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Thrifty Thursday – Print out your memories….

print out your memories

I’ve said before (lots of times I imagine) that I have a bit of a photo obsession and that I have thousands upon thousands of photos documenting our family life. They’re all stored safely on an external hard drive and every now and again, I sit and look through them, often with the kids looking over my shoulder ooohing and aaahing as they see their favourite memories pop up on my laptop screen.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have these photos stored in a safe place but sometimes, I miss the old photo albums that we had when I was little, like the ones my Dad gave me after my Mam died.  There’s nothing like turning the page of an old photo album is there?

And it’s not just that, seeing your picture in print just seems so much nicer than seeing it on a screen.

So why not print out more of your photos and spend time with the kids turning special memories into a photo album, or making a photo wall so they’re permanently on display.  I’ll be sharing my ideas on how to display your photos in a couple of weeks but first, lets find a way to get them printed without costing you a fortune….

Print off your Instagram photos

There are lots of sites who will print off your instagram photos and post them to you.  I’ve used Polargram before and they were brilliant although I’m sure their prices have gone up since I used them last.  Still, 48 Instagram photos for £12 is a good price and definitely the easiest option of printing photos as there’s no uploading photos of faffing about – you literally log in to your Instagram account through the Polargram site and click on the photos you want printing.

Take advantage of ‘Free Prints’ offers online

Lots of online photo printing sites offer you incentives to register with them so it’s worth having a look around and seeing who’s offering free printing if you register with them.  At the moment Jessops are offering 100 free prints if you register with them, Photobox are offering 40 free prints, Snapfish are offering 20 free prints and PhotoWorld are offering 50 free prints.  You still pay for postage with most of these companies so your free prints will probably cost you a couple of pounds.  That’s still a great deal, especially with the larger offers.

Print out your photos at home

This is something I haven’t done much of in the past because printer ink just seems to go down so quickly when we print photos.  In the past, we’ve used sites like Picmonkey to make collages of our favourite photos and then printed out the collage rather than each picture individually.  This saves on paper and printer ink and also means you can personalise the collage a bit if you want to.  Our local pound shop do photo paper now as well which makes the photos you print look like even better.

We’ve been printing out more photos at home recently as we’re signed up to the HP Instant Ink service as part of a review we’re doing – more on that very shortly but I wanted to give you a heads up about it as it’s a brilliant service that we’ll be keeping on after the review has ended and makes printing at home a much more affordable option.

In-store photo printing

Printing your photos off on one of those machines in your local supermarket is definitely not the most cost effective way to print your photos but not too bad if you only want a couple printing off or if you want them printing in a hurry and you’re out of ink at home.

However you do it, just get printing because I’ve got lots of ideas on what to do with your photos coming up soon!

Five Free things you can do this Summer #6….

5 free things to do this summer We all know that you don’t have to spend lots of money to have fun together but every now and again we all need a quick reminder of some of the fun things we can do for free!  This is the last in my series of Summer Holiday reminders of fun activities that won’t cost you a penny and it’s a good one (I can say that without being big headed as I didn’t write it)….

Many thanks to Cass for welcoming me over to her blog.  I usually write at Me and My Shadow where I share my thrifty finds, recipes and money saving ideas – do pop over and take a look.

Here are my top five ideas for free fun this summer:

Gruffalo Hunt

This is a perfect activity for younger children. The Forestry Commission have teamed up with the popular story book to celebrate it’s 15th anniversary. Here’s the trail at my local forest  but there are 28 Gruffalo Trails in forests around the country, and some have their own ‘life sized’ statues too. It’s completely free to take part, although you may have to pay for parking.  Check out the full details here. The trails are on until October, and then will change to the more wintery Gruffalo’s Child themed hunts.

Local History Hunt

If you’re more urban than rural, why not have a go at making your own local history tour?  Photocopy pictures from books in the reference library, or google image search, grab a clipboard and go explore your local town or village to see how much it’s changed.

Splash at your local play fountain 

Hours of free fun can be had in splash parks and municipal fountains. My favourite in London are at Granary Square in Kings Cross where they have loads of deckchairs, live music and street food, and also at the impressive backdrop of Somerset House.  You can find more London play fountains here and many large towns and cities now have their own too.  Take a towel and a change of clothes!
Go blackberrying

The blackberries have ripened early this year so grab some old ice cream tubs and harvest a bumper crop. Wear long sleeves and trousers to protect from prickles and nettles, and seek out the juiciest berries in hedges, car parks, roadsides, and parks.  Challenge each other to see who can pick the most and weigh them when you get home. Not sure what to do with your foraged crop?  I’ve got 10 ideas over on my blog for recipes, drinks and even dyeing fabric.
Make some natural art

This is one of our favourite free summer activities.  Make your own watercolour paints from bright flower petals and not only will you have a lovely few hours in the fresh air collecting them, you’ll get to make your own free paint AND while away the afternoon creating Monet-inspired masterpieces.

summer of fun

Monday’s Parenting Pin It Party #67….

Last week of the holidays for us here so we’re trying to relax as much as possible so we’re ready for the chaos that September is going to thrown at us!

I hope you’re all having a great Summer and that you have time to join in this week’s Parenting Pin In Party which is being hosted by Otilia this week.  I’m sure she’s hoping for a bumper week so why don’t you link a favourite parenting post up with the linky below.

If you haven’t joined in before, it really is super easy.  All you need to do is add a link to your favourite parenting post to the linky at the end of this post and then add  the badge to your post (not required but it’s always rather nice to do).

Sometime this week Otilia will pop over and pin your post to the Parenting Party Pinterest board along with all of the other entries and then next week’s host will then choose  her favourite two posts to be featured in their post next Monday.

It couldn’t be simpler could it?

Parenting Pin It Party Badge Monday Parenting Pin It Party #21

The Parenting Pin it Party is co-hosted each week by myself, Romanian MumKiddy ChartsMum of OneMummy AlarmAll you need is love and cake and The Fairy and the Frog.



Here we are again – Packed lunches Vs School Dinners….

Packed lunch vs school dinners

In the real world, we don’t all agree on everything.  Sometimes, you think you’re right and actually, someone comes along and shares their point of view with you and you start to think that they have a point.  So, once a month I’m going to post my opinion on a particular issue and ask another blogger to share their differing views.

As we’re in back to school mode right now, we’re kicking off with the packed lunch vs school dinners vote and I’ve asked the very lovely Jen from Mum in the Madhouse to share her thoughts too.  You can find her post here.

This year I’m going to have children at two different schools for the first time – one will be on school dinners and the other on packed lunches.

Miss Frugal is going to be on school dinners at her new secondary school at a cost of around £2.20 a day. I say around £2.20 a day because it’s a case of loading up a card daily / weekly and then her choosing what she wants to eat every day. The average cost of a meal including a drink is £2.20 and she’s asked to go on school dinners rather than packed lunches as that’s what ‘most kids’ will be doing apparently.

Whilst I like the idea of not having to make a packed lunch for her, it’s so much cheaper to send her off with a packed lunch!

I wouldn’t consider packed lunches for Master Frugal because again, at £2.20 a day, I know I can do it cheaper myself by sending him with a packed lunch.

It’s not just the cost issue though although that’s a big factor for me!

Master Frugal is a fussy eater and on the two occasions when he has forgotten his packed lunch in the last few months (yes, twice) he hasn’t really liked what was on offer so has hardly eaten hardly anything and been starving when he got home.

I don’t like the way the dinner ladies tell him he has to try things but he really doesn’t want to as that puts him off trying things with us at home although I do appreciate that they can’t let a child have an empty tray. A packed lunch means that we don’t have to worry about that.

I much prefer him taking a packed lunch to school because I know exactly what he’s eating and I can vary it so he has different foods each day and I can use up leftovers in his packed lunch which makes it even cheaper.

When I’m feeling particularly organised, we bake packed lunch cake and cheese straws on a Sunday to last us for the first part of the week at least and if I’m cooking pasta for tea, I usually save a little bit to use for packed lunches the next day.

packed lunch cake

cheese scones

I think a packed lunch takes a little bit more organisation but it’s worth it to save so much money and to know your child is taking a lunch that they will eat and more importantly, enjoy!

If you’re still undecided, here’s last years packed lunch vs school dinners post including a costing of how cheaply you can make a healthy nutritious packed lunch and if you do decide on packed lunches you might find this post helpful as it includes 50 nutritious and frugal packed lunch ideas.

Are you a packed lunch or a school dinners family?

Don’t forget to add your posts to the Back to school linky over at Jen’s blog while you’re there!

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