UA-99606640-1Thursday Thought – Welcome to The Frugal Family

Category: Thursday Thought

Miscarriage…
Miscarriage…

There isn’t really a fancy or funny title I can put here, and I only want you to be reading this if you want to, and know what it’s going to be about so anything cryptic would have been unfair. It’s not a nice topic, but it is an important one. I was intending to add it to our Bumps and Babies theme, but that was such a joyus theme it felt wrong to add in there, but as we are now focused on the broader topic of Family Life, I feel miscarriage sits more comfortably here, and it is without doubt a family issue.

I have my own story, some of you will know it better than others, but I wanted this post to be wider than my own personal experiences and so have invited the lovely Rosalind Bubb to give us a more measured support for miscarriage. Here are her thoughts:

How to ease the pain of a miscarriage


Hello, my name is Rosalind Bubb and I’m a therapist. I’ve had twelve miscarriages and no children, but I’m in the unusual position of being very happy and peaceful and well, in spite of all of this.

That’s why I support others who’ve had miscarriages, and also those who are “childless not by choice”. I know how hard it can be. And I also know that there are ways to make it less painful, which are not commonly known about – but unless someone shows you what they are, you just have to struggle through it all the best you can.

When we’ve had a miscarriage it can be extremely upsetting and painful. It can feel as if our heart’s been broken. And sometimes it can be hard to talk about, and we don’t always realise how common it is, or get the emotional support which we really need.

There are 3 things which I think it can be helpful to know about, when we’re trying to recover emotionally after a miscarriage.

1. There’s been research carried out by Drexel University in the United States, into the emotional impact of having a miscarriage. They’ve discovered that most women do not even begin to feel back to “normal” again for a minimum of four months (and it can be quite a lot longer than that.)

I think many people expect that we “should” be over a miscarriage much sooner than this – and if you’re not, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s very common.

2. The same research showed that the intensity of grief which many women experience when we lose a baby can be as strong as if we’d lost someone close to us who’d been walking around in our lives. Again, I think if you haven’t experienced this you might not believe it, but if you have, then you probably completely understand.

3. In addition to these two facts about the length of time it takes to recover, and the depth of grief which you’ve experienced, there’s a third important element which affects how quickly and completely we can recover emotionally after a miscarriage – and that’s to do with just how unpleasant (or even traumatic) the experience was for us.

It’s very common to see and feel some really horrible things, when we lose a baby. And sometimes these memories can haunt us, and make it even harder to put these events behind us. Even if we try to push them to the back of our mind, they don’t always stay there, and they can flood us with grief and pain when we’re least expecting it.

Fortunately, there are tools which we can use to ease all of this pain, grief and trauma – but most people don’t know that they exist.


Although I’ve had twelve miscarriages, I can truthfully say that it actually feels now as if I’ve had none – and I know that that’s a very extraordinary thing to say, but it’s true. They no longer cause me any pain or regret, and I actually no longer wish that it had turned out differently – and this is why I support others.

I use two very powerful and gentle self-help techniques, to help you to change the way you feel. One of them is EFT “tapping” (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and the other is TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique.) These two tools are very simple and effective, and you can use them on yourself, any time you want to ease the pain and to feel better than you do now.

If you would like support to feel better after a miscarriage (no matter how long ago it happened) I can help you in two different ways. I do individual sessions with people, wherever they are in the world, using Skype and Facetime. And I also have an online Miscarriage Support Program, which allows you to feel better at any time of day or night, from the comfort of your own home.

Please go to my website www.miscarriage-support.com and I invite you to download my free Guide, “9 Ways to mend your broken heart after a miscarriage”.

And if you have any questions, or would like an informal chat about how I can help you to feel happier and more peaceful after a miscarriage, please feel very free to be in touch. I would be delighted to support you.

Thank you very much for reading this, and I’m sending you love and warmest wishes,
~ Rosalind xx

 

Personal Perspective

Statistics tell us that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage – sadly the odds were higher in our experience, and I have needed help and support from wonderful friends, family and I made use of the excellent Miscarriage Association in the UK. It is something that so many people experience, and yet something that most of us still don’t feel at ease to discuss – and I have no idea how men deal with the issues (that’s a whole different post…). It is desperately sad, and while I’m happy to discuss it or answer any questions I still don’t really feel like writing about. I will always be ‘one short’ and I’m welling up right now just thinking about it…

 

I guess I do need to join Rosalind’s group!

Frugal Father’s Day
Frugal Father’s Day

How to have a Frugal Fathers Day… it can be done x

So we managed with the Mums to have some thoughtful and inexpensive ways to say I Love You – and now it’s Dads turn, you will see a theme no doubt and a few freebies as well x

Here are 5 frugal ideas for thoughtful, personal gifts:

1. Do a chore instead of them, you can do it yourself or ask a friend or even pay but think of a job that dad does which isn’t his favourite thing and give him the week off.
2. Have his favourite dinner, drink and pudding. Even if no one else likes it.
3. Use our free Winner Certificate to celebrate an important man and their contribution.
4. If you have children in the family use a free download from Mrs Mactivity to make a card or gift.
5. Arrange a meet up with their friends. Men are generally not as good at keeping in touch with friends as women, you could book a free online meeting, send a text to all go to a certain pub or café or arrange invite them over to the park. This could be a whole family event, or just a Dads Night Out – but be led but what they would prefer not by what you would normally do!

If you are going to buy a gift, consider getting something that’s meaningful or useful, or an experience rather than an item – just because it says Dad on it, doesn’t make it any of those things! Research tells us that people enjoy and feel a real benefit from activities over things… just sayin’.

You could also consider supporting an organisation that supports men? Here are a couple we particularly like…

KINGS Grooming – a wonderful new start up to create ethical and cool products as well as giving profits back to tackle men’s mental health issues. Support their crowdfunding campaign if you’re able to x
The Kick It Out Campaign – tackling all forms of discrimination in football, they have a shop of course!
The Men in Sheds Association – supporting men to find community and activity around local ‘shed’ groups. You can find a local group or set up your own with their brilliant website, you can also contribute to their work.

I can’t have a post about men and fathers without counting my blessings that my own man and father to my kids managed to make it home alive and unharmed from his time serving in the British Army, if you know a veteran or serving soldier that needs support, or would like to help those who do I can’t think of a better organisation than the Royal British Legion. There are lots of different organisations in this field now, and choose what you feel connected to but I love the way the Legion supports families x

Like all of these commercial ‘Days’, we take the attitude that it’s a good thing to have a reminder to celebrate some great people in our lives, if you know of people that might struggle on this day think of a way to support them, the easiest way is to just be open and ask if they would like to meet up or if there is anything you can do to help them manage the day.

If you would like to honour a Dad that is no longer with you there are many ways you can include them in the day, by having a picture of them up for the day, remembering their favourite joke, sharing your favourite stories and memories of them, all wearing their favourite colour or a sports shirt for their team, visiting a favourite place of theirs etc.

If the whole idea of Fathers Day is unpleasant because of a personal situation you can just ignore it all together, take yourself somewhere you are less likely to be invaded by images and adverts about dads and have some time ‘off line’. Or, you could celebrate a male role model that you do admire. You’re the boss.

Sleep Deprivation… and how to cope
Sleep Deprivation… and how to cope

There are so many ways that being a parent is tough, it’s an emotional roller coaster for a start! If you add in some fussy eating or a troubled sleeper your own health and emotional wellbeing can very quickly become fragile. When we find it hard to manage our behaviour and yell or slam doors we can add guilt to the list of things that are not going the way we expected. Our vision of parenthood can take a real knock – and on a bad day, or while awake in the early hours we wonder what on earth we were thinking starting along this road.

The really important thing to remember is that you are not alone, every parent has been at the end of their tether, and most will cross over it many times. It doesn’t make you a bad parent – it makes you a human being. Just the fact you are reading this, trying new things, willing to ask for and accept support makes you a brilliant parent.

Sleep deprivation in particular is a real and daily problem for many parents – your body will often adapt quite quickly, and you may be able to do a 2am feed without really waking up. However if you are woken by a child in distress, who may need to be changed or the bed changed, who may be having a night terror- that wakes you up in a very particular and abrupt way. When this goes on over a long period of time your body and your brain cannot adapt as easily and needs extra care to keep you functioning.

So, what do I know about it? Why should you read this? I have four children, the oldest is just 9. I yell – even with years of professional experience and teaching assertiveness my seven year old daughter can push my buttons with one sentence… I have been frustrated, and I will be again (quite possibly tonight). I also have early risers, one with night terrors and two who have regular nightmares. I also have these qualifications and experiences that allow me to come up with a strategy or new ideas to try very quickly, so my ‘moments’ are shorter and less often.

Children with night terrors are usually still asleep, and despite shouting and all sorts of other behaviour you may not be able to hold them, but will probably want to stay in the room with them until it passes – be kind to yourself and be comfortable. It is a very stressful experience, and they will go back to sleep before you do; anything that helps you to bring your emotions back into balance to allow for sleep is a good thing. You could have a trial with a journal, hand cream, foot rub, hair brush, quick tooth brush, meditation, reading, wordsearch – your bedside cabinet may look like a jumble sale for a while, but finding something that soothes you is like magic fairy dust. You may also think of ways to move your bedroom, or your child’s bedroom around to make this period as easy as possible on everyone.

I’d love to help other parents with ideas that might work for you too… here are just 5.

1. SING – this sounds so frivolous and stupid, but it really can help restore the chemical balance of your system. It doesn’t matter what you sing, with music or not, in the shower, with the kids just release some tension. You can belt out some great ballads, even have a cry – it’s all good for your emotional wellbeing. If you can join a singing group of any sort you may also get an evening out and some social contact which also help to balance periods of intensity at home.

2. EXERCISE – another essential for balancing our bodies. Most important is to aim for fresh air/outdoor activity as much as possible – this is good for you and the kids. The weather in the UK hasn’t really helped with this very much, but as much as possible try to go outside, even if it’s just a short walk or play in the garden. You could borrow an exercise DVD from the library to do with the kids watching or joining in, practice yoga, or just put the washing away and change the beds which is like a marathon in our house…

3. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART – to solve sleep problems in adults or children, you are probably going to try lots of different things, embrace all ideas and suggestions but remember to listen to your inner voice as well. What works for someone else may not feel comfortable for you, and that’s ok. When you are up at night and may feel frustrated try to use your breathing to help steady yourself, deep breaths with a count of five in between. You may also want to totally change things just to see what happens… children change every single day, so nothing you do is likely to be the same forever. Try having white noise in their room, weighted blankets, play music – whatever you try you will learn more and at least feel you are not stuck in your own private Ground Hog Day. You should also prepare for your own needs while up with children, perhaps take up a drink or snack or an electronic reader…

4. EAT WELL – one of the hardest things about our emotions being all over the place, and being tired is that our eating habits usually suffer to. Either we can’t be bothered and don’t eat at all, or are too tired for healthy home cooked options and go for crisps and cake. What your body really needs when it is having a tough time is really nourishing foods to keep it working. On a better day, or on a weekend try to do some batch cooking, so you have some food in the freezer for the week or if you have slow cooker, get in the habit of using that. Then fill up the fridge with snack foods that are good for all of you – fruit, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks etc. For easy meals chuck some potatoes in the oven for jackets, have pasta with a nice sauce – we often worry so much about what the kids eat and let our own bodies suffer.

5. TALK – one of the biggest issues with sleep problems is that in the moment you are on your own, everyone else is asleep. It can feel very lonely. Make sure you take opportunities to talk about your situation, or just to talk in general with other parents. Online groups are amazing and can offer great sources of information and like-minded people – but you also need real contact at toddler groups, other parents from school, support groups, friends, neighbours – whoever you can talk to just to feel human again. If you are up all night it can be even harder to drag yourself out and about, but that is usually when it is most vital – even having a friend over for a cuppa at your place will give you that adult human contact to put the world back into perspective. If you have someone that lives overseas, it may be that they are wide awake eating dinner when it’s 2am here, if so they can be a great resource for you x

Not everything works, or is possible, for everyone but you do need to prioritise your own health so that you can do all the things required of you to be a parent. Use your support network to help you, if you don’t have a support network then get working on creating one! It might be much more valuable for you to have a sit down and rest and don’t change the beds this week, or make the packed lunches the night before so you can have a shower in the morning?

If you are in a relationship you also need to consider the impact that disturbed sleep patterns and exhaustion might be having on you both. That’s a whole new article, for now just remember you are a team and need to feel that way about each other… We have a whole section on Relationships on our Frugal You page if you feel that would be useful – remember these days don’t last forever x

The Dating Game…
The Dating Game…

This is a tricky topic for me as I’m clearly no expert (having been with the same partner for over 20 years) and when I was dating there was no internet!! BUT I am an expert at human relationships, managing self esteem, being assertive, positive thinking and most other healthy mental exercises required to put yourself out there in the dating world. I would really value your comments so please add your pearls of wisdom and experience.

Ethical Dating

Firstly you have to meet someone, and I go on a lot about the importance of knowing and being able to express your VALUES – and when meeting new people you are much more likely to have a positive experience with an element of shared values, so looking in areas that you are more likely to find those shared values is a good place to start. If you do prefer the online route to view and read about a person before you actually meet them, there are a number of internet dating sites that profess to be attuned to ethical or environmental people – here are a few to get you going.

www.greensingles.com
www.naturalfriends.co.uk
www.ecolovers.co.uk
www.ethicalsingles.com
www.green-passions.com
www.greenlovers.co.uk

Some sensible guidelines when meeting people you don’t know for the first time: (talking for hours on the phone or texting still isn’t ‘knowing’ someone x)
  • Meet in a public place
  • Let someone you trust know where you are and agree if you will text them or they will call you to check in
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have credit to make calls
  • Make sure you have enough cash for a taxi or whatever you may need if you choose to leave
  • If meeting up in a large group, discuss the plan and make it clear you may leave if the group decision isn’t something you want to join in with
  • Of course you want to look your best, but remember that you also want to be a bit comfortable and be able to relax a little!

 

If the online thing isn’t for you, there are a number of group dating businesses that host dinner parties, days out or theatre trips where people meet in smaller groups with a shared interest. You could arrange this yourself by spending time doing the things you really enjoy and meeting people socially perhaps via volunteering? There are also holiday companies for single people and organisations like Gingerbread – who specialise in supporting single parents with finding a new partner, or just socialising at all.

Essentially, unless you fall in love with the person who delivers your post – you will need to go out and meet people to find one of them that makes your tummy go gooey.

The hardest part of the whole process is finding out if you make them feel that way too.

It may be that you need to actively put yourself in places where you are more likely to meet like minded people – but still being an honest and authentic person you will need to have  think about a creative way to do that. For example, if you love Italy, have been there many times and love the food and culture then maybe taking an Italian evening class would be a good idea? You will learn a useful skill for yourself and are likely to meet people that also love Italy – some of whom may be single… You could also look in people’s shopping baskets for ‘dinner for one’ type deals and stalk them, but that doesn’t seem as healthy…

 

We’ve created this infographic to give you some starters with the dating world, making sure that you remain open and honest – while also keeping yourself safe and sound.

 

 

Frugal Dating

Once you have agreed to meet up with someone you then have to remember your frugal values and goals. Make sure you are clear from the outset about whether you are going to ‘go Dutch’ or buy your own tickets to the cinema etc. It’s nice to be treated, but you may also want to have enough money with you that you can pay your half or the whole amount should you or they run out!

If you are on a strict budget it’s much easier to be up front about that, and offer ideas that you are happy with. Some frugal suggestions could be:

  • a picnic and walk
  • visit to a museum or gallery (especially if they are free)
  • using a Groupon or other  voucher for a meal or experience
  • Just having a drink rather than a meal – meeting at different times may help
  • finding a free local event like a fair or outdoor cinema
  • borrow a new outfit rather than buy one
  • use memberships you already have – a trip to the gym, a National Trust visit, a discount code or just a free drink in Waitrose!

 

Dating should be fun and if you do meet someone you want to see more of, that’s a very exciting time. If you are genuinely happy on your own that’s fine too. There is not just one perfect person for you, there are lots of people you could be happy with – the most important part of the whole process is that you have to be happy with yourself (mostly) first. If we don’t believe ourselves to be essential nice and loveable we will be inherently suspicious of people that profess to love us – because they must have something wrong with them! I have a video going up tomorrow all about this and will link to it from here as soon as it goes live x

Wishing you happy times ahead.

 

 

Spring is Here!
Spring is Here!

It’s with great excitement that we are launching our latest e-book Spring Into Action. Just like Winning At Winter it is jam packed full of brilliant ideas and inspiration to have the healthiest and cleanest year ever. There are 48 pages of useful and practical tips including:

  • Sleep support
  • Seasonal Recipes
  • Gentle cleaning – including a cleaning game!
  • Self Care tips
  • Spring Reads
  • Tutorial to make a bag from old jeans
  • Gratitude Journal

I’m really proud to be working with Less-Stuff, Vicky Meyers Creations and Candida Mum on this series of seasonal books, and at just £6 they are an absolute bargain. Grab yours in our shop x

Don’t Panic!
Don’t Panic!

Easter School Holidays are upon us (at least here the in the UK they are!) – they are a difficult one to plan as the weather at this time of year is a bit unpredictable. It could be anything from glorious sunshine (friend of the frugal) or knee deep in snow – this year the forecast is for the cold stuff…

This can make 2-3 weeks off school hard to plan and prepare for. Here are 10 suggestions that I hope are worth your consideration…

 

  1. Visit to a car showroom, lots to look at and ‘play’ with ahem…
  2. Continue your love affair with a local library
  3. Visit to the toy shop (bear with me…) to make a Christmas or birthday list. Mine love this – you give them a pad and pencil to write down the names of things they love, and then in the car on the way home they give the list numbers so most wanted is number one etc. For some kids you could let them take photos maybe? You can also grab any free catalogues or similar and make a collage list when you get home. Supermarkets are good for this as well, and you can grab some bread and milk while you are there.
  4. Wrapping sessions, we try to get gifts for friends and relatives organised in advance and then have a grand card making and present wrapping session on the table, works for us.
  5. Indoor challenges,  – try making an assault course, playing traditional games like pass the parcel (with toys they already have or sweets/treats from the cupboard) or musical statues. If you have older children you can try a board game or jigsaw day
  6. Cut up any Easter egg boxes, wrapping paper etc so you have a collection of pictures you can then use to make a collage. You are likely to have things related to farms and Spring so use that as your theme.
  7. Plant some seeds. This is a good time of year to grow things indoors, easy options could be cress seeds, sunflower seeds and beans. Watching things grow is always such fun and you can sneak in a bit of science too… 
  8. Hunt the ______ games aren’t just for Easter! You could cut up the letters of their name and hide them around the house. Or cut up the favourite characters in a TV show and they have to find the whole gang.
  9. Collections… these are actually a real pain in the neck as we end up with bags and boxes of weird things we can’t identify all over the house BUT they do keep kids occupied for quite long periods so probably worth it. You can take a walk in the woods (don’t forget a thermos of hot chocolate or soup if it’s cold) and collect, pine cones, seed pods, sticks, stones, feathers, leaves etc. Try not to pull blossom off the trees!
  10. We have a free download with a week of kids activities you can print off and use – just follow this link and add your email address x
International Women’s Day!
International Women’s Day!

Yeah! Women are Great! or are they?

As Germaine Greer so amusingly noted the Pie got a whole WEEK of celebrations, so maybe pies are better than women – or men…

I do find celebratory days like this a bit odd. I love that it’s an opportunity for everyone to discuss, investigate, learn and lift up women – to celebrate their contributions in all areas of life and throughout time. That is a good thing. What I’m not so keen on is the need for constant defining and separating of the sexes, because frankly some women are horrid. Some men are horrid too, and some are amazing and inspirational. I’ve found over time that none of these personality traits – humour, kindness, empathy, compassion, learning, teaching, strength etc come from gender, but from the individual. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

What I do love about this particular day is the chance to reclaim lost history – as an historian this is one of my favourite things to do. Outside of The Frugal Family I do a number of talks to groups in my area on women’s history, military history and some frugal and environmental ones too x Because men have written most accounts until very recently, there is so much of women’s history that has been lost and I feel that loss. I could write a whole post on some of the amazing women I have ‘discovered’ and share, which would be like writing an essay (which I love!) and probably a bit niche!

Instead I’ve decided to share some of the women that have inspired me personally – my ‘go to’ people when I need something I can’t always define…

 

Mother Teresa

If you have been following our daily theme Wonderful Women you will already know my admiration for this selfless woman. I find I can just look at our painting of her and feel myself calming down, her quiet and peaceful compassion was so profound. I’ve always been quite annoyed that she died the same day as Princess Di as I don’t feel she ever got the full recognition that her life deserved.

 

 

Hannah Snell

This is one of the women from my talk – she disguised herself as a man to join the Army. I doubt you have heard of her, but she lived to be 108! and had the most extraordinary life, sadly it is a very distressing story  – but I admire her incredible spirit and determination. When I have a feeling that I can’t go on in a situation – I think of Hannah and remember I can do anything I choose.

Octavia Hill

Yes, I also do a talk about Ms Hill! Another extraordinary woman, working for change and supporting women during a lifetime of compassionate and considerate change-making.

 

Maya Angelou

It’s no surprise really that a young girl with an activist nature who loves to read and is introspective should fall in love with Maya Angelou, and I’m not alone in my joy at her writing and her legacy. What I always found so compelling about her was that she continued to move forwards as she had a genuine desire to learn and teach, rather than a need to be successful in a specific way. I admire the energy required to be a truly inquisitive person, and I aspire to always be interested in the world around me and keep up with changes and movements rather than just settling in a comfort zone.

My Mum

We are actually quite different people, and of course your mum always drives you to distraction more than anyone else! My mother is a woman of enormous generosity, who is the most creative person I know and has given me so many of her skills and passions (as well as her toes and voice…) not forgetting of course that she gave me life itself – and there is no greater gift. I love her heaps – and now I’m a mum of determined and wilful girls I have come to have an even greater respect for her. When I was 11 my mum went back to college, to study for her degree. It was hard, and stressful and I have always been so proud of how she overcame all of the obstacles to become a teacher a little later than planned. It’s such a shame that teaching has lost so much respect as a profession and she retired earlier than she would really have liked as the role became over worked and under appreciated. When I decided to lecture I was sure it would be to adults! We are not a very demonstrative family, so I have probably never told her any to this…

 

My Girls

Of all the things I worried about while I was pregnant I never really considered the pressure of being a role model – of leading by example and being your best self at all times. I’m not very good at it. My kids often see me cry, hear my frustrations and I’m sorry for that, however, I hope as they mature (as I have done in my understanding of my childhood) they will see that everything I do is in the hope of being better, of doing more, of teaching them all they need to know, that they will see the depth of my love and awe as I watch them grow and change and fill me with such wonder. The challenge to be a great mum, to show the value we place on education, love, compassion, understanding, the environment and conscious living – as well as attempting to ‘do’ and not just ‘say’ is the most exhausting thing. Of all the challenges in my life parenthood is by far the most difficult! But I love that when I get a moment to reflect on it, I can see that is has also given me a million opportunities a day to be my best self, the honour of raising these incredible (and infuriating) four people is quite breath-taking. I look at the strong and independent women that my girls have to look to in their family, the stories they will hear of the extraordinary and everyday achievements from both sides of their great grandmothers and beyond and I know with those genes they really could take on anything.

 

 

 

Who are the women that have shaped  you? And who are the women you hope to influence?

 

Mother’s Day Musing
Mother’s Day Musing

So, this is a tricky celebration – firstly it’s held at different times of year in different countries (more on that later) but also it can be a very volatile subject for those that are not mothers but who would like to be, those who have lost children and of course those who have lost their mother… it can be hard to celebrate something, knowing how hard it is for others you know and love. However, I do like the opportunity that many ‘event’ days give us to share kindness, affection and celebrate goodness so here are some thoughts on Mothers Day…

HISTORY

In the UK it is historically known as Mothering Sunday – and this wasn’t to do with your actual mum, but your mother church. On the 4th Sunday of Lent you would visit the largest or ‘mother’ church in the area (this goes way back to the 16th Century), it then slowly joined with being a day that young people who were working in service could go and visit their mother and perhaps take a small posy of flowers, or a piece of cake. Mothering Sunday then became a day to celebrate your mum.

Over in the USA a totally separate non-religious celebration invented in 1908 by Anna Jarvis to celebrate the role of mothers. It was signed into the calender in 1914, although Jarvis later started a revolt against the commercialisation of the day, feeling it had lost all the genuine affection and moved to something you could just buy and not really think about in depth. Jarvis saw no need to buy anything for Mothers Day and led the boycott of cards and chocolates for the day she had created!

So the two versions of Mothers Day have morphed a bit, despite having vastly different histories. I would agree with Anna Jarvis, that a day to honour any woman that has given time, inspiration, care, love and probably blood, sweat and tears into the lives of others is a good day. I also agree with her that there is no need to spend money buying things when you can tell her you love her in many other ways.

HOW TO CELEBRATE ON A BUDGET

* One tradition from the Mothering Sunday in the UK was to bake a Simnel Cake – this was a real treat during the restrictions of Lent, it’s a fruit cake with marzipan – yum. Download a recipe and either make a cake if you have time or just chat with your mum about her memories of Easter celebrations.

* Make a card, it seems too easy but mum’s really appreciate if you have taken the time and care to create something just for them – if you are not confident with your artistry then print off some really special photos for the front.

* Make a photo collage, you can choose lots of special times, or just the two of you or a theme or whatever – they make great talking points.

* Go for a walk together, to an old haunt or where you used to live or just to a nice park. Time is precious.

* Take her breakfast in bed, this has become a bit of cheesy one and most mums are probably up first! However, this is the day you can embrace the cheese, maybe think of a real favourite breakfast or come up with something new…

* Give a gift of time, commit to visiting (if you’ve left the nest) once a day/week/month depending on your situation, if you can’t visit then consider the help technology can offer – can you call, Skype, FaceTime, Message etc.

* Flowers are lovely but don’t last very long, if you do want to buy a gift think about a living thing that will last forever, maybe name a tree in their honour if you can’t plant one in the garden, or buy a miniature rose that can stay indoors for a long while.

* If you have a skill you could upcycle something they need, refurbish something they love, or make an item yourself that will mean the world.

* Ask questions about her life. Everyone has experienced their own unique version of events, so even if you think you know everything about your mums life I bet there are a few funny stories or childhood memories still to be uncovered. This shared history is a great way to really connect with people. Even very young children enjoy hearing about the ‘old days’. My kids cannot believe that when I was small there were only 3 channels on the TV and the telephone was attached to the wall, and I’m only 42

We have some FREE gift vouchers to download in the shop if they might be useful… I’ve left them deliberately very blank so you can really use them for anything, they are A4 size and should fit into a DL envelope x

Share the love with a mum that may not have her children around, maybe visit a friend that you know struggles at this time, or take a box of biscuits to the local residential home.

In the year that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, it seems a particularly important year to celebrate all that women bring to the world, and this is just one day to remind us to do that. Hope you can enjoy it x

Plastic Be Gone!
Plastic Be Gone!

As promised here is the second instalment of ideas for making small changes to the plastic coming into your home and life… just four easy to do things that will have a big impact over time and if we all did these things the change would be much faster. If you missed yesterday’s four ideas you can find them here x

I’ve been reading today that the British Government is calling for a ban on plastic straws – I’m happy that they are beginning to consider all these issues, but hope that this (very easy and free for them) quick fix is the start of something rather than the end… we shall see.

If you need some ideas for places to buy some of these items – we love the multi-coloured stainless steel straws at EKO they also have reusable cups (they have a discount on our membership directory if you haven’t joined yet). We also like to shop at www.ethicalsuperstore.com – and are looking at their affiliate program!

Plastic Fantastic?
Plastic Fantastic?

There is so much information floating around (a bit like all the plastic…) about the massive and complex problem of single plastic use and disposal… to be honest I got a bit overwhelmed and distressed. Watching Blue Planet I found myself so upset that it was immobilising, but then you feel as if nothing you do will help and consequently end up doing nothing.

Of course the reality is that we can ALL do SOMTHING that helps, but they will be small changes to our everyday living, and most of us with families and sleep deprivation and pasta to cook will have to slowly and carefully make our changes bit by bit. What I hope this site tries to show is that this is a totally ok way to go about things – making life long realistic steps in the right direction is great. You are also having an impact you may not even realise by role modelling to your children, neighbours, friends and family. When you make change, and are positive and happy that message gets sent out into the world, and the impact is like a ripple on the pond.

We have created this infographic this morning – to give just 4 quick fixes you can do TODAY to reduce your plastic consumption and use. There are lots more you can try, but let’s just start simple and move on up! I will add another 4 to try tomorrow, and then we all have the weekend to try things out.