Saturday, 13 September 2014

Couponing, freebies & being savvy

I'm Back!!,
So its been what seems like ages since my last blog post! I'm not sure if I explained in my last post but we had to move house at very short notice as we found out that our landlord was trying to sell the house we were living in behind our back so we had to move quite sharpish and stay within the area because of munchkins school. We managed to find a lovely house however it is more expensive but we couldn't hang around any longer as we were running out of time so because of the extra rent, council tax, etc as well as saving for the wedding something had to be done!
I decided to take control of the finances and to start being more savvy. I started to look at coupons and also began watching the popular US extreme couponing program on sky.It amazed me at how people can buy hundreds of pounds of shopping and pay nearly nothing.
After alot of research Ive come to realise that in the UK its not possible to do it to the extreme that they do in the US due to the conditions of the coupons or the supermarkets policy. (e.g one per transaction, cannot be used in conjunction with any offer). However it is possible in some sorts!

I have been getting coupons from magazines, newspapers, companies facebook pages etc.... (before anyone says 'ahhh your using coupons to buy things that you never normally buy' this isn't the case!

Ive also began using cash back apps which I'm in love with! and have had some amazing deals and even some amazing freebies!

Ive also started looking more carefully about what comes in and goes out of our bank as we are often guilty of splashing out on payday and then being on our backside at the end of the month.
Another thing I'm doing is planning every meal so that we don't trip up and end up going out for food or having take away!

I wont go into too much detail at the moment but if this is something you would like to see on my blog please comment below and if i get enough people who are interested i will post more details on the apps i use etc.
Also if you are a couponer let me know!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

My Top 15 July Favourites! (household products)

I love reading other peoples reviews on things and although this isn't a review on products there are just some of my July Favourites!
These are in no particular order.

Flash Bathroom cleaner. This stuff is not only a good cleaner but it smells amazing and you can smell it even the day after you have used it. Friends always comment on how clean my bathroom smells. It can usually be found in the supermarkets down to £1.

A squeegy. Ive given up using chemical cleaners on my windows as they don't seem to do as good a job as this little beauty. I put some soapy water in a bowl, wash the windows then use this. No smears at all! Also i use it on the shower and tiles!

Colour catchers! These are a must for me as I usually don't have enough for one type of load so with these i can mix whites and colours and if anything runs it goes into the colour catcher instead. These are available in most supermarkets.

Febreze linen spray! This has the most amazing smell. I love to use it on bedding, curtains, mats, sofa etc. It seams to last forever! I picked mine up in Asda after a friend recommended it to me.

Flash mop. I have gone back and fore between a steam mop, traditional mop and bucket and this flash mop and I love how convenient this mop is and it smells good too!
Yankee Candles...My love of Yankee candles has began! Ive tried a few scents and the ones i love are clean cotton, black cherry, soft blanket, baby powder. They really do make the house smell amazing and they give a long burn time. If anyone can recommend and yummy scents let me know in the comments.
Dyson Vacuum. I don't know where i would be without my trusted Dyson. Its the best Vacuum we have ever owned!
Ambi pur plug in. I love this plug in with the three different scents! It lasts for ages and is one of the best plug ins that I've used. (As you can tell by now i love nice smelling things!)
Egg boiler! Yep call me lazy but this thing is so useful. It holds 6-7 eggs and you get a small up which tells you how much water to put in depending on how many eggs you but in and how you like your eggs (soft, medium, hard). This one is from Lakeland however there are lots of others available.

Slow cooker. ahhhh! my beloved slow cooker! To be honest i didn't think i would use this much but i can honestly say that i love it so much! I buy the casserole mixes, throw it all in and pop it on! mmmmm
Packet mixes. These are so yummy and convenient! although it doesn't say its for a slow cooker i love it use it in the slow cooker! Mix it with some water, pop your chicken in and pour the mix on top...then let it do its magic!

Asda smart price mild curry sauce. Right....if you haven't tried this...please just humour me and try it! Its only about 24p....It tastes just like chip shop curry! I love to make vegetable curry's and chicken curry's with it! its so yummy! (not even the inlaws realised it was smart price!!)
Batiste dry shampoo. This is by far the best dry shampoo I've tried!
Yep this is a strange one! but my hand held fan comes everywhere with me! even in the winter! Why?? because i use it for cooling Munchkins food if we are eating out or even if we are at home! Hes not a fan of waiting for food to cool down!
Tangle Teezer, I love my tangle teaser! having long hair tangles can be a right pain especially as soon as I've got out of the shower after washing my hair! It works a dream!

I have not been sponsored or paid to give my opinions on these products they are all my own opinions.

Moving on....AGAIN!

Yes its been a few weeks since my last blog has got even more hectic and im struggling to make time to post on my blog....or even find any time for myself! I dont want this blog to just be me moaning because thats not my intention.

The are some personal issues going on (I cant go into these at the moment). We moved into a lovely house the end of 2013 which allowed us to get munchkin into the school we wanted him to go to. We were very happy that our landlord was glad to have us at long term tenants. We completed the first 6 month contract and the landlord agreed to providing us with a long term contract....instead of turning up with the contract he rung us to tell us that someone was coming to view the house with e intention of buying it! So as you can imagine it put us in a right spin.
We have since applied for another house and are waiting for a decision on if we have the house or not. The house is bigger than the one we have at the moment and has an extra bedroom which would low us to have people stay over (which the inlaws are really looking forward.

So we have gone from being comfortable and expecting to spend the next 3+ years here to having to move within the next month! It honestly feels like I've only just finished unpacking after moving into this house. Ahh well....what will be will be!!. I just hope that it doesn't unsettle munchkin too much as it took us a good few months to get him back into his sleeping routine when we moved into this house. I've been taking him out for walks when someone comes to view the house as I don't want him wondering why people are walking around his house.

Let the packing begin! (Oh the joy)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Organised mum! My agendas & top tips

Yey! I'm way back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging....lets say..I have my mojo back! I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my babble but hey ho! its good to jot things down too!

First of all let me say that I'm no where near the most organised person!.....(I like to think i am though) Hence the reason I'm writing this post! About a week ago it was like something in my head clicked!

I'm a SAHM (stay at home mum) to munchkin and my Fiance works shifts. I began thinking....what am i going to do with my time when Munchkin is in nursery in the mornings?!? obviously the natural answer is to catch up on cleaning etc.
My house isn't dirty but its very lived in and I'll hold my hands up and say that i often slack on the washing and especially the ironing (don't we all?!?). I often throw things into draws and cupboards and taaa daaa!!! its tidy (ish).

Munchkins toys are slowly taking over our house! so as Ive said a week ago something clicked and i got my butt into gear! I knuckled down and cleaned the house top to bottom and Ive got to say it felt amazing to have a clean house with all the washing and ironing done! yep!!! you heard me right! Its been a hell of a long time since I had both all of the washing and ironing done. I sat there and thought....ahhhh this is nice but how am i going to maintain it??? So i thought i would create a weekly cleaning agenda! I took majority of things that needed doing and just broke it down into bite size chunks. 

I haven't put the kitchen on my agenda because i clean it daily! for example after lunch I wash the dishes and clean the worktops then after tea I wash the dishes, wipe the sides, sweep and mop. I haven't put this on my agenda because i want this to be something that comes naturally to me and i didn't want it do make the agenda look too daunting.

There are a few things that aren't on the agenda but these are things that don't necessarily have to be done every day/week.

Here are my top tips!

  1. Make your bed as soon as you get up
  2. Get yourself a flash mop! its so convenient 
  3. Clean the sink and toilet while your waiting for your bath to fill or your shouwer to heat up
  4. Fold your washing as soon as its dry
  5. Try to iron the day that your washing dries - try not to let it build up!
  6. make yourself a cleaning agenda and break it down and do it on days/ times that are best for you
  7. Wash dishes twice a day (this works for me but depending on your family size this may differ)
  8. Pop the music on while you clean! Go on!! have a boogie! your burning more calories too!
  9. Dont sit down with a cuppa until your done! if you are anything like me you wont get back up to finish.
  10. Get your children involved! (if they are old enough that is)

So While my agenda pad was out i thought i would create more things to keep me organised. so I decided to do one for Munchkins snacks so that he wasn't having too many biscuits for snack time. Obviously come September i will drop the morning snack because Munchkin will be in nursery and have his morning snack there.

Munchkin is also behaving allot better with some structured activity's throughout this day. So this agenda is something to let me make sure he has a variety of activities.

I'm also in the middle of doing a weekly planner of meals! so keep your eyes peeled for that!
In the mean time i hope that you have taken something away from my blog post! Oh and the Funky weekly planners that i use are from 'The Range' and I love them! Oh just reminded myself that i need to pop in a buy some more!

Thank you for reading x

Children & The small things!

Over the past 2 years I kept thinking of how to create memories with Munchkin. I dreamt of Disney world, driving to the biggest zoos available etc and lately Ive come to realise its not always the big things that stick in children's mind but the small things that sometimes seem meaningless to you and I.
Surly not?!?.....the biggest safari park with the most amazing creatures?! that's gonna create memories right? well yes of course obviously depending on the child's age!

We have gone to lots of zoos etc and Munchkin has loved it however after returning home and giving it a day or so he doesn't mention it any longer.
Its not that i begrudge paying for day trips etc however we aren't exactly flash with the cash and have had to cut down on the day trips lately, this is what has let to me discovering 'The small things'.

We took a walk as a family one day and took a blanket, ball, and a little picnic....we stopped where ever we wanted to sat and had our picnic and picked daisy's and munchkin has been on about this little adventure for ages!
When i started to think about the little things i started to do more 'little things' that munchkin has loved and he still talks about them now....i watch him and he laughs a different laugh and smiles a different smile! Something I don't see of hear when we visit zoos etc.

Today we went up to a local favourite of mine! It's a huge wide open space with amazing views! (Joys of living in Wales), a cycle track, woodlands and wetlands. It's so open we can let munchkin run and we can see him. No matter what time of day or year we go up there, there is only ever a hand full of people so it's lovely and peaceful. Today we decided to explore the wetlands. Loaded with our net and bucket I could see the excitement on munchkins sun creamed sweet little face! We got to the little pond and pool areas and even thought we didn't find anything with out nets we spent ages watching some huge beautiful dragonflies dart around above the water. They were so colourful and something that munchkin had never seen in real life! We soon came across lots of other little surprises like butterflies, frogs, hares, grass hoppers...and wait for it.....pine cones (a favourite of munchkins). This afternoon out cost us nothing yet it's something that I would have taken for granted in the past.

I'm going to list some of the 'little things' we really enjoying doing as a family! they are all things that cost nothing or very little! this list are things that some of us may dismiss as silly things that children wont be interested in! think again!

  1. In the autumn... collect different leaves! even have a kick about in them!
  2. Plant potatoes and a potato sack! great fun digging around for them when they are ready!
  3. Go and collect pine cones/acorns
  4. Fly a kite! (poundland sells a 2pk of kites for £1)
  5. Go to the local garden centre to look at the fish (some will even let you feed them)
  6. Go to your nearest lake/pond and fish for tadpoles
  7. Chalk on the pavement/paving slabs
  8. Picnic often!
  9. Make a fort with your sofa or clothes horse
  10. Boot sales! fab exercise walking around and kits can get a cheap toy if they are well behaved.
  11. Build sandcastles at your local beach
  12. Turn up the music and dance together!
  13. Bowl of soapy water, plastic plates, a sponge...pop it outside in the nice weather and let them get on with it!
  14. Finger painting! yep it can be messy but nothing that cant be cleaned (as long as you get the right paints)
  15. Cheerio threading....thread cheerios onto string! amazing for fine motor skills.
  16. local leisure centre don't charge for children under 5 (i think! could be older)
  17. Brush! this goes for sweeping and brushing hair! all children love brushes!
  18. Water bombs! my local B&M Bargains sells 2 packs of 100 watter bombs for £1. fab fun!
  19. Bubbles! Munchkin loves loves loves Bubbles!
  20. Feed the ducks with your left over stale bread

These are just some of the fun cheap things that we like to do

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Butlins Minehead Review

So many of you that follow me on twitter and instagram will know that in March we went away as a family on a last minuet holiday to Butlins in Minehead. We had been going through some difficulties as a family and needed a break away. I was our first time visiting any Butlins.
We decided to book a gold apartment and also a premium food package. for 2 x adults and 1 x child.
On arriving at Butlins front gates we were greeted by a very friendly member of staff who directed us to where to park and where we needed to check in. Due to being in a gold apartment we got to check in early (which is always a bonus) We checked in at the gold check in desk and the member of staff was very friendly and helpful and considering she had a huge queue of people this friendliness and politeness didn't slip at all! not even after repeating her self over and over to each person checking in. We collected our key cards and went to explore the skyline while waiting to be able to get into our room a little later!

The skyline is incredible and much larger than it looks on line! It was so over whelming! Munchkin got so excited there was so much going on from 2p machines playing music, lights flashing, entertainment happening on the main stage, a large soft play area for children. I couldn't help but smile! i knew we were going to enjoy the next four days.

On checking into our gold apartment we were very impressed. This was munchkins room! We took a bed rail with us however they are available to hire from Butlins. The windows have locks at the bottom and top of the windows so this was handy to prevent munchkin from making a quick escape!

This was our double room. very clean. comfy bed! (love the little elephant). the wardrobe contained a safe and there was a tv on the dresser.
The bathroom was again lovely and clean and contained lovely little extras!

 The kitchen/dining area was nice! Because we had a dining package we didn't spend any time eating at the table except for our morning cuppa! The kitchen was very clean and came complete with all of the essentials.
Oven, hobs, pots, pans, cutlery, kettle, teapot, tea, coffee, sugar, microwave, dish washer (& tablets), iron, ironing board, cups, glasses and much more!!

The living area again was very clean! sofas were very comfortable! The cleaner came around daily and replenished items and tidied, make the beds, put out clean towels, and pop any dished into the dishwasher so they are all clean by the time you get back to your room.

The living area was also nice! two comfy sofas, and a tv and dvd player. We found that this was alot more spacious than we had expected!

Entertainment:- I have to say that i found the entertainment for children amazing! there was always something to watch/do!

I thought that munchkin would enjoy all of the characters like fireman Sam etc however he fell in love with the skyline gang! and we found him singing along to the songs after the first day! In fact months later he is still on about the skyline gang and always gets us to show him the skyline gang videos on YouTube!

Another big fav of ours was the puppet castle! it was a really interactive show that munchkin would look forward to daily!

Munchkin also looked forward to the tots disco every night! we really enjoyed watching him join in with the red coats. Yes we did buy him some of the flashing merchandise that goes around however being honest they didn't cost as much as i thought they would!

Food:- As i have said we booked the dining plan and had two restaurants to choose from...'The Yacht Club' and 'The deck' they were both very nice and each served a wide selection of food and desert! they even have a children's counter that is lower to allow them to serve themselves! (Its the little things that matter). I would also like to gave a special mention to someone who stood out to us! He works on the restaurant reception area along with other staff! He was absolutely amazing with our son and made an effort with each and every child that came through the doors. He had a special quality!! he even took the time to come and sit with our son and help him read a book! We were very touched by this as this was going above and beyond! 

There are lovely things that i noticed throughout our stay. like the cafe shop within the skyline.....the 'lovely person' check on my cup :-)
The skyline has sooooo much to offer! and anyone who says that its not kept clean must be lying because there were always 3-4 cleaners within eyes view! literaly as soon as you realised you have dropped something they are right behind you cleaning it up!

This may sound really silly but years ago i went to Disney world in Florida and other than the amazing fun i had the staff friendliness was the thing that stood out the most....I've never seen customer service like it in the UK....until now! I would happily say that each and every member of staff had customer service just like at Disney! when i say everyone i mean from check in to read coats to restaurant to the skyline chip shop.

We had an amazing holiday however we don't even feel like we have been able to scrape the surface of what was available at Butlins! We would love to go back to Butlins again and take my inlaws as i do believe that there is something for every age group! 
Thank you Butlins for helping us create amazing family memories!!
Please Note:- I have not been paid to do this review and all of my opinions are my own

Monday, 16 June 2014

Bridesmaid & wedding dress shopping!

So it's been a while since I've posted here. I've just been busy with family stuff and each time I sit down to write on my blog, something happens....munchkin wakes up upset, someone's at the door or on the phone! So I'm shutting myself off to everything tonight (except munchkin obviously).

Wedding plans are coming along nicely and it's scary how quickly it's coming around!

We have now ordered the bridesmaids dresses (woo whoo). I've decided to add a splash of colour into the wedding and this colour is the bridesmaids dresses!
We have gone for a minty blue/pale turquoise. The 'caribbean' in the pic below
 The bridesmaids dresses weren't what I'd thought I'd like at first but they are very different and a now love them!!
The shop gave me an amazing deal....if I ordered the two bridesmaids dresses and my dress I would get one bridesmaids dress free and 10% off my dress. Everyone loves a deal right?! So I quickly booked the bridesmaids dresses and started looking for mine.....after going back on two occasions the girl there kept putting me in a large A-line gown and told me that the mermaid/fishtail didn't suit me. I was very disappointed because after losing 4 and a half stone I wanted a dress that is going to show off my body shape. She kept saying things like 'awww this is most certainly the one for you' don't get me was a pretty dress, just not what I was looking for and at £1599....this was a lot for just 'pretty'.

I soon began thinking about going to other shops to look even if it ment losing the discount in the other shop.

I went to another shop just to have a look at what dresses they stock and prices. It was very obvious that 3 of the members of staff were whispering about someone/something.....being the only person in the shop this does not create a good impression!! I hate people whispering because I believe it creates unnecessary  tension. They were lovely enough once they had finished their whispering session but did put me off slightly.

Each shop I visited just didn't seem right....I wanted to visit this one bridal store as soon as I knew we were getting married but had been put off with people telling me that they were really expensive but I decided to bite the bullet and book an appointment there! And I'm so glad I did! I'm hoping to do a review on this bridal shop and continue my dress hunt experience in my next wedding post but I'm going to speak with the shop first before I disclose their info. *keep your eyes peeled*