Saturday, 30 March 2013

Saturday meals, scraping the barrel

Well hello to my readers,

I hope you are having a fun and fab Saturday, we are two days away from our next big shop on Monday so the meals have become inventive lol.  Today we are having fridge, freezer and cupboard surprise the kids love these days and especially today as lunch is their favourite.  It consists of hot dog sausages from a tin, french fries chips (freezer) and onion rings (freezer).  They don't get convenience food very often so it is a real treat for them.  Tonight it'll be chicken fajitas for tea using chicken from the freezer, a half price fajita kit and veg from the fridge plus an onion.

Tomorrow we are off to my mum's for a family gathering to celebrate Easter, so we'll be having a lovely lunch there leaving us to have something on toast for our tea.

On another not has anybody else had their gas and electric bills from the beginning of winter?  We received ours yesterday and they want to increase my direct debit again for the second time in 6 months.  The electricity bill again seems the largest and i really cannot see any way that i am able to decrease my usage further.  

So over to you, Have you had your gas and electric bills? Do you find them larger than anticipated?  Are you considering reducing your consumption if so how?

Love Dawn x

Friday, 29 March 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Hiya everyone,

Where have i been? Have had a few days off from blogging as i have been trying to sort out setting up a business in order to sell the things i make in Etsy (it has been a dream of mine for a while now and hopefully all being well it will be reality very soon).  The shop will go live in April and you will be able to see the shop on this blog (how fab is that) so watch this space people, watch this space. 

I do believe i can see sunshine through my window today (a positive omen if ever i saw one).  Ah well back to making things, childcare and housework for me.

Hope your all having a good Easter break.

Love Dawn x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Ocado Delivery Commeth

Hiya
Remember me telling you about the £50 voucher for Ocado i received on my bargain fridge well today i received my delivery of food, so a weeks groceries cost me £40 all in all.  My fridge is now jam packed with posh food from Ocado and will probably NEVER be repeated at those prices.  I'm gonna get some looks the next time i rock up at Aldi with my Ocado bags though lol .

Love Dawn x

School Holidays

Hiya everyone

It's day two of the school holidays for my eldest two girls, pixie has been to nursery and judging by her behaviour she wasn't impressed by her going and her sisters staying at home, lets just say the child i dropped off at nursery was not the same as the child i picked up, oh well that's it for another week for her so she can be with her sisters.

I cannot believe this weather, we had snow flurries and biting breeze all day it's cold enough to take your ears off i kid you not.  I did peg out my washing anyway and got it mostly dry so that's a bonus as i seem to have ten ton of the stuff at the moment.

This afternoon was mainly filled by watching Wallace and Grommit on DVD and me trying to get my first baby blanket finished for my Etsy shop (coming very soon so watch this space).

Has anbody else got school half term this week?  Are you doing anything fun?

Love Dawn x

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Half term holidays and filling the time

Hiya everyone,

Today we spent sometime mooching round town, it is half term holidays and J is working so we went into town on the bus (cost=free)  we went to the library (cost=free) and had our lunch out, i took a packed lunch and some drinks with us, a sandwich and a piece of homemade cake.  (cost=free).

The kids had their feet measured in Clark's (cost=most certainly not free lol but necessary, as you know i save and budget for shoes and clothes so i have the money there and pay in cash as it softens the blow).

We had a look in the library for any free events happening in our local area over the Easter break as well, these sorts of events have really been pared down at the moment.

We have also looked into the possibility of taking the kids on the bus to the seaside when it warms up (it is an hour and a half on the bus but would be free for us)  if we went in the car i would take half an hour, plus cost of petrol and parking.

In all honesty the kids are fab, they never really ask for anything that is expensive.  They are most happy when they are playing in the park and we take a picnic and a ball for a kickabout.  Again we need some sunshine to make these things happen.

Love Dawn x

A fab sunday together for us

Hiya everyone,

Today we have had a fab family day, a trip to soft play was enjoyed by the three little ones and home to a nice grill up for dinner and a yummy roast for tea with cheapy veg.  I figured out it cost £1 a head which is not bad for a sunday roast, i also did extra veg which is now in my new fridge waiting to become bubble and squeek for tomorrow (a first for me, i've never made it before).

Remember my free £50 acado voucher, well i used it today for an online shop, i got a weeks groceries for £40 and i used a cashback website which earned me £6 so that covered the delivery charge.  Happy days, I've never had waitrose food before (I'm not posh lol) so it will be a first.  You can never say no to a freebie can you after all.

I also submitted my readings to the gas and electric company online and cannot believe on top of my direct debit payments i still owe over a hundredd pounds.  I'm now looking at ways to reign in this spending because it is costing me a bomb.  The fact it is now spring and the weather has other ideas certainly does not help.  We have had snow and biting winds again, we are all longing for some sunshine.

So readers have any tips or hints on how to reduce my gas and electric consumption?  Over to you.......

Friday, 22 March 2013

ALWAYS read the small print

Hiya everyone,

When buying an appliance these days they always try to flog you insurance on the back of the product.  I have had this happen to myself recently.  It is only £3.65 a month they say.

 (£43.80 a year i hear, and as my last appliance lasted 9 years that's £394.20 for 9 years and a new appliance just cost me £125)

 I could buy three appliances for the price i pay for the cover, what a total waste.  

Instead put the money you would pay into the cover into an account and then when an appliance turns up it's toes you can buy a new one simples.

The paper work came through today for my policy, i read the small print that states and i quote:

'you may cancel the plan at anytime during the initial seven working days after receiving you plan document.'

If you ring on the 0844 number they will charge you so i searched on the Internet for a number that would not charge me, cancelled the plan and removed the direct debit off my account before any money could be taken off me.

A word to the wise NEVER be suckered into these schemes or be miss sold anything that you do not want.  What's more ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT it could save you money.

Hope you all have a nice weekend
love Dawn. x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

One very pleased mummy

After attending Princess and peaches parents evening i have to say i'm extremely proud they are both doing fantastic.  As a treat were off to a local soft play on Sunday to celebrate and the kids cannot wait.

Happy Days
Dawn x

Naan bread pizza

Hiya everyone,

We made these for tea, we decided there dearer than a frozen pizza but tastier (less cardboard texture) but cheaper and healthier than a takeaway pizza (you can't drill for oil in these like you can a takeaway pizza).

They are really easy to make and take the same time it takes fighting the plastic off a frozen pizza or trying to get through on the phone to the takeaway.

Ingredients

Naan Bread
Chopped Tomatoes
Pepperoni (pre sliced)
Chicken breast (pre cooked)
Gated Cheese

Method

Place naan bread onto a baking tray, Place a layer of tomato sauce from chopped tomatoes onto naan bread then add toppings of pepperoni and chicken breast, sprinkle cheese on top and place in a pre heated oven at gas mark 7 until cheese melted and pepperoni cooked through.

Enjoy

Love Dawn x

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Life of a kitchen table

Pixie plays play dough as mummy folds washing.

Mummy dries dishes and piles them here (it's a 16ft kitchen and cupboards on the other side of room).

Pixie and mummy have lunch here.

Mummy photographs food here.

We all eat as a family here.

And play games as a family here.

Mummy writes her blog posts here and children do homework here.

How much life does my kitchen table see..... No wonder it looks so bruised and battered.   This table was gifted to us by my sister in law it has served us well for many years (about 8) it does however need a bit of tlc and this summer (weather pending) i hope to drag it outside, sand the poor thing down and treat it to a coat of varnish.  This table originally came with chairs but we bought the benches (ikea if your interested about £30 each) as only had 4 chairs and we needed seating for 5 of us.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A big HELLO and a message to all those that read

Hiya,

 firstly a big HELLO fo my new follower Dorris, to all those other readers out there please click on the follow button and feel free to leave comments, you too can then recieve your big HELLO.

Love Dawn x

Jam cakes

Hiya everyone,

I've got the baking bug at the moment lol and i made these this weekend.  They were delicious also and i urge you to try.  Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

4oz self raising flour
4oz caster sugar
4oz soft butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs

Method

1) Place all ingredients in bowl and mix using an electric mixer for a full two mins on full power.

2) Spoon mixture into cake cases and place in a pre- heated oven on gas mark 3 for 20-25 mins until there done.

3)Allow to cool.

4) With a teaspoon remove a circle from the top of each one add a spoon of jam (strawberry for us) and replace the tops.


These will feature in tomorrows lunch boxes at school instead of a chocolate biscuit, we have tested them today though just to make sure they are edible lol, it would be rude not too and I've never met a kid that says no to cake yet haha.


Enjoy

Love Dawn x

Monday, 18 March 2013

Dawn Roses' Rocky Road

Hiya everyone i made these today, they were absolutely delicious with a cup of tea.  I apologise to anyone on a diet they are highly calorific but as i have a stone and a half to gain i can cope with a few calories.  Peaches said it was the best bit of the day having one of these after her tea.

Here's how i made it;

Ingredients

125g soft butter
200g dark chocolate
100g malteasers
200g milk chocolate digestives
100g marshmellows (chopped in half)
9 teaspoons of golden syrup
2 teaspoons icing sugar (to dust)

Method

1) Firstly i weighed out the malteasers and the digestives placed them in food bags and bashed them with a rolling pin (leaving both pieces and crumbs), i then weighed out the marshmellows and sliced them in half.

2) In a heavy based saucepan i melted the butter, the golden syrup and the dark chocolate all together, then i removed 125ml into a little bowl for later on.

3) Add to the saucepan containing the chocolate mixture the bashed malteasters and bashed digestives and mix.

4) Then mix in the marshmellows

5) Pour into a rectangular cake tin.

6) The chocolate mixture you saved before is then to be poured on top and smooth it out.

7) Place in fridge.

8) leave for 2-3 hrs, cut into pieces and dust with icing sugar (i used a tea strainer to keep it fine).

9) sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy, pure bliss.

Love Dawn

Sunday, 17 March 2013

It's here


Here is my £165 brand new bargain that i ordered the other day, it arrived at 8am this morning, it's beautiful.  They delivered it free of charge and took away the old one free of charge as well, you couldn't have asked for better service.  

Friday, 15 March 2013

Quick cheese and potato pie

Hiya everyone

 Today it is Friday and that means rainbows this evening for princess and peaches, so i have an hour to get everyone fed, cleaned up and changed then take them to rainbows at the local church.  I need a decent filling hot tea for them and me too as J is working tonight and will not be home.

Cheese and potato pie

Ingredients
Potato's (peeled and chopped up small)
grated cheese (i buy it already grated it is cheaper this way)
tin/s of baked beans
salt and pepper

Method

1)Peel and chop potato's add a little salt and pepper (boil up and simmer for ten minutes then mash)

2)Heat up beans

In each bowl place beans then add grated cheese (it melts into the beans) on top of this add the mash potato.

I add  a little more pepper to taste and then serve to hungry kids, followed by a yogurt and a piece of fruit.

The rainbows uniform is changed into after tea otherwise it gets wrecked with beans lol.

Hope you all have great weekend.

Love Dawn x

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Budgeting, Spending, Keeping it all together


It's nearly April which means a new tax year, with new inflated bills (water and council tax always increase for us) gas and electric to a certain extent you can control by controlling your usage and grocery shopping is the same, however some bills are fixed.

Here is how i budget, i am still waiting on some new figures and some figures are dependant on what spare income we will have left over.  We are still waiting on final figures for this tax year to see what money we will have available to us for next tax year.


I write down how much everything costs us on a monthly basis.  I then take stock and see if there is anything i can make cheaper by shopping around.  An example of this would be car insurance, break down cover, home insurance and i save all year round for these purchases so when the bill is due the money is there to pay it off in full and i do not have to worry about paying it on drip and trying to afford the 30% apr payments each month. I always shop around and use my cashback websites http://www.quidco.com/user/2593770/
 or
I use comparison sites to get the best deal (the ones you get paid to visit using the above cashback sites).

This year looking at my budget on paper i can see a few things i can renegotiate to get a better deal on.

Firstly the mobile phones we have are fixed to a contract till August, i have seen a sim only deal for £6.90 (the phones we have are smart phones and in fine condition) so our £29.98 a month outgoings on mobile phones will be reduced to £13.80 that alone is a saving of £194 a year.  My youngest daughter Pixie will be leaving the nursery she is at now in July when the kids break up for summer so i shall be £172 a month better off then as well.  She will be entitled to a funded nursery place in September as she will be three.  These savings will make me feel rich i'm sure.

Secondly the house insurance and car insurance which are coming up soon.

Does anybody else do a yearly budget like me?  To some it may seem boring but it has kept us afloat for the last 9 years.

Dawn

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

J's comforting curry

Here is a family favourite, it is comfort food on cold winters nights and food for the soul when feeling under the weather.

Ingredients
Onion
oil
sugar
salt
pepper
garlic puree
madras spice
chopped tomatoes
Quorn mince
tomatoes sauce

Method

1) Finely chop and onion, place in a saucepan with a little oil, add a tsp of sugar and some salt and pepper, garlic puree (2 inches) and madras spice (2 tsp) fry in pan until onions are soft and the spices toasted.

2) Add a tin of chopped tomatoes (cheapest is fine)

3)Add Quorn mince and a large squirt of tomato sauce.

4) stir all together bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

We serve this with Basmati rice, delicious, hot and comforting.

This recipe serves 2.


Have fun
 Dawn.

Quidco link

Here is the quidco link as mentioned in my previous post this is how i get cashback and paid for check ins. Go ahead and try it. http://www.quidco.com/user/2593770/

Dawn

Goodbye fridge freezer

Well today we woke up to find our fridge freezer that has served us non stop for the last 9 years has given up on life as a bad job and decided it is time to retire to appliance land in the sky.  This wouldn't have been too bad except it was full and i suspect been on it's way out for a while so we woke to a fridge full of warm food and a freezer full of squidgy food.

I always said when my fridge freezer died i would replace it with a big fridge to match my freezer allowing us more room to sit in the kitchen (these kids keep growing ya know).  I have priced up the same fridge in two places Argos had it on for £220 plus 1% cashback through quidco and Appliances online had it on for £165 plus £2% cashback and a free £50 ocado voucher.  (the neighbours will be thinking i've won the lottery when the van shows up lol)

 Appliances online was the cheapest i could get it so I'm £55 better off for buying it there instead of Argos plus whatever i get in my cashback, which probably won't be the kings ransom but it all tots up. 

Between my cashback on my shopping and my quidco checkins the pennys tot up to make the pounds and they tumble nicely into my bank account.  Happy days.

Dawn

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Yay! got me a new camera



Here it is and some sample pictures to try it out.

1) the camera itself
2) J building his lego police station (his birthday present)
3) Princess and Peaches giving us a smile

Todays thoughts on spending

Morning

I've been having a think and decided i really could do with a camera.  The one i use on my phone just is not up to the job anymore (it's seen too much water on the school run), so questions, questions, questions, where do i start?
I need to look for a decent camera at a price i can afford?  eeeeeek!

Does anybody have any recommendations on what to look for?  I'd appreciate any help offered as i'm totally in the dark.  Anyway off to have a mooch.

Cold and sunny here today so hope everyone is warm and cosy.

Love Dawn.

Monday, 11 March 2013

A big hello to you

Hiya everyone i'd like to say a big hello to my followers Barbara (whom i have spoken to on a number of occasions) and to my new follower geekcycled.  Nice of you both to follow me on my journey hope your enjoying the ride.

Dawn

Birthday boy

Happy birthday to J enjoying his homemade cake with his girlies shown here in pic.  32 today. X

Happy mothers day

Happy mothers day to all the mums that read my blog, i hope you all have a special day with your children.

Here is a pic of the beautiful things i recieved off my lovely little girls, i feel truly blessed to have my girlies who fill my days with sunshine.

Dawn

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The cost of being ill?

These two items are keeping me doing the bare minimum at moment.  The cost doesnt stop here either tomorrow i'm off to docs,more money on prescriptions.

  Worst of all J now has the lurgy too and is having to work with it as in the company he works for illness is not allowed.  Where's the human rights there eh? To not get paid when being off ill is one thing but to risk loosing your job because of it well that is even worse. 

Nevermind the fact that doing the job whilst ill could mean death and injury for many.  Sorry for the rant lol feel better now.  Sometimes people and situations make your blood boil.
Hope your all feeling well and healthy.

Dawn

Come say hello

Hiya everyone i can see from the stats that i have people from 10 different countries reading my blog.  Thats fab come say hello......

Dawn

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Hiya i'm back

Hello everyone

After a week of looking after a poorly baby and then her kindly passing it on to me for the weekend, i felt rougher than a bears bum all weekend i had no energy to do anything except sit and shiver under two blankets whilst clutching a hot water bottle in front of the radiator which was on full.  It is irritating as my husband has been off this weekend and i planned to continue my porch painting.   No such luck I'm afraid.

I hope to return to blogging this week in between catching up with my housework (house is like a bear pit as nobody cleans or tidys here except me) to bring you more money saving and recipes.

Hope you all had a better weekend than i did.

From Dawn.