Thrifty Tutorial : Five uses for recycling and reusing wrapping paper

I’m a sucker for pretty paper, if someone’s unwrapping a gift that’s wrapped in lovely crisp paper I cringe when I see them ball it up for the bin! This is one of those occasions when thrift turns me into a total square, but waste not want not is just who I am!

What’s the story with this photo?!

Here are my five uses for wrapping paper!


1) Use for cardmaking supplies

These were made with wrapping paper scraps


2) Whip up some gift tags


3) Make giftbag filler

This is great for slightly crinkled paper that wont do for cards etc, just run through a straight cut shredder!


4) Make gift card envelopes


5) Keep bits for your toddler craft box

I always think, ooh Joss would like that for cut and stick!



This post is linked into Thrifty Thursdays

Eat, Sleep, Play: Unfounded Worries in Motherhood

Yesterday was World Sleep Day, as a mother your usual concern is that you and your family are not getting enough, and the idea that other folks are getting ALL THE SLEEP kills you!


In a previous life I was probably a sloth…


Truth be told, when I was planning my return to work I couldn’t see a way to go back, how could I put a decent day at my desk in after a run of bad nights? Knowing that sleep has a huge impact on my productivity and mental health and my job involves more than just saying ‘pass the damn coffee’ all day I couldn’t see how it would work. But it does, and I do.

This got me thinking about some of my unfounded worries and anxieties as a new mother. Now that I have a rapidly-approaching-two-year- old (RATYO?) my anxieties about “what if…x,y,z” have calmed a lot.

They usually focused around three key issues, Eat, Sleep, Play (see what I did here?)


Weight gain and weaning… I drove myself to despair over Joss’ slow weight gain, when she started to fall off her line in the red book of wisdom I was told to bring her back to be weighed in two weeks. I started to believe that I was somehow supposed to get her to eat more in those two weeks and meal times became awful for both of us, I’d obsess over her food intake. I knew people said “food before one is just for fun” – ITS TRUE PEOPLE!! I didn’t believe this at the time, but eighteen months on Joss has a healthy and sensible appetite, still loves her fruit and veg and once I started to become much more patient we all started to enjoy mealtimes. Most of my fears about weaning were unfounded too, hey look, she’s eating a meal of food like any regular human child, to me it was a revelation that baby led weaning existed, surely it was all about purees and spoon feeding? See this muffin? She didn’t really eat it, but she did mouth it and enjoy sharing a meal time with us, and that was more important than volume at that stage, lesson learned right there!


You don’t need as much as you think you do. Well I do, no really, I do. In the early days once a routine was established about five months into our parenting journey I started to get a bit desperate about sleep, those what ifs? again, what if she wakes really frequently? What is causing the disturbance? Am I getting this routine thing wrong? I started a sleep diary, we learned that Joss has a unique cycle every eight weeks moving from sleeping 10 hours straight to reducing that by an hour a night til we hit on a 4am wake up then increasing back to sleeping ten hours again. Erm, how fascinating, but what would we do with this amazing data we had gathered? Put it into a computer and make her sleep again? It’s her cycle, we learned to live with it, it’s easier when you accept it and know that good days will follow bad again.


The old will she won’t she walk soon? Will she won’t she talk soon? Is she getting the right kind of play? Is it bad that she asks for Tombiliboos first thing in the morning and knows the names of most of the Cbeebies presenters like they’re our friends and family? Again all unfounded worries. All normal worries I hasten to add!

I guess this post is just a gentle reminder to me that phases are just that, they ebb and flow, and to anyone having a wobble, this too shall pass!

Acceptable in the 80s

“It was acceptable at the time…”


Furthering my heading towards my 30s at the end of this month and wanting to capture my childhood in some small way for Joss in the words of Calvin Harris “I’ve got love for you if you were born in the 80s…”


So what was acceptable in the eighties (ok and nineties) then? These are photos of photos, so not the best, but I’m putting myself out there, quite literally this week!

Disco dancing! Bert and Ernie! Amazing outfits! Fringes that start at the back of your head, and more amazing clothing!

More to follow over the next few weeks!

Busy days

This week saw Joss and I take a long walk at the Farm to see the frogs!


We also came face to face with the dino at The Hancock museum


And met up with Hannah and Reuben from Mumsdays for a morning of miaows and awesome mum crafts, Joss didn’t want the mask, didn’t make the mask and didn’t wear the mask but she did eat the biscuits at the end!


Bloggy bits

I finished my uni work and put my energy into blog promotion and saw my stats soar! Popular posts this week featured my wee chimney sweep and my new craft room redesign

I have a competition that’s open for a few hours yet which has been really popular and if anyone fancies a thrifty dinner then check out my latest recipe!

I’ve been lost in Pinterest this week looking at Mothers Day craft ideas, next week you’ll get to see some works in progress I hope!


Brush strokes and belly laughs


On Saturday in a fairly innocuous move we bought a new yard brush for the spring clean.

Joss paddled home a good ten minutes, I actually couldn’t breathe for laughing so hard, half chimney sweep half gondolier she hooted and whooped, bashing me in the eye before giggling as she discovered running the end along a metal fence at the park was the equivalent of having a giant xylophone!

Possibly the funniest end to a shopping trip ever!


Crafters Paradise – A space to call my own

This week I decided to get motivated and get my uni workspace redesigned as a craft space, I started small, organising some of my stashes. I’ve already come across stuff I had totally forgotten about, like that yellow and green tweed I’ve been saving to line a crochet scarf! It’s lovely to see my recent Fabric Rehab purchases all rolled into neat FQs and to have all my yarn in one place too! The WIPs are notepads from Papercrafter mag, just waiting to be bound. This is a total work in progress, I’ll keep updating as the space improves (a trip to IKEA is on the cards so I’m sure to find a way of storing my paper ephemera and cards, right?!)



Thrifty eats: tasty pea and bean burgers

As well as being in utter chaos after three weeks of working on my dissertation the cupboards are bare, but I’m continuing my mission to try to eat well for less and so the last meal before the big shop to get stocked up again was these pea and bean burgers.


I took a tip from Jack Monroe about rinsing cheap baked beans to get rid of the sugar and sauce and have nice plain white beans to work with, in the absence of cannellini beans these did just as well!


1 400g tin baked beans rinsed well

1 400g tin kidney beans rinsed well

A handful of mange tout chopped finely

A teaspoon of cumin

A teaspoon of paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Teaspoon of plain flour to make shaping easier


Cooking Instructions

Not really cooking instructions at all these are SOOOOO easy!

Bring the baked beans and kidney beans to the boil in a mug of water then turn down and simmer for five minutes.

Add the mange tout a minute before the end.

Drain and allow to cool for five minutes.

Stir the spices through well and then either use a potato masher or blender to mash the beans until you have something close to the texture of mash potato (I prefer the masher as I like to leave some beans whole for more bite).

I get ten small burgers from this mix, with floured hands shape ten rough balls of mixture and flatten each slightly to form a burger shape, I tend to freeze half to cook later from frozen and the portion we’re eating goes on a lightly greased baking tray for 12-15 minutes until golden and crisp outside and soft inside

Serve in rolls, with wedges or salad, or take to work cold for a quick nutritious lunch on the go!



Tasty Tuesdays on

Competition Time – Hey Mammy, why don’t you just relax?!


Now that I’ve stepped off the uni treadmill I have a bit of spare time for blogging, craft and relaxing.

Joss recently learned the word relax and uses it liberally but I don’t always know how to relax!

A shower by candle light is a good start (wish we had a bath!) but what then?

This post is a call out to those of you who know how to chill, hit me with your top tips and ideas, if you leave your details in the way of the rafflecopter form below I’ll reward one of you with a pair of sweetheart slippers (one size) for your own relax regime!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK entry only
Winner chosen at random, will be notified by email and needs to claim prize within 7 days or will be redrawn

This is not a sponsored post, prize is provided by me :-)

International Women’s Day 2014: This is what a feminist looks like

It’s International Women’s Day today. I thought about what it means to me. It’s about amplifying women’s voices, increasing access to opportunities and highlighting and challenging the inequalities women face in their everyday lives. There are folk who think that in 2014 we’ve reached gender equality, that IWD 2014 is redundant, that being an everyday feminist is an unnecessary pursuit.

Only one in seven modern women would call themselves feminist. I love Caitlin Moran’s questions from How To Be A Woman:

“What part of liberation for women is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man that you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that stuff just get on your nerves?”

So it seems we have a problem with the ‘other F-word.’

In 2014 in the UK the gender pay gap stands at 15%, on average women earn £5k a year less than their male counterparts
In 2014 in the UK women are 51% of the population but only 23% of MPs; 24% of judges and 17% of FTSE 100 Directors
In 2014 in the UK there are four male professors for every female professor in our universities, despite women accounting for 45% of the academic workforce

In 2014 internationally over 130 million women living today have undergone FGM
In 2014 internationally an estimated 1.2m children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80 per cent are girls.
In 2014 in ten countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands

It’s clear to me that we still have a long way to go.

I want Joss to recognise the sacrifices made, challenges faced and the tenacity of those that have gone before her, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Malala Yousafzai, my wish for her is that she recognises her own strengths and qualities and promotes social justice and equality for all. If she doesn’t want to identify as ‘feminist’ that is OK, but I want her to see herself as part of a bigger picture in an unequal world, both her Dad and I share these values, I guess that means he’s feminist too.


It’s not by accident that I do the work I do in a professional and personal capacity, feminist research which values the voices of those who may not otherwise be heard in a sector that values the promotion and protection of human rights is my life blood. Qualities that are important to me include helping the next person up, leaving the world as we found it or better, valuing feminist qualities and not trying to fit in, listening and where possible speaking out, these are the qualities I would like to pass onto her.


This is what a feminist looks like!



Some extra reading you might like! A Mighty Girl Let Toys Be Toys and Ways to Raise a Feminist Child