Friday, 29 June 2012

Cutting costs, but not compromising on Fairtrade School Uniforms

I am all about being frugal and saving money, however, there are somethings that I refuse to compromise on and one of those things is Fairtrade cotton in school uniforms.  Part of the reason for this is I am a mum and I want to empower other mums who grow the cotton.

Also the boys are very keen to have fair trade products as their school is aiming to be Fairtrade and sells Fairtrade drinks at break time.

Both Clothing at Tesco and Marks and Spencer sell fair trade uniforms and this is where I but the majority of the boys uniforms.  I just make sure I look for the Fairtrade label.  It is a small something I can do that can make a big difference to other peoples lives.





As a thank you to mums and dads who have bought Fairtrade school uniforms, The Fairtrade Foundation are also giving away 50 fabulous ‘school holiday survival kit’ goodie bags with lots of Fairtrade products from Fair Naturally, Original Source, Essential Care, Divine Chocolate, Clipper Tea, Lush and Origin Wine. To enter the giveaway, go to www.fairtrade.org.uk/uniform and add your Fairtrade ‘step’ online – 50 winners will be picked at random on 13 August, good luck! 


Faittrade have also created 6 downloadable cotton themed games, crafts and drawing activity sheets for children and grown ups to do together - grow egg and cress in cotton wool, bake dinosaur eggs, play cotton wool ball games and more! Just add your step at www.fairtrade.org.uk/uniform and they will send you a link to download the sheets.      


Disclosure: I will receive a goodie bag for this post, but I do actually always try to buy fair trade.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

McCain Smiles Mums' Book Club - top tips for reading with your children

I am a firm believer in encouraging children to read.  I love reading and my children often see me with a book in my hand.  We have been exceptionally lucky in the fact that Maxi is a very good, albeit reluctant reader and Mini, well he is never without a book.

Mini was an early reader, but  his favorites books were the Early Reader Classics by Ladybird.  So when I was asked if I would like to publicize the McCain Smiles Ladybird book giveaway, I was delighted too.




Even more so when they said I could host a giveaway of a full set of 6 books for one of my readers too.

I have talked about encouraging boys to read before and in order to enter, I would like you to leave me a comment with a tip for encouraging your child to read.

I will pick one comment using a random number generator next Friday 6 July at 12 noon and you will receive a full set of books.

Disclosure: I have received no compensation of any sort for this post

Monday, 18 June 2012

Storing and Organising wrapping paper

I always make sure that I purchase rolls of wrapping paper rather than sheets as they work out much less expensive.  I also tent to stock up when places have it on offer and you can guarantee that I have a large number on the go at one.  

Having more than one roll means that I need to find a good and inexpensive way to store and organise my wrapping paper.

I wanted to try and use things that I already had round the house so came up the this solution.



I reused a £0.99 plastic bag wall store that we have purchased from Ikea and then used toilet rolls, cut down one side to wrap round the open rolls.


You could also use a nice decorative bin if you have one spare or even an umbrella stand.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Ways to make additional Money


To me, being frugal isn’t all about saving money, it is about maximising what we already have and increasing our income by making a bit of extra money wherever we can.  There are lots of ways to do this:


  • Sell unwanted baby items at your local NCT sale (National Childbirth Trust).  Most local NCT grounds have twice annual sales and are perfect places for selling unwanted or used good quality baby items.
  • Do you have any old mobile phones?  If so why not recycle them for cash at Top Dollar Mobile who were rated as number 1 recycling site on Good Housekeeping  February 2011
  • Complete on-line surveys.  You can complete online surveys many place online like at Pinecone Research and get paid for them.  OK you do not get paid a great amount, but it all adds up and they usually only take around 15 minutes of your time.  Perfect for fitting in between looking after our children.
  • Mystery shopping.  I haven't mystery shopped, but know of people who have done this.  These typically pay around £10 a visit, sometimes you have to make a purchase which you can keep.  Most of these simpler visits can be done with a baby or toddler in tow, especially if you can arrange around naps in the buggy.  
  • Cash back sites - Using a cash back site is a great way of making money, espeically as you were going to spend it anyway.  Cass from Frugal Family swears by Quidco who are an online company who work with over 3000 retailers to give you the opportunity to earn cashback on your spending.  It works because when you click through to a retailers website from Quidco, they earn a commission, based on the amount you spend and what you purchase.  They then pass this commission on to you in exchange for a £5 annual membership fee which you don’t even need to pay up front because it’s simply deducted from your first payout when you earn more than £5 in cashback.
  • Go to a car boot sale.  This is something that I do a couple of times a year and find a really successful way to make extra cash whilst getting rid of unused, unwanted and preloved items from our home.  What works for me is ensuring that I arrive early, have carrier bags, have plenty change, have a large table, masking sure everything is clean and smells nice,  keep smiling and barter!



What other ways do you know of making money when you need it?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Reducing the food bills - make your own fairy cakes

One of the main ways of reducing your weekly food bill is to cut down on all the extras that you buy.  The crudites and cakes.  These are often rather expensive items and you can easily make them at home for a lot less.

I have certain recipes that I go back to again and again, as they never fail me and below is my fail safe chocolate fairy cake recipe.  There are also some great chocolate cupcake recipes on The Backing Mad Site.




Ingredients (Makes 18 cakes)

6oz of margarine
6oz of caster sugar
2 large eggs
5oz of self raising flour 
1 oz of coco powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
half teaspoon of baking powder 
3 teaspoons of milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.


Cream the sugar and margarine together together, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until they form a smooth batter.

Put in to case cases and cook for 15 minutes.  If you are unsure if they are cooked or not then take a wooden kebab stick and poke in to a cake, if it comes away clean then the cakes are cooked.

They let the children lose with the sprinkles!







Wednesday, 6 June 2012

How to clean football kit

Maxi was born in Reading and so is a Reading football supporter and has a Reading football kit which consists of a white and royal blue hooped top and white and royal blue shorts.  I have never had any issues getting grass stains out of it, however, this last month I was challenged with what seemed like immovable mud.  I have no idea what was different about this mud, but it evaded all my usual tricks.  So I put out a shout on twitter and facebook for ideas on how to get the mud out and I was given a range of ideas:


  1. Wash the kit as soon as possible
  2. Rub a small amount of washing up liquid on to the stain before washing. scrub the area with a clean toothbrush
  3. Always use biological washing products for football kits
  4. Use a stain remover to pretreat before washing  and add it to the wash
  5. Soak in cold water with soda crystals
  6. NEVER use fabric softener
  7. NEVER tumble dry
  8. Line dry in direct sunlight, which can help fade any stain
If you have any other tips and tricks for cleaning football or rugby kits then I would love to hear them, so please do leave me a comment.








MIA

Hello All

I have been MIA as I have a broken arm and not able to do much other than  read and the odd bit of one handed typing and cleaning!

I hope to be back soon and hope that everyone had a fantastic Jubilee
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...