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Budget-Friendly Handmade Gifts

Morning Peeps!

I may have just raided PoundWorld for Christmas supplies, but the ideas I’m about to share are also good for birthdays and other occasions. So even if you’re not as Christmas-obsessed as me, you should still enjoy this post! 😉

  1. Make sweets: Easiest thing in the world, any food website will tell you the sugar temperatures for hard sweets and caramels. Easier still, melt some chocolate and put it in any mould…I just got some Christmas ones on Amazon for 86p!
  2. Fill a Jar: You can fill jam/Mason jars with just about anything…hot chocolate, ingredients for a recipe, sweets (bought or homemade) or even a manicure set… search ‘mason jar gifts’ on YouTube and you will have days worth of videos to choose from: Basically, if it fits in a jar, put it in and tie a ribbon around it. I also use mugs to put treats in, just for some variation.
  3. Candles: In every size, colour, scent you can think of… you can buy little votives and oil burners for £1 in factory/discount stores. Also, the branded ones and their holders can be really pricey, but can often be found in the charity shop; I got a set of 3 Christmas Yankee Candles in June for a fiver! You could even make some…                                                           20171017_104043[1]
  4. Something Practical: Like the mugs and manicure sets, a practical gift doesn’t need to be expensive. You can get decent car-care stuff from discount stores and supermarkets, you can buy wash stuff for kids with their favourite characters on (and they may be more willing to wash then! 😉 ) or you could put together a basket of stuff for a new home like cloths, air freshener and matches from a pound store (dollar store…for our chums across the pond) …..use your imagination and create a useful hamper.
  5. Handmade decorations: All the cheap stores sell plain baubles you can decorate or clear ones you can fill… glitter, pictures, pompoms, hearts, whatever you fancy. I also saw a couple of people make marble paper using cheap nail varnish drizzled onto warm water and press thick paper/card on top… looks expensive and you can choose the colours! You could even try these:

20171008_162724[1] ( See Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful… for how to make them)

I’ll leave it there for now, but I’m sure there’ll be a part 2! Have fun, my crafty chums!

Anna x

Peace in the Darkness

Morning Peeps!

For some people, the weekend and early today have not been easy: I have friends who have lost either family or friends, people have been overly worried about world-politics and locally, the impending Ophelia storm is kinda the main headline.

The Bible tells us not to worry more than once, including Matthew 6:25 (probably because we need reminding).

God says He will comfort us in a loss and our sadness (Matt. 5:4) and in Matthew 24:6 tells us we needn’t fear the things going on around us.

Now I’m not suggesting anyone walks into this ominous storm with a reckless attitude, the Bible says we’re supposed to seek wisdom; don’t be foolish. I’m simply reminding you that there is no reason to be edgy and nervous, especially if it’s something you can’t control.

Give it to God in prayer and leave it there. All will pass and we’ll move on.

Jesus said;

15279-john-14-27-niv

 

I hope you have a peaceful and blessed day,

Anna x

Don’t Be Caught Out!

Howdy Peeps!

Sorry I’m a bit late on the upload today, but late night, got up later, had to be at church earlier; my bad.

Anyways, a week or 2 ago I shared that the gas and the electric contract was ending and tips on getting the best deal. (If you haven’t read that one, you can find it here 🙂 )

So on Thursday, we sat down to deal with it. We knew we got a great deal last year and that we were in for some kind of rise, so I started by ringing our current provider to see what they offered.

Gone are the days when they offer deals to try and keep you! Their ‘if you don’t pick one, you’ll default to standard tariff’ attitude meant an additional £53 per month! (yes you did read it right!) so we had to act.

They gave me 5 tariffs to choose from all around this level of increase, the one that surprised me though was the fixed 2year tariff… I thought (as I’m sure most people would) that being loyal to them and tied in for longer would get a good deal: WRONG! It was the same price as the standard one!!!

After spending a good 20minutes on the phone, the girl told me the best deal was online…it was, but it was still a £37 per month increase!

We went online and trawled the comparison sites. BTW the rumours are true, you can get a different price with the same supplier depending on the comparison site, we were quoted the best deal with one company on 2 different sites and one was £3 cheaper per month than the other…£36 per year for the exact same thing! So do your research peeps.

Eventually, we got to a comparison site that gave a lot of smaller companies who were ALL cheaper than the big 6, so we looked at the prices and picked a one-year fixed plan (so monthly stays the same). We know it’s a bit of a risk going with a smaller company, but they did the switchover, there’s no exit fee if we decide to leave early and it was an increase of only £29 more than old payments (I was expecting around £20 so not too bad).

I’ll let you know how we get on, but first impressions of email contact and pricing are really good. So when it’s your time to switch; 1) don’t believe current supplier will give you the best deal, 2) check all the comparison sites, 3) don’t be scared of smaller companies.

Happy deal-hunting!

Anna x

The Spring Cleaning Plan!

Hi-de-ho Peeps!

It’s Saturday (YAY!) so we’re actually all home 🙂 but we all have jobs to do 😦

I normally hate housework as much as the next person, but not at the moment; Firstly I find spring cleaning (well Autumn cleaning, I suppose) therapeutic because you can get rid of clutter and papers and such. Secondly, the reason for my cleaning spree is to get ready for Christmas!!!!

Yes I know it’s 10 weeks away yet and I’ll have to clean before then, but in the next 6 weeks (before the decorations go up) I like to do those occasional jobs on the odd days I’m home all day…let me give you some examples:

(Each bullet point is one day so I can still get other stuff done)

  • Clean out the pantry and kitchen cupboards to make room for Christmas stock
  • Vax carpets and furniture where needed, clean fireplace (not just a quick hoover under the log burner, an actual clean) and high-level dust/cobweb removal
  • Defrost freezer (ugh!) and wipe down sills/doors while waiting (easy job because freezer and clean up after is painful enough)
  • Clean out wardrobes and bedside cabinets…so I have more space to store Christmas gifts 🙂
  • Oven. enough said.
  • Bathrooms including cabinets (to make way for all the nice new smellies we get at Christmas)
  • Touch up any paintwork or anything that needs fixing
  • Lastly, as I get my decs out, sort the shed (much easier to do without 3 artificial trees in the way!) and put away the non-Christmas ornaments where I need to.

All of this helps me to sort clutter from decent stuff we can give away, it’s not a mind-absorbing task so I can think of other things and it makes me feel like I’m getting ready for Christmas when it’s too early to bake and such. 🙂

I’d love to know your deep cleaning tips and Christmas preparations, let me know in the comments. I’m off to beat up my pantry!

Have a good one!

Anna x

Paint By Numbers

Happy Friday Peeps!

I rarely paint (because I’m kinda bad at it…unless it’s a wall) but I do love numbers. I’m wary of numerology itself as people can get obsessed by it as if it’s almost a form of fortune-telling. However, nature and the Bible do have recurring number themes. So I thought I’d give you a round up of my week in numbers:

10 weeks (on Monday) until Christmas…. 1lb per week means dropping a dress size! 1.5lbs per week means a stone and 2lbs per week is almost 1.5stones and 2 dress sizes!

1 week until October half term holidays, YAY!

23 months today we’ve had the keys to our little bit of Cornish paradise! (Nearly 2 years, where the heck has that gone?!)

1 sick teenager today 😦 incidentally, 1 sickness bug going around the area.

Number of Christmas items bought this week: only 2

1 job application completed

2 newly-discovered blogs this week…more on those soon 😉

Number of baby cows at our barn-based harvest festival: 1 ❤ looked kinda like this one, but newer:

calf

 

35 under-5s at toddler group, we had the biggest group I’ve ever seen this week! 🙂

29: The number of £ our electric and gas have gone up for the new contract…ho hum. Thank you God that we can afford it!

Number of hungry, wind-swept cats interrupting my typing for food: (funny how that’s the same amount as the number of dogs who appear when you open the cat food 😉 )

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5 months since we paid off our debt! (even though it’s only just been updated on my credit score!)

3 The number of lists I have, with different stuff to do on each one.

1,000,000 things I’m grateful for, including….

96 followers on here…love you all x

 

I hope your numbers are positive and your weekend restful.

Anna x

Spirit of Love

Morning Peeps!

Just a quick faith thought for you this morning, well 2 actually:

I said before I’ve been trying to read my Bible more, well when I do the same 2 things keep coming up. Even though I’ve read the verses before, I keep getting the same 2 messages all over the scriptures, so I guess God is trying to say something, so I thought I’d share.

  1. The Holy Spirit: Every verse I read about Him says to know Him better, to learn to listen, to invite Him in…basically deeper fellowship than what I’ve got already. He’s described as helper, comforter, guider….who wouldn’t want that?
  2. Love: Making an effort with your spouse, kids, neighbours…show them Christ’s love, not your busy-ness. Most of us can quote 1 Corinthians 13 as it’s used at almost every wedding, but if you stop and think about what it means, it is really a challenge for us.

 

So that’s a short one, but a powerful one. God doesn’t need loads of words to make a big difference. Just thought I’d share 🙂

 

God bless,

Anna x

 

Pear and walnut chutney

Ahoy Peeps!

Legend has it that when Mr Bell invented the telephone, he wanted us to say Ahoy and not hello! Eh, you live and learn!

So today I want to share this scrummy recipe with you, perfect for Christmas…or any other time for that matter! I acquired it from my binge-watching of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, so all credit for the recipe goes there, but I am so doing this for Christmas, it ‘d go beautifully with the tree-shaped cheeseboard I saved on Pinterest this morning!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, or 2 small, white onions, chopped
  • 6 firm pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 pint (or 425ml) of cider vinegar
  • 8oz/ 225g soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup of dried fruit (whatever you want, they used sultanas and cranberries) soaked overnight in orange juice
  • 2oz/60g chopped and toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and allspice
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander

 

Instructions:

  • heat onion in a pan until soft but not browned
  • add the chopped pears and apple
  • add the cider vinegar and bring to the boil
  • add the spices and brown sugar
  • drain any excess from the soaked fruits and add them
  • add the walnuts and allow to simmer for at least 5 mins
  • boil your glass jars so they are hot and sterilised
  • test the chutney thickness….drop some of the liquid on a cold plate and run your finger through it…if the line stays then it’s ready
  • hot fill your jars and seal immediately. Easy as that.

 

Should last up to 12 months….if you don’t eat it all! It can always be given as a gift (which would also save us from eating the lot! 😉 )

Catch ya later my festive chums!

Anna x