Staying in and playing with the kids can be expensive if you feel you have to buy the latest games and fill up the cupboards with the latest models of toys.  Adventure can be made without any fuss or spending and I can guarantee the kids will thrive on playing on normal household objects.

Take the humble bed for example.

Indoor trampolining on a naked mattress is one way my kids get their kicks, they can spend hours trying to headbutt the light fitting and I am always met with groans and moans when I announce it is time to make the bed.  However they all manage to disappear quickly when I ask for help to clothe the cushions.

The bed can also be converted into a dark and dangerous den, you can rip the duvet off the mattress and secure it between the bed frame and the wall (radiators come in handy here) Then cushions can be used to block out natural light and books and torches can be smuggled in for secret dentime reading.  Hours can be spent hiding in a cosy corner, creating new rooms, and trying your hand at den interior design, and it doesn’t cost a penny.

The bed can also be used as a ship on an angry ocean.  One foot off the mattress could be eaten by hungry piranhas, and always make sure you steer clear of the whale who hides underneath the frame.  Pirate can jump aboard and challenge you and you can delight in making them walk the plank into the murky depths below.

Making your own adventures in the home costs nothing, you simply need a bed, a mattress and a bit of imagination.

Much better than the latest fad.

This is an advertorial fab

What is it?

The SafeGrip rugged case and stand for the iPad is a bit of a godsend.

Put simply it is an ultra sturdy case for an iPad that makes it safe to live in a house with preschooler and over exuberant seven year olds.  We first got an iPad almost twelve months ago and within 12 hours of owning it my beloved then two year old daughter launched it out of the car window. It didn’t survive the fall.

When we saved enough pennies and spoke to the insurance man we invested in a new iPad, but the fear never left us.  What if she did it again?

We invested in a case but it never truly looked sturdy enough so when she gets her turn on the tablet I tend to be glued to her side.

The we were introduced to SafeGrip.

Features

Tough, padded protection against drops and bumps

Built to survive the outdoors, kids and shared-use environments

Protects screen against scratches and smudges

Handle for carrying, ideal for kids and prevents drops

Handle doubles as a stand with type and view modes

Built-in stylus holder and personalization pocket

Preserves access to all ports

Protects iPad 2 through iPad 4

Thoughts

We love it, the case gives us peace of mind, but also it works as a great stand so the iPad doubles as a TV screen when I am cooking in the kitchen.  My little one can carry the case with confidence using the handle but as parents we don’t feel like we are handling a toy.   It gets a big thumbs up from us.

How much is it?

The version my daughter is modeling above is £39.99 and can be purchased here.  It may sound expensive, however when you have seen your iPad smashed to smithereens on the floor it seems perfectly justified!

To anyone who likes their technology in one piece and has an energetic family like ours I would highly recommend.

We were sent a SafeGrip to review, all thought are my own.

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!)

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 www.brandalley.co.uk

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 www.trevella.co.uk.

My favourite dress shop, Curvety.com, 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.