Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Gardening Tips: 5 Easy fruit & veg to grow at home

    As spring approaches, gardening can be a fun, hands-on activity for you to enjoy with your family.

    It’s a great way to get together (and get mucky) out in the fresh air, panting and sowing flowers, fruit & vegetables for you and your children to enjoy together.


    To begin with, you will need basic gardening tools such as a hand trowel and fork, planters and of course your choice of seeds or bulbs. You can find a great selection of gardening basics within the Poundstretcher Gardening section of the website and in store.

    Although gardening can be tricky, there are several plants which are very easy to grow, leading to a successful start to gardening. Here’s our guide to five fool-proof fruits and vegetables to grow with your family.

    Peas are very simple to grow at home and can be started in organic compost in pots indoors. The best time to sow your peas is in early spring.

    But be warned: pea seeds are poisonous so don’t let your little ones put them near their mouths, and make sure they wash their hands once they’ve finished planting. Once planted, the peas will flower and will continue to grow throughout spring and summer.

    Gardening Poundstretcher

    Often one of the first plants grown by young children, sunflower seeds are fun to grow for the simple reason that they grow so tall! Why not hold a family competition to see who can grow the tallest sunflower? Sunflowers love being in direct sunlight, so find a sunny spot and keep them warm.

    Gardening Poundstretcher

    All children love the taste of sweet strawberries, and it can be really easy to grow your own (picking them is great fun too). They can be grown in pots, in the ground, in grow bags or in special strawberry planters and can take up as much or as little space as you have to spare.

    Gardening Poundstretcher

    Cabbages can be fun to grow as they can grow to a massive size in as little as 10-12 weeks. And perhaps growing their own will make little ones more inclined to taste this super-healthy veg.

    Gardening Poundstretcher

    Plant your potato sees in the ground between February and May, and they will multiply to give a harvest of many more delicious potatoes later in the year. Start by leaving the seed potatoes in daylight until they being to sprout, and then plant them into a container or directly into the ground, allowing lots of room for them to grow.

    Gardening Poundstretcher

    What are your favourite fruit and vegetables’ to grow at home?

    Share photos of your latest gardening achievements on the Poundstretcher Facebook page.

  • How to make the perfect pancake

    With Shrove Tuesday just around the corner, now is the perfect time to master creating the perfect pancake!pancake poundstretcher

    Before you get started, you'll need some basic kitchen equipment. We suggest picking up a measuring jug, sieve and whisk will help you prepare the batter, while a good non-stick frying pan is essential for flipping the perfect pancake - all which can be picked up here at Poundstretcher for just a few pounds.

    Basic pancake batter recipe

    • 100g Plain flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • Two Eggs
    • 300ml Semi-skimmed milk
    • Tablespoon of oil or melted butter

    Begin by sifting 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre then whisk in two eggs. Gradually whisk in 300ml of semi-skimmed milk, as well as a tablespoon of oil or 30g of melted butter. Keep whisking until you have a smooth batter. If you like, you can leave this to rest for half an hour in the fridge before you begin to cook the pancakes.

    Place the frying pan over a moderate heat and add the oil or butter. Remember that too much oil will make your pancakes greasy so just wipe the inside with some oiled kitchen paper. Pour the batter into a jug or use a ladle to spoon some of the mixture into your pan. Place the batter in the centre of the pan, then tilt and swirl it to spread this into a thin, even layer.

    Once the pancake is golden on the base; carefully loosen it with a fish slice and flip over to cook the other side. Good Luck!

    Pancake Toppings

    Lemon and sugar is a classic combination, but why not try something a little different, chocolate spread and sliced banana is a tasty and filling option.

    Transform your pancakes by adding some chopped nuts or even some ice cream for a super-sweet treat or for a slightly healthier option, soft fruit such as sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries taste great with a dollop of yoghurt or creme fraiche.

    If you’re not sure what pancake topping to try? Take the fun Poundstretcher quiz to find out which pancake flavour best describes you!

    pancake poundstretcher1

    Pancake Fun
    Once you have mastered the basics; why not get a bit more creative by having a go at some pancake art.

    Animals, funny faces and even your favourite Disney characters can all be created by using the batter in different ways. To make a basic outline, add some cocoa powder to your batter, then use a paintbrush to paint your chosen shape onto a cold pan. Gradually turn the heat up and fill in the spaces with lighter batter applied from a squeezy plastic bottle to create your own designs.

    We love this cute Olaf pancake from the Disney film Frozen!

    For more tasty tips, popular mummy blogger “Along Came Cherry” has kindly shared her favourite recipes and for Pancake Day (and images used in this blog post), all using Poundstretcher products! Click here to read her great pancake blog post.

    What are your favourite pancake recipes? Do you have any top tips for creating the perfect pancake? Share your thoughts with the team today on the Poundstretcher Facebook! 

  • Budget Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

    Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s often the most thoughtful gifts that make the best impression with your loved ones!

    To help you make 2015 a Valentine’s Day to remember, the team here at Poundstretcher have put together 4 budget Valentine’s Day ideas that will show your partner how much you care, but still allowing you to stick within your price bracket on this special day.

    Bake Cute Cupid Cupcakes

    Budget Valentine’s Day 1

    For the Red Velvet cupcakes:
    • 350g plain flour
    • 450g sugar
    • 1 tbs cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 225ml vegetable oil
    • 225ml buttermilk
    • 1 tbs vinegar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1-2 oz red food colouring

    To make these romantic Valentine’s Day cupcakes, first preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Whisk the eggs and add all the liquid ingredients, combining thoroughly. In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients, then add the liquid mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture into cupcake papers (the recipe should provide around 24 cupcakes) and bake for 20 minutes.

    For the icing:
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 225g soft butter
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 840g icing sugar

    Beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy, then add the vanilla. Sift in the sugar and use the mixture to top the cooled cupcakes. Finish off your cupcakes with heart-shaped toppers to show off all your hard work, and enjoy.

    Shop the full range of kitchen essentials to create your cupcakes here on the Poundstretcher website.

    Cook Breakfast in Bed

    What could feel more special - or more romantic - than breakfast in bed? This cute heart-shaped eggs in a basket idea is the perfect start to your Valentine’s day.

    Budget Valentine’s Day 2

    Simply cut a heart shape out of a large, thick slice of bread. Fry or grill the bread gently on one side while you crack an egg into a bowl, separating the white and the yolk.

    Then place the bread, cooked side down, in a frying pan over a gentle heat and pour a little of the egg white into the heart-shaped hole. Top it off with the yolk and cook until the egg is done to perfection. Serve with tea or coffee, a big smile and a kiss!

    Run a candle lit bath

    Why not run your loved one a relaxing warm and scented bath packed with bubbles this Valentines? Turn out the lights and add some candles for the ultimate relaxing soak. We’ve got a great selection of scented candles to choose from here at Poundstretcher, available from only £2.99.

    Budget Valentine’s Day 3

    Budget Valentine’s Day 4

    Create Picture Perfect Memories

    For a thoughtful and inexpensive gift idea, simply find a number of photos of you and your loved one from a special occasion or memory. Print off, and fit them into a multi-frame to showcase all of your happy memories! We have a selections of cheap photo frames from only £1.99.

    Budget Valentine’s Day 5

    Do you have any great, cost effective Valentine’s Day gift ideas?
    Share your ideas with us on the Poundstretcher Facebook page!

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