Friday, 19 May 2017


In an idle moment today I decided to google "Food budget for one UK" and one of the first sites to come up was Edinburgh University giving advice to new students coming from overseas.   I'm still reeling!  They suggest that a student needs a food budget of £145 to £260 per month.  It may be that life would be more costly for an overseas student with a diet which would be unusual in this country than for those of us for whom the supermarkets design their product ranges, but this seems very high to me.

They may have limited cooking facilities and even more limited cooking skills and almost certainly would have higher energy requirements than an older woman like me.  They would probably not have access to a garden, allotment or even much of a window box.  There are probably factors which I haven't even thought about.

So how much you reckon a single student would need to budget? 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Still here!

I still haven't reported back about my new kitchen floor and I'm not going to do a proper report for a little while.  Suffice it to say that the floor looks good and I have had a MAJOR sort-out of cupboards and drawers!  I had two cupboards removed so had to make space in the other nooks and crannies for quite a bit of stuff.  I have booked a decorator to come and make the place look respectable but he can't come until the end of May.  After that there may be photos.

It has to be said though that the kitchen feels as though it has lost weight.  I have given away or slung quite a bit of stuff and most of it I can't even remember.  My cupboards and drawers are clean and well organised and cooking is much more pleasant.

All this has led me to look at other places in the house and once again I have tackled The Room Of Doom a.k.a. my playroom.  I have been getting rid of more and more stuff and soon I shall be able to photograph in there too.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sugru again

String is One Of Those Things.  It should be a nice well-behaved product which lives in a drawer and waits until it can be useful.  However, any string which comes into this house seems to have a mind of its own.  It doesn't stay in the drawer, preferring to go exploring all areas of the house and garden.  What's more, like the fairy tale children leaving a trail of crumbs, string leaves a trail behind it as it unravels from its ball and goes out to play.

I have been tempted by "things" to put string in but so far I have resisted little pots like this one.  Spending £5.80 or even more would give my string even more ideas of its own importance.  String is to be kept in its place in every sense of the phrase.

So I made my own string tin and I have to say that I'm rather proud of it.  I used a pretty tin and some of the Sugru which I received as a freebie some time ago from Amazon.  I've pierced a hole in the lid and moulded the Sugru into a holder for a small pair of scissors.  Actually I think its better than the fancy jobbie shown above, as mine has a place for scissors

Note for UK readers.  Amazon has Sugru as a "Deal of the Day" for today only.  

Monday, 3 April 2017

Minor, but hot, disaster!!!

When I sorted out my kitchen ready ready for the floor to be renewed I "edited" my herbs and spices as some were well put of date.  Among those I replaced was cayenne pepper.

Yesterday when I served up my lunch it was so spicy I couldn't eat it!  I had forgotten that a new jar of cayenne pepper would be considerably hotter than an old one.  

Today I have made another casserole but this time with no spice at  all.  I then combined both.  Much better.

Good job that I like it as instead of freezing five portions I've had to put nine into the freezer!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Being challenged - frugally - in April

March has passed by in a whirl!  I've got a new floor in my kitchen which is very nice but I'm still trying to "edit" the contents of the kitchen which isn't so nice.  My kitchen has been spring cleaned but I can't get it decorated for several weeks so the chaos isn't over yet.

I've got a short holiday booked in May so I've decided to try extra hard to look hard at what I spend and how I spend it.  Even more I want to look at how I use what I've got.  And of course I want to look at how I can make a little.  In other words I want to step up to the frugal challenge.

First on the list is making best use of what I've got so today I dug deep in the freezer, found a bag of chicken thighs and made serendipity casserole.  That's lunch sorted for tomorrow                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Cooking from scratch?

I think I cook from scratch almost all the time, but do I?  I assemble things which have been processed elsewhere.  Today I made a tomato sauce.  However, I used ready made passata and lazy garlic and the olive oil had been pressed from the olives.  The onions and mushrooms were chopped by me! I happened to have mushrooms which needed using up but usually I'd have used tinned mushrooms for cheapness.

So do I cook from scratch?  I suspect that we are all the same - it's a compromise between cost, convenience and common sense.  Where do you make that compromise?

For what it's worth. here's my recipe

225g onions chopped
15g olive oil
35g lazy garlic
1 carton of passata
300g mushrooms, sliced

Heat the oil and add the chopped onions and garlic.  Cook gently for about five minutes.  Bung it in the slow cooker.  Add the passata and mushrooms.  Cook on high for an hour then reduce heat and cook for a further three hours

I've costed this at £1.65

Monday, 13 February 2017


Some time ago as the result of an error on their part Amazon gave me a pack of Sugru.  It's brilliant stuff!  It's mouldable glue but according to the pack it can be used to fix, bond, cushion, replace, create and seal almost anything.It has to be kept in the fridge and it doesn't last for ever before use, so I decided to have a go at a couple of things which had been bugging me.

First of all the kitchen dustpan.  It's a really useful bit of kit as I can use it as a door stop as well as what it was really intended for but the handle fell off the pan.  I put a small piece of dowelling inside and lined up the two parts together before creating a new join with Sugru.  It's wonderful!

Then crochet hooks.  Crochet hooks don't wear out but sadly the joints in my hands aren't as flexible as they were and these days I like a crochet hook with a grip.  I've now made one for just one of my "gripless" hooks, making a custom designed grip and it seems great.  If this works out I shall use up some more of the spare packs on other hooks.  It needs to air-cure for a day but then I'm hoping that once again my hook will be good to go.