Saturday, 29 October 2011


My very last Halloween offering for this year is a wonderful recipe for Halloween flapjack decorated with cute little ghosts. You've just got time to make it!

Friday, 28 October 2011


This year's BBC Children in Need Appeal is on Friday 18th November 2011. If you would like to knit something to sell in support of the appeal, Knit Today has a great free knitting pattern for Pudsey Bear. This little fellow can be knitted in DK and will be very popular with all the charity's younger supporters!
Happy frugal knitting!

Thursday, 27 October 2011


I love browsing recipe books and magazines and drooling over cake recipes - well, we probably all do, but, when I decide I'd like to have a go at cooking one of those scrumptious looking creations, I lose all interest when I read something like, "take 6 eggs" or "use 6ozs of butter" or "the whites only, of 5 eggs"!
Really? Who can afford to chuck 6 eggs and half a pound of butter into a cake that'll be eaten in an evening (well, perhaps that's only in my house!) and will cost the price of a meal? But it is possible to find a happy medium- lower fat cakes are better for you, as well as for your wallet!
I have a few frugal cake recipes in my collection like my Frugal Parkin Cake (only 1 egg and 2 ozs fat), my (almost) Fat Free fruit Cake (2 eggs, no fat) or my Seedy Flapjack Bars (no eggs and only 6 tablespoons of very frugal Rapeseed oil), but I'd like more!
I'm gradually adding to my "frugal cakes" recipes - but it's taking years, so if anyone out there has cake recipes with lower amounts of fat and eggs (or any other expensive ingredient) - I'd love to hear from you!
Just send me those recipes. Please!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


These spiderweb Halloween decorations look fabulous - and, better still, are almost free! All you need is a black bin liner, scissors and some tape - go!


Netmums has free Halloween colouring sheets to print off, masks, decorations and more. something to keep the children quiet when you're stuck indoors in the rainy weather!

Monday, 24 October 2011


From pumpkin recipes (what else do you do with all that pumpkin fleshh - throw it away?) for shakes, lasagne, biscuits, cake and muffins, to new decorative ideas here are 20 great ideas for eating and decorating with pumpkins. There is sparkly lights in a pumpkin, grey and white silver studded pumkins, painted pumpkins, door numbers, centrepieces, a door wreath and much more.


Some more free Halloween templates to make your pumpkin Jack o' Lanterns. Choose from Frankenstein, Terrible Tombstone, Scary Skull, Creepy Pumpkin, Mummy, Mad Monster, Creepy Pumpkin, Nightmarish Smile, Classic jack o' lantern - or go mad and make them all!


Make it a Happy Halloween with this Halloween Bunting Template - just print out and string it together and you have a great party decoration!

Friday, 14 October 2011


This useful chart for a knitted Halloween pumpkin could be used for many different projects; for trick or treat bags, cushions, wall hangings etc.
Happy Halloween!


It's almost Halloween, but there's plenty of time to plan for your little ones' parties with these stunning ideas and pictures for a Halloween Candy Buffet and all the great, horrific recipes to make the Halloween candies which will also make great trick or treats! There are marzipan brains, severed fingers, chocolate witch hats, werewolf truffles, peanut butter eyeballs and much more!
Happy Frugal Halloween!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


It's a sad fact, but my sewing machine lies unused and pretty much inaccessible, in my understairs cupboard. It weighs a ton and last time I hauled it out to do some clothes alterations, a huge tangley mess appeared on the back of my sewing - but, for those of you who have your sewing machines at the ready for Halloween, here are 12 lovely pumpkin projects to make.
Included are: pumpkin footballs, pumpkin trick or treat bag, placemats, wall hangings, a mini quilt, a door wreath and much more.
Happy Halloween sewing!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


It's nearly Halloween and your little ones will be wanting to dress, up, party and trick or treat! trouble is, it all costs and in these troubled times should we, could we afford to even bother with Halloween?
Well, I for one, think that these are just the times to dress up, cook up, have a bit of fun and party - albeit very frugally! Just a few ghoulish items to wear and decorate with, some fun things to eat and you've done it! Sounds easy- doesn't it?
To start with - dressing up. If you have any bits and pieces left over from last year drag them out and see what you can do with them. Poundland has some great Halloween gear and it's cheap - well, it's, not surprisingly, £1 for anything! There are witches brooms, Halloween sky lanterns, skeleton outfits, gloves, Gothic dresses, brides outfits, masks, hats, make-up kits, jewellery, skeleton tee shirt tops, rats, glowing spiders, decorations, hanging skeletons and much much more. Okay, no-one is denying the dressing up outfits are a bit basic- but see what you can pick up to decorate them or match them with. Black leggings or jeans are always useful to use and if you have old black tee shirts see how you can make them into kids' outfits. On my weekly wander around the charity shops, I saw a beautiful black lace silky cobweb shawl - ideal to enhance a witches' outfit, jazz up that Gothic dress from Poundland or add to the ghoulishness of the Halloween bride's outfit. It's never too late to start your dressing up box- just remember to gather it all up and store it away for next year!
Halloween spooky food is a must - check out these great ideas for Halloween cakes and ghoulish drinks!
Turn your dining table into a graveyard feast (and loads more ideas for decorating your house), carve a pumpkin with these free pumpkin carving stencils , loads of other pumpkin themed craft ideas , if you can knit there's a pumpkin shaped tea cosy pattern and if you can crochet there's a pumpkin baby hat and decorations galore!
Happy Frugal Halloween!


It's autumn and almost Halloween and what better to eat now than butternut squash soup? As I type this I can smell mine simmering away in the kitchen and my tummy is rumbling!
So here's my recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or any other cooking oil you like or butter)
  • Half of a butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed (the other half will keep for a couple of days wrapped in film and put in the fridge or you can double up the recipe quantities if you have a large enough pan!)
  • a large onion roughly chopped
  • a large potato peeled and cubed
  • a small bunch of sage leaves, roughly torn up (no stalk) or a heaped teaspoon of dried sage.
  • 1 litre of stock (I used a stock cube but you can use leftover gravy from a roast dinner and make it up to the litre with water)
You will need a large saucepan, measuring jug, strirrring spoon and a liquidiser, stick blender or sieve.
Heat your oil in the saucepan and throw in the onion, sage, squash and potato. Turn heat down, cover and cook for 10 minutes and, unless you have a very good non-stick pan, you will have to stir quite often as it will stick.
Add your litre of stock and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, and blend completely until smooth. As vegetables never come in set sizes, you may need to add a little more water if the soup is too thick, then season with ground black pepper and reheat if necessary. If you don't have a blender of any kind you can mash the soup with a potato masher. You won't have the same texture- but it'll taste just as good! Once cooled, you can freeze the soup or keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Serve with toast, garlic bread or rolls. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


It's autumn, and an ideal time to think about how we are going to keep ourselves and our houses warm throughout the winter without spending a huge amount on heating bills! I'm in the middle of packing away all my summer clothes, getting out the winter ones and deciding what I need and what I need to get rid of (in the most frugal way possible, that is). I know I have plenty of scarves, gloves and one hat (not a very warm one I might add) so I'm going to knit myself a snood cum neckwarmer with some yarn I found at the charity shop. Charity shops are a good source of jumpers, mittens, woolly hats and gloves - start looking now for what you need.
We can keep warmer by rethinking our clothing- layers always keep us warm, but if you work somewhere warm, you need to be able to peel away some of those layers! But, if you are at home more, then before you flick that switch on the heating, think about what you're wearing. Start from the skin up - you may not own thermal vests and longjohns, but any long sleeved tee shirt and thick trousers with long socks or woolly tights will certainly make a difference to how warm you feel. Layer up with a jumper and then a cardi or fleece. I even wear a scarf most of the time indoors - well, it looks decorative, at least! If I'm working at home I never put the heating on until I'm ready to sit still either reading or at the computer. Hoovering the floor, tidying up, dusting and polishing, all keep me warm enough. I haven't tried fingerless mittens for working at the computer yet, but it's a good idea!
We don't have the heating on at night unless the temperatures have been glacial for days, that is, so we use a thick winter duvet with an overblanket. No-one in our house ever complains that they're cold! Thermal pyjamas, bedsocks and hot water bottles are also useful!
Once you do have the heating on you really don't want to see your heat escaping out through draughty doors and windows and up chimneys, so now is the time to do a check. If your windows are draughty and you can't afford to replace them, then think about installing a plastic film across them, not very pretty, I know - but most of the time it'll be hidden behind the curtains. Draught excluder tape also works quite well, but it doesn't suit all styles of windows. When we had old style sliding windows, we used to stuff all the cracks with crumpled newspaper which we didn't take out until spring!
Talking of curtains, the thicker the better - and always make sure they are behind your radiators if they are long- not in front. Buy or make extra curtain linings to hang behind your curtains - yet another heat saver. A heavy front door curtain makes a huge difference if you can feel a draught, (try to find old heavy curtains at jumble sales or charity shops) and, for internal doors, you can make up draught excluders from fabric scraps, make sure you have warm blankets and throws on your sofas and layer up your floors with more rugs if you have them.
We have a redundant chimney which does have a gas fire in the grate, but we just about never need to use it, so we bundled up a huge amount of bubble wrap in a carrier bag, tied the top with string and pushed it up the chimney - the draught stopped immediately. Do remember it's there though (we tied the end of the string to the fire basket to remind ourselves) before you light any fires!
Happy Frugal Autumn!

Monday, 3 October 2011


Well, as far as I can see from my shopping last Friday, it cost about the same as it always does. But I did notice that a sliced malt loaf that was £1.20 the week before last is now £1.28. So - how many "little" price raises have there been to fund the so-called price drops? I'm weary of it all - I don't want to depress myself further by checking each item on my receipts to see exactly how much I'm being ripped off by Tesco - but I know I am!
Read more about the Tesco rip off HERE.