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No Spend November - The final tally

At the beginning of the month i had decided to try a No Spend November in order to save some pennies in time for Christmas.

The aim was to save as much as i could however it didn't quite go to plan.

Between an issue with my bursary and some projects for college that i had to buy supplies for i ended up eating into my savings which has annoyed me no end.

However, providing my bursary gets sorted i will be £93 up and i did manage to sell some old toys and clothes making a nice wee profit to add to the Christmas fund.

So i guess looking at it that way I've done not too bad ... £200.20. 

I did get a few Christmas prezzies that were on sale too so at least i have saved something on the things that i was planning to get anyway.

I think that I'll need to try again after Christmas to see if i can get some savings put past ... I hate when my bank account is empty incase we have any emergencies.

Did you try the Challenge?

How well did you do?

My Week in Pictures - 29/11/15

This week has been go go go which has accumulated in me sitting on the sofa with pain killers and a hot water bottle but i made it through 4 assessments in the one week and i made a trip up to Glasgow to see my little sister.

This weekend has been dedicated to getting better though. Both Agent M and i have been a little under the weather so rather than running about we went into town for some supplies and then home for tea and pj's. Its been nice just getting to chill with him and watch movies. I cant wait till the Christmas break when we can do it more :)

Clockwise from Left

  • The rain finally stopped for one night and the moon could peak out from the clouds.
  • Agent D wanted his hair cut ... ain't he gorgeous :)
  • A perfect blow out before i went to town on her hair with the Crimpers.
  • Agent M and i getting a wee Costa after getting some shopping for the week.
  • Models Own "shop" i found in Glasgow ... If only i had the spare pennies i would have been well kitted out.
  • Shabba not very happy with mummy cause i made him of out in the rain for a pee ... He's been a wee crank all week cause he hates the rain.
  • Travelling to see my baby sister ... Got to see her twice this year ... but i cried on the way home :(

Silent Sunday - 29/11/15

Depression is ruining my life

I came to a harsh conclusion at 3am this morning ... Depression is ruining my life!

I sat on the side of the bath tub this morning sobbing uncontrollably for no reason i could understand. I was trying hard to pull my shit together and more importantly not wake anyone up, when i couldn't help but think about how having depression has made my life so fucking stressful!

Why cant i just go to bed at night and sleep? Why cant i just get up in the morning and go to college without having to panic? 

I'm freaking out that i wont make it in which will mean i will lose my bursary for the week. That's £93 i really need for bills and food and Christmas. Its not as if i have savings i can fall back on and i cant just pull that money out of my ass ... Then i will be missing college work which will put me behind, which in turn would add to my workload to catch up and if i cant do that then i will fail.

All because i cant just be fucking normal!

How is that fair?

I just keep thinking back to when this all started.

Having Agent M was (and still is) my biggest accomplishment. My heart bursts with pride and love when i think about that little boy and even after knowing that my body betrayed me by going bat shit crazy after giving birth, i wouldn't give him up for anything in the world.

I can remember the night in the hospital after i had him perfectly.

I was sitting on the bed with this tiny little person in front of me. I kept unwrapping him from his blanket to look at his tiny little toes, his tiny little feet that could both fit in one of my hands. Awe his tiny little hands with these tiny little nails. He seemed to fit perfectly in my arms like he was made to be there. He was i suppose. He was so tiny though. This perfectly formed little person that i helped create. A whole brand new life that i had started.
I also remember how i couldn't handle leaving him in that little fish tank thing they had next to the bed. I remember that i had to have him with me at all times. It didn't trust that i could go to sleep and leave him be.
Looking back that should have been a big warning sign. I kept moving the visitors chair to block anyone being able to sneak up next to him in that tank. This tiny precious little boy that i had to protect with my life. What i was worried about i genuinely couldn't tell you but i just remember that feeling of fear.

Agent M couldn't have been more wanted if i tried.

I love him with my whole being but for his first year of life i was scared shitless of him.
In the first weeks home from the hospital i had the usual influx of family coming to see him but i wasn't happy with everyone touching him. They all wanted a hold which i get ... its a new baby! They wanted to feed him and cuddle him but as soon as he got pissy, it was pass back to mum. I got jealous of everyone getting to bond with this tiny little person, getting kisses and cuddles when i got the shitty nappies and cleaning up the puke.

When it was just the two of us i felt like my son hated me.
Every time i picked him up he would start to cry. It seemed every time i fed him he would throw up. Every time i changed his nappy he would howl. Looking back now i can logically see that his crying when i changed his nappy was probably because He was cold. I was so terrified i would hurt him i was taking forever to change his nappy, treating him like he was made of spun sugar. He kept puking cause he had colic and that was sorted by only giving him an ounce or 2 between winding. He cried when i held him cause he probably sensed the tension. I've seen pictures taken where I'm holding the poor boy like hes a bomb.

Things did get better with him though. Nappy changes in under a minute and mummy cuddles became alot more common and it made me feel like a proper mum.

I feel like i started to bond properly with him when he was a toddler. Looking back I'm surprised at this cause he was a difficult toddler. He took the concept of terrible twos and ran with it but i can remember even after he screamed the house down cause i peeled his banana for him (how dare i) or in the night garden finished, he would always come to me for cuddles over everyone else. I could feel my heart melting with that wee man in my arms.

It was everyone else i couldn't trust. 
I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression when he was 3 months old and its been a roller-coaster since then. 

I would have periods of time where everything seemed to be on an even keel. I could make my way though day to day life with nothing really bothering me. Then there were times that i wouldn't go to sleep as i was convinced that someone was going to break into the house and hurt us. His pram used to get pushed up against the front door so that if someone broke in i could hear them. I once thought i heard what sounded like my window being knocked so i sat in Agent M's room all night waiting for something to happen.
That isn't normal. I know that "normal" is a relative term but my mind was screwing with me something awful and it wasn't how it was supposed to be.

My relationship with Agent M's biological father took a scary turn then too. My depression seemed to be rubbing off on him and as i got more and more scared, he got more and more scary.

Through all the shouting and verbal abuse which eventually turned physical, i did everything i could to make sure Agent M had a somewhat stable life. It wasn't his fault that his mum was mentally defective and his father was a violent arsehole.

I'm kinda proud of myself when i look back at those times. I was more miserable than i ever thought possible but i still managed to get out of bed every morning and take him to nursery so i could go to work. Being the sole provider doesn't leave you with many options really.

Agent M was my own little rose. This perfect little bud that was blossoming through this field of shit that was our lives at the time and i think it was him that really gave me the strength to get out of that relationship. I had to make a change cause i was drowning and i couldn't pull him down with me. He turned out to be my little life boat.

I tried as best as i could to give Agent M everything that i could. I worked so many hours that i hardly got to spend proper time with him. I just had to make sure the bills were paid and there was food and warmth in the house.
I chose to have him, I had to provide for him. That was my job as a mum. 

In between work hours when i could spend time with him i crammed as much in as i could. Cinema trips, Days out, Days in on the sofa watching movies ... My whole life became about him.

I love being able to watch him grow up into this perfect young man.

Everyone tells me that he is a credit to me. I hear complements all the time about how he is such a polite boy, that he's so clever and that he has great manners.
My family are often in hysterics when he talks to them as he uses words that are so grown up and he'll hold a conversation like an adult.
The other day my gran asked him how he was and he replied "I'm good thanks, and how are you keeping?" ... Buckled!

He is my everything that boy. He is perfect and i am more than luck to have him in my life. I just hate that i cant be the mum that he deserves.

Right now i am typing this with tears in my eyes cause i don't know how the hell I'm gonna make it through the day let alone make it to Christmas.

I was having a few good days there and i guess i have been led into a false sense of security. The rug has been pulled from under me and I'm back to my twisted, trying not to have a panic attack self. I feel like I'm toxic sometimes and I'm shit scared that its going to rub off on Agent M. 

I tried to talk to Agent D about it but it started to get too much. I could see that look in his face when i told him that i felt stressed or like i was going to have a break down. That look that reminded me so much of my Ex. Like i was bothering him with my madness. It accumulated in an argument when he kept telling me that i "had nothing to be stressed about" when i decided i couldn't talk to him about it.
He tried to help and i appreciate that but he cant understand. He's never felt this hopeless and to be honest I'm scared that my continuing darkness will eventually push him away so i don't talk about it to him any more. I tend not to talk to anyone any more. I guess that's why i am writing this. Its like my own way of getting this poison out of my system without having to say it out loud. Without having to see the looks i the other persons eyes when i tell them i don't know if i can cope.

I guess the only thing i can do is what i do every other time i feel like I'm drowning ... I'll try as hard as i can to pull my shit together and go give my little life boat a kiss and cuddle.

I just hope that my depression doesn't start to pull him down with me.

My Week in Pictures - 22/11/15

Its been a busy week here at Crafty Towers ... College work is starting to drain most of my time ... I guess it was bound to happen when taking two courses simultaneously. Still, So far I'm keeping up. I just hope that by the time June rolls round i will have made it out with my qualifications and all my hair. This weekend however i am taking a break. I need some Mummy time and my poor blog has been getting neglected. I have 3 assessments due this week so it's probably a good idea to allow myself some chill out time.

Left to Right ...

  • Killing time before a doctors appointment with a yummy white mocha 
  • Practising my alternative methods assessment on my doll head. This was created with tinfoil and straighteners
  • Agent M watching the Ferry in the ocean (the thing with lights lol)
  • Replenishing fluids in between at the soft play
  • Practising my manicures for assessment this week
  • Shabba snuggling in watching me do college work.

Silent Sunday - 22/11/15

6 Rules for Crafting with Kids

Crafting can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you can do with your kids. You get to see their imagination come to life and quite often it becomes a great bonding experience as Agent M and i have had many deep conversations as well as a few giggles while we were doing a craft together.

However, without a little forethought, it can quickly turn into a disaster that will have you wanting to weep into a wine glass.

I've come up with a few rules that should help you keep it fun ...

Messy Mats are your best friend - Paint and small children is often cause to hyperventilate but trust me when i say, Messy mats will ease this tension. Paint will most definitely get spilled and/or smeared via tiny fingers but having it all contained makes for an easy clean up without the carpet or the sofa getting a colourful makeover.

Wet wipes aren't just for snotty faces and dirty tooshies - Having something wet to hand when painting/gluing will also help contain the mess. I learnt this the hard way and while i went to get a cloth for Agent M to wipe his hands on, He proceeded to touch his face, hair and wipe on his jeans. Wet wipes can be used to wipe any smears on the messy mat too so that they project doesn't get ruined when its sat on top of wet glue or smeared paint.

Save your good clothes for visits to Granny - No matter what they are doing (paint, glitter, gluing, colouring), you always run the risk of them getting their clothes dirty/sticky/coloured. This is when you need to swap the good jeans and tops for the old faded ones. You could always buy them cheaper clothes specifically for messy play. Asda have value range clothes that are just basic and simple, but they are great for when you know your kid is probably gonna get dirty. I don't mind Agent M getting those stained with paint or mud as much as i would his expensive Next ones.

Crafting doesn't have to break the bank - I started a rainy day box when Agent M was little. Each time i went shopping i would get something to add to it. I would regularly go into shops like Wilko or Pound stretchers and pick up bits and pieces that were on sale till eventually the box became well stocked. If you want to follow a planned project rather than wing it, there are plenty of kits you can buy that have everything you need included which cost very little. Shops like Poundland and Home Bargains do some brilliant kits from £1 each and depending on the time of year you can get alot of seasonal kits too. Don't rule out everyday household items either. Agent M has made some brilliant things with toilet roll tubes and egg boxes. Again this is where their imagination comes out to play and you can just sit on the side lines and let them direct you.

Keep it small or perhaps themed - When deciding what project to do with your little ones its worth keeping in mind how old they are. Its had to keep even the most enthusiastic toddler engaged in a big project after a while so you're going to want to keep it small. Anything that lasts longer than 30 minutes you may find really difficult to get finished, so for smaller kids i would recommend crafts that don't require much planning or direction ... painting, colouring or dough for example. With older kids you can always incorporate a theme. Possibly one that ties in with school topics. Agent M was doing a Dinosaur topic at school so i decided to buy a Dino Hama Bead kit for him to do at home. He had a great time and i got to hear lots of different dino facts he was learning about at school.

Remember your building memories - I'm 28 years old and i still remember the days that my sister and i would sit at the kitchen table with our mum and she would guide us through a craft activity. It was a special time and i feel that it helped us bond not only as mother and daughters but as siblings. To this day my sister and i still love to make things and i have shared that love with Agent M. Crafting with your kids isn't about you, Its about them. Even if your not enjoying sitting with them gluing sequins onto a sheet of paper or making play doh shapes with cookie cutters, they are probably having a brilliant time so make sure your giving them a happy memory of mum or dad playing with them, not of you sitting with a cranky face rushing them to get finished.

For some ideas on what to make, check out my Kids Crafts Pinterest board below or check out some Crafts we've made HERE:)

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
My Random Musings

Silent Sunday - 15/11/15

My Week in Pictures - 15/11/15

This week the weather has been really bad up here. We've had non stop rain which has led to alot of flooding so we've been spending the week pretty much soaked through and in jammies when we've been home from College/School.

With the colder darker nights coming in we've been enjoying the snuggles on the sofa while we watch movies (or Movie - Hotel Transylvania has been on repeat lol) and Agent M is giddy at the idea of putting the Christmas tree up soon. I refuse to put it up before Dec 1st though!

1. A lovely rainy scene while i wait for the bus home
2. Practising some Christmas nail designs
3. Lunch at College with the girls (and the driest fish and chips ever bought)
4. Practising my cuts and colour on my doll head
5. Taking some time out to have a much needed coffee and plan some future Blog posts
6. Agent D falling asleep cuddling into me :)

The Autumn Tag 2015

I enjoyed the Autumn Tag last year so i decided i wanted to take part in the 2015 one. I'm running a bit late with it since we are so close to winter but since we've had no snow i think I'm still good lol.

Its open to anyone that wants to join in so feel free to tag yourselves and write your own answers. Don't forget to leave a comment below with your blog address so i can come by and have a look :)

1. What's your favourite 'ber' month?
Definitely has to be October. Its my Birthday month and it has Halloween so all in its just brilliant. I did a post about 10 things i love about Oct last month which you can read HERE.

2. What did you dress as for Halloween last year?
Last year i was in college during Halloween so i went as a Wartime Woman. It was subtle as we had clients in but i thought it was nice.

3. What is your favourite Autumn food?
Stews tend to be big in our house during the colder months. I usually put the slow cooker on before i leave in the morning so that when i get home at night, Dinner is nearly ready and the house smells lovely. We tend to do roasts too which is nice. Its like comfort food.

4. Do you have any Autumn traditions?
Other than bringing out the scarf and glove basket we don't rally have any 'Traditions' so to speak. Autumn tends to be really wet in Scotland so quite often when we get in after college/school, we strip off our wet clothes, get into our jammies and chill.

5. Do you have any Halloween traditions?
We do usually but this year Agent M was with his papa so we didn't really get a chance to. Normally we would have carved a pumpkin and made some spooky cupcakes. Later on in the night we would snuggle up on the sofa and watch a spooky DVD like Casper or Coraline.

6. What music do you listen to during Autumn?
My music tastes don't tend to change depending on the season. I listen to the same kind of stuff year round. Right now I'm really into Ed Sheeran and the Rocky Horror Soundtrack.

7. What is your favourite Autumn outfit?
Big Jumpers and Cardi's are my Autumn go to. I usually have them on around the house if its cold. Boots and Scarves when I'm going out too. I need to get a new pair of flat boots this year as i have wore away the sole of my old ones. Its a bit of a nightmare trying to find boots to fit me as i have size 9 feet and most ladies shoes in town only go to an 8 :(

8. Favourite spooky movie?
Spooky as in family friendly would be Coraline, Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas tied for 1st place. Spooky as in Horror films I'm liking the Paranormal Activity series just now. I love a good horror. I'm waiting to see the second Sinister too *excited dance*.

9. Hot chocolate or warm apple cider?
Hot Chocolate (made with milk not water) ... With Cream and a dusting of chocolate powder

10. Do you like Pumpkin Spice Lattes?
Yuck! No thanks ... I don't like the taste of Pumpkin and the spice is Cinnamon which makes me boke.

11. What is your favourite part about Autumn blogging?
My blogging style doesn't really change depending on the season. I still have recipes and tutorials as well as family/personal posts. I do enjoy "Blogmas" which i will be doing again this year but that's more a Winter thing.

12. What is the best thing about your town during Autumn?
The leaves. There are trees everywhere so the colours are beautiful and the crunching below my feet is so much fun.

13. Tea or coffee?
Usually i would say Coffee all the way but recently i have been having Panic Attacks again so i have been trying to limit my coffee intake. I have instead been drinking fruit tea which is lovely. My fave is the Mango and Strawberry by twinnings ... Yummy!

14. Halloween or Christmas?
Personally i love Halloween more as its all about having fun rather than who spent what, However i am kind of looking forward to Christmas this year. I've been getting excited about seeing my family and i  am looking forward to seeing the Agents open their prezzies.

15. What is your favourite Autumn colour?
I don't have one single fave colour as i like them all collectively. The purples, the reds and the golds ... all so beautiful.

16. What is your favourite food or drink with pumpkin in it?
*shudders* none of them ... i hate pumpkin other than carving it.

17. What is your favourite Autumn activity?
Snuggling on the sofa with a cuppa tea in my jammies, watching a DVD

18. Favourite item of clothing for Autumn or favourite Autumn trend?
Same as i said before, Big jumpers and Cardi's

19. Favourite Autumn memory?
Taking Agent M to Edinburgh a few years ago to celebrate my birthday and his "merry Un-birthday". We spent the weekend at a B&B, Went to Frankenstein's for dinner and spent the day at the Zoo. It was a brilliant weekend with just the two of us :)

20. Favourite Halloween candy?
Candy Corn! Hands down is the best Halloween candy ever made! I buy a bag of it every year ... Nom Nom Nom.

And that's my 20 ... Like i said feel free to join in and leave me a link in the comments below so that i can come and read your answers :)

My Week in Photos - 8/11/15

I've not been as snap happy this last week cause i've been really busy but here are some of the ones i have taken that i liked :)
1 - My Wee sister sent me my Christmas prezzie. I'm so excited for the 1st of December :)
2- The blue sky with pink clouds
3 - Practising my French Manicures for Assessments
4 - Agent M made a Lego Witch conveyor belt
5 - My wee Shabba
6 - Enjoying a Banana Hot Chocolate
7 - Time for a Treat
8 - Super M (All ready for Children in Need day at School)
9 - Christmas Sweets ... In November

Messy Stains and Growing Pains

Deli Style Coleslaw

Pulled pork is big in our house and we always seem to pair it with home made Coleslaw. I've been asked by a couple of people how we make ours so i decided to share it in case anyone else wanted to know.

The recipe is really Agent D's concoction after experimenting with lots of different ingredients. This will make a big bowl which we will then have for the next few days ... You can half the recipe if needed .

You'll need
3 red onions 
4 large carrots
1/4 white cabbage
6 table sp Mayo
4 table sp Salad Cream
2 tea sp horseradish
2 tea sp honey
1 table sp cider vinegar
1 table sp olive oil
Handful of chives
salt and pepper

*Note where i say TABLE and TEA ... Getting them mixed up will give a very different result*

Now all you need to do is shred the veg and mix the wet ingredients then combine ... Its honestly that simple :)

And it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff! 

 Especially with pulled pork and roast potatoes :)

November Weigh-In

Well i have a confession to make ... I've not been doing very well with my trying to lose weight. Since i started back at college i have been too busy to go to the gym or work out at home and i have got back up to my starting weight.
Honestly, i was expecting it but I'm still kinda pissed off at myself.

Anyway, I'm not gonna give up hope so I'm gonna try it again ... If i manage to lose 5lb in the month I'll be satisfied though i will have to think up alternative work out methods because between the 2 college courses, work experience and family time ... I've no time (or money) to go to the gym.

I'm still using my Motivation Board and I'm going to set myself goals and update each month in the hopes that it helps keep me on the right track.

My goals for November are ...

  • Continue to cut Fizzy Juice out ... My skin is looking brilliant since i gave it up :)
  • Where i can I'm going to take the stairs and walk rather than get the bus ... Free workout there!
  • Stop eating take-away's ... Its a waste of money and its not healthy. Have back up plans in the fridge for the late nights in the salon when i cant be bothered cooking come dinner time.
Here's hoping that i can keep on top of it this time ... I'm just so fed up feeling bad about myself

A-Z Photo Challenge

Last Summer i came up with a list of 101 Things in 1001 Days. One of which was a A-Z Photo Challenge ... For the month of October, the theme of the Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day Challenge was the Alphabet so i decided to kill two birds with one stone :)

I'm working my way through my list slowly but surely. Feel free to click the link above (or the logo) to see the full list :)

A- Another
B- Black
C- Caramel Coffee/Chewy Cookie
D- Dog
E- Edward Scissorhands
F- Frozen
G- Glitter
H- Halloween
I - Indulge
J- Just Chillin'
K- Kids
L- Lego
M- McDonalds
N- Nature
O- Old
P- Planner
Q- Quiet
R- Resting on the Rug
S- Shabba
T- Trick or Treat
U- Unique
V- Very Lucky
W- Water
X- 'X-stitch'
Y- Yummy
Z- Zodiac

No Spend November

Last June i took part in a No Spend challenge in order to see how much money i could save for our summer holidays. It turned out to be quite successful as i saved £288.43 at the final tally.

Well things are rather tight right now and with Christmas just 53 days away i have alot to save up for ... So I've decided to try the challenge again. I'm hoping that i can save the original £200 i had hoped for last year and who knows, i might go above it again :)

The premise is simple ... DON'T SPEND MONEY!

Of course there are the necessary exceptions so here are a few rules to keep you right.

  • Bills are a necessity and obviously must be paid. Don't get yourself into debt while trying to save money!
  • Food is a necessity but where possible, go for budget friendly alternatives. Rather than ordering a take out, Check the cupboards ... Rather than buying expensive things like Steak, Make a big pot of mince which is half the price for double the meals. 
  • Going into town is always a bad idea. You'll see something that may be a good bargain but not really needed then will spend money you don't really want to. Best just to avoid it. 
  • Pack your own where you can. Each day at college i will buy a few cups of coffee and lunch ... Not this month! If i wanna have a coffee i need to bring it from home and the same with lunch. £4 for a toastie isn't value for money when i can bring in my own sandwich or salad and save a small fortune!
  • Where possible make some money! Agent M has a box full of toys that he's too old for and likewise with clothes that are still in great condition but too small. I'm aiming to sell them on and put the money into the Christmas fund.

    Any money i make from Clients is going toward replacing items that have gone missing from my kit or that i need to college but that is a necessity for my course.

Living on a student budget really sucks sometimes but I'm gonna try to make the best out of a difficult situation.

How do you save up for things like Christmas? Would you join in on a no spend challenge?

Silent Sunday - 1/11/15