Grocery Budget Busting ~ Week 3

3 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. If you haven’t read my previous posts here’s the start, Week 1 & Week 2.

Money Spent: I’ve now gotten quite low on a lot of things thankfully. My regular shop has been able to be lowered to approx $100-$120 per week. However, I feel this was due to running out of a lot of staple items. Going forward, I will lower by regular budget from $180 per week, to $100 per week, with also putting aside $20/week for those items that don’t come up regularly (laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning items etc)

I’m hoping that I can lower this even further as I feel I have a better grasp on what my family actually uses and needs for a full, healthy diet.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Devilled Sausages – this was a delicious family fave!
  • Shepherds Pie
  • Nachos (bulked up with beans, which made it last 2 meals, even though the kids weren’t a huge fan of the black beans)

I also discovered The Healthy Mummy website. It has heaps of free recipes that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m glad I stumbled across this site and I don’t need to purchase a whole pile of strange ingredients that I won’t be using again…..

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: this week I went through my sauces. Some expired 4 years ago! Oh dear. But it’s freed up room in my fridge, and enabled me to rearrange it a bit – I like it much more now. Less is definitely more with my new grocery mindset.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: I have 2, TWO jars of Red Curry Paste. Guess I better cook something with it….

I think this will be the last regular post in this series, as I have happily gotten my pantry, fridge & freezer down to a less cluttered, usable level. I have cooked more, my family has eaten out less and I have saved money, enabling us to use it on other things (like a belated Valentine’s Day experience, an Apple Slinky machine and also paid for new makeup and uniform staples for myself because I’m going back to an actual job that I need to get dressed for) that we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

I really hope you’ve found inspiration in my self-imposed challenge. I will sporadically do more challenges and report back once I’ve found my happy medium of a new grocery budget.

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting – Week 2

2 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. You can see how I went with Week 1 here, and now, I’m doing a Week 2 progress report. Who knew we had that much food in the pantry and freezer!!!!

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash.

  • 3x 3L Milk – $9.00
  • Hot Roast Chook – $8.00
  • 4x Tins Dog Food – $9.60
  • 850g Green Apples – $4.90
  • 500g Cheerio’s (Frankfurters) – $3.50
  • 2kg of Chicken Drumsticks – $6.35
  • 500g Beef Mince – $4.00
  • Cornflakes (Coles Brand) – $1.80
  • Nurtigrain – $3.70 (half price)
  • 1.4kg Weet-bix – $4.50
  • 1x Box Macaroni Cheese – $2.90
  • Box of 24 Water Ice Blocks – $2.80
  • Box of 8 Lemonade Ice Blocks – $2.70
  • 12 pack of Chocolate yoghurt – $4.80
  • 5x Yoghurts for lunch boxes – $3.75
  • 1kg Carrots – $2.00
  • 1.4kg Royal Gala Apples – $3.82
  • 1kg Granny Smith Apples – $4.27
  • 700g Tomatos – $4.27
  • 2x Cucumbers – $5.00
  • Smooth Peanut Butter – $5.68
  • 1x Loaf of Bread – $3.00
  • 12 Eggs – $3.00 (we usually don’t buy eggs as we have chooks, but I needed to make some cupcakes for the class for a friend)

TOTAL SPENT: $103.35

As you can tell, I’ve started running out of things, so needed to stock up a little. My biggest expense this week was an Apple Slinky Machine. My kids go CRAZY over the apple slinky’s from the school tuck shop, therefore it’s worth it financially for this expense. Plus I saved this amount of money from groceries last week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Hot Chicken & Macaroni Cheese – hubby & I had a date night / late Valentines Day Dinner Event and left the kids home with my 90 year old nan. We wanted something quick and easy for her to give to the kids that I knew they would eat without any fuss. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  • I gave 1/4 of the pumpkin from last week to a friend, and then used the remaining pumpkin for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup. Yum. Also found 4 mini bread rolls in the freezer so had them with the soup. Again, this was 2 nights worth of dinner.
  • We had extra kids over one night, so we used the chicken drumsticks, but it only lasted us 2 meals instead of the 3-4 I was expecting, but that’s ok.
  • Hot Chook & salad rolls.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: This week I come across an old packet of cranberry and nut mix in the pantry. Was fairly out of date and the nuts weren’t the right colour any more. Feeling a bit wasteful right now!

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Room in my Freezer and pantry. I also discovered some choc mud scones in the freezer, so a morning or afternoon treat for myself coming right up 😉

Did you attempt this challenge? If so, did you make it to week 2? If not, are you inspired to try? Next week most likely won’t be the same, as I am starting to run low on things, but I’m hoping this changes my shopping outlook and moving forward allows me to allocate an extra $80/week elsewhere in the budget!!! Looking forward to next week.

Christine xx

Week 4 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 4 ~ A Family Member

This one is an easy one. I’ve written about my hubby & my amazing kids. So for this week, I have picked another member of my family. My nan.

10209761761180479My nan is an absolute inspiration. She turned 90 last year, she still lives on her own, drives her car, and gardens. She cooks amazing things like Jam Roll-Poly’s (dessert), Syrup Dumplings, Lemon Sago, and a variety of Jam’s and Chutney’s.

She still takes an active role in my children’s lives and will often take one of them for a few hours or my daughter has a sleep over at her house.

Her garden is her pride and joy, even if it is starting to get a bit big for her. She grows pumpkins, watermelons, guava’s, oranges and has a beautiful array of flowers out the front.

I’m so glad that I have my nan, she’s always around if we need her and I make sure I show my appreciation as much as possible, whether it’s a trip to Bunnings, a Caramel Latte at the Coffee Club or just taking around something for her dinner or lunch.

10209761763820545
Celebrating her 90th Birthday Surprise Party.

Nan is inspirational and if I’m half the woman she is when I’m her age, well,
I’ll be pretty damn lucky.

Christine xx

To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse/Significant Other
  • Week 3 ~ Family
  • Week 4 ~ A Family Member (This one)

 

Week 3 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

family 1.png

This one is an easy one to write about. Around this time 8 years ago I had not long ago had an Ectopic Pregnancy which resulted in the loss of 1 tube, this was from our first and only “successful” IVF round. I had previously lost a baby at 18 weeks many, many years before. Hubby and I weren’t far off coming to terms with the fact we wouldn’t have kids of our own and considered/started researching adoption.

We started to plan a working holiday in Canada while we were young and thought we would just spend some time seeing the world. 6 months later, 2 blue lines appeared, much to our joy!!
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After we welcomed our little girl into the world, imagine our joy when almost 2 years later we were so, so lucky to welcome a little man into the world, even though both deliveries were accompanied by drama and my husband missed the birth of both our children. We have our pigeon pair. They truly are the loves of our lives.

As for extended family, I am so lucky to still have my nan around (she celebrated her 90th birthday last year), and she takes an active role in our kids lives. Unfortunately both mine and hubby’s parents live a few hours drive away, they are supportive and the kids adore them, not to mention our many other members of our extended family (Miss S is the only girl grandchild on both sides). We truly feel blessed and overall very lucky, they are easy to be grateful for.

Christine xx
family-4To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse / Significant Other.

8 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

In light of my recent post about Grocery Budget Busting and trying to use up what’s in my pantry & freezer in an effort to save money, I’ve decided to share some tips on how to reduce your own grocery bill.

Yesterday, on my first grocery shop on my self-imposed grocery shopping ban, I noticed a few things

  • Those half-price (or sometimes better) deals are seriously there to draw you in. I was walking past and noticed one and immediately I was like ohhhhhh and made a direct beeline for that product (I can’t even remember what that was and it was only 24 hours ago, so obviously I won’t die without it)
  • I started to question if previously I have just been spending $180/week on groceries because “that’s my budget”. Regardless of if I had to purchase meat or not, I always managed to spend AT LEAST that amount of money.

So here are some tips to help reduce your own Grocery Bill:

  1. Before you go, have something to eat. Take a bottle of water with you and chew gum if you have to. This way you are shopping on a full stomach.
  2. Join rewards programs if the shop offers it. Here in Australia, we unfortunately don’t have access to Coupons (I wish we did!!!). These programs are free (Woolworths Rewards and Flybuys are 2 that I know of and Flybuys I use all the time), they give you money back, just for shopping. I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t have a rewards card. IT’S FREE MONEY PEOPLE!!! (sorry for shouting, I just don’t understand it hehe) I usually try to save my Flybuys dollars up for Christmas. But I have been known to cash in some money when I have been a bit short before. Also, with Flybuys, you can connect your activity tracker and receive 10 points every day you reach 10,000 steps. There are other programs you can link to your card, and you can use Flybuys at Coles, Coles Service Stations (when you get your fuel), Target, Kmart, Liquorland and First Choice. Every 2000 points = $10. This all adds up for doing what you do usually.
  3. Menu/Meal Plan. Yes, it can be long and sometimes painful, but this is the only way you will know what you need to buy! When the catalogues arrive, look at the specials and compare, then choose where you will shop and what goes on your menu. Ask the kids what they would like for dinner. If the answer is Chicken nuggets and chips, put potato’s and chicken on the list. (my kids love it when I cut the potato’s using the peeler and put them in the oven. They taste and look like potato chips and they think it’s a real treat!) Some of our family favourites that go a fair way or can be stretched are: Shepherds Pie, Lasagne, Taco’s, Sausages and Veggies, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Chicken (it’s so versatile you can use it for anything really), Casseroles/Stew/Slow-Cooker Meals (especially in Winter). I love adding Dumplings to my casseroles as that makes the meal stretch quite significantly especially when teamed with pasta or rice and it’s full of veggies.
  4. Make a list. Write out everything you need, but be sure to STICK TO IT!! Again, it’s easy to be sucked in to the ohhhhh specials!! Those tags are designed to be eye catching!!!!
  5. Check what’s in your pantry/freezer and use that first, also, cross reference your list you’ve just made and cross it off if you own it. Sometimes (like me) you may be able to get away with a small shop because you have no room in your freezer or pantry. Do you actually know what’s in there? What’s lurking in the back? Or that top shelf? Are you doubling or tripling up on some things? Shop at home first at least once a month to use up what you can and have a “top up shop” only. Imagine only doing a top up shop once a month and only spending $50 instead of $180 – that’s a savings of over $1,500 per year!! Fun Fact: That’s almost enough to fly a family of 4 from Brisbane to New Zealand and back 😉 Holiday anyone??
  6. Look at the price. Now this one seems obvious, but with packages being all different shapes and sizes, sometimes what first seems the best deal really isn’t. Look at the 100g/100ml price and compare. Don’t be brand loyal. I have started trying Coles brand products and 9 times out of 10 I don’t know the difference and a lot of the times, when looking at the nutritional label, there IS no difference. I’m a bit of a snob with my coffee, so I do spend a little more but when I’m only having 1 per day generally, I figure, life is too short to drink terrible coffee. Oh and toilet paper, I like the brand I like, so I won’t compromise. But milk, flour, sugar, etc are absolutely fine being the home brand and work just as well. Also, compare prices in the Deli per kg to the pre-packaged. I can generally buy Chicken cheaper from the deli then the meat section and sometimes Chicken Drumsticks are on sale for $2-$3/kg – When this happens, I stock up and buy a few kg’s worth. It makes for an easy dinner and you can use them a few different ways. (as of right now, Chicken Drumsticks are $3.50 per kilo at Woolworths, 2kg would easily make 3-4 meals for our family depending what I make with it, that’s around $2 per meal or 50c per person)
  7. Use leftovers. I love leftovers. It means I often don’t need to do anything except heat and serve. It makes for easy dinners on those days when you’re running late or you just can’t be bothered. You can purchase Chinese containers for $10 for 25 at Coles or Woolworths (same price at both) if you would prefer to freeze and have a stockpile of ready to go meals, but don’t forget to use them!!!!
  8. Stick to your Menu/Meal Plan. If you make a meal plan, stick to it as much as possible. Sometimes, you will unexpectedly end up with extras, or you get a random invitation to a BBQ (it is Summer in Australia after all), so some weeks you won’t end up making every meal on the plan. Therefore, when this happens, make sure these meals are the first thing to be added to next weeks meal plan. You already have all the ingredients after all.

So this is my list and 8 easy tips to save yourself some money. My top hint is definitely taking advantage of Rewards Programs and taking the time to discover what other things you can link to it. Get the most you possibly can out of these free programs that can end up giving you $100+ (depending on your general shop) come Christmas time. I have used Flybuys to purchase Christmas Presents and Christmas lunch for the extended family and I haven’t had to dig into my budget for this.

I hope this has helped, and I plan on sharing some of my family’s favorite recipes over the coming weeks while I use up what I discover in my freezer and pantry! On the menu tonight is Spaghetti Marinara.

Christine xx

 

Grocery Budget Busting

Usually tomorrow (Friday) is my grocery day! But this week, tired of the overwhelming mess in my pantry, I’ve decided to challenge myself by not grocery shopping – or at least drastically reducing the amount spent.

The honest mess in my pantry.

The plan: Use as many items in my fridge/freezer and pantry as I can.

Exceptions: I am allowed to purchase Milk, Bread/Wraps, fresh salad ingredients and fresh fruit (lunches and snacks). But ONLY when I’ve run out of the items we already have.

I have plenty of items to bake snacks for school – biscuits/cakes/slices, my freezer has enough meat and misc. items in there, as does my pantry. There were some things I’ve purchased because they were for a recipe that I never made (Tamarind Paste anyone).

My normal grocery budget is $180/week to feed a family of 4 (2x adults, Miss 5 and Mr 4). Overall, I would love to cut that down if possible.

My Goals:

  •  To save as much money as possible from my grocery budget.
  • Stop unnecessary overspending.
  • Get creative with my recipes using food I currently have available.
  • Declutter my freezers (we have one fridge/freezer combo plus an additional freezer).
  • Declutter my pantry.
  • Become more intentional and smarter with my grocery shopping and hopefully get my budget down as much as possible.

What I will report back: Recipes used, actual money spent on purchasing groceries and what I bought, updated pictures of my pantry, a list of anything I’ve thrown out (because of out of date etc) and amazing discoveries (because who knows what’s actually in the freezer & pantry).

CHALLENGE: Look in your pantry and freezer – could it do with a clean out? Instead of throwing out and being wasteful, could you maybe skip a week (or 2) grocery shopping and save yourself some money? What difference would this make to your family?

Let’s bust this grocery budget!!!

Christine xx

Spiderman Cake Tutorial

As you would have seen from my post yesterday, Thursday was Mr L’s 4th Birthday. He loves all things Avengers/Superheroes. He originally wanted Spiderman for his cupcakes, and with the effort this one took I’m so glad that I saved my effort for this cake.Spiderman Cake 1-4.jpg

  1. First I baked the cake. I chose a Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake and baked in a rectangle brownie pan which was nice and deep (about 5cm).
  2. Once cooled. I printed out a colouring in page from Google. I just searched Spiderman Face Colouring Page and chose my favourite. I then re-sized in Microsoft Word to fit an A4 page, printed and then cut it out.
  3. Placed the piece of paper on the cake and then trimmed the cake using a serrated edge knife.
  4. Do this to both layers (if using 2, which I did)Spiderman Cake 5-6.jpg.
  5. Chocolate Cream layer in between cake layers. To make this I put some thickened cream into my bowl (maybe about 200-300ml), 1 tablespoon each of cocoa powder and icing sugar and whipped until stiff. This was kind of an accidental genius moment as the result tasted like chocolate mousse and it was DELICIOUS!!!!! Put the second cake layer on top.
  6. Crumb Coat. I used Wilton’s buttercream recipe for my icing most of the time. Otherwise I just use regular butter in a packet and icing sugar with a splash of milk and play with the quantities until I’m happy with the consistency. The Crumb Coat isn’t supposed to be neat, and it isn’t supposed to be pretty, it’s designed to suck up and stick in the crumbs so that your top layer can be beautiful and smooth with no crumbs showing. Cover the cake and all the sides in icing, Spiderman Cake 7.jpgit doesn’t have to be a thick layer of icing, just thin enough to catch those crumbs, then put in the fridge for at least half an hour or so. Yes, it’s a pain in the bum step, but you’ll be glad you have done this when you get that perfect smooth crumb-free final look! You won’t regret it – I promise!!! I do this even if I’m piping on the cake instead of wanting a smooth finish, as it helps the piping stick to the cake.
  7. Now it’s time for your final icing layer – I use the angled spatula that you can see, it’s so much easier to get that awesome smooth look. See that beautiful finish…. isn’t it pretty?? Spiderman Cake 8-11.jpg
  8. To get the web placement right I used my wire cake leveller but you could use a knife, floss, clean fishing line etc to lightly mark your cake in sections.
  9. Now, here is where the hard work starts and your muscles get a work out. I used Wilton Black Sparkle Gel for the web. I used a skewer in the end to poke the hole as opposed to cutting the end off the tip for a finer result. Follow the lines you’ve made in step 8.
  10. Next do the little dips in between each part of the web Spiderman 11.1.jpguntil the top is covered. Mine isn’t perfect, but the end result is effective. This is the part where I put the cake back in the fridge because my arms were killing me.
  11. Next follow your lines down the side, start at the bottom and work your way up until you’ve finished all the way around. I kept telling myself it will be worth it in the end. My arm muscles certainly got a workout anyway 😉 Spiderman Cake 12-14.jpg
  12. Next is the eyes. I have made Marshmallow Fondant before and if you are completely covering a cake I highly recommend it! The taste is amazing and sooooo much better flavouring then the store bought stuff. Although, if you need black, purchase it. I have tried and tried again to successfully make black and it always turns out grey. I have been told to purchase the black powder, but am yet to try this. These fondants are purchased. I went back to my print out and cut out the eyes (but don’t throw out the face yet). Roll out the fondant (use icing sugar on baking paper and continue to move it as you’re rolling it out to keep it workable and not sticking to anything). Use a sharp knife to cut around the paper (I have a little tool that I use that is like a super small knife one end and a point at the other end)
  13. Trim the paper again and do the same with the white.
  14. Almost finished with the eyes…. Use water lightly on your finger to clean off the icing sugar and stick the white fondant to the black. Don’t use too much, it’s better to not use enough and add to it, you can’t take it back. Also, wash your hands after you touch the black – every. time. Trust me on this. It’s tricky to get black fingerprints off white fondant. It’s possible, but I prefer not to do it.
  15. Last step….. can you hardly believe it?!? Use the original face with the eyes to cut out to work out roughly where the eyes should sit. DON’T lay it down on the cake,  just hover it over and get a rough idea. spiderman-cake-completeEnd result – Mr L LOVED IT!!!!! (I also had to make him a Spiderman outfit to wear to dinner, he thought his Lego Spiderman was so cool!

I’ll do more step-by-steps as I do more cakes and cupcakes throughout the year. Hope these inspire you to make your own cakes, even if they aren’t perfect, the kids still love them and I bet they won’t even notice or remember the imperfections, they’ll just remember that super cool Spiderman Cake you created with love.

Christine xx

 

Cupcake Decorating #1

Thursday was my little man’s 4th Birthday. This time has just flown by, but one thing I do love doing every year is making my kids birthday cakes.

First is the cupcakes from Pre-Prep Wednesday. Spiderman was the request, looking back, I’m so glad that I didn’t go down this track. His main birthday cake was Spiderman and it took a LONG time.

I used my go-to cake recipe for all my vanilla cakes from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. I have the revised anniversary edition and it’s in a very loved condition hehe so I had to take a photo from google, but I remember my mum baking me cakes from this exact book. It’s full of memories and hope to pass those memories onto my own children! the-australian-women-s-weekly-children-s-birthday-cake-book.jpg

But, if you aren’t a make-from-scratch kinda person, then I have also used the 75c packets of Butter Cake mix from Coles or Woolworths, and these work perfectly fine (I also usually put in an extra 2-3 tablespoons of Self-Raising Flour just to bulk it out and be the consistency I prefer). Now, back to the decorating.

I use the Wilton Colour Gel as it gets an amazing colouring that I just can’t achieve with the Queens Colouring in those bottles (you all know what I’m talking about). For the cupcakes I’ve used Royal Blue for one batch and Leaf Green for the second, for the icing i used Christmas Red & Royal Blue. I decided against Spiderman as I had run out of time, so using my Wilton 2D piping tip I piped from the outside in going upwards as I went (Similar to a soft serve ice cream cone but nowhere near as tall). These went down well with the kids. Cupcakes.jpg

Tomorrow I will do an in-depth post on my Spiderman cake in step-by-step form.

Christine xx

PS: The photo’s in my feature image are all cupcakes I’ve done over the last few years. I’ll be slowly adding tutorials as to how I’ve created these effects over time.

 

What’s in your bag?

When writing the draft for this I had “maybe clean out the bag first, or don’t and be 100% honest that it isn’t neat haha” so guess what I went for??

In the spirit of keeping my blog true to myself and to my readers, I decided to dump my bag and show you what you can find in there on a fairly regularly (let’s be generous and say monthly) basis.whats-in-my-bag-beforeYes, here is the 100% honest version of exactly what’s in my bag. The messy pile items vary day-to-day/week-to-week, but basically I had my sons thongs that were hurting his feet, so purchased new ones and was meaning to take these out when we got to the car. Done groceries and thongs were promptly forgotten, McDonald’s toy from the movie Sing, random receipts & rubbish, an old script, used iTunes voucher and Flybuys vouchers.

So after doing a quick, much-needed clean out, here is actually what SHOULD be in my bag on a daily basis (Note to self: throw out those receipts!!!):whats in my bag after.jpg

  1. My Handbag (obviously) ~ It’s a Chanel that my husband bought back for me from Dubai when he visited with his family, I had to stay at home with the kids as we thought they were too young to travel at the time, luckily we did as he had a 7 hour unexpected wait in Singapore so was travelling for over 24 hours – with 2 kids, yeahhhh NO! lol So I like to think it’s authentic, so we’ll go with that 😉
  2. Kikki K Planner in Large ~ This planner has everything I absolutely need in it. It’s basically my brain. Sometimes I will carry it in my bag with me, other times, it will stay in the car and I’ll take out what I need. I guess it depends on whether I am going to be sitting down (e.g.: going for coffee with friends, watching the kids play at the playground etc) as sometimes something pops up, or we are arranging the next meet-up or inspiration hits. This way it’s right there and I can write it down immediately. I’ll be doing a flip through planner set up post in the near future.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite & Handmade Carrier ~ I’m loving my Kindle. I do take this with me everywhere I go as I can read when I am able to. It saves me carrying around a book or 2 as sometimes I feel like reading a self improvement book, other times I love losing myself in some fiction. The Cinderella Kindle Pouch was made by myself on my embroidery machine. I LOVE it. It’s padded so it protects my kindle when thrown in my bag. Sometimes I just throw my phone and some cash in here and carry the pouch on it’s own.
  4. Laura Jones Wallet ~ I saw this design and fell in love. I umm’d and ahh’d about it because 1. I had a handmade wallet that was ok, but not perfect, but maybe I could make a new one that was and 2. It’s mostly white….. I must say however, that the white has held up remarkably well and I don’t regret the purchase at all. It has PLENTY of space for all my cards, I can put my phone in there and carry it as is if I want and it has a separate section for those not-as-often-used cards.
  5. Keys ~ What can you really say about keys, here’s my roller door button, I drive a Mazda 6 Diesel Sedan/Hatch, it also has my house keys. Ohhhh exciting.
  6. Finally, my iPhone 6 ~ Yes, I’m an Apple girl. I love my iPhone and have been using one since the 3 come out, and last year I upgraded to a MacBook Air for my laptop. I love the connectivity between devices. Unfortunately I no longer have a pretty case on my phone as a result of having this funny habit of dropping my phone and the skill to manage to drop it at just the right angle to smash my screen costing me $$$ 😦 (once I even managed to close my iPhone 5s in the door while it was in my jumper pocket, resulting in a shattered screen and a bent phone, yep, I have skills) So ugly Otterbox case it is.

So, there you have it. My real-life What’s in My Bag? post. The brutally, embarassing showcase of what happens when your a mum. So when you see the other posts that look like a flat-lay for a magazine, and wish your handbag looks like that, don’t be scared, you aren’t alone.

Today’s Challenge: Are you brave enough to take a brutally honest photo of What’s in Your Bag?? (Or am I completely alone in the mess?)

Christine xx

We’re all going on a Summer Holiday

Packing for a holiday can be tricky. It is an unavoidable part of taking a trip though. So here’s a little something I utilise for kids clothes that makes mine (and their) lives so much easier. And all it takes is a little planning and several of 1 item – a large Ziplock bag!


This was what I need for Mr L (almost 4). I pack enough clothes for 1 week (we are going longer, but will wash in that time). 

Generally I pack:

  • 7 pairs of jocks
  • 7 shorts
  • 7 shirts
  • 4 spare pairs of jocks 
  • 2 sets of pj’s
  • A set of swimmers
  • Jumper
  • Jeans
  • Set of nice going out clothes and another pair of jocks

Get out a pile of large ziplock bags. 

  • 7 bags – In each bag put in 1 shirt, 1 shorts and 1 jocks – that’s now 7 days of decisions made. All he has to do is grab one bag and his clothes for the day is in there.
  • 1 bag – For pj’s and spare jocks. 
  • 1 bag – Jumper and jeans. 
  • 1 bag – swimmers
  • 1 bag – good clothes and another pair of jocks and socks (because he’ll definitely be wearing shoes with this outfit)


All bagged up and ready to pack.



Both kids (Miss S and Mr L) get the same treatment with packing. They can now easily find what they need because it’s all set in bags. I also threw in extra socks in case they were wearing shoes if we go to theme parks or walking etc. but it all fits much easier doing things this way. The ziplock bags act as a “vacuum pack” of sorts and works really well to fit in more then enough for our holidays. 

Yay for packing hacks.

Christine xx