Top 5 voucher codes for cooking on a budget

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How much money do you spend on your groceries each month? A report suggests that nearly five million of us spend at least 10% of our income on filling our faces. As the cost of food keeps on rising, more of us are set to miss out on our five-a-day.

 Since 2008, the amount of money spent on food and drink in the UK has soared by almost a quarter (23%). However, the amount actually being eaten has fallen by 7%. Households spend just less than £3,000 on food in 2012, but it’s thought that figure will rise to £3,297 in 2013 – squeezing people’s income even further.

In order to give you a helping hand in the kitchen and make sure that your family never go without a decent home-cooked meal, My Favourite Voucher codes have shared their top five voucher codes for budget-friendly cooking.

These voucher codes will help you keep the cost of your grocery shopping to a minimum as well as contribute to a good cause.  My Favourite Voucher Codes have been donating 20% of net profits to various charities since being founded in 2012. They’ve donated in excess of £4,000 so far.

Doing good whilst saving money? That’s my kind of voucher code!

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The Thrifty Project cooks up a storm!

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Recently I have begun catering for events as a side project. Although I’ve been doing intimate dinner parties here and there, by far and large the biggest event I have organised so far was a birthday party for 100 people in June.

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My friend Emma and I began preparing a feast to remember at approximately 9 am on the day of the party. We cooked 100 Sausage Rolls, 100 spicy prawn cocktail cups, 100 beef yorkshire puddings with rocket and horseradish, 50 smoked mackerel blini’s, 100 broad bean and mint crostini’s, 100 pulled pork pies and 10 quiches with a mix of two homemade flavours: sun blush tomatoes and goats cheese, and mushroom and pancetta, phew!

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For dessert we prepared strawberry shortbreads with rosewater cream and, my cousin kindly created a gorgeous cake for the birthday girl!

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The evening was an absolute success and all attendees thanked myself and Emma for all our hard graft!

If you are interested in catering for any sort of event, be it a birthday party, a children’s party, a dinner party or a sunday afternoon tea, you can email me on alicekelleher@hotmail.com. I’ll be more than happy to arrange a spread suited to your budget.

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Nailing it with John Lewis

Next month, John Lewis will be launching their own line of Nail Polishes.

John Lewis Nails

I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to try the line out! The collection comprises of 12 colours. Post box red is certainly my favourite colour, such a gorgeous statement shade perfect for the British summer time.

Pick yours up in store, from the beginning of August.

 

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The Simple Things

Although I often spend hours in the kitchen, my favourite meals are often the least complicated. This meal below is my most requested comfort dish from friends and family, king prawn linguine. A simple mix of butter, parsley, garlic, prawns and linguine this combination creates a truly beautiful flavour.

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To make, simply mix the butter and the parsley and slowly fry the two together, then, after a minute or so, add the garlic. Finally add the prawns and slowly simmer for a few minutes. Mix in with some pre-cooked linguine and a pinch of salt. Finally garnish with fresh parmesan.

Delicious!

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Jack the Ripper Tour

I love London, mostly because it’s full of fun inspiring things to do.

Recently, I headed out on a Jack the Ripper tour of London, with my Dad, the excellent Blue Badge tour guide. I love seeing unusual hidden parts of London, such as the alphabet shutters above on Petticoat Lane.

To book Sean for an amazing tour of London’s most famous mystery you can email him on seankelleher@btinternet.com.

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Budget busting BB creams

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a busy woman. When it comes to skincare routines I don’t tend to have a vast amount of time.  Washing, moisturising, primer, foundation, exhausting. So when I heard about BB Creams, I couldn’t wait to try them out.

I had heard about 3 particular brands, so I was keen to try them out. The three I tried were Garnier BB cream, Maybelline BB Cream and Superdrug own Brand BB cream.

Garnier BB cream

A thick cream which seemed to cover up a multitude of sins, this cream is one for days when your skin is feeling dehydrated, or you have one blemish too many.  Be warned it is rather thick so should be applied sparingly. 6/10

Superdrug BB cream.

I have to say, for a own brand cream this really is a winner. It is a 5 in 1 BB cream which contains primer, moisturiser, a concealer and a foundation, and the shades and texture of the cream are light, allowing your skin to breathe. The only thing which disappointed me about this brand was the lack on suncream. Factor is an important element of skin care routine (I wear factor 50 every day!)  so if you are claiming to be an all in one cream then SPF should really be part of the equasion. 7/10

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream

Maybelline has the edge when it comes to numbers. The 8 in 1 cream hydrates all day, blurs imperfections, contains an SPF 30, and complements skin tone. It is a nice colour and this one really does last all day. Light and airy, this cream also doesn’t feel so heavy on the skin. 9/10

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Summer at Feng Sushi

It seems that, finally, on this beautiful Sunday, the sun has put it’s hat on. After weeks of dreary drizzle, I’m sat in my garden writing away with a mojito in one hand and a ice cream in the other. Bliss.

This time of the year, is special because it’s one of the few times I get to experience life outside in the UK. There’s nothing I love more than whiling away long, hot long summer evenings eating and drinking with friends.

So when I headed to Feng Sushi in West Hampstead last week, I was very keen to try out their new summer menu.  I love sushi, but I do think good quality sushi is becoming hard to find in London. If when I say sushi, you think of a Tesco prepacked salmon and prawn selection, then you, my friend, are missing out.

Founder and Japanese food fanatic, Silla Bjeerum feels the same way, so she has ensured her menu is both good quality and good value (no easy task, considering sustainable fish doesn’t come cheap).

The summer menu created by Silla doesn’t disappoint. We started off with a refreshing chilled Champagne Saki cocktail. with a splash of saki, and and brown sugar cube thrown in, refreshing, and perfect for cooling down on a warm summer evening.

We then went on enjoy a selection of delicious chilli edamame, perfect for getting our taste buds going.

Next up we had cold summer tofu, which was seasoned with fresh ginger, bonito flakes and spring onions. I wasn’t particularly excited at the prospect of this dish initially, as I’m not a big fan of tofu, but this fresh and delicious tofu was one of a kind,  a total taste sensation.

Next up we had salmon tar tar bites, which were (as with all the fish) fresh, and organic, sustainable and sensational. 

Silla fought long and hard to ensure all the fish used in Feng Sushi is sustainable and totally fresh, and the blood sweat and tears she has put into her restaurant speaks volumes when you take one bite out of this delicious Salmon tar tar.

The next dish we sampled, was the summer salad, which is a fresh twist on cous cous. I’m not sure I could quite get my head around the concept of Japanese style cous cous, so it wasn’t my favourite dish on the menu, but even though it wasn’t really my cup of tea, it wasn’t half bad.

Next up were the chilled ramen noodles. These were tasty, totally spongy, and soft. The texture was melt in your mouth good. They were served with a delicious prawn tempura.

Last but not least, was my personal favourite, crispy cornish sardines. These were delicious, the tofu tar tar dip created a flavour party on my palette, which still get my mouth watering every time I think about it.

Final word – the summer menu at Feng Sushi is modern but true to Japanese tradition. Silla believes good fish should speak for itself and her dishes certainly do that. The best part is all the dishes are totally affordable, and perfect for sharing, plus the outside tables in West Hampstead sit on a little patch of green, making it an idyllic spot to while away a summer evening.

(The view from Feng Sushi)

Finding affordable, delicious and ethical sushi within London is not an easy task, so I was more than impressed Feng Sushi ticked all these boxes. Make sure you pop in and sample their summer delights whilst the sun is gracing us with it’s presence.

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DIY dip dye

Summer totally sucks this year. When it comes to my wardrobe, I simply don’t know what to buy.  Should I purchase summery pieces in case the sun shines his head? Or skip it and buy key winter pieces for the upcoming AW season?

This week, I avoided the whole dilemma by creating my own little summer number, a dip dye dress, which I brought from H and M for a mere £3.99. Bargain.

This is the little white number I started with. Cute but plain I decided to jazz it up with a little colour.  So the dye was an added for £5.00, and 500g of table salt which is to be mixed with hot water, and your dye.

Turns out, dip dyeing is REALLY easy. You simply submerge clothes into water a little at a time (move a small section further into the water every 15 minutes) to create a rippled colour effect, until the whole item is submerged. Here’s my attempt below.

 

Once your done, stick the dress in the washing machine for a quick machinewash so all the dye washes off of the garment. Then hang out to dry.

The end result should look something like this. It’s quite cool right? A dip dyed dress for just under a tenner!

 

If I ever go on holiday this year (fingers crossed!) I will be rocking this bad boy.

 

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