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Shopping on a Budget

Many of you have probably been in a situation one time or another when funds were tight and food prices were HIGH. I’m currently in this situation, I am a full time student and shopping on a budget is a must if I wish to eat well in a week and have money left over. I have come up with a few tips that I live by when shopping.


Top Tips for shopping on a budget.

  1. Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and see what you have left.
  2. Make a menu of the dinners you would like to have that week. (This can be hard as not everyone knows what they want for Saturday if it’s Monday but you can swap around the days)
  3. Make a shopping list!!!
  4. When you in the store, pick up a basket not a trolley as you will tend to fill the trolley more, but will only fill the basket up with essentials as you have to carry it.
  5. Compare brand names to the shops own brand as they are usually the same but one is a lot cheaper.
  6. Offers! Check the small print of the offers for example weight, as you may get more for your money on a product that isn’t on offer.
  7. Sell by dates: if you are buying in bulk check you pick up the dates with the longest time till expiry
  8. Freezer guidelines, another way to cut costs is buying products that can be frozen day of purchase, such as ready meals, bread and milk.
  9. Carry a calculator with you, to make sure you have kept on budget and you don’t get any surprises at the till.
  10. Bring your own bags this will cut down on the plastic bags being used and if you have heavy products it will make it easier for you to carry home if it is in a bag for life.

This is the menu template I use, I found this keeps me focused when shopping as this comes with me and I have found when I keep to my menu, I can had a treat such as a bag of chocolate or alcohol as I have money left over.

A great way to cut costs in regards to shopping for food, is to make your own packed lunch the night before. This can be leftovers from your dinner such as roast chicken sandwich, bacon and pasta or any pasta dish really!! Or to make a sandwich, roll or wrap to take with you wherever you are that day.


Great sandwich fillers:

Left over roast chicken or any chicken

Sausage sandwich

Tuna Mayo/sweetcorn

Salad sandwich


Another way of shopping on a budget is cooking a meal from leftovers. I tend to do this a lot as I hate food going to waste and I make two portions of this so it can be eaten the next day for lunch or dinner.


One of my favourite recipes from leftovers:

Bacon, Chilli and tomato Pasta


Bacon – 3 rashers

Chilli flakes – a pinch (or more if you love spice)

1 onion (small or half an hour) – dice thinly

2 cans of tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree.

1 tablespoon of garlic puree.

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 cups of penne pasta (or any pasta you have)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese to grate on top



  1. Fry bacon and onions together till onions are brown and bacon cooked.
  2. Add the garlic into the bacon and onions.
  3. In another saucepan fill with water, once to the boil add your pasta, I use two cups of pasta.
  4. Empty the cans of tomatoes into the saucepan and add the puree.
  5. Let the sauce simmer, don’t let it boil.
  6. Add chilli flakes and seasonings to taste – I like it spicy so add more chilli
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Mix together.
  8. Grate cheese over the top.
  9. You will have leftovers if eating this for one, put into a Tupperware container, and leave the lid off to cool.
  10.  Enjoy!!

Top Tip: once you leftovers have cooled down, put an air tight lid on and keep in the fridge for the following day.



Jess & SGO


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Book Club – Divergent Review


Divergent by Veronica Roth

So for this month’s book we decided to review Divergent – a three series book created by the author Veronica Roth. The motion picture film was released late March 2014 – though be aware that this review is solely reflecting our perspectives on the book.


I thought this was a good read. If you love the hunger games trilogy you will love this book. However I did this book a little annoying in places.

This book written by Veronica Roth is the first in the trilogy and is very much intended for teens (young adults). The story follows Beatrice Prior a 16 year old girl. This series has an unusual concept which I haven’t seen before in a book and very much enjoyed this. The book does contain a few plot twists which keeps the mind guessing, something I really enjoy from a book.

This book I feel would be suitable for any boy or girl, covering a variety of different areas such as science fiction, Romance and action.

I would recommend reading before seeing the film. http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1999677465


My Rating: 4/5 Bookmarks



Honestly, I was a bit reluctant to read this book at first; after it having reviews claiming it to be a knock off of The Hunger Games – but I was hooked from the start.

There is a comparison: focus on one girl, different districts (in this case faction), and at a certain age (16) you have to undergo an aptitude test to determine which faction you’re meant to be in: similar to ‘the games’, each district is kept to themselves, so if you chose to move to a different faction – you are essentially leaving your old life and family behind.

One major concept I liked about this book was how the factions are based around personality types:

Amity – Peaceful

Abegnation – Selfless

Dauntless – Dangerous

Candor – Honest

Erudite – Intelligent

Take the quiz to see which faction you’d be in here: http://divergentthemovie.com/aptitudetest


In my opinion, if you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll love this set of books. The body and content is hooking, visual and graphic – exposing your imagination to this perplexed way of life that seems all so realistic.


My Rating: 4/5 Bookmarks


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D.I.Y Mugs

Okay so let’s admit it, everyone has a cupboard full of mugs – and hardly any of them get used right?

D.I.Y mugs are an innovative, personal and creative way to revamp them old mugs and give them a new lease of life; or, use this handy tutorial to create a budget-friendly present (though obviously we’d recommend you buy a cheap, plain mug if that’s the case).


What you’ll need:

–          A mug

–          Sharpie pens/paint pens (any colours – preferably oil-based)

–          Access to an oven


Step 1: Get a mug. If you don’t have an old/un-used mug at home, you can pick them up for next-to-nothing in any local supermarket.

Step 2: Pick a Sharpie. I’d like to point out that normal permanent marker pens are okay to use, although from previous experiences, it’s more likely that they will rub off. Paint pens or oil-based Sharpie pens are more suitable: these can be bought from major supermarkets, craft shops or online stores such as Amazon.co.uk.

Step 3: Get Creative. Simply draw, scribble and write to your hearts content onto the mug – either in one, or multiple colours, depending on how colourful you’re feeling (and your budget)! If you aren’t happy with the design, just use some water, scrub it off and start again.

Step 4: Bake It. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, and leave the mug to bake for 30 minutes.


Here’s one that Jess has made at home (REMEMBER: Be creative! Do any design, personalisation you want):


*Tip: A little #toptip we’ve realised is to hand-wash the mugs, although it may be tempting DO NOT USE THE DISH-WASHER!






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Chelsea McMurray, Jessica Chamberlain & Michaela McDonnell-Barbara

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Book Club

In my opinion, there is no better way to unwind than reading a good book; though being a student, it’s always a risk buying a book if you aren’t sure you’ll like it.

We’ve come up with an easy and hassle-free way to solve this problem, each month, we will be reviewing a book or film, giving our personal opinions on each and allowing you to decide whether it would be worth buying.



If you have any books or films you’d like us to review before you buy, then feel free to contact us.

Our first book review will be Divergent by Veronica Roth – this will be posted at some point next week, so keep coming back, or visit our social media to receive our updates.



Chelsea x



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Chelsea McMurray, Jessica Chamberlain & Michaela McDonnell-Barbara


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Seasonal Food UK – June

Seasonal foods in June – UK

Nature is Sacred

Seasonal foods in June are –

– Asparagus
– Aubergines
– Broad Beans
– Beetroot
– Broccoli
– Carrots
– Cauliflower
– Chard
– Watercress
– Courgettes
– Cucumber
– Kohl Rabi
– Garlic
– Lettuce
– New Potatoes
– Peas
– Radishes
– Rhubarb
– Rocket Lettuce
– Runner Beans
– Spinach
– Spring Onions
– Tomatoes
– Turnips
– Raspberries
– Strawberries
– Blueberries
– Cherries
– Chillies

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Welcome to our fresh, new blog! We’ll be making weekly posts delegated to different sectors, including: D.I.Y, events, food, reviews, lifestyle and sustainability.

Our main aim is to inspire you to become more creative, develop a sense of sustainability and ensure that every post holds an element of fun or adventure. Whether you’re an artistic individual, or just having a peek – you’ve landed on our blog for a reason, and we can guarantee that we will post something you can relate to.


Please feel free to contact us, give us your feedback and tell us what you’d like to see more of on the blog.



Chelsea, Jess & Michaela



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Chelsea McMurray, Jessica Chamberlain & Michaela McDonell-Barbara