The Many Uses of My Plastic Jars.

by Jada, September 30, 2016
It's been two years since I first got my hands on my 15 plastic 'sweet' jars to use for a Halloween feature, and what a helpful send they've been! Originally I planned to use them just for a Halloween feature, but soon after using them for the first time, I realised just how perfect they'd be for so many things, and not just sweets!

Using them just for Halloween would mean that they'd only come out of the attic once a year for Halloween, and that just didn't fit right with me, they're so cute, I knew that they could be used for more than sweets, and so I and others started finding other ways to use them!

Use One: Sweet Jars
Of course their original purpose is to house sweets, and sweet's they've housed indeed! From being a regular guest at my Halloween feature parties, to attending my sister's wedding, these jars have housed thousands of sweets between them, and have seen more faces than I can remember! What I love about them is the fact that they're all different sizes (three of each), meaning there's no sweet too big or too small to fit into them!

Use Two: Craft Supplies - NO GLITTER!!!
Having so many jars and not enough treats meant that I had to find other ways to use the sweet jars, when I had an idea -a clever idea and a stupid one rolled into one - Spud's art and craft supplies! It worked wonders with the loose bits of tissue paper, pipe wire and felt pom poms, it didn't work well with the glitter tubes though and sadly one of the jars had to be replaced! 

Use Three: Dry Foods
Dry foods like pasta, spaghetti, biscuits and cereal are perfect foods to be housed in these jars, I did try bread rolls once but sadly they went a big soggy so bread is a no go, otherwise dry foods work really well in the containers! I read a tip online that when using plastic for such, to lay a piece of kitchen towel at the bottom of the container, I've not tried it myself as I have no problems, but maybe it could help others.

Use Four: Clothing Pegs
Pegs are made mainly using plastic materials and fit into the large sweet jars I have really well. Unlike peg bags, they don't get dirty and they close up properly unlike many peg bags I've used in the past. Simply unscrew and screw the lid on whenever you need to use your pegs and be sure that no creepy crawlies are going to crawl onto you ever again - not from using pegs anyway!

Use Five: Utensils
I have so many utensils that my poor cutlery drawer started to house more than the actual utensil holder itself! By taking the lid off of one of my largest sweet jars, I was able to place all my utensils into one jar with ease and still have room for more if I ever come across a utensil I don't own! Though I could do with a bigger rolling pin, so that's one to add to the collection!

There we have it, five ways to use sweet jars, other than housing sweets!

Jada x
Recently, I've started to look at my spending habits to see where I can save money as the Christmas period creeps upon us. I come from a very big family, and although I know Christmas isn't about presents (I do know the reason behind the season) it's the way we've always done things, and with over 40 people to buy for, I know I need to start buying items soon!

What I done was wrote down a list of everything I have to pay out for every month, so in other words bills and food shopping. The majority of the bills have set rates, however there was one bill I knew I could possibly decrease by calling us TalkTalk (the providers of my broadband, TV package and home landline), if only I could call up the local council and get the council tax reduced!

My contract with TalkTalk was about to come to an end, but before signing a new contract with them, I searched around before calling TalkTalk directly to see what they could do for me, they was happy to decrease my bill by £10, and seeing as I was on a fairly cheap package as it was, I was happy to accept their offer and signed up for another 18 months.

Apart from doing that, and giving meal planning a go to save on my food shopping, I couldn't really see any other way to bring the cost down. So instead, I thought about how I could earn more, and that's when I remembered the platform that was my first internet love - Swagbucks. 

Back before I started blogging, I was earning at least £20/£25 a week on Swagbucks, and I thought I would head on over there to see how it worked these days, and was glad the site works in the exact same way as it did then, you answer surveys, watch videos, search the web, play games and more to earn points called Swagbucks, you then turn them points into gift cards.

Knowing I work (my blog is my job, I didn't have a job when I first used Swagbucks) now, and I'm still a full time mum, I wasn't sure if I could earn as much as I use too, but to my amazement, I've only gone and done better than I ever thought I would! I set myself a goal of getting £25 a week, £50 in two weeks, however I've gone and got £45 in 10 days, and I've now set myself a goal to get £60 in the two weeks! I'm on day 11 out of 14 now, so have until Friday to complete my second goal, I'm confident that I can do it, so the pressure isn't on.

I've recommended Swagbucks to a few friends and family members recently, and have felt so chuffed when they've messaged to say they've already earned their first voucher in a day or two, and with the festive season fast approaching, I know how much extra income is always welcome!

I like many others have tried a number of survey sites in the past, but find they don't reward you decently. Swagbucks however reward in my opinion very fairly, enabling me to earn rewards for giving them a little bit of my time each week. Of course the more you put in, the more you can earn, however even if you only have a little bit of time to spare, the rewards are there! 

As you can see from my screenshot above, I cash out in Amazon vouchers, however there's over 20 UK retailers on the reward section in which you can cash out on! So if you have some free time on your hands, and fancy getting rewarded for simple task, why not head on over to Swagbucks and sign up?

I'd love to hear if you have any experience with the site, or if you sign up - please do let me know what you think of it!

Until next time,
Jada x
This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

Did you see my post yesterday talking about Groupon Goods? If it was your kind of post and you love nothing more than saving a few pennies or pounds, then read on for some more amazing savings with the popular discounter. I should've really spoke about both in the one post, but out of respect for these two amazing services, I thought it was only right that they have their own post, let's treat them as two individual members of royalty shall we?

Okay, so when I speak about making money and saving money at the same time, I know it may leave some of you feeling confused. How can you spend money, but save money at the same time? Surely the only logical thing would be to not spend any money at all right? However, I don't agree, besides, no matter how much we may not want to, for many of us, spending money is a daily routine in our lives, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try and save money at the same time as spending though!

Am I confusing you? Please take a seat and let me explain. So you have an important occasion coming up, maybe it's someone's birthday, a Christening/Baptism to attend, an engagement party, a special event or even a wedding, and you know you can't turn up without a gift, but there's one problem - you're on a tight budget but you don't want to look tight.

First of all, you need to set yourself a budget, then head on over to Groupon Coupons and find yourself a retailer you fancy the look of, I'm looking for discounts to treat my second eldest brother on his birthday, my brother was born a man but let me tell you he's the Queen of the Gays, and so I know exactly what he loves - glitter, mirrors, sparkles, tight shirts and hearts.

Paula - my eldest sister, and Paul - our brother 'the Queen'!

Straight away I've found myself a discount code for House of Fraser, and know without a doubt, that's one place I can find my brother a present he'll love and have no need to return! I've not only found one discount code, but a list of well over 10 that I need to look through to find the best one, because we never settle for the first one we find do we?

Even if you don't have a present to buy, Groupon coupons can be amazing for big discounts on stores nationwide, so if you fancy treating yourself to that winter coat or boots that you've had your eye on for a while, it's always worth checking Groupon first to see if they have any discount codes you can use to save yourself a few pennies or pounds, after all a penny saved is a penny towards that next purchase.

What's the best discount code you've ever come across? I once found a Foot Locker code for 50% off which got me the cutest pair of pink trainers for half the shelf price!

Jada x
Today marks the 14th week until Christmas is here, yet again another year has flown by so quickly and we're left wondering where the time has gone. This time though instead of thinking about where the year has gone for hours like I usually do, I thought I would do something logical with my thinking time and write down a Christmas list of who I need to buy gifts for.

It'll soon be time for Father Christmas to visit again!

As you may of seen from a recent blog post where I wrote about money saving, I'm on a real drive this year to not only make money but to save money at the same time and as the second biggest event of the year is approaching - Christmas, I thought this would be the perfect time to write my first money saving post, because let's face it, who doesn't like saving a few pounds or even pennies when it comes to spending money?

No babies have been born this year, so there's no new family members to buy for unlike previous year's where it's seemed like my to buy for list just didn't want to stop growing, in fact it's dropped a few faces with relationship breakups. What I do know though is gifts will be different this year for those family members that have grown in milestones! My second eldest sister will be turning 30 just a few days before Christmas, and my niece will just be out of the baby stage with her 3rd birthday also a few days before Christmas. 

With such a big family (and I've just realised I've not even included Gareth's family on my list yet!), it's not only important for me to start Christmas shopping early, but it's essential too - to ensure everyone has something to open from me and Spud on Christmas day. If I left it until the last minute, It'll be guaranteed that everyone wakes up to a box of cheap chocolates as I just couldn't afford it!

From a three year old to a 80+ year old, I have lots of people to buy for, so all categories need to be considered, and as I love nothing more than saving money but gifting nicely, one of the first places I'd love to introduce you to is Groupon Goods, from presents for the teens, to products for our furry family members, Groupon have it covered, and one particular product I've been keeping my eyes on are mason jars so I can make homemade gifts with Spud for all the adults in the family - cheap, yet personal.

Surprisingly not many people know about this service from Groupon, however as I'm a big fan of the discounter you may of seen me talking about them on my social media channels before. You all know how much I love showing off my buys and purchases to you, especially when I've got a pretty discount on the items full price!

Have you started your Christmas shopping or are you one of those who get everything at the last minute? Or are you one of those who've been finished since January! I'd love to hear any money saving tips you have, so please do leave me a comment below!

Jada x

Osper - Our Six Month Review.

by Jada, September 08, 2016
In February this year, Spud was asked if he would like to try out a card called Osper for children between the ages of 8-18 that would help him learn about finances and how to budget his pocket money. Once I'd checked over the website and felt that it was a safe enough for Spud to use I emailed back to accept the offer.

A few days later (back in February) a envelope addressed to Spud arrived through the door and inside was his brand new shiny, bright orange Osper card loaded with some money in return for our thoughts on the Osper service.

Usually I like reviews to go up within two-four weeks of us receiving/trying out a product/service. However I wanted to do things differently with Osper as after all it is a service based around money, and I wanted to make sure I had everything covered before sharing things with my readers. So six months and a few weeks on, here is our honest review of the Osper card.

Osper is a unique service (one of only a few around) that help parents trust their children with money via a very simple and easy to use app. The safe and easy to set-up app includes everything a parent needs to help their children spend money wisely whilst checking up on our childs/children's spending habits and the best thing about it all is it isn't a bank account, so doesn't require you to visit branches and the alike.

Once you've registered your child's card with the Osper app, the card is ready to be used instantly, of course it will help if there is money in your child's account to spend - again a very simple and easy task to complete. There is also a way for family and friends to pay funds into your childs account, so if the grandparents wanted to treat your child or your child's friend wants to pay some borrowed money back, there is a way to do it.

Sometimes I give Spud extra pocket money for doing task around the house, or if he's had a super good week at school, so it's comforting to know that I can top up the card at any time I like via the app in a few minutes. If you give your child a certain allowance, then Osper can also help you control this too, without the need to withdraw cash and then let your child walk around with it! Of course if your child wanted cash then Osper allows them to withdraw cash from UK ATM machines for free of charge (to use ATM machines abroad it will cost £1 per transaction).

Another great thing that I love about Osper is the fact that both myself and Spud can have a separate account, however its linked to Spud's one account. We both have unique logins and passwords, however we're able to control different things from each account. I can control how much and how often Spud's card should be topped up, with the funds instantly being transferred from my bank account into his Osper account and I can also do things like turning on and off the online spending function. Whereas Spud can only do things like set up a savings goal, check his balance and tag his purchases.

I know many parents worry about what their children spend their money on, so I find comfort that Osper tells me where Spud has used his card (although I know this all at the moment anyway as he's always with me, I know it will come in handy for when he does start using his card alone) and then Spud can tag his spends on certain categories (like food, clothing, games etc) which helps me establish what he spends the majority of his money on.

Another worry for parents is children remembering their pin numbers, however with the clever Osper app, the pin number is accessible at any time of the day or night by holding down on the pin screen for a few seconds until the pin number for your childs card is revealed.

The Cost!
So what's the cost I can hear many of you thinking? Ordering a card and trying out the service for one month is FREE, however after the first month is up it will charge you either £1.50 or £3.00 per month depending on what plan you go with. There are two plans, with not that much of a big difference between them, however we did go with Osper Learn which cost £3 a month (billed annually).

Get £3 FREE credit!
If you sign up using Spud's referral code (found below), you/your child and Spud will both get £3 each once you've topped up at least £5! So top up £5 and your child will have £8 to spend, top up £10 and your child will have £13 to spend, top up £15 and your child will have £18 to spend and so on.Simply click here or copy this link - or use the code GDZ11754

Our Final Thoughts.
Osper is very different to children's bank accounts which is what I love. Prior to using Osper, Spud was given his pocket money in cash, and has lost money two times previously. Whilst I know fully well he can lose his card, I can block it instantly meaning no 'money' is lost. It will still be in his account and he won't be able to spend any of it until his new card arrives.

A bonus for me as a parent is Osper NOT having the contactless system that so many cards have these days, if I lost my card, someone could easily spend up to £30 on it a number of times. Whilst I find it convenient sometimes, I'm a lot older and wiser than a child, and take due care to know where my card is at all times, children (or at least Spud) can get distracted easily, and we have to accept the fact that accidents can happen, and items can get lost.

A bonus for Spud is being able to remember where he's spent his money with thanks to the app. We've been on holiday before and he couldn't remember pound for pound where his money had went, but now he (and myself) can track (and remember) exactly where he's spent his money. Spud also likes the independence he has with using the card and the app, he has told so many of his friends about it that they've asked if he can bring it into school, of course I said no, but it's nice to see that he thinks fondly of the service, which makes me feel like my money hasn't gone to waste.

Whilst we love the app just like Davina McCall, I personally would love to see a online (non app) service become available. I use apps often, but I've also gone through quite a few phones and when you're given a loan phone from your phone insurers - they usually aren't smartphones, so the only way to access the web is via my laptop, and as Osper is only accessible via the app, I'd have problems accessing Spud's account if I was ever without my smartphone. 

Until next time,
Jada & Spud.

Disclaimer: Spud received £50 on his Osper card in return for his thoughts on the service. This £50 was then spent on lots of games, and some sweet treats! I then paid for a years membership out of my own pocket as we personally like the service.

Dear Spud, On Your First Day Of Year Six.

by Jada, September 06, 2016
Dear Spud,

Today you start your first day of year six, your first day of your final year at primary school and I can't tell you how proud I am of you.

Whilst some children love, or don't mind school, you're one of the children who could easily stay at home and fit the home educated lifestyle.

You struggle to process information, and struggle with your work which often upsets you.

I know you try your best though, and for that I couldn't be more prouder.

As a last surprise for the summer holidays, I told you on Thursday that we was going on holiday in the morning (Friday morning) and I watched as a ginormous smile spread across your face, until you asked when we was coming back.

I told you we would be back on Monday as you was starting school on Tuesday (today) and the smile slowly disappeared as you told me you hated school.

I know you hate school, but we all need to learn, and I know it's not because of the learning that you hate school, but for various other reasons.

I'm hoping that year six is your year, and the start of many good school years to come, you only have one more year left at primary school and then you'll be attending big boy school - secondary school.

Today got off to a good start, after not waking up to your puppy for three days, you was super excited to get out of bed and be greeted by him, you had snuggles with him before having your breakfast and getting ready for school.

I got a few pictures of you for the obligatory back to school photo's that mummy needs, and we giggled at the faces you was pulling, you didn't want to smile and I would never force you, so instead I snapped the image of you in your true self and we giggled when looking back at the photo's.

I was surprised at how happy you seemed to be going to school when we left to walk to school, you were super excited because your 'new' teacher is a teacher you've had in a previous year (year four) and both of us are very fond of her, you're also excited to see your 'friends' again after not seeing them for six weeks.

As we got closer to your school, in the near distance I could see your worse fear approaching us - the sweeping machine. Luckily Gareth was with us and so we decided to get you in the middle of us knowing at any second you could spot it. Sure enough you spotted it a few seconds after I did, and the panic set in.

To see you so terrified only minutes away from school, on your first day of your last primary school year was horrible, it's horrible at any time and any day, but to see you rather happy only a few minutes before, and then to see you so distraught broke my heart.

Luckily me and your step dad was able to calm you down and get you to school with a dry face, but I'm still sat here now worried about you and how your first day is going. I know you'll have the sweeping machine in your head, worrying about it being on the road when you're collected from school, and I just wish I could reassure you again that I will never let it hurt you.

As you're nearly halfway through your school day, I can only hope and remain positive that you've had a good morning so far. Soon it will be lunchtime and pretty soon it will time for you to be home where you belong.

Jezeppi is missing you loads, he doesn't understand why you didn't wear that uniform for so long, but today you put it back on and have left him for the day, he keeps wondering around the house looking for you, but I know you both will be super excited to see each other when you're back from school!

He's not the only one that's missing you of course, the house isn't the same without you, it's not home without you and I too can't wait for you to be back home with your mum and fur brother.

I know this year is an important year at school for you, and together working with the school, I will help you in anyway I can. You never cease to amaze me with your approach to work and difficult situations, and for that, you make me the proudest mummy alive.

I love you prince,

Upcoming Plans and Changes To The Blog.

by Jada, September 01, 2016
Recently, I've been trying to work more on the blog and have plans to either update the design or get a whole new design, I'm still undecided on what exactly to do, but what I do know is that the blog is in dire need of a revamp! My reviews and competition pages haven't been updated in so long, it's rather embarrassing and I need to go through every single one of my old post to make sure everything is up to scratch!

I actually planned to spend a lot of time doing behind the scenes work on the blog during the summer holidays, as I didn't have to worry about school morning routines, but after the incident with my next door neighbour, every plan I had went to ruins! I now plan to sort things out slowly over the next couple of months taking it one step at a time.

I've also decided that to be able to spend more time working on the blog, as it is my job/career, I need to have a comfortable working area, as my current working space - the sofa isn't doing me any favours! You may recall a blog post I done in regards to having a bad leg, and although I can't be sure it's been caused by my working area, I'm pretty sure it hasn't helped the leg situation, and more recently I've been suffering with bad back pain which I know is due to sitting down on an uncomfortable sofa for long periods.

I was contemplating the idea of getting a desk for my bedroom, but I've decided against that idea, and instead I'm just going to work from my beautiful writing bureau that I purchased just before I moved into the house. I'm ashamed to say that the writing bureau hasn't been used for its purpose, but instead has been used as a dumping ground for anything from paper work to Spud's toys!

So after spending the four hours of today clearing the writing bureau and finding new homes for the items that was stored in and on it, it's ready to be used for its purpose - well at least my own purpose! I then spent a further two hours searching the web for office chairs as the unit is quite low, and standing/crouching down isn't an option I'd like to take, it'll just make matters worse for my leg and back! I've ordered a chair over quality and not style and it should be here next week, I'm hoping that by being in less pain (fingers crossed), I'll be able to work with a clearer head and get more things done!

Other plans that I have coming up for the blog include post around Unique Young Mum's fourth birthday, although this has actually been, I've not got around to writing any post just yet! Just like last year when I celebrated the blog's third birthday, I plan to host lots of competitions to give back to the lovely readers and visitors who keep myself and Unique Young Mum going!

As always I plan to work on Halloween and Christmas features but I'm also going to look into doing more post around money making, money saving and budgeting and what not. I've got a few personal goals I want to reach and I also aim to write about them too, so keep your eyes posted because I need as much support and even criticism to be able to reach one of my goals! 

I hope you're all doing well and as many of us are preparing for the back to school chaos, I hope the next week goes smoothly for us all! I for one am not looking forward to having Spud away from me again after having him with me basically 24/7 during the holidays bar two sleepovers he's attended with my dad and sister!

Jada x