Do you remember a time before credit was freely available? A time without IKEA? A time when people would (quite often but not always) make things for themselves instead of buying them?
Does it feel that long ago? Perhaps just 12 or 15 years or so, cheaper clothes and furnishings were only just entering the UK marketplace.
What were you doing then? I was finishing school, starting Uni and actually clubbing
(now that feels a long time ago).
For the purpose of this post however, that time doesn't feel that long ago, although so much has changed since. We can buy THINGS to suit our homes
, lifestyle and interiors relatively easily and cheaply.
However, what about the special things, things of enormous sentimental value? Are we likely to hold onto bought 'things' as much as we are own-made?
My mum recently gave me these beautiful napkins, embroidered by my grandmother* about 80 years ago
. 80 years! I cannot imagine store bought napkins being kept and treasured for that long.
In 80 years, will my grandchildren say;
"Granny bought these out of Asda when she was just 22! A pack of six for just £3 - just look at the detailing..."Possibly not.
Now, I'm not a Crafter. I'm really not - as mentioned in a previous post,
I just don't have enough perfectionism in me to be impressed with what I make.
Having said that, what makes these napkins even more special is that my grandmother made them before entering the competitive, creative world of the WI. Consequently, they are not as 'perfect' as her later creations.
The tiny imperfections make the napkins seem more real in some regard - something that I will bear in mind when trying to make something which turns out a little (ahem) less than perfect.
Will it be worth the effort, considerable swearing and moodiness? Who knows, yet.
I will try though. There is something so very lovely about having something that someone of importance to you has made
. It can't really be said the same for Asda napkins, can it?
Watch this space. Or come back in a few weeks to see some properly paltry evidence of crafting.
*My grandmother passed away 10 years ago this year, and was very curious about what the internet was for and what it could do. It pleases me greatly that her handiwork is now on it.
| |This post has been brought to you by Kateonthinice's Grooving mums initiative, where she encourages women to take on new challenges and add a bit of oomph to their lives.As crafting is way outside my comfort zone, this is a big one for me. Oh heck.
Something's been bothering me lately.
Every January, the television becomes a buzz with this year's must do activity advertising. Detox post Christmas, diet post-Christmas, get a 'new (shaped) you' this new year.
Of course, it's an ad agency's best time of year to advertise their lifestyle products, when people are keen to make new year's resolutions and fresh starts.
What bothers me about them, is the cyclical nature of what the companies are offering. Dieting post Christmas? Sounds good until Easter comes. Then, there's always their diet plan
to fall back on in the run up to summer holidays. What about then slimming down again to fit into your Christmas party dress?
It's not that I'm against people loosing weight and becoming healthier (that would just be silly) - it's the way it's marketed to us.
What the cyclical campaign undermines, is a woman's innate 'awesomeness
,' a concept championed by an American website - Pigtailpals
. It's a view of feminity that the author hopes her own daughter will espouse, instead of the appearance-based, consumer-based feminity on offer in the media at the moment.
Broadly speaking, this view of feminity is based upon a belief that no matter what you look like at any given time, no matter what weight you are, you are actually pretty awesome. Awesomeness doesn't ebb and flow with the seasons (or more for that matter, advertising campaign schedules). but is constant. The trick is remembering that.
What bothers me most about these January 'Detox Lose Weight Become Incredibly Glamourous THIS YEAR' adverts is that it can undermine a woman's confidence
and belief in her own 'awesomeness,' possibly when she's feeling a little shaky, all in order for us to put our un-manicured hands in our purses.
As for feeling awesome, I hope you are if you're reading this. Just look at what you have done, and what your body can do. Pretty awesome, no? The best bit - you already have it, you'll always have it and it's totally free.
There I was, innocently examining the goodies in the reduced section of Co-op this week. Cut price chicken - kerching! A rare treat indeed (chicken is normally outwith the bounds of our budget).
Reduced Rolo yoghurts? I don't mind if I do, thank you very much.
There I was, the very essence of Grooving Frugality, a spring in my step and yellow reduced stickers in my basket. That was until Co-operative Radio began playing the new Westlife single.
As I'm married to a Sligo man, I am banned from taking the mick out of Westlife. "They are good lads. They look after their mums." I bet they do.
However, when it comes to choosing songs, by jimminy they don't half get it wrong sometimes. Clutching onto my cutprice chicken, I began a little snigger at the lyrics:
"You're the light in the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark,"
"You're the seat in the paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark..."
Am I, Shane? Am I really? To think that anyone could come and park their bottom on me is not such a compliment, surely. It continued:
"You're the ligheethouse, you're the ligheethouse to me..."
I'm sure that's all well and good, but what woman in her right mind wants to be compared to a looming, shapeless, object, visited by men starved of female company? Why do they sound like they're being goosed, mid sentence? By this time the full on giggles had erupted.
"You're the port in a storm.."
Oh please. Any port in a storm, is it, Shane? You sure know how to make a girl feel special.
Wiping the tears from my eyes, I had a few concerned looks from fellow shoppers. I adopted a look of 'it's just so moving' as I couldn't possibly have explained the mascara running down my face without losing the power of speech.
It may be one of the worst songs ever written, but it provided me with a laugh that I would gladly have paid good money for. At least as much for cut price Rolo Yoghurts.
This post was brought to you as part of Kateonthinice's Grooving Mums blog hop.
This week, Kate wanted us to indulge in a little laughter therapy, so thank you Westlife for providing the goods for this week's hop.
Did you know that Kate will be featured on Netmums shortly, as a guest blogger. Keep an eye out for her - she's helping more and more women find their groove every day.
A couple of weeks ago, you may have noticed a blog post on mammasaver about Toddler Sleep Problems and the Solihull Method
of helping parents through sleep training.
It was part of kateonthinice's Groovingmums blog hop, where Kate is encouraging you mums to do something new, take care of themselves and generally inject a bit of 'Vim' into their lives.
As it's been a little while, I thought I should update you on our progress thus far. Before I go any further, I'm sure some of you will be asking:
"What has sleep got to do with money saving?"
The answer, to any Questioning Quentins, is that sleep deprivation affects every aspect of your life
, really and truly. You can be as frugal and determined as you possibly can be, but if you're sleep deprived, your budget can quickly be busted by ready meals, expensive coffees (to keep you awake), poor meal planning and generally going for the easiest (often expensive) option out there.
Anyway, the sleep training has been going well. Our little lad still wakes at 5am, and screams his head of until 6am, but this is major progress.
When you consider that he had previously woken every two hours, it is nearly miracle territory we're experiencing.
That was until we had two days of relapse to previous sleep behaviour. We stuck to our guns, and he is back to his new, sleepy routine.
The morning after the first relapse, I sat upon the bed with our little lad, just having waved mr mammasaver away to work. I was exhausted - heavy, slow, easily muddled. Part of me even slightly dreaded the day ahead
, knowing that it would be an upward struggle from the word go.
Then it struck me - that had been my life for the past 18 months. Each day, facing an immense struggle to keep going for our little boy, to provide stimulation, food, structure, clean nappies... all on broken sleep and for all of 18 long months.
Along with the struggle came an immense feeling of guilt
that I wasn't 100% fun, exciting mamma all of the time. All of my energy went in to trying to be just that while he was awake, and trying to find ways to save money when he was asleep. To say that I was tired was a little bit lacking in accuracy.
However, since I have been getting regular sleep, lots of things have changed:
- I have baked. BAKED, for goodness sake! It was a disaster, but gave it a go anyway.
- The daily chores aren't so much of a grind any more. This is a big change.
- I feel alot more capable, less worried, more relaxed.
- I don't feel so overwhelmed with ridiculously small tasks.
- Our meal planning has improved, and with that our finances.
These improvements are substantial. It got me thinking about sleep deprivation and how little attention is paid to it, in the early days of parenting.
Our ante-natal classes were purely focussed on the 'get the baby out' scenarios, and did not mention anything about how serious the effects of sleep deprivation are.
I understand that it comes with the territory of having a baby, but the lack of awareness of its effects is surprising, considering the detrimental effect it can have on a family.
Have you had any experience of managing sleep deprivation? What advice would you give a new parent? Please comment below.
As part of Kateonthinice's #groovingmums blog hop last week, I wrote about theeffect of having little sleep has on your groove.
As you might recall, I mentioned that our little lad had not slept through the night in all of his 18 months.
This was making a big dent in my ability to think straight, act with any real impulse, remember things, budget properly, relax easily... I could go on.
Extensive sleep deprivation is an evil, evil thing. Operating through a fog of tiredeness (despite my best efforts to avoid excessive tea drinking),
there was no way on earth that I could honestly try and get any sort of groove, or life about me without sleep. Things had to change.
Last Friday, the mammasaver household implemented sleep training. Not just any old sleep training, but the Solihull Method
Espoused by our excellent Health Visitor, this method is simply controlled crying. Where it differs from any of the hundreds of other sleep training methods out there, is that instead of focussing on what you need to do with your child, it concentrates on supporting the parent/carer through the implementation of the training.
Recognising that our little lad wakes in the night due to habit and behaviour, rather than need, and being prepared enough (through rest, good food and girding my loins) to resist his requests (screams) to be nursed, has resulted in him sleeping through to 5am.5am!There is still some work to be done to get him to sleep to 6 or 7am, but I cannot tell you what a difference this extra sleep has had on me.
It has only been a few days, but I already feel less overwhelmed by tasks (big and small), feel more 'matter of fact' and less muddled and have even tackled some filing that I had left for far too long. Previously, that would have just been too much to contemplate.
Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Filing? Too much to contemplate? I know. I sound like a big jessie.
However, with such little sleep, you just don't want to spend time on such things. I am absent minded by nature, but little sleep has made me into an absent minded person drowning in things 'to be done.'
So much so, that before we leave the house, my little lad looks under the cushions for keys/bags/shoes saying "No, no, no."
Maybe, just maybe, I might be able to get more sleep. Maybe, I might have energy to do things regularly - like the recycling. Are you knocked off your chair with anticipation yet?
Watch this space...As part of the blog hop this week, Kate has asked that we 'embrace the spiritual.' As a non religious person, I prefer to be thankful for the people around us (and for those that we miss, too).This week, without the support of family, friends and our health visitor, we simply wouldn't have been as successful with the sleep training and I wouldn't be feeling so much better. Thank you!This post comes with a disclaimer: now that I have written about how well little lad is sleeping - HE WILL DECIDE NEVER TO, EVER EVER AGAIN. Shucks.Did you come through sleep deprivation awfulness? Post a comment below on how you are, or are not managing:
Read more about my #groovingmums quest here by clickety clicking here.
A little late this week, I shall once again be hooking up with Kateonthinice's fantastic grooving mums blog hop.
Kate has put together a community of women from all walks of life who are trying to get their groove back after having children, and supporting each other in the process.
As the mammasaver household's perennial state is one of frugal thriftiness, my contribution to Kate's blog hop focusses on how to do this without spending alot of money.
You may recall from last week's post, that mr mammasaver started his new job. This is a blessed relief for us, but also means that he will be working longer hours, and will have less time at home, helping me and entertaining our little lad.
To most, this would seem a little bit of a shame perhaps. However, our little lad has not slept though the night since he was born, 18 months ago.
As I look after our little lad full time, I also take care of him overnight, thus allowing mr mammasaver enough rest for work the next day.
However, with one day less rest and help for me, this means that unless we do something to address our sleep problems, only more problems might spring up. This means that any quest for reclaiming any sort of groove would only be transient without getting enough sleep.
Enter stage right, our rather fabulous health visitor.
By now, I know that controlled crying is the only real, clear option for helping our little boy to sleep through the night. However, this is not easily achieved when you're so exhausted through months of sleep loss, that you'll do anything, ANYTHING to get the precious few hours that you might get through rocking/nursing/cosleeping.
Our health visitor's approach is to address this fundamental problem - and support the parents to achieve this, rather than focus on our toddler's behaviour.
So this weekend, we are turning back the clock, and behaving as if our little lad is a newborn in order to get through the contolled crying:
- Pyjamas at any time of day are to be positively encouraged.
- Chores? CHORES? We are laughing in the face of chores.
- Splitting everything we do and making sure each other feels supported.
- Avoiding - at all costs - the temptation to embark upon a tiredness competition
This may not be an inspiring, grooving, skipping, feeling ace grooving mums post, but the idea is that in a week or so, I can properly tackle things again, instead of trying to do things on autopilot constantly.
Watch this space!You might also like:
A tough week | The Dubliners | Getting my Glint Back
Getting your groove back in the wrong pants
A week ago, if you'd asked what I can't do without, it would be tea.
Tea, glorious tea. Baby tea. Builder's tea. Normal tea. Early Grey, Lady Grey, Darjeeling, loose leaf, bagged, it was a staple of my day.
I cannot even begin to think how many cups I would drink (or try to, with our little lad careering around our flat). In fact, I remember referring to 'my rather pleasurable caffeine addiction' on more than one occasion.
A veritable Mrs Doyle, you might say.
However, in the past week, things have had to change. We have had the wonderful news that mr mammasaver will be starting a new contract job (today), for five days a week. He has been working for 4 days a week for months, and so the extra income is a blessed relief, particularly with Christmas approaching.
Yes and no. Of course the pressure of our finances will be lessened over the next few months, but it means that we will no longer have our 3-day weekends together. Mr mammasaver is a terrific, hands-on-dad and helps enormously at such times.
As you might recall from previous posts, I have been getting knocked by tiredness very easily over the past few weeks. We have had to call in the cavalry (granny) and mr mammasaver has even taken time off work.
As things were, whatever we were (or I was) doing, wasn't sustainable, especially with mr mammasaver working more hours.
Thinking of Mishmashmum's
post last week, where she writes about changing her diet to help her feel less tired, I wondered what I could do.
This is where jumping the tea ship came in.
One morning, mr mammasaver innocently asked 'When do you think we might give little lad tea?'
'Not until he's at least 12' I replied, haughtily. 'It inhibits iron absorption and won't help him grow.'
Thereby hitting the nail on the head, my slightly anaemic body was consuming gallons of the stuff.
Reluctantly, I decided that the tea had to go (well, nearly all of it). Two cups a day are allowed, and replaced with a Serious Cup of Coffee in the morning, and herbal tea and hot water for the rest of the day.
The results were as surprising as they were instant: no withdrawal symptoms at all. What's more, I do feel as if a fog of tiredness has cleared. My stomach seems to work better, too. I don't even miss the stuff.
No longer so tired and sick feeling, another massive bonus is that we are saving a fortune on milk. We would consume huge quantities of the stuff in tea, and that just hasn't happened this week.
Over the next week, I'll tot up how much we've saved - it must be close to £5 or £6 over the last week alone. Multiply that by 4, and it looks like this tea strike will save us about £20 a month. Not bad!
As I'm sure you'll be aware by now, this is part of Katethinice's
wonderful grooving mums blog hop, where mothers are trying to reclaim a bit of themselves from parenthood.
As part of the blog hop, Kate asked what groovingmums has done for you.
I guess it's helped me meet and support other mums who are trying to get their groove back in the face of motherhood, and helped me focus on not forgetting to take care of myself.
Two pretty cool things, I'd say!
You may or may not have noticed, but for the past few weeks I have been hooking up with Kateonthinice’s “Getting My Groove On’ blog hop
The idea behind it is that women share their tales of recovering their groove that may have been lost through childbearing, childrearing and everything else inbetween.
In terms of finding your groove on a budget, it can indeed be done. The journey to reclaiming your groove needn’t start with a trip to the shops, as underlined this week in the mammasaver household.
It didn’t take me long to discover that mamma hood, in all of its brilliance, is absolutely exhausting. All-consuming, full on, and all of the time, too.
For an unknown reason (or for not getting a full night’s sleep for 18months), this week I was floored.
Hardly the sound of a grooving mum, you might think. In a way, you’d be right. I have not found a new outfit, listened to great music or rediscovered anything in the least bit invigorating on my bookshelf.
What I did manage was the bare minimum - cooking, changing, feeding Little Lad and lying down. Alot. In terms of 'groove,' let's just say that it was a very shallow one.
Inbetween times, my own lovely mamma and mr mammasaver stepped in to help. Without them, I really don’t know how I would have managed or got back to full fettle.
Not only did they help with entertaining Little Lad and endless chores, but they helped me remember that even in your pyjamas, hair and face most definitely ‘undone,’ the world will not end and also:
- You will feel better
- You will have pyjama days
- You will have outrageously glamorous days
- You will have really cool days where everything goes to plan
- You will have days when nothing works and you find yourself wearing your husband’s pants
Sometimes, you can’t find your groove on your own. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
Is there someone who helps you to find your groove? Comments open and welcome below:
It's been a tricky week.
For the past two weeks, I've been taking part in kateonthinice's Get Your Groove Back blog hop
, but this week has proven rather difficult to function normally, let alone groove.
It all began with our little lad being rather unwell - nothing earth shattering, just a cold that led to a chest infection. This in turn led to a week of very little sleep, and culminated in nursing him so much that being nursed is now his favourite hobby, along with demanding that I sing 'Yellow Submarine' whilst feeding.
Man, it's been one of those weeks.
Have I been grooving? Have I been confidently springing along the road, the very epitome of new found fabulousness? Hardly. I can do a good scuttle though.
Thankfully, things have settled down a bit, and I thought it about time to bring in The Big Guns. For those times when your energy is absolutely spent, when you're too tired to sleep and when you can't say the word 'groove' without dribbling, try listening to the following from The (mighty) Dubliners.
If this doesn't restore the glint in your eye, I can't think what else will. A frankly, gloriously rude song entitled 'Maids When You're Young...'
The words of a young maid, sung by a gruff Irishman - if I say anymore, it really will spoil it. Listened to by our family on long car journeys when I was but a sniffling, this made me giggle as a child and snort as a mamma. Enjoy!
PS the beards are worth watching alone.
As part of the blog hop, kateonthinice
asked about what breakfast preferences. In the mammasaver household, as long as there's caffeine and carbohydrates, we're happy.
The second prompt was 'what would a spin doctor say about you?' This week, I think my spindoctor would be ignoring his phonecalls...
As part of Kate on Thin Ice's
Getting your Groove Back Tuesday, I thought I'd share a way that a frugal mamma can get her 'groove' back after loosing it somewhere amongst the nappies, sleepsuits and sleepless nights.
This can be daunting. If you think of the amount of tasks a mamma undertakes in 24 hour period, you could be hard pushed to find any substantialamount of time that could actually be used as leisure time.
What's more, it is very hard to justify spending any money on yourself when your household is on a tight budget.
However, you have to start somewhere. Often, with the smallest of steps.
This morning, when our little lad was napping, I stood outside in the back garden with a hot cup of tea and took a good old look at how the leaves are changing their colours now that autumn is here.
I noticed the rich rowan berries, the odd squirrel scamper, and heard the trees rustle in the breeze. The air smelt of cold earth, and I could also hear some gentle bird song.
I couldn't see any washing up, laundry to be sorted, or toys to be tidied up. It was just lovely to exist in a garden in the peace and quiet.
If you don't have access to a garden, then try simply sticking your head out of window for five minutes, and listen to the sounds around you. Headspace is invaluable - grab it where you can.
The cost? A cup of tea. The effect? A five minutes of tranquillity, Priceless.
If you'd like to take part in Getting Your Groove Back Tuesday, click here for Kate on Thin Ice.
Would you like to share any tips here? You're more than welcome to post below.