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Monday, 21 November 2011

Homemade Cleaner - dishwasher detergent

The recipe I use for dishwasher detergent is 2 cups borax and 1 cup baking soda mixed together. Recipe calls then to use 1/4 cup per load, but I've used 1/8 cup and my dishes are fine. You can also use white vinegar as your rinse agent. All works well for me! :)

Homemade Cleaner for the bath, shower and sinks

Favorite Homemade Cleaner
It's a creamy scrub that I use to clean the tub, shower and sinks. It got out a stain in the shower that bleach couldn't even remove. And it's so simple and inexpensive to make!

1/2 Cup Baking Soda
Mix in just enough liquid detergent to make the consistency like frosting (usually about 1-2 Tablespoons).

Apply to surface and clean with a damp rag. So simple!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent
I have been making my own laundry detergent for three years. Here is the recipe:

1/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha soap or Zote soap
1/2 cup of Washing Soda
1/2 Cup of Borax
A big bucket (a 2 gallon size works nice)

Grate the soap and mix it with 6 cups of water in a sauce pan. Heat to boiling until the soap melts completely. Add the Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until it has dissolved. Remove from heat. Now pour 4 cups of HOT water into the clean bucket. Add the soap mixture to the bucket. Give it a good stir. Now add 22 cups of HOT water into the bucket and stir.

Let the mixture sit for about a day and it will turn into a funky gel-like substance. It's now ready to use, I use about 1/2 cup per load.

This stuff cleans our clothes just as good as anything I have bought in the store. I've also used it to pre-treat stains and it works great. The thing I like best about it is that it doesn't leave that nasty chemical/fragrance smell on clothes like so many store-bought brands do.

Cost Break-down:

Borax - $3.50 for a 76 oz box at
Washing Soda - $2.76 for a 55 oz box at
Fels Naptha - $1.09 at my local grocery store

One batch lasts my family of 6 a little over a month (and we have TONS of laundry because of a baby and cloth diapers). One batch used to last 2-3 months before baby #4 came along. I can get about 18 batches from the box of Borax and about 14 batches from the box of Washing Soda. That's a huge savings!

Quick Tip
There is very little need to wash your clothes in anything but cold water. I actually thought that most people used cold until someone told me they use warm and hot almost all of the time. With the exception of cloth diapers, I use cold water for every load of laundry. Everything comes out clean and I don't need special detergent, either. I just use my homemade laundry detergent. So, cut down on those monthly utility bills by washing with cold water whenever you can!

Homemade Ways to Clean Carpet

You do not need to buy multiple expensive carpet cleaners to keep your carpet clean. By mixing a few common household ingredients, you can clean your carpets safely and economically. Making your own carpet cleaners takes very little time; in fact, many homemade carpet cleaners require only one or two ingredients to work effectively. To make cleaning your carpet easier, be sure to clean up stains and spills as soon as they occur.

Stain Cleaner
# Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in an empty spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stain, and let it sit for five minutes. Use a sponge or scrub brush and warm soapy water to scrub away the stain. Rinse the area with clean water or club soda. The carbonation in club soda helps release stains from carpet fibers.

Grease Stains
# Grease and oil must be drawn out of the carpet. Sprinkle enough cornstarch on the grease spot to cover the stained area, then allow it to soak up the stain for 15 to 30 minutes. Vacuum the cornstarch, and repeat if the stain is not completely lifted.

Deep Cleaner
# Mix together 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup borax, and 1/4 cup white vinegar in a bowl. Rub the solution into the carpet, and allow the area to dry. You may have to leave the mix on the carpet for several hours or overnight. Vacuum up the cleaning solution, and repeat if necessary.

# Sprinkle baking soda in a light layer across the entire carpet. Allow the baking soda to sit on your carpet for at least 30 minutes, and then vacuum it and the odors away. For stubborn odors, repeat, or allow the baking soda to sit longer on the carpet.

Foaming Cleaner
# Mix 1/4 cup vegetable-based soap with 3 tbsp. water in a bowl. Whip the combination with a hand mixer or whisk. Rub the foam into the soiled areas of the carpet, and rinse with clean water or club soda. Repeat if necessary.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

hello all , im back !!

Ive been taking time out from my pc world for a while as i had other issues that needed dealing with first, but hopefully il get back on track asap.

Il be adding lots of tips and tricks on do it yourself items on all kinds of topics so stay tuned for those and that wonderful time of the year is coming up so il be sharing ideas on that too.

Be patient folks, im hopeing the wait will be worth it for you :) xxx

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Busy, Busy , Busy

Ive spent the last couple of weeks creating a home station which consists of several binders and umpteen note books , plus some file storage boxes.
Ive concentrated on things by their importance and have filed them accordingly, im looking forward to sharing them with you once i get everything up to date and filled in.

So far i have a Family file consisting of important and emergancey phone numbers, medical histories and many other day to day uses.
It also contains budgeting and ideas how to save money in every area possible, it contains many lists and notes for me to still attend too but its coming along nicely.

I also created a Utilities file where i have added all my utilities for the past two yrs, after two yrs they get destroyed.

Then the one il be enjoying very soon is my Occasions file, full of ideas for christmas, including a budget for gifts, gift ideas, the best time to start planning and putting things into practice, im really excited about that one.
It was going to just be a xmas file until i realised that i could apply all my good ideas and budgeting skills to every special occasion so it made sense to keep it all together.

So although its been a bit of a chore and a lot of headaches trying to think of everything, its all coming together nicely and will be of tremendous assistance to us all once compleated. I have to admit that now the files are being filled im actually enjoying the process and will continue to add things until im satisfied we have everything we need in the one place, no more letters laying on my benches for us, grrrrr.
Looking forward to sharing more on this with you all soon xxx

Monday, 15 August 2011

lordy , are we in trouble

i spent the whole of today either on the phone sorting out the effects of my daughter living here and being a mature student and making plans and creating intenaries for the different areas of our expenses.

I started by looking at what i have coming in now, to what we will have in 3 weeks time when our world turns upside down again, and compared living expenses and made lists of bills and neccessary expenditures and finally if and where i can cut back.

Unfortunately i cant cut back very much this time as id already skimmed things down the last time around, however it has made me very concious of costs such as food , toiletries and cleaning stuff and much more.

Already ive been hunting down the shops in my area on line looking for bargains and compairing prices, and tommorow i hit the streets to do more of the same.

One good thing to come out of all of this mayhem and worry is the fact it makes you so much more aware of how you live and what you waste without giving it a second thought, unless you end up in a similar situation to me.

My daughter and i listed ways on how to save money on our gas, electric, water ect just by being more aware of turning things off, down or using smaller measures or spending less time doing things.

For e.g ....
Take more showers other than baths to save on water, but dont spend all day in it, get washed, hair done, shave ect and get out, done.
Dont leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth .

For electric, unplug or switch off appliances at the mains b4 bed, dont leave things on standby, dont leave lights on in empty rooms and only fill the kettle with the amount of water neccessary.

For gas, turn your heating down a notch and wrap up more.
The only thing in my house that is gas is my boiler and heating and we are aware not to waste the hot water ect.

We will be putting these and many other plans into action immediately so please wish us luck, and for those that pray, please bare us in mind, thankyou x

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Frugal, frugal, frugal.

As some of you may have noticed im going all out at the minute trying to find ways to cut back and save money due to our up and coming changes in circumstances at the end of this month.

It certainly seems as if im the only one doing the worrying (as is normally the case)so im really getting down to the nitty gritty of this frugal living lark.

Im not a stranger to it, as i started my journey of frugality last year but i only applied it to certain areas of my life as some how thus far we have survived the last financial blow, but im proud to say it certainly opened my eyes and i enjoy certain aspects of it.
Dont get me wrong folks, id be a liar if i said i never longed to be frivilous from time to time, but we do what we can when we can.

Ive spent a little money on my credit card a couple of times this year just to stop myself from going insane buy doing small projects in the house or to buy clothes but i always make sure no matter how bad things get to pay more than the minimum payments just to keep my head above water with any debt.

So please bare with me as i list all ideas to help me out and hopefully some of you guys too, lets face it, im sure we could all do with re thinking our finances and the way we live from time to time :) x

Top 5 Painless Ways to Cut Your Spending

This article setus in good stead for simple ways to start making those cut backs in a simple and managable fashion.

Cutting your spending doesn't have to mean lots of sacrifice. Try some of these painless cost-cutters, and watch your spending shrink:
1. Switch to Store Brands

Name brand products are good, but store brand products are often just as good (if not identical). Make the switch to the bargain labels, and you'll shave 25-50 percent off of your weekly grocery bill. With more and more grocery chains launching their own line of organics and other premium products, there's never been an easier time to switch.

2. Shop with a List

Ever gone to the store for a few items and come out with a whole cartload? Who hasn't? To keep impulse shopping from taking hold of your budget, make a habit of shopping with a list. Jot down everything you need, and then only shop for those items.

Still tempted to add an extra item to your cart? Go home and think about it first. If you still want the item you can always add it to your next shopping list.

3. Carry Snacks

Eating out always costs more than eating at home – whether it's a quick snack from a convenience store, a vending machine or a fast food restaurant. Avoid this cost entirely by keeping snacks on hand at all times. Toss a granola bar and a bottle of water in your purse before running errands; stash some goodies in your desk drawer at work--just be ready for that hunger attack wherever and whenever it decides to strike.

4. Use It Up
Whether it's food in your pantry, hobby supplies or beauty care products, you probably have lots of unused or partly used items around your house. Before you run to the store to buy your next "must-have," look around and see if you can find something at home to fill your need. This simple exercise will not only help you to spend less, but also to clear out some of the clutter in your home.

5. Shop to Save

Challenge yourself to save more every time you shop. If you normally buy something at regular price, challenge yourself to find it on sale. If you normally buy something on sale, challenge yourself to find it on clearance. When you're always on the lookout for a bargain, there's no end to the money that you can save; and soon it becomes a game that you look forward to playing.

baby steps guide to saving.

Iread this article today on my own journey of trying to save a few pennies and i found it made perfect sense, check it out .

Stop Spending!

Saving is not easy. We live in this crazy consumer-driven-gotta-have-it society, where the latest gadget/gizmo/car/movie/fashion/toy is constantly being promoted, and we are made to feel like we’re missing out if we don’t have the latest or the best. The sheer quantity of stuff available to to purchase at any given time is pretty much a bottomless pit. There is always more, more more!

So what’s a girl (or boy) to do?

Well, it’s pretty simple really: Stop. Buying. Stuff.

At least in theory it is simple.

In practice, it is sooooo much harder.

Our reasons for spending money on stuff we don’t need are plentiful and varied. It makes us feel good. We want to look better. We want our house to be pretty. We want what everyone else has. It’s fun. We’re bored. We’re lonely. We want people to like us better. We want to be “ahead of the curve.” We’re tech junkies. We can’t pass up a “good deal.” We think we might need it someday. The sales pitch worked. We’re stressed. We’re trying to fill a void. It was on sale. We’re addicted to [Starbucks, tobacco, scrapbooking, shoes, video games, books, etc. etc.]

Sound familiar?

The truth is that whatever the reason, much of what we spend our money on is unnecessary, a want rather than a need. I need to eat, but I want to drink my Keurig K-Cups coffee every day. I need to wear shoes, but I want to have dozens of pairs in every color and style imaginable. It is so very important to realize the distinction between what we think we need and what we actually need.

It is the first critical step on the path to savings.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never spend money on anything, and live an austere (and boring) life void of pretty things entertainment or yummy coffee drinks. Don’t forget, the title of this blog is Living WELL Spending Less.

But for the sake of this series, we are going to start by curbing all spending so that down the road we can figure out how to get those things we want in a way that fits our budget.
Which brings me to this week’s assignment:

(Any guesses?)
1. Stop spending!

Try to go seven days in a row without spending money on anything except what is absolutely necessary, as in matter-of-survival necessary. No clothes, no candy, no quick stops at McDonalds, no craft supplies, no nothing. Don’t worry, it’s only a week. You won’t die. I promise.
2. Make a list of wants and needs

Spend it reflecting on all the things you spend money on in a months time, and divide those things into a “needs” list (i.e. I need to pay rent, buy food, make my car payment, etc.) and a “wants” list (cable TV, designer jeans, Starbucks, etc.) Don’t just make a mental list. Sit down and physically write down every single thing you can think of that you spend money on, from the mundane to the major.
3. Get inspired

4. Find new (free) ways to fill your time

Think long and hard about the reasons you spend money frivelously. If you are using shopping as a way to fill a void in your life then you need to seriously explore other hobbies that don’t cost anything. Go to the library and check out some new books, make it your mission to explore every park in a 20 mile radius, set a goal of organizing every closet and cupboard in your house by the end of the summer, or better yet, start a blog. (That last one is what worked for me!)

I think the thing that surprised me the most when I stopped spending money out of boredom was how much more creative I became. The world is full of free activities. You just have to look a little harder.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Frugal Living – Winter Saving Tips

Each year, the cost of heating your home is becoming extortionate. Here I discuss some winter saving tips that I’ve used to cut down my costs of heating my home.

Throughout the winter, the cold can be very unforgiving. Unfortunately for us, so can the cost of heating. With the price of oil rising, we are finding it harder to afford heating. To survive this time of the year – usually when the majority of spending has gone out on gifts, and food, requires one to think smart.

Each winter we spend a small fortune on ourselves. However, we also spend a fortune on heating. Frugal living is all about being wise with your money. Winter savings tips are great, because you can not only reduce what you pay out – but you make your home more thermally efficient.

By loosing less heat out of your house, you are saving on your heating bill. How your heating works can vary. Often there is gas or oil powered central heating. Perhaps you have a boiler plate in your fire, so that the fire can supplement your central heating. Or you use electricity to heat your home.

Regardless, you need to have a green home. An efficient home.

To start saving money throughout the winter, one can follow these simple steps:

Turn your thermostat down
By turning down the thermostat on your central heating, you will not be heating your house much. Sounds counter-intuitive? Of course it does. However, why burn lots of oil, or gas, when you can save a small fortune by turning the nob down a few clicks.
Seal all gaps in doors and windows

Everyone’s house must settle. And traditional wooden frames, even PVC ones, will bend a little as the house settles. The gaps left are great ways to loose heat from your home. So why not save yourself some money by spending money on getting draft excluders!
Close curtains or blinds

Whilst these are all very eye pleasing, their actual purpose is insulation of your home. Enjoy day light whilst it’s around, but once it starts to get dark it’s soon going to be cold. Take this opportunity to stay warm, and close curtains and blinds to retain some heat in your home.
Light candles

Candles are awesome at setting a nice ambience to any room in your home. However, before getting to the tip, I must strenuously remind you not to leave candles unattended, nor lit whilst you sleep. Don’t forget to have your smoke alarm checked too. Safety lesson aside. Candles, big or small, are sources of heat. You’d be surprised at how much heat is given off by 10 small tea-light candles .
Put down rugs/carpets

Like curtains or blinds, rugs and carpets are used to insulate the floor of your home.
Wear a pullover/jumper/jersey

Yes, wearing additional clothes that are not traditionally worn indoors will warm you up. This is great, because you can save so much on your heating bills just by doing this!

Top 10 Ways to Start Living the Frugal Life

1. Befriend the Library

Buying books and movies gets expensive, and even renting can add up. Take a trip to your local library; and you'll find all of the latest books and movies available free of charge. Still like the idea of renting? Then, give Redbox a try. Rentals are just $1 a night, so the damage to your budget will be minimal

2. Clip Coupons

Take the time to clip coupons for the grocery items that you buy regularly, and shave an easy 25% off of your weekly grocery bill. Want to save even more? Find a grocery store in your area that doubles coupons, and make that your store of choice.

3. Eat Out Less Often

Eating out is fun, but far more expensive than eating at home. Challenge yourself to eat at home more often – even if it's just once more a month, and watch your bank account grow. Then, find ways to minimize the cost of eating out when you do decide to treat yourself.

4. Switch to Online Bill Pay

Save yourself a stamp, and avoid late fees by paying your bills online. You can pay direct to your creditors, or set up automatic bill pay with your bank; and take yourself out of the equation entirely.

5. Group Errands

Reduce your gas bill by grouping your errands and only driving when you need to. For even more savings, consider biking or walking when you don't have far to go.

6. Make Your Own Cleaners

Homemade cleaners work just as well as store-bought cleaners and at a fraction of the price. Stock up on basic cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda; and you'll be ready for any cleaning task that comes your way.

7. Seek Freebies

Freebies are fun and budget-friendly. Look online for a wide-array of free offers, and enjoy a mailbox bursting with goodies. Like to try new products? Then, this is a particularly good savings strategy for you.

8. Wash in Cold

Cut your electric bill substantially by washing your laundry in cold water. Your clothes will still come out clean, and your hot water heater won't have to work nearly as hard.

9. Flip a Switch

Reduce your electric bill even further by turning off lights and other electronics when they aren't in use. It may seem like a small thing, but you're sure to see the difference on your next electric bill.

10. Change Your Own Oil

Skip the quick lube, and change your own oil. You'll reduce your tab to the price of oil and a filter, and maybe even save time too – quick lubes aren't always as quick as the name suggests.

The Frugal Family

Top deals on household items, clothing and groceries this week.

This site is definately worth checking out for weekly deals if you live in the U.S.
It shares some great deals and bargains weekly for you and names where and when.

Suggestions for Reducing Your Food Budget

By making a few minor adjustments you can reduce the amount of money you spend on food.

Food is expensive. It is also a necessary item, taking up much of our weekly budget. The ideal situation is to prepare and cook exactly the right amount for each meal. That seldom happens.

As human beings we over estimate, misjudge and make errors. Sometimes we cook enough food to feed an army, rather than the small group gathered in our household. Sometimes we weaken while shopping, confusing wants with needs, filling our fridge until it over flows.

This article is written from personal experience. I’m sure wiser people have researched the amount of food wasted in an average household. In fact, I’m sure I’ve read about it in the past. Food wastage can be high. But, there is a solution. Reduce food wastage in your home and you reduce the amount of money you spend.

Plan ahead: We often shop without prior thought to our weekly needs. We buy a bit of this and a bit of that, hoping we’ll have the necessary ingredients to throw together tasty meals. How often have you found a foreign object lurking at the back of your fridge, only to discover it was that avocado you knew you liked the look of, then promptly forgot it. You save a lot of wastage if you identify what you need before you start.

Buy less: Okay, this may sound obvious. But the nurturing side of us says have family, must feed. This is especially true if teenagers occupy your home. You’re a caring food provider and would hate to see anyone go hungry. You also need to be prepared in case visitors stop by. And, you mustn’t forget to predict how much food your family will need during a national disaster. Fine, think about those things. Then, consider how much food your family really needs for the week. Buy only that amount.

Use left over food to create new dishes: Some of the tastiest dishes are created by using left over meat and vegetables. Throw in an egg or two, a favourite sauce or a can of beans and you can come up with a dish to ward off most hunger pangs. If using left over food is a new concept for you, do an online search and you’ll find plenty to tempt your taste buds.

Use your freezer: If you find you have bought too much or cooked too much, save it for another time. Freezers were invented to store excess food and eliminate waste. Keep a supply of food wrap and plastic containers of all sizes, label and date the contents and save your food for another time. Just remember to get used to utilizing what is stored there when creating new meals.

Enhance meat dishes with cheaper ingredients: There are many ways to do this. Throw a can of beans into a meat dish. Use less meat and more vegetables in a stir fry. Enclose the meat inside a layer of pastry to make filling pies. Once you start experimenting, your imagination will come up with many more ideas.

Use the contents of your cupboard before buying more: Check out what you have stashed away on a regular basis. Use the food you have before buying more. Don’t make the mistake of buying cans or packets on special when you already have several of them in your cupboard already.

Retrain your family: Tight times call for tight measures. If you genuinely want to reduce your food bill, you may have to retrain your family. Get them used to eating differently. They may complain at first, but after awhile they’ll be more appreciative of the food placed in front of them.

If you are genuine in your desire to reduce your food budget, you need to make changes to the way you do things. Let these ideas be a starting point. Continue to explore and come up with ideas of your own.

6 Surprising Uses for Your Microwave

In the era of Slow Food and de-cluttered kitchens, the humble microwave oven has been rendered somewhat déclassé and is being phased out in many households. This isn’t to say that microwaves are at risk of going the way of the Walkman anytime soon, but many folks seem to be getting along just fine without them.

If you haven’t prepared a Hungry-Man dinner in more than 15 years, you pop popcorn the “old-fashioned” way and are considering pawning off a seldom-used microwave on a friend, you might want to think twice. There are numerous ways to get the most out of your microwave — which, by the way, are significantly more efficient and cost-effective than traditional full-sized ovens. Here are six of them:

1. Bread, fresh from the microwave: MNN food blogger Robin Shreeves has an idea for those who enjoy fresh bakery bread and rolls with dinner but don’t have the countertop space for a proper breadbox: just stash it in the microwave until you’re ready to eat it. When the door is closed, a microwave is airtight so your baked goods will stay nice and fresh … just don’t forget them in there. This microwave-as-a-breadbox trick can also be applied to foods that need to kept fresh, don’t need refrigeration and that you don’t want cluttering your countertop.

2. The mighty germ-killing sponge-saver: Many of us have a tendency to go through kitchen sponges and scrubbers somewhat frequently — given that after several uses they can start looking/smelling a bit funky as they mutate from useful cleaning tool into filthy germ hotel. Instead of tossing a perfectly good sponge that still has some life in it — doing this can be a burden on both the environment and your pocketbook — simply wet it so it doesn’t become a fire hazard and toss it in the microwave for a minute or two. “Sponge Zapping,” as its known, will sanitize the sponge, killing 99 percent of bacteria living on it. And while we’re on the topic of bacteria and sponges, we recommend looking into the Scoop Sponge from Full Circle, a biodegradable sponge with an arch that helps it to dry faster and prohibits germs from making themselves too comfortable.

3. A home spa accessory … in the kitchen: Long considered a must-have tool for those who enjoy luxurious at-home pampering, a microwave can be used to warm facial masks, wraps, creams, lotions, hot oil conditioning packs and waxes. And if you’re looking for quick relief from what ails you, there’s no better (or faster) way to heat up a gel pack than popping it in the microwave.

4. A citrus squeezer’s best friend: Squeezing a lemon or lime for cooking or cocktail purposes can often provide lackluster results, especially if it’s been sitting in a refrigerator. Warm citrus fruits in a microwave for 20 seconds for more juicy results and a nice little blast of natural, citrus-y air in your kitchen.

5. Crafty Crayola creations: Households with artistically inclined children tend to go through a fair number of crayons. When crayons are broken, mostly used up or neglected, they usually meet an untimely end in the garbage can. However, after a quick reheating in the microwave (be sure to strip crayons of paper and place them in a microwave-safe container) melted crayon wax can live on in the form of recycled crayon creations. After melting, pour the wax into candy molds or ice cube trays and pop in the freezer. “Chunky” homemade crayon-making is a great way to get kids hooked on DIY, but just make sure you’re around to supervise and operate “the melter” as the wax can get very hot.

6. Non-reheated culinary delights: In many households, microwaves are primarily dedicated to reheating leftovers and making nachos. However, there are myriad ways to put a microwave to good use and create delicious, healthy meals. Some of these creations might surprise even the most jaded foodies: Steamed vegetables, toasted nuts and breadcrumbs, cooked bacon, roasted garlic, poached fish and baked potatoes can all be enjoyed in dramatically less time than it would take to prepare them by firing up the oven or boiling water.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How do you organise your paper work/ mail ?

whether you sit down at a desk or just sort through your mail as it arrives, how do you keep it organised into things to do, things to pay, appointments to make or keep ect ?

I have a set of three plastic bins or duckets underneath one of my kitchen counters, the purpose was for each of my family members to have a place to keep or store their mail ect, however it never caught on and they have been there a year.

Now its just a dumping ground for bank statements and important bits and pieces that dont have a home as such, i just want them off my bench tops.

Can you make any suggestions please ?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Small gift ideas

If your friends and family appreciate the little things in life with perhaps a personal touch, then here are some gift ideas that may help you out.

Key Rings

Fridge Magnets

Pens and Notebooks


Flowers/ plants


Cute little ornaments

Tins or Jars of sweets

Cookies- preferably homemade

Music Cd's, make them personal to the reciever.

Photo Dvd's

You could give these gifts alone or bundle a few together and present them in a gift bag or box with their names on :)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Create A Holiday Planner

ive been reading about the best ways to plan for the holidays i.e christmas
Its true, its the most stressful few months of the year, i say a few months because i start my shopping in september usually due to having a large family to buy for, so im creating list for this and that and winding myself up.

Il let you into a little secret, i used to dread the christmas holiday season, all i could think of was how much work it was, how much stress was involved and i lost all passion and desire for it, that was until last year, my most frugal xmas ever and yet i loved every minute of it except of course for my son not being here to share it.

Any way, back to the subject in hand, i came across a few articles that talked about creating christmas planners and lists and to be quite honest, they make perfect sense as to how to keep everything in order, at the right time and they can actually teach you how to budget from one yr to the next and the beauty of it is, you store these away and refer to them each yr which makes life so much easier.
So here we go ...

a holiday planner. A holiday planner could be as simple as a binder filled with paper, or it could be as creative as you choose to make it.

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies

You will need…

  • A binder - Look for a sturdy one with pockets. (I often use a small 3-ring binder)
  • Tabbed Dividers - Choose heavy-duty dividers with pockets to help them last as long as possible. I would start with 10 dividers, and add more if needed
  • Decorative elements – These are not necessary, but it can be fun to let your creative juices flow

Step 2: Create Category Sections

Here are the categories I have found useful. Feel free to expand and/or alter my list.

Budgets – This might be your least favorite section, but it’s probably the most important. Take time (right now or very soon) to put some serious thought into what your holiday budget will be. Remember to include any charitable donations, gifts, food, clothes, travel expenses, etc. Each of the following sections should have a specific budget…keep it visible and stick to it as much as possible.

Calendar(s) – Keep calendars near the front of your binder as you will refer to them often.

Christmas Card Lists – I have a small address book for Christmas cards so I keep this book in my Holiday Planner. You could also save time by creating a list on your computer and printing labels each year.

Cleaning – I can almost guarantee you will have guests over at some point during the holiday season…which means you’ll probably want your house to be presentable. Take some time to set up deep cleaning (carpets, upholstery, etc) and if you find yourself in a mad-rush to clean up, check out my speed-cleaning tips.

Food – Food is such an important part of the holiday season for me, so I separate my menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s , etc. and keep them all in this section. I also keep any recipes for homemade gifts in this section. Check out my collection of recipes.

Gifts – Write down gift ideas for friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and anyone else you plan to make or purchase a gift for. I’ve also gotten in the habit of writing down exactly what I buy each person every year. This helps assure that I won’t give anyone something 2 times in a row…or re-gift something they gave me {wait, I don’t do that!}

Print and use this gift inventory for even more organization!

Parties and Entertaining – Include information on any entertaining you will do during the hoiday season. Use my meal planning organizers to plan your food in advance. This way, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need to stock up on and you can purchase them on sale.

Receipts – I keep all my holiday receipts until the season is over. Stores are so finicky about their return policies so it’s just a good habit to get in to. I will often write the name of the person on the receipt for their gift. This helps when I’m looking to return a specific item or if I want to include the gift receipt with the gift.

Shopping – Keep all your shopping lists here as reminders for next year’s holiday season. Examples:

  • Gifts
  • Decorations
  • Entertaining/Food
  • Home Improvement
  • Clothes

Traditions - I’m not overly sentimental, but I do appreciate traditions. They are a special part of the holiday season for me and my family, so I keep track of them in my notebook. Some of our traditions are decorating our house the day after Thanksgiving, making holiday cookies, specific holiday parties with family and friends, and wrapping presents. Tracking these activities can help you schedule and plan what is most important to your family during the holiday season.

Travel – This is the busiest time of year for travel so it’s essential to be organized. Keep all your travel information, directions, and packing lists in this section. Remember to write down phone numbers, confirmation numbers and any other important information you might need.

Step 3: Enjoy the Holidays because you are so organized and prepared!

shared by simpleorganizedliving

I hope this helps you guys get organised this christmas :)

Clutter free gift ideas

Last year i enjoyed creating baskets and home made things as gifts for the family which went down a treat, only i found it hard to budget them as i wasnt used to being on such a tight budget and if it didnt look much, i just kept adding things.
Dont get me wrong, it wasnt a fortune, but it wasnt quite on budget either so this yr i really need to set a budget amount for each person and stick to it.

I know it may seem crazy talking about gift ideas now but because i amaon a tight budget i can only afford to get or make one gift at a time (weekly ) so i really needed to be thinking of ideas now and get a start on it, especially with all the birthdays weve had lately too.

So i did a search for gift ideas and here is some suggestions that i came across....

Homemade cookies/brownies
Homemade frozen dinners
(for new moms especially)
Gift basket of gourmet coffees and teas that you've assembled yourself

Homemade coupon book of coupons good for things such as…

  • · Breakfast in bed
  • · Night of babysitting services
  • · Home cooked favorite meal and a movie
  • · Lawn cutting
  • · Garage / basement clean up assistance
  • · Shovel the driveway and sidewalk

A book of car wash coupons from a local auto salon
Assemble a person’s photo album for them

Movie theatre coupons
Tickets to a play
Tickets to an art exhibition
Tickets to a concert
Tickets to the symphony
An evening with a personal chef or chef service for a year
A weekend at a bed and breakfast
A night at a nice local hotel
Season tickets (or a partial season package) to a local sports team
Airline tickets to come and visit you!
Hot air balloon ride
Gift certificate for a spa day OR just a single massage (Check out Spa Finders!)
Gift certificate for dinner out

For those with a bigger budget, i might suggest ...

Dance lessons/classes
Music lessons
Magic lessons
Session(s) with a personal trainer
Yoga classes
A self-defense class
Cooking classes
Foreign language class
Computer classes
Certificate for continuing education

Pre-pay for the person’s next hair or nail salon visit at their regular salon
Gift certificate for a family portrait
A car detailing package
Housekeeping services one time or monthly for a whole year (I'd love this one!)
Consultation with a professional organizer (only if the person has asked for or it, says they’d love it!)

A museum membership
Membership to a gym (maybe split one with them)
Tickets to or a membership to an aquarium
A membership to a shooting range
Season pass to an amusement park OR single tickets

Gift card for iTunes music downloads
Pre-paid phone calling card

Computer software that the person’s been talking about buying
Netflix and Blockbuster certificates ( )

I hope that you can find something in this list to help you out next time your stuck for gift ideas :) x

what are my plans for this week ?

Im in serious need of some large plastic boxes with lids to store a lot of the stuff i have removed from the 3 rooms ive been working on up to the loft.

here is where the money part comes into the project...

i need a shower rail the width of the shower room,

I need to fill all the holes where weve moved shelves ect in the walls and tiles.

i need a tin of paint to create a painted border in the bedroom

I need to paint the showers corner shelves and maybe the wall shelves too, wel see.

possibly paint the bathroom ceiling blue ?

possibly paint mirror frame in bedroom ?

get a longer length of tv ariel cable

i need at least 3 boxes, probably more but il get a few at a time

I will be purging and selling some craft stuff on face book so if anyones interested you can check it out, look me up, wendy jacobs.

So it looks like another busy week ahead, i just wish it was done so i could start somewhere else :)
i love the challenge of creating new looks on a tight budget by simply re using what you already have and just dressing it a little differently, roll on the next project xxx

fashion accessories you should not live without

What a fabulous idea,
3 items i dont have in my bag but would love to get my hands on, i think a trip to super drugs is on the cards.

These items are ...

Hollywood Fashion Tape

They’re transparent, stretchy, super sticky strips of tape designed to adhere to textiles and skin without leaving a residue.

Miss Oops Lint Roller with refill

use it to remove cat hair, dandruff and random bits of lint on clothing.

Shout Portable Wipes

They’re stain-removing towelettes that comes 12 to a box in individually wrapped packets.

Just tear open one of the packets, and rub the moistened sheet (soaked with an effective stain remover) on the stain.

this little bit of genious was shared by


what do you keep in your bag for emergancies ?

Accessory Dots from Hollywood Fashion Secrets

I was checking through some makeup and beauty blogs today and i discoverd a fantastic accessory item both for beauty and fashion plus home use too.

This post was written by karen over on the makeup and beauty blog.

They’re super sticky little double-stick tape dots that adhere to bare skin and clothing to hold fabric in place. Mostly, I use ‘em to keep the ends of my belts from hanging down, but they’re also great for closing gaps in shirts, and for securing scarves, jewelry, shoe straps and falling hems.

They’re pretty easy to remove when you’re finished with them and don’t leave behind a residue on skin or clothes. Just peel and throw away. :)

I keep at least a couple of them in my purse for wardrobe malfunctions and quick adjustments. Sometimes they come in really handy!

i really need to invest in some of these little beauties, just goes to show i dont get out and about enough to have missed out on them , i only hope they do these or something similar over here in the uk.

Friday, 5 August 2011

An inspiring poem

picture a scene full of grass that is new
put in some flowers and cover them with due
picture a fence that enfolds all of this
put in the children and blow them a kiss

picture the blue skies that glide up above
put in the sun with its rays full of love
picture the birds that swoon to the ground
put in their song and cherrish the sound.

picture the family gatherd about
put in some animals, some sml and some stout
picture our world with a smile on your face
and put in the memories of this beautiful place.

by woo xxx

Finding my old poems

I just happened apon some of my poetry i wrote years ago, some may find it a bit mushy or intense but he noones perfect right :)
Anyway, i thought id share some of it here as a keep sake to myself, so here goes with number one ...

writing a poem
is a very special thing
when you think of the heartache
or joy it can bring.

you open your heart
and reach right inside
and your feelings flow out
like a wave on the tide.

it really wont matter
if it doesnt rhyme
as it means the same thing
when your captured in time.

so put pen to paper
and see how you go
and feel the waves crashing
as the words start to flow.

by woo xxx

Graphics Disclaimer

From time to time il be adding new headers or creating headers for topics in paint shop pro, it has been a love of mine for around ten yrs now and ive been neglecting it apart from headers for my website so i intend to do a few and throw them in here and there.

Please dont be put off by the use of some of the graphics i may use, they are not meant to offend anyone, i see the beauty in most things and have gone way beyond what a devious mind can create.

So without futher ado, heres my disclaimer for those of you who may have any queries about any of the graphics i use....

All of the art i create is done in paintshop pro using tubes, tubes are cut outs of other people creations or art work that is shared for the most part with permission to adjust and create new works of art.
I do not claim the art as my own, but i do take pride in it and will except compliments :)
If you have any futher questions please approach me in a civil manner
thankyou x

The love of my life right now

Remember i showed you my pup Harvey when i first got him, well take a look at my handsome little scally now :)

This is the most recent picture i have, hes around 6 months old on this pic when infact hes actually 7 months now and looks like a little bear cub lol.
Hes a right little tinker, such a charector and has the devil in his blood but hes my lil devil and i love him to pieces.
For all his mischief and cheeky ways, he keeps me sane, its like having a baby in the house again and i wouldnt part with him for the world xxx

Linen Closet Clear out and Tidy

I saw a perfect tip a short while ago on how to store your bedding that was both simple and genious, well i think so anyway :)

i was just flicking through some pictures on pinterest when i came across this little revelation, so simple and yet i dont know of anyone that uses the idea, do you ?
check it out

Storing sheets inside the pillowcase. How come I never thought of that?

So i went ahead and purged some old bedding, re folded all my table clothes and rolled up my towels and then applied this method to all of my bedding.
Wow guys, you wouldnt believe the difference in space saving, how neat it is but above all how practical it is, im in love with this idea x

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Updated Boudoir Tour video

I changed the boudoir around a short while ago, i added some different furniture, removed the bed and had a general sort out, check it out ...
p.s, plz excuse the poor filming and my insistant erming, im not used to filming at all :)

Time for a catch up

Appologies my friends for my lack of time and posts here the past few months, i have been desperately trying to improve my health and mind as ive been stuck in a big rutt with myself for sometime time.

Im dissapointed that the website isnt really going any where and ive just about given up on it though it breaks my heart as theres so much useful information on it.
I have decided that should i decide to let it go altogether, i will share some of the information here first, kind of like a diary for myself and anyone else who might be interested, infact it wouldnt be such a bad idea to do that anyway :).

Ive been trying to deal with a lot of anxiety lately as my world is about to change yet again finacially by the end of this month and i have my appeal to go through also, so ive been channeling my anxiety into changing and cleaning the house.
Since monday ive been changing what was marks bedroom, bathroom and passage , suprisingly after a lot of furniture shifting, taking down shelves and moving them else where, adding old shelves and a few new pieces i bought last year, the 3 rooms are finally starting to take shape.

So far i havent spent a penny which is suprising for how different everything looks, but unfortunately i will have to get a few bits and pieces just to finish off.
Obviously il have a lot of hole filling to do and some paint touch ups, (not sure if i still have any of the rooms paint left, must check )
Im wanting to add a band of colour in the bedroom just to break up all the blue so il need to buy a tin of paint, i also need a large throw for the bed that will be used like a settee unless we get guests staying over.

If i do have to buy blue paint for touch ups, im gonna paint the bathroom ceiling with it as well, oh and the biggest thing id like to have done is the bathroom tiles painted, but wel have to see how the pennies go :(.

Other than that ive been turning the passage into a laundry room, the tumble driers in there now but im waiting for the washer to be plumbed in, not sure when.
The shelves are up, i just need one picture put up and a new washing basket and i think its about done.

The worst part of doing the three rooms is that i had originally used marks room as a craft / guest room, i had filled it full of goodies last year, anything to keep it from being dorment and the crafts kept it colourful and cheery.
Well my concentration span has just about phased out to nil, and i hadnt created anything in such a long time, so i decided it was time to strip it back and clear it out.

I have a big basket of stuff to try and sell on face book , though i have kept some stuff that i know il use around christmas time or for special gift wrapping ect, so consiquently im left with a barrage of baskets and boxes of stuff to sort through and find homes for as they are stuck in my new laundry room until i do grrr.

Seriously guys and girls, my house needs the biggest clear out, so hopefully i dont burn myself out as ive been working till 10 and 11 pm most nights and i can keep up the good work and go right through the house, funny thing is i actually enjoy it, especially the end result :).

Anyway, thats enough of my waffling for now, i just thought id let you know what ive been up to, feel free to let me know what youve been up to. xxx

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How ill ?

I have been so ill these past few weeks guys, ive been to the doctors twice and they keep saying its a virus that will fizzle itself out, i hope its sooner rather than later.

Ive been so listless, no energy, everything hurts, its an effort to do ANYTHING at all and im pretty fed up with it now .
I decided today to try to push through it, so after my doctors appointment i got my hubby to walk me down to the shops, i managed two shops and had to sit down twice before jumping a taxi back home.
Needless to say after an hour long kip i feel like ive been kicked all over grrr, but il keep trying, a little bit every day and see how i get on.

wish me luck :) xxx

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Appologies my friends

Wow, The past month has been such a whirlwind of confusion, anxiety and odd bouts of depression, i dont know where to begin.

Unfortunately a friend of mine lost her aunt and i did my best to help her and her family get through but i have to admit it cut me up inside as it brought my sons memory flooding back big time.

Also i have been appealing my case against the system that says that im fit enough to look for work, lordy im starting to wonder if the stress is all worth it, but i sure could use the time out.

My poor new website It's All About You took a back seat for a couple of weeks , but im getting back on track and im making regular posts and will be adding some new features over the coming months :).

On a brighter note, my lil puppy Harvey has been a real blessing, loving him has kept me from going under by putting myself to bed and burying my head.

Im feeling a lil sentimental right now, but despite everything, i know that im blessed with a beautiful family, wonderful friends (both here and at home ) and im greatful for that .

Take care for now my friends xxx

Sunday, 20 February 2011

My Kitchen - before and after

Well we spent this week changing my kitchen over from a modern retro type look to a cottage style with shabby chic accents.
Im pleased with how its turned out although it is still a work in progress,
why not check it out by hitting the title link

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Healthy Breakfast Food Ideas

What do you class as a healthy breakfast ?
I tend to stick to cereals with added fruit and half fat milk

I came across this video that has some simple yet healthy ideas, i thought id share it with you.

Let me know what does it for you .


Monday, 7 February 2011

Meet the newest member of my family

On sunday my beautiful daughters suprised me with a darling little puppy as an early birthday present.
Iknew he was coming only i wasnt expecting him for another couple of weeks yet as hes only 5 weeks old bless him, but hes eating really well.

Well i expected a pretty rough night with him last night as he came from a family of 5 brothers and sisters and both parents at home, i really thought hed frett, but to our suprise he slept right through until 8am which is pretty amazeing.

Today hes been finding his feet, and his bark lol, but he knows who his new mammy is :) i love that he looks for me already even though i may regrett it later lol.

Hes just what the doctor orderd for me after my son, i get a new baby to love and a new best friend in the making.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Lovey Dovey Valentine Hop

We are soooo excited to host Lovey Dovey Blog Hop!
Along with my co-hosts Kathy of Market America
& Aprilee of Artistry Jewelry Studios
We want to meet new friends and share what
our most fave thing is on each site we visit
So Join us Thursday Feb 3 – Sunday Feb 6
And Spread The Love
Get A Chance To Win Prizes

Here Are The Rules:

1- Everyone must follow the hosts of this hop

2- Comment on blogs listed in the links (If the site you visit has no place to leave comments, leave comments at this post)

**We want good comments…so tell us your favorite product or comment on a specific post…but make your comments worthwhile…

**We want to see more than just “visiting from the blog hop party”

**Equally important: If someone makes comment(s) on your blog, take the time to comment on their blog too.

3- Add A Blog Post about this Hop, Promote on Facebook

Tweet about this Hop & Add Our Banner

(hit the header link for a direct link to site )

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Healthy Eating Again

So i finally got the family to co operate and help me create a meal plan for our weekly meals comprising of 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners, 7 teas and 7 snacks or suppers.

Im here to report it went pretty well, its great being able to have different meals all the time so we dont get fed up too easily.

You can follow my progress on my beauty and fitness website , where i have listed everything we ate over the past week and so on and so forth.

Take a look by hitting the title link to this post x

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kath's Birthday Basket

I created this basket as a favour for my friend to give to her mam as a birthday gift
to check it out and see how i did it hit the title link of this post,
let me know if you like it x

Monday, 24 January 2011

What is Frugal Living?

Does frugal living mean dooming yourself to a life of deprivation, just so you can save a few cents here and there?

Not at all. Frugal living isn’t about sacrifice and deprivation; it’s about living smarter, so that you can afford to live the life that you want to live – the life that you dream of living.

Frugal living means smarter money management.

When you know how much money you have in the bank and how much money you need to cover your monthly bills, you can begin to make better decisions about how your money is spent. Can you afford to splurge on a new pair of shoes? Is this the right time to buy a new car? Put a frugal budget in place, and you’ll know just what you can afford, and more importantly, what you can’t afford.

You’ll also know where you stand with your debt repayment, savings goals, and investments—a key step to taking charge of your money and making it work for you.
Frugal living means smarter spending.

It's taking the money that you have and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it as far as it will go.

Hit the title link to read more .

Frugal Living

Due to circumstances beyond our control, our lives took a massive turn around a year ago after the death of my son.
Not only did we have to cope with the loss, but we had to cope with learning to live without him, we had cared for him for almost 21 years due to his many dissibillities and life became such a lonely and desperate place despite having my husband and two daughters around me.

We had to learn to live life for ourselves, by ourselves, (i still cant get the hang of it yet, i like to be needed )

Anyway back to the topic at hand, living frugaly.
Financially we hit an all time low, it was a pretty desperate time and i was scared that we wouldnt cope, but like all miracles, despite everything here we are and we havent lost our sense of humour, we simply adjusted.

In fact a year on and im quite enjoying the challenge of keeping our heads above water and finding new ways to do it, thats not to say that i dont get upset sometimes and feel like when is it gonna be our turn again, but it passes, luckily it doesnt happen often.

I have gone all out on checking out everything to do with frugal living, not because i have to, simply because i choose to.
When you are hit hard by shocks like ours, you see things differently, trivial things are just that, trivial and dont share much room in my head for thought any more.

I have a nice home, it was decorated from top to bottom the same year my son passed , so its still pretty fresh and i look after my furniture and things so im not desperate to make big changes, but a few cosmetic ones would be nice.

Anyway like last year, il be sharing my new journeys with you this year also, i will be working as best i can from a list of things id like to do or get done this year, so bare with me and if your interested come along for the ride x

Thursday, 20 January 2011

How to get your kids to eat healthy

A dear friend of mine shared a post on my new website about a book she was given as a gift after she showed concern over getting children to eat the right types of foods that were good to them.
you can see the book and a link to where it can be purchased by hitting the title link of this post.
I hope you enjoy it, its a great lil weapon for us concerned parents.

Veronica's Weightloss Journey Diary

You can follow my dear friend vivi's weightloss journey by clicking on the title link of this post.

Vivi has been a real inspiration to us all, sharing her knowledge and video journal of her everyday meals and snacks.
She also exercises everday and works out how many calories for the day then how many she burned off during her exercise, its all good therapy .

I will be starting my own journey very soon so be sure to keep checking out this space :) x

Sunday, 16 January 2011

My New List Of Things To Do This Year 2011

Before i start i must realise that i am only human and that i can only do so much in one day, that it would be easier to list my ideas other than try to start something new everyday and stress about not getting it done or finished.

So here goes...

Im going to go back to basics and make myself a cleaning schedule, something that involves the whole family.

Im going to try and organise our meals for the week with a new healthy outlook.
This will be a challenge as ive never planned meals ahead before.

Im going to try my best to use up our left overs by creating other meals and snacks with them as there is so much food waste in this house and not enough money to warrent it.

I need to organise my recipees into folders of things that are quick , simple yet nutritious and easy to make.
Il create certain food catagories then suggestions for meal accompaniments.

I need go through my kitchen cupboards and organise them all again, we have let things slide this past year so thats a must.

We certainly need to declutter certain areas of our house, like the loft, its like an aladins cave of things that arnt being used, thanks to my hubby being a hoarder.
Although im frightened of heights i will get up there and be strict about what stays and what goes because surely if we havent used it in a year or two its unlikely we ever will and the bonus or upside for me would not only be less clutter, but i may find things to recycle which would be great fun.

Id like to remove all our dvds from our bookcase and store them into plastic containers and use the bookcase with a new fresh look instead.

Id like to give my front room a new lease of life with a paint colour change, im fancying a fresh pale green and white so far so wel see how that goes.

We need re organise our wardrobes and have a clear out and change out any seasonal clothing.

Id like to redo my daughters bedroom floor with wood flooring.

Thats about all i can think of off the top of my head but il add more if neccessary as i think of them. x

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Kids’ Diet

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are essential to keeping your child healthy. Most kids need about 2 to 4 cups fruits and vegetables every day. The older they are, the more they need!

Getting kids to eat their veggies and fruits can be challenging. Below are some easy ways to get your kids to increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

1. Keep it colorful Challenge your younger children to try fruits and vegetables of different colors. Make it a red/green/orange day (apple, lettuce, carrot). You and your kids can also pick one color and see how many fruits and veggies of that color you can find.


Choosing a healthier lifestyle can have an impact on our ability to fight infection, or at least cope better with the illness that winter brings.

It is known that malnourished individuals are at higher risk of infectious disease due to an inadequate immune response. Infection then leads to inflammation and worsening nutritional status which further compromises the immune system. An adequate diet helps maintain immunity and keeps you healthy. The immune system needs such nutrients as protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Severely malnourished people are particularly vulnerable to immune dysfunction, and they get sick more easily than other people and stay sick longer.
read more by hitting the title link

Desperately in need of a catch up here

Sorry its been a while between posts, ive been working like billio trying to get my new site out there and filling it with useful content so this place has been getting somewhat neglected, however il be rectifying that asap.

I had thought to give up my blog once the site was up and running, thinking there wouldnt be much of a use for it, but something that happened yesterday made me realise just how important this little blog is to me.

This blog has helped me to remain sane and foccussed through one of the worst years in my life (after loosing my son )it has allowed me to learn new things, explore other avenues on budget and its brought me much comfort and joy.

So ive decided to use this blog in conjunction with the website , il be sharing thoughts and ideas on both, and hopefully gaining more hope and wisdom by doing so, so watch this space folks, il be back :) xxx