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MyBuddy-Box (review)

March 8, 2015
Groceries in MyBuddy-Box


For years we have grappled with several reusable bags every time we go to the supermarket, as this seems more environmentally-friendly than using plastic bags. So I was pleased to be offered the opportunity to test out a MyBuddy-Box, which is a folding box for grocery shopping and household use.

When the folded-up box arrived in the post, I was immediately impressed with the fact that it was very lightweight and portable, just 32 x 25 x 4cm. It was very quick and easy to open up the box by unfastening the press-stud fasteners, pulling the ends up and then sliding the supports across to make the box rigid.

The MyBuddy-Box was designed and made in Britain. I love the ‘Paradise’ print on my box which makes it look pretty and feminine, but you can also get the box in a plain colour, basket or crate effect or even a ‘Wild’ leopard print.

We tried out the MyBuddy-Box on a recent supermarket trip and it worked really well. Much easier than using lots of separate bags! The handholds were comfortable to use, and the box seemed strong and solid, even when full of heavy groceries. (Once opened out the box is 32 x 25 x 55cm – and it is tested to be able to carry in excess of 20kg!)

These photos show the folded box hanging on the hook on the supermarket trolley, then the box full of groceries in the trolley after we had paid for them, and finally in our tiny car boot.

Using MyBuddy-Box

We will definitely use the MyBuddy-Box for future trips to the supermarket. And I’m using it to carry laundry and other things around the house. It will also be great to transport stuff when we go on holiday.

In fact I’m quite tempted to buy a second one. You can even stack them, using a nifty feature to push down little supports at the top corners of the box.

So, given that the MyBuddy-Box is such a wonderful and useful product, the surprising thing is that supermarkets do not stock them. There is a plastic bag tax coming in to force this autumn. So it would be good if supermarkets could start to stock MyBuddy-Box so that we have the option of buying this box to transport our groceries home.

In the meantime, the best place to buy this is at the MyBuddy-Box website. The ‘Classic Range’ which includes the box shown above, is £14.99 per box and the ‘Eco Range’ is £9.99 per box. Readers of this blog can use RUTHY free P&P on any orders.

I received a MyBuddy-Box for the purposes of writing this review. All words, photographs and opinions expressed are my own.

How to find nice clothes in charity shops

February 8, 2015



Some of my favourite items of clothing were charity shop bargains. For example, the blue bias-cut party dress above was originally from M&S, but I bought it from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport for £8.99. And the ‘non-iron’ shirt would have been £39.99 had I bought it new from Lands’ End, but it only cost £4.99 in the Stockport Oxfam shop.

Here are my tips for finding good clothes in charity shops:

1. Keep looking!

I go into charity shops every chance I get. Sometimes I don’t find anything I want to buy. But if you don’t look you could miss out on really something good.

2. Try things on

It is only by trying things on that you can really see whether you like an item enough to buy it. Also, clothing sizes have changed a lot of over time, and vary between brands. Sometimes a British size 12 will fit me just fine, other times a size 14 is too snug.

3. Be choosy

Only buy things you really love and will definitely wear. Don’t buy something just because it’s a fantastic bargain or a designer label. There’s no point cluttering up your wardrobe with items of clothing that don’t earn the space they take up.

4. Check the condition of the item

If something needs a minor repair, such as a replacement button, I’ll buy it and do what needs doing. If it needs a complete overhaul, then I will probably leave it in the shop.

5. Machine or hand wash?

I prefer to buy items I can wash myself, either in the washing machine or by hand. That way I can avoid the inconvenience and expense of dry-cleaning.

6. Natural fibres tend to be best

Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool, tend to age better than polyester and nylon. This is important when you are buying something that has already been worn by its original owner!

Linking up with Fabulously Frugal at A Thrifty Mum.

Fabulously Frugal

Slow Cooked Brixton Baked Beans (recipe by Miss South)

February 1, 2015
Brixton Baked Beans in the slow cooker

Brixton Baked Beans (recipe by Miss South)

I’ve just returned from a winter walk and it was lovely to open my front door and smell a wonderful fragrance of pomegranate molasses and cloves. This morning I put all the ingredients for ‘Brixton Baked Beans’ in my Crock Pot slow cooker and switched it on. The recipe comes from ‘Slow Cooked: 200 Exciting, New Recipes for Your Slow Cooker’ by Miss South, who blogs at North South Food. (You can also find a summary of the method and ingredients for Brixton Baked Beans here).

The slow cooker is really useful in the winter because it means I can do everything during daylight hours and then eat delicious comfort food in the evening. This particular recipe is so simple that my 6 year old son can help. The dried haricot beans go in the pot without pre-soaking. So the only real challenge is finding a shop that stocks pomegranate molasses! (I ended up getting it from Ocado)

After trying this out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I had a twitter conversation with Miss South about her recipe and she said:

“I wasn’t going to include it because it seemed TOO simple.
Then I remembered that’s a good thing!”

The book is a fantastic read, full of tips and ideas about how to cook ‘easy, thrifty and delicious’ food in a slow cooker. Though it is not a vegetarian recipe book, it’s clear that Miss South knows how to create flavourful dishes for vegetarians as she used to be one herself. So I’m going to try more of her recipes soon. Will let you know how it goes!

Thanks to Kavey at Kavey Eats who recommended Miss South’s book and blog. Linking up with this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday at Bug, Bird and Bee.

Slow-Cooker Sunday

Magpie Monday – Bracelet and Jewellery Roll

January 5, 2015
Vintage Silver Bracelet

Vintage Silver Bracelet

I’ve written before about the wonderful Vintage Village at Stockport Market and I really enjoyed going to the December Vintage Village with my younger sisters. When I spotted this beautiful vintage silver bracelet on Baboushka’s Silver stall, I couldn’t resist, especially as my sisters agreed how much it suited me. The bracelet will definitely be coming with me on my next minibreak and I will be using this lovely jewellery roll to protect it in my travel bag.

Liberty Fabric Jewellery Roll

Liberty Fabric Jewellery Roll

The jewellery roll is made out of Liberty ‘Burnham’ tana lawn fabric, and it looks as though it has hardly been used. I’m pretty sure I saw similar Liberty jewellery rolls on sale in the late 1980s but I could not have afforded one back then. This one was a bargain for £4.49 from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport.

I’m linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and my shadow because I love seeing what other people have found!

High Street Fashion from the Vanity House Outlet

December 6, 2014

Teal M&S dress


I am so excited to have won two beautiful new dresses from the Vanity House Outlet, just in time for the festive season. The dress shown in the top photo is a teal viscose empire-line day dress and the bottom photo shows a plum velvet fit & flare party dress. Both of these dresses were originally made for Marks and Spencer and they are really good quality, but are for sale through the Vanity House Outlet online shop for just £24.99 each.

Vanity House Outlet sells ex high street clothing, shoes and accessories at a discount. They can do this due to cancelled orders, over-production or delayed deliveries. Labels are removed to prevent returns to the high street stores they were originally intended for, but apart from that these dresses are absolutely perfect (although my photographs don’t do them justice!).

As well as Marks and Spencer, there are fashion items available from other famous British high street stores include Topshop, Evans, Monsoon, Debenhams and Coast. I strongly recommend you take a look as there are some wonderful bargains to be found!

I won a £50 voucher for Vanity House Outlet in a prize draw and selected these two dresses from their range. Photographs, words and opinions are my own.

Magpie Monday – black beaded necklaces

December 1, 2014



I do love a chunky beaded necklace! And it is always worth looking in charity shops to see whether there are any nice necklaces or other costume jewellery. I got these two black beaded necklaces for a few quid. They’ll look fab with Christmas party frocks. Can’t beat a bit of bargain bling!

I’m linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and My Shadow, which has just been relaunched as a monthly linky.

Personalised Christmas Stocking from Izabela Peters (review)

November 27, 2014
Personalised Christmas stocking

Personalised Christmas stocking

When I was invited to select an item from Izabela Peters, I was initially spoilt for choice, but then this Personalised Christmas Stocking in Duck Egg Gingham caught my eye.

My mum used to do Christmas stockings for me and my sisters, and I still remember the thrill of looking inside to see what was there. So it was a tradition I was keen to continue with my own son. And he is very impressed this stocking, especially because it features a gold star!

The stocking is beautifully made out of cotton, with a lovely soft brushed cotton lining. This is the ‘large’ size (40x30cm/16″x12″ RRP £18.99) so there is plenty of space to fit lots of small gifts inside. This stocking can also be purchased in ‘extra large’ size and there are Christmas Sacks as well.

I will definitely be purchasing more gifts from this gorgeous range, because the quality is fantastic and all items are produced in the UK.

I received this Christmas stocking for the purposes of this review. Words, photograph and opinions expressed are my own.


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