Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I couldn't go without writing a Christmas post so here it is.

We are spending Christmas with family which, other than the fantastical weather, is really lovely. 

Chez Hedge are having a homemade feel to Christmas this year. We're very busy so I had to be very organised and prepare in advance. I have been inspired by Kirstie's Homemade Christmas and will say in a quiet voice so that the recipients can't hear (shhh!): vintage teacup candle. Do take a look for inspired and inexpensive gift ideas -- nowadays it's all about spending time rather than money. I have accompanied these with cupcake bath bombs for absolute indulgance. However, no photos as I don't want to give too much away!

I will however post a photo of the stocking I have made. I didn't want to give away LO's First Christmas babygro from last year (ooo, all sentimental now), nor did I want to leave it in a box somewhere to gather dust, or take up essential space. So, I downloaded a stocking outline from Google Images which I used as a template for the shape, then found some left-over gingham and wadding from a previous project, a friend's old top, a bit of ribbon, used the babygro to make a toe and cuff, and here is the result.

I'm quite pleased for a first attempt at making something without a pattern. And for free!

So, tip of this week is to re-use and up-cycle old baby items to make something useful to keep.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and, to pinch a phrase from Vivien of Holloway who sell beautiful vintage inspired clothing: "that your stockings be full and your puddings fruity!"

Monday, 3 December 2012


What to do with all those beautiful pictures your little one has been painting?

Of course the 'firsts' and the best should be kept, but we can't put them all in a box to gather dust.

I read about this idea before starting this blog and unfortunately cannot remember who it was that should be credited (sorry). Can I still use the baby brain excuse at 13 months? Technically he would have been 8 months when I read it so surely it must be ok!?

Anyway birthday 'thank yous' required so (sorry for the spoiler as I haven't put them in the post yet) time to glue those pictures onto a blank card?

We didn't have enough paintings either so out came paint, sponges and glitter and had lots of giggles. And some wrestling too - apparently paint is tasty!

So there you have it, a mini Picasso. One tip with three benefits: an activity with your child, a way to keep your home clutter free, and reasonably costed greetings cards. Oh, and very happy recipients too - everyone loves a piece of your little ones creative exploits.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Save a Life for Free

Gosh is it that time already?
This is what I find myself saying repeatedly these days, and here I say it in relation to a rather long gap between postings. But the exciting thing about that is that I have been exceptionally busy having interesting times. We have just had a wonderful weekend with family where LO was spoiled rotten, awarding giggles and drool-filled kisses to his entertainers, inspiring them to keep up the good work. Having pointed to a painting, and seen two real live horses today, it seems that LO now calls horses Gary, but that is a story for another day...

This blog will be about what I did last weekend -- as in the ethos of this blog, it was free. But more importantly, I think as many people as possible should learn what I learned.

Last weekend I learned something that I hope I will never need to know.
I went on an Emergency First Aid for Babies and Children course. The piece of mind this has given me is second to none although I do hope I never need to use it. The course is run for free but, those of you who can, please leave a donation and feel comfortable in the knowledge that you could have saved a life.

Delivered by cheery Alan, a first aider with experience spanning from keeper of Victoria Park to Great Grandad of 13 (I hope I remembered that correctly), and the accolade of representing the Red Cross at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, the session was presented with ease, making it bearable for those who may be affected by what is a potentially emotive subject, especially if like me your emotions have been on red alert since conceiving and you have had to give up TV for the risk of blubbing at every seasonal-themed advert.

We all mucked in, even trying out a defribulator, but despite our best efforts, none of our plasticated models came to life. Actually I'm quite glad of that - a Steven King novel this was not! This hands-on approach made for an easy way to remember the techniques, which are actually very easy.

I can 't stress this enough, please do check it out:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy Halloween

or Samhain to those of you who are pagan. We had a lovely day yesterday, Daddy carved a pumpkin and the wee man has spent most of the time pointing at it and saying wow! He is currently trying to make trumpet noises by blowing through the cut holes (I should point out that it is no longer lit)!

Good news, I should have my phone back at the end of this week which means lots of lovely photos for the blog yippee! LO was dressed as a vampire in his tuxedo babygro and one of my scarves as a cape - quite the charmer, we might need to do a re-take. I must say the tux babygro has been a favourite - we can drag it out for any occasion from birthday bash to Chicago gangster at a murder mystery party, and now dracula. It has no feet so has lasted far beyond the age on the label, but best of all it's a babygro, so if you're at a party, there is no need to wake and change him into pyjamas late at night.

So the money saving part of this blog is not a pumpkin soup recipe. I imagine that pumpkins will be getting cheaper in supermarkets over the next week and I am bored of making soup with the innards so sought out alternative recipies. Lo and behold, I found two in one book: the Abel & Cole Cookbook (which came free with a veggie box). A staple book in our family as the instructions are easy and the results always delicious. Although we now get our veggies locally, the quality from Abel & Cole was unbeatable and they have plenty of free and delicious recipes online, so do take a look

Chicken and Pumkin Casserole
This is very easy to make. I'm a fan of 'one pot wonders' - delicious nutritious, feeds masses, and easy to clear up. This one got the thumbs up from the grandparents too. It involved browning the chicken (8 small pieces) and onions (1/2 mug) in oil and butter. Adding chopped pumpkin (or squash - 2 mugs) and carrots (1 mug), stock (1.5 mugs) and sage, and leaving to simmer for 30min. Top with cashews or walnuts and serve with a hunk of bread.

This was followed by a custard pumpkin tart which I served with sweet seasonal and apples.

Of course, don't forget to bake the seeds with just a touch of oil, season with salt and pepper and eat while they're warm and crispy.

Delicious, so get out there and take advantage of the cheaper seasonal produce.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

and so it begins...

I have devoured the library books and hope to remember some of the excellent tips - have a look at where you too can find a whole host of tips from Becky Goddard-Hill, author of How to Afford Time Off With Your Baby. My biggest lesson from her has been to be open about your position and accept help graciously. There will always be a time when you can pay back, and not necessarily financially.

Elen Lewis in The Resourceful Mum's Handbook makes reference to fun free family activities following tradition  - triggering of nostalgic feelings with comforting rhymes and ideas for crafty afternoons.

Ok, so reading is one thing, but what personal adjustments  have I actually made this week? Well I wrote to the grandparents with a list of things our LO will need in the future and asked them to consider these for his Christmas gifts. In a way this felt like swallowing pride, but it was met with a really positive response, making planning so much easier for Grandparents.

My OH took apart an old battered velocipede and fixed it up for LO's birthday. He found some websites which sell replacement parts for toys, a lick of paint, and some patience, and now it looks and works like brand new.

I also got busy with the baking, and made a birthday cake for our LO, at a fraction of a cost of a shop bought one. OK, so I had to buy the large square tin, but this will last for all the birthdays to come, and who knows even for a No.2 or No.3 to come... I downloaded a graphic of a 1 from the internet, printed it off and used it a template for cutting out the cake. Thanks to friends Lorna and Ange for decorating inspriation, and off we go. LO loved joining in with the baking so it provided an afternoon of free entertainment too.

There would be photos of the finished products, but I've had an incident with my camera phone involving lots of water. Hopefully this will all be sorted for the next blog!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

So, here I sit surrounded by goodies from the library and NCT sale.

LO is happy with his books and I am happy with mine (although, I am wondering when I might actually get time to read them). He thoroughly enjoyed crawling round the library and investigating the shelves so we also got a morning out for free! The first of my books is The Resourceful Mums Handbook by Elen Lewis, and the second is How to Afford Time off With Your Baby by Becky Goddard-Hill. I shall get back to you with updates on how I find them.

From the NCT sale we got lots of bargains, and first day motivation and a bored baby kept me to the shopping list. My other half is planning to repaint a velocipede we picked up for the LO's fast approaching birthday.

So from experience, here is the first tip: Always make a list and always stick to it.

Friday, 28 September 2012

So here it goes, the first post!!!
Just a quick one as happens with most Mummy jobs, it's now late...
What an exciting adventure this should be. Step one, off to the library to seek out books on money saving, for free! Oh, and an NCT sale tomorrow.
Night all x