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

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.




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.