The summer holidays are approaching.  I have heard on the grapevine that gin is disappearing off the supermarket shelves like brandy at Christmas.

It can be an expensive time.

Fear not.

I have compiled a list of ways to survive the summer with the kids without spending a fortune, or at least more than the cost of a couple of bottles of gin.


Save it – I am told that keeping your rubbish can be a great way to entertain the kids.  My friend Maggie, over at RedTedArt, can make a masterpiece from loo rolls.

My approach is a little different…

When I say save your rubbish, I mean save your egg cartons.  If you focus, start early and beg from friends, by the time the holidays roll around you will be able to cover your bedroom wall in egg cartons, creating a sound proof haven.

When the holidays hit hard, grab a glass of Gordon’s, hit your inner sanctuary and stay hidden until you feel calm once more.

It is thrifty because it doesn’t cost a penny!

Get active.

Fields are free.  Find one, pop the kids at one end, and leg it to the other end.  Take a hip-flask, some tonic and a slice and wait to be found.  Once found, take them back to the top and start again.

Join the library.

Reading is good, but they also have films.  TV for kids is like funny cigarettes for students.  It creates a zombie like focus with sudden bursts of giggles.  One and a half hours of quiet for them and sheer peace for you.  Gin is optional, but I recommend it.

Go see the family.

Relatives make super babysitters.

Go for walks.

Leave the kids with relatives.

Encourage playdates.

At other peoples houses.

Play at being a Victorian Household.

Make them the maids.

Teach them a form of cooking.

Try make your own beer – fun for all the family.

Enjoy your thrifty summer

For possibly more serious ideas check out the lovely Becky and Cass – they will help you through…

Or you can just buy more gin.

It is glorious.

The whole of the UK has a lighter feel to it, happiness is literally pouring through the rivers, the sun makes this country a better place to live.

Plus it makes it cheaper to have fun.

This weekend has been marvellous.  We spent the day basking, and sweating, in the sun.  The kids played and frolicked at my son’s Football presentation.  We drank cheap wine from Aldi and snacked on home made sandwiches and fruit.   We sat whilst the children tore around the grass, hiding behind trees, safe but out of sight.

It was a rare privilege for my three children.  I am not a free range parent, whilst I love the idea of it.  I worry that monsters hide on street corners, I see the devil in the dark as I call my children in from play.  If they cycle round the block I follow behind shouting cheerful *cough* instructions as I battle to ignore the image in my head of a car mounting the kerb and taking out my family.

So yesterday, yesterday was good.

We camped.

I am not a fan of camping, but it was free, so a tick in my thrifty living box.

To be honest, the wine helped, and I delayed actually getting into my tent until the midnight hour struck.

We took two tents, my husband and I, his was a nice green pop up tent, room for two airbeds and a bit of a porch at the front.  Mine, was bright pink with Hello Kitty slapped on the side, tall inside, no room to swing a dead cat.  Its key advantage being that I could never get confused about which tent was mine.

I shared with my toddler, the other half got the twins.

The little one slept fine, I felt like I had slept on a half full water bed with a leak.  My bladder was full from 2am, but a combination of fear, a long walk, and no contacts in my eyes meant I simply had to suffer in silence.  When I say silence, I mean silence punctuated by drunk male snores from our neighboring tents.

A friend told me, the joy of camping is that the kids stay up late and then sleep in.  They went to bed at eleven and got up at seven.

I really hate camping.

Free range yes, the fact it cost nothing and the kids adored it was fantastic.  The feeling of my own sweat sticking to my skin, the absence of sleep, and the inability to fart without a whole row of people hearing meant I missed out on the personal fun factor.

Still it was thrifty, and for the most part, fab.

How are you enjoying the sunshine?


I grew up in the north where Dads looked after the boys and Mums took care of the girls but still I idolised my father.  When I close my eyes and dream of youth, I remember cycling along river beds with him, helping him count out pennies in the family store and a beam stretches across my face when I recall him chasing my friends and me in the garden after a hard day at work.

Dads seem to have the ability to make fabulous memories. View Post

Officially I am rubbish at being thrifty, despite best intentions and all that I have failed in the most recent month to make significant cutbacks – I do however have a good tan from my recent exploits in Portugal.  So June is all about starting to take a thrifty life more seriously.  So far I have meal planned, shopped at Aldi and have turned down two invites to go out on the razzle – all counts right? View Post