Back to Basics: A Life Reset, A Life with Less Crap.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE so many aspects of living a modern life, we are mostly all VERY lucky and despite my fascination with yesteryear I’m happy and excited to be living in 2018. HOWEVER, the more I study the past and compare it to the future, there are areas in our modern lives that perhaps are suffering because of ease of accessibility a plethora of convenience food and goddamm it, advertising and portrayal through the media telling us what makes us normal and happy (I’m talking health and finance here).

Instead of following the majority, I think it’s just fine and dandy to look at life a little differently and have goals and aspirations that don’t necessarily fit into society. A little non-conformity is good…

There are two main things that need resetting in my life right now and I’m going to turn to yesteryear to achieve them…

1) Cure my obesity and become more active and stronger.
2) Save money every single month and create a safety net, an emergency fund of 3-6 months income by only buying essentials.

What’s non-conformist about this? Well they’ll be NO modern latest diet guru ‘must-do’ suggestions such as Low Carb, Paleo, Ketogenic, High Protein, Super-Foods, Juicing, Fasting etc. I’m sure all of these have aspects that are useful and do work but I’d rather just eat lots of fresh veggies, enjoy some wholefoods carbs, get my protein from old-fashioned pulses and beans and eat my fruit and greens.

As for saving money… They’ll be no get rich quick schemes but rather following the example of our parents/grandparents and buy less crap, mend and make do, only buy things that you have saved up for, no credit and always put some money away and save for a rainy day. I feel many young people especially, in this day and age are so pressurized into living up to what is portrayed in the media as ‘normal’ they really struggle financially (and yet I’ve met many young people who absolutely put me to shame and have really got their lives together!!!!).

STRUGGLING
The two things for me that I’ve always struggled with are my obesity and finances (I’m single, one full time income and my past has included some very tough times).

I’m NOT the sort of person that wastes money, expensive things simply don’t impress me (except maybe a fancy Kitchen Aid food mixer!!!). That’s not to say I wouldn’t love a beautiful little cottage in the countryside or a newer car one day but generally, on a day to day basis I am very happy with simplicity and frugality.

But the latter part of 2017 I made some major changes in my life to make things a little easier financially. I moved just two miles from my workplace (which has saved about 85 miles, 2.5 hours and £12 a day in commuting time and costs) and the place I rented out, while being a bit rough around the edges, has saved me £125 in rent every month too!

All in all, I’m about £350 better off per month and if nothing breaks down, if no big unexpected bills come in or my car breaks down, I can try and save most of this! For the first time in my life, IF I make sacrifices and remain frugal, I can theoretically save money and I’ve started to put this into practice.

PLANS FOR 2018.

So specifically my plans for 2018 are

a) To lose 60 lbs in weight (I’ll weigh in tomorrow) by eating simply and sensibly, increasing my walking and daily activity (those wartime recipes will help!)
b) Save at least £3000 in regular savings (as am emergency fund) and £1000 in Christmas Club savings (which is enough to fund all Christmas and birthday gifts throughout the year for my three grown up kids and both sets of grandparents AND pay for all our celebration food)

Throughout the year I’m going to focus on not only simple recipes from the wartime era during rationing but also the modern costs of eating simply and healthily.

In addition I am going to post my monthly household expenditure budget so you can see how and if I am able to cut costs, how much I can save, what sacrifices have to be made to save money on one income. I LOVE reading other peoples blog posts on budgeting and I think this will personally hold me accountable and keep me on the straight and narrow.

There will be things I absolutely will not compromise on to save pennies and that will be my weekly organic vegetable box from www.riverford.co.uk – to me this gives me joy and ensures I have a good supply of healthy food waiting for me in the house.

I hope you’ll join with me and we can work together on this and support each other.

Life is often a struggle. In many ways I am ashamed of being almost 52 with no real emergency fund, no contingency plan, and for only just getting by in life in my past. But then I look back and realize all I could really do was strive to get by and just do the best I could.

I want to change this now. I want 2018 to be the year I begin to FINALLY feel I am in control of my destiny and feel a sense of achievement.

Lets do this……

C xxxxxxxxxxx

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National UpCycling Week

I saw a competition on Gumtree so submitted my dresser just for the hell of it!

I’ve always wanted a painted dresser but like most of us, just don’t have a spare few hundred pounds to just go and buy one when there are priorities like food, electric and bills!

To cut a long story short last year I found a set of shelves (on Gumtree) that had been used as a bookcase in the child’s bedroom and bought those and shortly after I also bought a very beaten up chest of drawers. They fit perfectly together and looked like a dresser so I also bought a small pot of chalk paint and just went for it!

In total the whole project cost me less than £50 and I now have something unique with a story to tell. I’d never part with it!

Would love to hear if anyone has also upcycled something! It’s great to think we are making use of old objects that people may throw away and are giving them a new lease of life!

Carolyn xxx

Moving: We are in!

We finally made it up North to South Yorkshire! Very happy but really shattered!

There are lots of boxes to unpack, beds to be assembled, decorating to be thought out, curtain poles & curtains to be purchased, handles to mend and not least a few more car loads of belongings from our old house in Nottingham to bring up (and a few days scrubbing our old home before we hand it back). BUT the main thing is we are IN!

Already, despite the worry now of being broke with all the expense of moving and paying double rent for a while, I can feel the fog lifting and feel much happier.

I’m sitting here at a desk in my bedroom, typing this, over looking some allotments and hills and appreciating how I can see some grass and trees and that there is a public footpath up that hill and for miles and miles through fields of wheat and this is making me smile.

Today I’ve baked a granary loaf with my new secondhand bread making machine I purchased the other day from someone on my street, unpacked several more boxes and given myself a computer desk with a view. Am so excited about finally having my own private desk with a view and intend to spend a lot of time here!

Well the lawn beckons! I’m not sure whether I’ll have time to create a victory garden this year but I do have some string beans in (from a friend at work) so at least it’s a start!

LOTS OF LOVE

C XXX


June Update – At the Houses of Parliament and nearly time to move!

If there is one thing I am desperate for, it’s time.

At the moment I am staying 4 or 5 nights a week on an airbed (with no furniture and no WI-FI or TV) in our new rental house (just 2 miles from work). It is convenient, saves time and money and I’m so knackered that I’m in bed most nights for 8 pm! Every weekend is spent back in Nottingham frantically packing, cleaning and painting in preparation for our forthcoming house move. By June 30th all should be handed back over and our new home should have furniture in it although my dining table will have to live under my bed (once I’ve taken the legs off of course) as there is simply not enough room for it.

I’m hoping by the end of July everything will have settled down into some sort of normality and routine so I can once again focus on eating healthier (10 lbs on since the Marathon!) and start re-creating more wartime recipes. I’m seriously missing my stepping back in time (culinary of course) – it feels like part of who I am has gone missing.

In addition to getting back on track with recipes and weight loss I have exams to study for in December (Certificate in HR – Level 3) and an awful lot of catching up to do regarding that too! I’m still working on building a complete vintage recipe/event/shopping phone app (which will include every single wartime recipe I have recreated with photos) as well as a directory of all vintage tearooms in the UK, and vintage clothing shops, vintage events, vintage everything really….. it’s a huge undertaking and very time consuming but what I’ve learned in life is you have to put the effort in and be jolly patient and passionate about something and willing to persevere for anything to be remotely successful.

One exciting thing happened recently, I got to go to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London on Election night for a lovely Summer Dinner! It was through work ( www.pmsdiecasting.co.uk ) and had a wonderful time! The buildings were absolutely stunning! What an experience!

Take care all, can’t wait to be back online properly and have time to take care of the blog again.

Lots of love

C xxxxxxxxx

Update – March 2017

Am so sorry for the lack of updates and posts on my blog. I try and keep my Instagram updated though as it’s quick but my life at the moment (like many of you I’m sure) doesn’t have enough hours in the day. Am always on catch up and never quite catching up enough!!!

I hope everyone is well! Spring is in the air and it’s bringing with it feelings of a new beginning and hope for the future. A lot has changed here. My eldest daughter now works with me so we both commute every day. She’s doing really well! My youngest daughter is about to sit her A level finals at college and has been accepted into Reading Uni to do her Bachelor of Arts (she wants to be an English teacher). I’m struggling with my training to do the London Marathon mostly with some hip pain and my ongoing Plantar Fascitis problem but will be training like crazy these next 4 weeks. My weight is slowly still moving downwards and after putting weight back on towards the end of 2016, am happy to say that since January 1st I’ve lost about 22 lbs and am currently at 260 lbs. Am starting to enjoy cycling on the exercise bike at the gym and do 20 km regularly, and now also use the rowing machine and do kettle bell exercises at home and a bit of boxing (mostly punching the sofa pillows!). I figure it’s all going to help!

Once Em’s final exams are over and the London Marathon is done and dusted then we will be heading further North to live in Rotherham which will mean we save 2.5 hrs a day commuting as well as nearly £250 a month in fuel! Sending lots of love and hope everyone is happy and healthy. I really miss doing my recipes and updating the blog right now, if I had the luxury of working part time I’d be busy on it!! LOL xxxxxx C

£ for lb – The 1940s Ration Book Diet.

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Did anyone watch “Save Money, Lose Weight” on ITV recently? Was anyone else SHOCKED how much money they spent in 28 days? Watch the episode HERE! 

Six overweight Brits were put through six off-the-shelf diets for 28 days. All of them successfully lost weight trying 6 different popular plans and were pleased with the results BUT HOLEY HELL – REALLY? How can someone afford a food bill for one person for one month of £400 – £500? Get real! In the real world many of us struggle and carefully budget so it did indeed seemed quite shocking to me the amount of money spent. Surely ongoing over a long period of time this wouldn’t be sustainable?

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And then like a terrier down a rabbit hole I decided to break down my food budget based on rationing, and worked out how much it would cost to lose weight ration book style. I’ve also decided to eat 28 days purely based on 1940s rationing up to 1500 cals a day and see how much I lose and convert the total cost spent to £’s for lbs, just like they did on the programme!

Today I weighed in at 276.8 lbs (up 27 lbs or so since the summer) and in 28 days I’ll see how much I’ve lost.

Based on what I am eating today my total cost for food and drink is £2.50 and a total of 1450 cals.

Breakfast – 40 g porridge, 2 teaspoons sugar, 150 ml soy light milk – 30p – 250 cals
Lunch – Salad – 1/5th raw cauliflower, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 can kidney beans, 1/4 cucumber, 25g salad cream light, 1 apple. 90p – 300 cals
DinnerLentil curry £1 – 600 cals
Dessert – Mock apricot tart –  30p – 300 cals
By my reckoning this is
28 days @ 2.50 = £70 – CONSIDERABLY LESS than £400 – £500.
Let’s see what I lose!
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lentilcurry

1940s Meal Prep – 7 days dinners for 32p

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Yes that’s right – 7 days dinners for 32 p each. And I’m going to tell you what I used, what each item cost, AND how much fibre and protein per serving!

There is quite a group of us on my blog starting off the New Year with really good intentions to have a “Month without Money” in January (grocery money) by using up stuff we have been hoarding in the cupboards before buying more. Spending as little money in January is something we are all trying to achieve to help us get over the lean month but also be mindful of waste and of what we spend, just like our families had to do during rationing in WW2!

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I decided today that I would use up the post Christmas reduced veg I bought the other day. I bought some bags of parsnips for 9p a bag, some sprouts for 10p a bag, some carrots for 19p a bag and potatoes for 29p a bag. I then rummaged through my cupboards and found a can of tomatoes, can of kidney beans, can of chick peas, a large onion, 2 courgettes, few teaspoons Bisto powder, dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper. The total cost of all the ingredients actually used was about £2.25 and I was able to have one meal for lunch and fill 6 meal prep containers to put in the fridge and freezer (it also spurred me into defrosting the freezer!).

YES, that’s right…..£2.25 for 7 days’ dinners, that’s 32p per meal!

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So here’s what I made and how…although these are not 1940’s wartime recipes that you’ll find in a book any cook during the 40’s would have thrown stuff together to use up stuff and not waste it!

Root Veg Mash

Ingredients
1.5 lbs parsnips
1.5 lbs carrots
1.5 lbs potatoes
1 onion or leek finely chopped + garlic (optional)
Butter or margarine
Salt and pepper.

Method
Cut up carrots small and parsnips and potatoes in slightly larger pieces.
Add to boiling water and simmer until soft.
Meanwhile add all your butter or margarine (according to how much you like) into a saucepan and peel a clove of garlic or two and add that into the saucepan with the chopped onion and sauted until onions are soft (remove garlic cloves when ready)
Place drained veg into a large bowl, place butter and onion mixture on top and mash all up together.
Add salt and pepper liberally until your own desired taste is reached.

Will be enough for 7 days meal prep plus a portion of pre mashed veg to add to stew recipe below.

PS: It was DELISH!

Meal Prep Bean Stew

Ingredients
1 can kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
1 can tomatoes
1 onion or leek
2 or 3 courgettes or a small chopped marrow
Portion of pre-mashed cook veg from recipe above.
Bisto powder
Salt and pepper
Dried mixed herbs
Spoonful of sweet chutney (optional)

Method
In a large saucepan, saute chopped onions or leeks until browned and soft
Add chopped courgettes or marrow
Add all cans and pre-mashed veggies
Thicken with Bisto powder
Add chutney, herbs, salt and pepper.
Cook until stew has reduced a little and thickened.

Will be enough for 7 meal prep portion sizes.

Fibre and Protein Boost!

I even worked out the fibre and protein content of each meal. Each meal provides a whacking great 20g of fibre!! (daily recommendation is 25g – 30g) and protein was 18g (daily recommendation is about 55g) so that’s pretty good too!

With hindsight I would have thrown another can of kidney beans in or thrown in some dry lentils and boosted each meal by another 5g of fibre and 5g of protein!

YOU CAN BUY THESE CONTAINERS HERE – [10 pack] Igluu Premium 3 Compartment Meal Prep Food Storage Bento Lunch Box Containers with Lids, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe, Reusable and Stackable

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