Post in association with Tesco Bank

money saving hacks

 

A little while ago Tesco Bank asked me to put together some of my best budgeting hacks for their website. I came up with 10 really simple ways to save money – I was quite proud of myself. You can read them here, so please do go and have a look.

In the process of writing that piece though, I realised that I’m a bit of a natural in the old money saving department. Perhaps that first class economics degree really is good for something?? I thought I’d put together a few more ideas for you here.

Have a read and let me know if you have tried any of these and if they’ve made a difference to your household finances. I’d love to hear about any other tips you have too! View Post

What does tea time look like for your family?

This is dinner time in our house:

typical family dinner time

Ha ha! Not really.

Who has family dinner times like that?? Everyone is so attractive! And all those white units and place mats and teeth? What I love most though about this picture is that the caption is ‘family laughing around a good meal in the kitchen.’

I do my own voice over as I look at it:

MUM, laughing: Oh look everyone at how big our bowls of peas and carrots are!

DAD, laughing: Ha ha! That’s so funny! I love vegetables! Isn’t that funny kids?

DAUGHTER, laughing, but also crying a bit: But Daddy I hate peas!

DAD, laughing: Just keep laughing Angelica!

DAUGHTER: But it hurts my cheeks…

MUM: Ha ha ha! What a lovely family dinner we’re all having!

ANYWAY.

Family meal times in our house don’t look like that. In fact, weekdays are pretty quiet. Bee has long since left home, so it’s more often than not just me and Belle.

That’s okay though. That’s the beauty of a modern family – it can be anything you want it to be.

(DUM DUM DUM!!)

According to new research from potato brand McCain, as part of their We Are Family campaign, we often find it hard to identify with the portrayal of family life as shown in the media. 84% of families surveyed claim they haven’t seen anything in popular culture that depicted a family like their own in the last six months and 45% of Brits think more needs to be done to show the reality of everyday family life.

I agree, and to illustrate the point, Belle and I created a mini fly-on-the wall documentary of tea times in our house. (Does this video count as popular culture?? It definitely shows the reality of family life…)

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We have a joke in our family.

Bee: What do you call cheese without a face?

Me: I don’t know, what do you call cheese without a face?

Bee: Normal cheese.

(We’re hilarious.)

My point is though, why WOULD you want ‘normal’ anything if there was an option to have it WITH a face?? You just wouldn’t, which is why I wanted to try out the cordless Henry vacuum cleaner. I’m not especially drawn to housework as a rule, but this vacuum cleaner has a FACE remember. I feel like cleaning the bathroom would be more fun if all the spray bottles had faces. In fact, the more I think about it, the more genius of an idea it is.

Now you may have noticed me casually drop in that this is a cordless Henry, which means he runs on a rechargeable battery pack rather than having a big long cable. There is a look on his face too, like he KNOWS he doesn’t need plugging in and he’s pretty smug about it.

Henry vacuum cleaner review

See what I mean?

‘A PLUG? Don’t be ridiculous darling, that’s so 2016. I’m CORDLESS.’ View Post

 

If there’s one thing that all homeowners will agree upon, it’s that there is never enough space in the home. And nowhere is this more evident than in a child’s bedroom!

Not only do you have an endlessly growing collection of toys, books and games, but even the children themselves can grow at surprising speeds. So here’s a look at how we can implement everything from bunk beds to some innovative shelving units in a bid to keep our children’s bedrooms clutter-free!

Most of us will have attempted to try and balance endless amounts of toys on bookshelves, but there comes a time when we have to get a little more serious. Some of these modular storage ideas are fantastic as you can stack them up in a way that’s space-saving and it also looks great too.

Of course, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t stack these storage units too high. But by keeping stackable plastic boxes in the corner of a room, you should be able to stop any nasty accidents from happening.

Sometimes we’ll just have to be a little inventive in our space-saving ideas. Whether it’s building high with some bookshelves for those schoolbooks, or even getting a nice pegboard as a way to store smaller items, there are many places where we can make a little extra space.

As a child’s bed often takes up a large percentage of their room, it can be beneficial to see how this could be used as a space-saving device. Whether it’s using the base of a divan bed to store winter clothes, or even seeing how one of the bunk beds at Bedstar can accommodate any extra siblings who may be on their way, it’s amazing how a bed can solve many space issues.

In fact there are plenty of examples of multifunctional furniture that can do a good job of saving space. From chairs that have a handy place underneath to store books, to tables that have toy storage included, we just have to be a little creative sometimes.

And if all else fails, then we’ll just have to make a display out of our child’s extra belongings. And whether that’s using crates on walls to display toys, or having a chic wire hanger for all of their clothes, it shows that it’s not just bunk beds that can save some serious space in our children’s bedrooms.

 Images – Raihana AsralYuganov Konstantin and MNStudio from shutterstock.

 

However careful you are, every now and then some baked beans will explode, leftovers will bubble over or a reheated cup of coffee will flood the inside of your microwave. All of these culinary incidents can leave their mark on your appliance, resulting in a microwave that looks less than its best.

Luckily, cleaning the microwave is easier than you think. With a few basic household items and a bit of elbow grease you should be able to get your appliance looking as good as new – until the next over adventurous microwave recipe that is.

Vinegar

As with many of the best household cleaning hacks, vinegar is the key to getting your appliance looking clean and smelling great. Mix a cup of vinegar and a cup of water together in a microwave safe bowl. Place a toothpick or another small wooden object into the bowl to help the liquid bubble and boil without overflowing.

Microwave the mixture for three to five minutes until your microwave is full of steam. Leave the door shut for up to five minutes once the timer has sounded to allow the steam to do its work. You should now be able to wipe away the worst of the dirt and grime from inside the appliance.

Lemon

If you don’t have any vinegar handy, or don’t want your microwave to smell like a chip shop for the next few hours, you can use lemon instead. Simply squeeze a bit of juice into a bowl of water and add a few slices of lemon to the mix. Heat the bowl on high in your microwave for a few minutes and then wipe the appliance clean.

Baking soda

Baking soda is another of those larder staples than can be invaluable when it comes to removing tough grime and stains. If you want to try this method, mix some baking soda with a little warm water until you have a paste. Spread the paste on the inside of the microwave, being careful to cover dried on stains. Leave the baking soda to do its work for five minutes and then wipe the microwave clean with a sponge.

Kitchen roll

If your microwave isn’t too stained or grimy, a few pieces of damp kitchen roll may be enough to spruce it up. Place the wet tissue in the microwave and heat it for around five minutes. The steam that’s produce should help to loosen baked on dirt and food residue. Leave the paper towel in the microwave to cool down and then use it to wipe clean the inside of the appliance.

By using a few basic items from the larder and employing a bit of ingenuity, you can get your microwave clean, fresh and as good as new in minutes. Why not give it a go now and see just how easy cleaning your kitchen can be? Alternatively, if you’re short on time and the WHOLE kitchen is in a state, you could always use a company like Service Octopus to help get it sparkling in no time.