Look In My Letterbox

It’s been a pretty good week this week, I’ve had freebies, prizes and some purchases arrive so I’ve got lots to show you so lets get on and look in my letterbox.

*Apologies for the quality of the photo’s*

Freebies

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The Weetabix on the go was a SoPost freebie from Twitter, I’ve left the leaflet in the picture incase anyone would like to enter the competition. My advice with the SoPost freebies is to team up with a like minded friend on Twitter and Facebook and send each other one as soon as they pop up.

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I spotted this toothpaste freebie on one of the couponing pages I follow on Facebook, I thought they would run out quickly as it’s quite a generous size so I got in fast and ordered mine.

Prizes

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I should have took a picture of this boxes contents as it’s much more exciting than the outside, I won £15 credit for Stampin Up! from a blog competition and I chose this Project Life set, the cards inside are lovely and I will use them in my happy mail.

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Daisy won this awesome book from Toppsta, if you have little ones make sure you pop across and enter the competitions for them this is the second book we have won from them and they always have a fantastic selection to choose from.

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Another lovely book for the children, this time from a blog competition.

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Finally a book for Mummy and it looks a little racy, I applied to review it for the Mumsnet book club, I had a book from them last month which I really enjoyed so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Purchases

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Jake is getting to the point where he doesn’t like being in his buggy anymore but he runs away from me when I let him out to walk so I’ve compromised by buying this toddler backpack that has a reign attached, so far so good.

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We bought this fire stick in the Amazon Prime day sale, we have being debating buying one for a while and the time and price seemed right.

I’m linking up with Alice Megan for Look In My Letterbox, make sure you pop across and check out the other lovely bloggers taking part.

LIML

Angela xx

Word of the Week – Sad

I thought really hard about what to write for this weeks word of the week, should I gloss over the fact that I’m having a hard time at the moment and just share something light or should I just write about how I feel and be honest.

Unexpectedkindness is themost powerful,least costly, andmost underratedagent of humanchange

Writing about real personal stuff on a blog is always a gamble, as well as putting yourself out there for strangers to read you are always aware that people who know you personally will read it and judge you or snipe behind your back but this is my blog and I want to write and share with you the bad times as well as the good.

I struggled to find a word to properly sum up how I am feeling and after reading about the horrific events in France last night the word sad immediately sprung to mind. I always try to put on a brave front to force myself into positive thoughts, I try to look for the good in a situation but this past week I’m really struggling to feel anything but sad.

Reasons I Feel Sad

  • 18 months ago I walked away from a life long relationship with a toxic person, I cut all ties, and had got to the stage where I didn’t even think about them anymore, I celebrated a whole year of freedom before they started seeping back in little by little. A few weeks ago something happened that means there is a real threat to one of my relationships because of this toxic person, I can’t say much more other than being estranged from a person is much much harder than it sounds as you can never truly escape from them whilst they still exist.
  • Someone I love is being treated horribly by people who are meant to love them, I feel helpless I want to take away their pain I want to scream and shout at these people who can’t see how wonderful, loving and caring person this person is.
  • I’m struggling with my diabetes diagnosis, I’m at the anger stage of not wanting this horrible disease and fighting against the very changes I need to make to get well.
  • Waking up every day to see more and more bad news for our country, our economy and our future is really getting me down, to avoid all forms of news means having to also avoid every single form of social media which is difficult as I use it for finding work.
  • I worry for the choices and decisions that my two eldest children are making, they don’t live with me but I still worry about them every single day.

I know that these things are nothing compared to what some people have to face but at the same time these are my battles that I have to live with and face daily, writing them down means that they are out of my head and I can start to try and deal with them one by one.

I’m linking up with Jocelyn from The Reading Residence for Word of the Week.

 

The Reading Residence
Angela xx

Look In My Letterbox

I’m back again to share with you all the goodies that have arrived in this weeks post, it’s so much nicer to receive little surprises though the letterbox rather than a load of bills and junk mail. I’ve noticed that the amount of freebies to apply for is increasing again and I was gutted to miss out on two fantastic SoPost freebies this week they went so fast which proves that this hobby is becoming more popular this doesn’t deter me it just makes me more determined to try even harder.

Freebies

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Eat Natural do the best freebies, their bars are delicious and I have the perfect spot in the garden to plant the wildflower leaves in Autumn.

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Post-it are another generous company for giving away freebies, I love this new range as an avid maker of lists the ruled sticky pages are ideal for me.

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This sample came last week but I had managed to bury it at the bottom of a pile of paperwork so I didn’t include it, I love these free samples much better than buying a full size product only to find it doesn’t suit you.

Prizes

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I entered every competition I could find to win tickets to the Foodies Festival at Tatton Park, although I won’t be able to sample as many of the sweet goodies on offer it’s still a great day out for us all.

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If you read my Toy Collecting post last week you will know that Daisy loves these little surprise toys, the envelope was addressed to her and she was so excited to open it and find a Finding Dory Squishy Pop inside, don’t forget I have a giveaway running for some collectable toys so make sure you click the link above.

Happy Mail

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This lovely letter arrived from one of my pen pals, I can’t tell you how happy these letters make me it’s so nice connecting with people by handwritten word. I think I’m going to look for some more pen pals soon as I have loved writing and receiving happy mail so much.

I’m linking up with Alice Megan for Look In My Letterbox, do stop and by and check out all the other great bloggers who link up.

LIML

Have you had anything nice arrive in the post this week, leave me a comment below I love to hear from you.

Angela xx

#BlogOnMSI – My First Blogging Conference Experience

Next month I will have been blogging for 3 years but it’s only really the last 12 months that I have felt like an actual blogger, I’ve dipped my toes in and out so many times even closing my blog completely at one point  but I kept coming back to it which tells me that it’s what I’m meant to do, I love to write and after many years of shutting off from the world I love to share so this year I decided it was time to pull up my socks and attend a blogging conference for the first time.

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I had thought about going to Blog On in Manchester as it’s local to me and I thought it would be a great place to meet other bloggers and learn how to improve my blog, I kept putting it off but when I saw there were tickets left for this year I booked them without thinking twice and I’m so glad I did.

Blog On is run by Laura Seaton who blogs at Tired Mummy Of Two and her team of volunteers.

Last Sunday armed with my suitcase (for all the goodies) and a note of which sessions I wanted to attend I made my way inside the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, I’m so glad it was held there as I’ve been visiting since I was a child and it feels very familiar to me.

I had been following the hashtag #blogonmsi all weekend and although a little nervous I was also excited, I was ready to learn new things that would help take my blog a little further and I couldn’t wait to meet the bloggers who I have only ever had virtual conversations with, I also couldn’t wait to meet Di Coke I’ve been a comper for almost 14 years and her advice and enthusiasm has been invaluable and has helped me win a few competitions over the years.

I headed straight for the loo behind two ladies and I recognised one of them from a picture of her shoes she had posted on Instagram earlier. She must have thought I was a right nutter when I asked her if she was the blogger I thought she was because I recognised her shoes!  She was lovely and friendly and told me there were a crowd of bloggers waiting in the museum coffee shop, it was in there that I met up with another lovely lady who takes part in the same weekly linky as me and I ended up spending most of the day with her which was really nice.

I can honestly say that even when I was standing alone every single person had a friendly smile or a hello and I also met some lovely bloggers who even knew who I was which shocked me as you never think anyone is reading really.

The sessions I attended included

  • How to make your blog attractive to brands (Portland Street)
  • Earning beyond the blog (Emily Leary-A Mummy Too)
  • Hosting competitions (Di Coke -Super Lucky)

Every single one of those sessions taught me so much, I have pages of notes and have already started implementing some of the advice. I wanted to attend a session about Pinterest but I got so distracted by all the wonderful brands and their very interactive stands that I missed it.

I was so nervous about approaching brands as it’s new territory for me but I needn’t have been worried as they were all so friendly and I came away feeling so much more confident, playing in the giant Swizzels Matlow ball pool certainly helped.

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As well as the sessions drinks, snacks and lunch were all included and even a glass of wine towards the end of the day and not to mention the amazing goody bags , I really don’t know how they pack so much value into the price of the ticket. You certainly get so much more than you paid for and the museum is a fantastic venue.

This amazing cake not only looked beautiful it tasted delicious too.

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I won a few prizes on the tombola and one prize on the raffle which I was delighted with, there were so many awesome generous brands who donated prizes and the items for the goody bags we were all really spoilt, I’ve included some photo’s but I took so many it would be impossible to show you everything.

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I could go on all day, I could include so much more in this post but what I really want to sum up is that if you have never been to a blogging conference before then Blog On MSI would be a fantastic place to start you really won’t regret it, there might be another one coming up for Winter this year and I will definitely be there.

Angela xx

My Blog On Ice Breaker #BlogOnMosi

In May I’m attending my first ever blogging conference in Manchester, I don’t know anybody else who’s going and I’m not really sure what to expect so I’m both nervous and excited, I’m taking part in the Blog On Ice Breaker linky, it’s not my usual sort of post but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

Share a recent picture of you

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If you had to describe yourself in three words…….

Loving, Generous and Resourceful

How long have you been blogging and what made you start?

I’ve been blogging almost 3 years, I started because I wanted to document our family life, find my own voice and also to connect with like minded people.

What was your favourite TV program as a child?

Rag Dolly Anna

Something interesting you might not know about me is . . .

I sneeze really really loud, I couldn’t sneeze quietly if my life depended on it !

What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Snails in garlic (yak!)

What was your biggest fashion faux pas?

It’s a toss up between a pink and black ra-ra skirt and a Naff Naff shell suit

What are you pet peeves?

People with no manners

Who would be your 3 perfect dinner party guests (dead or alive) and why?

Charlie Hunnam because he’s awesome, Tom Hardy (that should need no explanation) and Marilyn Monroe because I find her fascinating

If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would play the part of you?

It would be a movie about my misspent youth and Chloe Grace Moretz would play me

If you could live in any sitcom, which one would it be?

Sex & The City because of the friendships between the four ladies

Name a famous person you have met

I’ve never met anyone famous although I have spotted a fair few famous people over the years

Which social media platform best describes your personality and why?

Pinterest because it’s full of crazy colourful ideas just like my brain

What picture do you have on lock screen on your phone / computer?

A photo of me and FrugalMrW

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Only 8, shoes are not my thing

What period of time from the past would you most like to have lived?

The 1950’s for the slower and simpler pace of life

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii

What is your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate in the AM

What is your favourite tipple?

I don’t drink often but when I do I like American beers

If you had a magic lamp and a Genie, what would be your three wishes

To be healthy, wealthy and wise

Hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about me, if you are going to Blog On I look forward to meeting you, if not then I will be sure to share the experience with you on my blog in May.

Angela xx

Getting Some Perspective

I had one of THOSE weeks recently where everything that can go wrong did, I could feel myself spiralling down into a mire of self pity and frustration but I realised quickly that although the week had started badly it could end on a better note by getting some perspective.

Here are a few things that happened during the week and how I got some perspective and changed things around.

Lost Voice

This year has started with us having a bad run of luck health wise, we all caught the flu in January and have continued with coughs, colds and general yuckiness into February, I feel like none of us can catch a break from the relentless Winter germs, so when I woke up with no voice at all I was really feeling sorry for myself.

I saw several posts on social media that served as a reminder how lucky I was that all I had lost was my voice, I’m so lucky that all I have is a cold and not something life limiting, it’s far too easy to host yourself a pity party when you are feeling rotten but remember there are lots of people out there who would gladly swap places with you in a heartbeat.

Broken Hoover

I switched the hoover on as usual one morning, it was making a deafening sound, wasn’t picking up and smelt like burning, I felt really annoyed that all the vouchers I had been saving up would now have to be spent on buying a new hoover, in fact I spent the rest of the day sulking about it.

The next day I decided to look at it from a different perspective, I told myself that I should be thankful that I had enough vouchers saved to pay for it and that we wouldn’t have to use any money from our budget.

Before I ordered one I thought I would take a look at the instruction manual, I tried a few things it suggested and I fixed it !

Gas Leak

When I came back from the school run one afternoon last week I could smell gas around the hob in my kitchen, I called the emergency number and a lovely gent came, isolated the leak and capped the pipe off where the faulty joint was.

There was some debate as to whether the actual repair would be fixed under our tenancy or if we were liable as it was the joint on the gas pipe and not the pipe itself, this time instead of worrying and feeling frustrated I thought about how changing my perspective had helped earlier in the week.

I rearranged our meal plan to meals that didn’t require the hob (this is where meal prep pays off) and decided to think positive and not worry about the outcome.

We got the news on Friday that it would be repaired with no cost to us, what a result.

There were lots of other little things that happened during the week that made me feel down but each time I changed my perspective solutions appeared to my problems, was it just coincidence ? or did changing the way I thought about things really help ?

Living on a limited budget does throw up lots of extra worries, especially when it comes to things breaking down and the unexpected cost those things incur but I’ve decided from now on that I’m not going to worry, I’m going to remind myself that there is always a solution if you are willing to change your perspective.

Perspective

Angela xx

 

 

 

 

How We Are Celebrating Valentines 2016 On A Budget

I know that celebrating Valentines day isn’t for everyone but I love little occasions like these throughout the year, they keep life interesting and fun and you don’t need to break the bank to celebrate either.

I love to include the little ones in the celebration, it’s a great opportunity to have conversations about love and relationships, we usually do a craft activity and bake something valentines related as well.

Here’s what we have planned for Valentines day 2016.

The Little Ones

I like to buy the little ones a Valentines gift so I gave myself a budget of £5 each, I came in under budget by picking up these lovely things from Home Bargains.

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These gorgeous cuddly monkeys have velcro feet and hands so the little ones will be able to wear them or hang them in their bedrooms, they are a really good size and a bargain at £2.99 each.

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In our house a celebration isn’t complete without a little chocolate, these cute little lady bugs and hearts were 99p each.

Valentines Meal

We were thinking of using £10 from our budget to treat ourselves to one of the ‘dine in’ special offers that the supermarkets usually offer this time of year, but we have some delicious steaks in the freezer from our bulk meat order, FrugalMrW will make some homemade chips, fried mushrooms and vine tomatoes to go with it and we will treat ourselves to a decadent dessert as part of our shopping budget.

Entertainment

We will spend Valentines day as a family, playing games, decorating love hearts with glitter and sequins and snuggling up on the sofa watching Disney movies, when the little ones go to bed FrugalMrW and I will choose a slushy romantic comedy to watch on Netflix.

Gifts

This year FrugalMrW and I have agreed on a £5 budget to buy each other something, I’ve asked him to spend mine on flowers which he will buy early in the week to avoid the inflated prices and I will buy him chocolate which he loves just a smidgen less than he loves me.

I also picked up this adorable frame for 99p from Home Bargains, I have some free credit in my SnapFish account so I will order a photo of us and display it on our bedside cabinet.

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I will always think that spending time with someone and not money on them is what truly counts in life but it is nice to treat each other a little as well.

What are your plans for valentines day ? will you be sticking to a budget ? leave me a comment below I love to hear from you.

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Angela xx

Here are some posts I’ve written about Valentines day in previous years:

Low budget, No Babysitter Ideas For Valentines Day

Toddler Makes – Easy Valentine Chocolate Treats

Valentines Day Dedication For My Husband

Frugal, Financial & Home Goals For 2016

I usually post our monthly goals at the start of each month but I thought I would share with you the frugal, financial and home goals that FrugalMrW and I have decided on for 2016.

I have a good strong feeling that 2016 is going to be our year , we have decided that we are going to approach our goals in a more flexible way, we are going to try lots of new frugal and financial strategies to help us achieve them.

Frugal ,Financial & Home Goals 2016

  • Reduce gas and electric consumption.
  • Meal plan and food preparation.
  • Find the things we need for free (Freecycle,Freegle,Free Sites).
  • Always look for bargains before buying necessary items.
  • Have some no spend days every month.
  • Learn how to repair and maintain our home and garden.
  • Pay half of our credit card debt by October 2016.
  • Decorate on a budget.
  • Save for a new bed.
  • Look for new earning opportunities, try new things.
  • Get rid of cable TV.
  • Make the most of free entertainment.
  • Make a small income from our blogs.
  • Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learnt this year it’s to set yourself small achievable realistic goals, to break them down into monthly chunks and to be flexible in your approach to achieving them, so I’m going to leave the list short and manageable.

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What are your personal finance goals for 2016 ? if you have written a blog post about them please leave me a link below so I can have a read, I love to hear from you.

I want to wish everyone a happy new year, I hope this year holds health, happiness and lots of achievements for you.

Angela xx

 

 

Frugal Fate Or Just A Coincidence ?

I wanted to tell you a little tale of something that I think is fantastic that happened to me last week, do you believe in frugal fate ? read on and decide for yourself.

We have a bay window in our bedroom and I’ve been thinking about turning the space we have there  into a little office/craft area for myself, I wanted a little nook of my own where I could blog, work and indulge in some journalling and scrapbooking.

I started researching which desk I would like to save up for, I found the perfect desk on the Ikea website and imagined how good it would look in that nook, I made a note of the price and planned to save up to buy it.

The next day I checked Freecycle as I do most days and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw someone offering the exact same desk that I wanted, I couldn’t type a reply fast enough.

Was this frugal fate or just a huge coincidence ? I like the think it was the former, but could I really have manifested myself the perfect piece of furniture to pursue my frugal passions for totally free ?

I got an email just after ten, the lady explained she’d had a lot of interest in the desk so the first person the call her on the phone could have it, my heart sank a little as it was late and I didn’t want to disturb her so I mourned a little for the loss of that fabulous desk and went to bed.

The next morning I got on with making the kids breakfast, drinking coffee and getting everyone washed and dressed for the day, I always run the hoover round before we leave and for some reason a little vision popped into my head of me sat at that desk typing away, I called FrugalMrW and asked him to call for me while I did the school run and I bet you can guess what happened next can’t you ?

The Desk Of My Dreams !

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I’m sat here with my laptop on the desk of my dreams typing this post for you to read, apart from a tiny scratch on the top it’s in amazing condition.

I now have my own little nook where I can create away to my heart’s content, the lovely lady also gave us an immaculate office chair to go with the desk so I’m all set up and couldn’t be happier.

Has anything like that happened to you before ? do you believe in frugal fate ? leave me a comment below I would love to hear from you.

 

 

November At The Webster’s

November was such a busy month for us here at the Webster’s, every weekend was filled to the brim with things to do and places to go.

I’ve spent a lot of time in November cleaning the house in time for the festive season, I like to take it easy in December so I can enjoy the experience without getting stressed out.

November turned out to be full of highs and lows but it’s ending on a high note with us putting the Christmas tree up and achieving all out monthly goals with a couple of days of the month left to spare.

I can’t say that November has been very frugal but we make up for it the rest of the year so I think we deserve a little splurge every now and again.

  • We celebrated bonfire night with fireworks, family, beef casserole and Oreo chocolate cake that my sister-in-law made.
  • Daisy got a fantastic report at parents evening, she’s enjoying school and progressing well.
  • I missed out on the Ideal Home show as my partner in crime was poorly on the plus side it saved me some (a lot) money.
  • I went for a meal with the local compers, it’s always lovely to meet up with like minded souls.
  • We had a tea party at Daisy’s school to celebrate a teddy bears birthday.
  • We reduced the washing loads by being careful about putting clean clothes in the laundry basket.
  • We were given some great free stuff by friends and from Freecycle, I will do a round up post soon.
  • My partner in crime (a.k.a Lisa) introduced me to Ena Mill which you could describe as bargain Yankee Candle heaven.
  • We celebrated my daughter’s 18th birthday with a meal at Frankie & Benny’s.
  • We celebrated my 38th birthday with black forest gateaux and I was spoiled with lovely gifts.
  • Daisy dressed up as her favourite super hero for Children In Need, Hello Kitty Bat Girl.
  • I’ve indulged in my creativity with bullet journaling and smash booking, just need to remember I’m frugal and stay off Etsy !
  • I spent the day shopping with my biggest girl (bargains of course) we had some much needed mum and daughter time without little distractions.
  • FrugalMrW and I wrapped all the Christmas presents last night and not an argument in sight over lost sellotape this year !
  • FrugalMrW made some lovely profit with his matched betting.
  • We achieved every goal on our November list just in time.

November At The Webster’s 

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