In association with HotUKDeals

God I love Christmas.

I harp on about it, but I really do love it. Mainly I love the shopping and the twinkly lights which yes, I know, is totally NOT what Christmas is about, but YOLO, as I’m sure the three wise men would have said if they’d have thought about it.

What I’m not so keen on is the ‘spending vast amounts of money’ aspect, so I do like to make savings where I can. I’m one of those really annoying people who will buy presents in April if I see something on special offer, (although if it makes you feel better, I will then put said present away ‘somewhere safe’ and forget about it until January.)

I am also, thanks to the bargain hunting skills of an ex-boyfriend, well trained in the art of sniffing out an online deal. HotUKDeals was in fact one of his absolute favourites and he’d browse it regularly, in a kind of excited/guilty way, like other people might look at the profiles of exes on Facebook.

He knew what he was doing though as HotUKDeals is a great way to save cash, whether you’re buying gifts for Christmas or looking for things for around the house and garden, as I am ABOUT TO PROVE…

DUM DUM DUM!

HotUKDeals set me a shopping challenge – exactly how much could I save by exploring the special offers listed on their site?

Let’s see shall we?

The deals on HotUKDeals are pretty easy to navigate. You can either go to the main deals page and see what’s hot, or you can use the drop down menu to explore deals by department or by retailer. Members use the temperature gauge to vote on deals so other users know that the hotter the deal, the stronger the offer.

HotUKDeals

Deals could be anything, from someone having spotted cheese slices at half price in Morrisons to £100 off a mattress. Literally anything, so it’s always fun to see what new offers have been listed.

Now, my mission primarily was Christmas presents, but then browsing through the main deals page I came across this kettle, which I thought would look very nice in my kitchen, and which was reduced from £80. When you find an offer you like the look of you just click on it to find out more and then get linked through to the retailer where you can either buy directly or find out more. View Post

‘THE AVERAGE FAMILY SPEND £2,831 ON CHRISTMAS!’

‘FAMILIES ACCUMULATE £1,298 OF DEBT OVER CHRISTMAS!’

These are the kind of jolly headlines you can look forward to over the next eight weeks – it’s so festive isn’t it? Just what you need to get you into a Christmassy mood. I mean seriously, you’d need a pint or two of mulled wine after reading things like that. (My excuse.)

The truth is though that YOU are not an average family. You are just you, and you don’t need to spend £2,831 or accumulate £1,298 of debt to make all of your Christmas dreams come true.

Christmas chocolates

My Christmas dreams. In a box. In chocolate form.

How much do you spend on Christmas?

So how much DO you spend? Do you think about it beforehand and set yourself a budget, or do you wing it and worry about it later? Aspire Money have put together a handy tool that you might like to have a play with – a Christmas Budget Planner.

The Aspire Money Budget Planner asks you to consider all of your Christmas costs, including those you might not think to factor in, like advent calendars, travel to visit friends and family, and Christmas stockings. (I’m not sure why it includes this though, as obviously Father Christmas takes care of those.) View Post

LESS THAN TWO MONTHS TO GO!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am already. We’re coming into that phase now where I can start drinking mulled wine at lunchtime and having mince pies for tea and it’s all totally fine and acceptable because it’s NEARLY CHRISTMAS!

Hoorah!

In case, for some BIZARRE reason, you aren’t immediately filled with Christmas cheer at the very thought of twinkling lights and overpriced Christmas gift packs of toiletries, then this should cheer you up – a competition to win £100 to spend on toys.

You’re welcome.

win christmas toys

This prize comes courtesy of PoundToy.

PoundToy is a website that has all the same toys as your big online retailers, but they’re up to 75% cheaper. They do this by cutting out the expensive high street and store costs and delivering all orders directly to the customer from their family run warehouse. They offer free delivery on all orders over £25 AND they price match against Amazon and eBay.

“The reason we started PoundToy,” they told me, “is because we identified that the big named stores are very expensive and they make incredible margins, taking the money out of families pockets that struggle at times such as Christmas. As a company that was setup by such a family, our values and company ethos is to ensure every family can have a Christmas on any budget by buying toys at more reasonable prices.”

Sounds good right? Plus the bonus here is that your £100 will get you even more toys that you might expect!

To enter, first visit the PoundToy site for a browse, and come back and leave a comment on this post, telling me one thing you’d spend your prize money on if you won. Register your comment in the widget below and do as many of the bonus entries as you can to increase your chances of winning.

The competition will close at 11.59pm on 10th November. UK entries only. Full T&Cs apply.

Good luck!

Like this competition? Enter my other one HERE to win 8 beautiful craft books!

Win £100 to spend on toys for Christmas

How often do you shower? I had a boring old press release fall in my inbox the other day about showers.

*yawn*

It was 95% dull, but there was one fact that did stick out – apparently the average person in the UK has five showers and three baths per week.

I had to re-read that just to make sure.

It’s not five showers or three baths, it’s five showers and three baths. That’s more than one wash of some sort every day. That means there’s at least one day during the week where this average person thinks to themselves, ‘you know what, I had a bath this morning, but I’m going to have a shower too!’

How often do you shower? Do you fit in three baths a week?

I reckon I average four showers and zero baths. Apart from quite possibly making me a bit rank, it also must mean that somewhere there is a person having six showers and six baths a week, to balance out me, which seems excessive to say the least.

The truth is that I really am not a fan of washing. I hated it as a child and my parents are very fond of reminding me that my Dad used to have to carry me upstairs over his shoulder to the bath while I screamed ‘don’t make me do it!!’

I thought I’d grow out of it, but I haven’t. I do it obviously, because I have to, but I don’t enjoy it. I don’t ever think ‘Oooh, lovely, I’m going to have an amazing long shower, that’ll be nice.’  View Post

In association with Poundworld

About a month ago a new shop opened in our town. A Poundworld Plus. To say that Belle was excited is putting it mildly – discount shops are on of her very favourite things, alongside delivered pizza, shows about vampires and chocolate chip brioche.

One of the first things we bought in our new Poundworld was cat harnesses. Basically Belle wants a dog, but I don’t want a dog, so she’s convinced that she’ll be able to take the kittens for walks, if only she can get them excited about wearing a harness. Unfortunately, as we discovered when we got home, it’s actually very hard to get a cat excited about wearing a harness, especially when at first you put it on wrong, and they can’t walk properly.

That said, they were probably more excited about it than they were when Belle tried to get them interested in going for a walk in a kitty carrier.

cat in a cat carrier

Have you ever seen a cat look less impressed?

The most exciting trip to Poundworld to date though has been the one that Belle made with the rest of the prom committee from school. They are organising a year 7 Halloween party to raise money for prom, and it coincided with Poundworld asking if we wanted to check out the Halloween collection in store, and well – how perfect?? The rest of the committee were VERY excited to have a decorations budget, and so off they went.

I have to say, that I was genuinely impressed by the Halloween range in our Poundworld store. Normally with these kind of things you get maybe half an aisle, with the usual slimy spiders and pumpkin shaped baskets for trick or treating, but the selection was VAST. There must have been a good 20 metres of shelf space taken up with Halloween things, and loads of stuff that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Plenty to get the (year 7 ) party started. View Post

Post in association with Iceland

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but they, whoever they are, are wrong.

Wait what? You CAN get lunch for free?

Why yes. Yes you can. With the Iceland bonus card.

Iceland Bonus Card

Let me explain.

You will have realised by now, if you’re a regular reader, that I’ve become a bit of an Iceland convert, ever since I realised that Iceland was about more than frozen kebab pizzas. I’ve been educated about the benefits of frozen food in terms of freshness and not needing artificial preservatives and let’s be honest, it didn’t take much to convince me on the convenience front either.

So what is the Iceland Bonus Card then?

The Iceland Bonus Card is a savings card. You pick one up in store, register it online, and then every time you go shopping, and fancy tucking a bit extra away, you can ask the cashier to top it up. You can add money to your Bonus Card through the Iceland website too. Easy.

Then, when you’re next shopping, either in store or online, you can choose to use some or all of your balance to pay your bill. Pretty straightforward yes?

Except here’s the bonus aspect of the Iceland Bonus Card – for every £20 you save, Iceland will give you an extra pound for FREE. Just like that, automatically. Greggs sausage and bean melts are on offer at the moment in Iceland – 2 for £1 – so that bonus pound could LITERALLY buy lunch for you AND a friend.

(If you have never eaten a Greggs sausage and bean melt before then WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?? That’s the food of the Gods right there. Oysters? RANK. Greggs sausage and bean melt? HELL YES.)

What could I use my Iceland Bonus Card for?

CHRISTMAS! View Post