Saturday, 18 November 2017

Yellow Stickered Bargains

This was one of my bargains last night, a pair of fancy rubber gloves reduced from £3 to 30p, cheaper than the cheapest gloves for sale for full price !

I also got 4 little tins of spaghetti hoops and sausages for 4p each and a 500ml bottle of washing up liquid for 3p, the only thing the matter with the washing up liquid was that the label was dirty.

I left the fruit and vegetables and other reductions because they were not low enough, but I was well pleased with the few things I did get.

They also had Cadbury and Mars selection boxes for £1, which was cheaper than buying the contents separately or the equivalent at the discount supermarkets. So I snapped up a couple of those to add to some hampers I am making for MrShoestring and USAShoestring.

All in all, well worth going out in the cold for !

Friday, 17 November 2017

Frugal Friday

Quite a quiet week, although hefty on the spending front as my new 'zero gravity' chair arrived to help with the rehabilitation of my back. The nice thing though was that with all this frugal living I can afford it from savings !

We bought sone reduced bread this week and stuck it in the freezer, at 800g for 31p I can't make it that cheaply ! I made yoghurt, granola, tortillas, quiche and raspberry cake from scratch and scored 3 tomatoes from the polytunnel, which is a record for November ! I also washed out a few freezer bags for re-use. They had only had fruit in them so should be OK.

I made our own Christmas gift tags and cards using some cards saved from last Christmas and will make some straw stars to put on the last of them using straw I already have. I also used a discount voucher at Tesco to pick up a cheap Christmas cake and chocolate Advent calendar as MasterShoestring has never had either of those things and is now well enough to try ! We'll see what he thinks compared to home made !

I received a £5 LovetoShop voucher for completing a Correctly Delivered survey for the Royal Mail and sold a book on Amazon to pay for one that I've got on pre-order. I also ordered a pair of cinema tickets using the points from the Nielsen shopping survey. I'm hoping that they arrive in time for us to go and see the new Paddington movie.

MissShoestring showed us all the Christmas adverts on her laptop last weekend and we had a lovely time laughing and oohing and ahing over them, especially the Paddington one. Our television service is only via the internet at present because a big oak tree breaks up the satellite service until it loses all its leaves. Since it's one of the last to do that in the Autumn we don't see any adverts at present ! I suspect this is a good thing !

I hope you had a frugal week too !

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Easy Homemade Gift

I made a couple of these last year for Miss and MasterShoestring. All you need is a metre of fleece fabric and some scissors. 

Lay the fleece out on  a clean floor or table and draw a chalk line at either end to show how far up you want the fringe to be. Then snip up to the line on both sides to create a fringe on the scarf. Brush off the chalk and there you have it, an attractive fleece scarf !

You can adapt this method to make skinny, narrow scarves or thick, wide ones, more like a stole. You could also use a wider piece of fabric and make a blanket the same way.

To add a personal touch you could embroider initials in the corner or add a motif or some sequins. It's so easy to do you can decorate as you wish !

Fleece is easily available in fabric shops or online, or do as I do and watch out for garments to up cycle in charity shops and jumble sales !

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Easy Recipe for Advent

Here is a very easy recipe to try out now and then enjoy with guests during Advent.

3 egg whites
150g brown sugar
125g dark chocolate grated
250g ground almonds

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and stir in the sugar a little at a time. Lightly fold in the grated chocolate and the almonds. Spoon walnut size blobs onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. It is very important to use baking parchment as otherwise the macaroons will stick. Bake in a pre-heatred oven 150C for 25 minutes. Leave to cool for a bit, but not completely, before lifting off the paper with a a spatula.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas Cards and Gift Tags

This weekend I took my own advice and went to check on the Christmas stock - no gift tags left and only a few cards ! So I had to start making ! I always save the cards from the previous year to help with this.

Here are a few of the 70 gift tags I made by cutting round the good parts of old cards and then punching a hole in the corner with a hole punch. I don't add string at this point as I always put it round the parcels and leave an extra length to attach the gift tag. I wasn't going to make so many but then I remembered that the rest of the frailly always come looking for gift tags on Christmas Eve after the shops have shut !

I made 20 cards altogether and you can see a few of them above. I didn't have quite enough old cards to make the 30 new ones we needed so later on I used some crafting paper to make a few more modern looking ones. All the above ones have had Season's Greeting printed inside with an ink pad and stamp. The modern ones still need that to be done, so I suspect there will be some more crafting done over the coming week !

Have you got Christmas crafting plans ?

Monday, 13 November 2017

Buying an Electric Toothbrush

Last week my electric toothbrush stopped working. They all eventually stop working because the rechargeable battery inside them can only take a certain number of recharges before it stops working. I dislike this sort of built-in obsolescence and think it is very wasteful but a hand toothbrush or a battery operated one do not do such a good job of removing plaque. 

I used to have to visit the dental hygienist every 4 months and with the use of the electric toothbrush have cut that down to every 6 months. Since a visit costs £45 a time investing in a decent electric toothbrush is a saving, not to mention not developing gingivitis ! I have very tightly packed teeth, so a very good clean is important.

Over the years I have tried very expensive brushes and very cheap ones and my conclusion has been that you do not need a very expensive brush with lots of features to do a good job, you just need a reliable fast brush and a good cleaning head. Features such as travel cases and buzzers which tell you to move onto the next part of your mouth are unnecessary, as are 2 minute timers, you can use your watch.

This meant that when it came to replacing the toothbrush I knew to look for a basic model. I prefer ones made by Oral B as that is what the dentist recommends and I have had good service from them. The last toothbrush lasted over 5 years, used every day. Then I researched prices online, including the cost of postage and eventually found the model I was looking for on Amazon at the cheapest price and I had a gift card from Swagbucks I could use there. Spending a gift card on a toothbrush is not very exciting but since it brought the cost down to under £20 seemed like a good idea ! I then added a small book, which I can use as a stocking filler, in order to reach the £20 limit to ensure free shipping. Ordering the book was cheaper than paying the delivery costs. So I ended up paying less and getting more !

Ordering online was cheaper than buying locally and I was pleased to be able to take care of this chore in the warm !

Sunday, 12 November 2017


They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

Laurence Binyon

I love this 'Ode to Remembrance' and today will be thinking especially of all the young men whose graves we saw in Belgium over the Summer, not just soldiers and airmen but all the partisans of the maquis.