Thrifty tips for Christmas

Here you go, five thrifty tips to help you out this Christmas!


1. Rather than taking your child to see a bored  Santa why not get a personalised video for them FREE from The Portable North Pole. It will save you £’s they can enjoy it again and again and it really is so well done, (saving £2-£10)

2. Rather than buying big tubs of chocs to take with you when you go visiting save money and be a bit more original and take something homemade.  Shortbread or Cookies are both lovely options and I have some easy peasy recipes for you over at Family Budgeting .

3. Rather than slogging your heart out and spending a fortune making Christmas dinner why not accept an invitation to have it somewhere else? It will save you time money and a whole lot of effort and you can focus more on having fun with the kids. Be sure to offer to wash up though and take some of that shortbread!

4. Why not make your own decorations rather than buying any new ones: paper chains, silver sprayed pine cones, dried orange slices and a bit or red ribbon all look wonderful. These are inexpensive to make and are a really fun activity to do with your kids (and cheaper than soft play!)


Photo credit: Ktylerconk

5. STOP for a moment and before you buy another thing know what you have bought for who already have it written down. I bought someone 2 gifts last year and bought my kids 2 selection boxes another, its easy to do . With your own kids make a list of what you have bought or you could go on adding stuff endlessly!



Wishing you a thrifty Christmas





Oh how I love to browse my local charity shops.

Mostly my eagle eye is on designer clothes at bargain prices or brand new and sealed items that make marvellous gifts. Sometimes however I find treasure.

This week I definitely found treasure.

My dad loved Dean Martin and was forever whistling or singing or  humming his tunes. I think he fancied himself one of the rat pack. This gorgeous record reminds me of my dad.

It is perfect there is not a mark on it and it features Nat King Cole who gives me warm fuzzy feelings when he sings.

Nat king cole christmas

I popped it on my little record player which bemused the kids completely (I don’t think they had seen it before and they could not  understand it!) These songs are fun, classic, sweet and simple. They make me think of snow and family, chestnuts and tradition. They make me think of my childhood and simpler days.

charity shop Christmas, dean martin christmas, dean martin, nat king cole

What a wealth of memory and feeling for just £1.50. I even baked shortbread listening to it – and I haven’t done that for a few years!!

Oh the treasures you can find in a charity shop. You don’t need to spend much to bring something new (and old) into your life. Being preloved sometimes makes it even more special,



The VERY best budgeting tip for Christmas

I want to share this with you now before you get too Christmas carried away (people do you know) It’s my absolutely top tip for Christmas when it comes to budgeting. Are you ready..

Make it all about the experience not the presents 


If it’s all about lists, shopping, buying and wrapping and spending we are getting a bit lost in consumerism. If this is our focus and what we pour all our time and our energy in the next few weeks into we are losing a real sense of the Christmas spirit.

We are also, most probably, spending more money than we have and certainly more than we can afford. You know what? it doesn’t need to be this way. 


There are many, many ways to have a very happy and very special Christmas without spending a lot of money and I’m going to tell you my favourites:

1. Do some Christmas baking…lots of fun for the kids and really gets you in the spirit. Baking makes top gifts too with a little cellophane and ribbon shortbread brownies etc are a lovely gift. Crank up the Christmas music and have  a baking say.

2, Do some Christmas crafting make snowflakes out of white paper angels out of paper plates (google it!) and tags out of old cards. this will also ll save you money get you in the spirit and provide lots of together time.

3. Build in some lovely traditions like a long family walk on boxing day,  nativity service on Christmas Eve, making reindeer dust writing Santa a letter on December 1st. Traditions create warm and cozy feelings and cement out childhood

4. Get out the board games and play charades. have fun on the wii and watch old movies on TV. You don’t need expensive meals out, the cinema or even pantomimes, why not make your own fun!  

5, When it comes to food be sure to plan carefully.  So much food gets wasted, particularly Christmas dinner. Yes it is nice to have a nice meal but it doesn’t have to be ENORMOUS with 4 puddings. Everyone feels better if they don’t over indulge too much on the wine, chocs and dinner so give them a hand and buy just what you need.

Saving money is important at Christmas and through the year. We need to make sure we are saving for the future too, Kids grow up in the blink of an eye and years pass.

Just remember this and don’t get too Christmas carried away,



This post has been written by me as part of a project with Now:Pensions who  are encouraging people to think about saving now and in the future.







The Handpicked Collection is a wonderful online store that always seem to have the perfect gift for every occasion. When it comes to Christmas Gifts they have some lovely ideas. I have been reviewing this ribbon photo holder from their collection and I think it is absolutely adorable.

It costs just £12.95 and it can be totally personalised. You could fill the 9 hanging pockets with postcards, photos, ticket stubs, letters or any other meaningful token so each contain real meaning..

This would be a Christmas gift from the heart.

I’ve earmarked mine for my daughter and along with photos of her best friends and her cousins I am going to include a handwritten note from me and some Brave cinema tickets as well as a postcard form our holiday at Skengness. These will all mean so much to her and she will love to open this pre-filled on Christmas day.


Don’t forget you can find a whole series of Frugal and Thrifty Christmas posts over at my Family Budgeting blog


I had to share this sweet little Christmas Stable book with you that I was sent to review from  Lion Hudson. It’s so cute.

You read the story of Christmas which is beautifully told with lovely illustrations. Then you simply pop out the building pieces from the books and recreate your very own Christmas stable. It is so simple you don’t’ need any scissors, glue or model making skills and look what you get…

build your own stable, create a nativity

It can be bought out each Christmas and played with again and again. It is pretty sturdy too.

For £5.24 I think this is a wonderful nativity scene and one you don’t mind your little one playing with.



There are some lovely cheap Christmas  gift ideas under £5 from Ikea and I was sent a little selection to show off to you. IKEA’s new Soft Toy range raises money for their Soft Toy Campaign which sees 1 Euro donated per soft toy or children’s book bought. They are so cute!

KLAPPAR CIRKUS, finger puppets £4.99
These encourage make-believe play and are  suitable for both small and large fingers.
Circus puppets, cheap christmas gifts

VANDRING HARE, soft toy rabbit £5  this is super cute and cuddly and a good size.

Klapper Cirkus Soft Toy Rabbit £4  just gorgeous!

under£5 christmas gifts, cheap presents

Last but not least there is Vandring  the hedgeghog book  a lovely A4 hardbook about forest animals. All the animals in the book are actually avaible as soft toys in the range to buy. It is a a very sweet tale about friendship, growing up and exploring the forrest. A lovely gift ideas. It has 3 postscards included too for a child to send to their friends.

Ikea gifts under £5, cheap chritmas gifts, stocking fillers under £5

I think you will agree these cheap Childrens christmas gift ideas form Ikea are simply lovely and really nice quality too. You can do Christmas on a budget!


You really can get Christmas decorations to suit any budget.

cheap christmas decorations, budget christmas decorations, moodboard monday

Chic Shabby Christmas Wooden Garland Red White Vintage Country Style Decoration -£5.14

Shabby Chic Round Twig Christmas Wreath – Snow Stars And Red Holly Berry Decoration £14.99

Metal Heart Shabby Chic Christmas Decoration £2.50

Popcorn and cranberry strings – Homemade

Star Ornament- Homemade

Shabby Chic Vintage Christmas Decoration Santa on a Swing with Dove – £5.99

The homemade ornaments were fashioned from some fabulous Hovis bread filled with seven types of seed including pumpkin which I give my kids in their packed lunch. Okay I woul nt’t normally encourage them to play with their food and I know these won’t least long, but what great fun to make and super healthy for the kids to munch too.

Seven seeds wholemeal is currently our favourite Hovis bread. It’s hugely tasty and bursting with goodness. My kids are veggie and it’s really important to them that they get a good anmount of seeds in their diet, especially at Christmas amidst all the sweets and choccies. I like them to be sure to get at least some healthy food. Even if it does mean munching our hand crafted decorations.

Thanks to Hovis for sending us their bread to try and some decorating making bits and bobs

Your bread is really lovely and its great fun to make our own decorations!


This post is linked up at MoodBoard Monday over at the rather gorgeous Love Chic Living blog



The lovely people at Interflora sent us their Merry Christmas hamper to review. Isn’t it a beautiful sight?

interflora christmas hamper

It contains  moist fruit cake, luxury chocolates, crumbly shortbread and small bottles  of mellow red or crisp white wine.  What alovely gift for  couple or someone spending Christmas on their own. Food is a big part of Christmas tradition and this is a lovely traditional Christmas hamper. Despite looking absolutely delicious we have earmarked ours to send to someone special who we love very much.  Those chocs and biscuits looked yummy though!!  This Christmas hamper would cost £29.

Interflora have some wonderful hampers throughout the year that can be sent anywhere but I have to say their Christmas hamper range is something special.

Take a look at these:


  Giant Chocolate Cracker


Personalised Christmas Cupcakes Personalised Christmas hamper of cupcakes


Biscuiteers vintage Christmas tin


And if money were no object ….

£200 worth of fabulous hamper containing sweets, chocolates, savouries, fine wines and plenty more besides. There are even some festive crackers to adorn the dinner table.  Happy to receive this if anyone would like to send it my way x

I think this Chritsmas Hamper Gift for Her is rather lovely too…

So many choices.

I’m loving this Christmas Hamper range. Or I’d be happy with  flowers .

Not fussy really x


Jellyfingers “Daily Deals of Christmas” is now on. They  are offering amazing products everyday for the next 5 weeks, all at the cheapest price you will find online.
They only last 24hrs and stocks are limited so when they are gone they are gone. I suggest you favourite the site and keep on checking the deals!
Here are a few examples of deals to come this week these are AMAZING value….
Kitchen and shop £16.99 saving 43%

Scramble Bug…. £25,50 saving 36%


How brilliant are these deals. Do pop over to Jellyfingers and check out their fabulous Christmas deals


Decluttering before Christmas is always a great idea. Making space for the new. Seeing what you have and what would be a useful addition.

Not sure what to do with the unwanted toys. Well here is a brilliant idea.

Well yesterday saw the launch of the Argos Toy Exchange with Barnardo’s:  a campaign that encourages families to donate unwanted toys in the run up to Christmas which will then be sold at Barnardo’s to raise money for underprivileged children around the UK.

Recent research by Argos which discovered that there are 474 million un-played with toys in the UK, and 13 million ending up in landfill every year, many of which are in perfectly good condition to go to a new home.

To donate toys to the Argos Toy Exchange, visit your local Argos or Barnardo’s store from Wednesday 17October 2012. Donations will be accepted at stores until Tuesday 27 November 2012.



For more information about the Toy Exchange, visit

They are also on Twitter – #argostoyexchange.


We have been waiting for these cute ZhuZhu ponies to come to the shops. My little girl is pony mad and who doesn’t love ZhuZhu pets, darting about like crazy things. We have a few of the puppies and a hamster but oh  how she wanted a pony!

We were so delighted to be sent one to review. Meet Bonnie:

Zhu Zhu Ponies - Bonnie

Just as silly and unpredictable as ZhuZhu Pets they zip and zoom all over the place.They have long colourful manes and  tails to groom. They have an hilarious cantering action and make galloping sounds and Annalise thought these were great fun. She really has had a lovely time playing with her pony under my feet!

zhuzhu pony, christmas 2012

There are six to collectin all  plus Pony’s Horse Houses and Pony Gable Stable play set are all part of the collection and interconnect to make a whole stable row to enjoy! I think they will be  a big Christmas hit.

Zhu Zhu Ponies Pink Gable Stable

Zhu Zhu Ponies Playful Pony House - Wishing Well Cottage (Pony Not Included)


ZhuZhu Ponies are now available and cost from £14.99


A guest post form SnafflesMummy

You have bought your Christmas gifts, shopped around for the good deals and tried to save money on your gifts but then it gets to wrapping them and you can end up spending a fortune on the wrapping paper. The luxury paper is expensive and the cheap paper is worse than a chocolate fire guard.

My solution is home made wrapping paper. Cheap, effective, different and it also keeps the children occupied for a few weekends or evenings after school.
I bought a roll of brown paper. My local budget shop had 2 rolls of 15 meters for £1.00. I love brown paper because it is usually thick and strong.There are various ways you could decorate the paper. Stick on coloured tissue paper, get the children to draw pictures or patterns on it or get the paint out.We used potatoes and cut star shapes into them (my attempt at a Christmas tree failed) and also did hand and foot prints.
My son loved helping make the wrapping paper. We have a traditional advent calendar where you fill the pockets yourself. I made various treat tokens instead of just using chocolates and used this activity as one of the treats.
I loved how fantastic the gifts looked wrapped in this paper. If you had money left in your budget you could add some pretty ribbon but even without I think it makes the gifts look great.
I love this idea Denise – Thank you so much!