Incredible Value for Money at The WorksFor those of you unfamiliar with The Works Stores, they are like stepping inside an Aladdin’s cave of bargains. Be it books, CDs, DVDs, toys, games, calendars, diaries, stationery or arts and crafts supplies, The Works is a one stop shop for gifts that won’t break the bank.

I pride myself on my thrift radar, and have picked up many a great value present from The Works in the past. Far from being pound shop junk, they always have a fab selection of unique items, as well as being well stocked with whatever the latest kids craze is.

For the (still) Frozen mad they have a vast array of Elsa & Anna themed bits and bobs. My eldest spied a chapter book of the film, and is very excited about reading it (wonder what will happen!) They also have tons of Minion goodies, which is fantastic news for our 5yo nephew who is crazy about the little yellow dudes. Whatever your kids are into, I can almost guarantee they will have something suitable for them. 

They currently have 2 for £10 on a huge range of children’s sets and games, and books starting from just £1. In one shopping trip I managed to cross six people off the Christmas pressie list, and added an extra token gift to another four. In addition to this I stocked up on our card making supplies, and bought a 500ml bottle of pva glue for the same price that a 150ml bottle cost last time.

The Works Haul CollageMy Haul (all this for £50!)

  • Pretty ladies sudoku book
  • The Top Ten of Everything 2015, some absolutely fascinating stuff in here
  • 50 Magic Tricks set x2
  • Stencil Art set x2
  • Gorgeous art deco playing cards in a beautiful tin
  • Minions clay moulding set
  • Frozen chapter book
  • Wooden game balancing dinosaurs
    • Usborne colour your own party invitations
  • Bumper pack of 50 plain cards and envelopes
  • 500ml PVA glue
  • Pack of polka dot tissue paper
  • Butterfly shaped paint palate x3

Amazing value I’m sure you’ll agree! Why not head down to a Works Store near you, or check out their website, and grab some bargains of your own 😉

**Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. See here for my full disclosure policy**

less expensive healthy foodUnfortunately, good quality organic food can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, and isn’t always readily available in big supermarkets. If you’re anything like me, you want to ensure that you feed your family with the best food you can afford, so here are three ways that I save money on my household shopping.

Buy Online, and in Bulk

I am a huge fan of online shopping (aren’t we all) and massively advocate buying in bulk to keep the costs down. Over the years I’ve built up an impressive list of great suppliers for all our needs. 

Here are my top three bulk buying tips
– I order dried goods, tins, jars, coffee, honey, dried fruit and nuts through ethical wholesaler Suma. To obtain free delivery you need to spend £250, so if you don’t have much storage space you could team up with your neighbours or local family and/or friends to form a little collective.  

– I use fabulous City of London based butchers Turner & George for all our meat, which is delivered for free as long as we spend more than £40. It works out so much cheaper than the supermarket, and you can’t even begin to compare the quality. These animals are fed on pasture and have degrees from Oxford don’t you know 😉   

– Amazon Grocery and good old eBay have a wonderful range of foodstuffs on offer these days, you’d be surprised what you can find on there. 

Farmers Markets

I absolutely adore farmers markets and living just outside of London, I’m lucky to have a ton of them just a short bus or train ride away. We like to eat as seasonally as possible, and shopping this way ensures that we do. It’s also a great feeling to support small independent businesses, and the produce is always so fresh and tasty. This is my haul from last weekend, rather impressive I’m sure you’ll agree.  

All this for under £25
3L raw milk
4 organic chicken carcasses for making fresh stock (makes approx. 2L per carcass)
1k organic carrots
Organic romanesco cauliflower
Organic head of broccoli
Organic bunch of cavolo nero
Organic bunch of mixed kale
Organic bunch of leeks
6 organic onions
6 organic tomatoes 
4 organic peppers
3 organic large flat mushrooms   
2 organic bags of mixed salad leaves 

Love the look of this raised bed kitchen garden from Sprout Kitchen

Grow your Own with a Kitchen Garden and Chickens 

I am super keen to start growing my own food, and now that my youngest is almost two I think the time has come to stop talking about it and start doing it! The only thing I’ve managed to successfully grow so far are herbs, and one crop of salad leaves, but I’m really going to try and improve on this next year.

Apparently Boxing Day is the perfect time to start sewing tomato seeds, so once again I’m holding myself to account here on the blog by pledging that we shall be doing just this on the 26th December. Our garden is literally the size of a postage stamp, but there’s still plenty we could do with a bit of careful planning.

I would be in my element with a bunch of chickens running around as well (we eat a ridiculous amount of eggs in my house) but that’s way too ambitious right now. Hopefully when we finally move and have a bigger garden I’ll be a bit more green fingered, and we can think about some chooks too. Watch this space!  

Do you have any money saving tips or tricks for me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section if you do 🙂   

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Although I didn’t make the shortlist, I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated for several categories of The MADs. One of these categories was thrift, and a very pleasant surprise it was too. I get a real kick out of being thrifty, and it felt good to know that others have been enjoying my posts centred around saving money. If you’ve missed them, they can be found here. I’ve decided to write a regular post, and will be sharing my tips with you each month. Sometimes I’ll talk about brands, or products, sometimes my home made recipes and others the things I do to save cash here and there. I won’t be trying to reinvent the wheel, just passing on information. Hope you enjoy!

My tip this month is: It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas!.

I appreciate there are people out there that will want to gauge my eyes out for mentioning the C word, but hey ho. I start buying gifts in the January sales, and this year have been saving £1 every single day to lighten the load come December. I’ve spoken before about my fabulous present cupboard which I could not live without. I’d highly recommend finding the space for one somehow, even if it means turfing something else out. Ours is the bottom section of a wardrobe, nothing fancy whatsoever.

As long as you aren’t too averse to the idea of Santa in September, now is a great time to grab loads of bargains. Last weekend was the August bank holiday, and a wonderful opportunity for folk to have a big old clearout. It means the charity shops and eBay are full of treasure waiting to be found for pennies.

On my travels this week I came across countless ‘final clearance’ signs offering the shopper up to 80% off. You can’t really argue with those numbers if you ask me. The summer sales are the shops getting rid of older stock to make way for the Christmas lines. Here’s the thing though, would you prefer to be given a generic Xmas boxed set or something more original? I know which I‘d rather have 🙂

Are you an organised Xmas shopper or last minute one? I’d love to do a poll via the comments section.

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Although I didn’t make the shortlist, I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated for several categories of The MADs. One of these categories was thrift, and a very pleasant surprise it was too. I get a real kick out of being thrifty, and it felt good to know that others have been enjoying my posts centred around saving money. If you’ve missed them, they can be found here. I’ve decided to write a regular post, and will be sharing my tips with you each month. Sometimes I’ll talk about brands, or products, sometimes my home made recipes and others the things I do to save cash here and there. I won’t be trying to reinvent the wheel, just passing on information. Hope you enjoy!

My tip this month is: Buy directly from source (often abroad) to get the best price.

When my hubby and I got engaged, we planned to have a small yet traditional wedding. I took one of my besties dress shopping and after many hours, and several coffees, settled on a gorgeous fitted number that would cost somewhere in the region of £2000. It complimented every curve and made me look like a princess, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay all that money on a dress. So I did some inter webbing (as you do) and found a China based company that make replicas for a fraction (I’m talking 10-20%) of the cost. I sent them my measurements and all the details of the dress along with payment via PayPal, and a couple of months later had it in my hands. It was every bit as stunning as the original and fitted me wonderfully – I was thrilled with it! Alas, it never got to see the light of day as I ended up being five months pregnant with a sizeable bump, and it would have been completely inappropriate. I did manage to sell it on eBay though, and get most of my money back 🙂

Over the years I’ve bought lots of things directly from overseas firms to ensure I’m getting the best price. Often I buy through eBay, but a Google search will bring up your options. Here are some of my favourite recent purchases (prices include postage):

Frozen Elsa Dress, completely the same as the one at the Disney store including all the labelling – £4.70 from China
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10 silicone individual ice lolly moulds with lids – £9.99 from Hong Kong
lolly moulds

Fermented cod liver oil – saved £7 buying directly from USA
cod liver oil

Exact replica of the Ergo baby sling – UK seller had these £100 slings made, and is selling them for under £20
ergo sling

So there you go, my thrifty tip for August is: Cut out the middle man, and buy direct from source to save £££’s 

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hippes

Although I didn’t make the shortlist, I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated for several categories of The MADs. One of these categories was thrift, and a very pleasant surprise it was too. I get a real kick out of being thrifty, and it felt good to know that others have been enjoying my posts centred around saving money. If you’ve missed them, they can be found here. I’ve decided to write a regular post, and will be sharing my tips with you each month. Sometimes I’ll talk about brands, or products, sometimes my home made recipes and others the things I do to save cash here and there. I won’t be trying to reinvent the wheel, just passing on information. Hope you enjoy!

My tip this month is: Embrace Your Inner Hippie 🙂 Eco alternatives are not only great news for the environment but often kinder to your pocket! Far cheaper than big brands, which are usually full of chemicals and toxins.

– did you know that that distilled white vinegar is a more effective dishwasher rinse aid than actual rinse aid? And a fabulous fabric softener? This stuff is a household miracle, and is always the base ingredient for homemade cleaning products. You can pick up small bottles of 500ml at the supermarket for about a pound, or do what I do and buy in bulk. I get 10 litres at a time, delivered to my door, for £11.

– bicarbonate of soda is another jack of all trades. From removing black marks from the bath, to getting out carpet stains to putting under your arms in place of deodorant! You can even make your own toothpaste by mixing it with coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint. It’s cheap as chips too, especially when you buy in bulk.

– my eldest has super sensitive skin, so I’ve always used a mild non-bio washing liquid. They aren’t cheap nor hugely effective. In recent times I’ve become rather fond of washing balls – which are tiny pellets of eco friendly detergent contained in a large rubber ball with holes in it. They get slowly released each time you use it, and start disintegrating. I would advise buying the balls with a small amount of pellets, as they start getting a little tired towards the end. It actually reminds me that the filter needs cleaning, so not a bad thing really. I stocked up when Ecozone were on offer on Ocado and bought 6 x 240 wash balls costing me £33. That’s less than 2p a wash!

– on the subject of sensitive skin, I stopped using shower gel years ago when I started investigating the toxic ingredients most contain. The natural ones are extortionately priced, so I buy pure chemical and additive free soap to wash my body with. Faith In Nature‘s Aloe Vera is a favourite, is under £2 per bar and lasts a couple of months.

– I’ve been making my own mouthwash for a while now, with water and three simple ingredients. Click here for the full recipe. A 500ml bottle costs around 10p.

– I have problem skin and react to a lot of facial moisturisers. I used Dermalogica for years, until a friend went to Morocco and brought me back a bottle of argan oil. She thought I’d use it for cooking, but I’d heard it could do wonders for the face. It didn’t disappoint, and now I alternate between argan and jojoba oil. I love Fushi Wellbeing as all their oils are pure, cold pressed and organic. They still end up only costing around a quarter of what I used to spend. Can’t argue with those numbers 🙂

So there you have it, embrace your inner hippie, and give your bathroom cabinets a good detox in the process!

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