Saturday, 29 October 2011

Budget Wedding!

In 2006 I got married. At that time, I considered myself pretty savvy when it came to spotting a bargain, but in reality I knew nothing compared to what I know now. I did practically no research, just bought what I fancied, got ripped off by the hair/make up woman and generally paid top dollar for everything! If I was to do it again, this is how I would do it differently:-

1. Get invites from ebay. I like this ebay seller who does personalised wedding invites - 25 rfor £7.50, what a bargain!

2. I would buy bridesmaid dresses in the Coast sale. Something like this for £69.

You can also get dresses from ebay from places like Thailand. Too many to choose from but easily found.

3. Get your wedding dress from a highstreet store like BHS or Debenhams (Coast have them too but quite pricey). I actually really love vintage wedding dresses now (although didn't in 2006!) and love this sort of thing which I found on ebay.  £218.

4. Get a friend with a posh car to let you use their car instead of a wedding car, pop some ribbons on the front (ebay!) and save lots of money!

5. Use "silk" flowers. One of my friends did this, they look lovely and also you can get everything in advance so less stress on the day. £10.50 for this one

6. For favours look on ebay! I've just had a quick glance and I love this ebay shop which sells lovely wine glass charms, 99p each! If you had the energy you could get one for every single guest, I think that is a nice personalised touch and also saves doing name cards. Two in one!

I need to go to bed now, will think of some more wedding money saving ideas in my sleep....zzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Children and Weddings

This weekend I went to a wedding. It is always lovely to be invited to a wedding, and of course I love an opportunity to get dressed up.  It was also the first time I have had something altered to work in a different way. In this case I took a long Coast bridesmaid type skirt to an alteration shop and had it made into a knee length skirt. It looked lovely with a Coast bustier and a sash round my waist which was once a bridesmaid sash.  But this was the first time I have been to a wedding with two children, in short it was hard work. Son 1 has never really entered a church before so had no idea you are supposed to keep your voice down. During the bit of the service where you are meant to speak out or forever hold your peace I offered him a lolly pop which might seem a bit infra dig but the alternative does not bear thinking about! Son 2 of course started screaming as soon as the service started so I watched most of it through the glass in the side chapel.

Once we got to the hotel Son 1 started acting up and refused to be in any photos. I kept having a quiet word in his ear and miraculously he would tow the line, it might have looked like I was giving him a stern talking to. In reality I was bribing him with sweets.

During the meal by some miracle Son 2 was asleep in his pushchair and Son 1 was given a colouring book which was a godsend as it kept him sitting at the table for a while.  However during the speeches he started shouting, "I am a dog! Woof Woof!" I felt my stress levels rising!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Do It Yourself Nail Wraps!

A few months ago, before I went on holiday, I decided to invest in a set of Minx nails for my toes. I had it done in a salon, it took about an hour and cost me £20. I must say included in this was a sort of mini pedicure, cup of tea, and a nice chat with the nail technician.

However, I was pretty excited to see in Boots,

that Nails Inc Nail Wraps can be bought in store and applied yourself for a fraction of the cost! These cost me about £7.95 in Boots and I have used them twice already. It takes me about 15 minutes each time and they last a couple of weeks if you apply them properly. All you need to apply them is a hair dryer or some other means of heating the wraps until they go bendy. Then you stick them on your nail, press them on, heat them some more hey presto! After a few gos they look really good and I'm pretty sure no-one could tell they weren't Minx ones.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

Family Money Saving Ideas!

Like any Mummy, I am always looking for ways to save money. Here are some of my top tips that I have gathered over the years!

  • Buy toiletries and household supplies in shops like Home Bargains/B&M Bargains etc, so much cheaper.
  • Plan every meal in advance before going to the supermarket, only buy the actual ingredients you need, save treats for weekends.
  • Buy nappies through Amazon and get them delivered to your door. If you subscribe you can save even more money.
  • Pampers New Baby Size 2 Mini Nappies - 2 x Economy Packs of 62 (124 Nappies) 
    • Rather than paying for expensive baby groups etc, find out about your local children's centre, where activities usually cost around £1.
    • Take drinks along in a sippy cup for your child wherever you go, saving on buying drinks out.
    • Buy stuff on ebay.
    • If you can't find what you need on ebay use discount codes wherever possible from sites like hotukdeals and buy online.
    • Use quidco when buying online to earn cashback.
    • Find out about local discounts, e.g. in Leeds there is a Leeds card which entitles you to discounts on all local attractions, swimming etc.
    • Children would honestly rather spend a week on the beach in the UK than be roasted alive on holiday in Spain.
    • Create a blog and ask for freebies and discounts on things you like then write about them on your blog! 
    • Certain professions, e.g. teachers can get free entry into attractions, take proof of employment (works abroad too!).
    • Print your photos using online websites, not in those instant machines.
    Please post any more you can think of!


    I mentioned to one of my yummy mummy friends the other day that we were going to be staying at the Sands Resort, she clearly thought I meant somewhere in the Caribbean but no, I was in fact referring to our very own, Scarborough!
    The Sands

    I never used to like Scarborough as every time I went there as a child, it rained. We went a few years ago as a family with my brother and parents and as the weather was great, we really enjoyed it. I also like the steam train that runs from

    Pickering to Goatlands (where Heart Beat is filmed don't you know!) which is quite nearby.

    Anyway, the apartment was fantastic, truly 5* with gorgeous en-suite and sea views from the terrace. They even put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge to get the party started!  Scarborough is  definitely a place for kids with tacky amusement arcades, donkey rides, surfing, fish and chips, dodgem rides, candy floss and sticks of rock.

    However there are also nice restaurants and trendy bars for the evening, if you take along the grandparents to babysit that is.  In terms of things to do there is a Sea Life Centre

    and of course Peasholm park which has a random Chinese theme. We went on the dragon pedelos (£5) which my son loved.

    It was pretty wet and windy but I did really enjoy it, particularly my Yorkshire afternoon tea with a glass of kir royale (champagne not sparkling wine!).

    The Sands Resort was £199 for two nights with car parking space.

    Thursday, 6 October 2011


    I am a real fan of new and innovative things in every area of my life, I love gadgets and good ideas and also small companies who are really passionate about what they do. That is why when I stumbled across this website (well actually through their ebay shop) Gifts In Mind I became instantly excited. Here is some more information about them: "Gifts in Mind's range of hand, foot and fingerprint Jewellery is hand crafted at our studio in Nottingham. We take pride in producing the finest quality jewellery at an affordable price whilst paying close attention to detail and customer satisfaction. Our fingerprint necklaces and fingerprint cufflinks are second to none and will become a special treasure that will last a lifetime. We believe that their is no finer quality fingerprint jewellery on the internet"

    I love the idea of a keepsake of something that you can never get back, the beautiful hand/foot or finger print of a small baby to keep forever. My eye was instantly drawn to the lovely charms and pendants on the website, these were the ones that stood out for me.

    Sweetie Bracelet from £38

    from £28

    from £35

    from £28

    The way it works is that Gifts in Mind send you a kit with everything you need and then within 14 days of returning the prints the jewellery is sent to you.

    Anyway, I was lucky enough to be sent some kits and jewellery to test and review!

    First of all I was sent the fingerprint charm kit as this is the most popular item on the website.

    Everything I needed was inside an envelope - the two moulds to capture the fingerprint, a little bag to place the mould in, and a padded prepaid envelope to send everything back in - perfect!

    It might look daunting but the whole thing was so easy, made easier by the very straightforward instructions. Basically you join the two different coloured putty together, make a ball, then place your child's finger firmly on the mould. 

    These are the two different bits of moulding clay that you simply roll together in a ball.

    Completed! I rolled the two moulds together.

    Son 2's finger placed on the mould. You have to let the mould set for about 10 minutes before placing it in the envelope.

    One padded envelope for the mould, the other for the hand and foot prints.
    I was also lucky enough to be sent a kit for making a hand and foot print, the hand from Son 1 and the foot from Son 2. This was even easier than making the finger print! How it works is that included in the pack is an inkless substance that is actually invisible on the skin but makes an impression on the special paper in the pack. you simply wipe it onto your child's hand or foot, it is a bit like a wet wipe then place their print on the pape. I had a few practice goes before and had to be quite "firm" with putting my children's prints on the paper but actually had no mishaps! You do need to be careful as the substance gets on your hand and it is easy to get this on the paper without realising it. I assume that Gifts in Mind would work around that though if there was a problem.

    Foot at the ready with inkless substance on! Invisible to you or I.

    Easily made foot print on paper included as part of the kit.

    Son 1's hand, excuse changing mat in background! Inkless substance on hand ready to print!

    One hand print! Note slight smudges of ink around the hand, did not affect the charm that arrived.

    All I had to do then was simply place everything in the prepaid envelope and send it off! Less than 14 days later here are the results!

    Finger print charm, beautifully presented.

    I couldn't get a good picture for some reason in the box but this clearly shows the hand print on a necklace.

    Hand and foor print on a necklace, the names of my children are to the left of the prints.

    Slightly better picture showing the relative size and prints.

    I placed the finger print charm on an existing charm bracelet of mine.

    I am over the moon with my necklace and charm. As you can see above I placed the charm on a bracelet of mine and have had so many questions and compliments about it! People keep asking me where I got it from and seem genuinely intrigued about it.  The necklace I also love and have worn every day since it arrived. I keep seeing people glancing at it and have had lots of comments from strangers etc asking how I did it, where it is from etc.  I have to say that the quality of the jewellery is excellent and in my opinion is excellent value for money. I have done some quick research on other similar companies on the internet and some of them are charging twice as much for the same product.

    I would thoroughly recommend this jewellery either for yourself or as a present (for Christmas?) for Grandma/Auntie etc. I think the charms would work well with a Links of London bracelet or similar. Although Gifts in Mind do their own bracelet for £38 which I think is really good value for money.

    Especially for BargainMummies Gifts in Mind have kindly given a 10% discount on all their products using code bmumsb10. 

    Love love love!

    Wednesday, 5 October 2011

    Obsession with school places...

    For some time now I have had a bit of an obsession with primary school places, i.e. will my son get a place at the school I prefer? It seems the answer to this question is, no. This might sound sad but I am now going to desperate measures to work out whether he stands a chance of a place or not. I have used google earth to calculate the exact distance between our house and the school (30 metres) I have looked at the map showing the end of "priority one" (the end of which is out garden wall), recently I have even taken to "interviewing" other parents in our local park. "So, how old is X? What school will they go to? WHERE DO YOU LIVE?" On the advice of my friend Emma I have compiled a little table of encounters with other parents, age of children, address etc etc. I have even started conducting research regarding number of children in the area in private childcare arrangements, i.e. those who didn't apply to the nursery. My son didn't get a place at the nursery but he was 3rd in the waiting list. There are 8 extra places in Reception so in theory he should get a place, but this isn't taking into account the children who never applied for Nursery in the first place or those who immediately turned down the place. I know of one child who is his school year and lives further away than us with no siblings, BUT her birthday is in March so she was able to join after the Easter holidays in the year above and do one year and one term in the Nursery, therefore we should take precedence, arrrgghhhhh, I am obsessed......


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