Monday, 24 August 2015

Thrifty Living

I must apologise for my absence - I can't really believe it has been three weeks since I last blogged. My health has not been good and I haven't felt like writing about anything or taking photos - very unusual for me, I know. 

Unfortunately I had to discontinue my diet as I had such a bad reaction to all the salad and so-called healthy food I was eating, my IBS went completely crazy. on top of that I got a stomach virus which put me in bed for two days last weekend :( Not a great use of time, which is so precious these days. So I am back to my usual eating regime for the time being. In the meantime, I have arranged to have some private intolerance/allergy testing done to identify what foods and drinks upset me. I am hoping the result of the tests will make a big difference to my health going forward.

This week for us has been all about thrifty living, and surviving on less money. I am now into my second month of the new job so have more of a handle on what my disposable income is after the mortgage has been paid and all the bills taken into account. There isn't a lot left over, but there is scope for us to live very comfortably if we make some small changes and be more mindful about what we buy, what we cook, etc.

I have spent the weekend making batches of soup: mixed vegetable - using marrows from the allotment - lentil and bacon, and tomato with roasted red pepper and garlic. On top of that I also made a stew in the slow cooker using random parcels of meat from the freezer and vegetables left over in the fridge. That translated into three meals for us.

A freezer full of soups !

Homemade stew, frozen spinach from the allotment, and other odds and ends packaged up and ready for meals

This morning I was lucky enough to pick up some more reduced items from Asda - four chicken breasts for £2.36 ($3.72) and a pack of turkey mince for £1.72 ($2.71) which I will make into a Shepherds Pie. I'll be portioning those up and putting them in the freezer soon. 

Unfortunately our biggest expense is alcohol, as we both enjoy a glass or two of wine. Even when we buy cheaper alcohol from Aldi or whenever it's on offer at the main grocery stores, it is still our main expense. I'm not sure how we can reduce that, apart from reducing our drinking :(

I see from fellow bloggers, there are a lot of you out there who are also following the same course as us - trying to live simply and save as much money as possible on groceries, clothes, petrol etc. I welcome all tips and suggestions others have about living frugally but well.

My next post probably won't be too far away. I have bought some clothing bargains on Ebay which, if they are a success, I will be sharing with you :)

Fiona x

Monday, 3 August 2015

A Visit to the Allotments and a Walk on the Moors



Beautiful dahlias ... I love this colour

Roseberry Topping in the distance. It always reminds me of the Grinch's mountain, the way it curves over at the top !

Lucy on the horizon

'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' :)

Today was an active day, what with a trip to the allotments this morning (the girls and I walked up there) and a walk on the Moors near Osmotherley this afternoon. Which is good. Because I realised rather depressingly last night that after being thrown into the menopause at the tender age of 35 I am now suffering from what is unkindly referred to as "middle aged spread" at the age of only 
37 :( I've put on 14 pounds since my operation two years ago, and it is all concentrated around my middle and boobs. I've tried eating more healthily and doing more exercise but the weight has continued to increase. 

Having read a lot of testimonials from other menopausal women, I see that this is par for the course. Unless, of course, you are blessed with a high metabolism and a thyroid with a real zest for life. Apparently, us menopausal women should eat approximately 200 less calories a day than we did before the menopause. 200 calories ! Tell that to my stomach which wants to consume exactly what it was having two years ago with no complaints.

But I need to do something. I feel I am becoming, in the words of Alexander McCall Smith, "traditionally built". So I have decided to reduce my portions, eat only homemade, healthy food and start a health diary again where I can record exactly what I am eating and drinking every day, how much exercise I am doing, and how my health is doing generally. I'm not sure I'll be able to lose any weight but I guess it should improve my overall health even if I can't reduce my dress size. Wish me luck, dear readers. I am a foodie, so this is going to be tough.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sunday Snaps

It was quite chilly this morning in the garden, but Whiskers was snug ...

And so was Lucy !

Our tomato plants are doing well, we just have to wait patiently for the fruit to ripen ...

Even our little grape vine is doing well !

The courgettes are nearly ready

This Hebe is one of my favourites

I love these daisies but I don't know what they're called...

The Snapdragons are new to our garden

Today I bought these wonderful enamlelware storage containers from the charity shop ... £5.00 for the two !

Now we just have to figure out what to store in them ... !