The price of a Prom

Teen had his Prom last week.

His was the first high school in our area to hold one, the others followed suit the rest of the week. Each prom had an after party somewhere, usually at one of the kids houses. There were a few after parties for each school, for each of the different friendship groups. The kids in year 11 at all the schools around here know each other and hang out, so many of them went to the after parties for other schools’ proms. I thnk this is hilarious!

So it was a week of partying basically!

Proms didn’t exist when I was at school. We just left and that was it. Oh, maybe there was some shirt signing but nothing more than that. Boring really!

Proms are big business in the UK now. Copying America obviously, a bit like Halloween! But like Halloween, I don’t think Proms are quite as big here as they are over the pond. I’m glad really because from what I’ve seen in films, American high school proms were the stuff of nightmares! A bit over the top and pretentious. With half the kids, the popular ones, having a great time, looking gorgeous, picking dates etc,  and the other half, the nerdy ones, struggling to keep up with it all and getting left out! I’m sure it’s not really like that but that’s the impression I’ve always had!

Getting back to Teens’ prom. Being a boy, there wasn’t much fuss made. He didn’t give it any thought at all until the week before. But the girls in his year I know we’re organising themselves for months in advance. Dresses were being tried on and chosen, how to arrive at prom (as in by flash car, limo… etc) was being decided upon.

Research carried out by My Voucher Codes suggests that going to Prom costs a small fortune.

Teen wanted a tux. We’d bought him a snazzy suit a few months before for his ‘interview week’ at school. But that wasn’t good enough for prom apparently. He HAD to have a tux.

Prom suit tuxHe DID look absolutely gorgeous in it though! 

We decided to hire one. Hiring cost £65. But I’ve heard this is relatively cheap. Other boys paid over £100. This is for one night only remember!

Then there was the transport. Teen and some friends hired an old London red double decker bus for the occasion. The cost for this wasn’t too bad really, being as there were quite a few to chip in! It was around £25 each.

Then there was the ticket for the prom, which was £25. Teens prom was held in a local hotel.

Because Teen was going ‘out’ after prom we gave him another £30.

All in all it cost us around £145. Not cheap for one night out for a 16 yr old kid!

For girls I’m assuming you’d need a bit (lot) more!

Some of the girls I know in teens year had gorgeous dresses that cost hundreds of pounds. Then they had shoes, the fake tan, the nails, the hair and make up……

promThis is Teen with a friend who had really glammed up for the occasion!

Some kids arrived in limos….. and I even heard one child, not for teens prom I hasten to add, but someone we know, arrived at his school prom in a helicopter! Crazy…. I daren’t think about how much that would’ve cost!

Teen had an amazing night though. Definitely one to remember because himself and lots of friends managed to party all night long and I thought… well why not?

You only leave school once!

prom boysTeen and his bunch of suave looking buddies at the hotel, ready for Prom to begin!

Has your child had a Prom? Did you splash out or was it a reasonably priced event? I’d  love to hear your thoughts…..

Food Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money on food! It annoys me that I have to buy food when I could use the money to buy something else. Something that I really want!

But no. Instead of being able to freely splash the cash on new clothes every week, I spend a fortune feeding my hungry clan!

Being a family of six and with a strapping teenage lad to feed, there’s no getting away from large food bills. But I do try to stay away from the ‘big’ shop like I used to do. Because I always spend much more that I intend. I think we’re all guilty of shoving things in to the trolley that we don’t need. Things that catch our eye as we’re walking round the isles!

I have tried online shopping and I do this occasionally, but I prefer to stroll round the supermarket…. I like to see for myself what I’m buying!

Last weekend I was offered £40 Tesco vouchers by Appliances Online to spend in store. I was challenged to spend wisely and see how far £40 could take me! It’s not much for a family of six but I was curious to see how many days we could realistically get out of it! I wasn’t going to start looking for every single bargain I could find, or start looking for things I wouldn’t normally buy, or never buy again.

And I believe I did quite well actually. I tried not to buy as many snacks, although with kids this is difficult because they’re ALWAYS asking for something, and I like to have things to hand to give them.

My nearest Tesco, other than the small local metro, is enormous so I decided to take a small trolley round to ensure I wouldn’t overspend!

tesco food shopping

I managed to buy three main meals….

Shepherds Pie

For this I needed

Mince £2.00, onions – 3 for £1.00, carrots (which I grate into the mince while it’s cooking for some hidden veg!), potatoes £2.00, cheese (I did splash out here as the kids do like cheese, I bought 2 packets of medium chedder for £5.00. I bought some veg which was 3 for the price of 1. I had gravy, stock and some other bits already in the cupboard but roughly this meal cost around £7.00 ish…. remember the cheese and other ingredients would be used many times more!  I think this is a good price for a family of six.

Cod Fillets

This recipe I nicked off Jamie Oliver, out of one of his cook books that I’ve had for years! It’s a meal we love and is so easy to make. Literally put some cod fillets, the ones you buy in the freezer in Tesco’s £5.00, fresh basil 70p, mozzarella £1.00, cherry tomatoes 90p. Sling all in an oven proof dish with some olive oil and bake for 20 mins! Yummy! Serve with new potatoes £1.00, along with some veg… my children like peas and sweetcorn the best! Meal cost around £7.00 ish again.

Pasta with pancetta

Pasta always goes down in our house. I cook it regularly. I can guarantee the kids will eat it and it’s fast and convenient! For this I bought pasta £1.20, pancetta £3.00, mushrooms £1.00 along with a bit of stock and some onions. Meal cost around £5.00.

Other things I bought….

One of our favourite ‘starters’ is large flat mushrooms with parma ham and stilton cheese (my daughter can’t get enough of these!) My twins don’t eat them but the rest of us love them… so tasty. Large mushrooms 2pkts £2.00, stilton £2.50 and parma ham 3 small pkts at £3.00. Cost around £8.00, which seems a lot compared to the others and considering this was only a snack/starter, for 4 people not 6!


I purchased orange cordial 2 for £1.50. Cereals… I went with the Tesco’s own brand for a change and grabbed 3 for £3.00. We get through cereal so quickly and I do feel as though I spend way too much on it, so trying the own brand range was a must. They all got the thumbs up, no difference at all in taste, my children said! But the box sizes were smaller so realistically can’t say whether it was a better deal.

I bought some sausages, milk, crisps, butter, biscuits and crusty bread (I never leave a supermarket without some fresh bread!), salad and a few other bits & bobs.

I surprised myself actually at how much I managed to buy. £40 went pretty far considering we are a larger family. I looked for the deals on things like snacks, only buying the ones on special offer… the kids don’t care at all as long as we have some! The meals won’t last the whole week obviously, but I think buying like this, in small doses, definitely made me think more about what I was throwing in the trolley, and hopefully it will prevent throwing food away. This always happens when you do a huge shop when items go off before you’ve had chance to cook or eat them.

I’m definitely going to shop like this again. Yes it’s more time consuming but I can already see it saves money in the long run. It would save even more if I planned precisely what I was going be cooking each day.

How do you shop? Do you plan meals? Do you find you waste food that goes off? Or are you incredibly frugal? I’d love to hear your thoughts…..

Win a 50 Shades of Grey DVD

Did you get on the 50 Shades bandwagon when the craze swept the nation a couple of years ago?

I did!

I read the books, by E.L James,  and although I have to admit, for me, the second two weren’t as good as the first in the trilogy, I did love them, and no one can argue with the books incredible success! They were a massive global hit!

Hollywood too jumped on the bandwagon and within no time at all, the film was being made.

I was excited and super curious as to who would play the leading characters…. many different actors and actresses names were being thrown around but none were right, in my opinion.

The thing is, casting leading man Christian Grey was always going to be problematic. He is such an enigma that he probably looks different to different people, in their own imaginations and it was imperative they get this right. For me, Christian obviously had to be the most beautiful creature on the planet, but where would Hollywood find such a human?

We now know that Jamie Dornan was cast, but I wasn’t convinced this was the right choice. I’m not sure anyone could live up to the expectation though, let’s face it so I just had to wait and see.

I made a conscious decision not to go and see the movie at the cinema, preferring instead to wait till it came out on DVD. But I know from reading the reviews, that Jamie Dornan, and indeed the film, did the books justice!

50 shades of grey film

And now, the wait will soon be over for me because the Fifty Shades of Grey, is out now, released on 22nd June! The Blu-ray™ and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is this year’s hottest romance and I’m giving 1 lucky winner the chance to bring it home!

Bu this is no ordinary copy. Both the Blu-ray™ and DVD feature the exclusive unseen edition which includes an extended version with alternate ending and tease to Fifty Shades Darker. The Blu-ray™ Bonus Edition includes two hours of all-new features that go behind the scenes of this year’s hottest romance.

For those that don’t know the fully story….. shy and unassuming literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) finds her life forever altered when she interviews the enigmatic Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and is dazzled by the charismatic entrepreneur and his high-flying lifestyle. As the pair embark on a passionate affair, Ana soon discovers that Grey has dark secrets and desires that will push her to the limits of her imagination—and beyond.

The main cast members are, Jamie Dornan (Born in Northern Ireland and seen before in The Fall and Once Upon a Time) and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network, 21 Jump Street), both of whom head up a talented cast that includes Eloise Mumford (The River), Max Martini (Captain Phillips), Marcia Gay Harden (Into the Wild), Luke Grimes (True Blood), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty), Victor Rasuk (Stalker) and Rita Ora! 

©2015 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved 

This has been the wildly anticipated film adaptation of one of the fastest-selling book series ever published.

Enter via the Gleam widget! Thank you, and best of luck!

Win a 50 Shades of Grey DVD

Silent Sunday – 21/06/15




A walk in Chipperfield Woods

Chipperfield is a pretty village in Hertfordshire, not too far out in the sticks, yet it seems a million miles away. It’s literally just up the road from me but within ten minutes I’m off the main, busy roads and on country lanes. I love it.

We were visiting a friend of mine. She moved there over a year ago now and practically lives in her own little happy bubble there, only venturing out of the village if she needs to!

I just had my twins with me and we planned to take her little dog for a walk in the woods just across the green, opposite my friends house.

The woods are lovely. We stopped and played by this little pond where my twins threw sticks and pine cones into the water for the dog to fetch!

chipperfield woods

chipperfield woods hertfordshire

The pond was brimming with tadpoles….

After our walk we went for a spot of lunch in the cafe/pub on the village green. It was lovely…. my boys finished off with an ice cream before having a quick play in the little playground attached!

It was a lovely way to spend a few hours in the fresh air.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My Little Pony – Putting you hoof down

My Little Pony has been around a while, I remember having one when I was at school! Granted, they were new out back then but still so cute and highly collectable. My friend had a few and I was so jealous!

My daughter has quite a few of the toys. She has some stables, a dressing up wardrobe and the ponies that come with different outfits etc. She loves getting them dressed and doing their hair!

These days the My Little Pony brand is massive. There’s the classic ponies, there’s the types with wings of longer hair… there’s even a website to play games and now movies!

There is a brand new My Little Pony movie out on DVD and to digitally download from 6th July, by Hasbro Studios… and I have a copy to giveaway to one of my readers!

my little pony DVD Competition

So what’s the film about?

Well… ‘Sick of being pushed around by others and being a doormat, Fluttershy takes a class on assertiveness taught by self-help guru Minotaur; Iron Will. Fluttershy is thrilled with her new found confidence but when her concerned friends Rarity and Pinkie Pie confront her about her recent behavior, she mistakes their concern for an attack and retaliates by insulting them. Distraught by the upset she’s caused her friends Fluttershy locks herself in her cottage.

Concerned about her, Pinkie Pie and Rarity come by to try and coax her out by explaining she doesn’t have to be a bully to be assertive. Fluttershy must learn that there is a time and place for being self-assured, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve being bossy and mean. This concept is suddenly tested when Iron Will pays her a visit demanding payment for his services…

Sounds like a great story, one that will hopefully teach a young child about the right way to behave :)

If you fancy winning this DVD, for either your child or a relative who loves My Little Pony, then enter now via the Gleam Widget for more chances!

My Little Pony DVD


Best of luck

My Beautiful Girl turns 10

Here she is, my daughter. The most perfect human being on the planet as far as I’m concerned!

And last Saturday we celebrated her 10th birthday.

I’m in shock actually that she’s 10. TEN! Double figures! How the hell did THAT happen?

It seems like a big milestone.

But I’m not going to say ‘she’s growing up fast’, because really, at the moment, she isn’t!

Yes, she’s getting bigger. A lot bigger. Especially in recent months. Her body is slowly starting to change. She suddenly feels heavier in my arms and on my lap!

But she’s still my little girl. She’s still very much a child in the way she thinks and acts, and I’m holding on to that as long as I possibly can!

I’ve realistically got another year or two before things will no doubt change forever. But I’m not going to dwell on that right now. I really do try and savour my time with her. I feel completely blessed to have her, she’s truly the loveliest person.

And now she’s 10!

So back to her birthday!

To celebrate my girl turning ten, she invited 7 friends out to the cinema to watch new Disney film, Tomorrowland.

The girls!

The girls enjoyed the film. I did have concerns about it though after someone very kindly told me it was really boring the day before, but luckily the girls didn’t think so! It’s a more ‘grown up’ Disney offering so possibly not suitable for small kids, but it does have George Clooney in which was a bonus for me!

After eating popcorn and candy floss in the cinema, instead of having food somewhere like everyone does after the party, we headed off to a Dessert Parlour, Kaspas, that’s just opened up in our area, for some more sugar overload! Oh yes! Kaspas is a relatively new chain of yummyness and is definitely the place to be right now around here! We’ve already tried it but some of the girls hadn’t, so they were very excited about going!

Kaspas Desserts

My girl had an absolutely fantastic time. She and her friends laughed non stop and stuffed themselves with waffles, ice cream, chocolate, cookie dough, sundaes… it was dessert heaven!

She had a perfect day.

A perfect birthday for a perfect girl :)


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