Norfolk based Mum of 3: J, D & PND trying to Keep Calm & Carry On

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Laundry Day...

So being ill for a week or two has left me with mountains of Laundry. Having had a browse on the Old Style Forum on MSE I found a way you can cut down on the price of Washing Powder.

I can't find the exact thread but here is the "recipe"

Home Made Washing Powder
1 kg Soda Crystals (90p)
1 kg Posh Washing Powder
1kg Economy (own brand) Washing Powder

I've mixed mine in a large washing powder carton so it's easy to store.

You only need to use half the amount you used before.

You can also use White Vinegar as Fabric Conditioner which I have done before - forumites tend to say 1 or 2 tbsp is enough. The vinegar & soda crystals soften the water & prevent limescale in your washing machine too so it will last longer.

Hubby likes the smell of fabric conditioner so I compromised when shopping yesterday & bought some of Asda's cheap stuff.

First wash is in I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Colour your 5 a day

Found these great charts on Netmums - scroll down to "5 a day food charts". DS1 has chosen a veg patch & is highly enthusiastic about colouring his in but then he eats more fruit & veg than anyone else! Not sure there is much point in printing one off for DS2 as he is such a fussy eater - he basically survives on bread, bananas & milk. Have added dried apricots to the shopping list today as he eats raisins he might like those too. Hoping hubby will realise we need to up our portions - yes he has one to fill in too.

Off to the Library with DS1 for some 1-1 time as a treat & cheaper than buying books- one of my weaknesses! We will be looking for some on allotments, craft & eating on a budget aswell as some different bedtime stories & of course a DVD which will probably end up being Batman! 6 bags of clothes to take to the charity shop - had a sort out & there are some things I will never fit in again (how was I ever that thin) and some of DS2's which he has outgrown.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Ok so not the most inpiring blog title but how do you find this period of time inbetween Christmas & New Year?

Having been ill (again) over Christmas I've had a head start when it comes to considering the usual New Years Resolutions
- cutting down alcohol intake
- eating more healthily
- doing more exercise - ok so I need to work on that one!

I'm starting early this time & mine include:
  1. More quality family time - With funds being increasingly tight in our household, rising prices, the recession, appliances which keep going wrong, a house which needs almost everything doing to it & an empty oil tank, honestly I could go on...anyway my point is we are certainly going to have to be more creative when it comes to doing things together. DS1 has got into the habit of expecting treats all the time & it's something that we can't afford to carry on - instead of "material" treats I'm going to try & be more organised with my own time so rather than doing jobs/housework I can do X&Y with him instead.
    It's also struck me that I only have DS2 at home for another 1 1/2yrs which freaks me out for 2 different reasons - he is showing no signs of being ready for potty training & DS1 starting school at 4 yrs was too early for me & truth be told I'm still adjusting to it.
    Considering we live 20 minutes from the beach it's quite shocking that we haven't been for over a year - we have so many beautiful places in nature on our doorstep & we will be resolving that this year!

  2. Thrift - I have always been drawn to the 40s & 50s: the way of life, Make Do & Mend, the fashion & the strong sense of community in wartime Britain. This year we'll be looking to start an allotment - I have no idea how we will do as we can't even seem to sort out our own garden! Also I'll be experimenting with as many money saving ideas as possible inlcuding nagging my family to turn lights & electrical items off when not in use to Martin Lewis' Money Mantra which you can print off his website for free. Unfortunately I tend to indulge in retail therapy when I'm feeling down so this will be a challenge!

  3. Eating Healthily - & on a budget. I'll be trying my best to go back to meal planning like I did pre-kids & using up what we have in the cupboard, making bread & cooking things from scratch more often. Making sure that hubby & I are getting our 5 a day & cutting out fat where possible. Hopefully there will be some fruits from our labour on the allotment .

  4. Less PC/TV - I honestly can't figure out why we pay our TV license at the moment. It's either depressing soaps, cop shows (which aren't remotely interesting for obvious reasons) or shallow reality TV. I keep an eye on the news but generally find it so depressing I don't watch it much. Social networking/internet can make you think you "want" things you will never need or that other peoples lives are much more exciting than yours, people don't call each other anymore & there can be a pressure to keep up with the Jones. Sadly some people who don't have the excuse of engaging in Social Networking don't keep in touch. Life is short - do what makes you happy & care for others!

  5. Exercise - Ugh, I've already lost my enthusiasm since writing this bullet point - lets call it a work in progress... I'll definitely be able to fit in some family walks & a spot of Zumba if I try hard.

  6. Be more organised - My lovely Dad has bought me another Dairy Diary for Christmas this year which I have already filled with Hubby's new shift pattern - so much easier to plan ahead already.

  7. Me time - Somehow I AM going to work in some me time. Hopefully being more organised will enable me to structure my time a bit more & have less guilt about doing something for myself even if the dishes/whatever is piled up. The last 4/5 years have centred around Hubby's rubbish shift patterns. A big part of me really misses having a purpose (my job) & using my brain but as hard as I find being a stay-at-home Mum, (I'm sure I'm not alone in it driving me crazy on occasions) I think I've done a pretty good job of bringing up my boys.

    When I started this blog it was suggested that I call it "Tales From the Ladyshed" - hopefully after all this hard work my ambition of having my own studio in the garden will be fulfilled but for now I need to get my homemade self into the back bedroom & get my creative self motivated. My wonderful friend Marion Barnett aka has written a book on the subject & as her slave I mean apprentice I got one. So this is where I'll start Finding Your Creative Focus

& now for the Spiritual bit...

I am feeling much better (PND-wise) recently & looking back over the past year I can see how much we've grown as a Christian family. We've personally experienced the power of prayer & nowadays rather than worry about things I put it to prayer instead. My anxiety is much less. It's amazing the path God takes you down. Often people come to God when going through an extreme low - it was after being in the depths of despair around a year ago, that a door was opened through our awful experience, we prayed our way through it as a couple (even though Hubby still had doubts) & were given the opportunity to get close to God again. We went on the Alpha Course & had an amazing time at Newday. Since DH & I got married we've attended a few different churches but none have felt just right - like we fit in - we've been welcomed with open arms by our new family Dereham Wellspring Church & its beginning to feel like home. Despite the shifts we're both looking forward to Cell Groups & getting to know the church family better & Hubby is looking to get a date in the diary for his Baptism!

I think that some of these resolutions will help us "obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

Sunday, 30 October 2011


So I signed up for Blogtoberfest (during which I was supposed to blog everyday or at least try) & have not blogged - whoops! Oh well "ne'ermind" as my 2 yr old would say. One of the unspoken symptoms, if you like, of depression is taking too much on - & I can identify with that - knowing you want to help & contribute to the bigger picture but not allowing time for bad days & unexpected events - more recently I have been suffering from migarines . I guess this shows I have been thinking more positively recently as I have not been expecting bad days!

Trying to fit too much in & expecting too much from myself appears to happen quite often. Luckily I have a wonderful support network around me, including 2 of my closest friends who seem to accept me whether I am having a bad day or not, whether I can face it or not & who I can always turn to. & I am very grateful for them. Acceptance can become a bit of a myth when you tell yourself you aren't as good as others or need to try harder & be perfect, as you always feel as though it's you who is falling short & letting everyone down.

I feel I have taken a bit of a risk writing this honest post but I have always worn my heart on my sleeve & those close to me knows my face always gives away what I'm thinking ;-P I hope this encourages others with Postnatal Depression to be a bit more open & honest with those around them. If you are suffering or know someone who is there is a fantastic piece on Netmums of what others can do to help - supporting sufferers.

Depression IS an illness - it's not something you can snap out of so it's vital that you look after yourself & mind & body. Get some rest - look after yourself - if Mama is happy - then everyone's happy - do what you gott do to survive.

My mantra at the moment? Walk in Victory :-)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

What next?!

So today has officially been ONE of "those" days....especially in a parenting sense. My eldest started school at the beginning of September & after a week or so of full days we are all starting to feel the strain. Everyone is tired, he is tired because of school, youngest is waking everyone up at 6am or earlier, hubby is working shifts & I, well I have gone a bit nocturnal - too much Twilight perhaps?

From carrots being dropped down toilets to soil being thrown onto a tent, boys "sword-fighting" with bamboo poles, a sugar fuelled birthday party & endless requests for the tv to be turned on, (er no the sun is shining get outside!) we seem to have had it all this weekend. Including one of the boys contributing to my beloved laptop being dropped on the tiled kitchen floor.

Floor 1 - Laptop - 0

Sad though it is, I'm a bit heartbroken - it is my love & joy - my connection to my friends (facebook is easier than texting when you have no signal) & I love the fact that anything I want to know I can look up instantly & I love love LOVE window shopping on t'internet. I'm not sure what the prognosis is - more will be revealed tomorrow when Hubby gets back from his knee X-ray post night shift - ouch! As for me & my nocturnal habits, well I'd like them to shove off really. For the past 4 weeks I have been walking round like a zombie. I just can't seem to sleep. I'm not even tired enough to go to bed, then when I do I just can't drift off. Tried counting sheep, a bath, a milky drink, a notepad to write down any thoughts - truth is it's probably my brain's most productive time of the day - peace & quiet - but I wake the following morning feeling like I've had 10 bacardi & cokes & 2 sambucas. It may have something to do with the fact my anti-ds have been upped but probably more likely is to do with my eldest starting school. Another contributing factor is my frustration that during the day I don't seem to achieve anything without getting interrupted (by all the men in the house) & come evening I am too tired (from not sleeping the night before) to engage in any me time.

As I write this (& it feels good to get it off my chest) I am sat in my room - which I never get to use because of the aforementioned reasons & it has become a dumping ground. Nevertheless it feels good being shut away from the rest of the house in my space - although cluttered (I have a sewing machine between my legs aka Richard) it's cosy & uninterrupted which is what I need right now. Maybe the laptop falling on the floor wasn't such a bad thing? It's got me up here in my space & it's about time it got sorted & achieve something! I've joined the Blogtoberfest which is a bit ambitious but a challenge.


ps. my haircut got cancelled again - it's shoulder length now :-)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Busy Mamas need H2O

If like me you find it hard to drink water (eeeurgh yuck boring), or even to find a chance to sit down & have a drink of any kind try making it a bit more exciting. Kids will love to help make it & drink it too!

Apple Mint Cooler

Fill a jug with water until 1/2 full with water
Add a 1/4 of a jug of apple juice
Take a sprig of mint (freshly picked from the garden if possible), bash with the side of your hand & pop in the jug.
Cut a lime in half, add a slice to the jug & add the squeezed juice from the remaining lime to the jug.
Fill to the top with ice & enjoy!

You could use different citrus fruit, juices & herbs.

Friday, 26 August 2011

& the rain rain rain, came down down down... rushing rising riv'lets....

Supposedly myself & the boys are enjoying the "Summer" holidays.

We had a fantastic time at Newday & to start with the weather was Scorchio, but it didn't take long for the traditional British Summer to breakthrough & test the most seasoned campers. Luckily we found our tent to be watertight during this adventure which was our first camping experience with the boys. The subject of Newday requires a much more detailed post when time allows & hungry toddlers are not demanding "something else to eat". Not only did my husband become a Christian but his knee was healed aswell! An amazing miracle as it had not been healing as it should following what we were starting to think was unsuccessful surgery. For now here is a great summary video made by the Youth camping in our area. I urge you to watch the video to get an idea of what our week was like, it would be great to see some more people we know there next year. Much fun was had by all. ps. The retro orange windbreak is ours!

So today it is raining again & according to the calendar it has been for the past few days...hmmm bored whingy toddlers, stuck inside - want something very cheap to do and very easy to make?...

Homemade Playdough

1 cup plain flour (Poundland do measuring cups in fluorescent colours)
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsps cream of tartar (very important don't leave out)
1 cup water
few drops food colouring (optional)
few drops flavouring/essence (optional)

- Put the flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar into a large saucepan.

- In a jug mix the food colouring & water. Add to the saucepan and stir well (I use a whisk).

- Put the pan over a low heat and cook, stirring (I swap to a spoon now) CONSTANTLY until the dough becomes stiff. (Mine normally starts to bind into a ball.)

- Take the dough from the saucepan & leave to cool (warning it will retain it's heat for a while). Then knead until smooth.

Et voila! This dough will keep for several weeks in an airtight container/cling film, freezer bag.

You can get some great playdough tools/toys but use your imagination & look at what you have lying round the house. Here a are a few ideas for you to try, please comment if you come up with anything else!
- shells
- childrens scissors
- pine cones/leaves
- cookie cutters
- drinking straws (DS1 likes to make holes in the dough & then squeeze it out)
- paper cake cases (DS2 likes to make pretend cakes for Nunny)
- make pretend food
- drive toy cars through it

more rainy day activities coming soon

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Whats in a name?

About a year ago I set up this blog & had completely forgotten about for the hair I grew it out & am still trying to grow it. But anyway onto my first "proper" blogpost.

What’s in a name?...Chatelaine

Translated from French “Wife of the Lord of the Castle.” I’m a great fan of historical fiction, period dramas & jewellery (amongst other things) and so when I discovered what a Chatelaine is I was inspired to research, write & create. But what has jewellery got to do do with the Wife of the Lord of the Castle? For those of you who know me, you will know I am incredibly adept at losing things, keys, handbags, purses, bank cards, permission forms, children...ah not quite managed that one yet. A Chatelaine is a fairly modern name for Equipage...

Practical but usually decorative a chatelaine is worn/clipped at the waist giving the lady of the manor access to the essentials needed to run a household efficiently. The object evolved from being a practical group of tools used by Anglo Saxon women into a fashion item which gave an indication as to the status of the wearer. Particularly popular during the 18th & 19th centuries useful articles would have included:
- keys to the pantry/jewellery box, cabinets etc.
- magnifying glass
- notebook
- perfume bottles
- rosaries
- sewing implements including scissors & needlecases
- watch
- nail file
- pocket knife
- seals

These were given as a wedding present from a husband to a wife in an era where sewing & embroidery were an important part of a girls education. The apron is having a revival right now & I’d like to see these make a comeback too. If there is a way we can make being a housewife/Mum easier I’m all for it!

Want to have a go? Online tutorial – how to make a regency chatelaine

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for various vintage bits & pieces to make my own Chatelaine. In the meantime try searching google images to get an idea of what they're like.

What would you have attached to your Chatelaine to help you today? Comments welcome...