10p Gift Tags – Advent 5/24

Day 5/24 – Christmas gift tag bargains

Gift Tags

Last year I got a few packs of these gift cards from Waitrose at 10p per pack of 8. Whilst there are plenty of thrifty ways to make your own, for less than 1p per tag these are a good time saver!

Bargain gift tags

The sales on Christmas bits seem to be starting earlier and earlier; I’ve already seen lots of reduced wrapping paper, discounted cards etc, so keep your eyes peeled. Otherwise, shop just after Christmas and stash away ready for next year!

Free Festive Nail Polish – 4/24

Day 4/24 – free Body Shop nail polish

Free Nail Polish

To get your hands on this sparkly gold nail polish worth £5, download a code from here and take into your nearest Body Shop, but be quick as the voucher expires today. You can use the voucher for any standard sized nail polish, if you want something a bit more subtle (but where’s the fun in that?)

The voucher codes website also has a code for 40% off in Body Shop, which I used to get a couple of gift sets as pressies.

Mince Pies – Advent 3/24

Day 3/24 – Mince pies

Mince pies are possibly my favourite Christmas food (sorry yule log, it was a close run thing).

Mince pies

To make mine more thrifty, I buy my mincemeat just after Christmas when it’s all reduced (as it usually has a long enough sell by date to get through to the following year). I like them to be classic, with shortcrust pastry, as per the recipe below, but go wild with puff pastry or even filo – this recipe looks delicious.

Ingredients:
225g cold butter, diced
350g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
280g mincemeat
2 tbsp of milk
Icing sugar, to dust

Mince pies

1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball, adding a tablespoon of milk if necessary to bring the dough together, although it should remain firm. Knead briefly.

2. Preheat the oven the 200℃ (180℃ for fan ovens)/400℉/Gas Mark 6 and grease 18 holes of two shallow muffin trays.

3. Roll the dough out on a floured board to around half a centimetre in depth and, using a cookie cutter slightly larger than the muffin tin circles, cut out 18 bases and press them into the tins.

4. Fill each pastry base with a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat.

5. Gather up the remaining dough from the bases, roll out to the same depth as previously and this time use a cookie cutter around the size of the muffin tin holes to make the tops. Use stars for extra Christmas points

They can be frozen before baking, so you can make them in advance of the big day. Serve warm, preferably with lots of cream/brandy butter/other extravagant accompaniment.

Save 25% on Christmas Drinks – Advent 2/24

Day 2/24 – Save 25% on Christmas drinks at Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury's wine offer

If you’re hosting this Christmas, stock up now on your festive drinks to save 25%. There are plenty of discounts to be had in addition to this, for example, we bought this Prosecco, which was reduced from £9 to £7 on the ticket. If you bought 6 bottles of this, you’d save the £12 already discounted, plus an extra £10.50 because of the 25% offer, so that would be 6 bottles for £31.50, instead of £54.

Prosecco 25% off

Or you can decorate with a pretty label and give as a festive gift. Hint: a pretty label shows more effort and costs less than a wine bag!

Prosecco save 25%

Hurry – the 25% saving is only available until 4th December.

Christmas Tree Cards – Advent 1/24

Day 1/24 – Christmas tree cards

Every day this advent I’ll be posting a thrifty Christmas make, bake or buy. I hope you’ll join me for this festive marathon!

Tree Christmas Card

Today’s post is about these cute Christmas tree cards, which are made with leftover scraps of fabric, stuck using fabric glue, with a bit of extra glue and glitter for the pot and top.

I cut the scraps from an awkwardly-shaped remnant I had in my fabric supplies, using pinking shears and then glued to the card using fabric glue. For the glitter pots I did use PVA as I had it to hand, although I’m sure you could just do a bit extra with the fabric glue. I added silver glitter (which is now all over my desk!) and then stamped on a greeting using a rubber stamp.

You get a tiny bit of deformity in the card from the glue for the pot, so if you had glittery card to hand, may want to stick this on with a glue stick instead.

Supplies

Fabric (scraps)
Fabric Glue (£2.94, B&Q)
Create Your Own Cards (£1 for 6 cards and envelopes, The Works) – not currently available online
Stamp (£2, Hobby Craft – purchased in a summer sale. Similar available here for £4)
PVA, glitter

Vegan Chocolate Cake

I was very sceptical about whether a chocolate cake with no eggs and no butter would work, but I love a challenge! I am pleased to say that not only did it rise beautifully, but it tasted deliciously moist too. This recipe is a keeper as the lack of butter and eggs make it super thrifty and it was really quick and easy to make.

Eggs and butter free choc cake

I mostly followed this recipe, although I used self-raising flour when I think the recipe intended plain and chocolate soya milk because that was what was on offer at the time ;). I’m loving the whole website, which is full of inspiring recipes and gives the measurements in grams as well as cups – hallelujah!

This cake would make a great plain base for a chocolate ganache or buttercream icing – if you need an extra chocolate dose – or I can vouch for its yumminess served warm with vanilla ice cream. Best of all, the half of this delicious cake that I managed not to eat right away is now sliced up and in my freezer, ready to defrost and enjoy when I have a chocolate craving!

Happy baking!

What a Difference a Pipe Cover Makes

Spolier alert… this post contains a sneak peak of our new bathroom!

Pipe Covers

These little beauties were just 99p for a pack of 8 from the 99p Store. Not bad for 25p per radiator.

The benefit of these covers compared with the more expensive variety – like these – is that they are flexible and wrap around the pipe, thus disguising the fact that our pipes are in fact only 10mm (the covers are designed for 15mm pipes) and ever so slightly wonky!

Walls: Valspar Cottage Door Kitchen & Bathroom Paint ( B&Q £27, 2.5 litres)
Radiator: Acova 2 (purchased from eBay for £25)
Valves: Verona (Screwfix, £9.99 for 2)
Floor tiles: Bertie (Tons of Tiles, £27.54 per m2)
Pipe covers: White 15mm (99p store, 99p)
Pipe collars: White 15mm (Screwfix, £1.97 for 10)

A Thrifty Trip to Copenhagen

One of my 2016 goals was to make our home more cosy. What better way to seek some inspiration than to travel to the home of hygge – Denmark? One of the other 2016 goals was to save for a kitchen, so this had to be a low budget city break. Below are a few tips if you’re thinking of planning a trip to Copenhagen on a budget.

Nyhavn

Anyone who has been to Copenhagen will know that it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, but pretty pricey. Not ideal for the thrifty traveller. N flies a lot for work and so we paid for our flights using his Avios points (NB you still need to pay taxes, fees and carrier charges), which was great. There are, however, plenty of cheap flights to CPH around, albeit for us southerners, these are mostly from London Luton Airport, which is not exactly the most convenient place. I usually use skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

Copenhagen for free

We stayed in Wakeup Copenhagen – a 2 star hotel because it had pretty good reviews (for a budget hotel) on Trip Advisor and it worked out really well. The room was small, but that didn’t matter as we were out having fun and only there to sleep and the location was spot on. I booked through Hotels.com with a discount code sent to their mailing list and cashback through Quidco.

Thrifty Copenhagen

Copenhagen is small enough to walk everywhere; we only caught the metro to and from the airport and out to Frederiksberg, so the transportation costs are minimal. In fact, my favourite time there was spent wandering around the city, enjoying the beautiful architecture, amazing harbour and watching the cyclists go by.

Free Copenhagen

Copenhagen Thriftea Top Ten:

  1.  Watch the changing of the guard at Ameliensborg Palace, daily at 12 noon – free
  2.  Go and see the Little Mermaid (which is as disappointing as everybody says, but is still a must) – free
  3. Visit the Lego Store and see the amazing replica of the guards you saw at Ameliensborg – free, if you can resist the temptation to buy Lego
  4. Spend the evening at Tivoli Gardens with it’s amazing atmosphere, fairground rides, live music and theatre – 110DKK/approx £13 each (entry only, rides additional cost), but definitely worth it
  5. Watch bikes, photograph bikes, ride bikes, go on a bike tour. Whatever floats your boat, but it needs to involve bikes
  6. Drink coffee and eat pastries. Our favourite was Meyers Bageri (there are 5 bakeries) – outrageously expensive for what they are, but filling enough that you can skimp on lunch to make up for it. We liked teberikes and kanelstang
  7. Eat street food on Paper Island – the cheapest way to eat hot and delicious food
  8. Visit the Design Museum Denmark, which has an amazing collection of chairs, amongst many other amazing things – 100DKK/approx £12 each
  9. If your budget doesn’t stretch to the Design Museum, browse amazing Danish design in the shops on Strøget – Illum, Magasin and Hay House – prepare to have your mind boggled by the price tags
  10. Pick your future apartment in Christianshavn and admire the amazing Opera House

Tivoli Gardens

Happy travels!

Anti-cellulite Scrub for under £1

There are lots of lotions and potions promising to banish lumpy legs, but the price tag seems pretty steep and (maybe because I’m in denial) I wasn’t ready to commit!

I came across this scrub recipe and it looked like a good place to start, requiring only 3 ingredients: coffee grounds, coconut oil and salt. We have a coffee machine, so rather than compost the grounds as usual, I saved about 4 day’s worth – 5 tbsps, if you don’t have a coffee machine, most coffee shops give away free bags of grounds, so I’m going to count this ingredient as no cost. I used approx 3 tbsps of this coconut oil from Aldi, which was about 1/3 of the jar, coming in at 83p and finally, a couple of tsps of sea salt at a few pence.

Total cost: approx 90p

 

Anti cellulite scrub

The ingredients combined easily to form a scrub (although since, the coconut oil has formed a bit of a layer at the bottom of the jar, but this isn’t really a problem), which smells heavenly. It’s just the right amount of coarseness to smooth my skin without irritating it and when combined with dry body-brushing, seems to be firming up my legs a treat.

Coffee scrub

Happy body scrubbing!

 

Protein Balls

Let’s talk about balls. Specifically protein balls. Ummm £2 for a single ball… who the heck has the money for that?

I searched for a recipe and found that they seemed to contain a multitude of expensive ingredients (flax seeds and chia seeds, anyone?), so I gave up on that and set about creating my own and the results were pretty good, if I say so myself!

Thrifty protein balls

Ingredients (makes 8 balls)

1 scoop (30g) vanilla protein powder
2 scoops (60g) oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter (or if you’re allergic to peanuts like I am, then almond butter but be warned, it’s twice the price!)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp raisins
Approx 1 tbsp cows/soya/almond milk

Method

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together
  2. Add enough milk to bind the ingredients until the mixture holds together
  3. Roll into balls and pop in the fridge to set

I’ve been enjoying these after the gym for an energy boost. I hope you enjoy them too!

Oatmeal Protein Balls