Bodmin Jail, set in the middle of Cornwall, is a terrifying, yet gripping, family attraction which documents life in an eighteenth century jail.
It was featured on Most Haunted in 2005, and after spending a couple of hours exploring the six levels of spooky jail space, it is easy to see why Yvette Fielding declared it one of Britain scariest places to spend the night.

What is there?

The exhibition is set in three acres of the original jail which was built for King George III in 1779.  It details how the jail was built, how its purpose has changed over centuries and shares the history of some of its notorious inmates.

You can see an execution pit, stand in a cell (if you dare), and put your other half in the stocks.

Is it any good?

It is slightly terrifying.  The lower levels of the prison are dimly lit and creepy wax models of murderers and thieves stare at you from their cells.  As soon as you enter the cold overwhelms you and the hairs on the back of your neck begin to tremble.

It is devastatingly saddening when you read about women hanged for drowning their illegitimate babies.  You cannot help but feel a heart tug when you read stories of children imprisoned and flogged for stealing bread.  Then you taste disgust at cold hearted murderers who beat their wives with irons and tossed them in the fire to burn.

I thought the children would be scared and worried we had brought them to something inappropriate for their age.  However, they loved the exhibits, belly laughed at their father in the stalls and saw the exhibits as fantasy, unreal relics from a history that will never impinge on their present.

The only person really scared was me.  I stayed away from dark corners, shrank back from the statues, and although I found it utterly fascinating I was very happy to feel the sun on my face when we reached the exit.

Value for money

The tour cost £25 for my family of five and we spent 2.5 hours wandering around the dark cells and learning more about the 18th century British correction system.  It felt a fair price to pay and the whole family enjoyed the experience.
(Now I just hope those wax works don’t make it into my dreams!)

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My quest to be thrifty seems to be continuously thwarted by my non thrifty dreams.

Plus my eternal love of holidays.

But I do try to be thrifty on holiday, does that count?

We have just finished a very sensible, thrift led week in Cornwall, where dinner was eaten by sundown fresh from the BBQ and days out included many soggy sandwiches on the beach.

But I have just booked an extravagant stay!  My daughters have both been through the mill this year.  My eldest was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Halloween 2013, and my youngest is currently undergoing tests and MRI’s to ascertain the reason why she suffers from hypoglycemia.

As a family we need a break from the white walls of hospital and EuroDisney seems to be an ideal destination.

Ok – it is not thrifty – but I think the girls (plus my son) deserve a massive treat.

But I am going to do my best to visit France without spending a fortune.

We are not staying on Disney and have saved a fortune by booking a hotel close by that doesn’t have Mickey Mouse in residence.  For travel, I have secured a car, cheap car hire in France is nice and easy to arrange. It means we can get off the plane and drive straight to the hotel without any fuss.  As we are staying for five days we plan to spend 2-3 in Disney.  Then we plan on hopping in the car and spending some time sight-seeing around France.

Picnics are the plan for food in the day, plus a good breakfast to set us up for the day.  Tea will be planned and budgeted – if I give up wine we could save serious funds on the evening meal bill.

Lets not try to run before we can walk!

We will spend the anniversary of my daughters diagnosis in the Magic Kingdom.

I can’t think of a better place to be!

Living thrifty doesn’t always mean you have to give up everything you love.  Paying attention to sales, looking in second hand stores and using the internet to compare deals are great ways to cut down on your spending.

Here are a couple of deals that have caught my eye this week!

BrandAlley’s Original Penguin Kids sale is underway and finishes on July 28th – so hurry on and check out some of the beautiful items on offer (maybe it is time to start squirreling away stuff for Christmas?)  Find them at

Want a free holiday?

Well, you can get one if you gave birth on the same day as the Wills and Kate.  The fab folks down at our favourite holiday park in Cornwall, Trevella, are offering a free stay to be taken in September or October 2013 or in April, May and June 2014.  Find out more at

My favourite dress shop,, have a great sale on at the moment, so much so that my other half has banned me from looking!

Check out Debenhams for the last two days of 20% off and H&M have up to a whopping 70% off at the moment!

For more in depth retail sale details have a look here.  May not be as thrifty as second hand shopping, but sale shopping is at least making an effort!

Happy half price spending.




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?