Monday, 19 June 2017

Scottish Friendly's Money Saving Diary Challenge

It was with good timing that Scottish friendly got in touch with me and asked me to join in with their Money Saving Diary Challenge. Whilst I am so much better at being thrifty nowadays I know that there is still some money being wasted and I could do a better job.

So with this in mind, I kept a record of my spending habits for a week, so see where I could cut back or where I was already saving some money.  Here is how I got on -

We have just returned from our holiday and Hubby is still on a days leave so we decide to have lunch out amongst the washing and catching up on work.  The plan is to eat at the local college restaurant where you can get a really lovely 3 course meal for £9.99 and then use your Taste card too to get 2 for 1! It normally means we end up spending around £16 for us both for 3 courses and a soft drink.

However when I called the College restaurant they were closed and we headed off to a local fabulous burger joint and ended up spending £25.48 for our meal and thus I totally failed on this first opportunity to save money. I have a Taste card and local TownCity Card so I really should have used one of those and for a 2 for 1 meal - oh well, next time! Overspent by £9.48

On the way home we do go into Lidl though as I want to get the kids some yogurts and again I am reminded just how good their pricing is. I spend £19.79 and this is comparison to buying the same goods at Sainsburys is a saving of around £7, so I really must shop there more often. Saved £7

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Facilities and Services at Playa Montroig Camping Resort

This is the second part of a review of our recent holiday to Spain to stay at the Playa Montroig Camping Resort with Eurocamp. You can find post one here and that is all about our stay with Eurocamp and their fabulous accommodation and attentive service. This post is about the facilities at the Playa Montroig Camping Resort.

We arrived at the parc at about 1pm and received a friendly greeting from the Playa Montroig staff. They informed us about logging onto the wifi, gave us some information sheets about opening times and events taking place whilst we stayed and then sent us off to the Eurocamp reception. I was pleased to see there was a security guard at the gate and entry and exit barriers to monitor who was on the parc. If we had had a car with us we had a sticky permit to display for the duration of our holiday and we also had an identity card to prove we were staying there.

Friday, 16 June 2017

National Trust - Knole, Kent - Conservation in Action

Enjoying the Deer
Last month we took a minibus full of friends over to Kent to visit Knole. We headed over there as it is only £4 to park in the grounds and this gives you access to the 1000 acre medieval deer park. We knew that our children and all the young international friends we had taken would love the deer, so we packed up a picnic and took a drive.

Of course the deer didn't disappoint, there seem to be hundreds of them across the grounds and they are so friendly. There really isn't any struggle locating them because as soon as you park they are waiting right next door, probably hoping to snaffle a little of your picnic! But please remember not to feed them as the deer keepers ensure they have a good diet and also use your common sense when around them as they are wild animals, even though they appear tame. Autumn is the time to be really careful as it is rutting season and the males can be very hyped up.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful - Parents Evening, Tina and All Paid Up!

Evening all, It's getting late and I totally meant to write this post last night but you know what it is like, sometimes time just runs away.

I was tempted not to bother with this post but Becky had emailed me earlier to say she has a bit of an emergency and won't be hosting R2BC this week and seeing as I am sat here n a fug, feeling very grumpy, of course what I need to do is focus on the positives.

So here are my positives -

1.  We just had an amazing family holiday in Spain and I had a wonderful time and not only that but as soon as school is out in about 5 weeks I'll be off to Bournemouth with my parents and the kids for another holiday. I'm a lucky girl.

2.  I went to JJ's parents evening tonight following his report we received last week and there were no surprises there. He is a super bright boy, with a great future ahead. He just needs to stop rushing, put a bit more effort into homework and work on his empathy/ kindness. I need to set him some challenges over the summer months to help with this, do shout if you have any ideas!

3.  I'm off to the food bank tomorrow to volunteer and I always enjoy helping there. I am thankful that I am not in the position to need the help and grateful that I can do a small bit to make someones day just a bit brighter.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Staying at Playa Montroig Camping Resort with Eurocamp

You might have seen me excitedly sharing that we were off to the Playa Montroig Camping Resort on the Costa Dorada, Spain with Eurocamp and now we are back it is my pleasure to share with you how our holiday went. 

This is the first part of two posts about our holiday away, I've split it into a post about the Eurocamp accommodation and one about the Playa Montroig Camping Resort facilities and services.

Rather than leave you in suspense as to whether we liked staying with Eurocamp, I'll give you the headline quotes from my kids first and then get into the full review -
Miss M "where are we going next year with Eurocamp Mum? I love it! Can we try a new camp with even more pools?" 

Miss E "I've had so much fun Mummy, I don't want to go home but I'm so tired as I've had so many late nights!" 

JJ "I've really enjoyed chilling on the deck of our mobile home in the shade with my iPad. Oh and the pool is pretty cool too but does it have to be so hot in Spain?"

A bit about us
We are a family of 5, two forty something adults, a 13 year old (tech-mad) boy and near 10 year old twin girls. This is the first time we have ever taken a European campsite holiday. For the first 11 years of life with children we always holidayed in the U.K. and stayed at places like Butlins and Haven or hired a house in a seaside town. Then last year we took our first abroad holiday staying in a hotel and the kids loved the outdoor pools in the sunshine so much we wanted to do it again but we had found being in a hotel on a half board basis a bit restrictive and we wanted the freedom of self catering, hence trying out Eurocamp.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bringing Families Together at Prezzo with #PrezzoLaFamiglia

It's no word of a lie when I tell you that Prezzo is our favourite of all the Italian restaurant chains. They always offer an amazing spaghetti carbonara for us girls, mini Nutella and banana calzone for the kids, crisp and tasty pizza for my boys and Coke in a frosted glass for me, what more can I ask for?

Well to be honest another reason we go there so often is because there is always a great deal to be had. Sign up for their mailing list and you'll regularly get sent deals like 40% off main courses and kids eat for £1. Oh and you can also convert your Tesco vouchers into deals to be used there too, so about once a quarter we get a free meal (just having to pay for our drinks).

Last week we headed over to our local Prezzo in Hailsham, East Sussex and we have eaten here dozens of times before and I cannot ever recall even one bad dining experience. I'd booked a table via their website, which is nice and easy and it is reassuring that you get an email confirmation and even a reminder email the day before. There are over 250 UK based Prezzo restaurants, so there is bound to be one near you, check here for locations.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Seeing my Feisty Girl through your Eyes #R2BC

Dear Sarah,

I want to thank you, sincerely. You had me worried for half a minute but then I realised you wouldn't do anything crazy and it was just great to really be able to see my Miss M through your eyes.

I've always said to anyone who'll listen that Miss M might not be easy to parent but she'll be the one to do something world-changing when she is older as no isn't a word she's scared of. But I think, to be honest when you have a feisty child it can wear you down and it is good to have a reminder of just how special they are.

It was obvious to all from the moment you met Miss M on our holiday that you fell in love with her, not in a bad way but you were just swept off your feet by her larger than life personality and outward confidence. You kept telling me she reminded you of you as a kid and it's funny if you ask my parents, they'll tell you she is a little clone of me when I was a child. I know you found that hard to believe as I'm quite reserved now and won't get up to dance on a whim but people change and mature.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

8 Unusual Gifts for Fathers Day and Beautiful Hallmark Cards

If your Dad is anything like mine then he is mega difficult to buy for. My Dad is the most wonderful man but there is never anything he wants and I'm sure for some people he would be a dream come true as he just tells me 'no need to buy me anything Shelly' but I love to give gifts.

The only things I know my Dad likes are a bar of Cadbury chocolate, some nuts, theatre tickets or a meal out and I've bought all these things a hundred times. Add to that socks, personalised frames, photo books, mugs, slippers and the like and that is him done for birthdays, Christmas and Fathers Day.

But I like Fathers Day to be special, it is the time when I say thank-you for always being there for the last 43 years. Thanks for coming out in the middle of the night to pick me up, thanks for bailing me out with my debt when I was at Uni, thanks for decorating my house when I was pregnant and thanks for having my kids when I need time with my hubby so the least I can do is get him a loving card and fill it with heartfelt words.

Then talking of my hubby, there is another difficult one to buy for. Like me with my dad, my kids also adore their dad and he is a really ace father - taking them away or spending one on one time, playing monopoly when they are sad and taking them to Cubs. The things he does for them are numerous and they want to say thanks too.

Of course the classic way to say thank you is with a card and Hallmark have a lovely selection at Tesco. They will be available right up to the day but try and be a bit more prepared and you'll have a wider selection to choose from. Take a peek at the ones my girls have chosen. Miss M opted for the 'from your princess' card (£2) which is very apt and Miss E's is really classy and had a tri-fold to it, spelling out Dad (£3). I'm loving the Hallmark range at Tesco as there is great variety and you can see the cards are quality with beautiful coloured or patterned envelopes to match.