Great Nanny Gales Christmas Cake Part One. 

 A Christmas cake is something that both of our families make each year and Fruit cakes/Christmas cakes are a cake that taste better the longer you leave it especially if you are going to feed it brandy (adults only) this year Oliver went to his Great Nanny Gales to help make the cake and nearer to Christmas he will be decorating it, but in the mean time here is how they made it…


What You Need.

150g/5 oz Currents

50g/2 oz Sultanas

50g/2 oz Raisins

25g/1 oz Mixed Peel Chopped

OR 275g/10 oz Mixed Fruit

40g/1.5oz Glacé Cherries

Dash of Lemon Juice

100g/3.5oz Plain Flour

Half a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon

Quarter of a teaspoon of ground Mixed Spice

75g/3 oz Butter

75g/3 oz Soft Brown Sugar

1 and a half Eggs (size 2)
Please note if you intend to add brandy to your cake then it is best to soak the fruit in 2 tablespoons over night the night before you intend to make the cake. 
Making the Cake

*First off take the butter and put in the bowl and then cream with a whisk until light and fluffy. This can be done with either an electric whisk or by hand.

*Next add the sugar and mix into the mixture until it is light and fluffy.

*Now add the eggs and then stir in the flour and spices.

*Finally add the fruit and cherries and stir in. Do not over beat the mixture at this point otherwise the cake will end up heavy.
Baking The Cake

*Line with baking paper and grease a 6 inch cake tin (round or square)

*Next pour in the cake mixture and then level off the top

*Finally place the tin on the bottom shelf of a preheated oven.

120c – 150c, 300F, Gas Mark 2.

and cook for two hours, at the end of this time take the cake out of the oven and check it is cooked all the way through by placing a knife in the centre (top to bottom), if it comes out clean then it is done. 
The cake now needs to settle for around 3-5 weeks so the flavours can mature. The best way to do this is to place the cake in a tin or plastic storage box and store it in a dry and cool place. 

Thrifty Christmas Coming Soon! 


Starting next Monday here on 2 Bottles of Milk we will be running Have Yourself a Thrifty Christmas for ten second year running. 

This year we will be including craft ideas, money saving tips, gift guides for a tight budget and much much more. 

If anyone is interested in writing a guest blog then please contact us via the link above. 

Halloween Party Music on a Budget. 

When planning music for your Halloween Party, or indeed any party it is easy to get carried away and possibly spend a lot of money on themed CDs or Download lots of tracks that fit into the feel of your party. However with a little bit of careful planning you can get most if not all your music for free… 

Yes you read that right for free. When planning a party now I have two first ports of call for music and then choose the best for what I am looking for. 

First up is a fantastic radio app called Accuradio. This is an app that you can download to your mobile device or you can also access it via the Internet on your laptop. The thing I love about the app is the amount of genres, tracks and artists available. The creators have split these down into different channels and this has been no different with Halloween. They have no less then five different channels, yes five, all set for a variety of party types from a kiddie party up to the adult only type. It is so easy to use, you literally select the channel you want and press play, plug your mobile device in to a speaker system and voila instant free music. 

The other go to place that I use is YouTube. Now this does take a little bit more time to organise because you can set up your own playlists, you also run the risk of adverts, which you don’t get with Accuradio, however the advantage is you can pick and choose what you want to listen to. So if you are after something for really young preschoolers then you can tailor your playlist to that area. 

For our Halloween party I managed to put a playlist of Seventeen songs together in an evening and they all fitted the age range I was looking for. 

Again if you have the YouTube app on your mobile device then you can just plug it into a speaker system and away you go. 

Halloween Costumes on a Budget. 

With the exception of the food the next biggest expense is a costume. They can cost a lot of money if you don’t shop smart. 

Well we’ve done the research for you on some of the best prices costumes currently on sale in various retailers. 

First up is Home Bargains who have a number of costumes from Pumpkins through to Witches all for £5.99 

Next is Tescos F&F range they have costumes ranging from £7 up. We have picked out the best bits for you. 

This is a Dracula Costume and is available from £8 

F&F Witch Costume from £7

F&F Skeleton Costume from £7 

George from Asda

Glow in the Dark Skeleton Costume from £8

Sequin Witch Costume from £8 
These costumes are all currently available from the various stores mentioned. 

Make Your Own Halloween Wreath. 

Every year my Mother in Law throws a Halloween Party for the kids and their cousins and friends and this year is no exception. 

With that in mind my Mother in Law set about making decorations for the party. 

In this post she describes how she made an amazing Halloween themed wreath. 

What You Need: 

  • Spider Wreath    £1 

  • 10 Inch Wreath Form £3.80 for 10 

  • 2 Metres Stiff Tutu Fabric £1.78 per metre 

  • Glitter Chenille Sticks £1

  • Ribbon (Left over ribbon from a previous craft activity was used here however you can pick up Halloween Ribbon from eBay or HobbyCraft) 
  • Hanging Halloween Decoration £1
  • Witches Hat £2.50 

What you need to do: 

1: I started by cutting the stiff netting into strips about 3 inches wide then cut each strip into 10inch long pieces. To attach to the wreath I folded the piece in half put the looped end under the wreath wire and pulled the two tails through and pulled so it was tight against the wire I filled the outer ring then the inner ring and used all 2 metres of fabric. Fluff the fabric up to create fullness. 

2: I then added some ribbon and attached to the ring using the same method I dove tailed the ends of the ribbon and sealed the edges by running a lighter quickly along the edge of the cut ribbon.

3: I wrapped the chenille sticks around a pencil to create a spiral and then twisted 3 together and attached to the wreath by just twisting the ends of the chenille sticks around the inner ring.

4: The spider at first was just going to adorned with a bow but I see the little hat whilst I was out shopping and thought it would be nice to use on the wreath. I took the head band off by just snipping the piece of material that was attached to the band it came off easily and neatly. I attached it to the spider by using the wire hanger on the spider I popped it through the back of the hat and then twisted the whole thing ( spider & hat ) around the inner ring securing it firming in place in the centre of the wreath.  

Ensure you tuck the ends of the chenille sticks right under so no wire is sticking out any exposed wire could scratch your door for extra protection stick your blue tac over the points where you have attached the chenille sticks

Total Build Cost is £7.88

Photos and Writing by Joanne Tansley. 

A Spookily Thrifty Halloween!

Tips for Halloween on a budget. 

Welcome to A Spookily Thrifty Halloween! 

With Halloween now less then a week away we thought we would spend the next few days giving you hints, tips and craft ideas to help keep the cost of those Halloween Parties for the kids down. 

We are covering everything from Decs and Food through to Costumes and Music. 

So stay tuned to our spooky blog for money saving tips this week.