Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Home Made Ice Tea

I love tea, all tea and I make my own ice tea.  It is a fraction of the cost of buying ready made ice tea and we all enjoy it.  

If you use a flavored tea they are naturally caffeine free and therefore, perfect for all the family.

For every 2 litres, I tend to use 8 tea bags worth of tea. 

I tend to use 4 bags of caffeinated tea as a caffeine base (usually orange pekoe) and the other half as decaffeinated flavored tea as a flavoring base. If you don’t care about the caffeine, feel free to omit the orange pekoe base. It doesn’t really change the flavor.  Twinning have just brought out some new teas and I love the sound of  Liquorice Allsorts Earl Grey Tea   and Jasmine Pearls Green Tea to make ice tea with.
Cold soaking method
Whichever tea bags you choose, let them steep for a few hours (I tend to do mine over night). When removing them, don’t squeeze the bags, as it can make the tea bitter. 
After steeping, I tend to add half a cup of sugar. 
From there, you can also add stuff like a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, lime juice, cut up fruit, or other additional flavoring. And that is it really. Simple, with plenty of variation.
Boiling water method
Boil 2 liters of water, add to the tea bags and steep for 5 mins.  When removing the tea bags do not squeeze.  Allow the tea to cool and then refrigerate.
You can make a stronger base and cool by pouring over ice, but I never get the strength right this way!
My favorite recipes:
Orange Peach
  • 5 bags of mandarin orange flavored tea
  • 3 bags of ginger peach flavored tea
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 bags of orange pekoe tea 
  • 4 bags of green tea with Lemon
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Lemon slices to garnish

Thursday, 26 July 2012

July Thrifty Family Carnival

Whilst the rest of the UK seems to be enjoying sunshine we have rain here in N Yorkshire, but I do hope that you are all making the most of the sun and if you do get chance to grab 5 mins with either an ice coffee or better still a Pimms, may I present to you July's Thrifty Families Blog Carnival.


Never one to disappoint on the frugal food side of things Utterly Scrummy kicks us off with her 6 ways with post........

New to the Thrifty Carnival is Ninja Killer Cat with her Frugal Corn Beef Hash.

Now I love popcorn and it is something we often have in The Mad House, however, I have never had air popped popcorn ala Make Do Mum

Cass has been busy at Frugaliscious Food using up left over cake (which is unheard of in this house) to make cake pops


Bunting is still all the craze especially with the Olympics (can I say that word) on the way.  So why not try making some yourself.  Just look at how great this bunting is from The Goodlife

I adore Lululastic blog, she is always inspiring me to recycle and upclycle more and her domino fridge magnets are inspiration and oh so simple.

We all have empty milk cartons so why not join in with Lizzie and make an elephant parade this summer

An indulgent post from All About the Boys (I picked this one) as it is filled with pretty painted furniture.  Just goes to show what difference a coat of paint makes.

Summer Fun

I have implemented the I'm Bored Jar in The Mad House.  It is certain to make sure you never have to hear those two words over the Summer holidays

Inspired by my memory stones, Becky at Baby Budgeting made some fantastic story stones.  I do love it when we all inspire each other.

Looking for a thrifty fun ideas for things to do with your children over the summer.  I love this idea from Life at the Zoo.  A perfect way to use up old carrots tops.

Whilst your re in the garden, why not trying out Red Ted Art's 10 tips for drying flowers

Money saving tips

If you are looking to spend some money on a new to you car this summer, STOP and read this fab post from The Discount Coder with 10 crazy haggling tips to save £1000's on a new car

With the burst of hot weather we are having, now is the perfect time to look at water money saving ideas, thanks for the advise to Frugal Family.

Why not take a look at Minibreak Mummy's post all about living well and spending less.

This post from Medicated follower of fashion reminds us that we never have to ask for things from our mums they just give us them.

Miss Thrifty has a fab post on how to find bargains in charity shops.  From my experience this is something that is becoming more of a challenge

Finally I just want to remind you about Frugal and Fun: Enjoying the school holidays the thrifty way is still available.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Beginners Guide To eBay Salesmanship - Guest Post

Forgive me for stating the obvious but eBay is massive. No really, it is! I only started to appreciate the fact the other day when I decided to get rid of some old junk. I had an old digital camera and some books I'd already read. A week later I've made some much needed cash from items that were just lying around unused. Plus, if you're selling things you don't want any more, it's all clear profit.

Once you get the hang of it, selling on eBay is quicker and easier than I ever imagined. A little research will pay off in the long run though. Take a look at the simple steps on eBay first. Next check out other tips and tricks oneBay forums, and in newspaper articles and online guides. Here's my guide to how it works...

  • If you haven't already done so, register yourself on eBay and then register for a sellers account.
  •  Now find the things you want to sell and take some time to establish their market value. Compare prices on eBay and other sites such as Amazon for items in similar condition. This is important so you don't ask too much or too little for what you're offering. Be honest with yourself about the condition of your items. If you want a quick sale, perhaps go in lower than other sellers, but have faith, you'll be surprised at what goes for a realistic price.
  • Decide whether you're going to auction your item, offer it as "Buy It Now", or do both. If you feel your item might entice bidders to fight it out and drive up the price, perhaps veer away from "Buy It Now", but if there's a price you'd be happy to accept for something a little less desirable, set that price and people can snap it up directly. Also set the duration for an auction, depending on whether you want a quick sale or can afford to wait. The longer you wait, the more viewers and the more potential interest you'll receive.
  • Set the payment options correctly. If you don't have one, consider a PayPal account. PayPal offer seller protection from phoney buyers, and it’s the fastest, easiest, most trusted payment method for auction websites.
  • It’s important to factor in postage costs for auctions. Estimate how much it will cost you depending on the weight of your goods (a pair of scales can be useful) and inform buyers clearly in the description where you're willing to dispatch to.
  • Arguably the most crucial factor in making a good sale is the item description. First off, particularly for higher value items, include as many good quality pictures as possible. Buyers always examine images scrupulously. Then format the item's page clearly, and describe it in detail: how old is it? How much use has it had? What condition is it in? Is there any obvious wear and tear? eBay's listing interface can sometimes seem a little bit basic, but it is editable so get creative. Any experience you have with Microsoft` Word, Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator can be put to good use to make your item stand out from the competition.
  • Finally, once you've made a sale, its important to maintain your eBay reputation by providing excellent customer service. Communicate effectively, post the item promptly and well packaged, and leave honest feedback about the buyer. That way, they'll leave you good feedback too, and people will be encouraged to buy from you in the future.

Happy selling! 

James Christie writes for Thomson Local Directory

Thursday, 19 July 2012

July Thrifty Families Blog Carnival Submissions

Each month across many blogs the subject of making money, saving money, living frugally and being thrifty are shared. It’s a sign of the times and a more careful and caring generation of individuals that we protect our resources, recycle, upcycle and make do. 

Becky (from Baby Budgeting and Family Budgeting),Cass (from a frugal family) and I (I also blog at The Mad House) thought it would be a great idea to pull these brilliant posts together so we could all learn from and share with each other our thrifty ways. So each month we are going to hold a Thrifty Families Blog Carnival and we woudl love you to take part,

Each month we hold a Thrifty Blog Carnival and we woudl love you to take part, All you need to do is send in a post (on making or saving money, thriftiness, upcyling. recycling or living frugally) you have written in the past month (it can already have been published on your blog.) to me mail@jenwalshaw.co.uk by Tuesday 25 July 6 pm for the carnival on 26 July at A Thrifty Mum

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Money Vista 'Savings Watch'

Do you have savings?  Three quarters (76%) of the UK’s 3,345 savings accounts* pay less than the rate of inflation according to Moneyfacts.

So this is where MoneyVista Savings Watch comes in.  Savings Watch is designed to help savers beat inflation and easily keep track of and maximise their savings.   It can identify the current interest rate on your savings account and show you savings accounts that pay higher interest. Savings Watch will send you an alert if your bank drops the interest rate on your savings account or  if a new product that pay higher interest rates become available.

Using the widget below, you can get an idea of how much interest you could be making on your savings


What does Savings Watch do?

1.       Identifies the current interest rate on your savings account;

2.       Shows you the savings accounts that pay higher interests;

3.       Sends you an alert if your bank drops the interest rate on your savings account;

4.       Sends you an alert if new products that pay higher interest rates become available.


About Money Vista


MoneyVista is a comprehensive online financial planning tool that helps you create, manage and maintain a personal financial plan that is easy to see, maintain and use.


By entering information on your income, outgoings, property, pensions and savings, you can create a financial plan in a matter of minutes and start taking control of your financial future.


Moneyvista is able to show you how a decision made in one area can affect the rest of your finances, and answers questions such as:

  • How can I be sure that I am always getting the best interest rate on my savings?
  • How can I protect my family if I fall ill and can’t work?
  • What’s the best way to save or invest for my children’s future?

I am currently trialing MoneyVista, so be sure to keep an eye out to see my review.  Even as a parent and housewife I am finding it a useful tool.

Sponsored Post

Monday, 16 July 2012

Summer Holiday Ideas with Frugal and Fun

Are you dreading the summer holidays?  There really is no need.  Myself, Cass from Frugal Family and Becky from Baby Budgeting have put together a fantastic (if I do say so myself) e book to help you through the holidays and have a frugal but fun time.

Our book is filled with ideas for frugal and fun ideas to make sure you get the most out of this year’s Summer Holidays without having to spend a fortune.

The book contains over 150 pages of ideas and activities to help you make sure that this year’s Summer Holidays are frugal and fun.  There’s a planning week filled with things for you to do in advance of the holidays to get yourself prepared and the rest of the ideas are split into different themed weeks, with each week having five indoor activities, five outdoor activities and five recipes for you to cook with you children.
Themes include:
  • The Olympics
  • The Great Outdoors
  • Around the World
  • Heroes and Heroines
  • Home Sweet Home
  • Colours
So that is one indoor activity, one outdoor activity and one recipe for every single weekday of the holidays.  There is no way you can possibly run out of ideas with this at your fingertips and you need never hear ‘I’m Bored’ again as these are guaranteed boredom busting (but not budget busting) ideas!

Just in case you do need a little extra inspiration, we’ll also have extra ideas on the Frugal and Fun website throughout the Summer and we’ll be re-tweeting posts about activities and ideas that we think might be useful for you.
If you want to buy our ebook, you can click on the link and it will be delivered to your e mail box in no time at all.  It truly will be the best £4 you spend this summer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

15 Uses for White Vinigar

I always have white vinegar in the house.  It is part of my cleaning regime.  So here I give you 15 uses for white vinegar 

  1. Descaling shower head - detach & sit in a solution of half water/vinegar overnight
  2. Descaling the kettle - a few cm of half vinegar/water left over night in the kettle.  You need to rice it and boil new water in the kettle about three times before using
  3. Cleaning windows and gglass: 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water (great for shower cubicles too)
  4. Getting rid of remnants of sticky labels - dab with neat vinegar
  5. Greasy/oily stains - dab with neat vinegar then wash
  6. Descale washing machines/dishwashers - run about a cup worth of vinegar through a rinse cycle
  7. Cheap fabric softener - replace fabric conditioner with about half a cup of vinegar in fabric conditioner drawer of washing machine (your washing will not smell of vinegar)
  8. Unblock drains/clear plug holes - pour approx one cup of vinegar over a cup of bicarbonate of soda 
  9. Neutralising smells - dabbed, poured on areas depending on material at site 
  10. Poaching eggs, I add a cap full of cider vinegar to keep the whites together
  11. Removing rust - soak in neat vinegar overnight
  12. Deoderising dry clean only clothes - add a cup full of vinegar to a hot bath and hang the clothes above overnight.
  13. Clean the fridge -   by washing with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
  14. Wasp stings - dab on neat vinegar
  15. Cleaning vases and decanters - part fill with a half water, half vinegar solution and a handful of rice.  Shake occasionally.
What other uses of white vinegar do you know? 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Save £20 a year on your water bill

Over the last 4 years we have saved £20 each year on our water bill by implementing one small change and an initial one of cost of £30.

We installed a water butt.

We were so impressed that a couple of weeks ago we picked up another one from Aldi.  We use the water we collect to water the garden in watering cans, which is perfect if you are in an area that has a hose pipe ban.  We have three raised beds, plenty of pots and containers too and harvesting our rain water is a simple and easy way we can save money and make a difference to the environment.

We were in Lidl last week and they still have water butts in store, so I am planning to keep an eye on them and see if they get reduced in the sale so we can add another one.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Huntfun Review

Do you love treasure hunts?

We do and this is where Huntfun come in.  huntfun town and city treasure hunts are a great fun way to explore in your own town or when visiting somewhere new. Suitable for children and adults alike, there treasure hunts will have you walking around the streets hunting out information and finding the answers to the clues seeing so many things you would have ordinarily walked straight past! A huntfun treasure hunt takes you past loads of interesting things getting you looking around the area, having some good old fashioned competitive fun in the fresh air for a few hours! 

We  had the opportunity to review a personalised hunfun treasure hunt of our local town and it was brilliant.  It really turn a walk round the local town in to an adventure and the boys were so enthusiastic about it.  So much so they have done it another two times!

A treasure hunt would be the perfect addition to a holiday this year.  We really fancy doing one the next time we are in London.  

I love the fact that it makes a walk such fun.  You learn so much about the area you are exploring.

The hunt we did, took one hour, partly as the boys were running rather than walking.

What I also really liked was the fact tat is also included information for people in wheelchairs, which makes it an all inclusive family activity.

Huntfun treasure hunts start from £4.99

Monday, 2 July 2012

How much is a Dad worth -Info graphic

Check out this great info graphic on the value of Dads put together by MoneySupermarket.  I have one on mums on The Mad House too.

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