The older I get the more I turn into a grumbler…


I whinge about leaving doors open, letting the heat escape from the house, I moan about wearing shoes indoors, I moan about shopping at expensive supermarkets when the cheap ones fair just as well.

I really don’t like wasting money.

But behind my moaning is a sensible approach.

Take my latest bugbear…

We went away for the weekend recently, and I know I turned off the heating and water before jumping in the car.  However when we came home I walked into a beautiful toasty house where every radiator was aglow.

My husband swears he didn’t overrule me, but I think the red in his cheek came from more than the heat.

Heating an empty house is like burning money in my opinion and yet with set heating times it seems almost impossible to avoid.

That is until now….

Today I heard about Hive.

A new app designed for people like me!

It lets you control your heating remotely, from wherever you are!


You don’t need to change your energy supplier, you do need to pay a one-off fee of £199, but I reckon I could easily recoup this within six months by having remote access control to the heating and hot water.

Hive is so clever that it can even notify you when you reach a certain temperature in the house.


Caught in an unexpected rainstorm in the shops at four pm, your hotwater doesn’t normally come on until seven pm, but you are due out at six. Hive solves this dilemma easily by allowing you to get the hot water on using your phone, leaving you free to fight with the umbrella and get home fast to climb into a steaming hot bath.

This short video displays lots of times when a clever little app like Hive can come in handy.

For more details on Hive, have a look at their website.

How it works

A person who knows what they are doing (an engineer) comes to your home (as part of the £199 set up fee) and plugs a ‘hub’ into your broadband router so your thermostat can connect to the internet and be remote controlled.

This clever little box simply plugs into your broadband router so that your thermostat can connect to the internet and be controlled remotely. Your qualified engineer will plug the hub into your router as part of the installation process.

Then you can download the app for free, managing your hot water and heating from wherever you are.

But that is not all…

The Hive hub automatically turns on frost protection when you turn your heating off, plus you can preset your preferred temperatures for speed and ease.

Nice and funky!

One way to combat increasing energy prices, is to get smarter about your usage, I am going to be that with my new Hive heating!

I am terribly over excited, never again will the other half heat the house when we are out for the weekend.

In association with Hive



BB squealed in delight recently when a large box appeared at our door.  It was sent by Rosetta Stone, who are mixing up languages and Christmas this year.  They have kindly set up a free coupon to learn German in six months, watch this space, and a real challenge – a make your own cracker set!

I am not a natural crafter, in fact I shudder at the sight of scissors, glue and sparkly things, but being thrifty, I decided to give it a go….

Check out these beauties!

Impressive eh!

Made by me, BB and BB’s Godmother – who unfortunately suffered a scissor related craft injury through BB’s ‘enthusiasm’ with the cutting element of the crafting!

You want more?

 I am willing to bet the lovely Maggie from RedTedArt is worried that there is a new craft blogger in town….

And now, all I have to do is learn German!

In today’s well connected world, our mobile plans can feature as a regular expense. Most of us are willing to pay a small fee on a regular basis for the privilege of being able to stay in touch with our loved ones wherever we go.

The trouble is that it’s easy for our phone bills to get out of hand if we’re not careful. With so much on offer on the market, it can be hard to whittle our bills down.

Here, we take a look at a few things we can do to bag a bargain when it comes to choosing our mobile plan.

Photo credit 

Wait for a deal

Prices fluctuate in the mobile market as much as they do anywhere else. With savings to be made and deals to be snapped up, there’s no sense in being impatient when the time comes to shop for a new plan.

As well as reduction to the price tag, you can expect to find added bonuses to your plan. One such bonus is the double points offer run by Sainsbury’s on their mobile plans. This is part of their winter deal which will upgrade customers from a £10 bundle to a £20 bundle free of charge.

Their double nectar points offer can also help families save as much as £180 – something which the Mobile by Sainsbury’s infographic has discovered is enough to buy a whopping 200 loaves of bread … talk about knowing what side your bread is buttered on!

This is far from the only mobile phone deal on the market though so researching all available options is highly recommended. This article – Christmas 2013: Best Pay As You Go Mobile Phone Offers – might be worth a read if you’re looking for more advice and ideas.

Track your usage

The key to spending as little as possible lies in knowing the amount that you need. It could be worth using your phone freely for a few months and then tracking your usage to see what you rack up.

When you have an idea of the minutes, texts and data which you require, you’ll be well placed to seek a deal which offers you exactly that amount. Tracking extra charges and use should be simple using internet banking. According the BBC, an increasing number of people are already using their phones to check their accounts and this means that this is a change you’ll find easy to make when turning your attention to your mobiles.

Compromise on your handset

The price you pay for a mobile plan can vary astronomically, depending on what you include with the purchase. One of the factors which has the largest sway on the price is the handset which you choose to include in your deal and it may be worth compromising here.

The difference between entry level handsets and those on the cutting edge is considerable – both in terms of spec and price. While there’s no sense in depriving yourself of features which you’d use on a regular basis, it’s true to say that few of us need to be on the cutting edge or own a top-of-the –range flagship model.

Consider sacrificing a few of the latest features and you could well see yourself making a dramatic saving on the price you pay each month for a phone. Ask yourself whether you’d use the features being advertised and consider whether they’re worth the increase in price.

If the answer is no, look at a cheaper, lower grade model or consider opting for refurbished units which are often cheaper to buy. Make sure you check what warranty you get with these though as they may differ from that of a brand new handset.

In assoication with Sainsburys

Christmas can turn from being a fabulous festive holiday into a commercial, over inflated nightmare which leaves your purse empty and January a very long month.
Like any parent I love to give my children things to make them smile and I adore spoiling my nieces, nephews and godchildren.
But I don’t want to break the bank.
So when Sports Direct approached me to take part in their Christmas Challenge, I leapt at the chance.
Look what I got for £50…

An impressive haul, and lots of presents ticked off on my list.

The clock will make Twin Boy’s day, as he is an Arsenal fanatic like his Dad.  The Minnie Mouse set will delight BB and my eldest daughter will love her new cuddly doggy pillow.

How cute are the Hello Kitty headphones (and ear muffs).

So if you are looking for somewhere to get your stocking fillers, I highly recommend you get your skates on and zoom down to Sports Direct and get your mitts on some bargains.

And yes, you are right – you did spot Play Doh in the mix…..

Disclosure: We were gifted the items from Sports Direct for the purpose of this review.

If you are my children don’t read this.
I mean it, turn away now.
Are they gone?


Check out this beauty….

My kids are huge Harry Potter fans and will be ecstatic to find this leaning against the tree come Christmas morning.  And although Santa will claim the credit, we really owe a huge thank you to the company.
They sent the twins this fab bit of Potter magic to hang on their wall and for anyone else looking to treat their kids this Christmas (or grown up relatives) you may want to check out their site.
You can find images from Hollywood like…


You can also purchase beautiful scenic images like this beautiful one of the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

Or go classic, and have a bit of Monet on your wall.

Or go wild and put one of your own images onto canvas.

These make great, really unique presents that can become a focal point in the home.

To deliver something different this Christmas, check out