Monday, 24 August 2015

Reasons my toddler is throwing a full on tantrum.

Michael's tantrums are legendary. In a way I am proud of him, when he does something he gives it 100%. I am talking the whole throw yourself on the floor, kick and punch, scream at the top of your lungs and give your mum the deepest look of disgust tantrum. Shaky logic and uncontrollable emotions join up so that he overreacts to the smallest things but in Michael's mind I am the worst mother in the world. 

So reasons my toddler threw a full on tantrum:

• I would not let him repeatedly press the bell on the bus.
• I would not let him climb on the bookcase.
• I moved him 2 inches to the left so I could get past him.
• He could not get his blanket off the bed, despite nothing on it and in his reach.
• I would not let him put his finger up the cat's bottom.
• I did not cut up his chicken right.
• He did not want his mixed veg mixed up.
• He didn't want to play with his bucket and spade at the playground, he wanted to play with an almost identical one belonging to another child.
• He was not allowed to go near the hot oven.
• He finished all of his breadsticks and we did not have any more.
• A man in a parrot costume came towards him.
• I stopped him from eating my face cream.
• I would not let him hang up the phone to his dad while I was half way through a conversation.
• He wanted a drink and was adamant his cup was empty, it wasn't.
• I wouldn't let him take home the dvd Saw. He liked the picture of the puppet Jigsaw on the case.

Clearly I am a awful parent! He does make me laugh and keeps me
on my toes.

Share some of the reasons your toddler has thrown a tantrum in the comments below. Would love to hear about them.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My Top 6 Ways to Save Money

 One of the things  I am passionate about is trying to always save money where I can for my family (See the Christmas Challenge) 

Due to awaiting a major back operation, I have not be able to start my career as soon as I would have hoped( I graduated with a 2:1 last month) Therefore we are currently relying on the one wage which while is not the minimum wage, my partner is certainly not a high wage earner. We do receive some financial help in the form of child tax credit and child benefit, however there is no doubt in our household things are tighter than they have ever been. I have always been careful with money but the need to save money has certainly been more essential. Here are therefore some of the top things I do in order to save money:

 General Shopping

1. Shop around! As evident by my Christmas challenge, I like to shop at lots of different shops to take advantage of the best offers. With things like gifts, big ticket items, household items etc. the prices from one shop to another can be amazing. A gift I recently bought for Michael for example was the Now That's What I Call Disney CD. It was priced at £13 in Tesco but only £8 on Amazon. If every item has a price difference like this, you could be paying a lot more money out needlessly.

2. Do some research online before you head out shopping. Before you head out to the mall have a look online. A great Facebook site I have joined up to is "Bargain Buys for Busy Mums". Members post deals they have found, likewise forums like Netmums and Mumsnet often have bargain threads where people share store sales, bargains they have found, the best place to shop for certain items etc. Take advantage of these! A Christmas craft box I bought from Argos, £20 reduced to £5 I never would have found without Bargain Buys. Likewise sign up to your favourite store newsletters. I am not at my local large shopping areas often so it can be easy to miss out on store sales. With online newsletters the store now emails me a notification to tell me a store is coming up.

Food Shopping

1. Do online food shopping I think most of us are guilty of going into a supermarket with a budget and then blow it when we pick up offers we don't really need or things because we are hungry and overbuy. As a former supermarket assistant, I can honestly tell you supermarkets do indeed have their tricks to get you to buy more food. We were told to ask every customer if they wanted various treats that were sat by the till that were only £1(their price all the time!). Just avoid all of it and shop online if you can, most supermarkets do have an online shop and deliver system now. This makes it a lot harder to add things needlessly and you are more likely to only buy what you need and to your budget.

2. Meal Plan We are now more wasteful than ever and throw out lots of food out because it has gone out of date or we have bought too much needlessly. As a result I stick to a precise meal plan. I base it on product sell by dates so I know there are not those sausages in the fridge out of date because we forgot about them. Do your meal plan before you start your online shop and base your shopping around your meal plan. That way you can ensure you are only buying what you need that week.


1. Take advantage of free activities. Michael is undoubtedly the biggest thing to change our household outgoings. Children can be very expensive, one thing I find expensive is children's activities. Soft play, swimming, the cinema, the zoo, attractions etc. can all add up. I just cannot afford to take Michael to these places all the time, yet we hate staying in. As a result we make a lot of advantage of free activities. Children's centres put on many free group fun sessions, the library, the park etc. are all free. We are also very fortunate in that we live in outer London. For the price of the journey on my oyster card, and a packed lunch we can spend a happy day in the free museums, the wonderful parks and even casually exploring South-bank. Have a look on-line to fine some free activities and save the costly activities to treats now and again.

2. Make use of second hand stuff. Not everyone likes to have second hand stuff for their child and that is absolutely fine. However consider it. Facebook now have many local selling sites, there are nearly new sales, ebay and charity stores where you could pick up decent stuff at the fraction of the price. When it comes to babies especially, the stuff is used for such a short amount of time that it is usually in great condition. I luckily have a young cousin who is 18 months older than Michael so we were given lots of hand-me-downs.  Charity shops again are great for books, toys and DVDs to keep your child amused at home. Michael has the Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra, in Argos it is £60! I picked up one in great condition at a local charity store for just £3. Just gave it a good old wash and Michael plays with it daily. No way would I pay £60 for a toy for a toddler!

Well here are some of the top ways I use to save money, there are more but I was conscious not to make the blog post too long so look out for more blog posts on saving money.

If you have any other great ideas on how to save families money then I would love to hear about them!


My Christmas Challenge Update

So I have not been able to post for a little while because we have had some major internet problems. Luckily it is finally sorted(damn TalkTalk) so I thought I would update you all with my Christmas challenge.

For those who have not read my previous post, my Christmas challenge is that I cannot buy anything full price. We are struggling a little so it is essential this year to save money and actually I really do enjoy shopping for a bargain!

1. Asda. 

Asda have had some great sales recently and my local store is closing so has loads more deals.

Last week I bought these children's hooded towels for £3 each reduced from £6 The Olaf one is for Michael and there are two tangled ones for two young cousins. Really bright and useful.
I also bought these two PS3 Games for £5 reduced from £12. Daniel my partner really loves Star Wars and so this is just a fun little present for him and I think now Michael is getting older and showing an interest in the PS3 he would enjoy playing the Toy Story game now and again.


So from Primark I managed to find these cute character t-shirts for £2 each. As I have said in a previous blog post, I am not always a great Primark fan and only go in there now and again but I thought these were really cute. The Olaf one is for Michael and the two t-shirts for two young cousins.


Gift Tags for 18p each and a advent calender for 49p. Bargain! I was really happy to get these because I would rather pay 18p now than £1.50 later.

4. Argos

This is not a Christmas present but I thought Michael would have lots of fun with this craft box leading up to christmas. It was £20 reduced to £5 in Argos. It has loads in it! Stickers, cards, letters to Santa,door hanger, santa stop here sign to name a few so I was very impressed. While Michael will not be able to do all of it, he will get a lot of use out of it.

I am really enjoying shopping around for christmas bargains and so far I have saved over £140! So it really does pay off shopping around and taking advantage of store sales.

Will update with more bargains soon!


Saturday, 1 August 2015

My christmas challenge

Ok you are probably wondering why I am talking about christmas when it is the 1st of August, but this year my partner Daniel set me a challenge that means I have have to buy early. This year any present I buy cannot be bought full price.  It was kind of a joke Daniel made because I am such a bargain hunter but I thought what a great idea. I get to enjoy shopping and also save money. Hopefully by christmas I can show people that christmas does not have to be expensive and that buying over the year can pay off! 

This is what I have bought so far in various store sales:

•Mothercare- Pretty Learning Purse. Full Price-£17. 99. Paid £8.99 (saving £9)
Mothercare- Decorate tiara and wand. Full price-£5 paid £2.50 (saving £2.50)

WHS-Small Snowman teddy. Full Price- £4.99 paid 62p! (saving £4.37)
WHS- Small penguin teddy. Full Price- £5 paid 62p! (saving £4.38)
WHS- Star Wars book. Full Price- £15 paid £2.50 (saving £12.50)

•Peacocks- Owl Scarf- Full Price-£5 paid £2.50 (saving £2.50)

•Disney Store-Doc Mcstuffins sticker book. Full Price- £5 paid £1.80 (saving £3.20)
Disney Store-Toy Story T-Shirt Full Price-£9.95 paid £4.95 (saving £5)
Disney Store-Star Wars Cup-Full Price-£5.95 paid £1.80 (saving £4.15)
Disney Store Star Wars Beach towel-Full Price-£14.95 paid £7 (saving £7.95)

Asda- Men's Star Wars t-shirt. Full Price -£8 paid £4 X2 (saving £8)
Asda-Child's Star Wars t-shirt. Full Price £6 paid £4 (saving £2)

Savings so far = £65.55! 

I will be updating the blog on my buys and savings so let's hope I can keep up with the challenge! 

Let me know in the comments below if you have started buying or how you save money at christmas.