Category Archives: Blog posts

5 frugal things post 37

5 frugal things post 37 – Birthdays, Tidy House and Christmas in July

5 frugal things post 37

Last week and the next two weeks are super busy in my Mrs Mummypenny world. Hence frequency of blog posts has gone down (bad times) although the frequency of social media and insta stories has gone up (bonus). Last week was the start of Christmas in July so I headed to London on Thursday with the intention of going to a few. Lets just say I stopped at Aldi and just stayed there!! I had Friday at home to catch up on the week and the weekend was busy as ever with summer parties and house viewings. Here are my 5 frugal things post 37.

5 frugal things post 37

Drinks with Anita

My buddy and I have been trying to do drink for ages but life keeps getting in the way. Finally we managed it this week, we met at a pub half way between us with a free car park. And I drank soda water and lime!! A free night out. normally we cane bottles of Prosecco at an expensive rate in London, so we did rather well. And we downloaded three months of life in a 2 hour chat. We both talk quickly!! Get that spa weekend sorted hon!!



Hubby’s Birthday

Hubby’s birthday has now gone by so all pressies are received but the boys and I we went shopping on Friday after school to get them (on one of the hottest days of the summer!). I had no clue on what to get so we hit John Lewis, clearance time, woohoo, for stuff. We hit sports and grabbed an Under armour hoody, the ticket said reduced from £50 to £35.

We also got a new Adidas sports bra top £25 to £15 for me, it was orange I couldn’t resist. When I paid for these items the till said £25 for the hoody and £10 for the bra top. RESULT another £15 saved.

He also got bull dog and fish men’s grooming accessories from Waitrose on 3for2, so all three cost £8. We also got premium chocolate for £3.50 reduced from £10. A game of jelly beans roulette not in sale. And a packet of spicy chutneys for £6 reduced from £10. All pressies were much appreciated and I was happy to get everything for £50ish.

House Viewings

This week was the first full week of keeping the house immaculate for house viewings. I am so bored of the constant tidying! No offers on our house yet, this is frustrating as I have already moved on mentally so am keen to move to our new home now. I was expecting our house to be offered on really quickly but it hasn’t, so I think we just need to chill and not stress. We went up to Huntingdon again on Saturday to view a house in a village nearby. The house was lovely with a huge garden, but something didn’t sit right. Maybe because the village was so quiet, it didn’t even have a village shop.




A few possible areas to buy a house have been found, but I have got my heart set on Godmanchester as a location. I fell in love with the ducks and the river! How is this frugal, well the houses we are looking to buy are £100k less than our so our outstanding mortgage of £220k should reduce to £100kish!!! A huge positive impact on our monthly expenditure. You get a lot more for your money moving 40 minutes north. And better schools and closer to Cambridge for the football.

Saturday entertainment

After our viewing we popped to the sparkly new Aldi in Huntingdon to grab £1 sandwiches and sushi for lunch (bargain grab and go food!) and bits we needed for the BBQ we were going to in the afternoon. I got 4 big packets of crisps and marshmallows for the kids and flowers for the host, £5.60 for the lot. We also spotted the wet suits on special buy and we got Josh one for £9.99, We are off to Cornwall in August and Josh wants to do surf lessons. We will be at the beach every day so thought that £9.99 was a good investment in something we would have bought anyway.

Turns out you can still take pictures on a Samsung locked phone 😂😂😂. Few random selfies from yesterday @nicnicjordan 🍾😊💗 #gratitude to my MMP buds for trying to help me rationalise hurtful stuff. #3positivethings 1) we made today Vinnys birthday as he’s at work tomorrow. Pressies went down well.🎂 2) Went swimming to start the day with boys👙 3) had lovely lunch at Hillmans burger place in hitchin.🍔 . . . . . . #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #surprisedselfie #summerbarbeque #burgers #hitchin #sundayswimming #hitchinpool #hubbysbirthday #maxidress #justpout #ginfuelled

A post shared by Lynn James (@mrsmummypennyuk) on

We got to the BBQ at 3:30, bringing with us gin from the cupboard and tonic from the fridge that I already had. It was a money saving BBQ where we were fed handsomely by the hosts and had lots of great chats with the Knebworth posse.

Sunday birthday time

Sunday was hubby’s unofficial birthday as he was working all day Monday. We took the boys swimming which is always a bargain activity, until I told the man at Hitchin pool that Jack was 4. He said thanks for your honesty that’s an extra £4 to pay;-). He did give me stamp card with one free swim on it next time we visit!




We also headed into Hitchin after swimming for some lunch. We chose Hillmans for the the burgers. And the kids had 3 amazing value children’s meals that included ice cream and drinks all for £5 each. They had big homemade burgers and skinny fries. I went for the halloumi burger thinking it was the healthiest I could chose with a gluten free bun.

What have you done last week that has been super frugal?

5 frugal things post 37

 



5 frugal things post 36

5 Frugal things post 36 – Amazon Prime, summer holidays and Nike

5 Frugal things post 36

My 5 Frugal things posts are always one of my favourite posts to write each week. They take me back to the routes of my writing and values of my website. I am all about saving money and making extra money so I love reflecting back on the previous week to analyse what I did to save some of my own money.

Saving money on our Summer Holiday

Last week was fairly high spending week with a few summer holiday and business expenses hitting. We are off to Cornwall for a week with the boys to Roselands Caravan park. I stayed at the park at the beginning of June for Becky’s hen do and loved it. I spoke to the owners before leaving and got prices and availability for August. Its incredible value for a week in the most beautiful part of the world so I have put down a £140 deposit. It is costing us £600 for the week which is incredible value. I have family that live near by but we decided we would rather have our own space and privacy and being here is in the middle of the country side and near my favourite beaches of Porthcurnow and Sennon.

west cornwall

I also booked a Yoga Retreat. This is 3 days from 1st to 3rd Sept. This is a treat purchase just for me, but I did manage to save some money offering Helena a more convenient method of payment. My friend Helena runs various retreats throughout the year and I have wanted to go on one for years. We first met during pregnancy yoga with Jack 5 years ago and have stayed in contact ever since at her super yoga sessions in Letchworth every few months, nutritional advice through the years and now a retreat. I cannot wait.

Nike Sale shopping

The boys and I rushed off into London on Monday for a secret Mission with Go-Henry. The boys were in heaven at the PR agency mainly because there was table football and ping pong. Yes they were playing in the middle of a busy office of PR execs very loudly!! After they had completed their mission we tubed it Kings Cross for a little look in Nike, the Nike near the German Gymnasium always has loads of discounted sales goods. We picked up 2 pairs of trainers for Dylan and Josh for £24 each and some 50% off summer basketball vests and shorts. We then went to the Kings Cross fountains and everything got soaking wet;-)

5 frugal things post 36

Moving House

We are moving house!! Our house currently looks like a show home in preparation for the photos and viewing. Its VERY stressful keeping a house tidy with 3 boys. We are selling our house using a local estate agents firm. I did investigate the concept of using an online agent, eMoov looked pretty good and the difference in cost was a staggering £2,000. But I decided to go with the local firm, Putterills, who are the best in the village we live in. We are friends with the owner so we did get a good deal and saved a chunk, always ask to negotiate on the price! We need the sale to process where we have some face to face control and this would not be the case with a faceless online estate agent. And we want the agents to do the viewings!

Amazon Prime

I really get my moneys worth from Amazon Prime. The free postage and packaging = lovely. The music is fab, the new Calvin Harris Album went straight into being available on Prime. It means I don’t need Spotify. Amazon film and TV is great for the kids particularly now that Sky has been switched to the bare minimum. I have downloaded loads of free books. And you get lots of special offers in Amazon prime, discounted nappies etc. Get it now for just £59.99 rather than £79.99 leading up to Prime day on 11th July.

Visits to Godmanchester

We have been up to our new relocation area a few times now. Last weekend we went to look at a few houses we have found online to check out the streets and closeness to village etc. It was also handily Godmanchester gala day. There was of course a WI tent and we bagged 3 cupcakes and 6 scones, all handmade for just £3. WHAT A BARGAIN. And they were lovely. Josh also spied fidget spinners for £3 so had to have one, of course.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.

 

west cornwall

Giving Back and Paying it Forward – Via Russell Brand & Grief Encounter

Giving Back and Paying it Forward

A few weeks back I got to see Russell Brand on his Re-birth tour at the Watford Colosseum. I just love Russell Brand, I have read all of his books, watched the movies, always watch him in interviews but I had never seen him live.

He was amazing, so funny, so genuine. At the interval, my friend and I got to within 1 metre of him, not quite to the front of the queue for a selfie. We got close enough to hear him talking to fans, the way he talks to people is incredible. It was like they were the most important person in the whole world. I fell in love with him a little bit more.

He spoke about all sorts of intimate, bizarre, hilarious stories but what really resonated was his giving attitude in life. He knows he is privileged with the money he has and the life he leads. Spirituality is so important to him and he believes in karma, giving back and paying it forward.

The work he did with the E15 women who were under threat of losing their homes was a perfect example. He used his celebrity and resources to promote their cause, got a media and subsequent government reaction. He helped save those women’s homes. What goes around comes around and we should all do our best to give back, be kind and help others less fortunate.

Grief Encounter – Paying it Forward

I talk about my grief, the loss of my parents and its ongoing effects regularly. If I was a child today losing my parents things would have been different. There is more help from charities and councillors and doctors. I was simply left to my own devices, resulting in a few years of chaos. I now give back by raising money for Grief Encounter regularly, I have helped them out with some social media advice and am now friends with their marketing manager Clare.

A few weeks ago, I had a few friends over for beautiful cake, made by Marianne (we are talking bake off quality), stunning stationery and chat. We were joined by my wonderful friend Julie who runs Edie & Rona, a most fabulous new stationery company. She brought her products over and we had a stationery party. Just look at my dining table. Julie will come to your house or company and do the same, drop her a line if it is something you would like to organise.

The mixture of people who came was perfect. A few ex-work buddies joined us, now running their own businesses, Kirsty from Choccie Drop, Christelle a life coach from Stellar coaching. My neighbour Lucy popped over and won the stationery bundle prize draw. Lots of local friend came over to chat and eat cake. It was such an amazing event.

We raised an incredible £145 including gift aid for Grief Encounter and had the most amazing morning. Grief encounter offers a most important counselling service, along with a helpline and email support. This money will go a long way in paying for these services, so THANK YOU to those who donated and joined us.

The donation page is still open if you want to give something back after reading this post just click here.

Paying it forward and acts of kindness

I am a believer in karma, the law of attraction and meaningful living. I do big things and simple things every day that make others feels good, which makes me feel good and the kindness flows. Just think of it as a chain reaction. Yesterday I spent the morning with Josh and his 7-year-old buddies at school. I had an amazing morning sewing puppets, chatting to the children. Turns out I’m quite good at sewing and patient with the children. It felt good to give back.

In the afternoon that kindness was immediately paid back with by a friend coming over to help tidy and sort out my office and upstairs of house. I then collected the children from school and we came home and made cakes. Whilst the cakes were baking I called up the new school that the boys will be attending when we move to our new house. I spoke the most helpful and friendly manager from the school and we chatted for 20 minutes about the admission process and the differences between an academy school and a local authority run school. She left me feeling fully informed and positive about the new school. The kindness revolves. You do something kind it will be paid back fourfold. Just imagine if you did something kind every day?

I’ll leave you with that thought x

books that have changed my life

Books that have changed my Life – Self-help to Autobiographies

Books that have changed my Life

What are your thoughts about the Book versus the E-book? I remember getting my first Kindle when I worked at EE. It was a gift given to everyone in the marketing department, we were so excited and rushed out to buy a load of books on our kindle. I used it a lot, particularly useful on holidays. Then Dylan jumped on it on the trampoline.

I do read some eBooks, but now on my phone. If it’s a book I want to focus on and maybe make notes I do like to buy the physical copy. And if it’s really special I will buy the hardback. And looking at the stats for my book that I co-wrote and self-published with Emma Bradley 80% of sales are paperback, just 20% eBook.

The tide has turned and the real-life book has made a return, hurrah. Books can change your life. They can make you cry, take you on a journey, teach you new things and help you make improvements to your life. Here are the books that changed my life. I would love to know yours in the comments at the end of the post.

Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird

I read this book aged 38. It’s a classic that maybe I should have read earlier as it’s SUCH a great story. I remember reading it in Spain on a water park day. Hubby was off with the boys for 6 hours whilst my buddy Niknik and I lay on sunbed, me in the shade, her in the sun. I finished that book in six hours. I cried, I fell for the characters, I didn’t want it to end. If you read one book on this list make it this one.

Prof Steve Peters – The Chimp Paradox

Self-help books are fabulous and I have read a few over the years. This one stands out as such a powerful read, that makes so much sense. It’s based on the concept of the conscious and unconscious mind. The unconscious bit being the chimp that can take over in times of pressure or stress. The book gives you coping techniques for times when your chimp takes over and goes a bit mental. This rang so true for me and how I react in situations. You see the worst of me when I experience disloyalty to me or my family unit. Do anything to my children and I will come down on you hard, a few people have seen this side and it’s not nice. The books just give suggestions on ways to manage the chimp, ways to keep him happy.

Judy Blume – Forever

The book of my youth. My friend Becky and I used to lie on her bed aged 13 reading the book to each other. The story of Kath and Michael (and Ralph) and their love story. That book taught me a lot about relationships and sex. I just received a copy of the book from same friend Bec for my 40th birthday. I am re-reading it now. It’s incredibly well written, sweet and innocent, despite it talking about a girl losing her virginity. As I read it, it evokes all the memories and how I felt as a thirteen-year-old girl. I just love it.

Rhonda Byrne – The Secret

I bought this book on eBook and then paperback! I bought the eBook first as I was suspicious about it and didn’t want to commit more money, so I tried the eBook. This book has really changed my life. I first read it five years ago and started to live the philosophy of the book. I took bits from it that meant most to me. The Secret is a book about changing your life for the better and getting everything you want in life. Life is not a rehearsal we are here for one lifetime only so make the best of that lifetime. Practise simple things like gratitude, say thank you for everything. Surround yourself with the right positive influences, this means people, beautiful things that inspire you. Ask for things, believe and focus and things will come to you.

Susan Jeffers – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

This was the first self-help book I ever read, aged 23 as a graduate whilst doing my CIMA exams at HSBC. A book about confidence and feeling the nerves and fear involved in doing something big but just going for it. I have lived this principle for my subsequent life. I have said yes to scary opportunities, I have pushed myself beyond my boundaries and its benefited me so much. It’s got me to the this place now, running my own successful business.

Karren Brady – The Truth About Getting to the top

I love an auto-biography! I read this one from cover to cover within a couple of days. Karren has the most amazing story. She has made it to the top in a very male world and does it in style. She plots the course of her career. Discusses traumatic events, she nearly died you know, shares mistakes and learnings. It’s such a good book.

Please tell me the books that have changed your life.

Books that have changed my Life

transition, decisions and change

June is my time for transition, decisions and change – The Mind




June is time for transition, decisions and change.

June is a strange month. It has always signified transition, decisions and change all through my life. It sees the beautiful warm sun and heat return along with the longest day of the year. This year the 24th June saw a new moon which for me signifies change and new beginnings.

June 1993 – Aged 16

If we go back to 1993 24th June, 24 year ago it was my mum’s birthday. I got her some fine gold and crystal drop earrings that I still have in my jewellery box. She wasn’t feeling very well and didn’t do much for her birthday. She was weak and couldn’t walk far without getting out of breath. The heat of mid-June wasn’t helping. Two days later she had a heart attack and died a few hours later. The most significant time of transition, decisions and change kicked off there and then.



June 2013 – Aged 36

Fast forward to June 2013, twenty years later. I always seem to make big changes in June when I am at my most motivated and productive. Four years ago I set up my Mrs Mummypenny website whilst on maternity leave. In one day, I came up with the name (brain storming with wine and a brilliant friend is creatively lucrative), bought the domain name (.com and .co.uk), the Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube. Boom. My fourth baby was born, very soon after my third!

June 2015 – Aged 38

June 2015 saw me leave my corporate job. I had returned to full time work after my maternity leave ended with Jack. I went back to my EE digital sales role, but quickly moved onto a promotion as a senior commercial manager for retail franchise (thank you digital director Dom for listening to my plans and helping with roles at EE). A tough job, really tough that saw me negotiating contracts and commercial terms with franchisee partners. It was a great job, I had a lot of responsibility and could make real change. I felt like I was doing good for both EE and the franchisees by brokering the right deal commercially for both parties to benefit financially – WIN WIN.




But alas things change. A new female boss came in and clipped my wings. She made me feel useless and incapable of anything. My thoughts were, do I fight or flight? Her thoughts were, Lynn, you need to make a choice between your family or your job. I am a big believer in choosing your battles. She was more senior than me and was seriously affecting my mental health. Im not one to create huge waves (unless you do something to my children!), so I chose flight. Flight with a nice compromise agreement and I left in June 2015.

June 2017 -Aged 40

Today sees me celebrating two years in the self-employed business world. Whoop to getting through the tough first two years of business. We have managed to pay the high mortgage and bills for two years. Okay we have amassed some debt, but that’s 0% and not the end of the world. You can read that story that appeared in the Huffington Post here.

This June saw me do a few things that have stimulated significant change. No 1) I had a meeting with a mentor who planted big seeds about investment in my business and making significant changes for growth and authority. No 2) I enrolled in a course – PR from the heart which is guiding me in my planning and objectives, the what for the next year. No 3) went on a perfectly timed trip to West Cornwall where I lived for the first 18 years of my life. I had some spiritual, enlightening moments on Sennon and Porthcurnow beaches.

west cornwall




These three actions/events have enabled me to work on a clear path for my business. They have also helped with the decision that’s been bubbling on for a year now about relocating. We are moving 100%, to Godmanchester, a town near to Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. New house and schools for the boys. It will mean we can go pretty much mortgage free with a bigger house and garden (moving 50 minutes north means houses cost £100/150k ish less than Knebworth). We will be 50 mins from London by train (we are currently 30 mins). The secondary schools are amazing, the primary school is brand new and opening in Sept 2017 (an academy school). We will be significantly closer to Cambridge where we go 4 to 5 times per week or football for the boys. It’s all looking positive, so we are off. On an adventure to a new location. Decision made.

Thanks to a few wonderful blogger friends who have helped with advice and posts on the subject of relocation, academy schools and new builds:-) Danielle of someones mum wrote this post about Academy schools. Katy of Katy Kicker and Chammy of CammyIRL had two very different views on the quality of new build properties. And thank you to Sara of Debt Camel for digging out an article from The Guardian on new builds. Interesting reading on areas that I have never had to consider before.

Such a beautiful village. @ohneil and I took a trip to #godmanchester. We had a wander, ate lovely lunch at the white Hart. Walked along the river ooze. #gratitude to my friends, you know who you are who make my life so much simpler. Helping me to make decisions and help to download everything from my head onto paper/plans. #futureisbright #3positivethings 1) Loved my conversations today..particularly over dinner with Em. 2) Making some big decisions which feels great. 3) Got me a new logo and strapline..exciting. . . . . . . . . . #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #cambridgeshire #relocation #makingdecisions #lunchwithfriends #friendsarefamily #rebrand #newlogo

A post shared by Lynn James (@mrsmummypennyuk) on

Do you have times of the year where you gain clarity and make big decisions? Was there an event that triggered thsi time of the year to be so significant?

transition, decisions and change



samsung tablet giveaway

Fabulous Samsung Tablet Giveaway

Fabulous Samsung Tablet Giveaway

I am super excited to announce another fabulous collaborative competition brought to you by 10 of the best bloggers in the UK! Clubbing together means that we can offer a very cool prize and this time it’s a Samsung tablet. I am a huge fan of Samsung and have a few things, phone, TV, tablet, fridge, microwave(??). Yes you could say I am a fan. The tablet I have which is a two year old model battery lasts such a long time. It lasts so much longer than the Kindle fire and Hudl, other tablets we have in the house.

Today we are here to celebrate the start of summer, with some fantastic bloggers and I, having teamed up together to offer one of our lucky readers the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.7”.

For those who are new to collaboration giveaways, they offer us bloggers a chance to giveaway a bigger and better prize than we could alone, with each blogger contributing to the prize fund to offer you an amazing gift.
So who has teamed up to bring to you this prize:

samsung tablet giveaway

Melanie’s Fab Finds | Just Average Jen | The Mighty Duxburys | Mrs MummyPenny | Missing Sleep | Boxes & Swatches | Mother Distracted | EmmaDrew.info | Precious Little Worlds | Futures

So how can you be in with a chance of winning the Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.7”? Well all you need to do is let us know:
What is your top tip for keeping cool in the summer heat?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck.
This prize is being administrated by Sarah of UK Bloggers / Life in a Break Down for any issues please contact her at sarah@uk-bloggers.co.uk. For full terms and conditions please view the Rafflecopter widget.

wardrobe de-clutter

Wardrobe De-clutter and style session with Claire Wacey of CW Style




Wardrobe De-clutter and style session

Would you love to know how to create a fashionable and great value capsule wardrobe? Read on and you will get all the info you need and read about how I now have this for £200.

I was struggling with my clothes. I have a wardrobe of clothes, not loads, but I have enough for most occasions. But some of them are old and now ill fitting! Some are two sizes too big. And I always seem to wear the same clothes for meeting and events. I have a jade green blouse that I wore in my Good Morning Britain feature that I have also worn to meet Disney, Smart Energy GB event and my profile shots for website!

Claire from CW Style came to visit

A shopping trip and visit from Claire Wacey of CW Style was much needed! Claire is a stylist. She styles people, food, home wear, events and can make anything look beautiful. Of course, she always looks stunning herself! We met at a Lean In networking event 18 month ago and have collaborated on a few pieces of work together.

She arrived at 9am after a quick catch up we hit my wardrobe and shoe collection. She had a look at each piece, most of it she picked up and immediately said keep or get rid. These pieces might have been tired, old, ill-fitting or the wrong style. Anything we weren’t sure about I tried on and it was an immediate yes or no from Clare or me.




As you can see I have a huge pile of stuff either to sell or to take to the charity shop. Anything with a good label will sell on eBay and there are around 10 Ted Baker items that are going.

Wardrobe de-clutter

Charity shop pile

wardrobe de-clutter

eBay pile

My wardrobe was then uncluttered and Claire had a good idea of what I already had and what I needed. I wanted a capsule wardrobe with items perfect for meetings and press meetings with clients, and to have the ability to mix and match everything to create lots of different outfits.

wardrobe de-clutter

H&M Shopping

We headed to Welwyn Garden City to hit the big new H&M shop that I knew would be amazing value for money. I have been loving H&M for about two years now. They nail current trends; the clothes last well and often look way more expensive than they are. And we could get everything we needed in one shop.

We split up and collected around 8 items each to get going with. Let’s just say the items that Claire picked up were more suitable that what I picked up!! She knows the clothing range of all the high street retailers inside out and already had a picture of everything I needed.

wardrobe de-clutter

She found three beautiful dresses, 2 smart ones and one more casual look. Two pairs of fitted slacks in white and orange, one pair of black smart cropped trousers, one cream loose jacket, one orange T-shirt, one pleated navy skirt. One pair of black leather pumps, one pair orange kitten heels, 2 small leather belts.

wardrobe de-clutter

There are maybe twenty/thirty different outfit combinations here, particularly when you add in the brightly coloured camisoles and T-shirts that we kept from my wardrobe. The shoes will dress up outfits or dress them down.




The only extra addition to create the looks was statement jewellery, I just needed maybe three chunky necklaces to add feature and interest to high necked tops and dresses.

Thank you so much Claire for the beautiful wardrobe. If you would like Claire to do the same for you she offers a four-hour styling session for just £250. She will go through your wardrobe and go shopping with you in this time. Creating the exact looks you are wanting on the exact budget you are able to spend.

I have an exclusive offer for you from CW Style, just use the code MUMMYPENNY10 before the end of July 2017 and get 10% off your style booking.

Disclaimer – I received my style session free of charge.

 




west cornwall

Hen-do Weekend in St. Just, West Cornwall which led to discovery, joy and focus




Hen-do Weekend in St. Just, West Cornwall which led to discovery, joy and focus

West Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places on this earth. It’s my home, my heart and I adore going back for visits. I was most excited when Ridley Writes arranged her hen do location to be St. Just.

St. Just is the village where my mum was born and brought up, and where she met my dad who was jumping off cliffs on a marines training exercise circa 1954. They fell in love, married and had my sister ad brother very soon after the wedding. They then moved around the world with the army which dad joined after the marines. Eventually they settled in Penzance where I came along much later in 1977. Penzance was my home for the first eighteen years of my life.

We used to go to Cot Valley and Cape Cornwall for long coastal walks, we would spend hours playing in the natural pool and rock pools at Priests Cove. I would pick beautiful bouquets of wild flowers and do my nature searches, ticking off animals and plants that I spotted. As a teenager, my friends and I would spend every possible sunny day at Sennon and Porthcurnow beaches. Its hold such beautiful, powerful and happy memories for me.

The Hens Arrive

We arrived after a six-hour drive in misty St. Just at 4pm on the Friday afternoon. I had driven 300 miles via Bristol to collect hen Jess and then Exeter to collect hen Cleo, it was a good journey down, six hours is fast even including the collections and a bit of traffic at Bristol. We discussed anything and everything as you do on a long drive and felt like we had known each other for years rather than three hours by the time we arrived.

We arrived at Roselands Caravan Park expecting Haven esq mobile homes, we hadn’t paid much money (£60 each for caravan, food and booze!) as it still low season but boy were we impressed. There were seven of us at the hen do and we had the choice of caravan 17 or 20, being the first to arrive. We made the executive decision to take no 20 as it had a smaller living area, thinking that Bec would want the bigger living space caravan for the activities we had planned and communal eating.




Jess, Cleo and I set up home in caravan 20. I was happy to take the sofa bed in the living space as I knew I would be up early every morning. Our caravan had 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, was immaculately clean and had beautiful views over the moorlands. The caravan park was lovely, there was a park for children, a games room, a small shop with essentials, a bar.

west cornwall

Minack theatre

The other hens started to arrive and we settled in the bigger caravan 17 for dinner of spaghetti bolognese, garlic bread and salad. And we had a few drinks. We then realised rather late that we needed to leave for the Minack Theatre. We were off to see a performance of Tristan & Yseult. I have been to the Minack many times before on school trips, but you can never fail to be blown away by this stunning theatre. Cut into the cliff edge to the right of Porthcurnow beach. The setting is absolutely perfect for a dramatic theatre performance. I saw Hamlet there once, amazing.

west cornwall

Turns out though that arriving at 8pm, when the show starts at 8pm mean that you end up with seats at the back of the theatre, rather high up. Not good if you suffer from vertigo. It was fairly chilly so we had all brought blankets and rain jackets, we were well prepared.

west cornwall

It was an incredible performance and story about a threesome basically. A woman who loved two men. It was comedy and dark all in the same scenes. It was very explicit and not really suitable for children. I needed parts explained to me, handily I was sat next to the bride who was most helpful when I got confused. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The best bit was when it turned into night and the view was just inspiring.



Misty Saturday in West Cornwall

The plans for Saturday were loose, we wanted to assess the weather before deciding on what to do and where to go. Our only commitment was dinner at the Meadery at some point that evening. We chilled in the morning, had croissants and coffee for breakfast. We headed into St. Just at lunchtime for a walk down to Cape Cornwall and spent an hour or so exploring the rocky beach. We paddled in the sea (in our wellies), we took selfies and searched for heart shaped rocks. Bliss.

west cornwall

west cornwall

We grabbed some scones and clotted cream from the St. Just Co-op and headed back to the caravan for lunch for our afternoon task. Cleo, who is Miss Graffiti organised a knitting activity for us. I haven’t knitted since 1993 but it came right back like riding a bike. We also cracked open the gin and cider. The music was Dirty Dancing soundtrack, followed by Madonna. Such a fun afternoon, thank you Cleo.

west cornwall




We headed to Newlyn Meadery for dinner, drank a litre of blackberry wine a big reminder of our youth. We bumped into an old school friend Lorna and agreed that we all looked the same as we did aged 16, rather than 40 years old! Dinner was chicken in the rough, salt and pepper squid, chips and salad. It was medieval in style, not gourmet but lots of fun.

west cornwall

 

Stunning Sennon Sunset

We drove back to the caravan via Sennon beach and arrive at the most perfect time, sun set. It had been misty all day but it finally cleared at 9:30pm. Arriving at the beach was like magic. It felt incredibly spiritual and like nature had created that moment for the seven of us. You could feel the tension when we arrived and we all scuttled our various independent ways to take in the beauty of the sunset.

west cornwall

west cornwall

I took my shoes off and paddled in the water, the cold sand feeling so good. The sun sinking beneath the sea was stunning and my parents came to visit that evening. They came to say they loved me and were proud of me and everything I have achieved. We all met back up had a group photo and headed back to Roselands for more gin and 90’s music.

west cornwall

Sunday Morning Porthcurnow

Sunday morning I, of course, awoke at 6am, despite the 1am bed time. No one else was awake so I jumped in the car and headed over to Porthcurnow beach for more time with the sea, sand and nature. Porthcurnow is my absolute favourite beach in the world and when you arrive at 7am in the morning its empty. It’s a beautiful cove cut into the cliff, the beach is stunning and you would mistake it for the Caribbean in the height of the summer.

west cornwall

The waves were crashing in, it was inspiring and awesome. I drew my circle in the sand and stood listening to the elements about direction my life should take. A seal popped up in the waves to say hello. There were thousands of shells brought in by the waves overnight. A dog ran over to me to say hello whilst standing in my circle. I was surrounded by nature, water, the smell of the salt, the colours of the cliff flowers. I stepped out of my circle and a huge wave came in and took away my circle. At that moment I knew what I was to do with my life and business. Decisions I had been struggling with were made and life could move on.

west cornwall

Thank you, Becky, for the most incredible hen do. It gave me so much and I gave so much to the weekend. You have the most amazing friends, you are blessed. And I cannot wait for your wedding. Friends are family. Forever friends.

west cornwall

Here are a few more links to previous posts all about Cornwall and saving money:-)

Arranging a staycation

Saving Money in the Summer Holidays

More money saving Ideas for the summer holidays


kitten kollege

Trev & Purdy Kitten Kollege Career Day

Kitten Kollege Career Day

It is a bit of a traumatic week for Trev. Trev is our nine-month-old boy cat and he went to the vets for the chop. Poor Trev, he isn’t going to know what has hit him (or snipped him). We all know its mega important to get it done (possibly a bit late!) but he’s not going to be happy.

kitten kollege

Trev is such a loving black boy cat. He is already weighing in at 4kg with more growing to go. We like to call him our mini black panther. We (I!) decided to get a kitten from the Blue Cross last year. I knew I was going to be working from home for the foreseeable future with Mrs Mummypenny and I wanted some company. I went on the waiting list at the Blue Cross for a kitten and three months later they called and said I could have Trev.

He has got such a personality, he’s a loving softie when with us. Sitting on my lap is a favourite place of Trev’s, he will jump up on the kitchen side to say hello or park himself on my desk. He adores my eldest son Dylan and has his daytime sleeps on his bed. Jack is my youngest aged four who carries him around like a baby, he never scratches anyone.

online exercise classes

Night times are a different matter, he prowls the streets of our village in stealth mode. If I was to choose a career for Trev I would say he is a soldier, more specifically in the SAS. He loves to protect me his mummy and all three of my boys. He is rather good at carrying out orders, if I call him he comes running. If I pat my lap he jumps up, sometimes will jump up like an excitable doggy. He loves a bit of exercise and you often see him running around the garden or chasing ribbons, balls and other kitten toys.

He loves routine, breakfast and dinner at the same time each day. After a big breakfast of kitten food he comes inside and crashes out for the day. He likes to defend us from the neighbour’s dogs and will often sneak into their garden and taunts them. You will see him sprinting back to our garden with a dog chasing him, unable to catch him. We get the occasional visit from other cats but Trev has their cards marked. He won’t let him anywhere near the food or his mate Purdy.

Purdy Cat

Purdy is our second cat, she is a fifteen-year-old tortoiseshell old lady cat. She is rather strange. Before Trev arrived she never came into the house, not once. She literally lived in the garden for the seven years we had lived in this house. She did the same at our old house. But soon as Trev arrived she decided to come inside. Maybe jealousy?

Most of the time Trev looks after Purdy, licks her head, lies next to her keeping her warm. But then suddenly the youthful kitten come out and he decides to attack her, or bite her back or jump on top of her. She’s an old lady, 105 in cat years (15 x 7?) so she’s not keen. We are hopeful that the chop will make him a bit more chilled and will stop the jumping on Purdy.

kitten kollege

If Purdy was to have a career I would say she a creative knitter of scarves. She likes to lie in the shade or on the sofa. Purdy hates the children bugging her and digs in her claws when she needs to be moved anywhere. She is also a bit of flirt and lives to rub up against the legs of my non-cat-loving hubby!!

This post is a collaboration with Whiskas, but all thoughts are my own. Check out their website for more information on their cat food and their YouTube channel for fantastic Kitten Kollege videos.

5 frugal things post 33

5 Frugal Things post 33 Spa, Inset days & Russell Brand




5 Frugal Things post 33

Last week was another example of a week where I “maybe” took on too many commitments. I was already feeling tired on the Monday after a brilliant spa weekend (read spa as lot of drinking on the Saturday night) with my university mates celebrating our 40th birthdays. I’ll start with that as my first frugal thing!

Lifehouse Spa Weekend

The Lifehouse is a spa in Thorpe-Le-Soken really near the coast in Essex. The weekend included the use of the spa for 24 hours, hotel room, dinner, breakfast and one spa treatment. And this cost us £160 each. Our wonderful friend Neil paid for a big chunk of the weekend so it ended up not costing too much money.

We relaxed, we had pre-dinner drinks and snacks in our room. The grounds of the spa were beautiful so we had a few walks. It was a lovely relaxing weekend. A few niggles, my facial was terrible, but I did speak to the manager who gave me a bundle of Clarins products to say sorry. There was quite a bit of waiting around for things, they needed more staff I would suggest.

5 frugal things post 33




We decided to leave the spa on Sunday lunchtime to head to Frinton-On-Sea for a bit of beach time and I went for a dip in the sea. It was very cold! None of this cost any money, particularly as Frinton is so unspoilt we couldn’t even find an ice cream shop. I loved it. I now fancy buying a beach hut (one day, when my debt is paid off!)

The Money we owe is reducing

Talking about my debt, I wrote an update post at the end of last week. We have managed to pay off a significant chunk in May, which was a wonderfully low spending moth and the £15.5k has now reduced to £14k. I am really happy that its reducing as such a significant rate. The bit where interest is being charge has very nearly gone.

Russell Brand at Watford Colosseum

On Wednesday night, I went to see Russell whom I have loved for many years now. I have followed him on TV, read his books, watched his life crash around. He is the most incredibly eloquent and charming person but had never seen him live before.

5 frugal things post 33

I now love him a bit more, Maz and I went and had great seats in the middle of the theatre with a great view. During the interval, we tried to get a selfie with him, but were 3 minutes away before he had to go back on stage for the second half. Gutted. But we got close enough to see him in action with is fans. He is so focussed on the person speaking to him, his eyes are on them and no one else. You can appreciate how all those women fell for his charms.




He spoke a lot about doing good and paying it forward. He is the first to admit that he earns good money (although the media has drastically affected his earnings negatively in the past few years) and wants to do good with his position of authority by helping people like the women from E15 who were to be made homeless (their houses were saved). I have a post planned on the power of paying it forward.

Inset day

There was an inset day last week so the boys and I went on a very long four mile walk to the countryside. My new Aldi wellies came in rather handy for the muddy woodland walk. And were comfy enough for a four-mile walk! A walk and picnic are of course free!! We like to play spot the squirrel on our woodland walks.

Personal Training

My personal training continued last week and I published a post on the start of my journey and how I am feeling along with scary pictures and measurements. It was a super popular post that I have had so much wonderful feedback on. I hit on many issues that women worry about and hope that it gives a few solutions on what has worked for me. Personal training is not a frugal option when it comes to exercise, but I do think exercise is such a personal thing that must be done. We all need to find a way that works for us. That might be the gym or road running or an exercise DVD or a personal trainer every week or fortnight.




I am enjoying the focus on just me and no one else. It interesting to explore my attitudes to exercise, food, wellbeing. It’s also interesting trying to shatter 25 years of the build of self-loathing and other negative body attitudes. We all need to exercise so do what is right for you.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.