Sunday, 17 December 2017

Festive Family Fun

Finally everyone is healthy and rested enough to go out! 
We started our day with a naughty treat from Greggs and a visit to see Father Christmas. The girls were very happy to hear he'd received their letters safely and had the elves working hard on their requests.
Sadly DD2 didn't want to be in the photograph.

Next we went to a local garden centre to enjoy their Winter Woodland Walk. For many years it has been free but in recent years they have had to start charging due to vandalism. At £2 for adults and £1.20 for children it's still a very affordable place to visit and the effort they put in is incredible. All the money raised is donated to the local neonatal unit which is a nice thought as you walk through. 

They also have reindeer, donkeys, goats and pigs to look as you queue up for the walk. It makes waiting in line so much easier for the children. Especially when the two donkeys were squaring over a bucket and playing tug of war with it. DD2 was trying to scold them for not sharing nicely. 

Finally we risked a quick peek in the Christmas shop. Usually I try to wear blinkers in there as it is all so tempting and pretty expensive. But I couldn't resist these gorgeous little teddy bear jars! I bought 3 at £1.99 each to fill with jelly beans for the children. They'd be lovely to bring out each year and tuck into the stockings, a good investment I think.

I'm feeling really festive now after today and I'm so pleased we fitted in some festive fun together after all the germs and yuck of last

Merry Christmas readers 
X x X

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Long ginger hair tied with a bow.

Poor Aurora! Shes been played with so much over the past week her yellow spotty bow has come off. 
We love reading Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. We have several of the character toys and DD2 enjoys acting out the story as we read it together. 

Plaiting her hair and sewing her bow back on took only a few minutes, but it's one of those jobs that can easily be forgotten. With soon to be 4 children in the house I don't have any "later" to come back to. I need to start remembering that old adage - "don't put off till tomorrow, that what you can accomplish today"

Definitely wise words.
X x X

Friday, 15 December 2017

It's been a long week...

The two tinys have been suffering a horrible bout of hand, foot and mouth :(
We've not had the pleasure before.
I thought it was chicken pox at first because Gman was the first to show symptoms but then DD2 started and she definitely had chicken pox.
Then while Gman recovered DD2 picked up impetigo and needed antibiotics. All of this has taken a full 7 days. Everyone is tired and grumpy, we've done next to nothing Christmas activity wise other than a few films. 
It's not felt very festive around here at all but hopefully by Monday we will all be rested and healthy once more.

X x X

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Christmas reading

It's been a busy but lovely day. I'm to tired to even attempt being coherent so I'm off to bed with a festive read.
Let's hope it doesn't inspire me ­čśé

X x X

Monday, 4 December 2017

How much?

I popped into Waitrose on the school run for a quick peek at the reduced shelf. I found it stuffed full of these Chocolate and orange pots. They looked quite inticing and I loved the little pink ceramic pots they came in. Similar to G├╝ puddings but much more generous portions.

At 35p each I snapped up 4 (one each for the children and for me. Poor hubby is working). They were the most delicious and decadent thing  I have eaten in forever! 
I would be highly tempted to buy them again or try others in the range, but then I saw the original price! £2 each! 
My 4 puddings tonight should have cost £8. That's crazy! But rest assured I will be snapping them up if any others are reduced to less than 50p each. Possibly a single full priced one for my birthday lol.

X x X 

Messy Hair, don't care!

I usually make my own detangler spray, not only does it cost a lot less than store bought , I can also add a few drops of tea tree oil for headlice protection. 
However today we hit a small disaster. I dropped the bottle when I picked it up and a very cold plastic bottle does not mix well with a very cold tiled bathroom floor! 
So I have picked up a replacement from the pound shop so we can start again. I've tested it out on my own hair and it's certainly done the trick. The fruity scent is a nice change from our usual tea tree scent.
I'm just hoping it meets the approval of the girls. Particularly DD2 whom only let's me brush her hair every few days, if I'm very lucky and the planet's are perfectly aligned. Lol.
I will let you know how I get on.

X x X

Elf update

On the 2nd the Elves brought us some cold cooking to make.

Melted snowmen went down very well with the small people. Om nom nom.

On the 3rd they popped the Christmas tree up for us over night. We found them playing in the branches.

And this morning they had decorated the tree with underpants and left a bucket of  real decorations for us to use after school. 
DD2 told everyone we met on the school run about our underpants tree. She thought it was hilarious!

X x X

Friday, 1 December 2017

Thursday, 30 November 2017


Mr.G was super warm and toasty this morning. In fact I think he was the warmest out of all of us. Tomorrow I am definitely wearing an extra pair of socks tomorrow to keep my toes warm.

X x X

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Keeping G warm.

My poor little Gman has been feeling the cold on the school runs. Because it's a bit of a speed trial getting the girls in two places almost at once, Gman is strapped into the buggy. But because he's not running about like the mad lunatic he is, he gets very chilly.

I've been hunting for a snow suit in charity shops, freegle, Freecycle and ebay. As you can probably guess the cheapest time to get them is during a heat wave, not during a massive cold snap when everyone wants one.
So I've given in and bought a brand new one from Asda for him. At £14 It's less than the £20 budget I had in my head for a new suit, and I will of course be carefully storing it for future use. 
 I'm hoping for a much more snuggly warm Gman tomorrow morning, I just hope he doesn't notice it has pockets and hides anything icky in them lol. 

X x x

Monday, 27 November 2017

Treating myself

I've wanted to read the Divergent book series for a while. I enjoyed watching the first film but have resisted watching the others until I read the trilogy first.
I spotted the first book today in the PDSA charity shop. Sadly they didn't have the others but I will have a little wander tomorrow and see what I can find. 
I'm looking forward to curling up in bed shortly with some hot chocolate and getting stuck in.

X x X

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Frozen Sunday

We were up early this morning, trading in the traditional Sunday morning lay in for a trip to the cinema. 
I saw an advertisement a few weeks back for a special showing of Frozen on the big screen, it included a chance to see a new Olaf short that had been released for Christmas. 
Knowing the girls absolutely love Frozen and Frozen Fever we booked tickets early before they sold out.
We don't often visit the cinema due to the cost of tickets. It can cost as much as £12 each to see a film! When you are a family of 5, soon to be 6, it just isn't feasible. But luckily there is a budget friendly option on offer. KIDS AM or Kids Club, is run by both Vue and Odeon.  Tickets start from as little as £1.25 though they are usually £2.50 locally and give you a chance to watch a fun family friendly film on a Saturday or Sunday morning. 
It's often extended to weekday mornings during the school holidays.
You won't see the latest releases but you do get to enjoy great movies on the big screen with the full cinema experience.
The children really enjoyed the trip today. They all behaved beautifully and only one trip to the loo was needed part way through.
We're hoping to go again just after Christmas.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Ladies that breakfast and releasing children into the wild

This morning I was invited to attend a Ladies breakfast at a local church. Sadly I left my phone in the car, not noticing until hubby had driven off, so I haven't got any photos to share of the event.  It was wonderful though. 
All of the lady guests were offered Bucks fizz, Prosecco or orange juice on arrival. Served of course by the men of the church including the vicar himself. They all wore Christmas hats and festive aprons which was quite fun.
We had fruit salad and yoghurt to start, followed by smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and finishing with mountains of miniature pastries. 
There was a small raffle to enter and each table had quiz sheets to answer. 
I'm looking forward to attending the next one already. 

In the after we met up with my tribe. My tribe are my 3 best girlfriends and their families. Between the four of us there are 9 children so far, and it makes for a merry and loud time.

Today we met at Stansted house and gardens. The children were released into the surrounding woodland where they formed packs and began hunting for wildlife, mushrooms, feathers and pinecones.  It was lovely to watch them all getting very muddy and messy in the outdoors. 
Once everyone was complaining of the cold and nature had lost its appeal we relocated to the nearby cafe for hot chocolate and gingerbread men. 
I'm predicting a very easy bedtime this evening after all that exercise!

X x X

Friday, 24 November 2017

This week's frugalling

Outings - 
This week baton training was cancelled on Wednesday to let everyone rest after Sunday's big competition day. It means the girls will get a free replacement session in Decembers fees. It also meant we ate at home instead of Macdonalds after training.

Today Gman and I went to our regular Friday morning playgroup. It's costs £1 a session and includes crafts, snacks, tea/coffee and biscuits.

I walked home instead of catching the bus twice this week. It's great exercise but getting a little chilly for Gman. 


This week we were given a snowing Christmas tree by my grandparents. They used it last year but decided it wasn't for them and that the children would enjoy it.

My friend Beth gave me some pregnancy toiletries. Foam bath and aching leg/foot cream by Sanctuary. They smell incredible and I look forward to using them.
She also gifted some board books she thought Gman would enjoy.

I used my O2 phone app to receive a free packet of WHSmith Christmas cards (worth £6.99!) and a free can of sparkling fruit juice. I also enjoyed a free hot chocolate from cafe Nero.

I used my Waitrose reward card to enjoy free coffees each afternoon on the school run. 

I have received several offers of baby clothes from other parents in the playground today.

Savvy Shopping

I used a voucher in Macdonalds to buy a meal for £1.99. I split the fries and burger with Gman and it fed us nicely for lunch.

I had a rummage through the freshly filled 20p clothes bin in Sue Ryder. I found a night dress for DD1, denim sleeveless dress for DD2, 2x Disney baby grows and a 2 piece floral outfit for the baby. 
Total price - £1.20p

We are currently decluttering our film collection ready to move home. We traded in 3 large bagfuls at CEX and bought 2 new films we wanted to see. The remaining money was credited to my husband's account to use later.  The balance stands at around £35+

I bought a vintage copy of Anderson and Grim fairy tales (1925) and a copy of Now we are 6 by A.A.Milne from 1970 for 25p each. Both will be gifted to DD1 for Christmas. 

Next week plans

I would like to start some cress, basil, chives and other herbs on the windowsill for fresh supplies.

Knit a hat that DD1 has fallen in love with on Pinterest. Thankfully it's a free pattern and I have suitable wool.

Finish a cross stitch card I started a few weeks ago and havant returned to yet.

Work on the next meals to include in our 3 month stockpile.

Make a list of baby items we need/want and look at what we already have stashed away. 

X x X

Baby #4 gender announcement.

Baby #4 is officially team pink!
DD1&2 are thrilled to be having a little sister, I'm not quite sure how Gman feels about but I think he'll be quite pleased when baby arrives.  Gman loves pointing out babies in buggies and kissing their hands so I think we are in good stead.

 X x X

P.S - Special hello to Paula, it was lovely to meet you today. I can't quite believe someone recognised me in the street from my blog. You've made me smile all day. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

What is it?

I picked up a watermelon in Waitrose a few days ago. It was reduced to a very reasonable 99p.
I wasn't sure what the kids would make of it. If they would recognise it as watermelon  or if it would be a repeat of the whole suede fiasco. 
(I usually serve Swede mashed, DD1 took a lot of convincing that the ugly round ball in fhe shopping trolley was the yellow mashed vegetable she loved lol)

Being Friday, DD2 promptly ate her dinner and passed out for the night. DD1 was confident it was a melon, Gman wanted to kick it like a football.
 When DH carefully sliced it into two halfs they were fascinated.  DD1 had predicted it would be in segments inside like an orange, Gman suddenly recognised it as food and demanded a wedge.
One half was swiftly eaten with the second half set aside as a snack for tomorrow.
Definitely a well spent 99p!

X x X

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Christmas Central

I've had a lovely quiet day at home today. Lots of R&R and more naps than I care to admit.
I've also been pottering a little. 
Inspired by yesterday's festive find, I have created Christmas Central on the mantelpiece.
It's houses the advent calendars, Christmas themed books, DVDS, activity kits, craft activities, soft toys and anything else remotely Christmassy.

 Can't wait to see what the children make if it.

X x X

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Festive finds.

I found the most beautiful copy of A Christmas Carol today. It was in one of the local charity shops on a little shelf full of Christmas themed items. 
It looked quite dull with a plain red hardback cover but I liked the old fashioned text on the spine and picked it up to have a peek. 

The pages inside took my breath away! 
I fell instantly in love. With apprehension I turned to the back cover to see the price expecting to see something astronomical on the label. £1.50! 
I scurried to the till as fast my legs could carry me and snuggled it deep in my backpack to get it safely home. 
I'm looking forward to reading it with the children and introducing them to the world of Charles Dickens.  

X x X 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Bauble spellings

I've spent over week away from the internet and social media. It's given me some much needed head space to reassess a few things. Reminded me why I like to live simply and quietly. One big example is the fact I spend so much time finding ideas to do with the children than I don't actually have any time to do the said activities.
 Things need to change!

Today's activity is quick and easy to set up. A pipe cleaner, a dozen baubles and a felt tip pen.

DD1 wrote each of her homework spellings by writing one letter per bauble and threading them onto her pipe cleaner. She has some tricky words this week like beige and neice which sometimes need the letters rearranging.

DD2 enjoyed putting the letters of her name and surname in the right order. She also numbered the baubles 1 -12 and hung them in the right order. We also worked on finding the odd and even numbers.

Gman was just happy threading baubles onto pipe cleaners. I tried to tempt him into mark making on the baubles, simple dots or crosses but was firmly put in my place for messing up his game. Lol. Toddlers eh? Dangerous creatures to anger!

X x X

Friday, 3 November 2017

Universal Credit prep Part 2

 Breakfast has been covered. Now I am turning thoughts to dinners.
 A favourite meal in this house is always a simple pasta in sauce style meal. They can be cooked in a single pot on the hob, made as simple as 2 ingredients or more extravagant with extra ingredients and have delicious tasting leftovers.
 A single jar of Aldi pasta sauce is 65p, cheese and bacon or creamy tomato being our favourites. Add it a packet of smart price pasta (20-35p depending on type) and you have a filling tasty meal for less than £1. A 500gm packet of pasta will feed all 5 of us a hefty portion with plenty left over for 2-4 lunches.
 This make pasta sauces and dried pasta  an essential add to the food stores.
 12 jars and packets will cost me less than  £12 to purchase and ensure 1 meal a week is sorted out. I could even cook it twice a week for a paltry £24.
 I think I'd like a bit more variation than that though so for now I will keep it as a back up plan.
 I will get sauce and pasta early next week.

                                          X X X

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday Frugalling

* Buying our pumpkins from a local farm rather than a supermarket.

* Buying 5 ears of corn for 35p each from the same farm. The children are fascinated with them.

* releasing a surplus book into the wild with book crossing. If you've  never tried it please look it up HERE  it's great fun.

* We recycled a cereal box, used envelopes, fabric scraps and linen fabric from a ruined pair of trousers into a notebook/sketch pad.

* removed the sequins from a broken husband before throwing it out. We will use them for arts and crafts later on. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Thoughts on breakfast

There's been a lot of talk locally about preparing for the big changeover to Universal credit. With delays of up to 12 weeks between applying and receiving money being reported, the local food book is recommending families start putting aside savings and building food stores.
 It sounds like great advice to me. We already save regularly but we are lacking an organised food store.
This needs to change! And now!
I'm planning to tackle the food issue one meal at a time, starting with breakfast.

After a morning of comparing supermarket prices and calculating portions per carton/packet, I have come up with the following plan.

12 x 1kg porridge oats - we all eat porridge and over night oats. Plus I add oats to bulk out meat based meals like Bolognese. Everyone eats flapjacks to so any surplus will be easily used.

6 x Smart price Corn flakes - a 500gm packet equals 16 portions. I use a scoop to make sure we stick to portion control. There's also the option of making cornflake cakes and cornflakes tart if there's surplus.

 6 x 24 pack Wheat Biscuits - a 24 pack equals 12 portions, however the two smallest share a portion of 1 biscuit each. I have a good wheatabix cake recipe for using any surplus.

So how much will a 12 week supply cost? 

£15.54 which isn't a huge amount when you consider the amount of food that includes (35 breakfast plus extra for snacking and baking)

I could go out a buy it today that might leave me with a use by date issue. You DO NOT want your food stores all reaching use by dates at once! 
So o my next food shop I will by just 4 weeks supply. (4 x porridge 2x wheat biscuit 2x cornflakes) each time we use a packet I will replace it with 2 of the same, until we are up to a 3 month supply. Then it's just a case of maintaining the stock. 1 in, 1 out. 

That should stagger the dates a little and spread the cost of restocking over a few weeks.

Anyone else stockpiling to beat Universal Credits or uncertain finances? Any tips would be welcome 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Today's frugalling

Today I saved money by;

* starting some plants to use as teacher gifts at Christmas.  I already owned the parent plant and the pots cost 10p each in the Wilco gardening sale. 

* I pulled out the box of Halloween goodies I tucked away last year. Nothing inside cost me more than 25p. 

* I made 8 boxes of stewed apple from the two bags of fallers I was gifted.
* I saved the seeds from the apples to grow. You can find a useful guide Here  if you are tempted to try. 

* We made bats using toilet roll tubes, tissue paper and scrap paper.

X x X

Monday, 23 October 2017

Gifting books and upcycling

I love sweet and simple crafts. I saw the bookmark idea on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect to use up a few more cards.
The beads came from a broken bracelet so I had everything on hand to whip these up.

DD1 is a ferocious reader. I picked up the set of books above in the poundshop earlier in the year. It's not often DD1 gets brand new books so it felt nice to get them for her. 
I've tucked one of the  bookmarks in each one.

And while they were out of the gift cupboard I got them nicely wrapped ready for the big day. 
I'm determined not to leave all the wrapping to the last minute this year. I will be trying to do it as I go along. (She says!)

X x X

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Greeting card pináta

This afternoon I took down the collection of greetings cards from the lounge and replaced them with yesterday's Halloween decorations.
But when I went to store the cards with the rest of them, I found the drawer was almost over flowing.

Pinterest provided several options for upcycling. My favourite was from Ruffles and Boots. Her easy to follow tutorial made creating my own pin├íta a breeze. 
 Each pin├íta used up one card each so I can easily make several of these over the course of an afternoon or an evening. 
Wouldn't they make sweet tree decorations for Christmas? Or Party favours? 

Let me know if you try them.

X x X