From buns to bows and arrows, we’ve had an exciting week here in Suffolk.
We packed several outings and family occasions into the Easter weekend, before celebrating my birthday and the children’s return to school. It’s been all go, I tell you.
On Good Friday, cousins Jan, John and Lucy came round for lemon drizzle cake (that recipe is a winner, even if I do say so myself). We watched the racing at the Higham Point to Point on Easter Saturday, were invited over to the grandparents on Easter Sunday, visited Ickworth on Easter Monday and went out for my birthday meal on Tuesday night. School restarted on Wednesday, and on Thursday I went along as a parent helper on a school trip to the Suffolk School Farm & Country Fair.
So now I’m quite glad to be sitting down in front of a computer.
Anyway, here is my round up of our five frugal things this week.
Baked some hot cross buns
As my contribution to tea after Sunday’s Easter egg hunt, I baked some hot cross buns. This was a risky strategy, as the one time I attempted hot cross buns before, they came out hard and heavy. Less squidgy bun, more currant-filled cannon balls, if you get my drift.
This time I compared several recipes, rather than blindly following one, and they actually came out edible. In fact, they went down pretty well with assorted great aunts and uncles who were spectators at the family Easter egg hunt. Suppose my top tip would be to allow enough time for all the proving, knocking back, shaping and proving again. It seems hot cross buns are not to be hurried.
Fortunately, they’re a pretty economical choice compared to buying mountains of chocolate. Eggs, milk, butter and sugar are staple ingredients in our house, and we already had bread flour and yeast sachets for our Friday night pizzas. I even got the chance to use some of the Whitworths Traditional Mixed Fruit* bought at a bargain price in my last order from Approved Food*. If you’ve never come across discount food website Approved Food before, I’ve written a post about it here.
Hunted for eggs at Ickworth
If you stump up to join the National Trust or English Heritage, it makes sense to use the membership where you can. I thought the children would be keen to go over Easter, so they could take part in one of the egg hunts that the National Trust has had so much stick about. I think it’s harsh to criticise the Cadbury’s egg logo for not including the word ‘Easter’, when the website and posters all said “Easter Egg Hunt” in huge type.
Anyway, on Easter Monday we packed a picnic and headed off to Ickworth. Normally, a family ticket would cost £31.55, but if you’re a member, you can visit for free. Turned out we weren’t the only ones with the same plan, as the overflow car park was packed. Luckily the grounds are so big they can swallow lots of people. We ate beside the playground while the children ran off some energy. My daughter found some friends to try activities listed in the National Trusts’ “50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4” booklet, while my husband snoozed in the sunshine and my son dragged me off to explore uncharted territories behind trees and nettles.
The egg hunt itself cost £2.50 a child. In exchange, they got a sheet with a map of the 17 clues, hared around the Stumpery (yes, that is not a typo) chasing them down, and were rewarded with a trio of chocolate bunnies each.
Part of the reason we decided to go to Ickworth was the assortment of other activities also on offer. The kids had fun living out their Robin Hood / Merida fantasies with an archery session (£4 each), eyed up the giant chess, attempted some croquet and mastered catching a ball in a plastic scoop. Next time we might even brave the craft sessions in the Gallery.
Benefited from free babysitting for a birthday meal
Shock horror my husband and I actually went out for a meal to celebrate my birthday. As regular readers might remember, we usually mark anniversaries by cooking some kind of special meal at home.
I can’t pretend it was a frugal evening. However, we did choose to go out the night before my birthday, so we could benefit from free babysitting from the grandparents (many thanks!). It also meant we could take advantage of Burger and Steak Night at the Hadleigh Ram, which includes steaks with skinny fries and a glass of wine or craft beer thrown in. If you are going to blow the budget on eating out, I reckon it’s worth checking for deals, discounts and set menus beforehand.
Turns out I’m not a very good restaurant reviewer because I happily cleared my plate before I even thought to take a photo. However, cocktails at The Ram are always a high point, and I much enjoyed my Rhubarb & Ginger Fizz. Happy birthday to me.
Took advantage of low cost childcare
The children’s school was shut on Tuesday, due to a PD day aka an inset day or whatever you want to call teacher training nowadays. Luckily, on PD days our school offers a couple of clubs. My daughter was keen to return to the computer club, for a whole morning of Minecraft and Beebots. I was keen on anything that involved three hours of childcare for £7.50. Sadly, my son wasn’t keen to go along to the sports club alternative, but next year he’ll be old enough for computer club. Roll on Year 3.
Claimed a free razor
I reckon frugal things are great, but free is even better.
This week, I got a parcel with an entirely free Wilkinson Sword Turbo 5 razor, after applying for this offer on Latest Free Stuff. Looks like the same razor would normally cost anywhere between £4 and £10, depending on the supermarket and what deals they’re doing. I have no idea why 5 blades should be better than a lower number, but hey we’ll give it a try.
So now, over to you. Any thrifty successes to share? Tips for surviving Easter without breaking the bank? I’d love to hear, so do comment below.
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