Friday, 27 February 2015

Comic Relief Danceathon

Today I am handing over my blog to the fab Jenny at Mummy Mishaps, who is going to be taking part in the Comic Relief Danceathon in aid of Comic Relief.

It is far to far for me to travel, but I do want to support them, so here Jenny tells you all about it.........

Sunday 8th March, 2015 sees the Comic Relief Danceathon at Wembley Arena and Team Honk will be there as an army of blogger dancers with their friends and family to dance for 6 hours in order to raise money for this great cause.  Yes 6 hours - I can foresee lots of aching limbs the following day!!
Team Honk joins in Red Nose Day Danceathon 2015
I am by no way the greatest dancer and in fact I would go as far to say that unless I am under the influence of alcohol (which never happens nowadays anyway), or purposely doing silly Mummy dancing with the boys,  I have never had much confidence when it comes to pulling groovy moves on the dance floor. I always seem to be in other people's way, wherever I stand on a dance floor I always bump into someone or elbow another, and spend all my time apologising for getting in the way!! However, next Sunday I will happily honk honk the person next to me because it is all for charity, mate!

However, next Sunday I will happily honk honk the person next to me because it is all for charity, mate! I have no idea what types of dances I will be doing, but I imagine there will be a good variety.  If I could choose a dance to take part in, and I was a lot slimmer and more petite, it would be the dances from one of my favourite movies of all time, Dirty Dancing (of course!!).  I would happily carry some watermelons to get hungry eyes and have the time of my life with Johnny!!! (see what I did there?!). And manage the lift at the end too!!! 

Anyway, in homage to my favourite girly film and the danceathon next Sunday, I have penned a little ditty to the (I've Had) The Time Of My Life song, called: 

(I'll Have) The Dance Of My 

Now I'll have the dance of my life
No I've never danced this long before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I will ache all over too

Cause I'll have the dance of my life
and I will ache all over toooooooo

I've been dancing badly for so long
Now I've finally found people
To dance with me

I saw Team Honk on social media
Heard about this magical danceathon

Now with just over a week to go 
There's still time to raise more money
So I'll dance with my two left feet
'cause I seem to understand the urgency

Just remember
Team Honk's the one thing
 I can't get enough of
 So I'll tell you something
This could be fun because

I'll have the dance of my life
No I've never danced this long before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I will ache all over too
'Cause I'll have the dance of my life
And I've danced across every dance floor
'Til I found Team Honk
And I'll ache all over toooooo

With my sponsorship in place
I can dance at Wembley arena now

 So I'll just let it go
Won't be afraid to lose control

Yes I know whats on my mind
When I say:
"Dance with me tonight."

Just remember
This is the one dance

a 6 hour long dance of

So I'll tell you something

This could really hurt because

I'll have the dance of my life
No I've never danced this long before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I will ache all over too
'Cause I'll have the dance of my life
And I've danced across every dance floor
'Til I found Team Honk
And I'll ache all over toooooo

Now I'll have the dance of my life
No I've never danced this long before

Never danced this long

Yes I swear it's the truth
and I'll ache all over too

'Cause I'll have the dance of my life
And I've danced across every dance floor
'Til I found Team Honk
And I'll ache all over toooooo

'Cause I'll have the dance of my life
And I've danced across every dance floor
'Til I found Team Honk
And I know I'll ache all over toooooooo. 

image source

 Wish me and all of the other blogger dancers for Team Honk good luck!!! Thank you to the lovely Jen for allowing me to share this on her blog xx
"I'm joining Team Honk at the Red Nose Day Danceathon.  Betfair kindly kickstarted my sponsorship on my giving page."


Sunday, 22 February 2015

#FabulouslyFrugal 22 February 2015

So we have been busy this last week as it has been half term.  We have managed on a budget the whole week and the boys have made the most of having daylight to play in with their friends.

In total I spent £9.40 and that was a real extravagance at Costa.  I let the boys have a hot chocolate and a cake each whilst I finished the weekly food shop.  I was horrified at the price, but they had been good as gold and really deserved it.

We don't go back till Tuesday so will be making the most of our extra day with some bowling and a meal at Pizza Express using Tesco Clubcard points.

Fabulously Frugal is all about making the most of what you have and the posts that stood out for me last week on that front werte the fab Spring Style post by The White Approach.  Karen really does live a stylish life on a tight budget.  Her home is a chic white style, but perfect for her family and yes it is white and yes she has three boys.  I have visited her and know just who her chicness and style shine through.

Then there was also Boo Roo and Tiger Too's post on 5 reasons to shop at Aldi. Alsi is the main supermarket that we shop in and has been for ten years.  I know just how fantastic it is.

We are BIG squid fans here and this fab recipe for Salt and Pepper squid from Eat like you love yourself show how to make a meal which would be around £10 in a restaurant for less than £1.50.

Do you have a post that is about thrifty parenting, decorating or lifestyle.  One that is about frugal food or crafts and art.  or even a post about making the post of what you have, then please do link up.
Each week we make sure we pin the post, feature some on our facebook pages and then we each have a round up on a Sunday. Let's all share that being frugal can be fabulous.

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Please take a look at my fab co hosts and their posts, Cass at Dairy of a Frugal FamilyMum in the Mad House and out two new Hosts Emma at Mum's Savvy Savings and Becca from Bare Feet of the Dashboard.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Dishwasher Do's and Dont's

I love my dishwasher.  It makes life so much easier.  We fill it during the day and set it to run overnight and then Maxi empties it in the morning.  

So what are the do's and don'ts of your dishwasher? 

Only run your dishwasher when it is full.  It is much more economical to use it that way.  If the dishwasher is partially full, use the Rinse-Hold cycle to remove odor-causing foods. This is more economical than rinsing dishes by hand, which can waste up to 20 extra gallons of water per load or 6,500 gallons per household each year.

Use the right amount of dishwasher detergent - I use dishwasher tablets from Aldi and swear by them.  We live in a soft water area so don't need salt, but depending on where you live will depend on how much and how often you add it. 

Do use a rinse aid. They lower the surface tension of the rinse water so droplets don't form. Particularly helpful if you have hard water.

Make sure you regularly clean your dishwasher - using it dirty will not help you to clean your dishes! Here is my how to clean your dishwasher without chemicals.  I do this once a month. 

Dry dishes on the lowest temperature setting. Hotter temperatures can leave spots on glassware

Don't jam too many pieces into the silverware basket, which can lead them to get scratched

Load plates and bowls so that the dirty side faces the water spray. Pots, pans and casseroles should angle down for the best cleaning results.

Plut the larger items at the outside of the dishwasher and the smaller ones on the inside closer to the center.

Finish have an excellent how to load your dishwasher page 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

B is for Bananas - Spelt Banana and Chocolate Bread

We have been taking part in a new series over a The Mad House on cooking with kids, the A to Z of recipes.  We have loved it so much that we are going to be expanding it to here on A Thrifty Mum and this week we want to share our Spelt Banana and Chocolate Bread.  This is a fantastic simple recipe that is easy to make, but will disappear in seconds!

This is a really simple recipe for younger kids as you use cups to measure it out.

Spelt Banana and Chocolate Bread 


3 mashed bananas
¼ cup of oil
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup of caster sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup of wholemeal spelt flour
½ cup plain flour
Pinch of salt
Handful of chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat your oven to 170 (fan) or 190 degrees C
Mash the bananas and combine them with the oil and sugars
Add the salt and baking powder to the flours and mix.  Do not over mix, just stir until all the ingredients are combined
Add chocolate chips or nuts and gently stir
Cook in a greased loaf tin or a silicone loaf tin Bake for 35 to 45 minutes
Remove from the oven and leave on wire tray to cool

More B is for Bananas recipes from the Cooking with Kids team:

Banana Chicken Curry from Witty Hoots
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Mum in the Madhouse
Spelt Banana Bread from Thrifty Mom
Banana Cheesecake Bites from Sugar Aunts
Banana Coconut Smoothies from Peakle Pie
Banana Pudding Cookie Cups from Still Playing School 
5 Minute Banana Ice Cream from Smiling like Sunshine
Rainbow Banana Pops from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Cardboard and Kids - Fabulously Frugal 15 Feb 2015

How many times have you gifted something only to find that the child was more enamoured about the packaging?  I have long since learned that kids love cardboard,  There were some fab post including cardboard in last weeks linky including this fab camera by Molly Moo.  What child wouldn't want to receive this or even make it then play with it.

Our new co host certainly knows the power of a cardboard box, so take a look at her post here Four ways to entertain kids with a cardboard box.

Last weeks Fabulously Frugal linky was great and we were delighted with the number of people joining in, but we want more!

Please take a look at my fab hosts and their posts, Cass at Dairy of a Frugal FamilyMum in the Mad House and out two new Hosts Emma at Mum's Savvy Savings and Becca from Bare Feet of the Dashboard who are going to help us make this linky bigger and better.

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Friday, 13 February 2015

Free Book of Life Printables and Twitter Viewing Party

We never got round to watching The Book of Life over Halloween, so I can not vouch for the movie, Although Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom liked it and here is a review from Lilinha Angels World, but it is out on DVD and Blu Ray on Monday 16th (perfect for the half term holidays)!

Want to get a feel for the movie then take a look at the trailer here:

We will be taking part with a twitter #BookoflifeBlueray launch on Monday at 5pm along with other families to watch the movie and chat along on Twitter while we watch.

Follow @BookOfLifeUk and #BookOfLifebluray to join in.
There is a fantastic Book of Life themed giveaway that you can take part in too using the free printable Book of Life colouring and activity sheets.   You can download all of these here

To celebrate the release of The Book of Life in the UK on Blu-ray™ & DVD on February 16th , you have the chance to win one of three family entertainment bundles including:
  • Blu-ray player
  • £100 worth of family DVDs
  • £100 voucher to Chiquitos restaurants
To enter, all you need to do is get creative and complete one or more of the activities below and upload your entry to the official THE BOOK OF LIFE FACEBOOK PAGE.

Disclosure: We have been sent a Book of Life DVD and also a party pack in exchange for this post.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Love toast - a simple breakfast

My lads love eggs and roast and we decided to jazz it up a bit with our heart toasts.  They are very simple to do and I start them in a dry pan and then finish them under the grill.

It is a simple as using a cookie cutter to take a shape out of your bread.  We used hearts, but have done suns and chicks for easter breakfast.

Then you can toast or dry fry one side of your bread.

Then gently crack your egg in to the center of the bread.  If children are making it, we crack in to a small glass first and then they pour in the egg.

Then place under a preheated grill until your egg is cooked to your preference. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tips to prevent boiler breakdown and save money

With snow storms and plunging temperatures hitting the UK over the next few weeks, keeping our heating systems in tip top condition is more important than ever. New research by EDF Energy reveals that over a quarter of boilers have broken down without being insured, with the average cost of repair racking up an eye watering £314 bill. As a result, two fifths of Brits would have to borrow money to cover the repair cost or have no choice but to go without heating if their boiler broke down.

To help avoid unnecessary costs and discomfort this winter, EDF Energy have pulled together some top tips to prevent boiler breakdowns….

Arrange an annual Service: Ensuring you have an annual boiler service is the best way to avoid an unexpected breakdown. Sort it during the summer months so your heating is in tip-top condition for when you need it the most. While your engineer is there you should also consider getting a cleaning device fitted, which will help keep your system clean and protect your boiler. Make sure they check the inhibitor in your system too, as the chemical additive helps to protect your system, which is very important.

Insulate your pipes: If you have a gas condensing boiler you’ll also have a waste pipe that takes away small amounts water called condensate from your boiler to the drains. Depending on where your boiler is located, the pipe (usually white or grey in colour) is run outside of your home and discharges to the drains. In very cold weather there is a risk for this to freeze if the pipe is in an exposed location, causing a blockage and your boiler will stop working. Insulating the pipe, could go a long way towards preventing them from freezing. You can pick insulation up from most DIY stores and it’s far less expensive than a breakdown.

Thaw your pipes: If your pipes do freeze over, you will need to thaw them out to get the system back up and running. Covering your pipes with a hot water bottle or pouring warm water over them are the most effective ways of doing this. Once thawed, reset your boiler and you should be all set.

Bleed radiators: If you find your radiators have cold spots, it’s time to bleed them, as its probably trapped air. If they are still cold after that, it’s likely that your system may need to be cleaned, so call out an expert. More advice on radiator bleeding can be found at

Check your pressure:  If your boiler pressure gauge is reading low it won't run effectively, so it’s important to check the dial. Check the operating instructions for your boiler to find out the correct settings according to your system, it will also show you how to re-pressurise your system. If you cannot find operating instructions then contact your boiler manufacturer or visit their web site as many are available to download online.

Keep your heating in check: Giving your system a bit of exercise during the summer months will help keep it in check and ensure your pipes don’t get clogged up.  Simply switch on your heating for about 15 -20 minutes every month and if your radiators are warming up efficiently you have nothing to worry about. Likewise, if you’re going on holiday during the winter, programme your system to turn itself on and off every day.

Seek expert advice: Call out an expert straight away if you suspect your boiler is broken, as you could potentially put you or your family at risk if you try to fix the problem yourself. Make sure you always used a Gas Safe Engineer when calling someone out and ask to check their registration card.

Get cover: 8 million households across the UK don't have home insurance, leaving them at risk of a hefty repair cost if their boiler was to break. Check out the EDF Energy Protect insurance range – find out more at

We have had a relatively mild winter, so make sure that you follow these tips to prepare your home for cold weather before the cold snap comes

Monday, 9 February 2015

Meal plan Monday - 09 February

Menu planning is one of the things that keeps me sane and stops me from that ARGGGGGGG what's for dinner feeling that I used to get every day.  It is also how we keep our food cost under control and the waste too.  Both the boys have school dinners at just over £10 a week.


Sausages, yorkshire puddings and Bubble and Squeak.  This is our regular Monday meal and we love it.  We always make more vegetables than we need so we can have this on a Monday,


Soup and homemade bread


Home made pizza


Homemade Dahl and Naan bread


Fish, chips and peas


Lunch - Jacket potatoes with cheese and beans
Dinner - Spaghetti bolognese


Lunch - Stuffed omelets
Dinner - Roast Dinner with all the trimmings

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Tips for Charity and Thrift Store Shopping - Fabulously Frugal 8 February

First off I want to thank everyone for making the relaunch of Fabulously Frugal do amazingly fabulous.  We appreciate every one of you that linked up and I have to say what a great bunch of posts, which are going to save me a ton of money,

What stood out for me, was the ways to shop at a charity/thrifty store.  I am always well jealous of people that get amazing charity shop finds.  I have been lucky a couple of times, but not I am confident that I will be much better and get a lot more things that I need.

Penny from Being Mrs C did a fab video on Charity Shopping with some great advice.

Where as Justine did a fab post teaching us all how to score at the thrift store.

So come and link up any posts you have that are Fabulously Frugal including money saving, money management, money making, crafts using recycled products or just of you making the most of what you have.

Please do visit my co hosts Mum in the Mad House who is sharing fabulous recycled art projects  and Diary of a Frugal Family.

Fabulously Frugal

Friday, 6 February 2015

Great value flowers at Aldi

Now we are not ones for spending money on valentines day, as you can guess from our free valentine's printables, but we do love Spring flowers and lots of people expect a bunch of flowers for valentines day.

Aldi have some fab value flowers from 11 February, the stand outs being:

Tulips for £5 - I bought these for my SIL last year and they are amazing value and enough to fill three vases.

A dozen red roses for £5.

So even if you don't do flowers for valentines day, it might be nice to buy a bunch for your best friend to brighten their day.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Protecting your savings - FSCS

Do you ever worry about just how safe your savings are in a UK bank or building society?

Did you know that if your bank, building society or credit union were to fail (and is one of the 900+ financial institutions authorised in the UK) then you are protected by the FSCS (the Financial Services Compensation Scheme) to the value of £85000.  98% of the population has less than £85000 in savings, so should be covered to get their money back within 7 days without having to do anything to get it back.

The FSCS (the Financial Services Compensation Scheme was established in 2001 and is backed by the UK government and has already helped more than 4.5m people and paid out more than £26b in compensation.

Savings is a really important part of financial management and I am the first to admit that we don't have any savings to fall back on at this period of our life.   We used to before we had kids and I hope that we will again in the future.

But I am instilling the importance of saving and money management on my children as I believe that it will be something that stands them in good stead.

Do you have savings for a rainy day?

Monday, 2 February 2015

Meal Planning Monday 02/02

Well we made it through January without going into debt, which was fab and we also cleared down the freezer a bit too which was ace.  Both my boys have school lunches, so I only share dinners at the weekend.


Sausages, Yorkshire puddings and Bubble and Squeak


Chicken Soupy Stew with Crispy dumplings


Spaghetti Bolognese




Homemade Pizza


Lunch - Leftover Pizza
Dinner - Chicken Fajita


Lunch - Chicken and rice (leftover fajita)
Dinner - Sunday roast (whatever meat is cheapest)!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fabulously Frugal - 1 Feb 2015

I am sure you all know Cass from The Diary of a Frugal Family, well she has a regular month Fabulously Frugal linky and she suggested that we move it to a regular weekly linky and round up.

There are so many great blogs out there and so many people who are making the most of their money that we through a weekly link up was a better way to highlight and showcase these posts.

So every Sunday Cass and I will be sharing the best of the previous weeks posts and pinning all the previous week's posts to our pinterest boards.  So every Sunday we will be posting the best of the previous weeks additions on to round up, here at A Thrifty Mum, over at Mum in the Mad House and also at The Diary of a Frugal Family.

Weekends alway mean baking in this house, so we have put these gluten free peanut butter cookies from Mommy loves tees on next's weeks plan!

I also want to share this fab post on why you need a price book and how to make one from One MMama'sDaily Dramas.

Fabulously Frugal
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