Treat time

Aug 11, 2016 | 15 comments


When it’s treat time and you want to treat yourself, what do you do? And if it involves cash, what do you tend to spend it on? We spend a lot on eating out. We have several pubs we like to go to to have lunch, after a walk generally. Mike likes his Indians, either in or takeaway. And I spend on fancy groceries when the feeling takes me. In the ever ongoing effort to get my step count up, I walked down to Heathfield today to meet a friend for coffee. I’ve done almost 12,000 steps so far today (proud face).

mystery vegetables

When I was last in the town, I noticed some extra nobbly vegetables in the greengrocer and asked what they were as they didn’t have a label. Sweet potatoes she said. Hmm, I doubt that thinks I, but bought two anyway. They were a very bright purple inside and after a bit of googling, I confirmed what I thought. They are purple yam. Sweet potatoes don’t come in purple at all. We have tried some as chips and some as mash. I preferred the mash to the chips, sweet potatoes make nicer chips. The greengrocer is selling them at the same price as sweet potatoes and I popped in today to get another couple. Purple yam I hope they keep selling them, as purple portions are hard to get and there are only so many beetroot and raisins one person can eat. On the long walk homeward bound, I was musing about other ways to use them. They bleed purple, much like beetroot, so anything they are added to will be stained purple, which limits it a little I think. I would like them used as the potato in a potato salad I think, they would work well in a dauphinoise, on their own tho because of staining. Hmm, wonder what they would be like treated as jackets, the skin doesn’t look very appealing.

fancy tomatoes

Fancy tomatoes

Whilst I was in the greengrocer getting the yam, I noticed they were selling some mixed colour tomatoes. They looked gorgeous and I thought I would treat us to some. Ridiculously expensive mind. So tonight I’ll be slicing them and drizzling over some of my best olive oil, fresh ground salt and black pepper and adorning them with a sprig of basil from the greenhouse. The basil is growing away apace again after its last haircut, so it’ll be time for some more pesto soon. There are, ostensibly, tomatoes in the greenhouse too. Nine plants have 5 or 6 fruits between them, rubbish. I also bought a fennel bulb, so I’ll shave that thinly on the mandolin and mix it with the sliced tomatoes. The Discovery apples are ready, so we’ll have one of those each. And I bought a bunch of watercress too.

eye wateringly expensive bread and cheese

I trekked back up the high street and into the deli. I love it in there, but flipping heck you have to take out a mortgage to buy anything! I wanted some nice cheese to go with the tomatoes. I tasted a couple and made my selection and got 200g, and then was tempted by a lovely loaf to go with everything else. My goodness, I couldn’t begin to tell you how much just those two things were. So my foodie treat today is fancy tomato salad, with fennel, some watercress, a lovely local cheese, fresh picked apple and a wonderful loaf. We’ll be having it for dinner this evening.

treat money

I’m happy to spend my treat money on things like this. Another thing I do occasionally is have a massage. One of those ones where they do thumb handstands on your knotty shoulders, not a gently gently one. There is a woman at the gym who has started doing them in their treatment room. She is an ex dancer and my goodness, does she ever have strong hands. Wonderful.


Mike loves a good Eccles cake, so I popped into Sainsbury and got some puff pastry. I’ll use it, but when I got home and looked at the ingredients, I thought I’d make some next time and keep a block in the freezer, just like I would if I’d bought a block. It isn’t a difficult process making it, but you do need a lot of time, so one for a lazy weekend day perhaps. Or to spread over an evening. This is the ingredients list British fortified wheat flour (wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, thiamin), water, Palm fat, vegetable oils (palm oil, rapeseed oil), salt, emulsifier: mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids; concentrated lemon juice, preservative: sorbate; acidity regulator: citric acid. Mmm, appetising! As the Sainsbury branch in Heathfield is quite small, there wasn’t an all butter one available.

treats without money

So if I didn’t want to spend on a treaty thing, I might spend an entire afternoon lolling and reading a book. In a way, going to the gym is treating myself, it is certainly me time. Once I’ve paid the monthly subs, I can go as often as I like. I like to take down one of my many cook books and spend time going through it, making a note of any recipes I want to try; seeing if I can spot something that could be frugalised as well. I like to potter in the kitchen, trying things, experimenting, thinking up nice things to eat. I like to blah on on here, chatting away to you, telling you about my latest experiment or brainwave. I love having the time to meet up with different friends for a chinwag. We don’t talk about anything in particular. Sometimes it can be trivial chat, sometimes we set the world to rights, and sometimes we discuss something interesting and absorbing. What do you do to treat yourself?  Do share.



  1. New England Flybaby

    @Kevin – You may want to check out the recipes on ALL of her recipes are vegan, and SOME of them are gluten-free, or with adaptations listed for gluten-free diets.

    I think she did a gluten-free cupcake recipe, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on her blog, so I’m not positive. Good Luck!

  2. Lesley

    I tried roasting the yams and they were extremely good! We had them with some chicken and home made pesto, was very yum!
    A lot of our discretionary spending is on eating out and I’m trying to get the travel bit up as well
    Roll on March 2017, that will be here before you know it and won’t it feel good to be able to keep all your money. Well, there’s bills and stuff, but you know what I mean

  3. Mina @ Thrift Cottage UK

    I love nothing more than down time. A glass of wine, a clean house, feet up with a good book and I’m in heaven. The best part is, our library is within walking distance, so heaven in achievable for the price of some cheap plonk!

    I used to love the gym too, but until we are completely debt free (estimated to be March 2017 – wooh!) all the frilly bits of our budget were cut completely. Now it’s a run/walk and a steaming bath!

    When we do have a bit of cash we like to eat or travel. Clothes and gadgets interest me little, but memories made never fade or go out of date.

    For those yams, I would cut them into chunks, drizzle with olive oil and roast with garlic and herbs and perhaps some peppers and courgettes, then top with a fillet of fish.

  4. Lesley

    Perhaps I’ll try and come up with a frugal gluten free cake. I think I’m right in saying 1% of people are coeliac,so there are lots of people in the same boat

  5. Kevin

    For me it’s cake.
    I have to follow a strictly gluten free diet, so cake is rare and exotic….and expensive.
    The last cake I had was just a few weeks ago, I bought a deliciously indulgent chocolate cake covered with choc fudge. It was £4 for about a 6″ cake, not cheap, but my o my, it was tasty!
    Before that was some months back when sister Leigh made a very scrummy G/F sponge cake covered in soya cream and mixed berries, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
    Before that, it was ages, (or just seems it) since cake passed my lips.
    No excuses, I should make my own cake, but I never ever get around to it. With such a reward at the end perhaps I should!

  6. Lesley

    Libraries are great, I too use the local one all the time

  7. Lesley

    I’m going to have to try roasting them now

  8. Lesley

    Oh right! So they might be sweet potatoes after all. I googled them too!
    I’ll look up kumara now, thanks

  9. saraband

    I love books too but these days am very sparing about what I buy (partly because of limited storage space). Fortunately I live 10 minutes walk from a good library and, being over “a certain age”, can reserve them free of charge. I’ve been getting books from the library since I could read at age 4 and consider them one of our best public services.

  10. Vera

    That looks like a kumara! It’s a sweet potato from new zealand. SOOO nice with a roast!

  11. Nikky

    They look like NZ kumara (a type of sweet potato) to me. We have purple, orange and red varieties. The skins aren’t nice to eat at all. They’re great roasted, chipped or as mash (mix half and half with ordinary potatoes), or you can do yummy soups, stews and curries with them.

  12. Lesley

    Charity shops are great for books, I love to scan and see what they have

  13. Lesley

    Fill your boots Sooze, it will be interesting to see what you do with it.
    I have had a couple of Indian head massages, they’re wonderful aren’t they

  14. smallholderwannabe

    Books are my treat but I usually find them in the charity shops.

  15. Sooze

    Ooh this is a really good post Lesley, I think I might do a similar one, if that’s alright with you. I never knew purple yams existed, must have a look out for them. I also would love an artisan loaf and some lovely cheese as a treat. When we lived in the Midlands and were both working, I used to have an Indian Head Massage once a month, it was so incredibly relaxing….I do miss that.

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