Saturday, 31 August 2013

Do you want to save more and waste less?

Who doesn't want to save money on their grocery shopping? I am not (too) ashamed to admit that I love the TLC show Extreme Couponing and rarely miss an episode. My youngest is almost as addicted as me and we furtively watch it together, fast forwarding to the bit where you find out how much they saved on their 15 trolleys of kitchen towel, soap, and bottled water. The love of a bargain speaks to the soul of most people so I am happy to share with you my latest find: Approved Food. Just so you know, this is not a sponsored post in any way, shape or form. I am just spreading the frugal love!

Approved Food ( is an website where you can buy super cheap products that are near to, or just past, their recommended best before date. I have absolutely no qualms about using something past the date printed on the box. I am sensible enough to be able to tell if food has turned and the lure of being able to stock up on things at super low prices (hello? 80% or more off, anyone!) was too good to pass by.

You don't have to worry that I will become a hoarder or even create a stockpile as I simply don't have the space, but Approved Food is fab in that you can buy a single item if that is all you need. I wish I had taken a photo of my delivery before I put it away but here is a list of what I bought: 

Kelloggs Coco Pops Jumbos 375g
Best Before: 31st Aug 2013
You saved
£4.80 ( 62% )
Kelloggs Mini Max Original 560g
Best Before: 29th Jul 2013
You saved
£3.60 ( 45% )
Kelloggs Rice Krispies 510g
Best Before: 14th Apr 2014
You saved
£0.80 ( 29% )
Kelloggs Rice Krispies Squares Totally Chocolatey 36g
Best Before: 9th Aug 2013
You saved
£3.50 ( 64% )
Best Mex 8 Flour Tortillas 320g
Best Before: 4th Jan 2014
You saved
£2.38 ( 60% )
Birkel Penne Pasta 500g
Best Before: 5th Jul 2015
You saved
£1.98 ( 66% )
Batchelors Golden Super Rice 120g
Best Before: 30th Jun 2015
You saved
£1.00 ( 50% )
Vanish Oxi Action Fabric Stain Remover Powder 500g £2.991£2.99
You saved
£1.61 ( 35% )
Sun Dishwasher Cleaner 1 Dose 40g £0.256£1.50
You saved
£4.44 ( 75% )
Battleship The Chocolate Combat Game
Best Before: 31st Dec 2013
You saved
£3.00 ( 60% )
Typhoo One Cup 100 Round Teabags
Best Before: 29th Feb 2016
You saved
£0.70 ( 32% )
Allinson Wholemeal Self Raising Flour 1kg
Best Before: 30th Sep 2013
You saved
£0.81 ( 54% )
Canderel Granular Low Calorie Sweetener 75g
Best Before: 31st Dec 2015
You saved
£3.50 ( 78% )
Swish 4 in 1 Lemon Dishwasher Tablets 20 Pack £1.491£1.49
You saved
£1.50 ( 50% )
Dr Scholl Party Feet
Best Before: 30th Apr 2013
You saved
£6.98 ( 87% )
Keep It Handy Dehumidifier 2 in 1 £0.992£1.98
You saved
£0.02 ( 1% )
Cadbury Crunchie Biscuits 130g
Best Before: 17th Aug 2013
You saved
£0.90 ( 50% )
Keepers Choice Jaffa Cakes 400g
Best Before: 5th Jan 2014
You saved
£1.00 ( 50% )
SPECIAL OFFER Beechams Ultra All In One Hot Lemon Menthol 5 Doses
Best Before: 31st Aug 2013
You saved
£13.95 ( 93% )

Basket Price


Sub Total£37.29


Total Discounts-£0.89

You Pay£36.40

I saved £56.47 on the RRP of these items, which is around 63%. Delivery was by courier and cost £5.25 - so about the same as a peak time grocery delivery - and arrived in less than 48 hours. You can see that most of these items are well within date and the ones that aren't, like the cereal, are still perfectly fine. I know it's a bit of a random shopping list but I wanted a range of products to test it for the first time.

It's time to organise my kitchen cupboards because doing a big shop at Approved Foods every month could work out to be a great money saver for me based on my normal shopping habits. 

Have you tried Approved Foods or a similar site? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Camping it Up in North Cornwall

We have certainly been making good use of the National Trust these holidays. Not only have the boys taken part in several of the free (yep you heard me - FREE!) 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4 activities at Tredegar House in Newport, we have just spent a happy few days exploring National Trust managed coastline in North Cornwall.

I'd like to say this was a successful camping trip but in reality it was not for two reasons: we weren't strictly camping; and we only stayed one night instead of two due to an unfortunate (but funny) air bed explosion leaving us one bed short, and a wriggly six year old who proved my husband's predictions that all of us sleeping in one room was a recipe for no sleep.

We stayed in a pod at Caradock at Tregardock It's a seriously beautiful place and the pods are incredibly comfortable. I was here a few years ago (sans the Mister that time) and was really looking forward to returning. The views overlooking the Atlantic are spectacular and it's an unbelievably peaceful location. Only three pods makes it lovely and quiet and the owners are friendly and helpful without being obtrusive. I happily recommend it. We walked from the pod down to Tregardock Beach on our first evening and just spent time admiring the coastline. The following day saw us at Widemouth Bay for some paddling and sandcastle building before heading into Bude for lunch, then over to Boscastle - another National Trust managed stretch of coastline.

I didn't take many photos as I was too busy chilling. Wish I'd taken one of the soft pink and blues in the sky at sunset though, and of the sight of the full moon over the water at about 5.30am (the only good thing about being awake early!)

The National Trust have a number of activities on around the country this Bank Holiday weekend. If you're at a loose end, or on your way to or from somewhere, why not see if there's something to suit you. There is a listing here. The organisation is about so much more than old houses!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 19 August 2013

Let's just gloss over the many, many weeks it's been since I meal planned or posted about it. I have really missed it and the drudge of grocery shopping and cooking has become a real chore since I got out of the habit of planning. I have been going to the supermarket, buying whatever I can be bothered to get, then making it last the week because I can't be bothered going back to the supermarket again. Since it's holidays there has also been a fair amount of eating out, but I feel the need to wrest back control over our eating again so here I am with a shiny (re)new(ed) enthusiasm for family cooking.

On the menu this week:
Steak, Baked Courgette Chips and some other veg - corn on the cob, maybe?
Burgers and Salad with One Hour Rolls

I am not sure what type of burgers but I know I have mince of some description in the freezer.

I have a shared Pinterest board (again, a little neglected lately) so if you want to share your Family Favourite Recipes - those go-to meals that never let you down - just leave a message here with your Pinterest name and I'll add you to the board.

Remember to check out Mrs M for more Meal Planning Monday inspiration.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Best 3 De-Clutter Success Stories

I'd really love to be one of those people who has an immaculate house with clean skirting boards and stuff, but the reality is that I am not a housework lover and I live with people who are, let's just say, forgetful when it comes to putting things away and cleaning up after themselves. No, actually, that's too nice. I live with little slobs who only ever tidy up at my request and only then after a lot of huffing and puffing like they're the hardest done by children in the world, and a husband who does housework but who has much lower standards than me and, since I aim far lower than bleach heaven, that's saying something. Anyway... you get the picture.

A combination of school holidays, working from home, and less than 24 hours in the day means that my house is currently messier and dirtier than I'd like it to be. The obvious solution to this would be to stop blogging and do a little housework but where is the fun in that? Nope, to make me feel more optimistic about the state of my house I have been looking for pictures of houses once messier than mine which now look awesome. How's that for procrastination motivation!

1. Unskinny Boppy's laundry 

Pics from Unskinny Boppy. See full makeover here

Pics from Ready Set Simplify. See full makeover here
 3. Mom of 6's Basement (I don't have a basement, but if I did I bed it would look like the Before pic)

Photos from Mom of 6. See full makeover here

What do you reckon? Inspiring, right!

If you have a favourite de-cluttering project share the link in the comments so we can all see it.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Random Likings

As usual, I have been spending my free time wisely surfing online for stuff I love but will probably never buy since my house is already so full of stuff.

Resin Bangle from Buy My Crap
This Etsy shop has a fab range of these amazing resin bangles. 
Love Mae 
I found this shop when I was looking for wall stickers, I think, and spent ages browsing all the gorgeous items it sells, desperately trying to justify multiple purchases such as:
floral party cups
laptop and phone covers
wall stickers

National Trust Recycled Woolen Rugs
I am fairly sure I've featured these rugs before - possibly around Christmas time. They have been on my radar since I saw them in the NT shop at Tintagel two years ago but it's only now that I have got around to buying one for myself. £12... £12! Such a bargain for a throw of this quality and this size (120cm x 145cm). They are soft and warm and I suspect I won't stop at just one. They come in a range of random colours so you may find different ones online to those in shops at NT properties.

Hem Gems
I found this beauties via Fox in Flats and I really need to get my hands on some. Being barely over 5'1" means that unless I buy petite jeans, I will always need to roll or take my jeans up. Petite jeans are a bit hit and miss and that's assuming they're possible to find. Plus I love being able to buy £10 jeans from Primark and they don't do petite sizes. They come in 7 styles and cost US$18.99 for a packet of 8 (around £10 plus postage)

Today I'm Wearing
A fab time wasting site where you can have a good old stickybeak at other people's outfits. I am not creative at all when it comes to clothing, but I love seeing how real people combine things in stylish ways. Lots of items are referenced so you can click through and buy them if you're so inclined.

Zoku Character Kit
This seriously appeals to the kitch lover in me. Using the stencils and moulds provided you create ice lollies with cute faces. C'mon, wouldn't you want to bite into something that looks this adorable?
It's £20 from Hobbycraft or you can order online at Zoku

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Goodness me, this blog has been sadly neglected! I have been flat out with pretty much no time for any frivolous extras such as doing things I like, but busy is good in the land of freelance and doing my tax return this year was a much more positive experience than it has been in the past!

We are halfway through the summer holidays and the kids go back in three weeks. They will be starting new schools and I have spent an eye-watering amount kitting them out. Let's just say there had better not be any lost jumpers during the first term! Both of them, with their impeccable timing, needed new shoes six weeks before the end of term. Oldest is fine, but the youngest has already scuffed through the toes of his (Marks & Spencer - I am surprised they didn't last longer but then I guess their testing is less robust than my son's).

This is what we have been up to these holidays:
Gromit hunting in Bristol
Royal Welsh Show
Legoland Windsor
A visit to London (including an awesome Duckboat tour!)
Warner Bros Harry Potter tour
National Trust 50 Things activities at Tredegar House
Seeing Monster's University and Wolverine
Eating out
Haynes Car Museum
Bovington Tank Museum
Celebrating birthdays
Hanging out

Phew! I feel exhausted (and broke) just reading that lot. The next few weeks will be quieter with only a few days camping in Dorset planned.

What have you been up to? I hope you're having fun. I'm going to do a more detailed review of some of our family days out that have been made even better as a result of the fab British summer we're having (and this year I'm not coating the phrase "British summer" with disdain and sarcasm). They're certainly worth a visit.