Saturday 29 December 2018

Frugal gardening

I've picked up some good deals for the garden in the past few days. I started by finding some hazel trees for £1 in B&Q.

The day after I bought a planter of mixed strawberry plants. They should give me 100 days of strawberries between them which sounds tasty and fun. I had to leave my strawberry plants at our old house so I'm looking forward to starting a new strawberry empire.

Finally, I bought a little potted Christmas tree in tescos reduced to £1. We've named him Bruce the Spruce and hopefully he will enjoy many Christmases with us in future. I think he may outgrow his fairy lights quite quickly though 😂. He came all dressed with decorations and battery powered lights so he was quite the bargain.
 I also picked up a very cheap onion set but as I've already planted them (they were sprouting in the packet) there isn't much to see.

X x X

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Boxing day at the Random household

I quite like Boxing Day. Everyone is less crazed than Christmas Day, and it feels a lot more relaxed. It's a day of trying out new gifts and wearing new outfits and pajamas. 
The children have all happily entertained themselves with their gifts today. I've had time to tidy around a bit and make yesterday's turkey carcass into stock.
This evening I'll be dipping into my little stash of Reeses treats and enjoying a film with the Hubby.

Merry Christmas everyone.

X x X

Friday 21 December 2018

We're nearly there.

We've completed all the Christmas school, pre school, and baby group events. Almost all the Christmas presents have arrived (just 1 left!). Christmas meat has been ordered. 
Gifts have been wrapped and labelled.
School finishes in about 30 minutes.
We're ready to get our Christmas celebrations under way.

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful blog readers. I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating (or not).

X x X

Monday 17 December 2018

Frugal games for Christmas (or anytime)

Apologies for the lack of posts. Christmas time is beyond hectic! I think I'm at the girls school as much as they are. Today is a craftanoon with DD2 and then Gman Christmas party! Phew!

I wanted to share a new game we've discovered recently. It's called Nine Lives or Fan-Tan. 
You start with 3 or more players and a bowl of small items such as dried peas, raw pasta, buttons or anything that's small with a good amount.
Player 1 takes 1 pea from the bowl.
Player 2 takes 2 peas, and so on until there is no longer enough peas for the next person to play. The winner is the last person to successfully take their number of peas from the bowl. 

Each game you add or remove a handful of the peas. 
You can also add an extra dimension by guessing who will win each game (though naturally the girls always picked themselves  when we tried it 😂)
It's one of those games you could play anywhere with almost anything. Seashells at the beach, Conkers in the park, sticks, leaves, even torn up pieces of paper!
I quite like the idea of a Christmas version using baubles or Christmas chocolates.

Let me know if you give it a try 😁

X x X

Monday 3 December 2018

Christmas wreath and more prepping

My mum gifted us the most beautiful handmade wreath yesterday. I picked up a door hanger this morning in Home Bargains and popped it straight up. Each time I walk past the front door I can see the silhouette and it's making me feel all festive and happy.

While I was in Home Bargains I added a few more items to my Brexit stash using the change in my coat pocket. 
My next job is find a note book and write down some recipes and make a basic meal plan.
Though I'd be happy eating pasta daily I don't think my waistline would 😂

X x X

Thursday 29 November 2018

Current knitting project

I was very kindly gifted some beautiful Flutterby yarn recently by my mum. It's one of those lovely chunky yarns which knits up very quickly. It's like trying to knit with  marshmallow and I'm really enjoying it.
The project above is a jacket for Baby W but it looks HUGE, I think it may even fit Gman once I'm finished but I can always pop it away for later. It's not taken nearly as much yarn as I expected either so I may even do a second one too.

Yesterdays addition to the Brexit stock was 4 tins of Tuna. They are currently £2.70 in Home Bargains which seemed quite resonable.
We all eat Tuna in the house so these can be made into all sorts of dishes.
Our family favourite is tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake.  

How do you like your tuna?

X x X

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Making preparations

I sat in a café earlier today to warm up from the rain that's been pouring down most of the day. 
On the table next to me were woman discussing Brexit and all the potential problems that could happen. One of the ladies seemed to think birds would fly backwards and we'd all be living in caves with flint tools by Christmas 2019.
The other thought there would be some mild disruption to things while Britian was on the naughty step for a while. 
Both however agreed that they should get some things in to combat the big change over and beat the panic buying that we do so well in Britian. Remember the big freeze milk shortage? Just the hint of a milk shortage made a lot of people suddenly double or triple their usual purchase, just in case!
I've seen a few bloggers posting about Brexit stockpiles and had good intentions of getting round to it, but of course I didn't! 
So after my coffee I bought my first item to stash for Brexit survival. A jar of 28p jam isn't going to feed the 6 of us for very long but it's a start. 
For the next 122 days until Brexit arrives (if it does because its all very confusing at the moment) I will be adding to my stockpile every few days. 
Luck favours the prepared and all that.

Are you prepping for Brexit or anything else?

X x X

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Choc Orange Elves

How cute are these chocolate orange covers? 
I'm aiming to make 6 so we can all have one on Christmas day sitting on the dinner table.
I just wish I'd seen them earlier as I can't spot any offers on Choc Oranges but there's plenty of time yet to get them. 
I bought one yesterday from the pound shop so I could check the elves fit okay but if the orange makes it to Christmas it'll be a miracle!
If already caught DD2 looking at it longingly. 

X x X

Sunday 18 November 2018

Upcycling for Christmas- glow sticks

We collected a small pile of glow sticks between us all yesterday. We watched the town lights being switched on by Father Christmas.  A lot of the people in the carnival that escorted him through the town handed out glow sticks, sweets, leaflets for events etc.
We came home with about 20 glow sticks.

A quick Google revealed Glow sticks are a bit of an eco disaster. They cant be recycled at all. 
Rather than add to landfill i put on my thinking cap of a way to upcycle them into something else. 
Taking inspiration from their shape I tried covering them in icord and making them into wreaths to hang on the Christmas tree. 
They looked a touch plain so i added some beads and holly leaves cut out from a drinks can. 
I think they look rather sweet.

X x X 

Saturday 3 November 2018

Pumpkin Fun

It's the season of cheap pumpkins and just the right weather for some soup.
I picked up 4 pumpkins yesterday in Waitrose for 20p each. One has been turned into a vat of pumpkin and carrot soup.

The shells were given to the kids to play with and the seeds roasted. That's the best thing about pumpkins not a bit is wasted! My 20p travels a long way.

After feeding us all for lunch and 2 of the neighbours children who were playing in our garden, I've frozen 6 portions and left enough in the fridge for lunch tomo if DH isn't hungry when he gets home.

Tomorrow I'm onto pumpkin two and hoping to attempt some Pumpkin Gnocchi!

Any other pumpkin recipes I should try?

X x X

Friday 2 November 2018

The great poke cake experiment

I keep having a poke cake video appearing on my Pinterest searches. Having seen it so many times I decided to give it a go.
First I made my usual traybake recipe then while it cooled poked it with lots of small holes using the end of a spoon.

Next I made up a pint of strawberry jelly using 50/50 boiling and cold water, then poured it all over the cake slowly letting it soak into the holes.
Once the jelly has been absorbed I added a topping of icing and some decorations.
Then the whole thing pops into the fridge to chill for a few hours.

We tried our first few  slices after dinner. Overall its been a success as every one agreed  it tastes wonderful, however we also all agree its just far to wet! 
My second attempt will be made with 1/2 pint of  jelly mix to see if that makes things better. It should also make the jelly taste stronger I think.
I'll let you know how round two goes shortly.

Have  you tried any new recipes lately?

X x X

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Halloween dinner

We wanted to surprise the children with a fun Halloween themed dinner before they went out to go trick or  treating.
I decorated the table with brown packing  paper saved from amazon orders and decorated my cake stand with mini donuts, Halloween themed sweets and small plastic insects.
DH put the disco bulb up and found a playlist of kid friendly Halloween songs to play as we ate.

For our main meal we had pumpkin burgers, which are regular burgers with american style cheese squares on top. DH did all the cutting out while I set the table. We served them on burger buns and let the children turn them into gruesome faces by using ketchup to decorate them.
We finished the meal by pulling Halloween crackers together, I found a five pack in Poundland and just couldn't resist them.
All in all its been a cheap and cheerful Halloween.

How did your Halloween go?

X x X

Halloween morning

Halloween hadn't got off to the best start for me. During the night I knocked my glasses off my bedside table and one of the arms fell off.
The school run was both hilarious and frustrating. The children and Tom teased me something terrible of course. "Did you see that mum? Ha ha!. "Quick look! There's an elephant over there!" 
My hero of the day is the nice man in Vision Express who not only fixed them for free but also gave them a really thorough clean in his fancy machine. 
While he was sorting them out we took a little wander into a few charity shops and such.

I spent 50p on the most amazing Christmas book! Each day of advent has a little piece of a nativity scene to make out of household odds and ends as well as a homemade gift idea or craft to make.
I'm looking forward to trying it out with the children.

I also found some 10p DVDs I fancied the look of in Cash Converters. At 10p each I don't mind passing them on after I've watched them to friends and family. 
Usually I  don't buy any films as there's more than I could ever watch on Sky and Netflix ect but hey, the price was right so why not.

X x X

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Use it or loose it

I need to make some room on the bookshelf for some new books I recieved for my birthday.
The photo above is a set I was given last Christmas and still haven't read! So I'm giving myself the challenge to donate them just before Christmas whether I've read them or not.
I'm hoping it'll encourage me to put my phone down more as well as clearing some space.

Do you have anything left from last Christmas you haven't used yet?

X x X

Monday 29 October 2018

Home Sweet Home

It's been four days of fun.
We saw amazing sandscultures at Sandworld, and tried to create some of our own.

We met creatures from the deep and learned all about animal conservation at the Sea Life Centre.

We made new friends at the holiday park and enjoyed busting some moves on the dance floor.

We met monkeys, gibbons and orangutans at Monkey World and learned more about primates around the world.

It's been a very busy, very wonderful few days but I'm very glad to see my own bed and enjoy the wonderful invention that is central heating again!

X x X

Friday 26 October 2018

Off on our jollys

It's time for our annual Sun holiday. 
So far we've survived the drive down, the fight over bedrooms and found the nearest supermarket for toast supplies and teabags.
 Every one was allowed to pack a backpack to take with them. DD1 packed a colouring book, pencil case and diary. Gman stuffed his backpack with toy cars and a colouring book. 
DD2 packed a loaf of bread! Which she'd eaten most off by the time we arrived! 
Luckily the children were given colouring sets with crayons inside as a welcome gift to the park , so she has something to starve off boardom.

Wish me luck it could be a long weekend!

X x X

Thursday 25 October 2018


Today was spent hanging out in Southsea with some friends and their lovely children. Between the 5 of us we have 12 so every one had someone to play with.

We enjoyed a trip to the park, walk around the lake, investigated the newly opened pier and explored Southsea museum and butterfly house.
Now I feel like my legs are going to fall off but it was a nice walk out in the sea air and much needed.

X x X

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Monday and Tuesday

On Monday we attended a film morning at a local church. It was a great turn out and the children behaved really well during the film. So well in fact that I treated us all to a cake in the little bakery on route home.

We collected leaves during our walk home and had fun trying some leaf maths. You have to solve the sum, multiplication question or just ID the number written on the leaf and hole-punch the correct number of holes. Everybody enjoyed giving it a go.

Today we've been enjoying nature again by going on a Welly-walk with Little Thrivers, our Tuesday morning group. Each of the children attending was given a bag to collect "treasures" in and off we went into the trees, and occasionall up them! 
I was very grateful to my mum who agreed to come with us as DH was working and watching 4 small children is hard enough without adding woodland into the equation.
The three eldest all came home with bags full of leafs, feathers, sticks and pinecones to proudly show Grandad. 

I can't wait to see what tomorrow might bring!

X x X

Sunday 21 October 2018

Chilled out Sunday

We've had a pleasantly chilled out Sunday together. 
The children spent the best part of the day garden hopping around the neighbourhood with their friends. At one point I had 9 kids in the backgarden!
We also had a little visit from my mum, who gifted us a Party lightbulb she'd found on her bargain hunting adventures. I hadn't seen one before but its basically lots of multicoloured disco lights in one clever bulb. You just pop it in the light fitting and switch it on as usual. 
The children really enjoyed it this evening after dinner. 
I can only imagine how many of the neighbour kids will be having mini discos in my house tomorrow 😂

X x X 

Friday 19 October 2018

Snuggly Winter knits

The colder weather is definitely drawing in although the afternoons are still reasonably warm and bright, the mornings are decidedly nippy. All three eldest children have complained of cold ears and fingers more than once so it was time to get knitting.
A quick hunt on Ravelry found a unisex hat pattern for free. I used this one.

For the mittens I used this pattern, also a freebie. 
The cuffs of each hat and mitten set are a different colour to avoid squabbles and confusion.
Blue for Gman, Pink for DD2 and Purple for DD1. 
They knitted up in next to no time and used up some spare scrap yarn I had laying around from previous projects so they weren't only free but stash busting too! 
Now do I hide them away for Crimbo gifts or give them to the children now? 
I think I might hide them for now but if we get a big cold snap I can bring them out early.

What winter preps have you made recently?

X x X

Thursday 18 October 2018

Car boot bargains

On a Thursday there is a little car boot sale in the town centre. Seeing as it's Gman's day half day at preschool there isn't much point in me going home between dropping off and picking everyone up so I've been using thursday afternoons as my charity shop mooching day. 
Today I was lucky enough to find several bargains between the two.
Help the Aged had this beautiful Laura Ashley baby set for £4.99 a complete steal as it was BNWT!

I found a sock bunny kit for DD2 for £1, it'll be added to her Christmas stash.
2 graphic novels for me that looked interesting for £2.50
A nanoblocks kit for 50p which I'm hoping to resell at a profit on Ebay or somewhere similar.

And finally the most amazing Gruffalo onesie EVER! DD2 instantly fell in love with it, I don't want to think about the coming arguement at bedtime when she'll need to take it off!
 But a very well spent 50p I think you'll agree

 What bargains have you found today?

 X x x

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Cheap comfort food - Mushroom pasta

It's a soggy miserable day outside which means 4 soggy miserable children on the afternoon school run.
Definitely a day for some cheap comfort food.
The recipe is simple.  One 500g bag of pasta, one tin of sweetcorn, one tin of mushroom soup and a little sprinkle of grated cheese.
All the ingredients together cost less than £1.50 and make enough for 6 good sized portions. 

The clean plates all round tell me it's gone down well with the soggy miserable children who are starting to look warmer and happier already.

What's your favourite comfort food for rainy days?

X x X

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Beach memory box frame

About a week or so ago I bought a really pretty box frame from one of the little charity shops by DH's workplace. I'd been looking out for a box frame for a little while with this project in mind. I'd seen some similar ideas on Pinterest.
For 75p I snapped it up quickly. First I carefully took it apart and cleaned the frame and glass.

Then I smiled politely at my dad who kindly printed a photo out for me on his super-duper printer. I popped the photo into the box frame background.
Then I hunted down the jam jar of beach combed treasures from the same holiday the photo was from. I added a few shells, a sprinkle of sand and a few pretty stones to the frame. 
Then I clipped it back together and voila, a pretty memory frame to hang in our new home.

Not bad for a 75p outlay!

X x X

Harvest Festival Tuesday

We spend a lovely morning at our Tuesday morning group celebrating the Harvest Festival together. 
We made soup and cheesy bread which we then shared together at the end of the session with hot dogs.
We also brought in donations for the local food bank.

One of the group leaders told me off for keeping quiet about my birthday last Tuesday, and presented me with a little homemade birthday cake.
I nearly cried! We've only attended the group for a few weeks and it was a lovely thing to do.
I look forward to sharing it with everyone tonight after dinner. It looks delicious!

On our way home I couldn't resist this sweet little wooden box. It was sat very temptingly on the clearance table outside Help the Aged, and reduced to just 75p.
I really liked the shape of it and the hand painted decorations on the panels. I'm not quite sure what I'd like to do with it yet but i think it would make a lovely sewing box or perhaps a giftbox for some Christmas cookies etc.
I'll put my thinking hat on!


Sunday 14 October 2018

Soggy Sunday

We have had one of the soggiest and fun days out ever today. We've been planning to go to Paultons park for a few weeks now. DD2 wanted to go as a treat for her birthday but it's been a huge pain to schedule.  Today was the day however and we work up to grey and miserable rain. 
Our luck was in though as they day cleared up as it went along, and the rain had scared away all but the most die hard theme park fans.

We enjoyed many more rides than usual as we were able to just walk onto most of them. We also watched part of the Halloween stage show and walked through the spooky Boo Barn.
We all came home feeling quite damp and chilly so I rustled up a few rounds of cheese and ham toasties while DH found everyone warm and snuggly pyjamas to change into. 
My evening plans are watching Netflix in bed while drinking tea and knitting Christmas gifts.

X x X