LBLUK 2014 – Day 5. Challenge completed! Can you donate a few £’s?

Last day today, and I am almost sad that the challenge is completed, although I am really looking forward to my bucket of tea tomorrow morning.

Started this last day off with pancakes and bacon.


Then drove down to Bexhill to DD2′s, with, amongst other things, a pizza on a baking tray intended for my lunch. Didn’t take a picture, but it was similar to this one from yesterday’s dinner, only smaller.


Didn’t have my daily ration of 2 scones until I got back home at 6pm.


Then dinner was a glorious potage of everything that was left. The last 80g of bacon, half an onion, tiny bit of carrot, the last wedge of cabbage, 80g or so of lentils, 100g of tomato and the last of the soft cheese. It made a strange looking bowl, but it tasted really good.


I’ve learnt quite a bit more about frugal eating during these last 5 days and I will be using some of what I’ve learnt in future meal plans.

One of the things I learned was that it works well to work out a basket of goods to whatever amount you want to spend, for however many people, and however many days. Making sure there is a good mix of protein, veg and carb etc. and enough calories. Then eat that up over the next x number of days, a 7 day week perhaps, safe in the knowledge that there is enough veg, calories etc no matter what combination you cook up. Like my seeming over consumption of white flour and jam. Because I had worked out my basket had plenty of veg, protein and fibre, and not much fat, white pancakes and scones with jam every day were acceptable.

It has been interesting too from a dieting standpoint. Having worked out the shopping basket and that it was 2000 calories a day, if I wanted to use this way of shopping (and the budget could be whatever I wanted it to be, £5, £10 etc) all I would have to do is eat only those things that I had bought, and nothing else, and the dieting level, whatever that is, would be achieved with very little effort on working out calories.
Goodness, that was a long sentence wasn’t it! The calorie level could be whatever you want it to be of course, 1200, 1500, 1800 etc.

It’s been an interesting few days. Hopefully you have enjoyed the adventure too, and if you feel the effort and time involved deserve reward, maybe you could donate a few pounds to ActionAid, link on the sidebar. Or here

I, ActionAid and the women and girls helped by them would all appreciate it. :)

LBLUK – Day 4, nearly there now, but I am still craving a cup of tea

Well here we are at the end of Day 4.

Breakfast was again plain pancakes with jam and a spot of soft cheese.


2 of the little scones, with more jam during the morning.


Then 2 bowls of soup with lentils, cabbage and bacon. The bacon provided a lovely saltiness and flavour.


The dinner this evening was a huge scone based pizza. I made a scone mix using 250g flour, dividing it into two, with the second half for lunch tomorrow.

One of the little pots of tomato in the fridge was shared between the two, along with half of the solitary remaining onion and a tiny bit of carrot. Then a few little bits of soft cheese, and I pinched a few slivers of bacon from tomorrow.

It was pretty tasty considering I didn’t reduce the tomato to make a sauce, or have any seasonings. So looking forward to that at lunchtime tomorrow.


Still really longing for a cup of tea and a huge mug of coffee.

At DD2′s tomorrow, and we could have gone out for a nice lunch somewhere, but I need to do Day 5 – grump :(

Having worked out the nutrition, I know there are enough vegetables, fibre etc in the basket, but it feels like I have been eating far too much white flour and jam this week. Looking forward to some variety in a few days.

LBLUK 2014 – Day 3


Obsessing about my remaining vegetables today. Weighed them three times in the morning! There don’t seem to be enough left. The plan says there are, but I sort of don’t believe it. There are 3 little pots of tomato from the tin in the fridge too, but it still doesn’t seem enough. I’m used to more.

Had these for breakfast, bit of soft cheese too this time.


Couple of these in the morning.


Forgot to take a picture of lunch. It was lentil and vegetable soup. I used all cabbage to save the onion for the next 2 days. It would have tasted a lot nicer with some salt.


Then these bacon dumplings for dinner. Oh the pleasure of some tomato :) They were really not bad at all. Could have done with some grainy mustard in the dumpling mix and a green vegetable with them, but even so.

Looking forward to scone based pizza tomorrow. Still lusting after a nice hot bucket of tea or coffee, and only 2 more days to go.

LBLUK 2014, another alternative basket, from Aldi again

And here is another suggestion for a basket from Aldi, I’m on a roll now ;)

Cost £4.67, you could use the remaining 33p for flavourings of your choice. A little oil, salt and pepper, garlic maybe

Oats 75p
Spaghetti 23p
Jam 29p
1kg carrots 59p
1kg onions 59p
Soft cheese 200g 49p
Pepperoni 120g 79p
Potato wedges, frozen, 750g 59p
Tomato purée 200g 35p

As much porridge as you want, made with water, sweetened with jam

Soup made with 150g onions, 100g carrots, sauted first, 50g spaghetti broken into small strands, 30g tom purée

Soup made with 150g onions, 100g carrots, sauted first, 50g spaghetti broken into small strands, 20g pepperoni

150g Potato wedges, 100g grated carrot salad with a little fine chopped onion. Stir in 20g pepperoni and 20g soft cheese

150g Potato wedges, 100g grated carrot salad with a little fine chopped onion. Stir in 20g pepperoni and 20g soft cheese

200g potato wedges, 100g grated carrot, stir through 30g soft cheese

100g spaghetti, make a sauce by stirring through 50g soft cheese, 2 tblsp tom purée, serve with 100g grated carrot

100g spaghetti, 20g pepperoni, 150g slow cooked onions, 100g slow cooked carrots

100g spaghetti, make a sauce by stirring through 50g soft cheese, 2 tblsp tom purée, serve with 100g grated carrot

100g spaghetti, 20g pepperoni, 100g slow cooked onions, 100g slow cooked carrots. Stir 30g soft cheese through the veg

200g Potato wedges, 20g pepperoni, 100g roasted carrots and 100g onions

Porridge and jam

LBLUK, an alternative £5 basket, from Aldi

Having researched a basket of food with just £5 available at the checkout, I am sort of attuned to it now and I have come up with 2 more, both from Aldi. This is the first one.

I wondered if perhaps, other than LBL’ers, it might be useful for people to shop with.

What do you think, useful? Or not?

Aldi £5.00
Loaf, 22 slices, 45p
Flour 1.5kg 45p
Jam 29p
10 eggs £1.15
Brie 200g, 99p
Perfect for Baking 250g 49p
1kg carrots 59p
1kg onions 59p

2 toast, 2 eggs
Pancakes, jam
2 toast, 25g Brie, 1 egg
Pancakes, jam
2 toast, 25g Brie, 1 egg

2 toast, 2 eggs, on toast or as sandwich
3 scones, 50g Brie
2 toast, 2 eggs, on toast or as sandwich
3 scones, 50g Brie
Soup of 200g carrots, 200g onions, dumplings. To make the dumplings, make a dough using flour and water and break off walnut sized pieces. Simmer them either in the soup, or in water for about 10 minutes.

100g flatbread and 1 of the below
Flatbread is flour and water, mixed to a soft dough. Leave for at least two hours, so make first thing and leave covered until you want it. Then roll it out to about 0.5cm and dry fry in a pan, or cook under a hot grill, turning when the first side is flecked with brown. Spread with a tiny bit of spread if you like.
Or make pasta with the flour, maybe using 1 of the eggs. 50g flour a serving, mix to a soft dough with water. Knead a little and roll out thinly, to the thickness of a credit card. Cut into strips, small strips or squares and simmer for just a couple of minutes in boiling water. Can be kept in the fridge for a few days

1 egg, 50g Brie, 100g onion
200g onion, caramelised, with 200g carrots, grated and sauted
Roast 200g onions, 200g carrots
1 egg, 50g Brie, 100g onion
200g onion, caramelised, with 200g carrots, grated and sauted

If using pasta, do a Carbonara type dish on the days using egg, Brie and onion

Scones and jam, 250g flour, 100g spread
Pancakes and jam
Toast and jam

For the pancakes, mix 50-100g flour depending on how hungry you are, to a batter with water. Heat a little spread in a frying pan and drop in spoonfuls of batter. Cook until the top is firm, then flip over and do the other side.

LBLUK 2014 – day 2, I really want a cup of tea!

Day 2 of the Live Below The Line challenge and I am really missing hot drinks. I usually have a bucket of tea as soon as I get up, closely followed by a bucket of coffee, all de-caff.

Had plain pancakes with jam this morning for breakfast. A very nice start to the day.


Had a couple of these (scones and jam) during breaks in the morning.


Soup with vegetables, bacon, and some of yesterday’s leftover lentil dumplings at lunch time. A tasty dish.


And this substantial dinner. I was glad it was substantial as I have been working hard in the garden and was very hungry. I made a large flatbread, and topped it with some sauted veg in a bit of soft cheese, and the last of the lentil dumplings leftover from yesterday. It was very tasty and filling.


Have drunk loads of water again today. Bit tired of lentils today, so glad I have bacon planned for tomorrow.

Not a bad day, 3 more to go

LBLUK 2014 – day one, successes and failures

ShoppingWell, if I really did only have £5 to spend for the next 5 days, I would have been in trouble today.

I had priced my list using mySupermarket at Asda, so off I went to the Asda in Hailsham.

First hurdle was getting the quantities of carrots and onions I needed – there weren’t any scales! So I ended up skipping to and fro between the veggies and the self service tills, which showed me the weight. The shelf filling staff and the lady at the tills were intriqued as to what I was doing and we had a lovely chat. They wanted to know all about LBL and what I was doing for it.

Having done that, and got most of the other items on my list, I searched in vain for value flour, value jam, cooking bacon and lentils. They had the smallest selection of lentils I have ever seen in a supermarket. So next step was going up the road to a large Tesco, they’ll have them I thought.

Got some flour, hooray. Found some jam too, hooray again. Got some lentils that cost 9p more than budget. Cooking bacon was still an endangered species and nowhere to be seen.

So off back to Heathfield I went and into Sainsbury, where I finally got the bacon. Only trouble is tho, the blighters had put it up to £1.10. No choice, no rummaging amongst the variably priced packets, they were all £1.10, although they weighed 670g

So if I really did have just the budgeted 80p for the bacon, I would have had to have gone without. Plus of course,there is no way I would have been able to drive to Hailsham, 9 miles away. And the whole thing took a couple of hours too.

So to recap, this is what I got
Tin tomatoes, 31p
Value soft cheese 61p
180g carrots 16p
White cabbage 42p
415g onions 31p
Packet spread 55p

Strawberry jam, 29p
Split lentils, 500g £1.09
Bag self raising flour 45p

670g bacon £1.10, removed the extra 170g, and then another 5g to give me 490g to keep within £5

Total of £4.99


Breakfast was a pancake of flour and mixed veg. Made one large one instead of the planned small ones. It was surprisingly tasty considering I don’t have any salt or any other seasonings.


Lunch was soup made with lentils and veg. Added a little too much water, but made two bowls full. So had one, and a couple of these

I made a batch of 12 small scones to have with jam, two a day and a couple of spares. I had three today and popped the rest in the freezer for the remaining days. They were seriously good.
Then this evening I had planned some lentil dumplings with a sauce of tomatoes, onion and cabbage. Made up the dumplings and completely forgot and added the sauce ingredients too. Steamed them and they were a little bland, would have been tastier with the sauce. Had the 2nd bowl of soup first, and then three of the dumplings. There are loads left, so I may have those tomorrow with some sauce, using ingredients that I would have used for something else.

Have had plenty to eat, with leftovers too. Drunk only water today, and will do until the end. Would LOVE a cup of tea!

All in all, not a bad first day

Living Below The Line – 2014

Well, I made the decision to do it this year. So the question now is, when. Looking at my crowded diary, the only time I can get 5 consecutive days where I can do it start TOMORROW!  Eek!

It hardly seems fair as the whole ethos of this site is to live on £1 a day, every day. So to make it more of a challenge, I set some rules.

  • I can only spend the allowance for 1 person, no rolling up more than 1 to be able to buy more variety.
  • I can only buy whole packages of things, no spoon of this or drizzle of that.
  • It must be reasonably healthy, no living on cheap stodge.
  • No getting produce or herbs free from the garden, foraged, or from friends.
  • No eating meals at friends houses either
  • No dipping in the store cupboard to help with flavourings

I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I did and this is what I’ve come up with. All priced using mySupermarket at Asda

tin chopped tomatoes 31p
900g white cabbage 45p
220g carrots 20p
460g onions 34p
bag sr flour 45p
jar strawberry jam 29p
500g red lentils £1
500g cooking bacon 81p
Best for Baking spread 250g 55p
value soft cheese 250g 61p
Total £5.01

What would you do with that?

I have worked out a menu plan that sounds workable
the pancakes are the ones like these here, like drop scones, not flat, crepe type ones

Day 1
Breakfast breakfast pancakes with 100g mixed veg in, 50g flour, 80g veg
Lunch 100g lentils and 200g veg soup
Dinner flour and 100g lentil dumplings, 100g Toms as sauce, whizzed with 100g veg

Day 2
Breakfast plain breakfast pancakes and jam
Lunch 200g mixed veg soup with dumplings and 100g bacon
Dinner flour and 100g lentil flatbread, 150g veg mixed into 30g soft cheese

Day 3
Breakfast plain breakfast pancakes with 100g mixed veg in, 30g soft cheese
Lunch 100g lentil and 200g veg soup
Dinner dumplings stuffed with 100g bacon, 100g tom sauce poured over

Day 4
Breakfast plain breakfast pancakes and jam
Lunch 200g mixed veg soup with dumplings and 100g bacon
Dinner scone based pizza, 100g of toms as sauce, 100g mixed veg and 30g soft cheese on top

Day 5
Breakfast plain breakfast pancakes and 100g bacon
Lunch leftover scone pizza
Dinner stew of 100g bacon, 200g veg, last 100g of toms, 30g soft cheese

And for hungry moments
Plain scone, jam, soft cheese 130g available
Nan and spread
Flat bread

I may roast some of the onions and carrots for extra flavour

I pushed it through my nutrition spreadsheet and it came out pretty good
10,186 calories in total, so just over 2000 a day
9.95 portions of veg a day, including the red lentils
12% protein – govt recommendation is 10-35%
18.73% fat – govt recommendation is 20-35%
68.41% carb – govt recommendation is 45-65%
22g fibre a day – govt recommendation – not sure, 25g for me I think

So a little carb heavy, but very good on the vegetable front, not bad on protein and low fat

It’s going to be a challenge sticking to the £5! I’ll let you know how I get on. I shall have to drive to Asda in Eastbourne tomorrow to pick up my supplies. Not a very efficient thing I know, and of course, if I really needed to live on £1 a day, it isn’t something I could do, I wouldn’t have that option.

I have had a look at the website and decided on ActionAid as the charity I will raise funds for. I shall be asking my WI friends to contribute, and anyone else I think I can get £1 or 2 from!

ActionAid is a child and community development charity based in the UK to help the world’s poorest people. This appeals to me as a worthwhile cause and they are doing some very good work.

Living Below the Line is a challenge for every person living in poverty. But, for women and girls it’s even harder.  That’s why ActionAid works with the most vulnerable women and girls, supporting them to give their families a better future.
Between 26 March and 25 June every penny we raise through the ActionAid Live Below the Line challenge will be matched by the UK government as part of our She Can appeal, meaning you can double the difference you make to women and girls living in poverty. – See more at:

I will be putting a Donate button on here in case anyone would like to donate to ActionAid via the Live Below the Line challenge. The link is Here. I  tried to make the link on the sidebar clickable, but haven’t worked out how to do it yet!

Quilts. Old, new and unmade

Inspired by the videos on Frugal Queens blog on quilt making, I have been reviewing things.

When I trained to be a computer programmer, I had to stay in Guildford during the week for six months, only coming home at weekends. Staying at a B&B, I needed something to do in the evening, other than the homework.

One of the things I did was to start a hexagon quilt. I painstakingly tacked in paper liners and hand sewed all the hexagons together for a king sized quilt.
Whole quilt

I have never got to grips with wadding and backing, so the project has remained unfinished ever since. That was at least 35 years ago!

Every single coloured patch was made from the dresses outgrown by my daughters, so has lots of memories.
Remember these girls?


Or these?

Or how about these edging ones?


I have sent off for some fixing spray to stick the backing, wadding and top together, and some 120 x 120 wadding. The wadding has a 3 week delivery delay on it as after I had ordered it they sent an email saying they had sold out. But the spray should be here soon, which means I can get on with this next one.


Quite a few years ago, my Mum made up some beautiful embroidered squares and strips for a king sized quilt. She sewed some of it together, but really doesn’t like that part, so I now have it to finish off.


I have nearly done the top now and am waiting for the spray to help with the backing process.






It’s going to look really lovely when it’s done. I may use it as a snuggle up on the sofa so more people can admire it.

And finally, I am gathering fabric to make a purple and cream one for DD2 by June 2015 when she gets married (purple being her theme colour). I have a few things sorted out from my stash, but need quite a bit more. So I shall be off shortly to boot fairs to look out suitable fabric.

Busy, busy, busy!

Coffee versus keeping body and soul together

As I write this, I am watching a programme on tv about coffee. They have just said that the average spend on coffee is £450 a year. I think that bears repeating – £450 a year.

That is an extraordinary amount of money spent on a totally optional product. It doesn’t even sound that many when you work out that it is about 3 coffees a week, so not even one every day. Not even one every work day.

If our average person is in the habit of buying a coffee two or three times a week, using this self same amount of money, they could feed themselves. Seven days a week. Three times a day. Plus snacks. And have £85 left over to spend on something else. Maybe store cupboard items, a new outfit, meals out, takeaways or paying down debt.

I knew this stuff anyway, but my goodness, it has really brought home to me the power of being aware of our discretionary spending and just how much difference spending on this kind of thing, or not, can make to our lives.

And if you don’t need to budget tightly. How about a week in the sun against a coffee two or three times a week. That washing machine you need, a computer, lots of clothes, meals out, pay off debt.

So buy a coffee, or don’t buy a coffee. But please, please be aware of just how much it is costing, in all ways.