Tag Archives: Wales

Five frugal things: 16th July 2017

five frugal thingsAs I was on holiday last week you may be surprised to learn that I have easily achieved five frugal things.  Our week in our lovely Welsh retreat was a bargain vacation after all!!

Frugal achievement no. 1: Eating in

It would be easy to eat out a lot on holiday. We rarely do, usually allowing ourselves just the one restaurant meal. We had a delicious one when we went to Anglesey and I was more than happy to pay for the lovely food and excellent service. The rest of the time we treated ourselves to yummy meals in, buying Welsh lamb a couple of times as it really is excellent quality. Not cheap, but much more so than eating out. We had new potatoes and home grown vegetables we had taken with us alongside whatever we bought.

Frugal achievement no 2: Picnics all the way

five frugal thingsEvery day we made ourselves a flask and some sandwiches to take out with us. A couple of times we found some yellow stickered reductions and took those out with us the day after. I know people get nervous about going over best before dates, but it was only a day and we kept everything cold in the fridge and the cool bag. I think if you use your common sense and the food looks and smells fresh, it is usually perfectly edible and delicious. One day we got our picnic for less than £1!

Frugal achievement no 3: Kitting myself out for work

I find it hard to pass a charity shop and we went into lots of them in Aberystwyth. Poor Mr S was running out of patience with my by the end of the holiday! However, as well as finding some bargains to resell on eBay, I found two skirts and a top for work. The grand total? £6. You can’t do much better than that for a bargain.

Frugal achievement no 4: Finding free trips out

We did pay for some days out whilst we were away, most notably the wonderful Plas Cadnant Gardens in Anglesey. However, we also found lots of free attractions. The Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth was very interesting, when the sun shone we went to the beach and the RSPB South Stack nature reserve also cost us nothing. A walk along the beach or in the woods is always a joy and you get both for free.

Frugal achievement no 5: Using the library

One very wet day in Wales we went and sat in the library where we took advantage of the free wi-fi, magazines and newspapers on offer. I am all for using libraries wherever and whenever possible as the more people that do, the less likely the local authority is to close them. It was really interesting to see the range and number of people coming in to borrow books and use the computers.

Now we are home I need to think about some post holiday money saving so may need to find more than five frugal things each week! We may have had a frugal week compared to other people on their holidays, but Wales is a long way from us and the petrol cost a lot, we bought a few gifts for the girls and spent more on food than we normally would. So, this week, we will mostly be eating…..courgettes!

How about you? Have you managed five frugal things?

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky. Hop over to their sites to see their five frugal things and the other bloggers taking part this week.

 

 

 

Cheap accommodation on Anglesey and the perils of Air B&B 

Cheap accommodation on Anglesey We have left our lovely caravan to spend the night in some cheap accommodation on Anglesey. It was a long drive up and we wanted to get the best of our time here so it seemed a good idea.

Beautiful Plas Cadnant

Anglesey certainly has some gems. We had a wonderful visit to Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens
followed by a trip to Beaumaris. Today we were blessed with beautiful sunny weather. What a gorgeous day! We even saw a red squirrel!

Cheap accommodation on Anglesey


The gardens were gorgeous. They are in a gentle valley which creates a warmer micro climate than is usual for Wales, and the planting is stunning. The walled part of the garden is quite formal with triangular trees and deep flower beds on each side. The second half of the garden is more naturalistic, consisting of wild woods with dappled shady areas and  lots of little water falls. There were many places to sit and hear the relaxing sounds of trickling water – totally magical.

Cheap and cheerful

We found cheap accommodation on Anglesey and are staying overnight at a house on the island courtesy of Air B&B. This is the first time we have tried it and it is certainly  a very frugal sort of accommodation. Only £43 for the two of us.

However, it is a bit like a student house! The landlady is very sweet but the house smells of her two dogs and the mattress sags so badly in the middle so we have had to put some pillows down the centre so we don’t end up squashed together.

She has very kindly left us teabags and a kettle and told us to help ourselves to milk from the fridge. However, the fridge stinks and the milk was lumpy so we had to buy a bottle when we went out to dinner. Still, it is very cheap and only for one night 😀. Thank heavens!

Cheap accommodation on Anglesey We had a delicious meal out as a treat. Both of us had fish. Mr S had sea bass on a seafood biriani and I had a beautifully cooked piece of plaice. Followed by the hugest puddings ever! We went to Sullivan’s restaurant and we would recommend it.  The staff were lovely and the food was simple but delicious. Massive portions too if you are feeling hungry!

Cheap accommodation on Anglesey We had a walk along the beach at Rhosneigr after dinner. The sunset was amazing. What a great day. Worth sleeping on a lumpy mattress.

Anyone else familiar with this fabulous part of Wales? Have you tried Air B&B or found cheap accommodation on Anglesey – or anywhere else for that matter?

Bargain hunters on holiday!

Bargain hunting in Wales

Huge sky at Aberdovey

We are back in our little Welsh caravan. It really feels like a home from home, but without work, noise and traffic!

 We are on a smallholding a few miles from Machynlleth. There are trees and hills all around us and the sound of a stream just a few feet away. Everything is green and lush and all is quiet, apart from the sounds of birds, ducks and sheep. It is bliss! We love it so much we have been each summer for the past five years.

Yesterday we got up to beautiful sunshine. As it was clearly a beach day, and you can’t guarantee many of those in Wales, we packed up our picnic and drove the few miles to Aberdovey. What a glorious little place, a long sandy beach with a backdrop of hills and a huge sky. Aberdovey is really just a row of colourful shops and houses on the front with a few gorgeous cottages on the hills behind. It is small but perfectly formed and in a delightful location. 

Bargain hunters on the rampage

Today we woke to heavy rain. A bit of a change but we expect this in Wales. We took ourselves off to Aberystwyth for the day, with Mr S showing great patience as I dragged him around the charity shops. Well, it would be rude not to. I can’t resist a bargain even when I’m on holiday!

The Barnado’s shop was the best. Almost everything was £1.99, and I picked up a Karen Millen dress and a Coast silk basque top. In the Salvation Army shop I discovered a really beautiful Monsoon 100% silk dress for £4. These will be cleaned and sold on eBay.

I found a nice quality black skirt for work for £3 and a smart office top for £2.50. Frustratingly, I have been looking for ages for a decent pair of leather sandals but I had no luck. I even looked in the Clarks’ sale. Wide feet witch narrow heels are not a great shape when you are searching for strappy sandals! Oh well, I will keep looking.

Simple living

We haven’t had wifi much so far, hence the lack of blog posts. One of the disadvantages of staying in the wilds – but also one of the great advantages! It means we talk and read rather than sitting in our phones or laptops. Yesterday I even managed a lovely outdoor yoga session behind the caravan. I will be so relaxed by the time we leave.

Life is so simple when you can spend your days doing yoga and scouring the charity shops. Are you a family of bargain hunters, even on holiday?

Cheapskate Tuesday 

My Approved Food order arrived yesterday, just in the nick of time as I had run out of cat food. I ordered quite a lot of Felix but also some posh stuff called Encore, which apparently would have cost £8 for 10 sachets. £8!! I find that hard to believe. Anyway it is a treat for the cats and they loved it 😀. I also purchased a huge 1kg tub of Marigold bouillon for a fiver. I make a lot of soup so this will come in very handy. The smaller one in the picture also cost me a fiver from the health food shop so quite a saving.

I love a bargain! Am I very sad to get excited over this stuff?

The caravan in Wales for our summer holiday is booked so I am excited to go again and must give them a plug. If you want a cheap holiday in an amazingly peaceful, environmentally sustainable situation you can’t beat this place. They have a lovely old caravan with a compost toilet and a tiny little campsite if you are hardy enough. Check it out here. Tom and Liza are lovely hosts. Tell them I recommended them 😀.

If you are interested in buying from Approved Food and use my link, I earn a teensy but welcome commission.
https://store.approvedfood.co.uk/?afid=aab8d8

 

Mid week doldrums

Life’s a beach


I’m feeling a little flat. I think it’s because I can see hopeful signs that spring is on its way but it’s taking too damn long to get here! Yesterday was grey and wet. It was busy and stressful at work and I had a crashing head and neck ache for most of the day. Luckily today I feel a bit better. 

I need a bit of sunshine!

What I need is some decent weather at the weekend so that I can get out and tidy up the garden. I find gardening so therapeutic; the combination of being out in the fresh air and creating a bit of order has such a great effect on how I feel. 

The problem with our garden is that there is so much of it and not enough free time to keep it really nice. We are trying to make it lower maintenance by planting lots of flowering shrubs, but they are expensive so this is a slow process. Nonetheless it is so satisfying when the flowers arrive along with the sunshine. I can see the daffodils poking up already. 

Our home from home in Wales


I will cheer myself up today and book our regular week at a small holding in Wales. It is such a cheap holiday in a little old caravan but such a beautiful place that we keep going back.

Anyone else got the winter blues?

Heading home

We woke up to a torrential downpour this morning, which made packing up the car a bit soggy. I was sorry to leave Wales as I always am, but we had a decent run back. 

Last evening at Aberdovey beach

We have talked a lot this holiday about saving up for a camper van, something not too huge-maybe a Bongo. I think we would use it very often and it would be a worthwhile investment. We have always said we will buy one ‘one day’. Hopefully ‘one day’ will be within the next couple of years. I can see us on long weekends, travelling to Europe to explore, heading off the the odd festival…so many cheap holidays! I am starting the savings fund straight away!

I have a clear week and then we have a student coming for a fortnight. An Italian boy of 16. I will have to think of some good menu choices other than pasta and burgers.

The garden has gone crazy whilst we have been away. The grass is so long and the weeds are doing well! I wish I could say the same of the veg patch. Something has eaten most of the runner beans, the slugs have decimated the brassicas and the courgettes just aren’t growing. The plants are flowering but tiny. I will be surprised if we get many courgettes. The red and blackcurrants are looking good, as are the broad beans and tomatoes, so at least we have those. It all helps! 

Off to do the laundry and write a shopping list. Back to reality!

Designer labels? Only if they are in the charity shop

We have had a lovely last morning in Wales going round the RSPB Dyfi Osprey project just outside Machynlleth. There were cameras trained on the osprey chicks as they were fed sea bass by their parents. They are six weeks old now and will be flying soon. You can see them on camera at http://www.dyfiospreyproject.com


We also saw a few common lizards looking for some sunshine as we walked along the boardwalks over the wetland areas and lots of tiny finches. There was even what looked like a red squirrel, although one of the staff said it was a young grey. It looks red to me!

Next stop was the charity shop in Machynlleth where I picked up some real bargains, including a Karen Millen top with the label on (saying £99) for £4! Who spends that much on a top and then doesn’t bother to wear it? Someone with more money than sense I guess. I also bought two Phase Eight dresses, a Monsoon skirt, an M&S sequinned dress and navy work skirt and a lovely wool blanket. Everything bar the Karen Millen top cost £2 each. If anything doesn’t fit or I don’t like it I will put it on eBay and make a profit. I don’t feel bad if I do this – a girl has got to make ends meet and I do give the charity shops a lot of my spare cash.

We will have a meander this evening and get the car packed and head back to England tomorrow. I could stay here forever! We will be back 😀.

A piece of paradise

The veranda by night


We slept in again today. It is so easy to relax with just the sound of  the river and the birds for company. 

…and by day

Our caravan isn’t remotely glamorous or luxurious. It is ancient and a bit tatty, but it’s comfy and has everything we need. Mr S was very dubious about the compost toilet the first time we came but truly it is excellent – much larger and less smelly than your average caravan toilet I am sure! 

Cooking in the van

Tom, the owner, has built a kind of cabin on top of the caravan to protect it from the harsh Welsh winters and also a veranda at the front. When they were renovating their cottage twenty odd years ago they actually lived in the caravan for five years!

I am not sure I would like to do that but for a short stay it couldn’t be nicer. So, another plug for Y Felin: http://www.yfelin.plus.com/.

Cheap lunch and doing nothing

Blogging every day? I must be on holiday!

Besutiful Aberdovey


We popped into Morrison’s on our way home from Anglesey Island the day before yesterday for a few provisions. We bought a completely seasonal and almost local meal of Welsh lamb chops, new potatoes and corn on the cob. Delicious! 

I rarely buy lamb as it is expensive, but we always have some when we are in Wales. It’s not as if we eat in fancy restaurants so it is a holiday treat. We also spotted some pasties reduced to 19p each and scotch eggs at 25p for the two. We picked those up for our picnic yesterday and ate them with a flask of coffee on the beach at Aberdovey, my favourite little seaside town in the area. The sun came out and we lay on our towels and snoozed for a bit.
Anglesey was interesting but it was raining quite hard for a lot of the time we were there. We will go back but give ourselves more time to explore. Not this trip though as it was a 2 hour drive. We are trying to unwind so don’t want to rush around too much. 

We have gone further afield in this trip than previously as we have visited most of the nearby attractions several times during our visits. I think maybe we will find accommodation further south next time and explore Pembrokeshire and see some new sites.

Last night we had a trip to the cinema at Tywyn. It is a tiny old fashioned place and cost just £5 a ticket, half what our local Odeon charges! However, it also has a licenced bar so I spent what I saved on the ticket on a glass of prosecco – well I was watching Ab Fab darling so it should really have been a glass of Bolly 😀😀.

I am enjoying having the time and space to do these things but also to do absolutely nothing if the fancy takes me. We are sleeping in late as well – 9 am this morning, which we never do at home. I am a human being this week, not just a human doing!

Incommunicado – almost


One thing staying in a very basic caravan in the middle of nowhere with no phone, tv or wi-fi tends to remind me is how little I really need these things. I think this is why I love coming here. It is so quiet and peaceful and the endless chatter and noise of every day life – the TV programmes, the lure of the Internet, emails, the radio – just don’t exist. We don’t have even a phone signal! I find I miss them very little, although we have had a fix of wifi on our travels most days for a quick check on Mr S’s business and have been able to text the kids and our parents.

It also reminds me how much time I waste online! Facebook, Instagram, blogs – and I sit in front of a PCs all day at work so you would think I would want to get away from technology when I am home. It’s never that easy, of course, as the world is run by the Internet these days and it is a wonderful tool in many respects. 

A root around the charity shops


As I say though it is great to have space from it. I remember a time before the Internet – yes, I am getting on a bit – when you went on holiday and your only communication to anyone at home was a postcard! You knew what was happening in the world by buying a newspaper. My girls would think that a bit antiquated!

We have another sunny day here in Wales so need to make the most of it. This is a quick stop for a coffee and a bit of free wifi in the library. But I’m throwing technology aside now – off for a blow along the beach and a root through any charity shops we come across. Yes, some things don’t change just because we are on holiday!