Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Party

Well, we went to the local Halloween Party at our Children's Centre & the girls had so much fun.  Freya loved being a witch but Abby refused to put her ghost costume on........she's a girl who knows what she wants!!!

We tried to have a family photo taken but, as you can see, Abby was more interested in what was in her cup!

There was a little competition for the children's costumes - Freya was one of 3 children who won (yay!!).  There was also a competition for the best carved pumpkins - we took one that Hubby carved for Abby (I did one for Freya) & theirs won (yay again!!)  

I know I posted this picture earlier but, seeing as it's now an award-winning pumpkin, I thought it was worth another post ;-)

The Children's Centre is run by our local council & is very heavily into promoting healthy living, safety & well-being for families.  For this reason they had loads of information on Fire Safety (it is the season for bonfires & fireworks!), which is really useful.  They also made a home-made vegetable soup & served it to everybody with bread rolls - it was absolutely delicious!!  In order to encourage us to try this ourselves they gave us all vegetable "goody-bags" with the recipe to take home with us.

Look at all of the fab stuff I came home with!!! Leeks, onions, carrots, a sweet potato, butternut squash & swede.

Apart from the fact that the girls loved the evening running around with other children dressed up in scary costumes, the best part of this evening was EVERYTHING WAS FREE!!!!!  The party was put on for free, all of the information was issued to us & the vegetables were given to us - FREE!!!  We practically live at our local Children's Centre as all of their playgroups are run at no cost to the local parents & they also put fun events like this on regularly.  They're even open during the school holidays!!  It's a shame that more people don't attend these Centres (they either don't know about them or just aren't bothered about coming).  In the past year the attendance at our Centre has dropped dramatically - mainly because the children that came last year now go to school/nursery - there are always people with babies/toddlers though that don't come along.  If you have small children & have access to a local Children's Centre then I would definitely recommend getting involved while you have the opportunity - one day the Councils might decide that there's no point in keeping them open if they're not being used by the public.


Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

We are looking forward to a Halloween party this afternoon, which is being held at our local Children's Centre.  Freya will be going as a witch & Abby will be a ghost.  I'll post some photos later.

Hope you have a good day.


Monday, 22 October 2012

New Puppy

We've got a new addition to our family. I've been feeling terribly broody for the past few months but having another baby is not an option at the moment. We've been visiting & revisiting the idea of getting another dog for a while & 10 days ago we made our decision.

After seeing the advert online we had fallen in love with this "lemon" basset hound x cavalier king charles. We'd decided on her name before we went to see her. Thank goodness we were able to see her first thing the next morning before anyone else had the chance to snap her up!!!

Introducing Daisy.......

Lucy likes having a playmate & we're thrilled with our new addition.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Food Shopping on a Budget

We, like many many people in this current economic climate, have been trying to stick to a budget recently.  Don't get me wrong, we have had a budget to work towards for the past few years, but we have found ourselves needing to become a lot more conscious of the cost of everything & try to get the most for our money.

For the past 18 months or so we have been going to a Discount Warehouse on a monthly basis to stock up on household items such as cleaning & laundry products, which has made a HUGE impact on reducing our spending.  We have also taken advantage of shops such as Poundland & 99p Stores for household/gardening products.

The biggest impact, however, has been using our local market to buy our fruit, vegetables & meat.  For the past 6-8 weeks we have abandoned our weekly trip to the supermarket in favour of "shopping around", visiting lots of different places in order to get the best deals & supporting our local traders.  We tend to spend maybe one day a week going into Doncaster town centre to stock up on our fresh produce & then visiting other shops such as Lidl & Home Bargains to purchase jars, packets etc as & when we need them.  Of course, we do still visit our local supermarket but mainly for items such as milk & bread as this is just down the road & convenient when we need just a couple of things.

We went into Doncaster today to visit the market, as we have been doing on a Tuesday for the past month or two.  Just to emphasise the value of using a local market I would like to share our purchases for today:

7 bananas = 50p
7 nectarines = £1.00
7 braeburn apples = £1.00
7 oranges = £1.00
Honeydew Melon = £1.30
Punnet Strawberries = £1.50
Punnet Grapes = £1.00

Bag of Mushrooms = £1.00
7 tomatoes = £1.00
Cucumber = 30p
6 large spring onions = 65p

Beef Joint = £5.00
7 Gammon Steaks = £5.00
Tray of Stir Fry Meat & Vegetables = one of 3 trays for £10.00

Tray of Steak & Kidney (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Beef Stewing Steak (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Minced Beef (split into 3 portions) = £3.00

10 chicken breasts (split into 3 portions) = £10.00
20 bacon rashers (split into 3 portions) = £4.00

Total spent = £47.25
Total meals = 17 meals' worth of meat

Ok, we still need to think about what will go with our meals, i.e. rice, pasta, sauces, vegetables etc, but it means that I have over 2 weeks' worth of meat in my freezer for less than the cost of a full weekly shop.  Please bear in mind that my portion sizes are for 2 adults and 2 toddlers, so they're not as big as those for families with older children.

Shopping this way may not be for everybody - it is a case of going to various places rather than getting everything under one roof, but I think that the extra effort is worth it.  We're actually eating better meals in the evenings because of it & the meat that we've been buying is a much better quality than that we had been buying from the supermarket.

I know that there are people who have shopped this way all their lives but this is new to us & we are amazed with the difference it has made to our finances.