Monday, 30 September 2013 we come!

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a good weekend, mine was ok, grocery shopping and dying my hair!

Well, just to let you know that our week away from it all is booked and paid for!!!

We are heading to Yorkshire, not far from Richmond. We have booked a cottage, although it is more like a huge farmhouse. It's bigger than we need, but the location is perfect. There are beautiful views from every window and fantastic walks from the doorstep. The road to the cottage is narrow and steep and it gets cut off during bad weather. Could it snow in October???

We plan to take it easy and show Daisy the sights. We do know this area of Yorkshire, but plan to discover new places of interest. I have already been researching cheap days out and where to eat if we don't take food out with us. We may spend a lot of time in and around the cottage...whatever the weather, we will enjoy ourselves.

I will take lots of photos to show you why we love Yorkshire.

In the meantime... there's lots to be getting on with.

Mandy x

Friday, 27 September 2013

My Tesco F&F Haul...

Hi everyone!

Yes I've been spending money, mainly on Daisy because she is actually growing out of her 3-6 month clothing. I still have some bits and pieces that have either been presents or clothes passed on to us for her to grow into too. I am not a fan of Tesco and usually shop in Asda or Mothercare for Daisy's things. I had a rethink about Tesco for clothes because Asda's range for babies is not as good as it used to be and Mothercare, although beautiful and well-made, is a bit pricey for things that Daisy will get mucky and stain. She is feeding herself a lot now, but the mess!!!

So this is what I got her:

*   a pack of 3 white vests   *   £2.50, plain and simple, all that we need.

*   10 x small bibs   *   £6.00, we use these when we are feeding her or for the dribbles.

*   2 x hot pink leggings   *   £5.00, these go with a lot of her tops and she has grown out of the others.

*   navy floral leggings   *   £3.00, dark leggings don't show the stains like pastel ones!

*   bunny rabbit leggings   *   £3.00, because leggings are ideal for crawling.

*   cow babygro with hood   *   £7.00, perfect for lazy days.

*   rabbit hat   *   £3.00, this is cotton for now before it gets too cold.

*   2 x headbands   *   £2.00, way too big! She will grow into them.

*   pink fluffy coat   *   £8.00, Daisy gets messy and we get through coats too. We have enough for this winter now to see us through.

*   pink fluffy snowsuit   *   £10.00, in a larger size, ready for snow!!!

*   navy pre-walker shoes   *   £4.00, she slips in socks and tights and has grown out of her pram shoes.

 Total cost : £53.50

I also treated myself to some new underwear totalling £24.50. Sounds a lot, but one bra is £8 and my tights are £3 per pair. I neglect myself now because I put Daisy first just like I did when my children were little, but when you've got holes in your knickers... something has to be done... you never might get hit by a bus!!!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Mandy x

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Preparing for autumn and winter...

Hi everyone!

I know it's been a while, but like I said before, I'm not much fun at the moment. Each day brings more issues to deal with.

I am still preparing for the colder months ahead and have a photo to share with you. My lovely Charlotte went to a carboot sale on Sunday and bought Daisy a few bits for the colder weather. Auntie Harriet (my son's girlfriend) also went and bought Daisy a cosy fluffy dressing gown.

That's a shadow of me taking the photo at the bottom, not dirt!!!

I don't think I should take photos on the carpet, it looks disgusting here, sorry!

Anyway, now I feel even worse :-(

Charlotte bought her two coats (I think £1 each), both 9-12 months which are a bit big at the moment, but she will grow into them soon. Ashley and Harriet bought her the dressing gown (£1 I think) as I said, for cosy evenings after her bath and charlotte bought the book (20p) and cat top (50p) because Daisy likes the cat top Charlotte wears!

We went to Mothercare a couple of weeks ago and bought her a beautiful red duffle coat for the winter (£22 though), some tights, two pairs of fluffy slippers and fleece sleepsuits. Every little bit adds up, but she has mainly summer clothes at the moment and we need to stock up before it really gets cold.

I did an order online for Tescos and that came yesterday. I will show you that another day. I need to write a list of what she still needs and go carbooting! You can normally pick up clothes really cheap for babies that are hardly worn. Most babies grow fast (not Daisy) so the clothes look like new.

Talking of carbooting...I have been busy sorting, decluttering and pricing up items to sell.  I plan to go through each room in the house, deciding what isn't used or needed. I'm being ruthless because there is constantly new things coming into the house for Daisy and we need to make room. As she gets new stuff, some old stuff has to go. I want my house to be quick and easy to clean.

Meals have been homemade from scratch and thrifty but meal planning has 'gone out the window' while we deal with these constant stresses from our youngest.

Thank you to Jane and Frugal in Bucks for their care and concern, I have read your comments xxx

I'll be back with my Tesco haul and hopefully something thrifty to share.

By the way, we are trying to get up to Yorkshire for a holiday in a couple of weeks, but haven't booked anything yet. Any suggestions??? We love the Dales rather than the Moors. I know, I know, that's not thrifty, but we seriously need to get away from this stress and we have been saving since Christmas for Daisy's first holiday. If you can recommend anywhere to me, please leave a comment. 

Mandy x 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sweet and Sour Turkey...a recipe

Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't been around for a week. Troubled times here I'm afraid...the usual stuff we deal with week in week out. I'm nursing the headache from hell, brought on by stress I expect (had it for two days now) and feeling a bit down. This does not make good reading on a thrifty blog, so I've stayed away.

Thank you for all the lovely comments about Daisy's immunisations. Sadly she couldn't have them because her mummy wasn't there to give consent. I have written consent now, so hopefully they will be done next week. She did have her very overdue nine month check though and is fine.

Through my horrid headache yesterday I did manage to make a lovely tea. I'm not sure it was thrifty because the turkey steaks cost £3.33 (3 for £10 deal). I make stuff up as I go along when I'm cooking sometimes and yesterday was one of those times.

Sweet and Sour Turkey

1.   Fry turkey steaks in a little olive oil (I chopped into bite-size pieces).

2.   Add chopped red, green and yellow peppers, few spring onions, a good flick of paprika and continue to fry.

3.   Add a tin of pineapple and stir.

4.   Make the sauce in a different pan - combine a carton of pasatta, 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp cider vinegar  and 2 tbsp soy sauce.

5.   Heat the sauce through and taste. Adjust until you're happy with the sauce (I added a little more honey because the bitterness of the tomato was still coming through) and add to the meat pan.

6.   I simmered this for 30mins, but check the packet to see how long your turkey needs and check it is cooked through.

7.   Serve with rice (I use boil-in-the-bag because I'm rubbish at cooking rice)

It was delicious!!!

Daisy's version had no soy, vinegar or honey. She loved it too.

This could be made without meat, or with chicken or pork, I just bought turkey for a change.

I hope to be back with some thrifty tips etc soon... let's see what life throws at us first though. Positive thinking is not easy at the moment :-(

Thursday, 12 September 2013

My thoughts turn to Autumn and Winter...

Hi everyone!

I've been away from blogging this week because Daisy has needed my time more than ever. She now has four back teeth poking through and she has suffered with it. She just wants cuddles. Tomorrow I will make matters worse for her...her next set of immunisations :-(

I know I promised a post on meal planning/shopping and how I did a thrifty party for Daisy, but these will have to wait, sorry!

Back to my post title...

The last couple of days have been a bit chilly here. I've heard of people putting their heating on, but we won't be doing that just yet. Ideally I want to get to October, but I obviously have Daisy to think about. She was shivering after getting out of the bath last night, so I put a cardy on over her pjs and thin tights under. I always cuddle her with a blanket wrapped around her once she's ready for bed to snuggle and she soon warmed up. I also slept in a cardy because my arms are always cold and I generally seem to feel the cold.

Now I'm thinking about what I need to do to prepare for the colder days and nights and what I need to buy. I obviously need to buy new outdoor wear for Daisy because she was very small last winter and has grown out of all her little hats/bonnets, coats and snowsuits, although we do have one pair of knitted mittens that fit. She has loads of warm blankets for when we're out and about and her cosy toes for the pram. She has sleeping bags for her cot because she won't stay under a blanket at night and it's dangerous to try because she could put her head under. I will need to get a snowsuit and coat, mittens and hats. She will also need a few new bits of clothing for winter and tights. She is growing out of her 3-6 months clothing now, but quite a lot of her 6-9 month stuff is summery. I will just put tights and cardies with those bits. Whenever I go carbooting, I buy knitted cardies for Daisy. I can't knit (yet) and the bought cardies are not warm enough, so I have bought bigger sizes when I have seen them. I don't think it will be long and we will be visiting Clarks for her first pair of shoes! She's not walking yet but standing with furniture for support. It's definitely going to be an expense this winter anyway.

I need a decent coat, a waterproof one. I will be looking out for one (second hand). My daughter picked up a fantastic coat, a good make, at a charity shop for a few pounds last year and it keeps her warm and dry when she walks Flo. I layer up to keep warm and will keep on wearing the same clothes I've had for years, although I do need to get the sewing basket out! I will pick up things if I see them, but I could manage as long as I can get the washing dry.

There are other things to consider for if snow comes, like food stocks and salt for our sloping drive. I need to do a list!

The slowcooker is coming out in a minute for some braising steak I found at the bottom of the freezer. We had dumplings the other day but could manage them again :-), so I will add diced potato and have it all in one pot (less washing up and electric) and then add some dumpling mix from my Approved Food stash (not the real atora ones I made the other day - yum yum!)

Is anyone else planning for the colder weather yet?

Mandy x

Friday, 6 September 2013

Auntie Charlotte...the best auntie in the world!

Hi everyone!

This is a post to show just how important  Auntie Charlotte is to Daisy...

She was there when Daisy was still in her mummy's tummy.
She took her mummy to most of her medical appointments.
She went to most of her scans.
She took a lot of time off work for this.

She was there when mummy was in hospital, whatever the time.
She rushed home from work to take mummy to hospital when we couldn't get hold off Grampy.
She looked after mummy when she was sick and tried to cheer her up.

She was there when Daisy was born.
She took time off work to visit Daisy and mummy in hospital and stayed there all day.

She gives Daisy loads of cuddles.
She looks after Daisy to help Grandma and Grampy out.

She plays with Daisy...they have lots of fun!
She sings to Daisy too.
She takes her places.
She buys her lovely things.

She said she would be the best auntie in the world...and Daisy knows she is.

A few photos to show you what I mean...

Mandy x

Charlotte rushed home from work to take me to hospital to join Ashley and Alice and remained the calm one while I cried! Alice is seriously ill here with pre-eclampsia.

Daisy is only a few minutes old here. Charlotte's first cuddle with her.

This is Daisy's first day at home.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Two recipes... Creamy Paprika Pork and Easy Chocolate Dessert

Hi everyone!

These recipes are what we had for tea last night...

Creamy Paprika Pork

1.   Brown some diced pork in a little oil and add a chopped onion, peppers and mushrooms.

2.   Add 2tsp of paprika and 1 tbsp of flour and stir. Remove from the heat.

3.   Gradually stir in half a pint of beef stock and return to the heat, stirring.

4.   Mix in a good squirt of tomato puree and season with black pepper and mixed herbs.

5.   Simmer on the top of the cooker for 45 mins to 1 hour (check pork is cooked and tender). Check it is not sticking to the pan and add more stock if necessary (I had to).

6. Stir in a small carton of double cream before serving.

We had this with boiled potatoes and green beans from the garden. I don't give exact quantities when it's my own recipes, because I am a guess and throw it in type of cook! It depends how many people you are serving and your own preferences with herbs and veg etc. This made a change from pork casserole, which is what I would normally do with diced pork. You could cook this is the oven too.

Easy Chocolate Dessert

150g marshmallows
50g butter
250g dark chocolate (I used the value kind)
4tbsp warm water
284ml carton of double cream
1tsp vanilla

1.   Melt the marshmallows, butter and chocolate with water over a gentle heat. Cool.

2.   Whisk the cream with the vanilla until firm.

3.      Fold the chocolate mix into the cream and put into serving dishes.

It is ready to eat straight away as it sets quickly with the marshmallows. Be's very rich and sickly! This is a Nigella recipe that I wrote down off one of her programmes but I can't remember which... I'm thinking maybe Nigella Express??? I didn't write down the title, so I made one up! It is easy to make and it is a chocolate dessert but I'm sure she had a proper name for it!

Sorry no photos because we ate the pork before I thought about it and I haven't presented the chocolate dessert well (we have loads left in the fridge). You could pipe cream on the top or grate chocolate etc, but I had to make dinner double quick as Daisy was hanging off my leg most of the time! She is standing up against everything now and just wants to climb.

Hope you enjoy the recipes

Mandy x 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Daisy's birthday...more photos...

Hi everyone!

As promised, more photos... Hopefully my blog will become more interesting now that I can upload photos again, especially food!

I didn't get much done yesterday because Daisy is teething again. She now has teeth numbers 9 and 10 poking through. They are in completely random places diagonal to each other, but not next to the existing teeth! I think there are more on the way too. It's all happening now that she's one, she can pull herself up anywhere she likes and stands for quite some time with support. Soon she'll be walking.

Thanks for all the lovely comments xxx

Mandy x

Daisy started her birthday off with her first ever dippy egg from our own chickens.

Grampy showed her the birthday cake and she said "duck duck"!
You'll notice that she has a broken wing :-(

Having fun with Auntie Charlotte and the lovely present she gave her.

Blowing out the candle with mummy.

Tucking into her birthday lunch.

Monday, 2 September 2013

A very special birthday...

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to share a photo with you...

Happy 1st birthday Daisy-May
1st September 2013

She looks really grown up in this photo, but her party dress is age 6-9 months and it's too big! Her little party shoes are too big too. No smiles here because she is a little overwhelmed by it all. We had a lovely day and they'll be more photos to follow (now I've found a way around it to upload them) when I've found new homes for all of her new toys.

Thank you to all of you that have left me kind and encouraging comments about Daisy in the past. This first photo of her on my blog is for you xxx

Mandy x