• Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

    Have you ever thought about making a slow cooker chocolate cake? I really wish that I was with the 3% of the human population that really disliked chocolate, but unfortunately, I can hold my hand up and say that I am a fully-fledged chocaholic. Cadburys, Galaxy, and Nestle are top of my list, but when it comes to posh choccy you can keep it! Slow cookers are a dream for making cooking easy but many only use them for meals.

    In this recipe, I am letting you all in on the secret that you can make chocolate cake in a slow cooker too! This slow cooker chocolate cake is a game changer!

    First though a money-saving tip:

    The first couple of days in December are the best for buying chocolate, you can pick up unsold advent calendars for pennies, and spend an evening going through 24 little scrummy chocolates and even store them, ready to pop into brownies or meltdown into dipping sauces. Genius right! The same can be done with Easter Eggs or Valentine’s chocolates.

    Now this super simple slow cooker chocolate cake is magic, it has three advantages! Firstly, its ruddy lush, secondly it is something that you can prepare and leave, and thirdly your house will smell like a chocolate melting pot.

    Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

    All you need to prepare this dish is a Slow Cooker, your favourite chocolate and a basic chocolate cake mix, which you can pick up in Lidl or Aldi really cheaply. You can of course choose to make a cake mixture from scratch, but save yourself the time and effort by just using a cake mix you have picked up.

    I fancied being a tad healthy and used mint aero and matchmakers (mint is a leaf, so in my books that means a tad healthy !) but I have previously used Chocolate orange (OMG !!!) Galaxy, you name it. A fab previous cake I made was with Maltesers, and I added 2 tbsp of Horlicks in the cake mix, which gave it a really fab taste, but have a play around and please comment with any fab discoveries.

    Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

    So start off with your cake mix, and separate it into two portions. Grease the slow cooker bowl with some butter and pour half of the cake mix in the bowl. Then add a layer of your chosen chocolate.

    Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

    Then pour the remaining cake mix on top and add another layer of chocolate. Cover with the lid, turn the slow cooker on high and just leave it for around two hours. It should be really moist and gooey. A lovely slow cooker chocolate cake.

    You might also like:

    I saved a piece of aero to crumble over the top and served it with Ice cream, but it goes well with cream or on its own. I hope your all grabbing your coats and are off to buy a shed load of chocolate and if you’re as weird as me, you would be licking the computer screen as the pics are so ruddy lush. Anyway gang, here are some pics of a chocolate orange cake that I made. Enjoy, try and share (ha, ha !) and let me know what you think.

    choc cake 4.jpg

    Go forth, chocolate lover, and create away! I can’t wait to see your slow cooker chocolate cake.

    Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

  • Simple Homemade Cocktail Recipes

    Simple Homemade Cocktail Recipes

    So we are well into our lockdown, and unfortunately the novelty for some is really wearing thin. While I was in my mile long Aldi que this morning, I had the idea of making some supa dupa cocktails. These are officially on the naughty list, taste brill and most importantly, are really easy to make as one of the main ingredients is ice lollies, Yep, you did read it correct….Ice Lollies. 

    They make such a fantastic and affordable ingredient and are incredibly tasty too – plus are perfect for sipping on a hot summers day!

    With more of us socialising among ourselves, extremely short for cash and unable to go out to have a real fancy cocktail, these bad boys taste just as good and are a fraction of the price, with one cocktail coming in around 70p.

    homemade cocktail recipes
    Homemade Cocktails

    I am doing four basic cocktails and I am using 4 alcohol bases along with the relevant ice treat. My first cocktail will be The pina colada and with Aldi’s new coconut Lollies, and these makes it taste like your almost in Jamaica !

    Pina Colada

    • x4 coconut lollies
    • 3/4 carton of pineapple juice
    • 1 cup of cocobay
    • A handful of toasted coconut (pop coconut flakes in a dry frying pan and toast until brown !)
    1. Pop all of the wet mixture in a blender and blend until you have a lovely consistency.
    2. Pour over some ice and pop the toasted coconut on top to serve.
    3. If you fancy being very ruthless, add some condensed milk.
    Pina Colada

    The strawberry split

    If you have an outrageously decedent sweet tooth, how about a strawberry Split with a kick !

    You will need..

    • 4 strawberry splits
    • 1 cup of The Illusionist Strawberry Marsh Mallow gin
    • 4 scoops of strawberry ice cream
    • Squirty cream and strawberry syrup to decorate.
    1. Pop all of the ice cream and gin into the blender, and blend until you have a smooth but thick consistency. Pour into a glass and decorate with the cream and syrup.
    The Strawberry Split

    Iced Lemon deluxe

    This tart concoction almost makes you feel like your having the healthy alternative.

    You will need….

    • Half a tub of Lemon sorbet
    • 1/2 cup of Lemon sherbet liqueur
    • 1 litre of lemonade
    • Lemon to decorate
    Iced Lemon Deluxe

    The jog on Terry…..

    This has to be my favourite as it combines my favourite flavour of chocolate orange with compatible gin.

    You will need…..

    • 4 chocolate orange lollies ( I used magnum minis)
    • 1/2 cup of chocolate orange liqueur
    • 1/2 pint of whole milk.
    • Cream, chocolate syrup and grated orange peal to decorate.
    The Jog On Terry

    You might also like this mermaid rum cocktail or these fabulous cocktail garnishes.

  • Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe

    simple tomato pasta sauce recipe

     

    Is this the real life?

    Is this just fantasy?

    Caught in a landslide

    No escape from reality

    Open your eyes………

    When this was played on the radio yesterday, it really rang true! Seriously what the Jeff is going on? It’s like we are living in a film, but not with zombies, just brain dead people walking around and having day trips out as if its a holiday!

    The Doctors and nurses pleading with us to stay home, yet a good 25% are sticking their fingers up to these heroes, the hero’s that will be saving their arse in their time of need !!!! GGGRRRRRRR Rant over ( but I could go on, and on, and on !!!!!!). However, we are all (most) stuck in our homes, trying to keep the kids entertained, stopping the sibling rivalry, trying not to continually scoff ( I am struggling !) rearranging every cupboard and trying to get over the shock of having an empty washing basket!

    My poor dog Millie is hiding because she has no paws left, we are all individually taking her for a walk every day, but now when someone now shakes her lead, instead of doing fifty excited 360* turns, she now looks at us with utter exasperation!

    I have always kept my freezer stocked, its a habit I have carried on since being a stewardess. You see, I always worried the kids would run out of food if I was stuck somewhere, so there was always an abundance of grub to keep them going. I stood back from the bulk buying, however, I did get some extra soups and tins of tomatoes, pasta etc. So easy to make some pasta and perhaps a quick and simple tomato pasta sauce recipe too.

    I really, REALLY want to avoid having to go out, so I have planned to utilise everything I already have, which will not only save me a bit of money, rotate my freezer and dry stores and also give me a bit of purpose, as I am sure I will be bored shitless soon.

    I have scouted through my freezer and planned all of my meals for two weeks, any leftovers will be for lunch the following day, and I can also jazz it up a bit so that it doesn’t become a bit repetitive. If I have mashed potato left, I will mix with some cheese and chutney, whip up some pastry and make pasties, left over curry or Bolognese can go into a jacket spud  etc.

    Pasta is a great staple to have during these times, as it’s super frugal, leftovers can be turned into a pasta bake with extra ingredients and you can experiment with sauces. I never EVER buy jar sauces, as they are generally full of rubbish (check out the ingredients ) are expensive and taste just OK. I love to make a tasty and simple sauce, using a tomato based one. Everyone in the house loves my tomato pasta sauce recipe so I hope you do too!

    Here is a really simple tomato pasta sauce recipe, it freezes really well and is super simple to whip up.

    Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce recipe

    • . 1 Tin of tomatoes
    • 1/2 tsp of salt
    • 1 tsp of sugar
    • Fresh Basil chopped.
    • A good pinch of black pepper
    • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • Cup of grated cheese.

    1. In a pop everything in a saucepan except the cheese, slowly let it simmer for about five minutes.
    2. Let it cool and blend it with a soup blender or transfer it to a blender.
    3. When it is a nice smooth consistency, pop it back on the hob let it simmer and add the cheese, mix it well and add to the pasta.
    4. To make the sauce go further you can add grated veg or Tuna to make it more substantial. I often add red wine and parmesan to my sauces but nothing too expensive.

    If you would like any help or have questions on how to be a frugal cook and make your food go a bit further, then please leave a comment.

    If you like this, you might like this slow cooker bolognaise.

    Stay Safe,

    Kelly x

  • Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

    This cardamom and pistachio syrup cake is unlike anything you have ever tasted!

    cardamom and pistachio syrup cake
    Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

    If your watching your weight and being so good in the process, then please look away, close the page or be prepared to lick the screen ! This cake is off the scale as it is both dripping in syrup and sex appeal. 

    Cardamom is a huge deal in the Indian world of cooking and flavours many of their deserts, but you can find it in curries and even rice dishes.  Often it is used whole, but I removed the outer shell and crushed my cardamom pods in the pestle and mortar so that the flavour would be stretched. Pick these up super cheaply in your local Asian Supermarket, or be prepared for them to be double the price at the Supermarket. 

    Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

    I decided to make this banger and combine the regular sponge cake, with an exotic element of the Cardamom and Pistachio to make something a little different. This was a task set to both myself and the Twins for the Shop Smart show. I can sometimes shoot myself in the trotter as I like to go a bit weird and different, but I think it’s always good to try something new and interesting. My granddad, would only ever eat a roast and three veg, and I am sure if he had tried a Korma or Adana Kebab, it would have rocked his world, but oh well, it is what it is !

    Fortunately, The family loved my idea for the cake and asked for the recipe, which always makes me smile.  So,here is the recipe, you could change the cream for fat-free yogurt, but really, if your eating a syrup cake, does it really matter ?

    Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

     

    Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

    3 eggs
    200g sugar
    juice of half a lemon
    5 cardamom pods
    ¼ cup of pistachio (grated)

    200g SR flour
    200g Butter
    vanilla essence

    runny honey

    mascarpone

     

    Cardamom and Pistachio Syrup Cake

     

    Pop the oven onto a mid heated setting (180*) and grease/line the baking tin of your choice. Melt the butter and add the sugar, give it a nice little whisk and then slowly add the flour, eggs, cardamom and vanilla essence, stir this really well and pour into the baking tin. While this is cooking, pour a cup of sugar into a pan, add the lemon juice and a drop of water and stir until the sugar dissolves and you have a nice runny syrup, remove from the hob. When the cake has finished cooking ( around 25 minutes), remove from the oven and pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the baking tin. Let it cool for five minutes and turn it out onto a serving plate.



     

    Mix the mascarpone with some of the honey, so you have a nice thick but slightly runny mixture, pour this over the top of the cake and then sprinkle the grated green pistachios over the top, to make it look so darn pretty.

    Scoff Away XX

     

    • contains affiliate links

     

     

     

  • Moroccan lamb recipe from C5 Shop Smart Save Money

    A Moroccan lamb recipe that the whole family will enjoy.

    So Yesterday saw the launch of the third series of Channel 5’s Shop Smart Save money and what a build up that has been !

    The team and I have literally travelled the whole of the UK since January and to say it has been tough is an understatement. I think we have graced the majority of the UK,s train platforms, met ever kind of passenger from Chatty Patty to Miserable Mick and seen some of the most beautiful scenery along the way.

    Our first port of call was at the fab Mousley House cookery school in Warwickshire to show a family of four how to do a Lamb dinner on a budget of £20 or less . They family usually spend around £40 on a single roast for the four of them, and both the girls and I were given a mission to show them the bargain light !

    Moroccan lamb recipe
    Ahhhhh!

    The Twins decided to cook a traditional roast with some impressive Yorkshire puddings, and they have kindly shared the recipe on their blog. This went down really well and was followed by a Lemon Victoria Sponge cake. However, I wanted to opt for something a little different and decided to make a simple but effective flavoursome lamb dish. I love Arabic flavours and they are still relatively new to our shores, so with a bit of a gamble I prepared Moroccan lamb with Orzo rice followed by a Cardamom and pistachio syrup cake. This came in at a fab price of £14.85 which worked out at £3.71 per person, But most importantly, the family really enjoyed the meal and were pleased with there new taste discovery.

    Shop Smart Family Pic
    Shop Smart Family Pic

     

    The majority of my shop was picked up at Lidl, even the  leg of lamb which was around the £7 mark (Not an advert !). If you fancy having a go at this recipe, have a gander at the recipe below and please let me know how you get on.

    Good Luck, happy Easter and may you scoff loads of chocolate eggs without feeling guilty !

      x x

    Moroccan lamb

    Leg of Lamb
    2 cups long grain rice
    1 cup Orzo rice
    Aubergine finely diced
    red onion finely diced
    red pepper finely diced
     1 cup of plain yogurt
    fresh parsley

    75g Butter

    2 chicken stock cubes
     2 tbsp. dried mint
    olive oil
    salt
    black pepper
     2 tsp cumin
     2tsp ground coriander
    2tsp all spice
     garlic 2 cloves crushed

    Turn the oven on to a medium heat and put half a cup of water into a roasting tray. Make several scores in the lamb and pop to the side. In a bowl mix half a cup of olive oil with the  crushed garlic, spices and 1 tsp of salt and pepper, mix this well and then massage into the lamb. Cover the lamb loosely  with foil and then pop into the oven to cook for 2 hours, baste a couple of times while cooking. Throw the chopped veg into the bowl of spices and toss around so they pick up the last remaining bits of spices. Put the veg onto a baking tray, ready to go into the oven at the last 30 minutes of cooking time for the lamb.

    Dissolve the stock cubes in some boiling water and heat 75g of butter in a pan, put the orzo in and cook until it is golden. Add the rice and coat well in the butter. Add 2 tsp of salt and the stock, turn the heat down and cover. Cook until the water has disappeared, keep the rice covered until you need to use it.

    When the lamb has been removed from the oven, let it sit tight for around 15 minutes and then carve. If you fancy making a gravy, put some cornflour into the lamb juices and stir to get a paste, add some of the left over stock (slowly!) into the paste and stir over a low heat until it is hot and bubbly, but remember to continually stir the gravy or it will go lumpy. Serve with the rice and veg, but do sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top as this will add some extra taste that will compliment the lamb and also make it look prettier.

    if you like the idea of serving it with a nice mint yogurt, just add 2 tbsp of dried mint to some natural yogurt with a good pinch of salt and  granulated sweetener, stir and serve.

    Moroccan Lamb
    Moroccan Lamb

  • Spanish chicken and chorizo casserole recipe

    chicken and chorizo casserole

    This is probably one of my most favourite recipes that I wrote for C5 Shop smart show, it was designed for a fab couple called Lydia & Jimmy and it had to be low-cost, full of flavour and also Weight watchers friendly. This is where this chicken and chorizo casserole came into being.

    Luckily for me, they loved trying new foods, and as a boring palate is not on my agenda, this was right up my street and I could be adventurous as I liked. I had a gorgeous local weight watchers consultant called Rachel pop over and worked out the points and it came in at 12 points for the whole dish.

    The damn chorizo was the big player with 10 points for 75g but as it’s the star of the show with its smokey flavour, I really didn’t want to tell it to jog on, so I decided to keep it. This is a fab dish on its own, with rice or even a jacket spud, and its on the oh so easy cook scale, as you just bung it all on the slow cooker and forget about it for three hours ! Again, I bought my chicken from Muscle foods, portion them into portions of 3 and 4 and then freeze them, which makes life so simple.

    Chicken and chorizo casserole ingredients

    To create this chicken and chorizo casserole you will need:

    4 chicken breast (skin removed)

    2 red onions finely diced

    3 crushed fresh garlic gloves

    Tinned tomatoes

    2 tsp paprika

    1 tsp thyme

    1 diced celery stick

    2 chicken stock cubes made into one pint of stock (2 points)

    diced mixed peppers

    good handful of chopped parsley

    Cannellini beans

    75g diced chorizo (10 points)

    Seasoning

    You might also like:

    chicken and chorizo casserole

    So as this is a super simple dish, pop everything into the slow cooker, cover and turn it on high, blow it a kiss and tell it you will see it in 3 hours.

    Shred the chicken with two forks, to get the pulled chicken effect and serve with your chosen condiment.

    Buen provecho.

    chicken and chorizo casserole

     

  • Shop Smart Save Money Channel 5

    Ok, your reading my blog, so that shows you’re a super savvy and super smart kinda thang. With inflation on food on the up, our wages pretty much staying the same (gggrrrr!) and disposable income getting smaller, now is a fab time to get yourself financially clued up to the max.

    Smart shoppers save money!

    shop smart save money logo
    Shop Smart Save Money C5

    I have joined forces with Fiona Philips, Gaby Roslin and the brainbox of the money world Andy Super Cash, to bring a weekly hour-long show to share with you the latest deals, savvy shopping tricks and top tips on how to make your buck go further.

    Fiona Philips & Gaby Roslin
    shop smart Alexis and Andy

    Every week my savvy shopping Rivals the twins Joleisa and I go head to head to try to fetch you the best shopping bargains and give you shopping tips along the way.

    twins joleisa

    So please join my greatest fans ( AKA my mum and Nan !) and check out Shop Smart Save Money for yourself, the smile inducing and cost saving tricks we that we all share.

    Channel 5 Wednesday 8pm & Saturday 7.30pm

    Catch you soon….

    Kelly XX

    Why you should visit a Discount Store !!!

    help 3
  • Turkey Samosas Recipe

    turkey samosas

    Turkey Samosas only 20p EACH !

    We had several children over for tea last night, and I thought I would shy away from the usual pizza and chips, I had picked up some reduced Turkey mince and I had a bit of a brain wave. I always try and show my children different foods and tastes, and some times they like it and sometimes I get a big “JOG ON !” but it is always worth a try.

    This worked out super frugal at around 20p for the turkey samosas, and I made my own pastry which was simple, cheap as chips and much tastier than I expected. These can also accommodate a whole batch of fillings, so use up veg, meat or even cheese with these.

    turkey samosas

     

    For these turkey samosas you will need….

    250g Turkey mince

    2 carrots grated

    1 onion chopped finely

    2 tbsp curry powder

    2 tsp salt

    4 cups of plain flour

    50g butter

    1 tbsp coconut oil

    Oil for frying

     

    turkey samosas

     

    Heat some coconut oil in a large pan and add the onion , fry until they are clear, add the mince and the carrots and fry until the mince is no longer pink – you want to make sure your turkey samosas are well cooked.

    Add the 1 tsp of salt and the curry powder and mix well. Feel free to add potatoes, sweetcorn etc to the mix.

    turkey samosas

    Put the flour, salt and softened butter into a large mixing bowl and slowly add water, your aim is to make the dough form a ball that will be stretchy and not too sticky. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, I always imagine someone that has hacked me off, and before I know it, I have a perfect dough ball.

    turkey samosas

    Turn it out onto a floured surface and pull the dough into 8 pieces (if you want big samosa leave the balls bigger, if you want small ones, make smaller balls !)

    turkey samosas

    Roll out the balls into a circular shape and  cut down the middle of each circle. Wet the edges of the pastry and roll up into a cone, push some of the mince ingredients into the cone, but try not to overfill it. Seal the edges and get ready to deep frying.

    Deep fry them until they are a light brown colour and place them on kitchen towel to absorb the access oil. Wait for several minutes before serving, We also made a batch of feta cheese samosa’s as we had a vegetarian in the group and they were equally yummy.

    turkey samosas

    If you like these turkey samosas then you might also like:

  • How to use cornflour

    Cornflour makes a fantastic kitchen staple and has so many uses. It is actually quite a versatile ingredient that can be used as a thickening agent (thanks to its fine texture and because it is flavourless). If you have been wondering how to use cornflour then this post will be useful to you.

    What is cornflour and how to use cornflour

    Cornflour is a substance made from ground maize kernels or whole grain corn, which can be further processed into various food products. Cornflour has many uses because it is a white starch-based powder with a neutral taste and odour.

    It is sometimes used in the preparation of other flours, and can also be used as a thickening agent.

    Cornflour is made by grinding maize kernels or whole-grain corn and then using an extraction process to remove the starch.

    The starch granules are then separated from the main kernel, which produces a powder.

    Cornflour can be used to thicken sauces, as an egg substitute in cooking, and as a substitute for some flours.

    Is cornflour gluten-free?

    Cornflour is made from maize (corn) and therefore it does not contain gluten.

    This means that in some recipes you can replace flour with cornflour.

    It is best to research the recipes first as you usually cannot just make a like-for-like substitution.

    You can make gluten-free Yorkshire puddings using cornflour.

    How to use cornflour

    If you want to use cornflour to thicken a sauce, stew or non-clear soup (cornflour is cloudy so it isn’t advised to use it in clear soups) then you might just throw a spoonful into your cooking, which isn’t the correct way.

    To use cornflour you need to blend 1 teaspoon of cornflour with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Mix it into a smooth paste, remove your dish from the heat and add in the blended mixture.

    Replace your dish on the heat and continue to stir until it thickens.

    If you haven’t achieved your desired level of thickness the first time round then you can repeat this process until you get the consistency that you want.

    If you add too much cornflour then you can use water to loosen the dish.

    Is cornstarch cornflour?

    When you search the internet for recipes you might come across some recipes needing cornstarch, and you might be wondering ‘is cornstarch cornflour?’.

    The answer is that yes, cornflour is known as cornstarch in America.

    So now when you see cornstarch in a recipe you know that you can use cornflour instead of spending hours traipsing around supermarkets looking for cornstarch.

    Cornflour alternatives

    If you don’t have any to hand then you might be looking for substitutes for cornflour.

    Depending on what you are trying to make and dietary requirements, you can substitute cornflour with the following ingredients:

    • Rice flour
    • Whole wheat flour
    • Plain flour
    • Self-raising flour
    • Tapioca flour
    • Rice, potato or tapioca starch

    How to make cornflour

    Whilst it is easy to pick up cornflour in supermarkets, bargain shops and even online you might still be wondering how to make cornflour.

    The process of making your own cornflour is quite long and uses a lot of ingredients, but if you still want to give it a go you can see how to here.

    How to store cornflour

    Keep your cornflour in a cool, dry and dark place.

  • Deciding to become a two-car household

    When my now-husband and I got together he didn’t know how to drive, so it made sense that we were just a one-car household. When he passed his driving test his parents gave him their old run-around car, but we soon found that we didn’t need two cars, so it was gifted to someone who needed it. We have managed around 7 years being a one-car household, but recently we became a two-car household and it turned out to be a great decision for us, despite the extra cost it turned out to be a fantastic decision for us.

    Do we need a second car?

    We always told ourselves that when the need crops up, we will get a second car again.

    However we had never set the parameters for what that means.

    We both work from home, we belong to the same gym and enjoy doing activities together so it was easy to get around with one car.

    However when we got two dogs with separation anxiety we found that we started going to the gym separately.

    Sure, a second car would have been nice, but was it needed?

    Then I started a regular weekly commitment and my husband found that he felt ‘stuck at home’ unable to do chores or take the dogs further afield for walks.

    Was this enough to warrant getting a second car?

    It is useful to have a clear definition of when you need a second car. Is it when you are inconvenienced X number of times a week? Is it when someone starts working a different shift pattern?

    The cost of a second car

    When it comes to acquiring a second car for your household you need to take the additional costs into account.

    There is a very obvious initial payment for the car, whether you buy it new, used or lease a car. A car payment calculator can help you to work out the payments to see if they fit into your household budget.

    Alongside that you will also need to budget for your car insurance, road tax (if applicable), MOT, repairs, servicing and you need to know your fuel budget.

    With the price of fuel rising it is really important that you factor that in when deciding on a new car.

    In fact, we chose a car with much better MPG (miles per gallon) than the car we already have in our household and we now use that car more often to save money on fuel.

    How to save money on your second car

    If you do decide that your household needs a second car then there are still plenty of ways to save money.

    The first way to save money is to use your car less. This doesn’t mean sitting at home twiddling your thumbs, but now we are more intentional with our car journeys.

    Before, we might have just used the car to go to the supermarket or to the parcel shop, but now we think about what we need to use the car for and we try to plan our journeys to encompass a few things at a time. The parcelshop is halfway to the supermarket, so we will tie those journeys in together. Or we pass the parcelshop on the way to the gym, so we will drop parcels off then.

    It takes a little bit more planning at times but saves us money.

    Another way to save money on your second car is to shop around for car insurance.

    Comparison websites make this really simple to do, and it takes just a few minutes to run a comparison across many car insurance providers.

    When fuelling up also be sure to collect your loyalty points – you can earn then from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Esso and BP to name a few.

    Do we regret buying a second car?

    Absolutely not!

    Becoming a two-car household has given us so much more freedom.

    It means that we can both run errands, see family and friends as well as other commitments without having to work around the availability of the car.

     

  • 5 Healthy Recipes to Build Muscle Using Whey Protein

    Are you looking to add some healthy recipes to your diet with whey protein? Whey protein is a great way to help build muscle and boost your metabolism. As per reports, in 2020, the global whey protein market was valued at around $9.19 billion. It shows the growing demand for this nutritious food.

    This blog post will share five delicious and healthy recipes that include whey protein.

    1. Blueberry Protein Pancakes

    Whey protein powder is an excellent way to add protein to your diet, and blueberry pancakes may be a delicious way to start your day.

    Pancakes require a few simple ingredients, and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them for a quick and easy breakfast. You can also mix the batter at night and have pancakes ready in minutes in the morning.

    Some common ingredients include:

    -Buttermilk

    -Eggs

    -Pancake mix

    -Vanilla extract

    -Blueberries.

    Whey protein can be added to the batter or sprinkled on top of the pancakes.

    2. Turkey Chili

    Turkey chili is cooked with white meat turkey, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and various spices. It’s a great source of protein and makes for a hearty meal.

    To make this chili recipe even healthier, substitute ground turkey breast for the ground turkey and use low-sodium diced tomatoes. Serve with a side of brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal.

    You can add whey protein powder to this chili recipe by stirring in a scoop after the chili has been cooking for some time. It will add additional protein to the dish and help you reach your daily protein goals.

    Turkey Chili is a hearty, healthy meal perfect for building muscle. Whey protein helps to add additional protein to the dish making it an ideal recipe for those looking to build muscle.

    3. Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

    A grilled chicken salad is a great way to get your protein and veggies in one meal. This recipe calls for grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. The dressing is made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano.

    This dish is perfect for summertime grilling. The chicken is full of flavor from the lemon and garlic marinade. The salad is healthy and filling, making it an excellent option for a post-workout meal.

    The best way to add whey protein to this dish is to mix it into the dressing. It will give you a boost of protein without changing the salad’s flavor.

    4. Quinoa Power Bowl

    Quinoa and whey protein are a match made in heaven. A quinoa power bowl is a perfect meal to help you build muscle and stay satisfied.

    You can add nutritional elements like avocado, tomatoes, and beans to this dish to make it a complete meal.

    To make a quinoa power bowl, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Once cooked, add one scoop of whey protein powder and mix. You can then add in any toppings of your choice.

    5. White Bean Veggie Burger

    Lastly, whey protein can be used to make a delicious and healthy white bean veggie burger! This recipe is perfect for athletes or anyone looking to build muscle and improve their overall health.

    Final Thoughts

    Healthy recipes with whey protein are a great way to fuel your body and build muscle. When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program, whey protein can help you reach your fitness goals.

  • The Complete Guide to Renovating Your Kitchen on a Budget

    The kitchen is the heart of the home, where we spend time every day preparing meals and sometimes dining together. However if your kitchen is no longer suitable for you then you might be looking for ways to renovate your kitchen. A new kitchen can easily cost 5 figures so whether you’re planning on renovating your kitchen for the first time or you think your kitchen renovation needs a face-lift, this guide will help you with all that you need to know about saving money on your kitchen renovation and let your kitchen make you smile.

    Kitchen renovations are a great way to update your home and increase the resale value. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming. Luckily, there are a few ways to do a kitchen renovation on a small budget.

    Do it yourself

    For an easy upgrade you can save lots of money by doing the work yourself – or at least the work that you feel confident doing. We aren’t suggesting that you try to install gas appliances yourself, but if you want to learn how to repaint your kitchen cupboard doors or make a hot chocolate station then you can easily do these tasks yourself.

    In the past decade, homeowners have been trying to do-it-themselves for a variety of reasons. The accessibility of tools and equipment online has made it easier for homeowners to renovate their homes without having a degree in architecture or interior design. One of the most popular DIY projects is kitchen renovations. There are many materials, colours, and designs that homeowners can choose from for this project.

    Doing it yourself not only saves money on labour costs but it also means that the job gets done to your timescale. Right now it is really hard to get hold of kitchen fitters and you could be looking at a 6+ month wait.

    Some tasks that you can do yourself include:

    • Tiling
    • Repainting cupboard doors
    • Painting the walls
    • Installing new flooring

    Save money on materials

    Using low-cost materials doesn’t mean that you are using low-quality materials. There are lots of ways to save money on materials such as buying them on sale, or making use of any multi-buy offers. Multi-buy offers might apply if you need to buy new appliances – often retailers will offer a discount if you buy two or more appliances at the same time.

    Buy accessories to freshen up the space

    Instead of focusing on an entire kitchen renovation you might be able to allocate a small budget to revamping your kitchen and create an entire new look for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation.

    For the price of a tin of paint, some paint brushes, new tea towels and accessories you can easily transform the look of your kitchen on a small budget.

    Ottawa Homes for sale has lots of beautiful kitchens that we are swooning over, with lots of inspiration.

    Start a herb garden

    Herbs are a great way to add flavor to your dishes and they are also perfect for cooking. If you don’t have a garden, but you’re still looking for a way to grow some herbs, then this article is perfect for you. Here we will talk about how you can grow some herbs in your kitchen.

    The best place for an herb garden is on the windowsill as it will provide plenty of light as well as ample space. Furthermore, if the windowsill is not big enough, you can always put pots and containers on the windowsill to use as planters or even try hanging planters. This way, you can easily move potted plants around when needed and swap them out with other plants too!

    Look for freebies

    Lots of people offer up their unwanted kitchen items from decor to appliances for free on Facebook Marketplace or places like Freecycle. This gives you a great chance to get some new to you items for your kitchen without spending any money at all.

    Declutter your kitchen

    If your kitchen feels too small and stuff falls out of your cupboards when you open them then a completely free way to make your kitchen space work better is to have a declutter.

    It can be easy to let things pile up in the kitchen, but this makes it difficult to find what you need when you need it. There are many ways to declutter your kitchen and make it more organized.

    Decluttering your kitchen will help you save time and energy when cooking because you will be able to find what you need when you need it. You will also be able to find things that would have otherwise been lost in piles of clutter.

    You can tackle this project in one day, or for a few minutes a day over the course of a week or month.

    An easy place to start is your food cupboards where you can discard expired food and also take sealed food that hasn’t expired but won’t be eaten by your family to a food bank donation point. That way someone else can benefit and your kitchen has less stuff inside.

    Then move on to the biggest culprate in my house – that’s mugs and tea cups. Perhaps you are like me and have way too many of them!

    Cleaning products are another easy win to declutter – make sure you use up the products that are the most empty first.

  • Is it better to buy a food franchise or start your own business?

    The fast-food industry in the United States alone earns over $170 billion each year, and that’s not including all the other food or food service franchise industries out there. If you’re thinking about getting into business with a franchise, here are some of the things you need to know before going down that path.

    Why buying a food franchise is better

    Starting a new business from scratch can be challenging. There are many challenges and risks involved in opening your own business, including things like developing brand awareness, managing day-to-day operations, hiring employees, marketing and more. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of that work. Instead of rolling up your sleeves and going at it alone, you can buy into an existing company. With franchises, there’s plenty of initial research that has already been done for you—which means less financial risk on your part. This is why buying a franchise is better than starting your own business if you want some stability without undertaking everything yourself.

    Benefits of owning a food franchise

    If you want to become an entrepreneur but don’t want all of the headaches that come with owning and operating a business, buying a franchise may be for you. Depending on what you choose, there are many benefits of buying a franchise. The biggest benefit is that everything is done for you. From marketing and advertising, to store setup and staff training—it’s all taken care of. However, even if your franchisor can provide training and advice from time to time, there will still be plenty of things that only experience can teach. While not every aspect of owning a food business is glamorous—the marketing plan doesn’t write itself—starting any kind of business takes hard work no matter what approach you take.

    What you should know before buying a food franchise

    A quality fast-food business that was built with franchising in mind can make a lucrative career for an aspiring entrepreneur. But there are some serious things you should know before investing in one of these businesses. If you’re serious about buying, then do your homework and learn everything there is to know before taking that leap of faith. I would highly recommend browsing franchising blogs or franchising magazines that provide a lot of very valuable information for anyone considering buying food franchises and let them know the pros and cons before investing which is very important before diving straight in to something you may not fully understand research is key in any business decision from buying a food franchise to starting your own independent business. Do you need to buy tools?

    What types of food franchises are available?

    The first step in determining whether buying a franchise is right for you is figuring out what types of franchises are available. From catering franchises to restaurants, and ice cream shops to juice bars, there are numerous options. Ice cream shops, bakeries and snack franchises might appeal to those who want to try to run a food business but don’t want all of the pressure that comes with operating your own restaurant. Starting with an existing business model also means access (in some cases) to marketing tools like social media accounts, logos and recipes that have already been shown to be successful this is another perk of food franchises.

    Where to find food franchises for sale?

    What’s a good way to find a franchise for sale? The right place is often a franchise directory. We recommend starting with a directory because these websites have thoroughly researched all the franchises they list and will provide you with solid information on what you need in order to determine if the franchise is right for you as franchise directories usually provide the best franchises in a certain industry of your choice.

    Are you interested in buying a franchise?

    Buying an existing franchise is usually easier and less expensive than starting one from scratch. The startup costs for many high-end food franchises are higher because you’re buying into an established business model and marketing plan, which lowers your initial risk. A franchisor should provide training, ongoing support, and guidance in areas such as finances, operations, logistics, and management that could help prevent costly mistakes. Buying a franchise is also safer because you have legal rights with both local and federal laws on your side. In addition, purchasing a proven concept means there’s already a market for what you’re offering — so it’s more likely that customers will flock to your food franchise business once it opens.

  • How to lose weight on a budget

    With the new year approaching many of us are looking to diet and lose weight and to build healthier habits for the next year.

    Here are some of our top tips for losing weight on a budget

    Get your starting point

    Before you embark on a weight loss journey it is really important to get your starting point noted down. You may be unhappy with your weight gain.

    This can be as simple as just taking your starting weight, but I would also recommend that you take your measurements and some ‘before’ photographs.

    Comparing your ‘before’ photos is a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout your weight loss journey.

    It is also worth taking a look at a weight loss calculator so that you can accurately get your daily calorie allowance and see how long it should take you to reach your weight loss goal.

    Starting on the right foot helps you to get the right information for you as well as keeping you motivated as you progress through this journey.

    Drink more water

    Our bodies are 70% water so it is important that we make sure that we are drinking enough water for a number of reasons including maintaining blood pressure and promoting cell health.

    Switching expensive coffees and hot chocolates not only saves on calories but also saves money since water is almost free if you use a refillable cup from home. Drinking tea can also help. I do like this coffee liqueur as a cheeky alcoholic treat at the weekend!

    If you are struggling to drink more water then you could try to set yourself reminders throughout the day to drink, set yourself goals and try to drink a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning.

    Stacking these habits should help you to reach your daily water intake goal.

    Exercise for free

    Gym memberships can easily add anything from £20 – £50 per month to your outgoings, and that is before you account for transport to your gym if you don’t live within walking or cycling distance.

    There are plenty of exercises that you can do for free, either from the comfort of your own home or whilst out and about. Here are some great Couch to 5k tips.

    Walking is a very effective exercise and can be done straight from your front door or you can even complete walking workouts on YouTube from the comfort of your own home.

    There are also plenty of free workout videos on YouTube, including Zumba, yoga, dance classes and so much more. But try to avoid yoga injuries!

    You could also look around your home for materials to use in your workouts – for example two tins of baked beans could be used as weights for arm exercises.

    Cook your meals yourself

    Typically meals cooked at home are going to be healthier than processed or ready meals, and cooking from scratch is a great way to save money.

    Cooking meals yourself means that you can control exactly what does into every dish, and make some healthier swaps along the way. For example you might choose to use a low calorie cooking spray instead of oil, which cuts down on the calories that you consume.

    You might like these low calorie snack ideas.

    You can also batch cook meals to save time later on. Choose healthy meals and cook extra to freeze or use as leftovers for the following day. This also helps to reduce food waste which will save you money.

    Make a Fakeaway

    I love a takeaway as much as the next person, but not only can they be quite calorie laden, you also can’t control the portion sizes or the ingredients used. Then consider the cost, especially when you are feeding a family or guests. It all adds up.

    Learning to cook some of your favourite takeaways from scratch, like a curry, chicken kebab or even pizza means that you can control what goes into your meal as well as the calorie content.

    Plus cooking a fakeaway is the fraction of the cost of a takeaway.

    Eat before you go to the supermarket

    If you are looking to save money then never ever go to the supermarket when you are hungry.

    When we shop when we are hungry then we are often prone to shopping with our stomaches and then walking out with lots of snacks and meal ideas that we didn’t plan to buy.

    By having a healthy snack before going grocery shopping or by going to the supermarket after having a meal it will reduce your tendency to buy extra because you are hungry.

    If you haven’t managed to eat before you head to the supermarket then some healthy snacks you can buy for eating on the go include a snack pack of ham, a banana or piece of fruit or low calorie crisps.

    Meal planning to lose weight on a budget

    Meal planning is fantastic to help you with saving money and reducing food waste. It is also a brilliant tool when it comes to dieting because it helps you to plan ahead.

    This way you won’t get home and have no idea what to have for dinner then resort to an expensive takeaway. By creating a meal plan and then shopping for that meal plan you will have the ingredients at home to cook healthy meals.

    Shop the yellow sticker shelf

    I love the yellow sticker shelf, and it is a great place to pick up bargains that can help when trying to lose weight. Just last night I got a bag of salad for just 6p! It was perfect to have with some chicken last night, making a very low calorie and healthy dinner option for a fraction of the cost.

    Lots of the foods found on the reduction shelves can be frozen – especially meat and bread. If you are buying fruit from the yellow sticker shelf you can also freeze some of it to use in porridge or smoothies. I could even make this delicious smoothie bowl!

    Reduce your portion sizes

    Reducing your portion sizes is an easy way to cut the calorie and reduce your costs in one simple step. We are trying something out – eating less meat!

    You might want to consider snacks for bloggers or these strawberry caprese skewers!

    To do this you could serve less onto your plate or even consider using smaller plates and bowls to eat from.

  • Creamy Slow Cooker Mushroom Soup

    This satisfying, earthy soup is so warm and comforting. The wild rice is filling, while the finely minced and chopped vegetables give the soup consistent flavour throughout. What’s more, its “creaminess” comes from pureed cannellini beans and coconut milk, rather than dairy products, making it vegan.

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 3-8 hours
    Serves: 4-6

    slow cooker mushroom soup Ingredients:

    1 c. multi-color wild rice blend
    1 small white onion, roughly chopped

    3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

    2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

    3-4 cloves garlic, peeled

    12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed, divided

    1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, undrained**

    1 whole bay leaf

    2 t. garlic powder

    6-8 c. vegetable stock, divided
    Salt and black pepper, to taste

    ½ c. full-fat coconut milk

    ¼ c. fresh parsley, finely chopped

    Tip: For less salt, rinse and drain the beans before pureeing them. 

    Directions:
    Rinse the wild rice under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain and transfer to a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker crock.

    1.  
    2. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until very finely minced and transfer to slow cooker crock.
    3. Add 2/3 of the mushrooms to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Thinly slice remaining mushrooms and add to slow cooker, along with the finely chopped mushrooms.
    4. Add cannellini beans and a little water to food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into slow cooker crock with other ingredients. Add bay leaf, garlic powder, and 6 cups of vegetable stock. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
    5. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. Actual cooking time will vary by individual slow cooker, so check for doneness after 2½ hours (or 5½ hours for low) and adjust cook time accordingly. (The rice should be tender, but not mushy, when finished).
    6. When cooking time is complete, remove bay leaf and discard. Add coconut milk, chopped parsley, and additional vegetable stock, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency.
    7. Season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

    Do check out these perfect food and wine pairings.

  • Win a velvetiser – giveaway

    Oh my goodness, hot chocolate season is upon us. It is FREEZING outside, making it the perfect time to curl up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser has been on my wish list for ages and I am so happy that I get to bring you this giveaway to win one in copper – the most stunning colour there is in my opinion. Keep reading to find out how to enter for your own Hotel Chocolat velvetiser which could be a fantastic Christmas present to yourself.

    The bloggers taking part

    This giveaway couldn’t happen without the bloggers below taking part and contributing towards the prize. Please take a moment to visit them and show your support.

    At Home With Alice | Two Hearts One Roof | Catch Up With Claire | Make Money Without a Job | Nine to Three Thirty | Hannah and the Twiglets | Rice Cakes and Raisins | Jennie Pennie | Ecoralive | thriftychap | Life With Jupiter & Dann | The Geordie Grandma | Christmas With Katie | Doing the ImPCOSible | Real Girls Wobble | Mamma Prada | The Heaton Family | A Life of Lovely | Me, Him, the Dog and a Baby! | Pounds and Sense | Positively Lifestyle | Robyn’s Photography Academy | Stressed Mum | Life in a Break Down | Renovation Bay-Bee | Reduced Grub | The Mini Millionaire | Thrifty Husband | Mrs Pinch | Good Life and Mind

    The prize

    This prize is a copper Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser with 2 x Everything + Milky Pouch + Classic Pouch + 500ml Chocolate Cream Liqueur.

    Terms and Conditions

    1. There is one top prize of the Hotel Chocolat velvetiser and 2 x Everything + Milky Pouch + Classic Pouch + 500ml Chocolate Cream Liqueur.
    2. There are no runner up prizes.
    3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
    4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 12.12.2021
    5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
    6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
    7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
    8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
    9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
    10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
    11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details.
    12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a http://www.MakeMoneyWithoutAJob.com
    13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

    ENTER NOW

    Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Win a massive Lush hamper

    It is that time of the year when we want to start getting cosy – from cooking warming soups to having long hot candlelit baths and going straight to sleep. I don’t know about you but I love using Lush products and they make an amazing treat, which is why I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing giveaway where you can win a fantastic Lush hamper worth £185! Wow!

    I have teamed up with some of the other bloggers in the UK to bring you this prize, so please do take a moment to show your support by visiting them!

    You can find all of the information about the giveaway, including what is included, how to enter and the terms and conditions below.

    Good luck!

    The Bloggers Taking Part

    Here is a list of all of the bloggers taking part in this giveaway – please show your support by visiting them.

    The Heaton Family | HomeAndGardenThings | Positivity Lifestyle | Skinnedcartree | A Life Of Lovely | Crafting Her Scents | British Bride | Cherished By Me | CharlotteMusha |Surviving With Coffee | The Queen of Bargains | Monethalia | Ecoralive | Birds and Lilies | Cheat Planet | Mummy Vs Work | Rhian Westbury | My Tunbridge Wells | Twoheartsoneroof | Renovation Bay-Bee | Just Average Jen | Gift Guides UK | Stapo’s thrifty life hacks | Blogger SEO Tricks | Make Money Without A Job | Reduced Grub | Mumernity | Skinny Spending | What Mummy Thinks | Life with Jupiter and Dann | Stylish London Living | Millennial Saves | Make Changes Everyday | ThriftyChap | Money Saving Superhero | Alice in Sheffield | Best Things to do in Cambridge | Life in a Break Down | Twoplusdogs | Cats,Kids,Chaos | Youth n Trends | LondonFridge | Miss Manypennies | Happy Time Blog

    The prize

    We are really pleased to be giving away a WOW Gift hamper from LUSH, worth £185!

    This hamper includes:

    -I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas Bath Bomb
    -Snowman Dreaming Bath Bomb
    -Butterbear Bath Bomb
    -Sleepy Bear Bath Bomb
    -The Golden Pudding Bath Bomb
    -Shoot For The Stars Bath Bomb
    -Snow Fairy Bath Bomb
    -Hey! Hollywood! Bath Bomb
    -Orange Pop Bath Bomb
    -Jingle Bells Bath Bomb
    -Snowball Bath Bomb
    -You Shall Go To The Ball Bath Bomb
    -Snow Fairy Roll Bubble Bar
    -The North Pole Bubble Bar
    -Cinnamon Roll Bubble Bar
    -Snow Fairy Shower Gel 100g
    -Jolly Shower Gel 100g
    -Yog Nog Shower Gel 100g
    -Plum Duff Shower Gel 100g
    -Golden Pear Body Scrub
    -Rudolph Nose Shower Bomb
    -Silver Bells Shower Bomb
    -Fairy Dust Dusting Powder
    -Galaxy Lip Scrub
    -Golden Pineapple Lip Scrub
    -Snow Fairy Soap 100g
    -Baked Alaska Soap 100g
    -Polar Bear Soap 100g
    -Snow Fairy Body Conditioner 50g
    -Snow Fairy Body Spray 100ml
    -Lord Of Misrule Shower Gel 100g
    -Candy Cane Reusable Bubble Bar

    Terms and conditions

    1. There is one top prize of the Lush WOW Gift Hamper.
    2. There are no runner up prizes.
    3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
    4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 31.10.21
    5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
    6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
    7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
    8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
    9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
    10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
    11. The prizes will be despatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details.
    12. The promoter is http://www.positivelylifestyle.com
    13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

    Enter now

    Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Family gaming time

    Many parents are put off from online gaming because of some of the dangers that can come with online gaming. You might worry about your child or children being bullied online, getting addicted, becoming too competitive or even more harmful consequences that could arise from online gaming. Therefore it is really important that you find ways to keep your family safe during gaming time.

    Tips for gaming safely

    It is really important to keep your family safe and keep channels of communication open when it comes to gaming.

    Here are some of my top tips for gaming safely.

    Take regular breaks

    Taking regular breaks can be helpful when it comes to staying safe with online gaming. You should especially encourage your family to take a break if they are feeling tired or hungry, getting angry or upset at the game, not enjoying it anymore or ignoring other responsibilities such as completing their homework.

    Choose a username carefully

    If your child or children need to register online for gaming and choose a username, be sure that they choose a username with no identifying features, such as their year of birth, full name or email address. These usernames are usually displayed publicly, so encourage them to choose names that aren’t identifying.

    Play offline

    Online games are fantastic, but don’t forget to encourage play time away from online gaming, such as board games, outdoor play and Lego.

    Choose a safe gaming website

    With so many options out there for online gaming it is important to choose a safe gaming website.

    I really like encouraging my family to use Plays.org which has hundreds of games to choose from, from every genre you can think of, with more being added all the time. The games can be played directly from a web browser, meaning that there are no apps to download and no chance of your children buying in game loot for real money and driving up your phone bill.

    Fun for the whole family

    Plays offers a wide variety of games, suitable for the whole family. Here are some of our favourites:

    Classic Solitaire

    One of my favourites is classic solitaire – an absolute classic for me. Playing it helps me to wake up in the mornings, or chill out throughout the day.

    Learning Games

    Gaming is a great way to encourage your children to learn more, and Plays.org has tons of games to help with that, including math and memory games.

    Dinosaur Train Bridge Builder is very popular for younger children learning to count.

    No ads

    It is very rare to find a website that provides free content or games to have no adverts – after all, even we have adverts on our blog.

    This is where Plays.org is different.

    They don’t use ads or re-targeting, saying:

    We use Clicky web analytics to track our website performance to see where our site is discussed around the web and how popular various games are so we can create and publish more games similar to the most popular games. We do not serve ads on our site nor retarget users across the web.

    This is fantastic for helping to keep your family safe when gaming online, as no one will be tempted to click a potentially harmful advert.

    Play now

    I would definitely recommend that you take a look at Plays.org as a safe online gaming solution for the whole family.

  • How running a food blog has saved me money

    Both food waste and food poverty are massive problems in the United Kingdom – did you know that 3.6 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry in the UK every year (Figures from WRAP 2019) and a massive 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat (according to fareshare.org.uk) which is equivalent to the entire population of London.

    Reduced Grub

    Writing posts on Reduced Grub helps me to challenge myself to come up with recipes I wouldn’t normally think of, encouraging healthy living and to push my comfort zone when it comes to cooking on a budget.

    I understand the struggles that families are facing at the moment, trying to feed their families on a tight budget. With so many people relying on food banks it is important to me that I share these money saving tips with my readers, but it also helps me to save money at the same time.

    I’ve found some great switches and savings to make – for example making my own flavoured olive oil at a fraction of the cost or using leftover Christmas turkey to make an amazing curry.

    I love pushing myself to create new recipes with the goodies found in the yellow sticker shelves at various supermarkets.

    Influencers and bloggers making money

    It is no secret that influencers and bloggers can make money from their platforms, which is a great way to reward them for the free content they create.

    I have been lucky enough to have a few partnerships from writing on Reduced Grub, which have either provided me with monetary payment or items to review – thus saving me money on buying items I would have loved to try.

    It is really important that bloggers and influencers are transparent about how much money they charge, so that they can help others to price their work accordingly.

    My top tips for lowering your supermarket spend and lowering your food waste

    Over the years I have come up with lots of top tips to help you to lower your supermarket spend, even when feeding your busy family.

    My top tip would be to meal plan. Meal planning is not only fantastic to help stop the Overwhelm when it comes to choosing your meals every day, but it also means you can shop for just the items that you need whilst at the supermarket – therefore lowering your spending and your food waste.

    Did you know that you can freeze cheese? This is a great tip for when you pick up cheese from the yellow sticker shelves or on special offer. Not only will it help to reduce your food waste but it will also help you to lower your grocery spending.

    Another tip is instead of getting a takeaway every week, start to cook your own fakeaways. Depending on the size of your family you can save £25 or more every time that you do this.

    Fakeaway ideas:

    Another idea is to pack your own lunch for work, school or university. A meal deal can easily set you back £3.50 a day, so switching to homemade sandwiches and taking in your own snack from a multipack can cost you a fraction of the cost of a meal deal. If you still enjoy your meal deals then you don’t have to give them up every day – just replace them a couple of times a week.

  • 5 Ways To Keep Your Car Clean While Raising Kids

    Keeping a clean car when you’re ferrying children about isn’t easy. Here are some tips on doing so.

     Get Help From Your Kids

    Perhaps the easiest and most important lesson to teach your kids early on is how to clean the car. Get them a bucket of water so they can get involved and teach them that when they leave their rubbish behind, they have to clean it all up. Getting kids to clean with you gives them a sense of understanding as to how much work and effort it takes to really keep a space neat and tidy.

    1. Do Not Stop Cleaning!

    Never stop or take a break from the objective of cleaning your car. Even taking a break for a day may mean candy wrappers, juice boxes, and whatever else piling up in your car. Whenever you go anywhere with your kids, constantly remind them to remove their toys and throw out their trash. Easier said than done in a small car like a Mini with only 3 doors. However, even in the case of a Mini you can make things easier to keep clean with these Mini car mats to cover your carpets in your car.

    1. Get Organizers

    The most often overlooked way to get organized is to use car organizers such as drawstring bags and pockets on the back of your seats. Most importantly, choose options that have a washable and waterproof exterior that can resist spills and messes. By having a designated spot for everything, your kids are twice as likely to sort and put things away where they belong. The Stow ‘N Go is a fantastic organizer for the back of your seats, and priced modestly at about $11, it can transform your vehicle!

    1. Don’t Wash The Car Yourself

    Sure, washing the car yourself with your kids may save you a few extra bucks, but think of the time it would take to get all hands on deck. Make it a point to schedule a car wash every month and run your car through the machines. This will ensure you reinforce cleanliness in your household while also saving some time and effort.

    1. Get A Mini Garbage Can Or Bag

    Plastic bags or a mini garbage can can help your kids throw away their trash while you’re on-the-go. Leave one in the second and third rows of your car because it reminds kids what they need to do with their trash. At the end of your day, you can just empty the mini cans or throw away the bags to keep your car clean.

    Between dropping your kids off at school to running errands in your car, it’s hard to ensure that your space isn’t invaded by wrappers, crumpled papers, and toys. Kids are willing to learn to clean as long as you’re willing to teach them, and what better way to get started than by choosing to keep your vehicle neat and tidy? A few simple tips and tricks from above are all it takes to reinforce good behavior and cut down on your own cleaning responsibilities.