Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer Work

I qualified as a teacher a year ago and was very lucky to find work for a year in a school. The position was not permanent and I am looking again for September. This means although I have long summer holidays I don't get paid and as I hope to work in education again come September I don't want work with any permanence.

So, to finance myself and keep myself entertained I work at summer camps. There are loads out there, from local camps to residential camps in the most wonderful of places. As a teacher I work in educational summer camps or schemes, but it doesn't matter if your background isn't in education there are plenty of different in positions available.

I get my food and accommodation covered and get to spend my free time in one of the most beautiful places around. It is something I love doing, I get to meet new people and get to do some nice touristy things in my free time. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a frugal holiday this summer. You can work locally, nationally or internationally. Now, most camps will have filled up on staff (but you never know, it can't hurt to ask and even just get on the radar for next year) but if those long leisurely summer afternoons are actually a lot more boring than you intended this is definitely something to think about for next year

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Zombie Apocalypse Part 2

My brother really took to the Zombie Apocalypse idea. His exams were coming up and I wanted to do a little something to help keep stress to a minimum. So I created an exam or zombie apocalypse survival kit (depending on which occurred first)
I made this kit knowing what he likes and with an eye to helping out a student who would be spending a lot of time cramming! I put in a lot of tinned things (easy prep, high nutritional value, ease of storage - great for a healthy study break or surviving an apocalypse) The box mostly contained non-perishables, some nuts, some lucozade, some chewing gum and some berocca.
I added a note to each item explaining why they were useful for a studying student and for a survivor. Examples: Peanuts Exams- Great source of protein; slow release of energy and a little salty kick to get you through your exam
Zombies: Great source of protein and long lasting, portable - great for someone on the run from zombies.
Chewing Gum: Exams: Proven to help with cognitive ability to help get those juices flowing in the exam
Zombies: When you can't find the time to brush your teeth chewing gum can help protect you in that post apocalyptic world when dentists aren't easy to come-by. Also should the worst happen you would still want to be the best zombie you can be, you will need to look after those teeth!
My brother loved it and it was a easy way for me to help someone out who would not otherwise have excepted groceries from me. It is also just a fun way to pack up food for a student or a young person starting out. You can add things up weekly (non-perishables) with your own groceries and make up the kit quite easily. You can add other things, such as batteries and toiletries. I just hand-wrote the notes on scraps of paper. I added a letter and a picture.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


I have never been one for New Year's resolutions - but taking the lead from a few of my favourite blogs I thought I might write down a few goals for 2013.
I hope to complete my NQT induction program (It involves a few workshops and hours of work carried out at school)
I hope to get a little more involved in extra-curricular activities. (I will be taking over the science club, so will need to make sure I can come up with fun ideas)
I hope to find a job for next year (my current job runs until the end of the school year)
I also hope to get something lined up for the summer months, although I would like a holiday I do not want to eat into my savings over the summer.
I hope to build up on my savings, due to Christmas and a few unexpected expenses I have had to eat into my reserves - new year -new me. I need to do a bit more cutting back and a little more extra work to build up my emergency fund.
I hope to be able to run 5k by the summer.
I would like to loose a stone, and feel a little healthier
I would like to de clutter quite a bit. (I am currently between several houses and have way too much stuff) 
I would like to take on a course of some kind, or learn a new skill
I would like to be a better swimmer
I would like to get better at selling things on ebay (I might wait until the summer months for this)

That is actually quite a list! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

That's a wrap

Wrapping paper and keeping warm

Wrapping paper
I have always leaned towards the non-traditional when it comes to wrapping paper.  I don't like to waste money on something that is supposed to be torn apart.
Alternatives to wrapping paper:

Dish towels

They become part of the present (particularly good if the present is food/kitchen based)

Newspapers/Comic Strips

I like to collect international papers when ever I get the chance. I was working with a guy from China who's mother sent him over copies of his local paper he gave them all to me when he was finished and I wrapped all my Christmas presents -  my Brother's girlfriend actually thought I had bought it as legitimate wrapping paper.

I always save the comics section of any newspaper I come across - this is great gift wrap for Children (big and small) all year round.

Music Posters 

I use promotional posters for teenagers and twenty somethings. To be honest it doesn't really matter who the band/performer is. They usually love it anyway

Grease Proof Paper 

Some people don't always appreciate the more DIY approach to wrapping. It doesn't quite sit well with their home decor. Usually my opinion would be to leave them off my Christmas list. But there is always someone that is just too picky - My response use an even DIYier approach.

Wrap the gift in grease proof or baking paper that you have decorated yourself. A few holy leaves and some red ribbon can actually look quite designer!

Here's a link of a more upscale approach

Old maps 
Particularly useful for those who enjoy travelling or an outdoor lifestyle. Even if you don't have old maps lying around you can usually pick them up for pennies in a charity shop.

Wrapping up and keeping warm
One of the best things you can do is layer your clothing. If I know I will be working around the house, or more importantly sitting in front of my laptop or school work for any length of time I layer it up.

This might seem like a very simple thing to do, but I find it really helps. Tracksuit bottoms, t-shirt, vest and a cosy jumper (preferably a hoodie) usually does the trick.

*If you are sitting in the one place for a long time try and give yourself a 2-3 minute break every 30-45 minutes - get up and make yourself a cup of tea, or even just do a few laps of the house/room

If you are using central heating - USE YOUR TIMER 
There is no point in having the heat on full blast right until you go to bed. You should actually "power-down" your heating particularly at night, this will actually make it easier to fall asleep. The dropping temperature is one of the natural triggers to let your body know it is suppose to go to sleep

Gloves - fingerless gloves

I love gloves and sleeves - fingerless gloves let me work away unhindered on my laptop or at my corrections. Sleeves keep my wrists warm when I am working between in doors and out and still leave me without hindrance


I don't get much use out of these myself, but they are great for people who have poor circulation. They are reusable, a very convenient size and a great thing for people to have when they are out and about.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Zombie Apocalypse

A few of my friends and I have a love of Zombies. Zombies in books, films and TV shows (yes I have even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.) What, you might ask has that got to do with frugality. Well, we sometimes chat about what you would we do should there be a Zombie apocalypse. And one thing that always crops up is a well stocked pantry with dry goods and tinned items. Much like any frugal pantry really.
So, my brother and I set a challenge: Cook and eat like there has been an apocalypse of some kind for one week. Tinned and longlife items only. I know most frugal chefs would recognise this for what it is - a pantry challenge, but I had to spice it up for my brother, who does nothing frugally when it come to food.

I will try and keep you posted with a few recipes - all the food has to be cooked on a stove top (as per apocalyptic conditions)

This might sound crazy as an idea, but really it is just the simple pantry challenge with tweek to bring in non-frugal foodies. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Frugal Entertaining

The meal, the company - the ambience - youtube playlist For those who believe broadband is no a necessity ( I spent two months without it this year - I felt like I had returned to the stoneage
Tis the season - or almost anyway!

As the nights get longer, darker and colder there is nothing better than having friends and family over for a nice meal and an evenings entertainment (board games, charades, cards - get them out!!) 
People's taste in Christmas music varies (or even having Christmas music at all) but one very simple way to cater to any event is a youtube playlist - make your own or use someone else's (any theme for a playlist you can think of - it has already been done)

A favourite of mine is actually radio plays (specifically A Christmas Carol when it gets to this time of year) I put them on, even when we have children over, you would be surprised how quickly they become enraptured! 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Winter Motivation 2

Hi, I have really been struggling with getting out and getting going. Between the weather and my lack of will power I haven't been too good. Luckily one of my colleagues came up with a very fun and frugal way to get fit. Her local football team have been trying to drum up a few more recruits - now I have absolutely no hand eye coordination, but she promised me that they really were desperate to have a few more bodies on the squad.

So I have started training with them, luckily for me they are training in a local gym for the winter. So I'm getting a very intense work out, lots of fun with the girls and all of it for free (I will eventually have to pay them back by publicly embarrassing myself on the pitch in the new year, but that will all be in good time)

The first training session was intense, a mixture of spin, kick boxing and suspension training with a little bit of a core work out at the end. I will admit I may have come close to collapsing, but I survived and actually enjoyed the variety. I will be back again next week and hopefully have kicked up my own jogging routine in-between