How to save yourself a fortune

Camel Camel Camel – Amazon Price Tracker

I love Amazon. I’ve worked out that I’ve been using Amazon for 10 years! Wow! How did we live without the internet? I’m not a big fan of shopping. I normally know exactly what I want which is why I like Amazon so much. Most people are aware that Amazon fluctuate their prices, but unless you have the time to track each item every day, there’s no way of knowing the logic to that fluctuation. Now you don’t need to worry about it, because Camel Camel Camel shows you the price of every single product on Amazon for the past two years AND it allows you to set up alerts when a product reaches the price you are prepared to pay for it. I LOVE it! I’ve found some real bargains for Christmas already using Camel Camel Camel and I haven’t even needed to brave Festival Place! lol.

Remember the Milk

I came across this via one of my favourite blogs, The Simple Dollar. Although Trent is American he has some brilliant insights that are just as valuable to us in the UK. I’ve been using the Google Task option in Google Calendar to review my “To Do List” but I never really got on with it. I tried Remember the Milk out last week when we were on holiday and it’s AMAZING! It’s a brilliant free little tool that is revolutionising my life! I love that it works on my iPhone, iPAD and PC, although the web version isn’t particularly intuitive. I’m particularly enamoured with the email reminder which emails you at a time you specify,  all the things on your task list for the day.

If you need a bit of organisation in your life and your To Do List is spiraling out of control, this is the tool for you!

Clarks Shoe Fitting Service – Online Appointment Booking!

I found out recently that you can book online for Shoe Fittings at most Clarks stores. I tried it out for the store in Hatch Warren Mothercare during the October Half Term and it worked a treat! No hanging around and waiting for other people to finish their appointments. Just turn up at the slot you’ve booked and 15 minutes later out the door. That’s the kind of service that I love, even if the shoes do cost a FORTUNE!

  • Appointments are available in Clarks stores only.
  • Appointments are 15 minutes per child. If you book an appointment for multiple children, the appointments will be one after the other.
  • If you would like to book an appointment for today, please call the store directly, see our store locator for contact details.
  • Once you confirm your appointment, you will receive an email confirming the details and a reminder email the day before your appointment.
  • If you have saved your mobile number in your account, you will receive a text message to confirm your appointment booking and a text message reminder the day before your appointment.
  • If you have any questions about your store appointment, please call our friendly Customer Care team on 0844 248 8408.

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

I love these two posts for alternative wrapping paper. Great if you want to do something a bit different with your wrapping this year:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2011/12/10/wrapping-paper-alternatives/

Stocking Fillers

I’m always stuck for Stocking Fillers. I don’t like buying cheap plastic toys or items that I know will end up in landfill. I like filling our stockings (yes, the husband still gets one!) on behalf of Father Christmas (just in case anyone still believes :-D)  with food because I think that’s more sustainable and less likely to get thrown away. I do love the odd silly toy of course but the less stuff that goes in the bin, the better my daughters future might be!

http://www.bambinogoodies.co.uk/stocking-fillers-smellies/?%2Btheir%2Bdiscerning%2Bparents%29

http://babybudgeting.co.uk/find-me-a-gift-cracking-christmas-stocking-fillers/

Quidco

In the run up to Christmas it’s worth checking out Quidco again as you can make a bit of money back on your purchases.

Official School Holiday Website

I’ve seen several people asking for confirmation of when the school holidays are. Click HERE for the official website to details of school holidays.

That’s it for this month! Hope it’s helpful.

Random Friday Post – Things I’ve learnt recently

As it’s Friday, today’s post is going to be filled with a few random things, that don’t constitute a full post of their own. I’ve learnt a lot about parenting over the past six months and I’ve built on what I’ve already learnt.

Slow Cookers

Yup, it’s slow cooker season again. Yippeee!!! Although, to be honest, we haven’t stopped using ours! I indulged and bought a slow cooker recipe book and it’s been brilliant. We use the slow cooker at least once a week and I try to ensure that we have as much variety of meals using the slow cooker so I’ve been branching out. A friend told me that you can make a lasagna in your slow cooker! I’ve found a recipe but haven’t tried it yet as I feel it’s still a bit advanced. However, I also found a recipe for making muffins in the slow cooker, so I want to try that soon. Check out my post earlier in the year about why I love my Slow Cooker.

Ace gentle

An experienced Mum told me about Ace Gentle. I was moaning about how I could never get stains out of whites and didn’t want to use bleach. Her children always look immaculate in whites so I asked her what her secret was. She willingly shared the joy of Ace Gentle with me. It’s fantastic. My little one’s bibs have been revolutionised and her white tops are still white! It doesn’t get every stain out completely but I’ve found that if I hang clothes out on a sunny day, it gets the majority of the stain out. Much better than anything else I’ve tried.

Evernote

I’m still completely addicted to Evernote. I use it for everything, from recording warranty details on new items, for work, for NHM, and for organising our daily lives. I love that I can sync it to my phone, iPad and computer and you don’t have to be connected to the internet for it to work. Only for it to sync. It really is my portable brain.

Dropbox

I use Dropbox for the same reason I use Evernote. It’s easy to use and I can sync it to all of my devices. I used it in April  to store pdf versions of our passports when we went abroad. I use it to store any word or excel documents that I might want easy access too.

9 Ways to get your husband to help around the house

I probably shouldn’t share this, but it did make me snigger!

Nappies

We’ve always used Pampers nappies. I tried some eco ones early on but they weren’t very good and leaked everywhere. I wanted to get some reusable nappies but didn’t know enough about it and didn’t know if we could justify the initial outlay.

We were using the main Pampers brand nappies but I’ve discovered that Simply Dry Pampers nappies are pretty much the same as the Expensive Pampers brand, just half price. I haven’t had any incidents of them leaking yet and the only difference seems to be in the thickness of the nappy and the marketing image on the front of the nappy. Otherwise, they seem to be exactly the same.

I’ve also discovered that swimming nappies come apart. Why did no one tell me this beforehand? Even my husband didn’t know this! This was a huge revelation. We’ve both been using them as pull up nappies since my little one started swimming at 3 months old. Big DUH to us that we only found it out, literally on the day she turned 18 months! lol. Now we know that we can tear the side of the nappy to get them off. This also goes for pull up nappies, which we tried recently but I hated because they were a nightmare to get off. It’s always the simple things that make such a difference!! lol.

What are the things that you’ve learnt recently that you think might help other parents?

Christmas Planning 2012

I really don’t want to scare you, but it’s 74 days (Xmas Clock) to Christmas. Yup, that’s less than 3 months. Eek! Feels like we’ve only just finished the Summer Holidays, so how can it nearly be Christmas!!?!?!

In my effort to try to make your life a little bit easier, last year I came across a lot of really good blog posts that I thought would be useful to share with you. There are some ideas about Christmas planning, how to not spend a fortune over the Christmas holidays and some ideas about being ethically conscious during the festive season. Some of the posts come from American blogs, but I don’t think this makes them any less valuable, as I always think that our cousins over the pond seem to be better at Christmas than we are!

I hope you find them interesting and helpful, especially the ones related to planning for Christmas!

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 1

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 2

Plan your Peaceful Christmas: Task 3

Goal: Get Christmas Shopping Finished Early

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Frugal Christmas – top 5 recycling ideas for your gifts….

Christmas Countdown Checklists – (A NHM Reader (Thanks Gillian!) sent this through. Excellent website so I’ve included it here)

5 ways to slow down and embrace your holiday stories – (One of my favourite blogs of all time. I LOVE SimpleMom)

Some Thoughts about Holiday Cards

Should I cancel Christmas or would my children never forgive me and Santa?

How to avoid a Christmas spending splurge … using tips from a psychologist

Christmas Gift Guide – 30 days and counting (a bit early for this, I know!)

Celebrate Solstice

Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide

The Countdown To Christmas – Let The Preparations Begin!

New Mummy’s Tips Christmas 2011

An easy, no-frills advent calendar

Dealing with Holiday Leftovers

Charity at Christmas (I think this is a really, really great post)

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Free Santa letters….

Count down to Christmas with our children’s books Advent calendar – interactive

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Fun Stuff to do together….

9 of the Best Christmas Crackers under £10

Tips for making your Christmas more enjoyable, and more economical!

Here’s how to save money on Christmas presents and make your kids really want to spend time with their family

Things to Make and Do with Kids During Christmas Vacation

How to Entertain and Keep Costs Down During the Holidays