Thursday, 30 December 2010

I'm so blessed!!!!

I have had such a wonderul Christmas, 40th Birthday and hopefully an amazing new year!!!  I am truly blessed!!!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sorry.....3 weeks!!

I do apologise for not writing anything for 3 weeks....I have felt like a hamster on a wheel the past few weeks!! I have been in a whirlwind of Christmas parties(Children not me...well 2 were me!!), Christmas concerts, a busy activities calendar in work and trying to fit making some home made calendars, "cupcakes" and "buckets".  Lets not forget getting presents and having a full scale scrap with the weather!!

Anyway, I wish everyone a Very happy Christmas and a Blessed, healthy and Happy New Year!

Nadolig Llawen

Natalie xxxxxxxxxxxx

Enjoy and celebrate the Birth of a King!!!!! XXXXXXXXXXx 

Monday, 29 November 2010

This week's meals

This week is definitely going to be a freezer/cupboard surprise week...I need to get some space sorted and my freezers defrosted before Christmas!!!

So here goes....

Monday: Bacon, sausages with mashed potato and beans
Tuesday: Turkey chilli with brown rice and tortillas
Wednesday: Mother in Laws for tea
Thursday: Fish potato wedges and vegetables
Friday: Chicken curry
Saturday:Homemade pizza
Sunday: Roast dinner

May have to got a few things for sandwiches etc and a bit of fruit but not much else.

Work beckons..........!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Look what I made!!!

I made these "cupcakes" using:- Airfreshner lid, Ribbon from a pair of pyjamas, a flannel and a lipgloss and of course a bit of imagination!!!

I hope you like them!!!

Snow...Snow... Snow!!!!

Hoorah it's finally has been trying all day and it started in the late afternoon!!!

I have finally got the bits and pieces I need to make some of my home-made Christmas presents so there may be some photos on here of my creations!!!

I don't know what it is about the cold weather but I feel some home made soup and  bread happening tomorrow...Yum Yum!!!

Short and sweet today...just like me!

ttfn x

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

RAK 2......

Lady in the home I work has run out of shower gel...will buy her one today and give it to her when I get to work!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

A two course meal for a family(2 adults & 2-3 children!) for round £5

Tomato & Garlic Soup followed by Pesto Chicken with Stuffed Peppers

Tomato Soup

2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
couple of cloves of garlic
2 vegetable sock cubes
750mls of water
2 tblsp of sugar

Place the chopped onion in a saucepan and fry until soft then add the two tins of tomato and garlic.  Add water and bring to the boil then add 2 stock cubes and sugar.  Let it simmer for 20 mins.  Once cooled blend to a smooth consistency. Lovely served with home-made crusty bread! Can also be frozen.

Pesto Chicken with Stuffed Peppers

500g Frozen Chicken pieces, defrosted & cubed
½ a jar of Pesto
1 Bag of mixed Peppers
 Asda Extra value golden vegetable packet rice

Preheat your oven to Gas mark 4.

Place thoroughly defrosted, cubed chicken in a frying pan with a small amount of oil and fry gently until cooked right through. Once cooked thoroughly spoon in ½ a jar of pesto and toss the chicken pieces in it until totally covered.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, chop the peppers in half, deseed and take the stalk off. Place face down on a baking tray and place on the top shelf of the oven to cook for 20-25 mins. Cook the rice as per instruction on the packet which should take about the same time as the peppers to cook in the oven.  After 20-25 mins take the peppers out of the oven and stuff with the rice. 

Everything should be ready at around the same time, dish out peppers and chicken accordingly and grate some cheese over the peppers if you wish.

This two course meal should feed a family of 2 adults and 2-3 children for around £5

Tasty and not too expensive either


*1. I found some inspirational qoutes(5)...typed and cut them out...placed the 1st one in my daughter's flute case for her to find when she goes to her lesson... :o)

Sunday, 21 November 2010


I have been inspired this weekend by a blog I noticed as I flicked through blogspot!!  But do you think I can find it again!!! NO!!!

The lady who's blog it was was soon to turn 38 and decided that she would do 38 random acts of kindness.  She showed all the acts of kindness that she did and had photos too!  I thought she was an amazing women and loved how she believed that she was bringing a little ray of sunshine to someone elses life with out expecting anything in return. It showed me that we can all do a little bit to make this world a better place. 

This modern day world is a very cold and unkind one alot of the time and I have been inspired by her to do a similar thing but unfortunately I am slightly older than her and have to do 40 before I get to 40 which is only just over a month away!!   I have  few ideas in my mind and if I can raise a smile or brighten up someones day then it will be worth it.

I'm quite excited and just hope that I don't get any negative reactions!!  We will have to wait and see!

Last week I spent approxminated £40 on food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fruit, juices etc which I was very impressed with!

So to this weeks menu

Monday: Beef in Ale Casserole, roast potatoes and vegetables
Tuesday: Lamb & Apricot Burgers(grilled) and chips/fries(homemade if possible)
Wednesday: Mother in Laws for Tea!!!!
Thursday:  Fish, mashed potato and vegetables
Friday: Chicken Curry & Rice
Saturday: Pizza & wedges(homemade but may have shp bought to clear the freezer for Christmas
Sunday: Invited to family for lunch...lucky us!

My main thing for the next week or two is to try to clear my cupboards fridge and freezers to make way for Christmas!! So there may be a few "Freezer surprises" to clear the, fun, fun!

Have a fun week everyone....xx

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


This week I have got some decent freebies that I am going to use as parts of people's Christmas presents. I managed to get a free 8 page photobook that I am going to give my sister-in-law(thanks to my friend advising me and!!), I have got a bracelet and make-up bag for my niece, along with a dress that was reduced to £2(originally £18!!!) (they came free with magazines I bought(which also had a £1 off each of them because of the infamous Asda vouchers and they were extremely handy to read on the 3 hour train journey home London!!)).  I am also scouring my son's and older daughter's toy cupboards as I know there are a few games and toys that have never been touched in a year or more!!  I have been known to collect the free samples from magazines etc to fill little make-up bags etc as part of a gift!!!  Every little thing helps!!

Don't get me wrong I will be shelling out some money over Christmas!  I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge...I just like being frugal, eco-friendly and put some love into the gifts I give!!

I am half-way through one of the scarves I am to follow and have noticed on the money expert website that I could get 40 free prints which will come in handy for a few personalised gifts(6 calendars ) as well as a free personalised card and a free personalised card with 49p postage!  So they are my jobs for tomorrow.

I love a bargain...and freebies even better!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

This week's menu ;o)

I had a wonderful time in London, watched Mamma Mia and Mouse Trap and in the day went for a tour of the Houses of Parliament which were amazing!  Another good thing is that Myself and Sharon didn't spend all our money so we have put what we didn't spend towards next years trip!  Marvellous!!  Anyway here is this weeks menu!

Monday: Sausage casserole with swede and potato mash and vegetables
Tuesday: Sheperd's Pie
Wednesday: Mother in Laws for tea!
Thursday: Chilli for Steve and I and stwe for the children(out of the freezer - bulk cooked previously)
Friday: Chicken Fajita's - Family Favourite!!
Saturday: Freezer surprise!!(Concoct something out of what is left in the freezer to make room for Christmas)
Sunday: Roast beef dinner

I have managed to make this weeks meals mainly out of stuff I aleady have, but there are a couple of things I have to get but I cant see me spending loads if I am honest.  I need to get sandwich stuff, toilet rolls etc and I have already bulk bought washing powder as it was on offer!  I will get back to you with how much I spent later in the week.

I have been good with economising with my meals etc so I am going to now try to get a bit greener in my approach to life.  Don't get me wrong I recycle and reuse loads of things but as my local authority don't collect cardboard and Tetrapac I dispose of them in the bin.  So from now on I am going to find out where my nearest recycling point that I can dispose of these two is and take them there unless the petrol consumption is so high that it cancels it out.  My garden is also looking a bit sad and dejected at the moment so I am going to try to get that sorted ready for planting etc at the earliest opportunity.  And my other green thing is handmaking and reusing thing to give to people for christmas!

I think I may have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me!!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


I have had my hair cut and coloured today and feel like a new woman!!  It's amazing how a new hairstyle enhances your mood, confidence and day!  It cost £25 but as I only see the hairdresser about every 3 months so I don't feel like I have splurged out too much and I needed to get rid ot the grey!!!!

I have had a fairly decent week so far...I made a Lasagne for the kids and I and tried adding some finely chopped peppers and carrots to get the veggy content up a bit....I was fairly successful but they were noticed....and the fajitas yesterday were delicious and because of the Asda vouchers and reduced meat(with 2 days left before use by) it was a very cheap meal.  We seem to be getting through bread and fruit like wild fire this week so I have already got some more so I have to add about a fiver to this weeks budget!! ;o( but I don't mind too much as we ae all getting healthier food down our throats!! 

Today I made a gorgeous banana cake as I found some seriously black RIPE bananas in the cupboard, I did it between getting the children ready for school and physically taking them to school!


3 ripe bananas
8 oz of self raising flour
4 oz of dried fruit
a squirt of lemon juice
1 tsp of nutmeg
4 oz low fat spread
2 eggs beaten

Pre heat the oven to Gas mark . Mix the flour, nutmeg, dried fruit, lemon juice, spread and eggs until smooth in consistency.  Mash the bananas and add to the mix. Once thoroughly mixed, empty into a greased loaf tin, place in the oven for 40 minutes. once baked place on a wire rack to cool before wrapping in foil or placing in a airtight container.

I am conscious of the fact that Christmas is lurking so I will be starting the homemade presents this week!  I have already started a scarf using a lovely thin wool and size 12 needles.  It should be lovely(fingers crossed!)  I have also got some flannels in white and cerise to complete another one of my little presents!  I will make them, take a photo and then explain what I did!  I have already bottled the gins and vodkas I made and I just need to make personalised labels for them to finish them off.

I'd better get cracking and do a bit of knitting rather than being on here!

So as Tigger so brilliantly puts it TTFN!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

This week's meals etc....

Monday: Homemade lasagne & Lamb & apricot burgers for Steve(with homemade wedges).
Tuesday: Turkey Fajitas
Wednesday: Mother in Laws for tea!!!
Thursday: Prawn stir fry & vegetarian Meatballs, pasta and sauce for the children.
Friday: Take away(will explain later)
Saturday: Chicken Tikka/Korma, rice and poppadoms
Sunday: Roast pork dinner

This weeks total food bill came to £76!!!  Woo hoo! I am quite impressed with that!  I had money off coupons from Asda last week because I spent over £40!  Got some more today so should be fun next week too!! So I designed the menu with this in mind.  This £76 covers breakfast, lunch and dinner, fruit, bread and juice etc.  I am not a big fan of doing seperate food for Steve and I and the children but with Christmas approaching I want to use things up in the freezer and cupboards so needs must.   The ultimate sin is happening on Friday but there is a reason.  I am going to London with my friend for the weekend and I want the weekend to be easy for the family whilst I'm away!  and what is better is there is a voucher in the book for it!!!  Also the London trip is a money saving trip too as we have been saving £25 a month & a one off payment of £75 and that has paid for our train tickets, 2 shows, our oyster cards, our hotel room for two nights and about £90 to spend when we are down there!! Marvellous!! 

Bonfire Night was a roaring success, a big, gorgeous family event with about 20 of us!!! the children loved it and so did the adults.....we must do it again!!!!

Well here we go on the merry-go-round of life, work and everything in between!!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Bonfire Night!!

As the weather was so bad yesterday  we are having our fireworks today!  I just swapped the menu around so it was no big deal....The pizza, wedges and garlic bread(all homemade) were a big hit, low fat and tasty!!

Today has been a money saving day too.  As it is going to be a big family affair we have all put £10 in and we will have huge, wonderful fireworks display care of my husband, brother and dad!!! Also my mum and aunty will be taking care of the food!!! Everyone's a winner!!  But the very best thing about tonight is I will be surrounded by probably 18 members of my family!  What could be better than that!

We had the no electronics day yesterday which was a success....we played our own version of pictionary using a whiteboard and dry-wipe markers!!! (so another money saving made on a board game!!!)then the children went up to bed and read a book before going to bed.  What I did notice is that they seemed to go off to sleep much easier and quicker and we spent some quality time as a family so the benefits have been numerous.  I am going to make this a regular occurence.

Here is another recipe that I tried recently and may be worth trying:

Creamy Salmon Pasta (for 2 people)

2 pieces of defrosted salmon(£6 for a bag of 8-not all perfect exact same sizes) £1.50
400g pasta(dry)(44p)
1 bag of steamed vegetables(£3 for 3 bags(containing 4) ) - 25p
2 heaped tablespoons of low fat garlic & herb or chive philidelphia cheese -£1 a tub- approx 66p

Boil the pasta until soft
At the same time grill salmon on a medium/low grill.
When it looks like the salmon is almost cooked microwave the steamed vegetables.
Drain pasta and place back into the saucepan, break up the salmon into flakes and toss into the saucepan
Put the vegetables into the saucepan and mix well.
Finally add the cheese and mix thoroughly.
Serve straightaway

This is a delicious, healthy, lowish fat meal that cost about £2.50 to make and is 15-20mins to make so it's ecomomical on your purse/wallet and your time too.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Here is a recipe for a soup I tried recently and as all the ingredients are cheapat the moment.  It is a hearty, healthy soup that is nice and thick and lush with a piece of home made bread.

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

Pack of leeks(Aldi - 59p)
Pack of sweet Potatoes(Aldi - 69p)
Some fresh Ginger(your preference)
1 onion
2 Vegetable stock cubes
1.5 pints of boiling water

Peel all the vegetables and swet potatoes.  Fry the onions and leeks until soft, add sweet potatoes,  Then add the stock and bring to the boil.  I add the ginger at this point. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft(which doesn't take as long as normal potatoes) about 20-25 mins.  When cooled slightly liquidize to a thick(baby foodish) consistency and enjoy!!!!

I usually freeze half of this and still have enough for my husband and I to have a big bowl full and you will also have 2 hearty meal for another day, all for less than £2...Bargain.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Well I finally managed to go shopping last night and was quite impressed that it came to £70, this was for 7 days worth of breakfast, lunch and dinners, fresh fruit, milk and bread, fruit juices, so this worked out as costing about £10 to feed the five of us!!  There was an excellent deal on apples which were originaly £2.50 for a BOX and were reduced to £1 so I had 2!!! In my family we all have 1 or 2 apples a day so that's 10 gone on the 1st day!!!

I know that this week is not a regular week because of Bonfire night but I am hopeful of sticking a similar budget next week!  

I will be starting making some presents for Christmas very soon.   I am a great believer of trying to make as much as I possibly can.  I have kept the lids of air freshners and Douwe Egberts jars to when they are done!!!  Trust me they will be lovely-I promise!!   I have also bought some blank calendars that I will be decorating, I have already made and bottled some, sloe gin, blackberry vodka and damson vodka which I will be giving too.

I also make my own jewellery, cards and knit so there are plenty of options for a more economical Christmas that is not cheap!  If you know what I mean.....:o)

Monday, 1 November 2010

Menu sorted....

Monday: Roast Chicken Dinner
Tuesday: Home-made Chili Con Carne
Wednesday: Mother in law's for Tea!!
Thursday: Cawl
Friday: Bonfire Night!!! Fireworks and food with the family and friends over my mums.
Saturday: Homemade Pizza's, homemade potato and sweet potato wedges and homemade garlic bread.
Sunday: Beef Casserole and Vegetables

All the above meals shouldn't really be too fattening as I use fry-light or dry fry where possible and drain any fat off anyway...and as a desert I try to do fruit, fruit salad, sugar free jelly(with fruit) or a homemade fruit juice ice lolly. 

I am going shopping tonight for anything I haven't already got so I will tell you how much my food shopping was.  I would like to point out in addition to the above, I will need to get fresh fruit, yoghurts, milk and bread(although I do intend to try and make some where possible) and sandwich stuff for us all for the week but that should come to much!

As Christmas is approaching I am making a conscious effort to try and use up as much as I can in my kitchen cupboards and freezers....So there may be some "Freezer Surprise" meals along the way!!!!

This week is also the start of a more healthy lifestyle for all of us(myself, husband, 3 children and dog!!) as the scales scared the life out of me this morning!!!  We do shave a wii fit so I am going to try and exercise using that and I may have to dust off some exercise dvd :o(  ,I would like to go swimming at least once a week, maybe twice and will try to walk the dog for 30-45mins a day.  I need to get fit, but don't want to pay for gym membership.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Week 1 - Day 1 - Cutting out all that is not needed

Today I am going to be drawing up a menu for the coming week and I will not waiver from what is on that list.  I have done this before and I found it invaluable.   I will have to drag myself away from the 3 for 2  or even the buy 1 get 2 free(which seem to cost twice as much as they usually do anyway!! go figure!!!)and BOGOFs that I don't really need but still get because I am convinced it's a bargain.  

I am also a great believer of preparing a meal from scratch rather than convenience food as I'm not really convinced that you save money or time!  It takes as long to make a family sized Lasagne and cook it s it does to stick  a shop bought one in the oven and my homemade one tastes twice as nice and is much healthier as I know exactly what is and isn't going in there! also I will be scouring the likes of Aldi's and Lidl's for the offers on the fresh fruit and veg!!!  No one has an excuse not to buy healthy food when it is 39-59p!!! And with the cold weather and dark nights upon us there is going to be plenty of "Cawl"(Welsh Lamb Stew), stews and casseroles!!!

As well as trying to reduce them money I spend I am in desperate need of de-cluttering the whole family's wardrobes and toy cupboards.  My mum always claims that a tidy house helps keep a tidy mind!  I have to admit that she has a point!!!  If the washing, ironing and housework starts to pile up it does affect my mental away with the summer stuff for me and a dose of checking the kid's wardrobe for clothes that are too small for them.  What I love about this is my eldest daughter's clothes go to my niece/friends daughter who will wear them until they are too small for them then I get them back for my youngest daughter and when they are too small for her I now have a younger niece who is next in line!!!! I am so proud when I see something on my niece or youngest which was originally worn by my oldest daughter all those years ago....Recycling to the max.  I have similar situation with my son  with the help of my nephew and my cousin's son so I rarely buy clothes for my younger children...I'm so lucky!  I will be donating some toys to charity and the church I attend so someone else will benefit from whatever I do this week which will make my soul feel good.  So, everyone's  winner!

I have also advised the children that one day a wek is going to be no electic gadget tv, DS,s, get the picture!! This will be just as difficult for me as I do use my computer everyday even if it is only for 15 mins....we will play board games, do a bit of craft(Christmas coming soon!) etc.  My kids were really positive and are looking forward to spending time as  family....I will let you know how it goes!!!!

Saturday, 30 October 2010


I am approaching a milestone in my life and have recently left a job that I had done for nearly 20 years to go in a new and wonderful direction....the aim of this blog is to let you come along on my journey to a simpler more frugal but still fun life....enjoy....!!!?