Posh nosh on the cheap

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s one of those nights that, if budget allowed, I’d have got someone else to have prepared our supper. Instead and as a half way measure, I bought some easy food on the way home and cobbled it together. Broccoli, sweet potato, tofu, falafels, avocado and tomato salsa. 

My most favourite restaurant is in Totnes in Devon and it’s a veggie restaurant called Willow, we rarely go but when we do, we get food like this. 

So, I set the table with the best  linen, put out glasses of chilled water and threw a posh supper together. It cost £5 for the two of us, which is massively over our usual budget but it was worth pushing the boat out.

It was delicious.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


Chicken, leek and mushroom pie

Hello Dear Reader,

I promise this tasted a whole lot better than it looks. I can’t take credit for this recipe, with a little adaptation, this is off the Slimming World website. It’s basically chicken pie, topped with mashed potatoes.

Serves four

Here’s what I used,

500ml of vegetable stock – I used 60ml to add to the mashed potato – keep the rest aside.

3 large potatoes, which I microwaved for ten minutes. I then halved them and used a spoon to remove the skin, I mashed them with the vegetable stock.

2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 leeks, finely sliced,

8 button mushroom cut into half

Frylight spray

2 teaspoons of GF gravy granules

40g of finely grated cheddar.

Heat a pan with some frylight, add all the ingredients, other then the stock/gravy granules until the leeks have softened and the chicken is cooked. Add the stock and bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes and add the gravy granules.

Leave to cool slightly, top with the mashed potato and sprinkle with cheese.

Add to a casserole dish and bake at 180 for twenty minutes.
Serve with steamed veggies.

We had two servings tonight and two portions have been popped in lunch boxes for tomorrow.

Try this, it’s lovely.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Shop well for less

Hello Dear Reader,

I consider myself to be a savvy consumer who makes every spending decision an informed one but there are plenty of people who just get it so very wrong. If you’ve seen the BBC’s #shopwellforless, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Of course, the TV company will go and find the most extreme cases of people who seem to shop in the same way that I breathe, it’s as if they have to shop or their lives wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t.

I get that it’s hard for some people and they succumb to peer pressure, fashion, an unfilled need, being unable to say no or just being a total numpty; the latter being the minority but they do exist. You know the sort, I can only wear/eat/be seen in/drive blah, blah and a bit more blah and there is nothing sensible about any of their justifications. I really don’t know why I watch these TV programmes as I watch them open mouthed wondering about their lifestyle choices although I fully accept each to their own. I mean, if everyone lived like me, watching every penny, budgeting for every spend, thinking about financial goals and objectives then the retail sector would shrink by more than half.

So, if you want to shop well for less then you need to start making informed decisions and here’s what I do if I need something. I ask the following questions and take the following steps.

  1. Can I get it for free? I’ve signed up online, on Facebook and Twitter to local sites where people have something to give away and I’m on it like a Ninja! So far, I’ve got a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, curtains, bedding and firewood. Free is my favourite price and if I need something, you’d be amazed how long I can go without something until I can get it for nothing. I’m cheeky enough to ask members of the public for something they are taking out of the back of their car at the recycling centre or they’ve put out for collection by knocking on their doors.
  2. Can I get it second hand? If I need something and I can’t get it for free, then I’m all over Shpock, ebay, charity shops, freeads, local adverts on Facebook. Most of my furniture, curtains, craft fabric and  books were all bought second hand. My quilts are mainly made of shirts, pyjamas and bedding I’ve bought in charity shops.
  3. This should have been the first thing but I ask myself can I do without it or live with out it? Usually, I don’t actually need it. The thing I do is to take time to think about it and we’ll discuss it as a couple. Currently my sofa is getting on my nerves as it’s just not comfy…………..in the meantime, I’ll sit on the floor on a cushion and no harm is done!
  4. If I’ve thought about it, can’t get it free or second hand then I ask, am I getting the best price for this? I’ve put off buying new work trousers for ages and repaired my old ones and wash them midweek and keep wearing them but I really do need a new pair. My size is extra long, with 33″ inside leg so there’s no popping into Primark for me and I can get trousers from Long Tall Sally or Next and that’s it! I bought them online, got a 4% cashback going through Quidco and used click and collect to pick them up in a local store so I don’t pay for delivery.
  5. Make the best of what I can get for my budget. Being tall, I suit tunic tops and they are often expensive so I’ll buy dresses for a tiny price and wear them over trousers. I’ll adapt clothes as I’m nifty with a sewing machine or lengthen or widen clothes with contrasting fabric. At no stage do I get precious about what I have to wear even though I’m difficult to dress.
  6. I plan my spending. There are months where I spend nothing and put all my salary into long term savings. This month has been about new clothes and paid £20 for trousers and two jumpers for £36 and got £7.14 cashback.
  7. I’m proud of being a tightwad but I have to be careful not to be shocked by anyone else’s spending, they have their reasons and very few of them are actually numpties so I’ve learned to say nothing when they talk about their purchases or spending. There’s no point offending people, they are unlikely to change.
  8. I spend consciously or as the word of the moment would suggest, mindfully. I never shop unless I need something or really want it and get the best price and hopefully cashback or use a discount voucher or code.
  9. I make lots of financial plans, in doing so, I’m aware that no job is secure, that life can change so we make sure we save more than we spend. We’ve tied a lot of finance into our retirement plans but know, with the best will in the world that things change; we have to have flexible finances to do that and we’d never do that if we didn’t save the way we do.
  10. I give myself a break every now and then! I’d rather spend ten weeks a year in France than looking at a balance sheet so I make sure that I budget for four ferry trips and enjoy every minute when I get there!

Over to you now, we’re all on the same page and in the thrifty zone so what do you do to shop well for less? I love hearing from you all.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Maintenance, aging and smelling nice

Hello Dear Reader,

That’s another thrifty week. I’m a simple soul and I’ve kept myself busy this weekend with some maintenance and you would have laughed if you saw me efforts. I needed to clean my roof as the green was blocking out the light. I leant out of the window and mopped it. It’s now much better. I try and get something ‘sorted’ every week to keep on top of things.

I thought I’d update you on my grey hair grow out, I’m still not colouring it and I’m just living with it. The grow out is properly white and that’s ok. Typical of me to take my photo whilst wearing an apron, I always wear one when I’m doing housework to save my clothes.

I’m trying to do more ‘nice’ things, whether that’s cooking something special, taking ourselves out or in this case, smelling fragrant. Even so, I’m going to do that on a budget. If you’ve not heard of Yves Rocher, they’re a French perfume from La Gacilly in Brittany and it’s still made there. I’m signed up to all sorts of retailers from Lidl to my favourite perfume company and get updates of special offers and I wait until I can get my favourite perfume for free. The vanilla perfume was two bottles for the price of one, one of the handbag sized perfumes was half price, one was full price, the hand creme was free as was the full sized perfume. The lot, including postage was £32.25  and will keep me smelling lovely for months. You know me, I never pay full price and I love freebies.

Over to you, who else is signed up to their favourite retailers so you can get updates of special offers? What good deals have saved you money recently?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx