Five frugal things this week (6 July)

Picture of lavender by our front path for my #5frugalthings post

Lavender baking in the sun

My main memory of this week is the heat!

I’m not designed for hot weather, and have been very glad that our house is pretty cool inside, even when it’s baking outdoors. I’ve been writing away, although not all of it for the blog.

So here are my five frugal things this week, after returning from Madeira (previous post on inheriting a pension).


Picture of a bargain paddling pool from Lidl with drinks holder as one of my #5frugalthings this week

Costa del Hadleigh

Forked out for a paddling pool

Faced with the heat wave, I cracked and bought a paddling pool from Lidl. I reckon £13.99 is actually pretty good for the size, at 2m long by 1.5m wide. The kids have loved dashing in and out, and they’ve already had friends round a couple of afternoons to use it. From a money-saving perspective, I’m glad it gets them outside without paying to go to a swimming pool or other attraction.


Used leftover chicken in a stir fry

I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to cook in this weather. While I was away, my husband bought one of the ready to eat roast chickens from the supermarket. It was the basis of one main meal for him and the kids, and after I got back, we used the leftovers to make chicken stir fry and also a speedy chicken, bacon, mushroom and pasta recipe. Stretching meat and fish with a truckload of veg does help it go further.


Picture of dried rose petals in a blue bowl

Making roses last longer

Started making pot pourri

Roses outside = dried rose petals inside.

Most of the roses in our garden are going over in the heat, but I’ve rescued some with great intentions about making pot pourri. I’m not keen on buying artificial aerosols, sprays and scented candles but thought this might be worth a try! The lavender by the front path is still in full flower, so I’m hoping to pick some to add later in the year.

Anyone ever tried making pot pourri before? Looks like I might need to invest in some essential oils or some kind of fixative like orris root.

Picture of the Shwop bin in Marks and Spencer from my #5frugalthings post

Struggled to take a pretty picture of a bin…

Earned loyalty points for donating clothes to charity

I donated some old clothes to Oxfam via a Shwop box in Marks & Spencer, and turns out you get 50 Sparks loyalty points each time you donate, even if the clothes aren’t M&S.

As I’ve have singularly failed to get round to selling second hand clothes on eBay, at least this way I know they’ll be resold, reused or recycled for a good cause, and won’t just end up in landfill. (More on Shwopping if you’re interested)

50 Sparks seems to be the same amount you’d get for spending a fiver. I suppose it all adds up as I don’t often shop in M&S. Sparks isn’t my favourite loyalty scheme either. Sparks seems to be all about getting a percentage off, eg 20% off women’s accessories, rather than money off vouchers that can be spent on anything. The Sparks offer I’d be most likely to use is early access to M&S sales – but at 5,000 Sparks, I still have a way to go…


Picture of the goody bag contents from Don't Tell Me I Can't for my #5frugalthings post

Sadly, the chocs were long gone

Recycled goody bag toiletries for the school fair

Another donation – but this time for the school fair. On Friday, the children’s school had a non-uniform day, in exchange for bringing in toiletries for the tombola. The goody bag I got when attending the Time Inc / JD Williams “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” event earlier this year came in very handy! The body butter and cream I sent in were worth a lot more than I’d have spent if I’d had to buy something to donate.

Previous post on Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

Picture of my Woman & Home column

Money saving in a magazine!

New column out now!

In other news, my latest column for Woman & Home is out now, with money-saving tips for living the good life on less. It’s the August issue with a glamorous pic of Anita Farris on the cover. Find out how to cut the cost of copies here.

Now – over to you. What’s your top frugal tip in this hot weather? Do share in the comments, I need all the help I can get!


I’m linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five fabulously frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

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  1. Sam from swimming
    8th July 2018 / 1:13 pm

    Oo let us know how you get on with pot pourri making- all I’ve ever managed before is putting dried lavender in a bag for the wardrobes, but it doesn’t seem to smell for long!

  2. Hazel
    8th July 2018 / 9:17 pm

    To make pot pourri you do need a fixative otherwise the scent fades quickly. I seem to remember orris root was the easiest to buy and use. Essential oils are useful for refreshing it but you shouldn’t need it straightaway.
    As well as flower petals, remember you can use dried citrus peels, herbs, spices, seed heads etc. I’ve made a kitchen pot pourri in the past- dried chillis, bay leaves, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise, etc- which is quite Christmassy (bulk out with small fircones). What I didn’t have in the garden I bought cheaply in bulk from an Asian shop.
    Themes are good, rather than chucking everything in together. Try (pepper)mint and lime, maybe with lemon verbena as a more masculine one, or go full cottage garden with rose and lavender. It’s fun, you’ve reminded me to do it again!

  3. Mrs G
    9th July 2018 / 10:26 am

    I don’t know whether you have a H&M store near you, or whether you ever shop there if so (I find that they are great for children’s basics and teenagers to early twenties) – they give you a voucher for £5 off a £25 shop for taking in a bag of textiles, which are then reused or recycled as appropriate. Doesn’t even have to be clothes – I took in the covers from our old sofas (fit only for the recycling centre)
    I have 4 children aged 20y down to 9y and find it great for jeans, joggers etc as well as funkier stuff for the older 2 (once got a (fullprice) dress for a Xmas party for then 18yo for £7.99! :D)

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