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

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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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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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A month without money?.. Let’s mend and make do!


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Immediately after Christmas, most of us, especially those with limited income, single parents, those on benefits or simply those who have really overspent are pretty much BROKE in the month of January and the only way to balance the books is to cut the spending, and be extra frugal for a month or two.

I’m not against a little moderate consumerism, we need it for our economy and businesses BUT I am against mindless consumerism and the pressure many individuals and young families can feel to overspend way beyond their means. I can understand that we want to give our kids things that make them happy, even more so if they have little or nothing and I enjoy the giving and receiving of affordable gifts, but the sheer weight of debt many encounter post Christmas is a ‘horrible’ situation to have to struggle against.

Looking back to the home front during WW2, that pressure of consumerism was alleviated, families had to mend and make-do and use their ingenuity and creativity to often make gifts. Expectations were certainly not the same as they are today.

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So what can we do to really cut back in the New Year to balance the financial scales?

I guess it has to start at Christmas. Reduce the spending, give smaller gifts, don’t use credit cards if you can’t afford to repay it back in a month or two, never spend more than you have and don’t be afraid to say no.

When my marriage broke down several years ago and then consequently losing my work visa in Canada and with no means to support myself, our life took a dramatic turn and ever since the first of those events we have have lived within our means at Christmas and do not own credit cards. That’s not to say we still don’t feel the pinch in January and February though, especially with a multitude of family birthdays taking place BUT a couple of careful months and we are back on track.

So here’s the challenge for anyone who want’s to join in and share their experiences…

“Let’s spend as little as humanely possible for a month, lets do without stuff, be mindful of the food we buy and eat and let’s just mend and make do!”

I’m up for it if you are!!!

I’m not saying we should list our private outgoings and bills etc but rather celebrate the daily cutbacks we make to save money in what we purchase and what we buy at the grocery store!

How little can we spend?

What can we save?

If anyone is up for this as a group lets do this here and/or on my Facebook page.
Well my challenge starts today – I’m off to the shops in an hour or two. I’m going to keep all my receipts and ONLY buy something if I REALLY have to.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

C xxxxxx

27/December/2016

So here’s my first spend since Christmas. £2.80 for toilet rolls and sanitary towels. I wonder how long I can make 6 toilet rolls last!

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MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the 'Equipment Pool', to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908

MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the ‘Equipment Pool’, to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908

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