Visit my Meal Planning Blog:

All our travel and days out posts in one place….

All our cooking with kids posts in one place….

All our school holiday ideas in one place….

Protect yourself from Fraud….

Did you know that Fraud cost the people of Britain over £600 million in 2013?

I had no idea that the figure was that high although I do know that fraudsters seem to be getting cleverer by the day if the spoof emails I receive on a daily basis.  Some of them are so authentic that it’s no wonder people fall for them and end up giving their details to a fraudster.  But it’s not just spoof emails you need to be aware of because there’s so many other tactics that fraudsters are using these days – in fact, I bet you’ve never have even thought of some of them, let alone thought about how to protect yourself against them!

It really is quite scary stuff when you think about it but the best way to prevent fraud happening to you is to know the danger areas so you can protect yourself!  To help reduce fraud and to arm us with the knowledge we need to fight it Natwest have built a pretty cool tool to help us.

I’ve had a play with the tool and it really is an eye opener.  It’s certainly made me think twice about a few things and I thought I was pretty fraud aware already!

I can’t recommend highly enough that you take five minutes and have a look at the tool.

Don’t sit back and think that it will never happen to you!

Disclosure : In collaboration with Natwest.

The Activity Advent – 40 Fun and Frugal things to do at Christmas with the kids….

activity advent

Last year, over on my Christmas blog, I started my Activity Advent with the aim of doing one Christmas activity a day throughout December.  The only problem was actually finding the time to write up what we did so this year, I thought I’d share all the things we have on our list to try.  It’s a pretty big list so I’m sure that we’ll not have chance to do everything on the list but at least we have plenty of choice!


Make homemade cinnamon stick tree decorations

Make an alternative kind of advent calendar.

Homemade oven baked S'more

Make Homemade S’mores and drink them with hot chocolate while watching Christmas films.

See if there is a cheap panto going on anywhere in your area.

homemade bookmarks

Recycle your sweet wrappers – make homemade bookmarks or stained glass windows.

Let the kids try Picmonkey to ‘Christmas’ themselves up a bit.

ice skating

Go ice skating in your Christmas jumpers.


Make cut out snowflakes for your window

chocolate gingerbread tree

Make some gingerbread Christmas tree decorations.

chloe 097

Make salt dough decorations.

Picture 432

Make your own tree decorations.

Have a play with Elf Yourself.


Make your own Gingerbread house.

chloe 135

Don’t forget your reindeer dust.

Picture 4380

Try making some homemade snow globes.

Track Santa and his elves thoughout December with Norad.

Make a magical video for the kids from Santa using Portable North Pole.

chloe 204

Make cotton wool snowman.

Make a special visit to Santa.

Encourage the children to buy some food to donate to the food bank.


Make a hand print tree.

Sort out some old toys to take to your local hospital for the children’s ward.


Find the best Christmas tree lights in your neighbourhood.

See what’s happening in your local museums and libraries.


Make Christmas cupcakes together.

Go see the Christmas lights being switched on in your town.

Write letters to Santa together.

snowman Soup

Make Snowman soup.

Have a pyjama day and watch Christmas movies together.

Go to a local carol service.


Make a Christmas paper wreath.

Make homemade gift tags.

Go somewhere Christmassy together wearing your Christmas hats and jumpers.


Make lolly stick tree decorations.

Make paper chains while listening to Christmas music.

Make pom poms into a wreath – this is definitely on my to-do list this year.


If we get snow, make snow flavoured ice cream.

String some popcorn to go round your tree


Make homemade Christmas cards.

And don’t forget, there’s lots of other ideas over on my post from a few months ago- 70 Frugal and Fun things to do with the kids in Autumn .

#FrugalGiftGuide – Boys aged 9+ ….

christmas gifts for boys

Yesterday I told you all about what I thought the perfect gifts for girls would be and today it’s the turn of the boys – boys of Master Frugal’s age to be exact, although I’m sure that lots of the presents in this gift guide will go down just as well with girls of a similar age.

Something to read

diary of a wimpy kid

I always buy at least one book for the kids for Christmas – this year’s most requested book from Master Frugal is the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.  I also have the box set of Tom Gates books which are along a similar line of the wimpy kid books.  I also have a great book on how to draw things which is an Usborne book that I bought from Waterstones but probably could have picked up cheaper if I bought it online.

Something to watch

Lego movie

Every year I buy the kids a DVD and this year, I didn’t even have to think about which one to buy Master F.  The Lego Movie has been his favourite film of the year and I know he’ll watch this over and over!

Something technical


This year Master F has been loving playing online on the XBox 360 with his friends but I haven’t liked having to sit in the Living Room while he plays because, although I can’t hear his friends, I can still her the sound of the game and anyone who has a child who loves Minecraft will tell you that it has the most annoying tune ever!  We’ve got him a pair of headphones that plug in to the Xbox as well as the controller so I don’t have to hear it – he’ll love them because they’re a good comfy pair but I’ll love them even more I think!

Something Smelly

I’ve bought a cheap Lynx set for him as he is starting to show an interest in smelling all manly!  He loves Lynx Africa and the gift sets that are about £6.50 in Boots have been reduced to £3 in both Tesco and Superdrug recently which is a much better price!

Something Educational


I like to sneak in something educational so I bought a globe for him to go in his room. He often asks questions about where things are in the world so this will be ideal!

Something to play

bop it beats

As much as he would love to wake up to a big pile of xbox games, it’s not going to happen!  I love games that the whole family can join in with and I know that he’ll love the new version of Bop it Beats.  We have an older version and we’ve played with it for hours so I’m hoping this will be similar.  It’s quite pricey at the minute at around £20 so I’m waiting for a little while in case somewhere drops the price a little.

Something to use

movie making kit

Miss Frugal has started going to a movie making class once a week but poor Master Frugal is too young to go so I thought this would make a good substitute.  It’s a movie making kit that I found online but when I went to order one, they were out of stock.  I searched to see who else stocked them and found the exact same one on eBay for less money AND free postage!

Something absolutely Vital


It seems that everyone of all ages loves Sharpies as they’ve appeared on Master Frugal’s wish list as well!

And that concludes my second #FrugalGiftGuide of the year.  Please don’t forget, they might not all be super cheap gifts but they’ll be appreciated and they won’t be hidden away in a drawer and never used!

#FrugalGiftGuide – Tween and Teen Girls….

christmas gift ideas girls

Like lots of people, I’m not as frugal at Christmas as I am throughout the rest of the year but I do like to make sure that I get the best deals possible and that the presents I buy aren’t going to sit in a drawer or on a shelf gathering dust.

I don’t think you need to spend a lot at Christmas and I know it’s not all about the presents but realistically all of us have gifts to buy for our loved ones and I wanted to share some ideas for some great gifts that I’ve come across.

My first gift guide is aimed at people buying for girls from about Year 6 upwards and it’s based on my experiences of life with Miss Frugal who is a pretty typical 12 year old right now although she does seem to have developed some expensive tastes recently. ;-)

Something to read

alfie deyes book

I always buy at least one book for the kids for Christmas – this year’s favourite request is Alfie Deyes’ Pointless book (he’s a super famous you-tuber I’m led to believe) and the cheapest place I’ve found it is Tesco as it’s in the 2 for £7 offer in-store at the minute.  Another series of books that Miss F and her friends are enjoying at the moment are the Geek Girl books.  Again, a couple of them are in the 2 for £7 in Tesco.  Definitely worth shopping about though as the prices and deals seem to be changing frequently at the moment.  Miss Frugal bought these for herself out of her pocketmoney as she NEEDED both books right away so I’m thinking about a magazine subscription for her instead.

Something to watch

90210 box set

Clearly, all kids like different shows but Miss Frugal has recently discovered 90210 on Netflix and she loves it.  Not all of the seasons are on there at the minute though so a box set or two may find it’s way into her Christmas stocking.  You could make a girly DVD into a bit of a pamper hamper – just put it in a pretty box or bag with a bag of popcorn, some sweets, a face mask and a cute nail varnish!

Something technical

phone charger

I bought myself a portable phone charger a few weeks ago from Amazon and it’s been a godsend.  I keep it in my handbag (fully charged) along with my charger cable and it stores enough power to give my phone a complete re-charge on the go.   Mine was about £8 if I recall and Miss F has asked for one of her own!

Something Smelly


Last year Miss F was all about the One Direction perfume but this year she’s gone upmarket and has asked for Marc Jacobs Daisy.  I did think this would be way above our Christmas budget but when we were out last week we saw a 20% off in The Fragrance Shop on everything bought between 12 and 2pm which meant that the handbag size with a refill (35ml total) was £23.  Not as cheap as some of the lovely smellies that I’ve seen in shops like Home Bargains and B&M but still cheaper than last year’s One Direction perfume.  We were out somewhere else a couple of days ago and saw the same offer in another branch so it may be every day or at least a regular thing so it’s well worth asking in your branch.

Something pretty

This one is easy for girls and is the main staple of Miss F’s sticking fillers – I can’t show you a photo in case she sees but basically I spent £10 when Claires was £10 for 10 items and bought 10 things from phone covers to sunglasses and from jewellery to hair things.  I got almost £80 worth of things for £10 which was an amazing bargain.  Even aside from that though, girls are so easy to buy for – all the shops have little gift sets in at this time of year.

Something to play

fashion wheel

No matter how old they are, something to play with is essential! ;-) Budding fashion designers might like a retro fashion wheel or a Harumika set.  The new version of Bop it looks amazing too but I think I might save that one for Master F instead.

Something to do

sky diving polaroid

What about an experience for them.  Something like Airkix (which we did and LOVED last year) is an amazing experience for them and opening a gift voucher for Airkix would be amazing on Christmas morning and won’t cost you as much as you might think!  Look on sites like Groupon and Wowcher too at this time of year as there’s been a few things that might be good on there recently – paintballing and segway riding experiences for not very much.

Something to use

make up box

Last year we bought Miss Frugal a make up box as she was starting to gather a bit of a collection of make up.  We bought her one that folds out like the one above and she loves it.  We bought ours from Argos but you can get them all over and there’s some great ones on eBay too.

Something absolutely Vital


Of course you can’t have Christmas without getting Stationery as a present and this year, Sharpies are heading up the Stationery list.  Closely followed by post-it notes.

So there you have it, my first #FrugalGiftGuide of the year and don’t forget, they might not all be super cheap gifts but I’m pretty sure that they’ll be appreciated and they won’t be hidden away in a drawer and never used!

And if you’re still stuck, check out Boo Roo and Tigger too for even more ideas!