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?