Category Archives: Reflections

Reflections: Things Falling Apart

Mirror 1Well, I can’t believe I’m two months in to my Frugally Fabulous Year!  Time is marching swiftly forward and guess what?  I’m still somewhat withering around my sewing machine at the moment.  Those ace clothes are NOT going to sew themselves!  Luckily, for me, I have the wonderful Laura Strutt here – not personally but in book form, to show me the ropes and I’ve been looking forward to settling down and overcoming my fears for a very long time now!  I guess February just ran away with me…

What with the chaotic wonderment that was #MidsBlogMeet, our #CraftBlogClub challenge, Mr J’s Birthday, the arrival of Mortal Instruments from Lovefilm AND about 6 other writing and crafting WIPs – I have barely had time to sit down and think about my sewing machine, let alone fathom my fears.

The trouble is, whilst I’ve been busy with life this month, everything else is starting to fall apart; the buttons on my coat have nearly all fallen off, my oven gloves have seen much better days, my slippers are cracking on the soles and my wardrobe is starting to look somewhat lacklustre.  It’s time to face the music!

Wardrobe 2On the other hand….a good Tweeple Buddy asked me the other day about how I might track my savings through my Frugally Fabulous Year?  It got me thinking about how I could do this – without boring the pants off my readers with facts, figures and somewhat personal accounting!  It’s tough – the majority of our money comes from Mr J’s earnings and, whilst we are trying to live frugally, we are also paying off debt.  The good news?  My final payment from my previous job FINALLY arrived this month and has allowed me to pay off a debt I incurred whilst I ran Miss Berry’s.  It feels amazing to have that relief wash over me – I can only imagine what the end of my Frugally Fabulous Year will look like!  I spent just £8 on cosmetics this month – extremely frugal in comparison to an average of £20-30 when I was working full time.  But perhaps I need to start monitoring even more closely?    For now…here are my Frugal Tips for tracking your savings!

1. Budgeting

Mr J is not big on financial budgeting, but I see it as a necessity to ensure we know exactly what we have coming in and going out each month.  I don’t always profess to be as meticulous as I should be – but I’m definitely getting there.  In particular, setting yourself a food/entertainment/travel budget for the month is a great way to really monitor how you’re spending and also look at how/where you can save.

2. Change Your Ways?

Whilst we are on the subject of food budgeting, this is one of the areas I am really looking at saving.  For ease, I have often booked one to two online shopping deliveries a month, whilst stocking up on fresh produce at our local greengrocer’s.  Recently, I’ve turned my weekly shops into several smaller shops, where I can, whilst really looking at where I can make the best savings.  Ok, so carrying my shopping can be a bit of a drag, but I’m saving about £10 a month on delivery costs.  Plus, shopping with smaller, cheaper brands or local suppliers has also meant a saving of almost £12 a week (yup, I’m becoming THAT person) – which translates roughly to a saving of £624 over a year – that’s some festival tickets and a chunk of the ‘Swedish Dream’ right there!  I have already started to draw relationships between Money and Convenience, it seems if you are serious about saving money, convenience has to go out the window!

receipt reflections3. Don’t Be Loyal to Brands, They Aren’t Loyal To You

When I was pregnant, like most people, I stood in the middle of Boots baby aisle, completely befuddled by the sheer amount of branding, products and general colours being thrown at me.  I have always prided myself on keeping things to a good, but necessary minimum – I’m not easily sold on baby gadgets especially – the trick is to sort through what you need and what you don’t!  It’s easy to get bombarded with constant 3 for 2 offers and discounts – the new parent market especially is a hive of activity for offer emails, special events and what not.  But in making your purchases, no matter how ‘loyal’ you think a brand is, remember that all they really want is your money (I see Johnson and Johnson, I think ‘Johnson and Formaldehyde’)!  Clever advertising can go a long way to make you feel you are missing something important by not making that purchase, but the truth is you can most probably go without it – or at least go without the last minute eye-catching add-ons and special offers.

4. Don’t Turn Your Advantage Points Into Disadvantage Points

All that aside, if you shop religiously at one place, get all your cosmetics from Boots or drink all your coffees in one coffee house, then make sure their loyalty cards ARE working for you.  These days, most big names are offering a loyalty card at practically every paying counter you head to.  Prior to having D, I picked up loyalty cards for Starbucks, Holland and Barrett and Waterstones – to name a few.  Well almost a year on these cards remain redundant in my wallet, they’re not worth the space they take up and they certainly don’t encourage me to want to spend any more with these companies.  Now I’m probably not the best to judge, being that the whole point of my Frugally Fabulous Year is to NOT shop on the High Street, but it seems to me that if you do shop with one shop, you might as well make sure you get the very best of their offers and points benefits.  Why not have a look through the loyalty cards you have stashed in your wallet?  Have you got cards that are encouraging you to spend more than you should in places you know you shouldn’t?  Do you have loyalty cards that could work much harder for you?  This will take all of five minutes, but could save you a little bit of cash money AND make sure you are shopping in the RIGHT places for you!

5. Make Yourself a Joy Jar!

Once you’ve done the hard work – if you find you save a little bit – be it £1 or £10, why not physically take that money out and pop it in a ‘Joy Jar’? joy jar Here’s one I made earlier!  I think there is a lot to be said, psychologically, for being able to see, in the flesh, just how much money you are saving.  Once the jar is full, you can pop it in a savings account, sort yourself out with a much-longed for treat or p**s it up the wall, it really is up to you!  I intend to start using my jar to physically chart how much money I save each month – why not do the same?

Well, it is with a fondness that I bid my Frugal February adieu…it’s been wonderful, full of love, lust and knitting needle clicking – I shall see you on the other side in March, which wil undoubtedly be one of the most special months for me this year!

Stay Peachy x

 

 

Frugally Mummy

DaisyandmeOK, so I don’t often take part in some of the tagging posts that I see going around my Blogging Tweeples, but when I was tagged TWICE in the recent Mummy Tag; once by the lovely Blogger Mumma and again by Caroline, I thought I ought to put my best mummy-feet forward!  So here’s a little bit about my life as Frugally Mumma Peachy!  I do hope you enjoy!

1. Are you a stay at home mum or a working mum?

So I’m lucky enough to say I’m a bit of both!  I left my old job to concentrate on both being a rock ‘n’ roll mama and also fulfilling my own dreams of becoming an author/freelance writer.  It’s tough juggling everything as D is so much bigger and aware now, so most of my work is done either in the evenings or on a rare day when Mr J takes her for the day.  I’m busy beavering away on a piece for submission at the moment and I’ve started making some more exciting plans for expansion too – watch this space!

2. Would you have it any other way?

Nope, definitely not.  I think each family works very differently, I can’t stand this ongoing battle between working mums and stay-at-home mums. My previous industry was not geared up for ‘family-friendly’ working hours, neither did I enjoy it – I saw having D as a chance to re-focus my own direction and also enjoy being a Mum – I’m very grateful for the way things have worked, so far.
3. Do you co-sleep?

No.  There is the odd occasion during particularly tough teething episodes or rough nights, when D has stayed in with us for a couple of hours, but we are very lucky in that her sleep pattern developed fairly quickly and she’s always been very comfortable in her own nursery – she moved in there at 4 months.

4. What is your one must have item for your baby?

That’s a very difficult question!  Aside from the necessities I would always recommend a bouncing chair or Jumperoo when they are a little older.  We were bought a bouncing chair, which we used all the time when D was tiny.  cotThe Jumperoo was borrowed and practically saved our lives when D got a little more active!  They can be quite expensive though, so in true Frugally Peachy fashion, I’d recommend a good hunt on Gumtree or eBay, as the payout for a brand new jumperoo can’t be justified for the amount of time they are using them!
5. How many kids do you plan on having?

Ummmmm I’m not sure.  I’m in no rush to have any more, mostly because I want to enjoy the first few years of D – babies grow and change at such a rate, it’s important to me that I don’t miss out on all the little things.  I am an only child myself, so I think a brother or sister for D would be lovely eventually, but I’m in no way ready for any more at the moment!

6. Date night? How many nights per month?

Up until recently, 0 nights per month!  Mr J works full time and also works as a musician on several projects.  With that in mind plus the work I’m doing, time together is scarce!  I think spending time together is very important, it’s just hard to come by in our household!

7. Your child’s favourite show?

We don’t watch a lot of TV, but D really seems to love Pajanimals!  She really reacts to them and it’s become part of the wind-down night time routine.  I, however, find them irritating!
8. Name one thing you bought before having your baby that you’ve never used?

You’ll be pretty unsurprised to hear that we took the advice of lots of other parents and didn’t go mad with gadgets and gizmos before D arrived!  The only thing I notably spent a lot of money on was her 6-9 month wardrobe – far too many clothes and not enough hours in the day to wear them!

9. Your child’s favourite food?

I’m lucky that D will eat pretty much anything and has a HUGE appetite!  She loves pasta, fish pie and casserole.  As a snack she loves raisins too – but never, EVER try to open the packet for her – she’s Little Miss Independent!

10. How many cars does your family have?

Technically one, but it’s a run-around for Mr J’s gigging – I can’t drive so I tend to walk anywhere I need to go!

11. Weight gain before, during and after pregnancy and now.

I gained a few pounds through my pregnancy and I’ve worked hard to try and lose the weight since D was born.  I do, however, love food and I try not to get hung up on it.  All I will say is that I have a vintage 1960s black leather pencil skirt – an eBay bargain, hanging up outside my wardrobe to keep me motivated!
12. Dream holiday with your kids?

Have I mentioned my dream family road trip to Sweden yet?? No??? Oh…pull up a chair!
13. Dream holiday without your kids?

I’d love to go to Las Vegas – purely for the surreal-ness of it all…and the Elvis-mania

14. How has your life changed since having your baby?

In just about every way possible!  It’s the strangest thing having a little person completely dependent on you, but the best at the same time.  My lifestyle has done a complete 360 degree turn in the last two years – I’m excited to see where it goes in the future!
15. Finish the sentence.. ‘It melts my heart to see..’

That’s difficult to narrow down – right now I love watching D start to interact with other babies and children, as her awareness grows she’s really becoming her own person and that’s lovely to watch.

16. Where do you shop for your kids?

Well, now I’m completing my Frugally Fabulous Year challenge – I tend to find some excellent bits on eBay and also our local charity shops.  H&M are probably my favourite shop for children – such great quality and good prices!

IMG_20130510_13210417. Favourite make up and skincare products?

At the moment, I’m using a some fab Weleda products, given out at our #midsblogmeet but I think my must-have make-up items are probably Benefit High Beam, Mac’s Cockney Red Lipstick and Bourjois concealer and powder.

18. Huggies or Pampers?

Neither – I find own brand products work exceptionally well!

19. Have you always wanted kids?

Yes, I didn’t really start feeling maternal until I hit about 22 – they have always been in my plan but I very much enjoyed the career girl/party girl years first!

20. Best part about being a mum?

What’s not to love about having a lovely little human to hang around with – Daisy is an absolute joy and I love being her Mum!

Did you enjoy reading this?  Well…let me tell you, I’ve been lucky enough to be nominated in the MAD Blog Awards!  I’m super happy as it came as a real shock BUT I still need your nominations to make it to the final of each nominated category.  If you like reading Frugally Peachy – then you have until March 14th to nip over and cast your votes, should you think I’m worthy!

 

MAD Blog Awards

Stay Peachy x

The Great #MidsBlogMeet

Malt Cross Birds Eye

Well, this weekend just gone has been a bit of an amazing blur!  I’m currently sat with a cupcake and a cuppa, basking in the success of our FIRST EVER Midlands Blogger’s Meet (#MidsBlogMeet).  What a lovely time we had, meetiing lovely people we have only had ‘social media’ conversations with for however long, relaxing in one of the best venues Nottingham has to offer and generally having a great time!

What started off as a tweety query, became something that myself and co-host Kelly from To Become Mum organised and arranged for bloggers from in and around the Midlands area.  With a mixture of Lifestyle and Mum bloggers coming along to the event, we wanted to provide something informal, child-friendly where possible, with a few lovely surprises for our attendees.

After a huge amount of interest from fellow bloggers, we had 16 wonderful bloggers in attendance on the day, a great mixture of mummy bloggers, make-up and lifestyle bloggers.  We decided on Nottingham as a great central location for our bloggers, who were travelling from as far as Lincoln, Stoke and Sheffield.  Malt Cross BuffetAfter much deliberation (we are a little spoilt for quirky, brilliant cafe bars in the city), I decided to go with The Malt Cross, a central cafe bar steeped in historical architecture, with a friendly and relaxed vibe.  It has to be said that The Malt Cross really delivered what we were looking for – they put on a fabulous bespoke buffet for us, catered for the children who attended on the day and left us to our own devices as the bar was open for business around us.  We started out at around 11am (after some frantic cupcake boxing and goody bag-arranging by Kelly and myself) with a very friendly introduction – ‘hello’ stickers were provided (you can take Twitter out the girls, but you can’t take the girls out of Twitter) and we had a bit of a general mingling session before we did our first *PRIZE DRAW* at about 11.45am – and a huge congratulations to Cate from Me Add Three on winning the first prize from Mama Baby Bliss.

Our rather beautiful buffet was then served, giving us time to talk all things blogging a little more.  It’s always daunting walking into a room full of virtual strangers (or not, as the case may be), but we really felt everyone made a fantastic effort to mix and chat to people who were nothing more than a tiny avatar and what’s better for bonding than a selection of some of the best homemade food in The Midlands??!

Body Shop Close Up

The highlight of the afternoon, were the surprise guests we had arranged for our attendees; Sophie and Autumn from our local Body Shop, came to talk to the group about current and upcoming products; which made for quite an interesting chat.  Gone are the days of White Musk miniatures and Body Butters, we were able to try some of the fantastic creams and serums on offer and EVERYONE including the children, enjoyed trying the new Hair Chalks that give you an instant dipdye!  Not only that, The Body Shop gave us an exclusive discount offer – which meant the majority of our group marched off to our local to take advantage of the offer.

We were supported by some fantastic brands at our event, with more exciting prize giveaways and blog opportunities from Poddle Pod and Tommy Tippee – congratulations to Lauren from Life of Miley, Ellie from The Mummy Diary and Kelly from Writings, Ramblings and Reviews for their wins on the day!  We had one final huge prize bundle; featuring some fab Pregnancy and Mummy prizes, gifts from Weleda, a Body Shop gift set, prizes donated from the lovely attendee Iris at Baked By Me amongst others.  The lucky winner of our huge prize bundle was Sarah from Seriously Shallow – who apparently ‘never won anything’ – here’s hoping she picked up a lottery ticket that night!

Our Lovely Prize Winners!

After a few more drinks and a few last words from everyone, we handed out some wonderful goody bags with some fab products donated by Weleda, Bake It Yourself by Neff, some amazing chocolate moulds from Iris plus some sweet goodies from Swizzels Matlow.  In typical baking-addict style, I whipped up some cupcakes for everyone too to take away with them – plus one to snaffle back to mine!

I can’t begin to thank everyone who came along to the meet, for showing their support for our event.  It was wonderful to meet some of the bloggers I regularly ‘talk to’, in the flesh and spend some time with like-minded folks.  Miss BerrysThe Malt Cross dudes were incredibly supportive of our day, the food was gorgeous and we were so lucky to have some fantastic brands backing our event.  The day was a fantastic success and we have already had interest in organising something else in the future.  It was such a great introduction to planning and organising a meet-up, though we would probably look at organising a ticketed event in the future – we won’t dwell on that!

Here are the names and blog addresses of our first #MidsBlogMeet  – if you’re looking for some new, diverse blogs to read then look no further!

NAME                                      BLOG                                                                                TWITTER HANDLE

Kelly O’Hanlon (Host) www.tobecomemum.blogspot.co.uk ToBecomeMum
Emma Berry (Host) www.frugallypeachy.co.uk LivePeachy
Samantha Schofield www.createitsamantha.blogspot.com CreateitSam
Sue Barsby http://thegeriatricmother.wordpress.com Basfordian
Laura Candlin www.unlovedbutton.blogspot.com UnlovedButton
Amanda Wright www.amandainateacup.blogspot.com amandainateacup
Sally www.rainydayfaces.com RainyDayFaces
Kelly Brett http://writingsramblingsandreviews.wordpress.com/ MoolBoots
Laura Strong http://chickywiggle.blogspot.co.uk/ chickywiggle
Cate Elder http://meaddthree.blogspot.co.uk/ meaddthree
Emma Tustian www.bubbablueandme.com  etusty
Iris Choo www.bakedbyme.net  Bakedbymeuk
Lauren   www.lifeofmiley.com lifeofmileyx
Ellie Aindow www.themummydiary.co.uk mummydiary
Sarah Athow-Frost www.seriouslyshallow.blogspot.co.uk soshallow
Bel Smith www.journeysaremydiary.com DontLetMeFade

So let me finish by saying how much I enjoyed mingling with the locals on Saturday and getting to know the people behind the blogs – I look forward to seeing you all again soon and keeping up with your blogs!  If you wrote a blog post on our meet – why not come and link up below?!

Stay Peachy x

 

The HOSTS

Come Join Us

Frugally Inspired: I Don’t Know How She Does It…

Off on a little town adventure

Off on a little town adventure

This week, I decided to make my first visit to town in nearly two months.  Out of necessity, nothing else.  I could no longer avoid paying some cheques into my bank account and, now that she is officially ‘cruising’, D needs some sort of shoes.  I say ‘cruising'; that girl is scaling playgroup halls and the entire length of our house faster than a hungry animal looking for lunch.

The weather aside, I hate shopping in town.  I hate feeling like a second-class citizen because I have to manoeuvre a pram and I hate dealing with small aisles, miniscule shop doorways and small-minded people.  A trip to town has to be planned, meticulously, lists made and shopping completed in the absolute smallest fraction of time possible.  So, for a frugally fabulous non-shopper, I feel I have quite the right attitude to a shopping trip to ensure success with my challenge!

Still, we picked up some lovely little pre-walkers for Daisy from Next – reasonable and not too sickeningly glitzy, then after a few errands we popped to Waterstones to give D her lunch and peruse the craft section in spectacular masochistic fashion.  When it comes to missing shopping – I don’t miss clothing, I barely remember the last time I spent time looking at cosmetics, but I’m a book-a-holic!daisy feet  Books are my addiction and I usually find it nigh-on impossible to leave without at least one shiny purchase!  I can’t even say I’m into the teccy Kindle stage of reading – and for someone who is looking into self-publishing this may well have to be a relationship that blossoms in the near future!  Still, out we walked, heads high (and soaked from the rain) with just one teeny tiny pop-up book for D, with some Christmas money she was given.  Go me!

The thing is, people often say ‘I don’t know how you do it’, when I tell them the premise of my year without shopping.  I’m not too sure how to answer; there are a thousand reasons I have become so resilient to the ‘wonders’ of shopping that, just 6 weeks in, town trips like the one I braved this week, seem so alien to me already.  Here’s how I *THINK* I’m handling it!

I Walk Everywhere – Except in the Direction of Town – Bus trips are infrequent and unnecessary where we live, so I tend to enjoy walking to most places – parks, groups, the sorting office – you name it, we walk it!  I grew up without a family car, so walking has always been inherent to my lifestyle.  Nottingham has a lot of beauty about it – I love exercising the right to walk for no reason at all sometimes, so destinations are not important, town is a million miles away from us, in my head, I don’t NEED to walk there, when we have parks, charity shop caverns and beauty spots right on our doorstep.

Plans, Plans, Plans – I’m never without plans in operation.  It is a strong belief, held by us crafty folk that we thrive in chaotic environments and, though I’d sometimes like my life to be a little more structured, I spend almost all my free time writing, crafting, reading and PLANNING!  Right now – I have about 6 books in my head, at least 10 craft projects and a huge mountain to overcome, in the form of mastering my sewing machine.  Not to mention a cruising 11 month old, who loves nothing more than snuggling with Mummy and reading.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, all these projects make me happier than shopping, so I devote 100% of my energy to it.

The Importance of My Mum Mafia – As D isn’t going to nursery, I think developing her sociability is really important, so playgroups, singing and swimming are something we frequent as much as we can.  I also know how important it is to hang with other mums and I am very lucky to have a small group of mums, my Mum Mafia, that I regularly hang out with.  We all take in turns to host tea and cake mornings, who all have similar likes, dislikes, fears, morbid fascinations to me and who I can be entertained by/entertain, without spending ANY MONEY- unless I’m whipping up a cake or need some emergency milk.  These ladies are invaluable to me, I love spending time with them putting the world to rights in the comfort of our own homes – time well spent with excellent company and not a Starbucks label in sight!

Charity Shopping with a Difference – I tend to limit my trips to our local row of charity shops – mainly because I’m on pretty much first name terms with them.  Since starting my challenge, inspired by some of the lovely crafty tweeps I interact with, I’ve stopped looking so much for ‘clothing’ and more for FABRIC – which has opened up a whole new world of projects and excitement for me!  I took an awesome trip with my friend on Saturday and got this amazing HAUL for under £16 – a velvet top that needs some serious sleeve-love, a Joan Holloway-esque graphic print dress that needs a bit of tapering AND a tartan smock that’s about 4 sizes too big BUT with some tapering, a new neckline and a contrast colour, looks to swift become my favourite dress of 2014!  Watch this space for more…

charity shop haul 1

Crave It?  Then Make It – Fancy a creamy hot chocolate or some cheeky chips?  Fancy trying your hand at a posh roast?  Good, then make it!  As an avid cooker/baker/ kitchen dweller, I love challenging myself in the kitchen and, though I don’t profess to be the best, I like to be adventurous with every day ingredients and make replacements for my favourite treats.  A more creative kitchen means you appreciate takeaways even less – because the truth is, you are more than capable of making something better.

Don’t Forget The Ordinary Moments – Not everyday has to be a spectacular display of creative living.  I’m my own worst enemy for this – I always have a to-do list as long as my arm and I’m not happy if it doesn’t all get done in 24 hours.  Living frugally does mean you learn to bask in the ordinary moments.  I take as much pleasure in half an hour reading my book on my new, comfy, wicker chair (It’s a WIP), or getting down and playing with D and her teaset, as I would shopping or any of the other stuff.  Your children grow every day and it’s a privilege to watch D growing into such a lovely, cheeky, funny little girl – those are the important moments, the ordinary pieces that make up the patchwork of your family life.

So there you have it, not rocket science I suppose, but a little glimpse into life in the frugal lane…

Stay Peachy x

Hello Frugal February….

100_0608Well, the cold really seems to have settled in and everyone is talking pastel palettes and Springtime already….what a weird and wonderful world we live in!  Hello February indeed!

Being on the opposite end of the Seasonal Affected Disorder spectrum, I like the cold and gloom a little more than most.  I love the dark winter nights, the warm casseroles and the general lack of going out – though it does get hard with a babe, who loves nothing more than trips to our local park to watch the rustling trees.  I brave the cold and rain and get on with it, then I relish with the home comforts of dry clothes, warm radiators and cosy socks. 

 Daisy windowJanuary went by in a flash, the easiest month of frugality indeed; everyone wants to save money after a Christmas blow-out, so it didn’t feel so different or difficult for me.  February, however, is a month of Birthdays, trips and meet-ups.  We are all awakening from our wintry slumber and are ready to face a bit of socialising. 

At the start of February, yesterday in fact, we celebrated Mr J’s Birthday!  This year was a quiet affair, but we did have babysitters and we did manage to head out to a local gig and had a delicious Sunday Roast with his family.  The most important gift you can give new parents, is the gift of time, people.  I also have my Step-Dad’s Birthday coming up towards the end of the month and, whilst I’m super-envious that he is embarking on a trip to Sweden – the holy land – in March, I want to put together something lovely for him!  Watch this space!

casserole pan

Not only that, but saving our bargain-hunting energy through January is really starting to pay off; look at this gorgeous *Brand New* casserole dish I found for £3 in a local charity shop!  And Mr J came home with this little bargain surprise for me tooelvis frame – a lovely retro print of Mr Presley – I’m still debating if I’m going to ask house guests to bless it as they enter the kitchen!!

So what else is coming in February???  Well, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been putting together a couple of little, frugal ideas for the big day.  It probably won’t surprise you to know that me and Mr J aren’t so keen on the Big V.  Our first V Day was spent watching The Woman in Black, followed by a Hot White Choc at the wonderful Malt Cross – mostly to calm my nerves.  Last year, I dragged my bestie to Derby to a book signing with James Bowen and Bob the Street Cat.  Can you say Rock and Roll??!!

Amanda Cass - How to Mend a Broken Heart

Source: Amanda Cass – How to Mend a Broken Heart

Even so, I think it’s important to appreciate the little things in life and in your relationships and, this month, I’ll be posting a few little frugally fabulous ideas if you’re planning to acknowledge the Big V on a budget…look out for my ‘Frugally Ever After’ Posts coming in the following days….Hell, you don’t even need an occasion!

February also sees the first #CraftBlogClub challenge launched! This week, the lovely Katie from Katie Gets Crafty will be hosting AND launching the new challenge.  I’m excited and I hope you’ll join in the fun….I’ll be posting details tomorrow!

As if that isn’t enough fun for one month; one February 22nd I will be co-hosting our #MidsBlogMeet in Nottingham, a meet up for Lifestyle and Mummy Bloggers from the Midlands area.  I’m really excited to have organised this event with Kelly from To Become Mum and I’ll be sure to post some pics and updates of the event when it happens!!! Want to come along??? Read all about the event HERE and be sure to email while we still have a few places!

Aside from this, I’ll be getting my craft on ready for some big dates in March and I’m determined to make friends with my sewing machine…and I think I have the perfect tool to help me.  More on that later guys….I’m off to wrap up warm and hit the park.  

Before I go….. Did you enter my little handmade giveaway last week??? Well the winner of my little Oscar Mug Warmer is……….

MARGO PRICE

Congratulations – Please send an email to missemmaberry@gmail.com with your address and I’ll get the little man on his way to you!

oscar 3

Stay Peachy x

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