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Monday, August 30, 2010

Tips to help save money in your home

As a single parent I know money is very limited. I am always looking for ways to save money. I thought I would share with you some tips I follow:
The dreaded standby!

Tip 1; The obvious one - Turn appliances off standby
I know everyone tells you that turning an appliance off standby will save you money, but when you think you are wasting £30 a year from just leaving one appliance on standby; that's quite a lot when you could have three or four left on. Remember:

  • you can't switch most electronic goods off just with the remote control
  • to turn off an appliance completely, use the power switch on the appliance itself or turn it off at the plug
  • if a charger or power pack is warm or has a light on, it's probably using power
Energy efficient light bulb and a
normal light bulb
Tip 2: Use energy efficient light bulbs
I have energy efficient light bulbs in all the main lights I use. I can assure you they don't flicker but they do start off dim and gradually get lighter as they warm up; but that's a small price to pay as they will help reduce the cost of your electricity bill! Now that they are many designs they won't stick out above your lampshades! There is a calculator which shows you how much you could save if you started to use energy efficient light bulbs. If every UK home installed three energy efficient light bulbs, it would save enough energy to power all of the UK's street lights! Also, try to remember to switch the lights off every time you leave a room.

Tip 3; In the kitchen
When your thinking of making a babies bottle or a cup of tea; try to only boil a kettle with as much water as you need. This will help save electric as your only boiling water you need to use. Remember when cooking to cover pots and pans as they will boil a lot quicker. Try to match the size of the cooking ring to the size of the saucepan to avoid heating the air. You could try to cook several different foods on one ring with a steamer (this would be perfect for vegetables). Remember to check that the fridge door isn't left open as it takes energy to cool it down again (I know my little one loves playing with the fridge door if I don't remember to lock it!)

Turn it down by one degree!

Tip 4; Turn your central heating down
Now I know your thinking; I don't want to turn my heating down as I will be cold. But you only need to turn it down by one degree; this could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. I bet you won't even notice the difference! You could also turn down your immersion heater temperature down by one degree too - you'll save energy and you're unlikely to notice the difference.

Tip 5: Buy energy efficient appliances
I know as a parent you do lots of washing and in the winter you rely on a tumble dryer; but by buying an energy efficient one could help save you money. Energy efficient appliances are easy to find and aren't necessarily more expensive. When choosing a new appliance look out for the ones which display the labels below:
Energy Saving Trust Recommended label
  • Energy Saving Trust Recommended label
    Appliances which show the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label are among the top 20% most efficient available

European Union Energy label
  • European Union energy label
    EU energy labels on fridges, freezers and washing machines show how energy efficient an appliance is on a scale of A to G. A is the most efficient and G is the least efficient.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home-made Cleaning Products

I thought I would share you some recipes for some eco-friendly household cleaning products.
Buying products from a supermarket can be expensive and the fumes which are let off are not good for the environment; but by using these cleaning products you will save money and also do your bit for the environment. These home-made products will do just the same job as the ones your buy from the supermarket but will save you money. A word of caution before I begin.

Although ingredients for these cleaners are baby and environmentally friendly for the most part, always use care in mixing up your own cleansers. These 'recipes' are meant to be used by adults.
Use new empty containers (spray bottles etc) to store your solutions in. Make sure you wash out the container well.
Always label what's in the container with a permanent marker. Include the ingredients, in case of emergency. HINT: Write the recipe for the mix right on the bottle with a permanent marker, for easier mixing the next time.

Homemade glass cleaner recipe
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of white (clear) or cider vinegar
You can also add a couple drops of essential oil, if you want it to smell nicer.
You can soften the water with a little baking soda, which will react with the vinegar to make a stronger cleaning solution.
Mix these ingredients well in a spray bottle. Spray on paper towel or a cloth first and then wipe glass/mirror. HINT: Newspaper reduces the smears!


All-purpose cleaner and deodorizer recipe
4 tablespoons baking soda
1 cup of warm water

Pour this on a clean sponge and wipe. It's really good for inside the refrigerator, your appliances and your kitchen counters.
TO CLEAN A TOILET with the same basic 'recipe':
Sprinkle around the edges inside the toilet bowl with about 5 tablespoons of baking soda. Carefully and lightly pour a cup of white vinegar, (watch the reaction, but don't get your face too close) Go "whoo hoo!" then scrub your toilet with a toilet brush.


Homemade oven cleaner recipe
Just baking soda and water
Sprinkle the bottom of your oven with 1/3 cup baking soda then spray over it with water. Leave it alone overnight or at least for several hours to let it work in. After letting it sit, you can scrape off the spills with a spatula. Rinse the oven well with water.

I hope these recipes help you with your everyday cleaning and help you save money.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The view from my sofa!!

A strange title for a post; but I thought I would share the "damage" my little one did within the space of hour!! I went to get dinner ready and left Jack playing in the living room. It was in a pretty tidy state when I left. (see image below!)

A relatively tidy living room
After checking on Jack a few times everything was fine. I heard the "deadly silence" which every parent knows leads to some sort of mischief. My instincts weren't wrong; Jack had turned my whole living room upside down! (see image below!)

An hour later!
I couldn't believe the mess I saw before my very eyes!! The shear amount of toys and books were scattered all over the floor! A mass clean up was defiantly in order once Jack had gone to bed. I would love to see the mess and mischief your little ones have caused once you had left the room.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been hearing a lot about weight over the past few weeks. After having Jack I know I put nearly 4 stone on and  I became very self conscious of my appearance and body. I knew of a way out and that was to diet. I have a very close relationship with food and having to cut back seemed like a living nightmare! I tried it for a few weeks; trying to cut out all the best bits and started to eat healthily. But it didn't last and it wasn't giving me the weight loss I wanted.
In my mind I wanted a fast, quick and effective weight loss programme. I remembered how hard it was when I did the Cambridge Diet nearly 4 years ago; but it worked. I remember loosing 3 stone and feeling like a new person.

I plucked up the courage to ring a local councillor who was really welcoming and friendly. After starting the diet nearly 6 weeks ago I am proud to say I have lost 19lbs and kept it off. I am still on the diet and having just 3 packs a day which is only 415 calories and I must admit it is hard fighting the temptation with food but I am getting there they way I wanted.
I will keep you updated weekly on my progress and I would love to hear of ways you battled with your baby bulge.

A trip to Legoland

The welcome gate at Legoland Windsor
The day started by waking up at 6am (that's early for Jack and me!) After rushing around like a fly making sure I hadn't forgotten anything; I was eventually ready by 7:15am and went to collect my friend and her little one. The trip down wasn't that bad with two toddlers as they slept most of the way! We arrive at Legoland for 9:45am. Considering we left when all the business people would be travelling to work; we didn't hit any traffic. When we arrived we parked in the corporate hospitality car park! I felt like a VIP when walking up to the gates which gained us access to the Windsor Suite (sounds posh, right!?)
Playing with the Lego
When we got to the suite we were told where the childcare was. I enjoyed spending a good two hours with Jack. We played games and ate loads of free Nutella. Jack really enjoyed watching the clowns; which shocked me. A lot of children don't usually like clowns!

Q-bot from Legoland
Once my friend had finished in the conference with Nutella, we were aloud to spend the rest of the day in Legoland. We were also given a free Q-bot to use for the day. I wasn't quite sure how this worked until it was explained to us. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G technology. It really did cut the queue times. Once you had booked your place on the ride you wanted; you simply made your way to the ride by the time stated on the Q-bot and gained entry to the ride via the Q-bot entrance. I only did this for a few rides as there wasn't many on the Q-bot which allowed us to take the young children on.
I would defiantly go back once Jack was around 3 or 4 as I think there would be a lot more for us to do together and he would understand where we were going! I would like to thank Nutella and Legoland for giving us a lovely day out.

Shaking Mr.Lego's hand.
Jack wanted to bring Mr.Lego home!