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Thursday, 28 May 2015

5 Ways On How To Save Money.

In today’s day and age, money is getting smaller in terms of value, whilst products become more expensive. My youngest child G is at that age where she thinks I can magic money from my pockets without no value to it, and so it’s become the latest talk of subjects recently. I've always taught my children to try and be wise with their money, and try to make it stretch as far as possible!

After having a good, hour long at least conversation with G earlier, I thought I would share it with my readers and show you how I make my money stretch as far as possible!

Online shopping.

Shopping online is not only easier and quicker than shopping on the high street, but it’s also a lot more cheaper than shopping in the shops! Comparing prices between different retailers is  a lot more easier to do online, but what’s even better is discovering online retailers who sell at a fraction of the cost of their high street competitors, one of my favourite online retailers has to be Just My Look, not only for their excellent prices, but also because of their great range of products!

Sell your unwanted products.

I’m trying to encourage G to start selling anything she doesn't use any more, she’s just recently become a teenager and has boxes of un-played with toys sat under her bed and in the attic. Find local car boot sales and buy a pitch for as cheap as chips, then make the money back that you've spent on the pitch, plus more by selling your old, unused and unwanted products! Alternatively, you can sell on local social media sites, in local newspapers or even by advertising in local shop windows.

Always check out the reduced section when shopping.

Whenever I go food shopping - because I tend to do it online to stop me buying stuff which isn’t needed nor on my list (check out the next paragraph), I always check out each sections reduced section, in the chilled section you’ll normally find yoghurt's which can be frozen, but before they’re frozen, make sure you pop a brand new lolly stick (available to buy for under £1 from craft/cake shops) through the lid before it freezes! Then when it’s frozen, you just peel back the lid and you have a DIY frozen lolly! You can also pick up great pieces of meat and season fruit and veg in the reduced sections, along with bakery products!

Only buy what's on your list!

Going to a supermarket or shop without a list of things that you do need can be a pricey trip if you’re not careful! Supermarkets are especially bad for drawing us in to products by putting a price cut label next to a product, but how much are you actually saving on those tin of beans? Do you really need another tin of beans to accompany the tins you've already got at home in the kitchen cupboard? Write a list before you go shopping and make sure you stick to it!

Make the most of the good weather.

We all have loads of washing to do don't we? Especially households with working people and children in it, such as mine! It doesn't matter how many loads of washing I do, the washing basket is never ever empty! Using the washing machine alone is a small expense, but tumble dryers are even worse! When the weather is nice, try to dry as many clothes on the line as you can! If the weather is not too great, why not pop them on your airer instead? If you've not got a washing line, or access to a garden, clothes airers are sold for as little as £10 and can save a small fortune in electric cost due to tumble drying your clothes!

I’d love to read any tips you have, and hope you find mine helpful.


M x

The Importance Of Oral Hygiene.

Reading recent news articles about children’s oral hygiene and how many children are being admitted to hospital to have teeth removed has been quite upsetting. As a child, I was taught about the importance of keeping your teeth and I've always encouraged my children to do the same with their teeth.

Understandably it’s not always down to poor oral health hygiene that some oral problems appear from, sometimes through no fault of our own, health problems can occur. I have a dear friend who has the pearliest pearl of white teeth, however she suffers quite bad with gum disease, something that may could've been prevented, but something that can also occur by itself.

I’ve not got the most best of teeth myself, being a smoker for many years of my life until I gave up over 10 years ago has took it’s toll on my mouth, so has all the cups of tea and coffee I've consumed over the years, along with all the sugary snacks thanks to my ‘sweet tooth’. According to The Centre Of Advanced Dentistry Yorkshire the average woman smiles 62 times a day, and with that information, I can tell you now I must not be that average woman.

I'm not embarrassed about my smile, nor am I proud of it, it’s a smile I've got to live with until I win the lottery and can afford a new set of fresh whites! However, the chances of that happening is rather quite small, especially as I don't even always do the lottery, you know what they say you've got to be in it to win it!

My mother always use to say to me when I was a child that dentistry is not expensive, neglect is, and it’s only now that I am in my 40’s myself, and not extremely happy with the set of nashers I have, that I can relate to the quote and why my mother told me it so often. It’s safe to say I've lived life, and have eaten a lot of the wrong types of food over the years, I even went through a stage of drinking three cans of cola a week, something which is not good for your teeth at all!

If I could go back in life, I think I’d live a Willy Wonka lifestyle, before he was a factory owner of course, he had the most perfect of teeth due to his strict dentist father being extremely strict on what kind of food and drink he put into his mouth!

They do say a smile is the prettiest thing you can wear, and so I think it’s time I start making myself more pretty, I'm going to start wearing my smile, and be proud of the smile I have got! Remember dental hygiene is equally as important as body hygiene, it’s not something you should ever forget, if you do pull that old chestnut of an excuse on a few too often basis, why not try leaving a note in the bathroom somewhere, you use the toilet every morning and before you go to bed surely?

There’s never no excuse to look after your smile!

M x

Treating My Special Loved Ones!

It will soon be the school summer holidays for children in England and I for one am extremely looking forward to them approaching! I've got a countdown calendar on my laptop and phone screen letting me know exactly how many days it is until the holidays start. I'm not excited because I am a older learner who’s at college or university, I think I've done everything I can education wise over the years attending various courses all over the country, I'm excited because I get to see my two daughters and my three grandsons in the summer holidays, one of the very few times a year I get to see them, and they get to see me.

It wasn't the easiest of decisions moving to Cornwall a few years ago, four hours away from my hometown Reading, not that I miss the town I was raised in at all, but I do miss my small family, especially my children and grandchildren! For many years, I had enough of Reading, but living here in Cornwall makes me a much happier person, and everyone notices it. It’s not just me who’s happier being here too, it’s also my partner and our child, my youngest child who’s 13!

My older three children who live in Reading still, Jamie (aged 22), Jade (aged 25) and Paula (aged 30) love coming down here whenever they can, and so does my grandchildren, Jade has one son and Paula has two! Jamie is yet to become a daddy, but I'm sure when he does his child/children will love it down here just as much as the others do! It’s a free holiday for them, they've not got to fork out on accommodation or food, entertainment or anything else you may pay out for on a holiday, they just need to get here which cost a little bit of petrol money!


On there way to see Nanny! A four hour drive!
Back at the beginning of the year, I moved homes to a smaller property than the one I was in before, and now the summer holidays are fast approaching, I've been trying to mentally picture where everyone will be sleeping when they come down for their stay! I then come across a lovely selection of childrens beds from room to grow and thought I would surprise the grandchildren with not one, but two sets of bunk beds for when they come down and visit their nanny!

I miss my children and grandchildren dearly, I know my girls are going to tell me off when they see the surprises I got for them too, but I couldn't help it! I'm lucky enough that the children aren't old enough to go online yet, otherwise they would of found out my surprise for them! If one of the girls did accidentally let it slip about the bunk beds, I've got lots of other surprises lined up for their stay too!

If I can’t treat my children and grandchildren then who can I treat? I can't really treat myself can I? That’s not really the way treats work is it? I'm always telling Jade (my second eldest daughter) off when she tells me she’s treated herself to a new top or pair of shoes, she’s a single mum and works really hard to give her son the best in life! I say to her you're not treating yourself Jade, you can buy yourself whatever you please!


I must go now, I've got a gypsy tart that needs to go in the fridge, ready for when some friends pop round for tea and cakes tomorrow! Actually that's a little treat to myself I must admit, a nice afternoon with special friends and home made cake!

M x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Jelly Belly Valentine Sleeve Gift Box & Mr Jelly Belly Dispenser Review

I was recently sent two Jelly Belly products to review and from the moment we opened up the boxes we were spoil't for choice in the vast fabulous array of flavours.
The excitement on my daughters face was magic as she wanted to play with the dispenser & would not even let me touch it, so I said she could help me with the review & be my official taster.

The first Jelly Belly product was a 20 Valentine Sleeve Gift Box 250g size, which makes a great change from the usual box of chocolates that is given to your loved one on Valentines Day.
The box itself is in a gorgeous red, foiled embossed sleeve that's just the ticket for that someone special & Inside you have  20 different flavour assortment beautifully presented in individual compartments.

All the Jelly Belly Beans are:


  • Gelatine Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Fat Free
  • Certified OU Kosher

The second product we were sent to review was a Jelly Belly Toy Dispenser 628g.

This is the newest dispenser on the block in the Jelly Belly Dispenser range. This cute addition has a manual crank mechanism. Press the lever, watch the gears go and out come the beans! This is a must have item for the Jelly Belly fan in your life. A push of Mr. Jelly Belly's handle turns the real working gears and dispenses Jelly Belly beans through the chute. The Mr. Jelly Belly Machine normally comes packed with a small 28g sample bag of beans but Jelly Belly Candy Company want to fill it up from the get go so.....they have included  2x300g 50 Assorted Tie tops which should do the job nicely. The machine when brim full will hold approximately 650g of beans and is 23.5cm high.

My daughter Georgia loved pressing on Mr Jelly Beans Head & watching the Jelly Beans 
come out of the bottom of the dispenser.

Overall we loved both the products but especially the dispenser, we had a great time trying to guess all the wonderful flavours and we even tried making a few of the recipes that comes with the Jelly Beans!

The Valentine Sleeve Gift Box is available to by online and retails from £9.08 and the
 " Mr Jelly Bean Dispenser " is also available online and retails from £38.00 both can be purchased here at


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mama Cornish Chocolate & Coconut Cookies

These are extremely chocolaty,very crunchy & delicious cookies that I concocted one day when I had a few hours spare,so with my 12 year old daughter Georgia's help we made our lovely cookies.
We love them so I hope you do to.



Recipe

6 oz plain flour
4.5 oz butter or margarine
2 oz caster sugar or soft brown sugar
1.5 oz of coco powder
1 tablespoon of golden syrup (optional)
1 oz of desiccated coconut

MAKES 12

Put all the ingredients into a bowl & using an electric mixer with dough hook attachments, mix until the mixture comes together into a ball, be patient as it seems to take a while.
Then either leave as a ball or shape into a oblong shape, wrap in cling film & refrigerate for 30 mins.
Take out of the fridge & cut into 12 slices or roll out & use a cookie cutter, place on a parchment lined baking tray & press down with a fork or leave if using a cutter, cook at 180/160 fan assisted or gas mark 4 for 9-10 minutes.
Once cooled either dust with icing sugar or decorate as you please, enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

JML Ceracraft Ceramic Pan Review

I really do enjoy cooking and I'm mostly in the kitchen either cooking tried & tested recipes or trying to create my own put together creations. When I was offered the chance to review a non stick ceramic frying pan from JML Direct, I snapped up the chance quickly as I have always wanted a ceramic set of pans to complement my vast collection of pots & pans (all of them are non stick or aluminium based) so this was a much welcomed pan in my household.

I thought I would try out my own made recipe of Paella to cook in my new pan, the recipe has been tweaked quite a lot because I do not like much sea food, except prawns of which I love (I will be adding the recipe soon).


I was very pleased when a lovely 28cm ceramic Ceracraft frying pan arrived in a Cranberry & Black colour, just one of six colours and one of many sizes that are available in the range. Ceracraft Pans are made with a unique ceramic coating that has a PTFE free cooking surface to offer safe non- stick cooking. The ceramic surface is also scratch resistant, and is very easy to clean. The forged aluminium and stainless steel base is extremely hardwearing and durable, and the ergonomic easy-grip handle provides the best in safe usability. Ceracraft Pans are suitable for use on electric, glass-ceramic, gas, halogen and induction cookers. 



My first impressions of the pan was it looked very stylish and of a good quality, I decided that I would test this pans non stick capability with my Paella, which is a dish that always catches and sticks in my other pans.  

First of all, I added some sliced Chorizo which omits its own orangey paprika infused oil, so I did not have to add any additional oil what so ever, I then removed the chorizo from the pan and set aside. I added some chicken to the pan, that I marinated in some Cajun spices with a little chilli powder, I cooked this over a medium heat and half way through sprinkled some smoked paprika onto the chicken to add some more flavour.

I then added sliced onions & mushrooms, cooked for a further five minutes before adding in some ready cooked rice that I brought from my local supermarket, you can add your own flavoured rice in if you wish, or in fact any cooked rice will do. By now with a normal pan, you would notice that the ingredients would start to stick, I did not have this problem with the ceracraft pan at all.

I cooked the dish for a further few minutes to make sure the rice was piping hot, I then added my cooked chorizo and a handful of cooked prawns which I stirred & cooked for a further 2-3 minutes. That was it, my take on Paella was cooked and ready to serve, I divided the Paella between us and not once did anything stick to the frying pan during the cooking process, also the Paella just slipped from the pan onto the plates with ease meaning no scraping bits from the bottom which always seem to be burnt!

Washing the pan was a breeze too as I had no residue at all on the pan except for a yellow colour from the Paella itself that washed off in one wipe, in fact the pan looked like it had never been used at all once it was washed and dried.
I would defiantly recommend the Ceracraft pan range to everyone, the pan is the ultimate in non-stick cookware! no fat or oil required, allowing you to cook very healthily indeed and I'm so glad I have one of these pans myself, now to get me more creative in the kitchen. 

The Ceracraft range are available in six beautiful colours which are; Cherry Red, Lime Green, Lemon, Aubergine, Cranberry & Black and Chrome & Black, the range includes 20cm, 24cm and 28cm pans.  Also included is the aroma lid for the 28cm pan. This clever lid drizzles aromas gradually on to your food to enhance the flavour.

  The Ceracraft pan range starts at just £19.99 and are available to purchase from JML Direct, Asda, Amazon, Argos, Wilko, Dunelm Miill, Sainsburys, Robert Dyas, Littlewoods and many more retailers.