Posted in Blogs, Family, Halloween

Don’t be tricked into spending a fortune this Halloween!

Fancy dress costumes, trick or treat goodies, decorations…the list can seem endless, don’t be tricked into spending a fortune this Halloween!

Here are our suggestions on how to make Halloween a treat this year without raiding the piggy bank!

Supermarket Fancy Dress

Costumes don’t have to be expensive.  All supermarkets have fancy dress outfits instore in the lead up to the big event.  It is possible that buying from a supermarket may actually be cheaper than hiring or making?

Here are a few links to current collections we have found online:

DIY Decorations

You don’t have to be a creative genius to whip up some creepy crawly creations.  The internet is full of inspiration, whether you are looking for some adult sophistication or childish fun you will be spoilt for choice.

Our go to place for creative make ideas is Pinterest.  Here are some finds we found in a 1 minute search (literally).

Party Games

A Halloween party is not complete without games.  How about adding some of the below to your itinerary or go equipped to a friends party to get the party going!

  1. Apple Bobbing – apple in a bucket of water and person has to try and get it out with hands behind their back, using their mouth (head) only.
  2. Rice Treasure Hunt – Washing up bowl filled with uncooked rice, with small Halloween items mixed in (could be small plastic spiders, basically anything small), and then using non-dominant hand (left if right handed etc) give the person 30 secs to find as many in the rice and take out.  Person who gets most is winner.
  3. Pinata – No party is complete with a goody filled pinata!  Fill with Halloween sweets, and maybe if you are feeling particularly evil, fill it with some tricks!
  4. Donut eating – tie some donuts to a horizontal pole suspended from floor.  Get people to lie underneath and first person to eat donut off string wins.  (Again no hands allowed)
  5. Team Mummify – In teams choose your ‘mummy’ and then using toilet rolls wrap them up like a mummy.  Best wrapped wins after allotted time.

Ghouls, Ghosts and Gremlins – Tasty!

Don’t buy ready made party food for Halloween, have fun making your own.  More than likely you will already have all of the necessary ingredients in your weekly shop.  Just be adventurous.  The fun is making things, not what they seem.

Again here are some of our favourites found on pinterest.

 

Have a freaky fun Halloween.  The Penny Fairy wold love to see what you get up to, share your pictures on our social media accounts.

PF

Posted in Blogs, Christmas, Family, Holidays

Swap the expected for the unexpected this Christmas!

doorIn the lead up to Christmas the pressure is on to make it magical and memorable. Each year it is easy to slip into routine, and do ‘what you always do’.  This Christmas whether you to choose to spend it with friends or family why not mix it up and add a mini-break to add some variety, excitement and most importantly new experiences to the festivities.

The sooner you book the more choice you will have, so to help you start your festive break search here are 10 suggestions the Penny Fairy has found online for this Christmas:

1. Forest Holidays 

Luxury wooden cabins set in a magical forest, ideal for unwinding after the madness of December.  Celebrate Christmas morning round the tree, knee-deep in wrapping paper, then head for a brisk winter walk through the silent forest, then back for turkey and all the trimmings and a wonderful family evening.

www.forestholidays.co.uk

2. Wigwam Holidays

There is something about glamping at Christmas that is a lot of fun. Usually, Christmas is spent indoors, with central heating and wooly jumpers, but with glamping – you have to be outdoors, it’s just the nature of it.

Imagine having a barbecue on Christmas Day. Having your favourite sausages and chicken drumsticks, or if you’re vegetarian, kebab skewers with halloumi and vegetables. Imagine swapping presents around the camp fire, under the moonlight and stars – it’s so different and so much fun.

Snowball fights and building snowmen, instead of arm chairs and Christmas crackers.

www.wigwamholidays.com

3. Centre Parcs

Surrounded by nature, nestled in the middle of a forest the magic is all around!  With deer wandering among the woods and squirrels jumping from tree to tree, you may even see the ‘main man’ during your winter wonderland stay.  Sit back and relax, get your adrenaline pumping with thrilling activities, a late-night swim or dining out in on of many great restaurants, your break can be anything you want it to be.

www.centerparcs.co.uk

4. Classic British Hotels

Whether you want a traditional Christmas Day lunch complete with trimmings, or a black-tie gala dinner with a champagne reception to kick-off the celebrations, Classic British Hotels extend a warm festive welcome to all their guests at this magical time of year. Restful. Luxurious. Make this Christmas a break for everyone. Or celebrate the New Year in style. And if you can’t escape for Christmas or New Year, then, that’s what Twixmas is for! –

www.classicbritishhotels.com

5. Waterways Holidays

Don’t miss out this season, many of the marinas are running narrowboats throughout the winter months and even through the Christmas and New Year period. It’s a perfect retreat from all the hustle and bustle of last minute Christmas shoppers and overcrowded supermarkets.

The canals during winter are simply picture perfect, with misty mornings, snowy branches and tranquil waters. A great way to experience the British countryside at it’s most peaceful.

www.waterwaysholidays.com

6. Farm Stay UK

Wake up in the country!  With so many different options to choose from what will be your choice?  Will you wake up Christmas morning in a Farm B&B, Self-Catering, Glamping or something else?  Get choosing today.

www.farmstay.co.uk

7. Macdonald Hotels

Macdonald Hotels know exactly how to make Christmas breaks or New Year extra special. It might be the perfect romantic break for just the two of you, or a Christmas party with all the trimmings. Stay with  your whole family for a magical (and restful) time, catch up with your friends at a relaxing spa break or get your dancing shoes on for that work night out and dance the night away at one of our many party nights.

Choose from a wide range of great breaks including a Family House Party at Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa near Ascot, a relaxing few days at Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club in Northumberland, sightseeing in Oxford at Macdonald Randolph Hotel or fun packed Santa Weekends or Festive Week Breaks at Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

You’ll find party nights and breaks to suit everyone at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, just have a look at the hotels dedicated Christmas pages.

www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk

8. Butlins

With a variety of breaks to choose from including Just For Tots Christmas Fantasy, Christmas Day and New Year, you can treat yourself to a pre-Christmas getaway to really get the family into the spirit, or post-Christmas to continue the family celebrations. Either way, put your feet up and relax, and enjoy Christmas at Butlin’s.

www.butlins.com

9. Darwin Escapes

Luxury breaks in an assortment of settings.  Choose from woodland lodges, homes by the lake, beach retreats and countryside location the choice is endless.

www.darwinescapes.co.uk

10. Boutique Retreats

What could be more romantic than shaking off the hordes and escaping to your own cottage, just the two of you, far away from the high street chaos (and your in-laws..) or perhaps you fancy booking a big house for everyone to spend a truly Cornish Christmas together by the sea? We are on hand to help with trees, decorations and even turkey ordering in advance. Celebrate in super style for big groups or just for two. Mistletoe and wine optional.

www.boutique-retreats.co.uk

 

 

 

Posted in Blogs, Food, Shopping

Ten Top Tips: How to save money on your weekly food shop

  1. Plan to go meatless!

There is no getting away from the fact that meat is expensive!  If you can plan a meal that is meat free each week, you could save anything from £4 to £10 on just one meal!  Therefore, if you were to do this more than once a week, or make this a regular activity, your saving over a month could run into double figures.

Having salad meal at the restaurant

Meat free meals do not have to be complicated.  Choose a basic base and pimp it up with your favourite veg and dairy products.  If you are feeling adventurous why not add a few super foods, beans or pulses!

  1. Plan ahead

Prior to embarking on the obligatory supermarket trolley dash around the aisles, write a list!  It will keep you focused, make your trip quicker and more importantly stop you buying too many things you just don’t need.

Supermarket deals maybe a bargain, but do you really need that box of Jaffa Cakes, 2 punnets of strawberries or a grab bag of m&ms, just because you are saving 20p?!  All of the unnecessary extras may just add up to the same price as your favourite takeaway one night in the week.

  1. Seasons

Choosing fruit and veg that are in season can save you money as well as adding variety to your recipes.  Seasons in supermarkets tend to mean promotions, take advantage and maybe they can even help you out on your meat free meal of the week!

bbq-dinner-grilled-grill-72160

Fun idea: challenge yourself to add a different promotional fruit or vegetable to your meal plan for the week, either as an accompaniment or key ingredient!  Penny Fairy would love to hear your recipe ideas as the seasons unfold.

  1. Frozen

Don’t be put off by the freezer!  Some foods are considerably cheaper if purchased frozen as opposed to fresh.  Don’t believe us?  Why not compare pizzas, chicken and desserts on your next expedition.

vegetables-italian-pizza-restaurant

  1. Operation: Basket

It may seem obvious, but you can’t carry it all!  If you find yourself always buying too much, or getting carried away with offers and promotions, ditch the trolley for a basket!  If you can’t carry it, you won’t buy it!  Priorities take over like a ‘need to survive’ instinct and your purse will thank you at the checkout!

  1. Buy in bulk

If you have the space and there are certain things that you always need, when they are on offer buy in bulk.  Items such as toilet rolls, washing detergent and crisps are much cheaper when purchased in larger quantities.

  1. Shop around

If you have time, it is definitely worth going to a couple of different shops each week.  All the major chains have different promotions on and likewise their pricing differs.  Do your research and be smart, buy from where things are better priced.

You may find it is easier to shop online browsing different sites rather than visiting shops and scouring the aisles.  If you are shopping online, choose mid -week or late night delivery slots for cheaper delivery charges.

  1. Same ingredients, different meals

Instead of buying ingredients for each meal, why not choose one meal and then look for alternatives that are using the same ingredients meaning you have less wastage and no half-packets unused.

food-salad-healthy-lunch

For example:

  • Mince – Spaghetti bolognaise, Chilli Con Carne, Tacos, Shepherd’s Pie, Burgers
  • Chicken – Fajitas, Curry, Kebabs, Stir-Fry
  • Mushrooms – Lasagne, Stroganoff, Pasta
  1. Improvise

The fun of cooking is trying new things and making meals your own.  You do not have to follow recipes to every detail, improvise change ingredients to cheaper alternatives or something you already have.  You never know you may just prefer it.

  1. Swap cards for cash

money-card-business-credit-card-50987

Psychology can aid in saving money.  It is so easy to swipe a card or enter a pin at the till, however counting out and handing over cash makes the transaction all the more real.  If you ned an incentive to stop buying unnecessary items, why not draw out cash prior to your shop and then pay with cash at the till.  You never know handing over a wad of notes as opposed to a plastic card may just have an effect on your psyche.

PF x

Posted in Blogs

First Blog Nerves

For a couple of weeks, the debate has been on as to what the content of the first ever Penny Fairy blog should be about.  Should it be an intro, a pledge of promises, jump straight into penny-saving tips or something from the heart?  Decisions, decisions.

So here goes, with a flutter of my wings and a whizz of magic I am pleased to say…The Penny Fairy Blog is officially launched!

From turning bronze coins into silver and gold to finding the best deals and tips to save money, you hopefully will be inspired and perhaps may decide to try some little suggestions out for yourself.  Don’t keep The Penny Fairy as your hidden secret, be proud and share with friends and family that you are being money savvy, taking control of your financial future!

Most importantly enjoy and thank you for being at the start of The Penny Fairy’s journey!

PF x