Cheap Cosy Days & Comfort Food

There has been a bit of a heatwave this week and I’ve been walking the girls to school every day. I find that starting the day with fresh air and sunlight starts me off in a better mood. I’ve been enjoying the mornings when my kids are in school and nursery and using them as an opportunity to write.
In between this, I’m trying to save money for a short trip at Halloween, so I’m finding ways to treat ourselves without spending money when I can avoid it.

When we aren’t outdoors, I have to come up with ideas to draw my kids away from the lure of the TV. Cooking always seems to work with my younger one. I’ve been trying to use up ingredients we already have in the house, cook from scratch and avoid unnecessary trips to the shops.

I discovered a health food shop near us that I had never been to before. They sell fruit and veg boxes. For £13.50 you get about a week’s worth of fruit and vegetables. It helps with meal planning, because it gives you something to sketch recipes around. We also tried their sourdough bread. It was the most expensive load of bread I’ve ever bought but it was the nicest I’ve had too. I like supporting local businesses and it stops me spending money as thoughtlessly.

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Here are some alternatives to overspending I’ve used this week:

  • Set up a writing/crafts/colouring station at your kitchen table. Add candles and soft music to make it feel more like a cafe. Make yourself fancy toast and real coffee and enjoy having peace to create something.
    Bake snacks and breakfast options for the week. We made some cheesy biscuits for snacks and pear granola, adapted from a recipe at Surprisingly, my daughter has been requesting granola every morning from breakfast since. I think she finds it more appealing because she helped to make it.

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  • Make warming meals like stew and casserole. It’s a good way to use up root veg and leftover portions of meat you have in the freezer. Billie Holiday has become my cooking music recently, and it almost feels like a form of therapy.

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  • Walk when you can to save on petrol. There is a garden my kids want to stop at every day, filled with flowers and cartoon characters. If you break up the walk with things of interest along the way, kids don’t notice the length of the walk as much. We also stopped one day at a local ice cream shop. Kids in school uniforms can get a £1 scoop on certain days of the weeks.
  • Explore your local area on foot. Bring some change with you so you can buy something from the bakery, get a book from the library or buy a bunch of flowers. It feels like you are treating yourself without putting yourself into debt 🙂

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Things to do on a Screen Free Day

Things To Do On A Screen Free Day

I hate having too much screen-time. It leaves you feeling unhealthy afnd drained. I think it interferes with what could have been a productive day. I’ve been seriously limiting my screen usage recently and in the spirit of that, I decided to compile a list of alternatives to using a screen:

Nature

Go for a long walk and leave your phone at home. You will realise how much more you notice the things around you when a phone isn’t absorbing your attention.

Go to a park, forest or beach and appreciate nature without interruptions. Collect items as little souvenirs. Draw pictures of them.

Paint a picture, outdoors.

Have a picnic under a tree with friends. Each bring an item to make it simple.

Have a hot drink on a bench, watching the sea and think.

Exploration

Find a car boot sale. Sell your own items or look for new interesting ones.

Go window shopping for books. Get ideas for your reading list. Read the blurb and see if you find something new. Buy them more cheaply online or look out for them second hand.

Go on a train journey, get off at the last stop and see what is there. Take pictures.

Go to an open farm and spend a quiet afternoon with animals. It helps to slow down your mind.

Culture

Go to a museum and take real time to read about the exhibits.

Listen to a podcast. Note down ideas you get from it.

Listen to music and read about it while you listen. You might find something new you like and learn some interesting facts about the band.

Go to the cinema and watch an international film with subtitles.

Read a newspaper, on paper, in peace in the library. They also have coffee mornings where you can do this and get free coffee 🙂

Imagination

Make your own flower arrangement with various cheap bouquets of flowers or flowers you find outside.

Lie on your bed and daydream like when you were a kid.

Try making home-made ice lollies. Freeze fruit inside ice cubes to make them pretty. Treat yourself to a fancy drink.

Research your family tree or record stories about relatives for future generations to read. Make photo albums and scrapbooks.

Draw out a design of your perfect room and then work towards making it look like the picture.

Make presents for people you know. Make up baskets with personal notes and items in them to cheer them up.

Create a new space out of an unused corner in your home. You could add in a mini office, a crafts’ corner, a coffee corner, a place for yoga, etc.

Collect shells on a beach and made a seaside display to remind you of summer holidays.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas of more valuable ways to spend time and relax. How do you like to spend your screen-free time?