Category Archives: Money Saving

5 frugal things post 39

5 Frugal Things post 39 – Awards & Holiday time

5 Frugal things post 39

I can’t believe it I have actually made it through these past three weeks alive. The busyness of the working calendar and meetings galore in London have taken their toll and I got an annoying summer cold last week. Bring on the coughing fits when I was with Amazon discussing chocolate and coffee.



I have been manifesting a few things for the past few months. We didn’t have enough money for a big summer holiday like we have done in previous years so I have been ever so keen for a blogging holiday opportunity to come along. This week it did!! We are off to Corsica tomorrow with Mark Warner. We have had to pay towards it, but its basically costing the same as the week in Cornwall that we had originally planned at the end of the summer holidays with no extra expenses when there as everything is included.

So Cornwall is cancelled and Corsica is on. We are packed and ready to go! So I have lots of frugal prep things that I have done this week.

Holiday packing

I had a good root through my cupboards to locate holiday goodies such as insect spray, paracetemol, sudocream, aftersun etc. I found it all without having to buy anything new. Sun cream is an essential and lots of it, Aldi very kindly gifted me lots of bottles. I’ve not really bought new anything for the holiday. I got myself 50 Euros just in case we need any spending money. Hubby is keen on having a week at home with a quiet house, golf to play and watch so hes staying behind and working rather than losing a weeks salary. This also means he can drop us to Heathrow in the morning. Nice. Lots of money saved there.   5 frugal things post 39

 

Federation of Small Business Awards

On Thursday I attended the FSB London business awards. I was nominated for three awards and was most excited to go along to a black tie event at the Emirates stadium. I received the most beautiful full length ball gown from English brand Alie Street. My bag and shoes were things I already owned. And the beautiful Georgia from Brush Beauty Concierge  met me in London to do my hair and make up. Dobell sent an amazing value tuxedo for my awards show partner my best friend Neilboy. My wonderful friends at PensionBee lent me space in their office to get ready! Here I am on the roof garden with Jasper, the main marketing man.

5 frugal things post 39

I didn’t win the awards. But to be short-listed for three awards, best new business, best digital/technology and best creative/media business is amazing ad such an achievement for Mrs Mummypenny! The companies that beat me where amazing and employed a lot more staff!

5 frugal things post 39

5 frugal things post 39

10 Free things for the summer holidays

Six weeks to fill with the kids is a challenge particularly if you don’t have lots of money to spare. So I wrote a guide, with the help of a few friends with a fab list of 10 free and fun things to do with the family. Take a read.



Nail in fills

I can go for four weeks with my same calgel nails on. I had my nails infilled this week, which means a new layer on top of the old ones. It costs £24 rather than £29 and will last for another four weeks. I love my nails being done and it gives an extra boost of confidence. Since I have had them done ten people have commented on how good they look!

Can you see..my nails are ombre. ❤💖 them a lot. This is stage 1 of thursday operation awards ceremony. The nails are ready. And match my dress and toes😂 Thanks @beauty.by.genevieve as always perfect nails. And perfect timing. #grateful to my baby Jack for spending a mummy day today with me being such a good boy. #3positivethings 1) I was paid for a very old mystery shop today which funded my new nails 2) Hol plans all sorted for Saturday. Boys ever so excited. And not long to wait. 3) met hypno Heather for a coffee this morning for a good chat. So calming. My testimonial video is now live and shared on Facebook and Twitter. . . . . . . . . #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #hypnotherapy #heatherhall #summerholidays #newnails #ombre #ombrenails #almondnails #instanails #calgel #jackism #mybaby

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Free Mascara

I joined a fab new Facebook group this week run by my amazing blogger/writer friend Lotty Burns. Luxury on a budget is a fab place for luxury deals, the kind of deals that I am interested in. I spotted that Red magazine this week had a free mascara worth £24. And I needed a new mascara! I invested the £4.20ish into the magazine for my holiday and also have a fab new mascara. Which works well for my no spend on make-up mission for the rest of 2017.

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

Have a great summer hols week this week, can you be frugal and save some money?

5 frugal things post 39

 




Aldi for the first time

A friend tries Aldi for the first time – And she loves it




A friend tries Aldi for the first time – And she loves it

Marianne is a relatively recent friend, we bonded in a pilates class and ended up in Vegas at the same time. We have a shared love for fitness, nutrition, cakes and Las Vegas. Its cool to have so much in common. She also loves to have some luxury but on a budget. My constant raves about Aldi have had an impact and she has taken the plunge and done her first weekly shop. Over to Marianne.

I love shopping

I love shopping – albeit for food or clothes. To me it’s all a necessity although I can understand how you would get more pleasure out of a new dress rather than a pack of minced beef!

Last Monday I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about and do an Aldi shop. On average I probably visit a supermarket three times a week. Our household of only three eats a lot and everyone has a different diet. Grocery shopping can be a real pain at times to ensure I am getting the right things at a decent price.

Aldi versus Waitrose

This week I gave Aldi a turn from my usual Monday morning Waitrose and free coffee ritual. Of course I know the coffee isn’t free – you’re paying for the privilege of entering this holy establishment!




Not knowing the layout of the store I decided to wander through all the aisles to ensure I learnt what products were available. Most noticeable thing was that they don’t stock a lot of your high street brands. Many are alternatives – I did a double take on the crisps that looked remarkably similar to a famous brand. This I found happened a lot during this shopping trip. Products are not a specific brand but you could be easily mistaken.

Fruit, Veg and Meat

I loaded my trolley with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables that all looked great quality. Next in line was the meat. I am very particular about my meat and only like to eat British and have always thought you have to spend more for better quality. Well I was shocked here! I bought two ribeye steaks, lamb chops, bacon, minced beef and smoked salmon all at such low prices and all looked great quality too. I then moved onto the cheese and found all types available, I was after a specific cheese and they had it which again surprised me.



Health & Beauty

Before I went to the check out I of course went through the home section. I wanted to buy the Lacura range face cream that I had heard so much about and looked for the under eye concealer. Alas the latter was not available – probably sold out at £2.99p a tube!? I got my day cream for a great £6.99 and decided that I would definitely return to buy the sun cream range when we went on holiday this summer. Great value products and rave reviews mean I will definitely give them a go.

Aldi for the first time

As you can see from my picture I bought a lot of things – enough to feed us for at least 5 days. The most amazing thing was the price! All this came in just below a staggering £52?! Amazing! And so was my steak and stuffed mushrooms and Roquefort sauce that evening! I’m a convert and will be back again soon to replenish my fridge and see what delights are in the ever changing offer aisle.

Aldi for the first time

 

 

I won’t say I will never go back to the major supermarkets again as unfortunately sometime ease and proximity take over at times but this will definitely be a regular shopping trip for me. If I was grading this supermarket Aldi gets an A!

Thank you to Marianne Lowne for this post.



mental health awareness week

10 Free Things to do with your Family this summer holidays

10 Free Things to do with your Family this summer holidays

No spend days during the long six-week summer holidays are extra important to us as a family. For us it means that if we save on lots of days out and activities then we can splurge on other things like a week’s holiday. We always do lots of things for free so I have pulled together my list with the help of a few friends to give you lots of ideas on fun things to keep everyone happy. After all, if we can keep them amused and stop them fighting then parents are happy people!




When I say free I mean free, literally no cost to eating or entry to where you are going. Sometimes this may require strength to say no to your children and yourself! But we can do this. We can make ten days in the summer holiday no-spend days and still have tons of fun.

For the long days out this will require you to take packed lunches, snacks and drinks. This food is taken from your weekly shopping budget. It may also require a drive or a train ride. Taken from your weekly transportation budget.

1) The ever so simple country walk

We all live near to nature, even if you live in the middle of a city. Find some green space and explore. Walk to a corn field and walk around the edges. Take out the kids on their bikes. Go to the woods and created houses from branches and tree. I like to write a list of 20 flowers, trees, animals and birds that the children need to search for. Always a family for a spot of competition the winner might get to choose which DVD to put on when we get home from the walk.

Ensure you take a big bottle of water in your rucksack and fruit and energy snacks for when they start moaning that they have walked too far.

2) Geocaching

An extension to the country walk if the run treasure hunt world of Geocaching. Check out this website for a nice video explaining what you do. I have just done a quick search and there are 10 treasure spots within one mile of my house alone! I can see how recently they have been visited and how easy they are to find. You will need to take some treasure with you to replace the treasure that you find. I am sure the kids can find a toys or gift that you no longer need to put in the treasure chest. How cool is this free pirate adventure?



3) Visit a free museum

So many museums are free, from the huge Science Museum or Natural History museum in London to the smaller places more local to you. The one pictured here is RAF Hendon. Money Saving Expert has a fab list of free museums where you search by location. In Eastern England, particularly Cambridge we have the choice of around 10 free museums to visit and then another 20 in London. I have just seen the bank of England museum is free. We are so doing that, how exciting. And apparently you get to hold a gold bar. Thank you to my friend Cleo of the Graffiti Academy for recommending this freebie.
free things to do with your family

4) Go to a Splash Park

We love a splash park in this household. Luckily, we are surrounded by them in lots of parks so I am guessing it’s the same for you as well, wherever you are reading this post? We have them in St. Albans, Stevenage, Letchworth, Royston. All very near to where we live. Just take a couple of towels and your packed lunch and you are good to go.

free things to do with your family

5) Assault Course at Park

Check out your local park assault course/exercise course. Our most local big park is Fairlands park in Stevenage that has a course of apparatus running through the fields and trees. The boys can do pole climbs, monkey bars, chin ups. They like to compete and have me take videos of chin up records! Thank you Emma Bradley for the reminder of another freebie activity.

6) Free community activities

Check out the free classes at your local church, library or Sure start children’s centre. All of these organisations offer freebie activities. There will be play in the park, messy play, rhyme time. All sorts. Ask around in local Facebook groups or google it. Thank you Rebecca Megson for this suggestion. Fab writer and friend of just the 29 years.



7) Plan your summer with Clubcard vouchers

The boys are very keen to go to Legoland this summer. I have been before and it is amazing, especially for three boys who all adore Lego. Alas I’m not paying full or even half price for tickets as it’s so so so expensive. For me and three boys, just checked online and if I booked at least 7 days in advance is £135 for us. Oh my gosh.

Instead I will use my Clubcard vouchers and get four tickets from there. The tickets will cost £13 each in Clubcard vouchers so I need £52 in my Clubcard vouchers account. I tend to save them up so I have that.

I would also ensure that I took plenty of drinks and a packed lunch and snacks. We will also avoid the shop!!

8) Fruit Picking

Now is a great time to hit the berry farms and go fruit picking. Near me I have them all, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, even the blackberries are starting to go black. And of course, you are not going to pay for what you eat!! I have a few places I know where we can go proper freebie blackberry picking, or foraging so we might end up doing that. Make sure you know what blackberry is though and don’t go picking any near a road or below a metre in height (where animals might have weed).

9) Recycling box creativity

I always have a craft box suitable for any given moment of inspiration. Whenever I get stuff from goodie bags or packaging it all goes into the craft box. I just let the boys go wild with creativity. There are tons of amazing printables online that you could find. Or even printables to then make card models of things. I did lots of Finding Dory last year. I know we will be doing lot of Cars 3 themed stuff this year.



free things to do with your family

10) Cake baking

I properly love baking with the boys. I used to love baking with my mum too so I am sure it has come from her. We make fairy cakes, chocolate cake, marble cake. We make Victoria sponge, cookies and ginger biscuits. And the most fun part is always licking the bowl!

free things to do with your family



CAR HIRE RIP OFFS

TIPS TO AVOID CAR HIRE RIP OFFS FROM BETTERSAFE

TIPS TO AVOID CAR HIRE RIP OFFS FROM BETTERSAFE

School’s out in a few days! The summer is here and many of us are looking forward to a stress-busting holiday and some well-deserved family time. Just the 4 sleeps until we head off to Corsica! Cannot wait.

Once you’re off the plane, picking up your hire car keys should bring you one step closer to that hard-earnt R&R. But sadly, all too often, the car hire desk is the most stressful part of the holiday with unexpected and unfair charges.

We hear from so many customers who have faced ludicrous charges for excess insurance policies. As reported in a recent Daily Mail investigation, the excess charged by some companies in the event of a collision can cost over £2000 and the average is £1000. Excess insurance cover allows customers to avoid these huge excess fees but some car hire firms charge as much as £18 a day.

Independent Excess Insurance

One way to avoid being stung overseas is by taking out independent excess insurance before you travel for as little as £1.99 with a company like Bettersafe . So, if you do have a bump, you don’t need to worry.

Here’s a checklist of actions that you can take to avoid stress and unfair charges on your holiday.

  1. Research and book early to avoid higher prices, fluctuating exchange rates and hidden costs. Always read the terms and conditions.
  2. Always take out standalone excess insurance cover. It is cheaper and easier to book before you go away. Nine years ago when Dylan was a baby we went to Italy for a wedding and hired a car. Hubby drove too close to a tree, big scratch resulted in a horrendously big charge. Since then we have always taken out standalone insurance cover!
  3. Beware of fuel policies. It is usually better to have to return the car with a full tank of fuel. I fell foul to this last year in Spain and was charged £100 for a full tank of petrol at the desk in Alicante. A full tank does not cost £100 in Spain!!
  4. Do you need an International Driving Permit? A UK licence is accepted throughout the EU but elsewhere you may need an IDP. The Post Office, the AA or the RAC will arrange one for you.
  5. Make sure you know the rules of the road. This information can be obtained from the AA and the RAC.
  6. Unlimited mileage plans will avoid penalty costs if you are going on a big trip.
  7. Pay for a separate driver at the time of booking instead of at the rental desk. Again I have fallen foul to this and hubby last year was the only person who could drive the car for two weeks in Spain to avoid the £200 charge!
  8. Check the car inside and out before pulling away from the rental office. Take photos and make notes on the hire company’s form regarding scratches and dents.
  9. Make sure all paperwork is completed when the vehicle is returned. If the hire depot is closed, take as many photographs as possible to avoid your credit card being debited for alleged damage. Check credit card and bank statements for the next few months.
  10. Report unreasonable practice. The European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) has a free service to look into unresolved complaints. But remember, the ECRCS only deals with complaints about member companies – currently Avis, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

Contact the Bettersafe team on 0203 740 4431 or email them at enquiries@bettersafe.com

This is a collaborative post.

CAR HIRE RIP OFFS

5 frugal things post 38

5 frugal things post 38 – Anniversary dinner and Awards show Preperation

5 frugal things post 38

How come July is such a busy month??!! There is one week left until term ends for the two elder boys, and Jack has already finished pre-school. But I still have a ton of work to do and more meetings in London this week, all mashed into one day on Thursday…Here are my 5 frugal things post 38.



This week saw me go into London Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday was a a day with all three boys at school so hubby and I celebrated our anniversary (14th July) on Tuesday. Wednesday was a full on 11-hour day running around Christmas in July events. Thursday was a more relaxed trip to Cricklewood for a new kitchen launch with Wickes. I was able to get a cab there and back which was much more relaxing.

Anniversary Lunch

Hubby’s birthday and our anniversary are 4 days apart so we normally combine the celebration into one lovely meal out. This year we went for Murano, an Italian Michelin starred restaurant owned by Angela Hartnett. I have wanted to go for many years and was not disappointed. The restaurant looked flawless, the service was amazing and the lunch menu was perfect seasonal food and very reasonably priced. 3 courses was £33 per person. We pimped up the dessert by swopping it to the cheese board instead of dessert which was an extra £8 each. I am a huge cheese fan so this was a must. We also had a glass of wine matched to each course so we did end up spending a bit extra on wine and on a glass of sparkles when we got there. The whole lunch ended up costing £210 including service.

And here is the food. So good for our 10 year anniversary. We went lunch menu. Mackerel for starter with risotto for main. Cheese board for dessert. Also thrown in was bread, olives and parma ham anti pasti and dessert sorbet rhubarb and strawberries. We asked the sommelier to chose wine to match. As to be honest we havnt got a clue. She assured us she wouldn’t go over the top. Bill came to £210 inc service. This really is amazing value for money in a top London restaurant. With incredible service. I would deffo go again. @ohneil August yes? . . . . . . #anniversary #10years #tin #murano #mackerel #risotto #nettles #cheeseandwine #cheeseboard #gorganzola #goatscheese #quince #winepairing #instafood #instafoodie #mealoftheday #foodie #londonfoodie #michelinstar #gordonramsey #greatvaluelunch #italian #gourmet #loveeatingout #londongourmet #instagood #yummyinmytummy #yummyfood

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This maybe sounds like a lot to a frugal person but as a person who has ate many a lovely lunch or dinner at Michelin starred restaurants this is incredibly good value. You could quite easily do this lunch deal for less than £50 per head with just the one drink if you so chose to. The great thing about Michelin starred restaurants is that you also get extra courses like olives, bread and parma ham and a refreshing sweet mini dessert. I would definitely go back, particularly for the service as everyone we spoke to was so welcoming and friendly.

To save a bit of money we used our 2 together rail card which meant our train tickets for £18 rather than £27;-)



Christmas in July transport

I meet Emma from Emmaand3 website, my wonderful co-author of Blogging Your Way To Riches and partner in crime on Wednesday morning at the Soho Hotel for the Philips Christmas in July. We love this location and have been to a few events there together. The art, flowers and rooms are just beautiful. I have a post going live next week all about the goodies from the day so you have that to look forward to but the day cost us basically our train fares into London as everything else was given to us, food, drink and transport. We walked very far, choosing to walk between events rather than Uber or tube it as with traffic it was quicker. I did 22,000 steps that day!!

I got quite a haul from the events that we went to, here is my Youtube video with my haul. Quite a bit of it has been eaten or gifted to people by now;-)

Awards time

Next week sees me head to the London Federation of Small Business awards where I have been nominated for 3 awards, best new business, best digital/technology business and best creative & media business! I am so excited to be nominated for such prestigous awards and three times! My outfit is now sorted out. My dress has been gifted by a beautiful British (designed and made in Britain) retailer Alie Street. They specialise in women’s formal wear, from party dresses to awards dresses to wedding dresses. I can’t wait to show you the pictures on Thursday when I am all dressed up. Claire Wacey helped me choose a dress, I shortlisted three, she chose the dress that would suit me the best and she was so right!! Georgia Souter of Brush Beauty Concierge whom I met at the E.L.F. make-up launch party in May is doing my hair and make-up.

To complete the look I needed a statement necklace so I popped into Miss Boutique an independent clothes shop in Knebworth high street. I took my dress and the owner helped me choose necklaces that matched, a tad stressful with 3 boys eager to get home after school. A necklace found costing just £16. Much less cost than alternatives I had seen at Oliver Bonas or John Lewis and its good to support a local small business.



My partner for the awards is my best buddy Neil boy, hubby and I have too many other commitments on Thursday with the boys (football!) so hubby is staying at home, plus its at Arsenal Emirates stadium, not sure he can stand being there! Neil has also been given a beautiful tuxedo by Dobell a fabulously affordable men formal wear company. I’m also going to have a look through the website for formal clothes for the boys as we have a wedding in 4 weeks time:-) I think a smart waistcoat will look very cute.

Actual Anniversary Day

Hubby and I celebrated our ten year anniversary on Friday. We decided to cook a nice home cooked dinner. Hubby choose a beautiful sea bass dish, served with a broccoli and orange salad and a capers and anchovy chunky sauce. It was amazing. I just worked out the cost which was an incredible £4.77 for two with Aldi ingredients. I never would have thought that broccoli would go with orange, capers and sea bass! He used this BBC Good Food recipe. Dessert was a passion fruit Eton mess from Aldi!

We drank Aldi champagne that came in the goodie bag from the Christmas in July event, served with Blueberry popaballs (blueberry flavoured balls). I also might have gifted some Godiva chocolates to hubby too;-)

Matalan Shopping

Matalan is a shop that I havn’t been into for years, despite seeing the adverts all the time on TV! I arrived at my Thursday Wickes event early so popped into Matalan next door for 30 minutes to check it out and see if it was as good value as I had been hearing. Gena who does my nails raves about it.

The childrens clothes looked good, so I picked up a couple of very cool T-shirts for Jack. One of which he is wearing in the Christmas in July YouTube video above, costing £8.50. I also picked up some very cool yoga/running leggings. Purple of course. Just £14. And they fit like a glove, small size:-)

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

Tell me all about your frugal things this week?

5 frugal things post 38




Aldi Christmas

Aldi Christmas Range 2017 – Here is a Special Preview

Aldi Christmas Range 2017

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to my first Christmas in July event of the season. Christmas in July is the time when all retailers show off their hero Aldi Christmas range for the press to see and then write about. And here is a sneaky peek for you to see everything you have to look forward to. I hopped on the train to Moorgate (an easy 35 minute journey!) and met the buyers and PR teams from Aldi at their fantastic Christmas in July location.



I promise I intended to use my 4 hours of London child free time wisely and go to several Christmas events like Co-op, Tesco, Iceland but alas I was having such a great time at Aldi I just stayed there!

I’ll talk you through in the order I took it and will put in lots of pictures as some of it is seen to be believed. Aldi are serious competitors to Waitrose and M&S this year and I for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the food and gifts as they start to arrive in store.

Glass of Champagne

Aldi Christmas

A cheese cake!! Also perfect for wedding!

I walked in to be presented with a glass of the lovely Aldi Brut champagne. A nice way to start the day, 10:30am and a glass of sparkles. I was escorted to the savoury food, so the fish range, canapes, and cheese. It was great to meet the new team from the agency that took over Aldi food just 6 weeks ago. We talked cheese,  which I love and was introduced to the buyer. Aldi have an exclusive soft cheese as part of the exquisite range just for Aldi Christmas and just for Aldi. It’s from cows that eat certain food and is only produced for like 2 weeks of the year. I cannot wait for that.

Aldi Christmas

I met Christian the now fish buyer (he bought the Aldi Christmas decorations and lights range last year) who comes from a family of fisherman. He’s now with his heart products and you can tell. I love talked to someone who is passionate about what they do and he was. I got to taste it all from beautiful smoked salmon to lobster. Aldi are doing a fish platter that I have always loved buying from M&S for £15. Half the price at Aldi and just as good quality. The canapes range was amazing, sliders, spring rolls, you name it. There was also posh chilled desserts (like this Tiffin) which were so beautiful and of course I had to try them for testing purposes.

Aldi Christmas

Aldi ChristmasAldi ChristmasAldi Christmas

Cheese and Wine

I moved onto to cheese and wine tasting next with my wonderful friend Sam Caporn the Mistress of Wine. If you ever need a wine expert for a tasting party or event you must check Sam out. She so down to earth but passionate about this subject (and also has a rare master of wine qualification).



We tried blue cheese with sweet pudding wine, that I adore. And basically chatted for a while, whilst she served up wine to journalists. I helped out a bit telling them what wines were good;-) Bumped into the only other Lynn I know who is my age from the agency whom I have been working with for 18 months now and had a good catch-up on life, wine, client work, Mrs Mummypenny progression, Good Morning Britain appearances.

Aldi Christmas

Cheese with an empty glass of wine

Gifting

There is so much to mention here, so here are my favourite products. From pineapple cocktail shakers to candles, from wooden toys to jumpers and ear muffs and slippers. Loved it all. I bumped into Kelly from Reduced grub at this point so we walked the range together.

Aldi Christmas

Yankee £2 rather than £16 and Jo Malone (£10ish rather than £120!!!) esq for so much cheaper.

Aldi Christmas

ADORE this jumper, so much I tried it on, thanks Kelly for the photography;-)

Aldi Christmas

Aldi Christmas

The Meat Selection

This was the hero area at the back of the room where you congregated. I do love my meat and this was such a good spread. Just look at these turkeys and beef wellington and sausages and ham. Again I had to taste it all. The cocktail sausages were flavoured with prosecco, really really good. The carved rib of beef was amazing.

I find the best thing about these events is actually meeting the buyers who travel the country sourcing the best products for us consumers. They know the farmers and producers and can tell you the story of the product, I just love that. Talking to the meat buyer about the exquisite range turkeys was fascinating. I do love a turkey and love to hear where the animals come from and how they have been treated. They come in packaging with full cooking instructions, basting tools, you will have all you need to cook it to perfection. Nice touch.

Aldi Christmas

 

Aldi Christmas

Sweet Treats and Wine

I met the director of wine buying and had such an interesting chat about the process of making champagne and sparking wine. There is so much effort and stages involved that now I know why its costs more. Although the Aldi Veuve Monsigny Brut costs just £14.99;-) In fact I got a bottle in the goodie bag after the event and will be drinking it tonight for our wedding anniversary.

The final section was Christmas puddings and sweet treats and this was the ultimate centre piece of the robin yule log.

Aldi Christmas

Yule Log. Statement table centre.

Aldi Christmas

So I hope you enjoyed my introduction to Aldi Christmas. What do you think of the products and my photos that I took with my new posh camera. I’m getting pretty good at photos I think;-)



Aldi Christmas

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

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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.

 

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.