Sunday, 31 January 2010


You can get lots of Valentine's Day gift inspiration from's 2 free ebooks plus 14 other free craft ebooks on just about every craft you can imagine, all free to download.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I'm not a terrific photographer, however, I know plenty of people who are not professional photographers, but whose pictures are really excellent and could possibly earn them some cash. I've had a look at Alamy , an on-line stock photo agency and they seem very organised and business-like, with very high standards. There are quite a few of these stock photography sites on the Internet and I think it pays to carefully read their submission policies, because if they are quite discerning, you know that if they accept your pictures, there's a half decent chance that they will sell. You will also need a good digital camera - a DSLR of 6 mega pixel at least. Alamy pay you 60% of the price they receive and there is a well-supported forum for photographers which appears useful for users to ask for (and give) advice and also a blog which seems fairly up to date with postings.
The site has images from over 20,000 photographers and 500 picture agencies.
Of course you need clear images with no blur or camera shake, good subjects, editing and lighting, because they will reject anything not technically perfect or any unwanted subject matter. But it doesn't cost anything - so what have you got to lose? Give it a try - you may earn some cash!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


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Sunday, 10 January 2010


I like this recipe for Seedy Flapjack because it doesn't use margarine or butter. It uses rapeseed oil instead (and not very much of that). I bought a fairly sizeable bottle of this very cheaply from my local supermarket. The bars make a good lunchbox filler or snack and, whilst they are not exactly low calorie, they do have some healthy ingredients (the seeds, the oats, the apricots, the rapeseed oil).

90ml (6 tbsp) rapeseed oil
150ml (9tbsp) clear honey
225g (9ozs) oats
40g (1.50 ozs) light muscovado sugar
40g (1.50 ozs) sesame seeds
75g (3ozs) sunflower seeds
75g (3 ozs) sultanas
75g (3 ozs) ready to eat apricots, chopped
40g (1.50 ozs) dessicated coconut

Makes around 16-18 bars depending on how big you cut them.

Heat oven to 180 degC/350 deg F/ gas mark 4
Grease a baking tin measuring around 11" x 7".
Gently melt the honey and oil in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
The mixture will seem very dry, but keep mixing well, turn into the tin and then press down very hard with the back of the spoon - it's worth taking some time over this as the firmer it is pressed down, the easier it is to cut and remove from the tin after cooking and the better it will "hang" together to eat!
Cook for 20-25 minutes unitl golden coloured.
Gently mark into bars while it's still warm. Leave to cool a little then cut into slices and finish cooling on a rack.
These bars store well in an airtight container and will keep all week - if they last that long!

Tip: You can substitute other seeds or miss out some and put more in of another. Prunes could be substituted for the apricots or you could have both - just keep the overall proportions in the recipe correct.


As the weather is making most of us stay in - it's really thick snow here where I live anyway - I feel like looking around the cupboards and seeing what I can cook.
I have heard that there was fighting in my local supermarket yesterday - over loaves of bread! apparently quite a few shops have none and people are starting to panic buy! I'd be more concerned about milk if I were them - after seeing on the news that farmers' are pouring away their milk down the drain as the milk tankers can't get to them to collect it.
However, that's another story.
Today I have made my broccoli stalk soup (we're having roast pork tonight with broccoli, carrots and roast potatoes) - so instead of throwing away the 2 huge stalks we made lunch with them - 2 great big bowls of soup and one small one for the freezer for me later on in the week!

PS I also made some Seedy Flapjack bars!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


You might be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment for each week of very cold weather in your area if you get Pension Credit or income-related Employment and Support Allowance with a support or work related activity component in the main phase.

You may also be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment for each qualifying week if you are getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance in the assessment phase and have one of the following:

  • a pensioner premium, higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium
  • a disability premium, enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium
  • a disabled child premium
  • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
  • a child who is under five in the family
The Cold Weather Payments do not affect any other benefits you may be getting.
You don't need to apply as the Cold Weather Payment is paid automatically as long as you qualify.

If you think you should have had a payment and haven't, then tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus.

To check if your area has had low enough temperatures to trigger a cold weather payment use the postcode search.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Last November a YouGov online poll of over 2,000 people by self-storage company Safestore, found that around half of us who get the "clear out, throw out and Ebay everything" bug, regret it and wish we hadn't parted with some things that had sentimental value to us.

Yes, of course, we should all think carefully about what we
do get rid of - and yes of course, Safestore wants us to keep it all in their storage facility and pay them well for it year in, year out!

Cynical or what?


Well, that's it - Christmas is finally over - despite feeling like a 2-week marathon, it's over...almost.
I've not quite finished taking all the decorations down yet. I thought I had until tomorrow - but according to this 12th night info they must come down today - or remain up all year - eeeeeeeek!!!!!! What a terrible thought.
There's also a couple of other frugal things I've yet to do for NEXT Christmas - buy some very reduced crackers if I can find some (it's cold, it looks like it's about to snow, I don't want to go out, it's lunch time - maybe I'll go later) and make my labels from the Christmas cards.

I'd like to say that, like all good frugallers, I'm on the lookout for next year's Christmas presents, but I'm not - I just can't bear the thought of it!