Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Nutella Part 2

I've shared with you before about re-purposing the lids of Nutella jars but now for something pretty.

Of course the glass jars that the chocolate spread comes in can we washed out and used a tumblers but it may take quite some time to get a set this way so how about this.

Make them into pretty candle votive using nothing more than double sides tape and some scraps of lace.  This is so simple to do I won't patronise you with instructions and it's so simple children can do it to.



The pictures don't quite do them justice but they cast some pretty shadows with a tea light in them. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Childrens Party's

I am currently in the midst of planning my eldest daughters 4th birthday party.  A task known to be stressful, time consumimg and above all expensive for most if not all parents!

I have in my limited years picked up quite few tips to keep the cost down which I hope you may find useful.

Last year a good friend of mine & I doubled our efforts and saved £s & lots of energy.  Our daughters birthdays are only 4 days apart so rather than replicating the same parties for the same children, we teamed up and did a joint party.  We hired a hall and split the cost. We spent an evening ordering all the food and party bag fillings online & had it delivered a couple of days before.  She did the craft & invites - as this is her strong suit & I did the food & party bags.  It was great, so much easier and cheaper and the girls LOVED it!

This year as my friends daughter has started at school - they are a year apart - the two girls now have different sets of friends.
We are having a small fairy tea party at home.  This is tip number one don't bow to the pressure of inviting the entire nursery class.  Hall hire is expensive when you add in setting up and clearing away time so keep numbers low and have it at home.  Your children will thank you for this too.  It can be overwhelming and less enjoyable for small children particularly (but big ones too) to have hoards and hoards of noisy children.

 Classic party games that have stood the test of time are always a winner.  A small book or colouring book makes the perfect prize for pass the parcel.  Wrap the final layer in colourful paper & subsequent layers in newspaper with a wrapped sweet or forfeit in each layer - cheap as chips!

Stickers also make perfect treats/rewards they are inexpensive and small children love them.  Instead of knocking people out of a game of musical statues award the stillest person a sticker each round and keep everyone in.

 Party bags - these can be very tricky.  The amount of horrid plastic junk that goes straight to landfill we have had in party bags doesn't bear thinking about.  Go for quality not quantity is my tip but this doesn't have to mean expensive.

Use paper bags - either save your own up or buy on e-bay. Print colouring pictures onto them or write the childs name in glitter glue to decorate.
 A handful of sweets, a piece of cake and small gift that you know the children will enjoy is better than a load of rubbish.
Crayons and a pretty notepad, a plastic dinosaur for boys, hair accessories for girls.

 If you have the time try this tip - buy a packet of hair pins and colourful buttons.  Using a glue gun, attach the buttons to the slides and pop them onto a square of scrapbook paper. Perfect party favours and impromptu gifts for little girls.

 If you fancy being really radical you could dispense with the party bags all together.
This year to tie in with our theme I've bought fairy wings for each of our guests and will make and wrap individual cup cakes for them to take home.  I am not ashamed to say the wings cost £1 each but I know the girls will love them.

 At a party we recently attended my daughter was given a lovely activity book to bring home.

 A word about food, keep it simple and remember they don't eat that much of the savoury stuff they are all waiting for the cake! 

 Finally be imaginative. A friend of mine who has three boys found a manufacturer of bouncy castles near her who was selling up the business when her eldest was still quite young.  She bought a bouncy castle very cheaply and has used it at countless boys birthday party's ever since.  It's definatly paid for itself several times over and made her very popular. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Apologies for the silence


My apologies I haven't posted in a while my eldest has been very poorly for quite some time but rest assured I'm preparing a couple of posts for you this week. 

Simone x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A little tip for you.

I love it when I stumble upon a little tip it makes my day, I told you I find pleasure in simple things.

So the other day quite by accident I discovered that the plastic lid from the top of a Nutella jar fits perfectly onto a tin of baked beans.  So if you've only used half a tin of something keep it fresh and covered in the fridge with a Nutella lid.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Make your food go further.

I hope you will forgive me if food is the last thing you want to think about post-Christmas but I thought I’d share some genuinely helpful tips with you all.  Don't you hate it when you see an article entitled "money saving tips" and then you read it and find it's full of the most basic common sense.  That happens to me all the time so I promise none of that here I will only share what i know to be true and have found to be useful.

Listen carefully I shall say this only once... make a list - Duh!  I know that was obvious but it really does help you save money.  Plan your meals for the week, look through your cupboards and find out what you already have and what you need, make a list.  Stick to the list & leave the supermarket (or where ever you buy your food) and feel good!  I will return to the subject of meal planning later.

Now that’s the basics onto the genuinely good stuff.  Once you've got the food home how can you make the most of it & make it last...

Wine is very expensive so don't let it go to waste.  Freeze any dregs or half drunk bottles to use in your cooking.  I use little individual jelly moulds for this or ice cube trays.  Once frozen pop out into a freezer bag and label.  Keep reds and white separate of course.

Blitz stale bread in a blender and freeze it.  Use it to coat fish and chicken or sprinkle on top of a pasta bake or fish pie.  If you don't fancy that make croutons with it or go traditional with a bread and butter pudding.

Have you ever had to buy a whole packet or fresh chillies for a recipe that only used one.  Did you know you can freeze them and then refresh them when needed with a little cold water.  Or dry them by stringing them onto a length of thread and hanging them in a cool dry place.

Tender herbs (parsley, chives, dill etc.) can be frozen too.  Freeze them in water in an ice cube tray and pop them out as needed.

Did you know you can also freeze most cheese everything from Cheddar to Stilton to Brie, wrap in Clingfilm & freeze - simple!  Cheddar can be grated first if it's more convenient.  If you’re keeping your cheese in the fridge wrap it in foil to stop it sweating.

That’s the freezer filled now onto the fridge..

Bagged salad will live longer if you remove them from the bag they came in and replace them in a fresh bag.  In fact excess water in you fridge causes mould pop a sponge in the veg drawer of your fridge it will make everything last longer - cheap make-up sponges are great for this as they are small and, dense enough to hold the water.  

Be thrifty with your time and energy and plan ahead for a rainy day.  It takes the same amount of time and effort to make 1 shepherds pie as it does to make two.  So why not make extra and pop it in the freezer.  Then when you have a day when you don’t feel like cooking or the kids are acting up or you get stuck in traffic on the way home and need to be get in, put the kids to bed and go to a PTA meeting viola pull out your "here's one I made earlier" dinner and feel like a domestic goddess.

Monday, 9 January 2012



My name is Simone.  I have never written a blog before - although I follow several.  I really have no idea what I’m doing.  But below are some thoughts on what has started me on this journey and what I hope to share with you. 

I'm an old fashioned kind of girl I married and settled down young, by today’s standards.  I am a stay at home Mummy to two little girls, Hero & Lois.  Money is very tight - as it is for many families - but am fortunate to have a husband who supports me in this.  I miss my work as a counsellor to teenagers but I wouldn't change being at home with my girls for these precious early years, it's a real privilege.

Inspired by some beautiful blogs, my love of craft, vintage and being thrifty I've decided to start my own blog & set myself a challenge.  To be as frugal as possible in 2012 in an attempt to actually be able to save money again.  I am not terrible with money I’m not great, but I’m not terrible.  I do like pretty things.  Since having our daughter almost 4 years ago and moving into our first house we've struggled  to keep on top of our finances, there always seems to be something that needs fixing, replacing, someone who needs new shoes or a coat etc. etc. I'm sure many of know what I’m talking about.

My hope is that through writing this blog I will be encouraged to do this year with integrity & that it will keep me on the path when times are tough.  I also hope to share the things I love, I try to live simply and find joy in simple pleasures.  I love to sew and bake with my girls.  We have an allotment and I’ve set myself the challenge of learning to knit this year - plenty to keep me busy & provide some interesting posts.  

Well I think that about sums it up, I very much hope someone will enjoy reading my entries too.