“It’s Not Blackpool Illuminations In Here You Know”

Illumination, lights, bulbs

“It’s not Blackpool illuminations in here you know” this is an all to familiar phrase that regularly came from my parents mouths when I was a teen and something I sadly find myself saying now I’m a mum to teens!
It is infact not until that bill for leaving on every light in the house fell into my own hands that I understood how much not flipping that switch actually costs.

Sadly though along with an inability to find the wash basket and a passion for growing mould on plates, leaving lights on is a rite of passage for teenagers and it is probably easier to find ways round it rather than waiting for them to conform.

Something that I have recently discovered thanks to thelightingsuperstore.co.uk  is the use of LED lighting in the home.

I had always thought of LED as being something that was used only in places like shops and restaurants and I had never considered it an option for the home.

There are however many benefits of using the bulbs.

They really are the lighting option of the future with the minimal energy they use they are extremely long lasting which saves money as well as the environment.

The bulbs themselves are on the pricey side but due to that fact they use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs you will recoupe the money from your initial outlay within a matter of months.

The versatile bulbs come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours and can remarkably last up to over 25 years!

Another bonus of them is that due to the small amount of energy they use the heat that is radiated is minimal and posses less of a fire risk than most…again great for teens they love to drape rubbish over their lamps!

To me they are a no brainier! Long lasting, energy saving, cheaper and better on the environment. They really are an option to be thought about.
*collaborated post.

Making Your Meals Go Further

It gets to this time of year for me when the expense of Christmas fear kicks in and I start to think about some changes to put into place to save a few pennies.

Our biggest outgoing and area of waste by far is food, yet it is the area I find easiest to make saving when I make a bit of an effort.

Here are a few tips to stretch that weekly shop and save on any unnecessary waste.

Package Free And Wrapped Veg 

Instead of grabbing the easy to use pre-prepared veg opt for the loose vegetables and wrap them in paper towel before placing in the fridge to prevent the condensation form softening them.

Crusts For Breadcrumbs

If your children are like mine and always want their crusts removed save them and make breadcrumbs to be stored in the freezer.  These can be then be used in different meals as and when you need them.

Squashed Tomatoes

Those squishy tomatoes hiding at the back of the salad drawer can easily be turned into a soup or pasta sauce to use straight away or freeze for another day.

Bulk Up Those Soups

With the colder weather upon us soups will be coming back into onto our menu and to make them a more filling meal simply add some rice or small pasta to bulk it up.

Big Bird Better Than Portions

The traditional Sunday roast chicken is the perfect meal to stretch over to the next day.  Use the breast meat for the Sunday roast and then save the rest for a curry, casserole or add to pasta on the Monday.

Pack In Those Pulses And Veggies

Meat is definitely the most expensive part of my food shop so wether it’s a curry, casserole or mince dish, make it go further by adding lentils or vegetables to make it go so much further.

The Freezer Is Your Friend

Don’t just throw out those leftovers you don’t think will get eaten. Box them up into individual portions and save for those days you are pushed for time or simply can’t be bothered to cook.

Dinner For Lunch

We spend way to much money on eating out and find that making extra the night before and saving for lunch the next day is the perfect way to stop the temptation of eating out.

Bread

The dieters nightmare and a bone of contention in our house is bread.

For me a good crusty loaf is the perfect, cheap way to fill up hungry kids. It can be eaten with a simple spreading of jam as a snack and can be served with most meals to bulk it out a bit.

My husband disagrees and says it fills the kids up to much and they don’t eat their dinner!

If your loaf stays around long enough and has gone a little dry simply sprinkle with water and bake for a few mins to bring it back to life.

Fancy Kids Snacks

I always have a bag full of snacks that are predominantly used as a distraction or bribery tool when when we’re out.

I have stopped buying those snacks they are geared towards little ones with attractive packaging and a hefty price tag by buying rice cakes and raisins and decanting them into those food bags with characters on that can be washed out and used again, saving an absolute fortune!

I hope your got a few tips here and I would love to have some more of you have any to share with me?

Energy Saving Cooking With Ian Cumming And Smart Energy GB

As you can imagine a family of seven run up pretty high energy bills.  With lights being left on, gaming devices flashing away and the washing machine on constantly our house is using up energy at a rapid rate for a large part of the day.

The problem is until the shock of the bill comes in, as a family we do very little to conserve this energy and this in turn has a detrimental effect on the environment as well as our pockets!

When I was asked along by Smart Energy GB to take a look at their new smart meter and try some recipes that had been deviced by Ian Cumming from ‘Great British Bake Off’ to save energy I was extremely excited to see how it would all work.

All across the country there is a huge roll out of these smart meters that allows all the information on your gas and electricity usage go directly to your provider making your bill more accurate and cutting out the need to have your meter read from home.  In addition to this you have an in-home display that allows you to see in pounds and pence exactly how your energy is being used.

For me seeing the money racking up in front of my eyes would make me way more aware of everything I was spending day to day and make me find ways to cut the costs.

In our house the cooking is solely down to me and I have to admit although I am very thrifty when it comes to the food shopping the amount of money it costs to cook the meals has never really entered my head.

I was lucky enough to be able to sample some wonderful dishes that had been created in an eco friendly way by the lovely Ian Cumming.

Ian served up a succulent chicken and lemon tagine that was cooked in a slow cooker which uses less energy than a light bulb, a scrumptious Scottish salmon macaroni cheese that was cooked under the grill rather than in the oven and using pasta that was cooked simply by covering once the water was at boiling point and left to soften from the heat that has been retained, a to die for elderflower, honey and blueberry cheesecake that used no enery at all and some super tasty feta and spinach buns that I gave a go at making myself.


All of these recipes were super easy to make and could save you a lot of money in the long term.

If you would like to check them out then take a look at this video to find out more.

I came away from the afternoon with a full belly and full mind of all these ideas that I couldn’t wait to put into practice.

Some Extra Pennies For Christmas

  
It may only be October and many of you will be fed up with the shelves already being stocked full of Christmas goodies, but as we all know before we know it the big day will be upon us.

With the average family spending around £821 over the festive season here are some tips to help you find the extra money.

Shop Around

With a good 12 weeks you have plenty of time to shop around for the best price on gifts.  Around this time of year the large stores have plenty of cut price offers and three for two deals.

Check websites regularly so you don’t miss out of one of tour little ones much wanted presents for a knocked down price.

Last year I followed several pages on Facebook that brought up Amazons daily deals.  I saved a fortune on a lot of the presents the kids wanted.

Have A Clear Out

As with most of us we all have things lying around the house that we no longer need or want.  It is a great time to make the most of this and start to list on selling sites such as eBay.  

We always have a good clear out of toys, clothes, books etc and put them on eBay around now.  The money that I make then goes into PayPal and I use that to by presents with.  I would say that over half of my presents were bought like this last year and it really feels as if you are getting something for nothing!

Stop Those Morning Lattes

I am a great lover of a coffee shop but I know that it does nothing for my purse!!

All theses little extras like magazines and those cheeky little cakes you pick up all add up and could go a long way towards the Christmas budget.

Say we spend £2.50 a day on coffee five days a week, that will work out at £12.50 a week.  If you were to forgo that for the next twelve weeks you would make a saving of £150.  A fair whack of the Christmas budget hey?

There are apps that you can download such as Spending Tracker that can show you exactly where you are over spending.

Just The Kids

A long time ago I stopped buying presents for friends and family and now just buy for the little ones.

This may sound harsh but for us it’s the exitment in the children’s faces when that get what they want that is the best present.  We find that having some days out together in the lead up to Christmas is much nicer and also kinder on the pocket.

I do however have one exception and that is my sister as she has five children to buy for and she has none for me to by back for!

Early Bird Days Out

Keep an eye out for Christmas days out at this time of year as many will be up with discounted tickets if they are booked now.  Have a look for things you would really love to do and you could save some money on doing it.

Homemade Gifts

For me there is nothing better than receiving a handmade gift.  There is so much more love and thought in them and handily they are a lot cheaper.  The children love preparing chocolates and cards for their teachers and taking them in on the last day of term.

I hope I have given you a few tips here that will come in handy and go towards a happy yet thrift Christmas.

Do you have any tips oh saving over this expensive time.

Surviving Back To School With Her Old School Bag

  

The school summer holidays near an end and so starts the restock before the children all return to school.  Crisp new uniform, shiny new shoes, pencil cases full to the brim and the spanking new school bag and lunch box.

Every year I make sure they have everything they want and need, at as you can all imagine a hefty cost.

So this year to the absolute horror of number three I only bought what was really needed, even the school bags and lunch boxes.  I was looked at like I had dropped off another planet!!  “What Mum we have to have a new bag and lunch box, everyone does”.  

The guilt set in and her little face was pulling on my heat strings.  I then looked over at her perfectly good satchel and lunch box that had only been bought a few month before the end of school term due to her losing the last one and held firm.

Freeing up some money that would normally have been spent on replacing unnecessary items left us able to enjoy a few more treats over the holidays which I know they will remember a lot more then new uniform.

School has been back in full swing now and there has not been a mention at all about her uniform and I have a few more pennies on my pocket.

Allergy Free Apple, Blackberry And Rhubarb Crumble

  
I love nothing more than saving a few pennies on the food shop so today we headed into town to pick up some bargains from the butchers and the greengrocer.  On the way back we stopped and picked a few handfuls of blackberries that are still around.

During the summer I very rarely make any puddings so as the weather is now on the turn I thought tonight would be great to have a yummy crumble. 

This recipe is great if you suffer with food allergies but can easily be converted to your usual ingredients.

Allergy Free Apple, Blackberry And Rhubarb Crumble

  • 120 wheat free flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g dairy free spread
  • 150g cooking apples
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 30g dairy free spread
  • 100g blackberries
  • 150grhubarb
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan or Gas Mark 5.  
  2. Add 60g dairy free spread, sugar and flour to a bowl a drub together making a breadcrumb like mixture.
  3. Next put the 30g of dairy free spread and demerara sugar onto a saucepan and melt together for a few minutes.  Stir in the rhubarb and apple along with the cinnamon and cook for a few minutes.  Add the blackberries and cook for another couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat and place into a deep gratin dish.
  4. Lastly poor the crumble mixture over the top and place in the oven for around twenty minutes.

  
Sadly we forgot the custard so had it served by itself. I think we might have to get some for the leftovers tomorrow!

What is your favourite fruit to add to a crumble?