Day 4 of No Spend

So I’ve stayed true to my word so far; but let’s face it we’re only 4 days in and my amazon basket keeps sending me notifications.

I have resisted so far. Go me! Keeping busy and removing those ever so tempting “get it in the next 20 min” apps from my phone to keep me on the straight and narrow has helped.

My car already had fuel in, so we felt no guilt in taking a little trip to the Dales at the weekend to blow away the cobwebs. And my goodness those cobwebs were certainly blown away. We set off in brilliant sunshine, one small dark cloud looming in the distant. We saw rainbows. And I mean multiple rainbows, so vivid too. Then that dark cloud continued to double in size and kept growing till the rain made an appearance along side the wind just as we parked up in Burnsall.

Burnsall sign posted.

We walked up to the church and tried to find my great grandmother’s grave to no avail, and Hubs and I took turns using my new camera. Got to admit, he’s got a decent eye for a good landscape where as I prefer portraits so far. But I am very much still learning. As you can tell from my failed attempts at a Robin, could not get a focus on it. But, hello bench right!

Delilah got too cold despite being layered up and complained the entire time we were there. She is literally the coldest little person ever, two pairs of tights that girl had on under lined wellies as well as the rest, and she was still too cold. Then she got home ans was inevitably too warm to striped off and watched about 7 minutes of a movie in her knickers before getting bored again. Arh, the life of a 4 and a half year old.

I wasn’t going to, but hubs took a really arty shot of what he thought to be a post box. Turns out on closer inspection, flicking back over the photos it’s actually a dog poo bin. Couldn’t help but have a giggle at that one. Here it is, in all its Yorkshire Dales glory, the poop bin!

Anyway, totally off topic there… my initial plan for this update was to share my meal plan and a recipe, but I’ve actually not decided on how to share my meal plan; in the sence of what format. Because I literally just take a pen and scribble it on a bit of A4. It’s not very pretty, but it serves me well and I write my shopping list from it too. And I totally forgot to take pictures of the meal I wanted to recipe for you, so while I ponder out that one for the next post, I thought I’d share something else.

Since the new year, and in the spirit of self improvement I’ve been looking into gratitude and manifestation. Starting with being extra grateful for what our lives are currently blessed with, and so far I can tell you I love the way this makes me feel. For no other reason, other than chasing that inner excitement, please give it a go. I’m pretty sure I’ve barely scratched the surface with what I’ve read and watched so far, but anything that makes you feel relaxed and happier in the moment I’m all for. Ill keep on keeping om with it qnd see how it goes. Loving the idea of a New Year full of self improvement. Or just in fact any self improvement; and I’m feeling its about time I find myself again after being a hermit and using the pandemic as a good excuse to hide away.

Time to find my best self I think. Anyone else feeling all good about ’22 yet? I’m feeling ’22 because it’s a bloody good number – my birth date too, must be lucky.

Thank you for sticking it out this far, its great to have you here.
L, xox

The intention: No Spend January

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that it’s a year full of love, health and happiness for you. We hope you’ve had a brilliant Christmas and Santa delivered everything you wished for. My two (and me) have been spoilt and got to spend some gorgeous time with our family too. We’re feeling blessed.

Oh how can it be over so soon, Delilah?

I have mixed feelings about 2021. I mean another covid year for a start, but it gave me my wonderful son. So who could be happy to say goodbye to newborn days, the new baby smell and all the newborn cuddles? But besides the loveliness, there’s been some moments I’m happy to be leaving behind in good ole ’21.

My little Euan boy

With January 1st comes the refreshed hope for the new year and version 6.8 of our best selves. And for the last few years I’ve not taken part. I’ve well and truly left the resolution making to the well meaning and permanently optimistic among us. I’ve honestly not made a single resolution, for at least three years, because I’ve given in to the forgone conclusion that by the 8th I’ll be no longer doing my best or chasing the resolution. On lucky years, I have probably last till about the 23rd of the month max, then those old habits have crept back in.

This year however, I thought I’d give a no spend January ago. Its only and month, that’s simply 31 days to not buy anything absolutely necessary. So here’s the plan. Pay the bills, meal plan and stick to a list for shopping, and anything apart from the essentials will be staying in the shops while my pennies stay firmly in my own pocket for a change. Anything saved from this endeavour will be planted into savings.

I intend to meal plan weekly, I’ll share my plans as I do them. They’ll be in keeping with slimming world and family friendly meals so I’ll link any borrowed recipes and share any I make up too. Weekends we will utilise local haunts and free things to do, packing picnics and snacks if the rain holds out or we find indoor picnic spots.

Ideas for no spend incoming!

I’ll be plotting out my incoming and outgoings for the month with you, which I know will be tight as I’m currently on maternity pay, coming off that and going back to work which will leave me brassic for a week or two because where the mat pay stops and my wage starts there’s a lull in the middle. This will actually be the first time I’ve ever committed to a no spend month, and I know my bank account will be looking forward to it. I’ve always found money difficult to manage and talk about(I’ll go into why another time), but I’d really like to change that this year.

How about you? Will you join me? Have you done a no spend month before? Do you think I’ll stick it out?

Love and best,
L, xox.

National Breastfeeding Week; Our Story so far.

Euan is sixteen weeks this week, and our breastfeeding journey started a few moments after he was born. It’s luckily been, after his initial weight loss, a pretty straightforward journey. Not that it particularly felt that way at the beginning.

I am, as you know a second time mum this time round but it made me none the wiser on breastfeeding. Delilah never took to it, she had a tongue tie and due to not holding out in fear of her losing too much weight I took to pumping and combi feeding for her. Pumping lasted 6 months and then it became too time consuming along with everything else I was trying to do at the time.

This time, I had read up a whole load, I was so much more determined and I knew it was a normal occurance for a newborn to lose some weight a few days after birth (because these are the things they don’t tell you before you have babies). Euan was pretty easy to latch, we didn’t struggle but despite this being the case and havijg our latch checked by every midwife we saw, he lost 9% of his birth weight over the first 2 weeks. We were referred to “the feeding team” who failed to help in the slightest, not even a phone call. It was suggested that I use formula to top up initially to get his weight in check, this bothered me no end. It was however the right thing to do for my boy to help him get started.

Along with pumping after every feed, topping him up with the expressed milk and one bottle of formula every day, we managed to get on track but the help and support was somewhat none existant. Hubs bought formula and heavily suggested to go that way too, which killed me inside even though I knew he meant well. Failure this time round was not so option in my head, so I battled it all. Even my grandmother who had 2 kids herself bluntly ask “why the bloody hell are you doing that?”. I’m still met with “well how long are you going to feed him” to which I now simply say un-flustered, “till he decides otherwise”.

Being stuck to the sofa for weeks with our newborn schedule was tiresome but I was so determined not to give into the formula pressure from all sides. I just knew it wasn’t the end of our journey, I knew formula wasn’t right for us. And because of that I will be forever proud of us for sticking with it, the lack of support has been the hardest thing to get through. For a community of midwives, Dr’s and health professionals I was perplexed at how easy it was for them to all say “formula” despite me being so avid about breastfeeding.

Dont get me wrong, I’m on the side of “fed is best” but I was 1000% sure I wanted to breastfeed my son, so the lack of guidance or help postpartum has been diabolical. Maybe it was just because of lockdown? Postpartum care in fact has been lacking. As an individual I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer with any baby blues or depression despite having a history of mental health issues, but one phone call asking “how are you” in regard to the purely physical aftermath is not enough.

Why are we not looking after new mams?  The lack of care for us mums after this monumental change is possibly the most shocking thing. We’re checked up on at regular intervals over our pregnancy, yet as soon as baby is born we get one phone call and no further check ups. What has your experience been like with postpartum care? Was it the same as mine? What’s your postpartum story?

Going back to breastfeeding, we’ve hit leap 4 and I’m not going to lie I’m finding feedingbcrazy tiring. Euan constantly wants to be feeding. He will not nap and it’s so hard to put him down for even 5 mins. Trying to go for a wee holding a baby is all kinds of hard, pulling up your jeans after is beyond difficult. He naps on boob, as soon as he falls away I’ll try put him down but he will be right awake within seconds most of the time. Mix that with very nearly 4 year old who would like all the attention still, it’s been a rough leap so far. It seems delivery drivers always call when he needs feeding or mid feed too. Typical.

I’d just like to say, to mums (dads) all over, breastfeeding or not, well done! Parenting is hard. Bronze, silver, gold awards for breastfeeding boobies, higher awards or not at all, you are doing amazing things everyday just raising them little humans. As long as they’re loved, fed and cared for you are winning.

I’d love to hear your feeding stories, share them in the comments with us and know that this is a judgement free, safe space.

Love,
L, xox

DIY Jam and a Touch of Green Stuff

I’ve been spending my mornings inspecting my garden veg patch and I take delight in seeing my produce grow. This morning was no different apart from my poor tiny cucumber plant had been munched by some little critter (slugs I expect). So with a quick question to my Facebook gardening community, I got outside dug it out of its little space in the veg bed and re-potted it. Turna out it was far too early to be planting a cucumber outside anyway. Lesson learnt! It’s now safely inside the propagator/mini greenhouse with the hope it might survive it’s near death experience.

Miniature Cucumber plant; clearly the slugs had a party.

Lettuce, kale and radishes are doing pretty damn perfect in the veg bed. The peas are peeping, the carrots have started to sprout, rainbow chard is popping up left, right and centre too. Leeks are few and far between with only about 4 sprouting so far but beetroot looks good at the moment. My chillie plant on the other hand is inside on the kitchen windowsill and it is thriving. It makes me ridiculously happy to see it all doing so well.

Chillie plant.
Red lettuce
Carrot seedlings
Peas peeping

Today had been awfully miserable weather wise. We’ve been tuck inside our four walls, jigsawing and baking. Dee and I made some fruit and cherry scones and some homemade jam. Bit of a use it up/budget bake to be honest but after just paying for our new kitchen (doing a little dance) which has used up our savings entirely we should be watching what we spend so it’s not a bad thing.

The jam was easy. Frozen mixed berries I used about 500g from the freezer along with sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp) boil the heck of it. Mash the berries together a little Take it right up to 105c and then pour it carefully into a pre-serialized jar. We like the seeds in but strain it if you dont, but please be careful as it’s like molton lava when its finished cooking. But yum, how easy!

Mixed Berry Jam.

Happy jammin’

Love,

L, xox

Eternally Formal in a B.O Ridden Waiting Room

Thursday was the day I had to go to The Job Centre to confirm my claim for universal credit (oh the joy). I was dreading this little visit. Thursday was a hugely busy day and this was my least preferred part.

The location – Parking and walking through a down trodden part of Bradford was not my idea of a good time to start off with. The Job Centre is located on Manningham Lane; for those of you who don’t know this part of Bradford I strongly suggest you don’t take a trip there unless necessary. Everything looks scruffy, filthy and well past its best. It’s like the sun got sucked out of the sky and your soul is slowly being consumed by a black hole that waits and feeds on all glimmers of possibility. I’m so very glad that I had care for Delilah on Thursday, I will aim never to take my child to this soul destroying place.

I’ve only ever been to The Job Centre once before. I felt exactly the same the first time, this being four year ago when I found myself redundant for the first time round. I had dressed as I would for an interview, but most people in the vicinity looked as though they had rolled out of bed and not showered for at least three weeks. People wearing tracky bottoms, looking like they had taken a dump in their slacks and carried on regardless – the smell from some would confirm this to be true. The gentleman who decided to take the seat behind me (we were practically back to back) had an odour so strong I had to strategically place the back of my hand under my nose and over my mouth so as not to breathe in the stench. The rancid smell of body odour was the thing I remember the most from the last time I had to make the visit. The thing of nightmares.

“Stay positive” I kept telling myself “It will be over soon – you’ll have a job by next week” My pep talks got me through the wait as did the thought of the two interviews I would sit that very day. I was feeling decidedly overdressed at the start, but convinced myself that I would never turn up to any interview in anything less that formal business attire and this should not be any different, even though the rest of ‘the Job Centre Crew Massive’ looked like death warmed up. Even the email concerning the time of my ‘appointment’ called it an interview. First impressions are important after all!

I was utterly determined they would not treat like a twirp, and went in ready to fight back and burry the potential insultee with words. The last time I was there I was told I was over qualified so they couldn’t help me. Let me clarify that I was out of work for a grand total of two weeks, and the claim I put in (just in case) for job seekers allowance was rejected because ‘I hadn’t contributed enough national insurance’. This was an absolute joke of a comeback as I have been working and paying national insurance since I was 16. I know people walking straight out of school at 16 claiming everything and anything they could, but I couldn’t even claim JSA regardless of working my entire workable life. Anyway back to Thursday, I was finally called forward (ten minutes later than my stated interview time) and the woman who I sat with was lovely. She didn’t talk down to me which was my major concern and led me through what would happen after going over the obligatory security details.

As we were sat discussing the bits we need to, there was rather a large hoo-ha outside the neglected building we exist in. As in noise, plus police sirens. Well that was comforting – at least there was police sirens. The woman turned to her co-worker and said “wonder what drama we’ve got today?” I’m sat there thinking that that statement means it happens on the regular and I would rather be almost anywhere else but here. She swiftly bid me farewell after that exchange and I cautiously left the building feeling pretty relieved that this particular interview, in this particular place was over.

Walking back to the car, I had no desire every to step in that hole again. As I drove off of Manningham Lane, the darkness lifted and the sun peeped through the grey clouds. The sun was magnificent, all ready for my interviews that afternoon and evening.

Job interview #1. Yes, this was just outside central Leeds. I’d planned where I would park, drove there with plenty of time to spare. The car park I had planned to park in was rammed. There was no way in hell I was getting in there. So I Google mapped it to the nearest car park. I ended up in Leeds city centre. Which while driving, is my idea of hell. I am far too impatient and full of road rage to deal with a city centre I just don’t know – most especially on my way to an interview. I spotted an on street parking spot, abandoned the car and threw money in the machine.

I set of walking. This idiot had only parked a 25 minute walk away from where I was interviewing. Would have been okay, but my little detour into the city had cost me time. I had 17 minutes to walk a 25 minute walk. I called and let the appropriate parties know, but I hate being late and having to follow Google maps on foot is stressful. The clock in the top right hand corner of your phone screen getting ever closer to the time you are supposed to be there, the map counting down clearly outside the time scale you should be working to. The walk was allllll up hill, and I’m not even talking a little hill. I’m talking like a really steep hill. The kind you would cycle up if you were in training for The Tour De Yorkshire. Realistically I should have grabbed an Uber to my location to save me the stress, and by the time I got there I felt like I had lost 90% of my bodily fluids. I never sweat, I sparkle. I had a very sparkly face. I was completely blessed that I had thrown flip flops in my bag as well as wearing heels. Flip flops were my saving grace at this point.

Got to the entrance of the building I had been told to go in. There was only a bunch of construction stuff going on right outside it. I couldn’t use that door. I walked back on myself to the last door I saw, threw on my heels and started to wander the corridors of a huge, huge building. I was so in the wrong place. I talked to some guy behind a desk who looked at me as though I had just landed my spaceship on his cat, but he managed to get a hold of the lady who was interviewing me even though it seemed like I was in the entirely wrong place. Once in the company of the interviewer things looked a little brighter.

SO as you can tell, this particular part of Thursday was highly eventful, and it all happened before 1pm. I was so very pleased to get home to Delilah. I missed her the entire morning I was gone. It felt like forever being so away from her. The latter half of the day went swimmingly with no mishaps or parking errors getting to the second interview. Here’s to next week when I should know how it all went in their opinions.

XOXO, L