Thursday, 28 February 2019

Save On Your Grocery Shop

How to save money on your grocery shopping

One of my guilty pleasures is the US reality show Extreme Couponing - if I lived across the pond there is little doubt I'd have my own stockpile of random junk down in my comes-as-standard basement. As it is, I've got a kitchen smaller than a US hallway and UK retailers have long been savvy when it comes to ensuring people can't go around 'stacking' their coupons for mega deals.

Still, it is plenty possible to make decent savings on your weekly shop via couponing. You can find coupons in store magazines and newspapers, brand websites (individual or group, like Supersavvyme and CaringEveryday), and money saving sites like Extreme Couponing UK and Money Saving Expert.

These will usually be for money off at the till, but you can also use cashback apps which involve you buying the item, then claiming money back by scanning the product barcode and your receipt. My favourite of these is -


Super simple to use and with regular freebie offers, Shopmium is probably the best known of these apps. When you sign up with a referral code (mine is yc7c5) you get a freebie offer to start you off, meaning you can go and practice how it all works risk free. My initial offer was for a large bar of Dairy Milk which served as suitable encouragement to go and get on with it!

The offers are spread across the major supermarkets and other stores like Boots, so how useful the app will be depends on your location. My hometown of Cwmbran is very centralised, with most of the major supermarkets within walking distance, meaning I can pick up freebies without having to pay out in petrol or bus fares.

As with all offers, you need to weigh up how much of a bargain it really is, and make sure you read the T&Cs carefully. Sometimes you can use the same offer more than once, for example, while other offers require you to buy multiples of a product.

Keep reading for more cashback apps...


Checkout Smart

Main offers are at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, with occasional offers at Iceland, Boots, Waitrose / Ocado, Co-op, Lidl, Aldi, and more. You can also upload receipts from any of the stores each day for a chance to win £10.

If you want to cash out less than £20, you'll be charged a transfer fee of 5%.


Run by cashback site Quidco, ClickSnap offers tend to be for Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, and Morrisons.


Offers are available for Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Waitrose.

Minimum cashout is £1.50.

Snap & Save

The name of Topcashback's grocery offers. This is the most limited of the services listed, but they do occasionally have freebies worth grabbing.

Final Thoughts

Couponing also allows you to be charitable even on a very tight budget. If there's a freebie deal on for a product you don't need, consider picking it up for donation to your local foodbank. Most supermarkets these days have a trolley near the front of the store for donations of food as well as sanitary and household products.

E.g. Last week Marianna and I went to Morrisons and used a couple of Ella's Kitchen coupons I'd received in the post to buy baby food which was on offer - making it free! - and popped it in the food bank trolley on the way out.

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Make Money From Your ReceiptsTop Ten Cashback Sites
Frugal Living with Babiafi

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Perlego Review


I heard about Perlego via OMD and was instantly intrigued. One of the few things I miss about my university days is the unfettered access to archives and libraries. I always think it's kind of cruel that when you have all the free access, you've no real time to devote to reading up on all the weird and random topics that catch your eye...

With Perlego, however, you get access to over 200,000 academic texts for a very reasonable monthly subscription fee. If you pay an annual lump sum it works out at £10 a month, or £15 if you pay monthly.

I'm lucky in that Cambridge alumni still get access to JSTOR, Cambridge Core, SAGE Journals, etc, but I was super excited to find out Perlego existed all the same. Based in London, the service was only established in 2016 and is still quickly expanding in terms of available titles. Current publishers signed up with the platform include Bloomsbury, Cengage, Wiley, and Oxford University Press.

This was the beginning of my browsing in the social history section:

Perlego Social History Books

There is just so much cool stuff to read - it gave me the same feeling of going into the UL for the first time and being completely overwhelmed by the scale of it!

I love that you can generate Harvard or Vancouver style citations to copy and paste too - citations were always the bane of my academic life - and the freedom of monthly subbing means I could skip this month as I know I won't have the time to get much reading in. The only downside is that the app is still in development, meaning it can be awkward to read on the go if your mobile device of choice is a smartphone.

Even so, Perlego is already a great service that is only going to become more attractive as it grows from strength to strength. Best of all it's really democratising academia and allowing access to the kind of academic work normally beyond the price range of individuals and provincial libraries. That can only be a good thing!

If you want to try it for yourself click the picture below to get 50% off the subscription price. :)

Get 50% off Perlego subscription with referral link

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Reviews from Babi a Fi - food, fashion, beauty, baby, toys, books, tech, days out, and more!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

I took a few bloggy quizzes, here are my results...

#1. Quizony. Cooking Blogger: 'You love home, family, and cooking. You're a homebody and proud of it! When you cook, it's like magic! The things you do in the kitchen are amazing and wondrous. You have a warm and welcoming personality, and are always happy to be there for other people.'


#2. Persuasion Nation. The Guru: 'You are a natural teacher and a lifelong learner. Every time you learn something new, you just can't wait to share it. Your audience looks up to you as their role model, and in turn you really care about them and you want to see them succeed.'

I like it! Perhaps one day I'll live up to it.

#3. Blog Things. Snarky Blogger: 'You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of. You're honest and critical. You never hold back, even if you're opinion is controversial. Okay, let's be honest. You try to make your posts as controversial as possible! And that's why your audience reads your posts as often as they can.'

Err, maybe not.

#4. Go To Quiz. 87% Healthy Blogger: 'The future of blogging is in your hands. Have you ever considered starting a school? You should think about offering advanced education in blogging! Maybe, become a Blogging Professor.'

The future's bright...

#5. Helen In Between. Lifestyle Blogger: 'You are multifaceted, just like your blog! You like to blog about a myriad of subjects and have many passions. You understand the power of the written word and know how fast our globalized world is changing- that's why you blog about multiple topics!'

I'm not sure how true that is, but it sounds inspiring so I'm happy to roll with it!

What answers did you get? Let me know in the comments. :)

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blog tags, memes and challenges

Sunday, 24 February 2019

This Week - 24/02/2019

Don't just count your years, make your years count.

It's been a fairly quiet week - I've not felt so well, and Marianna's still been off nursery in deference to the fact the stitches are still in her lip. We stayed at my mum's over the weekend and introduced Marianna to the original Mr Men and Little Miss cartoons.

(Though, naturally, we took a break for the rugby. The definite high spot of the week!!)

On the blog I wrote a couple of reviews - Lottie Dolls and Oh My Dosh! - as well as an updated About Me post and a post about my most visited sites. My favourite post was a top ten of 24th century fashion disasters... yeah, I've been rewatching Star Trek. :)

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This Week - Weekly Overviews

Saturday, 23 February 2019

My Favourite Wastes of Time

My Favourite Wastes of Time

If I'm not here, you'll find me at...

Gaia Online

Gaia Online is a forum-based avatar site that has been around since 2003. I've been a member since 2005 or so, and there is still something very soothing about collecting closets full of pixel items! Feel free to friend me - babiafi - if you're a member. :)

Competition Database

So many competitions, so little time... Competition Database makes it so easy to filter and make the most of what time you do have though.

Get free Board Kings rolls with friend code 222-101-169

The most addictive mobile game this side of Snake. If you're interested, check out the Board Kings website, and have a few extra rolls on me with invite code 222-101-169

While it's claim to 'humor' is often dubious at best, is the place to be if you're looking for useless trivia. From creepy true crimes to video easter eggs, it will have you quoting quite interesting titbits for years to come.

Friday, 22 February 2019

The Future's Bright

The future's bright - the future's terrifying. 10 Fashion Disasters of the 24th Century.

Elim Garak and Julian Bashir in Past Prologue

Sometime Obsidian Order spy, sometime space station tailor - and, let's face it, coming on strong to the good Dr Bashir all the time - Elim Garak is the most fashionable man on DS9.

The thought is not a reassuring one.

Crewman wears a skant in TNG

In an attempt to retcon the questionable motives behind the miniskirts of TOS, The Next Generation introduced the unisex skant. It was worn in the first season by Deanna Troi and a variety of nameless extras before being quietly retired to the backs of Starfleet closets.

M'Pella the Dabo Girl

Less was certainly, er, less when you made a career as a dabo girl.

Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien play racquetball

Chief O'Brien's expression speaks for us all when it comes to Dr Bashir's racquetball outfit. Bashir was captain of the Starfleet Medical Academy's racquetball team while in training, and won the sector championships in 2368. It really isn't an excuse.

Jake Sisko and Nog in To Boldly Sew

Jake Sisko channels his inner Bashir in this garish jumpsuit. It was surely a blessing to eyeballs everywhere when Nog ruined it with fake Odo slime later in the episode.

Riker and Troi in Angel One

Commander Riker was duly mocked by his colleagues for deferring to local male custom during an away mission on Angel One.

Jake Sisko

Jake Sisko's crimes against fashion didn't end in childhood.

Quark as Lumba

For Ferengi women, wearing clothing was a daring act of defiance. Here, due to a series of zany circumstances, we have a gender swapped Quark wearing, well, whatever the hell that is. Still, 'Lumba' did manage to convince Commissioner Nilva that female emancipation was the way forward for Ferenginar, ultimately allowing Ferengi women everywhere to make better sartorial choices.

Captain Picard on holiday

We can only be thankful the children of the USS Enterprise-D chose not to immortalise this look in papier-mâché for Captain Picard Day. (June 16th, if you're wanting to show your own appreciation.)

Quark and Julian Bashir in Let He Who Is Without Sin

We finish as we began - seriously questioning Garak's taste.

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Fandom with Babi a Fi

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Quick Cash With OhMyDosh!

Babi a Fi Reviews Oh My Dosh!

Of all the money making outlets I've tried so far this year, Oh My Dosh! is my favourite. I made my first £10 in under half hour. In less than two months as a member of Oh My Dosh I've earned £90, and the potential is there to earn a whole lot more.


Oh My Dosh! is a free UK GPT - Get Paid To website - launched in 2017 by the company behind 20Cogs, Paid Surveys, UK Mystery Shopper, and more.


After you sign up, you start completing the listed offers. The great thing about OMD is that many of these are totally free - signing up for free trials, entering competitions, filling out surveys, or referring friends.

Others require an upfront payment that you then get back with interest. E.g. a current offer requires you to open an account with Coral Casino, then deposit and play through £10. You might win something after wagering requirements, you might not, but either way OMD is going to pay you £15 for your time. Not a bad return, really!

The dosh will pend for a while until OMD and the retailer confirm you fulfilled the offer T&Cs, something which could take up to 30 days, then the money will clear into your OMD account. Once you've reached £10 you can cash out via BACS or Paypal. It really is as simple as that.


As ever, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. Sometimes you need to complete a trial period in full to get your dosh, which means you could have to pay out for the first paid period depending on the service's subscription T&Cs. (Although, I must confess, that I've always cancelled them before the payment date and have still received my dosh...)

My other tip would be to check around the other GPTs and cashback sites before you go for an offer, to see if there is a better deal elsewhere. For example, OMD are offering £1.50 for a two week trial of Tails dog food which will cost you £2.00. That might sound like a great buy - two weeks of dog food for 50p! But, if you take the same offer through Topcashback you'll get £4. (Or, if you do it before the end of February, £6.56.)


Oh My Dosh! is super easy to use, and a quick source of some extra pocket money. I was concerned that I wouldn't find many offers to complete given how many survey sites I'm a member of, trials I've already taken, etc, but even with a relatively limited pool of offers to choose from I've still made almost £100 in under seven weeks.

Give it a go yourself at

Sign up to Oh My Dosh and get a £1 welcome bonus

For more like this, please check out the links below:
Top Ten Cashback SitesOver 200 Refer and Earn Offers You Can Use in the UK

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

About Me - 2019 Edition

About Me - 2019 Edition

I came across this on the Blanket Box community on Pillowfort, and figured it has been at least a month or so now since I've done one of these quizzes!


You can call me… Jess.

My age is… 30.

My pronouns are… She / Her.

Some identities I want to share are… As it says on my Twitter profile, I'm Humanist, Feminist, Socialist. History Nut, Doll Collector, Fandom Nerd. Other labels I'd use are Welsh, Bi, Mother, and Crisp Addict.


I will likely make posts about… 

I have a kind of rough plan for each week which goes like so:

☆ Monday - Miniatures; i.e. dolls, etsy reviews, etc.
☆ Tuesday - TMI; i.e. quizzes, personal stuff, local things for local people, etc.
☆ Wednesday - Winning; i.e. brand collabs, competitions, etc.
☆ Thursday - Thrify; i.e. money saving, money making, homemade gifts, etc.
☆ Friday - Fandom; i.e. music, film, books, etc.
☆ Saturday - Self-Determination; i.e. a 'S' for free choice! (aka the slot for all my random obsessions, from historical true crime through to UFO trivia)
☆ Sunday - Summary; i.e. weekly diary post complete with quote of the week.

Dolls and MiniaturesFandom with Babi a Fi

Some things I know a lot about and can help with are… 

☆ Basic Blog Formatting. Check out my Blogging Guides for more info.
☆ Dolls / Miniatures. I collect in 1/12 and 1/6 primarily, but I branch out when it suits me.
☆ Comping / Money Saving.
☆ History. I slogged my guts out at Cambridge for a 2:1 in History, and remain fascinated by social history from the Victorians onward. I'm always happy to help with stuff around research or admissions.
☆ Local Government. I've been a Labour councillor for almost 7 years now. I've served on licensing, planning, scrutiny, lots of different boards (from the police and crime panel to the local housing association), as Mayor, and currently as chair of full council and education scrutiny committee.

Frugal Living with Babi a FiTrue Crime and Creepy Occurrences

Some things I want to learn more about are… 

Everything, really!

My comment policy is...

All welcome! I do my best to reply to all comments, but if you want to be sure I see something just drop me an email at

Find me elsewhere at...

I've got an account on most of the major social media sites, though I tend to use them for entering competitions rather than anything social. My most used networks are currently:

Twitter (9,500 followers)
LinkedIn (5,000 connections)
☆ Pinterest (4,700 followers)
Instagram (3,100 followers)
Facebook (1,400 followers)


I live in… Cwmbran, South Wales, UK.

I spend my time doing… blogging (!), working, studying, Marianna's bidding...

In the next few years, I hope to… get out of debt, get something published, travel the world (or, you know anywhere beyond the Severn Bridge)...

Babi a Fi Media Pack

Monday, 18 February 2019

Lottie Doll Review

Lottie Doll - get 10% off your first order with referral link

Marianna received two Lottie dolls for Christmas/Birthday - Forest Friend and Birthday Girl - so here are my thoughts on them....

'Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You!'

Launched in August 2012, Arklu's Lottie has been one of the real success stories of the toy market. Although other brands - from Sindy to Lammily - have attempted to tap into the dissatisfaction with the outlandishly proportioned Bratz and Barbie, Lottie embraced a whole brand ethos backed up with the production quality to see the project through.

(On a side note, I find the market research behind it very interesting. Barbie was originally developed because the contemporary feedback said that kids were fed up of playing with dolls of babies and children, and instead wanted to act out being grown up. I don't know if the opposite reflects modern society's pressure to grow up quickly with the focus on social media, etc, or the contradictory trend of prolonged 'childhood' in terms of legal status and reliance on parental financial support, etc. Maybe I'm just overthinking it!)

Lottie Doll - get 10% off your first order with referral link

Anyway, looks wise, Lottie is reminiscent of Takara's modern day Licca-chan, though she stands a little shorter at 7.5" (18cm) to Licca's 8.3" (21cm). The line has quickly expanded to include friends like Mia, Sammi, and Finn too, rather than the usual route of siblings and boyfriend. You can also buy outfits, playsets, and pets for extra play value.

Lottie is designed to look like a nine-year-old girl, and her fashions reflect the brand's focus on 'wholesomeness', right down to the fact every doll ships with a pair of fabric knickers. Many of the ideas for new dolls and outfits come from customer suggestions, meaning she can be anything from a superhero to a gymnast to a regular kid on her way to Brownies, and the whole line buys into the #ToyLikeMe campaign. Wildlife Photographer Mia, for example, comes with a cochlear implant as an integral - yet incidental - part of the set.

Lottie Doll - get 10% off your first order with referral link

What I really like about Lottie is her earnestness. When Lottie takes up a hobby, be it fossil hunting or body boarding, she does it properly. No cheap pink plastic, and an actual effort to teach children about the field in question. Likewise, her clothing is well made and the doll itself is good quality, something particularly evident in the hair type and rooting pattern. I was also impressed to see that her legs are attached with ball and socket joints, so if rough play does see her lose a leg you can just pop it back into place.

Although her articulation is limited, with click knee joints and fixed arms, she can stand very well and is positively steady in shoes or boots. For the intended age range of 3 to 8, her mobility is just fine - and means less likelihood of broken joints or the slightly creepy quality of Licca's wired limbs. For collectors and older kids, you could easily (perhaps with a little judicious help from the nearest hairdryer!) rebody a Lottie head to an Obitsu or the more aesthetically pleasing Azone Pure Neemo S / XS body.

In summary, if you're buying for a kid, Lottie is a great choice. The dolls are well made, well thought out, and ready to withstand the life of a play doll. If you're a collector, Lottie has plenty of merit there too. Her face paint is clean and accurate, and her accessories are just darling - I'm already eyeing up her Campfire Fun and Canoe Adventure playsets with thoughts of Kenner's Steve Scout and pals...

get 10% off your first order of Lottie Doll with referral link

Lottie Range By Release Date:

LT002 Autumn Leaves Lottie.
 LT006 Branksea Festival Lottie.
 LT005 English Country Garden Lottie.
 LT001 Pony Flag Race Lottie.
 LT003 Snow Queen Lottie.
 LT004 Spring Celebration Ballet Lottie.
 LT010 Picnic Set.
 LT011 Biscuit the Beagle.
 LT021 Seren the Welsh Mountain Pony.
 LT024 Pony Flag Race Accessories.

 LT028 Butterfly Protector Lottie.
 LT026 Kawaii Karate Lottie.
 LT029 Light House Keeper Lottie.
 LT027 Pandora's Box Lottie.
 LT030 Pirate Queen Lottie.
 LT031 Robot Girl Lottie.
 LT032 Pandora the Persian Cat.
 LT033 Pirate Queen Accessory Set.
 LT034 Busy Lizzie the Robot.
 LT036 Raising the Bar.
 LT037 Sweet Dreams.
 LT038 Girls United.
 LT039 Body Boarder.
 LT040 Raspberry Ripple.
 LT044 Blue Velvet.

Lottie Doll Range

 LT053 Fossil Hunter Lottie.
 LT064 Kite Flyer Finn.
 LT055 Muddy Puddles Lottie.
 LT054 Pony Club Lottie.
 LT051 Rockabilly Lottie.
 LT058 School Days Lottie.
 LT052 Stargazer Lottie. (This was the very first doll in space!)
 LT045 Hair Care Set.
 LT046 Lottie Retail Floor Display.
 LT047 Lottie Retail Counter Display.
 LT056 Super Lottie.
 LT060 Flower Power.
 LT061 Scooter Set.
 LT062 Gone Fishing.
☆ Read the whole 2015 catalogue on Issuu.

 LT070 Always Artsy Lottie.
 LT066 Birthday Girl Sophia.
 LT084 Brownie Lottie.
 LT068 Forest Friend.
 LT083 Junior Reporter Sammi.
 LT082 Wildlife Photographer Mia.
 Royal Flower Girl Lottie.
 Kid Activist.
 Loyal Companion Finn.
 Pool Party.
 LT069 Saddle Up Outfit.
 LT074 Stables.
 LT078 Sirius the Welsh Mountain Pony.
 LT079 Bee Yourself Outfit.
 LT085 Brownie Outfit.
 LT086 Astro Adventures Outfit.
 LT089 Tree House.
 LT090 Brownie Campfire Fun.
 LT092 Brownie Canoe.
 Branksea United Outfit.
 Read the whole 2018 catalogue on Issuu.

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Sunday, 17 February 2019

This Week - 17/02/2019

I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best

This week started so badly that the only way to go was up! Marianna cut her lip open after some creative bed bouncing, so we spent six hours in A+E to have stitches put in. The upshot of that was Marianna having the week off nursery and wanting 100% attention 100% of the time. It seems to be healing well, but it still looks awful and trying to get her to put lip balm on or anything to stop her lips drying out is a constant battle.

Workwise there wasn't much to report, after I'd missed a couple of meetings to be at the hospital. I did have PSB (Public Services Board) Scrutiny Committee - you can watch the webcast HERE - and various bits of casework. There was a Labour Party quiz night fundraiser on Friday; I couldn't make it but Anthony went and has yet to stop gloating over how he won the quiz...

Meanwhile I made a start on Marianna's bedroom while she was staying at Anthony's parents'. The lack of space in there has reached critical levels so I spent four hours putting her new desk together. Marianna wanted a make-up table but after much searching - and number crunching! - I went with this computer desk I found new on ebay for £64.99 with free delivery.

Saturday was just me painting, endlessly painting, because Marianna decided she wanted the room candyfloss pink. Wilkinsons only had one tin in, so I'm only about halfway so far. Still, I moved the furniture about, took the door off the built in cupboard, and sorted through her epic amounts of junk. Next weekend it will just be more painting and then ordering her new bed / playhouse. I'll do a full post on the transformation when it's finished.

On the blog this week I reviewed Friction Free Shaving, the razor subscription service, and collabed with Jana Reinhardt Jewellery to run a giveaway for a hummingbird necklace.

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This Week - Weekly Overviews

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