Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I did and thinking ahead

A rather manic lead up to Christmas left precious little time for blogging. I was nowhere near as organised as I had hoped to be and look forward to making next year stressfree and well organised. I didn't get round to posting Christmas Cards or handing them out and in most cases, not even writing them. Honestly, it is a total cop out, isn't it? and really lazy not to bother, I am convinced my neighbours must think I don't like them!


Recycle those gift bags. I have loads more of these but they are still full of presents. Once you have emptied out the contents, fold them flat. I shall be storing these upright in my wardrobe against the side, that way I won't forget I have them and they won't get dusty, all nice and ready to fill with my own childrens presents next year. Even in a discount store these are upwards of £1 each and I also use them to give my nieces and nephews their presents in, so much nicer than a large carrier bag!

I always buy next years Gift Wrap in the sales. I picked these up in Tesco on Monday. I was with my mother-in-law and when I asked if she wanted some, she replied with "I can't be bothered". I know so many people who moan they are hard up and yet also "can't be bothered". As I have always pointed out on this blog, saving money takes effort. These packs were £1.50 each. I usually get them from Boots and sometimes my local Co-op, so keep your eyes open and for Christmas cards aswell. If you can get packs containing plain metallic wrap, this can be used to wrap up birthday pressies throughout the year aswell. I still have some packs from Boots last year, that have plain turquoise and silver paper in, I use the blue for boys and the silver for girls gifts!

Sales Shopping

If you missed it, the Recessionista's guide to sales shopping back in the summer is here but the principles are the same.

A great way to keep in control of your Sales Shopping, is to write a list of what you want to buy, but on the back of an envelope. That way you can use the envelope to put your receipts in as you make your purchases, this will help you to keep a track on your spending aswell as to be able to locate your receipt, should you need to exchange or return something. Before you pay for your purchases, always ask for the returns policy as they can change with sales merchandise, sometimes shops will not refund, only exchange or credit note. Always make sure you try on what you are buying as in the Recession, you don't want to be left with credit notes that won't go very far on full priced merchandise when the Sales are over.
Maybe make a list of say, 5 items that you really need to build a staple wardrobe and then underneath write another 5 as back up, just incase you can't get all of your first choices. That way you won't end up buying things that you really don't need and wasting your allocated budget!

I always try to buy kids pyjamas on sale as they are so expensive. Above you can see 3 pairs which I ordered from John Lewis and have arrived this morning, they were all half price and came to £27 for the 3 pairs. They are all long sleeved and long legged and are in the size my son will be next winter, so will be stored away until required. I do like quality pj's for kids and often buy on sale from Boden, White Company, John Lewis and M&S as you can't fault the quality and you get a return on ebay for Boden and White Company.

I am awaiting an M&S order, 2 pairs of summer pyjamas for my son at $5 each and a pair for me at only £9 for long legged and long sleeved although mine aren't to put away but to wear now as I am desperate! I have also ordered my next years Christmas cards from their website aswell, another job done for next year.

I haven't ventured out to shop the Sales properly yet, but you can rest assured when I do, I shall be looking for wardrobe classics or pieces to inject a little bit of colour into my wardrobe. I am also on the look out for more leggings and jeggings as I can see these being around for a while yet as they are not only the most comfortable thing to wear but feel much better with long boots than the bulk you get even with skinny jeans.
I shall also be on the lookout for birthday gifts that I have coming up in the next few months, why pay full price when you can get items at a reduced price now?

What did you get in the sales or what are you planning to buy?


I get a huge kick out of using up leftovers and especially at Xmas. Our Boxing Day meal of cold meat and mash also consisted of our "Bubble and Squeak" roughly mashed, put in a roasting dish with cheese grated on the top and it made a lovely change from making into patties and frying.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Giving Credit where its due

Now we all love a good shopping experience, whether that be instore or online but one of the things that has been getting to me lately, is the amount of time it can take for some parcels to reach you if you opt for free standard delivery. So you can imagine my amazement when an order I placed on Saturday, just arrived and delivery was free! It was from JD Sports. I had £50 to spend on Hubby from my Mum and he had chosen some Running Trainers in the sale for £49.99 and I asked him if there was anything he wanted from me, for his birthday and although he is not a lover of relaxed sport wear, I reminded him that they do stock Fred Perry a brand he likes and he chose a jacket aswell.
On the checkout page, there was an option to enter your mobile phone number to recieve delivery text updates! What a great idea, why can't all retailers do this? I got a text to say order had been despatched and then one this morning to say parcel was being delivered between 12 and 3pm and it is here! Right on time! I must add that I entered the JD sports site via my favoured cashback site so have also earnt 6% money back on the order!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spend £50 at Space NK and get £10 off!

Use code SPECIAL1 at checkout, offer ends midnight tomorrow night, Monday 14th December. Also receive complimentary gift wrap! www.spacenk.co.uk

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Unexpected Shopping Expedition

I was planning to spend today, doing housework, catching up with the ironing etc when my Mother In Law requested the pleasure of my company to go to a shopping centre. I really didn't want to go but thought I could at least do my Sainsburys Shop instore rather than online this week and use my nectar points off the bill as I had forgotten to redeem them in Argos last week - Pah!

So I took £30 worth of points off of my food shop and as I walked past WH Smiths, I saw they were doing buy one get one free on Annuals and as my little Man loves Wrestling and Football, I picked up two annuals on these sports for a total of £3.99 so was well chuffed as it is just a little something extra to wrap up but I do feel that this is where you have to keep yourself in check, as you have to stop somewhere!

For anyone still looking for a party dress or xmas day outfit French Connection sale started today www.frenchconnection.com I do so love FC clothes!
www.monsoon.co.uk has 40% off their Fusion range too.
www.select.co.uk also has up to 50% off partywear - its time to sparkle!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

25% off Monsoon Lingerie

25% off Monsoon Lingerie instore and online, use code LIN25 now till 18th December.

Loving the Body Shop - get your money off vouchers here!

Now can you tell me one lady who doesn't like to recieve a little bit of Body Shop in her Christmas Stocking? We all love the fact the products smell delicious and benefit local communities which includes sourcing natural ingredients from marginalised communities in over 20 countries around the world.

So if you still have some pressies to buy, then you can click on the link to enable you to access some money off vouchers as Body Shop are giving away all kinds of exciting offers - up to an amazing 30% off all purchases, with their exclusive Christmas vouchers which can be found here

Note: I had a sniff of their new perfume called "Love Etc" instore last week and it was really divine and the packaging so cute, a great stocking filler.

Half Price Perfume at Asos - today only!

Posting this one for those not on Twitter. You had better be quick to take advantage of this great offer! click here.

A Super Salmon Xmas Supper

As you know I am always on the look out for cheap, tasty and nutritious meals which are easy to prepare, as I hate cooking, so I was really impressed with this recipe on yesterdays "This Morning" with Phil Vickery. It is a great way to use up stale bread as he said stale is better and I have some Sainsburys Basics Salmon fillets in the freezer which I am trying to empty to make way for Christmas Fayre! As you know I mostly shop at Sainsburys so would use their Basic range cream cheese at 45p for 200g, the Basics Salmon fillets cost me £2.24 and a pot of fresh coriander is £1.19 again at Sainsburys.

Phil’s crunchy salmon bake
Published: Mon, 07 Dec, 2009,

Phil Vickery: Quick and tasty crunchy salmon bake with green beans and coriander.

Servings: 4-6 people
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

500g salmon fillet, cut into 2cm pieces
200g cream cheese
2 tbsp milk
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped roughly
100g fine beans, cut into 2cm lengths and blanched
4 slices bread, crusts removed, cubed, very small
50-75mls olive oil
100g roughly grated parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oven to 200°C gas 6.
2. Place the cubed fish into a large bowl.
3. Add the cream cheese, chopped coriander, and season really well with salt & pepper.
4. Spoon into a 20cm x 6cm deep baking dish.
5. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and a little pepper and the roughly grated cheese.
6. Bake in the pre heated oven for 35-40 minutes.
7. Serve with green salad

Copyright Phil Vickery
November 2009

You can also see a video of how to make it, here http://www.itv.com/lifestyle/thismorning/food/crunchysalmonbake/
What a great supper for Christmas Eve or Boxing Day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More Xmas Present Shopping

After a couple of eventful shopping trips this week, I was feeling relived that most of the presents are now bought and the few bits that are left can be bought locally or online, where I can earn some cash back!

I needed a few bits for the older folk in the family and was lucky enough to be given a 40% money off voucher for Peacocks from a friend who works in there and as I needed a few bits of shopping aswell as I have avoided a normal weekly shop this week (see last post) I popped into town earlier.

I went into Iceland as I needed more milk and potatoes and had noticed that a large bag of spuds was only £2. I also picked up some frozen sausagemeat at £1 per pack which I use to mix with stuffing and make into balls to accompany the Christmas Dinner and the other thing I needed was butter. Holy Moly, I couldn't believe that 2 packs of Willow Butter costs only £1! so perhaps I do now know why Mums go to Iceland!

My peacocks haul consisted of a Fleece jacket and some underwear for my Mum, a jumper for my father in law and although I had already bought a present for my mother in law, my husband said I should get her something personal aswell as her gift is for the home. I had noticed that she is still using a PVC handbag that belonged to her friend who died 2 years ago, so a new bag was an obvious choice. Imagine my surprise when after discount all these items only came to £19.80! So a big thanks to my friend P for the voucher!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things are getting a bit tight...

and I am not talking about my clothes, although they are too, but more about finances at the moment. I am sure I am not the only one feeling a little bit panicked by the fact today is December 1st and Christmas Day is only 3 weeks away this Friday! I feel as though I still have so much to do and so little money to do it with even though I save with a Christmas Club and have shopping vouchers from Park!
I have found it so difficult to cope with my husband getting paid weekly since he started his contract in July, we just feel as though we are constantly playing catch-up and never getting in front of ourselves. We have one week (1st of the month) when all our direct debits come out, so by the time we have done the food shop that weeks wages have gone. Then we have one week where my husband has to buy his monthly fair, so again another week where we have kissed away £220 before we have eaten! It honestly makes me wonder if it is worth working, I know that sounds awful but when you still feel that you have to watch every penny, it makes you wonder, as I honestly don't feel we are any better off than in the 16 months he was out of work!
I have two daughters learning to drive and saw a lovely little Ford KA yesterday when visiting a friend and it was only £800 and I thought, that is when you know there is a problem when you can't afford to buy it for them, after all £800 is nothing really these days is it? I am sure it will all work out in the end but I have made a consious decision not to do a Sainsburys online shop this week in an effort to save some money and instead will try and live out of the freezer which is quite full but mainly with cheap bread brought up the co-op! I will obviously need some shopping but mainly fresh stuff and sarni fillings along with cereal and some sweet bits for the kids. In an effort to do this I popped into Aldi today for the cereal and fruit and veg. Harvest Mom Coco Pops at only 99p a pack, a very large pack of Brussel Sprouts for 53p, Brocolli for 49p, Grapes for £1.49 a punnet, Bananas at 73p and Pears for 59p a bag and there were 7 fruits in it! Bakewell Tarts at 68p for 6 and a large Rich Tea Biscuit pack for 39p. As I have been buying food for Xmas each week I picked up a really large pack of Shortbread for only £1.79, so was very pleased with my purchases.
Tomorrow it is my intention to pop in to Icelands and pick up Milk and Bread as I don't know anywhere that is cheaper on these two items, a 4 pint carton is only £1 and Kingsmill Bread is always 2 loaves for £1.50. I shall also be popping in to Savers for loo roll as you always get 6 rolls of Kleenex for the same price as 4 in the Supermarkets.
Are you feeling the pinch right now?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spend your nectar points at Argos?

For anybody that has a nectar card and doesn't know how or where they want to spend their points, how about using them up, buying some Christmas Presents at Argos? Yes you heard me correctly, you can spend your points in 500 point lots, just tell the cashier how many you would like to use, each 500 points is equal to £2.50 off your purchase. I must admit I am thrilled with this as have a Laptop to buy when I go shopping on Thursday!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some great savings for Xmas - a round up of the discounts available

So many special offers going on at the moment, I thought it best to do a round-up of the best deals available.

1. You will know from the past I am a great lover of Orgins Skincare and they often have fantastic freebies with purchases. At the moment the deal is 3 freebies with 2 purchases plus free standard delivery and gift wrap. www.orgins.co.uk

2. www.nectar.com have loads of offers for card holders, double or triple points from retailers such as Argos, Amazon and Play.com to name but a few, don't forget you must enter the retailer via the nectar site. Argos are also offering a free £5 voucher if you spend over £50 and free delivery.

3. Looking for a fab outfit for Xmas day or that office party? Whistles has 25% off for Chiconomise readers enter code WCFF09 at checkout. www.whistles.co.uk

Asos has an offer for free Standard delivery at the moment www.asos.com

There are some great deals in their clearance section, I just bought these fab gold shoes for a skint student who loves to party for £10! There are also some great jewellery pieces for stocking fillers. My friend S is looking for a belt for a friend and I saw this great Fiorelli Disco Hip Belt was £25.00 NOW £9.50! click here to buy it!

You can also get £10 off a £75 spend using this code STEALLATER (courtesey of Chiconomise).

4. Looking for something special? Then Goldsmiths the Jeweller now has an outlet section GoldsmithsOutlet.co.uk where you can get top brands with 50% off such as Tag, Gucci, Armani, DKNY etc and they are also offering free delivery this week, thats a saving of £5.25! I am totally loving the Tag Watches, The Diamonds (of course) and these great Gucci cufflinks Was £ 205.00 Now £ 102.00! A great site to treat that special person in your life!

5. Looking for Sportswear or Trainers? JD sports is offering free delivery on orders over £50. Enter JD Sports via the www.topcashback.co.uk site to recieve 6% cash back on purchases! Thats £3 on a £50 pair of trainers for doing nothing!

6. I have a request for a bottle of Alien perfume by Thierry Mugler. If I buy online via topcashback, I can get 3% cashback with Boots plus 144 points on my advantage card but if I buy from Salonskincare I get 8% cash back for an item costing the same amount of money. It makes sense to buy the gift set at £36 so that you have a body lotion and shower gel aswell, it makes the gift look better and is a great way to "layer" your fragrance. Also if you spend over £50 on Thierry Mugler products with Salonskincare you get a free Angel Fragrance Gift set!

Watch that cash back mount up ready for next Christmas, Topcashback is also adding a Christmas Bonus of an extra percentage, so sign up to a cash back site now!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Free Jemma Kidd Lipgloss worth £10 with Bodyform

On selected packs of Bodyform, you get a free Jemma Kidd lipgloss worth £10. There are two fab colours to collect so hurry whilst stocks last!

Spend £100 instore at Monsoon and get a free scarf worth £35!

So if you have spotted the party dress or new coat you want in Monsoon, buy instore to receive a free scarf worth £35! If you don't want to keep the scarf yourself, it would make a great gift for an Aunt, Sister, Mum etc.. but remember this offer is valid instore only, not online.

Monsoon do have a selection of goods online which are on special offer. I saw a great padded jacket with £20 off, so that is worth a look. www.monsoon.co.uk

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great offers on make-up from Eyes, Lips, Face - the perfect stocking filler!

If you are looking for some fantastic quality cheap make-up for stocking filler pressies, then I recommend you check out Eyes, Lips, Face or ELF for short! I recently read a review by Yummy Mummy who is as pleased with this make-up as she is with her usual buys from Mac and other High End brands, but not only that, with orders over £25 you get a free make-up Palette worth £15 and free delivery on orders over £30!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recessionista Tips for a well planned & Frugal Xmas

1. Set a realistic budget for each person you are buying a present for and stick to it.

2. Wrap Presents as you buy them. Far easier to wrap one or two, than to spend a whole evening wrapping presents just before Christmas. Make a list of what has been bought and for whom, so that you don't forget what you have bought.

3. Buy a few things each week i.e. biscuits, sweets, wine and nibbles. Buy fresh meat, Chipolatas, sausagemeat and party food a little at a time and freeze until needed. Pork was on offer in Tesco last week and chickens are half price in co-op for those who prefer not to have Turkey. If you go out and buy everything you need in one go, you will spend hundreds that you may not have and you will have to reach for the credit card at the checkout! The only things you should be buying at the last minute are cream (but you can get Long Life now), cheeses, salad stuff, dips, fruit and veg.

4. Check out mysupermarket.com to compare prices on Christmas Goodies.

5. Boots and Superdrug both have 3 for 2 offers on a range of gifts, great if you are buying smelly gift sets for either sex, make-up sets for teenage girls etc. If you are buying 3 gifts at £10 each, instead of costing £30, it will cost you £20! Woolworths is also back, but online only and has 3 for 2 on Toys, Jewellery and Gifts, 30% off of Bikes and half price kidswear.

6. If you need to raise some money to fund Xmas, set aside a day where you can have a sort out, photograph items and get them on ebay. You need to do this as soon as possible to allow for payment and the withdrawal of funds in time for Christmas.

7. Do you have Nectar points or American Express points you can use for buying gifts? Check out FruGals surprise purchases with her Amex points here.

What will you be doing to save money and do you have any tips for getting organised at Christmas? please share with us!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Online Christmas Shopping Part Two

I have just started asking Family and Friends what they would like for Christmas as I really need to get started if I am going to have everything bought and wrapped by 1st December! Amongst the "I haven't really thought about it" and "I haven't got a clue" (honestly if they haven't got a clue, how the hell am I supposed to know?) I was happily greeted by a rather enthusiastic teenager who said "a pink leopard print hairdryer I have seen in the boots catalogue, some shoes for clubbing and a new mascara". Thrilled to get an answer, I wasted no time in ordering this young lady some of her goodies, online today! I wouldn't have wanted to go out shopping in this disgusting rain anyway, so an online shopping experience using all the tools I mentioned in a previous post, was the order of the day!

1. Boots currently have 1/2 price on selected electrical goods from the likes of Mark Hill, Lee Stafford, Remington etc so knowing this I didn't need to use a Shopbot to compare prices of the Hairdryer, it is reduced from £54.99.
2. Boots gives 3.5% cashback on all of the cashback sites I checked, so I logged into topcashback and proceeded to the Boots site via the cashback site.
3. I ordered the hairdryer and a dior mascara and both items totalled £47.49.
4. Before proceeding to checkout I added my Boots advantage card number and this transaction earned me 188 points.
5. I selected free standard delivery, as at this time of year there is no rush to receive this parcel and delivery is scheduled for next Thursday.

To sum up:
1. I have saved the hassle of going shopping and the expense of bus, train fare or petrol. My local Boots is very small and stock is limited, I know they wouldn't have had this item and I would have had to travel some distance to buy it.
2. I have earnt 188 advantage card points by buying these items at Boots which is the equivalent of £1.80 to spend instore.
3. I have earnt 3.5% cashback which equates to £1.67 to leave on the cashback site until I wish to withdraw it.

Recessionista Tips:
1. If you can't get free delivery on the items you wish to purchase online, you will need to weigh up if it is still worth buying online for the amount of cashback that particular retailer may offer.
2. Always check back to your cashback site approx 1 week later to ensure your cashback has been added to your account.

Check out the first Xmas pressies I bought here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream

Buy Decembers edition of Marie Claire to recieve a free Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy hand cream worth approx £6.25 (100ml tube on their website is £12.50). Magazine Costs £3.40 but you get pages and pages of party fashion if you need inspiration, as well as your freebie gift!

The Art of Online Shopping

With so many people doing their Christmas shopping online this year, I was reminded whilst watching GMTV this morning, about a few things that I have mentioned on this blog in the past, but which are so easy to forget.

1. Firstly, compare prices on the items you wish to buy. You can do this by using a comparison site or Shopbot as they are called. Here is a link to a page on moneysavingexpert which lists various shopbots, but do remember to check more than one as they do not cover all retailers.

2. Secondly, once you have found the site which offers the item you wish to buy, use a cashbackwebsite. Cash Back websites are listed on this blog, scroll down the right hand panel. The most popular ones are Quidco and Cashbackking but again, check all of them and see which one offers a cashback deal for the retailer you are wishing to purchase your item from. Cashback can range from 1% to 10% and last year a friend of mine had earnt £98 in cashback for online purchases over the period of a year, which she withdraw for Christmas Shopping expenditure, so taking a little bit of time can really be worthwhile, you don't make or save money by not being bothered, it all takes time and effort. Always remember to check all the cashback sites as often a certain retailer many offer different percentages as cashback on different sites, whereas other retailers will offer the same percentage across all sites. Also remember you must enter the retailers site via the cashback site to get your cashback.
3. Voucher codes are a great way to save money even if you only get free delivery as this can save £3 - £5 alone, so check those sites out aswell, again there are voucher codes sites listed on this blog.
Happy Shopping

Sunday, November 8, 2009

20% off at Reiss

Grab Decembers edition of Elle magazine which contains a 20% off giftcard for Reiss which will come in really handy if you have seen something to wear to the Christmas Party or maybe something nice for your Man to open on Xmas Day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trade in old Monsoon clothes for New!

I totally love the fact that you can take your old Marks and Spencer clothes in to any branch of Oxfam and recieve a £5 M&S voucher, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that Monsoon are now offering £5 off any purchases over £30 when you take in any old Monsoon garments! Great for us Mums who buy their clothes in there but also the kids stuff too! get all the details here.

Don't forget that both of these offers will come in handy for Christmas. You can give your M&S voucher as a present or use it towards a purchase and your £5 off in Monsoon can go towards a wicked party dress or a Christmas Day outfit for the kiddies!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gina Sample Sale at Chelsea Town Hall tomorrow!

Saturday 31st October 2009 – 11am till 5pm


Juicy Couture Vivienne Westwood

Roberto Cavalli Blossom Mother & Child Hanky Panky

Milan Shopping Babette Wasserman London

P.Santiago Nanette Lepore

Martine Martiella Matha Lucca D.L & Company

Sophia Kokolosaki Gold Hawk Buba Bags John Galliano

Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5EE

£2 entrance proceeds to Edirisa UK


My first Christmas Present Haul from River Island

Firstly let me say that I am quite sad that I can't actually copy pictures from the River Island site to show you what I have bought, but will tell you about them anyway. It all started when my daughter reminded me that it is her boyfriends birthday next week and that she was hoping I would buy him something as his parents had bought her a birthday gift last month. She suggested that I have a look on the River Island website as they had a sale on and that he always likes to have new clothes. I was amazed at the bargains I found and we picked out a lovely cardigan for him reduced to only £12! I must admit I do love that cardigan look over a shirt, polo or crew neck T-shirt on boys/men. Then I thought, well hang on a minute, I will have to buy him a Christmas present aswell and then I have another daughters partner to buy for, a 22 year old nephew and a 20 year old niece so why not do the whole lot for the £3.95 standard delivery! I got mens t-shirts for £5, a lovely stripe v neck jumper for £10 and a cute top with a sequin panel for my niece for £10. All in all 6 items for a total of £62.95! So if you have any teenagers or young adults to buy for this festive season, do hop on to the site and have a peek at the sale section, far better to grab a bargain now than to leave it till the last minute when there are no sales on and you might pay £30-£40 for a mens cardigan! www.riverisland.co.uk

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Half Price Toys at Sainsburys

Time to get the kids presents in with half price on Toys at Sainsburys! Offer ends 4th November so don't waste time www.sainsburys.co.uk

Free Gift Set with orders over £30 at Ren

I totally love Ren products, not only do I put them on my own Xmas list but they make the most gorgeous gifts, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that if you spend over £30 you get a completely free gift set! 2 Christmas Presents for the price of one! can't be bad! My particular fave and that of many beauty editors is the Ren Otto Rose Body Wash. Be quick because offer ends 1st November www.renskincare.com

Friday, October 16, 2009

Free £10 spend at Molton Brown with Red Magazine

Molton Brown £10 free spend with £4 Red magazine.

Grab a copy of November’s Red magazine (£3.50 with Louise and Jamie Redknapp on the cover) and on page 205 you'll find a cut out voucher entitling you to £10 off a single transaction at luxury soap sellers Molton Brown.

If you buy a full price item in there for £10, you'll get it for free as the voucher requires no minimum spend.

This is valid in store only until Tues 3 Nov in U.K and Ireland. It's not valid in department stores, outlets or spas. Find your nearest Molten Brown here.

Molton Brown also do a make-up range aswell as body products and a mens range so you could use your voucher towards a Christmas Gift.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Postal Strike - things to do

1. Ebay - Ebayers will be badly hit, if you are a seller ensure that you offer a proof of posting (a free receipt) or a special delivery option to buyers. Keep lines of communication open to ensure that you do not get reported if an item has not been received, if it is not your fault.
2. Paying Bills - If you usually pay your bills by writing out and then posting a cheque, pay over the phone by debit card or over the counter at your bank or a Post office to ensure you don't get late payment charges.
3. Xmas Cards and Presents - Post overseas Xmas cards now. Deliver local cards by hand and send National cards as early as possible.
4. Online Shopping and Catalogue returns - return as early as possible, don't wait until your 28 days etc are almost up. Obtain proof of return from the Post Office.
5. Online Shopping and Catalogue purchases - some companies do use Royal Mail but will hopefully use Couriers if and when necessary. For your own peace of mind, keep all order receipts and order numbers.
6. Posting anything of Monetary Value or something you need to track - use special delivery or courier.
7. Post any mail via the post office do not stick anything in an overflowing or nearly full post box, for your own security.
8. Check if you have any local courier companies who do not require you to have a business account.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tis the Season to be Jolly

I have been thinking about doing this post for the last few weeks and now I really must take the "Bull by the Horns" and talk about Christmas. The key to a successful Christmas is careful planning and spending and the more Frugal your Christmas needs to be, the more you will have to stick to these rules.

Xmas Cards & Wrapping Paper

I always buy these in the sale straight after Xmas. Boots is the best place for me, but last year I got my Christmas crackers from the local co-op, so I already have what I need, but if you don't, write down everybody you send cards to, family friends, colleagues etc
Do you send special cards to Mums and Dads and for overseas family?
Buy Cards, wrapping paper and tags from a supermarket or anywhere you have a loyalty card for i.e. Boots so that you get something back for your spend.
Buy 2nd class stamps, posting cards early means you won't need to pay out for 1st class postage making a saving of 9p per card sent.
Aim to write them out now and post on 1st December. Check postage dates for overseas and send within plenty of time.


Make a list of people you usually buy for and next to each name enter an amount you think is reasonable to spend on the person concerned i.e Mum £20, Friend £10 and stick to the budget! Once you have your total you will need to divide this over the amount of paydays you have left before Xmas i.e. a total present list of £150 would mean you having to find £50 each month for presents if you have no savings or Christmas Club money to take care of this. Certain items will become harder to get hold of, the closer you get to Christmas, remember the Wii Fit last year? well you couldn't get one for love nor money past mid November, so prioritise your list. You won't have any problems getting Grandad a jumper from M&S on Xmas Eve but may have trouble getting Little Johnny the lastest Game from Toys r us.

Once you have your list and know roughly the amount you wish to spend, don't be afraid to ask the person concerned if there is something specific they would like, within your budget. We are all grateful to recieve something we really want rather than the usual "old Tat", so to cheer yourself up, make a list of what you would like as well! My list usually consists of things like Ren Otto Rose Body Wash at £16, a reasonable price for a pressie but in my eyes a luxury, as I wouldn't spend that amount on a shower gel for myself! I always write next to the item, the place it can be bought, either a shop, online or both and then leave to my husband to sort out who is buying what.


Need a party dress - how much would you like to spend? If on a tight budget check out asos.com click on women and then click on clearance and check out dresses or click on their outlet tab and click on dresses. I picked up a bargain party dress last week from the womens clearance section for £9! Buying now is one less pressure closer to the time. You may want something more casual for Xmas Day, jeans and a new blouse, a knitted dress? think about what you will be doing on the day, are you cooking? going out to eat? pick your outfit accordingly but if you are cooking, do invest in a cheap apron to save any fat splashes on your new clothes!

Food & Drink

Make another list!
First make a note of Dry goods i.e. tins of sweets, Xmas puddings,things that can be bought in advance then a separate list of fresh foods such as cheese, cream, dips etc.
Many supermarkets already have offers on tin sweets such as Roses or Quality Street, if they are on "buy one get free" or half price, then buy them now, I can guarantee that the special offers on these kinds of Xmas goodies will not be available come December, the same goes for Wines & Spirits. If you don't have provision for your food shopping then the best way to deal with this is to buy a few things each week on top of your usual weekly shop. Although it will make your shopping more expensive each week, it will be far easier than buying nothing and trying to scrape up £100 the week before Christmas!

I have been busy making notes and speaking to various friends and family so that I can show you some case studies for Christmas Budgeting. By doing this, I think we can all see how other people cope and what good advice we can take from other peoples situations. To finalise these case studies I will be offering Recessionista advice on how they can make any cut backs if necessary. I am also in the process of collating information on some good shopping websites so please keep checking back as I am hoping to get this all on the Blog this week if possible. If you have any great ideas of your own, please let me know!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

British Gas Customers get a free Swimming Voucher

If you are still a British Gas customer (and to be honest I doubt there are many who are!), then you are eligible to get a free swimming voucher for you and the family or a friend, just click here for details.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Free Tea or Coffee at Debenhams plus money off vouchers!

Grab todays Sun (20p) for £7.64 worth of shopping coupons inc a free tea/coffee at Debenhams rests/cafes worth £1.90, valid 'til 30 Sept.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free Clinique Lipstick at Selfridges London tomorrow only (17th Sept)

For all you London based beauties, get down to Selfridges tomorrow, where you can collect a free Lipstick from Clinique! Spend some time at the counter to receive a Lipstick consultation to qualify for your freebie in a choice of 3 colours! Offer runs throughout the day until stock runs out, so get there early! A full size Clinique Lipstick retails at £14.

Korres Cosmetic Kit originally £52 now £6.99 - great xmas gift!

Get this fantastic Korres Cosmetic Kit originally £29 (or £52 on Korres website) from halfprice perfumes for an amazing £6.99! here. This would make a great present, so start that Xmas Gift box now! Set contains Mascara, 2 eye pencils, lipgloss and eyshadow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Freebies worth over £16 and reduced postage on Skincare at Origins

As Origins is one of my favourite skincare brands, I am always excited at their special offers and use these as an opportunity to either stock up on my own skincare favourites or to stock pile gifts for others. Origins are offering a free cleanser, serum and scrub, worth up to £20 depending on which range you choose on any purchase over £25. They have also lowered the rate of their standard delivery by £1 from £4.95 to £3.95. www.origins.co.uk

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Off to Uni? get your student union card to get great discounts from selected retailers

To get discounts from a large range of retailers including Superdrug (10%), Amazon (5%), Warehouse (10%) and Miss Selfridge online (10%) apply for your student union card now at www.nus.org.uk. The card costs £10 so you will need a credit or debit card to hand, along with a picture that you can download from your computer or a webcam.

Free Digi-Box & £20 off Shopping at Tesco

The Daily Mail are back again today with their £20 off shopping at Tesco and in addition to this, are offering readers a free Digi-Box. With the Digital Switchover about to take place, every Daily Mail reader should be collecting their 60 Tokens to grab this great freebie. Don't discard the offer if you have Sky, as you may have a television in another room that you won't be able to watch once the switch over takes place or an older relative or friend that doesn't have a clue what to do regarding Digital Television and would be grateful of your unwanted Box. You need to collect 60 tokens, so if you are not already a Daily Mail reader it would be false economy to buy the paper for the next two months as you may aswell just go out and buy a Box, worth buying it today though for the £20 off groceries. Happy Shopping!

£20 off a £50 spend at very.co.uk

very.co.uk is the new name for Littlewoods Direct and they are currently offering £20 off a £50 spend on a fantastic range of Fashion including designs by Fearne Cotton and well known brands such as Yumi and Elise Ryan (see pic). Enter promo code ZQ427 at the basket page. With winter fast approaching there is no better time to take advantage of one of the best savings around and grab yourself a key piece for your winter wardrobe (chunky knit, jeans, coat, boots) or a bit of forward thinking could have you buying that Christmas Party dress now, before the financial strain of present buying and nights out take their toll!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School

I must admit I have always steered away from printed name labels to put in school uniform, because of the cost. School uniform shops can be quite costly so I normally just use a biro, although have to frequently check, after washing, that the writing hasn't faded. I have also in the past used the iron labels, I used to get these from Woolworths but have no idea where I would get them now and they weren't that effective anyway!
So you can imagine my joy when I picked up the Laptop and the first thing I saw was printed name labels on ebay for £1.20 for 72 labels with only 99p postage, next day despatch and you can choose from four different colours and four different fonts, check out the link here

Monday, August 24, 2009

5 Things to help Women boost their financial position in Retirement and other information regarding pensions, mortgages etc at any age"

According to The Times, Money Central, here are five things women can do to boost their financial position in retirement, although I would have put "Secure a Fair Divorce" and "never give up your rights to half of your ex husbands pension, if he has one", at the top of the list!

1) Ensure entitlement to the full state pension

From April 6, 2010 both men and women will need to have 30 qualifying years to claim the full basic state pension. It makes sense to get as near as possible to the minimum figure, so as to be entitled to a full basic state pension, currently £95.25 per week for a single person.

2) Pay into a private pension

Even if you have no income a husband or civil partner can pay up to £2,880 into a pension for you each year. With basic rate tax relief, the contribution is worth £3,600.

3) Make the most of Individual Savings Accounts (Isas).

Contribute as much as you can to stocks and shares Isas. If you invested your full annual Isa allowance, soon to be boosted to £10,200, for the next 25 years, this would build up to a nest-egg of £511,157, assuming real growth of 5 per cent. You can cash Isas in at any time and also take an income from them. Your savings build up in a tax-privileged environment.

4) Secure a fair divorce

Ensure that any husband's pension is properly valued when splitting assets and consider splitting a pension rather than giving up all rights to it in exchange for the matrimonial home.

5) Make the most of tax breaks

Women who are higher-rate taxpayers should make the most of the higher rate tax relief that applies to pension contributions. This means that every £1,000 put into your pension costs you only £600.

Recessionista advice in addition to this: be careful if you have a private pension. I can only quote from experience of a relative of mine, who lives in a Council Property, is in receipt of a State Pension and a small NHS pension. When disabilty meant that the person concerned could no longer bath, they went through a lengthy process of trying to get the Council to put in, a walk in shower. Eventually the work was done, a couple of years back now, but they had to pay £1,000 of their own money towards it. It seems the more money you have, the less you are entitled to from the State, a real catch twenty two situation, as they still have to pay towards their Council Rent and still pay Council Tax, although they do get a reduction. So unless you have a big pension and real financial security set up for old age, I wouldn't bother trying to do anything on a small scale, as you will dip out when you reach retirement age. I also know another elderly person who at 76 years of age, still pays her own mortgage, because once, many years ago (37 in fact) she split up with her husband who had once remortgaged the property and Income Support does not pay anything towards a re-mortgage, they only pay interest on the original amount borrowed to purchase the property, so if you borrowed 20,000, 10 years ago to get a new kitchen and a conservatory for example, they would never pay the interest on that amount. Also, don't be fooled into thinking if you don't fit the above criteria, you won't get a full state pension, all that will happen is your money will get topped up with Income Support so that you will still get the same amount to live on.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Creamy Mushroom Pasta - Simple money saving supper that can use up leftovers

Cook 200g of spagetti according to packet instructions. When pasta is cooked, drain well and set aside. Put the pan back on the heat and add 5 or 6 chopped button or any mushrooms. After a few minutes add 150g of diced ham, 150ml of cream, 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese and warm through. Return pasta to the pan, stir and season. Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley if you have them or more parmesan if you don't. Serves 2. A quick, easy and delicious supper that can use up a few left over mushrooms and any ham you have nearing its use by date.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A womans right to shoes

Lots of Fashionista's and Fashion Blogs I read, were going crazy for the Christian Louboutin sale at The Outnet yesterday and if you missed my shout out on Twitter, then you will be pleased to know that there are still some styles left in stock, but be quick they won't last much longer! As the Recessionista has mentioned before, if you only buy one pair of evening shoes, go for black or a metallic colour, like these fab silver ones, Original Price £415 Now £166 60% off! They will be a fab wardrobe staple and last you for years - investment dressing at its best!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

5 Things to be grateful for this weekend

Now I don't normally do posts like this, but I dropped by at a new blog I have found www.apieceofwood.co.uk and liked her post on 5 things to be grateful for this weekend and decided I would participate!

1. In light of yesterdays post regarding food shopping, I logged on last night to check my email and had a £10 voucher from Sainsburys off of my next online shopping spend over £50! So I am really grateful for that!

2. I am grateful for the Alex Curran wedges I have ordered off Amazon for £24 (although they haven't arrived yet). See post from earlier this week.

3. I too, am grateful for the weather, the lack of a holiday this year was getting me down, but if the sun is shining I don't feel quite so bad about it (still want one though).

4. I am grateful that August is a busy month for me workwise, as come September things will really die down.

5. I am grateful, as ever, for the health of my family and for my beautiful children.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Changing the way we do Food Shopping

I had already made a decision about the weekly shop this morning before friend S rang and said she was going to Aldi today. I had been thinking back to when I was a child and my Mother used to go to the Butcher, the Baker and the Greengrocer for her shopping each week. As we are all aware, when the likes of Tesco and Sainsburys started to pitch up in every town the whole idea behind the concept of Super or Hypermarket shopping was being able to buy everything under one roof, to save time but sometimes at a premium. OK, all these stores have great special offers at any one time, but to make real savings if you are on a tight budget, you really need to reconsider how to Shop.
My first change in Supermarket shopping habits, when I started this Blog, was to shop online at Sainsburys rather than visit Tesco each week. The reason for the switch in loyalty was that Sainsburys are always synomous with good quality and what I was happy to eat in their basic range I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in the Tesco Value Department. Shopping online also means you are not tempted to buy things just because they are on special offer and end up throwing them away at a later date and with Sainsburys, another major factor was the tempting "feed your family for a fiver" recipes/adverts on T.V.. By switching Supermarkets and shopping online, I save at least £30 per week.
Another thing I began to do was to buy toiletries, washing powder, loo roll and medicine from Savers, something I have told you many times before.
So this morning my decision for this weeks shopping was that I wouldn't really need to do a Sainsburys shop this week as I have quite a lot in the freezer and the plan was to pop to Aldi for a few bits, but also to visit Iceland. I never go in Iceland, don't ask me why, but when I saw a 4 pint carton of milk advertised in the window for £1, decision was made to give them a visit.
So friend S picked me up and we hot footed it into town. First Stop Aldi. Lettuce, Toms and Cue at 29p each and a Savoy Cabbage for 49p. Their equivalent of Coco Pops for 99p, a pack of Gouda slices for £1.15 and a pack of 4 bagels for 89p along with a pack of marinated Smoked Salmon slices for £1.99. A few other bits and my total came to £12.28. These were all things that would be required this week and would have been a part of my normal weekly shop so I wasn't tempted by anything I didn't want or need.
Then on to Iceland. 4 pint cartons of milk for £1, I bought 2 to freeze. I picked up an Iceland Pizza then moved along the freezer and saw a Chicago Town stuffed crust, which was bigger for the same price, only £1.50. A pack of 18 ice lollies for £2. 6 chicken kievs for £2.50. 2 packs of Willow butter for £1 (now that has to be the deal of week). Buy 2 loaves of Kingsmill for £1.50, bargain, where can you get branded bread for that price? the cheapest is normally £1 when its on offer, if you are lucky! A few other bits and pieces and the total spent in Iceland was £15.
All I need to do now is pop into Savers and buy Loo Roll £1.89 for 6 rolls of Kleenex (it was £2 in Iceland!) and my Aerial liquigel washing powder and my total spent this week will be approx £32 for a family of 5.

So if you want to make real savings there is no doubt you need to shop around and you have to be a savvy shopper as some things in Aldi were cheaper in Iceland and vice versa, but with a little time and effort, it can be done. Next week I will be going to the cheaper shops first and then buy the remainder of what I need at the Supermarket, but you won't do better than the salad stuff in Aldi at 29p or the milk and butter at Iceland. If you sign up for the Iceland Bonus card and spend over £25 instore, they will deliver your shopping for free, storing it in their freezers until your scheduled delivery time. Having a bonus card also means you will recieve money offer coupons throughout the year and get entered in regular competitions to win free shopping - can't be bad can it? I might even spend £25 once a month and get it delivered, making life even easier!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

40% off at Yo! Sushi

Get 40% off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until 26th August. You will need one voucher per person, per visit, and you can use it on up to 10 plates. Print off your vouchers here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alex Gerrards Wedge Sandals by Steve Madden for £24 and Designer wedges from Matches for £38!

I was totally gobsmacked when I saw Alex Gerrards column in todays edition of New magazine, showing her wearing a pair of Steve Madden studded wedges and looking as great, as always, I had to buy it! Even more surprising was the fact that these funky shoes are currently on sale at Amazon for only £24 if you get them in black! I just couldn't resist such a bargain and you can get them here.
I didn't buy a thing all last winter and was no better off for it, just ended up feeling totally depressed about my drab and boring winter wardrobe, so if you are feeling down in the dumps a bit of £24 retail therapy didn't hurt anyone right? especially if you actually have an item owned and worn by a WAG!


Looking for something more understated and still have a holiday to look forward to? even if you don't, these fab Castaner raffia wedges will serve as a great wardrobe staple for many summers to come, so are well worth the £38 investment (down from £108!). Wear them with white summer dresses, capri pants, flared jeans and a red vest for a nautical appeal, the list is endless as they are such a versatile sandal. Get them at Matches.com here.

Free Kids workshops at Covent Garden

Planning a day out in London? then consider taking the little ones to the free Kids workshops at Covent Garden. There are also special offers on family meals at various restaurants all running now, until 23rd August. Get full details here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Free Cookies and Teats at Millies Cookies

Fancy a sweet treat when you are out shopping, or how about a delicious smoothie? Well at Millies cookies, you can print off vouchers and get lots of freebies, such as buy 6 cookies, get 6 free or get 2 free cookies when you buy an ice cream, just click here to print off your vouchers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cut off point

I was quite surprised to see that some of the London free hand out papers are still covering Summer clothing on their Fashion pages, especially this article on Cut off Denim Shorts.

Cut offs hit most of the Fashion pages months ago, but are a wardrobe summer staple which don't really go in and out of fashion each year as you will always see girls slipping on a pair of denim shorts over their bikini's when you are on holiday or sporting them in this country with a vest top and gladiators on hot days. The thing that really got me about this article was the cost of the garments. The cheapest items being from Topshop or Asos at £25, Current Elliott at £155 and True Religion at an astonishing £199! £200 seems an awful lot of money for a pair of what is basically "jeans without legs"! Then I remembered 2 things. 1. The pair of True Religion jeans I have upstairs which have "gone" at the top of the legs and got me thinking that if I cut off the legs in the same way as in the pic i.e. from the holes in an upward slant going under the pockets, that these wonderful jeans which I loved so, will still be completely useable and thus saved from the Charity Bag and
2. How many times have I shared the asos.com outlet section with you guys, when I have told you about the premium denim brands such as True Religion, Superfine and Earnest Sewn, where the jeans can start as low as £35 and go up to approx £70 for what normally would be anywhere between £150 and £200. If you are looking for a cheaper option, I saw in New Look yesterday, rails of reduced jeans are starting at £7 and the great thing about doing your own version of cut - offs is they can be done from any style whether skinny, straight, bootcut or flared, plus you can cut them as high or as long as you like.

In the newspaper, the article shows Lynsey Lohan, Rihanna, Agy Deyn and VB all sporting the trend and they seem to have turn-ups on the cut offs with the pockets hanging down below at the front. So an easy look to achieve. In a Recession, fashion is often about making do, and there is no easier trend to achieve than this! The Times did an article a while back, saying that women over 40 could buy into this trend - Recessionista Advice - Yes if on holiday or the Beach - only in the Supermarket if you have the body of Demi Moore!
The summer may soon be over, but lots of you will still be going on holiday and this trend will be wearable year after year, so what are you waiting for - grab those sissors!

Friday, August 7, 2009

1,000 free text messages worth £100 with free orange sim card

This card is well worth applying for, as have I have mentioned before, once you have an orange sim card you are entitled to all the other benefits this phone provider offers, such as 2 for 1 on cinema tickets etc. To apply for your free sim log on to www.orange.co.uk/litefreesim. You will need to top up £10 to recieve these free texts, an ideal sim card for teens or pay as you go customers. If your phone is not compatible with Orange, remember it is not illegal to get a phone unlocked, which costs between £5 and £10.

£20 off Shopping in Tesco with the Daily Mail

Starting in tomorrows Daily Mail, there will be a collection of tokens to obtain money off your weekly grocery shop. For full details of the value of Tokens and what items they refer to, check here.