changed between blonder than blonde and browner than brown!

To be honest, I don’t know if I am where I ever thought I’d be at 30 – ‘op North’, single mama with a penchant for DIY and Elvis.  Then again do we ever know what we really want?  So, before I get all too deep and meaningful, I thought I’d share some of the things I feel really proud of, in my 30 whole years on this planet.

1. I guess it goes without saying that I’m proud of my little girl.  She’s a joy to be with everyday and the absolutely best daughter you could ask for.

2. I’m proud to be a perpetual dream chaser.  I’ve never wanted to live a linear life, I like the life I have.  I can only hope to fulfil some of my bigger ambitions in the next decade too, but I’m proud to be motivating myself to make in-roads.

IMG_20131012_220858

3. I’m proud to be strong and absolute in doing what’s right for me and my family.  There is a strength that only comes from going through hell – learning to embrace it is so important.

4. I’m proud of my ‘how hard can it be’ attitude.  Without that, I don’t think there would be a blog, a #craftblogclub, a patchwork chair or even a working relationship with a sewing machine.

5. I’m proud of my Mum, who taught me how to do everything, I can only hope to be the same level of awesome for Daisy.

6. I’m proud to have lived in London, it was bloody hard and bloody expensive.  But, after two and a half years, I miss that old place so much and I’m sorry I didn’t take care of us a little more, old girl!

7. I’m proud to be unique – it makes comparing yourself to others a LOT easier!

8. I’m proud to be a non-consumer and I’m proud of my little blog, wherever it may take me next.

9. I’m proud of my endless ability and patience to apply eyeliner every day!

10. I’m proud to have such wonderful friends and family around me, who support whatever I do – it means a lot and I’m eternally grateful to you!

OK…I’m leaving it there for today, I’m off to sing my heart out with Little D and welcome in the mystical thirties with the most yummy traybake I’ve EVER baked!  See you on the other side

thirtyStay Peachy x

 

Living In a Material World And I WAS A Material Girl….

Jelly KittenI’m writing this post just as the week from hell is about to close.  Hell as in my kind of hell, no deaths, destruction (of sorts) or even power cuts.  This was the week the shit decided to fly at the fan.  We’ve had lost toys, replacement toys lost, courier mix-ups, new dining tables not delivered, paying through the nose for further deliveries, rude tweeple and learning how NOT to promote ANYTHING you EVER do on TWITTER.  If I had the world’s biggest hood, I would happily wrap myself up in it and hibernate until at least September.

Whilst I’m not expecting a call from the Red Cross ‘Peachy Aid – Dining Table Crisis Fund’ anytime soon, it has certainly been one of the first weeks in a very long time, that I have moped.  And boy, have I moped long and hard.  What started with a lost bunny rabbit in town, became a fiasco in which I felt physically cheated out of £7.50 by an anonymous playgroup bully.

I don’t often write about Little D on this blog.  But I will say this – for all of the 15 months she has been alive on this planet, she has been a total joy.  She is a happy, lovely little girl who shrugs her shoulders like my Great Grandmother did and waves at invisible people in my kitchen.  She’s well behaved, funny and going on about 12 already.  So, when one of her beloved Jelly Cat Bunnies finally took a tumble into the lost world of town, I wanted to treat her to a replacement.  The replacement, to my surprise, was an even smaller Jelly Cat kitten that she appeared to fall in love with whilst I was faffing about with a magenta bunny in the shop.  At £7.50, he was a bargain compared to his Jelly Cat posh friends, so we bought him, took him home and for three glorious days, he didn’t leave D’s side.

Thursday morning came and went with the usual chaos of singing group and the laughably named ‘Carnage’ ‘Chill Out’ playgroup session, that I barely recognised the absence of ‘Little Kitten’, until we were halfway out the door and D was halfway to Nod Land.  A few firm promises from the (it should be said ‘very helpful’) volunteers from playgroup later, I returned home with a snoring child and a seething attitude.

It wasn’t until later that I actually started thinking about what value I had placed on this little ball of synthetic fluff.  More to the point, who was I really upset for?  I mean, sure, Jelly Kitten filled a fluffy void for a bit, he wasn’t cheap, but the little girl he belonged to didn’t seem to have a care in the world.  I was being materialistic.Jelly Kitten Book  Perhaps Jelly Kitten hadn’t indeed fallen into the hands of a playgroup terror, or been prised from D’s unsuspecting baby-grasp by a big bully three times her size.  Perhaps he was found abandoned on the floor, discarded for lunch or something new to play with, by a lovely little girl who thought she could offer him a new and loving home.  Either way, we are talking about D, a baby whose favourite toy to cuddle up with, is a battered, old cuddly cow who can be seen photobombing pictures of MY birth in 1984.  Buying a replacement stuffed kitten didn’t make her any happier, or even more aware of the sad passing of Little Bun.  She awoke later that day, completely unphased by the whole thing, ready to face an afternoon of pretending to read old Ladybird books, trying to grab at remote controls and other things she generally isn’t allowed near and singing along with those dreadful Pajanimals; ‘I could learn a lot from this child,’ I thought, as she collapsed in a heap of laughter, whilst trying to talk through a toilet roll.

And I think I’m right.  The more that time passes on this Frugally Fabulous Year, the more I am really learning about what I place my value on and just how it affects me.  Long gone are the days of replacement clothing and shopping sprees to fill the void.  I needed to learn that if I was willing to risk £7.50 in the first place then I had to be willing to let it go.  Peachy, thought I, you are failing at this bloody task, steering clear of the High Street is one thing, teaching your daughter all manner of pinning value on a teeny stuff animal just because he was NEW, is NOT!

So, there was no replacement toy mark II (though I’m still hopeful of finding Jelly Kitten amongst all the other old, stained playgroup toy boxes next week).  Instead, I took D out to the back garden and watched her gleefully water her shoes the plants and pull out all subsequent plant labels.  And you know what?  That memory will absolutely last a lifetime, no £7.50 cost incurred!

Jelly Kitten GardenStay Peachy x

#Project34 – Sensory Toys for Busy Baby Hands

daisy and box#Project34 Week 3 – Sensory Shape Sorter

Time Taken – About 20 minutes – on a borderline hangover, absolutely Reznor-ized!

A little catch up needed here…the end of May came and went in the blink of an eye and I got so busy planning and starting my project for the next #craftblogclub challenge, I’ve barely had time to get behind the sewing machine and knock up another project for #project34.  I have, however, been busy putting a few bits together for Little Miss D and her busy little hands.

At fifteen months, Miss D is developing the most intrigued and clever character; like her peers she has been busy forming words, interacting and learning more about the world around her.  She loves puzzles, books and generally a lot of other things she isn’t allowed to have – so I started collecting odd bits and pieces to make sensory toys that will keep her busy and learning too.  And mostly, out of the kitchen cupboards.

So, one sunny Sunday, armed with little more than a very tired half-a-brain, some polkadot wrapping paper, an old cardboard box that once housed my new iron and about 50,000 plastic balls to fill D’s paddling pool, I made this easy shape sorter.

boxUsing a thick craft knife to punch three adequate sized holes in the sides of the cardboard box.  I covered the box in wrapping paper – not necessary but it does make it look very pretty – and filled the box with about 8 plastic balls.  Then, I watched the fun commence!

It’s funny how something so simple can entertain a child – When she’s a little more aware of the ‘sorting’ part, I might highlight each hole with different colours to match the coloured balls.  But, simply put, this very quick make is ideal for frugal entertaining on a rainy day!

#Project34 Week 4 – Fabric and Felt House Puzzle

Time Taken – About an hour – with plenty of Elvis on Spotify and tea by the bucketload

finished houseSo, not being content with just cutting up a cardboard box, I wanted to do something colourful for D with this mountain of primary colour felt I had left over in my stash.  I’ll be honest, bright yellow isn’t usually my go-to choice for felt projects – but when it comes to baby sensory projects, you can’t go wrong with the original and best!

felt mountainUsing a square of black canvas, I cut and sewed some leftover red polkadot fabric to it, to create a base. sewing I then cut a very simple yellow square for the house template, a red roof, a brown door and some green windows.  I used a black fabric pen to decorate the windows etc simply.

I bought a stash of sticky velcro from my local DIY store, costing a total of £2, cut to small sizes and placed on the back of each piece of the house puzzle.  I used one in each corner for the house and two for the roof – enough to ensure each piece sits securely. It was then probably best to leave the velcro to adjust to its surroundings for a couple of hours (or stitch it, if you have the inclination) – sadly my velcro was pulled about within seconds BUT it has held fast!

I absolutely love this idea and I’d love to make more for Miss D.  They can be rolled up and packed in the bag for the little ones during boring lunches out and they are a great way of using up those last few felt bits that just don’t work with your projects!

velcro stripsdaisy and house

So, I guess I’m pretty pleased with these two ideas – do you have any sensory toys that your little one loves to use?

Stay Peachy x

 

Hello May!

Buttercups

May indeed….I’d still like to know what happened to April!  One minute, I was clearing away the paper plates from Miss D’s BIG 1, then suddenly I blink and the sun is warmer, the days are longer and we are fast approaching the half way mark for my Frugally Fabulous Year!

I seem to still be a little sporadic with posts at the moment.  I have every intention of getting there, please bear with me!  I guess, at the moment, I don’t feel as if I have much to say.  I’m still not spending – other than in cheap DIY stores and a tad on eBay – I’ve been vaguely creative in the kitchen, but everything has been overshadowed with adjusting to a new routine.  I feel a bit silly saying that, about twenty minutes ago I watched the most inspiring interview with Michelle Knight, one of the women held captive by Ariel Castro for over a decade, which really puts my minor niggles in my, otherwise lovely, new life in total perspective.  If you get a chance, and if you can handle some slightly difficult content, I would definitely recommend watching it – the strength and spirit of that woman is just out of this world.

So…what have I been up to for the duration?  Well, I’ve been busy prepping a few bits for my new brand, slowly adjusting to a new routine and I’ve been making little plans for big changes to my house!  On Tuesday, I took the plunge and painted a red feature wall in my bedroom.  Having always been drawn to the gothic – I figured a fresh coat of deep red and some lush new bedding from a local soft furnishings shop in Sherwood, would help to reclaim my space.  I’ve just won some fab curtains on eBay too and can’t wait to show you more of my handy work around the home.

new bedroomAnyway, as usual, May is shaping up to be busy busy with lots of exciting bits to look forward to!  This month, I’m hoping to get a little more in-depth about my second-hand wardrobe and I’ve been back in the kitchen conjuring up a few recipes – both frugal with a healthy focus – everyone’s a winner!

With all these recent changes, my own crafty mojo seems to have hit the fan recently.  I’ve had barely enough time to do all the bits and pieces I need to – I’m a little late joining in with MeMadeMay, so I’ve decided to take back a little bit of control and launch my own #Project34 on the blog.  To celebrate the last 34 weeks of my Frugally Fabulous Year – not that I have any plans to return to the High Street – and to continue to challenge myself in the crafting arena, each week I will be taking on one personal craft/DIY project and posting about my progress with it.  I figure, with the unexpected winds of change 2014 has brought my way, I can be forgiven for not being able to stitch a dress together right now, but it doesn’t mean my handmade lifestyle isn’t important to me.  So, with #Project34, each project could be as big or small as I see fit – something for the home, the wardrobe or even just getting on with a bit of overdue painting.  I think when you start crafting for a living, you need to take the time to enjoy it for yourself as well – so I aim to wow you with my handmade goodness over the coming months!  Look for for my first #Project34 post coming this weekend…here’s a little teaser for now!

cross stitchIf you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen a couple of subtle updates about my new brand The Gothic Librarian – a handcrafted brand that I’m launching in June.  After much deliberation, time-management planning and to-ing and fro-ing, I’ve decided to go ahead and start making literature and culture-inspired things to sell! gothic librarian I’m pretty excited about it, I’ll be telling you a little more about the premise of The Gothic Librarian in the coming weeks, but I’ll be running a blog alongside it to partly showcase some of my fiction writing – I do hope you’ll give us a follow and like what I come up with!

The end of May also sees our next Midlands Blogger Meet – this time in Birmingham, with a focus on beauty.  Kelly and I are busy behind the scenes putting together something spectacular for our attendees – we will be emailing everyone on our attendees list soon, but if you want to come along please do drop me an email at missemmaberry@gmail.com – the more the merrier!

#midsblogmeet Brum

With all this excitement, I can hardly forget to mention that in 16 days, I am going to see NINE INCH NAILS!  The one band I’ve loved for half my life, who I have never seen! I really can’t wait to go – I can feel the 16 year old me fighting swiftly to the surface, I’m just gutted I threw out my DMs and stripy tights!  I’m sure I’ll be insta-spamming the heck out of my evening!

I think that’s about it from me, for now, I best go get scheduling, planning and stitching away!  Wishing you all the very happiest of Mays…

Me piercedStay Peachy x

Winners…and Little Steps

2014 listWell, as expected my blog has taken an unintentional break – I do hope you’re all still out there reading my drivel!  I intend to keep posting as often as possible, but, in light of recent events, I’ve come to the conclusion that setting myself little, weekly goals, is the key to both inevitable world literature domination AND getting through the next few months and the inevitable changes to our family.

Things are grand, really, since my ‘Conscious Uncoupling’.  Last week I ventured out to see one of my favourite local blues acts (hell, I’ve missed going out),  I’ve had the headspace to contemplate quite a bit and get my head down (hence the lack of posts), I’ve had some phenomenal support from friends and family and little D has adjusted really well to our new set-up.  There has been a lot of picture hanging, test-pot painting and LOADS of list-making – but not all blog-worthy at the moment!

Sometimes these little goals are all you need to kickstart things again though, I have two steaming, unfinished manuscripts to work on AND I’ve taken up an obsession with trying needle-felting.  I’m looking forward to a week in sleepy Somerset to catch up with my family and put a few more plans in action – home improvements, handmade gifts and, of course, our #CraftBlogClub challenges at the end of the month!  For now….I have a few WIPs, I shall share a little more later in the week!

hanging heart 1Today, I mostly wanted to announce the winners of my handmade giveaway for Mother’s Day.  It was lovely to see pictures of some of the Hanging Hearts my lovely readers made for Mother’s Day – my Mum loved hers and I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the tutorial!  Well, as promised, I have TWO knitted hearts to give away and the winners are….

ELLIE AINDOW and SARAH CLARKE!

Please drop me an email with your addresses and I’ll get your hearts shipped out in the next few days!  Congratulations!

Well I guess that’s about it for now – wishing you all a Happy Hump Day and I look forward to catching up with some of my favourite blogs (one of those little goals) and showing you my needle felting progress soon!

Stay Peachy x

Have you checked out my blog sale?  I’m having a clearout and there are loads of bargains to be had – check out the page HERE

 

Frugally Mummy: The Cost of a Child

joy jarWhen Daisy hit a year old, I started to get questioned a lot about whether or not I was planning to have more children.  A natural assumption I guess, that I would, at some point, want to think about extending the family.  It’s often something I talk about with the Mum Mafia – and with recent events at Peachy HQ, I can’t help but think about the financial investment any child you bring into the world becomes.

Recently, I was sent an interesting report from LVE Insurance, who had put together a detailed analysis of how much a child is likely to cost – from birth, right through to University.  The results are staggering – an average cost of a child until the age of 21 is almost £228,000!  And what’s even more scary?  It seems to be growing every year!  the report is available here for you to feast your eyes on – costs have been averaged, explained and even mapped across different parts of the country.  In my Midlands dwellngs, it appears Miss D may well cost me £223,388 over the next 20 years which, if you consider the costs of University fees, school uniforms, trips and childcare, spread over the years, seems a fair amount – averaging £30 per day.  So imagine if that number was doubled or tripled with more than one child?  Do we all bank on just one of our children wanting to go to Uni?  How do we even begin to save for a secure future for our children, a future that offers the very best of choices for them?  Luckily for me, I’m not really a fan of averages – and I pride myself on not falling between the lines of average in pretty much any walk of life!  Rather than worry Miss D’s childhood away whittling about uncapped tuition fees, I prefer to be proactive with what little we have, in order to save for our future.

Babies are expensive, so they say – just a glance at the report details areas of expense such as furniture and hobbies, that I believe can provide real areas of financial growth – with a bit of creative thinking (what else would I be suggesting?!) and bargain hunting!  I can’t really comment on the school years or readying funds whilst your eldest is busy filling out their UCAS applications; but I can tell you that you CAN save during that first, tempestuous year of becoming a parent…here are my top tips to get saving for your child’s future during their first year.

1. Save a Little, Whenever You Can

You know that age-old saying, ‘Look After The Pennies And The Pounds Look After Themselves?’  I’ve come to learn there is a whole lot of truth to this and never more prevalent than when you’re adjusting to a new financial setting, with a new baby.

At the end of last month, I introduced a ‘Joy Jar’ into my home; a little jar of shrapnel, loose change and little bits I’d saved from our weekly budget, to act as a physical reminder of what we CAN save when we put our minds to it!   Well, month one brought us a fabulous £16 – saved without even thinking about it and ready to be put towards something special at the end of the year.  If you can’t put huge chunks of money aside each month, something like a Joy Jar serves as a great way to start saving just a little, whenever you can – no added pressure from direct debits and a great way to save for the future.

Daisy window2. Give Yourself A Regular Financial Overhaul

The most boring, but essential tip of all!  Nobody likes sitting down with spreadsheets and calculators – well nobody I know anyway, but in order to start saving in a year in which you have to adapt so readily to a new way of life, you need to know where every precious penny is going and how you can be continually making your money work for you.  I’m no Martin Lewis, but I like to sit down at least once a month and work out what I’m spending, where I’m spending it and how I can spend less – easily done for someone who is doing a year without the High Streets – but even food shopping can be made a little cheaper if you take the convenience out of it.

Equally, if you have a little debt to pay off, make sure you are taking the time, each month, to work out how much you have already paid off and what’s left to go – this can be so motivational to see how much of a dent you might have made already and can even encourage a bit of extra ‘thrift’ in your purse habits to get things paid off a little quicker!

I’m not suggesting you make best friends with your Excel program (unless you want to), but regular financial checks will help to keep you on top of your money management and will work better for you long-term.

3. New Parent?  Check Out What’s On Offer For You

As much as I detest the amount of junk mail that comes sailing through my letterbox on a weekly basis, as a new parent who (probably) sleepily signed up to Bounty and all sorts, whilst doing their rounds on the Maternity Wards, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to sift through and take advantage of some of the great deals that are on offer to you.

I’m not talking sale shopping here (I’m living without the High Street – it would be wrong of me to endorse that), but it’s worth tapping into the great Parenting events that are on offer at Supermarkets, which often offer fantastic deals on every day essentials – not to mention local events such as Tabletop and Jumble sales, which may really help stock up on clothing and toys, for a fraction of the full cost.

4. Thrifting and Sharing = Caring (For Your Bank Balance)

If you’re a regular reader of Frugally Peachy, you’ll know that I’m all about leading a creative and thrifty lifestyle – no High Street shopping, a unique approach to the word ‘savvy’ and I try to post as much handmade and homemade inspiration for your family, your home, your meal times and your own lifestyle as I can muster.  Being of the creative ilk has its benefits, but even if you’re not cut from that cloth, there are plenty of places you can look to save money when buying for your home and for your baby.

Whilst ‘kiddy consumerism’ denotes and displays the latest ‘must-have items’, simply checking your nearest computer for Gumtree and eBay can knock off huge amounts of money for life-saving instruments, such as the classic Jumperoo.  I’ve been very lucky to be given some fantastic traditional toys for Miss D that need little more than a quick wash and brush up with soapy water, before they are returned to their former glory.  Ultimately, D also doesn’t care where they come from, or how many children have loved and used them before – she sleeps with a stuffed cow that is visible in early photos of my birth, after all!  Aside from the over-loved, bare-furred cuddly toys of old, most ‘must-have’ toys are something of a short term novelty for any child during their first year – is it really worth piling hundreds into something that’s likely to be kicked around (by you – probably) for two months before it heads off to the great toy cemetery to rest in nearly-new, wasteful peace?

5. Curb Your Coffee Enthusiasm

Getting coffee has become something of a second nature in modern society and, truth be told, there is nothing better than sipping a piping hot, creamy Chai Latte on a Sunday stroll.  But, if you are looking to save money – this is one of the simplest ways to start.  Say no to the endless coffee dates – tempting as they may be and invest in a decent Thermos!

Back in my previous life in London, I confess to indulging in at least three Skinny White Mochas per week – that worked out to be a WHOPPING £33 a month I was shelling out for the comfort of a milky drink on a cold (or warm) day.  I decided to test the psychology of ‘getting coffee’, by purchasing a thermos flask and bringing my own drink to work.  Such a simple trick not only worked in the short term, but has served to save me almost £400 over a year – when you add up the annual cost, is it a habit really worth keeping?

6. Invest In a Little Second-Hand Karma

Just before D’s Birthday – I had a big sort out of old clothes that I had accumulated over the past year.  A whole 3 small cases later, I am about to invest in some second-hand karma with blog sales, eBay loving and a bit of charity thrown in too.

Aside from a few unfortunate items of clothing, children rarely over-use their clothes in the first year of life.  For 6 months they are almost immobile and for the other 6, you are trying to fathom how and where you managed to grow a wardrobe the size of the Theatre Royal’s costume department for your tiny child.  As a great believer in second-hand karma; what you put into the second-hand world, you will get back, threefold, I am constantly checking our local charity shops for bargains and projects for me, D and our home – why not sift through the teeny tiny baby clothes you’ve been clinging on to and get funding your little one’s next size wardrobe?  Better still, sift out your old maternity wear and make way for some fab eBay purchases for yourself!

wardrobe 3

So there we have it, not rocket science and clearly not avoiding some of the unavoidable costs of raising a young child.  But hopefully these tips are a great way to start managing your money differently and thinking about how you will fund the next twenty years – providing a little chink in that £228,000 you’ll be needing handy in future!

Stay Peachy x

 

Frugally Mummy: Knitted Hanging Heart Tutorial & GIVEAWAY!

 

Hanging heart 3Mother’s Day has always been a wonderful excuse to do something special for my Mum.  We have never been a family who are all about the big spending and days like this are nice to mark with little gestures, to show my Mum how special she is!

This year is also my first Mother’s days as a Mum (D arrived 2 weeks late and Mother’s Day fell right bang inbetween her due date and birth date) – so it’s a very poignant one and I’m kinda sad I won’t be able to spend it with my own Mum!  So I thought I’d get to work knitting up something special to send her.  Check out this wonderful knitted hanging heart, a simple design made from basic stocking stitch and decorated with one of the many many daisy buttons I have lying around the house!  I popped mine in the post with a little box of cheeky chocolates for my Mum…but if you’ve yet to get a present or want to try something homemade for your Mum, why not give my tutorial a go?  You will need about 2-2/12 hours to complete and you can use ANY YARN AND ANY DECORATION!

However, if you’re sorted for presents, keep on scrolling, because I’ve decided to do another HANDMADE GIVEAWAY for you all – see below for details on how to win your own heart!

You Will Need:

1 Ball of DK yarn (I used some Supersoft DK in Cream that I had lying around)

4mm Knitting Needles

Toy Stuffing

1 piece red felt (you will need a small circle)

1 decorative button

Method:

Using 4mm needles, cast on 2 stitches

First Row: K one, P one

Row 2: Increase into each stitch (4 sts)

Row 3: Purl to end

Row 4: Increase first stitch, k to last stitch, increase last stitch (6 sts)

Row 5: Purl to end

Repeat rows 4 and 5 until you have 18 sts

Next Row: k 9 stitches, turn and purl to end.

Next Row: k2together, knit to last 2 stitches and k2together.

Next Row: Purl

Repeat these two rows until you have three stitches remaining.  Without following a purl row, cast off the three stitches.

Rejoin your yarn and repeat the second section on the other side to create your heart shape.

Once completed, repeat this process to make your second side.

Hanging heart 2To Join Together

Place the right sides of your heart together, on top of each other and stitch around.  When you reach the ‘v’ shape of your heart, Take a long piece of matching yarn and stitch into place in a loop – this will be the loop from which your heart hangs!

Be sure to leave a big enough hole and pull the heart shape through to face the ‘right way’.  Then stuff the heart shape with toy stuffing.  Stitch up hole.

Using a small circular template – such as a coin, cut out a small red piece of felt and place your decorative button on the top.  Using a small needle and thread, secure onto the heart through the button holes and stitch into place.

Package up as a lovely Mother’s Day gift!

Do you want to win your very own heart??  Well it couldn’t be more simple!  To be in with a chance of winning, simply follow these steps to have your name entered into the hat.  Each step counts as ONE ENTRY – so you have THREE opportunities to win!  I have decided to make up another 2 HEARTS to giveaway to 2 LUCKY readers!

1. Share this post on Twitter, be sure to tag me (@LivePeachy) and use the hashtag #peachyhangingheart.

2. Nip over to my Facebook page and give it a ‘Like’ – make sure you leave a comment on the picture of the heart, to make sure you are entered.

3. Comment at the bottom of this blog post to be entered!

The giveaway will run until Sunday 6th April and I shall announce the winners on Wednesday 9th April!  Well what are you waiting for?? There’s a heart waiting to hang in your house, courtesy of Frugally Peachy!!

Good Luck!  Love to the Mothers and BIG LOVE to mine! x

hanging heart 1

 

 

Book Review: ‘Harvest’ by Jim Crace

HarvestAs an aspiring author and addicted reader, I always JUMP at the chance to read new books.  Reading, in my opinion, is not only a great frugal past time – I have shelves upon shelves of charity shop wonders – I love the knowledge and imagination that comes with reading a wide variety of books – so naturally I jumped at the chance to review ‘Harvest’ by Jim Crace, for the Mumsnet Bloggers Network.

Set in an unfamiliar time, Harvest is told over a 7 day period and charts the unravelling of a small English Hamlet through the eyes of protagonist Walter Thirsk.  Cue intrigue, accusations of witchcraft and a hunt to find the perpetrators of a devastating fire.

Having been unfamiliar with Crace’s work prior to reading ‘Harvest’, I was instantly drawn in by his poetic writing and attention to detail.  Each step of Walter’s journey is told in vivid colours and imagination, no stone is left unturned as we learn about the characters, relationships, heresay and deeds that make up what becomes a rich tapestry of story and a great slice of writing.  The story, though only stretching out over a short period of time, moves sporadically through visions and dreams, whilst flitting between past and present tense.  For me, as someone who toys about with writing in the present tense all the time, Harvest was a perfect example of this executed perfectly.  As the reader, you are thrown straight into the action alongside Walter in the most crucial plot points.  Equally, his bumbling narration is something of a relief when dealing with the atrocities and horrors suffered in the village.

At the time of writing this, I hadn’t quite finished reading ‘Harvest’.  Having been drawn in by the ‘whodunit’ plotline, eager to know more about the timeless village in which the story was set and learn more about the ghostly character of Mistress Beldame, the strange woman presumably at the centre of the strange goings-ons.  The sense of the overbearing paranormal puts an interesting spin on this otherwise historical novel, focusing on a community of people with no modern understanding of life, powerless to the mercy of nature.

Whilst I think the prose is unique, beautiful and intriguing, ‘Harvest’ certainly doesn’t read like a linear plot and the reader is often left gasping at the end of each chapter.  I expect many twists and turns before Walter’s fate and the fate of those around him is finally revealed.  It is, perhaps, not something I would normally pick up but I have been so pleasantly surprised with the unique way in which Crace handles his characters and I would recommend ‘Harvest’ to any fan of reading pure and beautiful prose.

 

Frugally Beautiful: A Letter to my Daughter

frugally beauty 1 Dear Miss Daisy,

This month you have turned a whole One Year Old!  How time flies!  You’ve grown so much, from a tiny little smidge of a person to a lovely, funny and inquisitive little girl.  You love toy rabbits, you love organising things, you’re becoming quite a bookworm and I’m so glad, you seem to be becoming quite the little Elvis fan!

Recently, you’ve taken to watching my morning make-up ritual; something I used to love doing when you slept a little longer in the mornings.  You’re still so little, but I often wonder what you think – why the eye flicks?  Why the eyebrows?  There are people who think I over-do it, now I’m a Mum.  But this little ritual goes way way back before you were even a twinkle in my eye and, whilst we are bombarded with images of ‘beauty’ every day in our media (Christ only knows how it will be when you grow up), my image partially serves to teach you a strong message.  Image IS important, but not in the way you might think.

I believe that you should look at yourself in the mirror, every day, and see a representation of the person YOU want to be.  If that’s made-up, dressed down, fashion-addict, goth, sports-luxe, following the trend, bucking the trend – whatever it is, OWN it.  Far too often, in life, we look for justification in the opinions of others; ‘likes’ on social media, attention in an unknown place, the promise of notice from a brave stranger. The world, as we know it now, is a million miles away from what it was when I was growing up.  Everywhere, the message seems to be about being beautiful – ‘DREAM this, BEST EVER that’ – striving to be better, on the outside.  Don’t believe the hype.  Stars and models are airbrushed and made-up to inconceivable levels; the lines between the real and fantasy world grow ever more blurred.  These dream products don’t make you happy, they don’t complete you in any way.  What these people should really be teaching is how to have a happy heart and a healthy soul.

frugally beauty 2I wonder if you’ll remember Mummy took a lot of pride in her appearance.  If I have my way, I’ll be an embarrassingly cool old woman who will still be rocking a full fringe and a wing-ed eye well into my nineties.  It’s taken me a decade to get there but I’m happy with who I am.  I’ve learnt that the outer shell is just another layer guarding my little onion soul, and it’s your soul that needs to be nurtured the most.  The people in your life; friends, family, future relationships, who will want to peel away at those layers, will be the ones worth taking with you on your journey. 

The truth is, I don’t always like the little lumps and bumps, the dark circles, the telltale signs of long nights and early mornings.  But I do like how my body will always bear the scars of you.  I like how comfortable I am starting to feel in my own skin and how much I feel I can achieve in my new life, with you.  I’m not afraid to stand out, to dress-up like every day has a special occasion waiting for me.  Your image IS important because it should only ever say this; ‘I Answer to Nobody, I am Strong in Who I Am, What I Do and Where I Am Going.  I Will Never Be Anyone Else and I’m OK With That.’ 

DREAM BIG, seek out your deepest desires and go forth in the world to get them.  Let your outer shell bear the scars of all that you fight and conquer and never be ashamed to walk your own path.  Listen without judgement, laugh whenever you can and love without consequence.  Live the BEST-EVER life for you, not for anyone else and, most of all, learn to never compare yourself to a bunch of warped pixels that are just trying to sell you something.  

And if you can live your life, with or without make-up, without justification or agenda, with a happy and fulfilled soul, then you will have learnt one of the greatest and toughest lessons of all.

Lots of Love x

frugally beauty 3

Happy 1st Birthday Daisy May!

Wow….365 whole days on this planet!  I can hardly believe my little babe turns 1 TODAY!  And what a very special year it’s been – watching this little one grow!

I’m not hanging around the blogosphere today – there is tea and cake to be had and a couple of rather special presents to open!  Tomorrow, we are taking a wonderful family trip to White Post Farm to celebrate with both the Grandparents!  It’s business as usual next week – but I can’t miss this one for the world!

My Handmade Present

My Handmade Present

But I wanted to wish my very special little girl the happiest of 1st Birthdays!  Thank you for crashing into our lives and for making me very proud!

Love you very much

Mummy xx

Daisy Birthday Collage