UA-99606640-1Thursday Thought – Welcome to The Frugal Family

Category: Thursday Thought

The Dating Game…
The Dating Game…

This is a tricky topic for me as I’m clearly no expert (having been with the same partner for over 20 years) and when I was dating there was no internet!! BUT I am an expert at human relationships, managing self esteem, being assertive, positive thinking and most other healthy mental exercises required to put yourself out there in the dating world. I would really value your comments so please add your pearls of wisdom and experience.

Ethical Dating

Firstly you have to meet someone, and I go on a lot about the importance of knowing and being able to express your VALUES – and when meeting new people you are much more likely to have a positive experience with an element of shared values, so looking in areas that you are more likely to find those shared values is a good place to start. If you do prefer the online route to view and read about a person before you actually meet them, there are a number of internet dating sites that profess to be attuned to ethical or environmental people – here are a few to get you going.

www.greensingles.com
www.naturalfriends.co.uk
www.ecolovers.co.uk
www.ethicalsingles.com
www.green-passions.com
www.greenlovers.co.uk

Some sensible guidelines when meeting people you don’t know for the first time: (talking for hours on the phone or texting still isn’t ‘knowing’ someone x)
  • Meet in a public place
  • Let someone you trust know where you are and agree if you will text them or they will call you to check in
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have credit to make calls
  • Make sure you have enough cash for a taxi or whatever you may need if you choose to leave
  • If meeting up in a large group, discuss the plan and make it clear you may leave if the group decision isn’t something you want to join in with
  • Of course you want to look your best, but remember that you also want to be a bit comfortable and be able to relax a little!

 

If the online thing isn’t for you, there are a number of group dating businesses that host dinner parties, days out or theatre trips where people meet in smaller groups with a shared interest. You could arrange this yourself by spending time doing the things you really enjoy and meeting people socially perhaps via volunteering? There are also holiday companies for single people and organisations like Gingerbread – who specialise in supporting single parents with finding a new partner, or just socialising at all.

Essentially, unless you fall in love with the person who delivers your post – you will need to go out and meet people to find one of them that makes your tummy go gooey.

The hardest part of the whole process is finding out if you make them feel that way too.

It may be that you need to actively put yourself in places where you are more likely to meet like minded people – but still being an honest and authentic person you will need to have  think about a creative way to do that. For example, if you love Italy, have been there many times and love the food and culture then maybe taking an Italian evening class would be a good idea? You will learn a useful skill for yourself and are likely to meet people that also love Italy – some of whom may be single… You could also look in people’s shopping baskets for ‘dinner for one’ type deals and stalk them, but that doesn’t seem as healthy…

 

We’ve created this infographic to give you some starters with the dating world, making sure that you remain open and honest – while also keeping yourself safe and sound.

 

 

Frugal Dating

Once you have agreed to meet up with someone you then have to remember your frugal values and goals. Make sure you are clear from the outset about whether you are going to ‘go Dutch’ or buy your own tickets to the cinema etc. It’s nice to be treated, but you may also want to have enough money with you that you can pay your half or the whole amount should you or they run out!

If you are on a strict budget it’s much easier to be up front about that, and offer ideas that you are happy with. Some frugal suggestions could be:

  • a picnic and walk
  • visit to a museum or gallery (especially if they are free)
  • using a Groupon or other  voucher for a meal or experience
  • Just having a drink rather than a meal – meeting at different times may help
  • finding a free local event like a fair or outdoor cinema
  • borrow a new outfit rather than buy one
  • use memberships you already have – a trip to the gym, a National Trust visit, a discount code or just a free drink in Waitrose!

 

Dating should be fun and if you do meet someone you want to see more of, that’s a very exciting time. If you are genuinely happy on your own that’s fine too. There is not just one perfect person for you, there are lots of people you could be happy with – the most important part of the whole process is that you have to be happy with yourself (mostly) first. If we don’t believe ourselves to be essential nice and loveable we will be inherently suspicious of people that profess to love us – because they must have something wrong with them! I have a video going up tomorrow all about this and will link to it from here as soon as it goes live x

Wishing you happy times ahead.

 

 

Spring is Here!
Spring is Here!

It’s with great excitement that we are launching our latest e-book Spring Into Action. Just like Winning At Winter it is jam packed full of brilliant ideas and inspiration to have the healthiest and cleanest year ever. There are 48 pages of useful and practical tips including:

  • Sleep support
  • Seasonal Recipes
  • Gentle cleaning – including a cleaning game!
  • Self Care tips
  • Spring Reads
  • Tutorial to make a bag from old jeans
  • Gratitude Journal

I’m really proud to be working with Less-Stuff, Vicky Meyers Creations and Candida Mum on this series of seasonal books, and at just £6 they are an absolute bargain. Grab yours in our shop x

Don’t Panic!
Don’t Panic!

Easter School Holidays are upon us (at least here the in the UK they are!) – they are a difficult one to plan as the weather at this time of year is a bit unpredictable. It could be anything from glorious sunshine (friend of the frugal) or knee deep in snow – this year the forecast is for the cold stuff…

This can make 2-3 weeks off school hard to plan and prepare for. Here are 10 suggestions that I hope are worth your consideration…

 

  1. Visit to a car showroom, lots to look at and ‘play’ with ahem…
  2. Continue your love affair with a local library
  3. Visit to the toy shop (bear with me…) to make a Christmas or birthday list. Mine love this – you give them a pad and pencil to write down the names of things they love, and then in the car on the way home they give the list numbers so most wanted is number one etc. For some kids you could let them take photos maybe? You can also grab any free catalogues or similar and make a collage list when you get home. Supermarkets are good for this as well, and you can grab some bread and milk while you are there.
  4. Wrapping sessions, we try to get gifts for friends and relatives organised in advance and then have a grand card making and present wrapping session on the table, works for us.
  5. Indoor challenges,  – try making an assault course, playing traditional games like pass the parcel (with toys they already have or sweets/treats from the cupboard) or musical statues. If you have older children you can try a board game or jigsaw day
  6. Cut up any Easter egg boxes, wrapping paper etc so you have a collection of pictures you can then use to make a collage. You are likely to have things related to farms and Spring so use that as your theme.
  7. Plant some seeds. This is a good time of year to grow things indoors, easy options could be cress seeds, sunflower seeds and beans. Watching things grow is always such fun and you can sneak in a bit of science too… 
  8. Hunt the ______ games aren’t just for Easter! You could cut up the letters of their name and hide them around the house. Or cut up the favourite characters in a TV show and they have to find the whole gang.
  9. Collections… these are actually a real pain in the neck as we end up with bags and boxes of weird things we can’t identify all over the house BUT they do keep kids occupied for quite long periods so probably worth it. You can take a walk in the woods (don’t forget a thermos of hot chocolate or soup if it’s cold) and collect, pine cones, seed pods, sticks, stones, feathers, leaves etc. Try not to pull blossom off the trees!
  10. We have a free download with a week of kids activities you can print off and use – just follow this link and add your email address x
International Women’s Day!
International Women’s Day!

Yeah! Women are Great! or are they?

As Germaine Greer so amusingly noted the Pie got a whole WEEK of celebrations, so maybe pies are better than women – or men…

I do find celebratory days like this a bit odd. I love that it’s an opportunity for everyone to discuss, investigate, learn and lift up women – to celebrate their contributions in all areas of life and throughout time. That is a good thing. What I’m not so keen on is the need for constant defining and separating of the sexes, because frankly some women are horrid. Some men are horrid too, and some are amazing and inspirational. I’ve found over time that none of these personality traits – humour, kindness, empathy, compassion, learning, teaching, strength etc come from gender, but from the individual. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

What I do love about this particular day is the chance to reclaim lost history – as an historian this is one of my favourite things to do. Outside of The Frugal Family I do a number of talks to groups in my area on women’s history, military history and some frugal and environmental ones too x Because men have written most accounts until very recently, there is so much of women’s history that has been lost and I feel that loss. I could write a whole post on some of the amazing women I have ‘discovered’ and share, which would be like writing an essay (which I love!) and probably a bit niche!

Instead I’ve decided to share some of the women that have inspired me personally – my ‘go to’ people when I need something I can’t always define…

 

Mother Teresa

If you have been following our daily theme Wonderful Women you will already know my admiration for this selfless woman. I find I can just look at our painting of her and feel myself calming down, her quiet and peaceful compassion was so profound. I’ve always been quite annoyed that she died the same day as Princess Di as I don’t feel she ever got the full recognition that her life deserved.

 

 

Hannah Snell

This is one of the women from my talk – she disguised herself as a man to join the Army. I doubt you have heard of her, but she lived to be 108! and had the most extraordinary life, sadly it is a very distressing story  – but I admire her incredible spirit and determination. When I have a feeling that I can’t go on in a situation – I think of Hannah and remember I can do anything I choose.

Octavia Hill

Yes, I also do a talk about Ms Hill! Another extraordinary woman, working for change and supporting women during a lifetime of compassionate and considerate change-making.

 

Maya Angelou

It’s no surprise really that a young girl with an activist nature who loves to read and is introspective should fall in love with Maya Angelou, and I’m not alone in my joy at her writing and her legacy. What I always found so compelling about her was that she continued to move forwards as she had a genuine desire to learn and teach, rather than a need to be successful in a specific way. I admire the energy required to be a truly inquisitive person, and I aspire to always be interested in the world around me and keep up with changes and movements rather than just settling in a comfort zone.

My Mum

We are actually quite different people, and of course your mum always drives you to distraction more than anyone else! My mother is a woman of enormous generosity, who is the most creative person I know and has given me so many of her skills and passions (as well as her toes and voice…) not forgetting of course that she gave me life itself – and there is no greater gift. I love her heaps – and now I’m a mum of determined and wilful girls I have come to have an even greater respect for her. When I was 11 my mum went back to college, to study for her degree. It was hard, and stressful and I have always been so proud of how she overcame all of the obstacles to become a teacher a little later than planned. It’s such a shame that teaching has lost so much respect as a profession and she retired earlier than she would really have liked as the role became over worked and under appreciated. When I decided to lecture I was sure it would be to adults! We are not a very demonstrative family, so I have probably never told her any to this…

 

My Girls

Of all the things I worried about while I was pregnant I never really considered the pressure of being a role model – of leading by example and being your best self at all times. I’m not very good at it. My kids often see me cry, hear my frustrations and I’m sorry for that, however, I hope as they mature (as I have done in my understanding of my childhood) they will see that everything I do is in the hope of being better, of doing more, of teaching them all they need to know, that they will see the depth of my love and awe as I watch them grow and change and fill me with such wonder. The challenge to be a great mum, to show the value we place on education, love, compassion, understanding, the environment and conscious living – as well as attempting to ‘do’ and not just ‘say’ is the most exhausting thing. Of all the challenges in my life parenthood is by far the most difficult! But I love that when I get a moment to reflect on it, I can see that is has also given me a million opportunities a day to be my best self, the honour of raising these incredible (and infuriating) four people is quite breath-taking. I look at the strong and independent women that my girls have to look to in their family, the stories they will hear of the extraordinary and everyday achievements from both sides of their great grandmothers and beyond and I know with those genes they really could take on anything.

 

 

 

Who are the women that have shaped  you? And who are the women you hope to influence?

 

Mother’s Day Musing
Mother’s Day Musing

So, this is a tricky celebration – firstly it’s held at different times of year in different countries (more on that later) but also it can be a very volatile subject for those that are not mothers but who would like to be, those who have lost children and of course those who have lost their mother… it can be hard to celebrate something, knowing how hard it is for others you know and love. However, I do like the opportunity that many ‘event’ days give us to share kindness, affection and celebrate goodness so here are some thoughts on Mothers Day…

HISTORY

In the UK it is historically known as Mothering Sunday – and this wasn’t to do with your actual mum, but your mother church. On the 4th Sunday of Lent you would visit the largest or ‘mother’ church in the area (this goes way back to the 16th Century), it then slowly joined with being a day that young people who were working in service could go and visit their mother and perhaps take a small posy of flowers, or a piece of cake. Mothering Sunday then became a day to celebrate your mum.

Over in the USA a totally separate non-religious celebration invented in 1908 by Anna Jarvis to celebrate the role of mothers. It was signed into the calender in 1914, although Jarvis later started a revolt against the commercialisation of the day, feeling it had lost all the genuine affection and moved to something you could just buy and not really think about in depth. Jarvis saw no need to buy anything for Mothers Day and led the boycott of cards and chocolates for the day she had created!

So the two versions of Mothers Day have morphed a bit, despite having vastly different histories. I would agree with Anna Jarvis, that a day to honour any woman that has given time, inspiration, care, love and probably blood, sweat and tears into the lives of others is a good day. I also agree with her that there is no need to spend money buying things when you can tell her you love her in many other ways.

HOW TO CELEBRATE ON A BUDGET

* One tradition from the Mothering Sunday in the UK was to bake a Simnel Cake – this was a real treat during the restrictions of Lent, it’s a fruit cake with marzipan – yum. Download a recipe and either make a cake if you have time or just chat with your mum about her memories of Easter celebrations.

* Make a card, it seems too easy but mum’s really appreciate if you have taken the time and care to create something just for them – if you are not confident with your artistry then print off some really special photos for the front.

* Make a photo collage, you can choose lots of special times, or just the two of you or a theme or whatever – they make great talking points.

* Go for a walk together, to an old haunt or where you used to live or just to a nice park. Time is precious.

* Take her breakfast in bed, this has become a bit of cheesy one and most mums are probably up first! However, this is the day you can embrace the cheese, maybe think of a real favourite breakfast or come up with something new…

* Give a gift of time, commit to visiting (if you’ve left the nest) once a day/week/month depending on your situation, if you can’t visit then consider the help technology can offer – can you call, Skype, FaceTime, Message etc.

* Flowers are lovely but don’t last very long, if you do want to buy a gift think about a living thing that will last forever, maybe name a tree in their honour if you can’t plant one in the garden, or buy a miniature rose that can stay indoors for a long while.

* If you have a skill you could upcycle something they need, refurbish something they love, or make an item yourself that will mean the world.

* Ask questions about her life. Everyone has experienced their own unique version of events, so even if you think you know everything about your mums life I bet there are a few funny stories or childhood memories still to be uncovered. This shared history is a great way to really connect with people. Even very young children enjoy hearing about the ‘old days’. My kids cannot believe that when I was small there were only 3 channels on the TV and the telephone was attached to the wall, and I’m only 42

We have some FREE gift vouchers to download in the shop if they might be useful… I’ve left them deliberately very blank so you can really use them for anything, they are A4 size and should fit into a DL envelope x

Share the love with a mum that may not have her children around, maybe visit a friend that you know struggles at this time, or take a box of biscuits to the local residential home.

In the year that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, it seems a particularly important year to celebrate all that women bring to the world, and this is just one day to remind us to do that. Hope you can enjoy it x

Plastic Be Gone!
Plastic Be Gone!

As promised here is the second instalment of ideas for making small changes to the plastic coming into your home and life… just four easy to do things that will have a big impact over time and if we all did these things the change would be much faster. If you missed yesterday’s four ideas you can find them here x

I’ve been reading today that the British Government is calling for a ban on plastic straws – I’m happy that they are beginning to consider all these issues, but hope that this (very easy and free for them) quick fix is the start of something rather than the end… we shall see.

If you need some ideas for places to buy some of these items – we love the multi-coloured stainless steel straws at EKO they also have reusable cups (they have a discount on our membership directory if you haven’t joined yet). We also like to shop at www.ethicalsuperstore.com – and are looking at their affiliate program!

Plastic Fantastic?
Plastic Fantastic?

There is so much information floating around (a bit like all the plastic…) about the massive and complex problem of single plastic use and disposal… to be honest I got a bit overwhelmed and distressed. Watching Blue Planet I found myself so upset that it was immobilising, but then you feel as if nothing you do will help and consequently end up doing nothing.

Of course the reality is that we can ALL do SOMTHING that helps, but they will be small changes to our everyday living, and most of us with families and sleep deprivation and pasta to cook will have to slowly and carefully make our changes bit by bit. What I hope this site tries to show is that this is a totally ok way to go about things – making life long realistic steps in the right direction is great. You are also having an impact you may not even realise by role modelling to your children, neighbours, friends and family. When you make change, and are positive and happy that message gets sent out into the world, and the impact is like a ripple on the pond.

We have created this infographic this morning – to give just 4 quick fixes you can do TODAY to reduce your plastic consumption and use. There are lots more you can try, but let’s just start simple and move on up! I will add another 4 to try tomorrow, and then we all have the weekend to try things out.

Frugal Family Valentines
Frugal Family Valentines

We LOVE this day, it’s all about LOVE which is the stuff of life… and you can moan about the commercialisation or you can just ignore that and do your own thing – which is how we roll at Frugal HQ. So here’s how we have a Frugal Fun Family Valentines.

We plan ahead –

Family have been drafted in to babysit, and Mr Frugal and I are off to the cinema tonight with free tickets using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers. It’s so nice, and a rare treat for us to go out just the two of us and it’s so essential to have time for being a couple as well as a larger family unit. These outings are truly valued by us, and big thanks to anyone willing to look after our four exuberant children for the night, it’s means the world x

 

We show love –

It’s not about what you buy, but what you DO that really matters. So, we do cards but not gifts – the cards are mostly homemade or very funny and relevant. The kids make cards and various other things at groups and nursery and we collate these to make a lovely collage on our mantelpiece.

 

We play games –

Last year we had a scavenger hunt to win sweets, the year before we put photos of family members and friends around the house and the kids had to find everyone on their tick sheet to win the prize.

We also have some homemade Love Bugs that are used for all sorts of strange games over the years, you can drop things through them, use them for bowling or try to blow them over while laying on the floor… 

 

 

 

We make stuff –

This year we have the new play tray so I had to put that to good use. With  a range of ages to engage we have gone with:


colouring sheets

cards and envelopes to make

games using sweets – naughts and crosses

games using sweets – stacking them until they fall

love hearts – to write something you love and stick it on our collage mirror

a pot of pink and red pens

 

 

 

We eat weird things –

We try to eat pink and red foods, it’s usually easy with some heart shaped pasta that they do at Lidl, but I was too late this year, so we will have heart shaped pudding and red sauce on ‘normal’ pasta, I think I’ll get away with it as there are lots of sweets in the house, all heart shaped of course.

 

This is really just to prove that you can include children and the whole family in discussing and celebrating love, you can show them how much you care with treats, but also with time and shared experiences. You don’t have to spend anything, or a few heart shaped sweets to make it extra special. It’s not about what you spend, it’s about taking a ‘fake’ day and making it your own, to express something you do feel is valuable. If you are looking for some ideas for a more intimate, adult Valentines Day then you might find our post on Adult Love useful x

Adult Love… and sex, committment, relationships etc.
Adult Love… and sex, committment, relationships etc.

There is going to be a flood of posts and articles surrounding Valentine’s (or Galentine’s if you’re trendy) Day, and it’s hard to think of something a little different to talk about! I actually LOVE celebrating Valentine’s Day, I think any excuse to talk and show affection and love to those we care for should be grabbed. We have games we play with the kids and eat heart shaped and/or red and pink foods for dinner, after 24 years Mr. Frugal and I still send cards to each other and have a take away as a treat with something bubbly in the evening.

Love is special, and if you have someone you really feel good around then take every opportunity to tell them. Of course for a relationship to show commitment and longevity you will need to show you care on more than just one day!

I’ve decided to use all this talk of love and relationships to write a post of two halves. 1. Frugal Romance and 2. Sustainable Sex (eco not stamina!).

If you are still looking for love there are a number of dating sites specifically aimed at people with strong eco and ethical values:

www.greensingles.com

www.naturalfriends.co.uk

www.ecolovers.co.uk

www.ethicalsingles.com

www.green-passions.com

www.greenlovers.co.uk

Frugal Romance

So, the shops will have lots of options for you to spend money to demonstrate how much you love someone. I’m here as the voice of reason to say what you SPEND does not demonstrate how much you love someone! Really, it just doesn’t. However  your ACTIONS may well be a huge clanging bell of how much you have thought about/planned for/taken care over the person you wish to show affection. There is a very fine line between saving money and being careful about people’s feelings. A homemade item only works if it’s genuinely made with care and affection, FREE things you could consider creating might include:

  • a card
  • a photo collage
  • upcycling a favourite piece of clothing
  • jewellery
  • a keepsake box
  • a mix tape (or modern equivalent!!)
  • inviting over a treasured friend
  • offering to babysit for an important occasion
  • cook/buy a favourite meal
  • put on clean bedsheets, maybe with some perfume or petals on there?
  • do all the cleaning, and open a bottle of wine…

If there is a chance that you have very different views on the whole Valentine’s Day thing I would encourage a conversation about this in advance to avoid common pitfalls and crushed expectations. Examples of AGREED spending changes could be:

  • Celebrating on an alternative day when everything will be cheaper, flowers, meals, chocolates EVERYTHING.
  • Setting a budget for gifts.
  • Showing love to a common passion instead, so rather than flowers donate that money to a project you both love or buying an item you both agree is needed/wanted.
  • Not spending at all, and have a free date night (see below)
  • Buying one thing that’s really wanted rather than spending on lots of smaller items available in the shops that are red and heart shaped, but will ultimately end up in a charity shop.

For a no spend Valentine’s Day you will have to be a bit more creative, and if you are planning a surprise remember to focus on the LOVE and not the PRICE

– people don’t want to hear that it was cheaper to do X than Y, it’s just not romantic.

 

Here are five ideas for a FREE Date Night, and you can do these on any night of the year obviously – maybe you could have a monthly night of romance instead of just birthdays and anniversaries?

  1. Watch the sunset or sunrise together… this can be a truly peaceful and wonderous experience. NB if you are parents of young children I’m aware this won’t work for you x However, you are probably up for one of these anyway so having a partner to share it with might be nice??
  2. Look over an old photo album together and remember some fun times, you can laugh about your teenage haircuts, see your first dates or a wedding album. Have a laugh and remind yourselves why and how you fell in love… The longer you are together the more hilarious this gets.
  3. Snuggle up and watch a movie. Turn the lights out and grab some snacks or a hot chocolate and just be. Choosing a movie can be tricky – I would go for whatever is most likely to induce laughter, romance or sleep depending on your situation.
  4. Make a Plan – think about the future you plan together, discuss some shared goals or dreams and see how you can support each other to make them happen.
  5. Have an ‘early night’ – wink wink, see below

 

Somewhere in between the Romance and Sex halves of this post I want to quickly mention underwear – there are some really beautiful, ethically sourced and made underwear producers that may cost a bit more than Ann Summers, but will last you a long time are comfortable as well as sexy and offer an elegance and sensuality that may be more to your taste take a look at…www.lbpclub.co.uk, www.luvahuva.co.uk & www.moralfibres.co.uk.

Sustainable Sex

So now we move to the more awkward part of the post – at least if you’re British it will be awkward! – to think about how we allow for frugal and ethical values in a healthy sex life. A quick word of warning from my own recent research if you use an online search engine to find ‘eco sex’ you are likely to come across a lot of articles, books and information about a group who took the term as their own and have a very specialist view of what it means; basically they practice and encourage people to love the Earth in the most explicit sense. If that’s your thing, you have found your people; if you are looking for a more environmentally friendly way to express human to human love then the ideas here will be more for you…

Below are some ways you may want to consider making changes or at least pondering the issues of sustainable sex.

Frugal Sex

One of the great things about sex is that it’s free! But if you want to change things up a bit here are a few more FREE ways to explore:

  • turn the lights off and save some electricity (frugal and ethical!)
  • consider the Great Outdoors as a possible location…
  • save water by sharing a bath together
  • enjoy a sensual massage using up some moisturiser or oil you already have
  • change your ‘usual’ location if things have got a bit ‘same same’
  • borrow a book from the library and try one new position a week/month/year
  • make some cards with sexy suggestions and take turns to pick one at random
  • one partner gets to choose the whole evening’s activities

Sex Toys

If you have or use ‘equipment’ you might consider how ethically they are made, and the materials they are made from. The more natural the material the better from an environmental point of view, however it’s likely most sex toys are made of plastic. You will be pleased to learn therefore that the company LoveHoney can at least recycle your WEEE categorised sex toys. You just give them a clean and send them off, all the details are on the link.

If buying something new, you have the chance to be completely eco-friendly with options that are recyclable (glass, wood) or rechargeable, for example the Gaia Eco Vibrator is biodegradable and can be recycled. There is also a wind up vibrator which only needs you as a power source. You can check out www.lovehoney.co.uk, www.ethicalsextoys.co.uk and www.EarthAngel.co.uk who offer a selection of items for more ethical consumers, including recycled leather whips. There is also a social enterprise offering ethical sex toys alongside educational resources at www.vavven.org.

 

Safe Sex

Condoms are still one of the safest and easiest ways to make sure you avoid unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. However, they are not biodegradable and often end up in landfill or our waterways. The only currently available option that is biodegradeable is made from lamb intestines which aren’t especially sexy. BUT there are ways you can make more ethical choices… some companies offer 100% recycled packaging, and Fair Square off ultra thin condoms from fairly traded latex. At www.babipur.co.uk you can buy vegan, fair trade condoms – it is mainly a children’s site so don’t be too alarmed when you first get there!

Here is also a good point to think about being comfortable – there is a great lube available from lots of places including Boots called YES! Lube, this is organic and free of parabens.

 

Fun Sex

If you have the urge to go all 9 1/2 Weeks, just remember to think about where your food is sourced, and it’s impact… traditional aphrodisiac foods like seafood are often full of unpleasant plastic particles or mercury and that’s not at all romantic. It might be better to go for a safer homemade option like this easy vegan Chocolate Sauce recipe… 

14oz coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk coconut milk, sugar and cocoa powder together and then simmer in a pan for 10mins, add the vanilla and oil off the heat stir to blend and allow to cool (or not!)

If you like to dress up, consider getting costumes pre-loved instead of new, and consider the quality and flammability of the materials used! Again, you may want to try a homemade version, you might create your own school days with white shirts and ties, wrap up with toilet roll like a mummy and then rip it all off, recreate a favourite gig with the live CD and wear the gig t-shirts you bought back then…


Whatever floats your boat between consenting adults should be fun and healthy. It can be very difficult in family life to find the time and energy for romance or even the most cursory of sex lives, but intimacy is what makes a relationship different from a friendship so it’s worth nurturing for the long run.

I will be adding some more relationship based articles to the FRUGAL YOU page, after writing and delivering a number of courses on relationships, as well as working on my own for over 20 years I feel in a good place to share the love x

Plans and Projects…
Plans and Projects…

January was a wild mix of ‘getting back on track’  – it seems to have flown by, and suddenly my post about what we’re doing in 2018 feels a bit late… However, better late than never.

I wanted to update you on all the exciting things we are planning, or are already happening for 2018.

I want to have a greater impact on individual families and really move towards our vision of a practical and active community of families looking for ways to save money while also saving the World. To achieve this we have a number of exciting developments…

Winning At Winter Book – this was a collaboration and is a wonderful resource to save money and waste, to keep healthy and happy through the dark Winter months. We are planning to have four books eventually covering all the Seasons, watch this space!

Meal Planning & Sourcing Your Food – this is our first email workshop! Arriving in your inbox over 5 days you will receive videos of me (no filters as you know) as well as lots of resources to help you become a meal planning ninja.

7 Starters to Frugal Freedom – for everyone in our community we have a FREE ebook to get you started on saving money, and becoming a more conscious spender. To get your copy just add your email in the box on this page, or at the bottom of the homepage.

Plan It, Love It, Do It! – our new membership community for people to get support, ideas, inspiration and goals directly from Claire. There are also extra resources based on our monthly themes and EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS with some amazing small businesses. February Founding members also get a FREE 1:1 with Claire.

School Holiday Survival Guide – our next ebook will be the complete guide to surviving school holidays, all you will ever need to Spend Less, Use Less and Do More! I’m hoping it will be out in time for February half term…

FaceBook LIVE! – I’m starting a weekly FB Live interview with movers and shakers from the family or ethical world that will help all of us to focus on small changes we can make to live our dreams, within our means

Out & About – I’m also working hard to get our family friendly, ethical message out and about by doing lots of guest writing, interviews and sharing our message with anyone that will listen! February looks like a bumper month with a feature in REVEAL Magazine as well…

I’m so thrilled by these projects and ideas to get real families moving forward to live their dreams. Join our newsletter here and you will get regular updates, as well as your FREE 7 Starters xx