Want a FREE* holiday to the US?

Be savvy with your hard-earned pennies and bag yourself a trip to the US and a new iPhone X without spending a penny more!

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Living in the UK and buying the new iPhone X when it’s released on November 3rd? Why not be savvy with your pennies and include a mini holiday over to the US for launch day at no extra cost.

Wot

WOT! NO HIDDEN CHARGES? HOW? WHY? GET ME THERE!

I’ll explain.

One of the talking points of the iPhone X is that the UK and the US versions are both carrying price tags of 999 for the 64GB and 1149 for the 256GB no matter whether you’re paying in GBP or USD. So it’s cheaper to buy the X in the US. In a freakish turn of events the GBP is also gaining traction and strengthening which means that it’s not just cheaper, it’s becoming cheaper by the day.

Current exchange rates of £1 = $1.36 (16/09/17) holds a saving of £264.44 on the 64GB and £304.15 on the 256GB if you bought it in the US compared to buying in the UK. So let’s see where we can fly to and stay for those sorts of savings.

Scotland (Edinburgh Airport)

Anybody near Edinburgh? You can fly direct from Edinburgh to Stewart International, New York for three nights with Norwegian Air for just £261! Or for a week for £275! Camp sites close to the airport charge from £8 a night or bag a private room at Greenwood Lake for just £19 a night. Flying the 2nd November and returning Sunday 5th November you arrive just in time for launch the next morning and spend the next three days Instagramming a beautiful part of the US with the wide angle feature on your new phone instead of the same old coffee in the same old part of town.

Greenwood Lake
I mean, seriously, look at this beaut of a place. Imagine the colours the beginning of November!

Fancy 7 nights on Rhode Island? £261 to fly direct to Providence which, in my opinion, is an absolute steal! A quick check on Wiki tells me that there are more coffee and doughnut shops per capita of any other city in the US. There is also plenty of park space and I’m informed the historical part of downtown Providence houses some beautiful architecture.

London (Gatwick)

How does a few nights in Boston, MA sound? Fly from Gatwick on launch day, returning Sunday for just £275 with Norwegian Air. That leaves a £30 budget for accommodation, which there is plenty of if you use AirBnb. Okay, you’ve got until 4pm on launch day without one when everyone else has spent hours showing off with theirs but you should be packing. You’re off to the US for the weekend!

If Colorado would be more your thing, you can fly direct from Gatwick to Denver from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th. It’s at the upper end of the iPhone saving budget at £316 but you can get rooms for around £15 a night, taking you just £20 over the cost of a British iPhone X! And, let’s be honest, for an extra £20 who’s quibbling?

denver.jpg
Denver is home to some pretty spectacular buildings and art pieces. 

Seattle is also an option at the upper end of the budget. Staying for four nights you have a day to get your bearings before purchasing the one thing that has made your trip possible. And then three days to experiment with all the new features on it before coming back to the UK and showing everyone what a fab place Seattle is.

Northern Ireland/Wales

Flights from some of the smaller Irish airports such as Cork and Shannon offer ridiculously cheap flights over to the US. New York, Boston, and Rhode Island were three coming in at less than £300 for several date combos across the weekend.

Downtown Providence
Downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

In addition to this, Shannon and Dublin both have US Pre-clearance which means a quicker passage through the airport and to your iPhone X on the other side of the Atlantic. If you’re travelling from Wales check out Stena Line who have fantastic offers for foot passengers crossing the Irish Sea that start at just £5.50 for a return sailing. Much cheaper than a train up to Manchester!

So if you fancy a short break to the US (with or without the iPhone X) here’s how to do it:

All the flights I found were with Norwegian Air who currently have a sale on flights to the US but you need to be quick as the sale ends tomorrow (18/09) at 22.59 BST. To have a look and book direct with them the link is here.  If you’re pretty flexible you can search using Skyscanner all flights from the UK to the US and this will pull up all US airports with the cheapest ones first. Have a play around with date combos to see what comes up.

For places to stay I searched on AirBnB to find the cheapest places in the vicinity as these tend to yield cheaper results than price comparison websites who tend to have just hotels. However if a hotel is more your thing I like using Trip Advisor as a price comparison site. To make these cheaper still use a cashback website such as Quidco or Top Cashback where you can get a % of the cost of the flight and hotel back in a few months’ time. Sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and Trip Advisor all have offers through cashback sites.

So, if you’re after the iPhone X, why buy it in the UK when you can fly to the US and buy it there for the same price? In a sense a free weekend break with your new top of the range phone. Just don’t forget to pre-order on the 27th October!

#TheMinecraftProject Introduction

My son is an absolute nut over Minecraft. And I mean obsessed. He watched You Tube videos for hours on end of people playing the game and showing cheats, mods, and walk throughs. I feel like I know Dan TDM (The Diamond Minecart), Thinknoodles, and others like they live next door! He’s always playing on the game and has half the toys. So when I announced to him that we’d be moving house, he of course wanted his bedroom with a Minecraft theme.

Now for those of you reading this that may not have come across Minecraft before, it’s a computer game played in first person in which you build, mine, and create your own world. You can trade with villagers, fight zombies and skeletons, and even brew potions. It’s Medieval in its nature in that you grow your own food, smelt metals, and craft tools and weapons. It’s unique in its appearance in that everything is pixelated.

So I get online and have a look at stuff for his new bedroom. I’ll be honest with you here, stuff is limited in its availability and very expensive. Basic cushion covers – £8. Posters for the wall? Anything up to £20. The same for light shades and bedside lamps. £8 for a small wall canvas of a Minecraft face. Where there’s Minecraft there’s money to be made! Being a single mum on a very limited budget there is no way I could afford all of this. And, between you and me, the stuff that’s out there looks very cheap and one of my pet hates is stuff that looks cheaply made.

Now I’ve attempted decoupage in the past and it turned out really well. I’ve experience in using a paint brush and I’m a whizz at using a sewing machine to sew in straight lines! So I thought to myself; how hard could it really be? And I got to work. So this is the introduction, how I came about to start this really long, laborious process (some of this has taken ages to complete!), and what you can expect to see from me with hints and tips of how to get around the expense of a fully kitted out theme room.

Face canvasses

Cushion covers

Bedside table

Bookcase

Minecraft paper craft

Accessories

I will link to all the above as and when I write them so make sure to keep an eye out and follow, especially if you’re looking to redecorate in the near future! You can also search #TheMinecraftProject on Instagram to see pictures of my progress so far. I am also hoping to showcase the finished room with the help of a Vlog although that involves skills I have not yet acquired! If anybody has any tips on making these please get in touch.

Crunchy Cornflake Chicken

So I have a confession to make. I’m a massive fan of that Feed Your Family for £20 page on Facebook. It is choc-full of recipes but that’s not why I love it. I feel like it’s a nice community to be part of. You ask questions and people share hints and tips. In fact, the page actively promotes this by asking questions anonymously on behalf of people, or by simply asking out on a post what people struggle with or, their most common one, what’s cooking?

I take a lot of the credit for teaching myself to cook. I’ve actively tried different things and watched and read so many recipe things that it’s almost hard not to know instinctively what is going to taste well together. But this page has taken my kitchen skills to a new level. It has taught me all about what freezes well, about batch cooking, hints and tips to save money such as making my own spice mixes. If you haven’t seen this page, I’d recommend giving them a follow. You can find their website here.

Anyway, I digress. But it is all relevant, I promise. So I had this huge box of cornflakes sat in my kitchen and, apart from cornflake bars, I had no idea what to do with them. Eating it as cereal was out of the question since soggy cornflakes make me heave! I’d bought them to make cornflake cakes for a bake sale and then didn’t use even half as many as I’d thought I would. Scrolling through Facebook I saw that Feed Your Family had asked if you had an ingredient that needed using and needed ideas on what to do with it so I told everyone about my lonely box of cornflakes. Unused and unloved.

Overwhelmingly, people suggested I use them in place of breadcrumbs. Especially with chicken.

I’ve made this twice now and both times as different meals and flavours and it seriously is just so easy to jazz up a piece of chicken. What’s more, because you’re making the chicken pieces bigger with the cornflakes, one chicken breast gives you a lot of crunchy chicken pieces. So it’s a good money saver or meal for when you’re close to the bottom of your freezer!

So how did I make it?

Time for confession number two: I’ve never stuck breadcrumbs on anything before so I did have to double-check that it was just an egg dunk followed by the crunchy dunk. Last thing I wanted to do was waste a perfectly good chicken breast!

Anyhow (I’m good at this digressing aren’t I!?)

  1. Whisk an egg and in a separate bowl give the cornflakes a damn good bashing. The finer the crumb, the less crunchy it would be though leave the cornflakes too big and they won’t stick to the chicken. It’s about trial and error. Start big as you can always make the cornflakes finer.
  2. Cut the chicken into pieces and dip firstly into the egg and then into the cornflake bits. *As an add-on here, if you’re keeping the chicken pieces dry i.e. no sauce you may want to add some salt to the cornflakes*
  3. Arrange on a baking tray and stick it in a preheated oven to 200 degrees C for around 20 minutes, turning half way.

See! How easy is that!

As I said before, I’ve made these twice now on request from my six year old. So if he loves them I’m onto a winner! Tonight, I made these dry with some wedges and a sticky barbecue sauce for dipping. Last week I went Chinese and stuck them from the oven into a wok with a hot garlic sauce and served with noodles and stir fry veg.

I love meals that are so versatile and this one is hooking up to be a firm favourite with me and my son. Easy to make and different enough to not get bored of it. Let me know what you think and if you have any other recipes you’d use these in. And, most importantly, enjoy it!

Crunchy Cornflake Chicken
Cornflake Chicken with a sticky barbecue sauce.