Category: Living

My attempt at money saving – Aldi Challenge

My husband is self employed, which is great for him and really suits him but it can lead to money not coming in on a regular basis or as much of it at one time as you want.  The first few months of the year have been a little slower than expected so it was time to tighten our belts a little.

One of the things I decided to try was the Aldi swap and save Challenge, is it just me or are their ads really funny?  I’m not a food shopping snob but I do normally shop in the mainstream supermarkets and Tesco is our closet one, which I am now realising is actually quite expensive for most things.  They are now advertising price matching though so that may help a little.

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I decided that I would go to Aldi to do the main bulk of our shop and only go into the main stream supermarkets for items that you can’t get in Aldi, which to be honest is turning into not that much really.  I have been really surprised with what I can get there and the quality of things as well.  All their fresh meat is from British suppliers too which pleases me.  They also do Aldi super 6 which is 6 items of fruit or veg which is on offer for around 2 weeks for 69p, who says healthy eating can’t be cheap!

I have been doing it for a few weeks and I have saved a small fortune, we have yet to try any of Aldi’s own brand products that we haven’t liked, yes you don’t get as much choice as the main supermarkets but that has worked in my favour too, I hate grocery shopping and I can now do it in half the time that it used to take.

If you haven’t tried it yet and you are looking to cut the cost of grocery shopping then I would recommend you pop in and take a look, I think it may surprise you.

Claire xx

Large feet – no pretty shoes, not any more!

Being 5ft 10 can cause a lot of problems when you are trying to be fashionable especially when it comes to shoes. I unfortunately have ended up with size 9 feet and up until a few years ago I couldn’t find nice girly shoes to go on by big slabs of feet and it used to really upset me. I can remember wanting nothing more than pretty shoes like my friends when I was in college and all I ended up wearing where mens trainers in light colours as basically that was all I could really get in my size. There were some online stores popping up at that point that catered for larger sizes but being a student they were mostly out of my price range.

That was until I discovered Next and the fact that the majority of their shoes, even the pretty ones go up to a size 9, I was so happy! The one downside is that most of the size 9’s are only available by ordering from the Next Directory so you do need to sign up to an account to get them from there, or you are able to order in store and get them delivered to the store.  I have been in a few stores who hold size 9’s in stock too so it is worth checking when you are in.

I now get all my shoes from Next, I find that there is lots of variety and the price is good for the quality.

I have added some of my favourites from this seasons collection.

next shoesNext shoes 2

I love these, they are called ‘Flatforms’ perfect if you are tall as they are only 6cm tall instead of the 8-10cm that normal platforms seem to come in.  I am already tall enough in my opinion so these would be perfect or adding a little bit of heel height without being too much.

1: Natural Wood Geisha shoe – Next £55

2: Geisha Wedges – Next £30

 

I have a tendency to go for flats and Next have a lovely selection of ballerina pumps that can be suitable for everyday wear or with a little sparkle for going out.

Next collection 3

1: Embellished Ballerinas – Next £25

2: Black Stud Ballerinas – Next £28

3: Leopard Ballerinas – Next £22

4: Bow Ballerinas Next £25

 

I do love these heels though and think I could get away with them as they are not too tall. They come in Blue, Black and Red and look like they would sit great with jeans and a bargain at £28

Next shoes 3

Microsuede Strap Point Shoes- Next £28

 

And I will leave you with these! I love the bright colour, I just wish I was brave enough to wear pops of colour like it!

Next shoes 4

 

Mid Heel Courts- Next £20

 

Now to get on and order some in time hopefully for this weather actually picking up sometime soon.

Claire xx

 

What photography apps do you use?

As a new blogger I am trying my best to take some good photos that I can use on the blog, my only issue is I am really bad at taking my camera anywhere with me and I end up using my phone for most of my photograph taking. This has got me looking for great photography apps that I can use straight from my phone or iPad

I thought it would be good to share some of the ones that I have downloaded that I am finding really easy and good to use and see if anyone has any other suggestions for me.

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Adobe Photoshop is free to download, however to get access to all the features there are some in app purchases from between 0.69p and £2.99, obviously you don’t need to pay for these but I have found that some of the in app purchases have been well worth it.
Within this app you can crop, rotate, straighten and flip photos, work with colours and filters, add effects and also add borders.

I am finding it really helpful when it comes to cropping and straightening photos and can spend quite a while in this app playing with filters and effects.

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Big Lens is my next most used photography app, it cost 0.69p to download and I think it is worth every penny. The app enables you to auto focus, allows you to set the aperture and depth of field and adjust background light. I wanted an app that would help me to focus in on a particular subject and blur out backgrounds etc and this does just that. It also comes with a selection of lenses that allow out of focus light points to blur into shapes like hearts and stars and filters too, so lots of things that you can play with. While you are playing around it has a before and after preview button that you can click on at any point to see the difference with your original photo.

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I also wanted an app where I would have the ability to have photos side by side and I was recommended this one from a friend on twitter.
Picframe is 0.69p to download and comes with 71 adjustable frames with the ability to combine up to 9 photos in a single frame, you can also change the shape of your photos, add borders, shadows and patterns to the frames along with the ability to add a variety of text to your pictures.

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Following on from picframe and the ability to add text to your photos I went on the hunt for an app that would give me more fonts to work with and I found Over. Over is £1.49 to download, it comes with 28 fonts preloaded and the ability to buy 200 more as an in app purchase if you want to. It is really easy to use and I am loving the ability to put some nice fonts on my headline pictures.

There are literally hundreds of photography apps out there, quite a few of them are free and I do have others downloaded onto both my iPad and phone but these four are the ones that I am using the most and even more so now that I am blogging.

What photography apps do you use? Have a missed out on using any good ones that you would recommend?

Claire xx

60 Questions

Questions

Oberazzi via Compfight

I have seen other bloggers I follow doing this and thought it would be a bit of fun for my blog, so here are my 60 questions and answers.

1. How old are you in five years? 40!! Oh dear God….
2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? My husband and our doggie.
3. How tall are you? 5 feet 10 inches
4. What is the last movie you saw? Argo, I ended up quite enjoying it. We are trying to watch more movies and Friday night is now movie night in our house.
5. Who called you last? My Mum, I missed the call as usual, it may help me to actually turn my ringer on!
6. Who did you call last? My Mum, as I needed to return her call I missed!
7. What was the last text message you received? My sister. She has just started making jewellery and was sending me pictures. I love seeing what she is making.
8. Do you prefer calling or texting? Texting normally but call my Mum & Dad as they are not so good with texting.
9. Are your parents married or divorced? Married.
10. When did you last see your mother? Actually about 10 days ago which is nice as we don’t live in the same country
11. What color eyes do you have? Green
12. When did you wake up today? 8.30am
13. What is your favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night (probably the only religious song I like)
14. What is your favorite place? Anywhere near the sea. Must be the Pisces in me
15. What place do you prefer the least? That’s a really hard one, I don’t think I have a place I would say I don’t like.
16. Where do you think you will find yourself in ten years? Hopefully a Mum with a least one child but hopefully two.
17. What scared you about the night as a child? Probably things living under the bed.
18. What made you really laugh last? A text from my sister telling me a story that she could hear her neighbours shouting at each other about.
19. How big is your bed? King size, I need my space when I am sleeping.
20. Do you have desktop or laptop computer? A laptop but to be honest the only thing I know use it for is blogging, most other things I do on my iPad.
21. Do you sleep with or without clothes on you? With, I’m not one for no jammies.
22. How many pillows do you have in bed? Two, one each.
23. How many provinces have you lived in? Not that many.
24. Which cities have you lived in? Not all cities but have lived in Belfast, Isle Of Man and now a town in Central Scotland between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
25. Do you prefer shoes, socks or bare feet? Socks or tights. Never barefoot, unless it’s summer and on grass!
26. Are you social? Quite but find it harder to be social as moved when I was older and it is much harder to make friends when everyone already has their own lives.
27. What is your favorite ice cream? Honeycomb
28. What is your favorite dessert? Apple pie and custard
29. Do you like Chinese food? Like it, favourite is probably beef and black bean or chicken curry
30. Do you like coffee? Yeah, don’t drink too much of it though and it has to be decaf.
31. What do you have for breakfast? Normally stick to cereal.
32. Do you sleep on a particular side? Right hand side, I sleep on my right normally and hate being able breath people’s breath so I need to be able to lie away.
33. Can you play poker? No
34. Do you like to cuddle / snuggle? I like it but I am not overly tactile.
35. Are you a dependent person? I like to think I am very independent. Though I love spending my life with my husband.
36. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? Yes quite a few
37. Do you have children? No but dream of having them sometime soon
38. Do you know any other languages than English? I learnt French at school and recently learned some Spanish for when we got married in Spain.
39. Have you ever driven an ambulance? No!
40. Do you prefer the ocean or a pool? Definitely the ocean.
41. What do you spend any money on? Books, things of eBay and lunches at work as I am too lazy to make them.
42. Do you have precious jewellery? My engagement and wedding ring are the most precious things I have.
43. What are your favorite shows on TV? My secret pleasure is Real Housewives (Currently making my way through Beverly Hills ones) love lots of things though and box sets with the husband.
44. Can you roll your tongue? No
45. Who is the funniest person you know? Probably my friend Kirsty – she has a very dry sense of humour
46. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No that is just a little weird as an adult
47. What is your ringtone? For my hubby it’s Jason Mraz I’m Yours For everyone else its Snow Patrol Crack the Shutters though I’m really bad at actually turning the ringer on!
48. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No
49. What are you closest to you right now that is red? My Crochet bag
50. Do you flirt much? No
51. Can you change the oil on the car? I think I could if I had to
52. Have you received speeding ticket ever? No
53. What was the last book you read? Safe House by Chris Ewan, it was great.
54. Do you read a newspaper? I have to admit to reading Daily Mail online, though I take most of it with a pinch of salt!
55. Subscribe to a magazine? No. Though I have just discovered that you can get free subscriptions to certain magazines through our library so I have just started downloading them to my iPad.
56. Are you dancing in the car? Not right this second but I have been known to.
57. Which radio station did you listen to you last? Capital in the car today
58. What was the last thing you scribbled down on paper? The readings for the electric meter of our rental cottage
59. When were you at church last? Christmas Eve
60. Are you happy? Mostly yes

 

Claire xx

Spring List

Spring is here

 aussiegall via Compfight

Inspired by Rebecca over on Florence finds and her recent post The Big Spring List I decided to make my own list for things I would like to achieve over the next few months.  Some may be more achievable than others!

  • 1 – Spend more time doing things as a couple with my hubby.  We have just come back from a lovely week away together and it has made me remember how much I enjoy spending time with him and how easily we can forget to actually ‘do’ things when we are at home.
  • 2 – Following on from number 1, I want to find more walks that we can do with the dog or go to different places just for walks. We walked loads on our week away and both really enjoyed it.
  • 3 – Finish my first ever crocheted blanket for my new niece or nephew.  I am still learning crochet and this feels like a big project for me.  Nearly finished it now though!
  • 4 – Plan our holiday in June.  We are spending two weeks touring Ireland in a motorhome so need some idea of where we are going and what we want to do.
  • 5 – Get our garden ready for sitting out in.  We plant pots and hanging baskets each year as it is far easier with the dog that having flower beds.
  • 6 – Make some of the things I have pinned on pinterest.
  • 7 – Get pregnant (this one is a whole other post in itself!)

What’s your plans?

Claire xx