We woke up this morning to snow – just a sprinkling, and so very pretty – like icing sugar had been sifted onto our lawn, but just enough for me to change my plans and go for our weekly shop at the supermarket in town sooner rather than later. I had my menus already planned for the week and the shopping list written so we decided to get dressed and go. We had a few errands to do whilst in and around the town centre and this helps to conserve the petrol.
Firstly, we stopped at the African Relief Charity to offload an old mobile, that needs unlocking, and my old camera. Both items still had all their charging leads and instruction books and they have a guy who works there who puts everything back to working order and can unlock the phone.
Then on to the Welcome Centre at the Methodist Mission Church in town. They do a good job looking after the homeless people – providing warm drinks and food for those on the streets and today they were particularly busy as you might expect with this cold weather. We dropped off two sleeping bags and a quilt. We have no need of either now we have two spare bedrooms available (complete with bedding) for any guests that might stay but I will be very pleased if someone can make use of them and it helps me to reduce our ‘stuff’ a little bit more.
After buying a large pack of toilet rolls (we were down to the very last one) and kitchen roll from Aldi (just to try them for a while as they are much cheaper than Sainsbury’s) …and a small bunch of yellow tulips to brighten my kitchen for £1.89…we headed for the town centre to buy a few bits and pieces from the whole food store; organic brown Basmati rice, a box of Spelt flakes to mix with my muesli and a bottle of Almond oil. I use pure Almond oil as a cleanser at night – you massage a little into your face and then wipe off with a damp cotton wool pad. It really gets rid of any grime that collects on your skin over the course of the day and make up too. Olive oil works just as well.
Then a walk round to Boots to take advantage of the 3 for 2 offer on the cotton wool face pads I use – a saving of £1.99. Both the Kleenex man-sized handy packs of 4 and Ecover washing up liquid on my list were also on offer in Sainsbury’s so that completed my restocking of toiletries /cleaners and paper products for a while.
We found plenty of offers at Sainsbury’s this week so we generally take advantage of them and buy more than one to last a while – hopefully until they are on offer again and if buying multipes takes us over the weekly budget then I am quite relaxed about it as I am sure it is beneficial in the long run. This week I found Hillfarm cold pressed rapeseed oil (comes in a glass bottle which is a big plus point), red lentils, milled Flaxseeds, Lurpack butter and the Alara brand of organic muesli that I like all on offer. The oil for instance was £1.50 cheaper which is a huge reduction – I bought two bottles but may even go back for another. I also found two yellow sticker foods – a double pack of Cibatta bread for £0.49p (usually £1.80) and a pack of blueberries with 50% extra for £1.34.
Buying our shopping when on offer is a real money saver for us. I was expecting a larger bill at Sainsbury’s today as it was a larger shop than usual this week mainly because we received our monthly pension payment last Friday and our cupboards and fridge had run very low on food.
I do enjoy making meals in the winter months. It is the season for plenty of nut roasts, pies, lentils and root vegetables. This week’s meal plan is to use up some cashew and walnuts from Christmas in a nut roast. It isn’t exactly a new recipe but one I haven’t made for ages and believe me I have a lot. I will be trying out a Mushroom roast too from a recipe I have had for a long time but not yet tried. I might switch the breadcrumbs for brown rice to cut down on the wheat. I do like to avoid having too many wheat based products in a day and often opt for other grains like spelt or quinoa. I will also be making ‘green’ soup and vegetable soup, carrot and leek pasties and a shepherds pie served with fresh cabbage and roast parsnips.
I am going to add a drop down on my menu bar for some of the recipes I make – this may take me a while to get it all sorted so bear with me. I am so sorry Dar that you have waited so long for the Stroganoff!
Yesterday was a mixture of cheap and dear as far as expenses are concerned. It is a year since I bought ‘Hetty’ my new car – so it was the annual service which keeps it in warranty and cost us £119 but this comes out of our bill account where we save a twelfth of our yearly bill costs each month so there is plenty of money in the account to cover this.
As the garage was close to the M1 we dropped off my car for the day and went on to visit Ikea in Sheffield to look further at cabinets for our new pantry. We took our usual picnic of sandwiches and some mushroom soup and a flask of hot chocolate. We used our Family card in Ikea to claim a further free hot drink each so all we spent was £1.25 on a portion of chips to keep us going until we could eat our picnic. So a cheap day in other respects.
After much measuring and debating I think we now know exactly how we will fit out the pantry using a mix of Ikea’s basic kitchen cabinets and some shelving. However, there is always a catch… before we can do the pantry we really need to rearrange the garage so that we can put a cupboard in there to house both the vacuum cleaner and the coats we use for working outdoors. Of course before we can rearrange we need to have a sort out and I expect we will find a lot of items that can go to charity, or give away to new homes but hopefully not to landfill.
Tonight I watched the documentary program with Kate Humble on BBC 4 about the Raute people who are the very last of the nomadic community in Nepal. They have so few possessions that they can move on to a new site miles away at a moments notice carrying them on their backs wrapped in cloths or in baskets.
As I look around at our possessions – so many fill this house we would never carry ours anywhere and it has given me that overwhelming feeling of discomfort.