Thursday, 28 November 2013

Plans for Christmas and a sewing room...

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts, but now things are a bit better, I will try harder.

I completely lost all interest in cooking and baking and felt that it became a chore. This is not me and I've been looking through my cheap recipes to inspire me again into cooking from scratch. It's not all been bad, I just couldn't be bothered! Stress does horrible things to you, both physically and emotionally and you have to snap out of it and start thinking positively about stuff.

For me, Christmas is my favourite time of year and making plans for this is helpful to my lack of motivation. Christmas Day is going to be very simple and Boxing Day is when I will entertain my small family. I love creating a buffet table for a calm and relaxing meal that you can revisit as many times as you want. We chat, we watch the tele and play board games. This year Daisy will enjoy it more as she loves it when  her Aunties and Uncle are here.

I have done some shopping, but need to make a list and stick to it now. I still have to embark on my Christmas baking etc, but it definitely won't stress me out because we keep it simple. I no longer buy pointless novelty presents just to fill a stocking, I make sure everything is wanted or useful. Obviously we will be concentrating on Daisy and looking out for toys for this next stage in her development. She is walking well now and curious about everything - cupboard locks are essential!

My initial plans are to work through the food we have in the freezers to make room for a few Christmas goodies that we wouldn't normally treat ourselves to. I have quite a lot of packets and mixes from Approved Food that need using too. This will free up space on top of my kitchen cupboards for our savoury treats and a little bit of drink! I make snowballs on Christmas Day evening and we love to drink port at Christmas too. We rarely drink at any other time of the year and even then, it's only a little - Daisy still doesn't sleep through the night :(

This year Christmas will be relaxed...

we will watch Christmas films

we will eat food we don't normally treat ourselves to

we will enjoy a little drink

we will enjoy each others company

we will sit down and relax

we will play with  Daisy and whatever Father Christmas brings her

That's my plan!

Now to other plans...

I have been working hard trying to sort out the house. My utility room is going to be a proper laundry room, not a dumping ground! Charlotte and I did another bootsale on Saturday - It was a bit rubbish because it was so cold. People with babies were sensible and stayed at home, so I didn't sell my baby items :(
What I did sell, is the little bits and bobs for 20p, so I did clear some crap that has been hanging around for a while. I have now boxed up and packed away everything into the garage for next year. There it is not in the way and I don't have to look at it. As I continue to tidy, I will add to this pile with stuff that we can easily live without. It makes it so much easier to keep a room tidy and clean with less stuff to move around. I already spend a lot of my day with Daisy, but I want to be able to restart my hobbies while she is having her nap. I have lots of plans for this and my lovely husband is currently decorating the spare room. It is going to have a bed in it, but the rest of the space is for my sewing room!!! A place where I can have my sewing machine set up, all my fabric stored where I can see what I've got, a space to relax, enjoy and create. I'm really excited about it and I will show you when it's finished..

Plans being made and positive thinking...

a new year means new beginnings and hopefully better times ahead.

Does anyone have any tips or advice for a relaxed Christmas???

Please share your tips in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A special birthday!

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all well. Today's post is all about one person - my lovely daughter Charlotte. I'll be back soon, things are calmer at the moment. I have replied to previous comments now, thank you for your concern and advice and best wishes. After Charlotte's birthday, I start to concentrate on Christmas preparations and will share these with you shortly.



I hope you have a lovely day and many more to follow x

Charlotte has requested a fruit cake for her birthday so I'd better get baking!

Thanks for reading

Mandy x

Friday, 8 November 2013

Clothing a baby on the cheap...

Hi everyone!

Thank you for the supportive comments on my last post xxx

Each time I write a post, things will have got a bit worse at home, which is why there are gaps in my writing. Daisy is fine though, happy, chatty and walking really well now. She brings joy to us each and every day and is very much worth the struggles we face.

Just lately, my son's girlfriend has introduced me to buying from a facebook group which is local. Now I don't like facebook and I don't have facebook because in my experience it can be used as a vessel for people to bully and be very cruel behind a computer screen or phone. This 'for sale' group was accessed via my son's girlfriend as she has purchased some items for Christmas. She works in the town and picks stuff up to or from work so she doesn't need to go out of her way. She purchased two bundles of baby clothes on my behalf. They cost £20 in total and I had not seen what I was getting for my £20. This was risky, but I trusted her judgement because she knows Daisy's style that I dress her in. I have been moving towards more leggings and jogging bottoms and less dresses because of the crawling, but now Daisy is upright for most of the day. I have been going for darker colours because so many of her clothes have become stained where she is a messy eater (but feeding herself) even with a bib.

I have bought Daisy new clothes, but I do back up my supplies with as much second-hand stuff as possible. At a carboot sale, I would pay 20p for a vest, 50p for a babygro, top or bottom and £1 for a dress or jacket. Snowsuits are worth £2 to me and I normally stick to these prices when buying. I also sell for what I would be prepared to pay and this seems to generally be the going rate for baby clothes. So with this as a guide, I actually did really well with my bundles! I received 71 items and I broke down my purchases to se if it was good value to me:

10 x vests = £2
4 x babygro = £2
29 x tops = £14.50
20 x bottoms = £10
4 x dresses = £4
1 x cardy = 50p
1 x jacket = £1
1 x snowsuit = £2
1 x knickers = 20p

This little lot would have cost me £36.20 at a carboot sale, but I got it for £20! There was a massive saving here and there was only a couple of tops that I didn't like (leopard print is too old for a 1 year old in my opinion) which I will carboot myself and probably easily sell.

Daisy has had new sleepwear recently and other bits and pieces and we will buy her some nice outfits for Christmas and obviously her new shoes in Clarks very soon, but when she messes up her clothes so easily, I am so glad for clothes just for playing in. When I was a little girl (and for my own children), you had clothes for best (visiting family etc) and school uniform and clothes for playing in. You had wad we called 'scruffs' for playing outside in too. It didn't matter if these were ruined because they were 'scruffs' and that was what they were meant for!

I think I'm getting the balance right for clothing Daisy without breaking the bank.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Friday, 1 November 2013

A Simple Tea...

Hi everyone!

Thank you for your comments, kind and loyal considering my gap in blogging. I would be lying if I said I was back on track (even more trouble as expected) but I am trying to focus on the simple things that make me happy. One of these is food! 

Daisy has been off her food for a while because of illness and teething, but she does love what I call a 'gravy dinner'. Yesterday I made the most simple of mince dishes - mince in gravy. It was plain, easy, simple, but really tasty! Daisy ate quite a lot which makes me happy too.

I browned some mince with a chopped onion, added a sprinkle of parsley and a little water to prevent it from sticking to the pan. I made up some gravy (we use Aunt Bessie's gravy granules because most others contain milk!) and stirred that in. I left it to simmer while I boiled some potatoes. I served them as mash (OH is much better at mashing than me and adds dijon mustard...yum, yum) and peas and baby corn (frozen veg so quick and easy). It was a lovely tea which I thought would lack flavour, but didn't.

We were full up for pudding, but Daisy had a treat for eating her tea of soya ice-cream with a few sprinkles and broken up dairy-free chocolate buttons. She ate all of that! The soya ice-cream has real vanilla pods in it and is actually lovely. She is still on her first tiny packet of chocolate buttons, so this was a real treat that she enjoyed...nice and soothing on the gums too.

The crap may continue...but I will try and make things as 'normal' as possible for Daisy (she's 14 months old today!)

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x