Thrifty Thursday: Cocktail Hour with The Mason Shaker by W & P Design


It’s time to bring cocktail hour to the campsite. And seriously, why the hell not? The days are long and busy and what better way to fill that funny time after lunch and before dinner than with a cheeky cocktail or two? And this Mason Shaker is the perfect piece of cocktail kit. Designed by W&P Design, a Brooklyn-based firm run by two Southern boys who happen to be best friends. Together they create products inspired by their combined love of vintage Americana, southern sensibility and New York industrialism.


It’s these “sensibilities” which led to the creation of their fabulous Mason Shaker – a product that naturally came about when Josh’s obsession with vintage kitchenware collided with Eric’s “uncanny ability to fashion impromptu drinking tools at a moment’s notice”. Love it! So, as the story goes, “after one too many mint juleps poured from a poorly-modified Mason Jar one summer, the idea for a better (and cooler) cocktail shaker hit us like a double shot of bourbon.”

masonshaker_1masonshaker_2It’s $US29 and you can order yours from here. Just promise me you’ll check out the fab cocktail accessories here too!

And even though it’s Thrifty Thursday, you could quite justifiably convince yourself to stretch to their divine Cocktail Kit, perfect for cocktail hour around the campfire.

cocktailkit_1cocktailkit_2The Cocktail Kit has everything you need for shaking up drinks on-the-go, all packed in it’s own custom W&P Canvas + Leather Mason Bag (in navy or white) to carry it all.  The Kit includes the bag, a Mason Shaker, a Muddler, Jigger, four Linen Cocktail Napkins and four Glass Picardie Tumblers. It’s $279 and you can order it here.

Hey, it’s always cocktail hour somewhere …     


Thrifty Thursday: Halloween Masks from The Woodsfolk

woodsfolk_1I don’t know how many of you brave Autumn camping, but I can certainly see the joys of it if you have the right gear to keep you cosy. The trees, the colours, the mornings that ease into daylight gently ….. I was having a read of The Woodsfolk blog this morning and stumbled across their gorgeous felt Halloween masks for kids (and adults!). What a great way to liven up a wild Halloween, especially if you’re planning a camping trip in a lovely Autumnal wood …..

woodsfolk_2The owl and the fox would definitely be my favourites …..

Contact them here to arrange an order and international shipping in time for Halloween.


Thrifty Thursday: The Hopper Pot

hopper_1I love to cook when I’m camping because I seriously don’t understand this idea that camping equals tins of baked beans and not much else. But sometimes I get that the easier and faster, the better. You might be pitching up late to your campsite, the rain might be coming down or you just want to get up, eat, and set out on a great long walk. Well here’s where Grasshopper’s portable pots of 100% natural soups, porridges and noodles are perfect to throw into a backpack or picnic basket.

Inspiration by a spot of Ikea cleverness and a bendy straw the people at Grasshopper came up with the perfect solution: flat packed food! The Hopper Pot™ is squash-proof by design and super space efficient, being less than half the size of a normal pot when packed. When you want to eat, just take the top off and the pot will ‘hop’ to its full 80mm height ready to have boiling water added. The pot is fully recyclable and re-usable and comes with a spoon too.

There are three soup flavours: tomato & basil, lentil & coconut and mushroom & chives. All come with 1% oatmeal added. Order some here.


The porridge comes with coconut & date, cinnamon & raison or with cane sugar. Order these here.

hopper_2And the noodles also come three ways: teriyaki, Chinese Five Spice and Thai Green Curry. Order these here.

hopper_3They’re £8.75 for packs of six and probably not bad for grabbing the odd lunch at your desk either. Oh, and one more thing. If you’re on the Fast Diet where it’s less than 500 calories for two days of the week, the good news is that 1 porridge + 1 soup + 1 pot of noodles is less than 500 calories! How easy is that?! Anyway, that’s a whole other blog!!!!



Thrifty Thursday: Dr Moo Quick Milk

pic by Niamh Farnon

pic by Niamh Farnon, Daisy & Finn’s Party Ideas

Dr Moo’s Quick Milk is, well, just that. Quick. Pour a glass of milk. Stick the straw in, and drink. Et Voila! Strawberry milk! There are  chocolate straws too. Not the healthiest of drinks I confess, but every now and then a little treat goes a long way. And it’ll keep the kiddies busy while you’re putting up tents or cooking dinner. Discovered at a 99p store, you can also find them online from Asda for £1. The kids love them.


Thrifty Thursday: Ikea Bounty

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI decided to make up for some slightly slack blogging behaviour with not one, but two Thrifty Thursday posts today. This selection of bits and pieces are from my most recent foray into the land of  Ikea. So, I have a great love of Ikea’s solar lanterns, and I finally found a bag that’s the perfect size to fit them all in comfortably. It’s the Spana bag and it’s £10. Great for picnics too, as I’ve discovered during this sunny week in London and you can just hose it clean. Fabulous. It also comes in:

Colourcheck Proof: Jenny Sšderstršm


I also scooped up these Iris pot holders (£1.50) as I spent my last camping weekend burning my fingers as no one brought anything with them:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI topped up my camping cutlery collection with the Bonus 1§6-piece set for a ridiculous £1.20:



I fell for these Vegetarisk hemp cloths (70p) which are naturally antibacterial and don’t retain odours. And lastly, a Blaska dust pan (£1) because I noticed that our tent is getting full of twigs and old leaves and needs a bit of a sweep up on its next outing. Not a bad haul.

ColourCheck NoInfo



Thrifty Thursday: flowers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, okay. I camp and I like it. But I’m still a girl and I like a bit of floral action as much as the next one. So I usually end up converting my old olive oil tins into vases and taking along a bunch of flowers from somewhere or other. Or it’s a great way to keep the kids busy while you’re putting up the tent – they can go and gather some pretty flowers as they explore any new campsite. But you could also use them to store cutlery, tea lights, matches, cooking utensils. Endless possibilities. And they’re lightweight too. Just run a tin opener around the top when you’ve used all the oil and voila! Then you can recycle them at the campsite, or bring them home to use again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAny old tin will do really. Just look for one that looks cool. And if you too have named your kid after a deliciously chocolatey-malty drink, those tins are perfect too. I know you think I’m mad, but just try even a little tin full of blooms and just see how your camping buddies react…




Sugru: Possibly The Best Stuff In the World!


3. Minipacks close up


No, no, no, they’re not groovy condoms, they’re little packets of Sugru, which just may be the most useful stuff on the planet and certainly something us campers should never be without. So what is this super amazing stuff you should already own? Sugru (derived from the Gaelic word for ‘play’)  is self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It moulds like play dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight.

Basically it means you can fix almost anything rather than tossing it and buying new stuff. And you can modify your equipment to make it work better. And look cooler.

thermarestconverse refresh

“I knew that, by tapping into people’s innate creativity, all kinds of products could be transformed and improved,” says creator Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh (below). “I knew that we could adapt and improve almost anything mass produced and [it’s our] mission to get the world fixing again.”

Jane final

Developed by a team of product designers and material scientists, Sugru’s patented technology is unique. It feels like modelling clay, and it’s that easy to use too. Once cured, its durable properties mean it’s comfortable in extreme environments from the dishwasher to the ocean in Antarctica. One customer trekked to the North Pole with pole grips modified with Sugru. Another, with no fingers on her left hand, was able to complete a 700km canoe race up the Yukon River with a paddle especially shaped with Sugru.

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And it’s so cost effective, it could even have been included in my Thrifty Thursday posts: 8 mini packets cost £11. It’s also made round the corner from me in East London which I just love.

TIME Magazine listed Sugru alongside the iPad as one of the top 50 inventions of 2010. The iPad was number 34, Sugru was number 22. It’s that good. Order it from here. Immediately.

Thrifty Nifty Camping Gear


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho’s a pretty camper? Got some great little goodies from a recent raid on my local 99p and Poundland that would be ideal for keeping you looking like a professional camper, unfazed by anything the outdoors hurls your way. And none of these cost more than £3 ….

This teeny, weeny little manicure set is a great thing to take along. Everyone breaks a nail, or in my kid’s case, gets dirt under his nails that is impossible to shift. It may seem OTT, but the number of times I’ve been asked for nail clippers almost equals the number of times I’ve been asked to pass a beer.

We camp with those chamois-feeling little travelling towels, mainly because they pack down small and dry quickly. But let’s face it, they’re not the most brilliant of things. And as for drying off hair, they’re practically useless. But this little hair towel is brilliant. Soft, absorbent and small, it’s a great thing to throw into your toiletries bag. You wrap it around like you would when you use a normal towel, but it has a little button to secure it in place. (My little model charged me a whole packet of skittles to model this very girlie pink towel …..)



And lastly, this cute little camping mirror (which does come in other colours) which can stand up or hang in your tent or on a tree …


Venture forth and be fabulous campers!

Thrifty Thursday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know, I know, Thrifty Thursday was actually yesterday but, in true better-late-than-never style, I bring you these fantastic torch/lantern/whistle thingies from the 99p store. I purchased one for each of the kids. The torch is great for all that spotlight-fun kids love to have in tents at night, the lantern casts a generous light in case anyone gets a little spooked and the whistle is an ideal addition in case someone small needs to capture the attention of someone big who might be otherwise engaged around the campfire chatting! What do you think of them?



Thrifty Thursday

I’ve been living in the UK for eight years now, and throughout that time I have never understood the joy of pound shops or 99p stores. Or even been in one. Until now that is. Honestly, I suspect I distrusted things that were so cheap and I figured these stores were just full of crap, er, useless items. But these shops, (call it the GFC, recession, depression or whatever), are booming. BOOM. ING.

Poundland has 400 stores in the UK and, according to Michelle Ogundehin, editor-and-chief of Elle Decoration (yes, she too shops in pound shops), has “announced a 24% rise in profits in 2012 and boast of 4 million customers walking through its doors every week.” Well, last week I pushed them over the 4 million-mark, and set foot inside a 99p store in search of goodies for this, my new Thrifty Thursday series. And boy-oh-boy, did I come up trumps. These stores are a mine of cheap-and-cheerful choices. Anything and everything! All under one roof! All under a quid! “What have I been bloody thinking???!“, I thought.

The first thing I snaffled up were these brilliant Light-Up Tent Pegs. While I will continue using sturdy steel tent pegs to actually hold my tent down, these ingenious little things can be slid into the ground next to them and used to light up the guy ropes. Why? Well, how many people (kids especially) do you know who have never tripped on a guy rope …? Yeah, I thought so. Stick them in the ground, turn the light anti-clockwise, and angle it so it lights up the ropes. No more tripping. Cool, right? They come in packs of 4 and with batteries included.


I also snapped up three little lanterns for my kids. You just slide them up to turn them on. Great little bedtime reading lights, easy for them to use and nice for keeping the tent lit at bedtime.


Not bad, not bad at all. Never thought I’d say pound shops are one of the delights of living in London, but I’m saying it now.

Come back next Thursday for more nifty, thrifty finds!