It’s the Easter school holidays, and given the rather uninspiring weather, I imagine many people will be off to the cinema at some point. If you are on a very tight budget but still trying to entertain your offspring, here are a few tips to make the most out of your visit without breaking the bank.
Tickets. If you are a member of the Tesco Clubcard scheme, it is possible to cash in some of your hard-earned points in order to get free cinema tickets, for Cineworld, Movie House and Odeon cinemas. In the case of Cineworld and Odeon, these vouchers are sent by email so can be almost instant. The link is here: http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/deals/browse.aspx?N=4294960051+4294964994Remember if one of you receives Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, or Personal Independence Payments, you can apply for a Cinema Exhibitors’ Association card for £5 for a year, that allows a carer (which can be anyone) to accompany you for free. http://www.cinemauk.org.uk/cea-card/
Snacks. No, your eyes will still work if you resist the temptation to chomp away on food during a film, and yes, you can spend something in the region of £4 a person on corn syrup filled processed rubbish or an overpriced bottle of water and a bag of fruit gums (shame on you, chain cinemas!). But consider trying the following, being aware (of course) that it’s not fair to make a mess of the cinema’s upholstery or leave your rubbish behind if you are doing this (that’s their argument for discouraging people from taking in their own food, which is fair enough up to a point).
– Avoid the fizzy drinks and fill up a sports bottle with water or juice instead – incidentally diluted juice is better for your teeth and health in general than the full-on kind.
– Alternatively as a middle road solution, let your children choose cartons of drink with straws from a supermarket in advance of the trip.
– Take your own sweets or crisps with you, or even better, dried fruit (you can even make this in the oven yourself by slicing pineapple, apples, mango or similar and baking them overnight at a very low heat). That latter tip is for those people whose children will not be mortified by thrift in a public place, however. We don’t want children feeling they must do a consumer walk of shame at all times.
– In the past I have created little packs with a drink, small packet of Haribo sweets, and some home made popcorn for kids to enjoy at their own pace during the film.
And now for my home made popcorn recipe.
Heat about 50g of maize (popcorn kernels) in a microwave on full for 4 minutes in a Pyrex or ceramic dish with a lid on the top (use a plate if you don’t have a proper lid).
Tip into a large mixing bowl.
Heat up 50g of butter over a low heat until it is melted, then pour into a little dish (in the pictures below I am using a repurposed heat proof glass dish that came with a ready made dessert).
Let the butter stand for 30 minutes – you are basically making clarified butter here. Skim off the foam from the top, and just spoon the clear liquid over the popcorn. Leave the milk solids behind.
With your hand, toss the popcorn in the melted clarified butter, and then add a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar before tossing again.
Decant into self-sealing food bags to take with you (discreetly, please).