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Smart Shopping: How to Find the Perfect Used Car for Your Family

Getting your kids around from the Brighton seafront to school to activities can be challenging.

Popping to the shop for those last minutes supplies needed for cake and bake sales, unexpected dress up days
and other similar appeals which children love to let us know about at the last moment, means
that having a car is a must for many mums who don’t have reliable access to public transport.

New cars cost a lot and bring other associated expenses with them, some of which are tied
to the cost price, making second-hand cars a good option for many mothers.

Here’s how you can find the perfect used car for your family.

Why It is sensible to buy a used car from a dealer.

Before you start looking seriously for a car to buy, make sure you do some market research
first. How much are other used cars going for? What is a realistic budget for you, and what kind
of car will that get you?

Consider other points:


  • How many children will you be expected to fit into the car on a regular basis?
  • How much baggage will the family carry about as normal?

These two questions will help you work out what size vehicle you need, which can help to narrow it down to a select few makes and models.


  • Volvos, famously, regularly win awards for vehicle safety, making them the perfect car for young families.
  • It is useful to research if there are any other makes and models that are particularly good for transporting young children, or alternatively, whether there are any models that you should actively avoid.

Luxury Levels

  • When you are buying second-hand vehicles, you can sometimes allow yourself a measure of luxury, due to the comparatively lower prices of used cars.
  • Doing some research before you commit to a serious search for the car, can teach you about some options that you otherwise might not have considered.

Once you have narrowed down some options you can buy used cars in Brighton, when you visit
KAP Motor Group
– whether your needs are very specific (make, model, colour) or if you
have a vague sense that you need a ‘bigger car, something like an estate’.

In almost all cases, you are better off buying your new-to-you vehicle from a reputable second-hand car
dealer rather than a private sale or using an auction site. This is because dealers have fixed
premises, and actively enjoy working in the second-hand car market, matching people with
their dream car for less cost than might be expected.

And then you can hit Brighton Beach in style, letting your children know that you really are the cool mum!

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My Energy Crisis and the Eight Arm Angel

The energy issue is a very personal one for all of us. From the start of the rises in 2022, my gas and electric bills tripled. They were as big as my mortgage and completely unacceptable.

Honestly, it seems to have never ended. Middle boy is in a good placement as a young adult and is very fortunate to have that place, but it’s still a challenge, every single day. Washing is up to my ears EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Electric bills are still high, but at the height of 2023, we were facing £300 a month for electric, and about £300 for gas. Ridiculous, so we stopped using gas much as the boiler also went daft and kept switching off. I couldn’t move supplier at the time as we had SMETS 1, first generation smart meters. If we changed supplier, the meters would have gone dumb. Our gas meter was blind for two years when our supplier wouldn’t change it. They guesstimated our usage and we couldn’t prove we didn’t use it.

We were promised an off state calculation. Our usage with a new meter showed we only actually used £500 for the whole of the next 6 months in total. Our supplier went back on their promise to do off state calculation for the time we were made to pay £300 per month. Going by current kw use, we know we’ve paid nearly 3k too much during Covid and can’t do a thing about it as the meter was dead. We’re not alone in that either. The app is pathetic and incentives to stay tiny. Absolutely no appreciation of the customers paying them a small fortune for 30 years.

I’m not going to name them, as I don’t want it coming back on me. I’ve got nobody to blame but myself for not being more assertive on this.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and my SMETS 1 meter was finally registered on the DCC network, meaning we could change supplier and have our meter remain smart. As soon as that happened, we moved to Octopus Energy. I honestly want to cry. At the first download of their app, my readings show my usage with a day or two delay, but not much.

As soon as that registered, I swapped onto a smart tariff that changes price daily.

My bills have been decimated. Don’t get me wrong, there is a risk to the Octopus tariff, as it is not covered by the price guarantee, but we can change back if the prices go too high. There is a ceiling rate of 100p per kw electric and 30p kw gas, but since about 2022, it hasn’t gone above the average.

I don’t usually get involved with supplier things. The app is a little gamified in that there is a spin the wheel event every month when the direct debit is paid. There are challenges to do, which award points that convert to small amounts of money. Small things like the points systems might seem like nothing, but we came from a supplier where nothing was really the only thing we got. It’s a nice change to feel in charge and able to see the data broken down.

This month, I even got a sausage roll and a coffee from Greggs as part of my app experience.

The low down is that my gas bill halved and my electric has reduced significantly. Even having it on far more. I’m paying so much less and have set aside some money in case there are a few days where the tariff does end up going higher. We’d just move our usage around on those days. I am now on the tracker tariff from Octopus.

Old Supplier: 28p per kw for electric and 7.8p kw for gas on standard tariff.
New Supplier: Averaging about 18-20p kw per day for electric, and 3.5 – 4.5p kw for gas on smart tariff.

Octopus Tracker and Agile are based on wholesale prices and change daily. Prices can go up and down.

Find out more at the links below:

Octopus Tracker FAQ

Octopus Tracker Current Unit Rates from Octoprice

If you decide to move to Octopus, both you and I could get £50 each in our accounts when you pay your first direct debit. Sign up by using the affiliate refer a friend link below. If you are a business, we could get £100 each.

By Phone, or in the after sign up option, use the code: warm-bat-410

The referral scheme is administered and run by Octopus Energy. Scottish Mum Blog is not affiliated with Octopus Energy is any way. For information on referrals, go to

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Are You a Mortgage Prisoner?

Hot off the heels of the Post Office sub-postmasters and postmistresses who were prosecuted after Horizon software made it look like money was missing, comes another scandal yet to be addressed.

Like the post office staff who were treated unfairly, our Government also chose to turn a blind eye to the 200,000 mortgage holders who were in the failed 2006 Nat West mortgage portfolio, and caused major distress to the holders of those mortgages.

During the crash caused by greed, the Government took over the running of the Nat West bank. As part of that, they then sold on those originally high street mortgages to what we now class as vulture funds, ie businesses that no longer supply active mortgages, or investment funds. The Government is said to have made billions from the deal, while the sale removed the financial protections usually in place for those who hole mortgages. During the sale, these businesses who were sold the mortgages, allegedly had a condition to apply and achieve active mortgage status, to reinstate protections of the mortgage holders. They did not do that. The Government took the profit and ran.

The problem with the sale was that mortgage interest rates were no longer able to be regulated. While other mortgage holders interest rates track the Bank of England rate, these investments funds have no need to do so, which has meant that for all those years, the people with the mortgages had hiked interest rates in comparison to the rest of the market.

I hear people asking why those people didn’t just switch to another provider. The problem with that was, that many of those with mortgages were self employed and now getting older, and are not an attractive proposition for mortgage providers. Many were lumped in as bad risk mortgages when they could prove they have never missed a payment for up to 20 years and were managing to get by. Most were being told that with the new affordability criteria, they no longer were classed as being able to afford mortgages at half the interest rates that they have been paying for a decade or two. As their lenders were closed book, the option to switch mortgages within their providers was also closed to them.

The official responses seem to imply that mortgage prisoners were bad debtors and deserve their fate, but given they were approved by high street lenders when they took out their mortgages, it is soul destroying. The Government report that they have taken steps to reduce conditions for normal lenders to reduce affordability criteria for mortgage prisoners, however the banks mainly do not recognise these. Most ignore them, as they are not a legal requirement.

The other problem facing mortgage prisoners is that the last few years, while they have faced nearly two decades of high interest rates, the rates have mushroomed. Some have seen their mortgages increase to 10% interest and more. The mortgage prisoners cannot move lender, they cannot move product, and they cannot change their mortgage as they often do not have enough years left to run on their existing mortgages.

At the moment, the result is that the companies which were sold the mortgages by our Government, have achieved huge profits of the back of the suffering of the people whose mortgages were sold. The mortgage prisoners have overpaid mortgages by many thousands, and are trapped, despite being up to date with their mortgage payments. There has been an incredible amount of suffering for those who were affected, who face not eating and doing without energy at a time when there are very high prices for both energy and consumer goods. There have even been reported losses of life.

For those who think they can just sell and move on, that is also not a realistic proposal for many, who were moved to interest only mortgages and paid high rates for their homes when the market was buoyant. Many are left with negative equity, and are plodding on month after month, to keep the family homes they have spend decades living in. Even handing the keys back does not help them, as for people who have paid extortionate rates for so long, overpaying by many thousands, will still be liable for any financial shortfall in the sale, despite overpaying for so long. For the mortgage companies it is win win win.

If you think you are a mortgage prisoner, what can you do?

Rachael Neale has been fighting on behalf of Mortgage Prisoners for years with a small group of helpful fellow prisoners. For more information, visit:


Martin Lewis has been helping with the situation, however our Government responses seem to constitute a stumbling block.


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Dehumidifiers Simplified. 10 Reasons to Use a Dehumidifier

This post contains affiliate links and images,

which may earn me a small commission if you click on them and make a purchase.

Dehumidifiers seem to be everywhere in the news, with few people really understanding what they are for and why they would use them. Until a couple of years ago, I only used one when my business premises back wall got wet during winter, or when I’d painted walls and wanted them dry quickly.

The increase in costs of energy have pushed people towards different uses for dehumidifiers, and there are many different reasons for buying and using, other than controlling the dampness in a property.

In this post, I’ve outlined the main differences between dehumidifiers, and the top 10 reasons to use a dehumidifier, and then added some links to dehumidifiers that I think are good buys. Browse any specs, check reviews and make your own decisions if you decide to buy a dehumidifier.

Is Your Home Damp?

The first step in any dehumidifier exploration, is to find out if you have a damp problem in your home. Everything else is just gravy as they say.

A cheap hygrometer from Amazon will keep you up to speed on the humidity levels in your home. I bought a set of three and have them dotted around the house. Ideal humidity levels are around 30-50%, however the fifties are considered acceptable.

Most Common UK Dehumidifiers

There are two main types of dehumidifier, Desiccant and Refrigerant.

Desiccant Dehumidifier

A desiccant dehumidifier works differently from a refrigerant, is usually more expensive than a refrigerant buy, and costs more to run in electrical energy. The desiccant releases more heat into the room that it is placed in, and removed water from the air by soaking it up in the same way that a sponge works, and drips from that into a condenser tank. These dehumidifiers can be used in very cold spaces of less than 15C.

The heating effect is not significant, however, over several hours, there will be some heat into the room, but is not needed where heating is already being used. People generally use a desiccant dehumidifier if they are not using heating in winter, for unheated garages, conservatories or garden rooms.

Refrigerant Dehumidifier

The refrigerant dehumidifier works similar to your household fridge and are the most popular in the UK, are generally cheaper and work best in an environment that isn’t too cold. Like your fridge, the dehumidifier cools and when warm air comes into contact with it, it changes to condensation which is then collected in the condenser tank. I have two refrigerant dehumidifiers.

When the warm air is cooled and condensed, more warm air is then drawn to the cooler air and the cycle is continuous until switched off or the programmed setting is achieved. Output waste air can be 1-2C higher than the air temperature, however, this might not be noticeable over a few hours. If my dehumidifier runs in a room overnight, the room feels warmer in the morning, which is likely due to less water in the air, so the air feels warmer and is easier to heat.


The important thing to remember about dehumidifiers, is that the size of dehumidifier does not relate to the size of the water collection tank. Examples:

  • A 12 litre dehumidifier has the capability to pull 12 litres of water from the air over a 24 hour period in optimal conditions stated in the specifications.
  • A 20 litre dehumidifier has the capability to pull 20 litres of water from the air over a 24 hour period in optimal conditions stated in the specifications.
  • Any dehumidifier may have any differing size of water tank. My dehumidifiers have 4.5 litre tanks and are able to draw 20 litres from the air over a 24 hour period if the conditions are optimal. In practice, I can take out about 3 litres over a day.

Main Dehumidifier Features

  • Small, Medium or Large capacity. Up to 12 litres is a small capacity suitable for small homes with few issues with dampness. Up to litres is medium sized and will help with extra moisture or more people using bathrooms, cooking and washing/drying clothes at home. It is more helpful if there is an obvious medium damp problem. Large dehumidifiers are usually in the range of 18, 20 or 25 litre capacity and can help with laundry, dampness, larger households and water damage.
  • Drainage can be an issue with larger tanks, but some options have the ability to connect a hose and empty the tank without removing it from the dehumidifier. My ones have a hose, but I have never used it, as it is easier for me to take out the tank and empty it. Some people recycle their water and use it to water plants.
  • Hygrometer/humidistat readings. This measures the current level of moisture in the air and changes the settings of the humidifier to enable reaching the setting you have put down. My humidity can begin about 70%, which isn’t too wet, but I am happiest when my house is sitting in the 50’s. Very wet houses can have a very high percentage of water in the air or the walls, and reach 90% or more.
  • Timers for best or most economic time of use for electric tariffs, but if yours doesn’t have one, buying a plug timer is simple enough.
  • Laundry mode is often in the specifications, and on dehumidifiers that don’t specify this, it is usually simply the highest setting that the dehumidifier can be set to.
  • Smart apps can help with the more modern eco dehumidifiers, and lets you control it from a distance. Very handy for checking the humidity and changing the settings.

10 Reasons to Use a Dehumidifier

My top ten suggestions.

1 – Dry Home After Leak / Flood / Water in the Walls / Mouldy Dampness

We all have spells where our homes come into contact with water at some time. For us, the usual is a broken tile on the roof, causing water to leak into the house. We have had two floods or non natural disaster. One where an upstairs bathroom bath drain failed ,and the whole bath emptied onto the roof and downstairs, flooding the whole area with water dripping through the lights and soaking the roof. We had to take off all the plasterboard and insulation and redo. Nightmare.

The other was when three three year olds went into my bathroom, took off their socks and stuffed the bidet with them, then were dancing around in six inches of water. I was downstairs with the two other mums, thinking our kids were in my kids bedroom, when the drips started coming through the roof and the water started running down the stairs. Five to ten minutes is all it took to destroy three rooms and drench the stairs. They were my first ever forays into the world of dehumidifiers, taking out most of the water damage from roof and floors quickly.

2 – Laundry Drying Option

I have never used mine mainly for this, but I know many people who do, especially with the energy crisis, or those who don’t have room or budget for a tumble dryer. I did use it a few times last winter when I had towels out drying and nowhere to dry them and trying to keep the heating at a reasonable cost with the price rises.

Our gas meter wigged out with a blank screen and we had no idea how much we were using. British Gas took months upon months to change the meter, and the estimates just went up and up and up. My tumble dryer broke, and there was no option but dry indoors. I hated the feeling of breathing damp air in, as it affected my lungs, so I went and got a new dehumidifier while I waited for my tumble dryer to be fixed.

I think it is important to cost things here. I can dry a load of washing in my vented dryer, about 10kg in an hour on my tumble dryer at 60C, which costs about 58p at todays money. To dry the same load overnight with the dehumidifier costs me about 5-6p per hour for 12 hours, and then it all needs ironed or popped in the dryer for 5 minutes to soften.

For me, if I do one load of washing a day, it is cheaper for me to use the dryer than to have a dehumidifier running all night or until the clothes are dry. I can’t cope with hours to dry one load in the way heat pump dryers do, so they are not an option for me.

3 – Make Home Heating More Efficient

I wasn’t prepared for how much quicker my home would heat up after using dehumidifiers. If I have removed a load of water from a room, it heats and retains heat in half the time, keeping my gas costs significantly. For 5-6p an hour for a few hours, that might be about 50 or 60p, but my boiler is 35kw gas, and at decent heat, can start off about £1.50 an hour. Without using the dehumidifier, the air struggled to heat, and my percentage of moisture was not over 70%.

Using the dehumidifiers one night a week in my largest rooms with doors open, means the heating settles into about 50 – 60p hour on gas, sometimes bit more, which is a massive saving, and the house stays warm for much longer. It means we don’t need the heating on so often or for so long. People have to make their own decisions on if they feel a purchase will help them with their own homes. For us, our house is a largish 4 bed, and I bought the biggest dehumidifiers in my budget. I don’t think small or medium would have made much difference.

4 – Help Keep Home Dry

I’ll admit it. We used very little gas last winter when we had no idea how many kwh we were using and the prices skyrocketed. I found a couple of clothing items and a suitcase in a cupboard which had a few mould spots. They went in the bin, but I can see how easily a home can go from perfectly good to wet and mouldy in a short space of time. Even though I didn’t class my home as very wet, we drew litres and litres of water from the air, which was a surprise. Once the rooms are cleared of excess water, it can be left on the automatic setting, but I tend to switch mine off.

5 – Help Control Allergies and Asthma

This is one I hadn’t really thought about. Allergy symptoms are an issue in our home due to asthma in the family, which cases wheezing, sneezing, sore chests, sore eyes and itchy skin. Things that can trigger allergies are dust, dust mites, mould, pollen and cat dander.

Drying the air helps reduce these triggers as keeping the humidity below 65% can stop dust miles from breeding or mould from increasing. I didn’t realise my dehumidifiers had an air purifier setting and filter when I bought it, so it has done a double job in summer here when the pollen count was high, at reducing allergy symptoms.

Remember not to let the air get too dry, as that can increase symptoms of pneumonia, dehydrate those in the house and make cold symptoms like sore throat and stuffy nose worse. Keep to the recommended levels of your manufacturing instructions.

6 – Protect Our Homes

When the air in our homes is too wet, it can begin to break down and destroy the bones of our homes, or in other words, compromise structural integrity. Support beams and floor boards might swell up, burst or twist, and mould can begin to grow in the walls, roofs and floors. Metal door handles may begin to rust and our homes can begin to smell musty.

7 – Portable and Moveable around the House

Having a portable dehumidifier helps to keep the whole home more dry and warmer as a result. Although dehumidifiers can sometimes be heavy, they usually have caster wheels and handles to help carry them. This means that instead of having a dehumidifier in each room, you can move one around the house. Many people use them in the most damp rooms first for a few days, then work around their homes, finally settling on a place in a hallway with doors open to maintain a comfortable level of humidity,

8 – Reduces Window Condensation

In homes where there is too much water in the air, condensation can form on windows where the temperature is cold outside and warmer inside. Much of this condensation is the air we breathe, shower mist etc, but although this can happen in any room, bedrooms are the areas where this is often most noticeable. By running a dehumidifier on a low setting, this can eliminate or reduce the condensation on windows as there will be less moisture in the air to turn to water droplets when the air touches windows.

9 – Auto Settings

With automatic settings, you can just let the humidistat do its job. When the dehumidifier is set to come off and on at a certain percentage of moisture in the air, it will turn off and on as and when it is needed, which will also make the dehumidifier energy efficient by not being on 100% of the time.

10 – Choice of Dehumidifiers

Although some dehumidifiers can be very expensive, including desiccant ones, there is a huge difference in the options available and the brands available. Try to stay away from brands that are not well known as there will be little or zero aftercare and advice if something goes wrong.

Popular dehumidifiers include ones from:

  • Toolstation. My ones are the 20 Litre Wessex ones. Mine were £159 each. They have everything I needed, but I would perhaps have liked a smart function, but hey ho. Princess dehumidifiers among others are also there.
  • Screwfix have Blyss and Evac dehumidifiers which seem to have good reviews.
  • Meaco have the big brand name, recommended everywhere. The 20 litre ones were out of my price range to buy two of them at over £300 each, but they are said to be amazing. (Amazon Affiliate Link) Meaco 20 Litre
  • Argos always have a good selection.

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Why Mums Should Invest in ISAs

The world of investing can often seem like a complex and daunting landscape, especially for busy mums who are juggling family life with a myriad of other responsibilities. Yet, there’s a gem within the financial world that can serve as both a haven for savings and a potential source of income: the Individual Savings Account, or ISA. For mums in the UK, ISAs represent a flexible and tax-efficient way to secure your family’s financial future.

Understanding ISAs

There’s nothing more exciting than planning your future. But before delving into the reasons to invest, it’s beneficial to find out more about ISAs here in the UK. They come in different forms – Cash ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs, Innovative Finance ISAs, and Lifetime ISAs, each with its unique features and benefits. They are designed to encourage saving and investing by offering a tax-free status on the interest or returns you earn, which can be a significant advantage over traditional savings accounts.

Tax Efficiency for Family Savings

One of the prime reasons mums should consider ISAs is their tax efficiency. With the personal savings allowance already in place, the interest earned on money in ISAs does not count towards this limit. It means that whatever your tax status, you will not pay tax on your ISA earnings. This is especially beneficial for higher-rate taxpayers who might otherwise see a significant portion of their investment returns diminished by taxes.

Saving for the Future

Mums know the importance of planning ahead, and ISAs can be a vital part of that strategy. Whether saving for your child’s education, a family holiday, or even your own retirement, the money in an ISA can grow over time and be withdrawn tax-free. With the flexibility to contribute up to £20,000 annually (as of the current tax year), you have the potential to build a substantial nest egg.

Flexibility and Access

Life can be unpredictable, and financial needs can change rapidly. Unlike pensions, which are also tax-efficient but can’t be accessed until later in life, most ISAs offer flexibility. Cash ISAs, in particular, often allow instant access to funds, meaning you can withdraw money without penalty should an unexpected expense arise. This makes them an excellent option for an emergency fund.

Education in Investment

Investing isn’t just about putting money away; it’s also about educating oneself about financial markets. Mums who invest in Stocks and Shares ISAs can learn about different types of investments, risk management, and the nature of market fluctuations. This knowledge is invaluable and can be passed on to children, teaching them about financial responsibility and the value of saving from an early age.

A Tool for Home Decor Dreams

For readers of a home decor blog, an ISA might seem like a distant concept from the world of interior design. However, the funds accumulated in an ISA can be the very means through which long-term home improvement projects are realized. By investing wisely, the returns from an ISA can finance that dream kitchen renovation or the extension you’ve been yearning for without dipping into other savings.

Long-Term Growth Potential

The potential for long-term growth, especially with Stocks and Shares ISAs, can outpace the interest rates offered by regular savings accounts. Over time, this can result in a significant difference in the amount of money you have saved. For mums with a long-term outlook, this can mean more for your money and, ultimately, more security for your family.

A Personal Wealth Builder

Ultimately, ISAs can be an empowering tool for mums looking to build personal wealth. With the gender pay gap and the potential for career breaks to raise children impacting women’s savings, having a tax-efficient savings vehicle is more important than ever. ISAs provide a way to counteract some of these financial challenges.


Investing in an ISA offers a plethora of benefits that align well with the goals and responsibilities of motherhood. From tax efficiency and flexibility to the opportunity for long-term growth and financial education, ISAs can be a cornerstone in securing a family’s financial future. For mums looking to make smart choices with their money, harnessing the power of ISAs is a move that can pay dividends for years to come, offering peace of mind and the potential for a more comfortable lifestyle. Whether for home decor dreams or educational futures, ISAs stand out as a versatile and wise investment choice for mums across the UK.

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Cooking Measurements and Kitchen Conversion Chart

When we measure ingredients, it’s important that for some dishes, the measures are precise. For us in the UK, it’s fairly simple. We use scales for pretty much everything. I don’t think I even own anything that measures in cups, apart from an old glass jug that has liquid cups on the side.

Saying that, I don’t feel measuring in cups is at all accurate, but I know it’s how most ingredients are laid out in the recipes we use from America.

It’s fairly frustrating for us this side of the pond, as dry ingredients can be both flour and sugar, and their weights are very different. Which is why I really struggle with the inaccurate cup method of measuring for baking especially. I would like to try a few American recipes, but I’m not at all confident, so I try to convert them to more familiar grams and ounces.

Using conversion charts can also be quite tricky. They don’t explain the difference in volume of sugar and flour, so we can get really mixed up.

I’ve made a free kitchen conversion chart for you, to help with the difficulties in interpreting recipes from metric to imperial, US to UK.

Free Kitchen Conversion Chart

Downloadable PDF – Printable

Measurement Abbreviations for Conversion Charts

ml = millilitre
l = litre
g = grams
kg = kilogram
C = Celsuis


tsp = teaspoon
tbsp = tablespoon
oz = ounce
lb = pound
fl.oz = fluid ounce
F = Fahrenheit

Kitchen Scales
(Affiliate Links are included in this paragraph, both in images and text links)

If you want to buy a kitchen scale to help with measurements, there are loads to choose from. Here’s an image of my favourite Salter scales on Amazon.

Kitchen scales aren’t all equal. Some of more traditional size are dependent on the old UK imperial system, which is rarely used in Europe now. They are more imprecise and won’t allow for liquid volume weights.

If we don’t have scales that help with liquid volume, buying a good quality jug, that has several liquid volumes marked, can be very helpful.

Liquid versus Dry Ingredients

When we measure liquid ingredients, they are measured by volume, or in other words, by the space they take up for measuring. They are heavier and fluid ingredients.

Dry ingredients tend to be dry, and are measured more by weight than liquid volume. While a good set of scales can measure both dry and liquid, a heavier ingredient will like water, will take up less space than a dry ingredient like flour. For baking, it is especially important that weights and measures are accurate. Just a few mls too much of fluid can ruin a great pastry, and a few extra grammes of flour can totally throw a light cake into an unappetising mess.

While in the US, many ingredients are weighed out by using cups or jugs, neither measurement is totally accurate. Measurements by kitchen scales are more accurate, and are easier to manage.

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Easy Air Fryer Conversion Chart For Better Results

The biggest problem we have when cooking in an air fryer, is knowing how to convert traditional recipes to fit with the tiny oven style cooking of air frying. Our air fryers are essentially just mini ovens on steroids, with faster cooking times and the ability to churn out delicious meals at a lower cost than a traditional oven.

Fast forward to the air fryer explosion, and the biggest problem we all have, is the conversions. To help with that, I’ve added an easy air fryer conversion chart for better results. It’s free for anyone for anyone to use. Feel free to save the chart and download it to your hearts content.

This link will take you straight to the Air Fryer Conversion Chart for the UK.

Air Fryer Conversion Chart

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5 Simple Reasons to Buy an Airfryer & Save Money

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links and images to Amazon UK, which may earn me a few pennies if you click on them and make a purchase.

I’ve spoken about energy saving already recently, but the news is still going mad for air fryers. After spending a whole week last week, furiously looking for a new one, I found it quite frustrating to even be able to tell the difference. In the past, I wanted one that turned, and cooked chips for the special needs lad. Nowadays, the choice for what he would be able to use is dire. Exceptionally dire. Almost every machine I’ve look at, is geared to the reading population, with temperatures, dials and fancy icons.

1 – Cooking With An Air Fryer Saves You Money

The statistics speak for themselves. An airfryer uses much less energy than your regular house oven. I’ve spoken about this sort of thing several times in the past, as I’ve used airfryers for years, and they really are perfect for our lifestyle.

Most electric ovens use from 3000 to 5000 watts on electric, but you should always check your own appliance. An airfryer is heating a much smaller space. That means it tends to cook faster, as a big oven takes longer and uses more energy to get to temperature and be ready to cook. With an airfryer, you switch on and it’s up and running. A full chicken can take about 40 or so minutes. So, as well as saving on usage, at approximately 1200-1800 watts, it saves cooking time.

2 – Healthier Cooking With An Air Fryer

We switched years ago. I have not had a deep fat fryer in any house I’ve lived in for my whole adult life. I did want something that gave the crispy deep fat fried look and crunch. Being in two house fires before the age of 12 has a habit of putting you off ever owning anything with a large pot of bubbling fat. Fryers in those days, were just big pots with fat in them. Even though there are now thermostatically controlled versions, I’ve never been able to live with one.

Air frying means using little to no oil. When we first got one, we used a very little oil. Nowadays, I just don’t bother to add any at all. Not cooking oil, means less fat, less calories and better preservation of the nutrients in our food.

3 – Time Saving In More Ways Than One

We’ve mentioned the speed of cooking is increased, but the one big thing that is in my life, is the complete bug bear of having to clean my big ovens. I have a very old, four cavity range cooker. I do love it, but it is old, probably very energy inefficient, and is a nightmare to clean.

With all my air fryers, where cleaning has been a challenge, it has solely been my own fault for letting some grease build up for too long as the teens cook. They never clean it afterwards. Even so, cleaning is so much easier than cleaning the oven, and I looked for my latest air fryer to have dishwasher safe parts, so that I can simply just throw them on in there.

4 – Reheat Your Leftovers In The Air Fryer

I was blindly reheating in the microwave for a long time. My old convection microwave gave up the ghost early on during the pandemic, so I resurrected my even older basic supermarket £20 microwave from a box in the garage and it’s still going strong. Granted, it had hardly been used, but I certainly got my money worth from it.

Fairly recently, I began reheating much of the leftovers in the air fryer. I’m absolutely gutted that I hadn’t thought of doing that before. It doesn’t work so great if you have an airfryer without temperature control, but I think most of the older style ones that are simply on/off and timer control, have been mostly phased out.

Leftovers reheated in the airfryer retain that newly cooked flavour and don’t go all soggy. Give it a go, as you won’t be disappointed.

5 – Accessories For Everything

We all have busy lives, right? The main thing we have to think about is value for money. Again, blindly just doing what I’ve always done, meant I was missing out on new things. There are accessories for almost every type of air fryer these days.

From inserts to keep the airfryer base clean, to tongs and racks for doubling or tripling the usable space, I really think there is an accessory for everything. The main problem is cutting it down to the accessories you will really use.

Buying An Air Fryer

To be fair, I still want that Phillips XXL Airfryer. It’s got a massive amount of space, and an app to make checking food easy. Cooking a large chicken could easily be an easy task with it, but it was slightly more than I was willing to pay. I’ve only used low end airfryers in the past, and they’ve served us well. I went with the Ninja due to replaceable drawers and I believe speed of cleaning.

When you look for an air fryer, you have to look at what your lifestyle needs. For me, it’s a high usage household with various cooking times during the day due to shift work, and speed of cleaning. Your needs may be very different.

What to look for.

  • Look at the specification of each airfryer. Having a super dooper airfryer that feeds 6 people may be completely unnecessary for someone who only wants to use it once or twice a week for a couple or small family.
  • Compare prices and reviews. Prices and availability change frequently, due to the higher uptake in 2021/2022, which saw many fryers out of stock for long periods. To get my Ninja, I had to spend about 2 months on the waiting list of the manufacturer, as every notification was already sold out before I got to the website.
  • Size of the machine. Do you have enough counterspace for the machine you want. We all know that if a machine ends up in a cupboard, it rarely ends up being used, if ever.

My Favourite High End Air Fryers on Amazon

Good Value Air Fryers Under £100 on Amazon

Mini Oven Airfryers

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10 Energy Saving Cooking Tips

Wee Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon UK, which may earn me a few pennies if you click on them and make a purchase.

Many people are in fuel poverty this winter, likely reaching into the millions, of whom, many have never struggled for their energy bills in the past. I’ve been a member of a wee group for a while now, and it’s one that helps people who are struggling with their bills, and gives advice to help them bridge the current gap.

The biggest problem is that there are literally unending amounts of people who have never faced debt before, but energy costs are fast putting them into situations where they might never have been. I’m not going to get drawn into the political rant, no matter how much I’d like to, but instead, I am going to focus on ways to help us save money on our daily life.

People everywhere seem to be speaking about getting dehumidifiers as they might be cheaper than tumble dryers, but we all have to make our own choices.

10 Ways To Save Energy in the Kitchen

1 – Preparation of Cooking Methods

Take the time to look at how you prepare and cook your food. There’s no point having loads of gadgets and small appliances languishing on your counters unused, or shoved in a cupboard and out of sight. Our ovens use a lot of energy, and some of your small gadgets could easily save you money if you look at the wattage used to run them and compare it with your oven.

2 – Work Out How Much Money Your Appliances Cost to Run

As an example, my slow cooker is 300w. That means it uses 300 watts of electrical energy per hour to run. My slow cooker is also a 6 litre large capacity one, and yours might use half of the energy that my cooker does per hour.

My oven is rated at around 2 kw per hour, for each oven. I have two. That means each oven uses approximately 2000 watts per hour. Ovens can use up to 5000 watts per hour, so make sure you check your own appliance ratings and do your own calculations.

At the moment, electricity is about 34p per unit of electric Jan 2023.
I tend to use my slow cooker on high for 4 hours = 1200 watts, or 1.2 kwh of electric, which is 1.2 units.
– Slow Cooker 4 Hours 300w = 1.2 Units at 34p = 41p
– Single Oven 4 Hours 2000w = 8 Units at 34p = £2.72

This comparison isn’t comparing apples with apples however, as using an oven is unlikely to take 4 hours, unless slow cooking on low heat.

My Calculation For Chips in the Air Fryer or Oven
34p/60 mins = 0.0057p per minute = 1000 watts

Air Fryer (Large) = 1500 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (1.50 x 0.0057p) = 21.4p
– Oven (2000w) = 2000 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (2 x 0.0057p) = 28.5p

For me, using the Airfryer is 7p cheaper than my oven, to cook a batch of chips. Given my teenagers sometimes cook 3 or 4 times a day, with a pie here or a portion of chips there, the airfryer is cheaper.

3 Cook Efficiently

One way to help save money at home is to look at our cooking choices. As a house, we’ve used air fryers for years, so it’s nice to see them get so much publicity at the moment, allowing us to make some savings. Choose your gadgets wisely.

Do the calculations for each of your appliances, and then choose the most efficient appliance for you. I have family who don’t use a microwave to reheat leftovers, and the oven is regularly on for long periods of time. I don’t have the luxury of wasting energy, and over the years, I’ve build up a good stock of countertop appliances that I can use.

Oven v My Appliances
– I use my oven when I am cooking large batches or big dishes.
– The microwave is mainly used for reheating.
Slow cooker for cooking cheaper cuts of meat and casserole type dishes.
Pressure cooker for making baked potatoes.
– Pan on the gas hob for large pans of soup.
Soupmaker for small batch of soup, up to 4 people.

4 Clean Appliances & Change Pan Usage

Dirt can build up around a gas burner or an electric hob. As well as wasting heat if you are using the wrong size pan for a dish you are making, the dirt build up can also make the cooking less efficient. If you are using a smaller pan, use a smaller burner if possible on gas, and you will be less likely to have inefficient cooking and food/heat wastage through spillage or heat distribution to the room.

Using lids while cooking on the hob or stove, helps to keep heat in, and uses less energy to cook food.

5 Use Timers For Cooking

This one might be a little like the old saying ‘trying to teach your granny to suck eggs.’ That might no mean much to you as a saying, in the way it does for me, but it simply means ‘stating the obvious.’ No matter which appliance we use, many of us are guilty of cooking for too long. My kids always made fun of me for how I can cook a full meal perfectly, but stick oven chips or pizza in the oven, and I forget about them and burn the food, as well as waste energy.

I’ve been making use of the timer function on my phone, and I no longer burn the junk food. I’m sure the boys will be happy with that, but they have now also learned to set their phone timers too, so we also no longer waste cooking energy.

6 Food Preparation & Meal Planning

Keeping cooking time down is quite important now, as cooking from frozen can use up a lot of unnecessary energy, that we could be better spent on heat in the cold weather. Defrosting food before use might save a few pence, as will planning your meals and knowing which ingredients you will need, and how you will use them. Many frozen items can be defrosted in the fridge overnight, just read the instructions to find out which ones are usable.

7 Batch Cooking

Batch cooking is sensible if you have the budget for buying larger quantities of ingredients than usual, as making meals this way means that a simple reheat is all that is needed for many items. If buying ingredients more in bulk, but if full batch cooking isn’t an option, you can take the time to work this differently. When I make meals nowadays, even soup, I make enough to also pop a couple of portions into the freezer for the boys to eat later. It’s just one or two extra portions with each cooking session, but it quickly adds up to food for later.

8 Leftovers

I have family and friends who won’t eat second day food. I think they’ve lost their minds, and one or two are on benefits and still won’t eat refrigerated leftovers. To me, that’s nuts. Bonkers. I can understand it if someone does not have a fridge, but throwing away perfectly good food that can eaten later makes my brain fry.

Simply reheat the leftovers in your microwave, ensuring they are nice and hot to eat

9 Storage, Best Before and Use By

There is easily accessible information on the internet, to know what is safe and what is not safe to eat. Almost everyone has a mini computer in their pocket, and can look up the fridge temperatures to be economical and keep food safe, while also not wasting energy.

Personally, I increased my fridge from 4C to 5C, and reduced my freezer from -20C to -18C. I am not recommending you change your settings to match mine, so research it for yourself and check you are not throwing money away when you don’t need to.

Know the difference between best before and use by, to ensure you get the best out of the products you buy for food and drinks.

10 Mindset Changes

Many of the ways to reduce energy usage while cooking needs a change of attitude and approach to making meals and being kitchen efficient.

One pot meals are easy and simple to make, saving cooking and heating times. For me, my baked tatties done in my pressure cooker are far cheaper than cooking them in the oven.

Planning ahead can mean you have the correct ingredients for when you need them. Even if I only save 7p on each air fryer cook session, it could easily save me about £50 a year. I know it doesn’t sound much, but that is just one single gadget saving. We do have to offset that against how much the gadget costs to buy, so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations.