Saturday, January 9, 2010

River Island cut their sale prices by another 50% and more bargain shoes!

There isn't much left online, although my daughter managed to get loads for £52 yesterday, but if you can get instore, River Island have cut their sale prices by another 50%. Loads of things for £5 and hopefully the snow will mean that not many people are going out to snap up the bargains. To get a look at a selection of things bought by a fellow blogger, Tor at Fab Frocks, click here.

And now for some more shoe porn...

£29 reduced from £129! at John Lewis, click here to buy. It seems that new stock is added almost daily on the John Lewis website.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a bargain at Kurt Geiger!

Was £120 now £29

I did say with so many Sales on at the moment that I wasn't going to Blog about individual ones, but I have changed my mind now I have seen the Kurt Geiger sale. My daughter has just bought both these amazing shoes with massive reductions, both down to only £29 per pair plus an extra 10% off for today only by entering promotion code COSYTOES at checkout, so be quick, there is sure to be a pair to float your boat, or what about grabbing a pair of classic winter boots with a great reduction? She got free delivery as well, so a total of £52.20 for both pairs - amazing!

was £110 now £29

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wardrobe Staple - Sales Update

The Fashion slot on "This Morning" just covered sale shopping, for investment dressing on pieces that will see you through to Spring.
They did a jeans, white shirt and Trench Coat combo outfit, classic pieces mentioned in my previous post, but I was amazed by the Trench which was from Reiss and in the classic stone colourway and was reduced from £245 to £75. I have checked the Reiss website and unfortunately it is not on there, you would need to buy it instore, but be quick as at that price, it is not going to hang around for long!

Meanwhile I did see a lovely pair of evening shoes on their site. I usually always recommend going for black or a metallic colour as bronze, gold or silver go with everything and these fab shoes are reduced from £139 to £42! With their black trim you could team with a black or gold clutch and gold jewellery.

Its going to be a long old month

I was very interested to see Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert on GMTV this morning, especially as his slot was going to be about getting through January for those that are monthly paid and were paid early before Xmas, meaning that they may have to make Decembers salary last for a very long six weeks.

I was then very dissapointed when he said "don't spend money you don't have" "don't go out, do your supermarket shop and come home and watch t.v. each evening". So not much there that we didn't already know about then! I don't know what I was expecting really, everything he says is common sense that most of us already know but often need to hear it from others and as much as we may be doing what he suggests, there are always unexpected expenses.

January Birthdays

This is a complete Bummer if you are broke, but on the upside, you can usually manage to buy something in the sales and save up to 50% or more on whatever you decide to buy. Do speak to the Birthday Girl/Boy as often we sit and panic and wonder what on earth we can buy when people have just received Christmas Gifts, but you would be surprised. This year my husband got no slippers or aftershave and I only got one pair of pyjamas but need more, so do pick a few brains to see if any specific items would be gratefully received.

Fuel Expenses

This cold snap will be causing all kinds of difficulties for people who have key meters to pay for their Gas and Electric, whereas people who pay their bills quarterly or by direct debit won't see the effects as instantly, although could still struggle to pay their next bill or have their Direct Debits increased because of this. No matter what method of payment you use, it still makes sense to try and use as little as possible and the best way to do this is as follows:-
1. If you are out at work all day do set your timer for heating. Half hour before you get up and then off when you leave and half an hour before you are due home and off again at bedtime.
2. If you have rooms that are not used i.e. spare bedrooms or dining rooms etc, either turn the radiators off or down very low and keep the doors shut.
3. Take showers instead of baths.
4. Tin Foil behind radiators does effectively, reflect heat back into the room.
5. Treat draughts with Draught excluder or if on a tight budget, put curtains up over doors and use old towels at the bottom, anything to keep the warmth in.
6. Do advise old folk to go to bed in socks and even a hat. Don't forget the hot water bottle either! Lots of old people are afraid to heat their homes, even those that can afford it.
7. Cut the cost of de-icer on your windscreen by laying an old towel or pieces of cardboard/newspaper, over the screen at night.

Any other ideas you may have to help us get through January, please leave a comment!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Creating a Capsule wardrobe on a Budget and utilising the Sales

With all the Sales on at the moment, I haven't bothered to post on them individually but having a fellow blogger ask for advice on the pieces needed to help build a capsule wardrobe, I have decided to list the things I consider to be basic wardrobe staples and there is no better time to buy these pieces whether they be high end investment purchases or from the High Street, this is what the sales should really be used for!

Trench coat or Mac
LBD - little black dress.
Jeans - various styles, skinny for tucking in boots, bootcut, etc dark denim looks smarter and pale denim flared styles and white look nice for summer.
Cashmere - check out supermarkets for v or crew neck style jumpers.
White shirt
T-shirts an assortment of white, black and grey in both short and long sleeve.

Flat black boots
Black ballet pumps
Black or metallic coloured heels
Black leather gloves (I got mine in Tesco for £4 in sale about 2 years ago)
Neural scarf

Don't forget these items are only intended to form the basis of a capsule wardrobe and you can add a "pop" of colour with accessories or pretty tops etc.
A working wardrobe might include smart black trousers.
Leggings and Jeggings are also a safe bet, great for wearing with boots and warmer under dresses than tights.
Don't forget that Denim and Leather jackets are also items that are great investment pieces as can be worn year after year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ham Hash Cakes - more things to do with leftovers

I am always on the look out for tasty and nutrious recipes using leftovers and I saw this one for Ham Hash cakes in a recent edition of my Mums Best magazine.

All it consists of is mash potato, sprouts (both of which can be leftovers) and ham (an ideal way to use cooked meats going out of date). You just dice the ham and mix all three ingredients together, shape into flat cakes and fry in olive oil until crisp, brown and piping hot.
Don't forget that although sprouts are in abundance at this time of year, you can replace them with any left over veg, carrots, cabbage etc will be just as tasty!

It is also a take on the Tuna Fish Cakes I make, from a Sainsburys recipe from their "feed your family for a fiver" selection of dishes which is just tuna, mash and spring onions.

One of my favourite dinners of the year is our Boxing Day meal of cold turkey, bread sauce, mash and pickles along with any sausages wrapped in bacon or sausagemeat and stuffing balls, that may be left over aswell. This year we turned all the leftover veg into a traditional bubble and squeak with a difference, by mashing roughly in a baking tray and topping with grated cheese before popping into a hot oven. It was really tasty and don't forget these kind of meals shouldn't be just for the festive season, as they save you money and cut down on waste at any time of year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Seeing the New Year in with a Bang!

Firstly Happy New Year to you all, although I am seriously worried that the way mine started will set a trend for things to come throughout 2010!
First up, I put a load of washing on, on NYE as I went to bed and when I got up on NYD, opened the machine to find the clothes still soaking wet. A couple of hours later when I had tried everything from draining, spinning to re-washing, it became apparent that the Drum is not moving. My daughter stepped in and took the washing to hers and bought it back later for me to dry. I went to iron it last night and on the first garment the Iron went bang and blew up!

I need to weigh up the pro's and con's of getting the washing machine repaired or to buy a new one but I can't do that until I have some sort of quote from the repair man. The shop is open but the repair man is not working today so can't do anything until Monday. The Bosch website tells me it is probably the Brushes that have gone and I have been told they can cost anything from £12 to £30 odd and then there is £30 labour charge and of course VAT will be back to 17.5% just to add insult to injury!

Meanwhile I have done my research into the cost of a new machine and would like to stay with Bosch as this one has lasted a family of six for the last five years, so can't be bad. Also our dishwasher from the same brand is 10 years old and we bought it from the previous house owners, so I feel it is better to stick with a brand you know. The only problem with this is that Bosch are not the cheapest range on the market and although I could get a machine by a brand called "hec" (as in, "who the heck are they?"), I would rather pay a little bit extra for a brand that I know is good quality.

My comparisons so far are:-

Comet, cheapest Bosch is £279.99 with a 5kg drum and 3% cashback on

Boots, (yes who knew Boots sold white goods?) £323.00 with a 6kg drum and 3.5% cashback and 1292 Advantage card points which would buy me a new Juicy Tube when I next run out of Lipgloss!

John Lewis £299 but no cashback.

Stangely the cheapest machines on each site are all different model numbers!

Anyway I will have to wait and see what the cost of repair is on Monday before we make a decision but this is not the start to the New Year I had planned and shows how important it is to have an Emergency Fund, so maybe that will be my New Years resolution! On the other hand, I am beginning to wish I had never cut up the credit cards, as this is the sort of thing they do come in handy for, but being strong enough not to use them for other non-essential purchases is always the problem. I spoke to a friend who actually rents her machine from a local electrical appliance shop and it costs her £10 a month but with my husband only being on a work contract
until March as far as we know, I don't want to commit, long term to a direct debit for even as little as £10 per month!

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.