Category Archives: Money Saving

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.


How to Prepare for Christmas financially as early as possible

How to Prepare for Christmas financially as early as possible

I am on a journey with my finances. I know this journey never ends and continues for the rest of my life but I really feel like we have made significant decisions and changes recently for our financial good.

Mrs Mummypenny has been officially trading for nearly two years now as a limited company. This means that financially I have got through the tough times and turnover is good. Alas credit cards were used over the past two years to get me to this place. Currently we do owe some money on the cards, mostly 0% but there is some debt. I wrote my personal finance blogger debt confession back in April. Coming clean about our £15.5k debt.

Since then I have written a couple of updates, this being my latest and we have managed to get the debt down to 14k already!! Have a read and you can see all the things we are doing to cut back, save money and make money.

It is a struggle if I am honest with you. I am grateful to say that most of my life when I was in employed corporate jobs we had enough money, we could fritter money on takeaways, dinners out and holidays. Adjusting to not being able to do that is a challenge. May was a particularly restrained month. We spent hardly anything, the result was being able to knock a £1,000 chunk off the credit cards. But I ended the month feeling hard done by, not proud of the debt that had been repaid.

I have started doing some small things that are helping me to feel better about the restrictive spending habits.

Christmas Savings

I am making a start with Christmas. Always a tough one to budget for when you need to cut back and when you have three young boys. They are already discussing their birthdays (November/October time) and Christmas and the kind of things they would like, its June boys!! Long way to go!

prepare for christmas

Christmas Last year meeting Real Santa

Christmas is tough time. It’s not my favourite time of the year due to it being dark, cold and miserable. Christmas is a time when the wider family gets together, but not mine. This makes me feel sad. I try to make an effort for my boys but it can be a struggle. Comforting food at Christmas is important, roasted ham joints, chutney, roasted turkey, sausage rolls, crisps and dips! I like to get the boys what they want. Josh has already decided on a laptop, so I can start researching that now to find a good deal.

To make life easier financially it makes sense to pay a small amount of money into savings for particular goals, like the Christmas Saving card from Asda. You can have one card or a few and save £144 over the year on each card. At the end of your weekly/bi-weekly shop you can add a regular amount onto the card or maybe round up your shopping to the nearest £10 and put the difference onto the card, this will make the savings less noticeable to your weekly budget!

prepare for christmas

Once you have saved certain amounts on the cards you will be eligible for a bonus in November, in time for your Christmas shopping.

  • Savings between £49 and £96 means a bonus of £1
  • Savings between £97 and £143 means a bonus of £3
  • Save up to £144 means a bonus of £6

Just pick up a card, or cards in store and get saving. All the money saved on the cards will need to be spent in Asda. Here is a handy FAQ section from the Asda website for more questions.

I will be saving around £800 using the Asda Christmas Savings Card. This has meant saving £20 a week for 39 weeks of the year (including a bonus) but it will be so worth it when I have that cash sat there ready and waiting to be spent on gifts for the boys and yummy Christmas food. Hopefully there will be some money left over for a gift for me!

This is a collaborative post.

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.

debt confession update 2

My Debt confession update 2 – May Progress

My Debt confession update 2

Back in April I wrote about my confession of a personal finance blogger, the post went crazy and now been read an incredible 2000 times and who knows how many times the Huffington Post version has been read??!! Thank you!

I want to keep you updated with my progress every few weeks to keep myself in check but also to help you with ideas on how to save money. It has been a month since my last update, I have re-read it to see if I did sort out the things I said I was going to. Sort of!

Yes, the mortgage has been changed, although I have swopped from the original fixed deal I chose to a tracker rate. We needed some flexibility with mortgage fees, i.e. not to pay any fees if we move house. Yes, we might be moving house.

Sky has been sorted out. Our bills are now £45 per month, reduced down from £80, which includes fibre broadband, landline and most basic entertainment package. Hubby agreed to get rid of sky sports. So impressed that he is fully supportive of the changes we need to make to get this money we owe repaid.

New Santander bank accounts and cashback credit cards, still on my to-do list!

The whole house and garden has been sorted and decluttered. I have sold maybe 10 things, out of the 100 things that I need to sell!! Selling is slow progress for me.  I get bored and lose my focus very quickly.

debt confession update 2

What Else Have we Done?

No takeaways

We are being so good when it comes to eating out and takeaways. We maybe get a takeaway once every two to three weeks. Very good budgeting there. I am really enjoying cooking up treats at home, spicy rice to fajitas to roast chicken. We get our food from Aldi of course and spend around £100 every two weeks. Checkout my beautiful homemade pizza.

debt confession update 2

May was a No/Low Spend month

With April being such an expensive month with my birthday and the Las Vegas holiday for my 40th we tried to make May a no or low spend month. Thanks for the suggestion Faith. It was a quiet month socially which made it easier. There were no birthdays or big events and most of my work commitments had travel expenses covered. I bought no new clothes for myself, the boys were given a lovely bag of clothes by my wonderful friend Sarah.

A great credit card month

The result of a no/low spending May meant that we had more spare cash to put towards the money we owe. We put all our food and petrol and stuff for the boys on a Tesco credit card that is repaid every month (this is the card that I need to switch to a cashback card). I budget for £900 spend on this card each month but we managed to only spend £700 this month. That £200 saving is extra payment straight onto the credit card.

Mrs Mummypenny work is building up wonderfully

I am getting lots and lots more work for Mrs Mummypenny and my bank account is looking positive.  May was a great month for cashflow so anything extra I earn above a set amount can go onto the credit cards. This meant that I could pay off £1300 in May off my money owed.

I had originally had £2,500 on interest chargeable cards, this has now reduced to £1,000 since April. Minimum payments have been paid to the 0% credit cards and my total debt has reduced to £14,000. I am proud of this. June will be another month with a large repayment and I should be able to clear the nasty interest chargeable cards of Halifax and my business Barclaycard, both with APR’s of around 18%.

What is next to look at

Continue to build up Mrs Mummypenny

I have invested £340 into two courses learning new skills. I have bought an affiliate marketing course. Basically, to teach me more about the art of passive earning from my website. My website weighted towards upfront/sponsored post payments and I would like to shift it more towards 50/50 upfront/ongoing passive. Affiliate revenue basically means if I mention a product on say Amazon, and you decide it’s a great deal and buy it I get cut of the sale. The price to you the customer remains unchanged, it just means I get a chunk of Amazons profit, hurrah. For example, if you buy my book for £14.99 on Amazon, using my affiliate link I get 75p affiliate revenue as well as the royalties from the sale of the book.

I have also bought a course that is helping me plan and create a strategy for the future from my heart not my head. PR from the heart a course run by Kat Byles. One week in and I am loving it. I have direction and I am working out what I need to drop and what I need to run with as ideas for the next year.

I feel that investing in these areas although costing £340 in the short-term will pay back huge dividends in the future. And help create a passive earning income and a more future-proof business model.

June & July are expensive social-work months

Whilst May was a quiet month socially, June & July are busy months. Every weekend is packed full of 40th birthday parties, barbeques, weddings, socialising. Consequentially I am working hard to keep the costs down. We are trying to keep social events local, a night out with the girls is now drinks at my neighbour’s house rather than a club night. A hen weekend involving a 300-mile drive is being split between three of us, in fact we are staying in caravans for the hen weekend which is a bargain.

Summer Holidays

I am already planning the summer holidays, mainly because we are not going away and I have six weeks with three boys! Mrs Mummypenny work will quieten down so I will have plenty of time to have a wonderful summer with the boys. A few local friends are around so we are planning sunny days in our gardens. I will be using clubcard vouchers to get days out with the children. We will be having picnics in the park. We will be driving out to Frinton to the beach.

Football Starts again in July

June is mostly a football free month for both Dylan and Josh. Hurrah petrol costs will be low. Maybe June is the month to sell the car and get that new hybrid? I am keen to get a car that is more efficient and much kinder to the environment. July will mean a big football outlay, new boots and kits for two boys. That is around £300 for the two of them.


I have one bill to look at in June, my utility bills reach the end of their one year contract. I am going to switch to a company that can provide me with a smart meter and that provides great value for money. My current provider, Affect energy are wonderful. Great customer service and value for money, but they cannot provide a smart meter. One of my clients is Smart Energy GB, so I am keen to get one and to really focus on saving electricity and gas costs via better usage.

I hope this helps you with ideas and I look forward to updating you again at the beginning of July, with another chunk of money knocked off the money we owe. I am so looking forward to getting that money repaid and then I can start investing (bit excited about that one from a blog and personal point of view)

Tell me what you have done in the comments below to increase your income or reduce your spending?

5 frugal things post 32

5 Frugal things post 32 – Half term, clothes shopping, food shopping.

5 Frugal things post 32

Half term weeks can be expensive for keeping the children amused, thankfully I had managed to arrange a few things which kept the costs down. It’s still been a busy work week with a personal styling job (I promise its work!) and a meeting up north in Stamford on Thursday with my mentor.

Here are my 5 frugal things:-

Football Fun Week

This is such a cost saving initiative during half terms and the holiday. The boys love it and I get to have work time. This time I risked it with Jack having a go. Dylan promised to look out for him and John who runs the sessions was to call me if Jack had any problems. Off he went, and was picked up at 3pm. He loved it! We definitely have a third footballer child. I really should put that that £10 bet on all three children playing for England football team!

H&M shopping

A full blog post and vlog to come on this one. On Wednesday I did a spot of shopping with my friend and fellow business woman Claire Wacey. I needed smart clothes that were on trend and affordable that were suitable for meetings in London and PR events. She chose capsule pieces that could all be mixed and matched. We managed to get 13 pieces for £180, these 13 pieces can be turned into around 20 different looks. This was after a 20% discount that I got for joining the H&M club.

5 frugal things post 32

Discounts on Hosting Packages with LCN

I have just set up my husband with his new website and hosting package with LCN. I have used this hosting company for 4 years for Mrs Mummypenny and have always found them so helpful. Amazing customer services and great value hosting. Read on for an exclusive 20% discount on their new WordPress hosting package that they have given to just Mrs Mummypenny.

Huge Aldi Shop

I have spent the past 4 week running down the frozen food we had resisting the big shop for as long as possible. This has saved us an incredible amount of money that we can then use to pay off a chunk of the outstanding credit card debt. On Tuesday I needed to finally go shopping. It was a big Aldi shop that included lots of meat, toiletries, toilet rolls, kitchen roll etc. I managed to get around three week’s worth of food for £150. This included lots of treat things like ice lollies, lovely BBQ meat, 2 roast chickens and burgers. Of course, we will need to buy top up bits like fruit and veg but this will last a long time.

5 frugal things post 32

Meeting with Mentor

On Thursday I drove up to Stamford, an hour drive up the A1 to one of the most beautiful towns I have ever been to England. I was meeting an ex-EE colleague who on my last day offered his advice and help whenever I needed it. We meet normally once a year to review what I have achieved and what I am planning. The car was parked and I was offered a free parking ticket by a lovely man, a good sign for the day. I had two hours with my mentor to talk Mrs Mummypenny, plans for the future, we talked investment, we talked focus. I have the beginning of the right plan for Mrs Mummypenny and I must stop focusing on the money.

5 frugal things post 32

It’s so important to get good advice in business, whether you are self-employed or employed. I have always had mentors for help with challenging situations and guidance on courses of action. A mentor is free!! You just find the right expert who you can talk to honestly and who will give you the negatives as well as the positives.

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



6 Tips for Saving Money on Your Bathroom Renovation

6 Tips for Saving Money on Your Bathroom Renovation

We are big into our bathrooms in this family. Hubby has worked in the bathroom game for more than ten years.

Today I am partnering up with who share their top tips and advice on how to save money on your bathroom renovation.

Keep the layout the same

Planning is key to a successful bathroom renovation project, and as soon as you start moving around the fixtures, the job can quickly become expensive, so keep the layout the same to save money.

Tradesmen can find some superb deals, but it’s also a good idea to do your research and see what bargains you can find. Do you really need a tradesman to fit the entire bathroom, or could you do some of it yourself? Smaller tasks such as fitting a mirror and accessories helps to cut costs.

If you spot a bargain, it’s a good idea to check if it really is good value for money – is the quality good, will it stand the test of time, and is it covered by a guarantee?

Fittings without any moving parts is one area where you can get away with spending less. A good example is a bathroom sink, which is only required to hold water and drain it away. Compare this to a toilet, which has far more moving parts, and you will need it to function properly well into the future.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a bath with added reinforcement either. The bath needs to be durable enough to hold your weight, as well as the water. So, when choosing fixtures, don’t rush into anything, take your time and consider your options carefully.

bathroom renovation

Affordable flooring options

With so many great flooring options available, there’s no need to spend a lot on creating a luxury look. If you love the look of stone but don’t have the budget, it’s definitely worth thinking about vinyl.

A practical and affordable option, vinyl is stylish, waterproof, highly durable, and comes in many designs and styles to suit any requirement. A fantastic bathroom flooring option, you’ll find natural wood, modern patterns and stone effect designs to take your pick from, plus it won’t feel cold underfoot during the winter months!

Consider selling your old bathroom suite

Auction sites offer a great way to sell unwanted fixtures that are still in good condition, such as taps and sinks. By selling these items you’ll recoup some of the cost you spent on your new bathroom.

Fitting costs make up a big proportion of any bathroom renovation project, so if you feel confident enough, try doing some of the work yourself. Removing fixtures and fitting new taps are relatively easy jobs most people can do, but if you lack the skills, and for bigger, more complicated tasks, always hire a professional to avoid costly mistakes.

It’s a good idea to get quotes from different tradesmen so you can get an estimate of the cost and to ensure the price is fair.

Keep an eye out for bargains

Cheap products look very similar to more expensive ones, but unlikely to be of the same quality. The chrome finish on cheap taps may not be very hardwearing, or the surface of a bath is more likely to crack, so always spend as much as you can afford and you’ll save money in the long run. You could even save money by fitting a shower over the bath, rather than creating a separate area for showering.

If possible, wait until the big summer and winter sales are on, as you can find some fantastic bargains.

bathroom renovationDo-it-yourself

With some thought, there’s many ways to stretch your budget when it comes to updating your bathroom, and you’d be surprised at how much work you can do yourself. Fitting a bathroom cabinet to the wall, grouting and painting are simple jobs to take on.

Purchasing a complete bathroom suite rather than individual items can also help to reduce costs. If you need storage you don’t need to buy it all at once, you can always add more at a later date when you have more budget available.

Use a mix of inexpensive ceramic tiles and luxurious mosaics

Mosaics can be expensive, especially if you tile an entire bathroom in them, so to cut costs just use them to create a feature wall. Ceramic tiles that look like stone, marble or wood allow you to create a luxury look without overspending.

This is a collaborative post.

AEG mastery range

AEG Mastery Range – Cooking and Laundry – Grand Designs Live

AEG Mastery Range

One of the glamourous parts of being a blogger is being invited to exciting events. A couple of weeks back AEG invited me to Grand Designs Live and I could bring a plus one, so friend and fellow money blogger Lotty Burns. We were to experience a sensory cooking experience with Jozef Youssef and the new AEG Sensery range. We weren’t sure what this meant, but I googled the chef and immediately accepted the invite, his Instagram feed is beautiful.

Sensory Cooking Experience

Arriving nice and early meant we could grab breakfast in the press area. We then headed over to the AEG area to take out seats, right in front of chef.

AEG mastery range

Josef proceeded to talk about our senses and how we use them all in cooking, tasting and dining. We tasted mystery products to work out what they were, Strawberry seeds. We worked out who had super pallets, Lotty did and spotted the Strawberry taste within five seconds. We listened to music and thought about the words Bobo and Kiki.  Bobo was soft, creamy, squishy. Kiki was sharp, pointy. Then we ate food, one demonstrated Kiki, a beautiful citrus octopus dish. We also tasted Bobo, Ox cheek and sweet Chinese buns. The food was amazing, like soooo good.  I really want to go to his restaurant, Kitchen Theory, handily not far from me in North London.

AEG mastery range

The cooking was all demonstrated in front of us on a very fancy AEG hob, part of the AEG mastery range, with an ever so clever extractor fan in the middle of the hob that drew the cooking smells Down! The ovens behind Josef were equally clever, you could set them to low souvie temperatures or high self-cleaning mode. There was even a special oven for baking. Everything you could wish for in an oven.

AEG mastery range

After our sensory session, I got a quick selfie with Yosef (obviously) and we moved over to the laundry area. The washing machines and tumble dryers were amazing. Now, we do a lot of laundry, like every day. A decent washing machine is important and is worth investing in. I need speed, value for money and most importantly it needs to be a good cleaner of dirty and muddy clothes. It also needs a delicate clothes option for my clothes. Quite an ask.

AEG mastery range


AEG Mastery Range – Laundry

AEG has some big objectives that ring so true to me from a value for money and environmental point of view. Lots of the facts I mention are taken from the 2016 Ipsos Mori Poll on consumer laundry habits and guidance provided by AEG.

Care for your clothes

90% of our clothes are thrown away before they should be, we are not washing our clothes properly. We are over using the dry-cleaners and over washing our garments. I have a beautiful Ralph Lauren wool cardigan which has bobbled from over washing, I have only had it two years, its a classic that looks awful now. AEG are campaigning for us to wash less, wash in lower temperatures and dry clean only when you must. If we all did this it will not only save us money, but also save the environment. AEG have developed machines where you can even wash silk and cashmere!

Relearn your laundry habits

Hands up if you wash the same way your mum taught you to. Um me. Apparently 1/3rd of us have never changed their laundry habits! I always wash on the same program at 40 degrees, or 60 degrees if it white cotton wash that is muddy. Not correct, read on for washing guidance from AEG.

Wear your clothes more

I spent the day recently with a fashionista, stylist friend who took me shopping for capsule wardrobe. We discussed fast fashion and the cost per wear. She fully believes in investing in pieces that you will wear time and time again, like a classic pair of jean that you will wear every day, spend a bit more. But for a posh dress for a wedding, why spend £200 on statement dress that you may wear three or four times. Think about cost per wear. The average garment is worn just four times!

Saving the Environment

For every kilo of textile produced at least one kilo of chemicals is being used. Scarily global textile consumption has more than doubled since 2000. And we must wash less, on lower temperatures.

AEG mastery range

A care guide for your most common fabrics

Cotton – Do not wash cotton too hot. Start using 30 degrees as your standard washing temperature instead of 40 to save energy, money and be gentler on your clothes.

Silk – Wash on gentle cycles and steam to reduce wrinkling

Wool Coat – Wash and tumble dry on gentle wool cycle

Knitted Wool – Wash and tumble dry on gentle wool cycles

Jeans – Was on lower temperature to maintain colour and shape. If jeans are stretched out, a quick tumble in the dryer can help them to regain shape. Ensure you tumble dry with the jeans cycle.

I know I am going to change my laundry habits based on this advice. For more information on the AEG laundry range click here

Disclaimer. I was not paid for this post, but did receive complimentary tickets to Grand Designs Live and travel expenses were covered.


5 frugal things post 31

5 Frugal Things Post 31 – Ubers, Icelollies and Clever Cutters

5 Frugal Things Post 31

The highs and lows of life have been highlighted this week. The Manchester bombings affected me deeply. I was destroyed when I heard the mum of Olivia Campbell on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday morning pleading for information on her daughter who hadn’t returned home. We found out early the next morning that she had been killed.

My thoughts are with all of those affected by this atrocity. We must stand tall, support each other and not live in fear. The week consequentially has been a highly emotional week. I was in London all day on Tuesday where I attended a brilliant Female Empowerment discussion. I also spent time with White Stuff, JML Direct and a few PR agencies. Lots of exciting things are coming.

Wed/Thursday and Friday were all at home and I managed to take most of Friday off for things like free personal training, sitting in the garden with friends, spending time with the boys.

London Meetings

Lotty, Emma and I had a packed agenda on Tuesday in London and we had to get from Farringdon to Soho to Farringdon and back to Great Portland between 10:30 and 3pm. Rather than faff with buses or tubes we ubered it. It cost us £30 for all the trips (despite one slight confusion with the wrong postcode). I suspect public transport would have cost not much less but much more time.

JML Direct Bubbles and Brunch

I got a JML Direct clever cutter from the JML Bubbles and Brunch Event. Such a clever device that we have been5 frugal things post 31 using for all our chopping since!! It’s a chopping board and knife in one device, time saving, less cleaning, I love it. And so does Josh the 7-year-old chef!! We were with JML to learn all about their new grill circle and copper stone pans. The grill circle was amazing, such a healthy, very clever way of cooking. Everything demonstrated by Phil Vickery. I can see why he’s been on This Morning for 18 years, he was so good at chatting, coooking at the same time, sharing tips! More coming soon on these exciting products when I get to try them out myself.

Hubby riding bike to work and taking packed lunches

Hubby has been out working this week doing house clearance work to tide us over before we sign contracts for his new business. It’s hard, physical work, long hours. He has been cycling to work on the days where I have needed the car (we only have one car) and has been taking in packed lunches and big bottles of water.

Reduced Food at the Co-op

Have taken full advantage of Co-op reduced price goodies this week. Yesterday I managed to bag sausages for 80p, mini pizzas 4 for £2.20 , garlic bread, mozzarella & tomato salad, humous all for more than half price. Dinner yesterday was lovely.

Walking Home from School

The walk home from school Thurs/Fri has been very hot this week. And the reward getting home has been an ice lolly. I bought a bumper lolly pack from Aldi earlier in the week. £2.99 for 20 lollies including dupe feast, rockets, mini milks. Yum. I have also been making boozy poptails for Aldi for the blog. Check out this post for how I got on with recipes. They are very yummy.

aldi cocktails

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

5 frugal things post 30

5 Frugal Things Post 30 – TV, mystery shopping and financial planning

5 Frugal Things post 30 – TV, mystery shopping and financial planning

Wow what a week!! For those regular readers and followers on Instagram you will have seen boozy awards nights out, hangovers, cocktails, TV appearances, spa reviews. What I didn’t show you was my meetings with a financial planner, mystery shopping experiments, writing lots, drinking lots of detox tea! Here are my 5 frugal things post 30 highlights.

Mystery Shopping can be too much hassle

I rather thoughtlessly agreed to do a mystery shop for a bread product on Wednesday and Thursday. All I had to do was build and shelf unit thing and fill it with 50p loaves. It sounded easy and was fairly well paid. The company called me and asked if I would do Letchworth, St Albans, Shefford and Welwyn Garden City. I agreed as it was going to pay me £60. I thought it cant be more than 2 hour work.

I was wrong. The shelf unit was a nightmare to put together, each shop didn’t want the stand, they wanted to display the promotion there own way. The shops took ages to get to. My hangover on Wednesday did not help. The app was a challenge to complete.

It ended up taking me four hours to do all four shops. Am sorry but my time is precious and that wasn’t good earnings for the use of my time. I will not be doing it again.

A positive Mystery Shopping Experience

With the negative comes the positive. I was desperate for some relaxation/me time and I got this on Thursday. I do some work for another mystery shopping company who sent me visit to a spa day including a treatment. It meant I got a day in a local spa, including a treatment and got paid. All I had to do was record me setting up the appointment and write a report about my experience. Not really a challenge for me as I am used to reviewing things on my website.

I dropped the boys at school on Thursday, drove straight to the spa. I was in the jaccuzzi by 10am. I swam 1000 metres, I went for a steam and a sauna. I had a healthy lunch (so did spend £10 on that) and then a facial. I lay on a heated bed for 1 whole hour and read a book (okay the book was how much money do you need for the rest of your life!) and I switched off mobile data on my phone.

Financial Planning

On Wednesday whilst croaky and hungover (hope he didn’t notice) I had a skype call with a rather amazing man called Pete Matthew. I discovered him when Damien Fahy of Money to the Masses fame interviewed him on his One Giant Leap podcast. This man is inspirational, he knows his money stuff, can explain it simply, is funny and get this lives in Penzance (where I am from!). I had to connect to this guy. I tweeted him to say I enjoyed the podcast and the dialogue began.

Pete is a financial planner who is one of the partners at Jackson’s in Penzance. I remember them when I was growing up as this scary suited people business that only helped out rich people. Sorry Pete, I was a teenager! It certainly wasn’t a place that my parents would use, particularly my dad who went and died without a will. Turns out they are a financial planning firm, that help you to plan your financial future, and by the grand age of 30-40 many of us have amassed enough equity/pension funds/savings etc to warrant help from a financial planner.

I am looking into our financial future at the moment, I have sorted out my pensions mess which I wrote about. But there was lots of things I am still confused about, what do I do about our equity, what about investments, what about a will (we don’t have a will..shock horror, reference the comment about my dad). I arranged an hour’s skype with Pete and talked about everything.

It was an incredible conversation (and Free!) where he put my mind at rest, dispelled some of my beliefs, corrected some assumptions. And told me I HAD TO GET A WILL SORTED. I have an appointment booked to sort that out now. So much content coming on all this stuff as I investigate and get things arranged. He also said focus on repayment of the debt we owe, work hard on the 2 businesses we own and to come back in 18 months time. He is good!

Called Sky and saved money!

I called sky on Monday to see if they could reduce our £75 a month bill. This is fibre broadband (I need this to do my job!), landline, sky sports and HD package and movies. They told me I was on a good deal 50% off TV stuff so all that could be done was remove things. I got sky movies removed which saved £9 per month.

I told all this to hubby, who told me to just cancel sky sports!!! A result that I really wasn’t expecting, he is into this money saving as well! We can go down to the standard entertainment package and save oodles of money. We have Amazon Prime anyways to access films so that will have to do for the children.

Co-op Orange Sticker shopping

Did I say Wednesday was a terrible hangover day. I got home at 2:30 am after the headline money awards. I was up at 6 am as hubby needed a lift to work at 7am…ergggghhhh. I managed to survive until school pick up time. I paid Co-op a little visit and got myself dirty burgers, dorito’s and dips for dinner for me and the boys. I know its not healthy and it didn’t make me feel better afterwards. But it did make me feel better for the 5 minutes whilst I was eating it. I managed to pick up pizza, lettuce and bread as orange stick reduced prices;-)

I hope you had a wonderful money saving week, share your best bargains.

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

federation of small business

The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining

The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining

I joined the Federation of Small Business (FSB) a year ago. An accountant friend and I were chatting whilst sat in the doctor’s surgery and she recommended this as a brilliant thing to join to help with all advice and admin you must do as a small business owner. It’s a necessary evil, it must be done and you can’t afford in the early days to outsource it.

I met up with Charlie from the FSB who had me sold at free business banking (I was paying at least £6 per month with Barclays) and the free legal advice (I have needed advice on partnership agreements and documents, trademarks and employment law in the past year, all included in membership). There is plenty more included in the membership which I will list at the end of post, but I wanted to share with you an incredible event hubby and I attended a few weeks back.

Hubby is starting a new business

Setting the scene, hubby is starting up his own bathroom showroom business. It’s been dream for around 6 years!! Now he is going for it, with a bit of help from me on the accounting and marketing sides of the business, my expert areas. It has also prompted a series of small business posts on how to save money, and what you need to get set up in what order, as there is a fair bit.

We attended a local small business fair, this wasn’t small businesses like us, it was companies who can support small businesses. I didn’t know what to expect and had never been to one before so thought why not give it and try and see what it was all about.

The fair was hosted in a huge warehouse in Huntingdon, Wood Green animal shelter. We walked in and saw hundreds of stands, this looked good.

We had Jack with us as it was a non-school day, imagine his joy when he saw sweets on every table, and drinks, and toys and he could help himself to.

We wandered from stall to stall, seeing what grabbed our attention. It was perfectly aimed at people running small business. There were banks, legal, insurance, mobile phone companies, accountancy, car leasing, stationery providers, sign makers, you name it, it was there.

Legal Advice

The first stand that grabbed my attention were the ones giving away the best freebies (I never change, I love a freebie, even a pen). I stopped at a legal firm and got chatting to one the women who worked in employment law, not for me, but her colleague was a property lawyer so we had a great chat about hubby’s potential new business premises and the type of things we could negotiate in the contract. He also told us if your business premises have a rateable value of less than £15k the rates are free! This man could potentially have saved us ALOT if money. #grateful.

Car/Van Leasing

We chatted to the car leasing guys from Toyota and spoke about selling our current car for a cash flow boost and leasing a new car for the family and then a van for hubby. We are now in discussions about buying a hybrid, and Jack got a heart sponge and some stress squeeze hats (happy days).

Business Lending & Grants

I found a man who was an expert in business lending and grants and had a great chat about what funding we could both get, me 18 months in and hubby as a start-up. I also spoke to Barclays and NatWest about lending, NatWest seemed very keen for our business.

Business Insurance

We popped over to the FSB stand and met the guys in charge of the fair. Hubby will be joining the FSB for his new company. I ended up chatting to a legal expert who handily also knew about insurance. It’s a grey area subject for bloggers, should we have it or not. The conclusion was yes, I should have public liability insurance. If I am going to meetings in client’s offices I need to insure myself if I was to cause any accidents when there. Professional indemnity was probably not a requirement as what I write about is my view and my view only. Hubby also need public liability for a retail shop.

I was astounded at the amount of free advice we got at the event, as well as about 10 pens, toys, sweets and keyrings;-)

Benefits of Joining the Federation of Small Business

I highly recommend joining the FSB if you are a small business. Charlie Smith is the man who can help you to decide if its right for you. A quick highlight of some of the benefits

  • Free business banking with Co-op
  • Discounted insurance broker
  • Discounted contract hire on vehicles
  • Free legal advice and template documents
  • Free cover if you have a tax investigation
  • Free crisis PR
  • Free financial planning advice (I have used this for business planning)
  • Free health & safety advice
  • The list goes on and on.

The cost and how to join

There is an annual membership fee, which is  £172.50 for the first year and then £142.40 for year 2 onwards. Here is a link to get more information and to sign up online or feel free to call Charlie Smith on 07801 333480.

Disclosure – I will receive a small referral fee if you join up through this link.