Sunday, 29 September 2013


Just a quick post today, I'm tired after a full on weekend.

I went shopping yesterday as the freezer was nearly empty, the cupboards rather bare. I bulk buy in the butchers to fill the freezer. They know me well in there now, I go in and spend about £100 each time. If I went in and bought a little of what I needed each week I would get half the meat for my money. I now have a completely full freezer. I then went to the supermarket to get the tins and things I needed for the cupboards. We now have more than enough food for this month, I'm hoping the food in the freezer will last up until Christmas. The cupboard food should last well into November. So all the food I need to buy will be fresh goods- fruit, milk etc. throughout this month.

My aunt's dog has come for a visit again, as my aunt has another holiday. So I have been for an hour and a half walk this morning. I really enjoy walking her.

Then family came round for a BBQ, I invited my sister and her family for dinner thinking I would do a roast but they requested a BBQ. They live in a flat with no garden so they love to come over and spend the whole time in our garden. It's a good job I like being outside :-)

I made a cake for dessert

My eldest niece testing out the Diddicar

All the children put on princess dresses.

Playful Zara.
Now looking forward to another busy week at work. We are toying with different ideas of what we need to be able to cycle as a family more. Think I am going to start looking out cycling equipment on gumtree etc.

Friday, 27 September 2013


I have been knitting this week, following a pattern on my ideas list. How surprised are you that Stephanie has already claimed it, even though it is barely half done!

Stephanie has decided to pick up the knitting that she began a LONG time ago. She is trying so hard with it look at the concentration in her face;

Excuse the pictures, she was sat on my la doing this. She has gone to bed very proud as she completed 2 whole rows by herself.
I am knitting in peace now as Stephanie is in bed, whilst I watch Strictly Stephanie's (!) new scarf is growing nicely.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

leg power!

this weekend has been all about leg power! It started with Stephanie's swimming lesson. Then after some baking we picked up my niece and the girls went cycling
We played at the park, came home and watched a film before bed. the first question I got this morning was auntie Sarah can we go out on our bikes again. So I took them to a nearby country park;

yep we found water! toes were duly dipped in! Well people are swimming in there mummy!

can you spot the girls, it was my turn to hide in hide'n'seek. They couldn't find me lol
We had a lovely day, we ended up cycling/running for the full 4 hours that my parking ticket lasted. I need to get a bike sorted for me, and a way of transporting it. The girls had to keep waiting for me to catch up. they are both doing so well on their bikes now, even if Stephanie has outgrown hers!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

New additions

Once again a busy week at work, I managed to have Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and today a no spend days. Not quite the 5 I was aiming for but I do have a gorgeous new nephew, and that is my excuse. I had to buy a present for my sister and the big brother and sister! LOL

Photo: Aunty Sarah having a cuddle :-)
This is me having my second cuddle with him this afternoon.

My sister and her partner haven't settled on a name yet, so he is known as Baby at the moment.

Dylan cuddling Baby the day he was born.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

slipping, but massive excitement!

My organisation has slipped already since the school term started. I am determined to get it back under control though. As I keep popping out for something little and then buying an extra something. I am have been and bought the fruit and veg for the week this morning and I have put petrol in the car. I am going to challenge myself to EVERY school day this week being a no spend day. I am leaving my purse with the bank card in it at home!

I have got a good start on my Christmas shopping. I have lots of ideas, many of the little presents organised. I just need to get my nieces and nephews presents, stocking fillers for Stephanie and something for Dylan. For all of these things I know what I am getting/giving. It's just organising it all. Especially when you consider that I have 14 nieces and nephews all together! Dylan's present is fairly expensive however his Dad and I go halves on his present every year especially now that he is getting older and technology is what he is into. I have a maximum budget of £100 for each of my children. I don't spend over it but I will underspend happily. Especially as I booked a Christmas surprise for the three of us, it is an expensive treat at £800 including travel, however it could have cost double this if I hadn't been watching for offers since I started saving last November! The good news is as I had expected the treat to cost over £1000 I now have plenty of spending money saved for us as well, so we should come home with change. I'm very excited- Dylan knows about the surprise but I'm trying very hard not to tell Stephanie, I want to see how far we get before she figures out where we are going. Its is possible we will be at least almost there before she works it out, as we are not taking the direct train.

A little clue where we are going;


We are staying for 2 nights. to get the train direct was £700! for the 3 of us. So we are getting the train to Paris, where we will change onto the train to Marne le vallee doing it this way has cost £267.50 saving a total of £432.50! which almost covers the £558.00 for hotel and park tickets.

So a massively expensive Christmas present for the 3 of us, but we are having less presents this year. I would much rather give the children an unforgettable experience than a forgotten in 2 weeks pile of toys.

Did I mention I am just a LITTLE BIT EXCITED!!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Lymington and Brockenhurst

We went to Lymington during our recent trip to the New Forest, it is a lovely boating area. There are lots of fisherman and sailing activities which can happen here, including the Isle of Wight ferry crossings.
We spent the day watching the boats, on a boat trip and crabbing.
Some of the boats in the harbour, there were hundreds.

Whislt wating to board our boat for the trip we sat on the edge and watched the sea life in the water- those little flecks in the picture are the fish.

Then it was our turn to go- we sat at the front of the boat, am sure there is a boating term for this but it is unknown to me!

I can never get a picture of the teenager lately- he does this if he doesn't hide!

The Isle of Wight ferry coming straight for our little but- Puffing Billie.
After our boat trip we joined numerous other families and did some crabbing. We caught one little crab and there were 2 very large ones- which got away before we could hoist them out of the water!
I have misplaced the pictures of the crabbing- they may well be on Dylan's camera as my phone battery died that day.
On the way back to the campsite we discovered a little stream where lots of children were playing. So there was water safe to play in- yes regular readers guessed it- my water baby was straight in her costume and in the middle of it- I had left swimming stuff permanently in the car while we were off exploring as you never now what you will find!

And there ends another beautiful day in the New Forest. I think there is one more place I want to share, I am trying to spread them out so the posts aren't too long.
I need to go and get Stephanie ready for her swimming lesson now so the last one will have to wait for now.
Have a good day all!


When we were in the New Forest we loved this village. It has ponies and donkeys roaming free through the middle of it. There are old world type shops and a school/community garden with an honesty box.
Lots of lovely thatched cottages

Friendly donkey by the village lake

ponies and foals wandering freely around

The village lake

 The growing garden, and below Stephanie selecting some green beans for our dinner from the honesty box.



this is the old fashioned newsagent, with real pick and mixes like we used to get when I was a child.
We loved this village so much that we came back en route for home! We visited the shop for our 20p mix-ups each, I also bought some local plums and strawberries, all gone now lol.
We then had lunch in a café in Steff's kitchen not our usual cheap as chips type place, but delicious. Dylan had a steak Panini, I had goats cheese and pesto and Stephanie had a children's tuna sandwich. The children's sandwich came with cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks and carrot sticks. Stephanie was a little disappointed to only get 2 of each though- she does love her veggies. We also shared a portion of chips, which was plenty for the three of us, the portions are large, it was a very different treat- the chips came out in a flower pot! If you are nearby it is well worth a visit- but don't expect it as an uber-frugal treat!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bournemouth Air show

we were talking to people working on our campsite while we were in the New forest. They told us that the Bournemouth air show was on. Perfect! A lovely free day by the sea!
We travelled down and saw a sign for park and ride. So we stopped I was  little shocked after I parked, I had assumed that park and ride would be free as it is where we live. This park and ride was £10 for the day. Still parking by the beach was same price, I just didn't need to fight for a space to park. We had a great day.
The Red Arrows

WW2 memorial flight.

The Blades, I was amazed to learn that you can fly in one of these planes as a passenger. I haven't looked into how much yet but it is a serious consideration to go onto my Bucket list- it looks amazing to do!

This plane was so fast and loud it whizzed across the beach unannounced and everyone just froze what they were doing to look. The stunts that all of these planes flew were amazing. I was absolutely fascinated, I really would love to have a go in one of them!

Of course where there is water, my water baby MUST get in! :-)

An army chopper- I forget what it was called now. But the children loved it!

Stephanie by the memorial for the Red arrow pilot who's plane crashed 2 years ago at the event.
Just to give you an idea how busy Bournemouth was this is one little section of the beach, it was this thick along the beach and up the top of the cliff for miles with spectators.
It was a fantastic day. We took all food and drink with us for the day. I paid for the parking and £6 roughly for ice creams for us all at the end of the day.
If any readers live nearby, or are visiting next year, whilst it is busy it is a fabulous event an well worth the crowds to see.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

cycling in the New forest

Whilst in the new Forest wehired bikes. It is the ideal place to cycle as there are many off route places to cycle. We couldn't take our own bikes as mine is broken and I can't carry them on the new car due to the spoiler. I need to look into a way of transporting our bikes on the new car.
We hired the bikes from a company which delivered and collected the bikes direct to our campsite. It cost £14 per day for an adult bike, £7 for a children's bike. As we are not a  cycling family I decided to hire a taga long bike for Stephanie as I was unsure how well she would manage a day cycling.
I was a little wobbly at first, and took a little getting used to so we rode around the campsite before heading off into the forest.

The forest was beautiful.

We soon got the hang of the tag a long.

We stopped regularly along the way for drinks and to relieve our bottoms! LOL I know understand why some serious cyclers have padded shorts!

Stephanie was very pleased as her wobbly tooth fell out before we left. We cycled all day. I think we clocked up around 30 miles in total. We ended up cycling to Lyndhurst as Stephanie had seen a New Forest museum she wanted to visit. We went in the museum which was fantastic. It is a small museum but tells the history of the forest from the time of William the Conqueror right up until the present day.  The museum had very friendly staff who chatted with me and the children, there were lots of interactive activities around the museum to interest the children.

All for the bargain price of £4 in total! I would definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area.
We had lunch from a  little sandwich bar, called Marina's sandwich bar. Lovely food for supermarket lunch prices, except you choose exactly what you want and watch the sandwich made for you. In total for this day we spent £35 bike hire, £4 museum entrance, £8.00 lunches= £47.00. Not our most frugal day but so much fun.
Oh and it is also one of the items off of my bucket list :-)

Monday, 2 September 2013

The New forest

Last week the children and I went off on a camping adventure to the New forest. We have had an amazing time. We have explored all sorts of little places near where we camped. We have crossed off several items on my bucket list. I want to show you it all! But that would make a very long blog post, so I am going to start with showing you where we stayed.
We didn't book our campsite until Monday, we went to the New Forest Tuesday morning. We didn't have long to pack, but the only thing we managed to forget was our pillows!

We stayed at the Roundhill campsite. It is a lovely campsite in the forest. You can pitch up where you are happiest. There were field areas and little hedged areas. We chose to pitch in a little hedged area.

We parked up the car and were amazed by how close the ponies come.

You can see what a glorious dry summer we have had this year by the casualties of putting up the tent!

This rather friendly ponie gave us a quick lesson in why the campsite ask you not to keep food in your tent, she checked out the boot of the car whilst we hammered in tent pegs.

And then the tent! A good advert for the spaciousness of our tent- it can fit a pony in it!

This is the pond on site.
A view of the campsite. Once we were pitched up we went to explore the site. It is a lot larger than it seems. The trees and hedges seem to hide a lot of the site, its not until you go off and explore you realise just how big it is. There were several large toilet blocks, which meant we never queued, which also helps the feel of the site being small and not crowded as some do, particularly in the school holidays.

As the site is in a wooded area, the forestry commission bans the use of wood fires. So after we barbecued our sausages for dinner we attempted to toast marshmallows on the charcoals, not quite the same as on a wood fire, but fun all the same.
I will show you some of the places we explored later, but for now I need to go and get a start on the mammoth to-do list- I'm back at school tomorrow and have lots to do first!
I wonder how much of this I can get done today?