Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Austerity motherhood

Last week, I saw a woman putting a BRAND NEW IRON into the tip. If you can afford to do this, you have too much money. But aside from that, what a waste of resources! It got me to thinking about how leading a greener lifestyle can also be good on the pocket, so I thought I would compile a list of day-to-day things I do that are green and moneysaving.

1. Walk whenever possible! I never use the car for a journey that can be walked. And when I do drive, I use the cruise control and try to drive as economically as possible. Again, if you tailgate, slam on the brakes, tailgate, slam on the brakes - you have too much money to spend on fuel!! I also reverse into parking spaces (because the engine is already hot and it's easier than backing out when your engine is cold - apparently.) I learned that with the http://www.iam.org.uk/ whose membership also saves me money on car insurance.

2. When we're at home, the McBaby uses reusable nappies. He has just grown a size, so look out for my ad in the NWN for his last set!

3. Freecycle or eBay for baby clothes. The McBaby seems to be growing before my eyes. I bought him a sunflower the other day so that he can compete with it to see who gets to 6ft first! There's just no point spending lots of money on new clothes he'll wear once!

4. I cook more than we need and freeze anything we don't eat for another day. I also ensure several things are cooking at once. We had someone over for lunch today, so while I cooked some salmon, I also made a cake (made out of semolina instead of flour as I mistakenly bought about 70 bags of semolina as I thought it was pasta!). We never, ever, ever throw away food in this house. Never.

5. I reuse paper, junk mail - even envelopes.

6. We grow our own veg. Let me rephrase that: We TRY to grow our own veg!

7. I never use plastic bags. It amazes me when people use bags and throw them away. What a waste of resources, including, crucially, oil. These are usually the same people who complain about the price of petrol! I take my own reusable bags and ask for "green" points at the checkout. Likewise, if we have the misfortune of going to that supermarket with blue and white stripes, I recycle our cans there for the "green" points.

8. We don't shop hungry. Or we use Approved Foods www.approvedfood.co.uk which is an amazing online resource.

9. I make packed lunches for MrM. Apparently this creates a saving of £960 on average per year.

10. I use FB to contact family and friends overseas.

11. I always round down my bank account. So if there's £48.98 in there, I'll put £8.98 into savings. Weird, but it works. And you csn tell at a glance if money is going in and out.

12. I am too stingy to include a 12th.

What are your moneysaving tips?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Baby-led weaning

Just come back from a visit to the health visitor who weighed the McBaby (he's just under 20lbs) and gave me some advice about baby-led weaning as I'd mentioned that I'd been giving him some real food and that he'd been scaring me by gagging on it.

She said to keep trying. But what she didn't mention was that her colleague was just about to give a talk on....baby-led weaning. It just so happened that we went to the Wednesday playgroup and someone happened to ask if we were staying for the talk, so we hung around, uninvited.

The talk was very useful, comprising a DVD and then the health visitor (who was the spitting image of my lovely friend Badger) answered questions. It seems very strange to me that you would give a baby (with no teeth) a parsnip and then leave them to get on with it, but it seems to work and it gives them the scope to explore texture and flavour. Just no nuts, honey or shellfish in the first year.

One of the mums and I then retired to the park with a sandwich in a seemingly peaceful spot. There was a reason that the crowded park was empty in this one place. A group of chavs to our left decided to spur one of their number to run around the park with his dog screaming "F***ing friend". (I believe it's from the Inbetweeners www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YdbGSIujBM ).

He ran within inches of the McBaby and I several times, prompting someone to shout "Keep your dog away from babies!" across the park. To which he barked "friend" at them repeatedly. The sunshine seems to do weird things to us Brits.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Last week

This past week the McBaby and I have mainly been:

-Checking out new playgroups

-Continuing the clear out! Another boot sale should do it!

-incredibly interactive with other babies. I swear that they can understand each other. When the McBaby literally reached out to another baby and the two of them held hands and cooed at each other, I may (may!) have cried a bit.

-rubbing cream all over the baby so that people have been commenting that his head looks much better.

-been kicking myself for not making the most of two opportunities that came my way. Kick, kick, kick.

-sitting in the garden enjoying the good weather and occasionally jumping up to weed or paint something before giving halfway and sitting down again. The lawn is much taller than the McBaby.

-disappointed in a couple of friends. I don't make friends easily, so when I trust people enough for them to be my friend, I am loyal and reliable. A couple of people haven't responded in kind, so I have pulled off the ultimate punishment - facebook defriendment! It feels good to declutter on there - highly recommended!

-doing freelance work! So refreshing to be talking to adults again!

-deleting our selling accounts on eBay and amazon. The postage is against us and dealing with idiots is just too time-consuming and sould destroying. Which leads me nicely onto my last point

-weeping whenever I speak to West Berkshire Council's parking department. I used to think their job was to ensure parking was administered fairly in the district. I know realise their job is too make it is difficult as possible to park outside your house if you are a law abiding taxpayer and have a pushchair and a heavy baby to lug in.

-eating too much cake. People say you put on weight when you have a baby. This is nothing to do with childbirth; it's because you eat so much cake at playgroups and coffee mornings. Burp!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Pineapple cake

Over the past week or so, the McBaby has sobbed his heart out every time I've had the audacity to put him down.

"You're answering the door? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

"You're driving somewhere? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

"You're making a cup of tea? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

So the item above is a pineapple cake that I made WITH ONE HAND.

The recipe is here: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5562/pineapple-upsidedown-cake

Any other one-handed recipes welcome!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mother and child space

My first time in a mother and child space!

Although I do remember my mum suggesting a couple of years ago, that since she was my mother, I could park in one of these spaces...

In other firsts, my attempts to cook when the McBaby is asleep are improving. I had time to cook a dish called "The priest fainted" or "imam bayildi". He fainted because it was so delicious, not for the usual reasons people faint when I cook. It's a vegetarian dish made with aubergines.

The recipe is here:


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Jabs - part three

Jabs again already! Month four, so the poor McBaby had to have three injections this morning. I hate these, as most mothers do. He cried three times, as expected. But after a couple of seconds, he produced a beautiful smile for the nurse. I don't think I would have done if she'd just stuck a needle in my thighs three times!

Since I am not a fan of visiting the surgery, a point proved when one of the receptionists was unnecessarily sarcastic about not being able to find the McBaby on the system, we also saw the GP to see if he could do anything about the McBaby's itchy scalp. He's driving himself mad and scratching his head to the point where it bleeds. Normally I put a hat on him, but since we were going to the doctor's, I thought I would let the air get to his head.

This led to a woman in the waiting room pointing out a scratch on his head to everyone at the top of her voice as if I had done it or as if I were unaware. I am always disappointed when I expect people to be discreet, but to have someone be so tactless in a GP surgery was a new one on me.

ANyway, the GP has prescribed antihistamines for the McBaby which somehow I can't bring myself to get from the pharmacy. I know I asked for help so it seems silly to refuse it, but the McBaby is such an alert little man that I don't want to give him medication that will make him drowsy.

Of course, I opted for the inappropriate joke ("But he won't be able to drink alcohol!") rather than voicing my concern or saying that I'd hoped to be given some cream or a referral to a skin specialist, but I think the GP is now wise to my silly sense of humour and made us an appointment to see another doctor at the same surgery who is a skin expert and is set to take a look at the McScalp.