Category Archives: Reflections

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

 

Reflections: Six Months In….

love financesWell, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface of creating a ‘homemade life’ and I’ve just realised I’m six months in to my Frugally Fabulous Year already.  And what a year it has been!

This month has really been a time to reflect on the past six months and, amongst all the list-making, I do feel that I’m starting to re-evaluate my goals for this year and make some long term plans for me and D, my career, our house (mostly patchworking) and our future,

With that, comes the ever-present need to continue watching, monitoring and (hopefully) growing our finances.  So what exactly is it that I’m ‘saving’ on this year??  I think I gotta get serious with the ‘nitty gritty’ side of being frugally fabulous – when I write about my ‘previous London life’, it seems almost a million years ago.  All that Starbucks-guzzling, Whistles-wardrobe-stuffing and band-chasing seems lost in the midst of time, babies and DIY-obsessing.  So how do I really know HOW to save on what I’ve already cut back?  So, six months in, I gave myself a little financial refresh – here’s what I’m doing…

BE METICULOUS – OFTEN

It seems like the most BORING job in the world, but someone has to do it.  And until you can afford an accountant to balance your incomings and outgoings, it needs to be YOU.  At the moment, I am finding it easiest to manage my finances on a fortnightly basis.  Every two weeks, I painstakingly go through my bills to stay on top of my finances.  YAWNSVILLE, I know BUT – at this point in the year I have paid off 75% of my overall debt, so it’s gotta be worth doing, right?

joy jarREMEMBER YOUR JOY JAR!

I had this Joy Jar idea back along – a little jar (beautifully decorated with lace, it was) for all the money you save each month (no matter how little).  Despite my retirement from High Street shopping, I’m still a great believer in treating yourself to something off the wishlist.  So, whatever the dream, keep your joy jar brimming with whatever you manage to save and that necklace, vintage dress or holiday will seem that little bit closer!

GIVE YOUR HOUSEHOLD BILLS A SPRING CLEAN

With my break up, came all the necessary paperwork, bills transfers and a new consetina file to stuff it all in.  BUT, it was also a great opportunity to give my bills a bit of an overhaul and I managed to lower my electricity and gas bill by £12 a month – based on current meter readings and usage over the past 6 months.  What’s more?  My electricity and gas company of choice, also recommend a re-check every 3 months so, to get the best out of your bills, take advantage of this regular overhaul.

LITTLE LISTS…LITTLE LIFESAVERS

List-making is a way of life for me! Shopping lists save time and idle wandering, meal planning saves precious time with Miss D and a little extra cash in the bank (not to mention space in the wastebin) and even wishlists give you a, sort of, focus.  Lists provide the limits that we need, sometimes BUT they are, in themselves, limitless.  Starting small, I’m in the process of setting myself daily, weekly and monthly goals and so on and so forth.  These aren’t all financial, it has to be said, but does put the four quarters of life into a stark (and often exciting) reality.

receipt reflectionsAnd FINALLY…THE BEST EBAY BUYS ARE SEASONS AHEAD

If there’s one thing to take from years in fashion retail, as discussed with my equally fabulous friend this week, who is busy scaling the dizzy heights of Liberty these days, it’s that you possess the unequalled ability to shop SEASONS AHEAD!  Once a fashion retail muggle, you will forever be shopping the trends rather than what’s just hitting the shops…so how does this save money?  Well, whatever your shopping style, you’re bound to find the best out-of-season bargains exactly then, out of season.  If you’re serious about bargain hunting in the wardrobe department, why not take a little bit of Pinterest and Vogue around with you and keep your eyes open for winter coats in the heat of Summer and Summer skirts in the January sales.  My mind is already turning to customising one of my favourite winter capes and just how I could integrate some Bradshaw-inspired dusk pink into my blacker than black wardrobe!

Do you feel the need for a little financial overhaul?  What tips do you have for penny pinching?

IMG_20140604_164025Stay Peachy x

 

 

 

Reflections: Exhausted Workers and ‘Vintage’ Overuse

Wardrobe 1Last night, I decided to opt for some quiet time and recorded the new programme ‘This Old Thing'; in which the ever-wonderful Dawn O’Porter tried to convince fashion and High Street lovers that Vintage is the way forward.  I had some great feedback about the programme from friends and visitors to my FB page, so great that, in fact, I thought there was just too much media fodder NOT to talk about the art of vintage/secondhand shopping.

In truth, has there ever been more of a prevalent time to shop second hand and source your clothes from somewhere other than the High Street, than now?  I’m not talking economic downturns, I’m talking about the shocking story in the media this week about the Primark shopper who found this rather sobering label in her recent purchase, presumably written by a despairing over-worked employee in one of their sweatshops, or a bunch of guerrilla crafty-minded activists. 6213002-large Sadly, this isn’t the only case like this that has been reported, yet Primark and its other fast-fashion conglomerates continue to rake in profits like no tomorrow whilst shoppers give little or no thought to how or why their beautiful, affordable clothing really are SO cheap.  Everything, no matter which way you look at it, or what side of the world you are fortunate to live on, comes at a price.

After catching up with ‘This Old Thing’, some of the attitudes of not-easily-persuaded shoppers feel almost alien to me, as someone who revels in rummaging through charity shops and thrives on the adrenalin of eBay bids.  I’ve said it plenty before on this blog and I’ll say it again, for all its fast fixes – I don’t miss the High Street at all.  But it does lead me to question, is a love of vintage and secondhand really innate, does it grow with your own personal style?  Or can it be taught?

Firstly, like some of my Facebook Peachy People, I’m not sure I like the word ‘Vintage’ being banded around as often as it is.  It is, after all, mostly a euphemism for ‘second hand’, just as ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ was a euphemism for ‘hardly anything on your freakin’ plate’.  My love of vintage stems from my desire to not look like anyone else and the freedom a mix and match wardrobe of good quality pieces from all the very best decades can bring you.  I’m in love with fashion in the same way that Coco Chanel was, I love how clothes can accentuate your personality and make you feel.  I’m not a follower of trends, I like to think I look comfortable in my own skin and I like to feel unique, that has been a lifelong desire of mine.

I don’t think about whose bodies my clothes have previously encapsulated my ‘vintage’ finds, a common concern for the guests on Dawn O’s show.  I have a washing machine after all.  I really do enjoy the process of rummaging through the bits and bobs, as I know many people do.  I like the feeling of authenticity in my pieces, I love the stories and tales that could be hidden, pressed into each thread, I like that my wardrobe is a mish mash of one-offs and  quirky tastes.  It is a more rewarding hobby, in my opinion, to find your own fashion in the treasures of people’s pasts than in the racks of monotony.  But that’s just me.

Becoming a lover of vintage secondhand, in favour of all things High Street, is not a learned behaviour, I don’t think.  I think one has to feel connected to the past, long to relive decades gone by, to find their own sense of personal style in everything that has, sort of, been already.  Yes, you can do the ‘Mad Men’ trend, for as long as H&M stocks that shape, but a love of real secondhand fashion takes dedication, focus and a little bit of disappointment, sometimes.  Which simply isn’t for everyone.

But, with all this news of hidden labels and cries for help, can we really afford to be so in love with fast fashion anymore?  With news that H&M has a sweatshop running in the UK, the problems faced by these exploited workers – all in aid of all things ‘affordable’ – are even closer to home than we like to imagine.  So, with that in mind, I’d like to fly the flag for all things vintage, secondhand and even me-made, safe in the knowledge that I won’t be finding any hidden labels in my clothes anytime soon.

Are you following a Frugally Fabulous Year?  Fancy doing it?  Keep it here for more handy tips on life without the High Street!

meStay Peachy x

 

Hello June!

mainThis is it…my Frugally Fabulous Year is hitting the halfway mark – and WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN SO FAR!  I guess, like everyone, there have been some great bits and some not so great bits!  But I’m really excited to see what the rest of the year brings…

May: The Month That Was…

So that was May – a month of accent walls, true colours, larking back to my teenage years, wanting to be Mrs Emma Reznor all over again, the world’s biggest knitting needles, DIY Gardening, lovely bloggers, big changes and exciting developments!  I often find myself holed up making big plans and half-starting them, May was definitely a month for that as well!

I got back into the reading flow this month too – I’ve set myself a challenge over on Goodreads to read 20 books by the end of the year (not including such avid titles as ‘The Little Go-To-Sleep Book’, ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ and ‘That’s Not My Fairy’) – which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can be difficult to squeeze some time in for relaxing and reading – but it remains one of my most favourite ways to wind down!  Anyway, May saw me complete my 6th and 7th titles this year:

booksThe World According To Bob by James Bowen: Having had the pleasure of meeting this loveable and unlikely duo, I was really excited to follow more of Streetcat Bob and James’ journey from Big Issue sellers to stars in their own right.  A heartwarming tale of hope, survival and the most incredible journey for a most unlikely pairing.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Zafon is, without a doubt, a huge influence as an author.  His poetic writing and magical stories are second to none.  The Prince of Mist was his first published novel, written for a YA audience.  Zipping through this in just a few days, I found the gritty and fantastical story of Max and his adventures that lead him to the grimacing and frightening Prince of Mist.  Moody, atmospheric with a tale of innocence and love interwoven in the reams of fright, this is a must-read.

Currently Reading: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran: Hilarious, poignant in places and a most unglamorous interpretation of a seemingly glamorous career – Moran keeps it real, whilst keeping it hysterical!

I’m definitely feeling as if the blogging mojo is returning a little, after a slumpy period, I’ve started making plans and even getting more creative!  I launched my #Project34 last month – an opportunity to get back some creative time and start making bits and pieces for myself and the home.  Check out my mini tutorials for the Novice Drawstring Bag and Rustic Garden Tealight Holders, not to mention my Cross Stitch Poetry.  Not only that, I embarked on a little secret project/challenge that I’ll be able to share more of later this month!

I also got to grips with some advertising space on the blog – if you fancy being one of my ‘beautiful people’ check out my sponsor page and get in touch!

And to top off a fantastic month, we had another amazing turnout for our latest #MidsBlogMeet.  What started off as a conversation between the wonderful Kelly from To Become Mum and I, has led to us organising and hosting two fabulous meet-ups with some wonderful bloggers from around the Midlands.  Our latest was a beauty-focused meet which took place in Birmingham, read all about it tomorrow.  A huge thank you to everyone who came along and to our lovely speakers Jo and Suzie for their informative and wonderful talks!

May: The Month That Was….Instagrammed

I’ve been keeping myself so busy lately, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll be aware that I was on a NIN-countdown for most of the month (my absolute favourites) and, let’s just say they didn’t disappoint!  Totally worth the 15 year wait to see T-Rez live!  So, with that in mind, I thought I’d take my favourite Insta-pics from the last month and let them speak for themselves!  If you’re on Instagram – be sure to give me a follow!meanddaisy

leanoradrzhivagomeladybirdninttingT-rezSo…June?

Well, this month I’m in full swing with making and shaking for the wardrobe and the home.  Plus, I’m very excited to share with you that I am going to be part of White Tree Fabric’s Blog Team.  Keep your eyes peeled for more posts and info about this coming up – but I’m excited to be working with them and I’ll have my first White Tree Fabric Post coming shortly!

Not only that – a new month can only mean one thing, a new #CraftBlogClub challenge! All will be revealed TOMORROW EVENING!

That aside, I’ve been getting stuck into some interesting articles, falling back in love with my sewing machine (though I think she needs a name…) and getting more creative on a tiny budget.  Fancy it?  Then be sure to give us a follow on Bloglovin to be kept up to date with all the latest Frugally Peachy news!

I’m also planning to take a break in July to complete #PeachysWritingMarathon, and I’m still looking for a couple of guest posts – fancy it?  Give me an email at missemmaberry@gmail.com with your ideas!

I think that’s about it for now folkies – as ever thank you for reading, let’s smash the hell out of June, shall we??!

Stay Peachy x

Writer’s Tag: What Am I Working On?

It isn’t often I take part in tagged posts – but I was really pleased to be tagged by the oh so talented Icy Sedgwick – who is enviably talented as both a writer and crafter – to talk about what I’m working on!

Here’s the thing, I’m a little ‘cards close to the chest’ about my work; only the very closest people to me know much about my fiction work BUT, as I am intending to take an extended blog break in July, to work some serious magic on my novel, I thought I’d divulge a little bit!  So thank you Icy for the tag….here we go!

berlin 1Source

1. What Am I Working On?

Well, I’m still mostly working on feeling comfortable in calling myself a ‘writer’, but I have had a half-draft stashed away since my London days, based on a story that I am simply compelled to write.  It’s a piece of historical fiction, set in 1930s Berlin, 1933 to be exact, a story of love and tragedy set against the backdrop of the Nazi uprising.  A huge task in hand, I know, but it’s just something that needs to be written!  The most I’ve ever shown anyone is the first page, read out to my old writer’s club in London – it’s become The Precious to my Gollum – which really needs to change!

2. How Does My Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?

This is such a subjective question to answer at the moment as I’m the only one who has read any of it.  I am toying with writing on a multiple character platform, which is going to be challenging but, I feel, could also be the best way of telling the story.  I love reading stories that take the readers one step deeper, I think it would be exciting to read three perspectives, whilst getting to grips with each character’s motives.  I want my readers to really see all sides of each character, the good and the bad.

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?

I’m often asked this, but I can only really say ‘I Write Because I Can’t Not’.  I love everything that I do in the creative spectrum whether it’s crafting, baking, DIY-ing, but nothing quite centres me as writing does, I believe it is what I was born to do.

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

You’ll be unsurprised to hear that I have a renegade approach to writing.  I don’t tend to write in any particular order.  When I have an idea, I tend to write in a random order, depending on what I’m inspired to write and then fit around it.

With my ‘Big Novel’, I had a brainstorming wall up in my flat in London with lots of images and quotes – it was a great way of piecing bits together and I’m tempted to try and put one up in this house too, the constant visual reminder kept me going!

Well that’s about all I can part with right now! My new brand The Gothic Librarian, will hopefully be a chance for me to showcase some of my fiction writing – so if you’re interested, keep it here for more info coming soon!

Other than that – I hope to catch you on a book tour one day! 😉

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

What exactly MAKES the World’s Most Ethical Company??

Recently, Swedish brand H&M was awarded a ‘2014’s Most Ethical Company’ award.  I was surprised to hear this, especially since it came just a short while after yet another factory fire, in which H&M’s name was implicated.  So I decided to go a little further and research what, exactly, has made them the ‘Most Ethical’ Company this year?

If you have read my blog from its conception, you will be aware that one of the reasons I decided to sack off the High Street at the start of the year, was down to my sheer frustration with the inethical way in which High Street shops churn out low-quality clothing; whilst their factory workers are forced to work in dangerous conditions for, quite frankly, pittance.  It has long been an issue of mine and is something I wanted to raise here on Frugally Peachy, particularly with all the ‘hauls’ I often read on other blogs.  It has long grated on me that brands such as Primark can win ‘High Street Retailer of the Year’ awards, yet turn a blind eye to the plight of their Bangladeshi workers who have suffered at the hands of poor health and safety in one of their factories (that we know of).  Which is why I had to question the criteria behind H&M’s latest award because, whilst on the surface it may appear our favourite go to for vibrant print tunics and cute, washable, kids’ clothes is, in fact, ticking all our ethical boxes – the truth really isn’t that simple!

H&M have always stood me in great stead and, whilst I don’t shop there for myself during the Frugally Fabulous Year, it has always been my one stop shop for Daisy’s bits.  Why?  Aside from having really cute collections, I find H&M’s kids’ stuff is wearable and washes up really well.  It is one of the few brands whose clothes have stood the test of time (‘time’ being 3 or 6 months) and have still emerged, wash after wash, looking half decent after Daisy’s constant crawling, scraping and spilling.  Not only that, their cotton quality is organic in many cases and superior to other clothing brands AND everything is reasonably priced.  What’s not to love?  Then you hear about the factory business that has been, unsurprisingly, brushed under the carpet and it comes as a harsh reminder that us lucky folks who dwell in the Western world, really know nothing of HOW our clothes come to be so reasonable without compromising on quality.

H&M’s recent award for being ethically sound, has been awarded courtesy of Ethisphere, a research institute with a focus on ethical best practice and anti-corruption policies; supposedly there to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of compliance, best practice and ethical verification.  Excellent.  Or so you may think.

When it comes to the Most Ethical award, Ethisphere award in several categories – from Chemicals to Banking, Retail to Food – companies that show best practice against the criteria set by the institute, are awarded for their efforts.  What surprised me at first, was that H&M was right up there in the retail sector…with GAP??

This led me straight to the criteria and scoring section of Ethisphere’s website – I mean, you’d have to be living in a cave not to know the hot water GAP found themselves in over their use of sweatshops.  And it was here, I found the very reason for why this award didn’t ‘sit quite right’ with me – throughout Ethisphere’s criteria, there was absolutely no consideration of the manufacturing process or labour, why not check for yourself here!

The truth, in fact, is that the page contains most of the jargon I’ve had to sit through during my 13 year unintentional retail career; practices, phrases and talks of compliance are sort of shoved on a page without really answering any questions.  I bored myself starting to type up my take on the existing criteria, so I figured you can read it at your leisure, carefully mapped out in nonsense for you!  So I guess, after all that, brands like H&M and GAP are sourcing organic cotton, a process which makes them more ethically viable than their cheaper counterparts.  World’s Most Ethical Companies?  Bullshit, I say.

In my opinion, an ethical company deserving of this award, would be one that could quite confidently map the journey of the clothes you purchase from them, from design process to shop, without the use of David Brent-style business speak to cover up a whole load of ‘necessary’ evils in the modern world.  I feel somewhat deceived at H&M winning this award, thought confident in the quality of their cotton, admittedly!  So why do I care?  Ultimately, this isn’t a post written to judge the shopping habits of anyone else, it just doesn’t sit right with me that we, here in the UK, wouldn’t get out of bed for 7p an hour, neither would we work our fingers to the bone, in dangerous conditions, because we had no choice but to do so – at the risk of losing their livelihood.  So why are we expecting other countries to do it for us?  Simply put, exploitation in the fashion industry exists, even though we can’t directly see or feel it.

It is often argued, in my circle of friends, that ‘everywhere’ uses sweatshops and, if you can’t beat them, then join them.  Taking on this challenge has, so far, proven to be more difficult as the year has gone on.  But news like this has made me even more determined to not hand over my money to companies, that are simply ignoring the plight of sweatshop workers – two wrongs don’t make a right, in my mind.  You can argue that disused Primark and H&M garments line the charity and secondhand shops that I’ve come to rely on during my Frugally Fabulous Year, not to mention the virtual shopping aisles of eBay and you’d be 100% right.  But at least, sacking off the High Street for my own wardrobe, I’m confident that my money isn’t going directly to fund brands that use sweatshops, a thoroughly unethical process in our modern world, in my opinion.

What do you think?  Do you think sweatshops are a problem?  Would you like to see more of this type of post on Frugally Peachy?

Thanks for taking the time to read this – your thoughts and opinions really do mean a lot!

 

Hello April!

hackney aprilSo it’s the 4th already – I do apologise for the lateness but HAPPY APRIL ONE AND ALL!  May the first few days of spring and the lack of need for heating be treating you well!

I’ve been pretty busy behind the scenes, dealing with the nitty gritty of my break-up and now I’m focusing on some really exciting projects – both for this blog and more – so watch this space for more info coming in the next few months!  I can have something of a tempestuous relationship with blogging – recently I feel as if I’ve just been posting a whole load of ‘life’ stuff and that’s not what Frugally Peachy is all about, so I intend to get my creative mojo back as soon as humanly possible!

Whilst I coined March as ‘Making Memories March’, I had no idea just how many memories I’d be making – I am so grateful for the wonderful messages of support I’ve had from everyone, so I’d like to say another very heartfelt thank you!  Not one to dwell on things, I want to continue to promote positivity, creativity and the ‘art of not shopping’ through this blog.  In many ways I’m quite comfortable in my new role as a Lone-Wolf Mama (romantic, no?) as my Mum too was Lone-Wolf for much of my childhood and teen years.  I’m starting to see the other side of direct-debit swapping and all sorts now, and I’m pretty optmistic about what the future holds for me and Miss D!

As much as March was tough, it was probably the hardest month NOT to shop that I’ve had so far.  My wardrobe was feeling lacklustre, so I injected a bit of eBay and handmade goodness into it; plus I’ve surpassed the urge to go and ‘shop my cares away’ whilst rearranging every corner of my house!  I have, however, been making a few plans to reclaim my home space and update with a bit of typically Peachy decor – resulting posts to follow I’m sure – and if you know anyone who could do a lifesize mural of Alexander Skarsgard on my fireplace wall, I’d be very appreciative!  I’m kidding!  Or am I…..

April has seen some lovely warm weather and I’m sure we are all feeling the pinch with Summer Wardrobe Specials popping up left, right and centre.  I’m going to do my best to get handmaking a bit more this month, time permitting, so I look forward to showing you my latest WIPs and creations when I get the chance!

I’m also looking forward to a little downtime in Somerset, with my parents in a couple of weeks whilst I’m also busy plotting and planning a few bits, including our next Midlands Blogger Meet Up – are you coming along??  Plus we have the unveiling of our latest #CraftBlogClub challenge coming up at the end of the month! I can’t wait!

#midsblogmeet BrumThings are feeling ok, a little more organic and I’m putting less pressure on myself to finish projects and taking my time when I need to!  I’m really looking forward to where the rest of the year takes me and I hope you’ll continue to join me on my Frugally Fabulous Year!  I’m still sacking off the High Street – in fact, we have fallen out for good, I think!

I guess that’s about it for now….here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to!

Reading: I’ve been a little slack with reading recently as I’m trying to get some of my own writing projects finished!  But I’m still wading through The Power of Now and I have a whole host of books lined up for after – I’m really keen to read this book, recommended by a friend next!  I’m so intrigued by the idea of past lives, it’s right up my street!

Watching:  Whilst I don’t believe any pleasures in life should be labelled ‘guilty’, I do like to catch up with Teen Mom 3 (and now 2 is series linked).  Whilst it can be classed as totally trash TV, I have so much respect for these girls who take on such huge life-changing decisions at such a young age – I really salute them!

Wearing: Black, black and more black! In fact, it seems the hotter the day is, the more black I migrate to – you can take the Girl out of the Goth but you can’t take the Goth out of the Girl!

Listening: I’m in mourning! My favourite band Dead Sons announced a very sad decision to split last week.  I used to go see these guys play in London a lot and I will always hold the best memories of their gigs.  If you’re a fan of heavy, tuneful rock, I urge you to check out their music on Spotify, they were a piece of unsigned, undiscovered genius – I’ve been caning the album again recently and I suppose I’m still secretly hoping it’s all a big mistake!

dead sonsTomorrow we have a lovely, quick recipe for Beef Teriyaki and don’t forget, you still have time to enter my giveaway to win this lovely Handknitted Heart!  Detail are on the tutorial and post HERE

Hanging heart 3Stay Peachy x

 

 

De-Cluttering and Disposaphobia

flowers in springI don’t know if it’s the sudden infiltration of Spring filling the air, or the redundant musical instruments that oft clutter up our dining room; but last weekend I was compelled to treat Peachy Towers to a HUGE de-clutter and a shift around.  So, armed with charity bags, bin bags and one very sleepy child, Mr J and I set about moving furniture and sorting each and every room.

I guess it comes with being at home a lot, not to mention constantly picking up after a baby, but there are times I find our lovely little house a bit stifling, usually when we are head to toe in piles of paper, scattered magazines and living amongst a sea of the aforementioned instruments.  We have little space to work with, our home is pretty compact and once you consider the baby factor, the music, craft, writing, general fanatical geek factors; it’s no wonder we need to make the best of a small space!  Lucky for me, I find clearing out very therapeutic, but our second de-clutter of the year got me thinking a lot about a term Judith Levine had discussed in her book ‘Not Buying It’, are we a society suffering from Disposaphobia??  Is my year without shopping turning me into a Disposaphobic?

I best start by saying I had high hopes for my literary trip with Jude and her year out from shopping.  In truth, she was a million miles away from my Frugally Fabulous Year! Judith Levine She managed to shop.  Twice.  She often talked of self-help groups and associations that helped you to NOT spend, by TAKING your money and then telling you how NOT to spend it.  Plus, we were worlds apart as people; Jude is a successful writer in her fifties running two homes and three cars with her partner.  Me?  New mum on a huge career transition running a relatively new home with a penchant for fashion and vintage, stingy about getting buses, Queen of eBay.  Where I may struggle sticking to a weekly food budget of £50, Jude metaphorically wept on the pages as she discussed her dilemma at losing a particular brand of socks or reminisced about ‘that Winter she couldn’t replace her ski wear’.  Overall I didn’t buy it.  Because she bought it.

But she did talk a little about this theory of Disposaphobia and how, as a society, we are too afraid to throw anything out and I couldn’t help but think she was right, but is it wrong?  Looking around us this weekend, we both moved in with a load of ‘might do’s’, ‘could be useful’s and a whole help of baggage!  It is said that we place so much value on ‘things’ rather than experiences, it feels that by throwing these ‘things’ away, we are throwing a part of ourselves away.  It is almost as if we need physical reminders of where we have been and what we have done – from concert tickets and leaflets, receipts and long-dead crockery – we take everything we have with us, because we are too scared of leaving ‘us’ behind.  I’m guilty of it, ticket stubs that bring back memories of films I’ve loved and gigs long past – you only need to take a look at Instagram to see how important it is, for many, to capture each and every moment of our lives – whether that’s a beautiful woodland scene or a well-cooked omelette!  But why do we do that?  Is it because we have to have a constant reminder of what we have done, where we have been?  Disposaphobia talks of longing to hold on to the past and my oh my it’s a hard habit to break!  I like to make memories and I like to hold on to them, not because they define me but because they are a tiny fragment of my journey.  But I guess I want to learn to live in each moment too – I don’t HAVE to take a photo to remember a gig; I might want to close my eyes and let it all wash over me again, which is something even a photo can’t bring to life.  But, at the same time, having a good throwback session with the photo album can’t possibly be bad for the soul and, one day, I hope to share my experiences with Daisy in the same way that my Mum shared hers with me!  Does that mean I’m Disposaphobic?  Or just happy to hang on to the good bits for another time?

I have a firm belief that, as a creative, you always have a pile of ‘will do’s’ waiting for you – I’m a fabric hoarder, a yarn hoarder and a hoarder of memories.  I’m making my way through the material, de-fusing the yarn bomb, the memories not so much, I want them to stay!  Much like The Dice Man, I live in a permanent state of organised and unpredictable chaos; we have a lot of stuff, and very little places to store them.  I’m not defined by the clothes on my back or the DVDs on my rack, but I will make space for the stubs, the useless bits and the experiences they brought me.  A sure sign of disposaphobia?  I’m undecided!

Well, needless to say, our de-clutter was very therapeutic – check out our lovely dining room now, perfect for family dinners and hardly a musical instrument in sight!Dining room 2  I had one of those made cupboard cleaning episodes and the house is feeling bright and airy.  Peace has been somewhat restored to our chaotic abode – even the sun isn’t unwelcome; says she, a firm fan of the dark side!  Our next job is to make some sense and prettiness of our top room, which serves as a dressing room/craft space – a haven for the disposaphobic in all of us!

Stay Peachy x

Are you a hoarder?  Do you like a good de-clutter?  As always, I would love to know!

Hello ‘Memories March’!

Hello MarchWell…two whole months of my Frugally Fabulous Year have passed!  Hello March indeed!  How is the weather doing where you are?  I’m sat typing this as blissful sunshine seeps through my kitchen window and the babe naps – nursing a teeny tiny cold!  Spring is in the air..well sort of, I always mourn Winter, I’m quite like that!

March, for me, is a very special month this year.  This month, little D turns a whole big 365 days old!  This time last year, I was sat twiddling my thumbs as we passed our due date and I became ever more tired and immobile.  Snow was on the ground when D was finally born – I can’t say for sure but it’s looking slightly warmer for our planned trip to White Post Farm to celebrate.

So what’s on for Frugally Peachy this month?  Well, as you can imagine, I’ve been working through a few Birthday projects that I think are great (and frugal) ideas for Birthday presents.  We have our #CraftBlogClub big unveil tomorrow evening of the I Re-Love You challenge, so I’m looking forward to showing you my progress here and I can’t WAIT to see what everyone has come up with!

Paint brushesAside from that, the knitting needles have been clicking again and I’m FINALLY starting to get over my fear of the Sewing Machine, which is just as well – because I’m bored of my clothes and I’m ready to inject some new life into my wardrobe!  One of my toughest challenges, so far, has been learning to re-imagine new ideas with fabrics and get to grips with sewing basics, but I’m determined to get there!

With talk of Spring and, of course, my Frugal Kitchen, Mr J and I have started looking at growing our own fruit, veg and herbs.  In truth, we have the tiniest garden known to man – so look out for some posts and projects on making the best of a small garden space!

With Spring, always comes the need for a huge de-clutter!  I try to keep our house free of clutter as often as I can – but I’ve been clearing out a whole host of D’s old bits and a few of mine and I’m planning to do a couple of blog sales!  So if you’re looking for new baby bits or even thinking of treating yourself to something – I could have JUST the thing!

I think, as each month goes on, I’m getting more and more used to not spending money.  Even last month’s Waterstones issue has got me thinking about how I can move forward – and I will need YOU, fellow bookworms!  Here’s what else I’m up to at the moment…

Book shelfCurrently Reading: ‘The Power of Now’ Eckhart Tolle –  I’m quite into spirituality and I had been wanting to read this book for ages, after it was recommended in a magazine by Boy George, of all people!  So far, though I think the premise and ideas are good, I remain unconvinced by the writing itself.  But I do think it challenges a very ‘modern’ way of forward thinking and planning and perhaps there is much to be had by simply taking in the present world around you!

The Power of nowCurrently Watching: Sense and Sensibility – Since my Thursday night Dracula treat has finished, I’ve been struggling to find something on TV that I actually enjoy!  I do like a programme to sink my teeth (ha ha) into.  I stumbled across this on the Drama channel and thought I’d tuck right in!  I love the story of Sense and Sensibility and with actors like David Morrissey and Dominic Cooper in this adaptation, it’s a really strong re-telling, though doesn’t quite beat the Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet film of the 90s – nothing like a wistful hour wishing you were flouncing around in Austen period!

Currently Blog Crushing – I suppose not shopping means I can live vicariously through other bloggers who like to show their reviews and purchases!  I recently came into contact with Naomi from Style Face Beauty – a local lass who loves to shop!  Her blog is lovely, great product reviews and some wonderful advice on healthy eating, I’m totally coveting the Lemon and Chia Seed Tea right now!

Made Peachy – look out for my post about fellow Peachy Person Laura Strutt’s book, The Sewing Manual, this month – time and time again I head over to Laura’s blog for a bit of inspiration and, of course, craft porn!

Daydreams and Sunshine – Jenni’s blog is so crafty and creative, I am particularly loving this post about making her own knickers – I’ve already suggested a bra-making competition!!!

Currently Working On: I’ve become a little obsessed with mini-bunting!  I’ll be posting some more on this later in the month, but it seriously makes everything look so damn cute AND hardly costs a penny!!!

So let me wish you the happiest of March’s, filled with Pancakes, Mummies and weird weather – as I finish this, it has started hailing!!

Stay Peachy x