Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple." - Woody Guthrie

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Joining in ...

With johnnyjumpsup and mum's simply living 'what's in yours'.  This is my spice cabinet, a recent addition. A shabby chic tatty cupboard sprayed to match my kitchen which will shortly be celebrating its 1st birthday.  I hid the cupboard from my husband when I first bought it, now there's maturity for you!  I am really pleased with it because as you can see I tend to buy doubles and with everything on view this should not happen again.  Well we live in hope.

Like johnny and mum I also have kilner jars, all bought at boot fairs.  The jar holding pasta was in a reductions basket at the supermarket.  I also like to reuse old jam jars, my favourites being Tiptree because of the label and Bonne Maman because of the lids.  In the background a gratuitous shot of my cheese board, a Christmas gift. 


We had our kitchen made by a very talented carpenter, which was considerably cheaper than using the usual kitchen companies and resulted in a gorgeous end product.  I also valued being able to design around our needs and the limitations of our kitchen space.  Heaps of very practical storage has been fitted into quite a small area.  Another advantage of doing it this way is that we were able to add another cupboard in the last few weeks, which was made to our specification; including glass panels with stars.  Why do these stars make me so happy?  I am truly a child at heart.
Have a great weekend, and make sure you keep the child in you happy.

Friday, 12 June 2015

I do like freebies ...

I enjoyed Shoestring's post this morning, maybe more so because of my current major saving campaign.  I would never describe myself as frugal and anything I do is not enforced, apart from the fact that I wish I had learnt my lesson sooner that would certainly have made the financial aspects of life less painful.  I have choice and I am being careful with my choices.  Whilst I know a healthy economy is good my new mantra is 'I am not here to make everyone else rich!'

I made a supreme effort to limit non essential spend last week by;

Soaking and cooking a pack of dried chickpeas; one pot of hummus and five further bags in the freezer for future use.  Delia has a recipe for amazing chickpea soup, which is very cheap and cheerful.

Using some previously frozen chopped leeks and carrots to cook up a large pot of soup in the pressure cooker.

Eating leftover spaghetti bolognese with homemade frenchstick turned into garlic bread (both previously frozen).

Cooking up a red lentil and chicken curry for both an evening meal and lunch with leftovers in the freezer for another day.

Making a loaf of bread from out of date flour (would have thrown out previously).  It tasted great and every last piece used.

Made lunch boxes for a very (very) long journey.

Had lunch out one day (no choice being so far from home) but used Priority Moments to receive 10% off.

Saved £s through various offers which, bar a couple of £, covered the cost of eating out.

We also took advantage of free entertainment including Grayson Perry's Provincial Punk exhibition at the Turner (not too sure about his pots but I love his tapestries and the messages they contain) and the annual classic car bucket and spade run.  Imagine the petrol required to keep this thirsty beast happy.

The money saving continues with a few freebies today, including a cappuccino.  Free frothy coffee and chocolate, who can complain about that.   

All in all it has been hard work but with a little forthought great strides are being made.

Hope you all have an enjoyable weekend. 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Sharing is caring ...

A lovely work colleague kindly shared this juice recipe with me.  It is so refreshing and ensures all 'on the turn' bananas are not wasted. Just chop and freeze in a plastic container and use as required, you can do the same with the fresh pineapple.


Baby spinach leaves
Chunk fresh ginger
Chunk cucumber
Frozen banana
Frozen pineapple
Almond drink or if you prefer water
4-6 Brazil nuts or Almonds

Just whizz and enjoy.

My colleague uses Kale which tastes perfectly fine but to me baby spinach tastes superior.

Do you have any tasty juice recipes you would like to share?

Note this was prior to my current spending 'diet' because I don't think almond milk and baby spinach can be described as essentials!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Small things ...

Could there be anything nicer than a bunch of fresh flowers?  To keep costs down I tend to buy mostly in Aldi and Lidl, with the odd special purchase thrown in.   

Tittifated chocolate, another weakness.

Even though my magazine addiction is better controlled, the odd one slips into the trolley now and then.

These small 'habits' can certainly mount up in the money stakes, so I shall be going without from now on.  There will be more, including a no spend June.  This month essentials; bills, food and petrol will be joined by 'can't be avoided expenses'.  The long term plan being that future no spend months will be essentials only.

Life events coming up will need all hands to the pump and a no waste approach. It will be a challenge, it will be tedious (I will get bored, I will get grumpy) but I need to keep my eye on the long game.

Time willing, I hope to document my journey here.

So here goes; £5.50 on a Systema water bottle for a Geography field trip (my first 'can't be avoided' purchase for June).  I know there are cheaper options out there but they all leak.  This is relatively cheap when compared to others on offer - £15 for a water bottle are they mad?    I wouldn't mind but I donated a perfectly good one to charity a couple of weeks back when decluttering.  The trade off no bottled water, even the cheap option from Aldi, from now on.  You know who you are!

Wish me luck.

Are there any little treat purchases that you are willing to give up to invest in or enjoy something more worthwhile?