Over the last month we have been taking part in the MoneySuperMarkets Energy Saving Challenge.

energy saving challenge

 'Two great ways to bring your bills down are to reduce your energy usage and switch energy provider. But which gives the best overall benefit? We wanted to find out the potential savings and how to achieve them.'  

To join in with the challenge we have been monitoring our energy usage over the course of a month using these handy monitors that were sent to us from Efergy. 

Energy Saving Challenge

I've really enjoyed taking part in this challenge as it has made us all aware of how much we are spending. We've spent most of the month with our eyes glued to the monitors watching them go up and down and frantically running around the house turning every off! We even got our picture in the Sunday Times...

Energy Saving Sunday Times

The main thing that I have learnt is that as a household we spend £88 per year on electricity just by having everything on standby!

Now that the month is over I have just used the MoneySuperMarket's energy comparison tool and I've found out that we could save £71 per year by switching suppliers. 

Energy Saving Challenge

but we could save £88 per year if we started turning everything off at the plug instead of leaving it on standby.

'After one month, we'll invite the participants to compare how much money they've saved by:

- being more aware of the cost of boiling their kettle, watching TV and using a laptop, versus 
- the money they could save by switching energy supplier.'

So in conclusion for us personally we could save more money per year by being more aware of our energy usage than we could by switching suppliers. 

I would just like to point out at this point that we only moved house 6 months ago so we recently changed suppliers when we moved which is probably why our results for the challenge are this way round. I would imagine that someone that has lived in their house for quite a while, with the same supplier would get very different results. 

To see how others have got on with the challenge take a look at this page

Last night I was invited along to The Big Devon Bake Off launch night. It was a really fun evening and it was great to find out more about Hospiscare and how they help people in Devon.

Hospiscare Devon and the Big Devon Bake Off

We were treated to a baking lesson from Glenn Cosby, who stared in last years Great British Bake Off.

Glen Cosby Big Devon Bake Off

Glenn Cosby Big Devon Bake Off

Hospiscare are working alongside Fun Kitchen Devon to help make the event a success.

Fun Kitchen Devon

I even managed to get a snap of me and Glenn. (Cheesy smiles galore)

Glenn Cosby & Gina Caro

Here's some more information for you about the event and Hospiscare...

Celebrity TV baker Glenn Cosby officially launched the Big Devon Bake Off last night (28thAug) at Powderham Castle urging bakers to roll up their sleeves.

In a great British Bake Off style marquee tastefully decorated with patriotic bunting, flowers and herbs Glenn explained how baking cakes can help a great local charity.

Glenn is the man who brought big bakes to millions of TV viewers across the UK when he took part in last year’s Great British Bake Off. He urged bakers to organise their own bake off competition, bake off tea party or coffee morning this September 13-21.

Already there are 60 bake offs planned in a variety of locations including staff from Middlemoor police headquarters, council staff, hair salons, a primary school, a brownie pack, Exeter University staff and several departments from the RD&E hospital. There are also a number of events planned across East Devon for the East Devon Hospice Appeal.

Hospiscare provides free and specialised nursing to the terminally ill in Exeter, mid and east Devon; looking after 650 patients and their families at any one time, supporting patients in their own homes, in the Exeter hospice and three day hospices. It relies on the generosity of the community to provide this vital service which costs £5m a year. The Big Devon Bake Off is one of Hospiscare’s major fundraising events this year.

Susie Healey, Hospiscare community fundraiser is hoping bakers will persuade their friends, family and colleagues to get together to join the baking craze and hold the bake off at home, work, at school or in village or community halls.

We’ve got some great ideas to help your Bake Off go with a swing in our Hospiscare Bake Off fundraising pack. Email: fundraising@hospiscare.co.uk Tel: 01392 688020 or visit www.hospiscare.co.uk

If you are interested in hosting your own bake off then please do get in touch with them, it's for a very good cause :)

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My pledge for Zero Waste Week this year is to reduce our food waste which means that I have been trying out a few new things including making my own crisps from leftover potato peels.

homemade potato crisps

They are so easy to make that I really don't know why I haven't made them before. Here's what I did...

Homemade Leftover Potato Crisps Recipe

Homemade Potato Crisps

Toss the leftover potato peels in some olive oil (just enough to coat)

Add some salt and pepper

Spread onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (190 degrees celsius)

When you take the crisps out just make sure that they are all crispy and then they are done.

Homemade potato crisps

It's a great way to use up leftover peels that would normally end up in your food waste bin and they taste really good too. If you have a lot of peelings you can cook them all and then store them in an air tight container to eat another day.

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge

 

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

To read more about Thrifty Thursday please click here.

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pinterest passionA little while ago I started up a linky called Pinterest Passion

If you have a passion for Pinterest but would also like some more followers and to find some more boards to follow then you are in the right place. The aim of the linky is quite simply to get more followers on Pinterest.

I haven't done one for ages but I thought I'd give it another go so welcome to this month Pinterest Passion...

So to the rules…

  • Add a link to your Pinterest boards with the linky tool below
  • Leave a comment below to let us know that you have joined in, you can also add your Twitter name too if you like.
  • Check out the other boards that have joined in and follow them, if you like what you see.
  • You can tweet about it with the hashtag #pinterestpassion. You can also tweet me @Gina_Caro to let me know that you have joined in.

Over the next 3 weeks we will be joining in with the 'Make It Your Own' Walton's Playhouse Challenge.

playhouse challenge make it your ownThe playhouse arrived this week and our challenge now is to assemble it and then decorate it anyway we like. The aim is to encourage recycling and upcycling of items around the house and we have a maximum spend of £50.

So in true Pinterest addict style I have spent the last few weeks pinning like a nutter and searching for ideas and inspiration for thrifty decorating ideas.

I thought I would share some of them with you today...

Now this idea I really like and it wouldn't cost a penny. I'd just need to go and  raid our local woods for something suitable.

thrifty playhouse decorating
Image found at Baby Woodland Themed Nursery

This next idea would be a great way of using an old bit of furniture...

Image found at NorthRidge Publishing
Image found at NorthRidge Publishing

I'd love to give this pallet seating a go, not sure it would fit inside though? Although I have seen smaller pallets before so maybe I can source some of those.

thrifty playhouse decorating.3
Image found at 1001 Pallets

For one of the walls I'd love to have a chalkboard wall however chalk paint is pretty expensive so I might put a shout out on Freecycle to see if anyone has any leftover paint that they no longer need.

Image found at Houzz
Image found at Houzz

So there are some of my favourite ideas. To see more ideas check out my Thrifty Playhouse Decorating board on Pinterest.

Now to...

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge

 

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

To read more about Thrifty Thursday please click here

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Zero Waste WeekI have signed up for Zero Waste Week.

'Zero Waste Week is an opportunity to reduce landfill waste & save money.

In its seventh year, the week runs 1st - 7th September 2014.

The theme is "One More Thing" - what one more thing could YOU do?'

I have pledged to reduce our food waste. We're already pretty good at using up food and not wasting it but I believe that there is always room for improvement. 

So if you have any great tips for reducing food waste I'd love to hear them. I have started my own Reduce Food Waste board on Pinterest for inspiration. 

zero waste week

If you would like to join in with Zero Waste Week visit the website and sign up, the more the merrier :) 

zero waste week

Thrifty Thursday 

Thrifty Thursday Badge

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

To read more about #ThriftyThursday please click here

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Lamaloli Clothing Review

We were recently lucky enough to be sent some clothes from Lamaloli.

'LamaLoLi.com is the online-shop selling branded clothing for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, good friends and for all, who wish to give something special to a baby or a child. Our goal is to provide a wide assortment of high quality products with the stars and heroes of film and television'.

I decided on Pyjamas for my two as they were both desperately in need of new ones.

For H I went for Super Mario ones as he favourite game on the Wii at the moment Is Super Mario Karts...

Super Mario Brothers Pj's

These pyjamas only cost £6.95 on their website which I think is really reasonable.

For Lj it had to be Disney Princesses...

Disney Princess Pj's

These ones also cost £6.95. The pyjamas are really good quality and they were both very happy with them, although I do wish that I had gone for a bigger size for Lj (it is a bit snug around the midriff, bless her).

They don't just sell pyjamas on the site you can also get T-shirts, jackets, underwear, swimwear and lots more. There are loads of big brands to chose from including Angry Birds, Barbie, Stars Wars, Disney and Hello Kitty.

brands

Here's a few shots of the kiddies testing them out on the trampoline (as you do!)

Clothing review

Clothing Review

Clothing ReviewWe were also sent this fab Super Mario Bros T-shrit which you can get for £4.95 on the website.

Super Mario Bros Tshirt

I would definitely recommend taking a look at their website it you are after good quality affordable clothes. Perhaps you can find some gifts for Christmas on there? Yes that's right I said the C word!

Happy Shopping!

Family Fever

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

To read more about #ThriftyThursday please click here