Thursday, 30 December 2010

10,000 FREE* MEGABUS TICKETS

Megabus is offering 10,000 free tickets on its routes starting and finishing in England and Wales, for journeys between the 1st of February and the 3rd of April 2011, Mondays to Thursdays (excluding 14th to 20th February inclusive - probably as this is school half-term in most areas). *There is a 50p booking fee per transaction (not per ticket).
Just visit the site and search for the route you need.
Happy Frugal travelling!

Friday, 24 December 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS - NOW IT'S SALE TIME! BUT NOT FOR ME!

At the depressing news that Marks and Spencer's sale starts on-line tonight and in-store on Boxing Day my heart sinks. Haven't we already spent enough? My inbox is flooded with "up to 50% off " sales notices - and you know what? I don't care. If I buy anything in the sales it may be a box of decent crackers for next Christmas - couldn't get any this year as stores were asking £8-£10 for rubbish or £15-£20 for slightly less rubbish.
At least this year I won't still be moving plastic keyrings, hippo shaped bottle openers and metal puzzles around the sideboard until April! Yep - it gets to Easter and, guess what? I throw them away or send them to the charity shop. Why do we bother with crackers? Because we're being brain-washed. Christmas is a retail and media construction, pressurising us into believing that it won't be a great Christmas unless we buy this or that and eat this or that.
As for the sales - well they can stick their sales - if it was ALL genuinely 50% off it may be worth looking at - but it's not. The tat that no-one would be silly enough to buy is 50% off - like that weird plastic belt, strange hat, ugly clutch bag or tiny rubbish chain necklace. Anything that you'd really want has a quid knocked off it if you're lucky.
Enjoy your Christmas Day, spend quality time with your family and watch rubbish TV - forget the sales - who cares? Save your money - in 2011 you're probably going to need it.
Happy Frugal Christmas!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

15 FREE EBOOKS FOR YOU!

Fave Crafts has on offer 15 free ebooks . There's a great choice - all free to download. Titles are:
14 New Year's Eve Party Ideas,
12 Fun and Fabulous Mod Prodge projects, Perfect for Christmas Giving: 6 Gift in a Jar Ideas, Quick and Easy Decoupage, 9 Thanksgiving Decorations to Make, The Make My Own HolidayGifts Guide, Homemade Halloween Decorations, How to Halloween, Make it a Red Heart Holiday Knitting & Crochet ebook, 12 Thrifty Trash to Treasure Crafts, Cheap Home Decor, 8 Free Apron Sewing Patterns, 25 Afghan Patterns and Fun With Fabric Dye.
Happy Frugal Christmas!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

OLD CLOTHES MAKE NEW ACCESSORIES!

In hard times it pays to look back to even harder ones to see how we can copy ideas. War-time families wasted nothing, Every scrap of food was made into another dish and every scrap of fabric was made into something else. It was the ultimate time for recycling, re-using and mending and now we can do this too. Not only is it good for the planet, but it's good for our frugal lifestyles as well and it isn't difficult.
Sheets that are worn thin or ripped can be used to back patchwork or cushion covers. Old curtains can be cut up to make tablecloths, cushion covers or throws - or even smaller curtains (removing faded, worn and damaged parts of course). Old towels and tea towels can be torn up for cleaning cloths.
Don't throw away clothes that are torn, stained or damaged. Look at the fabric - can you make something else from it? Can you match it with other scraps and make something? Does it have a zip you can re-use? Can you cover a small hole in a blouse or t-shirt with embroidery or a cute patch?
Cut off buttons, bows, ribbons, beads and pieces of lace. Keep a button tin - buttons can be used to decorate bags, hats, gloves, cushions and fabric trainers. They can even be used as, well, buttons - to replace lost ones.
Use odd china cups as summer planters and saucers as water trays under houseplants. Even the really broken china can be used in the bottom of plant pots for drainage. Keep jam jars to re-use when you make jams and chutneys or use them for tea light holders indoors or out.
I now look at everything closely before I get rid of it and ask myself these questions;
Can I sell it? Can I use it to make something else or use it in a different way? Can take it apart and use the components? Can I give it to someone else to use- Freecycle, Freegle or the charity shop?
Only when I've exhausted all those ideas do I actually throw anything out - and I still have a bin full of rubbish every week - oh well, I'm trying!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

HAPPY FRUGAL LUNCHTIME!

We have had a lovely Bengal Lancers Covent Garden Soup for lunch today - not very frugal I hear you say, but actually it worked out at 5p per portion! My local supermarket had them marked down to 79p as they were near the end of their date, so I picked up 2, but they had also been on a 2 for £3 offer all the week, which meant that the till automatically took away £1.38! As the ticket price for 2 was £1.58, that left me with 20p to pay - a bargain for 4 delicious lunches - and they freeze too.
Wish I'd picked up a whole load now!
Happy frugal bargain hunting!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

HALLOWEEN SWEETS TO MAKE!

These recipes for Halloween sweets are just horrific! Choose from candy Monsters, Witch hats, Bleeding Truffles, Amputated Fingers, Mummy Truffles, Candy Spiders, Chocolate Ghosts, Spiderwebs, Peanut Butter Eyeballs, Meringue Ghosts, Chocolate Filled Witch Hats and Werewolf Truffles - or go mad and make them all!
More ideas for Halloween here!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

SPOOKY HALLOWEEN SPIDER TO MAKE


I just love this lovely spider made from a few beads and some wire. A great project for Halloween - I suppose you could make several to adorn hats, hang around the house or wear as jewellery. About.com has the instructions here - get beading!
Lots more ideas for half-term and Halloween HERE!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

DECORATE YOUR HOUSE FOR HALLOWEEN

If you are planning a Halloween party or just want something to keep the kids occupied in half-term, then this little collection of home decorating ideas for Halloween is just right for you. Choose from spooky wall banners, witches hats, wreaths and more. Get your ideas HERE!
Lots more ideas for half-term and Halloween HERE!

SCARY HALLOWEEN JEWELLERY!

Need something to accessorise your Halloween costume? Then this is for you - instructions for lots of scary Halloween jewellery. There is an eyeball ring, spiderweb necklace, skull beads, a kitchy Halloween bracelet, pumpkin necklace, Jack 0 Lantern earrings, glow in the dark items and more.
get the instructions HERE!
Lots more ideas for half-term and Halloween HERE!

FREE HALLOWEEN CROSS STITCH PATTERNS

More Happy Frugal ideas from About.com. If you like cross stitch they have free instructions for a trick or treat banner, a ghost, a pumpkin, a skull & crossbones, a spider, black cat, witch and more.
Get them HERE!
Lots more ideas for half-term and Halloween HERE!

FREE HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN STENCILS

If, like me, the very idea of tackling a pumpkin with a kitchen knife makes you want to forget the whole thing - here's something to help you out. About.com have 13 free stencils for you to print off including Frankenstein, a skull, a pig, a dragon and more.
Click HERE to get yours!
Lots more ideas for half-term and Halloween HERE!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

DO YOU HAVE A TWO PENCE COIN THAT'S WORTH £700?

This one keeps doing the rounds, but actually there must still be a few of these valuable 2p coins still out there!
Check all your old money boxes, down the sides of the cushions on your 3-piece suite, in your old money jars, in the kids' piggy banks, the back of the junk draw (yes, I've got one too) in that old ash tray - check everywhere!
If you find a 1983 2p coin that actually says "NEW PENCE" on it instead of "TWO PENCE" - then you're quids in.
It has to be dated 1983 AND it has to say "NEW PENCE", because this is due to a mistake made that year. Back in 1981 it was decided that, as decimalisation had taken place some years before, new pence were no longer "new" - so the wording on the coin would from then on be changed to "TWO PENCE". Someone made a mistake somewhere and in 1983 some 2p pieces were made with the words "NEW PENCE" on them. It would be interesting to know how many were made!
More info HERE.

DON'T LET ALL THE ADVERTISING HYPE MAKE YOU SPEND!

Advertising has the sole purpose of making us spend our money - and it usually works. Of course we have to be receptive to it, so if you feel worried, depressed, low, anxious or ugly - then those make-up and fashion adverts press all the right buttons! Then you go to the shops, max out your credit card, add to your debt and feel even more stressed, miserable, worried... I've just read a great article on how to train yourself to avoid this cycle - Knowing Your Triggers Can Prevent Emotional Spending and it really tells it like it is (but you knew that already). Furthermore, if you need proof that we can all look a little, well, plain, sometimes, then take a look HERE - these celebrities are definitely not immune to looking a little less than gorgeous and they have all the money and all the people it could possibly take to look glam!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A FREE DAY OUT IF IT RAINS IN THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS!

We've had lovely weather so far this summer, but in the event that it does rain in the school holidays, you can head to Britain's oldest museum, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, for free. You can see a large part of the national collection of arms and armour, and displays of over 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries. There are also daily live re-enactments and falconry displays, and children’s have-a-go sword sessions every weekend.
More things to do in the school holidays HERE

Thursday, 1 July 2010

GET THAT NEW JOB!

Well, it's getting tough in the world of work and probably set to get tougher. Unemployment numbers are forecast to be the highest ever in the coming year - oh dear, when will there be any good news I wonder?
But if you've lost your job or need a better one because your conditions, hours or pay are all being undermined by the recession, then you have to have a plan.
Start with your CV - is it up to date? Does it look good? Is it no more than 2 sides of A4? Does the language and tone reflect your abilities and success to date? Give yourself a few minutes to read How to Write a Successful CV (by the University of Kent). There are plenty of How to's out there - you only have to Google CV's, but I like this one because it will subtley upgrade the tone of your CV- looking at "action words", what to put in (and what to leave out), layout and spelling and grammar problems. Yes, it's aimed at graduates, but I can't see why it shouldn't be good advice for all of us.
Of course not all prospective employers will accept CV's, but that's not a good reason to forget yours! I keep mine up to date with details of courses taken, professional development and achievements. It acts as a record for me and is invaluable when filling in job application forms; I don't have to sit for hours trying to remember dates, past employers' names, addresses etc!
CV's are good for speculative job applications and you may be asked by employers that you contact by 'phone to just quickly send one in, so it's not good if it takes you days to hack it all together!
Next step is to plan where you will search for vacancies. Regularly check the websites of your target employers as well as looking in the newspapers and journals that you know they advertise in. Search the internet for your job in the area you would be happy to work in - you never know what it may bring up. Talk to all your friends, neighbours, relatives and ex colleagues - make sure they know you are available and hunting seriously for work.
Most importantly - clean up your online image! If you have a "I hate my boss/job" type of blog, then delete it! Check all your social networking site entries and clean up! It is quite common now for employers to Google their prospective employees - you need to be squeaky clean! If you get an interview, prepare properly and make sure you thoroughly research the company and have some intelligent questions to ask. Prepare answers and examples for any questions they may ask - have a look at Job Interview Questions About You it gives some "best answers" to all the tricky ones.
Have a plan B. Try to be realistic about your job prospects, but stay optimistic (difficult!). Go all out to apply for every job you'd like, but fill your time with interesting and useful tasks; read a book by an author you don't know, get to know your own area- walk, talk to people, go to your local library, start budgeting, try a new hobby, get fitter (cheaply), sell your junk on Ebay - but just keep busy.
Ask yourself "what if?" every now and then. What if I train for a new career? What if I try to start a small business? What if I call up the local Further Education College and get a prospectus of courses? What if my hobby could make me a living? What if I took a part-time job and learned a new skill at the same time? What if I could grow my own fruit and vegetables? What if I came up with a service that I could offer in my neighbourhood?
Keep thinking and exploring ideas and make your job search or possible new career direction your "new job".
Good Luck!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

NATIONAL TRUST FREE DAYS OUT IN THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS

The National Trust has put together over 100 different activities and events to do for free over the holidays. You can search by region to find something in your chosen area.
More ideas for the school holidays!

START PLANNING FOR THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS

The weather's great (at the moment) and summer's here. Schools will soon break up for the 6 week summer holiday - what will you do with the kids this year?
A Freegle newsletter dropped into my inbox this morning (Freegle is like Freecycle which I don't have in my area) and it got me thinking about the summer holidays as someone was offering kids' stuff, and here's the list:

3 PLASTIC SANDCASTLE POTS (brand new)
2 PLASTIC MINI BAT & BALL SETS (brand new)
VARIOUS SIZED BALLS
GIANT BOOK OF QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - more than 1000 illustrated q&a to things children want to know (history/planet/ biology/animals etc.)
AN AMOUNT OF RED/WHITE & BLUE CREPE STREAMER/BUNTING (still in package)

Now this generous person is obviously having a clear out, but how great all these things would be for the garden, park and beach in the school holidays!

So my point is, get over to your local Freecycle or Freegle group, join up, get rid of some of your stuff and (hopefully) get some really useful stuff for summer - but do it quick- by the time the kids actually finish school there'll be nothing left!

More ideas for the school holidays!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

FREE TESCO VALUE FATHER'S DAY CARD!

If your dad can take a joke and is not bothered about cards anyway, why not download a Tesco Value Father's Day card and print it out? Costs only your paper and ink!
More Father's Day ideas HERE!

Friday, 11 June 2010

AMAZON UK DISCOUNT FINDER

Quickly find all those Amazon discounted items at the click of a mouse. Amazon UK Discount Finder helps you find the bargains or set up email alerts for price drops.

FREE EBOOK FOR FATHER'S DAY GIFTS TO MAKE!

This free ebook includes several projects to make gifts for Father's Day, such as a leather key ring, a great coffee mug jacket resembling a tyre and an upcycled backscratcher!
Get it HERE.

More Father's day ideas HERE.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

GREAT PRESENTS FOR FATHERS' DAY

It's Fathers Day on the 20th June - and what better treat is there than a lovingly made gift from your kids to their dad? And it'll be frugal too!
HobbyCraft has a great page of free Father's Day gift projects on offer. Yes, if you buy all the stuff needed to make the items from them, then it may not be so frugal, but have a look, see what you've already got at home and then buy if you really have to! Each project tells you how long it takes, what items you need and what skill level is required.
There's 35 different projects to choose from including wonderful Father's Day cards, a magnetic picture frame, a keyring, a BBQ apron, a cushion, a silk tie, seed markers made from Fimo, a stone paperweight, surfy jewellery, coasters and more.

More Father's day ideas HERE.

CHEAP AND NATURAL WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANTS

It's hot and dry and yes, we've got ants! They appear from nowhere, suddenly running along windowsills and work tops or crawling around a cupboard - uuugh!
So, how can we get rid of them naturally and frugally? Here's a few ideas to try;
White vinegar - mix 50/50 with water and wipe down surfaces, where you've seen ants, regularly throughout the day. This works by discouraging ants because they dislike the smell of vinegar and it destroys their scent trails which they use to navigate around your house!
Coffee grounds - sprinkle around the outside near any doorways where you can see ants entering. This works by repelling the ants because, again, they don't like the smell.
Talcum powder (or chalk) - again, sprinkle around doorways or any corners where you can see ants entering. Talcum powder is also useful to use on carpet, along skirting boards or across doorways, because you can vacuum it up when you're finished with it! This works as it is a natural ant repellant.
Borax and jam - mix 50/50 Borax and jam and spread around outside where ants are coming in (but not where people are likely to tread!). This works because ants are attracted to the jam and eat it but the Borax will kill them once ingested.
Herbs - Spinkle black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, mint, chilli, cloves garlic or whatever one you happen to have around the affected areas. This works because again, these strong smelling herbs and spices are repellant to the ants.
All these methods can take time, but they will work. I also kill any stray ant that I see, because (and this may be an old wives' tale) I've heard that they can go back to the nest and bring other ants back with them - thay have some way of "telling" the rest of the ants where to go for a good feed! Sounds crazy I know - but hey, it may just be true!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

GET A FREE AUDIO BOOK FROM AUDIBLE.CO.UK

In conjunction with Absolute Radio, Audible are offering a free audio book to download. There's one for the boys just in time for the World Cup (and Father's Day!) -Why England Lose and other Curious Football Phenomena Explained and one for the girls- The Carrie Diaries, which celebrates the release of the movie Sex and The City 2. Hear all about Carrie’s days before she became a columnist.
More Father's day ideas HERE.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

BARGAIN FINDS AT POUNDLAND!

The word is out that Poundland are selling disguised branded goods at the moment. One outstanding bargain (if you can find them) is Next tights, which usually retail around £6-£7 you can spot them easily as they have a small label over the Next logo under the word "Hosiery". Get them quick!
Another (very seasonal) find is Johnsons Holiday Skin Body lotion (usually £5) at 2 for £1 - it has Russian labels! But, if you are unfamiliar with the product, it does have an English label describing how it should be used.
Other bargains to be spotted are Boots No 7 Firming Cream and other items from their Botanics range - all labelled with the Pure brand name.
These items will probably sell out quickly - so a regular weekly visit to your local Poundland is probably a good idea, to spot those bargains before anyone else does!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

WAYS TO COOK AND EAT CAULIFLOWER

I've seen today on the news that sales of cauliflowers are falling dramatically. The popularity of this vegetable has apparently sunk to an all time low and there are fewer and fewer cauliflower growers in the UK. That's a bit alarming - and I don't really know why - is it the colour? Is it the taste? Or lack of it?
Well, it may be all three, but let's examine the colour issue first. Some people may believe it doesn't rank very highly as a "green" vegetable - but here are the nutritional facts:
  • a 100g raw serving will give you 25 calories - brilliant and filling! Raw? I hear you say? Yeeugh! I hear you cry? Don't knock it 'till you've tried it (more later)
  • 0g fat and 0g cholesterol
  • 3g dietary fibre (10% of your RDA)
  • Vitamin C (a massive 70% of your RDA)
  • Protein 2g
  • Iron (2% of your RDA)
  • Calcium (2% of your RDA)
  • has a very low Glycemic Load (2) and is mildly anti-inflamatory
Cooking lessens these amounts a little but probably not that much, providing you don't cook it to mush!
Okay - back to the raw recipes - you can mix finely cut small florets into salads with broccoli, Spanish onion and your favourite dressing more ideas HERE. Or you can use raw cauliflower in a dip - just wash, drain well until dry, separate into small mouthful-sized florets and arrange on a dish around a bowl of curry flavoured dip or mayonnaise. You can alternate the pieces of cauli with strips of raw courgette and carrot to give your dish some extra colour. Enjoy!

Cooking cauliflower is a bit like cooking brocolli - don't overdo it. If you have a steamer then that works well, but dropping the florets into boiling water for 8-10 minutes (depending on floret size) is all I do and they are still "al dente" - not raw, but crisp and firm. If you want to use it as more than a just an accompaniment vegetable, try Cauliflower Curry, Vegetable Pilau, Roasted cauliflower, or Cauliflower fritters!
The trick with cauliflower is to add some stronger, spicy ingredients to compliment its more delicate taste. And don't forget - despite the fact that cauliflower is often seen as expensive, it's quite bulky and an average head will give you enough for a meal for 2 people, so it is still fairly frugal.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

IT'S NEARLY SUMMER - START YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!

In my many recent visits to the local charity shops in the last couple of weeks, I've realised that there seems to be an abundance of bric-a-brac and gifts - people are spring cleaning and having a clearout while they're at it! They're cleaning under their beds and finding little bags of unwanted Christmas gifts that they didn't know where to put at the time, so they just rammed them under the bed- I know- I do it! They're getting out their summer clothes and coming across boxes of stuff in the back of their wardrobes that they just don't have the space to keep any more. That's where we score! The charity shops are also quieter in good weather and often have more stock.
Get your gift lists written and start visiting your local charity shops regularly. Goods are continually being sorted and displayed - as shelves empty, the shop staff have to fill them, so keep visiting and make sure you go before Friday or Saturday as I've often spotted something on a Thursday - thought I'd come back for it on Friday afternoon or Saturday, only to discover it's gone!
Look for new, packed gifts, good glass or pottery, unusual (but perfect) mugs to pack with mini gifts or sweets, new knitting yarn to knit gifts with, or, if you are a jewellery maker - loose beads or findings to create that individual piece that no-one else will ever have.
Remember, if you spot a bargain, buy it at the time - as the odds are on, someone else will spot it too!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

LOADS OF VOUCHERS FOR BURGER KING!

Burger King is offering BOGOFS and loads of other freebies with vouchers to use instore. As well as the 2 for 1 offers you can get free drinks, fries, kid's meals, ice cream and pancakes!
Get your Burger King vouchers HERE.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

IT'S SPRING WANNA EAT DANDELIONS?

It's official - it's spring - it must be - my lawn is full of dandelions! They're a nuisance, I know, but you can make use of them - and they're free! Eat them! (And they're also rich in iron, calcium and Vitamin C, as a bonus).
Of course, if you're going to eat dandelions then you may need a few more than those on your lawn! Go out walking and fill a bag full - good exercise and free food! That said, I never like to eat anything picked from the side of a busy road - I don't like the idea of the car pollution that may affect the food. Try to walk in wild areas where you're reasonably sure no-one sprays pesticides.
Cook them as a green leafy veg accompaniment to your meal -
wash the leaves well with water, then put them in a pan, pour boiling water over them and boil for five minutes. Season with a little salt and butter. Eat! If the taste is too strong, cook some dandelion buds with them to soften the taste.
You can also eat them raw in a salad (they may be a little bitter), add them to a sandwich or stir fry them in a little olive oil.
The recipes are endless; make wine, jelly, soup, fry the blossoms, make fritters.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

FREE HOW TO CROCHET A SACK BOY

I have a link to a knitting pattern for him, but you can also crochet the cute little Sack Boy from Little Big Planet with these video instructions -
Part 1 and Part 2 .

FREE EXERCISE TO DO AT EASTER!

Yes, there's loads of free ways to get the kids (and us) up off the sofa and away from the computer games this Easter (and whenever).
  • Take a football, frisbee or kite to the park or beach and just run around!
  • Walk your dog (or someone else's) and I mean really walk the dog - like about 3 miles a day and briskly! Dogplay has over 40 other inventive activities to do with your dog!
  • If it rains, get the kids involved in the housework (even if you have to bribe them!) -clean the house from top to bottom whilst listening to your favourite music and work off those calories!
  • Get them out in the garden - mow the grass, sweep up, plant seeds, do the weeding, get rid of rubbish, dead head the plants.
Last of all, get enough sleep - make sure the kids wear themselves out and get to bed early (and up early the next day) and you'll all probably feel better by the end of the Easter holidays!
More ideas for the school holidays!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

NATIONAL TRUST FREE DAYS OUT

The National Trust has put together over 100 different activities and events to do for free over the holidays. There's loads of choice for everyone, from surfing, mountain climbing, watching an historical re-enactment or standing in the steps of movie stars.
You can search by region to find something in your chosen area.
More ideas for the school holidays!

FREE WALKING FOR EASTER!

Check out Walking Britain's website and find a walk near you to burn off some energy (and Easter eggs) at Easter! It's free and it's good for you too!
More ideas for the school holidays!

KIDS GO FREE AT CADBURY WORLD

Visit the Heart is offering a voucher for free kids' entry to Cadbury World. Use it for the Easter holdays, but the offer doesn't end until 30th December 2010 - so you can use it all year!
More ideas for the school holidays!

Friday, 26 March 2010

KNITTED EASTER BUNNY BOOTIES

These cute knitted Easter bunny bootees will look gorgeous on your favourite baby! You can knit the ears in pink or blue - or lemon, or lilac, or any colour you like, and they come in 3 month and 6 month sizes.
Happy knitting!
More free knitting patterns for Easter here!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

SAVE MONEY ON O2 IPHONE CONTRACTS

If your Iphone deal with O2 is up - make sure you take a look at these:

paying monthly, 300 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data and wi-fi - £20 per month
or
12 month contract- but same as above - £15 per month!

It seems from this that most people could save money on one of these deals. It's the usual old thing - every time a contract ends, everytime something is up for renewal, you've just got to get out there and find a better deal - they're relying on you not doing it!

FREE HOW-TO-KNIT VIDEOS

If you've been enjoying all the free knitting patterns I've been blogging about and can't knit, but wish you could -then this is for you!
These 5 free online video tutorials will show you clearly how to cast on, cast off, knit and purl, increase, decrease and make up.
Get those frugal needles clicking!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

CUTE VINTAGE STYLE EASTER BUNNY KNITTING PATTERN

This sitting vintage style 4 ply bunny is yet another free knitting pattern to add to your Easter bunny collection. Be quick, you still have 2 weeks to get him knitted - plenty of time!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

EASTER BUNNY KNITTING PATTERN

This lovely Easter Bunny knitting pattern can be made out of one square of knitting - very clever! It has no features, but could be further enhanced by embroidering features and adding a ribbon bow.

FUZZY EASTER CHICKS TO KNIT!

Yet more Easter knitting for your delight! These fuzzy easter chicks can be knitted up in no time and will be great as decorations or gifts.

FRUGAL CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP RECIPE

This soup is cheap to make and fairly low in fat and calories. You can add fresh coriander leaves to finish the soup off in the bowls if you like them, but this may not be very frugal (unless you have some growing in your garden) as packaged herbs can be expensive from the supermarket. If you have chicken stock left over from a roast chicken carcass then this can be used instead of a vegetable stock cube.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
450g Carrots
1 Large onion
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
1.2 litres Vegetable stock (made from a cube)
Black pepper

Method
Peel and slice the carrots and roughly chop the onion.
Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots and onion and fry for five minutes, turning all the time until the onions begin to soften.Stir in the ground coriander and cook gently for one more minute.Add the black pepper (to taste). Pour in the stock and bring the the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the soup for 20 minutes until the carrots are soft. Stir the soup a couple of times during cooking.
Cool and liquidise the soup with a stick hand blender*, or in a liquidiser. Taste the soup and add more pepper if needed.
Serve with fresh bread, French bread or rye bread. Warm any stale rolls or left over French bread in the microwave to soften or toast stale sliced bread and spread whilst hot with butter.
*I use the Kenwood HB150 Stick Hand Blender as it's easy to just blend your soup in the pan right where you cooked it - no messy liquidiser to wash up!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

KNIT A THUNDERBIRDS OR SUPER MARIO BROS JUMPER!

I've found yet another blast from the past! (Well - strictly speaking 2 blasts!) You can knit one for yourself, your kids - or even your other half - a jumper picturing the Thunderbirds characters, their spacecraft or the fabulous Super Mario!
These Thunderbird and Super Mario Bros knitting patterns by Gary Kennedy Intarsia go right up to adult sizes.
And if you can't face the thought of anyone actually wearing a character, they are knitted from a separate graph for each one, so they can be used to create cushion covers, throws and, well, anything else you can think of!

Start knitting now for Christmas!

Friday, 5 March 2010

SIGHT TESTS PERMANENTLY FREE AT TESCO!

Tesco has decided to offer permanently free eyesight tests now. Check for your nearest Tesco with an optician. Click the button on the left that says "Opticians available".

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

CHEAPER DIY FOR THE OVER 60s

B&Q is offering its over sixties customers a 10% discount with their Diamond Card. This card is free and entitles the holder to 10% off on Wednesdays only. Pick up a leaflet instore to apply or print off the form from HERE, fill it in and take it with proof of age (passport, bus pass, driving licence) to your local B&Q and you'll get your card straight away.
Focus has the same saving to be made at 10% with its privilege Card, but this can be used every day - much more useful for those unplanned buys! Apply instore and take along proof of age (driving licence, passport, birth certificate or a state pension book) to start saving now!
Remember - both these stores have a wealth of other goods on sale - not just DIY materials - they have garden tools, ornaments, plants, storage solutions, gifts, soft furnishings, lighting, Christmas decorations and more.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

KNIT A HOT CROSS BUN!

Easter is coming - and we all love hot cross buns - they've been in the shops since Christmas!
Here's a chance to make a hot cross bun with absolutely no calories - knit it!
Get your free hot cross bun knitting pattern here!
More free Easter knitting patterns HERE and HERE

FIND FREE & CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN YOUR AREA IN HALF-TERM

I've been googling to try to find free or cheap things to do this holiday and most websites only have old info from 2 or more years back! They really should take those sites down!
But - what I did see in my results was plenty of local councils offering free activities for the school holidays, so in order that you can find out what's going on in your area, here's a link to a list of all local councils in alphabetical order.

Just find your local council in the list, visit their site and look for the sections that cover events, sport & leisure, What's On, tourism, days out etc. You may just be pleasantly surprised!

More ideas for free and cheap activities for school holidays HERE!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

FREE EBOOKS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY!


You can get lots of Valentine's Day gift inspiration from Fave.com's 2 free ebooks plus 14 other free craft ebooks on just about every craft you can imagine, all free to download.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

MAKE SOME EXTRA CASH WITH ALAMY

I'm not a terrific photographer, however, I know plenty of people who are not professional photographers, but whose pictures are really excellent and could possibly earn them some cash. I've had a look at Alamy , an on-line stock photo agency and they seem very organised and business-like, with very high standards. There are quite a few of these stock photography sites on the Internet and I think it pays to carefully read their submission policies, because if they are quite discerning, you know that if they accept your pictures, there's a half decent chance that they will sell. You will also need a good digital camera - a DSLR of 6 mega pixel at least. Alamy pay you 60% of the price they receive and there is a well-supported forum for photographers which appears useful for users to ask for (and give) advice and also a blog which seems fairly up to date with postings.
The site has images from over 20,000 photographers and 500 picture agencies.
Of course you need clear images with no blur or camera shake, good subjects, editing and lighting, because they will reject anything not technically perfect or any unwanted subject matter. But it doesn't cost anything - so what have you got to lose? Give it a try - you may earn some cash!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

TWO FREE AUDIO BOOKS!

Sign up with audiobooks.net and get 2 free audio books - choose from 35,000 titles.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

SEEDY FLAPJACK BARS

I like this recipe for Seedy Flapjack because it doesn't use margarine or butter. It uses rapeseed oil instead (and not very much of that). I bought a fairly sizeable bottle of this very cheaply from my local supermarket. The bars make a good lunchbox filler or snack and, whilst they are not exactly low calorie, they do have some healthy ingredients (the seeds, the oats, the apricots, the rapeseed oil).

Ingredients:
90ml (6 tbsp) rapeseed oil
150ml (9tbsp) clear honey
225g (9ozs) oats
40g (1.50 ozs) light muscovado sugar
40g (1.50 ozs) sesame seeds
75g (3ozs) sunflower seeds
75g (3 ozs) sultanas
75g (3 ozs) ready to eat apricots, chopped
40g (1.50 ozs) dessicated coconut

Makes around 16-18 bars depending on how big you cut them.

Method.
Heat oven to 180 degC/350 deg F/ gas mark 4
Grease a baking tin measuring around 11" x 7".
Gently melt the honey and oil in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
The mixture will seem very dry, but keep mixing well, turn into the tin and then press down very hard with the back of the spoon - it's worth taking some time over this as the firmer it is pressed down, the easier it is to cut and remove from the tin after cooking and the better it will "hang" together to eat!
Cook for 20-25 minutes unitl golden coloured.
Gently mark into bars while it's still warm. Leave to cool a little then cut into slices and finish cooling on a rack.
Enjoy!
These bars store well in an airtight container and will keep all week - if they last that long!

Tip: You can substitute other seeds or miss out some and put more in of another. Prunes could be substituted for the apricots or you could have both - just keep the overall proportions in the recipe correct.

WRAP UP, STAY IN AND MAKE SOUP!

As the weather is making most of us stay in - it's really thick snow here where I live anyway - I feel like looking around the cupboards and seeing what I can cook.
I have heard that there was fighting in my local supermarket yesterday - over loaves of bread! apparently quite a few shops have none and people are starting to panic buy! I'd be more concerned about milk if I were them - after seeing on the news that farmers' are pouring away their milk down the drain as the milk tankers can't get to them to collect it.
However, that's another story.
Today I have made my broccoli stalk soup (we're having roast pork tonight with broccoli, carrots and roast potatoes) - so instead of throwing away the 2 huge stalks we made lunch with them - 2 great big bowls of soup and one small one for the freezer for me later on in the week!

Yum!
PS I also made some Seedy Flapjack bars!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

COLD WEATHER PAYMENTS

You might be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment for each week of very cold weather in your area if you get Pension Credit or income-related Employment and Support Allowance with a support or work related activity component in the main phase.

You may also be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment for each qualifying week if you are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance in the assessment phase and have one of the following:

  • a pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium
  • a disability premium, enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium
  • a disabled child premium
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • a child who is under five in the family
The Cold Weather Payments do not affect any other benefits you may be getting.
You don't need to apply as the Cold Weather Payment is paid automatically as long as you qualify.

If you think you should have had a payment and haven't, then tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus.

To check if your area has had low enough temperatures to trigger a cold weather payment use the direct.gov postcode search.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

ARE YOU EBAYING YOUR SENTIMENT?

Last November a YouGov online poll of over 2,000 people by self-storage company Safestore, found that around half of us who get the "clear out, throw out and Ebay everything" bug, regret it and wish we hadn't parted with some things that had sentimental value to us.

Yes, of course, we should all think carefully about what we
do get rid of - and yes of course, Safestore wants us to keep it all in their storage facility and pay them well for it year in, year out!

Cynical or what?

ONE LAST CHRISTMAS EXPENSE!

Well, that's it - Christmas is finally over - despite feeling like a 2-week marathon, it's over...almost.
I've not quite finished taking all the decorations down yet. I thought I had until tomorrow - but according to this 12th night info they must come down today - or remain up all year - eeeeeeeek!!!!!! What a terrible thought.
There's also a couple of other frugal things I've yet to do for NEXT Christmas - buy some very reduced crackers if I can find some (it's cold, it looks like it's about to snow, I don't want to go out, it's lunch time - maybe I'll go later) and make my labels from the Christmas cards.

I'd like to say that, like all good frugallers, I'm on the lookout for next year's Christmas presents, but I'm not - I just can't bear the thought of it!